The Burning Blade
Fireaxe Newsletter - edition 12.2
February 1, 2009
"The length and severity of depressions depend partly on the
"To preserve their [the people's] independence, we must not
magnitude of the 'real' maladjustments, which developed
during the preceding boom and partly on the aggravating
monetary and credit conditions."
- Gotfried Haberler, Prosperity and Depression, 1937
let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our
selection between economy and liberty, or profusion and
- Thomas Jefferson
Fireaxe Newsletter - edition 12.2
February 1, 2009
"The length and severity of depressions depend partly on the
"To preserve their [the people's] independence, we must not
February 1, 2009
"The length and severity of depressions depend partly on the
"To preserve their [the people's] independence, we must not
And so it begins.
No, not the long, hard upward climb out of the hideous mess that we've gotten ourselves into, but the clash of ideologies and the struggle to see which one takes the reigns of leadership in the next era. After the recent inauguration of a new President in the United States one might think that the ideological shift has already occurred and that liberal progressive politics along with Keynesian economics have won out, but one election means little when it comes to the larger picture. The ongoing economic plunge may make victims out of many prospective ideologies ranging from the left to the right before order is restored, and the winner may not always be the one that is best, or even one that works well at all. History is replete with examples.
Jefferson and Haberler spoke the truth long ago but their words will be ignored, drowned out by the hope-filled lies of a thousand ideologically based quick-fix solutions. Echoing sound advice that was true in the days when the Bible was written, and even before that time, Jefferson shows us the way to long term prosperity. Perpetual debt is a sure path to enslavement and thus is anathema to the principles upon which the United States was founded. And yet, if one thing has not changed with the hand over of power in America it is the belief that debt is the solution and not the problem. If we borrow enough, or so it seems that our new leaders argue, and spend it in the right ways of course, to distance themselves from the failed leadership of the past, then our perpetual debt will somehow be magically transformed from an anchor hanging around our necks into a helium filled balloon lifting us up into the sky. Never mind that there simply may not be enough willing lenders out there, or enough able lenders for that matter, who are willing to underwrite the current fiscal fiasco. Instead, let's focus on our wondrous balloon of debt, filled with the stuff that dreams are made of, to quote the protagonist from one of our most treasured movies.
Haberler explains why the current plan is doomed to failure, and does so in an amazingly concise manner. It's not stimulus that we need, but an overhaul of our economic and financial systems in which our maladjustments are corrected and our debt spiral is brought to a halt, and that will take time even if we do settle upon the proper course. Perhaps we should consider inscribing Haberler's quote on our next issue of currency, placing it just underneath Jefferson's quote about debt so that we are reminded of these principles every time we spend some of our precious, hard-earned dollars. Of course, such an undertaking would only make sense if those paper dollars were fully convertible into gold or silver and not the byproduct of a fiat currency scheme where the money supply is created by government debt and private bankers collect interest on that debt ad infinitum. Let the coming devastation be our last lesson about the perils of paper money and the false promises of bankers.
On a personal level we all understand the problem. We've borrowed too much and spent more than we should have and now we must cut back and save or simply declare bankruptcy and try to start over with bad credit. We look at our gas-guzzling SUVs, our watt- hungry plasma TVs, our sprawling, energy-sucking McMansions, and the many other facets of how our extravagant lifestyles have cost us, and will continue to cost us, and our own personal economic maladjustments are painfully clear. We look at our credit card statements, our interest payments, our mortgage debt, and how much pressure those things put on our incomes and we are painfully aware that it will take years, if not a decade or more, to get things back into a healthy balance. And we know that if we delay acting and allow things to get worse that it will only take longer for us to dig our way out of the hole that we, with plenty of help from Wall Street and Washington D.C., have gotten ourselves into. And so we read Haberler's quote and nod our heads and know what we have to do. The party is over. It's time to tighten our belts.
