I was trying to show them that it's possible to get involved in this world without being corrupted by the crimes of this world. And I failed. One by one, I resorted to all the vices of governors: deception, carnival magic to impress the gullible, and finally, outright murder. Once again, the cynics have been proven right.
There is a strange and self-defeating logic held by the adherents of order. Its really quite fascinating, when you realize what it is. Not only does it demonstrate their general uselessness in trying to impose order on the world, it also shows almost humorously that in reality, the people who run the world are not that different to us after all. And the implications of that particular thought could be quite fruitful.
The problem is this. Tradition and order are always under threat. They are based on the idea that the world should not change, or if change is brought about, that it should happen slowly and in increments, so that any side-effects can be mitigated (and also to benefit from the old way of doing things for as long as is possible). However, we know history does not work like that. While retroactively, one can trace the history of events with surprising accuracy, detailing richly how the world came to be what it is, it is otherwise nearly impossible to predict from now what the future will hold. Even worse, those changes in history, those moments where the world is turned upside down and once the dust has settled, something is changed, do not happen nicely and with warning. They erupt unexpectedly onto the scene, disrupting events around them by virtue of their shocking and unforeseen impact.
In short, time and reality are the enemy. Given a long enough time period, the chance of a black swan type event approaches one. How then, can one keep order, sustain tradition in such a world? Odysseus, also known as Ulysses in Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida, has advice for Achilles, after expressing the archetypal argument for tradition and hierarchy at a previous council of war. He tells Achilles that to win back honour, he must rejoin the fight. But more than simply restating his arguments, he also proposes a way to fight against the deprivations of time that so threaten the established order.
That way is one which is very familiar to us. Odysseus is too cunning, too honest to say that simply sticking by one's virtues will make them last and be right instead, he admits it is only by manipulation, deceit, the methods of cheating and playing people against each other for public consumption that the hierarchical method will be retained, and that Achilles will get his honour back in the bargain.
In other words, order is supported and indeed reliant on an undercurrent of chaotic, deceitful and antithetical values to that of the orderly world. Hidden variables abound, games played in the dark, things are not as they seem. Illusions and phantoms are thrown up and people used as chess pieces in games they did not even know they were playing. Order must be transgressed if it is to be maintained, but if it is being ignored and broken by its chief principles, then it is no longer order, is it?
Of course, Odysseus is interesting in that apart from Achilles, he is the only Greek to receive a reprimand from Agamemnon, the Greek commander. While he manages to keep the morale of the Greeks in check, he is also the most disruptive element in their camp. He kills another Greek commander in revenge for an earlier slight, framing him as a traitor. His claim to the arms of Achilles leads to the suicide of Ajax. It is he who comes up with the plan to storm Troy, and he who humiliates Menelaus by not allowing him to kill Helen, for betraying and leaving him. He may uphold the order, but he does it in such a way that he is saving up a lot more disorder for a later point, and he himself has no qualms about using such methods himself. Can the same be true for other adherents of order?
It is possible. Nietzsche also considered the self-destroying nature of Christian order, in that it posited a metaphysical world beyond our current reality, and gave humanity a fixed place in the Universe, but at the same time made truth one of the key aspects of its belief system. The problem is, of course, that Christianity is built upon lies and falsehoods, so eventually it turns in on itself. Its truth was a powerful weapon, in the right hands, and most certainly part of its moral order, but once turned inwards, it helped cause the whole thing to unravel.
Its not so much a matter of us acting like them, as RAW tried to put it, more the issue is them acting like us. Often the methods of the proponents of order are fairly well known and manipulated (such as getting inside the OODA loop a military method for decision making so that the hierarchy itself becomes a weapon to use against your enemies). Not everyone on the other side is a stupid automaton, or even a very smart one. The Subgenii got this right, as well:
ROGUE SUBGENII are Latent Subgenii who repressed themselves until they hit the fusion point and went too far.
The people at the TOP, the REAL top, of the Conspiracy are Rogue Subgeniuses who were seduced over to the expediency of the Conspiracy, the Dark Side of the Farce. The Conspiracy IS more DIRECT, and they can't wait for the Way of Dobbs to evolve in its sloppy way; they want to give things a push.
Its not a nefarious Other we are against, its an unrealized (or differently actualized, depending on your point of view) aspect of ourselves. People, just like us, are the ones running the things at the top. The real sneaky bastards, the Karl Roves and Alistair Darling's and E. Howard Hunt's and Freddie Scappaticci and the like are nothing but mirror images of ourselves.
And that is probably why we know them better than anyone else. When idiots in the press or the citizenry go along with the insane plans of such people, we seem to be the ones who instinctively know what these no-good shits are up to. And that is because, barring some fortuitous or calamitous event, we are not all that different. We think in the same ways, and plan in similar ways. Sure, our end goals are different, and ours are certainly more consistent than theirs, but its the same methods and same ways we would use. Indirect. Manipulative. The path of least resistance. Underhand. Ultimately undermining of order and authority, in one way or another.
