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Sunday, 12 September 2021

Hwutsit Buddablip

Most recently in the middle of my breathing exercises, I believed to have recognized a pattern of thinking that's standardized in my process of decision making. Or not decision making.

It seemed that when left to my own devices, my breath would follow one of four patterns relative to each other by depth and rate. I recognized this when, quite unconsciously, I cast them into four regions of a quadrant upon the binocular darkness behind my mind's eyelids. I immediately sensed I'd just got a glimpse of being witness to something I do as a matter of course.

I don't have any other examples to test that sense, but I also have the feeling that I cannot be responsible for my interpretation of it. It reminds me of another time I projected light along this side of the black screen.
 
Already decades ago now, I was doing this bedtime routine where I would do as I'd do when going to sleep, but instead I'd sit upright and balance myself in as relaxed a state as is possible when sitting upright, so that my head would jerk me awake if I nodded off. I wouldn't call it meditation though it looked like it and did have a tendency to elicit a certain state. This was how on a couple of occasions I had either a vision or visual hallucination, which, in short, was spiral display of tiny chains of light in and around the confines of my skull.
 
It began with what appeared to be a blip. Then another. I'd soon see each light as an impulse, but like a binary switch, each along a chain, each in response to the one that preceded it. The impulse would either illuminate, or stay dark but pass the signal on to the next. Segments would take on colors according to the pattern of the last several in the chain. The colors would trigger a response that either made a sharp turn or branched off into another chain that continued in parallel but occasionally in the opposite direction.

Not long into it, I identified branches of light whose origins I construed had been triggered by my recognition of the initial phenomenon and then more upon the recognition of the recognition and so on. My focus of observation seemed also to determine the rate at which the tale end of each streak of light would fade as it went, or when individual blips in the fading row would intermittently with my peek here or there flicker up to the brightest position.
 
The experience was so alluring that I feared an acknowledgment of its depth of meaning would snap me out of it, in the way something as routine as a dream of flying might devolve into a dream about not being able to fly the moment I declare, "I'm really flying," So I made a concerted effort to observe without too much focus, though I had no idea what I was doing. Sort of low-key albeit desperate grasping while not grasping at straws of my own imagination.

Anyway, my interpretation now foists upon my interpretation then that this light display was an advance look at the computatonal work behind the logic of the quadrants that would come.

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Herewith belatedly I pay respect to the defaulty towers of the collective recollection of history. Once again it's a kind of porn that impregnates the special editions, with scores of stories from one score ago, merely, so in terms of historical perspective, barely any can be found. It's buried beneath the rubble of an opportunity that's under a pile of opportunistic bullshit.
 
That people have their thing to work through is not in dispute here. Each has his or her own way of coping and I cannot claim it could or should be any other way. However, a vow not to forget can take on so many forms, foremost of which I observe the redoubling of a refusal to learn.
 
In what seems like weeks ago already, though probably only a couple, the remembrance porn smacked me in the face when it made its way into my paper of choice. After several days of 9/11 branded content, they "launched an appeal" to their readers to share their memories.

Without going into too much detail, I just wanna say that my immediate reaction then was to the immediate reaction. The same image recounted by almost every story I read now was that of the image on a television screen. The stories in like manner contextualize the experience thus. "Like everyone else I was glued..." etc. Transfixed. Hypnotized. Petrified. You have no choice.

"Horseshit!" I thought at the audio that accompanied the imagery everyone has described, which encapsulated the ultimate obliviousness to irony, yet was as predictable as ever, derived of American exceptionalism pure. This, it was declared, was an unprecedented event that would immediately and forever demarcate time and change the course of history. Part of that prediction would be demonstrably true, the child's play of personal prophesy, the default setting of self-importance. From now until the real end of history we will observe the reference marks of this set of numbers, even if its initials haven't reached Christ status.

I took issue with the "never before" aspect that would eventually prove me as correct in my view as it would everyone else in theirs. It was the first preemptive strike in the coming chain of events that began the narrative that said history is no longer a chain of cause and effect. It said that this was an outlier to be allowed no context. Circumspection was blasphemous.

Of course, this was predictable, was my reaction. It was as easy to foretell as its looming result. Its pattern's played out. And indeed it did do. But a controlled narrative has a way of diminishing details that would shed light on a subject that doesn't serve the narrative, which rose to the level of the most absurd dare when I  heard the claim that America had lost its innocence that day. 

I won't diminish details that are inconvenient to my own narrative here. Conveniently enough for me there are not too many. We kept our appointments that day, which included a performance on the radio at noon and a cd release concert later that night. Stephanie released hers that night, too, and played a rendition of the following, which I dedicate to the nameless casualties of history's unmentionable causalities.
 
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Monday, 6 September 2021

Taliban Claim Control of News

The word "function" can be understood to mean "purpose" and vice versa. Like, you will read about the "function of democracy" in spite of the fact that those who truly believe in democracy at the bottom of their hearts probably believe it has a purpose, which would be their purpose. Then there's the function of "any good democracy" should we have any doubt about the purposes that might come by way of the results.

But function really does just mean function whereas purpose is when intention is applied to the desired outcome of a function. More simply put, a function is a way to get there. I would think then that function trumps purpose in the cold hierarchy of computation, but is it possible to calculate the relative value of a function versus its purpose? That depends on the value, of course.

Afghanistan is an interesting example of what's been said to be a miscalculation of purpose, conveniently enough here, in going in, in carrying it out, and in withdrawing. The reason words like mistake and miscalculation (and blunder and debacle and failure) get my ire is that they obscure intent by carrying the water for anyone whose intent was anything but the one being implied in the use of the word synonymous with the stated error. It cannot see the function for the purported purpose and therefore cannot see the purpose.

