Traditional Form vs formless Modernity

Culture of Consumerism

AESTHETICS: According to its Greek etymology, ‘that which evokes a strong sensation’. Aesthetics is linked to notions of beauty, harmony, achievement of form.

Contemporary egalitarian ideology abhors and implicitly demonises aesthetics. It associates (rightly) the will to power with discipline, which it considers morally unacceptable, ‘fascist’ in effect
-Guillaume Faye, Why We Fight

The Ancient Greeks and Romans’ architecture was and still is considered one of the western civilisation’s greatest achievements, having mastered the ‘divine’ ratios of column width and height to the entablature over two thousand years ago. Divinity of these buildings were gifts to their gods, the best of what the ancient civilisations had to offer. Early European architecture focused heavily on churches and cathedrals, in order to bring the population closer to Christianity and to establish dominance of the religion. Even totalitarian ideologies in the 20thcentury, such as fascism, Stalinism and national socialism each had their own unique style of aesthetically pleasing architecture, to win over the hearts and minds of the people by their orderly and impeccable appearance.

Moscow State University – Authoritarian Aestheticism

Traditional architecture is almost always a national landmark in Europe, always photographed by tourists and admired by locals, while contemporary buildings are largely ignored. As the world is more connected than ever before, architecture has become a competition to architects to grow their own ego, while retaining very little connection to its location, the climate and history of which has shaped the local style for centuries. Some might think that the contemporary style is devoid of any meaning or statement of significance, yet the truth is quite the opposite.

Globalisation is the ideology that is expressed by the current society. The same concepts, values and ideas are seen and heard by everyone in the world. The same shallow concepts simplified enough to be consumed by the lowest common denominator. This dumbing down of what once used to be showcases of wisdom and skill is now being used to spread propaganda of so-called progressivism – the progress to break as many societal taboos as possible (which were in society for a good reason in the first place – to make sure everyone is their best version of themselves), and to instill the notion that our uniqueness can be expressed by any contemporary label we decide to give ourselves except our identity of origin.

Let’s examine another form of expression which surrounds us daily – music. Once again, it was an indication of the advancement and complexity of our civilisations, expressed by Beethoven, Chopin and many other classical composers from Europe. It is common knowledge that modern pop music is nowhere as near as complex. “But wait!” I can hear the readers cry about their favourite much lesser known bands. “There is still great music being made!” There is a reason why not many people have heard of this music, while any sound from the Top 40 spreads rampantly and stalks you everywhere in your everyday life. Factory produced lyrics and sounds arranged by a handful of people has been in the top selling charts. Pop artists manufacture albums with hits every year, with the songs dominating the radios until the next pop artist replaces it after a couple weeks. And so the process repeats to generate more profits with lyrics getting shallower and the melody simpler over time.

The culture of consumerism has poisoned our means of expression, with art no longer created to inspire, but to simply sell. Anything made by Hollywood is guaranteed to be seen, or at least be heard of by most. Large corporations are selling us tried and tested formulas which have always guaranteed them money, while new and original ideas are being withheld from us for simply being too “risky” (for their profits). Corporations which are being controlled by money are controlling what is accessible to us.

Luckily, with the rise of the internet, it is now easier than ever before to stumble upon independent artists and creators, who express ideas much different to what is available in the mainstream. While for now, alternative entertainment has barely any chances to compete with the mainstream in terms of popularity, its independence gives it no control over creativity and originality.

We, as consumers, can make the choice with our wallets of not financially supporting the consumerist contemporary entertainment. We, as artists and content creators with unpopular political views, can make a difference. While it is certainly an uphill battle for us, we must keep honing our skills until our quality, creativity and originality will eventually make the mass produced entertainment bleak in comparison. We will make a mark on our culture and our voice will be heard.

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