The concept of self is an important one. In a world that has grown savagely addicted to globalization, a phenomenon where the person tends to lose oneself into generalization, self-discovery becomes even more important. Art produced by the adherents of such rebellion is at its most basic, a reflection of human nature and hence is brutally flawed. This tragedy itself has its own beauty. Man, after all, is an imperfect being.

Post-modernism and meta-modernism are important philosophical concepts to learn and embrace. Through avenues such as cinema (almost all Woody Allen movies, Lars Von Trier films and Cormac McCarthy’s Sunset Limited), literature (Paul Auster, David Foster Wallace, Thomas Pynchon and in some ways Christina Stead) and music (Rap music) one gets exposed to this addiction to discover the self. These art forms go simply beyond the socially defined definitions of man and instead delve deeper still, all to discover the very basic building blocks of human nature. None of the above claim to truly understand what they do, after all, this is never the point of the exercise. The point is simply to expose, to display, and to reveal what remains hidden. They present a human’s eye view, one free from the clutches of social dogmas and cultural bindings. They tell stories of characters who are not the picture perfect, ever-lucky, always smiling and always successful heroes we crave from our entertainment avenues. Instead they focus on normal human beings who are so normal that their normality promises boredom. And yet, the attempts at boredom fail. Why would they not? After all, is there anything more exciting than the adventures of everyday life? Our generation has been indoctrinated to emulate marvel heroes, who wear capes or have the best of everything. We are hence made to believe in the very vague concept of luck and blame for all that we don’t have. This disallows us to look at things that really, truly matter. It demands from us the escape from our ability to appreciate the little things in life. It makes us emotional zombies.

The man of today has grown lonelier, which is a very sad oxymoron in this time and age. With the countless avenues of ‘socializing’ why does the lingering stench of solitude refuse to wade away? To put it simply, why has this experience of socializing grown so much hollower, dissatisfactory and incomplete as compared to its past reincarnations?

This is one problem that almost all of us tend to take as a trait of our everyday mundane lives. Somehow terming it a norm makes it easier to accept and eventually tolerate. We, the human kind, have evolved to be cowards when and where we can. This too is an example of such a choice.

Back to contemporary socialization: Those who demand attention are termed as needy. Those who are actively expressing themselves are deemed too talkative. Those with less likes and comments on their posts are termed as unpopular. The generation of today somehow finds comfort in its addiction to stereotyping. The sense of the world is made through these uncomfortable and ludicrous attempts at explaining the human emotions. Its attempts are of course futile but neither the enforcer nor the enforced sees this. The victim too, in other words, becomes a slave to the stereotype. As would someone in a powerful trance, the victim stops fighting the clasps of the painful stereotype and instead becomes what the structure of the society wants them to be. Society is indeed made by man and vice versa. In times like these, when it is so easy to forget oneself, the need to self-discover cannot be over-emphasized.

To conclude, lets stack our cards. Reality is subjective, at least in the philosophical terms. Like our beliefs, we have full authority to believe the type of reality we find most comforting. Comfort too, is subjective. Some people find comfort in becoming part of the flow and not rebelling against the system, others find comfort in the numbness of sadness while there are those who simply find comfort in recognizing comfort as a concept dictated by anyone but themselves. The society plays a major part in influencing our choices of both reality and comfort and hence does indeed shape for us our definitions of a comfortable reality. The phenomenon of globalization has furthered this cause. The exposing is a prime example of Emile Durkehim’s concept of anomie, and can indeed lead to the establishing of his many theories on suicide. That said, this write up does not seek to debate whether this trend is for the better or worse, no one can really decide that. However, the exposing has its harmful effects on the “one true self” that we nurture deep down within our psyches. And while the more ordered and hence more predictable world has its charms, it does offset one’s ability to be their true self.

Indulging in post-modernist art forms allows one to challenge these trends. It reminds the person of the commonness of one’s flaws and reminds the person of the similarity of misfortune he shares with every other human being. These moments target the façade of perfection we worship and reveal the chaos that is this world when it’s true self. And within this true chaotic world it makes us realize the truth that truly matters, that is, there is still a more densely insane and chaotic element of being: the true ‘human being’.