Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Brief and Terrible Intermission

Pantaloon - Doug Nox
Oh blood and bone and clocks and trains
My coat will keep you from the rain
Alas our love is all in vain
The briar and the rose

I will not wait, I cannot thread
The tenor of the things you've said
My love is true and we must wed
The briar and the rose

I don't know how, I don't know why
I never meant to make you cry
My love is blind and so I chose
The briar and the rose
- the Briar and the Rose

Occasionally, if you want to call yourself a sorcerer and not a ‘student of magic’ you have to let it all hang out there.  And I don’t mean endless cascades of words you found in books and your opinions on them, though that certainly isn’t the worst thing you could do.  I mean you have to give up the safety of convention and see how far your juju can carry you.  You have to test the model of the world you have unconsciously constructed in that meat machine against the chaos of the world as it is.  I miss the heady days of dangerous magic and dangerous magicians.  Crowley with his drug use and experimental sex.  Parsons with his polyamoury and crazy science.  Burroughs with his renegade philosophy and blatant homosexuality.  When the mad cabalist Charlie Jones returned to Canada after his falling out with Crowley he stripped naked and ran around the airport until he was arrested for indecent exposure, all to get the ‘UK out his system’.  Spare, even P. B. Randolph all have possessed what can only be described as idea’s which were a clear and present danger to the status quo.  They were fucking rock stars.

If some aspect of your sorcerous model exists solely to validate that false construct then it will break against the world as it is.  I call this ‘finding the handle’.  After many years of mercenarial work I can safely say that I have been burned a lot, certainly more than the average student of magic, devout Wiccan or pious neophyte.  As my old friend Mr. VI told me when I complained about it in the early years, “you can’t spend all day wandering around a battlefield and then complain when you get shot.”  The sheer volume of burns and nails flying about porn valley at any given moment is pretty ridiculous.  I think that has to be one of the most heavily ensorcelled pieces of real estate in the world and perhaps history.  A great many of those nixes just roll right off because they are really meant for me at all, they are meant for someone’s idea of me.  A burn meant to punish me for being the devil incarnate will not be terribly effective because I am not actually the devil incarnate (a devil perhaps but certainly not the devil).  Much more problematic are burns getting slung without any personal malice (the ‘it’s just business’ burn) or my own work getting efficiently cycled back to me (I call this ‘going Frankenstein’).

Besides an enthusiastic and regimented cleansing and clearing routine the best way I learned to keep the fallout from becoming unbearable was to become largely indestructible.  Also known as, learning some esoteric Buddhism.  I am not talking shallow appropriation here either; I would like to emphasize here how little good a stature of Buddha will do on your altar.  If there is a deity (wrong word for a Buddha but if you are thinking a statue on your altar is the way to go, it’s how you are thinking about it) that cares less about the fact that you are getting burned I don’t know what it would be.  I mean the spiritual mechanics at work under the hood.  Especially, the ideas of ‘attachment’ and the ‘poisons’.  Namely, that as conscious beings we place an undue amount of significance and emotional validity on particular by-products of our sensory organs.  The notion that time and space are inherently illusory, insofar as we perceive them with our eye’s and ear’s and hand’s and what-not is obviously logical, western philosophers have been riding that meal ticket for centuries but it breaks down on the rocks of personal experience.  We get attached, to pleasure, to fear, to love and through these attachments we accrue karma because we are invested in an illusion.  Karma is the scrunched up newspaper to the bonfire of any magical working.  So being ‘indestructible’ in a magical sense is to be without attachment.  Without the accumulation of karma the burn can’t ‘find a handle’.

The key here however, is realizing that being impervious to the fallout does not equate to feeling no pain.  It is embracing the pain, the sense of loss, inhabiting it and allowing it to pass through you.  In this way the karma is cleansed and a more meaningful perspective is achieved.  Sometimes of the ways you yourself have contributed to your problems, sometimes that the thing which you feared was not the end of the world, sometimes that the catharsis of grief and loss is the way to beauty.  The black Buddha-sage Dharmaraja is a refuge in times of turmoil like that, during the Ordeals and Pilgrimages of our sort, wandering peregrine about the hellscapes gathering his devotee’s from among the devils and fox spirits.  I count myself among that number, no less a child of the nail because of it, perhaps in a sense more truly a child always a child because of it.  In this sense, an effective burn is a gift of the Buddha’s that reveals to us some hitherto secret accumulation of karma.

