Introducing Dispatches from Heuristic Halo Press, founded in 2018 by Kyaw Zin Myint (“Marshall”) and A. Scott Buch (“Alex”).
Today we are featuring two poems by Marshall and one by Alex. Please feel free to share this Dispatch, or even to contribute your art, your poetry, your thoughts and words, in the future. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dog-Hare of the Firewater
I see Maung Maung again in Thailand
Not Maung Maung himself but the spirit of Dionysus
A ceremonial den like a cow skull,
The holy mischievous law-breaking that is
As much of Karma, especially in the Abyss
That we must in tantra have
Subtle wind through our bodies
And the blood of a god intoxicates
Us, who see in the fabric of a day
A great pattern of ecstasy like silk lingerie
Who wore out our bodies like clothes
Until there was only mad spirit left,
And there you glared at me—you rascal!—
Until I became old dust,
The distillation of existence
Pounded out of the Milky Way!
Petals of roses red whizzed by a gust
Flat on dried earth spiraled touching gently on the spikes
of branches, no thrust
kissing the primitive floor of nature
Fertile soil mothering thorny stalks beauty on top
Crossing everyone’s sight: delight
Obliged not regardless of whoever the gardener be
Fantasy of a magic garden still in every bees’ instinct, beautifully
‘fore all the delicate parts rest beneath earth.
Water flowing down from the north to the hearts
Of the plains nourishing, growing and multiplying more plants
Blooming not only exotic flowers but bearing heavenly fruits
Regardless, as bees don’t fly around instantly causing flowers to bloom
Who are we to yell at seeds to grow trees
Let alone what those tree might produce
Till, individually, we improve. . .
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Intellectual property establishes a dominion over time in the way property does space. This is because concepts unfold in time in the sense that language is syntactical.
Modern science corporatizes intellectual property. Establishing an interdependent relation between power and knowledge, this is analogous to the interdependence between political power and wealth.
Concepts are a reflection of illumination, a consequence of the conditions for existence made up of electromagnetic gravitation in a void; the emergent property of consciousness in a system; or the complex order arising out of chaos, making up a whole composed of parts. This is precisely intelligence, the ordering, the structuring of a vast infinitude of data.
Ownership of intelligence implies an individualizing or atomization of intelligence which is specifically human insofar as the human being creates hierarchies out of its understanding.
The problem with this is existence or the world as an environment, gets excluded from the system of understanding that informs our understanding of the world. In other words in order to create a system out of something one must isolate a part from a whole, effectively complexifying that part into its own whole. For instance, in the structure of language that is a system of communication, this system effectively becomes a parallel or mirror reflection of the world it enframes by signifying. Signification itself is a mere reflection of a state of affairs; and explicitly not that state of affairs in-itself.
And yet, in being a snapshot of a state of affairs, it does manage to be an illumination of conceptual knowledge, knowledge being not intrinsically separated from the power that it mirrors, its absolute existence as energy; existing under the relative conditions that make it perceivable as matter, distinctly reflected through an apparatus which has evolved over time to be sensitive to light in specific ways that create perceptions.
Trying to “own” something as evanescent as this is the very definition of illusion. For to “own” it implies that it could be grasped once and for all, and preserved in a specific state. Which is not only impossible—for it is impossible to grasp one’s own reflection—but also betrays a deep delusion to think that the reflection has existence in-itself, in the same way that it is a delusion to think that language is precisely reality, or that these two things are necessarily separated by an absolute border.
That border is purely conceptual. And this is why knowledge cannot be “owned,” for it betrays the fact that this flows equally through everybody.
Reflection of the Moon
The universe is like a piece of paper, A bounded infinity with determinable shapes.
The world is like a constellation, made out of fixed stars that the mind Connects distinctly at places.
And if a concept is a reflection then what’s reflected is light Like sun energy shining on the moon; As matter condenses because there is shadow I can understand, you.
Conservative ideology must be sex-negative and acclimate the perspective to a pessimism for life. For several reasons, for instance the class hierarchies that are grounded in injustice are to be seen as natural, and hence the miserable world they create must also be seen as natural.
