Damn Bro, That’s Some Metamodern Shit

metamodernSometimes you just don’t know how to act. You gotta balance how you feel and how you’re supposed to feel. There have been a lot of  variations on this theme; passion vs. reason, man vs. society, w/e. But for the twenty-first century let’s call ’em, your subjective reality, and the collective reality. What you would expect of someone else in a situation that makes you feel shitty? Let me illustrate.

Let’s say you have sex with a woman from work. Your subjective reality you convince buoyant and happy — no matter what happens, everything is kosher. Her subjective reality is naturally unsure, worried and unhappy that she had sex with you when she knows that according to the collective reality, of work-based relationships, you’re not supposed to have sex with co-workers.
The collective reality clearly says in the handbook that if you are going to continue an intimate relationship with a co-worker it must be announced at the Human Relations department. Since she thinks, in her subjective reality, that your probable unwillingness to go to H.R. and tell them that the two of you together are an item after a single night of burro-riding and tequila-drinking, she burrows deeper in her subjective reality of worry and malcontent.
When forced to interact, your level energy relaxes her, yet what the collective reality dictates gnaws at the back of her mind. While you remain cool as a cucumber, there is a blight – an ill at ease tension that boils like stovetop rice in the silence.
You are better at dealing than she, since you resolved. Sex? What sex? Sex. Oh, yeah, that night we had sex…everything is fine — you may have sex with Jenny again! But she is ever the more aware of the ill at ease and her worry redoubles over time.
Should you choose to ignore her subjective reality, you will be making a mistake. You broke the rules of the collective reality – which according to one mindset, deserves applause. The social strictures and propriety, on the other hand, censure your licentiousness. You not only spat in the collective reality’s face, Jenny remains feared and worried, despite your resolution.
What is next?
Well, dear reader, this is a dilemma I ask you to navigate. On one hand, our young protagonist has acted in accordance with his subjective reality, and is to be applauded for his resolution. Or maybe if I get meta, you’ll see that every person’s conception of the collective reality is subjective. Sorry. But that’s why some people act crazy sometimes, because they absorb themselves in themselves too entirely, schizophrenics do this all the time. And so the collective reality brings to bear on his conscience the question of how to continue: proceed thusly, open the communication channels between he and Jenny, ignore her entirely, or any myriad other response depending on how she EQs. But your judgment of his actions, I think, should be informed by your own subjective reality, balanced between collective and subjective. Your decision doesn’t have to come immediately, it shouldn’t — a wise man always remembers that a judgment should be presented – as at jury duty – after all the evidence has been presented. Since the entire evidence has yet to be delivered, please hold off on the judgment of our young protagonist’s character, and focus instead on your own.

By Daniel Ryan Adler

Daniel Adler writes fiction and nonfiction and is finishing his MFA at University of South Carolina.

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