Ever since the dawn of civilization, and perhaps even earlier, an extensive transformation has been creeping into the way that we live our lives. This process has been so gradual that it hasn’t even been formally recognized by anyone throughout the ages. But now that this trend has been accelerating in the recent decades and years, it has become crucial to name it and be aware of it. This transformation is the rise of antiphysical culture.
What is antiphysical?
Antiphysical is a way of engaging life that is contrary to our physical nature. It can be a specific activity, technology, or a culture that disengages and decommissions our physical entities so that only our words, minds, and senses are actively engaged. When a person is involved in an antiphysical activity, his physical body is almost always stationary and sedentary, and relegated to a position of merely facilitating the transfer of information to stimulate the senses. It’s a way of life that is not merely un-physical, but anti-physical due to the way it degrades the physical strength and health of all affected individuals along with their overall human experience.
Some of the examples of antiphysical activities are:
- Watching sports to vicariously experience thrill and a sense of belonging without any active participation.
- Playing video games to experience adventure and a sense of accomplishment in a virtual world.
- Reading novels or watching television shows to experience human interaction and to stimulate emotions.
- Communicating with other human beings using impersonal technological devices that deprive intimacy.
- Watching pornography to stimulate sexual arousal instead of experiencing actual sexual intercourse.
- Resorting to debates, insults, and intellectualization to compensate for the lack of real, tangible power in the political sphere.
As you can see, the antiphysical activities tend to be surrogate activities for our primal needs and desires such as our need for adventure, the need to belong, the need for validation, and so on. What they satisfy in us range from something as basic as our need for stimulation and communication to our desire for intellectual growth and higher meaning. But in the end, they remain just that: surrogates for the real and tangible life experiences that cannot be replaced with fantasy.
Once antiphysical activities become prevalent and normalized, the very culture that people live in start to become antiphysical in nature. In an antiphysical culture, people focus their life energy towards their inner and false experiences as opposed to the external and real experiences. The mental fixation on stimulation and information, in contrast to the physical stasis and resignation, is the very feature of the antiphysical way of being. If there are still any doubts or confusions, the concept can be made clear by observing the plethora of examples from our society.
Signs of Antiphysical Culture:
- People spend great deal of their time stationary to the detriment of their health.
- Many jobs today involve repetitive and minimal physical actions while requiring prolonged sitting. This contrasts to the excessive amount of mental stress the workers usually go through.
- More and more entertainment and leisure activities involve sitting with minimal physical actions.
- Electronic media, which involves almost no physical movement, is taking over as the primary source of past-time for many who spend several hours on them on a daily basis.
- People are spending less time outdoors while spending much of their time indoors, leading to alienation from nature.
- People now spend majority of their time confined inside buildings and inside vehicles that transport them from one building to another.
- Majority of people lack physical exercise and sunlight as a result of their antiphysical lifestyles.
- More children today prefer to stay home to watch television or play video games rather than to go out to play. Those who are unable to sit for prolonged periods of time are diagnosed as having ‘ADHD’ and are given powerful drugs designed to pacify them.
- More people prefer to communicate using impersonal messaging systems and spend less time interacting face-to-face.
- The media and entertainment industry (music, film, sports, television, games, pornography, etc.) has been exploding in growth to take over our culture.
- People are content being mere spectators and fans rather than creating or doing something for themselves.
- People are more involved with the fantasy than with the reality.
- People spend much of their time expressing their opinions and debating about things they have no control over.
- People are losing their ability to focus and concentrate due to the overload of media stimulation.
- Many people today are resorting to alcohol and drugs to elate their inactive lives.
- People’s minds are being overstimulated while their bodies are being neglected, causing stress, anxiety, physical deterioration, and numerous other health problems.
- People are having less sex while pornography use is becoming rampant.
- People prefer vicarious experience over experiencing reality for themselves.
- Because people lack any real power, they are increasingly turning to the internet and social media to voice their opinions, seek validation, and to attack others.
- And many more…
We live in a society full of people who are either obese or fragile, full of anxious energy that has no where to go. These people constantly numb themselves with entertainment and media, and continue to surround themselves with ever more technological innovations that command their attention, thereby surrendering their very existence to machines.
Compare this recent trend with the lives of our forefathers who were constantly on the move, who needed to physically exert themselves on a daily basis while facing constant danger. They were always out, defying the harsh elements, and would labour to a point of exhaustion. They had no illusions to distract them, nor did they cling onto false realities to fill some void within their soul. No, they lived a total life of physical reality with their mind and body working as one. They experienced the world with the entirety of their being.
Also, another consequence of being trapped in an antiphysical mode of life is that the real world starts to feel dull and lifeless compared to the superficial excitement of the virtual fantasy world. The media today works hard to capture your attention with exaggerated images and normalizes the extremes in the process. Your interest in the real world will diminish as you become more excited by the action going on in screen than in the sun, the breeze, and natural life that await you outside. Women in life will become less attractive when you bombard your eyes with thousands of pictures and videos of nubile women who exist only as pixels. Your capacity to enjoy the real world will wither away the more you get sucked into the false-reality of antiphysical world.
I have no doubt in my mind that the primary cause of today’s mass physical and mental deterioration, along with the perpetual ennui and restlessness of the people, is due to the antiphysical way of life that we have adopted for ourselves.
Antiphysical in Politics
Besides our everyday life and health, one of the more profound ways that our antiphysical culture has changed us is in regards to politics.
The ordinary citizens of today have much less power to change the circumstances of the world compared to those who lived in the yesteryears of our civilization. In contrast, the freedom to express and the means of expression have become greater than ever before. In short, people today have all the freedom to express the power they no longer possess. This is the antiphysical reality of today’s politics.
