Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Eso’s Chronicles 266 / 6
The King & I
© Eso A.B.
All comments appearing within brackets [ ] are editorial in origin. This blog series begins at 264.
There are a number of elements in my conception of King and Democracy that differ from such as I may come across in the course of the day to day conversation or readings in the media.
In the beginning the King probably never existed as a real person (or perhaps only as an exception), but as one of the imagination. In that sense, he was probably more like a God.
In an earlier blog, I suggested that at a time when most people lived in the wood and practiced a subsistence economy (keeping their own fruit and vegetable gardens and herding reindeer or other animals in a setting of an all encompassing wood), the King filtered into the lives of the people through the fairy-tale. In other words, this was the “dream-time” of Pangaea http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pangaea , even if by then Pangaea had ceased to exist as an actual primal continent.
It is possible that the fairy-tale was welcomed and gained favor, because the concept of homo sacer http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_sacer in a literary Pangaea suggested protection from an arbitrary death brought to men indistinguishable from a lottery number, i.e., through a chance meeting with death and being turned into a shrunken head http://www.skeptiseum.org/images/exh/shrunken-heads.jpg .
The reader will note that the geopolitical setting of ‘dream-time’ is distinguished from that of today by the absence of Urbania. Instead, Pangaea and/or wood, were identified as the original home of the King. It was during this dream-time when through the medium of the fairy-tale the ideal King took on his characteristics. It was essential for the dreamers and listeners to the stories about the King they heard told about a trustworthy being. The idea about the King was shaped by both the story tellers and those who listened to the tales at campfires or hearths.
The fairy-tales contained facts (the physical reality of an actual kingdom in real space cannot be denied) and fantasy. Fact and fantasy combined in imagining the King as living in a ‘castle of light’. Gradually the castle evolved from (an origin as a Temple in the wood http://www.westheimphoto.com/lightbox/gallery/ChinaStockPhotos/CHNhw296.jpg ?) into a Court, and from a Court into a city. Because the King needed to be one whom one could trust, he was imagined as one who was just, and knowing that to be just (given the subjective nature of the human psyche) is not easily possible, the King was imagined as a being willing to self-sacrifice himself, as much for the sake of the community as for the sake of reminding himself to stay just.
The fairy-tale was carried back to the King, and influenced his behavior as well. We see the tale reflected in the Christian story about the life of Jesus, even though the present version of the story differs from the original. The story of Jesus reflects the self-sacrificial nature of the original King, whose name may have been John Basil or John Krst-Yan (see future blog 291).
For all the paradoxes involved, the name of John Basil is reflected in the names of Tsar Ivan the Terrible, the Aztec Sun God Nanauatzin, Genghis Khan, King Zheng, King John of England, and many others.
At some point, however, the King and the fairy-tale lost control over events. This happened, when the Princes of the Court, took note that Trust could be substituted by Power and acted on their perception.
The forces of this ‘perception’ unleashed what we call liberalism.
Quote from previous blog’s link on Schmitt: “Although many critics of Schmitt today, such as Stephen Holmes in his The Anatomy of Anti-Liberalism, take exception to his fundamentally authoritarian outlook, the idea of incompatibility between liberalism and democracy is one reason for the continued interest in his political philosophy.[
With the advent of ‘liberalism’ the city (not necessarily an unknown, though known only as an exception) began to expand and multiplied in numbers, and has—by our time—taken complete control not only of the wood, but of biological nature itself.
Humanism, along with the hubris of the violent is in complete control of the social sphere today. Anti-social elements such as Pussy Riot present themselves as forces worthy of trust, even as it is apparent that they do not possess knowledge neither vital to the survival of human kind at large nor even suspect the existence of such knowledge.
Elimination of self-sacrifice has turned the rule of ‘law’ into chaos. The ‘law’ today is like a ball of yarn with a thousand strands of yarn somehow rolled into a single ball—where do you seize the tail end of a yarn that leads one to tie all the lose ends together into one string that will knit one sweater?
Chaos has led to legal theories such as that of Carl Schmitt. Giorgio Agamben  sees in Schmitt’s theories a kind of violence, which “…necessarily bears a juridical value, [and] is another example of the fusion of right to ‘bare life’ (It. vita nuda, Grk. zoe) that transforms the juridical system into a ‘death machine,’ able to perform acts of pure violence as needed for self-legitimation, creating Homo sacer, a being that cannot be "murdered" or "sacrificed" but only killed.
The Nomos of the Earth, Schmitt's most historical and geopolitical work, shows that Schmitt envisioned his legal theories in the context of a society evolving along the lines of its immediate preceding past. This writer prefers to look at community in the context of an evolving society that includes devolution in the sense of turning away from a wrong path taken, and not continuing ever deeper into the labyrinth of the city, but making an exit and returning to the wood, in effect, from total distrust of politics to Trust that again becomes God. With the return of the King and self-sacrifice, it ought to be a short step.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Eso’s Chronicles 265 / 5
The King & I
© Eso A.B.
All comments appearing within brackets [ ] are editorial in origin. This blog series begins at 264.
Though kings in our time have no other function than perhaps a ceremonial one and have been dismissed as a politically outdated institution, some of the arguments of Carl Schmitt, reputedly a Nazi legal expert

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Schmitt , are worth noting and given greater attention than he is presently accorded.

