Monthly Archives: November 2010

Cultural Confusion -or- A Nation of Mutts

What is this creature we call an American?  First, he is a human being and as such a paradox.  He sticks out of nature, and yet, is hopelessly stuck in it.  He towers above nature and has awareness of his own splendid uniqueness, while at the same time, in the strangest and most repugnant way, he knows his ultimate destiny is to dumbly and blindly rot a few feet beneath the earth.  What we like to think of as the lower animals are spared this hideous contradiction.  Lacking a symbolic identity and its accompanying “self awareness” they move and act reflexively guided by their instincts.  Nameless faces in a world without time.

Philosophers, anthropologists and Darwinists have long understood that animals, in order to survive, have had to be protected by instinctual fear responses not only with respect to other animals, but to nature itself.  Reality and fear go together naturally.  The human infant is in an even more helpless and precarious position.  To assume that the fear response disappeared in such a sensitive and weak creature is folly.  Our ancestors who were the most realistic about their situation in nature had the highest chance of survival and as survivors passed their “realism” on to their offspring as a direct result of its survival value.  The result is man as we know him.  A hyper-anxious animal who invents reasons for anxiety even when there are none and obsesses on authentic reasons that do exist where ever they are to be found.

Humans, being group animals, out of necessity invented something called culture, quite by accident.  Initially it must have been nothing more than simple agreement on simple things.  As life grew more complicated more and more things had to be agreed upon for the group to maintain any degree of cohesion and functionality as a group.  Because it had survival value, like Topsy, it grew and grew to eventually encompass every aspect to human life and, in the end, came to be the primary identifying characteristic of any group of humans.

And there’s the rub!  Since mankind has always had and probably always will have a thousand questions for every certifiably correct answer available to him, something had to take place to bridge the enormous gap, complete the reality picture and dampen the inherent anxiety of not knowing.  Bullshit did that.  The agreed upon, revered, unquestioned and viciously defended bullshit we have come to know as culture.  The big lies and the little lies that every group agrees to pretend are undeniable truths.  All Gods, Goddesses, demons, religions, magic and “truths” grew and flourished from this soil and the fertile anxiety plagued mind of man.

Now all this was not only good, but essential for the survival of mankind in a hostile and unforgiving world.  A sentient being, after all, cannot proceed without a compass, at least of sorts, in a universe made up of only questions.  Culture, with all its faults and all its misunderstandings provided that compass and continues to do so to this day.

This brings us, at last, to the title of this essay.  “Cultural Confusion”… or “A Nation of Mutts”.  It confronts us with the questions that go unasked, largely, in a nation in the process of tearing itself apart.

If we understand the above and agree that man without culture is not and can never be man, it begs the question, how can multiculturalism breed anything but chaos?   How long can any sentient being pretend that his neighbor, with another compass pointing in a totally different direction than his, is anything but a profound and pernicious danger to everything he holds to not only be true, but holy?

The unfortunate, but entirely natural and utterly predictable answer is every where we care to look.  When truths are no longer universal, and agreed upon, existential anxiety begins to bubble up from the depths of man’s inherent, but carefully hidden, helplessness in the face of unforgiving nature.  He is forced to seek cover in the only place he knows, his culture, now reduced to a sub-culture in a sea of other sub-cultures.  Since a culture, capable of being questioned, no longer serves its function as an anxiety reduction system he stops questioning his culture, his lies, and becomes more and more hostile to those that dare to.  To pretend that this is not the case with America today is to deny the obvious.

What this means is, unfortunately, equally obvious.  Since neither a family, group, nation nor empire can long endure without sharing, in the most intimate and unquestioned ways, a system of anxiety reducing lies humans call culture… the center cannot hold.  It will not hold.

One of three things will take place.

1.  It will collapse into chaos and barbarism.

2.  It will, in the nick of time, invent a new and improved set of lies to teach its children and hold chaos at bay.

3.  It will surrender itself to another more powerful and better functioning culture.

What it will not do, what it cannot do, is endure in its present state of adversarial multiculturalism.  In the face of this philosophical and anthropological reality the only sensible advice that readily comes to mind is…. Hang on to your hat!

