Can ASMR Put Porn Out of Business?
ASMR Creates Vacant Head Space
We need an art form for the internet. Sitting and looking at a screen for a long time where nothing much happens creates a head space of its own. Something has to fill that space. One candidate is ASMR, Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response.
It doesn’t make much sense, but lots of videos on the internet, such as shaving women’s heads bald just to show that you can do it or looking at gas station failures, don’t make much sense. They simply create a vacant head space.
Experiencing a Brain Orgasm
Empty head space can be interesting. Some people claim that their exposure to ASMR provides them with tingling, orgasm-like phenomena. Good for them if listening to, or watching, someone chewing ice can lead to a “brain orgasm.” These are phenomena of suggestion, however. The core experience is cerebral, not sensory. But who needs porn when we can have ASMR instead?
Just imagine that you are standing at the intersection of frisson, hypnotism, and the surrealism of the 1920s. The basic concept of ASMR is that the internet experience is disjointed and incomprehensible. For that reason, it is not upsetting or agitating at all. Instead, it is deeply relaxing.
That internet space in your brain is being filled by images and sounds that you don’t have to struggle to understand — because they are incomprehensible. Take Holly Herndon’s “Eternal.” You look at it, switch off your brain, and let these tumbling images fill that empty internet brain space. Listening to someone whispering gibberish can have the same effect of melting your brain.
And why not? Everything has now moved onto the net. There really is no life outside it anymore, if you count social media as part of the net.
Human Connectivity Has Gone Online
We’ve been around for tens of thousands of years, and there’s really very little new in the way of experience. But this is new. People’s lives have been taken over by these images. Human connectivity has been lost. The concept of community has been forfeited.
The notion that we are part of a rich ongoing stream of experience that goes back for centuries and will continue for centuries, hey! Lost as well.
So, where we are today is new. We are fumbling with new forms to give meaning to this internet newness. ASMR is one of them. Enjoy.
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