All posts by Payne

Attention: Revolutionaries

Capitalism hasn’t failed. The people who run it have. While at a basic level, Capitalism comes down to “I have greed, and you have need. Let’s do a deal!”, we all know there is much more to it than that. Otherwise none of us would get worked up over Globalisation(tm)and workers rights and the like. There is obviously a social element to Capitalism, both from “our” point of view, and also “theirs”.

Given this very human element, there comes a time where dead wood needs to be cut out of the system – for it to run at maximum wealth-creating efficiency. We normally call these recessions. The weak fall, the strong and the innovative survive. When you postpone a recession with massive public borrowing, that’s all you are doing – postponing it. Artificially propping up the weak can only last for so long before they fall off, like balancing a ball on a very thin stick.

When you get a recession, every weak element in the system will be tested. If you’ve postponed it, they’ll be tested massively. And they’ll fail, epically.

So, I state again, the reason why everything is completely fucked now isn’t so much the system (as flawed and distasteful as it may be), but the people who have allowed 2 or 3 recessions to hit us at the same time. Any system you replace Capitalism with will still be run by pretty much the same people. Even if they have different faces, they’ll still have the same flawed ideas. And we’ll be fucked again.

Change the ideas, THEN the system, and you may be onto something.

Discordia ’08 – Why it’s relevant to me

Discordia will always be more relevant to me personally than in any kind of “cause” or “movement”.

Yes, things in society are fucked up, yes “everyone” thinks that “everyone” else wants things to be this way, and there is nothing that they can do about it as individuals. Yes, they are wrong.

But all of this means nothing to me.

I am not an activist, I don’t go out of my way to try and convert people anymore. I used to, but then I thought it was mandatory or at least expected. Since I decided for myself that it wasn’t, I don’t do it. I don’t expect people to wake up unless they want to do it themselves, I certainly don’t expect it to ever make sense for them unless they do it in the hardest and unfunniest ways, but that may be my jaded and bitter inner self talking.

Discordia is not a movement, it is not a purpose, it is not a cause. It’s a state of mind. A state of mind that connects a diverse group of people who wouldn’t give each other the time of day if they met socially in other circumstances and didn’t have the call signs Discordia offers, the “fluff” like 23, Eris or Principia Discordia.

I like that. I like talking to people who I normally would never talk to, who would normally never talk to me.

Discordia is at times an excellent way of tying some of us together to work on projects that normally would never be worked on, like Paths and Shrapnel, PosterGASM and some of the weird and wonderful art projects that have grown out of these forums.

I like that. I like working with people on plans and projects that may have some relevance to how I think about my life, or can help decorate it in a way that makes me question what decoration is.

Discordia will always be relevant to me in some way because of this. Its worth far outweighs the effort of getting anything back from it.

I like models, I like art, I like exploring the weirder aspects of our psyches, and the even weirder methods of exploiting what we find.

I like to laugh, hate, cry and love, as we as humans are meant to, not as we have been conditioned to. As I’ve only learned to do with some intense soul searching and some pain. Discordia has been the chair I’ve sat down in when I’m weary, the desk I’ve used to write some of the most personal and important things I’ve ever written, it has been the mirror in which I’ve seen what I am, what I was and what I want to be.

And I’ve learned to not care what others are thinking about it all, except in specialised circumstances, for example: when I feel like it.

I know what I’ve learned, I’ve learned to question what I know, and I’ve learned to learn more, always learn more.

For me, Discordia is a question, an answer and everything else in between, and it is so huge that I could spend a lifetime exploring it.

Is Discordia relevent? Certainly for me, maybe for you.

Paths: Finding the ‘Z’ in the ‘A to B’

You’re born, you live, and you die.

We all do, (although, sometimes a lot of people seem to be barely living at all).

Some philosophies may tell you that the journey is more important than the destination, or that the the journey is itself life.

Personally, I think that may be bullshit. The journey is the journey, no more, but no less.

Let us break this down. You are at home (you’re born) and you have to go somewhere (death). Your entire “life” will be spent making your way there.

Do you go there as fast as possible, limit your exposure to pain and uncomfortable ideas?

Do you go there in a sweet car, drinking, on drugs and surrounded by women, living fast and ignoring more intellectual pursuits?

Do you instead take a scenic route, walk by the canal, looking at the beautiful scenery, trying to absorb as much of the “good things” in life before you die?

Or do you stay at home, waiting for it to come to you?

There is no correct answer, and you could do any combination of these, and (almost) infinitely more.

What’s interesting is when you look at how this applies to your entire “real” life, and you superimpose the paths that others of our species take. Our (almost) infinite choice is reduced to a nebulous collection of people doing exactly the same thing, taking the same routes to death.

Why is this? Do you WANT to be a sheep?

Me neither.

Break out the map and compass kiddos, it’s time to explore the badlands. Let us see what lies off the well beaten paths that lead to our anonymous deaths…

Some thoughts on Shrapnel

Once upon a time, a little baby was born. There is nothing remarkable about this- I’m told it happens every day- and there was nothing remarkable about this baby, except that it was you, or me, or them.

This baby was pristine, a sponge for information and experience. Little though it was, it was growing rapidly, learning every thing it could as fast as it could. It had to, you see, because it’s a big bad old world out there.

Everything it learned chipped a little bit of its personality away, or added a bit to it, every packet of information, every experience. Much like that saying about sculptors “freeing the statue” from the crude stone its encased in. Except that the sculptor is blind, like that woman in the Lionel Richie video (hah! “Hello, is it me you’re looking for?!” except she’s blind…), but I digress.

The tools that are used to “sculpt” this baby into the badass human that will stride the earth on two hind legs, using it’s opposable thumbs like it just doesn’t care, is what I call shrapnel.

It’s when you are told about God, it’s when you fall in love for the first time, it’s when you realise, as a baby, that bawling your head off will have your mother come running.

It’s the “ripples” of things that happened long ago, still affecting us today. The shrapnel thrown out by history, causing us to throw out our own shrapnel into the future. It blows your mind, it really does.

Shrapnel is necessary, and vital, to who we are, to what we do. And for Discordians, it can be a tool. It’s another medium for spreading a little bit of chaos. It’s not “good” or “bad”, though you may want to assess which bits of it you have sticking in you that aren’t really needed. Unwatched, that shit can fuck you up.

In conclusion, Shrapnel is an idea that has yet to find its time. In the right hands, it can be a kick ass suit of armour AND a big-fuck-off flamethrower. For me, being aware of it is enough until some wiser heads can show us how it works.

Okay, I’m done preaching at you for now, I’m back off to my ivory tower, where I’ll probably look for that Lionel Richie video and laugh about it all night.