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Homo Suggestibilis

THAT’S US BABY!

     We are the ape with the built in ability to “construct” a reality that best suits our needs at the time…  Evidence, proof, logic and other peoples opinions BE DAMNED!  All are totally irrelevant in the face of mankind’s innate suggestibility.  Culture is the medium by which suggestibility is channeled or directed down “acceptable” paths.   Directing suggestibility is the primary function of culture.

     Lets examine three American cities with regard to their culture and that local cultures ability to direct suggestibility and, as a result, what is considered real in that particular location.

In Salt Lake City, Utah, no one would be considered insane for believing that a magical person named Jesus visited America (after he was executed in what is now the Middle East) and spoke to the local inhabitants.  It would likewise not be considered odd for a person to believe that, after death, one would, if they conducted themselves appropriately while alive, spend eternity in the sky with their entire family by their side.  Furthermore, wearing underpants marked with secret signs and symbols would, in Salt Lake City, be considered a very wise move if one wanted to ward off demons and their influence.

In Boston it would not be considered insane to believe that the use of birth control would result in the user spending eternity in a place of torture and torment…unless said usage was appropriately confessed to a qualified celibate man sitting, in the dark, within a wooden box for the purpose of hearing such confessions.

In Lynchburg Virginia it is not considered insane to claim the earth to be but 6000 years old and our human ancestors to have ridden upon the backs of brontosauruses and stegosauruses.  It is further considered well within the realm of sanity to expect righteous people to disappear into the sky, leaving their dentures and eye glasses behind, at any moment.

     Since all three of these locations are within the boundaries of America and all three conflict rather wildly with each other…  what is a rational person to make of this?  Since the three examples given do not even begin to scratch the surface of the wildly conflicting paranormal belief systems that blanket and infect America we are want to ask…  How, and for how long can such bedlam be considered governable?

     “How many times have we heard people say they want to “find them self”or allude to the desire to be “true to themselves”?  Such talk is pure folly for all we can ever find is culture.  Each of us is destined to become culture because, as Homo Suggestibilis, we are not intended to escape.  Culture and its primary product, paranormal belief, is, or was, good for us.

     Culture is the vehicle of normal insanity and counter-intelligence.  It is the Central Bank, if you will, of “suggestion” that we draw from to transform chaos and terrifying truths into order and soothing untruths.  Culture manufactures the stupidity we desperately need and crave to function in this world.

     Culture is the “invention” of a creature in need of something to absorb the chaos and overwhelming mystery of the universe it finds itself imprisoned within.  As such, culture must be understood in the light and context of our fundamentally theological natures.  It is an invention of our paranormal belief imperative and entirely…. at its service.”

[As Christopher Dawson states]…  “While culture is an organized way of life, it is never conceived as a purely man-made order…  it is founded on a religious law of life, and this law in turn depends on non-human powers toward which man looks with hope and fear, powers which can be known in some fashion but which remain essentially mysterious, since they are superhuman and supernatural.”

     What, one must ask, can be the long term survival chances of such a creature in a world rapidly becoming overpopulated and running out of natural resources?  What…indeed?

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Yeats

     I’m in a rather pensive mood right now.  I can explain it.  It was hot as hell this morning in Central Virginia and the grass needed cutting and garden weeds needed pulling.  I did that.  Then, here is where the “mood” thing comes in, I vacuumed the pool.  Now, I don’t use a pole with a vacuum head on the end.  I strap on a weight-belt and a mask and snorkel, grab the hose and head to the bottom.  It takes a little over an hour.  It provides a kind of “anaerobic” exercise with a lot of breath holding.  The essential added benefit is the ocular-cardiac effect.  It’s how our mammal cousins in the sea who dive deep for a living stay down for so long.  Put a mammal’s head underwater and the water pressure on the eyes slows the heart.  Having done this for decades and despite my age and a lifetime of respiratory abuse, I can still, with no difficulty, stay down as long as an average south pacific pearl diver.  It the end of an hour covering every inch of pool bottom with due diligence, sucking up dead bugs and dirt, I emerge with a greater feeling of well-being than I ever got from any, traditional, meditation technique.  I think I invented it.  Even if I didn’t I’ll take the credit.  So, I got that going for me.

