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

CROWBAR MOMENTS: Volume 5

No I: "I PARASITE": Another Take On Synergy

The autopoietic evolution of machines as bureaucratic institutional
specialisation proceeding with the industrial revolution to its supersession.

No one nor even group of ones can produce a modern television set, not to mention a bazillion of them. The process is too vast. It produces itself. The workers (not even to exclude its engineers) are only one small contingency in its growth. The television, like any modern, post-modern machine is only autonomous from the worker in the sense that the bee and dandelion are each from the other. But that is a grand separation nevertheless. There is no teleology at any level. The machine is autopoietic, self managed, self creating. The labourer, even the boss tends it, pollinates it, assembles parts into an end configuration s/he needn't even know or anticipate.

The worker and terminal user ('consumer') are not even involved at the level of selection, natural or cultural. Machines early on commenced to destroy natures and cultures by becoming them, but first, of course, they had to exterminate poetry[1].

Everything is useful and then used up. Nothing is exchanged for there is nothing left to offer but lives. Use value and exchange value have been superseded by and are inconsequential to the happiness of cybernetic through-put, formerly called "money" or "capital", a contortion of what was, prior to value itself.

What was once wishful thinking concerning "self-made men", is now a fact, but not for us: "Machines make money makes the man". From the standpoint of synergy, the flow of money ("hard" currency, but only ever symbolic), credit (privilege) and debt (obligation) are the same sweet nector or dusty pollen. It may not be organic, but the machine is nevertheless alive. Most agree: 'what we can do, it can out-do'. As many others contend: 'we cannot, in fact, do without it'. This would be a reasonable symbiosis, except that most hold at least a secret desire to become parasites. Portrayed as "animalistic", we are taught to suppress such desires.

Gods and the fates began their journey to extinction by the first appearance of property. As a surviving atheist, I cannot therefore comment at the Mexican restaraunt: "God was certainly in good form and on the job when they invented avacadoes!" God was always just a prole, even when he was king. His only source of income today is as a bank-teller, overseeing the distribution of souls by regulating transactions.

The outcome was assured before it started. It was "in the works" so to speak, the public works. The Post-industrial revolution was won by the machine and its simplified sociological counterpart, the bureaucratic institution[2], in the service of pollination for its own sake. There is a plan, but no design. A blueprint in need of no architect, it is read only after the construction is complete.

Synergy is a syndrome. It has no cares concerning pathology. When it is pathetic, I call it "Toyota Syndrome" – when post-modern toyotas break down, there is no diagnosis available as the problem might be equally anywhere or everywhere. Most parts are extractable by users, but are only analyzed by another machine. Otherwise, a functioning synergy is thought "quite natural" (if it is even observed at all), and left at that. Analysis never proceeds 'til problems are already encountered. Again, users rarely analyse but distribute the problem to another machine whose function is to decide an instrument's fate as useful or excremental.

Machine is no longer a metaphor when even poetry becomes mechanical. Hey, if it rhymes! The only applicable analogy today is brought to you by the green revolution: the sticky cell of bee-hived babies manned by drones and handmaidens ... where there be no Queen at all! Redundant buzz ensures even her inessentiality to the synergistic establishment: the new conservative reproduction occurs via repetitive linguistic babble. Conspiracies are so passé; no need to add, "ineffectual"..

While biology may express forms, it does not consider them and will in fact, drop them at the merest sense of discouragement or inconvenience. This may not be immediately apparent, but shows up quite readily on the geological time scale. From the standpoint of synergy, re-arrangement of content is as far as the dictionary can go in consideration of death, transformation or revolutionary rupture, where everything is either a sort, part or stage[3].

Conservative redundancy is the chief weapon of any mechanical metaphor. In a world of promotion, demotion, consumption and abandonment, no content is essential. Is it even consequential, except for the fact that it never seems to truely go away? Strict adherence to the language ensures protraction of the plan. Language is both synergistic ideology and material throughput: communication. Even so, the formal snapshot is no guarantee of permanence. But hope is only ever found in a big bang which results in a complete disarray of the operating principles of the universe. Until then, it is considered futile to break or even question the rules.

So there is much talk of run-away explosion but little attendant explosion of run-aways. Fortunately, the self-fulfilling prophecy is still the strongest force known to (neither) man nor beast, the basis of both placebo curatives and that sinking feeling when struggling in quicksand. Perhaps we can trick it into self-combustion, or at least hypochondriasis. Perhaps we already have. After all, I once had a suburu which died of hypochondria, even as it was recovering from a massive stroke. And I was only trying to help it!

CROWBAR MOMENT No II: Revolt Against Poetry

SCHIZMOGENESIS: 1) the cybernetic theory ahead or behind applied disengagement, aka "drop out culture" or "reverse magnetic repulsion". 2) a mathematical model of a hypothetical genotypic substrate of phenotypic revolutionary urges. 3) extension of the second law of thermodynamics predicting the progressive failure of relief valves with increased heat and pressure applied to refugee camps, psychological states and cooking devices resulting in diaspora, riot or similar explosion. (see definition 1)

"We have never written anything except against a backdrop of the incarnation of the soul, but the soul already is made (and not by ourselves) when we enter into poetry. The poet, who writes, addresses himself to the Word, and the Word to its laws. It is in the unconcious of the poet to believe automatically in these laws. He believes himself free thereby, but he is not. There is something back of his head and over the ears of his thought. Something budding in the nape of his neck, rooted there from even before his beginning. He is the son of his works, perhaps, but his works are not of him; for whatever is of himself in his poetry has not been expressed by him but rather by that unconscious producer of life, who has pointed life out to him in order that he not be his own poet, in order that he not designate life himself; and who obviously has never been well-disposed toward him.

Well, I don’t want to be the poet of my poet, of that self which fancied it'd choose me to be a poet; but rather a poet-creator, in rebellion against the ego and the self. And I call to mind the old rebellion against the forms that came over me. It is by revolt against the ego and the self that I disemburden myself from all the evil incarnations of the Word, which have never been anything more for man than a compromise between cowardice and illusion, and I only know abject fornication when it comes to cowardice and illusion. And I don’t want a word of mine coming from I don’t know what astral libido completely aware of the formations of, say, a desire that is mine and mine alone. There is in the forms of the human Word I don't know what operation of rapaciousness, what self-devouring greed going on; whereby the poet, binding himself to the object, sees himself eaten by it. That is a crime weighing heavy on the idea of the Word-made-flesh, but the real crime is in having allowed the idea in the first place. Libido is animal thought, and it was these same animals which one day were changed into men."

– Antonin Artaud

Artaud will object, but he still comes from the position of the ego, freudian or not. The reactionary is confronted: "It just always has to be about you, doesn't it!" This position at least distinguishes him from Roger Caillois who thought the animal was in no need of supersession: libido is a quite generally shared feature. Quite just as rightly I think, it is said that the poetic is as much constructed or extracted by the receiver (or audience) as the initiator (or performer). There is no contradiction if we take the position that poetry, poetic 'value', meaning, whatever, exists only within the engagement itself. Betwixt and between. But engagement is still necessary or there is nothing but a private joke. Even that suggests something to a tree when a person falls in the forest: "mmm, fertilizer!" Id lives, despite all attempts to supress it. Maybe we should stop trying so hard, so we are not so tempted to take Freud's superego, that evil imposing self made up of other's words, quite so literally. "I must, I must, I must develop my bust!"

