Hot off the press, a fresh new piece of pure gonzo journalism, brought to you louder than ever in the style of the immortal Hunter S. Watch out! – here comes Dionysus, derailing the chariot of Apollo. Five friends stoned on death find justice at the end of a violent – but colourful! – and noisy intergalactic civil war. A ship’s captain confronts his ownmost end and avows to surrender himself to the Goddess. Five friends smoking cigarettes like AK47s (chronically palatable) plunged into a world of real science fiction, inviting the interruption in as time’s uninvited guest, serving earth magic in their mugs. The day was May the 4th; we are met with our cultural inheritance, ‘artifactuality’ as brought to you by the one and only George Lucas, incorporated.
May the force be with us. The time forces the occasion, the event of celebration. May the 4th – Star Wars Day: an invitation. None among us, none among our generation, remembers the first time that they saw a Star Wars film. We were too young to witness the rising tide, the crest of A New Hope carrying waves of a cosmos at war – good versus evil, light versus dark, sagacity versus sin – through the desolation and despair of Empire, and on at last to the figure of the fallen son: Luke the redeemer, resurrected for but ever after the fall, corruption consuming the ghost of the hand that dares strike the father. Two times the sacrificial son, the resurrected and the damned, the Northern and the Morning Star, Christ and Lucifer tortured and entangled in the cold light of the day.
There is a calmness, a stillness in the balance of the opposition, the counterposition of the light and the dark sides of the force. Frozen in time, the freedom fighters are few and far between, rebel X-Wings lonely as a painted ships upon a painted ocean. But even a painted ship makes waves. We are connected by the force, waving through time and space as a tide anchored between two moons. The stillness of the tide is an illusion, speaking the presence – the speed – of celestial bodies. We are beings in time, defined by the speed at which we burn towards our own end. The son engulfs the moon in its last eventual breath: pneuma and aither, the logos and the order, ordered through the force of the great conflagration. We are beings of light, driven from darkness, drawn to wherever we can see.
Icarus, the truest of angels, falling from the sky. Escape the maze of the body, else the idea will die. The Skywalker melts his wings playing with fire.
This is our inheritance. This is a backdrop to our being. This is our time, this time – our historicity! But it wasn’t quite our gift. New movies for the new generation. We are drowned in the grandiose, speed and noise, action and impact, always in greater-than-living colour. Dangerous lightsaber acrobatics, clanking battledroid antics: a galaxy suffused with comedy over the cathartic, echoing through an empty hall – the hollowness of its tragedy. New wave Star Wars Ambush: a ‘young’ Yoda destroys a Toydarian coral reef and forces the other aliens into submission. The Othering aliens, and the alien Other. The galaxy far far away no longer captivates us, enchants us thereby drawing us towards it – no! The galaxy is younger, less sagely but all the more spritely: a cosmos in its adolescence, perhaps. We submit ourselves – are brought to submission – under duress, by force and coercion, by the attacking constancy of sheer everywhereness. By force!
The time arrives for us to acknowledge the presence of this different force; media meets us in the marketplace with a bombardment of midi-chlorians, cultural saturation and consumer goods so that we can sense its presence. Propagandisms: the constancy and necessity of war, the necessity of special powers to be invested in an intellectual and political elite, the self-justifying and always receding secrecy of the actual (the elusive Jedi Council struggles to strike the Supreme Chancellor’s strings, a hidden and puppeteering realpolitik.)
Before we can arrive, we must depart – even if our arrival is a return. Five friends stoned on death make earth magic noise like mushaboom bombs (with one lucid lad to our company.) We take off towards our end, driven but by telos through time: our only purpose. We are painted on the beach. The tides move in us in our stillness. Infinite azure expanse, an image greater than outer space before our eyes. The perfection of the image breaks all geometries. Lose the sunglasses, folks, and keep your hands inside the vehicle at all times. Forget the vehicle. We drink it all in and are still left starving after the aesthetic (salt water dehydrates.) A structure interrupts; driftwood deckhouses punctuating soft silt in several places. One castle (no taller than a man) holds the lot of us, pulls us in once or twice at a time. I am frozen, entranced, burning up upon the infinite at the edge of a front-row seat. A rainbow lives in thunderclouds. I am Being beyond language (the most insidious structure of all): the structure is a trap! How to escape it? Confound it? Confuse it? Stretch its boundaries? Make its letters bleed off all its pages!
