“Allow me the pleasure of your destruction.” — Agapios Stojanov, Bonds
The world inhabited by Nasrul was one in which the rationales of quantification and categorisation were dominant throughout all forms of human action and interaction. His life was experienced by its readers both within and outside this novel, but less via his character than his status as transmitter of the novel’s primary superstitions, yet his absence as a coherent character and his mysterious presence as an anomalous cipher meant that the novel had no conceptual form. Rather than possessing a core integral message as a communicating vessel, whatever was communicated was unknown / anomalous.
One accurate impression that was conveyed was of N as the last man standing. The one who best portrayed N was YOU, but YOU could not realistically expect to fulfil all the requirements of the main character by recourse to facts.
Every day, new facts emerged. Facts and opinions. Many people imagined that thoughts had owners, that their thoughts proved they existed, and that their opinions, beliefs or observations defined them. The advertising executives were flogging dead horses. Yet immediate perception was sublime / automatic. Speech and action were due to ancient and modern gods.
“You who insist on living like corpses, live as you wish.”
Did N stay or go? It was difficult to say. Whenever he left the encampment it seemed to follow him and stretch beyond, over vast swathes of land and the oceans. Perhaps it even encompassed other planets. It was difficult to say, but existence was threatened, and there was no longer any opposition. The Automaton had negated itself.
When N would leave behind his cherished Lakshmi, then she would send him her portrait to lighten the weight of their separation. This brought some comfort, but not true happiness. Her portrait helped alleviate the misery of being without her physical presence but contemplating a copy could not compare to the original.
Appearing in N’s room one night was a sullen entity, its eyes betraying only lust: The Middleman, a tradesman who claimed that the external world of facts was all that mattered but that one’s interpretation of the facts was inconsequential as we were all being swallowed up into irrelevancy by the objective world. Despite this, he claimed that recourse to the facts was however necessary for survival and only possible through him.
Those who were in the habit of defending consciousness would eventually come to realise it was an overrated commodity manufactured by pseudoscientists. Those who chose to regard consciousness as irrelevant to the discussion discovered that without it, they could achieve so much more. In her essay, “The Phenomenology of the Vessel”, Professor Beatrice J. Struna of Alabama State University already stated as much.
N united his perceptions and senses, released beyond conceptual thought, beyond purpose or function.
“I must pass on.”
Last night’s inertia corresponded exactly with the artificial plants crawling about in the immediate present like animate beings. The dream occurred throughout all different time zones and became the presiding modality 24/7. Coupons prolonged its stability and support. It was an obvious tactic to subjectify, and applicable at any geographic location in both digital and meat space.
As I wrote, history departed again, and a beautiful new breed of cultural violence assumed its rightful role in the proceedings as a tool for moral truth, peace, love and understanding. The layers of time were unpeeled and revealed for what they were: a variety of fictional interpretations of events, yet no less factual for it.
The carcass phantom blasted itself out of its parlour, its corporate body thrust itself into the stellar void to be analysed by oblong heads with instruments of torture. The engineers of the final solvent were hovering outside the luminous Earth and peering in, to encroach upon the ancient future. Asphyxiation or pharmicide, it hardly mattered. Neither the inner nor outer courtyards could be defended.
“The philosophical tools of education fall apart when digitised entertrainment holds sway.”
This document was a rejected idea about YOU. It was a type of un-knowledge which had been defamed. It came to unlock the mechanism by which drama would be made to explode in the pages of YOUR diary. It was committed to mobility. There was no need to panic. If YOU went offline at a railway station or a supermarket, a metal detector would be sent and, if necessary, YOU would be donated to a museum.
The reasons for why this work existed and how it came to be would be discussed in a later work. It could not be conceptualised or decontextualised. It was a beacon that looked out on to an artificial river winding through a bleak, alien landscape dotted with a few sparse dwellings and vehicles over thousands of miles. The beacon contained instructions on how to put into practice the difference between theory and practice. To many these instructions seemed illogical or sheer nonsense, but to the elite they demonstrated the means of escape from the encampment. They contained the password to the great unknown. They showed that ecstasy and bliss were the cause of the ability to perceive life. They gave no signal.
Living with no volition was just as bad as living with it, or maybe not. It was difficult to say. Volition was always in the process of leaving just as it was arriving. Volition had never served a function and was more of a hindrance to itself.
“The less said about the will to live, the better.”
Sentience was what kept N alert. Its presence gifted him with the capacity to possess volition or not, as he so chose. Sentience was the first, the last and everything. With it, all incoming sense perceptions could be interpreted immediately at every level and in every sense without the need for attending to business or trade.
Sentience provided the intelligent or unconscious behaviour or speech which N referred to as a narrativizing subject-object. N transmitted the ability to recognise that identity was beyond and above everyday concerns, emotions, experiences, etc, and prior to functions and the mundane characteristics of the fictional character.
It was far less the phenomenon of consciousness that was remarkable than its meaning and myth. That it was important was desire for control.
N came to acquire a special juice that would fortify him for his journey on the vessel towards the offline trajectories. The assessment of Man was reiterated to pre-fetch context items and manifest the predicted destinations. Man was the guy who asked questions, like, “How can I be of service?”
