22.2.08

Modes of Thought

The modes of thought that give me worried pause in this, the modern world, are frightfully numerous--the museumification of history, the abstraction of social communities, the commercialization of self-identity, the crass materialization of meaning, the ignorance of obedience. I know not the linchpin to turn against these sins. Were I to rank them, I'd do so in ascending order of significance; but one is still left at the causal/correlative dilemma. For how can one be anything but ignorance the true source of authority, the human need for obedience, once meaning has become a by-product of empirically manufactured reality? And how can meaning be anything but so once our most intimate self-reflections double back upon the brands which mark us? Need I mention that no alternative to self-identity against others exists once social communities have been abstracted into webforums, social statistics, and marking research? History can have no purpose in such a world but for nostalgia; for the life of tradition finds no place in a world without touch and feeling.

2 comments:

Tom said...

What has always worried me about your thinking is this absolute belief in a non-modern world, this conviction that our "modern" world is somehow different from other times and worlds. Is this faith a product of your anachronistic religion or a psychological need for a fantasy realm to which to escape? Plus ca change, plus ca reste la meme chose

david said...

The fact that you're willing to employ the phrase 'anachronistic religion' demonstrates that you share my assumption; you simply enjoy the unchecked hedonism modern relativism permits you, and so try to give it eternal reign for the purpose of universal validation.

But for the fact that modern and classical are not in fact interchangable, I would point to the veneration of icons versus the museumification of icons. Two very different modes of practice, two very different modes of thought, which both relate to, arguably, the same objects. 500 years ago you'd be locked up for choosing the wrong one, today you're just called delusional, eh?

Of course, in regards to the fantasy realm comment... it's traditional name is hope, which is the classical alternative to the blind optimism found in technocratic totalitarianism. Yay for progress!