Any person that spends extended periods of time with a group of people will notice that you tend to adhere to group norms. This is an evolutionary trait that allows coherent ideologies to form, ensuring the survival of everyone. The distinct belief systems within groups are often conflicting with others which, in turn may lead to intergroup conflict. This is a simple evolutionary view.
I get that. It is a nice, simple and all-encompassing description.
In western, OECD societies this is obviously not applicable, at least in full. We do not need to adhere to a singular group norm and, as such, have the ability to choose. Of course, excluding anything unconstitutional, which is not the subject. This leads to Cultural Revolutions, some good and some bad. In fact, these even arises in oppressed societies. Examples include 1940’s Germany, with prohibited music and artwork increasing in popularity. This suggests that ‘going against the grain’ is intrinsic to being alive – that whatever our situation, we will try to change it. This is often bad, but change doesn’t just describe positive outcome.
The current culture seems to go against this premise. Culture is usually defined in relation to its detachment from genetics. This isn’t to say that cultural formation itself isn’t a genetic urge, but that its constituent variables can arise and change, seemingly without pattern. Culture, or how I view culture, can be seen as a collection of preferences which is shared throughout a community. These could be food, literature, political stances, religion etc. Culture is three-dimensional, in that it is permeated with a wide range of subjects and sometimes juxtaposing views about them. However, the fact that they see these as important means they share a similar cultural standpoint.
Culture is one of the most versatile and important subjects to study. It can be addressed in History, Psychology, Politics, Anthropology, Sociology etc. And there tends to be huge variations within societies and between them, across time and continents. This brings me to the current culture. It is stagnant. Vapid. If you go to university, you will know. The undergraduates are the least versatile, least individual people you can meet. They sit around, together, listening to thudding music. Smoking weed. Going out to clubs. Starting again the next morning.
There is absolutely no challenge in modern life for these people. They do not get excited by any aspect of knowledge. The only rush they experience comes from the basal emotions stimulated by drugs like THC and Nicotine. There is no variation among their tastes, no stimulating conversation. They do not truly know one another, despite there being little to offer. Their friendships are cemented with inebriated exchanges of false emotion and contextual inferences about one another. They are adept at only niceties which, surprisingly, have been passed down from parents. Other than that their intellectual capacity is full and they move out of your way to cook some chicken. Or Pasta.
‘Drones’ would not be apt to describe them. At least they have a distinct, albeit homogenous, identity to share. The best way of describing this perpetuation of a non-existent culture would be using cliques. These used to be people who shared similar identities and spent a disproportionate amount of time together. However, to fulfil your distinct personality, more than one would be necessary, along with other subgroups. Now there is just mainly one. The one which sits there in a box. On the shelf. And people so easily buy into it; but never me.
If you read this and found solace in that you are not alone, I am happy. If you are offended, then it was not intended for you. If you are confused, then do not despair because so am I. Writing is the only cogent way to express such an emotion.