Archive for July, 2013

Guilty

35 years ago today, at about the same time, 5 o’clock, I acquitted a man.
A sailor.

One of my first big cases.
It was here comes the judgea tough time in my life.

I have since realized I made a mistake.
He was guilty.

I did my own investigation.
He’s married with three children.
A grandson.
He is living in peace.

How many others could I have acquitted? Even guilty?

Deciding what is true and what isn’t
now seems to me a lack of modesty.

In their place?
Of course.

And that goes for everyone I judged.
Given their lives, I would steal.
I’d kill, I’d lie.
Of course I would.

All that
because I wasn’t in their shoes,
but mine.

—Krzysztof Kieślowski, Red

Up On Some Creek Somewhere, Way Out On A Branch

Come On

What, in ill thoughts again? Men must endure. Their going hence even as their coming hither. Ripeness is all. Come on.
—William Shakespeare, King Lear
Yossarian was cold, too, and shivering uncontrollably. He felt goose pimples clacking all over him as he gazed down despondently at the grim secret Snowden had spilled all over the messy floor. It was easy to read the message in his entrails. Man was matter, that was Snowden’s secret. Drop him out a window and he’ll fall. Set fire to him and he’ll burn. Bury him and he’ll rot, like other kinds of garbage. The spirit gone, man is garbage. That was Snowden’s secret. Ripeness was all.
—Joseph Heller, Catch-22
There is a lot to be said about Edward Snowden. Which is why I have, more or less, said nothing at all.
He has wormholed me into the realm of a Grand Unified Theory. And, real hewhen I enter such a realm, I usually end up knowing, but writing nothing at all. That’s just the way it be.
For instance, I know that Snowden marks the apogee of that dark smut the “information society,” the invisible city, the megalopolis, the meta-machine; that he has tossed, unknowingly and unintentionally, a spanner into the whole works, and thereby averted “the collapse into necropolis, the hollowed-out city of the dead.”
For, from here, humans shall return to the flesh.
The machines have always been stupid, and now they are over.
I know this.
Will I someday write about it, coherently, at length, in this, or any other, space?
Probably not.
What I can write about is the pathetic place humans are in now.
Where Snowden’s prolonged hole-up in the “prison hotel” of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, demonstrates that every nation on this Earth is, essentially, embarrassingly, exactly the same.
All of them have national anthems. All of them have flags. All of them have passports. And all of them accept, and enforce, without thinking, a group agreement that holds that no one can travel, across “borders,” without a “passport,” or some similar ludicrous document.
Though, prior to WWI, less than 100 years ago, passports were not required at all for international travel. Humans could go where they wilt. Even into a country, that their country was at war with, could they travel.
But, today, every false, ephemeral construct knownwhat the fuck? as a “nation,” requires that human beings traveling to and fro possess a passport, or at least some sort of “refugee” document.
And, at present, in re Snowden, all of them, all of these false, ephemeral constructs known as “nations,” are variously wriggling, in their various panties, about how they variously just can’t go, into the “prison hotel,” take Snowden by the hand, and say: “Yeah. You’re a free human being. Alive on this earth. So am I. Come with me.”
What utter horseshit.
Can’t there just be one “nation,” on this planet, that doesn’t buy into this insanity?
Apparently not.
I thought that I would never be more exasperated than when observing some G8 or G20 confab where representatives from, say, India and China, stiffly arrive in suit-and-tie monkey suits, the de rigueur uniform of primates from the West.
What the fuck?
But now: there is this nonsense.
Edward Snowden is a free human being, alive on this earth.
He doesn’t need shit, to go anywhere.
He is a living human being, of flesh and blood.
The “nations,” that demand of him a passport, are “hollowed-out cities of the dead.” False, ephemeral entities. Products of temporary group agreements. Borders constantly shifting. Nothing like Real.
Gaze at a globe of today. Then gaze at one of 20 years ago. And one of 20 years before that. Never the same. Never remotely Real.
The “United States,” which has the effrontery to claim Edward Snowden, it is dead as a doornail. It died even as it was born.

Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the Sound. And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away. Until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes—a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held milohis breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder. And as I sat there, brooding on the old unknown world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther . . . . And one fine morning—

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

My colleague and I, one Memorial Day, we buried the United States, for good.
We spoke over it these words.
Or course, none of these words I’ve here inscribed get anywhere near actually moving Snowden from the “prison hotel.”
That’s why the false, ephemeral “nations,” so love the “hollowed-out cities of the dead,” that are the “invisible city,” the “megalopolis,” of the intertubes.
Because people here but furiously gum Cheetos, and pound their keyboards, all day, and all of the night, and when they’ve sufficiently set their hair, and the hair of others, on fire, they think they’ve really done something.
When they haven’t done shit. Except wank into a wet limp bullhorn. That splatters but impotent effluvia, into other Cheetos-stained basements.
I saw Edward Snowden today. He got on the bus.
He wasn’t, of course, the “real” Edward Snowden. But he looked an awful lot like him.
As do 500,000 young slim white boys out there.
Russia has said that it will not turn Snowden over to the US. Of course: Russia has never extradited anybody, to anywhere.
The 500,000 young slim white boys in this country who resemble Snowden, they could travel freely to Russia.
Travel out to the airport, and blend Snowden in with them.
Then, all, move to the border of Russia, to the Black Sea. Move into several hundred, several thousand, boats. Spread out, wild, all over the seven seas.
Which boat has the “real” Snowden?
Who is the “real” Snowden?
Who knows?
All, are:
knights in armor
bent on chivalry
just like honey baby
from the bee
A thought. Anyway.
Ripeness: as all.
Come on.

