Sunday Colloquy: Are We Beyond Good and Evil?
by John Kendall Hawkins
Sunday Colloquy is a weekly column-like device I will use to bully pulpit my readers into considering often absurd scenarios and considerations often overlooked by the mainstream-ism we all fall prey to daily. This week I think I'll channel Church Lady -- you know, the Dana Carvey character developed for Saturday Night Live a zillion years ago. It may even morph into a Father Guido Sarducci sermon for the mounted. We'll see. I just type and stuff happens.
Our Western Origin story has consumed a considerable number of my passion flames lately. And if I'm to be a martyr, like, say, St. Joan, I really can't afford to lose too many flames in my quasi self-immolation. I don't know why the need has evolved in me to look back at the big bang of consciousness known as Eden and the fruit eaten from the tree of science and technology, but wise birds tell me it's just the onset of old age, don't worry about it.
I don't know what happened -- and neither do you -- but somewhere along the continuum we went from a tradition of worshipping and kow-towing to often-nasty, moody, and ultimately boffo gods who, even when we fed them generous portions of the best we had -- meat, women, booze -- still meddled in our ways and means (I'm thinking here, "Leda and the Swan"), and burgled our human doings with deus ex machina cameos to point at the insufferable tragedy of our taboo-oriented ways: It's not nice to be a motherf*cker, they admonished, chorus oohing-and-aahing as critique, the fur-wrapped audience weeping tears of hamartia, catharsis as moral orgasm. O, those poor Elites! we said to each other on our way home after the show, pulling out hip flasks to drown our sudden sorrow. Poor Oedipus, he'd say. Poor children, she'd rejoin"
"Somewhere along the line, we went from a poly to a monotheistic posture. But it didn't get much better. All hell broke loose on the Three Abe front, too. Take Eden. As I understand it, God created a little paradise island that had one lone soldier of the Lord present, Adam. I picture him as a dipshit, a kind of Gilligan on a three-hour tour. God checked in on him one day -- you know, just to see how he was doing, like you would with your first pet, a hamster, say, (that Dad forgot to tell you not to close the lid on, and now he's dead, and you're 8 and feeling like a killer, and now, hands red, you want to ice Dad, so you can have Mom to yourself). God shows up that day with his arms around a voluptuous half-naked Sophia (personified Wisdom). Adam says, I'm alright, Dad, but lonely. I want some of that. God can't give Adam his favorite personification, so he Says, Alright, son, close your eyes, this may hurt a bit. Adam ouches, then opens his eyes, God and his entourage are gone. But there she is, like a naked Miss America, Dad had come through, and this time no lids would close over this bliss. But when he moved on her, he experienced a sudden pain in his side, like a rib was missing. He fell into healing heap of sleepiness, and his rib spooned him.
Meantime, God, back in the mighty white house of heaven, had had enough of the braggadocio Satan, with his constant carping, his sinful pride, his presumptuous, arrogant attitude, and dysfunctional personality, and one day God just said, Okay, you, go to your doom, and far flung the mofo toward deepest sticks in the celestials. As he was farflinging along, Satan espied the Paradise with Adam and Eve gaily sleeping, and his mischievous nature took over, and he put on the brakes, and had a further reconnoiter. Satan liked what he saw in Eve (her allure would much later be re-assembled in the tragic tale of the Titanic by a naked, modelling Kate Winslet) and he whispered sweet nothingnesses in her ear. She woke, and, as if in a trance, was bedazzled by the naked dark Lothario. They had their way with each other, while Adam slept soundly as a baby humanist. Adam woke and found her munching an early version of newtons -- figs wrapped in marijuana leaves. When he asked her what was up, she started gibbering on in tongues, or auction-speed English, about the quantum sh*t ahead. Soon, he discovered she effed like a rabbit and quacked like a duck, and he nicknamed her duckrabbit.
God came back the next day to see how the newly 'unwed' was doing. He was cool. Arms around Kate Winslet. Wouldn't you? Fig newtons covering their junk. God goes, What's with figs? Eve only had to open her mouth. Get out, God stammered, get out, goddamn you, I told you no food for thought on science and technology and now you're rabbiting on abiut the quantum. Adam, up and out, and take her with you. You can go f*ck yourself. And you, He says, pointing to Eve, when you need to deliver the goods I hope it's long and painful. Turning his back, but still carrying on, He said over his shoulder to Adam, You'll see. You'll see what knowledge brings. You'll see what knowledge brings when you already had it all and threw it away.
