Primary Perspectives: Meme Content = Drugs – Culture

Keshvi Kamdar | August 17, 2023 | Life

As society becomes increasingly immersed in the digital age, the rise of meme culture challenges traditional notions of aesthetic value. We already post pixelated content on social media, a slide into trash visual culture where low-resolution, morphed meme content is valued more highly than the polished work of the mainstream media. This shift towards a trash visual culture has been fueled by the rapid rise of social media platforms, where viral content often thrives on its relatability and quick consumption. As a result, the value placed on polished work by mainstream media has diminished, leading to a significant impact on the way information is consumed and perceived by society. 

This shift raises intriguing questions about the relationship between aesthetics and systems: can we reshape societal norms by embracing alternative aesthetics that prioritize authenticity and resistance against corporate technocracy? Could we alter the system by placing a higher value on a different aesthetic?

Meme content, with its low-resolution and morphed visuals, has gained popularity due to its ability to convey messages quickly and subvert mainstream media narratives. We’ve all stayed up late scrolling through the internet. But it’s your deep-seated addiction to content that keeps you coming back. Your preferred drug, would that be? Take Meghan and Harry; there’s nothing more soothing than a PR stunt. It’s fascinating how the constant influx of new information and updates can captivate our attention and provide a temporary escape from reality. Whether it’s celebrity gossip or viral trends, the allure of consuming content is undeniable. It’s like stepping into a world. Despite giving us the impression that we can understand the larger narrative, shows like Succession, White Lotus, or a big hit movie of the year do not provide us with any solutions. If our culture is in a downward spiral, disengagement is the only tool to stop the narrative from becoming a reality. It is on us to alter the landscape we get by changing what we like. I’m willing to bet that we wouldn’t see them if we all stopped wanting to see Kanye’s next girlfriend in Balenciaga or wondering what Urfi Javed would wear next. Being converted into passive consumerism, and all of a sudden, you care more about what Orry does for a living than the wellbeing of your best friend, where curiosity knows no bounds, keeping us hooked and craving for more. In this era of hyper-connectivity and constant information overload, our attention is constantly being diverted towards superficial pursuits. Our insatiable curiosity fuels this never-ending cycle, leaving us perpetually hooked and yearning for more, often at the expense of what truly matters.

But rather than deal with a state of withdrawal, we would much rather lament the current situation. In addiction recovery, it’s referred to as “hitting bottom.” The bottom here refers to the actual human form. PRODUCT is how capitalism responds to the question of the human condition. Being human means consuming; at the apex of civilization, being human means wanting to stand out, and standing out has a cost. In this capitalist society, the pressure to conform and constantly strive for more can be overwhelming. The desire to stand out often leads to a never-ending cycle of consumption as individuals seek validation and recognition through material possessions. However, this constant pursuit of standing out comes at a price, both financially and emotionally. 

We now visit detox retreats to experience what is always available for nothing: silence and nature. After all, changing a mode is more difficult than changing an object. We clean our digestive system, but what about the food we taste? Eliminate all stimuli. In the name of comfort and convenience, discipline and restraint are forgotten virtues. Dopamine fasting is an anti-indoctrination strategy to remove any distortions obstructing the longing of our souls. Put your phone down and stop consuming that meme. Disconnecting from technology and taking a break from constant stimulation allows us to reconnect with ourselves and the natural world around us. By embracing silence and immersing ourselves in nature, we can find inner peace and clarity that cannot be found in the distractions of modern life. It’s time to prioritize our mental well-being and rediscover the simple pleasures that have always been available to us. 

Words by Keshvi Kamdar.
Images Courtesy SUR-FAKE by Antoine Geiger

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