Archipelago Americana

 

. . . a chain, cluster or collection of islands, or sometimes a sea containing a small number of scattered islands . . . 

 

“Macbeth’s self-justifications were feeble – and his conscience devoured him. Yes, even Iago was a little lamb, too. The imagination and spiritual strength of Shakespeare’s evildoers stopped short at a dozen corpses. Because they had no ideology. Ideology – that is what gives evildoing its long-sought justification and gives the evildoer the necessary steadfastness and determination. That is the social theory which helps to make his acts seem good instead of bad in his own and others’ eyes…. That was how the agents of the Inquisition fortified their wills: by invoking Christianity; the conquerors of foreign lands, by extolling the grandeur of their Motherland; the colonizers, by civilization; the Nazis, by race; and the Jacobins (early and late), by equality, brotherhood, and the happiness of future generations… Without evildoers there would have been no Archipelago.”  —-Solzhenitsyn

But who today has any notion of evil? I asked. Who today has any conception of the dynamics of Power that exist in these very dis-United Sates; any idea of Power that exists in itself as power, of power, by power, for power? Who understands that what we examine socially is only topical, superficial, inadequate; an attempt to gain knowledge in a culture that has abandoned all faith in knowledge, any belief in the possibility of knowledge? Today, we suspect the man or woman who knows something, who articulates something with authority because we suspect authority, ourselves unable to articulate the differences between authority and authoritarian. Who gets that?  Who today is able to understand that Totalitarian is not a synonym for old style dictatorships, and that dictatorial rule can be non-totalitarian? Who understands that Fascist Italy was not a totalitarian society, as Franco’s Spain was also not a totalitarian society, but that Nazis Germany was and Bolshevik Russia/Soviet Union was too? Who is able to think that the conditions for totalitarianism that were present in the Soviet Union and Germany before their totalitarian restructuring are present here in the United States and that we have been undergoing a totalitarian restructuring on a Capitalist model as Bolshevik Russia had under a communist one? It is not communism or variants of fascism that make a society totalitarian.

—-The Editor

 

Away with you, away with me, be gone, US–begotten; become what I have come to be when being was a concern greater than what I would or should become, to be or not more than a question of suicide, the latter not the only prime philosophical question . . . and it is a primary one, don’t you imagine.

Can there be many prime questions for us to consider? What is the primary philosophical question? I might ask. Herein, the repetition, the succession, the waves in and out, leaving behind what for me to think–and it is the question, whether to think or not to think. I am therefore I think; who has not wanted to flip the Cartesian maxim.

Tides come and go, history, thus the accumulation of what I call my life, the many livings I have done, what did I do in the wake of so much experience? These inquiries here are a history I explore, accumulate, record, articulate, stand under–everyone is his own post to his own lintel.

History is an ocean, I have said before this; time is never a line, past, present and future very creative ways of handling our fears . . . what should I do when doing has become more important than being . . . another question to beget yet another and another and another creeping as all questions do–there are no more answers–we are not willing to swear to anything.

It makes no sense that we say that we want to be fearless; without fear, how can we maintain the many little truths to keep our sites set on the main big ‘T” Truth? We swear to nothing or swear to anything at any time anywhere . . . what form we take, do I take, the forms I shape, in . . . formation . . . we have no honor even for ourselves in what we swear we remember.

There is too much exchange of information today, a thing a little less than beautiful, or so we could have assumed. There is too much permeation from instituions wanting information about us, on us–always on top of us. War is peace is another bit of information; the medium is the message,  I am not so certain today we even know what exchanging information means, anything akin to a philosophy of beauty would be lost on us.

How we conduct our lives and manage our information should be offensive to us, as offensive as what passes for informing people through most of our media outlets. In the Roman mind, as in the Greek, beauty was always in form, only in form could beauty exist. Yes, form is beauty, beauty form; if this, then Truth is also in form.

To inform becomes a kind of bearing truth, or it should be, in another way to understand form; to bear the truth is to carry beauty. In this way, information would be a way to put in form. Aesthetic considerations cannot be excluded. This, however, is not what we have in the matter of our info-tainment whereby news is made to conform of standards of entertainment and amassing the largest audience irrespective of aesthetic or epistemological or ethical concerns.  Information is handled without respect or integrity.

We were more concerned for form, had a better handle on it, what to do with it, how to shape it, when we were . . . ?

Aesthetics has long lost its influence in the academies of learning in America, somewhere now in an intellectual graveyard with philology.  We have given up on ever perfecting this special acumen. The exchange of our personal facts, though, is too free and too easy.  The kind of information exchanged today is the kind we kept close or offered only to our kin.  Now we open the book to those who are not kin and a lot less than kind.

If the NSA is as aggressive in its spying campaign on the American people we have both made this possible and allowed this to happen, making acceptable unacceptable negotiations of information and intimacy. The assault on the 1st ammendment has its crossovers to the fifth; at what price peace and security the New Thomas Paine asks.

To be bourgeois is to be capitalist, even if you are a worker, and this is one of the hallmarks of American Civilization, the making of bourgeois clones from the organic material of the proletariat. To be bourgeois capitalist is to be western, even if you are Asian in Asia.  In fact, to be western is also to be American, in a way, the American transfiguration of Western Civilization has been ongoing, if not in onslaught, for a hundred years or more. 

And yes, there is a Western Civilization, one that precedes 18th century Oxford Professors and British revisions in the name of their hegemony.  The material of our civilization is not a complete fabrication, a mirroring of the emperor’s new clothes,  but a wonderful and true fabric of many intricately woven threads. We are also very, very full of shit.

The world is fast becoming one kind, everything losing its character . . . the web is another web of lies, another trap for us . . . even if we have yet to raise our ethical consciousness to the level where we can see clearly the oneness of our human kinship.  

Yet, the scarriest thing I noted in Paris the last time I was there was how much like everywhere else even Paris is becoming.  Every city in the world an island in the American Bourgeois Capitalist Archipelago, a chain of Post-post Modernist American Islands in a sea of everywhere else. 

 


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