The current philosophical definition of art that I commented on in the last entry, that it’s whatever is presented as such within the “artworld,” put me in mind of a comment Steve Sailer made a few days ago, that he’s “increasingly fascinated by how unrebellious, how credulously trusting of authority the post-1960s generations have turned out to be.”
Both cases are the result of ’60s liberation: if everything is completely free, so God is dead, then there’s no authority to appeal to that’s higher than social convention.
The result is that we all become slaves to convention. There’s nothing else. We can sit by ourselves in our room somewhere and do our own thing, but if we want to engage other people—if we want to get a job or make friends or make ourselves understood when we speak a human language—we have to accept whatever views are socially dominant. Reality is socially constructed, so there’s nothing beyond them to appeal to. At least that’s true if the dominant views claim to be based on the concept of freedom: that is, if they claim to be liberal.
I suppose you could point to other influences. The ’60s generation was the first TV generation, and now we’ve got the Internet, which is TV on steroids. Both fragment the world into myriad images or screenshots and put all the fragments on the same footing, so that significance and reality disappear or become a matter of choice, arrangement, and packaging. As before, social cooperation depends on the dominant system of packaging, and there’s no authority higher than the system itself to appeal to.