FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Life in the ‘Shed

by DAVID Ker THOMSON

The American unconscious is structured like a watershed.

Mainstream politics regenerates itself with the fluid dynamics not merely of suppression (the overt physical disciplining of the individual into a docile body—soldier, prisoner, or barefoot airplane passenger standing in line for “security”), but of repression. The downward trickle towards the oubliette, towards the deep pressure chambers of forgetting. This dream of state, this dreamstate, gives the nod to the big sleep.

The temptation we feel to pretend to ourselves that we don’t know where mainstream politics is headed can be overcome by a brief appeal to the lexicon of images we appear to have in common, where there lurks an ustube image of the Mississippi ripping itself a new delta in the buttside of downtown New Orleans. We miss a wonderful opportunity to awaken if we fall back onto our old pattern of blaming this or that politician for the direction of the main stream.

Streams flow. Feel this.

Western parliamentary democracies in willing coalition with assorted similarly barbarous states—what we have referred to elsewhere, for the sake of brevity, as “empire”—are characterized by their eagerness to dream that the environment is an “issue,” some kind of discrete entity, like a topic.

But the environment is everything there is or could be. Hoping against hope that the environment is an issue is like stuffing the universe into a hat. It can be done. It makes for an excellent heuristic, thought experiment, koan, or fantasy. Its real-world applications—not so good.

Streams flow. The small-crafted human, the venturer by bark or birch out over her head on a sea of misgivings, embarked, committed to a river just a little too fast or strong, she it is who has felt this surrender of the self to some larger, implacable force, like a consciousness, only inscrutable. No turning back now.

In the beginning, a flood. Saturation. Particles of organic matter in a tumult of suspension. Disbelief. Gradually the protocols of a certain specific gravity assert themselves. Particle bows to particle. Deference, difference. And on a certain day, which is to say, all days from this moment on, the waters are separated from the dry land. Creation as rejection. A spurning of the self, a me and a not-me. Articulation. An algorithm of branching rehearses to infinity this initial gesture of separation, of dialectic. Let us name this true fable of creation, keeping in mind that we use “fable” and “myth” to name not the superficially false but the profoundly true: the myth of the dendrite. From Greek, dendron, tree.

Watersheds are trees, sideways. Also, not sideways, but all the way down to the homeflood, the water table, set for two on the bed rock.

When people find out that we don’t believe in democracy, they often ask us what else we should try. What else should we try besides seven-hundred Battlestar Galactica-sized American military bases within spitting distance of every human on the planet, anarchy shaped up and shipped out as product and process to every watershed. Shock, awe, fire from the heavens. What should we try besides that?

How ’bout , we say, trying nothing for a while. See how that goes.

Or how ’bout trying this thing, which you can do from the back of your head. Notice how you’re already in a watershed. In a watershed of watersheds. A watershed of watersheds of watersheds. You are a watershed of watersheds, an effigy of the body politic, an echo, ecopoetic illustration of the dendritic nature of the world, a freehand sketch of the meaning of dialectic, a dandy capillary doodle to swallow up the yankee doodle.

We advise walking upstream.

Exploring the specific gravity of whole cities as they sit foursquare on their underground streams. Exploring the fractals of branching, how the pattern of dialectic goes all the way down to deep structure, perhaps to infinity.

Are we being too cryptic? Poetic? Well if that’s a monkeywrench sticking out of your yankee doodle we’re not going to tell you if it’s ours. The streams will flow free and clear again one day. As to whether there’ll be mammals around to notice, we have no opinion. Our life is today. There’s a cryptogram etched into this road right here underfoot, as concrete as you could ask for. Dendrite freehand of a tree fallen in the forest of human consciousness. The rivers will run free. The return of the repressed. Branch upon branch. The rivers will run free.

I think this crack is bigger than it was yesterday.

DAVID Ker THOMSON teaches in the Bard Language and Thinking Program in Annandale-on-the-Hudson, at the Dragon Academy in Toronto, and at the University of Toronto. He can be reached at: dave.thomson@utoronto.ca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

December 07, 2016
Lawrence Davidson
U.S. Reactions to the Death of Fidel Castro
John Garvey - Noel Ignatiev
Abolitionism: a Study Guide
Clancy Sigal
Caution: Conspiracy Theory Ahead!
December 06, 2016
Anthony DiMaggio
Post-Fact Politics: Reviewing the History of Fake News and Propaganda
Richard Moser
Standing Rock: Challenge to the Establishment, School for the Social Movements
Behrooz Ghamari Tabrizi
Warmongering 99 – Common Sense 0: the Senate’s Unanimous Renewable of Iran Sanctions Act
Norman Solomon
Media Complicity is Key to Blacklisting Websites
Michael J. Sainato
Elizabeth Warren’s Shameful Exploitation of Standing Rock Victory
David Rosen
State Power and Terror: From Wounded Knee to Standing Rock
Kim Ives
Deconstructing Another Right-Wing Victory in Haiti
Nile Bowie
South Korea’s Presidency On A Knife-Edge
Mateo Pimentel
Some Notes and a Song for Standing Rock
CJ Hopkins
Manufacturing Normality
Bill Fletcher Jr – Bob Wing
Fighting Back Against the White Revolt of 2016
Peter Lee
Is America Ready for a War on White Privilege?
Pepe Escobar
The Rules of the (Trump) Game
W. T. Whitney
No Peace Yet in Colombia Despite War’s End
Mark Weisbrot
Castro Was Right About US Policy in Latin America
David Swanson
New Rogue Anti-Russia Committee Created in “Intelligence” Act
George Ochenski
Forests of the Future: Local or National Control?
December 05, 2016
Bill Martin
Stalingrad at Standing Rock?
Mark A. Lause
Recounting a Presidential Election: the Backstory
Mel Goodman
Mad Dog Mattis and Trump’s “Seven Days in May”
Matthew Hannah
Standing Rock and the Ideology of Oppressors: Conversations with a Morton County Commissioner
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
#NoDAPL Scores Major Victory: No Final Permit For Pipeline
Fran Shor
The End of the Indispensable Nation
Michael Yates
Vietnam: the War That Won’t Go Away
Michael Uhl
Notes on a Trip to Cuba
Robert Hunziker
Huge Antarctica Glacier in Serious Trouble
John Steppling
Screen Life
David Macaray
Trump vs. America’s Labor Unions
Yoav Litvin
Break Free and Lead, or Resign: a Letter to Bernie Sanders
Norman Pollack
Taiwan: A Pustule on International Politics
Kevin Martin
Nuclear Weapons Modernization: a New Nuclear Arms Race? Who Voted for it? Who Will Benefit from It?
David Mattson
3% is not Enough: Towards Restoring Grizzly Bears
Howard Lisnoff
The Person Who Deciphered the Order to Shoot at Kent State
Dave Archambault II
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Statement on Dakota Access Pipeline Decision
Nick Pemberton
Make America Late Again
Weekend Edition
December 02, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
The Coming War on China
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The CIA’s Plots to Kill Castro
Paul Street
The Iron Heel at Home: Force Matters
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Timberg’s Tale: Washington Post Reporter Spreads Blacklist of Independent Journalist Sites
Andrew Levine
Must We Now Rethink the Hillary Question? Absolutely, Not
Joshua Frank
CounterPunch as Russian Propagandists: the Washington Post’s Shallow Smear
David Rosen
The Return of HUAC?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail