SummaryReckless by Lucas
NotesCuts, extra thoughts @ death2. Old Russian take on American Age. Fedorov on Resurrection. newRussian.org or newAmerican.biz -- Новый русский или новый американец?
Или это одно и тоже?
"The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." (CO1 15:26)
"Rational living beings must first become mortals." (Heidegger)
I. MORTALITY 101
The beasts of Apocalypse are present -- phone, tv, car, even computers. Only airplanes, missiles and subways are missing in "Reckless" by Craig Lucas. Postmodern is a banal reality we live in; we made existential sense of life (dying) into technological actuality. Voice on the phone, face on the screen are moribund, having little vital force left in them. Lucas doesn't push the technological dimension of this reality his characters occupy, it's a routine, like trees, snow, children... Actually, the "normal" things are not easily reachable, we only can dream about the past, mortal world. The script has six nameless doctors for Rachel, the hero, to talk about it. As if they are not from the same world where things do not make sense.
It is the postmodern, Lucas is from the time after the Endgame, when the shocking and absurd are the classics, familiar and even boring. Miracles are normal. Do you believe that you can win $100.000 on TV game show? Rachel did. You can see it every night on your tv. What could surprise us? Oh, yes, there is one last (evil) thing -- death. "People die" -- Rachel has to convince herself that death takes place. Why is this well known fact is a discovery?
Lucas' people die accidentally (as if any death isn't some sort of "accident"). How many people do you know who died of a poisoned champaign? Not impossible, everything is possible in the world of opportunities. Pre-modern playwrights loved coincidents, death in Lucas' world is coincidental too: man and death, the strangers, meet. How? What is the logic of accidents?
We don't understand death. We don't want to understand even if we understand it "scientifically." Than how can we understand "the life of death"? Is it possible? Yes, if we would step out of the world were death was accepted. The world before us.
II. AMERICAN FACE OF DEATHThe riddle of technology... is also the riddle of the accident. I'll explain. In classic Aristotelian philosophy, substance is necessary and the accident is relative and contingent. At the moment, there's an inversion: the accident is becoming necessary and substance relative and contingent. Every technology produces, provokes, programs a specific accident. (Virilio)Without an accident the reality can't be reinforced. Air disasters remind us the reality of flying and miracle of being in the air. Every year more Americans die on the road than in Korean or Vietnam war. Just a data alert. Big deal! We are against drunk driving, not driving. According to Sait Paul of POMO (Virilio), driving a car is operating a war machine! All technologies are military originated and contain in them their original purpose. Eliminating the space, saving time? The cost of super-speed is in price of your car, gas, and -- your life. Speed is the substance of a car in motion, your live body is part of a machine. A car isn't an extension of you, as McLuhan liked to see it, you are a "factor" of the action.
Two car scenes in the Lucas' script, where most philosophical dialogues (life and death) take place. Was the script written for the screen or the car made it to stage?
The space of driving is a nature re-organized for movement. Highways connect the stopping points of motion -- cities. The points of destination, the targets. The control over speed could be seeing in different modes of traffic. Highway traffic is a pretended plurality and false unity. On one hand we live within the same speed, on another in different subjective times inside our car. Do we come in closer contact with objective (mutual) time and space? Only the accident is the ultimate level of being close. And the contact results in death.
It's only logical.
Oh, the coincidence, when possible and impossible lost their relations. One St. Petersburg in Russia and three in Alaska alone -- what a coincident! Our urban geography is designed for triumph of madness. Numbers represent places. Corner of First Street and Second Ave. Go and travel mathematical landscape. Free associations and the logic of stream of conciseness. Changes of the same. You don't ask anymore "why" -- why not? Everything is possible, expected, nothing is unthinkable or unacceptable.
But first, we do have to accept the limitations.
"American skies" are under our feet -- our road signs, stipulating space and time, when slow speed is also a crime. Laws of high speed everywhere keep capital punishment on books. Not for a flight? The plane is always in free fall, the engines keep it in balance.
The infrastructure could be seen as an expensive road paved to death. You stay alive as long as you and others are not alienated from the car. In order to be together with the machine you have to be alienated from yourself. Price for this 150 horses power within a small space of a horse size you have to pay by a "little death" - separation from your soul. The faster you go, the more you serve the road and speed, forgetting yourself. I do not realize that my mass is double and triple, this obesity of my body is expression of mutation of space and time. Einstein described those effects long ago. For dead matter, to which we belong.