Crowley and Burroughs and the others I mentioned at the outset, they didn’t just come into this world capable of seeing through the veil of social convention and morality.  For most of them in fact, it was quite the opposite.  They obtained to a perspective beyond the social norm because of a willingness to examine the fallout of the illusions that hold those conventions in place and evaluate their true value in their own lives.  Among the figures of the Burlesque, normative social mores are embodied by Pantaloon or as we have come to call him, ‘the Idiot’.  In the old plays he embodies the limitations of the status quo, of class and income disparity, of honor and obligation, of sexual roles and dynamics.  He always represents the obstacle which must be surmounted by the lovers to achieve union but he is not so easily defeated.  He is always both sides of the coin of conventional morality.  The old Pastor demanding pious chastity while lecherously lusting after Columbine, the old Father demanding familial piety while he defies the wishes of his son or daughter.  Regardless of the story, it is his presence that necessitates the involvement of the devil Harlequin, only a trickster can negotiate the self-validating dualisms of the cultural norm because as a liminal figure he can observe them from beyond their borders as a complete thing which can be objectified and manipulated.

Honoring the Idiot is a tricksy business because he/she is always both ends of a dualism.  Every honorific is simultaneously an insult, every gift he might bestow simultaneously a curse.  At the most basic and profound levels the spirit which fills this mask is akin to Azathoth, mad beyond reason.  It cannot be contained in a narrative arc because it defies grammar and syntax, remakes them over and over into endless cascades of meaning.  I had contemplated writing this entire piece without any grammatical structure whatsoever but decided in the end that would be a bit too hipster douche bag of me.  There is a real value in this figure and it serves nothing to cloud it with clever misdirection.  That is a bag of tricks best left to Harlequin.  The Idiot is best honored in the absence of pomp and circumstance, in the acceptance of the good with the bad, the sad with the happy, the gain with the loss, his presence is automatic in action in which we challenge the comfort of our cultural norms or the safety of the status quo.  The spirit that fills that mask is the spirit of the world and he can only embrace it by giving ourselves over to it.  To be manhandled and molested and challenged in our preconceived notions.  To love bravely, most importantly that, to love bravely in the face of loss and grief knowing that one’s heart cannot break before it has been filled to bursting.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Narrative In Several Parts (pt. II)

Clown - Doug Nox
When you hear sweet syncopation
And the music softly moans
T'ain't no sin to take off your skin
And dance around in your bones

When it gets too hot for comfort
And you can't get ice cream cones
T'ain't no sin to take off your skin
And dance around your bones
- T'Ain't No Sin

She said, don’t stop don’t stop don’t stop.  She said, oh god oh god.  She said, oh yes oh yes oh yes.  She said, don’t stop, oh god, oh yes.  She sings this devil’s chorus and oh no, oh god, I won’t stop.  All lovers perform the black mass; it is a secret ritual the body remembers with something down deep in the meat of us that is unlocked with prolonged eye contact.  Useless words cast off, lips mashed together we breathe each other’s breath, we taste each other’s water, we excite each other to greater frenzies.  Old Frimost knew the secret, that the furies were always just there beneath the skin hidden in the meat waiting just waiting to tear apart your Apollonian mores.  Christ was hardly the first mask worn to lead the Horribles in their triumph.  That thorny crown painting his face with the red mask of Mezzetino while he dragged his gallows through town.  Damn right he fucked that hooker, I mean just look at the signs.  Dude led the Night Circus through Jerusalem wearing the red mask.  She said, fuck .. god .. fuck.

Way back, before Mr. Lucky ran the night roads through the eastern Provinces he made acrobats and prostitutes at the back country crossroads of the old country.  Harlequin and Columbine, Mezzetino and Pantaloon.  In the beginning the circus and the brothel were intertwined inextricably with the fortune-tellers and story-tellers of Europe.  Columbine wore no mask (or top most usually) and engaged directly with the audience, be it on the cobblestone streets or in the marble halls of Kings and it was the audience who excited the performers into blasphemy.  Unlike contemporary media the audience was an innate part of every story, every performance of the commedie dell’arte and it was the job of Harlequin to drawn them into in the narrative and Columbine to hold them there.  It is not possible to casually incorporate the old mummer and mystery plays of the commedie dell’arte into contemporary western ceremonialism because they were largely unscripted and that says a lot about how far we have gotten from our roots.  All the sex and wonder gone right out of the thing.  Well, your thing anyway. 

