Into the Vortex

It’s only the end of the world again, part the third.

I’m wired to the world
That’s how I know everything
I’m superbrain
That’s how they made me

Fascist baby
Utopia, utopia

-Goldfrapp

Okay. So far we’ve had the catastrophic dissolution of society as we know it, followed by the dissipative reformation into a post gibsonian neo tribalist global garage sale.

This isn’t even science fiction, really. All you’re doing is playing out what’s already happened in places like the sudan or the former soviet union on a global scale.

All I’ve really added is the ( possibly baseless ) assumption that while many, perhaps even most, human beings are too fucking stupid to think their way out of a dead end of innovation such as our current society represents, quite a few are in fact smart enough. The whole anarcho primitivist position that we’re returning to the dark ages because of diminishing returns in social complexity only holds water if you presume that NOBODY on earth is able to come up with a working idea. Doubtful. We figured a way through the fucking ice age dude. Several of them actually. We bootstrapped our way up from flint cobbles to spaceflight. Take a chill pill and face facts. Humans are smart.

Which is really the point of our final installement. If you look at history, at least from a material standpoint, one thing is quite clear: we have been engaged in what mark pesce would call the progressive ingression of intelligence into matter. We have, essentially, been projecting our minds into the material strata of the word, with ever increasing scope and resolution, from bashing rocks to moving single atoms with lasers. The physical world becomes projection of the mind. And hence, when a new mind comes into this world, it is programmed by the assumptions that we have built into our environment from the ground on up. It’s mcluhan again. It’s all a medium, and it shapes us a surely as we shape it.

You could think of the first cities, or even the first cave art displays as a kind of virtual reality. An intentionally created environment that reflects the contents of mental perception. In spite of all that, our minds have remained more or less our minds as they’ve always been. We’ve completely reformatted the material backdrop, but our organic substrate is pretty much the same as it was when we were dragging an elk carcass over the hill from the paleolithic grassland where we brought it down with our spear.

And in some circles there seems to be the assumption that this is going to carry on right up until we gain complete control of our genetic code, followed shortly by our nanotechnological control of single atoms, until we have the power to turn the entire universe into a reflection of our same old paleolithic hunter gatherer brains.

And this is where transhumanists tend to gap out, because they have no answer to whether it’s a good thing to give million year old killer monkey brains unlimited power. To them, it’s all a question of processing speed, pattern recognition, bandwidth, and computational substrates. The ghost in the machine is a complete mystery.

From the mcluhan perspective, these technologies would be just like any other. Assimilated uncritically, they plunge us into the same unconscious relationship you have with your car or your television, only more pervasive and more utterly invisible to us.

And this is a huge issue, the issue of consciousness. We weren’t, by and large, aware of how language affected our minds, nor writing, nor printing, nor anything else for that matter. It’s our tragic blindspot. We just assume that the ghost in the machine does whatever it is that it’s been doing all along.

But of course that’s not true. When we check out, or at least allow ourselves to forget our awareness of things, we hand ourselves over to deeply ingrained patterns of unconscious habit. And as we’ve discussed elsewhere, these patterns that step in when we step out, are not always in our best individual interest. Further more, they are often much more complex than we would like to admit.

It’s the difference between superintelligence and superconsciousness. Between a technical genius and a zen master. One is an engine built for speed and power, and the other is built for internal transparency and reflective awareness. They are not the same thing and never have been. One does not lead to the other, necessarily. Actually, the tendency is for a real genius to have no idea how he or she does what they do. That’s the very definition of unconsciousness.

For example, you may have heard the adage about ‘it’s steam engines when it’s steam engine time’ ? A lot of major inventions have come about from multiple unconnected sources simultaneously. We have no explanation for that, except maybe that certain ideas emerge at the prompting of some higher order pattern in our collective unconscious. So, at the end of the day, the superbrains jump to the same tune as all the rest of us.

Which is all fine, if you don’t mind our species being steered by a self reinforcing swarm logic that spits out innovations on schedule. We become a howard bloom-esque global superorganism run by archetypal software, while any given one of us is a sleeping ant in the ant hill.

But I’m going to presume that ‘any given one of us’ is a bit of a issue, when that given one is you, or me.

