(The Perils Of) Straight Line Thinking: A Cod-Philosophical Spurt, Post-Alan Moore

Weirdy-beardy straight line-buster Alan Moore
Alan Moore

Busting out of the corridor of convention, with a little help from Albion’s beardiest magician.

The Bemolution recently watched The Mindscape of Alan Moore, 2005’s hypnotic docu-insight into the world of England’s finest fake snake-god worshipping anarchist, comic book writer and beard-sporting dissident genius. In an 80-minute monologue, Moore charts his precipitous rise from Northamptonian squalor to international renown as the author of Watchmen, V for Vendetta and several more of the cleverest, wittiest, most philosophically profound graphic novels ever written. He also talks at length about his often mind-bending, ever-fascinating worldview, and, in a particular highlight, the need to consider the reader’s delicate brain-to-penis blood ratio when trying to write intelligent porn.

On the day he turned 40, Moore recounts, he decided to start calling himself a magician. It certainly suited the druid-dragged-through-a-hedge-backwards look he’d been working for the previous few decades. But given the kind of toothless New Age gobbledegook many of his generation had been happy to indulge in, Moore’s ‘magic’ was refreshingly pragmatic. For him, ‘magic’ is just art, broadly defined – using words, sounds and symbols to change people’s consciousness. In fact, unusually for a self-declared shaman, there’s nothing particularly supernatural about his worldview at all. You imagine he reveres Glycon, the Roman snake-god famously outed as glove puppet in the second century, largely to prove a point – ‘the one place in which gods and demons inarguably exist,’ he intones, ‘is in the human mind, where they are real in all their grandeur and monstrosity’. Continue reading “(The Perils Of) Straight Line Thinking: A Cod-Philosophical Spurt, Post-Alan Moore”

Something Like Bemolutionary Ethics, But Not As Pretentious

kevin-carter-vulture

What’s the meaning of life?

There isn’t one, obviously. In a globalised world as maddeningly complex as the one we find ourselves floundering in, secularised, individualised and increasingly insular, there could never be some kind of universally accepted reason for being. In pockets, people seem to be returning to religion as a sort of reassuring bulwark against the uncertainties and instabilities of the modern age, but this looks unlikely to stop the general crawl towards secularism. God isn’t dead, but if he isn’t on the way out he’s certainly taken a step back out of the spotlight.

Even if they aren’t properly taken up by a lot of people who’d call themselves atheist, the implications of rejecting God are huge. ‘Meaning’, in the grand(iose) sense of the word at least, ceases to exist – the word implies that life was set up, somehow knocked together in the beginning, by someone or something with a specific purpose in mind. Which it wasn’t.

Everything alive, ever, wasn’t built or purposely shaped by anything, but just happened to happen in the way it did. Humans don’t have souls, which, plucked from the nether and briefly stuffed in a fleshy wrapper, eventually swan off to the afterlife to hang loose with the great Creator. All life is just the product of an unutterably miraculous biological accident that’s proved a runaway success. Even calling it Evolution seems to give it a pseudo-religious grandeur it doesn’t warrant – it’s something that has mindlessly unravelled, forwarded by generation after generation of organisms that have minutely adjusted to the environment around them, with billions of years-worth of tiny adaptations turning microscopic sea-bacteria into things with arms and legs and, eventually, mortgages and inflated senses of self-importance. Continue reading “Something Like Bemolutionary Ethics, But Not As Pretentious”

Cosmic Perspective: radical change and not taking yourself too seriously

There are plenty of reasons for not taking yourself or the garbled output of your own mind overly seriously.

Prominent among these is the inescapable fact that a single human life, the existence of one lone gangly-ape descendent singled out from a shambling mass of 6,800,000,000, is tiny, skull-rattlingly, eye-poppingly tiny. And insignificant.

The last hundred years’ worth of scientific endeavour and cosmological revelations have affirmed, among other things, that we are laughably insignificant. Grasping this is hard. The numbers involved are formidably huge. The universe as we know it spasmed arbitrarily into existence approximately 13,700,000,000 years ago. Within a million million million million millionths of a second, Everything had gone from being infinitesimally tiny to being infinitely huge, or had at very least swelled to encompass the million million million million mile expanse of space visible from Earth.

From earthbound telescopes, or satellites, astronomers can see about 200 billion (200,000,000,000) other galaxies. Galaxies commonly contain between 100 billion and a trillion stars – our Milky Way is about average, with between 200 and 400 billion. Current estimates place the number of stars in the universe as being over a quintillion (1,000,000,000,000,000,000, or roughly equivalent to the number of grains of sand on Earth). The Earth is just a tiny 5.97 billion trillion-tonne speck in the abyss, looping round the sun at 18.5 miles per second. Our species is a biological accident on one planet, going around one star, in one galaxy, hanging at the edge of this crushing cosmological immensity. Continue reading “Cosmic Perspective: radical change and not taking yourself too seriously”

Some Old Things We Done Wrote

The Bemolution first took to the internet in about April 2011. In the intervening three and a bit years, our political views, style of writing and general preferred way of doing things here at Bem Towers has changed quite a lot – although, looking back, not as much as we’d originally thought.

Now, in September 2014, The Bemolution has decided to jump ship from clunky Blogger to the swishier WordPress platform, bringing three years of ramshackle verbiage with us because we’re too sentimental for our own good. Continue reading “Some Old Things We Done Wrote”