This Blog’s NOT for You

Posted: March 4, 2015 in Blogosphere, Culture, Idle Nonsense, Media, Technophilia
Tags: , ,

This is an unapologetic interdiction directed to the influx of new followers to this blog. It is meant to be at least partly true and maybe a bit humorous (if I can strike the right tone, which is unlikely). It is also inspired by Leavergirl’s recent post called “Pulling the Plug,” though I’d been mulling this post for at least a week prior to reading hers. Make of it what you will.

To Follow or Unfollow — That is the Question

Over the past few months, I have received a steady trickle of new followers/subscribers to this blog. The count is now over 250 (still pretty modest, I know, so why am I complaining?). Unlike most bloggers, Facebookers, and pundits who revel in increased attention that hits, likes, friending, thumbs up/down, votes, ratings, rankings, links, referrals, trackbacks, reblogs, and follows/subscriptions would suggest, I care about none of those. Evidence that anyone wandering into The Spiral Staircase is actually reading what’s written is mostly absent. (There is a surprisingly large number of Filipinos who find this blog searching for Scheler’s Hierarchy in Google, where my post is currently the fourth hit returned on the search. None of them stop to comment.) Real proof would be a thoughtful comment that addresses the subject of the post. Agreement and disagreement are both welcome but not really the point. I get some comments, but not many. However, if this blog were to receive scores of comments like successful blogs do (measured solely by numbers, of course), I would not be able to keep up. Therefore, I’m not especially desirous of voluminous commentary. Like the fellow who blogs at Gin and Tacos (see blogroll), I’d probably end up throwing up a post for consideration then ignoring the comments (or at least not deigning to reply, which I consider tantamount to the same). Admittedly, I don’t always have a reply.

I recognize that among the millions and billions of people out there surfing the Internet, lots of intelligent, thoughtful, sensitive, humane people do exist. The proportion of them who can construct a good English sentence with something worthwhile to say, on the other hand, is suspiciously small. I don’t quite know why (reckless conjecture withheld). So seriously, what the hell are you doing here? If your blog is in a foreign language (non-English) or is an obvious content farm, I’m not returning any favors. If you write a series of inspirational posts (religion, self-help, life coaching, careers, fashion, etc.) or muse on daily life, I’m not reading your posts. If you’re selling vinyl siding somewhere in Canada, probably Ontario (I’ve actually got one such follower), I’m not even remotely interested in buying. Think about going somewhere else. If you’re selling SEO, then please DIAF.

What This Blog is Really For

Let me retrace my steps to the beginning, since no one reads the backblog besides the About Brutus link. In the past, I have been an active participant in several online discussion groups (listservs, actually), enjoyed the discussions, and learned a lot. It helped enormously to hone my thinking and writing. Online media has now shifted to blogs and social media, few of which foster discussion well. Worse, anonymous comment has opened the door to some truly cretinous behavior and opinion. Yet still having plenty to say and think about, I started this blog to gain posting access to a now-defunct group blog (which still gets more hits than this blog despite no new posts in 10 months). Regular posts and discussion there seem to have run their course quickly and I was left with this solo blog. I post here maybe 3–4 times a month — not a pace sufficient to keep most readers engaged and interested — mostly to work out ideas of interest to me. Several subjects and themes ought to be apparent by now if you have read a few posts:

  • general theory of consciousness and cognition
  • cultural criticism and book blogging
  • collapse of industrial civilization (or doom of the world)
  • classical music and other fine arts
  • semantics and media theory

Consciousness is my primary intellectual preoccupation, but my recognition that history has gone vertical probably became the dominant theme of the blog early on. I continue to believe it’s the biggest story in the history of mankind scarcely being told (the greatest story scarcely told?). The others are areas of interest in which any public intellectual ought to dabble. In true liberal arts style, I’m that sort of dabbler, which I consider a birthright and in some ways superior to the overspecialization that is legion among academics and careerists, whose expertise easily eclipses mine but often results in professional blindness, pointless positioning, and argumentation in the abstract. So I’m still interested in meaningful discussion, but there is very little. That might be a good thing.