Yet the connection is overt.  Janus Bifrons, the very ancient two-faced god of liminal spaces was widely used as an emblem for the early troupes and alongside Frimost (Dionysius Brimos) lord of the pimps is one of the few Greco-Roman deities to earn the dubious honour of being enshrined within the demonic catalogues of the rogue exorcists and pious inquisitors  of the Catholic Empire.  And if Mr. Lucky could ever be said to belong to anything it would be the liminal space so it should come as no surprise that old Janus and Brimos were ultimately counted among his cadre.  I don’t know as much as some about the old Greco-Roman stuff mind you but I figure there is a learning curve before me if the city beneath the city is all pillars and courtyards.  I am not yet done though with the limitless shanties, there are symbols here I have yet to grasp and I will stay with this first part of the dream until I have unmade them into something that works.  Fuck god I won’t stop oh yes oh yes.  You don’t listen to the stories they tell you, the gods are an untrustworthy lot and they’ll have you frothing at the mouth at Yonge and Dundas if you let them.  Yet, there is sometimes small treasures to be had rooting through their things when their backs are turned.  The current rash of demonolaters and Satanists don’t seem to have grasped that it is not the details of the story but the syntax and grammar used to tell it.

For days now the incense has burned for Harlequin and the Burlesque, several empty bottles tossed aside emptied of their spirits.  I can feel them gathering loosely behind me, the Dead of Winter, my striking party.  All Whiskey-Jacks and Tommy-Knockers, come to see this crusty phooka beat his big stick against the walls of the clapboard shanties and demand more cheap whiskey for the dead.  A Clown before a crowd of Horribles and behind his silent mask.  When I have them good and red-faced I shall lead them up the mountain and then you’ll be right for it. 

Oh yes oh yes oh yes, she said, oh god don’t stop. 

And oh no oh god I won't stop.

Friday, February 7, 2014

A Narrative In Several Parts

Harlequin - Doug Nox
There's blood upon the bridal wreath
The bridal wreath, the bridal wreath
The Devil shows his shiny teeth
His shiny teeth, his shiny teeth, all shiny teeth
Now take a seat there by the door
He'll leave you on the killing floor
He's gonna set the clouds on fire
They're burning there forever more
- Chase the Clouds, verse 1

That first black breath we take all full up with lust and drugs is the beginning of the end.  This is the secret truth of the deal at the cross roads.  Death is the beginning and not the end.  True autonomy is hidden here, is the occulted relevance of the cross roads deal.  The only choice you will ever really get to make is what you will suffer for, is how you will submit, is to whom you shall bargain your soul.  Surrender is the only victory to be had for a sorcerer, a real one anyway.

Counter-intuitive I guess.  We are collectively drawn to magic because of a sense of the greater universe, the realization of our fleeting smallness in the timelessness of existence.  We seek control over our destinies when in fact there is no destiny.  It is a profound vanity to believe the universe has a plan for you because it does not.  You are the manifestation of a natural biological imperative, you are an accidental masterpiece of evolution and when creation is done with you it will portion you out at the molecular level in service of something greater and more profound.  There is no pure state of being; enlightenment was the Buddha’s mischievous talk.  The black ink of my tattoos, the poisons in my blood, none of it worse for me than breathing in the living death of my existence.

I have been set to a pilgrimage and I am unsure of where it is taking me.  In my dreams I have come back to the Nails of my youth but Qemetiel is no longer a purity of burning fields.  Now I see a ramshackle of shanties hobbled together along the banks of anti-freeze rivers, darkly haunted by inhabitants without a connection to their Other.  Beneath that endless expanse of poverty and suffering is a temple city much older than the Old Victorian that used to inhabit that space, still the colours of rust and sunset yellows but now Corinthian and Ionic pillars hold up its iron sky. 

I have wandered since December, from luxury condo to luxury condo in the ever-increasing number of sky-scrappers in Toronto.  A blur of swimming pools and hot tubs and impossible vista’s, staring out over the urban sprawl of Canada’s largest city from its center point downtown.  Cut free of the whole of an old incarnation, the woman I have loved the whole of my adult life clings to my hand, my fat cock, we are two people but one demon.  What new forms will have us?  We orbit the core of this city like a satellite picking up escape velocity. 

