Saturday, 13 January 2018

Enemy



Never trust the camera

Are you watching closely?

Enemy (2013) proves that no guy feels emasculated by women. He thinks men, in general, are emasculated by women, but not himself. It proves, once again, that improving your life requires occupying the overlap of chaos and order - in a garden.

But like every garden, there's a snake at the end.

I

Not knowing who I am, not knowing what I'm supposed to do next and what I'm not supposed to bother doing next makes us long for characters who know precisely what to do next even if it is the wrong thing. They may be flawed, but they are definite. They exist. Enemy is full of these people. But they are the opposite of role models. Stop looking at them.

The story is simple - and you should watch it. Broadly, Jake Gyllenhaal is a boring professor who discovers by chance another man who looks exactly like him in a b-rate movie. Surprised, he tries to make contact with him(self). They eventually meet up and stuff happens. But the movie isn't about Jake.

Most reviews say (spoiler alert) there is only one Jake. The duplication is a projection of his own subconscious as he tries to cope - Breaking Bad-style - with a life of routine, marriage and a not-yet baby. But that's not the right analysis. The most important characters are Jake's wife (Helen) and girlfriend (Mary) - based on Jake's two projections of himself as actor and professor.

The Enemy is the subconscious, but it's not Jake's.

Try to keep up.

II

Erich Neumann and Carl Jung said there are two basic "hero stories" directing human lives: the masculine and the feminine.

In the masculine hero story, the man engages in an adventure to overcome a dragon to protect the village and recover the gold. The dragon is a symbol of the chaotic and the gold a symbol of civilisation. Although you can see it in most films, the masculine hero story plays out most vividly in St George and the Dragon.

In the feminine hero story, the woman recognises the need to civilise the masculine entity for the purpose of procreation. The feminine is the archetypal symbol of society, so if the male sticks around only to conquer a female for sex, then society and her offspring cannot be protected. The feminine hero story plays out best in Beauty and the Beast (or 50 Shades of Grey).

So, how are these two basic archetypes displayed? Each time Helen (wife) is onscreen, she expresses fear and sadness, but she doesn't know why she's anxious. Just like 99% of hot girls, she has no idea she is running a 1,000,000-year-old operating system tucked well outside her control. Yet she fully recognises the destructive effect she is having on her husband.

No one seems to notice this tension. And yes, I know exactly why no one noticed it.

III

Most people seem to think the conflict in the story is "actor" Jake secretly engaging in fetish sex parties with a creepy spider theme (more on that later). I'll admit, there's something powerful about him. But what really got my attention is "professor" Jake's interactions with his mother. Knowing that they're the same person, it felt too real. Like it wasn't a real part of the film:
"The last thing you need is to be meeting strange men in hotel rooms. You have enough trouble sticking with one woman, don't you?"
Gee, thanks, every mum ever. Pay attention to that line. Every man has heard some version of that hate speech. It doesn't matter who is saying it, what matters is what's being said.

When the two Jakes finally talk to each other on the phone, the camera positions itself in "actor" Jake's apartment. That's a clue to who's subconscious this story belongs to. When the camera settles, Helen asks:
"Who was on the phone? Are you seeing her? Are you seeing her again?"
If that question can be asked at Level 10 with yelling and screaming and pots and pans flying, then I'd say it was asked at about Level 3 - maybe four. I watched her jaw twitch. This is not a story about Jake. No way. Her jaw movement makes just enough noise to become no threat. Just enough for catharsis, but never enough for change. A protest that perpetuates the status quo.

Then the camera shows Helen as pregnant, revealing her question is a female fear of being left alone. Her wellbeing is the primary concern. The narrative is the feminine hero story. And as her story unfolds, both Jake and the baby are seen - by her - as supporting cast. Only a taught narcissistic psychology would see her as heroic when right in front of you and your eyeballs you can observe she is the least heroic of all. But not even the camera will save you.

Helen is a typical girl. Her target is not Jake, but his masculinity. A woman's basic measurement of success is procreation - sex is seen as feminine by the female. Men don't care about their body. Thier sexual actions are frivolous, and women hate it. There are billions of sperm in each shot, so it doesn't matter where they land. But a woman has a fixed amount of eggs and it's not in her nature to be frivolous.

Mum and wife are the same enemies to Jake. Their comments are manipulations to destroy his basic male nature. They are a clash of two hero stories in a zero-sum game. Thier manipulation aims to kill Jake's natural masculinity into a civilised man because they have the power. Every muscle twitch is part of a constant attack, slicing away pieces of Jake. The attack is constant, unrelenting and patient.

Like a spider.

IV

I count four appearances of spiders in the film: first in the sex club where the arachnid is squashed by a prostitute's heel, then as a mask, then as a giant spider above Toronto city, and finally in Jake's bedroom. All are important.

Understand that the spider is the archetypal symbol of the feminine. The masculine transforms into a worker bee drawn to a flower while the feminine is depicted as a spider weaving a web invisible to the bee until it's too late. When a relationship is in harmony, the bee won't notice it is stuck in the web. It will lose interest in all honey except from one flower, and the spider will make the web visible to all other bees.

What's wrong about this picture?


You're being permitted to debate the consequences because
you've unknowingly accepted the form of the argument

That enormous spider above Toronto is a signifier of not just Jake's mother, but the Great Mother of civilisation. I don't see a hive anywhere, and I feel sick.

