“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I've Been Kicked in the Biosphere

50% of all animals. By which is meant things with a spine, fish, primates, lizards. 50% gone in 40 years.

I never personally signed on for this mission. Neither did you.

As one of the animals, I never signed on.

Why do some scholars reject “species” right now? Because its uncanny. Not for any of the stated reasons. Because we notice that we are collectively a zombie, just executing an algorithm.

It's like the idea of the consumer. I personally never “demanded” vacuum sealed products encased in plastic. But I'm told that “the consumer” (invented by Ricardo btw) demanded it. So like it.

Uncanny is the spooky reaction that something totally intimate is weirdly jutting into your world, yet has been unavailable, because taboo mostly.

Of course in the manuals (Freud et al.) it's your mum's body (shock horror). And in the philosophy coming out of that uncanny horror (name your favorite David Lynch interpreter and some of the speculative stuff) it's about juicing oneself with that horror experience. Like taking a cocaine hit of the uncanny, over and over and over again. “Is none other than” is the favorite trope of the uncanny addict.

Can someone say misogynistic?

You know what I think? I think if you stay with this supposed horrible, taboo thing like your mum's body, it's actually quite sad. Even John Carpenter's misogynistic Thing isn't captured totally in the horror fantasy of the viewers and those Arctic researchers. The Thing makes “sad,” sad sounds, the sound of just existing. Like moaning or just breathing.

And if you really stay with it, underneath the sadness is the joy.

And your mum's body--it's not just a sign of the biosphere, it is the biosphere, in the form of her body.

And my stomach, that feels like it was just kicked really violently, isn't my stomach. I'm not talking about little me suffering here. My stomach is also this biosphere. It implies all the not-me beings.

I've been kicked in the biosphere.

If some scholars want to denounce it as narcissism go right ahead. It's fully and utterly narcissistic in the Freudian sense of physical good-enough energy feedback between oneself and one's environment.  Our only task is to include more and more beings within that circuit.

It's really just being with the pain, without suffering. How to do that. Tricky.

I am an escape artist. I admire anyone whose first impulse, when this pain happens is, jump right into it and find the exit, inside it.

Let's not stay frozen in horror. Now we know all this information we don't have to keep juicing ourselves. Solutions like geoengineering are, as a brilliant PhD student Eliot Storer pointed out today, ways of not going further, but of being trapped in the horror tragedy.

Let's make it down into the sadness, and proceed further down from there.

I could hardly teach today because of this. Guess what I was teaching Freud! Uncanny right?! But that's why it was a good class, maybe. I could only just hold it together emotionally. Actually I lost it about three times.

Can the zombies have a crisis and form like a support group, and start to laugh? I would pay big money to make this zombie movie.


Anonymous said...

I recently discovered a new word from pop-psychology: limerence, an obsessive form of love, which really fucking hurts and seems to be related to wanting to be rescued/ and/or to rescue. And to impossibility. And I thought to myself, "I am limerent for the Earth." And all those caged and dying animals.... And now I have to figure out how to live like this. It's pretty hard. And we have to keep appearances, too, don't we, for our little ones and our students, who didn't ask for this inheritence either. There are some poems I just can't teach because nobody needs to see me losing it like a maniac.... Thanks for your post anyway.

Anonymous said...

to re-flect on this in a collage:

the distance between cure and curSe is Surrender

Surrender is not giving in passively
it is tuning in, actively
there is focus, consistent cultivation of habits, discipline and growth involved

this is agency within the algorithm

there is no shortcut in any of this
it's going THROUGH all the way down

as they say
pain is inevitable and suffering is optional

what makes the real difference is whether
one opts for the pain of discipline, choosing to surrender and follow through
or the pain of regret, choosing to stay in resistance..

to exercise one's agency is to open-end the algorithm
the other way is to be owned and execute the trajectory of the algorithm
(even if the two means the same)


at any rate, there is a huge difference between mitigating or amplifying a pattern in a system:
to stifle a headache, for example, with medication has not the same overall effect as taking it with a hot bath

Anonymous said...

Wow. I love that almafarag. So much!

Timothy, you've heard of this, I'm sure, but in case you havent:


Peter Weise said...

Your zombie movie just clicked with me. Just wrote some dialogue. Sending it off to a friend who's written scripts before--to collaborate, zombie-style! Hopefully not a Coleridgean project!