[NetBehaviour] The Great Gate
maxnmherman at hotmail.com
Tue Mar 8 18:24:34 CET 2022
These days I avoid the news feed because the imagery is so demoralizing and savage. I approach the information sideways, out of the corner of my eye, flickering, so that it doesn't eat my whole brain so to speak. What can be done, what can be done.
There is certainly a cacophony of explanations and recommendations. A swirling maelstrom of tactics and schemas, a torrent of hypotheses and derivations, a paucity of ground. Debris everywhere. Sounds that don't make sense and images that convulse the diaphragm. Burgeoning indifference and shivering courage.
Many varieties of network diagnosis abound. One has occurred to me, that of "rat brain." This kind of mind is paranoid, must control everything, but has a minimal scope or depth. It lacks self-awareness, or sense of time, and could even be compared to hybris: the ancient Greek definition of sin as violence. It's more compulsive than predatory but amounts to the same thing in the end. In many cases it is indistinguishable from psychopathy.
There is also some degree of "internet art" reverberation for me. The internet seems a veil of propaganda, of camouflage and what in Italian is termed ignoranza. Computers are also a terrain of conflict, banditry, spies, clouds of arrows and telegraphy. What have computer networks amounted to, as of today, and is that part of the cause of rat brain?
Normalcy where one can find it is not to be scoffed at, though of course never taken for granted or luxuriated in. I've been studying Tolstoy's War and Peace for a year or so and have gravitated toward this passage lately:
“The life of nations is not contained in the lives of a few men, for the connection between those men and the nations has not been found. The theory that this connection is based on the transference of the collective will of a people to certain historical personages is an hypothesis unconfirmed by the experience of history.”
Tolstoy was interested quite a lot in the relationship between chance and choice. I agree it is a subtle and a quiet but important one. This drawing from Leonardo around his thirtieth year captures a lot for me of what is happening today and I appreciate it as a cry of hope, a tiny word or phrase which might as they say pierce the fog, small enough yet also strong enough:
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)
Drawing (Pen and brown ink and metalpoint, on pink prepared paper)
H. 166 x W. 266 mm
PD 1886,0609.42 (verso)
On the extreme right a flying woman, Fortuna, holds in her arms a child who blows through a tube seeking to extinguish a blazing torch; this is held by a man, morte, who is supported by two female figures, invidia on the right, and ingratitudine on the left. Between the two groups is a mound on which is a stunted tree: below the central group is a sketch, in metalpoint only, for the figure of morte; on the extreme left also in metalpoint are two figures, sup[er]bia and ignoranza, who point to the central group. All these words are in Leonardo's hand, with the exception of the last two which are written from left to right.
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