Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Vanguard of a Perpetual Revolution/ Part 6


By Brian George

In “The Real,” Parmenides said, “And thus it remains constant in one place; for hard necessity keeps it in the bonds of the limit that holds it fast on every side. Wherefore it is not permitted to what is to be infinite; for it is in need of nothing, while, if it were infinite, it would stand in need of everything…

“Since then, it has a furthest limit, it is complete on every side, like the mass of a primordial sphere, equally poised from the center point in every direction; for it cannot be greater or smaller in one place than another.”—Adapted from a translation by John Burnet
__

“Four Scouts to the New World” was written several years ago, but I have chosen to re-post it now because of its connection to the crisis—i.e., the earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent near nuclear meltdown—that is unfolding in Japan. One of the central themes of the essay is that any and all “perfect systems” have an innate tendency to self-destruct. The Tao Te Ching says, “The greatest perfection seems imperfect,” and “That which approaches perfection will soon end.”

People tend to use the words “tragedy” and “disaster” as if they were interchangeable; they are not. A “disaster” is an event that appears to happen by itself, that is thrust upon us from the external world—although this may or may not ultimately be so. A “tragedy,” on the other hand, is an event that directs us reexamine and to probe the highly peculiar nature of human action in the world. The key point is: That the actor has done nothing wrong.

It is sad, then—if each actor is free to act as badly as he wants—that I am somehow disallowed from hating all of my enemies! And after I worked hard for so many years to perfect my occult point of view. In the end, my perspective is no better and no worse than yours.

Although faceless, perhaps GE executives from the 1960s are the true and unsung heroes of the story, for it was they who built the atomic plant at Fukushima—without which our general state of anxiety would have no point of focus. Conversely, although billions no doubt recognize his face, we should not assume that Obama’s role is of any great importance—not yet. Time will tell, as will we. There are no bad parts, only actors who are not prepared to take advantage of the moment, and who have not probed deep enough.

If the actor is to cultivate an other-than-human viewpoint, he must first confront the origin of his fear. Death calls the actor towards his own face in the mirror, at the same time that it warns him to immediately stay put.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Contending With The Myth of "Art For Art's Sake" (Interview)


James Curcio: ....Some people get the sense - like it seems you did - that I'm about “art for arts sake” or that I need to grow up or get more hard-minded about business. The truth is, I've written plenty of proposals and business plans in my day, I’ve been involved in quite a few media businesses, and profit is a worthwhile means to certain ends. But those ends are an increased sense of play and creative exploration - and struggle - rather than more profit. Drucker's maxim holds true: “profit is a means, not a motive.” Many people in this world have lost sight of that and it's plain disastrous. I don’t mean figuratively. I mean it’s destroying the planet, or at least, our place in it. 

Elizabeth Craig: I did get that impression about you. That's because you're a serious artist and I was making an assumption - the writers I tend to meet who consider themselves Artists (usually writing in the lit fic vein) give genre writers flack about commercial fiction. That's merely an observation, since it doesn't bother me...to me, writing is about serving readers and literary fiction and genre fiction both serve an important purpose.

JC: That's a fair assumption to make, about literary fiction and genre fiction. And you were probably reacting to a rant I put out about genres - but my gripe isn't so much the usual resentment I think some “literary” authors feel because genre fiction often outsells them and it's “crap” - it's with the idea that genres and the categories that we apply to things actually have any kind of reality.

Don't get me wrong, genres and categories serve a purpose. They can serve an absolutely necessary purpose. But they're still invented. It's the same thing you get where a discipline will take an issue and consider it “off limits,” as if it somehow doesn't apply to them because “that's a matter for anthropology, not psychology!”

I've been wrestling with the genre issue a little with my most recent novel, Fallen Nation: Party At The World's End, which I'm now looking to shop to agents and publishers. It falls somewhere between “dystopian near future sci fi” and “urban fantasy.” I wonder at what point these labels just become so absurd that we can let up with it already.

I know when I start talking like that some people think it must be because I'm unfamiliar with marketing or business, but quite the contrary, I've spent altogether too much time reading marketing reports and niggling about demographics. I think it is a potentially dangerous thing because as you said it's about serving readers, and there's a point at which publishers may think they know what people want more than they actually do when they're overlapping these genre ideas over what is actually motivating people.

At the same time, I know not to write any of this as the lede in my query letter. And if past experience is any indicator, it won't ultimately be a query letter that gets me talking to the right person at the right time. It'll be a random conversation at a party or even an interview. I've never had much luck painting by the numbers, though for some odd reason I find myself trying from time to time when things get rough, as if that approach is suddenly going to yield new results.

Let me give an example, to really reply to what you said. I agree that one of the primary purposes of writing is about serving readers. But you can't undervalue the value of writing itself, in terms of self discovery, in terms of its therapeutic benefits. What's interesting to me is that many authors say that if you're just writing for yourself, that's fine, but don't publish.

However, the times where I've tried to write for an audience and focus on that, a lot of people tell me that it doesn't ring as true to them as some of my other stuff, which I may have produced with no intent of making it public at all. It's a very odd thing, to me. In fact, I try to keep up with agent and publisher and writer blogs as much as possible but I'm finding that I really can't intentionally follow any of their advice, or if I do, I do so at great peril to my own work. Because people can tell. It sounds cliche, but it shows. Yet again the most important thing ultimately is to be true to yourself, whatever the hell that means.

Yet, at the same time, audiences want something that's familiar enough that they don't feel like they're being taken too far out of their comfort zone all at once. It's a very odd dance, and I will say that if I'm going to err on one side or the other I'd much prefer to err on the side that leaves them feeling uncomfortable rather than bored.

 Pre-order a copy of The Immanence of Myth, published by Weaponized in July 2011. (Or sign up to be notified of its release on Amazon.com)

Publishing Myths

by Elizabeth Spann Craig

Publishing is a changing world and it stands to reason that writers and publishers who are adaptable have a much better shot at survival than those who aren’t.

But how should writers and publishers adapt? One way, I think, is by realizing there are industry myths that might cause them to make poor choices. The danger is in not digging deeper for information and simply adopting these beliefs (some of which may have varying degrees of truth) as complete truths…and then being disappointed in the results later.

