Monday, May 13, 2024

Totally Frye-d (You Got To Slow Down)

The first chapter of the book, called “City of the End of Things,” describes “the alienation of progress,” one of the elements which constitute the modern mythology. Modern consciousness, in this reading, ends in despair because of its obsessive need to “keep up” with an impossibly fast stream of events. Its mythical analogue is the medieval legend of the Wild Hunt, “in which souls of the dead had to keep marching to nowhere all day and all night at top speed.” In modern times, the conception of alienation has become psychological, and its “central symbol” is “the overkill bomb".

...  It is also Frye's contention that modern technology has created a new sense of time. Technology involves “the continued sacrificing of a visible present to an invisible future”:

. . . progress is a social projection of the individual's sense of the passing of time. But the individual, as such, is not progressing to anything except his own death. Hence the collapse of belief in progress reinforces the sense of anxiety which is rooted in the consciousness of death. Alienation and anxiety become the same thing. . . .

- David Schiller, reviewing Northrop Frye's The Modern Century, for Commentary, 1968

All great but this next one is subliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime

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