Outside the Asylum

Some folks here at caucus99percent have asked those of us who reject mainstream political assumptions to start explaining more clearly what we DO believe. This thread is my response to that. I'm going to use this thread to uncover and piece together my own political philosophy. I also would like this thread to provide a place for everybody's questioning of assumptions, the more fundamental the better--and not just assumptions I want to question! I hope that everybody feels free to bring their own questioning and imaginings to the table.

taz6_0.jpg

Come outside.

Welcome to my new thread, Outside the Asylum. For those who like Something Old, Something New, no worries: I'll still be writing up one of those every other week or so.
I've called this thread Outside the Asylum in reference to a character in Douglas Adams' book So Long And Thanks for All the Fish. Wonko the Sane, whose real name is John Watson, is a former marine biologist who lives Outside the Asylum. You couldn't do better than to listen to this guy's dramatic rendition of the character:

But for those of you who don't like to click through to videos, here's a more abridged version:

His house was certainly peculiar, and since this was the first thing that Fenchurch and Arthur had encountered it would help to know what it was like.

It was like this:

It was inside out.

Actually inside out, to the extent that they had had to park on the carpet.

All along what one would normally call the outer wall, which was decorated in a tasteful interior-designed pink, were bookshelves, also a couple of those odd three-legged tables with semicircular tops which stand in such a way as to suggest that someone just dropped the wall straight through them, and pictures which were clearly designed to soothe.

Where it got really odd was the roof.

It folded back on itself like something that M. C. Escher, had he been given to hard nights on the town, which it is no part of this narrative’s purpose to suggest was the case, though it is sometimes hard, looking at his pictures, particularly the one with all the awkward steps, not to wonder, might have dreamed up after having been on one, for the little chandeliers which should have been hanging inside were on the outside pointing up.

Confusing.

The sign above the front door said “Come Outside,” and so, nervously, they had.

Inside, of course, was where the Outside was. Rough brickwork, nicely done pointing, guttering in good repair, a garden path, a couple of small trees, some rooms leading off.

And the inner walls stretched down, folded curiously, and opened at the end as if, by an optical illusion which would have had M. C. Escher frowning and wondering how it was done, to enclose the Pacific Ocean itself.

“Hello,” said John Watson, Wonko the Sane.

Good, they thought to themselves, “hello” is something we can cope with.

“Hello,” they said, and all, surprisingly, was smiles.

“Your wife,” said Arthur, looking around, “mentioned some toothpicks.” He said it with a hunted look, as if he was worried that she might suddenly leap out from behind a door and mention them again.

Wonko the Sane laughed. It was a light easy laugh, and sounded like one he had used a lot before and was happy with.

“Ah yes,” he said, “that’s to do with the day I finally realized that the world had gone totally mad and built the Asylum to put it in, poor thing, and hoped it would get better.”

This was the point at which Arthur began to feel a little nervous again.

“Here,” said Wonko the Sane, “we are outside the Asylum.” He pointed again at the rough brickwork, the pointing, and the gutters. “Go through that door” — he pointed at the first door through which they had originally entered — “and you go into the Asylum. I’ve tried to decorate it nicely to keep the inmates happy, but there’s very little one can do. I never go in there myself. If I ever am tempted, which these days I rarely am, I simply look at the sign written over the door and I shy away.”

“That one?” said Fenchurch, pointing, rather puzzled, at a blue plaque with some instructions written on it.

“Yes. They are the words that finally turned me into the hermit I have now become. It was quite sudden. I saw them, and I knew what I had to do.”

The sign read:

“Hold stick near center of its length. Moisten pointed end in mouth. Insert in tooth space, blunt end next to gum. Use gentle in-out motion.”

“It seemed to me,” said Wonko the Sane, “that any civilization that had so far lost its head as to need to include a set of detailed instructions for use in a package of toothpicks, was no longer a civilization in which I could live and stay sane.”

He gazed out at the Pacific again, as if daring it to rave and gibber at him, but it lay there calmly and played with the sandpipers.

