14: Joy & Play, Uncontrolled

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“I have always felt driven to write about how our co-existence as a species is vital. We should recognise all the ways we can enhance and celebrate it. But at the same time, I find myself to be quite implacable. All I desire is contradictory and fantastical. The strange and quixotic, the uncertain: that’s where my real passions lie.” — Francis Hernández, Natural Receptors, Interviews with Karl Gruber, 1979-93

All narrative was false narrative. This was the antidote. This was anti-narrative.

Attempting to assess the numerical correspondences between comings and goings in the library scholarly prejudice had the nasty habit of interfering with the calculation.

On the night of the Sabbath volumes of the classics had been incinerated, and the revolutionary texts reinstated. Weaponised play had become the disorder of the day.

“There hasn’t been a mistake.”

The totalising urge of the orthodoxy was shown up for what it was: a macabre desire to protect the mythical object of the utensil.

“$120,000? How much would it be for the human?”

The symbolic content of the commodity had shifted. A sub-layer of new meaning could be found within the hermeneutics of metonymy. However, there would be no report.

After the council sent a peasant boy a tin of paint to graffiti with, they were met with a .357 Magnum.

“Opinions concerning the matter are clearly uninformed.”

The documentation and recording of everything that happened everywhere was regarded as of vital importance. Each action, reaction and transaction one after the other served as proof of linearity which was supposed to preserve the underlying structure for any natural assumption, wrong or right, left or right.

It was futile to participate in such deception.

It had not been easy for Nas to keep wandering in the desert. He had to ignore all those slender fingers smoothing out the well-kept lawns and colouring in the wildflowers.

The chamber orchestra had stipulated some bleeding choice cuts and as the concertgoers bathed in a glow of artificial light figurative passages replicated torpor. Fighter planes circled like howling mermaids.

And crawling out the methadone centre, stacked to the brim with eyesores, beauty made a thrashing sound and implicit demands. Beauty of the desert no bureaucratic order could follow.

The policies of the Social Bureaucrat Party liked to make one concern appear as if it were another. They followed arbitrary rules which replaced words with numbers and vice versa. The Party had a veneer of Christian sympathy and engineered its policies to have them acknowledged as just precepts with sound scriptural reasons behind them.

Mechanical intelligence constructed social obligations to save time. The Party’s policies fetishized duty as a necessary problem. This interfered with the smooth running of things, but all the fuss was made to seem as if it would lead to everything running more smoothly.

Rhesus monkeys, lice, antelopes, boars, wildcats tore at the emperors’ old clothes. Wicker men along the promenades were smoking ghanja like dreaming genius savants, gleeful and sad, pecked at by the rotting barks of quality newspapers. The high stakes were emblematic of disgrace.

The position of the uncanny was that although it had asserted there were inscriptions and other names for it a coherent backstory would be impossible to trace. It left you with the sense that if you were to steep yourself in knowledge even for a second you would lose total function, so it was best not to speculate.

Belladonna always kept total function. Relieved of the unattainable she focused on meadowlarks and doves. Instead she heard the low hum of fashionable talk, the chitter-chatter of busybodies. By circuitous routes she took to the question not why but… And?

The psychodrama department at FreeDomination always viewed expression as psychological evidence. Invariably they would deny they were projecting.

The Social Bureaucrat Party was a front for FreeDomination. They depicted states of mind as if they were units of measurement, as if a person was an object with feelings contained within a complex whole that expressed itself as a quantifiable effect of its own cause, like a machine.

When I first wrote the above part of this anti-narrative I was in the park with the dog. Two policepersons approached me and asked to read it. I said, “Can’t you read?” They asked why I wrote with chalk on the pavement. I said, “You tell me.”

The uncanny made no loquacious complaints. It did not demean the precepts of the percepts, tell tales or resort to reminiscences. The uncanny was not of this world. To join its resistance was subversive. To overthrow the colonised mind was to see and record inscriptions of the uncanny and oppose the abject forces of evil that took you away from here.

