In Contempt

(The Roberts Court: Dissent of a Cancerous Finale to America)

 

Handed down to us through the ages has been the warnings of our prophets. That one day our judges will be so contemptible in their corruption and greed that they too will clearly signal that the end must be near.  

This is where we find ourselves today, my fellow Americans.

How did we get here?

There is likely no better place to start this cursory review of the Roberts Court’s contempt than the election that ended up bringing John Roberts to the Supreme Court as Chief Justice.

In the contested 2000 US presidential election, the US Supreme Court took upon itself the role of political fixer. Not surprisingly, the ruling was in favor of the Republican George Bush. This same Bush – elected to an undisputed second term – would go on to appoint two more members of the highest court: Roberts and Samuel Alito.

Let us not forget that this decision came from a “Federalist” arm of our judicial system, and yet the decision struck directly against the right of Florida to handle the recounting of the ballots cast within its borders. This is a very simple view of the court’s decision, yet it is striking.    

The precedent this court wished to establish certainly wasn’t something we might label anti-state’s rights by any measure. The real precedent, it seems, was for a court as a sort of “democratic mediator” between our two-party political system.

It doesn’t take an attorney to figure out more was being compromised here than state’s rights.  

Rightly, this should be seen as a turning point in the highest court of the land. 

We came to learn through the next several years that this Court was to take a very active role in overturning legislation made by both states and the federal government.  

This is rightly been called an activist bench with a decidedly political bent. This is exactly what those who have appointed Thomas, Alito, Roberts, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett have expected from these justices. They should not be disappointed as they are getting exactly what they have implanted into our judicial system.

Yet as American citizens, and thereby the last line of defense against authoritarianism, we must see things differently.

Be it a disease or a poison, the corruption that pumps through this formerly august body is ultimately, in the end, lethal. Judicial objectivity is simply lost in the court’s politization. The courts very purpose hasn’t simply been compromised, it has been hijacked for the purposes of advancing a political agenda.

The court, very apparently, would no longer be a mediating valve between our executive and legislative branches, but would hike up its robes to wallow into this muck itself.    

This was and is the morbidity of a system put in place to ensure checks and balances of power. What the founders of our country wished to secure was the power of democracy and of the “people”. The Roberts court has had other ideas.

Instead of protecting the constitution, we see a court destined to pour the acid of corruption through a system already diseased by the forces of capital. The end result would be exactly what America’s founders wished to avoid – outright tyranny.

Faced with the novelty of our advanced technology, the Roberts court has followed a trajectory of dismantling the critical rights protecting us from unreasonable search and seizure (for Constitution fans, this is known as the Fourth Amendment). First, there came the automobile and today we have smart technologies and facial recognition.

Nowhere do we see the courts actually protecting these freedoms. Indeed, faced with the novelties of our postmodern technological reality, they have systematically dismantled these critical freedoms and enabled a panoply of injustices to spread throughout law enforcement and the judicial system.  

These various blows to American freedom seemed to have culminated with the Roberts Court’s refusal in 2008 to hear ACLU v NSA and that would have ruled on the constitutionality of the NSAs unwarranted wiretapping of US citizens.

This must be seen, in the light of day at any rate, as the ultimate expression of legal precedence in direct opposition of the spirit of the fourth amendment. This was a stunning unconstitutional deathblow to an already battered fourth amendment.

One can only deduce that the Supreme Court either fails to recognize the central importance of these protections to a free society or they simply lack the will to protect these rights.

Personally, I suspect the latter. These judges aren’t idiots even if their rulings smack of populist dribble and the distinctive stench of Mammon.

It gets worse. The civil rights movement of the late 1950s and early 1960s culminated with the 1964 Voting Rights Act. In its 2013 ruling of Shelby County vs Holder, the court eviscerated these protections. As that venerable paragon of judicial excellence Ruth Bader Ginsburg famously stated, “throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.”

Today we can see the results of this failure to protect our democracy. Now there are unusually aggressive forms of voter suppression. Even worse, we have the outright subversion of democracy in states led by those wishing to push for an authoritarian and anti-democratic agenda.

Are there any realistic hopes that a Supreme Court created to protect our state from these anti-democratic machinations will actually put a halt to this insidiousness?   

It is likely that no ruling the Roberts court has made is more egregious to our constitution than the landmark Citizens United v FEC ruling of 2010. Finally, it seems, this court reached a conclusion. What we once called the American Republic was to quietly devolve into an oligarchy or more specifically something called a plutocracy – rule by the wealthy.

It is important to note though, that this decision didn’t emerge from a vacuum, but could only have been reached after a fairly thorough erosion of the judicial body. This was a corruption that mirrored the disease coursing within our legislative branch with our lawgivers steeped in the power and influence of money – most specifically corporate wealth.

In a real sense, our government has been taken over by a stateless phenomenon we call corporate power.

With Citizens United, the court has equated money with speech. In so doing, “We the People” has been displaced by “We the Money”.

Justice Stevens’ eloquent dissent included the lines, “A democracy cannot function effectively when its constituent members believe laws are being bought and sold.”

Well…yeah!

The sanctity of our Republic is in the hands of the very ones who are enriched by the monetization of our political system – our elected officials. It is up to them to do something like pass a constitutional amendment. Yet, one must ask, why would they wish to protect our democratic institutions from their own greed and avarice?

The answers are like what has been revealed in the numerous examples of how our capitalist institutions pursue profits and wealth over any other consideration. Most recently, this is the Facebook whistleblower who pointed out that the executives of this powerful monopoly (allowed to thrive with this phantasm called our post-Reagan antitrust law enforcement) are neither malevolent nor evil. Yet, they knowingly perpetuated heinous evil destined to destroy our democratic foundations in the singular pursuit of profits and wealth.

We should know by now that money corrupts. It has corrupted our legislators. It has corrupted our business leaders. It has corrupted our judges and, yes, it has corrupted American democracy. Something legendary and of some former strength, particularly in its idealism, but mainly a ghostly myth today.  

America will remain a bastion of capitalism and a center of wealth in an increasingly impoverished world. At what cost, you might ask? The answer is simple: your freedom.

In large part, we can thank the Roberts Court for this.

As they say…”stay tuned”.

FOOLS! STOP THE ANTICHRIST!

The sitting president, the 45th, is about to further entrench his power. Screw your democracy. 

There is a mystical tradition that asserts that one should not pronounce aloud the names of demons. To do so evokes and enhances their power. Anyone who has been paying attention of late will recognize the truth of this statement.

Our news, formerly our “press”, has become a form of corporate approved entertainment. Something we now call the “media”, and some might even go so far as to call the media circus.

Global pandemic? Send in the clowns. You get the idea…? 

Our ringleader, the one lathering up the crowd with his megaphone and snappy whip, we will only call “He Who Shall Not Be Named”. Just like we would refer to any seriously threatening demon or other hell-spawn. 

There’s more, of course. Another mystical narrative thread concerns itself with human history. This story asserts that this world has been created and is maintained by the hands of mankind serving the Devil. From this, we get the story of the fall from the garden God provided us, and the crucifixion of our Messiah Christ the Apocalyptic.  

In this worldview, the real power over humanity and its institutions has been human prideful sin propped up by systemic deception. Power is wielded by the rule of the few – the wealthy and powerful elite. Distortions serve to maintain this hegemony.

This is the Beast.

Today, the scales that have kept us blind to the truth are starting to fall away. We are getting “woke”. This is what happens when a new voice starts whispering into our ears telling each of us that we must somehow transform or face human extinction.

We recognize this as truth.

Now we are beginning to see that throughout human history, the powerful have taken from the weak using coercion and violence to possess what they want and to enslave to rest of us.