The things in life that are inherently positive, like sex, must be governed through their enframing as negative, for sex-positivity would inherently create a more balanced world insofar as the human reproductive function can be linked to love and not violence, freedom and not slavery, equality and not compulsion, and so on. This sex-positivity would threaten the hierarchical order of things, and hence sex and therefore life itself, the consequence of sex, must be pathologized; constructed through sex-negativity if the order of the world itself, as Western Civilization as such, its supremacy, is to be preserved.
Sex-negativity as status quo then, also the conservative position, with the upper hand but also the mandate to preserve, can attack progressive forces which would seek to liberate sexuality as degenerate. Without addressing the systemic nature of sex-negativity, conservative forces can criticize left-wing forces for being idealistic, not being able to see the presupposed naturalness of sex-negativity.
By negating sex, construing it as negative, the bad consequences which come from this, can be framed as natural, when putting the abstract concept of civilization before the anthropological reality of human beings.
The conservative ideology will put the abstract concept of civilization before the anthropological benefits of sex-economic progress in order to preserve the hierarchical structure of class relations.
This is why the conservative ideology will sacrifice individual happiness, by acclimating the perspective to pessimism regarding life, because the imperative to conserve general power privilege through class relations overrules particular instances of truth-knowledge or individual self-control, happiness or contentment, for the sake of this systemic goal.
The contentment of sex-positivity in the broad anthropological sense as sex-economic, threatens the structural violence that grounds civilization through the power of hierarchy and class relations.
Another way of putting it; by linking the idea of sex-negativity to civilization itself, the sex-negative position becomes the correct, or moral position.
By linking civilization to hierarchy, it becomes moral. Injustice and inequality by degrees are also moral.
Sex-positivity becomes immoral, and linked to the idea of degeneracy, or “anarchy,” the dissolution of civilization.
If postmodernism is in a way characterized by an eclectic return to the past, then in what comes after postmodernism, the singularity of information which characterizes a control society, has flattened the former distinctions between spacetimes altogether. This is perhaps the capitalist realism effect of cyberspacetime.
Rule by cyberspace time is algorithmic. It facilitates the gig economy, a way of personality construction and hence memory-making that is image-cinematic, based around profile building; and a generalized understanding of everything that encompasses the self and the world, which looks similar to a kind of generalized mental disorder.
Despite its real material, technological character, cyberspacetime is primarily a mental phenomenon.
Whole patterns, phases, fads, memetic stages play out in cyberspacetime, in ways that are cyclical with similarities to actual spacetime, but ultimately in a separate realm though this area is, as I speculate, still largely in the mind.
In theory cyberspacetime could fuse with the brain in the way that language capacity became a biological inheritance of human beings. This concept seems to show the fluidity between the technological and biological. One begins to wonder if beings evolved a capacity for language, becoming human beings, through generational contact with the world. Cyberspacetime wouldn’t so much as be fused with the human brain, as be a catalyst or stimulus for the evolution of new neurological capacities.
In conclusion, we may be approaching an analogy between something like the psychedelic experience and representational thinking. That is, a drug can change brain chemistry, in the same way a mere experience can change brain chemistry. And prolonged experience with a certain kind of chemical reaction could create transformations of a so called alchemical nature.
If duration is the embodiment of spacetime, then cyberspacetime is like a cell of duration. In this way cinema is both its precursor and most apt symbol of representation.
The Influencer is cyberspacetime embodied.
One quality of cyberspacetime is that it is at once eternally fleeting and oppressively permanent.
A reified Now that swells and keeps swelling infinitely to monstrous proportions of seeming omniscience, it occludes the impermanence of mutability in the natural flow of things.
The algorithmic influence of cyberspacetime is ultimately psychological, that is to say the artificial intelligence of the algorithm learns enough about the individual user to make them feel like they are being influenced. This feeling of influence is real though real insofar as it is psychological. In this way the effect of influence is similar if not analogous to the effect of ideology; of propaganda more broadly which has always taken its manipulative techniques from psychology.
Desire is the means of production. No emancipatory structure can exist that doesn’t first collectively free desire.
(ii) It is consumption that primarily defines a late stage of Capitalism. Production and consumption are two sides of the same coin, like Master/Slave morality.
(iii) Desire must be overcome not through denial, but rather through disinterested affirmation. Denial is what fuels compulsory consumption. Production becomes pathological under Capitalism.
defines your Self.
in forms of power
that are slavery
which is the privileged
domain of currency.
