Joined: 09 Jul 2005
|Post subject: FLIPSIDE Series #4 (Part Two) - David Jay Brown
|... Bob: That's right. There's no private individual thing. Thompson talks a lot about the myth of Isis and Osiris. Seth, Isis' brother, had the power because it was a matriarchy. The only male who had the power was the relative of the mother. The husband was a character off on the side and had no force in determining the structure of the society. When writing came in, then the structure was upset. Thompson's book The Time Falling Bodies Take To Light talks about how the myth changes. Isis is no longer happy in her power relationship with Seth, who is her brother. Seth sees a new relationship developing between the husband Osiris and Isis. Osiris gets new status. Seth, representing the old establishment, kills him. That myth is showing the beginning of the shift to left-hemisphered, visual space - the shift of the value of Osiris, of the sperm. Before writing and the individualistic bias came in, as you just said, the group merger dominated - where everybody was everybody. There was no distinction other than maybe toward the egg metaphor which was woman, who was more tactile than man. Why did you bring that up?
David: William Irwin Thompson said things really change on the planet when egg cultures change. Sperm cultures are always changing. There's really a global shift when a culture like China changes.
Bob: That's right. To use archetypes, woman is continuous and man is discontinuous. Tribal societies have a lot of change on the surface, but they are very conservative. They don't change on the basics. However, in the left-hemisphered, visually-biased, applied-technology societies, we inevitably change. We try to cover up by having a uniformity on the surface. That was nationalism and patriotism and the Victorian image of everybody conforming on the surface in social interaction. But underneath they were creating new technologies that would really upset them. The real hidden motive was to change, whereas in tribal societies, there's lots of confusion and blurring on the surface, but underneath a very rigid hierarchy.
David: Just the opposite.
Bob: When visual technology of the West, based on visual-space needs, changes, it comes into a very iconic and static environment. The electric environment just stops us and puts us all in a discarnate state and then our goals of moving along industrially are usurped by the TV image. We have no where to go. We've returned to the tribal state of staying in one situation on the deepest level. Why do the tribal cultures with a basic non-changing nature change? Why do the egg cultures change? If they change, then something is really changing. That's what Thompson means. When you bring in tactile television, it makes the acoustic, right-hemisphered egg cultures need to change because their identity image is erased since they specialize in acoustic space. It's erased by the new space of tactility. Tactility threatens even the egg culture. That's why the egg cultures are changing today. Therefore, we are in a new, what Thompson calls, "singularity". Even women are changing, or want to change, and the tribal cultures like China, too.
David: Do you see a global culture emerging, or do you think such a thing is even really possible?
Bob: A global culture that's agreed upon?
David: I mean in the sense that there is an American culture. Is there going to be some kind of global equivalent to that?
Bob: The '60s were at the pinnacle of ecological harmony, technologically speaking, with television, satellite, and computers. Mixed corporate-media, which is television, satellites, computers, radios and newspapers - to sum it up we'll call it the TV image - equals tactility. Tactility is the hidden ground. The society becomes biased in a tactile sense. If tactility continues as an environment, then the sensory balance is upset. In the '60s we were balanced with literate people and the new tactile ground. For many decades into the future, I can predict, just like people will take drugs, there will be this Arthurian myth about the '60s as a wonderful time.
David: What kind of myth was that?
