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Tag Archives: post-western

“Average Is Over” Is A Destructive Mindset

Every year the sort of inspirational speakers who appeal to drab office schlubs come up with flashy new slogans to say the same things.  For some time the theme they’ve had to address is how the marketplace has grown more competitive as the pond of opportunity shrinks for most people.  They can’t say it like that of course because that would be “negative thinking.”  You can’t make a living giving seminars at business hotels unless you make your clients feel good about themselves.  So this year the fad phrase to say while wagging your finger in admonishment with a smug, fake smile is “Average is overrr!”

All this means is the job market and society itself continues to become more scalable.  Instead of having musicians in every town, you have 1 musician who plays for 300 million.  So it goes for increasingly more fields.  You get your very best talent recorded to internet video or on a website and the guys 99.99% as good are out of business. 

 “Average is over” is an attitude of acceptance that only extreme excellence is of any worth from now on, the rest of us consigned to the dumpster.  And so we must go out and strive to beat the lottery.  If we make it then we are quadruply entitled to adopt sanctimonious airs and wag the finger at those below on “the ladder to success.”
This may well be the final form of that American strain of Puritanism before it finally implodes under the dire pressures it glorifies.

Hyper-individualist Americans love to hear stories about the very best meeting with stratospheric success.  Striving to do one’s best is admirable, but this attitude is not compatible with successfully running a massive empire of 330 million souls who all get hungry and sick whether or not they are particularly useful to anyone.

Furthermore, as only a few can be successful in the scalable world, we ironically see a regression to mass mediocrity in everything from culture to services.  This is because the best possible performers do not come from a vacuum but are incubated by thriving local subcultures filled with other competent enthusiasts.  If only a few can succeed at something, the subculture that cultivated geniuses withers and ironically, the baseline for the elite performers declines.

The subculture of a field that contains relatively average people also supports the sort of refinement that can beget works of genius that stand the test of time.  The very best talent has colleagues as a preliminary audience through whom the works of genius filter down to the populace.  When we have a culture that worships “average is over” the elite .001% answer directly to the perfect democracy of the masses.  The natural output is endless remakes and prequels calculated to reap x millions of dollars with y minimal % of risk.  We are left with precisely calculated drivel churned out as if by a data-mining algorithm.  This is the apotheosis of a market culture that tries to maximize popularity while eliminating all concept of selectiveness and loyalty.

One of the challenges a new society must overcome in the post-industrial age is to figure out how to cultivate subcultures, and eventually actual castes that concentrate human potential in self-reinforcing ways.  The pathological individualism of “average is over” is ultimately the delusional idea that you can have a rose without the bush.  A post-Western caste system asks: “what kind of bush might produce the best rose.”

This is achieved by thinking of culture or any other kind of excellence as we might think of politics and government.  We can’t get the best performance or the best talent without having the right filters.  Even the decadent United States governs through representatives rather than direct mob rule and retains certain filters of the unadulterated popular will such as two senators for every state, the electoral college, or the absence of voting rights for children.

The important concept is no human endeavor can be successful without selecting and filtering specialized groups within society.  This is like the difference between a multicellular creature with organs and an undifferentiated primordial soup.  Every one of the organs within the social body has its own bell curve of performance and in any healthy living thing, the average is not over, it is the backbone.

What Might A Post-Western Aesthetic Look Like?

High technology sparingly applied within a minimal zone to make harsh environment survival feasible for as long as possible.

Bleak yet beautiful.

Something about ice bases whether on earth or other planets always captured my imagination.

The universe of Dune hugely ignited my imagination as a kid and its influence stays with me. The ultimate example of a people getting more out of less. The opposite of the wasteful West. Think that guy’s life revolves around paying off auto loans and mortgage?

The aesthetics of Homeworld were genius.

Was always captivated by the way D’ni technology/architecture is integrated into its surroundings, has a rusty, used look to it.  D’ni creatively make use of local materials and energy sources, incorporating basic components like gears and pulleys into tech that’s often more sophisticated than ours.

Post-Western society will have to have something of a badass warrior culture if it is to survive against its predecessor. Martial elements will be pronounced.

Post-Western art will draw great inspiration from patterns in nature, including fractals. This will represent human will in partnership with the rest of the natural world rather than in opposition to it, a struggle represented in Western art by the straight line, the square, the rectangle.

As with the Ancient Persian drinking horn earlier, love this Mughal Indian dagger. Don’t know, I feel there’s something barbaric yet refined about adorning with animal heads.

Use of deliberate “imperfection” in certain schools of Asian ceramics creates the feel of natural patterns. Again, working with nature rather than against it.

Working with nature out of a sense of strategic laziness rather than trying to force it to the will of a separate man and his civilization. See a pattern yet?

Soft spot for weaponry that looks heavily used and clunky to where you can even see the individual bolts holding it together. Looks durable, unbreakable. Can imagine it firing huge rounds with huge muzzle flare maybe 1 every half second. Post-Westerners happily use “obsolete” but cheaper technology where it efficiently and effectively fills a role, especially where it means more independence in the field from traditional logistical limitations.

The fluid grace and natural-looking patterns, the combination of the written word and representation through imagery… Post-Westerners should do something in this vein.

Simple wood gives a warmth to interiors that drywall and stucco never can.

That’s all for now.  What platform is best for further image sharing? Tumblr? Pinterest?

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