Bigsley the Oaf

Space & Order

Posted in Uncategorized by bigsleytheoaf on November 27, 2012

In VALIS, Phillip K. Dick says:

The phenomenal world does not exist; it is a hypostasis of the information processed by the Mind.

Later:

We hypostasize information into objects. Rearrangement of objects is change in the content of the information; the message has changed. This is a language which we have lost the ability to read. We ourselves are a part of this language; changes in us are changes in the content of the information. We ourselves are information-rich; information enters us, is processed and is then projected outward once more, now in an altered form. We are not aware that we are doing this, that in fact this is all we are doing.

One of the central ideas of the book is that time stopped around 70 C.E. and was, for centuries, transformed into space.

The transformation of time into space.

Is this not precisely what Capitalism accomplishes? Is this not, in a sense, the best definition of Capitalism and, more deeply, materialism? Capitalism is a process which converts time into space.

Scarcity of material resources is a fact. If there is one berry bush then we must compete for its berries. If we are clever, we might hide the berry bush from our competitors – we might find a way to uproot it and transfer it to a new location. By expending time to accomplish this we have created space around the bush – space w/r/t competition.

Space with respect to competition.

The poorest in our society are those who are crammed together. They are unable to attain order because the interactions they must of necessity deal with are too dense. It is literally impossible to get clean living in East Oakland – there is trash everywhere – there are people everywhere – there are no doors – there is no space.

Gated communities are rich in space – they overflow with space. There is space to put all of your things – enough space to keep them well-ordered. Trash and refuse are removed – there is space to stay clean.

Space is a necessary condition of Order. We cannot arrange things if we have no space to do it in. To arrange a set of Things we must isolate those Things – we must create space around them to make them into a “set of Things.” If we are crammed in amongst other things then our Things get all mixed up and dirtied by those other things and we are thus burdened with additional information.

Space is created by exporting randomness/garbage/trash.

Consider Facebook & the internet – how we are all crammed together into this tiny virtual space. Who benefits? What space is opened by this gravity? Who grabs this space?

I believe that the rich of the future will be those who do not need to exist in online communities. I believe that as time continues we will be increasingly reliant on the computer and the internet as our interface to reality. The rich will be those who can live without needing to sit at their computers all day.

Get out!

Get out!

Get out!

Get space while you still can!

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Power & Wisdom

Posted in Uncategorized by bigsleytheoaf on November 26, 2012

The concept that former, individualistic conceptions of intelligence are useless or indulgent / that the only way to surface Intelligence Now is to reflect some Other Intelligence / that actually understanding conceptually is a waste / reflections and convolutions of this idea (namely, reflections and convolutions of all Ideas).

Just be & make & experience & live & breathe & create & you might be an articulation of the Universe’s intelligence. But if you think & plan & scheme you’ll end up dust & forgotten. That form of intelligence is dried up.

It is impossible to breathe.

Masculism Post #1 – Feeling Less (Part 2 – Think/Perform/Kill)

Posted in Uncategorized by bigsleytheoaf on November 21, 2012

This mini-essay will be slightly more conjectural and personal than the previous two.

A personal anecdote. Let’s try to reconstruct the manner of my own personal emotional disembowelment. A few early memories stick out, but the one that comes back to me repeatedly is of sitting next to my mother while she asks me simple math problems. I was very good at math, at a young age. I would answer each of her problems and she was so happy. She had a good little boy who could perform.

Men are trained to perform from a young age. One belief that I have about the underpinnings of the central gender binary of White America c. 1980-2012 is the differentiation into performance/dynamic value (male) and beauty/static value (female).

Boys play sports (performance test).
Girls play with dolls (representations of themselves).

Boys do math (perform transformations).
Girls read books/study humanities (study essence/beauty).

Stereotypically male behaviors mainly take the form of an action or transformation – men become. Men change. A man’s truth is experienced though his becoming – even the culmination of his sexual journey is a performance (maintain erection and implant).

Stereotypically female behaviors mainly take the form of a being. She is beautiful – she is talented. She produces or creates from her essence. A woman’s truth is experienced through her being – the culmination of her sexual journey is a production from barest materials.

Please understand that none of this is meant to essentialize men or women. I don’t believe that these properties are in any sense inherent. They might be. Who cares? The fact is that if you study those around you carefully you can see that this truth underlies their gender expression.

