The Post-Postmodern Mind

Continuing the discussion from Beyond Based and Cringe (2021):


While I think the analysis is interesting and helpful in it's own way, I always feel like this approach and others like it that try to apply old systems of logic to the current developments can't really grasp the bigger picture. It's something talked about extensively in the article, but more in the frame of what to do to move forward which is it's own thing that I'll get to later. What isn't talked about though, or at least not to it's fullest extent, is the situation that we're in not just in online space but in our world, though I'll be talking from the point of view of a US citizen.

This situation is what I would like to call Post-Postmodernism because it further fractures and distrusts the grasp humanity has on truth and reality. I think the best examples of this come from Jreg in is first era, especially in the Centricide 7 matrix, "Let's Just Kill Each Other" and most straightforwardly in "I'm a Spook".

In the Centricide 7 matrix we're taken down a rabbit hole of skits, character interactions and musings all couched in a choose your own adventure like video web that begs the question of what (if any of this) is actually true/cannon in the work? What is real in this virtual desert? This expands in "I'm a Spook" where Jreg gives what is genuinely one of the best explanations and analyses of the current state of media figures.

These questions and this desert is extended to the whole of existence. The question of what reality even is penetrates everything, and for good reason! Climate catastrophy has been scientifically proven but continues to be ignored by world leaders, state violence in the name of "maintaining order" while perpetuating the cycle of bloodshed, active misinformation and lies being spread by legacy media, the only place left is science, but their findings are left as trivia when no one important seems to care. We are left in a world with facts but no truths, a reality without the idea of the real.

Our previous contract with reality that allowed us to make sense and understand it has expired, and we are currently living the the renegotiation of it's terms. Going back to Jreg "Let's Just Kill Each Other" openly begs for a return to a simple world with a logic. This same desire and how the things that once filled it have been corrupted was explored in Jon Bois' 2 hour epic "Fighting in the Age of Loneliness" which explores how even fighting, the most visceral raw sport, has been turned into an unintelligible gruel.

When you look at this yearning for an oasis political developments start to make more sense. The rise of fascism for example can be seen as a desire to return to previous forms of understanding, but in a world where that is impossible they are forced to make they're own reimagined past. Conservatism failed to keep tomorrow from coming and the only way to get back to there is to recreate the day that made yesterday, but everyone who was there is dead and gone so all you have to go off of is a game of historical telephone.

With leftist movements you have a renegotiation of the contract that seeks to move toward a new future and understanding of reality and how we fit into it with regards to each other and our world.

These however are digressions from the main point. Based and cringe are products of the desert and represent the alienation from reality experienced. Because the old contact with reality had expired anything that is genuine and therefore still has an understanding of reality is rejected and vilified, both out of a smugness of knowing that it's foundation is crumbling and also out of resentment of its access to reality. Based then represents things made from the desert, classic, post and meta irony are all detached from reality in some way, critiquing but not positing anything concrete.

The problem with applying old logic to this age is that it's based on something that isn't really proven wrong in the way flat earth theory was proven wrong, but rather that it is just extinct. The reality and understanding of that reality that allows past theory to function is dead, and without it it's usefulness is severely limited. This is not too say it's useless but rather to say that it's results are inconsistent.

I'm a Spook
Let's Just Kill Each Other
Centricide 7
Fighting in the Age of Loneliness

What is reality? That is the obvious question. Perhaps it is not the right question, but it is the obvious question. That question can be framed in less naive ways, as the great philosophers did, but we keep coming back to it when our expectations for reality are broken. Perhaps we should dissect our expectations before we dissect reality.

"Locus of Control" is my favorite piece of intellectual work to apply to this problem, because it asks "what do I expect" rather than "why does reality break my expectations". The basic idea is that anything can happen, and whether or not it breaks our expectations depends largely on just two yes/no presuppositions:

Am I in control of my life or not?
Is life inherently chaotic or structured?

The key takeaway from "locus of control" is that neither of these questions have absolute answers, and yet we all tend to fall into the trap of assuming them in our very core beliefs about ourselves (at least to some degree), expecting them from life and reality in general. The insight we now possess as a benefit from this excellent piece of research is that we should always exercise acceptance of the fact that the outcome of any event has chaotic and structured elements, both controllable and uncontrollable side-effects. With that entrained deeply in our self image and world view, it should no longer upset our basis for reality when anything bizarre actually does happen.

I don't know if I'll be able to locate a URL for my favorite presentation of the original research for "Locus of Control", and I do know that most material doesn't take it all the way to the final philosophical point that I do with quite the bent that I find natural. Though it did not originate in any field (rather an academic setting), it is most often used in psychology, not philosophy. The original question which sparked the research was a desire to analyze the effect mood had on the most successful complex problem solvers in history. Their initial finding was that mood plays no overall effect in problem solving capability, but then they found a strong correlation between mood and expectation, which modulated a behavioral tendency to be either highly critical and analytical when chaos is high and control is low, or imaginative, creative and ingenious when chaos is low and control is high. Both frames of mind are necessary at different times to make real progress on complex problems.