"The goddess rescues a tree that has fallen in a river, plants it in her garden. The plan is to let it grow big and strong, then make 'a chair and a couch' from the wood. Maybe a chariot and a comfy spot for our world-weary guests to sit. But the tree becomes too big for its lederhausen, and gets all polluted with demons.
The demons are all symbols of divinity, mistaken for the divinity they symbolify. The serpent, symbol of the divinization of rationality. Also the shape-shifting bird. And lillith, representing the image of the transcendent ineffable itself, mistaken for the divinity which presents it, the divinity which it is a presentation of.
Gil gets the serpent out, the bird flies off to the mountain, lillith moves to the desert, and the tree can be cut down. For all of his effort the goddess gives him a gift, a pikku and miku made from the tree. Translators seem to favor drum and drumsticks for pikku and miku, but I think it is open to interpretation as tablet and qalam, or stylus. She gives him writing materials.
He loses them in the underworld,"
Free associating from the roko's basilisk thread. Lillith's flight to the desert brings to mind the woman clothed with the sun standing on the moon in the revelation of John. She flys to the desert to escape the dragon, her child "who was to rule the nations with an iron rod" escapes too, "taken up to god." To the mountain, like the shapeshifting bird.
From the flight to the desert we can freely associate in many directions, it is a popular mythological theme. Sometimes it's the child who is hidden in the desert. Maybe a gazelle takes care of it, watches over it, feeds it.
I think the gilgamesh story above also has certain parallels with the story of odin receiving the runes. There is the motif of the tree, and the gift of writing. No desert in that one, though. Maybe the nine days of hanging upside down on the tree is representative of the hardships of suffering in desert-like harsh conditions. Then again, the frozen bleak landscape which is the setting of the myth is certainly desert-like enough.
Now the child with the iron rod might suggest thor with his hammer. The image finally settles on monkey from journey to the west, with his 'as you will' cudgel. We'll allow the rod to symbolize with the polestar, at the center of the turning sky. But we'll have to come back to monkey some other time.
While we're on the subject of revelations, here's something from 1 Enoch, who recently made an appearance in the haunted thread: "…. And they became pregnant and bore large giants, and their height (was) three thousand cubits. These devoured all the toil of men, until men were unable to sustain them. And the giants turned against them in order to devour men. And they began to sin against birds, against animals, and against reptiles and against fish, and they devoured one another’s flesh and drank the blood from it. Then the earth complained about the lawless ones.”
I have a difficult time not reading the giants as the incorporation of mass production by industrial machinery. Like Enoch saw it coming somehow, I guess. I freely associate here back to the book "Life against Nature: The Goldberg Circle and the Search for a Non-catastrophic Politics." I posted a link to a selection from it in the 'what are you reading now' thread.
"[A] machine is not a tool [Werkzeug] for Caspary, a “means of production” used since “it saves time”.113 On the contrary, the machine is “not, like the tool, a simple means for the production, but also at the same time its motor”.114 It is an apparatus that is created together with and even for the world market. This is important, because the machine, as the physical motor of the specifcally capitalist mode of production of surplus value, is not produced because it saves time but “since it can produce more products” than a tool in a specifc period of time.115 “The machine”, Caspary clarifes “also saves time — for each single product that can be produced fasterwith machines than without them”, but that is“not its utility”.116 Its utility is to make an industrialised world market possible and thereby the time saved by the machines produce the need for new labour in orderto uphold this factory system. Thus, Caspary continues: “If the demand remained the same, that is, if the production fgure remained the same, the machine would not be proftable, because it saves too much time for the individual product. The machine produces so fast that in the case of constant demand, the production of the machine itself would take more time than the non- mechanical production of goods”.117 This implies (1) that the machine is impossible without a global infrastructure that has the market and the explicit goal of accumulation for accumulation’s sake as its condition of possibility, and (2) the machine is not built to make work easier for workers per se, even if this may be its indirect consequence, but in order to be the motor for the production of more and more commodities in a specifc time period.
