literature of the apocalypse_14

Ionesco: Rhinoceros
Powers: “Enquire Within Upon Everything”

notes & response:
-“I sometimes wonder if I exist myself.”
-“There are certain things which enter the minds of even people without one.”
-Logic vs. Justice
-The Rhinoceros appears at moments of intense hypocrisy; perhaps Ionesco’s principles of morality exist more within hypocrisy than anything else.
-A rational Logician explaining the concept of a syllogism to an old man
-Aren’t there often moments where you feel the pinch of your moral code?
-Willpower and cultural self-improvement to garner the affections of a woman
-“Collective Psychosis”—Botard (skeptical of the rhinos’ existence) thinks the illusory appearance of these rhinos is related to this.
-How does one solve “the rhino-riddle?”
-When faced with moral debates or dilemmas, we often avoid crashing through any walls in order to remain/appear polite. But what purpose does this serve?
-Misanthropic and savage, a cult of culture to cure the moral dilemma
-The evolution/devolution (?) of culture and society possibly pushed to a dead end
-Conformity to an immortality project
-“A full-blown rhino trying to break free.”
-Is the approach to an apocalypse fore fronted by hypocrisy and the desire to break free from the boundaries of cultural and societal norms?
-Here, the “apocalyptic imagination” seems to question tolerance and to what point to tolerate becomes self-defeating.
-There’s a “crumbling wall outside” that begs to be torn down—does that not suggest apocalypse?
-“Whether you wish to…I hope you will not fail to ‘Enquire Within.”
-To be a hypocrite implies conscious acting; however, conflicted contradictions seem to be a part of the human condition.
-To build an online mausoleum for the deceased digital that’s forgotten about and never dismantled.
-“The superior man is the one who fills his duty.”—What duty?
-“Accidental information poisoning.”—Today perhaps one duty is to poison—I mean, nourish—ourselves with “information.”
-“The story underwriting the boy’s entire life will turn out to be: ‘The hero goes on a journey…”
-“When he reaches seventy, the boy becomes convinced that his entire life is another person’s statistical speculation. But he is never able to prove this definitively.”
-“In this digitally restored life, the simulated boy will experience three scattered moments when he feels the infinite odds against any existence at all.”

The connection between these stories of apocalypse or how they relate to the “apocalyptic imagination” seems to be most prevalent within this idea of simulation. To me, it seems that if culture (or the “cult” of culture) were moving toward some form of apocalypse or demise, it would be a direct result of the simulation of daily life and progress rather than the actual manifestation of it. And similar to Rhinoceros, does that not make us all rhinoceroses [or rabbits, in Kesey’s vision in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest] in the sense that we’ve tapped into the hypocrisy of culture and therefore desire the ability to break down the wall? I think any understanding of an apocalypse suggests that there are parts moving against the machine—the machine of culture. It only seems fitting that a collective hypocrisy could take hold and “progress” the demise of a culture [and thus create a new one—clearly the Rhinoceri are “organizing”]. This sounds like devolution and apocalypse to me.


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