Speculative Revolution Part IV


the saying “what you can’t see won’t hurt you” has a certain truth to it. this kind of attitude is inherent in the way we walk down supermarket aisles–we don’t see how these products were formulated, tested, slaughtered, chopped up, and we really would rather not see that. for instance, meat. if we witnessed what is done every day to the animals
that were sacrificed to sit in spongy chunks frozen and wrapped, then we would get sick to our stomachs when we looked at it. but take away the product from the process of creation (or destruction), and what you have is just this detached thing, isolated, hidden behind layers of coding, marketing strategies, masks of complacency. and so what you don’t see isn’t necessarily hurting you–but someone or something else is getting hurt. ultimately, i would argue, it does hurt you. but that’s a different can of worms. let me stick with the idea of blinders for a minute. think about yourself walking down a city street, let’s say on your way to class, or to work. you pass by numbers of people, some you look at, some you ignore, some you look at and then reject and ignore. think about that second when you take them in your eyes and see what they are, or what you think they are. think about that second when you look away. think about that as a form of destruction, as a form of murder. you have rejected them completely, at that moment, for whatever reason. they were not good-looking, not interesting enough, too weird, too yuppie, too not appealing, not worth your acceptance. i am going to make the argument
here that little rejections like this, which occur in an instant and may not even be perceived by the other person, are one of the major problems in our way of perceiving the world and in the way we live our lives. the way you look at others affects them. the way they look at you affects you.
one of the worst things you can do to a human being, or to any creature, is not to persecute it, but to ignore it’s existence completely, to let it pass by anonymously like a thing, like an it, to use it only to get somewhere, like a freeway. alone, in your car, on the street, what are you to anyone else but a set of darkened windows, a moving vehicle, an obstruction, a danger, an irrelevance.
do you think you can handle walking down skid row alone, without the barriers of your car locked doors? the people on the street would eat you alive, would tear you to pieces with their eyes. unless, of course, you learned the mentality of the police force, which is to ignore them as people and see them only as objects, as trash.
it’s easy to ignore the life around you when you’re secure, safe behind fortress tower walls of lifestyle signifiers you are barely aware of. walking the streets downtown are some of the most terrifying and appalling and beautiful and distorted forms of life. many people have become the monsters that society abhors in the news, creates in the inhuman working and living conditions, and leaves to roam the earth, hoping, like victor frankenstein, that this life arisen out of death will just go away and leave them to their imagined romances. you can see it in the people’s faces, hardened and stripped of emotion, devouring whatever they can get a hold of.
and some of these people have become god-like apparitions, goddesses of the night, their eyes liquid fire. i find women from the streets to be more attractive than the skinny teenagers in fashion magazines. and chances are that skinny teenager in the fashion magazine is wearing an outfit derived from the luring designs of the streetwalkers. what i am trying to get at is that there is a relation between the visible and the invisible in society, that there is a direct correlation between mass consumer culture and individual castigation. we marginalize in order to ignore what is not relevant to the lifestyle narrative we immerse ourselves in. and yet, without these margins, without these ignored
spaces, we would not be able to construct the heroic history of our triumphs, the tragic drama of our losses, the totemic identities, the nostalgic yearning for what never was. in order to maintain the polite surface illusion of society, we cover over aberrations, we ignore the dangerous, the unwanted, the unacceptable. we wear masks for the performance.

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Author: manderson

I live in NYC.

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