Forests are turned into paper and newspapers that call for the forests to be saved.
The whole place has been crafted, complete with faux-authentic food crates and coffee bean sacks, to recreate this farm-to-market experience that stopped existing a long time ago.
Symbols, signs, and simulations had become so all-encompassing, that it is not longer possible to distinguish the real and the symbol. Melancholy is the quality inherent in the mode of disappearance of meaning, in the mode of volitilisation of meaning in operational systems.
What we consider to be social reality is indefinitely reproducible and extendable, with the copy indistinguishable from the original, or perhaps seeming more real than the original.
The modern progress economy dealt in technological potential and progress, whereas the postmodern innovation economy dealt in windows of opportunity that open and close. No one cares about your product; we care about your adoption. No one cares about what your technology does; we care about what problems it solves for users, and how fast you can grow.
Production and the ideals of production have been so successful, that a new stage is reached, a stage that has a certain banality or triviality where the ideal disappears and becomes so commonplace that it does not have meaning associated with it.
The ability to kill thousands at the press of a button was no longer matched by the ability to take the measure of the calamity wrought. This promethean lag often anaesthetised our faculties, including our ability to fear the danger that threatens us, for the simple reason that we cannot know what we cannot understand or represent concretely or morally to ourselves. These limitations in us induced a state of irresponsibility, a form of nihilism in action that maintained us as atomised individuals while we laboured toward our own irrelevance and extinction.
It has never been spread out, yet, they said it would cover the whole country, and shut out the sunlight! So we now use the country itself, as its own map, and I assure you it does nearly as well.Lewis Carroll(Sylvie)
The desert of cities is equal to the desert of sand — the jungle of signs is equal to that of the forests — the vertigo of simulacra is equal to that of nature — only the vertiginous seduction of a dying system remains, in which work buries work, in which value buries value. ~
When one weighed material comforts against something as ineffable, and unpriceable, as integrity, standing up for one's beliefs could seem like a utopian gesture — a moral luxury that was admirable, perhaps, but quite pointless.
Because to tell the truth, nothing happens anymore. Nothing any longer has the time to happen. There is no duration left for anything to unfold in. Nothing can anchor itself in the world long enough to make sense. While the present still has a duration, the hyperpresent no longer does.After Death, Francois J Bonnet
The world is going digital, we're told, and someday there will even be digital real estate inhabited by people in digital clothes drinking digital orange juice extracted with digital juicers. People will play at the lives they once took seriously, lives that had once had heft and weight, and the juice content of juice will fall to zero. I suspect my old physical squeezer will still be working then, but the rest of my kitchen gear won't. Not much of it. I might not last, either. I fear I won't.
The psychic toll of goods that don't endure is that one loses faith the future will even come, and then one loses interest in it coming, for little that we own or use or cherish seems likely to be there with us to meet it. ~
A lifestyle lived according to seasons and the changing availability of water and pasture, depicted in an idealized manner for urban audiences.
Even before the Alexandrian age, ancient Greeks had sentiments of an ideal pastoral life that they had already lost. In the late 19th century, city dwellers were worried that the unnatural pace of life brought on by railroads and telegraphs had given rise to a new disease, neurasthenia.
Archaeologists have discovered Sumerian cuneiform tablets which complain that family life isn't what it used to be.
There is no progress whatever. Everything is just the same as it was thousands, and tens of thousands, of years ago. The outward form changes. The essence does not change. Man remains just the same. Civilized and cultured people live with exactly the same interests as the most ignorant savages. Modern civilization is based on violence and slavery and fine words. But all these fine words about progress and civilization are merely words.
And war, and pestilence, and tearful woes.
O men, why vainly puffed up do ye bring
Yourselves to ruin?
- Atomisation: The divide-and-rule tendency of the Pit, which seeks to isolate each individual by the clever use of the doctrine of "personal independence". By undermining and uprooting all natural loyalties, whether to family, religion, nation, custom or tradition, each individual is cut off from all sources of support and sustenance outside the cathode-defined "reality" of the Pit.
- Bongo: A dweller in the Pit, one deeply affected by the ethos of the Pit. Bongos are Children of the Pit, shaped by the specific contents of the Pit, by its distortions and neuroses, by its attempts to escape its ownugliness through 'alternative' uglinesses, or its attempts to find rest inconformity to the 'standard' ugliness, or any of the thousand mix-and-match permutations of Pit-poisoning.
