Saturday, December 30, 2017
They lived in a heap of trash. Rusted mufflers, flaking corrosion, broken light tubes with jagged edges, brackish pools of kitchen stench, half-dented cans of bug death caught in coils of wiring, thorns, sofa springs, styrofoam snow, vacuum tube linoleum piercings, saranwrapped decapitated mannequins at odd angles...
Everything heaved with ants, termites, rats gorging on festering TV entrées, dead things, misplaced compost. Other things moved. Cyborg pinheads with gasoline belches engaged in amplexus with giant purple iguanas.
"Don't force it," one grunted, "and it will all slide."
Pterodactyls swooped down to catch sewer gnomes. Some of these retaliated with catapults and fiery swamp gas projectiles. A ptero ignited and plunged into the mud. Insane, horned, gyro-geeks spiraled around, smashed things and vended their wares.
Heads appeared out of holes.
"I'll have three pornstars and a sack of beans, please."
"We're out of beans but our pornstars are still fresh."
"Well how about them for a stack of Popular Mechanics?"
The market was in full force. All the best of jungle, swamp and slag-heap for your every desire. The heap sprawled on for miles. Anti-gravity faeries surfed on Tesla waves, warping the sounds and pictures. The Song worked furiously in their condo lint-nests, frantically splicing genes and snorting coke.
Buzz saws, explosions, mad cackles punctuated the subtle music of Aeolian piano-wire harps. An orange neon sign flashed: "God was here." Scrap metal sculptures reached for the sky. Everyday they added on to themselves.
Then the drums sounded. Jaundice skinned trolls bashing empty oil barrels, tribespeople pounding polyrhythms on djembes. Grandpa Dragonfly blew the conch shell three times. The gathering had commenced.
With astonishing speed they arrived at the salt flats. At first they formed a circle, joining hands, tentacles, talons, paws, mechanical clutches, hose, branches and hooks and faced each other. Then they reached across and further connected their limbs. This accelerated quickly. A game of frenzy twister ensued. A circle to a web to a cluster to a ball. Heads over tails over hooves. The ball rolled, shook, undulated, bounced, howled, giggled, ejaculated, vomited, spun and finally stood still. Everyone was comfortable.
From the centre, Grandpa Dragonfly called the meeting to order. Most of this happened in silence, but then it was time to translate for the non-telepaths. Of course this started an argument. What language to use?
The ball began to roll and sputter. After much hassle and nose-wrangling, consensus was reached and bolo-tongue was chosen as the most universally applicable. Grandpa Dragonfly spoke first, not because he was accepted as any kind of "leader," -- Fish forbid -- but only because it was he who called the meeting.
"Things are becoming way too strange," his raspy voice tickled many eardrums, "there seems to be a constant buzz in the air. A low almost moaning deep within the Earth. A subterranean didgeridoo. A hungry belly. It's as if something is waking up. Some huge thing. We all know that things are already crazier than anyone could have imagined."
Here he delved into something he called "history."
"The states melted. The weather went AWOL. The gene-pool went public. Nanoids running amok. Everyone mutating for kicks. The Trans-Corpse went organic. Money disappeared. Anarchy was unleashed. All desires manifested in some reality or another."
Most of the younger gatherers had no idea what he was talking about and even the older ones found it hard to remember. He continued.
"But now things are even faster, more tangled and more surprising. There is a great sense of culmination and climax."
"We all felt that before," an old pirate wheezed from the bottom of the ball, "but it all just kept goin' on. It's nuthin' new!" He seemed annoyed.
"Ah, though, this time it's different," the dragonfly's voice rose in volume and graveness, "this time complete Omega is coming. Mama's giving birth. The Trans-Corpse knows and they're divided. Some are afraid of losing control, some are helping to bring it on. But I don't know why or what is exactly happening!"
The linearity was too boring for most. The cacophony began...
The scene changed once again. He was sitting at a large circular oak table. The table was the only feature in a vast dark hall of stone. The only light came from several white candles situated in a chandelier which hung nearly touching the centre of the table. Around the table sat the philosophers, completely engaged in grave council.
Only the wisest were assembled: Metaphysicians, epistemologists, political scientists, cosmologists, pataphysicians, neo-alchemists, psychobiologists, pansurrealists, post-post-Kantians, lumpen-Nietzsceans, Zen dance masters, retro-transvestites, Baptists, überconformists, cyberpunks, flower skinheads, Hindu gods, Marxist priests, Pythagorean hipsters, evangelical agnostics, postsexuals, Taoist slaves, old dead bearded white men, radical lesbian separatists, nihilists, cat lovers, a holographic projection of Snuffleupagus.
In front of each was a pewter goblet of red wine. He took a sip of wine. It was thick, spicy and slightly bitter. He began to focus on what was being said.
"...Insofar as we know there is no equivalent to genetic replication in dustbunnies!" an extremely hairy man bellowed angrily, slamming his fist on the table. His outburst provoked further anger and a goblet and a set of false teeth flew at him from opposite sides of the table. A woman stood up on her chair.
"What right have you to speak for the inaminate??" she screamed. This started a heated debate in several languages which everyone took part in, but nobody fully understood. A small green man refilled the goblets with wine for the ninth time that evening.
An überconformist spun up a handful of blunts, lit them, and passed them to his neighbours on his left and right. In the midst of foul-mouthed and fiery discourse all assembled became thoroughly karped.
Voices filled the hall ebbing and flowing like ocean waves. Nasal high-pitched whines. Operatic disclamations. Buzz saw peals of sarcasm. Sadistic punbursts. Oxymoronic wailing guffaws. Grunts, snickers, accusations, lamentations, belches, diatribes, death threats, interrupted monologues. Giggle fits and sighing ecstasy. The occasional well-punctuated fart. The gritting of teeth. The crackling of knuckles. The pulling of hair. And then there was silence.
After an eternity a voice spoke. It was barely a flutter, soft but clear. It came from a weenie of a man, a member of a dissenting yet conservative faction of flower skinheads. The weenie looked straight at him and spoke:
"It's all up to you." Now all eyes focused on him.
"You alone are left to tell us the answer to all of our inquiries. The culmination of this great debate. The answer that will set our minds at rest, that verily will determine the future of this planet. The answer that will once and for all result in the eternal triumph of good over evil, or however our minds choose to formulate this metaphor.
"Your answer shall be both a synthesis and transcendence of the uttermost important thoughts of these great intellects gathered here. Once spoken it shall be shouted from the rooftops. Choirs will sing its refrain. Whole nations will reform to its message. The gods will return to this Earth and clarity will shine brilliant in the eyes of all. We anxiously yet patiently await your response. Answer us: What is going on?"
He blushed and sweated in horror as he shrank from the eyes of the great. He had no idea how he had even arrived in the hall. He had forgotten who he was and the wine and the spliffs only added to his confusion. But he swallowed his fear, cleared his throat, stood on the table and spoke:
"There is no meaning anywhere in the universe except that which we choose to give to it. Beyond this there is only the combined conceptions, perceptions and actions of every other entity in the universe including the universe itself. Nothing is stable. All is in movement. All is in a condition of perpetual creativity which emerges from the chaos of infinite possibilities.
"All of our categories, ideologies, thought experiments and even language itself is total bullshit. Only by freeing ourselves from these clinging notions can we ever hope to evolve beyond the mess we have made for ourselves. Only by our reemergence, and conscious reemergence, with this chaos can we find our way out. For in truth there is nothing but chaos. Nothing except interconnected flows of living energy.
"Everything is simply doing its own thing in order to sustain and expand itself. Each does this by collecting food, energy, information or money in whatever way is easiest. Everything is natural. We are free to do anything. Morality is a control myth, although certain actions are more fluid, balanced and inconsequential than others. It just so happens that these actions correspond with the moral dicta of most religions.
"At the base of all religions is the flow of of energy be it expressed as light, love, information or obedience to God. In fact there is no God but this God. All authority and control are all illusions and we often willingly give ourselves to these myths. In this way we ensure our own slavery. We need to smash or soar beyond all idols at all levels of perception and conception.
"There is only evolution and this is the creator, the created and the act of creation. Every atom of the universe is the entire universe and we have only to realize this to make it manifest. There are no limits. Everything is funny. There exists worlds beyond our comprehension for our exploration. The flow is best surfed with respect for the total. Space, time, mind, matter and energy are one. This, of course, is only my viewpoint and there is no truth."
He finished, stepped off the table and was instantly seized by the philosopher mob. They had not enjoyed a word. They took him outside to a tree and hung him by the neck until he died. He had already left his body. His crime was boredom. Civilization soon collapsed. Meanwhile, two cockroaches who had heard him in the hall and saw him die on the tree decided to start a religion...
