Sex, lies and karma: a shamanic view of the Assange case.

It began with the awesome power of those truths about US war crimes, infiltration of the UN etc revealed by Bradley Manning and Julian Assange, which pertain, more than anything else, to the Great Project architected through 911, to Afghanistan, Iraq and on through Iran and reaching further eastwards towards something very like the three-continent perpetual war scenario of George Orwell.

Manning, by the way is now approaching 900 days incarcerated without charge in conditions declaimed as “inhumane” by UN inspectors. Assassination of Assange has been publicly called for by various US news anchormen, decried by Obama, Clinton, UK and Australian governments as at best ‘irresponsible and illegal’.Image

Suddenly the case quantum-leaps to new memetic levels with the entry of #rape. And leaps again when Assange seeks sanctuary – understandable, when FBI and god knows which other secret services have been briefed – in, of all places, the Ecuadoian Embassy, which immediately opens the field to #correa, #chavez and #morales – the old Latin American axis of evil, with connections to #iran.

What a diabolical setup!

Suddenly we have feminists versus pro-Assange camp, which roughly equates to the position that whatever Good Assange has done in exposing dreadful US warcrimes in Afghanist and Iraq is negated by the Bad he may have done in bed with two separate women.

Suddenly we have demiurges [Galloway] coming out the woodwork to seize upon these powerful handles. There is hay to be made. It is rape. It is not rape. What is rape? Why don’t we know by now what rape is? Sweden has pressed charges, Sweden has not pressed charges. The US is interested, the US is not interested in whether Assange is extradited to the US or not. Whom to believe?

One certainly needs a reasonable grasp of the facts – if that is possible, as everything is of course reported, recorded digitally, and therefore fundamentally plastic. A good place to recap is this Australian Four Corners documentary, which, I believe, does a good job of moving between sources from the different sides of this complex equation.

The presentation of the sequence of events, at a detailed timeline level that includes text messages and tweets, allows, I think, some clarity as to what happened in Sweden – with the precaution that the documentary’s reconstructed scenes pose a risk of their own. In a very simple nutshell the timeline that emerges from text messages and other items is:

  • Arrives in Sweden for conference organised by Miss A.
  • Sleeps with Miss A.
  • Conference and after party, which he attends with Miss A.
  • Sleeps with Miss W.

The rest is somewhat murky, including how the previously unacquainted Ms A and Ms W join forces to present themselves at a Swedish police station, how their presentation led in 24hrs to an arrest warrant being issued, retracted and reissued, Assange’s presentation for interview, subsequent release pending, then the issue of an Interpol Red Notice.

Into this murkiness arrives Karl Rove, the great architect behind the invasion of Iraq, spinning of WMD stories and so on, reported to be working as a legal advisor to the Swedish government on the Assange case. Where Rove is involved, rest assured major dollar and power is at stake. It may well be that certain secrets from Iraq have not yet come to light. It may be a matter of cabal honour that Assange is brought down.

With respect to Mr Assange and the two women, for there have been an awful lot of people sticking their necks out on this subject, I’m going to stick my neck out and offer a ‘shamanic’ perspective.

In obtaining the secret Wikileaks information, Julian Assange stepped into a position of tremendous power. By and large he has handled this position with great aplomb, courage and confidence. He is 39, about the same age as me. He is a nomadic outsider living by his wits. Suddenly he is head to head with Hilary Clinton – not to mention that hoardes of invisibles behind her.

With such power comes the ability to free oneself – and great chunks of the logoidal world too – from old karma. And at the same time comes the great risk of incurring new karma.

I say this compassionately: Julian Assange overstepped the very fine mark between freedom and entanglement – and in the oldest of ways. He, Miss A and Miss W have all met each other before, in a similarly powerful situation. This time around it was Assange who entered with the glow of power around him. He accepted Ms A’s hospitality, bed and perhaps love. And then betrayed it. There you have it.

Abuse of power and betrayal. I say this compassionately. We have all made those mistakes. Over and over and over again.