Yet on a national level, or perhaps it will make more sense if we think about it as being on an ideological level, so many of us completely abandon our common sense and venture off into a land where perpetual prosperity is possible and where our salvation is just one well-written piece of legislation away, or perhaps for those more realistically inclined, one four-year term away. Perhaps it's the fact that our nation doesn't appear to have a credit limit, or that we've been brainwashed to believe that tax cuts and stimulus packages always stimulate the economy more than they drag on it and thus pay for themselves, or perhaps we are simply in denial, and we'll only admit to things being a little bit bad and that it's nothing that having the right people in charge can't fix. These things are all true to some degree, but the bottom line is that what we know on a personal level must be applied at the national level before we can even think about a recovery, and we all need to lower our expectations and make a lot of sacrifices or we're just engaging in wishful thinking at best and suicidal policy-making at worst. However, it appears that the influence of ideology and the nature of ideological conflict is responsible for our collective disconnect from grim reality. Our gods are leading us to the slaughter.
According to the Fireaxe theory, ideologies instill us with a permanent sense of inadequacy which they then exploit by providing us with a sense of fulfillment which can only be attained when the we do something to further the ideology. In essence, ideologies turn us into addicts who must promote and spread our ideologies in order to get our fixes. From this perspective one can see that individual failure does not disrupt this arrangement. If a person feels more inadequate than normal due to economic hardship, they can still receive ample psychological nourishment from their ideology to keep them going. If an ideology can provide material benefits, or fill its believers with hope that the future will be bright, or at least fill their followers with self-righteous indignation about the current ruling ideology and make them believe that things will be better when their ideology comes to power, then the believer can get his fix. All you need to do is click to your favorite newscast or website and bask in the glory of what will one day be. However, if an ideology cannot provide this glorious vision it will fail to alleviate the believer's sense of inadequacy and the result will be a crisis of faith. If this crisis is prolonged, the believer will simply stop believing in it and the ideology will become weaker. And so, in order to survive an ideology must maintain the exploitative relationship between itself and the believer. To this end the ideology must sell the dream of a prosperous future, and preferably one that promises more prosperity and requires less sacrifice than the dreams of rival ideologies. In turn the believer must embrace that dream in order to feel validated, and it doesn't matter how much that dream is detached from reality or how much intellectual slight of hand is required to make it sound as if it could actually work. The end result is that our leaders, no matter how rational or intelligent they may be, are forced to champion the unrealistic illusions of our ideologically based needs whether they believe in them or not, and yes, many of them do believe. Giving us anything less would be akin to betrayal and they would soon lose our support and be thrown out of office. So our leaders can't tell us that our nation will fall from power, or that it will take more than a decade before we get even close to where we were just a few years ago, and they definitely can't tell us that the last twenty-five years of growth and prosperity was mostly a debt-based illusion and that hard times lay ahead well into the foreseeable future. No, they have to tell us what we want to hear.
Jefferson and Haberler be damned.
The worst is yet to come though. As the financial crisis continues to fester and our ideologies prove powerless to prevent the great fall, hope will no longer satisfy us and we will turn to darker ways of satisfying our ideological addictions. Fighting in the streets is a real possibility, but I feel that most of us will simply say, "to hell with the world", draw back into our own virtual realities, and indulge ourselves in the escapism of our choice until the storm clouds lift. I predict that the real battles will be fought in the halls of power, both economic and political, and when all is said and done I fear that much of our treasured legal and political systems will lie in ruins and what remains will be used as weapons in an ideological war for supremacy. As scary as that may sound we've taken some large strides towards that nightmare reality already. And as usual, I'd very much like to be wrong about this, but I will prepare for stormy weather. I advise that you do too.
Speaking of telling you what you want to hear, when it comes to Fireaxe, I'm afraid that I can't do that in this newsletter either. I'm still not yet strong enough to pound away on my voice box and belt out the lyrics for "Food for the Gods", the re-recording of which has ground to a halt for nearly a year. I'm getting closer, but I'm just not there yet. The good news is that not only am I still composing and stockpiling musical ideas for future projects, I've decided to finally break down and learn how to play the guitar.
Now, that may sound like a joke, or at least an overly modest admission, and after listening to the solos on "Where Eagles Fly", "God is Pain", and dare I add one of my old favorites "The Rack", one might wonder where I get off deprecating myself. But the truth is that I am first and foremost a composer, or rather I should say that I'm a writer of music so as not to compare myself to the masters. My skills as a singer, guitarist, keyboardist, etc., were all gained not by sitting down, studying, and practicing for hours on end until the instruments and I became one, but by doing whatever I needed to do to sing or play what I had composed. And since I don't perform the music live, I only have to play the parts right once, which leaves a rather large gap between my skills and that of a true professional musician.
