So, the castle seems like a good enough symbol of the alternate future – more like a turreted ranch, I suppose. It’s not real, it’s a vision; I know that sounds absurd but, if you think about it, a real-estate merchant might view any stretch of land as fit for building on. If there were no National Parks, how long do you suppose that land would last? Trump would probably be itching to “give the economy a boost” with breeze-blocs down them hills.
That is, or would be, reality. By contrast, National Parks are visionary (Theo Roosevelt). A vision is related to irrational urges, dreams of vagrant forest breezes, the bark of a grey wolf. The ways of thinking are completely at odds; you can build a ranch in a National Park because it has to fit the meta-imagery of grassland and horses. Well, as of now you can’t build a ranch in any National Park; it’s just an image in the mind’s eye. It’s a strong image, though; a vision is strong, reality is weak. From this perspective, the entire political class is weak; they are the spokespeople for the economists who are also weak.
If it’s a class thing then it doesn’t really matter who you choose; it’s better to go your own way, build your own castle from the white conifers. Sounds like hard work, so it might be advisable to also take some time out, take along a few old films. A good one might be Cocteau’s original version of Belle et la Bete. I happen to know a bit about this, so here are a few notes.
BELLE ENTERING CASTLE
Cocteau is a true visionary, and sets were constructed with an illusionist’s zeal. Black drapes galore rendered the Beast’s castle a movable mystery of upended teapots and roving eyes. The Beast’s riches, the key to his destiny, are stored in a classical Pavilion Meanwhile, at Belle’s farmhouse, the economy of scene evoked by flapping sheets hung out to dry is a marvel. Belle needs no backstory, she is just.. Belle. A few words spoken to the Beast’s magic charger Magnificent and it neighs away. It’s the sleight of hand that is enriching.
I don’t wanna diss modern films (a lot), it’s just that there is an unconscious richness in the sheer simplicity of images. Rose petals, the beauty that fades, the dim shades of the drawing room. Cocteau is brutally simple and at the same time brings in some classical allusions – the statue of Diana the huntress who shoots Avenant with an arrow, turning him into a Beast and freeing Ardent. That powerful simplicity tells you more than any amount of sophistication.
Like a lot of fairy tales, the melancholy is made richer than just emotion. The unreality of fairy tales in a way makes them seem truer. Here we arrive at the two different types whose ways of thinking are so at odds. The themes of Belle et la Bete are bloodlust, desire, death, regeneration. Cocteau’s imagery is a marvel of economy. There is a fantastic amount of sense in that story depicting an organic world that is as unmodern as you can get.
A world is built by a vision, and this goes back to Kirby (CH 6, New Gods).
New Gods #9, © DC 1972
What is it that an ant holds in its subconscious as it scurries about the anthill? Vision. It’s something archetypal and simple, and at the same time very subtle. The same goes for any traditional society; without the visionary simplicity there’s nothing there. Rien du tout.
There is a lot of nonsense, though. Ritual formulas for living and working (see New Med 1; previously LA’s If in Alternates 2). Ritual formulas that have lost their meaning have lost the Dionysian urge for living. It's like you can't make sense out of DNA because DNA is complete nonsense. Now, you'll catch me there and say that's wrong, but it's not wrong! DNA is not a vision, it's a ritual formula and so there are a lot of facts.
This applies to politicians; they are a “type” who deal in facts. It applies to economists and a lot of Silicon Valley. They're strong on fact and weak on psychology. A society with a strong psychology has far fewer facts and is held together by a vision (Alternates 5). You may baulk at this; modern societies work, have advanced cures an so on. I don't deny any of that, I just say that in the final analysis a strong psychology is preferable to a weak one. I'm no politician and am not here to bandy words. I'm not dealing in facts, only types. There are those of a certain disposition who will be attracted by a free, psychologically strong society living an Apollonian vision in all its decrepitudes.
It's not meant to attract all; it's grotty and fairly filthy but has a freshness in place of the sterile moderns. I know this sounds sweeping; I was reading Taki the other day who, as a Trump supporter, was trying to make sense of him. Don't bother! The political class is senseless. The most blatant example seemed to be Marine le Pen, who changed her anti-euro stance after her defeat. They are all following the herd to the labyrinth.
Only old-timers or classic symbols have sense, which brings in an old favorite, CC Beck (of Captain Marvel). CC was an old-school cartoonist even by the standards of the 50s, and was always coming up with truisms you could quote 19 to the dozen, as befuddled with modernity as others seem to be (LA, J-L Godard, Bardot, HE).
This has been going on for hundreds, thousands of years.. I went to a show one time, put on by the Container Corporation of America, and all they were showing was empty containers and telling how this one sold better than another one....They’re selling teacups instead of the tea. And, of course, it’s in evidence today. They have no-caffeine coffee, and no-tar cigarettes, and no-cal drinks, and no-salt this and no-sugar that, and you’re just buying a container with an inert filler in it. (TCJ 95, 1985)
”Crusty Curmudgeon” (TCJ 95)
So, like, we have mocha of mocha and lots of street-cleaning. If you lived in a medieval castle you'd be cleaning all day and it would still be dirty; or like Belle scrubbing the farmouse floors when she's propositioned by Avanent. That's because the lifestyle is eco-cultural, living off irrational desires to be wild and free. By contrast, cleaning a sterile environment is literally doing nothing (the appearance of something).
