Our generation has single handedly killed sincerity. In this hyperreality of self aware simulacra, we have become meta references upon references, unable to distinguish reality and fiction, so much so that any show of genuine and sincere emotion is viewed as cringeworthy, corny or fake. Any time someone opens up with genuine feelings, we are appalled. Our sincerity needs to come with a side of irony. Nothing is more disgusting than someone being emotional, and meaning it. That's why memes are so important in our culture, we need to reference our shared realities and the absurdities they offer.
In modern media and life interactions, we have self aware elements referencing the inherent absurdity and cheesiness of sincerity in reality. Memes and art directly reference life but now everything is also self referential, even the memes have gone meta. A meme is a fad that spreads from person to person on the internet and often carries symbolic meaning representing a particular phenomenon or theme, not to overly intellectualize Dat Boi.
Trump has mastered the meme. Trump is a showbiz billionaire and one of the greatest marketers the world has ever seen. Trump is a caricature of himself, literally everyone can do a Trump impression, tweet like Trump or say his well known catchphrases. He's tan with fake hair, he is an absolute character off the rip and he knows how to play into it. Trump has used this innate ability to meme and got himself all the way into the White House, effectively making what is real and what is fiction seamlessly blend together so that there is no clear distinction between where one ends and the other begins. The president of the strongest military the world has ever known is a self aware meme come alive, like some twisted internet version of ‘Night At The Museum.’
Donald Trump is a reality TV show star and wrestler, which are self aware mediums with fictional elements that exist in their own hyperreality where reality and fiction are blended. The President tells convoluted lies where mainstream media, who are known to lie, and the President himself has dubbed ‘fake news’ constantly call him a liar. At the end you don’t know what's real or fake and the whole system becomes too convoluted, self aware and too meta to wrap your brain around.
Due to our phones we live as ourselves, and outside of ourselves, constantly hyperaware of how we are perceived in real life as well as on this other version of us that lives in our pocket which needs constant maintenance and upkeep, with new profile pictures, cover photos, selfies and tweets that depict a certain version of yourself and life to the world. We are constantly self aware and rarely experience life exclusively as the subjective experience, but as objects, because that's how we appear to others.
If you’re in a park alone you perceive the park as the objects in it, the park shows itself to you. You see the squirrel and the trees as objects and pass judgement on things appearing in the distance through the subjective lens, suddenly someone else comes to the park and instantly, you understand you are being perceived, so you act as an object, according to how you would like to be viewed, that is the constant condition of modern man. We are unable to escape the watchful gaze of those around us and pass judgement on ourselves as objects, because we are aware that's how we appear to others, so we constantly curate who we are.
Our postmodern generation exists after thousands of years of human literature, art, communication and connection where we’ve consumed all of the best descriptions and scenarios of human life, repeated time and time again in every possible form. We have been stripped, and in turn, stripped ourselves of genuine sentimental bullshit, because we’ve seen and know too much. There’s something beautiful and profound about stripping away all of the walls blocking the sincerity.
Behind your ironic dad shoes, your quirky shirts and your self aware memes, there’s a person who was once a baby, crawled on its knees and grew up to be this person with thoughts, opinions and a personality they’ve formulated from years of consuming external information. By associating heavily with our external persona, we lose touch with that inner kid that never needed to be sarcastic, ironic or meta. The one that rarely sought external approval, validation or praise. That’s what sincerity centers you around. Sincerity brings the awareness that It's okay to feel the way we do and then express it, because ultimately we are human and that's what we do.
Self awareness is great but our constant awareness makes us curate our real personalities to fit this mold that someone has told us is the “right person.” We constantly pre plan all of our moves, thoughts and emotions like computer scripts instead of dealing with emotions and scenarios as isolated incidents at hand. Brain automation is really helpful and it's the way neuroplasticity works, which helps make life efficient. Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to form and reorganize synaptic connections, especially in response to information intake. But some times we automate too much of life and instead choose to follow ideologies that program us to blindly follow as opposed to analyze issues and scenarios emotionally and critically.
Brain automation takes us away from that essence whose shadows flicker on the ironic walls that surround it. We are slowly becoming a generation of NPCs. NPCs are Non Playable Characters. A generation of seemingly humans that are unable to think and express honestly, objectively, creatively and with nuance, which are exclusively human traits. We exist in a simulated hyperreality and some humans take on the role of NPCs, spouting "opinions" they are programmed to spout and repeating them in a cult-like manner.
The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of the world. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, and our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. It is they who pull the wires that control the public mind.
Everyone is hyperfocused on saying the “right” or “appropriate” thing to say at the appropriate time as outlined by strangers. Because of mass media, social media, advertisements, marketing, the school system and other sources of information consumption, our minds are controlled by people we do not know. We try to live like sitcom characters that are constantly witty, self aware and repeatedly saying the right thing at the right time, and we condemn and cancel those who say the wrong thing instead of encouraging them to learn from their mistakes. That's not life, that’s not a person. We can curate our social media presence to perfection but our real life selves are far from perfect.