So when it comes to the guitar, I've never bothered to learn the fret-board or work on my finger rolls and hammer-ons and spend hours duplicating all the fancy tricks that the Yngwies, Vais, and VanHalens of the world make look so easy. But after being called a "virtuoso" in a very awesome review of "Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess" (thanks Officer Nice) I've decided that it's time get my chops up to speed and see just what level of virtuosity I can achieve. So in the future, expect better from Fireaxe.
But also, don't worry about me to falling into that musical masturbation trap where I just sit there and play arpeggio after arpeggio and pretend that my solos are an entry for some sort of "best metal guitarist" competition. Those were the kinds of excesses that chased old school metal off the stage in the early nineties. Fireaxe is still going to be all about the emotional content of the song with the solos written to complement and accentuate the mood of the music. Now, I don't mean to demean those guitarists who've spent their lives perfecting their craft and have recorded some of the most fantastic guitar work in the world. You guys seriously rock. You've been an inspiration to me and I've learned lots from you. But showing off and playing "prog for prog's sake" is dead letter to me. I see the guitar as purely a tool of communication and I will use it to tell you how I feel.
A big ‘Hello’ to anyone receiving the Burning Blade for the first time. This is the Fireaxe newsletter.
I've always enjoyed riding my bike, and since riding is more about endurance than peak exertion cycling has been one of the few physical things that I can do while working my way through my lingering health problems. I've put thousands of miles on my bike over the years and I very much enjoy the pastime, but it is often that I wonder what it is about riding that is so rewarding for me. On an average Saturday I'll ride upwards of sixty miles or more, with a few thousand feet of climbing thrown in for good measure, and spend a good five hours or more just sitting there pedaling, mile after mile. It's hard work after all, and I sweat, and I hurt, and sometimes I fall short of my goal for the day, and so sometimes when I'm out there I wonder what exactly is it that I'm getting back for all the effort that I am putting into it.
Is it staying fit? Well, that's part of it, but I only need to ride a few hours a week to be in good condition. I ride a lot more than I need to for my health.
Is it achieving that "runner's high"? Well, no. I don't recall ever feeling any sense of euphoria when I've been out there save perhaps when I reach a new milestone for speed or distance or go somewhere where I've never been before. Those times are few and far between and the "high" that I get is more a feeling of accomplishment rather than any endorphin rush.
Is it to get close to nature? Well, being outside in California on most days is a wonderful feeling, and traveling through the countryside is definitely enjoyable, but I don't need to labor on a bicycle for hours to achieve that.
Is it to train for some big event? Well, I do try to ride in the MS-150 every year and have done so since 2006, but most of the time I am just out there on my own, rolling over roads I've been down before, and not trying to build towards anything more than doing even more riding next year. So why the heck do I do it?
Naturally my mind drifts towards ideological causes when I start to ask questions about human behavior. I don't consider myself immune to ideologies or completely detached from their influence. And when someone goes out and does something that doesn't seem to result in any personal benefit it's generally a sign that they are satisfying some ideologically based need. That is the conclusion that I have reached regarding my cycling.
So what do I believe in? I believe that by working hard, pushing yourself, and denying your desires for quick and easy thrills that you can achieve exceptional things and give yourself a lasting sense of satisfaction with your life. Yes, there's nothing new or in any way radical about that idea although in these days of easy loans, guiltless hook-ups, and instant access to just about any pleasure known to man in hedonistic quantities the concept of delayed gratification has become trite and quaint if not outright heretical. But that doesn't mean that it doesn't work, and it certainly works for me.
I'm a victim of ideology and that will never change. Inside me is a permanent sense of inadequacy that I too need to alleviate, just like everyone else, and that means that I am driven to do things that make me feel worthwhile. While one can escape the delusional elements of any ideology, such as creation myths and life after death, the psychological conditioning from being brought up under a particular belief system will be with you for life. Simply put, the imprint of the ideology which you were raised to follow defines who you are. It's part of yourself, and you have to learn to accept it. In my case the thing that makes me feel worthwhile is to be exceptional in some way and usually in the realm of individual accomplishment. Fireaxe is certainly a part of that pathology as one reason why it exists is that it is my attempt to produce exceptional music, and to my ears, as well as to many of yours, it is. Fireaxe wouldn't sound the way that it does and I wouldn't have got to where I am in other areas of life without the drive to be exceptional. It's not enough for me to merely do something, I have to be good at it, and that is the force that has driven me all these years for better or for worse. The evidence is on those CDs.
