Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The System of “Polythea” -- Delusions of Consumerism and Entertainment

Poly-thea means "many theaters", it is the present culture that thoroughly mixes entertainment with reality. The goal of Poly-thea is myth substitution, the substitution of an entertainment myth for your personal myth. It is a system of distraction and delusion characterized by such things as de-communication, time warping, myth substitution, creative substitution, thespia, momentia, media vertigo, infamy and eufamy, reality shows and theatrical reality, fans and fan nations, stationary behavior, an economic subsystem called an ‘Ikonomy’ and other behaviors.

Polythea is an overall social force; it is a general direction of media and entertainment. It is actually at a young stage. No individual company or individual person (director, actor, game designer, studio...) is responsible for Polythea, the process is too complicated for that. But it seems that the sum of all actions leads in general to this new kind of culture.

These notes may seem extreme but here is an attempt to define the key features of Polythea, of a rising institution. Whether these behaviors come to dominate culture depends on our cognizance of them and our reaction to them.

Here are some elaborations on these Polythea ideas:

Modern Communication is “de-communication”. It is manipulative, tainted with marketing and consumerism, it provides constant distraction, it is overly theatrical, it is bombastic and tabloid, it constantly pushes for lower standards. Modern communication is not true communication, it is its opposite, de-communication.

Media Vertigo
Media Vertigo is the phenomenon of whirling dizziness created by modern media which serves consumerism. 

Media Vertigo keeps you off balance. It offers you access to communication but will not allow you exit from it to think, digest, assimilate and practice lessons. Thus, Media Vertigo impedes your personal creativity too.

Exit is a very important power that you require. If you cannot exit from the storm of modern media, you cannot be an individual or create. Other people’s creations will not let you escape; they will ensnare and entrance you. You may be kept in awe of this elite creativity or mis-creativity, and your inner drive to create may weaken and surrender.

Basic rules of modern media would include these basic principles:
·   “access”, access by all to media, to an auditorium, or "voceum"(voh-see’-um), a place of voices, a   social auditorium
·    “expression” by the individual of feelings and ideas
·     “passing”, that is, passing around the message true, unchanged
·      “dialogue”, developing true dialogue with its process of sorting out and assimilation
·       and “application”, the application to life of the newly gotten messages, synthesizing the new knowledge
with old
·       then “reporting back”, feeding it back to others for response, then to more personal assimilation and application
·      “entrance and exit”, the messenger/listener must be able to enter a "voceum", a voice place, a social auditorium, physical or electronic. We enter the voceum to learn, express, dialogue, and feedback. At the same time, the individual must be able to EXIT the voceum to apply, evaluate and synthesize information. That is, the person needs privacy, silence, disconnection from the media and other people. Not being able to enter a voceum is clearly a problem, but not being able to exit the voceum is just as much a problem. If you are bombarded with information, ads, chat, phone calls, text messaging and so on, you are not able to exit a voceum and achieve realizations. An exitless voceum will prevent focus, clarity and decision.

Related to Media Vertigo and lack of exit from media is the problem of sitting for long periods of time in front of a monitor. Some people especially the young remain stationary in front of TVs and computer screens for very long periods of time. Stationary behavior is a precondition for Media Vertigo.

Myth Substitution refers to entertainment that substitutes an entertainment mythology for your personal mythology. Polythea seeks to eradicate your personal myth and substitute for it an entertainment myth that suits the entertainment industry and consumerism and, in general, economic and political forces.

People accept this myth substitution because their lives are filled with misery and boredom and confusion. They have no identity because the culture will not help them evolve one. Along comes consumerism and entertainment, and it offers to rescue the citizen from her or his suffering and self ignorance.

The myths offered are trivial or simply bad. Further, they are vastly incomplete because they do not address the many essential elements of a mythology -- our goals, behaviors, personalities and nature, our strategies, our powers and talismans, our mentors and helpers and allies, our enemies, our inner battles, our moral codes, our views of creation, our views of life, proportion and place, our social vision and more. A myth is the biggest of all stories, and they are necessary to give individuals models for the creation of their own self myths.