We live in a world where simply expressing one’s opinion is seen as a political activism (and even that is being threatened by repressive political correctness). To take a recent example, what exactly does putting up a picture or a short message on your social media, to show “solidarity,” do to change the world? Nothing, is the answer. Whereas words in the past were used as means to spread ideas to inspire political action, today, words are merely ends in themselves. They are reactive expression as opposed to being the catalyst they used to be.
All the insignificant fools with an opinion and an access to the internet seem to think that they can bring about change just by letting their opinions known. They endlessly analyze and offer proposals for how the world should be as though they already possess some sort of tangible power. What are they actually doing if they don’t take any practical action themselves? Are they not merely playing fantasy scenarios through their minds? How different are they from sports fans who merely watch and discuss the games from their seats? If an intellectual giant like Chomsky couldn’t bring about a real-world change after decades of work and dozens of books, what change do some keyboard warriors on the net hope to bring about through their political masturbation?
People engage in political debates and arguments precisely because they have no power. If they did have power, they would be taking action instead of wasting their breath on words. You must know that words only have power if they lead to action. And this is precisely why people of modern world have all the freedom to express themselves. Our overlords know that we’ll just vent out our frustrations and just go back to working for the System as usual. They know that we’ll be complacent with just expressing ourselves and convincing ourselves that something useful was done.
The antiphysical culture is deeply entrenched in our political culture where the people’s power is largely limited to expressing their impotent opinions and voting for lying criminals every few years, and the advancement of technology is complicit in this. Although the progress of technology is making it more efficient for us to communicate with one another, it is actually having an inverse effect on action. Revolutions in the past were inspired by the word of mouth and hand-written pamphlets, but just how many major changes have we seen through the use of today’s social media? Whatever political changes that came about happened not with the help of technology, but in spite of it.
Democracy by its nature is antiphysical. And there is no freedom in democracy no matter what they tell you; peasants in ancient China who sometimes overthrew their emperors had more power than the middle-class citizens of today who have zero influence over the System. The political-intellectualization, which is the direct progeny of antiphysical culture, is suffocating the human will through the excess of words. An army of idiots who take an action will bring about more change than an army of intellectuals who can only speak and write. And this is why terrorism can be surprisingly effective at times.
So, how long will it take before people mobilize to take action instead of expressing themselves through social media to make themselves feel validated? How long will it take for the people become fed up with playing with words and start taking action to make things happen in reality?
It’s also interesting to note how the internet has become the dumping ground for people’s political energy. All those who are unable or unwilling to speak out in real life take refuge in online communities where they form virtual tribes. These virtual tribes engage in political power struggle the same way a real political organization would by consolidating its base, forming alliances, attacking the enemy, and so on—all with words and pictures. How different is this from playing a board game when most of these individuals rarely take any sort of action beyond the online world? Is the internet not merely an outlet for the frustrated men who have no power in the real world? As long as they are able to vent out by typing out their political frustration, they will not be causing any troubles out in the streets where it matters. In a way, granting freedom of expression is the best way to keep the people under control.
Now, even if online activism does make a difference once in a while and can be instrumental in spreading ideas to people around the world, it doesn’t change the fact that we are witnessing a proclivity towards an antiphysical political landscape. The result of all this is out in the open for all to witness, as long as they have the will to get off the internet to see it for themselves.
We live in a society that both lures and forces us to retreat into the various fake-realities that surround us. We are made to watch, but not touch; imagine, but not feel; read, but not strive; and talk, but not act. By fully indulging in antiphysical activities, we have inadvertently trapped ourselves into an inward mode of existence. What kind of life is it to spend the great bulk of our time sitting, only moving our eyeballs and fingers to absorb the media and to communicate? What kind of human relationship are we having when we spend so much of our time sharing frozen photos and pressing the ‘like’ button to boost each other’s egos? I look around to witness a mass of people who are increasingly becoming slaves to electronic screens, oblivious to the world that is happening around them.
The irony hasn’t slipped from my mind that I, too, am engaging in an antiphysical activity by writing this blog to compensate for my lack of power in real life. I would much rather be unleashing my energy out onto the world if I wasn’t so restricted by our repressive society. I do not enjoy spending long hours in front of my laptop. That said, I see this blog as a starting point for something greater. Something that will go beyond the reaches of the net. I will not be confined here forever.
Although it’s almost impossible to escape the clutches of our antiphysical culture unless you plan to forsake the modern society as a whole, there are steps you can take to loosen its grip over you. First, disengage from all virtual media and entertainment that only serves as the junk food for your mind. This includes spectator sports, pornography, television, movies, video games, social media, news, online politics, etc. You must recognize them as the harmful time-wasters that they are and get rid of them from your life. I myself feel disgusted just by remembering the thousands of hours I wasted on them during my youth. It’s best to substitute whatever antiphysical activity you can with something that is physical and real. For example, I stopped watching sports and tried playing them instead. I also read non-fiction books and rarely touch works of fiction. I find that I prefer the reality. Next, do more to keep your body active and engaged. It’s good to find new hobbies that require physical exertion, but that’s not enough. You must master your body by reconnecting it to the world around you. You must experience the world directly instead of through technological mediums.
You will be doing yourself a lot of favour by going out to spend more time appreciating the majesty of nature.
To conclude: Are antiphysical activities necessarily bad? No. They offer us experiences that we may never be able to experience in real life and can even offer us lessons on how we should act. But we should not accept them as our default state of existence. We should not be limiting our existence to the confines of someone else’s creations, and not be lured into experiencing just the shadows of reality. The world offers us so much to experience and it would be a tragedy to deny ourselves that gift.