All the men below its eight skyscraper-high legs are inferior. She is not crouching poised or devouring the city. The spider is simply waiting, standing. As if governing the city. Her web is the patchwork of roads and highways, apartment buildings and traffic. Who doesn't feel trapped when driving in traffic? Cars are a symbol of human freedom. And yet, the camera shows them lined up, bumper to bumper flowing in an orderly direction. Any driver can leave the road to grasp the freedom of his hero story at any time. But all I is see silence. as if the cars are caught by some invisible web.

The spider is the performance of the feminine hero story by the institutions of the state. Schooling, work, jobs, police, rules, social cues, handshakes, bowing, "good morning, sir." The social contract both completes the female's hero story, but also robs her of the chance to perform it herself. The so-called "bad boys" of today are nowhere near as barbaric as men of previous centuries. Her frustration is naïveté, and it will destroy her in the end.

But the spider's monstrous form symbolises a sickness. The society over which the Great Mother predominates is fundamentally disharmonious. The state as an extension of the feminine hero cancels the masculine story, an imbalance of nature, an illness. The spider represents a feminine assumption of violence: one man may be afraid of another man, but he is more deeply afraid of the existence of a fight. He feels on some level that fighting is wrong, and he could only have learned that from somewhere. It is not natural to a man to think like this. He was taught it.

To get men to be more afraid of fighting, even in self-defence, than the physical pain of an assault takes many years of social contract training. What's most interesting about being taught violence is wrong is that of all the lessons we were taught - no means no, all men are created equal, look left before crossing a road, etc - the violence lesson actually stuck, it becomes part of the male identity. Most men are less afraid of the consequences of violence (pain) than of the violence itself. Fighting itself is bad. Men aren't afraid of getting hurt, they are afraid of there being a fight.

This is a virus. A pathology. The sickness is not that the feminine hero story is victorious, but that the battle for society was zero-sum, rather than a balance. Men aren't being honest in this battle, we aren't acting righteously. The feminine hero story demands that Helen break Jake down, but she's not doing it because she's an asshole - it's just her nature. The reason Jake is unhappy is that he's lying to himself from the beginning about what will make him happy, about what he actually wants from the relationship. And she can smell it on him. It reeks.

V

What about Mary, the second girlfriend?

Helen and the mother despise Mary because she embodies the feminine archetype of the vessel. From the masculine perspective, the woman is an object to be acted upon and conquered. To be filled.

So in the feminine hero story of Helen, Mary as a symbol of masculine sexual freedom has to die alongside Jake's nature. Mary represents the unnatural - the one who exists only in Jake's hero story. Jake's relationship with Mary is an archetype of victory of his hero story, in direct conflict with Helen's. So Mary has to go.

It doesn't matter to Helen that Mary chooses to be the sexual object. Helen only cares that Mary is a rival sexual partner for whom Jake might choose over her and the baby. This is unacceptable. Helen's narcissism must win. She must be secure. Everyone else is supporting cast.

I see the ring
Helen's subconscious sees Mary as distant and unacknowledged by Jake, as a piece of sex furniture in his sparse second apartment. This is what the actual author of the movie - Helen - wants to be true. This is the way women think men think. Helen looks at Jake sleeping around and assumes his life needs "saving." Women can't comprehend why men see casual sex as meaningful. Helen cannot see how the masculine hero story is just as important for him as the feminine hero story is to her. Her narcissistic competition makes her hate Jake's natural being and wish it gone.

She assumes her nature is correct and the masculine requires change. Helen is sick, ill with the female disease of arrogantly disengaging with anything that threatens her feminine hero story. What a man does is bad, yet everything she does is sweet and lovely.

She is being lied to, by herself.

VI

As she attacks Jake's masculinity, Helen expresses the whisper of existential guilt. Helen knows her actions are wrong, but is unable to process the guilt, displaying shame instead.

Helen's hair is tied in a bun until the final shower scene - a symbol of mourning. Her clothes are mute throughout the film, but the camera remembers to show her red high-heels stored in the wardrobe. She is mourning because her hero story is finishing, killing a side of the man she loves. The death is slow, heart-rending, and seen as necessary by her. But still she feels guilty.

Guilt is the recognition of rules outside and above the individual. These rules exist independently and are discovered, not formed. In a world where such rules are gone, the narcissist manifests guilt as shame - an attack on who she wants to be seen as. She's a good person. How do I know? She told us. Women secretly suspect that how people see them is the true measure of their worth. Breaking pieces of Jake without changing herself is an existential sin. But since there is no god, a quick swim in the pool will cleanse her guilt:
"You should have called. I stayed longer at the pool because...'cause I thought you weren't gonna be home."
But her guilt remains because a man's natural state shouldn't be killed, but tamed. He wants sex without giving up time, but she wants time without giving up sex. It's not about winning, it's about finding harmony. Her victory is an existential failure of the relationship and for society.

A female enters this life pre-loaded with meaning and purpose. Her ability to bear a child means she never needs to be caught in the dread of an existential vacuum. That tragedy is strictly male.

He cannot have children, only father them. His hero story - that which gives him purpose - is the act of conquering. To him, the Enemy is the feminine hero story itself, the female is the monster to be overcome - a dragon or spider. Conquering her is not just sex, but an act of deep meaning. And yet he is told by society these desires are wrong and twisted. Wanting to have sex with many women is "disgusting."