Mistake made, the Assange/Ms A/Ms W case was cracked wide open. Enter Rove to seize the handles. Suddenly we have #rape versus #justice – and I suspect by nature of the dark forces that swirl around that kind of power, a stroke of incredible luck for someone like Rove that Assange’s sanctuary in the House of Rafael Corres in London opens up with #chavez #iran and to bang that drum a little more loudly, #georgegalloway comes in too… More oil on the fire, more smoke, the original stuff (viz assassination of anyone the US doesn’t like via drone etc) becomes more obscure.

Assange’s mistake is forgivable. All that power would go to your head, and it looks like he did not have a strong and good woman with him to help deal with it. Ergo the temptation to step into the shoes of a self-made James Bond, with all the womanising and partying and intrigue that the novels and movies long ago made desirable, not just acceptable. I suspect though that Julian Assange is more naïve where James Bond is cynical.

The #rape field is already fraught. The agenda in those discussions has already diverged, as new cracks are exposed in legislation, in perceptions of what constitutes rape etc. Here, my main point is the necessity of impeccability in positions of power, and that great power elevates to positions of such karmic potential that impeccability is extremely difficult. Personal karma becomes tied with karma of much broader scale. Thus the karma between Assange and the two women becomes something of global significance.

We can certainly say that people like Rove are exploiting us all – Assange, the women, the media, the legal systems of various countries, the commentators and columnists, feminists and Anonymists, and Occupiers.

But from a more abstract point of view we can see that seizing the handles of emerging accidents – exactly as they did in 911 – Rove et al are simply doing what they do – perhaps impeccably, relative to their cynical framework. They are black magicians, dividing and conquering, as they always have done.

All of this –  with its trail of tweets and articles and videos, should be seen as a great learning tool. When we learn how to handle power, we will have it. Otherwise we will be endlessly subject to that old adage – power corrupts. And we are learning. This is 2012, this is the scale and import of these events.

Defenders of porn

In Industrialised Intimacy yesterday, I wrote that:

Defenders of porn, be they unreconstructed ‘respect the cock’ testesauruses, animus-ridden ‘inspect the cock’ ‘feminists’ or closet addicts, generally drag in old arguments about liberty, freedom of expression, assertion of female power, outlet for male sexual tension without which there would be more sexual assault, more rape.

Well, I am slow off the mark, or at least, not religiously steeped in Guardian lore. Porn director Anna Arrowsmith (aka Anna Span) wrote, in her 12 October article about the government’s proposed net filter:

Porn keeps many marriages going.

Which, while it might be true, in the sad, degenerate, hyper-permissive postmodern sense, is hardly in the spirit of marriage, as expressed in the traditional (Christian) vow [my emphasis]:

With this Ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

I am not about defend the ecclesiastical institution of marriage. In the modern sense, good, old-fashioned marriage is very much up in the air. Even Charles and Diana couldn’t hold it together. The Y chromosome is programmed to broadcast itself, while X is…well, X just is. And therein lies the heart of the matter, dare I say so. If there is logic then to what Arrowsmith says about porn and marriage, it is a hidden one. Few if any men admit to their partners they are jerking off over porn rather than attending to said partner. And while some women might accept such a situation, I doubt they would be particularly enamoured of it.

Arrowsmith plays the disability card:

One man wrote to me recently saying that he had suffered cancer of the face, which left him heavily scarred and almost completely without confidence after a subsequent divorce. He said that chatting to webcam porn stars kept him from suicide.

We note that the disability card is often played to ‘trump’ arguments pertaining to the bulk of society (perhaps most absurdly in the world of web design, where effort must be made so that a quintessentially visual medium must be transformable into an auditory one) often at the expense of deeper insight. Here of course, Arrowsmith offers no background to this man’s facial cancer. What psyschosomatic disorder manifested the dis-ease in the first place? And is staving off despair via masturbation over pornography any sort of result really?

Next, the porn-as-instrument-of-female-emancipation argument:

Women’s rights are far stronger in societies with liberal attitudes to sex – think of conservative countries such as Afghanistan, Yemen or China, and the place of women there.

Again there is a tempting ring of truth here. Women are perceived as most dangerous in those societies where they are most covered up – e.g. rural Afghanistan, where the sight of an ankle, perhaps even a hand, provokes dangerous energies. Bringing the veil up on hands and ankles and everything else discharges this excess potential.

