Books


We have decided to put a book end on the current version of this blog. In some ways this is our goodbye to AnimamRecro as you may know it. Due to the lack of personal posts in the previous year, we felt it was only appropriate to create a podcast reflecting on where we have been and where we are today.

If you’re interested in hearing the voices of AnimamRecro for the first time, here’s your chance.  Here is the first part of a 2 hour recording.

The volume on the recording is low, so be prepared to turn it up.

Listen

The Monochromatic Knight and Pavel a.k.a The Sheik

I’m currently listening to the audio book of “The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder” by Vincent Bugliosi, an American attorney and author, best known for prosecuting Charles Manson. He lost only one of the 106 felony cases he tried as a prosecutor, which included winning 21 out of 21 murder cases.

He writes with great lucidity in his book, highlighting the tragedy of the Iraq War. Impeachment has been brought up on numerous occasions in the US, but after considering Vincent Bugliosi’s compilation of evidence and arguements, I firmly hold that various members of the US administration should be indeed tried for murder.

You can obtain the book via torrents or through the official website.

“There’s only so much you can do right? So let’s at least start talking about it. Maybe let’s even write a book and try to change to world. DJ Ing leads a discussion about American/Czech policies, culture and language, not to mention the impending radar base set to be built in the Czech Republic. Joining the discussion is American author, Aiden Delgado. His book titled, The Sutras of Abu Ghraib explains his experiences as a soldier in the war in Iraq which led him to apply and ultimately obtain conscientious objector status. Also joining the discussion, Jeremiah Palecek (King Vitamin) and musical interludes by Lorin Bassnectar.”

In Czech and English

Listen to the show here.
Visit ArtBeep

We recently discussed Alan Moore on Animam Recro. The Mindscape of Alan Moore is a documentary about the creator of such masterpieces as Watchmen and V For Vendetta. The film is a available for your viewing pleasure here.

Via BoingBoing
Alan Moore, the individual in V for Vendetta
Alan Moore on Spirituality

The Knight recently posted a short video of Alan Moore being interviewed on his magickal views. Unknowingly he reminded me of an insight I have gained last year from reading V for Vendetta, one of Lana Moore’s masterpieces.

Alan Moore is an English author, most famous for his work on comic books such as The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, V for Vendetta, Watchmen or From Hell. Some of his more famous works have been adapted into films, with varying (lack) of success. Alan Moore does not limit himself to writing comic books, among his other areas of study are literature, poetry, music, drama, occultism and magick. His occult interests interest me as they are one of the prevalent influences evident in his literary work.

do what thou wilt

V for Vendetta deals with a dystopian future in which an anarchist fighter who calls himself V wages an uncompromising war on a fully totalitarian British government. This parallel reality gives us a view of a Britain whose citizens have very little personal and political freedom left, most of it being given away by themselves in return for personal security as a result of a brief nuclear war and a subsequent coup d’etat by a fascist group offering immediate protection to the citizens.

One of the reasons why V for Vendetta (both in the film and comic book versions) gained such popularity in recent years is the way that individual security and personal freedom have been changing in recent years, closely resembling the story told in V for Vendetta. The so-called ‘war on terrorism’, (a war, which should be noted, by definition can’t be won) has been given as an excuse both in America and Britain to pass legislation that takes away more personal freedom than most people realise. Personal and political freedom is being quickly exchanged for perceived security from a danger that can’t be protected from, or if you are more cynical, does not exist. Leaving us…
V is an anarchist, he doesn’t believe that it is necessary to give away freedom to receive security. He doesn’t believe in chaos and disorder either. His beliefs can be summed up by a quote from Aleister Crowley: ‘Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.’ V agrees with Aleister Crowley that it is possible to know one’s True Will, True Will being the true calling, potential and will of an individual, rather than needs, desires or wishes that are constantly experienced and which control most personal decisions and choices. V calls this process of discovering one’s True Will ‘escaping the prison’. He ‘escapes the prison’ of his perceived needs, wishes and desires by being physically imprisoned in a concentration camp, where he and numerous other ‘test subjects’ are infected with a chemical virus, which apart from V kills all its recipients. He is physically imprisoned and lacks control over what happens to him, which makes it possible for him to awaken the parts of him, which can’t be controlled by anyone but himself. This episode gives V the intelligence, strength and knowledge to escape his prison and ultimately single-handedly challenge the government.