Qemetiel is an endless shanty town and the crowd of impoverished gods huddle about their oil drum fires, rubbing their hands together and telling stories of their lives before the fall.  Mostly lies I suspect.  I tuned up my 12-string guitar so that I could sing along with the howling winds buffeting the austere heights of the Neptune Tower on Queens Quay.  The Invisibles love the lyrical purity of a lonely musician.  I gave up the first part of my soul for all the world's magic, the second to sing like the devil himself, the third to fuck like a satyr.  Worth every penny.  Of the four mortal parts, I got one left to bargain with.  As for the three immortal parts, well they were never really mine to sell.  So I am making my way to that Black Buddha to strike my final bargain, across the endless shanties and anti-freeze rivers.  Through the poverty of your Gods, their oil-drum fires and tall tales, past the dark silhouettes of the Ha’wiyah who praise the Tetragrammaton while they jerk off to clockwork hookers and sacrifice their children in pursuit of self-deification. 

Just a crusty sorcerer with a bit of soul to sell and a knack for the hard bargain.  It is has been more than a decade since I last undertook the ordeal of the Pilgrimage and I am the wiser for them.  I will burn incense before the mask of Harlequin and let the God-who-is-Not fill it up.  I will spill blood and semen and cheap whiskey upon an altar for the Circus-Burlesque because that is what your religion is to me.  A cock-tease and a wondrous spectacle.  I will sing songs with the four winds until the Tower falls down in its joyous destruction.

And this time, I will write the whole damned thing down.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Find The Others: Audio Interview With Jake Stratton-Kent

A wonderful first entry in a casual and insightful interview series by Gordon over at Runesoup.  This interview has him riffing with Jake Stratton-Kent, a perennial favourite here at The Burn Victim.

Friday, November 1, 2013

On the Altar of Dead Presidents

or Them Dollar Bills

While western occulture may find gauging their personal efficacy as mages by bank balance distasteful, I think it’s because as a general rule our bank balances aren’t terribly impressive.  It’s easier to stack up our knowledge of archaic models and dead languages with some structural support from that time we fucked up somebodies life or revealed the special butterfly inside with a chart reading.  Occasional mastery of the malefica and insight into the mechanics of being is good stuff and it certainly isn’t my intention to demean those aspects of the craft.  Really though, in times like these malefica is fucking easy.  The world is just aching to bring a little pain and doesn’t need much encouragement.  Getting a broke-ass Nigerian citizenship in Canada, now that is fucking hard. 

The truth however, is that money is no longer a pile of gold and silver, it has no meaningful material basis.  A nation’s currency’s value is established by an occult formula of unemployment levels, gross national product and its dependency on imported technology and resources.  It is aethyric in every sense.  All money is now fairy money, conjured out of the air and perpetually tending back towards non-existence, turn your back for one second and all you got is a pile of leaves stuffed in an old boot.  That being true, our collective lack of mastery over the currency of existence in the modern world is a sad state of affairs.

Part of the problem is that there isn’t a single old book of magic that provides even the beginning of mastery over modern currency.  Not.  One.  Maybe, if we want to be generous we could count Dr. Hyatts’s encyclopedic record of American hoodoo.  Yet, even that material is grown up out of a period before ‘money’ had taken control of the political and social mechanics in the way it has in the contemporary age.  When the stock market crashed in the 1920’s bankers threw themselves out of the windows of tall buildings.  When the markets crashed in 2008 bankers gave themselves raises and bankrupted national governments.  It was a weaponized collapse that in the overall scheme of things served to solidify their position and hamstring the political body that had up until that point held their leash.  People freaked the fuck out, the international banking cartels could catastrophically fail and destroy the world, they said.  Wishful thinking right there and beyond na├»ve.  The international currency and commodities markets are actually more robust than they have ever been.  Wall Street trading blocs have turned more significant profits in the last few years than they had in over a decade before the crash.

In the modern age you are not really a fortune-teller unless you can speak the secret language of dead presidents.  You have failed to penetrate Yesod and make of it a cypher.  Bold statement right there I suppose but I believe it to be true.  That collective fantasy we use to negotiate the strange intermingling of non-/existence currently manifests in the form of ‘money’.  Everything else, science, religion, politics, fashion, art, is tertiary to this one central mystery.  Without some grasp of its immaterial mechanics you cannot truly read the ebb and flow of social dynamic or political influence, you lack the means to achieve meaningful personal autonomy at the very least and to inform or manipulate the scheme of history on the grander scale.

This is not a self-congratulatory post, I am by no means independently wealthy or capable of influencing the cosmic economy (and when we are colonizing other planets with robots and mining asteroids it is cosmic) with my vast fortune.  If Peter Grey’s assertion in Apocalyptic Witchcraft that ‘the witch is to be found at the end of the pointed finger’ is true, then the great wizards of our age are a small cabal of bankers and commodities traders.  They alone have all the fingers routinely pointed at them.  The fingers of the religious right, the political left, occulture and pop culture.  Like virtually everything else in the world, they have a complete monopoly on pointed fingers. 

