Thursday, February 28, 2013

Ultraculture: The Apocalypse Is CANCELLED

From Jason Louv: 

Today I’m proud to announce a new ebook, The Apocalypse is Cancelled: Three Keys to Surviving and Thriving as a Species.

The book is a comprehensive vision of the future. It hands you the keys to:
  1. Achieve freedom through meditation
  2. Make sure Western civilization doesn’t crash and burn
  3. Embrace space travel for fun and profit

Consider it the Ultraculture manifesto. And to make sure the information spreads, I’m giving it away for free.

The Art of Steven Leyba

In his words: 

To me the most personal creation is the most universal. Simply writing words is not enough. Books are a way culture preserves it's history but often times books are used to control the ideas and politics of society to restrict information. I seek to make books to liberate that defy control, censorship and simple definition and depict life in its totality. I see my hand made books as political reclamation of the natural world in its fecundity. I paint oil over acrylic over collage over anything I can find. I embellish the paintings with glass beads and organic material from the world around me literally putting the landscape and my DNA into the books. I have used dirt, coffee, hair, leafs, molasses, blood, urine, insects and anything I feel can give the book life from life. We are so used to having the synthetic and technological global culture define how we perceive ourselves, our bodies, our biology, and who we are, that when someone has a different point of view of the human experience and makes the commitment to put it in a book forever, it can be frightening and challenging yet very alive.
I embrace the reverence of the natural world that my Apache ancestors celebrated, one that focuses on the micro and macrocosms, nature, the reclaiming of forgotten and challenging symbols and all aspects of a life put into a book the moment it is happening.

Genesis P Orridge writes on SoLiteral,

...In spiritually volatile times such as this we, as a species, need to ask ourselves some searching and uncomfortable, even disturbing questions. The miraculous unfolding and ongoing survival of humanity against incredible environmental and climatic odds throughout the ages has been preserved, catalyzed, directed, inspired, mirrored and sanctified on our species’ behalf by the shamans, soothsayers, storytellers, sorcerers, wise ones, alchemical healers and (once upon a time) by the Artists of each age. These oracular beings fearlessly explore additional dimensions to those of mundane nonsensus everyday “reality”. They push the boundary of established social protocols, using the discipline of brutal self questioning to carry out an independent cultural autopsy on the often putrefying body of humanity during any given age. These courageous and often vilified individuals are essential to the psychic hygiene and mental health of the social order or civilization of their time.
As our ways of life have separated further and further from a balance with Nature, the role and prestige of these visionary gestalt therapists working on behalf of their community after an, often involuntary, initiation by near death experience, has been in decline. For around 2000 years these “creators” evolved from obsessed, possessed, magical shamans chosen by circumstance (not by self will) to artists still serving the Divine and the transcendental through the Church in the West and bureaucratic religions in general...

Look for a possible joint show between Leyba, James Curcio and the other Gonzomentary crew in Philadelphia in Spring or Summer 2013. Details here forthcoming as we find the right venue for what we are planning. If you are a venue holder in Philadelphia, feel free to get in touch. And also look for many more artist profiles here on Modern Mythology in coming months.

Meanwhile: What do you see as the role of artist, shaman or story-teller in the 'modern' age? Are they the same? 

[Where is the fucking counterculture? Mythos Media.]

Join My Cult!

 A first attempt at an indoctrination ritual performed by a cult that hasn't quite got its act together. 
Give them a few years though, and then check in on them. . . 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Myth of the Private Individual

The privacy behind one's eyelids is only going to hold out for so long - pretty soon even that will be a branded secondary screen for social engagement. For the last few weeks these lyrics have been looping through my mind:
Andy Warhol got it right / Everybody gets the limelight
Andy Warhol got it wrong / Fifteen minutes is too long. - Source
Because you can't not reblog a joey in a diaper.
The lines are eerily evocative of the bentham-ic obsequious present granted us by the contagion of our intertwined cyborgian selves.* Privacy is what you write in your journals, at least when you're not wearing your google glasses. The myth that privacy is possible is partly what empowers the belief by a moral entrepreneur that the behavior they personally might find distasteful can be policed back into a private space - that individuals should be hustled off stage when they divest themselves of the trappings of heteronormativity. Privacy and the myth of privacy is used as a space to silence and smooth away any abnormality. The private individual is somehow fixed within an invalidating role, kept from the public sphere.

But to my mind, the private self and the public self are both performance pieces an individual embraces because of an inculcated awareness of the possibility of encountering the equivalence of a liquidity event - winning the social media lottery somehow. Being discovered. Going viral. Turning up as a meme - then embracing that identity as a platform to.. what, more public selfdom?

A show on MTV that ends up turning into a web show you broadcast from your hotel room while the Illuminati are after you. Or something...?

Amanda Palmer: Recipe for Success

By James Curcio
(First run on Alterati, 2007).

Conversation With Amanda Palmer 
James Curcio

My first experience with the Dresden Dolls was live. I saw a show several years back, I think it was in Poughkeepsie NY- somewhere in the Hudson valley. When I went in there I was kind of dragged there by some friends. They said “you have to see these guys play!” I was dubious, simply because my understanding was that it was a piano player and a drummer… and how the hell would that be engaging live?