Because that pattern protects itself fiercely. It operates on a time table of millenia, and a scale of billions. It doesn’t give a shit about who gets plugged into the swarm. Individual life is cheap and these archetypal cycles swap players in and out like disposable cogs. And any cog that threatens to wake up is a potential danger to the system.

You may be thinking my ‘future time line’ has jumped the fuckin’ tracks just now, but here’s the point: because we’re getting to that point where the end of our current cycle is about to come down on us like an axe. Our unconsciously constructed machine is about to fling itself over the cliff and take us all back to the middle ages till we get it together to try again.

Because it’s an interesting paradox: the overall drift is towards higher consciousness, greater reflection, deeper insight. One need look no further than the works of ken wilber and spiral dynamics for an illustration of this phenomena. But there seems to be a safety mechanism to make sure the rousing monkeys don’t abort the biosphere with their crazy monkey tools. We walk this tightrope between the telos that drags us to a singularity of transcendant hyperconsciousness, and the failsafe that will cut our legs out if we aren’t quite ready to leave the nest. Kind of like a really tough parent confiscating your car keys. You have to prove you can stand on your own, and part of proving that is toppling the scary parent figure who keeps you down. They want you to succeed in the end but they have to make it hard enough that you will learn to survive. And if you can’t hack it, they beat you down, for your own good.

In a nutshell that’s the future; we’re stepping up to take a run at our species rite of passage. We may have already fucked this up and been beaten down before. So long ago we don’t remember, in fact. But here we are again, tools in hand, and brains frothing with millenia of yogic hypertech that we’re not quite sure we know how to use.

And in our path are the archetypal scary parents: Chronus and Absu, Kali and Tiamat. The dragon Sorat, and his twin arms, Lucifer and Ahriman.

All the weird catastrophic fractal complexity up till this point is just the roiling surface of the ocean, as these archetypal leviathans heave themselves up into our view.

In more nuts and bolts human terms, this is what we mean when we talk about the counter initiation. It’s this ongoing backlash against our own process of waking up. It’s the dreaming machine with it’s boot on our necks, and this is when it will show it’s true face.

Most singularity theorists aim for the point when some kind of AI or machine human interface produces a kind of hyperintelligence that tips over the apple cart of human history. The more plausible figures place this event somewhere around the mid to late twenty-first century. But again they’re missing their own blind spot. Long before we have functional AI or universal assemblers or even physical immortality through genetics, we’ll have the capability to make permanent changes to that million year old monkey brain, and those changes will emanate through the material world in turn, and that reformatted world will shape the minds that exist in that medium. In short, the dynamic that has existed since the dawn of humanity will suddenly reverse. Instead of our minds shaping our tools and environment, the tools will now have the power to shape our minds, irrevocably and totally.

This is the real promise and the real danger. No matter how fucked up things have gotten here, our brains are still our brains and every human has essentially the same hardware, and the same potential.

But what happens when the counter initiation gets the ability to hardwire you into some permanent dead-end bliss state that you neither care to leave nor have the wiring to even do so anyway? Your fluid transcendent non material consciousness is untouchable, sure, but even the Buddha in a hopelessly hobbled brain can’t do much. If you’re too zonked by endorphins and frontal lobe reformatting to experience suffering, there’s not much chance you’ll give a damn about ‘enlightenment’ especially when the reality priesthood has told you you’re already enlightened anyway, just like everyone else.

But conversely, there is also the avenue to modify our brains to give us more flexibility, greater potential for consciousness, more room to move. There’s nothing written in stone that human brains have to be wired exactly the way they are. Suppose we had a corpus collosum three times the size of the one we have now? What would you do with that level of hemispheric integration? Or suppose you could shut your predatory lizard brain on and off at will?

And this is the rub. You have the tools to control everything you think and feel. Who holds the controls? I don’t mind modifying my own brain, but I sure as shit don’t want anyone else doing it. And I want the option to reverse it, obviously.

Long before the predicted takeoff point of singularity technology, this question will become the real issue. We’re talking fairly simple single gene manipulations and dead easy brain implants. This could probably, and is probably, being done now. But when it becomes a mass scale phenomena, you’ll have these two massive attractors coming into view; self modifying towards hyperconsciousness, and top down modification towards totally gridlocked hyperconditioning. Anyone subjected to the latter becomes an essentially permanent cog in the global hyperbrain as it spins out it’s archetypal program.