This is clarified through an American history lesson that has never been taught in our high schools. Rich and powerful white Europeans pushed poor white Europeans westward with this notion they brought with them and that they called “Manifest Destiny”. Here, native people or “savages” could be “Christianized” and “Civilized” – anyway those who could manage to avoid dying from the horrible scourge of imported disease, and from the bullets and violence of these white genocidal settlers. Lands stained red with blood could be taken over and over in this way and populated by black slaves kidnapped and transported here to make these lands productive and further enrich the powerful elite – the masters of the violent, white-supremacist patriarchy we all now call home.

Today we can see the results of all this “Civilizing” behavior with the planet on the verge of a collapse that entails the threat of a mass extinction that may well include the human species. It is becoming more and more apparent that these “stewards” of our land, the rich and powerful, have failed and failed to a degree unsurpassed in all of recorded human history.

The Apocalypse? Well, what else do you call it when we are at a point in history that clearly states that this world must dramatically transform – more precisely die out so that a new “earth” can reform –  or we will all become extinct?

Is it any surprise we have the antichrist on the verge of enhancing his already awesome power? Four more years…why not make it a lifetime? We can all hitch a ride on this mass murder-suicide spree. What could be more satisfying than that?

For many mystics, God provides what is needed. This is why we always end up praying for His Will. Only He knows what we truly need after all. Yet we must “Trust in Allah, but tie up your camel”.

Haven’t we had enough or do we need more suffering? How much longer do we have to live trapped in these lies…in this death?

I guess, for me, it’s easy to give up on America. Since becoming a man, I’ve never said your pledge or any pledge for that matter. In my better moments, my allegiance is with God, not some insufficient surrogate.

There are ideals that I refuse to give up on though. Ideals like “We the People”, equality, justice for all and the pursuit of happiness…the inherit equality of all humanity…the rejection of despotism and the rule of the few…the rejection of religious, ethnic, cultural or racial purity…ideals like that.  

The first Bush president declared a “New World Order” with the fall of the Soviet Union and indeed, America had reached the ascendancy of world dominance – politically, economically and culturally. In the good ‘ole USA, the balance of power has steadily been tipped in the favor of the executive branch and no elected president has worked to reverse this course. Not in my lifetime anyway.

When the 45th president, He Who Shall Not Be Named, took office with about 3 million votes short of a majority, he became the most powerful man in human history. Ever. Once it was established that his sycophants and enablers would remove any means of accountability, looking the other way as he was caught with his teeny little orange hand in the cookie jar, his power only swelled breaking this jar beyond repair.  

Today, they are murdering us. They are encouraging the killers riding around in pickup trucks waving the flag of the shadow “stars ‘n bars” nation and using the pandemic to “thin the herd”. They are experimenting on us, strengthening the fetters that bound us, and squelching any sense of potency we have managed to muster in this moment.  

These truths we still refuse to see. They are too stark and real to properly digest, like a murder scene or the horrors of war – too surreal and unreal to possibly be real.   

This is the time of the power of the Beast. Sure, it is a necessary step in the Apocalypse.

And yeah, the Apocalypse is something believers wish for. Why? Because this is the Devil’s world. We now can see the end of this path our leaders and “experts” have brought us to and it is annihilation pure and simple. It is what lays beyond this suffering that we sinners actually wish and pray for. It is God’s promise for a more just, equitable and peaceful earth that is ruled by Christ and not this devil.

I couldn’t be more serious either folks. It’s up to us.  

Finally, I have one more proposal for your consideration. This we can call the “Birther Mark” theory. I claim that this antichrist, this 45th POTUS, has the mark of the beast on his fat white ass. That’s right, his “birthmark” is the 666 of the beast, and is clearly visible on his ugly derriere when exposed. If he wants, he can drop trou’ and prove me wrong, but until then I insist he’s got the “Birther Mark” of the Beast. Prove me wrong bro.

What further proof do you need? So, let’s stop this atrocity so we can move onto the real and pressing business of the day – saving the planet and realizing a better earth for all. It is up to us.     

 

 

Marking 75 Years of Post-Modernity

The end is near.

The end of this world is coming soon.

Is this ending the harbinger of a new, more just and equitable emancipation of humanity or simply the end?

American and, indeed, world leadership has brought us to this point. Is that any surprise?

If you actually are surprised, you most likely need to go back and get schooled.

On August 6, 1945 (75 years ago) the United States dropped the atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Three days later, a second bomb exploded over Nagasaki.

This Reality, more than any other, made it evident that we had all officially entered into the post-modern era. Humanity now has the ability to extinguish all human life on the earth.

Post-modernity, more than anything else, asks what Truth is – if there is even such a thing. Foucault’s great insight was that this thing that we call Reality is really a manifestation of power.

Excepting for those who have truly managed to remain outside of our society – hermits, serial killers, itinerants and mendicants – Americans are all products of a violent, white-supremist patriarchy. Every one of us.

Our leaders are also products of this society. Indeed, it is our leaders and our experts who have worked so diligently to get us here and keep us here.

Human history is really about over 6000 years of the relationship between the few masters and the great masses that must be called slaves. Power follows wealth, but power is what is monolithic, not Reality. Remember Foucault.

To continue down this path of leadership and power, we must resign ourselves to the extinction of the human species.

Take a good, hard look at who or what it is that we are actually looking at here.

Let me help you…. 

This is Death.

With Death comes misery, injustice, poverty and unhinged nihilistic madness.

This then is a Reality that can not be dismissed for long. This Reality transcends this world and comes to us courtesy of powers both of this world and likely straight from the transcendent itself.  

Your leaders and your experts have brought you here. So why do you continue to ask them to appear on Meet the Press and Face the Nation? Why even tune in anymore?

It may be time to drop that LSD-25 into the reservoir. It certainly is a time for Legends and for Heroes. It’s time to stop the Empire, destroy the Death Star and take back our planet.

It is too late for reform. We’re running out of time. All we have is Revolution.

Let’s do a bit of a reassessment since we are so in need of a little Electroconvulsive Therapy. We need to change the way we think. Remember, all of us, everyone of us in this society, is a product of the violent, white supremist patriarchy.

We need to get in touch with our feelings. We need to experience the transcendent. We need to quit being such selfish bastards.

 

  • We have found ourselves staring into the abyss.

 

  • The leadership that has brought us here asks us to show a little faith. Just one more step now folks.

 

  • We are in need of new counsel.

 

  • Our systems and institutions have largely failed us.

 

  • Power has used language and deceitful language to maintain its power.

 

  • The powerful believe in serving themselves.

 

  • The powerful have served themselves through the accumulation of property and wealth.

 

  • The accumulation of this property and wealth has been extracted through violence, coercion and deception.

 

  • The powerful have demonstrated they are poor stewards of the earth. Recall where we find ourselves. Their crimes are among the most heinous in all of human history.

 

  • The powerful have lost all legitimacy…every scrap of it…that they might have once claimed.

 

  • Capitalism, like any conceivable consumption-based economic system, is not only a tool of the powerful, but directly responsible for the place we find ourselves in today.

 

  • Fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions are only part of the problem we are facing and must be viewed in the broader perspective of a Capitalist global economy.

 

  • This may warrant repeating: Capitalism is at the core of our problems and must be supplanted.

 

  • Demographics and population issues are not the cause of our problems, but the symptoms of global capitalism. Take note that 80% of the global population only accounts for 20% of climate-change activity and, of course, 20% of us account for fully 80% of this activity. Education and ready access to affordable health care (for women too!) results in flattened or even negative population growth.

 

  • Justice is a critical part of revolutionary change and entails more than simply human rights.

 

  • Animal agriculture as we see fueled by Capitalism must be eliminated for the survival of the species.

 

  • I’m not making this shit up.

 

  • Consumption and Conservation are opposing ideals. Cooperation and Competition are opposing ideals. Hubris and Humility are opposing ideals. Ignorance is the beginning of knowledge, but wisdom only thrives in the absence of folly. Wisdom is not intelligence and intelligence doesn’t directly correlate with wisdom.  