As a human being, you are the most complex being in the universe as far we know right now. Your emotions, flaws, feelings, thoughts, ideas, habits, creativity and abilities are more complex, unknown and unknowable than you can possibly imagine. Your mind is infinite space inwards, its never ending and its less than partially explored. We strip ourselves of free will and autonomy in service to our ideological masters. Modern society is plagued by tyranny without a tyrant. We have these ideas of what the “right person” is supposed to look like and say, and we outline it and then force ourselves to live by this idea. There isn’t anyone holding a gun to our heads forcing us to have and share these opinions and beliefs, we hold the gun and ourselves hostage. This is collectively our first time being alive, and life, like everything else, can be difficult because you don’t know everything, so like everything else, you learn on the job. You learn as you go through, and you are guaranteed to make mistakes in order to learn from them, nobody is born perfect. We trap ourselves in a cage of our own creation, miming within make believe walls, never truly being alive and human because we suppress who we are, in favour of this fictional character, reciting scripts to star in a play we didn’t audition for.
A few months ago Kanye West was on stage during a Presidential rally and he began openly weeping while revealing his attempt at aborting his daughter, this is inherently a sensitive issue and Kanye reiterated that he had almost been aborted as well and his life was saved by his late mother. Remove all of your liberal or conservative inhibitions for a second and view this from a human lens. The man is imagining the death of his oldest daughter, as she is now, he is imagining a world where he was responsible for not allowing her to come into existence. He then discusses the possibility of a world where he would not have existed, because his father wanted to abort him, but his dead mother decided to keep him alive. Without politicizing the issue, this is a sensitive situation. But through severe politicization we have removed the human element from these debates and it has just become left wing vs right wing, a battle of ideologies and not people with lives, emotions, friends, homes and families. Once we remove humanity from people and view them as labels, there is no way to see past that. Emotions are treated as insanity because no one else seems emotional about emotional topics. The world becomes a program arguing against another program.
Kanye is another walking meme that is self aware and used his innate meme ability to catapult himself to billionaire status. Kanye is an entertainer that is married to the second most famous reality television star on the planet. He lives in his own hyperreality and places his foot in the real world from time to time. That is why the world was shocked at Kanye, a man, a human, crying about the prospect of his beloved daughter never coming into existence because of a decision he made. We are unable to view him outside the lens of entertainer, reality show star and meme. Our hearts have hardened and turned into the hardware power source for the script we have become and automatically run when interacting with each other. It's the phenomena that happens when you work at a call centre for a long time. You begin to work automatically after it becomes a daily routine. You sign in, start taking calls and are effortlessly completing everything and repeating the script while daydreaming about everything except for the task at hand. That's what being a person nowadays feels like.
We are becoming drones moving through the world in quiet desperation, viewing ourselves from the pupils in the sunken place. Its debate season in the United States during a global pandemic and the politicization of human life has never been higher. Every party and their constituents are spitting out talking points and removing emotion from issues affecting human lives. War, abortion, school shootings, racism, even wearing masks to prevent a deadly disease are all highly politicized topics that people are incentivized to have opinions on based on the traditions of the party they identify as, as opposed to critically thinking through the issue at hand, looking at statistics and science, and deeply feeling the emotion while reasoning through the policies that would be implemented and how they could go on to affect human lives. All of that is too much work so instead, people take on this tribalistic sports team mentality where you want your side to win, solely based on the fact that they are your side, instead of picking the best solution to benefit everyone involved.
We’ve lost the ability to see nuance in issues and to remove this binary lens of our overly politicized world. Its CNN vs Fox, Democrats vs Republicans, Bloods vs Crips, Pepsi vs Coke, any way we can feel like we’re on a team, we have shared values and we’re winning. Ideologies are the new religions and free choice has become an illusion because the options are preemptively chosen and limited. Any sane person has issues they deeply care about where they lean both conservative or liberal. How you feel towards a certain candidate should be based on the manner in which they address issues and the solutions they provide, not that they play for the home team.
Aside from politics, any time I ask someone how they are doing, they respond in the most customer service way possible. Rarely does anyone sit back and say, actually I’ve been having a great or terrible day because *insert reasons*. A lot of the time when anyone asks a question, it's so they can wait for you to finish moving your mouth so they can actually say their thing. We can try to say the right thing to be liked or accepted but I’d rather be around the person I disagree with, but has genuine emotion and reasoning behind their opinions, as opposed to the person that always says the right thing. I don’t trust the person that always says the right thing.
I like my people old fashioned and flawed. All of my favourite people are a little paranoid, irrational, stupid, emotional and fun. Yes, this is a Kanye West endorsement. No one that is consistently trying to say the right thing is fun for long. You become boring, predictable, and barely human. Everyone knows what you’re gonna say, we’ve heard it from everyone else too and we don’t think you really believe it. Originality and individuality are things that our corporate consumerist culture strips away from us. With the mass production of consumer products, we all just end up looking the same, acting the same, speaking the same, sharing the same opinions, walking through life as droning clones in eternal job interview mode. I would rather be interesting and honest than dull, unoriginal and “right."
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