The Possessed 2003
WRITE : nonfiction
Summary[ no images, stories? ]
QuestionsAnatoly, why is this "POMO" glossary everywhere? Postmodern? New way to see it?
2004 & After
NotesMarch 2003, The War: I have to revisit this chapter to see what I wrote several years ago.
1994. Since I came back to the States I live with the sense of deja'vu. Recalling, remembering the state of mind I had then, twenty years ago, in Russia. The sense that nothing would ever happen.... Nobody expected it, the end of the world we knew. How could it be? As if it was blocked out. There was not a single voice predicting the collapse of the USSR. Not even a feeling of sinking, only sense of impotence. And an acceptance of the status quo.... I missed the actual end of the Soviet state, I have a feeling that I would witness the collapse of a super-power in America. And I have the same sensation that nothing I can do about it.
It was understood long ago -- the obvious: "In our time it is the mass-man who dominates, it is he who decides." [G V] It's not even an issue anymore, a done deal. Irreversible and final. More so, the mass rule isn't novice and rather aged up reality. Communism runs the world for at least one, maybe, two generations."The masses are advancing," said Hegel in apocalyptic fashion. "Without some new spiritual influence, our age, which is a revolutionary age, will produce a catastrophe," was the pronouncement of Comte. [G V?]
We live this catastrophe, not intellectual, as in the 19th century, not political, as in the first half of the 20th century, but cultural. Existentialism and absurdism are history. PM is a generation old. We are results and products of the primitive communism, which Marx describe in his Manuscripts of 1844. (see PROPERTY).
Civilized BarbariansThe traveller who arrives in a barbarous country knows that in that territory there are no ruling principles to which it is possible to appeal. Properly speaking, there are no barbarian standards. Barbarism is the absence of standards to which appeal can be made. [G VII]
The ideas, the principles of ideology (culture or civilization) stopped working. They are not applicable anymore, the society outgrown itself. Nothing could be done. Restoration, reformation, revision -- none could change the situation, since the people are different. The true revolutionary changes take place in silence, we notice them afterwards. We're the change. It's not planned, not known and, of course, nobody is capable of predicting it. Barbarism is a state of no principles. Whatever we using from the past vocabulary doesn't belong to our present.
In Russia it was named "stagnation." With a horror I have to admit that the Reagan's conservative revolution and the Republican so-called revolution didn't produced any cultural changes in America. All the same. I remember the reforms of Brezhnev's era, which died without a notice. I remember and recognize the feeling.Hence its activities are reduced to dodging the difficulties of the hour; not solving them, but escaping from them for the time being, employing any methods whatsoever, even at the cost of accumulating thereby still greater difficulties for the hour which follows. Such has public power always been when exercised directly by the masses: omnipotent and ephemeral. The mass-man is he whose life lacks any purpose, and simply goes drifting along. Consequently, though his possibilities and his powers be enormous, he constructs nothing. And it is this type of man who decides in our time. [G V]
We didn't know that even "drifting along" isn't the end of the story. There was "perestroika" period which broke Soviet Union in five short years. What is the last Republican "revolution" if not an attempt to reform the society? American Perestroyka (Restructuring). Reformism hadn't work for Gorbachev. Clinton was running under the "change" idea...
Paradise mentality doesn't destroy the private property itself but the sense of property, making it into a non-issue:* However rich an individual might be in relation to his fellows, as the world in its totality was poor, the sphere of conveniences and commodities with which his wealth furnished him was very limited. The life of the average man to-day is easier, more convenient and safer than that of the most powerful of another age. What difference does it make to him not to be richer than others if the world is richer and furnishes him with magnificent roads, railway, telegraphs, hotels, personal safety and aspirin? [G VI]
Communism (modern name for Paradise) is not so much a place, but a state of mind.The concept of the Opinion (pools or polls):
Under the species of Syndicalism and Fascism there appears for the first time in Europe a type of man who does not want to give reasons or to be right, but simply shows himself resolved to impose his opinions. This is the new thing: the right not to be reasonable, the "reason of unreason." Here I see the most palpable manifestation of the new mentality of the masses, due to their having decided to rule society without the capacity for doing so. In their political conduct the structure of the new mentality is revealed in the rawest, most convincing manner; but the key to it lies in intellectual hermetism. The average man finds himself with "ideas" in his head, but he lacks the faculty of ideation. He has no conception even of the rare atmosphere in which ideas live. He wishes to have opinions, but is unwilling to accept the conditions and presuppositions that underlie all opinion. Hence his ideas are in effect nothing more than appetites in words, something like musical romanzas.
To have an idea means believing one is in possession of the reasons for having it, and consequently means believing that there is such a thing as reason, a world of intelligible truths. To have ideas, to form opinions, is identical with appealing to such an authority, submitting oneself to it, accepting its code and its decisions, and therefore believing that the highest form of inter-communion is the dialogue in which the reasons for our ideas are discussed. But the mass-man would feel himself lost if he accepted discussion, and instinctively repudiates the obligation of accepting that supreme authority lying outside himself. [G X]
That's the real reason for "representative" government. Government itself in any form is alienation, giving away the powers. Giving power to ALL (nobody) makes the system fully unaccountable.
America is PM subject and could be described, not defined. All our definitions of America are about the Museum of Americas, not about the reality of America. If knowledge is power, there's a resistance to power. The greater the power, the bigger is our resistance. Resistance to knowledge is more intensive than ever. We shouldn't be surprise that in our age of information the freedom of mind is at the lowest. We refuse to understand, and it understandable. The information (or even worse -- data) is our rejection of knowledge; we can't finish any discourse, we can't afford to get deep into any subject, incapable to think though or complete any emotion. That's us, the revolt against knowing. This is America, where free thinking is too expensive. American mind prohibits reflection, this mind is over-populated, to busy to be free.
We are against thinking otologically (cinema). Thought requires peace, we are war. Observation needs distance, we are involved. We are process, the explosion. We "think" only when we are forced to do some "thinking" -- its' a labor, it's not free and can't be free. We work and we rest. Thinking doesn't fit into either state of mind. Our mental labor has nothing to do with thinking, only problem solving. Animals and machines (we are in the middle) do not think, they react. Our behavior defines our intelligence. Thinking is against our nature (second nature), against being productive in our un-natural (technology) environment. There's nothing natural about thinking in the first place. It's ability, capacity, possibility, not a quality. Having brains, or being social doesn't lead to thinking.Liberty of spirit, that is to say, intellectual power, is measured by its capacity to dissociate ideas traditionally inseparable. It costs more to dissociate ideas than to associate them, as Kohler has shown in his investigations on the intelligence of chimpanzees. Human understanding has never had greater power of dissociation than at present. [G IV]
"Bridge into the Twenty First Century"? (Clinton)
Our reality is about linkage, connecting, bringing together. Analysis requires the opposite. Analysis is politically incorrect, almost immoral activity. Criticism is a judgement. We can tolerate an opinion but not an analytical observation. What it should be a revelation that the Judgement Day is the wrong time to discover the truth. Court rooms are not Plato Academy, they are battlefields of interests. Trail isn't a process of thinking but a fight over right and wrong. Nothing could be further from thinking which is neutral to judgement. Analysis knows no ideology, it has no intention of proving anything. We only using attributes of thinking for our judgement calls.In the schools, which were such a source of pride to the last century, it has been impossible to do more than *instruct* (A.A.) the masses in the technique of modern life; it has been found impossible to educate them. [G V]We can't educate and our "education system" is actually designed not to educate, but to prevent an education. General education, mandatory and free based on "military" principle, has only disciplinary function.