The men scream: I am Jake's splintered soul.

VII

You know why you're unhappy, ladies?

Purpose trickles down from general to colonel to major to private. You don't actually want to be the general. When women are leading, they're miserable because that's not their hero story. A woman's happiness is based on a moment to moment existence. She wants the man to take her to the movies, dinner and then sailing. She's only happy in moments.

Women want to fill their emptiness with meaningful actions, relationships, knowledge and spiritual growth. Men just want the next adventure, even if that adventure is a video game. He may not even remember the adventure, or appreciate the sex - he just acts, competes, overcomes, discovers, cultivates.

This look is a trap, fellas. Study it
Men fill their voids on a superficial level. But that emptiness Helen feels means she doesn't realise that letting a man retain his masculine story - to chase women and do bullshit activities - is a specific kind of happiness that she requires so she can understand what joy is. Helen anxiety stems from not knowing what comes after emasculating Jake. Turning Jake into a female with a penis is the last thing she needs. But Helen is a slave to her hero story.

The social contract dictates that Jake should at least attempt to stay with Helen. But on an innate, natural level, men want different vagina. Women don't need to be mad about this. They just need to offer men something other than their vagina that will make him want to be with her for the rest of her life.

Helen knows her only currency is her body, so she resorts to manipulation, refusing to transcend her vagina. Women are only taught how to force a guy to be with them, taking his teeth and making him say "alright, I guess this is what I'm supposed to do." Their only move is to stop him pursuing his happiness.

Jake fails to lead her on his adventure. I know threesomes sound like a bad idea to most girls. But if Jake is honest about his nature not to want to be with the same girl for his entire life, a healthy relationship can be located and pursued. His infidelity with Mary is a signal that he is being lied to, by himself.

His colour is yellow.

VII

Yellow. Yellow. Yellow.

In killing the masculine side of Jake, turning him into the meek professor with hunched shoulders, Helen is breaking society. Outside the walls is chaos - chaos is order yet undeciphered. Women see chaos as the natural state of men. But the Great Mother spider knows civilised men are rare.

Yellow is the film's colour palette. It is the colour of enlightenment and joy, which civilisation is welcome to feel after the victory of the feminine hero story. But yellow is also the colour of cowardice and deceit.

A male denied his natural state becomes a drone, a tool, a slave. Civilisation allows him to live and build, but it also robs him of his masculine hero story, channelled instead into being a CEO, athlete or rock star. Conquering a manufactured hierarchy. A constant tension. The civilised man may still use his physical power to escape the social contract, but the feminine hero story transforms him into a shell, a vacant lot, a coward. Yellow is his colour.

Yellow is also her refusal to harmonise the two hero stories. She deceives herself that while it's OK to kill the masculine, her femininity must be untouched. Her power over sex insulates her from cooperation. The power corrupts her thinking, and she burns that she should be cultivating.

And still, she will complain "there are no real men anymore."

I wonder why that is?

Women shouldn't want men to tolerate them. Helen should be thirsting to know why she makes Jake sick and why he hates having to deal with her horseshit all day long.

VIII

A woman is a tuna and a man a shark.

All the sharks in the ocean have had their teeth pulled out, and then dropped back in the ocean. Now, the tuna are swimming around saying, "we run the ocean, right tuna?" And all the other tuna respond: "yeah, we run the ocean." The sharks are swimming around mumbling about having no teeth. But tuna aren't dentists: men are pulling their own teeth out.

Now the tuna swim around saying, "this ocean stinks, where are all the good sharks?" Tuna aren't supposed to run the ocean. Tuna are supposed to be running from sharks. This is the root of Helen's anxiety. The victory of her hero story is the creation of an impossible utopia ruled by a gigantic spider without a beehive in sight. Helen knows Jake's masculinity will win if he uses his physical strength. If he escapes the web, she doesn't have an option 2.

A happy man is a happy relationship. A happy woman is a miserable man. She wants Jake to be the man. It's a mind thing. All a woman wants is a guy she can look at and blink slow and respect. It's not about beating and subjugating women. It's about building yourself up so a woman can look at you and not feel like she needs to be your mother. That's it. She needs to think her man can support her, can handle his business and achieve his masculinity. The first step is balancing her hero story with yours.

In the final scene, Jake sees Helen for what she really is - a giant, five-metre-tall spider. But it is too late. Her hero story has reached its pinnacle. She has won. The spider captures the bee. He kills the last piece of his masculinity by rejecting the temptation of the key. The female hero story is won by the suicide of the prey. It is an empty power.

The movie ends, but I can tell you what happens next.

I know for a fact that Helen will divorce Jake. It is a marriage divided. She thinks she wants to destroy Jake's nature. But doesn't realise that at that moment, whatever originally attracted her to him, will be gone, replaced with a yellow, arid hue.

And however long it took for her to fulfil her to kill Jake's masculine side is exactly how long she will stay with him to enjoy her victory. And she will tell herself it wasn't her fault it ended, that she did everything she could to make it work. Jake will nod in servile agreement. Disharmony will turn both of them to dust, as it always must.

Yellow will be their colour.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Can a calendar conquer the globe?

Let me ask a question:

Can a calendar conquer the globe?

