Adventures in a Cognitive Forbidden Zone.

Are you lost in this off kilter 21st century?
Does the predictability of the established norms cause you painful exasperation?

Then enter the realm of a ScaryMonster, and walk his fetid path of inner longing,
you might only find a moments distraction here or you may walk way with a new
perspective.

Remember this! Scary unorthodox thinking is the most frightening monster
haunting the arbiters of all sanctioned truths.

ScaryMonters eat their lies and spit the truth.
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  1. It seems we are inundated with Superhero movies these days, maybe it is a reflection of the times we live in, with people facing the consequences of the global financial crisis, the European sovereign debt crisis.
    In addition, the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the possible decline of the United States as the world’s preeminent superpower.
    Remember that Superman arose out of the miasma of the Great Depression. When people felt insecure about their lives. They cleaved to characters that have the power to rise above the soul grinding pressures and tedium of their miserable existence.

    Superman was a being who fought against the wrongs of the world, an almost godlike figure or higher being that would pull the struggling masses out of their personal sufferings.

    It’s fiction but it supplies the same need whist we are in that moment of "suspension of disbelief," as religion does for theists. One could argue that Superman is the Hercules of the 20th century and therefore, no less worthy of worship than any Judeo-Christian deity. If one were inclined to believe in mythological beings.

    The Superhero mythos, in fact has taken on more of the characteristics of Greek mythology as time has gone on. Today, we have a vast pantheon of flawed Superheroes; they have become the receptacles of every human frailty, in effect, this very neurosis is often the driving mechanism that propels these characters into the roles of superhero.

    In an age when film producers and studio executives scour the world looking for screenplays with a correct percentage of helicopters and explosions the superhero genre is a fertile ground from which to harvest.
    Fans of comics offer a ready market for any offering, even disappointing ones for at least one movie of a franchise.

    However, such offerings quickly become used up and need reinventing; the Batman franchise was divested of its campness with the release of “Batman Begins and The Dark Knight,” directed by Christopher Nolan. This sort of retooling breathed new life into a Superhero that had almost been dealt a deathblow by Joel Schumacher in his unbearable 1997 offering “Batman and Robin.”
    Therefore, where does this leave Batman in the realms of popular understanding, no longer a pantomime stooge of the 1960’s, but a genuine gothic, psychotic vigilante with a very deep pockets?
    Marvel comics Ironman is merely a more technologically encased version of Batman, whereas Batman carries a Edgar Allen Poe-ish sort of mythology.
    Ironman is all about the gadgets; it could be argued that Ironman is a gadget in himself, or a man who has made himself into a gadget in order to surpass his human condition.

    One could go into depth analysing every comic book hero who has found his way into film, but I invariably find myself drawn back to Superman. Is this because of his Nietzschian associations, Nietzsche who coined the name Superman or ubermensch!
    Ubermensch is better translated from the German as “Over man or Higher man,” and in the context of Nietzsche’s writing it has a connotation of transcendence, but not transcendence via supernatural means rather a realisation of ones own empowerment.

    Mensch has more of a connotation to the human species, rather than to a male, specifically. The philosopher declares that the Superman does not as Christians would seek, try to escape from this world by imagining another world, the archetypal heaven.
    Which also requires the invention of an eternal soul, which would be separate from the body and survive death.

    The Übermensch is tied to the death of God, whilst God is the ultimate expression of otherworldly values that only really exists so that beings without any other factual framework can give meaning to life.
    God being dead means that God, as a discredited concept can no longer provide values to evolved human beings.

    Therefore, in effect, the philosophical construct of Superman was the complete antithesis of our fictional Superhero. The comic book and film Superman has outside of a Nietzschian context become a transient vehicle for beliefs and values whilst we sit in that darkened room worshipping at the temple of Gotham and Metropolis.
  2. One problem in defining mental illness is that many symptoms are aspects of normal behavior taken to extreme.

    Paranoia is a general term describing beliefs that are persistent counter imperial and centered on the individual’s fears.

    No evidence can cast doubt on these beliefs, but any fact can become evidence supporting it, for one with paranoid personality disorder everything contributes to a general sense of persecution. Every comment is an attack, every conversation a conspiracy.

    The sufferer of paranoid personality disorder needs to dominate others but is easily dominated, and they never accept blame but are constantly critical.

    For the delusional paranoiac, a single irrational belief is unshakable. The sufferer may believe they have a relationship with a media personality or that their friends are trying to poison them.

    These delusions are remarkable in their complexity and logic, which are absent from the irrational beliefs of ordinary people.

    In schizophrenic paranoia, there is the same specificity but no coherence, thinking is vague and confused, emotions are shallow often there are auditory and visual hallucinations.

