Sunday, September 25, 2016

On the Stupidity of the One Percent (Excerpt from The Snare of Distance forum)

Brian George

Hi Jasun (Horsley),

You wrote, “I'd like to address the idea of the stupidity of the 1% also. I think it may be true of 99% of the 1% but not of the 1% of the 1%; not at all. These do not appear to be driven by a goal of wealth or worldly power but something deeper & darker.” The whole of the economic, political, media, and corporate landscape does strike me as an exercise in black magic, a part of which is instinctive and a part of which is quite conscious. This exercise may be sophisticated in its means, but it is also, I believe, still fairly basic in its ends, to the extent that anything is. Even wealth and power can be seen as ritual acquisitions; how much of either can anyone really use? Just beyond this, as you say, there may be a space where something more opaque and perhaps more pointlessly malevolent is going on. If I were going to look for examples of opaque malevolence, though, I don’t know that I have to peek behind any curtains. There seem to be more than enough immediate examples of it to go around! And if I were going to piece together some sort of super-intelligent dark globalist cabal, I would probably select a different cast of characters, one that did not include Margaret Mead and Arthur Clarke and Aldous Huxley. But I think your point is that they are dangerous exactly because they widely admired and appear to be so innocuous. Richard Dawkins, on the other hand, I would be happy to put on any sort of a hit list.

Exceptions aside, I think that I get what you are saying. We are far more at risk from those who have somehow managed to successfully appropriate and rearrange the almost invisible substructures of our minds than we are from any external form of coercion. This has probably been true from the time of the first empires and bureaucracies. I think that it is the rule rather than the exception that the most successful form of colonization is internal. Get people to enthusiastically embrace the forces that oppress them, and there is only a minimal need to resort to force. The brilliance of this method can be everywhere seen in the sad spectacle or US politics. The treat of  career death or prison or physical violence is, of course, always there, just out of sight, in the background. I still don’t think that any of this necessarily demands any depth of intelligence or breath of ritual power on the part of the colonizers. To some extent, the process would seem to be an almost automatic one; wealth generates wealth and power tends to accumulate in smaller and smaller circles. Those with power want to hold on to it and those without it want to be a part of something larger than themselves. These are natural enough instincts, which are just as naturally perverted. Whatever the opaque malevolence that we might attribute to some person or group, my attitude and strategy remain the same. As the Roman playwright Terrence said, “Nothing human is alien to me.”

Contrary to what John Lamb Lash and some other contemporary theorists assert, when the Gnostics spoke of the hypnotic power of the Archons, I do not believe that they were referring to the actions of gray aliens from Zeta Reticuli or of blood drinking interdimensional reptilians or whatever; rather, they were pointing to the all too familiar political, economic, artistic, religious, and occult powers that have somehow managed to monopolize the foreground of our attention, who have caused us to believe that we are smaller than we are. (There is a good smallness, of course, of the sort that allows us to slip though the eye of a needle, as well as a bad smallness, which causes us to kiss the boots of those who do not have our best interests at heart.) In The Snare of Distance, I have tried to point to the space that exists between and beneath and within and around things.

All that we see will pass. The familiar will again become strange, and will then cease to exist all together. The current global empire—which is perhaps maintained by a web of conjurations—will inevitably fall, as has every previous one. “But ours is so much bigger!” some might argue. Unfortunately for the current empire and its henchmen and apologists and true devotees, great size is no protection, as has been proven by the Mastodon and the Tyrannosaurus Rex. The common adage “Time heals all wounds” is, of course, not especially reassuring, and, viewed from one angle, even silly. This is sort of like saying to a person suffering from an agonizing attack of appendicitis, “Don’t worry, you will soon be dead.” Viewed from a different angle, such a statement may indeed point to a meeting place in which all of our current problems will be redefined. It all depends, I guess, on what we think death is, and on how we imagine the space that will open up beyond it.

Continue reading on the "Infinite Conversations" forum at Metapsychosis:
Image: Anselm Keifer

Agonistic Cooperation as Mind Jazz: Ralph Ellison Vs. Amiri Baraka (as Reenacted by Greg Thomas and Greg Tate)

Brian George


In their debate at the Hiphop Archive and Research Institute, Greg Tate and Greg Thomas have attempted to correct history by staging an exchange of perspectives as it could and perhaps should have occurred. In their re-imagination of the Ellison/Baraka opposition, direct challenges alternate with playful taunts. These exchanges have the energy of a competition but the warmth and generosity of a collaboration. Such a paradoxical tension is perhaps similar to what happens in a jazz group, where the players must constantly push each other to take risks, if not to the breaking point, and where they must somehow be both competitive and telepathically attuned. Jazz trumpeter and critic Steve Provizer told me once, “People always underestimate the athletic side to jazz. The traditional attitude is 'Prove what you can do or get the hell off the stage.’” In these debates, Greg Thomas and Greg Tate do indeed prove that they are virtuosos of the affectionate provocation, the anti-gravitational riff, and the context-shifting aside.