The Romans chose January 1 as the marker of a New Year for political purposes to attach Rome's founder - Romulus - to the formulation of the state. Legend has it that he gave created a 10-month calendar and put New Year's Day on the first of Martius, the month of the war god Mars. When Rome turned Christian in the fourth century, January 1 happened to be the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ as well, so not much needed changing.

Since then, Russia and its Orthodox Church used the date in 1700, and Serbia, then still a part of the Muslim Turkish empire, followed in 1804. The Ottomans also moved the Islamic New Year's Day for to January 1 in 1840 (although they carried on counting years from the Prophet Mohammed's flight from Mecca to Medina in AD 622 until 1927). Japan adopted both January 1 and anno Domini in 1873. Egypt followed in 1875. Thailand in 1889. Korea in 1896, etc, etc. China tried a few times as well, and today registers January 1 as a nominal New Years Day, but really only uses it for shopping.

More then two-thirds of the planet sees January 1 as the beginning of the New Year. Now that's power!

It's not suspicion that gets me, just face-in-palm frustration, when a group of Americans can sit in a room full of Chinese businessmen and whisper to each other about how dangerous China is becoming. Dude! They were all wearing suits! How can a country challenge the status quo power without even challenging its sartorial standards?

Similarly, how can we take ISIS' plans for global domination seriously when, given multiple chances, they refuse to cut themselves off from the internet? The Caliphate loves Facebook and Twitter. But no force in the history of mankind ever uprooted a status quo power by letting that power mediate its messages of revolution.

Neither the calendar, suits nor Facebook is conquering the globe. Those are objects. The correct question is: what are these objects attached to? Use your eyes, not your brain.

I guess it's the dishonesty that bothers me. The refusal to describe what's in front of one's eyes is a peculiarly American problem. And by "American," do yourself a favour and replace that word with "Yankee" or "progressive." They're the same thing anyway. Without a solid background of tradition, the Yankee is transfixed by symbols and semiotics due to his Puritan history. That's useful for avoiding any real introspection about necessary actions. It's always easier to pretend you're not to blame for your actions.

The deflection is useful for maintaining cognitive dissonance. On the one hand, the Yankee owns a global empire based on his rules and values. To him, there are two types of countries in the world today: American-style democracies and soon-to-be American-style democracies. At the same time, the Yankee prefers to say it was the Roman calendar that conquered the world, not the US Army. Apparently you can have your cake and eat it too.

This makes sense on the strategic level, I suppose. After all, if you were thinking about ways to conquer the globe, wouldn't you pretend that your version of government and society is actually "universal" and people just need to be nudged in the "right" direction? Wouldn't you be able to justify all manner of destructive actions and beliefs if you thought the world needed "progressing" to your ideals? Harvard's and Stanford's ideas always become global frameworks for ethics and social systems. But that has nothing to do with empire! Silly boy. It's just a bunch of well-meaning smart people striving to uncover why genocide is always bad and should be stopped!

What do you want to be true? If you say genocide shouldn't happen, I'm with you. And it would be great if people would just stop killing each other. But if you say the "international community" should act to stop genocide, then the Yankee risks proving once and for all that nation-states are not sovereign after all. Washington says all the time each nation-state has the right to conduct its own affairs as it sees fit. Yet it castigates, invades and sanctions any country that doesn't comport to Yankee/progressive standards of good government (democracy is a euphemism for "Yankee values").

Genocide is a tough nut to crack, I understand. But the question is not: do nation-states have the sovereign right to decide their own affairs? The answer to that is no, duh. The question is: why does the Yankee have the authority to draw the geopolitical lines? If genocide should be stopped, you are saying there are no independent states. Fine. But then why are we hearing this nonsense about calendars taking over the globe?

Does it ever occur to a progressive that a reason genocide happens is that sovereign nation-states are being unhelpfully intervened with? If nation-states were left alone to choose how they wanted to govern based on their own historical baggage and comprehension, a good chunk of the ethnic tensions would disappear. But no, instead we get articles about how the Yankee ideals are actually "universal human rights" and anyone deviating from this ideal deserves a JDAM up the ass.

At no point does anyone seem to be suspicious about why those universal rights line up perfectly with the desires of Woodrow Wilson and the Puritans.

Any article about the "responsibility to protect" or how a calendar conquered the globe creep closer to outlining the actual truth: there is no outside. The entire world is captured by the Yankees in a globe-spanning post-Christian empire. But because America was founded by rebels from the slave-caste, it still has an aversion to speaking the truth about this imperial project. It prefers people don't see it at all because then the slaves would have turned into everything they hate about their masters - imperial owners.

That's why the calendar is so important - if it's just a calendar doing the conquering, then there are no people to attack. So those in actual power stay hidden.

Even America's enemies are looking through its nonsense telescope of symbols. Al Qaeda thought it was attacking Yankee power, but it only attacked symbols - the WTC and Pentagon. Everyone remembers that day because Yankees and AQ are captured by the same symbolic delusion. But who remembers the USS Cole attack? No one. It's hard for a modern American to make sense of that attack because that was a military on an actual piece of US power - a guided-missile destroyer. That cannot resonate with a Yankee because, to his philosophy, what you say you are (symbols) is more important than what you do.