The ruckus gurgled out of the sewer grates inspiring crippled toads to clear their obscured vision and sputter forth past rows of moss bungalows oozing with organic furry clarity charity for the unsatoried few who sit bored on couches munching cheezies and bragging about last Saturday night everything went wrong face planted into the pavement neon stars around his head in turned orbited by tiny worlds teeming with mutant life such as a bizarre species of hamster who do nothing but ponder their own place in the cosmos, who pay no attention to the physical world but spend all their short lives in their own unique thought dimension where they are God, all-knowing, all-powerful and immortal. All was blissful in these private utopias until they were warped into by humanoid reality surfers, the ultimate incarnation of a long succession of Lamarckian subcultural evolution way past uber-punk, post post-mortem, biodegradable extropic ideology-fuckers and bird-callers, drooling theo-morons, power-hippies, deep ravers, plurfs and ironic neo-squiffs who feasted on phosphorescent lichen leaving so-called consensus reality altogether beaming right naked down to the exclusive universe of the hamster demi-gods who fought them flicking snot and spreading paranoia. Eventually once the gate was crashed the joint was swamped by the worst type of curiousity-seeking wankers getting fat and establishing posh resorts where you can get your earlobes sucked while you intravenously absorb a sweet euphoric nectar that makes your whole body seem like one big penis whilst unbeknown to you you are being genetically reprogrammed to become the perfect automaton work, consume, watch TV, sleep. Fortunately some suburban computer geek introduced a nanoid virus into the soup further reprogramming the hapless penis zombies into fiery-eyed mall-smashing iconoclasts, nihilist mayhem addicts, sado-masochistic pleasure freaks, burning, bombing, looting, plundering yuppie vikings, New Age vandals, rabid brigands of the laundromats, cultural toxicity, window-shopping cancer, glamour girls sweating perfect plastic drops, their world had gone amok the rodents mentally paralysed by a wave of existential angst were unable to do anything. Their divinities stripped their powers forgotten ripples of confusion spun out from their heads back to the noösphere of the home world in beams of light to the neon stars which shone like a halo around the bruised toothless head of the alcoholic moss-dweller catching the attention of the wandering toads who in turn slapped the bum back into consciousness -- the beer-gutted redneck awoke from his stupor whole dimensions disappeared the hamster gods vanished the surfers were left without a home again the ruckus slinked back into the sewer chuckling softly...
Wednesday, December 20, 2017
There is no god
apart from poppies and the flying fish,
men singing songs, and women brushing their hair in the sun.
The lovely things are god that has come to pass, like Jesus came.
The rest, the undiscoverable, is the demiurge.
-- "The Body of God," D.H. Lawrence
It is important to notice that Lawrence is not denying the existence of God. Instead he is saying that no deity exists apart from and beyond nature. The divine is immanent, in other words, and transcendent only as far as the transcendent is just another perspective on the immanent. A question of epistemology and not ontology. Two truths as opposed to two worlds.
Songs, fish, flowers, flowing hair are patterns and rhythms of the World Soul. They are fluctuations and potentialities, meeting points of forces and messages, that take on recognizable forms for a moment. All perception is continually created and destroyed in like manner. No form resists transformation or penetration from others.
The World Soul is an immense sphere of spheres. A toroidal flux of doubling circulation. A "tantric egg" with its unattainable polar extremes -- pure subjectivity and pure objectivity, God and Nature -- snipped off and allowing movement both without and within. The demiurgic whirling outward, amnesiac of its own origins, and the christic swirling to the centre inside.
The Newtonian God -- the God who made a clockwork-like universe, wound it, and withdrew -- died a long time ago. This is what Nietzsche meant and this is the God who is being observed.
Anyone who is looking around for a simulated icon of the deity in Newtonian guise might well be disappointed. The phrase "God is dead" applies aptly, correctly, validly to the Newtonian universe which is dead. The groundrule of that universe, upon which so much of our Western world is built, has dissolved.
-- The Medium is the Massage, Marshall McLuhan
McLuhan rightly interprets Nietzsche here, and as usual brings the story forward. The clockwork cosmos was always a fiction, a linear and causal fable stemming from our adoption of the printing press and the clock as metaphors for all things. The gears have rusted and the springs have sprung. The cuckoo is spasming on the living room carpet. The line of the horizon has indeed been sponged away.
Every compass needle spins like a weathercock in a strong wind. Our navigation systems cause us to drive into the sea. This God has died. There is nothing above that is not also below. Electronic media coils us all together in a fashion that is entirely disorienting, "a brand-new world of allatonceness" that is also archaic and tribal. The old laws etched in stone or bound in leather no longer make sense.
To the savage this stone or tree or yam has mana or orenda, that is what concerns him; but gradually, -- and this is another high road to impersonation -- from the multitude of things that have mana, there arises the notion of a sort of continuum of mana, a world of unseen power lying behind the visible universe, a world which is the sphere, as will be seen, of magical activity and the medium of mysticism.
-- Themis, Jane Ellen Harrison
Yet the primal songlines and resonance fields remain. Points of intersection, spots made sacred as sites of epiphany and ordeal, rare instants spun up or down by accelerated extropy or entropy and allowing a break thru. These uncanny rocks or bushes or pieces of art ring off of each other, a sound audible for the attuned, richening in colour and contrast. A continuum of mana.
The plane or sphere (the geometry is dual and in motion) of immanence is here given character, provided with eyes and ears. Harrison goes on to explain that this continuum subsequently became synonymous with the World Soul. Its transcendent qualities are attributed only much later.
God -- plural and feminine and animal and multi-desiring -- once swam through mineral and fire and dream and speech. And still does. All pronouns break down at this stage. Verbs enfold each person, place and thing mistakenly classed as discrete and inviolable. Adjectives and adverbs burst out of these bright bundles of noise as sparks and flares.
The treetops absorb sunlight through language. Fungal fibres secrete verse and prose to cliff-clinging roots. Imagination circles through this medium -- creation and procreation -- not visible but felt and smelt (who dealt it?) keenly and with the constant premonition of possible danger.
We think the material or machinic aspect of an assemblage relates not to the production of goods but rather to a precise state of intermingling of bodies in a society, including all the attractions and repulsions, sympathies and antipathies, alterations, amalgamations, penetrations, and expansions that affect bodies of all kinds in their relations to one another. What regulates the obligatory, necessary, or permitted interminglings of bodies is above all an alimentary regime and a sexual regime. Even technology makes the mistake of considering tools in in isolation: tools exist only in relation to the interminglings they make possible or that make them possible.
-- A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari
"...the libido suffuses everything." The continuum is above all a continuum of desire. Libido, orgone, chi, mana, mojo, kundalini, groove, beat. There is no isolation. All systems -- musical, geological, linguistic, historical, ecological, make-believe, technical, political-economical, poetic -- mingle together in sometimes discernible overlays and juxtapositions. Bodies before goods, creation before production.
There is foreplay and long drawn out planes of intensity and slight but shattering ruptures of climax. Things newly spawned at each juncture. Hybrids and miscegenations and mutations, beautiful half-breeds and freaks, purity and finalized order really a death wish of the ignorant and afraid. Overwhelming kaleidoscopic becomings and recomings of food and sex.
Tubules, satyrs, striations, murmurings, the "ping" frog in the deep jungle a couple hours before dawn. Mating, eating, fucking, migrating, trading, swapping, frolicking, composing, dissolving, congealing. All "fixed" and "stable" towers of control become decentred, uncertain, disinformed by their very attempt to reassemble the clockwork organism and its spurious species, races, nations, roles.
In this light, the embodiment of the soul and the tension caused by its separation from divinity was not a fall or an error but the sine qua non to stimulate the circulation of Eros. For only in the embodied soul, in its self-alienation and inversion, could the divine genuinely experience separation, and consequently, an eros for itself.
-- Theurgy and the Soul: The Neoplatonism of Iamblichus, Gregory Shaw
There is no fall but the autumn, drifting gently downwards to welcome sleep and dissolution and escape from the cold. God willed a mate and enabled Her to possess absolute freedom. His desire -- love and lust and something far beyond both, the stellar force and urge -- impelled Him to redeem the cosmos, a painful hunger for eventual and impossible unity, perfect bliss.
Yet, in the telling of Mater Matter, God himself is a toy. Nothing was willed that was not always already there. The cycle is only the process of the so-called Creator regaining his memory. Her eros is both constant and on the move. The circulation of souls is the inhalation and exhalation of the greater continuum.
"What planet in this?" It is all planets everywhere. Both open and closed, infinite and finite, plane and sphere, transcendent and immanent, fueled and charged by desire alone. The demiurge lost in the gaze of his own reflection, a pinwheel blown by winds that never were not.
Seeing himself [a Fairy] in my possession, thus he answer'd me:
"My master, I am yours! command me, for I must obey."
"Then tell me, what is the material world, and is it dead?"
He, laughing, answer'd: "I will write a book on leaves of flowers,
If you will feed me on love-thoughts & give me now and then
A cup of sparkling poetic fancies; so when I am tipsie,
I'll sing to you this soft lute, and shew you all alive
The world, when every particle of dust breathes forth its joy."
-- "Europe: A Prophecy," -- William Blake
The very elementals, fed from thoughts of love and the musings of poetry. Photosynthesis as erosynthesis. Now they have retreated, turned inward, burrowed and burrowing. They still wait patiently for someone with an offering, with an intention or a rite. Long centuries of waiting has affected certain changes both in outline and in attitude.
Those dustbunnies appearing mysteriously -- seemingly out of nowhere -- in the irregularly swept corners of train stations, some as big as hamsters, composed of insect legs, dandruff, congealed breath, lint, radiation, crumbs, morgellons fibres, electronic components, body hair, leaves, ragged q-tips, loneliness, world domination plots, condoms, tsunamis, skin cells, intoxication, broken dreams, smoke, aftertastes and coloured threads, are every one of them alive and sentient, witnesses to the joyless commuter parade.