Bob: Arthurian - as in King Arthur and Camelot. That's what Kennedy represented. The power of the Kennedy image was right there in the non-mechanical, holistic, organic balance that was established between tactile, kinetic, visual and acoustic. As we moved into computers and more high-tech in the 70's, we kept the tactility. The balance became extreme. The organic, tactile balance became unbalancing. It's a surplus extension of the organic balancing factor, which is tactility. The organic balance is all the senses in harmony. When you talk to somebody, all your senses are involved. Speech is not just acoustic. It is a tactile environment. When you are having one-on-one speech with someone in person, you are using all your senses. You are having immediate simultaneous communication including intuition and maybe ESP. All technologies are fragments of speech, or fragments of language. So, you either went visual, acoustic, kinetic, or tactile. So, television as a machine is an extension of the tactile sense - of the holistic, balancing sense. We've made a mechanical version of talking with somebody. There's a whole machine environment involved in it. If you extend tactility and over-use it, it flips into kinetic space. Check out McLuhan's book The Laws of Media which answers the question: what happens when tactile space is pushed to the extreme? It flips into being uptight, or kinetic space. Kinetic space comes back. My general drift over the last few years is that the idea that America won the Cold War, that the West or Capitalism won, whatever you want to call this thing that won, is really just the global retrieval and preference for kinetic space, which is the American archetype. America is movies, cars, newspapers, and radio: a basic pre-television environment in the 20's and 30's. That kinetic space, the main sensory characteristic of America, is now being retrieved by all cultures in the world. That's what Tim Leary thinks is the global village, the Americanization of the world, or the preference for American values of individual entrepreneurship and consumption - using your body as an antidote to the extreme tactile wash, and tactile mudbath, we are swimming in, which cannot be bought, sold or stolen. If we have tactility going on too long, then I recommend collectively turning off the TV image for a while. If we keep TV on too much, you're going to have a global village based on American culture because kinetic space is all you've got. Visual space is puny, even music is puny, compared to the mobility and kinetic vitality of traditional American media.
David: American culture is basically made up of all other world cultures. In some sense, it is kind of a global culture already.
Bob: There's where we come to the Akashic Records. Remember, I said the movie medium is like the Akashic Records. It contains all times and spaces. So, America was the global culture. Wyndham Lewis wrote a great book in 1948 called America and Cosmic Man. He was speaking to the post-World War II culture, which was still very snobbish towards America. He said that Europeans don't realize that the future is being hatched in America. McLuhan learned a lot from Lewis. Basically, in McLuhan's terms, kinetic space, which is extended by the American movie medium, can contain all cultures and did become the global village.
David: That makes sense to me.
Bob: That global village is inside the tactile global theater. It's now only a collective nostalgic preference for speed in many cultures. But at the same time, electric media, especially computers, allow every culture to decentralize and to prop up its own local culture, which we call tourism. (David laughs) Everybody will be propping up the mythical baggage, which I call the mythic stage, of their particular culture while they struggle to make money to interact with the kinetic-culture archetype of America. Those two things are inside confusing the "finneganese" of the satellite environment. We try to retrieve the American kinetic space and simultaneously preserve our own cultural heritage, which leads to "political correctness". Every person and every tribe becomes a mythic stage. You must appreciate their whole sense of time, history and cultural baggage. That all has to be acknowledged.
David: Before they can plug into the global circuit.
Bob: Well, they are plugged in. And the plugging in of the global-theater circuit requires them to prop up their own identity with greater ferocity and seriousness. No joking about your "political correctness". And at the same time, they're consuming the kinetic media of America - all of it moving at the post-Clinton pace, where Clinton can't even help implement the National Health situation. Because the main factor is that we are all discarnate and have disappeared. (David laughs) And that's the joke.
David: Where have we disappeared to?
Bob: If you listen to Bob's Media Ecology Squared, I try to explain it.
David: (Laughing) I have actually.
Bob: So you're laughing, you got the joke. This is a big joke. This is where mixed corporate-media is a satire on us. We can satirize ourselves through speech. But all the technologies are like our speech. We now have made this grand speech through various fragments of technologies and machines. We now implode and make hand signals, or "signs". This is where my book Phatic Communion with Bob Dobbs quotes Arthur Kroker, who represents the school of Baudrillard, the structuralists, post-structuralists and semioticians, who tried to describe this environment via "signs". They say we are in a situation where the "signs" have no reference point, no reference and no difference. So therefore, the very "signs" of our society are satirizing us. They are Menippean tactility, signwise. They cannot be labeled. They cannot be pinned down. That's the tactile sense. So, the mixed corporate-media, today, are doing a satire on us.
David: I'm not sure I fully understand that.
