(Lo-tech website, text based and intended to bring to mind, by association, the graphic bleakness of Pasolini’s The Gospel According to Matthew stirring with good news.)
Date: August 2015
The philosophy of virtuality: a virtual allotment for the cultivation of virtual escape.
The Website of the Philosopher Rumpledsilkskin.
Now and then truth (contingent truth): - no allocation of infertile space happens except within the medium of the commodity and all resistance to and escape from the commodity is contained within this medium.
Digging: all theory and argument will be at least double dug, meaning there will be no substitute for hard-graft, heart-stimulation, and sound-beds in an old English style. Means of production will be spade striking the old rocks of logic, objectivity and truth value and barrowing off-site, all post-modernist, polystyrene packaging.
Weeding: meticulous hoeing, burrowing out, poisoning, flame gunning of civilised cultivations in their theoretical forms - dialectical and apocalyptic weeding! Rank and gross, tap and fibrous rooted, weed-binding possessors of nature, include: - Morality, Politics, Culture, Religion, Free- Market Apologia, State, Law, Education, Family. (Marx identified these weeds but was an inconsistent or lazy weeder.)
Fertilising: scattering images and fictions in the spirit of virtuality, dressing virtual soil in readiness for main-crop seemings.
Planting: intercropping, and irregular planting throughout four seasons, free from global warming but contributing to same.
Perennial Harvesting: Materialist Virtuality, As Ifness, Modernism (hybrid), Invisible Cells, Optical Density, Simulacra, Subterraneans, Indeterminism, Rational Schizophrenia, the Unnoticed. (Irregular allotment visitors take home emptier baskets, but emptier baskets are easier to carry. You pays no money and takes your choice.)
Composting: “Art an Enemy of the People”, “Beyond Art”, “Invisible Cells”, “Mme Rousseau”, Historical Materialism, Fact/Value distinction, Ideological and Commodity theories of Art. Sartre. Marx. Unamuno. Richard Jefferies. Jean Seberg. Genet. Patrick White. David Mercer. Viviane Forrester. Michael Heim. (A virtual future’s past.)
Pest Control: Dialectical spraying: - determinism (evolutionary, neuro-physiological, philosophical, A.I. nonsense), non-dialectical conceptual analysis, sluggish Heideggerian and Post-Modernist abstraction. Plus days of reckoning, Rumpledsilkskin confronts his critics.
ON THE VIRTUAL ALLOTMENT:-
Rumpledsilkskin interviews Roger Taylor about his new book THERESE & TIAMAT.
(available from CreateSpace and Kindle)
Rumpledsilkskin: Often we co-author but with this new book am I right in thinking you have gone it alone?
Roger Taylor: Well, you are right to have phrased the question that way. You might think you would know whether or not you were involved, but the matter is not so simple. When you have an alter-ego, or, to refer to your case, when you have an avatar, it is not always clear which of you is speaking. What has to be said about my new book is that nowhere does it acknowledge you. However, the book contains two narrative voices, one the narrator, never referred to as such, and the other Scaramouche. The relationship between the two, mirrors in many ways our relationship, not that I am able to define precisely any of these ways.
Rumpledsilkskin: So there is a character, Scaramouche, and Scaramouche is Rumpledsilkskin?
Roger Taylor: Not so fast. To begin with, my new book does not contain characters in the authorial sense. There are names and persons, real, historical, as well as fictional, but they are more points of view than characters, although an attempt is made to draw a certain person from historical obscurity back into the circle of life. Scaramouche, on the other hand, is a personal, narrative voice but with a fantastical history within the events of the book. These things are not true of the other narrative voice, which is more deus ex machina and more abstract. This mirrors our relationship without either of us being in the book, but where I have inputted content you have inputted nothing, although if we were not related in the way we are then this book would not have the structure it does have.
Rumpledsilkskin: Not so simple. Not so fast. Very Roger Taylor, if I may say so. But we should move on. Your new book is called Therese & Tiamat. So what is it about? Can I ask you that?
Roger Taylor: Well, for now, let’s try to keep things simple and fast. Therese & Tiamat is about the unnoticed, their enemies, about their escape and their dreamtime.
Rumpledsilkskin: So who are the unnoticed?
