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At this moment, I’m thinking about work.   Not just my work, but that too.  My work is pleasing to me, I feel like I am of value to the organization and I have a certain amount of pride invested in the organization so that its fortunes are something I care for whether they impact my ‘fortunes’ or not, only because I want to participate in victorious enterprises.  Who doesn’t right?  Still, my work doesn’t pay me as much as I’d like and there are things that I want for, foolish unneeded things no doubt, but I am flawed and thus want.
But I’ve been thinking more about work as a principle, a phenomenon.
Say you’re a bushman, you’ll work, sometimes.  You’ll hunt and gather and endure strange privations and make unconscionable choices, you’ll be a bushman.  You’ll exert effort.  An observer could say that you are working - because it’s by the expense of calories in sweat and thought that you persist.
Say you’re a businessman, you’ll work.  You’ll strategize and plan and though you’ll endure not too many privations, you’ll make unconscionable choices, you’ll be a businessman.  You’ll exert effort.  An observer couldn’t say exactly what you are working on – because it’s by the accumulation of unused calories that you are dying prematurely.
Say you’re a workingman, you’ll work.  You’ll follow a pattern, obey regulations and you’ll endure strange privations, you’ll make no choices, you’ll be a workingman.  You’ll exert an effort.  An observer could say you were working because you pursued tasks singlemindedly for a scheduled interval and you were compensated in turn – and it’s by these accumulated hours that you’ll pay your rent.
Say you’re a thinking man, you’ll work.  You’ll wonder why you have to work, exactly, you’ll be satisfied to get the steady work when it’s available, but you’ll think a bit, not obsessively mind, but still, you’ll think in your solitary moments about what it means that you’re working.  You’ll think of the bushman and the businessman and the workingman – you’ll place yourself somewhere in a venn diagram that describes them all.  You’ll be familiar with Marx, you’ll have some sense of your own value and consider why and how you parcel out the surplus.  You might develop strange cares and exotic needs and thus you’ll work, though your heart’s not in it, your heart’s in thinking, you’re a thinking man and so you’ve a sense of Smith and how capital accumulates.  You’ll look at your increasingly sophisticated computer and cleverer and cleverer tools and realize that it’s only a matter of time before you’re marked as an expense that can’t be justified by a businessman.  You might have some nostalgia, misplaced or no, for the heyday of the workingman – having come from such people, you cast around and wonder where they’ve all gone.  You’ll take the work you can get until you can’t and then you’ll have to catch as catch can and maybe go be the urban sphere’s version of a bushman.  Maybe you’ll hunt opportunities, or suckers or victims, maybe you’ll gather cans or copper or unemployment.  A shrewd observer can tell you’re working, you’re doing something and it’s somehow helping you to keep on living, it’s keeping you indoors anyway and heck – winter is coming.  Winter is always coming and the wolves are always near the door.
It’s not that laziness is rewarded, it rarely is and idleness, whether a virtue or a vice, is its own reward – these aren’t the points to be made here, not the ideas this is meant to address.  Put aside your suspicions about the people in the office next door and the good life that they may or may not be getting without working as hard or harder than you.  Let’s think instead about working, but more to the point, about jobs.
Work, you do, like a machine – whether you get paid or not, it’s work just thinking, just sitting, just existing, there’s exertion.  What I mean to speak about is the job.  More to the point, I mean to speak about the weird serfdom that’s so commonplace as to be an assumption rather than a wonder.  I follow my congressional delegation and local politicians through the various social media channels that they use to get their points across and their points are often, curiously focused on the matter of jobs.  “Training!  A local victory!  A factory retained!  Jobs kept!”  There’s a lot of variation on this particular theme and I have learned something in my observance of politics and it is this:  Whenever the parties that amount to the American leadership are in complete agreement on a matter – that matter is the rotten core that pollutes the otherwise good world.  Save the financial system! (though most people might be net-debtors and beholden to it rather than served by it) – Conquer the fertile crescent! (though the expense in righteousness won’t be justified by the gains of the already morally suspect, though the results might be unconscionable and utterly ruinous, though such conquest might undermine the whole of society and tip us all into darkness) – Provide and sustain jobs! (though the tasks we set people to might be without merit and their spirits might be crushed by the weight of colossal misanthropy of the world of commerce).  Really, it’s rather worth noticing when members of the different parties are in lockstep because this circumstance naturally indicates that their constituent members are being swindled the most thoroughly.
So Sherrod Brown and Mike Kasich and Rob Portman all tweet to me that they are attempting to retain or keep jobs – this in between their various anecdotal, almost human interactions with their environment, I am told about sports victories and classic car enthusiasm and wedged in between these hokey slices of almost plausible Americana is the tattletale insistence that jobs are the matter of utmost significance.  Arbeit – it seems – Macht Frei.
Sure I was raised in an ostensibly protestant household and made to consider that famous ethic of work as a sacrosanct demonstration of True Character – punching the clock, showing up early, staying late, seeing it through till Friday and showing up, ready to work come Monday, the latter-day sacraments of a faith with precious few sacraments.  Arbeit – I was raised to believe – Macht Heilig.
Which is an uncanny sort of nonsense.  Work is fine, the Bushman works, the businessman works – everyone works, the ant and the grasshopper, each in their turn and season – but of these – which has a job.  Sure, sure – it’s right and proper that idle hands be turned to useful labor and it’s right and proper that useful labor be compensated.  Not fairly, mind, but according rather to the ebbs and flows of market forces, and cursed be he who seeks to unfairly tamper with that marketplace!   No-no, you live and die by your competitive merits, and never, even ever, think to rig the system in your favor by enlisting the help of those who you’d otherwise contend with for jobs.  No, you live by your own offerings – the union, you see, is a sinful aberration, a wreckage of the free market – which after all is certainly free enough to dispense with your job if not you – yourself should you prove to be somehow redundant.  It’s not that markets aren’t efficient, you see, or that they are purely wicked or purely good, but it is a fact that wage competition is a losing game and that an employer knows that paying anything is paying too much – because in the marketplace the employer is likewise bound up in the death struggle of competition.  All very sinister.  All very banal.
