There is an intersection between culture, politics and society. These categories are very different, but as we know and experience daily, they constantly reference and position against each other. They remain in a relative orbit that is defined by the ebbs and flows of human societies. Sometimes aspects of these categories are referenced and recombined with other categories to form something new. This may be something that is truly novel or this may be something that has not been seen for some time, and thus seems new to as a different group of people discover. This process of melding happens in a space between these categories. We are going to call this the“Chaos Zone.” We have chosen to call it this because lots is happening at once from all sides consistently. There are no well formed lines here, there are no numbers that are taken and then called, there are no appointments that are made and kept. In this zone there are raw collisions that result in the fission and fusion of ideas. If chaos has a pejorative slant, let’s drop that for a moment.
This zone is very important because it enables total free form references and infinite mixing and remixing between all categories. In the Chaos Zone an idea can enter, pull from all categories, and grow. While the nature of the idea may start as a political movement (ex: the emergence of the modern day Tea Party), a social signal (ex: more same sex couples living openly), or perhaps a cultural moment (ex: hip-hop / rap becoming the culturally dominant form of music) these nascent ideas begin to rapidly reference other categories and iteratively blend. The larger they grow, the more they reference, and the larger they grow…so on and so forth. Historically such movements like hippies, bootlegging gangsters, beatniks, the Black Panthers, Hell’s Angels, and 1980’s stock traders all came from this zone. Mixed and remixed, referenced and mixed again. Perhaps this zone could also be known as the Zeitgeist Creation Engine. The ephemeral nature of what is created here often times becomes part of the collective conscience, perhaps for a century (ex: the red, white and blue of the American flag) or maybe for a day (ex: a story of an invading species of wasp called a “Murder Hornet” reported in the middle of a pandemic that actually was not really noteworthy). In the past the Chaos Zone was oriented to the others like this:
But things are changing.
This is because the categories of politics and society are very different from the culture category in one important way. Politics and society are slow to move. Politics because no matter the political system there is balancing and rebalancing that happens in the form of consensus building. In other words, not one group gets precisely what they want because they must deal with other groups. This process takes time. It is the same with society. The pillars of society have been established over centuries. They are not easily toppled. Think of marriage as an institution. No matter one’s opinion on the utility of marriage it is an important topic for society. Culture does not work in this way. Culture is fast, impactful, and unidirectional. There does not need to be consensus or precedent for there to be a cultural moment. Something can occur and dominate all other categories without consensus and without a prelude. The cultural engine creates so much activity that in many ways it attracts the other two categories. This category has literally pulled the other two closer such that they have, all three, begun to overlap.
This convergence has been occurring for years. But now it’s a bit of a challenge because instead of the Chaos Zone being autonomous and free to reference any category in any sequence, it has become a culture led aggregator:
And now this zone is red hot. Instead of individuals wondering into the Chaos Zone and spinning up cultural stews with a pinch of this and that….we now spend most of our time in this zone. Everyday it becomes harder and harder to begin in one category and stay there for any amount of time. It looks like this in relation to the 2020 Election:
The result? Cardi B releasing WAP only to turn around and interview Joe Biden, who may not be cognitively able to perform the duty of President of The United States of America. There’a a lot there and it’s tough to sort. Right? Another example is Donald J. Trump receiving an endorsement from Robert Unanue (CEO of Goya foods) only for that interaction to be broadcast (perhaps even “trolled”)across social media by the sitting President. This resulted in many people calling for a boycott of Goya. Again, layers man, layers.
If these types of interaction sound odd, it is because they are. To restate the relationship of the three categories: The spheres of politics, society, and culture are converging, all led by the gravitational pull of culture. Culture is the most dynamic component and that activity attracts the other two. Politics is reactive and consensus is forced, the tenants of society are shaped by many generations forming tent poles of tradition, culture though, well culture is a blazing fire eternally stoked by youth reacting to the other two. This is not good or bad, it just is.
The product is an activity center where the inputs are hard to identify and the outputs are strange hydra headed Frankenstein beasts. No proof of provenance is available, no fact checking is done, no critical thought is applied. Theses monsters are built to get big fast, garner attention, and then deflate to nothingness…in a few days. This is not a problem if one’s goal is to be entertained. This is a major hurdle if the goal is to problem solve.
Here at Culture of Chaos, we believe that people are confused. Our goal is not to straighten them out, actually completely the contrary. We want to outline and bring attention to this seemingly chaotic mixing chamber. We believe that in fact, upon deeper inspection, it is not chaotic. Instead, this emerging and growing zone is a choice that we make by not taking a moment to critically think. The reason that it continues to grow is that we now live the majority of our lives through technology that has the ability to contain all of these categories simultaneously. This technology also possesses the power to move messaging and imagery through the infinite landscape it has created, a MC Esher like staircase of self reference and blended categories emerges. This memetic activity occurs with such relentless voracity that it is almost impossible to slow down, segment and inspect in our daily lives. Thus we blend.
We are where we are. This perspective is not meant to be interpreted as good or bad…it just exists.
Join us as we dive into the political, social, and cultural mixing chamber. It appears chaotic, but just as Chaos Theory states and we too believe, there is more order than what first appears.
Join us as we work to peel back the layers and define the order within the Culture of Chaos.
Love it or hate it, let’s talk. Drop us a line: thecultureofchaos [at] gmail [dot]com