"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Jun 19, 2010

Liberatory Nihilism, Or how I faced the future my children have inherited...

The endless wars and police actions, the entertainment-industrialization of murder, the rapid increase in the expropriation of the Commons, the bank and insurance company bribes, the war on drugs, the expansion of the prison-slavery complex, the whole damned lot of it - fairly depressing shit.

But, in truth, human shit. It has the stink of a medieval sewage runnel because that comparison really works. Our massive degradations, in plain, shitty sight. We did this shit, and we could - in theory at least - not do it.

Unlikely that we mere peons can stop it, but the betting chance remains.

We could, with a lot of violence, or on an even off-er off chance, a whole lot of nonviolent resistance, put some breaks on the industrial march into our own obsolescence.

But that "oil spill," and Hubbard's Peak?

No fix available. The oil "leak" will likely keep on erupting a jovian magnitude storm of petrochemicals into the Gulf, and therefore the world oceans, for years to come. And nothing can prevent the unfolding of the logic of EROEI. Ineluctable. Inevitable. Second Law of Thermodynamics, it shall not budge.

And that leaps right beyond depressing into nihilism inducing.

Which, for me at least, has the feel of liberation.

I - merest of mere peons - cannot stop it.

My rage lacks the quality of wrath. It has no force, no effect, no power. So, it only poisons me, and the environments in which I move.

It doesn't work, this outrage. It has no play.

I care, but that too amounts to nil. As does, in all likelihood, your concern. I plus you plus you plus us, plus they and them - we don't add up. If we did, we would.

But, we don't. We won't, or we can't or we just came into our own too late, heirs to a rich tradition of revolt and resistance, but with none of the tools, and few of the emotional loyalties. Ancient pistols aimed away from the target. Or a newly discovered Grimm's tale, with half the references lost to obscurity, lost in the translation from a Latin no one speaks, to a German no one cares about, into an English few have the heart to hear.

We provide a distraction, a cautionary tale, a warning to the newest class of Veblenites and technocrats. We inhabit the last outpost down a lost highway which recedes only into the distance of yesterday, and yesterday's forgotten tomorrow.

It doesn't end well for us, this leftishness.

We don't frighten, anymore. We lack the quality of kobolds, and goblins. Or even of Puck, gone off the reservation.

Red threat?


"Faggots and feminists," a lawyer* once told me. "Or book heads. That's the left in America." Crudely put, and missing the point by focusing on it. But, a fiction which shows the truth.

We obsess the margins, because we live there. It doesn't compute.

We don't translate.

Pointillists tiddly winking words sidereal, off putting and off pole, positioned with self as spectator, watching the Spectacle as it glues us to each other in anonymity and entertainment.

United by anonymous disgust.

And it doesn't work.

Outrage reveals the love, the compassion, the care. The desire for justice, or whatever word you prefer. It doesn't self obsess. It demands an Other, a meeting and a meeting place. You cannot strip it to 140 characters and announce it to equally voided strangers, all out on a doe-see-doe dance, bouncing along with mirrors in hand, filterless gyrovagi in a flattened space of bits and bytes and the Self as an arrangement of symbols meant only for consumption. It doesn't network, this angry love.

It really doesn't compute.

Well, fuck all that.

And fuck me, too.

Sick of the seeping wound, and sick of the pain.

Sick of the degradation.

These words - they don't travel. They don't go anywhere. They have no place.

These words won't stop the oil eruption. They won't stop wars. They won't make Imperial Barack or Georgie the Lesser wake up and grow a conscience, even shared between them - never mind the noble and ennobling desire to take a samurai view of their manifold failures.

Impotence, impotence.

I don't yield. Far from it. But, in these wee hours at least, the nihilism liberates.

Clarity, like Camus once mused. Because the Absurd inhabits real time and real space.

It really does. I've pared it down for myself: monster, or machine part?

I chose the monstrous.

And for that reason, barely reasonable and hardly rational, this world has value.

We cannot stop what we've unleashed.

But, fuck all and fuck the fucking fuck, we will all greatly suffer it.

And that has value.

Yes, yes it does.

So - I'm off to join the goblin horde, to turn my love another angle.

I give the Morrigu mother her due, and await the beautiful, horrible, lovely reckoning.


Emily H is a goddess.

Talk about the transubstantiation of real tragedy into actual self-mastery.

Awe. Just awe.

