The essay below was published in November 21 of 2012, making allusion to the end of Mayan Calendar, and that’s my own translation. You can find the Portuguese version here.
There are some people saying that the world outta end in a month, and I’ve not finished paying the phone that I’ve bought.
Would it be possible to draw a link between the myth of the end of the world at December 21 of 2012 and the expansion of Latin American emerging economies?
It’s timely to talk about the end of the world.
The interpretation of Mayan Calendar it’s a profetic novel, a fiction work based on the symptoms of the crisis of collective identity. A story that makes sense in a collective imaginary which finds in the ideals of revolution the simbolic death of History. All the dictators and revolutionaires we had in the last 200 years were supported by a one blind mass. The end of the world is a collective urgency.
The death is seen as the most effective radical solution for any problem. After death there’s the ressurrection, from death there’s the redemption, from death the sins are paid. “The seed of evil will be burned”, as he sings in the song above.
But it never been easy for the Man to leave his things behind. Goods aren’t only goods, they’re stories, and stories are experiences which builds the identities of each one. But wouldn’t be the cultural values, a set of collective goods and thus, the maximum avatar of our collective identity?
Normally it takes decades to us to perceive the changes in culture. It’s not the case when we’ve reached a connection and distribution of information faster than our cognition can assimilate, and the consequence of it is a cultural jetlag, a mess of collective and particular identities. There are several layers of interaction that will overlap with increasing input information. And there’s already a lot of businesses worried researching trends, once the future is being much more incertain, and the facts of yesterday are old and doesn’t make sense anymore.
Guided by Man’s sense of self-destruction (want to fade away into a thousand pieces in night party), we remember again the youth emblem: Live fast. At the same time, the deadline is the creative boost of humanity, the water at the neck. The end of the world is your boss at your scruff asking for the job done at Friday night.
There’s a chapter of Jean Baudrillard’s book Simulacra and Simulation which is named “Implosion of Sense in the mass media”. He makes a comparison of the monetary economy and the information economy: The more money circulating, higher the tax of economic inflation, provoking a “bubble”. The currency loses its worth for having extreme abundance of money. The more options you have, less the subjective value of each one. The same happens with the information, according to Baudrillard.
Connected in every pole of the planet, we have the “information economy” in which the production of resources (information) is inexhaustible and directly proportional to the speed of the communication of information and the quantity of information consumed. So, much more you read, much more images you will see, so much more the variety of possible combinations in your head, higher the anxiety to express it to the world. That is, the internet is the foundation for the rising Creative Economy.
At the same time, how much more information created, much more meaning created. We’ve created other layers of meaning to reading the world, we imagine other worlds virtually possible. The appsphere was already created, what is the next one?
We reached the crisis of sense, crisis of the signification world, like happens in any inflated economy (of information or money). But a crisis of the signification of things affects other human needs. When someone is exposed to an increasing quantity of information, its the moral values which will be collide with the infinity of other possible moral valuations.
With the internet we discover other permutations of possible values, in a math formula which can’t be described in paper. And the permutation of values is ubiquitious, impacting all those layers of meaning in which we live nowadays. The how more urban we are, add more layers, more tech, foods, QR Codes, people, languages, parties… anxiety also.
Thereby, the values borned from scarcity will be drowned by the new notion of abundance of information/meaning. The reaction of our brains to the novelty is the consumerism. Monthly, weekly, diary. A new clothe per week, a new restaurant per day. The experimentation is necessary, to vent the excess of possible combinations. “More real than real, so that negates the real.”
This is the Implosion of Meaning. It’s when culminates the collapse of old values to come to the new. There are people who lose their head, and what comes is the schizophrenia. Not that our generation not already is currently sedated by drugs.
The nonsense was the answer found by the contemporary art to face up the detachment of things. After we smash all the possible models of semiotics, what remains is the unique moment of synapsis, the brain stimulation which gives us pain or pleasure, and could be confused also with hedonism. Everything faster, more atomic, more ephemeral and inconstant.
The end of the world is not physical, it’s a clashing of values. The time which is passing faster, the changes in expectations, the ways of work, life perspective, the worth of things and the worth of work. The forms to work creativity, art and music. The end everyone was expecting (seriously, there are people expecting years for it, since the last bug of the millenium), is already here. Finally this blog can rest in peace, celebrating the nonsense culture in which originated it, as in the header such as in the inspiration. Embrace the chaos.