    While some insanity is organic, the majority is just the psychological coping mechanisms used by everyone taken to extremes, where exploitation and betrayal are a way of life, everyone is paranoid.
  3. In researching for stories, you tend to come up with factual titbits that probably deserve a story of their own. This is one such fact.
    I’ve always wondered about soldiers. They go out and kill strangers who they might not have any reason to dislike apart from the fact that they are trying to kill them back.
    Therefore, given that killing is a soldiers job and after a certain point, a soldier might even become complacent and casual about it, then why wouldn’t a soldier kill someone who he really had a good reason to dislike.
    I’m reminded of fragging incidents, where the common soldiers murder their superior officers because they lack confidence in their leadership, or because the officer teats the men badly or takes risks with their lives to boost his own advancement.

    The usual method of dispatch in Vietnam was the fragmentation grenade, I think towards the end of the war incidents like this had escalated to such an extent that continuing to fight that war was impossible. The peace movement was one thing but this actually sabotaged the army’s ability to wage war.
    I think the actual extent of this is covered up by the US military even now.

    A Vietnam veteran I spoke to on another forum gave me his personal account of a fragging incident:

    “When I first got to Viet Nam ( A newbie) I woke to an explosion just 4 tents down from where I was sleeping. I thought it was a mortar attack, turns out this prick captain had a claymore strapped to the top of his tent that sent him back home in a bag. Reason: got a lot of guys killed from being a dumb ass and treated people like shit. It happened. He wasn't missed...smiles.”

    They used a grenade because the calibre of the American weapon is a 5.56 and the AK47 is a 7.76, thus an autopsy would reveal that his men shot him. Where it is impossible to determine with a fragg grenade, at least at that point in time.

    I found some statistics, they mostly relate to the Vietnam War and a little to the Gulf War, but I haven’t found any relevant stats of the Afghan War thus far.
    The most reliable figure for Vietnam was 730 suspected incidents from 1969 through 1971, much higher than in U.S. wars before or since.
    Before Vietnam, assaults against U.S. military officers were extremely rare.
    World War I saw one incident leading to court martial per 12,700 servicemen. A ratio said to have remained steady up until the Vietnam War.

    During the Vietnam War, the Fragging rate rose from one incident per 3,300 servicemen in 1969 to a peak of one per 572 servicemen in 1971.
    In one division in Vietnam -- fragging during 1971 have been authoritatively estimated to be running about one a week.

    Often, the word of the deaths of these officers would bring cheers at troop movies or in bivouacs of certain units.
    Few Vietnam Fragging cases ever went to trial, so a comparison with earlier wars is risky. Still, these are astonishing statistics, suggesting an army at the point of degenerating into a mutinous rabble. You would think in the wake of Vietnam the U.S. military would have closely investigated fragging to avoid another brush with chaos.

    It has been esteemed that suspect incidents like those in the Vietnam War had doubled at the height of the Second Gulf War; the Gulf War was Vietnam on Meth!

    The Art of War by Sun Tzu, attributes the highest importance to the notion of “The Moral Law," soldiers will not readily risk their lives over an extended period for a cause they do not believe in.

    When the only aim of the soldier is to survive his tour of duty, gun-ho, reckless and incompetent officers become a much greater threat to their lives than enemy combatants do.
  4. Call it reefer madness, seeking a changed state of consciousness, escaping the common place, feeding a gnawing physical addiction, running away from life or rebelling against the conventional the reasons for taking drugs in western society vary.
    In the end, no person government or law can really prevent anyone using drugs if they decide that’s what they want to do and have the means to do it.
    Maybe that's actually a good thing? People in general feel that what they put into their own bodies is their business, not that the effects of certain drugs aren’t dangerous and damaging. I’m not condoning drug abuse only that to absolutely forbid it is futile. People will do what they want to do.

    The United States learned from "Prohibition” that you can’t legislate morality.
    That’s probably why the so-called drug war can never be won.

    In fact, it’s a very 20th century concept that illicit drug use is amoral, drug cultures are to be found in countries where plant life yields these substances. Different ritual ceremonies have always depended on hallucinogens
    .
    Jean Cocteau wrote regarding, his addiction “I. Therefore, became an opium addict, because the doctors who cure — one should really say, quite simply, who purge — do not think to cure the troubles which first caused the addiction; I had again preferred an artificial equilibrium to no equilibrium at all This moral disguise is more misleading than a disordered appearance: it is human, almost feminine to have recourse to it" (Jean Cocteau — Opium).

    Every whore has a sad story. You can’t really equate drug abuse with having a difficult or unhappy life. Everyone has gone through difficulty sometimes horrific events at times and yet not everyone gets addicted to drugs.
    And can you really equate something like alcohol, and cannabis use with synthesised drug abuse? Perceptually as far as moral turpitude is concerned there is a huge gap between alcohol, which is legal, and Methamphetamine.
  5. When I was a kid, I read a lot of Robert A. Heinlein’s stories, recently I reread one, and I had to overlook some things in order to enjoy it.
    The thing that I found distasteful in his writing was that in one respect he had a very conservative ideology espoused by many of his characters, which often were older men.

    That was not such a huge problem, the issue I had was his attitude to sexuality, which seemed somehow connected with the 60’s free love ideology. It seemed to me that the only effect this ideology had in his writing was as a means to allow older men to screw young attractive women.

