News from the Front – Akbar and Globatron to resume search for art’s laws.

Dear Globatron,

In a recent interview I asked Byron King, founder of Globatron, how he felt about all the hateful emails he had received as a result of this Chicken Wire project.  He responded, “Vikings didn’t sit around and cry because someone didn’t like them.”  And I was not surprised when he explained later in our interview that he and Akbar Lightning were moving forward with their project.  I found out that they had experienced some emotional pain due to some of the more outrageous and threatening comments they were seeing, which were quickly deleted, but haunted them.  But in regrouping the pair decided that, although their first attempts at direct outreach was clumsy and a bit reactionary, there was something important in the questions they were asking and so they set to work on a new approach.

The overall consensus among the critics was that direct confrontation with schools where a relationship had been established was not within the boundaries of artistic etiquette, that it was more polite to contact schools that were completely unknown to Globatron.  Although Akbar Lightning and Byron saw this as baffling and seemingly contradictory they decided to listen to the critics.  They drafted a new letter and made every attempt to make it welcoming and non-threatening while maintaining the integrity of the questions they felt were themselves unsettling.  I asked these two men, both of whom are quite confused about the end goals of their project, why they felt themselves authorities on truth.  “We don’t!” said Akbar, “We know that we know nothing, but some know even less.”  With this the two of them smiled and I was convinced they were mad.

They showed me their new letter and I believed it was a good new start for this project.  Like Ahab in search for the great white whale, these two men may be on a futile search for something that is going extinct in our world, but this journalist can’t jump ship just yet.  Out there somewhere is something, perhaps, that could inspire all of us, once again to believe in an art that is singular, unifying, the kind that can make us all hold hands and sing Hallelujah!

Reporting from the virtual front,

Father Mapple Moab Adzu III

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12 Comments

  1. Gerald
    April 20, 2009

    Mad? Oh my.

    Reply
  2. Eugene "Double Debs" O'Connor
    April 20, 2009

    Viva La Globatron! i have been searching for a place where i can practice the search for something called truth–a practice that is disparaged by most of the academics i know as anti-modern, full of hubris, naive, and destructive of the delicate balance that inheres in the illusion of democracy and that is necessary for social order. i don’t take the quest lightly, just as i do not consume whole the orthodoxy that militates against it. it seems that there is a margin of people who do not slavishly adhere to organized religion yet who nonetheless have not given up the idea that the important questions may have answers. it is in this way that i count myself as one in the margins. it is nice to be here.

    Reply
  3. Akbar Lightning
    April 20, 2009

    Welcome Eugene!

    Reply
  4. globatron
    April 20, 2009

    Yes indeed. Welcome Eugene. Do tell us more if you feel up to it. Your story sounds very similar to the one Akbar and I have experienced recently. It is great to know that there are others out there that have not given up on this futile search.

    For me it’s the search where the truth lies not answering the questions. Continuing to ask them reveals the truth bit by bit. Although it is fleeting and eternally hard to grasp, it is still there right under the surface.

    As it was illustrated in The Wire, the system might be utterly corrupt but to me that was not the real moral of the story. Also, it did reveal how we are all serving different masters and no one is truly guiltless but again that was just the tip of the iceberg on the social commentary. To me it was the sensitivity given to the portrayal of all involved that really touched me. All the characters symbolize real people in real economic hardship or economic triumph. Through all five seasons it showed how it is the people inside the systems in which they struggle where truth and hope lives.

    For me the search for truth is a search for humanity. That always optimistic and often naive urge to believe that deep down inside at the core of all of mankind that we are good. And that we all want essentially the same things. How we label them and put those words into boxes is where we get into trouble.

    Most systems attempt and successfully take this quality out of us. But the dogged few who are still willing to ask the same old questions and get very few answers in return will be the ones who retain their humanity. And at the end of the show, I believe, that’s all we have.

