lost in the hall of mirrors; is self awareness the beginning of the end?


Well-known member
Onward yes, but can we at least sprinkle a little humanity in there or has post modernism doomed us all?
has nothing to do with postmodernism. we can't sprinkle humanity in there anymore because humans don't exist in a very real sense. it's why people here like drugs so much, drugs try to numb you to this grave horror by opening you up to the unmodulated world of the past.


Well-known member
the problem with ideology isn't that it's a veil which obscures real phenomena. I don't agree with Zizek on many things but he's right that that conception of ideology itself is ideological. ideology is far more incideous. It's the belief that you are an agent with your own desires and free will that is only peripherally determined by the external world. But in fact we are far more scripted according to economic mechanisms (for both the dominator and dominated classes) than we would like to admit. We still haven't really evolved to some great enlightenment breakthrough, because we are animals essentially, the disembodied intellect is ultimately a spiritual myth.


Well-known member
This is why D.A.F was right to reject the actual content of punk as conservative, because playing three cords with your grandfathers instruments is still hankering for your grandfathers value set.


Active member
I don't share your conviction that we are headed inexorably into darkness. This is not a narrative of decline for me. You take the affective landscape pf your childhood for humanity when in reality humanity changes as it's environments change, as it's modes and inputs change, as the contents of consciousness change. This is where Mcluhan is very very good. Output depends on input. A literate society is different from an oral, a digital from an analogue. It's history. It's time in action.
If language is the mode of literature, does that then mean that language must be renewed in order to literature to escape this unfolding hall of mirrors?

Cynicism and irony are not meant to be rejections of authentic sincerety. They are tools of its perservation. They are essential to the survival of sincerity amid the pathetic, pastiche, cliche, by exposing them for what they are.

But this is where language, as it is commonly thought of, becomes a challenge, because over time, with a set language, more and more of it will enter the realm of the cliche, right? At some point you will just be left with a number of stock phrases, signifiers long excavated of meaning by self-conscious reproduction.

I'm not big on linguistic theory but I suppose this was what some of the postmodernist writers were doing with language, right? Trying to blow up this set of expressions that has shaped literature and create something new, something that gets beneath the exterior and not just reflects emotion but embodies it.

The new sincerety inevitable fails by calling attention to itself and subordinating itself to the old order - feigning innocence - turning a blue eye towards authenticity.


Active member
I think the problem with irony and cynicism occurs when they serve strictly as dispirited lamentations of the death of sincerety, which then become reflexively enacted, uncritically, into the world through this nihilist 'coolness'.

Masturbatory meta-humor and the like.


Who loves ya, baby?
At some point you will just be left with a number of stock phrases, signifiers long excavated of meaning by self-conscious reproduction.
I've noticed this on Reddit in particular. Any given 'big' thread on one of the major subs will have the same comments you've seen in every other 'big' thread. And I'm not just talking memes. I mean the serious responses people leave. The phrasing will be incredibly similar, the tone. All of it. Obviously they could be bots, but a lot of people seem to think in those terms now anyway, like the people who tweet like they're writing for Buzzfeed.


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Drawn to the topic because it seems so fundemental - a cultural attitude that refracts and conditions everything that's produced.

But it seems like people mostly acquiesce to its demands - fall into the required state of mind. Why is that? Because music, art whatever must reflect the circumstances of its birth?

Or it's just where we are in time - no going back or jumping ahead - and that trying to escape it by assuming a non-self-conscious attitude is just forced day-dreaming.


Lou Reed and Cale are interesting because they were cynicist and nihilist and later became so earnest and romantic. It's like they earned their sincerety, having crawled thorugh hell and back to get their badge.


New member
I haven't slept properly and feel like I've had a lobotomy. To add some thoughts -

if the self awareness you're talking about is strictly limited within the genre, scene, 'rules' or whatever, yeah it's a death knell. That's 'RULES WHICH MUST BE OBEYED.' e.g. the rules of what makes something 'Eski' or 'Jazz', and then just 'referencing' those as a kind of obedience.

However I think that self-awareness in a more broad sense - when you take 'self' to mean your culture or history or things that what you are doing relates to, that is actually rocket fuel for invention.

sampling was executed in the early days with a kind of self awareness, Chuck D was intellectual about the process, though it was conducted in a wild manner. self awareness in the sense of black music generally, not strictly limited to 'the rules of rap' or whatever

also music theory to an extent - certain chords, for instance, weird 9th chords - these are 'jazz chords', learned by boring jazz musicians in institutions, self-referential in a dead way.

however certain musicians (e.g. Nile Rodgers) put them in songs with a totally new context (Bowie / Let's Dance). Those chord stabs and other jazz orchestration totally make the song, and also drove a lot of disco / funk, although the general public don't realise the connection on a theoretical level, the really pioneering musicians do.

yeah the old art forms tend to die when they become self aware of their limitations and rules, and the new things that come up tend to look quite shocking and unfamiliar to most of the old heads whose soul is oriented by those rules.

novels might be somewhat dead but literature writing ideas history abounds in other places now with different technologies involved, and William Gibson also is an alright novelist isnt' he


Active member
Yeah that?s true. Rules can be both restrictive and guiding. Like when you write a poem that?s supposed to rhyme. You?re limited to certain words but those words can open up new avenues of thought and creativity that you would otherwise have thought of.

Eno was very much like that I think.