That’s the real singularity, the point beyond which no real prediction is possible, and it’s nature is much different than anyone is imagining. This battle has almost certainly happened before, in some form, on some smaller scale, but now the tools exist to make the victory for one or another all but permanent. Either the dragon devours us and casts us into permanent virtual la la land, a headfucked-drone borg swarm as we lift off into interstellar locust mode… or we unleash the holy guardian angel en masse. The inner genius in us all unchained forever, and set free to make art in this world and all the others, all the way up and down the spiral.

I doubt it will be all or nothing, only nearly so. In the former case it may be tens of thousands of years before one of those headfucked borg drones pulls a Gotama Siddharta and starts the whole thing over again. In the latter, there’s always the chance some new life that we create will take a wrong turn and kick off a new cycle of unconscious pathology, or maybe our transcendent hypercivilisation will fall into some kind of decline and ennui as we get too lazy to network our awakened consciousness efficiently enough to stave off the dragon’s resurgence.

I don’t think there is a final solution, in either case. Only the long game. The real story is always your own, and the ending is what you make it.

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The alchemical echo chamber

 

while I spend the next few days polishing off my latest psychotic diatribe, I thought I’d continue my civic duty as facilitator of usefull infomation. I will carry the attractor at the end of time on my bleeding shoulders if need be!

I’ve mentioned a couple times my admiration for webster tarpley. I don’t think anyone is really able to put the crypto-oligarchy in it’s proper historical context the way he does. So I’m obviously pleased to see he’s doing a weekly radio show here, where he holds forth on the onging unraveling of our civilisation. The first hour of every show is essentially a  lecture by him. Good stuff. you can take or leave the rest. fast forward through the excessive tinfoil hat right wing conspiracy commercials.

  Speaking of right wing lunacy, I’ve recently become aquainted with the thoughts of lyndon larouche. In  spite of all the hysterical accusations of anti semitism, demagougery, and spooky fascistic leanings, I’m shocked to find him at least as coherent, perhaps even moreso, than any politician I’ve encountered from the last century. I think it’s telling how thoroughly he’s been consigned to the ghetto of unnacceptable discourse. I imagine one of these three hour sessions is enough for anyone. it’s damn funny to watch this guy. I almost pissed myself after i realised he uses names like ‘felix rohatyn’ like swear words. I don’t even know who this felix guy is, and it’s still hilarious. he’s like your cranky uncle whose solution to everything is to get the shotgun and chase people off his porch.  

and for the uncle terrence fans, there’s always more loose ends: I’ve made it a project to track down anything he’s done, so if anyone happens to turn some new nugget that hasn’t found it’s way into one of the usual repositories, by all means do the world a favour and speak up!

 I’m a big believer in open source education so by all means avail yourself of the wealth of material at MIT online. they’re well on their way to making all thier course material entirely free within a few years. even if you just listen to all the free audio and video lectures, you’ll be a smart motherfucker. like that guy brad in pulp fiction. right before sam jackson and travolta shot him.

and in the interest of undercutting any shocking revelation in my timeline project before i get there, hook yourself up with some mark pesce lectures. here and here. he’s becoming a worthy succesor to king terrence, provided he outgrows his obsession with webcrack.

 and last but certainly not least i’m pleased to see this disinfo conferrence from a few years back is available for free online. Doug rushkoff does his post-post everything routine, kenneth anger debases himself shilling stop smoking tapes ( i shit you not ) and talks crowley, and pay particular mind to an impassioned speech by grant morrison as he lays out his post-invisibles cultural manifesto on pop magick, identity complexes and alien abduction. great fun and worth seeing if only to witness the ur-text of the modern chaos magick cult that finds it’s manifestation in and around key23, ultraculture, the barbelith underground, and generation hex etc. they’ll deny it of course…

 now away with you!

Dreaming Saturn

When we invent a new technology we become cannibals. We eat ourselves alive since these new technologies are merely extensions of ourselves. The new environment shaped by technology is a cannibalisitc one that eats people. To survive one must study the habits of cannibals- Marshall McLuhan

There are some things in life that we protect ourselves from by not wanting to think about them. In some cases a certain phenomena might not even get a definitive name.

I have no wish to nauseate anyone unnecessarily, so now’s your last chance to bail out before we draw a pattern, and then, to my mind at least, put a real name on it.

