11-16-17 Philosophy Through Family (In Praise of Patriarchy)

 

A Musical Accompaniment

I love and hate mankind in portions which may seem unhealthy. That’s the thing, they’ve made the basic human experience abnormal. Normal activity, inexplicable wave like emotions and experiences, which prompt change and growth,  have become negative attributes. Disruption is the critical marker, but then everything is disruptive, isn’t it? The empty fuel tank light, the nutrient deficient belly after dinner, traffic, red lights, bosses, children.

Parenting is the template to understand everything, Nature, God, whatever you want to call it. It answers all wandering philosophical questions, most importantly God’s alleged apathy. It’s not that nature doesn’t care about us, it’s that we are evolving life forms, who begin life dependent, but must be wired to separate from this life-source and function “independently” and keep the goddam wheels on the thing. I guess, cause that’s the problem, there is an element of illusion in that, limits on free choice, limits on our true independence.

Male and female, and they are real things, provide the solution to the paradox. The positive and the negative give balance to the story. Comedy and Tragedy. Adults are rounded out, settled down through parenting. Patience. Principles. Purpose. These are skills you have to have for Nature to flower and flourish.

There is so much illness and insanity in our culture, you can’t help but analyze some of the basics things, food, sex, employment, and recognize these are the problem areas. As a Father, it seems only right that I view these things through often critical lens. And frankly, when I take that position, it immediately draws you into conflict with the world. Power. Patriarchy. Pride. Potential. Dangerous, possibly prohibited words these days.

It’s easy and right to slip into an US vs. Them mentality though, which objectively isn’t historically the best stuff, but frankly in the small social scale is fundamental.

You should hold your family above others. Or even more yourself above the general thing. I remember that demented thought experiment (that’s basically the best of philosophy, imagine nightmare scenarios and make deductions from them) presented in some college ethic course, imagine you’re on the Titanic, shit goes down, and everyone’s drowning, you see your one kid floating away one direction, but there are like twelve other kids close by, drowning on a bit of wardrobe, who you could save immediately, but then your own kid’s gets a seat in Davy Jones’ locker. What do you do?

No question for me. I’m going for my kid. And curse the boat builder and god itself as I did it, and forever. But it can’t be any other way and it isn’t. More or less we all recognize, there’s nothing we can really do about “it”, is there? What’s worse, this problem is what has society at large in the tank. And it’s because from some quarters (rich and familial) has come the argument of over-population, and the value and pleasure in narcissistic mores of life. Which in reality amounts to shitty television, shitty food, and jerking off. But these apparently are enough, until inevitably they’re not, and so we try to drag the old crusty, models, the skeletons now, out of the heap in the backyard, but they don’t stand right, and we don’t have the tools, nor skills to build them again. Shit…can someone get a six-pack, maybe stop at Mcdonalds, maybe pick Grandpa up from the home, he loves tinkering with this shit….

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The Man with the Golden Gun-Ian Fleming

Sir James Molony had said that his memory would be sluggish for a while. The ECT treatment at The Park, a discreet so-called ‘convalescent home’ in a vast mansion in Kent, had been fierce. Twenty-four bashes at his brain from the black box in thirty days. After it was over, Sir James had confessed that, if he had been practising in America, he wouldn’t have been allowed to administer more than eighteen. At first, Bond had been terrified at the sight of the box and of the two cathodes that would be cupped to each temple. He had heard that people undergoing shock treatment had to be strapped down, that their jerking, twitching bodies, impelled by the volts, often hurtled off the operating-table. But that, it seemed, was old hat. Now there was the longed-for needle with the pentothol, and Sir James said there was no movement of the body when the current flashed through except a slight twitching of the eyelids. (044)

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This Side of Paradise-F. Scott Fitzgerald