What I got was one of the most intense live shows I’ve seen. It was a perfect mixture of emotion, theater, and musical skill. Everyone worked up a sweat, and I don’t think there was a head in the house that left without a mild buzz.

James Curcio: How did the songwriting and your live show develop? Was it an organic serendipitous process?

Amanda Palmer: My songwriting actually developed in a vacuum. I started writing songs when I was 12 but they were barely heard by anybody until I was in my mid-twenties. On the contrary, Brian started playing in clubs when he was 16. We had very different musical upbringings. The live show was something that just happened, it was never planned. We’re both born performers, and we egg each other on. All of our heroes are passionate live performers. It’s just in the blood to want to bleed on stage, I guess.

Monday, February 25, 2013

There is No Movement, Apply Within part 5

As the conclusion to this 5 part reprisal, let me conclude with this. It's as true now as the day I wrote it. 

As in many times in the past, there is a strong and demonstrable need for creative movements and cultural revolutions that the mainstream culture may neither recognize, understand, nor support. All these facts do not mean that you should not, or can not, bring it about. Supposing this is a course that speaks to you as it does to me, barring bad luck and the “acts of God,” the only real barrier is in ourselves, in the forms of egotism, laziness, isolation, a lack of vision, planning, or making the wrong compromise.

We have no need for a counterculture or any other movement so long as it is for the sake of fashion, so long as we hobble ourselves or one another or use elitism or ideological disagreements as excuses that keep us from getting something done. Nor do we have any use for these things if they are anything but a means to an end which realize the common and manifest goals of its members. 

It doesn't matter if you consider yourself a Pagan, a Christian, or a Muslim, a plumber, an artist, or an information architect. That is, so long as we can mutually find the fulcrum point of a common ground, and a common good, to lift us both up with. If, on the other hand, we both define ourselves as artists, but can find no such leverage, we’d probably be better off going our own ways. We can have our ideological arguments over tea; there is no ideology in my mind which trumps someone being a genuine, open-minded, passionate person, and no party line agreement can provide reparations if they are not.

Revolution, or evolution for that matter, isn’t going to be found in a common manner of dress, speech, or ideology. If it is found at all, it will come in the chance meeting of equals in this wasteland that we call the world, and the work they do to water the desert until it flowers.

When any counter culture gets big enough, it gets co-opted by a “Major.” If there is any value in a “counterculture” it is in a core ideology which cannot be replicated, cannot be sold. As I said, it is the trappings and mystique which get marketed and sold. So if you have it in you, and shooting from the hip is getting old: make a shtick. Make it huge and mythic. Sell it off to the highest bidder. Sell out without “selling out.”

And use that to build something wonderful. ... 

Remember the utopianism of the early internet? Then we discovered that actually the internet was primarily for cats, and porn. Oh well. 

Let's try something else, huh?

[Where is the fucking counterculture? Mythos Media.]

Unidentifiable Intrusions

A flimsy elitist bulwark of pitiless slander, obnoxious bullshit, scandal, pr0n, and lies!
( the diagnostic broadcraft of non-co-opted memes and inexcusably hyperbolic extremes )

Few are those who find our work vaguely accessible enough to appreciate although many can feign comprehension or at the very least engage in reciprocal bandwidth-fodder spewage on the side, but fewer still are those who see with soft eyes at subtle calculations in language resting beneath the kindling of inflammatory logic.

Amongst this ambulatory altar of electronic ambience lie additional accretion into the annals of alliteration, aphorisms, anecdotes, ackronymns, absurdism, adages, asides, articles, aggrotextuality, armchair anarchy, and any and all else abandoned alike.

It is difficult to locate clearly defined pillars of positivity amidst the sewerscapes and incestuous rapes of this morbidly Dickensian poverty we poise ourselves to writhe through on a daily basis, but an essential edifice for hollow beauty exists on the street where it too is poised to smother every molecule of oxygen out of itself.

Several years of steady immersion in Shub Internet's mutual hallucination is enough to drive the average cadaver to the point of complete synaptic failure, but hiding behind an Internet machine allows even illiterate thuglets in bathrobes and pms bitches in pjs to disguise their insecurities with feigned confidence and anonymous posturing.

Big Brother And His Drones: What YOU Can Get Out Of Surveillance and the Machine Future

It's time to face facts – technology advances by harnessing human drives, and the most primal are sex and death.

Drones and cybersex. So, what can YOU get out of it?

Pornography and the military-industrial complex are often the prime funders of technological research. Without DARPA, we wouldn't have the internet, and without the urge to stream porn, we wouldn't be constantly trying to improve data compression techniques.

Without lust, there'd be no YouTube – and without the urge to achieve maximum effect with minimum effort, we wouldn't develop labour saving devices. We wouldn't develop technology to extend our reach, and refine our apparent control over the situation. Without apparent scarcity and rarity, we wouldn't consider certain things precious, and we certainly wouldn't care about loss. We wouldn't care about extending our sphere of influence, or expanding our territory.

Here in the UK, we're seemingly constantly under the eye of CCTV. According to the BBC, one London Borough, Wandsworth, has more cameras than Dublin, San Francisco, Johannesburg and Boston COMBINED. Manchester has more than 4 times the number of CCTV cameras than Paris.

