Walter Benjamin called capitalism “a religion of deconstruction.”
Disbelief in any spiritual reality is also a belief system.
To the “rational materialist” mind, death is the end of everything; this thought feeds its rage against nature...
“Capitalism is probably the first instance of a cult that creates guilt, not atonement... the nature of the religious movement which is capitalism entails the endurance right to the end, to the point where God, too, finally takes on the entire burden of guilt, to the point where the universe has been taken over by that despair which is actually its secret hope. Capitalism is entirely without precedent, in that it is a religion which offers not the reform of existence but its complete destruction. It is the expansion of despair, until despair becomes a religious state of the world in the hope that this will lead to salvation.”
Heroin addiction, or overdose, is often a response to an inexpressible spiritual emergency. My friend R, as well as other friends who died from heroin, suffered from a spiritual crisis, a moral abyss. R turned to heroin because it was a way out, a simple, straightforward mean of escape from the labyrinth created by his wealth, his terror, and his desperation. It was a capitulation to the ideology of destruction. Like me, he had no access to any kind of faith. He had no means of expressing a transcendental impulse—except self-obliteration. Like many users of the drug, inspired by the nihilist background noise of our culture, he romanticized the agent of his doom.
If the event can be reduced to one single concept, it is “transformation”: transformation of consciousness, transformation of artistic creativity into ecstatic communion, of sculptures into flames and ash, is the invisible force of electricity into a depth-defying game, of all kinds of energy into each other.
Above all, transformation of the self.
“New York—a city without foreplay,” he said, “when you arrive there, there is no lubrication, no hesitation. Hey just give it to you straight.”
“This is the center of everything that’s going on right now, all of the progress. You are seeing the best form of it here.” Ken Goldberg a robotics expert.
“This is the epicenter of a free Culture.” Mark Pesce the inventor of VRML
... his fellow psychonaut could only describe it as “thermonuclear contact with the Devine.”
Was this anything like the sixties?
“This is so much better than the sixties. So much less self-indulgent and desperate, so much more restrained.” Barlow answered. “What you have here is a large group of people trying to practice unconditional love for strangers, and, for the most part, succeeding.”
“I found out there is a way your consciousness can go beyond what we call Now, and I rode the shockwave of inverse time.” Danger Ranger
A tribesmen’s religious life “had a single aim: to keep the land the way it was and should be.” Bruce Chatwin
Modern culture, devoted to mercantilism, industrialism, and scientific progress, enforced a sharp distinction between sleep and waking, idleness and productivity, childhood and adulthood, human consciousness and the nonsentient world of nature. The existence of numerous orders of conscious beings—beings that could show themselves upon occasion, but most often appeared in certain ecstatic states or in dreams—was adamantly denied by both church and states.
It’s easy to forget that, while we are awake, we are constantly submerged in different levels of awareness—semi-conscious states in which we daydream, space out, or watch advertisements, concentrate without attention; are “distracted by distraction.”