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Thread: Viet Nam at the gates of Disneyland

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    Post Viet Nam at the gates of Disneyland

    Viet Nam at the gates of Disneyland

    Civilization is our worst enemy. When we start out, naked and hungry, there is a clear goal on which everyone can agree: find food, shelter and clothing. Once those are achieved, well, why the heck not go for culture and learning anyway. To whatever degree the population in question is motivated toward long-term thinking, these develop into any number of other sciences and disciplines. The ice weasels are banished, and we've got something that just died roasting on the fire. Maybe this week, metalworking? And so on it goes, until the settlement has achieved comfort for itself and thus lacks anything else of a tangible nature to accomplish.

    At this point, there's a problem: there is no longer something on the horizon one can point to and say, "We only want people who can deal with that." There's plenty of food and shelter, so maybe we need equal rights for obese lesbians and fundamentalist toe-worshippers. What are they hurting? We can afford to stop being cruel to those who are less capable, because it's not like we're going to need them in a fight. The worst accomplishment of a civilization is thus civility, which removes all conflict and thus guarantees that there is no force to cull out the stupider ones. Some would argue crime replaces the natural frontier, or perhaps predatory corporations selling inferior products next to better ones, but when survival itself is guaranteed, all this produces is more neurotic and self-pitying people.

    Civility also ensures a self-congratulatory nature to people. They have beat the beast within. Everything that comes up can be handled through negotiation, and no one ever loses, or is killed. Those who do not tolerate this view are of course those excluded from society, even if their objections are legitimate; their method is considered not legitimate, and by backward process of logic, it is thus assumed that their objections have no meaning. This creates a system that like a drunk man in the cold is immune to its own failings, and sees only the warm glow from within, even if the snowplow passes and buries it under sheeting ice that in morning will have proved to be - who would have guessed? - fatal.

    Once society has been reduced to a series of negotiations, the idea of business as object above all else comes into play. We handle social disagreements by civility, and business is the same. Cannot say anything that would offend others or bring about them feeling less than excellent about their purchases! Complete satisfaction is our goal. We're sorry, we do not make a cancer-free big industry, but you might try the lite version, which is regulated by fat bureaucrats, when they're not downloading internet porn on that thick government bandwidth. Criticism that suggests we roll this back is beyond civility, thus a sure sign that you're a sociopath, or socially retarded, or perhaps simply needing some attention. Not enough sexual response from our mothers, was it?

    It might occur to us, at this point, that such a divorce from the requirements of life would require heavy drugs, or superstitious religion, or even hypnotism by television. No - but it helps. What has happened is a separation of appearance from reality. Since no one is actually slaying bears, or domesticating wild grains, or piling firewood in the cave, what people are doing is manipulating each other to reconfigure parts of the system so that profit is made. This requires having a "society face," or an appearance of being an upstanding citizen who can work with others, regardless of what reality is, and it usually differs greatly. The people we sell cars to may be morons, but we can only say that when we're in the hottub with some whores and cocaine, not when they're around. If they knew, they would not buy. Appearance begins to separate from reality.

    These contributing factors are easily accepted by a civilization at such a state, since there is no honest-to-goodness goal. What is important is being able to manipulate the civilization that exists, not create a civilization in the wild. As a result, all of the needed skills for civilized humanity require the ability to manipulate image. This in turn requires humility, and adherence to the most open-ended of beliefs, such as equality and justice and freedom, all indefinable and profitably so, since the best product is one that incrementally advances the purchaser toward a state which will never be achieved. It's all in the promise of getting that state, and if it doesn't actually deliver, well, there are plenty of reasons why that might be so, and civility prohibits that you simply behead the lying salesman and whatever back boardroom hamsters dreamed up this lie.

    Civility, business, politics, and religion: these all require pleasing others in public, while in private taking whatever you can because even a retard on PCP can figure out that this kind of civilization is unstable, even if he doesn't say it out loud (bad for business, and since we're all equal, even a dusted sped might be CEO, or president). The pleasant illusions become a form of reality, in that we all agree on them and use them as tokens to sell things to each other, thus keeping the system going, even though it is inevitably grinding down from within. Oh, you don't look fat, dear - it's just the light. I can barely see wrinkles. Pleasant illusion in itself becomes a goal. We coat ourselves in perfumes, and go through elaborate rituals to hide the hint of stench that might suggest we sweat, defecate, burp and pass gas.

    Not surprisingly, these societies have a strict taboo on mentioning death without some universal platitude like religion or "heroism," which is conferred on anyone who dies in the service of illusion, thus allowing business to continue. They become a functional version of Disneyland, where the machinery operating the dolls is hidden behind fake rocks and in basement offices. What matters is that the guests have a good time, because they're paying, of course - we won't mention that eventually the vacation comes to an end, whether because your reservation is over and you go home, or because you stay in blissful oblivion until you max out your card and security carries you out a back door. What matters is that Fantasyland prevail over reality, and that no one publically interrupt the illusion, although they can scream themselves bloody alone in their empty apartments at night over the futility of it all. That doesn't cost us any money.