For me, cycling is no different, and I very much enjoy the feeling of doing a ride which is exceptional in some way whether it be in length, severity of the climbs, or the environmental conditions, but the key to being satisfied by it day in and day out comes from re-experiencing the process that I know will lead to great things. I don't have to do an exceptional ride each time out to feel good about myself, or do those exceptional rides very often. It is the process that matters the most to me. Through cycling, I reaffirm in my mind the way that the world works: that hard work pays off in the end.
Nothing typifies what I believe in more than riding up a long, steep hill. You can't get to the top without working hard for a long time. There are no shortcuts to be found, trying to sprint your way to the top will wear you out before you even reach the summit, and all along the way your body will send you many signals that it would much prefer it if you turned around and coasted back to the bottom rather than kept going upwards. What gets you to the top is slow, steady work, dedication to training, and the determination to reach your goal in spite of any adversity. This formula is proven out every time I ride up a hill, and it serves to reassure me that in areas where the hill is long and my chances of success are in question that sticking by my principles is the best course of action.
I'm fortunate to have a job where this is also true. I'm not sure that I would fare well in an occupation where I wasn't always in the process of building something that is lasting and significant. But when I look around at other areas of life, and how others see the world today, I realize that my cherished beliefs are not accepted and respected by all. This disturbs me deeply because to me the value of hard work is not an article of faith, it's a confirmed fact. I know that throwing it away is a recipe for failure and mediocrity…perhaps not today, but certainly tomorrow, and as I see it, tomorrow has arrived with a vengeance.
The economy is one example of how discarding the notions of hard work and frugality has resulted in catastrophe. That's probably why discussions of the current debacle are so frequently found in these newsletters. I'm personally offended by what has happened and have felt that way since long before the current crisis began. Instead of building our wealth slowly, denying tempting indulgences, and accepting the long term commitment to our dreams we mortgaged our secure future to buy a fleeting present and tried to cheat our way to the top of the hill. But reality smashed our illusions, as it always does in the end, and now we find ourselves sliding back down to the bottom. Years of work is being undone and the efforts of many are being wasted. And if that wasn't bad enough, the self-indulgent feeding frenzy on Wall Street which continues to this very day is an insult to us all.
But setting the economy aside, and yes, I've written about it far too much in these newsletters, don't we manage our personal relationships in the same reckless and delusional way that we have managed our money? Intimacy, once earned through trust, honor, and commitment, we now share with anyone: friends, strangers, and often on no more than a whim. We seem to have no appetite for making the sacrifices necessary to build a lasting relationship and instead we are just seeking affection, validation, or little more than to feel the thrill of conquest. We've become serial monogamists, interested only in the fresh, exciting, and exhilarating parts of a relationship, and we turn away from our partners whenever things become dull or when conflicts arise. All the while we cling to the childish dream that some day we will find our soul mate out there somewhere and that with them the blissful part of a new relationship will last forever without us ever having to work at it at all. Is it any wonder why we can't achieve lasting success given our focus on instant gratification and our quest for the perfect mate?
Commercially we are over-stimulated and bombarded with so many products that we can pick and choose what we want to indulge in, satisfying any urge that pops into our minds. It is said that this is a good thing, especially for our children, that having an abundance of toys stimulates more brain activity and that having choices allows us to become unique individuals who can express our own personal identities, but is it such a good thing? We all know that overindulgence leads to selfishness and egotism and I am seeing more and more of those repulsive qualities in our youth as well as in our elders. When one has fewer choices one learns to make the best of what one has and appreciates what he gets back from them so much more. When one is focused on a single thing one becomes more intimately familiar with that thing and understands and experiences it on a more profound level as compared to having a superficial understanding and appreciation of a larger number of things. So where does a person who is used to having their desires catered to find the determination to keep working towards a goal, day after day, where the rewards are few and far between? Today if we don't like what we're watching we change the channel, and if we don't like who we're with, what we're doing, or where we are, we change our friends, lovers, jobs, cities, religions, and anything else, treating them as if their only purpose is to satisfy our own desires. We are a nation, no, we are many nations, and all them filled with spoiled children who refuse to grow up.