____

starting with Professor Pan

Louis Lamonica walked into the sheriff’s department in tiny Livingston, La., and asked to speak with a detective. According to police, for almost the next two hours the middle-aged preacher, proceeded to tell a story so sickening they could scarcely believe what they were hearing. He explained that he was the former pastor of Hosanna Church, a now defunct house of worship in nearby Ponchatoula. Matter-of-factly and without remorse, Lamonica said that he and other church members had molested children, and taught them to have sex with each other, as well as with a dog. He told the detectives that he drank cat blood, and poured it on the bodies of his young victims…
When he had finished talking, Lamonica was arrested by the stunned detectives, who charged him with two counts of aggravated rape of a child under 13 and a charge of crime against nature. According to police, Lamonica was confused by the cops’ reaction. “He was somewhat shocked when he found out we were going to arrest him,”

leading to the lion’s share from Rigorous Intuition

In the 1980s, a man named Lawrence King launched a credit union in Omaha and quickly became one of the most prominent black Republicans in America. He sang the national anthem at two Republican National Conventions. He was a friend of powerful state and national figures, including billionaire Warren Buffett (Buffett hosted the King’s 10th anniversary party and sat on the board of Franklin’s parent company) and then-Vice President George Herbert Walker Bush.King also happened to be an abusive paedophile, who ran an adolescent sex ring out of his office that enjoyed the protection of US security and intelligence apparatus, which exploited children lured from the neighbouring Boys’ Town as both a honeytrap to blackmail vulnerable parties and as a reward for faithful assets.
and ( scroll down a little )

BRITAIN:Alleged Pedophiles Helm Blair’s War Room Counterpunch January 29, 2003A child-sex scandal that threatened to destroy Tony Blair’s government last week has been mysteriously squashed and wiped off the front pages of British newspapers. Operation Ore, the United Kingdom’s most thorough and comprehensive police investigation of crimes against children, seems to have uncovered more than is politically acceptable at the highest reaches of the British elite. In the 19th of January edition of The Sunday Herald, Neil Mackay sensationally reported that senior members of Tony Blair’s government were being investigated for paedophilia and the “enjoyment” of child-sex pornography:

“The Sunday Herald has also had confirmed by a very senior source in British intelligence that at least one high-profile former Labour Cabinet minister is among Operation Ore suspects. The Sunday Herald has been given the politician’s name but, for legal reasons, can not identify the person.

“There are still unconfirmed rumours that another senior Labour politician is among the suspects. The intelligence officer said that a ‘rolling’ Cabinet committee had been set up to work out how to deal with the potentially ruinous fall-out for both Tony Blair and the government if arrests occur.”

The Blair government has responded by imposing a comprehensive blackout on the story, effectively removing it from the domain of public discussion. Attempts on the part of this journalist to establish why the British media has not followed up on the revelations have met with a wall of silence. Editors and journalists of The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent, The Sunday Times, The Observer, The Sunday Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Daily Express, The Mirror, The Sun, the BBC, Independent Television News and even The Sunday Herald have refused to discuss the matter.
and

Call to lift veil of secrecy over Dunblane The GuardianFebruary 14, 2003Campaigners yesterday called for a review of the 100-year secrecy rule imposed on some documents seen by the inquiry into the Dunblane killings which were never made public.

The move comes after the Scottish cabinet this week instructed Scotland’s most senior law officer to look again at the 100-year ban placed on a police report on Thomas Hamilton, who murdered 16 primary schoolchildren and their teacher.

There have been allegations that the lengthy closure order was placed on the report after it linked Hamilton to figures in the Scottish establishment, including two senior politicians and a lawyer.

There has been much speculation about the identity of the politicians in the report. It is known that in June 1996 Michael Forsyth, then Scottish secretary and MP for Stirling, congratulated Hamilton on running a boys’ club in Dunblane.
and
BELGIUM:Ritual abuse, pedophilia, murder, and the charge of a government cover-up The Telegraph August 17, 2001Five years after the bodies of four murdered Belgian girls were discovered at houses owned by the paedophile Marc Dutroux, the father of one of them has accused the country’s police and justice system of a cover-up ensuring that his trial has still not begun.