The most common accusation I hear levelled at the financial sector in the west is how they have co-opted government accountability from the ‘people’.  This simply isn’t true.  Democratic accountability to its general populace is directly related to the general populace’s interest and participation in government.  The ever-decreasing amount of governmental accountability is directly proportionate to the ever-decreasing number of voters.  A ‘vote’ in a western democracy does not constitute meaningful participation in legislature and justifying not voting on this ground is inherently deceptive.  It was never intended to be that.  It is a reminder of how much of the populace is paying attention to its legislative body, how much it cares about its government and its actions in the grander scheme.  A western nation that routinely has less than a third of its population turning out to vote is by default a tyranny because it no longer answers to its populace.  You asked to be ruled, to be kept, to be spoon-fed.

Another popular accusation that I hear is that international finance is responsible for the destruction of the planet.  There is a modicum of truth in this, while I think words like ‘responsible’ are over-statements they have most certainly participated.  We collectively as a species have destroyed the ecological balance of the planet, me and you.  This is a collective responsibility that we share as a species and so therefore by default includes bankers.  Really though, the apathetic destruction of our immediate environment is a hallmark of human existence.  The Sumerians destroyed the Fertile Crescent by salting the earth with ocean water.  As far back as we know how to go; unilateral ecological disaster is kind of our thing.  It is a convenient bit of buck-passing to give the whole of that burden to the corporate establishment, if we stop buying world destroying products I assure you they will stop manufacturing them.

Corporations, banks and governments are inherently amoral.  The moral component of each is determined by the humanity it contains.  Money, the aethyric current by which our contemporary fate is manifested and weighed is equally amoral or perhaps more purely so.  I think this makes meaningful mastery of it difficult for a contemporary practitioner because we have become extremely moral.  Even occulture, traditionally a bastion of freaks seeking to challenge conventional morals reflects this.  The return to old religious models and sexual dualities I think makes it impossible to truly challenge the conventional models we have to work with currently.  They are in point of fact, the grand-parents of the mono-cultures that dominate the contemporary landscape.  The average Wiccan or western ceremonialist is as quick to jump to the defence of monogamy or marriage, devotion to God (whichever it may be), or an excellent work ethic as any Protestant or Catholic or Muslim.  Somewhere along the line it ceased to be about the deconstruction of out-moded moral structures and instead became a contest as to whose spiritual beliefs made them ‘good’ in the purest sense possible.  Far-removing the spirit of a given practitioners practice from the reality which would grant them meaningful control over the single most valid measurement of autonomy and influence in the contemporary age.

Money.  I use Saturn and Jupiter (commodity and currency respectively) to parse the seemingly opaque world of international finance.  I start at the outside and work my way in, the inner and more personal planets provide effective vehicles but are not the core of thing.  Fashion (Venus) and conflict (Mars) are economic esthetics and their aspects to the slower moving outer bodies define where the money will flow and how it will get there.  Finally, the most ephemeral and least influential of all, politics (Mercury) is observed in relation to legal and therefore national level influences.

Fixed star conjunctions to Jupiter and Saturn and any aspected planets are my primary filters.  The signs themselves provide an element of staging, a sort of general thematic setting.  I don’t get the mileage out of the traditional signs as most do though, I find their interpretive significance to be weighed down with personal egoic significances and that makes it harder to track macro-influences.  A lot of the readers of this blog will be familiar with these astrological influences, most likely the intricacies of currency and commodities trading a bit less so.  I like the fixed stars as cyphers for the planetary energies because they are never wholly positive or negative, much like global economics and they fell out of fashion before astrology became a wholly personal model.  Lots of big picture to work with there.  Currencies closely tied to a material basis, the old gold standard trope are suspended between both Saturn and Jupiter and fixed star conjunctions to both are weighed; the socialist ‘manipulated’ currencies are wholly Jupiterian.  Those more purely Jupiterian currencies respond viscerally to shifts in the value of commodities and these market adjustments can be observed through the planet’s aspects to Saturn.

That is what I got so far.  More on Fixed Stars and Debt value soon.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Prophecies of the Doom Fairy, pt. XIII

So Mark Carney, the Great White Shark has moved to the Bank of England.  Here is what is going to happen next.  First he is going to freeze the interest rate at the Bank of England, ostensibly this is to encourage borrowing in general.  I point this out because it is not what the last Governor of the Bank of England would have done.  Usually in times of economic turmoil the central bank will raise interest rates to secure the necessary capital which falters due to high unemployment and capital flight. 

