“Sometimes, in bookstores, I experience waves of nausea when I think about adding even one more word to all that fucking print.” -Hakim Bey, the 1993 audio from the T.A.Z. conference.
“To paraphrase Hakim Bey; sometimes when I look at the Internet, I experience waves of nausea when I think about adding even more more pixel to all that fucking noise.” – Joseph Matheny
tl;dr: I am not now, nor have I ever been a “believer” in conspiracy theories, in a general sense. Of course, I am aware that there are conspiracies every day that have a myriad of goals and objectives. I am talking about this wacko milieu that’s grown up on the Internet, and which is nothing more than an entertainment vertical. I have used, what I perceived as the modern American myths, i.e. conspiranoia as content for a literary method I was perfecting because it was (formerly) entertaining and pervasive. It was an art project, nothing more. We have entered a new era and I have moved away from being associated with the conspiracy milieu since it has become toxic and counterproductive. The low crypto-fascist rumbles I’ve been warning about since the late 90s have fully blossomed now. They no longer even try to hide it. The Incunabula/Ong’s Hat project was an example of how reality is malleable and can be shaped and even manipulated, either for your own benefit or used malignantly against you. This is why I called it to a close and outed myself in the end. This is also why I fought so hard against those who wished to use it for their own personal gain or as a tool of exploitation against others.
“We were fed up with the way in which everything that came over this new magic box, the radio, was being swallowed. People you know do suspect what they read in the newspapers and what people tell them, but when the radio came, and I suppose now television, anything that came through that new machine was believed. So in a way our broadcast was an assault on the credibility of that machine. We wanted people to understand that they shouldn’t take any opinion predigested, and they shouldn’t swallow everything that came through the tap whether it was radio or not. But as I say it was only a partial experiment, we had no idea the extent of the thing… -Orson Welles, re: War of the Worlds Broadcast
Innovators and creators of the world, this is to put you on notice. Your creations, the results of your inspirations will eventually be co-opted and used as tools for exploitation. No matter how hard you try to design around this inevitability, the gut maggots (and there are many) will find a way, they always do.
Multiple mixed metaphor alert
The parasites have taken over the asylum. The systems were designed by them, so naturally, they were designed to favor them. It’s the casino principle. The house always wins. Even when the occasional dupe slips through the cracks, they are paraded around as marketing material, to show all that “You too can win”. Just keep the faith! Even in this simulacra of winning, one becomes the bait.
They will take your creations, born of sweat and tears, agony and ecstasy, notes from that rare congress with “the other” and twist them, weaponize them and utilize them as cogs in the great machine to feed themselves and grow fat upon that inspiration by vampirizing others who, sensing some original kernel of transcendence in the ghost of your work, will chase a phantom carrot which has long since been replaced with the sign of a carrot pointing to the place the original liminal message used to occupy. Sign>signifier>ghost dance. They will build grotesque and macabre temples to the ghost to entice as many as possible to worship it.
You have at that point become an unconscious agent in the ever increasing, intrusion upon and occupation of the realization of true desire.
One puts pen to paper or fingers to keys, with the intention of making a point by point refutation of all that is in opposition to life in today’s situation and then, pen slowly drops, fingers hover and then hands drop to one’s side as ennui becomes the victor and the realization that the record would merely fall on deaf ears and blind eyes sinks in. Luckily, one is not alone in this continuum known as “history” and therefore we can point back to one who struggled against the pointlessness with more vigor, and said it all better than we could, anyway.
Counter-culture? Really? Do you think there’s one shred of revolutionary energy left on the Internet today? You are a niche market, being sold your own vomit through brands such as Boring-Boring, LICE, Mired and Misinfo. Your “self-expression” now mediated through Fakebook, Twister, Blistergram, Snaptrash- and the implications of said “expression” tabulated, and sold to marketers, who then regurgitate the inferences made and sell them back to you in the form of a commodity spectacular, customized, just for you! If you are at all skeptical as to that point, I prescribe a few years in the wilderness, practicing some deep, self-administered deprogramming.
I’ve been saying for quite a few years now that -however much I love him- Bob Wilson’s milquetoast approach to ‘reality tunnels’ keeps people in the shallow end when it comes to magic because the world and its datasets have certainly moved on. –Rune Soup
The Internet, once so full of promise is now over run by and reeks of typicality. I can think of no worse insult than to call someone or something typical. I can think of no lower level of hell than to be of or to be forced to indulge in, the typical. No longer home to conversations, now the domain of snark, troll, distract, derail, conversation a thing of the past, replaced with endless broadcasts of “personal brands” all competing to rise above the noise. Brands broadcasting to brands, signal boosting brands to other brands and oh, did anyone stop to think about the origin of the concept of brands?
