The Brexit paradox

How “light” is an intangible value like identity? And how heavy are the consequences of unconsciously taking charge of an identity? The paradoxical lesson of Brexit seen through the oblique lens of communication

We are in the era of lightness, says the “hypermodern” philosopher Gilles Lipovetsky in his interview to Blumm ICS Mag, that has been anticipated here. In this era, capitalism and art are partners, no longer enemies, they are closer and closer to each other. It’s the experience – especially the aesthetic one – that creates value, even more than the product itself with its own features.

Therefore experience becomes an important lever to transmit additional values, besides the economic one: intangible and abstract values​​, such as those that institutions are meant to defend, disseminate, sometimes build from scratch.

How “light” is the European identity? How is the fact that this identity can be continually and easily spread, shared, celebrated, contested  and translated into thousands of shapes – thanks to the intangible flexibility of the digital ecosystem – making it even lighter, even beyond a touch screen?

On the contrary, the paradoxical experience of Brexit showed us how “heavy” yet delicate, first of all on a communicative level, these great shared values can still be. This experience also proved us that, if these values are “taken in charge” by individuals in a wrong, unaware or simply “light” way, the consequences can be pretty much ingesting and substantial.

“Regrexit” is the name that web users gave, between irony and bitterness, to the curious twirl made the day after by those who, only a few hours earlier, defended with drawn sword the sacred principle of Britain First, and then ended up facing the reality they themselves had caused.

It’s surprising that the very least “digital” generations fell into this trap, while it was far more predictable that younger people would ignore the appeal: as many analysts say, a consistent part of them could have considered this call as a sort of leftover by ancient times. The “collective hallucination”, that came as a result, had at least a merit: remind us that “light” does not mean “insignificant”, and that the most fragile values can also be incredibly and irreversibly heavy.



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