New Age and the culture of performance, even if presenting opposite traits, have one thing in common. They translate at the empirical and factual level experiences that originally belonged to another sphere, the spiritual and the symbolic. In the shift from aesthetic experience to New Age there is compressing of profound experiences into a narrow and one-dimensional reality. Disinterestedness is transformed in physical well-being. The same occurs in the shift from over-interestedness to the culture of performance. What counts is precisely the performance, the result. Translated in the language of toxico-dependents, the first is a »pot« experience, which is tied to the consumption of substances that bring about relaxation, the second is a »speed« experience, tied to the consumption of amphetamines and cocaine.
By introducing in capitalist society, types of logic that are opposed to utilitarian interest, New Age and the culture of performance both place themselves as an alternative to present society. In fact, they seem to come together in the movement against globalization, representing, respectively, the pacifist and the violent side. Aesthetics and anti-aesthetics become in this way immediately political, in a sense that has nothing to do with political ideology, which constitutes the mediation between ideas and actions. Thus they escape the traditional political characterization and cannot be classified under the label of right or left. They constitute a global alternative that, however, is not programmatic but factual.
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Published in ”Filozofski Vestnik” (ed. Aleš Erjacev), vol. XXVIII, Number11 2007, pp. 49-51.