"Why does the World Trade Center have two towers?" asked Jean Baudrillard (1988: 143) years ago, at the beginning of the 1980s. The twin towers of the WTC were perfectly parallel surfaces which merely mirrored one another, thus demonstrating the irrelevance of difference and antagonism in a postmodern world. Cancelling out difference, upon which politics is based, the WTC had constituted a symbol of post-politics: an obscene political system in which political opposition or "dialectical polarity" no longer exists, a simulacrum, where acts disappear without consequences in neutral, indifferent images (Baudrillard 1994: 16, 32).Read the entire article
In other words: long before it was destroyed, the WTC was a symbol of destruction: the destruction of politics. To borrow Marcuse's concept, the WTC was a symbol of a "one-dimensional society" in which critique has disappeared and people can no longer imagine that another society, a different world, is possible. Without the image of a VIRTUAL world, a world of possibilities or potentialities, the actual world becomes the only world....Towards the end of the film every American fighter gets shot down, except one. When the last fighter is to fire its missiles, it turns out that the missiles cannot be detonated. Then its pilot chooses to lead the fighter against the target, transforming his plane into a missile and himself into a suicide attacker. What if the 9/11 pilots conceived of their acts as such a heroic gesture whose aim was to destroy the empire of evil? Indeed, it is perfectly possible to say that Independence Day condenses the self-conception of the terrorists.
Terror and its adversary mirror each other. We have two networks that confront, mimic and justify each other. We have two camps, each of which claims to be good and to fight evil. And we have two strategies, which dissolves the democratic habitus in a post-political condition. Thus Bin Laden's construction of "Americans" perfectly mirrors Bush's representation of Al-Qaeda, and the fundamentalist rhetoric of the extermination of evil is what unites the two poles in spite of asymmetries. A mental experiment might be helpful in this context: What if we universalise the right the US claims for itself? What if Israel claimed the same right against the Palestinians, and India did so against Pakistan?
Slavoj Zizek mentions one of Bush's speeches where he refers to a letter written by a seven-year-old girl whose father was a fighter pilot in Afghanistan. In the letter she says that even though she loves her father, she is ready to sacrifice him for his fatherland. The question is how we would react if we saw an Arabic Muslim girl on TV claiming in front of the camera that she will sacrifice her father in the war against America. We need not think too long to realize that the scene would be received as an expression of fundamentalism or a morbid form of propaganda. Yes, Muslim fundamentalists even exploit their own children without hesitation (Zizek 2002: 43). But what about "us" - aren't we even better at that?
The point of such a dialectic reversal is not to make excuses for terrorism. Of course, fundamentalists seek more than to demolish skyscrapers: they are the enemies of freedom of expression, democracy, the right to vote, Jews, homosexuals, women's rights, secularism, dance, and so on (Rushdie 2001). It is, however, also important to insist that the Western tradition is a tradition of democracy and criticism. Rather than undermining democracy in the war against terrorism, we must support it; and rather than refraining from criticising Bush and Blair's international policies in the name of patriotism, we must criticise them mercilessly.
"Independence", then, could refer to independence in the classical, Kantian, sense: independent thinking. The ultimate catastrophe is the simple and simplifying distinction between good and evil, a rhetoric that basically copies terrorist rhetoric and makes it impossible to think independently. It is in this sense that the dominant paranoid perspective transforms the terrorists into abstract and irrational agents, pushing aside every sociological explanation that refers to social conditions as indirectly supporting terrorism.
But terrorism is basically a mirror for understanding the contemporary post-political condition. Terror and the war against it say something fundamental about our society. The question is this: Are we to be content with a society in which the only radical acts are terrorist acts? Clausewitz wrote that war is the continuation of politics with other means. Terror, then, is the continuation of post-politics with other means (Baudrillard 2002: 34).
Friday, September 19, 2008
This is written from the mainstream view of Al-Qaeda terrorism, along with a movie resonating synchromystic theme based on the writings of Jean Baudrillard (Simulacra and Simulation influenced the Matrix though Baudrillard claimed in an interview that the movie misunderstands and distorts his work.) and Slavoj Zizek. The authors make a few brilliant points in the article that easily forgive the exclusion of certain aspects (reality is quite the maze after all), in fact the last sentence hints loudly at the interconnectedness of the terrorists and those that wage their 'war o
nf terror'. Here is the intro and ending:
"Oh foolish man, what can't you be made to believe?"
