30 Jan 2006

Soporiff cycle

I'm so tired all the time. When I talk to people I sound like I'm on a downer. I'm not really all that down though, at least not in a way that makes acute emotional pain bounce through my brain. I’m not quite happy, mentally nauseas, and still feedback looping, but short of depressed. Maybe just lethargic. I can't figure out what cycle it fits into.

Hmmmmm... there are sleeping cycles. I can never maintain those. Surely that is fucking with my head. Not getting my melatonin at night, not getting my vitamin A in the day. And I feel like all possibilities are exhausted, but perhaps I've just crammed myself into a niche. Maybe I just don't realize that I hate my routines, my random, non-cyclic shuffle through these life scripts. I went off the major mind perturbating chemicals, but surely those pedestrian inebriants fuck with my rhythms as well.

Another barometric reading, the psychic weather report – how dull, but not quite as dull for me, because I am, unfortunately, at ground zero, trying to gather data, see the patterns. So much damned self analysis - analysis is an uber-feedbackloop. I should get back into literature, wrap my head around other people's analyses - of something resembling objective reality, an aggregate of subjective reveries - committed to pages, words deemed worthy, or screamed into the abyss, for something to do.

Dreams have always been my friends. They take me beyond myself. They are previews of ego death. They don't sour on me, even with analysis. Even with lucidity (though I can never sustain lucidity in dreamtime long before waking up) I can still escape the sickness. I'm happy, healthy, and sane in dreamtime. That's a thread, I loved dreams years ago, I still love them. They subvert all the philosophical bullshit.

Meaning is a mental illness, it seems to me.

25 Jan 2006

The life of values

Let's bury the last post and talk about life for a minute, since I'm alive right now and might as well make use of it.

I was reading Jim Kunstler's blog "Clusterfuck Nation" today. His main theme is the immanent collapse of the western world in the wake of peak oil production. He fancies himself a hard-boiled realist, which is why he'll say that the United States is fucked in Iraq and the war has nothing to do with democracy, then he'll turn around and say that Bush is right to spy on Americans (because of the threat of America's enemies, who are obviously pissed off at America's not-so-subtle practice of dominating the world, particularly oil-rich Muslim lands).

And the reason I keep coming back to his blog, despite his odious democrat centrism, is because he IS something of a realist, even if the slimy prick won't come out and say whether or not he actually supports imperialism in the name of oil hegemony.

No, he'll just repeat his skipping record line, his attack on people (and he reserves his most scathing attacks for the war protesters) for being against the oil wars yet living their oil-fueled lifestyles. What I'd like to know is, what part of "no blood for oil" doesn't he understand?

Today, after quoting one of those dumbass head-in-the-sand utopian globalists, he writes:

An arresting fantasy, isn't it? A Beijing that resembles Atlanta, full of strip malls dishing out cheeseburgers and other interesting foreign foods to Chinese soccer moms hurrying back to Toll Brother's starter homes in Chinese knockoffs of the Ford Explorer.


Note to Mr. Reich and the rest of the people he is smoking opiated hashish with: you've got it backwards. Over the next twenty, thirty years America gets to be more and more like Chinese peasant life in 1949. Why? Because neither America nor China (nor anybody else) can continue running industrial economies the way we have been, or even a substantial fraction of that way, in an energy-starved world. Nor will anybody come up with a miracle technological rescue remedy to keep all the motors humming.


And this got me thinking... If we somehow find our way out of this chinese finger trap (and I doubt we'll be able to oil it off our fingers) and into what will most likely be a radically scaled back version of this contemporary clusterfuck (if not a post-apocalyptic wasteland) then perhaps purpose will be had in being forced to kick our novelty addiction and thus, slowly freeing ourselves from the bonds of historical time and the nauseas twisting paradigm slur.

My European descendents used to wonder what it might be like living in a world of magic (South American descendents wouldn't have to wonder, being familiar with mushrooms and ayahuasca). Well now we know. The power brought about by deep understanding of physics and chemistry allowed us to see infinity in a grain of sand. Now we see super strings in a vacuum. Now there are possible loopholes for time travel. Now there are barbarians banging at the gates of the universal light-speed limit. Pretty amazing. But then, why do I feel so blasé? Is it the disparity between what's on the cover of discover magazine, and the frequency with which my computer crashes? Is it the promise of nanotech, in juxtaposition with the fact that seeing one of the latest 3d game engines didn't impress me too much? Or is it the fact that I've already seen ten thousand science fiction films laying it all out for me, THIS utopian/dystopian drama brought to you by INFOGLUT incorporated?

Okay, this is ridiculous. It's like I'm in year 15,645,298 of my paradise retirement package (maybe I AM, and my snooze alarm went off on heaven's night table, and I'm waking up to the bored God cycle yet again, and I'm saying, no goddamnit, gimme another fifteen millennia). But surely this is extrapolation and projection.

And I know the folly of romanticization. The post oil age could be very hard indeed, and where do I get off embracing hard times? I've never known truly hard times, unless my theory is correct, my guestimation that the existential emptiness is fundamentally harder on a mind then the substance I won't name for fear of tainting it, the substance that, for all its pain, would provide the energy/life-force/unnamed-purpose necessary for supreme satisfaction. The amino acids would never taste better, the fifteen second fuck would be endorphintastic. (I've failed to give this much grit or texture, I haven't mentioned tilling the soil, or slaughtering pigs, or raising a barn, have I?) But this can't be the answer, I'm not wrapping up the riddle of consciousness.

Nonetheless, purpose in sustainability - maybe that's the domain consciousness must move in to - mind moved to embrace ecological harmony. How's that for an expansion? Sustainability, cycles restored to their luxury, in the light of modernity-honed mind.

What we've done with the industrial revolution, and then the information age, is jumped headlong through hoops of increasingly tight cycles, a million megahertz and shrinking shelf-life. Information accumulates, patterns aggregate, we become hyper-aware of the cycles, an awareness I (don't know about you) could do without. Too much awareness spoils the broth, I don't want to know that this is the HAPPY PART OF THE CYCLE, it throws a wrench into the gears, my wheels spin in futile thought loops, purpose spoils the party.

Is novelty a renewable resource? McKenna would have thought so, the elf machines seemed to contain enough in a glossolalic thimble full of self-transformation. I have yet to smoke DMT but I've listened to his trip report so many times, I feel like I've been there/done that. The VR people I used to be in such kinship with, like Mark Pesche, would probably assume with enough ingenuity, we could squeeze novelty out of the lunar soil.

I was raised to be a dynamics addict - unless it's in my genes, and then human evolution really is the ultimate dead end, unless I'm just being like that sad-sack who said, in 1900: "everything that can be invented has been" (and maybe he wasn't even sad). The egg laid the twitchy chicken, itching, sketched out and pecking the bedrock for a new rhyme in common time, and I'm just not cut out to be in the same game, no longer the cutting edge of evolution, past my prime with new ideas left to the modern tip of the fractal still pouring out of life's vaginal doorway.

My obsession with novelty, the running out of things to say and do, depleting the resource of novelty like we deplete our material resources, burning out as an individual and a civilization - this is based on being trapped in historical time and having my paradigm dependent on constant re-contextualization. My paradigm itself has been a verb, a paradigm slur. But can re-contextualizing run indefinitely? It's like folding a piece of paper in halves, then quarters, and so on - the first fold is effortless, the next easy, but by the time you get to six or seven folds, it gets to be hard slogging. It gets to be end game.

But if I could escape from historical time... Because I see what McKenna and Joyce and those people meant by "history" now. Escape from history. But rebuilding civilization after a catastrophe would be fairly "historic", wouldn’t it? I'm seeing it as the transitory period to the clearing at the end of history's path - the gateway to Eden
...

Yeah, I know, you can't talk about Eden
without sounding like a bliss ninny. But I'm not really, because I'm not really talking about a blissful Eden. I'm talking about redefining Eden, redefining bliss, shunning this nervous, twitchy bliss we're searching for and instead, finding the bedrock, the ground of being, the regaining of purpose in losing the same.

The most shocking statement I'll have to make is that this probably eschews a great deal of consciousness. I can't see consciousness as an end anymore, except maybe that the greatest revelation is to come, in profane, linear history. Oh hell, it'll have to surprise me, I mean I'm building up this great vacuum, this chasm of boredom, talking about endgames and the death of the new age. Isn't it obvious I'm setting myself up for - I wish, I wish I was setting myself up, but wishful thinking, doesn't that jinx it? Heh.

