'Mortal as I am, I know that I am born for a day. But when I follow at my pleasure the serried multitude of the stars in their circular course, my feet no longer touch the earth.'
 
HomeCalendarFAQSearchMemberlistRegisterLog in

Share | 
 

 Amerika

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
AuthorMessage
Aleatory
bowstring
bowstring
avatar

Posts : 50
Join date : 2011-11-15

PostSubject: Amerika   Fri Dec 02, 2011 1:09 am

Semi rough draft of the first three sections. It needs some work, but I would like to see how others react to it. It should be noted that I employ the term "Amerika" to distinguish the culture of the United States (who brazenly don the title "American") from the continent, America. The allusion to the Kafka novel is intentional, as I felt Karl's tumultuous story quite applicable to the mise en scène.


Amerika: An Abstract on Pandemonium

I) Casino

When I reflect upon the origin of these “United States of America” (united only in the sense of their contiguity—and even then, Hawaii and Alaska are outsourced) I find that our forefathers, desperate to escape oppression, set sail for an expansive nature preserve, subsequently passing on disease to the indigenous people whilst dislodging them, razing the preserve, and erecting a meta-casino/amusement park on the ravaged land, providing these unfortunates with trinkets, uncomfortable vestments, shiny objects, and the word of God as recompense—thereby emulating the very beast from which they fled.

This meta-casino runs deep: one notes the designated establishments, but in actuality it is the entire way of life, the entire infrastructure which composes this massive conjunction between meta-casino and meta-amusement park. Indeed I am not the first to identify this analogy; Baudrillard writes: “Disneyland is presented as imaginary in order to make us believe that the rest is real, whereas all of Los Angeles and the America that surrounds it are no longer real, but belong to the hyperreal order and to the order of simulation. It is no longer a question of a false representation of reality (ideology) but of concealing the fact that the real is no longer real, and thus of saving the reality principle.”

Baudrillard, however, missed the mark by about 265 miles of arid desert road—Amerika skulks in that same vision of convoluted debauchery that played hostess to the Good Doctor’s fear and loathing in the third and fourth months of 1971; the quintessence of the United States, its pure, unadulterated essence is Las Vegas, Nevada—the true panegyric of Amerikan Life.

The more money one has, the more of a friend one is to the establishment—not only the casino, but the greater portion of this economy—and once your reserve runs dry, you are swiftly booted to the street. Notice how the stripper, upon learning she’s bled you dry, immediately abandons you, the illusion of sexual interaction being a simulation fueled by capital (and where has capitalism, where has the corporation not infiltrated?). They give you the illusion of possibility, that these women are actually attracted to you, that they are going to sleep with you—but they are not. There are those who see through the charade, but they are either too few and dissimulated as wacko conspiracy theorists (the true wackos—contrail theorists and the like—exist as a permanent ad hominem so that any theory not consented by the government appears entirely ludicrous) or they are those unfortunate golems in whose heads have been placed Thompson’s words, “No, no. Calm down. Learn to enjoy losing.”

It’s all a gamble, a rouse to play statistics, to perpetuate that Amerikan dream—chants of “Yes We Can!” resounding ad nauseam to rally the troops. Again one observes the United States reflected in the casino: the lovely waitresses not only serve drinks but actively affect the psychologies of the male ego; that perpetuated meme of winning big (“Make me rich. Make me very rich. Oh, you bastard!”) when the truth is advertised proudly on every banner: “What happens here, stays here.”—that penultimate social contract of collusion. The winners exist only to perpetuate the myth that anyone can win. This is the mise en scène of the United States: The Illusion of Potential.

II) Cinctures and Methods of Control

Foucalt, and subsequently Deleuze, saw this looming titanic ghoul on the horizon—the societies of control—only it is no longer looming; it is here. There is, ever present, a process of production, a facsimile of the quality-control conveyor belts in mass-production facilities. Everywhere, we erect Henry Ford’s assembly line, mass producing food, buildings and everything in between. The unique is taboo, “diversity is now our greatest fear.”

Look at the school: the students file into this closed structure—a mimesis of prison architecture down to the gates and door locks (but the locker rooms and showers provide no privacy)—where they are taught how to pass a standardized test. The exceptionally well conforming producers (of grades, of performing the task they are commanded to) are given advanced options to prepare for an alternate or augmented program, separated from the standard whereas the underachievers are selected for an entirely different special program or simply drop out—the rejects thrown away at the end of the work day. This remaining majority portion is then packaged and labeled, placed on the shelf and taught to advertise themselves (like the toys in a store with a revealed button circled and annotated: “push me!”) to colleges where they then receive their brand names after passing the sorting apparatus and the final quality control check point.

Let us not forget that pivotal method, the universal dissemination of desiring-production—advertising/marketing—that virulent, uninhibited exploitation of the “grass is always greener” paradox. Buy this coin commemorating the attacks on 9/11, a $100 value, yours for just $19.99. Is indolence becoming an obstacle for optimal production in your work place? Don’t get more sleep; drink a 5-hour Energy—with only 5 calories.

We see police psychologies in infinite variation between the honest Joe who patrols not to punish but to seek justice and the pugnacious individual-qua-bouncer—the hired muscle—with the ethos of a mercenary. But to counteract this, we have detective novels, CSI, Law & Order, etc.; the apotheosis necessary to enlist a wider demographic, a technique also employed by the military (give the kids toy guns, toy soldiers, have them play cops and robbers, G.I Joe, hook them young and sync that meme before their frontal lobes develop).

We apply universally the methods which predicate the irrigation system, the internal combustion engine—controlled failure. The faucet, the lawn sprinkler, the shower; these are all controlled leaks. So we see, once again, this system employed on individual economies. The Hallmark Holidays simulate cultural imperatives of quid pro quo, where two or more parties exchange gifts of purportedly equivalent value so that one fails to notice the shell game just played: both individuals’ capital returned to the grid whereas each individual is now holding an object of substantially insufficient value to compensate for their loss. Our flight attendants will refer you to your calendar to see the conveniently located exits for your capital. Enjoy your trip and thank you for choosing Thievery International.

Everywhere we see these multitudinous channels: the broadcast and its content determined by statistical demographics which in turn determine the demographics themselves; roads and their breaks/flows of circuitry programmed by traffic engineers; the schools you can attend and the degress you can get from them—these things are all hierarchical channel structures, not the tree but the river delta.

