Get Real

I was reading Mark Fishers account of the london protests yesterday (read it!) and started thinking about what he says about pop culture. Developing his line of thought a bit I would restate it as follows:

Pop music today is very detatched from “what’s going on” in the young generation. It is detached in two ways:

  • One is the transcendental way. Here we find classical pop songs, rnb, love songs, with classic pop/rock arrangments, lyrics focusing on the individual emotions detatched from anything but a few involved human beings.
  • The other way is a realist way. Mark summarizes it in the hip-hop phrase “get real”. It is about accepting the current conditions as natural and unchangable; playing the game — and winning it.

Although this realism at a first glance seems to capture the present conditions it fails to adress what’s going on. What is lacking is what within philosophy is called speculative realism. Speculative realism, in a free-hand interpretation, means that the present conditions are reckognized, but at the same time recognized as something that cannot go on. This can take at least two expressions:

  • One is that the present conditions are very real, but unsustainable; whether its the economic system, the ecological system or excessive use of energy.
  • The second way is by the insight that all reality’s constructions are absolutely contingent. They are this way, but there is no reason for them to stay that way. This can not at least be seen in the net activism which talks about “rebuilding” societal and technical structures.