Just as the paleo community has arrogantly—but I believe correctly—labeled a plethora of diseases “neolithic” (such as the whole category of autoimmune diseases, many different cancers, many mental health afflictions, livestock borne illnesses), I believe the same logic can be applied to many modern injuries, one of which I will speak of here.
Turning one’s ankle is the acute injury that easily impairs a neolithic human when one encounters a root elevated suburban sidewalk, or an unforeseen ditch or hole. Such traps are not uncommon in artificial topographies, but they are occasionally overlooked by the absent-minded, body unaware people we have become. This is one relative weakness we probably have as compared to our migratory ancestors, who would have had to be much more aware of pitfalls waiting beneath a bush or alongside a stretch of valley, as their entire livelihood would be at stake if an accident did befall them. Perhaps more importantly: such a scabrous and cattywampus landscape that hadn’t been preformatted for large machines and human walking alike would have toned paleolithic man’s joints—especially ankles, knees, and hips—to easily absorb the occasional indent or misstep without any major bodily response such as inflammation.
I’m sure there are many other acute injuries that occur as a result of the imposed and supposed neolithic lifestyle that we endure.
A tangential aside: as in the case of a swollen ankle or other acutely injured joint, isn’t the bodies response of causing the swelling something that should be left alone, not padded with the artificial invention of frozen water? I am no expert on these matters obviously, but I have learned to put a certain amount of trust in the body’s processes.
I think we all might feel better and treat others better if we go Foucault ourselves, and so here are over 2 hours* of lectures about his project(s) in case you can’t afford that intimate time to spend with his books:
*soundcloud has a 3 hour upload limit, or else I would have made available nigh on 6 hours
“Can’t you stop delaying?” winced Gabriel. He was holding his left hand out by its wrist with the tight grip of his right hand.
“I don’t know man, you are in this much pain and I didn’t even do anything yet,” replied Oliver.
“I’m anticipating the pain, that way the relative increase when you cut it off won’t be so extreme…” explained Gabriel, whose layers of thoughts put into this event continued to unfold.
“Oh, is that how it works?” said Oliver with amusement. “I still like my idea better of finding a local anesthetic, a practice mind you backed by thousands of years of human experimentation to reduce pain.” Oliver shifted his grip on the knife. “Besides,” he continued, “what are you drunk for if your so against reducing the pain? And are you in the best state of mind?”
“Yes, but I told you when I was sober,” Gabriel said with a whine of annoyance. “I told you that I would want to be drunk, and I told you specifically because I knew you’d be okay with helping me and not backing out, thinking I was just brave for something I’d regret when the Everclear wore off.”
“Your hangover’s going to hurt worse than your hand” Oliver laughed. He lifted the knife, ready to swing down at the counter with his friends hand on it. Gabriel strained his body away, as if the farther he got from his hand on the counter, the more disassociated he would be from what was about to result. Oliver looked at Gabriel’s twisted face: “are you sure you want to me to do this?”
“Stop asking that,” said Gabriel. “I just need you to cut this stupid fucking pinky finger off so I can have some normal, authentic interactions with people.”
“Isn’t it your ring finger you should be mad at?” asked Oliver, hoping he might have a new argument to back his friend away from the edge. He lowered the knife for the moment.
“I can’t get mad at the missing finger, because it’s fucking missing,” said Gabriel, ready to reveal his whole constructed logic out of his perceived misfortune. “It’s my pinky finger that stands out to me… everyone else notices the lack of a finger, not me. I notice the finger that makes the accident seem weird, seem cursed, seem like I’m in confederation with satanical forces. Missing a ring finger makes people wonder, create little stories in their head about me, maybe even gossip if they’re assholes. I know they do, I can tell… but usually I just keep my hand fisted, and then they have conceptions about why that is, and my tense body language I’m sure gives off bad vibes, and, and it’s just fucking with my life. But if you do this, maybe I can find a girl who won’t think I’m cursed and not marry me, who will overlook my maimed hand missing two fingers, rather than stare at my deformed hand missing one finger.”
“Clearing the path for you to get married is a reason not to do this, I might have to revoke my offer, sir” Oliver said as he put the knife down on the opposite counter. “Gay people are so happy that they just won the right to marry. I think maybe they haven’t thought it through yet. But maybe there are less arguments between people of the same sex?”
“It’s about equal rights dude,” said Gabriel with a corrective tone, “and you and I are arguing plenty.
“But remember Frodo, he lost one finger and the ring, I don’t think he could trade a second finger for the ring back,” said Oliver, “and…”
“Fuck Frodo,” interrupted Gabriel. “But marrying or not marrying, I don’t want this getting in the way, and I don’t want to feel so awkward around people, around new people who aren’t used to me and vice versa.”
“Alright, alright,” said Oliver.
