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<nettime> Re: Taking Pills
brian carroll on 3 Sep 2000 17:24:44 -0000

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<nettime> Re: Taking Pills

 porculus, your post fascinates me because i think you broaden the
 question to the dimensions it deserves. in that 'the pill' can become
 a metaphor, like Aldous Huxley's soma, for other things. an example
 that came to mind regarding another thread on Ars Electronica's
 Next Sex, was a similar somatic pill that Huxley presents in his
 book Ape and Essence. instead of Our Ford, and a class society
 based upon those who take certain kinds of pills and those who
 do not, in Ape and Essence, the pill is sex. everything is a
 sexual orgy. hedonistic freedom, eggs constantly being fertilized
 to birth the next round of cultural workers. a supposed freedom,
 in this context, when singularized, becomes a conceptual trap, in
 that it and it alone defines the question of being and meaning.

 on the issue of metaphysics, i think there are many different
 perspectives and reasons for paradoxical understandings. but
 one thing that i think ties these two ideas (and paragraphs)
 together is a socially-conditioned assumption, that i myself
 fell into in my text, which i'd like to correct based upon
 your salvation analysis. i wrote something to the effect that
 the reason people take pills and do not first choose violence
 or suicide is because they have the will-to-live. in my view,
 this is an inaccurate statement, taking an existential and a
 nihilistic approach to life. to be to the point, i think some
 people, myself included, desperately want to die, due to the
 conditions of their life, and the pain of living day to day
 in an absurd world, where one's mind does not match the mental
 reality that surrounds it. the desire to live is conditional,
 in that sense that it probably statistically applies more to
 people whom live the `good life', in whatever terms those may
 be (family, religion, education, money), than those who cannot
 find that redeeming good in living 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,
 4 weeks a month, ... 365 days a year, for decades as their self.

 the implicit assumption to seed, impregnate, or birth a new
 idea into the world, though, is a force that is still powerful.
 while procreation for the breeders is a definition of social
 contribution (discounting all Malthusian theories aside), to
 non-procreative sex as a way to procreate a new culture of
 intimacy, family, relationships, and love- there is also that
 drive, i think it was Plato's statement, that ideas are born
 into the world (or born at one time, or have always existed,
 suspended in the aether of the universal)... in this sense,
 that 'will to live' is, for some, a 'will to meaning', and
 to not achieve this meaning is ultimately to 'not have lived',
 which is a common philosophical (and religious) theme.

 thus, the will to live can harbor a desire to contribute,
 a purpose to find meaning in existence, and to question
 what tradition already has certainty in knowing. in this
 way, finding meaning internally (in the mind) can also
 become a matter of 'living' by externalizing this belief
 by birthing it into the world (of the body). often realities
 do not match. they probably aren't meant to. that's the
 dynamic of life, the charge that rotates and innovates,
 the entropy and extropy of being in the universe. the
 false assumption is that `life' is what is most valued,
 and not `truth' or `reality' (plural if you like, if you
 don't believe in universals).

 but, the state, in all its public (collective) and private
 (individual) power, requires stabilized order, and thus has
 a stake in controlling the system of operation of each new
 generation of `born-again' beings, be they people or ideas.
 there is a certain leniency for people and ideas, so as to
 evolve and devolve, but overall there are limits to what
 kind of people and what kind of ideas are legitimated to
 exist in this state of affairs. like said before, if you
 are not alone, one group of individuals can question the
 state and reform its world-picture, i.e., change reality
 for the collective. but individuals alone, without any
 support in the local arena, are left to fend for themselves
 and these beings (ideas or people) are the most likely to
 die out by extinction, by not procreating themselves from
 the internal to the external world.

 in terms of the mind and the body, then, for some, i'd
 propose for many, that the body (molar) of the state is
 directing by sheer material consequence the reality of
 the mind. but that the mind, in confusion or in contrast
 to the state, does not always fit this model of reality.
 thus, a mismatch between mind and body. i've seen (in
 disassociated people, and in psychotics and neurotics)
 and myself experienced total disconnects between the
 internal/private world of the individual mind and that
 of the external/public world of the collective body of
 the state, in economic/social/political terms, as have
 millions of others. the question becomes one of fight
 or flight, competition or cooperation, kill or pills.

 that desire, for meaning, for having an individual
 reality contrasting with that sanctioned by the state,
 is a war. and there are prisoners. economic/social/
 political and cultural. an amoral science makes it so,
 as does the influence of psychiatric-philosophy upon
 the popular culture, where academics speculate on
 mental disorders as a way of increasing their own
 certainty in their roles as legitimate cultural
 producers, reinforcing their own sanity, and presenting
 a pseudo-revolution through theoretical, and true,
 intellectual madness of total speculative subjectivism.
 the prisoners do not run this prison, the wardens and
 the state do by official philosophical guardians of
 the prevailing order of things, sanctioning some
 revolutions (within limits) while crushing others
 through suppression, and ontological and actual death.

