Thursday, September 08, 2011

Flight from Narrative: a Hegira from Hegemony

By Amok

What type of sentence will an absolute mind construct? I considered that even in the human languages there is no proposition that does not imply the entire universe... I considered that in the language of a god every word would enunciate that infinite concatenation of facts, and not in an implicit but in an explicit manner, and not progressively but instantaneously. In time, the notion of a divine sentence seemed puerile or blasphemous. A god, I reflected, ought to utter only a single word and in that word absolute fullness. No word uttered by him can be inferior to the universe or less than the sum total of time.

Nachiketas: Tell me what you see beyond right and wrong, beyond what is done or not done, beyond past and future.
Death: I will tell you the Word that all the Vedas glorify, all self-sacrifice expresses, all sacred studies and holy life seek. (The Upanishads)


Obsessing and wrangling in the wake of the idea that narratives should or shouldn't be studied and picked at and predictably obfuscated with alert counter-measures by quasineuroscientific initiatives, my own thoughts (driven and deeply structured by the traumatic engrams of archetypal Master Narratives) have been coiled around the idea of narrative death -- the directive of Thanatos, an Ouroboric plague of a feedback loop and how the modern alien can retaliate against the mad amalgams of narrating machines, the ideological state apparatus at large. Is escape even possible? A release? Or a mad Goetia of verbose, auto-didactic assholes?

Pre-ramble: The Self is articulated outside the Self. By all cultural models at large, there's a proliferation of mythological pretexts, Ur-texts, subsuming models that structure, define, add significance and meaning and virtue (or lack thereof), that augment the extensions of the crystalline Self of the present into a Self-that-was and a Self-to-be. In their lowest form, they degrade to mere cliche, stereotype, shibboleth, factotum; elevated, they aspire to Master Narratives. And of course, by these extensions of the concept of the temporalized Self, all models of systematic lifestyle are justified or criminalized, encouraged or discouraged by whatever dominant cultural mores happen to be in place. This infant, this hommelette, begins by learning to master a preexisting lingual system of binaries, tailoring whatever pure essential mentalese into a system as simple as want and not-want, and this suture into language (however natural and hereditory a drive) begins a long, strict process of arbitration that narrates the self into a corner, and props it up with weak, mythic ingenues promoting heinous superficialities (the readiest of adjectives).

Enter the real world, the modern. The real places where the profligate Word seethes, a baleful suffocation of the unhinged unsignified amid the desert of the Real. Where the ancient power of storytelling becomes a study, a dismantling for future purposes of strategic retaliation, for defenses against counterinsurgent stories (the true violence of the Signifier). Where journalists can continue false fictions by phonehacking and altering public narratives to external needs - the external shaping of the Self, thrown into the world and left to claw at a language that, trapping its user, eternally disappoints (tyrannic despot). And yet only playing to well established modern myths, the narratives well known, well loved and yet swamping, miring the modern alien. The real places where the neurological effect of folkloric tales and archetypal stories light up basic emotive receptors while national/global narratives of culture and politics (increasingly reductionist, binary and achromatic) play out like isolated voices, rife and easily deconstructed as the superpower of the institutionalised Word, the patriotic Word, the concrete monolith having forgotten its own shadow.

The senselessest babble, could we ken it, might disclose a dark message, or prayer.

Lurking out of all that wordy preamble and out of that forgotten shadow first comes the idea of the full splendour of the words with which we construct narratives, and the fullness (the Pleroma) of fully imagined language to colour experience. Arguably a ghost produced by the foaming misuse and subsequent dilution of language. Second, comes the anarchic drive to escape the dominion of a system in which value and power is externally designated. But how to escape narrative when the narrative drive is inherently human, however corrupted? When narrating one's Self is indistinguishable from the actualised Self in praxis, when the kairotic mode meets the stifling need to put into words, to eff the ineffable?

