Caution: Wet Floor

Yesterday I watched a man walk into a shop and trip over the ‘Caution: Wet Floor’ sign. I pondered that perhaps a larger sign signalling the potential danger of the first sign might be an amusing addition, finally concluding that if we were to take all the danger out of life there would be no challenge to it.

 

Thank you for listening,

Mr X

 

 

all material © 2014

Play

Something I learned today was that in order to motivate the Korean soccer team to play better during the world cup their coach brought in Starcraft Brood War professional gamers to their locker room before they went out on the pitch in order that they might be directly inspired by their heroes.

This a fascinating fact came from a fascinating film. ‘Free To Play’ documents the first computer game tournament to have a top prize in excess of $1,000,000. It follows the lives of a handful of the individuals playing in the tournament, pitching them as the committed hopefuls they truly are. Their backgrounds each revealing varying degrees of support, exclusion and personal hardship that they had to confront and overcome (and in some cases use computer gaming to distract themselves from) in order to get a chance at the top prize.

The dream of professional gaming is pitched as a worthy one. As one participant remarks, “Getting the chance to be the best at something in life is a rare opportunity.” There is a palpable sense in that moment where one can feel every avid gamer across the land, stung with the prospect of success, sinks their imagination deep into a 6 figure bank account and prays to whatever Gods are capable of indulging them with the dexterity of mind and fingers that will lead them to the ultimate victory.

It is not that I am against dreaming. I still believe that I have what it takes to continue making a living as a creative filmmaker, the difference is that as delusional as I may or may not be I am not being sold the prospect by camera manufacturers.

‘Free to Play’ has been produced by Valve Corporation, a developer of digital games and a distributor – coincidentally they are the developers and distributors of DOTA2, the game around which the tournament in the film is played.

So the cynic in me has to ask the question, to what degree is this corporation marketing gaming as a sport and to what degree will it’s revenue streams increase in the next 10 years as a result? Or are they just identifying a trend and wanting to share the idea with us because, well because they are beneficent and who doesn’t want to hear a story of the individual surmounting the vicissitudes of life against the odds, especially when there is a over half a million quid waiting for you at the end of it. Just for playing computer games?

In defence of the filmmakers they are clear to say that we are not their yet. If you want to get paid you need to win, and keep winning, and their ain’t much going for you past 26, so don’t give up your day job just yet. There is no second league. But the whole thing feels like a long term pitch when one of the coaches mentions that when the gamers of today have children they will be far more inclined to encourage them to pursue a gaming career.

It still begs the question, how many jobs can a professional gaming industry support? Ticket prices for the DOTA2 international ranged between $99 and $499 dollars, and we are talking and arena with capacity for 17,000 people, plus merchandising, hot dogs and cleaners, well, you can do the math, but that is not what I mean. Sure the organises get rich and the staff will get a basic wage, but what I am curious about is the players. How many professional players can this industry support?

Clearly Valve will continue to make a decent living. More gamers playing more of their games on their distribution platform leads to more gamers playing games on their distribution platform.

Sadly I see this industry functioning like so many of the creative and sports industries, well, actually like any industry that isn’t based in a cottage. It is the committed that provide the resources and the energy that then gets harnessed by a few savvy producers and distributors. Like publishers with authors, financiers with filmmakers, record companies with musicians, invariably the same story persists. A handful of creatives make it rich and get held up as the bench mark of what can be achieved “Look at JK, woman’s a billionaire! Book about child wizards! Easy! What are you waiting for?” So while a few persist in attempting to second guess the next zeitgeist in fiction the rest subsist on the vapours that remain of their initial dreams to strive towards the pinnacle of their own creative expression until the harsh realities of life force them to ‘get a proper job.’

What is most telling for me is how stories such as these expose a notion of how society validates play in commercial terms: ‘Players of computer games can now earn $1,000,000. Therefore computer games are a valid use of time.’ And yes, money needs to be earned – or rather, more specifically, we need to convert labour into the material that will facilitate our survival. But are we here just to survive? Once we have learned to survive we naturally improve on the function of our survival and it’s meaning. We attempt to improve. This is the nature and foundation of prosperity, and play is an integral part of prosperity because with perpetual survival comes a sense of safety and security. Play facilitates exploration, and invention. When we loose it, or abandon it, or sacrifice it to survival we have lost an integral part of our capacity as a person: we become diminished. And collectively we have all the means necessary to survive and to prosper. What stops us is the imposed economic measures of governments, the interest rates of banks, the profiteering of megalithic corporations and, to a lesser degree, the lack of our own imaginations. But I digress.