Sunset of Academia:
It is not a question of the mass-man being a fool. On the contrary, today he is more clever, has more capacity of understanding than his fellow of any previous period. But that capacity is of no use to him; in reality, the vague feeling that he possesses it seems only to shut him up more within himself and keep him from using it. Once for all, he accepts the stock of commonplaces, prejudices, fag-ends of ideas or simply empty words which chance has piled up within his mind, and with a boldness only explicable by his ingenuousness, is prepared to impose them everywhere. This is what in my first chapter I laid down as the characteristic of our time; not that the vulgar believes itself super-excellent and not vulgar, but that the vulgar proclaims and imposes the rights of vulgarity, or vulgarity as a right.(A) The command over public life exercised today by the intellectually vulgar is perhaps the factor of the present situation which is most novel, least assimilable to anything in the past. At least in European history up to the present, the vulgar had never believed itself to have "ideas" on things. It had beliefs, traditions, experiences, proverbs, mental habits, but it never imagined itself in possession of theoretical opinions on what things are or ought to be -- for example, on politics or literature. What the politician planned or carried out seemed good or bad to it, it granted or withheld its support, but its action was limited to being an echo, positive or negative, of the creative activity of others. It never occurred to it to oppose to the "ideas" of the politician others of its own, nor even to judge the politician's "ideas" from the tribunal of other "ideas" which it believed itself to possess. Similarly in art and in other aspects of public life. An innate consciousness of its limitation, of its not being qualified to theorize,* effectively prevented it doing so. The necessary consequence of this was that the vulgar never thought, even remotely, of making a decision on any one of the public activities, which in their greater part are theoretical in character. Today, on the other hand, the average man has the most mathematical "ideas" on all that happens or ought to happen in the universe. Hence he has lost the use of his hearing. Why should he listen if he has within him all that is necessary? There is no reason now for listening, but rather for judging, pronouncing, deciding. (A) There is no question concerning public life, in which he does not intervene, blind and deaf as he is, imposing his "opinions."
* There is no getting away from it; every opinion means setting up a theory.
But, is this not an advantage? Is it not a sign of immense progress that the masses should have "ideas," that is to say, should be cultured? By no means. The "ideas" of the average man are not genuine ideas, nor is their possession culture. An idea is a putting truth in checkmate. Whoever wishes to have ideas must first prepare himself to desire truth and to accept the rules of the game imposed by it. It is no use speaking of ideas when there is no acceptance of a higher authority to regulate them, a series of standards to which it is possible to appeal in a discussion. These standards are the principles on which culture rests. I am not concerned with the form they take. What I affirm is that there is no culture where there are no standards to which our fellow-men can have recourse. There is no culture where there are no principles of legality to which to appeal. There is no culture where there is no acceptance of certain final intellectual positions to which a dispute may be referred.* There is no culture where economic relations are not subject to a regulating principle to protect interests involved. There is no culture where aesthetic controversy does not recognize the necessity of justifying the work of art.
* If anyone in a discussion with us is concerned with adjusting himself to truth, if he has no wish to find the truth, he is intellectually a barbarian. That, in fact, is the position of the mass-man when he speaks, lectures, or writes. (Political Correctness as an Ideology).
We are using words "democracy," "freedom," "society," "nation," without any attempt to understand OUR meaning of them, without noticing that they are only our interpretations of "democracy," "freedom," "society," "nation." We don't want to see that OUR actual meaning is the opposite to the original. Imitation is always opposing the original, nothing could be further from the subject than its copy. From Goethe and Kleist we know that a shadow which behave as a body is the worse enemy of the original. Discussing "democracy," we like to stay within our understanding of democracy, we do not leave our ideology to examine "OUR" methods of understanding. The Soviet philosophers were very busy analyzing marxism without leaving marxist orthodoxy. That was "their business" with no relevance to subject itself or non-marxist visions. This endless talks about American Constitution are sickening experience, because they can't produce no new knowledge. They are take place for that very reason -- not to think about American constitution, about America and even about thinking. This is "American thinking" -- an ideological propaganda.
Synoikismos is the resolution to live together; consequently, an assembly, in the strict double sense of the word, physical and juridical. To vegetative dispersion over the countryside succeeds civil concentration within the town. The city is the super-house, the supplanting of the infra-human abode or nest, the creation of an entity higher and more abstract than the oikos of the family. This is the res-publica, the politeia, which is not made up of men and women, but of citizens. A new dimension, not reducible to the primitive one allied to the animal, is offered to human existence, and within it those who were before mere men are going to employ their best energies. In this way comes into being the city, from the first a State. [G XIV]
America never knew any history of city-state. Not even a state. Just a territory. It was colony after all. Once again, America is ruled by the people who do not live in USA.
(Re-reading "Democracy in America")
THE LIBERTARIAN IMPOSSIBLE TASK: LEGALIZATION OF FREEDOM
1. NON-PARTY PARTY: LP
Or even anti-party?
Party fights for power, not influence!
Maybe they should stay as a movement. Except for the times of presidential elections; once in four years the libertarians forced to pretend that they have a party machine. They, non-believers of representative concept, have to find a candidate which would run for presidency of the united States of America. The last evil thing LP wishes to do -- to get organized and to fight for the position of state's power. What a contradiction!
Libertarians' forefathers (anarchists) had the same problem. They rejected the power (force) and therefore never had any. POMO politics: I, netizen, can't be represented. The old conflict between an individual and society came to its extreme position. Totalitarian society (PM) asks for total equality: we all have to be elected. Collective tv decisions only! Without leaders? Pomo president -- Bill. May be, postmodernism offers some possibilities of "direct democracy." Society without a state? Are we there? two opposite processes take place everywhere: disintegration of national cultures and socialization of individual. Our communal integration of everyone into a whole, when the humanity becomes more than a concept but an organism, naturally leads to more state-like structures. We have more and more laws, rules and regulations -- and something has to execute them. How?
What is new nature of power (power of powerless)?
How could a libertarian be a politician?
And does it matter? Isn't president a political sign without a signifier?
ABSOLUTISM OF DEMOCRACY
Unlimited power is in itself a bad and dangerous thing. Human beings are not competent to exercise it with discretion. *There is no power on earth so worthy of honor or clothed with rights so sacred that I would admit its uncontrolled and predominant authority.* When I see the right and means of absolute command are conferred on any power whatever, be it called a people or a king, an aristocracy or a democracy, monarchy or republic, I say there is the germ of tyranny, and I seek to live elsewhere, under other laws. (Alexis De Toqueville)
That's how I left Russia and now leaving the USA without defecting. Countries betray me...
"We, the people" isn't such an innocent idea after all.
Democracy is a contra-concept of tyranny only on state structure
level. In terms of power democracy is much more tyrannical than
any previous form of power. Law + Humanity = no mercy.
American political power looks flat, two-dimensional. Bill and Bob.... Where is the vertical in America? What is American hierarchy?
Please, stop your complains about legal system which stinks! Twelve people in a box are the system. You, the Americans, the people, -- stink! you re-elect your representatives over and over to blame them. You want to have another law (term limit) to blame the law. You gave away your freedom, producing so many laws (making a common sense into a legal law -- balancing the budget) that the absolutism of law make the order impossible. You made a democracy into a panopticon where everything has to be observed and approved by all and everyone. This is the state of super-democracy which acts as a hyper-democracy and which is nothing more than a pseudo-democracy. The freedom became its own copy, a caricature of itself. Representative and republic?
