From Hakim Bey's "T.A.Z."

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Psychic Paleolithism & High Technology: A Position Paper

JUST BECAUSE THE A.O.A. talks about "Paleolithism" all the time, don't get the idea we intend to bomb ourselves back to the Stone Age.

We have no interest in going "back to the land" if the deal includes the boring life of a shit-kicking peasant--nor do we want "tribalism" if it comes with taboos, fetishes & malnutrition. We have no quarrel with the concept of culture--including technology; for us the problem begins with civilization.

What we like about Paleolithic life has been summed up by the Peoples-Without-Authority School of anthropology: the elegant laziness of hunter/gatherer society, the 2-hour workday, the obsession with art, dance, poetry & amorousness, the "democratization of shamanism," the cultivation of perception--in short, culture.

What we dislike about civilization can be deduced from the following progression: the "Agricultural Revolution"; the emergence of caste; the City & its cult of hieratic control ("Babylon"); slavery; dogma; imperialism ("Rome"). The suppression of sexuality in "work" under the aegis of "authority." "The Empire never ended."

A psychic paleolithism based on High-Tech--post- agricultural, post-industrial, "Zerowork," nomadic (or "Rootless Cosmopolitan")--a Quantum Paradigm Society--this constitutes the ideal vision of the future according to Chaos Theory as well as "Futurology" (in the Robert Anton Wilson-T. Leary sense of the term).

As for the present: we reject all collaboration with the Civilization of Anorexia & Bulimia, with people so ashamed of never suffering that they invent hair shirts for themselves & others--or those who gorge without compassion & then spew the vomit of their suppressed guilt in great masochistic bouts of jogging & dieting. All our pleasures & self-disciplines belong to us by Nature--we never deny ourselves, we never give up anything; but some things have given up on us & left us, because we are too large for them. I am both caveman & starfaring mutant, con-man & free prince. Once an Indian Chief was invited to the White House for a banquet. As the food passed round, the Chief heaped his plate to the max, not once but three times. At last the honky sitting next to him says, "Chief, heh-heh, don't you think that's a little too much?" "Ugh," the Chief replies, "little too much just right for Chief!"

Nevertheless, certain doctrines of "Futurology" remain problematic. For example, even if we accept the liberatory potential of such new technologies as TV, computers, robotics, Space exploration, etc., we still see a gap between potentiality & actualization. The banalization of TV, the yuppification of computers & the militarization of Space suggest that these technologies in themselves provide no "determined" guarantee of their liberatory use.

Even if we reject the Nuclear Holocaust as just another Spectacular Diversion orchestrated to distract our attention from real problems, we must still admit that "Mutual Assured Destruction" & "Pure War" tend to dampen our enthusiasm for certain aspects of the High-Tech Adventure. Ontological Anarchy retains its affection for Luddism as a tactic: if a given technology, no matter how admirable in potentia (in the future), is used to oppress me here & now, then I must either wield the weapon of sabotage or else seize the means of production (or perhaps more importantly the means of communication). There is no humanity without techne--but there is no techne worth more than my humanity.

We spurn knee-jerk anti-Tech anarchism--for ourselves, at least (there exist some who enjoy farming, or so one hears)--and we reject the concept of the Technological Fix as well. For us all forms of determinism appear equally vapid--we're slaves of neither our genes nor our machines. What is "natural" is what we imagine & create. "Nature has no Laws--only habits."

Life for us belongs neither to the Past--that land of famous ghosts hoarding their tarnished grave- goods--nor to the Future, whose bulbbrained mutant citizens guard so jealously the secrets of immortality, faster-than- light flight, designer genes & the withering of the State. Aut nunc aut nihil. Each moment contains an eternity to be penetrated--yet we lose ourselves in visions seen through corpses' eyes, or in nostalgia for unborn perfections.

The attainments of my ancestors & descendants are nothing more to me than an instructive or amusing tale--I will never call them my betters, even to excuse my own smallness. I print for myself a license to steal from them whatever I need--psychic paleolithism or high-tech--or for that matter the gorgeous detritus of civilization itself, secrets of the Hidden Masters, pleasures of frivolous nobility & la vie boheme.

La decadence, Nietzsche to the contrary notwithstanding, plays as deep a role in Ontological Anarchy as health--we take what we want of each. Decadent aesthetes do not wage stupid wars nor submerge their consciousness in microcephalic greed & resentment. They seek adventure in artistic innovation & non-ordinary sexuality rather than in the misery of others. The A.O.A. admires & emulates their sloth, their disdain for the stupidity of normalcy, their expropriation of aristocratic sensibilities. For us these qualities harmonize paradoxically with those of the Old Stone Age & its overflowing health, ignorance of hierarchy, cultivation of virtu rather than Law. We demand decadence without sickness, & health without boredom!

Thus the A.O.A. gives unqualified support to all indigenous & tribal peoples in their struggle for complete autonomy--& at the same time, to the wildest, most Spaced-out speculations & demands of the Futurologists. The paleolithism of the future (which for us, as mutants, already exists) will be achieved on a grand scale only through a massive technology of the Imagination, and a scientific paradigm which reaches beyond Quantum Mechanics into the realm of Chaos Theory & the hallucinations of Speculative Fiction.

As Rootless Cosmopolitans we lay claim to all the beauties of the past, of the orient, of tribal societies--all this must & can be ours, even the treasuries of the Empire: ours to share. And at the same time we demand a technology which transcends agriculture, industry, even the simultaneity of electricity, a hardware that intersects with the wetware of consciousness, that embraces the power of quarks, of particles travelling backward in time, of quasars & parallel universes.

The squabbling ideologues of anarchism & libertarianism each prescribe some utopia congenial to their various brands of tunnel-vision, ranging from the peasant commune to the L-5 Space City. We say, let a thousand flowers bloom--with no gardener to lop off weeds & sports according to some moralizing or eugenical scheme. The only true conflict is that between the authority of the tyrant & the authority of the realized self--all else is illusion, psychological projection, wasted verbiage.

In one sense the sons & daughters of Gaia have never left the paleolithic; in another sense, all the perfections of the future are already ours. Only insurrection will "solve" this paradox--only the uprising against false consciousness in both ourselves & others will sweep away the technology of oppression & the poverty of the Spectacle. In this battle a painted mask or shaman's rattle may prove as vital as the seizing of a communications satellite or secret computer network.

Our sole criterion for judging a weapon or a tool is its beauty. The means already are the end, in a certain sense; the insurrection already is our adventure; Becoming IS Being. Past & future exist within us & for us, alpha & omega. There are no other gods before or after us. We are free in TIME--and will be free in SPACE as well.

(Thanx to Hagbard Celine the Sage of Howth & Environs)

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