Where is your attention?
Leaving aside the use of drones in current conflicts across the globe, the increasing militarisation of police forces may be reaching its zenith in California. A County Sheriff wants to buy one for use over his area, right over your back yard. The EFF and other civil liberties organisations are protesting however.

Ultimately drones – small unmanned aerial vehicles - are here to stay, whether or not they're weaponised or otherwise. Futurist and military strategist John Robb points out that they could be used for logistics and other things – a Dronenet, or 'internet of drones'. Combine this with the advances in 3D printing, and crowdfunding platform,s like Kickstarter and IndieGogo, things are going to get interesting pretty fast.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Are Schools Prisons?

Though potentially alarmist, this documentary points to a process that really started with the advent of the american education system as a part of the rise of industry. Our modern school system, though it has been vastly successful compared to many earlier systems as bad as it is, is indeed based on the whistle-blowing, mechanized and behaviorist perspective of humanity that was popular in the 1920s-50s.

Instead of changing with the times in terms of making kids into machines, and to produce "good workers," we might consider trying to help create human beings. Because of all the school shootings, in many ways now we are facing a PKD style "thought police," No Tolerance rule toward what someone might do. How does this lack of trust effect the people within the system?

I certainly wouldn't have made it through this system. Not at all. I barely slipped through in the 90s, until I became an undergrad at Bard and I found an environment that was better suited to my disposition overall (despite issues there as well.)

I imagine that there are more "freaks" like me. They are the ones with capacity for both a type of personal greatness and atrocity. Are those the people you really want to alienate? Bullying is a serious problem in schools.

It was when I was in 'the system,' and it certainly is today. But there are more than one approach. And school shootings as I mentioned have also terrified this nation, but our reaction to that fear has been as wrong-minded as the fear reaction that resulted from 9-11. We got so angry and afraid as a nation that we attacked a country that had nothing to do with the attack. We are producing terrorists in the middle east just as we are creating criminals and possibly even terrorists at home. As Aaron Sorkin pointed out in the West Wing episode "the War at Home," this also has resonance with the war on drugs. "The war is at home. It's in our classrooms."

Are our children the enemy? 

Fallen Nation: Welcome to the Apocalypse

Welcome to the Apocalypse. A free mini comic based in the Fallen Nation world. 
Illustrated by P. Emerson Williams, written by James Curcio.

Get the mini Free comic. 

Enriching the Soil: The Requirements of a Mythic Artistic Movement (Part 4)

Part 1: There Is No Counterculture. Please buy our books and tip your waitresses.  

Whole series.

It is quite apparent that fringe political movements, which for instance seek to liberate the workers from wage slavery or develop alternative and sustainable methods of energy, communication, or commerce may appear more essential in the coming years.

We hope that art will again take a role as a mythic and cultural strange attractor and mutation device. 

However, all of these developments are knitted together. We cannot, in fact, have one without the other. There is a desperate need for both.

Artists and thinkers are neither engendered nor supported for the value they can produce within other sectors of the economy. This is partially because this value, both in being qualitative, and in being a part of a systemic benefit, is difficult if not impossible to evaluate. That is a valid problem, as there is a meaningful distinction between advocating the arts, and giving all would-be artists a free ride. If the government subsidized all art, we'd simply have warehouses full of garbage. This is a very tough nut to crack in a bureaucratic sense.

However, this benefit is hardly recognized. What is worse, social and economic systems don’t engender it. In the US, the arts are mostly seen as a nuisance, with endowments shrinking every year. (Even if this wasn’t the case, the parameters and requirements for artistic grants are so specific and oftentimes so complicated and arcane that they make Heidegger seem plainspoken.) In a country where scientific research is most enfranchised when it can be used to make bombs, and the Department of Defense budget exceeds what is spent on the entire rest of the country, this comes as no large surprise.

Yet, for this as well, we all suffer as a result.

The Branding of Cirque Du Soleil -- arts movements will be dissected in the jargon of marketing, and they must succeed on those grounds to be taken seriously or accomplish anything. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

World’s 100 richest could end global poverty 4 times over

World’s 100 richest could end global poverty 4 times over
“The richest 1 percent has increased its income by 60 percent in the last 20 years with the financial crisis accelerating rather than slowing the process,” while the income of the top 0.01 percent has seen even greater growth, a new Oxfam report said.
What sense does wealth have in the long run, if we think of ourselves as a species in an enormous cosmos, rather than Americans and Saudi Arabians, or rich and poor? 

Crazy talk, for sure. "Us" and "them." If we don't recognize ourselves as brothers and sisters, we're going to be done for. Nature is far more brutal and unstable on the long run than this little calm blip in history would make us think.

"There are not yet obvious signs of extraterrestrial intelligence, and this makes us wonder whether civilizations like ours rush inevitably into self-destruction. I dream about it . . . and sometimes they are bad dreams."

The words of Carl Sagan in this episode (a stern Kermit the frog) still ring true, despite the fears of that time being slightly different than now. It doesn't matter the nature of the eventual disaster, simply that they are inevitable, and yet we seem to live within a system that is designed to keep us estranged, and to deprive the basic necessities of life to some while others are able to .

