Archive for July, 2013

Replicating Symbol Souls

July 28, 2013 Leave a comment

Public figures deemed celebrities often shed humanity and take on symbolic significance. Today’s celebrity is never a flesh-and-bone human being. Never do we hear of physical illnesses or the actual details of a celebrity’s life. Instead it is only in the dramatic physical failures: the tabloid wrought tales of debauchery and rehab induced recovery that follows afterwards.

In giving birth the symbol becomes a vector for another human form. Our sign creates another who both illustrates and alters the creator. The celebrity mother transacts with the new-born child to make another symbol. A symbol makes a symbol.

Since celebrities exist on the basis of the media, it is this very force that promulgates the symbolic status from mother to child. Carried from the one to the other, this process of celebrity connection via biological connection adds a new layer to the reproduction process. Does the birth alter the symbol to suggest a more humble form whose need to reproduce like “the rest of us” advance the ability to relate to the figure? Some celebrities seem determined to re-establish their distance by using strange names. The unique baby name functions both to establish a unique identity and variable existence.

In giving the birth the celebrity advances his or her existence on both symbolic and biologic fields. Birthing like the general public might suggest commonality and increase understanding but many seem obsessed with adding distance. The use of strange names and the provision of extraordinary benefits works to re-establish the celebrity status for the celebrity mother. Via her indulgence she establishes again her latent differences and suggests to all who view her that indeed she’s something different.

Towards A Larger Something

July 27, 2013 Leave a comment

Do all humans need something larger to believe in? Where religion falls victim to doubt and atheism takes hold the individual simply replaces one faith with another. It is often suggested that where the religious take confidence in figures like Christ, Moses and Mohammed the atheist community forms similar connects to Darwin, Marx and Shakespeare. In each “great man” the follower invests hope and the search for purpose. If every human needs guidance in “how to live” where might one find a greater sense of purpose beyond these larger figures? Is it possible to live beyond this need for something more? Is a greater power the only real source of sense in a life of seeming futility?

Some might question the importance of these important figures. Surely Shakespeare can be respected, but to serve as a God-like smacks of exaggeration. How might Darwin play a religious like role for the non-religious? When one’s ideas become foundational to existence than these powerful roles take hold. As Jesus framed a model for existence, Darwin has come to represent a way of thinking and seeing the world. The movement from basic theories to broad, life-guiding theories transcends the individual to a religious figure. The prophet is one who provides profound insight in a world of endless confusion.

What of the events that celebrate common bonds and aim to establish greater sense of community? Is the church service replaced by conventions or concerts? Does not one find common bonds with fellow human beings at the rock concert? The similarities are striking if one considers forms of dress, directions of focus and use of music. One might find it difficult to delineate where the differences stand and where the music concert inspired the church service and vice versa. Both have common goals and common means to a success. Certainly both events serve the purpose of bringing seemingly diverse people together for a common goal. No matter the ends of these events, the means to group cohesion are very similar. All humans seem determined to find a greater sense of purpose and seek it out in varied forms and places.

The Coward’s Way

July 27, 2013 Leave a comment

“A screaming comes across the sky,” writes Pynchon in Gravity’s Rainbow. Though set in World War II, Pynchon’s novel reminds us of the sheer terror of war technology and new-found means of delivery. Whether drones or IEDs, war technology can now come from a distance and provide warriors with an ability to kill from a distance. This ability comes as a contrast to older forms of warfare where warrior met warrior. In today’s war there are variable forms of battlefield. No longer do we limit war to self-contained battlefields; instead, entire regions are open to attack. Terrorism further expands these notions of battlefield so that citizens and their public spaces are viable targets.

Do these evolutions suggest a new-found form of war? Is war a game of cowards now? Surely the use of remote technology exists for its claimed benefit of allowing war from a distance. No longer must the soldier face the hazards of the battle field. In our new form of war the battle takes place somewhere else and despite the higher risk of innocent casualties, the muddied terms of war grow increasingly popular. War exists without definition when a battle field is never actually defined. A war that exists everywhere ironically exists nowhere as any place and person plays a part.