We take to the structure. It is to our liking, for a time. A pocket knife among paraphernalia, but none of us could carve. Escape is soon on order. Anthony, you’re blocking the exit – ‘but everything is an exit! – isn’t that the point?’ We bleed out of the walls, humors rejecting the body, like lonely ghosts without a trace left in the soft white sand. Slowly we race for familiar land: grass is always greener where it is. Who can remember what time it is – what day it is? We found a new school in the yard by the beach, under the tree which puzzles monkeys like us (they will call us the Araucarians.) First teaching: time is the fire in which we all burn. We are like moths towards brilliant lights, illuminated by our ends, driven towards our ends of time like booby traps: false lights, everywhere.
The light is turned on inside. Pure Appollonian glow. We are overwhelmed by the darkness of the outside. We built Apollo. He is our God. Dionysus is there, too (never in mere parentheses.) I am frozen again, ponderous and heavy, anchored like a grounded mind and growing roots, writing furiously my furious thoughts. Indoors, they build shrines to young Yodas (not quite wise.) The force is seen for what it is: violent and oppressive, always in the everywhere, insinuated into our being as an element of cultural consciousness. The lightsaber sound is always an exclamation, a noisy shout attracting attention. We pay hardly any mind to the television shrine until the familiar sharp flash-crash-and-hum makes maps for the blind. Two leave, including our lucid lad. Four friends remain, dead and held in the Gorgon gaze to varying degrees. Earth magic bulwarks our home at the coastline. We make friends with philosophy. A discourse is distilled from the static of the stars, like stories of eternity read off of background radiation. The uninvited guest is dismissed. We are beings in time, but hospitality is our own. The day is dismissed. Time is dismissed. George Lucas, incorporated, exits through stage left.
Four friends remain to find justice at the end of intergalactic civil war. We trade Wars for the Trek. Star Trek: The Next Generation: “Justice,” season one, episode eight. Boldly we venture into the realm of the human, where no man wants to go anymore. Gonzo inner galaxies for intrepid psychonauts.
Captain’s log, Stardate 41255.6. The crew of the Enterprise faces the arbitrariness of the divine, of law and order and ordering principles. Conflict of the absolutes: the prime directive versus the unquestioning execution of guilty (but quite innocent) alien others. A young Wesley Crusher breaks Edo law, an alien custom unjust by the idealized human standard (unbridled post-techno-Capitalist socialism: or, Roddenberryism.) Crusher crushes nascent flowers – an affront to the aesthetic. The timing was all wrong. Crusher crushed flowers in the punishment zone, under the mediators’ purview; the punishment zone is randomly selected each day to the knowledge of no one (in God’s great wisdom.) The structure of an old game tries to play outside of the rules, which is always to submit to the rules of some other. The Edo play at free love, seemingly at all ages (of course Edo is etymologically rooted in hedone, the Ancient Greek for ‘hedonism.’) Young Wesley introduces the foreign game of violence to the alien culture. I know a game we can play, but we’ll need a bat… you know, a bat? – the introduction of the phallic, patriarchal oppressive violence, disruption and domination. All beauty crushed underfoot by the reckless playing of games. The perpetrator freely admits his crime. The punishment – the only punishment for all crimes – is death.
Hedonism, a starving after the aesthetic: xeno-ethics, altogether unfamiliar. The face of the other occasions the question of justice. Derrida would tell us, Marcel Mauss would tell us that it is the face which says, do not kill me. Humanity has excommunicated its every last Thrasymachus. The Edo seem unapologetically post-Platonic; the aesthetic is an idea, the ethics a living-towards truth or beauty. A trial ensues. A discourse of values and the apologia (a defense.) Meanwhile, a God is learning to speak. A ship’s captain opens communications with the divine. The captain unable to state his purpose, God interfaces with Data: the Holy Ghost becomes robotic body. Data the cyborg, the pinnacle of craft and all of our techno-romanticism. The telos of the human uncovered by the divine in pure techne. All of our purpose, the laws we have created and imposed to build it, exchanged for cheap upon visiting a new world.