Closer Now

And so now the Science Men have determined that in the Milky Way galaxy alone there are some 60 billion worlds pregnant with water.

And since the Science Men have previously determined that, where there is water, great wide openthere is life . . . that’s a big heap pile lot of life.

Out of all them 60 billion or so neighbors, who be roiling and boiling with life, wonder some, how come none have ever come on by, this here Terran place, to at least say “hi”?

This: easily answered.

First: why, hoot the testosterone-pumped Star Wars/Alien boogaloos, have none of these neighbors “invaded”?

Because you don’t get to go into space, if you think in terms of “invade.”

Space won’t let you.

That’s just the way it is.

Space, it’s firm, in that way.

“Invasion” an atavist thing, a relict of the cradle. No one who is serious, no one who actually ventures into space, is in any way concerned with such anathema. No more so than with “harvesting” or “exploiting” resources.

That stuff stops, in space. Or, space stops you.

This can be understood very simply. Check the trailer below, from the 1970 documentary film Beneath The Planet Of The Apes. Where, from 0:11 to 0:16, the gorilla commander of the local serial-killers chants: “Invade! Invade! Invade!”

This is what this planet looks like to the 60 billion. And so none of them are even going to even briefly entertain the idea, to visibly come here. As space will never allow, such a de-evolvo, unfortunately alpha and omega, of this present-time planet, to ever get much off the ground.

It’s so small, thinking in this “invade” way. Just because humans have, so often, so far, been about “invade,” why should humans then think that, in all of the vastness of space, it will always inevitably also be about that?

Silly.

Eyes be closed.

Not a chance.

How come, question next, none among these 60 billion neighbors, have “communicated”?

Well, no doubt they have.

But how would humans ever know?

Humans are considered vastly more intelligent than ants. But how the hey would a human “communicate” with an ant? Even if something was achieved that looked like “communication,” from the human end, it would, from the ant end, be so bizarrely out of the realm of Ant Normality, chances are it would not be perceived as “communication.”

So, the same, the neighbors, communicating, with the human inhabitants of this here orb.

Communicating, are they, maybe, with you, right now.

Maybe, just, listen.

And then, question last: how come, these 60 billion neighbors, they haven’t “visited”?

Because, if you do not—as the space-traveling 60 billion do not—think in terms of “invade,” you simply don’t make yourself known to those who do.

No good can come of it.

Maybe you might send along, here andduh there, some helpful something.

Like, say, a monolith.

But nothing traceable. No appearing, say, live, on TV.

I like how, in this Science Man piece, it says that if humans were somewhere else, looking at this here earth, they would probably conclude it was real cold and inhospitable, in places like Brazil and Indonesia. Because those places “read cold” in infrared, due to the cloud cover. But underneath, it’s all about sweltering.

“If you look at Brazil or Indonesia with an infrared telescope from space, it can look cold, and that’s because you’re seeing the cloud deck,” Cowan said. “The cloud deck is at high altitude, and it’s extremely cold up there.”

Proving, yet again, that you never really know. Because machines don’t know shit. You have to actually get there. In your body. Transcend the readings of machines. Touch, taste, smell, hear, see it, for yourself.

For real.

“Man,” said Mordel, “possessed a basically incomprehensible nature. I can illustrate it, though: he did not know measurement.”

“Of course he knew measurement,” said Frost, “or he could never have built machines.”

“I did not say that he could not measure,” said Mordel, “but that he did not know measurement, which is a different thing altogether.”

“Clarify.”

Mordel drove a shaft of metal ice 90downward into the snow.

He retracted it, raised it, held up a piece of ice.

“Regard this piece of ice, mighty Frost. You can tell me its composition, dimensions, weight, temperature. A man could not look at it and do that. A man could make tools which would tell him these things, but he still would not know measurement as you know it. What he would know of it, though, is a thing that you cannot know.”

“What is that?”

“That it is cold,” said Mordel, and tossed it away.

It’s kind of funny that it took the Science Men this long to look for clouds. Which, once they looked for them, caused them to immediately double their estimate of our life-pregnant neighbors.

I mean, clouds are kind of important. Humans figure that out when they’re just kids.

But maybe that’s the problem. It’s one of those things that, when you “grow up,” you forget.

When those of us who are, now, creeping into age, were kids, everywhere, all and every over, all over the globe, both the Science and Religious, then-wisdom, taught, taught that humans, were all alone, in the universe of the world.

There were no other planets.

Anywhere in the universe.

Much less anything that was “life.”

It was just humans.

All alone.

Nah.

We are all going into space. Anywhere we want: we will be.

We are not going in anything even remotely resembling any machine.

Bodies, these, they will come, and they will go. As we please. And we will be very pleased indeed.


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