Wednesday, July 29, 2009

You Are Here: Corporate Mono-Myth

A thought stemming from a twitter conversation with @eve11, not ironically tapped out as I sit here working on marketing materials for yet another porn (or, ok. yes it is.):

It's the initiatory or transformative function of a story that (at least in part) makes it a myth. This is one of the places corporate mythology fails, since the only sanctioned activity within its bounds is consumption or production. That mono-myth has overrun all else in our culture, not the "hero" (with a thousand faces.) Within this framework, I only have "value" based on what I can consume or provide for consumption. Though these things are an obvious necessary element of life, they are the exclusive focus of the first chakra in the Kundalini model of psychic awareness: a worm that exists purely to eat through one end and shit out the other.

(Also note to self, look at this)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Immanence of Myth: Anthology guidelines

Immanence Of Myth To Be Published by Weaponized July 2011

For recent posts and updates on this project, click here


Mythos Media is seeking submissions for the (tentatively titled) anthology Immanence of Myth. This project came about through my own experiences, notes & essays on the subject, but I have decided to open the floor to contributors to increase the scope & breadth of the book.

This book will likely be broken into three sections: a deconstruction & analysis of "myth" as a concept, some forms of modern myths, and a section dealing with personal myths & experience- how myths (your own or others) have transformed or affected you. (see below)

The premise of this book is that myths actually have an essential function in our daily lives, as a meaning-creating method of interpreting our experience, rather than being an "untrue but regularly held belief" or a fanciful story from a bygone era. We hope to redefine this idea in section 1 & provide unique examples in section 2 & 3:

For section 1 we are looking for essays that explore the concept of myth outside the "box" of one particular worldview. This can include analysis of existent myths but we are not creating an annotated bulfinch's, and those examples should be used to support your central thesis.

Section 2 - articles on modern mythology, for example in media (movies, TV, literature, Internet), pop culture, and corporate/brand use of mythological techniques.

For section 3 we are looking for personal-essay style encounters with myth. (We may also consider short fiction if it serves the same purpose.) These can be humorous, dramatic, or anything in-between but should not be journal entries-- in other words, you have to provide the reader a means of understanding how myths have affected you, and how the reader can understand their own lives through a mythic lens.

We will also include a shorter section of interviews with artists that have mythological themes or approaches in their work.

In all cases, cite your references, and please proofread & spellcheck your work.

Submit your work as a Word or Open Office document.

- We will be releasing this anthology through Mythos media and the new Pilotlite. The first edition will be made available as a free PDF and a (not free) POD hardcopy. We will push this through several online channels but each contributor should also promote it to their network of contacts. If this effort is successful we will push it to in-store publication.

- Your work will be published nonexclusively, meaning you can publish your submission (as submitted) at a later date with someone else if you so choose. If we partner with any publishers in a later edition we will insist on the nonexclusive use of your work unless you say otherwise.

- Submission does not ensure acceptance.

- Your submissions will be edited. The editorial process will vary somewhat depending on the need of the piece, but will always include an edited copy sent to the author for their own revision. We would like to keep the back-and-forth to two passes at most. In any event, we hope that you see it as a collaborative process. Please don't submit if you feel uncomfortable about your work being revised.

- Though we maintain final say on what gets published in this anthology, you will also have the opportunity to OK our revisions. Our goal is to come to a final piece that all parties are happy with.

- We are not maintaining a strict guideline on length. Shoot for between 1500-7000 words per piece.

- The first edition will be unpaid and available to contributors at the base printing cost. If possible we will offer a flat rate on later editions if the 1st edition does well but this can not be assured.

- We are presently planning on laying this out in magazine format, and will also be looking for art to accompany the text, especially later in the process.

- Please include a 250-500 word bio with your submission.

Publication date July 2011

SEND SUBMISSIONS TO: jamescurcio AT gmail DOT com

An early version of the Editor's intro was run at Reality Sandwich. Check it out.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Miopia, myth and analysis.

Pasting up some thoughts I jotted down last night. These often come to me right before sleep...

It's an often recognized fact that two things happen when you focus your attention on the study of a particular concept:

First, you see it everywhere. This is exemplified in the concept of a meta-narrative, whereby reality is reduced to a simple principle like the subversion of subliminal sexuality (Freud). These provide an often useful insight into an aspect of reality while at the same time distorting reality around the contours of the concept. What conceals often also reveals, and the inverse is also true.

