Dysmorphia as a reaction to the nothingness of reality.

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I like the idea of a competing tension between the nothingness of Being and material fullness as corporeal dysmorphia.

At the heart of Being there is nothing but the emotional drive to acquire a cultural identity. That identity gives name to that inner emptiness from which it is born, and provides it with a carapace that thickens over time, shrouding a vast hollow scape in a shell.

And thus consciousness arises, conscious of itself in thoughts, those Wittgensteinian language processes: the growing sense of self, the I am voice (or voices) endlessly providing the emptiness echo chamber of our collective inner world with noise (occasionally music), seemingly tangible, but really for the most part, a collection of reducted scripts, and cultural conditioning, like a colourful striped beachball bouncing against the backdrop of an otherwise forgettable 4D lanscape.

But it is the very silence, the unanswered prayer, the yawning void within, that gives meaning to this demanding emptiness. Abetted by a carousel of emotions, wooed and smoothed by mind, endless shifts are animated around this dull unresponsive void-like quality, the death zone, the disquieting nothingness, as dark as a black hole, and in so being, is the numb quality of nothingness brought to life. The tense dynamic, the dullness personified through animated lust, at last spawns a tangible, hopeful, dysmorphia.

At last, the dysmorphic creation that results from the time spent in the pursuit of escape from one’s nothingness, one’s embraced neurosis, into an even greater nothing, while on the way, convincing, tricking, cajoling, soliciting, others to join in more and more non-activity in social interaction because nothing begets as effectively nothing as nothing itself.

Capitalism, for instance where the pursuit of value for its own sake, has become an end in itself. Nothing is more pleasing to the merchant than selling air in pop corn or in mint chocolate for a value it cannot by its very nothingness possess. That is the absolute end, to create something of material value from nothing: the supreme achievement of the inner dysmorphic neurosis.

And if this makes no sense, then it has indeed failed to turn nothing into something, but then, as it begun as such, nothing, so it can hardly have lost that which it did not have, and so, in nothingness there’s a transformative potential which is its only inherent value, its skill at attracting to itself more of its own nothingness. The grand ability to create an anxious buzz that is intense enough to draw to it so much more than the actual silence emanating from it.

And finally anything is better, isn’t it, than one’s own inner silence? That bottomless well from which all loneliness springs and all society eventually must return.

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Who is the minataur?



In nature predators control animal numbers. Lions chase deer across the scrubland, crocodiles snatch water buffalo at the river’s bank, and polar bears hunt seals off the ice flows, but the ultimate predator, man, still reigns supreme. But who controls us?

This raises an interesting idea: Why have we been allowed to prosper as a species unchecked? Why hasn’t a predator been created to prevent us from destroying the environment? It seems strange. If we are destructive, then a predator would redress the balance as war, famine and pestilence have clearly failed. Or is that the problem, that a vast food chain, inevitably creates a predator that cannot be retired.

I want to explore the idea that a superior Predator already exists, but its exploitation of us is far more interesting than simply consuming us as mere food. Instead, we are stalked for something else, but what and by who? The precariousness of our existence, our very circumstances, demands that we are resourceful, so our creativity and ingenuity seem the fruit of our existence. In which we exist in a kind of virtual games machine, where our best moves are mapped and can be plagiarised.

Think animals in a nature programme who are tagged for data, and their movements analysed. Whatever is of use is examined and maybe then simulated in some other project, or simply noted as the result of some hypothesis, some experiment, in which we are simply a piece in a puzzle whose variables are known and can be measured, but in which the results are less predictable, and therefore, of interest, perhaps even valued. And who would be interested in such data? Any intelligence higher than our own. In a universe with a hundred billion galaxies, there are potentially hundreds of thousands of cilizations with a Higher Intelligence than our own. To say nothing, of multiverses,

As a species we are embued with a volatile emotional nature, but with the ability to rationalise. And can observe our attitude towards other species lower on the evolutionary scale. For instance, as Harari tells us in his excellent Sapiens, we ignore the suffering of pigs in pens; held in confined spaces, or separated from their young, but we are too indifferent to ask why there is not a visible predator for us, because our own predatory nature blinds us to seeing beyond that which we perpetuate; we ignore, as we subconsciously recognise the hopelessness of our own condition, the suffering of the ‘sub species’, and consequently our own crime. This may be because our biggest adversary is of course ourselves and our own dual nature, and anyone who threatens to bring out whichever side of that nature best serves our instinct for survival, so we munch away on the once living flesh of our evolutionary cousins quite insouciently.

This view, while it may be dark, to my mind makes a kind of justified sense, unless like so many, you place humans on a pedestal, at the top of the food chain, but then that would suggest that food or energy is an end in itself. In the universe, energy is abundant, so the exploitation and harvesting of humans, who are not hunted by vampires or any other super predator, must be, in the age-old formulation, for some higher purpose; for something more difficult to quantify, something altogether intangible.

Who then is our Predator? Our minataur! Who knows: the universe does not have a single infinity, but an infinity of infinities. Is there a predator above the above and so on? Probably, or infinity makes no sense. The food chain spreads beyond the confines of a single garden, earth, into the Cosmos, with millions, billions, possibly trillions, of such fields of exploitation. Our hubris and the key to our folly and enslavement, is the way we enslave and cruelly exploit our own resources and ourselves. Think of a hall of mirrors, refracting the horror of our hubris. A labyrinth carnivores, if you like. This shows us that in dismissing our mammalian cousins as too inferior to know their own suffering, a sacrifice to our limitless appetite, we in turn, sanction our own enslavement, and disposability. Our gods look down on us indifferently, as we do at pigs, wallowing in their own excrement.

An ironic game this, where only our compassion, our ability to feel for others is our salvation away from an omniscient super consciousness, the Predator who mines our minds because doing so is as satisfying, as is, fried sizzling bacon!

Imagine a game in which each player controlls various game boards (labyrinths of infinite complexity!) where the object is to bring the game pieces – us – to self-realisation, moving each up from a murky evolutionary depth, to arousal, an epiphany, enlightenment, if you like, and escape. The first escapees, those who first emerge, crash through the walls of Jerricho, thus entitling the player, the Game Master, to the prize, an insight into the complexity of a fiendishly difficult mathematical problem.

His game, Oh, Master of Labyrinthean Games, is the best, and the rest is, well, history as we, already dead, our reusable energy dissipated, perhaps eventually reformulated for another round in the ultimate in game play, or elsewhere positioned on a chequered board of nights and days.

If not a game, then imagine, if you will, quantum fields of layered quarks, that operate in two places at once, and by gathering briefly in the pattern of our lives, are then reformulated, parts broken, cast aside and elsewhere recast, orchestrated to do so by an intelligence that demands we fall into particular patterns in order to help run enormous quantum computers. What’s the difference? In these Labyrinths, the end is always prescribed and devilishly complex, and we, neat energy bundles fated to be positioned where our unique but short-lived gifts best serve the indefatigable Player. Or, to put it another way, what the labyrinth teaches us perhaps is that within the maze, we generate whatever manifestation of an escape plan we choose while attempting to resolve its riddle.

Bitter Lake

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Review by Ashley Chapman

‘Those in power tell stories to make sense of the complexity of reality,’ begins the avuncular voice of the commentator in Bitter Lake, edited and directed by Adam Curtis, and currently on the BBC’s iPlayer.

“‘This is a film about why those stories have stopped making sense, and how that led us in the West to become a dangerous and destructive force in the world.’”

Continue reading “Bitter Lake”