The Gleanings I Becalmedby ningunoreal on •
July 11, 2012 at 8:53 am #11632
I started writing this tonight, under this influence of some particularly strong homemade wine, with the intent of distributing it as a notecard to visitors explaining my build. Having had second thoughts about this for various reasons, I’ve decided to send it off to you people as an experiment, to see what happens. I’ve been struggling with writing an essay expressing my utter frustration with the community for years, and this one seems to come closest to the horrible pictures in my brain–I don’t think I’ll come any closer:
This space is a story about alienation, and about how cognizance of the gap between Possibilities and Probability leads one into exclusion from both. Having grown organically, it is also an historical record of the widening of that gap, of the sacrifice of possibilities, day by implacable day, to the lowest common god.
It is a recording of the death-rattle of my innocence.
I no longer try to adapt, nor do I continue to try to make peace with the future and eke out a place within it. It is clear now that there is no place for me in it, and the future stopped happening years ago anyway. I merely struggle to hold what ground I have, to patch together an ego continually deconstructed by contact with a pathology so hungry to digest me and the world I thought mine. I am trying to find myself in a haystack which never stops growing.
Were I not a coward, I would have shot myself long ago. As things are, I am here, and I must continue to be here. Perhaps the lash of my karma has found my back at last, and I am doomed to spin out the remaining two-thirds of my life helplessly watching everything I once cared about be predigested into a smooth white pablum, easy pickings for the legions of idiot scavenger mouths following the zeitgeist, easy for them to consume and convert into crap without a thought as to its origins, its meaning.
But this isn’t about me; this is about our race approaching the fulcrum of a seesaw. We have been climbing, up and up, never noticing that the climb was becoming less steep, that the landscape beneath our collective feet was changing in a way which ought to signify danger. Once the fulcrum is reached, everything is at parity, and a choice must be made. It is a choice we have made again and again, and we always get it wrong. We continue to climb, up towards some phantasmal reward which is never clear, but which is so tantalizing that the allure of it renders us incapable of perceiving that we are, in fact, descending back to the muck in which we began. From that hell, we begin again, forgetting what led us there in the first place. We forget that the correct answer was to get the fuck off of the seesaw entirely, and move freely in a space where possibility is greater than probability.
I once thought that we, the VW community, were going to be the catalyst that reacted against this cyclical de-evolution, and that our reaction would spread until the entire human race could see the glittering edge of What Could Be, and abandon forever the realm of What Seems Safe for the unlimited potential that lay just beyond the grim Berlinermauer of evolution that seems to be set within our genes, which seems to drive us to a wrong path just as we stand on the threshold of achieving immortality. I thought that by emulating a fourth-dimensional space, we could at a stroke discredit Death, capital, the prison of the flesh, the illusion of the spectacular State–that we could be as gods in the machine, and that the knowledge this imparted would make us realize that we could be as gods upon the Earth as well, if only we chose to do so.
I was very, very wrong.
We are, if my informal studies of all of your public thoughts are any guide, the craziest demographic on the internet. We are all suffering from delusions of merchantability, convinced that someday we will be able to earn a living wage by selling pretend shoes to pretend people. We are all convinced that the (mostly sexual) prejudices we grew up with are some sort of natural law, and that everyone who did not grow up with them or who was able to transcend them must be aberrant in some way, because everyone knows that they are wrong. We are all confident that the large businesses which support our endeavor are okay people, because they claim they “[won't] be evil”–in spite of a flood of evidence to the contrary, and in spite of the natural fact that a business, like any other organism, must automatically do anything, regardless of morality, to survive and prosper. Some of us pretend to be journalists, but instead of using the opportunity of a new world to paint a new portrait of the reporter, we ape the old forms of the old world, creating waves of Mean World Syndrome in the gullible majority and disgusted apathy in the informed and silent minority, and H. L. Mencken rolls over in his grave yet again. We are, as the aforementioned man put it, the “apex of moronia”.
The sad thing about all this is the fact that we inhabit a world where anything is possible. We, a tiny segment of the host of mankind, live in a space with no natural boundaries, yet we feel compelled to create them, because it makes us comfortable. We deny the evolution of the human race with our every breath, and call ourselves the avant garde. We bring the old boundaries in where there don’t belong, we wrap them around us like a shield against realities we’d rather not accept. We delude ourselves incessantly, and in doing so, we bounce on the opposite end of the seesaw, forcing the fall into ignorance and decay. We began as the vanguard of evolution, but have fallen to the low station of the gremlin trying desperately to derail it.
I want to believe that we can reverse this. I want to believe that it is not too late, so I keep chipping away at some invisible block of stone, not knowing what it looked like at its beginning, nor what it will look like when I am through. But I keep on, and will keep on, as long as I have the strength to do so.July 11, 2012 at 2:26 pm #11636
Thank you for this. It echoes some of what I’ve been struggling with lately, and I’d like to offer some of my thoughts on it.
First of all: It’s important to know that you’re not alone. While it seems that the rest of the world is just following blindly the current narrative of how things should be, there’s others that think like you. And it’s of the utmost importance that you find them. It’s one of the paramount principles of psychic hygiene to surround yourself with good people. If people are bad for you, if you feel alienated, don’t bother with them; you don’t have to. The net gives us the unprecedented ability to find peers by interest instead of proximity, and we should use that to the fullest.
Second: It’s likewise important to think about what you want to achieve, what you think is wrong, and what you’d like the world to be. While I do believe that my specific group (being the pirates) can and will change the world, it’s not that important to me as it is to have a group of peers with the same goals and ideas, trying to get by. (I hope I can get an interview with Falkvinge in the near future, I’d really love that.) Because even if we don’t change the world, we at least have created a place within the world where we can be as we want to. Where we can share culture, and knowledge, where we don’t need to be afraid to say our thoughts and opinions, where we can be free.
Third: Just work at it. Do your thing. Know your place. Don’t expect everyone to understand you, have reasonable expectations about what you can achieve with what you do. I wrote a controversial post a few days ago which got (as expected) a lot of critizism, but that was alright with me, because I didn’t want to convince anyone. It would be foolish to assume that my little-known blog could change the public narrative. What I wanted to do is:
A) Plant some seed of alternative narratives (fair use, free culture)
B) Give people who already think like me some phrases to use, some narrative to tell.
C) Provide a face to something that’s being demonized, just to show that we’re not evil, but can actually be a pretty cool crowd.
As far as I’m concerned, all of this worked fine.
So really, I don’t think all is lost. We need to look at reality, but not be swayed by it, but instead try to take reasonable steps.
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