There is always more here than meets the eye. Formal exposition may describe or postulate a world, only poetry can populate it. Absurdity encompasses the humorous as well as the hostile. Passé is not necessarily the same thing as humdrum, banal and ordinary, but it seems it increasingly takes shrubbery or psychosis to see it. More and more, as madness sets in I find great meaning in the passé with little outside help at all. What I find humdrum is increasingly the latest theoretical formulation everyone else gets jazzed about. But that is only a burgeoning religious movement. A new look at the ordinary exposes things never before noticed precisely because it was considered worn-out in the first place. This is only the deconstruction of invisibility fields, where the answer is merely the possibility of an anti-question. The world is not composed of dead metaphors, even if sometimes the word is.

CROWBAR MOMENT No III: AGAINST LITERATURE

LITERATURE: c.1375, from L. lit(t)eratura "learning, writing, grammar," originally "writing formed with letters," from lit(t)era "letter." Originally "book learning" (it replaced O.E. boccræft), the meaning "literary production or work" is first attested 1779 in Johnson's "Lives of the English Poets" (he didn't include this definition in his dictionary, however); that of "body of writings from a period or people" is first recorded 1812.

LITERAL: 1382, "taking words in their natural meaning" (originally in ref. to Scripture and opposed to mystical or allegorical), from O.Fr. literal, from L.L. lit(t)eralis "of or belonging to letters or writing," from L. lit(t)era "letter." Sense of "verbally exact" is attested from 1599. Literal-minded is attested from 1869. Literally is often used erroneously, even by writers like Dryden and Pope, to indicate "what follows must be taken in the strongest admissible sense" (1687), which is opposite to the word's real meaning.

We cringe at reification and anthropomorphism because we are trapped in a machine who can only perceive the world in terms of truth and exactitude. We know there is more than meets the eye, we are aware of our own ineptitude, but do not like to admit it. Truth is someone else's problem. We thereafter can confine ourselves to thoughts of beauty and suffering. In search of the former, we are happy with illusion. The latter inspires great plans of transgression which rarely ever leave the table.

At 22, J. Alfred Prufrock, lamenting his physical and intellectual inertia, the lost opportunities in his life and lack of spiritual progress with the recurrent theme of carnal love unattained, compared the evening sky to "a patient etherised upon a table", shocking and offending all in the room where the women come and go.

    This is the way the world ends
    This is the way the world ends
    This is the way the world ends
    Not with a bang but a whimper.

"The fact that these things occurred to the mind of Mr Prufrock is surely of the very smallest importance to anyone, even to himself. They certainly have no relation to poetry." (The Times Literary Supplement, 21 June 1917)

The mystic, poet or transfigurationist songster denies "natural meaning". All translation is free. There is only figurative interpretation. Reification and anthhropomorphism are always temporary, at most, and a source (or result) of a humorous juxtaposition. The poet will always understand the machine (regardless of all contestations), and only the artist can portray it as a comic absurdity, precisely because the quaint machine cannot fathom poetry: foremost, it is a matter of intellectual property rights – "poetry can only be constructed in a factory to be later discharged into the selective distribution network". The machine does not understand that poetry is the distribution network! It cannot see the vast similitude of the "comic" and "cosmic" because it is perpetually set at the discrimination mode, all eyes directed to the letter, "S". Difference, after all, brings consciousness, even to machines.

The connection of poetry with distributivity (cf. anomynous, in press) is a stroke of genius. Is it not striking that "humour" used to refer to the fluids flowing through the body? A distribution of blood with piss-and-vinegar infecting one's mood? Might the Centers for Disease Control someday distribute an anti-toxin to stave off infectious laughter, or have they already?

Distribution also concerns gifting and the reception of gifts. In this sense, language itself is distributive, although most only perceive this as a mere example of applied schizmogenesis – "discourse". There was a time, according to Giambattista Vico, when all language was poetic. Historians of Greek literature concur. This means those old dead greeks tossing around the word, logos, were speaking of distribution, specifically within the presocratic flux – eros shouted. Do we not still say that matter, or that which matters, is well distributed through space and subjected to mutual influence? Logos matters. Eros is attractive, gravitational. Poe added the discordian effects of electricity, the friction Bateson renamed schizmogenesis.

Poe's idea came late to history (although it had only been in hiding since long before him) because all eyes had been trained upon the unifying effects of machinery and its construction. Only when we began to witness machines malfunction and break down could we engage the idea of life without them – nature and its diversification. Unfortunately, every mechanical crisis seems to have only been a temporary setback, and our eyes again turn to the pyramid with grand hopes and designs.

"Natural" (that is to say, "non-pathological") poetry lives between the lines, even at the Toyota factory. It is born in engagement, and not with machines. Of course, the reverse is also true: engagement births poetry, but this stand is generally considered childish. To understand communist engagement, the literal if not "authentic" social relation, one must make a study of poetic appreciation. Music is a good substitute.

Now turn to page 42 in your hymnal and make a joyful noise.

CROWBAR MOMENT No IV: SURPRISE

Surprise. Is more better? Big shock or little buzz? There's been a movement afoot, at least since the days of dada, that bigger is better. Rip, tear and rupture. Shock is always related to agency. Insurrectionary agency is collective rupture. Personal agency is only art. Only a big bang will wake us from our slumber. Splat on canvas? A bank vault falling from the sky in our direction? Shock is not always the result of personnel planning. After Reich, Vaneigam said a persona is only a mask worn by an actor, a character. Baudrillard one-upped him when he said apersona is either neither or what lies behind it. Try harder. Maybe found art is not what we look for.

What ever happened to the "pleasant surprise"? Here, an expression of personal or collective agency is counter-intuitive. Must surprise be quantified? I can never find the right button, even on my multifunction pocket calculator. How would one go about accumulating surprise? Try harder? There is a minor pleasure in accomplishing a task once one sets out, but most often, the result is anticlimactic compared with our prior expectations and protracted plans. Is that all there is? Still, we take care not to notice the pretty pebble while passing along the beach, at least not on public beaches. We might be accused of a passé passing! Rich folks used to advise, "mind the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves". Was there some hidden principle of aesthetics they were aware of and we are not?

Fishing Catalogued Dreams:  In the Beginning was not the word, but the Leg!

"My kids love to pore over catalogues, in many ways it is their favourite reading. I remember I did that too (I still like recipe books, survival books and review sections of newspapers which I read avidly with no intention of going any further, I love them all the more if they are out of date); it is compelling, the idea that here in one volume is all there is and yet only some of it is really available – the catalogue also presents 'price' as a limit to what is available – it's a sort of lesson in morality, a mirror of my corrupt desires, I could have it all but if I could have it all, I would not be looking at it.

I think browsing, contemplating a list of available/unavailable objects in this way is something really fundamental to literate cultures, it is something that capitalism has exploited but I do not think it belongs only to capitalism. Just imagine how difficult it would be to sell us things if we were not 'hard-programmed' to drift about aimlessly for hours and take unmotivated interest in sparkly things? Why this thing, which is just so, and not others? Consumerism is a kind of Kim's Game in reverse, but what one finds, what one chooses by means of recognition, 'ah yes, this is it' (the notebook in 1984) indicates an absence (it is what will make up for what I am not) whilst all the other things which one declines, are all too much there. All of my writing, all of my thnking on my life in the world is essentially 'consumerist', i.e. based at a level of gut preference which is then slowly taken apart.