     It’s what happens in my head while I am down there that this is about.  It’s mindless work.  The thoughts take flight, or fin if you like and a degree of timelessness sets it.  It’s time spent out of time.

     This morning I ran into Yeats about two feet to the left of the main drain.  I had been thinking how fucked up the world is.  More people starving than at any time in mankind’s history.  A dominant economic model predicated upon producing and selling and sending to the landfill as much plastic garbage as humanly possible… as fast as possible.  A multi-cultural planet just discovering that if someone doesn’t share your God, your magic and the cultural bullshit you use to construct reality they ARE, by definition, destined to get under your skin.  Because they exist they challenge your carefully constructed comfort.  They are the “other” you read and hear about that are wrong.  Simply by “being” they are saying… “You are wrong”.

     Yeats was waiting for me there with this:

_________________________________________

TURNING and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

_____________________________________________

I am saddened to report that a fatality had apparently taken place some time during the night.  Beneath the solar cover I discovered the limp remains of a mole.  I knew him well.  For months I had played the role of Elmer Fudd and he the part of the laughing subterranean scamp tunneling at lightening speed between my legs and in corkscrewing circles inches beneath my manicured lawn.  The word “mole” begins with a to remind you that they eat meat.  Voles, with a V, eat vegetable matter.  That’s how you tell the difference.

     I had played the part of Bill Murray in CADDYSHACK for so long that I had, in spite of the damage caused, grown to respect the little guy.  I used no chemicals to deter his dining.  I just crushed his tunnels hoping he would move on.  Some mornings I actually thought he was trying to spell something out on my lawn.  I never figured out what though.

     In a way, it was war.  So, I gave him a full military send off.  I launched him into space on the end of my skimmer pole.  He flew high into the sun in the direction of my neighbors roof.  My neighbor claims to be a  Minister of some kind and I don’t like the looks of him at all.  His wife is a fat condescending bitch and he appears to be a ninny.  None of the neighbors can stand either of them.  The rest of us get along like peas in a pod.

     Not knowing the religious beliefs of the mole, I gave my neighbor an opportunity to practice what he preaches and show me the light.  What better place to be “close to GOD” can there possibly be than Up on the Ministers roof?  

     I await a miracle.  So far… nothing.

   

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It takes a Hitler?

 

George Santayana once said:

“Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

I think that is mostly crap.  I think that there are only so many plays in the play book that work… and the coaches, spectators and players all know it.  Repeats are a given in the game of governing man.  ”Retentiveness”, never being 20/20, is always colored by the what ifs and the hope that Springs Eternal within the breast of every budding megalomaniac.

     Somewhere, out there in this vast and proud land of ours, you would be wise to realize, the “Candidates” are thinking and making their plans.

 I went to bed early last night, troubled in mind with the plight of America.  My nation and home to eight generations of my progenitors was unraveling and becoming as economically nonviable as it was culturally ungovernable.  As I drifted, uncomfortably, into a state of immobility and altered consciousness I was transported into a new and proudly different America.

     My vision was never entirely clear, but, the gist of the reality was that America had become an “Economo-Theocratic Totalitarian State.  There were pictures of what appeared to be Mitt Romney everywhere.  It wasn’t until later that I learned, in bits and pieces, how it all came to pass.  How information technology and Mass-Media, under the control of international Mormon financial trusts and armed with the science of social engineering tamed the cultural mutt that America had become.

     In the early fall of 2011, unemployment rates above 20% and China’s announcement that they would, henceforth, no longer be bankrolling America precipitated a financial collapse the government was helpless to contain.  In panic, mobs of gun toting citizens looted grocery stores and delivery trucks.  The streets of America hemorrhaged with the blood of its citizens.  Local authorities were helpless to restore order.  It was then that the earthquake hit San Francisco with the largest one day loss of life in modern history.

