Church of Euthanasia

The One Commandment:
"Thou shalt not procreate"

The Four Pillars:
suicide · abortion
cannibalism · sodomy

Human Population:
SAVE THE PLANET
KILL YOURSELF




Snuff It #4


The Age of Simulation

by Rev. Chris Korda

A visionary is one who has visions, one who dreams. Visions are by definition nonverbal experiences, and therefore difficult to communicate. Throughout most of human history, nonverbal experience was shared telepathically, and the atrophy of this ability directly coincides with the end of the Age of Magic.

There is no way to be sure how long the Age of Magic lasted, partly because its time was not linear but mythic, and partly because the continuity and rootedness of Magic-based cultures encouraged oral rather than written history. It is the turmoil of Magic's demise that has inspired people to write their history down; what most people call history is merely the brief and violent history of Industrial Society. The history of the Age of Magic exists, not in libraries or museums, but in the timeless realm of mystical experience, and within all beings who maintain their connection to that realm. As the number of human beings who remain open to spiritual awareness dwindles, entire aspects of this hidden history disappear from human knowledge, to be recovered only laboriously, or perhaps lost forever.

It is possible to communicate visions through any of the nonverbal media which comprise "art," but this requires sensitivity of both the creator and the viewer. Ideally these two are joined as one, if in not in body, then in spirit. Spiritual or Magical art is by definition participational, and encompasses every aspect of life. Unfortunately, sensitivity and "oneness" are qualities that Industrial Society must ruthlessly seek out and destroy, in its effort to create passivity and "sameness." In Magic, the many meet as one, and return to the many: in Industrial Society, the many are crushed, and homogenized into a uniform mass.

Due to the rapid growth of "mass" society, and the resulting loss of participation in the rituals of Magical art, I am obliged to verbalize, and communicate my visions through the written or spoken word. In a mass society only that knowledge which conforms to the inherent laws of mass communication can be kept alive and disseminated. These laws have been explained in great detail by others; suffice it to say that the verbal forms of mass communication require, above all, that knowledge be rational.

Since spiritual knowledge emanates from aspects of reality that are beyond the scope of rationalism, it follows that spiritual knowledge cannot be verbalized except approximately and allegorically. This paradox led early Chinese thinkers to divide reality into two spheres of influence: the spheres of Relative and Absolute Truth. According to this division, all verbalized experience, and by extension all spoken or written communication, is relative, because it depends on the participants' points of view, and on the symbolic language that each participant applies to their observations. Thus Lao-Tze proclaimed in the Book of Changes that "the Tao that has a name, is not the true Tao." Absolute Truth was assumed to be nonverbal, and accessible only though meditation.

This caveat was lost on many subsequent thinkers, including the ancient Greeks. The confusion of reality with words about reality led to insoluble philosophical contradictions, including the conflict between rationalism and empiricism. The empiricists, led by Francis Bacon, held that all knowledge derived from the senses, while the rationalists, led by Descartes, argued that knowledge was acquired by reason alone. The dilemma was brought to a head by Hume, and threatened to undermine the still-delicate foundation of material science. Though Kant eventually negotiated a truce, by ceding mathematics and logic to the rationalists, while claiming the rest for empiricism, the corresponding split between Mind and Body continues to this day. Meanwhile both sides cheerfully extended the mechanical world-view into every human pursuit, and thus laid the foundations of Industrial Society. The result of their zeal is a senseless world in which all truth is relative, and it is to this world, and its mass society, that I find myself attempting to communicate my irrational visions of Absolute Truth, hampered by a lack of spirit, not only in people, but in the language itself.