 

  • The conservative trajectory to reclaim some lost innocence of the past is a deception. The past has directly led us to the present and has never lived up to its romantic billing. This world is a world of corruption, greed, injustice, poverty, assault, violence, racism, sexism, oppression, repression, persecution, manipulation, exploitation, starvation, abuse, war, theft, gluttony…and this has been true throughout recorded human history.

 

  • The progressive trajectory may be flawed, experimental and risky, but it is our only opportunity.

 

  • You personally have a responsibility and must personally accept and act upon this responsibility.

 

  • Coercive violence is a tool of the State and of the oppressors. The powerful have worked for over 6000 years to consolidate this authority. We must abandon any plans to meet this violence in kind.

 

  • This is, as Naomi Klein called it, the Security Age. This is one segment of the Information Age and taking place within the context of the Post-Modern Era. Expect the powerful to reach into their bag of tricks. For them, this is about their survival.

 

  • The survival and success of the powerful will result in the extermination of the human (and many other) species on this planet.

 

  • We must foment a non-violent Revolution to bring about an end to the violent, white supremist patriarchal hegemony. We can not rely on our past leadership, or experts, or much of our own previous experience. We must think and act like revolutionaries.

 

  • Conservatism is not innovative, but relies on proven strategies such as “divide and conquer”, “public relations” and fear.

 

  • Progress is innovative and relies on creative approaches to unlock justice and equality.

 

  • The current system of power is hierarchical and works to retain the master-slave dichotomy.

 

  • Progressive systems of power are flat and non-hierarchical nurturing real human freedom and seek an ecological and economic balance.

 

  • The primary mechanism of power is no longer the State, but is a stateless international Corporatism.

 

  • One of the Capitalistic myths is that Capitalism is a political system. It is not. Capitalism is an economic system.

 

  • Democracy is not Capitalism, but it is a political system and not an economic system.

 

  • Another Capitalistic myth propagated in our neoliberal times of “voodoo economics” is that Capitalism is a production-based system. It is not. Capitalism is based on the market. Put simply, it relies on consumption and a market of consumer-workers whose activity propagates the inflationary spiral.  

 

  • We have the power of the market, but only in solidarity. While labor strikes place pressure on production, boycotts have the power over the market itself.

 

  • Bringing the market to its knees will bring about change. The Corporate model has no response to this.

 

  • The powerful have long ago realized they can not maintain their grasp on Reality through democratic politics and still maintain exploitive and deregulated Capitalism, they must transform their inverted totalitarianism (or soft fascism if you will) into bootjack fascism and outright authoritarianism. With the deregulated, neoliberal bifurcation of the economy, your schooling to date has led to this impasse.

 

  • In the U.S., the 1% elites utilize the dwindling 20% class to convince the rest of us that in a system that creates Princesses and Paupers that we too can exploit social and economic mobility and become one of the Princesses. This dynamic is changing as we become schooled on what is happening around us – something referred to as Reality.

 

  • There are three sorts of deniers, but the results of all three are identical – denial of the Reality that has been made manifest by the Powerful. The globe is undergoing extreme climatic change brought to you courtesy of the world we have all helped to construct and maintained under the leadership of the powerful elite. There are those who outright deny human-derived climate change – most of these hold at least some modicum of the truth of the matter, but are hypocrites and liars (call these the devious elites and their foolish and unknowing stooges). There are those who believe we are past the point of no-return, so they deny we can do anything about this issue. This is denial and is often the denial of the liberal elite. Finally, there is the comfortable ignorance found in burying one’s head in the sand. To overthrow the hegemony of power and Death the deniers must be booed off the stage along with their experts and cohorts. We must face Death and Extinction with open eyes and open hearts to have any chance to thwart this catastrophe.

 

  • Denialism is doomed and its proponents pariahs. Like the skeletal remains at the end of the Dracula creature feature, they and their ideas are rapidly becoming nothing but dust in the wind. We could accept the alternative and accept that we are all dust in the wind, but I would argue we will then find our place sitting side by side with the evil Count himself and his ilk – Hitler, Mussolini, the Son of Sam, Damien Thorn and Devin Patrick Kelley. In a real sense, we’re even worse if anything. Hitler was “only” responsible for several million deaths and not the extinction of the entire human species. This is a moral issue even if you have led a life of denying morality of any kind.

 

  • Expect some serious bad-craziness everywhere. It’s desperation time now. The status quo, the powerful, the elites have brought us to the brink. Now the game is up so expect a hail Mary Flea Flicker called on the audible.

 

  • We must transform and this starts with each and every one of us. We are all products of the violent, white supremist patriarchy. Our leaders, our experts, our gods are false prophets who have led us to the brink of the abyss. During this pandemic, please take a look down this hole. Yes, that’s Death looking you in the face. There is no way out. To embrace Death, you will only find yourself back in this Hell we’ve fashioned from our fallen and fractured selves. It is too late to reform our broken democracy or resurrect our lost cause to join with the landed elite. We must tear down these walls to find a simpler way of life that is in touch with the earth and with all of our brothers and sisters. This is a call for sacrifice, but the alternative is to become the sacrificial lamb of the deranged and powerful who would lead us off the cliff and into the abyss where they already anticipate our thralldom and are burning in misery and in shame.

So, let’s get off our collective asses. It’s time to act and act together. We have a real common cause and this simply must be the unifying issue that it is. This is political, but it’s a human issue and not a matter of conventional politics. This is a moral imperative and while it is like so many of the moral choices we must each individually make every day, it also has earth-shaking significance. It is the time of Legends and of Heroes. It is the time when “every-man” and “every-woman” must rise to the heroic. Which side will you be on? So, either get out of our way or join the march. We’re going to bring these walls down and find a more humble and humanitarian life before its too late. Too late for us and too late for our children. What will your legacy be? How are you to lead the rest of your life?

Empirical Evidence and Probability from the Fine-Tuned Universe

An obviously intriguing series of discoveries by scientists informs us that the universe is apparently “fine-tuned” for carbon-based intelligent life. If one imagines certain physical laws as dials on a machine, a great many of these are set within a very narrow parameter that is conducive to carbon-based intelligent life.

Evidently gravitational force and electromagnetic force are each examples of these ideal settings. If the settings would be much different, we wouldn’t be considering these questions as there would be no intelligent life, or any other life, in the universe.

The most obvious explanation for this, of course, is that some “intelligent designer” has somehow “set” the dials so that intelligent life could evolve in our universe.

We should be mindful, of course, that while arguments such as these are highly problematic when discussing regional observations such as the “Goldilocks” principle of Earth within our solar system, they are quit compelling when one finds the entire universe and its physical laws are within a very narrow “Goldilocks” setting.

To explain this phenomenon, many scientists have fallen back upon the idea of the “multiverse” or that there are such a vast amount of universes with enough variation of physical properties and laws that our universe was, for lack of a better word, randomly brought into existence without the guidance of some intelligent designer. This extends the “Goldilocks” principle to the entire universe since there are so many other universes in existence.  

It seems that this model of the multiverse typically involves an “infinite number” of universes that are spawned through the notion of “eternal inflation” or that universes are spawned “indefinitely” like fractals each with its own “big bang event”. Dr. Stephen Hawking with Thomas Hertog writing in “A Smooth Exit From Eternal Inflation” published shortly after Hawking’s death, put forth a major reworking of this argument with a finite or limited number of “smooth” universes each with characteristics very similar to our own universe.

In some sense they indirectly addressed the illogical basis of ideas like an “infinite number” and “eternal inflation”, but may have compromised the entire argument for the probability of a universe like our own coming into existence without the guiding hand of an intelligent designer.

Probability seems to be critical in interpreting the empirical evidence. Reputedly, Hawking’s collaborator Roger Penrose, calculated the odds that our universe could coincidently contain all the right conditions with a minimum entropy at its first moments. The odds are unsurprisingly more than any longshot one might want to place a bet on – not impossible, but as close as one could imagine to impossible.

