Knausgaard and Koffee
Knausgaard + Koffee
Knausgaard 's ‘My Struggle,’ or ‘Min Kamp’ in Norwegian, is a pretty ballsy move. First of all, it’s got the same title as Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf.’ Second of all, it is a six part memoir of a man’s life.
Ordinarily, I would never read such a book. It seems very conceited and self-assured to write six books about your life when you're only in your mid forties. But I like to challenge myself, and learn new things, and I figured Knausgaard ’s books would do just that.
It was a very surprising read. It was not conceited or self-assured at all. If anything, he was extremely self-deprecating which created an interesting juxtaposition to the concept of a six-part autobiography. I love that.
What struck me is his way of describing mundane, every day things. He sees everything in such an artistic light. One instance of him traveling somewhere he remembered an old man who ran through the streets when it rained.
I always thought that it's nice to travel, see new things. But unfortunately all of that is useless when you don't possess the creativity to make something of the experience. But if you do, beauty, intrigue, and lifelong experiences are everywhere. I feel that Knausgaard and I are alike in that way.
I could never go over everything that I loved about these books, but I thought i’d go over this one connection I found.
Victorianism and Social Media
There is a part in Book two when Knausgaard meets a friend and they discuss their behaviors in the world. One of the concepts that came up was Victorianism, and the ‘staging’ of life. His friend mentioned that during the Victorian period everyone was very proper, it was almost as if people lived their life on a stage. Everything that you could see was exactly what people presented to you. What they didn't want seen was behind the scenes. It was never meant to be revealed.
This got me thinking about social media and how we nowadays behave very much the same way. I do not have nearly enough knowledge to address human behaviors, especially how they change through time. But this made me wonder, are societal trends cyclical?
Social media, or ‘the root of all evil,’ as some like to refer to it, is really just a stage. We see what people show us, and what they don't want seen is hidden from view. I’m not sure why Karl Ove’s friend brought that up as only an aspect of Victorianism; it can be argued that this is true for all time periods and people. But I think with the advent of social media, and it’s widespread use, this concept has shot through the roof.
We are all familiar with the negative aspects of social media and how it can lead to comparing, and eventually cause us to have a very negative outlook on our own lives. I think this is fascinating. Mainly because I didn’t grow up with social media, I wonder about it’s longterm effect, and it’s effect on young people who’ve never knowing any other life.
When I was a kid, and I wanted something I saw in an ad, my mom always told me ‘it’s a picture, you don’t know how it actually looks in real life.’ I was so fortunate to be brought up that way because it’s a belief I apply to things today. I always remind myself that what I see is what people choose to show.
I love social media, without it, I would not have access to my family in other parts of the world. It’s a useful tool. Knausgaard’s book shone a light on the fact that ‘staging,’ and ‘showing off’ to others is something that can happen regardless of technology. People are people, and will behave similarly throughout history.
How good does all this look? It was good indeed, but don't let me mislead you. I took these photos on the floor of my living room, while starving and in desperate need to consume that caffeine.