Well, there I go again, sounding like a conservative, or like so many loudmouthed pundits out there shouting down the permissive culture of liberalism and secular humanism as if those ideologies were the cause of all of our ills. I'm not a conservative, I'm a progressive, and to me it is quite clear that we cannot make any progress towards anything if we keep indulging ourselves like a teenaged nymphomaniac in Las Vegas with an unlimited expense account and a binge eating disorder. And in case those pundits and conservatives haven't been paying attention, in the right wing there is no shortage of selfish and egotistical people who make a mockery out of everything that they proclaim to believe in. Yes, it seems that every few months another right-wing demagogue gets caught in an embarrassing scandal, but the corruption runs far deeper than that. The objectivist foundation of Monetarism and its support for deregulation is everything that the right wing deplores about the decadence of the left: no imposed set of rules, no personal responsibility, do whatever feels good; applied to the realm of finance. Also, torture and police state style surveillance are just as corrosive to society as drug abuse and the sexification of everything under the sun. And how long will it be before people realize that when Republicans promise tax cuts that it's not about fiscal policy but about the bald-faced bribing of the electorate? Both ends of the spectrum are engaged in the same shameful overindulgent behavior, they are merely doing so in their own unique ways.
And so, though you may hear the incessant cries of those who claim that our problems all started when we turned away from some god or another or that we lost our faith, know that the reality is that what we really turned away from was the principle of an honest day's work for an honest day's pay. Such a concept isn't unknown to religion, in fact it's central to most of them, it just seems to have been forgotten in recent years. Take a look at the "believers" around you, do they practice what they preach, or at least, what they should be preaching but probably aren't? Believing in some fanciful story about the origins of the universe or the coming of the messiah is an almost meaningless exercise in self-delusion. And merely accepting Jesus as one's personal savior could hardly be called theological heavy lifting. No, what separates the true believer from the pretender is their devotion to doing the things that require hard work and sacrifice. Does your Christian friend deny himself worldly pleasures or does he avidly pursue one or more of the seven deadly sins? Does your Muslim sister honor her neighbors and treat them fairly or does she see them as infidels to be cheated and their opinions dismissed? Does your Jewish brother admit it when he is wrong or does he vehemently claim to be right in spite of all evidence to the contrary? Believers of every stripe, and many of us non-believers as well, have simply lost the will to do the things that make us better people. Our gods have failed us, or at least we have failed them, not that there is any real difference between those two ideas.
So if they cannot teach their followers the value of sacrifice and hard work then the religions and all other ideologies of the world are naught but a collection of fanciful stories and tools to control and dominate the minds of their hapless, overindulgent flock. The guilt for this lies everywhere, especially among the self-righteous, for we have forgotten that our most ferocious criticisms need to be leveled at ourselves. Don't get me wrong. I may detest religion, but I do have a deep respect for many believers. They've earned it not for what they believe in, but for what they do. They are the exceptions though, and religion has proved once more than it cannot prevent the moral decay of its believers.
So is anyone out there truly surprised that we have arrived at where we are, staring over the edge of a precipice that doesn't seem to have a bottom? Honestly, if any of you are looking upon the myriad of exploding bubbles, imploding marriages and relationships, and the sheer lack of civility between people in public and in private and are still clinging to the idea that honesty, modesty, and hard work, are relics of the past, then I invite you to get on a bike and climb up a hill with me. Along the way you will sweat, you will suffer, you will cry out for mercy, and in the end you will understand the way that the universe works.
But worry not, such a day of reckoning can be put off to another time for the savior of the planet has finally arrived. No, I'm not talking about Jesus, I'm talking about Obama, and if you have faith in him he will make the world a better place. Now, I'm not making fun of him, I think that he is the most competent and honorable president that we've had in a long time. No, I am poking fun at his followers whose fawning idolatry is both seriously premature and unbecoming of citizens of a democracy. But I'm willing to let slide the rejoicing and the hosannas provided that the enthusiasm of his supporters is transformed into the dedication, resolve, and most importantly, humility that will sorely be needed in the coming years. Do Obama's supporters, and does the entire nation if not the world for that matter, understand where we are, where the bottom is, and what it's going to take to pull us back up? Simply put, are we ready to climb the hill?