The underlying dream of Communism is not a bad one, before it is turned to fascism. Is it human nature that makes such a utopean plans impossible? This requires looking at the myth of human nature and the myth of power. 

[Where is the fucking counterculture? Mythos Media.]

Friday, February 22, 2013

Talking about Food

How can we talk about food?

It is an incredibly complex issue. It is impossible to discuss diet without raising issues of economics, ethics, and consciousness that would take many books -- if not lifetimes -- to give ample time and consideration.

It's easy enough to see sex as the central issue of life. One could say that it is death that in fact sheds the greatest life upon life. But maybe a more biological perspective would be that it is food that leads us most evenly to all the central issues of life. Our very history is contained in the culture of our food.
"How is food a perfect road map of myth? In the same way that it tells the story of history. It tells of interbreeding, it tells of times of peace, it tells of rape and pillaging, of occupation, of diaspora and exodus."
"You are what you eat." Maybe so. But what led us to decide what we should eat, and what we should avoid? What level of responsibility do we have as individuals for the cultural and global repercussions of our food choices?

Most of us are not prepared for this. We are provided food as a child, and take on the habits that presented to us. Or perhaps as a teenager we rebel against these cultural habits, so that Veganism is to mainstream America in this light much like Satanism is to Catholicism.

The ethical dimension of food also brings in knee-jerk reactions. I lived in a house of 7 college students my junior year. Three of the housemates were vegan, two were vegetarian, and two were meat eaters. This lead to food wars, with bacon thrown in the trash leading to bacon put in beds lead to--well, it escalated, and got quite ugly. So food politics involve dehumanization, as well.

Those ethical issues, and the fact that culture is so blindly inherited by many people--though less so by the average Modern Mythology or Mythos Media reader I'll wager--make it deeply challenging. They charge it through with emotions and posturing and politics.

Transcending Obligation: Buddha and Christ

After a nice group meditation session tonight, I was thinking a bit about Buddhism, and watching several documentaries on "his" life. I thought I'd make a little joke:

  1. People often overlook the part of the story of the Buddha where he abandons his wife & child. The Buddha was a total dick.
    Image will appear as a link
    1.  The wife he had an arranged marriage with and who was a blood relative. Not saying that doesn't make him a dick.
    2.  the story goes that he was deeply in love with her, cousin or not. But it was a joke too. Buddhas life is best seen as myth
    3.  in the context of myth...well, his son was called "fetter." Ball and chain.
    4.  it was the cultural dimension he had to transcend, that we have to transcend to be ourselves

After transcending that dimension presented by his child and wife, he was presented by Maya with his future: he would become a great king of men. This too he had to go beyond, and at this point he entered the spiritual realm and was then presented with temptations there after demonstrating his attainment.

The tests under the Bo tree are almost beat for beat similar to the tests of the Christ. It is the way that the Christ and Buddha myths were differently interpreted that spelled the primary differences between these narratives. The cultures that bore the stories into existence were different, and the future mutants of those stories were also different. It is interesting then that there is so much overlap between these redeemer/savour myths, though of course that cultural different winds up producing such different practices

It's also worth noticing that if you're planning on marrying someone that is to become a religious figure, you're pretty shit out of luck. Cause it really didn't go well for the women in Siddhartha's life, nor Jesus'. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Reality is an Art Project

Portlandia : Art Project

Gonzomentary: Clark

From Hyperallergic re: Art Project, Portlandia:

 For those uninitiated into its history, conceptual art can often seem like a trick — is that really a urinal in an art gallery? Is sticking yogurt caps on gallery walls really great art? Unfortunately for Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, the stars and creators of the sketch TV show Portlandia, it turns out that conceptual art can actually trap you, even outside of a gallery opening ...
The danger of anything being art, as we are wont to argue these days, is that everything can be art if you want it to — and no one else has to agree with you to make it so. The Portlandia folks are living in a world in which postmodernism has run amok, sparing nothing, not even the coffee shop.

From Film Threat re: Clark, A Gonzomentary: 

What results from Warwick’s footage is a “gonzomentary,” a mix of fourth-wall busting filmmaking, mockumentary, Gonzo journalism and whatever else can be added into the mix, which includes: Uncle Binky the pedophile clown; a Christian producer/investor who wants the film to contain no swearing, no drinking and no drugs, right before she has a crisis of faith and becomes a mime; a silent film; Tito the drug dealer, who is actually a British actor (David Proch) stuck in a Method acting Hell and Warwick’s own descent into madness while chronicling the adventures of Clark and J.C. And penises. Lots of penises.

[Where is the fucking counterculture? Mythos Media.]

A World of One's Own: Sine Qua Non

"I believe one writes because one has to create a world in which one can live. I could not live in any of the worlds offered to me — the world of my parents, the world of war, the world of politics. I had to create a world of my own, like a climate, a country, an atmosphere in which I could breathe, reign, and recreate myself when destroyed by living. That, I believe, is the reason for every work of art." -Anaïs Nin.

Why do you create?
Where do you belong? 

For me it is also a matter of Sine Qua Non: Without which, not.

[Where is the fucking counterculture? Mythos Media.]

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Add sleeping, dreaming, and waking
to the list of our existential uncertainty. 
Centuries of thought have been directed toward subjectivity, which makes me feel like a bit of a fool to offer it up for consideration. But I'd like to share some of these videos with you, so here we are.

