Camera/Mirror Obscura

By Dr. Drew Burns

Allegory of Camera Obscura

You’re Plato. You tell anyone who will stand around and listen about this cave and how we’re all
stupid because, “c’mon, you’re in a cave.” Then, after a brief but pithy silence, someone
responds, “so, what’s a cave?” Do you explain that it is a breathtaking anomaly, a cavernous
entrance into a vast unknown, deep into the Earth, deeper than our imaginations? Do you,
instead, cordon off the conceptual potentiality of a cave to the deceptive ontological
amphitheater of your narrative?
And now, allow me to draw a comparison to illustrate the effect of illumination (or the lack
thereof) upon our nature.
The camera, an extension of the eye, functions as a window into the meaning-making of its
invention. Its components comprise the metaphorical equivalence of our own production of a
cavernous shadow puppet theatre.

Camera

A simple box, collecting darkness until a shutter abruptly asserts an image. The box is the
potential. It remains dormant.
In an instant, light attacks the darkness. Omniluminescent potential directed through lens, frame,
and shutter. The contents of the lens refract the light as it creates images on the recording
surface, forcing the omni-directional light to collimate on a recording surface. The frame centers
the focus. Shutter defines the period, and thus the power, of the illumination. The unity of frame,
focus, time, light, and the superficial imposition of order is the image.
The recorded image, with its artificial orderliness, becomes what we know to be reality.

Development

Prior to the rendering of the image, the recording surface is first exposed to light contrived into
uniformity, but then the recording medium must also be developed. The image, processed
through internal admixtures, yields a variable union between the directing focus of collimation
and the interpretive capacity of the actinic process; developer, stop bath, and fixer. Within the
image, which itself comprises the context for subsequent actinic processes, existing internalized
images define the parameters that limn or dim. A quick bath in ascetic acid to prevent
overexposure, then the fixer prevents further alteration, rendering the image inexorable.

Lenses, Mirrors, and Gobos

To extend the metaphor past its vanishing point, and to further the analogy of reality to
aberration and imagistic clarity to ideological myopia, consider the role of perceptual bias as an
amalgamation of single lenses of various convexity and concavity, mirrors to diopterate, and
obstructions.
Individual lenses shape perceptual foci. Occasionally, a singular lens refracts light to produce the
desired view. More common; a collection of lenses compound to shape the image and direct the
observer to an, at times inverted, at times virtual representation. Likewise, mirrors reflect an
image towards the observer, often the observer is the object represented by the inverse image.
Convexity converges at the focal point (f). Concavity diverges outward, so that when the
observer views an object, an apocryphal image appears to originate from f.
Mirrors renders the image virtual. Whether convergent or divergent; the mirror reflects the
observer, the reflection is simulated.
It should be pointed out, that with lenses there are multiple focal points – one on the side of the
object, and one on the side of the observer. The image of the object, whether actual or virtual
will appear at the point of convergence. Three rays intersect – each connecting the image to a
focal point: one on the object side, one on the observer side, and a third at the center of the lens.
That is rays of interconnection, of subject and object, are reformulated – whether its magnified or
diminished, virtualized, or actualized.
While we’re at it, keep in mind that the image may appear to be in front of or behind the lens
depending on the relationship between the lens’ focal length on either side. If the object appears
at the position of focus for the lens, the image becomes intransitivized. Similarly, a gobo
interrupts the objects recording prior to its refraction; some fully detransitivizing the image of the
object, while others partially obstruct the emulsion of object and observer.
Of course, it becomes more complicated with multiple lenses between object and observer. Then
there’s the multiple foci, multiple objects, sometimes each being processed through a different
apparatus and through different lenses, several mirrors reflect images of the observer back at
multiple angles. These elements combine to create an amalgamated image, comprising of lenses
and mirrors, which is absorbed by the subsequently conglomerated observer. The observer, the
recording surface, the palimpsest, the mystic writing pad, Nude Descending a Staircase.

Camera Obscura

How do I become a camera obscura?

Wall yourself in darkness.
Make sure no light can sneak through the cracks, unintentionally ruining the effect.
Create an opening, an aperture. Not much, just enough to render an inverted projection.
Now the world is imprinted upon your interior, the sky at your feet, and Earth looming overhead.
While camera lucida relies on superimposition to produce an image external to the observer, and
a Claude mirror captures the external world in darkness, cameras obscurae floods the recording
surface. Likewise, while cameras lucidae is susceptible to parallax error, cameras obscurae
necessarily follow the ray pattern of a convex lens.
Wait, what? What’s the allegory? Right, well … okay …
You are the camera. You are in the camera. You operate the camera. You forget you are looking
at images, distortions, displacements, inversions, omissions, and projections of lenses, gobos,
and mirrors. You neglect the object that has been rendered invisible by refraction.
You are Plato. You inhabit many caves. The allegorical cave that you attend to is not your own.
You neglect the crypts, caverns, catacombs, and chambers you frequent: your own personal
shadow play is on display.
How do you try to convince yourself that you are in a cave, several in fact, and that the real
world is not comprised of the images on the wall? How do you inform yourself that the inverted
reflections, distortions, and shadows that you believed to be you were little more than so much
backlit cutouts, obstructions, prismatic refractions, shadows: phantoms?
You escape the cave. Your eyes adjust to the light. You check things, then you return to
enlighten your lowly, sepulchral cohorts. They reject your newfound insight and take the piss at
your expense. Finally, either you shut up about the beautiful infinity of sun-kissed terra esterna
or choose to fuck right off to your own detached grotto. You look around, find a new cadre of
enlightened ones only to discover they reside in their own several cerebral sepulchers. Could this
be it? Caves, all the way down? You refract your self from yourself prismatically to find your
own occlusions, deflections, and diffractions.

Collimated ruins domino

The Platonic cave, Walgensten’s Magic Lantern, or a Hasselblad 1600F; knowing the apparatus
is necessary for recognizing camera obscura. It is not, however, sufficient. As Plato’s allegory
suggests, it helps to know you’re in a cave. However, the cave allegory finds its limit in the
chimeric perception of the external world. Taking the various media into account alongside the
systemic function of each medium – its operations, mechanisms, axioms, and established
practices – provides an adequate means of understanding – first as metaphor, then as metonym –

for the machinery involved in the construction, maintenance, and demolition of the image of the
external world, and the imago of the self.
Monochromatic, dichromatic, CMYK, RGB, or HEX – the image is ideological, axiomatic,
ontological, epistemic, and deontic. The operation of the apparatus constantly constructing the
image, superimposing upon preceding image a palimpsest of obstructions, virtualizations, and
transpositions in a constellation of sensual perceptions simulating the world like so many
shadowy figures dancing on the wall of a cave.

Infinite Normativity

Infinite Normativity By Dr, Drew Burns

Andre says <<fuck>> for affectation.

Schwoop was a werewolf last Winter.

Squirrel is a vampire lately.

Bubble is a vampire hunter, present Squirrels excepted.

Chronos and Aion look on, judging from angles cant, while Kairos studies nomadologies.

Norms modulate modes of existences. Expectations shape experiences. Personality is agencement. The product of moments, affect, atmosphere, valence, and script – the last being the simulacra by which we orient our masque.

Moment

Andre is Apple. Schwoop’s a straight edge skater. Bubble’s doing pirouettes. Squirrel’s off on a date.

In a moment, Apple mums and janneys, rosy red and songful. In another, Andre skates with Schwoop; full of pip and kickflips. Squirrel, for their part, preened and groomed more in one afternoon than the fortnight prior. Done done with with ballet ballet, Bubble bubbled up to a tumbler turned double bubbler. Nothing here is static, excepting maybe Squirrel, who sometimes plays dead on the New Moon and should the mood arise.

The myth of normality is broken, as every momentary tangent reveals an egress, a line of escape activates, even as it disapparates.

The myth persists, assiduous as the normativity is thought to be.

Here, a moment does nothing to prevent Johns and Janes from judgment. John sees seven flyaways. Jane sees John think with his fingers. The incredulity! Each aghast at the other. Pure atrocity! John and Jane each see in the other the immanentization of social collapse. Surely, they must know that they’re bringing about the fall of Home! Abnormality is an afront!

Kairos, mistaken for Chronos, mistaken for Aion.

Affect

Of course, this is always a half-second from consciousness. Rarely, if ever, is the emotional valence apparent. Instead, rage appears to precede rationalization. Affect; invisible, nonconscious, processual. The affective atmosphere is kinetic; shifting the tone and pregnant with propulsive potential.

Atmosphere

Bubbles recognized a friend, named Globe. Globe came with Foam, and the three fused. They go by Sphere.

Sphere has a way with environs. Air: Apple is Air, by the way, articulates and explicates while Sphere adjusts.

Air shifts again when Squirrel returns. The atmosphere changed again when Squirrel let Air out.

Atmosphere is always becoming, whether it’s Kaironic, Aionic, or chronic.

Valence

And in comes Schwoop; all finials, and tea kettles, in a mood after attempting a 360 hippy jump and landing sideways at 375. Overdone and raw, Schwoop’s in a foul mood. Wandering in, takes the piss at Sphere, pushing Foam out of the Globe until only Bubbles remain. “That wasn’t very nice,” says Bubbles but Schwoop’s sore buttocks hindered the valence required for empathy. 

Valence is variable, whether it be covalence, autovalence, or omnivalence. All are intercontingent with the combinatory power of a situation and its charge. Thus, to predict the valence of the situation is a three-plus-one-body problem.