“No, its isn’t silly. It’s quite plausible. If you’d gone to college you’d have been struck by the fact that the men there would work twice s hard for any one of a hundred petty honors as those other men did who were earning their way through.”
“Kids–child’s play!” scoffed his antagonist.
“Not by a darned sight–unless we’re all children. Did you ever see a grown man when he’s trying for a secret society–or a rising family whose name is up at some club? They’ll jump when they hear the sound of the word. The idea that to make a man work you’ve got to hold gold in front of his eyes is a growth, not an axiom. We’ve done that for so long that we’ve forgotten there’s any other way. We’ve made a world where that’s necessary. Let me tell you”–Amory became empathic–“if there were ten men insured against either wealth or starvation, and offered a green ribbon for five hours’ work a day and a blue ribbon for ten hours’ work a day, nine out of ten of them would be trying for the blue ribbon. That competitive instinct only wants a badge. If the side of their house is the badge they’ll sweat their heads off for that. If it’s only a blue ribbon, I damn near believe they’ll work just as hard. They have in other ages.”
“I don’t agree with you.”
“I know it,” said Amory nodding sadly. “It doesn’t matter any more though. I think these people are going to come and take what they want pretty soon.”(312)

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This Side of Paradise-F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Well, my first point is that through a mixture of conditions of which the family is the first, there are these two sorts of brains. One sort takes human nature as it finds it, uses its its timidity, its weakness, and its strength for its own ends. Opposed is the man who, being spiritually unmarried, continually seeks for new systems that will control or counteract human nature. His problem is harder. It is not life that’s complicated, it’s the struggle to guide and control life. That is his struggle. He is a part of progress–the spiritually married man is not.”
The big man produced three big cigars, and proffered them on his huge palm. The little man took one, Amory shook his head and reached for a cigarette.
“Go on talking,” said the big man. “I’ve been wanting to hear one of you fellows.” (310)

11-3-17 Deep Space Meditations on The Shift, Bring a Flotation Device (On Temporal-Spatial Distortions, The Mandela Effects, The Meaner Universe, Magical Thinking)

 

Graffiti_in_Shoreditch,_London_-_Time_Machine_by_Paul_Don_Smith_(9425007440)

 

It was approximately a year ago, that I got the first palpable flood of intuitive confirmation of The Shift. More specifically it was the “new” Zapruder film which to me was mind blowing evidence of a theory I had been researching, the so-called Mandela Effect. It’s called Mandela Effect because a number of people have a distinct memory of the Africa Civil Right leader Nelson Mandela having died in prison. I did not have that memory. I had read his autobiography Long Walk To Freedom, which title alone had told me, he made it out.

Forgive the digression, but I got an amusing personal anecdote on a Mandela book. During college I had tried to find a job that was more in line with my life goals, I had actually just recently read Long Walk to Freedom, and I decided to try to find some sort of political employment. This lead me to a group called Iowan Citizen Action Network, ICAN for short, punchy use. I had never worked in a call center before this, or since. But the basic deal was they give you a script, and a roll of numbers to dial, some of those number are from people who donated in the past, some are just numbers of people registered somewhere, sometime. New assholes are given crappy numbers to call, and the inside group gets the good numbers to call. I don’t think I made it through two shifts.

I have zero tolerance for that type of nonsense. Harassing old people for their social security, for supposed, necessary changes in government laws and regulations, that have what ultimate overall effect, who knows? I recall we were calling about a particular bill which would put limits on Predatory Loans, like Check Into Cash places. The thing was though the specific legislation had already been passed on, this was just openly admitted.  A dead line, so now we were just using it for a front issue.

But there was something just so fundamentally awful, sitting there like that, calling up, saying the script. One guy effectively argued that he didn’t give a damn about dummies getting exploited by modern day loan sharks, and I couldn’t really tell him why his free choice perspective was necessarily wrong.

Anyway, like some many times before,  I just sat down on it for a moment. Took the headset off. The Head Ponytail guy came to me, told me to keep calling, had to keep calling, dialing,  that was thing. That was the job, phone ringing in the ear all the time, no matter what.

Some dusty, wrinkled foot scrapping across the carpet hoping its one of their Grand babies, but nope its me asking for a couple bucks. Guy tells me to get back on the shovel, I say no thanks I’ve had enough. Please come to the office. Great.