My reason for presenting these gross generalizations is to describe what I see as the orienting ideology for the transformative power of the Patriarchy.

If I had been female my mother would have treated me differently.

Let’s zoom in on the interaction I presented at the beginning of this post. My mother sat next to me, praising me when I succeeded. And I succeeded. I was becoming and she was leading me down the path of my becoming. But more than this, she was embedding a pleasurable role-based dynamic in my psyche. Namely, the desire to transform in order to please a dominant figure capable of giving pleasure. [1]

How does this relate to feeling less? I believe that pleasure and pain exist on a different plane of psycho-intellectual existence from the usual “emotions” such as anger, happiness, sadness, etc. Pleasure and pain are signals strewn along a path of performance/transformation. Emotions are storms that rage in a static resting. Without going too deeply into questions of “what is emotion” and “what are pleasure/pain” (because don’t get me started) I’m just going to state my beliefs plainly. I don’t think you can experience an emotion for very long if you are concentrating on action. [2] I believe that concentration on action on a long-enough timescale can diminish or entirely erase one’s ability to feel. Feeling is a static action. Here I am differentiating feeling from intuition. Let’s try to be very clear – we’re wading through an awfully murky semantic bog at the moment. Men are prepared to be unfeeling – but they are not merely stripped of their feeling. They are made to be unfeeling by being deprived of the ability to be/rest. They are presented with goals, achievements, performances to strive for.

Violence may as well be defined as an “inability to rest.”

Whereas the Patriarchy’s logic allows females the ability to exist statically (though deprives them of the tools to perform/transform) it deprives men of this ability. Men’s goals are defined in terms of greater potential to transform. E.g. take the highest male goal of modernity – the accrual of monetary and political power. These powers are essentially transformative. They have no essence or resting power. E.g. Modern Man does not wish to accumulate jewels – except insofar as they can be transformed into cash and then used to transform reality. Man is not prepared by society to desire a permanence – he is trained to desire greater and greater potentials for transformation. Even the archetype of the king is basically the ultimate transformer. The ultimate fantasy implanted in male children from a young age is ultimate power – but power to do what?

Let me return again to my premise – that what I am explaining here is the logic of the classical Patriarchy. I personally believe that sexual men (having penises) are capable of being. Let me arrive at my first central idea of Masculism:

In order for Men to overcome their violence they must be allowed to Be. The extent to which a man is deprived from birth of his ability to Be is proportional to the extent to which he will be Destructive and Violent.

The worst force is a man who is becoming but whose becoming has no rational direction. He desires to transform and become – however, existing as he does in a well-ordered society, his transformation and becoming can only take the form of violence and destruction oriented either outward or inward.

Lumberjack

Can we agree that “lumberjack” is an archetype that resides within classical Patriarchy’s concept of man? Imagine a lumberjack in the forest – cutting down trees – performing – performing to gather his sustenance. Imagine a lumberjack in the city – what does he have to cut down besides his fellow man? He has been trained to cut. He desires the swing of the blade, the cutting itself.

The lumberjack must be deprived of his axe and given a flower. How can we do this? Why is this so hard? Why does this idea disgust me on some visceral level? Why do I read shame into this transformation from axe-wielding skilled worker to consuming harmless being human.

Why do I hate the idea of a lumberjack merely being? Why must he cut? Why can’t he just chill the fuck out?

[1] This dynamic has continued to pervade my romantic expression. I seek women who are capable of affirming my value. I am a submissive. I desire a strong, beautiful, dominant woman who is capable of leading me and willing to take charge. However, I also desire that she is in some sense good – that she allows me to become her concept of goodness. This is not up for debate – it’s what I desire. I find it somewhat sad that it’s what I desire, but there it is.

[2] This leads to endless and painful conversations between “men” and “women” where either the “woman” has a problem and the “man” asks “what should we do?” (which frustrates the “woman” because she simply wants to experience and explore her emotion as static value) or the “man” has a problem and the “woman” asks “what are you feeling? (which frustrates the man, who simply wants to “fix” the problem).

The use of quotes in the preceding paragraph is intentional and means to eschew sexual terms and instead use gendered terms. The “woman” might be male and the “man” might be female in the above. Again, I’m extrapolating my ideas of the ideology of classical Patriarchy – I don’t believe that there’s anything essential to these interactions, except perhaps insofar as they represent complimentary and extreme approaches to the question of “what is being?”

