Excess, globalisation and emotional (dis)orders

“Be not ashamed of mistakes and thus make them crimes”, Confucious

“Six times more wealth has been created since World War II than in all of previous recorded history”, Hiromo Hosoya and Mark Schaefer, Bran Zobe, in Project on the City 2, p. 156, (Taschen)

We are living in an age of emotional (dis) orders. We are living in an age of excesses, an often deadly imbalance in the psychological landscape of global, contemporary human society. The process of Globalisation, that is not new, but coming from the XVIth century when Portuguese and Spanish navigators discovered the real size of the globe, creates in its kaleidoscopic perception an interlocking panoramic fragility. With all the development created mainly after the second world war: economic, technological and social, humanity found and produced more wealth that in previous history, however the excesses of the present urban civilisation created as well a combination of delirium, kinesis and immersion in a sensory bombardment (Scott Bukatman) that has been something different from the modernity’s random beginnings. The advances in the globalisation financial and economic interlinked processes managed by powerful technological devices in even more powerful corporation and organisations while reducing volatility and giving the appearance of stability created on the other hand a fragile card castle that can collapse very simple. As Nassim Nicholas Taleb wrote “it creates devastating Black Swans. We have never lived before under the threat of a global collapse. (…) The increased concentration among banks seems to have the effect of making financial crises less likely, but when they happen they are more global in scale and hit us very hard. We have moved from a diversified ecology of small banks, with varied lending policies, to a more homogeneous framework of firms that all resemble one another. True, we now have fewer failures, but when they occur ….”

The fact is that with globalisation a sense of disfunctionality prevails, there is something finite in the mythologies that we continue to create in the present with internet tools and multimedia and in the mythologies that are the result of various centuries of recording memories in our acts of creation and thoughts. This situation of an abysmal excess of information, knowledge is viewed as an unlimited source of infinite possibilities, for the way in which we live, perceive and visualise the world, or even how one lives. The metaphor of the Black Swan, that refers to the more and more large-impacts, very hard-to-predict, and beyond the realm of normal expectations that are part of or daily life, but that we don’t want to see show us that although all the development things are still unpredicted and the fate of the old Greek Gods is still there haunting us. It is precisely important in a world that tries to define everything and get out of the impossibility of the things that have no definition or hide in the consume of a society trying not to think to much. One experiences a vertical pressure that comes very close to being a universe of science fiction, which can be compared to riding up a dizzying roller coaster, where we are surrounded by images of inhospitable landscapes, paradoxes, where development and under-development co-exist side by side, and you don’t have to go to Africa, but just to go to places such as Peckham in one of the capitals of the financial, social and cultural world: London. However, with all their basic needs on alert, humans have never had such a bewildering array of possibilities before, of so many almost unlimited tools. And once all the premises that guide us from a philosophical, spiritual, social, physic and even economic point of view have been thoroughly analysed, we can see that we have reached a point where we can no longer co-exist, as rational beings, with any conceivable kind of an absolute notion of truth… And the question is, how can one can live and act in this rhetoric that surrounded the modern metropolis where most of humans live in its admirable, infinitely complexity, in a complex web of values and counter-values. This globalisation replete with new scientific and technological data that changes every day pushes human to a new array of multiple complex narratives.

“Simplicity is a complex topic that has no single answer. We live in an increasingly complex technological world where nothing is like it is supposed to be, and at the end of the day, it makes us hunger for simplicity to some degree. Yet, ironically, when given the choice of more or less, we are programmed at the genetic level to want more (…)” John Maeda

And in the landscape of this complex and multi-faceted world in which various civilisations interact and fight for survival and co-existence, it is important to closely examine legacies and cultures and keep in mind the need to withdraw with regard to the hubbub of the mundane world. It is important to seek out simplicity in things. How much energy and time do we invest in ourselves, how much in others, at least the ones next to us? This global world, with a lot of collapsing things and ever changing landscapes, world wars, rise of the internet age, Black Monday… it is not necessarily an endless nightmare, as many would have us believe; it is a world that, with all its weaknesses and vicissitudes, has one great virtue: an enormous capacity for mutation and the respective tools at its disposal. And it is this desire that can make all the difference, if employed wisely. A form of adaptation that has, per force, to begin with differences, with each individual and his or her willingness to make this change. This is the greatest strength of globalisation and of all forms of human expression, namely the capacity to create a live and a personal language at the dawn of the new century. An unparalleled energy and an energy that is eager to change and shape the world that has never existed before in the history of mankind.

In this civilization you have to believe that the ending makes the full picture, the movie. It is a world in a state of mind similar to a person obsessed with the memories of when that given person was 2 to 4 years old (when started thinking about death and was terrified of being abandoned by the parents). When ten years ago the first search engines crawlers, algorithms started making information a single database, things would never be the same, yet they are still similar… In all this sea of data, the memories and emotions nowadays are still so intense that one has too delete it in order to grow up mentally healthy. This world is voracious and has everything in it, so much in fact that sometimes one has to stop and delete info in order to continue the path.

It is a fast and strange reality measured strongly by image of images and perceptions of perceptions. Blogs and message forums buzzed, with the discovery that a pair of simple Google searches permits access to well over 1,000 unprotected surveillance cameras around the world – apparently without their owners’ knowledge. Although today our world maps have no more white parts, no more “terra incognito”, there is always a new age of geographical exploration that seems still to have been initiated. There is always the “incognito”, the random, the unknown.

What are we doing? What is happening to us? What needs to be done? What is the most important direction, in the path of digital computers that made information readable? What is the goal in the process of the re-discovery of something already known, yet perhaps forgotten, the observation of something “for the first time”, evoking the stereotype of the Western hero of the Age of Discoveries, the Wasted Land of T. S. Eliot, or the chaotic songs and madness screams of Ezra Pound Cantos’? In this context, ancient countries, continents and civilisations are able to make us see, via their ancestral heritage, this call to a forward history of life, an unmatched example of this way of being that is vital in order to embrace changes. A way of being that demonstrates in its vitality and determination to progress, wrapped in a patchwork quilt, which, at first glance, might seem to be perplexing and confusing but is simultaneously optimistic, passionate, dynamic and vibrant. It is a process of discovering about one self, about one’s own occupation and about the art(s) of living in general. A world of spectrum that is sometimes too intense and makes each one of us runaway. This while we read the sequence of our daily routine in images ontologically. We live in the tip of the iceberg, in the end and beginning of theories, alone with one’s own emotions, whether they are in disorder or in order.

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