It's all around you, like smog. This train isn't bound for glory.
Background by Deak Ferrand, who pwnz.
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It is with a tear in my beer and a rocket in my pocket that I welcome The Maddening Horde. Aside from the persistent spammers, who don't count, this is my first troll. Thanks, Penrod / Sean! I love you, too.
"Atheists think that they are hardcore because they don't believe in God. But Buddhists don't even believe in people! - except in a notional or discursive sense, and excepting the personalists (who lost), and then there's the Pudgala section of the Adhidamma, but there, we are still talking fundamentally about concatetenations of dhammas over time, according to causal processes."
But that would've been a lot less snappy. Rhetoric is a bitch.
"Don't you know there's a war going on?" - 1960s commonplace
So you're all up in arms because the miiddle class is becoming poor? Or, to be candid, because it is becoming less middle-class?
I don't give a loose shit.
You didn't care about us, when we were the wretched, and you weren't. And if now perhaps we are not, but you are, you may expect us to return the favor. Enjoy growing the fuck up.
Meanwhile there is untold death and horror - but never on our soil. But the blood is often on our own hands, even if we have collectively agreed, post-9/11, etc., to never fully acknowledge the actual situation we are in. So we render the blood and the catastrophe invisible - or we agree to tell each other that it is invisible.
The actual situation is largely absent - conspicuously absent - not only from public discourse, but more terrorizingly, from our face-to-face interactions and even from our intimate conversations - and most likely, from our inward stream of consciousness.
Huge swaths, too, of this country have been destroyed - physically, ecologially, economically, and spiritually - in Louisiana, Florida, and in a sense, in Detroit. But overseas (always by sea, never by land!) entire languages are dying in a single battle. And antiquities have been lost - enire strata of civilization, gone. And endless death, cripplings, pain, cruelty of all kinds, and starvation.
And on a more selfish note, the ongoing putsch to remove as much of our civil liberties, constitutional protections, zones of relative privacy, and let's face it, scope for action, as is possible. In connection with which, let us observe in passing how far persuasive technology - applied memetics, if you will - has advanced. Further, at least, than is generally acknowleged, which isn't saying much, considering that it is not acknowledged at all, what with acknowledging it being the sort of thing with which it is concerned.
And yeah, there are no jobs, no housing (that's legal for use), no credit, no savings, and no safety net. (I knew a woaman who died from this, so don't tell me I don't understand the stakes of mere economic problems.) And of course the gummint refuses to protect us from the "private sector", or intervene against said on our behalf in any meaningful way soever.
And this is to say nothing of impending unrest, everywhere, due to Gutenberg-scale disruptions of established society throughout the world, (does anyone remember the Reformation? the Thirty Years' War?) escalating miltance on the left and right and across the religious spectrum as well, with massive unemployment to only get worse following troop discharges (soldiers are "employed" - the discharged are just that), to say nothing of automation, whose very purpose is to reduce employment... (Though I suppose a 25-hour work week would fix that, at least.) Or: zombie hordes of the unemployed, unwelfared, unhoused, unfed, and un-FEMA'd.
And all this is trivial in comparison to the paralyzing fact of the immanent - really, ongoing - collapse of the ecosystem, which is a fancy word for life in the universe as we know it. Already in some places we see actual total collapse, as around the Gulf of Mexico. (As the saying goes: "¡Pobre México! ¡Tan lejos de Dios y tan cerca de los Estados Unidos!" (Poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to the United States!)) And of course, there is a literal black cloud over central China, and the huge, dead Pacific Garbage Patch.
So - lifeboat scenarios anyone?
I don't know why I'm telling you this - some of you seem a little less cretinous than the Soylent Pinks, I suppose. Sorrry I'm not funny today. It occurs to me that perhaps that I reduce my popularity when I am fixated on impending doom, but at least I'll get to say "I told you so!" and everyone knows how much that makes everything better, which is to say not at all. But, hey, sorry to harsh your mellow, sister and brother robots.
To be honest, I am disappointed by the thought of Kim and Thurston going through the governmental procedure of marriage - much less the governmental procedure of divorce! It strikes me as the least punk-rawk way possible of managing one's relationships and romantic and sex lives. Bastard and proud, I guess. I am inclined to reject the marriage system. It enforces a certain lifestyle by selectively rewarding it. In this, it resembles tax breaks for churches, which do the same thing - and, I suppose, for the same reasons.