And what of the addiction the U.S. thrives on? Tobacco, alcohol, violence, adrenaline, caffeine, sex, gambling, video games, hypochondria, television, illicit drugs, the deal; these are all perpetuated, marketed by various social memes, advertising in all its forms (peer pressure is a form of advertising: “If you’re cool, you’ll buy Soulja Boy, you’ll eat Vicodin and Roxies, drink Colt 45” etc.) so that above all else, Amerika is addicted to validation by one’s peers.

Addiction leads to deficient serotonin production; your brain in essence acknowledges external stimuli as the trigger for serotonin release, whatever that stimulus may be. What a precarious tightrope we walk here knowing the empathetic potential of man; ergo the appeal of various gradations of virtual realities like television or video games—this sort of escape into a more user-friendly vicarious experience where you can live out your fantasies without the consequences (of those fantasies; you are not free from consequence in general). You can watch soap operas, leeching off the empathetic response to these disastrous social situations, feel the righteous indignation when so and so cheats on such and such with so and such, that awful bitch/bastard. You can play MMORPGs where you design your physical appearance in any number of ways, be a man, a woman, an elf, or any number of imaginary creatures; have super powers, do all those things you can’t do in reality and all without having to leave your house.

Like the heroin addict escapes to phantasy, we invest in—subject ourselves to—all manners of phantasmagoria; the voluntary divestment of our personal realities. We all yearn for a sort of stasis and this is crystallized in the success of vapid commercial art; the ersatz and kitsch everywhere outsells the mordant, the genius; forget Mike Patton, we want Korn and System of a Down. We have inverted the maxim: quantity over quality; we want a hundred bands that sound the same, not one that is wholly unique.

III) Recursion and Transposition

There is a golden section of the Amerikan vernacular, a scalable schematic contributing on an unconscious level to the malaise of so many (citi/deni)zens…and Amerikan life is the repletion of this sinister master formula. The economy-schematic is the lottery (scaled up: more scratch-offs, more rules, more participants but the win/loss/prize ratio remains unchanged)—and is it really any wonder that the highest income comprise the smallest proportion…by such a wide margin? Is the stock market not transposed dog races?

Let’s once again isolate the educational cincture. The teachers (or the quality control personnel in the factory) are not free to decide what they teach: their curriculum is dictated to them in the same way they dictate it to the students; their jobs depend on their students’ performance (which is where we depart from the factory analogy, for if the machines are malfunctioning resulting in fewer passable specimens, they are subjected to maintenance or repair rather than sacking the inspectors). But equally, the principal’s employment depends on the school’s collective performance (the inspector-inspector) and so on and so forth until we find that we are simply fighting numbers: the U.S. education system is in a state of exponential decadence, so we fall back on, once again, playing the game of statistics.

Here, however, statistics are tampered with: we identify in what precise skills one needs to excel and conclude that these skills are the parroting of specific data so we teach students not to think but to memorize and repeat (exactly like the production-machines) and repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat.

The template is cut and used for that singular purpose; the arteries of creativity are clogged, blocked off, sealed. We are teaching you perspective, today. Draw a line lengthwise across your paper, parallel to the shorter two edges and about two thirds from the bottom. Draw two lines which mirror each other and intersect at the mid point of the first line you drew. Continue by drawing lines parallel to the first line to finish representing the train tracks. Don’t you fucking dare draw anything else, or you’re getting a bad mark! Don’t deviate or you will be subject to maintenance/eviction/termination.

The apartment building—what a deceptive invasion the corporation has here!—is housing conformed to the paradigm of the office, and it is in every way the same schematic as the office (you must interact satisfactorily or you are fired/evicted; you must produce your capital to the company or you are fired/evicted; you must conform to our rules or you are fired/evicted) only the act is cut and you simply shell out your profit to avoid eviction, to avoid the boot to the street. One observes in the business facsimiles of the tenant relationship. The business is a meta-stable entity where the absence of capital causes the company to be evicted in the same way that the tenant is evicted for failing to make rent.

I have a fourth section, but it is disheveled even more so than these three, so I apologize in advance for the anti-climax. Then again, it does fit the Kafka motif...

Back to top Go down
View user profile
Fixed Cross
Tower
Tower
avatar

Posts : 3862
Join date : 2011-11-09

PostSubject: Re: Amerika   Sat Dec 03, 2011 11:57 am

It is fascinating that, within this frame of confinement you describe, it is still possible to feel as if one is free. There is a psychological understanding at the root of this system that is more masterful than anything that has come before. What is always immediately called to my mind here is Nietzsches phrase "superior means of dominion" formulated casting a glance at the 20th century and the increasing possibilities for manipulation of the masses. Disney Land seems to me to be the work of no one less than an Artist Tyrant. The Soviet filmmaker Eisenstein was terrified of Walt Disney, for good reason. What the Soviet propagandists attempted with brutally dishonest idealisms, their American counterparts managed to pull off using seemingly naive and endearing representations of harsh reality. All the fluffy figures in the early cartoons do nothing to hide to the careful observer that there is noting morally admirable going on in their behavior -- the hardness of reality is made 'funny'. I think that this must be one of the keys to understand the Amerika you have described above.

Whenever a European sets foot in the USA, he or she feels elated and free. It is so without many exceptions, without any that I know of at least. Perhaps a few poets were critical enough to hate it from the outset, but most people immediately fall for the sheer ambition and the lack of confining standards, to which they are used. There is a paradox here which I am not able to solve yet. America provides to the immigrant a very real sense of liberty, of opportunity, of respect for what it means to be human -- for both the principles of self-valuing and the will to power. The American respects the individual will to power as an ethical principle. In this, he is ahead of the European. But of course, not many have come to this respect on their own, nor is this respect entirely honest. It is too often coupled with nationalism and strange religious dogmas. Still, it works to spark the feeling of power. And we know that this feeling is not essentially different from power itself, and that power is nothing different than will to power, and that this in turn is only possible by a strong self-valuing.