So while it is possible that there are so many universes with what, one would think, include such a variety of physical properties, that this universe could coincidently come into existence, it requires quit a statistical feat for this to be considered even remotely probable. One might imagine an astronaut in a spacecraft tossing a golf ball from outer space and having it land in the cup of the 17th hole of Pebble Beach.

It’s important to consider that the multiverse theory, even without such logical nonsense as an “infinite number” of universes and the accompanying “eternal inflation” of these universes, is purely theoretical. It is almost certain that we will never have direct evidence of these “parallel universes” since they are almost certainly outside the realm of our perceptive powers. They are completely different universes with different physical laws that are explicitly described as outside of our universe and by inference outside of our observational powers.

So this theory for many universes must rely on what empirical evidence this one universe might provide along with a good dose of rational thinking. Once we consider the logical contradiction of such ideas as “infinite finitude” or an “infinite number” of anything and the corresponding idea of “eternal inflation”, it becomes even more difficult to draw the same conclusions as the proponents of these notions.  

On the other end of this is the potential to argue that only one arbitrary universe is enough to create the ideal physics for carbon-based intelligent life to evolve. This argument, it would seem, insists this sort of amazing coincidence is possible if unlikely, but because it is possible and we can make these observations about a fine-tuned universe, then it is possible. Alright then, we would have something that is highly coincidental and arbitrary with this single universe that we can actually make observations about with this argument.

I’m a philosopher and not a scientist. For me, the most obvious and simple path most often leads to the truth. We’re like detectives seeking the answers to a mystery. We don’t believe in coincidence or take the long-shot odds. The most obvious explanation is often time not only the simplest, but also the truth. The fine-tuned universe is what it appears to be…fine-tuned.  

Science still needs philosophy. It needs context and this is what philosophy can provide. Science alone can lead to answers, but without philosophy, science doesn’t have those answers. They’re not mathematical (see NaN) as they draw upon indicators for unarithmetical values.

The Big Bang is just what it appears to be – the genesis of the material universe as we know it through observation and through the physical laws that govern the universe. This all came into being and is headed for entropy. It is as it appears to be and not some more complex operation.

Being at Pride was a planned disaster that found redemption in the variety and the humanity and the beautiful love of the people all around that San Francisco June bay day.

During the first Bush presidency and the anti-war protests in downtown LA, along with us less seasoned animal activists, militant gays were the experienced cornerstone of the demonstrations. Other marchers sporting arm bands were most likely a sort of legitimate illegitimacy and probably Marxists, anarchists and other revolutionaries who tried to have a hand in organization and security.

Gay people – queer, and today most especially trans people – are the most persecuted “Others” in our society. Certainly, one must interject and point out that this is a racist patriarchy made and maintained through the counsels of the father of lies, but the LGBTQ – coming from any walk of life – continue to be systemically persecuted, not only by our society and it’s cultural distortions, but also literally through our legal system which has been supposedly designed to protect the freedoms of the deviant along with the conformist, but instead serves to separate and oppress a segment of society simply due to who they are and how they decide to live. This is becoming somewhat less true of late (in often apparently meaningless and arbitrary ways), but not for trans and other gender-fluid people.

Possibly, this is not my place to speak of – kind of like being a man and trying to control the reproductive practices of any woman on earth – how ludicrous is that? Yet like females with all their flaws, I love imperfect men too. It’s the perfect ones that make themselves more difficult to love. How can one love someone so dearly and not speak up in their defense?  

Maybe Pride is just becoming mainstream, you know… more “straight”, what else…?

I am a child of the David Bowie generation. To support gays and gay-rights, you don’t need to go gay. To be a true feminist, one doesn’t need to be a woman. In a sense, we recognize the importance of identity but we must always recognize how critical our unity is.

Remember they’re the ones that want us to look to one another, and we most certainly become their fools when we do so.  

Gays receive few rights. If you are a black trans-woman, well you virtually have none.

What is among the greatest obstacle to justice in this case? – religious hypocrisy. Pride. Arrogance. Self-righteousness. You must rely on Satan the lord of this world and his lies. This is also their power which is a power to further divide us and to better control us.  

These are the children of God that you separate yourselves from.

Where is your authority to condemn this specific form of sexuality while upholding others as forms of carnal perfection before the eyes of God? Your dead word…your scriptures…? They speak of sodomy and fornication, certainly, but look in the mirror before you condemn the sins of others. To the ancients, sodomy and fornication were the same. As a bride of Christ, one is necessarily chaste, or you are tragically misunderstanding the living word of God.   

Our society is a society built of competition and for competition. This is a society that persecutes and condemns. The institutions of the spirit emphasize this with the doctrine of salvation and of damnation. This doctrine states that God made us and placed us in this world and placed us beyond His redemption. This is a faulty doctrine.

This is the spiritual path you have been given, but it was not the path that Christ spoke about. No, this Christianity isn’t a sect made up of poor slaves seeking enlightenment and liberty, but a religion of powerful slaveholders seeking to strengthen their grasp over us all and the world that they helped build.

Things were different this past Saturday in the city. There weren’t any heroes. Either that or we all have become heroes for the day. All that I saw were flawed beings. I saw weakness and something all too very human. Every single one of us – including the naked guy my kids saw, the guy who stomped on invisible gremlins, and the gal yelling at her own reflection in the BART train – every one of us is a child of God. None of us are better or less valuable to our Father for He knows and He has told us that the first shall be last and the last shall be first. Who are you to say any different? Oh yeah, I got that. You too are a child of God. Welcome back….

Put away your pride for a moment. This isn’t really a competition. That is another one of those lies. Why do you still listen to the serpent? Oh, yeah, that’s right, because we all feel the same – the same nothingness, the obliteration of our consciousness into the momentary pleasure of unconsciousness. We are all looking for that too. It doesn’t last, though. It’s another lie. You can never go back. That perfection, that innocence, is gone now. You know the difference between good feelings and bad feelings now. You must turn and face the cosmic solitude now and feel the crippling loneliness of eternity. In the end, this becomes the only way.    

 

But we can do it together.

 

“There are two days in the year that we can not do anything, yesterday and tomorrow” – Gandhi

First there was this Lost Artifact called Dance of the 3 Mothers. It had the old web address crossed out. The new url was pasted on the piece, but fell off in my pocket, so this piece has been lost for the ages under the flatirons here. Nice because I have also completely forgotten what the title for the piece refers to…. Something cosmic and possibly Lovecraftian, but I am just not certain. It’s lost in the pocket as you can see.  

Speaking of pockets, the next Lost Artifact ended up on a desert golf course during a tournament I had little interest in. This is In the Hoary Pocket.

Last up is Self Portrait of Haj and this pretension was given to a cousin who is an artist by profession and temperament. I told him that I believe that all artists are fallen angels.

Why I Love Friedrich Nietzsche – A Greater Rationalist than Existentialist?                            

I guess people that know me and my passion for philosophy might question why I love Friedrich Nietzsche so much. Based on his initial premises, one can’t fault Nietzsche for reaching perfectly rational conclusions.

That’s probably what I love most about Nietzsche. His core philosophy is in direct opposition of Christ, as he stated so clearly in The Anti-Christ, yet it is more or less faultless once one agrees with God’s death that his Zarathustra so famously proclaimed.

Nietzsche is likely the greatest rational philosopher of all time. I don’t know. It’s not something I follow too much into the twentieth century.

Deep and simple are better than complex and shallow I guess and that’s another reason to love Nietzsche.

If one wishes to really discuss Nietzsche with me, I prefer discussing his metaphysics. I’m even more insistent on the topic if we are to discuss the validity or fault in his initial premise.

Nietzsche, of course, was savvy enough to claim a refusal to discuss or even consider metaphysics and possibly you will be the same, but to discuss the rationale for a belief in God, one can not really avoid discussing the theoretical existence of the supernatural.

