[iDC] have fun!
mlahey at artic.edu
Fri Jun 2 13:33:22 EDT 2006
Oh no! she's back! he he just goofin'. Ever since the day when I declared
war on techno-fascism I have been working on an explanatory manuscript to give
you all. It is hard to put this stuff into words! But I feel pretty happy
about the result. It is not formal and I haven't got a bibliography on it yet
but it says what it needs to say.
Please enjoy! And dance at as many weddings as you possibly can, it's so much
Warm Regards and many happy returns,
(ps - scroll down!)
(pps - a round of thanks to Trebor for all he does.)
Who Do You Trust? or; Science Deployed to Disempower.
I am concerned here primarily with gom [meditation technique] as a means, which
implies a rigorous, focused and disciplined use of introspection and
mindfulness to probe deeply into the nature of a chosen object. From the
scientific point of view, this process can be compared to rigorous empirical
The difference between science as it stands now and the Buddhist investigative
tradition lies in the dominance of the third person, objective method in
science and the refinement and utilization of first person, introspective
methods in Buddhist contemplation.
In principle, I have no objection to cloning as such as a technological
instrument for medical and therapeutic purposes. As in all these cases, what
must govern ones decisions is the question of compassionate motivation.
However, regarding the idea of deliberately breeding semi-human beings for
spare parts, I feel an immediate, instinctive revulsion...Some people might
feel this is an irrational emotional reaction that need not be taken seriously.
But I believe we must trust our instinctive feelings of revulsion, as these
arise out of our basic humanity.
- h.h. the Dalai Lama
One of my favorite moments in any book ever is in the last book of the
Foundation series by Isaac Asimov. A white male character, Golan Trevize is
given the choice deciding the fate of the universe (hey! thats a vaguely
familiar state of affairs!). In a setup that would make minority activists
squirm with revulsion, Trevizes best friend, guided by the exotic and sexy
alien robot he has been making time with, helps Trevize to decide that instead
of continuing to be torn by wars of dominance, the universe will become a
harmonious symbiotic organism.
On the web I found this review of Foundations Edge (gotterdammerung.org)
Trevize must decide the outcome because Gaia has determined that he is able to
reach correct conclusions on the basis of insufficient data. That is, the fate
of the Galaxy is thrown to intuition. Trevize is offered three futures. One,
under the First Foundation, would be a Second Empire, much like the old one,
but better. Another, under the Second Foundation, would be a benevolent unseen
rule by the masters of mentalics, that would establish an Empire almost free of
strife. And yet another, in which Gaia would embrace the entire Galaxy to create
one galactic whole, Galaxia, in which there will be no conflict but only
The choice is clear... and Trevize does not make it! He selects Galaxia, the
irresponsible fool. What? Has Asimov gone mad? What normal human being would
like to be a cog in a galactic machine, to lose his/her individuality, and to
share everything with plants and rocks? Yet this is precisely what Trevize
chooses for everyone else, despite the fact that he has doubts, and despite the
fact that he honestly wishes not to see this future himself. This is the most
disappointing turn in the series...
What is wrong with this picture?
Derrick Jensen, in his introduction to Inga Muscios book Cunt, writes:
But to merely reside in the sensual as the world burns isnt good enough. Nor is
it good enough merely to mourn the losses both inside and out. Both of these are
necessary, but not sufficient. And here Cunt helps again. If things are so bad,
one can also ask (this time unreasonably, I think), why not just withdraw into
the sensual, why not just party (or cry)? BECAUSE, I THINK CUNT MAKES CLEAR,
THIS QUESTION REVEALS NOTHING NEITHER MORE NOR LESS THAN AN INABILITY TO LOVE.
If youre in love, with your life, with your body, with your lover, with the
tree outside your door, with the world that gives rise to all of these, the
fact that were all deeply, deeply fucked doesnt matter a damn to your
actions: if youre in love, you act to protect your beloved. (Emphasis added)
Jensens ideas about love are radical. First of all, he considers animals and
plants to be capable of a reciprocal and egalitarian relationship with humans.
Receptive humans, that is. And this belief is based on his primary experience.
What does that mean? That does NOT mean not trusting anyone outside yourself.
That means, not trusting authority to the point where you completely ignore
yourself and what messages your self is telling you.
Consider this excerpt from the wonderful Inga Muscios book Cunt.
The doctorly sounding male narrator insisted that we not take baths or exercise
during this special time, but be sure to keep spotlessly clean with lots of
soap and showers because menstruating girls tend to stink up the room if
theyre not completely at one with personal hygiene. He also informed us that
any pain or discomfort we might feel resided in our heads, and had been
collectively imagined by womankind for thousands of years...
I find it fascinating that mens description of the pain enkindled by a knee to
the groin sounds awfully similar to what I have experienced for up to
thirty-six unflagging hours. And yet, imagine the hue and cry if men were
informed that the horrifying symptom of pain accompanying a swift kick in the
nuts was purely psychosomatic.
In this society, we look to the outside for just about everything: love,
entertainment, well-being, self-worth and health. We stare into the TV set
instead of speaking of our own dreams, wait for a vacation instead of
appreciating each day, watch the clock rather than listen to our hearts. Every
livelong day we are bombarded with realities from the outside world, seemingly
nonstop...One hardly has the opportunity to look inside for love and peace and
other nice things like that.
Western medicine, that smelly, deaf dog who farts across the house and that we
just dont have the heart to put out of its misery, is based on a law opposed
to the one the rest of the universe seems to go by, namely: Healing Has Nothing
to Do with You, Just Follow the Directions on the Label.
What does that have to do with gotterdammerung.org and a science fiction book by
a crackpot astrophysicist?