Looking at the statements made by its founding fathers, America seems to have been set up with in mind the principles of self-valuing. Jefferson hailed respect for selfishness as a more credible form of morality, and the pursuit of happiness is nothing other than the work of valuing the world in terms of ones own self-value. There is to me an indisputable goodness at this nations metaphysical, ideational roots. The fact that its legislative structures have been corroded, that the logic has been lost, has not prevented strong ethical will to arise there more frequently and powerfully than it does in Europe, which ethical roots are far more organic, context-bound, pragmatic, on the whole far less philosophical.

I offer this text as a counterbalance, as a measuring-context, to the Kafka-esque description of 20th century America. Ideally we might be able to distill from the madness the metaphysical essence of the nations spirit, which, set loose from its natural legislative boundaries, has taken on such bizarre and self-mutilating forms.

 

___________
" The strong do what they can do and the weak accept what they have to accept. "
- Thucydides
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Aleatory
bowstring
bowstring
avatar

Posts : 50
Join date : 2011-11-15

PostSubject: Re: Amerika   Mon Dec 05, 2011 2:15 pm

Fixed Cross wrote:
Whenever a European sets foot in the USA, he or she feels elated and free. It is so without many exceptions, without any that I know of at least. Perhaps a few poets were critical enough to hate it from the outset, but most people immediately fall for the sheer ambition and the lack of confining standards, to which they are used.
I was not aware the United States fooled any modern European. Still, "sheer ambition" and "lack of confining standards" do not seem to me innately good or beneficial foundations for a progressive culture. Additionally, the "lack of confining standards" I cannot agree with, unless you are comparing the situation to that of the Arabic nations, Asia and Africa. I get into this argument quite a bit with my fellow citizens: the danger of a social oppression whose presence is dissimulated by comparison to overtly oppressive social milieus is that it is dissimulated now, systematically disseminating a perpetuating apparatus. That said, what say you of France, Germany, Norway, etc? Marijuana is illegal because stoners don't mass in armies and declare war on the authorities (as opposed to alcohol, which is a foundation of the United States culture). What of Spain on this point or Amsterdam on prostitution?

Fixed Cross wrote:
Looking at the statements made by its founding fathers, America seems to have been set up with in mind the principles of self-valuing. Jefferson hailed respect for selfishness as a more credible form of morality, and the pursuit of happiness is nothing other than the work of valuing the world in terms of ones own self-value. There is to me an indisputable goodness at this nations metaphysical, ideational roots.
Certainly the practice of self-valuing is in no short supply here, but this is no virtue--especially when the self-valuing includes only the ego--the individual. The pursuit is just that--a pursuit, a wild goose chase. As for the roots, the "goodness" is extant only in the Kantian sense of intention, sense of duty--an entirely naive contention. The best intentions are no stranger to tragedy (for instance, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Mississippi). Disaster is not averted by good will alone.

You say: "The fact that its legislative structures have been corroded, that the logic has been lost, has not prevented strong ethical will to arise there more frequently and powerfully than it does in Europe, which ethical roots are far more organic, context-bound, pragmatic, on the whole far less philosophical." Which "ethical will" do you speak of? What is this frequency? Have you forgotten Norway? More importantly, is "philosophy" inherently beneficial? The manner in which the United States employs philosophy today is an absolute joke. Our Supreme Court has ruled that pizza is a vegetable.
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Fixed Cross
Tower
Tower
avatar

Posts : 3862
Join date : 2011-11-09

PostSubject: Re: Amerika   Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:23 am

Aleatory wrote:
Fixed Cross wrote:
Whenever a European sets foot in the USA, he or she feels elated and free. It is so without many exceptions, without any that I know of at least. Perhaps a few poets were critical enough to hate it from the outset, but most people immediately fall for the sheer ambition and the lack of confining standards, to which they are used.
I was not aware the United States fooled any modern European.
From my perspective at least, it is the modern American who is fooled into believing that, because of the severe degeneration and increasing stupidity, the entire value system is lost.
All my travels through the USA have been very interesting and fruitful, and the people I come to know there are very much worth knowing, I have learned much there. It seems to me that there is still a boldness to American thinking that can not be found in Europe.

Of course I am very selective in who I speak to long enough to draw such conclusions. The bulk of humanity, wherever you go, is stupid.

Quote :
Still, "sheer ambition" and "lack of confining standards" do not seem to me innately good or beneficial foundations for a progressive culture. Additionally, the "lack of confining standards" I cannot agree with, unless you are comparing the situation to that of the Arabic nations, Asia and Africa.
It is the question what is being confined, of course. But I admit that I may be too positive here, I am aware that there is a great deal of suppression and control in the US, that this is an understatement even. What I speak of is the minds of the people I've come to know. There seems to be more ''ethical space'' at lthe very least than in the Netherlands, anno 2011.

Quote :
I get into this argument quite a bit with my fellow citizens: the danger of a social oppression whose presence is dissimulated by comparison to overtly oppressive social milieus is that it is dissimulated now, systematically disseminating a perpetuating apparatus.
Could you elaborate on this? What is the danger, what is the perpetuating apparatus? What is systematically being dissemminated?

Quote :
That said, what say you of France, Germany, Norway, etc? Marijuana is illegal because stoners don't mass in armies and declare war on the authorities (as opposed to alcohol, which is a foundation of the United States culture). What of Spain on this point or Amsterdam on prostitution?
Although I know that marijuana possession is used as an excuse for the government to ruin people, I have not noticed any effective restrictions on marijuana in the US. it seems to be readily available in good quality, and much more people smoke it there than in Amsterdam, relatively speaking as well. In California the quality is arguably better and, in case of a medicinal permit which is, so I found out, very hard not to get, more legal than in Amsterdam where it is still illegally produced and sold to the coffeeshops. But that aside, I would not say of such things that they are a real standard for freedom or lack of boundaries.

I like France very much as a country. Germany... I'm not so sure what to think yet. In Norway I've never been, its hardly populated and nothing really interesting has come from there since the Vikings, as far as I know. They have very little challenges, politically speaking, compared to the US. That should be a consideration -- how does the worlds leading political power maintain order interiorily? Clearly, they are not doing a very good job now, but I doubt that the Norwegian government would manage better if they had a simiar weigth to carry and wealth to manage. It is said that power corrupts -but the US is still a far better place to live than any African or most any Asian country, and I would prefer it to most European nations as well. Italy and France are probably the only exceptions.

