The Never-Ending Syndrome
In the last few years we witnessed the rising success of the “remake culture”, which broadly encompasses all the cultural products (movies, books, TV series, videogames and so on) that recovered old brand contents. Some recent cases are the PokémonGo phenomenon or the re-established popularity of Harry Potter series’ editorial brand. Not to mention the new movie trilogy of Star Wars.
Everybody is aware of that. Still, I kept asking myself a question: why there’s so much cultural remake? Why a lot of stories, brands, worlds and characters are brought back from the world of the “dead” and are put back in their new messianic thrones? Answering with “money” or “capitalism” leaves a huge gap of incoherence and it’s a too superficial reply that avoids the problem. Instead, I tried to find a key solution in a deeper psychological and sociological dimension.
The truth? We don’t like endings, especially the youngest generations (a.k.a. millennials). We don’t accept that a story or something else can end. Our thoughts after finishing the last lines of the final page of a novel usually concern the whole fate of the story characters: we always wonder what happens to them after the ending.
There’s a secret pleasure to keep reading (or watching) the lives of the others, as if it would be a reality show or, even better, a narrative Truman Show. We grew up with the trend of reality shows, it’s not our fault. But most of all, we were raised in a world full of cultural brands that had a global impact on the younger generations: each one of us remembers well the first episode of Pokémon, its first Pixar movie or the exciting Yu-Gi-Oh! card battles that we did with our friends.
In truth, we don’t accept to leave these worlds behind us. We hate the “death of a book” or the “death of a popular TV show”. And the people who work in the merchandising and marketing environment knows it well: it’s a sociological and psychological game based on profit. Our emotions and good memories are exploited just as our Facebook or Twitter accounts.
This incapacity to put the word “end” on something and start a new page in our lives it’s a feature that can be found in many other aspects of our lives. How many of us can’t accept of being dumped by someone else? How many, still in their thirties or in their forties, keep partying as young and wild teenagers? How many can’t accept that we’re no longer teenagers, but young adults. How many don’t want to take the first single step to the path of adulthood and take responsibilities? It does not only depend on the education, there’s something more under it.
We are scared of the boredom of the adult world. Actually, a lot of us have been “traumatized” by the annoying routines of our own parents, not to mention family separations, which means the “end” of the family, “end” of a carefree existence. Therefore, we avoid in every way that existential boredom — which the French poet Charles Baudelaire named “spleen” — that puts us in front of the negative part of reality (failures, social responsibilities, anguish, etc.). In fact, we are constantly obsessed with the conception of death (or end), but we always find other thoughts or things to do that can bury it under tons and tons of bullshit.
Moreover, this global reticence, which is economically and culturally exploited, is one of the sources of the so-called “cultural stagnation” that we are experiencing in these last decades. We keep having the same “official” art, the same good bestselling stories, the same TV programs, maybe even the same life, unconsciously.
Originality has been wiped out from our existences and now it lives underground. We have to dig deeper to find it, to get some fresh inspiration. Indeed, we have young and innovative artists all around the world, but where are they? Society just suffocates them in its game of hypocritical perversions. That’s hard to accept, but that’s the truth.
The only solution, to this global crisis and this incapacity to find cultural and artistic innovation, is to accept that a period of our lives has finished. We need to start a new real chapter in our lives. We shouldn’t keep staying with our past ghosts: it’s unhealthy for us. Instead, we should let them live peacefully in our memories and take a step towards a new journey and, especially, amazing discoveries.
Try to consider that: “end” has mainly to principal meanings, “the final part of something” (death, ending, etc.) and “goal or desired results”. Therefore, my advice to break up with all the vicious cycle of this “fear of endings” (or never-ending syndrome) is to accept to change, to grow up (which doesn’t mean to grow older, but to grow stronger and wiser — just try to imagine yourself as a huge growing tree) and transform that hated and avoided word into “goal”. Set up your objectives and follow your dreams. Don’t be scared of what you don’t know, take your courage and jump to a new stage of your existence. Don’t stop at the first step, but keep going. Appreciate what’s different and learn to love what’s initially strange or unusual. Use your imagination to make a difference and create bold innovations.
By doing that, you’ll be able to break the chains that keeps you anchored to a life where failures and the “ending” obsession can’t be transformed in something good, such as fruitful challenges and personal achievements. You’ll reach a personal independence and a reliable critical perspective about society. You’ll produce something new, you’ll be the new, by breaking the mold that has gradually invaded the cultural, economic, political and social context of our planet.
I’ll finish with one of my favorite quotes:
“What you can do, or dream you can do, begin it! Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe