Technology has robbed contemporary humans of their autonomy, diminished their rapport with nature, and forced them to behave in ways that are increasingly remote from the natural pattern of human behavior. And it took their freedom. This started with the industrial revolution.
It would be bad strategy for the revolutionaries to condemn Americans for their habits of consumption. Instead, the average American should be portrayed as a victim of the advertising and marketing industry, which has suckered him into buying a lot of junk that he doesn’t need and that is very poor compensation for his lost freedom. It is merely a matter of attitude whether you blame the advertising industry for manipulating the public or blame the public for allowing itself to be manipulated. As matter of strategy one should generally avoid blaming the public.
We are trying to be instruments of the cosmic forces working within the order of nature. We believe that earth, air, fire and water belong to everyone and can’t be bought or sold, or owned. We are total revolutionaries; we are free men living equally with free creatures in a free universe.
A normal adolescent wants to spend his time in active contact with the real world. Among primitive people the things that children are trained to do, tend to be in reasonable harmony with natural human impulses. Among the American Indians, for example, boys were trained in active outdoor pursuits - just the sort of thing that boys like. But in our society children are pushed into studying technical subjects, which most do grudgingly.
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan‐like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.
In the 1930s there were several photographers who combined art and commercial photography: for example, Paul Outerbridge, Edward Steichen and Man Ray. In his deluxe advertising portfolio for an electricity company, Electricité, Man Ray combined advertising with art. He celebrated electricity both as subject and as medium. He celebrated the new, futuristic machine age. This was the age of technology, when the machine was celebrated as the saviour of man, which would give him power to control his environment. Electricity was the new way to make the machines work. At the Bauhaus in 1922 Lazlo Moholy-Nagy wrote: “To be a user of machines is to be of the spirit of this century... Everyone is equal before the machine.” In this work Man Ray made electricity visible and attractive: you can see stripes of light shining through a curtain and down to a womanʼs body, a torso. Electricity would kill the moonlight. Electric light was the modern, technological replacement for the natural light of sun, moon, stars and lightning that man had always known. Electricity was magic.
Epergos selects two young trees a few paces apart. Climbing one of these, he bends it down by the weight of his body, pulls towards him the top of the other with the help of a hooked stick, and thus joining the branches of the two trees, ties them together with rushes. The creatures that have gathered round him look on wondering. But Epergos does not mean them to remain idle, and makes them understand that they must go and find other young trees in the neighbourhood. With their hands and with the help of sticks they uproot and drag them to Epergos; who then shows them how they should be inclined in a circle by resting their tops against the first two trees that had been having it. It is like you are searching for a word you know and it is right there in your head but it will not come out; you can feel it but not spell it.
Coming up over a mountain in Spain everybody was stoned on acid, the brakes did not work and shifting down was not possible anymore - they were already going to fast; Marko had been driving for 32 hours nonstop, and it was at that moment that he decided to make it all the way down the steepest, awfullest widingest mountain highway in the history of the world without using the brakes. The lurid bus started barreling down the mountain. All the passengers were taking it all in. They could feel the motion of the thing careening around the curves and the road rippling and writhing out in front of them like someone rippling a bullwhip. They felt totally synched with Marko, however. It was as if, if they were panicked, Marko would be panicked, panic would rush trough the bus like an energy. And yet they never felt panic. It was an abstract thought. They had total faith in Marko, but it was more than faith. It was as if Marko, at the wheel, was in a state of satori, as totally into this very moment, now, as a being can get, and for that moment they all shared it.
Hunter-gatherers of the industrial society and its future; collecting what they imagined was provided for them and bringing it back to the community to be dispersed as needed; this was true not only of building supplies but also of food, fiscal income, and clothing. Any money – earned from occasional outside work, from the sale of artworks, from children support, even alimony – was collected in a communal fund. They perch on the edge of a parasitic dependence and self-sufficiency, relying on the production of waste and, therefore, on consumer society’s continued surplus. Although they consider themselves free of capitalism and hierarchy, they depended on prosperous mainstream America’s bountiful trash pile and food stamps in order to survive.
Free time given by society; in our Freelifestyle race there is little difference between ‘work’ and ‘after work,’ little change in attitude towards the different parts of the day, no internal or idealized separation. Work is movement, movement is an expression of mind and body, dancing is work – work is bad, don’t dance. Our society is soporific, addictive to things, comforts, securities. Physical securities are substitutes for inner security. They breed inner security, they support it. The chains of our society are not physical; they are mental. The door is always open. Any time we choose to walk out, we can walk out.
All your time is free time, ‘cultural shock’; what are you going to do with it? You vacillate between great flurries of activity and depressions of nothingness. Having been pigeonholed all your life, man does not know what to do with his freedom, ‘cultural shock’;
after a job is done comes a time of dissolution. While everyone is working together the energy is centered, there is a fantastic high spirit, everyone knows what he is doing all the time. Thereafter there is no focus for the group energy, and most do not have anything to do with their individual energy, ‘cultural shock’. On the contrary, a savage knows what to do with his free time, how to use it, he can just sit without getting bored of nothingness.
