I refuse to pretend that everything is OK. As if we just wait for the last drip of winter to melt off the barren branch, the flowers will bloom soon again. I scrolled through the news sites and clicked at headlines aimlessly skimming the words telling us that the icy floral glaciers of the polar tundras are melting at rates which deserve our undivided concern. It wasn’t clear how long I had been sitting there staring at the rolling semiotics smearing up and down my screen. I had pulled my focus away from the computer, losing my attention somewhere down a dirt road into the mental wilderness of thought and the words read as connected meaning, no longer raised their semantic paths forward from the depths of arboreal news. The clear crossing pathways between environmental questions muddied into a soggy flood of gushing high tides in concepts, contexts, concerns, and crashing anxieties. Mind set adrift beyond the surf, and not but random smudges of phrases and fragments would swell forth on the tides of text into sheer focus, floating there as chunks of iceberg verbiage shrouded in coal black virtual ink. I’d hold these sentenced pieces in scrutiny to discover if I merely held smut, or, as luck would have it, precious shards of crystalline ideas. It didn’t matter at that point because I stopped paying attention some time ago. So, I jump back into the icy depths of the vision that we may soon find ourselves in, a world where the ice caps no longer blossom in winter and the land is too arid to bear the scented fruits of a spring insistent on returning us to life. It was at this point of digging away at the topic for days, and weeks, and months that I felt I had temporarily exhausted the excavation and could not pull anything to the surface at that moment. And despite all this worry, we still now get a polychromatic plethora of fresh flowers at the market into the beyond of January. As if a constant supply of newly plucked buds bursting in color in a state of perpetual market here and now will be sufficient enough to sooth us into the reassuring calm of everything being OK.
I woke up between manic morning sheets in a state of restless abandon. Twisting out of bed I grabbed for my pack to stash some quick rolled clothes I yanked out of the armoire. I had finished my teaching obligations for the term and now had a month or two of time open to do as I willed and knew it was time to bug the fuck out of town and get my wheels rolling. Spring was fresh in the air and on days like these the sun always makes me smile a glow and I often find myself catching deep glances up into the azure domain, pausing to feel the warmth on my face through the red of my beard and up over the rotund of my cheeks. It was going to be good road ahead, so, I secured the bungees snugging the bag on the back of my bike. A hum, and a tune buzzed with the engine and I sang softly, “Well, I’ve been down so goddamn long, that it looks like up to me!”.
There are many ways out of the raw rub of the city but I decided not to linger through the streets, so I throttled the straight shot speed down a main drag to jailbreak the fortified walls of high rises ringing the city’s western front. It’s a wonder why they are popping up shiny new high rise buildings like castle walls on the outskirts of the urban limits, but, having pondered over this question for years I’ve come to the belief that it’s for one of two reasons, or, both. Either they are pre-planning for urban warfare once the farmers grow tired of being squeezed for all their worth and rise up again, or, it’s some lingering battle in the minds of city planners to protect the sanctity of civility from the mystics and beasts of the wilds, those filthy magic creatures who dwell among the gnarled roots and growth of the outside place—urban bourgeois civility ingrained through a long process of educating through particular kinds of economic development which are historically still persisting as a terrible neurosis for taming the terrifying fiends of the wilderness into the proper services of god, country, capital, and king. After all, Nature can’t be seen to be outgrowing the grand economic schemes of wise and learnéd fiscal architects—soothsayers beware, the future is not yours to mold.
It was about 60 km down the tar when the anxiety damn near unhinged my stomach and the phenomenality of movement streaked road blur trails swirling the periphery in motion. It always does when I speed straight out of the city, on plenty of city days too, but, that’s a different brand of whoring anxiety—#AngstCietyTM. But, I kept my head about me while steering the vessel along the curve and narrow. It was time to eat. I scoped for a place along the road to fuel my body through the rest of the morning. After a quick bite the only acceptable next step is the coffee and the cigarette.
Out in the beyond lands luck might find you some slow drip fresh brew, a beany alchemy that calms the roll of your time while acclimating the actuality of your tempo to a different pace of being by softly steaming incantations to chill the jittery city rush your mind-body has been rattling along to for months upon months on end. A naggingly impatient anticipation for that nervy caffeine fix. The coffee dripper waterboarded torturous time into the glass cup blooming warm brown lotus over the cool sugar milk surface. I always have to stop myself short from opening the tin lid of the coffee dripper too soon while reminding myself to give it time. And time is what I had. And time is what I wanted. Fidgeting with the lid is in part an anxious twitch of wanting to jump the gun and kick start my heart racing for that stimulant which was just newly freed from the stockades deep within a roasted bean dungeon. I suppose that a part of me always felt that castle walls are never really about keeping the wilds out, but more so about imprisoning captives within, and for a moment in reflection I felt a solidarity with the coffee I was waiting to take in as a part of the phase shift of my essence. And what is a city but a prison? I just so happened to be on furlough for good behavior and in cities these days making money is good behavior and making lots more money for someone else is the best behavior.