Bob: Think of it this way: the implosion of all the media into the situation where the "word makes the market". The White House makes the market. What the White House says affects everyone in the world, and affects the stockmarket. If Whitewater gains momentum, then the stockmarket goes down, or the price of gold goes up. All media start changing. This thermostat is based on the White House, not Clinton - it's the cultural archetype of too much tactility, the "hot spot". Therefore, we retrieve a need for kinetic space. As we focus on kinetic space, we are not in kinetic space. We are in a tactile environment. As we try to prop up any solution, any technological band-aid for the problems we have today and for those in all the different cultures, we never can put our finger on it because that environment is constantly changing. We're in a paradoxical, changing state called Menippean tactility, which is moving money nowhere at the speed of light. They're making trillions of dollars every day, but what is it? It's also a flood of electronic signals. What are they trying to buy? You can't buy the electronic environment. You have immense wealth, just by turning on your TV, that no one person can buy just for herself. I can't buy a television station and demand NBC to make all these programs just for me.
David: Some information is more valuable than others.
Bob: The problem for the discarnate superangel which we all are, is selecting, filtering and editing information. What are you going to attach to? What are you going to put value in?
David: Information becomes the commodity of the future basically.
Bob: Think of information not just as a mathematical formula, but the technology that it creates. That technology alters us. That's the whole problem about high-definition TV: what's that going to do to society? Who's going to get it? Meanwhile, Russia still puts up the most satellites around the planet. Yet we have the image that Russia is a basket case. How come they can keep putting up the most satellites? Why are they doing that?
David: I don't even know. Are they efficient? What kind of satellites are they? Telecommunication satellites?
Bob: They are different kinds that everybody wants to buy into. Numerically, they put up the most of any culture in the world. But back to the mixed corporate-media: What does a trillion dollars measure? That's money as a hologram. This transaction is what Baudrillard calls "the ecstasy of communication". All the media just interact and just keep moving. That's kinetic space trying to "looka beesy!", to quote the Pope when Jesus shows up. Just keep doing whatever you do, or drop what you're doing and do something else, but keep moving. And all the while you are still in touch everywhere with everything on the planet electrically. In this telephone we could have a conference call with 5,000 people, all listening. If that was broadcast on radio stations, you have more millions of people listening. Where are we then? We are all in a little electro-magnetic space that we can't see, but we can feel. And we're interacting. The whole world is interacting on that little node. You can call it a computer terminal or a television screen. That little node has no visual boundaries. You can't localize it, but we are all inside it. That space is like a quantum particle, smaller than an electron, and yet bigger than the sun. It includes all dimensions. Everyday we are living in it. Subconsciously and collectively, we want to fill up that resonating interval.
David: We're perfecting it.
Bob: We're perfecting the content of it. We can't do anything to it. Since we're all inside of it, all 5 billion of us, let's bring in digital technology and virtual reality. We'll be able to target each person's fantasy and split up this resonating interval according to each person's needs.
David: I see.
Bob: MONDO 2000 talks about virtual reality in the future and targeting your personal fantasies so that you, or maybe Gerry Fialka, can be sold the whole collection of Frank Zappa videos - to him and just to him. It will come in on his little virtual-reality goggles.
David: Let's carry this thing far into the future. Where is this all going? Are we journeying into someplace where, basically, we'll be living in our imaginations, in a sense? Where there will be no longer a distinction between inside and outside? Is that where we're moving towards, do you believe?
Bob: All those things that you just said we've been living in since
1957, or since the '60s. Technologically, creation ended in the '60's because all we've been doing in the '70s and '80s is fine tuning: putting back in via what's called hi-tech, but is actually left-hemisphered visualization or individuation, every potential that was latent in the '60s. Anything that can happen in the future can be thought of, and you can experience it maybe, in a movie, book, or TV show. And so, potential futures, as McLuhan used to say, are already happening. All you have to do is think about them, and then you realize, "Yes, we've already got them." In other words, nothing can go past the implosion of human beings that happened in the '60s when we imploded into this discarnate resonating interval. This is maybe what David Worcester, who's sometimes on my show, is talking about when he says, "The original separateness, Rhyee, returned to the Plane of Essence. All of being is united now." This is where imagination comes in as a retrieval. We can imagine any kind of scenario, like the legendary hologram of virtual reality, and we'll actualize it immediately through a personal video subscription, or maybe a whole society, say part of Canada, will adopt a certain movie-set kind of environment and put on that situation for a while. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?