Nine months later, the first "human" was born in what amounted to a terrorist act of childbirthing, the swarthy newborn looking decidedy unlike the blonde and blue-eyed Adam. Adam didn't know what to make of it. They called the newborn Cain, after the much later TV Kung Fu character they saw in a premonition, but without his charm and martial arts skills (Keith Carradine would say later that he just faked the skills). Adam and Eve got busy and had another kid, Abel. A real sweet gift of parsimonious humanism personified (another premonition). A real mommy's boy, full of lisping lyricism that pleased her inner ear and drove Cain to insane rages of jealousy. One day Cain says, Yo, Abel, take a walk with me, I want to show you something. Brings him to a watering hole. Pretend you're defending it; say something pretty. Abel began to lisp --and wham! Bebop was born. Cain went home, says, Abel drowned after he slipped on a rock by a pond and cracked his skull. You believe me don't you, Dad? No, he didn't. Cain, like his real father, was ejected from "paradise."
He went off somewhere, some say Australia, and re-grouped, founding animism and the cult of long hairs with unprincipled values. Adam and Eve and their later progeny, which would later be depicted by Hieronymous Bosch in The Garden of Earthly Delights, would go on to be miserable, wrestling with good and evil -- just like the Old Greeks with their busybody gods -- while Cain and his lot had not a care in the world: They were model nihilists, long before it became the fashion in the regrouping Dark Ages of the early 21st century.
And so, according to my reader-response to Genesis, Cain went off and chased animal tail, literally; he would imagine watching human civilization develop from periphery, circling once in a while like a laughing hyena on the death scent, or peering through savannah grasses at the young humans slightly straying from the herd -- waiting, just waiting, for one of them, just one of them, to lisp and wax loquaciously, silver-tongued and thelf-athurred. But mostly, the Cainites developed into manimals -- at the beastie end of the continuum Nietzsche described between animality in the past, superman ahead, humans on a tightrope in between, before he pumped two hollows into the back of Jesus's head, like some syphilitic mafiosi, who ends his days whores-whispering in Turin before being dragged away from his 'caricature world' by VA nuthouse orderlies rounding up 'the war torn.'
Humans would spend a near eternity working their way out of all that taboo inbreeding described in the Good Book (What could be more inbred than nailing yourself and going on from there?) only to throw their hands up with a postmod fug it, and essentially encouraging the Cainites, who'd crept into the scene and gradually took over when the Lefties lost themselves in the self-stim of logical, yet incoherent, kaleidoscopic reasoning (look at me, I read Marx!). And then Trump came along, and essentially said to the MAGA masses: I am your master, pull down your pants. And next thing you know he had them over a barrel. Cainites, right?
All of that is a prelude for my colloquy today. Hang in there, I just know I have a point. It has to do with the nature of Good and Evil. I feel I have some expertise beyond merely being human, all-too-human (as Nietzsche would say, before they took him away) and having to wrestle with devilish ethical questions all the time, as I majored in philosophy at uni and specialized in Hegel, who has flim-flammed me dialectically for years, like a krazy kat speedbagging a punchdrunk mouse. When Francis Fuckyomama came along and put out The End of History I wanted to shoot myself in the head, rather than see the basis of Marxist philosophizing now in the hands of maniacal neo-liberals who were little more than Halloween costume conservatives. Ding Dong. Trick ot Treat? For fun you invite one in for the trick and he demonstrates voodoo economics -- poof! -- and later you discover your wallet missing.
Turns out they're Cainites. Animals in zip-up human costumes aching to be freed from their closeted lives. They can't wait to 'go animal.' And here we are, the 21st century, the world become a max security prison, a kind of Trancelvania (that recalls somehow The Enchanted Hunters of Lolita), Cain back to his Bebopping ways, our "Paradise" about to be lost again to savages without irony or humor, just as we enter the maws of the Singularity.
Yes, my friends, I was thinking again about Clement Vallandigham, a Copperhead, who described Southern slavers back in 1864 this way:
There are two white races in the United States, both from the same common stock, and yet so distinct -- one of them so peculiar -- that they develop different forms of civilization, and might belong, almost, to different types of mankind.
