Pareidolia

Came across Pareidolia Pics. A twitter feed that specialises in these phantom pictures.

Pareidolia.
1. The imagined perception of a pattern or meaning where it does not actually exist. As in considering the moon to have human features.
2. From the words para. And eidolon.
Pa·ra.
1. From the Persian pāra. Literally. Piece.
2. A prefix appearing in loanwords from Greek. Most often attached to verbs and verbal derivatives. With the meanings “at or to one side of. Beside. Side by side.”
Ei·do·lon.
1. An unsubstantial image. Apparition. Phantom.
2. An ideal. Or idealized figure.

: )

Nihilism

Another interesting word to consider.

Ni·hil·ism
1. From the Latin. Nihil. Meaning nothing.
2. A complete denial of all established authority and institutions.
3. An extreme form of scepticism that systematically rejects all values. Belief in existence. The possibility of communication.
4. A revolutionary doctrine of destruction for its own sake.
5. The practice or promulgation of terrorism.

The first rule of fight club is… you do not talk about fight club!

What makes him rebel?

I am working on Carrion. Trying to understand Adam’s motivations. By the end of the story the war on drugs has escalated into civil war. So what makes Adam go from policeman to rebel. First things first. What is a rebel? An initial interpretation might focus on those individuals navigating the trials of adolescence. Setting themselves in opposition to the values of parental authority. But this understanding falls too closely to the unfocused rebellion epitomised by Marlon Brando in The Wild Ones. “Hey. Johnny. What are you rebelling against?” To wit Johnny relies. “What’ve you got?” It’s hard to see this as anything more than petulant defiance. Brando’s rebellion is the rebellion of the outsider. And possesses a nihilism that is an anathema to Adam. His rebellion is the rebellion of someone standing in opposition to something. He becomes a participant in an insurrection. A violent uprising against the government. He is a rebel as defined by his opposition to a specific set of values. So what forces this change? If Christopher Vogler (in The Writer’s Journey) is to be believed he must experience death. Only by experiencing death “is he able to return to ordinary life reborn as a new being with new insights.” So what is dying? To understand this I think we have to go back to his upbringing. Until he was fifteen Adam was an only child. Like Christine he was the sole beneficiary of his parents resources. But when his father lost his job. They ended up living in a bed and breakfast. Despite their impoverished circumstance his parents did their best. He could see them doing their best. And reciprocated. Because of their attention he was an articulate child. Reflecting their values. Exhibited a strong sense of what is right and wrong. An obedience to social authority. And a sense of duty. That’s why he joined the army. He didn’t want to get into the debt associated with obtaining a university education. He didn’t want to burden his parents. Or his infant sister. By demanding financial assistance. The army was the logical choice. When they were killed in 2007. Their values motivated him to buy himself out of the army. Return to the family home. And take care of Christine. Joining the police was a sideways move. That fitted his sense of duty. So what makes him reject the values he had lived by. And take up arms against the government. Against the war on drugs. It would have to be something that kills his understanding of the world as he knew it. And forces his rebirth. No single event could cause this. It must be a series of events that build. Ultimately reversing his understanding. There is a conflict between the sense of duty he feels towards authority. And the sense of duty he feels towards his sister. What makes him rebel? I think he comes to see the war on drugs as unfair. And all that word implies. He comes to understand that no matter what Christine and her peers have done. They do not deserve what is being done to them. They do not deserve the plague of insect that are killing them. Ultimately his rebellion is an attempt to right a wrong. And save his sister.

Rebellion

Been thinking about the word rebellion today. Was interested by it’s meaning and etymology.

Re·bel·lion
1. From the Latin. Rebelliō. Revolt of those conquered.
2. Organized resistance or opposition to a government or other authority.
3. Dissent from an accepted moral code or convention of behaviour.

Interestingly an armed but limited rebellion is defined as an insurrection. If the established government does not recognize the rebels as belligerents then they are insurgents. In a larger conflict the rebels may be recognised as belligerents without their government being recognised by the established government. In which case the conflict becomes a civil war.