And so much is this the case that I find it difficult to imagine that other people do not begin with their preferences/non-preferences (I may be wrong about that). I think Tarkovsky's movies are above all paeons to consumerism, a sort of Soviet, christian-communist consumerism which delights in shoes that do not fit, coats that come apart at the seams, ceilings that leak, coffee made from chicory, wind-up spaceships, novels with 100 page moral lectures etc etc. How one does not find oneself in these things at level of desire and thus loves the object more dearly because one finds a self that is defined essentially by disappointment." – salondeverluisant.org/

catalogue: 1460, from L.L. catalogus, from Gk. katalogos "a list, register," from kata "down, completely" + legein "to say, count" (see lecture).

lecture (n.): 1398, "action of reading, that which is read," from M.L. lectura "a reading, lecture," from L. lectus, pp. of legere "to read," originally "to gather, collect, pick out, choose" (cf. election), from PIE *leg- "to pick together, gather, collect" (cf. Gk. legein "to say, tell, speak, declare," originally, in Homer, "to pick out, select, collect, enumerate;" lexis "speech, diction;" logos "word, speech, thought, account;" L. lignum "wood, firewood," lit. “that which is gathered”). – etymonline.com

Could it be that browsing (grazing, fishing, hunting, exploring, investigating) is the id's way of inspiring movement? Dreams are its way of stripping use, accumulation and desire from the process by presenting a catalogue of the possible, such that receptivity is preserved and the mundane is prevented? Lure to aesthetics? A friend once said dreams are either wish fulfillment or fear manifestation. I never did buy that product. Someone else said dreams are the way the world talks to you, so you don't actually have to be asleep, but it helps in this day and age. I wonder. Stripping love and desire from commodified contexts and returning them to the sensual? Suppose a meal were just a side effect of the hunt (or gathering – all enténdres intended), the intermittent reinforcement to pause occasionally but keep looking? Only a control freak would insist that the acquisition or product is what matters (use-value), all else being beside the point and in denial of human agency. On the contrary, I think this is the source of choice. Chance enhances it. If we are not occasionally surprised, would we keep eating the good stuff? Elimination of chance annihilates all agency. One choice is none at all. The two-way decision gate is little better, reducing odds by half. Interest starts with at least three, and compound interest leads to sacred chaos – aka Brownian motion – not confusion.  Imagine the possibilities! Is this what Asger Jorn was getting at?

– Achmed Hibaab Azzizi Homeini

CROWBAR MOMENT No V: Distributivity as the "Lure to Space"
Roger Caillois Among the Nonhumans

"Insect/Incest" by Milemarker

You could bring home the pollen. I could be the queen bee. The way the mammals do it is inefficient and unsanit'ry. You've got to whisper to me. Make sure that I'm not dead. You've got to take your tweezers and pry apart my little legs. You ought to kick it to me and then bite off my head. That's the way the insects do it. Exosekeletons filled with fluid. I wish I could peel away your humid human skin and attach you to me, parasitically.

"Man is a unique case only in his own eyes," Caillois observes in his provocative essay "The Praying Mantis: From Biology to Psychoanalysis" (c.1934). Here he takes as his starting point the eternal fascination men betray with the femme fatale of the insect world, the mantis who beheads her partner as a prelude to mating. Caillois acknowledges that this recurring interest may derive simply from "some obscure sense of identification" elicited by the insect's "remarkably anthropomorphic form". Yet he is not satisfied by a principle of simple projection, as if by detailing the function of the mantis within male fantasies the insect's uncanniness would then stand explained. There exists in the praying mantis, he writes, an innate lyricism (Edge of Surrealism), an irreducible superfluity. Even when decapitated, the mantis is capable of walking, mating, laying eggs, even feigning rigor mortis to escape impending danger. Attempting to describe this acephalous body having sex, living its life, and imitating a cadaver leads Caillois to observe of his own convoluted language: “I am deliberately expressing myself in a roundabout way as it is so difficult, I think, both for language to express and for the mind to grasp that the mantis, when dead, should be capable of simulating death” . He finds a similar impulse to lyricism (or “objective lyrical value”) in almost all scientific writing about the insect, an impulse that overcomes habitual “professional dryness” and swiftly carries writers out of their scientific lexicons and deep into poetry.

The mantis offers no comfortable lessons about the anthropomorphism of insects: its lyricism is not a human projection, but a fact of its being, a cosmic given that it shares across boundaries with other human and nonhuman bodies:

Such research tends to establish that determinations caused by the social structure, however important, are not alone in influencing the content of myths. We must also to take into account half-physiological, half-psychological factors … We should pay more attention to certain basic emotional reactions and clusters that sometimes exist only as potentialities in human beings, but that correspond to phenomena explicitly and commonly observed throughout the rest of nature.
The mantis thereby suggests the entomonous residue infecting the human, breaching the barrier between Cartesian subject and nonhuman environment. It becomes proof of what Caillois calls "the systematic overdetermination of the universe" – quite a burden for a small bug to bear. By refusing allegory, by refusing contextualization into mere human meaning, the praying mantis restores danger to the object under scientific scrutiny, allowing that the act of contemplation itself immediately trespasses the distinction between observer and observed, rendering them inextricable.

Caillois develops these themes further in "Mimicry and Legendary Psychasthenia," an essay likewise exploring the intimacy of the insectal. Caillois's work here proved instrumental for the psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan as he formed his notion of the Mirror Stage. Against those Darwinians who see in every attribute of an animal its evolutionary use value, Caillois develops an anti-utilitarian argument in which the spatial and the corporeal interpenetrate. Mimicry, the vertiginous displacement of environment onto body, is for Caillois not a survival strategy but an unnecessary surplus, a "dangerous luxury." Predators are seldom deceived, he observes, when their prey adopt attributes of the space they inhabit, such as when a butterfly imitates a twig or a beetle disguises itself as a pebble. Most animals hunt by smell, not sight: "numerous remains of mimetic insects are found in the stomach of predators." Many inedible creatures imitate their environments needlessly. Mimicry -- whether animals becoming their worlds, or humans imitating their surroundings magically or aesthetically – is a succumbing of body and subject to the "lure of space". This "dispossession" of the privilege of being one's own center spells the death of the autonomous subject, as self is scattered across landscape and landscape intermixes with self. Caillois gives a literary example, Gustave Flaubert's rendition of the desert-dwelling Saint Antony. The hermit rapturously witnesses the "interpenetration of the three natural kingdoms" [vegetal, animal, geological] and "disperse[s] himself everywhere, to be within everything". Elizabeth Grosz writes in summation that what Caillois has identified is "a certain structural, anatomical, or behavioral superabundance, perhaps it is the very superfluity of life over and above the survival needs of the organism." This superfluity of life is, by another name, art ... an art-making “universal syntax”.

– Jeffrey J. Cohen

CROWBAR MOMENT No VI: Faith

Faith. I lost mine in seventh grade when I started visiting cemeteries instead of classrooms. You might think I had a fascination with death – afterall, I'd already consumed the collected works of Edgar Alan Poe. This may be true, but is not a sufficient reason for picking graveyards for a place to practice truancy. The point is, except for the numerous standing stones, the "garden of remembrance" is identical to a city park, a simulation of "nature", but for the additional exception that the cops did not patrol this sort of boneyard on the lookout for wayward kids. City parks were always a place of danger during school hours.

A kid visiting a cemetery will not even raise the eyebrow of a passing cop. There are priorities. There must be a reason. No transgression is suspected. There must be a "pass". Of course, you had to dress right and look mournful. Any congregation of children in such a place will, on the other hand, demolish all invisibility fields. Righteousness is just too hard to maintain among groups of unsupervised children.

I was the stupidest kid I ever met. To this day, I just don't get it and still have to question everything. What I question most are all the answers concerning human nature. There is just too much evidence against it. Every answer yet promoted turns out to be just another justification for one or another sort of behaviour we wish to prolong (our own) or deny (that of the other). When we look around, we witness a blending, albeit with some interesting momentary articulations. We confuse these articulations as permanent structures. To make sure, we plant a stone to stand in proxy. We just haven't the knack for blending without the appearance of regimentation. In my opinion this is something we've lost – articulated faith is a poor substitute for distributivity[4].

CROWBAR MOMENT No VII: What are the teams again?
If Life is a Game, ya Need to Know the Rules

Welcome to Experimental Personality 101.