The claims by Paul Marchal, father of An Marchal, who was 17 when she disappeared in 1995, echo what many Belgians now privately believe: that Dutroux and his paedophile ring had connections with high-ranking members of the establishment in Belgium.

In a country that is becoming inured to corruption in public life, the theory of a cover-up is now increasingly accepted as the real reason why the Dutroux case has yet to come to court.

and

PORTUGALPortugal rocked by child sex scandal
Allegations that a child sex ring has been operating out of state-run children’s homes in Portugal for decades has prompted intervention by President Jorge Sampaio.

BBC May 29, 2003The developments sparked an outcry in Portugal, particularly when it was reported that a former president and several government ministers, as well as the police, knew of the allegations as far back as the early 1980s but failed to take action.

“Faced with the horror that so many children, who were entrusted to us to be educated and cared for, were victimised it is necessary to declare here that the president is certain that the guilty will be severely punished,” President Sampaio said in a speech.

The latest high-profile arrests are of men publicly accused of sex abuse by former children of Casa Pia, Portugal’s largest network of homes for troubled children.

Casa Pia first made the headlines following allegations that an employee at the institution allegedly helped wealthy child molesters to meet young boys in his care for over two decades.

andCHILE

Chilean elites caught in child porn ring Boston Globe Jan 12 2004VALPARAISO, Chile — Congresswoman Maria Pia Guzman is a strait-laced conservative who has suddenly and unexpectedly become an outcast at the Congress building here. Sometimes her follow legislators murmur an insult when she comes within earshot: “Witch!”

Guzman did not unleash the sex scandal now rocking Chile’s political and social elite, a sordid tale centered around a millionaire businessman and some runaway teenagers.

But she did publicly link a handful of congressmen and senators to the case, suggesting some of her own political allies might be involved in an alleged ring of prostitution and child pornography. And for that, some of her fellow legislators will not forgive her.

When she gets in an elevator with other congressmen, they often step out. “There is a very strong psychological warfare going on,” Guzman said in an interview in her Valparaiso office. Lighting a cigarette, she added: “Before this case, I had stopped smoking.”

and

MEXICOMob In Mexico Burns Two Federal Agents Alive

AP November 24, 2004MEXICO CITY — A crowd angry about recent child kidnappings cornered plainclothes federal agents taking photos of students at a school on Mexico City’s outskirts and burned the officers alive, the latest example of mob justice in a country beset by corrupt police and high crime.

The violence began in the early evening, when locals collared three men staking out a school in the San Juan Ixtlayopan neighborhood. The area has been tense since two youngsters disappeared and were feared kidnapped from the school. Some in the crowd appeared to believe the agents were kidnappers. When asked about complaints that authorities had failed to respond to demands to investigate the disappearances, Figueroa said a full schedule had prohibited federal authorities from concentrating on the case.

_______

I truly could go on and on, but I’ll spare your stomach. Rigorous Intuition is more than adequate if you care to gorge yourself on this kind of thing. We just want to establish a pattern, here.

It is not so much dealing with evil actions, but rather patterns of evil action, and deciphering what those patterns might mean. It’s hard to argue that there is an epidemic of systematic child abuse going on, seemingly protected by those in power, but what could it possibly mean that such a thing exists? Surely it’s too outrageous and senseless a thing to be so widespread. Similarly, why on earth would the ruling elites and ostensible spiritual leaders of our civilisation seemingly abandon any commitment whatsoever to the principles and ideals of our culture?

Leaving aside for the moment the questions of what those principles and ideals might be, it’s easy to see that they, whatever they were, have been largely or wholly replaced with consumption and self gratification, from the top on down.

And this is the difficulty. To reconcile the facts with what, as a person, you know to be true of human nature. I cannot believe there is some top-down global conspiracy coordinating all the mass torture, mass rape, mass ritual, mass deception, culminating in the bankruptcy of our whole civilisation. It’s impossible. But it’s happening. So how then? Does this stuff just spring up of it’s own accord like fungus, like serial killers, and garden variety child molesters? Maybe, but you’re left with the pattern. The pattern doesn’t go away. the fingerprint of design.

It’s hard enough to convince people to get their mouths around the words ‘ritual abuse’, which is too bad, because that’s the best name going so far for this kind of thing, and that just doesn’t cover it. What kind of ritual? To what end? Of whose authorship? It’s practically indisputable that these acts are the glue holding something much larger together. So, what then?