“No, it’s not alright,” continued Gabriel, “it makes me doubt myself in all social situations, it gnaws at me. If people can get plastic surgery to add things, and sometimes subtract things, can’t I? It’s not like I use the pinky finger for much, its on my non-dominant hand and it has no reinforcing finger to mesh and add support to. It’s aloofness only amplifies my own feeling of being aloof.”
“You could go to a surgeon with a psychiatrist’s note,” Oliver suggested. “I mean, there are plenty of them who chop off another thing that is aloof, a man’s most important digit, or limb according to some dudes who describe their appendage.” A wry smile grew on Oliver’s face, realizing how he could connect this situation with another that was always one of amusement and befuddlement to him. Gabriel snapped him out of his musings.
“I want the pain,” said Gabriel, resolutely. “I specifically didn’t go to a doctor, who would refer me to a psychiatrist anyways… a long fucking goose chase and a bunch of people trying to talk me out of what I intend to do. They would also do a much neater job than you, which would need explaining, and go against my story I’ve made up.”
“Your brother’s buzz saw?” asked Oliver.
“No, I changed it,” Gabriel said, “it was my granddad’s table saw in his basement. It works because he would be too old and out of it to realize I had injured myself. So basically I pass out after cutting my two fingers off, and by the time I come to and get to the hospital, they had been disconnected too long to reattach… technology wasn’t good back then for connection anyways. Also, my granddad is dead now, so he wouldn’t have to lie or listen to my bullshit story and then repeat it if ever asked.”
“Why were you cutting the wood? Or were you even cutting wood?” asked Oliver.
“I don’t fucking know.”
“Well you should know, cause some people might ask that.”
“Hmm, I’ll have to think of that,” said Gabriel. “But it works for my counting theory of 8 digits, too, though now I should consider my thumbs as fingers. I’ll have to theorize around that little problem. But I’ve got it figured out, and even if I don’t, you know how much I want this, so please just do it!” Gabriel held his hand out again. It was so tense and tight that all the ligaments and delicate bones were protruding from the top of his hand.
“Alright,” said Oliver, picking up the knife with a new resolve. He said nothing more, he just let his arm muscles take over, bringing the knife speeding down directly perpendicular to his friend’s pinky finger joint.
The speech giver who has nothing to say fears the gaze of the sheep,
the speech giver who has something to say fears the whip of the shepherd
That a visionary of a different world can be dubbed a hypocrite for not establishing one gives evidence that subjectification is alienating, not enabling
and of vision more ordinary:
“Don’t objectify me!” asserted the woman to a gawking man.
“Don’t subjectify me!” was his reply. Standing up for a dramatic gesture, he continued: “what a heavy burden it is to construct a lifelong umbrella that shields and regulates my myriad of forces in to a coherent stability, not for my own sake but for the sake of outward appearance alone. I won’t have my mouth apologize for my eyes, nor my inherited instincts apologize to a culture of superficial and ephemeral correctness.”
A passerby stopped to stare at the man.
As Jake walked across the stage, shuffling by the front row of insignificant, self-important deans and other inflated assholes, his smile grew. He was about to be put at the helm, and they couldn’t react until the damage was done. As he drew near the black podium, there wasn’t much applause coming from the graduating class, and that didn’t bother Jake: there wasn’t much reason for it since nobody really knew who he was. He had written a few noteworthy poems for a small niche of readers, and had managed to stay in touch with his former professor still at the university. Because of this his work was circulated and lauded, allowing his name to be nominated and then selected as a “successful” alumni to give a commencement address for his alma mater.
After his speech, he knew his status in the minds of others would change. Certainly the faculty would publicly abhor him, but what about the youth out there, beyond the podium microphone? He was now looking out at them, a great mixture of diverse, 21 and 22 year old bodies all accepting the rigidity of traditions that would have them spend 100 dollars on some ugly black gown that they would only wear once, this once. Would the speech rile them up, or would it be dampened out, as so much of significance seemed to be these days? He was now going to find out.
“Those who know, those who no longer wander—they are the ones who are lost, and they shall now be put last”, began Jake, looking from left to right. Realizing that his point may not have resonated in all of his audience, he inserted: “That’s a reference to the tattoo you put on your ankle two summers ago, for those of you who I lost.”