In continental Europe things will seem to rally a little over the summer, economically speaking but the simmering political tensions will continue boil up.  In concert with this a strange phenomenon will take place in the UK.  Although there will be no real significant changes in the level of overall unemployment, overall borrowing will increase and real estate values will rally.  All this will appear to happen under Carney’s loving guidance while Parliament is summering wherever it is British politicians go to polish their evil. 

Then the fucking unthinkable, it will turn out the Scots are semi-serious about their whole separatist movement.  Over the course of the coming winter this will become a hot debate both in Parliament and within the British media.  The rules of a separatist referendum will be itemized and indexed and catalogued and fluffed and spanked and called sexy names all right out in the public eye.  Murdoch will use the holiday break of Parliament at the end of December/beginning of January to talk a lot about the economic doom of a fractured UK and the faltering romance of the British aristocracy.  By the time 2014 is really up and running the British as a whole will have entirely forgotten about the Canadian running their central bank. 

The longer this dialogue takes place the worse it will affect the British Pound as a stable trade currency, causing its value against the Euro and the other Western currencies to fall towards parity.  The only event that could bring the Pound to meaningful parity with the Euro would be a referendum on Scottish soviergnty, it is an obscenely valuable currency.  Referendum talk and playing fast and loose with interest rates will definitely cause a drop in the trade value of the Pound but it will take some real national instability to move it, even temporarily, towards parity with the other western currencies. 

By this time next year I suspect the Scots will have committed themselves to a referendum, most likely before Parliament summers in 2014.  They will set the date for the vote sometime in 2015.  In the period between British Parliament setting a date for a referendum vote on Scottish separation and the actual vote itself the economic alliance behind the Euro on the Continent will begin to truly fail.  Some member state will abandon the Euro. 

During this period continental European wealth will flow invisibly into Britain (I say invisibly because Britain has some very opaque and nefarious banking channels, just like Canada), the depressed value of the Pound allowing the transfer to take place painlessly without substantial losses in currency exchange. 

Held up against the failed EU the Scottish push for independence will falter, overall political instability throughout the rest of Europe will inspire the UK to ’Keep Calm and Carry On’ as it has before.  Once the failed referendum is over the Pound will quickly rally.  Possibly less than a year to retake its original trade values if the chaos is bad enough on the Continent, which I think it is safe to assume it will be.  I am looking at 2016-2017 for the rally of the British Pound following a failed Scottish referendum.  

Parity between the Euro and the Pound is what you want to watch for because that is the most meaningful marker for the collapse of the Union.  The referendum will ultimately be a false flag, so if the talk is enough to drive the Pound to parity alone then I doubt the vote itself will ever materialize.  The over-arching necessity is the temporary parity between the two currencies. 

When the Pound rallies the European elite will turn vast profits off of the collapse of the Euro, 25% gains just off the appreciated value of the trade currency (based on current exchange rates, so in actuality probably much higher than 25%).  Conversely, the Euro (anyone still using it at this point anyway) and whatever break away currencies are left in Europe will be massively depreciated by the collapse, allowing those same wealthy elites to buy back European holdings for a fraction of their original value, basically the profit they turned collapsing the European economic structure can then be used to buy back the destroyed industrial and civil infrastructure.

Then Mark Carney will laugh maniacally because ALL UR BASE ARE BELONG TO ME.        

