The Social Contract Revisited

1. Don’t correct me if I say ‘two thousand and fourteen’ instead of the more modish ‘twenty fourteen.’ I waited a long time for the year 2000, and have quietly let die the science fiction hopes I once nurtured in its numerical name. So, let it pass in silence when I choose the less modern manner of speaking. Leave me this indulgence, younger ones.

2. I will not side with you or with anyone in social circumstances wherein two familiar faces are set against each other in enmity. I will not broker peace between you, but I will mediate by speaking to each of you alone about the other.

3. We loudly proclaim our investment in freedom and human life, but the louder we raise our voices, the less we actually implement our non-secular humanist agenda.

4. We need a world government which will be wise enough to create a Department of Actuarial Design, which will vary the rate of acceptable risk from a social engineering view. Those ideas which should exist will be given a subsidized charter which will limit its liabilities and elevate its interests just out of the reach of capital consequence.

5. The Singularity event spoken of by Ray Kurzweil, Vernor Vinge, Bill Joy and others is too often spoken of by middle-aged technocrats too validated by life to cede death. Any artist working today has to be a bit of a futurist. We need to consider what the acceptable human loss would be in the event of such a sudden change of state.

6. We will encounter other viable branches of pyramid-possessing worldlines when our predictive simulacrum of the alien is found to contain a reasonably-precise model of us.

7. The fifth dimension is story.

8. The viral element which draws us in again and again boils down to a germinal disconnect: ‘Is this person crazy or are they savvy?’

9. Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hutchens: you aren’t wrong, but there’s a larger right. The irrational appetites over which we slather impel our internal Apollonian architect to grandeur.

10. Kurt Schwitters’ Merzbau, early harbinger of the twenty-first century’s media mix, was first named ‘The Cathedral of Erotic Misery.’ I have made my home within those weeping stone walls.

October 7, 2014

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Where’s the Flood?

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(written on post it notes) excerpted from The 1982 World’s Not Fair

1.Tantamount to braggery: Braggadocioto!
2. An errand in the egg salad sandwich night.
3. Karla hearts Smiley.
4. I can be friends with anyone, and will always rather lose than play you out.
5. If we still had that old-fashioned narrative mattress between us, we’d totally be boning by now.
6. “Supernuance” Sunday on the Alpha channel; no sexdolls allowed.
7. Comfort now or conflict always never after (‘Oh, you’re incorrigible’ she selected to make her vintage).
8. I live all moments in the path of the pestilent princess O my Ponzi Queen: Look at me like I’m a suicide accessory.
9. Whatwhat: “We live in a legal aside.”
10. We burst into 1,000,000,000 faces and enter, tainted, into our looking glass mimicry of mirrorhood as Marxed into memory, mimsy were the moths of bother and beyond the monolithic blithering bowman.

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11. Dad took me to another interminable Georgia Tech football game. I closed my eyes to it and learned the hurtful bias that pays for all my pain. Primitive man, posits our dear fellow-sufferer, noticed familial subdivisions amongst bastards. Yr put-upon quadriplegic is on call to every erection. I writhe in elective mutilation under the heel of a hellfuried woman awash in the vulgate of “mean.”
12. For the lion’s share of tygers, I hated every last motherfucking one of you with livid distress and daily. I didn’t want your approval, your scorn, your glossy pink smirks or your securities exchange. I wanted only to pass under your noses, undetectable, unmolested.
13. Beavercreek Roundtree East Valley Sewell Mill Old Roswell Cobb Parkway Delk Windy Hill 1977 Mrs. Schmidt second grade unskip unskip unskip
14. Bifocals calculator watch, Micronauts pneumatic tube.
15. Lockbox, spider-crickets, red clay, mica, Kennesaw Mountain, field trip bull-whip. Jay ——- was my best friend for a bit.
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16. He was allowed to watch whatever television however much he willed according to his personal untethered will. He had more than all of the Star Wars licensed totems, so playtime at his house was fully licensed by force.

