Culture as a Spectacle – Observed, But Not Lived

The following happens to be observations and musings posted by an anon on 8chan over 5 years ago. What’s scary about his observations is that back then, you can still consider them as fringe views, whereas nowadays the same culture degradation he spoke of are very much main stream.

social-media-isolation1

Our culture now takes the form of a spectacle – it can be observed, but not truly lived.

The course of history since the beginning of capitalism, particularly through the last 50 years has seen a continual degradation from mutual participation to observation of culture, and now also a shrinking away from in-person communication as the primary means of socializing.

At the same time, the myths and memes that make up our culture have come to be driven by the need to market.

As a result, almost all human interaction now takes the form of a market, relationships between people are mediated by symbols and objects, and the image of what daily life should be in our culture isn’t that of lived experience, it’s the culture on the screen, which no one gets to actually live.

No matter what anyone says about “be yourself,” the fact is that we’re now engaged in a constant creation and projection of self, through identification with certain categories, adoption of styles, possession of objects which we identify with our persona through their symbolic value (e.g. vintage clothes worn by hipsters.)

Think about social networking sites. Your participation in a social market that has been so stripped of natural complexity that it can be analyzed numerically. You create an identity through things like your choice of profile picture, what music and movies you like, etc.

Marketing and PR have become innate skills necessary to survive in the new culture. Think about social networking again: If you want to earn money, you’d better know what is and isn’t OK to put on Facebook, and you’d better have the right number of friends, because you bet potential employers are gonna be looking.

Of course, some people just aren’t cut out to be public relations gurus, and they’re cast out, either falling to the lowest economic classes, or, if they have an enabler or government assistance, becoming NEETs.

And everyone, NEET or not, can feel the disintegration, or at least feel that SOMETHING is missing, even if they can’t put their finger on it.

All the men on television are self-deprecating, putting themselves down like they don’t deserve anything. Look at any sitcom and the main male character is a huge pussy. Even talk show host like Conan the tall guy who wastes his genetics, and Kimmel, the short elf jew.

They have no role models. And what’s worse is that young girls are teasing them to all hell, with this twerking shit, and the skimpy outfits that are now accepted. Woman are told to be sexy, and men are told not to be men.

And sex – sex is a GREAT way to observe all of these phenomena. Take porn for a second. Obviously, erotic media, sexual performance, etc, have been with us for all of human history. But now, you can have an infinite number of pr0n vids, all shot in HD POV for ease of self-insertion, at the click of a button. You can spend forever looking at porn.

Sitting in your room for days on end, clicking through video galleries, fapping and getting that sweet dopamine rush. But you never actually get to live it. Nobody gets to fuck 25 different girls a day, unless you’re Kim Jong Un, and it actually reduces your biological incentive to go out and socialize so that you can get laid. Sex used to be a force which pushed people together, even in the most oppressive circumstances – now we are increasingly alienated from our own bodies.

For many men, maybe even most, the vast majority of their sexual experiences have consisted of watching porn. Not imaginative fantasy, not having sex with a partner – watching porn, and imagining themselves into the life on the screen. You can’t even distinguish a separate sphere of “real” sex – porn is the larger part of sexuality, and sexual encounters between people will be mediated by the expectations instilled by porn.

Literally, our sexuality is MORE constructed from marketed images than influenced by the people around us with whom we could actually have sexual experiences. To the point that actual sex between people gets scripted by these images. Not even sex is participatory, now.

How many people even know their neighbors anymore? Do you really think that that’s even remotely normal, compared to all the rest of human history?

A different anon responded to the above and added his own thoughts:

You’re right, OP.

I remember writing about this when I was 17. Back then, I saw that dramatic catharsis was being so overused that, instead of being a release of excessive energy, it was becoming the only place in life where deep stories were allowed to unfold.

And about how this facebook thing rips our living and complex identity out of its natural flow and stuffs it into this one representative box that kind of mutilates us.

I wrote about it, but I couldn’t do anything. And then at some point I started becoming obsessed with some sexual fetish from internet images. And then I found myself browsing /pol/, even though I hate it and it feels so fake. I couldn’t stop.

This is what Freud called the Eros. The libidinal force that drives humans together, into connection. It’s become scattered, cheapened and conquered.

I always thought I’d be able to de-emphasize the internet, like it was an adolescent phase. But now the unreality I felt back then has overtaken all of society. The same capitalist globalism that goes outwards and destroys every vestige of diverse and autogenic lived culture all throughout the globe has turned inwards and destroyed whatever there is left of personally lived experience in its source society.

Even childhood will be destroyed, in most families. Do you think the folklore and stock of subtle cultural forms that evolved across thousands of years will get transmitted the same way now? The lack of anything else to do was one of the major drivers of that. People have this slight absence and sense of needing to do something, and then a bright idea will come to them. “Let’s talk to the kids about…” But now, any slight absence can be instantly filled by a flood of public stimuli.

Some of us will resist. But anything that doesn’t is swept along and taken in.

The grotesque commodified public sphere is invading everything. The numerous and individual web of lived private stories is being eviscerated.

There’s… that. And then… work. Work to keep the whole disgusting thing propped up.

This reality is going wrong.

Original screen cap:

culture as a spectacle


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