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Story Lab

Micro: Purpose of the Story

2. Micro: Purpose of the Story. Being mostly a diatribe (and/with much whineing) about the triumph of the Bourgeoise Middle Crass; this having *nothing* (i quite assure you) with the two weeks spent during the "holdays" of 2005. {Back to Story Lab "stuff"}

The Text

"Myths, Dreams, and Mysteries", by Mircea Eliade (translated by Philip Mairet), (Harper-Row, New York, 1957/1961). Pp.47-56: The Myth of the Nobel Savage; The Good Savage, the Yogi and the Psycho-analyst. BEGIN BLOCK QUOTE [P.47] So much for the obligation, felt by archaric societies, periodically to repeat the cosmology and all [of] the deeds by which their institutions, customs and conduct were inaugurared. [LOCAL NOTE 1: Cf. "THe Myth of the Eternal Return", by ??author??].
That "return to the past" is susceptable of differeing interpretations, but above all, it is their need to recall what came to pass ab origine that arrests our attention. Needless to say, the values imputed to the "beginnings" vary greatly. As we have just seen, for a great many peoples, still at the earliest stages of culture, the "beginning" meant the disaster (the "loss of Paradise") and the "fall" into History: While for the paleo-agriculturists, it was equated with the coming of death, [P.48] sexualtiy and work (motives also figure in the mythological stories of Paradise). But in both cases, the Remembrance of the primordial event played and impressive part; it was perioidically re-enacted in the rituals, so that the event was re-lived and one became once again contemporary with the mythic illud tempus. Indeed, the "revival of the past", made it present -- re-integrated one into the original plentitude. [Note 1] END BLOCK QUOTE


(this section only)
Note: Info on "brand names" is located in: [SF-List] (Myth: Story of Culture) This sub-paper's agenda (not very well hidden; hey, it's a small duck! She's doink the best that she can!) is to "show" (argue/harange/whine/etc) that the "Modernite" surrounds themselves with the same animistic tokens that the so-called primitive person does. Where as, a magic ammulet, a charm, and a poltice of echinacae might seem "oh so primitive" to the Modernite, it is my hope that this diatribe slowly (but not too bore-ing-ly) towards the establishmen as has been well documented by ??author?? (among others) that far from being *modern* (and thus able to distance themselves from not only the historical past, primitives, and the under-classes), is not nearly as *modern* as HE might think (with the occasional SHE as well -- see note below). (Please pay as you exit). [01] Feelling the urge, i speak: Oook! (with a small duck; natch). For the "primitive", these stories (regardless of the "need" to re-tell them from time to time), are a daily part of their lives they are (as Eliade points out) *integrated* into their daily lives. As they walk around in their daily routine the sounds of the birds and such are "in the b/g" as part of their mythology. For example, for one of the Upick ??sp?? eskimoes, the sound of an actual eagle overhead can not help but evoke memories/knowledge of the "Mother Eagle/Father Wolf" origin story. Thus, these *real-world* triggers of our day-to-day existence evoke the (i assume) very emotional memories/thoughts of the life-sustaining illusions/myths/stories/background of each person's existence. In the same way for the *modern* man [note, since modern-day civilisation is very much dominated by MEN, i shall refrain from the gendre-neutral s/he or even the literary usage "she" indicating the same; i appologise for the inconvenience]. Regardless, in the same way for the *modern* man, these 'tags' are all around them, and probably ignored for the most part; again, i will deal at length with those phenomena below. For the time being, let us acknowledge that many of these tags (both the religious and the "modern") are to varying degrees affecting the Modernites in ways that for the most part they are only vaguely aware of. To a certain extent this vagarity is due to the masking effect of techonology and the *pace* of life in the "modern world". But, as i will disucss it goes deeper than this; sort of a "ciruit overload" that results in esentially a "played tape". (more on this later) Thus for the primitive/tribal/realistic person, the b/g myth/story of their culture pervades their daily lives [yes, i'm aware that i'm v. definitely arguing from a romantic POV], and as such provides the "adaptation/survival" mechanisms for dealing with the new as well as the mundane. However, for the primitive there is much less distinction between the creation/origin relgious stories and the day-to-day stories of their lives. For the Modernite, the religious stories have taken on the patena of the supernatural, and worse yet (my POV) the un-questionable aura of the Holy. Thus, for the Modernite they who use ultra sophisticated technologies around the comfortably re-enforce the idea that they *are* modern -- and hence *not* primitive, lower-class, ignorant, or un-washed savages that they see so often as the flip between the various 260 channels; ie, satellite channels, having distanced themselves from teh [sic: 'teh'] common riff-raff who use the lowly "cable service". Thus, these "sophisiticated" people who know well the price of gas, the value of good credit, and the proper sort of movies to watch can hardly begin to entertain a sylogism, let alone question the religious upbringing hammered into their heads in a manner not un-like that of the recordings in "Brave New World" (Beta's are better, a gram is better than a damn, etc). Thus, for them Jesus, and especially God is not so much a philosophical/religious concept (let alone a metaphysical substance) rather than an automatic phrase of non-descript nature. If confronted by some "doubting Thomas" they would gasp out "Do you mean you don't believe in God???!" and when Brother Thomas might say, "Well, it depends upon which god you mean". They would retort, well there is only ONE God! And so forth, these are completely automatic responses in the finest tradtion of Pavalov's slathering dogs: Programmed to the point, where no conscious thought is needed/required/desired; indeed, conscious thought would throw the entire mechanism out of kilter -- and quite upsettingly so. One is reminded of the story of the missonary who tells the primitives (as i recall Native Americans of some tribe or 'nother) about Jesus and such. And the tribal type person begins to tell the missionary of their own beliefs. The missionary is v. upset (as the story goes) since all of this blathering by the injun type is just so much hogwash, while the thing the missionary is trying to impart onto (into? of from?) the injun type pers is THE TRUTH!! As an amateur observer (refer to Desmond Morris' "Man Watching" book on the anthropology of gestures/behaviour) of these behaviours, it is a wonder (to me; naive, that i am) that these people can function at all. When confronted with *any* question of the status quo around them (ie, not just the religous FACTS of their up-bringing), they become completely appolplectic and panic in much the same way that a tribal person would be if plopped down into the middle of Manhattan (see map). Thus, the illusion of "civility" and "superiority" are exposed for the fraud that they are in the light of *any* kind of rational exploration of the under-pinning beliefs/psuedo-assumtions/etc. One example, is that since i frequently (ie, as much as possible, for the most part ALL of the time) ride the bus (and other public transportation, one person (telling about my "plight" said "Well, he seems to not mind it". (I had to chuckle secretly to myself at this) Not only do i not *mind* it, i down-right enjoy it! The idea being that the (almost) axiomatic relationship of the mantras: "To live you must have a car. A car is good. I like my car. I drive my car, etc" Thus, my behaviour (and my "seems not to mind it" attitude) is in-explicable in the context of *normal* behaviour. Further, it violates not just "common sense" (sold by the bushel) but *reality* or more importantly: The very under-pinning of *actual reality*; ie, THE TRUTH. However, the human being is nothing if not adaptive. So, when confronted with such an impossible situation -- a situation trying to impose itself (indeed, trying to impute its negativity into their serene and *normal* lives) into the light -- an "adaptive explanation" must be got at. It is not so much as to "socially excuse" the aberant behaviour, but more importantly to EXPLAIN (ie, to explain into harmlessness) this searing gash in the reality of their world view. Since, for the Modernite (man or woman; ie, there are *no* nethers in *their* world), all things are consistent, whole-some, and positive this ir-reality must be explained. Phrases are then brought forth to explain this in terms of various factors. For example, "behavior" is explained: "Oh, he drinks too much; he's a drunkard", or "He's just getting over his divorce", or "He's never made any sense at all" (ie, he's derranged, and therefore *anything* he might say can be discounted as non-sense and therefore non-existant), etc. Or an "event" is explained: "Well, something must have happened" (no exploration as to the "what" of the "something" is entered into, and the event is thus dismissed), "Well, there are some things we're just not meant to understand" (always a favor of the firmly religious). In all cases, should these explanations become challenged in any way, or the limited patience/intellegence of the Modernite to entertain anything out of the ordinary (ie, their limited sphere of experience), then the next step beyond "Oh, that doesn't make any sense at all!" will be a totally irrational change of attack that has *nothing* with the subject at hand. These usually take the form of a sort of verbal "throwing the hands up in the air" retort; eg, "Well, there you go again!", "Well, I'm not going to stand here and take/discuss this!", or "Well, you're just full of Bullshit!" (they resort to profanity which they consistently maintain to be offensive; at this point, the speaker can be sure that s/he has "gotten their goat" (curious phrase!). Finally, if all else fails, then an emotional tirade (top of the lungs, all stops have been pulled out, completely "over the top") response will come forth (often accompanied with flailing arms, if not outright violence) in the form of something like: "Shut up! Just shut up!" and probably profanity along the usual lines of "Fuck you!", etc. At this point the Modernite Woman will resort to teers, and the Modernite Man will resort to physical violence. BRIEF ASIDE [Ref: "War and Peace", Book 1, Part 1, Chapter 3, and esp Ch. 4. Reference to how "well we can't have *that* sort of thing going on in *proper* society!"; esp: (page numbers refer to the Oxford PaperBack edition) [P.9; p.8&ff] [Anna Pavlovna (the hostess of the soirèe), to Pierre (the *bright young man*)] "Do you kno the Abbé Morio? He is a most interesting man." "Yes, I have heard of his scheme for perpetual peace, and it is very interesting but hardly feasible". [Tolstoy carefully lays his trap for his: We do not not yet know who is who (m?) (just prior to the above exchange was the statement to illustrate how this "dangerous youth" lacked the basic social skills when he does *not* spend the requisite time listening to Anna Pavlovna's Aunt's diatribe, and Tolstoy writes: Anna Pavlovna's alarm was justified, for Pierre turned away from the aunt without waiting to hear her speech about her Majesty's health. As we shall see, the mythologies (as the Modernist surrounds themselves with them, not even realising their mythologic (and for the most part arbitrary) nature... END BRIEF ASIDE That these behavioural patterns are always "just below the surface" can be seen from the fact that these types of behaviour can manifest themselves almost entirely without warning in the most illogical manner -- often triggered by some event that may have occured years before, or to someone entirely different. The "connecting" process is little understood, and worth further investiagation (again, i am really no expert in this area, and just a humble observer/librarian). Note that these above notes refer primarily to the *religious* b/g of the Modernite. They can arrise as well in matters of difference of any sort; eg, race, cultural b/g, economic, national b/g, etc. Further it should be noted that the *traditional* areas of "religion" extend into the material items with which the Modernite "must" surround themselves. For example, (again on the subject of mass transporation), i was arguing (actually proslytising the virtues of mass tranport) with someone and there response was so violent and vehement that you would think that i had been talking about crucifying their saviour! This brings us to our next topic: The Modernite: Their posessions and their self.