Vallandigham, as you know, was the model for the story most of us had to read in primary school -- "The Man Without A Country" by Edward Everett Hale. Tried for treason for assailing Abe Lincoln's call for a draft to reinvigorate a losing war, Vallandigham turned over to the South as a traitor. He hadn't done any harm to their cause, so the Rebs sent him to Canada. Anyway, Vallandigham inspired the character Philip Nolan, who, in a fit of pique, nowhere near as bad as Bobby Seale during the Chicago 8 trial (becoming the Chicago 7, after the bound and gagged Black man was removed and tried separately, but equally) cursed America in court. The judge said, fug you, and sentenced him to more than a half a century of exile on a ship on which he was forbidden to ever receive news of America's updated doings. On hearing this, even some of Hillary's "super predators," were heard exclaiming from their cells, "Say what?" 50 something years! They forced kids to read that sh*t and call it the price of patriotism. Don't diss the flag. What's wrong with jets screaming over a ballgame? You take a knee, you may get kneecapped.
Slavers are Cainites. Cotton slavers to mortgage slavers. Same same. Exiles from humanity who've come back and have wrestled our waterhole away while we weren't vigilant enough, or else caught up too much in the prettiness of our purple prose, caught up in the Noble Causes of our Bill of Rights expressionism and neglecting to watch the cookie jar as the loophole lawyers went to town on who owns the means of production, including lawyers in Congress, the home of "representative" government there to enforce the expressed will of the people. Uh-huh. While we were sleeping, these monsters went bang-a-lang with the libertine Eve, who was spooning Democracy, and have produced proliferous dead-eyed dandies, MIC manicheans, Satanic losers celebrated in their overreaching by the "liberal" MSM that pretends to be a Greek Chorus for Horus. Where's Mannlicher Carcano? I'm feeling as feisty as a magic bullet itself. Wouldn't you?
And I recall a recent reading of Chris Hedges and his angry lament about the direction that the human disposition is taking in a wider sense than mere cultural or national differences. In his powerful essay, "American Sadism," he writes,
The historian Johan Huizinga, writing about the twilight of the Middle Ages, argued that as things fall apart sadism is embraced to cope with the hostility of an indifferent universe. No longer bound to a common purpose, a ruptured society retreats into hedonism and the cult of the self. It celebrates, as do corporations on Wall Street or popular reality television shows, the classic traits of psychopaths: superficial charm, grandiosity, and self-importance; a need for constant stimulation; a penchant for lying, deception and manipulation; and the incapacity for remorse or guilt. Get what you can, as fast as you can, before someone else gets it. This is the state of nature, the "war of all against all," Thomas Hobbes saw as the consequence of social disintegration, a world in which life becomes "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short."
War of All Against All -- let's see PEN America cover that! Hedges sees us moving backwards, not forward, despite the "promise" of the Singularity, for no progress is really possible with bad men (and, by and large, they're white men) in charge of the gizmos, gadgets, and enhanced human condition CRISPRs.
These too proud, arrogant, self-assigned overseers of human fate, tossed from Heaven, with good riddance, are like machina deuses and have, I reckon, caused all the problems we've had since the First Fall. These "peculiar...different types of mankind" eviscerate the privacy of others, while enforcing omerta rules. As Julian Assange says, these Cainites are who we should fear -- they want our privacy, while they remain opaque and without accountability. These Cainites are without meaningful human relationships (they pay or rape, think: Trump); they are very often socio- or psychopathic drives more than complete humans, and are not free thinkers but programmed like robots, often with obsessive-compulsive habits involving too many bars of soap. (Perfect missing links to our AI future, as they need merely be rounded up and re-programmed to capture the essence of AI thinking.)
They molest the minds of our human children, essentially putting their probisici into the brains of our kids and filling them up with a virus far more dangerous than a coronavirus beaten the snot out of by gain-of-function torture techniques to bring out the soul of its virulence. They inject a molecule "peculiar" to their separate species, composed of three atoms in configuration: evil-hate-anger. Here it is depicted in this scene from the film Betrayed.
It's a film in which white supremacists (WS) kidnap a Black man and take him out to the woods to chase him down with dogs for sport (they always have mad barking dogs), handing him a gun filled with blanks to defend himself. Get it? An undercover FBI agent falls for the single parent WS (natch) but balks when these children she's saying goodnight to innocently and casually use horrific language their WS dad has taught them to describe Blacks and Jews. Their brains have been filled with the STD molecule and they will never think freely again, their development interfered with and arrested, now convicted bigots rife for lynching the Other. You'll get nowhere with Critical Race Theory applications of power.
