27 July 2005

Fellbrand

Okay, so I've got a domain name chosen. Though Shaun forgot to register it this week and he's now on holidays, so I may just wait for him to return to do it. Acquaintances and friends are going to be able to perpetuate the illusion of a much larger initiative than it will initially be by posting propaganda up in England, Australia, Thailand, Montréal, across Alberta, Vancouver and interior British Columbia, and spots in California. Perhaps I'll get stuff into Regina, Saskatoon, and Winnipeg, too… we'll see. Use the magnifying glass of the world to focus our own attention on ourselves, this is the plan.

Sarah apparently has recently had some disastrous months, dealing with a stalker and an ex or something. It's been a while since I last saw her, so once she saw the first hijacked Rockstar sticker she called and asked me to take them down. I killed the most of the ones downtown, but there are still lots put up in St Albert and around Londonderry. And I think about eight on Whyte. I'll leave the northern ones, but I'll get the knife out for the ones on Whyte Ave.

Seana and I popped into the photo booth while we were visiting Jeremy last night. The pictures are hardly as adorable as the ones with Sarah, which had a more comfy feeling that I gauge people could relate to, but they're still fun nonetheless.

Interestingly, I read about David Phillips, a sociologist at the University of California at San Diego, in The Tipping Point: [Phillips] has conducted a number of studies on suicides, each more fascinating and improbable than the last. He began by making a list of all the stories about suicide that ran on the front page of the United States' most prominent newspapers in the twenty-year stretch between the end of the 1940s and the end of the 1960s. Then he matched them up with the suicide statistics from the same period. He wanted to know whether there was any relationship between the two. Sure enough, there was. Immediately after stories about suicides appeared, suicides in the area served by the newspaper jumped. In the case of national stories, the rate jumped nationally. (Marilyn Monroe's death was followed by a temporary 12 per cent increase in the national suicide rate.) Then Phillips repeated his experiment with traffic accidents. He too front-page suicide stories from the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle and mathced them up with traffic fatalities from the state of California. He found the same pattern. On the day after a highly publicized suicide, the number of fatalities from traffic accidents was, on average, 5.9 per cent higher than expected. Two days after a suicide story, traffic deaths rose 4.1 per cent. Three days after, they rose 3.1 per cent, and four days after, they rose 8.1 per cent. (After ten days, the traffic fatality rate was back to normal.) Phillips concluded that one of the ways in which people commit suicide is by deliberately crashing their cars, and that these people were just as susceptible to the contagious effects of a highly publicized suicide as were people killing themselves by more conventional means.

The kind of contagion Phillips is talking about isn't something rational or even necessarily conscious. It's not like a persuasive argument. It's something much more subtle than that. "When I'm waiting at a traffic light and the light is red, sometimes I wonder whether I should cross and jaywalk," he says. "Then somebody else does it and so I do it too. It's a kind of imitation. I'm getting permission to act from someone else who is engaging in a deviant act. Is that a conscious decision?"

This is also similar to the effect of when crime went down in NYC after the mayor and city police rallied to make a hard effort to clean up the streets and subway system of graffiti. I think it's called something like Broken Window Syndrome, where if there is one element amiss it's justification enough to continue with its trend, i.e. if there is one broken window, chances are you may see another broken window soon in the same neighbourhood if it goes unfixed.

The experiment with our first stickers, the Rockstar ones, is that if you can create a context for those that may not have one structured in their wee minds yet, you can, in effect, guide and mould their realities before anyone else gets a chance to. And with studies like Phillips's done above, I wonder at what the effects of permeating the region with pro-love or happy propaganda would be.

Of course, this is something marketers are fully aware of. It's something I am just experimenting with now. But on a more esoteric note, I believe Malcolm Gladwell has hit on a very important aspect of what I've been searching to convey: sick and tired of the vernacular associated with the occult field, I want to explore other ways of communicating these ideas so that more can benefit from them without having to deal with the stigma attached, or the idiots commonly found within such circles. In The Tipping Point, Gladwell talks about context and how one example can lead others to explore this as a sort of permission to access… a kind of sharing of a new Gestalt. What would happen if the streets became filled with ideas of responsibility, self-worth, libertarianism (not the American weirdo conservative kind, but the wordly sort), an exploration of a sort of open source spirituality that was okay for anyone and everyone to partake in. I suppose it's exactly what I think of when I read Crowley's famous Thelemic verse: "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the Law, Love under Will."

So what we turn to develop is a brand that bridges scholastic pursuits with the ideals of the Hindu kṣatriya or kshatriya, the warrior caste. To my shock and awe, I've met so many brilliant persons who are not readily willing to stick up for themselves or their friends, nor do they perhaps have the confidence or experience to do so. On the other hand, we have the brutes, the warriors — and I'd say this more closely resembles an aspect of traditional skinheads than it does, say, jocks and rig pigs. Skinheads are of the community and for the community. They're often well-read, I'd say a majority (that I know, at least) are military, and they will fight tooth and nail for what they believe in. I just don't particularly care for the subculture, but some of my friends are skins and I hold them in high regard.

To cross-breed these two, to create that warrior-poet that is so lacking in North America. I see it in Jason and Daryl, albeit for this brand I believe they lean too drastically towards the violence. They're both poets of a sort, scholastic, philosophical, spiritual creatures — but in a manner alien to most Westerners in that they embrace the pain and suffering. Daryl has taken it an entire gamut further, which I won't discuss here.

But then there are brilliant people everywhere, but no one fighting for any sort of spiritual truth. To break down the illusions. Here I would like to take a cue from both English graffiti artist, Banksy, and Roy Batty of Blade Runner.

To use strength, viciousness, and aesthetic beauty in lieu of mask magic and self-metamorphosis, this is the campaign to come. As I made note of on Occult Investigator a while back, Love is not the asnwer, understanding is. While we may make use of love to accomplish certain aspects of life's journey, it is far from being the only necessary steps needed to becoming wiser and healthier. It is a lifestyle choice, a portion of one's life, a chemical reaction among neurotransmitters, but it is not the Answer. Knowledge and experience are. For together, they provide wisdom, and with wisdom one may make their own life up as they see fit.

And the more contexts available to the client or user, the more capacity there is for understanding. Not one religion, but all of them. Not one government, but none. Only you, and the responsibility that that implies. The experiment has begun. This shall be an interesting few years…

1 comment:

tim boucher said...

im definitely picking up what youre putting down here... my understanding of all this stuff is really being transformed lately and i think youre absolutely right about the context being so important - almost more than the content in a way... its like that john taylor gatto quote where he says that the real lesson of the classroom is to understand how to play a role in the drama of which the classroom is a microcosm. the subjects you study are all but irrelevant to those deeper lessons.

reminds me too of the thing i was saying about xenu & scientology the other day. everybody goes apeshit when they hear hubbard was all about a space opera theology, and this just blinds them to what he was really after - creating an effective (on some level) practice. the story built up around the practice was nothing more than a showpiece, the sort of "outer mysteries" they are called in religion, as far as i understand. the outer mysteries draw in seekers who resonate with the imagery and the underlying premise of it. and once they are initiated into the inner mysteries, they ultimately transcend all the imagery and myths associated with it to a place where they are no longer important (or as important)