Cellular Identity

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by Derek the Red

it’s difficult for one lone voice to speak up in today’s world, but here we go ladies and gentlemen.

the somewhat educated have heard of Socrates, his student Plato, and then his student Aristotle; now i don’t claim to understand all of said philosophers’ BS, but i have some glimmering of what they talked about. Socrates insulted the Gods, or some such thing, and the good democratic citizens of Athens forced him to drink hemlock, so civilized. never you mind that it was the Spartans who started the whole Greek experiment in self-rule (at least for citizens), it’s the Athenians who get all the credit, doesn’t matter, this entire mess was probably started by Democritus. it was Democritus who first proposed the cosmos being composed of constituent parts, which inevitably led us to where we are today, lost in a lost world, unsure of our telemetry, and alienated from our own nature. of course there were about 900 Greek philosophers, you couldn’t walk down the street w/o tripping over their robes, seeing as how these fine purveyors of considered truth had an entire slave caste to do all the work, they had plenty of time to ruminate and digest all sorts of high flying ideals, but that’s a whole other subject…….

now Plato sat in a cave a lot it seems, looking at shadows on the wall, which led him to believe that one could never divine the exact nature of the universe, there would always be something ‘lost in translation,’ so to speak. Plato’s student Aristotle however, would have none of this humble way of looking at things, oh no, Mr. Aristotle stated that he could come up with enough workable examples to empirically observe the workings of things, thereby completely sundering western thoughts relationship with nature. while this is no doubt a sophomoric analysis, and there may be more erudite takes on these people’s philosophies, i believe it covers the essential points. Pythagoras, Plato, Democritus, it’s all so confusing, but the upshot is that we are left with the ‘police agency of the look,’ as stated before, the end result of Aristotelian certainty. the Greeks, by the time of all this philsophizing, had already, as before mentioned, a well developed hierarchial system with three distinct castes, citizens, artisans/merchants, and slaves known as Helots.

not being a trained physicist, nor very ‘Aristocratic.’ the whole quantum universe, ten dimensional string theory, all just seems a bit beside the point to me, and quite mystifying, somewhat akin to the workings of the Federal Reserve system, maybe that’s where they get all that money, it ‘tunnels’ it’s way from a parallel universe. be that as it may, in the past 2500 years or so we have managed to break our world down to it’s fundamental pieces, and we’ve done a good enough job to be able to blast a modern city to rubble and vaporize all the human beings who reside in said city, but that’s not all folks!!!!!!!! all of this splitting and blasting has had it’s effect on our human societies. we all know the destruction the quest for control has had on our world thru the ages, the quest for profit, which is really just a quest for control, to grab up enough toys to stave off the Grim Reaper; or at least to make it possible to ignore the fact of death, which we used to accept much more gracefully, back when it all wasn’t about me, me, me. really, our fellow citizens can be forgiven for becoming so narcissistic (yours truly, included) as we live in a virtual Panopticon with surveillance devices on the street corners, highways, byways, and hallways, not to mention the many eyes in the sky; so, when you think about it, being constantly controlled and watched, one does want to look good for the camera. under inverted totalitarianism in the surveillance state the objectification becomes internal, a sort of Stockholm Syndrome, all that is left for people is to dwell on themselves.

now it has come down to it, objectification, quantification, commodification, and death. i could prattle on about Capitalism being a death cult, but like the preacher said ‘by their fruits ye shall know them,’ nuff said. yes indeed, since the Greeks the ‘other’ has been exploited, Good Will Hunting’s Harvard buddy may have had something to say about the market economy of the Southern States being some sort of pre-capitalist agrarian wonderland (once again, except for the slaves), but to me it has always been just a primitive form of capitalist exploitation of one kind or another, the only advances have been refinements in the methods of control, which brings us to today’s society and the subtle indoctrination in the ethos of using others for one’s own gain and satisfaction, with todays sophisticated tools of observation, analysis, and coercion, the human race has reached new levels of self examination, other examination, and extermination.

i must  give a nod to Mr. Jean Baudrillard.