My favourite part of the comic book plays out on pages 148 – 172, where V puts another person, his disciple if you wish, or a girl he met by chance if you prefer, through a similar experience in order to produce the same effect, the same process of awakening. Perhaps the most revealing way of describing the effect would be to copy the last part of their conversation:

V: Welcome home.
Evey: You. You did this to me. You did this to me, yuh-you. Oh god. Yuh-you hit me, and cut off my hair… it was you. It was you all this time… You… tortured me… Oh, you tortured me…
V: Because I love you. Because I want to set you free.
Evey: Because…? Set me free? D-don’t you realise? Don’t you realise what you did to me? you nearly drove me mad!
V: If that’s what it takes, Evey.

Evey: I hate you. I hate you because you just talk junk and you think you’re so good that you don’t have to make any sense! Nothing you say means anything. You say you love me, and you don’t because you just frigten me and torture me for a joke… You say you want to set me free and you put me in a prison…
V: You were already in a prison. You’ve been in a prison all your life.
Evey: Shut up! I don’t want to hear it! I wasn’t in a prison! I was happy! I was hu-happy here until you threw me out.
V: Happiness is a prison, Evey. Happiness is the most insidious prison of all.
Evey: That’s warped! That’s warped and evil and wrong! When you threw me out I went to live with somebody. I… I was in love with him. I was happy. If that’s a prison, then I don’t care!
V: Don’t you? Your lover lived in the penitentiary that we are all born into, and was forced to rake the dregs of that world for his living. he knew affection and tenderness but only briefly… Eventually, one of the other inmates stabbed him with a cutlass and he drowned upon his own blood. Is that it, Evey? Is that the happiness worth more than freedom?
Evey: H-how do you know? How did you know what happened to Gordon?
V: It’s not an uncommon story, Evey. many convicts meet with miserable ends… Your mother. Your father. Your lover. One by one. Taken out behind the chemical sheds … and shot. All convicts, hunched and deformed by the smallness of their cells, the weight of their chains, the unfairness of their sentences.. I didn;t put you in prison, Evey. I just showed you the bars.
Evey: You’re wrong! It’s just life, that’s all! It’s how life is! It’s what we’ve got to put up with. It’s all we’ve got. What gives you the right to decide it’s not good enough?
V: You’re in a prison, Evey. You were born in a prison. You’ve been in a prison so long, you no longer believe there’s a world outside.
Evey: Shut up! You’re mad! I don’t want to hear it!
V: That’s because you are afraid, Evey. You’re afraid because you can feel freedom closing in upon you. You’re afraid because freedom is terrifying…
Evey: I can’t feel anything! There’s nothing to feel! Leave me alone!
V: Don’t back away from it, Evey. Part of you understands the truth even as part pretends not to. Woman, this is the most important moment of your life. Don’t run from it.
Evey: I don’t know what… you’re… Oh god. Oh god. I can’t… breathe… Asthma. Whuh-when I was… a little guh-girl…
V: Good. You’re almost there. Go closer. Feel the shape of it. Your mother died. They took your father away. There’s a little girl, Evey, and she’s screaming…
Evey: A-huh… aa-huhh… Oh, make it stop. Mummy, daddy, please make it stop. What… are you doing to me? Oh, I can’t breathe…
V: You were in a cell, Evey. They offered you a choice between the death of your principles and the death of your body.
Evey: Oh. Oh, I can feel it… oh, what is it… oh, I’m going to die, I’m going to burst…
V: You said you’d rather die. You faced the fear of your own death, and you were calm and still. Try to feel now what you felt then…
Evey: I… uhhh. oh god… I felt… huhh… I felt… like… an angel… Oh god, I’m so scared, I’m so cold. What’s happening to me?
V: The door of the cage is open, Evey. All that you feel is the wind from outside. Don’t be afraid. Try to stand. Try to walk. The lift will take us up to the roof.
Evey: To… the roof…? Outside…? I don’t want… to be blindfolded…
V: No, Evey. No more blindfolds. All the blindfolds are gone.