The Yankee empire that began in Massachusetts, took over the continental US, before overwhelming the planet, will one day look back at this strange few decades after the Cold War as a curious time. It will remember this moment as its adolescence in which it accidentally took ownership of a global network but couldn't reconcile its rebellious teenage nature with the responsibility of being an adult in the world system.

It will see these euphemisms of "calendars conquering the globe" and "responsibility to protect" as quaint and childish. It will have accepted the responsibility of being a mature custodian of an empire by making rational and necessary decisions, far removed from silly Puritan "good and evil."

Of course, to get there, he must paint what his eyes see, not what his brain wants to see.

Friday, 22 December 2017

Calling terrorism 'mental illness' helps no one but the status quo

Shane Patton, Victoria’s acting police commissioner, described the driver as a 32-year-old Australian citizen of Afghan descent. He was known to the authorities and had a history of criminal assault and drug abuse, according to Mr Patton, who said the man was being treated for a mental illness.”
Of course he is.

The first thing the state does in 2017 when referring to terror attacks in the West is to apply “mental illness” as far and as wide as possible on the perpetrator/s. Exhibit A – the latest Melbourne attack. Put down your copy of “Alt-Right for Dummies,” this has nothing to do with politics. Far from being a euphemism to avoid “bringing hate” on Muslims, the construction sets up a framework that religious belief, in general, is equivalent to mental illness. 

The first level is that this fits my thesis that the real enemy of progressives is not Islam at all, but the traditional white Christians in their homelands. You can read about that elsewhere on this site.

But more important than even this, calling it mental illness creates a default assumption that the problem (whatever it is) cannot be solved by individual action or existential power. Instead, the moment some aberrant human action is named in the DSM as an illness, the responsibility (re: power) to “fix” the problem is transferred to only the State. It sets up the frame that even the deepest parts of our million-year-old brains, such as religious tendencies and superstition and pattern-seeking, are not actually genetic but entirely malleable. This idea is at the core of the Genesis story about Cain’s deviation, which is also the Puritan/progressive Christian narrative: humans can be perfected.

If the nature of reality (god) does not exist, then there is no such thing as the “natural.” And since there is no greater good than the greatest good, and progressives know what that greatest good looks like, then any level of sacrifice is worth attaining that moment. Up to and including genocide. Cain didn’t kill Abel because he couldn’t warp the world into the way he wanted it to be, Cain murdered his brother because Abel was a constant reminder that Cain was inadequate. Cain was only pretending to have worked hard, so having to see Abel walk around was the narcissistic injury – the identity of victim that Cain constructed for himself  (just to stay sane!) was threatened with exposure. The result is rage. The result is always rage.

Calling terror attacks “mental illness” reinforces the Christian idea that everyone has teleological access – and therefore should be guided – to the so-called “universal” humanity. Since it is a fact humans are just blank slates, if you stroke Muslims the right way they’ll eventually come around to the West’s way of society – as defined by progressives, of course. Everything is riding on this assumption, this religious belief, in equality.

Yet it pays to be suspicious whenever you see the word "society," because psychiatry is in the room. People with fundamental religious belief rarely break the law so it can't be punished, and there's no God so morals are debatable (i.e. inconsequential). Therefore, it must be a disease, an illness. That way other people don't want to catch it. Psychiatric treatment of constructed diseases isn't about fixing the problem, it's always about regression to the mean and status quo (salaryman and Christmas shopper). 

The point isn't so that the patient gets better – no one cares about him – but so that everyone else watching understands what he did is a result of mental illness, so don't get any ideas. Stay in line. Those who stay in line will see their actions as not mentally ill (”socially acceptable”). Which means they can be told to do anything the system doesn't refer to as "mentally ill." See Milgram's experiments.

But then a driver in Melbourne acts in the way society’s media arm has always promised is available to everyone – self-fulfilment, existential power, freedom of choice. So, what should be the response when his choice doesn’t trend in the required direction? It's not “wrong” because God is dead, (even as the Islamists are adamant the action was morally right). All that’s left for the system to do is shame it and deliver sober pronouncements of “mental illness.”

At this point, you might be tempted to question whether the SUV driver is actually mentally ill. But you've taken the bait and put your energy into debating the form of the question. It isn’t about him, nor about whether he has a mental illness, and it certainly isn’t about the existence of mental illness. If you say he isn’t a religious nut, it just means there are religious nuts and maybe you'll start thinking if you’re one.

The point of treatment isn't to help the patient, but to give the system the power to decide what's an illness and what isn't. That's what Marshall McLuhan meant by saying the medium is the message (TV is how you know truth, not from other sources, like your friend, or the church). When behaviours are a disease, people lose and systems win. The benefit is being able to call something "mentally ill" without needing to take any responsibility for its creation. And yet clearly something is broken because this isn’t the first time a truck has ploughed into people, and it won’t be the last. Now, what does the system do?

There's only one thing it can do: say Muslims and religious people don't know better, that they're broken people from broken homes or broken countries...that they're not real people. You'd think someone would want to help, educate or elevate them, but the system doesn't want to "treat" religious nutters, it only wants to "diagnose" them as a warning for everyone else. In other words, the system sacrifices them. They're expendable. The goal is the universalisation of progressive ethics, morality and society.

