aristotle’s prima materia always had a beautiful quality of sublimation and transcendence to me. this first-principle “stuff” or matter has a sacred image, despite it being a kind of nothingness. it has a destiny of amalgamating (through a master alchemist) into the philosopher’s stone, turning mercury and lead into silver or gold, or spiritually, the mundane into the sacred and enlightened. the magnum opus is ascending from the mundane world of the shadow, and bequeathing perfection and eternity from the godly.
the virtual has birthed a cybernetic prima materia. whether it be the internet generally, television, millions of hours of audio content colloquially called podcasts, programs, blogs, or whatever else, we now can morph the virtual into the artistic at a high level of accessibility. paradoxically, this has unearthed one of the most depressing dimensions for the creative human spirit.
i can’t remember when i started CONSUMING CONTENT, as opposed to watching a video or listening to a show, but i do know that it was recent.
there’s an immediate sharp irritation whenever i hear people (youtubers, podcasters, etc), consider themselves content creators. Immediately. people used to – and still do – call themselves podcasters, youtubers, etc, however there’s this more overarching and seemingly corporate self-designation as being a CONTENT creator. this is probably from bill gates’ essay “content is king”, but that’s really an aside to this.
CONTENT is sickening because it transforms and regards everything as a quantity. true works are qualitative. they have intent and context, with a desire of the author to demonstrate, and to do so with difference to something else’s qualities.content is just something you consume. it suggests that all content is just content, despite said content being on a totally different medium in which other content is on. it’s just content.
what you need to think about is that this is downstream corporate culture being absorbed by our fellow atomized residents of piss earth. calling the results of all our creative endeavors CONTENT is what some detached executive would call it who doesn’t even care about the content of the CONTENT, but the yield. since in Current Year (CY+5), everyone needs to dehumanize themselves and face to bloodshed commodify every aspect of their lives (because if you do anything for its own sake you’re a fucking loser), many have incorporated this kind of self-help lifestyle guru archetypal fragment into their Being.
the result is one of our newer archetypes: the millennial grifter (which deserves its own space). the person who becomes master level at making artisanal nothing. most of you are aware of the ADHD youtuber style in which their head is moving around like a fucking ferret admist a cut every six seconds that changes their intonation in their voice, making them sound like a deranged child. this kind of style is the core style of the youtube sphere. Unfortunately, youtube has transformed from amateurish bits of human life, into cultivated stimulation. anything novel is drowning in algorithmic exclusion.
so with our new schizophrenic aesthetic, we are now bombarded endlessly in our FEEDs (eat your slop piggy) with CONTENT. and you are a consumer. you consume the content. you look at your FEED, which is what you put in a trough, and you consume the content like a retarded animal, with zero structure or context. it’s just pavlovian stimulation until you completely desensitize yourself and cannot delineate differences in anything, because the virtual is your totality. heidegger’s skepticism towards technology, especially distance-annihilating machines, shows us definitively that events that are across the planet and that which is right next to you is just virtualized content that is totally lateral with each other, and this becomes another dimension of the nightmare.
while there’s no hard definition of what constitutes being content in the given context, i’m just of the opinion now that it’s a subconscious understanding from the creator that their content is an unimportant or meaningless product that’s served virtually like a high-school lunch. what’s more depressing than the acknowledgement of the content creator describing the product just being slop to serve up, is the self-awareness of their consumers that call it content. the critiques changed from certain aspects that were missing or lacking that the person desired to experience, to just a demand for more content.
i actually was awake in bed trying to convince myself that serial killers weren’t content creators and i couldn’t. they’re the chief cornerstone for netflix to make specials for women and effeminate men to gawk over and fantasize about. supply chains are global with everyone hyper-specializing on some little detail or module, so we can sit through a credit roll longer than the work itself. for most people’s primary mode of entertainment, women being raped and murdered is just content.
it’s almost impossible to think of an end state to relegating the artistic to content and the rapacious demand of the atomized masses to consume more of it. the internet is such a torrential down-stream medium which free content is practically smothering people to the extent that they actually have to try to avoid it, that anything in contradistinction to cheap, garbage, free content is just premium content. the western world in the capitalist-realism hyperobject has traumatized the population into believing that anything you’re doing must be some measurable form of product. It’s either hustle or self help, but nothing for its own sake. if this is the case, then it offsets the question to what mark fisher and slavoj zizek have asked, and that is are we even able to think of an alternative to capitalist-realism. as of now, we cannot, and thus the artistic desire to demonstrate the godly and the beautiful is diminished by society economically privileging and demanding to just be cheaply and easily stimulated. the alchemist separating the mercurial has become the grifter optimizing their analytics.