The most common way of understanding V for Vendetta is as a social and political commentary. After reading the comic book I was left with the feeling that that is only the very top layer of the meaning that V for Vendetta seeks to convey. V’s awakening and Evey’s initiation are both very powerful episodes in the main plot, explaining where the knowledge and information needed in order to understand oneself, not to mention knowledge needed in order to transform society is to be gained. Consequently, I find it difficult to limit the importance of V for Vendetta to its political and societal message. For me it is primarily a story of the individual, explaining the true meaning of the word. We build our own prisons.

tdy_lauer_taserboy_071101300w.jpgA lot of attention was focused on Andrew Meyer, now better known as the ‘Don’t Tase Me, Bro’ student, after he was tasered at a John Kerry talk. A discussion ensued on this very site about Andrew Meyer’s credibility, many referring to him as a prankster and claiming that the entire incident was premeditated. Well, Andrew appeared on the Today Show to dispel some myths. And apologize.

TODAYshow.com:  Was your arrest planned?  Did you ask anyone to tape you at the John Kerry event?

Meyer: My arrest was absolutely not planned. You would have to be a fool to intentionally get arrested and incur the cost of cleaning up this mess legally (ask my lawyer, it wasn’t cheap).

 TODAYshow.com:  A lot has been made of your Web site, particularly a video of your friend (which has been incorrectly reported as you) standing  on the side of the road holding a sign, “Harry Dies,” after the release of the last Harry Potter book. Is your site in any way connected to what you were trying to accomplish at the Kerry event? 

Meyer: It’s funny you should mention “Harry Dies,” because that more than anything else epitomizes how my character has been misconstrued by the media. “Harry Dies” is a video two friends of mine shot on the day the seventh Harry Potter book was released. They are standing on a busy street corner holding a sign that says, “Harry Dies.” I am not in this video. I did not shoot this video. All I did was post it on my Web site. And yet this, according to the media, is the smoking gun that proves I am a “well-known prankster” and my questions to Senator Kerry were not serious. There are no other cited instances of me pulling a practical joke.

My Web site was and is intended to be a forum for me to express myself, but I was not looking to promote it in any way by attending the Kerry forum. I did plan to post the video of me asking Kerry questions on my website, the same way I posted the videos of  Validus and Quigley & the St.Pete Players, a couple of local bands I had filmed. I did not, however, have a pocket full of business cards ready to pass out after the event. If I were promoting my Web site, passing out my card is exactly what I would have done. A police officer did find one of my business cards, which read “TheAndrewMeyer.com.” I was using it as a bookmark for “Armed Madhouse.”

TODAYshow.com:  What is your biggest criticism of the media in covering your story?

Meyer: I haven’t seen any mainstream news outlet once dissect the questions I asked the Senator. Everything is about me personally or the taser. This is the type of tabloid journalism prevalent in America today. When my story is over, they won’t start covering Blackwater or Ron Paul. It’ll be Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, business as usual.

…I wish I had maintained my composure. The next time I will.

Read more

 

southlandtalesgn1.jpgAs Donnie Darko fans sit in anticipation, many wonder how Richard Kelly will pull off his second major film. So far the reviews and comments by critics have been pretty poor. Adjectives such as confusing, complex, disappointing, dense, too ambitious, have been used to describe the movie. One question that no one seems to be asking (probably due to being ill informed) is “what are the disadvantages of releasing three comic books as the prequel to a film”? Yes, although Southland Tales won’t be released till November 14th, the first half of its story has been available in graphic novel form for quite some time. It’s unsurprising a film would appear incoherent if you unaware the first half of its story.