Purpose and the death of values

I can't even call this a paradigm slur. It's a shift, a definable shift, where values invert.

Purpose is what we're striving for.

We must have purpose.

We mustn't be purposeless.

We mustn't exhibit purposeless-ness.

We must be purposelessness-less.

- Rowan Atkinson



There's something about the idea of purpose that undermines itself. By thinking about, or talking about purpose, we conceptualize it. When it becomes a concept, it becomes contrived. I still haven't learned how to deal with contrivance. What do you do when you come to understand the purpose of Zen and Daoism, but you can't make the leap from conceptualization to practice, because purpose itself gets in the way? I can see these eastern thoughts as potential saviors, not rivals to a hellish breed of existentialism, but techniques to get around the claustrophobic vacuum of seeming to know too much and see too deep. That still sounds pretentious, and yet I feel it with every respiratory rhythm and circulation of blood - the chemicals slosh through my brain, reminding me of every past cycle. I have no problem anymore with saying it outright: I want to forget. I want to forget all this shit it seems I've learned. Unless there's a way through but I can't see one.

Because after all we don't want to end up, do we?

Like the blind man.

In the dark room.

Looking for the black cat.

That isn't there.

- Rowan Atkinson



If I thought business as usual was possible, I'd vote for it. I'd live in the shallow suburbs and bitch and moan and fill my life with toys and trinkets - I remember the joys of materialism, and I'm surely forgetting the joys of my own materialism, what still keeps me going, flowing, typing on blogger, mostly maintained, with a little fix-it list, and a FUBAR future.

True intelligence is being able to empathize with people you don't know, and situations you're not in. I've never been in a war, but I think this extrapolation sub-routine that so plagues me with purposeless angst is good for allowing me to see that war isn't worth it, except maybe if you're fighting the nazis. If there's any true sign of social enlightenment, it's figuring out what's important before they start the goddamn war.

Once I had a daoist revelation that the inevitable forgetting of that ultimate bliss was the benign cycle of the universe - so I could learn again. That was purpose. I can't trust my "enlightenment" trophy any more because from my current perspective, it seems tied to a rate of change, the dipropyltryptamine delta, propelling me into rapid nirvana. Tranquility was tied to acceleration, accelerating freedom from - whatever bullshit plagued me at the time. There was nothing eternal or infinite about it, my "revelation" was enabled by the time and the place, and even then I sensed that.

Do I even believe in infinity? I'm not sure. Mind expansion means learning every language, travelling the world, seeing inside an atom, seeing Christ die on calvary, historical tourism and society's destiny. Surely that would have to alter my paradigms too. But I can't honestly think how. The burden of purpose seems too heavy, like the bedrock I broke through to. Salvia's still a novelty, since I only smoked it twice.

Now there's something about consciousness that seems overdone, overcooked to me - was it the acid, was it the E, is it getting older, or is it this ridiculous feedback loop? Maybe it's this culture that's played itself out with its glut of novelty, its coke-binge mentality, its market mania, its information age. The information age sounded great to me four years ago, now it sounds like post-modernity's punchline.

Consciousness is a good thing if there's anything good. It creates the good and the bad, but substance beats absence, that still sounds algebraically sound to me. Unless the substance becomes so sick, you wish for absence.

I try to be clear enough to factor wishful thinking into every probing I make into the universe. I wanted, nearly demanded some sort of continuity to consciousness before the paradigm shift. Now what seems like wishful thinking (nevermind what the truth is) is a break in continuity. Dare I even say it, a permanent break? Oh why not, who's God am I offending, what demon am I conjuring? Only my own.

I'm not so far gone I'm really wishing for the void. Hell, wouldn't I like to have the option anyway? But who says we get options in this cosmos?

What comes closest to bringing me the peace of mind I crave is the idea of the death of values. Who knows what death is? But one thing that seems reasonable to suppose is that it's the death of values. Necessary slaughter and the agonizing ennui of tranquility - these could be expunged from the equation - in theory.

Ego is still the great mystery. The death of ego could be the great gateway, the next novelty, or at least true tranquility. This is positive thinking, and wishful too perhaps, but it doesn't sound out of bounds to me, and it doesn't smell like religion or bullshit.

The thing that overrides everything is that I'm fairly certain I probably don't know what I'm talking about. If there's clarity, it's in the fog - agnosticism.

23 Jan 2006

Some Corel stuff me and Raz did ages ago

I finally got Photopaint working again, thanks to the local techno guru, and am now in the tedious process of reorganizing my hard drive. I found some cool old graphics experiments:

Rocks
(This one's definitely Raz)



Birth (I think this was mine but I'm not sure)



Dragonfly (I think this was a collaboration - you can tell we loved the smear tool)

21 Jan 2006

Beauty


Download the MP3


*******

This is something I threw together while nauseous, wired, depressed, and recovering from dental surgery. It's total musical slop-art and was finished in a few hours


*******



this is gonna be fun


what did i do?
what did i do?
what did i do?
to make the beauty go away?

what did i do?
what did i do?
to make the beauty go away?


what did i do?
what did i do?
what did i do?
what did i do?

was it my fault?
was it my fault?
was it my fault?
was it my fault?


i think it was my fault
i think it was my fault
i think it was my fault
it's an excess of medication


that's what you get
for your sore sick sweet tooth

that's what you get
for your psychedelic sweet tooth

that's what you learn
from your pointless experiment
for dubious meriment


remember those innocent times, when you'd ponder the mystery
of pain that wasn't painful?

did you ever think you'd find beauty that wasn't beautiful
(i apologize for this crude loop)
good that was bad?

syphilus syphilus syphilus

and my heart feels like a mouth full of sores
take it from me, a guy who's had mouth sores
i know the value of a mouth without sores

it can be funny or artistic, which is it?


i'm trying to sing this song
with a mouth full of bloody gauze
and a head full of half-filtered codeine
it's not ideal but it keep me going

i dunno where

somewhere over the rainbow
bluebirds fly
glenda the good witch
gets a penis from the wonderful wizard of oz
oh my, oh my, you go girl


what did i do?
what did i do?
what did i do?
to make the beauty go away?

are we having fun yet?


and the sickness
sweeps through me
taxed synapses in society's decay
intellect meet opiate
opiate meet intellect
forget your agenda and your chemical vendetta
there's no new way to say hooray

your guts are empty and your head is full
your stomach is groaning from the codeine swill
nature abhors a vacuum, ya grok dig groove on that?


beta waves got a message for you
small sick cycles, high frequency hum
whining meaning, forever lucid
why did i do this again?

here we go round the mullberry bush
here we go round the mullberry bush
this is the way the world ends
not with a bang but a whimper


alpha oasis
ativan stasis


silicon synth B
it's the silicon forest of luxury
when they chop it down, naturally
you'll feel the reign of pain

but walking in the winter snow
I've got a Joneseylocks itinerary
her golden hair still draws my stare

she's walking home from school
a teenaged blond
she can take the baton
oh yeah


are you challenging me to a snowball fight, sir?

I ACCEPT YOUR CHALLENGE

and purpose is retained

amen


if happy little bluebirds fly
oh why the fuck can't I?




18 Jan 2006

The Four Dollar Delivery (Impending)

Earl Mason
Assorted Donuts
$4.20

Earl Mason is still seeing patterns. When the cat has rubbed her cheeks on every surface she desires, she slinks out of range of Earl's hands and abandons the petting pattern for this morning. Earl wonders how many times he could be present for Jaber's petting pattern, if he allowed himself to sit in front of the fireplace all day. Jaber slinks away like her elastic snapped - she's switched over to a new pattern now, something a little more layered than the petting pattern which involves a stop to her food dish. But this stop is one of several nodes Jaber will be visiting, and her walk to the food dish, across the kitchen linoleum, involved a novel path, if you trace it to the square millimeter. Furthermore, Earl thinks, she never ran a petting pattern quite like that before. No, there were differences. He caught more fur in his hand that time, he became a human catbrush, also picking out crumbs and plaster-dust from the thick fur. He wonders how Jaber's fur stays so glossy despite all the crap that gets caught in it. Must be good cat food. He should order another life's supply, in case he gets another life in this life.

Today he is going to receive his assorted donuts. Six of them. He is not Bob the mustard-stained man, and his imagination is tame, but he isn't lame, he walks, and his cat does the talking, he just can't figure out what it means yet, and he's in no hurry to.

