Thursday, February 22, 2007

Touring the Strip

As Greg pointed out below, most towns in America look nearly identical- and actually that should read "North America" because they look the same in Canada as well. You start out with the basic batch of houses, usually built right after World War II- those are considered the "old" houses in North America. (Except for in places like Iowa, where you can still find older houses.) Anyway, upon that basic canvas you add a cluster of newer townhouses, apartments, condos, etc. And then you lace the major roads with the box chain stores.

Nobody ever cries out for these stores. I've never heard anyone say "You know what this town needs? A Wendy's!" But, they eventually come. Maybe someone dreams of them and they appear the next day. In some towns, people actually resist their growth. But, I think most people are like my father and see something snobbish in that. My Dad thinks that McDonald's gets a bum rap!

Anyway, here we have seen the regular suspects: Sears, Wal-Mart, Boston Pizza, Wendy's, McDonald's, three Staples, one Chapters (for the non-Canadians, Chapters is virtually identical to Borders Books), and a huge array of motels and hotels. It's strange to me that these stores, by opening up possibilities, seem to limit actualities- all the towns look the same! Even stranger is the fact that there are a limited number of types that you see in every town. Already I've spotted a handful of yuppies, the "old timers" who seem permanently embittered, three 25 year old insufferable white girls, the excessively macho guy who has three topics of conversation (sports, fucking, and those damn minorities), the middle aged woman who thinks that society needs to spend more time in Church, the pop-punks, and a number of "minorities"- in this case natives- haunting the scene like silent wraiths. (God, I sound like Holden Caufield!)

Anyway, consumerism seems to discipline these societies- shape them somehow. Consumerism and mass politics both open up possibilities as a method of limiting actualities- of instilling discipline. Traditional religions, on the contrary, rely on that method of discipline that limits possibilities in order to expand actuality. I don't really know if we're better off, or more free, in the New Regime than we were in the Old Regime.

3 comments:

sushil yadav said...

You have written about "consumerism" in your post and the fact that all cities look the same. Not only cities but all people have begun to look same - everyone looks like a robot/machine. I want to post a part from my article which examines the impact of consumerism on our minds and environment.

The link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues.

The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature.

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment.

Subject : In a fast society slow emotions become extinct.
Subject : A thinking mind cannot feel.
Subject : Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys the planet.


Emotion is what we experience during gaps in our thinking.

If there are no gaps there is no emotion.

Today people are thinking all the time and are mistaking thought (words/ language) for emotion.


When society switches-over from physical work (agriculture) to mental work (scientific/ industrial/ financial/ fast visuals/ fast words ) the speed of thinking keeps on accelerating and the gaps between thinking go on decreasing.

There comes a time when there are almost no gaps.

People become incapable of experiencing/ tolerating gaps.

Emotion ends.

Man becomes machine.



A society that speeds up mentally experiences every mental slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A ( travelling )society that speeds up physically experiences every physical slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A society that entertains itself daily experiences every non-entertaining moment as Depression / Anxiety.



Fast visuals/ words make slow emotions extinct.

Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys emotional circuits.

A fast (large) society cannot feel pain / remorse / empathy.

A fast (large) society will always be cruel to Animals/ Trees/ Air/ Water/ Land and to Itself.



To read the complete article please follow either of these links :

PlanetSave

EarthNewsWire

sushil_yadav

gregvw said...

It seems to me that societal psychosis all boils down to the fact that the evolution of our environment has significantly outpaced its denizens. As organisms, we have changed imperceptibly if at all within the duration it took to go from living in a yurt, to "Second Life."

The evolutionary process has optimized us as animals to live in an environment which essentially does not exist in industrialized society. Evolution weeds out the specimens who are not most apt to deal with conditions of scarcity, which is as common as spotting a unicorn these days.

gregvw said...

Whoops, there is a "not" in my second paragraph which should not be there.