The Tourist #46


“They {photographers using digital cameras} are less likely to be haunted by aesthetically unappealing images in the future.”  

The Bear in the woods.

If you gave a deer a gun would she kill the bear?

I read a facebook post by a fashion photographer which said “THIS. IS. IMPORTANT.”

It was an interview with a young man in a park, he was wearing chino’s and a shellsuit top, white socks and black work shoes, and had large headphones. It is fashionable to dress up in a way which used to designate someone as socially isolated now because it is preferable to be socially isolated rather than in the disgusting “centre”. He was definitely, his clothes said, NOT a patriarch.

The post was a small rant about the standard contemporary moralities disguised as scientistic ethics. The “Humans of New York” seems to be a kind of mash-up of Big Brother and Friends. A kind of chummy victorian triumphalism - “I think X is bad because I am not X I am Y (I decline to engage with any dialogue which questions my absolute right to minority status)”

The young man said, predictably, that the internet was bad.

He made a metaphor, about the woods. He said that if we were in the woods we wouldn’t know what to expect next. But when we are in the internet because of the algorithms (demons) we only see shit that we like. Nature metaphor.

The nature metaphor is quite bendable, right and left use it, science is good for this.
This chap used it as a predictable neo-liberal “leftie”, like a vegan sort of thing, which is to say as a staunch conservative. Much along the same lines as hating people for using plastic bags because the “don’t understand the damage they are doing to our precious earth” - delightedly blaming individuals for their lack of enlightenment. The thing with nature is, that you speak, so you are, so to speak, fucked. You are not nature, not anymore.

The implication is that these (wrong) people (here the “right wing” - which includes and equalises bigots, rapists and “stupid” people under one umbrella term) do not experience enough #veganism to realise the eternal truth of human being which is to maintain a now at deadly risk level balance between man (not mxn) and nature… There is some assumption here that we are nature, which is only the first of many monumental problems with the argument, but the woods is too exciting to forget.

Like the murderer earlier on, the circle of lies seems desperately important, here. The young man prefers his own savagely onanistic lie set, a lie set which masquerades as moral truth, to the at least relatively honestly greedy, selfish and disgusting lie set of the central non-other. The great white.

Do you want to meet a bear in the woods and be killed? If you do, off you pop. If you do not then ask someone who knows about bear about how best to avoid being killed by a bear - they will say that not going into woods with bears in is a pretty solid start to not being killed by a bear in the woods.

Let’s say you have to go through the woods anyway, will the bear still be there? Even though you HAVE to do there? Even though it would be unfair for the bear to kill you because you HAVE to be there?  Will you go looking for the bear? If you do not go looking for the bear will there still be a bear? Does the bear exist, even if you are not looking for it?

We could burn the woods down? This would avoid the risk of being killed by a bear substantially, the bear might be killed and if not would at least be a lot more visible?

Isn’t the nature metaphor sometimes just a shit utopian regression metaphor? A desire to feel sublimely not human for a moment “in nature”. Silence, peace, “beauty” - all of which rely on the absence of human experiencial distinction. The woods as idea exists only because there is something which is the un-woods. We are able to name the woods as woods because they are not-town. We are able to identify, symbolically, a difference between these places which relies on their mutual interdependence, that they exist is how they are not the other. This is the central negativity of human existence, and of the woods. The woods is in no way positively the woods with some particular value of their own, the woods are, merely.

In the woods we may meet a bear and be killed. In the city we may meet a person who shoots and kills us. Would you like to be shot and murdered in the city? Rather than mauled by a bear in the woods? Would you be less dead?

If you were a bear would you think of the woods as a beautiful, calm, spiritual, zen, yoga, nature place? (You wouldn’t, you would be a bear, is the answer.)

And all of this, so far, has been IRL projection. We have projected the virtual into the “real” (which is to say the imaginary) to try and make it understandable. Palatable. What happens if the internet is not really like the woods at all and bears no such comparison? The internet is entirely constructed, which is to say it is also unlike a town which to some extent relies also on being built in and from materials. The internet is not your computer (which of course is also built), but the imaginary space into which the “real” experiences of the virtual occur are not built from anything as such. Remember that we are here in a place where the laws of time and space are suspended, like in a wormhole in Star Trek, as above. The internet is only really conceivable as the internet, as an entirely contrived communications network experienced as exclusively virtual.

And in the space do you want to read Nazi propaganda? Are you aware that Nazi propaganda exists, there, in the internet? Should you read it, too? For the sake of completeness? So as to be killed by the bear, too? Might you be wrong about carrots? Is it your responsibility as a human being to recognise that by speaking you are also able to listen? We must make the effort to find bears, then? Not necessarily, we must remind ourselves that we are not bears, but “bears”. Being a vegan is not superior in any way to any other diet in all of its potential ways.

The truth of the metaphor is that walking in the woods, even hotly pursued by a real bear, is still a declining of human responsibility - your responsibility to doubt that es ist, merely, so.

The risk of social media is not that you won’t be challenged by things you do not like, it is that you will realise that what you do like is an even worse lie than the shit that your lie is posited in opposition to.

Do bears murder in the woods?

What is an aesthetically appealing photo to you is not necessarily aesthetically appealing to anyone else.