"From now on, Utopia is not only an eminently practical project, it is a vitally necessary one!" – Clark, Gray, et al

CROWBAR MOMENTS: Volume 2

No. I: BUGS, BUBBLES, RIVERS & FISHES:
The Last Word on Virus Theory

Parrhesia & Rhetoric: "The one who uses parrhesia, the parrhesiastes, is someone who says everything he has in mind: he does not hide anything, but opens his heart and mind completely to other people through his discourse. ...Whereas rhetoric provides the speaker with technical devices to help him prevail upon the minds of his audience (regardless of the rhetorician's own opinion concerning what he says), in parrhesia, the parrhesiastes acts on other people's mind by showing them as directly as possible what he actually believes." – Michel Foucault

Actual parrhesia is probably impossible. A benign tumor from psychoanalysis, cognitive-behavior theory suggests an internal running dialogue and commentary as a river, often lacking any sense of systemetized coherence until we are asleep or otherwise deranged, as Messieurs Poe, Artaud and Burroughs discovered. It is in this river which swims the imp of the perverse which might equally invite us to jump in for a refreshing swim with questions like "why not?", or ponder stepping off the cliff and falling into the abyss to our certain demise. No prior psychic motivation need be posited. The bullshit detector also swims this river. It is home to many internal voices. They are both the river and Trickster. The backgound noise underneath a barely perceptual tinitus is the cacophony of aquatic bugs endlessly repeating everything, even the unnoticeable, from within and without the environment – the obsessive repitition of "sense data". It is usually a silent noise of vortexes in the stream. But sometimes we become absorbed and cannot disentangle. Their illucidation can produce poetry, psychoanalytic revelation and straight-jackets.

Militant regimentation and education dam this river. Questions do not pass unregulated. Commentary is restricted to habitual categories, running through flow-pipes activated by power turbines. Language is seen by the militant politician and social scientist only as mutual dam busting and bubble bursting, slinging shit from the towers of opposing fortresses. We call those who do not take a political stand mindless, brain-dead, zombie or sheep. Undemocratic radicals "go against the flow". Revolutionaries think with a big enough dam, the river will reverse direction, but mostly it only shifts its progressive course with even more pent up momentum. The river is a self-fulfilling prophet. Progress is only a euphamism for "no change is tolerated". The river becomes a violent water-fall killing all the little fishes on the rocks below.

How often do we not know what's on our mind and do not necessarily want to appropriate what's in (be converted to) another's? This is the process of becoming co-mindful, of thoughts unfolding and merging in common dialogue (rather than competetive – aka "economic" – discourse or "political" one-upmanship). Two senses of politeness appear: 1) the trickster-as-optimiser deceives us with honey, disguising the intention to appropriate or proselytise. We may call this "the propagandist art" and is perceived as either parrhesical or rhetorical; 2) The sense of communising/sharing – retaining an openness to make adjustments and coherences, or not as we may see fit – a radical fitness.

My sense of the trickster is the poet or carrier whose infection eats away at a set of categories (forms) without necessarily systemically infecting with new content, like necroforus (an organism in 'healthy' digestive tracts) on an open wound. It only bores a hole, leaving the newly injured the opportunity to close it or rethink without being put on the defensive. "To pick or not to pick it?" is the ultimate question of scabs. Bataille might call this an inner war, I'd portray it as finding oneself suddenly naked on a windy day and searching or improvising or being given something with which to cover up, to become comfortable again. The embare-assed capitalist might say "If that's not a call for warfare, I don't know what is". Stoicism or asceticism rarely leads to enlightenment! As soon as coherence and rigidity sets in, bleeding and communication must stop, we've established a picket line, invented the scab and religion!

It could be argued that this boring and scabbing is authoritarian (in the sense of an uninvited "burst bubble"). Where is the authoritarianism with two youngsters sharing a bath and bursting bubbles? If categories are confining or limiting like a pair of shoes two sizes too small, it would lead to mutual (both/and/or) self-liberation – with the right question, one bursts one's own bubble but the questioner gets splashed as well. Without another perspective to observe, those bubbles become ever more rigid, like an iron ball & chain. Try wearing that in novel rivers!

The accumulation (mining, optimization), justice, truth, exchange and (social) war paradigms are examples of such rigidity, where a gift is only envisioned in terms of a loss and sharing`a compromise – again, a sacrifice of one's "total" desire. For a loosening and relaxing, I'm tempted to use the term, "deterritorialize". Another would be "extasis" which busts dams between the self and other. Iconoclasty puts holes in our reifications. A leaky form allows ingress and egress of free, mobile content, transforming old into new forms. All commentaries and questions posed have this destructive/creative potential. We might ask "are rigid bubbles owned, property to be defended?" If so, then linguistics suggests that resistance to infection produces ill-health to language systems. We would all be brain-dead, infantile, incapable of conversation in the first place. It is said a parrot has such a language, lacking entirely in a semantic component. Rhetoric would have no categories with which to impose.

Meaningful communication guides clostridial visitors to intestinal tracts where they are welcomed, where they are fit, where they can simultaneously self-actualize, thrive and help us process our mostly digested food prior to expulsion of excess. In a wound, they can produce a deadly tetanic seizure. Nurture is optimizing, but optimization is not always, in fact, in our world, rarely nurturing. Mostly, clostridial visitors go by completely unnoticed. Rhetoric and debate and propaganda mimic the colonial behavior of systemic tuberculosis – they slowly consume you.

unless you can produce an appearance of infinity by your disorder, you will have disorder only without magnificence. – Edmund Burke

No. II: WHAT IS THE POPULATION PROBLEM?

Throughout my life, the question of absolute numbers has been the central focus of all the problems of humanity. Like, we've always been over-populated. This is the source of all poverty and discontent. It was the source of civilized expansion into new frontiers in the first place, back when fifty million was already too much for the planet's carrying capacity. The population problem is accepted and taken for granted. Malthus lives. If technological progress is not a matter of conquest in the name of actualising our desire, nothing is. Now there are over six billion of us. When I was a kid, three billion was aready past the point of sustainable possibility. Sexuality must be made a moral issue, as this wanton reproductive potential and unsatisfied desire (aka "greed") is now destroying the planet. So we are still being told and we do not see the hypocrisy.

Isn't this handy! We only need to increase production and socialize distribution to keep pace with exponential reproductive potential, and that is called a revolutionary breakthrough. The question, "are we overpopulated?" is always rephrased as "can we produce and distribute enough food?" My return to the original sense of the question, the mathematics of it, concerns the absolute trust we have in this magic number, six billion. It is a question which lends its poser the appearance of madness even to radicals and paranoid conspiracy theorists. We question the data when economic pundits inform us as to the rate of unemployment based on the number of applications for compensation, trimming the number of homeless and those whose "benefits" have expired from calculation and consideration. Without a physical address, one cannot benefit from any social services, one is not counted.

The same scientifically trained specialists who count the unemployed hire minions to go door-to-door counting heads, paid on a quota system, piece-work. There is a potentially huge fudge factor which could counter the trimming effect involved in not counting the uncountable. Even so, the collectors of demographic data do not analyse or publish it. That is the task of computing machines and ambitious bureaucrats – sticklers to the exactitudes of rigid categories they themselves do not understand and never question.

Discounting the homeless, the utmost of the upperclass, which is to say "very few" live in the downtowns which are portrayed as the illustration of overpopulated street. We witness images of the coming and going of masses of workers and bureaucrats waiting for cross-walk lights to change and respond, "Oh, the rat-race of it all!" This is the picture of the working class we call "middle". When they go home, they go to the diffused suburbs, where the space between homes is measured by surveyor chains rather than tape measures and even a riding lawnmower is a chore. Only a satellite image gives the appearance of vast numbers because of a lack of uninhabitted space in the picture.

They used to live in concentrated areas close to the employment centers which are now called slums and ghettoes – places which were once neighborhood-images of comfortable and cosmeticly appealing community. And we were still overpopulated! There were always empty houses waiting to become homes. Today windows of former neighborhood businesses are covered with plywood. Tastes change. Today, these concentrations are the home for the underclass, whose struggle is so intense there is little energy or interest left for anything beyond necessary maintenance and where anonymity is as certain as an apartment complex with chain-lock doors. They are counted. They are not homeless.

Tent cities are the last vestige of community, a luxury once found only in peasant villages. Perhaps community is a necessary condition of living uncounted and unregulated. Programs for urban beautification are only directed at removing the homeless from workers' visual horizons when travelling to and fro. There is no urban sprawl, only suburban sprawl. It is true, skyscrapers reach ever higher, these are workplaces, not housing. According to the statistics, many cities in the states are actually lower in population than when I was a kid. Suburban escapees disperse further into the formerly rural countryside and turn it into a sprawling but even more diffuse suburb. Former inhabitants, once the "peasant" few dotting vast open spaces, move to the ghettoes and concentrate in search of employment and city services. Farms have grown, devoid of any inhabitants but day-laborers operating tractors, and coming and going just like their urban counterparts. Burke said the grand is only the appearance of infinity. Diffuse sprawl gives the appearance of numerical majesty.

A dying economy has built more houses where no one lives, but even these are counted in the statistical image. If only tax-payers are considered to be citizens, why couldn't the statisticians merely add up the number of different social security numbers (tax numbers) or voter rolls to compile their census? Obviously, it is to discover cheats. Concensus is only a mutual accounting. If I do not trust the bean counters, why should I trust their calculations? Is six billion today's magic number or just another marketing image to justify development and progress? If good medicine is the posterchild-counterbalance to excessive war casualties, why is external war and internal class conflict still a matter of depopulation? If humans are natural born killers, why are there still so many of us? It's just a question, not an admission to a mental hospital.