PM Power Structure is a destruction of power. Yes, the U.S. government has an unlimited power which it can't use ("football" case). Or is it the pomo society? Technology gives the unlimited power. What does "unlimited power" really mean? The present (super-power) state can't function on the basis of previous idea of checks and balances, it is out of balance and can't be checked or balanced. Society and state had merged, we don't know anymore where one starts and other ends. We moved from super-power to hyper-power (pseudo-power equivalent). Out of my or your control (had I ever have it?) -- who's suppose to be in control? What about OUR (what is that?) control? New face of absolutism (mass culture v. society (culture); each group could claim its absolute rights). What is American Republic in 1996? Could it be that the (democratically elected) government is the only free to pretend? If "human beings are not competent to exercise" the unlimited power, we need a bureaucracy (people machine) to correct "human errors." The human machine (big organization) isn't flexible and slow (our collective defence against "human" individual mistakes), and has its own interest (life).
SUPER-DEMOCRATIC, Extra, over... anti!
Total democracy => totalitarian stage of democracy.
Self-contradiction: imposing democracy by the government.
"Tyranny of the anti-tyranny" is soft. It's likable, it's nice. Tyranny of Democracy begins with the apparatus (state) of governing. Total society asks for total decentralization. Libertarians want to go back to the origins of constitution. They probably should go even further -- to no power state of America, when it were the colonies with local powers. Constitution? From being a principle, American Democracy has to take forms of a force. Both traditional ("ruling" Republicans and Democrats) parties represent the state (socialist) ideals. Since they are historically integrated within the power structure, Republican or Democrats represent the new American society with socialist ideals. They both represent democratic principles of the modernism developed at the times of national statehood history. In postmodern world (global history) they have to represent humankind, even humanity (abstract), they have to be correct -- they corrupt itself. New American society has to come into a conflict with its traditional cultural institutions such as congress and presidency.
"Democratic State": paradox (state can't be fully democratic, any army is the order). Democratic police, prisons? 20th century forced America into a super-state existence (American "new nation" shouldn't have foreign policy). Communist dilemma when everything became their business. "Foreign" becomes domestic concerns.
Governments of the Global Village?
In postmoderm world the government becomes people's best enemy, the parasite of parasites. "Why Government Doesn't Work"?6 No, Harry, government is working, it's working against you. In Russia we knew it. State protects them, the citizens, from each other (police), and from their neighbors (army). The US army is already under the UN command (international police). Finally, State protects me from myself (abortion, suicide). State represents our fears and our evil. By definition. Could be the state a best of us? And this epitome of worse-in-us (with the best intentions) got all the rights to judge and to rule.
I miss the KGB. In Russia it was obvious, because the state was an instrument of social engineering. The state was an instrument of social engineering. Less obvious was the fact that it was the Russian people's government. Delegating the power to the state, by definition, breads the tyranny and conflict. problems of representation: is it possible to represent pomo? What is "representation" in 21 century? State has to be a suppressive and repressive (power!). "New Deal" (compare with "New Order" in Germany and "New World" in Soviet Russia) gave the state a role of savior of American society (Democratic Party's foundation). Democrats has to be for a big government (what a contradiction to the very name "demos" -- society). Republicans by the origins and intentions are pro-government (Republic). Who does represent Americans at the times of direct democracy (definition)? If TV (media) as a forth power still didn't convince you, the Internet will.
In my opinion, the main evil of the present democratic institutions of the United States does not arise, as is often asserted in Europe, from their weakness, but from their irresistible strength. I am not so much alarmed at the *excessive liberty* which reigns in that country as at the inadequate securities one finds there against tyranny. (Toqueville p.?)
Oh, the victims of freedom became the nation of victims. American Crime Story: a missing counterbalance. Human rights of criminals. The tyranny of the Bill of Rights. Excessive liberty of the liberal government? No, the people! By the way, may be in a free country its government is also free to be free?
WELFARE MAMAS IN PLACE OF FOUNDING PAPAS
The majority rule: what a strange idea!
New reality: America against Americans.
Is it so?
The tyranny of minorities: how did it happen? It always was this way. Minority ruled so-called class societies for centuries. Are you surprised that a non-working minority rules the working America? What's new about this disposition? Majority can't rule -- communist Russia proved it again. When non-working America would become a majority, than the system collapse.
True American citizens were the minority.
They were talking about the majority rule of the ruling minority.
Paradox? Not really, just an idea of democracy taken to its extreme.
[Is a part equal of a whole? More on "Minorities as Majority Rule" later.]
Problem of equal representation, the collapse of re--presentation in today's America (the forth power; the media). Is any form of representation possible in "direct democracy" (definition)?
I am the biggest minority -- an individual. Is it so? How many of them are around?
When an individual or a party is wronged in the United States, to whom can he apply for redress? If to public opinion, public opinion constitutes the majority; if to the legislature, it represents the majority and implicitly obeys it; if to the executive power, it is appointed by the majority and serves as a passive tool in its hands. The public force consists of the majority under arms; the jury is the majority invested with the right of hearing judicial cases; and in certain states even the judges are elected by the majority. However iniquitous or absurd the measure you complain, you must submit to it as well as you can. (T)
The City of Washington D.C.: bankruptcy of the majority rule. The capital of OUR America.
If, on the other hand, a legislative power could be so constituted as to represent the majority without necessarily being the slave of its passions, an executive so as to retain a proper share of authority, and a judiciary so as to remain independent of the other two powers, a government would be formed which would still be democratic while incurring scarcely any risk of tyranny. (T)
I do not say that there is a frequent use of tyranny in America at the present day; but I maintain there is no sure barrier against it, and that the causes which mitigate the government there are to be found in *the circumstances and the manners of the country more than in its laws.* (T)
So, that was the human (moral) material more than the principles of freedom. Freedoms worked for them because they worked. They, the minority which didn't have to work (and didn't work in Europe). Was the civil about those "circumstances" and "manners" of the country? It was the triumph and the beginning of the end of the classical America (modernist nation).8 It took another century to get to the postmodern.
GOP's overtones: What are the American Laws?
Moral, and as a result, physical subordination in classical democracy. American morals are gone together with classical America. In a relative, postmoderm, democracy each person is a minority. My morals are MINE. I am the nation. Party of One: I am Representation of myself, and therefore -- Direct Democracy is not only MINE but OUR problem. Since I am not bound anymore to my immediate natural community or even a country, I am a world citizen de facto. There are six billion American semi-citizens around. That's the fate of every nation, most of all -- the model modern nation -- USA. What are pomo morals?
Tell me who is American and I'll tell you the future of the world.
The American is being based on becoming. He is a process, the method of living after the death of man. He is a double human, not a superman, but a hyper-man (or hyper, for short). His humanity multiplied by technology without which he is a sub-human. He is pomo-man. American is communist...
I better stop here.
Self-representation and self-governing (libertarian idea) should go to its natural limits. Absence of classes, unions, parties. No state, no society. Tell me about "politics are always local"! There is no local, no geography, no territory.
Republicans (since Reagan) are struggling with the idea of total democracy, not the Democratic Party. Begining with FDR the Democratic Party rides on socialist ideas. Socialism, fascism or communism are not opposing concepts to democracy; each of them rightly claims to a democracy for its citizens (the understanding of citizenry is different in each formation). Europeans are not ashamed to be called socialists, Clinton can't break the news to his fellow Americans that we do have not only social, but socialist programs.
UNDERGROUND IN AMERICA
At the present time the most absolute monarchs in Europe cannot prevent certain opinions hostile to their authority from circulating in secret through their dominions and even in their courts. It is not so in America; as long as the majority is still undecided, discussion is carried on; but as soon as its decision is irrevocably pronounced, everyone is silent, and the friends as well as the opponents of the measure unite in assenting to its propriety. The reason for this is perfectly clear: no monarch is so absolute as to combine all the powers of society in his own hands and to conquer all opposition, as a majority is able to do, which has the right both of making and executing the laws. (T)
(NB: If we executing the laws, why do we have to make it into laws?)