That's just one of Beck's quotes that holds true. I'll get onto the others in due course. Just on this one, though, you'll see that the lifestyle as such is sterile and so, if you want the urge, the lust for living, there would have to be an alternative. One that holds some resemblance to fairy tales of yore.
To bolster the backstory, it might be worth going into what seems to be “the case against Lamarckianism”, since this is a view of evolution that would fit with the idea of a vision as a consequence of the world of action - dynamic balance and symmetry. The case against it seems to be that DNA is a plausible mechanism for Darwinian random evolution. So, ok, there’s no vision in DNA. That’s because it’s full of facts, many of them nonsensical.
If a vision is held, where would it be held, subconsciously or unconsciously? DNA, because it’s factual, attracts the factologists. To be frank, the idea that our primeval ancestors, living out aeons in some savannah dreamland, toiling with flint and stone, digging for roots, the idea that the dream had no bearing on their development, well, they must take us for mugs.
Yes, the dream has a bearing, and lusts, and there is a vision, and every pack has a leader. The idea there has to be a mechanism for this in DNA is absurd. DNA is just a technique; it has no vision. One has to break free of the techno-verse if it’s there solely to subjugate and obscure our higher vision. For some remarks on “higher truths” see CH 5.
The unfolding of a bird’s wings is a case in point. The feathers unfurl, flapflap, the wings stretch out, it’s highly rhythmic. The bird flexes its body, the wings flap in coordinated motion, it’s airborne. It’s dynamic as it weaves through the air, it has balance and symmetry. As it lands on a branch it might have poise. A kingfisher might have elegance as it swoops to catch and dives into the deep lagoon, and skill at killing as it emerges from the deep with prey in beak.
Not a morsel of that is in DNA. No, there is no vision in DNA. If a ballet dancer is exercising their pointe d’arches, they have a mechanism. There always is a mechanism; a rolling stone has a mechanism. The fact that DNA has a mechanism isn’t relevant as it’s the higher mechanisms that count; the dynamic balance of the body. It comes from a dream of the universe, a property of matter.
The higher truths are simpler and visionary. To be obsessed with DNA is a sign of an inward-turning, inert world. The action-packed outer world is simpler, stronger and also truer, ruder.
Conan, © BWS
The world of action is a primordial one of male and female. It’s not a progressive onE (see CH 1 on Howard). Symbols have to be simple because they have to be meaningful. As BWS said of his 1970s prints, “They are practically heraldic” (CH 2).
From the point of view of symbols, DNA is millions of times less relevant than the dream of the universe. What do I mean by the dream of the universe? That, instead of obeying the subliminal orders of the established media to view DNA as some sort of super-science, you turn your perspective round 180° to stare outwards. Then you will see the world of action, the eagle souring in cloudless sky, the buzzard alighting on branch of pine, the grey wolf slinking low. All these things have the universe in common with us; we are their kin.
That world also contains meta-imagery, and relates to human desires. There are two alternate futures here. One is all so predictable (Alternates 5), the other isn’t predictable but is millions of times more meaningful because it relates to the meta-imagery or the universe as a whole. We humans have infinitely more in common with a hawk than we do with DNA; its souring sense of freedom, its predatory gaze, its sleek down.
The universe as a whole is evolutionary, not DNA. The perspective is 180° different, and that takes us into the world of action that Man the warrior (or hunter, farmer, poet) belongs to. The alternate futures, then, you could say are 180° apart, one being outward bound, free and psychologically strong; the other being inert and psychologically weak, though very ordered, more or less a robosphere (DNA and algorithms rule).
At this point, words are no longer enough as this could seem like baloney so, simply put, there are two alternate futures. One is inward-turning, inert and weak and is leading to a robo-future (Metamorphosis). The other is wild, active and a lot of the content is visionary. The higher mechanisms have everything to do with the property of matter, the dream of the universe. Rudolf Nureyev, muscularity and poise, the sexual elegance of toned muscle in flight, Man. Woman. The mechanical ease of feminine physique. The dream, the higher truths, require an establishment so I hereby propose a Council for Action.
Even though there is a lot of material here, some things are pretty simple. What is required is a non-political space (territory) that frees irrational urges. The main urge or desire is to create and nurture pioneer-style settlements. This inspires an Apollonian vison of order (see Alternates 8 para 8). Basically, that is a mantra that can be recited; it’s not rational, it’s irrational. This is a rebellion against the false Apollo of order. A lot of the material here is against the false Apollo, which is essentially robotic.
Anything else are processes that have to be ironed-out. Any retaking of a large territory has a potential for war, so that has to be countered effectively. As I said in Alternates 5, an alliance with Indian nations is key. It’s crucial that they start following the buffalo herds, because that establishes an eco-culture in the National Park (Yellowstone).
It can’t just be an invasion of vague idealists as that would swiftly be stamped-out by federal authorities. It has to be an established way of life, a revival. The Indians are trailblazers, and the Council for Action would have to coordinate propaganda and movement of pioneer settlers. Basically people who wish to escape from political reality to a simpler time.
The establishment of wilderness order is another key factor, particularly as there may be a standoff with federal authorities. All this needs a lot of coordinating and cool heads. There has to be complete confidence in the project of a stateless society or it has no chance of success.