Archive for September, 2011

…call me trimtab…

September 20, 2011 Leave a comment

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

Richard Buckminster Fuller

BFI Challenge FAQ:

What is a “trimtab”?
Buckminster Fuller referred to the function of a trimtab in nautical design as a metaphor for how individuals could make a difference in the world and potentially change the course of humanity.

A large ship moving through the ocean has great momentum. Turning the rudder changes the direction of the ship but with great effort. Using a trimtab — a small flap on the trailing edge of the main rudder — creates a low pressure area next to the rudder allowing the main rudder to turn the ship with substantially less effort. In airplanes trimtabs are used in a similar fashion. They are often affixed to the wing and tail flaps to greatly reduce the control force required by the pilot to maintain position and stability.

With respect to Buckminster Fuller Challenge, the trimtab metaphor is used to characterize a comprehensive strategy, that is conceived in such a manner and strategically placed into the prevailing system at such a time, in such a place, where its effects can be maximized, thereby creating the most advantageous change with the least amount of resources and energy on a relative basis.

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September 15, 2011 Leave a comment

from William S Burroughs’ “The Electronic Revolution” part 2:

Illusion is a revolutionary weapon
The control of the mass media depends on laying down lines of association. When the lines are cut the associational connections are broken.
And now the question as to whether scrambling techniques could be used to spread helpful and pleasant messages. Perhaps. On the other hand, the scrambled words and tape act like a virus in that they force something on the subject against his will. More to the point would be to discover how the old scanning patterns could be altered so that subject liberates his own spontaneous scanning pattern.
The aim of this project is to build up a language in which certain falsifications inherent in all existing western languages will be made incapable of formulation.

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…a brief digression into broken politics…

September 14, 2011 Leave a comment

from The Port Huron Statement:

The apathy here is, first subjective — the felt powerlessness of ordinary people, the resignation before the enormity of events. But subjective apathy is encouraged by the objective American situation — the actual structural separation of people from power, from relevant knowledge, from pinnacles of decision-making. Just as the university influences the student way of life, so do major social institutions create the circumstances in which the isolated citizen will try hopelessly to understand his world and himself.

The very isolation of the individual — from power and community and ability to aspire — means the rise of a democracy without publics. With the great mass of people structurally remote and psychologically hesitant with respect to democratic institutions, those institutions themselves attenuate and become, in the fashion of the vicious circle, progressively less accessible to those few who aspire to serious participation in social affairs. The vital democratic connection between community and leadership, between the mass and the several elites, has been so wrenched and perverted that disastrous policies go unchallenged time and again.

from Michael Hauben’s “Participatory Democracy From the 1960s and SDS into the Future On-line”:


The Port Huron Statement called for the implementation of participatory democracy as a way to bring people back into decisions about the country in general, and their individual lives, in particular. (…)

Miller writes that in a 1960 essay, “Participatory Democracy and Human Nature”, Kaufman had described a society in which every member had a “direct responsibility for decisions.” (…)

“Participation” explained Kaufman, “means both personal initiative — that men feel obliged to help resolve social problems — and social opportunity — that society feels obliged to maximize the possibility for personal initiative to find creative outlets.” (Miller, p. 95)

A participant at the Port Huron Conference, Richard Flacks remembers Arnold Kaufman speaking at the convention, “At one point, he declared that our job as citizens was not to role-play the President. Our job was to put forth our own perspective. That was the real meaning of democracy–press for your own perspective as you see it, not trying to be a statesman understanding the big picture.” (Miller, p. 111) (…)

Tom Hayden, Miller writes, understood participatory democracy to mean:

“number one, action; we believed in action. We had behind us the so-called decade of apathy; we were emerging from apathy. What’s the opposite of apathy? Active participation. Citizenship. Making history. Secondly, we were very directly influenced by the civil rights movement in its student phase, which believed that by personally committing yourself and taking risks, you could enter history and try to change it after a hundred years of segregation. And so it was this element of participation in democracy that was important. Voting was not enough. Having a democracy in which you have an apathetic citizenship, spoon-fed information by a monolithic media, periodically voting, was very weak, a declining form of democracy. And we believed, as an end in itself, to make the human being whole by becoming an actor in history instead of just a passive object. Not only as an end in itself, but as a means to change, the idea of participatory democracy was our central focus.” (Miller, p. 144)

from CrimethInc’s The Party’s Over!:


If the freedom for which so many generations have fought and died is best exemplified by a man in a voting booth checking a box on a ballot before returning to work in an environment no more under his control than it was before, then the heritage our emancipating forefathers and suffragette grandmothers have left us is
nothing but a sham substitute for the liberty they sought.

For a better illustration of real freedom in action, look at the musician in the act of improvising with her companions: in joyous, seemingly effortless cooperation, they create a sonic and emotional environment, transforming the world that in turn transforms them. Take this model and extend it to every one of our interactions with each other and you would have something qualitatively different from our present system – a harmony in human relationships and activity. To get there from here, we have to dispense with voting as the archetypal expression of freedom and participation.


No one can represent your power and interests for you – you can only have power by wielding it, you can only learn what your interests are by getting involved. Politicians make careers out of claiming to represent others, as if freedom and political power could be held by proxy; in fact, they are a priest class that answers only to itself, and their very existence is proof of our disenfranchisement.