Indie publishing myths:

Online, I frequently find the fervent belief that indie publishing is the savior for those who haven’t been able to break into traditional publishing. Among writers pursuing e-publishing, I’ve noticed some misconceptions.

Myths that authors cling to that may make them choose indie publishing:


I will get rich with e-publishing. Even some formerly traditionally-published writers who decided to publish an ebook have run into problems or have found their books haven’t taken off the way they’ve hoped. As writer James Maxey put it in his post, Pouring Cold Water on the Kindle-ing :

It’s easy to talk about success. But the thousands of writers who self-pub their ebooks and sell less than 4 copies a month… they aren’t blogging about their failure.

Most readers have e-readers. Although they’re experiencing huge growth, e-readers are still working on making the inroads to younger readers that they have for middle aged to older readers. Bottom line is that by publishing straight to e-reader, you are cutting out some of your potential audience.

Artistic integrity trumps editing. Editing is incredibly important. You can either use a gifted friend or an independent editor but it’s important to have your manuscript checked for mechanical problems like typos and grammatical errors, as well as global problems (characters that act out of character, POV problems, plot problems, continuity errors, etc.) You’re not compromising your art by having it looked at critically—you’re opening it up to improvement.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Is Myth Dead? Part 3: the good old time religion: Ideology of conflict

"In the case of the myths that resonate with the multitude on a level deeper than entertainment, the anxiety that underlies the wholesale exchange of the profane for the sacred can produce a throwback to the “old time religion.” The mythic aura of a yesterday that never existed drives such cultural movements as we see demonstrated in the movie Jesus Camp, and this trend is evident in many revivalist and reactionary groups across the world, not just Christianity. It is also the basis of many American myths that sprang out of the 1950s, of idyllic family values, which reach from that time, and before, right up to the present.
This defensive reaction, to look backwards in times of chaos, cannot be restricted to one ideology. It is one of the forms of modern mythology that we most frequently encounter. As Samuel P. Huntington explores in his book The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, the coming world conflicts will be driven along ideological and cultural fault lines, even if underlying motivational factors in some cases include more material concerns, such as territory or overburdened resources. In other words, even resource-driven conflicts are likely to be painted in ideological terms, especially in regard to the motivating force presented to the people who make up the backbone of any military force. The idea of the US as a “global peacekeeper” is such a myth as well, as much as the idea that jewels could be cut from the bellies of Muslims, a story ostensibly propagated during the third crusade." An excerpt from Chapter 1 of The Immanence of Myth.

Read the rest of this selection here on Weaponized.

Pre-order a copy of The Immanence of Myth, published by Weaponized in July 2011.
(Or sign up to be notified of its release on Amazon.com) 

The Vanguard of a Perpetual Revolution/ Part 5

By Brian George

Below, you will find the revised and expanded version of a comment that I posted yesterday on the Reality Sandwich forum for Joscelyn Godwin's "Atlantis and the Cycles of Time." This article prompted me to go more deeply into a concept that I've been exploring--that of "the infinite recession of a landscape." The short post has now turned into a mini-essay, and I have decided to use it as section five of "The Vanguard of a Perpetual Revolution." With the introductory comments to Joscelyn removed, the piece now reads:

The Infinite Recession of a Landscape

"These, your family, are already dead, and so press on in the fight.”—Krishna to Arjuna on the field of Kurukshetra
__

From the age of 18 or so I have been convinced that human history was far older than the mainstream model would allow, and I have felt and known this with a kind of physical certainty—as though a respected academic had informed me that there were no such thing as “Feet,” but I knew, from my own experience, that there were. Details were somewhat out of focus, however; to bring the image into focus I eagerly sought out books on “Atlantis.” For the most part, I was very disappointed.

I kept looking for new ancient source material, as well as for fresh archeological research, but it seemed as though writers were only quoting other writers, and then going on to improvise their own set of variations upon a set of established themes.

More recently, however, I believe that we may be moving into a more mature understanding of “Atlantis”—a word that I most often go out of my way not to use. If you were to substitute the phrase “world seafaring culture” for “forest” and the word “culture” for “trees,” then the problem has perhaps been one of “not seeing the forest for the trees.” Quite simply, it is possible that we have dramatically underestimated the vast breadth and depth of human history. Surrounded by the almost infinite recession of a landscape that seems too overwhelming to even begin to comprehend—or rather would if some past trauma had not struck us almost blind—we allow ourselves to become fixated on each individual tree.

So too, with each new discovery, this or that culture comes to occupy the foreground of our attention.

A Talk With Clark About Tantra, India, Hinduism, and Cannibalism



Many months ago, when The Immanence of Myth was still begin written (now it is in copy editing), I recoded a series of conversations with my friend and roommate William Clark. 

Since then, of course, some of you may know we've shot the Gonzomentary series Clark with Daniel Warwick of Exodus Films, and some of his hand-drumming appear on HoodooEngine work, which was also mostly recorded in this apartment. 

We will be cutting Clark into a movie-length version sometime this summer or into the coming fall. I wanted to share this interview with you again, because the many conversations that William and I have had here in this apartment, at all hours of the day and night, have helped me gather some of the thoughts that you will find in the book (IoM), which will be released in July. William talked about writing a piece on Kali, and though I mention him in the book in a few places, he never did get around to writing that piece. However, like many of of my other friends, his influence still exists within the work, and certainly every project I've released has the fingerprints of friends and contributors all over it. 




At the end of May, Jazmin and I will be moving out of here - we're not sure exactly where to, yet - and William will shortly thereafter be returning to India. So, I guess you could say this is the end of an "era" and the beginning of a new one for all of us, though none of us know what the new one will be yet. 

It seemed a timely thing to share this conversation with you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I've enjoyed these conversations... of course, the bulk of which were between us and not recorded. But you can imagine that conversations like this have happened, between him and I and many other people, almost every day over the past crazy year or so that we've called this weird basement hideout our home. It has been at times chaotic - crazy parties, mood-swings amongst all of us moody artists, an incredibly difficult and exciting and tedious and mind-opening and altering time. I'm quite sure that in years to come I'll come to look back on it as a time of great gestation, hopefully for all of us. I hope you have some more incredible experiences while you're there, William. 