As the link notes, Schmitt justified dictatorial power not as a consequence of being dictatorial per se, but because “If the constitution of a state is democratic, then every exceptional negation of democratic principles, every exercise of state power independent of the approval of the majority, can be called dictatorship.”

In the case of my own country of birth, Latvia, the ‘exceptional negation’ most recently occurred when the ‘democratic’ state refused to hold a referendum, which is mandated by the Constitution. Such a referendum would clearly bring up and let the people debate and vote with regard of whether to join or not join the Euro monetary union. As it is, the State refused to hold the referendum, arbitrarily upped the number of people required to sign the petition that would ask to hold such a referendum (from 10,000 to 30,000), and argued, instead, that Latvians had voted for the Euro when they agreed to join the European Union as such.

This arbitrary and authoritarian negation of the Latvian people’s right to determine their future as a sovereign nation, but to submit to the dictates of the European Central Bank (ECB) has undermined the community’s (ethnic* or national ability to cultivate and develop its own culture. Of course, this applies not only to Latvia, but in so far as it is a member of the EU, effects the futures of all European nations, especially the smaller ones. For lack of a handicap of size that sometimes affords an advantage, Latvia has no such thing as a culture that it may call its own.

Admittedly, the cultural difficulties of Latvia are many and among the foremost are the consequences of a lengthy occupation (roughly half a century, 1940-1991) of its territory by the Soviet Union and that Union’s planned dilution of the ethnic base of the Latvian Soviet Republic. Another problem is the privatization of its land subsequent to the country’s joining of the EU, which facilitated the loss of productive land to proxies solicited by foreign investors, who then left the land underutilized. Another disastrous consequence of renewed independence was the “shock” transition to a capitalist economic system, which in effect forced an economic outmigration of some 900,000 Latvians (out of a base of about 2 million) and a consequent demographic collapse of population statistics. This has also left Latvia with little of a literary culture it may call its own. Though the Latvian language persists, most books published at this time are translations, autobiographical works, but there is little to nothing of what may be called original literature. With the dismissal of the director of the National Opera Company in Riga, the last bastion of ‘high’ culture has been surrendered to the invasive influence of Western and other foreign ‘pop’ cultures.

Given the collapse of a national and/or ethnic cultural base, one necessarily looks for its causes, which are not only to be found in the above mentioned, but derive from the imposition of parliamentary democracy by an alleged ‘greater democracy’ said to have its base in the European Union. In effect, ‘democracy’ came to Latvia, when it was not prepared to make a sudden and essentially uninformed transition to it, and when its own political intelligentsia was undereducated and could be taken easy advantage of by commercial interests indifferent to the country and its people as entities of dignity.

In fact, ‘democracy’ was imposed on Latvia by an authoritarian ‘democracy’ based in the very institution of the EU, and succumbed to this ‘foreign’ influence beyond its ability to recover (due to the unavoidable exposure of its weakened institutional base to various commercial corruptions)—unless such a recovery is enjoined by a ‘King’ like authority.

This brings up the question of how such a ‘king-like’ authority may be legitimately enjoined? This takes us back to Carl Schmitt and the case called “Preussenschlag”; which, re (at above link) led: “…to the de facto destruction of federalism in the Weimar republic…." One is probably justified in believing that an effort to deny the federalization of the EU will find supporters not only among Latvians, but many smaller European States similarly threatened by forced federalization into a Parliamentary, liberalist, and authoritarian ‘democracy’ of the EU to form an illegitimate Empire that is of an advantage only to its own bureaucracy, government heads including.