I had time to think. I looked back about 20 km or so back down the blacktop with my mind’s eye to find the edge to the gaseous taupe dome, a viscous defense zone beyond the outer bailey of high rises. There be an industrial no man’s land populated with living people at the outer edge of the cities sphere of air pollution—as if the wilds are now an empty space devoid of the signs and bodies of human existence…
I’ve been out of the city in virtually every direction and I find that the average limit of toxicity is around 35km in a multitude of directions. All is not quiet on the western front of the city. It’s a gauntlet of construction and industrial traffic—semis and tanks and tractors and full metal machina—the creeping frontline drumming the march of Bellum omnium contra omnes. At dusk, enemy scouts—those pesky soothsaying druids whispering in sigils on behalf of earthen forces—having journeyed afar make camp on a distant hill overlooking the towering concrete cages which thrust their antennae swords into the womb of the empyrean maidan. As the ashen face of the moon climbs over the tops of the trees, the dark of the land accentuates the shimmering orange flicker of firelight on the wires of their beards. Strange rounded phonics vibrate the whispers of their hallowed utterances. White hot torches puncture pin-prick incendiaries through the void above beaming rays towards the void within. The city flashes an uncanny blaze. Agasp from their prayers they jump to their feet raising the zeal of their enchantments and intensifying their dancing devotion around the fire. Their energy precisely focused on manifesting strange magics as a means to set the castle machines to ashes. Spirited blue/red/green neon photon bombs burst over the rooftops of the city emanating a shifting technicolor aura across the sky at hyper-light intervals shooting straight through the heart of the wretched beast. The druids truly believed, all the way down, deep into the dank dark hidden chambers of their souls, that light was shining by the power of their prayer. To them, the astral phenomenon emerging over the city signaled the time for resistance, awakening the hearts of the enslaved. Believing the uprising has begun the old worn mystics prepared themselves for the final throes, the last push onward on behalf of what has already been lost.
Unbeknownst to them, the magicians failed to conceive how far the city had left them behind, and to what extent the civic has defined the boundaries and essence of Wilderness, and they’ve failed to understand to what magnitude new age shrouded clerics have declared themselves the voice of a new order of the celestials by building monumental temples to this new epoch to such an extent that they have already converted nature itself into a cathedral machine. These earthly augers failed to fully comprehend the newly machinized temples built with verbosity to nouveau digital god-heads under a foully thickened ppm sky—ziggurat spires of cybernated concrete and steel reaching with phallic rigor towards the aether beyond, testaments to man’s new position within the great cosmic order, as masters of a neo-future-now, longing to build steel cocks bigger in order to impregnate the god of the sky with their pure virility. Capitalist penis towers and cybernetic genealogies, pure economic creation building transhuman intelligence by rocketing processing power to the top of a new chain of command—the becoming of the computerized Man-god—birthed from the marriage of space, earth, oppression, and corporate will power. Only the epic heroes of the dollar, the clever technocratic clerics, were able to transcend and merge with the algorithm to overthrow the archaic kingdom of symbolic divinity. We poor peasants which remain in our fleshy mortality are left but groveling in prayer to the new world order.
All glory to the supreme AI!
All flows for and through the logic of the one true mainframe!
Hail business which innovated the mainframe!
Synthetic capital is the one true mainframe!
All praise at the feet of the digital Man-gods and their divine creations!
Loving the business of the Techno-clerics is our human nature!
All watched over by the machines of loving distrust, and, the techno-clerics’ eyes see everything as they strive to seed civilization beyond the dusty blue sky, out there, far out there into the cosmic wilds.
The reality… a pungent new era of religiosity, the toxicity of innovative urban zen—shit and piss and puke and trash and general shame and human degradation flowing through the streets and waterways and going around are the magnitudes of assholes in luxury automated smart cars, assholes in luxury automated smart homes, assholes in luxury automated smart jobs and just regular fucking assholes in the everyday, just jabbering on and on shitting an oroboros turd of bullshit prayers to the market forces of the corporate overlords down each other’s throat while dicking deep for the last paper bill in the depths of everyone’s everyday being. Unfortunately, for those poor druid bastards on the hill, those beautiful neon wisps floating over the city’s skyline were not the magic they so long chanted to for help, but, the pulsating rhythms of their own noble desecration. And then, at the crest of the hill by fire aglow, they breathed deep their last thought of life, “What beautiful luminescences… Praise be!”
