The narrative and the dross

Decades ago, as a callow youth of maybe 23, I was made a “leader trainer” in Scouts and was therefore entitled to wear an extra pip on the lanyard around my neck.

So there I was in a big hall, dimpled hat with hard brim on the side table and spindly legs in high socks emerging downwards from baggy shorts, lecturing to adults, some decades older than me and the only way I got away with it to an extent was that I wasn’t rehashing POR, the Scout manual but acknowledging that they were my superiors in life experience but here were a few other ideas they might like to consider.

Reasonable people, even of my age, would acknowledge that we are always learning, it never stops and a child can teach us things we’d forgotten or weren’t aware of specifically. A child can reteach us perspective.

There was one woman on that course I’ve just come out of this week and one girl – what she was there for I’m not sure.

The woman had an interesting perspective and we got on well.    Thank the Lord above, she was bereft of feminism, a proper woman worthy of the name – hell, I even gave her some of my Munchies and she gave me some of her filling-removing toffees. We didn’t quite get to I’ll show you mine if you … but the kindergarten motif was still there in force and that passed the time.

That was in stark contrast to the lecturer, a callow youth of maybe 23, from Warrington and my attitude was that he might have some interesting aspects to impart – the attitude started out positive, though most of the others at the table were not so charitable.    I even made a comment at one point that “this is fun” and the others looked at me, puzzled, except for the woman, of course, who was grinning and that’s why she became my friend.

One outspoken guy also became my friend later because he clearly had the same attitude I had and that will unfold. In fact, it might be said we colluded, so where does that leave people who say conspiracy is bunkum?  Over on another table in the corner were two young men, children of the narrative and they were having trouble with the coffee all over the table and floor – they kept that up over the course of the course.   I asked one of them at one point how he was enjoying the course and he shot back: “It’s not my fault,” the spilt coffee presumably.

The two most interesting characters were the girl and the lecturer and I’ll return to the latter later. The girl was just out of school and she reinforced the 80s art idea of Devo, the band:

The name “Devo” comes “from their concept of ‘de-evolution’ – the idea that instead of continuing to evolve, mankind has actually begun to regress, as evidenced by the dysfunction and herd mentality of American society.” This idea was developed as a joke by Kent State University art students Gerald Casale and Bob Lewis as early as the late 1960s. Casale and Lewis created a number of satirical art pieces in a devolution vein.

They met Mark Mothersbaugh around 1970, who introduced them to the pamphlet “Jocko Homo Heavenbound”,[5] which includes an illustration of a winged devil labeled “D-EVOLUTION” and would later inspire the song “Jocko Homo”. However, the “joke” became serious, following the Kent State shootings of May 4, 1970, which Casale witnessed.[editorializing] This event would be cited multiple times as the impetus for forming the band Devo.

That idea that we’re de-evolving has now become a reality and was alive and well in that girl. She was pretty, she was empty of any knowledge relating to the real world but knew all the dross which was, in a sad way, relevant to her world. Her one and only concern was that she was 4’8″ and no one took her seriously. The reason she was virtually ignored was that she added nothing, understood nothing, smiled sweetly and sat with her feet up on the chair, looking down at her pink smartphone and inventing ways to amuse herself, which had many of the men intrigued, until one chimed in with: “He who has never watched porn cast the first stone.”

Someone else made a smutty remark and I leapt to the defence of the ladies: “Let’s face it, guys, this course would be unbearable without these two here, we’re all as ugly as sin,” most conceded that, the lady was intrigued and the girl did things with herself while the lads in the corner mopped up yet another spilt coffee.

All the things this site and others have said about the emptying of our children of anything worthwhile and the substitution of dross was on show for all to see in this lass and many of those adults were quietly shocked. They had children of their own in varying states of ignorance and lack of life experience but this girl took the prize. She was sweet enough by her lights and smiled sweetly but her lights were not, shall we say, on.

Returning to the lecturer, it was apparent early that he was a nice enough chap but was slavishly following the narrative. His materials let’s not get into at this point, as my role has been supervising teacher of student teachers in the past and things like lecture notes and preparation were my lot to comment on until not so long ago. I kept shtum about these things and just occasionally put in some info where he either had gone astray or didn’t know.