*Ethnic—a word that in our times has lost its meaning. It would be, in my opinion, proper to replace it with the word ‘organic’; thus not an ‘ethnic Latvia’, but an ‘organic Latvia’, ‘organic Scotland’, and not their current mechanical ‘democratic’ equivalents.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Eso’s Chronicles 264 / 4
The King & I
© Eso A.B.
All comments appearing within brackets [ ] are editorial in origin. This blog begins a new series.
In blogs 262 & 263, I discussed role of the King and Parliamentary governments. It was discovered that the King was important as the “irrational moment” in the formation of a community, while Parliamentary ‘democracy’ results, for various reasons, in “bureaucratic totalitarianism”.
Perhaps ‘the King’ is on my mind, because as a child I heard a lot of fairy tales, which included stories about kings. From that time on, I have thought about governments as originating with a King. Though kings are long out of fashion, they still play a notable role in my imagination, and though governments and the media have abandoned the office as politically unviable, I suspect that he-she still resides in many imaginations and would be viable enough—it the opportunity arose.
The “irrational moment” of a King is necessary, because a community cannot form until there arises a moment of trust. Such a moment cannot arise with a Parliament, because it is, so to say, a ‘democratic’ form of government; and a democracy will not be trusted by any member of any proto-community because it is never ‘democratic’ a priori, but is such only as a result of being so declared by ‘law’, which—because of the necessity of such a declaration—is ‘democratic’ only for those who constitute the will of a ‘majority’ (whatever that may be).
The rest of the body-‘democratic’ is in opposition to the ‘democracy’, but has agreed not to contest it for the sake of avoiding bloodshed, even while it has not conceded being wrong in its views or opinions.
Examples of the ‘irrational moment’ abound in James Frazer’s famous work on myth and religion called “The Golden Bough”. While an indispensible read for any anthropologist, the work has been for various reasons pushed into the background. The most notable reason is that most all of our modern political societies associate themselves with ‘democracy’, which according to theory ought not to have ‘irrational’ or ‘charismatic’ moments.
Still, ‘irrational moments’ do occur; and when they occur, they are usually resolved through an act of violence, in which the alleged ‘majority’ (generally associated with the ‘victors’) kills the leader of the opposition and, if possible, most of his-her supporters. Most recently such killings occurred in Iraq and Libya, whose leaders were hanged  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwfDHXT7RBM and shot http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Muammar_Gaddafi . Such a resolution of the irrational moment almost always favors the killer(s), but does not necessarily resolve the question whether justice is done.
The ‘irrational moment’ (falsely ‘charismatic’) in our times has more often to do with the institutionalization or demise of a community rather than its creation. One such instance occurs in Aztec mythology, when the God Nanauatzin sacrifices himself by jumping into a pit of fire and impels the Sun to rise at dawn http://www.lakelandschools.us/lh/rjamin/AztecCreationMyth.htm .
In the religion and myth of the West, self-sacrifice is renamed ‘self-directed violence’, in effect allowing ONE self-sacrifice only, i.e., that of Jesus. This myth makes all governments, no matter how illegitimate, after Jesus legitimate, because any government that comes into existence thereafter as a result of a self-sacrifice may be claimed by ‘legal’ authority to have no sanction, which makes such a community illegitimate in spite of the fact that it may be of and have the trust of the people.
The adaptation of this myth as the ultimate authority of legitimacy is what has kept my loyalty for the King. As far as I am concerned, trust and not power is the most important factor in determining who rules. Though one may argue that ‘trust’ may be misdirected, the fact that it is gained as a result of someone’s self-sacrifice assures that all subsequent governments will have to legitimate themselves through self-sacrifice as well.
Because such legitimization has fallen away and has no legal recognition in our time, from the point of view of a King most modern governments have no legitimacy as ‘trust’ needs to be periodically renewed and cannot be forwarded to the future automatically as allegedly occurs through  ‘democratic’ elections today.
It must be noted that while self-sacrifice today may be interpreted as an act of violence in a strictly legalistic sense http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_terrorism , in a psychological sense, it retains its persuasive hold on the human psyche. This writer rejects philosopher Derrida’s definition of self-sacrifice as self-directed violence http://www.zora.uzh.ch/41846/ , but agrees with the argument at the preceding link that self-sacrifice constitutes a not-violent act of terror by impressing on the observer the fact that death as a voluntary act is not to be slighted or abjured in favor of the law as determined by the written word, which likely transgresses against justice more often than when one puts in escrow (as an assurance) one’s life.
At the present time, however, Derrida’s interpretation of self-sacrifice has the upper hand for the simple reason that presently it is the ‘power’ of the government elite that writes ‘the law’, which, at the same time, has earned most governments the distrust of the populace at large. The distrust is because the law in economic matters is invariably written in favor of the elite. Given the enormous gaps in income levels (popularly described as1% vs 99%), it may not be long before the agreement not to test ‘democracy’ will be challenged. Incidentally, the consequences of what happens when institutionalized self-sacrifice is ignored or avoided is dealt with in my ‘rewrite’ of OedipusRex Rewritten at http://oedipusrexrewritten.blogspot.com
For additional reflection, I recommend http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Schmitt

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Eso’s Chronicles 263 / 3
23—The Rapids of Affluenza
© Eso A.B.