So it is absolutely vital that you – those who saw the vehicle attack and especially those who didn't – know that the driver is “mentally ill" (=bad) because then it’s not the system's fault, so don't get any ideas. Mental illness and shame obscure the matter of guilt: it sets aside the question of right or wrong in favour of socially acceptable or not socially acceptable. You are expendable. The system wins. 

The only thing that matters is the status quo.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Star Wars sucks

The new Star Wars movie felt like it a big-budget rendition of an autistic child's imagination game. But the kid's parents are too poor to purchase the full Star Wars action figure set, so he has to make do with Lego, Barbie and GI Joe stand-ins. Not only that, the kid has only seen snippets of Star Wars movies because the parents don't think he's mature enough for them yet, so he's jumbling together every possible storyline he assumes would be in the film.

It was terrible and it proves that Americans are singularly incompetent at creativity. Art is not about money, colour and how many people like it. Art is about doing something different. Iteration is not innovation, which is also why I can't stand the pretentiousness of Silicon Valley. It's the world's largest producer of better mouse-traps.

This is getting worse. Americans have a history of rebellion (the country was founded by religious rebels), so that's how everything is painted. But rebellion needs a status quo to rebel against, otherwise, it's just frantic energy in the service of a new regime. The slaves might eventually take control, but to do so they must kill off the masters, and risk destroying all the things the masters made. Rebels never bother to learn how to invent or create, rebel energy is the only thing they know how to do.

A good leader is not born, he is made and not within one generation. As I've written before, if you want to train a longbowman, you must start with his grandfather. Slaves make terrible leaders, so keeping them docile is the general goal of leadership training. I recall reading a conversation between one aristocrat and a younger protege. The younger looked at the passing street below and wished the slaves would wear markings so he could differentiate them from higher people. The elder responded cooly this would be a mistake because the slaves then would see how numerous they were, and how few the leaders are.

In this way, if leaders forget to be diligent in passing down wisdom, the slaves will rise up. And after a few centuries of being in control, with no sign of the old regime anywhere, slave rebellious energy starts to feed on itself, rusting and breaking whatever remains of the dead master's social machinery. The result is Star Wars.

This movie could only have been made in a culture of slave-rule. If it's a shock that the world's pre-eminent superpower is a culture ruled by Christian slave morality, you're not paying attention. No, that doesn't mean slave cultures are a good idea. It just means that no matter how incompetent the domestic culture is, if it militarily dominates the North American landmass it will rule the world. Lesson? Watch out for Mexico as the American progressive slave moralists tear down the US.

It's worth comparing the new Star Wars to The Watchmen movie. The latter is a fantastic postmodern reflection on and farewell to the idea of the slave-as-superhero genre. But here we are thirty years after its release as a graphic novel, spending billions of dollars on one costumed loser hero movie after another, strip mining the DC and Marvel archives.

I enjoyed The Watchmen book for different reasons. Zach Snyder tried to use Stanley Kubrick's adaptation model of Stephen King's The Shining. Like most of King's books, The Shining is set in the main character's head. The reason most film adaptations of King's work fail is that there is no way to film this internal monologue. Shooting the plot and dialogue only makes it look hack, but King's brilliance is in taking a hack plot and recasting it. The subjects of King's books are all cliche's - vampires, the apocalypse, zombies, psychics, aliens, the thing in the woods, etc. But he cleverly gives the characters conflicts which aren't dependent on the plot and resonate with readers (marital strife, adolescent rebellion, mid-life crisis).

Whereas the comic book genre is about superheroes, usually in masks with freakish powers. The medium is very much the message, and the Marvel/DC/Star Wars movies get this wrong all the time. A film does not imply the context the way a comic book does. Kubrick succeeded in using the medium of film creatively to communicate what is present in a book but would be ridiculous if adapted literally to film.

Snyder was way too literal with The Watchmen because it needed to be broken down to its essence and rebuilt more than most comic books. The source material is too dense, the dialogue too nuanced and kids today have no clue what growing up with fears of nuclear annihilation was like, nor do they know what the USSR was, in relation to the US at the time.

The Watchmen is a work that is, primarily, deconstructing superheroism in terms of the real world. It asks: what if there were costumed superheroes in World War II? What would the Cold War have been like with a godlike superhuman? What are the realities and consequences of self-appointed masked vigilantes? Alan Moore turned superhero comics effectively on their head by asking questions about the real world when superheroes are a significant part of it (rather than adding them superficially on top of the existing society).

Movie adaptions of comic books are doomed to stupidity unless they are highly stylised. In a comic book (sorry, graphic novel) it's okay if the hero is in a mask or costume because everything looks like a cartoon, the mask suggests an animation. But in a live-action movie, the director has to explain why a real person would put on a costume. No one in real life puts on costumes unless they're crazy or it's Halloween. People wear uniforms, but not costumes. So right from the start, a film with a caped crusader or masked avenger is ridiculous. The first Spider-Man movie was semi-plausible because he was a kid who read comic books and wanted to imitate what he perceived as the closest analogue (the film makes no reference to him having read Nietzsche ).

But The Watchmen plot is more complex - let's call it adult. When you film people in costumes with personal rocketships in their basement, the movie turns into a kid film. My point is not to explain why masks are worn, but that in real life no one would ever wear them. You might wear a black ski-mask as a disguise, but you wouldn't wear a costume that makes you more identifiable than you would otherwise be.