In spite of these difficulties, I begin by agreeing with Jeremy Rifkin that this is the Age of Simulation. By this I mean that people now accept mediated experience in the place of real experience. This change has taken place in a series of leaps, each corresponding to a technological innovation. The printing press, camera, telephone, radio, television, and computer form a continuum; with each "advance" the simulation becomes more complete. The simulation spreads, by eliminating human capacities it has no use for, while excessively stimulating others; in this sense it behaves like a virus, which replicates by altering the structure of its host. Simulation creates conditions favorable to itself by isolating people from other living beings, by reducing their range of sensation, and especially by narrowing their attention span. Parents and teachers, unable to grasp this, surround children with televisions and computers, and then complain about learning disabilities and "attention disorders."

As Rifkin points out, today's children dismiss someone with the phrase "you're history," and as history recedes, the future becomes equally uncertain. Unlike the Iroquois, who considered the impact of their deliberations on the next seven generations, today's leaders plan no further than their reelection. Obsession with an ever-changing present destroys continuity: the cycles of gradual change so essential to biological and spiritual health, are shattered into furtive, splintered motion. Calculus becomes a way of life, as matter, energy and even time are quantized into ever-smaller units. The search for irreducible elements conceals the desire to standardize, to make things uniform and interchangeable; humans seek total control, to avoid the disorder that their control-lust creates.

Through simulation, humans seek not only to concentrate all their knowledge in the present, but to use that knowledge, as power to transform the present, ever more quickly. Thus while the stated goal of technological "progress" is increased efficiency, which by itself seems beneficial, the concealed goal is to use that efficiency, not to reduce waste, but to go even faster. Yesterday's model is discarded, efficient or not, and as the speed of development increases, more and more of earth's structure is consumed, and dissipated as waste and heat. This dissipation is entropy, or unrecoverable energy.

Entropy describes not only energy loss, but also the tendency of order to expand and decay into chaos. On a universal scale, chaos, like death, is inevitable, but "progress" towards it can be slowed down, or even reversed, if only temporarily. Life itself is a miracle of negative entropy: chaos evolves, in a harmony of self-sustaining changes, and the monoculture of primordial nothingness, over eons of time, becomes biological diversity. Humans try to mimic nature's feat, and succeed in creating short-term order and complexity in one place, but only at the price of creating long-term chaos and loss of diversity somewhere else. In this way a forest, which for practical purposes would have lasted forever, is traded for consumer goods that will last a few years, or for packaging, to be discarded immediately. Similarly, America's Great Plains, once built for eternity, generate riches for a time, but meanwhile the topsoil washes into the sea, never to return. Shifting sand demonstrates high entropy; the expanding man-made deserts are a grim reminder that Industrial Society's goal is not to "steward" the earth, or even sustain life on it, but to use it.

But use it for what? Simulation continues to masquerade as convenience, or as novelty, but its object has always been to replace reality. This is now openly acknowledged in the term "virtual reality." Just as the mechanical world-view permitted standardized information to be collected, and centralized as surveillance, so that surveillance now permits the assimilation of reality by machines. The process is destructive and one-way: as aspects of reality are reduced to commodity, and assimilated as data, they are disfigured and erased. This is illustrated by nature shows, in which extinct species live on, as stored information. (1)

Simulation concentrates mental energy at the expense of the physical. The resulting imbalance exhausts the body, making assimilation more urgent. The virtual reality is an out-of-body experience, and the mind must free itself of the body, or lose its war of secession. Industrial Society attempts to extend the body's life, or even replace it, through bionics and genetic engineering, but these efforts only cause more disruption, and divert energy from healing the split between Mind and Body. As the mind abandons the body, entropy begins to manifest itself in devastating syndromes, such as AIDS and cancer. The split is a belief system, and can be unlearned, to varying degrees; thus true healers consider belief to be their single greatest obstacle.

Humans have been usefully compared to cancer, but it is a mistake to assume that cancer is genetic in origin, and that humans are therefore inevitably programmed to destroy the planet. It is the mechanical world-view of Industrial Society which is destroying the planet; humans are merely the agents by which this world-view is applied. In this sense the cancer is ideological, and humans cannot be blamed for the desecration, anymore than a dreamer can be blamed for a nightmare. Though irreversible, the desecration is preventable, and can be stopped at any time, so it is not a question of blame at all, but of how to wake the dreamer, without further injury.