This film does not validate gaming as a devise of play, of exploration, it validates gaming as a commercial enterprise. It validates commercialisation as a means of validation.

But it doesn’t just do that, regardless of how divisive it may or may not be, it does tell an interesting story. As ever, I’ll leave you to make up your own mind.

Definitely worth a watch.

 

Yours effusively,

Mr X

© all material 2014

Obsession

“Do not mistake having an obsession with having an Obsessional Personality Disorder. One is the expression of passion, the other, a passion for expression.”

Mr X

 

 

 

 

All material @ 2014

	

Sex, Food and Wine: Archeplasm part the Third

The greatest value I have found in knowing about the existence of Archeplasm is in the knowledge that all things generally have a potential beyond my initial observation. Beyond that there is little functional worth in defining Archeplasm any further so this shall be the last post on this specific subject (unless there is something I haven’t seen yet).

Archeplasticity as a term is valuable for identifying the ways in which a thing might have more potential, especially when it comes to absorbing and distributing symbolic meaning. I did consider a lengthy explanation of this but decided instead on a selection of images.

Remember: The degree to which something is Archeplastic is the degree to which one can perceive it as having other functions and/or a capacity to absorb and distribute meaning beyond what you might consider to be it’s primary purpose or nature. Brain drainWhich came first, the drain or the man. The question is: coincidence or design? (there is another connection with this image here too… )

Tangerine CandleOf course you can make a candle out of a tangerine!

SpoonoplaneEven a five year old can see the aeroplane in spoons and lolly sticks.

Face your teaToo obvious.

Sussex Food and WineSussex Food and Wine

 

Ever watchful,

Mr X

 

 

 

 

     All Material © 2014

 

Archeplasm. Part 2.

ArcheplasmLets get this straight, Archeplasm is everywhere. Being a neutrally charged mythoetheric substance it’s presence in the Universe is bound by  operators’ perceptions of it and their capacity to perceive the Archeverse that comes into being through it.

What does that mean?

To start with it means that when it is perceived it exists but when you try to look at it directly it disappears. Whether or not Archeplasm exists prior to it being perceived is a difficult question to answer, as is the question of whether it existed prior to it being discovered in the first place. As Archeplasm is raw potential one might conclude that it did, and for the sake of this philosophical enquiry we shall assume that that was indeed the case.

Because Archeplasm is raw potential it can never be observed directly in the universe, this is because as soon as we observe a thing we perceive it’s limitations, and though perceiving it’s limitations it looses it’s capacity to potentially be anything else. Only once one perceives the metanormality does one begin to glimpse the Archeplasm that it is, that it has come from, that it might become and that holds it all in place.

Because it is impossible to directly percieve it, other than through the imagination, Archeplasm is what is known as a mythoetheric substance. As such, the imagination is where we find it, from here we can experience it’s effects and attempt to explore or embody the fundamental principles of it’s nature, and in doing so broaden our comprehension of the universe. Which is no bad thing.

So how does this help improve your sense of wellbeing?

Well look, I never said anything about it improving your wellbeing did I? It might do, it might not. If you feel better thinking about it then I guess you have increased you sense of wellbeing. After all, it has that potential.

 

Indomitably yours,

Mr X

 

 

 

 

All Material ©2014

	

Archeplasm

An Archetype is a consistently recurring pattern. An archetype can be culturally specific or universal. Both the universal and the culturally defined types, while sharing enough common features to make them recognisable as consistently recurring patterns are fluidic enough to allow variants of meaning and value to the individual perceiving them.

Archeplasm is the medium that supports the manifestation of Archetypes, either singularly or as a functional melding of many. Specifically, Woman is archeplasmic in that woman contains the potential to be a mother. Man is archeplasmic in that he contains the potential to be a father.

Archeplasticity is the capacity of a person or a thing to act in an Archeplastic way, which is – to have the qualities of Archeplasm: The potential to manifest archetypes.

The greater a person or a things archeplasticity the greater their potential to become (or to appear to become) different; the greater their potential to mean different things.

Here is an example:

Christine McConnell
image courtesy of Christine McConnell

Domestic Goddess who makes Sinister Sweets

In real terms then, our ability to behave like Archeplasm enables us to be what we need to be, or what we want to be instead of trying to be what we think we should be, or might be. the more  Archeplastic we are the more we enable Archetypes to emerge through us do so without resistance.

