Spend enough time around any social group, and you internalize their rules.
In other words: Spend enough time around a group, and you’ll have a very strong feeling of what they consider acceptable. More than that, you’ll actually start to behave that way. This works the same with your family, your workplace, and probably your social networks.
As I spend more time online, I become increasingly aware of what the blogosphere’s consensus would be on any one thing I do. It has become a kind of internalized panopticon that says “this thing you are thinking can be said on Twitter, while this second thing definitely cannot.” Can you relate to that?
The strange thing is that the same could almost be said of someone who lives in a totalitarian state. Some states of mind are considered acceptable, we know which they are, and we’re careful to only express those those that won’t rock the boat. What happens when someone does this for long enough? Is it possible that, through amplifying and expressing only acceptable states, we are shutting out and stunting our ‘unacceptable’ thinking?
Whatever the reason, what is true is that we are losing our wildness. No one is interested in acid tripping their way to enlightenment anymore like Timothy Leary; no one is doing plastic surgery art on their own face like Orlan. Or are they? Is the democratization of media causing the lesser-known channels to vanish as simply-digested lolcat memes take over?
The radical is by definition marginal and unpopular, and the wildest ideas take the longest to understand. In a culture where we’re ADHD and TL;DR prone, have we lost the ability to give the radical a chance at survival?
What would happen if we were able to give ourselves access to the hinterlands of ideas, things said and done by those we can’t yet understand? Would we be excited what we saw, or relegate it to the backs of our brain, never to be thought of again? I don’t know– because I don’t know what those ideas are.