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NEW CULTURE COMING SOON
There is an opening, seen through a crack in our shared consciousness. A radiant light gently spills in, illuminating possibilities previously thought impossible. Otherworldly music plays on the other side, with melodic whispers in cryptic tongues. When the music kisses the ear, hope fills the body, and not the kind that politicians fool us with. This hope compels the eyes to peer through the cracks, unveiling a place where temporal concerns cease to hold sway. Graceful bodies are there, dancing in harmonious abandon.
Above the dancing, a coral-colored neon sign reads: NEW CULTURE COMING SOON.
I studied philosophy and cultural anthropology at university. This combination was alchemic for me. I became obsessed with determining the philosophy at the base of a culture. I have studied the philosophies of cultures ever since leaving university. However, around 2012, when the second term of a president who promised hope began, I was no longer studying culture but anticulture, or what some colloquially call a culture war.
The culture war started heating up on June 16, 2015, when a former reality TV star entered the presidential race of a country that felt hopeless. His bid started the “Great Meme War” that lasted until November 9, 2016, when he ascended into power, becoming a “chaos president,” unfolding four heady years of pussy riots, alt-right rallies, Antifa skirmishes, great awakenings, and great resets.
From June 16, 2015 to March 11, 2020, when WHO gave the Covid-19 pandemic status, the culture war left was concerned with Mass Bigotry and the culture war right was concerned with Mass Cancellation. From March 11, 2020 to February 24, 2022, when Russia invaded Ukraine, the world collectively experienced the “Covid Moment,” with the culture war left concerned with Mass Disinformation and the culture war right concerned with Mass Censorship.
The culture war left believes the Overton window1 is expanding too fast, with hate and falsehoods flooding the internet. The culture war right believes the Overton window is shrinking too fast, with moral outrage and authoritarianism policing the internet. The collective consciousness has been swinging between soft totalitarianism and controlled chaos since 2015, with noble values at the heart of the swinging: the common good and personal freedom. Shadow values also influence the swinging, but if a new culture is to emerge, focusing on where the noble values intersect is the less foolish move.
Thanks to the anticulture of the culture war, there has been a cultural deadlock, without a sense of genuine culture having a chance to emerge. Since the Covid Moment ended, this has changed. Through the fluctuation between soft totalitarianism and controlled chaos, there is an opening, a third attractor seen through the cracks of our collective consciousness. Those fatigued by fear and shame are keeping their spiritual sight on the cultural cracks.
These cultural sight-seers are the people I want to talk to now.
The coral glow beckons attention to the bodies weaving between control and chaos. Watching this clandestine dance feels dangerous because the spirit flowing through is wildly alluring. I yearn to partake, yet I am uncertain where the movements will lead me. One thing is clear: relinquishing something is needed to move. I know I have to let go of something. I know we have to let go of something. We must let go of the false security of lies and illusions, encouraging myriad cultures to unfurl, demanding a heightened presence uncommonly practiced. A choice emerges with this presence: look away or look in a way that invites a new culture.
I have made my choice. What about you?
The Overton window is a concept that refers to the range of ideas considered acceptable and mainstream within a particular society at a given time, with some ideas falling within this window and others outside of it.