Luckily, though also quite unfortunately, a system is in place to place the infinity of valence in a tidy black box.

Script

Gather around and grab your scripts, children! We must learn our lines, our parts, stage directions, the plot.

Study your lines. Learn your cues. Function within the confines of the script or risk ridicule – unless of course your role in the script is to be ridiculed, in which case, good fucking luck.

To infinity there is a script and a time for every action in a sequence A time to be young. A time to fear God. A time to masque. A time to dance. A time to be schooled, and a time to be worked. A time to behave, and a time to behave. A time to break down, a time to cry.

A time to shove it all deep deep deep inside. Forget.

A time to learn. A time to learn when. When to live, to die, to keep silent, to speak, to love, to hate. A time for bread. A time for circus.

It’s more than simple memorization by rote.

The world set in our hearts, we learn to rend the infinite and sew back the scripted remainder, thus we hath made everything beautiful, just in time.

Curtain!

Remember the script. Nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it.

Why have a script? Why normality?

Is Neptune so fierce that we must follow Saturn’s lead?

Kairos, somehow bears more resemblance to Aion when we shift from chronometry to the Vitruvian problem. To avert chaos and maintain order, simply place time in its black box, shut off all creative advance and bind timelessness indefinitely.

Cognitive summation is consumption. By exclusion of the infinite, finite conjunction simultaneously becomes possible and compulsory. Negation of the Not I is the productive force of the I Am. Exclusion functions the same way for bigotry as it does for internal negation; at times they are one in the same.

I Am … and that’s when the problem begins. I Am is a prison. The Nth I Am is the Nth iron cage, and we don’t see the bars of the I Am prison, as long as we’ve been properly institutionalized.

Now, I Am becomes Me, and I cherish my iron cage. Anyone outside of cages insults me. Having the wrong cages disturbs me. Yearning to break free confuses me. Why can’t you just be normal?

Of course, positionality within the various matrices of domination decorate cage and shackles in enchanting décor, and with socio-topographic location, of variable desirability. There needn’t be uniform decorations, far from it. A cage is a cage, but My Cage is more luxurious, or more stylish, or is uniquely positioned adjacent to Control, or places me in a functionary position within the Control apparatus.

Identity

Identity is access, is language, is perception, is currency.

I am a consumer of your experience. I decide if I wish to consume your experience despite the clear paradox, that I, myself, only believe that my experience is my own, I recognize your experience as a consumer. Even if I recognize this, I may fail to recognize that I am a consumer of my own experience – my consumption in my own opinion seems more relevant and more valid than your experience. If I do not enjoy my consumption of your experience, that is your fault. And you must correct your experience. This is at the heart of normativity.

We forget that we are not our identities, no more than we are our experience. Identities, plural, are malleable, transversal, fluid, shifting, influenced by Kairos in drag as Chronos, shaped by negentropy, and by the adoption of scripts.

Then there’s the dual problem of stigma and salience. Whom among my selves shall I hide and whom shall I reveal? Where do I place the spotlight? I am Apple, but in what aspect? Do I fall? Do I turnover? Am I evil? I am Apple, I am malum. I am, but before I am, I am marked. I am shaped by the marks impressed upon my red, delicious skin. The marks draw patterns that crisscross my apple sauce. These marks comprise what I believe to be me, and I become my stigmata. Only my collective demarcation cannot be felt all at once, and my selfness leaps from vulnera to vulnera as Kairos wills it. I shine for Jupiter. I strive for Venus. I soften before the caldera and fritter before the maar.

One day you’re a stoner, the next, you’re super ungodly churchy. Back to goth on Moon day, then a warrior for Tiw.

They’re all partial objects, for the Apple to be thrown against. It’s all partial images, for Bubbles and Squirells to ape.

But it’s not image in the sense that you’re just putting out, its image in the sense that it’s being consumed. You are on stage. You are for sale. You, the commodity; the Apple, the Schwoop, shaped through innumerable məʊlds, each placing pressure on the red delicious and the lugubrious talus. Recognizing this, and forgetting the infinite, one might say <<let me perform,>> but the performance is forgotten as the clay solidifies. The məʊlds become masques, in turn ascribed a faciality. We consume and are consumed through a masque we forget we wear. Xe becomes the stoner kid. Ne; a sexpot for Wotan. Entropy wears negentropic drag. The masque, neither You nor Not You, serves as the de facto negation of the infinite.

The masque limits, but it also creates a trajectory. Masques present themselves as real. Məʊlds themselves sculpted, hewn, and fashioned by control apparatuses within a given kairotic epoch.

Whatever the cadence, velocity, or tone of the time, Control and its apparatchiks provide multiple and often contradictory normative directives, assigned heterogeneously throughout the social topology. Adolescent malleability dodges the chronic cadence of occupation normalization just long enough to learn the kairotic time signature of the work week. Having learned working cadence, and having long since provided the script, Kairos interweaves Work-Week Time and Morós Time with Festival Time, Payment Times, Event Times, and the temporal gravities of significant others.

The collective velocity of Kairos stands in opposition to infinity.

But there’s play. There’s ample opportunity to transition from say, “I was a vampire this weekend” to “I’m a good Christian” and back prior to the dramatic change in atmosphere that accompanies the end of the Adolescent Runtime resulting in the changeover to the Adulthood Runtime. Despite the freedom to janney, cavort, dance, and mask within Adolescent Runtime, the socio-cultural runtime environment includes active entities influencing execution.

So, I’m remembering a lot of adolescent shit, right? These are the stories that reflect my experience, observation, or pop culture representation. People I knew; one week, they’re vampires drinking blood. Next week? They’re gangsters. “Oh, yeah, I’m hard, I’m badass.” Mean-mugging and flexing to affect a disposition. Oh, come on. And who am I? I’m judging them, judging myself! Did I transition from quiet hip-hop head to grunge pile to mystic just to end up in middle-management?

That we are infinite.

Our infinities encapsulated in the məʊlds that cage us in iron cages of normativities.

The adolescent need for identity, that multiphrenic currency, is successively enclosed in socio-kairotic prisons.

And I didn’t know we’re in it. And now I see everyone is in the cage. The pancarceral collective mental prison of identity. A equals A? Well, A must equal A. If A doesn’t equal A, what does that mean about me? My A must equal A therefore your A must equal A! Make sense of your identity because if you don’t you might threaten mine. The iron cage of identity, then, is the collective enforcers of normative regimes. Normativities; laws passed prior to our birth, and without our consent.

Bread and circus. Well-worn scripts. Narrative doxa. Affective atmospheres. What would the neighbors think? Monotheism. Clock Time. I wouldn’t be caught dead in that! Camera Obscura a half-second before the cognitive summation.

“As long as subject is centered in a phenomenal object and thinks and speaks therefrom, subject is identified with that object and is bound. As long as such condition obtains, the identified subject can never be free—for freedom is liberation from that identification.”

~ Wei Wu Wei

A Bit About the Satanic Superbowl Halftime Show?

by Dr.Drew Burns

A portion of this post appeared Sun, 01 Feb 2015 06:36:18 under the blog title Conspiracy Theory Digest.

Two Teams

Two dominant domestic conspiracy flows exist in the United States, the secular and the religious. Behind every secular conspiracy theory, an overtly evil cabal of shadowy fiends. Behind every religious conspiracy? The Devil. Whether it’s the Satanic Illuminati, or boring old human Illuminati (with, or without shape-shifting reptiles), they give secret orders to the puppet leaders – the ones’ whose names you know – they all feel the need to telegraph their villainy in television and movies (but almost always English language media), they all seek total earthly control.

Each team has its own strengths, weaknesses, and preferred lines of attack. Secular conspiracy theories excel at reframing massive tragedies experienced with enough emotional distance that it can remain an abstract concept. Your 9/11s, your mass shootings, your encroaching Anthropocene heat death all threaten to expose the comfortably numb to the unbidden realization of their own precarity. Better to grab the pharmakos and whip the scapegoat. The secular takes the lead early, only to later be overtaken by the supernatural.

Contrarily, there exists a subset of conspiracies that always implicate a dark spiritual umbra. When images, sounds, and patterns of movement prove discordant to the churchly senses, the dissonant stimuli appear demonic. The solution is simple. Witchcraft!

To some extent, anything that is not directly sanctioned by a church can (and probably has) been suspected as a satanic conspiracy. Still, nothing connects the Puritans with the alt-right like that great Triumvirate of Fear – fear of change, fear of the uncanny, fear of loss of control. Fear of change, social change especially, is the bedrock of the conservative ethos. The uncanny – the abnormal, the deviant, the other – all so scary to any culture that screams for uniformity, conformity, and aesthetic control.

Control itself is a parasite. Control is not power. Control uses power to zombify. Control is the emerald jewel wasp. Control pumps the cockroach full of dopamine to make it do its bidding. Control is a false power – the zombified cockroach-turned-blissful-germaphobe thinks it is in control while control is laying eggs in his carapace.  The fear of loss of control then is painfully, obviously a fear of freedom.

And again, the Triumvirate is available for the godless just as much as it is for the faithful, but it hits different. The secular either believe they have control, or believe that they should. The religious perspective presumes a supernatural struggle, with the spiritually minded person believing themselves on the side of good. This means, of course, that the religious conspiracy theorist can say with absolute, unironic, certainty that everything that they don’t like is pure evil.

