Monday, April 13, 2015

Dark fruit cake.

Conspiracy of noise.
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Everyone's heard the expression 'conspiracy of silence'.
I'm wondering what a 'conspiracy of noise' might be like?
Mike Luckovich: ISIS Founding Fathers.
Corrigan: Fear & Division.
David Parkins: Lipstick on a Pig.
Greg Perry: Economic Distraction Plan.
Ed Hall: Big Cheese Koch Brothers.
Daryl Cagle: California Drought.
Wiley Miller: First Sacrifice.
Leonard Cohen's "Getting lost in that hopeless little screen," almost seems to be about TV. Maybe it's also about these solitary computer screens. So many of the threads here appear in his amazing 1992 album 'The Future' that I can't help but try to gather up a few of them: Keith Ecclestone talking (so many years ago) about the 'plenum void' as flip-side alienation (it was the 60s); the 'Always' of my mothers crazy notion of carnal love; Ivan Illich's compassion and Jacques & Raissa Maritain's "l'armée des étoiles jetées dans le ciel," considered as 'amorous array'.

I mentioned Chris Hedges' set piece 'The Myth of Progress and the Collapse of Complex Societies' most recently delivered in Vancouver a few months ago as 'The Rules of Revolt'. In the Q&A portion of a 2013 reading he says:

        Sitting in front of your computer screen, alone in your room typing angry screeds about the government means you're still sitting alone in your room - which is just where they want you. Where they don't want you is out in the street.
        The Internet and electronic communications are very good tools for organizing, but very bad tools for creating mechanisms of mass movements that have the ability to actually begin to impede the function of the state. The Internet has created this strange world where those who are hackers have the ability to break down electronic walls and expose the inner workings of power to us, which is why they are being so ruthlessly persecuted, far and beyond anything they do or even might have done.
        I think the Occupy Movement showed that we have got to begin to build the kind of large mass movements that I saw - I covered the revolutions in Eastern Europe - in Eastern Europe where we were pulling 500 thousand people to Alexander Platz in East Berlin or 500 thousand people into Wenceslas Square in Prague. That's what we've got to do, and we have to use mechanisms like the general strike. These are the mechanisms that are going to save us.
        I don't - in that sense, in terms of the ability to actually begin to, other than hacking - see the Internet as particularly useful that way. In fact if you look at Julian Assange's latest book 'Cyber Punks' which he did with Applebaum, he argues that ultimately the digital age is going to make totalitarian control even more efficient."

The other thread, an image, a string of images: from Hedges talking about Neitzsche's 'molten pit' and 'the burnt ones' (also the title of Patrick White's first collection of stories); through Cohen's blizzard that "overturns the order of the soul"; Ibsen's boyg in 'Peer Gynt'; the vast whirlpool which I think I first saw in Edgar Allen Poe's 'A Descent into the Maelström'; and coming full circle back to the sinking of the Pequod in Melville's 'Moby Dick' that Hedges also mentions (after a brief diversion through Dante’s Inferno and the myth of Ulysses).

He says (this is quite a tangly bit, replete with nonsequiturs, and needs close reading):

        It is only those who harness their imagination, and through their imagination find the courage to peer into the molten pit, who can minister to the suffering of those around them. It is only they who can find the physical and psychological strength to resist. Resistance is carried out not for its success, but because by resisting in every way possible we affirm life. And those who resist in the years ahead will be those who are infected with this “sublime madness.” As Hannah Arendt wrote in 'The Origins of Totalitarianism', the only morally reliable people are not those who say 'this is wrong' or 'this should not be done,' but those who say 'I can’t.' They know that as Immanuel Kant wrote: 'If justice perishes, human life on earth has lost its meaning.' And this means that, like Socrates, we must come to a place where it is better to suffer wrong than to do wrong. We must at once see and act, and given what it means to see, this will require the surmounting of despair, not by reason, but by faith."

The bit from Kant brings up (again, from the ol' compost heap) the last sentence of 'The Limits to Growth':

        The crux of the matter is not only whether the human species will survive, but even more whether it can survive without falling into a state of worthless existence.

I don't actually think that faith has necessarily to do with it. And ministering to the suffering is not an end in itself. But I can see how Hedges' background might lead him to put it that way. Jesuit rhetorical tricks? Is that it?

All of this (gentle reader) makes exactly where I am sitting - viz., alone in my room - more and more unbearable, untenable, silly, wasteful ... and so on.
 :-)I just hope that the automated text-analysers over at CSIS and the NSA don't interpret these meditations as anything ... dangerous.
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