But in suggesting porn emancipates women, Arrowsmith takes us out of the frying pan into the fire. Rural Afghans transfixed by the sight of an ankle are in their heads, precisely as men in emancipated societies, transfixed by ankles, heels, legs, the full works, are in theirs.

As I said in Industrialised Intimacy, with porn we are getting off on simulacra. A carefully constructed visual syntax designed to evoke vagus nerve pulse trains. Porn, like certain drugs, is especially dangerous because it gets under the skin. We are literally hooked on the idea of it.

There is a chance that Western Man’s sexual response to the female form is attenuating. But the response of men who have ‘seen it all’ is, at least some of the time, to see more. And, in certain cases, to do more, like Vincent Tabak.

Is this not the dynamic of the virtual warned of in William Gibson’s Idoru, where the Singularity is  manifested by the invention of a nanotechnology programming device that can transmute virtual into actual? Isn’t Vincent Tabak’s stepping over this line evidence of the power of vagus-nerve-train-powered ideas?

The work – for me, for any man, for any woman – is not to invent further titillation, not to fan the invisible flames of fantasy – at least, not until we learn to be mindfulof the forces of sexuality we unleash. Otherwise we are like Mickey Mouse, except neither David Cameron nor the ISPs are going to bail us out.

Touch is the medium of intimacy, not gaze. And touch requires relationship. Perhaps Anna Arrowsmith’s films have some modicum of relationship between the models. But modern porn, in its biodegrading plastic stage, excels in the absence of relationship, or in negative (strangulation poses etc) relationship.

End of the day, as with all diabolica, going down is much easier than going up.

Industrialised intimacy

 

the dream

the dream

Twitterings from Number Ten have been heard recently, with regards implementing “filtered feed” broadband internet to UK households. ISP have been quick to clarify that the system would only apply to new contracts on an opt-in basis.

Any discussion about “the sex industry” must begin with the acknowledgement, at least, that the term is a contradiction in terms. Isn’t sex something intimate and delicate? Industry is something machinistic, mass produced, relentless. Ergo, the industrialisation of intimacy is dia-bolical. Sex was something intimate and delicate, once upon a time.

While there are more and more ‘Facebook of Sex’ type websites, whereby people meet up for anything from a straightforward shag (if such a thing still exists) to group sadomasochism, this wave of ‘sexuality’ is not bringing people together, it is, as researchers have been warning for some time, moving us further and further apart. The coming together is highly conditional – boxes must be ticked: tattoos, fetish, threesome, group, gay, lesbian, bi, hardcore, anal. No doubt there is a growing number of couples who met via these sites. Perhaps the dimensions of their relationships are limited. Perhaps love finds a way.

Defenders of porn, be they unreconstructed ‘respect the cock’ testesauruses, animus-ridden ‘inspect the cock’ ‘feminists’ or closet addicts, generally drag in old arguments about liberty, freedom of expression, assertion of female power, outlet for male sexual tension without which there would be more sexual assault, more rape. Defenders of porn will say: It’s always been the same; ancient times, medieval times, there was mad stuff going on; these days it’s just because we have the cameras and the internet that we see it.

Like any addict who denies there is a problem, the porn addict must continue the self-delusion of control, must insist that the relationship between psyche and media is one way. As much as porn might be an expression of parts of the psyche, it also leaves an impression.

Like all media, porn is psychoactive.

From the naked bodies piled one atop the other in Abu Ghraib to the murders of Meredith Kirchner and Joanna Yeates, we see actions in the world resembling those simulated in pornography. These examples are extremes, yes, but are they extremities, tips of the iceberg of mass dynamic?

With increased exposure to porn many men need higher and higher levels of stimulation, or more and more extreme situations, in order to become aroused.

Naomi Wolf, quoted by TowerTales on Tmblr

Like all media, porn is subject to the dynamic Jean Baudrillard called the Precession of Simulacra.

In other words, reality is hidden/buried/preceded by its simulation. The simulation is then simulated. As Kevin says in We need to Talk About Kevin, “People on TV – they’re watching TV.” Further layers are laid down, until we are quite removed from the original, from reality, and still removing.