In attempting to untangle this, you can go deductive and attempt to extract the parts from the whole, or you can be inductive and extract the whole from a part. And in this case that works, as long as you pick the right part, the characteristic part, the part that crystallises the whole thing.

And by that, I mean the children. The children are the quintessential symbol of the whole dynamic. What does it say about our society that it’s hidden shadow is the abandoned child, the abused child, the ignorant and fearful child, the child turned into a piece of meat for consumption. What it looks like is being done, is to gut the very structure of our civilisation, tear up the social fabric, incinerate any philosophical and moral capital and turn it all into a machine that runs on blackmail, corruption and the wholesale consumption of the young. What does it really mean to destroy the very moral and ethical foundations of your own society? What lies at the heart of the mass destruction of children for the sake of momentary power?

You know what it sounds like to me? What I finally had to arrive at is that it sounds like a plan to cannibalise the future. It sounds like the madness of those who have forsaken everything but the present moment in their search for gratification, up to and including the devouring of the very manifestation of our own future, the children.

But why? Why do that? Of all things, why engage in something so bestial, so depraved, so utterly self destructive? Who in their right mind would consciously act this out?

And there’s the answer: there’s nothing conscious about it.

When man is overwhelmed by information, he resorts to myth.-Marshall McLuhan

I’ve talked elsewhere about how people respond to change in different ways. In many cases people fear change, even hate it. And when that change takes the form of increasing complexity, many people would gladly shut it all out, and resort to simplistic shorthands.

Which is unavoidable to an extent. Not everyone can be expected to make learning and adaptation the foci of their life. But what happens when change becomes the norm? What happens when the environment becomes so saturated with information that very few people could ever handle it all, or even a significant amount of it?

But here’s the point, because you don’t need to understand everything around you, but you do need to understand your own self. And in an age of super-saturated dataspaces, the last thing most people want to do is introspect. Which is not only tragic, but perhaps, ultimately, fatal to us all.

As I said, many of these people check out. Emotionally, mentally and even spiritually. And if you’re not trying to understand the world as it is, then really, you’re living in a story. A myth. It is the finn cycle again. The same time-worn themes, over and over. If you choose to sleep then life is a dream.

‘So, what are you saying zac? that we’re living in a dream? Some kind of fucked up myth? what kind of myth is this, then?’

I’m glad you asked. But you may not be glad I told you…

Saturn is the earlier, roman, name for the god which you probably would have heard of as chronos. Both of them are known for enacting the same mythical pattern: they castrate and supplant their fathers, the representation of the past, as it were, and more significanty for our purpose, to stem any possibility that he might be supplanted in turn, Saturn litteraly devours his children.

It’s a very timeworn idea; that the existing order would engage in whole scale genocide against the future, out of fear of being overturned. Even if such a thing dooms you in the doing of it in any case. There is no hope of orderly succession, only catastophic collapse. Such a power can only devour those around it, and itself, to feed the delusion of immortality. It’s a kind of psychotic futility to be sure.

What I’m proposing in essence, is that because of the onrush of change in the last century, there was at first a paranoid backlash against progress, which took the form of authoritarianism and fascism, and eventually into a kind consumptive lunacy that built itself on looting the future outright as a way of propping up the failing oligarchy that cannot face the onrush of history.

This environment of rapid change which we’re all familar with, breeds the kind of retreat into irrationality, myth, and unconscious resonance that makes it’s victims perfect vehicles for the kind of deeply rooted themes in our species memory that Saturn represents.

To put it as succincly as possible: when people check out, they don’t wander aimlessly. Something else steps in. This explains why you see so much complexity, such rich malevolent patterning, in a pack of neurotics, teetering heart patients, hollowed out souless spooks, drug addicts, psychotics, self loathing homosexuals, and traumatised borderline autistics. It’s not them drawing the pattern. It’s something deep inside all of us. All they’ve done is open the way for that old old design to come forth in a new context.

It’s like a flock of birds, or any other complex emergent behavior. No one element contains the whole pattern, but each instinctively knows where to position themselves within it. It’s only when you have a massively interconnected global information space that you can even take a high enough vantage point to see what the whole pattern might be. Which is sort of ironic, because it’s things like the internet and the resultant backlash, that raised this phenomena to the pitch that it’s at.

