Dali Zheng(郑达里)

Accelerate the decline!

Modern technological progress masks societal decay.
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Memetics, Genetics

Memes are the most important cultural phenomena of this century, beneath the consideration of the mainstream until very recently. In the cesspools of the Internet, memes were cosa nostra, our thing which was indecipherable to the mainstream. There was a pragmatic reason for their secrecy: when a meme is decontextualized by outsiders, the original meaning is removed and it becomes a simulacrum of its former self.

Memes, like genes, compete in an environment not unlike Darwinian natural selection. They must adapt in a manner similar to genetic mutation, and survive long enough on transient storage mediums to reproduce. In this regard, they are not unlike living organisms, in the realm of consciousness rather than matter.

The senescence of a meme can be defined by progressing from a faithful representation to a perversion, until the original meaning is lost. A meme dies when there is finality, an impasse in which new ideas can not emerge. This situation can occur when it is adopted for ideological means, by an unintended audience, or any other dead-end that forces a closure to creativity.

When a meme becomes mainstream, it has reached its terminal stage, as further evolution is no longer possible. By the time a meme widely recognized, its meaning has ossified and it's already dead. Memes evolve until they reach perfection, and then they die.

Systemic Collapse

Editor's note: this was written when I was a teenager and it has been edited for stylistic changes from the original post, however the content remains mostly the same.

A respectable job, a home, and a family, was once attainable by a man by the time he reached his early twenties. The same man today likely has none of those, as a casualty of a long societal decline. The collapse of this Ponzi scheme known as society is inevitable.

History tended towards Malthusian societies, with limited resources. There were higher values that used to be culturally instilled, such as character and integrity. A man could afford not only to support himself but also a family by simply by having a work ethic, and marry young without the risks that come with marrying later. There was an implied social contract which was more or less kept, and more equitable without the politicized power struggle between both sexes. The introduction of the birth control pill was far more disastrous than the atomic bomb, since it led to the destruction of not only households but the bonds that kept them together.

The disintegration of the family unit is the key of this social breakdown. Promiscuity is the new standard, and it creates a new market which was previously suppressed: the sexual marketplace. This marketplace is more inequitable than the most dysfunctional third world countries. The old law and order does not apply in this marketplace, as institutions such as community and marriage are obsolete. Communities kept people together and ostracized anti-social behavior to maintain cohesion. Individuals without these communal bonds come apart, and the legal industry thrives on conflict. The sexual act itself is a poor simulacrum of the peak social experience.

The industrial society thrives upon depletion of resources. As the literal underworld is exhaustively mined out, so are individuals exhausted of love, or no love at all. The transiently populated cities of today appear in terms of proximity in dating profiles, where talented people go to meet but never settle, a dead end for human capital.

The systemic collapse shows in the negligence of technological infrastructure as the first world descends into the third world. Electrical grids, irrigation systems, high technology, the niceties of technological civilization will struggle to remain operational. The breakdown will advance into the later stages of the devaluation of currency, dissolution of government, and small-scale conflicts. In the post-civil world, atomized individuals will be most vulnerable, and there will be plenty of them.

America has passed its golden age of the late-20th century, and has no worthwhile future. Where do we go from here?