“If madness is the truth of knowledge, it is because knowledge is absurd, and instead of addressing itself to the great book of experience, loses its way in the dust of books and in idle debate; learning becomes madness through the very excess of false learning…According to the theme long familiar to popular satire, madness appears as the comic punishment of knowledge and its ignorant presumption.” Michel Foucault, Madness & Civilization
Wind blows through the archaic wind pipes jutting out of a heaping clutter-frenzy. It’s limp, lachrymose tone befits this ruined place. The burnt antlers of a useless machine dig back into the earth. I sometimes dream of pineapples. If you find a can, it’s like gold. Junk clatters the hillside as scavengers traverse below the ridge-line. The skeletal lattices of bombed out buildings loom over the trash-scape. Coffin-cars litter segments of catafalque highways. Defunct underpasses form hideaways more dangerous than they’re worth. Scan for those faint melodies, the singular tracks that suggest where a cache might be tucked away by another rubble-squirrel. Easier to find that nut than go poking about the vast remains for spicks and specks of this and that.
Nobody remembers exactly when the bomb went off. At this point, it’s vague if there was even a bomb. Perhaps it’s just an easier way of talking about the collective shit storm of biblical weather unleashed upon us by the backwash of our own slippery productivity and evasive progress. What does it matter now that we’re lost in a rancid haze with dirty undies for masks?
There are all sorts of stories told to explain why things are they way they are now. Puppet presidents and imposter nations, media cabals and demonic elites, but none of them matter anymore in terms of causing us to correct the damage done.
One story that is commonly told, though, is that the post-industrial nations that managed to completely transition to green and sustainable systems miscalculated the risk of nuking the nations that were still stuck in the fossil fuel age and were still exacerbating global warming. And so they nuked the developing world to halt the same poisonous old-fashioned practices they had partook in, but due to unforeseen weather changes, they hastened civilization’s demise with an overdosage of nuclear fallout.
Another popular explanation, criticized as too simplistic, is far more outlandish but entertaining and that’s why it’s told like the only sick joke left to console our condition. It’s referred to as the network president. Supposedly, a television network selected a rich kid and made a persona out of him as a real-estate mogul so that a few decades later he could host a wildly popular game show piped into millions of boob tubes in which he could display his sadistic pleasure in firing people. When that show ran its course, the network reinvented him as a commander-in-chief divider (based upon the blueprint of a previous actor puppet placed in the White House decades earlier) and used him to divide everything and everyone until everybody was at each other’s throats. Soon enough, people forgot to take each person as an individual and only saw a person as a figment of a group. As a side effect of this derivative sales technique, the chief divider went rogue and with three words dismantled the free press by forcing them to print “fake news” ad nauseam until the commoners believed all news to be fake. With the truth out of the way, it was only a matter of time before history served up its lesson through a one-two punch. A plague that set the blame-stage for the final World War.
But again, most people dismiss this story because they cannot believe their ancestors could’ve been so easily manipulated by media companies who in turn couldn’t have been so irresponsible as to make politics mere entertainment and produce a post-truth environment ripe for disaster. The few who do believe the story as obvious truth know that the surefire way to idiocy is by overcomplicating matters with fussy sophistications, compartmentalized rationalizations, and comforting justifications that blot out one’s ability to register the proliferating obfuscations one is actually making to the degree that they carve it’s maker out from the inside before the maker knows it nor can do anything about it.
Death is intolerable; the truth unbearable.
Even if this network president story were true, believe it or not, people still squirm. But they call it fighting. They squirm over what’s left. The lousy clutter. Squirm to the very end. It’s important to show spirit in the face of destitution rather than compassion. And when they’re not squirming in broad daylight, they’re hiding among the rubble and pretending to carry on with some meaningless work. They’re hoping that one day things outside magically get better. That the wet architecture stays put.
There are no parents anymore. The children are left to fend for themselves like gangs of rodents scurrying in and out of the clutter. Every mother a Henrietta Anonymous. Every father a phantom weenie slipped out of the clutch. Guilt can only occur if somebody cares. The neo-Robber Barons like Teton Husk stole their childhood long before they were born with cynical overconsumption of oxymoronic products in the luxurious era of virtue signaling.
Don’t get sick on clutter island. Don’t get too old either. The scavengers will pick you clean. Desperation is enthusiasm. And enthusiasm desperation. It’s impossible to tell them apart. The only respect given is to the winner of a suffering competition. Whoever convinces others of suffering the most maybe gets a pass for the night. Not out of empathy, mind you, rather out of fear that the lousiness on display might get infectious amidst the humanity scraps racing briefly across our minds when the impending dangers subside for a blip.
Any piece of art or culture that people used to supposedly care about is destroyed. The sight of any beauty from the past inspires nothing but anger now. Any excuse is taken as permission to feel righteous about knowing reality as harshness. We are more miserable now than any before us. Only useful things have value now. Resentment and jealousy is our currency. Quick to be disgusted at any person who seems like they might be good or pretty.
It’s nightmares every night. Rooftop executions. The weak and defenseless face marauders. When the mincemeat-makers come, drop everything. Hide or use the clutter as a wedge between you and them. Or else, get caught swinging miserably until they bore of your anguish and have their fun. String you up. Turn you into a piñata. Or if they’ve got a can of pineapples around, a Hawaiian BBQ. Sometimes the mere sound of extreme torture sends one off in a rage of uncontrollable laughter. As if choking on a pit.
There is no protection. No enforced simulation of ownership. When somebody assumes the perspective of someone else what is meant is that someone else’s situation is worse. This is said to make one feel better. And that is the extent of anyone’s empathy now. Someone else gets his head bashed in over some clutter and all one can muster is “at least it wasn’t me.”