Despite our sense of progress with remote technologies we remain blind to the real costs of war. Technology often assists us in making the pains of reality more tolerant. Communication is easier and the daily chores of life become more focused with technology. Does war also benefit from these conveniences? Perhaps a better form of war is what existed in the past. Crude and ugly, the war that exists on the defined battle field recognizes the horrors at play. Working to expand and muddy our definition of war only serves to spread its pain further. War technology accomplishes less in its existence as a remote format. If battle we must than we might better be served by the goal of limiting its exposure.

Pre-Conditioned Curses

July 24, 2013 Leave a comment

Might a royal life be one of accursed drudgery and pain? Desires be damned in a life born into royal pomp and responsibility. The child king merely waits to take control. Nothing really matters when destiny is determined. By his very exit of the royal womb he initiates his first transition from royal portal to portal. From womb to tomb he will exist as the king to be and function less as individual and more social symbol.

The greatest tragedy in life is to become symbolic. To transcend the flesh occurs with two forms of individual: victims of crime and children of esteem. Whether by famous parents or the manipulation of another, an individual becomes divorced from his or her identity when society finds something more in one’s details of existence. The victim of the murder becomes meat for media consumption. As we most recently saw with Trayvon Martin, the media is adept and creating stories out of limited details. That which we know of Trayvon Martin stems not from our own personal experience but from the details the media provides. How much do we really know?

As the royal birth delivers the latest actor in the drama known as “British Monarchy” we start again the process of de-individualizing the person. Will this baby ever be provided with a unique identity? Will his personal desire ever be allowed to be considered? Certainly his fate has already been sealed, but how much will his individual personality be allowed to exist? One wonders whether the luxuries of a royal birth are outweighed by the inability to truly exist. Can a wealth of financial resources and opportunity function as enough or is a royal curse at play. If he’s never to emerge as the individual have we witnessed not the birth of a future king but a modern day slave cursed to pre-defined identity and denial of desire.

More Hallowed Halls

July 14, 2013 Leave a comment

Beyond the walls of a court room the human mind remains the final bastion of justice. Whether one is falsely convicted or released despite a crime, he or she must come to terms with such results. Within the mind one must face the dialogue of personal responsibility. Might one’s guilt be greater if the individual is never forced to publicly acknowledge it? There is a sort of catharsis provided by a public conviction. Though innocent until proven guilty, one “does the time” for “doing the crime” and afterwards is released.

A prison sentence is a limited proposal- go to prison for X years and then be released. And yet while complications always follow such sentences, society largely sees the conclusion of a prison sentence a time of redemption. No matter what occurs following a public trial, the individual must face the mental conversations of these results. Whether guilty or innocent we will never know, but deep within the mental universe of every individual lies the truth. Perhaps the worst form of punishment comes for those denied a conviction. Released despite a crime leaves one to face the mental conversation of unjustified freedom and the sneaky itch of “getting away with it.”

Hexing Text

July 8, 2013 Leave a comment

Orwell helped us see how illegitimate power manipulated language to gain power. The euphemism is the common tool in use: “nice words” made to replace nasty ones help dull and hide reality. It’s never “civilian casualties” coming from the mouth of leadership; instead, its “collateral damage” or “purging” to refer to the removal of those deemed undesirable.

One can recognize this manipulation of language as a signpost to hazard. Any group which seeks to distort meaning does so with a limited set of goals in mind. For what purpose would one actively work to change meaning? A manipulation of the very means of communication strikes at the heart of anyone who uses it. Communication means collaboration and where ideas are given means to expand a threat may come to life. Indeed the very Tower of Babel tale reminds us that even seemingly insurmountable power may sometimes feel threatened by words.

Where language is distorted a tyrant is at play. Any group that seeks to polish communication does so as a means to distance one from truth. In the stark clarity of truth lies a purity of language. To distort language is to confuse the means to speak.

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