The most grotesque and outrageous manifestions of this pattern are an example of what Jung called a constellation of the archetype. The archetype crystalises in a person or a group or a society and imbues it with intensely powerfull direction at the cost of abdicating free will. To abandon oneself to an archetypal role is to essentially beome a character in a play.

Is it not fitting then, that the twisted, hopelessly damaged scion of the incestuous, corruption riddled bush dynasty would consume the earth in a mad quest to overturn his father and ride at the head of a swarm of child-devouring, drug dealing, slave trading, warmongering future-destroying charicatures?

So what are the chances of calling anyone to account for this? Depends on who you’re looking at. The odds of bringing down the whole complex is viritually nill. By definition they don’t even understand what they are doing. There is no conspiracy as we would normally understand that word. They are the proxy actors in a certain kind of communal suicidal orgy.

It is we who fancy ourselves in the buisiness of consciousness that bear the weight in this. Not the sleeping masses, not the archetype haunted puppets at the top, who have all but abandoned their reason. But us. If anyone is to act it can only be from a place of understanding.

In a strange way, saturn can be seen as a kind of defence mechanism for the earth and for the human race as a whole. For a culture that has failed to take up the burden of facing the future and responsiblity for it’s actions. He is the self destruct routine when a bankrupt civilisation runs rampant.

If left unchecked a society that has lost sight of any values except excess and consumption, that has no real compass to navigate the future, would scour the earth down to bare rock and kill every last microbe before flinging itself into space to seek a new host. Better to plunge us back into the sleep of forgetting. ( incidentally, isn’t it interesting that much of this material revolves around memory loss, real or imagined? something for another time. ) A dark age to wipe the slate clean again. What state would we be in if rome had continued, for another thousand years, rather than destroy itself from the inside out?

We are at a grim crossroads. The very fact that saturn rules the world is almost certain proof that we have, or are very close to, failing the test. We have not become responsible enough, we have not become awake enough, we have lost ourselves to irrationality and abandoned our values. Our own collective mind is about to swing the sickle and cast us back into the finn cycle..again. We have, by and large, created no solutions to this, no alternatives, except, in small pockets, to return to our own past. Which is only the same failure, but at least a failure we have resigned ourselves to with dignity.

Neverthess, to march blithely back to the dark ages is still a resounding rebuke to our future and our own potentials, no matter how lovely and green it might be a hundred years from now.

This solves nothing. Absolutely nothing. In a thousand years or a hundred we would drag ourselves out of the dream and face the same problems all over again, until a big enough asteroid comes along and puts a period at the end of our sentence once and for all. No future for anyone. And no justice for the children.

Sooner or later we must face that everything changes, including the earth itself, and if we wish to endure, we must change with it. Anything else is madness. And right now we’re wallowing in it.

Interrogate the Terrorscape

 Part of the downside of being injured for awhile is that I had plenty of time to read and think, but not so much avenue to track my thinking here, cause sitting in a chair kind of hurt, and all.  I’ve started to realise that in trying to express everything on my mind, I’ve skipped a lot of influences and progressions in my reasoning that may leave some people high and dry. So let’s wheel back a few steps and talk theory. Starting with the prophet of media himself, Marshall McLuhan.

The thing everyone remembers about McLuhan is ‘the medium is the message’ even if almost nobody seems to understand what it means, which is part of the point.

McLuhan’s whole work is predicated on the idea that consciousness is inherently seperate from the environment it travels in. It’s like a fluid that takes the shape of it’s container. If you pour consciousness into the medium of tv, it takes the shape of tv, if you pour it into phonetic alphabet, it takes the shape of the phonetic alphabet.

What he tried so hard to point out was, everyone tends to be obesessed with content, with what you do with the media, and what your put in your consciousness after you adopt it. But what he showed was that the almost invisible shape changing of consciousness itself was by far more meaningfull and important than anything you did with it afterword.

That changing of shape, that alteration in the use of the senses, was like the water to fish. It affects everything, but it becomes so pervasive that you can’t see it after awhile. It’s the ground to the figure, when we tend to be fixated on the figure, and ignore the ground.