Sprites and nixies in a former incarnation. Neglected and malformed by the Nothing, by the grey belief that the material world is dead.
Let me feel the mud and the heavens in my lotus. Let me feel the heavy, silting, sucking mud, the spinning of sky winds. Let me feel them both in purest contact, the nakedness of sucking weight, nakedly passing radiance. Give me nothing fixed, set, static. Don't give me the infinite or the eternal: nothing of infinity, nothing of eternity. Give the still, white seething, the incandescence and the coldness of the incarnate moment: the moment, the quick of all change and haste and opposition: the moment, the immediate present, the Now. The immediate moment is not a drop of water running downstream. It is the source and issue, the bubbling up of the stream. Here, in this very instant moment, up bubbles the stream of time, out of the wells of futurity, flowing on to the oceans of the past. The source, the issue, the creative quick.
-- Preface to the American Edition of New Poems (1920), D.H. Lawrence
With all this comes the humus-bed of new growth. At the tip of the spear, the allatonceness, the spring-fed well of the cave, the moment without bottom. From the mud and the shit and the cataclysm and the supernova, completely novel assemblages jump up naked for their time in the sun. Stories branch out from much older epics and sagas.
Ulysses telling of his final attempt to storm Mount Purgatory, sentenced thereafter to perpetual torment for his treachery and cunning within the deepest gyres of the Inferno. Closest to Satan's horned and icy schlong, but by grace reborn on the banks of the Liffey. Arthur springing from the courts of love, descendant of the child of Venus who brought the bough to the same dark halls, but now also awaiting return.
The inevitable conclusion is that the entire hierarchy of being (which includes the graded hierarchy of transcendence and immanence), when regarded as a display of the One, is equivalent to a kind of miraculous divine 'myth'. This 'myth', revealed in the form of the all-embracing and dynamic cosmic agalma (hieratic statue, image, shrine) is analogous to the obscuring power of maya which (in the Trika philosophy of Kashmir), though being an aspect of Parama Shiva, acts as a veil thrown over the supreme ineffable Principle.
-- Philosophy and Theurgy in Late Antiquity, Algis Uždavinys
The entire Neoplatonic hierarchy, the spectral palette of creation from form to matter, now Brunoized into a endless multi-centred chaosmos. Shiva blowing chillums and spouting Mother Ganga milk-jizm from the top of his head in every mote of dust floating and sparkling in the light of day. The veil of maya, the girdle of Aphrodite, the gilded prison, Penelope's woven shroud, is constructed entirely of perception.
Dulled eyes, stuffed ears, runny noses, scalded tongues, skin stretched and scraped and lotioned out of all sensitivity. Yet just one chapter in the ongoing myth. The reign of dullness and quantity. When mud is nothing other than mud. When perpetual accumulation is somehow figured in to mollify the primal and holy Lack. A Nemean Lion infinitely more ferocious and difficult to slay than filling up the Grand Canyon with broken and discarded TVs. Like trying to satisfy the hunger of a black hole. Like trying to open up Valhalla in the Preta World.
But the wind does not teach despair. There is music. There are colours. There is sunlight. There are absorbing wonders in every crevice and crossroad. Read the stories anew. The scents and emotions of other times and feelings still pass through pages, personalities pass through, and nobody yet knows how this happens. Ciphers, symbols, images, formulas, postures, songs, statues -- all emit rays invisible yet biological, whispering together, sometimes screaming. The veil is also the principle.
There are no hierarchies, no infinite, no such many as mass, there are only
eyes in all heads,
to be looked out of
-- The Maximus Poems, Charles Olson
Maximus of Tyre, Maximus the Neoplatonic philosopher, Maximus the homo maximus -- the man/woman that envelopes the All. Adam and Finn and Albion and Ymir and Pangu and Tiamat and Old Angel Midnight. But a One that is not one. Many eyes, multiple stamens and pistils fire great spoogy pollen clouds to blanket the fields, all endowed with sight, every speck in constant communication with the others.
Slide on down the rhizome tubes, each bend and twist takes us deeper into the ground, further into the past. Reverse evolution (although she never only moved in a "forward" direction anyway). Back to the juncture -- in scientific fable -- of when humanity branched off from the other higher primates. And then go deeper and older. To the fork in the road of mammal-becoming and bird-becoming, of vertebrates and invertebrates, of vegetable and mineral, of tangible and intangible.
And worm yer way back up. Take any route you like. Get lost in there. Emerge as amoeba, as cheetah, as scorpion, as slime mold, as diamond, as werewolf, as ant colony, as Richard the Third. Death is not the prerequisite for this journey. And the trip is not even necessary. What is the incredible and total vista from within of eyes watching eyes watching eyes watching eyes?
Those among us us who have been ordained priests believe that they have the power to summon up the real presence of gods, demons, angels, heroes and spirits. But such theurgy cannot be brought about without the order of the universe being disturbed in some way. When gods descend to the earth the sun or the moon hides for a short time from the sight of mortals.
-- The Manuscript Found in Saragossa, Jan Potocki
Those priests and priestesses, in a more civilized era given the time to contemplate and observe outside the requirements of production, began to notice (very many centuries before our present quantum chapter) that their own imaginings became instantly reflected externally. "Began to notice" -- began to codify and reflect upon what was simply experience and embodied/ensouled existence for their archaic ancestors.
Theurgy is the knowledge and practice that rites and images are the keys to discovering and even manipulating the divinity of matter. The rhizomatic tendrils also extend upwards, to the subtle fire and to the super-lunar orbs and fields. An alchemy of ritual, of hues and shapes and movements and noises, attracting currents through likeness and seduction.
Internally becoming the calm pool around which the fay gather to gaze at their mirrorings. The gravity of eros finding a new conduit, thru the cardiac synthesizer, and affecting even the orbits of stars. The gods are shaken in their halls. Have the Hundred-Eyed Ones awoken again? Yog-sothoth. Beings pour in through the open silver gate.
Iamblichus plays with this subtle and prolific fire. His wisdom and warnings find their way into the texts of the Aeropagite, casting a theurgical glimmer on all subsequent Christian mysticism and eventually retreating into the mountain caverns of Spain, where the Alumbrados fused with radical Ismailis, heretical Kabbalists, gypsy crypto-Kali adherents and even pre-Roman autochthonic antinomians.
And this is the milieu that Polish author and adept, Jan Potocki, discovered there just before he -- terrified by his own werewolf-becoming -- shot himself in the head with a sanctified silver bullet. The very universe was disturbed.
"But why all the vile rheum -- like r-h-e-u-m."
"I'm shitting out my educated Middlewest background for once and for all. It's a matter of catharsis where I say the most horrible thing I can think of -- Realize that, the most horrible dirty slimy awful niggardliest posture possible -- By the time I finish this book I'll be as pure as an angel, my dear. These great existential anarchists and terrorists so-called never even their own drippy fly mentioneth, dear -- They should poke sticks thru their shit and analyze that for social progress."
"But where'll all that shit get us?"
"Simply get rid of shit, really Jack."
-- Desolation Angels, Jack Kerouac
And at another nexus point -- the Interzone of Tangier (the cavern passages extend under the Mediterranean to exits in opium dens, majoun parlors and tea houses) -- interplanetary agents also assemble. Peyotl to William James to Gertrude Stein to Paul Bowles to Burroughs to Kerouac and Ginsberg. This being only the mostly human lineage.
Analyzed shit. Floods of rectal mucus. Alimentary regimes, circulations and continua in full motion. Saxophone blowouts and assaults from the scorpion and crustacean overlords. And it is entirely about purgation. Post-yage jungle hangovers now transferred to the desert. Junk is Image. Image is Junk. Cut-up as cosmic insurrection. Splice the Word that has become co-opted by priestly hierarchies who are very aware that their trickery is not indefinite.
Bodhisattvas sent to Earth to prevent total psychic supernova. Agents on all sides, pedaling every variety of elixir, a worse swindle than the Pantheon Bar at the base of Mount Analogue, some leading to bliss and some to oblivion or worse. The CIA is only a trifle.
And Ti Jean shipped in right smack in the middle of it with his typing skills, excavating, spelunking-out word gems from piles of scraps of papers and used syringes, his own Mother devotion soon overriding all desire for novelty. But what about the anarchists who do mention their drippy flies?
Deleuze does not mention Iamblichus in his account of the roots of expressionism, but Iamblichus's position, of all those in Neoplatonism, has perhaps the most proximity to Deleuze's own. For Iamblichus, the ritual practice of pagan theurgy, in which the material world is ordered so as to be rendered "fitting" for the divine, is not a constraining of the spiritual in the material, let alone a coercion of gods by humans. In fact, Iamblichus argues that theurgy is such a powerful form of cooperation and communion that it is not on the basis of contemplation (nous), but through theurgy itself that the soul returns to the One.
-- The Hermetic Deleuze: Philosophy and Spiritual Ordeal, Joshua Ramey
Deleuze and Guattari, themselves students of Kerouac and Burroughs and Castaneda and Artaud and Lawrence and Virginia Woolf and Joyce, are relatively recent lovers of Hermetic wisdom. They draw sap from this lineage that does stretch back to Iamblichus, and further back to grandmaster Plato himself and, as Uždavinys documents, all the way back to the initiates of ancient Egypt and beyond.