Personally, I'm skeptical. As much as Obama may speak about the process of rebuilding the country not being quick or easy what will his supporters do when the economy suffers the next big leg down? When congress passes his bills and the country rallies behind him and still the slide continues with no end in sight, what will his adoring masses do then? Remember that the generation which supported him the most is the same generation that was brought up in an environment of overindulgence, selfishness, and egotism and that many are liable to drop their support for him on the way down as quickly as they gave it to him on the way up. I also see an angry, fearful, and desperately misinformed opposition which is ready to pounce on our president after any false step. As the United States goes into decline, as it inevitably must, they will heap the blame on Obama and his party. And if the recovery doesn't begin until late 2010 it could be the Republicans back in charge of the congress, resulting in two more years of political gridlock as the crisis continues to wreak havoc across the globe.
When I look at the world I see nations full of individuals, not communities, and thus lacking in the ability to rise up as one and actually effect real change. Winning an election is easy compared with what our forefathers had to do to wring concessions out of the other, unelected, group of people who run the country. Over the last decade or so we've seen corporations consolidating into monopolies and trusts once more and worker's unions being rendered almost completely powerless. How is the working class supposed to raise its standard of living in such an environment? I also see the vultures sitting on the sidelines, waiting for once strong companies, exclusive real estate, precious commodities, and other things of great worth, to fall in value so that they can swoop in and buy them up at bargain basement prices, turning a massive profit when the economy recovers. The vultures won't help out during the fall and in fact they want the crash to be severe, thus maximizing their profits. How will this encourage people to believe that hard work is the path to greatness when disasters and shrewd dealing produces the wealthiest people in the world? And I see a nation where the rich, traumatized by the recent loss of a significant portion of their wealth, will fight tooth and nail to retain what they have left regardless of how much more good it could do if it was used to rebuild the country, and in a way that doesn't extract more value than it adds. How can we redistribute wealth when everyone feels that they are entitled to every dollar they have and feel that they are owed even more? But as the bailouts continue and borrowing, or even the printing of money, is used to stimulate the economy rather than doing things which will put us back on a solid footing once more, the mal-distribution of wealth and the oppressive weight of our debts will continue to prevent any meaningful recovery from occurring. It is true that we could band together to change this, but we are divided, not united, and we will likely splinter yet more as disillusionment sets in. Perhaps a special leader can unite us, and when he tells us the truth instead of what we want to hear we might follow him anyway, but can he take us where we need to go?
A very interesting read about what it takes to redistribute the wealth in this country can be found here.
Huey Long was the populist governor of Louisiana as well as a United States Senator in the late twenties and early thirties and spent most of his time and political capital fighting against the rich and the powerful, at least up until his assassination at the ripe old age of 42. The story of his tumultuous life and political career is fascinating, especially when you look at the ferocity of his opposition and the steps that they were willing to undertake to stop him from doing what was best for the people of his state. Read and understand: this is what we are up against. It's not going to be easy.
In the coming years I see a number of people charging up the hill, hell bent on reaching the top before anyone else, only to be out of breath and completely spent as they round the bend and see many more miles of a road heading upwards. I see more and more people gathering at the bottom of the hill and just sitting there, waiting for something to happen to make it easier for them to get to the top, but the hill never changes. Maybe a lucky few will catch a ride with someone strong, and take the dishonorable way up, but for the rest of us there is but one plan of action that ensures the best possibility of success: go slow, endure the pain, and keep pedaling, but most of all, stay humble. If there is one thing that the Dark Goddess despises most of all it's hubris, and her work is far from being done. Stay strong and stay modest. The future is not going to be about victory, but about survival.
