Perspective and Other Mythical Constructs.

The Age of Static

Psychic noise buzzes around the edges of an uncertain future. Looking to the past doesn't feel particularly instructive. There are no maps for these territories.

The Age of Static

I want tomorrow to be better than today.

That statement is nearly always true, but on this election night I feel it more acutely than ever.

The campaigns have stretched interminably over the last three years or so; I eagerly await their end but continue to feel that icy cold dread whenever I think of what will replace them.

Psychic noise buzzes around the edge of an uncertain future.

Looking to the past doesn't feel particularly instructive. There are no maps for these territories. Political division and tribal enmity are nothing new in this country (or in most others for that matter). Ever since we broke off into groups a certain "us versus them" configuration became hard-wired into the human brain. It's a core routine imposed on us by evolutionary competitive advantage in the earliest days. It's never gone away.

But we have proven ourselves resistant to its worst impulses, at least at the macro level. Sure, we stumble and we fight. We engage in short-sighted brinkmanship and play out a million little self-destructive games as a people. We elect leaders who reassure us of our place in the hierarchy or present a means of altering that place. But we also pull together just enough to keep this leaky boat afloat. Unsteady in its forward motion; prone to spirals and wrong turns but generally heading in the direction of... Well, if not progress necessarily then at least evolution. Evolution in its scientific sense: random and chaotic, slow and capricious but generally tending towards providing improvement and advantage.

But we live in different times. The state of our empire is precarious and the divisions between us continue to not just deepen but to widen and to calcify. There are thousand reasons for it: media, tech, the press, venal politicians, an apathetic populace, fascists, elites, conspiracies, market forces, the erosion of traditional values, the refusal to accept progress and discard outdated norms, etc., ad nauseam.

These forces have always been at work but today they are amplified in novel ways.

Some time ago, we entered the Static Age. Everything is noisier. It's hard to make out anything. It's not clear who's broadcasting and who is receiving.

We are all alone together in the white noise.

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Jamie Larson