these notes were working their way toward a movie review ... I'm afraid
I got sidetracked...maybe it will continue at some point. It was moving
toward refining some ideas of the Left (hand path) and the Right (hand
path) ... inchoate even for notes..
they walk among us
Red Dragon/The Ring
Book of Enoch
1,2 And I proceeded to where things were chaotic. And I saw there something
horrible: I saw neither
3 a heaven above nor a firmly founded earth, but a place chaotic and horrible.
november 7 2002
The hardest, indeed maybe impossible, thing to accept about the world
is that it is the way it is. That is to say, that the way things SEEM
to be is the way they actually are. Vast systems of thought, politics,
warfare have been and continue to be based on the seemingy perennial conflict
between the way things seem and the way that our minds tell us they must
be (or that they cant possibly be). It would be simple (but with
far-reaching complications) to see this hinge point as the pivot of ALL
histories and thoughts, a dialectic that perturbs endlessly around conjoined
concepts like materal/immaterial, body/soul, thought/feeling, secrecy/transparency
etc ... everything that is near us, that seems intimately of us, by us,
from us that has the smell, the touch of the immediacy of now, of the
functions of the body and its mediacies with the things it can lay hands
on, sight to, smell of ... And since the machinery of life for the most
part functions adequately within a broad range of workability (in which
most pathology also seems to fit) there seldom falls to it any Heideggean
tool-fault that would announce the hidden functioning, breaks that reveal
inner workings. That is to say, everyday life seldom announces anything
other than a smooth surface of functioning and even when it doesnt
work, its not-working is within the parameters of the everyday.
Maurice Blanchot puts the confusions and coverings (which could also be
read as a con-spiring of a particular structural sort) well in the following
"The everyday is covered by a surface: that of modernity.
By its flash, the miracle separates the indistinct moments of day
to day life, suspends nuance, interrupts uncertainties, and reveals to
us the tragic truth, that absolute and absolutely divided truth, whose
two parts solicit us without pause, and form each side, each of them requiring
everything of us and at every instant.
The everyday breaks down structures and undoes forms, even while
ceaselessly regathering itself behind the form whose ruin it has insensibly
While some might consider Blanchots formulation unecessarily opaque,
consider the difficulty (as Jean-Paul Sartre once put it) of discovering
the glasses over your eyes if you cannot possibly see the extent of the
frames which hold them in place. Its hard to consider another way
of seeing when, upon removing the glasses (asuming that is ever possible
although that is a possibility we will find it necessary to make later
on) we find ourselves either not seeing at all or seeing very badly only
indistinct shapes and threatening shadows.
There is some warrant for concluding that two groups of human are particularly
concerned with stepping outside the frame, the artist and the criminal,
each with their own reason for doing so but each also oddly converging.
In many esoteric, spiritual, and religious traditions there are two ways
of characterizing the dialectic of the approaches to these realities:
the Right Hand Path and the Left Hand Path. They seem to have loosely
devolved to what we call, appropriately enough, the Right and the Left.
The Right is varilously characterized as conservative in the sense of
harkening back to past social, political, and cultural structures and
in fact of holding tightly to the very concept of firm structures,
foundations, borders, etc. The Right is associated with traditional identity
as well as more of a devotion to individual autonomy.
The Left is more associated with the valuations of group identities and
with the dissolution of individual identities (this can be seen especially
vividly in the support of the Left of certain drug use practices and the
condemnation of the Right.)
Alice Bailey says that The left hand path, therefore, is the path
of progress for substance or matter and anything that tends
to increase the power of matter and add to the potent energy of form-substance
produces a tendency to the left hand path and a gradual attraction away
from the Plan and the Purpose which it veils and hides.
(http://www.netnews.org/bk/magic/magi1112.html) ( We can remember here
the Marxist injunction concerning the priorities of materialism, and its
eventual alliance with pragmatism in capitalism.)
And there is the other tradition of the left hand path (one story has
it that the label comes from Lucifer being on Gods left side) that
the left hand path -- that of opening paths by following invisible orders
and plans -- is in fact satanic. here we begin to see the conjunction
of the criminal and the artistic in many on the right. (here is a good
discussion of some aspects of that: http://www.geocities.com/satanicreds/lhp-rhp.html
...ive known some who fit the discussion at the end to a tee.)
An interesting note is that the new movie Red Dragon is the second
time the book has been filmed (and Anthony Hopkins is therefore the second
actor to play Hannibal Lecter). The book was originally filmed as Manhunter
in 1986, with William L. Petersen, Dennis Farina, and Brian Cox as Hannibal.
some web site
difference between the two films: the banality of Manhunter is
actually a point in its favor for an enlightened audience
... Red Dragon is another beast altogether, giving hints of eldritch
goings on with serial killers and never more so than in this one, involving
even a secret network (like the postal system in the Crying of Lot
49) that attempts to tunnel through the official police network. (This
concept of doubled communication is especially pertinent cf:
the contemporary Maryland snipers; see also Leo Strausss article
on doubled communication, that certain information in perilous times needs
engrypted: there is an acceptable surface message and a deeper,
uncacceptable content that can only be transmitted but not revealed. of
course in one sense, the film is only trying to communicate its
own sequel of which it bacame the prequel which is really a sequel.)
every remake of a film attempts to scape away the previous titular surface
carrier and re-install a new, fresher layer that will be responsive to
a new cultural/political/social environs. (its somewhat of a moot
point to take a post modern attitude about this and say there is ONLY
surface meaning. The fact that there is ONE name that names two apparently
separate events is enough to at least complicate pomos attempts
to eradicate depth even at the level of its own surface.
But then I guess there is surface (above) and there is surface (below).
Any time there is a surface named an inside there must be an outside ..
but whose only surface is an inside, or the boundary connecting the inside
and the outside. Communicating that can be difficult notonly for logical
reasons but also for perceptual reasons. One can surely point the boundary
out (as in the Wittgensteinein finger explicating a fact about the world
as a last resort by simply pointing at it) but to say that one has some
other knowledge of that world delimitation --ie, from the other side,
-- can be hazardous. If nothering else it can be hazardous -- for all
parties -- because it increases the possibilities for the dissolution
of the human perceptual/logical system itself. That is WHY it is dangerous
and why it is often proscribed by official state apparatuses. In this
case the center and the periphery take on the characteristics of Right
and Left respectively. The left hand path is always about dissolution/reconstitution
(in this very specific sense) while the right is about reconstitution/dissolution.
If one were to diagram that, it would look like a three-dimensional toroidal
display with a center point radiating out in all directions to the edges
and the edges feeding back into the center, a donut that is contually
rolling in on itself (interestingly enough I did a seach for such a diagram
and the first hit was from the NSA: http://www.nsa.gov/programs/tech/factshts/toroidal.html).
One is also reminded that the toroidal form is also used as a containment
form in plasma physics, the tokomat. Such a torus priorizes the center
over the perimeter so that the center is continually strengthened and
densified. (see, eg, the diagrams of world net usage: . http://www.cybergeography.org/atlas/geographic.html
). There needs to be a form that equalizes the vectors and relations of
center to periphery. That is basically what mysticism and
the occult do but is also why they are proscribed. Here also
is where we find the connection between criminality, art, and the occult,
in that very dissolution of boundaries and identities.
Every center seeks to expand its hegemony over surrounding territory and
this seems true whether we are speaking of cities, states, or personalities.
An oppositional way of looking at the rise of so-called rhizomal networks
is that it is simply another way that the technical center of western
Judeo-Christian culture can expand this centralizing and colonizing tendency.