 Mechanization, electronic infrastructure and the steady progress of the machine world make you much less valuable than a machine, it’s only that you didn’t notice that it was happening.  When you made car parts you didn’t notice and now a robot does what a dozen men once did.  In the office you didn’t notice what was happening and now a computer does what a dozen men once did.  In short order the higher functions of management and finance will be handed over to the more powerful minds carved into silicon channels by cleverer machines still.  It’s not that the marketplace is wicked or that markets aren’t efficient, it’s that they just work better without you.
And yet, my political leadership tells me, cheerfully between choreographed missives regarding the state of Ohio State Football – that the solution to these matters is jobs.  Jobs, will solve it all, nevermind that there are too many asses and not enough seats!  Jobs will solve it, in the brief, fading interval in which jobs are things that could be had.  Never you mind that the efficient market acts with a swiftness to obviate the need for jobs.  Save for the few remaining instances where a man is called upon to do something less expensively than a machine might, for now, for this moment.  Security is a luxury, and you can’t afford luxury, neither you nor the Bushman, you’ll be wolf-eaten and winter-struck, soon enough and the markets will operate efficiently – until the time arises where there are goods produced and no one to afford them, where there are services rendered and none to make use of them.  But idleness, idleness is efficient, ask the Bushman – who doesn’t hunt when he’s not hungry, who doesn’t gather when he’s got no mouths to feed.  Idleness is the most efficient of the various postures, the return on investment, calorically – is the best there is.  Nevermind if it’s suicidal.
And yet, I’m told that jobs are the solution.  Jobs.  Eliminate all taxes on businesses that come to the state, to the city, compete, poorly, incompetently with the other states and nations and cities, give away everything and accept nothing in return!  And do this, for the fulfillment of that most essential American commodity – the job.
It took me a minute.  I’ll admit it, I’m clever but not usually smart, sometimes I get there though and I put it together.  I was preparing my taxes you see, and I put it together.  The politicians, who have some agency and thus, will never be put out of work by machines, have to calculate some source of income.  They’ve agreed that no business should have to pay, lest it uproot itself and move far from their constituency, and they’ve determined that financiers needn’t trouble themselves with consequences, let alone contributions (to anything beyond political campaigns that is) and yet they’ve a need, to keep some, their most loyal voters (pesky things, always looking for handouts) at least fed, at least secure enough to show up in November – and so they offer a corrupt bargain – “I’ll try to make sure that you can have a job,” Says my imaginary politico, “And in exchange you can pay the various payroll taxes and income taxes that, when cobbled together from the massive and increasingly desperate population are somehow sufficient to pay for all of our various, collective misadventures”  Jobs, are useful because it’s by jobs that wages are paid, but more to the point, it’s through them that taxes are gathered .
Here, I think of the Pyramids.  A wonder of the world – mankind’s first, great monuments and which will be, most likely the last of the great works of mankind left standing.  So why build your own mountains in a cemetery?  It’s not a very obvious thing to do – to build a mountain in a cemetery in the desert.  You don’t see a lot of people thinking that’s a good idea and there are a lot of very, very rich people out there now, who could, if they wanted to, have a mountain built in a cemetery in the desert.  Likewise there’s enough hungry, wanting people, that there wouldn’t be a shortage of workers for the project.  And yet you don’t see it.  Now, reckless thinkers will go on and on about strange externalities, about uncanny superstitions and solemnly held beliefs – but you know people with solemnly held beliefs, and so do I, we all do- and they all have something interesting in common and that is – They Don’t Build Mountains In A Cemetery In The Desert.  In fact, the only people who build crazy monuments without purpose are governments and their contractors and they do this, and we all know it (and it’s rather likely that the early agriculturalists of the 3rd Millennium before Christ likewise had this wisdom) because you have to give people something to do, or else they’ll figure out how to something for themselves and down that path – if you’re a politician, a ‘leader’ – lies unemployment.  So find something for people to do, find a job for them, and then – sometime, early in the 20th century, you can figure out a way to profit from that, you can figure out a way to create an enormous regulatory bureaucracy staffed with sycophants if you are willing (and who isn’t) to slip a light yoke over every one of your constituents and tax their incomes, and link forevermore the fortunes of the state with the fortune of the state’s class of employers.
It’s ahistorical to call the builders of the Pyramids at Giza slaves, they weren’t.  The writing that survives in those handmade mountains is all of the sort that appears still in lines of code and on bathroom stalls, graffiti extolling the virtues of the craftsmen involved – not slaves, not any more slaves than you are, or I am, but certainly – absolutely, bonded in servitude.  Take some pride, do your work, fulfill the protestant sacraments and keep the wolves as far from the door as you’re able, and remember that there are rulers in this world whether elected by consent of the divinity and they care for you only so long as you retain some utility.  
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Very often now I'm made to think about what the city means, why it is here and what I should expect from it. These kinds of thoughts are really only one thought, which is a pretty common, maybe even important one - and that's simply stated as: What Will Happen?

