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I figured out what is so terrifying, so nightmarish about OWS.

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Jackpine Radical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-11 10:51 AM
Original message
I figured out what is so terrifying, so nightmarish about OWS.
It represents an archetypal force, cohering without a center, acting in many ways as a unified entity but with no leaders, no nucleus that can be killed. They have no more clue about how to destroy the threat they are facing than did anybody in the old movie The Blob, the summary of which I include below. (And note the final irony implicit in the current melting of the Polar Cap.)


Wikipedia Plot Summary:

It is July 1957. Teenager Steve Andrews (Steve McQueen) and his girl Jane Martin (Aneta Corsaut) are out parking and see a falling star. They drive out to try to find where the meteor landed. An old man (Olin Howland) has heard the meteor crash near his house. He finds the meteor and pokes it with a stick. The rock breaks open to reveal a small jelly-like blob inside. This Blob, a living creature, crawls up the stick and attaches itself to his hand. Unable to scrape or shake it loose (and apparently now in pain), the old man runs hysterically onto the road, where he is seen by Steve, who takes him to see the local doctor, Doctor Hallen.
They reach the clinic when Doctor Hallen is about to leave. Hallen anesthetizes the man and sends Steve back to the crash site to gather more information. Hallen decides he must amputate the man's arm which is being consumed by the Blob, calling in his nurse. However, the Blob completely consumes the old man. Now an amorphous creature, it eats the nurse and the doctor while increasing in size.
Steve and Jane return to the office and Steve witnesses the doctor's death. They go to the local police and return to the clinic with the kindly Lt. Dave (Earl Rowe) and cynical Sgt. Bert (John Benson). However, there is no sign of the creature or the doctor, and the police dismiss Steve's story. Steve and Jane are sent home with their fathers but sneak out and retrieve Steve's friends and successfully enlist their help warning the town.
In the meantime, the Blob has consumed a mechanic, the janitor in Mr. Andrew's grocery store, and a bar room of late-night drinkers. Investigating, Steve and Jane are confronted by the Blob in the grocery store and seek refuge in the walk-in refrigerator. The Blob starts to ooze in under the door but then retreats. Steve and Jane escape and set off the town's fire and air-raid alarms. The whole town gathers and demands to know what is going on. As the townspeople and police angrily confront Steve, the Blob enters the Colonial Theater which is showing horror classic Daughter of Horror engulfing and eating the projectionist before oozing into the cinema seating area.
The patrons run screaming out of the theater, alerting the assembled townspeople to the danger. The Blob leaves the theater, but Jane's little brother appears from the crowd to confront the Blob with his cap gun before running into the adjacent diner. Jane and Steve run in after him but become trapped along with the owner and a waitress.
The Blob now an enormous mass engulfs the diner and begins to ooze in through the windows while the occupants seek refuge in the cellar. The police try to kill the Blob by dropping a power line onto it, but this fails and only sets the diner ablaze. Defending themselves inside, the diner's owner uses a CO2 fire extinguisher attempting to put out the fire, which also causes the approaching Blob to recoil. Steve remembers that the Blob retreated from the refrigerator, too, and tells Lt. Dave that the Blob apparently cannot stand the cold ("CO2, Dave, CO2!"). Jane's father, Mr. Martin (Elbert Smith), takes Steve's friends to the high school to retrieve fire extinguishers which are used to freeze the Blob. Dave requests an Air Force jet to transport the Blob to the North Pole to keep it frozen. A military plane is shown dropping the Blob into an Arctic landscape. The film ends with the "The End", which morphs into a question mark.
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rucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-11 10:55 AM
Response to Original message
1. Exactly. People wanting a figurehead and/or singular message for the movement
just don't get it.
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salin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-11 10:56 AM
Response to Original message
2. I remember the movie... would never have come up with this analogy
but it is a good one.

Indeed Brietbart's newest epitaph for the occupation (its like the 9-11 terrorists) is so over the top - and easily dismissable by all except the "true believers" of the radical right - that it reeks of the terror to which you refer.
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Fire Walk With Me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-11 10:56 AM
Response to Original message
3. Cold-war communism metaphor.
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Jackpine Radical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-11 11:04 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. Yes, exactly.
Just like Godzilla as a Japanese A-Bomb metaphor.

I was vaguely aware of something like that as I wrote, but you crystallized it for me.
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Zorra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-11 10:57 AM
Response to Original message
4. LOL! Love it!
Edited on Sun Nov-06-11 11:17 AM by Zorra
We have a huge advantage over the Blob.

We rapidly adapt and evolve as each attempt to kill OWS fails.