“And in case it crossed your mind to wonder, as I can see how it possibly might, I am completely sane. Which is why I call myself Wonko the Sane, just to reassure people on this point. Wonko is what my mother called me when I was a kid and clumsy and knocked things over, and sane is what I am, and how,” he added, with one of his smiles that made you feel, Oh. Well that’s all right then. “I intend to remain.”

“I’m not trying to prove anything, by the way. I’m a scientist and I know what constitutes proof. But the reason I call myself by my childhood name is to remind myself that a scientist must also be absolutely like a child. If he sees a thing, he must say that he sees it, whether it was what he thought he was going to see or not. See first, think later, then test. But always see first. Otherwise you will only see what you were expecting. Most scientists forget that. I’ll show you something to demonstrate that later. So, the other reason I call myself Wonko the Sane is so that people will think I am a fool. That allows me to say what I see when I see it. You can’t possibly be a scientist if you mind people thinking that you’re a fool.”

Wonko the Sane is Douglas Adams' way of talking about freeing oneself from conventional thinking. What does it take to do so? First, it requires a willingness to focus on what's right in front of you, and not on what you expect to see--which is more difficult than it sounds. Secondly, it requires space--what Virginia Woolf once called "a room of one's own." This last is essential. Wonko needs to retreat from the world in order to think clearly, because the assumptions of the mainstream are insane, and existing within them is likely to drive him crazy.

It's worth noting how mild the insanity is that drives Wonko to create the Asylum. Needing directions for how to use a toothpick represents a de-skilling and dumbing down of the culture, or, at the very least, the assumption on the part of businesses that their customers are that unskilled, untaught, and stupid. But at least the toothpick instructions are not brutal. They're not trying to start a war.

wonko1.jpg

What would Wonko make of Russiagate, or of the notion that people who have policy differences with Democratic Party leadership want to beat Congressman John Lewis the way he was beaten in Selma? What would he make of the idea that Jeremy Corbyn is a Russian mole?

These days, you might have to go Outside the Asylum just to engage in rational thought.

Becoming a hermit is one response (and an understandable one) to a set of insane, ingrained cultural assumptions. But being a hermit precludes community and, while it is a sort of political statement to retreat in such a fashion, it's a pretty limited one. Also, not everybody can build a house like Wonko's (though, in fairness, California real estate prices weren't AS insane in the eighties as they are now. Still, a house on the Pacific would have been beyond the reach of most of us, even then. And some of us don't have the money to retreat even in North Florida or Tennessee.)

If you don't have the money or the temperament to become a hermit, if you want to engage in social activity without being trapped inside the Asylum, what do you do?

Well, you could create a Temporary Autonomous Zone.

taz1.jpg

Hakim Bey, born Peter Lamborn Wilson, was a Sufi, an anarchist, a poet and a theorist. He published a book in 1991 in which he described a particular social phenomenon he called a Temporary Autonomous Zone:

taz2.jpg

This is Wikipedia's definition of a Temporary Autonomous Zone, or TAZ:

The book describes the socio-political tactic of creating temporary spaces that elude formal structures of control. The essay uses various examples from history and philosophy, all of which suggest that the best way to create a non-hierarchical system of social relationships is to concentrate on the present and on releasing one's own mind from the controlling mechanisms that have been imposed on it.

Historically, carnivals such as All Fool's Day, when the lowly are treated like aristocrats, are good examples of temporary autonomous zones, but there are many types with many intents or none.

In the formation of a TAZ, Bey argues, information becomes a key tool that sneaks into the cracks of formal procedures. A new territory of the moment is created that is on the boundary line of established regions. Any attempt at permanence that goes beyond the moment deteriorates to a structured system that inevitably stifles individual creativity. It is this chance at creativity that is real empowerment.

Next week I'll go deeper into the concept of a TAZ, and its sister, the Semi-Permanent Autonomous Zone. These two concepts are fundamental to all my political thinking these days. This week I just wanted to put the concept and the reason for adopting it out there. A civilization that has so far lost its head is not a civilization in which I can stay and stay sane.