Christine Leigh

Christine Leigh is a character in Carrion. She is Adam Leigh’s younger sister. I settled on the name Christine for several reasons. The name comes from the Latin word Christianus. Meaning follower of Christ. Christ is the Greek translation of the Hebrew word “Messiah”. The messianic etymology of the name counterpoints the negative image that defines Christine’s status in Carrion as a drug user. It can also be shortened to Chris. Giving her character a certain androgyny. Born in 1995. She was two when her brother joined the army. In the years that followed she saw him occasionally. His absence from the family home meant she actually grew up an only child. The sole beneficiary of her parents emotional. Physical. And financials resources. The constant attention. Lead to a strong willed girl. Sensitive to disapproval. Denied competition from a sibling. She exhibits a certain possessiveness with her time. Space. And belongings. Perfectly happy to spend time alone. Fiercely loyal. She prefers the company of a few close friends. To the superficial connections exhibited by her extrovert peers. Strongly dependant on her parents for emotional support. She is devastated by their deaths in 2007. The forced separation. That under normal circumstances would have been difficult enough. Is even more traumatic. The resistance normally associated with early adolescence. Jams up against the push for freedom. And propensity for conflict associated with middle adolescence. That in turn jams up against the need to try more adult activities associated with late adolescence. Adam. Who shared his sisters emotional proclivities. Took the full force of the turmoil. Out of his depth. He found himself unable to offer her anything but the most material support. Her grief. Coupled with her unrequited emotional needs. Forces a distance. That manifested itself as anger. The growing pains of adolescence. Compounded by her strong will. Lead to escalating conflicts with Adam. They would argue. Constantly. Sometime over the most trivial things. To escape the conflicts. She would go out. Spend hours hunkered down with friends. Wandering the streets. Or hiding in her room. Anything but deal with Adam. And what he represented. Her dead parents. By the time she was fifteen she had started drinking. By the time she was sixteen she was a regular in the local clubs. By the time she was seventeen recreational drug use was a regular part of her life. With hindsight her behaviour was was direct challenge to her brothers position as a police officer. Suspecting she was using drugs. He searched her room. Found the evidence he was looking for. And confronted her. The argument that followed escalated into violence. And she stormed out. By the time she was seventeen Christine was living independently. She lived for a while with some friends. Got a job working in a shop. Late in 2011 she met Stephen Joseph. By early 2012 they were living together. Supplementing what income they had from regular jobs. By supplying the pills. And powders. That fuelled their weekend. To close friends. Stephen’s dealing was small scale. Never out in the open. Never to strangers. But it was enough to attract the attention of drug eating insects.

Adam Leigh

Adam Leigh is a character in Carrion. His forename comes from early research I did into drugs. Adam is a colloquialism for MDMA or ecstasy. In the early seventies scientists researching MDMA’s use in psychotherapy nicknamed the drug “Adam”. Referring to the state of “primal innocence” induced by the drug. Adam’s surname is a derivation of the name Lee. William Lee was a pseudonym used by William S. Burroughs. I am interested in his work. Took some inspiration from his first book Junkie. And wanted to reference the mise-en-scène of his life and writing. Leigh is an oblique reference to drugs. Adam Leigh was born in 1980. When Carrion starts he is in his early thirties. Why? Because that makes him old enough to have some understanding of the world. Made some mistakes in life. Have a weariness about him. But still young enough to be engaged. It’s still possible for him to see the world differently. As a young man starting out. He was unwilling to saddle himself with the debts associated with obtaining a university education. Why? Because as a child he saw first hand the damage debt can do. In the financial collapse of the 1980’s his father was made redundant. Out of work. He was unable to pay the mortgage on the council house they had bought in Thatcher’s right to buy scheme. The bank repossessed. But because they had technically made themselves homeless by defaulting on the mortgage. The council refused to rehouse them. They ended up living in bed and breakfast. Until his father was able to get job in a local supermarket. Adam watched the experience take its toll on his parents. And vowed never to put himself in that same position. So in his late teens. When his contemporaries were starting university. Adam joined the army. He thought whatever skills he learned in the service. Would stand him in good stead when he returned to civilian life. Early in 2002 he saw combat in Afghanistan. Where he was wounded. An improvised explosive device detonated in close proximity. Killed one his comrades. And left Adam with shrapnel scars across his back. During his recovery. He met and married a local teacher Joan. Their marriage only lasted a couple of years. She was unable to deal with the rigours of life as an army wife. A tour of duty took him away for several months soon after their wedding. And when he returned. Carrying the weight of post traumatic stress disorder. His emotional distance pushed a wedge between them. The final straw came when Adam transferred into the military police. And was forced to relocate. Joan refused to follow him. The move would damage her career. They finally divorced in 2005. Adam dedicated himself to his work. Until 2007. When his parents were killed in a car crash. Their death forced him to take guardianship of his baby sister Christine. Born in 1995. She was two years old when Adam joined up. She knew him only as an occasional visitor. And saw him more as a distant uncle than a brother. In the months that followed Adam bought himself out of the army. Moved back into the family home with Christine. And joined the Metropolitan Police. He tried to offer her stability. But the grief of loosing her parents. The tribulations of adolescents. And his dedication to his work. Meant Adam found her difficult to deal with. A growing resentment developed between them. The older she got. The more defiant she became. Until finally. In the summer of 2012. She moved in with her drug dealing boyfriend. Angry. Adam was left with an unresolved sense of guilt that he did not do better by her. A year later. And they are on opposite sides of the war on drugs. No closer to resolving their differences. Until drug eating insects attack Christine’s boyfriend.

Insurgent

I have heard this word used ad infinitum without truly understanding it.

In·sur·gent
1. From the Latin insurgēns. Rising upon or against. From insurgere. To rise up. From surgere. To rise.
2. Rebellious or in revolt. As against a government in power or the civil authorities.
3. A person who takes part in an uprising or rebellion. Insurrectionist.
4. In international law. A person or group that rises in revolt against an established government or authority but whose conduct does not amount to belligerency.

It is interesting to me that the insurgent does not amount to belligerency. That is. The insurgent is not engaged in a legally recognised war.

People convinced of their superiority

In my last post I finished with a quote from Richard Lawrence Miller’s book Drug Warriors and Their Prey. “People convinced of their superiority rescue a country threatened from within.” This could be what John Truby calls the designing principle of Carrion. But what does Miller mean when he says “people convinced of their superiority?” Again I find myself going back to the dictionary. The word superiority. And its precursor superior. Superior means greater in quality. Of high or extraordinary worth. Higher in rank or status. Displaying a conscious sense of being above or better than others. For me Miller’s aphorism implies a small group of people. But a small group of people doesn’t explain the mandate asserted by the government. Could it be the attitudes of this small group are disseminated through? And followed by? The larger body of the population? If that is the case? Democracy has been inverted. The government doesn’t represent the view of the majority. The majority re-presents the views of the government. Which leads me to the question. Why are drug users singled out? Why are they treated with such hostility? Why are they vilified? The conclusion I have come to is that drug users function as the other. The outsiders. The threat. The group over there to be feared. The irony is. The people convinced of their superiority need drug users. They maintain their position “inside” by identifying drug users position as “outside”. And from their position inside. They are able to blame drug users for the ills of society. If this is the case. The question for drug users is. How do you fight them? Do you expose their hypocrisies? Expose the machinery of prohibition? Or do you match might with might? And fight back? My feeling is these people are so entrenched in their opinions. So hardened in their position. So convinced of their superiority. Nothing will shake them. They will only respond to force. A force equal to the animosity they show towards drug users. The implication of this is horrifying. Because the only way to stop them. Is to destroy them.

What is prohibition really about?

I have been working through some ideas for Carrion. And asked myself a question. What is prohibition really about? As I am prone to do when I am trying to understand something. My first port of call is a dictionary. And the word prohibition. Prohibition is the act of prohibiting or state of being prohibited. An order or decree that prohibits. To prohibit is to forbid an action or activity by authority or law. Essentially prohibition is control. And control means to exercise restraint or direction over. Dominate. Command. To hold in check. Or curb. So prohibitions function within our society is to control. But control what? On the face of it prohibition controls the manufacture. Transportation. And sale of a prescribed set of substances. Namely drugs. But it also controls behaviour. Prohibition controls an individuals right to make a choice. Good or bad. To take a certain action. That is. Take a specific drug. A question comes to mind. Why do they want to control what individuals do? At this point I think it is necessary to understand who I mean by “they”. They are the government. That group of people we elect to represent us. If that is the case? Why aren’t the views of the drug taker represented? I presume the argument would come back that we live in a democracy. And the majority think drug taking is bad. But why? Why do they think taking drugs are bad? When every culture I can think of takes drugs in one form or another. Putting that to one side. Another question comes to mind. If these are the same majority/government who allow individuals to choose to smoke and drink? Why can’t that same majority/government allow individuals to choose to take drugs. Rebuttals might sight the addictive nature of drugs. But the drugs that are currently prohibited are no more or less addictive than cigarettes or alcohol. Individuals get into just as much trouble with legal substances as they do with those prohibited. If the majority/government can allow people to make a choice. And take the risk of doing cigarettes or alcohol. Why can’t they allow individuals to make the choice and take the risk of taking drugs? Logic dictates that they can. But they don’t. Why don’t they? The answer I keep coming back to is that it is less about what people take. And more about the act of taking. Prohibition isn’t about the substance. Prohibition is about controlling what people do. While I think this is an argument for the abolition of prohibition. It doesn’t answer the question. Who actually controls the machine of prohibition? A glimpse can perhaps be found in the preface of Richard Lawrence Miller’s Drug Warriors and Their Prey: From Police Power to Police State. “People convinced of their superiority (seek to) rescue a country threatened from within.” What is prohibition really about? I think it’s about power. It’s a machine that allows the state to control its population.

Paramour

Came across the word paramour today. Knew it. But never really understood it. Was interested by it’s meaning and etymology.

Par·a·mour.
1. An archaic word for beloved. Circa 1300. From the Old French. Literally. Through love.
2. A lover. Especially one in an adulterous relationship.
3. Now usually derogatory. A lover. Especially an adulterous woman.
4. A woman’s lover. Fancy man. Lover. A significant other to whom you are not related by marriage.
5. A woman who cohabits with an important man. Kept woman. Mistress. Fancy woman. An adulterous woman. A woman who has an ongoing extramarital sexual relationship with a man. Odalisque. A woman slave in a harem. Concubine. Courtesan. Doxy.

Interesting how it goes from the Old French. Through love. To doxy. A word I associate with the hard talking dialogue of Film Noir. That turns out is slang for a sexually promiscuous woman.