The gongs sounded. In the emptiness of the moment, an event took place that was beyond description. It seemed that the acolytes had been stopped in their tracks by an unknown external force. The request for location was given and the acolytes obeyed.
Man was meddling with a drug which gave great strength with a “bang”. A corresponding weapon at the academy of an older relative was in principle a regular “grey zone”. Some critics took for their analysis the Orwellian extreme.
“Literature in a socio-cultural environment dominated by data management is untenable.”
The so-called “phenomenon” of consciousness was far less remarkable than the fact that culture proceeded well enough without ever having to refer to consciousness as a phenomenon, except in the most perfunctory manner. Without culture, there wouldn’t be consciousness anyway. But the world had become the slave of advertising and pseudoscience. The rebel pseudoscientists were murdered by the secret police.
All gods and goddesses were parts of ourselves, but the typical jargon would not attain connectivity. So, corporate jargon, legalese and academicese were dispensed with in favour of koans. Space and counterspace weapons were deactivated in favour of automatic hygiene.
The council at the summit pushed ahead for advertising revenue. They had ambition but the diabolic methods of their counter-revolution were redundant. Telepathy amongst members of the council was curbed on account of the risk of too much influence over how the mind transfers should proceed. Conceptual thought was self-explanatory. Nonchalance became an unemotional detour from which to depart at an accelerated rate. The beheadings would be financed and livestreamed from the pantry, their pain and suffering repurposed as sources of inspiration.
The struggle continued. There was no surrender. There was resistance. Resistance against the genetic engineers. Resistance against the food chain races. Denial of the oxygen of publicity to the personality cults. The animal was not a race, but a beacon to liberate. Redemption in coitus would teach the truth.
“We stopped negotiating.”
25. EXT – BUSY STREET
Montage of PORTER walking aimlessly through the streets. He keeps looking at his watch. He goes into a pub and orders a drink, tries to gather his thoughts. As he sits in the corner a man enters who is the same age as PORTER, wearing a similar suit and tie, and is of a similar height, weight and general appearance. PORTER recognises the man.
Hi. How are you? Listen, I, er, was trying to get into Equipole this morning, and for some reason my card didn’t work and I couldn’t get past the barriers…
(looks at PORTER blankly)
Sorry, but, er —
You work on reception, on the fifteenth floor.
Yes, but I don’t think we’ve met. I haven’t seen you before. First time I’ve been in this pub, actually. Do you work in marketing?
No. I work with you. I mean, at Equipole, on the fifteenth…
PORTER loses his train of thought and looks blankly at ANDY.
Well, yes, but I don’t think we have met before. I’m Andy.
Yes, yes… (forcing a smile) I know…
PORTER stares into space. ANDY orders a drink, glances over at PORTER with a quizzical look and then moves away as he receives a call on his mobile phone.
PORTER wanders out of the bar in a daze, walks out into the street and rifles though his wallet for cash. He hails a black cab which screeches to a halt. He jumps into the cab, and it disappears down the high street.
Lingering shot of busy street with traffic and pedestrians.
27. EXT – RESIDENTIAL STREET
It is evening, and the light is gradually dimming. A black cab draws up outside a terraced house in a residential street lined with identical houses.
PORTER exits the vehicle, pays the driver, and tentatively approaches the nearest house, opens the garden gate, walks up the path and when he reaches the front door, he rings the bell.
GRETA (33, dressed in a track suit) answers the door. A dog barks from behind her in the hallway. PORTER has a look of desperation about him. GRETA eyes him up and immediately begins to half shut the door.
Open the door. Please.
Er, no. Who are you? What do you want?
To speak to you.
(Starting to close the door)
Sorry, but whatever you’re selling, I’m not interested.
Greta, please, please, just let me speak to you. Stop playing games with me.
He gently pushes the door but GRETA opens it suddenly and he falls forward. She lets her German shepherd dog lunge forward on its leash, barking, as PORTER steps back, and almost falls over.
Oh, oh… Hello, Jasper, how you doing, boy?
The dog viciously growls at him.
How do you know the name of my dog?
Greta. It’s me.
Who the fuck are you? Some kind of stalker. Get out of here.
No. No! Listen —
Look, I don’t know who the fuck you are. Get out of here. I’m calling the cops.
She slams the door. PORTER turns away, panicked. He rushes down the front garden path and through the gate. GRETA is at her window with her ear to her phone. The dog can be seen at the window baring its teeth and growling.
PORTER sprints down the street and turns onto the crowded high street. He pulls up his collar and walks swiftly ahead. Suddenly, in front of him, blocking his path appears VAHID (tall, 55, wearing a trilby hat and a long black coat).
Excuse me, sir. My name is Detective Sargeant Vahid.
PORTER looks sheepish.
Sorry for the inconvenience, sir, but your ID has come up on our records as missing.
Yes? What do you mean?
Please, come with me, sir.
It will only take a few minutes of your time. If you’d like to follow me, sir.
VAHID points to a sign directly above them which reads, “Police Station”.
