Decline of the West

Decline of the West is back!: Heavy Metal’s Ghost and their irrational number: or, a diabolical infinite regress where capitalism and Satanism are literally indistinguishable

[Editor: Yes! Dex is back!]

So I just blew my own mind, thinking about Sweden’s neo-traditional heavy metal band Ghost.

It was as fun as it sounds.

Reading some recent article on SawtoothWave.com, some hyperlink led me to their review of Ghost’s Opus Eponymous.

For those of you who don’t know (and I definitely didn’t)– there’s this band, Ghost. They’re Swedish. They released this LP, Opus Eponymous, late in 2010 (here’s the Allmusic.com review of it, if yer innerested) and apparently quickly became wicked popular.

Allegedly, no one knows who’s in Ghost.  Allegedly, they are Satanists out to enslave/destroy the world. They perform in weird costumes (the leader up there, called “The Nameless Ghoul”), is dressed to the nines in Pope Gear© (mitre and everything).

Bottom line on the critical-consensus of Ghost:

They’re essentially Blue Öyster Cult with subtly-Satanic/diabolical lyrics that are also pretty literate: for example, there’s a tune on there, one “Satan Prayer,” which has a parallel structure and lyrical content to one Nicene Creed, from the Catholic/Episcopalian mass.

Sinisterly-literate.

Now, I love BÖC. And since their latest oeuvres are, shall we say, less than stellar, the chance to listen to a sound-alike was too much to resist.

In a recent interview with Decibel magazine (who loved their album), the leader, said nameless ghoul (NG), claimed (as he has in many an interview) that Ghost’s explicit plan was dominate and control the world in the name of Satan.

So far, so metal, right?

What was interesting was NG’s possibly-chilling candor regarding their game plan/war strategy in dominating said Welt:

he said that there were actually counting on people assuming their gimmick (anonymous Satanic cult) was a marketing strategy.

Now, let that sink in a minute.

As I was washing dishes today, stoned as hell, I realized something:

As Hemingway might say– speaking in clean, honest prose, this is the claim of NG:

“We are a Satanic cult bent on world domination; we will achieve this by using your capitalist savvy/cynicism to allay your fears about our true motives– i.e., you will relax your vigilance (allowing us to convert you to our cause) because you will assume, quite incorrectly, that we are only a clever marketing ploy.”

This claim enters his proposition into a strange philosophical conundrum where it is literally impossible to logically determine their true motive (based on this information alone; you could abduct the nameless ghoul and torture him until he tells you the truth, but that’s neither here not there for purposes of this discussion).

So let’s think about it like this, in conversation form:

“Hey, have you heard that band Ghost? They claim they’re Satantic so people will listen and buy their album. It’s a brilliant marketing strategy.”

“But what if they’re really Satanic? Their best chance to get you to drop your guard would be to get you to think they’re just savvy capitalists.”

“Right… but if they’re actually trying to move units, capitalistically-speaking, making you think they’re a Satanic cult who are savvy capitalists is genius.”

“Unless they’re really Satanists, in which case making you think they’re only savvy capitalists is genius.”

…and so on, and so on.

Ghost, and their implicit argument as detailed above, have made two premises, logically-speaking, where each premise both suggests and negates the other.

Forever.

Ad infinitum.

Un-re-solve-able.

It’s the Epimenides paradox, fer Chrissake. It’s an infinite regress. Christ, Kurt Gödel used a version of this to scientifically prove (this is what they tell me) that computers can never achieve sentience!

It’s an irrational number, one that, mathematically-speaking, repeats forever and never resolves.

Not unlike 6.66.

Whether you’re talking about the Capitalists or the Satanists– it’s in either version’s best interest to pretend to be the other.

And, neurologically-speaking, since the brain can never logically-conclude a definite motive here, it will keep going back to said problem to resolve it. In other words, it will keep listening.

And this is not excepting that the songs are all extremely memorable purely musically and prone to becoming earworms on their own, even if you couldn’t even understand the lyrics.

Well done, Mr. Nameless Ghoul.

In this virtually-soulless, capitalistically-whored out culture, I say, if you can’t find morality– accept skill.

I don’t normally pimp out records (sorry, Henry!), but I dare you to see if you can resist conversion.

[Original article here.]

Money Is Not Real

[Thanks again to Dex for letting me re-post this.]

Obviously, there’s been a shitload of discussion, these last few years, regarding the recession.

Most of it useless, abstract, conjectural finger-pointing, generally in a manner suggesting the furthering of political agendas: “Democrats did it,” “Republicans did it,” “Banks did it,” and so on.

I won’t pretend to understand the intricacies of economics. However, I’m not stupid. I went to college. I worked a long time at a job that required me to think critically about nearly everything.

And something in the economic brouhaha seemed wrong. (more…)

[Decline of the West:] Why Atheists and Fundamentalists are both idiots

[Thanks again to Dex for posting. Originally posted here.]

Stephen Hawking is fairly sacrosanct among intellectuals. Really most people. As Homer put it, “the wheelchair guy” is Heralded every few seconds.

And probably should be. He’s a smart motherfucker.

But this article on Livescience.com illustrates to me why, generally, either extreme point of view is usually a little batshit nuts, and often fully batshit nuts.

Far left liberals are usually crazy (I’ve lived in the northeast all my life; I know of what I speak), and far-right conservatives are fucking crazy too.

Why?

The answer’s really pretty simple: (more…)

[Decline of the West:] Dead Butterflies– Exorcism and the thirst for the Unreal in “Rational” world

[Thanks to guest contributor Dexter Mobley. Originally posted here.]

There’s been a recent sem-glut of articles about the Vatican’s attempt to expand the understanding of the Ritual Romanum, or the rite of exorcism– read about it here.

In a seemingly concrete, [boldly overly-] rationalist society, why would we care? More to the point, why would MSNBC invest enough of their capitalist-based belief in your wanting to read about it, and why would the Vatican (who don’t publicize anything on anything, let alone exorcism of all fucking things) seek publicity about this area?

Are they asking to be mocked?

Nope.

Those religious fuckers are shrewd. They understand branding. They know how to get Your Love back.

(more…)