Test Lab

phantom zone,36x36,acrylic,canvas-copyright2002mendusSometimes the world makes sense… but most often it does not.  This is particularly true when you have trouble believing the accepted narrative.  The correct word is not conspiracy or paranoia, it is simply by DerektheRed…

The real hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives, that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does. They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted.
― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited

scientists love conclusions, and why shouldn’t they? that’s what the empirical method is all about isn’t?

and you know there’s no telling what you may find when you go poking around.

A Neuroscientist Uncovers A Dark Secret

…the orbital cortex puts a brake on another part of the brain called the amygdala, which is involved with aggression and appetites. But in some people, there’s an imbalance — the orbital cortex isn’t doing its job — perhaps because the person had a brain injury or was born that way…

‘What’s left? What takes over?’ [this researcher] asks. ‘The area of the brain that drives your id-type behaviors, which is rage, violence, eating, sex, drinking.’

it’s the rage part that fascinates me. what’s better? rage, or the kind of cold calculating control evinced by our ruling classes? or by our very reasoning processes?

now, once upon a time i heard some hotsy-totsy academic describe the author Anthony Burgess (A Clockwork Orange) as rather a “lowbrow” writer, but is not this very question addressed in Burgess’s novels? rage is at least a human emotion, rather like violence, you know, the thing the State claims a monopoly upon. as a Commie, it falls upon yours truly to question the role of the State, especially in light of Solzhenitsyn’s work; but then shouldn’t we all question the role of the State? it has always mystified me how one persons judgment may be questioned, but the group? who dares question the collective wisdom? especially here in the age of inverted totalitarianism.

let’s see what Agent K has to say, “A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.”

or perhaps someone more erudite, with gravitas, “Military men are dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns for foreign policy.” rather a different Mr. K.

now of course one of these quotes is from a movie, the other may be apocryphal, who knows? could be beets…………….could be peaches………….

so, we are left with “eating, sex, drinking.” sounds good to me. be that as it may, the message seems to be ‘beware the monster from the id.’ but where shall we find this monster? the Forbidden Planet? or somewhere more close at hand? not to worry, our government is on the job.

The Obama administration is planning a decade-long scientific effort to examine the workings of the human brain and build a comprehensive map of its activity, seeking to do for the brain what the Human Genome Project did for genetics.

The project, which the administration has been looking to unveil as early as March, will include federal agencies, private foundations and teams of neuroscientists and nanoscientists in a concerted effort to advance the knowledge of the brain’s billions of neurons and gain greater insights into perception, actions and, ultimately, consciousness.

Scientists with the highest hopes for the project also see it as a way to develop the technology essential to understanding diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, as well as to find new therapies for a variety of mental illnesses.

Moreover, the project holds the potential of paving the way for advances in artificial intelligence. Obama Seeking to Boost Study of Human Brain

sorry folks, but is it just me? but should we be planning for AI when the jury is still out on whether we are using the intelligence at hand to best effect?

my, my, how nice, plumbing the depths of the human psyche with our bright and shiny new toys, this of course brings us to the next question. who is it who will make the determination what behavior is socially acceptable? the government? a blue ribbon panel of experts? we are well down the path to a Brave New World, but who will it benefit? we have seen what the Soviets did with their show trials for anti-social types, we have seen our government conduct experiments with venereal diseases on unsuspecting African-Americans, bomb tests where the safe distance was not established, let alone our dismal record of late on torture and detention. please feel free to add your favorite outrage.of course the claim is that these technologies will be used for beneficial purposes, and we all know there were WMD in Iraq, and our erstwhile ally Saddam’s figerprints were all over 911. perhaps i could interest you in a bridge in Brooklyn. once the powers that be decide who is acceptable and who is not, what will the prescription be? drugs? confinement? surgery? or can we find out before birth? perhaps in our omnipotence we can bio-engineer these undesirable traits out of the herd, but we wouldn’t want to breed it all out now would we? perhaps we should retain a cadre with a penchant for these “id-type behaviors” such as “rage (and) violence”, just as a fail safe, in case things get out of hand.

so much injustice, so many inequalities and suffering; a budget drowning in red ink, but money from Homeland Security to militarize the police, bringing the excesses of empire to everyones doorstep. look up in the sky? it’s a bird! it’s a plane! it’s………….

a spy drone keeping tabs on the subjects here in our little Test Lab.