Be disinterested, in the sense of free from commodity fetishism; disinterested in the sense of free from fetishism in general. Fetishism is a pathology of object-subjects.
Need is fundamental. Making need equivalent with money is a historical contingency.
(b) Desire is a complex need, an emergent one. Under Capitalist Realism, fundamental needs and superfluous desires become conflated.
(c) The reproduction of the system requires poverty; to perpetuate this injustice, the petty bourgeois who could align with the proletariat, are kept in bad faith illusions that equate a lack of superfluous desires with a lack of freedom and even the threat of impoverishment. In practice it becomes a check on challenges to capitalist realism, by limiting one’s imagination to see life without superfluity as meaningful or gratifying.
The Hegelian Left, or Young Zizekians are a Cybernetic Left, a dominant trend in the online left, and why?
Why counterpose Zizek to Chomsky, acting as if there were something in Chomsky that was missing or wrong, in need of filing in with Zizek. The Hegelian Left seems to react against the trend in thinking in Deleuze and Foucault. Is there anything bugged about this Hegelian left? Is there something in the identitas that makes it primed for Schismogenesis?
Does the Mark Fisher splinter of Zero Books mirror the outgrowth of an alt-right vis-à-vis Nick Land? Is War with China, or the equilibrium imposed by a Neo-Cold War, pandemic new normal, the end result?
We must run Sufi-dances of resistance around that Cybernetic Control system, using our Reichian theory and vision of Burrough’s Lemuria, to fight the Time War!
This is the shape of the conflict we are looking at in this age of influencers.
(ii) Difference-in-itself is an Infinity of potential Ideology. The differences which make a difference in Gregory Bateson’s formulation of the Bit, or unit of information, is the same as the Idea. Idea simply isn’t separate from the world, but informs it in key ways, especially in the form of control.
Now has Jim Morrison not anticipated this control society, the Police of Qualities with his concept of The Lords, dramatized symbolically in the poem called “The Movie”?
The Police of Qualities is the Naming, “the imposition of a categorical hierarchy,” (白森), and Lacanianism, which is key to the Cybernetic Left, would seem to have given the Occident a theoretical foundation for the Cyberneticization of the Self; that at once reifies the Occidental notion of the self in its perpetual absence. This rhetorical move is what I would identify as the bugging.
When Bateson says, “quiescence and activity have equal informational relevance,” in The Cybernetics of “Self” : A Theory of Alcoholism, what he’s talking about correlates precisely with the concept of 無為. And what this is, is no less than a basis for the method of schismogenetifying.
What is the connection between Lacanianism and Bateson’s Cybernetics of Self? Both cement an identity through difference, or reify a non-presence through absence, or create a Self that is a non-self by theorizing a stability based on lack. This lack is the desire which is sublimated.
Theory for Theory’s sake is defined by inaction. The part that would act is sublimated into theorizing. This is where the politics of Anti-Oedipus become essential for us. For as Reich showed us and as James DeMeo demonstrates in Saharasia: The 4000 BCE Origins of Child Abuse, Sex-Repression, Warfare and Social Violence in the Deserts of the Old World, there is nothing universal about the Oedipal conflict. Alternative social formations can exist which are not Oedipal or coercive, involving sex-repression, or delusional Cybernetic Self-formulations that reproduce Capitalist social formations; insofar as they require a State, putting the myth of Civilization above the collective desires of humanity to live free and in equality.
We begin our analysis by focusing on two key words in the opening line, “[t]he movie will begin in five moments. The mindless voice announced,” the words moments and mindless. Why moments? It’s an odd choice that invokes a tension between the words minutes and moments, the notion of a movie beginning in five minutes a much more standard usage in the English language, the choice of moment therefore serving as a linguistic provocation. Why not minutes? This is in order to provoke this comparison between a minute and a moment, these synonymous terms that both signify a short duration of time. The key difference between them is that the former emphasizes a quantitative aspect of time, whereas the latter emphasizes a qualitative aspect. Five minutes is always five minutes, 300 seconds, etc., but five moments could very well be five important milestones of a life, the moment of “birth your life and death” for example, as the poem continues further on. It’s not precise to measure time quantitatively in regards to “moments,” “five moments,” and yet this is how the “mindless voice” proceeds. Why?