In the last couple of years I ended up hooked on the study of the apophatic mode, the various attempts to conceive the notion of Nothing into expressive art. A very rare achievement, the drive to narrative death often becomes the artistic focus itself -- from the concept of the divine, through the expression of what the divine is not, to ultimately the concept of fitting the divine into a system of negative expression that suffers the same flaws as the previously, negated, system. To paint the inexpressible Atman using an inherently undermining palette. An inevitable, spiteful cul-de-sac, that in times of artistic interregnum (and crises in representation, as after individual or cultural trauma) encourages fractured forms of surreal art with subjects often absent, often anxious in the wake of objects, prone to fracture and disappearance, weak from breaking out of language's long destructive hold. Whereas now, a disgraced culture junky, my shtick is trying to find examples, individual and collective responses of the apophatic mode when threatened by the aggressive, insane narration of culture, hegemony, Logos. You know about the Logos group?

And after wild drunken nights brainstorming, busting guts trying to find impossible examples of unmediated narrative in seas of corrupted temporalities, of opting out of narrative like Barthes hinted at, and imagining a high, noiseless system of referentiality that isn't as readily criticised as addled hallucination bereft of substance, the logical correction is to imagine a modern alien talking themselves into oblivion, like the recitation of the ninety-nine names of God ad absurdum, something with that impact of finding Finnegan's Wake for the first time -- that apex of all displaced or indirect mythology that culminates in the project of all human art, divinely human yet autonomic, self-fertilized -- to be mobilized and usurp modern myth-making miasmic misanthropic modes.

This weapon of the Logos group, to redirect the violence of the long parasitic, warped word, in a mode of lalia or simply a confusion of tongues that might herald apocalypse or evolutionary uplift, would complete the erstwhile project of unravelling the eternal utterance of existence. Breaking the spell, perhaps the only solution left to the babbling magicians among modern aliens in the battle to disrupt initially theirselves as valiant ensigns in the desert, is to further confuse a confusing system riddled with Master Narratives and the violence implicit within? A schizoid verbal enfilade, a massacre of monikers, the return of the Ouroboric feedback loop of cerebral activity where the pure consciousness event bites the tail of tongues babbling senseless? And thinking it through, it seems more likely that this is the most powerful form of retaliation after all - breaking the received idea of all modes of communication in culture, by disrupting the roles, or the message, or the media. All lie open to hijacking.

In the beginning was the word the beginning was in the word the was in the beginning word the word was in the beginning beginning the was the in word word was in the beginning

Think the hacks and collective facelessness of Anonymous and Lulzsec. 404 Attacks. Think hack your mind. Think RAW. Think the increasingly difficult struggles to narrativize in the wake of massive upheavals and widespread, instantaneous and flagrant social mobilization. Think the tactics employed of creating an explosion of misinformation to hide a client's online profile. Think the instances where mythos overtakes the mortal, where the individual legendary celebrity overtakes the mere flesh and bone and extends eternally, bubbling in a convolution of myths and possible manifestations. Reread, tear up and rewrite the postmodernism, poststructuralism, post-Lacanian post-Derridean, post-Hitchcockian Pynchonian postal services, and ancient yet retroactive colonial legends and creation myths and forged histories and all the anarchic confounders of identity you can find, and find therein Mind cleaved from overarching systems and left to bleed into others in the hyperreal, not to perish but to Purusha. Take that babbling magician's advice and splice the words together, splice the senses, fishbowl and hoard into an anarchic melange of vapid evacuated meaning. This is the anxiety of the displaced subject so precious to hackneyed postmodernism, this is the impetus for Brechtian involved art where the audience directs, spliced identity of I plural, and be alert for the subterfuge of the shadow of the words within. Words and cultural myths betray, and the simpler they seem, the more threatening their stranglehold on unadulterated Mind, if such a thing there can ever be in language. No footnotes, no references.


The word may once have been a healthy neural cell. Is is now a parasitic organism that invades and damages the central nervous system. Modern man has lost the option of silence. Try halting your sub-vocal speech. Try to achieve even ten seconds of inner silence. You will encounter a resisting organism that forces you to talk. That organism is the word.

Nonsense, I'll mutter to the end, one word after another, string the rascals out, mad or not, heard or not, my last words will be my last words

He tried to rally his thoughts and form them in unassailable squares, but not a line would hold, they broke ahead of any shooting, and the Logos wandered disloyally off, alone, rudely hiccoughing and chewing on pieces of raw potato, looking surly and dangerous. 

No book but Nature is the word of God... Logos. No ghost. Screech. Hisssst.

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