46 Responses to Test Lab

  1. Disaffected says:

    it has always mystified me how one persons judgment may be questioned, but the group? who dares question the collective wisdom? especially here in the age of inverted totalitarianism

    First of all, that’s good stuff there. I read some other high brow stuff along that same line over at The Atlantic, or one of the other high brow liberal bullshit journals I used to read after I retired from the USAF and went to ***COLLEGE*** and felt compelled to act “all smart and shit.” Affectation – aka “false personality” (that’s new age shit) – is such a terrible thing to impose on oneself, given all the rest of our current troubles. Of course they always manage to take several pages (if not chapters) to say what a common man of ordinary intelligence could say better in a paragraph or two. I wonder, do you think that’s> what they mean by “value added?”

    Second of all, and maybe this is just me justifying my own paranoia, because I’ll grant you, I don’t think I’m completely sane/normal/rational or whatever by any currently accepted definition of the terms, but I’ve never in my life felt comfortable in groups or in front of groups. Granted, I have a pathological fear of public speaking (I could tell you stories!), but it goes WAY beyond that my friends! Paradoxically (and you all thought I was gonna veer off into weird-ville didn’t you?), when occasionally asked to facilitate group discussions, guess what? I’m all over it and draw rave reviews! Turns out, I’m the most attuned person in the room after all! But to my original point, human groups are, left to themselves, more often than not like a pack of hyenas. The strong feed on the weak until they either consume them or they try to fight back, usually to no avail. I’ve found that American business meetings – both military and private sector, with little distinction between the two – are more often than not merely ceremonial “jousting matches,” meant merely to settle territorial/authority issues, and nothing more. Sat through as someone with actual organizational “skin in the game,” they can often seem excruciating. Sat through as someone who is merely observing they can be fascinating, for a time or two at least. Beyond that, they are simply excruciatingly boring and a compete waste of time.

    By the way, I can’t resist adding this simple but very effective corporate coping strategy. Tired of endless strategy/team building meetings that piss away your day? Wear a watch (I know, who wears those anymore?) and check it increasingly often. Every 5 minutes after the first 15 minutes, then dial it up regularly as you see fit after that. As you do, start to fidget, look at the clock on the wall if there is one, clear your throat, and in general send every possible human non-verbal signal that you are uncomfortable and no longer listening to anything being said until your obtuse manager finally gives in and relinquishes his authority. But for extra credit, don’t stop there! When he/she finally releases you from the meeting, usually with some sort of derogatory comment to indicate his/her displeasure with your behavior, storm out of the room “inappropriately” so that everyone in the room knows that it was you who feels most impositioned by the whole state of affairs. Or, as we in the lower brow realm might say, FUCKIN-A, WHO’S THE BITCH NOW, BITCH!!!!!

    • Disaffected says:

      That said, and I didn’t mean to come off at all glib about corporate life – it’s basically 5 (if you’re lucky) or however many days of hell before a day off or two, and a decent paycheck (if you’re lucky) every two weeks in return for your soul – but you do have to admit it’s a well thought out and executed system, don’t you? Yep, we’re all hamsters on a wheel carrying us to nowhere, but GODDAMN if we ain’t a bunch of willing, ready, and able little fucking hamsters once we’ve got our very own little capitalist nugget of gold in sight! Fellow hamsters be damned!!!

      It would be hilarious if it weren’t so true. We’re ALL such hilarious, pitiful little hypocrites, ain’t we?