Open your text (SOCIAL RELATION RPG™) to chapter 1, The Habits of Obsessive-Compulsive Smart-Ass Syndrome.

sec 1: GAMING SUBTYPE

par 1. Ad hominem engagement is simple insult when satiric content is hidden or too well disguised, no matter one's intentions. Ex post facto claims to satire such as "It's all in good fun" or other such justifications only hide an inner antagonism or even hostility if they do not expose the Gamer Personality, which contraverts all dialogue to discourse. The object of Game is not so much to "win" (as in "debate") as to accumulate other players to prolong the play. Gaming is an effort to control situations, not to resolve them (see sec 3, Winning).

par 2. Game-play is maintained when there is a tat response for every tit stimulus. Apology is a Game move best played when the stimulus-response chains escalate and stretch toward breakage. This is the reset mode initiated by any player at any time. Also available is the Appeal, an entreaty, bid or call for more tats before a tit can be returned. This is a delay of game, but usually accomadated, as it encourages escalation or Game Progress.

par 3. This should not be confused with the Play Subtype (see below, sec 2) where there is less inclination to control or resolve situations as to experiment with them. We mention this slightly ahead of schedule only because experimentation readily transforms to manipulation when objectivity or detachment (the "aloof" engagement) is maintained. Nonpathological engagement is said to reduce space, essentially by distributing into it. Playing becomes Gaming and is considered pathological when the space increases between "players".

par 4. Objective fun is always a subjective phenomenon. When the ego is its own, isolation has set in and other players dissipate. This works as well in reverse application. It produces operational stress. The biological phenomenon we call "authentic fun" – authentic because it does not come to be questioned – annihilates both time and space between players when it is clear to all that the will to engage or disengage is always an optional move. As opposed to most games, Play can be put on pause at will with no accumulation of psycho-social stress, particularly when there is no limit placed on the number of players or their coming and going.

sec 2: PLAY SUBTYPE

"Playing?", "adventuring?", "experimentating?" "Predicating?"[5]

par 1. A "durative" is afixed to a verb (eg., -ing) with the resulting predicate illustrating behaviour "for itself". "Devil-may-care" is only the accompanying attitude (an accusation: 'foolish', 'reckless'; a commendation: 'enjoying the present'). Some would call "oxymoron" any behaviour with no use value or object (goal). One can always posit a theory of "hidden motivation" (eg., oedipal fixation). But the point of predicate logic is that a specific (name-able) sort of relation is implied without reference to a specific subject or object. I think the linguistic use of "predicate phrase" is preferable to the territory of predicate logic which does require subjects and objects in order to perform its equations. "Playing." is an appropriate sentence in response to "What are you doing?" (a subject is implied but not specified in the predicate, making the singular word 'represent' the behaviour of a specific subject as well as a posibility any old subject could perform, a class).

par 2. A stand-alone predicate does not imply motivation (goal). It does not beg the great investigative questions (what, why, when, where, how). From the perspective of Edward Sapir, our culture (an enduring set of collective bad habits) does not inform the language the possibility of behaving just for the fuck of it. If there is a word for this, this 'dysnomia'[6], it is either well hidden or busy elsewhere. We are less inclined to see that an overwhelming number of our verbs can fit in this category. But we are paranoid and can't leave well enough alone – enjoyment is not sufficient reason to engage.

par 3. Maybe if parents stopped demanding "respectable" behaviour of their infants, forever seeing an inclination toward naughtiness, toddlers would not be identified by their singular question "Why?". Comportement pour comportement maintains a receptivity to the new and strange, awaiting to be impressed along the way, more informed by these impressions to continue (invariant, durative), modulate (develop personal style) or transgress habits altogether. Impressed decision-making is the exercise of choice (aka "self-expression). In 'fact', it is thought by some that disturbance itself, whether pleasant or otherwise, is the basis of consciousness.

par 4. The binary god, Tinstaafl and Ycagsofn and his trio of archangels, Paedogog, Tiarfe and Arbomec forbid it. There's no such thing as a free lunch. You can't get something for nothing. Get with our progam! There is a reason for everything! Change requires a background of mass collective engagement. And blah, blah blah.

sec 3: WINNING

par 1. There is none.

DISCUSSION

Is it appropriate to use the same word to describe backgammon and football?
Why not? Is Rough-and-tumble a game played by baby polar bears? Branch-hanging-and-falling by porcupines? Junior Spy by six year-old tv addicts? Solitaire? That one I'm not so sure about.

Is there a difference (I mean a big one warranting a new category altogether) between 1) balloon tennis, which' object is to keep the balloon air-born and 2) table tennis which' object is to make the ball land on the floor and declare a winner?

Is there a difference (I mean a big one warranting a new category altogether) between 1) reading or writing poetry (Is reading or writing poetry like solitaire? When it is sold as a commodity?) and 2) speaking (or writing etc) metaphorically?

I usually distinguish play and game. The object of play is to keep playing, the object of game is its conclusion. That is to say, play is not an objective engagement. Game is play confounded by use-value. But that's just me. Well, there are others.

Aesthetics is play: Let us just acknowledge that matter plays, that it even plays with humanity, and that this play, which is the apparent accident, is precisely that purposeless and uneconomic expansion of power which creates purposes, possibilities and meanings, the unlimited tendency that creates limitations. We find this tendency or chaotic principle of nature's manifoldness, this changeable and variable play, this playful disorder, everywhere. Regard the gnat swarm circling in the air in its humming dance, or the fishes playing in the water, or the cranes treading their complicated musical ballets, and the otter who amuses himself with making helter-skelters on slimy clay slopes alongside the water.

A quite astonishing perspective is opened up when French archaeologists report that, deep under the earth in the rumbling darkness of the primeval grottos, they have come across traces that show that bears had a helter-skelter on a steep clay slope down to a subterranean lake, where they ended in the cold water with a splash in order to experience the cold shudder that is the extremity of sensation or aesthetics. Bears must be marked aestheticians, for there are to be found photographs of wild bears in Sweden executing a quite peculiar and meaningless dance in the snow after having destroyed a quarry, a phenomenon that Fabre also observed in the world of insects.

The play of animals: On the whole it would be difficult to find a higher animal that does not play and joke in some way or other incomprehensible to us. Just watch the apes in the zoo or any pet, the dog, the cat, the horse, the pig, the cow. How inclined they are to jest and foolery. This play cannot just be perceived as a training or improvement for the struggle for life. For in itself it contains something that causes it to act as life, indeed, as perhaps its most intense and inspiring essence, as renewal. Could we call this aesthetics?

Homo ludens: There has been speculation about how humanity learned to walk on two legs, and attempts to give the phenomenon a practical explanation. Erik Nyholm's assertion that the first true human apes were singing apes whose developed jaws gave good place for the tongue sounds far more reasonable. Song is an incitement to the dance, and this pleasant occupation distinguished humanity from the animals and gradually trained the dancing and singing apes to move lithely on their back legs. This is the creation report on homo ludens.

It is said that humanity wants to be taken in. This is a lie. Humanity wants to play. Play or be played with or to be played for. The opposition between play and earnest is false. Play seems to be the only thing anyone takes really seriously. This is denied because people can then, without hindrance, be played with without their knowledge.

– Asger Jorn

CROWBAR MOMENT No VIII: "REAL"

Real is an adjective from the start. It describes a specificity, or even a generality as a specific correlation or construction. It is demonstrative in the grammatical sense, like "This here" or "That when". The word gives a point or area of focus – the real one, not this fake. It is not a noun but can be nominalised: "Reality" is just an assumption or an oversight. It's only what "makes sense". "Reality" is a quality of communication like "red" or "big" are of an apple: "You have no sense of reality! That is an orange", "This painting has no semblence to reality". The correct answer to these proclamations, if we are insistent, is "Use your imagination!"