But this is all distracting from what you aim to expose -- the only thing I can do is give counterweight, knowing that the degeneracy of control and standards in the US is alarmingly real.
I am putting it in context of the rest of what we call the civilized world.

Quote :
Fixed Cross wrote:
Looking at the statements made by its founding fathers, America seems to have been set up with in mind the principles of self-valuing. Jefferson hailed respect for selfishness as a more credible form of morality, and the pursuit of happiness is nothing other than the work of valuing the world in terms of ones own self-value. There is to me an indisputable goodness at this nations metaphysical, ideational roots.
Certainly the practice of self-valuing is in no short supply here, but this is no virtue--especially when the self-valuing includes only the ego--the individual. The pursuit is just that--a pursuit, a wild goose chase. As for the roots, the "goodness" is extant only in the Kantian sense of intention, sense of duty--an entirely naive contention. The best intentions are no stranger to tragedy (for instance, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Mississippi). Disaster is not averted by good will alone.
I disagree that this egoistical selfvaluing is not a virtue. It starts with egoism. No creature is based on anything else. I would say that only when advances are made within the egoic sphere, can the self be interpreted more widely. But this is debatable, I realize. I am no authority on the virtues and merits of ego-forsaking.

Quote :
You say: "The fact that its legislative structures have been corroded, that the logic has been lost, has not prevented strong ethical will to arise there more frequently and powerfully than it does in Europe, which ethical roots are far more organic, context-bound, pragmatic, on the whole far less philosophical." Which "ethical will" do you speak of? What is this frequency? Have you forgotten Norway? More importantly, is "philosophy" inherently beneficial? The manner in which the United States employs philosophy today is an absolute joke. Our Supreme Court has ruled that pizza is a vegetable.
What should I remember about Norway? It is clean and has few people. It used to be extremely poor, recently it has found some oil and is now rather prosperous, but enormously boring and culturally insignificant.
The US is still, despite, or perhaps also because of, evertyhing, the most politically dynamic and culturally productive country in the world, even if the standards are seemingly very low, you dont even want to know what standards we have in Holland. The social counter-engineering, the art of creating aggression, stupidity and self-pity are mastered here, and there is nothing to compensate for it. Dutch society is effectively destroyed. Whenever I fly back from the US to Holland I feel like I am setting foot in a filthy cage.

Yet when I came back from Damascus to Amsterdam, I felt like I was entering a sanctuary of purity. I think that well thinking Americans, dismayed by what goes on around them, tend to overestimate the virtues of the rest of the world.

 

___________
" The strong do what they can do and the weak accept what they have to accept. "
- Thucydides
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Aleatory
bowstring
bowstring
avatar

Posts : 50
Join date : 2011-11-15

PostSubject: Re: Amerika   Tue Dec 06, 2011 3:50 pm

Fixed Cross wrote:
From my perspective at least, it is the modern American who is fooled into believing that, because of the severe degeneration and increasing stupidity, the entire value system is lost.

All my travels through the USA have been very interesting and fruitful, and the people I come to know there are very much worth knowing, I have learned much there. It seems to me that there is still a boldness to American thinking that can not be found in Europe.

Of course I am very selective in who I speak to long enough to draw such conclusions. The bulk of humanity, wherever you go, is stupid.

I have no doubt the value system is not yet lost. Rather, it has been compromised, contaminated and/or corrupted; it is abused. Replacing the filibuster with intransigence in political office; dividing the populous with party warfare and bewitching them with egregious propaganda[1]; the vitiation of the Free Press by capital[4]; the apotheosis of convenience[5]; the implementation of peer pressure to market by simulated demographics[8]; etc.

Boldness, indeed—but such a ‘virtue’ has accompanied every military dictator in recorded history. Hitler was bold[9].

Fixed Cross wrote:
Could you elaborate on this? What is the danger, what is the perpetuating apparatus? What is systematically being dissemminated?

I elaborated extensively in “II: Cinctures and Methods of Control” and “III: Recursion and Transposition”. If you want vague, umbrella-term answers, the danger is trapping the progress of man in a möbius strip that (due to youth becoming little more than glorified parrots) is inexpugnable from within, the perpetuating apparatus is the transposition of mass production onto all strata and the perpetuating apparatus is what is being disseminated by advertising/marketing—however, I would rather you just read the two sections mentioned for a more substantial explanation.

Fixed Cross wrote:
Although I know that marijuana possession is used as an excuse for the government to ruin people, I have not noticed any effective restrictions on marijuana in the US. it seems to be readily available in good quality, and much more people smoke it there than in Amsterdam, relatively speaking as well. In California the quality is arguably better and, in case of a medicinal permit which is, so I found out, very hard not to get, more legal than in Amsterdam where it is still illegally produced and sold to the coffeeshops. But that aside, I would not say of such things that they are a real standard for freedom or lack of boundaries.

May I ask where in the U.S. you have been? New York, for instance, averages 50,000 arrests for misdemeanor possession of marijuana annually[10]. The FBI’s Uniform Crime Report for 2010 (obviously, the 2011 edition has not yet been released) lists over 750,000 arrests for possession of marijuana, but I would rather not get hung up on this point.

Fixed Cross wrote:
In Norway I've never been, its hardly populated and nothing really interesting has come from there since the Vikings, as far as I know. They have very little challenges, politically speaking, compared to the US. That should be a consideration -- how does the worlds leading political power maintain order interiorily? Clearly, they are not doing a very good job now, but I doubt that the Norwegian government would manage better if they had a simiar weigth to carry and wealth to manage. It is said that power corrupts -but the US is still a far better place to live than any African or most any Asian country, and I would prefer it to most European nations as well.


I’ll leave off discussion of Norway until the second to last paragraph (where it is brought up again).

Are we actually to assume that the United States is not responsible for its issues; that its “weight” and “wealth” are inherently good and that the issues of managing the control over such a vast populous—its failures in this sense—are therefore forgivable? Well, from the standpoint of rape, in 2009 the U.S. was ranked 5th in per capita rapes—Zimbabwe was 7th—and 1st by 75,907 rapes[11]. Is this a necessary evil? What of being ranked 46th globally in terms of infant mortality rate[12]? 98th in unemployment rate? How about that obesity rate[6]? Indeed, the U.S. carries a great weight.