In office, now he’s trying to resell me. Asks why I wanted THIS job, probably looking to promote me, now that I’ve shown a bit of grit, I give some rap about wanting to be involved, thinking things are messed up, wanting a change. He asks me about inspiration, or a figure that I respect or whatever, and I had just read that book Long Walk to Freedom, so that’s what came up. And I remember him looking at me like duh, see fella, you proved my point perfectly. Nelson had to go thru the shit, so shouldn’t I go thru the shit, right now?

I told him yeah sure, but there’s different types of shit, and I don’t think Nelson would be into this sort of thing. He looked at me like I was dumb, and I probably am. Simple and stubborn. Yessir. I walked out after that meeting. Remember the rest of the workers following me out somehow, Ponytail must have let them have a break, but several of them wanted to exchange information with me, mentioned other groups I could get involved with. Sure, sure, I said, but that was it for me. Wasn’t my type of work at all, then and now, I would rather do something real, with my hands, something actually produced, then any sort of begging, though I am a Stay-At-Home Parent, so a certain amount of begging is perquisite in the end, i.e. the stone that the builder refuses, PSALM 118:22.

None the less, Mandela Effect examples have become dis-comfortingly plentiful. Several of the ones that make my skin crawl are, Queen’s We Are The Champions, doesn’t end with lovingly resolving “Of the World”, but now just sort of trails off, the Famous Line from Sleeping Beauty is not “Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest…” but is “Magic Mirror on the wall…”, in the Bible, Isaiah 11:6 now says “the wolf shall lay with lamb” when previously it had always been “the Lion shall lay down with the Lamb”, or the Sally Field shift from her gushing, “You like me, you really like me” to the now stunted “Right now, you like me, you really really like me”, or the famous line from Starwars “Luke, I am you’re Father” is never said and then the Zapruder film.

Now any number of these can be written off as remembering failures, but the ones I have listed gave me extra pause, because there is for me that distinct certainty of remembering all these the previous way. The Sally Fields one was a prehistoric meme, parodied on countless shows like Saturday Night Live, In Living Color and MadTV. The Wolf and Lamb, I recall the visual iconography I’ve grown up around, always depicting a kingly lion’s mane with a velvety kneed lamb. Queen! I would bet my life the song always trailed off, dat dat dat, of the world. But then the Zapruder film, I can go right back to that day a year ago, watching it at the Boyd St house. Everything else that was going on with the crazy election, Trump and Clinton, and my own percolating major decision and change, all that existential cross-roads anxiety, like two parallel future hung in the balance. And I hit that thread that said the Zapruder film had changed, and watched the new clip,  the whole universe vibrated on its ontological axis.

 

The Zapruder film is a well-known historical document, a visual recording of the assassination of President Kennedy, shot by one Russian Jewish immigrant, garment worker from Manhattan, Dallas transplanted, 33 degree Scottish Rite Free-Mason, Abraham Zapruder. The film as it currently exists shocks me. I can’t believe what I am seeing. If you would have asked me to describe the film before. I would have told you it was black and white, shot on an old 8millimeter camera, shaky, spotty, the dustiness of the old film, it showed four people in the long coffin-like white? convertible, traveling down the road in Dallas, out of crowd filled walkways of Dealey Plaza. The Kennedys are in the back, Govenor Conally sits shotgun, in front of JFK and there’s a driver. It’s a shorter, an enhanced brevity, because of its subject, a moment gone by in a flash. A murder in the public square, history and reality on the crucible.

My first encounter with it was probably through the JFK film by Oliver Stone which came out in 1991. Later as my interest in these things grew, and with the resource of the internet, I’ve taken in all sort of media and information on the subject. Objectively, I have probably spent time more researching all this stuff then the average person. And, if I had been on a game show and was asked how many people were in JFKs car when he was assassinated, I would have taken a sigh of relief and answered without thinking, four. I can remember Kevin Costner so vividly, chopping up that grainy black and white Zapruder film, back and to the left, back and to the left, over and over.

