Calling Mr. Tambourine Man ...

I've been thinking

I have a call in to Mr. Tambourine Man - and I hope he’ll be back by morning. Here’s a random group of thoughts, just for the hell of it, while I’m waiting for him to get back to me.

By now we all know that many delicate aspects of the human imagination have been sacrificed. Much of our imagination and intuition has inadvertently fallen into this dark pit, the mass market, a mass grave. Our dreams are turned into nightmares that then come true. After the manipulations of direct micro-targeted segmentation, each part of our formerly active imaginations is set in service to this pathetic public consciousness. It is our new language, and it is a poor one, not ready for the urgency of our times.

We have so much more to work with than just the memes of the day. We have the voices of places, people, plants and animals, of all the great artists and thinkers throughout the ages, not to mention all the original materials that make up the stuff of our daily lives.

I think about my grey leather couch - an unnatural reshaping of the dear cattle who gave their lives in China only to have skin stripped, scraped, dyed and stretched onto a frame, stuffed with je ne sais quoi. And now I sit on this headless legless cow amalgam, a preposterous monster, as I write you an electric message. This is living surrealism, paradoxical absurdity: do I laugh or cry?

Or this: I had a rough painted staircase made from cheap wood. For years, every spring, sap would weep down from one or two spots, leaking through the paint, as if the wood was from a tree sacrificed too soon. The miracle staircase is a form of weeping virgin statue - dripping tears or rose-scented olive oil. I like to think the imagination is like that, and it can return, in stigmata, in miracles.

I think about my pet turtles, who flip out in spring without knowing why. In their own version of Spock’s mating Pon Farr, their usually muted ear colours suddenly go brilliant red. Splashing themselves senseless, they are trying to escape confinement to get out and LAY EGGS GODDAMMIT!

So much of life is invisible even to the finest micro-targeting psychologists that money can buy. Invisible even to the best-selling algorithms turning the great machinery of our mass mind, thinking our mass ideas for us, Metropolis’ false Maria. I believe there’s much more life still to come: maybe in a new form, or dancing within the seasons or a change of the moon. Or discovered through another understanding, developed intuition.

We can do this, even while living in this burning world. The early science fiction that emerged along with the advent of the telegraph and electricity didn’t predict our particular scenario: people living in comparative luxury watching the world gone mad, out of control, burning up in real time on their small screens.

It all comes back home. The garbage we shipped out on the barge was rejected, and returned to Vancouver after a year at sea. Separating glass from plastic is just a ritual act. Will it really help release the children from the cages? Will a gluten-free diet relieve the guilt for enjoying moments of life’s beauty? I am not Nero! Really, I’m not, believe me - but the world burns as evidence to the contrary. Yes, that hideous monster “was inside of us the whole time.” Or as the folksy narrator tells us, “It was right in our own backyard.” As if everyone has a backyard! Or front lawn! (If you do, dig it up and plant some variety there. Maybe food.)

The world cries for us, burns for us, demands us to snap out of the hell-spell. Thankfully, this software lobotomy is reversible. If we ask and if we do it, there’s help from the parts of the world that are not yet burning or melting or gone mad. Our imaginary guide is laughing and leaping like the pied piper, like a tambourine man. I’ll follow that piper - that’s a “like” and “follow” I can really get behind! Let’s go, fellow fools, to dream a new life, then do the work to make it come true, against all odds. Imagine that!


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