October 4th, 2004

Illuminati

Do not read this post

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Illuminati

Ennui advice required

I feel like I need something, but I don't know what. Some part of me that used to be satisfied with cheap science fiction and wall-breaking psychadelic fiction - that would open up my world and show me something brand new. Everything seems like repetitions of the patterns I've seen before.

I remember when I could hear whole new _kinds_ of music - music that didn't sound like anything I'd heard before; when I could read fiction that worked in ways I hadn't seen before. And now, while there are some nice tweaks out there, some interesting riffs and variations, I haven't heard or read anything in a while that felt wholly new to me.

Part of this, I'm sure, is purely because after 11733 days of experience I've encountered a vast number of things. Not, by any means, everything, of course; but enough to get a general feel of a large number of subjects. Enough to get a general idea of how micro-economics links to psychology, links to sociology, links to politics, etc. Enough to get a feel for how the world flows around me and cope with it without it driving me mad with incomphrension. I've studied enough philosophy to know why looking for ultimate answers is just a nonsense.

Similarly, very little new technology stuff interests me - I've known computers get faster every year since 1990 - knowing that this years graphics card produces nicer graphics than last years just doesn't excite me - I haven't been impressed by CGI in a couple of years now, just by the uses it's put to.

And that's the other factor - the endlessly mutable possibilities of the digital age. In many ways the photograph killed representative art as anything more than a curiosity - what was the point of striving for authenticity and realism in your painting when a camera could do it so much better? In a similar vein - when computer artists can produce absolutely anything with their digital paintbrushes, why is anything more impressive than anything else? True - we're not there yet - but we're definitely very near the point where any image or effect can be produced - and when you've reached the stage where you can produce a horde of orcs rampaging across a post-apocalyptic New York, while the Statue of Liberty battles it out with Godzilla in the background, how can you possibly top that?

The same is true of music. Once you reach the stage where music is deconstructable into its component parts, each of which can then be stretched, compressed, distorted or otherwise mutated, you've opened it up to infinite possibilities. While we obviously haven't explored those possibilities fully (what with them being infinite and all), we seem to have hit the point where there are no more _kinds_ of exploration available. Making music faster, or slower, or crunchier, or more distorted, or simpler or more complex (etc, etc.) have been tried, along with introducing entirely non-musical elements and, indeed, removing the music altogether. Which brings me back to my earlier statement that it's been several years since I heard anything that didn't seem to be a variation on a theme.

This doesn't mean that I'm not generally happy on a moment-by-moment basis. But the things that drove me (looking for the next big thing, new experiences, new toys to play with) aren't driving me any more on a larger scale. There's a lack there, something I need to fill if I want to feel whole.

Any suggestions?