     It was a day that had been foretold.  One group and one group alone had prepared by stockpiling one years worth of foodstuffs for their extended families.  One group had planned and infiltrated the executive offices and Board Rooms of key media, energy, software, transportation and computer manufacturing corporations. David Neeleman,  CEO of JetBlue,  Stewart Nelson of Novell Technology,  James Peterson CEO, Microsemi Corp. (military components),  Kevin B. Rollins former CEO, Dell Computer,  Brent Scowcroft (former National Security Advisor),  L.E. Simmons, Chairman Oil States International (a leading provider of specialty products and services to oil and gas drilling and production companies throughout the world.)…

One group alone was prepared.  They had been preparing for decades.  They were The Mormons.

 Tales and stories of “The Dark Months” that followed the collapse of American Civilization were known to all.  The Holy Video of Jesus Christ, hand delivering the Golden Tablets with “New” Commandments for God’s Children on Earth to the Elder Counsel in Salt Lake City played continuously on television for weeks.  Miracles occurred daily and were extensively investigated and reported upon by Mormon controlled media outlets.  The day of the Church of Latter-Day Saints had come to pass.  America’s only home grown brand of Christianity,  with millions of youthful operatives called “Missionaries” already in the field, restored order by distributing food and proclaiming “The Beginning Times” .  Jesus had returned.  His return had signified a new beginning for mankind and a new dawn for America.   Millions, drunk on religion, flocked to the Mormon fold and were absorbed.  It was then that the Elders announced who God had chosen to lead His people to prosperity undreamed of and everlasting.

As in all dreams, this one was convoluted, twisted and didn’t always make sense.  I remember it now as flashes of insight and fragments of scenes I witnessed or took part in myself.  The burning of the beauty parlors and the open condemnation of all things judged to be unmanly or unwomanly.  The news reports that only Mormons escaped the Divine devastation of San Francisco unscathed.  Multitudes of humanity dressed alike.  Men in dark dress slacks, white shirts and dark ties.  Women in long skirts with long braids down their back and the reintroduction of plural marriage for corporate CEOs and Military commanders.

My head swam.  The endless parades of “Saints” (missionaries) and “Heros” (military personnel) and the incessant blaring of old Donny & Marie Osmond records from loud speakers made concentration impossible.  Everyone smiled.  Everyone went to church.  Everyone worked where the church assigned them and all were fed through the beneficence of The Church of Latter-Day Saints.  Not to be “of the Church” was not to partake of the “New Beginning”.  Not to be “of the Church” and its teachings and its leadership was to sabotage God’s plan.  Not to be “of the Church” was, sooner rather than later, not to be.

I remember running and running, with hot fear rising in my throat, from smiling pictures of Mitt Romney.  On every TV, on every billboard, on posters pasted to flat surfaces everywhere it was Mitt.. MITT… MITT!  I had just heard the stories of the camps where homosexuals, coffee & tea drinkers, unwed mothers and those found in possession of Grateful Dead records were being detained for re-education.

 My lungs were on fire.  I had just escaped a gang of identically dressed missionaries who had been tailing me all day.  I stood beneath a huge sign, on a hilltop outside Los Angeles.  With no memory of how I had begun, or why, I found myself drawing a black Hitler mustache on a poster of Mitt Romney affixed to one of the supports of the giant white letters that loomed above me.  It was at that moment that I felt my pants yanked down around my knees.  I heard the youthful voice proclaim…   “Just as we thought!  NO magic Mormon underpants!  AND COMMITTING BLASPHEMY!  We must bring him to the Elders of the Church immediately.  ”Mitt preserve us.”  Said the one and all others followed suit.  

As they dragged me down the mountain to a waiting Church van with red, white and blue lights blinking on top, I caught my first glimpse of the sign on the mountain from far enough away to make out its meaning.   