To ask this is not a call for a recount. That suggests a remedial program to solve the "problem". Problems are always pre-existing and therefore more real. Problems are fundamental. Solution-focus always looks for problems to justify the existence of a program. Programs are always perceived by their "targets" as excessive meddlement. This resistant attitude is called social irresponsibility and the very reason there is a problem in the first place. The poor, the ignorant and socially irresponsible breed like rats – so we have always been told. They are lustful animals. The proof is their large extended family which shows up in the census, even and especially without the stabilizing effects of a family patriarch and his protestant condoms. They are immigrants.

If greed for things is a psycho-social substitution for lust for people, shouldn't increased material accumulation result in a gradual reduction in population? Apparently even this is not enough.

What we need is less children. They are an archaic bad habit and a worse influence. They need placed in socially responsible institutions or transfered into the distribution network, given to more respectable, but bored (or guilt-saturated) folks living in condos, if only to remove a constraint to acheiving our desires. Only Freud would confuse this desire as a repressed lust returning as a need for more sex toys, less children. Don't you know Freud has been dethroned by post-modernism? But the airport reality show on a big screen is far better than any french tickler. Adopt a poor kid from Malawi today! Kids can be useful commodities as personal champions in marital conflicts and other property relations, as long as they're not your own issue. Their disposal is only another phone-call away.

The 'real' fact of population is that there are as many of us as there are. That is all. It would take the aftermath of a social rupture, a cataclismic social revolution to even pose the mathematical question of an equitable distribution of food and shelter or local self-sufficiency or sustainability. Ecology is not a solution. Ecology is the set of relations in the home. It is the context, of which we are never mindful. When revolutionaries begin to understand that what needs changed are our less-than-intimate relations rather than our pure number and its ordering, I will count myself among them, and that is something they can count on.

– p. j. kaustic

No. III: PAN AND THEON

Is there a difference between the theatre, academy and the church?

It is said god separates the men from the boys. This is the gashing and gushing of circumcision and subincision, putting an end to the play once and for all. Not accepting this, the indignant Peter Pan (performed by a woman or ambiguous young gentleman until child labour laws were relaxed in the theatre) escapes to Nowhere, Nohow, Never Land and never never mentions the topic again. To prevent future such insurrections, the age of circumcision or faux drowning was reduced to zero, that is to say, the age of birth.

The whirling Dervish confronts the audience and announces, "Pan IS god, if only in the etymological sense!"

I've found my fellow atheists to be among the most mystical and fiercely religious of thinkers – to the point of pistols and drawn swords when discussion turns to alien interventions and black holes in space. It is said Nietzsche killed the Big God and we became Modern, but only after the atheist de Sade became a mad playwrite. But who toppled the pantheon? Was it Moses who birthed civil order? Native Americans and Hmong tribesmen had never heard of that Moses cat, but would have recognised Peter, the eternally oldest of children, the fool or clown warrior, the creator and always playful destroyer, the embracer of contradiction, the teacher, the archetype in flesh.

If there was an infinity of gods and the universe was therefore pantheon, where would that leave us? Nowhere, Nohow, Never Land populated by fools insisting they are not? Without god, who could we blame? Best not think about it and get on with your work. And don't forget your condom! Stay busy and your cravings will disappear. Could it be that the modern state of social war derived from the struggle between unity and multiplicity, the unifying state, whether democracy or kingdom, and the barbarian horde, the un-rule-y (godless) mob, the savage as child arrested in development?

With the proper investment and sense of diligence, science should save us, although it may take another millennium. If we could all just get some maturity, now! How soon we forget that the chief function of puberty is to bring forth more children to play. But Neverland is the street, the no-go zone ruled by child thugs in need of arrest. Democratize or socialize the distribution of toys and our children should grow up into responsible adults who build and worship things rather than discover and play with them! If we could all just get on the same page! Grow up! The revolution is everywhere or it is nowhere at all!

Is there anything but religion? The greatest question of existence is "to organize or not to organize". To chose between congregation and dispersal is the absurdity of the day, the continual search for the permanent condition, the quest for immortality. R.I.P. Pan lives, but only in the theatre.

No. IV: IDEOLOGY DOES NOT "MASK" THE REAL:
One Cannot Achieve True Consciousness.

"Misreadings can be like those beautiful, old maps of the world that had it all wrong, so people went off and wandered in large circles and saw all sorts of odd things they wouldn't otherwise see". anomynous

The concentration in experimental designs on task performance to measure the psyche neglects whole classes of behavior which are not task-related. Projectuality may be a tad overrated. If there is an object, it is the escape from tasks and required performances, or the elimination of the locus of control. It takes a considerable course of 'theological' instruction to transform a naturally inquisitive child, an anarchist adolescent, prisoner of war or the resident of a ghetto into a practitioner or theoretician of social planning. The new new society is almost guaranteed to resemble the old. Social planners, given a label ending in "-ist", gather adherents and the avant garde is born. The locus of control merely shifts in a new set of contingencies. History would seem to suggest that social planning is one of the oldest and most dastardly of ideological projects masquerading under the premise of the construction of sociological machine efficiency, all for the sake of the "masses" who are considered "mindless" adherents to an opposing ideological avant garde, the possessors of false conscious or none whatsoever. It is never ideology itself which is the problem. Like the project of the enlightenment, it is said consciousness needs to be "raised". Few note the double enténdre. – fendersën

Žižek follows Louis Althusser in jettisoning the Marxist equation: "ideology equals false consciousness." Ideology, to all intents and purposes, IS consciousness. Ideology does not "mask" the real – one cannot achieve true consciousness. This being the case, post-ideological postmodern "knowingness" – the wink wink nudge nudge cynicism and irony of postmodern cultural production – does not reveal the truth, the real, the hard kernel. Knowing that we are being "lied" to is hardly the stuff of revolution when ideology is not, and never has been, simply a matter of consciousness (cynicism, irony, and so on), of subject positions, but is the very stuff of everyday praxis itself. The cynics and ironists, not to mention the deconstructionists et al., may know that reality is an "ideological construction" – some have even read their Lacan and Derrida – but in their daily practice, caught up in an apparently unalterable world of exchange-values (capital), they do their part to sustain that construction in any case. As Marx would say, it is their very life process that is ideological, what they know, or what they think they know, being neither here nor there. The postmodern cultural artifact – the "critique," the "incredulity" – is itself merely a symptom/commodity/fetish. Thus has capital commodified even the cynicism that purports to unmask its "reality," to "emancipate." wikipedia.org

If the thought enunciates an object as a truth, it is only as a challenge to this object's own self-fulfillment. The trouble with reality (reality's ennui) is that it goes head-on toward the hypotheses that negate it. And then reality surrenders to the first warnings, and bends to conceptual violence. Its distinguishing sign is that of voluntary serfdom. Reality's a bitch!Baudrillard

To be felt, would be to attach authentic feeling to representation, which, while differing greatly from person to person, almost never happens in a reality mediated by concurring imagery set in place to ensure the defiance of what is felt; set in place to determine rules and expectations for how to feel -- rules which are sluggish and in constant discordance at almost every living instance of reality to what is actually and spontaneously felt -- and set in domineering place to unnaturally adhere those objective representations to feelings, against the will of the very feelings themselves and against the will of the indifferent individual who is now too far (and far too) lost within the illusion to bother comprehending not only complaint, but comprehension itself.

In other words, this is an individual who, in a sort of hypnotized daze of passivity, methodically seeks out sources of catered "understanding" despite the ironic inability to understand understanding in the first place. It's truly amazing how little chagrin the unaware individual is able to feel when yet another objective representation becomes unnaturally fused to a once living and ardor-infused subjective representation, the process of fusion drying up and solidifying what was once transient, paralyzing it and mechanizing it to the point where what was once felt is now simply toggled; removing all natural chagrin and creating new, cheapened vestiges of chagrin, layered on top of each other with actualized reality crushed at the bottom.

At this point, the pile on is to the chagrin of chagrin itself. Reality becomes a layered representation of paralyzed chagrin, incessantly adding layer upon layer until awareness is sufficiently dampened. Of course, not all chagrin can be paralyzed, but what remains is a starved and weakened amount, left to interact in a crude and reductionist fashion. As the quantity of chagrin lessens greatly, so does the quantity of opposite emotion, leaving a barren icescape -- rich in topography of the impoverished -- in its wake in terms of internalized emotional interaction. Over time, as more emotions begin to freeze, internalized emotional quantity necessarily depletes, revealing the true horrific and decaying state of the evangelizing axiom: quantity over quality.

As the quantity of subjectivity depletes, options too begin to thin, soon leaving very little room for syncretistic spontaneity and forcing the individual into a state of delirious, non-deceived self-deception resulting in faux-spontaneity. In turn, there unwittingly languishes a striving for the primitive and the one-dimensional as an unavoidable result of this conscious negation -- a sort of blanket cure for chagrin and anxiety in exchange for the freezing of those ineffable qualities within the mind, which ironically, are the only ones able to bear actual, flux-based meaning as opposed to external non-meaning. The only qualities even capable of harboring the potential for true meaning are destroyed in exchange for submission to an overabundance of meaningless constructs which, at this point, not only don't naturally adhere to internalized meaning, but can't. Meaning becomes frozen, its surface smooth and iced with ashen gleam, ruling out any sort of potentiality for genuine adherence to its aura of slippery diminution. What is felt -- more or less -- does not transfer over to reality.

– anomynous

No. V: OBSCURITY & CHICKEN STEW

We have unlearned something. We have become more modest in every way. We no longer derive man from the “spirit,” from the “godhead”; we have dropped him back among the beasts. We regard him as the strongest of the beasts because he is the craftiest; one of the results thereof is his intellectuality. On the other hand, we guard ourselves against a conceit which would assert itself even here: that man is the great second thought in the process of organic evolution. He is, in truth, anything but the crown of creation: beside him stand many other animals, all at similar stages of development....

