Trout Fisting In America #54 – The Hypermodern Condition

  1. I’m not even going to try and make this cohere, to journey smoothly from idea to idea. That kind of linearity no longer exists, and as such it is a lie.

  2. By Hypermodernism I mean the era that has arrived in the wake of Postmodernism. In the 21st century an idea like Postmodernism feels outdated & quaint, but more importantly it feels inadequate. The relationship between signifier/signified no longer exists in a ‘state of play,’ They have each been obliterated into a twin death spiral of meaningless. They no longer function. They no longer have significance. Hypermodernism means an accelerated version of Postmodernism. Forget the blurring of high & low art, Hypermodernism obliterates them until art is as empty as everyday life and everyday life is as empty as art.

  3. The Totality is dead and all we can do is sift through its ashes. The destruction of the authority of the text has been extended to the destruction of subtext, to say nothing of the destruction of context.

  4. Our current reality makes a lot more sense once you stop assigning value to everything. Note that ‘value’ in this case doesn’t refer to morality or a sense of ethics. To navigate contemporary life w/o any kind of ethical foundation is to set yourself up for a front row seat at a holocaust, either as perpetrator or victim. But whose ethics? How do you form an ethical framework in a vacuum, or more accurately an oversaturation? This may be the most important question we face: How to be responsible in an irresponsible age.

  5. We live now in an empire of incoherent signs. There’s a reason why terms like ‘alternative facts’ & ‘fake news’ spread through the culture and take on a life of their own to become buzzwords & catchphrases. Terms like these speak to our disorientation, that nagging feeling that there is more information out there than we can possibly consume. We all understand, whether consciously or not, that meaning is subjective. Hypermodernism is Postmodernism with power behind it, a deliberate acceleration into meaninglessness, the inevitable result of technological advances happening faster than advances in human thought. We are all infants thrust into an unfamiliar setting. Life in 2017 feels simultaneously familiar & unfamiliar at the same time; it is profoundly disorienting.

  6. When confronted with something we don’t understand, our first impulse it to either laugh at it or simplify it (usually incorrectly). We are threatened by what we don’t know b/c we fear, secretly or otherwise, that the world we live in can no longer be understood. The advances of technological science are so deeply radical, so disturbing, upsetting, and revolutionary that they can no longer be fully understood. Is it any wonder that an older generation recoils in horror, is so easily manipulated into disbelieving science? Our bubbles are all deliberate & self-chosen.

  7. We are all of us more entangled/connected—in terms of quantity & information—than ever before in the history of our species. And yet we’ve never felt more isolated & alone. As our access to information becomes more unlimited, our certainty about that information becomes more limited. To the point where the only sane reaction to one’s twitter feed, or a single homepage of news, is churning vertigo. Each of us lives an existence so subjective that it’s impossible to be fully understood, or shared, by anyone.

  8. Does anyone really think for themselves? Can they? Have they ever?

  9. The 21st century is nothing but oceans of terror, and only the young understand it well enough to successfully ride its waves. Nostalgia is our greatest enemy. A map is something that tells you where you have been, and as such any maps we have are useless for navigating the future. The backlash we see, particularly among the older generation, is rooted in their fear of this new reality. For them, the societal clock is constantly flashing midnight and they have no idea how to set it. The recent votes for Brexit and Trump are many things, but they are—based on their disproportionate support among the older generations—rooted in a longing for a simpler, more understandable time, a time that no longer exists. Their actions are temper tantrums from a population segment that is unable to keep up.

  10. It’s an infinity of diffractions, a countless collision of waves overlapping & obliterating. The result, contemporary life, has become the ultimate panoramic distraction.

  11. We are all tarantulas on meth being stirred in a pot. Electronic quantum signals that stimulate our brains. Electronic quantum signals that numb our brains—the same signal, the same brain. The electrons are innocent; the people in control of them are corrupt. Because they have the power and power has the power to corrupt. All of our would-be techno-utopias are created out of greed, the desire to exploit for personal gain, and as such will inevitably lead to dystopia if they haven’t already.

  12. The problem isn’t the technology, it’s who gets to control the technology.

  13. The concept of Truth (w/a capital T) has undergone quite a journey in the past 100+ yrs: from a a solid state—immovable, concrete, statuesque; to a liquid state—wet cement, malleable; until today when it exists purely as vapor—an unseen force that chokes you, or something unseen that dissipates when you try to hold it in your hands. We either fumble blindly through it, or clutch it in our hands w/misplaced certainty that it will still exist when we open our fists. The way Truth exists, the way it functions, is better understood in terms of how Power exists/functions than anything else. That is to say, it is produced from one moment to the next, at every point, or rather in every relation from one point to another. Those are the words of a dead French philosopher. He wrote them at a time when he & other French philosophers were recognizing the primacy of text over author, and as such it feels like a betrayal of his/their ideas to credit him.