    • derekthered says:

      “paranoia strikes deep,
      into your heart it will creep,
      it starts when you’re always afraid,
      step out of line, the man comes and takes you away”

      when i wrote that little screed it never occurred to me that it could be taken as paranoid, just seemed to be connecting the dots. follow the yellow brick road, down the rabbit hole, Cartesian certainty, dead reckoning.

      we have seen mass murder, death camps, slaves bred like cattle, hell, take the blinders off and it seems eminently reasonable; it’s certainly where the arrow points.

  2. Disaffected says:

    Just one more thing on a completely different note; what to make of the current North Korean “missile standoff,” if indeed that’s what it even is.

    I think we’ve finally slid down the rabbit/wormhole of some sort of American solipsistic fantasy that has created a mirror enemy under every bush to be destroyed just because. CIA? Pentagon? NSA? Agencies yet to be named? Yes to all of the above and more.

    Answer? Well, for a start. Sensimilla. Look it up.

    • derekthered says:

      today on NPR i heard today is the NK “day of the sun” or some such thing, the birthday of the first glorious leader, whatever. i don’t have a clue what’s going on, i look at the totalitarian states i don’t know what’s our propaganda or what’s theirs.
      we say they can’t have nukes be we can, doesn’t seem very equitable, but there’s nothing i can do about it, probably the less nukes the better.
      maybe all this hoopla was just the kid building up to their holiday, proving he’s the big man, let’s hope there is no conflict over there, we have troops there and they are just working class people trying to make a living by being in the military.
      i had a breif and undistinguished USAF career myself, something about being unable to adjust.

      • Disaffected says:

        See, I’m so far around the bend now with regard to our current “adults in charge” that I have to wonder if even the latest NK’n “Kim Il Who-gives-a fuck” isn’t a CIA plant to justify yet more Shock Doctrine bullshit. And the bombings in Boston yesterday and all the attendant media hoopla? My first thought was immediately more CIA skullduggery, especially when I witnessed so many locals going over ape-shit over something that should, by now, be pretty routine (and I won’t even into launch into a tirade over he irony that Americans are totally insulated and indifferent to all the bullshit their self-appointed “freedom fighters” are currently perpetrating on Afghanistan and god knows where else). Especially when compared to all the recent and ongoing school shootings.

        When it comes to propaganda, it’s best to just tune it ALL out if you can. But especially your own government’s. The “enemy” you’re already hard-wired (FUCK! I HATE THAT WORD!!!) to ignore. Your own government’s you’re likewise conditioned to accept. In the end, it’s ALL bullshit meant only to deceive, and the interests served are always the same. The rich, power elite

        • derekthered says:

          “Americans are totally insulated and indifferent to all the bullshit their self-appointed “freedom fighters” are currently perpetrating”
          then you are a man after my own mind, i don’t see the supposed left holding the Nobel peace prize recipient’s feet to the fire, looks like Americans are just fine with empire as long as it serves their purposes. i must state that i see one exception and that is Chris Hedges, and Glenn Greenwald, that makes two.
          i wondered when Boston would come up. the media sure seems to want to pin it on the right, but some inconvenient facts about pressure cookers being used in south Asia have come up..
          speaking of pressure cookers, once tshtf the gubbamint could have quite a mess on their hands. see, most people expect you to talk a certain way on the left, they want to pigeonhole you, if you don’t trust the powers that be? then you’re a troll. doctrinaire, that’s what they want.
          funny thing? the young people, they are pretty liberal, but they don’t trust the gubbamint either. well what the hell, tell you what, if i ever get a real chance at getting out of the city? like our host? i’m outta here.

      • Martin says:

        Re: Propaganda; from what I’ve noticed on the tube of an early evening, the images re NK seem to be very reminiscent of what I saw in ‘newsreels’ regarding the “Japs” and “Nazis” when I was a kid during WWII. Definitely calculated to keep our anti-enemy tempers up, not to say that the ‘J’s’ and ‘N’s’ weren’t bad guys, they were, but the visuals were always somewhat over the top.