I. Basics - well established theories
- 1. Emergent systems - that complex systems can arise from the interactions of simple things
- 2. Natural selection - that organisms mutate, proliferate, and compete, with the "losers" becoming extinct
- 3. Behavioral science - that neurological systems, at their core, function according to the rules of conditioning
- 4. Entropy - that within a closed system, entropy always increases, which limits the amount of transformation that can occur
- 1. That consciousness is an emergent system: a complex system arising in the human mind from the interaction of simple neurons.
- 2. That civilizations are emergent systems arising from the physical interactions of humans whether conscious or not.
- 3. That ideologies are emergent systems arising from the psychological interactions of conscious humans
- 4. That emergent systems follow the laws of natural selection in much the same way that organisms do
- 5. That the universe is, by definition, a closed system
III. Contentions regarding consciousness
- 1. That consciousness is a survival advantage
- 2. That being a member of an ideology is a survival advantage
- 3. That making its members conscious is a necessary part of an ideology's survival
- 4. That consciousness is created by instilling within a person a permanent sense of inadequacy - in essence a state of constant fear
- 5. That the deeper the sense of inadequacy, the stronger the person is motivated - generally to serve their ideology
IV. Contentions regarding ideological struggle
- 1. That ideologies fight for survival using many methods including, but not limited to, war and enslavement
- 2. That aggression is a survival advantage
- 3. That survival in the short term outweighs survival in the long term prompting ideologies to pursue shortsighted and sometimes suicidal strategies
- 4. That aggressive ideologies make members of rival ideologies feel afraid and inadequate which in response become more aggressive, thus creating a vicious circle
- 5. That aggressive ideologies must continue to grow or face internal strife as their aggressive members will feed on each other to satisfy their needs
- 6. That internal struggle results in ideological mutation
V. Contentions regarding the future
- 1. That internal strife is inevitable since the laws of entropy imply that continuous growth is not sustainable
- 2. That the abstract bases for ideologies transcend mortality and thus suicidal aggression is not restrained by fear of death
- 3. That technological progress has made the destruction of the world through ideological warfare possible and will continue to make it easier to effect
- 4. That ideological mutation will eventually result in the creation of a suicidal ideology which will destroy the human race in the attempt to save it
Ordering Fireaxe CD's is an informal process as I am selling them personally out of my apartment. Simply mail me a letter which contains the following:
- 1. The names of the CDs that you want to buy.
- 2. The address where you want the CDs sent.
- 3. Cash, a check, or a money order for the total cost.
Or if you want to do PayPal, just send me the answers to 1 and 2 above in an e-mail and I'll tell you where to send the money.
Here is a price list. The first number is the cost for U.S. based customers, the second is for outside the U.S. The prices include shipping and handling.
Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess: $6 / $9
Food for the Gods: $12 / $14 (SOLD OUT)
Victory or Death: $5 / $7
Lovecraftian Nightmares: $5 / $7 (SOLD OUT)
A Dream of Death: $3 / $5 (SOLD OUT)
Send everything to:
1301 Medical Center Dr. #415
Chula Vista, CA, 91911 USA
If you review CDs on a website or in a magazine, any one of the single CDs (Not "Food for the Gods") is free of charge in exchange for the review. In this case all I need is a request by e-mail. Please send me the URL of your review site or copy of your magazine with the review in it when it is done. If you want to exchange CDs, tapes, or stuff of equivalent value, make these requests via e-mail and we'll arrange a trade.
The CDs come with a booklet filled with awesome art, a letter about the project, and some information about the CD which can also be found on the Fireaxe site.
Lastly, if you want to print and distribute Fireaxe CDs I can send you an additional CD which contains tiff files for all the booklets, tray cards, and labels for each project. The tiff disk is free so just say the word.
In 2009, Fireaxe will take a step back and work on a couple of projects from the past. First of all, "Food for the Gods" has sold out and will be re-mastered before a second printing run is made. Also, it may also be re-mixed for even better sound quality depending on time constraints. Secondly, the first Fireaxe CD, "A Dream of Death" will be getting a complete overhaul before it is re-released. Everything will be re-recorded using much more modern equipment and with everything that I've learned over the last ten years going into it to make it better than ever. Also, since it was recorded at a time when CDs had a 74 minute limit instead of the current eighty, I will add six more minutes of music to the work in which I will explore a number of musical themes and make the CD that much better. So it looks like a year of sequels for Fireaxe. I'll probably leave the names the same but I've been kicking around a few new ideas for the CDs, such as "Food for the Gods - Regurgitated", "Desert for the Gods", and "A Dream of Undeath", "The Morning After Death", or "I'm Dreaming of a White Strait-Jacket - a Fireaxe Christmas in Hell".
