Gothic Culture is a
Biproduct of Post-Modernism

The Gothic eZine - Culture & Art

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The city landscape is a vast place for the small finite human mind. The expanses of metal girders and concrete were not meant for human consciousness to comprehend. It is foreign and alien to the natural order of human mental processes. The complicated grids of highways, roads, subways, and electricity may have been created individually by human imaginations, but the overall effect of the vast complications of a city is beyond the scope of human understanding.

The human mind simply cannot take in all the information that it sees, and remember that information. We are genetically not designed to do such things. This is similar to how a single person takes in information when engaging in the activity known as “channel flipping”. A person processing a wide variety of channels absorbs only the minimum amount of information that they need in order to understand what it is they are viewing. The speed with which they flip channels therefore is inversely proportionate to their ability to absorb information.

We’re not talking osmosis here, we are talking information consumption. Because television, especially cable or satellite television, is so information rich, the amount of information that is consumed is small compared to the amount of info that is “wasted”. The human mind simply cannot take it all in and thus develops various “disorders” in order to compensate for their habits.

Thus develops Attention Deficit Disorder, and similar disorders. It is important to note however that while people with ADD do have problems concentrating on a single task for a long period of time, they do however excel at multi-tasking. If there is a person who can chew bubblegum, practice a speech in their head, listen to the radio, type in chatroom and work on project for work/school all at the same time, a person with ADD can do it and do it well.

Similar disorders are much more common. For example, have you ever met someone that you know that you know their face, but you just cannot remember who they are, how you know them, let alone what their name is? You are not losing your memory or your mind. This is a normal disorder brought upon by postmodernism. This is because the human mind was not meant to know so many people. Postmodernism has resulted in vast populations of people living within a small area (a city) and thus people meet others on a regular basis. The human mind is not designed to meet, learn and remember so many different people.

The same goes for words. People with small vocabularies never have a “word on the tip of their tongue”, only people with large vocabularies do. This is because the human mind was not meant to retain so much information.

Too much information is the problem that plagues people in postmodernism. Too many phone numbers, too many addresses, too many faces, too many names. People get lost, can’t remember, become confused and unsure of themselves. Modernism and postmodernism has only existed for the last 150 years roughly, we have not had time to evolve and adapt to our changing societal conditions. ADD and similar disorders are the result of human consciousness trying to adapt.

How does this relate to gothic culture however? Punk and goth began as a single social movement aimed at disrupting the populace and rebelling against the statusquo (namely postmodernism, capitalism, government, religion, etc).

Punk music became the more commonly recognized variation of the movement, despite its nihilistic tendencies and the general populace’s complete lack of understanding of what the movement was really about: Individuality and nonconformity. Punk was originally a movement meant to deliberately shock and astonish the mainstream of society.

Goth started in the same beginnings but strayed more into the ideals of religious rebellion and sexual rebellion. The concepts of sexual and religious freedom were the foundations of gothic culture.


Gothic art and music is really about breaking free from repressed sexuality and repressed spiritualism. People want to fuck what they want to fuck and worship what they want to worship. If mainstream society does not support such beliefs, a person seeking freedom will express himself or herself strongly and emotionally.

Within the context of the postmodern city, gothic culture becomes more evident as repressed groups of people come together to share in a sort of unity. They delight in finding others who believe as they do, and no longer feel repressed within those circumstances.

Even appearances is something that is repressed, when we consider how advertising, especially advertising within a city, represses people by making them feel guilty for being overweight, ugly, too skinny, socially awkward, shy, and sexually depraved. By deliberately aiming for gothic standards of fashion, people grant themselves a measure of freedom by deliberately typecasting themselves within a certain context of people.

And besides, black is slimming.

And who doesn’t believe in freedom?

And who doesn’t rebel against society or their parents in some small way?

The postmodern concept of the family is strange. Originally people lived in an extended family in which their grandparents often lived under the same roof, and their aunts/uncles/cousins often lived nearby. The modernist concept of a family became the dual-parent, 2 kids and a pet ideal that was so popular in the 1950s. But the postmodernist ideal, the dysfunctional family is what 99% of the populace truly lives in now.

And within a dysfunctional family, there is a lot to rebel against.

This is not to say that modernist or extended families do not have lots to rebel against, but rather by their nature, modernist and extended families tend to be highly conservative. Thus they do not allow as much opportunity to rebel, although there certainly is a lot of room and reason to do so. Dysfunctional families know they are far from conservative and thus conventional methods of communication and rebellion are thrown out the window as the gaps between generations become wider and the forms of rebellion become more intense.

And while every teenager refuses to admit that they got their tattoo or whatever just to piss off their parents, they admit they secretly enjoy watching their parents squirm and scream as their rebellion continues to flourish.

And while the teenager may later regret the tattoo because it will become ugly with time, in the meantime it is a badge that is part of their individuality and makes them feel special.

For myself, I am not saying this is a bad thing.

In fact I fully endorse it.

Go ahead and piss off your parents.

Dye your hair.

Cut it a weird way.

Get tattoos and piercings in weird and obvious spots on your body.

The sooner the better.

Be yourself and to hell with what everyone else thinks.

Okay, so maybe we might end up with a society in which everyone looks like a freak, but hey, at least we will have no problem with expressing our individuality and freedom by then.

A toast:


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