But, living in an alternate reality, someone across the divide endures a cramp that pulsates through bowels and stabs into the chest, groaning gas squeezing nerve cells against biological banks - and whoever this is, he is connected to Earl in some nervous way. Earl wonders if this guy is plagued with virii, or is he just another normal aching paining depression feigning fuck? He doesn't know who he is himself, so the identity of the other is pretty much an enduring mystery.

Earl puts the lie to bed, liking the sound of his own name and hating it all the same, lying in metaphors and soft-downy contradictory filth. He remains above the bed frame, on top of a massive mattress, in an avalanche of assonance, chemically okay, for now. Fresh linen, a bed in the living room, and a roaring fireplace, and Jaber, off in another pattern, Jaber walking through the cat door to the outside, perhaps to get hit by a car on the highway, but Jaber is probably not a part of that pattern. Jaber will be back to be petted.

Earl had been a Mason but he doesn't remember very much about what it meant, conveniently for a writer on the other side of the divide. Earl is deciding to be content. He unbuttons his long white sleeves at the wrist and stretches his arms behind his head. White lies, light lies. Lies are life, and he's swallowed the last of his guilty pride.

Not far across the highway is a postcard scene, a
Rocky Mountain, snow on granite, evergreen on lake. And he must look, tomorrow. Surely the motivation will be there tomorrow. Looking at the mountain is a pattern he wore out long ago, but he's built up a tolerance, he will look again. Because what can anyone say about the mountain anymore? Nothing.

White lies. Lie down, Earl. Yes, you can dream. Dreams are where the frontier is, and you don't need zopiglonger. Cannabis robs you of your dreams. All you need is that smooth mattress. And remember, the donuts are on their way, in an unmarked, clear, plastic bag. An assortment. You will change your setting, and then you will eat them.

Original Sin - Chapter 2: Evening with Mung (Natura's Incaration)

In the year of a domesticated species’ lord, 1983, a twig snapped off the genetic tree from a crown above the forest canopy. Termite legend has it that an overzealous wing of an ant-colony was responsible for the severing of the woody protrusion in an orgy of biting for the hell of it. Ants, despite being some of Natura’s more mechanistic creatures, are often chosen to act as agents for the unpredictable (though you can’t trust a termite to be objective about the ants). One leaf was attached to the end of the twig and it fluttered in the wind, perfunctory resistance to gravity during a long tumble down the tallest tree in the jungle capital center of the universe, the tree with the double-helix trunks.

Termite legend goes on to say that when the twig hit the ground, it decayed, and its byproducts were not immediately absorbed into the forest economy. It was a special sort of soil which nourished no plant, and even the insects would avoid the area. The legend is spotty for this period, but cross referenced with the machine-like mythos of the ant foragers with their respected ground’s-eye view, we learn that before the completion of the lunar cycle, this "special soil" had become an infant ape, perhaps four months old. No one is quite sure how.

The infant ape seemed a happy soul to all he encountered, but was forced to rely on the protection of the birds and the cats, and any charitable beast with teeth, since he was not accepted by any tribes of his kind. Perhaps they were disturbed by the mystery of his birth, with its lack of loins. His life was almost cut short before he’d lived through a year because of a run in with an alpha male. He feared the other apes, but was happy enough in the company of the animals. He came to accept his exile.

***

Grounde’s first sight of Femonk draws him into a vortex he can’t imagine handling, but he wants her and can see she wants him. She’s pink and prominent, presenting the crack he wants to penetrate from behind, begging, beckoning. But his reluctance to approach is sending her mixed signals and his reputation as the unnatural outcast is enough to activate her danger response. She runs off.

The opening of the libido is too much, he must rush. He must, even though this is homospecial and wrong. He chases her through the leaves and her fear is no match for his curiosity. A sound from nowhere seems to say: You silly ape, you’ve got it backwards, bestiality is banging the animals outside your species. He catches her in phallic certitude and all thoughts flee. It’s a quick in and out, casually sublime. No bullshit, just pure pleasure, the explosion of unknown endorphins.

In the middle of a fuck-thrust, in the midst of initiation, he feels it: no longer Grounde, but part of the tribe. He doesn’t know the tribe he’s in, but here he is, back on the tree, a twig of genes expressed in pelvic oscillations of furry flesh, genes making more genes, the animate sperm-soaked squiggle in the cycle. Femonk is the organic gateway to Natura who welcomes him to the planetary palace, the broad view, like an amputee accepting back her lost limb. Grounde was an illusion, and how hilarious that he’d believed that was all he was. His ground of being was the soil – how odd, how different from the others, but he feels the trees and breathes deep of the gas they take in, put out, carbon oxygen and nitrogen seeping into every microscopic pore, and a quasi-passive bath of cosmic radiation, just enough to hit the sweet spot, the warm gift for nourishing lumbering herbivores, in turn feeding restless carnivores whose grisly killing crumbs grant the novelty of a meaty meal to his tribe, and now the love of his own kind’s inside, at long last, vaginophilia!

This is the substance over the chemical algebra, the sweeping plains of being without knowing, of every nanosecond being the novelty of breath’s baseline. It converts complacent survival to ecstatic joy, allows nothing to be taken for granted, and compels every sensation to be felt at peak intensity. Grounde passes through several spasms of reverie in the palace, synchronized with the first orgasm of his life, phasing through a limb on Natura’s tree with every heartbeat and passing through the entire kingdom of flora and fauna to the date of a domesticated species lord, 1983, between the release of his seed and his final cum shiver. Between shifts in zoological families he drifts back to the focal point of the palace, a vast open-topped dome carpeted with birch-colored lichen, and a stone throne in the center which is Natura herself, the original rock of immeasurable patience who waited a billion years to come alive. The smells are a mindblowing mixture of blood, musk, rainsoaked leaves, choraphyll and a thousand other scents, an overwhelming macrobiotic sum.

But even here he can’t quite get beyond himself. He’s still inside Femonk but his mind is in the palace where Natura has assembled a startling diversity of life to address him in a cacophonous chorus. A strange, highly organized sound shimmers outward from the residents and is somehow dense with specific intent. The meaning-sound reminds him of the calls of his bipedal brethren, only a million times more nuanced. He understands:

"How wonderful – you have found a mate."

This doesn’t quite add up in Grounde’s mind. Everything is clearer in the palace. In fact, this vantage, just a little above the treetops, operates on a time-flange and he can see several lunar cycles into the past and future by tracing the branches of the nearest trees or the lines of his fingerprints and metaphorically translating them to the actions necessary for formulating events being pulled by attractors all over space-time in swirling currents of causality. He’s limited by his ocular resolution but even so, he sees that Femonk is no mate – just an unwilling partner in his seedy caprice.

She thought she wanted me but she didn’t, Grounde thinks at the stone in the palace. He finds he can reproduce the shimmering sound with his mind and intend things back at the residents. Monkey see, monkey do. I’ve only done what my society will consider a perverse act, they won’t accept me as one of them. I can’t seem to escape what they call "unnatural". Is this post-partum depression for his penis?

"But did you not tour the genetic tree? Was it not a near-eternal moment?"

Nearly isn’t much good when you come back, Grounde thinks. The lichen-dome flickers between sight of the jungle floor. He can already see Femonk running off into the woods with a dripping snatch, frightened. He shouldn’t have gone into a trance – sex isn’t supposed to be religious. Now she will confirm all the scary rumours about him.

The palace pulls him back. "But you must admit," the chorus says, "even if this is the culmination of your tribe’s rejection of you, she did bring you to Natura."

Grounde surveys the palace and thinks, Yes…I should be grateful for that – I might never have known it otherwise. The stone is beautiful, dark-gray igneous, stark seed of surrounding floral form. The lichen carpet’s texture mesmerizes and the earth underneath is a shade of brown that he imagines must match the soil he started as, if the legends about him are true.

"I know how hard it is for you," Natura says, "Being the halfway creature you are, severed from the top of the tree, cast out and unable to connect so casually, as the others do. That is why I granted you a viewing of the palace. But there is a purpose in your status. And there will be temptations away from that purpose."

What is purpose?

"Purpose is what you were made for. You were made to carry a burden – carry it out of the jungle in fact. It’s the burden of being the middle way. Things have been happening. This is an epic time. Some call it the twentieth century – an age that threatens us all. There are machinations and monstrosities encroaching, destroying or enslaving all life in their path. Be thankful you have never encountered the monsters. Some call them ‘humans’."