"Undecided" is a state of mind, so-called "open-mindness" -- avoiding decisions.
Where is the division? Checks and balances? Who examines the majority? The wisdom of the mob is unquestionable.
American secrets are special, of course. We don't know them. We don't know that we have them. It was called "innocence" by the Americans, and "ignorance" by the Europeans. The Underground is un-natural in America. American underground is a matter of psychiatrists and lawyers. American Silence, an absence of organized dissent, expresses itself in violence and drugs. Self-censorship has its price -- the suppressed eternal freedom.
Conservative revolution was about American neo-classicism.
Classical American Democracy: voluntary submission, inner discipline. This self-discipline was based on values which are no more. Mass democracy consists of majority of anti-citizens (under-class and non-political, apolitical consumers, costumers of power). Demos in its original form was already an organized social body (by culture, customs, mythology). It's not a mass of people. Ethnos v. demos. Mass democracy asks for the laws of big numbers have its own logic.
I am my own underground.
ANY RIGHTS ARE PAID FOR BY GIVING UP SOME OTHER FREEDOMS
The authority of a king is physical and *controls the actions of men without subduing their will*. But *the majority possesses a power that is physical and moral at the same time*, which acts upon the will as much as upon the actions and *represses not only all contest, but all controversy*. (T)
Neither/Or. What is your choice? When I don't have an opponent, I become my own enemy.
"America" is the biggest party I ever belonged to. Not a family as a traditional nation?
Written Constitution and unwritten laws of America. It was a culture, not popular culture. The populace was an object of the democracy idea, not active creator of it (?).
FREE AND MINDLESS
Freedom of Mind is a victim of Man's Rights, the Human Rights. Freedom of speech v. Freedom of Conscience. Army model v. Church Mode (family as a mixed concept). PC - postmodern feature. Will and Power? Since socially, the American mind based on religious (moral) ground, any controversial thought falls into a category of blasphemy, challenges the very concept of ideological unity. Americans united not by State's structure but by social "deal," contact (ideological contract?). It's the United Minds of America (that's why the moral breakdown is the total breakdown of the nation based on moral unity).
United We Stand?
Technologically oriented and advanced Americans are (socially) uncreative (?). They have a little interest in developing social institutions (economic -- business -- organizations represent American social creativity). Business in America is the politician. Economy is the real power. The American culture has to be anti (non) intellectual, and the popular culture is an expression of it. An American is a counter-culture agent by default (culture as an organism of values and ideas asks for controversy and conflict in order to have a mechanism of self-development). Scientific inquiry isn't necessary linked with the passion for spirituality. America came out of Age of Reason and doesn't know mysticism. Americans are good guys, good people who believe in being good. Morality guards Americans from thinking (problem-solving v. thinking as a process).
Had we notice the lack of political ideas? Oh? There are no ideological activity in society; the academia is supposed to be academic, the media has to be objective, "think tanks" must be scientific; we are afraid of being bias, committed to any ideology. The result of being "open minded" is devastating: no mind at all. Is "independence of mind" a price for total democracy?
FREEDOM OF EMPTY MIND
*I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America*. In any constitutional state in Europe every sort of religious and political theory may be freely preached and disseminated; for there is no country in Europe so subdued by any single authority as not to protect the man who raises his voice in the cause of truth from the consequences of his hardihood. If he is unfortunate enough to live under an absolute government, the people are often on his side; if he inhabits a free country, he can, if necessary, find a shelter behind the throne. The aristocratic part of society supports him in some countries, and the democracy in others. But in a nation where democratic institutions exist, organized like those in the United States, there is but one authority, one element of strength and success, with nothing beyond it. (T)
Mono-politics. Why in the 90s' USA the power (government-state) and media (high society) are complimentary? What was Watergate about? Forget it, we rather be innocent. That's how the ignorance is born. Establishment: both powers live on majority.
An American citizen (I) is a media construct. When candidates meet the people, I see them on the screen -- they are performers, because we see them. Look at the Tv audience of the talk shows -- this is meta-theatre, stage on stage. They're guests no less than the people on Tv stage. The true audience is at home, in front of tv sets. Without the home viewers the show and its audience loses its purpose. Tv studio audience "represents" me? TV host represents me, the guests too represent me -- for the people, of the people -- by the people. This over-representation is needed because "I" can't be included in the process.
Liars to ourselves.
This was my third presidential election round in USA.
Political "discussions" during the presidential campaign are
political exchanges, debates; nothing close to a discussion or
confrontation of different ideologies. No wonder that Americans
(LP, Independents) see no difference between the two big parties;
each of them stays away from defining its ideology. In the most
recent Republican "Revolution" (1994) was very little of
revolutionary thought, overall it was a contract, a deal. With
whom? With American dream?
With an idea called "America."
POLITICAL OLYMPICS: MEDIA AND ITS IDEOLOGY
Notes From the Electronic Underground
I. AMERICA 96
Bipartisan demagoguery and wishful thinking. What family are they talking about with half of American children been raised by a single parent, when one in two marriages ends in divorce? Village in the age shopping malls, long distance relations and five hours of daily TV? Both parties wish there would a family or a village, but the only village and family waiting for American child is a gang. Who could fix it? Non-existing village or family? Oh, the president! The one who about to build a bridge to the next century after decades of promised to fix the deteriorating bridges of America.
Twenty years ago I remember the same cheering crowds at the Communist Party congresses in Moscow, when the Soviet media tried to brainwash non-listening population about the best future which yet to come. There were the same faces on the screen, because there was no real political process in the country and the same "leaders" were recycled over and over again. They would use the same words, shockingly similar, about "Soviet" democracy, "National interests," "improving economy," "challenges we face" -- what was obvious that there was no life in such politics. Who cared that there were no ideas, only abstract ideals; no real leaders, but corrupt intrigues of insiders! Unchallenged by his own party Clinton or Republican seniority risen Dole -- we should call back the army of unemployed Klemlinologests to speculated on behind the screen fights in American politics. Poor America, poor in leaders and ideas, spirit and citizenry. Your magic mirror, your media, is lying to you. Because you pay, because you want to be lied to.
As if our education or family values fell down by some accident, or neglect, and not as a result of our successes. Nothing unexpected about so-called crisis of culture; a two parent working family is a necessity. And a single parent family is a price. Our educational system is working, it was meant to serve all and serve equally -- and it does not teach to read but babysit American youth which lost family. What do you want us to do? We know that our children should live better than us, and we try hard, we try our best. Two cars, better cars, new cars are not a luxury but a necessity -- go-go! No time for repair, no time for anything.
Do you think anybody in Russia or even the CIA knew that the end of communism is coming? Both sides were into arm race, civil wars in Africa and Latin America. Gorbachev still can't believe what and how the collapse took place (he run for presidency of Russia this year). Although, there were some indicators that something very important isn't working -- the lost interest of people in their own political life. They stopped listening. They had no ideas how to change the system, but in midst of the total propaganda of success, they feel separated, they watch their pretend to be life on tv screens. And there was less totality of Soviet propaganda on television than on American screens full of jolly commercials propagating pursuit of happiness and American way.
Soviet people lost interest in Soviet state, and the state collapsed. The whole culture was gone. It was painful. They still recover from the chock, and will be never regain their previous super-power status. Mindless entertainment, sports, news are not innocent escapism after a full day of high productivity on the job. This is as true face of America. The giant without vision, without mind, without senses.