The following link http://rt.com/news/greenwald-snowden-nsa-hackers-conference-889/ begins with the following paragraph:

Journalist Glenn Greenwald condemned the mainstream media during an address at a German computer conference on Friday and accused his colleagues of failing to challenge erroneous remarks routinely made by government officials around the globe.

While the article specifically names the U.S. and British media for cooperating with governments and “failing to challenge erroneous remarks…” the sentence is inclusive of ALL government officials and media “around the globe”. I suppose that the U.S. and British media are mentioned because traditionally they are thought to represent the heydays of media in its early days, if no longer today. This was, no doubt, because both countries developed newspapers for a mass market, which through such markets had a wide influence on the actions of the country. For example, the Hearst newspapers in the U.S. are held responsible for fanning the Spanish-American War (1890s) http://www.pbs.org/crucible/frames/_journalism.html , while Lord Beaverbrook is known as owner of numerous English newspapers, the Daily Express and the London Evening Standard including http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Aitken,_Lord_Beaverbrook . Beaverbrook advocated the benefits of British imperialism. He as well as Herst established the insertion and propagation of government interests among the public as a matter of routine.

As we see, the propagation of routine “erroneous remarks” by government officials in the media has a long tradition. From the beginning error has gained additional credibility through advertising, the medias’ main source of income, which is also better known as a vehicle for ‘sales’ rather than accuracy about the serviceability of its product.

The early success of the public media, government, the middle class may be compared to a herd of wildebeests coming on new green pastures and, as a result, multiplying ‘as if there is no tomorrow’. It is this combination and confluence of factors that eventually resulted in what we now know by the word “affluenza” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affluenza . As the link argues under the subhead of ‘Theory’, the phenomenon is not new and its criticism may be traced to Marxist criticism of consumption starting with Karl Marx and Thorstein Veblen.

However, what Marx (1818-1883) and Veblen (1857-1929) observed still as if from a distance has by our own day become not only an epidemic, but a catastrophe. A very simple example will illustrate this:

When a young mother of several children who I know recently told me that she had no winter boots, I offered to contribute to their purchase. We went to a shoe store, which had shoes and boots that were both practical and of the ‘dressy’ sort. The young woman immediately went for the ‘dressy’ ones and refused to look at the ‘practical’ and sturdier shoes. She picked a pair of boots that were studded with crystal-like glass beads. This is not to say that I am against boots with enhanced looks, but like the American Indians, I am still at the stage of cultural development when I would then rather buy the glass beads and string them into decorative patterns myself, rather than have it come to me factory made. While I have not reason to be critical of the young mother, I do know whence her sensibility comes: re, the public media--television, internet, newspapers, and advertising--and the fact that most of these originate in an urban environment and propagate that environment to the most distant corners of the countryside. This is what is called ‘dumbing down’ https://www.google.lv/#q=meaning+of+dumbing+down&spell=1  the public.

As the catastrophe of a dumbed down public at this time has become obvious to all who retain some critical perspective and one reads frequent exclamations about how could this be, everyone questioned is left with but a tautology: “There is nothing to be done. That is how it is.”

And that is indeed ‘how it is’: the puppy has been caught up by the flood waters and is, this very moment, sucked into the black hole of drainage pipe. And if the puppy were you, me, or our children, we—entangled by the ‘bubbly’ attitude of the media, which acts as a de facto affluenza virus--could still be thinking about buying glass studded party boots, rather than cabbage and pumpkin seeds for our garden.

As we enter the final days of 2013, here is yet another supporter of the affluenza “bubble” going “pop” and spreading the virus. http://www.crossingwallstreet.com/archives/2013/12/2013-the-year-the-fear-bubble-popped.html . Not surprisingly the man claims there is nothing to fear but fear itself. So, have another bubbly, but note the man’s ‘disclaimer’!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Eso’s Chronicles 262 / 2
22—Pimping for Freedom
© Eso A.B.

Lovers of ‘freedom’ have much to cheer about these days. The amnesty issued by Russia’s President Putin has given them a ‘victory’ that the
Young women of Pussy Riot fame managed to quickly defame as a ‘publicity stunt’ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2528259/Pussy-Riot-band-member-freed-Russian-prison-Putin-signs-sweeping-amnesty-ahead-Olympics.html and rename a ‘profanation’. One of them appeared to want to stay in jail, except she had to leave because the ‘law’ (?Putin) said so. To my mind, the young women provide the public with a clear example of nihilism.

