Thursday, March 07, 2013

Human Demonology: Occupy Daath, or The Missing Protagonist

Satan Inc.

We may have reached a point where no choice or action can lead anywhere but mayhem, genocide and ecological apocalypse.

Why not buy from a big-box, low-rent retailer and fund human trafficking and forced labor? To get billions from point A to point B without resorting to walking or biking requires accepting environmental devastation, endless war and propping up dictatorial regimes. Mountains of Appalachia are leveled to provide the energy I'm using to power the laptop on which I write this. You are able to get online and read this because legal and moral crimes were committed. At the same time, behind all these things that make the way we live possible are the best efforts and innovations of millions of good people who do much to make life on earth better. Everyone drinks deeply from the same pool of atrocities. The picture all this makes varies with every map drawn of the territory. What the individual sees of their own self depends on which map they locate the “you are here” point. There is no master patter that can be laid over the landscape that can capture every aspect of the territory.

Bottom line, it is all myth in both the pejorative and philosophical sense.

Oftentimes, when trying to uncover the mythological underpinnings of our culture, the emphasis is on narrative and where character comes in. Attention can often concern itself on the question of from what protagonists and villains are made and how to make the greatest number identify with the one intended to represent the desirable behavior and thoughts. Entertainment "news", which has adapted so well to the web holds up the people in the creative industries behind whom the most cash has been spent. Reality shows and talent competitions perpetuate that hoary old Hollywood trope of the person in the street being discovered and plucked from obscurity. Cop shows with their tortured and earnest protagonists, the characters sketched out in most detail. The criminals get the most compelling and dramatic interactions with the intrepid heroes. The officials from higher up the law enforcement may be foils to "lone wolf" officers a la Dirty Harry, or the entire system could be represented as an occasionally squabbling, but unified family united against the criminals and the press, as in the original Law & Order and its myriad spinoffs. Generally, the victims, who represent neither law breakers nor law enforcement are props to kick off the plot so the real drama can proceed. This last group is where we find most of the population, helpless, at the mercy to the fates but for the authorities and their weapons and surveillance capabilities.

...the Cop Show has only three characters--victim, criminal, and policeperson--but the first two fail to be fully human--only the pig is real. Oddly enough, human society in the eighties (as seen in the other media) sometimes appeared to consist of the same three cliche/archetypes. First the victims, the whining minorities bitching about "rights"--and who pray tell did not belong to a "minority" in the eighties? Shit, even cops complained about their "rights" being abused. Then the criminals: largely non-white (despite the obligatory & hallucinatory "integration" of the media), largely poor (or else obscenely rich, hence even more alien), largely perverse (i.e. the forbidden mirrors of "our" desires). - Hakim Bey – Boycott Cop Culture 
Could we draw similar implications from the view of the US/Corporate empire being seen as the world's police force? We all know the villain of this piece. According to the New Yorker's Steve Coll, Al Qaeda barely exists as an organization, but lives on in name across the third world, especially where natural resources are to be found.
What’s in a name? Of the several wars that Obama inherited, the war against Al Qaeda is the only one that he has not promised to end. The conflict presents a problem of definition: as long as there are bands of violent Islamic radicals anywhere in the world who find it attractive to call themselves Al Qaeda, a formal state of war may exist between Al Qaeda and America. The Hundred Years War could seem a brief skirmish in comparison. - Steve Coll – New Yorker
It's a battle of the brands! We know all about that in this country. Coke vs. Pepsi, McDonald's vs' Burger King. Yes, it tends to be variations on Industrial Waste vs. Toxic Sludge. Food, culture products, politics, jobs, whether those without jobs should be starved or jailed. All the world a mine field and those who protect and serve as the thin blue lines around the mine-free zones in which the alien privileged live. As long as the narrative that props up the current state of never-ending, globe-spanning war retains its power to hold its audience. There will never be a chance of anything but expansion into new territories and applications, including domestic surveillance innovations. Perhaps the American Empire brings the Cop Culture set of characters to world politics.

If we accept this and that this analogy can be drawn, in this scenario, not only are the vast majority of humans relegated to being voiceless extras in their own world, but brands take a more active role in the narrative net laid over the chaos. Corporations are legally people, entities with a being. In a singularity of marketing saturation, brands achieve the appearance of sentience and the cop/military/security corporation mediates and intervenes in attempts at breaking its spell. The major characters are the landmarks and monuments towering above the landscape and humanity is the featureless ground to be traversed in between the notable features.

The occupy movement set forth one group as villainous and everyone else, is the all too oft-mentioned 99%. The Ninety-Nine Percent, that means me, you and the people slogging through the raw data spewed forth from Echelon or whatever big brother system is in use right now. This places the great mass of humanity, in the role of the extras running from the footfalls of Godzilla, the faceless crowds running and trampling each other as the cops run in. In this role, the world is out of our hands, life is done to us. We are the humanoid shadows in the background. Not the most empowering of roles...

Seeing through the eyes of myth can bring focus and it can make the false seem real. It can help is read between the lies to see the truth and it can make it easier to deceive us. It can inform effective action and it can make an already crushing sense of despair unendurable. Knowing from whence they come and where a set of myth and belief logically lead in action can help avoid terrible associations and consequences. It can inspire positive action and it can annihilate the momentum of the best of efforts.

Once one has acquired the ability to see the fnords, then what? What do those on the "other" side of this story tell themselves and what can we learn about ourselves from it?

[Where is the fucking counterculture? Mythos Media.]

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