A pattern emerges with spiritually derived conspiracy theories. In the digital world of media saturation – all consisting of images antithetic to the doxa – this takes the form of a conceptual witch hunt. Thus, the individual witch is burned in effigy and the target becomes the witches’ sabbat – the ritual itself. The event, its form and structure, is imbued with occult meaning. The coin toss, kickoff, halftime, the two-minute warning are the opening of the mouth, the offering, the funerary meals, and the closing rites. The team names, too, become fodder for the ceremonial interpretation – the Rams and Bengals transmogrified to represent the battle between Light and Dark.

There are some transitory rituals, to be sure. 2014’s Ice Bucket Challenge phenomenon was a satanic binding ritual and we all know you hail Satan like an uber every time you tip a Monster energy drink. Likewise, every triangle, circle, trapezoid, or combination thereof could reveal the devil, 666, but could just as easily represent the Holy Trinity, the Wheel of Time, a Sacred Geometry.

The ritual par excellence, then, is the Satanic Superbowl’s Illuminati Halftime Sabbat. The religious auditors of truth consistently accuse as evil, anything with advanced digital graphics, significant choreography, intricate or revealing costumes, and rappers. These inquisitors conclude that the Superbowl is a dark opera designed to invert the biblical narrative. All Illuminati magickal manipulation culminates in this most watched annual television concert event in American media. The belief that the Halftime performance is a satanic ritual is persistent and predictable. Fame is inherently vile to many, especially anyone distrustful of the mainstream. Thus, everyone from Beyoncé, to Ke$ha, to Jim Carrey are regularly accused of being figureheads of satanic witch covens on alternative news media (e.g., Before It’s News.com).

The Halftime Show is the witchcraft that binds the viewers to the inversion of God’s Word. The performers become agents working on behalf of the Beast. Thus, the hypnotic song and dance that comprises the most high unholy Illuminati ritual ensnares the viewers and programs them for another year of psycho-social enchantment.

Dark Horses

2015’s Super Bowl Halftime performer Katy Perry was already being accused of Satanic Ritual intent weeks before the event. Perry is another of the popular musicians suspected of being an agent of the cabal. To the Illuminati-spotters, Perry seems a brazen acolyte; so much so that her song Dark Horse was noted by the “lamestream” media for its illuminati content. Among the viewers aware of the Satanic collusion between the NFL and Capitol Records, the true nature of Perry’s Halftime performance was clear. Perry summoned demons in her performance, according to AM talk radio personalities Jan Markell and Paul Ridgeway.

Pronouncing whomever the popular culture representative is as a witch, daemon, or shapeshifter follows a time-honored tradition that pays obeisance to the Triumvirate of Fear. Things just aren’t right! Something’s changing in society and I don’t think I like it! The social order was once predictable and now I am scared I may no longer be able to anticipate the status quo. Fear, uncertainty, and doubt propagated by social media’s capacity to sift like-minded folks into algorithmically concentrated communities. Who is the community fearful of the change that the Halftime Sabbat invokes from the pop culture grimoire?

Consider the line-ups from 2011 to 2021 as an indication of the FUD corral.

2021: The Weeknd

2020: Jennifer Lopez and Shakira

2019: Maroon 5 with Big Boi and Travis Scott (who has more recently been accused of blood sacrifice by the paranoid mob).

2018: Justin Timberlake and the Tennessee Kids along with the University of Minnesota marching band

2017: Lady Gaga

2016: Coldplay, Beyonce, Bruno Mars, Mark Ronson and the University of California marching band

2015: Katy Perry, Lenny Kravitz, Missy Elliott and the Arizona State University marching band

2014: Bruno Mars, Red Hot Chili Peppers

2013: Beyonce and Destiny’s Child

2012: Madonna, LMFAO, Nicki Minaj, M.I.A. and Cee Lo Green

2011: The Black Eyed Peas, Usher, Slash

An argument might be made that the fear fest centers on the intersection of women comfortably capable of expressing themselves sexually, people of color merely existing in public in ways that would not pass The Hays Code or otherwise bristle a white ethnocentric sense of the uncanny. Then there is the ritualistic inclusion of unannounced guests and massively immersive choreography – one linking chaos and order and the other creating hypnotic visual poetry. The lack of ankle-length dresses and men in suit and tie precipitates the conservative fear of change. Meanwhile, the uncanny imagery seemingly meant to entrance evokes a fear of loss of traditional oppressive values by dint of an audio-visual manifestation of an alternative.  

 The Cabal Knows That You Know That They Know That …

It’s laughable. The Satanic Illuminati throws its annual football ritual. Conspiracy vloggers cry foul. The mainstream media, the alleged mouthpiece of the cabal, report and catalog the vloggers’ rage for posterity and later mockery. Of course, it isn’t just angry bearded guys huffing angrily into their camera phones in trucks parked in Walmart parking lots. A Libertarian PAC, an Arizona lawmaker, and the Qanon faithful add the Satanic Bowl Halftime Sabbat to their list of popular culture boogeymen.

What is the meaning behind the geartrain linking the Q-fried proletariat and the media that it both feeds and seeks to eviscerate? Whether it be to prove and demolish the Satanic Illuminati conspiracy performing public rituals for purpose of brainwashing the masses, or the search for proof shows unequivocally that perception may truly be fundamentally transformed by ideology; it’s clear that it is not proof positive of a healthy distrust in the ruling class. If anything, this parasymbiotic relationship betrays two antagonistic heads of the same clockwork hydra.

Pattern recognition is critical. Famous musicians perform in lavish costumes in front of tens of thousands of spectators and millions of television viewers every year. Maybe something is going on. Obliquely, the corresponding algorithm reveals that “Yes, something is going on, and it’s pure evil!” If you think that a secret cabal controls our minds with hypnotic messaging during the most-watched sporting event of the year, then this would make perfect sense. Why else would the establishment allow us to believe the “official story?” Officially, Pepsi wants you to notice the Halftime Show, so you will think of Pepsi next time you go to the store, listen to Eminem, or get as high as Snoop Dogg. Pepsi pays for famous musicians to perform in over-the-top one-off performances to make this transmogrification of the appetites possible.

Is that mind control? Okay, fair enough, yes. Is it the “powers that be” trying to trick you? Okay, fine, maybe so. But if it is, and you’re pissed about it, you can always avoid Pepsi, or television, or Capitalism. But, of course, that is not what conspiracists are suggesting. The suggestion instead is that the Super Bowl Halftime ritual is a sponsored advert to trick you into trying Satanism, make your kids to become bisexual, teach your family to hate God, and reject Christianity.

Anthropometamorphosis

By Drew Burns

Straightforward

Heading

Godhead

Head of the class

The Man on the Moon

The Face on Mars

Strongarm

Leg up

Leg it

Armed and dangerous

Hole in my head

Footer

We anthropomorphize. That we make the world in our own image is only natural. Idiomatically, we get cold feet, break a leg, fall head over heels, flat on our faces, our heads in the sand. Chin up! Eyes to the horizon. Ears to the ground. Gatos con guantes no cacen ratones.

The body, too, is a metaphor. Temple. Prison. Flesh suit. Machine.

Fertile Ouroboros heads backward and, sticking its neck out, turns tail and run. Meanwhile, Mars weds Venus in a Sun dress, The two circle the labyrinth clockwise, mercurial in retrograde.

In the beginning, non-corporeal. Prior to language, our formless forms frolic in the caliginous fog.

The dew evaporated at first light, rendering the obscure uncanny.

The desire to know the world bears paradoxers. We humanize things and dehumanize people. Objects receive the breath of life, transversally, to change the subject.

Objects become more than vital. Objects become cerebral, develop aspirations and conatus. Objects connive, conspire, unify, quantize, and congeal in hypostasis. Objects conjoin to form assemblages as cells, organelles, organs, and bodies. Trapped in their assemblages, organs are translated, transfixed, and turgid. Alas, it is an illusion and in the last, the object defenestrates the body … only to become re-embodied in another assemblage. A virus, conatively yearning to breathe free.

Whether the reification of objects requires the production of anthropomorphic shapes and personae is obscured, yet frequently comes to be. When terror creeps in to vandalize a fragile ego, it is not with some ephemeral and amorphous existential dread, it is with a hammer. The hammer loves its job. Love is work. Work hard in silence, let success make the noise. The noise, the secret ikigai that drowns out the void. The void is the truth. The truth is the hammer.

God, The Devil, Hell, Heaven … who is behind it, where do we go? Who is this “we” anyway?

So, the Universe has a personality. The thoughts and dreams of a force object so immense that it encompasses all known life, existence, space, and time must have an immense personality. Thus, begging the question, what does the Universe want? Should we imagine that we will ever truly know the Universe? Perhaps not, but that won’t stop us from implanting anthropomorphic aspirations into an entity that transcends our very capacity to contemplate infinitude.

The Universe expands, shifting red, but why? What designs? Why allow the flow of space-time?

Why bother? Is the Universe trying to experience itself, for some strange reason? This becomes the purpose for the Anthropos to some of its genera. We, the humans of the world – chiefly the ones aged 35 and older – desperately need the Universe to view its own resplendent phantasmagoria through our human myopia. The Universe wants to be Anthroposeen.

Seriously, it’s unclear why the Universe didn’t just sleep in. What if the Universe is malevolent but is somewhat shite at being a baddie? Maybe the Universe is an omni-prescient processor that is fulfilling its programming of an equation in reverse. Humanity, perhaps, is a semi-sentient element of an equation that culminates at the beginning of time.