Masculism Post #1 – Feeling Less (Part 1)

Posted in Uncategorized by bigsleytheoaf on November 20, 2012

“Don’t cry, son.”
“Get up.”
“Wipe yourself off.”
“Be tough.”
“Don’t cry, son.”
“Toughen up.”
“Walk it off.”
“Be a man.”
“Don’t be a pussy.”
“Don’t be a wuss.”
“Man up.”

You know what this feels like. This is a father’s hand on your shoulder. “I am like you, son.” They are not mere dicta – they are assertions. “Yes, son, you feel it. You feel it, but it’s OK. Your pain is not as important as what you are.”

Bell Hooks says that men kill off the emotional parts of themselves. Well, OK – but why? Is this  ritualized auto-castration a relic? Is it an artifact of a more difficult time when men needed to make themselves into violent slaves? Without going too far down the rabbit hole of post-post-post-….-post-modernity, is there any “exterior” to society anymore? Is any sort of ritualistic preparation necessary or sane? (What the fuck are we doing?) [1]

If you don’t cut off your emotional bits you can look forward to being ridiculed and basically feeling crazy 100% of the time. I know. I didn’t cut them off. I don’t know how mine survived. I don’t know why I didn’t turn to sports, or drugs, or sex. Maybe it’s because the subcultures associated with these distractions rejected me? Perhaps I was in some weird sense prevented from emotionally numbing myself. [2]

There are various ways that men are stuck in a massive and really painful bind. For example, our emotional hardness hardens the world against us such that we must become even more emotionally hard in order to interact with it. We are violent and the world defensive – so we must bolster our violence. Take pickup-“artistry” for instance. Now that these assholes have created a systematic and idiotic approach to romantic interaction the onus is on the rest of us to act in the context of the defenses it created. I’ve actually considered studying this shit because, at the end of the day, I’m lonely and I want physical touch. [3]

So, part of the reason that they have you cut off your emotional bits is that, if you don’t, you’re at a severe material disadvantage. It will be harder for you to “date” (read: rape/coerce). It will be harder for you to “make money” (read: suckle the teat of an oppressive capitalist hegemony without feeling bad about it). It will be harder for you to “connect with other men” (read: watch sports & talk about how you are going to oppress various people). I have seriously been in many social situations where I wished I was “harder” in this really stupid and superficial sense because I just wanted to talk to that woman, and she certainly wasn’t talking to me.

I suppose I’m a middle-path sorta guy, cuz I don’t think that stoicism is all bad, and I think there are certain implementations of it that are really lovely and valuable and life-affirming. E.g. the ability to do something very hard and painful because it is necessary. Walk those 50 miles in the snow uphill without whining because your family needs food. Kill that animal because it is attacking you. [4] Take my job for instance. I know a lot of people who would mentally collapse doing my job. It is painful & boring & taxing in ways that most of you literally can’t imagine. Can you think hard about numbers very precisely for 8 hours a day? [5] And my job isn’t even hard on a global scale. I’m not a fucking coal miner. Do you think anyone could be a coal miner without being emotionally crippled first? How could they?

I’m not coming to any conclusions, here. I’m merely painting a picture and pointing out some salient points about how society treats its men w/r/t their emotions. It seems too complicated to tackle all at once, so I’ll probably write more about this tomorrow.

[1] What I’m sort of circling around here is some sort of stoic dream of male power where males prepared younger males to be warriors and to do all the difficult shit of dealing with the horrible pain of the exterior of reality – be it battle, hard labor, hunting, etc.

I pretty much always hate it when people talk about how things “used to be” in order to explain how things are. How the fuck do they know? Maybe the past wasn’t really very violent at all. Maybe men prepared themselves to be stoic so that they could oppress their women & children without feeling bad about it. Like, maybe wars were symbolic for the most part. Shaking swords & shitting pants sorta thing. Who the fuck knows?

[2] I like to smoke & do coke because these make me pretty emotionally numb. I just become a mind, functioning – I don’t have all these complex feelings and interests, subtle pangs.

[3] There are times that being a man feels like being at the bottom of a well. You can scream and bang on the walls, but at the end of the day you are what you are – you’re a man – and there is violence in you – and people fear you – and no you cannot just get off this ride.

[4] Though even these feel like they might be hallucinations of the self-reinforcing male violence machine.

[5] We often don’t talk about ways that “cushy” jobs like software developer are really dangerous in various psychological and emotional senses. What are the “dangerous” jobs nowadays? Surely “product manager” is not one.