What also became apparent was that he was nervous and yet, at the same time, so convinced he was the expert, as the lecturer. And not only that, he had the absolute certainty of youth, as Mark Twain might have observed, which admitted of no other lessons learned on the ocean of life, things which came out in force when he was not there and those at the table opened up about their lives and past – and there were some mightily experienced people there who’d been in many fields and were consequently more than interesting as people.

The boy returned and all went back to the narrative. What became apparent also was that he was a slave to the narrative, as 50 something percent of Americans showed they were on Tuesday. And as we went from Pack 1 to Pack 2 and things began to repeat themselves and those things were absolute garbage, assuming a lie or series of lies in the PC mold, some people stopped him and drew attention to the fact that he was spouting cr*p, though not in those words.

No, no, he assured us – he was simply presenting the same things in different ways, so that if it hadn’t got through in one way, it might in another – good teaching technique in his book.

NLP in mine. This was Common Purpose stuff – false assumption of agreement on faux premises and a cynical knowledge that he, being the lecturer and we, the receivers of wisdom, actually labelled “students”, were in our respective roles and all was well with the world.

And the terror for him was that ideas other than what were in those lecture notes might arise and had to be suppressed instantly. The notion that those people at the table each had rich lives did not enter the narrative, did not enter his consciousness – he knew, we didn’t – after all, he had the esoteric materials, the knowledge handed down to him from above. The vast age discrepancy did not phase him, the possibility that we might have accumulated some life experience – no, no, the narrative!

The narrative! It is all, it is all we ever need to sustain us.

As for myself, I wasn’t annoyed with him – he was a product of his era and lack of education – he told us all about his earring he had to take out for these lectures, which he called tutorials and many other vital snippets from his vast life experience in Warrington and … er … Stockport.  I asked about what he thought of nosebones and tattoos but he chose not to pursue that one.

Look, it wasn’t his fault, he was OK. I liked him and shook his hand at the end of the excruciating so-called “course”, an utter waste of valuable days in all of our lives.

I even told him I was so amazed by his lectures – tutorial please – that I was going to follow him to all of his lect tutorials over the north-west, even as far as Preston and he was pleased I’d accepted the narrative so completely.

That is until he reads the last page of the last pack, in answer to “What have you learned?”   an open invitation to cut loose if ever there was one.

I’d written at the top of the page: “Do you want the truth or the narrative?   Are you genuinely interested in how things are in this country?” Then I gave the truth which had been spoken at the table out of earshot of him, not mentioning them of course and virtually giving him a primer in what is written at OoL and NO, let alone a dozen other blogs.

It was done in the nicest possible way, I assure you and he got his brownie points where I wrote down what a fine lecturer he’d been.   After all, I’d got him into trouble when he’d said he always had to make the coffee and when I went downstairs, asked the girls why the boys had to make the coffee for them and they were indignant that he’d said that and I said he hadn’t and I was sure they all took turns making the coffee and I’d like milk and two please in mine and they said make your own and I asked if they’d like some coffee and how did they like it and they said:  “You’re learning.”

I saw, during that course, sporadic resistance from the table [interesting concept] when some piece of guff was so divorced from reality that some guy had expostulated about what BS it was and the potential rebellion was brought to heel again by well-tried NL techniques the Common Purpose “training” had primed him for.

And the cynical bstds are essentially correct – people, if not sheeple, are only self-interested and consequently they know only what relates to them and thus can be cajoled and manipulated on other matters.   To a lesser extent that’s so for those who read with an open mind – even they – we – get hoodwinked at times.   What I do know is that the pr***s who had prepared this whole structure of lecture materials needed to be taken out and shot.   I’d dearly like to meet some of these face to face and observe the brainwashing at first hand.

With that sort of pigswill propaganda forced, by increments, into people’s brains all over the UK and America, let alone the colonies, no wonder situations like Obama’s re-election occur.   It’s frightening how far the narrative is so deeply entrenched in people – half the people, the people with little life experience, the people who’ve lived all their lives as Eleanor Rigbys.