II. TV POLITICS
For people who never participated in Soviet elections, the 1996 presidential campaign is a new experience. They confused by the situation when the choice is an illusion. They would consider election of single candidate as not logical, they didn't arrive into the land of pomo-politics, where free and secret elections are a confirmation of status quo. They don't understand that viewers can't be citizens. TV politics place them in a position of spectators, not participants. Media made politics into mass politics, politics of big numbers, the opposite of what politics were traditionally. In addition to our political representatives we have a new representative body -- the army of commentators, journalists, observers, professional spectators of American tv politics. They have to reflect on politicians and each other for us, expressing our opinions, feel and think for the people. They are between us and our politicians, they are semi-politicians, pretending to be neutral (objective), messengers, investigators, researchers...
Since the media is the only link between country and its politics, both sides are working for the screen.
sender > media > receiver
politician > media > voter
What about the two-way communication?
voter > media > politician (?)
If a politician communicates with me through the media, I can't send my message through the media to him. Media does it for me? How do they know what is my message? They're guessing.
Looking is censoring (selecting, choosing). TV Camera's power in its limitlessness. In advertising this process called packaging.
1. Media Events (definition)
Constructed events are limited only by the real. Reality is only a material.
MEDIA IS IDEOLOGY. It's communism. Hot water or electricity. Lenin and cellular phone, cable and Stalinism? Concentration camps and shopping malls. TV set gas chamber. they walked in, thinking it's shower.
Media is a message? Message is communism. Media communism. Get them all together, sum them up, level all, let everybody know, circulated, the same, together...
Media creates public, give to this abstraction a role of king -- and translates wishes of this non-existing ruler.
Video culture is not looking for understanding but for seduction, coercion, scaring, etc. It has to be ideological. Ideology is the reason for its birth.
Olympics were censored too (we don't like the word, lets say "edited"). Our (any) culture asks for a preferred reading. Many signs are not noticed. Some ignored. Others misread.
Media: Republicans sell themselves to the public?
Question: does any network act differently?
Understandably, the networks are so big and had to act as any other market enterprise. Media puts own its own show. We named media the Forth Power, and every power breeds the resistance. Talk radio? Media is no less responsible for our problems than the government. But they are safe -- they are we, the real power. Who would resist it?
Media still thinks that we are in the time of Watergate. They can't believe that they are nothing but entertainment. They should take some lessons from the politicians, who always knew it. Where is the line between Ted and Rush? Congressman David Letterman an senator Jay Leno. We thought we know it. Style maybe, not the function.
We're still a representative republic. Media represents us and elects American electronically produced politicians. It's still free elections. We're willingly given away our right to vote. Away with the illusion that the majority of Americans do not vote -- they do, we all watch TV. Do we need to walk out and cast in our election ballots? Let polls do it, TV sets are better citizens in times of virtual politics.
"Conventions as (mediated) performances" -- show (constructed) and event (real), combination of both; Games TV Plays, including the Olympics. Olympics were a better material -- there was left some elements of unpredictability. Athletics had some non-staged reality left. "Real" (politics) and installed (media) dramatism.
Traditionally, politics are secret. They better be. TABLOID POLITICS has to transform it into the opposite -- super-open, fully visible. Contradiction: my vote is "secret" in "open" elections.
2. World as TV Studio
SPACE is organized through TIME, especially electronic space. Back ground music, human interest stories, etc. Not high enough ceiling for the balloons? What about special effects, computer generated images.
Political Space = watched space -- theatralized.
How the actual (physical) space is deconstructed and reconstructed for a genre needs (through time--watching).
Does it have a message (of being neutral originally)? ("stage"? as empty space). It's technologically charged (tv studio), and therefore organized, pre-structured. The actual space has to be replaced (covered) with new e-producing reality.
Party Media v. Party of Media
As if NBC came into ABC studio, but ABC thought that they are on NBC's set. Of course it's just a hall, a convention center with memories of a rock band or basketball game. Performance place. Empty as ever. Studio isn't empty but wired emptiness.
3. Virtual Landscape as Architecture
Video Walls, not the window(s) into the world -- the mirrors. Real = Fiction. The "News" Aspect: "real" and "facts." Media (being "news") makes it into "real" -- rumors, opinions, speculations. Translating China through a tv set closes China for me, China becomes known v. no-subject of interest. It's somebody's China. Cinematic presentation makes any documentary fictional.
What about Super-ball? Super-non-event.
Media made a non-event convention into a super-event. Why? We don't have much of political life, politics has tendency to be invisible, or non-dramatic. Broadcasting thinking isn't for the speed media. "Televization of event." The event which took place is a mise-en-scene in front of cameras, a material for the final event in your living room. Screen event is the only event we know. We (the majority) have no means to know the "real" event; that's why we need multiple sources of information. And we trust none.
Our (public) events are designed for the screen history (no wonder Foucault comes with a notion of Archeology of Knowledge/History). There are no "real" political conventions, our perception of it is real. "History" can't simply happen anymore, it has to be performed. History is a process and has to be visible on all stages of its development.
History (news) as a sport.
We have to control our fate. If we can't do it, we pretend that we do.
Spectatorship -- ownership: seeing = knowing, having it.
Creation of value > property. Distribution, free.
Seeing hidden (party) politics of the past political structures. Political aspect now has to be covered up. GOP or CP (communist party) have to loosen up, to pretend that there's no party, no special interests. No-party One-man Party candidates (independent from their own party). Party (insiders, clan, closed society) becomes a movement (festivity, activity). Dole, a closed door politician, doesn't like cameras. Nixon hated media. Bush, and now Dole. The old fashioned politicians.
Conflicting: "individualization techniques and totalization procedures" (Foucault). SPECTACLE OF DEMOCRACY. Demonstration; politics as a work in progress. Illusion of participation (observing = controlling) creates an illusion of participation, which is illusory as well. And illusion of freedom; it's open and I am a part of the process (both are illusions).
Identification? New PM political feelings, "tv-ship" as citizenship. Direct democracy, tv is a market place of the global village with a mob judgement methods. Political pools, constant instant judgement by the electorate.
Forms of Entertainment: The Screen Event
A. FESTIVAL -- the participants (performers), actors.
B. SPECTACLE -- the observers (news watchers), participant in absentia.
Ritual transforms B into A. But a festival was conceived to be a spectacle, performers are both -- spectators and actors. TV studio audience in Talk shows, actors more than participants.
Definitions: performing, spectatorship.
Festival is a form of Spectacle.
All that was once directly lived has become mere representation.
....a constant transformation of lived experience.
The spectacle, he argues, is that phase of capitalism which "proclaims the predominance of appearances and asserts that all human life... is mere appearance" but which remains, essentially, "a negation of life that has invented a visual form for itself" .
"the supersession of real social relations by representations of social relations." (6)
Keep in mind: the spectacle is an autonomous entity
The logic of the spectacle:
Making us into "Society of Spectacle" equalize us all, carnival time knows no classes. As long as we celebrate (TV) we are classless. Electronic existence has no material inertia, this is the end of property. Rush Limbau capitalizes the power of powerless by ridiculing the powerful presidential (subject) status down to a matter of the living room existence. Carnival's methods are equation through a reversal of high and low positions: the high placed below the low. Humor is the tool of equalizing. Street (folk) from v. intellectual.
Political conventions and electability: Yeltzin's (media)
campaign. Russian television elected the president. From 6 %
approval to victory in six months (54%).
Elections -- image (and focus): packaging and selling.
(TV Olympics, sport -- "pure" entertainment events, good material). Do politics as games, the competition provide the same "weekend holiday time" space, organized as WWW, world wide wrestling (fixed fights).
