1. Germans are notoriously obedient, waiting at the lights for the little green man even at 0300 with a straight, totally empty road. i usually wait if it’s between 0600 and 2000 but sometimes i’m late so just walk across. Several times, i’ve come to the lights and walked past the impatiently waiting Germans (Germans are always impatient); they then follow me, without even looking at the road. Once, i was so late i darted across between two cars and then realised, to my horror, that all the waiting Germans were blithely following me and would almost certainly be mown down, though i heard no screams so assume they died in peace.

A peculiar, leather-wearing folk.

2. They all dream about working for big companies like BMW and Siemens. In Italy, everyone wants to set up his own business (easier to avoid paying taxes). The dagos distrust any kind of organisation.  The dastardly krauts love it. They go crazy if they don’t belong to an organisation of some sort. Re: my offroad notions, i realise i’ve never happily belonged to an organisation or order, unless i made it, and so in some sense stood outside it. In this life, my father was an insane Indian (1st born of an old aristocracy, so abnormal even in India) and my mother white trash pretending to be upper middle class. i was thus raised in a totally artificial environment, without any native culture. This puts me in an odd position, gives force to my rad trad tendencies. It was more or less the same in my last life and probably in every other. Even in academia, where i might be expected to flourish, the rampant corruption & littleness of mind & endeavour enraged me beyond measure, but then i am easily enraged.


image by Richard Madeley.

3. From Nick Harkaway’s enjoyable The Gone-Away World, regarding a corporation called Jorgmund:

In the sea there are creatures like this. Physalia physalis is an individual, but it is also a colony. It is a floating sack of gas composed of a million little polyps, of four different kinds.  Some of them digest and some of them sting, and some of them are for breeding, and some for keeping the others from sinking down into the sea. I met a sailor once, a woman from Redyard, who had been stung by one. She said it was like being scraped with hot wire, and she screamed and drank some brine, but the worst part was being entangled in the tendrils of the monster, brushing against them and recoiling into more, and gasping, and swallowing them, being wrapped about and snuggled and invaded by something alien and awful which had no eyes and yet knew she was there.

The gas bag was barely as big as her head. It could no more consume her than it could get up and dance – but it was trying, oh yes, and if she sank, then she would die, and her assailant would devour her slowly, gram by gram.

Jorgmund is like that. It is one thing, made from many. It does not think; it exists and it reacts and it expands, and that is all. The people who work for it are like the polyps, neither entirely individual nor entirely subsumed. They carry the monster in their minds, and they cannot see the whole. They give themselves to it, time-share, and slip into the body of the beast when they prefer not to be human. The ninjas are the stinging cells, reaching out and destroying enemies, killing food. Of all of them, Humbert Pestle is the greatest and the worst. He has made himself one with the machine, the monster. He sees it, and it does not appall him. He carries it in his head all the time, to the point where it is impossible to say whether he still exists separate from the thing.

I feel as if I have overturned a stone, expecting insects, and discovered that the stone itself is nothing but a vast mass of bugs.

i’ve met several people who tried to as it were swallow me, chiefly a loathsome music journalist i knew 16 years ago, and my Tai Chi tutor (both left-wing, American-hating, ultra-green, anti-mainstream hipsters). There are others who give themselves to be swallowed by a creed. The latter bear the mark of possession, as if they are not free men but slaves, belonging to some system – Socialism, Christianity, Islam, what have you. Their owner’s brand is evident in certain reflexive responses, so one can predict how they will react, and sometimes predict even their words. One has the feeling not of conversing with a free human being, but with a very limited machine.

In most office jobs, this is called being professional. So in 2006 all the companies i worked at suddenly as one said you couldn’t eat at your desk, no doubt the result of some management seminar. When i asked why, a frumpy fat manager said piously: “It isn’t professional.” i pointed out that customers don’t come into the office and i call them, they don’t call me so i can ensure i don’t have a mouthful of cake at the wrong moment. She reiterated, without hesitation: “But it isn’t professional.”

She had no separate will or intellect; like most managers, she existed as a carrier for a virus and was the more successful as she suffocated her own humanity and capacity for reflection. A friend who worked for the Blackburn local council told me the managers had banned pot plants from desks, dictating that it “isn’t professional”. They conceded one could have a rubber plant, because this was somehow professional, presumably by virtue of not bearing life. Being professional means simply, to be dead or to have never lived in the first place. When these servile, self-important vermin say “it isn’t professional”, what they mean is “it is human.”

4.  A far cry from the Renaissance. With the advent of the machine the world became increasingly man-made or at least man-determined, man-ruined. We are defined by our tools; they fashion our consciousness. Machines made us into machines. And to be a machine is to be a monster, for a human being. And this is the ideal of all companies, and both fascism and socialism – absolute obedience, the machine rampant.

This is one reason i don’t like cities too much. There, one is surrounded by the man-made and it is easy to forget that to be human is to adjoin onto the divine; so Midgard is in a sense neighbour to Asgard. City men are typically bluff, hale, materialist belchers, born managers, inveterate belly-patters. To be a city man and awake is not easy; Samuel Johnson, for example.

5. Perhaps it is possible to avoid serving anyone or anything. For myself, i would never serve a company – not because i am incapable of loyalty but because they do not deserve it. i would not serve any politician or political system. i am unsure if i would even serve a king or queen. But i would serve the idea of monarchy, the once & future king.