The Rabbit Hole
When I was 11 I was given my first device with internet access. An iPod 3G my cousin had recovered from some electronic recycling place.
This would be a life altering thing, as you can tell. I am ‘MemeAnalysis’ afterall.
While this is a sort of universal experience for late Millenials and early Gen Zs, the primal drives that guided their exploration of this strange digital domain was often Libido or Thanatos. You searched ‘Boobs’ on google, or downloaded some games for the phone. Mine was a bit different. Paranoia.
My first youtube videos were little movie clips and things, but I quickly found “Illuminati Symbolism Revealed!" and “FEMA Camps are Coming” videos. They spoke to me in a way nothing before had.
I spent my early youth entranced by mythology. The Gods and Spirits of old populated my imagination. But they remained essentially ‘past’. It wasn’t until watching Raiders of the Lost Ark that I realized these ancient things were still with us, still Living.
So upon finding these videos, which provided a thriving mythos of pop culture, I was hooked.
Cartoons are not innocuous, but filled with secret meanings hidden by wicked magicians in service of a horrible secret society!
What isn’t to love? The Gods are real and they live in our media!
This paranoid reading of media would come to flow through all of my work.
I didn’t understand the significance of this conspiratorial upbringing until a bike ride with a friend. She told me about the very same rabbit hole she fell down as a kid. My first thought was on our sharing a Zodiac sign (Sagittarius), and that we both feared the FEMA camps most. The symbolic nature of conspiracy was brought to cognizance for the first time.
This would lead to my set of Conspiracy Correspondence: https://memeanalysis.com/conspiracy
As I came to read Philip K Dick, I found another paranoid Sagittarian fixated on the occulted forces in media. A brother.
At this point I had already drunk fully from Jung’s chalice, I saw that these symbolic forces were in fact Archetypal, unconscious symbols that arose spontaneously in art and expression.
The significant thing though is the feeling that this world view instills.
For many Jungians, it is ‘interest’, a purely academic approach, or in the mystics a feeling of awe or reverence.
It was never this way for me. I felt more like Philip. I was paranoid.
I was not content to “think” about these ideas. I could feel the flow of archetypes all around, and I took Jung seriously, which is to say, I didn’t think the Archetypes were beneficent friends and objects of research: they are terrible epiphanies and mass possessions lying in wait.
And so the mad state of the world was given contours. Media was capable of spreading ‘memes’, unconscious symbols and ideas instantly, and the memes were having a wonderful time taking mankind for a joy ride.
At this point you may have already written me off as mad. I betray my lack of austere academia.
You are right. I don’t read like an academic. I don’t remove art from life.
I embrace a paranoid reading of the world because it exalts art and divinity.
Dalí knew this well, and utilized the same method in his creations, what he called the “Paranoiac-Critical Method”, wherein he would follow paranoid feelings to their end, and reach bizarre images.
I appreciate Dalí as much as I do a schizo-poster. Both provide living images, glimpses at the divine through the mundanities of the world.
I analyze like a schizo, not an academic.
A good example of how exciting and meaningful paranoid readings can be is the Mayan Apocalypse scare in 2012. Who can say an academic study of the calendar would have produced the same emotion in the many?
Who would rather read a dissertation on the anthropological significance of corn in Mayan religion than MAYANS PREDICTED THE APOCALYPSE?
One seeks to kill the spirit, the other the mind. We can reduce all of the past to a set of sociological and economic mechanism, or we can read it as a flow of divinity animating the Ancients.
This choice dictates our reading of the present. Are we machines driven by capital, or are we subject to divinities?
Which of these worldviews makes for good art or a meaningful life?
My choice is clear. If you are reading this you are likely familiar with my work, I read internet memes as expressions of collective Archetypes. I try to make ugly and mundane things meaningful.
If I didn’t, I would perish of ugliness.
Rather than the blind terror of the conspiracy theorist, I treat my paranoia as an art, I follow my intuitions and reach for the most amusing synchronicities I can. Bridging Pepe the Frog and Dionysus, the Troll Face to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, the Ahegao face to the antique Gorgon.
I could ‘take my meds’, and read memetics through an academic lens.
I could embrace the traditional Jungian outlook, and seek only individual therapeutic readings of archetypes.
I could abandon this fun little project.
But then, would you be reading this?