Cultural Discourse looks at a broad range of cultural issues.
1st August 2018

Support John David Ebert on Patreon

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https://www.patreon.com/johndavidebert

Hello, my name is John David Ebert and I am a cultural critic and the author of 26 books, including Art After Metaphysics, The New Media Invasion, The Age of Catastrophe and Dead Celebrities, Living Icons.

For three decades now, I have been studying the morphogenetic dynamics of cultures, societies and civilizations. I am fascinated with the ways in which civilizations come into being, transform into long term stable entities, and then wither, disintegrate and die. All civilizations are mortal. And they die in all kinds of strange and interesting ways. The Byzantine Civilization, for instance, was gobbled up entire by The Ottoman Empire. The Mesoamerican Civilization was dismantled by brigands, plunderers and nomads armed with a few guns and some viruses. Classical Greco-Roman Civilization was torn apart from within by endless civil wars and barbarian hordes.

What holds a society together and actually brings it into being is ritual, symbol and myth. Metaphysics is the spinal marrow of a society, and when a society’s metaphysical immune system–what I am calling its archai–is tampered with, then the society in question will most likely go to pieces. Our current planetary civilization is going to pieces. But when something falls apart, the thing is, you never know what it’s going to become, what winged-thing may crawl forth out of its ashes to spread leathery wings and fly. Societies give birth to each other all the time. And micro-molecular societies are often in process of hidden formation within larger civilizational macro-systems.

An internal proletariat, as Toynbee said, is a social formation that is in a society, but not of it. And internal proletariats often announce themselves through the creation of what I term “Boundary Events,” in which an act of violence is often committed to signify the boundaries of a newly arising social formation. The AUM Shinrikyo cult that assaulted the Tokyo subways with sarin nerve gas in the mid 1990s was an example of a Japanese internal proletariat. Christianity itself began as a religion among the Roman slave internal proletariat, but in that case, it actually emerged out of the chrysalis of an older civilization to replace it with a whole new macro-scale Society.

A sign regime, as defined by Deleuze & Guattari, is a system that emits signs in the form of flashing signifiers that are constantly beaming out: the tattoos of a Russian mafia man are signifying that he is part of a different social formation from you; the complicated hand gestures of a Los Angeles street gang member are also signifiers meant to denote his apartness from the decaying social order that surrounds him; the guns held by a proud member of the NRA aren’t so much meant to shoot at people, as to signify that he isn’t part of your world.

So this is what I study. These are the kinds of issues that all of my 26 books of essays, fiction and poetry examine. In becoming a John David Ebert patron, you will help him to find and discover the internal anatomies and hidden sign regimes of cultures, societies and civilizations that are in various processes of flux and decay all around us today. And the things that he finds out as a result of your patronage will light up previously darkened regions of the Being that now calls itself a Planetary scale Society. This light, in turn, will help us to navigate our way through a world that is undergoing disintegrative transformation into something Other.

Thank you.

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