“As an older man now, no longer a peer but perhaps old enough to be your parent, what wisdom can I offer you? I can start by saying that I’m not quite sure there is much wisdom that has come down through the ages, evidenced by the strife at every level of society, from the global, all the way down to the single individual at war with himself, herself…. otherself, other otherself. I coined quotable question, that may put it succinctly: Which is the more important lesson? Babies teaching their parents the lesson of life, or parents teaching the lesson of death, frequently with multiple examples? Many among my generation, and the older generation,” he motioned with an arm to the distinguished faculty, “we—they—like to blame your generation for the ‘moral decadence’, the ‘grotesque’ acts of confused sexuality, the cultural violence, and so on. I might be an anomaly in saying this, but the problems are far older than the youth, and in fact youthfulness is their greatest antidote. The university is not a refuge from this strife, but complicit in its elicitation. It is a collection of strategies to oppress the other of your choice—stored in brains, books, and other media. The irony is that the oppression is implicit right from when you sign the contract with the school, and like an abused victim, you go on to become a perpetrator later. I am not here to inform you of your victimization, I am here to implore you to become the generation that makes the great turn, that both sees the murderers in plain site and disarms them, dismembers them when appropriate, and not take up membership in their institutions.”
“I have a bigger point, a series of points—most of them negative—to make clearer why you should do this. What was Hitler’s age, when he planned operation Barbarossa? When he invaded Poland? When he moved to change his sick fantasy world into an actual world. Closer to home—a different sack of shit, no less evil—Harry Truman—the only human ever to decide to use an atomic weapon against people, and he did it twice, just to cement his evil legacy. How old was Obama, back in 2009, when he sold out on his campaign message and became cocksucker in chief, a douchebag just like the rest of the political world? He used our generations wind power to blow his sails. He doesn’t care that we don’t have any air now.”
“How old are generals that oversee war without generally risking their own lives? Alexander the Great conquered but did not subjugate, neither his own folk nor his enemies. His father Phillip, maybe, for he was older and more political, but he Alexander faced those he enemized directly on the field, never from a remote command center. The last thought on Alexander, the one of your age, is that though he loved war he did not use war to further other ends, he sadly and recklessly saw it as its own end, madly in love with it for it’s own sake, embodying a naiveté not yet extruded. Let’s turn to business. How old were Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling from Enron when they had and used the power to screw hundreds of people from their savings? How many more are there like them who just haven’t been caught, or who have paid off those with the nets to catch them?”
“A few good apples don’t turn a human profit out of the rotting tree of corporatism. These are your enemies, who flaunt their successes as if they are yours to share, when really they are at your expense. You’ll find that the most successful of enemies are not those that stab you in the back, no; they are those who day in day out slowly rob your energy for their own purposes. This method of slow methodical extraction of energy is so successful, that it has ideologies spouted by all forms of media to structure language to its own defense—thank you universities for teaching Karl Marx. This is a method employed largely by the mature, rather over-matured, middle aged people. Those who have learned all the subtleties to subordinating others, which is particularly useful because they have less control over their own bodies as the aging sets in. Put another way: as their fertility wanes, their appetite for destruction waxes. If only a midlife crisis was something internal that affected only the individual; no, their crisis becomes all of ours. And might I add, this is not something peculiar to western culture, this ageism that oppresses the youth is just as engrained in eastern societies, albeit in different manifestations.”
A man seated on the stage rose, his accumulated and repressed fury now evident in his snarling face. His chair squeaked, and Jake gazed over to regard him. Leaning in to the microphone, Jake decided to scold the man approaching him before he was able to pull the plug on his speech. “Sit down! How rude of you to try to interrupt. I’m lecturing now, and for once it’s something worthwhile, and here you are trying to shut me up. How many times in your aged career did somebody try to take away the stage from you? Not often enough!”
The man started to walk off the stage, bellowing: “I’ve heard enough of this non-sense, I will not take any more of it.” A few others followed him, as well as a few graduates from the crowd.
“What a convenient luxury it is to the lofty, to be able to walk out and not face any consequences, to be put on trial and be afforded the escape route,” spoke Jake eying the deserters. “It’s a show trial, to be sure, but it can have real consequences for all involved. You can burn your diplomas, and let this mill grind no more. Beat down these deans… it’s a way of honoring them. By doing so you show them that you have learned, for it is they who have used these institutions to beat the youth down, shape them into the hideous middle aged creatures that they have now become. There is no wisdom in the baby boomer generation… they are a bag of bones, their minds are more corroded than their stupidly fed diabetic bodies. There are exceptions to their rule, but we must realize that their rule is not acceptable. It has not been for a very long time, and if we are to redeem this earth, we need to loosen it from their grips. They are pathetic, and deserve to be stripped of their power by those younger and more deserving of power, because it is the youth who have the longest time left on earth, and who have this huge mountain of problems to deal with. The youth will deal more honestly with the many problems and in trying to not create new ones because they cannot just retire out of the problems. You need to be in power, not them.
“Some of you may think,” he continued, “that I am alienating a huge group of people. Do not fear, they have already alienated themselves by both their actions and in-actions. Fortunately for me, I am not a politician, and I do not want their votes. I will not stand in the way of any fires you start, and I would add that you needn’t feel guilty about any of the quote-unquote ‘damage’ you may cause. Don’t blame fire for burning, blame that which is old and dried up.”