What Will Happen is a significant question, in that the answer you provide is a signal of, just everything, everything about you. You might be headstrong, confident, totally secure in the world and your place in it- you might say that What Will Happen is what you want to happen. Sensible, take action, govern the realities of your circumstances, own the situation. You might say that What Will Happen is what will happen, you might have tried, with a will, to take control and steer your fat,e you might have found that fate didn't like that and made you take exactly what you got. You might be a fatalist.

What Will Happen. Is it a question or a statement, a guess? A wish, probably a wish. What Will Happen - an informed hypothesis.

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In the City I know a lot of people, they ask - What Will Happen to the city. The idea is that they have an important voice, and that they have to take charge and control outcomes, steer the reality. They want to be the masters of things that surround them. They've an inflated sense of agency. Do you act on your environment, are you a force exerted on the world? Or rather, and more likely, are you an agent of the world itself, are you a subject of the geography? of time? of unseen forces?

In the City the people wring their hands and worry about the city's future, they say that it will die, or live, as if these matters were given them to decide, as if they were each and every one some lawgiver of an ancient time. We forget, living in such a new city, that in the end all the cities are built at the whim of the deity and no city falls but by conquest, and even then... Even then. Aeneas took the Trojan gods, the cult statues to found his city in the white hills. So the city was families and their gods? The city is the idols of the people who carry them forward? That idea probably seemed old fashioned to Virgil when he sang of arms and the man.


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The City, it has a life that far excedes the lives of its constituents. We're not masters of the place, we don't rule or govern the city. We exist within it, for a time, and bend to suit it and then die. The city continues in whatever form it achieves, maintains itself. You want to say now that the city is the sum of its idols, and that's a sorrowful constraint, that we abide by these ancient forms.

