Arbitrarities: Identification, Evaluation, and Rarefication of

Un-Normalizing Phenomena

There is an analytic exercise that helps you pull certain entities out of their normal spatial/temporal context in which they are typically found (reversing normalization), so that you can evaluate by your own moral code whether or not they should continue to exist. Most entities are incredibly arbitrary, but because they are enmeshed and hidden by the clutter of others their precariousness goes unnoticed; in fact, if they are looped in to the totality enough, they will have relatively long lives. These are three practical examples of the exercise:

– If you say a word out loud (or in your head) over and over and over again, it starts to sound very odd and it almost starts to fall apart, to lose its standing as an actual word with purpose. My word for this exercise is “each”, which starts to sound very odd very quickly, and gains new strangeness as you get deeper into the incantation.

– If you look at yourself in the mirror long enough, especially if you have bright lighting, you will start to think you look strange, no matter if you would socially be judged strange looking or not.

– If you look at the letter “r” enough times, especially if it is left unencumbe-r-ed by other written letters—but a single large “r” contrasting on an otherwise blank white piece of paper—your brain starts to schematize the “r” the way it would Sanskrit (unless you read Sanskrit).

I think it would be inexact to say the inverse of Lenin’s famous line on propaganda is ringing true: “a truth told often enough becomes a lie”; it might be more accurate to say that a lie looked at consistently enough with undivided attention—and without the interference and confluence of other factors that always like to mingle and tangle—will be revealed as such. Words, letters, and people are not lies, nor are they less real than other un-inspected entities; they are arbitrarities, akin to so many other arbitrarities that perpetuate in the world. We did not have to exist, nor along with us our peculiar words and writing system—there is nothing essential about the coming into being of almost everything we encounter.

In our modern compromised world, we have many beautiful arbitrarities, which dwell at great depths of artistic sublimity. To their (and our) chagrin, they have been mingled among the lesser arbitrarities—unfortunately not lesser in might, though certainly in sight—some of which do such violence upon our reality that they don’t need to be teased out by introspection. However, there is one particular arbitrarity to turn our tension to, for it is sprawling and subtly aggressive: at first it presents as boxing gloves wielded by a superhero, but if we are able to isolate it enough we see that it is the most deserving of punching bags…


An arbitrarity that has mingled too long in our lives without reflection is government. Can we repeat the word “government” over and over and see it for what it is? Doubtful. Government is harder to pin down because it is evolving—usually in the form of growing larger—and it is a most elusive entity in its entirety. Government is able to hide in the larger society’s successes, in the actual organic biological workings of earth, and then lay claim to these successes as if it came forth by its own efforts. Certain parts of government can be heralded or decried, but all the lights shone on one tentacle allow seven others to hide in the shadows cast.

There is one image that perhaps can reveal some of the most basic arbitrarity. A room large room filled with wo/men wearing suits. They could be a group of corporate men who are experts at making businesses successful, and after the meeting they will have decided certain things which they have to go and sell to the rest of the buying world. However if its the government, its a large room of wo/men wearing suits who are experts at making laws; they don’t have to sell us the laws though, they get to impose them on us with impunity. So think of the image again and again of a bunch of suit wearing conformists sitting in a room, geographically and ideologically far away from you, who get to make decisions about some fundamental aspects of your day. Think about this over and over, and realize how arbitrary it is, and how disempowering it is. Government is Go Over Men.

Extra matter:

Lies, just like any expressive action, cannot stand alone; they need to be contextualized and blend in with all the different and changing surroundings to be able to continue to pass as something to be believed in. Lies have to follow the same rules of evolution as organisms and every part and parcel attached to them.


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