A Manifesto for Tomorrow

WE are DETECTIVES exploring INNER and OUTER SPACES. WE should avoid focusing too much on those inner spaces that are familiar to us. WE should also avoid narrowing our FOCUS on those spaces located on the outside.

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  1. WE are DETECTIVES exploring INNER and OUTER SPACES. WE should avoid focusing too much on those inner spaces that are familiar to us. WE should also avoid narrowing our FOCUS on those spaces located on the outside.
  2. WE recognize OSCILLATION to be the natural order of the world.[1] Although WE may live in the EXTREMES or even push past them, we rarely manage to exist within the realm of one EXTREME for long. Instead, we witness an oscillation between one extreme and the next.
  3. WE as human beings exist in a SUPERPOSITION OF STATES. WE are both DEAD and ALIVE. WE live in the PAST and the PRESENT. WE live in the PRESENT and the FUTURE. WE are both CIVILIZED and UNCIVILIZED. WE are CYNICAL and IDEALISTIC. WE are TECHNOPHILES and LUDDITES. To illustrate this point, consider Schrödinger’s Cat thought experiment and the electron’s superposition of states.
  4. We are NOSTALGISTS as much as we are FUTURISTS.[2]We live in the PAST, the PRESENT, and the FUTURE. The PAST and FUTURE are well-known battlegrounds for PRESENT economic, social, political, cultural, and ideological currents. Furthermore, WE oft times applaud CHANGE or PROGRESS, eager to see what the FUTURE will bring to us. However, WE also disparage such CHANGE and PROGRESS, wishing or hoping for those bygone days of yore, where things were simpler and more forgiving.
  5. CAUSALITY is COMPLEX. There are no simple ANSWERS or EXPLANATIONS to the complicated universe that surrounds or swirls around us on a daily basis. This may be seen as refuting Occam’s razor; however, Occam’s razor still holds with the ideas present within this section of the manifesto.
  6. HISTORY cannot be examined in short, isolated segments. HISTORY can only to be truly examined in the long-form. The ATOMIZATION of HISTORY leads to a number of troublesome logical and historical fallacies. The longue durée of the French Annales School and Georg [György] Lukács’ History and Class Consciousnessare excellent starting points for this discussion. HISTORY is engrained in everything WE interact with. HISTORY is never ABSOLUTE — it is malleable, much like a soft metal, changing forms and textures from one generation to the next.
  7. REALITY is an invention. WE invent realities every time we write, read, speak, wake up in the morning, or watch the television. Albert Einstein illustrated this best: “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” REALITY, like HISTORY, is malleable and is NEVER ABSOLUTE.
  8. TRUTH is a fabrication. There are no UNIVERSAL TRUTHS. The belief in such UNIVERSAL TRUTHS plagues (or occurs throughout) human existence. It would be unreasonable to claim that these TRUTHS are useless or without meaning. WE must study all TRUTHS in order to better understand human experience or existence. Please refer to Section 10 concerning the SACRED.
  9. OBJECTIVITY is SUSPECT. It is a logical fallacy we trick ourselves into believing is possible. Those who claim to have achieved a purely OBJECTIVE stance are succumbing to this highly attractive logical fallacy.
  10. The SACRED should be scrutinized and challenged. WE should not easily dismiss the SACRED as meaningless or useless. WE must study the SACRED in order to understand the HUMAN. The SACRED includes, among other things, economic, political, social, cultural, or even religious attitudes or ideas.
  11. We should avoid the overly pedantic CYNICISM of POSTMODERNISM and the overt, deterministic IDEALISM of MODERNISM. OUR path will be that of oscillation or rather a superposition of states, where WE can be both skeptical and idealistic.
  12. CULTURE does not exist in stasis, nor does CULTURE move at glacial pace that is easy to predict or comprehend. Instead, as Charles Stross points out, “The bedrock of our cultural tradition is actually quicksand. We reject many of our ancestors’ cherished beliefs and conveniently forget others, not realizing that, in turn” future generations “may do the same to ours.”[3]
  13. WE must avoid crafting or talking of things as if they are MONOLITHIC constructs. Consider religion, politics, race, class, etc.
  14. ART exists within (a) discursive space(s), where ARTISTS participate in a number of dialectical conversations.
  15. ART cannot or should not be divided between the INTELLIGENTSIA and the COMMON RABBLE. Such a division oversimplifies the creation of art. Moreover, this division is a cynical, elitistview of those art forms that are deemed too vulgar for university or college classrooms. HIGH and LOW art can inform one another; in many cases, these disparate art forms can converse with one another in a common discursive space.
  16. ART is polyphonic — even when the first-person and second-person are employed.
  17. ART is a messy business. ART is not a clean or pacifistoccupation. ART is fundamentally violent. ART defamiliarizes the familiar. ART is unstable. ART is dangerous. ART is not a safe place. ART is a battleground. ART is a crime scene, with a number of bloodied and broken corpses already littering the cold pavement underneath our feet.
  18. ART is an OPEN SOURCE project. ARTISTS do not own art, as it is the byproduct of the TOTALITY that envelops the artist. Copyrights and trademarks are merely schemes to maintain some semblance of control over a product WE have little control over in the first place.
  19. In line with ART’S open source nature, ART is living and breathing. WRITTEN TEXT can be changed, adapted, and so on. FILM can be re-mastered. PHOTOGRAPHS can be transformed into new pieces of ART. The list goes on.
  20. The perceptions and receptions surrounding a piece of ART are not absolute. Perceptions and receptions concerning ART change from one person to the next. Moreover, this holds true from one generation to another. As a piece of ART migrates from one spatio-temporal location to the next, it gains or loses something along the way. This is a natural process for ART. It is a process that WE cannot and should not resist.

[1]Taken from Luke Turner’s “Metamodernist Manifesto” (2011).

[2]Taken from Luke Turner’s “Metamodernist Manifesto” (2011).

[3]Stross, Charles. “Spy Kids.” Foreign Policy (29 Aug. 2013).

Originally published on and Medium.

G. Michael Rapp

Published a year ago


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