III. LOGIC OF ACCIDENTS
The theory of Accident? What a nonsense!
"Reckless" -- Wheel of Misfortune? Life is a lottery, where everyone loses. Accidental death is a continuity of accidental life. Traffic accidents -- and TV (soul traffic) accidents -- brain dead, comatozed... When we deal with immaterial images we could move with a speed of light!Throughout time, man has tried to increase his speed. With the horse, the sailboat, the train, the plane... But all of these speeds remained relative in the sense that they didn't dominate space. Today, we've reached a limit that we can't exceed -- that of the speed of light. This brings about a globalization of time. World time overtakes local time. With the risk of integral accidents. (Virilio)TV is a mental (and emotional) movement in space and time, next step from high speeds. And as in a car or plane we alienated from the sensation of our actual speed, we don't feel the incredible resistance of reality. We have perceptions without sensitivity of actual reality. Super-speed of camera (my extension) looks like a safe travel. Except for the fact that now not only space but time is lost. TV is present in "Reckless" in a bedroom (opening scene), in all the hotels Rachel and Lloyd stay in all Springfields. TV is a long distance living. The super-natural speed of camera is an illusion of movement. To move from place to place I have to "cut" the space (jump, leap). A cut from NYC to LA isn't a covered distance; both realities exist simultaneously, both ready to be seen -- the choice to see one of another (or both) is possible because the ultimate speed of transition which makes irrelevant the distance from the place. The signal travels with such a speed that the LOCAL because equal with the FAR. The near and the far equalized. The extreme speed which kill the time, destroys the ability to think, to react, to understand. Another way of constant self-alienation.
The result? Madness and stupidity as methods of living deadly life. Life is moving too fast to be comprehended. As Pascal noticed: "Our senses cannot perceive extremes. Too much noise deafens us, to much light dazzles.... Extreme qualities are our enemies. We no longer feel anything; we suffer." And Luke has a different view of the world of extremes: "... and they can no longer die4, they are like the angels." (Luke 20:36)
We should add ... and they can no longer live. As mortal humans. The old formula: death is defeated by death. We can't die because we are dead already. We are living with this metabolic speed of death. Yes, angels are fast. That's their gift and curse.
All I need to make sense of this forgotten mortality is to think within the universe of para-normal, i.e. our techno-culture. But could I have both worlds? Jesus proved that mortality is possible for immortals. That is also a proof that immortality is possible for mortals. We know that Newton and Einstein peacefully coexist. I can be both -- mortal and immortal! At least I behave as I am.
Does life (or death) exist or not is irrelevant. The extreme speed makes a time dimension into a field; death is just a place. Time could have a direction only in a spacial environment. Losing space with drop the cause-effect relations, we enter the world of immortality. Without space "before" and "after" are not fixed. Angelic world knows no past and future. Einstein insisted on unity of space-time-matter. Although the three-dimensional world could be reduced to 2 D with approaching the speed of light (at least from a perspective of an outside observer). What we need to do to make this speed possible is to get rid of matter. Easy done -- we make reality into its double: image. The FATALITY OF IMAGE in the acceleration of (screen) events beyond the space of human physical perception forces us to react to these events mentaly?
Now, this mode of living make me into a new creature, new techno product when "...accident is not only a regrettable contingency but becomes something 'every technology produces, provokes, programs'." I am a product and producer of living death, and -- I'm losing ability to see, to feel, to perceive myself. Rachel doesn't remember that she left two small children. There's not much reflections on the past, no need to be connected with yourself year ego, yesterday, an hour before now...RACHEL: ... Let's pick names. What do you like? How about Jessie? I'll be Jessie or you be Jesse and I'll be Mrs. Mancini. I can find another doctor. You know, it's a good idea to shop around, try different types of therapies-How about this for question of identity? Many names, many Springfields. Re-inventing herself; that's what's heard from existentialists such as Foucault to an American idea of self-made man. No end, no difference. No, it's not a denial. The departure from idea of identity took place long ago. Rachel, Ann, Eve, Cheryl -- too many for one soul. Life is too much. Indifference is the answer.
