Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Duality of Modernity

One way to begin to understand the Age of Modernity, not gone yet but at its height between 1875 and 1965, is to notice its overwhelming emphasis on reducing complex reality to a simple "clearcut" duality.

It was a duality that began as purely descriptive (normal and abnormal) but quickly became normative (right and wrong).

Duality as in "clearcut" differences, divisions, boundaries, hierarchies --- the sense that all reality consisted of clearly separated entities that had clearcut external boundaries and limits and that ideally, as little touching between entities as possible was always best.

No mixing - above all no mixing of the races - but the no-mixing rule hardly began and stopped there.

So for example, there was no acceptance of  the then currently-existing reality of a wide diversity of sexual activities, as most of us today accept it.

Instead, Moderns insisted that there was just normal sex, between a married man and woman of the same race (religion/ethnicity/class) --- and all the rest was simply abnormal, if not actual criminal.

There was my religion, the true religion, and all the rest were heretic, in some degree or other.

Only the northern European protestant nations and their offshoots were capable of being truly civilizied - the rest were simply subordinate.

Fit and unfit.

White versus darkies, with the wogs beginning at Calais.

There were simply very manly men and very feminine women - no others were allowed.

There was solid dry matter and  clean wet flowing water - anything in between dangerously threatened to break down the firm separations of the dualist Modernist mind.

One of the main sites of such dangerous ambiguities was of course are our own dark and dank regions 'below the belt'.

Urine, at least as long as it was clear and not not thick clouded and smelly was relatively okay.

Not okay were the thick sticky-wet stinky substances found there like semen, vaginal excretions, sweat and poop.

They all seemed to lie in a dangerous middle range of  not being firmly dry matter or freely flowing clear water.

Klaus Theweleit's 1987 MALE FANTASIES was the first to bring attention to the pronounced fear of our sticky wet bodily functions in our nether regions, particularly those of women, that he found in the writings of the pre-fascist German Freikorps of the Weimar Era - the forerunners of the Nazis.

While Theweleit's abundant quotes from the men concerned about their fears of floods and the subsequent dissolving of  their hard tight bodies convinced many, I don't recall him quoting them on a related fear that was at least as big in the fascist hierarchy of mental terrors.

Don't be to dismiss any factual basis for this fear of flooding.

For floods don't just rush about streets, they can also dissolve grassy soil embankments in an instant.

I once saw this happen in my home town of Dartmouth in the aftermath of a big hurricane and it is a sight that will haunt me into the grave.

It was almost uncannily life-like in the way the waters seemed to literally eat the embankment away in seconds.

Nevertheless I argue the Nazis' biggest fear was actually another form of dissolving ; not dissolving AWAY but dissolving from WITHIN.

Foreign born armies dissolve from without, a native born Fifth Column dissolves from within.

Modernity arose with Germ Theory and drank deep of its gospel that tiny invisible individuals could be a deadly killer within your body - or state.

While bacteria - Hitler's bacillus - are  big dissolvers of solid flesh, this activity usually remains invisible to all but doctors and nurses.

Not so the fungus molds, highly visible dissolvers of solid  flesh and solid matter : hollowing out a dead soldier in a forest so his form remains but he is almost empty inside.

Molds are the most visible aspect of the decomposition, decay, dissolving of life after death ; a dreaded wet, slimy slippery smelly reminder that we all die and fade into nothingness.

Neither solid nor water - a shape-changing jelly like mish-mash..

Hitler focused on calling the Jews the fungus growth killing the Aryan race from within - sometimes he called them maggots or bacteria - but always his point was that they decomposed the solid tight united Aryan Race.

But it was clear that German-born socialists, feminists, homosexuals, Romas all were viewed through the same prism.

This fear among the Modernist against their carefully constructed world of duality being dissolved away by awkward facts was near universal.

A spectacular example in the English-speaking world was horror story pioneer HP Lovecraft and his fear of Jews and dissolving and of fantastic fungus-monsters.

It is worth remembering that the ever-dissolving fungus mold was much more visible in those years of dank homes and before preservatives for everything : everybody routinely saw green mold on bread and food and on leather goods, perhaps even running up and down the walls of bathrooms.

This is  the real reason why Dr Martin Henry Dawson's suggestion to put actual wet green slimy penicillium mold fungus into the human bloodstream, desecrating the human temple, was so harshly dismissed by the world's entire medical and scientific community.

They claimed that it was because humans simply had to make the stuff faster, cheaper, safer, cleaner, less smelly, less slimy by chemical synthesis, yielding a dry white crystal, but that is a lie.

Perhaps an unconscious lie they made to their subconscious, but a lie nonetheless.

1945 : Diversity replaces Dominance

This is why 1945's venerating the slimy smelly green penicillium as "humanity's greatest savior ever" (coupled with the white civilizations delivering the death-delivering Bomb, instead of a life-saving white crystal) marks the true beginning of the end of the age of duality.

In the future duality would be increasingly replaced by diversity.

And why 1945 marks the beginning of the end of Modernity...

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