An Endless Collision of Myths

endless collision of myths

 

1-SNOW WHITE et al

 

“Anything can be a murder weapon if you put your mind to it.”

—Daughter (14) , August 20, 2020 20:20

 

 

2- HOVERBOARDS

As I always tell our Daughter: the Internet is a tool… make sure you use it and not vice versa… but, further, in order to get the most out of this particular (bundle of) tool(s), you must use it “incorrectly”. That is, use The Internet to your benefit as opposed to the benefit of The Internet’s owners, who use it primarily to A) inflict propaganda B) extend surveillance.

I use The Internet to (among other things) connect with like-minded people who live far too far away. One of my greatest Internet pleasures was interacting with a Writer who was an early hero of Literary Postmodernism… a Writer whose work I loved when I was just 10, 11, 12, 13 (and so on) years old! He was a formative influence and, to make a long story short, he wrote me a fairly long and admiring (he admired my “auctorial style”) about ten years before he died.

An Intellectual Writer whose work I currently admire is John Steppling, a fellow expat who is not quite ten years older than I am and who fled the US (maybe he would, or wouldn’t, use that verb to describe his escape) for Norway. Steppling is sharp and while far from obscure, he isn’t famous, or well-known enough to be bought and under control. He sees through The Bullshit… a talent I value more highly than ever, these days. The Internet allows us to interact… a real pleasure, for me. Here’s our latest exchange:

 

steven augustine says:
August 14, 2020 at 7:48 pm

“Artificial Intelligence” makes me think of Hoverboards. I made a joke about “Hoverboards” a few years ago and somebody responded with “They have those now!” and I responded with, “Not possible. Unless you mean somebody was balancing on a magnet over a supercooled metal plate of some kind.” And this person said, “No, they really have Hoverboards now, they’re commercially available and everything!” And we made a bet. Well, obviously, from my perspective (based on what a “Hoverboard” would actually have to be and do, to justify the name, which derives from a doohicky in a Sci Fi flick), I won that bet but my friend thinks *he* won the bet because there’s a (pathetic) commercially-available product, of that name, on the market. What people “consume” these days, more than ever, is the Sizzle… fuck the steak. People refer to almost any GIGO-calculation a micro-chip can execute, these days, as “AI”. I no longer argue the point. As you say: it’s the cops (meat robots) I fear. Oh, and, uh… a considerable chunk of the Sizzle-consuming masses.

Re: tech and dystopia, in May (during the first peak of my Plague Spring exasperation) I wrote:

“Our inter-related (interbred) families of ruling psychopaths, minus the Tech, would be of little concern beyond the strictly local, and they would, undoubtedly (minus the tech) be well under control by us vastly greater, in numbers, Serfs; in fact, without the tech, our Overlords wouldn’t be Overlords at all and neither would we be Serfs. Our Overlords wouldn’t even be wealthy, without the Tech: they’d be inmates in asylums for delusionally grandiose human-haters with cataclysmic sexual dysfunction. The Tech makes all the difference and for every light, or bridge, or cure the Tech has given us, sadly, there are a thousand massive links in the electrified chain of horrors we are each, in turn, chained to.

No powerful technology develops only as far as it should and then stops (self-limits) before the harm starts. Power not only corrupts, as the truism goes, but Power itself degenerates metastically; becomes grotesque in its baroque and tentacular extremes. Isn’t a nuclear bomber a metastically-degenerate form of the original apparently-benign invention of heavier-than-air flight? Isn’t a subcutaneous tracking chip… or a pharmaceutical implant, autonomously doping an ignorant human guinea pig with X-drugs on a timetable, or via a radio-networked trigger…. the metastically-degenerate form of the miraculous apparently-benign invention of the syringe, and the personal computer, both? And isn’t the interval between original invention and metastically-degenerate iteration, in both of the above-cited technologies, terrifying brief? Try to imagine how grotesque these technologies will be just ten generations from now. How they will blacken and sizzle and ramify, snarling, then ramify further still.”

 

John Steppling says:
August 15, 2020 at 6:49 am
thanks for that.