Please chime in with any thoughts y'all have about TAZ, any assumptions (the more fundamental the better) you want to question, or anything at all you want to say! And while you're doing that, here is some excellent music for you to listen to, if you like. The album, Hallucination Engine, was written in response to Hakim Bey's idea of a Temporary Autonomous Zone, and I wrote most of my dissertation to it:

They even brought William Burroughs out to play.

Good morning to all.

Share
up
27 users have voted.

Comments

Lookout's picture

It is almost summer (tomorrow's the solstice) and it's hot in the afternoon. I've already worked in the garden and gotten those chores done for the day.

I like the TAZ concept. I'm off to DC on Friday for the PPC and I hope the mall will be a TAZ on Saturday.

All the best living outside the asylum. Now, how do you use dental floss? Oh yeah...
https://www.wikihow.com/Floss

up
16 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Lookout It is hot here, but not as hot as it would usually be late in June. It makes up for that by being as enormously sticky as it always is. Smile

Even the dog wants to come inside and flop in the air conditioning.

up
13 users have voted.

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

dkmich's picture

Just saw an article in the New York Times. Kocks are spending millions across American to defeat light rail transit programs. Apparently, they make asphalt. fuckers.

How the Koch Brothers Are Killing Public Transit Projects Around the Country
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/19/climate/koch-brothers-public-transit....

up
16 users have voted.

"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

*donate to c99 *like us on Facebook *follow us on Twitter

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@dkmich Are these existing light rail (such as SEPTA, MBTA, NY subway?) or are they new projects? God help us if it's the former.

Possibly the other oligarchs will restrain them because they really can't move their drones to work without those systems, not in the really big cities. Depends, I suppose, on how quickly they intend to dismantle the whole civilization (a wrecking ball doesn't care how well a building works).

up
11 users have voted.

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

CS in AZ's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

It’s long and detailed, I’m gonna have to finish it later but it’s interesting in explaining how they are working at the state and local level across the country to defeat initiatives to fund public transportation projects that are up for approval, whether new or to update or expand a current system. They want cars and highways and roads, not buses and trains.

The article goes into some depth on the psychology of their approach. Which is, an appeal to basic anti-government sentiments, mistrust, and past grievances about wasted tax money on previous big expensive “boondoggles” that sucked up a bunch of money and then failed to work as advertised. (They never mention any of the successful ones, of course.)

They focus on the cost, the tax increase, and drum up old resentments of government failures to bring out the No vote. It says they “usually” win on these votes. So the tactics are working, more often than not.

Worth looking at, especially for anyone trying to fight them. Know your enemy. I wanted to share a quote from the article that made me think of you CStMS. About a group of local organizers going out to canvass and rally No votes against a proposed train project.

Other canvassers that morning included a local Tea Party leader and a lawyer-turned-fantasy-novelist who writes about a young witch who pushes back against an authoritarian government.

Smile

That’s all for now. Another work day ahead. Thanks for this essay. I love Douglas Adams. And my dog is named Taz. (In his case, short for Tasmanian Devil Dog.)

I absolutely need my autonomous zone to stay sane. My house is my sanctuary. We have strict rules: no news from the television. No talk shows running, no pointless blathering just to have noise, and NO commercials. Ever. I pay per view or have subscriptions for ad-free access to the relatively few things I want to watch. And I get news online, to the extent I can stand it. Then I’m back to my cave. Luckily my spouse agrees and doesn’t want the tv running either. I could not live with anyone who needs it on all the time, or watches it for hours and watches the advertising. It makes me mad... in more ways than one.

It’s bad enough out in the world. Getting a tire fixed, they have CNN running in the lobby. Even at the outpatient surgery center where my husband had his surgery, they had tv “morning shows” running. ACK.

My house is my sanctuary. My semi-permanent autonomous zone. That is a good way of putting it. Thanks!

up
16 users have voted.
QMS's picture

for toothpicking while driving (us insane). The insurance companies will require government warnings printed on all toothpick containers. This follows the huge legal settlement against tree harvesting interests. The pinnacle of consumer protection. Are there patents on stupidity?

up
12 users have voted.