What is an obvious and immediate consideration when we recognize our own existence? Any question of our experience immediately brings up its existence separate from us. What is it? Which is 'more' real, the logical source of our experience that lies outside of experience (object) or that which recognizes and becomes aware of that occurrence.

The branch of philosophy retroactively entitled "continental philosophy" could be seen as deriving itself from this single issue. In asking that one question we are forced to consider not only our experience, old our existence and finite, and the apparent cleavage between representation and source, numinon and phenomenon. We must also crack open a dank can of "What the Fuck" (it comes in regular and diet) in contemplating the limits of the methods we might use to explore these issues. And so epistemology joins cosmology.  Is the real real? Emphasis floats in one philosophy, and one generation, and the next.

Frankly, the words start to sound just like noise being made by flapping lips.

Be that as it may, here are some different perspectives:

Alchemical Alembics & Desert Wines - An Interview with Maynard James Keenan

Last year I had the opportunity to speak with Maynard James Keenan for a short Q & A that ran in Alarm Magazine. Keenan's work with the bands Tool, A Perfect Circle, and Puscifer have penetrated deep into the cultural consciousness, but it was another passion of his that provided the impetus for the article. In the heart of the Verde Valley he is currently developing the Arizona Stronghold Wines partnership, which includes development of Merkin Vineyards, and creation of his own winery, Caduceus Cellars.

In researching for the interview I came to realize that there's far more to what Keenan is doing with his wine craft than I'd first expected. A focus on community growth, desert permaculture, and sustainable, socially integrated business practices demonstrates a different side of Keenan's genius, which in other applications has allowed him to become one of the most successful artists in the contemporary music industry. There is also an esoteric component to his wine making, which is hinted at in the title for the Blood into Wine documentary produced a few years ago to introduce people to his vineyard and winery.

Through understanding the place history of the Verde Valley, Keenan is working with bringing to his wines the sense that they are literally transmuting the blood of those who have lived and died in the area, and whose work has made the desert community possible. With an awareness of how specific climates, soil types and other environmental factors affect the development of the wine, he has added an additional layer of cultural understanding which brings out a more subtle sense of what happens during the fermenting process.

Aptly named after Hermes' staff, Caduceus Cellars brings an alchemical approach to wine making that returns the craft back to its origins. Another way that Keenan stays true to this alchemical tradition is in his focus on renewing the society which supports his pursuits. One thinks of the legendary donations of Nicolas Flamel which are still remembered through street names and plaques in the areas in France where he was said to have provided for the community through his transmutations.  In a similar sense Keenan's work with the local community to not only create business, but also to build an infrastructure that supports further development, is a beautiful example of integrating all aspects of one's passion and craft into something that benefits everyone in the community.

The interview as it originally ran in Alarm was significantly shortened due to space requirements, and I am happy to have the opportunity to publish the unedited version here on Modern Mythology.

You’ve been involved in wine making and viticulture for a little over a decade now, haven’t you?

Yeah, pretty much, maybe a little bit longer. Right around 1999 is when I started messing around with orchards here. And broke ground for the actual vineyard  in 2002 I believe.

The Vacuum Metastability Event: New Evidence

"If you use all the physics that we know now and you do what you think is a straightforward calculation, it's bad news," Joseph Lykken said at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston on Monday. "It may be that the universe we live in is inherently unstable and at some point billions of years from now it's all going to get wiped out. This has to do with the Higgs energy field itself."

The first thing I see on my facebook feed this morning: If Higgs Boson Calculations Are Right, A Catastrophic 'Bubble' Could End Universe. Recent work in the world of physics provides new evidence that something far worse than "the nothing" ought elicit our cosmic angst, as I wrote in: Ex nihilo nihil fit: Heidegger's Vacuuity and False Vacuum Decay.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Reincarnation into Computers: Cylons?

six-three-eight who do
we appreciate
He doesn't outright say it, but it's an amusing thought that the Dalai Lama believes in the premise behind Cylon resurrection  In the 'new' Battlestar Galactica, humanoid cylons are immediately reincarnated in a new, identical body so long as they are within range of resurrection ships. This was one of the many conceits used by the writers of that show to introduce cosmological and theological concepts, along with other philosophical quandaries, into a "sci fi" setting so as to produce a truly Modern Mythology.

Of course there's a big difference between attributing such things to the theoretical consideration of Maybe, and thinking of them as material Necessity. A point made within the Immanence of Myth is that thinking of them as either is exactly the same, however much different a bash over the head and evil thoughts may be at the surface.

But of course there are less literal ways that we can interpret ressurection.
In the cosmological sense, it takes on a different meaning:

How do we make the leap from one to the other? I honestly have no answer there, though I'm curious to see what others think on that. 

There is a sneaky danger that lies between the two -- what happens when someone believes that thought and matter are identical twins -- ... 

[Where is the fucking counterculture? Mythos Media.]