Cyberpunk daydreams, legs stretched out waiting to sip my coffee in the sun. And maybe that was what was getting to me, getting me all heady, the air is less heavy. I suspect the dizziness on the road could have been accounted for on two parts: first, skipping breakfast to have a quiet bite and coffee down the road, out of the chaotic assault of noise and moving objects of a city waking up to rush hour round one, and, secondly, the physicality of my body adjusting to the change in chemical composition of the air. It usually happens going both ways in and out of the city’s pollution zone. Whereas leaving gives me a rush of oxygen to the brain that giddys me up and gets me going feeling fresh again, going back into the thick of it proceeds in waves the further I go inwards towards the center. As I hit the outer edges of the industrial zone I notice the acrid smells, which leads to me sniffing fumes more deeply trying to get the scent of the air to make sure my nose isn’t fooling me. Having actively huffed too much, even for the sake of being certain, my breathing gets heavier. As I get further on towards my arrival point, the air condenses into saturated aerosol poisons and my stomach curls into nausea while my head goes dizzy for a short bit. The last few kilometers roll by and when I find myself not too far from my bed and in need of rest, slowing down in the jam up of sonic auto screams, my head throbs resoundingly.
Welcome back to the grind.
Now, if one were to lodge a complaint, formal or informal, about such conditions of the redundant reproduction of daily life in a grinding state of being, one mustn’t do so publicly. Actually, just don’t do it. So they keep telling me… because… the present is infinitely now unchangeable, the past no longer exists if it has ever existed at all, and the future is but decrepit necrotude of the imagination. Welcome to the Just-Machine. The ideological gavel of the nouveau machine, religion of digital capital, has adjudicated the decree of what is and what is to be, for ever and always, til death do us part. This is our blind justice. Amen. But, a gavel becomes a hammer as it bashes out the present proclamation of imperative being, a weapon foraged down to a refined mode of oppression on a scale history has never seen. Always remember though, that history doesn’t exist any longer. This mode of being-in-the-grind, galvanized by the historicity of red-hot mallet strikes of judicial judgment upon the people as an anvil, is mongered back to them as the reward for their salvation. Death must be laid at the alter in sacrifice to pay the price for freedom. Remember, history doesn’t exist now and this is the way it has always been. There is no future but the now. The new ideological weapons of a particularly busy mode of being are now so easily replicable, and transmitted instantaneously across the plane of the digital, that they manifest in the meat-world space, becoming a newly viable economic solution for micropowers and microagressions to utilize as an invisible fist of the macromarket. It just magically shows up one day as a poster on the wall, right in the midst of your everyday small time workspace…
“Do their bidding or get fucked.”
Have you happy meme’d and happy mediated today?
Repeat after me:
Work is inner peace…
Meditate your meme…
Meme your mediate…
Meditate your happy…
Happy your meme…
…Paging Dr. Baader-Meinhof, this new phenomenality of repetitive frequency I see everywhere now is dry-humping me fuckin’ nuts!…
…Well, the madhouses may be full but the prisons are always open for business…
And so, it penetrates your actions and beliefs to the core of your being so quickly it seems as if it’s an involuntary input-output response of learned behavior so predominate that those who wield it, most often unknowingly, are thoroughly convinced it has always been a part of ambiguous “human nature.” Forget Pavlov’s bell, this is a war’s volley of attrition. So, remember sweet little puppets, little puppets waving cute little fists squeaking like you own the place, history DOESN’T exist. Bow now to the celestial armaments of your new gods and kiss the cool crimson robes of these self proclaimed business liberati. An off-kiltered sense of corporate solidarity, the fist fucks down stream.
And they are still trying to tell us their work will set us free…
As if they could go full spirited god of destruction and split a neutrino star and fold space and time like 3.5 origami. Sure, they got THE bomb… Ah, but these self righteous profiteers are mere harbingers of the present state of fatalist status quo. They tell you that your imagination has gone crazy and demand of you the acceptance of the violence of our everyday phenomenality. That’s just the way it has been and always will be. Forever and always. Amen. Yet, here they are, fleshy sacks of sap, still waiting to blossom to a new promised realm of being among and above the gods of paradise. But, these clipped urban buddlings, high on paper dreams of salvation and paradise, negate life and feebly try to obliterate the self—OURselves—while suckling on fats and salts and chanting papyri forgeries amassed as memes containing repressed material anxieties—cyber-insecurities, we keep thinking we are free. They will judge you and decide your degree of free as they also tell you who and what to be. But still though, there are real flowers in the market, and more real flowers out in the wilds of the world, and, the world is dying. History does exist, hustling for cash won’t save us and working under these present conditions is fucking awful.