Voting in elections is an expression of our powerlessness: it is an admission that we can only approach the resources and capabilities of our own society through the mediation of that priest caste. When we let them prefabricate our options for us, we relinquish control of our communities to these politicians in the same way that we have ceded technology to engineers, health care to doctors, and control of our living environments
to city planners and private real estate developers. We end up living in a world that is alien to us, even though our labor has built it, for we have acted like sleepwalkers hypnotized by the monopoly our leaders and specialists hold on setting the possibilities. But we don’t have to simply choose between presidential
candidates, soft drink brands, television shows, and political ideologies. We can make our own decisions as individuals and communities, we can make our own delicious beverages and social structures and power, we can establish a new society on the basis of freedom and cooperation.

from CrimethInc’s Don’t Just Vote:

Voting for people to represent your interests is the least efficient and effective means of applying political power. The alternative, broadly speaking, is acting directly to represent your interests yourself.

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…a code without a key…

September 14, 2011 Leave a comment

from basic banalities:

The London Psychogeographical Association (LPA) was born again a few years ago proudly proclaiming 35 years of no-existence. Itnewsletter it publishes includes constant references to druidic ley-lines, masonic influences in architecture and occult sources of power seen as a way of broadening the political critique of urban geography with the ‘occult’ implicit suggestion that there always is ‘something else’ behind the most banal aspect of life.

from Center for Tactical Magic’s “Applied Magic(k) – An Introduction”:

In the Western traditions of ritual magic(k) and occult practices there is often a “lust for results” that demands linearity in the form of cause-and-effect. In such cases, practitioners become ill-at-ease when they summon a demon to defeat racist presidents and no one shows up to take the job. Nearly every other expression of magic across the globe regards the magical act as a liminal space that appears during the performance. This is a zone of transformation; a place where the rules of everyday life are suspended and alternative realities can trickle in. In some cases, a shaman will perform a conjuring trick as a way of illustrating the zone of transformation. Thus, it is not the “trick” which is magic, but the performance/perception. The tricks are part of a performance that leads the audience to a mental state where the real magic can take place. Thus the shift occurs in the perception of the audience rather than in the hands of the shaman. The best magicians also recognize this dynamic among their own audiences and perform accordingly by designing and performing illusions and/or rituals that are relevant to people’s lives…

from Anne-Marie Schleiner’s “Dissolving the Magic Circle of Play: Lessons from Situationist Gaming”:

A promising tactic for the early Situationists was the unpredictable yet forceful potential of play — what anthropologist Victor Turner termed the “liminoid,” or the freeing and transformational, moments of play when the normal roles and rules of a community or society are relaxed. After these temporary situations “players” settle once more into fixed roles. The Situationists proposed to adopt this liminoid “subjunctive mood” (when anything can happen) into a more general approach, a way of doing and being in the everyday, in order to transform material life with ludic actions. As Debord remarked,

We must develop a systematic intervention based on the complex factors of two components in perpetual interaction: the material environment of life and the behaviors which it gives rise to and which radically transform it. Our action on behavior, linked with other desirable aspects of a revolution in mores, can be briefly defined as the invention of games of an essentially new type.

Situationist games do not respect the boundary between play and work, leisure and non-leisure, between “real life” and Huizinga’s “magic circle”, the separation from “normal space” that facilitates immersion in games and play. Situationist games are not sports and are not relegated to sports stadiums, arcades, or Playstation home entertainment set-ups. Situationist games bleed into the city, the workplace, the buyplace, the personal computer, the mobile phone, public and private transportation and communication, and into and inside escapist rule-based game environments themselves. In transgressing the “magic circle,” a Situationist gaming tactic attempts to give transformative potential not just to play but to “normal” life.

from CrimethInc’s “There is a Secret World Concealed Within this One”:

This world, the so-called “real world,” is just a front. Pull back the curtain and you’ll see the libraries are all filled with runaways writing novels, the highways are humming with escapees and sympathizers, all the receptionists and sensible mothers are straining at the leash for a chance to show how alive they still are. . . and all that talk of practicality and responsibility is just threats and bluffing to keep us from reaching out our hands to find that heaven lies in reach before us.

You can taste it in the shock and roar of a first, unexpected kiss, or in the blood in your mouth that instant after an accident when you realize you’re still alive. It blows in the wind you feel on the rooftops of a really reckless night of adventure. You hear it in the magic of your favorite songs, how they lift and transport you in ways that no science or psychology could ever account for. It might be you’ve seen evidence of it scratched into bathroom walls in a code without a key…

Revolution is simply the idea we could enter that secret world and never return; or, better, that we could burn away this one, to reveal the one beneath entirely.

Under the paving stones, the beach.

Let’s not change bosses. Let’s change life.

– May 1968 graffiti

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from steelweaver’s “Reality as a Failed State”

September 4, 2011 Leave a comment

excerpts from steelweaver’s essay “Reality as a Failed State”:

So maybe what we have today are not problems, but meta-problems.
We understand the problems. We also, pretty much, understand the solutions. But their real-world application is a whole unpickable, integrated clusterfuck.
[Open source bazaars – media-effective denial memes spread virally through community far quicker than effective strategies of rebuttal do.]

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some partial synthesis from HEARlabs

September 4, 2011 Leave a comment

some (extremely) partial synthesis of all the research below ended up in a comment to 37’s “An Invocation Against the Inevitable” blogpost:

Read more…

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