This recalls a review I wrote a while back now about language. In Don't Believe a Word by David Shariatmadari an interesting dialectic opens up in the seemingly inevitable comparison between Shariatmadari and Noam Chomsky, who some still regard as the world's leading linguist. Shariatmadari challenges a key feature of Chomsky's Universal Grammar: merge. Chomsky describes it as the separating point between humans and other creatures. He writes that it's what
apes, birds, dolphins and every other species lack. It is what enables children to acquire language so quickly and dramatically, because they perceive, beyond the jumble of words at the surface, an inner order... Merge is the holy grail.
This perception about "an inner order" is at the heart of Chomsky's politics, in the sense that for the old wise guy, "the overwhelming use of language is internal -- for thought," and not, as Shariatmadari will argue, "a social phenomenon. Its structure does not derive from an internal blueprint, but from the general cognitive abilities of a social species, and external factors." It is an interesting problem for a democratic people, but Chomsky' language is certainly a product of Cartesian mathematics. But if there is a rumble in the "jumble" then the perception Chomsky speaks of can be arrested and stunted, leading to thinking that is dictated and organized by totalitarianism, I would argue.
What makes the problem intractable is that these "supremacists" keep their mental age under-developed as they grow up. They are forever Satan's own disciples who titter around the martyr flames they create for pleasure. These Cainites seem to be coming out of the woodwork now. More and more Good Germans rising and vicious Vichy engaged in the schadenfreude of indifference, luxuriating in the sadism Hedges alludes to, turning their heads as the cattle cars are readied. Call it neo-fascism, call it the mafiocracization of world governance, with horrific murders to send "messages" and to warn humanists of the "End Times" arrival, as they seek out the Abels and, as the Bard from Duluth puts, they begin "rounding up everybody who knows more than they do," and stalk and bebop them one at a time, as the rollingpearlharbors come and the far flung Satanic forces destroy God's human work once and for all. Satan, too, had himself some fig newtons from that tree.
Oh, my friends, whatever will we do? I myself will often hide behind memories of Abbie Hoffman and his levity. He cracked me up. His street theater that refused to take the Goon Squads seriously. He almost succeeded in spiking Nixon's drink with acid. But I grow melancholy now and cite and write poetry. Recite Eliot:
If the lost word is lost, if the spent word is spent
If the unheard, unspoken
Word is unspoken, unheard;
Still is the unspoken word, the Word unheard,
The Word without a word, the Word within
The world and for the world;
And the light shone in darkness and
Against the Word the unstilled world still whirled
About the center of the silent Word.
O my people, what have I done unto thee
[from Ash Wednesday]
But mooning over Abbie and Eliot just doesn't bring the zazz any more. I'm flat and, in eldering age, often flatulent.
H.G. Wells said in Mind at the End of Its Tether, back in 1945, just before the Cainites blew up Hiroshima and Nagasaki, that it's over. And from then on, post-WW2, we will have to take succor in "opiates," to dull the effects of our demise as a species, so evident on the horizon and which we either have no desire to stop, or, are like the suicidal madmen playing fast and loose with human values and needs, spreading their viral molecule until nobody cares any more, and we are lost in a cloud of the blackest nihilism, the manimals of Cain inheriting an Earth turned to Hell. A fug you fist in God's smug fuggin face.
But because we are human, most of us, we will continue fighting back against the calculating empty skulls who will never listen because they can't. They are a separate species. We won't let the AIs deputize the psychopaths to enforce the new sheriff on his way into town, like Yul Brenner in WestWorld. We will need, as Bob Marley, the prophet said, we will need to fight, begin fighting for our lives against the Babylon System vampires that suck the light out of human beings, and spread like bat guano viruses compromising everything in their path. No vaccine available.
They'll yell out, Animal! in an echo chamber that reverbs their pride and is like a war cry for the raising Cainites.
Go and be. All manner of things shall be well when the fire and the rose are one. (Eliot) And when it's over decades from now maybe we can rebuild a semblance Eden from the sancta simplicitas of the Golden Rule, after the monsters have been stripped of their unearned power and narrative control.