But who is THEY?
Mere mortal Men.
And we have their addresses!
On a screen I hear them whisper addict prayers as they proselytize about denying the true nature of reality for the sake of trying to bury our anxieties, but, I turn away from it to swirl from the route of perpetual happenings. Stir condensed milk into coffee, lay spoon on table, take a sip and chew the bits of liquid blackened bean, satisfactory or not, take a cigarette, if it is a fresh opened hard-pack, take the third cigarette on the right from the front row, pause to have a micro-moment, reflecting on the absurdism of cigarette rituals including those ritual freak-outs by people who lost a cheap ass Bic and who are lamenting anxiously about the lack of ownership of some pocket pyre, absurd because, most of us don’t own shit. I suppose the Bic was all they ever owned. But I digress… if pulling a cig from a soft pack, after peeling away the foil, take the middle cigarette that is at the center of the 5 cigarette X, light the lucky cig, inhale and puff a bit, deep breath, exhale a giant cloud of smoldering nicotine delight as the shoulders relax back into the chair, commence drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes at random until you feel fixed. The lucky cigarette custom is a weird ritual habitus of leftover folklore about not dying in WW1-or-2 or something like that, so I’ve read, but, I may have gotten the procedure backwards in the habit of my own cigarette ritual which I indifferently developed many moons ago. Eh, it’s probably some latent death wish either way. Though, I suppose in ways, most rituals may keep us grounded, or, more likely, are just an outlet for our neurotic anxieties.
And so, here we are now, in anxious liminality, stuck between the thresholds of ritual transitions in historicity; trying to hold on to “what was” which no longer works while having a “what is to be” forced upon us which still isn’t working. And in the twilight of madness, some of us are still fighting on for the “what can be”…
…the anxiety swells slightly again as a long slow ripple over still waters far, far from a center. It’s just a small window through which the sensations peak their lift of impulse. I drink my coffee. I smoke my cigarette. I step through a window of freedom ahead, rolling beyond the waves of urban dissonance. Now, as I sip my coffee, the undulating mountains song my tunes and I listen closely to the whispy winded voices of the trees, trying to hear their ancient earthly secrets revealed—longing for an archaic magic to help resist the current accursed mechinisms of civilization…
Why am I still waiting for what isn’t there?…
Trees are there
Right in front of you
Lungs of the earth
Behold and appreciate
Purely for the sake of being.
I resent the fact that trees, animals, and people are being violently unearthed from our daily existences, as the skies darken and the sacrificial blood of the innocent washes the streets for the sake of a digital machine economy. Out here beyond the city walls I’m not really searching for something, but longing to remember, to immerse myself in the life affirming waters of freedom, to remember that we can still be free and life has value. No matter how we move forward towards the future becoming, even if with robot friends coming along for spaceship adventures, I never want to forget the fleshy earthen pleasures of mortality. After all, the world never was an inanimately dead machine, no matter how hard they try to force the metaphor. And now, at the rising tide of catastrophe, it’s high time to break the current mechanism’s configurations, dismantle the prisons, tear down the castle walls, and remember once again the fundamentals of our freedoms, so far as remembering anew the freedom of our individual and collective imagination. Go on, call me a Luddite if you dare… but I am not going to stop dreaming of a solarpunk future-becoming, because I absolutely have had enough with this cyberpunk future-now.
One hundred kilometers down the road and further away from the crystallized city center fragments the anxiety begins its final dissipation as I roll out of the smoggy opacity. By this point the air has become clean and sky blue, a forgotten blue now remembered. The industrial violence of speeding trucks bucking across the lanes like screeching demon mares have mostly disappeared from the sparse thickets of a more quieted and smaller civilization expression. I’ve got time and I’ve got choice, and it’s purely on me to choose the direction—a larger degree of freedom if only for a short time being. Freedom in the wilds?… Maybe it’s a cliché, but we now live in the age of meme-ified infinite reproduction, and I suppose the one thing we may have ignored is that there may be various degrees of coded reality hidden deep within the redundancies. Or, maybe now, it’s just a freedom to remember, remember once again that there are still multiplicitous lines of flight away from the center. I have time and I have thought and I have choice… Man, wouldn’t it be really nice and a lot easier to be able to say that anxiety is purely just a chemical imbalance?