        Just sayin’….

        • Disaffected says:

          Propaganda is always just propaganda, isn’t it? Not even that inventive usually either. By design…

          Lie again
          Lie some more
          Repeat until “the lie” is “the truth.”
          Tell “the truth,” or, better yet, invent another one.

  3. Malthus says:

    “hamsters, pitiful little hypocrites.” Hot damn. Tear the god damned curtain of illusion down and stand naked and be proud to be the cosmic apparatices turning food into crap and mentally justifying our very existence that we really are.

    • Disaffected says:

      Not sure how to take that, but I think I totally agree. We’re monsters, really! In our eternal vilification and attempted destruction of “the other,” we’re always and only looking into the cosmic mirror and recoiling in horror at what we see.

      • Disaffected says:

        Hate to go all Pink Floyd on ya, but they really did cover this topic pretty well while I was still smoking bowls of cheap Columbian back in the day thinking I knew it all (I know, I know, as opposed to now!). On the plus side, the graphics are still pretty cool – advertisements may vary.

        • derekthered says:

          man, i am just going to town tonight

          still my favorite, and i am mr. floyd freak, love gilmours solo, waters is friggin’ great, they all are.

          • Disaffected says:

            I’m told that’s what happens when young men/women of (intellectual/creative) means come together and gather their minds for common purpose. Too bad it only happens when money’s involved, isn’t it? If only we could devise a better way?

            • derekthered says:

              even minstrels would sing for their supper. the Floyd is a special case. The Wall is definitely a masterpiece, Roger Waters Live in Berlin version is pretty good also.

  4. Damn, I had a bad impression of Aldous Huxley before but I couldn’t agree with that quote any more than I do. Oh and I think the orbital cortex malfunctions are largely caused by childhood abuse, neglect, and trauma, as well as nutritional scarcity, at least I think studies bear that out. Sure, there might be a genetic defect here and there, but wouldn’t it be determinist to say that some are pre-disposed to violence while others are not?

    • derekthered says:

      IMHO Brave New World is the most fascinating futuristic novel ever written, it’s just uncanny. but yes, it is the deterministic bent that worries me. we know people are complicated and can do bad things; what happens if people who do bad things get the control of the technology? here’s something from the Times
      Justices Consider Whether Patents on Genes Are Valid

      i don’t know, maybe i raise more questions than i can answer.

      • I think be default the bad people are in control of the technology, because the very definition of government is ‘place for bad people to get away with it’, the bad people are in control of pretty any position of power in corporations and governments, and we all know the gov’t clowns have to follow the orders of their uber-wealthy donor constituency to stay in power, and the courts must tow the party line…

        Patent genes are not valid for the simple reason that no patent is valid, and intellectual property is just another word for violence.

        The irony is that its not a brave new world but the same damn old world just puffed up with exponential amounts of energy.

        • Disaffected says:

          Patent genes are not valid for the simple reason that no patent is valid, and intellectual property is just another word for violence.

          I like that, although/because you cut straight to the chase. My causal chain would have read intellectual property>patents>riches>enforced by govt/violence.

          But yes, that’s the gist of riches, which should be stated right up front (and cannot be stated often enough). Riches depend on enforcement of property rights, which ultimately depend on violence. The poor know this intimately, and thus their traditional resort to violence to impose their limited property rights. The rich? We tend to forget that fact. Until reality occasionally intrudes…

          Perhaps that’s why Americans are so offended when “horrific” violence intrudes on their daily lives? We’ve become conditioned to the idea that that sort of shit only happens to the third world/Muslim poor living in some mythical “over there,” when in fact, the disaffected ain’t all necessarily “poor” by traditional standards any more, nor are are they necessarily “third world/Muslim, and they most certainly ain’t “over there” for GODDAMN SURE!