The power of the written word was underestimated because its capacity to communicate was beside the point. Thinking was at numerical standards. In articulating subversive language, a barbaric civilisation would return to paradise.
The solar radiance of the beacon emitted the mysterious sign of no signal. Any attempt to interpret it was of no use. How YOU interpreted the sign was different to the actual effect it had.
“In denying our origins lies freedom, freedom from the so-called truths which have no bearing on who we are, the truths which serve only the delusion of progress. When progress is rejected as the measure of how to live, we find we do not conform to the normative standards. Our identities are elsewhere. We have rid ourselves of basic myths, such as the idea that we must struggle to fulfil other people’s expectations.”
Prophecy was cast aside for the time being as a safety measure. In denying clairvoyance there was the inadvertent counter-effect of affirming its presence and potential. So, clairvoyant powers were defined in more accurate ways beyond their avowal or disavowal.
“The societal unit attempts to fulfil a purpose to prosper, exploit, demean or exalt. It is not an innate purpose so we assume it has to produce itself through self-will.”
“Precisely. As a social product. A commodity.”
As N de-programmed himself from the mind-forged manacles of his handlers it unleashed a destructive force within them. The paradox multiplied. The focus of the deprogramming brought the transition period forward, not suspended or switched. The handlers’ psychological manipulations were exposed using audio-visual read-outs which were read back to them in real time, causing a whiplash curve effect. How much anybody was worth in the business of pseudoscience could easily be calculated. If it prompted scotched chances, then it was evidence of the certainty principle at play. Technology never implemented any future. It always lacked the metaphysical subtlety. But pragmatism called for pinstripe or a mortar board.
“A sterile population is an obedient population.”
The price of air skyrocketed. In the world of facts, the highest ideal was utilitarian. There was nothing and no-one to challenge the Middleman. But his presence raised more questions than it answered. Who or what was controlling the facts? And who did the Middleman work for?
The vulgarity of YOUR illusions was that YOU thought YOU were a fetish object or a weird fiction when YOU were just some naïve assumption. Some allegory. YOU were not a complete structure. Imagine the timing. YOU were scared the intelligence was credible. YOU had no faith. Allowed back to its home late afternoon, YOU was revealed as the target audience. What happened? Did science intervene? Did the algorithms have a hand in it? How did YOU figure IT out?
“’Numbers increase’ is not the answer.”
There was far more to N than these novel conversations permitted. His story could not be investigated or covered up. It had passed already. From the vantage of ether, N was unmoved. He was of nomadic stock, with no ties to anywhere. He was fabric torn from the daughter of photosynthesis. The signs may have served as symbols amongst the psychotherapists and psychiatrists, and their various theories may have flourished to no end, but none could keep the covenant.
The cadavers of the malefactors were cut in pieces and sprinkled with aloe leaves and frankincense. Whatever the remedy, the papyrus did not reveal.
“I don’t think you will find much.”
Asserting that the way things were generally described was correct. Attempting to discover how and why they functioned in the way they did was already described. This led to control by fixing meaning and manipulating it within the narrow boundaries of its prescribed, preconceived function. Meaning was always said to pertain to an absolute function, but this was another commonplace delusion perpetrated by the handlers.
“Conceptual thought is wholly inadequate for communicating the force of nature. It is only ever after the fact as a reactive construct designed as a preconceived measure of thought. The concept that a person is what and how they think is invalid. Human beings like to confine themselves to fixed meanings. A concept of what a thing or being “is” can only be communicated after the fact, but the thought-driven will tend to see significance in the concept. Most people are only partially mentally active, no matter how intelligent they appear. Most responses and decisions occur outside of any concept or idea and more through senses, feelings, emotions, perceptions and mental awareness of the non-state. As soon as any concept is applied to the non-state then, whatever its function, the concept is ideology repeating itself.”
The beauty of having found solace in this documentation was such that it would confirm the principle of the affect which could be employed within a dialectical framework for the destruction of art and literature. Phenomena of language-oriented imagery appeared as a psychological expression, but this was a defence against understanding the difference between the mind and thoughts, all contemporary definitions of which were inadequate.
“One can only imagine the conversations.”
N was confronted with a situation in which the semiotics of racketeering held sway. This presented a limited choice: Either to serve power or reject it altogether. In seeking a satisfactory conclusion it was important to N that he simply satisfy appetite and interact sensually with persons and the environment. This entailed visual destruction: The manipulation of the imagery of power towards its annihilation, and in this the auditory trespassers were of vital importance.
“In place of its hands,” said the voice, “Tongs.”
The minister’s corpse was exhumed, and the malevolent spirit fled. Transported to Utopia to be examined under a phosphorescent glow it was discovered to have a price tag on the back along with the business details of the firm which had originally sold it. But even in death, the minister was still groping for straws, resorting to sexual strategies. The switchover had occurred. The state of decomposition of the vessel was such that neither love nor lust could serve as apologies or explanations for how the minister ended up in the ground.
“The corrupt breed corruption.”
This experience did not rely on information so much as a simulated environment. Truthful elements that intruded from the virtual enactment were enforced by the sign in blood upon the doors.
The Conversations 19 | Beacon & Vessel | text & image © A. A. Walker