Saturday, April 28, 2012

Heidegger, Heidegger, was a boozy beggar

It's all Heidegger's fault.

Not what he said. But what people think he said.

Yeah, Martin Heidegger, that crazy old, Hitler-loving, German phenomenological philosopher, what a cut up. Far be it from me to cast aspersions on his ass. Let it be clear. We're talking what people thought about what he thought about thinking. Cool? Cool. 

OK. To put it in simple terms: people THINK Heidegger said that Being and Time boils down to self-authorship. Our narratives create our reality. There is no other reality. So ...

Drawing from the same well as Schopenhauer's "The World as Will and Idea," Heidegger dropped the bomb that life is what you make of it. The winners really do get to write history. History, it turns out, is what they write. "God," to quote Bernadette Devlin," is on the side of the one who wins." Or, to quote Humpty Dumpty, "It's a question of who's to be master, that's all."

This notion screws up the mechanics of Democracy in Action. The fuzzy notion, rooted in Aristotle's "Politics," is that free people debate "What is reality?" "What is true?" "What is the good?" -- the ethics, ontology, epistemology and metaphysics of it -- from that practical philosophy, they boil down a political philosophy -- i.e., an implementation of this world view in action -- and then either implement that political philosophy directly in the Polis, or delegate that responsibility to political representatives.

Paradoxically, this only works if you assume there's a truth/reality/good that exists outside of your will. The stochastic fuzziness of democratic debate resembles the scribblings of a police sketch artist, constantly trying to capture an image. The uncertainty of democracy depends on the certainty of an external truth. And the notion that your endless chatter and thoughts inside your primitive monkey mind fall short of that truth.

But, if there is no truth "out there," there's no need for debate anymore.

God is on the side of the one who wins.

It's simply a matter of imposing the operating system of your world view.

Government is bad.

Lowering taxes for millionaires creates jobs for everybody.

Shit like that.

PS: I realize that "I know the absolute truth because God told me" is very different from "Truth is what I say it is." It should go without saying most of the people who claim to speak for God are lying. But I'm saying it anyway.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Creativity is the crazy monkey in your head.

To accomplish anything, the Crazy Monkey has to confront its greatest enemy ...


Eeeeee! Eeeeeee! Eeeeeeee!

Yeah, folks. The Crazy Monkey hates boredom above all other things. As a matter of fact, he's throwing feces as we speak.

Boredom. Repetitive tasks. Forms.

Methodical, fact-based research.

Starting from scratch.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Everything happens for a reason

An absolutely meaningful universe is just as terrifying as an absurd universe.

This point escapes certain happy followers of the Ovaltine Prophecy, Dr. Wayne Dwyer and The Secret. They affirm that, gosh, everything happens for a reason. See, if some bad stuff happens to you, that's just you doing it to you to jumpstart spiritual growth. Or God. Same difference. And, if you really look at it, the "bad" stuff isn't really bad. It's all good! It's all part of the plan!

OK. If you take this stuff literally .... God (or You) at the dawn of time scripted the Charlie Manson murders for the spiritual growth of Sharon Tate and friends once they hit the next level. That fork in Sharon Tate's stomach? Plan. Adam Walsh's mother turns her head for a second in a convenience store. Some sickwad grabs her son, does unspeakable stuff to him, then cuts off his head. Well, that was part of the plan too. Pakistani men throwing acid in the faces of Pakistani women? More plan. And, if a psycho killer slaps a Chloroform-soaked cloth over your face and proceeds to torture you to death for several hours with a grapefruit spoon, you can console yourself with the fact that, yes, that's part of the plan, too!

Personally speaking, the randomness and meaninglessness implied in the assertion that, "Shit just happens" is sounding better and better.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Paranoia Inc.

I'm smart. My friends tend to be smart.

Sometimes, you've got to be really, really smart to be really, really stupid.

Case in point? Some of my brainy friends believe that 9-11 was an "inside job." They believe in "chemtrails," black helicopters, secret FEMA detention camps and ubiquitous surveillance and control by a shadow government. Dig it. The media are the puppet theater. We're the puppets. This isn't a hypothesis. No sir. It's a fact. My brainy friends know this. It's all true. If I question their absolute certainty, that's just proof I'm another puppet.

This all started with 9-11. "Started." As-in: "Congealed." Before 9-11, there was the "X-Files" and "JFK." Paranoid movies and TV shows and some loonies with tinfoil hats. A paranoid fringe who actually believed that shit was real. But the fringe remained on the fringe.

