Large and gaudy signs, unimaginative architecture, mass-produced imagery, welfare disguised as diversionary hourly make-work (Now hiring 4th assistant manager!). All of this designed for the singular, mechanical, amoral purpose of pandering already obsolescent shit to an ever lower common denominator.
You say “Capitalism,” I say “autophagy.”
Several streets over, hidden behind this shoddy mask of progress, technology, and cheap baubles you will find postmodernism’s fugal counterpoint: the prior.
Houses built by craftsmen long-dead, aesthetically-pleasing city halls, charming and inviting town squares. Monuments dedicated to events that held infinitely more spiritual value than any nihilistic school shooting or Lew Rockwell article on predator drones.
What you find in the shadowy corners are echoes, residue of men and women who seemed to value life just a little more. This is a world somehow separate from the hyper-immediacy of smart phones and internet boobies. Theirs were emotions and experiences connected with deeper, complicated, slowly-wrought forces of their own mind.
Compare the past with our world today: quality has been replaced by quantity (and disguised with the word “equality”). Recently ancient man’s most trivial spiritual pondering would reduce the majority of our hipster generation to a state of microbrew-fueled stupor.
The human occupants of our present age have “grown” to inwardly-reflect the modern town strip. Squat, ugly, identical, gaudy, purposefully purposeless. A postmodern human can go from bawwing their wittle eyes out over some massacred children (…somewhere in Connecticut, right? What were their names again?), to setting up a meaningless date (fuck) online in a span of minutes without a single dissonant thought.
Some Olive Garden in your belly and some spunk on your chest won’t fill the void in your soul, bitch.
The present age has lost it’s spirit and traditions in favor of objects and rationality. It/we has/have largely forgotten what is required to fuel human civilization.
The parasitic outlet malls and drive-thrus of the present can only continue as long as there exists a previous system to leech off of. Similarly, postmodern critical theories and degenerate social progresses can only continue as long as there exists some residue of actual patriarchy and stable authority.
Technology has indeed been a boon for the degenerates who have come to rule the roost; the printing presses and iPads have done much to prevent what has historically happened to every nation that reached this existential crisis point before. Unfortunately, the West has also reached a unique condition in human history: no civilization has ever before been so materialistically wealthy and spiritually destitute. The most savage and isolated Amazonian aborigine has a deeper connection with his superego than your typical American Ph.D.
Ours has become a world of parabolic paradoxes; of economic autophagy, of peak identity, of post-scarcity ethics. The West will continue to pull it’s population in two opposite directions until the human center finally separates.