Fixed Cross wrote:
What should I remember about Norway? It is clean and has few people. It used to be extremely poor, recently it has found some oil and is now rather prosperous, but enormously boring and culturally insignificant.

As a point of comparison, Norway has an unemployment rate of 3.4 to the U.S.’s 8.6, an infant mortality rate of 3.58 to the U.S.’s 6.26, a rape rate of 19.8 to the U.S.’s 28.6 and no death penalty. How about education? Norway was 9th in reading to the U.S.’s 14th, 15th in math to the U.S.’s 25th and the U.S. pulls an uncharacteristic upset ranking 17th in science to Norway’s 19th. What about these Netherlands? 7th in reading, 6th in math and 8th in science[13]. But perhaps these countries are boring and culturally insignificant. Zimbabwe is far from boring and extremely culturally significant. Let’s all move there.

Fixed Cross wrote:
The US is still, despite, or perhaps also because of, evertyhing, the most politically dynamic and culturally productive country in the world, even if the standards are seemingly very low, you dont even want to know what standards we have in Holland. The social counter-engineering, the art of creating aggression, stupidity and self-pity are mastered here, and there is nothing to compensate for it. Dutch society is effectively destroyed. Whenever I fly back from the US to Holland I feel like I am setting foot in a filthy cage.

If you feel the U.S. is anything but proficient in what you call social counter-engineering, and that we compensate for it (especially in aggression, stupidity and self-pity), you are disastrously mistaken. Visiting is not enough. Live here for a few years. This reply is already far too long, so I’ll end it here.

End Notes:

[1] The current state of political affairs is abysmal at best. The President serves as little more than a figurehead, a scapegoat upon whose shoulders we can lay all the blame. We failed to alleviate the financial crisis that’s been snowballing since Clinton left office? Blame Bush[2] and Obama[3]. The democrats, vacuous mouths and furled brows, menacingly thrust their index fingers at the republicans who in turn mirror this gesture, the Tea Party is in constant existential quandary, and all the while the independents are reduced to cynical irony. This is all perpetuated by drowning the Amerikan people in horribly biased propaganda, which would be fine if the audiences of Fox News and its democratic equivalent exhibited a propensity for checking sources.

[2] Bush may be blamed for the war in Iraq but it is the Amerikan people who made the ultimate decision to go to war.

[3] While Obama is, in my opinion, not at fault for the national debt, he was not ready for presidency.

[4] The press is, first and foremost, a business requiring a good deal of capital to operate. To satisfy this need, the story must not only be provocative enough to sell, but consistently produced in such a way as to ensure a steady profit. Thus the paparazzi is ex-cinctured as the mainstream jackals and vultures swarm, quenching the bloodlust of the Amerikan people for scandal; nothing satisfies the public quite like the felling of a titan through scandal.

[5] Fast food is by no means peculiar to Amerika, but no where else is it such a fundamental staple of the national diet. McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Hardees, Checkers, White Castle, Dairy Queen/Stuckey’s, Taco Bell, Arby’s, KFC, Popeye’s, Chick-fil-a…the list goes on. More than half of the U.S. population consumes fast food on a weekly basis—around 27% eat it daily. The health concerns are obviously appalling[6], but the semiotics… terrifying. To make some attempt at brevity, I will refer you further to an interview with David Foster Wallace[7] which outlines transpositions of this schematic elsewhere…the psycho-social implications.

[6] Once again topping the charts, the U.S. weighs in with 74.6% of the population being overweight or obese, an importunate statistic when observing that just 19.7% were overweight or obese in 1997.

[7] The interview can be accessed here: http://samizdat.cc/shelf/documents/2005/03.07-dfwinterview/dfwinterview.pdf

[8] The most despicable development in marketing to date is this trendy psychological warfare capitalizing on the hegemony of peer pressure: ‘We have stereotyped your demographic which we will now synthesize into an injection mould mimesis, so convincingly enjoying our product that you will, more often than not, purchase it not because you actually want it (indeed, prior to this ad, you were ignorant of such desire) but because we dictate how you should be you.’

[9] Hitler was, as it so happens, greatly influenced by America…and Britain’s colonization policies.

[10] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/05/of-50000-marijuana-arrest_n_1078023.html

[11] 1st being the most rapes (as opposed to the next note’s numbering): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_statistics

[12] 1st being the least deaths per 1,000 live births: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_infant_mortality_rate

[13] http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/dec/07/world-education-rankings-maths-science-reading
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Fixed Cross
Tower
Tower
avatar

Posts : 3862
Join date : 2011-11-09

PostSubject: Re: Amerika   Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:45 pm

I respect your study, but I ask to what you would have it point. The aim of 20th century America has been to keep the Eurasian continent from taking control of the world. All was allowed to that end. After Vietnam, people have become more critical. If people become more critical without having a global political overview, perspectives are skewed.

In olden times, people would simply die for their country. After Vietnam something very significant has happened - the notion of the state in general as superego became untenable to a certain refined taste. The nation-state-world was in grave danger, and the people kept getting better informed, journalism and resulting, pop music threatened to kill the states authority as-such entirely. A grand sweep was needed the Grand Chessboard could not be left unattended, despite the peoples growing selfishness, their growing ability to think of themselves as laws unto themselves.

Either America-Israel relinquishes its international military domination, or - not. If so, it is hard to estimate how China, Russia, Germany, etc would rise to the occasion - that would be the question to ask. If not, the people will have to find a way to stand behind the military industrial complex, understand it as a fundamentally productive and protective institution, a condition of civilization, which is actually how it functions. All means by which the people have gotten better informed are resultant of the technology war between corporate nations. That is not to say that there is not a great deal kept away from the people - the individual can never again believe the state, and the states moral and medical predications, but he must work within it, because the state increasingly represents the world at large, its utterly inhuman resistance of power, "the Real" in its total anonymous force contained. The world is not ready to become a peaceful haven without coercion and manipulation. It may never become that.