 

steven augustine says:
August 15, 2020 at 3:15 pm
(Sorry, JS, to post such a gloomy-Gus thing! On top of which, there was an error in it: “the metastically-degenerate form,” without the plural “s,” is the proper version of that fragment)

 

John Steppling says:
August 16, 2020 at 5:48 am
i think gloomy is where we are.

 

 

But here’s where I differ with John, philosophically: things have always been “gloomy”. The awful power pyramid of social relations Dominance/ Exploitation has been a constant for centuries… ie… The World Is What It Is. We didn’t understand this when we were young; we bought the Disney narrative designed to narcotize us into being useful cogs. And even before human “civilization” there was (and is) always the whole “red in tooth and claw” aspect of nature, which is always about strong things eating weak things or smart things outwitting dumb things and so forth. The Philosophical challenge, for a Human: be Happy anyway. The odds against Life existing, at all, were incalculable (unlike many, I think we’re relatively alone in the Universe)… the odds against Intelligent Life were greater, still, and the chances that you, as a specific individual (just one of millions of sperm cells competing for that spot in a vast and heavenly egg cell) would make it: mind-bogglingly unlikely.

What’s not to celebrate? As Evil and/or Uncomprehending as some of your fellow Miracles are.

 

3- R.I.P. VAN WINKLE

John Steppling is seeing The Big Picture and asking, in effect, “what do The People in Power want, and how can it hurt US (the people who aren’t in Power)?”

I’ve long attempted to apply a kind of Socratic Method of conversation, among friends, to my observation, for example, that A) an obvious Ruling Class obsession with “overpopulation” (a meme I haven’t gone three consecutive days without bumping against, in some way or another, for the past forty or fifty years) would seem to conflict with B) the democratic ideal of “Longevity”.

That is: why would The People in Control of what you read, and watch, and drink, and eat (and consume pharmaceutically) … put much effort into ensuring that the average Serf lives longer than 60 or 70 years? One can’t, on the one hand, be “concerned” about “overpopulation” and, on the other, be fervently hoping that everyone now alive lives to see her/his 100th birthday. One can, in fact, if one is among the Powerful “concerned” about “overpopulation” … be “proactive” about one’s “concerns”. This is simply logic.

I think we allow certain popular (though not necessarily organic) narratives to override simple logic a bit too often, and too easily. This is a danger of the Media/ Social Media-saturated Era. People like John Steppling are using empirical evidence / logic to re-supply the bits of the Big Picture that have been “redacted” by Media-driven narratives (a euphemism for propaganda). Are these redactions merely structuralist (ie, innocently inevitable for purely formal reasons) or artifacts of sinister intent? I think I know how Steppling would answer that question. Anyone bothering to ask the question at all is worth knowing.

 

4-

 

Propaganda FB
the fellow who shared this idiotic “positivity” meme was a weightlifting DJ when I met him in 1990 and now he’s a photographer and the clock is ticking before I get the fuck off of Facebook (before the Gumby Apocalypse of Nov 2020) or delete his IQ-100-Ass, whichever comes best

 

5- ICARUS

 

fly

6- CHANGING THE YOU-KNOW-WHAT FROM WITHIN

An old virtual (online interaction only) friend is working tirelessly to help Black voters, in the Deep South, register to participate in the Presidential elections, so they (these Black people) can make known their preference for either the old White (puppet for corporate/ banker power) Rapist or the old White (puppet for corporate/ banker power) Pedophile. I’m reminded of the high-minded Germans who worked for Gender Equality in the Third Reich. She posted proudly regarding her Voter Rights efforts on Facebook but I couldn’t bring myself to “like” (and, really, I’m lots less likely, these days, to go to the trouble of the thankless task of leaving a four-paragraph comment to kill her Social Media happiness and “raise her consciousness” (or lend her some critical self-distance) with an observation to that effect). As the Kiddies (possibly lots more exhausted than we give them credit for being) say: Whatever.

 

 

.

