The openings created by the Maya Prophecies for 2012 mark a political and cultural challenge to the onto-theological metaphysics deeply embedded within European thought that have long blackmailed revolutionary possibilities. In this talk I will briefly interrogate how to crack the thin veneer of vulgar revolution to open a path that makes ‘steps’ toward true revolution possible. Methodologically, I posit a diagrammatic thought that looks to machines that extract and re-articulate forms of resistance, as shown by a series of visual examples.
To give everyone a short roadmap, this talk is roughly broken into three sections:
1. Revolution and Revolving Revolutionary Orbits
a.sovereign throne – From Nomos to Logos: Maya Astronomy and the Astrological Turn
b.occular-centrism – the colonization of the eye
a.‘revelation’ machines: The Double-work of Revealing and Revelry
b.‘predictive failure’ Predicting Failure and Failing to Predict: How to Reach Escape Velocity
As the topic of the panel suggests, revolution is a recurring trope across the culture-scape. It is virtually impossible to talk about industrialization, for example, without tripping over the word revolution. It is therefore my claim that it is necessary to look closer at the term to clarify “revolution” and subsequently deliver new precision in it’s use. In it’s common usage today, revolution brings with it a notion of change, a transformation.
As demonstrated by 20C political theorist Hannah Arendt, political revolutions are often depicted as “turning points”.
Unfortunately, euro-centric Euclidian space and time conceives of revolutions as taking place on 2-dimensional planes.
You can imagine the difficulties of such flat-logic as it intersected the spherical form of the Earth.
Flat oceans are not only limiting but cause reconnaissance ships immense challenges. At its limit, the flat logics of revolution risk falling off the plane of revolution completely.
Linear time presents similar difficulties. When motion is placed on a single line, it lacks the aleatory movement necessary to avoid being locked into that single path forever.
Single-track minds working ‘on time,’ as a linear path illustrates, leads to the failure of the conductors watch.
While making the “trains run on time” has its benefit for the efficient transportation of goods (or its worst in Eichmann’s central role in the Nazi holocaust), it also leads to a “tunnel vision” that can only lead in disaster.
Key developments found by the Mayans thousands of years before must be re-considered if revolutions are to once again be afoot.
The space-time machine of the Mayans is built on cyclical logic. The current logic suggests that bodies following linear, teleological forms that project them as a shot into the future. For example, as shown in the complex dialectical diagram above.
Without going into extreme detail about the calendars – they interlock to form three sets of cycles. First, is the 260-day Tzolk’in, which combines with the 365-day Haab’, and follows a 52-year cycle, and lastly the Long Count Calendar marks 144,000 days, or 394.3 years.
European astronomy finally found its footing, first through after Copernicus’s early travel to Latin America. Enveloped in a culture that had both cyclical movement but also a sun god at the center of their cosmological system, Copernicus became a true believer and imported the elegant system back to Europe – displacing the European conception of the earth and man being at the center of the universe.
Unfortunately, the system that Copernicus developed was too elegant and simple. Revolution was reduced to perfectly cyclical movement. No matter how much force these movements applied, a full revolution would only return to the same place.
As exhibited by this political machine of late 15th century Prussia, immense vortexes could be generated, transferring immense amounts of political energy to any given situation. Rather than upsetting the forces at play, however, it generates massive stability.
Therefore, the stage is set for the most crucial aspect of modern revolution – and to get there we must look to the advances of Johannes Kepler. Copernicus’s advancement of the heliocentric solar system were being held at bay, mostly by the massive political machine constructed by the Catholic church.
Fortunately, Kepler stood Copernicus’s model on its feet by constructing cosmic rotation in terms of elliptical orbit.
In fact, such human-machine combinations can develop a progression of steps that work toward de-stabilizing an system they’re plugged into – like this elliptical machine.
When placed perfectly on the axis of revolution, these machines can help create an angle of revolution that makes revolution be an escape rather than a repetition of the same!
despite advances taken from the Mayans having revolutionary possibilities, two major European counter-revolutions have tried to destroy elliptics.
A serious error in translation made by early encounters with the Maya during the post-Homeric era by Greek Argonauts set the stage for more than a millennium long setback in European science. Rather than importing Maya astronomy, in its exacting rigor, Greeks began the practice of astrology, which sought to derive cultural value from cosmological observations.
As recorded in Emmanuel Laroche’s famous 1948 study “Histoire de la racine nem- en grec ancien” – Homeric and pre-homeric ‘nomos’ applies to customary or on-the-fly distributions, in this case the distribution of singular cosmic bodies that determine the play of forces within universal motion. Logos, however, is a transcendent Law which determines not only the relationship of bodies but also dictate mythic terms and their moral content.
Greek artifacts from this time demonstrate that the Argonauts mis-translation may not have been unintentional.
This piece, for example, shows Argonauts riding a large boat carried by slaves, graphically depicting their authoritarian drive to code-transfer everything based in nomos into the despotic law-function of logos.
And after this, the Greek obsession with finding their mythic laws in the stars takes on epic proportions. The long standing legacy of such star-charts can be found in the similarly authoritarian mis-leadingly called “astronomy” classes taught in statist countries like the United States.
Or found on government propoganda websites like “NASA”
As the mythology goes, the Maya sun god “Kinich Ahau” is a lazy European and is hard to rouse, only through the routine sacrifice of human bodies with their accompanying gift of blood and still beating hearts, he is adequately amused to rise every day…
Second – when the mythical logos gets written onto the body itself (much like in Kafka’s Penal Colony).
Torture takes on the two-fold task of penalizing the body of the criminal, but also begins to serve as a source of knowledge for the sovereign. Following Foucault’s power/knowledge thesis from Discipline and Punish, it inaugurates a counter-revolutionary era of “disciplinary power.”
Seen here is the logic of the telescope as a gemetric tool.
Crude tools of European astronomy only added to the problem. As the European use as top-down political power replaced the telescopes precise tool of revolutionary possibility – it becomes the “all seeing eye”
Take our your wallet and look at a one dollar bill and you’ll see the same eye of providence – a colonial destruction of the glory of mayan pyramids. Ruling them from the top is the eye of providence, mocking mayan astronomy with the astr-LOGICAL power of the sovereign eye.
As many of us are familiar, this diagram gets implanted in social and political institutions. Here we see it in the modern prison as a “panopticon”.
Yet it’s also an opportunity for revolutionary elliptics to go wrong. In their astrological observations of space, the Heaven’s Gate religion was able to pin-point a crucial cosmological opening with the coming halley-bopp comet.
The counter-revolutionary tendency of revelry met its high-point with the Dancing Plague of 1518. At this time large groups of people began dancing and could not stop – they would either pass out in exhaustion or death.
Collected in a gruesome phantasmagoria of death, it played directly into the hands of the suicide king. Perched atop his throne of skulls, the King rules revelry as the false gift of revolution. Party on wayne, party on garth…
Only after we understand the geometry of revolution: its revolutions, counter-revolutions, and orbits, can we begin to strategize about a theory of collective escape. But as the impulsive revolution begins, it has to escape perfect revolution and be thrown out.
As shown by this diagram, our machinic success depends on hitting the sweet spot of consistency—neither the perfect circular or the extreme hyperbolic orbit – only when we hit the conjunction of parabolic and elliptical orbits, we hit “critical escape trajectory”.