I admit that I love what I’ve read so far. Staying true to form, Richard Kelly uses the themes of time travel, parrallel dimensions, and meta-realities to create an experience you may actually have to think about. Characters in the graphic novels are playing the roles of actors as a the comic turns into a screen-play and back. The comic book even alludes to the fact that one the characters is actually writing the plot of the movie. Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles anybody? It took me several readings to get a grasp on what is actually going on. Add social-political critique and conspiracy theories into the mix and you’ve got yourself quite the story. Try to fit the continuation of such a plot in the time span of a single film and have it appeal to the average viewer, that’s a challenge.

The film is ambitious indeed and it seemed to have an aggressive marketing plan that might have not come to fruition. Many of the characters from Southland Tales have myspace profiles and websites such as Krysta Now . Even one of the main corporations in the story have a promotional flash video for their car. The site for the Donnie Darko film featured an interactive game where more information about the plot was revealed. It looks like Richard Kelly was intending to do the same with Southland Tales, but to my knowledge the sites haven’t been updated since their creation.

If this wasn’t confusing enough, the film is a dark comedy and satire which is almost kitsch in its presentation. Not until I reflected on the trailers did I realize what was going on. Perhaps this will sound like a bad excuse to some, but the incredible cheesiness in the film may actually be intentional. An amnesiac action movie star is trying to save the world and a porn star is assisting him on his mission. Doesn’t exactly sound like the plot of the most serious film.

It wasn’t the critics that made Donnie Darko a cult classic, but the fans. So, I would encourage people to give the movie a chance. And if you want the full experience, read the Southland Tales prequal to get an idea of what’s going on.

And finally… a trailer:

178.jpgfrances071.gif

Here is some art by patients undergoing LSD psychotherapy with Stanislav Grof. These images are featured in his book ‘LSD Psychotherapy‘.Via Mindhacks

Meyer

UPDATE: If you are really interested in this case I encourage you to read this interview with Andrew Meyer. It seems that a lot of the points argued in the discussion have been misconstrued or blatantly false.

Breaking News!

Today, a student (identified as Andrew Meyer) asked a few questions of John Kerry during his visit to Gainesville but the cops didn’t like his demeanor. According to witnesses the student entered the room with several cops in tow. Andrew Meyer asked questions pertaining to Kerry’s failure to contest the presidential election results of 2004, the call to impeach president Bush, and Kerry’s membership in the secret society known as Skull and Bones. He was clearly accusatory and emotional in his speech but one must ask whether he deserved what came next.

AFTER six police officers held the student to the ground, they proceeded to taser him amongst his screams for help.

His cries can be clearly heard in the video below:

“What have I done? What I have I done? Get away from me. Get off of me! What did I do? Help me! Help. Please, don’t taser me!”

Andrew Meyer’s screams are a frightening reminder of how times have changed. A college student armed with only a book and a few pointed questions can be threatened, forced to the ground, and tasered. Meyer has been charged with disrupting a public event and placed in the Alachua County Jail. An investigation will examine whether the police were justified in using such force.

The student’s biggest mistake was not allowing himself to get arrested/escorted out after his diatribe. Although the question remains. For doing what?

A much higher quality video is available here.

UPDATE:

NBC6 News is reporting: “After a scuffle on the ground, Meyer was tasered and handcuffed“. Please, watch the video above and see the extent of Andrew Meyer’s resistance before being tasered.

Read an eyewitness account of the taser incident.

And happy Constitution Day to all!

UPDATE: I have decided to close comments due to the inordinate number of pointless and hateful messages this post has brought. The traffic accompanying this post does little to enhance the discussion or the overall quality of this site.

Naomi Klein recently finished her latest book “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism” and asked Alfonso Cuarón to provide a quote for the book jacket. Instead he pulled together an amazing team of artists — including Jonás Cuarón who directed and edited ‘Children of Men‘ (one of my favorite movies of all time) — to make The Shock Doctrine short film (available above).