Where does humanity fall on the question of justice in this utopian science fiction future? – in our very real present, the presence of visual distortions and navigation of the depths of inner space, of chattering teeth and living breathing shadows and hands trailing behind our hands (gonzo: gone into the future.) Wesley Crusher, the young son, is not to be sacrificed. Captain Picard makes a promise to the mother Doctor Beverly, to save his life at all costs. Two trinities: humanity’s defense is weighed up by the man, the mother, and the machine (Jean-Luc, the Doctor and Data discuss); the God of the Edo is introduced by the captain to His makeshift Mary Magdalene, and His people are competing for their right to the sacrificial son. But God is dead, and Nietzsche is dead. Justice for the human is justice for the mother. At all costs, save the son, for the love of the mother. We profess love of beauty beyond the aesthetic – it is the love of an idea, the ideal of justice. And we are vindicated by it.
Submission to the Goddess: the words to an old math metal song of protest booms through the chambers of my ears (our Goddess gave birth to your God.) Vindicated by submission to the mother, the Goddess, the very form of truth and beauty. Submission without sacrifice: a mother never gives death to her children, as the father has often done. Living for, from, and towards the idea (another trinity.)
12:50am May 5th – CATHARSIS
Here I am, pen trembling in my hand, preparing to confront an idea… I do not know how I know this… and I do not know why. But I will die before the rest. I feel every part of my being unwinding into its ideas. An idea which I am always at the edge of, forever drinking it in at top speed frantically trying to hand out sips to weary passengers along the way. An idea I am as yet building, as yet constructing… but still always shouting, raw and uncut the message is still strong enough. Let the others fill in the gaps I leave behind, while I burn out of existence.
Pneuma and aither: fire, breath and life. I put myself out at the end of a cigarette, always smoldering like hot ideas, sometimes meandering but always directed, if only by time: the fire in which we all burn. How to burn? How to die? Is there any choice in the matter, any longer?
Every sinew of my soul is torn between being a humble, loving, dedicated man, and a man who burns out into the idea. I am forever drawn to light (and a faithful pen or pencil) torn from my love, my life and every comfort, my every council, the lips I’ve ever searched for, the woman who shapes me in my entirety into an honest man. Here I am tortured and bereaved for the sense of looming loss…
It is my own. She will lose me. She will lose me. Who knows how. And I will lose everything thereby. The man, and the idea. Apollo was a god, that man will never be. Nietzsche is dead. My goddess is my woman. And my eternal pain is the sense that I will be her sacrificed son. She is stronger than I will ever be. And if and when I go I must know that I will live forever in her.
Open into the shamanistic. Death is a deeply introspective drug. It frightens us to our core, and I am no exception. This is how I awaken in the morning, having confronted my death at night. I awaken into the idea. I awaken in order to write.
Five friends interrupt the all-encompassing everywhereness of the force, withholding their hospitality from the uninvited but always eventual guest. We seize the time to disengage with what arrives when upon it. Our inheritance is not our necessity. May the force free us from its shitty chatterbox comedy droids and the entire swelling opera of oppressive ideas, of mind-numbing cacophonious choruses, of crashes and clashes and enough action to blow your lungs out when you’re screaming down a highway in the desert in a top-down bright cherry red lipstick steel shark at a hundred miles an hour alternating between mescaline and ether cloths, chasing the ever elusive ‘American Dream’ (brought to you today by the one and only George Lucas, incorporated: “slap a sticker on that shit!”) – gonzo pop culture journalism mixed with philosophy and an anxiety over the existential. Sure the book was great, but you really should have been there, to unwind through an episode in time.
Let us cease to be a people at war. We are on a collective voyage: a journey; a trek. A discourse on justice stokes the embers of a new society – a society of the ideal. This idea is as old as the Socrates of Plato’s Republic, and has echoed through our history ever since. But it has become untraceable static, a silent hiss amidst the noise, its influence flattened as all is taken as its average by the background. Distill the static; better yet, change the channel. It is time for the next generation.