This advertisement for visiting the HMS Belfast in London recently took me by surprise. Is this a controversial image? Or to find it that way an overreaction? Both?
I couldn’t help but think immediately of part of the Holy Mountain (clip further down) – Jodorowsky’s 1973 film masterpiece (one of a few). Please also note that reference is made to the end of that film if you haven’t seen it yet.
Its strange on one level to think of children ‘playing’ in a war ship museum, where people in the armed forces may have been killed or maimed, next to delivery systems for weapons of mass destruction. And it was this that first struck me. The normalisation of the State violence-power machine to children and of course there are many parents who wont give their children toy guns. It’s also more gruelling again that in this image, the children are stuck to the ship as it exudes a magnetic force over them. If the force is conceived as also being power then its a little on the nose, especially so in the context of the idea of their futures, something more of which we’ll come to.
It is also where this leads in to the Jodorowsky narrative below, the potential for this whole circumstance to be a State control vector that moves children toward the normalisation of operation of weapons and more specifically the stories those weapons are to be taken up in the interest of the State and its highly relative narratives of convenience. Sel in the clip reveals instances of these narratives to be part of an overall organisational process for waging state warfare as social levels of pre-planned formation of narratives of hate and a concommitant physical forming of the body in this respect (revulsion and hatred as engineered bio-weapons of State production).
Yet the same forces being relied upon to induct young minds are still lines of flight; the whiff of danger, the adventure of living on a warship on the sea, the fellowship of fighters together against an enemy. Albeit that in this particular instance they are the prescribed line that leads to the armed forces, so become curtailed and demarcated spaces of rigorous control and limitation of most aspects of freedom. But what lines of flight in themselves demonstrate is the quality innate to their being generated, the energy, the potential, the moment of the dreaming in instance.
These are real and as such, can lead to other forms of the same becomings/ realisations, not just those prescribed in State-municipal functionaries on the front line of violent death in the name of territory and possession (aka safety).
There is also no telling when such a dreamed-in aspect as for example, the idea of being on a warship and operating its machinery, using its technology – the vibrant risk of life and death, in a battle of force and wits with an enemy, might suddenly go rogue. When this prescribed mould of advertised living might find its spice and crackle of vividness taking off for a warfare of a different kind, when the understanding of the dynamics of freedom and history at play in the intra-personal become their own micro-warfare of the encompassing. It is then that such affect might be more acutely placed to free one much further than at the tipping point of the State’s stratificatory doling out of potential and its corresponding visions of individual service and sacrifice in the name of others.
The ‘true’ enemy has always been within, but is found in the looking, not the finding, in the impersonal occupations of action with the flavour of too satisfying a return, with the hand upon the action that cuts for others, not to free but further enslave. As such and in such that, there is mystery and possibility at every turn, it is not a simple prognosis or prescription that to encounter the war machinic of the state in this way is bad, it is a multiplicity of folded dreamings, apparitions and abstractions. But to know also that it taps into an undercurrent of our social knowledge that there is a warrior way of being necessary to humans, whether realised or not. And in a way, this is the most telling battle, as at its heart, a more true engagement is being sought, with being, rather than with narratives of being as waves of the semiotic manoeuvrings of the State. Because fundamentally it is always here that one must get to, a place out past the abstract functioning of these contortions, where vantage may better ascribe the conditions at play.
Jodorowsky is brilliantly across this space. Old people make the toys, re-directing the potential for the older and wiser to feedback into the social, instead they are the employs who make the control-toys. It is also a State-Capital alliance (Sel leads a company that works with the State). While also demonstrating the ruthless ease with which she masquerades as the clown, giving gifts, before returning to her fur surrounded powercrat figure.
What is also most striking about Holy Mountain in this respect is that in as much as we are introduced to the members of Jodorowsky’s group and each of them are extraordinary, transformative dreamers – they are esconced in the spoilt affluence-reward of being state-social dreamers of the containment of others. They are structural mega-figures, a corporate power broker, police leader-authoritarian, architect, artist and other priveliged. They are also those that turn away from these directions and become a part of Jodorowky’s group along with the common thief (who has himself had to fight his way out of mythification-jesus messianism formed of copies of himself).
In Jodorowsky’s film it is the Holy Mountain itself which is the place where they are able to physically and virtually get beyond the spaces of their domesticity (and it is more appropriately translated as the ‘sacred’ mountain). Not by accident does their journey with Jodorowky take them to the mountain (finally also past the pantheon and those many selling their experiences of proximity), although not by accident is this also merely the location where he finally compels and impels people to break out of their own image, from where they are trapped projections.
‘We are images, dreams, photographs. We must not stay here! Prisoners! We shall break the illusion.”