Taoism and Chuang-Tzu

Many people think of Taoism as being restricted to Lao Tzu, the Tao Teh Ching, and possibly some hand-wavy interpretation of the yin-yang symbol. However, it is a very old shamanistic tradition that, in its explicit origins, came into being both to expound upon and also contradict the Confucian idea of order in celestial bureaucracy. Taoism confuses many Westerners as it is a religion that is not a religion, a philosophy that is not a philosophy, and the practices and beliefs that have followed from its sources are as divergent as Catholicism and Satanism. (Which is to say, opposed and yet tied -- much like Taoism and Confucianism.)

I'd like to provide some more resources on those interested on exploring Taoism beyond Lao Tzu, and even Chaung Tzu, though some of you might like to begin there.

[Where is the fucking counterculture? Mythos Media.]

Drunk for your Amusement Doug Stanhope

By James Curcio
(First run on Alterati.)

No Refunds.

Doug Stanhope Deadbeat Hero from a decade ago.

For years now, I’ve wondered who the next Bill Hicks was going to be. As things grew more and more grim I wondered if maybe we would have no more fool messiahs (Eulogy is the track I’m referring to…) because the meter was just fucking broke and we’ve all become too whitebread and insecure to recognize the rallying call if it comes. “COMEDY IS DEAD, GO HOME, GAME OVER.”

Comedy is a dicey topic these days. In fact, you can't go within a hundred yards of many topics without engaging a twitter boat load of hate your way--sometimes with good reason, and sometimes not. Consider this. The point is that comedy makes people engage with ideas, sometimes incredibly subtle or complex ones, without realizing that they are doing so. Comedy is, in other words, a means of making the public engage in philosophy. I realize that may seem absurd. Just as absurd as it is to suggest that Doug Stanhope is a philosopher? But even if the comedians themselves don't recognize it--and I think Doug does, actually--this is the real task of the comedian. To get people engaged with uncomfortable topics. Laughter is a defense mechanism. But it isn't just a method of diffusion.

Wake Up Neo: Branding a Movement (part 3)

(First run on Alterati.)

One cannot have a movement within the context of a culture that doesn't react directly to that culture. It is nevertheless undeniable that there can be cultural value in a fringe, in an underground, in the paradox of an anarchist community. Even in a concrete way, such ever-changing, forward thinking movements provide something valuable that a healthy culture at large could not do without – they challenge the status quo; they bring in new ideas from the outside. Most importantly, they create living myths.

A specific sub-culture is itself based upon a myth. You may find people proclaiming to be a part of such a movement, I have also seen them pop into and out of existence all over the place; but you’ll never find an absolute, concrete demonstration of what that sub-culture is said to embody. A movement is an ideal which holds the lure of total freedom, a sweet taste that often quickly sours on the tongue, which is nevertheless integral, and indispensable to the artistic spirit. Like any good myth, or art itself, there’s definite value in it, and there is a kind of truth in it, even if it is also a lie in a literal sense.

Pick a name and stick with it. Band with those you can trust -- this is the hardest part of all, as most movements turn into a Shakespearian backsteb fest the moment there is a shred of attention. It may be coined intentionally, as Andre Breton did with Surrealism, announced with manifestos and a movement, or it can happen later, a convention for the benefit of journalists that need to name something.

This is Part 3 of many.

See The Immanence of Myth and Apocalyptic Imaginary for similar essays.

There is, first, the myth of there being a particular movement, such as the Beats. Like a corporate entity or any other egregore, this movement develops a brand identity. I can say, “the Beats,” and most people even vaguely aware of American art and literature know what I’m talking about. Here were separate artists, living separate lives. Sure, they may have been friends, and they influenced one another. But this idea of “the Beats.” That was branding, regardless of how the meme perpetuated itself.

There are several layers of myth building involved in branding a movement...

Monday, February 18, 2013

Ripple is coming soon

We will be syndicating a podcast series that was first run on Alterati, featuring a number of established but still underground artists and acts such as Estradasphere, Lustmord, Pygmy Love Circus, and so on. 

General credits: This show was narrated by Ray Carney, and the interviews performed either by Ray Carney himself or Rusty Shackleford. They were produced by myself (James Curcio) and occasionally co-produced by Wes Unruh.

Expect the first episode in a few days.

 [Where's the fucking counterculture? Mythos Media.]

Wake Up Neo: Nobody is Original Get Over It (part 2)

Gutav Marou

Read Part 1: There Is No Counterculture. Please buy our books and tip your waitresses. 

With all of this said, there are many artists who would still insist on the existence of an independent counterculture or underground.

It is true: though the so-called counterculture is full of underground posers, sharpening their sticks for the coming revolution against an opposition that doesn’t exist, artistes who haven’t done a lick of real artistic work in a decade, who use their supposed underground artistic cred to get them in bed with whomever they can scam, would-be rock stars that think they are evolving music by turning it into a vapid fashion show, and old school DIY punks who haven’t yet realized that their ideological stance, though noble in its way, simply limits them, there are also daring innovators and experimenters within all of these fields and more, who only really give a damn about the work. The posturing, the politics, the bullshit be damned. (And I'm sure few of us would agree about whom to put in which category.)

This is Part 2 of many.

See The Immanence of Myth and Apocalyptic Imaginary for similar essays.

These innovators I’m speaking of are the people who push their own boundaries, and the boundaries of the culture around them enough that they are simply classified as “counterculture” or “revolutionary” because the culture, and the media, doesn’t really know what to make of them. (My hope is, you could very well be one yourself.)

