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culture

Hollow Beautiful

Image by Baptiste Massé

We are at times in danger of being so swept away by the symbolic, cultural and affective psychological tokens, artefacts and accessories of superficial beauty that we all might become little more than the hollow shells and vessels upon which these idioms and abstractions seek their own autonomously self-propagating continuity, through us and as us.

It does not in effect matter if you are not yourself a primary product or bearer of the symbolic value and functional socioeconomic self-replication or commercial and behavioural-entrainment or reinforcement system role plays of beauty and shallow aesthetics that have come to dominate news, media and entertainment popular cultures.

We are all swept up and away in, by, through and as these information-processing systems, whether or not we are on the periphery or at the center.

At what point, we must surely ask ourselves, does the effective hollowing-out of self-identity and subjective experience perhaps inevitably lead us all to a participatory model of human being in which there is no core, no center – only the rapidly oscillating and orbiting shells of so many cultural artefacts and idioms around a vacuum and void which is entirely and irreducibly empty?

Perhaps this has always been the case and even as we seek under technological facilitation and in probabilistic fields of accelerating cultural complexity to buttress our manifold psychological vulnerabilities and emotional insecurities into this black hole of emptiness with ever more commodity and value-token acquisition, we only ever really make this empty self more empty, less secure.

This implicit emptiness is how the world seeks to produce us: broken, incomplete and empty.

What we rarely consider is that this emptiness is not our weakness, it is our strength and endemic cognitive or cultural incompleteness is our freedom.

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