Others have done this, but these are my thoughts.
- What comes after the peak meme blender of the internet
It looks like anything done these days is being repurposed, remixed, refabbed, torn apart and inserted in LOLcats so quickly that the point of doing stuff, the notion of authorship and the requirements of originality are becoming completely blurred. One exponent of this movement are hipsters and trying to figure out what is next is pointless because whatever it is, it will become reappropriated and reblended to be part of the current meme-blob.
So I’m thinking: there must be something possible after this all (for god’s sake, there has to be!), and one of its qualities necessarily has to be its imperviousness to remixing. What could it be?
- Old world quaintness compared to new world innovation
I live in the old world and despite itches to move to the old new world (and thinking about the new new world) I am still holding out in the quaint village-like entity that is Amsterdam. We have social security, insurances, education, cheap(-ish) living expenses and most of the stuff you would need to have a decent life. This cocoon has also made us so bored with everything that nobody is doing much of anything. Compare this to China where they are doing all kind of zanyness which is real, like first person shooter cams on police squads, and second story highway buses and superfast trains. At this rate, China may hit singularity and it would take 10+ years for its effects to even reach us here in our insulation.
What is preferrable, comfort or edge? Especially in an uncertain world where prior securities are falling apart quicker than we can imagine. Obviously given the choice, being born and educated in comfort is better. We are ridiculously privileged.
- The immorality of leisure culture
I already touched upon this concerning hipsters and quaintness. We are so bored here that most people’s stated life goal is to have fun. Nothing else. There is a whole leisure industry of festivals, where people go to for the sole purpose of gaining new experiences and mostly to get fucked up and call in sick for work the next day. If the sun is out in Amsterdam and it’s beer o’clock (16:00), everybody is out on a boat or on a terrace enjoying themselves. Dutch activism is limited to the sort you can do while partying. No more chaining yourself to things, unless somebody can think of a way of making it enjoyable.
I’m not saying there is anything wrong in enjoying yourself. I do it myself from time to time. But I do find it deeply immoral to have it be your sole life goal. There is so much out there to do that is meaningful, worthwhile and fulfilling/deeply pleasurable. Why not go do some of that?
It started more in earnest with Sebastian Deterding’s presentation “Just Add Points” and culminated in our design and creation of the PLAY Pilots website. Gaming is fun and in cases, worthwhile. Added to that games are the most difficult type of software —be it rules written in computers or on other media— both to think right and to execute properly. This is where it is at if you enjoy difficult stuff (and who doesn’t?).
Also I can’t in earnest be bothered with any console games (there goes 20 hours of your life…). I’m more interested in games’ impact on sociality, urbanism and (gaming) other systems. Also: Games ♥ Data.
(I had to throw in an ultra-vague one.) Trying to think in terms of tone (and also dramaturgy) when it comes to language, concept and act, but this is immensely difficult to do. Just from the most concrete, trying to write a sonnet and looking for aesthetic freedom in a force field of meaning, grammar and sound all the way to more complex acts of performance, presentation and rhetoric.
Glad to hear I’m not the only one thinking of Maneki Neko all the time. I have been since I first read it years back. And of course also always thinking of food and travel, of the Primer, Jason Bourne and executing a minimal material lifestyle.
How does this work? Can I tag others? Maybe some Dutch people for a change (Dutch allowed, English preferred): Kars Alfrink (thanks!), Olaf Koens, Jaap Stronks, Ernst-Jan Pfauth, Anne Helmond1
- I don’t want to burden you guys with a stupid meme, but I suspect you may have interesting thoughts. ↩
2 thoughts on “Five things I’ve been thinking on”
“There is so much out there to do that is meaningful, worthwhile and fulfilling/deeply pleasurable. Why not go do some of that?”
But what are you doing in this respect? I see more and more people saying that others should do things to make this world a better place. But what do they do themselves?
Quite a lot I hope. Some stuff done, lots still brewing, pulling hard at the data train among other things. You can read about my progress over at my weeknotes.
But of course, if you think I can improve in areas, I’d be more than happy to hear it!