Many minds imagine and think individually. Many hearts beat as one.
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Jackpine Radical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-11 11:06 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. Yes, the blob metaphor is a nice start, but it's inadequate.
Heh-heh. What comes to mind is that the Worker Bees are swarming without the Queen.
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lonestarnot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-11 11:41 AM
Response to Reply #6
14. Now that I like!
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Raksha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-07-11 09:41 PM
Response to Reply #6
30. But there is a Queen. Sophia aka Lady Wisdom is the Queen--
or if you prefer, the Goddess Re-awakening. No way they can get to her, and don't think they haven't tried. And they are still trying...the Dominionists' "arch-demon" is the Queen of Heaven, and they go after her in EVERY manifestation, even as the Statue of Liberty or the Columbia figure on the top of the Capitol building. It's infuriating but it isn't going to do them any good.
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Fumesucker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-11 11:07 AM
Response to Original message
7. The Starfish and the Spider
http://www.amazon.com/Starfish-Spider-Unstoppable-Leaderless-Organizations/dp/1591841437

If you cut off a spiders leg, its crippled; if you cut off its head, it dies. But if you cut off a starfishs leg it grows a new one, and the old leg can grow into an entirely new starfish.
Whats the hidden power behind the success of Wikipedia, craigslist, and Skype? What do eBay and General Electric have in common with the abolitionist and womens rights movements? What fundamental choice put General Motors and Toyota on vastly different paths? How could winning a Supreme Court case be the biggest mistake MGM could have made?

After five years of ground-breaking research, Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom share some unexpected answers, gripping stories, and a tapestry of unlikely connections. The Starfish and the Spider argues that organizations fall into two categories: traditional spiders, which have a rigid hierarchy and top-down leadership, and revolutionary starfish, which rely on the power of peer relationships.

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Jackpine Radical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-11 11:15 AM
Response to Reply #7
10. Yup.
As a matter of fact, I posted the link to, & quotes from, Brafman & Beckstrom more than once on this board in the past year.
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NBachers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-11 11:07 AM
Response to Original message
8. They can't repeatedly keep bumping off the Number 2 guy because there is no Number 2 guy
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NYC_SKP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-11 11:13 AM
Response to Original message
9. IIRC, this film was partly inspired by the fear of popular uprisings....
...or, the Red Scare, or general xenophobia.

Alien movies and films like "body snatchers" fed on people's fears that other people might be seduced into becoming different from the perceived norm.

And to a different degree, mere fear of the unknown.

I think you're on to something, even if I'm not!

:hi:
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Jackpine Radical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-11 11:37 AM
Response to Reply #9
13. That's why I described it as "archetypal."
Edited on Sun Nov-06-11 12:01 PM by Jackpine Radical
But one thing I find particularly interesting as this discussion unfolds is that the Blob was merely responding as a primitive, if deadly, organism. When you combine its decentralization with a high-functioning, self-organizing central nervous system, capable of learning and innovating in response to the challenges it faces, it takes on a whole new dimension of capability. That nervous system is of course the Internet, and its functioning reminds me eerily of Pierre Tielhard de Chardin's "noosphere," or worldwide intelligence, which he wrote about 60 years ago.

As a student of psychology, I find it fascinating to think about how a world-brain might structure itself, and how it might rapidly evolve things like feedback functions. Any brain serves as the interface between the organism (or, in this case, "organism") and external reality. This is mostly a process of informational feedback interwoven with actions, so that feedback on the results of the actions permits the entity to gauge the effectiveness of its actions and modify them as nedded, etc.--in other words, a true cybernetic supersystem. But any such system must have accurate information, and must evolve ways of ensuring that its information is accurate. That is the most fascinating part for me. What sort of procedures or mechanisms will arise out of the sea of self-organization to ensure the integrity of the information?

This whole system is so new, so--well--embryonic, that there seem to be many potential courses of development open to it.

What could be more powerful than a mass wisdom built of the capabilities of billions of brains wired together? Where is it going?
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-11 11:45 AM
Response to Reply #13
16. It's not a brain, it's a new form of society
It's literally "egalite, liberte, fraternite" and the foundation of a one-man, one-vote, classless democracy.

If it can stay that way (a kind of purity never before achieved, save perhaps in certain religious communities) then we will have reached our Founding Fathers' endpoint.
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Jackpine Radical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-11 11:51 AM
Response to Reply #16
18. It is all of those things, but I think also something more.
The "noosphere" is of course a metaphor, but one that I find useful in this context. The trick in working with metaphors, as always, is to know how far to carry them.
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saras Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-11 11:22 AM
Response to Original message
11. Western culture has demonized this model forever
The Borg.

Pod people.

Communism.

Brainwashing.

Cults.

Unions.

We, as Westerners, just can't seem to imagine people setting their individualism aside and working and living together for shared goals without some force wielded by an authoritarian leader controlling it all.