Reality is a pointer. Though we are taught a lack of contradiction establishes it, reality is not concerned with contradictions except that "it" often points to the hypocricies we are taught. It allows for comparison. It is not the pointer, but those doing the pointing who hold such an interest. Hence, there is a democratic reality which is called "truth" by its fundamentalists: "This is really true!" or "That's just a really big (as opposed to 'merely big') lie!". Reality is not an it. One not so inclined to technical, literal or grammatical correctness can easily say, "You are a real brother to me, more so than my real brother, who is not" without any concern whatsoever about quantification or rank or incoherence. "But what do you really mean?" "You know what I really mean!" What is unreal is merely miscommunicated. What is unreal is out of context, off topic, somebody else's problem.

Reality only gets confused by existentialism and phenomenology. Sometimes, reality is just a manner of speaking – objective reality even more so. Reality is not a matter of great concern when we think of processes unfolding rather than an "it" which is created or constructed. So often our own constructions seem to create themselves. With this view, reality itself is not a permanent condition so is therefore subject to transgression.

CROWBAR MOMENT No IX: Questioning the Singularity

Nomia:

Misnomia: "Monia", er, "Monica" (the problem with spell-check)

Dysnomia: "?????"

Anomia: "      ", betwixt and between ...

Pantonomia: "__[insert here]__", not to be confused with

Dyslexia: "___¬?___" ? or

Immolianomia: (aka 'Dyskinesia')

Word play: The first problem of the last person to clear things up.
"Does all pantomime come down to this?"

We agreed with the comparison, We saw the pattern. A bearded bee is what was chased, chaste, chastened, but without the attached machinery. Gnoetry mimics thinking streams. Ginsberg and Burroughs were early gnoets, whether you liked them or not. Problem with first persons? What other kind of person is there? (On second thought, maybe that is the problem).

Quickly, this has spilled, er, spelled out from the tip of my finger, even as I mouth the words. It is word of mouth but only appears to be so. These are finger words. I watch them on the screen. It mimics me in its own fashion.

IMMOLIANOMIA: Immolate (self, human, animal sacrifice) + anomia (no name), not 'caustic amonia', not 'emulated anemia' (well, maybe that).

– or by virtue of acoustics – Emollient (softening, as in scab, anger, skin) + nomia (name). This is not an example out side of mental wings: "Monica is soft." Were they metal wings?

[Mid-16th century. < Latin immolat- , present participle of immolare "sprinkle with meal" < mola "meal, millstone"; from the custom of sprinkling sacrificial victims with meal].
Nose to the grindstone, face to the work place. Crash! Whoops! More pollination, please.

Those wonderful medievil europeans, two hundred years into the enlightenment. And who were their sacrificial victims, you ask? Why, pagan gnostics and their influences, of course. Our gnoetry pays a hefty tribute to those poetic peasants escaping into the forests. "Run away! Hide! Run away! Hide!". Those trees have all since burnt.

The word has killed itself, or the holder of words/names has crashed. Kwakiutl posit that the name is the soul. It is health, both literally and figuratively. Not something one usually aspires to lose. If the name and its body are a singularity, their separation is death. You put the name in a box and hand it out at the next party. The name is thus, also a party favour. It is given. A Holloween party? It's not symbolism (Saussure, Foucault) but the coming together of many possibilities and multiple entendres. English does not have a word for this, but it used to, before it became English. Multiple intentions now suggests a sneaky, or even squeaky bearing: Untrustworthy. Forked tongue and twisted thinking. Lost bearing. Fallen statue. Best if bodies are all on the same page or face the accusation (be named) "dysnomic gnome".

"It unwraps words from their usual human contexts until words no longer have direct instrumental relationships to the world – in fact, the very question of instrumentality is rendered moot. The significance of meaning is altered." (– beard of bees)
I take this as a language universal. The word is just a sound in a particular forest. The damned word by itself is not even important! But I do like the idea that a name can be stored in a box like a dried sardine, handed out to a body it seems to fit in a naming feast. Put back in the box when it no longer applies. It's more a treasure chest than a coffin. "Let's see what we have here!". "Ahh! An insult!" "No?" The giver and the giftee are irrelevant distinctions, also moot. If it fits, wear it, but that may not have been the intention. This theory of meaning we're working out should always incorporate the impossibility of linguistic non-sequiter:
Language speaks itself.

No day-dream-product is symbolically invalid and no poetry-product is semantically invalid.

Sharing language is a matter of commensurable fitness. Try it on. Wear it well.

CROWBAR MOMENT No X: Pantomicritique

So analysis is also reductionistic, attending to parts and arrangements. They pay lip-service to patterns and wholes (gestalt) but if you name them even metaphorically, you are accused of mysticism. So wouldn't pantomicriticism involve turning the pataphysical telescope end for end and viewing the whole, with a critical (but not analytic, nor even synthetic) eye?
I think pantomicitique can also exist as analysis if it wants. It wouldn't be my preferred usage, but I wouldn't want to exclude anything from it either. It exists both as writing and as actual pantomime (i.e. the distributivity of the black bloc containing the critique of identity). Greyface[7] critics can play with written pantomicriticism as well, they will just have a little more trouble with it, especially if they reduce it to analysis, since the word itself is both the shimmering neologism that will save mankind and also the self-mockery of the talentless parts and arrangements of jargon (in a constant on-and-off love affair with lots of books thrown across the room in a rage and passionate make-up sex).
"An archaeologist could find nothing of the gnostic experience (l'expérience tout-inclus) by examining the instruments even in their revealed stratigraphic context because s/he is only interested in "man's relationship to things": It is for the philosopher-druid to posit how the things help or hinder, function if you will, interface if you won't, one's relation to extensity (l'extension vaste) and thus, criticize the hole itself". – Monsieur Diable Petit , Sur Mon Boitement[8]
When you said you like to load up on dictionary.com, I knew there was a reason I liked you. "The boy does his research!" There is a prior receptivity, (some call this a feminine principle but I don't), necessary to any investigation. Some call "probing" the masculine principle. I think it an interesting metaphor but literally meaningless if so taken. You don't necessarily fall in love with the sound of your own voice, but you understand that in some situations, what is said is lovely. That is not the example of hypocrisy but the appearance of wholeness, undivided. I think if there is a kindred likeness, it is that nihilism proceeds from the point of the impossibility of correct answers. It does not propose the death of semantics, meaninglessness, except toward those who would corral or enslave it. But then, all my psychoanalytic theories of others are only a mirror reflecting myself onto "them", to see if I can see something of myself in there... and that is all I see. This is the error of psychiatry, that someone can accuse you of being who they themselves are, and prescribe to you the medicine they should be taking.

You are in my mirror or you are not. Take two and call me in the morning. I can then proceed to make you resemble me.

But back to the dictionary. How can one talk on a subject without reference to what has been previously said? How does one promote or dictate the meaning of a word without considering (or even investigating) how others have used it? To rely solely on a dictionary is the acceptance of final authority. It is the fundamentalist reading of the Book of Moses, law-giver. The search for absolutes always leaves corpses rotting in the road. Logocentrism makes obvious the equality of the polysemous notions of "right": moral righteousness and grammatical correctness recapitulate right and wrong, correct and incorrect, order and discord, fitness and damnation, good and evil. There is a right answer (but you and I know better).

Seminal: "of the seed" (see semen, semasiology). Figurative sense of "full of possibilities", "distributive". Consult your local psychiatrist if you are wrong in the head, to be sent back to a school of sorts, a shore where there be not a sole soul found so, but many.

