My creative output has been somewhat limited in recent weeks. I noticed this myself and found it somewhat unnerving. There were very few subjects that genuinely interested me and I didn’t really produce much. I blamed work for this, but I think this is at most half the story. I notice that when I get plenty of exercise and vitamin D, the range of ideas I can entertain rapidly grows again, although Psilocybe mushrooms help with that too. A few days ago I went to the modern art museum in Amsterdam after taking a microdose and I considered it very fascinating. A lot of people actively dislike modern art and in the past I might have felt this way. It’s not my favorite period, my favorite period in art would be the Belle Epoque, which gave birth to Art Nouveau and Symbolism.
The thing people fail to appreciate however, is that modern art is produced in the context of a hyperindividualist culture, in which the ulterior meaning of a piece can be entirely derived from the vision of the artist. It’s an anomalous form of art, meant for an anomalous period in the human condition. When there is no objective standard by which to judge a work it’s easy to fall victim to pretentiousness, but the other extreme of the spectrum, where art can be judged based on rigid standards, leads to cultural stagnation. Another thing people fail to appreciate is that modern art makes an attempt to be relevant in a modern context. It’s perfectly fine if you prefer Rococo architecture for example, but in a modern context it simply ends up looking out of place and tacky. Trump has an apartment decorated with a Rococo inspired interior. At first I thought it was impressive, but now it’s clear to me that it’s gaudy and merely screams that you don’t really know what you’re doing.
This is the same reason I like Lady Gaga, which tends to invite a lot of hostility. I generally don’t care much for popular music, but Lady Gaga’s persona was almost entirely based on Warhol’s vision of pop art, where the rich and the poor are now unified in their exposure to the same mass media that permeates our environment and a man can go from obscurity to fame and back to obscurity within a matter of days, for reasons that are opaque and difficult to comprehend. There tends to be relatively little of such self-reflection in popular music. The closest equivalent we have today would be Poppy.
Of course you might say you don’t care for any of that stuff. You’re a ponytailed headbanger who only cares for heavy metal, or a reactionary who only cares for baroque art. The thing to remember however is that what we call art always tends to be what’s passed onto the future by a cultural elite. What you see in a museum is indicative of the values enshrined and questions asked by a cultural elite of the past. Some of what we produce today will be seen as art in the future. The common people produce folk art, which nobody genuinely tends to care for, not even the common people themselves. The reason folk art tends to be uninteresting is because it is a reinterpretation of the values of a cultural elite. Folk art exhibitions exist, precisely because we overall don’t care for folk art. Today folk art doesn’t exist as a phenomenon anymore. There is just art, because there exist no common people unified by shared values anymore. If your daughter told you her new boyfriend is a crust punk, you’d know more about him than you would if she told you his family is Lutheran. Communities are a thing of the past, there are now just atomized individuals who freely choose their own values.
Another thing I’ve noticed and find worth pointing out is that I seem to have some struggle forming healthy satisfying relationships with other people. It might be that I’ve been spoiled, or simply expect too much. However, talking to 99 out of 100 people has the effect of alienating me and making me feel as if I am some sort of extraterrestrial. It’s very rare for me to meet people who genuinely seem to think and feel in a manner similar to me. When I do, it’s effectively impossible for me to substitute such people with other people. To me, most people I meet tend to miss a sense of emotional depth and an interest in the environment outside of their own social circle. Of course, I tend to get the exact opposite accusations from such people. Nonetheless, I continue to go out and meet new people and date new girls. I can only envision myself together with someone who is pure sensuality, who prevents me from cognitively sinking down into the masculine world of facts and numbers that dominates our world today. Who could grasp you out of the claws of the Demiurge, if not Sophia? It primarily tends to have the effect of leaving me feeling more isolated, because I struggle to find what I look for, something hard to put into words. Ironically, I generally didn’t have that feeling years ago when I spent months by myself.
Another problem I find worth pointing out is that relationships tend to suffer from diminishing returns. As you grow older, the number of things you can do for the first time with someone starts to decline. For this reason, new people end up leaving a smaller imprint in your memory and the emotional intensity of relationships starts to decline. I think love as we know it in our society, is something for young people. When we have had too many boyfriends or girlfriends, the kind of things that were once intense become predictable, a chore even. This is particularly interesting in the context of radical life extension. It’s great if a sixty year old can look twenty again. But what exactly should we think of taking a new partner out to a restaurant, for the twentieth time? This only works for people who don’t make strong emotional connections with other people. If you feel most comfortable talking about work or what you saw on TV to your friends, you’ll feel reasonably comfortable moving over to your twentieth partner by the time you’re sixty.
I have also recently decided to take up reading again. Madame Bovary had been on my list for some time and I have finally gotten around to it. I have come to the conclusion I enjoy reading tragedies, a main reason I generally don’t watch movies is probably because they tend to have a happy ending. Madame Bovary is about a middle class woman living a comfortable existence in rural France, who can’t be satisfied with her lot in life any longer after being invited to an exclusive party in Paris and ends up causing a lot of misery for herself. Finally, I also feel like sharing some music I have been listening to lately. It won’t come as a shock that I barely listen to any metal these days.
You might like artists like Lycia, Black Tape for a Blue Girl or Dead Can Dance. I can also recommend this Youtube channel:
I indeed do like Dead Can Dance. Thanks, I’m going to look into the others you posted.
I unironically think you should read Gone With the Wind, I think you would like it.
You might like She Past Away and Drab Majesty.
I don’t agree with all of your opinions on this blog but good lord your taste of music is top notch. Thanks for all the new inspiration!
Thanks, that’s a nice and rare compliment.