And even when we say that we say a bit too much, for man, relatively speaking, is the most botched of all the animals and the sickliest, and he has wandered the most dangerously from his instincts – though for all that, to be sure, he remains the most interesting! – As regards the lower animals, it was Descartes who first had the really admirable daring to describe them as machina; the whole of our physiology is directed toward proving the truth of this doctrine. Moreover, it is illogical to set man apart, as Descartes did: what we know of man today is limited precisely by the extent to which we have regarded him, too, as a machine. Formerly we accorded to man, as his inheritance from some higher order of beings, what was called “free will”; now we have taken even this will from him, for the term no longer describes anything that we can understand. The old word “will” now connotes only a sort of result, an individual reaction, that follows inevitably upon a series of partly discordant and partly harmonious stimuli – the will no longer “acts,” or “moves.”...

Formerly it was thought that man’s consciousness, his “spirit,” offered evidence of his high origin, his divinity. That he might be perfected, he was advised, tortoise-like, to draw his senses in, to have no traffic with earthly things, to shuffle off his mortal coil – then only the important part of him, the “pure spirit,” would remain. Here again we have thought out the thing better: to us consciousness, or “the spirit,” appears as a symptom of a relative imperfection of the organism, as an experiment, a groping, a misunderstanding, as an affliction which uses up nervous force unnecessarily – we deny that anything can be done perfectly so long as it is done consciously. The “pure spirit” is a piece of pure stupidity: take away the nervous system and the senses, the so-called “mortal shell,” and the rest is miscalculation—that is all!... – Nietzsche

It's interesting that parents are told by child-rearing specialists to maintain a distinction between the child and 'its' behavior. It is somehow supposed to be less traumatic to tell a child "You are not a bad person, but your behavior is disgusting...I still love you". Children are not so well versed as experts and may not perceive the distinction. Do they come into the world instinctively understanding the difference between bad bodies and good souls or is this how they come to learn it? Ah, but now we are in the realm of morality. Clearly, there is behavior which should be discouraged, like drowning the family dog in a pot of brewing chicken stew? The questions remain, did the child react to the dog's bite or growl? Is such violence merely the expression of the nature of a child's being, the instinct of badness? Did the child wonder if the dog might have enjoyed a hot bath with supper? Whatever the answer, we send Junior to his room. Consistently naughty children never come out.

Is agoraphobia the expression of antisocial tendencies dooming one to the hell of obscurity? If the slogan of the avant garde is "fame, fame, fame", what do we say about starving artists in the attics to which they cling and identify? Sometimes the more obscure an artist quoted, the more credibility they add to one's own claims to fame, as long as ambiguity is excluded. Are you not familiar with the works of Claude de Messier and Levi Frauerhaubter? Dame Marjorie Lumpfüzen? When I go to town, I wear my invisibility cap, which is doubly effective since I despise caps, especially on my self. Masks as well! In town, I am not me. Can there be a certain notoriety in invisibility and vice versa? With my cap, I enjoy the delusion that I look just like everyone else and cannot hear their sniggers. Without it, I stand out for all to ridicule.

On the other hand, the aesthetic experience shared always feels somehow more intense, if not better – like contagious laughter is just not the same when practiced alone. That is the point of theatre, where masks abound. But when is an invitation more than mere advertising? If intimacy is frowned upon, when an invitation is always perceived as something ingenuous, contrived, hiding ulterior motive, an invitation to our own exploitation, what else have we between advertising and obscurity? We have no product to sell, but is there a line to display? Is a forum ('agora') archive merely the difference between a museum and a mausoleum or is it their intersection? Myspace and find-a-date.con are platforms from which one sells oneself and buys others.

Children are an interesting issue (as both topic and product of intense discursive intercourse where a disgusting disguise is always more practical than comfortable), but they are not the return payment for good sex. Or is obscurity a synonym for autoerotic isolation, just another payment-in-kind? Elegance is always important but rarely found in production, sales and marketing venues. Market Share is the bestest oxymoron of all. Or is that the double enténdre of sacrificial parrhesia & manipulative rhetoric in:

sell out v:
  1. vi sell all of something: to sell the entire stock of a product or range
  2. vti betray principles: to be disloyal to personal principles or to another person for reasons of short-term advantage (informal)

In all public relations (and we are told, all social relations are at base economic and not sexual as Freud thought) there is only share, barter & sell short. The latter two are engaged only to mask an inelegant rape or an admission of/ticket to our succumbing to it.

No. VI: THE CYBERNETICS OF INTIMACY

The problem of not mixing metaphors is the praxis of cybernetics. The universal metaphor (a metametaphor) is described as a language – the formalism which demonstrates the equivalence of all situations it describes. Thus, in cybernetic language, social relations can be described as exhibiting the same characteristics as an electronic circuit of hierarchical distribution of electric potential (pressure, power) and volume (voltage), flow (current), capacity and resistance. The surveying, extraction and production systems (the mine and factory) can also be described this way and, not surprisingly, because it is a good metaphor, it works well. It provides commensurability: surveillance, detachment, production, commodity distribution. Manipulable circuits. Control systems.

A good metaphor, the meta-metaphor is also what is known as "elegant". Elegance generates laws of nature. Unfortunately, we are trained that metaphors must not be mixed except in avant garde poetry. That only specialists can break laws recapitulates hierarchy and an interchange of centripetal and centrifugal distribution. Power flows from negative to positive except in ac/dc circuits, but even then, it follows predictable and malleable pathways. It is regulated by control systems – gates (checkpoints, offramps) and storage. No consciousness is required to make informed decisions.

Mixing metaphors is the zoom lens in the camera bag. It allows us to escape rigid lines of thought, to see the small in the big and vice versa. When a metaphor such as cybernetics describes or models something we deem important or ubiquitous, such as the inputs and outputs of economic investments and expenditures, we see that which is described as the model for everything else, a necessity, a law of nature. Taxonomies are reversed. The general economy becomes the unmoving condition, the reality behind the appearance, the law of nature, the competitive "free-market" system which now describes universal relationships as well as personal intimacies. Cybernetics itself is only a derivitive of "natural" cognitive processing and the give and take, accumulative discharges in "natural language" to facilitate manipulation and expenditure. It is an unfortunate confusion of priorities when dynamic life comes to mimic its static description.

The metametaphor fails when it is seen that the "real" concerns not just electricity and plumbing circuits, but the actual fundamentals of the mine and factory. This is our heritage. It is deep. Electrical and hydraulic systems only pattern it. Feedback occurs when the metaphors are mutually reinforcing (hydraulic and electronic systems). One is always explained in terms of the other – soon they become almost indistinguishable. Social relations become simultaneously more regulated, self-running and efficient. We are prone to see all observation systems as surveillance systems. They are synonyms. We "discover", by virtue of our universal metaphor, laws of nature. We submit to its authority.

People who do not share our heritage of surveillance (the predatory eye to detail), extraction and production, who do not view the environment (whether physical or social) as a resource base, are still observers and producers but did not undergo an industrial revolution. Surveillance has shed an archaic meaning, but has only become more hideous since. We do not remember our ancestors.

I love this definition:

Surveillance is characterised as a system of control which is deployed as a tool by a wider system of control. The general purpose for the use of surveillance is the continued reproduction of existing relations under static conditions.

Surveillance is a basic and easily communicable means of extracting significant information from apparently complex and multiple relations; it encapsulates the disproportionate hierarchy that exists between relative positions of watcher and watched. The specific content of the hierarchy is expressed through the purpose and practical requirements for the deployment of surveillance: first it must be decided why this place/this group of people needs to be watched. There is no surveillance without intent. – frere dupont

The etymology permits a less sinister notion in its earlier usage, but there still resides a certain sense of paranoia:

surveillance:
1802, from Fr. surveillance "oversight, supervision, a watch," noun of action from surveiller "oversee, watch," from sur- "over" + veiller "to watch," from L. vigilare, from vigil "watchful" (see vigil). Seemingly a word of the Terror in France. A hideous back-formation, surveille (v.), was coined in 1960 in U.S. government jargon. Pray that it dies.
Compare with
observance:
c.1225, "act performed in accordance with prescribed usage," esp. a religious or ceremonial one," from O.Fr. observance, from L. observantia "act of keeping customs, attention," from observantem (nom. observans), prp. of observare (see observe). Observance is the attending to and carrying out of a duty or rule. Observation is watching, noticing. Observant is attested from 1608; in ref. to Judaism, from 1902.

observe:
c.1386, "to hold to" (a manner of life or course of conduct), from O.Fr. observer, from L. observare "watch over, look to, attend to, guard," from ob "over" + servare "to watch, keep safe," from PIE base *ser- "to protect." Meaning "to attend to in practice, to keep, follow" is attested from 1390. Sense of "watch, perceive, notice" is c.1560, via notion of "see and note omens." Meaning "to say by way of remark" is from 1605.

With observance, one can see a circularity, a negative feedback loop which presents an ambiguity as to just who are the watchers and who are the watched. Hierarchy takes a step back. Outside of the clustering and specialization (districting) of the civil relation, some "archaic" peasants and the "uncivil" held to a "keep it living" view of the relations between people and the environment, both social and physical.

The less opposition or separation between what we consider the dichotomy of physical and social "realms", the more this attitude of celebrating life saturates all other concerns. Certainly, early christian peasants could have had little notion of autonomy and self-actualisation in their children when they were "producing" saintly adults immune to the stakes and stocks reserved for heretics. – fendersën
This 'other' observance (or "mindset") is coming to be called in some circles TEK, for traditional ecological knowledge. As Khrushchev and Lysenko discovered, aspects of it can be detached and easily co-opted by industry. The "keep it living" part has usually been shed, but even this is not necessary in the capitalist relation because, for example, even though our children are surveilled, detached, exploited, moulded, and commodified, we do not actually want to kill them in the process, only their proverbial spirit.