This is at once a marginal, underground counter-tradition and at the very core of both Eastern and Western official philosophy. It is simultaneously royal science and nomad science, reterritorializing and deterritorializing.
Philosophy, in its essence, is theurgy. It is embodied and initiatic. It requires ordeals and sacrifices to Sophia, Mary and Kali-Ma. It stagnates and gums up when it concerns itself with opinion and the ratio, when like science it attempts to present the "objective," the general grey staleness that is common to every severed and over-coded part.
Philosophy fractures the spectrum of perception when it limits itself to precise definition, to impeccable logic, to single-vision, to Euclidean abstraction, axioms and the grammar of reason. Instead, the love of this goddess is forever bound up with poetry, with metaphor and word games, with breath and feeling, with lived experience and struggle.
We, dominated by the reign of quantity, think of these two as being sundered. The poets have already been expelled from the Republic, or at least mostly ignored, taken as entertainers rather than co-makers of the cosmos. And the "poets" themselves have also mostly forgotten this calling, as fallen as the "philosophers." Yet when these two brotherhoods/sisterhoods recombine -- the spiritual in the material -- the culture will be shaken and the gods will smile.
Are these the words of the all-powerful boards and syndicates of the earth? These are the words of liars cowards collaborators traitors. Liars who want time for more lies. Cowards who can not face your "dogs" your " gooks" your "errand boys" your "human animals" with the truth. Collaborators with the Insect People with Vegetable People. With any people anywhere who offer you a body forever. To shit forever. For this you have sold out your sons. Sold the ground from unborn feet. Traitors to souls everywhere.
-- Nova Express, William S. Burroughs
Through theurgy, then, -- through philosophy as poetry -- souls re-spiral back to the One. And what is stopping them? Surely it isn't possible that anything could stop them? This is true, but it is also true that at some point in the cycle -- the low point, the winter point, the dull point, our point -- the process becomes perceived as having stopped.
The waste land stretches on to the horizon and it has been thus for as long as living memory. No knight has returned with the Grail. But as we find out in every fairy story -- from Dorothy's journey to Oz and onward -- the eternal reward has been right with us from the get go. "Once upon a time" already implies "happily ever after." If this is the case, what is preventing us from reassembling our perception, from rediscovering the "assemblage point"?
Blockages, traitors, cowards, lies, collaborators. Vegetative and insectoid only in the sense that basic human warmth, basic mammalian warmth, seems absent in them. Men in Grey, cigar-puffing the petals of hour-flowers, who suck the heat out of any room, or at least temporarily blot it out. Thieves of time. Bodies forever, new stuff forever, youthful skin forever, poor counterfeits of what we already have in overflowing abundance.
What truly is more rich, more generous than perception itself? The boards and syndicates con us in this way by manufacturing a false sense of Self. This is the foundational or bedrock lie. All other lies -- the State, capitalism, religion -- are scaffolded on top of this.
The Self, naturally, is not everything (oh, but it is!) so naturally it experiences Lack (see David Loy). Whereas previously lack was perceived as being the bonds that bind all things together in dynamic harmony, now it is experienced as intolerable unfulfillment. Our own sense of self commands us to attempt to fill up the hole of our being. Once more, an impossible task. The trick that defeats this trick, however, is to let yourself go. Don't buy for a while. Don't consume. Don't trim yer toenails.
The centre of control is located somewhere within. This is where the infernal King of the World radiates commands. All external archons and agencies ultimately take their orders from this central and hidden axis.
There are the basic needs of the body that are usually relatively easy to meet (exempting the growing pockets of extreme poverty and misery that exist to keep the entire global system in fear), and there are the artificial "needs" manufactured by the conjurers of lack. And these later "needs" often block out the actual needs of the soul.
It is this organized body, the body with organs, the body that shits with guilt, the body that clings on to existence in a schizophrenic split from the soul, that is the manipulated robot. Dead souls in a dead world. Killed from within, puppeteered from without.
Thus, in contrast to Aristotle, Bruno does not believe matter receives its life from form. Form is not the only principle of the individual; soul is not the only life of the body. Rather an individual is alive because a form of the world soul has been contracted by matter. Matter is thus alive, and the entire universe is animated. All things are living in a univocal sense, and there is no longer a hierarchy of rational, animal, sensate, and insensate forms of being. Humans are not distinguished by their rational capacities but by the particular kinds of bodies they have -- the particular matter which has attracted and contracted the World Soul.
-- The Hermetic Deleuze: Philosophy and Spiritual Ordeal, Joshua Ramey
Matter is expressed form, form is virtual matter. Lightning strikes from ground to cloud and from cloud to ground. All action happens between the poles and through them. The imaginative process by which we create the gods is the same process by which the gods create our world.
The ascent up and down through the hierarchy of being, in a further reiteration, is identical to the veil of maya. Its story is the story of myths. The soul, in its apparent experience of separation from God, is already swept up in this story. The "fall" only happens so that a "redemption" is possible. And this entire circling, spiraling erotic dance makes up the vast body of the World Soul.
Not an atom of it is not alive, not aware, not already positioned on every rung of the ladder of being. From every split second of perception springs the perfect projection of a world of sense onto the void and reenacts this story. The Good News. The eucatastrophe. Finnegans Wake. Seasons of bebop and seasons of free jazz. Bubbling up from the wells of futurity.
Heroes and demons and elementals and Olympians. All interchangeable, musical notes and scents and flashes of colour. Machinic mandalas of incandescent iconography. Every squirming, heaving, spurting, bleeding, blossoming Christ-synthesis, ripping apart and flailing with abandon, crazed animal conversation, a pole of shit and a pole of gold.
In "I, Maximus of Gloucester" he seeks to respond instant by instant to the measure of the breath. The cycle from one turning of the sun to next, however, is the totality of time, as the literal, graspable earth is the totality of space. Maximus's measure is now what seems almost the breath or rhythm of the earth.
-- Charles Olson's Maximus, Don Byrd
There is no transcendent only immanence, spans of time and space measured by breaths and paces. The tantric egg surrounding us, extending finitely in six directions, is the entirety. It shifts with the inflation and contraction of our lungs.
At very high altitudes, as in the Tibetan plateau, your vision pulses with blood. The heartbeat of the teeming multitude of animals, and the equivalent photosynthetic sap-rhythm of plants, feeds the very gamut of solar maximum and minimum, as Lawrence knew.
The radiance of the stars blood-vesseling towards us, as witnessed from the earthly perspective of our own within. The star is only its own light which, when reaching our eyes, is already inside of us. Our vision, through precisely these same filaments of light, reaches back to the stars grounding the charge, feeding the circuit. All powered by erotic engines, by love.
The writings of the "young Marx", first published in English only in 1959, clearly reveal the philosopher's Romantic roots. The central problem of capitalism is in its fostering of alienation. The worker is alienated from the process of production, from the fruits of his or her labour, from fellow workers, from the rest of nature, from his or her own self.
This analysis has been furthered during the second half of the last century. We are, primarily, alienated from our desires. We have, because of advertising, political propaganda, the stress of the daily grind, etc., lost our ability to even know what these desires are. D&G deepen this perspective greatly. What does it mean to be alienated from desire? What is desire? This post has explored these questions.
Desire is crucially the desire for becoming. For constant becoming. For a becoming that is fully immanent, but that perpetually transcends every category or classification it is placed within. It is sorcerous. The vile rheum. Only wizard poetry which feeds the sun, which transforms men into birds into jotuns into algae blooms, is sufficient to unblock these flows of desire.
Travel back in thought to the split of Hegel and Hölderlin -- let alone to that of Marx and Proudhon -- back to the branching of Goethe and Kleist, further back to the Kalevala and the Upanishads, to a time when the poets and the gods were not fully distinguishable from one another. Only through the imagination is there genuine liberation.
Olson, in his maximal bulk, fully realized this. Verse, coursing back along these same channels of sense and light, is projective. As in a film projector. As in at every instant reediting the movie of the world. Creating the radical and democratic cantos of the everyday. The song of the geological and the daily news, the galactic and the local. Reuniting Pangaea.
But a naked man, a stranger, leaned on the gate
with his cloak over his arm, waiting to be asked in.
So I called him: Come in, if you will! --
He came in slowly, and sat down by the hearth.
I said to him: And what is your name? --
He looked at me without answer, but with such a loveliness
entered me, I smiled to myself, saying: He is God!
So he said: Hermes!
God is older than the sun and moon
and the eye cannot behold him
nor the voice describe him:
and still, this is the God Hermes, sitting by my hearth.
-- "Maximus," D.H. Lawrence
In Lawrence's Collected Poems, it no coincidence that this poem "Maximus" is immediately followed by "The Man of Tyre." Olson was his spiritual disciple.
Naked Hermes at our hearth. This electric deity flows through all of this. The messenger of the gods to humanity, the lightning bolt itself, the rainbow, the arrow of Eros. And also the vajra weapon. The pulsing vessel of flesh completing the circuit of Sun and Moon. Thoth and quicksilver. The principle deity of Stephen Dedalus and Jack Duluoz. The thrice-greatest inspiration of all prose and verse, and also trickster retrogradic magus of miscommunication and noise. We pray to Thee.
Burroughs in bed, Deleuze on the train, Olson on the toilet, Kerouac in the cracks of the day. Bodies without organs, waves and wombs without end, Molly Bloom's long succession of lovers, possessed by none, possessing all. Nothing remains dead. Just Zen shit.