7- THE MYTH OF THE FUNGIBLE DARKIE-SMILE

__________
SUBJECT LINE:  how funny is that – you worked with my boy-friend at the picture set!
To: Steven Augustine
Mon, Aug 17 at 1:10 PM
Hello my dear, I just looked over G____’s shoulder when he worked with
the fotos of his last set and looked right into your big smile. How nice
to see you again, how are you?
Are you still living in Berlin? Years ago we met again in front of Markthalle
Bergmannstraße.
Big hug
Pretentia

__________        ________________

.

Steven Augustine <the_augustine_authority@yahoo.com>

To: Pretentia Krauthippie

Mon, Aug 17 at 6:44 PM

Pretentia!
I’m quite sure the photo you’re looking at is not a photo of me, but, no prob!
__________         ________________
.

On Monday, August 17, 2020, 06:51:33 PM GMT+2,

wrote:

I saw you and G____  T_______ the photographer of the seafood advertisement setting last week outdoor said your name was Steven.
You cannot hide.
____________      ___________________
.
From: Steven Augustine <the_augustine_authority@yahoo.com>
To:<Pretentia_Krauthippie.de>
Mon, Aug 17 at 8:56 PM
That is a bizarre coincidence but A) I have no idea who G_____   T____  is and B) none of the rest of that sentence makes sense in the context of my Life/ circumstances. I’ve got no reason to lie about that, clearly, and… yeah. Weird. Are you sure you remember my face? The “Steven” coincidence is feasible but I seriously doubt there’s a resemblance. Amusing, though!
____________     _______________
.
Dann hast du einen Doppelgänger mit gleichem Namen und das ist wirklich weird!!!!!
Same smile, stunning resembkance, I am impressed…
Never mind, I remembered laughing a lot with you and that was nice anyway…
___________    _____________
.
From: Steven Augustine <the_augustine_authority@yahoo.com>
To:<Pretentia_Krauthippie.de>
Tue, Aug 18 at 5:46 AM
I doubt very much he’s my “Doppelgänger”; you probably don’t remember my face as well as you think you do. Also, I’m assuming he has a last name: why not find out what his last name is? It shouldn’t be difficult to find out the man’s last name (unless he was hired off the street as temporary labor). I guarantee you that his last name isn’t the same as mine and that he looks nothing like me.  Also, obviously, whoever he is, the two of us have different careers: I’ve been earning a living doing music since 2002. My Wife and I have been running a business together since shortly after we met in the Christmas Season of 2004. I’ve never worked with a photographer on “seafood advertizements”. I Googled “G______    T______ ” and see that he’s based in Hamburg: I haven’t been anywhere near Hamburg since New Year’s Eve in the year 2000.
Wrong guy, I’m afraid. This exchange between us would have been a lot more pleasant, Pretentia, if you’d merely admitted your error as soon as I corrected you. An apology might be in order but I understand the astronomical unlikelihood of that.
Tschüss,
S
____________       ______________________________________________
.
I thought that was a very funny coincidence and did not mean to offend you. An apology is not necessary becsuse I did not do anything wrong. A man that looks like you and has the same name, that is a rare occasion. I have not seen you in years so reproaches are just unnecessary.
I apologize for contacting you and will erase your contact now.
______________________-          ____________________________
.
From: Steven Augustine <the_augustine_authority@yahoo.com>
To:<Pretentia_Krauthippie.de>
Tue, Aug 18 at 10:23 AM
The “offensive” (irritating) part was your insinuation that I was lying about not being that other person. Surely you’re not still so un-self-aware that you can’t grasp that? Perhaps when you wrote  “You cannot hide” it was a peculiar joke… but irony doesn’t travel well in emails. The most “offensive” aspect is your casual/ friendly racism. You know: being unable to distinguish one non-German face from another. I’m quite sure that if I saw the photograph of this person you mistook for me, there would be ZERO resemblance. But, obviously, you haven’t stopped thinking of yourself as an Ascended Being yet,  so… you remain unlikely to improve.
Have a nice day,
S
.

