The Underground Lady [Page Twenty-One]

Television is just corporate and government propaganda.

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It may be possible to reintegrate television and other centralized (that is non-internet) media into a non-propagandistic model.  One could see it as a study in cultural detritus, little floating fragments of meaning quite separate from the “forms”—shows, commercials, lead-ins etc.  Detached from their original contexts and sources, these bits would have almost no weight or substance at all, or only in a vague sense.  Then an entire nomenclature of these free floating particles of sense could be devised.  Isn’t this what marketing research analysts have been at work on for decades now? 

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Only by first changing the culture, by deepening and calming it, can we hope to change the medium that still dominates it.  Of course, in a quieter, more intelligent culture, there is every reason to believe that television would not adapt—it would simply vanish through lack of interest.

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The internet, which relies on the principle of maximum participation, requiring the active engagement of many users to function, is far superior to television or radio.  And if the aspect of intertextuality were developed to its fullest extent, it might someday surpass mere printed text, too.  Of course there is an intertextual element to print as well, but it has remained untouched and unused for centuries.

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The seemingly endless discussion amongst the monastics on the inner reflections and counter-reflections of the aspect of the soul—like mirrors shining light off each other so as to keep intensifying it—was the last time the true capacity of the written word was hinted at.  This went on throughout the Middle Ages, with the sonorous voices of the monks echoing to each other, and was succeeded by the individual and its lone voice calling out for its own aggrandizement, beating its breast in the wilderness of self-referentiality.  How pathetic.

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We are all existentialists, no matter what.

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Upon closer inspection, the texts of the monks yield innumerable errors made through restatement and reinterpretation, a situation that we should not seek to correct by untangling the coils, but rather by adding more material to the original, and then snipping off useful bits to employ as separate fragments.  The same method works well with classical authors.

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One can hope that the discovery of the human genome, a single complex object of study around which many minds can record their thoughts and onto which many hands can accrete further data-streams, might yield something similar in scope to the accomplishment of the monks.  Too many scientific discoveries give birth to a form of commentary that begins in a common place, but then goes off in divergent directions, never to re-converge.  This results in some new discoveries, but it also makes one wonder how many more have been missed.  There is far less internal reciprocity to science than most people imagine.

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Lucretius was an atomist, and a brilliant theorist, but in his own time he was rejected and his fellow Epicureans were labeled heretics and degenerates by “good, decent” Romans.  Look at what a short distance we’ve come since then.  We should give up, the suicide whispers, and we are strongly tempted.

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Austerity, detachment, equanimity of spirit—all are expressed here:

                                                  nam quodcumque suis mutatum finibus exit

                                                  continuo hoc mors est illius quod fuit ante.*

Wonderful. 

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The idea of the persistence of substance is the essence of essentialism, so to speak.  One needn’t fear the words “essence” or “substance” so long as they are not accompanied by this meaning.  The real threat from “essence” today is its reconstitution through the corporation.  It has come around to meet us from the opposite direction. 

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We are not only existentialists, we are better existentialists than we realize.

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Death matures us.  We graduate to adulthood through loss.

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* for whatever in changing leaves the bounds of its own nature/this is immediately the death of what was before (De Rerum Natura).

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