In a universe of waves quel difference betwixt one wave & t'other? T s all the same wavehood & every little unlocatable electron is a Tathagata pouring electromagnetic gravitational light at the constant speed of light (which can be heard in the sound of silence) & so this endless radiation of mysterious radiance is merely the minutia magnificent endless Tathagata Womb manifesting itself multiply & so not at all, for, all things are no-things but if this bores you it's because you want bricks in your soup. Empty.
-- Old Angel Midnight, Jack Kerouac
Saturday, September 30, 2017
Tide swells up to the constraints of form
Spreading nausea from the sky to thoughts to traffic,
seasickness become universal, small animals in the ceiling
Sudden birdflight flashes
Off wave-pang panic reflections
Face-on-the-ground wallops of beauty and evil,
Ground gargoyles grinning, the sepulchral skyline, steel mausoleums
Leap howling into the onrushing metal
London kills me
And nothing to drink
Basic functions of the body in Titanic projection skyward
Strike, attack, scream of Pan
and every face etched with it,
the inner stream polluted with it,
Marks of weakness, marks of woe
flowing prophetic to the estuary
(Fried goat-cheese reflux of chunks and brine)
Once and always one of the dark places of the earth
And here it stands, erected,
barged in with insane effort and expense to this shore
got good into her Book and tongued her every passage
Immolated nest to radiating square;
Ominous antenna of On
Still the highest technology of the city
inducting flows of currency, corruption, genius, good
voices carved into images undecipherable, shining to the gods
River of Sothis to River of Isis
Echoing-back metropolitan from all the standing columns of Empire
Ringing stone-electric axles of space and time
Tell me all. Tell me now.
Delta-wise gossip, cylinders and ovoids
all floating, all shifting, none stable, all beautiful, all sick
Drawn erotic drops from an ancient drinking party burn and heal
in cities of the sun and the rain, funneling pure din
with open ears in chains.
Thursday, August 31, 2017
Just 20 years ago, maybe less, the slogan of the Zeitgeist was “dissolve your boundaries.” Today, in multiple contexts, it is “build a wall.” In the wake of Charlottesville, of similar events leading up it and of more extreme events that will undoubtedly follow, it’s crucial to study this progression from dissolution to segregation.
The borders of all categories have thickened. Apparently more important than the kaleidoscopic inter-swirling of all possibilities (see Finnegans Wake) is the almost frantic assertion of identity and separation. Fundamentalism -- of religion, of ideology, of nationality, of race, of style, of preference -- is an obvious manifestation of this, but the tendency really permeates all of culture. The post-post modern is the revenge of the line. Apartheid has become universalized, internalized.
Things have become so inverted, so convoluted, that the far right, in troll/hipster drag and rebranded as the alt-right/alt-lite (-light), now promotes itself as the counterculture. A counterculture is very different than a mere sub-culture. The latter is simply a group of people distinguished by fashion or belief or background or lifestyle who live more or less in tolerated co-existence with the dominant culture.
The counterculture, on the other hand, exists to oppose and even overturn the dominant culture. Sub-cultures, because of their fringe or marginalized status, may eventually join the counterculture, but in general they are more or less content to stay on the margins without seeking revolutionary change.
The alt-right argument is essentially that the counterculture of the 1960s, which was in every respect liberal, has (since when exactly?) become the dominant culture. It is now conservatives and people on the right in general who are the cultural revolutionaries.
The dominant culture, the argument goes, has become so liberal, so politically correct, so intolerant of traditional values, so globalized, that it is only the right that offers any sort of genuine alternative. It is now the right -- and more accurately the hardcore far right -- that is truly different, that is edgy, that is new, that is hip. Everything else is awash in and captured by identity politics; paradoxically puritanical and utterly degenerate, riddled rotten with hypocrisy.
But while there is some legitimacy in its critique of the dominant “liberal” culture, and this needs to be examined closely, it is entirely inaccurate to call the alt-right a counterculture. The alt-right argument goes very wrong, and misleadingly so, with its first premise. This, intentionally or not, consists of a mistaken view of the original 1960s counterculture.
An authentic counterculture (regardless of inevitable Agency infiltration and misdirection within it) did emerge in the 1960s; and it can be called authentic not because it was liberal, but because it was anti-war, anti-corporate, anti-imperialist, anti-police state and opposed to anything that would seek to place bounds on the limits of consciousness. And in fact it was largely directed against an Establishment that fashioned itself as being liberal.
This counterculture -- despite going on to immensely influence popular culture and bring about clear reforms -- largely failed in its main objectives. Corporate capitalism, war, imperialism, the dulling of consciousness, imbalances and inequalities of all sorts, have continued and have greatly outpaced anything present in the 1960s. Only the image of the 1960s counterculture succeeded, and this only because it was so effectively co-opted and exploited by capitalism.
More flexibility in fashion and in lifestyle, more tolerance of the “rights” of marginalized groups, became accepted and even encouraged, but none of the deeper and more structural concerns -- which were the central focus of the counterculture -- were ever addressed. The military-industrial-entertainment complex, the principal enemy of the counterculture, is bigger and more powerful than ever.
And while large numbers of former members of the counterculture have indeed sold out and become the tools of the Machine, the counterculture did not become the dominant culture. It was smashed into a thousand pieces and its veneer was used to paint over the existing culture of death.
So when figures of the alt-right (and there really is no alt-right/alt-light distinction as I’ll explain below) like Paul Joseph Watson claim that their movement is the new counterculture, they are most likely attempting to deliberately deceive.
The corporate/war culture of the 1950s and before was not overthrown or even halted in the 1960s, and the Leviathan has grown far more powerful today. The alt-right poses no threat to this dominant culture and offers absolutely no alternative to it. It is only opposed to the politically-correct, social-welfare, humanitarian-intervention veneer that society has been whitewashed with since the 1960s.
In this sense the alt-right is refreshing to many. People are understandably sick of the hypocritical facade. It’s better to be oppressed by a crook who admits that he is a crook than one who tries to make you think that he is your friend. Bad cops are always easier to stomach than “good” cops.
The election of Trump, far from indicating widespread support for any particular policies, was an expression of mass revulsion against the sham. And the alt-right is right to expose this sham. But they are, most adamantly, not in any way apart from it. They want to return to the good old days when the iron hand wasn’t cucked into wearing the silk glove. This is all that is going on.
When the system enters into a period of crisis, as it did in the 1930s, as it did in the 1960s, and as it has been in since 2008, it chooses from a handful of available strategies. If the crisis is primarily economic, like it was in the 1930s, it seeks either to cut off slack (namely reforms won the people in previous struggles) by implementing austerity programs or, if the movement against it becomes too powerful, by preempting revolution with the introduction of “reforms” and “benefits.”
And likewise, if the crisis is primarily cultural, like it was in the 1960s, it seeks to co-opt and direct any authentically revolutionary elements to consumerism and empty platitudes. And when the crisis, as it has been since at least 2008, is in nearly equal measure economic and cultural it deploys all of the above. And in all cases it does what it is the very best at: dividing and conquering.
Since 2008, or perhaps 2001 yet stemming back for decades, the internationally-coordinated response from the global 0.001% has been a combination of austerity, fear, hyper-consumerism and constant distraction.
The articulated goal worldwide is the “Chinese model” -- police-state capitalism with constant intervention in the markets by the central government, which in turn justifies its repressive actions through the use of nationalist propaganda. It is basically a historical truism that when a state goes into crisis that it seeks by propaganda to direct the anger of its people outward in order to deflect anger away from itself. But if a viable outside enemy is unavailable, it far prefers civil war to social revolution.
And another historical truism is Walter Benjamin’s often bandied about insight: “Behind every fascism, there is a failed revolution.” This entirely explains the rise of the alt-right and similar “nationalist” movements globally. The system, which is global and which cannot be accurately termed as being either capitalist or socialist -- it is corporatist -- has reverted from a “globalist” phase back to a “nationalist” phase.
At the risk of war and social breakdown it has largely abandoned its public affirmation of a globally-integrated, corporate-dominated, common market -- although this agenda also creeps forward -- and has subtly promoted the idea of national determinism in order to ward off complete collapse and/or revolution.
The only nationalism that is not acceptable to the global order, whether it is labeled as left or right, is in the rare case when a government truly attempts to sever itself from central bank-controlled, international corporatism. This is not the “nationalism” of Trump or the “nationalism” of Brexit. These two are fully accepted, quasi-fascist stopgap responses to the global crisis.
In this atmosphere of crisis, the function of the alt-right is obvious. To amass and enforce public support faux-nationalist governments need “grassroots” movements to provide the illusion of popular support and to bolster their propaganda. If these movements are even more reactionary than the official line then so much the better. The government appears reasonable in comparison. But these movements like the alt-right have a much bigger purpose. They exist to identify and to begin the persecution of potential scapegoats.
When MAGA inevitably fails -- and inevitably it will simply because it has no intention or possibility of addressing the massive debt and inequality at the heart of the present crisis -- then the alt-right will already be there to point out who caused the failure.