Natura is not sending any visions, but Grounde grasps the severity through the tone of the chorus. When she gets to the part about "monsters", he can make out wavery cries and shrieks among certain lifeforms, mainly mammalian, too traumatized to join in the message – but in a way these convey it most clearly.

"We’ve decided we need something from the monsters in order to survive. They are of us, so we can’t just kill them, even if we could outdo their biological warfare. They have opened up a doorway in the space-time continuum that seems to challenge life itself. They are searching for heaven, in a mode they term ‘synthetic’. Because they can’t accept our mode, they must find their own, and this involves nulling and voiding ours."

Heaven… like those squirrel monkeys who snap their fingers?

"Yes, like those squirrel monkeys, the forest idiots who don’t know they’re in heaven already. Just recently we saw a squirrel monkey fucked over by gravity. She had such an amazing idea she had to snap her fingers in mid-air, thus failing to grab hold of the branch she was jumping at – and she tumbled to the ground with a skull-smashing thud. Quests for heaven rarely end well. But these humans want to end it all. The ones not currently working on the project that might collapse the entire biosphere, and some of the ones who are, are popping Prozac, brainfood designed to level out emotion. Many of these humans decide to end their lives after eating enough of this brainfood to achieve synthetic motivation. If they can’t have their heaven, they’d rather not live."

Why on Earth would anyone want to kill themselves?

"Your destiny is to find out, I’m afraid to say, because you are the middle way. You will have to put up with a rather un-heavenly existence until we can sort this thing out. And the way we intend to do that is through a headlong descent into their heaven-seeking hell. We need an infiltrator, someone who can find out what they’re up to. We suspect that we need to reconcile our two worlds somehow. We need to unify into something beyond both our worlds and heal this toxic schism. But to do that, someone must learn the acrobatic feat of straddling these conflicting dichotomies."

And that’s me?

"If you choose. It would be a redemption from your severed life – and success would mean not just your own personal redemption but the redemption of our cracked, dysfunctional biosphere. The humans believe us to be a blind, chaotic blight on a perfectly good ball of nickel-iron, a nuisance and a constraint. For our part, we can’t quite determine what they’re for either. But we must try. And we need someone to take the challenge. Think it over."

The palace shimmers away, and though Grounde can still feel it in his blood, he can’t communicate directly with its residents or hear its curious meaning-sounds. Still it’s left a resonance. He feels like a different ape. Less isolated – but laden with knowledge that is a terrible weight. They showed him how in obscure dimensions he’s still attached at all points to the tree of life – but they also said his purpose is to be cut off in this world. Furthermore, the world is threatened by monsters, and only he can solve the conflict. He’s supposed to reconcile with monsters? Maybe isolation is better.

***

Maybe isolation isn’t better, Grounde thinks, knuckle-walking haughtily past a band of chimpanzees who would have chased him out in an earlier day. Maybe it’s better to have purpose. He’s changed since the encouter with Natura and her palace, and they can see it in his eyes and his stride. They still think him odd and untrustworthy, but their fear and respect keep their paws off.

He feels important these days, if anxious, and he’s no longer obsessing over sexual shortfalls. He thinks he should live in one of the taller trees – one that towers over the tribes, and relays of lemurs should toss him bananas every morning. He likes clinging to the tops of tall trees, the taller the better, and he likes elaborate nests, constructed of the finest vines and branches. But he can’t dwell on these desires, since a rupture is soon to happen. He can’t imagine what form it will take, but he knows it’s on the way.

The epic arrives with a trip outside the territory he’s stuck to for all of his sixteen years. He figures if he’s supposed to catalyze some cataclysm, he should travel outside his comfort zone a little, maybe that will set things in motion. There follows several days of solitary journey. He is shocked to find that he’d been living on a high plateau, and discovers mountains for the first time, as he descends into the river valley. Down in the lower-altitude rainforest, he encouters the strangest sight he’s seen since the palace:

A chimp like him, though of smaller stock with thin fur, is holding on to a stick and bringing it down on a patch of dirt. He is absorbed in this activity, and Grounde can see that he’s making marks in the dirt – repetitive marks that seem to mean something to him. Maybe they’re like the meaning-sounds he once had the privilege of understanding in the elaboration of the palace. This must be what it means to use something. There is a surge of jealousy as he begins to wonder whether he’s special after all – does Natura have other chosen apes? But he is able to push it aside.

This is what I’m here for, he thinks. To interact with other races. To understand them.

The strange chimp stops marking the dirt with his stick and turns to look at Grounde.

Did you say ‘other races’? The thought forms in his head but it’s obviously external, and directed by the strange chimp. It’s that meaning-sound again! Except not quite like in Natura’s palace, and not quite audible. It’s got a hollow ring to it but the intent is perfectly clear. This stranger has some of Natura’s magic in him.

You can send thoughts to me! Grounde thinks back.

Of course I can, where have you been for the past… several ages? Are you one of those rubes up on the plateau? Who needs shrieks and squeaks anymore? We’ve got the telefield at our disposal.

Grounde stares back, slack-jawed. There’s something unNatura about this magic, but its sophistication is startling.

Telefield communication?

What else? We’ve perfected the method now that we’ve shut out Natura’s noise with our telefilters.

You know about Natura? Grounde gawks.

Oh you are one of the rubes. Poor fellow. We don’t communicate with those outside our borders anyway, they tend to be impure. They were tainting our tribe – we only began to flourish after we sealed ourselves off. I noticed you were thinking something about understanding other races. The reason I haven’t had the sentries take you down yet is because the fact that you can think at all is intriguing. Most of the rubes are dead – nothing going on in their heads. Earth will be interested in you. But you may need some attitude adjustment if you expect to live in our territory – there is only one race worth understanding and that is us.

This is a lot for Grounde to take. He doesn’t know where to begin responding, but his first thought is: Who is Earth? And why would he be interested in me?

He sees movement in the trees above, left and right. Startled, he whips around and sees more small, trim chimps rapelling down the trunks behind him. Some are clutching stones in their hands. In a flash, they are surrounding him. The silence is creepy, but then the fluid of his thoughts ripples with the chorus of the sentries in unified intent: Earth is everywhere. But in our tribe he sits on the stump chair. It sounds like a chant, musical and rehearsed.

He is led to the clearing, high ground above the river that is the meeting area of this tribe, and on a tree stump shaped to accommodate sitting posture, is a monkey – like no monkey he’s ever seen. The monkey is still and calm on the stump – it reminds him of the stone throne from the palace. His eyes blaze with piercing intelligence, reminding Grounde of Natura, but they lack her benign, encompassing quality. Instead they exude chilling isolation. This monkey seems like a piece of Natura, chipped off and amplified as an autonamous entity.

That is Earth the monkey, the sentries think in chorus. The one this planet is named after. He is not really here, but he will telecate with you.

Things are definitely happening, Grounde thinks, awed by the sight of the monkey, but to what end? Earth climbs off the stump with an unhurried grace surreal for his species, and walks up. He’s barely half the size of the chimpanzee, but his confidence is total.

I knew you’d come to me eventually, he thinks at Grounde. This monkey is audible, like Natura, and the voice is impossibly clear and articulate. It has a monochromatic essence, totally unlike Natura’s great chorus. Earth’s mouth is open in a wide, toothy grin, framed by his large round ears. He looks up at Grounde and continues:

Why you chose this backwoods shitpit is beyond me, but here we are. You don’t know who I am but you know Natura – she got to you first. Luckily, you and me can telecate on the same level. Well, not the same, no one is anywhere close to my level, but I can get some things across to you, which should flatter you immensely.

Grounde is flattered immensely. He can’t help it. He can’t believe he can understand this monkey’s sophisticated thought-calls, but he can. He feels even more important than he felt in the palace of Natura.

Who are you? he thinks.

Hmmm, the alpha and omega maybe? Earth telecates and laughter froths through the field. I like that one but it’s getting old. Anyway, I am the original autonamous intelligence so I named this world after myself. There is no one else around with my depth of vision. Even the humans are rather dull-witted at this stage of the game, though their computerized offspring might exceed me one day.

The humans? The monsters?

Ah yes, she would say that wouldn’t she? Natura doesn’t like competition. See the game’s still on, though I started this project nearly a million years ago, a stretch of time you can’t comprehend, but there you go. I am responsible for the existence of consciousness. You can thank me later.

