Thursday, December 22, 2016

Dress for the future you want, not the one you foresee

An understated aspect of my Discursive Anomalies is that they are not one-off affairs. I carry them with me, and try them out on things I encounter. They are, in a way, a toolbox. The nature of these tools or what situations they are meant to improve is as of yet unknown, and that is part of the point. When the time comes, the tools will be there.

Lately, I have been thinking back on the post about Jonathon Green's depiction of the 60s counterculture of Great Britain. It accomplishes something it really ought not to accomplish: by describing many contemporary constituent parts of a time period, without really piecing them together, it conveys a better sense of the times than a more integrated approach would. It is all nows: one now after another, juxtaposed in such a manner as to bring context through sheer numbers. It is not a point of view, but you end up with one nevertheless.

It is all very backwards, and all very straightforward. Integrated and holistic points of view are artifacts of hindsight, not readily available to those living in the moment. In the moment, there are only constituent parts, who disappear when we find ourselves with something more interesting to do.

I wonder what a similar depiction of our time would look like. What the distinguishing characteristics and vital constituent parts will turn out to be.

I suspect it would be a mixture of things we take for granted and things we cannot see due to being too close to them. The Trump election would most likely warrant a mention, alongside some massive landslide of a long-term change that happens on the other side of the world we have yet to see the ramifications of. The rattling of sabers on both sides of the old Cold War will probably be discussed as an ambient factor, but the real background tune of the future has every probability of being recorded in a suburb of an African town whose name we will never know. Perhaps meme culture will be a thing; perhaps it turns out a revived ancient tribal practice performs the same functions with far greater efficiency, sneaking in from the periphery.

History has a way of becoming those things that happened alongside those other things we paid attention to.

This state of things is a hopeful one. It implies that the world is not limited to what can be seen in the news. It also implies, through the same logic, that there are still surprises left in the world, ready to strike from so far out of left field that they cannot but be discursively anomalous.

It implies that we could be the one causing these unforeseen consequences, by engaging in some fit of passion that in hindsight turned out to be more important than we could have imagined.

That is a good future. We should prepare for it. -

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