Download the mp3 directly or listen to the podcast on Alterati.com 

An addendum to this podcast: the release is through Weaponized, not Hukilau. Please pre-order below or sign up to be notified on Amazon, especially if you're in the states and don't want to pay for UK shipping! 

Pre-order a copy of The Immanence of Myth, published by Weaponized in July 2011.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Myth as a Weapon: PsychoDrama


Dr.Adventure!

What would you do if you walked outside one day and saw something you KNEW, with absolute certainty, was imaginary, something impossible? Would you cry with sadness or delight? Would you scream or run or fight? Would you make friends?

Every-day the world is getting stranger. The rules we have been taught govern reality and life and circumstance have long fallen, useless and wheezing, to the ground. Fuck knows if I’ve been alive before but


I’m here NOW and this place is WEIRD! I wouldn’t have it any other way really.

As the yarn begins to unravel (“as the sheep is sheared" may be more appropriate), the various social, economic, political, educational, emotional, psychological, physical and spiritual frameworks that have up till now defined our existence will begin to dissolve. Due to an odd quirk of the human cognitive apparatus (wink wink), this phenomenon also has certain quantum level repercussions that actually destabilize various elements of local reality. FUCK!
(If you don’t believe me ask a physicist that isn't a chicken-shit)







And here we stand, on the edge of this wild future, with the Towers crumbling, the robots taking up arms, aliens visiting several major cities in broad daylight, prehistoric toxic ooze poisoning the ocean (not to mention garbage CONTINENTS!) and Godzilla rising from slumber.







Can you look me in the eye and tell me these things can be handled using "Conventional" means? No. Not without me calling you a goddamn liar. Humanity has used the subterfuge of conventionality, as well as forced ignorance to disguise the fact that most of the people in charge haven’t a fucking clue what should actually be done to make the world a better place. Which is fine, they’ve been consumed by their own machine which has defined their limitations. The machine however, lives in the real world, the one carved in stone and blood. They, often, do not.

If the drive to be legendary is innate, then the mass hysteria caused by the pressure of denying it makes a lot of the turmoil in the world makes sense. As usual, humanity has been playing in gods tool shed without reading any of the instructions. (Like giving a shotgun to a pissed-off blindfolded 6 year old on WAAAAY to much soda and adderall. Bad news all around.)
Still, the fruits of these bumbling attempts to make the world better have resulted in entities and mechanisms of titanic and horrific scale. They ate their creators long ago.

But, what about those that have always peeked behind the curtain? Throughout human history, and I mean right back to day-fuckin-one, there have been stories about people that were MORE than people. Some stories say they’re on their way, others that they left long ago, and some very popular ones about their return. These stories emerge in times of struggle.
Forged like diamonds under the stress. From these myriad and tremendous pressures are heroes and legends distilled. Like I said before though, this place is WEIRD! The tools we have to reshape our perceptions are powerful, prevalent and cheap. The tools we have to reshape the world around us are staggering in their scope and precision. What happens when you
throw THAT into the mix? All of a sudden you’ve got real live mythic super-people running amok on a planet where most folks are living in a goddamn video game and shitting themselves in terror at every other thing.

I’m talking the whole nine yards by the way; trip-headed telekinetic bodhisattvas, Super-Heroes and Villains, trans-dimensional hyper intelligences, cyborg call girls, mutants, ancient monsters and the undead. Scary as it is, they’re humanity's only hope at not completely and utterly fucking themselves into oblivion. Also, far as I can tell, they're US.

We stand poised and ready to strike at the heart of the beast with weapons forged from Science and Art, ancient magic, Hardcore hyper-space drugs and the Heat from the heart of the sun.
But, are we starting a fight or playing a game?

If you haven’t noticed, I’m not talking about protest or war. I’m talking about solving the problems that need to be dealt with, setting an example on a grand scale and providing working alternatives. The hard part of course is how the hell do you figure these things out?
Play.


The inherent biological mechanism for discovery and expression is PLAY. As serious as Life and Death, made of dreams, and the closest to reality that most come, Play teaches us what we are, what we could be and how the fuck to get there. Making a game that everyone can take part in is the trick, and always remember that the rules are just there to make things more interesting. And that we make them.

We are the players; the cast and crew. We set the stage, prepare our roles, build the props, paint the sets and become the Story. Go do something impossible.

Welcome to the Future!

Pre-order a copy of The Immanence of Myth, published by Weaponized in July 2011.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Atlantean Hermeneutics - A Review of Jocelyn Godwin's Atlantis & the Cycles of Time

by David Metcalfe





“Yea, on all the divisions of the earth have there been great cities and nations, and men and women of great learning. And as oft as they are raised up in light, so are they again cast down in darkness, because of the great desire of the spirits of the dead to return back to the earth.”
- Oahspe, Kosmon Bible (1882)


When straight history doesn’t provide the right set and setting to explain archetypal interplays of force visionaries seek elsewhere to embody their ideals. Atlantis has been a rich receptical for such ruminations since Plato first penned the Timaeus. His enduring image of that fallen civilization “between the Pillars of Heracles” has become the perfect place for all our Golden Age dreams to foment. In Jocelyn Godwin’s latest book from Inner Traditions, Atlantis and the Cycles of Time, the eminent scholar of esotericism examines the continuing fascination of this myth and the surprising effect it has had on the Western world’s intellectual history.

Godwin gives us more than just an extensive survey of various theories of Atlantis. Through examining the numerous alternatives to the Atlantean question we find an in depth study of amateur archaeology, occult politics, trance channeling and the interstices of mythopoeia and culture. Notably absent are the more reasoned Atlantean musings of philosophers such as Francis Bacon in his political allegory New Atlantis. In Atlantis and the Cycles of Time we find a feast of error prone visionary fruit from the investigations of thinkers often radically separated from the mainline historical narrative.