Yet even Nietzsche had his metaphysical model of the universe, so his claim of metaphysical innocence was most apparently false. Nietzsche’s model even has a name – the Theory of Eternal Recurrence – and it even became the philosophical basis for the Oscillating Universe cosmological model.

With this theory, Nietzsche suggested that the finite was infinite. Doing so ran his theory head into the Arrow of Time (that is most certainly not a circle of time).

He knew enough not to suggest one could get something (the physical universe) from nothing (the Godlessness of a purely material universe), so he manufactured the entirely irrational and illogical idea of Eternal Recurrence.

Either one argues that the defined, that is the finite, is something entirely different than what it is (namely infinite) or one argues that existence came from nothingness.

A true existentialist might actually believe in the essential existence of the supernatural when logically considering the options and that is the rational reason that I believe in God – whatever you wish to call Him/Her/IT.

 

This post was prepared for the Reveille website, but I don’t believe it was ever posted there after completed earlier this year. Always a timely subject.

Reality…what is it?

Do we even know anymore? Did we ever?

This is among the most important questions ever asked by humanity. Now, it seems this is among the most troubling uncertainties for 21st century western civilization. What’s going on?

What we can know without question…? Hear Descartes. Each of us can confidently state that “I am”. For us to believe one another, though, a certain step in faith is required.

So irrefutable truth comes from the subjective consciousness of each individual perspective.

In the end it is a matter of what we believe, so for anyone wanting more certainty and objectivity this is not satisfying.

What about the universe and what we can perceive of it? If we can trust our senses and that what we are seeing is real, then of course, this is an absolute and a true reality. For many, of course, this is the sum and total of reality and our consciousness itself is an extension of this material reality.  

Mystics, though, through the ages have questioned this reality. Not uncommonly from their perspective, the physical universe is described as an illusion or a veil over a more fundamental and imperative reality. Look at how these ancient beliefs have dovetailed with modern science. Today many physicists postulate that our universe is similar to a holograph generated by a computer program.

As this universe, this manifestation, rushes at ever-increasing speed towards entropy, our view of reality is equally fluid. We can either “lift the veil” to find a more permanent truth or become immersed in the comfort of the momentarily sound stability of our little piece of space-time.

When it comes to certainty though, in the end we are left with something not particularly satisfying – that is, belief… or even unbelief. All is uncertain.

Well, that’s post-modernism for you. Michel Foucault unabashedly claimed that truth stemmed from power or more directly that power literally manifests reality.

This is important to consider and provides us a new place to begin this exploration. Of course, for Foucault, universal truths were evasive quit simply as they are phantasms that have been constructed through informal networks of power and influence. Foucault’s conclusions (or resistance to any conclusions) can always be turned upside down since the challenges of completely separating the self from this discussion are never fully successful. 

Although Foucault must emphasize that this power is much more than just political power, one can not escape how real coercive and political power has dominated human history and continues to sway everything in today’s public and private worlds.

The coercive power, which is fed by wealth, serves those in charge – the “masters” – over the rest of us – whether we like the terminology or not – the “slaves”. Very simply and throughout history it has been those in charge who have used this power to write our history, shape our reality and control our perception of reality as much as they control how we have lived our lives. Indeed, an important message for the “slaves” is simply that we are powerless to change reality and must accept the reality that “nature” has provided us all.

For the wealthy and the powerful, power has shaped for them something approximating their personal utopias, but for the masses this world is nothing less than a very real dystopia.

We can look to ancient Gnostic mysticism for an idea how this idea of reality works. Consider the Gnostiscm of a popular film like the Matrix where our perceived and exterior “reality” is really a computer-generated “construct” called the matrix that keeps the masses from seeing what is truly real beneath.

For many Gnostics like the medieval Cathars, the world wasn’t fashioned by God, but by Satan himself. Looking around at the dystopian Now, one might see a great deal of evidence that the manufacturers of this “reality” were not benign makers. 

This mystical strain goes something like this: God created the Earth as a paradise, but the serpent tricked man and woman who went from doing God’s bidding to doing the will of Satan. A new world was constructed by the hand of man and this is the world in which we have all been born and have all helped to piece together from our fractured selves.

Thousands of years of human history have gone into the construction of this world we live in today. Reality, in a very literal sense, has been manifested from our collective past. This reality is a reflection of our lack of actualization, our disjointed existence, our stunning psychological immaturity, our pervasive institutions of power and coercion and ultimately our overwhelming identification with the material or worldly over the collective psyche and the spiritual life.

Take a look around you and ask, “Is this the world that God would build?”

The Gnostics provide us something else and they called this “secret knowledge”. Simply put, Gnosticism claims that humans have a divine spark. We are something called Aeons or, put another way, we are intimately linked with the Creator. In a sense, we are gods.

This claim can give rise to a number of interesting possibilities. One is how free will can paradoxically coexist with determinism. If the universe and its history were set into motion at the time of creation, then how could we have free will? An explanation may start with our divinity and even the “illusionary” nature of time.

Could it be that like actors in a play, we inevitably fulfill our role? Our performance may be done in our own unique way, but in the end, we simply fulfill our destined role.

“Reality”, as it has been constructed, is pushed upon us every day. Through the myriad of our daily interactions we come face-to-face with this reality. The consumer culture and its promise of hedonistic bliss lies just below the surface of the reality pushed forth through advertising, branding, messaging, storytelling and various and ubiquitous forms of propaganda (“marketing” in Newspeak) that help shape this reality for us at our every turn.

Traditionally, the “press” was an extension of corporate power and supplied the market with information packaged as entertainment (thus, the press became the “media”). Today, these sources are so varied that we are inundated with various levels of manipulation and control through messages often much more insidious than before. Reality, as it is presented, runs the gamut from pure fantasy to something approaching the truth. 

We end up in a tangled web of distorted messages twisting truth into doubt, denial, or even the affirmation of our most outrageous beliefs. The free press, so essential to the foundations of democracy, has become a perverted tool to spread the seeds of chaos and conformity while deepening our sense of powerlessness and despair. Rather than inform, our media now leaves everything in doubt. 

This is the sea into which we have all been cast. Without a tiller, many of us will be caught in the maelstrom sweeping across this planet with the dominance of what is being called persuasive technology. 

Yet human divinity implies human potency, so one should be able to peel back our view of the universe to see the awesome power of the collective and even the human individual him/herself.  

So despite the crushing feeling of impotency our technological society exploits, we are actually potency incarnate. We have the power to project and eventually a new reality can be made manifest. It is our ability to think, build and manipulate that is the magic behind our specie’s success. This we have known since humankind lifted its first tool – really its first weapons – and brought the other diverse species of the planet within the sphere of human control and dominance.

This power that we wield begins with our will to change the world around us. As we envision this change we project this outward and then take action to construct a new reality. In the end, the change we envisioned is manifested into this “reality” that we have come to call the world.

Today, Donald Trump consciously gets this. As an acolyte of Norman Vincent Peale’s Power of Positive Thinking, Trump has been enormously successful in creating his own reality often out of thin air. One clear testament to his resounding success – today he’s leader of the most powerful nation in the world.

Donald Trump has been described best as an illusionist weaving his own “reality”. Those who describe him merely as a con man are missing an important key to his success and indeed, to his power. Trump, as President in the age of corporatism, puts power incarnate on display through his machismo, his chauvinism and the charismatic appeal of the authoritarian cult of his personality. 

Trump projects his illusion, which changes day by day or even hour by hour, so that he can manipulate, persuade, confuse, distract, coerce, and even retaliate. This is power manifesting a new reality. This is control.

In a deeper sense, Trump projects power – a power that isn’t necessarily real – and makes it “real” and palpable through the very projection and the accompanying momentum from his acolytes’ energy.

Not always and not with everyone, but his reality becomes the illusion that guides him, his followers and, yes, even his detractors. It’s Trump University all over again. He’s taking us all to school with his con now.

Ever since the fall, we’ve given the Devil more than his due. We’ve listened to his whisperings so that strength, once again, can exploit weakness and exert its power to shape a new reality.

