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Showing posts from October 18, 2009

artificial paradises

I know. Baudelaire’s essay speaks of Les paradis artificielles – artificial paradises. To every psychoactive agent, its own Eden. But I speak of one. The tree of knowledge in every artificial paradise in the happiness culture is the same tree. Universal history, with its Mordspiel and night ecstasies, is a history of universals in the making. And what are those universals, in this context, but commodities – of which this subsection, the drug, has a cultural privilege? From sugar to imipolex G, the “aromatic heterocyclic polymer” in the nose of the V-2 rocket that gives Slothrop his premonitory erections, the building of the artificial paradise has been put together like a giant jigsaw puzzle, covering the face of the earth. We – the uncertain spirits who try with all our might to arise from our little pieces and get one glimpse of the picture of the whole – have used whatever stash of artificial paradise we have on hand to go through our impossible tasks. Baudelaire’s phrase comes from