As pawn-level fascists have always argued at such times, the economic, cultural and social collapse to come will be the fault of Antifa, BLM, third-wave feminists, SJWs, entitled millennial snowflakes, illegal immigrants, transsexuals, communists, Muslims, the Jooooos... The aims of the alt-right are very clear: demonize these groups and more in the eyes of the public, increasingly present themselves as the more reasonable, more hip, more fun alternative, and to push for increased state repression of the above “terrorist” groups. All of this is occurring right now.
The rise of the alt-right appears to be part of a very insidious agenda. Websites that were once interested in all aspects of marginalia -- psychedelics, the occult, synchronicity, living off the grid, alternative energy, space aliens, the paranormal, conspiracy, higher consciousness, anti-police state, alternative history, Forteana, organic food, non-allopathic medicine, radical politics, general weirdness -- now have white nationalism as their primary focus.
Red Ice is the obvious case study of this, but this trajectory, while maybe not as extreme, has been taken across the board. Even big conspiracy sites like Infowars, while never remotely liberal or left, have shifted from being anti-“NWO” to being anti- “leftist.” Somewhere along the line “beyond left and right” came to mean “against the left.”
Presently Alex Jones and co. are only slightly more bonkers than the Trump White House. Muslims -- and actually fake jihadist Muslims -- are no longer portrayed in Infowars analysis as being merely the patsies of U.S., NATO and Israeli Intelligence. Instead, they are presented as being real Muslims who are seeking shariah law and a global caliphate. Old Neocon rhetoric that was once exposed as divisive bullshit is now re-embraced under the auspices of making America great again. China and Russia have become the enemy again. Israel and Saudi Arabia are no longer that bad.
It is the Muslims and the leftists and (for a growing segment of the alt-right) the Jews that want to destroy our Western way of life. Every attack on a concert, or a restaurant or other public spaces is no longer instantly labeled a false-flag event, purely manufactured and carried out by intelligence agents in order to advance the rise of the police state, but are condemned as yet another Muslim outrage aimed at destroying our civilization.
This new Prison Planet line is far more compatible with the current pro-Trump ethos of the alt-right. And while evil Muslims commit atrocities at pop concerts their allies -- radical leftists -- take even more cunning aim at Western values. These Social Justice Warriors strike with vicious malice and the intent to eradicate any of the last vestiges of white, male, heterosexual, bourgeois, traditional, Christian society. These two especially -- Muslims and leftists -- are, in the final reckoning of the Infowarrior, the real enemies. The NWO was just a code-word for these scum.
And this is basically, to a greater or lesser degree, what one finds today in online “alternative” opinion. From Henrik to Milo to Jordan Peterson to the Proud Boys to 4chan to Tucker Carlson to Roosh to Stephan Molyneux to Jay Weidner to Jan Irvin to Lauren Southern to Stormfront to John Lamb Lash to the New Atheists to anti-feminists to larp nazis and even to more cautious internet celebs like Joe Rogan and others the same themes recur endlessly.
These, supposedly our new countercultural heroes, fit hand in glove with the perpetuation of the flailing Empire, now under MAGA auspices. Obviously, there are differences of all sorts between them -- they are brought together as more of a spectrum than a political faction or party -- but they are united by a common outlook: that to be a “rebel” these days is to be anti-leftist, and that the problems of our society boil down to a single ideology of evil -- cultural Marxism.
Cultural Marxism, in these circles, is viewed as being even more of a menace than radical Islam. In fact, the latter is almost depicted as being the creation of the former. But what is cultural Marxism? There are several answers available. Nearly everyone, not only those on the right, agree that it originates from the Marxist philosophers of the Frankfurt School in Germany. For the far right and the alt-right, though, cultural Marxism has a very specific design and purpose.
It was created by Jewish intellectuals in the first half on the 20th century, as part of an on-going Jewish conspiracy stretching back for centuries, with the expressed desire to destroy the white family, the white race and white civilization itself by promoting state-controlled education, multiculturalism, “human rights,” “environmentalism,” feminism, homosexuality, transsexuality, socialism, anti-gun laws, New Age spirituality, etc. The alt-right, which is just a rebranding of the old far right, expresses its opposition to this conspiracy very succinctly in its infamous 14 Words:
We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White Children.
However disturbing and paranoid this may be, at least it is a coherent ideological statement. Leaving aside for the moment the impossibility of trying to define the White Race, at least the alt-right and its allies are presenting a clear goal. Not so the “alt-light.”
The alt-light -- distancing itself from the heil-Hitlering minions of Richard “punch’im-in-the-Dick” Spencer and his ilk -- likes to portray itself as the real protector of Western values like Free Speech and Rationality, values that are inclusive of everyone regardless of sex, race and creed. Even raging homos like Milo are welcomed by this hip and plucky bunch.
Yet the alt-light also believes the West has been infected by Cultural Marxism, and CM for the alt-light has exactly the same goals as it does for the alt-right. The only exception is that the Jews are not viewed as being behind the plot, or at least this is not openly admitted. But then who is it that wants to destroy Western (the alt-light shies away from calling it “white”) civilization and all of its institutions including Christianity and the family? It’s the Cultural Marxists, of course; the globalists, the leftists.
In other words, the members of the alt-light, unlike their alt-right brethren, really don’t have an answer to this question. And, quite logically, the alt-light has been challenged by figures in the alt-right for not addressing the “Jewish question.”
While the alt-right is openly anti-Semitic, the alt-light -- likely for recruiting purposes -- keeps its crypto-anti-Semitism to itself for the time being. Yet its ideology of anti-Cultural Marxism (read anti-semitism) is essentially the same as it is for anyone else on the far right. The alt-light/lite remains, as it always was, a part of the alt-right. (And now, post-Charlotteville, the frantic attempts by the alt-light to distance itself from the alt-right are even more laughable. The exiting rats are now flailing and drowning.)
But what is Cultural Marxism? Does it exist as anything other than a xenophobic fever dream of the far right? Yes it does. The Frankfurt School most certainly did exist and it still has a significant influence on culture. It can be traced back to World War One. The huge question following the war for Marxist intellectuals was how was it possible that working men, by the millions, signed up -- and they were not generally forced -- to kill and be killed for the cause of bourgeois nationalism and imperialism?
A good question! Why, instead of actively striving for the international social revolution that would lead to complete liberation, would workers actively become the fighting fodder of their oppressors? Why, instead of turning their guns on the bosses, did they actually fire them at each other? The conclusion, reached in retrospect by these intellectuals, was that the workers were not yet ready for revolution. They were too conservative, too hampered by old traditions, too bourgeois, to realize their own interest in social revolution.
So these Marxist revolutionaries -- Adorno and Horkheimer and later Herbert Marcuse and others -- realized that two things must change: conservative traditions must be eroded and a new revolutionary class or classes must be fostered. As white, male workers were too privileged, or at least too convinced of their “privileges,” under capitalism a new and more marginalized “proletariat” needed to be found.
This new revolutionary class was readily available. Women, minority groups, colonized people, homosexuals, bohemians, students, dropouts of all sorts were being sidelined and alienated by global capitalism. Thus, during the revolutionary explosion of the 1960s and early 1970s it was these groups, and not generally the working class, that found themselves on the front lines of the struggle. The counterculture formed and the era of identity politics had begun.
Notice that there is no elite Jewish plot involved here. There did exist a plan for revolution and social reorganization, but, it can be argued, the plan was for a legitimate revolution against an economic system that would happily and efficiently slaughter millions in imperialist wars.
As explained above, however, this revolution also ultimately failed. Capitalism once again out-maneuvered its resistance. The truly revolutionary aims of the counterculture were quashed and what remained were “identity politics,” a cluster of reform movements whose aim was and is to achieve equal rights and even privileges for marginalized groups within capitalism.
This has become more or less the official position of liberalism, represented by the campaign of Hillary Clinton, and it is these reformist identity political groups and their allies which are now the chief targets of the alt-right, now ironically representing marginalized white working-men. Missing on both sides of this dichotomy is a revolutionary critique of corporate capitalism. Cultural Marxism, if it exists at all, has been fully co-opted by the system. The alt-right boxes a shadow.
What is really destroying families, traditional cultures, the environment and the social fabric is corporate capitalism. When the same handful of global companies is selling the same products in cities and towns across the globe to people who are wearing the same fashions and absorbing the same mass media as everyone else, then it is ridiculous to speak of preserving national cultures.
Japan, for instance, is championed by members of the alt-right as a country that has resisted globalism with strict immigration and the promotion of national pride. If these people actually lived in Japan, though, they would soon find out the Japanese economy is dependent on the wage slavery of millions of salarymen and women who work long overtime hours in transnational companies, who hardly see their families, and who are in real danger of mental and physical breakdown and/or suicide.
Japan, swamped by debt and lacking resources, is hyper-dependent on global capitalism. An even stricter immigration policy, because of the demographic decline, would actually make the situation worse. Japan, like every other country today, needs a genuine social revolution, not alt-right horseshit.
And similar misconceptions abound everywhere. Scouring the web after Charlottesville, the doublethink of many in “alternative” circles is quickly evident. It goes something like this:
We are opposed completely to the Empire in all of its forms (although we support President Trump in his struggle against the “Deep State”). We think that the street battles occurring recently are part of a colossal divide-and-conquer psyop (but there is no possibility that the psyop also envelops people who condemn both sides). And we do think that both sides are wrong (but Antifa and BLM are actually much worse).
