Counterpoint by Mark Nicol – Gen-2D

| January 12, 2021

No, it’s not some new strain of human-annihilating pathogen. Or is it?

I was sitting at a round-table a few years back, as the one aged male in a group of five preparing for a celebratory occasion. Being close friends with the celeb, the rest were his age, aligned with his distinctive generational, cultural development.

One would presume that, being friends gathered in anticipation of a happy event, there would be much convivial banter between them. We were awaiting a meal. But, not because the mood was dejected or tense, we may as well have been awaiting the last supper.

Supplanting for any tactile contact between eyes, voices, living personages at that table, these four young men, one after another, reached for a 2D interface. Not one that would, in the intimate situation, somehow facilitate or elevate communication between the living sensibilities there assembled.

No, these young men, umbilically addicted to one medium, unanimously deferred to that flat screen as if it was the very repository of some pathetic collective being.

The cruelty of children can seem quite innocuous. There is a variety of jellyfish, transparent, shaped like curved sausages. My brother and I used to squash, squelch them in our hands, just because it felt good. I regret a lot of things, now. Or do I?

The propensity to categorize things is an efficacious yet sometimes deceptive way of seeing the world. Dogs? Yes, they’re all the same, except not. But the word dog exists as a convenient genetic descriptor.

Human generations? Silent Generation – pre-1946; Baby Boomers – 46 to 64; Gen X – 65 to 76; Gen Y – 77 to 95; Gen Z, Millennials – 1996 and onwards. Of course this descriptor code is meaningfully applicable to Western society only, is an overly neat one at that. But, if the hat fits? Sorry, that’s a Silent’s cipher. Cultural labels though? I’ll put a couple forward.

‘Misfit’. Being a person willfully or accidentally freed from conformation to any existent culture. Obviously a person of immense volitional tenacity, and/or an outright social autistic. Ok, this is an exceedingly rare species. Hardly of any consequence. Except, perhaps, if you want to get out of the cave.

Then there’s the opposite: ‘Gen-2D’. The 21st Century Western cosmopolitan clone.

Here’s a species so navelly dependant upon cybernetic interface as the repository of its collective mind and soul that it has, individually, no volitional status at all. It has, really, no individual brain, no individual heart, and …

How please, Mr. Squiggle, did it all get down to this?

Back in ancient Egypt Commons deference afforded to the scribe was, almost, equatable to that preserved for priest and king. In fact, this was the classic autocratic triumvirate – King, priest, and scribe. Why, the scribe?

We understand that the human jellyfish would yield to the Warrior-king, or his intimidatory rhetorical and/or dynastic offshoot, out of physical fear, come subservience, come ingratiation.

We comprehend that the Ancient Priest exerted dominion, at least in the agar like substance of the common mind, over individual’s spiritual livelihoods, over the auspicious or inauspicious now and hereafter.

Thus, both king and priest, as temporal and spiritual overlords, held something over the commoner, such that he would perpetually, or at least for a paltry 5 millennia, bow in subservience. (And we should pertinently note, here, that some two thirds of the world’s populace still kneels in servitude to autocratic/theocratic idolatry, a fact, which speaks to something pervasive in human psychology, sociology). Anyway, pushing on – why kneel, at all, in any degree, to the scribe? And where’s the connection to our modernist spineless specimens, Gen-2D?

It is perplexing for a Modern to fathom, appreciate, the fact that command of the written word was a rarefied, formidable skill in the Ancient World. Especially so, in Ancient Egypt. In fact, the word there was considered consubstantial with the very article that it depicted.

Thus, when the eagle hieroglyph was depicted in tomb scriptures for the Pharaohs, the talons were, always, tethered. Why? So that that ravenous raptor would not steal the afterlife provisions of the Pharaoh, deemed eternal, deemed to hold eternal the living aspirations of a whole culture.

Thus, in the Ancient World the scribe became, effectively, the third dominion holder in the classic ruling triumvirate. Indispensable to king and priest, the scribe was the intellectual mediator of autocratic obeisance. The scribe’s two classic functions? Tabulate bureaucratic operations of State, dispense effective autocratic rhetoric.

