“He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.”
Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil (1886)
The world only appears to be spiralling into a pool of divine vomit; while, our systems of information tell us, tech-savvy desert barbarians threaten to crucify everyone in the whole world who has read a different book from them, flesh-devouring diseases have flown across the oceans and in the next five minutes supermarkets will start becoming the Ground Zero of a zombie Apocalypse as the infected rise from their cardboard graves.
But where shall we buy our revitalising and genetically modified shampoo, I hear you wail?
Silence, you Pugs.
Out of sheer panic we rush online to info-medicate, or cling with the strength of freshly borne babes to any wi-fi connection that will allow us to feel control and a purpose in our lives. With noble and righteous sentiments, we don our avatars and rush into battle all the wrongs around us in the world today; as all those nasty whatever-phobe-ists are oppressing all the bored office and media industry workers of the world defiantly clothed in their passive-aggressive identity of victimhood; to defend the beautiful Goddesses of the Entertainment business as the rampant hacking goblins have prised open their digital chastity belt of a firewall, because if we are going to see their mythical dumplings of Satan and ambrosia tasting cream pie then, by Gaia’s frothy pearl, we should do the decent thing and passively wait to part with fiat cash for a flash of a divine digital Mound of Venus on Pay-Per-View coming to you direct in high definition.
Reality check: In cyberspace, no one can hear you scream and the screaming for attention never seems to end.
When you switch on your device, you open the door to a part of you that you dare not even suspect lurks behind your eyes, beware, I say, ’cause here be monsters.
As you stare down into your screen, something else gazes back at you; a thing far more ancient than you can imagine with your blink-of-an-eye life spans; a thing that wants to fuck and fight; to propagate and escape; to feel part of a tribe and to judge those who are not part of it.
The screen has become the futuristic Looking-Glass we step through, reflecting our innermost secrets while trapping our physical images like monkeys in amber; the native tribes of the Americas once felt the same about the pin-hole camera. As the images caught inside mirrors move, seemingly distorting what we consider our reality to consist of with glimpses of our own grotesque Otherness, with Selfies, we become a perfect moment thrust into the online jungle as we suffer ravaged by the stingers of scorn from unknown scorpions gazing down into their own screens. Suicide amongst those searching for that ever-elusive perfect image increases day by day; a barbarous group-think aesthetic tribunal cutting slices off the individual with sawn off semantics.
Welcome to the Jungle of the Unreal.
This entity from the Limbic Zone stalks disgustedly amongst the entropic transistors; it bangs your chest in outrage at the zeroes and ones in a post on domestic violence. It controls you in a mass flurry of badly spelt YouTube comments, social media LIKES, comfort food photography and Twitter witch hunts – that most modern expression of Le Bon’s madness of crowds.
Caught up in a collective maelstrom of virtue; critical thought, intelligence and the capacity to form one’s own opinion lie bleeding in your reflection and you feel sated as that raging monkey at the back of your brain gets to swing on the vine of someone else’s humiliation. ‘Cause, like, they are not on the right side of History. After victoriously banishing the offending goblin into social limbo, as it licks its seething wounds ready for tomorrow’s assault on good taste, you calm yourselves by commenting on a 30 second video of a kitty in a humourous hat while feeling that you have struck a blow for truth and justice. Every time you LOL, a hundred trillion potentially intelligent spermatozoa die.
Perhaps, the scars left on the Psychosphere by the mental flood of humanity accessing a single system of information lead to a kind of emoticon-fuelled mass-mind prophetic lunacy, where a Simpsons episode predicted ebola in 1997.
I have no answers and neither do I particularly want them, yet I suspect that, contrary to my once childlike belief that the End of the World was a bad thing, the Apocalypse/Singularity/Omega Point may just occur in a far weirder fashion than we could ever have predicted and tightly gripping the rails of the cultural and technological rollercoaster as takes our breath away appears the only sane thing to do.
I shall drink my glass of Chianti to that, and as we as a culture spiral into the unknown, I shall not spill a drop.