Sometimes we look at our ruined state and have the thought that something should be done about it. Maybe it should be cleaned up. But what is meant is that somebody else should. Who that somebody is nobody knows. Like children playing with busted dolls, they still hold on to a warped idea of some hero that never was.
The clutter doesn’t stay on the outside either. It creeps right into one’s mind if one isn’t careful. There’s always some mad preacher screaming at the wind with sermons of cluttered futility yearning for those old visions of monsters from the deep, the obsolete and grandiose illuminated depictions of the apocalypse:
“We turned our backs on the burning eye. Now it burns all the brighter. Don’t you feel that piercing sensation in the back of your neck? That’s the beam of Yam shooting straight at you from the primordial chaos.
We thought we could fabricate everything. We forgot that we were not Gods. Now that hubris is burning a hole in our backs. And what do we do? We do as those did before us. Even if we see the worst coming. We just do what makes us comfortable and hope for the best. We call our neglect tolerance. Our abandonment freedom.
But the burning eye sees right through our excuses. Our false righteousness is nothing but smoke from the bonfires of our futile sacrifices. Can’t you hear Mammon laughing? We’d rather spend our attention on diminishing returns than face what we’ve become.”
Listen to this false self-appointed prophet conjuring up archaic dreams shattered to bits and pieces like everything else. Foregone squealing against the roaring aftermath.
“Our ancestors saw it coming but did nothing effective to stave off hell to come. They were too concerned with how their financial turds glided into various containers. Beezlebub turned them back into crap-hurling apes. There is no lottery anymore, yet we still wish for it. We still yearn to bathe in copious amounts of green mana. The biggest sin of our great grandfathers was the worship of the great big money turd in all its dynamic brimstone-stink and the obsession over the bowel movements of random markets and their fiscal constipations.
It’s too hard to care, isn’t it? So we turn our back to stare at another crap-vista while we ignore the hole burning right through us from the old forgotten pyramid of snakes belching hell-fire.”
What a hopeless romantic. Like a coward’s pre-retreat. Only the idiots who hang on too long call their desertion a retreat. When all is lost, what does it matter that one had the vision to see where the insanity was roughly headed and made a pre-retreat to the same result? Only to get to the end first, sure, but at least the line between courage and stupidity was preserved along with the selective wisdom of cowardice, otherwise known as imploded courage.
One cannot help but wonder if religion set the stage for our demise or if it was our abandonment that brought it on. That maybe if we hadn’t taken tenderness as weakness, if we had stuck to the wisdom of our knees and knelt more like those before us maybe we would’ve preserved our existence. The forgotten virtues of any religion cultured over millennia and coded in metaphor probably knew more about the psyche than any madhouse-fabricating rational literalist ever could. Losing the ship of fools and hiding the madness in a glimmer of reason surely didn’t pan out.
It was hardly the fault of our ancestors, though. They couldn’t do anything about it. Technology’s effects were never fully known until the damage was done. Governance was always after the fact. The old in power were too slow to catch up. Mass psychological experiments were conducted through cheap (even free!) and useful tech. The radio brought fascism and it wasn’t until after WW2 that people realized it. What was supposed to be the information superhighway became a disinformation cul-de-sac noose. And the world was irrevocably turned to clutter once people outsourced their ability to think. The never-ending confetti feeds cut their heads off like guillotines. The psychological warfare disguised as harmless fun when you have a minute. Role-confusion apps wreaking havoc on pre-formed psyches. It was the worship of technology that was mandatory. Or else be deemed a luddite. A fool who failed to outsource his dreams. Somebody who doesn’t get the complexity. For technology somehow turned itself into Jesus Christ before the bomb. The savior who delivered us, accidentally of course, to our destruction. Only without any cool design features like redemption or salvation. Just the feel of hi-tech savviness for neo-yuppies clad in monochrome uniforms mistaking purchasing power for the possession of traits while they march on in the same manner their parents did without realizing it before its too late to stop the next generational battalion from replacing them.
Only integrity of mind keeps the clutter out. However you do it, you need to do it, or else devolve into a doomsday lunatic ranting at the rancid haze with panties on your face. I’ve got my system. It’s what I call scaffolding and it must change constantly to keep up with the wet architecture. The attention spent on scaffolding consumes mental resources because by the time it is thought to be set in place, another shift occurs and a new arrangement must be made. The wet architecture shifts itself so that any line, which is thought to be static, is in fact a movement. When a line is a movement everything is slippery as a result. Even a simple line of reasoning cannot be held in place by the notion of a choice for more than a blip.
From the scaffolding, the wet architecture appears to have an exterior but if one ventures onto the wetness, no interior can be found. The rooms thought to exist move away from an encroaching step. Negative spaces escape on the moving lines of any memory. From the perspective provided by scaffolding, the line is drawn to make the difference as always but in the wetness the difference moves elsewhere. The project in mind always extends past the idea of its finality.
On a circuitboard of toast, the seed darts along a string of jelly. The bulb cannot hold its voltage so it slips on the vine. Repurposed babies spill from the rope like knots sliding on hollow thread. Ancestral genitals death-squirm in a Petri dish. Floppy labia sprout penis heads. Any entrance exits itself. Makeshift hallways fall through their frames. The bomb turned every disposable bedroom into a vacant stare. The shadow-runner stays below the simulated horizon.
A crack slap-echoes from a hard rooftop. A minor sound compared to the terror we were once. The terror we paralyzed ourselves with until we became unable to find the course to correct ourselves toward. For now, we have become the terrified. We have reverted back to our pre-ancestral evolutionary iteration’s baseline fear squirm. A pointless post-generational reaction to what harmed us but is already long gone. The only caveat of our dying age might be this awareness, or tortured release, of how after the fact our existence always was.