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hue Donating Member (571 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-11 11:30 AM
Response to Original message
12. excellent analogy!! K&R I hope they have nightmares like this! n/t
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Scuba Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-11 11:42 AM
Response to Original message
15. Jackpine, I agree with your "don't know how to kill the no-nucleus" OWS, but don't like...
... the analogy to "The Blob" (which I remember well! Been a McQueen fan since.).


Remember, the Blob was killed by freezing it. The PTB may think they can wait for winter to freeze and kill OWS, but OWS is not going to be frozen out this winter, so the analogy fails.


Recall Walker! (just thought I'd throw that in.)
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Jackpine Radical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-11 11:57 AM
Response to Reply #15
21. Yes, the OWS winter thought struck me too. They're really expecting
all the "lazy bums" to go home when it gets cold. The 1% is maybe falling for their own propaganda about the lazy, drugged-out hippies, welfare bums, and whatnot. It will be entertaining to see them get their comeuppance. The movement will change tactics as appropriate, but it is not going away.

And as I noted, this metaphor is truly inadequate, disregarding the creativity and intelligence of the people. I agree.

And damn right, Recall Walker.
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s-cubed Donating Member (860 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-11 11:46 AM
Response to Original message
17. Watch this video of a murmuration of birds: it perfectly
Edited on Sun Nov-06-11 11:47 AM by s-cubed
shows what OWS is like. Absolutely uncontollable
http://vimeo.com/31158841

edit to add link
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NYC_SKP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-11 11:52 AM
Response to Reply #17
19. This is, I believe, a superb analogy. (eom)
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Jackpine Radical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-11 12:14 PM
Response to Reply #17
22. That was wonderful! Thanks.
And yes, a wonderful example of leaderless action. No wonder the Plutarchs are scared.
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Poll_Blind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-11 12:18 PM
Response to Reply #17
23. Wow, that was awesome to watch!
:thumbsup:

PB
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Raksha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-07-11 09:48 PM
Response to Reply #17
31. That's one of the most amazing things I've ever seen.
Thank you for posting that video.
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karnac Donating Member (495 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-11 11:56 AM
Response to Original message
20. Good analogy but in the end the blob was destroyed
The greatest friend of the blob is the sheer ignorance of the threat's existence and/or dismissal of it's potential for destruction.

Once the threat was recognized all people had to do was run to keep from being absorbed. Only those who sought the false safety of the nearby diner were at risk.

Decentralization away from cities and socking money out of the country. being a sitting duck in a high tax city/state will be the same thing as running to a diner. Very Darwinian no?
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Politicalboi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-07-11 10:06 PM
Response to Reply #20
32. Actually with global warming
We have to worry even more. It wasn't destroyed, it was put on ice.
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firehorse Donating Member (547 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-11 12:35 PM
Response to Original message
24. archetype is Chaos
Most power systems (religion, business, military, government, civilization etc.) relie onhierarchy and control. If we are talking "archetypes" then this movement personifies Chaos, and chaos is the opposite of control, hierarchy, etc.

With religion you get "faith" that the people/gods high on the food chain are looking out for those on the bottom and that things will be ok. Where we are at today, is that people on the bottom have no faith in their futures. Wall Street is rigged, there is no more faith that if you work hard you can get ahead, or that if you work hard you'll even get to retire with your savings or with medicaid. So in other words, people at the bottom of the heap feel like they've got nothing left to lose. Even religious faith starts to feel like a con job - when you turn on the news of any religion and you can see distorted perversions of religion taking hold, whether its Christian militias or suicide bombings.

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applegrove Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-11 11:26 PM
Response to Original message
25. Like what the psychopaths did to Kerry with swiftboat veterans for truth. They took his greatest
asset, his military honor, and made it his biggest weakness.

They can't do that to OWS.
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Jackpine Radical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-07-11 09:08 PM
Response to Reply #25
26. That's right. There is no single leader upon whom to focus their bile. (nt)
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applegrove Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-07-11 09:15 PM
Response to Reply #26
27. That is right. And maybe, with the dissemination of information over the internet, we no longer need
That is right. And maybe, with the dissemination of information over the internet, we no longer need organization & "leaders". I mean they didn't have them in Egypt either and they were using the internet. Maybe that is the big change the GOP weren't counting on when they got control of all authority (MSM, ceos, religious leaders, talk radio). Oh my!
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Jackpine Radical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-07-11 09:26 PM
Response to Reply #27
28. Yes, I'm fascinated on every level by the goings-on in the world.
I really think that the Internet will result in global consciousness as an emergent property, and we are seeing the early embryonic stages. I spend a lot of time thinking about how the Internet could become a superbrain, with processing capabilities and sensory organs distributed everywhere across the system.
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applegrove Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-07-11 09:37 PM
Response to Reply #28
29. Yes. The internet promotes 'figuring things out' and 'empathy' so it is like a male/female brain.
Edited on Mon Nov-07-11 09:42 PM by applegrove
Most people are a mix of the two but the internet has it in spades.
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