An observant apple picker sees not only the specific product to be extracted, the shiny red apple who loudly announces "pick me", but as well the spur to which the stem is attached. To damage this spur prevents the appearance of an apple next year. Production declines. The orchardist transmits less of a keep it living attitude than merely expand surveillance duties to the apprentice picker. There is an accumulation of trade secrets (specialisation) which maintains and reproduces production and hierarchy. All other observances are superfluous and run interferce to the circuit – the distribution of product. Surveillance keeps them to a minimum.

Nurturing in "attachment parenting" requires observation. There is no product. What is observed is allowed to be. We try not to be too conspicuously vigilant in the process. The concern is to keep it safe, not to produce a product. It is a policy of guarded but present non-interference. It is still describable as a cybernetic system of flows, feedbacks and decisions, but not in a hierarchical power lathe putting out a specific product meeting predetermined expectations. We are not disappointed when our children do not resemble us ... and then they do. Keeping it living is none other than Heidegger's Öffnen sie zu werden: "openness to being", "flowering".

The celebration and nurturing of a growing individuality results in a collectivity of self-resemblance. This is hidden within the idea of contingencies of reinforcement in operant conditioning - the encouragement of self-motivated behaviour maintains it and not ironically, reinforcing patterns are mimicked, imbibed, observed. It is a matter of aesthetics. Our reproduction through punishment only creates distortions, corruptions of us. It is a matter of neurosis. This came as a surprise even to Skinner, who had spent a professional lifetime concerned with surveillance and control and behavior modification toward desired ends. Yet, put this way, there is a certain horse sense to it. Duh! Unfortunately, Skinner and his comrades in the white labcoats may have seen the sense of it, they were unable to envisage its profound sociological implications beyond more efficient and complex control and management. The discovery of the "mechanisms" or formal description of an "openness to being" did not reproduce it. The lab must be maintained at all costs, as it is our only means to "wisdom". Wisdom is still interpreted in terms of the efficiency of production and the correspondence of the product to our expectations.

Concerning ecology, an Indian friend once said with a look of accusing irony, it was cool that we have come to certain assessments of the universe which resonate with native sentiments. The irony was that the 'natives' didn't have to wage a 500 year war killing fifty million of us to get there.

The fact is, we are not there, and this doesn't mean "there" is somewhere we need to be, a destination. That idea only keeps us vigilant producers and our children are still commoditities. The self-managed home is still a factory until we decide to view it as what it is, life. "It" is already in us. "It" is not something one acquires. This line of thinking is not confined to positing an origin and means to a terminal end. It is about seeing bigger pictures, a superstitious perspective which allows us to question our own confinement, where liberation or "disalienation" is not a project and does not require liberators. This is not to deny projects and helpers and creations. It does not deny a militant self-defense when attacked nor a vengeful chase. It allows the gift to lose all sense of economic value and the giving itself to become a human value, a life value, something we esteem and pass on. Home is not an isolation chamber but a refuge welcoming of refugees, where trade becomes what one does with one's enemies. In the absence of enemies, the home is no longer confined to the house. A true sailor is at home in every port.

When it is one's 'nature', this coming into the alienating world in which we find ourselves alienated, to "blow your mind" is not a destructive act! It is an inspired breakthrough – this de-fetishisation of perspective. But as you say,

The appearances of ghosts, or dissonances, within self-managed systems are indicators of different associations between parts and alternative means of attributing significance. Ghosts are disturbing because they threaten the coherence of the circuit.
That there is magic and science (a continual shifting of attachments and detachments, associations and dissociations) does not mean there are magical or scientific solutions. There is mindfulness, but no omniscience. Detached observation is still surveillance. Parenting is participatory, a performance art. Revolution should be no different. Trying to do things differently must remain organized with the mindfulness of what it is we wish to change. Abuse is never transformed. It is prevented, the reproductive cycle is broken. This is a matter of interfering in the reproduction of one feedback loop so another is "allowed' to sprout forth. It is a slippery slope but not a double bind to understand that we cannot be mindful of the totality of influences nor exercise even adequate control over our situations. It does not say "give up observation, stop making waves". Sometimes the most influential effects arise from the most limited intentions to control them.

And we are most pleased and surprised when we are encouraged and allowed. Treating ourselves to this is not self-control or self-management when mindfulness does not become vigilance, that is, controlling. Lived life as social beings is not submission to democratic forces. That is not what Kropotkin meant by mutual aid. It's a matter of mimicking what looks good (is reinforcing, encouraging, aesthetically 'pleasing'). It only looks like democracy from a detached position, the position of alienation. It is an anacratic system of inclusion and choice – a practical Utopia unconfined to the future or distant lands and where all is not roses. There are also dandelions.

FOURTH LAW OF CYBERNETICS: The openness of any circuit is proportional to the diverstity of weeds allowed to thrive in the front lawn.

No. VII: Communisation, Revenge & Violence

"Only when we find truth in the millions around us, will we begin to grasp the true nature of communisation".

Could this be the much-reviled "real movement" creeping back in the back way?

"Nowadays, I often have this sense that we have gone too far, that our boat has slipped its moorings; it often seems that there is nothing to say anymore to anyone in the outside world."

There is always something to say to someone in the outside world. Not everyone, mind you, but someone. There is less to get than to unget. There is the matter of casting off long-term fears and engagement with the short term, which is always safe. The other day I had a pleasant parking-lot conversation with the owner of an independent grocerie distributorship. Many would call this "collaborating with the enemy".

I wonder why it is considered atavistic and therefore verboten to let loose of the control we exert over swelling instincts, intents and emotions? Would we think twice over punishing a mangy rabid dog who has or is threatening to harm our children? Would even PETA raise an eyebrow had that dog carried out its threat and a mother retaliated? Do pacifist politics take precedence over protecting future children, or is retaliation just not considered civil? Conceivably, if they were able to be pulled away from the donut shops, cops would intervene and even anarchists would turn a blind eye. But why place "Man" on such an exceptional pedestal, a position from which we are to do nothing with a vengeance? Vengeance is a full-body immersion. Action relegated to cold, impassionate professionals is only a mundane job guaranteeing all involved remain aloof of their own passions and inclinations.

Revenge is the tit-for-tat transformation of vengeance, which is an instinct driven by compassion and justification[1]. If we are not present to prevent thuggery, vengeance can help to prevent its future occurrences. In this sense, it is altruistic. Removing a bit of broken glass your child has stepped on from the yard fits into the class of revenge. We annihilate the contextual relationship the glass has with the yard. It is extracted and discarded with vehemence. Certainly, we demonstrate self-compassion when it is ourselves who have cut our foot! Whether embedded in the yard or your foot, its removal is a matter of defense, and that, by definition, is not an authoritarian act. In fact, it is quite the opposite.

Some behavior likewise needs 'punishing' or redirecting if its expression is not self-limiting. A wolf mother gives its suckling cub a faux bite on the back of the neck to illustrate her displeasure over its too-aggressive eating habits. To do nothing or to delegate it to others allows thuggery, the predation on the weak or overly tolerant (that is to say, "submissive"), to thrive and multiply – we tend to mimic the world we are placed in. We become wolves: aggressive wolf cubs, sacrificial wolf mothers, wolf warriors predating on Little Red Riding Hoods. Democracy's a bitch.

Wild cats such as the cougar, on the other hand, prey on the most aggressive eaters, the fat, the healthy, the dominant. It is not merely stealth which warrants the robbers of the rich the label "cat burglar". Even ancient philosophers noted a selective advantage to moderation in all things. The wolf takes out the ill and weak, the cat the strong and arrogant. Contrary to public opinion, one would have to say nature favours exceptional mediocrity.

A mediocre bonk on the head is an exceptional gift to an attacker and, in shock, he is allowed to recompose – hopefully in a less intrusively abusive form. This is "coup". We try to build "respect" and self-critique. When that thug is a child, it is best to grab hold of the ear (metaphorically speaking) and deliver the miscreant to its parents for a proper scolding. If it has none, one can always adopt. Despite potential danger, there's just something so cute and sentimental about motherless cubs. Orphanage should never be tolerated. For all involved, future remorse is prevented and the child can potentially learn that positive social relations are not only safer, but more enjoyable than the negative. All we can ever intervene in is potentials. Nothing is ever certain. On a personal level, it is compassion which leads us to intervene in the assault on another, not some calculated sense of metaphysical justice. Frustration and anger over perceived injury lead to retaliatory desires.

I'd like to warn of the danger of over-generalisation and de-humanisation of so-called "hooded youth". We are still swayed by the Hobbesean message in Lord of the Flies. These are mostly victims of positive feedback cycles and self-fulfilling prophecies inherent to our society – when everything/one is in a detached state, a state of war, we see violence for the sake of violence. Gang violence is only its mimicking coupled with loosening of the control exerted over those other swelling instincts and emotions of social solidarity. It is a corrupted solidarity and must explode when violence for itself is its own motto rather than that depicted by the media who never brave the streets to see if something else might also be in operation.

Revenge is probably much more the actualisation of biological instincts than thuggery itself. My adult ass has been saved on more than one occasion by unruly street kids demonstrating they are also capable of acts of kindness and mutual aid. But of course, I've only been beaten (nearly to death) by professional sorts and ripped off by properly civilised ('politically correct' and privileged) compatriots since I was a kid in school, when our own status as members of the human species was continually called into question by our "adult" counterparts.

On the other hand, only a gift for the hell of it reinforces (encourages) gifting. The gift and its reception (co-nurturing) is the unmediated, unjustified, unqualified & unquantified social instinct possessed and expressed by every newborn. It is the basis of communisation. It opens communication and jump-starts communities. Social life (for us, any life) is impossible without it. Stress, sudden or prolonged, is the surest way to stop up milk flow, no matter how much we intellectualise it. The beauty of instincts is that they are renewed in each new generation however much they are constrained, repressed, sublimated in the previous. Possibility is the only thing we can truely depend on, that is to say, the potential for leakage.