In comics, the mask defines identity. But in the real-world, it's a serious personality disorder, which confuses the story unless it is the point of the story. It's a disorder because one's identity in real life is multifaceted and evolving. In comics, it's usually set, or the identity crisis persists, because a resolution would end the storyline. All these heroes are trapped in transitional states. A real-world Batman coming to terms with the death of his parents would end his nocturnal vigilantism, so he is permanently stuck in the second stage of grief, even depression. (Writers even create new tragedies to keep Batman psychologically stuck, such as the death of Robin, etc).

With the possible exception of Dr Manhattan, all the costumed characters in The Watchmen are depicted as suffering from personality disorders to a greater (Rorschach=schizophrenia) or lesser (Night Owl=depression) extent. This is, in fact, a point of the story: Dr Manhattan's mental state is explicitly identified as being beyond judgement, as he has become a god, the destroyer of worlds.

Again, all this works for comic books because there's no need to develop a character too much and it never has to end. But a film is too literal, too real. You can bring the plot over, with all the attendant conflicts and characters, but the set pieces have to be discarded to avoid the movie turning into a fantasy.

Each issue of each of The Watchmen felt like a bomb in your hand you knew was going to explode as you turned the final page. As Moore's darkening tone flipped over into something beyond the prior reach of comics, I remember looking up and feeling as though I'd just heard something crazy and terrible, like, oh, maybe that Princess Diana had been killed in a car crash, or the World Trade Center had been destroyed, or liberties had been shredded by a paranoid, secretive regime bent on removing democratic rule of law as impediments to the free exercise of power domestically and globally. How can you possibly evoke this prophetic sense of dread in a film?

The ending of Watchmen is perfect. There are hints and foreshadowings from the very beginning of the book. You even see sketches of the monster in one or two places. But the whole point is that it's a big bang - a really big bang - and it is completely morally ambiguous. Is it really worth killing hundreds of thousands of people to save the Earth?

This is why Star Wars movies will continue to fail. The politics were not controversial because the State/Empire/First Order was cast in comic-book fashion as overtly fascist and oppressive. The State clearly wore the black hat, so blowing up a few ships was not a big deal because no one doubts they are the bad guys.

Controversy would have been to depict the Empire as it is in fact, but illustrate how it is subtly fascist or oppressive. The question then becomes to what extent fighting the Empire is moral or ethical. Are soldiers legitimate physical targets of criticism of this government? What about policemen? Or journalists? At other times in history and in other places, they were.

Will the revolutionary hero risk going too far and become a terrorist in fighting a government that isn't too oppressive? Does the Empire, by encroaching slowly on liberty - spanning generations, leaders, parties, people - permanently inoculate itself against the essential middle-class revolution because the generation of citizens alive at any single time never perceives the portion of the encroachment it experiences as being all that bad?

This would be controversial, it casts the real Puritan/Progressive Empire under which the audience lives as the enemy. The films central question would linger in that audience's mind long after the credits roll - Am I free? If not, what next?

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Yelling in the wrong direction, or else all is lost

To paraphrase the Buddha, three things cannot be long hidden: the sun; the moon; and the truth.

If women have been "weaponised" by universities or the media or whatever, it means someone is doing the weaponising. Which means someone wants women to be weapons. Or did you think the person who will eventually replace Harvey Weinstein at the top of Hollywood will be a woman?

Females are clamouring to get into university, while men are leaving it in droves to begin new start-ups and skipping tertiary education almost entirely. Women stick around because they think men had power because of the symbols, like CEO, General or PhD. So, they fight to get symbols, but never for the specific power to be taken seriously without a university education. Power is hard. It takes effort, and not every man can do it well. Maybe women can perform leadership roles better than men. But if that’s true, why do women choose to fight like this? Is it because they thought symbols would give them power, or are they pursuing the symbols because they have the trappings of power?

Some female grads will be hired into CEO roles, fine. No problem with that. But there’s a difference between someone who is a CEO and someone who is being a CEO. And they are not the same people. Some people want to get more power from the job, and some other people want the job to offer them more power. Typically, the former is men and the latter is women. But don’t get hung up on the sex, the point is the mindset. Those in the latter group want an external entity to want to give them more power, but they avoid having any input in deciding their own success and power.

And don't get me started on women wanting to become president or prime minister. The real power has been in lobbying and the civil service for at least the last three decades. What you are seeing is a series of power battles, wrapping themselves in the costume of "civil rights." This isn't equality, this is resource competition. It's always resource competition. All this nonsense is happening because women cannot rely on men to act like... men. The public is exhausted with men who don't deliver on their masculinity. It is exhausted with their general loss of ambition, drive, respectfulness... and purpose. Men are doing this because they seem to have this haunting suspicion that their true worth – the lie that the only worth that matters is "in other people's minds" – is signalled by women's opinions of them. After all, money, jobs – all that is fake.

You hear it all the time. Women run the damn country because of the restraint of men. And they’re not giving men any credit for that fact that we’re not slapping them upside the head. They’ve forgotten that a woman in a position of authority is not a given thing, it’s not natural. The social contract keeps men from doing certain things. Weak men let this happen. Feminism has emasculated men.

Really? A girl did that to you?