What is the Zapruder film today? First, its in stunning, vivid technicolor. I couldn’t believe that, watching it a year ago. Had to be enhanced, updated, nope, high definition glossy resolution. It doesn’t make sense. Why does it look so clean? And then what? Six people in the black car? A whole middle seat and partition? But that doesn’t make sense? What about the magic bullet and all that? And then the terrifying moment, somehow more vulgar, and graphic then before, it’s like watching a whole new imagined version of the scene, maybe set for the big-screen. I can’t make sense of what I’m watching. This isn’t what happened. I remember I sent a bunch of texts that day, wife, mom, best buddy, hey no big deal, random question, but if you have to say gut level quick response, how many people rode with Kennedy that day in Dallas total, what would you guess? Fours, all around.

Now what do you do. That’s the look I get from my wife at this moment. I spent some time on the Mandela Effect, studying what others were saying, which is a lot suprisingly. It’s not a bunch of cranks speculating about it either. Its all wrapped up with CERN and other advanced technologies, computers, artificial intelligence, the internet itself. The flexibility, relativity of time, apparently, an infant source of quantum energy and intelligence sitting there on the other side waiting. A bunch of Science Fiction type sounding nonsense that is impossible to understand or believe, yet seems to smack of the truth. What the hell are they doing smashing atoms, and trying to surpass the speed of light and what ups with the funky rituals and symbols, and it was “of the world” goddammit!

 

 

I recognize and understand terms like confirmation bias, the idea that once you have a theory you’ll start subconsciously selecting information which supports your theory and ignore data that contradicts it. Rest assured, I read both sides of the issue, believers and debunkers. Last year though there was so much going on, and it was all very real. Now, the rest of this is even harder to articulate, but I started seeing a shift in the Goodness of the world itself, like slowly it feels like things are getting harder, meaner, darker.

Ugly, evil behavior has always been going on, but things have gotten sort of horror movie level as of late. For a decade plus, I have been an enthusiastic information gatherer, and I think this gives me an informed opinion on the subject, and things are much darker now then they were in the past. And its not just the ugliness of the news stories, its the reactions and acceptance of the general people, the fact that they’re used to it. And many would argue, and I would agree, that a lot of this is just the world itself, that things have gotten kind of mean and dark, with time. But I would argue, there’s an extra element in it, an abrupt shift to a meaner world.

 

 

I hate to keep using fictional examples, but they work if you’re following. I had gotten hooked on this TV series Fringe, which is a rare thing for me. I can’t usually get into television series. But this one had sort a spooky, SCI-FI vibe and story lines, and I was blown away by the parallels to our own world, or rather how the show seemed to be written by the same people, that were exploring the possibilities in the real world. Not to say they are the same, obviously not, but that everyone must be sipping from the same pool, material or otherwise. And I suspect its goes that deep, into what they call the collective unconscious, the ripples in the history emerge from the subconscious, and powers-that-be seek to manipulate and anticipate these matters, but to what level of efficacy, I have no idea.

There was something going on the last year, one of those fork in the road moments. I felt so much anxiety, with the election and the world. How to me everyone was being played, duped, manipulated. The self-censoring everyone has to do in this hot political climate. It was part of the reason for the move, a huge part. This Noah, prophetic like intuition that it was time to flee a sinking ship, time to zag. And I know this sounds crazy, magical thinking, and narcissistic, but I felt our decision to move averted some impending apocalypse, personal or worldly, I can quite distinguish, and its hard to disprove something like that, something so sollipistic, because Trump won and the world did keep moving as its apt to do. But as the year went on, it seemed to get meaner. I’ve felt this dynamic at play in my life, this feeling that personally, in my own space I could be happy, satisfied with the world, but that danger, pitfalls were waiting on the shadowing fringes of the world. No, not just waiting, hunting me, us.

And there has been some sort of uptick in the evil in the last year, I would argue. The city I left had a string of violent murders. Numerous national stories of violence and barbarity that just seemed to have an extra little something that just made me sick to my stomach. I won’t list them here, though I could, but the truth is I know you could probably make the list yourself, and its sort of beyond the point. Either you see it or you don’t.