Enter the *Modernite*

(Being a beginning; mainly dealing with the Modernite's view of "time") I refer to reader to the superb work: "We have never been modern" by ??author??. In this, ??author?? presents the fact that (as i interpret/ extract it) we (or rather "the we"; Heideger' sense) consider ourselves as "modern" -- mainly because we have digital watches (h2g2 reference); ie, we have "things" that our ancestors didn't have. The more thoughtful Modernite will extend this to the fact that we "know" more than our ancestors; eg, they thought the earth was flat, we "know" it is round. At this point, i must take a slight diversion to consider what the Modernite does indeed know, and how they view the concept of knowledge in general. The Modernite inevitably thinks of "time" as related to "progress" and "history". Time for the Modernite consists of personal time of which for the most part they are almost totally un-aware of. They will sit in fornt of the TV for hours on end, countless trillions of nano-seconds flowing by un-noted and un-aware of. They become aware of time *only* at the boundaries of things; eg, during the last 2 minutes of "the game", or when they have to stop doing one activity and start doing another. Rarely, do they think about time in the middle of any activity, and if in doing so, they glance at a clock (or digital watch), they briefly "know the time". But, if (as is often the case in groups) you were to ask them "what time IS it?" they would again have to glance at their digital watch to say. That is, they are *not* aware of time, only of the passing of it; ie, specifically that "some time" has passed, what is the time now?, and then they go back into the stupor of time-less-ness not un-like a dozing fish in a fish tank -- all but oblivious to time/self/thought/existence/existance/etc. The only other time when the Modernite becomes aware of time is when they are having to wait for something or when something is late. In this case, the micro-second-by-micro-second nature of time becomes excruciatinly obvious and irritatingly imposes itself into their consciousness. At this point, the emptyness of their lives/minds comes into full view. Confronted by *actual* time, they are forced into a state of awareness of their own existence moment-to-moment. The fact that this state of total self-awareness is precisely what philosophers/writers/etc often seek as part of their on-going processes of understanding the world would be un-fathomable to the Modernite in such a situation. Whereas the anthropologist in such a situation begins to notice the way people are standing (how they shift their weight from one foot to the other), how they move (shuffling about, looking about, pretending not to notice that they are waiting, etc), and so forth. However, to the Modernite this forced (and un-expected, but not un-predictable) *delay* in their lives is in-tollerable. Depending upon the mediocrity of their mind, they will begin to resent such an intrusion on the orderly (ie, controlled/controllable) progression of their life. The most mediocre thinker will in short order begin resentfully talking about how they can't stand here all day. Now there are two distinct situations in which this waiting can occur: Shopping for something and waiting to check out (or similar mercantile activities) and waiting to be served (eg, in a bank line, to purchase tickets, etc). We should turn our attention then to the *catastrophic* event (in terms of catastrophe theory, this is the event that *clearly* ends one set of behaviours and begins antoher. The best example of this is "getting out of bed" the catasrophic point is where you are no longer in bed, and you are now out of bed. The events on the two sides of this "cusp" are in different branches of the catastrophic system. Remember: Catastrophy Theory has little (if anything) to do with tornadoes, floods, or even missing out on the last pair of tickets for Wings ;). Thus, in the "standing in line" situation, possible catastrophic outcomes include "shouting for the manager to open a line", and quite commonly "leaving the store, and with great pomp shoving the items that they were going to purchase onto a side rack or other surface" -- often with loud verbal signals to indicate how important their time is. In the case of the "waiting to be served" situation, catastrophic outcomes include shoving their way to the head of the line (do you know who i am? --or-- I only have to do this one thing, etc), or again with the shouting, and/or leaving scenario. Thus, i hope that the above notes have detailed some of the views of the modern of "personal time". I now, wish to deal with the b/g of time as it realtes to history and progress.