Without the additional etymological database, the shared root in "same", "semen" and "semiotic" generating diverse metaphor, their juxtaposition, or especially, interchangeable substitution, is rendered meaningless word-play, not the historically significant poetry that it might have been. An etymology is already available to both the conscious streams and subconscious desires provided by the structural similitude of juxtaposed lexical roots. Perhaps this is why poetry has come to rhyme and both philosophers and magicians came upon the principles of association independently? Perhaps there was a 'stage' of poet-philosophy?

What do I mean by my own hypocrisy? In states of grandeur and arrogance, I fantasize a conspiracy to discredit my "star potential" (aka "loveability"). I am always under ad hominem attack if I can be made to appear ridiculous. If I say I oppose playing games, what better way to discredit me than to be sucked into one, in all appearances with the intention of "winning". The gaming culture has survived a minor assault, or at least prevented a threat to its mindless play at imposing words upon the world, manipulating and correcting it. I am co-opted. I am imprisoned in the center of the universe. I must adopt a pseudonomia.

Caught in fakery. Caught in the game matrix. It is realised that, in my initial oppositional stand, I was already playing a politi­cal game. All sophistry wins all games. Everything is meaningless. When I discover this, all poetry disappears. I am on the road to L'avant garde or one of the corpses along the wayside. Was Aristotle right? Work or die? It was the sheepherder, Hesiod himself who first promoted the Protestant Work Ethic nearly three thousand years ago. Speaking for the nobility, Homer quite concurred. That is the extent of it. Every play is exposed by psychoanalysis to hide a will to power or secret urge for death. All our secrets are the same. And so it is said.

But I refuse it.

CROWBAR MOMENT No XI: On Law and Psychopathy

Prologue: There is No Dead Metaphor!

Law in itself seems so much 'there', but it is always irrelevant, though not insignificant. Grammatical laws no less so. We are told not only where to put our words ("Up yours!"), but which ones are tolerated and which should stay dead.

"To drive the point home" is a dead metaphor, an almost meaningless muttering, a mere formality to end discussion. It would not be expedient to come to consciousness in our blatherings and hypothesize that points scored have always come from the end of a deadly weapon. But points have been rendered harmless with the advent of the nuclear age, the tazer, the extraordinary rendition and detention center at an undisclosed location. It is safe to say "I get your point". It is not safe to say "Your intention has induced in me an uncontrollable brain haemorrhage". Blood or rage, punishment will be swift. How safe do you feel with your own mutterings? Can language ever be safe?

What is important in any discourse on jurisprudence is punishment. Not how much, but whether or not. Quantity is only a matter for gladiatorial spectators shouting "More! More!" or "Kill the bum!" One is offended observing a behaviour and says, "They oughta make a law against that sorta thing!" In this way, one's own insult is always someone else's problem. It seems enough, but we should probably vote on it, just to make sure. Now it's everyone else's problem. We are relieved of taking the personal risk in taking retaliatory measures or disengaging. Enough folks say this, and legislators legislate said law into being. This "grassroots" process works only on a very small scale and typically concerns fairly insignificant insults. We are aware of housing ordinances in high-end neighborhoods. Most of these laws are only concerned with the maintenance of an exclusive appearance and proceedings to monopolise it.

The Romans called mob rule "tyranny"[9]. The puny little squabbles interfered with the making of really important laws to justify really big wars. I suppose the Punic Wars were also fought to end tyranny, where there was much profitable carnage in Carthage.

But whether state or neighborhood committee, it in fact becomes illegal not to relegate personal inclination, concern or responsibility. Your own interests are dished out to you on a platter at the cafeteria. Armed with the law, we are no longer even capable of being insulted: "You'll get yours! Ha ha ha ha!" In this day and age, in one way or another, everyone's either a narc or an asshole. Well, there is also the dual diagnosis.

Most law does not in fact generate from grass roots. Law is a generalisation which stipulates universal evil, a difference which is tolerable to no one, that is, excepting those who would make and then enforce it. Unification, good. Differentiation, bad. The hypocrisy is obvious: Unity is only an illusion of efficient compartmentalisation. Every child has asked, "If murder is wrong, why is there war?" The answer is always put in the form, "We don't call it murder if we are the ones doing it. They were being naughty. You know what naughty means, don't you little girl?" "Yes daddy. So why don't we just give them a enema with the garden hose?" "Don't you try and be smart with me! That's ENEMY!"

And we criticize Kropotkin for suggesting that the civil are trained to embrace hypocrisy.

Frankfurters were so passé,
to up and say,
"civilisation is a lie!"

One poet said it was a jumbo jetliner. Another "Leviathon". How quaint. Everyone knows we are not in its belly, but it is in ours. Only Columbus would roast a family of T'aino Caribbeans on a spit to dine with the boys. If it doesn't have a soul, you can eat it. That's the law. But pigs are still off limits!

Most cases of moral concern only cover up behaviour by predators in the interest of property (even "intellectual" property), position, glory, even stupid customs. Law starts and stops at the point of a sword, metaphoric or otherwise. A state of obedience is produced when the sword is no longer necessary. On this point, all laws are arbitrary. The sword is capriciously recalled at will just to drive the point home. At this juncture, punishment is also arbitrary and we achieve law in and of itself. Fear is no longer even a consideration. Obedience is habituated and we can proceed to feed with a clear (or is that "empty") conscious.

It was an observant question, but no, I didn't mean to say "conscience". That is for the parent-faculty of The Justice League, always at the ready, diligently standing, armed with the rubber-hose treatment or guilt complex, opposed to the authentic and imaginative science of children everywhere. The mob used to call the Imperial Senate "That pack of wolves". Then? Now? The game is the same. Narc? Asshole? You're either a public servant or a private mobster. What else is there?

– Atka Mip

The Civil Specter of Hannibal Lecter: To whom it may concern,

At this juncture, the entire planet is locked in a room with the socio-cultural equivalent of Hannibal Lecter. An individual of consummate taste and refinement, imbued with indelible grace and charm, he distracts his victims with the brilliance of his intellect, even while honing his blade. He is thus able to dine alone upon their livers, his feast invariably candle-lit, accompanied by lofty music and a fine wine. Over and over the ritual is repeated, always hidden, always denied in order that it may be continued. So perfect is Lecter's pathology that, from the depths of his scorn for the inferiors upon whom he feeds, he advances himself as their sage and therapist, he who is incomparably endowed with the ability to explain their innermost meanings, and then correct them.

His success depends upon being embraced and exalted by those upon whom he preys. Ultimately, so long as Lecter is able to retain his mask of omnipotent gentility, he can never be stopped. The socio-cultural equivalent of Hannibal Lecter is the core of an expansionist European "civilization" which has reached out to engulf the planet, to daintily consume and expend it with a relieving but ever polite belch from behind a white glove. There is nothing overly special about the good Mr. Lector. He can be seen on every alley and avenue, in every salon and abattoir.

In an earlier day he had no need for such refinement and finesse in the pursuit of glory, but even brute thuggery must get stale after a time.

In coming to grips with a Lecter, it is of no useful purpose to engage in sympathetic biography, to chronicle the nuances of his childhood, and catalogue his many and varied obstacles or achievements, whether real or imagined. We all come from broken homes. The recounting of such information is at best diversionary, allowing him to remain at large just that much longer. More often, it inadvertently serves to perfect the characterological mask, enabling him not only to maintain his enterprise, but to pursue it with ever more arrogance and efficiency. At worst, the biographer is aware of the intrinsic putrefaction lurking beneath the subject's veneer of civility, but – because of morbid fascination and a desire to participate vicariously – deliberately obfuscates what lies beneath in order that his homicidal activities may continue unchecked. The biographer thus reveals not only a willing complicity in the subject's crimes, but a virulent pathology of his or her own. Such is and has always been the relationship of "responsible scholarship".