As for Mikhail Khodorkovsky, 16th richest man in the world, who poured Russian oil money in his own pockets, he was more circumspect, though joined the nihilistic punk group in so far as he, too, said that he would work for prison reform. After spending ten years in prison and being, in effect, expelled from Russia http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/26/russia-supreme-court-review-mikhail-khodorkovsky Khodorkovsky is applying for a visa to live in Switzerland, and says he will not return to Moscow as long as a 335 mil pound fine imposed by the government looms over his head. He says he will be working toward the release of ‘other’ political prisoners. Not surprisingly, he is appealing for sympathy to the West and not the Russian people, because the Russian people would likely prefer to hang him.

Both, the cases of Pussy Riot and Khodorkovsky are interesting for reasons other than the persons immediately involved. To this writer’s mind, they stand out as highlighted examples of the ‘affluenza’ epidemic that after infecting, first, the West, has spread to infect the world. If we look at the disease closely, it is every bit as deadly as the ‘black death’ of the Middle Ages. The word ‘affluenza’ most recently gained public attention through a Florida youth http://jacksonville.com/breaking-news/2013-12-11/story/affluenza-defense-rich-teen-gets-probation-after-killing-4-crash , who in a drunken stupor killed four people and injured many in the State of Florida.

The highlight is especially interesting, because it touches on a philosophical question that philosophers have not been able to explain away on purely rational grounds.

In his book “Interrogating the Real”, Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic Slavoy Zizek discusses the problem under the title “The King and the Bureaucracy” (Ch. 6). Zizek basically divides the problem in two parts: 1) ‘the irrational moment’ as represented by the office of the King; and 2) “totalitarian bureaucracy” as represented by the State.

The ‘irrational moment’ of the King is unavoidable, so to speak, because without him there is nothing around whom or what for the community to coalesce. According to Zizek, ‘totalitarian bureaucracy’ comes into existence after the community has gained experience, maturity, and is politically knowledgeable. It is at this latter point when the King creates a bureaucracy (or, rather, it creates itself) with which government comes to resemble, more or less, what we know as ‘government’ today.

The ‘irrational moment’ is absolutely indispensable for governing, because only ‘it’ is capable to resolve the irresolvable bind with which all societies are faced at some point in their existence. It is the King who gives the deciding ‘yes’ or ‘no’, to the live or die (war or no war) situation that is more than likely the issue. A group cannot make such a decision, because it can never be unanimous and resolve all doubts beyond all doubts.

On the other hand, a ‘totalitarian bureaucracy’ arises out of the assumption that government is rational and that the concept of Reason presumes that Reason should not get into a bind that becomes irresolvable. Yet Reason does get into irresolvable situations because the very reasoning behind reason causes a government bureaucracy to become totalitarian. A proto-classical example of bureaucratic totalitarianism is the bureaucracy (on behalf of communism) created by Stalin in the Soviet Union. A post-classical example of bureaucratic totalitarianism is the bureaucracy of the government of the United States, because of the presumption (on behalf of commercial interests) that ‘democracy’ is the only possible rational form of government—whether it in fact is rational or not. This presumption of ‘democracy’ actually is not all that different from the presumption of bureaucratic totalitarianism under Stalin.

A not dissimilar situation exists in my own country of Latvia, which is a tiny State entity when compared the above hegemonies. While Latvia, too, claims itself to be a ‘democracy’, the claim is given the lie by the fact that here ‘democracy’ is qualified by the term ‘parliamentary’. It is the latter which is presumed to give the Latvian democracy its authority to describe itself as a ‘free’ society, whereas the very term ‘parliamentary’ gets this ‘democracy’ in no less a bind than the Soviet and American regimes of government get themselves into under Reason.

Having Zizek (and others) do the necessary close analysis, I will venture to say that the problem for all States are the unreal ‘presumptions’ of Reason, while in reality the very tool of totalitarianism is this very presumption and the various ‘reasons’ (of power) that got it to come into existence. In the instance of Latvia, the Reason behinds its government’s ‘democratic’ totalitarianism is the authority of the hegemony of the European Union (on behalf of American type of affluenza), which ‘presumes’ that it needs Latvia (for whatever bureaucratic reasons) to join not only the EU, but function under its unitary financial system and the European Central Bank (ECB). Therefore, the Latvian ‘parliamentary democracy’, in spite of the fact that the Latvian constitution foresees a referendum that would let the people decide the issue of the Euro, decreed not to hold a referendum, and continually fudges the question of whether it is imitating the totalitarianism at the heart of the EU, and rather—like it—pimps for affluenza as a desirable constituent of its limited and American style democracy.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Eso’s Chronicles 261/ 1
21—Nowhere to Run
© Eso A.B.

Once upon a time there lived Ra-Zhanna. She was a witch. People called her a witch because they were jealous of her. They were jealous of her for several reasons.