this objectivity was only that of the pure gaze – an objectivity at last liberated from the object, which is no more than the blind relay of the look that scans it… the rage for eliding meaning in a blind and meticulous reality. Both syntax and semantics have disappeared. There is no longer an apparition, but an arraignment of the object, the eager examination of its scattered fragments: neither metaphor nor metonymy, but a successive immanence beneath the police agency of the look. This objective microscopics makes reality swim vertiginously, arousing the dizziness of death within the confines of representation.
(from Symbolic Exchange and Death)

still, we come back to the fact that we are a part of nature, and when we split off from the rest, we split off from our selves, we did not just objectify nature we have objectified ourselves. that’s the bitch isn’t it? the law of unintended consequences? invent the airplane, you invent the airplane crash, etc. etc. when we exploit others it says that it is OK for others to exploit us. when we break down everything down to constituent parts, the whole is lost. when all is equal nothing is of value, therein lies our problem. people become ‘collateral damage,’ resources, no different than a tree, and we see what we think about trees. yes, we have cracked the genetic code, now we have synthetic DNA, it’s all so wonderful, modern, scientific, but half the world lives on what? $2 a day? we are faced with competing imperatives, a respect for life which we profess to hide our savagery, and an over-populated planet with dwindling resources.

this desire for control, this desire for security, for some it is a learned behavior, for others a deliberate plan. we see the plan most plainly in creations such as the UPC, or Universal Product Code, which all goods moving between countries and continents must carry by law, at least among the major players. we see a closed set with no escape, no frontier, a planetary wide synthetic structure mimicking that of the Earth’s natural systems, but with a much less benign intent. the desire for control does not just include planetary and outer space but the inner space of our bodies and minds. the group think indoctrination is all pervasive, and the chemical solution in the form of mood altering drugs such as SSRI’s is pushed as the cure for the ills brought on by life in an extremely alienating society. the madness, in this writers view does not stop there; there are actual groups, such as The Humanity+ movement, who in their own words “dare” to plot the course of future human evolution. whether thru genetics or implants, who knows? could be beets, could be peaches, but for who and at what cost?

seems that a few billion years of evolution is not quite adequate for some, some decades of life on good old Mother Earth is not satisfying enough. our power has made us delusional, our estrangement from nature has driven us mad. we now see ourselves as those who hold the reins of this beast wish us to, as mere cells in a great colossus, something to be studied and controlled like an amoeba in a Petri dish, maybe Aristotle should have paid more heed to his teacher, you decide.

welcome to your Cellular Identity.

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24 Responses to Cellular Identity

  1. javacat says:

    Holy cow! I’ve gotta catch my breath. You’ve covered a lot of ground, red. You’ve got me looking for UPCs over my shoulder and cameras under the bed. Hell, when I went to my doc the other day, the sign on the door said, “SMILE! You’re on a surveillance camera.” Ticked me off until I remembered there’s a pharmacy on site, which are prone to oxy robberies in these parts. But that’s part of the story, isn’t it? We create the pain, then the magic pills, hook lots of folks, but tough luck, not a whole lot of choices then.

    Plotting the future of human evolution sounds like madness…one more experiment to go very wrong. The whole thing–from GMOs to CEOs; genetic engineering to geoengineering for ‘climate intervention’–reeks of myopic self-centeredness, with each piece distancing us farther from our nature.

    Great piece, derek.

    • derekthered says:

      thank you kindly. the thinking on the UPC, and by extension trans-national capital, is that any system when turned into a closed set will produce it’s own destruction, a virus if you will. this is of course warmed over Baudrillard (The Intelligence of Evil), although Paul Virilio touches upon the same idea. whether this idea is valid or not, is for each person to judge on their own. many times reason exerts it’s own form of tyranny, sometimes ideas just seem correct, even if this is purely intuitive.

      the hubris we exhibit about our technology is mind-boggling, we can’t even handle what we have, maybe the species needs to take a step back.

  2. If we not careful Derek, we’ll be so far removed from what God created us to be-fully engaged with the Universe-that we’ll become the very machines we profess superiority over. We’ll lose our raw emotions to SSRIs, creativity to mass media, sensuality and engagement to the various forms of “reality”-based entertainment and “mobile” living, the list is potentially endless.

    Then, in some future time, we’re so far detached that we’ve lost our collective soul, the Creator may have to send an asteroid our way and end it all. Then we’ll be truly free.

    Let’s hope it never gets to that. Peace!

    • derekthered says:

      ” Never send a human to do a machine’s job.” – Agent Smith
      the psychological effects are plain to see. what shouldn’t be forgotten is that every machine requires energy to perform it’s task, energy that could be used to keep people warm during the next glaciation, just for one example.
      bladesmiths are very careful when sharpening knives on the power-wheel, but every so often one gets away, winds up in a thigh, or takes off a finger. hell, simple slip when cutting a storm window down to size cut me to the bone; how much more dangerous are some of our societal and scientific experiments?

