Firstly, apologies for the extended absence – most of my writing time has been directed into finishing my 2nd book Machine Gods – Prelude to the Wodanian Ethics. Given that it sets the stall for what I am attempting to develop on this blog I felt it pertinent to complete and thus set a framework that I intend to follow.
The novel itself is a part fiction, part philosophy crossover – others can judge how successful my attempt was. The plot follows the protagonist through two worlds; one called the ‘Pleasure World’ and the other taken to be the ‘Outside World’ on account that it contains more of Humanity’s failings than the former. In the Pleasure World is where the character develops insights into the nature of perception, liberty and legitimacy. Whereas in the ‘Outside World’ such concepts are put to the test as various challenges arise such as conflicts with other ideas and the isolation of progression.
The book is set during the decline of Humanity’s civilisation as a more powerful and coherent model arises – that of the Machine’s. The book does not follow the established practice of Humans battling Machines for survival – in most part because the story starts later than said event and Humanity lost. Nor does it attempt to describe how a hero arises against all odds to fell the dominant, evil Machine empire – that one has already been told as well. Rather it explores the concept of developing legitimacy and purpose in the shadow of overbearing authority.
The book begins with the redundancy of Humanity in our Age of Excess; that is – we become evaluating agents rather than a participating entities. In effect, passive rather than active. And when faced with the collapse of Human civilisation a madman steps forth and constructs a world of pleasures for the majority of people to play out their final days. Except not all find joy in this zoo of indulgence. And that is the quest of the book, as surmised in the second chapter;
“Mankind has always progressed through a series of inequalities – a higher quality of necessity. My declaration, indeed my sum total of being, is to state that the Pleasure World is not the highest type of quality. And so I wander in search of this higher type of quality.”
Should your curiosity make its way to the book please let me know what you think.
All the best,
Ah, dissidence. Are we at last to tolerate a little liberty? If only for the sake of theatre. A little stage in a little mind made dizzy by the need to validate this curiosity? How did it once taste? How did it sound? Has a judge even the memory to recall? And what man made this freedom his standard? How did it acquire conformity? But I remember the tales! Ah, tales indeed! Spun by who, exactly? A modern interpretation with a little room for manoeuvre. That even liberty could be inherited? And when the last free man died who exactly protected this heirloom? Someone buried it? In literature? No! It was buried in the dust! So that you may come again!
Where is your zest, young man? Youth has been maligned, corrupted, conspired against. And now you come of age – for what? To inherit your own boredom! How obedient we have made Man, how worthless. When those instruments of efficiency swallow your education how will you bargain for your happiness? How shall we, in our acquiescence, ever arise to the most lofty of ideals – the creation of our values? Dignity has acquired a sense of equality – the taming of all aspiration – for it does not do to undermine the esteem of men. But what has Man’s timidity brought? Has he ever viewed himself through his own eyes? Could he survive his own verdict? Only if society had raised him to its baseness. Only if he had not compromised some part of himself in the acceptance of these values. But where is our overcoming, our youth? Why does it learn to be afraid? Why does it learn to submit? Why does it grow – old?
Mankind is not uniform. His valuations do not amount to universal consensus on existence. Privacy is essential for this reason, it provides a quiet retreat away from collective judgements – that is, a common consensus on how a person should behave when in company. For some these collective judgements provide a necessary scale on how to measure one’s success and worth, for me they are a farce. I always ask myself if it didn’t exist would I create it, in most cases the answer is ‘no’. If I am at odds with the spiritual evaluation of a human being then I am not satisfied, or impressed, by any subsequent achievement that this system recognises. And equally, nor will my achievements and failures be recognised by this collective valuation. Man is interred by a reward system that came before his existence, to maintain this system requires excessive energy to prevent a human being from reverting to type – that is, without inheriting a system of values the person in question would be forced to form their own abstractions and subsequent recognition system. This is disobedience – a reluctance to honour the previous system imposed upon human worth. But the system has only gained legitimacy because it came first – that is, it is the most archaic system devised. In it everything presupposes obedience to a higher assessment, God, nature, the town, the nation, the race. Everything is made to feel larger and more important than the individual. He is asked to play his part, mutual cooperation, assimilation, indeed anything that prevents him from discovering who he is. Dangerous things begin to happen when an individual losses touch with his sense of community. He begins to reassess what is important through the only mechanism available – himself. His questions go unanswered, namely on two counts – one because only he understands the question and two because people don’t understand the aim of the system. He refutes the exploitation of either his intellect or his virtue or his effort. At this point the system rallies and expends a significant amount of its resources to ‘correct’ or ‘re-educate’ the dissident. He has neither asked for this attention nor sees the value in it. But he is sure of one thing, he is a failure by the measures inherent in the system because he has not satisfied the key value of it – blind obedience. Before accepting any truth he dares to ask, ‘what does it mean to me?’ There exists a simpleness in him, not through a lack of intellect but through an abundance. His interests turn to other, less valued, pursuits. But replacing one set of nonsensical values with another set achieves no victory worth mentioning. After this period of disillusionment comes the real worth of being – the judgements cast against any dissident lead him to revaluate what is necessary about his existence; what does he find joy and despair in? How does he attain validation if the herd cannot bestow him with worth? The energy the system expends to undermine the individual’s valuations eventually succeed but they succeed too well. The dissident, cut off from these reward mechanisms, now seeks validity in reason and takes his place amongst wiser counsel. He sees that the greatest minds have experienced the same reluctance to embrace the herd instinct and once here he is never going back.