 It read  [HOLLYWOOD].  The once palatial homes that made up the neighborhood where the Church van was idling in wait had been looted and most had been burned.  The van door slammed.  I was told to pray.  

  I awoke in my own bed with my heart racing and in a cold sweat.  My hands were trembling.  There were black magic marker stains all over my fingers.

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EASTER ISLAND

 

  I feel like I’m living on Easter Island.

     You can think of it as Easter Island Earth if you like.  That’s how I am beginning to see it anyway.

     About 900AD Polynesian peoples settled Easter Island in wooden sailing vessels loaded down with pigs and chickens and plants for food crops.  When they first landed nobody was home.  The island was covered with tall trees, palms and woody shrubbery.  They moved right in.

     Once land had been cleared for crops and people felt “settled in” one of the first orders of business was constructing a religion.  Establishing an orthodoxy, a reality scheme to explain life and provide for ordering answers to the big questions like, “What happens to us when we are dead?”

     For reasons we can only speculate upon the Easter Island folks settled on a “Cult” of erecting huge stone statues along the shore facing out to sea.  Nobody knows why.  But the “how” is instructive.  As the population grew the manpower to carve, transport and erect bigger and bigger statues reached a zenith.  More and more people were employed and more and more trees were cut down to transport the huge stone statues.  One day they cut down the last tree.

     I’m speculating that some time before the last tree was cut down somebody formed the Easter Island Green Party.  I’m willing to bet that its members saw themselves as “Progressive” and talked about what was going to happen when they didn’t have wood anymore. No wood to cook with, or,  make boats out of to go fishing and visit their wives families, on other islands, for the major holidays.

     The Conservatives on Easter Island at the time were, as always, aligned with the “religious” in the belief that their Founding Fathers, the guys who set up life on the island in the first place, had the right idea… and it should be followed because it worked.  The Priests were right there behind them in that belief.  They saw no reason to change the way things were being done.  Jobs were important.  If people didn’t head off to the quarry to carve statues or get in line to yank them miles to the shore every day…  what the hell would they do?

     To cut a long story short, the Conservatives won.  The last tree was cut down.  The Green Party was defeated and, as it always seems to happen, the population realized all too late that they were screwed.

     When the ecology failed the religion that depended upon it failed too.  The Conservatives blamed the Green Party for disrespecting the old ways and causing the Gods to frown upon the Easter Islanders.  The members of the Green Party said, “What the hell are you blaming us for?  We TOLD you this was going to happen.”

     In the end, having nothing else to do, the people did what people always do when faced with an unfixable dilemma.  They scapegoated, turned on each other and in that age old human tradition known as, “It’s every man for himself”they tore each other apart.  Since there were, at this time, more Conservatives than Greens…  (humans can be counted upon to become more “religious” in times of great stress)  The Greens became known as food.  When what was left of the Conservatives had eaten what was left of the Greens, things got REALLY conservative and they ate the “bad people” whom the Priests were more than happy to point out.  After the population had plummeted and the people remaining had adapted to a diet of bad people meat, fish caught off the beach and whatever else they could scrounge from the surface of an entirely grass covered island they were visited by Europeans who, operating under an entirely different set of religious beliefs, presented them with the gifts of slavery, Jesus Christ and smallpox.

       There is nothing much left on Easter Island today.  Even the Conservatives are long gone.  Tourists come to marvel at how a highly successful civilization could have been composed of people who were so abysmally stupid.   When they ask the pathetic few residents who still live there what they think happened… they really don’t have an answer.  They just shrug their shoulders and hope for a nice tip.

     Can mankind learn something from this?  Can Americans draw a lesson from what happened to the Easter Islanders, who failed to pay attention to a degrading environment?  I don’t think so.  That’s why I’m feeling a bit like an Easter Islander myself lately.

     That’s the end of my story…  and now you know two things.

1.  Why I feel like I do.

2.  Why Conservative parents the world over can be counted upon to instruct their children to…  “Eat your Greens”.

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