Tag Archives: Camille Paglia

Culture Lag

The feminist thinker and cultural critic, Camille Paglia, said that a man is more likely to be a DeVinci or a Michelangelo than a woman is. Paglia follows to say that a man is also more likely to be a Ted Bundy or a Charles Manson. This is because, in her view, men are more prone to be driven to obsession. She also believes in the mental superiority of women. Additionally, she holds that men and women have innately different psycho-emotion constitutions.

This would make Paglia of the old world sensibility of fixed gender characteristics (which she personally defies), which is rapidly becoming passé. This does not mean that those sensibilities no longer effect us, but that there is a long and painful “cultural lag” that occurs during the changing of the guard. This is part of our transitional task: the task of knowing in our cells what we see to be true in our intellect.

A few examples of this cultural lag follow. We know that ecosystems function through symbiosis, and that parasites on an ecosystem drain its ability to sustain itself, and we can plainly see that we have a parasitic relationship to our ecosystem. Biologically, humans are more similar than different, in some geneticists view, we are no more than 50th cousins. We are family. Yet racism and factionalism persist. We know that at an atomic level we are 99.99% empty. We know that radios and cell phones and satellites all receive and transmit information electronically, and we know that we are electro-magnetic beings, but we believe that something as confounding as human consciousness exists entirely in the matter of the brain. We believe in the immutable laws of nature, but in scientific observation, we see that we are standing on shifting sands. An example of the last is that, the constant on which the Theory of Relativity relies, the speed of light, is not constant at all.

So, if all the above is true, than we live in a post-racist, post-sexist, post-factionalist, post-materialist, infinitely interconnected world, in a universe of worlds that may be similar, in this regard. We know this, but we don’t seem to know that we know it. So you have our world, a sick world, devastated by parasites, trying excruciatingly to birth a new world which is radically self-aware through it’s newly evolved faculty of social consciousness. This is a living world, colonized by its own inborn sovereignty, in an endless multiplicity of modalities of expression. It is not the world of our dead stories, it is not a world that is ruled by immutable laws from on high, it is dynamic, it is happening now, and our awareness of all of these facts has pressed us to the edge of the Chasm. So, into the Chasm we must plunge. And if we emerge from this crucible, we collectively and universally, will be pure gold.

Social regeneration is our survival. The journey of dependence through independence to interdependence. Or the journey from here to here. We have extremely violent first-person shooter video games. We hype our sporting events as battles. Ultimate fighting is, like, crazy popular. We sensationalize and idolize our mass murderers. We have TV shows (some of which I enjoy) that romanticize and protagonize serial killers. We pay tax dollars that fund wars in which thousands of children are murdered by our boys and girls, at the order of our government. And then when one of our boys glitches out and guns down a bunch of people and himself, we use that opportunity to watch the news and push the hot-button issue of our choosing (well-intentioned perhaps), rather than giving the victims’ families the silence to bury their kin in dignity, and taking that time to explore deeply our own cultural culpability. Adam Lanza is a symptom, and so is gun violence, mental illness, violent video games, and mass media. So yes, we should treat the symptoms for temporary relief, but we have to heal the cause if we want to live together in this world. We don’t need to be reminded of human decency in order to forget human depravity, we need to be aware of all that it is to be human, in every detail, in cellular culture and in social culture.

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