Systems component redundancy check

What lengths an artist will go to to qualify their works as evidence of grandeur
(this project of pompous pre-tense will pay for its own perspiration when performance persists.)

Systems component redundancy check: telesmatic wet-drivers are operational and air-flash ports are actively scanning anonymous user guest connections for bio-feedback pools from which to siphon unclaimed energies.

Sub-hologlyphic frequency scrambler is acquiring its first data payload, the psionic accumulator is on stand-by awaiting ensnarement instructions, and the traverse wave hot-link is primed and prepared to initiate its servitor mass birthing sequence.

Dream intruding mal-ware worms are present, as of yet undetected, and in the process of converting an electro-chemical engineering masterpiece of self-regenerative maintenance into a violently swirling mosh pit of illogical, paranoid incompetence growing ever-increasingly consumed with self-destructive impulses.

In this installment users will encounter an unadulterated corruption of the entire spectrum in every direction possible from top to bottom and back again. This includes reaching on down the upside of your rectum without a rubber glove or a drop of lubricant to speak of and for this lack of funding for supplies we apologize in advance.

And since it's just a simple remote outpatient procedure users shouldn't worry about experiencing any excessive itching, soreness, or anal bleeding afterwards because your digital signature identified by your visiting IP address acts to verify compliance with a legal release form that clears our clinic of all liability for post-procedural conditions no matter how outlandishly mysterious or horrifically dis-figuring results may be. The exposure of gratuitous imitation will be met with prompt civil action.

      All things considered I'd say it's pot roast for dinner,

          Not guilty on all counts, your Honor

[Where is the fucking counterculture? Mythos Media.]

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Wake Up Neo: There is No Counterculture (part 1)

"Two weeks at Burning Man may be fun, but try doing it for a year and chances are you'll come back telling me what hell is like."

Even by definition, the idea of a counterculture expresses itself as a negation. It is arguable if a counterculture could possibly exist without the myths of the mainstream. As such it is a product of the market, and exists only insofar as it serves a function within that market.

Yet there are ideals which have been part of various vibrant (if short-lived) countercultures, which rest close to the heart of the creative process as structured by the myth of the individual: unfettered self-expression, freedom from the externally imposed social boundaries, irreverent humor, an element of egalitarianism mixed liberally with pirate capitalism, maybe even a sense of pragmatic community. History shows that these ideals are quickly lost in such movements, however, oftentimes as soon as they gain a true pulpit. The largest expression of that in recent history is of course the now somewhat idealized 1960s, a clear view of which has been obscured through a haze of pot-smoke and partisan politics.

However, “counterculture bubbles,” Temporary Autonomous Zones101 and so on are regularly coming into and out of being. Countercultures remain rather toothless in regard to having any capacity to sustain themselves outside the context of the society they stand in opposition to, instead utilizing a self-referential social currency of cool-points, sprinkled liberally with pointless elitism and a side of Who Gives A Fuck? One need merely look at the transformation of musical and sub-cultural genres founded on rebellion: punk, rock and roll, and the like, and what they have transformed into during the decades of their existence. In this domain, the territory between aesthetic, ideals, and social movement becomes blurry at best.

This is Part 1 of many.

See The Immanence of Myth and Apocalyptic Imaginary for similar essays.

Let’s begin with a quintessential mainstream icon of the branded, shiny counterculture: The Matrix. You've all seen it. Even as an example it’s a cliché, and that’s part of my ultimate point. Here’s a framed sketch of the first movie: in the scenes where Keanu Reeves doesn't seem to be desperately attempting to recall his lines, it is a slick take on the alienation most suburban American youth feel, packaged within the context of the epistemological skepticism Descartes wrestled with in the 17th century. Taken out of the cubicle and into the underworld, we witness the protagonist “keeping it real” by eating mush, donning co-opted fetish fashion, and fighting an army of identical men in business suits in slow motion. The movie superimposes the oligarchic and imperialist powers-that-be in the world over the adolescent's authority figures. A successful piece of marketing — you can be sure no one collecting profits off of points or licensing deals had any misgivings about “the Man.”

Redonkulous or Naught? The reptilians are burrowing into your flesh this very moment.
Pay me lots of money to find out more

Utopian For Beginners

Check out this article from incunabula:
There are so many ways for speakers of English to see the world. We can glimpse, glance, visualize, view, look, spy, or ogle. Stare, gawk, or gape. Peek, watch, or scrutinize. Each word suggests some subtly different quality: looking implies volition; spying suggests furtiveness; gawking carries an element of social judgment and a sense of surprise. When we try to describe an act of vision, we consider a constellation of available meanings. But if thoughts and words exist on different planes, then expression must always be an act of compromise.
Languages are something of a mess. They evolve over centuries through an unplanned, democratic process that leaves them teeming with irregularities, quirks, and words like “knight.” No one who set out to design a form of communication would ever end up with anything like English, Mandarin, or any of the more than six thousand languages spoken today.
“Natural languages are adequate, but that doesn’t mean they’re optimal,” John Quijada, a fifty-four-year-old former employee of the California State Department of Motor Vehicles, told me. In 2004, he published a monograph on the Internet that was titled “Ithkuil: A Philosophical Design for a Hypothetical Language.” Written like a linguistics textbook, the fourteen-page Web site ran to almost a hundred and sixty thousand words. It documented the grammar, syntax, and lexicon of a language that Quijada had spent three decades inventing in his spare time. Ithkuil had never been spoken by anyone other than Quijada, and he assumed that it never would be.
In his preface, Quijada wrote that his “greater goal” was “to attempt the creation of what human beings, left to their own devices, would never create naturally, but rather only by conscious intellectual effort: an idealized language whose aim is the highest possible degree of logic, efficiency, detail, and accuracy in cognitive expression via spoken human language, while minimizing the ambiguity, vagueness, illogic, redundancy, polysemy (multiple meanings) and overall arbitrariness that is seemingly ubiquitous in natural human language.”