Well, but so remember how I said I’m not emotionally castrated – this is part of the reason that my job is driving me fucking nuts but when I think about going into something easier I think “I’m not a pussy” and that people won’t respect me if I do something floppy & amorphous like being an artists or writer or whatever.

Towards a New Masculism

Posted in Uncategorized by bigsleytheoaf on November 19, 2012

“The first act of violence that patriarchy demands of males is not violence toward women. Instead patriarchy demands of all males that they engage in acts of psychic self-mutilation, that they kill off the emotional parts of themselves. If an individual is not successful in emotionally crippling himself he can count on patriarchal men to enact rituals of power that will assault his self-esteem.” – Bell Hooks

It is time for men to take a stand. We must become complete creatures, again. We must take back our emotions – we must take back our softness, our prettiness – we must arrest our completeness from the hands of masters who desire to enslave us.

First, a word about Feminism. I have previously defined Feminism as “a discourse by women about women.” By this definition, I have no place in Feminism. I have no more right to tell a woman how to be a woman than I have to tell you how to be you. We must commune in our interiors, and the female interior is not one to which I belong. I do not give Women the right to Feminism, for it is not mine to give. I do not relinquish control over this discourse, because any idea that I ever had such control was an illusion. I stand by, acknowledging a space in which I simply do not belong. I stand in solidarity and support of my Sisters and their struggle to free themselves from the forces which would diminish or drown out their inner fires.

As a natural extension, Masculism must be a discourse on the subject of Men, involving only Men. Our Sisters may support and encourage us, but we are to decide who we are. We have access to knowledge of ourselves which only we can ever know. Just as the redness of the apple belongs only to me – and thus only my internal and personal world can be involved in discussing it – so does the interior of manhood belong only to Men. That which is real, shameful, and joyous about manhood can be only flat, conceptual, and abstract to non-Men.

What are some of the subjects of Masculism? To the extent that it is a practical discourse, I believe these are the main topics that men must discuss at this time:

Their relationship to violence against themselves and others:

  • Sexual violence by men towards women and other men.
  • Power structures that steal and enslave men in our society – e.g. the draft and the effective draft stemming from economic disempowerment.
  • Patterns of abuse by men towards women, men, and themselves. This includes alcohol and substance abuse.

Their relationship to various levels of consciousness (intellectual, emotional, physical, spiritual, etc.)

  • How can we prevent our male children from becoming emotionally and spiritually disempowered/dead? What roles enable men to live complete lives? How does global capitalism render men into production machines?
  • What is the influence of various modes of disempowerment on male violence?

Power / History

  • How does Male Privilege manifest itself in power structures? What is the cost of this privilege to others and ourselves?
  • How can the Male Gaze be removed from the media? To what extent can the media exist without representing such a gaze uniquely?
  • How are Men manipulated from an early age to desire/strive for power?

I believe in Men. I believe that men are strong, vibrant, beautiful, and good. I also believe that Men have stood by too long and allowed their Brothers to enact violence towards themselves and others. I believe that such violence is bad for everyone. No one benefits from rape – no one – the rapist is no benefactor.

To achieve any sort of spiritual balance, we must strive for a world without murder, rape, and theft. We seek a world without fear. The law is not any sort of answer. We must step up – each of us – and begin doing the right thing.

To give you an idea of why Masculist discourse must involve males exclusively, I begin with a personal anecdote. 

I have viscerally felt the desire to rape. I have been in situations where I was horny, I was with a woman, and I could have raped her, probably without getting caught. In such situations I became aware of the potential to rape. Such awareness did not present itself as an abstract possibility to be speculatively considered; the desire was strong and unexpected. It was not a calculated, rational thing. It was an irrational movement – a thrust. To escape it I had to actively resist. I had to exert willpower to escape its call. I left the room. I didn’t rape.

This is no defense of rape. This is a personal account of the feeling of the drive to rape. How does this account make you feel? Does it make you uncomfortable? Do you think I am any sort of bad person?

I believe that any discourse which involves concepts of “good person” and “bad person” is ultimately alienating and anti-human/anti-man. There are no bad people or good people. We do not prevent our brothers from raping because they are bad men. We do not punish them for their offenses because they are evil. We do these things because we desire a world without fear. We do these things because we believe in a standard of action that does not include the use of force.