    Everyone is dependent on the same thing, the source of income, since there is no longer any open land which we can use for crops and game, and thus our only means of survival are small tokens and plastic cards with magnetic belts on the back. Our armies crush any empire which is not civil, like the Nazis or al-Qaeda, and then we take over there, too, since we can't put a turd in the punchbowl and mention that our society is insane; we have to, like a battered wife or abused child, pretend that all is well and put on our society face when we go out in public, and that includes pretending that what we're bringing to your bomb-blasted land strewn with the bodies of your neighbors is indeed a great good and an improvement. Reality hides in whispered phrases, underbreath mutterings, graffitti under commuter bridges.

    With this kind of system in place, there is no option for a wake-up call, or rather, there's no option for a wake-up call within the functional limits of said society. It will have to be something that tears down the walls, smashes the robotic children singing, melts the ears off the giant mouse (the small ones used to live, in the wild, or something) and exposes the broken machinery spinning out of control in its hidden command centers. It will have to be something that rips the clothes from the Emperor, and shows us a fat, impotent man, and burns away the disguises that make us all seem to be the same form factor, as if coming from the same assembly line in a giant factory in Mexico or China or wherever they make those charming mouse figurines. It will be apocalyptic, because nothing else will serve as a wake-up call, and, anaesthetized by fantasy, we will simply degrade each generation into stupider, whinier, less creative and less able people, until the society that's left either will suicide or should because of its own emasculated self-importance.

    The Viet Nam war was the first hint of such a cosmic slap coming for us. The politicians thundered about "freedom" and "justice" and warned that godless Communism would prevent them, thus we the civil people would need to crush the uncivil and stop the fall of dominoes. Our boys were told they were doing something for the good of their people, and they were proud, until they got over there and saw. Saw that we were propping up a sick businessman as a dictator, in the name of freedom. That we bombed villages to liberate the people there, presumably to a "Heaven" few believed in any longer. That we were dissolving the forest, chewing up an ancient culture, and bombing miles of red-dirt jungle into ceramic wasteland. Children absorbed our napalm and white phosphorous, and not just over there: here, too, eyes tracked the events on television and wondered subconsciously how reality could be so different from what we were told, what seemed right, what we all believed in.

    It didn't stop the machine. Lack of belief meant simply that coercion would be our rule, and that those who came to "save" us would be in fact bringing a temporary respite without changing the problem, thus strengthening it under the illusion of fixing it. If you told them this, they'd tell you to be realistic; we have to work within the system (and with this I agree, with one exception: we have to work within the system knowing that our aim is to replace it, since it is dysfunctional and will never replace itself). Fantasyland marches on. If Johnny comes home in a wheelchair with no face, you put him in the back room and don't talk about it - bad for business. When little Jen and Danny grow up to be hippies who smoke dope and have sex with a different person every day, you put up with it and urge them toward something more sensible, because without money they won't have health insurance, and since cancer rates rise yearly, they'll need it...

    (There is only one way to thwart the machine, although it is twofold. Deny the illusion. When people offer you pleasant fictions in exchange for reality, insist on reality, much as you might turn down a "bargain" product for one that you know will work unlike its junky, flashier cousin. Second, prepare for the collapse. If it's a soft collapse, your nation will move into the third world and only the ultra wealthy will have decent lives - except those who retreat to the country and grow cocaine or other cash crops. If it's a hard collapse, better have tools, tents and guns in the basement - if a global collapse, better make those bows and arrows instead.)

    We are now in the midst of another Viet Nam. Oops, taboo broken: we can say anything we think about this war, except point out that it's one of the fibrilations of a dying culture, which as it collapses is trying to force appearance on whatever ugly reality rises around it. They aren't civil; they're bad for business: out go the bombers, troops land on beaches, television cameras reel. This one, too, will be a slap in the face; those sent out in the good graces of illusion will return with cold reality possessing some or all of their limbs, and forcing them to piss through little bags they strap around your waist, since certain members will be dearly departed. Someone will make a ton and a half of money by creating a huge bill for the war, charging it to the Iraqis to be paid in undervalued oil, and then selling off the surplus equipment paid for by the war. Each inch of margin consumed by that profit maker will turn into billions among the international financial elite. But do we blame them? They are the providers of illusion, not its creators.

    The roots of vietnamization are in the cycle of civilization itself. In a new civilization, if the bear comes charging and you sit there whining about rights for obese lesbians or fundamentalist preachers, they'll kill the bear and leave you in the icy forest for something else to eat. No one in a rigorous time needs a useless person, least of all one totally detached from the daily reality of needing to find food, or starving; of needing to find wood, or freezing; of needing to slaughter any Other that comes over the hill, or to be subjugated, raped and absorbed by that assailant. Vietnam did this in part, but it was a distant war, beyond the gates of Fantasyland and fought only by those who could not beg, fake, or buy a way out. There is a bigger wakeup call still coming, one that will leave us naked and hungry, needing to make civilization over again.

    Craig Smith (01/27/05)

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    Post Re: Viet Nam at the gates of Disneyland

    Good article as usual, prozak.

    It presents the claim made by people as diverse as ibn-Khaldun, Machiavelli, Engels, and Ferdinand Tönnies, that Civilization/Gesellschaft is the death of the values of Culture/Gemeinschaft, in a novel and clear way.

    It also reminds one of the insight of the Situationists (and their central concept used to describe this: Society of the Spectacle), that we as Nationalists often feel at the instinctive level, but need to be aware of consciously.

    Quote Originally Posted by prozak
    Appearance begins to separate from reality.

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