David: But obviously, maybe not obviously, there are physical limitations to what we can do and within the imagination there's no limitation.
Bob: Yes, the imagination has always been there. So therefore, that's part of the private citadel of consciousness. You'll have to look at how different technologies altered a society's interpretation of what the imagination is. Since we are all now resonating in a tactile sphere, part of the people's problem is how do we even imagine today since we have so many images evoking all periods of history - just think of all the movies. Then this is part of the passivity typified in the song "In the Year 2525" which predicts us having no arms and legs. That had already happened by the '60s. (David laughs) You had so much imagery - acoustic, visual, and kinetic - to swim around in. You either got fed up and got into private psychedelic use, or into gnostic denial of the word. You tried to meditate and get out of the body. Or you became a superconsumer, made lots of money, flew all over the world and contemplated it as a museum. All these questions of what to do, when we have so much wealth, have already been dealt with. Society doesn't know how to define a new economic order because this is unmeasurable wealth, in the old terms. We already have so much wealth that the old money-wealth doesn't mean anything. So then you have the grievance of the working middle-class people. Today you have to look at every class as a transitory, transient phenomenon. There are people moving from the poor-class to the middle-class and on to the upper-class. They are moving through. You can't categorize anybody as poor or middle-class or wealthy because many people move through these classes or interact with people from all different classes. The archetype of the middle-class hangs around as a separate mythic stage itself and gets mad at the archetype of the "welfare"-class.
David: The archetype gets mad at the archetype?
Bob: Yes. This is the global language that is going on, which I write about in my memo to Prince Charles. The archetype of the middle-class is screaming at the archetype of the welfare-class because it resents the fact it is working at an office and has to be away from the radio and TV entertainment. The welfare-class can stay at home and swim around in the software swill. (David laughs) The commuter/middle-class people in the hardware vehicles are stuck in pollution and all the daily problems of daily work. Joblessness means that many people are poor, middle-class and rich at different phases of their life.
David: This is almost unheard of in prior generations.
Bob: That's right. That's why Marx's social critique failed and so will any kind of critique based on class today, such as Lyndon LaRouche in his early writings when he used to talk about making the working-class conscious of itself. The working-class was a transitory amoeba which contained many people who were in it for a while, then dropped out, moved on. To interpret society in terms of class struggle is so limited now because all these class struggles are archetypal and contain imposters.
David: In America?
Bob: In the whole world.
David: The caste system in India and the class system in England haven't changed in centuries. England hasn't changed. The caste/class system is still very much in place.
Bob: Those are particular sensory-biased cultures. You can say that the Industrial Revolution happened mostly in America. The class structure, in the visual sense, mostly happened in America. Therefore, it is the most obsolesced by this new iconic absolutism of the tactile image. Yes, on a certain level, the class struggle is an American phenomenon, an industrial phenomenon. There was class struggle in the European countries. But, you are right, there was a heavy medieval baggage. That's why Wyndham Lewis in the book America and Cosmic Man said that Europeans could not understand the wide-open spaces of the new kinetic-tactile world that we lived in. They lived in the spatial sensibilities of ancient cities. The Aristo-oligarchy still had control. Therefore, the problem with being a Canadian is that she could have had American technology, British politics, and French culture. And what she got was French politics, British technology, and American culture. (David laughs) You can quibble over whether French culture is perfect, but Baudelaire and the Symbolists of the 19th century still have a strong effect on people. Be that as it may, the electrified mixture of cultures today evokes a great deal of confusion, as Joyce shows on any page of Finnegans Wake, because none of the archetypes have any staying power anymore, whether American, industrial, feudal, or Amazonian.
David: They're dissolving archetypes.
Bob: Everything's disappeared.
David: Thank you. It's been a pleasure.