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Economy of Desire

“The universe contains a ‘Maybe’.” – Robert Anton Wilson
In the end, when it comes time for you to make something, all you will have is your grasp of the strange mechanics.  Your Gods, your old ghosts will come on like furies and muses but in the end it is what you can make out of that inspiration.  From a love of function comes grace.  When I need to make something I like to write or tinker on machines, my relative adeptness at either of those things is contingent on my embracing the limitations which define their respective arenas.  English as a descriptive language is an abstraction of an abstraction of a phantom of a thing, and engineering is locked within the iron prison of Newtonian physics.  Those are the limitations which define those two expressions of the human genius.  I think of Chaos Magic and the Discordians as a system of sorcery, belonging to the grand history of humanity probing the darkness and the invisible for deeper understandings, which unselfconsciously preoccupies itself with the strange mechanics which invisibly govern the innumerable expressions of the human genius.  That’s why an old rock-a-billy from Canada with his veve’s in his skin avidly reads Runesoup and follows the weaponized art of the Foolish People. 
My name is Ryan Valentine and I lay tricks and drive hot rods.  Cars in particular, are machines I am fond of but that affection extends to all kinds of vehicles.  Give me your beaters, junkers and econoboxes and I will make race cars and slut magnets out of them.  Give me an actual sports car and I will evoke a tyrant that will most likely destroy itself and perhaps you with it.    A car (or any machine really) exists in the abstract as a collection of realizable potentialities.  When I put my hands to a car that’s what I see, like a gardener in the spring time.  Some people don’t like that analogy, a machine to a garden but I think it fits.  I sow my acid-seed and reap flowers of electric fire.      
A good written piece, a blog or an essay or a bit of fiction is like a machine if we think of machines as I have described them, as a collection of realizable potentials.  I have a collection of discreet values, etymological, grammatical, lyrical and semantic and these can be arranged in some manner to which the causal mechanisms of the observer are sensitive.  It is syntax which conjures identity and not the descriptive.  When I read the old Chan and Zen scriptures it gradually dawned on me that those old monks were real sticklers when it came to grammar.  They never cared what it was you were describing, only how you described it. 
“Venerable Master, why does Buddha say dharma is like the blossoming of a flower?”
“You’re a dick.”
That isn’t as counter-intuitive as it at first sounds, every aspiring karcist under the age of 30 wishing to affect an air of philosophical depth has trotted out the words-are-meaningless argument.  We have established that those discreet values I mentioned above are arbitrary, determined by time, place and social reinforcement and also that this isn’t really all that relevant to an examination of the mechanics of communication.  To illustrate, the cat pictures and pornography which take up most of the memory on your hard disc are entirely irrelevant to how the machine functions.
Language itself exists codependently within a greater affective array along with gesture, facial expression and non-verbal vocal calls (as well as innumerable other subtleties).  Neurobiologists and cognitive psychologists describe this array as a tree, as do mystics of virtually every time period in human history.  Science currently contends that the whole of the mind works like that, a collective of interdependent faculties arranged in some logical array, allowing for analogue, heuristic, parallel, and fuzzy logic and an uncanny grasp of probability.  This also jives with archaic animist models for the functions (or Parts) of the Soul and in some senses redeems the more contemporary concept of Atavism in its implicit validation of natural selection.    
This is not to suggest that science has answers to all the questions, rather that it is inexorably closing the gap on animist thought (which does have all the answers).  Those old shaman were as obtuse as their counter-parts among the Zen, only for them it is the story telling devices of allegory, metaphor and abstraction.
“Grandfather, where does the rain come from?”
“The Sky-Lady is crying because her sister the Corn-Lady gave her husband the Sky-Phallus a handy at last year’s Christmas party.”
“What? .. Really?”
“Yeah man, who can resist a handy, amiright?”
This suggests that human consciousness is a sort of approximation engine and that our approximations are refined and developed not only across the arc of our individual lifetimes but also the grander collective arc of our species.  This is evidenced by numerous inconsistencies in our natural responses which are seemingly irrational until viewed in an evolutionary framework, like an innate fear of heights or dark water but a casual disregard for strapping yourself into 2 tons of glass and metal and then hurling yourself about the face of the earth at preposterous speeds.  We experience the pre-imminence of the mechanics of communication over the discreet, compositional values when we are deeply and inexplicably moved by a lyrical chorus even though the words which comprise them are most usually barely sensible, over-wrought platitudes.  In the beginning there was the Word and the Word was Song. 
And verily the Lord did say; “this Song is fuckin’ awesome.”
Perhaps most profoundly this model illuminates why we invest these internal approximations with a sense of eternity, they are the touchstones we use to negotiate creation and the human experience of it.  When we strip contemporary monotheism’s aggressive proselytizing and Noam Chomsky’s academic crusade against opponents of his Universal Grammar of their ‘discreet, compositional values’ all you are left with is a fanatical devotion to an intangible object.   As these approximations calcify into certainties they delineate themselves with existential horror because beyond the boundary line of certainty is confusion and madness.  We will reflexively perceive all things beyond the scope of our certainties as inherently unnatural, evil and threatening.  This point can be quite effortlessly defended with the whole of our conflict fraught existence on this planet or the intellectual impairment which arises from cognitive dissonance.