Listen to your higher mind.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@QMS The legal settlement would be *on behalf of* tree harvesting interests, silly!

up
11 users have voted.

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

QMS's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal you are so right. It's muddled thinking like that which gets my day pass revoked. Wink

up
8 users have voted.

Listen to your higher mind.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@QMS LMAO

Do you have a hall pass?

up
7 users have voted.

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

I had a LOT more to say about TAZ, and I realized the OT was getting out of control. Oscar Wilde once said, "I'm sorry I wrote you such a long letter, but I didn't have time to write a shorter one," but some attempt at restraint seemed desirable.

up
16 users have voted.

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

If you have not heard of Joe Frank check out some of his audio work at this web page. The "somewhere out there" series is great. Ascent to K2 is a good example of his work. Just click on the title and it should launch your player.

up
12 users have voted.
Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@jbob I'm impressed! I had no idea that was out there.

We should compile a list of resources. I'll make that a piece of this OT. I hope everybody will share.

up
10 users have voted.

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

creative response- should be ok with everyone here imo.

hope to have a few cents to throw in the jar.

thanks for your efforts.

edit. removed SPAZ joke

up
8 users have voted.
Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@irishking Looking forward to your contribution.

Bey did not accept the notion of a digital TAZ or SPAZ, though he believed that cyberspace could create the conditions for a TAZ or SPAZ arising in the enfleshed world. Occupy proved this is, in fact, the case--but it's important to remember that Occupy did not arise solely from cyberspace. Many in-person meetings happened as well. Once the initial node was established in Zuccotti Park, cyberspace helped spawn other, similar autonomous zones with remarkable speed.

up
8 users have voted.

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

mhagle's picture

Life is evolving into a day by day present moment thing. The future is out there, but I try not to pay much attention to it. Have to do some planning involving the kids. But then bring it back to today. This morning. Now.

We are being teased with a rain forecast again today. Hope hope hope. Don't know how that relates to the "now" but "now" it is really dry.

Wishing everyone a great day.

Love the music btw. Smile

up
10 users have voted.

Marilyn

"Make dirt, not war." eyo

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@mhagle Thanks, Marilyn.

I wish I could send some of our rain to you. Not that I'm not happy that we've gotten so much--I keep thinking that the aquifer might be building up. That's something that happens more in the winter though (luckily we also had a good deal of rain this winter). In the summer, FL is too hot for much of the water to make it down to where it will do real good.

up
7 users have voted.

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

detroitmechworks's picture

Pride absolutely counted as one, long ago. Now it's been subsumed into the ruling gestalt, and so it follows the conventions of society. The activity must conform to our subdivisions, and here's a booth for all of them. The importance is not separating from the society, but rather, finding your niche within it, because there's a niche for EVERYONE!

And then you step outside that day, and the society demands that you not express that niche because there is a "Time and Place" for it.

Ok, angry rant over, and here's where I create my own space where I contemplate.

1. I killed my TV. If I watch a television show it is on my time and my initiation.
2. I found a small community that has nothing to do with the outside world. Judo is a very regimented society, which as a military man fills that desire for order nicely. However, the focus is on self-improvement, and while there is conflict, it is ordered, respectful, and focused on helping the group succeed. It's also multicultural, and many of my fellow students are of foreign backgrounds.
3. I started my own gestalt. Now this is a hard one to explain, but at the same time it makes sense to me, so bear with me if this gets long winded. I believe that there is nothing that is good that I shouldn't treat as native to my experience. I like Tacos, for example. They are not a foreign food, they are a food I prepare, and enjoy in my life. I love Judo. It is not a foreign Martial Art, it is an art I enjoy and practice in my life. I abandoned the concept of myself as an American, and instead try to create a vision of myself as I want to be, a gestalt that takes in the best and minimizes the bad to the best of my ability. It's what I want to be. I guess I just abandoned the idea of conforming to an outside identity, and instead sought the qualities that such conforming would have brought.
4. I started exercising my brain, and my body. Hard work is possibly the most human thing that gives long lasting pleasure to me. Not drudgery, dear GOD no, but rather the pursuit and creation of a long lasting structure in some form. Words, buildings, art, film, ideas, food, friends... they all count as structures created in the world to me. But they all require hard work to create. Hard work is a virtue, but not one to be exercised to the point of hatred. For indeed, all virtues become vice when taken to extremes.