The apparent differentiated view vis a vis the takeover of the Taliban is one that is too reasonable to take on. The reasonable differentiation involves an admission that, yeah, the takeover was part of the calculation, it was the rapidity that was a surprise. We can leave aside for a moment the American president's initial insistence that it wouldn't happen at all. But to take on "miscalculation" here would be to ask the question "Why would anyone withdraw as was done with full knowledge that the airport would be taken over before they got out?"  While not unanswerable, it's limited to the realm of nearly unprovable conspiracy theory (i.e. unprovable in the area of the thing we have come to call consensus reality): stuff like "psy-ops".  So I'll take it on good faith that the coordination of the withdraw involved miscalculation. At least in humoring my lesser good sense.

But let's look at the mission itself, and the calculations that went into it. I believe it is important to consider that when any group of individuals are making decisions, not everyone representing the group is moved by the same set of motivations. There is certainly enough overlap to keep it coherent as presented by public relations personnel, but even their motivation is unique. None of this means that most of the group is completely ignorant of all the calculations, but sometimes the stated desires behind them differ.

When the Carter administration began arming and training the Afghanistan mujahideen, it was according to official doctrine in the hopes of keeping Afghanistan free from Soviet influence. But if we're to believe President Carter's NSA advisor Brzezinski, it was with a mind to draw them into Afghanistan to begin with. He eventually bragged about it. Yet an interesting tidbit you get from former security establishment types and intelligence advisors who go on to favorable publishing deals is that Carter was caught off guard by the invasion. The very best good faith based interpretation of this version of history would be that Brzezinski had gotten a bit full of himself in his latter years. One cannot know for sure, but Brzezinski's revision if it is one sure does follow the "war is a racket" axiom even if that little detail is not required to make it so. 

In other words, the discrepancy in calculations between one guy in the oval office versus anyone else among his set of advisors who help get decisions done does not preclude that American action in Afghanistan followed the simple Cold War model, which was to establish business friendly client states. Note that this says nothing about being people friendly, which also means that business friendly doesn't mean friendly to your particular business or anyone else not included in that particular business plan, and when you factor in recent and not so recent decisions that clear bigger businesses of liability for, say, any harm come to minor mineral miners or human rights abuses delivered by their contracted security detail, or the public-private protection of their client state's client state, then, of course, this is not an employee friendly arrangement by any stretch of the imagination. Not that I think anyone would imagine a business friendly client state would be. Which miscalculation am I missing?

Taken in good faith (and why not Jimmy Carter's "one of the good Christians" after all), it could be that the calculation as to whether or not the Soviet Union would invade Afghanistan was secondary to having Afghanistan prepared for the invasion either way. Nevertheless, if you look to the origins of Bin Laden's crew and the subsequently so-named Al Qaeda, it is worth noting that the American establishment were well aware who they were training and arming in the late 1970s long before the Taliban would, as would eventually be claimed, harbor them. They knew they were extreme in their religious ideology to the point of punitive violence. And a full two decades later  (coincidentally two decades ago) the official calculation was to remove the Taliban from power even though they had been a convenient ally right up to the very day that became the casus bellie for the "global war on terror". Or an inconvenient ally. It depends on who you ask, i.e. who is doing the calculation.

So again, and again, and again (ad nauseum! ad nauseum!) we read about blunders and mistakes and miscalculations that forgo by default a closer examination into those who profited from the accredited cockups, and the influence they maintain over this diverse group decision making process. And it's funny, though right in line with the cognitive dissonance coping mechanism of those who assume they are the ultimate apex predator. As if any one of us might be an exception to the rule of chaos.

In short, the question is whose calculation? If it's to forever be taken on good faith that it's the one debated and promulgated that was the prime factor, whereby the discussion remains firmly about good intentions of questionable competence or short-sightedness, then, yeah, it's more about myopic miscalculators than meddling miscreants. But if we were to apply the same skeptical approach that has led us to the consensus reality that increasingly, still, lobbyists ghostwrite our laws with an entirely different calculation than the one being debated in congresses and parliaments, then we might begin to be able to "smoke out" the purpose that goes into decisions related to "defense policy" — right up to and including when it is appropriate to report that someone is "at war" and whether this would be as a result of someone else's business policy.

In terms of writing the history from which the future is to benefit, I would think that at some point, when various groups of people seem to have failed to learn from their mistakes, that it would be a solid idea to examine the stated intentions of the repeated mistake makers in less good faith. In the matter of war, rather than seeing the profiteer as but an appendage secondary to the primary motive, consider the equation the other way around and then see any remaining miscalculator for what he is: A useful tool for people who just want to make some goddamn money. A client state actor. A representative of a compliant state of consciousness, who given the right set of miscalculations, might also be rewarded handsomely, or at least continue to benefit from not having to suffer the consequences.

For what does it harm a man if he should lose apparent good public standing in the midst of bad press about his class's blunders, yet still snag a lucrative advisory spot on one or more of the boards that helped get him there to begin with?

So what is the purpose of the withdraw from Afghanistan, such as it is? Well, what is its function? The quite public declaration of bankruptcy regarding regime change and democratic nation building is a political calculation that plays well in spite of whatever political cost. More simply, however, it's a corporate restructuring to take full advantage of automated technology, which follows the function of any good modern business.

Buy heroin. No, wait. Sell heroin. Ah, fuck it. Just take heroin.