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Member Research - Tek Jansen: An Authentic Hero

With the Industrial Revolution, our society went from one based on production to one based on consumption. Whereas people had once defined themselves by what they produced, after industrialization they began to define themselves by what they consumed. Mass production of goods created a democratization of desire, and more people could buy more things. Work became more mechanized and standardized. What had once been done by specialists could now be done by almost anyone who could figure out how to work a machine.

Many people were not completely comfortable with what happened with society. The standardization of work seemed to make it less masculine; work had become feminized by mechanization. The production of goods no longer required any special skills, it did not require a lot of labor, women began to work in factories, and many people felt as if they had been stripped of their identities. Workers began to look for ways to regain their masculinity and authenticity.

A lot of the activities that we take for granted today were actually popularized in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as ways for people to regain their authenticity, which had been lost to the Market Revolution. Certain forms of literature became popular, including adventure stories about heroic exploits, stories that showed how people could become moral through military adventure. Such stories showed people getting back to their authentic selves; they were more “real” than were those members of the middle and upper classes who no longer worked with their hands as they had prior to industrialization.

Although this feeling of anti-modernism started over 100 years ago, the effects are still in place. When people play paintball or watch an action movie, they’re trying to become more authentic; they’re trying to become more human and “real.” When people go camping, they’re trying to get back with nature. They leave modern civilization behind. Another way in which people seek to find their authenticity is by joining the military. Fighting is authentic and masculine.

Tek Jansen is an example of someone who wants to regain his authenticity and yet is stuck in the modern world in which he must rely on modern conveniences and the culture of consumption. He cares about his outward appearance, putting great thought into what clothes he wears. He enjoys the finer things in life. He takes drugs. He lives in modern times, and he relies on modern inventions and ways of life.

On the other hand, Tek wants adventure. He wants to fight aliens and foreign cultures and whatever is in his way. He’s a hero. He’s a strong, masculine adventurer. He has found his authentic self through the martial ideal, even though he is constrained by his reliance on the modern world.

Tek Jansen can be found in every person. Anyone who lives today in Western society relies on modern conveniences and mass production of goods. People define themselves by what they own, by what they can purchase. People live in a consumer-based economy in which they seek their authenticity – they want to be real. Tek Jansen represents authenticity through warfare and fighting, even as he defines himself through what he owns and cannot live without modern conveniences. Tek Jansen is the ultimate modern hero.

Member article provided courtesy of user Liz.

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