Thursday, October 08, 2009

The Genius of the Beast

Hello everyone.

It's funny trying to start a conversation after maintaining a rather paranoid, apathetic silence. I sincerely apologize to the 5 people who probably read my blog.

Where were we now, anyway.

Let's talk about Howard Bloom, one of my favourite thinkers, he's the Werner Herzog of evolutionary biology, most of his thoughts seem to illustrate in great detail, the phrase 'nature is bloody in tooth and claw'. In his two books, Lucifer principle and Global Brain, he draws stories from the darkest episodes of history, from the rape of sabine women and religious pogroms, alpha male tendencies of chimps, tribes and boardroom politics.

He writes entertaining, passionate stories about the nature of nature, he's coming out with a book in 45 days, it's called Genius of the Beast.

It's a book that infuses great optimism to the idea of consumerism, and I would like you all to read an excerpt from it: now that Diwali and Christmas are around the corner.
In Praise Of Consumerism - It Appeals To The Thoreau In You
In Praise Of Consumerism - Bees, Bacteria And The Value Of Wasted Time
In Praise Of Consumerism - It Was Good Enough For Marco Polo So It's Good Enough For You

He's been sending inspiring, personal emails articulating his thoughts and philosophy behind the book, counting the days to his release, I reproduce his email today for your benefit:

to the The Genius of the Beast
Two nights ago I was in front of an audience of 200 financial advisors in Boston. Their eyes were riveted to mine and I was in heaven.
Tonight I am alone in the Tea Lounge, and the attention-deprivation is fierce. When the stepson I've raised since he was ten first came into my life he and his mom--my fiancee-- were living hundreds of miles away in Plattsburgh, New York. I'd call him every day and ask how his day had been. Many a time he had nothing to say. He couldn't remember what had happened since he left school in the afternoon. On other days he had oodles to report.
What made the difference? A friend. If he'd been with one of his friends, the day came alive in his mind. If he'd been alone, the entire memory of the day melted away. That's the power of attention. With it we come to life. Without it we die inside.
I should know all this. It's written it up in my three books, including the new one, The Genius of the Beast: A Radical Re-Vision of Capitalism. In each book a different facet of attention deprivation comes under the lens. But in each book--The Lucifer Principle, Global Brain and now the Genius of the Beast--there's an explanation. We are modules in a learning machine that uses something like a Darwinian algorithm, an evolutionary learning rule. That rule is ruthless.
When we contribute to the social groups we're part of, we are alert, vigorous, and healthy. When we don't make a contribution, we are grabbed by a process like apoptosis--pre-programmed cell death. We go from active to lethargic and from exhilarated to morose. What pushes the switch from agony to ecstasy? How do we know when we're making a contribution? Attention.
And it's not just us. Attention deprivation even slams ants and bees. For the full story see The Genius of the Beast.
But the problem is particularly harsh on rock stars. One minute they are in the spotlight, feeling the eyes of 17,000 people upon them, locked on them with emotion and intensity. A second later they are backstage walking a lonely corridor to an equally lonely dressing room. The attention deprivation is harsh. Many of the artists I've worked with come offstage looking skeletenous, with sunken shadows where their eyes should be and with expressionless faces. What's going on inside these suddenly attention-bereft musicians? Pain. Pain so bad that it drives some to drugs.
Peter Townshend was trying to get Eric Clapton off of heroin way back in the 1970s. He explained to Clapton that one minute you have the energy of 34,000 eyes pouring their attention through you, and the next moment you are an empty--and discarded--pipe. And you, Eric, said Townshend, try to fill that emptiness with heroin.
These days I am filling that emptiness with you.
May the fascinated eyes of others always be upon you--Howard
ps Bear with me while I ask a favor. If you have any friends you think would benefit from The Genius of the Beast: A Radical Re-Vision of Capitalism, ask them to pre-order the book on Then you can watch your efforts pay off on the sales chart. And I, seeing the rise, will perk up, energized by your attention.


i wish i was a fireball said...

may the fascinated eyes of others always be upon me! Xx ~n

RadhaKrishna said...

Sentences that make you stare...
"Where were now, anyway."