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Sunday, 12 June 2022

Addiction Eyrie: The Viral Mint

Man is probably not a machine, but he behaves as such in a situation where the machines impose his operating rules. Indeed, the progress of technology should not be understood as necessarily being the progress of mankind: far from it, they are not accompanied by a progress of thought, reflection and responsibility, since they eliminate their intervention and even often make them impossible.
—Günther Anders

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Home is too familiar and being away always alienates. Alienation can be romantic. Without the romance. I usually long for home when away from it, but a bizarre bed and bath is better than bupkis. A fake free star accommodation provides the respite of exotic solitude not found in either. Home is too familiar and being away always alienates.
 
Whatever variation on the theme, it's unfailingly wrapped in foil. The wrapping is protection. From dust, though that'd be a bad sign in a hotel room. From the germs on the gem placer's fingers, though we've fingered each others' fingers as an extension of cordiality, to a fault, most of us, without thinking about washing immediately after. Years ago an acquaintance of GDR extraction remarked annoyed that it was no wonder so many co-workers would inevitably fall victim to whatever cold virus was currently going around, because they'd shake hands with everyone every single morning. I noticed this distinction between former east and west employees at the workplace. You cannot foil an illness with that kind of hands on collegiality. But forgoing the prevailing culture can be downright rude.
 
I centered the pillow prize on that book left behind in the bedside table drawer. Nudging to fudge this complement into a relationship resembling an ankh, I amused myself with the thought of unwrapping it instead and closing it into the pages the way one does to preserve the luck of the Irish. How this sweet tempered circle would blot a random sect of text and lead the next guest tempted to open such a book on a superstitious quest to find the obscured words to complete the passage. This would certainly reveal the single central meaning of life to determine the next move of the Discoverer of.
 
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While it's too easy to chalk up individual violence to the availability of the tools for the same, it's silly to say said tools don't have their role to play. Still, a background check to ensure the safe transfer of tools involves a kind of case prevention that would be a drop in the bucket compared to the larger issue of an individual's will to use tools to kill in a way virtually no other individual would consider considering. And this against the backdrop of a sovereign state that transfers a scaled up version of that destructive power around the world with greater non-partisan approval than it debates any of its other self-claimed responsibilities. In other words, it's a drop in one pail of water from the well.
 
That these horrors are anomalies could be why they reportedly make such waves of incomprehension. That they hit home is why they reputedly capture the imagination — not in the captivating sense, but in a way that holds the imagination captive as the anomalies accumulate and take on another quality. In spite of all the odds in their favor, I cannot imagine most parents who send their children off to school every day don't imagine they might fall victim to a single attendant of mass destruction. So I can also imagine they'd feel safer if that one wayward whim, who they imagine is able to get any tool with the ease of the licensing of the driver, had a hurdle placed in front of him, imagining, as I am now, that even if only in the most rare of instances, one just as randomly might decide not to carry out one's rampage because of the extra effort required. Or just kind of forget one'd wanted to.
 
Put this way it sounds absurd insofar as it's a poisonous drop that will find it's way into the water supply eventually. Or maybe not. Maybe one out of however many such ostensibly wayward whims are suffering a temporarily intense emotional response that would evaporate into the ether of post-pubescence once they had time to reason, join the Army, and never return home to use his driver's license.
 
Or all such anomalies are demons. This is a symbolic allusion to something whereby the human capacity for empathy is damaged at a level resulting in having what seemed like an anomaly becoming endemic to human nature. To use another biblical metaphor, imagine one person's values entail the worship of mammon. Any violence that accompanies this fixation is unique to criminals of the state, for the state has its monopoly on legal violence ostensibly to secure what belongs to the individuals who make up that state.
 
But wait. What if society's values are sanctioned by the same fixation and agents delegated by the same state can secure special access to this mammon? I've read this results in a sort of era independent Roman rot.
 
The current iteration sees structural bruises untaken for their rotten values. That these could be to the detriment of others has been an issue for advertising and entertainments. See the hippy in an SUV clear the beach of all its plastic waste. Watch the athlete doing vaguely identifiable community center stuff with families in his hometown not seem entirely out of place with a soothing voice-over speaking some slogan for booze. Observe the sublimated patriot imply that, yes, Virginia, you can do the feel-good patriotism, equal opportunistically smiling behind the greenish glow of your army's radar or even snagging the helm of the battleship whose one-time sci-fi-like progress need not person the guns. Think of that the next time you hear a witness of some traumatic tragedy say it was all "like a movie". Don't get it? Don't worry, we'll tell you when it's safe to stroke your apps to place your bets or invest in something called crypto. By branding alone we prove we would like to think something else, whatever 'tis we're apparently compelled to do ourselves.
 
Anyone not feeling so good might feel effectively branded something else. The difference between our youngest legal warrior wasting unarmed non-combatants and a delinquent gunning down school children: one year, ten thousand miles, the number of meetings and the amount of paperwork, and the flavor of sanctioning that can't see the solution for the drops. Whoops. You're soaking in it. Surroundings.