TOTW: the legs of the table

  • Posted on: 10 September 2018
  • By: thecollective

Back in the day, I attended a few meetings with people in Bring the Ruckus (the group started by Joel, not any of the many other Bring the Ruckus's). And one of the things I took away from those meetings was their metaphor of the table of The System, a table that rests on multiple legs, the most significant of which is racism. So BtR was going after that leg of the table, as a way, so they said, to bring the whole table down. It's unclear to me at this remove, if that leg was most significant in their eyes because it was bearing the most weight (a table that was heavier on one corner than on the others? was there more loaded on top of that part of the table? If so, what were these heavy... packages? and how do they fit into the metaphor? etc) or because that leg is easier to attack (it's made of wood and the other legs are made of metal? ok ok, never mind).

I think that metaphor has stuck in my mind because for me it stands for a lot of things: people's desire to be effective; people's wishful thinking; people's limited metaphor/imagination capacity; people's manipulations--including of themselves--in the name of activism; and along all those, an underlying way of thinking about the fight that we're in, the metaphors that we rely on without even thinking about or recognizing them, because the table one I think is pretty normal, though rarely made (so) explicit.

So this TOTW is about what metaphors you rely on, which ones work for you, which ones you've left behind as unhelpful, what you've seen other people use, either well or poorly...

What metaphor would you use to illustrate how you live your life, how you live your anarchy, how anarchy works in the world, how the world works on us: any or all of the above.

People have called systems-that-are-problems an octopus (Frank Norris), leviathan (Perlman), the totality (folks), etc.; how do those different names influence how we imagine combating them?

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Comments

puzzle box. definitely a puzzle box

Here in this civilized, domesticated, industrial society, I am a fucking grenade that never stops exploding. -BM

Trying to break open the door to the room that has the doors I'm actually interested in?

Pass through the lobby of leftism, empty out bar and cash register, take a few things from coat check, down to the basement where anarchy has been squatting in the winter. Never shuts the fuck up about how stupid everyone upstairs is. I get it… smells like pee down here.

You obviously missed the final passage, after adjourning to the sanctuary of the basement, the enlightened anarch exits the basement through its window into the apolitical eternal recurrence.,.

I didn't miss a damned thing Le Fool! You ARE the pee smell in the basement,,,

When I saw a BtR presentation back when they were getting it started, I recall them using the metaphor of the Death Star (yes, Star Wars), and that racism was like the exhaust port that the rebels can use as a weak point to blow up an enormous almost indestructable machine. I found it intriguing as a metaphor (being of a particular age, SW references have a certain resonance with my earliest memories).

As per my last topic of the week, I tend to use the big tent metaphor a lot, although the discussion of it on the podcast brought up some good points that I am still chewing on. I've also got a certain affinity for the idea of weeds growing in the cracks of pavement which will eventually overtake the whole sidewalk.

Culture to me is the giant Sarlacc which would devour my unique individuality and essential beingness.,.

There's the fairly obvious metaphor of civilization as a junkie getting desperate, which I really like. When thinking about anarchist spaces being declared "safe" I think of a mafioso promising (and maybe believing) that he'll be able to keep his family safe.

I visualize Late Capitalism (and other oppressions it uses) as a vast Toilet of History - with a vortex 30 miles across, 60 mile deep water whooshing DOWN at 500 mph. After it sucks down everything in its grip, it will self-destruct and disappear.
The more "with it" you are, the closer you are to the Vortex of Death and the stronger its grip. DOWN go the greed addicts, the techie addicts, the formentors of race war, the promiscuity/alcohol/drug/eating disorder addicts, the fad addicts, and all the rest.

Those trying to break the chains (and they are many) are trying to swim out from the Vortex. The farther out they succeed in getting, the weaker the grip of the Vortex. But they had better not stop swimming out, for the Vortex still pulls. The most free are the "savages" (normal or hunter-gatherer-permaculturist humans), behind them are those seriously moving in their direction. Those who become able to reach the "savages" will outlive the Collapse and regenerate healthy human life. The kids will be free to grow up "like savages", able to live in nature, with the protracted, ugly death of "civilization" behind them.

Yes I think that a certain distance can be travelled out of the vortexes influence where metaphorically(psychologically), the culturally imbued desires are dissipated, and one no longer has to maintain a vigilance concerning the pull or influence of this force, one can relax, even in the midst of the turmoil, and maintain ones buoyancy, because its attraction and attachments become nothing the further one dissassociates oneself from it.,.

a very powerful, positive pull OUT of the Death Vortex, which (clueless) "civilization" calls mystical experience. "Savages" are all "mystics", but almost no "civilized" people are.

What is STRIKING when I go out to the sanctuary area I've picked is that even over Memorial Day and July 4, NO ONE is there. Over hundreds of square miles of forest. You would find more people there when the "wild Indians" had the run of the place. But the big freeway out of the megopolis to the vacation hot spots is CLOGGED, like a vast slow-motion cattle run. This is what Deep Structure damage (to human nature) looks like.