Fascinating article about the history of the Bavarian Illuminati, not only is it a huge article, but full of notes, references and links. Red Ice Creations posted part 2 of this which I will link too in a few days after I've read it. Part one is a must read for anyone who dares to use the word Illuminati! I might post some more of the enormous amount of links out of this article separately later. Disclaimer: If the length of the article conjures up resistance, you might wanna let your attention span know you're the boss of it and not the other way around ;) Breathe hehe.
Here is the intro and a few excerpts to spark your curiosity.
Illuminati Conspiracy Part One:
A Precise Exegesis on the Available Evidence
A Metaprogrammer at the Door of Chapel Perilous
By Terry Melanson (ConspiracyArchive.com)
In the literature that concerns the Illuminati relentless speculation abounds. No other secret society in recent history - with the exception of Freemasonry - has generated as much legend, hysteria, and disinformation. I first became aware of the the Illuminati about 14 years ago. Shortly thereafter I read a book, written by Robert Anton Wilson, called Cosmic Trigger: Final Secret of the Illuminati. Wilson published it in 1977 but his opening remarks on the subject still ring true today:
Briefly, the background of the Bavarian Illuminati puzzle is this. On May 1, 1776, in Bavaria, Dr. Adam Weishaupt, a professor of Canon Law at Ingolstadt University and a former Jesuit, formed a secret society called the Order of the Illuminati within the existing Masonic lodges of Germany. Since Masonry is itself a secret society, the Illuminati was a secret society within a secret society, a mystery inside a mystery, so to say. In 1785 the Illuminati were suppressed by the Bavarian government for allegedly plotting to overthrow all the kings in Europe and the Pope to boot. This much is generally agreed upon by all historians. (Not even that! See article) Everything else is a matter of heated, and sometimes fetid, controversy.That short excerpt is perhaps the most honest and succinct introduction to the Illuminati as you'll ever come across. So it is more than a bit ironic that Wilson, throughout the rest of the text, proceeds to perpetuate and expand upon similar myths, and in the process manages to take it to a whole new level. In the end, the Illuminati had mystified Wilson as much as anyone in the preceding centuries.
It has been claimed that Dr. Weishaupt was an atheist, a Cabalistic magician, a rationalist, a mystic; a democrat, a socialist, an anarchist, a fascist; a Machiavellian amoralist, an alchemist, a totalitarian and an "enthusiastic philanthropist." (The last was the verdict of Thomas Jefferson, by the way.) The Illuminati have also been credited with managing the French and American revolutions behind the scenes, taking over the world, being the brains behind Communism, continuing underground up to the 1970s, secretly worshipping the Devil, and mopery with intent to gawk. Some claim that Weishaupt didn't even invent the Illuminati, but only revived it. The Order of Illuminati has been traced back to the Knights Templar, to the Greek and Gnostic initiatory cults, to Egypt, even to Atlantis. The one safe generalization one can make is that Weishaupt's intent to maintain secrecy has worked; no two students of Illuminology have ever agreed totally about what the "inner secret" or purpose of the Order actually was (or is...). There is endless room for spooky speculation, and for pedantic paranoia, once one really gets into the literature of the subject; and there has been a wave of sensational "ex-poses" of the Illuminati every generation since 1776. If you were to believe all this sensational literature, the damned Bavarian conspirators were responsible for everything wrong with the world, including the energy crises and the fact that you can't even get a plumber on weekends. (pp. 3-4)
Robert Anton Wilson (RAW) is an enigma in his own right: an archetypal Trickster in the tradition of Aleister Crowley or Timothy Leary, both of whom he greatly admires. The Cosmic Trigger Trilogy is meant to awaken the reader to multiple mind-blowing streams of thought and completely shatter preconceived notions of perception, time and space - much as the writings of illuminists themselves. Herein lies the seed of speculation to the effect that he must surely be in on the conspiracy - some have gone so far as to believe he's the Grand Master (or inner head) of the Illuminati himself. Wilson has always toyed with the accusations, and in typical RAW fashion, he's never denied it outright. (For those in doubt - congratulations - certainty is absurd after all, though you might consider the Grand Master wouldn't be doing a little activism in a wheel chair in his last years for Medicinal Marijuana as it helped the pain of his condition, and you might consider the Grand Master wouldn't die with financial troubles. Another hint, the 3 highest principles of RAW: Truth, Freedom, Humor. Or is it all part of the scheme? ;p jk)
Cosmic Trigger wasn't the first book Wilson dedicated to the theme, however. Two years earlier, in 1975, RAW and co-author Robert Shea popularized the modern wave of Illuminati conspiracies with the publication of the novel Illuminatus! Trilogy. A veritable cult classic, Illuminatus invigorated the underground market and spawned a whole new generation of conspiracy authors. One cannot read any of RAW's material without a healthy sense of humor ("A sense of humor results from perspective. The wider the perspective, the more humor you will perceive." RAW), though, and Illuminatus is definitely no exception. Written between 1969 and 1971 it reads like a subversive anarchist manual, yet satirical and surreal at the same time. The cut-and-paste job of excerpts right into the flow of dialogue - from books and pamphlets on a wide range of conspiracy theories - probably boosted its appeal from the beginning.
