3.10.2006

sigils... everywhere!

So.
I've been thinking about sigils lately. That is, whenever I'm not completely occupied with schoolwork. Interest was sparked, of all things, by a punk band. Fucked Up mentions them in an interview. In their words:
When we lived together I would wake up in the morning and find these weird symbols all over the fridge and in the bathroom on the mirror and shit. [Guitarist]Camp put a huge one on his wall when the Leafs ran for the Cup 2 season ago. We put them up all over a crucial intersection as sort of a pre-victory ritual for this OCAP action that happened there. The idea behind sigils is that you think of something you want to happen, write it down, make a monogram of it, and then drill the monogram into your brain while forgetting the meaning. That way the meaning gets detached from the symbol, so its no longer in your waking mind. Your subconscious goes to work trying to make the outcome happen, and presto in a few days it does.


Now, previously I've characterized much of political struggle in terms of team sports, in that 'our team' raises its (black or red) flag, and makes a display of power against 'their team.' The age old rhetorical question we keep asking ourselves is, 'what if we had a protest and nobody came?' The idea being, the expensive display of power created by the authorities would be cancelled out and subject to humiliation. The converse of that question is: 'What if they held a meeting and nobody showed up?' This question was kicked around by editorials awhile back, after Seattle. There is no real reason why all these bureaucrats have to physically gather in one place. They could sit all sit at home in their jammies and sell away the world via conference call. Where would the protest be held?

All of that, though, is for another post. The existence of the flag, of the symbol, exists as a shorthand for a whole long discourse on the proper way of organizing society. But does it really? Looking at the Nazis, it becomes obvious just how fucking ridiculous they were... they poached their symbols from a bunch of occult books, and pasted that onto the concept of total state integration and manipulation of the public. What does A have to do with B? Not much.

What does Stalinism have to do with Marxism? Not much. In fact, Marxist ideals of individual self-actualization compare more favourably with the classical liberal ideals. What does John Locke have to with our current corporatist oligarchy? Not fucking much.

And yet here's how we define our political identities: left vs. right. Symbolology. The symbol is vested with meaning, the meaning is forgotten. The symbol is charged with our energies. It becomes our focus, or of commonality. Dropping all the magickal connotations of the sigil, I find this theory very hard to disprove.

Or look at it another way: I stand on the corner with the black flag in my hand, a circle-A pin on my hoodie. You ask me what these things mean. I'm not going to tell you that they stand for dividing the world between communal tribes of between 10-50 people. I'm going to tell you (maybe with some difficulty because I don't express myself very well vocally) the traits of a good anarchist society, what it stands for, and leave the practicalities of achieving such a thing up to your own imagination.

My questioner, I notice, is wearing a Maple Leafs jersey. This is key. Notice the power of the sports sigil, and the excitement that runs through the city when the Leafers make the playoffs. What does it mean? Does the Maple Leafs jersey represent an adoration of a civic space? Does it represent respect for any one of the players or coaches? Or does it merely represent 'We Won!'? A vague aspiration, just like mine.

Why is the Nike 'Swoosh' so powerful? By any definition, corporate Logos do not have any overt political representation. The 'Swoosh' represents our previous experience with it, which if luck should have it is an action-packed tv commercial rather than a sweatshop. It is a sigil, one whose meaning is probably just visceral excitement. It does not represent the commodity.

Where does this power come from? Magick, or something inside us? Another example: Christ (the guy/or perhaps the fictional character), in his own words, represents poverty, compassion, pacifism to the point of martyrdom. Christ becomes represented by Crucifix. Crucifix becomes carved out of gold, affixed on Cathedrals, painted on shields and implements of torture and whatnot. Has Christ (the guy) been liquidated?

Is it the sigil that liquidates it? Or us? Why?

All too often, activists are defined by A. the flag and B. the opposition. Very seldom have I heard the shape of the culture to come discussed at any length at a demo (usually because there is so much to do, and so many cops to worry about). If the cops disappeared, and if we refused the flags, what would exist to keep us together? Would it be better or worse?

12 Comments:

At 7:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

CAPO? ...wait, i don't feel the magic....dammit, my yoga mat must be broken.

-krystalline

 
At 11:14 AM, Blogger eric said...

krystal, that 'yoga mat' is a piece of toast.
Have you tried charging your sigil? Are you sure it's properly charged?
(with positive energy, remember!)

 
At 9:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i buried it under a plant and poured beer over the spot. good beer. maybe a waste of good beer. we'll have to see.

maybe we should eat the yoga mat for breakfast?

 
At 11:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok, i'm starting to think the batteries in my sigil are dead.

...maybe i should lick them to check if they're still good....would that make me a hard core punk rocker then?

 
At 5:13 PM, Blogger eric said...

maybe.
here lick this battery. it's uh...
worth extra points.

 
At 7:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

no man, you lick it!

 
At 11:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe you should all lick it!

 
At 11:47 PM, Blogger eric said...

huh?

 
At 11:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

can i lick you?

 
At 12:43 PM, Blogger eric said...

who?

 
At 11:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i dunno....can i lick one of the BUSH twins, the prettier one, what's her name?

 
At 1:27 PM, Blogger eric said...

gah! this is getting outta hand.
maybe i have to write a bloggy-blog again. maybe i can do this... on saturday.

 

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