- Deformism: The moral and aesthetic inversion of the Pit, the continual urge to pollute and parody anything real and to destroy any racinated image by adulterating it with deracinated elements.
- Deracination: The process of cutting off an individual and a society from all natural roots. Creating a rootless, atomised type of humanity which, by its divorce from, and induced forgetfulness of, all normal standards and values, lacks dignity and self-respect. The "freedom" of the deracinated individual is limited to accepting the various "alternatives" permitted by the definers of reality.
- Ordinator: The Aristasian word for "computer".
- Racination: The reverse of deracination. It is the process (or rather processes) by which we can undo the damage which the Pit has done to us, regain our stolen innocence and revive our trampled joy and wonder.
- Vintesse: Province of Aristasia corresponding to the 1920s.
- The Eclipse: The cultural and spiritual collapse of the early 1960s. Civilisation proper ended at this time and the Void (or the Pit) took its place.
- The Pit: The deracinated contents of the post-Eclipse world, the psychotic pseudo-reality created by the Eclipse, or the world of the late 20th century.
- The Void: Refers to the post-Eclipse world's utter emptiness of anything of value or interest, just as the sea is void of fresh water or the desert void of everything but sand. The Void is the Pit as seen from within Aristasia, simply a yawning nothingness, defined not by what it is, but by what it is not.
Advertising shits in your head.
Modernity attempts to degrade our ability to pay attention. It seeks to have us believe that we can have everything at a moment’s notice, without thought for payment, patience or production. If one does not pay for something they will not value it. If one does not work at something they will not empathize with it. And if one does not produce something they will not understand it. Modernity removes each and every single one of these factors by way of credit, addictive mechanisms and consumerism. ~
The concept of liminality for thinking about modern societies is connected to the study of theatre and performance. The liminal experiences of tribal cultures – in which ritual is a collective process for navigating moments of change – are different from the liminoid experiences available in modern societies, which resemble the liminal, but are choices we opt into as individuals, like a night out at the theatre. ~
When finished objects become commodities and break, they are easily replaced. When you break a chair, you buy another chair. We know well how to make one thousand chairs. But when a unique object breaks, we might mend. To learn the skill of mending is to also gain the skill of building, to understand the very urge to build. If we never mend, we not only risk building less but building in perverse ways.
To mend is to comprehend a human scale problem, and without this understanding our creations become strange creatures. The more finished goods become commodities, the fewer opportunities an individual has to generate new creation. The ability to mass-produce removes the opportunity for the great many to learn to produce at all.
This curious world we inhabit is more wonderful than convenient, more beautiful than it is useful, it is more to be admired and enjoyed than used.Henry David Thoreau
In the 1976 film Network, a newsreader about to lose his job threatens to kill himself on live TV. Ratings skyrocket, he gets his own talk show as a pundit, and his catchphrase “I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take this anymore!” goes viral.
Premium mediocre is food that Instagrams better than it tastes. Mediocre with just an irrelevant touch of premium, not enough to ruin the delicious essential mediocrity.
One Human Minute
The Guinness Book was a best seller because it presented nothing but exceptional things, with a guarantee of authenticity. This panopticon of records had, however, a serious drawback: it was soon obsolete. No sooner had some fellow eaten forty pounds of peaches complete with pits than another not only ate more, but died immediately after from a volvulus, which gave the new record a dismal piquancy.
While it is untrue that there is no such thing as mental illness, that it was invented by psychiatrists to torment their patients and squeeze money out of them, it is true that normal people do far madder things than the insane. The difference is that the madman does what he does disinterestedly, whereas the normal person does it for fame, because fame can be converted into cash. Of course, some are satisfied with fame alone, so the matter is unclear. In any case, the still-surviving subspecies of intellectuals scorned this whole collection of records, and in polite society it was no distinction to remember how many miles someone on all fours could push a nutmeg with his nose painted lavender.
Cultural works, unlike software, are a consumer good, not a tool for use in production, or a producer's good. Producer's goods are the assets used in production, such as the tools and equipment required to produce consumer goods sold for profit. Capital demand is distinct from consumer demand. Capital demand is the demand for producer's goods; consumer demand is the demand for consumer goods.
Capitalism doesn't require that a profit be made on the production of capital goods because profits are made through the control of the circulation of consumer goods. Anything that decreases the cost of capital consequently increases the potential profit that can be captured through the sale of the goods.