I think it all gets twisted up with this theme, ideas that only get flushed out in Science Fiction. Specifically I’m thinking of Issac Asimov’s book The End of Eternity, and it applies to so much of human imagination and invention, the idea that if it can be done, it has been done. (BTW Field of Dreams is not “If you build it, they will come,” its “if you build it, HE will come,” which doesn’t really make sense because its a whole team of ball players, and the community show up.  Even more, note how all the Mandela Effects are slight degenerations.) Specifically, with Time Travel, that if it is possible, then it is already done, because the persons in the future who discovered it, would be moving through time already, and that this would have produced these butterfly Mandela effects, small ripples and distortion in the whole thing, the great chain of being. And that as we advance towards this moment, we will accelerate in our resonance with it, speeding up the process, like one great Marco Polo game through time. And this is what that whole Age of Aquarius moment is about, this great pouring out of time, the dissolution of meaning and certainty. These are the terms we use today more frequently today to capture the ethic, truth of thing, all watery terms, flow, progress, fluidity.

Years ago I started an essay titled “The Thin Line Between Fact & Fiction”, the general idea was that we had reached a cultural, societal, tipping point where people spent more time in artificial/fictional realities then the “real world”, and that with this change, truth itself would become quite slippery, that Art and the Myth was now in control, so holy shit, watch out. I think that remains my point today. No one is concerned with “how the sausage” is made, yet more and more there is the inclination to make it yourself.  In George Orwell’s 1984 the main character works at a job where he scripts the news, clipping and changing the details. The language and propaganda programs are effective at shaping the narrative, to the point where they can say anything is true or false.  And no one can tell the truth. And though the material of this change is now digital, the realization of it back then makes Orwell prophetic, or inspired. Truth has become editable.

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Beautifuldamned

 

This Side of Paradise-F. Scott Fitzgerald

Never before in his life had Amory considered poor people. He thought cynically how completely he was lacking all human sympathy. O. Henry had found in these people romance, pathos, love, hate–Amory saw only coarseness, physical filth, and stupidity. He made no self-accusation: never any more did he reproach himself for feelings that were natural and sincere. He accepted all his reactions as a part of him, unchangeable, unmoral. This problem of poverty transformed, magnified, attached to some grander, more dignified attitude might some day even be his problem; at present it roused only his profound distaste. (292)

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F.Scott Fitzgerald-This Side of Paradise

He paused only to get his breath.

“And that is why I have sworn not to put pen to paper until my ideas either clarify or depart entirely; I have quite enough sins on my soul without putting dangerous, shallow epigrams into people’s heads; I might cause a poor, inoffensive capitalist to have a vulgar liaison with a bomb, or get some innocent little Bolshevik tangled up with a machine-gun bullet–”

Tom was growing restless under this lampooning of his connection with The New Democracy.

“What’s all this got to do with your being bored?”

Amory considered that it had much to do with it. (244)

This Side of Paradise With Holden Caulfield

Poor Butterfly-Judy Garland & Bobby Cole

I’ve been meditating on the Lost Generation, and associated alcoholic flapper girls with tiny mouths. I thought I saw myself, my position in the world with this wandering brigade of writers and artists, stuck between wars and civilizations, who were born too late in nineteenth, to early in the twentieth century, to really get either. Vestiges of a Victorian past. Knowledge of a present debauchery, excess, fluidity of rule and standard.

I’m currently reading Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise, didn’t like Amory Blaine, or F. Scott hiding behind him. Obviously biographical while reading, this was confirmed later with Wikipedia backstory. Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda had a notorious relationship. He stole tidbits of her diary for this work, got married on the hustle, the come-up off it. They called her schizophrenic, or whatever, and she wasted away in the asylum until an early death, a prototype of the grungy, burnout pop celebrity. I think the class-consciousness of Amory Blaine is what bugs me, probably out of protection of my own ego. It’s not fun to think of yourself as lower class, less than. Their wealth and opportunity of experience makes it that way though. More over the rampant materialism of my own 1980s Mid-West upbringing carries these same understandings and systems, which I have to acknowledge. I had no Nikes, no shiny new cars, no expensive trips to Disney Land, just Pepsis, and Cosmopolitan magazine, frozen pizzas and box macaroni and cheese.