This feeds directly into past (and future planned) articles on linguistics and meaning.

[Where is the fucking counterculture? Mythos Media.]

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Ad Space For Sale

We are now offering ad space here, in targeted posts or in the sidebar that appears on every page. Rates forthcoming, or contact me if you want to get positioning immediately. ~1000 visits / day plus RSS, niche readers of above average intellect. Such as yourself.

The skinny... This decision comes after several internet marketing companies approached us asking for rates or just making an offer out of the blue, and the decision to start focusing on this site and the content that we run again in a more concerted manner moving into 2013. It got me thinking - regular cash flow would allow us to easily double or even triple traffic rates. I know this from past experience. (For reference, the last funded group blog / web mag project I managed got up to about 10k visits/day.)

Chapel of Sacred Mirrors Deep Puddle Dynamics

By James Curcio
(first run on Alterati, 2007)

I'm lying on my back on the floor, on a mat in the middle of a long hall surrounded at both ends by singing bowls and enormous gongs. To my left is a girl, curled in a ball, who has been rocking back and forth for five minutes, sobbing, repeating the mantra, "I want my mommy, I want my mommy." To my right is another girl, lying in corpse pose as I am, who merely periodically sighs, "this is amazing." And here I am in the middle, eyes closed, clear-headed, and more or less invisible.

Though it would strike me as no surprise if hallucinogenic drugs were involved, there is no doubt in my mind that some of this reaction is the result of amplification. The Greys have really built a sacred space here. I first noticed it during my initial visit to the space-- I was one of the speakers for the Generation Hex launch party November 2005. About halfway through the presentation it struck me that many people were behaving as if they were on LSD, and they were people who, I knew for a fact, had taken none. This was later confirmed by comments from a number of the people in the audience later. As with a church when it is really serving its cultural function, the Chapel is a space which, if you're open to it, unhinges you from your everyday experience and expectations, and allows you to percieve everything, including yourself, from a new vantage point. (Also, like a church, you only get out of it what you bring to it.)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Void: Put Your Blogomatic Gender-Phasers on Stun

By James Curcio

As I move away from some social media I've found a desire to be less formal (as if that were possible) in the other places that I write. So I wanted to start by saying I've been struggling with chronic pain and illnesses lately.

So that's why I've been off my game here. As one of the primary contributors to this site, that has meant the content has slowed down. I'll be more present here if I get better... if I don't, hopefully someone else will carry on the torch.

I have a number of articles that I want to write - to further expand upon the core idea of modern mythology - the cultural ideas, and concepts that structure our understanding of the world on a sort of rote or subconscious level. The "a priori assumptions," the things that people say, "well of course girls and boys are a certain way..." But it's been hard to flesh them out lately, and I'm going to get to that as well as a topic I want to talk about in a sort of round about way because they both interweave. As we get older and more complex, our own myths become so complex that it can be hard to communicate at all. (At least without dumping 10 books on your desk and saying, "read these and then what I'm saying will make some kind of sense.")

So let's begin with just one article idea, like a thread in a sweater, while the other article ideas sit on the shelf and hopefully don't collect too much dust.

Gender stereotypes at work. Here is something that I have seen a lot on twitter and other social media:

"All men are x, all women are y."
"If you're a boy, you y, but if you're a MAN, then you x."

And also a number of jokes that depend essentially on the premise that men are beer guzzling, emotionally distant or dead, competitive, sport-loving and so on, and all women are gold-digging whores or whiny bitches or ice-princess prudes, or damsels-in-distress, or you name it. Not that many people don't live these stereotypes, and who can say whether that is a result of cultural casting (they have played to the roles they were provided by peers, media, and family) or some natural personality type is hard to say. Maybe some mixture of the two in many cases.

But that kind of thinking itself is clearly a part of what produces the stereotypes. Every time someone makes that assumption and passes it on, the stronger the myth is. This is also the basis for one argument that one should not make rape jokes, even 'funny ones', because it strengthens the ideology of 'rape culture' for those that don't comprehend absurdity. (I have my own take on that issue but don't want to sidetrack.)

There is a strange way, as we've discussed, that the myths we create take on a life of their own. To work properly with myths, one must understand their dual nature as fictive representation, and existent force, almost a living entity. In the Immanence of Myth we stop just short of saying that myths are alive. (To really understand this statement you've got to unfortunately plum through 300,000 words of repetition that is carefully designed to beat these ideas into your head until you actually begin sublimating them yourself.)


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