Plugged, Unplugged

Here is the interdiction, plain and simple: if you’re not an independent thinker, a quasi-disinterested participant in discussion, and a judicious consumer of ideas, then you’re probably a mark. This relates to the really scary part (barely acknowledged) of George Orwell’s novel 1984, which is the state’s (or the New World Order if you’re inclined to conspiracy) ambivalence about destroying people (it’s still a-okay to destroy people, but that’s not really the goal). Rather, Orwell depicts a Ministry of Information having a maniacal devotion to winning hearts and minds and the willingness to brainwash and forcibly reprogram citizens to achieve that aim. Gotta break a few eggs to make an omelet, right? In our reality, gotcha capitalism (a human institution run amok) wants your servitude in the form of debt, but it’s the state that wants your soul. So the state goes to absurdly extreme lengths to project false reality (e.g., political theater, propaganda campaigns, and psyops) to ensnare the masses and perpetuate a style of social organization designed to serve mainly those at the top. I’ve argued that being king of the shitpile is a questionable achievement, but no matter; the motivation to rule or will to power never dies in some small percentage of Scrooges, Grinches, and Renfields.

Moreover, know this: everyone is competing to rope your eyeballs in a juvenile game of make-you-look, ranging from harmless pranking such as Rickrolling or Trololoing to manufacturing desire through wall-to-wall advertising to invading your privacy and mining data to use against you and/or sell you out. Your online presence and never-diverted attention to mass media make you a willing, craven even, participant to the colonization of your own mind. As your attention increases, you’re evermore a rube repeating the memes some troll created for you. In contrast, this blogger does not want to develop a large readership and has no illusions regarding the ultimate irrelevance of the ideas shared here. So let me suggest that you unfollow, unplug, and ignore me, as indeed you should most of the rest of what the information environment coughs up as digital exhaust and psychotic knowledge. Go away. Get a (better) life.

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Comments
  1. vera says:

    Have had some clear unsuitables joining up too recently. Since I tend to be curious, I clicked on them. I am pretty sure this must be one of the latest sales-troll strategies. Desperate for a click. Hard to believe the spammers that come my way are so stupid they’d waste their effort on pointless blather when their address shows plainly their origin and intent.

  2. Tad Davis says:

    Perhaps some (or many) of those following you are doing so for illegitimate reasons. However I’d be cautions about making the inference that this is overwhelmingly the case simply because the websites/blogs of some of your readership are unrelated to the content of your own. Often blogs are topic specific and don’t represent the entirety of their author’s interests. Point in case, I’m one of those recent followers. I blog about fantasy cartography and RPG design but hold a nMA in Philosophy and was working on a PhD in moral philosophy until very recently. Moreover I am very critical of Imperialism and Colonialism in all of its forms, and strongly lean toward anarchism.

    • Brutus says:

      Thanks for your comment. I take your point. No doubt I’m painting with a broad brush and there are interested readers not commenting. In fact, I sometimes find that regular folks are relatively starved for content that isn’t shaped by journalists, academics, or marketers. For instance, once in a while I become aware that someone is eavesdropping with alarming intensity a conversation I’m having in public.

      • Tad Davis says:

        I believe there is an awakening that is gradually stirring people around the world. More and more people are beginning to question the narratives woven by wealthy and powerful elite..

      • Brutus says:

        I’d like to believe in an awakening, but I just don’t see it yet. The passive form beyond questioning would be opting out (in varying degrees), which isn’t visible. The active form would be revolution, which isn’t anywhere on the horizon except in MENA and Ukraine. But still, somewhere deep in the Zeitgeist is a rising tide of discontentment at the lives we lead trapped within civilization. That’s the real yearning for freedom.

      • Tad Davis says:

        Well I think we are seeing the first stirrings of this really since the 60s in things like the Arab Spring, the Occupy Movement, the recent victory in Chile to use corporate tax dollars to fund universities and a myriad other movements around the world. I’d agree that a worldwide movement has yet to materialize, but I think we are witnessing a turning point that might lead to such a movement.

