Thursday, 2 February 2017

In the Days of the Form Destroyer

Having eyes, ears and a brain, its been hard for me to ignore what's been happening to this country over the last week or so, or - if you prefer - what looks one hell of a lot like it's happening. I'm no longer even going to concede his name, because as any ritually-inclined person will tell you, naming them gives them power. In this case it gives them the power by which I might be summoned against my will to the magic chalk pentagram of a search engine prior to being shot in the head, deported, or shipped off to a labour camp; and it will probably be somehow done in the name of protecting freedom of speech, because I guess that's how it works now.

I think of him as the Form Destroyer. The term comes from the theology of the Intercessor in Philip K. Dick's A Maze of Death, and it seems to fit. The Form Destroyer embodies the universal process of entropy and may just as well stand for evil if you prefer, or Satan in Christian terms. Philip K. Dick characterises evil as the absence of empathy in a number of his novels - which I'm sure was already knocking around as an idea when he came across it: broadly speaking it's a blind spot where one individual either lacks or is otherwise able to ignore intuitive understanding of what it might be like to be in someone else's shoes. In evolutionary terms, it has had its uses in so much as that predators who began to feel sorry for whatever they were about to eat probably didn't last very long, but despite what Ayn Rand and others might have had you believe, we are no longer under any obligation to play that game. As a species, we are mostly able to survive without it being at the expense of someone else, because we have these large brains by which we are able to reason and achieve things without acting like a total cunt. Further to this, back before Richard Dawkins turned into Bernard Manning, he presented a strong argument as to why altruism is a desirable quality in evolutionary terms, so it might even be argued that we, as a species, have evolved better natures and our ability to empathise with those we don't actually know.

At this point, I imagine the voice of toxic Christianity might like to interject with arguments amounting to don't you be trying to tell me about what's written in the bible, boy - although it's not actually an argument so much as the equivalent of the yelping noise made by a dog when you get too near the bone on which it's been working. This is because the voice of toxic Christianity - which is something quite different to that of actual Christianity - responds principally to the use of certain trigger words or ideas in a similarly canine fashion, and responds by puffing itself up and making territorial threats. It does not understand that bullying an argument into silence is different to invalidating that argument because, lacking sophistication, it is unable to empathise, to formulate a mental model in which it compares itself to its opponent so as to understand how a view in opposition to its own could work. It still lives in a world divided into self and non-self, much like an animal. This is additionally why it will tend to phrase its beliefs in terms of unshakable certainty, even if those beliefs are based on only the vaguest hunch of whatever just kinda feels right.

So the Form Destroyer is now in charge, and in only a week it has begun to feel like the end of days. Maybe this actually is the end of days as foretold in the Book of Revelation, and all those people who've been going on about it with such venom have had it all wrong; and before we get to don't you be trying to tell me about what's written in the Book of Revelation, boy, it's true that I haven't read the thing and that's because I don't live in a fundamentalist theocracy so I don't have to, or at least I didn't. Nevertheless, maybe we could have had heaven right here on Earth just as promised, but in invoking the name of the Form Destroyer with such passion over and over and over, they have brought him into being and now we must all suffer. He's here and he'll make everything worse because that's what he does. He will elevate hatred, intolerance and ignorance, and he will teach his throng to revel in these qualities and to take pride in them. There's surely little point in even regarding him as an individual for he is a focus of entropy, the universal force which returns everything to the dust from which it came. He is incapable of a genuinely creative act. It is not in his nature, and he's the guy who decides whether we live or die based on either profit margins or just kinda feels right.

Environmental science is now seemingly valued according to whether it gives the right answer, the one we want to hear, the one which won't interfere with our financial transactions. Last time I checked, we were already pretty much environmentally screwed, and so these times will be looked back upon as the point at which we had a chance to turn things around, or at least to slow the steady decline, but instead we elected to step on the gas and silence the voices of dissent; except who will there be left to even look back upon any of this given that we're turning the planet into Venus?

We really are screwed, but feel free to regard it as one opinion of many if it makes you feel better. I must admit, it would be pretty embarrassing if those science guys were wrong and we saved the planet for nothing.

Civil liberties seem to be vanishing, or at least experiencing significant shrinkage on a daily basis - or if you prefer, certain people seem to have picked up an idea of that being the case for some funny reason. I don't even know how wise it is that I'm writing this because the rules seem to have adapted to a more flexible form. I'm here on a green card. I would like to stay here if at all possible because I genuinely love this country, which is why I dislike what's happening to it in the name of making America great again. It was already great, or at least heading in roughly the right direction. Destroying and undermining everything which has made America great does not make America any more great than a diet of chips, jam and donuts constitutes a fitness regime. Making stupid people who don't understand things happy is not the same as making something great.

Yes, stupid people.

If you don't understand something, then whatever opinion you express in relation to that subject is worthless no matter how much it just kinda feels right. If your opinion in relation to that subject is derived exclusively from the opinions of others or just one side of an argument, then it is worthless. Unless your opinion is informed by some direct experience in relation to that subject, then it probably isn't worth very much; but your biggest mistake is assuming that your stupidity is as valid as another's knowledge. Just because you dislike something, or you have no understanding of it, or you don't even know what it is, that doesn't mean it's necessarily bad or should be subject to prohibitive measures or attitudes.

Nevertheless, I get it. No-one likes to be thought of as stupid, and we've apparently forgotten that actually it's okay to not know something, because if it matters that much, all you have to do is find out about it; and yet people don't, because finding out about things entails learning which can occasionally lead to a discomforting shift or revision of previously held beliefs and opinions, and no-one likes to think of themselves as having been wrong. It's possibly ironic that so many of the demographic of which I speak have spent so long telling the rest of us how political correctness is quite literally destroying their lives, and yet political correctness is really just basic decency, manners, and not being a dick, so it's also why we're apparently no longer allowed to say that people who don't understand things and who don't even want to understand things are fucking stupid; so everybody gets a go. Everybody gets to have their say, and possibly even a cookie and a pat on the head.

You say you hate faggots? Very good. Here you are. Don't forget to brush your teeth afterwards.

I love this country and I love the ideal of free speech by which I am allowed to write these words without fear of investigation by whatever revived House Un-American Activities Committee is doubtless about to spring back up from the underworld of no lesson having been learned. Freedom of speech is guaranteed by the Constitution, arguably with a few minor exceptions, but then there's plenty of stuff guaranteed by the Constitution which seems to have gone out of the window lately, or at least that's how it's looking from here. I'm half inclined to just shut up and get on with it, fearing that agencies hostile to my continued liberty may be taking notes from my social media as they are already doing with others; but maybe all our grousing, whining, and just saying no is the one thing we have left. Maybe they've won when we shut up.

In the meantime I have to live my life without thinking too hard about other occasions when the Form Destroyer was at large upon the face of the Earth, and without thinking too hard about the parallels, because the parallels really are there, regardless of whether I like it or not. If I think about him as the Form Destroyer, the idea seems more abstract and therefore easier to stomach for the sake of my day to day sanity, although I'm not even sure that's a good thing. Above all, because I have the intellectual capacity for consideration of the possibility that I'm either wrong, or simply overthinking it all, or at least the possibility that I'm wrong about how it will all go, then I really hope that I am wrong, and that I'll still be here in a year's time to feel like a fucking idiot. After all, I was wrong about him even getting elected in the first place.

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