Monday, 22 December 2008

On Culture and Fluidity

The city: neon and plastic, alienated, the temporary unsustainable pleasures of capitalism, commerce, the movement of money made material. The human disappears, indeed seeks disappearance in consumption, seeks dissolution in brand names, a plastic imitation of the eternal.

And it is because so much in our culture is transitory, temporary, that we seek meaning in symbolism, in the "added value" of conceptual branding, that give us an intimation of the eternal: the logo, as the word implies, is a manifestation of an ideal. Thus, we approach the eternal, the transcendent-conceptual via its form, the logo.


The reason the world seems impermanent, and that we are so troubled by impermanence, is because we objectify everything - we attempt to create discrete, persistent entities, concrete objects which are outside of us... but persistence demands dissolution. For, by its very nature extension in time must come to an end.

So, our attempts to inject or present the eternal (that which is perceivable in the human mind, the ideal, the abstract-transcendent), in the actual (the material-temporal world) lead always to disappointment for the condition of the real, material world is precisely fluidity - to impose (to interpret) a solid, persisting nature on any part of it, to understand it as an object with walls, that can be separated and understood in isolation from the environment of which it is a part, makes inevitable the eventual, apparent disintegration of that 'object' as the flow pulls apart the elements which happened to coincide long enough to be given that form by us. There never was an object, just different cycles momentarily in unison.

Understanding this should not pose a problem: persistence is found conceptually, in the realm of thought; in ideas and principles, i.e. in the abstractions that humanity is capable of. We only encounter problems when we forget this and try to reclaim it by applying it to an external material world.

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