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Forward

We tend to romanticize the past, transform facts into myth. We reinvent our history as we eagerly stride forward. There is no constant truth left to help us retrace our trajectory to it’s origin. Still, as complex and as tangled the path turns to be, we somehow always manage to make our way back. History repeats itself, it’s just built that way.

This essay is about Mass: Critical Mass and Mass Delusion, the mass which was needed in order to make a change in the course of western civilization’s trajectory.

In hope to shed some light on modern madness and it’s reason, this essay will try to playfully describe yet another attempt of civilization to escape the imminent collapse of ‘the world as we know it’.

This is an attempt to assign the attributes of the New World to the ‘great orgasm’ and to the crowdedness of 15th century Europe, the natural continuance of these conditions has created massive colonization and resulted in the invention of the digital universe and the cut\paste culture.

American/Indian

First thing last, we start this exploration in an event laid late in the 15th century, a rubicon in the creation of the ‘New World’: Columbus’s rediscovery of the Americas.

The 15th century is the century in which the printing press was invented, Newton exclaims that the earth is round, and that it revolves around the sun and in which the Christian church falls from grace and the dimensions of heaven, hell, and purgatory no longer claim hold to the minds of man. Science is the new rule; Humanity turns it’s gaze from the east to the north, this is the magnetic dawn of a new world.

This is the end of the unknown, every act of nature is to be explained, and every piece of land to be mapped… Most witches already burned and natives of barbaric tribes are long christened. There is nothing left to do, nowhere left to concur.

This is 15th century Europe.

There is a dire need for a new world at this point, not just land mass but a new kind of world. A world which can sustain endless possibilities and territories, a great unknown to spark human faith and imagination again.

Around this time an explorer called Christopher Columbus sets out to announce the world’s end, or at least to prove it’s roundness. While sailing west with the trade winds, Columbus expects to close a circle and reach the east shores of Eurasia: India. [As history shows, when in need of Faith the western world has always set it’s gaze east, to India – the great unconquered spiritual unknown]

After one month at sea Columbus and his crew reach a mass of land they believe to be India. As part of this epic miscalculation a new mass of land is now Mapped, the Americas are officially ‘discovered’.

This essay claims that the discovery of the Americas set forth a chain of conscious and subconscious events that managed to postpone the upcoming ‘end of the unknown’, and to allow humanity to keep it’s constant search for meaning.

The Americas was a critical mass large enough to be self sustainable, to be the grounds to create the largest act of man-made mass delusion. A diversion so carefully designed that it kept humanity from noticing that god is dead.

Sex is the art of artificial

Just a little flash back in time… back to the dawn of human history…

It is argued that a hunter-gatherer tribe did not depend on territory, it was in tune with the existence of it’s surroundings, perfectly natural, growing and shrinking in population according to the cycle of nature.

It is only a speculation, but one can suggest that the actual history of territorialism dates back to the ‘Great Orgasm’.

The argument goes as follows: As man started to have sex for recreation the number of children and women in the tribe grew. The receding mobility and the large number of non-hunters which had to be fed changed the way men regarded land cultivation. Men became a farmer and a territorial mammal. For the new Man, the farmer, other animals or gatherers who trespass his fields turned into a nuisance.

From that point in history onwards land has been stained with blood and became a point of dispute.

Land became the measure of the mass of the world. A mass which is divided between its “rightful rulers”- human beings. This was the birth of materialism.

Shortage in reality

As population grew rapidly in 15th century Europe, land and reality were divided between people and created shortage, every person now owned a shrinking piece of the world. Humans became more and more dependent of each other, guilds were formed and trading became a necessity.

But it was not only land that was in shortage, civilization was now also running low on faith, the glue which holds our great civilization together, that which gives meaning to the great orgasm and keeps the fabric of society from tearing apart…

In other words, there was not enough God to go around.

Faith could not exist in competition with the material world, and growth of population made the value of material rise and cause a massive spiritual inflation.

The capacity for knowledge of the individual does not change much over the centuries, but society in general does accumulate more and more knowledge.

This ‘knowledge’ accumulated within what we call ‘society’ comes with a price: as the parts unknown to us shrink so does the virtual space in which we believed god to exist. There just isn’t enough unknown to fuel our faith.

Recycled reality

We need the unknown as much as we need the known. Lack in one breeds lack in the other. In eastern philosophies both are parts of the same whole. We need our history and we need our myth. the 15th century church with it’s old stories was not enough to capture the growing needs of the crowd. Society had to invent new myths.

In order to invent a myth it is not enough to think of one. a myth needs an existing base in realty (Material), one must carve it in stone.

Myth is not exactly created from scratch, but it can be recycled, the myth is taken apart and reassembled, it’s contagious, as if carried by air.

In cinema studies this is called ‘suspension of disbelief’:

in a crowded street a man points at the sky and say ‘look!’, if he could keep the appearance of excitement long enough people would turn their heads to see what’s going on up there.

If these people keep looking up long enough then many more people would turn their heads to see what the other people are looking at… pretty soon everybody will be staring at the empty sky, no-one knowing the exact reason.

The critical mass of people looking up has made a none event into an event. In this way, with a little manipulation myth is recycled. The public is told what to think, what to want. It’s a state of hypnosis, mass paranoia.

The New World

There is something great about North America, a whole continent free of history, a clean slate. Yes, there were some inhabitants before the conquest, but these natives were named Indians, an honest mistake by Columbus who thought he had finally reached the coast of India. Strangely enough this misunderstanding was never corrected, maybe because it was easier to think that these inhabitants had belonged to India and not to the Americas.

At any rate, these inhabitants had no claim of the history or the land. The good immigrants cleared the territories and the vast landscapes.