If it’s annoying that women can yell today, understand that it’s because men let them yell. The only power women have is the power men let them have. They know this is true, which is why they keep prodding and poking to stop us from remembering. The moment that happens, they'll be back in their kitchens faster than you can say Donald Trump. But the reason men let women have any power is not coming from some drive for equality or interdiction by the law. The reason is always the same: it is a defence against change, against the effort. Men don't believe that women rule the world, they hope and wish this is true. Because then he never has to become a man.

The older I get, the more I see women don't want to lead, they want a leader. Hell, most men don’t want to lead either. If you look down from 30,000ft, everything feminists are doing to "change the system" appears to be a subconscious desire for an actual, working patriarchy. That's why they like the Islamists. To people desperate for a leader and exhausted with a lack of masculinity in the West, Islamists are the uneducated person's cartoon, primitive idea of men. They might kill you, but at least they’re acting like men.

"Well, if the public would stop taking men's money, then we could develop ourselves." But it's not the taking, it's the indecision over how best to spend resources that will kill us. Social welfare is the definition of indecision. It is indeed all about money, but money equals time. And the money you spend on yourself today, or on welfare, is the time you are allowing to be robbed from your future, or, more importantly, someone else's future. But look at it from this angle: welfare programmes wouldn't exist if they failed to make a profit for a whole bunch of well-placed men. Are you one of these well-placed men? If not, look for them. They are hiding in plain sight.

You might say the law is stacked against men. A lot of idiot men say this, actually. Yet who do you think enforces the law? When a woman is beaten up, who does she call? A bigger man. She doesn't call another woman. The moment I lose faith in the law, I'm still a man, but all she is is a girl.  Divorce courts are tipped in a females favour, but it has nothing to do with girl power. Just because a girl is next to it, doesn't mean that thing is about women. The system is set up to favour women because the law views women as less capable than men and in need of protection. Women would prefer not to talk about this because they still secretly believe they are inferior to men.

Don't yell at me, I'm just telling you how the system sees you. It has asked men to restrain themselves for the good of the economy, which must always expand, every year, no matter what - that's the point of capitalism - and men have obliged. Don't blame the women, they did absolutely nothing to get this power. Men wanted women to be in the workplace or in politics. Men opened the doors. When a woman says being a CEO makes her a leader, call her sugar-tits and remind her it's all about labour costs. The system doesn't care about gender, sexual harassment or skin colour. You are a battery.

The problem isn't women. Neither is it about welfare or voting. Men are lying about what their eyes really see. They are viewing the world in symbols, and the system always has the power to interpret symbols. Men are not being restrained, they are restraining themselves. In The Matrix, a child explains to Neo it isn't the spoon that bends, but only himself. This impotence men feel isn't coming from outside. Men have to believe society is limiting them - they wish it to be true. Do you see?

Many men hate that they can't walk up to a hot chick, take her home and bang her. This hatred manifests as misogyny, usually. But the stumbling block isn't the woman's hotness, it's the constant messaging he receives: all this sex, all this power - why not me? Men don't ask why, if every dude they meet is frustrated by the same thing, then how real can that message be? Instead, they splinter into two choices: option A "I am inadequate" or options B "the system is against me." Those who don't want to kill themselves choose option B.

It's not the lack of sex that frustrates men, it's the inability to seduce a girl in his way - the toxic measure of his worth as a man is signalled by other people's (women's) opinions of them. Unless the seduction goes exactly according to his plan, it doesn't take. The sex is irrelevant. There are men who sleep with dozens of women who think they can't pick up girls. Each encounter is psychologically buffered by the excuse "she was drunk" or "she was recently dumped" or "she was a slut." Or even "that doesn't count, she loves me," which is why married men feel the same lack.

H.L. Mencken is worth listening to on this:

"The woman who is not pursued sets up the doctrine that pursuit is offensive to her sex, and wants to make it a felony. No genuinely attractive woman has any such desire. She likes masculine admiration, however violently expressed, and is quite able to take care of herself. 
"More, she is well aware that very few men are bold enough to offer it without a plain invitation, and this awareness makes her extremely cynical of all women who complain of being harassed, beset, storied, and seduced. All the more intelligent women that I know, indeed, are unanimous of the opinion that no girl in her right senses has ever been actually seduced since the world began."

The problem isn't that advertising sets up false aspirations, the problem is that men trap themselves in the prison of using a scale for their self-worth based on the opinions of people who don't know them. And so they seethe with rage at the blonde sitting near the bar, or the female CEO. But you are yelling in the wrong direction.

Instead of developing a superego separate from their ego (a god structure) they incorporated their superego into their ego ("everyone has the same morals deep down"). They didn't kill god, they enslaved him. God will rule in your favour each time ("you don't understand, this time is different..."). I sympathise, but this path will be the death of everything you love.

The world these angry men think exists - the one in which everything is controlled by harpies - doesn't exist. And the fact that men think it exists drives women bonkers. It's the same annoyance non-white people feel when a white person says they're not racist but "minorities are stealing all the jobs." It is necessary to a weak man's existential survival that he believes women and minorities are in charge, or else all is lost.

But if the man chooses option A (I am inadequate), then the answer is to become adequate, not to kill yourself. Women aren't dudes. They aren't looking for the same things we are. Discover what women want, and then become that guy. The trick with existential power is that if continue to believe your worth is judged by others, then you won't feel the impact of this next sentence: The problem is you.

Stop lying.