Klein’s thesis is that present-day global capitalism took hold when its advocates learned to exploit disasters. After a disaster (war, tsunami, terrorist attack), you can push your agenda for worsening labor conditions, looser regulation, and pocket-lining exercises (Enron, Halliburton) while the reeling, disaster-struck population of the world has its attention elsewhere.

Klein attributes this technique to Milton Friedman, who is reported to have said that “only a crisis — real or perceived — produces real change.” She connects this idea to the fundamental notion underpinning CIA torture techniques (as reported in CIA interrogation manuals from 1963 and 1983) — to produce a state of shock in which the victim is out of control of her faculties, a “suspended animation” that can be exploited to get victims to do things that violate their own ethics or beliefs.

Relatedly, The Instruction Manual for Psychological Torture is now available online. Published in 1961, it contains techniques for interrogation and brainwashing. The book’s publication was sponsored by the US Air Force who were worried about what psychological techniques prisoners-of-war might face behind enemy lines.

Download

How deep does the rabbit hole go? Gnostic Media is proud to present the official online edition of The Pharmacratic Inquisition 2007. If you enjoyed “Zeitgeist – The Movie”, you will love this video; the creators of this video are listed as one of the sources for the Zeitgeist Movie. The Pharmacratic Inquisition 2007 is a video version of the book, “Astrotheology & Shamanism” by Jan Irvin & Andrew Rutajit. The painstakingly detailed and heavily footnoted research in the book comes to life in this video and is now available to you for FREE! For further research of the claims made in this video, please read AstroTheology & Shamanism – this book is available to order as a combo with the DVD.

Thousands of years ago, in the pre monarchic era, sacred plants and other entheogenic substances where politically correct and highly respected for their ability to bring forth the divine, Yahweh, God, The Great Spirit, etc., by the many cultures who used them. Often the entire tribe or community would partake in the entheogenic rites and rituals. These rites were often used in initiation into adulthood, for healing, to help guide the community in the decision process, and to bring the direct religious experience to anyone seeking it.

In the pre literate world, the knowledge of psychedelic sacraments, as well as fertility rites and astronomical knowledge surrounding the sun, stars, and zodiac, known as astrotheology, were anthropomorphized into a character or a deity; consequently, their stories and practices could easily be passed down for generations. Weather changes over millenniums caused environmental changes that altered the available foods and plant sacraments available in the local vicinity. If a tribe lost its shamanic El-der (El – God), all of the tribe’s knowledge of their plant sacraments as well as astronomical knowledge would be lost. The Church’s inquisitions extracted this sacred knowledge from the local Shamans who were then exterminated…It is time to recognize the fact that this Pharmacratic Inquisition is still intact and destroy it. 

Rushkoff speaks on Nothing Sacred, Get Back in the Box, the newest issue of his DC/Vertigo comic Testament Vol. 2: West of Eden as well as a work in progress about corporatism. Taped on February 28, 2007 at the Astor Place Barnes and Noble, New York City.

Rushkoff graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University. He moved to Los Angeles and pursued a Master of Fine Arts in Directing from California Institute of the Arts. Later he took up a post-graduate fellowship from the American Film Institute.

Today, he teaches media theory at New York University’s (NYU) Interactive Telecommunications Program. Rushkoff is known for being an active member of the cyberpunk movement and was the online associate of Timothy Leary. His views on cyberculture and the media made him a sought after advisor and consultant with many organizations and companies, including the United Nations Commission on World Culture and the Sony corporation.

Though an advocate for new technologies, his views lean towards an open source use of technology, making him a founding member of Technorealism. This extends to his broader philosophy as the founder of an online community for discussion of Judaism and related issues, called Open Source Judaism. In the book Media Virus, he expounds on various terms such as meta-media and tactical media especially in relation to popular culture media such as television.

WorldviewI’m currently working on a project and stumbled upon a bit of information I find fascinating.