Yes I've experienced the same detachment from the civilization whilst in the wilderness, so rich in itself yet void of any inhabitants who would rather pursue the plastic neon god. Their values to me are like gossamer tissue paper smeared with the decaying deepfried meat excrement of the impoverished Western soul.,.

"The kids will be free to grow up "like savages", able to live in nature, with the protracted, ugly death of "civilization" behind them."
Oh sure?! And the gay Sambian men and their novice boy proteges can go off to their secret sin-ful man-cave and indulge in their selfish pleasures while the women live in drudgery child bearing, cooking, gathering food, and cleaning. At least the vortex offers equality of genders!

"The more "with it" you are, the closer you are to the Vortex of Death and the stronger its grip. DOWN go the greed addicts, the techie addicts, the formentors of race war, the promiscuity/alcohol/drug/eating disorder addicts, the fad addicts, and all the rest."

You're right! The other day I looked deep ito the late-stage-capitalist megavortex and saw people like underHILL and Notnull surfing right towards the center. Threw a rope at them so they could grab it, but they were so smug they didn't even notice.

I mean what to do with these people? They're so lost like headfirst!

But like, total badasses though! SURF THE MEGAVORTEX OF DEATH

You can also "surf" a black hole - especially past its event horizon.

Peak badass as you're crushed in to a singularity and converted to radiation!

to die badly for Late Capitalism!

I had actually just come back here to bring up David Watson/George Bradford's metaphor of Civilization as a Jetliner! I also like Perlman's description of Leviathan, though it took me a couple reads to really absorb it fully.

their Golden Luxury Parachutes from the doomed jetliner. (See "How tech's richest plan to save themselves after the apocalypse, The Guardian, 7-24-18, by Douglass Rushkoff, also posted in Medium.) Which will work badly.
The wealthy are the most SEVERELY dependent on late capitalist "civilization", and will only succeed in prolonging/deepening their death agony well beyond the rest. As it has been said: Karma is a bitch.

Which is why they don't want any collapse to happen. This means their world crumbling down and themselves falling from high altitude without a good enough parachute.

They know what they are doing, and they know the consequences, BUT THEY CAN'T STOP. They are the Final Addicts.
They lack the social cohesion and will to do anything but empty the Titanic with teacups. This is why they are investing millions in their private/individual escape hatches, which won't work either. Greed rewires the brain and produces epigenetic changes just like drug/alcohol addiction. Resulting in poor perception and judgement.

Some don't have consequential cognition, when they survive the Titanic by throwing children out of the lifeboats, they return with submarines to salvage what they can, to recharge the continuum, there is no future, only the Now, or death. There is no moral compass, life itself is an addiction to oxygen, carbon and hydrogen.

Here's a more bleak one than the Titanic or jetliner or junkie metaphor.MWUHAHAHAHAAA The metaphor of culture, the Death Submarine, self-contained toxic consciousness survival apparatus.

You might want to put down that nihilism pipe for a spell and go outside? Or at least watch some cat videos. Just take it slow ;)

Phew, just watched some catvideos, smiled at the nazi skinhead guy who lives across the hall, he sneered at me and made a circle with his thumb and forefinger, is that a come-on?, blew a kiss and went for a walk, smiled at a baby in a pram, 2 guys in a car pointed a gun and yelled Hey loser, thanks for the advice, but culture is still fucked up for me, do I need help? ;)

Instructions unclear, culture still fucked, try more nihilism.

Yo dude... Well indeed, after getting a heavy regular dose of FULL COMMUNISM for a few years I ended up realizing it was just more intense consumerism, and WORK, in solidarity with the proletariat of the world. Can you imagine... I went on starting a social center at the Costo and a Tim Horton's reading group. So yeah I think I'd better be laying down and chill out with a healthy dose of nihilism on the bench. It's like... muthafuckin life is short! Way too short to devote it to a bunch of mind ghosts.

Yep, I took the escape pod outta the death submarine, just chillin' on the beach with a mind full of salt water and sand,,,,

I can assist you in negating the lingering remnants of death culture and attaining the depths of the nihilist abyss and yet maintain a smile upon ones countenance when dealing with these consumeristic philistine workerist mind ghosts which one encounters in everyday life, if you like?

"There is no moral compass, life itself is an addiction to oxygen, carbon and hydrogen."

It's true, when I was a baby I fell into the drug hell of nitrogen/oxygen/carbon... Took me decades to finally to get a proper d-tox program so I could recover and stop breathing again... But what a relief!

In a way everything is a metaphor but most metaphors are limited in time and space. Even thinking there are 'systems-that-are-problems' is metaphorical thinking. Yes, there are systems and those systems also run through us, we are neither outside of them nor inside them totally. We are the problem. Many things are a puzzle and also some things are not puzzling at all. Sometimes there is a chain of events, sometimes everything happens at once sometimes effect precedes cause. If you only use one metaphor for all your needs you can get stuck in some pretty strange loops. Like instead of trying to fight all the time try dancing as a metaphor or not alienation is cool too.

...best represents my own paradigm.

i'd rather live on the table than die on my knees

The Circus of Doom!
(which swooshes quickly around The Toilet of History)

or like Peter Tosh would say, the shitstem

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