The Modernite's view of History/Progress

Now, that we have discussed personal time (or opened a discussion of that subject that hopefully will lead to further discussions, and eventually a more refined *understanding* of the Modernite's view of personal time; ie, time in the short term), we now look at history and progress. While many Modernites disdain the concept of evolution, they embrace its results. The idea that systems evolve into the more complex, and that they adapt to new situations is of course a fact of the universes -- or at least of those universes for which (like ours) evolution is a basic structural component. The usual mis-interpretation of evolution is that things are always "on-ward and upward" and of course this fits nicely with the totally anthro-pocentric view that the Modernite has of the universe. That is, evolution (if it exists at all) has as its purpose to produce them; ie, the Modernite. In this case, we can see that in their view (for the most part) "evolution" is in fact replaced by "God". That is "It is God's grand design to create me" or "God cares about me", etc. Thus, the blind-chance events of the universe(s) [It should be noted at this point, for the Modernite there is only *one* possible universe and that would be "our" universe (if i may be so bold as to owner-ify it ;) -- or as Einstein refered to it "The Universe of Discourse", or "The universe under discussion". Since he (and other scientists/philosophers/etc) often would discuss theoretical universes where such and so might be the governing physical laws, etc. One of the most interesting discussions involved Kurt Gödel's discovery that "in a universe where Einstein's equations held, that *time* as we understand it might not exist at all" -- an excellent introduction to this is provided in the film: "IQ" with Walter Matthau playing Uncle Al, and with Meg Ryan as his niece and Tim Robbins as her would-be love interest. Also featuring our dear friend Stephen Fry as her *proper* fiannce and with Lou Jacobi as Kurt Gödel). But, alas; I, digress] Thus, the blind-chance events of the universe matter not, since God has a *higher* plan for the Modernite (who sees themselves as *the* centre of *the* universe -- NOTE TO SELF: How the self-view of the Modernite is challenged when things don't go correctly; eg, the ocean is just the wrong shade of pink or the eggs arrive COLD! etc). Thus, the whole concept of causality is actually disuadded by the Modernite's world view: Causality implies that one thing causes another. But, in a random univese, this means that since (in theory) anthing can happen, then by causality the resultant action *can* also occur. Thus, in their world view not all random events *can* occur -- thus, naturally limiting the universe to a closed system of finite starting states. That this precluded most of the concepts of modern physics (notably Quantum Mechanics which exludes a knowable starting point from which finite/definable/predicatable events can flow), as well as the basic concept of statisical thermodynamics, entropy, and of course causality in general. Thus, for the Modernite the first cause was (natch) God and the flow of time (historical time) as well as history and progress are essentially pre-ordained. The clearest expression of this world-view would of course be the concept of Manifest Destiny and its disasterous effects of the then-native Americans. In conclusion (in the discussion of history and progress) we can say that the world-view of the Modernite is *thin*. That is, history's only purpose has been to produce the *now* and more specifically the Modernite him/her-self. Progress is an in-exorable process where-by the life of the Modernite is made better and better. What now comes into play is the *reaction against* (to) actual history and actual progress.