Fiction, myth, religion, faith, voluntary reality, ritual, and play.ï¿½ The stakes today are rather high.ï¿½
It pains me write of it in such terms.ï¿½ But I have engaged in a few voluntary realities. Five or six, if you count MUDs.ï¿½ (For the uninitiated, consider MUDs as being like Second Life or World of Warcraft, (depending on the MUD) but with only text as the medium.)ï¿½ In some of these, there was a religion in circulation, to the effect that (in world) the MUD was understood in a metaphysical sense to be a MUD, and for some sectarians, the world in which it was a MUD was also understood to be a MUD, which is rather profound, and they allowed also for more levels above that.ï¿½ When I say "in world" I mean that one might proseltyze for said cult in-character.ï¿½ I am not aware of anyone proseltyzing for this faith in this world, but I may consider doing so now.ï¿½ This was, I should mention, years before that concept was exploited rather cleverly by The Thirteenth Floor, which is the one that isn't Night City or The Matrix.ï¿½ (Or Total Recall, if you noticed the eye-bulging thing.)ï¿½ I think that this may be actually true, insofar as "culture" is a sort of rule- governed game.ï¿½ And, as one moves between differing social contexts, functional spaces (home, work, recreation, school, store, church), and subcultures (which exist in all these functional spaces), one operates under multiple sets of rules; and in some cases (professional politeness) outright lies - or, to be more precise, incarnated fictions.ï¿½
Years before, in late childhood, and into early adolescence - there was, first of all, XO Land - a world of my, shall we say discovery, that was a literal other world - plane of existence, you might say - which one could visit via subway.ï¿½ It was an realization of the world of Tic-Tac-Toe, populated with Xs and Os, with faces and appendages, (to say nothing of the occasional hat) who would be found, among, at later dates, additional letters, and the rare but notable mongoloid scribble.ï¿½ For some reason, I recall early on there being reporters, criminals, and some odd miscegenations that looked more or less like the word OK with minimal kerning.ï¿½ Commendably, these were regarded by all as providing a desirable variety to the population, and I recall no instance of discrimination against these, shall we say, characters - somehow, the idea didn't even occur to me.ï¿½ I feel OK about that.ï¿½ I do recall that the earliest episode in that world that I was aware of (having drawn an account of it), involved a letter O being shot by a letter X on a Tic-Tac-Toe grid. ï¿½ I think this may have actually been introduced to me by a baby sitter in the wholesome Varrio in which we lived.ï¿½ Nonetheless, it appears that XO Land got off on a rather gritty footing.ï¿½ I explored this with one other friend in the Third Grade and perhaps a little into the Fourth?ï¿½ Together, this got expanded to multiple worlds, with multiple subway stops.ï¿½ (I think the subway charmed me in those days as blimps do now - as supremely quaint and exotic.)ï¿½ Other means of transport were also added, and I recall taking an elevator behind the washing machines in the laundry room in our apartment complex, to George Washingtub Land, which the friend in question had apparently discovered on his own, and good for him.ï¿½ And after my initial friend and I parted ways, two later friends and I (under the influence, perhaps, of the Amber novels, which we all read enthusiastically) developed a knack for walking between worlds.ï¿½ At no point did any of us deviate from the party line that this was objectively real.ï¿½ That was the rule and yet the rule was never discussed, either, because how could it ever come up, supposing the rule is true?ï¿½
And this dovetailed with one friend's IIA, the Insane Imps of America - an organization of the insane by which the superiority of insanity over sanity was asserted as objective fact, the superior staus of IIA members (and Messmakers - our Managers, of which I was one) thereby assured.ï¿½ I believe we had a refinement to the effect that being out of our heads, we were effectively "over the hill", but moreso, and would ceremonially cross over multiple hills - there being an art to it insofar as one too many would be a bit too much inspiration.ï¿½ That all of these excursions involved no drug taking whatsoever I boldly assert here and now, for I didn't touch anything until college.ï¿½ Again, one can hardly disagree with the proposition that consensus sanity is clearly not what a dispassionate observer would call "healthy", so you figure it out.ï¿½ The fact that the IIA and the XO Land complex originated independently in our two prior lives and yet operated under such terms remains remarkable to me.ï¿½ Another, later friend and I took up a similar interest in a novel religion whose three dieities - Almatea, Symmetrus, and Psychus - and assorted symbolism still warm my heart - along with the the modified law / chaos emblem, the Monarcy symbol designed to dissent from the at that point nearly banal Anarchy symbol.ï¿½ And the opposition of Chastity, Purity and Chamber Music as against Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll.ï¿½ These were good days.ï¿½ A loved one relates to me having been a mermaid for a while, and I imagine those, too, were good days.
I wonder, too, sometimes, if Otherkin are playing on the same turf, naysayers being dismissed by us all as pitifully lacking in imagination, particularly with regard to the art of living.ï¿½ And perhaps, in a certain sense, religions are also playing this game, without necessarily being fully, articulably aware that this is what they are doing.ï¿½ But what is "Faith" but willful assertion by choice and not by evidence?ï¿½ Relgio - it is a binding together, as under an unspoken mutual oath:ï¿½ "Let us behave speak and reason together under the proposition that this is the case."ï¿½ -ï¿½ Or rather, that it were the case.ï¿½ It is a subjunctive orientation toward life, and as such, is perhaps forgivable.ï¿½ (In which case F.C.S.Shiller was right, and the Will to Believe is Will James after all.)ï¿½ But so is materialism - and upon an equal footing, I fear.ï¿½ (Pace Dawkins, who is, I concede, no dummy, but I fear perhaps not a top-flight philosopher.)ï¿½ And we do fear to relate that behaving with practical epistemic neutrality is pragmatically impossible.ï¿½ Regarding the voluntary elements of valuation, I have two books coming up on that, so let's just shelve them for now, written or not.
But I do feel terrible for having said anything - even obliquely - against the ongoing pageant.ï¿½ I especialy regret if someone not entitled to understand these ideas (because they got them from me, rather than getting them honestly, and simply being reminded of them by me; these are two very different classes of entities) gets it in their head to act on them without the discernment to do so with excellence.
ï¿½ One is smart enough to see what's going on, but not smart enough to do anything about it, but open to suggestions from geniuses, if any there be.ï¿½ But aren't geniuses just demons?ï¿½ And the rest of the world, possessed of these Spirits? - Or: engaged in play with them.