The first reason people were jealous of her was because her name, Ra-Zhanna, meant: Ra=the Sun; Zhanna=bountiful (in Russian=Zhenshchina —woman https://www.google.lv/#q=translate+woman+into+russian ). In antiquity Ra-Zhanna clearly used to be a Sun priestess. Then the Christians of the West came and wanted off with her. The Swedes then changed her name to Ragna the conjurer, but the Latvians and Lithuanians changed her name from Ra-Zhanna (a woman of means and more) to Ragana (a witch, a healer, a herder, a woman who eats fly agaric, a filthy payan when all is said and done).

Along with her duties as a priestess of the Sun, Ra-Zhanna served also as a judge of her people. This job was divided in two parts. The first part was that of a midwife: She was present when most children of her tribe were born. Her presence guaranteed that the children had the Sun’s blessing.

The second part of what she did was to perform the role of a judge. This gave her power to decide whether one would live or die. It was said that Ra-Zhanna was merciless. When she said that someone should lose their head, they always did. This was in the days before the written law.

When writing came along, probably invented by castrated men, it dismissed the Goddess. They could not cope with her subjective mindset, which after all could change its mind. If there was a death sentence, it was likely carried out within an hour of the decision, and before second thoughts could set in. The so-called ‘scul-rack’ or Tzompantli http://tcmam.wordpress.com/2010/11/08/tzompantli-and-basic-nahuatl/  of the Aztecs provides evidence of what happened. The decapitated heads were lined up next to each other on a rack. Maybe the accountant’s aid, the abacus, was derived from some such device on the Eurasian continent. There is surely a similarity between the two. But the tradition of the destruction of memorabilia in the West has old roots, and as ‘truthers’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truthers continue to insist, history gets rewritten before our very eyes to this day.

I have no idea what Ra-Zhenna did with the bodies, but myth tells us that the Egyptian God Osiris was dismembered in 14 parts and these were scattered throughout ancient Egypt to ensure fertility of the land and a bountiful harvest.

It happened that Ra-Zhanna was on her way to the village of Vilz, when the mobile phone began to hum in her pocket, and she put it to her ear. It was raining hard enough, so that the witch also pulled the hood of her jacket over her head. There was no one on the other end of the phone, but instead a message appeared on the screen. It read: “If one believes in wonders, they come. If one has to wait for wonders they arrive.  If one shares in wonders, it brings happiness. Happy Christmas.” The message was unsigned.

Ra-Zhanna scribbled a response:

“This morning the sun rose in a sky full of red clouds and wrapped the moon in a pink scarf. The wonderful thing about wonders and hope is that if someone joins one in expecting them, waiting passes quickly and the sharing of the wish creates an adventure for two.”

She was about to send the message, when she had an idea. She typed: “I am speaking of the Old and New Year. If you tell me what your New Year’s wish is, I may join you in it.” Then she pressed the ‘send’ button.

Ra-Zhanna went on her way. Usually anonymous messages came from people who lived in the big cities and whom she had met while visiting there on a lecture tour. She herself lived in the countryside. It was a matter of principle that she avoided cities. While she recognized their usefulness, she also thought of cities as cancerous growths on the body of the greater community. To her mind, by our time cities had become like tarantulas.  Cities not only devoured the countryside and excreted concrete, but frequently overextended themselves and had to make war and kill hundreds of thousands of innocents in order not to collapse.

Again the mobile telephone hummed. This time the message read: “Hi! I am a hacker at NSA. A drone with a New Year’s present is on the way!”