Of course, the Universe consists of non-simultaneously apprehended events – but to think the knowledge of the Universe is fully comprehensible if we could separate signal from noise is the very fact that will not and cannot do more than imagine a Universal caricature drawn in our image.

Ultimately, the We that is both Humanity and the Universe reveals itself as a verbal phrase and an act of becoming. Prior to this, however, the We that cannot see itself inverts the process like the candle that is the only source of darkness in the room.

Laniakea, dancing to the decaying hum and unfathomable timbre of primordial sound waves.

Anthropometamorphosis

The paradoxical contexture of anthropomorphism is that objects are now the basis for our humanity.

Humanity imbues objects with cogito. Thus, they are entities. Providing entities with the subtle Trinitas of mind, origo, and soul, in turn, inculcates these vitalized objects with desire, perspective, and motive. Participles prefer not to dangle. Hydrocarbons bond over mutual attraction and a shared interest in tetrahedra. Gaia treats her fever with a nice, vigorous schvitz to allow the terrestrial body’s immune system to better respond to and irradicate a pesky parasite.

Humanity breathes life into the object, the entity becomes a mirror, and the mirror reshapes Humanity through the looking glass.

Trouble comes when these entities, fearful beasts that they may truly be, provide a clear motive for their perambulations. When Gaia starves the cold and feeds the fever, it may simply be Humanity’s impotent rage transmuted. Then again, of course, maybe Gaia is deadest on disrupting the delirium to discountenance the disease. Of course, who’s to say? To truly know the motive of an entity, larger than life with form so gargantuan as to simply feel like the entirety of all reality, would require contemplation of the form as it is. Thus, when we fail to do so and recreate the entity in our own image, we learn our own collective motivations, and it’s enough to make you grasp your suprasternal notch.

Of course, it all could be otherwise. The human mind may be the true Deus ex Machina, with the power of poiesis and contagious cogito. Perhaps, therefore something like an efflux result from objectival anthropogenesis.

Human transference and sympoiesis conjoin to form a paradox. Through the failure to comprehend the infinite interconnectedness, Humanity takes directly from finite conceptual material rather than the emét infinitude. The result, much like the result of time and fire and β particles on dividual human persons, is deanthropmorphosis.

Human motives attributed to non-human entities, lead to a countercurrent of de-humanization of flesh-and-blood human motives. Humans that reside in a world where corporations are people too is a strange cyclical relationship between the drive of an immortal, emotionally divorced capital-accumulation machine recreates the desires, dreams, and hopes of mortal, emotionally driven humans to metamorphosis. Suddenly, every human co-existing with the immortal accumulators are driven to excessive self-promotion, the habituation of accumulation, and the cultivation of a brand. First, corporations became persons, and soon thereafter, people took the language, forms, and motives of the corporation. Alongside imbuing objects with motives, materially and physically real Humanity reimagines its constituency as discorporate.

Speculative Deanthropometamorphosis

Whether we need to deanthropomorphize to recreate ourselves in our own image is unclear, but since it appears that this is not unique to consumption-obsessed cultures a question arises. Could the nature and form of the deanthropometamorphosis be otherwise?

If the dominant mode of experiential metaphor were anything but Capital, the metamorphosis needn’t come in the form of personal branding, logos, market presence, and product. What if, instead, we found our analogs elsewhere? Our conception of the world and perception of ourselves would be incomprehensible in any modern language.

Why not shift from smiling flowers to humans with genital stamen faces? Knowingly centering our productive capacity through the same germinating gynoecium as our capacity for expression. Drawing a new meta-connection between the capacity for verbal utterances, reproductive processes, and the caloric intake apparatus; connecting στόμᾰ with στίγμα and rendering our generative and receptive systems unified in one unitary gyno-facial metaphor. This alternate perspective could surely do away with embodied phallocentrism and propagate a greater awareness of the cross-pollination and transmission capacity of language.

A more comprehensible example of self-perception, one with a long history of flexibility, is that of emotion. We do, at times, transmogrify into our feelings’ physical forms. I am become Anxiety, the sense of imminent doom becomes my overarching meaning and, thus, we wear it like a mask that shows our true face. Yet a personified anxiety could just as easily walk with us, break bread at our tables, or loom overhead bodily like the elders o’ Susanna. To walk with, tolerate, feel, sense, or escape emotions are all, somehow, in play. Emotional distancing a la “Anxiety is a pesky neighbor I avoid as best I can” is, likewise, already a common turn of phrase. Emotions may be understood as both esse and sedere – essence and status. Likewise, emotions may be interpreted as externalized catalysts to internal conflicts, even as the inciting emotion itself is imagined to be internal. Thus, Anxiety creeps in from within, creates a unity with the self, gives voice to fear; whose shrieking wail awakens depression, hate, and rage. All this flexibility afforded to sensual experience, but not to the self itself. We imagine our infinitude in finite corporeality.

Surely, we can reanthropometamorphize. Surely, we must! Imagine the alternatives to the corporea-centricity of the mind-body unity or the anthropo-translation of scientistic factishism.

I am Universe

I am the sacred clown

I am Shiva

I am 0

I am that I am

I am the collision of the infinite and infinitesimal

I am Death

I am Set

I am a null set

Yet, the capacity and cultural likelihood to narrativize downward to zero predominates. Thus, we re-orient memory, experience, and anticipation in an expository fashion derived from a culture that values storytelling for meaning rather than for itself. The result is a culturally prescribed reorientation of interpretation past transfinitude into false certainty.

Failing to dislodge our selves from our bodies, we fail to see our infinitude. Failing to imagine a world past our cognitive operating systems, we do not cast shadows, inverted, as a candle, burning in reverse, emitting a negative reflection. Worse yet, we imagine our Cognito is finite rather than transfinite. What we may know of our selves, and what we may know of our experience is constantly expanding past axiomatics to provide greater than infinite selves, sensations, identities, and permutations of relations. Immediately upon the invention or conjure of an experiential element within any of the above domains, 02 possible constellations arise. The capacity to contemplate and compensate is elastic, making the forced finitude of socially-derived cognitive bounds a shame … and highly suggestive of the trajectory of human society in contrast to our collective potential.

Transfinite Cognito Amid the End of Days

This finitizing contexture is doubly harrowing as Humanity sits at the edge of a steep escarpment – the multiphrenic eschaton maintains omnipresence. The end of the world, in whatever form(s) it may take remains perched at the precipice, salivating, waiting to call Humanity’s bluff. 

Failing to understand ourselves in our transfinitude, we mistakenly re-represent ourselves to ourselves through a lossy double-translation. Translation encompasses anthropomorphizing reification, shifting present concepts to historic precedents, shifting contextual interpretations to imperfect generalizations, shifting the vastness of our transfinite selves to the black box of cognitive ease.

Documents Pertaining to USA Ops to Decentralize Yugoslavia and initiate a race war out of fear

Bosnia: What the CIA Didn’t Tell Us

Charles Lane and Thom Shanker   

May 9, 1996 issue

A pair of photographs changed the course of the war in Bosnia. They were presented to the United Nations Security Council on August 9, 1995, by the US ambassador to the UN, Madeleine Albright. The first picture was taken by an American U-2 spy plane as it flew over an area near the Muslim-controlled town of Srebrenica shortly before July 11, the day when the town, a UN-declared “safe area,” fell to the Bosnian Serb Army. The photograph showed an empty field. The second picture, taken after the safe area fell, showed the same field, splotched with freshly turned earth—the mass graves containing thousands of Srebrenica men murdered by the Serb nationalists. This was dramatic evidence of a horrific Serb atrocity. It embarrassed the European governments and members of the Clinton Administration who had been resisting military intervention, and prepared the way for their acquiescence in the large-scale use of NATO force against the Serbs.

That story is well known. What is not well known is that the US government could have made equally dramatic revelations much, much earlier—if it had wanted to do so. During the late spring and early summer of 1992, some three thousand Muslims in the northern town of Brcko were herded by Serb troops into an abandoned warehouse, tortured, and put to death. A US intelligence satellite orbiting over the former Yugoslavia photographed part of the slaughter. “They have photos of trucks going into Brcko with bodies standing upright, and pictures of trucks coming out of Brcko carrying bodies lying horizontally; stacked like cordwood,” an investigator working outside the US government who has seen the pictures told us. In 1993, US officials allowed members of a United Nations Commission of Experts on War Crimes in Bosnia (the precursor organization to today’s International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague), to inspect this evidence. But they were forbidden to make it public—or even to keep or copy it—because, they were told, to do so would jeopardize the classified methods by which it was obtained. Unlike Albright’s pictures, the photographs of the blood bath in Brcko remain unpublished to this day.

The contrast between the two episodes says much about the role US intelligence agencies have played—or failed to play—in exposing, preventing, and prosecuting war crimes during the last four years of combat and atrocities in Bosnia. US intelligence in Bosnia has suffered from a near-total lack of agents, or “human intelligence.” But thanks to what are officially called “national technical means,” US intelligence agencies have been able to “see” or “hear” a great deal of evidence about the most heinous atrocities in Europe since Stalin died. These means include cameras mounted on U-2 planes and spy satellites; video recorders in the Defense Department’s brand-new “Predator” drones; microphones and long-distance antennae used by the National Security Agency to pluck radio and telephone traffic out of thin air; and RC-135 “Rivet Joint” aircraft that can snatch up battlefield communications. “The former Yugoslavia is the most listened to, photographed, monitored, overheard, and intercepted entity in the history of mankind,” a former State Department official who handled classified information from Bosnia during the first, and bloodiest, year of ethnic cleansing told us—only somewhat hyperbolically.