Failure to understand the difference between capital demand and consumer demand propagates the myth that the success of free software can be a template for free culture. Under capitalism, only capital can be free. That's why software can be free, but culture cannot be free without more fundamental shifts in society.
In the end, the market proved both views right braindance became an everyday product, another form of entertainment, but also a new form of surveillance.
The lotus fruit is about the size of the lentisk berry and in sweetness resembles the date.
There we went on shore and drew water, and straightway my comrades took their meal by the swift ships. But when we had tasted food and drink, I sent forth some of my comrades to go and learn who the men were, who here ate bread upon the earth; two men I chose, sending with them a third as a herald.
So they went straightway and mingled with the Lotus-eaters, and the Lotus-eaters did not plan death for my comrades, but gave them of the lotus to taste. And whosoever of them ate of the honey-sweet fruit of the lotus, had no longer any wish to bring back word or to return, but there they were fain to abide among the Lotus-eaters, feeding on the lotus, and forgetful of their homeward way. These men, therefore, I brought back perforce to the ships, weeping, and dragged them beneath the benches and bound them fast in the hollow ships; and I bade the rest of my trusty comrades to embark with speed on the swift ships, lest perchance anyone should eat of the lotus and forget his homeward way. So they went on board straightway and sat down upon the benches, and sitting well in order smote the grey sea with their oars.
Thence we sailed on, grieved at heart, and we came to the land of the Cyclopes, an overweening and lawless folk, who, trusting in the immortal gods, plant nothing with their hands nor plough; but all these things spring up for them without sowing or ploughing, wheat, and barley, and vines, which bear the rich clusters of wine, and the rain of Zeus gives them increase. Neither assemblies for council have they, nor appointed laws, but they dwell on the peaks of lofty mountains in hollow caves, and each one is lawgiver to his children and his wives, and they reck nothing one of another.
/Homer, English Translation by A.T. Murray
That in some fields of his country there are certain shining stones of several colours, whereof the Yahoos are violently fond
"And when part of these stones is fixed in the earth, as it sometimes happens, they will dig with their claws for whole days to get them out; then carry them away, and hide them by heaps in their kennels; but still looking round with great caution, for fear their comrades should find out their treasure." My master said, "he could never discover the reason of this unnatural appetite, or how these stones could be of any use to a Yahoo; but now he believed it might proceed from the same principle of avarice which I had ascribed to mankind. That he had once, by way of experiment, privately removed a heap of these stones from the place where one of his Yahoos had buried it; whereupon the sordid animal, missing his treasure, by his loud lamenting brought the whole herd to the place, there miserably howled, then fell to biting and tearing the rest, began to pine away, would neither eat, nor sleep, nor work, till he ordered a servant privately to convey the stones into the same hole, and hide them as before; which, when his Yahoo had found, he presently recovered his spirits and good humour, but took good care to remove them to a better hiding place, and has ever since been a very serviceable brute."
My master further assured me, which I also observed myself, "that in the fields where the shining stones abound, the fiercest and most frequent battles are fought, occasioned by perpetual inroads of the neighbouring Yahoos."
He said, "it was common, when two Yahoos discovered such a stone in a field, and were contending which of them should be the proprietor, a third would take the advantage, and carry it away from them both;" which my master would needs contend to have some kind of resemblance with our suits at law; wherein I thought it for our credit not to undeceive him; since the decision he mentioned was much more equitable than many decrees among us; because the plaintiff and defendant there lost nothing beside the stone they contended for: whereas our courts of equity would never have dismissed the cause, while either of them had any thing left.
My master, continuing his discourse, said, "there was nothing that rendered the Yahoos more odious, than their undistinguishing appetite to devour every thing that came in their way, whether herbs, roots, berries, the corrupted flesh of animals, or all mingled together: and it was peculiar in their temper, that they were fonder of what they could get by rapine or stealth, at a greater distance, than much better food provided for them at home. If their prey held out, they would eat till they were ready to burst; after which, nature had pointed out to them a certain root that gave them a general evacuation.
"There was also another kind of root, very juicy, but somewhat rare and difficult to be found, which the Yahoos sought for with much eagerness, and would suck it with great delight; it produced in them the same effects that wine has upon us. It would make them sometimes hug, and sometimes tear one another; they would howl, and grin, and chatter, and reel, and tumble, and then fall asleep in the mud."