In the university library, the sun was shining through the blinds, and the angle poise lamp readjusted itself accordingly. The patterned floor was soft, the sherry trifle bitter. A Gitanes cigarette sharpened the senses. Fascinating.

Elizabeth Taylor cancelled her hotel reservation and spent the night shopping at the Arcade.

FreeDomination’s version of human expression was that any given mode of expression should appear as if it were an individual complex, a problem to be remedied and made self-aware for its own sake. It was the art of the pointless in which any point expressed had repercussions and implications which should be quantified for the benefit of whoever had made a point. It was of course part of the same fruitless void of obstruction, miscalculation and passing the buck that was the raison d’etre of the Social Bureaucrat Party.

Communication in a conventional sense travelled by transmission of meaning and its apprehension. In other words, when meaning was conveyed back and forth between vessels of communication organic and machinic states were shared as if they were products of thought in other words.

But the emblems and crests of the faded empires had become sullen and beer-stained, their incompetent eel-pie glances in purview of the cellar manager.

Even those rhesus monkeys jumping around the churchyard of the vampires were in the habit of sleeping.

Krishna and the Gopis swanned into the opera house, gleaming, each one of them in their own way unprecedented.

Power was having grades of qualities higher in relation to succession or dominance. Its less convincing and more mundane contemporary offspring was productivity.

There was no such thing as the power of thought. But because of the belief that power was indomitable, there was a tendency amongst communicants to imagine that to partition or release the illusory rationale of power by thoughtfully acquiescing or objecting to it and being productive was the only way to get anything said or done.

The virtual realm had given birth to new dominions in cyberspace which had been re-constituted as a feudal system. Market expansion at the industrial base had reached the logical conclusion that the “people of the earth” would “look up to the people of the sky” and “infinite growth on the finite planet would entail selecting a few select families to rule in perpetuity.” (See Anton Ribeiro’s The Strategies of Paradox, pp. 560-67)

The Social Bureaucrat Party stated the obvious as if it meant something more, as if further implications could be found in what was already apparently the case. But the obvious spoke for itself. To suggest it meant anything more was an obvious lie.

At one end of the spectrum was N and at the other, B. They were soft focus, smooth-skinned, semi-slumbering, asymmetrical archetypes more ancient and savage than Jungian and perched on a rainbow merely for the purposes of, for want of a better term, Art.

How you wished to perceive B was up to you. But she had asserted her will over you. Even if she hadn’t, there would be nothing you could have done about it. The output of her character appeared humanistic enough, and under ideal circumstances was joyful and loving, but its input was uncanny beyond all reckoning.

You would dispense with metaphors and unravel her story through a landscape as hard and metallic as this plate upon which it was written. The novel was as good a method as any by which to convey her mystery. But if all there was to be gained from hanging around with B was for you to read about her you’d be in for a sharp shock.

The secret identity of metaphysics was revealed. Many of those who claimed to believe in Jesus were rather more feigning the heteronormativity of property-sex. But assuming the reproduction of productivity was avoided, they wouldn’t last long.

“You read what you saw.”

The boarding house was situated next to a burned-out chapel. The spare bedroom was usually reserved for a guest in the Summer. The walls were of a dull orange hue. A television sat on a slope in the corner. A double bed was positioned beneath a single bed reached by a thin metal ladder. B was to sleep in the double bed. A small square window looked out on to a patch of grass.

The father figure encompassed the grounds for war. In the theatre of war territory was a past or future fatherland where the human domain was needless if foreign or else a cause for hope on account of the need for clothes, cattle or food: the control of blood by unlawful contracts and violent bargaining.