Second, you likely deconstruct your core concept to such a point that it ceases to mean what it does for everyone else. For example, "will" to Schopenhauer, Neitzsche, or Crowley: their ideas of "will" in all three cases go so far beyond what is commonly meant by the term that many so-called lay-people will easily mistake their actual meaning. ("Lay-person" in this sense means someone who is simply not familiar with a sufficient whole of their work or worldview, which is actually requisite to understanding a core principle like this.) Similarly, this word "will" does not lead to the same concept in all three cases, but rather is a sort of key to a unique thought process for each.

I am fully aware of both of these factors in my ongoing exploration of the concept of "myth." Rather than attempting to escape them through the posture of "scientific analysis," which itself biases outcome, I do my best to embrace them simply to see what comes out on the other side as a result of the process-- the process of inquiring into a concept such as this one likely loops back on itself time and again, and in that process unravels any hope of being understood in a particular instance without a preconceived familiarity with the whole. An entire book could be written on "myth" or even "hope" or "alienation," and if written by different people the results would vary greatly: this itself is a recursive principle of what myth really is. As a result there is a danger of doing a great deal of work that is only valuable to its author. I don't believe this to be the case, as more remains similar about us than dissimilar in the big picture, but even if it is I'm willing to accept that in this work, if not in my fiction, art-- in the myths that I create themselves, rather than the analysis of the process that is going on behind it.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Dionysus and Spiritual Exile

Yet another fragmentary thought that fits into one of the sections of Immanence of Myth-- this one related to the concept of "spiritual exile" that I work with towards the end of the notes I presently have assembled, which is something of a synthesis of personal observation, Campbell's statements on the subject and Buber's I-and-Thou. However, the solution I see to this problem is different, though how to bring it into modern society without it destroying the already threadbare fabric... I don't know.

The Dionysian impulse is the solution to our spiritual exile not through escape, as in the mystical formulas which come from traditions that helped to invent spiritual exile in the first place, but through re-entry into the body-- not as a suit of flesh bearing consciousness but as consciousness itself-- no distinction, no division, expressed in the outpouring of a present that is so intensely alive that it devours, overflows, consumes.

That this state is only attained through extreme excess in our lives demonstrates nothing more than how ingrained our spiritual exile-- that is exile from the manifest reality-- truly is. Whether and to what extent this alienation is cultural or a biological symptom of our curious self consciousness is somewhat irrelevant.

A bit of relevant material from the IoM notes on this subject:
...This idea of estrangement is particularly worth highlighting.56 Though Christianity ostensibly did away with the need of a Priestly caste to act as an intermediary between man and God, this ideology was quickly brushed under the carpet as the Catholic church rose to power. Thus the early Judaic idea of estrangement or exile remained – along with this growing belief that the physical world itself was a sort of purgatory from the union with God. This myth obviously germinated in the cultural soil of a people who were constantly being kicked out of their chosen homeland(s). This belief most likely begins with one of the oldest monotheistic religions, Zoroastrianism, which originated somewhere between the 9th and 11th centuries BCE in or around what is modern day Afghanistan, oddly simultaneous with the roots of Judaism as well.

In these early monotheistic traditions, God took the role of an absolute Other, which makes a genuine relationship impossible: communication depends on commonality. To the average individual, this relationship continued with the older tradition of patriarchy; God became a father-figure so elevated that we could only follow his commands, but never understand him. Jewish mystics, however, recognized that a
God of this sort can only be intelligently spoken of as a “not,” to identify him as any actual element of being would be to limit him by caging him within our own mortal realm. The Jewish mystical system of Kabbalah in many ways is an intellectual means of making elements of the divine accessible, without limiting “his” essence, at least on paper. However, while there may be many other merits to this system, like the empty logical gesticulations of the Christian scholars to follow (such as Boethius, St. Anselm, and Thomas Aquinas), these intellectual or linguistic games change nothing.