Don’t even get me started on the trolls and the conspiracy theorists and the conspiracy theorist trolls (yes, they exist). Same goes for the on-line “occulture” crowd. In fact, just freely interchange the terms or form a multi-hyphenate in your head when reading anything beyond this point. It’s all real to these people, making them pathetic in most cases and dangerous in some. Steer clear, lest you become one of the suspected and if you stay around long enough, eventually you will. Smuggers and scolders and crytpo-xtian witch hunters! No thanks.You see, it’s not the conspiracy theories themselves, per se but rather the cultic milieu that has grown up around them, on-line and off, that is the problem If you find that you’ve attracted these parasitic shit-stains to yourself, I recommend keeping a 6x6x4 hole dug in a remote wooded area and a bag of lime handy. No, I don’t mean that “figuratively”. Cyberstalkers, trolls, it’s almost more than I could imagine if I had not lived it for the last 20 years. This guy and I seem to have had similar experiences on-line. Too bad really, considering how pleasant the first 15 years were.
Interpreting history as the work of a conspiracy is a backhanded compliment to human rationality. It assumes a category of people that is capable not only of controlling events but also – and more importantly – of understanding why they occur. But the fundamental problem of conspiracy theories is the same as that which faces conspirators themselves: no one can know why human events happen as they do. History abounds in conspiracies; but none has ever escaped the universal drift of which they form part. -John Gray, The Soul of the Marionette
Articles like these might be good for a laugh, but it’s important to discuss the role conspiracy theories play in deradicalizing resistance communities. The problems we face today are not the result of reptilian overlords, Illuminati agents, Satanic cults, UFOs, or any other mystical force. They are the result of real human beings taking simple, public steps to pursue domination and exploitation through violence. When we start talking about these conspiracies, we lose our ability to confront the real problems of the day. – DGR
I offer no solution, I do not call for any great art strike or (god forbid) some Galt-like withdrawal, mostly because I know most of you don’t have the moxie to follow it through. You’re too busy constructing justifications for why you continue to participate, why what I write here is wrong, why what you’re doing is “different”.
Therefore, this is not a call to action or even a call to inaction. It is not even a warning. It is a statement and my last on this subject.
Old George Orwell got it backward. Big Brother isn’t watching. He’s singing and dancing. He’s pulling rabbits out of a hat. Big Brother’s busy holding your attention every moment you’re awake. He’s making sure you’re always distracted. He’s making sure you’re fully absorbed. He’s making sure your imagination withers. Until it’s as useful as your appendix. He’s making sure your attention is always filled. And this being fed, it’s worse than being watched. With the world always filling you, no one has to worry about what’s in your mind. With everyone’s imagination atrophied, no one will ever be a threat to the world.
~ Chuck Palahniuk, Lullaby (2002)
Storytelling is an important human endeavor. It is how we echo information across generations, information about who we are, where we’ve been, where we’re going, lessons about life, love and existence on this planet. This is why I have endeavored to re-inject some of the original sacred intentions back into our collective storyscape. I am astounded at how little people have been outraged when I have pointed out that this most sacred of communication methods has been hijacked by a merchant class that has zero interest in being good stewards of the human storytelling tradition and every intention of milking every last cent they can out of the cheap mythological facsimiles they offer in the absence of original stories. We have handed over that power and we have even forgotten we have done so. Have fun with that.
“A new ignorance is on the horizon, an ignorance borne not of a lack of knowledge but of too much knowledge, too much data, too many theories, too little time.”
― Eugene Thacker, Tentacles Longer Than Night: Horror of Philosophy Vol. 3
If this all sounds like sour grapes, it is not. Just a little warning as I depart this plane. I achieved everything I set out to achieve with my projects. I established a few technology and art standards, garnered some commercial and academic acclaim and kicked a lot of sacred cows along the way.
Of course, there are the projects I have taken credit for, but there’s also the ones which are still autonomously and anonymously running in the background and will continue to do so without my input. You’ll just have to guess which ones those are since I finally perfected a method that makes them tamper and hijack proof, therefore eliminating the need for disclosure.
I first offered my methods as a method of liberation. Then I discovered I had cast pearls before swine. Now, the method is weaponized and in the shadows, following a directive and indiscriminate in its execution. It is a mirror, an interactive Rorschach, it may offer you a key or it may offer you the blade, but that’s entirely up to you.
I leave you with these quotes:
“…the best and most radical tactic will be to refuse to engage in spectacular violence, to withdraw from the area of simulation, to disappear.” – Hakim Bey
“…to vanish without having to kill yourself may be the ultimate revolutionary act…” The Sacred Jihad of Our Lady of Chaos
ars est celare artem