Has Asimov gone mad? What normal human being would like to be a cog in a
galactic machine, to lose his/her individuality, and to share everything with
plants and rocks...
1. What is a normal human being? A western European white male? The standard
for human, as it has been endlessly reiterated, should be a bit broader than
that. Most of the people in the world (the part that does not live in an
industrialized society) have no problem seeing themselves as part of a greater
2. The machine metaphor. Oh please, not again. Scientific materialism reduces
everything to a deterministic domino-chain. But what if every element of the
chain is as complex and unpredictable as a human being? In other words, if
every element of the universal organism is capable of complex responses and
relationships, the whole concept of a machine is brutally stupid at the same
time as being laughable. I havent even begun to talk about quantum social
3. Why is individuality equated with not sharing in this statement? Do we cease
to exist when we share? Does the burning genius of gotterdammerung.org fail to
make the simple observation that he is already sharing space with rocks and
trees and animals; or rather, that THEY are sharing space with HIM (they were
here first, after all), and hes not even a bit grateful.
The one solid bit of theory which, in my opinion, the work of Claude
Levi-Strauss produced, is based around what he terms, The science of the
There is only one solution to the paradox, namely, that there are two distinct
modes of scientific thought. These are certainly not a function of different
stages of development of the human mind but rather of two strategic levels at
which nature is accessible to scientific enquiry: one roughly adapted to that
of perception and imagination: the other at a remove from it. It is as if the
necessary connections which are the object of all science...could be arrived at
by two different routes, one very close to, and the other more remote from,
Myths and rites are far from being, as has often been held, the product of mans
myth-making faculty, turning its back on reality...This science of the
concrete was necessarily restricted by its essence to results other than those
destined to be achieved by the exact natural sciences but it was no less
scientific and its results no less genuine.
In other words, the use of intuition as a method for arriving at the truth
yields as valid results as the scientific method.
Human beings evolved imbedded in a complex ecology. This process took millions
of years. The process of becoming fully evolved into an ecosystem is a process
of dialogue. One has to stay in the same place for a very long time. One has
to negotiate relationships that work. And in the case of an entire ecosystem
one would have to negotiate relationships with perhaps thousands of other
When one regards plants, rocks and animals as of equal importance to the
universe as human beings, these negotiations create societies of a very
different character than the Western European one.
In his book 1491, which describes recent scientific findings about the Americas
before Columbus (before the Americas), Charles Mann reveals a world as
shockingly different from ours as it is wonderful and desirable.
Contrary to what scientists had earlier determined, the population of Mexico
alone was somewhere between ten and thirty million; some parts of Amazonia were
probably more populous than any other part of the world before European diseases
Also contrary to prior conclusions, slash and burn was not a traditional way of
life for Amazonians. It was a new behavior introduced by Europeans and
facilitated by European steel. In fact, their experiments indicated that
trying to cut down a single four-foot tree with an indigenous stone ax would
take three weeks for someone working eight hours a day. Thats a waste of
time. This is important because if Amazonians didnt make clearings, how did
they support such a huge population?
They created what are now known as edible forest gardens. They developed
caring relationships with plants that could contribute fiber, shelter, or food
to human life. Indigenous Americans also cultivated and nurtured plants that
sustained the animals they ate, creating habitat instead of destroying it.
According to historical accounts, they lived in an almost-paradise of plenty.
Even though our technology has evolved to create a very, very different ecology
surrounding us, our biological organism just isnt changing that fast. (of
course, technology will intervene to resolve this question. Hurray.) Since
its been scientifically proven that sensory input has a huge impact on body
chemistry, it should be obvious to state that the lack of natural imbeddedness
in which we evolved has a high impact on health, mood, and longevity. Why is
there a global epidemic of depression? Hm. Lets see.
What many of us, including the poor sod Ive been lampooning on
gotterdammerung.org, often fail to see is that all of our problems on earth are
interconnected. Depression. Autism. ADD and CFS. Pollution. Habitat loss.
Poverty, slavery, violence, crime, loss of agricultural land, urban decay,
office politics, abusive relationships, lack of relationships, obesity, child
victimization, colonialism, neo-colonialism, high rents, homelessness, 9-11,
war in the Middle East, cancer, you name it. They are all connected.
My professor told me that its impossible to see things as interconnected.
Why? I asked him.
Because, he told me, distressed, You start to think about everything and
you are going to get overwhelmed!.
Clever man, he hit the nail right upon the head. This, I replied, is the
reason why so many cultures have creation stories and elaborate mythologies.
They dont necessarily have to depend upon the literal truth of these
narratives as long as they provide a satisfactory psychosomatic short hand for
navigating our realities. For this reason, the foundation myths of a people
have an EXTREME degree of importance to their future. for this reason, our
present course, based solely on the scientific method, can take us only to a
single destination; the total eradication of nature.
What is the creation myth of present society? Derrick Jensen brilliantly writes
on this topic. Francis Bacon, the founder of the scientific method and the
Prime Minister of England, wrote of his obsessive lust to torture, break and
enslave nature. Rene Descartes makes a similar case. The founders of our
modern mythology (the Enlightenment) hated, feared, and longed to destroy
nature. While this may have made some sense in an era when there was at least
a minor likelihood that you could be attacked and killed by an animal, or
perhaps kicked by a cow, this makes NO SENSE in an era when all the animals are
being killed by us and actually a lot of us think that milk comes from the
The Buddhist practice of Gom, as described by the Dalai Lama above, is a tested
practice for developing first-person objectivity. It is an elegant and simple
alternative or perhaps companion to the scientific method. And it is perhaps,
the best foundation for a new and more realistic cosmology that does not
contraindicate life itself.
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