LLOYD: SHOT UP! SHUT THE FUCK UP PLEASE! COULD WE HAVE ONE--TINY--MOMENT OF SILENCE IF IT ISN'T TOO MUCH TOP ASK FOR? PLEASE?
The miracle of technology, including the social as technology, are full of programmed catastrophes. Our understanding of the world become an integral accident. The collapse of understanding and perception is the crossing border line between life and death. Or better yet, living in the space of this line. Our TV set looks different under the light of dromology. "Virilio: ... I say, no, this museum (The Museum of Accidents) already exists, it's television."
TV box is a global weapon of mass destruction. Your mind is targeted. Remember the deconstruction theory? Mao's re-education concentration camps and re-education in corporate America. Training, seminars, conventions. Rachel watched tv, they watch each other on tv, they win money on tv. TV instead (in addition to) of our favorite killing machine -- the car. Speed of light is a speed of death. We want to know! We love to travel! The news -- 24 hours of strikes by six billion strangers -- you call it information? That's the third super-bomb (Einstein) of the World War Three.
"A solitude ten thousand fathoms deep..." TVs are on (in every set, in every house) all the time, without anybody watching. The dream machine, the destruction of the real. "This phenomenon (de-realization) is similar to madness," Virilio explains, "The mad person is wounded by his or her distorted relationship to the real... The de-realized man is a disoriented man."
I am not a center of universe, I am a target of it!
From accident to speed, this secret of life and death. Technology is the magic elecsir. Next, desappearince of real and life, including death.
Why Lloyd dies? Suicide, drinking himself to death on champaign. In Santa outfit! Not only god and man died, Santa has to die also. Not death but miortality becomes the issue, when an immortal dies, this is the second death, final and total.
Lloyd's second life (after a full change of his identity) ended up in the same accidental logic. Too mamy lives for one soul. Immortal souls die within this blue light of the electronic lake of fire. As promiced.
IV. DEFENDING DEATH
There are too many protecting life, somebody has to defend death. In all-human-power-world everything is on life's side. Against death? Poor evil, it needs advocates.
Get rid of death! Not that simple. Life can't leave its guardian -- death is a soul of life. Actually, death needs no defenders. It's me, who needs an understanding of the value of death. I always remember that death is ahead, it's my last refuge. And something of a "hope." Something I can count on.
The Postmodern likes to talk about "disappearance" of the real. The sense of disappearance of real (life) is a result of our war against death. I don't mind the disappearance of the stupid reality.
Very little good was said about death. Death is a true gift, free and readely avalible. It shouldn't be too reckless, should live. Death of death will end life. "And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them." (REV 9:6)
"Right to die"? Did death become a part of (civil) freedom? My individual right. "To be or not to be" -- matter of our social concern. Not yet. A suicide is still considered as madness. Killing yourself is still a mortal (moral) sin. Death and mortality got divorced.
V. FASTER THAN DEATH
To overcome mortality, we silently accepted death and institutionalized it: death must be included (packaged) in every moment of living -- through technology. "Death and life" of a machine has a quite different form -- working and non-working. Is the unplugged lamp dead? When I turn off the tv set, it doesn't die. It exists even when it's not working -- but not in the event oriented world. I can't judge about life and death of mechanism until I can see it perform. Life and death could be suspended. Function = life. It's the position of the social machine? My position.
Death as a return to the normal? Nothing which is mother of Being. Yes, accidental death is very pomo concept. Fraud with his "death wish" introduced the hidden desire (if not for this damn wish we could be immortal?) We fight AIDs, cancer, all possible, known and unknown diseases -- yes, we fight death, because death is unacceptable!
All right, what is the price of immortality? .... Life.
We die by mistake, man. One way or another death is a slip. There's no place for death left in our new brave world of this new order. We have doubled our life expectancy because we believe that death is avoidable. Childish? Look where this naive faith took us! Johnson and Johnson is working on the pill "immortality." At the end of our story Rachel becomes a doctor. And meets her grownup son. This a happy end of a pomo tragedy.
The notes are lost. I will restore them, if I get some extra time.
I place my webnotes in the side bar nowdays. Instead of footnotes. Every time I read what I wrote, I want to comment on it. With this "file" I have one serious problem; the references to "Reckless" ask for a knowledge of the play, although I wasn't writing about the script, but what this text avoke in me. How I understand the danger of immortality we entered.