Friday, October 24, 2008

I've never been entirely comfortable in the world of the stone worshippers. It is a world that found it's culmination in the industrial era, where everything can be separated into constituent parts, a function of mechanism, inert matter, finding purchase, pivoting, using leverage, maintaining structural support through the force of counter-balance. Though I do not feel entirely comfortable within it, I understand it very well. I've always had a knack for engineering, how pieces fit together, why a wheel has spokes, why an undercarriage has struts. Despite this understanding I have never quite found four walls and a roof to be quite the protective structure it is meant to be. Certainly I like to be sheltered from the rain as much as the next bloke.
I've always pined for a more natural and organic world. Where edges are less sharply defined, where one shape grows from another, where water flows unimpeded by a sudden and incongruous form placed there simply to cause its flow to cease. In the ancient world we can see the rise of Rome and the culmination of stone worship. The way of life that we currently understand, where we find comfort or distress stems from ancient Rome. It is the world of coinage, Doric, Ionic and Corinthian columns, and a structured system. The idea of being ruled by a system as opposed to our kinship group comes from these grand Empires whose systems persist through the ages.
When Caesar conquered the Gauls he did through the use of wealth, fancy beads, wine, and other trade. Things that the Celts did not ever know they missed before they had it. The Romans used the protection of trade as a pretext for the militarization of Gaul. As trade became more established the encroachment became ever more well established.
Few stories tell the tale of the conflict between vegetable and mineral alchemy quite like the fall of Vercingetorix at the hands of Caesar. Even as the system of Caesar was replaced by the Catholic church, the nod to the conflict was put into place by the ancient Masons. Grand Cathedrals were built atop sacred groves. Supposedly the site upon which Chartres stands today, was once the sacred grove of the Carnutes, a proud Celtic tribe. Carved into Chartres stone is an homage to the vegetable alchemy that preceded it. Columns that resemble the trunks of trees and numerous floral patterns mark the stone structure.
Today the world of the Stone Worshippers is being replaced by that of those who worship information. No longer do we carve our knowledge into stone to be held for posterity. Now we save what we know within the encapsulation of electrons. Binary data holds the keys to our memories. I find a grim satisfaction in this. I am more at home here, all the while sitting within my square domicile. The stone worshippers are finally being overthrown.
Of course every faction believes that they have a monopoly on spirituality. The Neo-Pagan Hippy thinks that their love for Mother Gaia is more sacred and deep than that of the vulgar Evangelical Christian in their Boxen Mega-church. The Catholic Church still harbors resentment that it is not the premiere spiritual authority on Earth. And of course us information worshippers, we believe that we are beyond all of those luddites with their worship of crude matter in whatever form it comes in.
The Matrix for all its Hollywood ugliness is the hallmark of a new era. It recognized the change in our culture, and brought it to the forefront of the consciousness of even the least self-critical among us. It made people rethink the solidity of the stone they had always worshipped. The bare understanding of String Theory and Quantum Mechanics that permeates society makes us all question just how solide the ground we stand upon really is. For the psychonauts among us, we pretend to see green letters hiding behind every solid object. We think that we can read the code hidden just beyond the veil.
Nothing renders us as bits of information quite so succinctly as the flash mob. On your little communicator reminsicent of Star Trek, you can receive information about how you should move, how you should arrange yourself. These messages don't come from on high, they come laterally. We can choose to heed the call or not. Yet flash mobs have affected the outcome of elections in third world countries where not everyone involved even had internet in their homes. I myself participated in the organization of a crowd of thousands of revellers taken from a park in Manhattan through the subway, on a parade through Brooklyn where we were met with games and Sound Systems. I watched in my linen suit jacket and faerie wings as the police department mobilized our escort, spontaneously and out of the blue. We parties to Techno blasted from the side of an old charter bus on the pier in Red Hook Brooklyn. Then when finally the fire trucks, police boats and a chopper came to shut us down, we mobilized again and took the remaining few hundred and sought a new venue. With the power of our intelligent mob I was able to negotiate an after party venue in a local club. I direct you to take notice of the wiki article on flash mobs. It is a picture of an event coordinated by someone I know personally.
How's that for the power of information? As we navigated the world of the stone worshippers, that of our ancestors we we able to adapt to new situations as they arose. A certain power and magic was tapped. Through this technology we helped pioneer we now receive updates from the savvier of our two Presidential candidates.
Yet, I still feel trapped within the world of the stone worship. I still am a life lived, a real person, blood and bones. Aesthetically I may prefer my neurons and hormones. I may approve of the fact that DNA is a literal information system holding together proteins to build the greater structure that facillitates my existance.

1 comment:

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