17. He was chatty and goofy, affable and amenable to persuasion. He draws comics because you talk him into it, but then you realize his stories and characters are way better than yours, and you’re not sure how to be aware of that without resenting him for it. His best villain is Mr. Grinmile, whose head is like a crescent moon lolling on its back. You won’t be his friend much longer; he turns into the same ugly white southern baptist as a thousand other kids at school.

18. Puberty is a betrayal of childhood, and it makes you feel like the evillest thing in the world.

19. Boys learn where the mass for mass is held. Zoom zoom and the mastery of space! Esoteric codex of the alienated.

20. Girls take all the time they need to find the hovering dingus of defeated “dude” animism. What do I pray for in those moments of bruised banana castration? An emasculated grace gold-leafs a circle around my head.
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21.
  a.) Sees beyond bars of cage
  b.) Am I good or bad?
  c.) Does anyone need me?
  d.) What is highest hardest best?

22. Look at me—look at your son’s smartass smirkface. Are you aware your face is unmasked right now, and that I can clearly see your visceral disgust for me. I can’t remember not feeling fully your dislike of me. Sour stomach schoolbus, and I have no defense against the bullies of this shitty world because I know I deserve anything that makes me feel unfit to live. Fear surrenders to cowed self-hatred and a longing for death that extends globally. You await the bombs that will obliterate the human pestilence forever. You are led to believe that any day now, you’ll be excused from further harrassment.

23. Dad buzzes within a beehive of simultaneous sports, stonefaced until outrage activates the red-faced petulant despot and every time he yells, it might as well be at you. This is what you will become. This is what I am. I find people who will make me feel like shit, who will unleash that anger on me. I hunger for it with more of an appetite than the one I feel for food.

24. Dancing autochthons attend their mourning mass with diffidence. Those athletes endemic to the environ edify the unyielding moonwatcher idiom of disingenuous sabre-rattlers. 2001 was the last film that need have been made. Finnegans Wake the last novel. Klimt’s kiss killed wall art. Scientology crippled hierarchical seating charts of scheming confidence-man group psychosis eye in the best story ever made from this raw material.

25. I can see brief clips of land-like terrain avast the full fathom five players at most, attack Kamchatka with three-die fortune.
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26. You saw me broken into a homunculus of pain-receptors.

27. I reproach myself still for my cowardly slide into the beaten, slavish social affect of fully human search engine american idol initiates who have an assumed opinion of many books, many minds, and yet nakedly fail to make a mind or to write a book. Spin our secret tells into a telemetry of empathic sweater-vest struck crushed and gender-dysphoric in warmth and comfort.

28. Leonard, Leonard in my head—you laugh, but we are “in a world of shit.”

29. My world went from Atlas Shrugged to Naked Lunch in a summer’s crash cart college course in cruelly indifferent modes of capital accrual and how it, in its boundless growth, grows weedy, unwanted variants of devalued quality as a wash for the default greats of a mediocre era.

30. I am 16 and no longer pure & chaste. I am far worse than the faggot you see (‘Where’s the blood?’) beflood you.

31. I walked into my parents’ room and opened the dresser drawers until I found my prize. What sweet sick shriek of scent-dissonant syntactical arrears hath accrued upon your house? I would wish I was gay, but it seemed an ill fit.

32. Now open for elective dehumanizing. Look into my skanky eyes, Mr. Surreptitious Snake-Worker.

33. I was high and magnanimous one day when M—— and I had a mutually inclusive session, booked by way of craigslist’s erotic services section (RIP). Soft fat hairy pelt of repellant commercial real estate broker. He wanted to negotiate for our outlying markers. The thrill of the haggle got him harder than any wiggle of flesh.

34. I was malleable, ludicrous, gullible, servile, treacherous and opportunistic. My pa could see right through me to the rum one of the bunch, as it were.