Phew. There's a lot more, but I also will try to keep it kinda brief. It's not easy to collate and share personal revelation coherently, and it is indeed Hard Work.

up
13 users have voted.

I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@detroitmechworks There's so much to respond to here.

The problem with talking about these things, or writing about them, is that you have to convey something very like the entire conscious operation of your brain, because the alienation from the mainstream is so comprehensive that there's very little of oneself or one's thought that *can* fit into it. That, plus the fact that my way of thinking provides no neat or satisfying answers, no fix, often keeps me from writing.

Taking a very partial stab at response:

1)I don't like Foucault much, but he was right about the digestive properties of the mainstream. It digests resistance, makes it part of itself. That's it's favorite method of neutralizing a threat. It also digests cultures (whether resistant or not), and a lot of other things. That is one reason that the TAZ makes a virtue out of being temporary. Semi-permanence is not a bad thing, but you always have to keep one eye on the question of whether it's time to up stakes and go. The mistake of Occupy was losing sight of that and needing the encampments to be permanent, whereas the sensible thing would have been to make plans for "losing" from the beginning and incorporate it into one's own strategy. Where are we going to pop up next when they drive us out of here, and how do we spread the knowledge of that location most effectively amongst us? were the questions that should have been discussed very soon after the movement began, if not before people went out to Zuccotti in the first place.

Nomadism is one of the things an oppressive mainstream forces on us; it's probably better to make as much of a virtue of it as possible. So, yes, Pride is digested; hell, the movement for LGBT rights is almost entirely digested in toto. I will say this: some of the leaders of that movement made the decision consciously to get digested, and did so on their own terms: IOW, they got something out of the system when they made the deal to join, something real for their people. That's more than any other group has done. My biggest problem with it is the lack of honesty within the movement about the fact that we chose to sell out, or at least our leadership did. I'd like an honest accounting of that act, a transparent ledger of gains and losses, if you will.

2)The media. Man, that's a huge topic, and one I could talk about all day. It's gotten so bad out there that I was amazed and genuinely grateful when I watched Deadpool 2, because it hasn't been digested/corrupted/turned into a vehicle for wretched propaganda. That's rare these days for a sequel to a successful movie. But yes, watching TV on a regular basis is not good, sort of like being connected to the digital tubes constantly is not a good thing, either:

3)Finding an IRL community of resistance, even if that resistance simply consists of maintaining a set of social conventions not produced by the mainstream, is valuable beyond rubies. It's lucky if you can find one, because it's not easy to do, especially since the cultural blitzkrieg of 2016. One of my partners has found one in the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism). It's not 100% my thing, because I'm not interested in combat and I'm not skilled in any handicraft, but I'm going along because they're decent people and I don't have anything better to offer. Also, learning handicraft skills can be an important act of resistance. I think papermaking might be where I end up; right now I'm taking the first baby steps in learning manuscript illumination.

4) What you're calling "creating your own gestalt" is something my mind has been nibbling at too: it seems increasingly meaningful and strategically reasonable to surround myself with what I like (to the extent that I can). Even that is a minor act of resistance, and it may have deeper implications than I've yet thought of.

5)As to exercise of brain and body, getting oneself into the best condition possible is highly desirable in times like these. It's also a counter-agent to despair. I've been considering doing a separate series called "Toward Health" where I, and everybody else who wants to, shares their personal journeys toward mental and physical fitness, but haven't decided yet if I have the wherewithal to maintain two series. We'll see. One really important thing you say here is that one has to create these structures. Increasingly, one has to create things of value: the mainstream does not provide them.

Thanks for the in-depth response. Please continue to share. This is a deep enough topic that I'm not sure it should even be called a topic; it's more like sharing one's consciousness.

up
11 users have voted.