In The City now they clamor for work, for businesses and jobs. Jobs, we are told will rebuild the city - and this call, over and over, reiterated a million times by the increasingly desperate leadership, to me it sounds like slaves begging to return to the plantation. A city is a place to work. Because work is taxed and without work the governors of The City have no means to support themselves, their vain ambitions - because they want to build a better temple to their ancient idols.

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The city is a place to work, work is the purpose of a city. What would Virgil make of that? I think that the City is a Place for the people that live within it. It is theirs to occupy and to be shaped by, it is an ecology itself. Do we live in a place because it has the idols we worship or will we worship the idols that we want, and make the city shelter them for us? The city as a home for business, a place for work - it's an idea that ages quickly and poorly, a terrible idea but one that has taken hold and that has a life of its own in the city's constituents.

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But now in The City we see the temples to the false idol of work decaying, we see the old god of servitude eroded to gravel and dust - and find that we are still in The City. It's here, we're here, it's still a place and we are its people - our gods were false. Idols after all are idols, but we're like the priests of Ba'al about to be slaughtered by Elijah, we pray and shed blood for our idols and they don't listen. Are they sleeping? The City continues, it doesn't need you to work, it needs something in you to break, for you to finally abandon this idea that you are a servant and must serve. That your value is measured in dollars per hour and that the wealth of the city is measured in wealth. Let it go. Let go the vain idolatry and just accept that people have to live in a place and that this is a place. And then live.

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They say that the City is Decaying, or Rusting. That it's not what it used to be, that it's a failure, that it's a ruin. They don't see that it's the false gods that are fallen, the golden calves that have been struck down. That there is a city here, under all of what we see and that a city is a city if there is commerce in it or not. We see here the fatal flaws, the fraying edges, the final limits to the west, to commerce, to the plutonic adoration of Mammon. We can see here the end of foolish wants and the beginning of something new. The new life of the city and it's people.

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I ask a lot of questions. I don't know what it will be to live here when the idols finally fall, really fall, I don't know what a day will be made of, what the meaning of the city will be. I want to know, I want to see, but I can't say - It will be this, or it should be that - I have questions. I'm waiting for The City to answer.
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9 of Phones

Hello! Remember this? Yeah, yeah, I'm still going pretty strong but I had this thought that life is maybe not long enough for me to finish everything I want to do, so I've been working kind of hard on all of my other projects too.



But I still have a lot of love for my own Tarot and I'm working on it all the time.   Even if I'm not exactly painting it.

You may recall that the Phones - my iteration of the Wands - relates to the condition of servitude you and I call work. Some other time I'll get carried away with politics and beliefs and care to express this all to you - but for now- yes, the industrial/commercial subsistence worker is the same as the agricultural serf. That's just so - we can go into it another time, but yes - the wand, staff, stick = the contemporary Phone. We all have phones, it's sometimes part of the job.

My job gives me a phone, and I got my job near to when I started painting the phones arcana here - it's been a good fit. Later, I'll run-through the whole suit of Phones and explain that journey - for now, I have to tell you about this one thing, so that I can absolve myself of responsibility and avoid getting written up.

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Yep - I'll build the hedge against blame that you probably (if you have a job) know as Covering Your Ass. That's this guy here. He's building up the wall of separation, putting himself ahead and apart from his coworkers - it's on them if it all fails, not him! Why, he's almost... It's almost as if he's immobilized by his efforts to insulate himself!

Not by accident do I tell you this! I want you to know that I DO NOT believe in trouble. As in - you can't get into trouble. You can make mistakes- I do, often - that's the consequence of being bold. But when you try and remove yourself from the fray - when you quit all real participation to hedge yourself against blame and trouble - then you're taking no chances, you're afraid.

And hey - no blame. I've been there too, you might hate your job but you need it too - this is what this card is about, in some respects as well. You can fortify yourself in your cubicle so no-one will ever, ever know what it is you even do, no one will question you because you're hedged up and in - beyond reproach. Truthfully - I think a goodly portion of the hierarchies that exist in employment exist and are pursued because someone says - "Well if I'm in charge then I can't be in trouble."

They're forgetting and maybe you are too - that they/you never really could be in trouble either! It's being afraid of trouble that makes you strive to keep your ass Covered - but it's not gonna make you a million dollars - you're not going to be valued for your efforts, you're not going to be respected as a peer. You're going to be in the lonesome castle of finger-pointing shenanigans.