In short, there is a widespread fear on the web to not be duped. It is better to not pick a side then it is to support a group, however close its purported ideology may match personal convictions, that might actually be part of a Soros-funded psyop. The threat of capitalist financiers and manipulators is real, but so is the threat of paralysis when it is concluded that everything is part of a Soros-inspired plot.
Soros is a symbol which functions for the “right” like the Koch Brothers as symbol functions for the “left”. Soros provides funding to left groups thereby compromising their legitimacy for people more aligned to the right. And the Kochs provide funding for right groups thereby compromising their legitimacy for people more aligned to the left.
Each side then accuses the other as being covertly acting in the interests of shady billionaires, and no sharing of viewpoints is possible. Each is seen as being part of a sinister plot against the other. The two sides are in this way, among many other ploys, kept completely isolated from each other. Not the 99% against the 1%, but the 49.5% against the other 49.5% (although these percentages are in constant flux).
This did not have to be the case. There were a number of times when a wider anti-authoritarian and ant-imperialist movement that was authentically inclusive was nearly forged over the last 20 years. Not everyone on the “left” or the “right” have authoritarian and statist inclinations. Most, I’d argue, do not.
One of the first high-water marks was in the anti-globalization movement of the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. This was a massive international movement that was starting to pose a serious threat to global corporatism. It was building to a intense culmination point -- a rally and march on Washington DC that would have included thousands of group and unions, which was scheduled for the end of September, 2001 in the midst of economic recession.
9/11, of course, directly caused the cancellation of this march, but it also effectively ended the movement. The War on Terror became the focus of the Empire and its media outlets, and xenophobia, fear and war became the norm. Even here, though, there was still a glimmer of hope. More and more people began to seriously and actively doubt the official story of what happened on that day. Many of these doubters were former anti-globalization activists.
There was a opportunity for the movement to be reborn by taking a much deeper parapolitical turn in its analysis, to discover how the system frequently uses conspiracy to protect its structure and deflect crisis. It would have only taken Noam Chomsky to say that it was a legitimate perspective to doubt the official story of 9/11 in order for this movement to crystallize. Chomsky, limiting his methodology to the analysis of public documents (and I don’t believe he had more sinister aims in mind), did not do this.
Instead, the remnants of the anti-globalization left largely followed Chomsky’s lead and adapted the “blowback” thesis for 9/11. This move, I think, alienated hundreds of thousands from the left. These people, sent adrift as I was, scrambled to find answers elsewhere and it didn’t take long to find them. They were discovered in the old conspiratorial right and in its new media incarnations.
How many people were driven directly, and seemingly paradoxically, from Chomsky to people like Alex Jones and beyond from about 2002 to 2006 just because the left had no good answer of what really happened on 9/11?
A leftist answer was there, from rare critics like Peter Dale Scot, but it became totally overshadowed by the onslaught of conspiracy theories from the right. And once people became convinced that the government and the media was lying about 9/11 -- that it seemed unavoidable but to conclude that the government murdered its own people either indirectly or directly -- then it became possible that all conspiracy theories could be true. All needed to be investigated “independently.”
And what or who was really behind these conspiracies? The CIA? The Deep State? The NWO? The aliens? But the hard right already had a well-worn track in place to direct researchers to the real culprits: the Jews.
This, I think, is the real origin of the alt-right, long before it had taken on that name. It consisted of mainly online researchers, many once affiliated with the anti-globalist left, who were directed through the rabbit hole straight to the clutches of the already deeply paranoid and anti-Semitic hard right. The popularization of the critique against Cultural Marxism began at this point.
But even with this ominous turn the development of a widespread anti-authoritarian and inclusive opposition was still possible. The original Tea Party, formed by followers of Ron Paul in 2007, was libertarian, anti-war and anti-corporate. It was open to an alliance with like-minded progressives on the left and for a short time this looked possible.
Quickly, though, this became unrealistic. Leftists became convinced that the Tea Party was a Koch Brothers plot (see above), and they seemed to be proved right when the Tea Party was entirely absorbed by the Republican Party and shorn of its anti-war and anti-imperialist elements.
The next near-breakthrough point came in 2011 with the Occupy movement. Many of the predecessors of the anarchists on the “left” and the libertarians on the “right” now battling each other at contrived “Free Speech” rallies, were once sitting together in parks and public centres across the US and the world genuinely trying to reach a consensus by which to combat the elite 1%.
In many ways the analysis in this movement was deeper, and therefore more threatening to the system, than the anti-globalization movement. A combined structural and class/conspiratorial analysis was in the process of being developed in the context of prolonged economic recession, but without antisemitic or exclusionary overtones. Each “side” was learning from the other. The Democratic Party dreamed of transforming Occupy into its own private Tea Party, but this was firmly resisted. Only violent suppression by the cities, directed by Homeland Security, stamped out the movement.
With the rise of Trump -- a billionaire media figure posing as an anti-establishment counter to Clinton, but in truth the perfect candidate to further divide the population in a time of ongoing crisis and revolutionary potential -- all possibility of reconciliation of the anti-authoritarians on the left and right vanished.
Libertarians and anarchist capitalists became pushed to the hard right, to the point where they have begun to violently defend the “free speech” of racist and truly fascist assholes on the right, and often mutating into members of the alt-right proper. And anarchists and other anti-authoritarians became pushed more deeply into the ranks of statists concerned primarily with identity politics. This is basically where things stand at present. Battle lines have been formed. Everyone is urged to choose a side.
And is there a choice? At first glance the answer is absolutely no. Both camps are deeply flawed. Both are violent, exclusionary and plain ugly. It is easy to conclude that we are being set up to fight each other, largely because this is certainly the case. Again, the system much prefers civil war to social revolution.
This last point is key, however, as truly only one side -- however flawed -- is even advocating revolution, only one side is inclusive and open enough to allow for the broad working-class base needed for a revolution. The alt-right wants to return to a time where, to paraphrase a poster on the GLP forum, “the blacks stop being uppity, women return to the kitchen and the faggots go back in the closet.”
There is much to criticize about the tactics of Antifa, but the overall sentiment of anti-fascism should be embraced wholeheartedly. Punching Trump supporters in the face for being "Nazis" is stupid and counter-productive, but recognizing the Mussolini-like politics of the Trump regime is essential analysis. Trump, however much this image of himself is propped up, is NOT a defender of the people against the Deep State. His administration, like the fascist and Nazi governments of the past, is the perfect response of the corporate system to deep economic and social crisis.
There is a definite rift in the US ruling class, with a sizeable and influential faction attempting to cling on to pre-crisis globalism, but with the deepening of this crisis this rift will likely be bandaged over. Preserving the failing boundaries of Empire will once again be the predominant concern of the entire ruling class.
In this crisis, there can be no alliance with the alt-right for people who actively seek genuine change and liberation. The alt-right is the on-the-ground fascism that aims to replace revolution. It acts as the civilian shock troops for the proto-fascist regime in power. It must not be allowed to portray itself as revolutionary or countercultural. Its aims always are to build walls, not to dissolve boundaries.
But to stop the flow of truly concerned people of anti-authoritarian/anti-imperialist bent into its camp, the "left" also needs to radically change. The emphasis needs to be once again on structural and revolutionary change. Identity politics, which however always needs to be kept in mind, must take a back seat to the goal of recreating a truly international and revolutionary opposition to the corporate empire and the 0.001%.
It should not even need to be stated, but any effective movement against corporate capitalism must completely sever any links that it has to the Democratic or any other neo-liberal party, to the corporate media or any "alternative" media that functions only as its mirror, to the funding of financiers however indirect, to the promises of the pharmaceutical companies or other multinational conglomerates, to any bonds of national patriotism or global governance, to any divisions of race, sex, creed or preference, to the culture of ceaseless consumerism and endless waste and destruction.
The existing movements on the "left", now on the street, may be far from this presently, but there is literally no alternative elsewhere. The choice not to choose has been taken away from us. To be inactive is to invite reaction. Yet there is a non-duality of dualism and non-dualism. The "left" needs to be completely transformed and the alt-right needs to dwindle into nothing. Civil war must be avoided at all costs and social revolution, in the most profound Blakean sense, must be our only aim. Only in this effort will a real counterculture emerge again.
Monday, July 31, 2017
Towards the top of page four of Finnegans Wake -- the first full page in the book -- we are invited to an initiation. Strange words are found:
Brékkek Kékkek Kékkek Kékkek! Kóax Kóax Kóax!
The repeating fragment within this incantation should be alarmingly familiar to anyone paying even remote attention to what is just below the surface of the current political insanity. The ancient Egyptian frog-headed god of darkness -- now incarnated in the guise of Pepe the Frog -- Kek, is openly invoked seven times.
Most of us by now know the story of how the at first ironic "worship" of Kek spread, by apparent synchronicity, from geek nihilist forums like 4chan to eventually becoming a revered and potent symbol for the entire alt-right/alt-lite subculture.
Kek/Pepe, regardless of the deity's own intention, has become a "symbol of hate," a banner and rallying cry of white nationalism and/or pro-Trumpism and/or sneering anti-leftism. Indeed, Kek's power has grown so strong that his adherents claim that it was his supreme amphibian malice that struck Hillary Clinton down on September 11th of last year and ultimately enabled Trump to take the White House.