What was location? A place on a map on a terrain or territory. A human was a location even before she had a name, a place called a body which could sense and think with a brain. A brain was a thing used by pseudoscientists to exploit their initiative and make technologies like weapons that altered the landscape, destroyed locations and invaded and possessed territories. No one needed a brain for unity of effort, but they did need location. Location was key to surprise, to resistance, to the overthrow of tyranny, to movement and survival. The human-being location was distinct from all other locations, a place defined by its coordinates on the map. The map was for manoeuvres, but what it cost to read or follow depended on location.

B closed the blinds and went to the sink but there was no soap. She went downstairs to the janitor’s apartment and asked if he had any soap. He had none, and the nearest shop was four miles away.

“Remember, I was the one who made you faithless and I am the one who can take it away from you.”

The Social Bureaucrat Party justified the irrational by rational means. It presented its policies as scientific when they were pseudoscientific. This was the result of the industry of advertising in which a thing was said to have value and meaning far beyond its actual worth.

B went back to the spare room and stood next to the sink looking in the mirror. Nothing occurred to her except to watch TV. Then it occurred to her that watching her eyes looking back at her eyes in the mirror was as worthwhile an activity as watching the TV. It looked like it would slide off the wall if she tried to switch it on anyway.

She sat down to read a year-old copy of Maniac magazine. It included an amusing article with renowned industrial jazz singer and tropical fish enthusiast, Jamral Von Torre-King. On pages 44-46 Jamral was seen posing around with new body modifications in fluorescent clothes at a disused petrol station in the outback next to a fish tank.

In the fortified location of the university library office, N was told to empty his mind into a tablet and behave as if it had no meaning. He lay down on a chaise longue while the man known only by the initial, A, proceeded to remove N’s body hair and enumerate and add and subtract the numbers floating around them. A stroked N’s increasingly large member. He smelled of hygienic blancmange and cowhide. N had no idea what he was hallucinating but it was erotic beyond words. A stroked N’s temples and wafted a jar of algorithms about his nose. He smoothed oil into his skin. A looked away coyly and then proceeded in a frenzied manner to alphabetise rather than enumerate. Apparently, this was in order to affect the heterodoxy. What would happen after that, N knew not, and neither did A, and neither did they care.

Working for the think tanks at FreeDomination was no more a means to produce life than it was ethical. But the golden age of the status quo had been subsumed within a new form of hopeful consensus veiled behind the stark rationale of the fantasy of power.

The nation had been an institution invented to protect the reader-friendly from the vice of gratuitous sex and violence. The globalised machine-planet was an institution invented to protect the reader-friendly from each other and the environment.

The human needed being. This necessitated grooming, bonding, currency and food. But the undead fed on blood which meant the human couldn’t be so much as perform a perfunctory role in a death ritual. So, the human would feed the undead fake blood, for it was highly adaptive. The race would not be filed under casino security. Different specialities in consumer habits and the bioeffects of microwave tech would synthesise new and wildly varied species of what passed for human.

But a pastiche of relationships would be outsourced indefinitely because when things went wrong or right, we were not trapped together, whether the weather was pleasant or inclement or the traffic was bad or okay.

“Hugh and Siobhan, I think. I can’t remember.”

The past reverberated to maintain the status quo in so far as it was useful to induce the sense of a simpler mode of life.

In a tank-top B began to play the found footage, some VHS videos she’d acquired from her interface with a dream-logic which, well, you’d have to be deaf in the heart not to know. Her face locked into its receptors as she watched the dead images moving on the monitor.

Meanwhile, N’s day had passed quickly. Reverberating through his memory-paths, the day was not quite as he’d left it the night before, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it.

The brain was a commercial product to be subscribed to monthly or per annum, cared for, tinkered with, upgraded or dispensed with as or when. An appeal was made to the past to make it seem as if the brain had a reliable and effective mode of processing the use value of power by a) making it seem as if historical continuity meant the same levels of immorality were present in the present day, and b) inducing a sense of nostalgia for past experiences or synthesised feelings about an idyllic imaginary past. This appeal to the brain’s thoughts was achieved primarily through imposing concrete structures that embodied fixed and permanent, immutable principles, even as they passed their deadlines.