 some things, then, are allowed to live, and some things
 have a death-warrant upon them, upon being born, be
 they people or ideas representing meaning and thus a
 reality. an example of this insular insanity of the
 state and its guardians over the collective mind, is
 how a educational and professional discipline such as
 architecture can, in a booming economy, totally ignore
 issues such as homelessness, and economic and ethnic
 racism. what architectural `theorists' (a mad and
 subjective term in and of itself, can someone be a
 `theorist' without having a college degree, no less
 a PhD at that?)  ever discuss the reality of the
 9/10ths of the world, home and abroad, which live
 in bondage to the current reality of the built
 environment? they don't. they ignore it and make
 aesthetically beautiful forms in a conceptual
 clean-room, and follow this utopian idealism for
 the local and global state, while letting those
 without credentials deal with the messy realities
 of the other life, of the 90% of people and ideas.
 not only that, theorists are insulated by a system of
 hierarchy, privilege, institutional protection from ever
 having to address these other questions outside
 their view of things, which consists of things that
 are beautiful and intellectually profound (sic).

 in most aspects, the state legitimates one way of
 seeing, while repressing another. your relation to
 the state determines how successful you are in its
 idealistic culture. if you are economically unfit
 in the molar-body, your mind must conform to this
 reality, so as to survive. rebellion in most cases
 brings instant destruction and absolute banishment
 to the realm outside of the state, home/property-less.
 one can say fuck it and rebel and end up on the street
 and be free mentally, but in most cases it is extreme
 madness through a painful wall, only to find salvation
 through acceptance of the state's will via conformance.
 pills, religion, and state subsidies enacting a control
 over the mind, placing limits on what is allowed to be.

 no wonder, when homeless, it is the religions which
 pick up the slack for reentry into society. no wonder
 that drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs, big
 brother's overt utilization denying separation of the
 church and state, enforces conformance by demanding
 acceptance of a `Higher Power than the self', God,
 or, as i was told i _could_ believe: Good orderly
 Device, that to accept the rules and obey means
 reintegration into the social fabric. a theological
 philosophy for non-conformers, drug addicts, drunks,
 and schizophrenics alike. salvation, so right you are,
 and total bondage to an ideology of reality.

 my point is that _many_ people do not get to choose
 their reality, but instead have to conform to that
 which is provided by the state, public and private.
 _some_ people get to choose, but they are a minority,
 and their acceptance of the ruling ideology is in
 proportion to their orbit around the central power
 of the state. could a minority, disabled, homeless,
 uneducated, transgender person ever become Secretary
 General of the United Nations, no less of any state,
 local or global? ultimately it is a quest/ion of
 power, who has it and who wins it and who rebels
 against it. and, it seems to me, reality rotates
 as does the state, around the transformation of
 power. reality is hierarchical in civilization,
 but in existence it is a parallel process, whereby
 pyramids of conformance collect into constellations
 of ideas, into modes of being, into ways of seeing,
 into what makes life, people or ideas, thrive and
 survive, and what makes a better future possible.

 it is a fight, not a peace treaty, between collective
 individuals and an individualized state. paradox reigns
 supreme, as does institutional insanity purporting to
 be legitimate reality. an individual may find salvation
 in knowing no salvation, in finding no home for their
 ideas, no lover for their reality, but alienation and
 subjugation and mental & physical imprisonment.

 `fuck all you like. make babies. make words. make
 meaning upon meaning' says the state, as long as it
 is inside the lines and follows the rules. `all else-

 fuck the individualized state. give reality back to
 the collective of individuals.


 addendum: the whole dimension of `spiritual' salvation
 is the most sanctioned in terms of metaphysical reality.
 instructive is how the materialism of 1950s USA was to
 be contradicted with the 1960s counterculture, which
 incorporated non-traditional religions into cultural
 experimentation, which, ultimately led to the New Age
 which reunified the materialist/capitalist body with
 the immaterial/socialist mind. it is not ironic that
 many global corporations use `spiritualized' techniques
 to transform their diverse workforce into a cohesive
 whole, one in mind and body, ready to 'live the good
 life' without question or subversive thought. what is
 valuable and instructive and meaningful about religious
 belief (in the form of stories and doctrine) has become
 itself a commodity of salvation into the commercial
 ideology of being and becoming. corporations tag
 bodies and minds as do these bodies and minds the state.
 a recursive loop. the institution, be it family or
 university or job, is thus pre-determined and pre-
 determining a final solution to an initial answer,
 the meaning of life is to control the charge, and
 thus the rotational change, in the order of things.

>>> in the end, taking pills is like
>>> putting a straightjacket on your
>>> mind-body. 

> mind-body till ? to take neurotransmettor/spiritual adjuvant is also
> imagined a material deal is possible with the metaphysic, and how could be
> your matephysic, straightjacket on your mindbody could be a just an only a
> camisole chimique if you don't beleive such an idiocy of mind body, but
> others could assure some materials could be real support to sheer
> spiritual one. but what make ordinary and naturaly your brain as a
> sublimation of material or not is here not your technical question cause
> you speak about politic no ? good politic is alway a salvation
> engeeniring, but salvation ingeenering is always according to current
> standard : what about middle age ones ? an economy of salvation of soul,
> and what about the foucault's grand enfermement ?  a relay economy by a
> nation-state : befor salvation of its soul which is kept as final purpose
> all bodies have duty to state, work, familly blabla so the duty of
> individual to preserve its usable integrity, its health. And soon
> rationalism will render to individual the only consensual rational
> positive salvation : to live the longer as possible. to take pills
> frighten not because the one who takes pill could be weak, but because the
> current salvation economy could be bad, and who sap surch a consensus is a
> treator, there is no admitted courage in treacherousness in any religion
> or metaphysic, even in hegel

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