The sole "legitimate" function of information compiled about a Lecter is that which will serve to unmask him and thereby lead to his apprehension or ostracism, to his exorcism. The purpose is not to visit retribution upon the psychopath – he is, after all, by definition mentally ill and consequently not in control of his more lethal impulses; he may not in fact be aware of them – but merely to put an end to his possessive feeding habits. It is even theoretically possible that, once he is disempowered, we ourselves can heal. The point, however, is to understand what he is and what he does well enough to stop him from doing it again. This role is only assumed by "intellectual scholarship". Scholarship is never "pure", "neutral" or "objective"; it always works either for the psychopath or against him, to mystify socio-cultural reality or to decode it, to annihilate it or become it, to make action possible or to prevent it. The detached scholar only encourages it.

It may well be that there are better points of departure for intellectual endeavors to capture the spectral form and spectacular meaning of Eurocentric civilisation (which at this point is a global phenomenon and restricted to no 'ethnic' category) than the life, times, and legacy of Hannibal Lecter. Still, since 'Centrists' the world over have ironically (and so evidently) clasped hands in utilizing him as a preeminent model for their collective action, and are doing so with such an apparent sense of collective jubilation, the point has been rendered effectively moot.

Those who seek to devote their scholarship to apprehending the psychopath who sits in our room should have no alternative but to use him as a primary vehicle of articulation. But instead, they approach Lecter through the deployment of analytical tools which allow him to disappear, yet still be utilized as a medium of explanation or justification for their own present and future exploits. He is not utilized as a lens by which to shed light upon phenomena such as the mass psychologies of ethnocentrism, fascism, racism and similar political standpoints, nor as a means by which to shear its camouflage, expose its contours, reveal the enduring coherence of the dynamics which forged its evolution. He is mimicked. We masquerade mutual atrocity beneath righteous civility, justifying the maximisation of position rather than experience (but still, always to another's detriment), as if it is all just a pleasant game of 'Go'.

Perhaps we can begin to genuinely comprehend the seemingly incomprehensible fact that so many are presently queuing up to associate themselves with a man from whose very memory wafts the cloying stench of the manipulative tyranny of over-analysis and deep dissections prior to feasting upon each other's entrails. From where may it be possible to at least crack some real codes of meaning? If forced to see ourselves clearly, we can understand. If we can understand, we can apprehend. If we can apprehend, perhaps we can stop the psychopath before he kills again. We are obligated to try, from a sense of sheer self-preservation, if nothing else. Who knows, we may even succeed. But first we must stop lying to ourselves, or allowing others to do the lying for us, about who it is with whom we now share our room. It is all too easy to see others in Hannibal's mirror. But if we dare to look a bit more closely, who is it really, who's peering back?

– a slight paraphrasing of W. Churchill considering the life, times and legacy of Cristóbal Colón

CROWBAR MOMENT No XII: Notes from the Peanut Gallery

I think there is a connotation of historical inevitability in the words, "precivilisation" and "postcivilisation". They suggest that capitalism (the current avant garde of civilisation) is immanent in "primitive cultures" and given the oppurtunity, they will get there. Well, they did make it to the ghettos and reservations. When we recover from capitalism, things will get even better. Better for things, anyway.

This is the "All roads lead to Rome" mentality. I agree that there is always a dangerous potential, but the circumstances which bring about civilisation are catastrophic rather than "favourably" potentiating. Civilisation was a fluke which went on to become a deadly absurdity and from there proceeded to normality. Global capitalism is immanent in civilisation, not in the "species being". So is a dead rock in space, over which all the asphalt coating one can muster will not make sweet.

I think because progress is so imbued in our culture/language, we do not have an alternative word that is not disparaging, like "uncivil". I use that word anyway with the hope that the context wherein it resides will illustrate that I'm being facetious. Civility is most definitely the permanent rule of the established city, whose one creative slogan is: "It's the economy, stupid!"

They are trying to revive Hobbes, telling us that consciousness comes with civilisation and its attendant "capability for improvement": "We are able to reflect upon our activities, think ahead, and no longer be ruled by them".

Way back when, Samuel Buttler explained that if the giraffe was not conscious of his activities, he could not move on to the next tree when all the leaves were consumed. In point of fact, giraffes move on to the next tree even before its leaves are all consumed. In point of fact, the leaves are not all consumed. We on the other hand, continue chewing on the air, waiting for the delivery boy who brings the next pizza fresh picked at the pepperoni farm. If the pizza does not arrive in a timely fashion, the human starves to death. As was once explained, if the principle is not respected, what's the point in going on (standing still)? Looking ahead, it is better to be remembered for dying of pizza failure than living on giraffe leavings. If we are unprincipled, we may go on in search of another tree, but only after we have eaten not only the leaves, but the branches, trunk and root as well. But this is called maximisation, not forethought. Which species is the more conscious, do you think?

This dialogue was heard, more-or-less, in the movie Serenity:

student A: But why wouldn't they look to be more civilised, like us?

student B: Because we meddle. We try to get into their minds and tell them what to think. They just want to be left alone.

teacher: We don't tell them what to think, we show them how to think! (and proceeds to jab the pointy end of her pencil into student B's forehead)

Assassin: We're making a better world. All of them, better worlds. (and gazes skyward with the most serene, angelic expression).

Rebel: They think they can make people better, and that's something I just don't abide. Could be, I aim to get naughty.

If we stop trying to set ourselves apart from the other inhabitants of the planet (even in a greenish, happy-medium position), we might come to a defining conclusion for the question of civilisation:

the progressive annihilation of consciousness.

For my entire life, I've heard the colloquialism, and not just from revolutionaries, "when will people finally wake up?" Only the hopeful still talk about "postcivilisation", as if that too is an historical inevitability.

This is civilisation. There was a world war. I think the world lost. Could be, we might just as well all get a little naughty.

CROWBAR MOMENT No XIII: Why are you even here?

CIVIL(adj.), civility (n.)
1.  politeness: the formal politeness that results from observing social conventions, 
2.  something said or done in a formally polite way, in a way that is cold and formal  
3.  relating to citizens: relating to what happens within a state or between different 
citizens or groups of citizens 4. not military: connected with ordinary citizens and organizations 5. not religious: performed by a state official such as a registrar rather than a
member of the clergy 6. law happening between individuals: involving individual people or groups in legal
action other than criminal proceedings [14th century. < Latin civilis < civis "citizen"] DELINQUENT (n., adj.): 1. youthful offender: somebody, especially a young person, who has acted
antisocially or broken the law 2. antisocial or unlawful: relating to antisocial behavior or lawbreaking 3. ignoring duty: neglecting a duty, commitment, or responsibility (formal) 4. finance unpaid: unpaid and overdue for payment [15th century. < Latin delinquent- , past participle of delinquere "offend"
< linquere "leave"]

I'd like, just for the sake of experiment, to turn a common question around on you all: "Why are you even here?" Wait! I'm serious, let me explain. If capitalist civilisation enframes our every move (and I don't dispute this in principle – we do share a historical and cultural context), such that there is not only no outside, but no in-between, why not take Freud's advice and adjust to it? Endorse a sort of "Be happy in your work" regimen? There is no getting around it so we must make the best of it? If there is no agency for change, and no option but ploughing ahead, why keep banging your head against the wall. If you have already reached this happy position, wouldn't critique of the situation, of capitalism and especially of civilisation be counter-intuitive?

If there is a "project" here, I would have thought it would entail burrowing or digging into the material and exploring what might not be capitalist civilisation (I believe this is a redundancy, but I use the phrase to avoid getting sidetracked with a semantic argument), or at least to see if there are holes in its fabric. If there is an historical framing, a storage-box of civil archetypes we all carry, wouldn't we likewise carry some bit of something from a time before we became civilised? Wouldn't it contain fragments of stories we've heard of those closer to our own time who were not? Is it delusional to imagine and pass along future possibilities which are not?