Roger Taylor: Let me give you an example. The medieval serf. The Magna Carta is pure ideology. It has nothing to do with democracy. It is anti-semitic and sexist. It concerns the class of what was called freemen, conveniently and wrongly equated with everyman in contemporary misinformation. Magna Carta details their property rights as against the king, detailing the taxes the rich should not have to pay. At most this class counted for 10% of the population. The rest of the population were villeins, the serfs or peasants. They were noticed, but only in the way deer and salmon were noticed. They were not celebrated in history or society, in this sense they were unnoticed, apart, that is, from religion, where the unnoticed were given the status of the chosen ones as long as they remained quiet and unnoticed, thus leaving the world to the self-chosen; freemen.The fairly recent emergence of social history tries to redress the balance but given the subject is the unnoticed the data is necessarily scant and its interpretation prone to wishful-thinking.
Rumpledsilkskin: If this is so how is it you have a subject to write about?
Roger Taylor: Exactly so. My book is fantasy, but like social history it plays with the available data. Its subject is not the medieval serf but a French woman, largely unnoticed, alive in the C18th, and a woman who, according to my book, was midwife to the French Revolution and its Terror.
Rumpledsilkskin: This woman is the Thérèse of your book?
Roger Taylor: Thérèse Levasseur is my uber-shrew. I bring her into the light from obscurity but when you blink she is gone again, as, in my book, Jean Seberg discovers. My thinking about her is wishful yet coincides with fact.
Rumpledsilkskin: This is the woman who lived with Jean Jacques Rousseau as his servant. A reputed dullard and, well, shrew?
Roger Taylor: She was scolding ditch-water in the eyes of the intelligentsia and so they were blind to a tributary leading back to the sea of Tiamat.
Rumpledsilkskin: And Tiamat is a Babylonian sea-dragon and goddess?
Roger Taylor: Pure myth. I connect her with the sentient whole at the centre of Naomi Wolf’s book Vagina. Life without purpose, anonymous existence, a refusal to nominate essence, a life of multiple orgasm. Life in the warm waters of the primeval sea before the urge to leave these waters and be human. Life before culture and civilisation, life as ecstatic dream. It is this Thérèse glimpses as she comes to terms with Rousseau’s betrayal of her and the trauma it introduces to her life. Her way back to Tiamat is the destruction of her society and she does this by leading Rousseau’s theoretical enterprise far beyond territory he would ever have had the courage or desire to cross alone. She is there at the birth of divine being.
Rumpledsilkskin: Well an avatar can live with that. She is also present at the death of divine being. Am I understanding you correctly?
Roger Taylor: She is the unseen muse in Rousseau’s life, she drives him mad and then she kills him. These things I have her do.
Rumpledsilkskin: It might seem the distance between Thérèse taking her honoured seat at the guillotine to watch heads being freed and Tiamat being bitten in two in a post-coital frenzy by the giant Marduk is a gap too far for any narrative to sustain, but in Thérèse & Tiamat there is historical linkage. Could you explain this?
Roger Taylor: There is an event in Sardis in 545 BC when a baker girl is sawn in two. This is a re-enactment, echoing dividing Tiamat from being whole. It is an attempt to conceal an orgasmic existence and to make life conform to rule, purpose and, wait for it, hard-work. The dialectic between these two becomes concentrated in an effigy of the girl, in two halves. History is then a struggle between keeping her apart or bringing her together. The struggle between the rule of law and chaos, the forces of order and Assassins, holy women and harlots. Through the centuries this links Lydia, Delphi, Constantinople, Venice and in culmination the Rousseau family in Geneva: from ancient history to the Enlightenment. It is Thérèse who deconstructs mythical linkage in favour of natural, tidal change. Of course there is no pre-existing essence but neither is freedom exercised in choosing essence. There is no essence, only existence, constant making and re-making, the flow of Eros and Thanatos. The division of woman is a fear of the dialectic. Marduk murders because he lusts, Thérèse kills because she loves. Thérèse & Tiamat asserts contradiction.
Rumpledsilkskin: Well thank you. I have read the book and found it deeply moving. It is also very funny. Perhaps it is the only book needed. I would say read it a million times.
3 BOOKS associated with Rumpledsilkskin are now available from Kindle Books
Revised edition of ART an ENEMY of the PEOPLE by ROGER TAYLOR.
Revised edition of BEYOND ART by ROGER TAYLOR.
INVISIBLE CELLS and VANISHING MASSES by RUMPLEDSILKSKIN and ROGER TAYLOR.