35. Mom makes us as an oyster makes pearls; dad casts us at swine or collars our dad’s little boy / eunuch / Fake Chicks on Speed shirt. I kissed his satanic anus and even tried to poke Mr. Imp O’Tent tiny penis through the Chester Brown redrawn variant Eds the Happy Clowny Clown Clown. Man about town, inventor of the Colonel Mustard sandwich, accepts my cash offer for a placeholder position between vacuum, hell and fatherland.
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36. I’m sniffing at the anus of fame. I dodge calls from someone in Europe who wants me to do a cover for a Sebadoh single. What an idiot, right? I don’t know. Some Book of Job workout routine is key to arousal / refusal: assassins of pure, perfect will.

37. I tried to shake him; he was tremendously excited by my unwillingness to accept him as a client, after that first encounter. “My money’s as good as anyone’s,” he argued.

38. We all have to start somewhere, and the name of our initial somewhere is: BIAS.

39. I start off white, male, protestant, welshirishenglishscotsgerman Johnsons call McMe. William Momsdad = blacksheep smooth-talker and personal tragic flaw to my mother’s mother Dobbie, who spoils me splendidly, and to whom I commend the captain’s seat of actuarial discretion with regard to the quotient of my rites of penitence to my pupal replications of second cousins’ kissing step-lawyers.

40. He ripped me off, the night I learned to always get cash up front. I pursued him to his vehicle, fell in the street, felt genuinely wounded, felt yucky and betrayed by______?

41. The moment I put on my mother’s utilitarian brassiere, I strapped myself in for a mystical, magical ride up to the syzygy of tantric rigor sponsored by big-business fuck / kill / marry triage.
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42. Partial bibliography of books read between 1985 and 1990, in no particular order:

i. Candide: or, Optimism—Voltaire, 1759
ii. The Golden Ass: or, the Metamorphoses—Apulelius, c. 159 AD; translation by Robert Graves, 1951
iii. Oedipus Rex—Sophocles
iv. The Gorgias—Plato
v. The Confidence-Man—Herman Melville
vi. Pierre: or, the Ambiguities—Herman Melville
vii. Listen, Little Man!—Wilhelm Reich (illustrated by William Steig)
viii. Philosophy in the Bedroom—The Marquis de Sade
ix. Naked Lunch—William Burroughs
xi. The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B & Back Again)—Andy Warhol
xii. Les Miserables—Victor Hugo (in advance of seeing the musical)
xiii. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy—book and Infocom game
xiv. Infinity and the Mind—Rudy Rucker
xv. Blood Music—Greg Bear
xvi. Lolita—Vladimir Nabokov
xvii. The Bell Jar—Sylvia Plath
xviii. Wise Blood—Flannery O’Connor
xix. The Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics—edited by Bill Blackbeard
xx. The Carl Barks Library by Another Rainbow, Volumes VIII and IX (Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories #95-166 and #167-229)—Carl Barks

transcribed 10.16.14

If Loving You Is Wrong, Then I’ll Stop

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1.

For the purposes of this essay, you are the vacuum. Not a Hoover, not a Roomba, not a Dyson. You are the abhor’d void, in any state. The supernumerary eyes which seem to gaze at me also from you, the abyss, are but reflections of my own searching gaze, broken into a billion billion facets. I am the fly. I am form. Just play along.

In forty-two minutes I’ll be forty-four years old—sixteen thousand and sixty days into my tenure on earth, managing the bathetic affairs of this laughable body for the edification of no one. Before I was born, I was naught—a circle slashed diagonally. Zero was the invention of the Sumerians, whose city of Ur was so fertile with firsts that we use that name, ‘Ur,’ as a prefix to signify primogeniture.