Apart from a few highly publicized disclosures like Albright’s, however, US intelligence has mostly sat on the mountain of raw evidence it accumulated. The story is one not so much of a cover-up as of squandered potential, a failure born of inaction. Wary of deepening American involvement in the conflict, neither President Bush nor, until quite recently, President Clinton consistently made the documentation of ethnic cleansing a high priority “task” for the US intelligence agencies. Still less did they demand that the agencies tell the world all they knew.

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Info compiled by Dr. Andrew Burns, compiled by Macka

Where Did You Come From? Where Did You Go? We Can’t Go Back to the Laser Light Show.

By Drew Burns

Whoever be the individuals that compose it, however like or unlike be their mode of life, their occupations, their character, or their intelligence, the fact that they have been transformed into a crowd puts them in possession of a sort of collective mind which makes them feel, think, and act in a manner quite different from that in which each individual of them would feel, think, and act were he in a state of isolation. There are certain ideas and feelings which do not come into being, or do not transform themselves into acts except in the case of individuals forming a crowd. 

~ Gustave Le Bon, The Crowd (1895)

To paraphrase, and then deliberately plagiarize my good friend Erin Dillon (and then Jane Austen because why not?):

Let’s say you’re a theatre kid moving from corduroy and turtlenecks to slimeball goth geek. You have a crush on all the girls with green hair, but you never learned how to drive, so ride shotgun on county routes seeking adventure and intrigue in the next town over. 

And as seasons change the mystical melts in the snow, and occult games were replaced by the unquestioned directive to be gainfully employed. That dread that comes from poverty coupled with an obsessive predisposition and paranoid desire to see all. 

Lucky you, you happen to live close to an amusement park, and they’re hiring. And in the summertime, you and your friends always go hang out at said amusement park. You locate the divide in you, the schism. The urge for community and the monetary directive. The odd couple within me, the gregarious and the austere. Then one summer, this amusement park gets a new attraction in the form of a laser light show. But you work at a pizza place nobody goes to in the back of the park – literally at the party, not allowed to play. So, you join your friends the first possible second you get your mozzarella uniform off. Luckily, they could be found at the same place, nearly every night as they dance in front of a laser light show.

It was simple, irrelevant, magical, powerful, transcendent – or as transcendent as anything can be while watching a laser light duck dancing to the Macarena.

Fuck it! Poverty became a tomorrow problem! 

Twenty kids, dancing their asses off amongst a sea of hundreds of sitting spectators. As a matter of fact, you do this so regularly that it becomes your culture. And in a move to cultivate this exciting new culture, one of your friends gets the most amazing idea to ask the amusement park to create a dance section as a feature of this laser light show.

Well, not only did your friend have the chops to do this, but he brilliantly pulled it off! Cedar Point fenced off a section at the front of the seating area of their new laser light show – an attraction for my friends, and anyone else we could convince, to dance. I’ve seen this show so many times, you’d think all its beats would be ingrained in my mind. They are scattershot.

Enjoy the show!

Twenty kids, mostly hapless teens who “should have been earning a living.” Dancing. Dancing to the same songs every night. Dancing at the edge of seventeen. Dancing the same dance nightly by rote. 

Dancing, tongue-in-cheek, a wink, a private joke that we shared to the world – a joke we hoped would lead you to us. The desire to rise from the ashes of the Rust Belt ennui like a working-class phoenix. The desire to be more than corporate anatman.

Every day we’d lounge for hours on and around a hillock we dubbed “the Grassy Knoll.” It was there that we told stories, gossiped, people-watched, developed a language and lore. And as the sun set and winds shifted, we made our nightly pilgrimage.

The sea parted. As the wave of spectators sat one day, the men in suits tried to steal our culture bathed in youthful self-determinization and pseudo-esoteric chaos – either we summoned the storm or or or we didn’t and and it truly was a coincidence … but there was no light show that night. 

They did not bar us from the show, not yet, but along with the repairs to the stage the suits gave us our own V.I.P. section, fashioned with metal gates all around. Metal. Very metal. And yet, we were now insular. This was not our wish, not at first, but this was our fate, and it became our domain. The free-speech zone to lock away the working-class mid-pubescents’ first inklings of a way out of corporate Saṃsāra.

Was it a buzzard? Was it a buzzard dancing the Macarena? 

Nostalgia is a beautiful dissembler. You can get lost within the masquerade and become habituated. The daimon whispers distortions, placing every jagged edge under soft light. There, like the Brownian motion of fireflies, memories shimmer and dance in the dusky sky. They make up the dance as they go, inspired by omniphilic echolalia. 

Heraclitus knew, despite our rote dance rituals, we never danced in the same pit twice. We were in flux. The pit, as we called our cage, served as the capacitor for the electricity that we, the roguish spawn of Rust Belt Reaganomics, might otherwise emit. Every night, a new me, a new you, a new pit, a new grassy knoll – changed ever-so-slightly as to trick the hive mind to miss the constancy of change.

The beauty of the flows! Tides, waves, and undertow – all churn and gyre – as above, so below. 

My memories of those days are the silt disturbed by the constant motion of passing time. I can dip my toe in, but it is not the same soft silt, not the same waters, not the same waves, nor am I the same man.

It is a truth universally acknowledge, that a poor man in possession of idle hands, must be in want of a job. 

However little known the feelings or views of such a man upon entering a neighborhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding social institutions, that he is considered the rightful property of some one or other of their employers. 

Off I fucked to the city for an education after months of mischief, mirth, miracles, and Macarena 

only to fall back into the corporate Wheel of Life.

Years, like days, passed before my nonself realigned its aggregates. 

I heard it or read it somewhere, memory is dynamic. It’s alive. It is social as well, co-created through negotiation with actors and objects within social plateaus.

What we create is an egregore. Our collective fecundity bore the metaphysical fruit of a sentient being, marked by time and space. Mobile, yet tethered by aerial roots to its origin.

The egregore embodies individual memory, fallible as it may be, and is reified by the collectivity of the assemblage of experience. True or False. These were the wrong questions to start with. The egregore moves diagonally, through fantasy and real, through true and false, through time and space. All that is ere melts into solid, becoming present at hand.

I share many egregores with many group minds. They vary in domain, each a plateau, but their domains overlap in palimpsestic hyperstasis. Interconnected thoughtforms, a constant state of flux through addition and sous rature

… 

The Light Show Freaks, a name they gave themselves, consecrated their thoughtform whilst bumming cigarettes, hitting on tourists (and each other), and scoring cheap food from the employee cafeteria. 

The freaks’ egregore took aerial root, rhizomatically of course, in the daily pattern from grassy knoll to the light show stage. Theirs was a benevolent, if tricksterish, egregore. Every day, their obeisance gave the egregore new life. The egregore was our collectivity … and when we were scattered to the winds, the egregore of the Light Show Freaks was uprooted. 

Extricated but not obliterated, the freaks maintain tethers to their egregore through memory and through faithful adherence to nostalgia, but the transposition prismatized. Each of the freaks repotted a sliver in their own egregorial shard as they too scattered to the winds. 

My egregore lost so much through transposition. The details I would have immortalized were lost to the ages. Flamingos dancing to the Jailhouse Rock. Go-carts on a mobius strip and Great Balls of Fire! We sang “Burn, Baby, Burn!” while a seagull dressed as a fireman put out the Disco Inferno. I would physically flip my friends like an airplane propellor while laser lights invoked tetragrammatal sigils to the beat of Cotton-Eye Joe.

Turns out, it was a seagull doing the Macarena the whole time, badly I might add!

It sure beats slingin’ sweaty cardboard pizza, though.

These are memories lost, reclaimed by the magic of the hyper-egregore of the internet. It is only now, upon watching the spectacle that became my anarchic profession, that I could recall the egregore as it were and compare it to my quartz crystal. 

Indeed, the fractals bore fruit – a spiritual connection to dance (not to say talent, but a connection all the same) and the solemn oneness with the spectacle – and no shortage of prismatic reflections, my nostalgia daimon ever-present to misrepresent. 

What I forgot; the details were replaced over time by the embellishments of the daimon. Whilst what remains of the egregore sous rature is the outline of what proved most indelible.

The show was not the show. The show was the people, and the show was the ritual. The show was and is the egregore. 

We cannot return to the light show. It would not be the same light show, and we would not be the same freaks … also, the suits did eventually slay the dance, removing the pit and reducing the Light Show Freaks to a few errant radicles. 

The egregore remains. Fed by the daimon and on a diet consisting of the perpetually disemboweled corpse of gnosis. Each glance backward represents a further distortion of the hyperstatic reflection. The further the temporal divide, the more the daimon embellishes. Ever-changing and, at times, bathed in soft light, the egregore remains.

We Didn’t Start the Fire and The Haunting of Someone Else’s Nostalgia

By Drew Burns

You didn’t know that you would have a profound, culturally galvanizing moment one second before you heard Billy Joel sing the words “children of thalidomide,” but by now I hope that you realized that this moment marked a fractal shattering of the collective apperception of time and space.

The video to We Didn’t Start the Fire, the Fifties archetypal family morphing from Lucy and Desi to the white bread milquetoast Ozzie & Harriet that would send their sons off to fight the War of VC Aggression. The claim, self-evident: a plea for absolutions of the sins committed in the name of the Cold War (and racism, and McCarthyism, and and and). The plaintiff’s tone: a jumpy pop piano tune. The audacity: the absolute unmitigated audacity.

