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Klaatu Barada Nikto = Cash

edited September 2006 in Simulacra

I've decided that I'm quite thoroughly done with work, at least as it's currently structured.

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The early rising, the commuting the forced socializing, the near constant worries about job longevity...it has all become a bit too much.

Not being wealthy – or the relative of a wealthy person – this weariness puts me in a rough spot: I must work to live but working makes living far less enjoyable.

It's at times like these that having the tool making, problem solving brain of a talking monkey (instead of, say, a Praying Mantis mind, with its singular concerns) proves to be an advantage.

The type of mind evolution equipped us with is an important consideration; both because of its problem solving capacity and its emotional needs which form the basis of my get rich (eventually) scheme.

Some, such as American “self-help” maestro Wayne Dyer have traveled the royal road from flat broke to Ferrari dealership visitor by telling people able to write hefty checks, relentlessly, that nearly all their problems exist solely within their heads. Change your thoughts and the rest will follow.

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As cause and effect theories go, this one's fairly limited and falls rather short of the dependent origination ideas Siddartha chatted about quite some time ago (for example, I imagine it would be easy to find an Iraqi or two who might blame American ordinance for their woes and not a lack of happy thoughts).

Still, when it comes to feeding the mind (and making a handsome profit) adherence to reality is a secondary consideration at best. This is the secret of George, “The Power of Nightmares” Bush's political success in the United States.

As attractive as the self-help guru route is, it's not for me. Standing on a stage for hours with a wireless headset mic roughly mixing Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism and Christianity (Islam is always left out of the party) in a tongue blender and producing a philosophical pastiche would annoy.

Also, it's not nearly ambitious enough.

No, the real money is in religion. The most obvious choice is evangelical Xtian huckster – dire warnings of eternal damnation unless my audience repents and constant requests for “financial gifts to help this ministry move forward.”

Yes, that's the most obvious choice but not the one I'm fond of.

What I want to do is start an entirely new religion, one based upon an idea so absurd and outrageous it's bound to attract followers simply through sheer audacity.

My new religion is Klaatuianism.

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According to Klaatuianists (a group whose membership consists, at the moment, of just me – but our membership and marketing people – by which I also mean me - are hopeful for explosive growth) the 1951 movie “The Day the Earth Stood Still” is not merely an important early sci fi film based upon Harry Bates' story “Farewell to the Master” but a fictionalized version of actual events (what Americans used to call a docu-drama) that have been covered up by the CIA, NSA, MI6, train spotters and various other shadowy groups.

The Klaatuian inner council – again, just me...for now – understand the film's hidden meanings and critical importance to life's profound mysteries.

These mysteries will be revealed – for a fee, of course – to seekers looking to unlock the “Klaatu Within” (catchy slogan).

...

Already I'm picturing myself behind the wheel of a new Ferrari.

Comments

  • Count me in mate...I was named after Michael Rennie, my mother says...not from this movie though, but, close enough.
    I can still remember the THRILL of the opening scenes as the ship arrives.
    The problem I see is that the film is too good to work as religion...you need real crap to excite an idiot. I would suggest a film like 'Battlefield Earth'.....no, wait a minute...

    As for work, yuk. The beauty of living in Australia is the welfare system...when used intelligently. I live well, my needs are simple, no more car, horrible things...I walk a lot, exercise with a purpose. All I needed to do was convince the authorities that I am crazy. I must be a good actor because that was easy!
  • Ah yes, I've heard about Australia's welfare system.

    From where I'm sitting at the moment - here in the US, land of ambitious plans, short memories and hybrid Santa/Jesus displays come Christmas time - that holds a certain attraction.

    And speaking of the opening sequence of Day the Earth Stood Still...

    You can watch that, and the whole film besides, at Google Video (perhaps Google is our new God).
  • Was Jesus the first self-help guru? I suppose the Buddha takes the crown, although perhaps teaching others about the lack of selfhood must count him out.

    Adam Curtis' earlier documentary "The Century of the Self" explores this concept further, in particular from its Freudian inception onwards. It comes to a head for me in the multiplicating realities of modern commercial culture; give everyone their own slogon, brand and pigeon hole. The ultimate of questions has always been 'Who am I?' but now we define it by the potential of your manufactured, branded, packaged, commercial identities. What this society needs is not one self help guru, but an army of them, each one tailored to the needs of a pie-slice chunk of society.

    I like your idea of your own religious group. Maybe we should all have one. Maybe someone will come up with a way to mass produce them. Maybe religious branding could be the revolution our cultures deserve. Maybe a job as an advertising executive wouldn't be so bad afterall...
  • Mmm...I'm intrigued by the way that Klaatu's people gave up their free will to the technology manifest in Gort. They seem to have created their god and given up their responsibility for their destiny. Perhaps we should worship Gort?
    The question is still 'Who am I'...Dan seems to be looking for the ways we answer the question. Who or what do we allow to define us? The line from R.A.Wilson comes to mind...a man with no horse, no wife, and no moustache...a man lacking the standard signs of manhood...is he still a man? Or more, or less? I've got to think within my gender right now...
    Gurus were probably the first self-help gurus, which takes us back to the oral culture of the Vedas, which was old when Siddartha was a pup.
    No, wait a moment...we have to go back to the origins of culture don't we? To the first homonids to teach their offspring...then again, aren't there other species that do that, even if only a little bit?

    Who do I want to be, Klaatu or Gort? Who knows what the robots get up to when the organics aren't looking?
  • I think I’d be content to live in a log cabin on a beach somewhere tropical, just auto-didactically feeding myself on pages upon pages of books ala Joseph Campbell... I’d subsist on a diet of freshly caught fish, freshly grown vegetables, cannabis, and an apple tree. Feel free to build a cabin next to mine!
  • edited September 2006
    What?:

    I'm intrigued by the way that Klaatu's people gave up their free will to the technology manifest in Gort. They seem to have created their god and given up their responsibility for their destiny. Perhaps we should worship Gort?

    .....................

    Yes, I've always interpreted that part of the story to mean that Klaatu's people reached a point of development where they stopped pretending they could overcome destructive tendencies and surrendered the means to commit violent acts into the impartial hands of sentient machines - the ultimate "blue helmets".

    We believe our troubling impulses can be educated or bred or socially engineered or genetically manipulated out of us.

    Klaatu's folk threw their hands up (presumably, after centuries of failed utopian projects) and said: "look, we're cock-ups, and liable to kill ourselves - let's turn the keys to the nukes over to these robots and get on with making a civilization sans the threat of warfare."

    If strong AI becomes a reality, this might be an option for our descendents (with, no doubt, unlooked for consequences).


    One interpretation, at any rate.
  • Yes, they have recognised their Jungian shadow and fled from it. After a life time spent failing to integrate my Jeckle (?) and Hyde halves I would happily join Orphusi in the land of the lotus eaters. Plenty of room in Far North Queensland, although it is starting to fill up with dreadlocked ferals, gort bless them, drumming away with absolutely no sense of rythym.
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