I don't comprehend the denial of our species' past or recent diversity, as if indigenous peoples now living in the ghettos and "fringes" have undergone such a metamorphosis by being thrust into the muck of capitalist civilisation, their memories have been wiped clean. Do you actually think there is nothing from back home they've brought along with them into the new context? If you cling to your civil archetypes (a polite way of saying "your own enframement") it seems you are denying your own past. I'm not talking about "going home" but browsing through your grandparents' diaries, visiting cemetaries, digging up not just old bones, but possibilities, exploring caves for evidence of future babies.

Beneath the civil, there is nothing? Is this so? This nihilism says "Don't even go there". But if this were so, wouldn't there be no possibility for transgression? Wouldn't our prisons all stand empty? Wouldn't imagination of different possibilities be impossible? Wouldn't all the books of literary fiction be full of blank pages? Might it be that the delinquent is not anti-social at all?

To criticise one's personal transgressions as having no grand impact on the larger matrix is to be enframed by the instrumentalism lurking beneath projectuality. One transgresses or one does not. A failed transgression is no transgression. But the logic of enframent breaks down when we go back to our history books. No change has ever occurred without a transgressive context. Yes, certain lines were maintained, but they wavered and on occasion, broke. What happens when one transgression is mimicked by onlookers? Does it always stretch only so far and then bounce back to a default position? If this were true, there would be no adaptation, no change, and in fact, no civilisation (unless you believe the Adam & Eve story).

Again, if there is a "project" here, I would have thought it would entail burrowing or digging into the fabric and exploring what might not be capitalist civilisation, for what has been co-opted and corrupted, but only slightly so because it is no longer in vogue, it is now invisible, it is not questioned. This means exploring every nook and cranny, despite the monsters which guard their passage. This requires courage, and in the midst of terror, we can only get that through encouragement. But that would entail a bit of compassion or respect for the other. Even more so, it entails receptivity.

Courage, like framework, comes from the outside as much as the inside – it may be that it only comes from the outside. There is a reason discouraged prisoners shout "It's a bum wrap! I've been framed!" Tolerance is the stand that even if we've previously examined a particular cranny and found nothing there, we don't assume we have covered every inch and have discovered there are no secrets there. We advise on the dangers we've encountered, point elsewhere to where we have been encouraged, but do not forbid the other's personal exploration. There may be secrets in there we have missed, secrets which only come to light when stumbled into. We might, as well, be encouraged by our own chance encounters. We are also hip to the notion that there is no guarantee of safety in this project. All alleys may be blind alleys, but this does not mean they are all dead ends. Must we know the future before we travel in that direction?

If on the other hand, our "project" of critique is to illustrate the futility of everyone's attempts to escape, damage or rearrange the context we all find oppressive, smothering, counter-intuitive, unhealthy, are not our means and ends both wrapped up in a fabric of discouragement? Is the message we intend to deliver "there are no possibilities, no future"? What really is the program on our bandwagon?


Notes:

[1] Please feel free to object to this teleological anthrpomorphism. One could as well hypothesize that "the concurrent abandonment of figurative interpretations paved a path for technological progress, facilitated and superseded by the linear, literal and objective (detached) ontology". The effect is identical, either way. Only the moralistic emotional attachments are miles apart when the two perspectives line up on the playing field (or is that a battle field?), but this is a game, Morality RPG™, one cannot win without foul and atrocity. Truth and exactitude are irrelevant to consequences once situations are defined as real – Thomas & Thomas Theorem, 1928.

[2] Please see Twilight of the Machines, Détourned, our sabotage of Zerzan's piece.

[3] Albert Upton, Design for Thinking, A First Book in Semantics.

[4] See The Philology of Ten Motions and One Stoppage

[5] See also, PREDICATE (v.): Arguing for the sake of argument. From præ- "forth, before", dicere "to speak, to say"; related obliquely to category, from Gk. kategorein "to accuse, assert, predicate," from kata "down to," + agoreuein "to declaim (in the assembly)," from agora "forum, public assembly." Original sense of "accuse" weakened to "assert, name" by the time Aristotle applied kategoria to his 10 classes of things that can be named.

[6] There may be a name, but I do not have it. More than dyslexia which implies a mere dislocation, I never have had it. Dysnomia prepares us for malapropism, the essential condition for any developmental lexicon.

Applied dysnomia as word-play: "I've overstood"

"Over" is here a construction based on a miss-translation forced into a dichotomy. Over is not the opposite of under except in its present manifestation. Old English under meant 'among', derived from PIE *nter. Interstand would be proper if the local semantic trajectory had been maintained: "stand within, between". Other Indoeuropean languages prefer "upon" (greek) or "before" (germanic). Stand "sits" in a stand of "set, place, existence, position, posture" related to Latin stare which also connects to our own "stare" (vis "see"). Overstood would, in the etymological context, refer to a former superstition: 'from above' + 'view', standing on a hill rather than under a bridge and having a look-see, so to speak. Literally, it might mean ownership of an idea: On this ground (or 'victim') I do stand. "For this concept, most I.E. languages use figurative extensions of compounds that literally mean "put together," or "separate," or "take, grasp" (etymology online). The resemblence and in fact, historical relation to "overstayed" (as in "welcome") is impressive. It might lead one to translate overstood in this context as "I understand too much" rather than "I understand all too well". In a Wittgensteinian language game, clearly more tats are required before we can show our tits.

With this example, I'd say there's no such thing as "dysnomia" outside of democratic circles and engineers. Otherwise we have "misnomia", a simple mis-taking by the listener or accident (mis-giving?) by the speaker. "I said 'wrench', not socket!" Freud, as you know, did not believe in accidents.

In many North American languages, folks create temporary (although not arbitrary) nouns on the spot when teaching/explaining verb-phrases to children (nouns are normally not necessary). Lewis Carrol excelled at this. The idea of situational and figurative sense creates poetic license. The literal and objective (clarified?) interpretation produces dyscommunication when the object and letter (or memo) is not shared. Ie., it goes right over our heads so is appropriate for bureaucratic organisations and institutions.

see also, DYSINSTITUTIONALIZATION: (aka "disestablishmentarianism") Dys- "wrong, bad, ill, abnormal, hard, unlucky, lacking, wanting" + institute, from in- "in" + statuere "establish, to cause to stand" (see statue, statute); the attempt of militant or subversive poetry to topple statues, destabilise tradition, pry thoughts, unlock the shackles of custom, make us laugh.

[7] The masculanised order-freak character – anal-retentive as all get-out – in the Principia Discordia of Hesiod's Eunomia, "goddess of lawfulness and civic constitution", standing opposed to Dysnomia, a mythic trickster figure and daughter of Eris, goddess of disorder.

[8] from the Eng. trans. in Druids: A Children's Literary Treasure-Trove by Sir Alfred R. Toheles: On My Limp by Mister Imp

[9]This is the top-down vantage, as distinct from the bottom-up view which is now the more colloquially acceptable:

Tyrants: opportunistic noblemen who grab power (over the whole) on behalf of sectional (select) interests.

The effect is the same in either case by the shared feature, "rule". In common thinking, the more archaic view might translate along the lines of a "('democratic') dictatorship of the proletariat", but more often, "mayhem, disorder, chaos" With this view, the modern, "common folk" actually endorse all tyrrany, as the "opposite" (only alternative given) is unspeakable madness – dysnomic. Is it any wonder anarchists have consistently failed to express their notions ("sell their product") when they fail to investigate the etymology or semiology of their own brand-name?

 



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