The evil of this is implicit not in the mechanism of power itself, but arises in the interpretation by a different-valuing group, is created by the separating of morality from reality. Economical and political reality, corporate industry, has been renounced since its effects became popularly visible. But there is no other option. There are only many ways to make it worse, and quite likely a few ways to improve it, make it better suited to our "human" standards. But we forget too easily that these are western standards - that rights before the state is a western concept. The west is still the only post industrial master-morality, but it has been largely lost after 9-11, when America, the great warrior nation, became a self-pitying freak. Thereby are the excesses allowed, not by "the state". Such an institution is always a direct reflection of the peoples will. The will of Americans has been weakened. Thereby the parasitic nature of corporatism has gained ground. But what was the cause of the weakening of the will? It was the peoples ability to see behind the facade of politics coupled to their inability to affirm what they saw, and the paralysis that followed disabled them from even trying to affirm it --- so far.

If philosophy is not aimed at clarifying the will to power as an ethics, it is going nowhere. Corporate; entity-like. Industrial: productive. Complex: system.
The good people of the world are very far removed from a logic powerful enough to 'contain' the future, which is to disclose it. To this end we have devised value-ontology, and to the end of disseminating value ontology this forum is created. A small step, but we aim to match corporations in their power, to function as a metaphysical "virus", to "infect" people with this new, philosophically pure master-morality. Our quest is a discovery of the diversity of human minds, the endless ways in which the logic following from making all logic subject to what it serves to organize, creates stability in human thought as it reveals it as self-valuing and valuing the world in the thereby disclosed term-system.

America could no longer be valued in terms of Americans. What was the American? A person who needed the state to tell him to value himself. When he had learned this, he ceased to believe the state, and rejected it. Consequently he was unable to value himself, as he had built himself in the terms predicated by the state.
The solution to this lack of power is to affirm the state as a corporation, but at the same time not believing one word its mouthpieces utter. The solution is to take control of politics by affirming that this is a spectacle, a game of lies and deceit - an artform. "Exposing the facts" is not politics - creating new psychological conditions is required.




Note: American influence on Hitler was mostly the strategies devised by Edward Bernays, Freuds cousin -- like his uncle and Hitler, an Austrian. The inventor of Hollywood-stage setting is of course Wagner. American soft-power is for a great part a Germanic product, which in turn is the inheritor of Hellenic Idealism. This great western ambition to create the world now has affected the entire world, but its main engines are still in America, even if Germany gradually becoming willing to live up to its self-imposed responsibilities again. The power to manipulate, as terrible as it is, is still nowhere near as horrifying as a world in the absence of this power.


 

___________
" The strong do what they can do and the weak accept what they have to accept. "
- Thucydides
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Aleatory
bowstring
bowstring
avatar

Posts : 50
Join date : 2011-11-15

PostSubject: Re: Amerika   Wed Dec 14, 2011 2:12 pm

I feel for the most part, we have been writing past each other. This was meant as a semiotic observation on the present U.S. socio-political structure. However, you did write something that worries me:

'A small step, but we aim to match corporations in their power, to function as a metaphysical "virus", to "infect" people with this new, philosophically pure master-morality.'

I am afraid you have merely embarked on the propagation of yet another arbor-hierarchy. You speak of expropriation of corporate domination by force; to "match the corporations in their power". Perhaps I should ask you to what you would have your concept point: I look for a balance--equilibrium rather than metastability--and to this end, one must dissipate the extant force rather than attempt to meet it with an equal force. Which brings me to your question of "to what would [I] have it point?" I would have my concepts point to the structural integrity of microcosmic societies cooperating as multiplicities; rhizomatic proliferation as opposed to arbor-hierarchical/mass production dissemination.

Back to top Go down
View user profile
Fixed Cross
Tower
Tower
avatar

Posts : 3862
Join date : 2011-11-09

PostSubject: Re: Amerika   Fri Dec 16, 2011 6:09 pm

Aleatory wrote:
I feel for the most part, we have been writing past each other. This was meant as a semiotic observation on the present U.S. socio-political structure.
I can understand that my comments seemed somewhat irrelevant to your proposed context. But it was the context that I meant to challenge.

Quote :
However, you did write something that worries me:

'A small step, but we aim to match corporations in their power, to function as a metaphysical "virus", to "infect" people with this new, philosophically pure master-morality.'

I am afraid you have merely embarked on the propagation of yet another arbor-hierarchy. You speak of expropriation of corporate domination by force;
I have done no such thing, that would indeed be futile. Corporations don't generally exert direct force, they act insidiously, infiltrate our cognitive circuitry and re-set our needs and create new desires in us. The violence acted out physically in wars and dictatorships is overshadowed by the structural violence, the domination of mans thinking. This is the power I seek to match and overcome. Philosophy, if it is to be politically effecting, must be more subtle, but still play the game of manipulation. The thinker must guide his fellow men toward the good, not ask them to abandon the bad. In life as in philosophy, one can not negate a negative by designating it as bad. We must set a positive for it to eliminate itself against. This is the context I am speaking of.

Quote :
I look for a balance--equilibrium rather than metastability--and to this end, one must dissipate the extant force rather than attempt to meet it with an equal force.
Power is not the same as force. I do not seek to meet force with force and start a war. Power is mostly intellectual. Every war is an intellectual game, both in terms of strategy as of ideology, motive.

Quote :
Which brings me to your question of "to what would [I] have it point?" I would have my concepts point to the structural integrity of microcosmic societies cooperating as multiplicities; rhizomatic proliferation as opposed to arbor-hierarchical/mass production dissemination.
We agree on a general political aim. I have long pondered how to create a movement from the root up containing in its intention already the self-organizing quality of spontaneously emerging self-cultivating socio-economical units. In other words, I have been looking for the DNA of a rhizomatically self-conditioning society. Now that I think that I have found this, at least a rudimentary code, I test all that comes along to this logic.

What I find is that corporations employ a kind of living-dead version of value ontology. They act on the reversed principle: to have people condition themselves in terms of services provided by other entities. to break the power of such entities, people must be taught, somehow - this is the hard part - to value services in terms of themselves. If the thought takes hold firmly enough as an intention, the "market" - the top-down stream of products to create demand - will be broken by a more natural, need-based system of self-sustaining by the means provided by the (physical, societal, moral) landscape.

 

___________
" The strong do what they can do and the weak accept what they have to accept. "
- Thucydides
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Parodites
Tower
Tower
avatar

Posts : 749
Join date : 2011-12-11

PostSubject: Re: Amerika   Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:02 pm

* Looks at bottle of Vicodin in left hand * My brand comes in pink pills, cute.