Whether or not this is a good thing, I shall let you decide.

 

Bonne appétit,

Mr X

 

 

 

All Material © 2014

From The Great Walk: The Seven Dimensions of Walking


In ‘The Great Walk’ there is a notion that there are 7 dimensions – plains of conceptual and material reality through which one might filter their perception of the world. The following extract of text was included in the general section of all scripted participants (which was everyone but Phil). It detailed one of the most significant events in the history of the elite walking group and details the essential set of principles that they were to adopt in the years that followed.

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A Transcription of a Declaration by Anton Vagus on the Subject of the 7 Dimensions of the Walking State.

Transcribed by Lachlan Graves. Published Oxford 2002.

“I’ve been doing some thinking about walking, and I think that there are dimensions of walking; like we are walking dimensions; dimensions of walking…

Let me explain.

The first dimension is to imagine a journey. Also it is to journey in the mind, and also to journey with the mind.

The second dimension of walking is linear. It is what happens when one walks from A to B. Simply that. A to B. You feel thirst, you stand up, you walk to the place where you can satisfy your thirst. Do you see, A to B.  Two dimensions. The physical path may go round corners but in your mind you are following a single path. Do you understand?  Most people walking in two dimensions do not notice up and down, simply because they are focused on the need of their walking, not the act of walking. They do not see much of what is around them, they are too focused on the destination.

In the third dimension there is a widening of space, a widening of our conception of space, and also of our abilities to engage with space. It is to add the ‘up’ and the ‘down’ of the world. It is most clear as physical exploration, when we open ourselves to paths that are no longer restrained by need. A and B are just one axis. if A is where we are there are now an almost infinite number of B’s: an infinite number of destinations. Not only this there is now an almost infinite number of B’s there is the quality of C to add as well, which we might call elevation; up and down, through and under, and over. It is about  creating choice. It is also the state of over coming obstacles.

In the forth dimension we engage with time, with the context of the passage of time. To walk in this state is to comprehend the perspective of time. Think history, geology, archeology, all these things, ways of seeing, of thinking about time and it’s effects on the world. Remember you are a part of that, but remember that also you can look at it like you are only an observer of it.  If you place your focus there it is what happens when we think of effects, what were the causes of the things that we find around us, what will they cause in turn, what might we cause by being there in that moment, do you see, it is not just one thing. To walk in the forth dimension is to walk among the names of things.

Which leads me to the fifth dimension of walking. There is no me without you, no you without me. And we only exist against the backdrop of everything else, all those names, all those feelings. A universal unfolding in an individual incarnation. All the knowing and the being we perceive meets inside of us. The path of the fifth dimension of leads to the realm of the psyche. When we walk this path we become aware of how we intersect with the world, what do the names mean to us, why does the world make us feel the way we do, why do we notice some bits of it and not others, what happens when we force unexpected experiences upon ourselves, what then?   There are so many people trapped in the fifth dimension because it can seem like an end in itself. Some get fixated by their own reflections and miss the actual experience: they get stuck, lost in language and symbols. In the fifth we see the world as we are. To realise this moves us into the sixth because what we fear and desire are not things of the world but are things of ourselves, born from the currents of the mythological, the collective psyche, the collective unconscious, you know, the places inside us where the significance of the symbols overlap. To walk there is to walk in the Sixth Dimension, next to angels and demons. In this material lies madness. Those who have not prepared themselves, well… much of the world is trapped in collective delusions – so at least you won’t be on your own – but beware, to be stuck he is to be psychotic. Edge with care because when everything becomes significant, when everything becomes symbolic then one can loose control all too easily. Where those stuck in the fifth look inside for the answers and blame the world for what they find, those stuck in the sixth believe that it is the world giving them answers for which they then have to work out the right questions.

The path from here lies between fear and desire. Tread carefully.

To walk in the seventh dimension is to transcend all this talk of dimensions. It is to walk through the world embracing the unknown without thought of what has gone before. We can choose to engage with as many or as few of the other dimensions as we wish. The seventh dimension is liberation. To be free to walk in whatever way one chooses, wherever and whenever one chooses, however one chooses, for whatever reason… without causing harm.

I think that’s it.

Yes. That’s it.

Mmmm.

Anyone else fancy a Gelato?”

Anton Vagus.

Venice July 1997.

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All Material ©Clive Austin 2014