“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Notes on the worldfuck

And now for ... some of the larger features of my ongoing essay.

LI took the paragraphs below from a post we did in March. It is one of my good posts – we mean it, man. (and there’s no future … in England’s… dreaming). There is a pleasing and systematic dovetailing of notions , here, as those who read LI with the religious fervor of the early martyrs of the Church will surely notice: to describe the development of that total social phenomenon, the triumph of happiness as a norm, is to trace one songline in a map that shows how the total system – the industrial system, the epiphenomenal ideologies, and the war culture – came together in one gigantic worldfuck. Let others worry about world lines and world view – us sentries on the borderline between the present and the Last Things are permanently worried about the worldfuck.

So here is what I wrote in March:

Left and right did not define the twentieth century. The century was defined, in our view, by two things: first, the treadmill of production – that system which is falsely defined as capitalist because one of its surface characteristics is the market system – which emerged in Europe in the 17th and 18th century, followed out its logic in all systems (communist, fascist, liberal capitalist) on a world wide basis, having laid the foundations in the 19th century (the development, for instance, of the terror famine in Ireland and India by the British was surely the model for Stalin's agricultural policy) and collapsed the agriculture-based culture that humans had lived under for the past 12,000 years. That was surely the most significant thing that happened in the 20th century, and no ideology led it, no ideology opposed it, and no ideology even envisioned it. The anxiety naturally attendant on the end of civilization created a macro feature, which I’d call the dialectic of vulnerability – basically, that process by which populations, feeling ever more vulnerable even as they became ever more affluent developed systems meant to render them invulnerable – that is, an ever more threatening war culture, with an ever greater destructive reach – which, of course, rendered them ever more vulnerable, an irony that was not rhetorical, but systematic. 9/11 was, in part, a moment in which the nakedness of the system was revealed – a system that could, theoretically, respond to ICBMs traveling over the poles, couldn’t respond to 19 half educated men with box cutters and homemade bombs. And… of course it couldn’t. Defense is a collective fiction, which is its function – being a fiction, there is never a limit on the amount of money one can spend on it. It is, theoretically, inifinitely expensive, while its payoff, as a defense system against all threats, is nearly zero – it will never defend against all threats. That’s ever, with a big fucking E.”

Maybe in my next post I will get to the proto-industrialization of the European countryside. Wouldn’t that be a treat!


northanger said...

worldfuck, eh? lol. i've been meaning to post:


i try to keep 1 Samuel 8:6-7 in mind when thinking about IN GOD WE TRUST/RENDER UNTO CAESAR stuff. ma'arab (merchandise, articles of exchange), from 'arab (to pledge, exchange, mortgage, engage, occupy, undertake for; surety; to have fellowship with, share). Hosea 10:7 As for Samaria, her king is cut off as the foam {07110} upon the water (the rendering of ketseph, which properly means twigs or splinters (as rendered in the LXX. and marg. R.V.). The expression in Hosea may therefore be read, "as a chip on the face of the water," denoting the helplessness of the piece of wood as compared with the irresistable current). Isaiah 55:1 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 2 Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.

chipped stone refers to a method of manufacturing stone tools through lithic reduction, wherein lithic flakes are struck off a mass of tool stone with a percussor. The intention is usually either to produce a tool from the remainder of the lithic core after the extraneous material has been removed, or to produce flakes that can be further modified and refined by methods such as trimming and pressure flaking.

Market towns were an important feature of rural life, as some place names remind us: Market Drayton, Market Harborough, Chipping Norton and Chipping Sodbury — chipping being derived from a Saxon verb meaning to buy.

Exodus 16:14 And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing {02636 scale-like, flake-like, scaled-off}, as small as the hoar frost on the ground.

In the scale of God, the true weight is the weight of faith; in God's market the only commodity in demand is the commodity of faith. The highest form of triumph is the victory of soul over matter, the victory of belief over pain, and the victory of faith over persecution. —Sayyid Qutb

northanger said...

homeland security: The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

northanger said...

talking about markets

northanger said...

the worry in the system is far greater than the talking heads would indicate

roger said...

Once again, this comment thing ate my comment! I'm going to bed with a beer and cry. It would have made you laugh, North. I know it would have.

Scruggs said...

"The century was defined, in our view, by two things: first, the treadmill of production. . ."

roger said...

Scruggs, I like it! I was, I admit, expecting squirrels on the eternal treadmill. But like latter Pollack, who reintroduced fleeting figurative moments, you are slowly working 'around' the squirrel - thus putting a rodential negative space at the center of the oeuvre.

Hey, if they call up to interview you at Art Forum, at least credit me if you use that sentence!

northanger said...

just occurred to me Roger that blogowners are like capitalists & blogcommentors are like workers & that you ... yes you Roger, pay me nothing for my comlabor except half-eaten comments. bad form Roger, bad form.

Scruggs said...

Roger, of course I'll credit you! Though I reserve the right to join Northanger on the picket line.

But I should add that I continue to investigate the human condition, nature and so forth directly through the squirrel dialectics. My ambition is a modest, almost homeopathic correction to the 'applied morphic dissonance' field theory of Junqueyarde de Cannibale and his epigones. The squirrel medium lends itself well to this pursuit -- both as a rejection of sentimentalism and a celebration of it, contingent on the perceived social and intellectual status of the actors.