The ideological cancer has its roots in humanism, the Sophist idea that "man is the measure of all things." Goethe's followers built on this notion to create their pyramidal "levels of being," with humans at the top, a chosen species for whom all was created, and without whom all would have no meaning. When Europeans arrived in the New World, this hierarchy of consciousness was their chief ideological export; it was poorly received by the First People, who in general saw themselves as part of a larger organism, and no better, or worse than any other living thing. (2)

Humanism views man as the super-ape, who seeks to bend nature to his will through the use of his reason. The next logical step is to the super-man or trans-human, who seeks to liberate his reason from the biological limitations of nature, and thus achieve immortality. The cancer, faced with the immanent death of its host, makes plans to escape, by building machines and transferring itself into them. The danger is not that humans, in the grip of their nightmare, will actually build machines capable of self-awareness and interplanetary conquest, but that in attempting this folly, they will damage the earth so severely that life will no longer be possible, even for humans. (3)

The Hopis saw Industrial Society in visions, thousands of years ago, and though they did not always comprehend these visions at the time, they preserved them in the form of prophecies, which only now begin to make sense. An example is their prophecy that there would be cobwebs spun back and forth in the sky. This can be understood not only as a reference to power lines, but also to the trails of light made by our ground and air vehicles, as revealed in time-elapse photography. (4) These changes in perception illustrate the Hopi's ability to shift their awareness, in this case from fleeting human consciousness to the slower vibrations of the vegetable and mineral worlds.

The Hopis are well aware of the power of dreams, and they know that our illness is a matter of the heart. They have also recognized the many signs that the illness becomes terminal, and have repeatedly attempted to warn the world through the United Nations, finally succeeding in 1992. The signs have included earthquakes and drastic changes in weather patterns, as well as Mother Earth "crying" through the formation of crop circles. These are symptoms not only of deforestation and massive extinction of species, but of geological damage to the earth. Mining in general, and particularly mining of radioactive materials, is seen as a direct assault on the planet, and on its magnetic balance and weather. By spewing waste into the air and water, humans poison the planet's blood, but by digging precious things from the land, humans injure the vital organs of a living organism, and invite disaster, for all beings. The Hopis are sworn to protect the treasures that lie beneath them. In victory or defeat, they stand for the ultimate truth that earth is sacred.

1. It is truly ironic that humans regain their long-lost oneness only in mass hallucination. The experience is collective because its source is not the diversity of organic life, but the technological monoculture. (back)

2. This is illustrated by Lakota hunters, who left a piece of their flesh at the spot where an animal was killed, as a symbol of their indebtedness, and as a reminder that through death, came life. Even if modern man left fingers in fast-food restaurants, the ritual would be empty; the killing is not done by him, but anonymously, by remote control. (back)

3. This danger is often downplayed by technological utopians; books such as Third Wave and Futureshock present the soft side of trans-humanism. By comparison, the libertarian trans-humanists, also known as Extropians, speak openly of "downloading" human awareness into machines, gutting other planets, and turning the universe into a cyberspace. (back)

4. The film Koyaanisqatsi, which explored this discovery, takes its name from the Hopi word for disintegration, crazy life, or a state of life that calls for another way of being. Commuters are compared to sausages flowing through a packaging plant, and a rocket launch becomes the ultimate symbol of Industrial Society. (back)


Wisdom

Earth and sky
Hear my song
I am weary
And the way is long
The wind is wild
And the waves are rough
Give me wisdom
Make me strong enough
To swim that sea
To crawl up that shore
To breathe deep and stand
And find out who I am
To reach high and climb up
To find my place
To be
To live my life
To love
And be loved
To die
Peacefully
In heaven
Above

-Chris Korda


 prev  ·  index #4  ·  next 

 top  email the Church of Euthanasia