It brings us to the use of mindless, to its connotation that aligns it more with the category of the quantitative, it implies a mechanical quality. The artificiality of the announcing voice that carries out its automatic function has an element of the routine, the robotic and in a sense transhuman, while there’s also another meaning to mindless, in fact, the more primary meaning of foolish or negligent, mind-numbing. “Mindless” as a quality of either the cause or effect of a mind-numbing process, the result or prerequisite of the automatic activity or indeed “entertainment,” as we are made aware later on that the audience at The Movie will have “seen this entertainment through and through.”
“[They] appease us with images,” Morrison writes in THE LORDS. “Through art they confuse us and blind us to our enslavement. Art adorns our prison walls, keeps us silent and diverted and indifferent.” This indifference is key. The “entertainment” has become blasé, “your birth your life and death” that’s been seen “through and through” has become blasé. Hence the audience files “languidly into the hall.” Languid means “lacking in vigor or vitality,” “lacking in spirit or interest,” “indifferent.” Everything about the process has an unsettling feeling of having become a routine, it’s as if going to the movies evolved into a ritual, in both senses of the word, as a routine but also as a religious ceremony. “The program,” “this entertainment,” The Movie is a modern ritual, a ceremony of mind-numbing effect that produces indifference in the viewer and saps them of their vitality.
“[A]s we seated and were darkened” is also interestingly phrased, “[we] were darkened” implies not only that the cinema hall, the room darkened but that the audience themselves “were darkened,” creating an analogous relationship between the individual hall and the individual members of the audience, the hall as macrocosm and the mind of the spectator as microcosm, as if the hall were a representation of the audience’s inner life. Indeed this classically oneiric metaphor recapitulates the age old homology between cinema and dreams. The Movie is a mass delusion or fantasy, a mechanical dream; it’s the quantification of moments and in a way, it’s a policing of the qualities of consciousness. “Did you have a good world when you died? Enough to base a movie on?”
This line turned out to be eerily prophetic, like another vision of Morrison’s that came true in his anticipation of electronica music of the new millennium, in an interview with The Doors on PBS’s Critique show on April 28, 1969.
The new generation’s music will be, it’ll have a synthesis of [country and blues] and some third thing. It’ll be entirely, maybe it’ll be, it might rely heavily on electronics, tapes, I can kind of envision maybe one person with a lot of machines, tapes, and electronics set up, singing or speaking and using machines.
“Did you have a good world when you died? Enough to base a movie on?” A movie based on Morrison’s life was produced sure enough in 1991, featuring this track, “The Movie” by The Doors, right in the opening scene no less. Ironically or according to fate, or the prescience of Morrison’s vision, the film famously gets him embarrassingly wrong, turning him into an awkward caricature. It is in its own ways mind-numbing and negligent, for example in misrepresenting aspects of the way that Morrison died by framing him as obsessed with death. It conjures up a maniacal dream image of a man who seemingly wanted to die, and whose death is hence no mystery but rather a blasé event, that “is not new,” for we’ve seen it “through and through.” And this is especially true in the wake of the many clichés and tropes of a musical biopic on the self-destructive rockstar, of which this film is in some sense a founding example.
“The Doors” movie does for Jim Morrison what The Movie does for its audience in his spoken word poem, to a degree it’s a policing of qualities in who this man was; what the factual details of his life were; and even in the final analysis, of what his life means. The sum total of a life gets reduced to a few moments of mind-numbing screen time, to “entertainment,” a “program.”
To be fair the 1991 movie “The Doors”—though a seminal event in shaping the image of Jim Morrison—is still part of a longer tradition that existed before the movie existed; the overemphasizing of the darker aspects of Morrison’s personality, through representational works is a tradition inaugurated with the 1980 publishing of his salacious “biography” No One Here Gets Out Alive. But the effect remains the same. Whether intentional or unintentional, conscious or not the effect results in a policing of qualities. Although arguably any biography, representation or symbol is inevitably going to do this, precisely because any textual or symbolic representation of anything ever is always already doing this. We can never know anything or anyone completely through mere words or images, through a text or symbolic representation of any subject, alone. For “the map is not the territory,” (Alfred Korzybski). It’s never the territory, and yet this is the mania of the Emperor, “[described by Jorge Luis Borges] who wanted to have such an exact map of the empire that he would have to go back over his territory at all its points and bring it up to scale, so much so that the monarch’s subjects spent as much time and energy detailing it and maintaining it that the empire ‘itself’ fell into ruins,” (Jean-Francois Lyotard, Libidinal Economy, 1973).
