Late Stage Capitalism
Late Stage Capitalism
“This type of acceleration encourages weak egos that are easily formed, and fade away just as easily.”
- Jonah Peretti, Capitalism and Schizophrenia
Online you will often see people who portray a character, only to shed said character when it no longer suits them. This is commonly referred to as LARPing, where LARP is an acronym for Live Action Role Playing.
We also see a significant amount of people, particularly young people, lusting after material goods. Status symbols, fast cars, even the right girlfriend or “lay” can be a result of lust rather than true desire. When you put in so much effort in pursuit of these desires, are you even sure they are what you truly want? Or are you simply following the crowd?
Binge drinking among young people is also on the rise over the last 15 years. Binge drinking would be defined here as 4 drinks for women and 5 for men on a single occasion. And I think we can all agree that most who drink will downplay their actual numbers.
So, what do all of these things have in common? It’s symptoms of a society looking to fill the void of their empty lives. It’s symptoms of what is often referred to as “Late Stage Capitalism.”
This is something that is brought up in Fight Club back in 1999. “Advertisers have us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives.”
This is such a brilliant quote that it has stuck with men everywhere in Western society decades later. So much so that this article has been one of my most popular pieces I’ve written on this site.
Since that movie (and book) came out, we’ve seen all of these issues that men face exacerbated to extreme levels with online shopping, social media and internet dating. The world is growing colder and disconnected as the economy encircles the globe in a virtual web of advertisements directly tailored to attack your emotional weak spots.
Fight Club 2 (I refuse to link to it) could’ve confronted this drastic and unprecedented meaningless, yet permanently documented life and would’ve made for amazing social commentary. The book practically writes itself. Instead, Chuck Palahniuk opted instead for a needless deconstruction of his prior work thus absolving his guilt for glamorizing domestic terrorism. (This is critique of the film FBI)
In our modern era, we can’t sleep (nothing is real with insomnia) but now it’s because we long for the glowing blue light of our smart phone that sleeps with us. We hold said phone closer than our loved ones. Our loved ones get old and annoyed at us. Our phone is always there, offering the perfectly tailored online experience. This gateway into the virtual world is the ultimately infinitely pool.
Forget sitting on your toilet reading IKEA mags. You have ads, emails and everything right at your hand 24/7. (We used to look at pornography) Now we have disasterporn, musclecarporn, and pleasebuythisporn. If all of that loses its appeal momentarily, we still have regular porn, if such a thing as regular porn even exists anymore. The current state of porn has gone from simply inappropriate to obscure, bizarre and perverse in the truest sense of the word. We’re even beginning to stop having sex now because actual porn is too appealing and easy to get.
In today’s degradation of culture, nothing is sacred. We abandon the church, religion and beliefs in living an honorable life in favor of living a sexy, interesting and glamorous life. So long as it’s documented online. (Your workout doesn’t count unless you post pics)
Hell, I do this myself. I once quit Facebook and social media. Years later, people thought I was a freak. “What’s he hiding? What’s wrong with Ryan?” Now I dole out little glimpses of my life, my kids, my dogs (dogs get all the likes) and everything else I can find to make my closest loved ones jealous and insecure. But at least they admire my virtual life now.
We used to read Nietzsche. Today I’d settle for a 20 Nietzsche Zingers from Zarathustra on Buzzfeed. (Opens Snapchat to be bombarded by pics of young pop stars’ asses) Gee, I wonder why young men obsess over sex and young women.
Capitalism always wins… It’s about to become a cliché to say that, but you know what the cliché is about clichés? They’re right. Young “Doomers” talk about the inevitable collapse (I swear this apocalypse will be real!) because modern life feels bleak when you seek more meaning and are constantly assaulted by friends and coworkers with banal videos, gifs and sports talk.
Is there more to life? Sure, but the signal is lost in the noise of Soma and infotainment presented as MUST READ BREAKING NEWS beamed right to your smartphone!
Social media is the greatest tool the world has ever seen and few of us spend more than a couple hours contemplating the effects of it. Imagine Rupert (Or is it Cornelius) leaving social media to meet up with the resurrected Tyler Durden. (After 30 days I didn’t miss Facebook) This was the sequel humanity deserved.
When people think you’re dying they really listen, instead of just waiting for their turn to post status updates.
Why do men idolize Tyler Durden? The entire point of the movie was to tell men to stop mindlessly living lives through TV shows, stressing over pointless jobs and dwelling in basements with a bunch of dudes. The whole point was to go outside and meet a girl… yet… that’s not the message received.
Most young men idolized Brad Pitt’s character and ironically most missed the way this movie made young men feel attracted to the bad boy that most girls often choose over the nice guy. And they still couldn’t figure out how to get laid when it was spelled out so clearly? How many men ever even thought about why Tyler Durden is so “cool.”
How many times must men be told to “hit the gym?”
How many times must men be told to “act indifferent?”
How many times must men be told to “have a purpose?”
I suppose Fight Clubs and Project Mayhems are missions… Say what you want about Tyler Durden, but at least the man knows what he wants and is comfortable in his own skin. Can you say the same of yourself? While he may be a figment of a movie character’s imagination, at least he has more confidence than you.
Tell me something. What would happen to your life if you decided to pursue your own mission with a state of reckless abandon for failure or success?
We’ve lost touch with our human element.
I refuse to end this on a sour note because it’s not as bleak as it seems. Don’t believe me? Look at the rapid growth of Path To Manliness. I write content with substance like this 1,300-word post. I rarely use gifs, pics or asstragram. I present an alternative to the current cultural tapestry being weaved. I present a path forward for men who want more out of life.
I sense the anger and frustration in young men. I have been there myself. I’ve worked hard to get to where I am today, and I desperately wished for someone to show me the way in my youth. If you’ve felt this way, then you’ll love my own emails as well and you can sign up for them here. I’m here to tell you, there is a brighter future ahead for you, but it’s not an easy path.