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

detroitmechworks's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal But I numbered the replies, so should be pretty easy to follow. Smile

up
6 users have voted.

I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@detroitmechworks no apology necessary that was an awesome contribution. more please.

up
8 users have voted.

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

Eagles92's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal So glad I wandered in here. Such a rich discussion with much to consider. Thank you both! I'm looking forward to the continuation of this series (and to making my own contributions, when not currently under deadline ... yes, I'm procrastinating!).

up
10 users have voted.
The Aspie Corner's picture

And it's even worse now.

up
5 users have voted.

Modern education is little more than toeing the line for the capitalist pigs.

enhydra lutris's picture

few days of the year every year that we've lived in Castro Valley. This year is far different with today's high pegged for 68 or 69 depending upon the forecaster. It is mid fifties now, as opposed to the normal wake up temp of 60 something on this date. Hmmmmmmmm.

We're running off to the coast for a few days camping by the water. I had contemplated some reading and such, so maybe I can spend some time contemplating TAZs. I suspect that myriad forms exist and have existed and that I probably have been in one or more individual ones and even participated in a few multi-person ones. Some have bordered on semi-permenancy.

It is said that everything is politics, and all politics is local, so a TAZ is unquestionably highly political on that score. Being apolitical, for that matter, is a political statement, whether intended as such or not. (See Hippies)

It is early, and I have my mind on the day's venture and the days to follow, so not much intensity or depth of focus, but Ram Dass' dictum: "Be here now" surely relates to TAZs. Thinking of that connection, the western cerebro-analytical train of thought sees it running into a conundrum of scope, from solipsism to infinitude. The immediate here and now has a locus within the greater reality, which could be, on one hand, merely the eternal Tao, but, on the other, smog, noise pollution, the utility, and even the vapid ideational wasteland that is the USA's official/formal political weltanschauung. Ok, enugh of that, I'm confusing myself and I need to pack and ready the garden to be self sufficient for several days.

up
9 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

detroitmechworks's picture

from Judo last night, Have a cup of tea... A nice CBD marijuana strain, and I'm discussing philosophy in a common space. Hell, if we just had a gymnasium and a Sauna, It'd be heaven. Smile (Although I must say that some gardens out back, close to some wild land, away from HUGE cities would make it better... Internet of course, I'm not an animal... for as long as there's an internet to have.)

But Thanks, this is a fun one. On to your topics.

1. I honestly have never read Foucault. Sounds like something I should at least familiarize myself with at some point. The lack of a place that is "Yours" really is endemic in modern society. Of course the crackdown was coordinated on Occupy to ensure that the poor were driven out of EVERYWHERE simultaneously precisely to avoid giving them a place to go. Obama knew that if he left even an ember to smolder it would rage out of control.

As far as profits and losses, we need to accept that we will never be fully accepted by some damn idiots, and that screaming at the few who are fools only makes us look like fools too. Not everything is driven by hatred. Some are just fucking morons, and will happily move on to whatever pet cause their preacher uses to put butts in the pews on Sunday. The culture as a whole tolerates us "In our place". Welcome to being Irish in the early 20th Century.

2. I watch fewer and fewer shows. I find that I'm much more into British Television, and recently enjoyed the hell out of a Scottish Comedy Series called "Still Game". Most of my viewing is done in the company of my SO, and it helps keep me grounded in the real world.

3. I agree that Judo feels like a bit of resistance. I even am trying to get the VA to send over some guys on scholarship. (Since it's doing wonders for my PTSD. Yes, I know this is pretty much the non-violent equivalent of this.)

4. Exactly. I'm not trying to be a Judoka... rather I'm trying to gain the qualities of fitness, strength, and agility. I'm not trying to be a Cynic, I'm trying to cultivate the qualities of wisdom, excellence, and virtue in myself. I'm not a Veteran, I'm trying to cultivate that experience, the stories to tell, and the calm to do the right thing when all around you are frightened and lashing out. I'm trying to leave the baggage by the wayside, but it's a hard thing, because when you buy a identity, even to grow from it, you also get a lot of stuff you may not want in your head. And some of that stuff is hard indeed to put down.