          In short, we the people have lost our “evil compass” which first Shrub, and now NoBama, have attempted to define for us. We no longer have a clue about who or what evil is or where in the world it exists, although it seems to be everywhere these days, and increasingly, right in bed with us. And of course it is, since we drag it into bed with us every night attached to every evil deed we continue to perpetrate on the world with our wealth and our power daily.

      • Disaffected says:

        i don’t know, maybe i raise more questions than i can answer.

        A sure sign of enlightenment! All the great teachers ask questions only their students can answer. That’s what makes them great teachers.

        • derekthered says:

          please, you flatter me. 🙂

          • Disaffected says:

            Well then, go on and be flattered, ya dummy! Ya know, we humans don’t yet have a clue as to what “intelligence,” aka “smartness” is, never mind how to measure it. Except for the popularly accepted one: how to fuck over each other and our environment. That much we seem to have got down pat.

          • Disaffected says:

            Sorry, that said, my original statement stands all the same.

    • derekthered says:

      “wouldn’t it be determinist to say that some are pre-disposed to violence while others are not?”
      well yeah, but then we are right back at the western way of thought, determinations, conclusions, judgments, how i started this little essay. what gets me is that so-called liberals, leftists, libertarians, whatever, don’t see that they are employing the same methods, reacting to the prevailing dialectic.
      i’m not very well educated, this is probably why Jean Baudrillard had such an effect on me, plus he comes right out and says that the Marxist critique is outdated, so i’m searching, searching. still seems Marx is relevant when i look around, his solutions? maybe not so much.
      but back to predisposition, sure they can say this gene does this, this one that, but what about combos, synergy? i am sure they think they have it figured out. i still don’t trust the cognoscenti, if all these experts are so damn smart why are we in such a mess?
      geez, i’m running on, used to know this gorgeous woman, i was married, but not going into that. point is, the other ladies made fun of her, said she was a dim bulb (jealousy), but one thing i noticed, when an argument started she would leave the room, always said nice things about other people, always willing to help. now who was the smart one? maybe we need a new way to measure intelligence. you get my point. how i run on, and me such a crappy typist.

      • Disaffected says:


        STOP apologizing for who you are – there’s no need.

        CONTINUE asserting who you are – that’s quite enough.

        Believe me! You’re doing JUST FINE!

        Shit! Maybe I should follow my own advice?


          • Disaffected says:

            Quora is your best source of knowledge? Think that might be a hint?

            Sorry Derek, are you for real?

            I’ve got all night, but I sometimes wonder about numb-nuts, no matter their persuasion.

            • derekthered says:

              numb-nuts? no, i just threw that out there, thought you might be interested. i don’t read a lot anymore, prefer to think on my own.
              i did find an interesting link on another site awhile back.
              i like articles that cover a lot of ground and bring relationships into focus, something that grabs your attention. and yes, i’m for real, i’ve been doing this for a long time, since grade school, spent my paper route money at the bookstore, read the Manifesto in the 8th grade. so yes, politics, social conditions, they have been my preoccupation for near 50 years. here’s the deal DA, don’t look for yours truly to toe the party line, ain’t happening, we’re ornery down south here.
              besides, if you look at what the guy posted? he’s a “Computational Neuroscientist”, whatever that is. aren’t you impressed? i got to go to bed, work tomorrow, rest helps deal with stress.

            • derekthered says:

              yo, here’s something to ponder.

              “The prodigious or phenomenal event which cannot be measured either in terms of its causes or its consequences and which creates its own scene, its own dramaturgy — no longer exists. Little by little, history has shrunk back into the probability of its causes, of its effects and, more recently, into the field of its present, into its effects measured in “real time”. Events will not go any further than what their anticipated sense, their programming, and their diffusion will allow. This strike of events in itself constitutes a true historical manifestation, this refusal to signify whatever there may be, or even the capacity to signify whatever comes our way. This is the true end of history, the end of the Reason or Logic of history.”

