Geronimo's Cadillac

The great Apache warrior as melon farmer

43. His unhappiness can be gauged by his longing to travel, to leave his home. The more traveled a man the less he is happy. Travel and a superficial understanding of local cultures western men have proclaimed a virtue, a bulletpoint for the curriculum vitae, when really travel is an indication of the globalization of unhappiness and homelessness. The entirety of the earth is no man's home.

45. His form of life is without any locality. His form of life can be sent anywhere. Without the local he is homeless: a planet populated with homeless men.

46. Local words and expressions are gradually stricken from his language. Local practices and variations in a form of life are lost to successive generations. Craftsmen are replaced with Walmarts selling cheap machine made products from the Orient. The world becomes a vast urban marketplace dominated by global corporations and the competition of economies of scale.

49. Previously the earth and the gods and animals of a particular place determined his form of life. He did not need or wish to go beyond his locale, where other men and animals and other gods had their dwelling. The first explorers were exiles and outcasts and fools, those who were sent away from a tribe and family for some unforgivable infraction. To be forced to rebuild a form of life from nothing in a foreign land, to discover new gods and where and how to hunt animals, or to die there, was the worst punishment imaginable. The men who traveled to the ends of the earth and began populations there were not noble explorers in the mold of Amundsen or Shackleton, but the degenerates and throwaways from longstanding and religious forms of life. It took countless generations of men in these new, uninhabited lands, to discover the hindering and helpful spirits, the rituals of the hunt, the migratory patterns of the animals, the edible plants, etc. It was an incredible multi-generational project that no sane and healthy man would willingly undertake.

50. The white explorers had it easier in that they brought a powerful form of life with them: agriculture and animal husbandry, as well as the ideas of slavery for the service of working the fields. Because their God was an agricultural god, He came along too. The white explorer did not thus begin from nothing. His was a form of life that could be transplanted wherever crops could grow.

55. The danger to hunting forms of life was always that the locality they lived in would be changed and their form of life made impossible. They were careful not to over hunt, to diminish the soil, to muddy the rivers and streams. They listened attentively to their gods. They resisted going beyond their lands.

59. Western man looks out upon the fenced in wild. From the safety of the steel observation deck the wild stimulates something deep within in him. Something he no longer understands touches his spirit. He says he feels refreshed by the wild. It is an antidote to the city. Now refreshed he can return to his office labors.

60. There is no reason to protect the wild, to save the earth, etc. It is not through any reason that the earth can be saved. Rather it is through reason that the earth is destroyed and men brought to their knees in unhappiness.

75. Philosophy, as a practice of extending legibility, making typographies of the world and cataloging it, is guided by the most hindering of hindering spirits.

77. Philosophical problems have no translation into the languages of other forms of life. The mind/body problem cannot be made a problem in Inupiat. The universality implicit in the arguments made by philosophers cannot be demonstrated anthropologically or ethnologically in every form of life. 

78. Now that the Inuit have an alphabet and their form of life is less reliant upon the hunt, are they now capable of understanding the mind/body problem? Are the Inuit now capable of being troubled by the separation of their minds from their bodies? Or are they still in need of further "progress"?

87. LW posited that philosophical problems were born of language going on holiday, being extended to where it cannot go, etc. But he should have specified that these problems were the result of a language befallen to legibility: Men speak and think legibly today. It is legibility which pushes language where it cannot go. It is the misapplication of an accountant's technology to man and his world.

88. It seems too simple a shorthand to argue that the discovery of agriculture and animal husbandry begat surpluses which begat legibility, then statism and the enslavement of men and animals, oligarchy, etc. Were there farming cultures that resisted legibility, or resisted its advance beyond an accounting technology? Perhaps it was the strength of their divinities that protected them? Is the link between agriculture and population growth really as Brody argues? There seems a decidedly western bias in both economics and anthropology that has obscured these questions, perhaps a result of attempting vast generalities (what the white eyes call Truth) instead of maintaining a local focus. And so few have gone to live for an extended period among the people they write about. Does the act of writing itself, that most dangerous of hindering spirits, make any understanding impossible from the start? It was Teddy Carpenter's realization that he was only assisting the hindering spirit of legibility in destroying the forms of life he admired that led him to quitting the anthropological project entirely. Must a western man stop writing and go silent to preserve the world?

93. Men cannot walk themselves back from their knowledge of certain technologies. The accountant's technology of making legible cannot be overcome or forgotten. There has appeared no divinity yet powerful enough to assist men in overcoming it. 

