January 2, 2014 www.nomorefakenews.com
You may have noticed that some websites, when they publish satire, label it as such. I indicate “short story” when it’s fiction.
Why? Because some people take things so literally they can’t recognize parody. For example, I wrote a piece about 150 MILLION Americans traveling to Mexico and then coming back across the border as immigrants and going on welfare—and people believed I was reporting a news story. On top of that, they got up on their hind legs and brayed: “It isn’t true!”
Drugs? Brain damage? The education system? Or just plain tiny minds?
So…here’s a story about that:
You of course remember the Alice in Wonderland War. In 2056, a government historian brought suit against Midas Publishing for reprinting the ancient Lewis Carroll book.
The historian stated there was no Alice, there was no Mad Hatter, there was no tea party, and so on. He claimed that to assert the existence of these characters was an affront to the rational mind, the literal mind.
The literal mind, he insisted, was man’s highest achievement. He wrote: “A is A and can’t be otherwise. The fabrication of A as B or C is an attempt to confuse, subvert, and destroy civilization as we know it.”
The historian produced a manual printed by the National Security Agency. He cited a paragraph from the Introduction:
“In order for universal surveillance to succeed, the citizenry should say what they mean at all times. Metaphor, simile, joke, satire, parody—these constructions confuse algorithms established to detect potential terrorist activity. In general, fiction is a crime…”
The attorney for Midas Publishing countered with: “The literal mind is an idiot. It wouldn’t recognize a joke or a punchline if they were shoved down its throat. I hereby issue a call to all people everywhere to start lying, fabricating, making stuff up, telling jokes, all day, every day. Stop acting like good little androids. Screw The Man. Take him down. Have some fun for a change!”
Suddenly, it happened. People started enjoying themselves. The joke and the parody and mockery made a comeback. Did they ever. And NSA’s computers went nuts, exactly the way the literal mind collapses in the face of metaphor.
It was, ultimately, a revolution, and life as people knew it went right down the dumper.
In the year, 2094, a document was uncovered in a copper mine in Southern California. It was sent to the Non-Federal Bureau of Non-Control, headquartered in the old buildings of the former and forgotten National Security Agency.
The document, undated, written by an unidentified painter, was read by the Chief of Unsystematic Uncoordinated Records.
“If you hand a person a fig and tell him it’s a plum, there is a chance he’ll see a plum.
“If you give a person a copy of Nabokov’s Lolita and explain its ‘themes,’ there is a chance that, as he reads it, he will find those themes and consider them the most important result of his reading.
“Instead of relying on his own imagination and perception, a person decides that what he is told is what he is looking at.
“So you point to a tree and say to a friend, ‘See that car?’
“Education tends to define what is there before a person can experience it on his own.
“I’m a painter. My education in art, before I ever laid a brush on canvas, was conducted by a few world-class morons who floated convincing theories about this and that. Somewhere along the line, I took over the process and ignored what they were saying.
“This eventually led me, on a long path, to the conclusion that imagination has no limits.
“A few minutes after that, I realized such an idea was not acceptable to most people. They preferred to be told what to see and what to know. They wanted confirmation of what they already assumed.
“Nevertheless, to the extent that I rely on anything beyond my work, I rely on other people’s imagination, in the sense that I’m painting what can only be accessed by imagination.
“Given what I believe, it would be foolish to tell people what to see in my paintings. I myself see many things, and what I see changes. I want it to be that way.
“I’m not trying to nail down a particular bounded reality. If that were my goal, I would manufacture shoes.
“From a rough societal perspective, I see imagination as an infinite series of platforms. The first burst of imagination somehow places people on platform number 1, which is beyond current consensus reality. They walk around on that platform for a while, and then it’s time for burst number 2, which creates a further platform, on which people stroll for a period of time. And then, burst 3. And so on and so forth. Forever.
“At no point does anyone lay down laws of perception. Nevertheless, there is a loose and congenial sharing of platforms.
“Of course, this is an ideal. Things don’t happen so smoothly.
“I have some peculiar ideas about language. In a way, I believe you can reach an endpoint with it. You obviously haven’t exhausted all the possibilities for, say, writing a poem. You can invent lines no one has ever come close to before. But you begin to experience the sensation of rearranging deck chairs, and then you know you need something more.
“You need a new kind of language, in which the letters or words or characters or pictographs are open. They carry no fixed meanings.
“Confronted with such a language, the reader employs imagination and imagination only.
“In terms of what we ordinarily expect from language, this seems quite absurd. It seems absurd until we try it out.
“At which point, imagination begins talking to imagination. Leaving systems behind, we are in new territory. The place is new, and how we will deal with being there is new…”
The Chief of Unsystematic Uncoordinated Records finished reading the document and laid it down on his desk.
He thought, “If only that painter knew millions of people now speak and write in those open languages. His assessment seems so obvious in hindsight. Of course we would follow this approach. What else could we do? Deteriorate? Give up? Imitate a consensus? Only a lunatic would opt for that.”
The odd and interesting thing is, we can have both. We can live in a consensus reality, with logic as our tool, and we can also imagine and invent our way out into endless new spaces, about which we presently know nothing.
The literal mind chafes at such a prospect. The literal mind begins to feel it’s going crazy. The literal mind lashes out like a spoiled child. It thinks it’s winning, but it’s losing.
And here is the capper. The literal mind, even if it claims it wants freedom and the end of the horrific Surveillance State, really wants to install its own tyranny. It wants to exchange one fascism for another.
The literal mind is just another machine.
And sooner or later, when it collapses and blows its circuits, it’s a good day in the universe.
Along with the Alice-in-Wonderland War, we all recall another famous turning point in our history—the 2061 Lenny Bruce case. Lenny, a volunteer in a Technocracy II experiment, was hooked up, brain to brain, with the Kurzweil super-computer at MIT, in the first public demonstration of Enhanced Human, a government-funded program.
But just before the connection was made, Lenny uttered, “Suppose what I’m thinking is a series of jokes? Suppose I don’t really mean what I think in a literal sense? Suppose when I think A I’m really meaning Z? Suppose I’m doing inside-out and upside down stuff?”
The experiment was halted at that point and Lenny was arrested by the FBI. He was put on trial for conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism, because, obviously, the whole technocratic premise would fail along all systems of brain-to-brain interaction, if other people took Lenny’s hint.
The bill of particulars against Lenny read, “A violation of the literal…an act of domestic terrorism”
And then, a hundred thousand Americans rioted at the Federal Building, and a few hundred of them broke into the courtroom and overwhelmed government troops and burned down the building and freed Lenny. Remember?
The author of two explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED and EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at www.nomorefakenews.com