There were prisms in some of the windows, and sun spectrums moved across the floor and walls, each minute in a different place. It was a Now Trip, like I saw the ocean one’s like a sheet of ice slanting in towards the shore… and then I saw three suns… – in truth! The vibration of the bus I was in had thrown me into the DMT reaction. I got a triple image from the vibration and shaking of the bus, but instead of refocusing on one sun, I kept seeing three.
The strobe! The strobe, or stroboscope was originally an instrument for studying motion, such as the way a man’s legs move when he is running. In a darkened chamber, for example, you aim a bright light, flashing on and off, at the runners legs as he runs. The light flashes on and of very fastened together. Then he shows them how to fill in the spaces with rushes, branches, and long grass interlaced; then how their roots should be covered with clay, and the whole structure successively; leaving an opening on the side opposite to the wind that brings the rain. On the floor he has dead branches and reeds spread, and mud trodden down with the feet. By the end of the day the hut is finished, and each family among the Nai’rriti wishes to have one like it.
By making objects/tools by myself I do not want to refer to the DIY that the Americans preach about for their free time, as a surrogate activity provided by society to give the idea that we control our own lives. It is to return to a more anti-industrial pre-artisan action. It is about making it clearer, by working with your own hands. Everyone should have a project: after all it is the best way to avoid being designed yourself. With ‘surrogate activity’ I mean an activity with an artificial goal, not one of the real goals of live: food, clothing, shelter, defence against whatever threats there may be in one’s environment. A goal set up by the person himself to create something to work for, by persuing this the person gets a feeling of fullfilment. This is because reaching our “real” goals in our society is reduced to a futility.
Most people will agree that nature is beautiful; certainly it has tremendous popular appeal. Nature (that which is outside the power of the system) is the opposite of technology (which seeks to expand indefinitely the power of the system). It is not necessary for the sake of nature to set up some chimerical utopia or any new kind of social order. Nature takes care of itself: it was a spontaneous creation that existed long before any human society, and for countless centuries many different kinds of human societies coexisted with nature without doing it an excessive amount of damage. Only with the Industrial Revolution did the effect of human society on nature become really devastating.
Without factory-made parts or the facilities of a post-industrial machine shop it would be virtually impossible for a handful of local craftsmen to built a refrigerator. If by some miracle they did succeed in building one, it would be useless to them without a reliable source of electric power. So they would have to dam a stream and build a generator. Generators require large amounts of copper wire. Imagine trying to make that wire without modern machinery. And where would they get a gas suitable for refrigeration? It would be much easier to build an icehouse or preserve food by drying or picking, as was done before the invention of the refrigerator. So it is clear that if the industrial system were once thoroughly broken down, refrigeration technology would quickly be lost. The same is true of other organization-dependent technology. And once this technology had been lost for a generation or so it would take centuries to rebuild it, just as it took centuries to build it the first time around. Surviving technical books would be few and scattered.
A considerable new message... The current fantasy... Fantasy is a word Ken Kesey has taken to using more and more, for all sorts of plans, ventures, world views, ambitions. It is a good word. It is ironic and it isn’t. It refers to everything from getting hold of a pickup truck – “that’s our fantasy for this weekend” – to some scary stuff out on the raggedy raggedy edge... like the current fantasy, which is somehow to be told at the Acid Test Graduation. But how to tell it?
If you’re really seized by a story, movie, text, series of images or something else, you can also get this feeling that you are experiencing a sort of current fantasy. Afterwards it is like you were in a state of periodic amnesia. During it you are totally in the story; you enter the story and you are in a temporary new world. By connecting the images of the book and letting your imagination fill up the gaps in between, you are creating your own ‘new reality’. After the trip, when you have returned to your normal state. It is very hard to imagine again the experience in the same way as you did while rapidly, maybe three times as fast as a normal heartbeat. Every time the light flashes on, you see a new stage in the movement of the runner’s legs. The successive images tend to freeze in your mind, because the light flashes off before the usual optical blur of the motion can hit you. The strobe has certain magical properties in the world of the acid heads. At certain speeds stroboscopic lights are so synched in with the pattern of our brain waves that they can throw an epileptic into a seizure. Heads discovered that strobes could project them into many sensations of an LSD experience without taking LSD. The strobe!
A person has all sorts of lags built into him. One, the most basic, is the sensory lag, the lag between the time your senses receive something and you are able to react. One-thirtieth of a second is the time it takes, if you are the most alert person alive, and most people are a lot slower than that. We are all doomed to spend our lives watching a movie of our lives – we are always acting on what has just finished happening. It happened at least 1/30th of a second ago. We think we are in the present, but we aren’t. The present we know is only a movie of the past, and we will really never be able to control the present through ordinary means.
The above lines are a mixture of words of my own and lines taken (and on occasion adapted) from the following sources: The manifesto of Theodore Kaczynski Industrial Society and Its Future; Walden from David Henry Thoreau; The Habitations of Man in All Ages from Viollet-le-Duc; Enzo Mari’s Autoprogettazione?; The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test from Tom Wolfe; Part of a conversation with Marko; Elissa Auther and Adam Lerner’s West of Center: Art and the counterculture experiment in America, 1965-1977; Bill Voyd’s Funk Architecture; Drop City by Peter Rabbit.
Valerian silvertrismuscle relaxant somnolent