Forget, for the moment, the previous taxonomy, sethren.
Demon thing act concept
narrative praxis Culture
If knapping a flint is the act, and arrow-head is the concept, then the apparatus of arrow-head production is that which is not lost with each death, but is passed through the metaverse to the ideoverses of the next generation by imitation and natural pedagogy, and spans the whole process from “we need more arrow-heads”, through quarrying and manufacture, to the finished product. This apparatus includes both concepts and acts, and all are composed of demons. Perhaps the narrative is just another sort of apparatus, a collection of demons, things, acts, concepts, which has a particular function, or functions.
Let us look at, though it has been looked at so many times before that there may be nothing new to say, the myth. And maybe we shall find that all narrative is myth. That would be economical. But not certain.
Let us take a human polity, for example the mature nation state (actually a rarity). A mature nation state will have evolved over centuries, and many of its constituents over millennia. These evolved constituents will include praxes. A praxis, what is actually done, by custom and practice and lore, is a large and complex network of apparatuses, concepts and acts. Agriculture is a praxis, as are engineering, cooking, law, art, music, bureaucracy, science and mathematics, government, literature, religion and war. These praxes will be cross-, inter- and intra-connected in the nation state with other constituents, networks, family, friendship, occupation and interest, sport, that could be a long list.
A mature nation state evolves through conflict and co-operation as complex as the waves and currents of all the oceans. It is an emergent system that can be described in broad terms, but is also a continual interaction between the bodies and ideoverses of many millions of human beings, from second to second; from second to second, sethren, and every second counts; so while the broad brush stuff, national character and purpose, Margaret Thatcher being the saviour of the nation and other suppurating bollocks, what it means to be British and so on, gives an indication of what may be going on, the second to second uncountable processes of the zone of the metaverse that flows into those millions of ideoverses, and second by second is modified by them; that emergent process and its uninterrupted continuity is as vital to the nation state as is the continuity of government.
Just imagine if there was a half-second stutter in that process, one that cleared the system entirely. Within our national borders, each ideoverse wiped clean. Nothing wrong with our brains, except that every demon has fled and, with nowhere to go, has died. The national metaverse is now extinct.
All would not be lost. The metaverse is not just in human brains. Initially, each organism would stare around and find no comfort. Language would be still available, as a system, but because there was nothing on the ideoverse side of Wernicke’s and Broca’s areas, meaning, the infinity of irreducible differences, would be absent. So, what would we do? Well, being as we are, pretty close to robots, the organism would reach down, locate its mobile phone, switch it on, and stare at it open-mouthed. Demons would fly out of the phone through the visible bit of the electro-magnetic spectrum, shapeshift in the retina, the ganglia, the optic nerve, but meet no friendly company in the cortex. Meet nothing at all in the cortex, in fact.
Not just our phones, but streets, buildings, cars, trees, animals, birds, all the libraries in the country, all the recording media, every record, would be without meaning. Without interacting demons in any ideoverse, the metaverse would have closed down. It wouldn’t be extinct of course. As soon as the Americans, who might well have initiated the stutter, occupied these isles, the thing part of the metaverse, buildings, books, televisons, would be miraculously raised from the dead in the blinking of an eye, fraternising with the incomers. We however would be helpless and useless. Ideoverseless. Which means, in traditional terms, lacking any vestiges of a mind. We’d have to start from scratch, and without the advantage of the particular neural substrate with which neo-nates start from scratch. They can compile an ideoverse at huge speed. But we adults would have a neural substrate with a gargantuan architecture in place, somewhat plastic maybe, but dedicated, as they say in the info-tec business; dedicated to the acts, concepts, apparatuses which had been, each in our unique particularity, us, just a minute ago. But now empty of those acts, concepts, apparatuses, because all the demons are suddenly dead. All the loci of irreducible difference in the substrate, which were physical configurations in the E=mc2 universe, have just been dis-configured.
I can tell you, the mature nation state would be a mature nation state no longer. Utterly fucked. It would have become, in a second, the utterly, permanently fucked nation state.
I hope that’s clear, sethren. I hope it’s clear that the nation state is totally dependent on the continual interaction between the bodies and ideoverses of many millions of human beings, from second to second, from milisecond to fucking milisecond.
It follows that there is very little positive that a government can do to determine the direction of development of a mature nation state. Thus, if we were to look dispassionately at government we might come to the conclusion that government has two functions, which alternate. The first is to develop the nation, which it can only do by selecting what is harmonious and productive, and inhibiting what causes conflict and destruction. And the second function, when the nation is at its apogee, flowing with milk and honey, is to enable the rich to consume everything that is consumable, and leave the nation, not necessarily as a corpse, but as a raddled body in need of long convalescence. This second stage is currently known as neo-liberalism.
This — okay, too trite, you say, sether Pritchard-Achebe-Wajda — is a simple, instantly recognisable evolutionary pattern. Hawks and doves. Too many hawks and too few doves, the hawks starve and their population collapses. The dove population swells, easy feeding for the relic population of hawks. Hawks increase, doves diminish. The cycle flip-flops.
Yea, of course it's simplistic. Hawks and doves are not just agents but environments, and in the human population hawkishness and doveishness are metaversal, not merely behavioural. In Britain, doves might wish to pay tax, knowing that without roads, schools, public services, our mature nation state will become a derilict dystopia. But now we know, sethren, that Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs is, in its highest reaches, like government itself, a branch of corporate organised crime the purpose of which is to transfer all stuff of worth from the little people, as Government calls us, to the asymptotic-towards-zero rich, then the wisdom of voluntarily paying tax is put in doubt.
And where is our entrée for cultural evolution in all this you ask, somewhat hungrily.
Well, I ask you sethren, how do the rich rob we poor fuckers blind, and we stand grinning foolishly at them, and comply with their every demand, every increasingly vicious, smirkingly successful instruction?
The most honed, most instrumental form of the narrative, sethren, the myth. The myth tomorrow.