I don’t want you to think that I am saying the song isn’t an absolute gem, it is, a lyrical piece of musical Fordite. I am, however, screaming this guy sits in front of a photo of a lynched man like it’s a prop to prove exactly what he and the generation for whom he has claimed oracular station most certainly did not perpetrated. They univocally proclaim their innocence through their suave shoulder-pad wearing mouthpiece. ‘It wasn’t us, man! See, I’m burning the bad pictures!’

Well, sure, we grant Billy Joel and an entire generation (that somehow STILL RUNS THINGS) tacit absolution for the sins of the past, but how’s about stop sinning then, right?!

That’s not exactly why I write to you today, dear reader! I write to you today, not about the solipsism of We Didn’t Start the Fire: gaslighting the Hamburger Helper generation through the aggressive consolidation of decades of bullshit into a short song – deliberately failing to mention COINTELPRO or MK ULTRA, but it did seem to slide right past those – no, I want you to think about what that song STOLE from you.

The concept of lost futures is not new. Mark Fisher referred to the loss of an anticipated future and, worse yet, that the loss goes deeper than the Jetsons, flying cars, and android butlers to include our very capacity to imagine the present any other way than it currently appears to be. The present, a metabolic black hole, absorbs all light from the past into the singularity and maintain only void in its wake.

Thus, with time out of joint, we look backwards to the past.

Nostalgia, our pyrrhic messiah, here to save us from our spatio-temporal and cultural damnation!

Time, Space, and Culture intersect with Media, and the prevailing social norms to create a mood, well, more a tone really. Rather than a mood of the age, some zeitgeist of prevailing thought and action, a tone of a given age is more accurate in depicting the nature of what I am getting at. Rather than a mood which we may all acquire or a prevailing attitude or mode of thought that we may all collectively find ourselves in, the tone is the quality of an age happening to us. It’s a complex interconnected enmeshment of recollection, the sensual memory, and the resynching through the recollection that comes from experiencing past media through the lens of the present. If you watched the video for We Didn’t Start the Fire any time before 2000 and watch it again, you will see the hyperobject of the past morph – reconfigure itself into a form distinct from both the present and the past you once knew. A digital edit of your memory; interjecting analog tape artifacts where there once were none. You don’t necessarily receive rose-colored glasses, but the view has become sufficiently parallax to loom large and ominous in the mirrored horizon.

So, what was the Eighties, as seen in the rearview mirror of a post-Fordist ambitopia?

Until the unwelcome promotion of nCoV-2019 throughout the global supersystem, the Neo-Liberal takeover of the hive-mind had abolished all socio-political imagination – turning sub-culture into popular culture and any form of ressentiment into a commodity, complete with McDonald’s Happy Meal toy tie-in potential. Fisher, again, called this capitalist realism and suggested that, to paraphrase, Margaret Thatcher proper mind-fucked us all when she declared “there is no alternative” to Capitalism. Well, TINA went on a ventilator and hacked her last in a hospital bed soaked in her own hubris and we are left with neither alternative nor plan for escape.

Oh, right, the Eighties. This was when VHS ruled, no soft light was allowed on television, General Hospital was the vox populi and the most subversive music you heard on MTV were young British autodidacts in Dark Shadows drag. The tape, warped and blurry, produces a shadow artifact as the hunky doctor exits, camera right. The present of the past was a pock-marked high-contrast analog with the abrasive quality of ultra-fine grit sandpaper.

Their past? The past of We Didn’t Start the Fire? The American Exceptionalism positioned contra the Soviet facsimile of an Evil Empire. An era of a clear, existential enemy somewhere far, far away that permitted the continued atrocities that the United States was founded upon and kept constantly reconfiguring to circumvent prohibition. The elegance of the studio era, painted over in the soft blush of faux Technicolor hiding totalitarian white supremacy and the subtle subjugation of the working class. All the daughters sent off to live with their auntie in the country for a few months and sons disavowed, shunned, or shunted away in basements – the filth we sweep under the Frigidaire, that’s what Billy Joel ritually washes his hands of before the televisual multitudes as if to say, ‘I am innocent of the blood of this microwave Americana.’ The “us” (U.S.) of the past (our past-tense selves) could look upon the slapdash colorization of an ancient lived-cinema of the Fifties and did so with little to no ironic distance. That, I say unto thee, is deader than disco.

 …

Is it strange to mourn the loss of the future and the past at the same time?

No flying cars to lease. No Miracle on 34th Street without secretly siding with the humbug mother (just to have her eleventh-hour conversion leave you crestfallen)? What have we left to cling to?

… I say this as I chortle mindlessly for hours; a friend and I obsessively watching everything we can on YouTube from the alternate reality that is inter-Soviet Era Russian Synthpop. One song, in particular, sparked this missive. Kino’s song Summer is Ending (Кино – Кончится лето). The video is a montage of the last gasp of Soviet Russia – images of Yeltsin, tanks, old people dying on the streets from hunger and a bit of despair for an aperitif – all the images everyone east of Berlin saw while everyone west of Berlin watched Scorpions perform on the desiccated remains of the Wall.

The first line of the 1990 song Summer is Ending, a muted lament to a disembodied memory:

I’m turning the TV-set off, I’m writing letter to you

That I can’t look at shit anymore

That I don’t have powers anymore

That I’m almost starting to drink, but haven’t forgotten you

The Time is out of joint. The song is a letter, a plea without a request, an admission to a crime that someone else committed. The ghostly recollection of a spectre that periodically neglects the fact that they, in point of fact, are no more. They have ceased to be.  

Nostalgia is, in Kino’s 1990 meta-Soviet phase-state, not the looking-back-uponness of perfect brutalist architecture and an Eastern European youth subculture that grew up in the shadow of the Prague Spring – the very moment that disaffect truly created the conditions for the erosion of the Bloc – but the then right-this-momentness of the collapse of all you once knew. The entire known Soviet Universe, abruptly upended – everything they were raised to never imagine they could ask for.

I’m waiting for answer, there aren’t hopes anymore

Soon summer will end.

Imagine, having already experienced the collapse of your society. Now imagine that becoming the touchstone of a new Era. The turmoil of that period is now a distant memory – immanently recollectible, yet temporally distant.

The temporal end of the Soviet Era seemed to be inspired by the Fall of the Evil Empire during, if not a bit before, the actual fall. The times were changing, but the tone had already shifted, and Billy Joel seized the metonymic pitch pipe to set the tone of the West at G Major (while leaving the decay of the past at f sharp).

The name of Billy Joel’s 1989 album, on which We Didn’t Start the Fire can be found? Storm Front. Just Sayin’

In that moment, the moment you first sang along to “children of thalidomide,” you were trapped. You had been transported from one cultural moment to another. All innocence had been syphoned out, the newly rarified commodity replaced with the cynicism of the 90s and the realization that, without an external enemy, America (and its allied nations for that matter) would finally look within.

So, where are we now … “pinin’ for the fjords?”

Worse. We miss a past we never lived.

We imagine the resignation of the Soviet youth. We pine for that resignation in the face of the looming future dystopia and misremembered parallax past. The drab uniform malaise, the stilted and sparse Soviet Era – not the one lived by the youths of East Berlin or Warsaw or Luhansk – but the one that lives in the Western imagination, served as the sly counterpoint to our Sunny Delight, acid-washed jeans, Family Ties, Pepsi-Cola, Mike Tyson, Marlboro, and Delta 88. We really did have it all, until THEY had to go and lose everything!

Flip the mixtape, let’s listen to Side B in reverse.

To look backwards, we immediately forego all objectivity. All the apperception we can muster is invested in the present. In fact, that’s not true. We are pre-eminently focused on the immediate future. One step ahead, and one step only. To lift our gaze to any horizon is a bitter, jagged, noxious cacophony. Better that we walk through the ambitopia with the single best portable framing devices ever created – themselves the invention that presages the autopoiesis of its utility.

Our jealousy for the post-Soviet post-apocalypse is almost a cloying subcutaneous fiction. A strong-man leader, a social order stripped of any ironic distance decades ago, the immaculate

fucking blinders, and the cold sallow hand of a omnipresent social control should anyone step out of line … just like we used to have L

What, then, is the connection behind the “Western” (because the idea of The West is another sallow, self-serving fiction) transmogrification of nostalgia of Soviet Synthpop?

Once again, Mark Fisher is years ahead of us on this one. In his retrospective Ghosts of My Life (2014), Fisher writes of the mood (or, tone, more appropriately) of late-1970s Britain as encapsulated by the band Joy Division:

“More than anyone else, Joy Division turned this dourness into a uniform that self-consciously signified absolute authenticity; the deliberately functional formality of their clothes seceding from punk’s tribalised anti-Glamour, ‘depressives dressing for the Depression’ (Deborah Curtis). It wasn’t for nothing that they were called Warsaw when they started out. But it was in this Eastern bloc of the mind, in this slough of despond, that you could find working class kids who wrote songs steeped in Dostoyevsky, Conrad, Kafka, Burroughs, Ballard, kids who, without even thinking about it, were rigorous modernists who would have disdained repeating themselves, never mind disinterring and aping what had been done 20, 30 years ago (the 60s was a fading Pathe newsreel in 1979).”

… but Joy Division wasn’t exactly Synth-pop … was it? Take the concept of “pop” out of it.

