Thursday, February 11, 2010

Maybe this is what R Kelly's Song's About

I consider the number 42.

I’ve been thinking about the post about revolutions I previously posted.

I’ve also been thinking about Schroedinger’s cat, the thought experiment. (Instead of explaining it, I’ll just link wikipedia.) To reduce it: the cat is dead and alive.


I question, as always, who would even want to do that to the poor cat.

Anyway, since I’ve been reading a book Briullov lent me, Everything was Forever, Until it Was No More: The Last Soviet Generation, I’ve been thinking about both of those strands together. Now, I could get into all sorts of theory on speech acts and performances, or into historic details about post-Soviet era, but that’s boring for the reader construct in my head, first; and in case I develop this idea later on I don’t want someone to be like, “Hey, you stole that from this website, Frozen Icarus!”

Like anyone really reads… Not going there. Besides the point. Let me finally tell you what I’ve been thinking instead of just circling it like one of the Colonial Invaders™’ hairs are perpetually circling the drain in the tub.

To what extent can we extend Schroedinger’s thought experiment to the philosophy of human intent? Let me give you an example from my life. There was a girl at a café the other day who looked just like an old friend of mine, Artemis. I looked over at this girl, and I thought, “Huh. I should write to Artemis and say hi. I wonder how she’s doing with the cowboys in Wyoming.”

Before that thought crossed my mind, the possibility didn’t exist. From that moment on, I was Schroedinger’s cat, both writing the email and not writing it. I created my own little quantum universe to confuse the Sliders – who’ll get trapped in that alternate reality, not realizing that it is the one that shares all the similarities with ours except it has no Icarus-Artemis email connection.

Which direction does this take the question about revolutions, the apocalypse, Things that Go Bump™, and Damien [IT’S ALL FOR YOU!!1!Exclamation point1! --noose snaps neck--]? Much as I hate binaries, I can’t think of a third option.
1. We have dreams of The Resistance because that’s the MK Ultra of our Undisclosed Desires.* That is – my previous post was correct; we dream about revolutions and apocalypse because we WANT them to happen, and the expression of those dreams is us letting off steam.
Future historians can use these cultural artifacts to describe what (certain individuals in the media construct of) our (generalized Americo-Western one of many) society fears.
2. We can only express those things because they’re not real to us. We leave the theater and laugh at ourselves for being scared. There can be no zombies, no demon-orphan-children-of-American-ambassadors, no flash floods that destroy New York in Apocalypse Porn™.
Future historians can theorize about how we use these cultural artifacts as speech acts – because we use them to entertain ourselves, we’ve profaned them, we’ve made them un-scary, we’ve tamed them.

War Games (the Matthew Broderick movie) was a comedy, was it not? Wasn’t Strangelove a satire? Dark satire, to be sure – but would the movie-going public have been able to stomach either movie if they really believed the rhetoric of the Cold War, of Star Wars?

The obverse: I can’t think of any good late-Soviet-era movies that fill the same role as Strangelove or War Games. Does that mean the Cold War rhetoric was embraced as The Professor’s nostalgic commentary (about learning the names of major cruisers in the US Naval Fleet as a kindergartener, etc.) suggests it was?

*All Muse songs.


Davai-ka sigraem v shakhmaty. - How about a nice game of chess?
Net. Global’naia termoiadernaia voina. - No. Global thermonuclear warfare.


S.H.S said...

annoying third option:
Maybe we ourselves don't know whether we are "scared" or not; whether we really "want" a revolution or not. The variety of cultural expressions [pro-revolution songs; laugh-at-war-comedies; scream-and-cry-in-horror-movies] demonstrates our amazing schizophrenia.

Because we never stop to evaluate our personal relationship to a global phenomenon, we have to run through these potentials again and again...

maybe this is what you are saying already, simply by virtue of being unsure whether 1 or 2 is more accurate?

Andrew said...

My opinion of 6:52 AM is not going to be the same as my opinion at 6:53? Perhaps this is like the pair of Family Guy episodes, "Stewie Kills Lois/Lois Kills Stewie," at the end of which we, the viewing audience, discover that the episodes were just Stewie going through a Virtual Reality simulator to play the scenario out to the end.

"What would the apocalypse be like if this happened? What next?" "What if I staged a revolution right now? What would I be arguing against?"

The Sliders vanity: if this one change occurs, the entanglement of Schroedinger's cat splits into two universes that will never return to one another -- when really, a change could occur to split, but then a second change that unites, a third to split one in twain...

And I've asked this next before. A society is heterogeneous - which already brings the perceived binary to naught. How can we account for the individual's polyphony of consciousness, the recognition and maintenance of critical ambiguities?