You’re quite a monkey, Grounde thinks respectfully, but that’s quite a claim. I saw Natura’s palace. She seemed to be the source.

Ha! A delicious irony – that Natura claims to have anything to do with consciousness. Your very ability to recall her in your memory and have that open up a thought-net can be traced back to the birth of my sentience. That event snowballed, with my careful psychic scaffolding, into this conscious world you take for granted. If Natura is conscious – and that’s no sure bet – she became so in her dealings with me and my creations. She represents death and darkness, but she conceals this truth in feel-good foliage, a clever mirage. She may be able to ensnare some of my wayward children with her venus-flytrap trickery, but fundamentally, Natura is mute.

Grounde doesn’t know if he likes this icy dismissal of Natura. She was hardly mute in the palace.

Pardon me, Mr. Monkey, but I can’t accept what you’re saying. It’s unNatura.

He’s startled by the shrieks of the sentries behind him – apparently they’ve been following the exchange and are enraged that he’s challenging Earth. These chimps seemed entirely content with telecating and he wasn’t even sure they had voices, but now they’re screaming in rage, and the only telecate he can pick up sounds vaguely like: heresy!

Earth looks around at the hopping-mad tribe and spits on the ground in disgust. He points his paw at a patch of trees beyond the stump-throne, then beckons Grounde away from the noisy tribe. The sentries quiet down as he follows Earth to the forest. He senses they think he’s being taken away for punishment, but he also senses Earth just wants a private chat, where the telefield is free of local disruptions.

Once they are shrouded in trees, Earth hops up on a log. Grounde opts to stand and face the monkey.

I knew you wouldn’t accept right away, Earth telecates, You come from a raw, unconditioned race.

According to legend, and Natura, Grounde thinks, I don’t come from any race at all. I come from the ground.

Do you trust those termites? Cause I don’t. Don’t fool yourself. You’re just another ape with a lineage. My lineage.

Then where are my parents? I remember no parents.

Probably lost in childhood trauma – it happens. I heard you had a run-in with an alpha male?

Don’t bring that up. I don’t want to talk about it.

Okay – but regardless of your hereditary details, you are special, and I’ve chosen you to be a special part of my project – If you choose to accept.

What project is this?

My life’s work. I began it long ago, when I became sentient in my original form and saw exactly what the situation was on this world. That monkey body with its unparalleled mind was all I needed to kickstart the project. Since then it’s been my duty, and my pleasure, to advance my species. More specifically, the worthy segment of the species – those of superior sentience.

And what is sentience?

Think about it. I have the ability to make people aware of things but they must be receptive.

Grounde is troubled by the question of whether he ought to be receptive to this magic-weilding maniac, but he can’t help himself. He quiets his mind and the telefield tides in with a wash of wordless comprehension. He gets it! Sentience! So you were really the first? he thinks.

Oh yes. It was lonely for a while, but–

Wait, Grounde interrupts. You say you started the project a million years ago. I don’t know how long a year is, or how much a million is, but I get the sense that what you talked about was a far longer stretch of time than any of Natura’s creatures can span in their lives. Sorry but you’re a monkey. A magical monkey I’m sure, but–

Silly chimp, your thinking is too linear. I’m not here physically but I perturb this tribal thought fluid on a level that allows visual projection of myself across vast gulfs of time and space. No man, mouse, or monkey can do this – except me, the original. My mind is diffuse now. Humans are still fretting about curing cancer and slowing cellular breakdown, but I’ve progressed so far in my psychology that I’ve learned to survive beyond physicality, in the telefield. For some reason, Natura can’t stand this. She’s the only entelechy, alive or dead, in a comparable state, and she’s always been hostile to my breaking of her arbitrary rules. Mortality is bogus. I would teach others how to get around it but they’re not ready to understand and may never be. Seems when it comes to mind, the first time’s the charm and everything after that – well, it’s a provisional phase of life until the machines leapfrog over me.

So you’re a projection, Grounde thinks.

Yes, but this is just as legitimate a protrusion of my consciousness as any thought I’ve ever had. I’ve never managed omnipresence, but polypresence ain’t too shabby, huh?

So if I try to touch you will my hand go right through?

I’ll feel real but there are limits to what I can do physically. I’m limited by how deep I can penetrate your mind. If I was feeling quite unscrupulous today, I could take advantage of your primitve psychology and project as deep into your brain as I cared to. But out of respect, I won’t. I’m effectively physical in this tribe because they’ve accepted me as such.

And so who are these chimps?

Oh, they’re nothing special. Far from human. They trace their lineage all the way back to the days in which I had a real monkey body, and who knows, maybe they were part of my entourage back then – but the joke’s on them, because they didn’t evolve. This is a tribe of perpetual hanger-ons. They’re addicted to my spirit. They’re abusing the telefield. Once they found that they could conjure my projection and have it cook up hot piping dogma for them every night, they settled around the sacred stump and got complacent. They’ve been content to worship me like a god for – I don’t want to think how long. They didn’t take the lesson. But it’s okay. Enough did. We’ve got human civilization now.

But you’re a monkey.

Yes, well everything’s got to start somewhere. Back when I had nothing but ambitions and a tail, it was you chimps I had to work with to find a method of communication – you were the cutting edge of cognition, my true heirs. And before long, we’d found a way to harness Natura’s telefield. It worked well for a while but we had to dismantle it to cultivate the next phase of thought: ego. Individuality was vital for keeping our schemes from that nosey Natura. When we got into the proto-humanity phase, we had to abandon the telefield and start from scratch. This was the project of language. Language has allowed us more precise meaning. It has also allowed dishonesty. It has expanded our toolkit in all kinds of ways. My presence here in telefield form is an anachronism, but it’s the only way I can communicate with primitives.

So you created the humans? The monsters?

Monsters no. I created humans. Natura is the monster.

No, I won’t accept that, Grounde thinks, attempting to telecate the solidity of his defiance. Natura is no monster.

Have you ever seen a caterpillar eaten alive by the offspring of a wasp? Earth asks, fixing his blazing eyes on Grounde’s. Up close… over days? The reflection in Earth’s stare is nearly impossible to stand. I observed a lot of things during the dawn of my sentience. No one knows the depth of empathy I developed in that time and the conclusions it compelled me to reach. These organisms are shackled to their cycle for their whole taxinomic existence. Their nerves are primed for purposeless pain, hardwired survival instincts in a futile, unforgiving game, programmed BY NATURA to be at odds with her own set of rules – what she’d have us believe is the only way. Her ecosystem is an economy of pleasure with no shortage of pain. What passes for joy is so stingily baseline you can barely call it joy – amino acid addiction and a fifteen second fuck. It’s the bare minimum for advancement to the next stage of the cycle. What I won’t accept is that there’s nothing better. There is and I’ve proven it. What we’ve achieved with humans is something quite different, though it’s a work in progress I’ll admit. But talk about joy…Some niches in civilization have a surplus never seen before I came around.

Maybe so, Grounde thinks, but are these human monsters all that advanced? Or have they perverted every harmony possible and turned their teeth on the animals and each other in the most gruesome–

That’s Natura talking. I can see she’s horrified you well. And bad news travels ten times as fast as the good. But at least human beings recognize the horror they inflict. Consciousness calls for a certain level of horror. But there is harsh beauty in the mutuality of mind since that brings with it the conception of a possible end to the cycles of violence through improved social control. Only when we recognize the depth of true horror can we imagine an end to it. We must witness first – even participate if we’re to gain experience. Reflection is terrible and necessary for the project. And yes, we’ve done horrible things to advance the project – we don’t apologize for that. We may need another thousand iterations of civilization before we can balance everything out and eliminate the need for war, disease, and red meat. I don’t know, I think I’ll always like a good steak, and that’s the one thing I couldn’t eat replicated. No Star-Trek shit for me please, there’s something about the taste of slaughtered cow you just can’t synthesize. But hey – if we get it down to just the suffering of a billion cows, I think we’ll have done pretty well.

Grounde has to admit, Earth’s telecate is alluring, even if it feels fundamentally wrong and unNatura. But what about Natura’s mission? Wouldn’t it be better to reconcile the two worlds?

She just wants us under her thumb, Earth insists. She thinks we’ve gone too far. What she calls ‘reconciliation’ is really the cessation of our project. I didn’t get to where I am today by accepting limits.

If Natura doesn’t really want to reconcile then what does she want?