The form, the synthesizers were in Britain long before they were part of popular music. Joy Division’s first album, Warsaw, had keyboards featured in the instrumentation but locating the synth sound would be like locating a guitar chord in Kraftwerk’s Autobahn. Ultimately, the question is irrelevant for our purposes.

The more relevant question is the point of Synth-pop – it was a futuristic sound (modernist even) – by the time synth sound found its way into the post-punk band The Normal’s song Warm Leatherette, an homage to J.G. Ballard’s novel, Crash, the tone had already inherited Science Fiction’s DNA through Delia Derbyshire and Wendy Carlos. The morose dystopian fringe of Wendy Carlos’ theme for the film A Clockwork Orange and dark optimism of Derbyshire’s original theme for the television broadcast show Dr. Who, inspired by the all-clear sirens during the WWII blitz of her youth evoked a mixture of melancholy and a hope for the future – an uncanny admixture indeed.

What we get in its wake, now that the Synth-pop future has past unrealized is what Fisher, by way of Derrida, refers to as Hauntology, the aforementioned phantasmagoric yearning for lost futures. What we may add is the loss of the present and past as well – we sit out of time, looking backwards is all we may now do … and the view is distorted by the apperception that we now have some supposed modicum of hindsight. In this way, we are fooled by our belief that we can encapsulate the past while constantly reviving and (playing at) reliving it.

No, we don’t experience past, present, or future clearly. The time is out of joint. We straddle the fourth dimension, unsure of our destination and hoping for guidance … waiting for an answer. We languish, our imaginations flitting between the next capitalist diversion or strong-man despot. The joyful nostalgia of a masterfully edited past is matched only by the cacophonous silence of our unimaginable futureless future.

Still, we seem to enjoy our Kafkaesque ambitopia, this Eastern bloc of the mind. All Billy Joel really did was chop a brick out of the Berlin Wall and sell it to us as memorabilia of a past that we will never properly remember.

The time is out of joint

Soon Summer will end

The World is closing in

I’m almost starting to drink

I’m waiting for answer

But haven’t forgotten you

You can see your reflection
In the luminescent dash

O cursed spite

That ever I was born to set it right

Hula Hoops, Castro, Edsel is a no-go

There aren’t hopes anymore

I’m turning the TV-set off

Normalization Flows: Collimation of Osmotic Propaganda and Radio Free Europe

By Drew Burns

Flow

Obscure pre-Socratic philosopher, Heraclitus believed that, through a unity of opposites, everything flows (πάντα ῥεῖ). As time passes, ripples and waves shift the shoreline and shear headlong paths through mountains to constantly create and recreate the territory and its topography. Through every violent earthquake, a tsunami; and around every wading branch, a capillary halo. The hydrodynamics of reality, perception, meaning, and imagination – the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis turnt seafaring cartographer. The presumption, thus, that a finite and underdetermining closed system of potential thought is available – vast as the oceans and with leagues left murky and uncharted – but finite, nonetheless. To occupy the greater proportion of the known territory with your fleet … why, that ensure global perceptual hegemony.

Of course, that is to the best of my reckoning, what the U.S. Central Intelligencia Argentum Astrum (CIA∴A∴ or more commonly abbreviated as CIA) and its Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF). The CCF funded and funneled an astounding proportion of what is, to this day, considered the artistic avant-garde of the West. The gambit being that by the control of cultural supremacy in the arena of high art, they would possess air supremacy over the waves. The fear that the CCF reified and embodied was that the Cold War must be won through cold media. In this manner, the CCF claimed ontological osmosis – the dilution and reagency of ideology and habitus into a solution. A steady stream of Gore Vidal and Gloria Steinem to promote the West abroad and simulate the freedom to transgress in America’s stolen marshlands.

Normalization

As the imagined threat of ideological pollution in during the Red Scare and the Baby Boom converged into a generation of would-be reincarnate Rainbow Warriors, the United States unwittingly catalyzed a soon-to-be all-encompassing cultural superorganism. The monster under the bed no longer needed to be anthropomorphized, it may be a blob, a thing, It. So, it was when the perceived existential threat to the American interests shifted from humanoid to purely conceptual in form. The body without organs of this phantasm is a vast, active, living intelligence system – the invisible membrane capable of enveloping all and absorbing the totality of all things. All become one with the Juggernaut; touch with the Juggernaut’s leathery tendrils, see through the Juggernaut’s collimated oculi. Feel Juggernaut feels, think Juggernaut throughts.

… throughts?

I keep mistyping thoughts into throughts (actually did it again, just now as well). I typed actually as acutely. Maybe what I actually typed was just as acute. Maybe typing throughts is subterranean truth; that it is the mind that is the ocean, and thoughts flow through. The dyslexic subliminal is brush underlying the muddy river, invisible at the surface but still able to produce sturm und drang.

Throughts, I’ve decided, are paths from which one thinks through. I think through the mind’s eye and language and shortsighted goals of a capitalist American ideological state apparatus – juggernaut throughts.

Dyslexia may hold liberatory power. Not always, but sometimes they reveal more than slipping on Freudian banana peels and tripping over your Jungian shadow.

To remove all the dross and sea monsters and shipwrecked ideas of bygone regimes is the goal of normalization. What more could be expected than smooth sailing. The winds are your own. Blow enough hot air and you can traverse the seven seas.

More so, you can flatten the land through the power of Poseidon until all is thy domain!

Imagine … quieting the waves, flattening the tides … you’d have to stop the world.

Atlas takes both hands and a firm footing to force the global stasis. It fails, miserably.

Yin and Yang spirals through his fingers, producing increasingly volatile dichromatic ripples and eddies. The brute force of worked just long enough to dislodge and reorient the flows.

A counterculture? The decentering of nationalism and the fully Oedipalized flower children of their four fathers embodied the self-fulfilling prophecy of subversion.

With that, the Oedipalized Juggernaut that slew Laius fled the unlikely alliance of Artemis, Eris, and Dionysus until he donned Apollonian regalia.

The least likely of all possible alliances, the CIA funding of literary, musical, political, and artfully transgressive muses is the culmination of the allegories above. Upon realizing the mistake of brute force propaganda, the agency adopted the supple 为无为 (wéi wú wéi). Upon the exposure of the CCF and subsequent realization that, according to Frances Stoner Saunders, “whether they knew it or not, there were few writers, poets, artists, historians, scientists, or critics in postwar Europe whose names were not in some way linked to this covert enterprise” CIA adopted the gentle path of non-action in accordance with the flow of nature.

Purely non-sequitur, for now, is normalizing power the goal, or the tool? Is normalization a process, a manifestation, a desire, or a self-interested agent? Are memes social actors, complete with their own libido and death drive? Hold that thought.

Propaganda

Rather than relying on the ideological boulder of juvenile wartime propaganda, oversized condoms and Der Fuerhrer’s Face, the Contemporary Intelligencia Apparatus occupies significant ontological territorial waters.

All that is solid has evaporated, condensed, taken to the air and fell as rain upon the parched earth. The media and cultural water cycle, once controlled by CIA rainmakers, once again appears to self-precipitate. Certainly, except for the occasional cloud seeding, there’s little need for anything else. The Juggernaut flooded the market with media exports and stifled importation for long enough to shape the coastline and allow the sea to move freely within the space allotted.

Osmosis

The counterculture becomes the property of the hegemon. DARPA developed ARPANET, which evolve into a unified system of information, entertainment, dating, desire, work, play, identity, and purpose. Swords, turned into plowshares, only to be flattened, rounded, buffed, and shined to become a mirror society holds up to itself to simulate introspection.

The raw appeal of rebellion is normalized, systematized, skimmed, packaged, marketed, sold and, in the process, denatured. The effect is that even as an actor prepares to transgress, they must use tools provided by the hegemon; the enthymemes and positionality written in the script written for their normalized transgression. When the actor performs their rebellion, they produce surplus value that is captured and commodified.  Though some structured improvisation is permissible, there is nothing outside of the script. Who, or what, then, is the director?

Collimation

What is the effect of the closed system of the global covert dominance of all memetic territory?

First, and foremost, vast portions of the universe of potential memes are obscured. Better put, smaller curated areas are chosen and focused upon through the lens of the hegemon. This superficial creation of a focal point excludes all outside territory. The collimator, the lens that directs and organizes perceptual chaos into a precise, striated, and unified vision. This is the machine that superficially manufactures the ordered social reality. That which is collected as waves of unknown irrelevances are unified to produce a rational, fully soluble, flow of ostensibly objective reality.

What this collimation amounts to is forced memetic closure. A cultural bottleneck effect. The elimination of finely curated conceptual range and, thus, the valence of potential ideology and cosmology.

This also constitutes the constricting of the aperture of apperception. The ability to perceive even a hint of shortsightedness is either collimated out or obscured by a deftly placed smudge upon the lens. It is impossible to perceive it directly but must be sought indirectly through a sidelong glance at the concavity of the memetic horizon.

The chaotic material of condensation nuclei fully contained in an aquafer, replaced by silver iodide.

Breaks

Despite the adoption of the supple path, the intelligencia normalization apparatus can control every cubic milliliter of the seven seas. From flows come fluctuation, strobes, and breaks. In strongarming the globe into a standstill, Atlas left indelible marks on its surface and, though the hid under the waterline, still directed the hydrodynamic flow. Such a system will have unforeseeable breaks in the flow.