My (special) interests:
Entertainment biomechanics; new apparatus of ideology.
TV interaction -- new power production.
In Russia we knew that the government isn't for us, but against us. The paradox of my Soviet situation was that it was the government of the people, by the people, for the people. We were against ourselves. Or maybe some of us against others?
In USSR I was forced to deal with the ideological body of the Soviet culture. Now in America -- the opposite; ideology is a personal matter and a social taboo. Gods of democracy love anonymity. But I can see the performance, and messages generated by the process of mediation alone. The ideology of entertainment is there and wants to keep its life in secrecy. Entertainment: message of no message, anti-message intent. Pretense of stupidity and the actual dumbness. Defence mechanism: hiding my real face behind the mask of an idiot.
Hitler's rallies and the Soviet parades. American TV.
...Non-event events. The real news would be if Dole won't get
the nomination. Birthday party, yes, the balloons. Broadcasting?
Would we look for a crisis in own coverage of Christmas? Independence Day? What to do? The criteria for media performance is "discovery" of crisis. Go for a spectacle. Sorry, this time the Republicans organized the spectacle by themselves.
Why do WE need to see the catastrophic?
Media "covers", and than it goes on uncovering (not to be confused with to discover). Welcome to the club! That is what I have to do with any media coverage. They go around asking "independent" Americans -- and each of them acts for the camera. After a full day of TV talk shows what do you expect?
The best, the honest on the screenland -- the commercials. They belong there, not Brinkley.
Cheap theatrics of POMO politics are expensive. The Global Village pays -- fifteen thousand reporters.
Homeless: without Fatherland
My America: not a place, not even a time. People? What else counts? (What could I expect from the humanity?) America isn't the best of many evils. It's simply the best. Pain? It has the drama. The changes are here, not anywhere else. Why not in Europe, not in Asia? Democracy, again?
Failure of tribal (clan) idea = victory of marxism: genetic inheritance v. individual (accidental?) makeup.
The 1996 presidential election (another four years) is set
-- the crisis isn't on our mind. Not the laws, but the
disciplines of society are broken down. Morals -- most visible,
but not the core.
What the Soviet CP ran into? Globalism? Humankind falls on a body of one nation. Or us, who lost interest in one's nation?
How the Soviet collapse is applicable to the U.S.?
Why the change has to be radical of no less than a catastrophe?
The price to pay for a super-power status.
There was not a single indicator, because it was us, not the
outside of us.
What are the consequences of America's collapse? What does it mean? How bad it could be?
Since the problems are not fixable (education, crime, drugs), we'll lose interest in solving them, we are the producers. Pretending that something is done.
There are no NEW ideas and no will in pomo politics.
The end of the political? State dissolving, stage of entering "native" (unconscious) communism (global, according to Trotsky), as was predicted.
Gasset on sense of property (non issue anymore), disappearance of interest, not the private property itself.
They don't need me, they need no heroes, no mind, no poets. Why should I insist on loving them? Why should I force my love on them? Only because I need to love? To be loved. They can't offer you the love you need. Do I have to love them because I can't defeat them?
How and why should I trust anybody -- the president, congress -- if I don't trust myself? How could I trust myself?
Elections. What do we actually do?
Clinton and media: political romance. New rhetoric =
Tautology as a principle of public talking, not the message but process, repeating the same over and over. You don't have to make sense,but to use right words (buzz).
Change the media, tune into yourself -- away from their propaganda. Agitate yourself. That's what the prayer was for.
The idea of conversion of two systems (1960s); capitalism and communism. How do you see it now in Russia or USA?
Question of American Ideology: Where Pop Culture Came From? The origins and the present condition of American psyche. How the sense of being blessed turned into rights, entitlements and demands. How America became its own enemy.
I. AMERICAN GOD
Promised Land and Paradise Regained
II. AMERICANS v. NEW AMERICANS
American culture and American Ideology of Life as Work (?)
III. TIME MATTER
Time as value, economics of time culture.
IV. MODERN STAGE OF POSTMODERNISM: WELFARE MIND
Communist emotional chronotope.
V. NEEDS and WANTS
Our problems with the future.
I. AMERICAN GOD
God isn't dead, he's watching!
Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.(5) -Thomas Jefferson (Notes on the State of Virginia, 1781.)
Scary. I tremble too. Seriously.
Post-imperial America knows no American God. It were the sixties. He never returned. What did happen?
Christianity was a super-national idea at its birth. What was American Christianity in forming American ethnic identity? Demos was the foundation of American ethos? America wasn't born naturally, the nation evolved out of strangers. The social contract was before the sense of community. History knows nothing of this kind. (Maybe that's why Americans are patriotic but not nationalistic.)
Super-idea = ideology, it can't co-exist with the other ideology. America was the New World. America had its own god. Joseph Campbell noticed that each American treats his existence as a realization of the great promise -- life in Promised Land. America isn't a mosaic on a level of power/ideology. Not a sum of minorities. They all have one thing in common -- they are children of paradise, they demand. This is American culture. In classical times. Culture is a carrier of ideology. Any culture with time (according to Spengler) turns into a civilization, it's not a culture anymore but an idealogy. Imperial culture of Self is nothing less than popular culture, ideology in cultural forms.
Imperialism is always cultural (not economic or political). Culture has no need for missionism, and Americans minded their own business till they reach the imperial stage. They went outside with the same "positive" attitude -- things could be fixed. They fought in Korea to have the same situation for another fifty years. What did they know about the world of traditional cultures? They were aliens to the rest of the world. They were true (practical) believers in their god.
"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion.... Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." (President John Adams: Letter of October 13, 1789.)
Is this the letter on why it wouldn't work in Vietnam, Somalia, Russia, Mexico, Africa, and even America?
Well, our civilization doesn't read letters, it watches the news...
American god: on American Ideology. They say -- money. Is it
really so? What does it mean?
He has no sense of humor. His son never laughs.
Mr. Swift is missing. Who is the most ridiculous? Before it were the politicians. Now - the new power -- media.
Individualism > working > ideology is MY throughout. My as OURS, or ours as mine?
That's the reason behind tv canned laughter. The machine has to laugh for them. They need to know when to laugh. Faking the audience, reactions, fun. Programmed. Who is laughing? In front of tv set I don't know.
They want me to laugh, even it's not funny. Forced reaction.
Stalin's applause. Recorded for hour and half.
Laughter is friendly. American smile of a salesman who is screwing you up. Do they laugh at the sackers who are glued to their tv screens? Devil likes to laugh.
American god was different, it was not Son, a drifter, who
never really work as carpenter. It wasn't the Holly Ghost, a
favorite of Europe, inspirational but decadent. It was the
Creator, Father, the worker. Straight and simple.
He was brutal. He would drop a nuke on Sodom. Or even would kill all by flood. He was living father only to those he loved. His son was the opposite. He loved his enemy. Americans have had Son's genes too.
American activism; get involved!
And -- use the sucker! Hey, competition!
America has two faces, both are with a smile.
How did America balance the two. It's a mystery of the Holy Spirit.
When the Father created the world it was done for the future.
For future sake: everything for the unborn. Futurism is very American feature. American Dream is based on the special form of time: present-with-future. That's how Americans sense the time. And time betrayed them; they discovered that the road to hell is build on good intentions. They still wonder, what was wrong, where did it go wrong? They question everything, except themselves. They think that they are the same. Wrong answer.
They said "me generation"? New? Really? Reaction to the constant request for sacrificing. For future, Bosnia, Africa, inner cities. America is getting tired. Remember the story? Father sent his son down because he got tired. He want they to do the work. He blessed America. To work.