              • kulturcritic says:

                I think the man is confused…. IMHO sandy

                • derekthered says:

                  which man? my hero? mr. jean?
                  i think he is commenting upon mediatization, where every event anywhere is thrust upon our paleolithic brains all at once. we are never given distance, things from the past are constantly referred to as in the present, events from around the planet are presented, we are supposed to care or we are not living up to the universal ideal.
                  paul virilio comments upon this same phenomen in his books.

                • derekthered says:

                  my reply to the article on Disqus.
                  “seems we have all of history rushing into our mammalian brains all at once. we are told we should care about every event everywhere, we are effectively swamped by information overload, mediatized into oblivion.”

              • Disaffected says:

                red – I think he is complaining about digital overloading; and that this has destroyed temporal flow (time); but he is mourning the loss of time.

                Agreed – of sorts. One, I think he/she’s using overly dramatic language that he/she doesn’t necessarily understand to make an overly dramatic point, and two, I doubt he/she even understands the point they’re trying to make, never mind the question in play. In short, it’s a pretentious response to a more than likely pretentious post, posted on a certainly pretentious blog.

    • derekthered says:

      childhood abuse? didn’t never bother me none, besides the emotional maladjustment, and the blurred vision……………………..

  5. derekthered says:

    ” I think he is complaining about digital overloading; and that this has destroyed temporal flow (time); but he is mourning the loss of time.” hmm…..yeah, one way of looking at it. i think the operative thing is “has destroyed temporal flow”, more destroying context in my view, a form of subtle indoctrination or influence which tends to destroy the reality of the situation, it lessens the discriminating faculty.
    this sounds as if it is an argument in support of the western curriculum, but actually it is a criticism of using empiricism to create a false reality, a simulacrum if you will, the cellular identity.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Well, I’m officially lost! ha ha ha

      • derekthered says:

        as usual, i’m winging it, and probably flattering myself, DA may chastise me for being self-deprecating….
        it’s a false zen, atomization, breaking things down to constituent parts, and then recombining them into something which approximates the real but is not.
        it’s a tightrope, for instance “one world”, it could stand for bringing justice and prosperity to everyone (a laudable goal), or it could actually be the spread of malevolent control (the paranoid view), but as Pink floyd said, “which is which? and who is who?”
        or, inadvertently from both sides, it could be a completely wrong dialectic, for example “bring freedom and prospertiy to everyone and burn up the planet doing so”, the religion pf progress which is the Archdruid’s latest theme.

        • kulturcritic says:

          Now this, I understand

        • Disaffected says:

          Hey Derek, just BE REAL and stop pretending. You’re over thinking it dude. And GODDAMN IT!!!! STOP APOLOGIZING!!!

        • Disaffected says:

          Even the Archdruid felt the need to post an “Aside” piece in his latest series, which I found to be a bit queer. The idea of progress as a “religion” always went without saying to me, although I’ve always been skeptical of religion in general, so maybe I’m a bit out of step in that regard. Progress and growth are linked at the hip with exceptionalism, especially of the American variety, since we’re allegedly the most exceptional of all. But of course it should come as no surprise that our most cherished paradigms go unquestioned to the last. That’s why they’re paradigms in the first place!

          • Disaffected says:

            Try again Archdruid link

          • derekthered says:

            geez, how can i stop when you keep telling me i’m wrong for doing so?
            i don’t think JMG wants to “interface” with me, seems he has his own kind of dogma. but he is right about the progress thing, but like you, it’s not a novel idea to me.
            the apologizing thing is something else, in today’s world with all the narcissism about it’s a fine line between healthy self respect and arrogance. just living in this society beats you down, so you get defensive, apologetic. then you have the sociopaths who apologize for nothing, then you have the self-help gurus, fostering that good old positive self image. nevertheless, even though we just blog with each other, you keep saying it over and over, i’m thinking about it, you have my attention.

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