Delegation (call the cops, form a committee to deliberate on the matter, institutionalise child-care) is a form of Bartlebyism, a form of retreat from living. I would say Bartleby was not sociopathic, but homopathic. An unstated compassion or resentment may be present, but engagement is lacking. There is always someone else more willing. True sociopaths (or thugs) are defined by a lack of remorse, which is only a lack of ability for extasis or "sympathy" with their victims, the inability to perceive possible implications of their behaviour or even give a shit when they are pointed out. They cannot engage in social relations. They act alone. If they combine for projects, they must soon disband or they will kill each other. They are provisional use-values one to the other. Bartleby only preferred not to engage. Nothing ventured, nothing lost – except one's own living. For social animals, sociality is the only living. While there might be a potential for Bartleby to tilt either direction, to intrepid bursts of social engagement or an explosive burst with a machine gun at the post office, the adult thug has lost all life instincts to a lifetime of predation, extraction, polution. Probably best to off the critter. In a topsy-turvy dog-eat-dog universe, the ultimate expression or actualisation of the civil relation must be anti-social.

Brutally mugged lately? What were you doing walking alone in a battle zone? I guess it's these despicable times we're living in. You might consider moving to the country out west where folks have a history of taking matters into their own hands. Back in the day, had I lived in your town, I'd have got together some friends and tracked down the mangy dog who took your teeth and beat the shit out of him. Retaliation limits the spread of thuggery. Turning the other cheek is itself an act of violence. Like the boxer, Ali, even Gandhi said it is a tactic to wear down your opponent. In 1968, it was safe to walk the streets in your own neighborhood alone and no one wore a wire or burned you with bad drugs, and lived to tell about it. Revenge's power is not one of deterrence like the criminal justice system perceives (the Durkheimian assumption via Hobbes that we're all thugs waiting to happen), but an encouragement for more social relations to emerge and spread unhindered by the antisocial. Dog-eat-dog rules and survival-of-the-fittest rulers (algorithms internalised well before "dropping through the cracks" of the educational system) operating in "gangs" are the biggest hindrance to the emergence of spontaneous sociality, yet it still tries to emerge, an unstoppable leak. This should say something about "species being" to social scientists, but then street kids are almost never considered anything but dangerous aberrations, if they are considered at all.

A certain eclecticism is handy: the kindness of the church-goer, the solidarity of the street-gang, the willingness to engage of the red-neck. Faux kindness, solidarity and engagement, though not desireable, may be necessary to instill them as counter-habits. This was the idea in Max Gluckman's "The Peace in the Feud", the functional interpretation of the feud as an institution to prevent mutual annihilation. Be that as it may, "acting as-if" creates consequences all around which go on to construct a world where acting is no longer necessary. It is the Theatre of Cruelty, not the biblical prophesy that the fox will lie down with the hen. It may just be that the fox is necessary to prevent the spread of bird flu. Free-range chickens do not congregate in houses and are rarely ill. In fact, their feeding patterns come to resemble a gentle flock of sheep.

No. VIII: Violence & Pacifism are Artificial Constructs

Man, relatively speaking, is the most botched of all the animals and the sickliest, and he has wandered the most dangerously from his instincts – though for all that, to be sure, he remains the most interesting!Nietzsche

If it sounds like I am endorsing the justice of the whipping post, that is an extension of the logic to a very scary place. In our situation, every time we try to rationalise existence too far, we involve ourselves with dilemma. Sometimes our instinctual (gut) reactions are the best way to go. Sometimes not. I think it is a mistake to try to place some instincts on one side of the table to be endorsed and others isolated and constrained. I do admire the position: "I cannot even wish that on my attacker."

I personally think there is way too much testosterone in production. Within capitalist civilisation, to be considered a success, even a "feminist" is encouraged to grow balls. It is the a-personal fetish of militancy applied to everyday life. I think we lighten a serious topic when we euphamise what is essentially the supermacho mindset and accompanying behaviour as simply "patriarchy", as if it is an organisational/political form and not the anti-social hostility (or response to an anti-social environment) it really is. Proof of "manhood" by acts of barbarity is as old as civilisation itself. This is not an age or gender-specific issue.

What is not called into question in the first place needs no proof or justification in the second. Bartleby's "I prefer not to" can become situationally specific and a healthy choice unhindered by well practiced democratic urges. It is the only thing which allows a vehement "no!" or an "absofuckinlutely right on!" Vehemence takes the positive and negative poles out of violence, but none of its strength. It is a full-immersion baptism.

Each requires the other for its own sustenance. We classify and name behaviors so we can orient our communications and communicate our orientations. We agree that violence, the nominalisation of a verb ('to violate'), is an extraction, a rude interference, defilement, a rape. As nominalisation, it is a property, attribute or index. Violence is intense or 'vehement'. Anything forcefully applied can be said to be violent. To most, it is a monster which acts within us and without; it must be vigilantly held down or kept at bay. It thus takes continual violence to produce peace. They have become synonyms in the interest of maintaining life, itself a synonym of struggle.

Like any rigid category, there is much confusion as to which behaviors it contains. It has even been said that each muscle contraction is an act of violence at the bio-chemical level. Ministers of religion and morality still create lists, but ministers of justice have the final say. Even transgressors place more faith in the reality of the category than the behaviors or intentions it is said to contain. It is akin to any reification: the category itself extracts the believer from its behavioural matrix and is itself a violence of sorts, albeit, unmindful.

The irony is that problems do not arise from categorisation, which could be a provisional ("fuzzy" or "malleable") cognitive navigational aid, but when we end movement altogether yet retain the device, when we utilise the compass to help us stay put, when we simultaneously hoist the sails and drop the anchor. Our frustration is expressed as turmoil, a struggle between letting loose and holding one's self down. Apathy is only a bandaid covering consciousness – "I prefer not to think about it". Suicide is as often an expression of apathy as much as frustration.

Concerning the topic of violence and its Hobbesean protestations, social science has yet to let go of its monsters and its proclamations will continue to induce paranoia in its parishioners: "There is an evil presence, a potential which must be kept under vigilant control else we will annihilate each other". Its christian counterpart announces the inner good which will triumph over violence and all other "repulsive instincts" through pillage, plunder, humiliation, burning, rape and great vanquishing and casting out. It is only a peace of religion which is retained, and quite often expressed as vigilanteism – the social order, the social good, the cop in the brain, the brain of a cop.

Add to the irony that paranoia is defined as the expectation of violent attack from every corner, whereas christian righteousness is ever alert and ready to attack. It must be admitted that both present a paranoid outlook: persecutory in the first place and grandiose and in fact, persecuting in the second. The self-fulfilling prophecy guarantees perpetual dialectic friction. Like good and evil, violence and peace are twins joined at the hip forever consuming each other yet never full. Either this or they are mysticisms, figments of adultish imagination, maintained by it, and passed on to constrain the more fruitful and trusting imaginations of their children.

At base, they are only assessments of what is welcome or unwelcome in the home. Violence as the infliction of injury (psychic, physical, emotional) to another is a special case of one of the fuzziest of categories. Violence is only the measure of the potential of vehement inputs and outputs – the 'strength' of perturbations. The metaphysic of cybernetics suggests the output feeds back to the input with equivalent voltage to maintain or renew homeostasis. The metaphysic of economy portrays a tit-for-tat exchange.

The balanced exchange of blows by boxers results in mutual annihilation without the intervention of time-set bells. The boxer wishes to give more blows than he receives. The wrestler is not at all interested in exchange, but in overpowering. These are maximising sports recapitulating maximising culture where social relations are interpreted as the asymmetrical maintenance of power.

Retaliation and revenge, on the other hand, are attempts to put an end to power struggle, to avoid future authoritarian perturbation by eliminating or redirecting its source. Redirection is preferable since it does not invite counter-retaliation. In battle, the 'enemy' is left an honorable escape route. Even a mangy coyote loudly announces his presence prior to embarking on a lunch of lambchops. A mother's embrace of an ill-behaved child is hoped to likewise redirect its momentum from hostility to less-than-hostile forms of engagement. Mao tried to accomplish this with "re-education" camps. At least that was the party line and more palatable to the uncertain population emerging from revolution than Stalin's gulags or the revolutionary guillotine of 18th century france.

Racism, sexism, classism, humanism, idealism – these are all reifications which focus our attention toward categories and distance us from the "real" – the rock, tree, fist and foot, the step, touch, climb and throw. The "ism" at the end should be our first clue. But it is observed individual and especially, situational behaviour which demonstrates class membership in "foe". Enemies gladly prove themselves and have no need to be defined by class membership. Their identification is their provocation, giving us the opening to submit, defend or escape. If their bite is not announced by a bark, there is hopefully a compassionate comrade nearby to intervene in our behalf.

As Stirner said, the class itself is only a spook and is therefore harmless, yet how much violence is accomplished by its true believers, believers in the doctrine that thinking, if not superseding, then dictates feeling and doing! All else is materialist fetish. Of course, the other side, the denial of thought in favour of behaviour which is thought to liberate desire and passion becomes equally dogmatic. It's a topsy-turvy world until we learn that thinking, feeling and doing 'work' best when performed as a dance, a single mutual movement wherein none can be considered in the lead, a jazz piece cycling virtuous improvisations around a theme.