The story is weird enough on its own, but why is Kek seemingly summoned at the opening of Finnegans Wake? Total randomness? Yet more memetic magic? Coincidance? Or is something even more bizarre going on?
Digging into the Wake reveals a sliver of its secrets. The line, it is known, is directly taken from Aristophanes' comic play, The Frogs, written by the Athenian playwright in 405 BC.
The god of wine, Dionysus, and his noble and capable slave, Xanthias, have descended to the underworld of Hades in order to return the recently-deceased Euripides to Athens and so restore the quality of tragic drama in the city. In the vast and festering swamps surrounding the realm of the dead they are continually pestered by a chorus of frogs. They are maddened by the ceaseless chirping:
Brekekekex ko-ax ko-ax. Brekekekex ko-ax ko-ax.
It will be noticed that the "kek" parts of the chorus are even more emphasized by Joyce than in the original. This, I think, is significant. The fact also that the creatures making the kek noises are frogs makes this, in my opinion, at least as striking as any of the coincidences linking the Egyptian deity to the alt-right. The connections, though, run much deeper than just this.
The same passage on page four makes an undeniable link to the American far right and especially to the Ku Klux Klan. There are two K.K.K. sequences in the opening incantation and a few lines later we find:
Killykillkilly: a toll, a toll.
And if there is any doubt about the identity of this group, between the two lines is a reference to "the Whoyteboyce of Hoodie Head." The Whiteboys were an Irish nationalist group, but in the context of the triple Ks mentioned Joyce's additional meaning should be clear. The hooded white boys are members of the Klan, but in prophetic fashion typical to the Wake they could also be the white boys (Proud Boys?) of the alt-right, sporting hoodies and devoted to Kek. Irish nationalism becomes U.S. nationalism, white nationalism, Western chauvinism.
The whole opening paragraph describes opposition and conflict from the earliest times to the present.
What clashes here of wills gen wonts, ostrygods gaggin fishygods!
Oyster-totem clans against fish-totem clans, Ostrogoths against Visigoths, patriots against imperialists. All of the turmoil and strife of history is reflected and reproduced in the battle of the brothers, Shaun and Shem.
And in The Frogs this strife is also taken up. The main action of the play centres around what amounts to a rap battle between Euripides and the older tragedian, Aeschylus. When Dionysus and Xanthias finally reach the underworld, Xanthias asks about the noises of argument:
I say, what's all the rumpus? What goes on -- a row?
He is answered by Aeacus, a judge of the dead:
Aeschylus and Euripides -- At it again. We've had a great to-do down here -- amounts to a civil war, in fact.
He then explains that there is a "statute on our books" which stipulates that the most skilled craftsman of every art, such as the fine arts, poetry, etc., be allowed to sit next to Hades/Pluto at the god's dinner table. As it turns out, the stakes of this particular poetry slam are greater than ever as Dionysus decides that the victor -- who turns out to be Aeschylus -- should return with him to Athens, the land of the living.
The poetry battle is naturally quite comical, but scholars have agreed that the play hides a much deeper significance. The journey to the underworld is the central rite in the Mysteries of Dionysus. The chorus of Frogs is suddenly replaced by, or transformed into, a chorus of Mystics:
Now hear ye!Call forth the Holy Child with song; summon the Babe Iacchus,That he may join our pilgrim throng, votaries of Bacchus.Thou who the fairest of festal music inspired,Come seek with us, O Infant ever desired,Thy Mother's fane,And prove thee able to sustainThe toilsome course untired.Iacchus, lover of song and dance, lead me on.
The Iacchus and Bacchus mentioned here are of course different titles of Dionysus, and as Iacchus, the god in infant form, he leads the torch-lit procession of initiates towards Eleusis at the opening of the Mysteries. These Mysteries most centrally involved Persephone's descent to, and return from, the underworld, but they are paralleled in Dionysus' own descent to the shadowy realm to release his mortal mother (and he is the only Olympian to possess such a parent), Semele.
The Frogs of Aristophanes' comedy are in a sense identical to the Mystics. The chorus both welcomes and challenges the would-be initiates on their journey to the depths. There is no evidence that I'm aware of that either Aristophanes or Joyce had Kek in mind when they were composing their works, but the Egyptian connection to the Mysteries was obvious to both writers.
No less an authority than Plutarch, himself an initiate of the Mysteries, identified Dionysus with Osiris and makes clear that he was merely following a tradition in doing so. Both gods, in a manner which is echoed in the initiatory visions of shamans worldwide, were dismembered and then restored to life and wholeness. Kek appears to have been a relatively minor god within the ancient Egyptian rites, but it is possible that there was something of him that entered into The Frogs.
What is certain, though, is that Joyce began the Wake with a descent to the underworld in mind, and in the context of an ongoing and universal conflict of opposites. He is describing an initiation or a plunge into the unconscious which can only be completed with the full, shattering awareness of the coincidentia oppositorum, the coincidence of opposites. This is the idea that if the individual terms of any set of opposites are spun out to infinite extremes they become identical to one another. In essence, therefore, every apparent contrary is the same.
This doctrine is a constant and all-pervasive theme or structural plank of the Wake, evidenced most readily by the widespread references to Giordano Bruno and Nicholas of Cusa. The coincidence of opposites is at the crux of Bruno's philosophy, and the idea can be traced back through the work of Nicholas of Cusa, to the Neoplatonists, to certain dialogues of Plato himself, and further on to the pre-Socratic philosophers, especially Heraclitus. Heraclitus was said to have received his own philosophy through study in Egypt. So "Kek" enters in again.
In the Wake, as mentioned above, the two archetypal and opposed forces or figures are the twin brothers, Shem and Shaun. Shem is the radical and Shaun is the reactionary. Shaun is the puritanical alt-righter and Shem is the degenerate libtard cuck. Shaun is an Irish nationalist and Shem, according to his brother, is an "Europasianised Afferyank!"
In other words, Shem is a thoroughly globalized and mongrelized citizen of both the world and nowhere. He is equally European, Asian, African and American, and is set against the purity of race, culture, language and nationality. It is evident, that while Joyce deemed both brothers as essential parts of the whole, his sympathies really laid with Shem.
Joyce obviously rooted for the liberal, Jewish, tolerant and would-be cosmopolitan, Leopold Bloom -- the very epitome of the cuckold in literature -- over the xenophobic, antisemitic, Irish nationalist, The Citizen in Ulysses. Bloom is fallen, but the Citizen has fallen far further.
Joyce often ridiculed the fascist posturings and affections of his fellow modernists like W.B. Yeats and Ezra Pound. In a letter to Harriet Weaver about the increasingly rigid trajectory of modernism, Joyce wrote:
...the more I hear of the political, philosophical, ethical zeal and labours of the brilliant members of Pound's brass band the more I wonder why I was ever let into it "with my little magic flute."
Joyce's own political leanings, as far as they were political at all, were individualist and anarchist, much like Shem's. But he was also a humanist and a universalist. He was equally scornful of British imperialism and Roman Catholic dogma as he was with xenophobic and narrow Irish nationalism. Beyond both the nation and the empire is the creative artist who, in a Blakean sense, creates his or her own system and is subject only to the Imagination. Priests and kings and presidents and parties are all worthless shams compared to it.
Only through the imagination -- which at its full extent realizes that as all opposites coincide there is nothing that is not possible -- can the ascent from the underworld be made. Only through this can conflict momentarily cease (although this whole process is cyclical and not teleological and so endless) and the severed parts be fashioned again to a whole.
Jung called this individuation and the emergent image or archetype of this process is the mandala, but another image of this World Soul is the primordial man or person; Adam Kadmon of the Kaballah, Blake's Albion and the Wake's H.C.E.
H.C.E., introduced also on page four as Haroun Childeric Eggeberth (about as multicultural as you can get) and better known as Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker, is also called Bygmester Finnegan and could be named the Masterbuilder or Masterbilker, builder of towers and skyscrapers, or Donald J. Trump.
H.C.E. is the fallen version of Blake's Albion. His two equal and opposite sons (Shaun and Shem, Donald Jr. and Eric) have not yet been reconciled and fused. He is likewise severed from full union with his wife, A.L.P. and is twisted with guilt by his incestuous longing for his lovely daughter (say no more!) He is the Fallen Man, the cosmos in chaos, the maimed king of the Waste Land.
Joyce would find it hilarious, but not really surprising, the the chosen deity of the alt-right is being invoked on the first complete page of his last work. Hilarious because the alt-right is so laughable. Laughable because it is a half, and an ugly half, that takes itself as a whole, and even more laughable because it represents a half that is most opposed to any sort of reconciliation or even inclusion.
And pathetically laughable because it dares to invoke a god of darkness (who the alt-right already has severed from his female counterpart, Keket, the light) that it does not understand, and defiles rituals and Mysteries that could possibly still lead it to wisdom.
The cult of Kek, at the very opening of Finnegans Wake, has been long predicted and has already been made obsolete. The only thing left is to track its demise. The renewed Mysteries of Kek & Keket, Darkness and Light, will follow in its wake. The fallen man will pass, and with him all vestiges of both Nation and Empire. From the bottom of the pit the ascent begins.
All these do I warn, Begone, begone! Avaunt! is my stern exhortation.
Make way for the mystic, the pure, the artistic, who, roused by a holy elation,
Will dance till the dawn and will rest in the morn, as is meet for this fair celebration.