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Psychogramming

February 1, 2010

Roland Barthes described fashion as a semantic system for the continual differentiation of one year’s line from the next, bringing about the predestined obsolescence of the “old-fashioned.” Skirt lengths increase and decrease, collars morph in shape and size, styles cycle and recycle, always replacing last year’s rave. Psychogramming adds the consumers themselves as a source of differentiation. It probes their behaviors, motivations, and beliefs, which it molds into consumable sources. (Inaba, Jeffrey, “Psychogramming,” The Harvard Design School Guide To Shopping, Taschen, 2002. 560)

Reading the short essay “Psychogramming,” I birthed a thought, in which I might, with significant training at the confluence of psychology and marketing (“psychogramming”), be able to fashion my written critiques, my authentic and sincere deliberations, into some kind of narrative of consumption. By narrative of consumption, I simply mean that my thoughts (which I have unwittingly presented, published, and left generally free for perusal through various media formats) could be used against me in order to develop techniques by which various forces (individual, corporate, state) might be harnessed in order to predestine my consumptive mechanism. This would mean that I had been “psychogrammed,” or my subjectivity and general disposition could be the impetus for the calculation of an infinite number of equations to determine how I will consume goods in my own finite future. This is a disturbing paranoia, though, I don’t mean to sound freethinking (hence I be classified (psychogrammed) as such) but I think (freely) that I could easily elude such classification. I suppose that many men have endeavored in pursuit of such elusion (illusion?). To successfully take control of my consumptive mechanism (my brain or just part of it?) Their perfect equation would have to take into consideration the entire history of my life for calculation: both before the date of the equation’s formulation (if it has not existed, already, for eternity) and after, for the entire remainder of my future consumptive life (if I ever die (and I say this merely to thwart an attempt at using my words against me or do I?)). From here, so settled in my own self-reflexive cycle, I can only imagine that I might one day be propelled (mass-paranoia) to develop my own cryptic system of mark making. So fanatical I will be, that in order to stop my own self-consumption, literally devouring my own words, (perhaps my own fingers) and thus ending my messianic scriptures (marks on a page, or more probably, a collection of words in prose style each containing incomplete fractions of truth and nonsense and everything in-between), I might begin the devolution of the very chain of “reactions” which set in motion everything I have written until now.

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