        The critical question is will such a movement be able to occur in time to stave off ecological apocalypse or atomic Armageddon. Will our children have a future? Much is still uncertain.

  3. timelesslady says:

    You know…your blog came up on my reader as a blog I might like…so I clicked to read…I find your post sad, and so indicative of the me, me, me and the “who cares” attitude of most of the world.

  4. colinc says:

    I arrived here, at this article, based on an astoundingly astute comment you left on the most recent article at Nature Bats Last. I concur, the quantity and, dare I say “quality,” of “minutiae” that is “discussed” (using that term very loosely) there is absurd in the extreme. Most of the commentary there for the past several years has been “skip-worthy.” Alas, really, no more so than on any other “blog” or “journalistic” article posted most anywhere else. It verges on “remarkable” that I even noticed, let alone read, your comment. In addition to the above, equally astute, commentary, I’ve read your articles titled “History Has Gone Vertical,” “Who’s the Chump” and “Ruling Over Squalor,” I am chagrined that I have not “found” you and your thoughts sooner as the latter meshes quite well with my own observations and deductions. I found the above most intriguing as it is a “sentiment” I’ve held quite dear for nearly a decade. There are few I do, or once did, encounter who I consider “worthy” of sharing ideas or even “idle” conversation. Perhaps, it seems, you may be a rare exception. I am looking forward to reading more of your earlier thoughts as well as future ones, you’ve been noted and subscribed, like it or not. Note, if you choose to contact me via email I will endeavor to respond in kind with all due alacrity, but it might take a few days. :)

    • Brutus says:

      Thanks for your comment. You’re welcome to check out the backblog. Oddly, new subscribers keep appearing. It’s like I pulled some weird Jedi mind trick.

      Regarding NBL, I have a few guest blogs there but from quite a while back. The emphasis there has shifted over time. I used to derive a lot of value out it when I was still coming to terms with NTE. Now it’s just irritating how the discussion has become so much gotcha point scoring. When I do wander by, I scan for Kevin Moore and ulvfugl, the latter of whom has moved on, I think. Otherwise, all the others seeking to be more correct than the others just don’t matter to me.

      • colinc says:

        I understand what you are saying. I left my first comment on my first visit to NBL in the fall of ’09. If your guest posts were prior to that, I did not see them, and if they occurred in a subsequent time frame, well, let me just say that I took a hiatus from there shortly after that fall and any posts you may have made were equally unobserved. Nonetheless, now I feel compelled to ask, as time goes on, do you feel less and less connected to the species known as homo sapiens sapiens? In other words, do you find that the actions and statements made by the preponderance of the global population, regardless of ethnicity, geographic/political orientation or alleged beliefs or education, seem to be more and more befuddling, even alien?! Make no mistake, I am asking in complete honesty and inquisitiveness. I fully realize that your first (only?) reaction may be to label and dismiss me as a troll but, I assure you, that is not my intent. Perhaps more succinctly, do you find yourself feeling utterly alone regardless of the circumstances?

      • Brutus says:

        Sufficient information is out there (has been for a long time) for any honest person of integrity to gather and connect all the dots. The first picture to emerge is typically how deep the corruption goes, the second is the inevitable collapse of industrial civilization, the third (the one Guy McPherson brought to light) is the high likelihood of Near-Term Extinction. None of them are happy realizations, and unless one is walking around wearing a sandwich board proclaiming “Doom is Nigh,” handily invalidating oneself according to the mainstream, then it’s not clear who is collapse-aware and who is sleepwalking.

        The connections I feel are as a reluctant member and participant of this crazy race to the finish, though only a handful of friends (that I know of) can see what the finish line represents. What it actually looks like is the subject of great debate at NBL and similar blogs. I don’t feel much connection with the collapse-aware folks who seem hellbent on mistreating each other with pointless conjecture over history or how collapse will manifest. There is no upside to being correct.