As for us, we are the hate-filled intractables, the “phobics” to be identified – and you probably are well aware of the multiple form filling and really intrusive detail they wanted – and taken out of calculations.   Recovery in the economy?   Social recovery?   Not from where anyone at that table was sitting, except perhaps for our coffee mopping up lads over in the corner, chewing on their fingers and grinning – for them, life was richly rewarding, except for the coffee.   I should have introduced the girl to them.

In fact, the effect it had on everyone there was to reinforce resistance to the whole narrative and people who had not been radicalized before now were, in the face of this dross.   Because humans do have this cunning ability to reason when the narrative slips up.    To a great extent it relies on bastardized buzzwords and concepts, redefinitions and the like but when its dross is too widely removed from people’s experience, doubt seeps in and that’s the beginning of the end.

In America, it’s clearly still going strong, the narrative.   Are we not men?   We are de-vo.

Freedom of choice?

8 Responses to “The narrative and the dross”

  1. james wilson November 9, 2012 at 17:40 Permalink

    I’m not clear why you would imply that the British narrative is different than the American one. It could be said that Americans have crossed over to join you in the narrative.

    Also, it is not about one-half or more of voters being trapped in the wrong narrative. 100% of liberals (illiberals) are, while a substantial majority of “conservatives” are only trapped conserving the liberal narrative of past generations. When Chesterton wrote of such things a century ago I believe he was talking about you.

    The remaining happy few of American citizens is distributed between thoughtful, sober people, and flakes of all kinds. Not good.

    I see that Deogowolf has arisen briefly to launch on America. And very will done. My guess is that five percent of Americans would agree–which is not nothing–and twenty percent are seriously casting around for a way out. Another twenty will throw out their reservations and support a counter-revolutionary movement which has convictions. No one knows what form this will finally take, or if all will wither eventually in resignation, but these are the kind of numbers which spell doom for anti-leftists only in the odd landscape of universal suffrage by which we are continually informed that demographics equal doom.

    My personal historian from Tocqueville saw it with great precision:

    “Freedom has revealed itself to men at different times and beneath different forms; it has not been exclusively bound to one social state and it makes its appearance elsewhere than in democracies. Thus it cannot possibly be taken as the distinctive characteristic of democracies.
    Within the sphere of office drawn for them, the law generally leaves American officials a freer rein than ours. Sometimes the majority even allows them to stray from those rules. Thus habits are forming at the heart of freedom which one day could be fatal to its liberties.
    I have made the distinction between two types of centralization; the one called governmental, the other administrative. The first exists solely in America; the second is almost unknown (there). In the United States, the majority, which often has despotic tastes and instincts, still lacks the most developed tools of tyranny.
    If the direction American societies (took)…combined the right of total command with the capacity of total execution…freedom would soon be obliterated in the New World.”

    What do you think your numbers are, James?

  2. James Higham November 9, 2012 at 17:43 Permalink

    I’m not clear why you would imply that the British narrative is different than the American one.

    Where did I imply this? It’s the same across the west.

    When Chesterton wrote of such things a century ago I believe he was talking about you.

    You don’t specify, James, which Chesterton comment you mean – perhaps you meant this:

    The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected. Even when the revolutionist might himself repent of his revolution, the traditionalist is already defending it as part of his tradition. Thus we have two great types–the advanced person who rushes us into ruin, and the retrospective person who admires the ruins. He admires them especially by moonlight, not to say moonshine. Each new blunder of the progressive or prig becomes instantly a legend of immemorial antiquity for the snob. This is called the balance, or mutual check, in our Constitution. [1924]

    I would agree. If you meant that I was part of that, you’d be wrong and it would show you don’t read this blog too much. Have a look at this for a start [in particular the chart]:

    http://nourishingobscurity.com/about/

    … and then maybe this:

    http://www.4liberty.org.uk/2012/04/02/say-no-to-the-big-3/

    My line has been consistently anti-all three major parties over here and two major parties over there. The reasons are in posts passim.

    There is conservatism and then there is Toryism. The two are completely different and Chesterton, I believe, was referring to the latter, of which I am in no way a part.