Ra-Zhanna threw her mobile phone as far away as she could and began to run. She turned left, turned right, turned back, and then ran forward again. There was not a tree around where to hide. There was no Sun in the sky and it was full of cloudy. She wished she were already dead.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Eso’s Chronicles 260
20—Hope at Slow Speed
© Eso A.B.
There used to be a time when space was believed to be filled with aether. The name probably came from interpreting the word as meaning not easy to grasp or touch. Then scientists disputed about the name, and aether as space become ‘ineffable’, a word that is more spacey than ‘aethereal’ or a word beyond words. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aether_theories Yet as the link explains, we do not seem to be able to do without aether altogether as some scientists would like us to.
I rather like the quote from Isaac Newton (at the above link): “Doth not this aethereal medium in passing out of water, glass, crystal, and other compact and dense bodies in empty spaces, grow denser and denser by degrees, and by that means refract the rays of light not in a point, but by bending them gradually in curve lines? ...Is not this medium much rarer within the dense bodies of the Sun, stars, planets and comets, than in the empty celestial space between them? And in passing from them to great distances, doth it not grow denser and denser perpetually, and thereby cause the gravity of those great bodies towards one another, and of their parts towards the bodies; every body endeavoring to go from the denser parts of the medium towards the rarer?”
On this occasion what interests me though is the space occupied by thought or, if you will, by thinking. Generally, it is assumed that thought occupies no space; however, it is not always so. For example, the religious still say that it is important to believe in the power of prayer and that “prayer can move mountains”. In the latter case, thought-prayer-imagination is provided with the ability to perform, and if we do not move mountains, there are any numbers of people who believe they can levitate and fly to the mountains. Of course, ‘moving mountains’ is only a figure of speech and may mean any numbers of other things, whatever you think it means.
In Tibet and other places, prayer or thought, is projected by means of a written note pinned to a branch, a cloth or flag let fly in the wind, or attached to a ‘prayer wheel’. In the fall, when I see the cranes migrating south and hear their plaintive calls high above in the sky, I say to myself or to whoever may be watching with me that my thoughts go with them. In Nara, Japan, there is a temple where aborted or miscarried babies are remembered  http://digitaljournal.com/article/339421 and prayed for.
Never, have I been or become aware that a prayer was ‘working’ or having an effect. Rather, to the contrary: “nothing happens”: the lottery number does not come in, the right or necessary playing card does not appear. Still, every card player, even the occasional one, knows that there is such a thing as a ‘winning streak’ is it at poker or patience. But go figure: Was it because I thought it, or did the ‘streak’ think me?
It is the possibility that “it thought me” that gives pause and produces the idea that ‘thinking’ if not occurring in space as such or being a neutral medium (a wire without resistance) within which thought may fly a willed course, but given that there is no readily accessible evidence that this is so, may be more like a cloud. If such a cloud happens to pass over my head or through me at the right moment and somehow or other my wish for a million dollars gets attached to it, the next moment the phone will ring, and there will be a call from Groucho Marx, saying: “The duck has landed. You have said the magic word!” and hand us a hundred dollars.
That is prayer as entertainment and a cheap trick. Winning a hundred million dollars in a lottery, too, is a cheap trick, a wish come true, but no prayer. But is there some way that you can turn the trick against the house? I would like to say, yes. However, the trouble is that we have not yet discovered the medium within which the clouds of thought drift. We still need to find out whether it is air, land, water, or what? And what if it is a cloud? What then is air?
It appears that ‘air’ may be temperature at near absolute zero. http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/1999/02.18/light.html This is when light has been slowed down to a 38 mile crawl, and plans are afoot to slow it down to even more, like 1 cm p/h. This means, this is when the lottery participant can outrace the light, which becomes a sort of slow rolling ball or cloud that delivers the lottery number before everyone’s eyes. Which begs the question: at what temperature must be thought if it behaves like light; or maybe thought is the aether within which light floats?
Think: what patience the tiger had to become “burning bright in the forest of the night”. Several million years perhaps? Is not the city that exists at the expense of our planet’s forests a cheap trick?

Monday, December 23, 2013

Eso’s Chronicles 259/ Act 4
Addend 19—Adam Tsarnovich
Act 4

© Eso A.B.

(Adam, his four wives, High Priest Tiresias, and about a half a dozen guards are gathered in Adam’s family shack, apparently for a meeting.)

Adam: Welcome to my humble home, Tiresias.

Tiresias: We are old acquaintances.

Adam: Yes, though I am not born of Thebes,
you meant to end my life here.
I fought you, when you entered my wood,
and would rather have died defending it.
It was my misfortune to fall into your hands.
If it had not been four these four women,
chosen by you to comfort me,
and if they had not become my lovers instead,
my heart woud be rotting today
beneath Nanautzin’s temple footsteps.
However, Tiresias, you made it so that
our children’s hearts rot there—instead.
You turned the wood into desert.
The yellow rain of its dust falls on you
and your city’s bloody king.

(The guards rise as if to sieze Adam. Tiresias motions them to never mind.)

Tiresias: Adam, don’t take things so seriously.
There are no Gods but Fear.
And I fear. No shame in that.
I fear nothingness.
I rather your children die
Before they know what is what,
chased dead by drones (points at the guards).
Look, how proudly they wear their medals from
campaigns in Iraq, Lybia, and the shores of Tripoli.
As for you, I rather you are fooled by such whores
as these that sit with us.

If you were saved by a lucky chance
(and it surely is a lottery, a matter of odds
of who dies, and who is let live a fool)
so 1% can live like billionaires,
be grateful the odds have chosen you life.

Comfort Woman 1: Priest of Fear,
we hear chainsaws howl every day.