Porn, once upon a time, was a relatively simple visual simulation. A painting of a couple having sex. A black and white photograph of a woman with her breasts exposed. A crumpled page from a magazine found in the undergrowth. Today, porn consists of many more layers. It has moved – we could even say ‘evolved’ – rapidly through its classic stages of bared body parts, through the utopian stage of bikini and heels by the pool, through the hardcore stage  to what I will call the biodegrading plastic stage. Here things get all mixed up.

The confusion is due in large part to the mass availability of the tools of the trade: cameras, webcams, computers and physical privacy (itself the diabolical result of the destruction of intimacy). Anyone can live the dream via simulation. The simulation –inside the screen – has more power than the real event. Hence the teenage muggers and rapists who film their victims on mobile phones and mass-publish the videos on the internet. Hence the men sexually diminished by overexposure to porn.

It doesn’t stop there. Because the simulation is more powerful than the real event, the real event is diminished. The actual fetish, lesbian, group, anal or whatever event is accessory to the simulation. Therefore the ethics and sensibilities of the simulation – which are nil, because it is a simulation – apply to the accessory. The rapist, the date rapist, the sexual abuser, the sexual tyrant operates inside a simulation in which other parties are only accessories. Women who assert themselves sexually in the biodegrading plastic phase must do so by wearing the simulation layer. “Stripper” heels and so on.

Sure, it can be a turn on.

Vagus nerve pulse trains are a powerful business. The vagus nerve connects pretty much all the major organs, including the reproductive ones. We are passionate, fun-loving, sensation-loving creatures. The rush of sexual arousal is all-consuming. We are on fire, at the apogee of physical being. Naturally, such intensity, such abandonment cannot be always available.

Porn tells us it is. Porn, like other diabolical devices like cocaine and its cracked derivatives, lift the neurological lid on old limbic pathways. The reptilian brain. Cold blooded. Seeks rushes of heat. At the extremes, Abu Ghraib, sex crimes. In the middle – well, anything goes, it’s only simulation. Knock yourself out.

Thing is with neural pulse trains is they attenuate. You need a bigger and bigger hit. Eventually you blow a fuse. And once you blow your fuse it takes a long time to recover – for the women degraded, the men hooked, society in general.

 

 

 

Brave bhodisattva completes her mission

Yue Yue in Foshan Market

Yue Yue in Foshan Market

Toddler left dying after hit and run prompts soul searching in China

Footage of a two-year-old girl being hit by a truck and then ignored by passersby in Foshan has been watched 1.5m times

[Guardian, Mon 17 October 2011]

 

The mainstream media describe this event at one level, the ordinary level, complete with actual video footage of this horrendous event. It is extremely painful to watch. On the youtubed human richter scale it far surpasses the “Good Samaritan” attack on Ashraf Haziq during the London riots earlier this year.

I have given the event a spiritual title because that is the only way to make sense of it. It would be insensitive to the point of psychopathy to speculate upon karmic, through-the-veil, dynamics here. As would discussion of whether reports that the video is in fact a reconstruction using a doll and actors are spin or counter spin.

Mainstream coverage certainly points to the event at least being genuine. In which case, as Chinese commentators have already surmised: there is a great illness in the heart of China. And this little girl has completed her mission: to bring that illness to the world’s attention.

It is not just China of course.

The other day I was cycling down Haymarket and witnessed a collision between a man on a bicycle and a pedestrian woman. Words were exchanged –  I was too far away to hear but I don’t think they were conciliatory – before the man wheeled his bike to one side and the woman limped to the other side of the road. People looked on. The lights changed and the traffic started up again. An everyday occurrence – indeed, far more serious accidents occur everyday – but it struck me as terribly sad. I felt that woman’s pain. I felt a great sadness at the cyclist’s instinct – to take care of his bicycle.

I felt what anyone can feel, if they check in with themselves. If they allow themselves.

At the train station, at the tube station, on the stairs, on the escalators…these cold steel surfaces, these channels laid for us to trot along…Where is it we are going? Where are we headed?

To the market?

To Foshan?