There was more land then people could actually occupy. The Cherokee Strip Land Run in Oklahoma was the most sudden human migration in recorded history. Whole towns were built during an afternoon, store fronts erected in hours.

This rapid land settlement was the cause of the homogenous character of the American states, the reason this country was called the land of endless possibilities.

The famous Sears Catalog is only an example for how the US was established. Mail ordering being the cheapest way of production\consumption allowed for a varying scales of communities. Every house hold in America had already ordered the 5 hook drapes in one of the 20 seasonal colours, every self respecting man in the tri-state area owned a 45c true merit striped shirt manufactured in Chicago, Illinois. Fuller and Johnson produced their outboard motors in a small factory in Michigan and shipped them all around the country, distances shrunk. The whole country was built by mail order, literally. The cheapest way to build a house was to order the 725$ last year’s model of ‘modern home no. 115’. Even the architecture over the landscape was mass produced and delivered, customised in standard dimensions so it would be easy to box and ship.

This did not only effect the span of distances, it effected the whole fabric of culture.

North America became the United States of America, and not only by Constitution, but also by the sears catalog and the common identity the states shared.

To look at it from an out side perspective you can imagine a European taking a two week drive from California to New-York. Speaking the same language, watching identical road signs, similar houses on the road sides, Meeting with similar people, looking at the same products laid in similarly designed store fronts. For an outsider this is an act of delusion, one is convinced he is dreaming. Such a grand coherent fabric gives the appearance of plastic, of fakeness, of a film studio.

For an American on the other hand, being born into such a realty created a different effect, It created a world which can fall into pre-ordained standards, a simple world in which right and wrong exist in it’s purest form, a world without shades of grey, a world of categories. The American legal system, economy, movies, are all based on this notion.

as long as he stays within the continent a man can live the American dream and never wake up. This was the critical mass of mass delusion that was needed to create a new Myth, a new world, a great unknown…

New York  grid system

New York is a direct product of the Americanism. A city planned on a grid is a metaphor for the American freedom limited within a box. The results are no less then amazing. There is an attempt to recreate the world in each city block.

The grid system is a sophisticated form of controlling the city. Unlike the roman grid, the American grid system does not form zoning vocations in the city, there is no centre and there are no documanus or cardo.

The city is divided to 139 identical blocks, and each block exists on it’s own right. Surrounded with roads on all sides, the block is an island in itself, representing the island of Manhattan, which in turn represents the continent of America, which in turn represents the world. The content of the block is not limited, construction is allowed as tall as one can dream, in theory all is possible as long as you stay within the constraints of one block, within “the grid”.

The block is a metaphor of the world, now known in dimension and limits, the world itself is reflected as a finite unit.

A new scale is created, and thus there is a whole shift in scales.

If before we had man/world,

then man/city/ world,

then man/city/country/world,

now we have man/block/city/state/country/ world.

Man made

By allowing freedom within limits each cosmopolitan is a gene, a cosmos in itself, by creating the city block as an autonomic free unit we multiply this world 139 times. We are now in the realm of linear multiplication, The possibilities are almost endless.

This attitude has also been the birth of the modern skyscraper a sparkling image of the tower of Babel. The block as world has no place to grow to but up, it becomes a tower, a stacking of utilities. Each floor can exist without dependence of what is taking place on the other floors. The scale multiplies itself yet again.

One could argue that by creating America (and America in essence is a man-made creation) western civilization has created a reproduction of the known world and managed to have now two worlds in the western hemisphere, the ‘old world’ and the ‘new world’.

Digital Age

Now, it is no wonder that these same principles of the New World apply to the world of computers, the categorization, the right/wrong (1/0), the grid. Only an empire with the architecture of the United States could invent the era of the computer. It is a digital world, man-made.

Checked under sufficient resolution we can start to see the same bits and bytes that compose everything in the new world. It is a process of cut and paste, of addition and multiplication.

It is only a question of scale, if the illusion is grand enough then the analog world can be categorised as collector vinyl items and sold for 1.99$ in a retro music store. If something does not fit into the equation, then the equation grows to encompass it. This is the meaning of critical mass. It can swallow anything in its way. Anything can be understood as a long string of ones and zeros, or more accurately, one with a long string of zeros behind it and a $ sign.

The computer has the exact same architecture as New-York. A grid for easy orientation (everything has an easy numerical address), congestion designed for maximum data flow speeds, and layering which accounts for critical mass.

If the invention of the print enabled us to cut&paste words, the invention of the United States of America is a practice of cut&paste in realty.

the computer allows us to cut&paste our collective conciseness.

Conclusion

What America constituted for the old world of the 15th century can be compared to what cyberspace constitutes to the world of the 21st century ; An expansion of realty. the collective sub-conciseness comes to the surface and faces yet another great unknown.

The new world has been a success; god was born again inside the matrix.

Nietzsche predicted it, the Americans invented it and sears got rich selling it. The truth is made out of stripes and stars, out of power. The new world is beyond the revolution of print, it is the revolution of cut&paste, not only of words but of reality.

And just to prove how history tends to repeat itself:

In the 3rd century the story of Roman expansions also ended in India.

After conquering Babylon, Alexander the great sets to India [just as Columbus did]. When Alexander reaches India he realises that India cannot be concurred.

The far-east has always been considered a danger to western expansion and materialism. The east held it’s own philosophy, not based on the logic of Aristotle. it was the land of mystery, and the big unknown.

Alexander understood that without reason wars cannot be waged and countries cannot be conquered.

It is told of the famous meeting between Alexander and Diogenes of Sinope [a great indian philosopher]

Alexander meets Diogenes tanning naked on the bank of the Ganges, he asks Diogenes what are his wishes of the great Macedonian king; The eastern philosopher answers that his only wish is for Alexander the Great to move, so that he would not obscure the sun.

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