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Supposing all you say is so, so what? We are still beset by unwholesome weather, and eat muck. And now we have been told by our noble leader that social security leads to infanticide. Sethren, our noble leader may have the mouth parts of a six foot tapeworm, but he also has a first class degree from Oxford. PPE, admittedly. I have no more idea than you what cutting-edge intellectual content resides in a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford. Nugatory, one would imagine. But enough to rule. And the tyro tapeworm clearly had enough brain to master it splendidly. A first class degree.
Sethren, the mouthings of the great leader may evince stupidity, but they are designer mouthings, crafted by years, centuries of evolution to embody a gargantuan gormlessness. Not his. Ours. Our stupidity, sethren. The stupidity inheres not in the crafting of these obvious, children’s picture book, fatuous lies. The gargantuan stupidity is in us, who are the butt of this ludicrous mendacity. And yet we believe in it utterly, and remouth it and remouth it continually, as if we ourselves were not as withered grey-green carcasses on the Huddersfield ringroad, but plump pink tapeworms whose every comfort is eternally assured.
Surely, sethren, our so thoroughgoing stupidity needs some explanation. The last person to try to explain it was Karl Marx; false consciousness, opium of the masses; spot on, old Karl. But a century and a half ago. The Communist Manifesto was published nine years before The Origin of Species. Nobody has attempted to explain our moronic collective credulity since then.
But first the building blocks.
An act. A kinetic four dimensional amplification of a sequence of alliances of demons.
In the human world, maybe in the Hominin world (and I read on my phone yesterday, sethren, that Sahelpithecus is likely to represent the divergence between Homo and Chimp, seven million years ago or thereabouts), in the human world, an act is seldom isolated from a thing. “Manus amimam pinxit, my pen is in my hand” as the old fascist put it. There is not much that we do with our bare hands. Throttle people, make bread and love. But by and large a human act is an obligate symbiont with at least one thing. It is the nexus of doing and done to — obligate symbiont, Sether Albert? Have I not mentioned it before? Oh. No I fucking haven’t, then. Two different kinds of organism living in a cooperative relationship upon which both are completely dependent; trees and root fungi, mammals and their gut bacteria; human beings and politicians.
Think of sewing, sethren. Sewing without needle, thread and two bits of material to be joined, is not sewing. But a needle and thread and so on cannot be sewing without kinesis, fingers, musculature, neural substrate. Most human acts can only exist in the context of things. And most things can only evolve in the context of acts. The old joke goes, when a simple lad had finally been taught to add two apples to two apples and get four apples, he asked, “does it work with pears too?” Does the concept of obligate symbiosis work with acts other than sewing? Pears, sethren, pears.
At the level of demons, there is no distinction to be made between an act and a thing. An act is a thing. Sewing, like a needle, is a demon. Sure, as with a needle, other demons consort with the demon sewing, many more than the minimal ones we associated with a needle. We could anatomise the demon sewing into quite a lot, or if you prefer, a whole bunch of demons. But if you are running your eye over the contents of a design technology course to see if it is suitable for one, oh ye paupers, of your profligate quantity of offspring (whom, because you may rely on social security, you are quite likely to go home and slaughter) and in the midst of a list of course components, joinery, web design, you note for the fraction of a second your eye overflies it embroidery before the epicentre of vision moves on to automobile aesthetics; then embroidery occurred as a demon; not totally unexamined, because there will be a locus in the neural substrate which awakes and leaps to life screaming me, me, and would be only too delighted to call up other demons into the workspace, needles, coloured thread, the Bayeux tapestry, whatever the fuck you like as long as you are going to take notice; but not a chance. The automobile aesthetics demon is already having its microsecond flicker.
So, at the demon level, things and acts are not differentiated. But, you will say, we humans can distinguish between a thing and an act.
Sethren, we can distinguish between a trillion things and another trillion things, had we but world enough and time. We have no difficulty telling the difference between angels and fairies, between cricket and baseball, between a virus and a bacterium or a gigue and a saraband. But we do it at another level. We shall come to concepts in time, sethren, but you will not be amazed to know that concepts, like everything in the metaverse, are also alliances of demons.
For it is only at the demon level that evolution can take place.
But, you may say, the ancestral organism became the hippo and the whale. Surely it is at the level of species that things change?
That is what we see, because we cannot see genes. Darwin didn’t even know they existed. But it was genes, sethren (and epigenetics, of course). Evolution takes place at the level of the cell, and it is only the sum of cells that is the organism that represents the, to us, apprehensible species.
And you will say, but culture doesn’t have to be like biological life. Just because evolution takes place at the level of genes, not the level of the hippo and the whale, there is no reason why culture should follow suit.
Agreed absolutely, sethren. Give me another explanation that will lead to an account of why we believe the simple lies of our Great Leader, an explanation that does not rest on metaphor and religious platitude, and I will go along with you. Until then, the evolution of culture takes place at the level of demons.
The question still lies open, can there be a non-kinetic act? Clearly. Acts can take place in an ideoverse unexpressed by any kinesis. You cannot look into the face of the beloved and know of whom they dream. The raven surveyed the meat, the string, its perch for several minutes before it acted. The high jumper clears the bar before she starts her run-up. This, sethren, is why I call it an act, not an action. All that we do happens in the theatre of the skull.
Sethren, tomorrow, sabbatical. I go to the monastery of Skellig Michael to watch and pray for a week. You must wander the streets of Huddersfield alone. Watch the behaviour of your fellows, and ponder my words. Dwell on our stupidity in especial. When I return, and if, in like case to the Earl of Groan, I am not consumed by puffins, then concepts.