After 9-11, the fringe mainstreamed.

9-11, aside from being a very bad day, had the unintended consequence of giving an electric, Frankenstein's Monster "It's alive!" galvanic jolt to America's conspiracy theories. And American conspiracy theory subcultures. Why? Seriously. Why?

Conspiracy theory is a bummer. It's depressing. It's nuts. Conspiracy theory bears a strong resemblance to the delusional architecture of paranoid schizophrenia. Paranoia sucks. It ain't fun. What's the attraction?

Paranoia is an answer. It's a lousy answer. But it's an answer.

Paranoia is a religion. It's a unified field theory. It's philosophical duct tape.


Conspiracy Theory for Dummies.

A group of sumbitches sitting around a table are controlling everything. The Commies. The Jews. The Illuminati. The Trilateral Commission. The Project for a New American Century. The Stonecutters. Fill in the blank ... Whoever They are, They're running the show.

That's conspiracy theory. Conspiracy theory is scary.

But it's either that or chaos theory.

And chaos theory is really scary.

Chaos theory means nobody's in control. There's no plan. Just a collision of complex systems and strange attractors. That's it. The butterfly effect, multiplied beyond the capacity of human consciousness.

Consider the alternatives ...

Chaos theory:
The random occurrence of the Industrial Revolution in the West led to a brief period of global domination and resource control of "Third World" countries by Western elites during the Imperialist era. Two "World Wars" ultimately ended overt Western political domination without ending economic domination. This proved problematic in Muslim regions.

Randomly distributed, disproportionate petroleum deposits in predominantly Muslim regions led to excessive Western cashflow and political and economic manipulation, which led to profound cognitive dissonance within Islamic culture, particularly among the Islamic elite. Who celebrated conspicuous consumption and their own achievements. But simultaneously believed in a fatalistic worldview and the Koranic values of poverty and simplicity. I.e.: a wealthy class who felt conflicted by their own wealth.

Said cognitive dissonance (a simultaneous sense of pride and shame) led to distortions of identification and transmission of culture within the patriarchal structure of elite Islamic families.

Said elite Islamic families (while buying golden toilets and other goodies with Western oil money) bought off the angry underclass (and frustrated, high-IQ young Islamic males who lacked upward mobility) of their stratified societies by funding Madrassas which promoted (coincidentally) the Manichean, conspiratorial worldview of Wahhabism. Loving themselves (and secretly hating themselves), the Islamic elite subsidized groups who hated them. Because they were really Western (and pretending to be Islamic). Because they were really Islamic (and pretending to be Western).

Withing this schizoid context, Osama bin Laden's dad dressed him up in a dorky turtleneck back in the 1970s. One of his father's construction workers called him a "fag." This conflicted with Osama's divided sense of identity, reflecting his father's own divided sense of self, and resulted in an obsessive-compulsive reaction formation that festered and grew in Osama's psyche for years. Ultimately, Osama's self-loathing (and rejection of the loathed self-image) found echo and support in the paranoid groups that Osama's guilty family (and others) had funded.

To cut to the chase, when Osama bin Laden grew up, he convinced some gullible chumps to fly some planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

In other words ...

2,996 people died because Osama hated his turtleneck.

Conspiracy theory:
To control the flow of oil, the NeoCons staged a fake Pearl Harbor.

See? A group of heartless bastards around a table who control everything.

It's just simpler.

They may be bastards.

But at least somebody's in charge.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Spies like Us

Spying, boiled down, is a matter of stealing information and planting information.

In poker terms, either reading the other guys cards or bluffing.

The real work of spying is no doubt boring, repetitive, dull monotonous and anonymous. Forget James Bond. Real spies don't call attention to themselves. They're nobodies, chameleons, people who don't stand out. They fade into the background.

I imagine that the real work of spying is amazingly compartmentalized, bureaucratized and specialized. There would be information gatherers and information analysts. Special ops teams (which isn't really spying) would have their own department. Another branch would manage the control of public perception (theoretically in foreign countries) through the spread of information and/or disinformation.

In effect, spies in foreign countries would do the work of reporters and PR agents without trying to looking like reporters and PR agents. They'd be gathering stories and planting stories. Some, of course, would actually be reporters and PR agents. Actual field operatives would be a tiny minority.

Most people working in the intelligence community would be nerds in various cubicles sifting through data to find patterns.

None of this makes for good film or TV.