    Reply
  5. Eugene "Dip Me In Barbecue Sauce" O'Connor
    April 29, 2009

    “For me the search for truth is a search for humanity.” I couldn’t agree more. Just to share some of what I’ve been reading lately: J-J Rousseau searches for the natural context of humanity, the natural basis for society, and he comes to the idea that people are by nature good; it is the institutions of civil society that corrupt man, make him vile, mean, untrusting, untrustworthy, etc. I’ve always agreed with this position, well before I knew who Rousseau was. Yet what can we do with this? Surely, we can’t tear down society. Surely there must be a way to reform it. Still, as sure as Rousseau was about his position, he is said to have become more a conscientious objector in the modern world than a rebel. And part of this may have come from the idea that he believed that modern life–with the scientific search for truth, the idea of progress, that things are getting better, blah blah–could not sustain itself. That it was going to fall apart on its own. And here we are at the so-called “end of history.” Now, the question. If it falls apart, and suppose it falls apart on our watch, is there a way to retain our humanity? Is there a way to identify what is natural or real?

    I happen to think there is. But it is 1) based on a (well-researched, yet disputed) belief that other dudes at the barbecue pit may not share and 2) probably a means to greater conflict than people are willing to sustain in the short term. I say all of this here and now because I find that the ‘true’ artist is the only member of society who is sensitive, free, and courageous enough to bring up the topic in a way that can reform things without terrible violence.

    thanks for the space to write.

    EDMIBSO

    Reply
  6. Eugene "Dip Me In Barbecue Sauce" O'Connor
    April 29, 2009

    by the way, i love the whale image. it is the perfect metaphor for the most natural topic with which a person can engage.

    Reply
  7. globatron
    April 29, 2009

    “If it falls apart, and suppose it falls apart on our watch, is there a way to retain our humanity? Is there a way to identify what is natural or real?”

    Great point Eugene. Do you think this silence we have experienced on this topic or utter contempt for it are examples of “the end days”? And if the end is indeed coming how would you suggest identifying what is natural or real in order to maintain some sort of humanity among all the chaos?

    If we know the end is near would we try to correct it? I mean if global warming has gone too far as many scientists have pointed out and is not correctable why search for truth? Through this project have we seen examples of the group think through our collective reptilian brain deciding that such searching is futile, Especially when everyone is getting laid off and glaciers the size of Road Island are about to split the U.S. in half? Possible examples of the fight or flight response.

    Or more succinctly, will we be searching for truth when we are just trying to survive?

    An old saying that I believe has much truth in it is, “There are no atheists in a foxhole.” Maybe truth will become clearer once it all topples down and we get back to the basics?

    Reply
  8. Akbar Lightning
    April 29, 2009

    Eugene, beautifully written. i think a culture in crisis is most likely to have corrupted institutions. there is a ‘which came first’ problem when thinking about this, but there might be a more internal process occurring that makes the correlation seem causal, but both the crisis and the corrupt institutions might be part of a cultural lifespan.

    what i’ve always believed is that it is a matter of personal desire, that what would be most exciting for creative people, in a time like ours, is to be involved in the birth of the new world, to actively work at tomorrow’s paradigm.

    i think there are times when being a part of a cultural movement can be exciting rewarding and fulfilling, but that is a theory, i have yet to experience it. me thinks globatron might be that.

    all hail globatron.

    Reply
  9. Akbar Lightning
    April 29, 2009

    p.s. i wrote this in my journal yesterday:

    “A philosopher does not seek the truth. A philosopher seeks to eliminate untruth.”