Myth substitution is also Spiritual Substitution because Polythea is by stages coming to replace the old tasks of conventional religion. Whether it be classic theology or a life philosophy or a personal spiritualism, Polythea wants to address all issues and needs, it wants to be the whole of your life, to create a kind of entertainment or theatrical church that has your full attention on all levels.

And further, the system offers throw-away personalities, one after another as trend after trend sweeps over us. And to make it easier we are provided self-help books for each new trend of pop psychology, and new therapists who want to change our persona for they are no longer healers but cadre of the fashion industry. Serial myths and stories, serial personalities, serial suicides and serial resurrections, Polythea is the serial killer of serial personalities.

The antidote to Polythea is “Identity Resistance”, refusing myth substitution and striving for self knowledge. And this means breaking with the connections to Polythea and creating NEW art, theatre, media and entertainment. And more it means returning to the lost spiritual Subsume of religious liturgy in a genuine way.

Along the way we must deal with issue of directness toward life and reject the indirectness of Polythea interpretations of life done by its middlemen; and become “experiencers” of life, developing healthy emotions and not the extreme and incomplete emotions of the theatre, and become creative in our own ways bringing our personal song, poetry, stories, dance, and visual arts to the Subsume.

If we do not do this then we become “Hypnods”, people hypnotized by Polythea and consumerism. As a result, we become empty forms, simply “Human Suiters”, wearing Human skins yet vacuous.

Creative Substitution is the idea that an entertainment culture reduces your creativity by encouraging you to view other people’s creativity -- the creativity of ‘Pandermaths’ the creative cadre of the Polythea system. This culture does not want you being creative because that will cause you to not view its shows or play its games, but to spend time developing your own products, and thus preferring your creativity to theirs. Creativity requires a full submersion in one’s own individuality, and current media culture is group oriented, individuality does not sell products or increase fans. Further, creativity requires a total focus that Media Vertigo will not accept. Dizziness and constantly shifting attention maintain an inner chaos that is hostile to creativity or any mental activity requiring focus be it art or science or analysis or even emotional management.

In Polytheafans appear, they copy, admire and worship celebrities, this is not new in Human history.

But fan-nations are new. Consumerism uses famous people to sell its products. A sort of fan-nation is created of individuals who admire the famous individual and thus buy his or her endorsed product. In entertainment the fan-nation evolves and it fawns over its targeted celebrity. Polythea uses the fan-nation to drive adulation, and raise further the status of the celebrity, and thus increases sales and revenue.

The economy symbolized and partly driven by this icon becomes an “Ikonomy”, this becomes a very important subsystem in an overall economic whole. The Ikonomy produces important psychological byproducts necessary to the health of the whole corporate system.

Theatrical Reality
We can even pass from a reality show to “theatrical reality” where any phenomenon can be infused with theatre, celebrity and contest. So that life-as-usual or business-as-usual is full of theatre but not necessarily designed as a reality show. This is the infinite byproduct. Sports, news, education, government, romance, family life and church, everything becomes Polythea, theatres everywhere and truth nowhere. We can treat any non-entertainment situation as theatre.

When people begin acting according to the models of Polythea, a disorder arises that we can call “Thespia” -- the malady of acting as if you are in a Polythea production. And this includes a host of misbehaviors that result from thinking you are performing a kind of theatre production in your daily life.

In theatre we have very emotional, loud and demonstrative behavior, this is the nature of theatre, however, this not usually the nature of life. But what Polythea does is to require that each person act if she or he was in a play or film that is over the top. The thoughtful and self controlled is not preferred, it is interior and silent thus is too boring for theatre. As a result, you get a population subjugated to Polythea acting behaving in a theatrical manner. This is a form of thespia. There is no teaching of self knowledge and psychological skill taking place.

Another form of thespia includes the violent and extreme duality of good and evil. In stories an author or director will present an idea in pure or absolute terms to make a point, just as in logic or teaching you present a point in a stark way in order to have impact, to make a juxtaposition. But because the form of the message is extreme does not mean we must then act in these extreme ways. But in Polythea this is required and you see this behavior happen everyday. And further as a result of this misbehavior, there is sectarian conflict in a culture -- Polythea actually generates alienation and social conflict, of which we have too much to begin with due to self absorption, economic disparities, inequality and war.

