It is frequently assumed that age, or at least the passage of time, brings with it a complex of experience, depth and wisdom. People speak of the imperative to pursue a more “spiritual” practice in old age, of looking backwards unencumbered by the veil of material desire to the infinite repetition and reinvention of history, the mirrors stretching out in all directions.
As aged innocents on the brink of nullity, we begin to understand that by wrestling with myths or personalities or pictures, we are ever trying to etch the temporal into the celestial.
What then is the temporal? The trauma of birth, the oppression of the family, blackmail by one’s peers, the tyranny of institutions, the ruthlessness of the rich. Fantasies of freedom and escape embedded in materialism, egomania, sadism and masochism, nihilism, the reverence of criminality and insanity and the ecstasy of the onanist.
The more that our gaze is diverted from the monster of humanity, the more monstrous it becomes. The more culture is called upon to manipulate society, the more irrelevant it becomes, an avalanche of toys, towers of candy, entertainment seesawing between extremes of neurasthenia and barbarism.
For fear of repression, culture rejects its own ideals. It wallows in inversions, simulacra. It is organized and unstable. It is complex but rigid. It uses itself up. It panders. It invites greater repression.
A Pentagon official once said that the only instrument of control that George Orwell did not anticipate in 1984 was the computer.
Art? It is atomized into specks of desire and repulsion, curiosity and contempt. Contradictory specks, united yet invisible, wormholes to other universes. Not new. Again