* - not really, but he fancied himself a legal expert. He owns a bar, now, or some such. A "libertarian" of the Kim Stanley Robinson characterization.


Frederick said...


C-Nihilist said...


Anonymous said...


like Gaiman's Hinzelmann?

goblin-faced kid-killers?


Jack Crow said...

Don't know enough Gaiman to get the reference.

Was thinking the original Bavarian-Black Forest variety, and their cognates throughout pre-Jesusian Europe.

Anonymous said...

Same thing, really. Just finished Gaiman's "American Gods" last week. There's a character in there named Hinzelmann who is a kobold of Germanic legend, in human form. The plot premise is about ancient gods of legend and myth, versus modern gods of technology. Pretty decent read, and the only Gaiman I've read. It was passed on to me by an old college friend with whom I trade books periodically. I'd only heard and read Gaiman's name and reputation in brief passing before this. Can't say I buy into the "genius" hype I've read about him, not based on American Gods anyway, but it was a good read.

Jack Crow said...

Kobolds are mischievous bastards, in most myths. I was aiming for that.

Goblins, not so much. They horde up and do very bad things to the very pretty people.

Then again, now I'm stretching the imagery beyond its original purpose.

S'all good.

Anonymous said...

Toward the end of the book, when Gaiman reveals through his protagonist named "Shadow" that Hinzelmann is a kobold, Shadow describes Hinzelmann as a goblin-faced old man. In the story, Hinzelmann has created a small idyllic town in the northern woods of Michigan (or Wisconsin, I forget which) and the town annually has a lottery for the "sink date" of an old jalopy that is driven out onto the iced-over lake on which the town is built.

After Shadow realizes Hinzelmann is a kobold, he travels to the town to investigate the jalopy in this year's lottery. The day he arrives, it's almost time for the jalopy to break through and sink. Shadow is trying to open the trunk when the ice gives way. As the car is sinking he gets the trunk open and sees the corpse of a 12-year-old girl who was reported missing the prior Fall. Shadow realizes that all the jalopies at the bottom of the lake have a similar child corpse in them. Hinzelmann the kobold has been sacrificing a child every year since he arrived and created the town, to keep the town idyllic.

fwoan said...

I really enjoyed American Gods, but not enough to read the sequel or any other works by the author.

Solar Hero said...

Kobolds were the best first level villains in Dungeons & Dragons.

Then I kind-of got into them, understood their culture more, how they were misunderstood by humans, and now I have a 7th level Kobold Mage that kicks ass.

Jack Crow said...

I don't know if my kobold reference was a total fail or The Compleat Win, now.

I just wanted to pick a monstrum to make a point about doing things from the outside...

RedPhillip said...

The menu of monsters is infinite. Most any will do when the charge is to go out among the horror and lay waste to the wasted and broken aborted world we find there.

I imagine myself troll-like and flailing about in my rage - chewing off my hands in despair. Only to vomit the pieces and have more of me arise to repeat the futility some more. An army of my hopeless self, belching fire and shitting acid on a world forever irreparable. I despise myself for caring so much that so much beauty, so much life, is destroyed by such venal stupidity and greed.

Jack Crow said...


Little of this, little of that. Can you embrace a monstrum* in defense of beauty?

I think so.


I wanted to calculate my own despair, to purse it until I came to the logical conclusion of a mathematical nihilism.

I want to dispense with hope and faith in human decency, and see if I can still retain my integrity, see if I can still exist (that is, stand out) within and for a commonweal.

I think so.

But, I'm done with this passiveness which infects our ilk, this pretense to pacifism and do-gooder respect for the crushing machine parts who rule us.

Sometimes, it makes sense to abandon the terms of engagement set by your opponent, y'know?



* - "a thing that evokes fear and wonder" ~ Wiki

RedPhillip said...

Sometimes, it makes sense to abandon the terms of engagement set by your opponent, y'know?

I do. To accept the terms of engagement desired by the enemy is to strategically surrender to one's own weakness against it. Thus the wisdom of the guerrilla option. Giap's People's War, People's Army is a good read in this regard, and many other sources.

Being of a depressive bent, I have to struggle mightily against giving up. Crucial to not giving up on myself and the future in general is a wholehearted rejection of the pacifist, meliorist nostrums of liberalism.

Anything that impedes the functioning of the death state and/or hastens the collapse of empire is a good thing. Including embracing - even becoming - a monstrum.