    • derekthredrd says:

      thought i would revisit my reply here, my first was hurried. as for we’ll be so far removed, that implies a future tense, which would be incorrect imho, we’re there. the organizational structure is such that we have artificial entities (corps.) which essentially embrace the planet much like a nervous system, these entities could be thought of as essentially immortal, as long as they make a profit, all the while they are a legal fiction.
      hey, i’m just winging it here, work with me. does seem passing strange though.
      leave aside all the class struggle debate. these same corps control the media, own majority stakes, it’s verifiable. consider society as an organism, behavioral experts do, much of the inputs are mass produced to elicit responses, high tech; worldwide instantaneous communications, human beings nervous systems should move so fast, but i don’t believe we do. scarier and scarier, everybody knows the drill, people write books about it. add on top of this all the hardware to deliver the goodies? pretty daunting.

      as for souls and such? dunno, scientific socialism and all that you know, maybe it’s the adversary that’s made me this way, the beast with a thousand faces (as opposed to the hero), just observing the techno-terror we’ve created can make you lose your religion. in any case, we’re not allowed such luxuries, over here on the hard left. 🙂
      nah, i can’t prove there isn’t a creator, but i would wonder if the flow of gravity thru the earth tends to pull stuff in at the poles, because gravity is not just uniform, it twists and turns naturally.

      like i said, just reaching for it, if we have a collective soul? somewhere out there in the Jungian wasteland? the point of my little essay is to try and save it. martyr complex? or just survival instinct?
      .

      • Amen! So frighteningly true!

      • arrowpeakhouse says:

        I agree with Thomas Jefferson on the soul/supernatural thing:

        “To talk of immaterial existences is to talk of nothings. To say that the human soul, angels, god, are immaterial, is to say they are nothings, or that there is no god, no angels, no soul. I cannot reason otherwise: but I believe I am supported in my creed of materialism by Locke, Tracy, and Stewart. At what age of the Christian church this heresy of immaterialism, this masked atheism, crept in, I do not know. But heresy it certainly is.” ~Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Adams, Aug. 15, 1820

        In other words, to talk of the supernatural is to admit atheism. God is the natural.

        Ol’ Jefferson’s pretty tricky turning the tables on his many theological adversaries. 🙂

  3. gotogo says:

    vary astute, new long ago about the trappings of “Power” & “Control”. Some how people need to wake-up to whats going on around them … Social Apathy is what I’ve labeled it?!

    • derekthered says:

      the trappings of “Power” & “Control”? one of my favorite books is “Watership Down” by Richard Adams, all about rabbits, very illuminating.
      “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”. – Animal Farm

    • derekthered says:

      wrote that flip little reply when i did mr. christians, that mean old captain bligh. but seriously, i don’t know about social apathy, in my everyday work world, going to the grocery store and such, looks like everybody’s chasing their own tail, if there is a man behind the curtain (and i think there’s plenty), looks they’ve got things pretty well wound up. it’s depressing to tune in to any of the “real news”, i think they know the wheels are coming off but just are unable or unwilling to wind it down.
      it’s not just the political side of it, though obviously yours truly fully embraces the Marxist critique, things have gotten waaaay out of hand, it’s morphed into a monster, too much juice, soon to turn into too little. any amelioration of the situation would probably require a dispersal of the population (at least in the US), and that would work best if they owned their own land (we damn sure don’t need Stalinesque slave plantations), but it looks like the powers that be aren’t getting that message.

      at least part of my motivation in writing is to attempt to give a different slant to anyone who cares to listen (such as yourself), maybe you can unravel it.

  4. leavergirl says:

    Mine too! 🙂
    Derek, you have a very unique was of conveying your thoughts. Very refreshing!

    • derekthered says:

      you mean “Watership Down”? when gotogo mentioned trappings of power it reminded me one of the other rabbits called BIgWig, “PeegVeeg”. people think Watership is for kids, maybe it is, but sometimes the greatest lessons are simple.

      • leavergirl says:

        Yes, I do! One of my favorite books, and not just for kids at all! The man who wrote it ended up living in peace and away from it all on the Isle of Man. I am envious.

  5. malthus says:

    Excellent. All I know is that when I go by those cameras I always show them the middle finger. I have learned to be careful though because sometimes people see me do it take it personally. Of course I mean it for them also but I am not interested in getting involved in any driven insane by CULTure shootings.