To attempt to relate to this absolute, estranged Father-God, one can only cry up to the heavens in hope of a response that cannot come but through an intermediary – half divine himself – thus sharing part of our essence and part of his. It is of course in response to this need for an intermediary that Jesus, historic figure that he may be, took on the mythic resonance of an age, simultaneously adopting many of the elements of the male agrarian regenerative Gods that the Israelites had discarded. As the Christian cult grew from its early days into an institution, (most notably after the Council of Nicea and subsequent Nicene Creed), their leadership developed many political tools out of their myths. An example of this is original Sin, and as a result of the historic and mythic resonance of this belief, we have this “revolt against nature” which has been with us for the duration of Western Civilization. This is not a linear progression but rather a series of feedback loops, which moves temporally in one direction, but with resonances that can cross cultural boundaries, even inexplicably occur simultaneously in geographically disparate locations.

Read a book with Dionysus as the protagonist.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Vote with your money

The most powerful vote you get in this society is with your $: don't look for "deals", look at sustaining the business models you stand behind.

Though in a less black and white sense you can also vote for one business over another who are equally "conscientious", but where you prefer the methodology or even aesthetic of one over another. My point is we should think less just about the immediate personal benefit (this costs less here) and more about the systems we are sustaining and starving.

An example that comes to mind... there was this awesome cafe with a mini free library, essentially, hookahs-- an awesome place to hang out in what was otherwise a cultural wasteland. But it died because people would buy one coffee & stay 8 hours, whereas at starbucks people buy & leave, buy & leave. Everything about the business, from architecture on out, is constructed to re-enforce this model. You can say the biz model of #1 was flawed, but put the emphasis on the consumers consciousness of their participation in a system, and the resposibility becomes ours.

In other words, if we live in a corporate cultural wasteland, it's only because we have collectively chosen for it to be so, albeit in a passive, seemingly unintentional way. It is the aggregate of seemingly tiny choices that often determines the large-scale changes. The purpose of marketing is ultimately to fulfill consumer need- biz acts to make all elements of the process homogenized & easily reproducable because then it is easier to predict & strategize-- but that only works when human behavior is predictable. This makes cultural homogenization a benefit from a corporate standpoint-- and this ties into a sub-topic of the marketing takeover of the counterculture but that we will return to on another day...

All of this is toppled if individuals are unique, unpredictable & think for themselves. So those traits are poison from the standpoint of big biz sustainability. But for the sustainability of humanity, & the planet--- see where I'm going?

I'm disinterested in showy protest that accomplishes nothing. real change is accomplished through the cumulative, day-to-day actions of everyone.

This is a topic that comes up in the presently fragmented notes and essays I'm currently calling The Immanence of Myth (PDF).

A quote from a relevant section on the topic:

All products and their associated myths, (people in advertising speak fairly openly about developing the “story” of the brand, which is the brand's myth), have to find a home within the lives and thoughts of the market. If people demand organic products, companies will meet that demand. Though the proliferation of Yoga, organic food, specialty food products, high quality imports, and the like are being supplied to an increasing degree by the “evil empire,” it is also a sign that consumers have much more power in their hands than they realize. In fact, within the market framework, they have all the power. They just don't realize it, and often don't seem to have the willpower or where-with-all to wield it.67

(FN 67 Along with that power, of course, comes a responsibility that most consumers are unwilling to take on. For instance, though it is perhaps easy to complain about the quality of Hollywood movies today, if people stopped going to see them, Hollywood would very quickly work to develop a new formula. If people recognize that, good or bad, within a capitalist society your dollar is possibly an even stronger form of “voting power” than what is exercised in the voting booth. How many “green” Americans complain about Wallmart and then go there the next day?)

Instead, many people live as shills to various corporate myths because they quietly choose to. If your life revolves around how the shoes you wear define you as a person, or which line of body spray is most likely to get you laid, you’ve turned yourself into a patsy. The only way out of this cycle for the consumer is to
take control of their choices. The only way out for the myth-maker is to create, and forget about trying to be original.

Sunday, July 05, 2009


More information will be made available shortly about Murder The World, Inc. We are currently in the studio preparing a completely overwhelming sensory experience for you- our first album, Nothing Is Sacred. This is a taxing process that involves copious amounts of drugs and self-abuse, so bear with us and check out the album when we're done if we don't all OD on cough syrup and fermented yak semen or invoke a wrathful demon that replaces all of our bodily fluids with nutella. (Thankfully we got most of our drummer's material before he left this Earth. RIP Thor Thorsson.


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