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And really this one goes beyond the workplace - this is the card, and you can tell I don't love it's message right? One of emotional preparation - distance yourself from the possibility of blame - caution - this is the card where you withdraw from cooperation so that you can put the blame for all the failures on someone else.

Don't do that- in life I mean. Don't be that person.

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In the end I think I'm better at painting that photography, or maybe my camera is poor, or maybe my lighting is crummy, anyway, this one is (and take my word for it) nicer than it looks. But it's also pretty complicated and hard to explain. It was hard to think about too.

Here's the image I was going off of. You notice that it's #11 in the Waite deck - but that's to do with Astrology and I honestly haven't included any astrological themes so far, I don't know if I will. Astrology is cool and all, I won't speak against it exactly - but this is my deck and it's all about the Wasteland and my experience and I don't see a lot of stars in my city. When I do - I don't recognize them, so Astrology is out. But Justice is often enough and traditionally the 8th card. So I started thinking about Justice.

This wasn't awesome for me - it turns out that I don't really value justice as a virtue. True fact, I think of Justice as being fairly regressive as a quality - right up there with Honor. It is altogether worse to have Justice than it is to have something else, that Justice, conceptually, negates. This was just a feeling I had, a sense, but I wanted to understand it so I did a little studying. What is Justice? I looked into it and thought about it a lot. In the end I concluded that Justice is a concept in the West that is based on principles of Natural Law - which I do not condone. Life-Liberty-Property - okay? Sure you have these rights? Except that no. No, that's a purely western and I think, reckless construction. Now in that state where you have those natural rights, then Justice is a significant concept because you're constantly going to be in conflict with other people. Your liberties and properties, maybe even your life is always getting on the toes of everyone else's life liberty and property. So you have to have a system of justice to figure things out within the paradigm. You with me so far? So I thought and thought about what that all means - and I couldn't get anywhere. Locke is, fine I guess, Tabula Rasa.... hey man, if you say so. But people who know me know I tend to hold with Hobbes, a little more. And after looking into Utilitarianism etc... I found that I liked Hobbes a little better in terms of his ideas about Justice.

So this image was very informative for me. The Leviathan, the state, the power of the overwhelming giant-king. See? I put it in there too. Giant menacing kings.

At this point though - the symbolism kind of spoke to me. The sword- my sword is the Sharpie Pen - the pen being the sign of political stakeholders (i.e.: Legislators) and intellectualism (i.e.: Me and you). So a pen, he's got that big pen? Sure, I get it. And the little village, heck I like that little village, that speaks to me.

But what's my idea here? What's my thought? What is the concept I'm trying to convey that will eventually have a mythic and mystic connotation when removed from this (overwrought) context?

So I consult the I-Ching, and it's showing me Hexagram #8 - Holding Together - Union So I had it. The union of people. From there some of the imagery came. Now - I'm kind of happy that I paint these things without a plan or special insight, and maybe I'm doing a lot of after-the fact rationalizing. but look.
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Here's the little village in the valley with the wall of bricks in a ring. The Bricks. Unity - apart, alone? What's a brick? Together they make the strong wall that holds the predatory giant king at bay. More than that they're a ring, it's a ring - the union of lovers, the sanctioned, unbreakable union. Together - together and united the little village in the valley is not menaced by the king, he may prey upon them, but together they resist his overwhelming strength, force him to reconcile, to wait. His pen, the law, his official strength, it looms over the village but the walls are strong. The roads - the roads join together, all unity of the hill. There are the terraced little farms on the hillsides
015 in the image of hexagram #8 - they're common, together, the road leads to the safety of the village where they are joined together into the one road.

But what about this guy?
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This shirtless little weirdo? Well, this came about. Honestly this was a hard painting to paint. I had ideas, but couldn't make them come together, I actually erased and repainted it a few times. But I kept having this other hill. And I thought - it's got to mean something, and the menacing king. Look - Justice, conceptually - is delivered by an overwhelming power - in our society justice is handed down from the court, it is decided by the bureaucracy. There is an element of inequality inherent in systems of justice - of all vs. all within the concept of Natural Law. So this shirtless little madman represents that - the idea of the individual claiming his rights, challenging the power of the king. He stands atop the other peak and is not effectual, not against the power of the giants. He carries his own pen, trying to go to the battle, thinking that it is a swordfight. See, he's undone already, he has contended according to a lopsided system that automatically doesn't favor him. He is aggrieved and considers Justice to be something he deserves, but that he must fight for. Because Justice has within it that quality of inequity. So there is the little village, that is untroubled by the predation of the great, because in communion the many have the power to resist. So... Commonwealth.

