Peter Limberg & the Affective Interworld of the Cultural Wars



Maybe that's the real question.  And according to the Stoa's Peter Limberg -- vibes are indeed making a comeback.

Vibes are clearly a vague concept.  Atmospheric waves of affective resonance provide a metaphor that seems to be a playful (and/or foolish) hybrid of quantum theory, electromagnetic electromagnetic technology, psychedelic culture & the pluralistic or postmodern importance of finding emotionally-satisfying engagement within a tribal subculture. 

Is there some clever metamodern rehabilitation of this outdated 1960s concept?  Do vibes, in fact, have some pragmatic necessity for those who stand together before the metacrisis? 

Limberg's answer is feels like YES. 

A few years ago he co-authored (w/ Conor Barnes) an article exploring the multiple hidden memetic tribes within the culture war.  It garnered good attention.  Why?  Partly because we are all sick of the obnoxiously blunt binary of left-vs-right political categories.  That framing does not serve us very well.  A digital television screen with only two pixels does not offer much clarity or resolution. 

So it felt good (back then) to hear Limberg and Barnes exploring a half dozen emergent memetic tribes.  Clusters of different ways in which people were responding to the meaning crisis.  Tribal groupings around common phrases, names, news stories, ideas, information, misinformation & habits of self-description. 

These memetic tribes shared, traded and generated particular memes that allowed them to consolidate their values in response to the world-historical moment.  But what are the built-in limitations that come along with the practice of analysing people according to their diverse usage of cultural artifacts?

One problem is that memetic analysis keeps us fixated on content -- rather than style.  Staying locked into WHAT rather than HOW can be a problem in sensemaking.  Once a memetic tool exists, it obscured the fact that it can be used by anyone.  Dogmatists claim they are following the science.  Reactionary barbarians assert that they are pro-diversity, pro-inclusion.  And any two people who claim to "love God" might have diametrically opposed beliefs. 

The other big problem with memetic analysis is that it may reinforce the exaggerated technosocial versions of Game A that are currently degrading our ability to understand, inhabit and mobilize within our epoch.  Maybe the vision of humans as meme-users and content-consumers who organize digitally around their articulated values is inherently a degrading presumption. 

Maybe meme-consciousness is, like, totally the wrong way to think about this, man. 

So in his new article -- A Philosophical Report on the Vibe Shift -- Peter Limberg updates his argument by casting the whole meme-frame into doubt. Instead, he argues for a Vibe Shift.

Clearly the shamans among us will rejoice at this terminology but it is not just a cute way to describe the sensibility of wizards and witches.  Like many aspects of neo-shamanism, this emphasis may be the root of a survival strategy necessity for sanity in the emerging epoch.  Return to the body.  Return to the senses,  Get some distance from your devices.  Empty your mind.  Be on guard against the invasive power of memes.  Look past words and ideas in order to find real community.  Be less available to the framings and identities.  Be more of a unique idiot and then find those who you get along with for some unknown reason.  

Mindhacking (whether intentional or unintentional, human or algorithmic) is rampant, pervasive & accelerating.  It borders on abuse.  And it might require a resurgence of the radical philosophical suggestions we thought were left behind in the 1960s.  Drop out.  Tune in.
But this time vibes have to be understood with an emphasis on the robust and the wise.  We would expect no less from a resolute, contrarian Stoic like Limberg.

His advice is to eschew the easy, aspirational and fragile obsession with GOOD VIBES ONLY and look instead for the wisest vibes you can find...

If you're interested in how to do that -- or if you'd like to know what the heck doomscrolling, pornification, PsySec, VibeTribes & sensefulness mean -- then read his damned article.


What the heck was VibeCamp?
Words by
emerge is convening a field of metamodern praxis