Any researcher investigating the Illuminati today would be remiss not to mention RAW - especially in a book or document purporting to cover the subject in detail. With the exception of Myron Fagan, "Wild" Bill Cooper, the John Birchers and Biblical endtimes literature, the formation of the current mythos surrounding the subject has a lot to do with the popularity of Wilson's books: have you ever seen the Illuminati and the star Sirius mentioned in the same paragraph?
Before plunging headlong into the history of the Bavarian Illuminati, it might be useful to have a look at Wilson's diagram - his interpretation (at the time) of the "occult conspiracy" as it has been transmitted through the ages (Cosmic Trigger: Final Secret of the Illuminati, p.188).
Adam Weishaupt quote from the article:
“Do you realize sufficiently what it means to rule - to rule in a secret society? Not only over the lesser or more important of the populace, but over the best of men, over men of all ranks, nations, and religions, to rule without external force, to unite them indissolubly, to breathe one spirit and soul into them, men distributed over all parts of the world? ... And finally, do you know what secret societies are? What a place they occupy in the great kingdom of the world's events? Do you think they are unimportant, transitory appearances?”
And here is some of the evidence:
Adam Weishaupt, Nachtrag von weitern Originalschriften, II, pp. 44, 51.
On October 11 police search Xavier Zwack's residence in Landshut. A number of books and over two hundred letters, between Weishaupt and the Areopagites, were confiscated. The documents were published by the Bavarian government under the title Einige Originalschriften des Illuminaten Ordens. [VS, TM]
The evidence discovered at Zwack's residence was considerable: besides the secret communications between the Illuminati Adepts, the authorities found tables containing the Order's symbols and the Persian calendar; membership rosters, statutes, instructions for recruiters, ceremonies of initiation and imprints of the Order's insignia; a eulogy of atheism and a copy of a manuscript entitled Better Than Horus; a proposal for a branch of Illuminism for woman²²; several hundred impressions of Government seals (with a list of their owners, princes, nobles, clergymen, merchants, etc.), for the purposes of counterfeiting; instructions for the making of the poison Aqua Toffana, poisonous gas and secret ink; "an infernal machine" for the safeguarding of secret papers - apparently a strong box that would blow up, destroying its contents; and receipts for procuring abortion and a formula for making a tea to induce the procedure.
²² The plan for the "Illuminized sisters" was the brainchild of Zwack. He had been pushing the idea for years; apparently making little headway, but Weishaupt liked the idea, nonetheless. "Plan for the Order of Woman - This Order shall be subdivided into two classes, each forming a separate society, and having a different secret. The first shall be composed of virtuous women; the second, of the wild, the giddy, and the voluptuous, auschveifenden." [AB: 417] The former class were to promote "the reading of goods books," structured as a female version of the Minervals; while the latter could "serve to gratify those brethren who had a turn for sensual pleasure." [Ibid. 418] In his zeal to persuade Knigge and Weishaupt, Zwack even offers up his wife and four daughters-in-law to be the first adepts!Read the entire article