Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Unseen

incubus henry fuseli

from a Facebook page(the names have been changed , as you probably guessed):

Thora Larson
Do I consider myself a liberal? In the sense of being broad-minded, I do. (Of course, even the word Republican does not mean the same thing it did 100 years ago.) I do play devil's advocate, and I am an instigator of free thinking. The people who are in power (and I am talking about the Unseen, not the seen) are not Immoral so much as Amoral...they work on a whole different playing field as you or I.
2 hours ago

Guy Witherspoon and 4 others like this.

John Davenport: Well put my dear
8 hours ago ·

Doreen Cantwell: feelin' it
3 hours ago

Lori Griffith: Pretty much had this same discussion with a friend today about the Unseen as you put it. Couldn't agree
3 hours ago

Natalie Stephenson: Tune in, drop out.
3 hours ago

Guy Witherspoon: So you are saying that the "Unseen" are people?
2 hours ago

Thora Larson: People who do not bring attention to themselves in the limelight as rich and powerful...not GHOSTS bwahhh!

about an hour ago

Terri Ortega: Very well said!
about 18 minutes ago

Sandy Roberts
‎"They thrive on our misery. They are the eaters of souls." In Their gestalt what happens to or with Us is inconsequential.
17 minutes ago

Vonda Washington: I want to eat their souls and thrive on their misery.
12 minutes ago

Maybe it's not cricket to post this, even with the names changed, because outside of "FB" a different audience may look at the sentiments posted uncharitably, and if the real "Thora Larson" or some other person associated with this thread saw this in this different context maybe they would regard their own words differently. In Facebook people tend to do a lot of sarcastic blathering and don't necessarily mean what they say. It's practically expected, cool distancing irony being the mode du jour on Facebook for most participants in most public contexts, at least as far as I can tell. I posted this partly because it makes me think of the perennial schism between voters saying in polls that they distrust government and have a poor impression of the congress, et al, and the tendency of incumbents to get re-elected, over and over, as well as the tendency to see 'change', whether the Obama-copyrighted variety or any other, to always be a question of replacing the D with and R or the R with a D, or the D with another D, etc. I also wonder how many of these people voted for Obama and possibly disapprove of some of the things he has actually done, and yet still support him. And don't you wonder how do they feel about all those darn Wikileaks, making so many hitherto unseen things seen?

(Incidentally, why are "the Unseen" amoral? Isn't suggesting the Unseen operate under a different moral code, or beyond a moral code altogether, in effect saying they are some kind of Randian supermen, and we should sentimentalize them and be in grudging awe of them? Can't people who do immoral things be, in fact, immoral people? Is it uncouth or unseemly to suggest this?)

Having said that, I'll admit I find the concept of the Unseen fascinating. I suspect a lot of people look at things like this, and Thora Larson is onto something. It sounds a little like a medieval incubus, that surreptitiously sneaks into a maiden's chamber at night, as opposed to the strapping young lad next door. I suppose a Tea Partier might regard, say, George Soros as a manifestation of "the Unseen", while some liberal-ish progressive who reads Talking Points Memo or Digby might see the Unseen as the Koch brothers. Does one have to be right, and the other wrong, in order to properly think about these things? What if they're both wrong, or even worse, both right? And once you've seen the Unseen, then what do you do?

The Unseen also sounds an awful like "Don't hate the player, hate the game", something some tediously hip person once said, which always sounded to me like an excuse, accepting corrupt behavior in a system without examining one's complicity, nor the complicity of others who are seen.

Finally, to me the Unseen suggests a sort of Star Chamber to which politicians must go to get their instructions, and all we can possibly do for them, time and again. After all, it's not their fault for occupying the offices they hold, and doing the things they do, they're trying their best, but the Unseen are too powerful to resist. And it's not our fault for voting for them. We did the best we could, with the choices we were offered.

"U.S. secretly backed Syrian opposition groups, cables released by WikiLeaks show"

Glenn Greenwald, "Obama's "bad negotiating" is actually shrewd negotiating"

Joseph Stiglitz, The Guardian, "Meltdown: not just a metaphor"

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At April 25, 2011 6:37 PM, Blogger micah holmquist said...

I don't have any comment on your message, but I love the art work.

(I tried to read the FB text, but I couldn't make it through it.)

At April 25, 2011 9:31 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Hi Micah, It's Henry Fuseli's "The Nightmare", late 1700s.

For the longest time I thought it was by William Blake. To me the imagery seems to anticipate Freud, about 120 years early.

At April 26, 2011 8:52 AM, Anonymous ms_xeno said...

I could understand this POV as a rationale for not voting at all. But most of these people will just keep punching the buttons for D, with occasional time outs to sneer at anyone who --dog forbid-- goes for the G or the S or a write-in. Knowing this, it's hard for me to take their opinions seriously.

At April 26, 2011 2:38 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Hi Ms Xeno, I'm inclined to agree with you. I don't know if the participants vote regularly, and I didn't have access to be able to ask- although maybe that's just as well.

I do think, as I think you are implying, that simply not voting is something one for which you can make a rational case.

I've long thought that, ironically, it's precisely the elections that most regular voters skip in which regular people are more likely to make a difference by participating. You know, the boring old municipal and county elections that often have 25% or less turnout most places.

At April 27, 2011 10:46 AM, Anonymous ms_xeno said...

Yeah, Jonathan, I tend to agree. I get drawn into it again and again because OR is such a ballot-measure mill. Well, that, and I'm hopelessly sentimental. But at least I haven't badgered anyone else for not voting in a long, long time. :/


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