In this land of pretend that so many refer to as a society it is difficult as in any era to really know the true nature of your own reality. And consequently it become problematic to understand your own existence outside of the fictions that others routinely present. The analogous turning point in history that is oft cited of man’s discovery of how to produce fire and create something that provided powers greater than those afforded by biology suggesting the presence of another force beyond nature. The development of something called rationality which led to a dilemma of magical transformation through the portal of the mind. Humans taking on specific socially orchestrated specialized roles that would offer benefits to the whole in return for escaping the necessity of any skill above and beyond those that they were supposedly best at performing. Given human nature as described over millenia this transformation required an equally unexpected man-made force. The power to convince en masse through a universal distortion of natural reality. Thus the field of the magician came into being.
As a child in the early nineteen-fifties my own world was offered up to me via various forms of containment modeled upon the simple form of a box. The rectangular solid that depending if it had four wheels upon it, a big cathode ray tube, or had served as a transitional envion for a pair of shoes, marked out the boundaries of my entry into the physical universe. The larger spaces that enclosed this basic set of the same filtering out contact with an unadulterated more intimate connection with the infinite of the surrounding cosmos as might have been the case with a farmer’s son. I losing out on the rare perfumes of wet grass and animal manure as something that offered a sense of safe shelter to my psyche. My perceptions were guided more by the visual as directed by the ever changing cast of characters offered in ‘contrasty’ monotone from within the family television set. The degree of interpersonal conversation that had initially served as my own foundation of learned speech transitioning slowly circumspect in deference to this device as we all ritually gathered around the set at mealtimes. The magic that it offered playing on an authenticity that drew heavily from the former jungle of newsprint that had acclimatized my own immigrant forebears some sixty or seventy years previous. It’s powers to convince through the illusion of consensus spurring me on the find some small way of participating in a similar way. The most accessible medium to me being, with some ironically, the empty shoe boxes that my parents occasionally collected.
These enclosures along with other similar cardboard equivalents gave me a cargo cult of possibilities to populate a world of my own with small collections of disparate artifacts; some of which had been provided as toys and some discarded left on front lawns and by curbs. The inner surface of what had once served as a conveyance for my Buster Brown’s papered with exotic full color vistas of Elmer’s white glued magazine spreads. Their composite collage serving as a backdrop for odd collections of flotsam jetsam characters frozen into a static communal existence with other random discoveries mined from my own comings and goings to the local public school. These assemblages bringing a level of status based upon my own untutored invention of scenarios suggested by one or two store bought molded polystyrene characters that were careful placed in preeminent positions. The dress and artifacts that their forms suggested being predominantly foot soldier military or Western cowboy as that was what was generally offered to young boys in that age. The magic of being able to directly channel what was currently most popular on TV allowing me to feel the thrill of a miniature Prometheus for a while. At least until the mismatch of substances used to attached key elements in these tableau’s failed and the fell off. This slowed down Lilliputian world of static admiration of mine offered to what was becoming an increasingly more sophisticated medium setting up an impermeable envy that egged me on to up the ante and try out other then popular child based mediums.
I entered the world of colorful injection molded plastic play sets by a company called Marx. A child oriented world transitioning from a less prevalent equivalent that my father and mother once knew in that earlier realm in cast iron, tin and cotton fabric. And eventually graduating to their elder brothers called Revell and Monogram that offered what was for me at that stage a form of hyper reality in the high detail of faux effigies of collective actualities taken from study of the real thing. The icing on the cake assembled via a volatile tube of Testor’s cement being brushed on with their equivalent paint product and surmounted like a sundae by water soluble decals to enhance realism even further. The glass wall case in the basement of the local YMCA offering both inspiration and honor if one’s own personal efforts was worthy enough to deserve merit in a name tagged small space beside others upon one of its crowded shelves. My parents financing of such expenditures through occasional increases in my weekly allowance having me dabbling with latest releases of models of every category upon my own closet shelves. Those boxes sometimes empty after the parts initially within them had been dutifully separated from the residual chaotic looking enigma of emptied plastic trees and transferred over to the rational logos a fully completed model. The assembled form now too large and awkward to be housed within it’s original container. Much in a similar fashion to the effect of “I Dream of Jeannie“, once out of its context of simple light entertainment was now subliminally affecting my own notion of choice for a future mate. And of course the type of role that I would have to fit into to attract the same!
There was of course a waiting obsessions to become inducted into ranging from an adoration of the seasonal offerings in the latest new models of automobiles to the plurality of alternate mindsets subsumed by the burgeoning influence of the Playboy philosophy. The common touch between all these being the every transforming magic set forth by its main guru of the structure behind each topical facade supported by the techniques of modern advertising, one Edward Bernaise. My main current unbeknown to me being in caught in the undertow of the notion of lifestyle artfully posing under the sheep’s clothing offering the necessary utility to survive a bustling modern society. Something I joyfully embraced as those times, unlike the current ones, offered boundless success in the future to the true believers. The manipulations carried on from ‘above’ of assassination’s, meaningless wars, and planned economic slowdowns, still to come. A lifetime of varied experience enjoyed within the interim eventually bring some insight and sanity to the current appreciation of a wasteland populated by those whose only vista of the potentials of a future kept continuously in view through a small rotating vista of a pocket sized smart phone. Whatever I, and any others, caught within the prison cotton headed uniformity of an ever voracious modern society have come to know being at the behest of so many years of planned programming to waylay what we might of individually become into the bin of a collectively sense of guided faux Utopias of ‘should be‘. The notion of civilization served at the expense of those in their most vulnerable years to carry on a continual underlying televised mentality masking any awareness of the true nature of one’s self. We as a species seem fated to be caught in these types of boxes.