Are youth cults profound things ? Phil's parents say no - he says they are geeks - - social computation now follows - - geeks mean a kind of individualism - keynote: individualism within boundaries. Are people who stray further into group-rejecting individualism geeks ? Social outcasts ? No negative connotation there with me - I am a schizo… Or if not outcasts are they rather out of the flow of particularly superficial dynamics of (pop) culture ? maybe, but their rejection of youth culture as Phil did it when he dropped a few E's, listened to some techno and thrash and then argued with them about his future seems very narrow to me.
Individualism within boundaries - a pretence of individualism rather than total reliance on one's personal values rather than the group's values. The keynote of liberal western civilisation or rather that of it I have seen since I gained a view of another culture in India.. ( we call them "year off bores" here - Ed.) Complexity nexus -too broad a view there , no individual can suss their entire culture.
Sidetrack: we have to trim our mannerisms and what we display of our manners of thought to attune with values at large or values floating hereabouts… concomitance with society at large. Phil and me have both been pushed around and judged for failing there -- we are "mad".
I said to Phil that what we have to do is to accept culture as a piece of technology designed/evolved to provide a shared space for people to know what to "talk about / bodylanguage about / emote about" - in other words it has to be a simplification of the totality of human values - that innumerably vast totality... Such that "culture" is an average…a compromise…or a commonality of shared signs and notions we can agree upon and thus render the (im)possibility of unique languages less of a horror and complexity overload. The only other knowledge strategy being to accept a truly huge reality map and then to zoom in and specialise, which is harder (Phil's father's option)…thus this common culture is more comfortable - we can accept the simplifying value of stereotypes and little "harmless" prejudices and shortcuts - exactly what Phil's upbringing - so intellectually virtuous - would despise - and yet Phil wanted to take E, he loves techno and pop culture.
Also, thanks to Mike for the idea, (and imagining various very "disturbed" people I have known with a hope to get them back on track) is that there does to have to be an ideal of well-formed communication. Or does there ? "Druggies" talk gibberish. It's been going on for decades. Since the emotive level is always present in the gibberish, one does not always have to seek for a rigid rule-structured analysis of communication acts. People can express any combination of semantic signals mingled with various markers to states of mind and feelings, in a jumble - but the intuitive and empathic listener can still find sense -in an ability to transcribe and interpret multiple layers and nuances.R.D. Laing knew that. Hippy talk was nonsense or "gibbering" (supposedly what women do more) to the pillars of society - fathers usually. For example take the following mixed barrage of symbols: aggression mixed with general disillusionment, confusion, mingling with an attempt to establish logical inferences about a system of values, mingled with an attempt to make friends, mingled with an assertion of dignity mingled with…and so on.. all in the pleas of the drunk schizophrenic ex skinhead I might have heard in the pub or similar experiences where I decide to override my judgement of "person talking rubbish" in favour of an attempt to reveal and synthesise a human meaning…or should I have just concluded he was not making sense and dismissed him…NO! let us tune to others' meaning levels. Let us empathise like Deanna Troy. Is that trait what made me end up "mad" ? Or should we all aim for the "well formed" set pieces of "cool" people in the film "Grease" who must have some massive and amazing translation job to reframe their utterance intentions into a sufficiently cool idiom. How alienating that can be to a spontaneous or emotionally genuine type… Alienation like me and Phil both had from being labelled "Schizophrenic". But then we all have to do that I suppose - translate. Maybe we only examine that thing of people talking bullshit because of a conservatism where we have to question new styles and languages. Established bullshit is "sense"… Since that same "sense" often says I am a dangerous degenerate i tend to be suspicious of it. Youth culture offers an alternative.
Be cool !! the great commandment - and all of us majority who can't reach it… or are we a majority - or am I one of the heretics - or one of the witches. Hmmm, better be careful - might end up a loser or even "madman" or "dodgy" in some way. (Out group of out groups…)
Now, to get back to the Youth culture thing - Phil suggested I should be a Rockabilly - insofar as I had once (I had mentioned) dallied with it -- I wasn't sure - I said I wanted to buy a studded bracelet - he listened with interest. ( I had seen some I liked in a shop nearby…I fancied rebellious-ifying myself up a bit. I had recently had a line shaved into my hair too. He told me -(repeating what he had earlier said - that I looked like a middle aged middle class family man really…((funny how Ian used to say I looked like a 70's businessman…)) he said he used to have long hair and wear a German combat jacket when he was teenage. Now he was wearing a nylon anorak and a white collared shirt - his parents had bought the things for him - the perils of being mentally unwell and disorganised…I said he was of above average intelligence and that thus could get in a position to be a counter culture leader, not a geek or insignificant person as he was suggesting. This would have been a status move which i think he deserves, as a person of discernment. He said to me "what are you ?" I said I was a punk. But I also wanted to be a mod, rocker hippie grunger goth too. But I look very sensible most of the time, it is my curse…
The theme recurred in my mind, and, I think, Phil's - are these youth cults a superficial thing or not They can be.
Phil used to wear a German army parka and listen to thrash in the early 90's - he is an intellectually inclined person - and I stated that I could see some consonance in that and his image because I used to know a guy at university who also wore said parka and was very clever - kind of a maths guy - but funny too. Phil said he saw himself as a geek and I joined in solidarity and said I was a geek too because I did physics maths and loved computers - one whom people at uni when I went in 1990 were basically going to name a geek - RPGs physics + intelligence etc.
Are these youth cults deep ? do they represent something profound I said…going along with the mood and feeling in our conversation that they are illustrative of historic trends that show a shifting culture of individualism and free expression - well what I said was actually better than that but I can't remember it in full. The 60's had a kind of influx of eastern religion and Thoreau's Walden kind of values etc. they were deep and more likely to find respect among the intelligentsia of our culture - the culture leaders. But we were sitting in a pub here in Thanet where people care more about what John Lennon or Bob Marley said than any Oxford don.( Sorry for the anglocentrism there but if you substitute an Ivy League university professor the meaning is preserved
Yeah...deep like some stiff academic, whose books my fathers generation read, who thinks true eastern spiritual values are respectable and thus dignifies the reaching of 1000s of hippies to do the same (many of whom might have done it better) - fighting that same battle... do we need the dicta of these to make our new (youth) culture significant - no - we have our own freedom as is.
Its really to do with what you show in public i.e. what culture is to be - - the shared language is so important that there is a profoundness - or a seriousness associated with that…there is a heavy decision making serousness to decide what "culture" or "do's and don'ts" is to be. There is an instinct that this public level - of shared common signs is really structurally important and the feel you get is that lives might even be at stake from it… or at least that’s the impression you get from these serious older ones...Who people not brought up as strictly as me would ignore completely. This is what you learn from looking at the ponderous need to say that youth culture is invalid (uttered by mine and Phil's fathers for example) and the intense and passionate struggle for validity experienced by all teenagers and young adults who never quite make it to full respected adult status while that age (especially not when they are in their Goth gear !!) and thus who experience a hangover of the struggle which might resurface in a second childhood when they are older or even just in a nostalgic conversation between me (32) and my mate Phil (30) in a pub one night. Unresolved stuff needs to be attended to …
But the geek thing it's a rising culture - well I suggested to Phil that people who are now intelligent and have some kind of intellectual values are called geeks and it (arguably) looks "cool" too now…I wanted to bolster Phil's ego - there's time for that between friends - but I think there is something going on here…A deepening of this popular vibe we share. I am probably already too old to be riding the wave anyway though! Youth nostalgia for me.