If we start with language it’s easy to see. In preverbal humanoids, everything was mediated by touch. Scratching, petting, grooming, hitting, slapping. All our inner and outer experiences had to be translated largely through touch. Anything we wanted to share with another human had to pass through the filter of tactility, and our minds were shaped almost exclusively by that, and hence it was invisible to us. When everything is translated through the surface of the skin alone, there is no room for abstraction, for example.

When we adopted language however, this went into upheaval. Suddenly the tactile consciousness was forced into an abstacted verbal medium. Suddenly, most everything was being carried in the form of sounds. The mind takes the shape of auditory resonance: the song, the echo, the tonal nuance. This had such a profound effect on us that it created the gap between us and the rest of nature. And this too, quickly became invisible to us, to the point that most auditory cultures truly believe that song created the world.

And when we made the medium shift to writing, the gap turned into a full-blown rupture, not just with nature, but from preliterate humans as well. The auditory world was again violently translated into a more visualised mode. Experience was locked into the time-binding symbolism of visual script. This resulted not just in a change in the way we use our senses, but in the speed of our whole society. When consciousness takes a eye-biased form, it becomes possible to abstract things like history, geometry, architecture, mathematics, linear extension and speed markers. Pushed to the highest level by the printing press, this makes it possible to turn the entire universe into a linear visual metaphor of shaped spaces.

McLuhan resisted the temptation to make value judgements that might distort his perceptions, but he was quite clear that to move from one medium to the next unconsciously was potentially disastrous. Like stumbling from one dream to another with no inkling or sense of awareness. Our minds twisted by ouruncriticised media into forms we could not even see, or recognise.
In this, it’s clear that McLuhan adopted the concerns of the subject of his earliest scholarship, none other than James Joyce, and specifically, Finnegans Wake.

Much can be said about the Wake, but it is generally agreed that the book is a kind of oral history of human consciousness transcribed into print, in that it represents a bridge between the oral and visual words. It takes the form of a cyclical dream of constantly changing, but ever the same, archetypes, acting out the same themes over and over again, but always asleep. Chieftains become kings become fathers. From cave painting to advertisements and back again, locked ever in this dream. But Joyce pushes the cycles so closely up against themselves that the dreamer, unnamed, struggles to awaken. In some sense Joyce strives to awaken the reader, to lift us out of the sleep of unconscious cycles again and again. Or, alluding to the title: ‘finn… again and again’.

McLuhan carries that mandate into his own work, and in his own way sees humanity pushing itself faster and faster through these cycles of sleeping, nearly waking and then plunging below the water of the unconscious, again and again. Lost in the endless speed-up of our media until time and history threaten to dissolve back into the primoridal dream of tribal consciousness, which is not so terrible in and of itself, but that we are doing it robotically. uncritically.

I’ll pick this idea up again soon, but let talk a little more about ‘electric retribalisation’.

Essentially what this means is that with the advent of electric media like the telegraph, where information can be moved at instantanous speeds, it eliminates a sense of time in relation to experience. If everything can be known at a keystroke, then nothing is ever really distant from you, and hence time loses one of it’s cornerstones. Certainly telecommunications,webcams and instant messaging accentuate this.

One of the hallmarks of visual cultures is that they have the sense of perspective, of vanishing points in the distance. It’s a kind of filing system for information arrainged visualy. Such a thing revolutionised the arts, in the renaissance. What instantaneous speed does is that it retrieves the kind of time sense that existed in oral cultures, where everything is right next to you, at all times. You are immersed in the proverbial ‘echo chamber’ of resonant information. When consciousness takes that shape it starts to dissolve the biases of linear extension, detatchment, past and future, and perspective. McLuhan said that while this would not litteraly plunge our society back into the material conditions of tribalism, ( at least not by itself) it would, if absorbed unconsciously, take our minds back to that same place, and hence open the way for all the manifestations of that consciousness to come back as well. Some of these are desirable, like empathy, depth involvement, oral culture and storytelling, and a sense of community. But bundled with that, if we take it all uncritically, are race hatreds, tribal warfare, xenophobia, illiteracy, sexism, and superstitious obesession with resonance ( astrology and the new age, anyone? )

So that’s the short primer on the father of media studies. You may or may not see how that folds into my recent timeline so far.

 But that’s not all: imagine my suprise when this line of thinking led me to the solution to my very first obsession; or, at least, the very first obesession that impelled me to start up AB. No hints just yet, except the title:

 Next: Dreaming Saturn