I suppose I should note that these cards, these ideas flow out of one another, into one another - there's an organism being made. $6 Satisfaction leads to a journey - the journey requires the #7 Infrastructure, which suggests the unity of action, but is also a destination for the querent - #8 the Commonwealth.
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So right away you can tell I will never-ever be a civil engineer. Or a traffic-engineer,or a car designer or an aeronautics-designer. You can tell, and I concede. Someone tries to offer me those licenses and diplomas and I scatter them on the ground and say: "Nasty old Fishes."

So! The Chariot. This one was a little tricky, to think about. I was debating my processes a little today and i mentioned to an interested party that I don't actually plan these out. The meditative painting-act is fairly sublime and I kind of make what wants to be made. Without being too gross or mysterious - that's what I do. I start painting and try to have a fugue state or something. Then I step back and fix everything that's gone wrong whilst I was fugueing. The Chariot itself isn't easy to interpret. It has a meaning of war and strength - probably lost on contemporary generations - something filthy, something there is that doesn't love a war, or strength. Romantics you know? They have a faith in the more sensual conflicts - can't see the muscle on muscle violence for their fixation on the glorious dead. The Chariot - to me - implies victory. It's... Antique. More than the other cards so far, they're rooted in their time - the Chariot bespeaks an elder age, of martial cruelty, of danger and an intimate conflict. That's a strange strength.

But too, I wanted to move away and out of the personal. I'd tackled that, the personal and the innate, the Self - I did that. So I wanted a step out of there. The Duke of Zhou was helpful with that - the 6th Hexagram being THE ARMY. See there. Public works, the strength of the united public, of the polity, or the social order - all pulling together to exert a profound and effective influence.
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The Army - a good start. I went to the Infrastructure, and I've painted up a highway or... Something suggesting a highway - and that bespeaks the power of the many. Denies the significance of the few or the one. There are cars on it, trucks, buses - and those don't arise from a vacuum you know - there's a profound potency in the world - that allows these things to come to be - that then demands that they exist, that builds roads and bridges and a whole unseen, forgotten world to house them.

I had thought that my Chariot might end up being a fighter plane, or some kind of racecar. I thought about it. But Power, a strange and hard to define or understand strength - to me this speaks of the unity of society, of that strength - which is fearful and beautiful and altogether the best part of being all together. I'm writing this to you on the internet and McCluhan was right- the medium is the message. We make the world together and the world is made for us. My Chariot -the Infrastructure - it's meant to suggest that. To imply us all being in this together, to accomplish amazing things, and then to regard those things as commonplace.

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Of course the infrastructure gets rusty, it gets graffitied upon, it gets used in novel ways and ignored in depressing ones. This power requires maintenance and unity to hold together. Energy, Success, Wealth, Bravery, Command, Discipline. These are identities that go with the old Charioteer -but I see them in the highway and the bridge and the structure of the world that we inhabit. In the best version of the world, no doubt these things are constantly refreshed -but in the meantime they're made so powerfully that they'll last through the ages.

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The chariot is traditionally pulled by a black and a white Sphinx - and they've got abstract and unfamiliar provenance. I went with the airplanes - because they provoke a sense of dread - menace - they could bomb the whole thing to pieces, they could. They could erase it all - but if they do, that's the conquest of one infrastructure over another. The plane builders who had the iterative capacity, built over and over and developed through development to overwhelm the underdeveloped. But they are reassuring too - these images of mastery, of a strength over the nations - of motion and speed - we have those, we have it within us to make those. To exert that might. Which is a great thing, a great mastery that sprouts from the shoulders of all the generations before.

So continuity and the threat of ruin, of motion and unity, of the recklessness of disunion and the folly of individuality, and self-seeking. That is The Infrastructure.
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004
On today of all days I painted the Senator.

