So I'm taking a class at Sonoma State on research and literary criticism. As a part of this class, I am required to come up with a topic for, a proposal for, an outline for, and then to write a twenty page research paper with a minimum of sixteen sources. The paper must be in MLA format, and Wikipedia cannot be used as a source. I thought that last restriction was a masterful touch.
What am I going to do for my research project?
I am going to chart the economy of Hell.
Yeah. That's a doozy. Even so, this is my aim. Hell is called eternal separation from God. Eternal in this context is not so much a measure of duration as it is a statement of the kind and quality of separation. In the same way, Consumer society appears dead set on producing an eternal separation from the natural world. For the purposes of this argument, nature may well stand where God stood, for when we are finally lost to the one, we shall be lost to the other as well. When everything around us, the mountains, the hills, the forests, the streams, the oceans, the earth in all its mystery, the animals, and finally even ourselves and each other are no more than material for production and consumption, then shall be written above the gates of our cities, "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here." Then shall we echo the sentiments of Milton's Satan, looking down over the wreck of our world, finding it good, and murmuring, "Myself am Hell."
If it seems impertinent that a writer with a background in poetry and literature should take on such a project, I can only make this reply: we fight with what weapons we have. This is my task, and with any luck, I shall do it well.