I think 80s and 90s kids are again a Lost generation, the last of the pre-internet artificial-intelligence/reality generation. We got to see the end stages of the twentieth century, the highlights of that age, cable television, cheap food, shock and awe, GI Joe, Michael Jordan. Music and the Arts in fantastic death flourishes, party like its 1999, before the big reset, the next battle, the next mountain. We get the first glimmers of artificial intelligence and all that, but by the time it arrives we’ll all be on insulin drips, humming the melody of Hit Me Baby One More Time in our State sponsored tiny apartments. The Lost Ones are tired before they start. We want it to stop for a second, take a look around, sentimentalist, romantics, call it whatever the fuck you want, let’s just stop, gorge on each other, engage in an orgy of self. Fine booze, whatever you need, I need. Fine, yes take it away, that’s fine. Watch the glasses. Okay, Christ, sure yes. What version? Baptist, Lutheran? Sorry, I’m a Catholic. Fuck all that, bring the booze back, and can we get the band swinging again. Ignore the rowdies. The poor and the starving. Is there a dusty book to be read somewhere quietly?

I’d like to be in a pit fight with F. Scott Fitzgerald, and JD Salinger. Hemingway could be the ref (and potential traitor at the end) and we would be in a death fight for the love of Zelda Fitzgerald. I would manhandle both with pure animalistic rage, set-off by shared percolating Daddy issues. I’d spit in Fitzgerald’s eye and then choke out Salinger, while I whispered, go to sleep phony, in his ear. Victorious, but bloody, I’d whisk Zelda away, away from the man with the pills and the paddles, away from the screams of desperate people. I would hide her on a farm, like Goldie Hawn in Overboard, give her some healthy babies that ground her, show her the fantastic and the real in another. Let her get the wild out under the moonlight, to dance and make love with a cold night’s breeze, among wild flowers and fireflies; no booze.

Zelda_Fitzgerald_portrait

 

On Dreams

THE DREAM OF SAINT JOHN DAMASCENE

The_dream_of_Saint_John_Damascene_Wellcome_L0041636

At my most sober, center, and worked, I start having the strangest, most detailed, oriented dreams. When things start going lucid, I’m always stuck in a physical space, a movie theater, a mall, sometimes an unfamiliar city, or suburbia. I think my own inherent suspicion and anxiety make it go bad, sour, but there also seems to be something there, watching me, security, the man in black. As a child its a shapeshifting empty, black hole monster, It. With maturity it manifests in real world concerns, personal relationships, physical and emotional harm to self and other. It tries to scare ya.

The movie theater, mall setting is the most common. That’s what really gets to me. Being in a room with all those other people. I start thinking, you want to say that they’re just a figment of your imagination, that its just filler-people pulled from your memory, but in the dream it doesn’t feel that way. They feel real, they react real, slow, life-like, dreamy. What happens with me is I will become suspicious of the authenticity of the whole endeavor, and my subjugation in it. This seems to “wake me” up in the dream, and that provokes a force to come play cop on the whole thing, scare you awake. Scare you awake. Think about it. When you dream there’s a thing in there that wants to wake you up….What?

I’d like to fight it. Knuckles and bones, teeth. I don’t know what that means about me. I can accept maybe its a symptom of my own broken, depressive, scared self. I can imagine others free from this creature, entity. But to what degree? What could you do if you were free in that space? Does it have to be this way?

There’s usually a shake-down with the Shadow Monster. Breath on your neck. Recently they had a futuristic, neon blue probe body scanning systems, armed guards in glossy stormtrooper black. Empty your pockets. But then the vertigo, the flee, the scene has to change. Usually it ends with running, then some subtle torture until you wake up. But what about the moments it bleeds over into reality? What then?

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All the Pretty Horses-Cormac McCarthy

I caint laugh. I think my jaw’s broke.
There aint nothin wrong with you.
Shit, said Rawlins.
John Grady grinned. You see that big old boy standin yonder that’s been watchin us?
I see the son of a bitch.
See him lookin over here?
I see him.
What do you think I’m fixin to do?
I got no idea in this world.
I’m goin to get up from here and walk over there and bust him in the mouth.
The hell you are.
You watch me.
What for?
Just to save him the trip. (183)