And that, to me, makes the game much more fun. Any idiot with half a brain can run rings around those fools who take order seriously hell, I suspect anyone here can do it in their sleep and has done at least once. No, it means we have something much more interesting, a fair match, almost. Of course, having allied themselves with the order they seem so intent on undermining does give them some advantages, in terms of resources, but in the end they are killing the goose that lays the golden egg. They become...dependent, on their strengths. While very good at unconventional fighting, they are used to having much more to work with. Their memes infect the structure of tradition, while at the same time, they benefit from the discipline of tradition. However, the two eventually wear each other down, wasting resources and undermining the original strength that allowed for such power.
In fact, doing the same thing ourselves may be worth a shot, now and again. Taking someone for a ride and grinding them down, while also using them against another power base, is a time honoured strategem in China. Killing with a borrowed sword is all the rage.
In the end, chaos always wins. Always. And empahsis on order just helps the process along.
There really is no "best" day to visit the Vatican when there are fewer people. The Vatican is the most popular tourist destination in Rome and is almost always busy. You can consider Tuesday or Thursday as your best option. Weekend dates are a bit more lively, and on Wednesdays there is (usually) the papal audience, which means even more people. However, from April to October, you can book a visit on Friday night to the Vatican Museums. And then there are much less people.
Every morning, most tourist groups show up and many people arrive early to try to "cross the border", so the Vatican Museums may be less crowded in the afternoon.
St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican Museums are usually full on Saturdays, while Rome hosts many weekends with visitors from other parts of Italy and Europe.
The Vatican Museums are closed on Sundays, except the last Sunday of the month when they are vacant. This is the busiest day you can imagine visiting the Vatican Museums.
On Wednesday (except in July, when the Pope pauses), the Pope holds an audience in St. Peter's Basilica. In the warmer months it will be in the square. In the colder months, it will be located in an auditorium to the left of the basilica. This means that the entire region will be overcrowded as tens of thousands visit the papal audience, many of whom decide to visit the Vatican Museums after the hearing.
If you visit the Vatican on a Wednesday when the papal audience is held in St. Peter's Square, you will know that St. Peter's Basilica is closed until the end of the papal audience (around 12:13).
In terms of the season, the off-season winter months are preferable if you want to be more relaxed and find a smaller audience. This means most of December (except December 8 and Christmas in Epiphany, January 6), January and February. Believe it or not, between Christmas and January 6, the Vatican has as many people as in summer.
This is not a hug from your mummy.
This isn't kissing it better.
It isn't being able to stay up a bit later with a cup of warm milk when you've had a nightmare.
Life sucks. Hard. And it's only going to get worse, you can see the signs everywhere. It's in our politics, it's in our banks, it's in our TeeVees, It's in our advertisements and our schools and our stores and in our streets.
You can't walk down those streets anymore without feeling dirty, as the apes breathe out the air you are breathing in, an endless cycle of sharing eachothers air, in and out out and in.
This is not democracy.
This is not people power.
This is not a shift in the market.
The election is just a symptom, it's just a reflection of the apes infesting central North America. Vote, and get a free loaf of bread. Bread and circuses. Seriously, that is actually happening. Augustus limited the borders of the Roman Empire, knowing that to try and control more would lead to more hassle than it was worth. Maintain the borders with the legions, keep the army away from Rome as much as possible, reduce it's influence over the politics of the Empire.
Where are the limits of the American Empire? Have they now be found?
This is not the end.
This is not the beginning of the end.
This is not even the end of the beginning.
This is the same old story, the decline and fall of an empire into corruption, decadence and ultimate failure.
It is a time for yetis, it is a time for getting your yuks in, it is a time to get mad as hell while you still can.
The trouble with humanity on the whole, is that each generation is convinced that it will be the last one. We remain consistently and stubbornly firm in our convictions that any day now the shit is about to hit the proverbial fan. This was as true of Christ and his followers as it was of the acid-soaked deadheads of the 60's. It was there during The War to End all Wars and by god it was out there on the fringes of Generation X. Every generation has been convinced that it was standing on the turning point, the revolution, the big nexus at which everything would change. Only to see that truly nothing does, and there only legacy is the next batch of revolutionary dreamers. Society doesn't evolve, it revolves, round in circles for perpetuity. Each new wave thinks it is throwing off the shackles of the last, and each new wave will bemoan the excess of the one that comes after them. So it has been and always will be.
But then came my generation.
