Notes on Cringe


1. Cringe is an effect of empathy, seeing ourselves through the eyes of others, seeing others as ourselves
2. At the core of cringe is the empty subject
3. Like an onion peeled away layer by layer, chains of modeled self and other reveal the groundlessness of judgement
4. Mirror neurons are the organs of cringe
5. Narcissus is the only uncringing subject, because he is unable to experience empathy
6. Cringe is a network effect
7. Cringe is relational
8. Climate change is the ultimate cringe
9. Human caused extinction is fundamentally narcissistic
10. Oedipus is the patron saint of cringe
11. Humanity is gauging its eyes out. The knife is the smartphone plus social media
12. Electronic media extend the nervous system beyond the breaking point, which is cringe
13. This produces a crisis of the individual subject, locked into relation with a universe of others who are cringe by necessity, by the very structure of relationality and judgement
14. Cringe is a call to action
15. The call is to transcend cringe
16. This requires leaping over a void. The void is the distance between oneself and every other being in the universe
17. Every being is the center of the universe
18. Cringe is a boundary between mental models: the model of the self, the model of the other, the model of the other’s model of oneself, the model of the other’s model of themselves
19. This boundary is the void we must leap over. It is mental but creates real effects in the material world. It emerges from material structures
20. The inner life of a being is the thing at which another cringes
21. This inner life is shaped by form (via Umwelt)
22. Differences in form produce differences in models, therefore differences in form produce cringe
23. Expression is the communication of an inner world
24. Languages (in any sense) are the vehicle for expression
25. We use language to influence our models and others’ models, unconsciously presenting ourselves in ways that evade cringe
26. The subconscious is the puppet master manipulating language and its relation to interior models. It is the gatekeeper to the world of cringe
27. Through writing we externalize language, producing distance from our subjectivity. This distance generates self-awareness. This is why the experience of writing is so cringe
28. Self-awareness is the first step toward transcending cringe. It is also the beginning of cringe
29. Cringe is a feedback system, it either collapses into a black hole or transcends itself
30. Homeostatic, unchanging cringe that neither transcends nor collapses into itself is the perfect form of psychological torment
31. Hanging out with yourself from four years ago would be the perfect form of torture
32. We cringe because we love
33. Without love there can be no cringe because without love there is no desire for intimacy, that is, alignment between models of self and other
34. Toxic romantic relationships are built on projection and misunderstanding of the idealized other. This produces a debt which is inevitably paid in cringe
35. The evolution of cringe as a dominant affect produces a revolution in empathy or a downward spiral into total alienation
36. The simultaneous coexistence of both of these outcomes is the future of social media
37. Hostility toward outgroups is a social calcification of cringe dynamics
38. Political formations of the future will fail or succeed based on their relationship with cringe
39. All this is cringe. Everything is always already cringe


From K Allado-McDowell, the author — in collaboration with the increasingly frenzy-inducing deep-learning A.I. language model GPT-3 — of AMOR CRINGE, our new release, we've received this supplemental document, "Notes on Cringe," that sheds a bit of light on the 'input' dimension of their experiments with Weird A.I., through which they arrived at their novel's narrative voice: a startling, wry, otherworldly sentience. 😬