The Vanguard of a Perpetual Revolution/ Part 4


By Brian George

At Fukushima, in his almost non-protective suit, a volunteer from the cleanup crew surveys the uncertain outcome of his work. As the representative of an industry that I hate, he is one out of a long list of potential enemies—and yet. My attitude is little more than a mechanistic program. He is one of the “Fukushima 50,” who, as he struggles to prevent a total meltdown of the fuel rods, will sleep on a blanket on the concrete floor, and will almost certainly die. His hands are clean, as are those of any servant of a cause.

He did not intend to send free energy in a cloud that with its glow would power the factories of the Northwest USA, there to prompt a boom in sunglasses, and to circulate throughout the udders of all cows. If only in terms of the logic of the Hypersphere, each cause can then be made to correspond to an effect. Beam technology from a lab in the Northwest USA can then be bounced from a great height down to Libya—in the latest of anti-terrorist experiments.

There, even as we speak, a fault-line has just started to crack open. And from there, after being dropped on chutes, droids will transmit geothermal data to the engineers who dream about a pipeline to Afghanistan—an archeological relic, dead from the word “go.”

The five media conglomerates have decided to join forces. Their goal: To preserve our Way of Life. There is no reason for the phrase “military contractor” to be used. Nor will there be “collateral damage.” It is perhaps no one group’s fault that the time-cycle is indifferent to our safety and our comfort. Learning nothing from their experience in the Gulf, a small oversight by BP on an offshore rig will soon turn the Atlantic black.

(Illustration: Brian George, Girl underwater with turtle, photograph, 2004)
 
New posts every 2-3 days on my blog Masks of Origin
 
http://masksoforigin.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Is Myth Dead?

Image by P. Emerson Williams

An excerpt from the upcoming Immanence of Myth anthology:
It may seem that the word “myth” has lost its meaning to us as a psychological or spiritual term. No, the situation is more drastic than that. Myth has become the opposite of fact, something that is generally accepted but untrue; “it is a myth that reading by flashlight ruins your eyesight.” The popular television show on the Discovery Channel, Myth Busters, uses this definition, attempting to disprove “myths” with something vaguely resembling science. The myths of antiquity are looked upon as quaint stories, despite the fact that they have shaped our cultural history. It is neatly overlooked that myths remain at the center of the bloody stage of modern religious, national, economic or ideological dynamics, not to mention our personal and everyday lives.
The fact that the word “myth” has become synonymous with untruth belies an underlying shift in the Western epistemological focus over the past several thousand years. This is clearly a sweeping generalization, and in these we are also inventing a myth, but bear with me. We have become, in this juncture of time and culture, a great deal more concerned with verifiable facts and less concerned with existential experiences which have little relation to fact. This progression ties into the Enlightenment focus on rationality and the scientific method, but perhaps more pervasively, we can see this following from the needs of industrialization.
This shift, though not concocted as some conspiratorial scheme, does serve a purpose. As we will see, fundamental business principles rely on actions that are easy to reproduce, and which produce similar (if not identical) results with each repetition. This cultural homogeneity promotes an economy of scale that is absolutely necessary for so-called big business. Similarly, the myths of a culture must ultimately serve the best interest of industry. The evolution of such co-related myths is often symbiotic, for instance, it is through the spread of industry as the backbone of a civilization that myths which better serve it spread. These in turn effect the further growth and spread of an industrialized infrastructure.
(Read full article on Weaponized)

Pre-order a copy of The Immanence of Myth, published by Weaponized in July 2011.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Obscene, Transformations, and Art: A Non-Monologue

Greetings from St. Stephen

Today I want to present you with a small video on the subject of the obscene and art, as it concerns transformations. So, and perhaps, a little background is in order.

For about 5 years or so now, I have been making little video presentations as part of my academic work. Either of the last two words from the previous sentence, "academic" and "work", as such could be set in scared quotes, as these are simply questionable notions. In part, academic work is a struggle against these very notions. As such, and finding oneself at a college or university, in whatever position, does one want to be academic? And work, what is work? What does the university do besides normalize and promote some tired Protestant Work Ethic


I am being one-sided and flippant, but there is much truth to my last remark, I think. That is why we are here; we are the gonzo of the university, we have come... to find that there is no exit. So we must change from the only place we can, not from the outside we can never get to, but from the within of where we already are.

My video, The Obscene, Transformations, and Art: A Non-Monologue, is basically an edited version of the Nineteen-Seventy-One film, directed by Stanley Kubrick, A Clockwork Orange, with a non-monologue read "over-top" of it. A non-monologue is a monologue which recognizes the plurality of speech, a matter I will get back to in a moment. Perhaps in time I will release my essay under the same name, depending on interest. So input is very important to me, as it lets me know what you, the reader, like and dislike, and I even dare say, desire more of.

Continuing my thought on what it 'is' to be academic, I just want to say, that at one point in the video, I give a harsh critique of what the University and academia has done (not all my categories are not monolithic) to the legacy and work of Michel Foucault.

Foucault grabbing them by the balls
Continuing my explanation of a non-monologue, I feel the need to speak a bit about Maurice Blanchot, and his text, The Infinite Conversation, which is not a direct part of the video. Perhaps its enough to note that the first chapter of his text is translated as "Plural Speech: the speech of writing." Since I do not believe that I can do justice to his work in just a few brief sentences, I will simply quote, "The neutral, the neutral, how strangely this sounds for me" (Blanchot, The Infinite Conversation, 1993, Translation by Susan Hanson, page xxi).


a TOPY alter
What you will find in the video is my critique on what is obscene, its place as art, as transformational experience, and as a catalyst for exploring the limits of thought, of language, of experience... as such I speak of the work of Georges Bataille (here you can find the television appearance I referred to in my video), as well as the Chaos Magic Group, Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth (TOPY). The original incarnation of TOPY is defunct, and probably deserves a blog post of their own. Let St. Stephen know if this is something that interests you. As such: I invite one and all to comment on both the video, as well (and hopeful more so) on the content of the reading or whatever else comes to mind.

This video was shown at an upstate New York University, 2010. So here is the link to the video:




Pre-order a copy of The Immanence of Myth, published by Weaponized in July 2011.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Vanguard of a Perpetual Revolution/ Part 3


By Brian George

Okantomi—you wrote (about "Four Scouts to the New World," just before the election in 2008), “It is pretty clear that your tongue is planted firmly in your cheek, but were you inspired somewhat prosaically by those ‘little red book’ waving Maoists of the late 60s and their latter-day wanabees? Were you maybe also casting an eye about over the political landscape of the last several years as you formulated this imaginary epic? The ‘revolutionary purity’ of the carefully chosen scouts is creepily reminiscent of a current ‘perpetual revolution’ in the making.”