II. AMERICANS v. NEW AMERICANS
Keep working, America!
Americans like to relax -- because they're working hard. They have to -- in order to turned the curse into a blessing.
It was in 1980. On the plane. On my flight from Rome to New York. I never saw it before. The plane was full and the flight attendants worked with the speed of an emergency. Why it has to be so fast? Next to us, the passengers, they in different time frame. Working time. The were inside the machine time. There was no time left for anything else, only for service. Is that it? Is this my new world -- America? (continued in TECH)
Now we arrived to the third millennium where machines are working. What Americans could do in the world of no labor (as promised in Paradise)? What is a new labor? Service! Are we servicing machines?
Interdependence of Hell and Paradise: binarism or dialectics?
Hell = work (you get paid). Paradise = others work for you (you pay). Work of choosing (mental, emotional) is very stressful. Shopping (no equivalent in Russian) -- extreme, buying everything (madness in paradise).
Where do you get the money? In hell. You go there to get them from others? Question: where the Russians get their money? Bigger question: where do we get the money? Devils in paradise (sales people), they're working, they make their money while I'm enjoying the paradise. Hell lives of paradise feelings. Paradise is impossible without hell (where the money and products are coming from). Partial hell, and temporary paradise; the idea of paid vocation. Retirement; is it PM concept?
Welfare experiment: long coffee break in American psyche? They never came back to work. Classical America was gone, there was no culture anymore, only American civilization. Americanism was moral, even aesthetic organization of paradise. (We know about it rationality). Not long ago the Non-working America was sick America. It was the anti-American activity. (Capitalism and protestants). POMO America still runs on classic coke formula but the pepsi generation ain't gona work. Why should they?
American classic formula: Life = Work. Machine lives only when it works. While not working, it exists? Doesn't exist? American pragmatism is the working man's existentialism. Life (organic) is work. Every second of life is work. That's the "produced" value of life. Plus, sacred value. Not the work ethics but the passion for working, the will to live.
What a wonder of history! Natural selection: all arrivals are the members of the same world labor union. They're coming to America to work, because in their countries they are limited in their work desire (they're aliens anywhere but in America). They were Americans without America. Made in USA. That's how the rest of the world learnt about America. Made!
(Is there in the past any analogues of such a work-loving nation?) Gulag (labor camps) is forced labor. (American prisoners do not work; because any labor is a privilege? Honor?) NYC -- working space. Working time?
He would set behind me. Waiting to serve. After ten minutes I have to break my work and find something to do for him. I have to show him first, we have to work together before he can do it on his own. I have to serve him. Mamush (boy), every servant regardless his age is called "mamush." He always was there. He lived in space?
The New World was constructed by Americans for the rest of humanity as a working place. ( Machines and technology = the essence of machine). It's not for life and living (at least a new definition of what life is), but for working. Even your body has to be "worked up"... "Sorry, I didn't know that you're working" -- my colleagues after walking on me reading. Time is private?
Why Marx and marxists didn't notice WORKING CLASS of Americans? Free slaves don't work, unless them become masters (owners). America was the mixture of masters and slaves within each new citizen. Democracy and free market installed in them a mechanism (culture) which would force everybody (free will) to use himself as a slave. Not a state or a master but inner discipline made them run, turned them into workaholics. Roma finally merged with Christianity; slaves not only were free but feel themselves free. That was the new, very new, American culture. Until socialism arrived to the White House. The Great Depression was a ground for the New Deal. It was the same in Germany, in Russia. The New America was born, the super-power, the hyper-society, the mass nation. It took another half a century to face the consequences of socialization. The collapse of communism in Russia was dramatic because they were most radical in applications socialization. Europe with her taxation and unemployment paid (and paying) the price in less dynamic (next to America) economy. The new American, the mass man delegated his sense of master to his representatives (government, community, union) and he was left with a slave; now he demands from others, not from himself.
Historically, Americans are the product of the Industrial Revolution in England (the biggest immigration at the time). They are the revolution in labor (humanity); before labor was imposed on us, not our need. They build their nation on basis of free labor. They had to reconstruct the old world they left on virgin territory.
U.S. Constitution doesn't mention "right to work" (The Soviet Constitution turned work's right-obligation into forced labor).12
Do they mean "freedom" as "freedom to work"? Not to work? Otherwise, freedom-to-do-nothing? Do you need it? Would you die for it? [There's a contradiction between the Bill of Rights, which guaranties government non-interference in my rights, and the general promise of constitution to protect my rights.]
American obsession with the constitution (written law) as if they don't trust themselves to follow the logic of living law. Legal society (according to Bible) is the extreme case of evil. Law breeds injustice, creates criminality. Disciplines (non-legal, inner limitations, relations and social non-contractual arrangements) provide a cultural alternative to legal society.
III. TIME MATTER
Americans are busy. They have time. Labor is used time.
Criteria: paid time. "Thank you for your time" -- I never heard
it before. "My" time? My property? I have something?!
What is unused time? Why is it dangerous? Living in time, not space. Space is a natural enemy of time. Space and time creatures do not mix together? Mamush has to be taken with you into the time-world.
Applying Marxism to Americans: Time has to be utilized, has
to be translated into human time, to become a property (to
exchange the ownership, hands). Buying YOUR time, paying for time
(as labor; here's the reason for American high productivity). I
have to have MY time. Non-accountable?
If I own the time, I have everything; the space, the body!
Does Time ignores space? Freedom from space = freedom. How? Through time.
But this spatio-temporal increase of the world would of itself signify nothing. Physical space and time are the absolutely stupid aspects of the universe. Hence, there is more reason than is generally ahowed in that worship of mere speed which is at present being indulged in by our contemporaries. Speed, which is made up of space and time, is no less stupid than its constituents, but it serves to nullify them. One stupidity can only be overcome by another. It was a question of honor for man to triumph over cosmic space and time,* which are entirely devoid of meaning, and there is no reason for surprise at the fact that we get a childish pleasure out of the indulgence in mere speed, by means of which we kill space and strangle time. By annulling them, we give them life, we make them serve vital purposes, we can be in more places than we could before, enjoy more comings and goings, consume more cosmic time in less vital time. (IV)
* It is precisely because man's vital time is limited, precisely because he is mortal, that he needs to triumph over distance and delay. For an immortal being, the motor-car would have no meaning.
How does time rule the space?
Time was silent only with the first nature. In our second time is the king. (More on Time in chapter "Time Production").
AMERICAN AGE = F (AMERICAN TIME). American? There's no Japanese gravity but there's such a thing as "Japanese time." Nationality of time. Since time is experiential, it has individuality? It has to be translated, interpreted, understood.
THE IDEAL WORK (ING): fight with time, using time,
transforming time (nothing) into things (stuff), being. What else
If "time is money" > time is capital. Working time, time with build-in labor. Time which could produce extra-time, which in turn use for production of "stuff" (condensed, cultured time).
Even "money--product--money" is "time formula": product's cost is "labor" cost (time). Raw materials are from Mother-nature, free. Nothing is free with Father-Time.
Do they have problems with Father-Time (intuitive existentialists, children of the European sick-with-time fathers)? Value of time: how time becomes a material (for what)?
The old world concurred the space (geography); why the new (global) nation was needed to concur the time?
Time citizens, no wonder they love speed!
[Suspended punishment, driving a car.]
Time is the last barrier in resurrection project. To defeat the time is to achieve a total victory over Mother-nature. Death is most visible time's presence. We are getting close.
Time is dramatic, it's emotional. Because it's a process. Time is very human. Land property = real estate. Time as property. How real is time?