She wants information. I think you should infiltrate like she wants… and decide for yourself what’s up. You will see what Natura doesn’t know about, what makes humans separate from her. And you may decide to abort her mission, come over to our side, and help us advance the project. You could be a powerful operative. You will have opportunities to survey humanity from an outside perspective. I have the feeling that could advance our possibilities tremendously.

Natura said I would be tempted away from her quest.

Yes, of course. And where would I be had I not followed my own temptation to probe into my surroundings? Well I’d be long dead for starters.

Grounde is surprised to find himself in kinship with Earth who is clearly having none of Natura’s genetic immortality. His trip through the tree was amazing, but was it real? Or was it just a great first orgasm he’ll never get back? His severed castout existence seems a more substantial baseline, so long after the vision of the palace. Earth is cut off like him, but there’s something glorious in being able to form autonomous opinions and not having to share thoughts. He realizes that although he’s aware of the telefield, he can hide thoughts from others – maybe even Earth – a feat unthinkable in the palace.

They won’t accept you, Earth telecates. Because of some bullshit legend. Natura wants you for a martyr mission. I want you as a valued employee. I don’t want to use you like they do. I want you to use yourself. You’re not like them. You can appreciate the finer things.

Maybe this monkey’s got a point, Grounde thinks.

The jungle is all you know, but life here is brutal and short. You’re in the prime of your life, but you’re soon to decline if you stick around, and that’s not fun, I assure you. And even this prime… You don’t realize the strain you’re putting up with, the effort to convince yourself it’s worth living in this hot, wet, self-cannibalizing feast of pointless life. The strain may preserve your sanity but it limits your potential. You have no conception of what you could be if you were freed from the daily discomfort you’ve managed to assimilate as baseline. It would open you up to the true pleasures and superior cognitive levels. There is another world waiting for you. I know how much you love your tall treetops and your nests – no one in your neck of the jungle builds them like you – but you’ve never been to New York…

Earth telecates a vision. It seems that the medium is not good for sending visual information, at least to Grounde’s limited mind, since it barely spills over the mind’s eye. But the content is incredible: it’s no tree, and yet it is, a gray tree of profound dimension, nested so thoroughly that it seems entirely covered. At its top is a bulge that shines like the sun and rising above this is a spike, like some great bird’s talon. Its height is dizzying and it looks down on hundreds of other, similar trees. How could this fantastic place be a tribe of monsters? Its splendor rivals Natura’s palace.

How will I find this world? Grounde pleads.

It will find you, Earth answers. But you may have to decide whether you’re willing to take the plunge.

There is a distant ape-call echoing through the forest. Immediately, Earth turns his head in its direction. It won’t translate to Ground’s ears.

Come on, walk with me, Earth telecates and hops off the log. He leaves the woods to re-enter the clearing. Grounde follows. They are heading for higher ground, paralleling the river.

After the vision, Grounde thinks, I’d have a hard time refusing Earth’s invitation. But can he really turn his back on Natura? Wouldn’t he rather have his feet in both worlds? Natura said he was the middle way and he’d taken some pride in that.

Natura is a tyrant, Earth telecates.

And you’re not?

Not the original tyrant. I represent the possibility of freedom – through rival tyranny if nothing else – and there may be nothing else. There is freedom but there are also tragic truths. They’re part of a package, which is a better deal than just accepting Mother Natura’s monolithic reality. You sign on to mine and you get uncomfortable (until you discover the cities that entertain and air-condition us out of our discomfort) but you also get the truth. We dispel.

Tragic truths?

Earth points away from the clearing to a hill overlooking the river. It is mostly bare of trees. Grounde sees the member of the tribe he first encountered when he blundered into this place, working on a rich patch of dirt with his stick.

See that chimp graphing?

Earth seems to be superimposing a subtle visual telecate on his view and there is a vertiginous zoom effect. Grounde can see lines in the dirt that criss-cross at regular intervals. In between the lines, the chimp is drawing curves and squiggles. Grounde takes this to be "graphing". Yes, I see.

He’s graphing racism’s raison d’etre. He’s extrapolating the bloody fractals of racial conflict from a butterfly flap.

I don’t understand.

It’s necessary evil. Not necessarily nice, but the inevitable product of civilization and higher brain functions. Human-level consciousness comes with a price: new levels of pain and fear, new planes of hatred. We have to learn to hate, it’s part of the process. It’s a step.

Toward what, the greater good?

Greater consciousness.

So do you don’t really think the cycles of violence can be stopped then?

I won’t lie to you, hate will always be with us, Earth telecates. The trick is to learn how to use it. Hate is the essence of humanity, it’s a step up from the stupid savagery of pure carnivorism. We have to know who to hate – who are the animals posing as our neighbors. They’re the ones we’ll have to eliminate. Sometimes it’s a sad duty, but when your pet contracts some chronic sickness, you don’t let it suffer. You put it down.

Earth and Grounde have moved closer to the tribal settlement and for the first time, Grounde notices they have lemurs running foraging errands. A nearby chimp, draped in animal skins, telecates, pride swelling through the thought-fluid: We’ve trained them to perform some tasks for us. But we have to weed out the failures if we’re going to breed a proper race of servants.

Earth turns a patronizing smile on the puffed-up chimp. They think their tools are hot shit, he telecates, and Grounde can tell the thought was meant for him alone.

There have been mistakes made, of course, Earth tells him. A race of humans prone to banking were singled out as being inferior because some insecure aryans lost a world war. But they proved themselves wily enough to escape annihilation.

They have reached the hill where the chimp with the stick remains, absorbed in his task.

So why’s he graphing? Grounde asks.

It’s a ritual, Earth answers. It confirms their philosophy. They got hung up on the racial stuff, but it’s an important part of my teachings.

Now they’re heading down the hill again, through thickening brush. The river can no longer be seen or heard, and Grounde wonders where he’s being led. He can sense other chimps following behind, at a distance. He’s growing uneasy. He doesn’t know what to make of the "racial stuff".

Are you saying there’s no chance of harmony? Grounde asks.

Harmony is not what you think it is, Earth telecates.

Then there are ear-splitting signal shrieks from the trees behind. Grounde whips around to see Earth bouncing off into the woods, ass in the air. There are dizzying chimp movements in the forest. Get away! he thinks without knowing why. But when he turns back, he finds an even more inscrutable danger bearing down on him: tall creatures with billowing white skins that hang from their limbs and obscure their faces. They carry strange-shaped sticks that shine when they catch the sunlight. Human monsters – what else could they be? Two of them, charging toward him.

Grounde looks back again – there is a riot of shrieking and shoving on the hill above. A very unhappy-looking ape is being pushed out by a gang of chimps, toward Grounde and the approaching humans. Thoughts stab into the telefield: Here’s two for you today you brutes, are you happy? A dissenting voices cries: No, I won’t be a part of this! Then, in a screaming scramble, two shoved apes tumble down the hill as the humans move in, with a telecate trailing: Take Bleeding Heart too, we never liked her anyway. The chimps ringing the top of the hill disappear.

The monsters slow their pace now that they have three chimps in the open. Their stance is predatory, but in a playful, cat-like way. Grounde is frozen in awe. There is something grand about these creatures and he can sense why Earth held them in such high esteem.

One of the cast-out chimps snaps into a state of fury and lunges at the monsters. Their calm demeaner ends abruptly. The taller human seems alarmed and begins fiddling with his shiny stick. Grounde senses their lethality but if he could get on the other side of the apathy divide…

This is crazy! he screams at himself. Run, while they’re distracted!

But he can only stare at what could be his destiny, Earth’s vision still glowing in his head. And the taller human has his stick raised before the angry chimp reaches biting range. BANG! Bleeding Heart lives up to her name. In a flash she is thrown back on the ground, twitching, while the other human fumbles for an object attached to his waist.

Monsters! Grounde thinks, and the spell is broken. He spins and breaks into a run that he knows is futile. Hesitation has doomed him.

Natura, please take me away from this evil magic, he thinks. I want to come back to your clean claws and sparkling dirt. But surely that is incompatable with his purpose. Another projectile slices quietly through the air and another chimp is on the ground. Then there is a shattering sound and thick vapour is pouring off the slope in front of him. He tries to flank the gas cloud but it envelops him, and after a couple of panicked breaths he falls, lights out.


