The Conversation. Being a devout sceptic my life tends to drive back rather than attract The Weird Stuff, aka paranormal phenomenon. With the honourable exception of synchronicity, that is, which happens regularly if not all that often. 80% of the time these coincidences are meaningless but very amusing. The remaining 20% are truly uncanny because of their spot-on relevance to the situation I happen to find myself in at the time.
For some years now I’ve been polishing my General Theory of Interactive Determinants, which pretentious as it sounds, pretty accurately describes the way contemporary fiction (not only literary but also television, cinema, “social” media, MSM news, soi-disant analysis and so on included) bleeds into and shapes what these days passes for reality. I was musing on this subject when I came across the following paragraph in Iain Banks’ The State of the Art (page 110):
(The good ship Arbitrary to Diziet Sma on some of its reasons -and the other Minds’, presumably- for not contacting Earth)
‘…there would be technical difficulties, given the volatility of the situation. They’re on a cusp; a highly heterogeneous but highly connected -and stressedly connected civilization. I’m not sure that one approach could encompass the needs of their different systems. The particular stage of communication they’re at, combining rapidity and selectivity, usually with something added to the signal and almost always with something missed our, means that what passes for truth often has to travel at the speed of failing memories, changing attitudes and new generations. Even when this form of handicap is recognized all they ever try to do, as a rule, is codify it, manipulate it, tidy it up. Their attempts to filter become part of the noise, and they seem unable to bring any more thought to bear on the matter than that which leads them to try and simplify what can only be understood by coming to terms with its complexity.
So I thought I’d use my own condensed version of this as the text for the little creature’s lament in this here doodle, as it expresses neatly and concisely what I’ve been saying all these years.
Stay groovy, clear-headed and fight the Disneyland Construct!
And here’s another bit from the same work, as an also relevant bonus ball:
It strikes me that although we occasionally carp about Having To Suffer, and moan about never producing real Art, and become despondent or try too hard to compensate, we are indulging in our usual trick of synthesizing something to worry about, and should really be thanking ourselves that we live the life we do. We may thinks ourselves parasites, complain about Mind-generated tales, and long for ‘genuine’ feelings, ‘real’ emotions, but we are missing the point, and indeed making a work of art ourselves in imagining such an uncomplicated existence is even possible. We have the best of it. The alternative is something like Earth, where as much as they suffer, for all that they burn with pain and confused, bewildered angst, they produce more dross than anything else; soap operas and quiz programs, junk papers and pulp romances.
Worse than that, there is an osmosis from fiction to reality, a constant contamination which distorts the truth behind both and fizzes the telling distinction in life itself, categorizing real situations and feelings by a set of rules largely culled from the most hoary fictional clichés, the most familiar and received nonsense.
Hence the soap operas and those who try to live their lives as soap operas, while believing the stories to be true; hence the quizzes where the ideal is to think as close to the mean as possible, and the one who conforms utterly is the one who stands above the rest; the Winner…
They always had too many stories, I believe; they were too free with their acclaim and their loyalty, too easily impressed by simple strength or a cunning word. They worshipped at too many altars.
(Dizzi ‘s conclusion on the whole sorry-ass affair of contact/not contact Earth and the even more sorry-ass business of Linter’s going native)
(My own verdict: “Peasants, one and all…” -We The Earth People, that is.)