Striking Passage in “Gone Girl” that Depicts Modern Life and Inauthenticity

Striking Passage in “Gone Girl” that Depicts Modern Life and Inauthenticity August 23, 2016

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Lately, I’ve been noticing some amazing descriptions of spirituality and modern life in pop culture.  (My most recent was Aaron Paul’s character as Jessie Pinkman in his presentation of exactly half of the gospel on Breaking Bad.)

Here’s another punch in the gut, this time in a book I’ve been reading called Gone Girl, now a hit new movie.  In it, author Gillian Flynn offers a great — but very hopeless — description of life:

“For several years, I had been bored. Not a whining, restless child’s boredom (although I was not above that) but a dense, blanketing malaise. It seemed to me that there was nothing new to be discovered ever again. Our society was utterly, ruinously derivative (although the word derivative as a criticism is itself derivative). We were the first human beings who would never see anything for the first time. We stare at the wonders of the world, dull-eyed, underwhelmed. Mona Lisa, the Pyramids, the Empire State Building. Jungle animals on attack, ancient icebergs collapsing, volcanoes erupting. I can’t recall a single amazing thing I have seen firsthand that I didn’t immediately reference to a movie or TV show. A fucking commercial. You know the awful singsong of the blasé: Seeeen it. I’ve literally seen it all, and the worst thing, the thing that makes me want to blow my brains out, is: The secondhand experience is always better. The image is crisper, the view is keener, the camera angle and the soundtrack manipulate my emotions in a way reality can’t anymore. I don’t know that we are actually human at this point, those of us who are like most of us, who grew up with TV and movies and now the Internet. If we are betrayed, we know the words to say; when a loved one dies, we know the words to say. If we want to play the stud or the smart-ass or the fool, we know the words to say. We are all working from the same dog-eared script.

“It’s a very difficult era in which to be a person, just a real, actual person, instead of a collection of personality traits selected from an endless Automat of characters. 

“And if all of us are play-acting, there can be no such thing as a soul mate, because we don’t have genuine souls.

“It had gotten to the point where it seemed like nothing matters, because I’m not a real person and neither is anyone else.

“I would have done anything to feel real again.” 

In that beautiful passage, Flynn’s fictitious character does a great job, once again, describing the mundane nature of life.

What is the solution for this inanity?
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  • That passage reminds me of this earlier one:

    Just as Freud predicted that the fullness of civilization would mean
    universal neurotic unhappiness, anti-civilization currents are growing
    in response to the psychic immiseration that envelops us. Thus symbolic
    life, essence of civilization, now comes under fire.

    John Zerzan (2002) Running on Emptiness: The Failure of Symbolic Thought. Feral House. primitivism.com/emptiness.htm

    EndCiv.com? I don’t think it’s really possible/ethical to do. But it might happen anyway. Hope for apocalypse? Apocalypse, including the Christian fetish for it, has always been a hope for a return to the primitive.