Monday, July 11, 2005

Barefoot in the Head

Must we be insane?

The top news story today on the Internet is the lessening of the hurricane off the coast of Florida. And those people who died in London, well, they were murdered by some teen-age rebel yobs who are really just nice boys acting-out as teen-age boys do, confronting their parents with some obnoxious noise, like listening to Elvis. What a storm! Phew, glad that's over. Were we all wet?

What are we going to do? What is to be done?

One of the first posts here is entitled "What is to be Done?" It comes from the title of a book by V.I. Lenin, on the nature of founding a party of professional and dedicated communist revolutionaries. Lenin is tops in the field of party organizing, a deadly man who won. We too could follow in his footsteps, organizing our own revolutionary party. That's the ultimate goal of this blog. But the question is: "Must we be insane?" How far must we go to save ourselves from the dhimmitude of our governments? Must we join with the forces of outright fascist Right reaction? Do we throw up and join the BNP? Who is our defender in this war against fascist Islam? Who will lead us? Must we join the crazies and the neo-Nazis of the BNP to find some alliance in our struggle against fascism?

The world seems to be happy pooh-poohing the cold-blooded murder of random people in London. It's just wild boys who need jobs. It's just this or that. Move along, there's nothing to see here.

Well, there is nothing to see. We've seen enough. All else is outright cowardice.
"There is no reason why good cannot triumph as often as evil. The triumph of anything is a matter of organization. If there are such things as angels, I hope that they are organized along the lines of the mafia."

Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan.
How many books do we have to read to smell the corpses? How much history do we have to study to understand the legs lying on the sidewalk while the rest of the body lays across the roadside? How many times do we have to look at the eyes of the man to see that the eyes of the man are smashed out of his face? How many letters to the editor will it take to soak up the blood in the marketplace?

Write your congressman. Write your M.P. Write your obituary.
But a resolution to avoid an evil is seldom framed till the evil is so far advanced as to make avoidance impossible.

Thomas Hardy, Far From The Madding Crowd
Have we all gone mad? An old Brian Aldis novel comes to mind. Some excerpts from a review below if you want to get a small sense of tomorrow:
"The Metaphor of the Road: The Acid Head War"

In a world torn apart by hallucinogenic madness, a Europe in ruins, people ride the riff of the psychedelic music playing nonstop in their brains. After the "Kuwaiti millionaire" pilots flying French-made attack aircraft have aerosoled the Old World of Europe back into a mental Stone Age with the ultimate chemical weapon. A befuddled mass awaits the Messiah, an acid Moses ready to lead his people out of Past Times, and into the new. Man the Driver cometh.

Brian Aldiss' book Barefoot in the Head (Faber, 1969) is a no-contest work of genius. It's an acid Ulysses, difficult in proportion to the revelations contained. And it is quite a difficult book, a jungle of homonyms and allusive puns. Out of Serbia comes Charteris, his mind subverted by the persistent psychedelic agent dropped on Europe by an Arab coalition. He senses that the barriers of mind and time have fallen, and that the New Order is ready to be born. In a twisted Gurdjieffian gestalt, he sees himself as a spider, sitting in the middle of a web, each strand of which is another possible reality, all valid, the universe a multivalued matrix of potentiality. Through this matrix rolls Man the Driver, the avatar of the Metaphor of the Road. Charteris comes out of the continent to England, gathering his people for the great road trip back to the Wilderness world of the New Mind, where the wrongness of the Old world may be shed. He sees his Road as an endless chain of photographs, each freezing a tiny instant of time, from which any number of things may arise, which only can be known to Man the Driver.

The road trip is a combination of Mad Max, a portable Glastonbury Festival, and a literate language game. Many chapters end with the lyrics of the camp-follower bands or poetic meditations on the story, a strange acid haiku. The minds' eye points-of-view of Charteris and his travelling companion Angeline portrays the breakdown of their old mental structures under the influence of the PCA bombs. On one hand, Europe is falling under the spell of a chemical dance of madness, which is destroying civilization. On the other, Charteris' crusade is developing the tools to work within a new reality, and to make the choice between the known errors of the Old world and the possibilities of the New.

Do not blame your government for your own inaction. Our societies are insane. Our governments reflect our social insanity in the leaders we elect to public office. If we as individuals are sane, which seems unlikely, how much longer will we remain so in the light of murder carried out by "gangs." How much longer can we remain stupefied by slaughter in our cities without taking up with the worst of the worst-- the fascists of the BNP-- who at least are organized along the lines of the mafia. How long before our resolution to remain sane is nothing but dust in our mouths? And then what? What will we become if we don't act now?

If not now, "then" it could well be too late but to be anything other than mad beyond hope of reason. If we let this social madness go on we'll get pushed to the point that we're barefoot in the head.

(Want to know a secret? War is fun.)

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