Terror Management Theory attempts to describe a significant motivator behind human action. It arouse from various academic traditions but is mostly familiar to students of social psychology. The basic thesis is that as humans our primary biological imperative, aside from passing on our genetic material, is to stay alive. And as everyone knows, there are countless unforeseen circumstances in which our existence can come to an abrupt end. It is precisely this which most likely differentiates us from other animals, our awareness of our impending death. I say “most likely differentiates us from other animals” because this has not been entirely proven true. What can be confirmed experientially however, is the overwhelming anxiety generated from this awareness of death.

Otto Rank, Norman Brown, and Ernst Becker posited that humans, ingeniously but unconsciously solved this dilemma by developing cultural world views: “commonly held beliefs about reality that serve to reduce the potentially overwhelming terror resulting from the awareness of death”. All cultures provide meaning by offering a creation myth, a blue print for acceptable behavior on earth, and a promise of immortality either symbolically or literally. Individuals thus become participants in a world of meaning and gain emotional stability in the face of death.

As readers of this blog may know: “All cultural world views are ultimately shared fictions, in the sense that none of them is likely to be literally true, and their existence is generally sustained by social consensus. When everyone around us believes the same thing we can be confident of the voracity of our beliefs”. Good old social proof.

This may not be entirely news for many but the following was certainly something I somewhat knew but never considered in its entirety. “When we encounter people with different beliefs, this poses a challenge to our death-denying belief system, which is why people are generally quite uncomfortable around (and hostile toward) those who are different.” Religious and political conflicts may be much more than disagreements on how one should live their life and more a coping mechanism for death anxiety. Suddenly the state of the world gains a whole new dimension.

“Additionally, because no symbolic cultural construction can actually overcome the physical reality of death, residual anxiety is unconsciously projected unto such groups as individuals, designating them as scapegoats: all encompassing repositories of evil, the eradication of which would make earth as it is in heaven. We therefore typically respond to people with different beliefs by berating them, trying to convert them to our system of beliefs, or just killing them and in so doing asserting that “my God (or political-economic system) is better than ours and we’ll kick your ass to prove it.”

Quotations from Psychology and Consumer Culture

“Once you believe that there is a final answer to human ills. If there is just a final answer then no sacrifice is too great for it. Even if you have to kill people for it. This is the one end, permanent, bliss, happiness, for mankind. Surely, worth it.

If you believe there is a single answer to the single question- The true answer, all other answers then being false- all these answers can be put together and harmonize with each other to create the perfect universe, then there is temptation if you think you have it, to do awful things.”

Isaiah Berlin

Kurt VonnegutKurt Vonnegut, one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century, has passed away. So it goes. Vonnegut wrote 14 novels.

My first Vonnegut book was Mother Night which I received from a teacher in high school. The predicament of the main character hit close to home, being required to act as a patriot for two countries while not really caring for either.

Kurt Vonnegut:

In 1944 he was shipped to Europe with the 106th Infantry Division and shortly saw combat in the Battle of the Bulge. With his unit nearly destroyed, he wandered behind enemy lines for several days until he was captured and sent to a prisoner of war camp near Dresden, the architectural jewel of Germany.
Assigned by his captors to make vitamin supplements, he was working with other prisoners in an underground meat locker when British and American war planes started carpet bombing the city, creating a firestorm above him. The work detail saved his life.
Afterward, he and his fellow prisoners were assigned to remove the dead.

Vonnegut was a humanist; he served as Honorary President of the American Humanist Association, having replaced Isaac Asimov in what Vonnegut called “that totally functionless capacity”.

With his columns for In These Times, he began a blistering attack on the administration of President George W. Bush and the Iraq war. “By saying that our leaders are power-drunk chimpanzees, am I in danger of wrecking the morale of our soldiers fighting and dying in the Middle East?” he wrote. “Their morale, like so many bodies, is already shot to pieces. They are being treated, as I never was, like toys a rich kid got for Christmas in December.”

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