23rd November 2021
Alessandro Di Giampietro
Having a soul means laughing while watching people die.
Werner Schwab – Fecal Dramas
Let’s imagine for a moment that there can be a society that is able to reward its components so they can enjoy – with as much intensity as possible – what they are experiencing. Those who can maximize the curve of optimizing pleasure, exist more than others, exist as proof of a common hedonistic conviction that wants to eliminate pain and avoid boredom in the conquest of a soul. Those who will not be able to enjoy will die flattened by the weight of laughter. We are in one of those worlds where it’s possible to immediately understand how life is just the chewed-up leftovers of an economic theory, in one of those places where no one is really interested in what happens beyond their own sentimental living room; the other is just an opaque background, veiled by stains of a nonspecific color: bulky niches of generic bodies move around us – although, in detail, they’re different among them, all are nobody – beings disguised as good intentions in the search of the right conversation, the right number of drinks, the right passage, the right sexual prey to bewitch with a certain evocative attitude, only from the image of an end; all involved in a rag dance, with the intention of producing what we might call the absolute value of a mere present. Here, past and future are insignificant since the immediacy of contentment is the only valuable truth. Here, everyone has something important to live by – in their own inner hole – while standing in grimaces of contentment, dancing, laughing, fucking, buying, drinking, watching, listening, greeting, working and incessantly doing what they want, to empty the existence of meaning, making room for an economic emotion in exponential growing.
Now Let’s imagine that in this very world, there could be an experience machine capable of producing in the bodies that would enter it, the maximum sensory activity of appreciation, in the total subtraction of the decision-making capacity of all those fully involved. The experience is indistinguishable from life-size, and everyone can decide whether to live outside or inside the machine. However, if you decide to enter, then it’s the final choice.
At the bottom of this negative architecture, the prisoners of pleasure would be completely unable to answer the following question: to what moral dimension do we appeal when we want to tell ourselves and others the value of what we are doing, or more generally, of all that is within the meaning of sensory experience?
Fortunately all this is just pure imagination, just enough to take the distance from such conjecture, to avoid the possibility of a dead-end event.
A: Are we leaving this place?
B: And why never
A: You’re not gonna tell me you’re having fun
B: I think so
A: What makes you think that?
B: It’s raining, I love the rain
A: I think they’re spitting at us
B: Do you have anything better to propose?
B: So shut up and enjoy the rain
text by Danilo Vuolo