Hey! Take it easy on us drug addicts now. *Puts out cigarette.*

The best part of a cigarette is actually the moment you put it out, because that means you get to light another one.






America is the most vivid form of the disease we call modern humanity. It is the technological and economic realization of nihilism, something Nietzsche would have never even imagined was possible. The "casino" you describe is the precursor to what we have now, a giant mall, which is basically what the good old USA has become. Paris used to have (maybe still does) these things called Arcades, the equivalent of an American mall. Walter Benjamin planned to write a magnum opus about the concept, and in fact he tried to. The surviving fragments of it are called the Arcades Project, you might be interested in reading it, original poster.

Nihilism technologically realized, it is amazing. Instead of actually satisfying your desires, this mammoth Arcade simply inspires you with desire after desire, turning you into a ceaseless wellspring of new and more perverse desires, to the point that you can't even reflect on your own dissatisfaction, emptiness, and longing. Makes me quite ill to think about it, actually. That's why I spent more than five years without ever leaving my house.

Anyway, this disease must be corrected. All we need is a proper course of treatment: re-awaken the populace to its dissatisfaction.
Back to top Go down
View user profile Online
Parodites
Tower
Tower
avatar

Posts : 749
Join date : 2011-12-11

PostSubject: Re: Amerika   Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:22 pm

Also, the opiate and heroin user does not escape to fantasy. He takes opium to give him the false courage to embrace his own misery. Thus it often leads to a peculiar pathology, where the principle of the real is inverted and becomes a source of pleasure. The heroin user likes the dirt, likes being in the filth and the dirt, wants to be the filth and the dirt, wants to be the real.

His own pain and degenerating body, his own wretchedness, becomes a source of pleasure. Delectatio morosa is the sweetest bit of honey one can squeeze from the poppy bud. Opium is thanatos become pregnant, creative.


The phenomenology of the opium experience is very interesting.
Back to top Go down
View user profile Online
Aleatory
bowstring
bowstring
avatar

Posts : 50
Join date : 2011-11-15

PostSubject: Re: Amerika   Sat Dec 17, 2011 2:39 pm

Fixed Cross,

To begin, this essay has a few holes and loose ends, but it was meant only as a sort of sketch plan—with this in mind, I think the context stands. Also, I am quite relieved that I misinterpreted you. That said, the corporation’s a slippery snake and while what many of them do is detestable, the populous is to blame—for without the populous’ support, the corporation would not exist. Further, humans love to anthropomorphize aggressors. We have a penchant for Hermetic nomenclature, to bring our enemies under one umbrella term which then becomes some taboo or another. For example, I am part of a corporation—our business is “incorporated”—as is any company to whose name is attached “, inc.” We are hardly insidious. It is my mother, father and myself. We do freelance architecture work for larger companies and we only became incorporated so that my father, who has a bad heart, could be insured. As I explain briefly in my response to Parodites (below), I made the same mistake regarding my essay—the Casino schematic is not the sole circuitry of the United States. I think we all tend to oversimplify these situations.

Regarding rhizomatics, I have begun to outline how these entities could spread but I have a long, long road ahead of me. I’ve been influenced by B.F. Skinner’s Walden Two, as have many others who have constructed similar communities, though their ability to proliferate has at this time been non-existent. The Seasteading Institution shows some promise, too. I suggest reading/researching these respectively. I’ll save further extensive discussion of my concepts for rhizomatics until my essay is further along.



Parodites,

This is something I feel I need to readdress in the essay, though I’m considering abandoning it altogether and just resurrecting some of the concepts in my next essay: I was too quick to say ‘Amerika is just this cincture-schematic’. I saw this while reviewing ‘Postscript on the Societies of Control’ (Deleuze). Despite all evidence indicating the reign of societies of control, the key tenets of disciplinary societies are no less ubiquitous. Likewise, while the Arcade structure (which can be used both in the sense you describe—I will certainly have a look at this Arcades Project—and in the sense of gaming) certainly makes its presence known, the Casino cincture-schematic has by no means been attenuated. All in all, I’m sure you will notice this underlying circuitry—the mass production of desiring-production—which applies just as much to the Casino schematic as to the Arcade schematic.

Sadly, dissatisfaction in the populous is the causa materialis, and this is not sufficient; we currently lack both the causa formulis and the causa efficiens (one could argue—I would—that dissent is the yin and yang here; the causa materialis and finalis…the one materializes the other). What you say of the cloudiness regarding dissent is true, but I think irony plays the lead role here. The apparent diminution of the individual’s affective potential by the abstract, impersonal political structure enacts a certain resignation…and the pharmakon of ironic cynicism/cynical irony is certainly in vogue. This is another reason I propose the proliferation of rhizomatic socio-political microcosms; you can and must start small. I’ll discuss be discussing this at length in my forthcoming essay.

As per opiates, this is entirely dependent upon the user—and the method employed. A lighter user may certainly use opiates a la emotional anesthetic, especially if taken orally, but the heavy intravenous user chases an escape from reality. Going catatonic for an hour or so (depending on dose and body chemistry; I’ve seen them out anywhere from half an hour to two hours) is beyond local anesthesia. You appear to have extenuating circumstances. While your ailment is certainly rare, dependency resulting from necessitated use to numb physical pain is common. I’ll save the lecture. Perhaps another time we can discuss psychoactives at length.

Oh, and lose the “drug addicts” gag. You seem much too intelligent to de-individualize yourself into some propaganda spun stereotype. Smile
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Parodites
Tower
Tower
avatar

Posts : 749
Join date : 2011-12-11

PostSubject: Re: Amerika   Sat Dec 17, 2011 3:20 pm

Aleatory wrote:


Oh, and lose the “drug addicts” gag. You seem much too intelligent to de-individualize yourself into some propaganda spun stereotype. Smile


I love masks.


I would break down the creation of the Arcade and the dehumanized human through Aristotelian causes in this way:




Excess desire (perverse desire, desire uninhibited by moral and philosophical ideas, pathos unmediated by either ethos or logos) is the material cause of the populace's currently dehumanized condition, and of the engendered Arcade structure. It is the material out of which the two, the Arcade/mall and arcade dweller have been made.


