A post modern thinker I encountered when I had the time to meander the pathways of existential thoughts wrote on the fading reality people experience. The replacement of experiences through the five senses with simulations. Being at the concert of The Weeknd this evening brought together a disconnect with the intensity of the music, the drama of the words, and the immaturity for the audience.
The Simulacra is an attempt to pin down at what point the projected and the created becomes the replacement for what is the actual reality. When a mirror is held up to a thing, a real thing, both tangible or experiential, and the reflection becomes more important, referential as the real, without acknowledgement of it as a reflection. But the Simulacra has not yet taken over. It is at the point in which the object is removed, faded, sunken, or mangled to no longer exist. And what is left, for all to view and accept is solely the reflection.
The object or experience itself is not that of value but the projection of the experience, how it is perceived that becomes what the viewer or observer beliefs is the true experience.
Let’s leave the post-war mindset of depressed French thinkers, and into the world of manufactured celebrity and plastic beauty that today we have as a world of Simulacra.
The new tread in TV shows is for actors to portray themselves as a character on a show full of other fictional characters. One such show is ABC’s Don’t Trust the B in Apt. 23 in which teenage heartthrob James VanderBeek places a washed up version of himself. A running joke is how his cast-mates hate him and refuse to help him find work again. Another show with the same cognitive dissonance is Episodes, in which Matt LeBlanc, who played Joey on the definition of the 90s, Friends, plays himself. So these actors have to have writers make character that is suppose to be them, or at least in a way that the audience will connect with whom they thought this actor was in real life. Then they have to play themselves, the character that is them, with their name, and their professional history and even some of their tabloid stories. So then when they give interviews do they speak as the character that is them, or do they speak of the character that is them in the third person, “Well what Matt LeBlanc is trying to understand in this scene is how his life has fallen into such shambles.” – Matt LeBlanc.
Today people are all trying to make a public character that is them, that people will believe is them, but that they can also disown at times, if necessary. “Oh I wasn’t actually drunk in that picture, I was just holding that bottle because I wanted it to look like a wild time.” We edit through the pictures we post online to tell a narrative we want others to believe, and find camaraderie with not actual other people, but rather their published narrative, two characters playing friends.
When the Weeknd sings out “You’re gonna want to be high for this…” And the girls swoon, they imagine what it would be to have sex with him when high, perhaps never having had sex nor been high and definitely not having met him. And perhaps that fantasy created on stage is old as time. But as I watched it all, I began to wonder if he had actually felt any of the things he so intensely distributed to others?
Our ability to construct a character for ourselves is omnipresent, but when does it become what we actually are? How long can a person maintain two distinct, parallel and intersecting lives? Light travels in a straight line, my sight leads me to see what is in front of me, except in a black hole, in which light can bend. Is the simulacra sucking us into such a black hole?