8- FREEFLOATING ANIMUS of the INTERNET vs SISYPHUS

Steven Augustine <the_augustine_authority@yahoo.com>
To: driveybyflamer@yahoo.com
Thu, Aug 6 at 8:13 PM
.
Chris:
.
I hope you’re not going to be one of those drive-by flamers; if you have a principled/ informed critique of the post of mine (or some part of it) you object to, why not actually take the time to convey it? Reading what you’ve left, thus far, I must admit, sort of baffles me. Especially this bit, which couldn’t be further from the truth:
.
“You seem to think that what’s going on here in the U.S. is some kind of joke, i.e., everything is nothing more than a spectacle, that we’re all just deluded noobs in thrall to a benign Punch and Judy show funded by the latest avatar for the Elders of the Protocols of Zion, and that if we just took our heads out of our asses (like you seem to think you did oh so many years ago) we would see that everything really isn’t that bad.”
.
“Isn’t that bad?” I think things are terrifyingly dire. I think we’re on the cusp of irreversible Hell.
.
And, yes, I’m quite comfortable in my actual Life; very happily married, proud father; our family wants for nothing. Which would only be relevant (as a target) if I’d written a post attacking happily-married men, no? Or if any of that indicated that I’m “middle class” and/or complacently tone-deaf to the plight of the working class, who have been destroyed (capriciously) in fewer weeks than it usually takes to kill a house plant with neglect.
Steven
.

2 Comments

  1. St Aug!

    1)your photo at the top here – no doubt of your muse, frau augustine – thought-provokingly reminds me of two folkloric archetypal heroines at once

    2)and speaking of predator and prey, the exploiters and the exploited, of free will and destiny, of the reader’s encounter with literature, of eating and being eaten, last week i obtained from my public library the peaver/volokhonsky translation of the brothers karamazov – i intend to read again the ‘grand inquisitor’ chapter – since reading it the first time, decades ago, in the constance garnett translation, i have become in some ways a practicing catholic – through the influence of missus charley, m.d. – although in my heart of hearts i remain a believing unitarian

    3) my public library, after being closed for months, is now providing service using a curbside-pickup model – requested materials are placed on a table outside, under the eaves, and one arranges a time to come and get them – no interaction required

    4)in the university town i hope to move to, perhaps in a year or two – specifically wolfville, ns – the public library is allowing people inside now – but only a limited number, for a limited time – one might have to wait outside for a bit

    5)the university library building there is still closed, but that may change as in-person classes resume next month – nova scotia has a rather lower rate of covid-19 infection than the u.s. and one hopes the result will be different than the united statesian situation

    5)the two most recent postings on twitter from that library are interesting to me:

    i)”We learn wisdom from failure much more than from success. We often discover what will do, by finding out what will not do; and probably he who never made a mistake never made a discovery.” — Samuel Smiles

    ii)#IndigenousHistoryMonth might be over, but that doesn’t mean we should stop learning about indigenous history and contemporary life in a colonized land. Find the full list under the ‘What’s Happening’ page on our website

    6)this library is at acadia university – semi-relevantly, i have requested from my own public library mike artell’s poetry/picture book ‘petite rouge – a cajun red riding hood’ – there is a very brief history of how the cajuns came to louisiana at the front of the book, and the story itself begins

    Back in de swamp
    where dat Spanish moss grow,
    I heard me a story
    from long time ago.

    In a little ol’ house
    dat been built outta wood
    live a girl people called
    Petite Rouge Riding Hood.

    One day, when her grand-mere
    come down wit’ de flu,
    Petite Rouge mama tol’ her
    what she got to do.

    “Take her dis gumbo
    an’ t’ree or two sweater.
    An some uh dis boudin
    gone make her feel better.”

    in this picture book the heroine is a goose, and the villain claude is an alligator – i will have to wait until i get the book to learn how this version of the story ends