Yes, events that we thought long and safely past have a way of circling around and reemerging—with all of their elements subtly rearranged. But who can tell if we are seeing the same thing in a somewhat different form or a different thing in a somewhat similar form? My head spins as I examine the most recent crop of slogans. For example: "Change we can believe in." “Yes We Can.” “Our Time for Change.” “’Change’ versus ‘More of the Same.’” “Stand for Change.” “We are the change we’ve been looking for.” “Change can’t happen without you.” “A leader who can deliver change.” “It’s about Time. It’s about Change.”

And yet all of this is somehow contrary to the magical power of the word. The word can also kill, and perhaps all of this talk about change is designed, as I have said, to lead us in a circle. Then again, we must also ask: Are those who believe themselves to be leading us in a circle also pawns in a projected mass-hallucination, from which the living—upon pain of death—are no longer allowed to exit?

For the exit always seems to be somewhere else. Signs point to a multitude of sharp turns in a labyrinth—a centrifugal one—which, as it spins, stretches far beyond the edge of the known world. The true exit is no different than the entrance, and opens out beyond the circuit of the stars. Or, in other words, to a place no bigger and no smaller than one atom.

A friend said yesterday that “Four Scouts” reminded him of some utopian literature that he had read, without quite fitting into that category. You speculate that my “tongue is planted firmly in (my) cheek,” and ask if “Four Scouts” should be read as a critique of current politics. A second friend asked why I couldn’t speak more directly about the issues that I raise.

All of these statements point to a mode of argument that is complex in its movements, a kind of verbal capoeira, which attacks by indirection, and presents a different face to every reader.

As in Mesoamerican myth, an act of creation is simultaneously an act of destruction. I set up a vision to knock it down, not in favor of skeptical reductionism, but from the vantage point of a larger and even stranger reality. As a child who flirted with concepts of revolutionary violence in the latter days of the counterculture, and who, luckily, did not act on the more extreme of his views, I have ever since been cautious about being swept away by enthusiasm. Bad eyesight can be contagious. Enemies are not obstacles to be eliminated, and means have a way of turning into ends. It is important for us to embody at each moment the end we would pursue.

Going non-verbal: Art Break!

It's been established that I'm one verbose and sometimes abstruse motherfucker.What's less known is that sometimes I cast off the verbal and just art. Here's the latest: art with meta-meanings.




Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Fallen Nation Party At The World's End Free Chapter

Fallen-Nation_Party At The World's End



Fallen Nation: Party At The World’s End is a mad ride past the event horizon of sanity with a group of young, escaped mental patients that come to realize – or believe – that they are demigods. They form Babylon, a band that captures the spirit of the age as sex, drugs, and chaos reign in the final years of the American Empire. Also a great novel for your teenage kids if they're smart and you want to set them on a life of philosophy, debauchery, and petty larceny.
 
Pre-order a copy of The Immanence of Myth, published by Weaponized in July 2011.

The Vanguard of a Perpetual Revolution/ Part 2


By Brian George

2

Below—in sections three and five—you will find two comments that are connected with the posting of my essay “Four Scouts to the New World.” The first comment is from “Reality Sandwich” forum for the essay, just before the election of President Obama in 2008, and the second is a reflection on why I chose to re-post it on “Modern Mythology,” just after the earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent atomic disaster in Japan in 2011.

In 2008, I could not help but wonder: How is it possible for so many well intentioned people to not see that Barack Obama is just another actor—a kinder and gentler apologist for Wall Street and closet advocate for the Military-Industrial Complex—onto whom a part of the American public had projected its own dreams?

Do the crowds at an Obama rally not know that they are intoxicated—with an energy more appropriate to a televangelist’s studio—or see the glazed eyes of other members of the crowd, or hear that they are chanting to give birth to a savior? Why do his supporters not pause to notice that he has no actual record, that he went out of his way to be absent for key votes in Illinois? Do they not hear when he speaks in glowing terms of Reagan, or see that, on those few occasions that he does speak truth to power, it is only so that he can substitute speech for action? As with the wave of a magician’s hand, an incandescent city has appeared upon a hill.

It is now 2011, and I cannot help but wonder: How is it possible that, in the 1960s, GE didn’t realize that there might be earthquakes in an earthquake zone, and went full-speed ahead to build a chain of atomic power plants on a fault line? Since then, why has no one stopped to think that an earthquake might knock out both the power plants and the backup systems, and why were the spent fuel-rods stored underneath the plants?

Then too, when radiation levels of 1000 millisieverts per hour have been detected 50 miles from the Fukushima plant—i.e., four times the maximum safe level of exposure—why have people only been evacuated throughout a radius of 20 miles? So far as I understand it, this is just the level that is judged to be safe per hour.

As Kurt Nimmo points out, “A year has 365 days, a day has 24 hours; multiply 365 by 24, you get 8760.” And finally, if you multiply 1000 by 8760, you get 8,760, 000 times the normal dose per year. If the total projected yearly dose is not yet so astronomical, neither could it be regarded as anywhere close to safe. The exact figures could be debated, and keep changing hour by hour and depending on the source of information—but you get the general idea.

And so, we must ask: Could the Japanese government be driven by an agenda beyond that of the well being of its citizens—an agenda of which even the key actors may, at best, be only partially aware? On what ring of an interdimensional theatre are the benches on which the audience for the current play is seated—calmly staring out of eyes that do not close, and with their thumbs poised to flip up or down?