Notes:

[1]: from vengeance: vindicare, [Mid-16th century. pp vindicat- , 'claim, set free, avenge'; vindic- 'avenger']

vindicate:

  1. show somebody to be blameless: to clear somebody or something of blame, guilt, suspicion, or doubt
  2. justify somebody or something: to show that somebody or something is justified or correct
  3. uphold something: to defend or maintain something such as a cause or rights

IX: Sabotage & War

A point I'd like to make on some definitions. The modern definition is the undoing of a finished product. There is within a double enéntndre: a complete binding and an unbinding. I prefer the latter sense. To define is an act of sabotage. It provides a death to the process of questioning and meaningfulness. And they tell us this is where true meaning resides – it is "bound" to make sense, as if sense was something in need of constraint. It is decided at the stroke of a blade. Some additional "De" words (from Etymology On-line):
de-
L. adv. and prep. meaning "down from, off, concerning." Used as a prefix in Eng., as in defrost (1895), defuse (1943), decaffeination (1927), etc. Usually felt as meaning "down," but in L. it could also be completive in intensive (cf. demerit), perhaps with a sense of "down to the bottom, totally." Also in de facto "in fact" (1602), which is usually contrasted with de jure "of right, according to law" (1611), both now used as adjs. in Eng.
define
c.1384, from O.Fr. definir "to end, terminate, determine," from L. definire "to limit, determine, explain," from de- "completely" + finire "to bound, limit," from finis "boundary, end" (see finish). Definite (1553) means "defined, clear, precise, unmistakable;" definitive (c.1386) means "having the character of finality." Definition is recorded from 1645 as a term in logic; the "meaning of a word" sense is from 1551.

finish (v.)
c.1350, from O.Fr. finiss-, stem of finir, from L. finire "to limit, set bounds, end," from finis "boundary, limit, border, end," of unknown origin, perhaps related to figere "to fasten, fix" (see fix). The noun is first attested 1790. Finishing school is from 1836.

destroy
c.1225, from O.Fr. destruire, from V.L. *destrugerie (infl. by destructos), from L. destruere "tear down, demolish," lit. "un-build," from de- "un-, down" + struere "to pile, build" (see structure).
debacle
"disaster," 1848, fig. use of Fr. débâcle "breaking up of ice on a river," extended to the violent flood that follows when the river ice melts in spring, from débâcler "to free," from M.Fr. desbacler "to unbar," from des- "off" + bacler "to bar," from V.L. *bacculare, from L. baculum "stick." Sense of "disaster" was present in Fr. before Eng. borrowed the word.
debate
c.1300, from Fr. debattre (13c.), orig. "to fight," from de- "down, completely" + batre "to beat."
debauch
1595, from M.Fr. debaucher "entice from work or duty," from O.Fr. desbaucher "to lead astray," supposedly lit. "to trim (wood) to make a beam" (from bauch "beam," from Frank. balk; from the same Gmc. source that yielded Eng. balk, q.v.). A sense of "shaving" something away, perhaps, but the root is also said to be a word meaning "workshop," which gets toward the notion of "to lure someone off the job;" either way the sense evolution is unclear.

"Debauchee,
n. One who has so earnestly pursued pleasure that he has had the misfortune to overtake it." [Ambrose Bierce, "Devil's Dictionary," 1911]
debility
1474, from M.Fr. debilite, from L. debilitatem (nom. debilitas), from debilis "weak," from de- "from, away" + -bilis "strength," from PIE base *bel- (see Bolshevik).
debit
c.1450, from M.Fr. debet, from L. debilitum "thing owed," neut. pp. of debere "to owe" (see debt).
decide
c.1380, from O.Fr. decider, from L. decidere "to decide," lit. "to cut off," from de- "off" + cædere "to cut" (see cement). Sense is of resolving difficulties "at a stroke." Originally "to settle a dispute;" meaning "to make up one's mind" is attested from 1830. Decided in the adj. sense of "resolute" is from 1790. Decisive is 1611. A decided victory is one whose reality is not in doubt; a decisive one goes far toward settling some issue.
defeat
c.1374, from Anglo-Norm. defeter, from O.Fr. defait, pp. of defaire, from V.L. *diffacere "undo, destroy," from L. dis- "un-, not" + facere "to do, perform" (see factitious). Original sense was of "bring ruination, cause destruction." Military sense of "conquer" is c.1600. Defeatism, defeatist are 1918, from Fr. défaitiste, in reference to the Russians.
derive
c.1385, from O.Fr. deriver, from L. derivare "to lead or draw off (a stream of water) from its source," from phrase de rivo (de "from" + rivus "stream"). Etymological sense is c.1560. Derivative is from 1530.

dérive
c. 1961, Continuous Drifting. The changing of landscapes from one hour to the next will result in total disorientation. Experience demonstrates that a dérive is a good replacement for a Mass: it is more effective in making people enter into communication with the ensemble of energies, seducing them for the benefit of the collectivity. (– Ivan Chtcheglov)
delete
1495, from L. deletus, pp. of delere "destroy, blot out, efface," from delevi, originally perf. tense of delinere "to daub, erase by smudging," from de- "from, away" + linere "to smear, wipe."
deleterious
1643, from Gk. deleterios, from deleter "destroyer," from deleisthai "to hurt, injure."
delicious
c.1300, from O.Fr. delicieus, from L.L. deliciosus "delicious, delicate," from L. delicia (pl. deliciæ) "a delight," from delicere "to allure, entice," from de- "away" + lacere "lure, deceive."
delight
c.1225, delit, from O.Fr. delit, from delitier "please greatly, charm," from L. delectare "to allure, delight," freq. of delicere "entice" (see delicious). Spelled delite until 16c. when it changed under infl. of light, flight, etc.
Property destruction is not violence except from the level of molecular and biochemical disruptions. If we take that turn, we will have to say that all metabolism, even the totality of vegan eating habits, is violent and the word, "violence" is meaningful but distinguishes nothing. Anger is not violence even if it often precedes it. Property is an idea and an arrangement between people in line with that idea. 'Actual' material commodities are merely symbols for the idea and not only resultants, but reproductive agents of that relation. Where is the personal harm, if we are against proprietary relations, to give harm to the property? Where is the violence in destroying that which mediates social relations? Does it not unglue harmful attachments? Obviously, sabotage hurts the feelings of all true believers.

Like modern child-rearing, war is abuse and counter-abuse – a steady state of mutual antagonism. Sabotage is not war even though it may be co-opted by warriors. People "engage" in war with each other. It is a choice and an embrace. To be engaged upon by war is to be a target, victim, casualty, not a soldier. Self-defense is not an act of war, even though warriors must also defend themselves. To be under attack is not sufficient to define one as a militant. Only militants view running away as cowardice, and this is only their attempt to induce us to stand still while they shoot at us. Militants do not like moving targets, they want to win and that is always measured by the accumulation of blood, hunger and illness imposed upon the enemy. Class struggle is not war, as its desire is a steady state of mutual antagonism. It is war in the sense that every war won always seems to call out for another. Once initiated, warfare must be ceaseless lest progress come to a standstill. There are always new enemies. For either side to authentically "win", the one could not become the other. The field of engagement in class struggle guarantees that this scenario is impossible – victors must always re-enact their battles, lest they lose their self-importance and life becomes meaningless.

Sabotage will not win any wars. Seen as a guerilla tactic, it is a matter of self-defense: a matter of maintaining one's identity as not that of the other, and in fact, an expression of one's disinclination toward war altogether as the perpetual abuse cycle it is. Insurrectionary practice is engaged in the hope that ones attackers will burn out, run out of steam, fizzle away to nothing. Alternately, it might just get one time to make away for refuge. It is safer than taking body blows or standing the barricades, where you will always run out of steam before they do. But even drop-out militants must at some point surround themselves with booby traps. There is a point in every life when it is time to die, but when that time comes, we don't go out without a bang – at that point, there is nothing to lose in spitting in your attacker's eye. It is not a matter of maximising advantage or optimising survival.

Of course, most would probably prefer to find a nice, peaceful and shady tree underwhich to rest unimpeded when the end approaches. We'd prefer that option also be available during life. Seen as an expression rather than a tactic, sabotage is an aesthetic. As self-expression, sabotage may be accompanied by joy, and that is nothing if not a brief experience of freedom, an unbinding short of death. It is a well considered stroke of a paint brush or a spontaneous outburst of poetry or a spot of vinegar in the gas tank. A surealist painting juxtaposes a wooden shoe and a loom in the same entangled context. What you do with your own shoe is a matter of performance art. We might remember that it is the expression of an act willingly performed and not destruction itself which defines joy and freedom, and is only enhanced when performed with another. In this it is much like sex. It is the confusion of one for the other, the mask for the face, the defined act for the refined intent, which defines fetish. Like the co-opt, fetish is a demon which can metabolise anything. But so can détournement. We cannot inspire disengagement, that is, "mutiny" in those who oppose us by calls to war. Those are only enticements for true believers to defend their faith.

No. X: Notions of Agency

I don't know how to compare stress levels between those of a coal miner in 1909 and myself. Comparisons of that sort are relatively meaningless because of their deep subjectivism. I claimed that we live longer. This is relatively easy to substantiate. I also am not at risk for Black Lung, even though working in IT is bad for my back and eyes, but I am guessing that working on a coal mine was not good for your back or eyes either. Nor am I certain that the mental stress of my office job is higher than the stress of having to work 12-14 hours a day deep below the earth's surface in a hole with wooden beams holding back tons of earth from crushing me, having to dynamite away more chunks of earth to dig deeper. I am not sure that such things have the qualitative similarity that would allow from proper measure.

Isn't it odd that this very gesture of comparison depends on the same mechanism of abstraction, in this case not of concrete labors into abstract labor or use-values into exchange-value, but concrete physical and mental states and conditions into "stress"? I am beginning to wonder if Curtis is right that stress is a concept we ought to avoid (outside of its specific meaning in Mechanics, from which it has been adopted.) – Pan Slodoba

Stress is very important to the notions of breaking points and shock. A weather change is a stress on one and all. A bolt from an electrical storm is something quite else. The initial stress communicates to us and we activate our agency to find shelter. We are moved, we move.
In his analysis of both Baudelaire and the cinema, Walter Benjamin employs this final definition of shock as over-stimulation within the context of psychoanalysis. In his essay, "On Some Motifs in Baudelaire," Benjamin quotes Freud as writing "for a living organism, protection against stimuli is an almost more important function than the reception of stimuli". According to Freud, the human "protective shield", which has its own energy, guards the nervous system against "the excessive energies of the outside world". For Benjamin reading Freud, "the threat of these energies is one of shocks" and "the more readily consciousness registers these shocks, the less likely they are to have a traumatic effect". Freud through Benjamin is contending that the external world is constantly threatening to over-stimulate us and that, instead of requiring more means of accessing the world, the body needs protectors, shields, to help block it out. The principle shield is consciousness, which protects the subconscious from suffering the after-effects of shock. Much of this language recalls Marshall McLuhan's definition of media as "extensions of man". Here the extension, consciousness, is most decidedly a shield, and not a spear. – Shock
But stress is not a shock. One could say every sensation is a stress on the sensing organ, a perturbation. The sweet tang of the fresh Jonathin is preferable to the blandness of a Red Delicious just out of storage. Sometimes stress is a warning, like a war cry which gives us an opportunity to escape ruin. But sometimes it is an invitation, a signal which must go unheard when one feels nature in its totality comes at us with hostile intent. I've always thought Freud was a bit touched with paranoia. But then, who in these modern times isn't? Who is even exposed to fresh palatable food any more? Who needs that kind of excitement?