        What I find alien and befuddling is how far off the rails human cognition has run. A cursory look at history demonstrates we’ve always had a tenuous grasp or interpretation of reality, each generation believing its own most up-to-date version having achieved the greatest accuracy. Social standards, normative cognition, and consciousness itself continue to shift and move, being aspects of a highly flexible and infectious culture gone global in its impacts. By now, story has replaced truth so completely that many now cannot distinguish between them. If anyone regards news, marketing, sports, TV, cinema, political theater, etc. as ways of shaping stories according to different agendas that leave underlying reality largely untouched, he or she is mistaken. And although the thing understood perhaps least well is us, certain reliable means of manipulating ourselves have been refined and utilized until, as last, we have driven ourselves insane. It’s not jittering and howling madness as often depicted in the media, but it is violent and maniacal. Putative thought leaders are among the worst; careerists of all stripes also earn my enmity.

      • colinc says:

        Indeed, I concur completely with all that you have stated (on March 14, 2015 at 10:39 AM) regarding, but not limited to, the “infectious culture” and manipulative story-telling leading to a species that, in a general sense, has gone utterly bat-shit insane. However, as seems to be my wont, I generally ask [myself] another level (or 3) of “Why(s)?”! I hypothesize that this “evolution” is not natural but MAY be the result of the ongoing, and accelerating, human degradation of the Earth’s biosphere. In other words, while I hold much of science in high regard, I think that the cumulative effects of contamination in the air, water and soil, in addition to the self-applied chemical contaminants (e.g. lotions, cleansers, deodorants, perfumes, etc.), have exerted a compounding effect that has seen little, if any, “study.” While many “products” have allegedly been “tested” and found to be “safe” I have not seen ANY studies where a heterogeneous mix of diverse products has even been attempted. For example, we “know” of toxic compounds that are released into the atmosphere by combustion of fossil fuels yet, generally, deem “low concentrations” to be “safe.” But, what happens inside the human body when those molecules encounter and, perhaps, react with fertilizer or pesticide compounds that have been ingested with food and water? What happens when any of those compounds encounter and react with chemicals that have been absorbed through the skin or the prescription pharmaceuticals that have been knowingly, or otherwise, ingested? I’ve never been able to locate even one iota of “research” into these potentially cascading influences.

        Moreover, for nearly 3 decades, now, I have been completely anti-PC as the “political correctness movement” seems only to have resulted in most forms of communication being carried out through euphemisms and malapropisms, not to mention mixed metaphors. The result of this, of course, is that no one EVER really “knows” what anyone else is actually saying. Furthermore, “educational” and vocational structures have been created to exacerbate the compartmentalization of “knowledge” to such an extent that not only have “humans” become disconnected from nature but, indeed, from one another. Damn, I could go on and on and, perhaps will, but via another “channel.” :) Once, long ago, I was feeling very, very depressed and a friend told me, “Cheer up, things could be worse.” So, I followed the advice, “cheered up” and, sure enough, things got much worse!! :)

      • Brutus says:

        It’s beyond obvious that we have created for ourselves a toxic environment — both physical/chemical and ideological. The answer to your question about its effect seems to me already established in the forms of epidemic obesity and malnutrition, allergic and immunological hypersensitivity, autism, schizophrenia, chronic fatigue, and other complaints. True that direct causation is difficult to pin down, but the rise of so many malignancies at once gives pause, no? Then there is the general stress, violence, and craziness we’re all part of. It’s necessary to say disclaim a golden past; there have always been scourges. Still, convention measures of health (typically longevity) and psychological wellbeing seem to me unable to acknowledge what a few generations ago was widely regarded as malaise.

      • Brutus says:

        I should add that the comment above is rather anthropocentric. The disappearance of roughly half of all wildlife from the globe in the last century (that’s the number I’ve seen bandied about) ought to be worth considering, too. Some is due to lost of habitat as we humans edge everything else out or simply kill off their numbers for food, fun, or profit. Some is also due to toxification, especially right now in the oceans.

  5. markwoff says:

    In the manner of one of your commenters earlier, I moseyed over as WordPress reader suggested your blog. Why not indeed? I thought. I like spirals.
    Unlike that reader, however, I found the writing indicative of someone who seems to know their mind, wrangles words effectively and bullet points themes I find interesting… so I’ll let that ‘follow’ stand…

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