This ideological stasis, which Fisher called capitalist realism, remains pervasive today. The vast majority of us are anxious, depressed, cautious – and for good reason. The question asked implicitly during every election cycle by centrists and the right, who want nothing more to maintain a semblance of order, is: Why lean into indeterminacy and contingency and the fear that the unknown provokes within us? But the point for Fisher is that, as Children of Men demonstrates, our sense of the future has been depressively foreclosed on our behalf. The idea that capitalism is all there is, that it will continue in perpetuity, adapting to world events whilst being fundamentally unchanging in its distribution of wealth and power, makes the future a foregone conclusion. It is what it is and always will be. New things will happen and the world will inevitably change, but the horror of capitalism is that, despite all of this, we expect so much to remain the same.
Fisher wanted to challenge and change this mode of thinking, this “spontaneous unreflective ideology”, and once again make possible our capacity to generate the new – not just new forms of culture, new kinds of “content”, but new worlds and ways of being. To understand our predicament more fully, we must come to realise how our agency is repeatedly denied, and how the freedom on offer to us is the shadow of an ideal. Understanding all this, we may become more accepting of the risks involved in changing the world around us. Perhaps it is better to risk it all, if it means that we might finally live free rather than simply exist under the cosh of servitude, exploitation and drudgery.
Mental Health is (Still) a Political Issue: On Mark Fisher’s Lost Futures
In reconsidering Mark Fisher’s concept of “lost futures”, Matt Colquhoun examines our contemporary moment. By addressing how our lost futures relate to capitalist realism today, Colquhoun explores ways in which the concept may be rethought positively, rather than depressively.
Focussing not on Fisher’s suicide, Colquhoun instead considers the suicidality of capitalism as a socioeconomic system, and reaffirms why, as Fisher himself insisted, “mental health is a political issue”.
Now more than ever, this is an issue that must be addressed if we are to reclaim the futures that capitalism would deny us.
44 pages | Late 2022 | Published by Plan C