* * *

spontaneous
1656, from L.L. spontaneus "willing, of one's free will," from L. (sua) sponte "of one's own accord, willingly," of unknown origin. Spontaneous combustion first attested 1795.
spondee
c.1390, "metrical foot consisting of two long syllables," from O.Fr. spondee, from L. spondeus, from Gk. spondeios (pous), the name of the meter originally used in chants accompanying libations, from sponde "solemn libation," related to spendein "make a drink offering," from PIE base *spend- "to make an offering, perform a rite," hence "to engage oneself by a ritual act" (cf. L. spondere "to engage oneself, promise," Hittite shipantahhi "I pour out a libation, I sacrifice").
respond
c.1300, respound, from O.Fr. respondere "respond, correspond," from L. respondere "respond, answer to, promise in return," from re- "back" + spondere "to pledge" (see spondee). Modern spelling and pronunciation is from c.1600.
responsible
1599, "answerable (to another, for something)," from Fr. responsible, from L. responsus, pp. of respondere "to respond" (see respond). Meaning "morally accountable for one's actions" is attested from 1836. Retains the sense of "obligation" in the Latin root word. Responsibility is from 1787.

To spend is a spontaneous offering, a gift. Responsibility is the ability to spond again, willingly, of one's own accord. A ritually shared flask is the basis of the general economy.

* * *

The future is a non-existent set of possibilities yet to derive from existing sets. It is potential. This is the only meaningful definition of power or nature. Nature is that which is possible. Progress is only the movement from nonexistent set to existence, an attempt to acheive something from nothing, go somewhere from nowhere. Flowering, unfolding, becoming, self actualisation, organic growth, biological diversification – all these are more relevant to living systems. Patamimesis must begin with the initial aesthetic response or perturbation. Interest is drawn out and this is the point of agency, choice. One moves toward a mergence or withdraws from emergencies. Groups combine or diversify.

* * *

Re: Pro-Rev Minority and Revolutionary Agency
Postby matt on Sat May 16, 2009 12:39 pm

My Darlings:

On May 16th, 2009, I found that the conceptual praxis of merely contemplatively speculating about revolution, in the form of writing, despite the 'unshakable' theories running contrariwise on the matter by all of our most prolific and esteemed revolutionary ideologues, is in fact an undeniable form of revolutionary agency. Yes, I did find this conceptual praxis, mostly unaware of itself as significant, whereby radical proletarianized morphemes, those so crazy particles that are the source of All Contradiction in the World of Signified Appearances (fink is fink because it is not dink; the leading assemblage of innovative communist thought is Salon de ver Luisant because it is not libcom.org), may be accelerated at opposite directions through connecting wormholes in the writing, and at so much unbelievably fantastic speed, so that when they smash against the other, the ineffable names of the gods of Interregnum become released and scattered in paragrammatic traces, dashes, and spirals across the flattened phase-face of the writing. These revolutionary wormholes are everywhere, actually, in any writing on revolution, regardless of the writing's contingent value, prosody, theoretical 'depth' or supposedly hopeless 'recuperated' positioning in society, and at any phonetic point through whose tiny trumpet-like hole the whisper of lost, dead labor puffs upward.

Hooded Authors wander through cork-screwed factories there, silently awaiting their occupation, serenely greeting to other hooded Authors with a bow. The writerly agents of revolution follow not what is outside the eyes, but what is within, "shimmering," as Althusser said in Lenin and Philosophy, "beneath the world." They are very dark from having gone out to the true edge, or very light from posting on anti-politics.net.

No. XI: Communism is not a programme of ideas

Communism is not a programme of ideas, principles and practices that must be realised, it is rather an ‘environment,’ or eco-system of inter-dependent relationships, and must support within itself many aspects of human being including both the ‘radical’ and ‘conservative’ as being commensurate with our basic nature – it must contain all sides of any argument within itself just as a natural environment holds in place multiple sets of trophic dynamics.

Communism cannot be reduced to instituted agreement, or to adherence to a set of principles; the formulation of such principles immediately produce an almost infinite number of variations, divergences, interpretations and flat contradictions (all of which may truly be said to express a fragment of communism). Just as capitalism supports a massive variety of relationships within the wage/commodity form, so communism must contain, give life to, sustain, its own diverse and multiple communities.

(Movement) equally supposes a procedure of exteriorisation; those who are moving, those who are moved against. This personification of the capitalist relation falsely sets up a struggle between archetypal subjectivities, where the mover is imbued with heroic qualities whilst the moved against becomes the receptacle of all that is barbarous.

From what I perceive of human nature, communism cannot take the form of a movement towards the future at all, but rather, it must function as a complex of re-relations and processes which is directed towards untying the binds of past relations. Communism faces backwards in an attitude of vigiliance not forwards like some colonist/entrepreneur.

For this reason communism is not a realisable programme to which the earth’s entire population must conform but a ‘cleaned space’ in which the bindings of accumulated past forces have been released so as to allow the free development of relations which are not defined by their programmatic adherence to communism but, on the contrary, by their refusal to cleave to any inherited past form. These unbound relations will be characterised by the domination of the lived element (actually present existing individuals) over the dead element (history, technology, institutions etc) in society.

– Frere Dupont

No. XII: Abolitionist Manifesto A through L, a 12 step program.

A crystal orb that glistens.
A dewdrop between webbed, crusty toes.

Obvious to he that listens,
With half-closed eyes, the forest grows.

A naked running beast,
A creature as silent, bold and hairy.

Formidable, to say the least.
And he thinks – we are scary.
– D. Newman, '89

A) The behavioral context we find ourselves in (the world of past & contemporary social relations) is despicable. This is our subjective opinion. We want to change the world.

B) The behavioral context we find ourselves in is a set of repeated, mimicked, reproduced "bad" habits. We desire new habits all around. We criticize the old.

C) This is because at some level we do not believe it is written, we do not believe it is "human nature", we do not believe it is necessary. We believe in volition, choice and agency. We believe the constraints of a higher power can be undone. This is our faith.

D) The world does not change in response to our critique. We become passionate and scary.

E) We begin self critique to examine our own part in reproducing the world. We experiment with new behaviour.

F) Because our experiment is not a habit, it feels contrived and fake. That is because it is. It is unfamiliar territory.

G) The world does not change because of our experimentation.

H) We remember that the world has forced our hand, we resist. Self-critique is pointless because the world is not our fault. It is not ourselves who need to change but everybody else.

I) The world does not change, we are defiant so we stand our ground. It is a face off.

J) The world does not change. Feedback to position A).

K) We understand that our stumbling point resides somewhere around positions "C" and "F". This is the point of uncertainty, foreign ground, absurdity, novelty, the different, the opportunity, the transcendent possibility, the patamimesis, the jumping off. This is subjective rupture.

L) We discover that difference is a scary place, there are dangers in any adventure, even as it seems so enticing. The choice, the only choice is whether or not to try on our new shoes, to see if they become more comfortable after a breaking in period, if they become us, or if they need discarded. We do not tolerate bare feet walking on thin ice and razor-blades. We try on a different pair of shoes.

XIII: Deja vu?

Yesterday I embarked on a bit of rummaging and research, starting with the Wikipedia entry on SDS (Students for Democratic Society) and SNCC (Student nonviolent coordinating committee – from which SDS more-or-less sprang).  I found it fairly resonant with my memory of events, having once lived in those times.  More importantly, it reminded me of current trends under slight name changes.  Today, of course, all our ideas are thought new and improved.

There is one difference I think is important.  There was not, in real life, quite the factioning and conflict between groups except from within organized mass movements.  Mass always tends to break apart.  What we would today call "affinity groups" were composed of various inclinations.  "The establishment" was our "common enemy", but when we met, we did not go to war, but "played together".  My "group" of friends included a maoist, trotskyist, actors in subversive theatre, students, etc.  Play was always around what we'd today call derive -- explorations which articulated between stops with free food.  We might stop at a house with an open door from which loud music and odd-smelling smoke poured, which we interpreted as "Welcome" or to Buddhist or scientology meeting centers who handed out free coffee and doughnuts if you would stay long enough to listen to their jingles.  The Fourth Street Gospel Mission was no exception  Every stop was a shrine of one sort or another.  We held private parties at the cemetary.

I thought I'd share three or four "zines" from those times (circa 1971) for your historical pleasure.  The first two are from our little group in Seattle.

What is Anarchy, really?
About the Seattle Group
Provo
Green Rage

It seems the conversation is still going on.

This is from the SI's critique of the provos:

"These leaders, whose program had advocated provoking the authorities so as to reveal their repressiveness, ended up by complaining that they had been provoked by the police."

It could be that the SI initiated 'purism' within the bohemian milieu. My own personal opinion/experience is that all-inclusiveness works as long as (a) the group continues as an irrelevance, (b) the various parts of the group accept the informal/given hierarchies. As soon as members begin to analyse the dynamics of the group things begin to fall apart. Small town radicalism requires high doses of self-enchantment (again, in my experience) to put up with the unput-upable. – Dupont

* * *
I think this is an excellent and fairly interesting addition to my understanding of that time, and until this I have never encountered any writings about or from Seattle in 60's.

