Memo to the indirectorate:
There is a sort of constancy, an ever-present scum floating on the pond, that this memo seeks to draw attention towards. We'll call it "New Normalism."
New Normalism goes by plenty of names and guises. We might call it majoritarianism, or progressivism, or normalization, or even accelerationism, in the sense that such an aesthetic adopts a mantra of change for change's sake. The shape of the thing is a truncated pyramid, a plateau supported by an ever-widening base. It is pushing through history like a dulled wedge, bulldozing across differentiation, attempting to introduce the solid form of compression architecture where once diverse and complicated structures existed.
There is a tautological sense in which we think of history as reaching "towards" something, that will somehow be simpler than the complicated, hard-to-describe status of the present. All the chaos of the past has been leading up to this moment, in which the complications will be resolved into something easily describable. And so we use our language like a carpenter's plane, trying to smooth the gnarls into boards.
But this isn't just a simplification. It's an assumption that there is such a thing as a vast plateau of normality out in the world, that we strive to reach and maintain. It is an appeal to and for the majority, as if there was such a group of people who all thought and acted the same way. It also treats time like these invisible univocal head-nodders, as if there was a time when everyone is as they should be, and everything was in its right place.
One hears this New Normalism in appeals for calm, for generalized happiness and well being, for common sense, for common decency, and for the unified voice of democracy, even though none of these things have ever existed in the history of humanity. You also hear it in appeals for the opposite--in rallies for progress and change, in hope for the future as much as nostalgic returns to the past. There is perhaps no more revealing statement than the the platitude, "the only constant is change," that conflates two equal and opposite concepts under the mantle of somehow, someway installing a sense of normality over the scatter plot of history.
The New Normalism is attempt to maintain a steady State. The new anti-State is against the notion of such plateaus. When the nation-state is no longer the only sort of State in existence, we must widen our awareness of other systems that seek to substantiate hegemonic force in the notion of normality. Call it business as usual, the allegiance to nationality, racial purity, or commitment to democratic process, it vectors resources towards normality as a system as ossified architecture.
The reason we call it "New," although it is not strictly new, is to remember that it is always changing form. It keep reoccurring, with different names and in different contexts, attempting to fool us into believing that we haven't seen it before, that we don't know what it is. It attempts to remain current, to convince us that history has finally, at long last, lend us to this moment, and so therefore the Normalism has causality on its side. But it is not a new formulation or theory. It is the idealized conservativism, in existence since we began to know what time was.
The point in noticing tendencies towards New Normalism is to correct them, and the best chance for doing so is in recalling time's tremors, that tend to break up the solid mass of that plateaued pyramid, to remind us of the deep tectonics, the fault lines running everywhere, the borders of shapes that allow them to appear unified in their centers. We must remember that normal is not a thing, but a tendency, a wish, an idea that we apply over the world like a finish, to attempt to give it the aesthetic appeal of solid material. It isn't necessary to break up the Normality, because it never existed to begin with. Instead, remember that proponents of this ideology are simply the newest layer of sedimentary collection, the line of detritus that will one day form a single band of color in a much larger rock face, visible once upheaval has sheared away its solid structure and made the long compresses past visible once again.