5. I explored this idea a little in my "CNU" series, but it is frightening how modern society places the greatest value in temporary things built by machine, reliant on machine, and if the machine stops for even a moment, are valueless.
If I may beg your indulgence to quote my own work, I love the idea of a society that understands the "Rule of the Machine". Meet the Machine's Demands, or It will Stop Working.
I was thinking of a corollary, which is the the rule of the corporate machine. Meet The Machine's Demands, or It will Turn on you.
Of course, the SF author wants to add a second corollary... The rule of the Thinking Machine. Meet the Machine's Demands, Or Die.

up
9 users have voted.

I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

Trump gets a lot of votes by whipping up racist hate. Now everybody sees the manifestation of that hate in this dispicable stain on America that is his immigration policy. No hate no votes.

up
6 users have voted.

Beware the bullshit factories.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Timmethy2.0 Everybody gets votes through racist hate, one way or another. The Republicans get votes by drumming it up; the Democrats get votes by wringing their hands (and pretending they aren't racist themselves).

up
11 users have voted.

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal @Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal
I see it as a false equivelancy. They still can't find the girls that were separated from their parents. Maybe Trump's involved in the real pizzagate.

up
5 users have voted.

Beware the bullshit factories.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Timmethy2.0 (shrugs) It doesn't have to be an equivalancy. Both parties can be different. They could be a lot more different than I think they are. They'd still both run off racism, or, to be more precise, bigotry of all kinds.

A Porsche and a Mazda are quite different but they both run on the same gas. The Democrats would like people to believe they are the Prius to the Republicans' Humvee, but they aren't. Imagine for a second that an angel stretches out her benevolent hand over the United States and removes all forms of bigotry from all 300 million of us before midnight. Tomorrow dawns. The politicians get in front of the cameras. What do they say?

Where would the Democrats be without racism? In fact, where would they be without Trump?

up
8 users have voted.

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal with the bigotry banishing angel. There is one easy answer and it doesn't take much thought to figure it out. The politicians would be baffled and silent before the cameras (except for some weak gibberish) with deer-in-the-headlights expressions. They'e be like....WTF?...how can we keep mining this rich vein?...how can we get the proles to hate each other now?....damn, we're screwed.

up
5 users have voted.
mimi's picture

I live inside of one and it kills me. Just saying...

up
6 users have voted.
CS in AZ's picture

As I read it all again, the thought came into my mind that Burning Man is a TAZ. I have a good friend who is a hardcore burner, he goes every year without fail and works on his clothes and art for it all year long. I’ve never been and never wanted to go, but I do love his photos and his stories and his passion for it. As I read your post again I kept thinking about how he describes Burning Man.

So it turns out, this is not a coincidence.

At the bottom of the Wikipedia entry on TAZ, I learned:

The concept of TAZ was put into practice on a large scale by the Cacophony Society in what they called Trips to the Zone, or Zone Trips. Their co-founder John Law also co-founded Black Rock City, now called the Burning Man Festival.

That lead me to this short article, which calls Burning Man “the quintessential temporary autonomous zone” and discuses the TAZ concept in a way that for some reason was very accessible to me. I feel like I understand my friend’s passion for Burning Man in a whole new way.

Beautiful Trouble: a toolbox for revolution

Bey maintains, however, that the T.A.Z. cannot be defined; it is simply a “suggestion…a poetic fancy,” not “political dogma,” and that “if the phrase became current it would be understood without difficulty…understood in action.” Twenty years on, the notion of T.A.Z has inspired movements and actions across the world, from the creative play of Reclaim the Streets parties to the autonomy of protest encampments, the Anonymous hacker movement to the Burning Man festival and secret rainbow gatherings.

When Bey first came up with the concept, the web was in its infancy, yet he already imagined a future world where a multitude of autonomous zones could be linked by dispersed networks of communication freed from political control. The web would not be an end in itself, he wrote, but a weapon without which autonomous zones would perish. At the time, he dismissed his own theory as pure speculative science fiction, but the future always arrives faster than one can imagine.