My goal is to deliver music to whoever wants to hear it in whatever way is necessary. Whatever the market demands, I will supply, but I do want to avoid the mass marketing channel. Exposure is fine, but in the modern business, the substance of the music must be altered to match the demands of the marketplace. This would totally defeat the purpose of why I write music in the first place. I write music because it is a way to express my emotions. What I both think and feel goes into the songs. That is the power, Fireaxe is the channel, and any diversion diminishes the emotive effect. Thus I try to avoid such diversions. That is how art should be.
Currently Fireaxe is not for profit. I sell the single CDs for $5 or $6, $12 for "Food for the Gods" since it is three CDs, which covers the production and mailing costs. For CDs sent out of the country, I'll have to charge an extra $2 per disk to cover the additional mailing cost. If you write reviews or put samples on your website I'll give you a CD for free. Since I am not making any money with the current recordings, you are free to make duplicates of them to distribute as long as you obey the following guidelines:Brian Voth - Creator of Fireaxe
The gist of it is that you can do just about anything with the music as long as you don't profit from it and that I get some sort of credit for having written it. I'm open to any methods of distributing my music, such as compilation tapes or CDs, radio play, or recording label distribution. However, you will need my direct permission to do so or some kind of legal agreement.
- 1. You can only sell the duplications for the price of the medium or less, plus any delivery cost. You are not allowed to make any profit with the music.
- 2. You should tell me how many copies you gave out and who got them so I can keep track. Also, if they have an e-mail address I'd like that as well so I can add them to the mailing list.
- 3. You are likewise free to adorn any webpages or duplications with the gifs and jpgs on my website as long as you include an obvious link back to my website. This includes putting Fireaxe song samples on your site as well.
- 4. You are free to play any Fireaxe songs (in unaltered form) provided you are an unsigned band without a marketting tie-in. You are not allowed to record those songs onto anything that you will sell.
- 5. Do not fall in love with the Dark Goddess. I mean, seriously. She's the goddess of death after all. It's not a good idea. Furthermore, do not have sexual fantasies involving the Dark Goddess. She does not have a womb and thus lacks the entrance to that particular organ. Also, attempting to use other entrances will likely result in castration. Again, it's not a good idea.
- 6. You are vehemently discouraged from doing anything depicted in the CD "Eternal Devotion to the Dark Goddess" such as: torturing someone, lying for corporate profit, rationalizing greed, beating, raping, and murdering your girlfriend, destroying the lives of those who've wronged you and their families, corrupting the government, trying to kill yourself with pleasure, kidnapping and ransoming people, committing atrocities, cutting someone's face to pieces, destroying half the world as revenge, and especially stating that any of these things are okay because "God is on your side." Please, think before you act.
- 7. You are food for the gods.
- 8. You are required to crank the song "Hounds of Tindalos" as loud as you can as often as you can. It's your only defense against THEM. Be warned, they come through angles. Note that the CD is round. Are your speaker cabinets square?
- 9. Cthulhu, the Necronomicon, Hastur the Unspeakable, and all other mythos creatures are purely the inventions of Lovecraft and other fiction authors. None of it is real, at least that's what I'm going to say in court if you try to sue me for destruction of your property, house, city, or soul as a result of listening to the "Lovecraftian Nightmares" CD too much.
- 10. You are free to play "The Rack" in school or church or any other institution bent on crushing your will and turning you into a mindless zombie slave of the corporate dominated world. Try not to develop a bad attitude about it.
- 11. You are not free to commit suicide while listening to any Fireaxe song. I'm sorry, I'll have to prosecute. On a serious note, if you are thinking about doing it, please e-mail or call me if you have no one else to talk to. When I was in my teens the album "The Wall" by Pink Floyd used to really get to me. Just hearing songs like "Comfortably Numb", and "Hey You" would get me pretty depressed and mildly suicidal. I'm just trying to say that I've been there. If my music is having that effect on you, please get in touch. You aren't alone.
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