“Nothing is true, everything is permitted.” – Hassan I Sabbah, Master of the Hashashin
Here everything has its nexus; the cranky old monk and the irreverent shaman are sat at the same table.   The old monk saying that discriminating between things, establishing one thing as separate from another is the root of karma whilst the irreverent shaman nods sagely and chews on mushrooms wrapped in coca-leaf.  Then they swap war stories about the Lord of Death and his zeal for dismemberment.  These two individuals understand each other perfectly, without need for semantic absolutes because the exchange describes a shared experience.  This suggests an economy of idea’s, of desire and belief.  I describe the ongoing exchange as an ‘economy’ because of the essentially finite nature of the human experience, the value of a thing is collectively established via its mutual necessity.
That singular weight of our disparate perspectives on a word or an image or a sound compresses it into meaning, like coal into diamond.  Obviously, I am not suggesting that your internal process is a simple as a computer OS, rather that when we make a thing we make it in our own image, as a reflection of our individual understanding.  We hear a lot of talk about how our historically simple lives were somehow better and truer and more fulfilling than these complex lives we now live all divorced from nature.  This simply does not jive with my own approximations.  Does the wind blow harder through the woods or city streets?  Is gravity somehow less exacting when you hang 300 feet up from a face of glass and steel than it is at the same elevation on a face of granite?  In the humble experience of this unlearned farm-boy, the wind is the Wind regardless of where it blows and gravity is possessed of a Newtonian reliability.  The Wind is a good example of how we work through approximations actually because it’s so hard to accurately model with math and yet so easy to intuitively read.  Don’t blame contemporary humanity for twisting Newtonian absolutes up into chaos; we learned it from the Wind.
Have you ever flown a kite? How about dangle off a skyscraper?  You make use of the same approximation and the more informed it becomes the better you get at it.  I learned everything I know about narrative from a Boatswains’ Chair at roughly 200 ft. from the ground.  You would think that gravity would be my great nemesis under the aforementioned circumstances but you would be wrong.  Gravity is reliable; a plank of wood, 400 ft. of rope and a strange aluminum cylinder with a cork screw inside it and gravity is my best friend.  Up there it is the chaos of the wind that will have you shitting your pants.  Before I had done industrial work on the Boatswains’ Chair I had climbed around on rocks and felt that by comparison the Scotia Bank Tower would be a piece of cake.  Unlike a rock face you start at the top, the Boatswains’ Chair only goes down.  You double up the rope and then run it through the corkscrew and then hook the chair to the screw, so when you descend you pull the screw against the rope.  Friction does the rest, gravity is reliable.  The more turns around the screw the slower the rate of descent.  Now for a second think about what the wind can do with 200 feet of dangling rope.
I had never before felt as though a gentle breeze was going to end me.  So when it happened I was immensely afraid even though it was just a gentle breeze and nothing untoward happened.  It imposed itself very clearly on me, on my approximation.  Unlike climbing, wherein you seek to maximize the amount of friction between you and the face, in the chair you are trying to minimize it.  Just bouncing off the wall on the tips of your toes if you’re doing it right.  You have tools and shit hanging off the rig so you want a comfortable arms-length distance from whatever you’re descending and when the wind gets into that space it can do some pretty freaky shit.  I developed two new(ish) forms of sensory anticipation, the first came on quick and made a new and practical use of the fine hair on the back of my neck.  That one was for when the wind was going to work on me and my rig, it warned me of the air curling into a whip behind/around me.  The second took longer, it was a whole body sort of thing as though I was learning to make use of a new limb and it preoccupied itself with what the rope was trying to tell me.  Being a simple sort of dude, this process fascinated me.  Sensation is the beginning of fortune-telling; all of us can see into the future, it is how our minds work. 
“The enlightened mind is nowhere attached.” – Takuan Soho
You take this great load of information about what has just happened, discard any information which isn’t relevant to the approximation and use it to create the immediate future.  The mind exists simultaneously in the past and the future, the ‘present’ is an emergent narrative arising from the mind perceiving itself at the beginning/end.  The little hairs on the back of my neck had always been telling me what the air around me was doing; the information had just not possessed a great deal of relevance to the Approximate-World of Approximate-Ryan.  You are always working with a temporal narrative, like how a good fast ball or a left jab both move faster than the eye can actually see, your mind shows you where they will be.  Depending on how well informed your approximation is you either strike out or knock it out of the park, you either bob and hook or get punched in the face.
Like all crusty shaman I am probably mixing too many metaphors.  To recap, language is a vehicle that can be hot-rodded and subjective narrative codependently arises between any two objective points.  Sensible, right?  I am going to write more about this, narrative in particular and the Cut-Up technique but the fascinating history of cocaine isn’t just going to write itself.