  14. Life in the 21st century is a bad trip and all of us looking for a quiet tent to lie down in for a while.

  15. To live in the USA today is to live under the rule of a surveillance police state. And as the empire has become Elsinore, we are all becoming Hamlets: experts in misdirection, finding safety in a multiplicity of persona, using play & performance to uncover the truth about our illegitimate kings. In one’s own instability, there’s a power to be held over others. The deliberate expression of one’s self as a series of fragments, the cloaking of one’s true self behind a public avatar. Fluidity in everything: in gender, in thought, in beliefs. We have no attributes. There’s nothing inherent in our being. Identity is doing. All of us quantum persona, identity constantly in flux. To measure is to distort, and a distorted picture can’t accurately reflect what we’re seeing—or more precisely, what we’re trying to see.  Every dissection produces the death of its subject. Fluidity in everything but ethics. We don’t control the universe—we don’t control any part of it, not really—but we can control how we respond to this lack of control. And to any US patriots out there, I’d say the idea of ‘self-invention’ is inherently American and at the root of every cultural gift we’ve ever given the world.

  16. Our insistence on meaning, as a fixed state of existence, is just a dumb reflexive twitching of nerves, our severed psyches reaching our vainly for their decapitated phantom limb.

  17. We communicate now through hyperbole. Everything is either the best or the worst. Our response to something funny is to say I’m dead. There’s two reasons for this. One is that to try and cut through all the noise & chatter of daily life, we shout to make ourselves heard. The second reason is a lack of perspective brought about by a bombardment of stimuli. In a moment-to-moment existence, every experience is extreme. When someone says it was literally the craziest thing I’ve ever experienced, in that moment they are telling the truth. When someone asks, what is your favorite movie? The only honest answer is whichever one I’m currently watching. In a life such as this, even boredom is dramatic, if not melodramatic. Everything amplified, everything distorted. We are living through the most exciting, and most terrifying, time to be alive in human history.

  18. All my dreams are made of silicon oxide; all my nightmares are filled w/trees. Everything in front of my eyes is science-fiction as imagined 20 yrs ago, as imagined 10 yrs ago, as imagined last week.

  19. I’m looking at a beautiful blue sky, framed by white cottony clouds, and it signifies absolutely nothing. It might as well not even exist. As an image, it’s been drained of whatever sublime man v. nature awe-inducing power it might have once had. Centuries ago, the sky determined our lives, the climate affected our ability to survive. Several consecutive years of bad harvests meant starvation, famine, death. Today, the sky has been drained completely of even its symbolic value. It exists as a relic of an earlier, more pastoral age. It does still exist, in a scientific sense, as a barrier/filter against the sun’s radiation & heat. But even that, it seems, is disappearing more rapidly than it should.

  20. Hypermodernism means that it is now impossible to keep up, that it is impossible to understand, or even fully describe, the totality of lived experience—our own lived experience as well as the experience of others. Maybe it was always like this and we only thought we could understand the totality. It’s incredible to think that 30 yrs ago people read their local newspaper, talked to their small circle of neighbors & friends, maybe watched the evening news, or read Time magazine, and went through their lives certain that they fully comprehended life on this planet. Maybe our belief in narratives—grand or otherwise—has always been a deliberate fantasy, and reality is actually sensory bombardment & quantum chaos. But today we have a fixed/unfixed direct relationship to reality not unlike quantum physics. Everything is in flux; nothing is constant. On one hand, this is a good thing, in the sense that our society now more closely resembles the universe itself. We need to understand that what feels like dissonance is actually harmony. We have always lived within an eternally shifting chaos—the truth (or Truth) or (‘Truth’) we have steered ourselves by has always been an illusion, a way to beat back the terror of existence through a faith in rationality and a deliberately limited understanding of the universe. One can only hope, now that the true chaotic nature of life has caught up with us, that we are able to evolve fast enough to exist comfortably within this new reality. Younger people appear better able to navigate this new reality; most of them do this effortlessly & without fear. In this there is hope. It is, at this moment in existence, the only thing on the planet to feel hopeful about.

  21. To end at #20 feels too clean, too perfect, too dishonest, too corrupt.

    Trout Fisting In America appears here every Tuesday unless the weight of being alive proves so crushing that we’re unable to work. We’re going to keep going until we reach #55, or until the Trout begs for mercy. You can check out previous installments HERE.

About ScottCreney

Scott Creney lives in Athens, Georgia. He is the author of "Dear Al-Qaeda: Letters to the World’s Most Notorious Terror Organiztion".
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