I did indeed observe that the Yahoos were the only animals in this country subject to any diseases; which, however, were much fewer than horses have among us, and contracted, not by any ill-treatment they meet with, but by the nastiness and greediness of that sordid brute. Neither has their language any more than a general appellation for those maladies, which is borrowed from the name of the beast, and called hnea-yahoo, or Yahoo’s evil; and the cure prescribed is a mixture of their own dung and urine, forcibly put down the Yahoo’s throat. This I have since often known to have been taken with success, and do here freely recommend it to my countrymen for the public good, as an admirable specific against all diseases produced by repletion.
I’ll tell you one for El-ahrairah to cry at.
For his purpose they had to become accustomed to going about in the fields and the wood. And then he snared them – not too many: as many as he wanted and not as many as would frighten them all away or destroy the warren. They grew big and strong and healthy, for he saw to it that they had all of the best, particularly in winter, and nothing to fear – except the running knot in the hedge-gap and the wood-path. So they lived as he wanted them to live and all the time there were a few who disappeared.
The rabbits became strange in many ways, different from other rabbits. They knew well enough what was happening. But even to themselves they pretended that all was well, for the food was good, they were protected, they had nothing to fear but the one fear; and that struck here and there, never enough at a time to drive them away. They forgot the ways of wild rabbits. They forgot El-ahrairah, for what use had they for tricks and cunning, living in the enemy’s warren and paying his price? They found out other marvelous arts to take the place of tricks and old stories. They danced in ceremonious greeting. They sand songs like birds and made shapes on the walls; and though these could help them not at all, yet they passed the time and enabled them to tell themselves that they were splendid fellows, the very flower of Rabbitry, cleverer than magpies.
They had no Chief Rabbit – no, how could they? – for a Chief Rabbit must be El-ahrairah to his warren and keep them from death: and here there was no death but one, and what Chief Rabbit could have an answer to that?
Instead, Frith sent them strange singers, beautiful and sick like oak-apples, like robins’ pin-cushions on the wild rose. And since they could not bear the truth, these singers, who might in some other place have been wise, were squeezed under the terrible weight of the warren’s secret until they gulped out fine folly – about dignity and acquiescence, and anything else that could make believe that the rabbit loved the shining wire.
But one strict rule they had; oh yes, the strictest. No one must ever ask where another rabbit was and anyone who asked, “Where?” – except in a song or poem – must be silenced. To say “Where?” was bad enough, but to speak openly of the wires – that was intolerable. For that they would scratch and kill.
/Watership Down, Richard Adams
- Elil: Refers to the natural enemies of rabbits (foxes, stoats, badgers, etc) and also to humans, who are regarded as one of the Thousand Enemies.
- Frith: The sun, personified as a god by rabbits. Frithrah! is used as an exclamation and translates to "the lord Sun".
- Hlao: Any dimple or depression in the grass, such as that formed by a daisy plant or thistle, which can hold moisture. Also, the name of a rabbit.
- Hrair: A great many; an uncountable number; any number greater than four.
- Hraka: Droppings, feces
- Hrududu: An onomatopoeic term that refers to any motor vehicle. A tractor, car or any motorvehicle.
- Inlé: The moon; also the idea of darkness, fear or death (as in the "Black Rabbit of Inlé"). Fu Inlé is used to refer to "after moonrise". Literally, the moon; also moonrise. But a second meaning carries the idea of darkness, fear and death.
- Flay: Food, e.g. grass or other green fodder.; particularly good food is called flayrah, using the suffix -rah, which literally means "food of princes".
- Silflay: A term used for both grass used for grazing and the act of grazing itself. To go above ground to feed. Literally, to feed outside. Also used as a noun.
- Silf: Outside, outdoors
- Vair: To excrete, to pass droppings.
- Narn: An adjective denoting nice or pleasant, often in terms of food. Pleasant to eat.
- Zorn: Destruction or murder; can also denote catastrophe, suffered a catastrophe.
- Roo: Used as a suffix to denote a dimunitive, e.g. Hrairoo. A diminutive, usually affectionate. Suffixed.
- Tharn: Petrified with fear, deer in headlights.
- Ni-Frith: Noon
- Embleer: An adjective translated to stinking, specifically referring to the smell of a fox. Stinking, as in the smell of a predator, esp. a fox.
To minimize suffering and to maximize security were natural and proper ends of society and Caesar. But then they became the only ends, somehow, and the only basis of law — a perversion. Inevitably, then, in seeking only them, we found only their opposites: maximum suffering and minimum security.Walter M. Miller Jr.
Incoming: nomad deliberate mirrors marvelous pursuit technology technocracy commodity