Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Waiting to pick up a Pizza I walked into a local electronics store to browse. The DVD of The Matrix Reloaded was playing on one of the large flat panel screens. Watching it and the blank affectless expressions of the characters, what struck me was that the moral esthetic of the film is one of a sort of autistic perfection, a supreme competence predicated on nothing more than itself.

When wisdom is irrelevant all that there is left to judge is skill. The esthetics of information is based on this assumption, being a philosophy of tools and techniques rather than of their use. It's the philosophy of Neat -'That's neat!'- an esthetic of preadolescent invention, the worldview that considers science fiction a noble art. I'm amazed at how many people refer to Tolkien. And now we have Neil Stephenson. How much acquired knowledge can you put into 800 pages?
That seems to be the only point. It's the MENSA theory of value, sprung from the minds of half-educated youth, and it is mind numbing, good only for libertarians and narcissists.

It's been commented on before by others, but Sebald in On The Natural History of Destruction writes well about post war Germany and the moral philosophy of empty perfection that gave birth to the economic miracle.
Gerhard Richter, Eight Gray (Acht Grau), 2002 

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