Black Friday

The Crowd is Untruth.

Mass democracy is the crowd. Hyper-capitalism is the crowd. Our modern world is a world of crowds.

Tomorrow (Friday) is called “Black Friday” in the United States. The name comes from the notion that retail stores, after earning money all year to pay off their costs, investments, taxes, payroll, etc., finally move from the “red” into the “black.” From here to the end of the year they are profiting. (I have no idea if this notion is true for the typical retailer, but that’s where the name comes from.)

But really, could the name Black Friday be any more appropriate? The biggest sales of the year happen this day. Stores open long before dawn. And the Christmas season begins. Here’s what we have become as a society:

(warning: these videos will make your stomach turn. Don’t click if you are in a peaceful mood.)

***

Black times, my friends. I’ll be headed up to Olympic National Park with family and friends to hike the spooky, wet, cold rainforest of the Pacific Northwest for the day.

 

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3 comments on “Black Friday

  1. zhai2nan2 says:

    Do you want to really see a horrible Black Friday?

    Check this out.

    Warning, video may cause you to bleed from the ears.

    But seriously folks, people already hate shopping. People have hated their televisions since the 1980s if not earlier.

    People are alienated from the mass-marketed culture-surrogate that is jammed down their throats. Many people are conscious of their alienation.

    Internet populism has been a major force rejecting this sort of this since the cypherpunk movement, if not earlier.

    • outofsleep says:

      There are two distinct major ways in which the internet has contributed to people rejecting consumerism.

      First is the cyberpunk movement in which it was the internet itself (and other contemporaneous technological changes) that inspired the rebellion. They had a vision of a radically new way of life based on the free exchange of information.

      Second is the way that the internet connects people who *already* object to modern life on pre-existing philosophical grounds (often very ancient, religious, traditional grounds). Once upon a time, people got news and opinions from their neighbors. Then we had newspapers, then radio, then television. The nadir was probably the late 1980’s to mid 1990’s when mass culture had nearly eradicated the old forms of connection, but before the internet was a widespread phenomenon. Since then, while mass-media (including through the internet, of course) has continued it’s ashen march through meaning and truth, people of like minds have begun to connect.

      Of course, part of the cyberpunk ideal included the notion that the second phenomenon would occur. There’s not a distinct line between the two trends.

      I think the internet is the greatest technological marvel of the modern age, the greatest since sanitation. It might not be as amazing as sending men to the moon, but it’s more important. More than air travel, more than atomic weapons, the internet can change people’s lives in ways that really matter. The cyberpunks focused on how the exchange of information — of DATA — would speed the spread of other technologies. To an extent, this has certainly happened, but I agree with those (like Bruce G. Charlton) who think that our latest “advances” are pretty petty compared to the advances of the 19th century, and I agree that it’s because scientists (along with the rest of society) have forgotten Truth and instead only seek after Information. That way lie diminishing returns, as I think should be obvious to anyone with an iPhone that plays Angry Birds.

      I believe the great, unintended consequence of the internet could be that it leads people not to greater computerization, but that it leads people to greater Truth. Ultimately, the Truth must be found away from the computer screen, of course. In silence, in prayer, in love, and in personal relationships. But in a degraded era that was previously ruled by mega-corporate mass-media, being able to read the opinions of like-minded seekers-after-Truth is an incredibly refreshing tonic.

      I say all this from personal experience. Perhaps I am projecting far too much onto my contemporaries. But 10-years-ago-me was a college-educated fool. Today-me is still yet fool, but so much less so that it feels like a minor miracle. I have the internet to thank for that.

      Again, at some point, you have to just shut off the computer. Today, perhaps. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t served a crucial purpose. The Buddha compared the Dharma to a raft that you use to get to the other side of the river. Once across the river, it’s stupid to keep carrying the raft around. But without the raft, you’d still be stuck on the near side.

  2. […] of Thanksgivings gone bad, and his books sell in the millions. The day after Thanksgiving is a nation-wide orgy of acquisitiveness. Etc. Nothing in our modern age is […]

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