The iPod and .com children, the gruesome offspring of a high-tech post-post-modern society in which every single idea has been tried and tested, and to a greater or lesser extant has been broken on the hard walls of realism. We aren't Gen X or Y, we pick up and drop such labels on a weekly basis, they have no meaning to us, we aren't proud of our generation, we don't even self-identify with it, it's all just more stuff. We made poverty history and so help us god we'll do it again next week. We have no banner and no direction, no ideology and no fashion. Everything we wear and do is recycled from the past. We don't think time is ending; we think it has ended. We are the post-apocalyptic society. The Neanderthals, living in the ruins of some mighty fallen Rome. We scavenge and use the relics of the past, with no concept of their original intent, purpose or meaning. On Monday we'll be hippies and on Friday we'll help fight the War on Terror. We'll fight capitalism and we'll do it with all new merchandise.
We are the Windows has performed an illegal operation Generation. And we don't really know or care.
This isn't a manifesto or a boast, it is a cry for help. Crawling through the debris of yesteryear I find strange relics, and I think: we used to be like these people. The post-moderns were people who stopped believing in the grand narratives of the past, but we are the people raised by the non-believers. The post-moderns had their rejection and non-belief to fight for, but we were only left with the ruins. We aren't the Last Generation, these aren't the End Times. These are the Forever Times, now it is finished, it fades into one long never-ending static bleep in which strange half-intelligible echoes will swim. It's too late for politicians to reform us, in the same way that it is too late for Santa to reform us. We aren't stupid, that's half our problem, we're cunning little smart-arses. We know too much and the old tricks won't work anymore. The parents and the statesmen cry for a solution, but they can't face the simple truth. They can't control us because we have become stronger than they are. You have created a monster. Here is the place that your decadent cynicism was leading, welcome to your utopia. I am not talking to the people that came before us, they cannot help us, they failed in everything they did, again and again and again. They like to criticise our pessimism and apathy, talk about the great revolutions of their day, but we are only the children of their failures. So fuck em.
This is an open letter to my own generation. We need to save ourselves. I think perhaps as a generation we may carry the largest potential of all history. We're highly educated, technological, in a world where all the interesting taboos have already been broken and published on youtube. But that's not all, because now the dialectic spinning-top has fallen off the table we don't need to rebel against those that came before us. We can build something totally new. We can rebel against ourselves. I don't know what form it will take, but it won't entail hiking barefoot to India or psychotherapy, I think we can do it without celebrity yoga videos or pop-concerts. Maybe we should lock all the famous people away on a desert Island, but maybe we should also consider not telephoning in to let them out again. Let's leave the ruins behind, switch off the Blue Screen of Death and restart the computer. Let's be Generation A.
And then we'll have a cup of tea.
I am strongly advising people against buying the hardcover version 'til further notice.
My publisher has done a bunk and run off with the money. I wish it were not true, but it is. Exposure Publishing/Diggory Press have walked off with the only cash I have to keep POEE online.
I have now published the paperback version through Lulu. It will be available on Amazon in a few months, but if you buy through Lulu, POEE | UK will make more money.
Please, for the love of whatever (maybe the poee.co.uk community, maybe something else) tell everyone you know, who may be interested.
We are Sondra London & DrJon Swabey. We are bringing forth the Discordia Prophetica.
And so we toss the venerable Discordia Apocrypha, the Honest Book of Truth, Erisian Mysteries, & Kulcha into the Chaosotron with the freshest new Discordiana in the world.
From Atlanta to Australia, Nagasaki to Athens, London to Dallas, they include: Kerry Thornley, The Erisian Elestria, Dr. Jon Swabey, Dr. Liber, Cardinal Sin, Baron von Hoopla, Pilliard Dickle, Icarus, Sham Ibrahim, Priestess of Blackwing Butterflies, Temple of Mumbo Jumbo, Tom Bradley.
Have you composed any discordian prophecies or erisian mysteries, deep thoughts or smart remarks? Fnords, inexplicata, apocrypha, visions or hallucinations, doodles or diagrams, jingles or gimcracks, you'd like to SUBMIT?
WE ARE NOW ISO text and hi-res B/W graphics concerning golden apples and the tossing thereof by goddesses; references to Kallisti, "For the Prettiest One"; controversy, chaos, discord, illumination, inspiration, lunacy, slack, fives, twenty-threes, four-twenties; prophecy, glossolalia, incantation, recursive or obsessive trips, rants, brags; influenced by arcana, subgenius, dada, zines, mythology, voices in head.
Guaranteed Fear and Loathing. Abandon all hope. Prepare for the Weirdness. Get familiar with Cannibalism.
So, are you ready? As Hunter suggests, this has the potential to be one hell of a ride. And by the end, you may indeed want to chew your own eyeballs out, just to get rid of the images in your head. After all, once you know, there is no real way you can unknow. And that's the problem. Do you take the red pill, or the blue one? I would suggest getting acquainted with High Weirdness is better than going through life without knowing, but then again, I would say that. And even I don't know how deep the rabbit hole really goes...so maybe by the end of my trip, I will have decided it wasn't worth it after all...