    Now I’m not a prude, and even I can accept that some old but not over the hill dude’s might enjoy having sex with young but not under age women.
    But I find it hard to get into a book that makes statements like: “A beautiful woman is more likely to attract males and is biologically superior to an unattractive woman.” That’s not an exact quote because I’m doing it from memory. Maybe it’s true in a perverse biological sense, but I felt it was more like a license to be an old pervert.

    You could also argue that being a beautiful woman must mean by definition that you're more likely to attract males? Which is a good thing, especially if you happen to be one of those males?

    Also, I suspect that by "biologically superior", he meant within the context of natural selection. Characters in ““I will fear no evil”(not he’s best work), “Time enough for love” and “Number of the Beast,” made this statement, in the context of explaining to a young woman why being attractive was a good thing.
    Nevertheless, the term “biologically superior” has a lot of baggage connected to it, associated with the Nazis pseudo eugenics of the past.

    Somehow, this mix of extreme right wing conservatism mixed with Bacchanalian hedonism didn’t ring true to me, and it’s a sample of an attitude that a lot of his work of the 1960s – 70s and 80s propounds.

    In his science fiction stories, he has said that democracy is doomed to fail, and you would have to be a fool to believe in it anyway. Benevolent dictatorship is the only way to go, and it’s okay to screw anything on legs as long as it’s attractive. Or at lest, that’s how it came across to me.

    Now “Starship Troopers,” was a good book and the movie version was just mad!
    The insane fascism that Paul Verhoeven sends up so well in the movie is also seen in the book. Although in the book, I can’t be too sure if Heinlein is really serious or not.
    He claims that a world Military Government is a good idea?

    It would be kind of, like saying that North Korea with all its nukes, but added spaceships and ray guns is the ideal form of world government. Or he almost does.

    Moreover, Remember “Starship Troopers,” was originally written for kids! So just saying: “Whoa Scary, its just a work of fiction!” Is a bit simplistic, kids don’t make such distinctions or do they?
    Substitute “Starship Troopers” for “Storm Troopers” maybe, or am I just trying to scare the straights? Good that’s my job here.

    Some people I’ve spoken to don’t understand why people think that the government in "Starship Troopers" was a dictatorship, fascist, etc.
    The characters supposedly live in a democracy where you have to do public service (which can be military, but doesn't have to be) to get a vote.
    The rights of non-voters seem to be protected and respected (they just don't get to vote or run for office).

    But, the problem with this as a model of a society is that value is placed on military virtues as well as military mindset and public service is represented by civil or social service.
    Therefore, you have a militarised, bureaucratic society that disenfranchises anyone who might have a balancing influence on it.

    As for Heinlein’s "Starship Troopers" being fascist, I do not go, as far as to say that it was his personal belief. It is after all a work of fiction.

    “Starship Troopers,” the movie unashamedly implies it (sends it up), and the book claims that military or civil service is the only way of gaining the right to vote.
    These are quotes from "Starship Troopers" the book, can you see any holes in the reasoning regarding this fictional system of government from Chapter 12.


    “"Both for practical reasons and for mathematically verifiable moral reasons, authority and responsibility must be equal -- else a balancing takes place as surely as current flows between points of unequal potential. To permit irresponsible authority is to sow disaster; to hold a man responsible for anything he does not control is to behave with blind idiocy.

    The unlimited democracies were unstable because their citizens were not responsible for the fashion in which they exerted their sovereign authority ...other than through the tragic logic of history. The unique 'poll tax' that we must pay was unheard of. No attempt was made to determine whether, a voter was socially responsible to the extent of his literally unlimited authority. If he voted the impossible, the disastrous possible happened instead --and responsibility was, then forced on him willy-nilly and destroyed both him and his foundation-less temple.”

    “Superficially, our system is only slightly different; we have democracy unlimited by race, colour, creed, birth wealth, sex, or conviction, and anyone may win sovereign power by a usually short and not too arduous term of service -- nothing more than a light workout to our cave-man ancestors. But that slight difference is one between a system that works, since it is constructed in match the facts, and one that is inherently unstable.

    Since sovereign franchise is the ultimate in human authority, we insure that all who wield it accept the ultimate in social responsibility -- we require each person who wishes to exert control over the state to wager his own life -- and lose it, if need be -- to save the life of the state. The maximum responsibility a human can thus accept is thus equated to the ultimate authority a human can exert. Yin and yang, perfect and equal.

    The Major added. "Can anyone define why there has never been a revolution against our system? Despite the fact that every government in history has had such? Despite the notorious fact that complaints are loud and unceasing?"
    One of the older cadets took a crack at it "Sir, revolution is impossible."
    "Yes. But why?"
    "Because revolution -- armed uprising--requires not only dissatisfaction but aggressiveness. A revolutionist has to be willing to fight and die -- or he is just a parlour pink. If you separate out the aggressive ones and make them the sheep dogs, the sheep will never give you trouble.”


    So, what do you think?

    Also to his credit, Heinlein featured many different kinds of government in his books. “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress,” was a total libertarian anarchy, which is about as far from a dictatorship as you can get.