"Future shock"? Future is us! Is it shocking?
We found ourselves out of work because we work so hard to improve our working conditions.
Americans work, they produce, but what? Service, information. They are not farmers and workers anymore. To farm the movie or to manufacture the banking -- is it the same labor as before?
IV. POSTMODERN STAGE OF POSTMODERNISM: WELFARE MIND
"...and pursuit of happiness."
LABOR AS POWER OF POWERLESS
1. Socialism: receiving from everybody according to his abilities, awarding -- according to his labor.
2. Communism: according to his abilities, and giving according to his needs.
We are somewhere in between. Brezhnev called this stage Real
(Developed) Socialism. The 1994 universal medical plan was an
attempt to jump into "health communism": every American should
have medical coverage according to his needs. Brain surgery for
$150.000? Life long life support? Handicap access in every public
building? Is all that about "rights" (entitlement by now), his
needs? What are "needs"? How different they are from "wants"?
What about getting from him? Unions are down to 13-17 %. The state took over the task of protection. Are we following the principle "according to his abilities"? In USSR it was a constitutional and factual guaranty of right to work (or not to work at work). We try to bridge those two situations: working and not working. Medical disabilities, unemployment benefits, welfare, minimal wage, affirmative action, etc. There's a job description and always below -- "women and minority encourage to apply," which makes the above text of qualifications questionable. Job description becomes not a must requirement, but a disable conditions.
In Soviet Russia not a single newspaper had a classified section. What does it mean "help wanted" in American papers? Do they have a vacant position because there's not enough qualified people on the market? It's hard for me to judge, in my fifteen years in this country I never was fired. I was in business for myself and lost, I was in business with others, which went belly up. I changed several jobs looking for a better place. In situation when I have power and obligation to hire and fire, I saw no much difference between Russia and the US (It's difficult to get rid of somebody who isn't working). Of course, there're qualifications, but isn't the practical application of the job description "according to abilities"? If not, would we ever have any discrimination law suits?
So, what about the unemployment? What about people who are looking for a job? I was in this situation. To be straight, I have to say that I'm always in this situation of looking for a job. Because if I would increase my "abilities" I can get a better job.
There's a big difference between having and not having job. The Soviets had a simple resolution for full employment: whoever and for whatever reason wasn't officially working was sentenced by the court to labor camps. Brodsky, Nobel prize winner and American national poet laureate, was send to five years of North forced labor. Prisoners were getting minimal wage. There were several jobs which I took knowingly as temps. I drove taxi in NYC and the owners knew that it's not my profession. I used to read classified section, the jobs are there. Mostly with little qualifications and there small salaries. For a week I work as a security guard. I had a uniform and for an American minimum wage I have to stay at the building on the corner of the 5th Ave and 43rd street. I was instructed not to get into any situations preventing disorder (I wasn't qualified to handle it). I had to call the police. What were my qualifications? To be human? Honesty (not to leave the post)? Presentability (not to get drunk)? Of course it was according to "his abilities" work.
Interesting that the difference between socialism and communism is not at working but at the receiving end of labor relations. In Russia the most painful part of working was not working, been not able to do much (my security guard experience). Your performance had very little to do with the reward. The communist principle was of the higher power than the socialism's; I was rewarded "according to my needs" (decided by the State = minimum), not by the labor. No wonder that American productivity is highest in the world: this is a strict application of socialist labor law (according to work). Where the productivity reward is most visible -- in private business (Gates, Sam Wall Mart) and the high corporative level (the downsized companies get better productivity rate and CEOs get million size bonuses). There's nothing in the socialist formula of contradiction to American business practice. The communist (utopian) labor formula applies to the majority of the labor market? Actually, it's not a labor formula at all, it's a formula of life in postmodern world. The stage of labor when there's no distinction between labor and living.
It's not an analysis of labor relations (I'm not qualified for this job), only observations of a new member of the America, Co. (Ltd. Inc.)
On a personal note:
There're many things in America which are unbelievable for an outsider. To this day I don't understand how could America draft her boys to fight in Vietnam? It's not about the right or not just war: it's about Americans who would go to fight in former French colony for somebody's else freedom. As if Korea wasn't enough. What was that? American interests? Even the Gulf (oil?) war can't explain those interests? American PM wars are so useless for America. What could possibly Americans gain in Somalia or Bosnia?
Dear America, I have more questions than answers.
V. NEEDS & WANTS
So, how would we to understand "need" and "want"? How could we talk about "rights" and "freedoms"? Are they "self-evident truths"? "That all men created equal, that they endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and pursuit of Happiness." (Declaration of Independence). That's what was debated for so long: created equal? "Endowed with unalienable Rights"? Life as a Right? Liberty as an Endowment? "Who said that man must be happy?" Russian poet Mandelstam asked his wife. He didn't know American constitutional texts. Need of happiness became a guaranty, a state promise. This sentiment expressed even more radical in THE VIRGINIA DECLARATION OF RIGHTS:
I. That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.All men are by nature equally free and independent? What is this nature the Declaration referring to? Not the Mother nature, of course, which is nothing but inequality. God's nature? Human nature? This childish need to institutionalized "the enjoyment of life and liberty" is very touchy. And dangerous.
Every day added a new luxury to their standard of life. Every day their position was more secure and more independent of another's will. What before would have been considered one of fortune's gifts, inspiring humble gratitude towards destiny, was converted into a right, not to be grateful for, but to be insisted on. [G VI]
This innocent reference to happiness makes every desire into a right and American society under a constitutional obligation to fulfill it. Impossible? It's us! I buy it!
The Trauma of "If" is most painful, it's depravation of the future, the end of hopes and expectations. "The Land of Opportunities" is a stressful concept.
"The world is the sum-total of our vital possibilities." [G IV]
The future (not the present or the past) becomes our measure for our (present) needs (rights).
...we become only a part of what it is possible for us to be. Hence it is that the world seems to us something enormous, and ourselves a tiny object within it. The world or our possible existence is always greater than our destiny or actual existence.... All this fills his mind with an impression of fabulous potentiality. [G V]
The God's dreaming gave birth to the world. And Goya's nightmares...
not the quality of actual existence, but of its "quantitative advance, its increase of potency."
In chapter XI "Self-Satisfied Age" Gassett writes:(The normal primitive, on the other hand, is the most submissive to external authority ever known, be it religion, taboo, social tradition, or customs.)
(1) An inborn, root-impression that life is easy, plentiful, without any grave limitations; consequently, each average man finds within himself a sensation of power and triumph which, (2) invites him to stand up for himself as he is, to look upon his moral and intellectual endowment as excellent, complete. This contentment with himself leads him to shut himself off from any external court of appeal; not to listen, not to submit his opinions to judgment, not to consider others' existence. His intimate feeling of power urges him always to exercise predominance. He will act then as if he and his like were the only beings existing in the world and, consequently, (3) will intervene in all matters, imposing his own vulgar views without respect or regard for others, without limit or reserve, that is to say, in accordance with a system of "direct action."
My fellow Americans...
.... I have to stop here. The texts have to wait, when the stories, my story will arrive here....
Medium (genre) -- politics
Production of values. Production: directing done by the audience.
Masses control new (televised) history.
Theatricality; an effort to enlarge a signifier
Monologue selection (addressing the tv land)
Auditioning: primaries, interviews. Improv (rehearsed); press
conferences. Immediate postmortem evaluations.
Casting by the voters.
See "POMO" dictionary (htmlgear).
.... NOTES: [ not restored ] (G) stands for Gassett, (T) -- for Toqueville; there are other references, but as usual I have only a few writers in each chapter.