In a hazmat suit the goddess Isis lounged with foreshortening on the side of a building whispering gentle commands from a pair of ultrasound speakers. Her big cat looked out reading each reaction of the passers-by. And indeed, reactions were amplified on Thunderstone Twelve and found washed up on shore by Wise-Eyed Feather.

Despite the promise the brain had delivered it seemed that back in the boarding house was where the real action was taking place. Real because B’s room did not impose any direction except its oblong shape and spare contents which helped her to see things for what they were. If someone else had entered the room B’s perceptions would have been further heightened because another presence would have been magnified by the limited range of impinging influences contained within the room’s lacklustre interior. But no-one else did enter the room.

On Classic FM, a Malthusian sonata beamed out the frequencies of the Active Denial System into all auditory cortexes within the vicinity.

B considered the room as if it were a trained animal likely to obey a few curt commands, whereby she might lead it somewhere else, into another room perhaps, or guide it around its own habitat as one would a sheep dog or homing pigeon. By establishing a working relationship, so to speak, with the room, B had the feeling she might transform it into something less mundane: a valley, perhaps, near a remote village in which a small community was ripped apart by the simple incidence of a meeting between two lovers, a worker and a scholar whose fathers were rivals.

Above all rooms, the one B was in was central to this episode. She remembered forgetting the inexistence of her fictional character and found there was enough economy of force to draw the attention.

Just as the microscope and telescope had greatly expanded imperialist vision the ongoing exploitation of cognitive space proved that communication had been co-opted to imprison it in FreeDomination’s regime of lies.

The individuals B had encountered earlier in the day were wedded to fate and had confessed their inability to meet the perceived demands fate put in their way. In examining their confessions B saw the potential for tabloid controversy and outrage. They had claimed that privacy was a major cause of human suffering, should have been abolished and if not, some vengeance would be exacted by fate. No-one would accept such an idea as credible and even those who adhered to it had failed to exemplify it by their actions.

The thought police carried out a top priority investigation into a cell of subversives who in the name of Lucifer and the heterodoxy had divided the dominions of the orthodoxy. Carried out of the inescapable prisons of the empires the aleatoric spills were risky for the Party, paved as they were with juicy paranormal tidbits and a depraved bestiality, sordid and disreputable.

Back in B’s room the natural order was the right to privacy. If that right was violated by anyone outside the room then naturally it would be asked of them what they hoped to gain. B deduced that an invasion of her privacy could not be justified because whatever might be discovered would serve no use. It would be her business. The room in its own small way served to enhance B’s peculiar intellectualism and the emotional fluctuations of her artificial thoughts, including her recollections of the victims of the sham of fate she had encountered earlier in the day. Whatever B entertained in the room were her own private thoughts. If anyone else was to enter B would become the entertainer and her guest privy to her classically trained thoughts. But no-one else did enter the room.

The room smelled of coal and soil. There were men in bright yellow suits outside on a patch of grass next to the chapel moving large canisters into a parked van. B observed their movements for a few seconds and then lost interest.

Linear time was a magic trick played out by the false narrative of FreeDomination to cajole the unwary. When the linear illusion could be promoted successfully its victims would believe they had started at one point in time with such and such resources or capabilities available and could proceed onward and increase their stock only through their own efforts and by virtue of the next stage of development on the evolutionary path. A false association between time and numerical values made it seem as if a continuously unfolding sequence of rational events moved forward in line with the recording of everything which was projected as a sequential outflow of Darwinian ascent.

But FreeDomination was incompetent because if you wanted to break their spell it was easy. All you had to do was stop, start from where you were, stay there, go no further and not go backward. You’d be outside narrative and opposing it. You’d be in eternity which is prior to words and actions yet communicates them.


The Conversations 14 | Joy & Play, Uncontrolled | text & image © A. A. Walker

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