Monday, June 19, 2006

la vita e bruta

Recently my thoughts have turned again to the Unabomber manifesto and especially his discussion of sublimated activities. I sincerely recommend you bite the bullet as it were and read his full text, it certainly is worth it, but to try to put what he means in a nutshell, he is suggesting that increased technological progress is making us all very very unhappy. One way in which this occurs, the way i have been thinking about recently, is the sublimation of our basic need fulfilment:
We dont hunt for our food, we go to the supermarket and prowl around choosing what cereal to get.
We dont sit in the sun, we sit inside and type stuff on blogs.
We dont socialise, we drive around in metal boxes and beep at each other.
We dont get angry about things, we write letters to Members of Parliament.
We dont work for two hours a day and then relax, we work ten hours a day and spend the rest of the time worrying about what we didnt do.
We dont build a house, we wait for somone to give us one.
We dont look after ourselves, we expect the state to do that.

Reading a book recently, my thoughts were taken in a new direction. Our attitude towards death and indeed the sheer brutality of life is hugely sublimated, by the desire to avoid dealing with things in the misguided hope that thet go away.
NOTE: They never do. And deep down you know that too.

+ Geling Yan

The blood on white silk was truly a beautiful sight to behold. Aside from those who had fallen early and been dragged off by an outstretched hand from the crowd, everyone was gushing blood.

The hands of the foreign women were shaking so hard they could no longer adjust their lorgnettes. The men were drinking nonstop, the alcohol instantly converted to sweat, bathing faces that started out red and ended up white. The hairs on the arms gripping the balcony railings were standing on end, trembling like sagebush before a storm.

As fewer and fewer fighters remained on the square, the arena seemed to expand. Their shouts were hoarse now and they staggered with every move. A severed hand lay on the ground, its palm offered up to the sky.

Not many remained on the balconies. This little encounter with the Chinese had left them depressed. Someone whispered the death count. Someone laughed coldly and said, Too bad we didn't get to see a head with a queue rolling across the ground. But the laughter was clearly forced.

The Lost Daughter of Happiness

And later:

Moreover we don't share the zeal of the Gold Rush nowadays. We lack our ancestors' faith in gold. Even though you had nothing, you were confident, and we no longer share that irrepressible confidence. In our inexplicable depression, our response to the attainment of any goal is: So what? This does not prevent us from trying to make money, but the passionate determination to survive is gone.


We are no longer as goal-orientated or self-directed as our predecessors. We cannot even find direction in fighting discrimination. It comes concealed in too many different forms now; it is too subtle, to sophisticated. It is almost like an illusion, there one minute, gone the next, not like in your day, when it came in the form of thugs chasing and beating us up and people like Da Yong had no trouble finding and taking them down.

We don't know how to fight any more. We have no outlet for our hatred and rage. We have no concrete enemy. The white faces around us all smile in the same typical way, a far cry from chasing and beating. So we don't know what to do.

What other recourse is there but cynicism?


Blogger but what is his middle name said...

This link may

be of interest.

10:41 pm  

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