Psychosis, So Good!
Following our prophets of delusion toward mental liberation.
by Michael Sugarman
Michael Sugarman is a writer living in Brooklyn.
I was at the gym the other day, climbing up 75 imaginary flights of stairs, when my attention was drawn from my awesome bun toning to one of the countless TVs in the reverse panopticon surrounding me. This one was set to a Spanish-language news channel, which was airing a segment on a new Instagram post from one Kim Kardashian. Slow news day. “Kim Kardashian en Compañía Sorpresa,” read the headline. I immediately turned the machine down to a balmy stroll up a grassy hill and whipped out my phone to pull up the post. One of her more mid selfies, pretty unremarkable save for a shadowy figure in the background. “Soooo I took this pic last week when I was alone and now going through my phone I am freaking out noticing a woman in the window.” Is it a statue? Her own shadow? An assistant she’s forgotten exists? Does it really matter? When one of the most influential and bodylicious women in the world engages in a public forum about potential supernatural activity and subjective reality, it’s indicative of a much larger conversation: can we really believe everything we see?
In the past two decades, the way we consume media has changed drastically. No longer is it an escape from reality, but rather increasingly becoming the very reality it’s meant to distract from. Of course, visual media has emulated reality as long as it has existed, in Renaissance paintings and Talmudic texts, even hieroglyphics, but what is new is the various forms of media that exist, and the frequency at which they can be viewed, through mobile devices and the internet.
For many people, more hours of their day are spent in front of filtered reality than not.