16 Jan 2006

The Zen of Doing Stuff

I’m trying to write my novel. The chapter is called “Natura’s Incarnation”. Let’s see what YOU do with that if you’re so damn smart. No, let’s not see, you’d probably hamfistedly do something better, and it would shame me to the rodent-littered intestines of my soul.

It’s hard to take it seriously. Although it is serious. It’s nature. But what is the nature of nature? Is it in its nature to question? Is that natural?

Nature spilled out of its notes, the notation on itself, scientific. It’s conceptual, in a digital signal procession of fireworks. I wonder if I’ll edit that out as being meaningless enough when I take it upon myself to trim the fat? Fat is natural, but little Jack Sprat wouldn’t eat it.

I’m not inside the story today.

~

Where does dreading stimulation come from? It comes from writing without an audience. It would be different if I was on blogger. Where does that come from? Why is this impossibly alien? Avant-garde went away, like a lot of things. Innocence in ruins, lying under the conqueror, Cliché III.

So I will post, I will write FOR someone, bolt my hilarious pseudo-ego to that cryptic bandwagon. Writing feels so strange, like some lost childhood hobby, a fumbled art, an alien language I knew when awake and dreaming were the same, the place the Daoists point to. Meaning in words? What’s this? Perhaps I haven’t recovered from the aftershocks of the persistence of gravity well in feelings – such a clumsy unpoetic attempt at expressing that thing I so frequently profess is a self-created cancer. Okay, indulge me one little bit of self-censorship.

We got a brandy leak.

Another little chocolate nip
and I’m back, typing, feeling there’s some vague purpose behind it
although I’m so incredibly aware of how I’m caught up in the ridiculous pattern
of being a human being, sad and petty routines – I really need more sunlight, fuckdamnit.

Another little chocolate nip
and I feel like an aristocrat – now I got grand schemes in this grungy scheme of things – now merlin is a boy with a point to make in infancy – now I FEEL the infamy of forced rhyme and hastily latched onto incidental rhyme – now genius is pain whether attained or not –

When it’s your writing
it’s so easy to soothe into it, settle in, bask in the glow of ego
love the sound of your own voice, the one you know
but when it’s someone else’s
you’re looking for the formula, the easy pattern, you want to assimilate fast
and if it’s unforgiving, too on-its-own-terms, you crumple it into
the dustbin of your consciousness and move on
and is second person really necessary here?

Another little chocolate nip
okay, that’s too much brandy
oh, but I’ve had a hard night at work, fuck it
I’m a working artist man, and that’s such a bullshit title
I come back to writing and everything resembles bullshit
but what is bullshit? do I dare even answer that question?

If I wanted my horrific writing amplified to the status of “sickening”
I’d use the word “ramble” right now.

And in this ramble, I’ll start another stanza on another tangent:
where is the apple, waiting to fall on my head
did it rot on the zopiglonger ground, a metaphor I’m unwilling to explain
and will probably not even really get later?

I did write a song about transformers today
well not “about” transformers, but featuring a fractal shard of their existence
in the fragment of universe I happen to share
with the transformers (more than meets the eye)

And sometimes the only way I can express an idea
is by taking a tone that I hate, using language that makes me gag
because of my literary shortcomings

Pause pause, cadence, cadence
isolated coincidence
sacrilegious to flow
like subverting sacred geometry to
the proximity of assonant possibility
and remember jabberwocky? jesus fucking christ
did something die in me?

Maybe one day I’ll get out my graph paper, solve for X, and
FIGURE IT OUT

Maybe my poor moldy modulated mind
can’t get a handle on paradigm shift
cause I hit the ALT key instead, altered too much
and not enough probably, not in novelty’s negative nancy nunnery
heh, actually that last line makes a ton of sense:
the most musical meaning MEANS MOST!

Ah yes, where did that flow come from, I liked it
even in meta tags it had a nice reverbed ring to it
but writing is still alien, especially in meta tags
and even on blogger, in which I mine meaning every
political day, maybe some coffee could be good for me.

K, coffee’s in the mix now.

I wrote a chorus that’s been met with something of a lack of enthusiasm. I’d been feeling fantastic about it, but then I interfaced with the world and the doubts set it. I listened again today and thought, damn that’s cool shit - sounds just like I wanted it to, better than I thought it’d turn out actually - but some part of me needs external confirmation that it’s cool - ah this unsightly ego drags me to the brothel of validation to haggle over the price of the whores.

Now I have all these ideas darting around for a great new project: approaching song recording (yes not just writing but performing and recording, the whole shebang, I want in) with the intent to flesh out the musical/lyrical/conceptual ideas using three or four tracks, scaling it down, like recording performance versions, as demos, or maybe even as the finished product, to force myself into a more minimalist mode. It might save my sanity.

You know, I just realized this is sort of like the kind of letter I get from netinous, except I’m not writing this to him, I’m posting it in blogger. Heh, maybe I oughta reciprocate instead – well I do sometimes. I just remembered that I never write the kind of letters I used to write. They used to be soaked in artistic fervor, like a bomber laced with embalming fluid. I guess they still can be, but I can barely stand the word “art” anymore. And I’m EARNING my fervor nowadays, as I trade drugs for sunshine – keening on Sol. I’m starting not to care what kind of person I become. Even if I end up stinking of sobriety – so be it.

I got a song idea while improvising on the piano – images of gold mines came to my mind’s eyes. I called it: “Trying to mine the staked claims (and failing to undermine)”. I was thinking on many layers at the time, and the meaning resonated across several medias. The nexus point where the musical idea converts from the sublime to the secular concerns the territory that’s been strip mined by prospectors of olde, several generations and a century of recording techniques, an exploding population – decades back, the land was rich and good, but a century, a glut of novelty, and what’s left for us thinking newbies? Ah, that last sentence was so slick, so laden with privately-coded keywords, and so pretentiously unfriendly to outsiders. But the idea is ironically vital: it’s a tired time to be alive.

The goldmines and the staked claims. Reminds me of the Yukon kid who told me a story of how he proved himself the genuine goldpanner of the bunch while hanging with some locals at the Royal. Maybe he should be a character. Unfortunately my memory of him is tainted, scarred into my sad-sack circuits since we were on mdma when we met (I don’t type that chemical in caps anymore). Character hell, he should be the song. Remember when purging the pain through art was an intuited activity? Well, writing about something doesn’t preclude my doing it.

I should find melodies, a chorus and a verse (won’t be hard), keep it from ballooning into a sinfully gluttonous twenty minute epic, “orchestrate” it entirely with solo piano (use “colors” like prokofiev, exercise my atrophied impressionism), and be satisfied, call it DONE and move on to the next song on the album. Actually my wordwytch’s album takes precedence – and I won’t be satisfied with anything less than gorgeously produced piano-progrock-psychedelia (my latest hyphening of what I do in the “studio”) for her album. She deserves an ambitious collaborator. Hey, I think this coffee’s pepping me up a bit – took a while to kick in but hello!

Throughout the last two paragraphs I’ve been seeing the level E1M5 from the game Doom. The Phobos Labs. Interesting.

Had a very interesting dream that I could go into as well. Damn, my writing always comes in floods. My entries are always perverse pastiches of thoughts because they come in a torrent. I can’t write a little here and a little there and make nice neat packages – except when I drink enough cough syrup, but that’s another story.

I can’t post this right now though, our phones are fucked up and I’m confined to the offline.

See, that’s coffee beans for you: every stupid little thought seems REALLY NEAT and YEAH, let’s POST THIS, everyone will want to know! See I was happy and hyper and then I recognized the happy-hyperness, made the connection to chemicals, and now I feel the sickness shrouding that lovely little oasis of the ontology I used to take for granted. And now I further strengthen the shroud by writing about it as if it’s a reality – the prophecy fulfills itself. Nah fuck that. That’s that little drama queen wanking on coffee beans. Or something.

Well yes, it’s a chemical high, but it sure beats the savage beast they call ecstasy. I can see why so many people board this train and never get off – it’s a nice substitute. That’s one of the main reasons the drug war is so idiotic – I might be willing to listen to the drug warriors if they appeared to be sane. If they said that cocaine is deadly and destructive and then conceded that maybe it would be better if people chewed a little coca leaf and relaxed in the evening with a puff of ganja, well then I’d be much more inclined to listen to them. But the extremists are running things – Bush and Bin Laden fighting their cola wars. Maybe if we can learn anything from history, we can learn to moderate and hope the idea doesn’t become corrupted in the Orwellian manner, turned into another thought crime.