To ask these questions is not to assign blame—whether to the overly idealistic supporters of Obama, or to Obama himself, who probably has far less actual power than we think, or to the brightest of the brightest in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and on through to the present decade, who failed to anticipate and then prepare for a disaster that was 100% predictable, and certainly not to bureaucrats without backbones. No, I am pointing to these things in order to highlight their peculiarity.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Capitalism Five Ways

I'm not normally inclined to use this site just to point people's attention to something without providing some extensive unique commentary. However, I think this content stands on its own and is worth checking out:


(Capitalism Five Ways

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Monday, April 11, 2011

A Rupture in the Continuum of Time: To Transcend Without Transcendence (kairos)


The essay entitled “In the Time of Fascist Desire,” written during my first semester of graduate study, was not only significant as the first time the problematic of kairos took center stage in my work. Rather,  the task of “the constructing a secular concept of kairos” answered to the exigency of proposing an answer to the following question posed by Deleuze & Guattari in A Thousand Plateaus:
What makes fascism dangerous is its molecular or micropolitical power…only microfascism provides an answer to the global question: Why does desire desire its own repression, how can it desire its own repression? ...It’s too easy to be antifascist on the molar level, and not even see the fascist inside you, the fascist you yourself sustain and nourish and cherish with molecules both personal and collective.[1]
Thus, from the outset, kairos had to be thought in connection to desire – eros – a conceptual linkage for which there is much support – for the answer was to claim that the experience of time toward which all desire tends is the interruption of indifferent, chronological time, by a qualitatively distinct moment, kairos. Furthermore, in Eric Michaud's “Nazi Architecture as an Acceleration of Time” (1993) and The Cult of Art in Nazi Germany (published in French as: Un Art de l'Eternité: L'image et le temps du nationale-socialisme: 1996;  English translation: 2004), and in Klaus Theweileit's Male Fantasies (Volume 1: 1977; English translation 1987), there was much to be found that suggested a linkage to the domain of aesthetics – art, architecture, photography and film appeared to be instrumental in evoking such an experience of time and in providing some amount of satisfaction to desire. According to the logic of kairos, first presented in the essay in question, this evocation can only ape kairos, for the architecture of Nazi Germany, for example,“ made the monument as messiah for an impatient community, the heralded new man who came when summoned to liberate the community from time, who came to put an end to its waiting.” [2] If, however, a moment worthy of the name kairos cannot be objectively distinguished from any other time, how then can it be distinguished with certainty from pseudo-kairos? The true from false messiahs? Furthermore, this indicates that kairos is not only emergent but effective in history and in politics, as Paul Tillich writes:     
Kairos ...was used not only by the religious socialist movement in obedience to the great kairos... but also by the nationalist movement, which, through the voice of Nazism, attacked the great kairos and everything for which it stands. The latter use was a demonically distorted experience of a kairos [3] and led inescapably to self-destruction. [4]

Incunabula vol III: Necropolis, Necromancy and the Walking Dead


By Mr. VI

'I am the police, and I say, "Don't move" Snow White. You move, you're dead. Eric'
'And I say, "I'm dead," and I move.' - The Crow

(This is the third of a series of linked posts - one and two.)

A necropolis is a city of the dead; it is a settlement and home for those who have undergone a shift from the processes of life into the processes of unlife. Make no mistake, just as the living have their movements, their currents, so do the dead. They shift from the movements of life to the apparent stillness of death.

In truth that stillness is a lie, and we know that deep down in our hind-brain. That stillness is a counterfeit thing, wearing the face of someone we once knew. Bacterial replication and liquefaction, putrescence and decay – all these occur under the guise of the still, until we are forced to acknowledge the alien nature moving under the skin of familiar features.

Is any wonder we transport the dead, either literally or figuratively? If they remain amongst us, they become possessed, animated by a kind of inhumanity. But if we send them on their way, they settle with their new kind, joining with the rank upon rank of serried ancestors.

Or so we hope.

The necropolis is a place where they can move how they like, doing their dead-things. They're not possessed there, they're in the right place, slowly descending downward, settling out. Maybe, just maybe, if they want another chance at life, they mix into the underground flows of the Deep Below and emerge as part of the welling stream that gives us new life.

It's the same with a graveyard – a bounded space that is the place of the grave. The dead exist; it's only modern Western culture that says you cease post-mortem. I'm not even talking about some metaphysical afterlife – quite simply, in Western culture, the dead as a conceptual idea and/or space have become something to be ignored and deliberately avoided because of the implication that you *will* become one of them; your life and all its important constructions, shall pass away, all your investment is hence more than a little foolish.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust – if you don't take it out and use it, it's going to rust.

And that is what has happened to the dead as a concept. As a mythological space, they have atrophied, and I believe our culture is poorer for it. Sure we have vampires, the walking dead and shambling zombies – but the zombie is purely a shambling unstoppable thing, an expression of unending consumption and the vampire now a glamorised sexual predator.

Our culture is obsessed with the notion of remaining vital; with husbanding the resources that make us prime physical specimens, and yet because of this, the population of the elderly is steadily increasing. More humans are thinking about their impending doom than ever before, and yet it is a blank wall. What could be a creative space enabling society to evaluate and learn from its experiences is, in essence, a no-go zone.

But for those in crisis conditions, the veneration of the dead and death itself provides a grounding which allows a re-apprehension of life – for example the cult of Santa Muerte in Mexico, supposedly a fusion of Mesoamerican and Catholic belief.

This of course makes sense because for those under relatively affluent conditions, the status quo perpetuates the myth that it it is unceasing, and that change and transition are threatening.

In actuality, this produces a climate of denial – the dead are denied because they illustrate transitions and enable the thought that everything is precarious. Indeed, our bodies are filled with the furious replication of bacteria when we are alive; the flesh is a veritable ecosystem of strange organisms – just see James' post on the strange world of the Puppet Masters for examples.

The dead are not seized by an alien external unlife - they merely reveal what was already present within us all along; the skull as momento mori, the caput mortuum or death's head.

Strip away the pretty flesh, the rouge, the make-up; the muscle, the manicure and the moisturiser and you have the slick grin that never shifts in its mirth, the shining glory that is your essence.

And here's where we bring in the incunabula again. I bet you were waiting for them, no?

Because the incunabula use myth like ordinary humans use food – it is broken down and rearranged to incorporate it into their bodies, cut into their texts. So the dead actually provide them with sustenance; they make them stronger and more vital.

“More Human Than Human.” to quote White Zombie!