These two points are essential, since they imply that Caspary’s argument diverges in significant ways from those Marxists who primarily view the machine as an instrument that saves necessary labour through out the whole history of capital. Against this position, he writes that “the machine is produced economically as surplus value, that is, the production of machines does not have the character of ‘necessary’ but surplus labour. The machine did not emerge due to the pressure to save necessary labour, it emerged because the army of free workers that was not used for the necessary labour (for the reproduction of the goods needed for survival of the proletariat as such), was at free disposal” and therefore could be hired to build machines and operate them.118 This is why the machine is an instrument for an economy based on surplus labour that cannot continue to exist exactly as a machine, i.e. as a motor rather than simple means for capitalist production, without necessarily reproducing the division of labour that characterises capitalism and that is produced through primitive accumulation of capital.
With the rise of capitalism, all existing workers and all existing means of productions are liberated from their shackles and turned to wage labour or capital, and at this stage of the primitive accumulation there are not many machines and machine-like complexes such as modern factories. But, as Robert Brenner has shown, the transition from feudalism to capitalism was made possible due to a form of agrarian capitalism in which, Caspary argues, a surplus population in relation to the older mode of production could arise. Workers could now be employed not only to produce food and similar commodities needed for immediate survival, that is for the reproduction of nec- essary labour, but for the production of machines."
Been fighting with the old offset printing press at the paper the last few weeks. So this difference between the machine "saving time" and the machine "producing more" is in sharp focus. When the industrial machine gets sick, the worker doesn't perform the function of the machine, but at a slower pace. The machine can only mass produce, the worker can only produce, and no amount of production can effectively substitute for mass production.
"When Caspary makes this basic point in Die Maschinenutopie, namely, that a machine is an apparatus for the reproduction and expansion of surplus labour rather than only a mechanism that reduces necessary labour, he comes close to the argument of one of the most interesting contemporary theorists of technology: Alf Hornborg. For decades, Hornborg has defended a thermodynamic understanding of what he calls “machine fetishism”, which he diferentiates from simple “commodity fetishism”, by seeking to reveal that “[i]ndustrial machines are social phenomena. These inorganic structures propelled by mineral fuels and substituting for human work could not be maintained but for a specifc structure of human exchange”.126 “The machine”, Caspary wrote as early as 1927, can “only be produced when the goods are not produced for needs but for the market” and therefore “when the market is not dependent on the individual, but when the individual is dependent on the market”. This is of crucial importance according to Hornborg, since it indicates that machines are not in any sense productive in themselves. They are only productive if they are put to work in an expanding economic process that necessitates accumulation for the sake of accumulation.
Thus, Hornborg can help us explain Caspary’s thesis that machines are not simply mechanical tools primarily diminishing necessary labour but motors for a production based on surplus labour. The banal mystifcation of this process, the denial of the fact that machinery is frst and foremost the physical infrastructure of a social relation that reproduces the need for more surplus labour, produced by the global stratifcation of the production process itself, implies for Caspary the generalisation of “machine utopias” amongst capitalist ideologues as well as socialist intellectuals. These utopias, and according to Caspary they were utopias in the most banal sense, namely, fantastic descriptions of something fundamentally unreal, are based on what Hornborg would call a fetishistic view of machines that does not register the web of power relations they not only are embedded in but which they also necessarily reproduce."
"Caspary enigmatically claimed that even if there is no prospect of building a just society on the world of existing machines, and at the same time no possibility of returning to an agrarian idyll (a primitivistic option the Goldberg circle explicitly refused), there “is the power of organic life. But this power is not accessible to contemporaryhumanity [der gegenwärtigen Menschheit] in a conscious way, it belongs to the capricious nature that has been withdrawn from humanity”
Withdrawn like the grail, I think. Taken away, out of this world. Free association here naturally brings us to the cup of Jamshid, the jam-e jam. Kay Khusrow possessed the cup in his time, before disappearing into the east, vanishing in a snowstorm. But we'll come back to Jamshid, Khusrow, and the jam-e jam another time.
Both his words and manner of speech seemed at first totally unfamiliar to me, and yet somehow they stirred memories - as an actor might be stirred by the forgotten lines of some role he had played far away and long ago.