Through our sweat, our precious blood, and our bitter tears these holy towers of modernity have been erected for the unholy master. Like ancient idols of gold, these monuments glorify all that we have come to worship and believe. Over and over again we build upon the shifting sands of worldly power to watch our work crumble and fall before we begin again. We are only the somnambulistic beasts turning the great and never-ending grist stone deadening our beguiled self.

One word becomes many. One world breeds another. Lost under this bushel of deceit is the light of truth hidden in silent darkness. We are all complicit.

Donald Trump does not represent a world that is not. He is our world. He is the child of our Regent King and heir apparent to this reality. Indeed, he is very much ours. Refusal to recognize this becomes the ultimate and ironical deception that feeds this awesome power that is so very reliant on our numbing weakness of spirit, the crushing impotency of our modern identities, and in the utter apathy that is the bathwater of our passionless existence.

He is the main attraction of a media that loves to hate him and who really can’t get enough of him. This is his circus. He is the ringmaster surrounded by trick ponies, dancing dogs, lion-tamers and a myriad of colorful clowns and fools. Don’t let the show distract you. Our world has become his big top and we keep paying the price of admission, because, ultimately, it is us who can not get enough of his new “reality show”.   

So, yes, the stakes couldn’t be higher. Woven into the fabric of this new reality is a hint of eternal life or is it really some sort of eternal damnation…? We must ask ourselves then, what is real? What is it that we are being told? Should I check my smartphone or look into the human heart?

When Naomi Klein labeled our time the Security Age, what does that mean? They say…information is power. So who is controlling the message? Does this affect how we feel? What of AI, computational propaganda, and these persuasive technologies? Have we even begun to understand these tools and their power?

The democratic ideal is based upon an informed populace making informed decisions. The tools we utilize are amazingly efficient and can allow for a diversity of voices, yet the free/unfree press has been warped into some version of the ultimate Tower of Babel sowing discourse and division. The ghost in the machine thinks for itself now. The message we hear is the message we must hear.

The soft fascism of this global corporate machine is being steadily replaced with a harder, more violent form of fascism with all the usual thuggery, brutality, pilfering from the meek and poor, and outright brute tyranny you’d expect. The time for subtlety seems to have passed with the rise of Trump and his ilk.

Our more powerful masters have seen that the very freedoms that are part and parcel of democratic ideals have become obsolete particularly due to the blatantly exploitative freedoms they wish to wield for themselves at our expense.

Controlling the message and, quite literally, reality itself is of paramount importance to ensure the position of the powerful in the coming decades. Their tactics have been long known by the initiated. They rely more on tradition and precedence than on real innovation.  

One would think the biggest threat to this perpetual status quo is that the masses are actually able to harness enough of the power of information to realize what’s been going on for six thousand years and is happening to them today.  

So control – of the system, of information and, most critically, of reality itself, becomes the surest way to retain power today in an age of rapid and revolutionary change just as it was in ages past. If you will, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Humanity is faced with what the media constantly terms an “existential crisis”. We not only have the ability to eradicate the human species, but can do so in any of a number of ways. This is truly a historically unprecedented time.

The power to destroy is in the hands of the few. Contrary to the myths they perpetuate, this power is not a result of a meritocratic destiny either. It seems that Lucifer’s world is actually lorded over by his most sycophantic lieutenants and not God’s most trusted servants. Big surprise…right?

Like their master, there is an attraction to death and the greatest lie that they have been told – that in death, they will find the peace of a sleep without dreams and the total annihilation of their being.

Thanatos is deep stuff, don’t kid yourself.

To survive, we must realize this and see what is real. The destructive current is a strong one, so we must not succumb to this negativity.

We must grasp our own power and manifest a better reality for all. Once we realize we are power incarnate, then we must project the positive.

This world is a reflection of our child-selves. This reality is diseased. Ultimately, we must choose life or we will be to be reaped in the next harvest. It is our vibrations, the quality of our psychic projections, and, of course, our very behaviors that must cure the disease of death and wickedness that plagues this world.

The world of our youth has become wholly untenable and unsustainable. The utopian dreams of the few and for the few have manifested a dystopia for all. Without wholescale change, our destiny seems headed for disaster on a global scale.

The worldly, and the power they wield to exploit the weaknesses of the masses, has led us to the brink of the abyss. If we take this bitter drink, we will be left holding an empty cup.  

Look around you as we stumble across this barren landscape. The demons roam freely now. This is their time. We must rise up and take this cup from them. We can and we must. We have always had the numbers, but must finally come together.

The journey begins within. To believe in mankind and the spark of love and goodness within us all we must tear this page out of Peale’s teaching and realize there is power in projecting the positive. Certainly, we mustn’t use this in self-absorbed hedonism and momentary pleasure, but for a greater good where power serves all of God’s children and not just the usual suspects.

After we begin to see who we are and how we fit into this universe, we can step back into the community again. We must understand that our projections are more than mental projections – it is how we act, it is our possessions or lack of possessions, and it is our love or our vitriol. It is everything we emit and project into the material that reflects who we are within and this is immense power. It is the power to change and create or to entrench and destroy.  

To understand this is to see the world as it really is and to distinguish what is real from what has been constructed for the good of a select few.

Our hearts are the most important weapon we have in this fight against the lies of the world.

We must listen to our heart. He must do what we feel. We must project the positive.

When we finally see that Eden will never be rebuilt by the hands of man, then we can truly surrender. This is a surrender to the overwhelming power of love.

May your heart project the power of healing, of brotherhood and sisterhood, and of the Holy Spirit of love. Amen.  

 

This topic seems to be something we’ve been struggling with in this blog. In a sense, this became the last word on the subject and was posted on the Reveille website on January 18, 2018. This may have been the last posting on the old website, so everything moving forward should be new.

You’ve heard it. The good ‘ole USA is on the wane and the divide that wracks the nation is a sign of the death of the republic. Those who lament for a workable society have stressed we must mend the divides and find “common ground”.

What brought America together in the first place? Unlike other nations who found their common bond in race, ethnicity or religion, America was different. This was a place where the world could come together based upon a set of great ideals. Shared dreams of freedom, equality and of justice would transform a youthful nation built by disparate peoples into the melting pot of hope for an entire world.

The questions are many. America and the world are really at a crossroads. Is there a “common ground” where we can rebuild the trust and the respect and rediscover the values we share, the values that vaulted this nation from a grand experiment into the beacon of hope for the human spirit?

I believe in America. I believe we really can.

So we have this question. What exactly is “common ground”? Is there a truly American answer to this question? One really doesn’t need to dig too deep to find that America has provided an answer to this question all along.

For America itself really is what we can call “common ground”. From a variety of races and ethnicities around the world we came together to form a single nation. We are its natives, we are descendants of slaves, we are former slave-owners, immigrants and the exiles cast aside by nations from around the world. Our beliefs, how we worship, and indeed how we live has highlighted our differences, yet we have made this work by respecting, tolerating and, yes, even loving one another.  

America has continuously renewed itself. This renewal is part of the revolutionary spirit from which we tore away from Empire and the tyranny of colonialism. American culture has always been more fluid than monolithic. Our aspirations have reached the heights of human endeavor and together we have become a better example for the world.

America, it seems, must also have its dark side. There are forces aligned against these grand ideals. There have long been those who have wished for another America – one they can shape for their own – an exclusive America for the privileged few.

This has always been a part of our makeup and one might argue that the forces that work against the American ideals are inevitable. It may be that hard fought ideals are threatened when complacency sets in and a republic like America needs debate and conflict to grow and become greater.

This characteristic of the American struggle has been highlighted by moments in history like the American Civil War, Reconstruction and Jim Crow, the Civil Rights movement, the counter-culture revolution and counter-revolution, the labor movement and its suppression, the rise of corporatism and the technological revolution we are in the midst of today.