Continue reading at Metapsychosis:

Image: Ramare Bearden, Autumn Lamp

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Snare of Distance and the Sunglasses of the Seer/ Part Two

If we are a storehouse for the “seeds of every form and the sprouts of every sort of life,” as Pico della Mirandola argues, who knows but that we might not scare ourselves? “The New Man is living amongst us now!” said Hitler, “He is here! Isn’t that enough for you? I will tell you a secret. I have seen the New Man. He is intrepid and cruel. Even I was afraid of him.” Once, we were not so easily impressed. We had not yet volunteered to be eaten by the gods, they to whom we had recklessly given birth. We were not afraid of giants, who burned as brightly as atomic bombs, nor of tiny beings with large eyes, who were skilled at creating simulacra. Our craniums were large, and open at the top, but we did not necessarily need large bodies to go with them. One size fit all. It was endlessly interactive. Mercury had attached its power to our ankles. We did not need wings! Few realize that the oceans fill the footprints that we left, that megaliths mark the vast multitude of our navels, or that the sky is filled to overflowing with our tears.

Much stupider than they think, Earth’s top one percent are nonetheless quite adept at playing games. Let us posit: that they rule by reactivating some antediluvian trauma, the fear of which has been bred into our bones, the records about which have been hidden in the coils of junk DNA, which they, and they alone, have somehow learned to read. Such feats of micromanagement! All data is then made to correspond. Not being actual prophets, of course, their reading of these records is hit or miss at best. “As you are figuring out the world,” they say, “we will have manufactured a new one, and then another one after that!” This does not mean that they are actually in charge. Like us, they are subject to whatever spells they cast, and, as the apparatus of the Great Year turns, they are swept along with the other 99 percent. No part can ever be taken from the whole, nor does the One increase when added to itself. We move as One, unconsciously, and pushed forward from behind.

Read the rest at Metapsychosis

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Snare of Distance and the Sunglasses of the Seer/ Part One


 Hi All,

After taking several years off to focus intensively on writing, I am just beginning to send work out again and will be posting a few things on this blog. Here is the beginning of "The Snare of Distance and the Sunglasses of the Seer/ Part One," which has just appeared in a terrific new cutting-edge journal called Metapsychosis. Part two should be coming out sometime later in the week.

In a comment on my essay “The Vanguard of a Perpetual Revolution,” Okantomi wrote, “I often feel like I can see what is happening in the world, as well as what is just about to happen, and what will almost certainly happen later on, and it’s like no one else sees what I am seeing. It’s eerie, shocking, and finally depressing.” People do have visions of the future, both individually and collectively. Quite often, these visions are troubling, but few bother to follow the implications of their vision to the end, let alone change their lives. One way or another, though, our visions have ways of making themselves felt, even if we do not register what it is we are seeing. The world is a kind of eyeball. There is no such thing as a “safe space.”

Such visions do not necessarily depend upon telepathy; they can be equally present in the automated workings of the culture, in the demographic analyses that drive the decisions of corporate boards. Hollywood blockbusters, for example—such as Star Wars, The Fountain, The Terminator, Blade Runner, Total Recall, Planet of the Apes, Avatar (and all of their various spinoffs)—strike me as a potent vehicles for contemporary mythmaking, whatever their variations in quality, whatever the motives or self-awareness of their directors. There are cues. There are occult knots. Our responses are overdetermined. Our hands freeze in mid-air as they reach for their absent weapons. Our lips form the first vowels of a chant that will atomize a whole city. As we stare into the distance, the ancient world resurfaces as a technological dream on the horizon. We remember the collapse of complex systems, the hierarchical clash between the rulers and the ruled, but we mix and match the specifics of the story. Our best efforts to solidify the Rorschach blot of the future only point us towards the enigma of our origins. To discover what we know, we must sometimes pause to observe what we create. Seized from afar, as by the magnetism of an almost nonexistent teacher, we are pulled by a current all too eager to instruct us. An unresolved agenda speaks to us from the screen. The screen also acts like an iron curtain, through which the bodies of the living may not pass.

Or, in a different mode, people give form to the future through their fears, by what they do not do as much as what they do, by their belle indifference when presented with a series of ultimatums. Our psyches are jagged. Whole periods have gone missing. As crises converge, our refusal to act is a testament to the scale of the coming upheaval. We finger the rigid outlines of our scars, as if they belonged to someone else. We shape the future by our under-the-skin sense of all of those things we know but go out of our way not to think about: that reserves of oil will almost certainly run out in our lifetimes, that the U.S. doesn’t manufacture much of anything anymore, and that there is not enough locally grown food to sustain most cities in a real emergency. There are many things that it seems better not to know. The future is one of the better places in which to store such unasked for knowledge.

It is always possible that the march of progress will indefinitely continue, that “someone will think of something,” that our way of life will require only a few small modifications, that windmills and solar cells will save us. As ancient souls, we know this is absurd. The problem is, of course, to separate and categorize these alternate versions of the future—in simplistic terms, to discriminate between the more false than true and the more true than false. We can see the details but somehow miss the pattern; we can see the pattern but somehow miss the details. To see clearly we must see from more than one location, from all of the 360 degrees of a circle, and then out beyond the 28 U-Turns of a labyrinth, there to access the ten-dimensional records of a sphere.