Excerpts from Electric Degeneration, Degenerate Press' semi-weekly e-zine, free and ad-free. A full episode contains sections for music reviews, upcoming events, blasphemy, classifieds, and anything else we feel like saying. If you'd like to subscribe just contact us.
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If youre like me you ignore the local news and you probably missed the sad word that Willy B. has died. While Ill miss Gomek, the Indonesian saltwater crocodile that lived in the St. Augustine Alligator Farm, the locals, myself included, will miss Willy B immensely.
In other news, as you probably know Feb. 2 is groundhog day. It's about as silly and made-up a day as Valentines but does far less emotional damage. However, there are folks out there actually organizing in an effort TO commercialize the day:
The Committee for the Commercialization of Groundhog Day: http://www.groundhogsday.com/
For you death-row supporters or those who sit on the fence, check out this somewhat startling report on ABC News:
Meanwhile, we got a response from last episode:
>Has it occurred to anyone else that world-wide mass media has really taken
>the wonder out of life? There was a time when an explorer could boldly go
>places and see things nobody else he knew could claim to have seen. Now any
>(and every) idiot can turn on the tv and/or computer (soon to be the same
>thing) and flick a few buttons and almost the entire knowledge of the human
>race is available for the viewing.
However, this is largely an illusion. One cannot "view" knowledge literally
or figuratively - knowledge requires active participation and is not
passive. Although humankind habitually substitutes mediated information for
direct experience (for example, our reliance on language which is always a
shorthand for reality), this habitual "knowledge" is ultimately grounded in
someone's direct and unmediated dealing with being. Everyone who is
receiving a view of existence second hand is, by definition, not really in
possesion of knowledge. If there is no wonder in life, it is because we cut
life off from its roots.
Tell someone you're going to Spain and
>they'll know exactly the place you're going to see because they saw Rick
>Steves' show last week. Tell someone some trivia about a tribe of natives
>in the Amazon rain forrest and they can confirm it on the net and argue
>about it with you. Yeah, the information is incomplete, innaccurate, and
>often difficult to find - for now.
Again, as accurate or inaccurate as it may be, it is always second hand,
mediated, derivative. Much of our argumentation is of the sort the Sophists
were famous for a couple of thousand years ago - we combat over merely
verbal definitions and interpretations of terms rather than facing the
phenomena themselves that the terms refer to in the first place. This
situation will NEVER be overcome, no matter how sophisticated (no pun
intended) our technology becomes; in fact, the more complex the technology,
the more likely we will be lulled into thinking we experience reality first
hand when we merely receive it pre-edited and pre-interpreted.
>But having a unique experience on this
>overcrowded planet on which everything is recorded and broadcast is rapidly
>becomming next to impossible.
I disagree. All experiences which actively suspend received
beliefs/interpretations are completely unique, even if their objects are
utterly mundane and even commonplace. There is nothing more underrated, in
fact, than that which we have around us daily. When I sit quietly and feel
my heart beating and lose myself in the simple experience of the rhythm
without any medical/scientific/mythic interpretations, I have an experience,
a direcxt experience which is unique - no one else may have it, it is
untransferable, to speak of it is already to lose it. It is conceivable to
me that I could have an experience of ANY phenomena that is equally as
grounded and special and which would overflow any "information" available on
the subject - the superiority of such knowledge would be to such a degree
that no article, no item on the net, no video, no "first hand account" could
possibly equal it. But this is the problem: true knowledge is always
"mine." It is untransferable, unshareable in the same way that I cannot
make you feel my toothache. Knowledge and direct experience are lonely and,
at best, can only be spoken of indirectly through theories, analogies, etc.
and the listener must always take theories and analogies and myths as
pointing away from themselves toward reality - but they only point. They
must never be mistaken for reality itself. Our problem is we mistake our
technologies for reality instead of seeing them as filters, signals, and
symbols. This is not technology's fault; it is ours.
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