    Reply
  10. Eugene "Double Debs" O'Connor
    April 30, 2009

    “Do you think this silence we have experienced on this topic or utter contempt for it are examples of “the end days”? And if the end is indeed coming how would you suggest identifying what is natural or real in order to maintain some sort of humanity among all the chaos?” I think these are excellent questions, globatron. First, let me acknowledge that language about “the end” can have multiple meanings. For me, it means something far more sinister and dangerous than the standard Biblical image of hellfire and brimstone. For me, it means the absolute loss of the natural–an end of opportunities and alternatives to the political regime, including the effects of its technologies, that has been creeping across the planet for the better part of a century. I doubt that humans will go extinct. I’ll bet the species will find a way to live in a bubble for thousands of years, even if all the ice melts. The totality of a nature-silencing regime means, more importantly, the end of intellectual freedom–not of brutal oppression, necessarily, at least not after the short term, but the death of a part of our consciousness: it is the death of the acknowledgment of that which is natural–and hence, the end of the opportunity to understand what it is to be human. I should also clarify what I mean by “nature.” I see nature as the antonym for the artificial–the artificial being that thing we detect in society, in many of our relationships, etc., that can seem corrupt and vile or petty or silly. That is to say, nature is that which is not human-made. Yet it is that to which the first art refers. But that doesn’t answer your apt questions. So here is an attempt: I feel that I am capable of identifying and even labeling what is natural. (Perhaps I should leave off the “reality” question just now, as it complicates things.) But one person has little power on his own. What is needed is akin to a coalition of people who can commit to detecting nature. (I say “detect” and not “see” because I think it is always changing, not encapsulable, even with the technologies available in the average modern home.) For the time being, it seems that such a thing requires brave people to hide and meet in secret, with secret language and dual intentions–to communicate, like others who think of themselves as clever, in Doublethink, Newspeak, Oldspeak, etc. I don’t know the next step. But like Akbar, I tend to think globatron has something to do with it.

    Having said all of this, just seeing differences between natural and artificial does not give us a picture of the whole–only a link in what Arthur Lovejoy called the “Great Chain of Being.” Therefore, I don’t think we are at the end of days, in the conventional sense of the term, but that we are between two worlds, if you like. We are at a point at which the Great Investigation might either proceed–despite bumps in the road and human imperfections (and the world would possibly become exciting and strange and mystical again)–or stall indefinitely, and the world would become only what is perceptible in a mind that has shed some large part of its life. And though the latter world might change regularly and keep us thinking, it would appear as something Winston Smith would be familiar with; war would be perpetual, we’d never know who we were at war with, nor what to call ourselves, nor any sense of being at home.

    Reply
  11. Eugene "Dunkin Donuts" O'Connor
    April 30, 2009

    Akbar: If I may add to your journal entry. “A philosopher does not seek the truth. A philosopher seeks to eliminate untruth [and to try and abort the untruths that have not yet entered the world.]”

    As for the “what came first” problem, I haven’t figured that out. There is, understandably, much ambiguity on this topic. I’ve found some of the places where Rousseau discusses it, for example, but I am not sure exactly what he means. But there may indeed be a causal relationship: for J-J, society begins with the desire to be known by others. It is a desire to know and to be known that brings people together. But it is also this desire that is the seed of vanity and of everything vile and corrupt about modern commercial society.

    Ala-ha globatron!

    Reply
  12. globatron
    May 1, 2009

    Eugene very interesting. Thanks for answering my questions.

    Just to say one thing to follow up, I hope my family and I are in that bubble when the shit hits the fan.

    Glad you clarified the end days vs. the end days in the Biblical sense as I’m a bit over the stories on the history channel. Especially since Hell and the Devil didn’t make their way into the Bible until the middle ages when the church really needed a way to control the masses.

    Before that it was referenced as Hades. Which was neither a place of fire or a place where a little red man with horns ruled his dominion.

    Actually in many visuals of the archangel Michael he is pictured as being blue because blue symbolized that he was so far from the light that he became blue from being so cold.

    yes, the end might be near, a 100 years tops is my prediction. But I do see there being some survivors in bubbles or caves clinging to their humanity. Trying to make sense out of the heaven on earth we ruined.

    I’m not optimistic about it. I am optimistic in our ability to continue to retain some sense of humanity throughout it all though. to the bitter end some of us will continue to ask the simple and complex questions of existence.

    thanks Eugene.

    Reply

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