For Rumpledsilkskin these books represent three of four steps towards a better theory of consciousness. The fourth step will be made available in 2015. The third step (INVISIBLE CELLS and VANISHING MASSES) is the most recent and the most substantial. It is a difficult, 250,000-word text. Its individual cells have the conceit of being prison sentences during which the prisoner battles with concepts of confinement and escape. A sense of the clamour of these battles is all Rumpledsilkskin feels able to offer as introduction to the whole. Rumpledsilkskin writes,
Part of my subject matter is to give serious treatment to the notion of “getting out of it”, another part concerns who is to get out. The inevitabilities of the poor are the factum, the starting point. What does Bear the surfboard-maker in Big Wednesday say as the surf heroes ride the unprecedented? “Oh! I’m just the garbage man.” Generally the poor are addressed to improve them, educate them, edify them, empower them, sensitise them, quiet them, control them. These are the stratagems for creating illusions of change. So it is argued, the rich are going to have to overcome hell of a hump to get into heaven, whereas queuing garbage men are the last made first. For this illusory privilege they are exhorted to love those who trespass against them. My work is firmly set in the notion of irreconcilable enemies. Being poor is to confront reality as problematic, something to defend oneself against, something to be escaped from. “Getting out of it” is defence and escape, and virtuality is one of the forms of “getting out of it”. Socially developed and controlled forms of virtuality are generally commodified, but commodified entertainment is bootlegged like booze and has its non-commodified forms like poteen and alpine eau de vie. And, of course the objects of art can be appropriated for any purpose whatsoever, just as art has appropriated the objects of not art as objects of art.
This philosophical journey begun a long time ago, whichever moment it was when it began, is now to be completed in these cells. There was no way for me to have envisaged this precise ending at the outset, despite a determination to arrive where I am. In fact at the beginning I did not even possess my present virtual existence. The destination is virtuality and class and underclass and escape. The possibilities of virtuality have multiplied since I started my kind of life. Those possibilities are part and parcel of the aspirations of self-consciousness and autonomy, and all these particles including the aspirations were all interwoven, even if unrecognised, in the embryonic vision. And so, my kind of life, my sentence, starts by revisiting and reflecting on various stopping points on the journey, as well as striking out across a vast territory still uncrossed. Following will not be easy, it will not be an instant thing, and the subject matter is irreducibly difficult. For escape none of this is necessary, but for the defence of escape it may well be, certainly nothing “out there” goes half far enough.
There is a collectiveness to vanishing, a shared conspiracy. This is a global, empirical scepticism. The alternative worlds that are turned to and created take both individual and collective forms. There is nothing solipsistic about mass disappearance. Moreover, vanishing is always double-edged. Spasmodically the masses reappear. Suddenly they are in the streets pointing. The excesses of the existing order do not go unnoticed. Or they reappear as heroes to fulfil their own fantasies. But the masses will never again sacrifice a generation or two for a future that never comes. The masses are playing the long game now. The masses are playing games. Fundamentalists of all persuasions desperately struggle to bring them back. For fundamentalists the life of the masses is not for playing games, it is instead austerity, struggle and suffering, but this is a megalomaniacal game fundamentalist can play only at the expense of the masses and the masses have found ways not to pay the price.
And the clamour includes this digressive prolegomenon to INVSIBLE CELLS AND VANISHING MASSES (Kindle Books).
The Norwegian would not be a problem if he kept the world he inhabits to himself, just as his private fantasy.
His actual behaviour is unintelligible if thought embedded in wholesome Scandinavian society. Instead though, there, like everywhere, is as tight as an asthmatic seizure. Screaming Nordic noir! Pus-filled globules are expelled from the congested mass as the social body struggles for its breath. It is asked “Why?” That is why, no longer inexplicable horror.
Murdering someone is thought clearly wrong but imagining murdering someone is less clear-cut. We might then say the Norwegian could imagine whatever he liked. This is close to the foundation of the argument in INVISIBLE CELLS AND THE VANISHING MASSES (ICVM). But nothing is clear-cut. In Elizabethan, political culture (Elizabeth I) treason laws forbade any subject to “compass” (imagine) the death of a monarch. Today militant Islam is just as eager to repress deviant daydreams. How though do you police these prescriptions? Not by means of any regard for the truth. Instead truth gives way to suspicion and policing suspicion requires a reign of terror, in which case imagining is left intangible, the threat to it accidental.