Now I need to find out what “secret rainbow gatherings” are. Smile

Thank you again for this wonderful essay — much delicious and nutritious food for thought. Yum.

up
6 users have voted.
Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@CS in AZ You're welcome! Thanks for stopping by.

up
1 user has voted.

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

lotlizard's picture

They can’t countenance genuine autonomy because that would include exploding narratives and taboos imposed on the loser of World War II and enshrined in the German constitution / Grundgesetz / Basic Law.

Let ordinary German people off the leash, let their spirits be free, and the first thing you know it’ll be Hitler all over again — that’s the way the elites here seem to think.

up
4 users have voted.
Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@lotlizard @lotlizard It's a good idea to clarify the current response to the Nazis, which is more complex than it looks.

Like most people, I object to the Nazis because they committed monstrous atrocities.

If you listen to most of the powerful elites, at least those outside of the Trump administration and the Ukraine, they too object to the Nazis. Since Trump got elected, it's been very popular in political and media circles to talk about the Nazis, where it wasn't, particularly, before Jan 2017. Now, it's become popular, almost de rigeur, for non-Trump politicians outside the Ukraine to talk about how much they object to the Nazis.

The thing is, I don't believe for a second that the current powerful/elites object to the Nazis because they committed monstrous atrocities. If you don't mind the fact that "we tortured some folks," if you don't mind starting wars against people who did nothing to you and killing hundreds of thousands of them, if you don't mind extrajudicial assassination, if you don't mind detention centers and the government being able to throw people in them just because it feels like it, why would you mind the Nazis doing the same thing eighty years ago? Because they said they were doing it because of race? Is it better to do it because of naked greed, or, more accurately, because you can?

No. They object to the Nazis for two reasons: one, it is politically convenient for them to do so (I'll go into that deeper when I get back from taking my partner to acupuncture). Second, they don't like people inventing their own currency, starting their own banks, and giving the entrenched financial powers the finger, in any way, or for any reason. The Nazis did all that. It's too bad that when somebody finally did that (post-1700), it was a bunch of fucking monsters.

up
6 users have voted.

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

lotlizard's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal  
http://takimag.com/article/the_eternal_german_guilt_trip/print

Wikipedia page about the author, Paul Gottfried:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Gottfried

up
0 users have voted.
Mark from Queens's picture

Have to check out Material...have the recods somewhere, I think, but missed them back then.

I don't have much more to add now, because I'm just too fried. I'm here by myself with the kids for a couple of days while my partner is out of town for a friend's wedding.

Sometimes feel like we're this roving band of early Christians or something, or the Omega Man. Facing down an all-pervasive authority, which is made to appear bigger by their relentless super-potent propaganda, that also has the masses basking in the false warmth of consumerism and the Age of Self-Gratification/Social Media.

Thing is, people are reachable, and many feel just as we do here (or close enough). It's just that the framework of everyday life has us corralled in, or as you say firehosed, with non-stop propaganda that keeps us from acknowledging and honoring fundamental truths to one another and working from that point up and out.

I'm just going keep fumbling around strumming this acoustic guitar, scrawl things on walls when the moment compels me and continue to speak out in public to find out if there's anybody out there.

A song for you, dear (from one of my favorite albums):

Supertramp "Asylum" (Crime of the Century)

up
5 users have voted.

"If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:

THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED
FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
WAS MUSIC"

- Kurt Vonnegut

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Mark from Queens I'm so glad you stopped by, Mark. Do you want me to keep you in the loop of this discussion with PMs? I've been not doing that as much because I know you are inhabiting Child Maelstrom right now. Smile

up
1 user has voted.

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

Mark from Queens's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal
On good days I usually check in multiple times a day. But that doesn't mean participating and being able to formulate ideas to add to the essay discussions.

I'll look for your PM.

up
1 user has voted.

"If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:

THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED
FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
WAS MUSIC"

- Kurt Vonnegut