Comfort Woman 2: Priest of Fear,
we hear that your labs are searching for ways
to raise chickens without heads,
let you tell yourself that you are a kindly sort
for not letting them—unable of suicide—
be picked clean and bloody by other birds.

Comfort Woman 3: Priest of Fear, you desire to swallow life in a day,
but not in a million years will you birthe yourself a tiger.

Comfort Woman 4: Priest of Fear, what is the difference between
the state, a slave master, and a pimp?

Tiresias: Relax! Babes, you no longer live in the wood.
A million years of prayer will only make you sorry.
You live in a city now!
That is what your parents asked for instead of saying prayers.
You’re at the centre of civilization.
Our planet has become urbanized.
Progress has come to us on the chains of tanks.
China has desertified as much space in a few years
as it took the English a hundred
and your forebears a thousand.

So, what if an unemployed secretary
must take a job in the sex industry?
What does she fear most?
Is it Fear? Or is it sex?
I believe that she will prefer sex.
Our argument is simple:
“If you don’t take a job as a prostitute,
we can stop your [state] benefits.”

Adam: Yes. The Chinese governments
have learned their lessons from the Americans well:
they have screwed up their country nicely.
They already prefer to screw the Moon
to screwing Tibet.
Urbanization is the civilized thing to do.
I bet that you will continue to urbanize
until Chinese rabbits overpopulate the moonscape.
and land on Mars.

Tiresias: Think what you are saying, Adam Tsarnovich,
Why have I come to visit you?
I know your argument.
You say that I need to sacrifice myself
rather than you, your wives, or children.
But how can that happen if I am of the 1%
powerful enough to tax you dead?

Story Teller: Do you know what happened to horses in World War Two?
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/columnists/article-492582/Forgotten-Heroes-A-million-horses-sent-fight-Great-War--62-000-came-back.html If of a million English horses sent into World War 1 only 6% returned, how many horses does that come to when we include all the horses killed in all the wars? I pale to think of the number. I am not guiltless. At the end of World War Two when I was a twelve year old war refugee in Weimar, Germany, living across the valley from Buchenwald, a train was being plundered, and I and my sister, went to see what could be had. By the time we got there, all the wagons were empty, except for some green coffee beans on the floor of one wagon—enough to fill my trouser pockets. However, coming back, I saw a metallic glint from under a sod of a recently plowed field. My sister and I turned up the sod and found ten copper colored unmarked cans. When at home, we opened one, and found  it filled with meat of a reddish color. We did not know what kind of meat it was, but we were hungry and the meat was tasty. Now I think that the meat was that of reddish-brown horses.

Tiresias: You are probably right.
But you think of it only now,
because you like the horse
must share your fate as a slave.
It is your mares who I fuck at will,
or, at best, give them a five lats bill
to buy a loaf of bread before they come to me again.

Adam: I hear you and see your works,
and have thought it through to the end of a million years:
(addresses the women:)
dears, have you brought with you the paste?

(Comfort Woman 1 pulls a jar from under her cloak, opens it, scoops out a good portion of its content with her index finger, and puts the matter on her tongue. Leaving her mouth open and tongue hanging out, she passes the jar to her companion, and so on to all others.)

Tiresias (addressing Adam):
I hear the color of your ‘thing’ is blue,
because gangrene has turned it black.
Like an anxious dog’s cock, your balls are slid of its sack
as they do when you fuck your mother too much.

Adam: You forget that I am castrated.
Still, my dreams seek a way to prolong me
And the revenge most of us seek against you,
my mother including.

Tiresias: All the more reason for me to seize you
and retract the Thebe’s mercies.

Adam: I may suffer my pollen sacks to be other men’s.
But our children are all over the kingdom of Thebes,
and await the day, when your head, mouth first,
is stuck on your cock for the shame of your kind.

Tiresias: Boast all you want, Adam Tsarnovich.
The priests of our nation
will not not suffer death because you wish us to die in your stead.
Our will is to uphold a kingdom,
Not to lead by example as you
a prisoner, a slave and a man of no significance
wish. There is no need of that.
Our leadership is exemplified by the very magnificence of Thebes.
Just see the towers of our temples reach
through the clouds. We serve our tourists to the moon,
moon raised Chinese rabbit stew for lunch.

Adam: The Chinese and people of all the other nations
may wish to pick for themselves a new name.

(A black cloth descends from the stage ceiling to separate Tiresias and the guard from Adam and his four wives, who sit close to the edge of the stage. The five figures turn toward the audience, and pull their extended tongues with the paste on them into their mouths. They gasp and die.)

(Lights out. When the lights return, they project on a large disk a full moon reflecting back to the audience from a mirror drawn across the stage curtain. An oversize paper mache cock with a head stuck on it mouth-first is walked across the front of the curtain.)