    7)although my patronymic ancestors who first came to the colonized peninsula now called nova scotia spoke french, they were by no means acadians, but rather anti-acadians – foreign protestant europeans brought in by the british to replace those expelled during Le Grand Dérangement – they came from Montbéliard – traditional German: Mömpelgard

    ironic? tragic? an accident of history? la forza del destino? it is what it is

    Like

    1. MC!

      That is, indeed, the obvious beloved Madame Augustine, posing as (enacting) a mash-up of mythical personae. The culture in which we all appear to participate is a mish-mash of myths (how do I differentiate “mash-up” from “mish-mash”? Intent!)… interacting unpredictably like clashing, side-effect-loaded pharmaceuticals in an over-medicated Consumer. Imagine the clarity of, say, an Aztec’s week in comparison! Did the Aztecs have to deal with (make sense of) drifting impact-nodes of clashing Greek /Jewish/ Puritan/ West-African/ Celtic/ Wiccan/ Freudian/ Randian/ Newtonian/ Quantum (et al) Creation Myths filtered through an equal number of Life-Style choices and amplified by chip-Tech? And everything, coming at us every minute, has to be sorted into one of Two Columns: A) Absolute Bullshit One Fervently Believes and B) Absolute Bullshit One Despises With All One’s Heart. (It is believed that “A” will bring one riches and B) will leave one poor, but one citizen’s A is the other’s B, so…)

      We had a weirdly quasi-Religious event today at the Augustine Cloisters: early this morning (I was up to prepare Daughter’s breakfast c. 6am) I looked through the kitchen window, which looks upon the garden Wife has worked with so much care these years, and saw that caught in the sere snapped stems and fronds of a flowerbox in the window (plants which had come and gone years ago), there was a big tuft of white fluff, like cat fur combed and blown along to us by a Jungian nightwind. This pure-white apparition was oddly humorous because it reminded us of one of my Daughter’s three birds, a pure-white Budgie. Daughter went off to school and the fluffy white apparition trembled in the wind and the budgie which that hank of fur resembled… at about 8:30 am… promptly died! As though after explicit omen!

      Wife is a bit mourny but Daughter was surprised-but-not-grief-stricken when I greeted her with what I prefaced, as she returned home, as “shocking and very weird” news. No grief from Daughter or me because, we realized, the budgie existed, for us, for the three years we’d had him, just beneath a crucial cut-off point for fond-memories-making. I mean, what had the budgie ever done but eat, drink, fly, shit, sleep in our presence and with our sponsorship? The budgie’s death was like a celebrity’s death: one may certainly chose to enact grief but what, exactly, would one be grieving?

      It’s the enacting, mostly, that we do (or don’t do) in our daily Imperial mix-master of myths. By stubbornly sticking to the tool of thoughtful and frank analysis in this case of The Death of the White Bird… I’m (hoping I’m) teaching my Daughter to keep her powder dry for Real Emotions when they show up. I can’t help having noticed that the more countries “we” invade and atrocities “we” enact, the more our children weep over scuzzy YouTube content!

      My Wife I can’t presume to influence *too overtly* (laugh)… She is choosing to “enact,” a wee bit, because, I know, the (en)act(ing) is cathartic. But Wife has already navigated quite a bit of Utter Bullshit in Life, being now in her young 40s, so she can afford to indulge. It’s our Daughter I’d like to keep clear-eyed with mind/heart training. If Daughter starts believing that we’ve lost an *actual member of the family* today … what other preposterous fantasies might she fall for? Celebrity politicians who “love” her? “Miracle” skin cream? A “pandemic” (in a city of 4,000,000) that kills only 200 81-year-olds (with significant co-morbidities) …?

      Not sure if you made it to the end of “An Endless Collision of Myths” but the letter-exchange, I posted (item #7?) , was the climax that tied the whole insinuating (consider that word-choice and consider the apple in the photo!) essay together! As a German Hippie, this woman (with whom I had a brief and narratively-rich affair c. 2002) was/is a walking psychic-trainwreck of baseless clashing dearly-held mega-Myths. She lived in an ashram in Poona (or wherever) in the late ’90s and used her sexual charms to get fellow devotees to buy pizzas for her; her greatest achievement was making a Hindu holy man cry! She is a Yogini these days and walks/ talks in an easily-identifiable enactment of “wisdom”. I thank Zeus I never got an STD from her: an STD she wouldn’t even have apologized for giving me had she done so; an STD she would have believed I “manifested” with “negative thoughts” …

      Laugh

      Be careful out there, MC!

      PS I was always amused by the differences in the responses (by Dominant Myth-Mashing Media Culture) to Black Pidgins and White Pidgins.

      Like

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