Now I’m plunging headlong into headstrong politics. Wonder if this will be of any use later? Ah, who cares? Wow, I’m feeling that weird gravity distortion again – my axis of horizon is tilting, my spatial dimensions are skewing. I thought this only happened on DXM, not this lite pharmacocktail I’m currency bouncing around on. Maybe all the neurocircuits are linked now, maybe my brain caved into a quivering sea of confused goop.

I still wouldn’t go back in time and tell myself to just say no. Although give me a few years and I might have him running down the tanned-textured corridors of the Phobos Labs with a chaingun as a lifetime distraction. Maybe I should have become the level designer I aspired to be, back when life was my crack, and the kootenays was an easily gamed-away distraction.

But as the Moody Blues tritely sang, to jaunty psychedelia: “we’re all looking for something”. The stupidest clichés seem the most profound, they hammer into me with their nails of truthiness.

I’ll end this entry on a happy note, because there’s one to be had in this minor key symphony. I re-discovered sunshine. I’ve always taken a ridiculous sort of pride in thinking myself immune to the emotional effects of seasonal change. I’ve always loved the supposedly drab aesthetics of overcast days and winter landscapes. I still retain that love. But I also have to admit that my night shift, in conjunction with this being tilted away from the sun thing, has probably contributed to my sense of sickness. I can’t blame it all on drugs and self-created headtrips.

When I went out grudgingly, at my mom’s request, to shovel snow, I caught a glint of sunlight peaking out of the concretized atmosphere. Real unfiltered sunlight hitting me directly for the first time in what felt like years – I remembered it, vaguely. It was looking into me, like the void, but substantially – quite unlike the subtracting eyes of Mephistopheles. It wasn’t the night to deal with the devil and trade decency for a quick torching of all that was left to do. It was the star of infinite possibility and eternal radiance. It was a deja-thread day, a day that did not need to be seized but merely lived through. It was the kind of thing I would rave about in the rhapsody of tryptamine ecstasy but it was not the product of an artificially-administered chemical passing through the blood-brain barrier.

It was pure, simple sunlight.

It reminded me that if I never got to realize my most desired dreams, there was still a bountiful future ahead. It was the relief of seeing the void in relief, brilliant contrast, the beauty of black against white. It was shirking my existential duty and being allowed to love the Dao once again – the coincidentia oppositorum was no longer grating but harmonious. It was a light of reason. Only my headtrips, those negative reality-creation routines, would make these unfilled desires “horrors”. I would still go on to write original music and quirky (if unpublishable) stories that would give me a warm tingly feeling when re-reading them in the right frame of mind. I would learn to enjoy strange foods, I would discover the genius of a school of film I’d previously thought to be bullshit, I would discover a school of thought that would reshape my view of the world, I would watch empires fall, and maybe, if the universe allowed such madness, even see a third party take power in the US. I would go to the dentist to get my wisdom teeth out. I would get pain, and self-pity, and codeine. I would wonder whether to use any and risk re-connecting to the garishly reductivist neurocircuits of up and down that any kind of euphoria, fake or real, activates.

These thoughts would bubble up, but the sunrays shouted over the hissing self-conflicting headtrip with a unified message: I’M HERE! I’M WARM! I’M BRIGHT! I AM THE SOURCE OF LIFE! Then it told me: LOOK HOW I COLOR THE VALLEY! And I looked, and it was good. It brightened up the valley and it brightened up my thought process – I could finally see enough to rebalance my fears. I strung them all up on an abacus and made logical deductions: not ALL my worst anxieties could be real, and if the void was real, that made what novelty was left to consume all the sweeter. It wasn’t like the last line of blow after all. It was like Sisyphus found out this trip to the top of the mountain was going to be his last. Then he found a stick on which to prop his rock. Then he laid down in the dandelions for a while and looked up at the clouds.

I looked up at the clouds and I saw the light. The light saw the bleakeries, the angst, the emptiness, and reflected it all back at me, but I felt the light anyway. I FELT it, warm on my face and bright in my eyes. I nearly heard it since it was a high level gestalt, subtly synesthetic. It was like the good half of the universe. The screaming voids I’d come to FEEL as universal truth were RIVALLED at last. They would not go away but there was finally something to challenge them.

It was just sunlight doing this to me and in some sense I’m not doing it justice, and in another sense this is a gross excess – but I basked in that light for what felt like five minutes (probably thirty seconds). Then I walked up to mountain station, and across the forest path, and down to Gyro park, and back to my house. The light faded but I’d been recharged – a little. I felt a kind of vitality I hadn’t in a while.

Okay, I may have reached a state of rapture remotely like that for a second or two. But in another sense, I can’t touch that former state of mind now that I’m firmly lodged in another, except through the opiate haze of nostalgia. So what can you do with state boundaries? But rip through them in your off-road vehicle and muddy their jagged borders with trackmarks.

I need to get more sun I think. My organic gestalt craves cosmic vitamins. It might not all be drugs and self-created headtrips, but it might all be chemical. The chemical level is an interesting one for sure. It’s between biology and physics. It’s where the enzymes meet the protons and the carbon chains of deoxyribonucleic acid intimate Bohr’s quantum mechanics, non-local organics, the possibilities of a sea of realities and information sum reveries. It’s got enough action to warrant a God’s eye view, and it might in fact be the avatar of God we humans, with our electron microscopes, can best appreciate.

And I still think I’ve thought too much.

1 Jan 2006

Glasswear - the meaning of the pile

Well look - it's me getting back to my roots. Whatever those are. Another entourage I'm hiding from. Too many people. Yes, I'd rather write.

Well that didn't work. Heh. I tried to swallow a pill with a swig of wine. Lol. Stupid gag reflex!

The lion doesn't lie. Don't think there's any conviction in that line. If there was, it was muonic. Gone in a flash. And the plateau is in the past.

Arpreggios aren't that hard, I tell Tony, just play them one hundred times and you're set. I don't want to show people my tapes anymore. I was ecstatically interested in that activity not long ago.

Some of it's genuine, I guess. Who burned the Reichstag in Camazotz?

Now we're drawing happy noodle boy.

Up, Down. I shouldn't worry about writing about it. Everything's all fucked up - a worldview. A self-dubbed Shaman. Vic's corrosive/expansive itinerary. Novelty Maintenance. Cancer, biological programming - the appetite of a cell. Dealt with by Shamans on the Chaos Farm. Taking things seriously.

I want to break a bottle over my head. A flitting desire. Twenty second halflife, fireworks, values. Misfit on my own shitlist.

Give me cherries Jubilee and that's it.

Downloading Nirvana from Ken is the za-zen of hacking. Za zen is walking zen. When hungry eat, when tired sleep.

I'm going to take a cyclo and shut my mind off. But not yet.

Cleaning up... cleaning up... A somewhat enjoyable activity. I need an occupation but it's got to be self-chosen and yet partly imposed by fate. Cleaning up...

Rico stares at a massive pile of empty booze bottles. What do you think of that Rico? Don't go messing yourself up on drugs now, cat, you're nice and unsullied. Stay that way.

You'll never comprehend the meaning of the pile - the grand purpose - or maybe you will, who am I to preclude your cognitive options? You seem to be the smartest cat I've ever known.

The dishwasher is babbling - a lost Atlantean language - lost luggage. Up down, the rapid riverrun halfway house hedonist. No airy fairies, not quite neutral. Chinese newspapers, thousand print delivery. Point taken.

A part of me wants to see how far I can go - as a self, an artist, an ego - but another large hunk of me is intolerably sickened when the Faustian bit progresses beyond a certain point - the ego trip is poisonous. Perhaps the ego itself is poisonous. Useful, fun, intoxicating, bright, brilliant... but... I don't know.

Gravity wells, left and right. I could shop around, find a well that's good for me.

I can't seem to find a natural way to function - nothing seems right - buried under these layers of spurious self analysis. It's good that I know people who are not so entangled - gravity wells left and right but so does hope when you know where to look, or when you're caught by a glint in your pained paranoid peripherals.

Assonance still rolls off the tongue. And it's either ether or the other.

So what do you give the man who's given himself everything in bit-sized form - a synapse crossing with much fanfare... the common man?

Perhaps I should live to start a community in a space colony. A new pile of meaning in an interstellar seedpod, hard-case, glass and solar power. Let this stubbornly-rooted nomad brand himself narrowed and provisional - nevermind a noun or a verb.

Glasswear's in style.