Nominations for the 2020 Oscars have been published to a chorus of criticism about lack of diversity. It’s a neat illustration of equality of outcome, equality of opportunity and the cultural degradation caused by the continued breakdown of communication and truth.
I’ve often heard Howl and The Wasteland paired before, in the smokeless midnight air of alt-coffee urban popups, listening for free as a mumbling hipster reads them aloud, back-to-back, in the same reverent cadence and double bass rhythm and nobody listening to the words…
I don’t like it when English is used badly (or lazily) in ways that – for whatever reason – get accepted into normal everyday usage. It’s good when language grows but too often it’s a case of importing one word, at the price of losing others.
Compare and contrast of the ‘beat’ heavyweights Alan Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, the former destined to live long and popular, a fine intellectual force on the American scene, the latter doomed to die young and unhappy but undeniably a genius in the global pantheon.
Stories have been the psychosocial crutch that’ve kept our species sane – individually – in an awful unpredictable fear-filled world. The price has been high but here we were in the 21st century, 7 billion plus human brains parsing the universe through prisms of vast collective narratives that affect every moment and define – for most – every reaction, every thought, every decision.
COGNITIVE DISSONANCE is a psychological state, observed when a brain holds onto a belief (about reality) in the face of persistent contradictory evidence; by somehow ignoring it. COGNITIVE DISSONANCE is stressful but not as disturbing as having to explode a belief. The brain’s natural non-stress state, however, is COGNITIVE CONSONANCE, where belief is evidentially and consistently in alignment with reality.
The less easily observed but nonetheless essential enabler of COGNITIVE DISSONANCE is known as COGNITIVE ASSONANCE. ASSONANCE recasts DISSONANCE with most of its stress removed so it feels almost as natural as CONSONANCE.
Reality is parsed through the prism of storytelling. This can be beautiful, distilled intensity that’s emotional and compelling. It can be horrifying, focused on fears and misery. In all cases it’s occupying; it passes the day. Trouble is, the storytelling may have outlived its usefulness and what no doubt has driven homo sapiens to date may now be the recipe for our extinction.