I have not yet re-read the pieces nor written any questions out concerning content, but they do remind me of the old publications of Heat Wave, and perhaps of certain pro-situ writings in the Bay Area (Point-Blank, etc.). Did these two publications have an influence?

And how was the navigation of disparate ideological specimens coming together bridged? Was there any texts, ideas, or other reference points (beyond friendships built through 'hanging out') that served such a function? – Lopez

Thanks Lopez. I'd say at the time, everything was influential. The main publication was the Berkely Barb. It was the first big counter-culture underground newspaper for our generation, and the best. Seattle produced the Helix, but it wasn't much after the first few issues. (One thing the Helix staff did was start up services and shelters for run-aways). Of a sudden, high schools were putting out their own papers. (Ours was called "Growing Up in a Cage") This was facilitated by a self-avowed Maoist organization (local to Seattle, I think) called the Student Mobilization Committee. They also helped coordinate by word of mouth just about every radical event. I don't mean orchestrate, but get the word out.

Hippie was a derogatory word from the start, like beatnik was. It was never a theoretical orientation except in a very broad sense. Most of us were just not too concerned with theory, and even less with behaving consistently. Rigidity was a behavior of "the establishment" and not something we wanted to model -- it rhymes with regimentation. This didn't make the organizing groups enemies. For the most part, they were most helpful and folks who could be trusted. So no, it wasn't just a matter of small groups of friends. We were taking over entire neighborhoods with no militancy whatsoever. The Panthers were protecting their own neighborhoods which had a history of police attacks. In their situation, it was the right direction, and we all knew it. They were their own police force (but more often "social services") and in fact scared the cops away for fear of another Watts. They were scary dudes besides, but they managed to take care of each other quite well considering the circumstances.

Bikers were also "allies", as long as you came to understand and show respect for their "code". That wasn't too difficult, since we all grew up watching the same cowboy outlaw-gang movies.

It's ironic that the SI pointed out a contradiction between provoking pigs and then claiming brutality, when they were pushing for a revolution of everyday life. Everyday life may be modeled theoretically, but life almost never follows logically or coherently (along the lines of a platform or theory) outside of the workplace or academia. The thing is, police brutality was everywhere and as big an issue as the war. It was quite tied up with the civil rights movement, as the targets were blacks, poor folks and "hippies", pretty much in that order. Provocation was just as common, and one didn't have to be a provo to provoke. Happenings were situations. One of the first things co-opted by the bourgeoisie. We dropped the term about as fast as the word "groovy" but the behaviour didn't stop. Provocation was a kind of happening, a game. One never intended to get caught. It was mostly harmless fun, with the harshest thing being pelting a cop car with rocks and running like hell through the cemetery (any big one would do) which had no lights and plenty of cover.

Except for marxist type organizations, there wasn't much solidarity with workers. Not that we didn't try, but we were pretty naive. Prior to Jimmy Hoffa, Seattle workers were already radical, particularly the Teamsters, who were already thinking in terms of workers taking over the syndicates run by "gangsters" and undercutting corporations to take control of commerce. Rank & file workers had few allusions concerning the integrity of their own union management. (All my uncles and cousins worked in the shipyards. Dave Beck was a west coast labour hero prone to bad press. Jimmy Hoffa was a fink and a stooge). They could recognise bullshit as well as the rest of us. They had no love for "commies" or lazy bums like us.

Labor Union was not yet a naughty word. Democracy was hardly even questioned. I couldn't imagine "what could be wrong with democracy?" That critique is probably the best thing to grow out of this generation! My dad preached anarcho-syndicalism for the workplace and totalitarian, patriarchal dictatorship for the home. I naturally gravitated to the other kind of anarchy, "anti-establishmentarianism". But this is not a theory. That would have to be "eclecticism". It was a pretty widespread attitude. But it is mass organising bodies which make mass media and mass media makes it to the history books and celebrity biographies. The weathermen were not the only ones making bombs. They were just a split from SDS, a massive movement probably best remembered for turning radicals into congressional candidates and spreading the idea that voting right could fix things. Disco and cocaine only finished what they started, albeit probably not at all intentionally.

As long as I've got to rambling here, I'd also like to point out that the demise of the so-called "hippie commune" was not just because they incorporated standard politics into their structure or were not very good farmers, but that the state came in and took their children and placed them in foster homes. This continuing threat was the end of creating autonomous zones, and largely why Hakem Bey later insisted on their being "temporary". If you are not isolated (like in a ghetto or a dark attic), if you become visible to middle class amerika, they will fuck you one way or another every time. Just another indication of promnesia (that deja vu feeling all over again).

The Sierra club piece is interesting. A mainstream non-profit whose local franchise was more out there than Earth First or modern primitivists. The key word back then was "wilderness", and Seattle is a great place for that, since we had a 360 degree view of it, being surrounded by mountains. For many, wilderness was a big part of everyday life, a longing toward the visual horizon with more than occasional excursions there.

Just another aside to give you some context. In 1966 we went to Little Rock Arkansas (I had relatives there). The radio was announcing summer race riots across the south and issued travel warnings. I asked an uncle or twelfth cousin or whatever he was where the riots were. I remember his answer almost to the word: "Nah, our niggers know their place. Them troubles are all up north and it's your own damn fault!" This was a turning point in my education. It was a long time before I could admit to any southern heritage. So yes, I'd have to say some things have changed, but in our system, every positive change is invariably followed by a dozen new malignant tumors.

A Dilema?

When a person decides to become a revolutionary, i.e. consciously aims at opposing the spectacle in its totality, this implies, to begin with, opposing the accumulation of value in himself, that is, his character. Whether he calls it “character” or not is incidental (according to the motto: if there had never been a Wilhelm Reich, it would be necessary to invent one), but he’d better oppose it all the same, or all his good intentions will remain just that, at best. He lapses into the state of being merely pro-situ when he fears starting his critique of everything from himself. As a result, he becomes incapable of really criticizing anything, for no other reason than the fact that his critiques don’t proceed from his passion to liberate his own daily life, from his own subjectivity. His adhesion to the Situationist International’s theses become (or remain) essentially intellectual; his modus operandi? simulation. The pro-situ has not recognized his subjectivity in that of the S.I. or anyone else, because he doesn’t have the guts to be subjective.

Nonetheless, the apparently avant-garde nature of his ideas appears to separate him from the milieu he emerged from (almost without exception, from his fellow students); his novelty, in turn, often combined with an abstract rejection of the Left (sacrifice and so on), he takes for his subjectivity. And because he is thus subjective, character doesn’t concern him, no sir! He appeals almost exclusively to those who are most like he was before his great metaphysical break – his abstractions are as far from ad hominem as could be imagined. He expects the subjectivity of others to emerge just like “his” did – precisely because of how he defines his own illusory subjectivity. The pro-situ is different than he was before he became a “situationist,” but only in the sense that the most important determinant of the pro-situ’s character is precisely his resistance to the practice of theory. Which is a big problem, seeing that the pro-situ’s major preoccupation is his desire to practice theory! It follows that his apparent novelty is itself the greatest barrier to his assaulting his character (and even to the recognition of the existence of his character). The pro-situ, who appears at first glance to be closest to the breakdown of character, is actually one of those furthest away.

The process described above is not necessarily absolute – the struggle against character can be partial, partially conscious. It may be that the seeds of subjectivity are there, but the necessary lucidity concerning it is limited, or sporadic. What then? Eventually one tendency must win out: coherence, or a relapse into the inauthentic. This process itself may take place over an extended period, and may develop unevenly. (– Chris Shutes, Gina Rosenberg, Disinterest Compounded Daily)

It is true that self critique or analysis is too often absent from the critique or analysis of the totality, but this is a big part of an isolated existence, a defense mechanism of denial of our own seperation: "I am not part of the problem!" "I am pure" renders down to "I am helpless and alone". This is not unique to pro situs but is our culture – the really big lie. The merely big lie is that I should search out clones and organise. With enough organised mass we can change the world. Only organized mass can change the world. Democracy becomes an army of clones. War is the only situation where majorities annihilate minorities, and there is always much bleeding. This is no change at all.

Why should there be a notion of an inverse relation between coherence and inauthenticity? Why is a revolutionary organization incomplete without a charter, and then is unrealistic when it gets one? Why should we expect an identity between the person and the organization? I'm starting to think "praxis" is bullshit right alongside mass organisation. It is the same logic, the logic of unification, of neoliberalism, globalisation, empire. Programs and projects become necessities. There is much meddling.

Of course, nobody is this rigid. So why the infatuation with constructing rigid theoretical coherence? Is it a fetish for rationalism or am I just an anti-intellectual? It seems all they accomplish is fighting celebrities and cheering groupies and "the revolution" is once again put on hold.

The kind of unity I experienced in Seattle 30 - 40 years ago was a single shared commonality: resistance. All our differences were inconsequential to the "counter-culture". They were very consequential to our social relations: difference was a source of news, views, community. We had much to discuss. This did not go toward creating a singular body of theory. It went toward living. And even though we were a minority, Seattle was a pretty awesome place to live at the time. The irony was that we all wanted to leave, and that was accomplished by about '75. We all found holes in the sand in which to bury our heads.

We are not Vulcans no matter how many of the original Trek episodes we watched. Mr. Spock himself was only the prediction of the success at the end of the enlightenment, Neitzsche's Superman superseding us – pure intellect and pure praxis. But even Spock envied the pocket calculator: No passion, no pleasure, a rational explanation for everything, automated solutions to every input. Spock had not seen the "Apathetics" in Zardoz. In the end of that flick, all the enlightened utopians begged to be offed by the barbarians, just to relieve boredom.

VOLUME 3

 


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