94. I realized I could never be more than another Carpenter, Scott, or Brody: guiding the hindering spirit of legibility into some hidden, unspoiled and unwritten territory; showing the way to undiscovered transcripts, and if not writing them myself, showing the way to them for states and corporations and their missionaries. Even unwritten, the hindering spirit of legibility I brought with me, would proclaim another, dominant, hostile form of life: to explain, to argue, to define, to make equations, to break into the most essential and then to generalize, to assign ownership: to teach men to become individuals and to make them responsible, to teach them the earth and gods and animals were separate from them, and that they were even separate from their own bodies. 

99. It was not the military might of the Great Father in Washington that finally ended the Indian Wars of the late 19th century. It was the slaughter of more than 500 million animals to make way for the pioneers and their farmland. Without animals to hunt, the tribes faced starvation and were forced onto the reservations with the promise of food. The Indian warriors had routinely defeated the US military, despite it large numbers, but with the animals, specifically the plains buffalo, all but annihilated, their form of life, its gods and language and ritual, was vanquished. Even the great Apache warrior Geronimo surrendered his feathers for a white eyes' suit and was instructed in the farming of melons. In exchange for food, the tribes subjected themselves to legibility. There was only death or the white eye's form of life.

100. Population growth is essential to maintaining the constant increase of capital values. This in turn maintains the fractional reserve banking system assuring that credit extended to capitalists will be repayed along with interest. Growing populations also have the effect of making other forms of life impossible--particularly those that rely upon natural abundances--by killing off the animals and taking the lands upon which those forms of life are reliant. The forests can now be cut down and sold as valuable timber; oil pipelines that might have disturbed caribou migrations can now be constructed without the protest of environmentalists.

104. When a form of life is vanquished its gods go speechless, for man is the mouthpiece of divinity.

105. To make way for the western form of life the land animals had to die. They had to die to make way for the vast farming plots. The forests the animals lived in were necessarily cut down. The animals were slaughtered for interfering with the farmer's produce, for feeding upon his domesticated cattle. Even more importantly, the native men who lived off the land animals, who's form of life the land animals supported, had themselves to be domesticated and taught to live not from the hunting of a natural abundance, but rather by hard work in the service of other men for the currency of government sponsored fiat.

111. If you say that something I have written here is true, it is only because it has appealed to your bias. In the absence of divinity and ritual and the hunt, men are drawn together through Reason, argument and explanation. The whisper of divinity: that men of similar instincts will be comrades. 


From a Truck Stop

Ticonderoga, NY

4. Legibility takes an equational structure. As an accounting technology the debits must be equal to the credits. With the balance sheet the concept of BALANCE in life is originated. A life lived according to the golden mean is not simply the good life, but good accounting.

5. Legibility begins with naming and then is extended structurally in the form of equations and arguments. Philosophical disagreement has historically taken two forms: a disagreement over what has been made legible (the named), and/or a disagreement over the equational argument built upon what has been made legible. 

6. The project of what to name is determined by a man's objectives and biases. A man of fiat profit will name to increase his bank accounts and to justify the state's protection. Whereas the philosopher will name according to his biases, his instincts, perhaps some unknown power speaking through him.

38. The Unabomber's Manifesto is a beautiful work of mathematics, a work of philosophy made by a talented mathemetician. It is hard to disagree with its equational logic. But what has been named, and what has been left unnamed and unequated, is open to disagreement. An equation may itself be perfect, but a disagreement with how X, Y, and Z have been defined is always personal.

56. There are two movements in the scientific project of legibility: (1) finding the smallest, tiniest building block of the world and naming it; and (2) finding the most general, expansive argument/equation to make the world reasonable and completely understood. Both tendencies of legibility disregard the middle, the local, the small group, the family, the tribe, the understanding of men of a particular place and time. 

57. Man lives neither at the most essential nor the most general. He lives, even when blinded by the logic of the state and corporation, inseparable from a specific place and a time, from blood and its lineage. Legible language and  its argument draws man into inhospitable, inhuman places. The global competition of fiat; the competition of worldly fame and other competitions. The equational logic of legibility leads him to develop the world and himself into ugliness and unhappiness. 

60. Science performs best locally. Men and their forms of life function best locally. Yet strangely philosophers, statists, and scientists neglect the local, and are even contemptuous of it. The languages of specific and isolated forms of life are disregarded and soon destroyed. 

69. Philosophy's task (it it can have one) is to interrogate legibilities; to show how the project of making legible fails and its unintended consequences;  to question why a name has been given, to expose the objectives and biases behind the naming; the failure of the equations and arguments constructed upon the names. Philosophy's rightful task is with making the world less legible, protecting the local, protecting its silence. 

77. LW demonstrated this was possible for philosophy: he showed where legibility failed and could not go; his work was a defense of hidden transcripts; a rebuke to those global corporate and state powers that would make of man an economic individual, subject to a global accounting. 

81. As long as there are men, there will be hidden transcripts. 

85. The proper end of philosophy is not silence, but silent prayer.
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