Nihilism, the belief in nothing, posits the illegitimacy of all wish-fulfillment excursions into the twisty little passages of faith. To be a nihilist, one must take that simple, germinal premise on the face of it. Paradoxically, a leap of faith is called for, if one is to deny the set of all possible propositions. This is merely another anecdotal illustration of the flimsiness of the devices we use to apprehend the unruly rigamarole of nature. It’s another example of incompleteness, as in the incompleteness theorem nailed to the door of mathematics by Kurt Godel. Our perceptual apparatus is but a screen, and behind it, all that is great and terrible hides its charlatan certitude. When we say, ‘This statement is not true’ we admit a truth whose value transcends the binary babytalk of our crude language.

2.

“There is no contradiction between free will and knowing in advance
precisely what one will do. If one knows oneself completely
then this is the situation. One does not deliberately do
the opposite of what one wants.”
—Kurt Godel, from Infinity and the Mind by Rudy Rucker

Someone wipe the chalkboard free of everything we think we know. Upon this palimpsest of erased thought, let the foundation be laid for our ziggurat of higher truth. Let this foundation consist of an applied nihilism, that we may admit our lack of knowledge up front and acknowledge in preamble to any thesis we promulgate the innate silliness of all our attempts to constrain inane happenstance within the frippery of our causal fancy. Next, we are called upon, as creatures with active, errant, self-inflicted imaginations, to apply our narrative facilities to the task—the responsibilty—of building a mature edifice worthy of our rudimentary consciousness.

Let us, finally, grow into our human vestments. Let us treat comfort as necrosis and let us please mute the useless yapping of our vestigial fight-or-flight instincts. Playtime is over; you don’t get a trophy just for being you. Finding yourself is only the prep work for losing yourself, and only then will you begin the work of becoming unique. Identity is theft, and human life is our least precious resource (you can tell by how loudly we howl otherwise); you can stop flowing down the path of least resistance by doing what comes least natural to you, and you can become your best, least statistically likely iteration with the help of a compass, with which you can chart your course for that role none but you and your innate bias can characterize.

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Kurt Godel

3.

“The illusion of the passage of time arises from the confusing of the given with the real. Passage of time arises because we think of occupying different realities. In fact, we occupy only different givens. There is only one reality.”

—Kurt Godel, from Infinity and the Mind by Rudy Rucker

Platonism is a denigrated artifact of philosophy’s early days. It is, in meager words, the idea that ideas have a geometric structure that exists independently of our invocation of them. There are five Platonic solids, “convex polyhedra with equivalent faces composed of congruent convex regular polygons.” But there are no cubes, nor tetrahedrons, nor octahedrons, nor icosahedrons, nor dodecahedrons in the natural world. On a piece of vellum we may draft them into flatland with rigorous precision; on a screen, we may spin their vectors on the lathe of software; we may spit diamond-perfect models of these five ineluctable solids into our hands with a three-dimensional printer of the highest possible fidelity. But these shadows are as far from the ineffable cave-things themselves as Plato is from being Socrates.
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“Drawing is not the form; it is the way of seeing the form.”
—Degas, Portraits en Frise

‘Drawing is a way of seeing,’ is a commonplace quote among those who enjoy the unending learning curve that the discipline of drawing provides. When we draw from life, we constrain a three-dimensional tableau into a planar facsimile of two dimensions. This facility teaches us to see the world afresh. We learn that if we transcribe too slavishly the occipital balance of light, our drawing somehow fails to evoke a viable view of the world; we have taken inventory, but no one wishes to browse our goods. At this point, a level of proficiency is attained if the student arrogates for him or herself the role of interpreter, telling the story he or she sees with all the narrative magnetism it takes to hold and keep the eyes and the attention spans of others. Now the pupil is fully dilated. It takes an active participant of our consensus, scripted reality to develop, within the camera obscura of our minds, the ability to see the rays of the secret sun, by whose occult wavelength the Platonic essence of all we behold is illumined. All the rapturous, vivid je ne sais quoi of art is crafted by the glow of this lucid, flaming orb. We honor our birthright as sapient beings, made in the image of God, when we open the third eye of our minds and rejoice in the delightful, convivial connivance of cosmological make-believe.

To be continued…

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