    I believe in small government, personal freedom, I’m a social conservative and a libertarian for adults, children are their parents’ responsibility, I’m against the PC narrative. Now those values I’m not going to apologize for as they’re the politics of sanity and we need to return to them.

    I’m really puzzled what exactly was the nature of the attack on my values – if it had come from a left-liberal, then that would have been par for the course but as it comes from someone I thought conservative libertarian, I’m scratching the bonce.

    Lord Somber – thanks. Have just read it and feel it overfinesses in ascribing to Devo what applies to devo-tees. However, the general ideas hold water:

    In order to function with the ongoing system, especially in its schizoid love-hate dance with Death, perigee of the cycle, one must in some part become inhuman. The “Achiever Functionaries,” the cult of Moloch the Machine, greatly fear death. They will in fact trade their human identities for the chance of immortality, even if they must live as machines. Their fear is such that they will countenance an end to the organic continuum if it will make possible some pseudo-life in cybernetic form. They have sanitized, sterilized and deodorized the orifices of the body, while leaving the air and waters reeking; they worship youth while trying to destroy the young.

  3. james wilson November 9, 2012 at 20:44 Permalink

    No, no, no, James. I know very well what your understandings are. It is my impression that most people who think of themselves as conservatives do not share nearly enough of them to make it the same brand. You are, at most, a five percenter. Deogowolf is a one percenter. In my view, that is a good neighborhood. It may be a mistake to identify with the conservative brand. In America, it is not a mistake. Terms change. Red becomes green, or blue. Regressive becomes progressive, then liberal.

    It’s your call, of course.

    I’ll get the other Chesterton tonight.

    .

  4. James Higham November 9, 2012 at 20:47 Permalink

    Ah, I see. It did puzzle me.

  5. Amfortas November 10, 2012 at 12:36 Permalink

    James (W & H), how do you two manage to juggle so many labels? One percenter, five percenter, ten percenter, four; Conservative, progressive, tory, more; radical, marxist, trotskyite, whig; moaist, republican and now a prig! I am impressed.

  6. james wilson November 10, 2012 at 18:12 Permalink

    Sorry indeed. I have on occasion demonstrated the fault of making myself misunderstood in both American and English. Here’s the further Chesterton thought–

    The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected. Even when the revolutionist might himself repent of his revolution, the traditionalist is defending it as part of his tradition.

  7. james wilson November 10, 2012 at 19:24 Permalink

    The labels are juggled for us. That is the point.

    Hayek’s language is dense, but accurate. “Many words embodied in our language are of such a character that one is led to conclusions not implied by any sober thought about the subject in question, words that carry misleading connotations of an earlier kind of community. Such words appeal to men to redesign what they never could have designed at all, or have acquired the power to empty the nouns they qualify of their meaning. As a weasel is alleged to be able to empty an egg without leaving a visible sign, so can these words deprive of content any term to which they are attached.”

    Garrett. “So it was that a revolution took place within the form. Like the hagfish, the New Deal entered the old form and devoured its meaning from within.
    People were all the while fixed in the delusion that they were talking about the same things because they were using the same words. Opposite and violently hostile ideas were represented by the same word signs. This was the American people’s first experience with dialectic according to Marx and Lenin.
    Their trust was in words. They had forgotten their Aristotle. More than 2,000 years ago he wrote of what can happen within the form, when “one thing takes the place of another, so that the ancient laws will remain, while the power will be in the hands of those who have brought about revolution in the state.”

    Schumpeter. “As a supreme if unintended compliment, the enemies of the system of private enterprise have thought it wise to appropriate its label.”

    And so on. James often writes of his frustration with Tories, as we do with Republicans. We argue that some, many, or most are not conservatives, but we do not look so closely at defining what conservatism is or has become. Are we to believe that conservatism has remained like a rock with the tide moving over it–as perhaps it should? Would Chesterton define himself as a conservative today? What I see is that people who are of his cut are becoming less inclined to self-identify that way.

    My percentages are nothing more that impressions, shots in the dark. They are not meant to be seen as measuring what cannot be measured. But they are meant to make a point. Do you wish to defend what was a great brand, or has the hagfish done its work? Can Tories and people of the right wing share the same brand? That’s your call. Over here we see a re-thinking.

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