The Australian Outback is a harsh place, and how did the aborigine cope there? By means of great material ingenuity but also by means of dreamtime. Walkabout is inhabiting a fantasy landscape formed out of stories about the old woman and the old fella. There is an element of religious belief about this but it is more comic than zealous, more fall-about than solemn. Unless seduced by bourgeois élitism Abos repudiate high seriousness. Dreamtime is for having a good time. It allows you to eat your babies when you’re starving.
Communism is the utilitarian solution to perennial exploitation of the masses. It was once popular aspiration, now it sounds like “smoking is good for you”. ICVM will demonstrate the rationality of communism and will expose the repression of this truth. However, although communism’s moment could come again, its use in ICVM is as an exemplar or measure, rather like the kingdom of heaven is used to measure earthly reality, or like Rousseau’s general will measures existing power relations. Moreover, one reading of communism’s end-game is of virtual existence in a virtual universe, and what ICVM argues is not only is a strand of this always possible but now its possibility is extensive, yet it only exists by proxy in the form of mutant virtuality, which is virtual escape nonetheless but, therefore, dismissible by the media as criminal insanity. Maybe this is where everything is stuck for a virtual eternity.
If you think that working hard, rolling up your sleeves and doing the right thing is sick, if you think that all of morality and all of politics is sick, if you think all religion is sick, if you think the pursuit of knowledge and progress and economic growth is sick, if you think all of these are diseases of private property, and if you think virtual existence for its own sake is freedom or escape, then you must be criminal and insane. Musn’t you? This is not the prerogative of a starry few, as Nietzsche thought, but the mass nebulae of the celestial herd. This criminality and insanity is the commonsense repudiation of received sense, and things are so fixed that what repudiates received sense is axiomatically criminal and insane. These then are the norms and whatever challenges them. Hegemony creates this criminal insanity.
People are leaving the social space but media society does its utmost to prevent this. Every pretext is used. The economic crisis is used to preach the doctrine of all being in it together. The Olympics presents an idea of the world coming together. Every trick is used to secure a global, secure, benign community of consumers. Awaiting the aftermath of global bonding in the stadia is a giant landscape of corporate selling.
In opposition to received sense what we have is a dialectical materialist treatment of virtuality, and this generates both a critique of morality, politics, culture, religion, global capitalism, science, philosophical logic, theory of mind, celebrity, as well as a defence of the unnoticed, anonymity and dreamtime.
What is completely wrong with professional psychiatry’s analysis of mass killers, apart from the spurious idea that it (the analysis) is the first port of call in order to achieve understanding, is that it supposes everything is revealed by the set of lonely, angry fantasists. How imprecise is this? It is from this set also that critical theory emanates. “All the lonely people where do they all come from?” The antidote to conformist socialisation is what inflates the set beyond any of the uses of psychiatric explanation. As though the distinction between fantasy and reality is self-evident. Was monetarism fantasy or reality? Was Thatcher essentially lonely? Certainly she was angry. Oh, but she was a mass killer too! So the theory is correct then! But something has gone wrong. “Of course it has, don’t you know that everything is measured by received sense?” Well yes everything is but as every madman complains “You measure with electro-convulsive shock and how long is an electro-convulsive shock? Oh yes! However long you say it is.”
The vanishing masses and their invisible cells now have a startling analogue or image. The Dutch art-scientist, Jalila Essaidi in collaboration with Dr Abdoel El Ghalbzouri are progressing a new material. Some are calling it Rumpled Silk Skin. Human skin and spider silk have been synthesised by way of first adding spider genes to the genome of goats, then separating from goat’s milk its resulting silky content, and then spinning and weaving this content into a material on which human cells are grown. Why should you do this? Jalila was inspired by a tale about Genghis Khan’s horsemen riding into battle wearing silk vests as armour against enemy arrows. Jalila tried firing bullets at her Rumpled Silk Skin to find that although at full speed the bullets penetrated, at reduced speed they did not. She said, moving the idea even further, “…why bother with a vest: imagine replacing keratin, the protein responsible for the toughness of human skin, with this spider silk protein.”
The idea of Rumpledsilkskin (this web-sites avatar and co-author of the forthcoming ICVM) predates this armour of mass defence by some 40 years. Both ideas point to protection from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortunes!
Marlyannova (Rumpledsilkskin’s web-girl)
Links: http://www.rumpledsilkskin.co.uk (Thérèse & Tiamat visibility)
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