29 Mar 2008

Brief Notes- Commerce based Democracy

When we reach the stage in a democracy of repetition*, then we enter the "dream phase"; our alter-ego or soul, individuality finding expression through aspiration and fantasy.

A commerce-based, legislative democracy aspires to mediocrity and conformity. Individuality is compromised, indeed it could be argued that individuality is non-existent. The subjective becomes objectified, so identity becomes an objective representation... a name or number. It can be argued that objects develop a mystique (consumer goods, for example) so they acquire subjective connotations.

Individuality finds expression through the "dream phase". Technology is a major tool in our present "dream phase" and the Internet is its primary theatre - a theatre for everyone, presuming that everyone can afford to have access.

Money assumes a mythical status, representing the subjective; its artificiality (via credit cards, direct debit payments/loans and computerized, numerical representation) give it a mystique that ascends money to the status of religion, love and the arts. The artificiality of this quasi-invisible substance becomes a representation of a representation - a fluid, opaque, near-nothingness that can cause your home to be repossessed or can leave you bankrupt.

Internet self-promotion equals "everyone as an artist or author" and ties in with the concept of the "Death of the Author". This is democratic, in the best sense of the word, but the primacy of object/objectivity that we experience leads to a state of Internet users as actors who are permanently in character. This is our expression of individuality, repressed by an overtly commercial culture, an unerring, self-fulfilling narcissism that confuses fantasy and reality and leaves identity or soul objectified and reduced in status to "virtual reality".

* Democratic repetition is the stage, where money and role become more important than personal aspiration due to personal need (expression of self). Hence, a situation where similar tasks are repeated for similar ends. Academic, artistic/creative and other needs (such as public service, health care, etc.) become, primarily a means to achieve profit, rather than the primary aim to educate, entertain, or serve the public, etc.

Ultimately, the "dream phase" asks for more than the repetitive physical motions of objective representation. Eventually, the mechanical and physical give way to Romanticism (including romance) where individuality/the soul craves expression and people find this expression through any means they can. However, for many in the West, religion, particularly Christianity are currently off the agenda! So secular means of self expression are now more important than ever.

1 comment:

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