Myth and the 'Now' Part Twenty Three: An Ironic Culture


I’ve written in many earlier blog articles about the fact that we are living through an Ironic phase of human civilisation. In brief, this means that almost the entire culture is built around undermining convention, breaking down traditional relationships, and focusing on the inner world of thought and emotion rather than any outer, ‘harder’ realities.

Paradoxically, humanity's perception of 'reality' - as in external space and matter - becomes correspondingly 'empty' and without meaning.

Irony - in literature the genre which depends for its effects upon subverting the established patterns of the usual Epic story - has its social equivalent in terms of a societal consensus in which the targets of the subversion are the moral codes of any individual, group or society. As a literary genre, its effect is to create chilling emotional impacts upon readers or audiences; in society, this can be extended into various cultural forms until it acts to sabotage, threaten, weaken, compromise, diminish or reduce anything designed to uplift, restore or heal things. The trouble is that we have grown so used to Irony that it has become part of the way we think: it has become ‘normal’ to tear down traditional patterns and replace them only with what is subjectively ‘real’ to the individual, arguing that all earlier conventions and traditions were just subjectivity under different names.

One of the most unfortunate aspects of Irony when it becomes the foundation of a civilisation is that it tends to try to reduce any and all relationships to commercial ones. Thus education, for example, is perceived more as the training of individuals for places in a commercial workforce rather than the liberalisation of human beings; jobs are compartmented into salaried functions rather than being seen more holistically as life careers; the worth of things is judged by what they c