There are those who would exempt all but the “white race” from this America they wish for today. Some may want to ban Jews or gays or those who identify themselves as transgender.

That leaves us with the question: can we have common ground and really leave anyone out?  

There are those who would wish to exempt the sinners.   

As a Christian, I have a different take on this. Christ wasn’t one who moved within the circles of the rich, the powerful, the clergy of Judea, but was to be found with the unclean and the sinners: whoremongers and prostitutes, tax collectors, the derelict, beggars, fishermen and other undesirables and villains of ancient Judea.

When the righteous confronted Him about eating with the unclean, Christ answered that those without need of a physician seek not the physician, but those in need of a physician will seek him out and the physician will search for those in need of healing.  

These words are easily translatable for us today. They inform us where common ground is. It is not in the higher places reserved for the most privileged of society, but is somewhere “down below” where the masses can freely congregate. This is somewhere where we can all come and discuss what makes us similar and what makes us different. This is our Agora.

So to refuse any of us this “common ground” is to fly in the face of everything we mean by common ground. Those who would exclude any, only exclude themselves like the deafly righteous who once complained to Christ. 

This is an absolute of common ground.

We will accept no exception or any compromise on this.

This is America. We tore free from the aristocratic monarchists of the British Empire and formed a nation where all were to stand shoulder to shoulder and work for a better life. This hasn’t happened overnight and we continue to struggle for these great ideals, but this is the ground upon which America first flew its flag of freedom and unity.

To wish for an exclusive America is to refuse to enter this common ground. It is they who move away from this place. This place that really is without the borders or walls that the exclusivists wish to build.

Common ground is even more than human, of course, but that is another story.

Racism, sexism, religious persecution, oppression, bigotry and even hatred have no place in common ground. The narrowness of these ideas stand in opposition of the human and humane principles from which this nation was formed. They are simply un-American.  

Now, where do you stand? All are welcome here.

 

Art Project – Postcards from Hell – Mail art 2017-2018

Art must embrace ambiguity. Why is this, you might ask? Well, the best art brings you, the audience, into the creative process. Ambiguity gives you room to fill in the blanks and finish the work. Indeed, the best art is never complete when the painter puts down his brush or the writer her pen.  

While collaboration is often preferred, in a real sense there is always a collaborative construction taking place and collaboration can bring the third mind into the creative process. Artist, audience and work evoke the mystical. There are a variety of mythical symbols that are shared through the unconscious – something that Jung would call the archetypes.   

One way to allow the ambiguous to thrive is when the craftsperson lets go and allows apparent “random events” to shape the work without the conscious will of the artist interfering with the process.  

Now for an overview of the project called Postcards from Hell.

Number 1: Postcards From Hell and Mail Art revival

Gnostics see the world as upside down or as it is formalized: the Gnostic’s world has been created by the dark force personified as the devil. Simply put, this world is Hell. From a Gnostic perspective, one can not begin to comprehend what’s going on without recognizing this core truth. 

Today, many of the formerly affluent American middle class can reach similar realizations and see that throughout history what we have long called “reality” is actually something that has been constructed by the hands of man and not by God or some other benign power.

Those with the prestige and the very real power of wealth have long wished to satisfy their own insatiable desires and this, in turn, has only worked to heighten their thirst for power. The sort of personal, self-gratifying Epicurean utopia they wished to build for themselves has perversely only fed their misery and their isolation. This was no heaven for the rest of us either, but a living hell of neglect, intolerance, oppression, distortion and violence, exploitation and humiliation. As the ever expanding abyss of death and extinction widen, all are to find a miserable and unsatisfying end…every one of us.  

This first postcard in the series finds its roots in the late 1970s industrial music scene that emerged alongside, or really just below, the “underground” punk rock movement. Just as abstraction destroyed the plastic arts, so punk was to shatter rock and even more deeply, as noise, industrial sounds came to shatter all musical form.

With roots in the Italian Futurist movement industrial music likely drew more from Dadaism and Surrealism than from preceding musical traditions. This tends to make more sense when you consider what it is we are dealing with here.

Like punk, industrial music was open to all comers as it embraced primitivism and the creativity of the do-it-yourself. Anyone could make noise just like anyone could bang a guitar and call it punk. All it really took was a tape recorder and some imagination.

The musicians and the work could flourish. Networks were established and the scene in the late 1970s gave rise to trading cassette tapes, do-it-yourself magazines, theories, broadsides, poetry and other imaginings often through what was called Mail Art. This established an informal exchange between artists and patrons and allowed otherwise obscure work to be seen and heard.   

Some of the magazines became important on a wider scale such as Anna Banana’s Vile magazine:

 

So this first postcard went to my baby brother.

It is called Nikesight. This was a puzzle (or the work as a puzzle piece) and an anagram for the Reveille website url: theking.is (an Icelandic domain). A number of industrial artists are within the piece. In the lower right corner is Cosey Fanni Tutti of Throbbing Gristle along with the whole band over her right shoulder (minus Chris Carter who has been cut out). Above this is an image of front-man Genesis P-Orridge with William S. Burroughs. Along with the original innovator Brion Gysin, of course, Burroughs used the cut-up method of writing that, like abstract expressionism, basically destroyed the literature as a form – most critically in his masterpiece Naked Lunch. Burroughs would become an iconic figure and mentor to early industrial musicians. The forth member of Throbbing Gristle, Sleazy Christopherson, partly obscures Genesis and is by the letter “g”. Sleazy went on to form Psychic TV with Genesis and later Coil with his partner John Balance. The striking “cone-headed” freak in the lower center part of this postcard is the cover of Clock DVA’s debut album White Souls in Black Suits.

Now you should sample some of this music, especially if you aren’t familiar with it. 

Throbbing Gristle – “Hamburger Lady” preferably a good live version, but if unavailable the studio version will work. Originally on studio album D.o.A: The Third and Final Report of Throbbing Gristle (1978).

SPK – “Suture Obsession” from their debut album Information Overload Unit (1981).

Nurse with Wound – Sample portions of Spiral Insana album (1986).

Coil – “Circle of Mania” from Horse Rotorvator (1986).

Like any complicated work of music, these must be heard a few times to be fully appreciated and feel free to incorporate your favorite mind enhancement herbs, fungi or cacti.

Postcard #2: Exploring Dystopian Themes

While the initial piece was inspired by a reading of S. Alexander Reed’s Assimilate, this piece was inspired by Pulitzer Prize winning historian Barbara Tuchman’s A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century and its descriptions of the Black Death.

A most striking aspect of our dystopian times today is the number of apparent “existential crises” we are experiencing including the real threat of contagion. We can bring this upon ourselves through the weaponization of disease and biological substances, but we are also living with reduced stockpiles of vaccines in an era when big Pharma is pursuing more profitable miracle cures and treatments for popular diseases.

As an unknown artist, one of the struggles is finding an audience. Mail Art effectively forces consumption of the work, so, like the Lost and Found project, it gets the work in front of an audience. This particular one went to a long-time friend and trusted supporter and is called Mister Tummy Ache Comes to Town:

Postcard #3: Regurgitation

Art can perform a cathartic function. Artists are visionaries. In our post-modern culture, artists serve the purpose of society’s prophets, agitators and sages. What they see, though, isn’t always beautiful especially as they look into this world we’ve hobbled together from our fractured selves disconnected, as we are, from what is imperative and truly real and truly beautiful.

Art is highly complicated. It is necessarily flawed as is everything we make with our hands. Ultimately, art contains ugliness and its beauty can only be a pale reflection of the truthful beauty of our natural earth and the universe. At least partly, art must draw from the dark side since this is the source of both destructive and creative energies.

Consider that the construction of this world is destructive of the earth and in resurrecting the earth, we must dismantle this world.  

You may question this, but this contradiction of forces feeds my work and contributes to its ambiguity.