After all, the larger one's hunting ground, the more chance of gaining the necessary resources for existence – this is the essence of hunter-gathering; to move on before things are depleted. What then stops you from arriving at the necropolis and feasting with the dead?

Imagine this:

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Kairos: Complete Podcast Version


By Prof Rowan

Hot off the microphone, the entire Kairos series in podcast form. Including a short introduction. Comment, criticize, etc. Please!

Rowan G. Tepper - Introduction to kairos by rowan-g-tepper

Kairos I: Exemplary Acts by rowan-g-tepper

Kairos II: Kairos at the End of Modernity by rowan-g-tepper

Kairos III: La révolution post-historique by rowan-g-tepper

Kairos IV: The Whatever Messiah: We're Who We've Been Waiting For by rowan-g-tepper

Parts I and III have previously been posted. Enjoy! Discuss! Goddamnit! You don't have to read, just listen!
 
 
Pre-order a copy of The Immanence of Myth, published by Weaponized in July 2011.

The Vanguard of a Perpetual Revolution


By Brian George

("The Vanguard of a Perpetual Revolution" is probably still a work in progress. I will be posting the current version in four sections over the next week or so.)

Preface

This essay is intended to be viewed as a kind of political/ cosmological landscape; I do not write about politics, as such, and have little interest in advocating a particular position. On the one hand, there has never been an election since 1972 in which I have not voted. For me, politics is the “art of the possible”—as reductive as this seems. On the other hand, my imagination must have room to move, and I believe that the future is—even now—being created far outside of the framework of contemporary debate.

I will, when all is said and done, most probably be voting for Obama—unless he is challenged by a more courageous Democrat in 2012. But this will be only one scene out of one act of a play that is being performed at the forefront of a microscopic stage—lit by arc lights that switch on and off—behind which stagehands move throughout the wings and passageways and catwalks of an inconceivably large theatre.

1

Full disclosure: During the last election season I was a Hillary supporter, and was none too pleased by the way Obama treated his opponent. Since he took the oath of office, I have been pleasantly surprised by his sense of presidential bearing. For the most part, however, he has followed the course—the course of happy-face “corporatism,” tweaked now and then by timid lip-service to ideals—that I foresaw in 2008.

In 2000, before the Supreme Court handed the election to George Bush, and the media chimed in to proclaim that the coronation was “inevitable,” I had the sense that I was watching a kind of time-lapse train wreck—whose first casualties would be unspeakable, and whose ring of disaster would continue to expand. In 2008, this sense of almost physical dread once again took over. Still, it is not for me to judge, since there is no way to determine what is actually going on, and the president, too, may be no more than a bystander.

He is the headlight that illuminates a prescribed cone on the tracks. It is not a job that I would wish upon anyone—not even my worst enemy, or a god.

Once, on the dark horizon, a light no bigger than a pinhead had appeared. That light called memories, like a force-field, from the past.

Mile after mile, past the freight-yards of abandoned factories, past the Quonset huts of those who dream of a new Ice Age, past hermetically sealed databanks and armed compounds of the superrich, past the silos where a way of life was murdered: the light from the horizon grew steadily larger as it came. It had promised to be all things to all people. Until, in the final act, the light that spilled from the pinhead was enormous—but it had no power to turn left or right.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Playful SEO: Demarcate Narrative as Internet Graffiti

by Wes Unruh

The stories we tell ourselves are often ways to understand the world in which we live. I've always been fascinated with the way that gonzo journalism can trade in metaphor and still generate its own kind of truth. Another aspect of this is the narratives that are culturally established around proper names online - proper names are special keyword phrases which cluster around the most culturally visible, and reputation management is a particularly valuable (if somewhat difficult) space for content optimization to challenge existing or established narratives. If that doesn't make sense, then think of it like this - names are gates through which you summon the most powerful single entity bearing that name to the top of the results. I've been thinking about this shit for years now ever since getting mixed up in that whole 23rdian nonsense years back and seeing how effective 'googlebombing' could be - internet graffiti at it's best. Doing standard industry content seo research is fine - it's the equivalent of painting dividing lines on highways, placing sign posts around a city - but to me it's a lot more interesting to take that paint and narrate a mural in an overlooked space.

I wrote about this a few years ago for Foolish People - back when I figured ScamLife would be around a little longer (quick sidenote, I see that Google's removed the word 'scam' from its autocomplete... and I bet I know why). Then, when I was playing with misspelling SEO I ran through quite a few hoops, playfully embedding links across multiple domains, tying several misspellings together, and tweaking the results over a few weeks to see what would happen. The misspelling I relied on for traffic was 'Embued Spaces' but today if you search, you'll find google replaces your search with the term 'Imbued Spaces' - nowadays it's much more difficult to work across more statistically dense words - words that have an espoused use across billions of indexed texts. Instead, to really get the search engine to respond the same way it did years ago I have to locate a word which is correctly spelled but contextually misspelled.

Last night I ran across one such word in the early comments on this Youtube link: the phrase 'demarcate party' embedded in an angry response to the video. Now, demarcate is a word in its own right, and in a poetic way does somewhat establish an approach to civic governance. But more importantly, Google does not default to Democratic Party as it does with other misspelled words which are not words in their own right.

So I decided to play around and create a narrative - already somewhat loosely established from some previous infictive gaming - which tied the term Demarcate Party directly into my blog, then deeper into the Infictive.com - and, thanks to the existing structure I've put in place, I actually hit #3 for 'demarcate party' four hours into the process.

This doesn't mean I'll stay there. I've put in some content on the blog's landing page, but even more importantly I framed the landing page with content on the previous and next blog post consistent with the Democratic Party current 'semantic' footprint - note two very small links to the previous and next blog post above the actual content - framing the landing page. Now, for it to stick for good I'd need other bloggers linked to my 'Demarcate Party' blog post.The links are tied into an infictive trailhead for a hypercard stack of sorts built around an investigation into team themis and the disappearance of the guy running for Sheriff.

Consider this an open invitation to play along with a game made up, in part, by using seo as a kind of graffiti.

One final note: for whatever reason, Google Images gave me this as the top result for Demarcate Party, so I include it here on the gut assumption that this might further solidify the connections I'm playing with now. Clicking this image will take you to the image's source post - another link which, while not containing anchor tags, is tied into the search engine algorithym in a way I honestly can only make out by fumbling around with playful experiments like this very post.



