Thursday, November 15, 2018


The phrases "at risk" and "hard to reach" are not usually applied to the President of the United States, but he certainly qualifies for both, though I think he only feels "at risk" (although he has a hard time staying in touch with reality) and thinks he's entirely too easy to reach.  I mean, I wonder if he is afraid of being in the WWI cemetery because of rain (fear of unmanageable umbrellas) or because he knows that the big overcoat he loves makes him an excellent target in a field full of dead marksmen.  I wonder if he wears a teflon vest.  After all, he is no longer useful to the people who had hoped he could still control the nation.  Now he's just ridiculous.  No longer an asset -- only a liability.

Since this criminal sibling-hood. this mafia, has gotten into our government far enough to pretend that a criminal who looks and acts like Lex Luthor can in any way run the Justice Department of the United States, it's clear that the Rule of Law is simply not enough to keep order.  I was fascinated by the clip of a grinning Rosenstein saying that he thought appointment of Mathew Whitaker was "superb" -- a masterpiece bit of sarcasm.  Those who have lost track of reality will think it's an endorsement.  It appears that irony is not dead yet, even in Washington DC.

In order to have irony, one must remain in touch with reality but our problem is that reality has been lost.  We thought "modernism," a subset of the Enlightenment that gave us science, rationality, and the industrial revolution, was the realest of realities.  But (ironically) these are the source of the unavoidable newest conclusion that reality is multiple.  There is no realer-than-real Platonic reality somewhere.  It's all shadows and constructs.

This quote from the anthology website is relevant:

"If modernism, which flourished in the early 20th century, was animated by a belief in reason, science, and universal truths, postmodernists offered a powerful counterargument: Everything was relative. The grand master narratives were simply myths. Truth was in the eye of the beholder.

"Postmodernism turned out to be as depressing as it was persuasive, bringing on an epidemic of irony, self-consciousness, and passivity for which metamodernism proposes a cure. While it acknowledges that there is no objective truth, it nonetheless chooses to highlight the power of the stories, or “metanarratives,” that we tell about the world. And rather than getting hung up on longstanding dualities — cynicism versus optimism, reality versus fantasy, irony versus sincerity — it dances between the poles instead.

"It’s a heady concept, but those who stumble on it often begin to see examples of metamodernism throughout the culture. It certainly helps explain how Abramson managed to identify the tectonic significance of Donald Trump’s presidential bid when nearly everyone else in the media was laughing it off."

In a sense Trump is innocent -- the idea of any reality other that his own is literally inconceivable to him.  There is himself and his frame that exist -- everything else is shadows, stage-dressing.  Mitch McConnell is NOT innocent.  He accepts that there are many realities and fully intends to take control and make it what he wants it to be.  Both of them pay no attention to worlds that are not their own -- or the hundred or so people they know -- or to worlds that are not human.  

This is one of the major realizations of the post-enlightenment world, that humans of any kind are not the central axis of existence.  At most they are a bit of a hiccup, some collateral events -- sometimes pretty damaging -- that can distort the greater existence of deep time and unlimited space.  That's quite apart from speculation about what would have happened if H.G. Wells' time travelers had not stepped on that bug that was key to evolution.

Far from excusing us from any moral responsibility for what happens, since it might only matter to a subset of people, this idea of ultimate connectedness means that we are all responsible for everything that happens -- living or dead.  In fact, it is the dead who are the most susceptible to alternate understandings, esp the ones so far in the past that we only have molecular traces from one digit from one little girl who died young that convinces us that hominins have always been various and will either die out or evolve.  

Meta-reality, which we used to think was real, is cosmic.  That means that you're not getting anything like the Big Picture through your pinhole of sensory apparatus.  Nor do we have any other access.

In fact, the cherished instrument that is the human mind is not only limited, but in large part uncontrollable.  Humans now are putting a lot of energy into trying to understand and even control the subconscious -- the great body of "thought" that governs us and runs our bodies.  As little of it is conscious as the bit of genome that is devoted to our individuality as opposed to standard issue human bodies of whatever heritage.

As an American group, we are in pain, we prefer to be numb, we are suicidal -- so much for survival.  But there are two kinds of survival: the persistence of the whole "world" embodied and inhabited around us, and our sometimes endangered survival as individuals who last less than a century.  Writing has had a huge impact on this tightrope/tug o'war.  Now the cyber-revolution makes writing and imagery even more powerful.

Clever experiments have proven that what we see is almost always what we expect and what we expect is almost always what we've already experienced.  Therefore, the unknowable future often depends upon what is outside our consciousness, only felt in dreams and sometimes not even then.  Time comes upon us with surprise, which we don't always appreciate and sometimes try to turn back into the past, the knowable, comfortable state of things that we understand how to survive.  We made it this far, didn't we?
Only barely.

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