The formal cause, I would propose, is what Lacan calls joussiance. The pleasure principle is at work in this Arcade structure, the ceaseless ads giving the injunction to enjoy, but never too much, for along side every food vendor are posters of beautiful people and theaters full of gorgeous, fit celebrities- and in transgressing this injunction the arcade-dweller feels a sense of pain, anxiety, self-contempt. (Look at one of the pigs chowing down on shitty food with their brat kids in a mall, and catch them in a second of self-defeat and self-contempt, but only a second!)

This momentary pang of self-contempt is what gives the Arcade its power, it is the efficient cause, for new amusements, ads, and toys flood the arcade-dweller's vision, and divert his attention from his self-contempt with these new attractions.


The telos of the Arcade, the final cause, which is the complete transformation of a man into a mere machine for new and more perverse desires, incapable of reflecting on its own inadequacy, is materialized by the excess desire which a man already has before being submit to this dehumanizing process, one example being the American's over-inflated sexuality.


Unfortunately, desire cannot be "dissatisfied." Only the moral and intellectual wills, only the ethos and logos, know any pain. And it is precisely those which the Arcade-structured psyche does not possess.


Back to top Go down
View user profile Online
Aleatory
bowstring
bowstring
avatar

Posts : 50
Join date : 2011-11-15

PostSubject: Re: Amerika   Sat Dec 17, 2011 7:26 pm

A masquerader, eh?

For the most part, I agree with you. I would recommend the interview with David Foster Wallace on TV for a great read on how/why commercial art is successful and why it vitiates the audiences' ability to enjoy serious art. If you have the time, you may want to read the essay the interview is about instead. (Click on 'instead'...the font color change is very subtle)

My few pseudo-objections would be that:

-all attempts to curb desire generally lead to allegories like religion, so I'm a bit wary of such endeavors unless you would care to explain how you could encourage the populace to choose of their own free will and without employing spirituality.

-I'm not sure they do feel that pang of conscience, certainly not like (I can only suppose) you or I do. Further, I cannot comment on overweight/obese people in malls/fast food establishments as I haven't been to one of either in years. I should also like to note that I am no 'arcade dweller', yet I loathe myself on an hourly basis...or is that your point, that were they to eschew the arcade, they would have more than merely a moment? Even so, I would like to be callous about it, but I can't help wondering if subjecting them to constant self hatred is..."right", I guess (though I'm somewhere between moral relativist and nihilist). What muddled mind I have.

-Americans are, in comparison to European countries, total prudes where sex is concerned. Italy, France, etc. make us look like nuns--or perhaps I was misinformed? I'm sure Fixed Cross could clear us up on this point, one way or another.
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Parodites
Tower
Tower
avatar

Posts : 749
Join date : 2011-12-11

PostSubject: Re: Amerika   Sat Dec 17, 2011 7:40 pm

It is because their sexuality is not repressed, that their sexual desires are not over-inflated, as the typical American's are. Sexual repression causes sexual desire to grow. Such desires are over-inflated in the sense that they are excessive, not easily satisfied, perverse if you like that word, requiring "unconventional" means to be satiated. Thus pornography finds very rich soil in the US for its growth as an industry.





Yes, their self-contempt is only momentary, and eventually non-existent, when they are fully incorporated into this structure.





Thankfully, I have no reason to bear ill will toward myself. I am not a part of this either. I watch it from the outside. It is nothing to me, this time. It will pass like all other ages and cultures have passed. A good antidote for troubles of conscience is the thought of eternal matters.
Back to top Go down
View user profile Online
Parodites
Tower
Tower
avatar

Posts : 749
Join date : 2011-12-11

PostSubject: Re: Amerika   Sat Dec 17, 2011 7:46 pm

They, these people, think they have invented happiness with their arcades and their new world. All we have to do is show them a better happiness. But to do that we have to show them how they are not really happy.
Back to top Go down
View user profile Online
Parodites
Tower
Tower
avatar

Posts : 749
Join date : 2011-12-11

PostSubject: Re: Amerika   Sat Dec 17, 2011 7:49 pm

In other words, a new psychotherapy, that is what I propose. One intended to make you feel as shitty as humanly possible.


Only through that will you unlearn your false idea of happiness and become capable again of true, vital, human joy.


Not you, but the arcade-dweller, the post-human, I mean "postmodern" man.
Back to top Go down
View user profile Online
Aleatory
bowstring
bowstring
avatar

Posts : 50
Join date : 2011-11-15

PostSubject: Re: Amerika   Sat Dec 17, 2011 10:28 pm

Hmm...

I'm skeptical. It sounds a bit Freudian/Christian. Original sin and what have you. I must be getting soft...

Baudrillard related this idea in Simulacra and Simulations...

"To dissimulate is to pretend not to have what one has. To simulate is to feign to have what one doesn't have. One implies a presence, the other an absence. But it is more complicated than that because simulating is not pretending: "Whoever fakes an illness can simply stay in bed and make everyone believe he is ill. Whoever simulates an illness produces in himself some of the symptoms" (Littré). Therefore, pretending, or dissimulating, leaves the principle of reality intact: the difference is always clear, it is simply masked, whereas simulation threatens the difference between the "true" and the "false," the "real" and the "imaginary." Is the simulator sick or not, given that he produces "true" symptoms? Objectively one cannot treat him as being either ill or not ill. Psychology and medicine stop at this point, forestalled by the illness's henceforth undiscoverable truth. For if any symptom can be "produced," and can no longer be taken as a fact of nature, then every illness can be considered as simulatable and simulated, and medicine loses its meaning since it only knows how to treat "real" illnesses according to their objective causes. Psychosomatics evolves in a dubious manner at the borders of the principle of illness. As to psychoanalysis, it transfers the symptom of the organic order to the unconscious order: the latter is new and taken for "real" more real than the other – but why would simulation be at the gates of the unconscious? Why couldn't the "work" of the unconscious be "produced" in the same way as any old symptom of classical medicine? Dreams already are."


Back to top Go down
View user profile
Sponsored content




PostSubject: Re: Amerika   

Back to top Go down
 
Amerika
View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 1

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
Before The Light :: Tree :: The World-
Jump to: