February 1st, 2008
C. Way/ SnailCrow.com © 2008
It has become evolutionary at this point to admire and worship our man-made, synthetic versions of nature and ourselves — while also denigrating/ignoring the original reality from which they came.
As animals and plants become extinct, our fascination and even preference for artificial representations of them [stuffed animals, cute photoshopped hallmarky dogs and cats, remarkably life-like fake plants] dominate. It’s easy to see why — we can extract from the originals all that makes them safe and easy and forgo the figurative thorns (fake plants that don’t stink, rot, have imperfect petals, aphids; stuffed animals or robo-animals that aren’t temperamental, biting, are perfectly obedient, have no excretory functions, are docile, and are able to receive passively all our fantasies and projections).
We weren’t content to extend absolute mastery over nature. Now, annoyed with captive nature’s occasional recalcitrance, or just plain annoying Otherness, we scrap it and make it in our own image, like Gods.
The most fascinating aspect of all this is how it turns inward, upon ourselves. Unable to accept the beauty of variation and imperfection, we will turn to human simulacra more and more — there are already on the market incredibly expensive and highly-lifelike female sex-dummies. Genetics, cosmetic surgery, these aren’t innocent practices, over time they embed this idea in the collective unconscious: “we will not tolerate our own variation and that of others. we will airbrush ourselves and others to make everyone safer to everyone else’s eyes and sensibilities. there is something ugly and frightening about people who don’t conform to our safe expectations, and it’s our duty to remedy this”. And the more people internalize this script, the more they seek to externalize it and inflict it on others.
This is all born of fear. It is a kind of self-directed fascism, an inability to tolerate nuance and variation, a hunger for the imposition of strict standards for what is appealing and what is not.