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Part one of two-part conversation with Sean Kerrigan, author of Bureaucratic Insanity, on liminality & rioting, draconian punishments in schools, the banality of office environments, loss of meaning, the omnipresence of rules, quests for identity, bureaucrats as victims of bureaucracy, cogs in the social machine, the illusion of power, bureaucracy & hierarchy, imposition from above, the need for internal honesty, professionalism as repression, drawing boundaries at work, customer service etiquette, restrictions on teachers, the desire to control, liminality & transitioning societies, the worship of symbols, complaints about the confederate flag, insanity escalation, a permanent state of liminality, compartmentalization, bureaucrats at home, children who fear their parents, identity development, the bureaucrat’s answer to everything (more bureaucracy), children as work force, the production of nothing, removing human autonomy, complexity & decay in high cultures, watching things fall apart, ideology & history, a corrupted frame of reference, a non-existent framework, filling a space with unconscious matter, transhumanism, pure intelligence, corporations without consciousness.
Songs: “El Mariachi” by The Freak Fandango Orchestra; “Johannesburg wop wop wop” by Kisbalishin Kerlet; “Blinde State,” by My Bubba & Mi.
6 thoughts on “The Liminalist # 69: The Elimination of Consciousness (with Sean Kerrigan)”
I listened with great interest to this. It triggered lots of corresponding thoughts and memories. A situation that came to mind was when, back in the early 90s, I was attempting to claim Housing Benefit. I remember the sour faced, benefits officer calling an Asian man to be attended to before me, despite the fact I’d been waiting for some time and he had only just arrived. When I remonstrated I was completely ignored. This injustice filled me with impotent rage, as was in no position to vent being broke and dependent on the State for food and shelter. That, in her eyes, I was worth less than a foreigner who had been brought in by his landlord because he couldn’t speak English, was disorienting and ultimately dispiriting.
Of course this kind of preferential treatment for ‘minorities’ (botany longer in London at least) is now commonplace across Europe and is clearly an adopted strategy by the progressive established to break the morale of indigenous Europeans. It is extremely effective. Having subsequently worked in the public sector I have witnessed this counter intuitive behaviour all too often and frankly it wore me down. As was discussed policies are written, orders passed down the line and implemented by soulless jobsworths. I’m too sensitive a person to be able to survive in office realpolitik, with all those smiling assassins, so I had to leave the profession.
These days, when I can summon the enthusiasm, I chat and write online with right wing intellectuals and am in the process of working my way back to the causes and conditions or this dystopic, topsy turvey state of affairs. I need to catch up with your familial exploration Jasun, especially as it pertains to links to some of major players. I read a book on the Fabians last year, so I’m familiar with some of your references. As always, your path intertwines with my own and your explorations are very inspiring. Thank you both for an excellent talk. I will put Mr Kerrigan’s book on my ‘to read’ list.
I’m writing and posting from my mobile, so forgive me for any errors–though one of the predictive text errors is quite apt.
I’ve been working jobs outside of the “machine enviroment” since I was 16, mainly with my friend and his contracting company doing manual labor, then in the Alberta oil fields for 6 years. But since I moved to Nova Scotia I’ve been working nights at a supermarket stocking the shelves, and I have to say, the whole enviroment is soul crushing; surrounded by four white walls, advertisements and symbols everywhere you look, horrible pop music with the same songs repeating every night, taking commands from the power base thats all located in the day crew (store managers and all their lackeys) that you rarely ever see (which may be a positive), getting labeled “human resource”, petty and childish behavior like the day staff getting pizza parties while the night crew gets nothing, hours being cut all the time.
I don’t know how people do these jobs for years on end without killing themselves or being drug addicts.
This was such a great conversation and one that never gets talked about at it. It reminded me of the movements like Universal Basic Income and the 4 Hour Workday.
Through luck / design I’ve spent my life in these places – shops, factories, offices, car showrooms and they are literally soul destroying. I get to the point I feel life has been sucked out of me and I am a shell, sure, existence and being alive is meant to be this magical experience but it’s not called the daily grind for nothing.
There is the strange unnatural certainty – the routine played out day after day, nothing unplanned or unexpected will intervene. The unnatural environment – stationary sitting all day, staring at a screen in a place without natural light (for some, even windows) with people you have little or no connection with. Air conditioning, heating, eating too many cakes as if this alone reveals some kind of humanity. The clockwork regularity of times and the sheer boredom of doing a pointless job (though no one ever verbalises or admits this). There is a kind of relief knowing the robots are coming, they will do a better job than us humans as we still end up making mistakes. If your job is machine-like then it’ll turn you in to one eventually, so I believe.
The other thing that I forgot to add was that often now office desks are not allowed to have any personal items on – no photos, plants or any indication of the personality, even if they sit there everyday. It’s like a slow erosion of self, planned or not? I find that hard to fathom.
Computers and advanced communication technology has allowed employers to hire stupider and more ignorant people.
The “clerk” or whom ever the person behind the counter is often only there to make sure you don’t steal or damage anything.
Don’t even think of asking them a question.