DisneyLand of the Spirit

Before passing onto that topic, i would like to use an analogy (not original with me; i'm simply standing (rather wobbily) on the shoulders of giants or at least some fellow intellectuals (in the good sense), please see discussions on modernism, etc). [Brave New World -- Treating us like Infants] For the Modernite (and those of their kind that continually re-enforce the world view, the Modernite world around them, etc), the world is pretty much a playland. That is "we are made to live in Disney Land", this was anticipated by Ann Rand's "The FountainHead" [Note 2] when capitalists (under-appreciated) gang'ed off a'glay to live in a sort of Disneyland for Captitalists, but this has been made manifest by DisneyWorld actual. As Elayne Rapping points out "nothing could possibly go wrong because nothing could possibly happen". Thus, for the Modernite the world must be made safe not just for "Democracy", but for the un-preturbed view of the world. Thus, while Tolstoy's Anna Pavlova feels her Sorld (or at least her Soirèe) is slipping away, the Modernite can never have that happen to them. With the first sign of "trouble" a set of pre-programmed behaviours spring into place. But, fortunately (for the Modernite) this rarely occurs. They go to the mall where their shopping pleasure is assured. They go to the movie where they have been carefully prepared by movie reviews to know what to expect. When confronted with the Evil George Klooney and his vicious, Californian Liberal Attempt to spread lies about McKarthy ??sp?? they are at the last minute able to take in a nice, decent movie about the "Morrow" brothers and all of that nice broadcasting. That is the main point of the Disneyesque world.

In Defence of the Status-Quo

This aspect especially manifests itself in terms of the "professional class"; ie, a major aspect is the maintenance of the status quo since by definition the under-pinning supports the bourgeoise "professional class". The best example of this is that of doctors. They not only set themselves above everyone else (after all a doctor may tend to a king), but they further pronounce their own wisdom based upon their success in the community -- and one simply *can't* argue with success. The fact that their training is in such an extra-ordinaryily narrow range of knowledge does not deter them from seeing themselves as supreme judges of all areas of existence. In the case of the arts, literature, and the other aesthetics these are relgated to the level of the useless (with the possible exception of *collectable* art, etc). Despite their supposedly *scientific* training [Note 1], they are not really capable of rational or logical thought and almost inevitably (when cornered in an argument), out will come the "damn" -- it is really quite a phenomenon to behold how the word "damn" is used in place of anything even resembling hard logic or concrete knowledge.

The United Nations

"That's just what the UN would like to do (the US sign the Kyoto Treaty; and hence *trap* us into having to follow the UN's *dictates*). The american tax payers are generous enough, that we shouldn't have to clean up their "brown fields" and turn them into green fields; we have enough brown fields of our own. There are enough of the UN Politicians living off of us as it is; we're paying 40% of the UN budget as it ends. The mayor of New York, said that the UN ambassidors are the worst parkers (ie, illegal parking) of any group -- because they know that they can get away with it. The myth of the modern (ref: "We have never been modern", etc) the current myths for the "modern" man (captialism, the proper napkins, etc) culture-clash (the shaking hands incident) {Back to the TEXT} [02] Don't believe for a moment that i have read *anything* (not even the literary commentary) of/about/from/to/with/of-of Ayn Rand. This tid bit was transmitted orally by one of the Modernites with whom i had had to have this conversation (someone else started it), and fortunately it was during the middle of the exhultious exhortation of the exhemplahry erritude of Ms. Rand's wisdom, that my knee fell off or at i think that i may have mangaged to gnaww through my leg to escape. (Pray for us St. Arshile: Pray for us All). {Back to the TEXT} [03] {Back to the TEXT} [04] {Back to the TEXT} [05] {Back to the TEXT} [06] {Back to the TEXT} [07] {Back to the TEXT} [08] {Back to the TEXT} [09] {Back to the TEXT} [10] {Back to the TEXT} [11] {Back to the TEXT}