(Men must exclusively participate in a new Masculism because we must find a balance between judgment and effectiveness – and such a balance is unlikely if it is to involve the victims of male crimes. Of course there should and must be discussion of rape which includes men and women – such a discussion must also include acknowledgement of the judgment of rapists by women. However, it hurts no one to have a space in which rapists are treated as human despite their crimes. This is a fine line and I am wary of treading it. Rape is completely unacceptable. However, the rapist is still a man – he was still born – he had a mother and a father. There must be a discourse in which the rapist is still treated as a human being with dignity. I feel so worried about writing these words. Can I not feel rage at a man and also compassion toward him? Why is such compassion a crime? It is compassion oriented towards preventing him from raping again – oriented towards preventing him from raping in the first place. It is compassion directed towards the feelings that caused him to rape and the self-hatred he might bear because of these feelings. ANYWAY, do you see how nervous I am writing all of this? This fear of female judgment is part of the reason that I believe Masculism must include only male voices.)

We desire to connect – to live with rather than above – we wish to be accepted as human and to accept as human, to see the naked humanity of our brothers and sisters. Such vision is impossible within the confines of a powerful Patriarchy.

We must relinquish our control. We must admit the power structures that we have control over. We must be only us – naked, human, honest, open.

Though we fear we may not be forgiven, we must have faith that there will be love for us. We must face our own fears and overcome them – for our Brothers and Sisters.

I hope to write a series of posts on what it is like to be a man and the personal challenges I face in attempting to overcome the damage that the Patriarchy has caused me – successes that I have had to this extent – and my vision of a way that I might fit into the world without holding power over those around me. Wish me luck.

“You’re a human being
You’re a human being
You’re a human being
You’ve got a right to scream when they don’t want you to speak
You’ve got a right to be what you want and where you want to be
You’ve got a right to breathe
To breathe
You’ve got a right
You’re a human being
You’ve got your own voice so sing
You’ve got two hands, let’s go and make anything
We all got rules we all have to break
We all have to make those mistakes

– Human Being by Cat Power

Posted in Uncategorized by bigsleytheoaf on November 18, 2012

That if we do not give with love then we give nothing
That we must give love, always
always, always.

I never knew.

why didn’t anyone tell me?
why didn’t anyone tell me?
why didn’t anyone tell me?

zyzyzy

Posted in Uncategorized by bigsleytheoaf on November 18, 2012

What lies between pain and pleasure, but a desert?
Is this not clear?
Juxtapose yourself on this waterless stretch:

Forget rhythms and cycles.
Forget order.
Forget your limp Object.

You are not any sort of emptiness.

Sunchild

Posted in Uncategorized by bigsleytheoaf on November 11, 2012

While you were staring at the sun
I stroked your shoulder tenderly

I was lonely out on the sun’s island / just last year (please remember what a year is)
Last summer,

[bright mosquito sting dissolving into my tender skin –
(Though every other sharpness was deadly, surely)]

Alone with the expected, obvious even, though nevertheless oft forgotten effects of living alone on an island (the ones Tom Hanks wouldn’t let you know about) –
Hallucinated women
Crusty asshole
Open sores
Vitamin deficiency
Festering cuts

But the Moon drifted over and snatched me up
and
We rode her boat down to this
Calm city surrounded by water
/ the surging tides of
Your heart

A Working City

Posted in Uncategorized by bigsleytheoaf on November 3, 2012

(Inspired by “From Communism to Capitalism, from Production to Consumption” – by Anastasiya Ryabchuk and Natalia Onyshchenko in Radical History Review, Fall 2012 – “Why are workers a marginal group?”)

The people of the City wanted to leave the City, but they could not afford the higher prices in other, richer cities

The people of the City worked hard towards the dream of one day leaving the City

The people of the City were fed by the people of the Farm, who could not move to the city due to the high prices

The people of the City converted the food and the dream to create the Work of the city.

The people of the City reproduced in sufficient numbers such that, despite the death rate, the perpetual and ongoing exodus from the city, and retirement, there remained a margin of excess human resource, allowing for growth and development. The city was naturally increasing its capacity for Work.

Contemporary ideas were not of use to the people of the City. However, they were integral to the dream of leaving the city. Thus, they were filtered through the Media Network to produce such a dream.

One day, a Man left the City for the nearby Big City, where he began to contribute to its Work, hoping to one day move to the countryside with his Family and start a Farm.

What does it mean to be marginal?