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May 26, 2014 | by  | in Conspiracy Corner Opinion |
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Conspiracy Corner: “Bi-Solar Disorder”

Following my foray into the future with Google Ultron, I started poring over my old casebooks in the hope of giving sense to the fragments of information I recalled. It wasn’t enough to guess anymore. I needed a future-predicting rigour, so I could know what was coming and then smugly rub it in people’s faces when it came to pass. My answer arrived in the form of Iain Spence’s Sekhmet Hypothesis.

Every 22 years, sunspot activity peaks and dips between what is known as the solar maximum and the solar minimum. Envision a wave fluctuation, a peak and dip at 11-year intervals. The Sekhmet Hypothesis posits that this magnetic-field switch has an effect on the human nervous system, changing our behaviour and subsequently influencing our culture, namely youth culture where it is most observable. The pattern Spence sees is that we fluctuate between two archetypes of culture, “punk” at the peak and “hippie” at the dip. The “punk” archetype is defined by a display of tighter clothes, shorter hairstyles, intense music, buzzy drugs and an interest in the material. The “hippie” archetype is the natural antithesis: loose clothes, let-it-all-out hair, mellow tunes, trippy drugs and spirituality.

This polarity-switch of culture can be traced through the ages so easily that it’s downright spooky. Starting in 1966, we are at peak hippie; the age of LSD and psychedelics, free love and flowing locks. The punk fluctuation hits in 1977, when shaved hair and leather become the fashion and everybody does cocaine. We get to 1988 and we regress to hippie; except this time ecstasy, electronica and rave rule the day. After 1999, the arrival of The Matrix, My Chemical Romance, caffeine culture and the demand for realism in cinema served to define a punk scene that most of us are still trying to shake off. Currently, we’re surfing another hippie wave post-2011, and won’t hit punk again until 2022.

It’s not exactly agreed upon what defines this age as “hippie”. Most cite the trippy influence of Avatar and Alice in Wonderland, but the growing irrelevance of those films doesn’t exactly help prove this hypothesis. Personally, I think a move from ‘gritty’ films like The Dark Knight to lighter, interconnected ‘mythic’ series like Marvel’s Avengers movies has more credence. An increased focus on mental health and ‘peace of mind’ has led to antidepressants being the drug du jour, and our confidence in ‘the cloud’ paints our internet age in transcendental flavour.

Like any hypothesis, there are as many exceptions to this pattern as there are examples. That doesn’t stop corporations and artists using it to prime their success in the youth market. If you wish to remain unswayed, I recommend investing in a good tinfoil hat. Incognito out.

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He Tāonga

:   I wanted to write this piece, in order to connect to all tauira within the University, with the hope that we can all remind ourselves that we are a part of an environment which is valuable, no matter our culture, our beliefs or our skin colour. The ultimate purpose of this