The reaction to the break reveals the true level of adherence to wéi wú wéi – this gambit to rely on the flow of nature – that the agentic intelligencia are willing to abide. Can they trust the branch will bend, but not break? Do they stand at the ready to counter the deluge that threatens now that ARPANET has opened the floodgates? Can they ride the incoming tide to slide safely ashore or paddle headlong into the cresting waves only to be beaten back with lungs full of sand and saltwater as their only accomplishment?

Circumnavigating the Globe

Relevant social theory already exists in various forms, addressing the problem from different directions – Disneyfication, the McDonald’s Peace Theory, Deleuzo-Guattarian schizoanalysis, the memetic evolutionary conception of autocatalytic closure – all point to portions of osmotic propaganda. The passive, supple mode of influence now has its first apparent signs of disequilibrium – of course, that is because it was never passive, only passive aggressive.

The goal, the very thing that ensures the control apparatus is never truly passive and ultimately doomed to tidal pools and tsunamis when ol’ butterfingers Atlas drops the ball, is the closure of totality and the commandeering of possibility. The world, culture, capital, freedom, autonomy, reality – all of these are now the purview of an ontological totalitarianism that directs attention through the deletion of the infinitude of alternatives. A map that insists upon one set of directional opportunities. A set of ideas that all other ideas must be throught.

Case Study: The CIA and a Radio (Free) Europe

Rather than simply maintain a fancy, stylized hallucinogenic tone, and leave the topic without a practical example, Ireinforce the theoretical stance above evinces the CIA’s Cold War propaganda broadcast system, Radio Free Europe.

How quickly can we describe the question without giving away the analysis? Through the modern digital reification of ontological territoriality: Quora. When some kind soul asked “Why does the radio free Europe exist, an American propaganda radio station? And what do they try to make us Europeans to believe?” The response is as pithy and adroit as any ever published on the internet:

“It is a hangover from the cold war of the 1970s . Whether it serves a value today with satellite communications,is moot.”

While this response asserts, to paraphrase, it’s a nothingburger and fuck you for asking, the actual U.S. government has explained otherwise:

“RFE/RL (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty) has an editorial board and follows journalistic standards, and its independence is mandated by US law. Its audience is international, and its mission is to inform people living in less-than-free countries.

RFE/RL is registered with the IRS as a private, nonprofit Sec. 501(c)3 corporation, and is funded by a grant from the U.S. Congress through the United States Agency for Global Media (USAGM) as a private grantee. RFE/RL’s editorial independence is protected by U.S. law.”

~ RFE/RL.org

Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty examines the first twenty years of the organization, policies, and impact of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, arguably one of the most important and successful policy instruments of the United States during the Cold War.”

~ Wilson Center, purchase page for Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty: The CIA Years and Beyond by A. Ross Johnson

Radio Free Europe was created and grew in its early years through the efforts of the National Committee for a Free Europe (NCFE), an anti-communist CIA front organization that was formed by Allen Dulles in New York City in 1949.”

~ Wikipedia

The above quotes, each of a banal and pedestrian quality, for what? To introduce to the world, at the onset, that Radio Free Europe (RFE) is a known commodity as a CIA front. The CIA funded broadcast system pumped all manner of propaganda to Eastern Europe in one form or another until 1972. RFE did not cease to exist, however, when the CIA pulled funding and removed their agents from the management structure of broadcast operations. As the conventional understanding goes, thus ends the Central Inteligencia’s official relationship with Eastern European radio broadcasting.

Now, I will not seek to vilify the CIA any more than could be done by way of a Google search.

What is the payoff, you may ask, in maintaining a consistent presence in the form of radio broadcast in Eastern Europe? Take the independence of RFE/RL as a jittery ambiguity, a fuzzy kinetic truth. The truth value is both irrelevant and, if I may be allowed one small conspirative claim, the ambiguity and dynamic hyper-truth is its very purpose.

Radio Free Europe is a legacy project for the post-Cold War United States, sure. Let’s pretend, for a moment, that the CIA is still running covert ops through RFE/RL: what good would it do? It would show the EU and Russia that the US and the CIA∴A∴ are still players in the region.

The points, because I see two, interrelate the CIA’s involvement with Radio Free Europe and their earlier CCF skull-fuckery. The decades of obvious propaganda work of RFE/RL and the known commodity of psychological operations create the potential for a counter-intelligence hall of mirrors. The CIA may or may not be at the helm of the RFE/RL but they do not need to be. The Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF) showed the ineluctable capacity to control the world of arts and letters for decades.

Rather than attempting to fund the Banksies and Sascha Baron Cohens of today, the CIA licked its wounds after the disclosures of the 1970s – depicting them as the sanguine wraiths of the dark forces within American government. The CIA boneshakers, it may one day be known, found multipotentiality through non-action. To be both the spectre haunting the Balkans and the implication within psychoanalysis requires no mind, no action, no intent – wei wu wei. Minimal action, when decades of global flex built up a reputation of the global try hard nosey neighbor and assassin, is truly the most potent of all possible moves.

Of course, one vital lynchpin to the mind-fuck grenade of the CIA actually doing nothing is the persistence of evidence that may perpetuate the perception that there’s always a double agent or visiting game show host come-lately to visit Prague and took the train to Kiev “on a whim” to garrote the known Putin plant.

Most importantly, the medium is the message. McLuhan’s thesis remains a multi-faceted koan for a world so fully enmeshed in media. A radio station is a broadcast machine, but its true value is as a sensual object. Radio Free Europe never left Europe, even long after the Cold War ended. It can be heard and provide messages such as news, views, politics, and established facts with not a whiff of overt propaganda, and still it will demonstrate the same psychological messages implicitly through its mere continued presence.

“Truth, in the spy world, is very layered.”

                                    ~ Robert Baer

Mushroom Hunting

So I guess it’s time I tell you a little about Macka, and what exactly he’s doing here.

This site started a year ago as a psychedelic maze, an Alice in Wonderland adventure with various endings. That still exists along with other hidden things in this site. I’m fascinated by multiple universe theory. Parts of this site allude to that.

I had a very interesting acid trip a little over a year ago. Prior to my hospitalization. The intention was to face my upcoming death. I didn’t die, but it felt like I did a thousand times over. I began to realize that all the crazy experiences I’ve had, my way of looking at things is a bit different now.

With what I’ve experienced who says I’m not ten levels down the rabbit hole. Maybe we all are. Maybe that’s why everything is so weird in our current reality.

Quantum physics shows us some undeniably crazy shit. If we’re the placeholders of reality lets terraform this world into paradise. It’s all we can know for sure we have. Plant medicines can be teachers or terrifiers depending on how you use them.

I’m sure a lot of you have heard about ayahuasca, the sacred drink of tribes in Latin America. The combination of ingredients varies from culture to culture, but they all have two things in common: a plant containing an MAOI (monoaminoxidase inhibitor) and a plant with high amounts of Dimethyltryptamine (DMT for you Rogan bros). The point of this combination is the chemical in your brain that’s naturally produced called monoamine oxidase quickly breaks down the DMT compound as it crosses the blood brain barrier. Using an MAOI in combination with DMT stops the Monoamine Oxidase  in your brain from breaking down the DMT allowing for a long, spiritual journey

Now what’s really interesting is that the chemical structure of Psilocybin is that of a DMT molecule attached with an MAOI molecule.

It’s like nature is telling us we need to experience this thing. It holds a message for us.

The last few years of research on psilocybin shows it grows new neural pathways immediately. When I was 19 there was a drumkit in my house, I couldn’t play it for a damn. One day and 3.5 grams of golden teachers I got up on the drum kit again. Point is, I can play drums. Could not at all before that trip. I’ve taken lots of psychedelics. I’ve had some really dark, scary trips at times. Honestly, they were the best. They helped me face things I couldn’t acknowledge.

Point is: Mushroom foraging is fun and beneficial

~Macka

The Sunshine Law & Florida Man

There’s a reason you only hear about Florida Man and not Jersey Man or fucking Kentucky Man?

Cuz believe me, Kentucky Man…. If you knew… So much more of a psychopath, like Hannibal on a bathsalt binge. I mean what else are you gonna do when corn is all you have?

The reason is the “Sunshine Law”

“Florida began its tradition of openness back in 1909 with the passage of Chapter 119 of the Florida Statutes or the “Public Records Law.” This law provides that any records made or received by any public agency in the course of its official business are available for inspection, unless specifically exempted by the Florida Legislature. Over the years, the definition of what constitutes “public records” has come to include not just traditional written documents such as papers, maps and books, but also tapes, photographs, film, sound recordings and records stored in computers.

Florida’s Government-in-the-Sunshine Law was enacted in 1967. Today, the Sunshine Law regarding open government can be found in Chapter 286 of the Florida Statutes.”

Source-

Basically it means that UNLIKE EVERY OTHER CRAZY ASS STATE Florida gives less of a shit about it’s citizens and privacy than any other fucked up shithole like Alabama. It allows public access to any government record, meaning if you’re arrested for something dumb, unlike other states that have to wait until a conviction has been instated, the second that happens, your local news station can run a story on it, regardless of the validity of it.

I’d like to believe everyone is aware of the former American belief in innocent until proven guilty.

I’ve never been convicted of anything, but boy do I have a fuckload of cute mugshots on google images.

This doesn’t happen anywhere else in the USA

There’s also a whole blackmail profiteering racket w sites like mugshots.com but that’s another story

I think my point is you’ve never met anyone from the Midwest, but that Slenderman stabbing happened there. There are much more empty, boring places than Florida. And places like that get far stranger than anywhere else.

They just give a bit more of a shit about privacy.

        ~Macka