The rhetorical sway of the written word has diminished in a modern Western world where most citizens are considerably proficient. Yet, if three favoured authoritative figures vociferate the same edict, in print, on screen? Then the jellied mass of screen addicts, even the conceited intelligentsia conceiving themselves as enlightened intellectuals, reconceive this as verbatim truth, rational and moral.

Say no more. The jelly has quivered, and therein assented. Thus, as it ever was and ever shall be, light eternal. No need for discussion, we are all gelatin-set, in unanimous and righteous accord.

What specific set, really, are we referencing here? Certainly not the factory worker. Nor the Western untouchables – the unemployed, indigeni, disabled and geriatric. Certainly not those builders, tradies and transporters, who, after all, carry the nation.

Certainly not the grafters – financiers, bankers, realtors. Nor the executives, the entrepreneurs small and mighty. Then who, or what, defines the nature of this quivering ideological transparency, the defining conception and will of Modern Man?

Firstly, we must recognize that those classes we have discounted as formulators of the collectivist assent, they have variously but unanimously disqualified themselves from political participation. Some are just too busy suffering, or gloating, with their lot, to raise an ounce of care about the collective mind and will.

Some are too addled, or frankly incompetent. Others are totally consumed with avaricious industry. Casting a mindless occasional ballot, Left or Right, and the regular dispensation of ablutions, chewing the fat, this suffices for the many.

Into this gaping vacuum of political care, will, enters one aggrieved, justice seeking mindset, that fearful wrath of luminary academics holed up in Western Social Science departments, methodically planning and scheming.

Aggrieved? Why? The intellected yet economically impotent are always aggrieved, as they do not hold the real reins of power, even if they should. Justice seeking? Yes, we’re talking rightful, all round socio-economic and socio-ecological dispensation here, good will to all – except to those ruling Right-wing fascists.

Can you see how this set actually quivers, in its now precarious, subsidized hiding hole. If Arts departments are classified useless and cut, first, by our sovereign yet heathen Capitalist culture, then it will be our sacred Social Science departments next.

Can you see how this is that mind, which, having seized insidious dominion over our kiddies in tertiary, secondary, primary edifices of education, has over the last three generations cultured an apogee pathetic culture. For each ‘educated’ generation, since WWII, has become increasingly and perilously pathetic, volitionally effete.

Thus the current educated generation has been trained to assiduously, sanctimoniously assert the unnatural primacy of the underling over the natural primacy of the overlord. Egalitarianism gone mad? It’s actually puritanical, coerced repatriation for all historical wrongs rendered upon the underling, a miraculous species now defined as non-Western, non-white, non-male, non-abled, and non-heterosexual.

While we’re about it, why not just pass world dominion back to our single-cell forbears, undo all predatory injustices ever enacted upon this planet? But perhaps, in sanctioning the gelatinous mass of Gen-2D as our accepted thought police?

Looking back to our recent essay, do you not see this marvellous assemblage shaking in assent to every sacred word vended on Project Drum? Do you not see it willing some ultimate, jelly-like incarnation of preening sanctimony, perhaps Julian Assange, to dispel all vestiges of an indecent Western society – into dust.

My dear friend and the nice lads assembled at the table that day?

Distinctly unlike me, a believer and a believer in truth, their vision hung on the mast of New Wave Christendom. What did Bertrand Russell, effectively, say? Swallow the first piece of bullshit, and the next goes down much easier.

Well, these boys had been well prepped. So, despite the surface charm it was no surprise that at the deepest level of intellectual and moral pedigree, they had variously surrendered as witless 2D automatons.

Aimlessly and without malice, I threw a brick across the table that day. As predicted, its mass and momentum was not returned. It just passed through that collective body, as if a vapour. Chinese, Islamic, and Russky assassins throw a stream of bricks, direct at the impotent testicles of Western civilization today. What is the reaction? Must look at that 2D screen, see what the proper hypothetical response would be.