What Am I Thinking About Now?: Reading, Writing, and The Threat of the Machine Logos

I could give an excuser why I haven’t blogged, but I’m not going to. I just didn’t, maybe my blogging abilities have run dry. I have no real desire to blog and this one may be cut off short because of the way the keyboard is working. You have no idea how many spelling mistakes I’ve made an I know how to freakin type.

A good reason why I haven’t been working on my novel. It’s at a bit of a dry spot at the moment as I have lost some of my fire. Let that be a lesson to you kids, when your working on a scene get it done as soon as possible or you’ll get board. I’ve also tried writing poetry, but at the moment all my poetry seems to be about visions of the apocalypse, which probably says more about my own angsiaties then the Mayan Calander.  Not to say that my novel is all happy fun-times. What started out as a book to bang out my frustrations against the Bush administration has turned into a meditation on the nature of faith in a world that seems to be ruled by evil forces. What is the purpose of God in the world? Why do bad things happen to good people? That sort of thing. As far as my mental health goes, this is not helping. Last night I was up till the wee hours reading “The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and its scientific pretensions,” by David Berlinski, mostly so I could get over the anxiety that is the entire debate. This whole Science+Atheism+Materialism freaks the hell out of me, and the fact that the one guy who knows the most about science is a transhumanist and believes we will be uploaded into machine clouds to live eternally is kind of scary. I find it kind of disturbing why someone would want to do that, it’s to close to playing God for me. There’s also this whole aspect that he’s trying to control human thought, or at least get it so set up that someone else will be controlling my thoughts and I do not feel comfortable having thought police institutionalized. If the human brain is like a computer, like my transhumanist friend says, then it can be reprogrammed like a computer and be put to other uses. As computers do not seem to have independent consciousness, this is not a problem for them, but humans do have an independent consciousness. We can compute independently from outside forces, and by compute I mean imagine, do science and all that. I have difficulty getting this past my transhumanist friend, because I am a writer with a huge influence from William Blake and Alan Moore, I believe the world of the mind has legitimacy of it’s own. I’m sure my transhumanist friend is right and the natural world has it’s own beauty, but there is to much thought on conquering that beauty. From what I can see, science is just as easily used to destroy as it is to create. I can appreciate the natural world without knowing how the whole thing works, and I can appreciate it more without all the money-grubbing bastards drilling up oil only to have it splurt everywhere, or have entire mountains strip-mined. And further more, imagination is just as beautiful as the material world and so far not as ruined by the capitalists and the atheists, though I’m pretty sure these new atheists have no respect for that either. If they have no respect for God then they probably have no respect for the creative process, it’s fruits (especially in our western civilization, where it is all but impossible to truely move away from the Bible as an imaginative source of inspiration. See Dostoevsky, Melville, Ginsberg, compare “Joe Hill” with the story of Christ, and a bunch of other stuff.

Anyways, back to writing. I was worried about becoming known as a science fiction writer. As far as that goes, I think there is supposed to be at least some interest in science and as far as that goes I’m only interested in that as a way of trying to figure out how it can harm us. I do have ideas for science fiction, and I’ll be damned if I’m known totally as a writer of realist or naturalist fiction (though the idea is slightly appealing). I’m just ticked off at science for the most part, mainly since I see scientists as the self-righteous control freaks such as the Catholic Church. They want to stick themselves up as the only way to explain everything. I’m interested in consciousness though, mostly since I don’t understand it and am hoping that it is untouchable by these freaks. Anyways, my point is I don’t want to be known as a science fiction writer, so much as someone who writes something like science fiction. This may not be problem, as science fiction is becoming slightly more accepted in the field of literature, and the fact I’m also trying to become a poet I’m probably going to have that to stand on. Anyways, these worries are probably unfounded and I should get back to working on my novel.

The Nature of Art

I was hanging out, once again, around a bunch of atheist math students when I got into an argument that I did not hold well with in a verbal sense. This was because we were really arguing about Art, and because I associate Art with God and the spiritual world, I got confused. Since I was in all likelihood the only person who believed that a God existed and probably the only one who saw God to be the source of Art. I am also the only person to capitalize Art despite grammatical laws. Anyways, the conversation went something like this

This entire argument got me very upset so I went to talk with my Chaplain. I had had many good conversations with him about God, which for me translates as conversations about life. Before we go anywhere I’m going to give you a brief transcript of the conversation.

Atheist #1: Hey, what does everyone think of Avatar?

Me: Oh ugh, what a horrible movie.

Atheist #1: Well, technically speaking the visual affects where good, but the plot was terrible.

Me: Yeah, but it was a terrible, terrible movie.

Atheist #2: Well, it wasn’t that bad.

Me: Yes, yes it was. Now, if you have a director like Alejandro Jodorowsky, then you’d have something. Anybody here familiar with Jodorowsky? El Topo?

Atheist 3: Oh ugh, what a terrible movie.

Me: No, no. I think Jodorowsky’s El Topo is a better movie then Avatar.

Atheist #3: Nobody understands El Topo.

Me: So?

Atheist #3: So nobody will go and see it?

Me: Why does that matter?

Atheist #3: Because nobody will pay to see it?

Me: That doesn’t mean that it’s not a good movie. What does money have to do with anything?

Atheist #3: If 800 million people go to see it it’s not a good movie?

At this point I’ve come to a hault. I got into a very heated point were I tried to make this about God, which to me it was, but to which the athiests didn’t see that. Athiest 3 did say that he was an artist, but I don’t know if I believe him as of yet.

Now, to explain what it is I should have explained in the argument, Art is a process by which human beings communicate certain concepts to other human beings through methods of symbols. This is fundamentally a magical act, and even if you don’t believe in magic as such, you have to admit that by my definition it’s the closest anyone is ever going to get without sufficiently advanced technology. While I connect the idea of God with this, this is not proof of God’s existence. What Art is, is one of the most fundamental aspects of what makes us human. Which basically brings us to the crux of the argument.

My Position: Art is the most necessary aspect of human development. As such, there are certain responsibilities that make up being an Artist to the rest of humanity. This responsibility is that we must help our fellow human beings. To do this, our Art must not suck. To do that would be to commit a horrible transaction (I might say “crime against the Holy Spirit”).

Athiest #3’s position: Your concept of Art is unrealistic and overly mystified. Give the idiots what they want. If they want to see two and a half hours of “Dances with Mutant Smurfs,” then let them.

So basically, as I talked this all out with my Chaplain, I realized that I was not worried about God as I had previously been, but that I was frustrated on the theories of Art. The fact that in our original conversation I was discussing God only goes to show how seriously I take the idea of Art and the creation of it. As Alan Moore says in Mindscapes, “It is not the job of artists to give the audience what the audience want. If the audience knew what they needed they would be the artists and not the audience. It is the job of the artist to give the audience what they need.” Atheist #3’s comments were an insult to Art, and in my own overlapping social categories thought he was attacking God. Maybe he was attacking God, but he was doing this through his misguided ideas of the nature of Art.