Ah, the delightful putty-feeling of a not quite formed thought. Glorious, no?
As i was taking an eye-stroll through the brain-candy that is memebase.com, I was struck with a certain regard of the ubiquitous rage-faces. I realized that, upon seeing any particular one, i knew exactly the motive and intent it was trying to express. Although this had always been apparent (as intended by the nature of memes) I began to wonder if there was something more to the recognition.
I mentally expanded the context for my own amusement. The ever-grinning trollface is in essence a trickster; Bejowled 'forever alone' guy is a pariah, hermit, or other sort of untouchable outcast. (sidenote: OXFORD COMMA FTW!) Even the pucker-faced "Y U NO..." guy could be thout of as a frustrated mentor or master.
That's right; I'm directing my first forum post at people who have intimate knowledge of rage-memes AND analytical psychology.
could rage-face memes be thought of as some sort of incarnation/extension of the archetypes of collective unconsciousness as put forth by Carl Jung?
IF SO: is it because these simple drawings are expressions of universal experience? does this validate Jung's theories in some (small) way? Could these memes be indicative, by their very nature, of the current state of the collective unconscious (limited to those that are online i suppose)?
IF NOT: are there other psychological/mythic/sociological phenomena that parallel rage-faces? are they at all acceptable as a sort of psychological shorthand? has Bennie just thought about this way too much?
feel free to ignore the questions and galavant off on to whatever tangent you feel is apropos.
Interesting question. I've always assumed there was a much simpler explanation to the popularity of memes and emoticons and whatnot. Basically that verbal interaction has always been accompanied by facial expressions in human communication. Your face can say as much or more than your words. Since the internet and forums like this one remove the facial aspect of communication, memes pick up the slack.
The interesting part is, of course, that facial expressions are generally involuntary unless you're specifically trying to control them, while memes and emoticons are selected specifically by the user, giving people a lot more control over their communication, making both clarity and lying easier, depending on which is your goal.
I also wonder this. People learn to convey expressions by imitating other people. In fact, I've heard it theorized that one way to develop empathy is to copy the other person's facial expression and see what feelings arise within you. This leaves me with two questions:
1) Do people who spend a lot of time online experiencing an atrophying of their ability to show facial expression? After all, nobody sees your face, so you don't have any reason to show expression.
2) Could rage memes and the like trigger the aforementioned copying response, causing people to feel a sort of sympathy-anger, thereby encouraging more visceral angry responses to a subject then would be considered appropriate?
Food for thought.
Emoticons, yes I see rage-face as an expansion on that concept as well. But in some ways Jungian archetypes may be classifications of socially embodied emotional states, so it doesn't exactly disprove the idea, although it may be a useful alternative and/or extension of the idea.
1. I don't know. Because of the personal nature of this state, and that I don't have any video research to base it on, I can only work with assumptions and personal experience. I think maybe it creates greater extremes in facial expression, but doesn't delete expressivity. What I mean is that the facial state may be more stable for most middle of the road emotional experiences, but when something clearly illicits a specific emotion, the facial expression occurs. On the other hand, facial expressions may be more common when responding to the emotional state illicited by one's actions, rather than the interpretation of others when online. This would suggest a reverting to a stronger responsiveness to one's own emotional state, and a weaker responsiveness, or less recognition of, the emotional states in others. And may explain what I've heard called "screaming toddler syndrome". Which seems to occur in contexts that favour the expression of emotional states without the appearance of bodily language, because of the casual, rather than theoretical nature of the interaction. So people may be more likely to have "screaming toddler syndrome" on facebook, than lets say, a forum discussing technical matters using jargon. Thanks for the inspiration, that was a great question....definitely food for thought....what do you think?
2. Maybe. Have you felt that? I'd say it's like any fictional depiction of human emotion. If it's enough to illicit 'believability' or recognition of affect, it matters not that it's fictional....the response can occur.
I have a question of my own
If Jungian archetypes are at work, which one does Anonymous represent?