Further, a soap opera kind of psychology appears where the citizen cycles between good and evil in some sort of endless, tragic drama, where the individual has ceased to struggle for the good, for the soap opera star is so much more entertaining. And this behavior then leads to mass de-sensitivity to violence and all inhuman behavior because this is a part of entertainment. And we as Human beings are equally Human and inhuman, aren’t we? The entertaining “story” now triumphs over the higher “myth”. Human evolution goes backward.

Fame and Eufamy
In the age of PolytheaFame now splits into two forms – we have infamy as bad fame, and good fame, we can call “eu-famy” (“eu” meaning good). At a certain stage the moral battle in a culture is between infamy and eufamy. But in the end Polythea gains from either variety of fame, for all serves entertainment, holding attention and diverting attention.

And this is another axiom of Polythea: Good or bad, all serve entertainment, Polythea is ethically neutral, for entertainment is beyond good and evil, Polythea is utilitarian, it seeks only “use”, useful, that is, for entertainment.

Fans, Famous, Fan Nations
The Fan class and the Famous class, two classes in the Ikonomy with common and diverging interests

In Polytheafans appear, they copy, admire and worship celebrities; this is not new in Human history.

The fan-nation is also a form of groupism that spontaneously appears in a culture of alienation and disconnection. People flock to a fan-nation to relieve themselves of the painful isolation in normal life.

The fan has an identity; she or he has a real connection to people, no longer alienated. Now there is love and caring directed at the celebrity. Now there is a purpose, worship of the celebrity. Now there is a role model and wisdom that comes in every utterance and act of the celebrity. Being a fan gives the fan a kind of power. The fan is returning in a skewed way back to the religious Subsume.

The famous becomes the representative of this group or collective. But the famous being self interested has no real obligations to this collection of people, and at times the fans feel betrayed.

Several things can happen in this dynamic of the fan and the famous. The first is that some individuals may want to be more than fans, that is, become famous themselves. This would satisfy several needs and desires, economic and psychological. One of the most important emotional needs would be identity, for so many ordinary people have no identity. And an identity as a famous person trumps that of being a lowly fan that has no identity but merely is close to another identity.

Momentia is the focus upon the pleasure or relief in a moment of entertainment. Life is difficult in this age so entertainment offers us escape. For many it becomes a soul source of joy! Polythea finds momentia invaluable. People live for entertainment and entertainment lives because they have no life. They seek the reprise of the movie or game or TV show again and again to give them something to hang onto in this disconnected world. Surround people with a world of nothing and then offer them a little something no matter how bad and they will grasp onto it.

The obvious related form of momentia is that of buying. Consumerism stresses the need to reprise the experience of shopping again and again. So entertainment momentia and consumerist momentia are closely related behaviors.

The Diverse presents time to us in an endless series of moments; this can be very confusing. What we must do is find the “continuities” that run through all the moments so we can be grounded while experiencing the chaotic succession of moments. A continuity could be a general goal or ethic, self identity, obligations to others, family etc.

Polythea and consumerism cause us to get lost in the moments and not see the more fundamental issues.

Time Warping
Time itself is whole. We tend to not see time in this way. Consumerism and Polythea tend to warp our perception of time.

In modern culture, there is no past, there is no connection to a beginning; we live only in “now” which is a succession of forgettable moments. We float in a river of the timeless.
We have no sense of continuity in our view of time. Our feeling of time is like some semiconscious haze where consciousness and amnesia interpenetrate like warm and nebulous gases.

Media, entertainment, consumer trends, obsession with the “new”, all of these cause us to focus on the “now”. And the power of currency also drives us to fixate on the immediate as we relent that only those who are popular right now are important, while the past performance is of no relevance today.

The now is disconnected from the past. We are looking for continuities, for threads that run from past to present to future, if we are to get out of our pleasant malaise.

When you live in a “now”, you have no sense of the whole flow, the whole direction, the whole story of yourself or a society. Time is a very important whole to reconstruct in the modern age. Consumerism and Polythea oppose the reform of our notions, our feelings and our sensations about time.

Cage Innoye
Axxiad News

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