  6. James says:

    We sure did split off, and that’s the problem. We split off like a malignant cell splits off from normal tissues. A little brain-finger, tongue-larynx evolutionary magic and specialization/tool making was given the green light. Some suggest that we are the chosen species, the lucky ones, different and superior, destined to tame the earth. They believe what they want to believe and are self-impressed with their seemingly magical engineering results. They could never admit the malevolent nature of mankind’s civilization. But we’re on our way to the end of the road and all of our shortsighted applications of fossil fuel dependent infrastructure continues to pull us down that road without hope of escape. The fossil fuel beast is headed for extinction just as if it had been bludgeoned with an asteroid. When it’s all over, the humans that were once embedded in the technological organism, and perhaps kept alive by it, will be dumped back into the Garden of Eden turned black, where they will encounter new and old vectors of death that will work upon their flesh and perhaps reshape the species or perhaps not.

    Don’t just read the philosophy of others, load your brain and become your own philosopher. Study
    chemistry, thermodynamics, dissipative structures, evolution, the human brain, systems science and go outside and watch the high energy sunlight hit the surfaces, feel the warmth, watch the movement of the animals and see the waste heat escape into the environment.

    Does our damaging behavior come from an imperfect culture? I don’t think so. I believe this is what we’re supposed to be, an unaware, unabashed technological eating machine with a fun loving monkey at the controls – until it’s over. Then what? When all of the resource gradients have been reduced, then what does the evolved tool user do? Does that massive brain with its glucose requirements for thinking and tool making continue to be a benefit or a hindrance? Maybe we’ll lose most of our cortex and become pinhead limbics that live like worms in caves to escape the thermal punishment bestowed upon us by our careless ancestors.

    • malthus says:

      Kind of like we have met our careless ancestors and we are them.

    • derekthered says:

      here in the states we have plenty of examples of how to deal with hard times, some people turn to religion, some combine faith with reason, some have faith in reason.

      one of the coolest wiki pages i have found is this
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geologic_time_scale
      there have been massive die-offs in the past
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toba_catastrophe_theory
      “The Toba eruption has been linked to a genetic bottleneck in human evolution about 50,000 years ago,[23][24] which may have resulted from a severe reduction in the size of the total human population due to the effects of the eruption on the global climate.[25]

      According to the genetic bottleneck theory, between 50,000 and 100,000 years ago, human populations sharply decreased to 3,000-10,000 surviving individuals.[26][27] It is supported by genetic evidence suggesting that today’s humans are descended from a very small population of between 1,000 to 10,000 breeding pairs that existed about 70,000 years ago.[28]”

      i’m hardly a geneticist, but when i was young we had a puzzle in the shape of a cube, there was actually two ways to put it together, perhaps there is only so many different combinations of genes which produce only so many outcomes; in short, maybe we really are the crown of creation, the end product of billions of years of biological processes which our mammalian brain cannot even begin to absorb.
      of course the planet will be severely damaged by the time the petro-chemical era winds down, humans may not make it, but then nature has produced some pretty severe calamities in the past .
      as far as how things should be? what will be will be, maybe thinking along the lines of what should and shouldn’t be betrays our predilection for control that got us into this mess in the first place. as for what may evolve in the future, there are creatures living in the depths of the ocean which may remain relatively unaffected by any goings on up here on the surface, just give them time.

  7. ” the madness, in this writers view does not stop there; there are actual groups, such as The Humanity+ movement, who in their own words “dare” to plot the course of future human evolution.”

    I think the humans who will ‘dare to plot the course of future evolution’ will do so after unloading their shotguns, at the behest of scientists knocking on their door and demanding submission to a DNA experiment to attempt to ‘dare to plot the course of future evolution.’ Survival of the fittest..est?

    • derekthered says:

      here again we grapple with the tentacles of capital, technology, and control. when research is privately funded it is up to the parties involved to set their own ethical standards. the question becomes whether or not the general public has any say in what is done in some private laboratory.
      thing is, the earth is a closed sytem, besides sunlight and about a ton of space dust per day (if memory serves), there are no other inputs, and with the current global thinking we are becoming a giant test lab (might make a good title for an esay). no system is fail safe, the most hardened facilty is subject to natural catstrophe. what’s in the lab may not stay in the lab.
      same old question, private privilege versus the public commons.

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