Pre-order a copy of The Immanence of Myth, published by Weaponized in July 2011.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Want to get lost: Greetings from St. Stephen



Wanna Get Lost? It just takes a few seconds. Where are you right now? Are you in a house? If so, where is that? On a street, perhaps in a town, in a country, on a planet, in a galaxy far away, in a universe, inside some D-brane? All our science and we are still playing the shells game, or Russian dolls if you like. "Turtles all the way down" as they say...

Allow me into introduce myself. My name is St. Stephen from Shitty Bear's Corner

We have no fucking clue (well that is not true, clues are all we have, that and models), what this this is, where we are, what we are doing (and what we think we are doing), how we got here, if there is even a point (since we are only a sliver of the existence we find ourselves in), and yet, we are. We are at least for now. Some say that we will be always. Hugh Everett III, the man who is now held responsible for the many worlds interpretation, is said to have committed suicde believing that his understanding, that his wave description of worlds guaranteed him immortality. Thats the myth (which maybe reality).






Recently (the older you get, I think, the longer that is, that is recently) they have released Everett's layman-paper, where one can find the deployment of an amoeba metaphor. The smallest of the animal models. And that is where you come in. That's where we all come in. We all come in and go out, but death as nothing, the annihilation of it all (as far as our experiences are concerned), like a sleep that one cannot remember, is for some a horror. For others the notion of nothing, of unawareness is a bliss, a resting release from the aneitxy, the tension of life, perhaps Freud is right about the death drive. At times it seems hard to deny, and yet to drive at death is to drive at life, through life (with a stoic stick, cap, and cape), to burn through life, but announced. It has been said often, even on this blog, we fail to live, yes, brother Tepper, the Tears of Eros... we look we ask, we act, what will sooth them? But then I stop (crying). I pull back.

Some claim to remember back to before their birth, but I am not going to draw myself into some past life debate, it will have its turn(s), I am sure. If there is time, and there is. I will go on, perhaps in others memories, but will I be real. Even now, my memories real are they wishes, only probable pasts that I remember for my secret purpose (to go on). What of the stuff of dreams and light?

The Karmic Fallacy Part 3

By James Curcio
Part 1 || Part 2

In part 1 and 2 of this series, I looked at many of the repurcussions of a belief in karma as an ethical dimension. However, this is not the only perspective on karma, and as some commenters on these posts recognized, I was doing a bit of baiting. Because there is a coherent psychological basis for the idea of karma, but it has little to do with reincarnation.

Instead we must look back to my post on the sacred in our profane holidays, and continue this exploration a step further.

If we are in doubt of the sacred origins of holidays, we might consider some of the ideas put forth in Eliade’s The Sacred and the Profane:
“The New Year coincides with the first day of Creation. The year is the temporal dimension of the cosmos. ‘The world has passed!’ expresses that a year has run its course. At each New Year the cosmogony is reiterated, the world re-created, and to do this is also to create time- that is, to regenerate it by beginning it anew. This is why the cosmogony myth serves as paradigmatic model for every creation or construction; it is even used as a ritual means of healing.”
Thus, the role served by this entity which rewards and punishes, is to cut what we might call the karmic ties with the previous year. This seems an unusual attribution for the seemingly benevolent Santa Claus, but this is only because the holiday has become so desacralized that he has merely become a stand-in, a cardboard cutout, signifying nothing.

This connection between karma and the eternal return of the holiday cycle is not without precedent. Again we can turn to The Sacred and the Profane,
“...to Indian thought, this eternal return implied eternal return to existence by force of karma, the law of universal causality. Then, too, time was homologized to the cosmic illusion (maya), and the eternal return to existence signified indefinite prolongation of suffering and slavery.” 
These karmic ties don’t require an actual belief in karma within the Buddhist or Hindu framework of reincarnation. What it refers to is an element of our memory. Consider something that you own that has a great deal of “sentimental value.” Pick it up. Hold it in your hand. Think about the people you associate with it. Grab hold of those emotions, and travel back to the time that the object brings you to.

That’s your karmic tie. You are bound to those things. The same is true of the memories and emotions we hold onto of those we love, who are now gone, and of the life we lived which is also gone. Of course, outside a framework that espouses transcendence, these are neither positive nor negative in themselves, but they are attachments. From this, we can see that a mythic symbol serving some kind of ethical function would arise, when it comes to recapitulation and renewing. To renew, the soil must be tilled. Some attachments can be maintained but others must be severed.

Or, if they are not, they maintain a hold over us. Which is not to say, again, that this is good or bad. But there comes a time where all attachments will be stripped from us, if we give the Bardo any weight. Do you want to do it now, or then?



Pre-order a copy of The Immanence of Myth, published by Weaponized in July 2011.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Kairos II: La Révolution Post-historique

Oh no! It's Da Bomb!
         Arnold Gehlen, in ¨The Roll of Living Standards in Today´s Society¨ (1952) and Hendrik de Man (Paul´s uncle), in Vermassung und Kulturverfall (1952), present another “end of history” scenario emphasizing das Posthistoire [1], the-post historical period; that period into which we entered after the Second World War (and of modernity, see exhibits: a) the unprecedented scale of the war, b) Auschwitz, and c) the Bomb), and made possible by the post-war economic and technological acceleration, which ensured that all could enjoy a high standard of living as compared to before (this parallels Kojève´s footnoted suggestion that the classless society was in fact American consumer capitalist society). 
 
Hiroshima, Post-Bomb
The mathematician A. A. Cournot had envisioned, as it was about a century before the phrase post-histoire was coined; then, Cournot wanted to designate the position that emerges when any human invention or innovation has been so perfected that every further morphological change appears closed off...the conclusion that our culture has filled its “archetypal” sense and is thus has entered a phase of meaninglessness; the alternative was then, viewed biologically, death or mutation...Post-histoire is not concerned with the lethargy of a culture in which its vital powers have been extinguished, rather with the entry to a phase of world-events occurring overall outside of the framework of History because they lack any noticeable historical connection between causes and effects. [2]

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