This one was sent to the oldest son of the artist’s baby brother and is called American Dreemin’:

This is a complaint about poverty that has become more and more abject and about the everyday banality of evil. The theme and look and feel would be carried through with other pieces in the series. The photographs of the pieces, like the one included here, only give a sense of the actual piece.  

This particular postcard had deep levels of images – some of which appear on the final piece and others remain buried within. This gave the final piece a vibrant complexity. It’s very dark with almost exclusive use of black and white images. The sign at the bottom center says, “I used to be your neighbor”. I guess that sums up the piece for me.  

Again, and importantly, these cards are puzzle pieces. There ends up being reoccurring themes – primarily death, misery and injustice – and this one certainly puts these on display.

  1. Duality and Our Broken Existence

The project kept going. Next was a card for a much loved close-by cousin. Eventually, the work became a diptych, so her artistic husband was included.

This was a “Me-Too” piece and at its core it speaks about our broken halves. The piece is based on the belief that we – men and women – were formerly united in spirit and part of our actualization as humans is the process of uniting these fractured halves to reform our whole being. Humans were meant to be a balance of the masculine and the feminine, but when one overpowers the other well…things get messy.

So in these diptychs titled Boss Coil we see the reoccurring themes of violence, objectification, oppression, dismemberment, exploitation and how our world – the patriarchy – is a reflection of our Humpty-Dumpty selves.

Boss Coil – Left Diptych to the husband (the masculine half).  

Boss Coil – Right Diptych to the wife (the feminine half). You might be able to notice how these two pieces can be fit together like two pieces of a puzzle (fitting but not really “fitting” wholly together).

Postcard 5: Connecting in Madness

It was during the production of all this work in the Trumpian era, that a member of our house received in the mail a painting of a dragon from a niece who was approaching her teen years. So there was a connection through the third mind that obviously compelled the artist to direct the next piece to the artistic niece. No question, we were working from the same source.  

The card was already in motion and was all about madness and murder. This is what we now teach our children from the get-go: yes, Monsters are Real.  

Horror and science fiction, particularly in film, has inspired me from my earliest childhood. This connection to the genre is most especially found in the complex layers of meaning and metaphor found in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

It was apparent that there was a shared appreciation with my young niece who had an ancient soul with the monsters that emerge from the darkness.

Certainly, the piece ended up being a bit disturbing. Like the other pieces, the juxtaposition of the various images from the collages is more or less “random” and attempts to tap into this thing we are calling the “third mind”. In the lower right corner is our former (current at the time) attorney general enjoying a goblet of vino next to the smirking visage of Heinrich Himmler. Something eerie connects the two visages.

This detail of the upper central portion of the piece gives an idea of the variety of subjects one may miss on the full depiction:

So notably we see David “Son of Sam” Berkowitz and a green-tinted Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The detail helps you see Richard “Night Stalker” Ramirez through some of the green and black paint holding up his left hand to display the pentagram he has on his palm. So nice of him to let us know who he is. Of course, the secret to these monsters’ success is looking like you and I. That’s G. Gordon Liddy, the Gipper (or is it?) and Nancy, and the haunted eyes at the bottom and next to Karloff’s Mummy belong to our time’s mass shooter Devin Patrick Kelley who killed dozens at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs Texas not quite a year ago.

The personalized message included the warning that the piece was “…about scary ones, phony ones and the worst ones, but it’s not about good monsters.” So even though one might see a good monster or two in the piece, the work is definitely not about them. Audience participation too – so you decide in the end who is a good monster and who is a bad monster or phony monster and…well…then there are ones you may not be entirely sure about. See…monsters like ambiguity too!

Postcard #6: More Man-Made Monsters

Sometimes the intended recipient of the card is known even before the start of the collage and at other times this becomes known while I am working on the piece. The piece itself always ends up taking a life of its own whether the recipient is known or not. The images being collected can help guide the theme of the piece or the theme can help with the image selections. By the end of the assemblage there is always something being sought after.

Somewhere along the line with this one, I decided to send one to a good friend and artist in New Mexico. So this one had to be about technology and humanity’s search for redemption in the creation of the perfect being – a being we’ve constructed with our own hands.

Art is artifice and constructed by the imperfect hands of man, so what should we expect from that one might ask? Our fabrications are either pale reflections of true beauty or meant to show the ugliness of imaginings made manifest. Like Shelley’s creature, the man-made man or man-made monster, if you will, is part of our pursuit for redemption currently trending in the transhumanist quest for eternal life and possibly even some event of singularity.    

So it’s another one of these existential crises. Global capitalism demands that commerce pushes technology to the fore without forethought or consideration of its effects on our civilization, our species or upon the planet. AI is like throwing a lighted match into a powder keg.

Call this one IT:

This card was a bit different in that certain elements were manipulated consciously to produce a skeletal framework for the piece. This is mainly evident in the face within the machine. An item of interest might be the eyes of this face. They are backwards and are indeed the eyes of the beast – our master.

Number 7: The last is always best

The final postcard titled Post-Modern Return to the Modern Aesthetic is here:  

This card had a theme developed shortly after completing IT. A friend in Alabama had sent me a short note in the mail with some concern about my psychological state, so it was easy enough to choose who to send this to.

Disturbingly, many of the discussions I have with generally affluent and politically conservative white Americans (this likely classifies many of the people I know), bring to light their view of what is wrong with our world today. Inevitably, it is demographics as not only a symptom of global social problems, but for literally every conservative I have this conversation with it’s the source of the problems. That’s right, it’s not capitalism or greed, it’s not the disparity of wealth or our violent cultures or even imperialism. It’s not environmental, it’s not nuclear proliferation or the animal agricultural industry or any of that. It is simply global overpopulation. They all agree on this and point to this as the summation of what’s going wrong in the world today. 

OK, so then they’ve nailed down the source of all the world’s darkest and most profound problems. What about solutions? Well, that’s where things get a bit disturbing.

Of course, I’ll always discuss the only real solution I’ve ever seen that is worthwhile – to elevate the third world to enough affluence that populations are brought under control – you know educate, provide access to affordable health care, improved childhood mortality, etc. You see it in developed nations – birth rates will actually go into negatives.  

Not a solution to these conservatives. No surprise there since their values really begin and end with their own personal well-being. Their solution is well…it’s been called the Final Solution. It’s genocidal. “Let them die”. Starve them, deny them access to healthcare and basic needs…a pox on them or a war or some other horrible and evil path.

So genocide – along with slavery a guiding principle of America’s founding – is really their “unspoken” answer. The severed heads, the crucified children, the rows upon rows of emancipated corpses laid like firewood…this is the modern aesthetic. The modern aesthetic of evil and like so much we once believed purged from our civilized society has never actually gone away – thus the return of the modern aesthetic in our post-modern times.

Here is a shot of the piece before the final trim and paint was applied:

In the lower left corner you can pretty clearly see the bottom half of a classic lynching picture from the south (I think Alabama) with all the white people and the festive attitude they bring to the event. One man is smugly pointing to the hanged black man (completely covered in the collage). There is a repeating pattern of crucified young girls from the Armenian genocide. There are the repeating themes from other cards like masks, monsters, disease and addiction, and poverty as it is all interrelated to this topic.

The art, and certainly these postcards, relies on the third mind and a sort of “random” juxtaposition of lines, colors, figures, etc. to provide another picture within the picture. The idea is to produce something hallucinogenic and encourage an altered sense of reality so that the hidden pictures become a product of the individual mind of the viewer and his/her imagination and the “chance” serendipity or synchronicity, if you will, that arises when the third mind is invoked.

Each card relies on the viewers’ interpretation. This is always the most important perspective and is why the artist leaves the work “unfinished” in this way. While one could come up with something completely off track by not really paying attention or having too strong preconceptions, once one gets a sense of the artist’s intentions, then it is the viewers’ interpretation that becomes the most meaningful and valid. This can all be supported when a number of viewers reach similar impressions.

This card seems to have brought this project to a close, although I don’t believe we are done with Mail Art or even postcards. As always, stay tuned.