This is my version of Tarot #4 - the Emperor. Sure, sure, the Emperor. You know what? I prefer the imperial system, over the nation state? I say Empire. It's a better, maybe even more robust and correct version of organizing people. More humane. That's my position. Now. I grew up with Star Wars, a little movie you might have seen. The Emperor - he's the bad guy, and Senators are kind of good. Kind of. See this is America. Now I have to get upset and say some political things - for a minute-I just have to. Listen.

So you have representatives, and they're supposed to represent you! It's a whole thing, the Republic. But the thing is - I've noticed that politicians keep deferring to ideologies. Now - I hate ideologies, and by god you should too. You know why the person who represents you wants to talk up ideologies? Because they don't care about you at all, and by talking about pie-in-the-sky notions, they can trick you into thinking that they do. True Fact - if I were the representative for my congressional district - I would hold out, and hold out and hold out and cast tie-breaking, filibuster defeating votes for any bullshit that came across - anything at all - as long as thy would concede that my constituency was granted a $100,000 tax credit. There, job over, represented your interests. Gamed the stupid system and won - for you. Your representatives don't do this -because they do not have your interests at heart - at all. They will tell you some kind of libertarian claptrap about ideals - and that's because they won't do anything for you - at all. Ever. Anger over.

003
So aside from being kind of angry about politics - today of all days! I painted the Senator. Here's your guide to the iconography. The Emperor is Card 4 in the traditional tarot and it's the Emperor -the universal and maybe sublime father. As I've said - Emperor as a title sits uneasily - what with the nurturing ministrations of star wars. But Father, older, elder, system of governance, the world. Senator is a Roman way of saying 'old man' true fact- the Senex, from the latin for codger. Senators are supposed to be old men who are staid and steady, pillars of the status quo. So - since I like these things: Liberty, Equality and Brotherhood (ya heard!) I went with a democratic symbol of terrestrial dominion and antiquary patriarchy - the Senator. Senators are old men (overwhelmingly) - and they govern, they choose the world you live in. Heck, even if you aren't an american (on today of all days) the old Senate will govern your life in a meaningful way. These are the old guard. I... I'm not trying to make my Senator card a villain. I'm not, just today - it wants to be. I live in Ohio and we haven't had a decent Senator since Glenn returned to the stars. True fact.

So a symbol of terrestrial dominion, masterful excercise over the system of the earth and a patriarch- which, if you value Liberty, Equality and Brotherhood - you don't value or respect all that much - but the Old Guard. The Ancien Regime. The Senator fits the bill.

Now - old timey tarot will put the Emperor as a domnitor, a substitute for the All-Father. Now, this I get. I have a love of the WOTAN of the they Sky Father, the embodiment of childish desiring. Of a want for comfort. I'm a father in fact,and I tell you true- I give some thought to my activities and say: "What would Odin do?" Because Odin plucked out his own eye to see the motherfucking future. You can talk about divine sacrifices, but I am here to tell you that making your hand take out your own motherfucking eye is pretty much the winningest style. So... Okay a door slammed, and I'm... okay I was here. There is a power in the FATHER of all things - and that is something I want to touch and know and care about - not because I want that comfort - but because I want to emulate that strength and goodness. This is lost. There is a lot of talk about the villainy of patriarchy, and I feel - that this talk is fair, it's totally fair. But I also feel that there is a place a vital needful place for the potent, correct and Good Father. So there is that. I abided by convention and gave my Senator a little Col. Sanders Beard. Greying at the temples. And throw in a cane - to complete the iconography.

Or anyway approach completion. I painted the Senator's Cane and kept thinking of Preston Brooks (wikipedia is protesting, google for yourself - unless you're wise). Senators should all have canes, and maybe pistols. There's a strength in the world and in Democracy and maybe the best version of that is the Senator. It's only that when it all goes bad, when it's the worst that it can be -the Senator, the Emperor, the Father - he's the villain, he's Darth Vader, he's the bad-bad-man. Which is a turn. But interesting. First in greatness, least in deficiency. That's my Senator.

002
I topped it, you know, with the goat-head. Capricorn you know - pretty satanic right? I didn't mean for the excess of Satanism. True story though - I think this is one of the better paintings I've painted. I thought hard about casting the whole thing in the shadow of the Goat-Head- but resolved instead to replace the anthropomorphization of democratic ideals with a terrible goat head. Because it's relevant to the esoteric symbolism - but also Creepy As Hell. So while you contemplate sinister goat-heads - look at this:

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