Monday, April 24, 2006

"it's no big deal" -- the religion of cool Part I

As I talked about in "my lust makes the world go 'round", people who don't consciously believe that life has any true meaning nevertheless retain a latent drive for meaning. This drive compels people to find something that serves as a focal point for their subconscious drive for meaning. Without a belief in truth, many these days are subconsciously serving their drive for meaning with the Primalist notions of what is "authentic" for the self and notions of what is "correct" for the times. The changing times, negotiated by the collective id, represent an "emergence" of new expression of primal desires that are being woven into the fabric of social acceptance.

The emergent "times" move through the air faster than the speed of any individual person's thought, and are undertsood as trumping any individual's attempt to articulate reality and place it into a coherent system of thought. Primalists consider it a sign of progress that people adhere to the "times" and not try to assume mastery over the times by scrutinizing them (see "don't judge me"). In this way, Primalism is a "post-articulate" belief system, having the idea that it is a sign of progress that people follow the times without debate or scrutiny.

It is for this reason that the essence of being "cool" for a Primalist is to be hip to this new emergence and to be able to behave the fact that one "gets it". One's coolness is determined by one being able to know the times without having to ask, thereby proving one's status as a post-articulate person. Here, one's coolness--one's tacit understanding and approval of the emergent "times"--is something that must be behaved and "if you have to ask you'll never know".

It is true that aspects of Primalism are found in many of the arguments articulated by various intellectuals. As I said in my WWAD essay, postmodernism is one intellectual movement, among others, that has ties to Primalism. Nonetheless, Primalism is mostly a populist movement wherein people who are not able to articulate complex ideas can still be hip and on the cutting edge operating with Primalist slogans and behavior.

A Primalist understands that things that have become normal have become so because they have been ratified and accepted by the collective id. It is in deference to this ethical system of following the collective id that a Primalist uses a thing's normalcy as a justification for its existence. In other words, Primalists express their allegiance to the collective id by operating on the axiom, it's normal because it's normal.

Primalism is a belief system that places the id and the feelings that flow from the id as the essense of what is most vital and real. Even as Primalism encourages people to say "but I feel like it" as a justification for their behavior, the very structure of Primalism results in a system of belief and behavior that encourages people to experience certain feelings and suppress others. Primalism encourages lust and id based anger and hubris that have been determined to be within the bounds of what is "correct". As Primalism appeals to these primal desires that people actually have on some level, Primalism encourages people to cultivate them in ways that they might not under different circumstances and even to cultivate certain anxieties.

Due to the emphasis that Primalism places on an individual to be "cool" and "post-articulate", Primalism elevates the need for people to look to see what the others in the collective are doing and saying. Its is in this context that Primalism encourages people to experience the primal desire of being comfortable by cultivating the desire to avoid conflict and the desire to fit in. The desires to avoid conflict and to be accepted are encouraged for Primalists to meet the ethical demands of looking to the "times" for guidance. (Part II next week)

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