I’m getting out of here. Where are you going? To the other side of morning.
This is where the thrust of the poem shifts, “the best part of the trip” (The Soft Parade, 1969) or more like the moment of freak-out. It’s as if one of the spectators in the audience experiences a bad acid flashback or a rotten sense of déjà vu, there’s something uncanny going on. “Where are you going?”
The question comes on like a voice in his head, from that same announcing “mindless voice” from earlier, but now in the theater of the individual’s mind. Microcosmic, it speaks directly to him, responding to his actions or his fear, the desire to run, and so it must be hallucinated and not actually experienced in the macrocosmic hall, experienced as a real illusion on the screen. Or perhaps it could be; what exactly is the difference between a real and a fake fantasy? “Where are you going? To the other side of morning.”
A double meaning is deployed here through the homophones morning and mourning, which taken together allude to the classic analogy between sleep and death. The poem then becomes more hallucinatory or surreal, passing into the next image through the dream logic of non sequitur, “[p]lease don’t chase the clouds, pagodas.” Still there’s cohesive symbolism packed into this densely. The dreamy image of a cloud has archetypal significance as a labile thought form, a symbol of forms that are impermanent, connected as much to a natural function of dreaming or to the imagination as it is to the concept of Mutability, as in Shelley, “[w]e are as clouds that veil the midnight moon; / How restlessly they speed and gleam and quiver, / Streaking the darkness radiantly! yet soon / Night closes round, and they are lost forever.” As an oneiric juxtaposition “clouds” and “pagodas” are as if edited together or associated through dream logic, but it’s clear there’s also already an implicit connection between the two images in their relation to the concept of impermanence. Enlightenment in the Buddhist sense derives much from learning how to stem the sufferings which arise from impermanence, understanding how to avoid clinging to that which can never endure according to the cyclical qualities of existence, as in “birth your life and death.” Not to “chase” after impermanence reflects this bit of wisdom. And yet coming from the omniscient announcing voice, “mindless” but internalized by the spectator, it’s as if the command intends to dissuade him from engaging in this more natural—one might say archaic—form of imagining, free from any technocratic policing of qualities where the “clouds” are like a functioning libido, a desiring freely or classically, that is, neither directed nor contained within the automatic, ritualistic, blasé and prerecorded control scheme of The Movie.
From this airy to solid image of the structure there is a phallic connotation that furthers the underlying dream logic of the next transition, into “her cunt gripped him like a warm, friendly hand,” carrying with that the implications of sacrilege; and causing further resonance of tensions between the sacred and profane, implicit in the ritualistic, and ceremonial function of The Movie—not to mention in the rendering automatic or blasé of a more profound, human or spiritual quality as we shall soon see. For the simile that Morrison employs here is to render sex as a handshake, making of it a routine, ritual, automatic event, precisely like The Movie—blasé, emptying of moments that are arguably profoundly spiritual their natural vigor, sapping them of their meaning or at least policing their qualities by reducing the ground of all human reproduction to a mere “cunt,” and sex to an automatic activity performed solely for the sake of “entertainment,” or as a “program” of escapism. For it’s precisely when the spectator tries to flee that he’s reeled back into the hallucination by escapism in another form, which is of course the real structure of this particular prison constructed by THE LORDS, it subjects us to escapism that’s no real escape at all, but rather the very shape of our own cybernetic prisons. “[A]rt [used to] confuse us and [which blinds] us to our own enslavement,” The Movie is the escape that is no escape; a poison masquerading as a cure; a delusion or a “counterfeit infinity,” (Theodore Roszak) that was marketed to us wholesale as a mind-expanding entheogen.
At this point the oneiric passes into the onanistic, and we shall be left pondering the classic literary symbol of the gates of horn and ivory.
In one there’s life & function
the other artificial scarcity,
value from death.
“You favor life
He sides with death
I straddle the fence
And my balls hurt,”
a subtitle of THE LORDS
is NOTES ON VISION.
& a density
biological & narrative
condensed into this
 Theodore Roszak, The Making of a Counter Culture (1969)
 “A Profile of Jim Morrison and The Doors – On and Off Stage,” PBS’s Critique (1969)
 “The Movie,” The Doors, An American Prayer (1978)