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Polite Fictions spacer Issue 4
Polite Fictions
by om lekha
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Dr. Josef Mengele won. And that his victory is of tremendous and inspirational magnitude is the only fact that is completely irrefutable and obvious.
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Peter Sotos (Triumph - Pure 3 volume 2)
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It would be difficult to devise a more head-noddingly axiomatic truism than 'abuse of power comes as no surprise'. It would be difficult also to find a body of folk better acquainted with the cutting-edge of this truth than firstly those working for and in the military, and secondly those imprisoned in the state's jails. Amores lex-voluptas be not troubled though - Leviathan provides epiphanies of degraded excess beyond that which even the most robust can account for by their rule book, or their raw experience.
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The twentieth century must be considered the heyday of a particularly nasty interface between the discrete personal body and statist intervention [notwithstanding the hieratic genocidal follies of the inquistion]. The high-priest presiding over this tomfoolery at the clinical though bizarre frayed edges of our socio-historical carousel is the scientist, often the insidious doctor [the charter-mark that authenticates the expert. A human 'doctored' by the state's institutions and accompanying mentalities].
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The baroque nadir of human experimentation in the concentration camps which were gearing up to maximum efficiency circa 1943 to '45 in preparation for the new golden age is not as exceptional as it first appears. Indeed considering the prevalence of state co-ordinated mass murder ['war'], and the frenetic transaction of goods and services ['everything else'] that characterises the industrial world, one might in a moment of lazy reverie consider that world itself as resembling one big lab where weird and creepy shit is being tried out for military or commercial purposes [genetically modified foodstuffs, body snatching in hospitals, inoculation panics and Gulf War Syndrome being recent high-profile cases in point].
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The trial of physicians working within the Nazi regime resulted in the 1947 Nuremberg Code, which formed the beginnings of a legal framework for experimentation on humans/clinical trials. Unsurprisingly the many abuses of the code since have occurred mainly in the twilight regions of regulation - to military personnel, psychiatric and medical patients and to prisoners, although many incidents involving regular civilians have also occurred.
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The U.S. has an extensively documented history of abuse, including exposure of large amounts of people to radiation in the 1940s and 50s, either as incidental to nuclear testing or to deliberately monitor the effects of ingesting irradiated materials. Extensive testing on prison inmates has occurred systematically, where issues of informed consent has been dubious; notably Dr. Albert Kligman's tests in the 1960s which included the testing of psychoactive, radioactive and incapacitating substances on prisoners for the US military. Most notorious is the Tuskegee study, which ran from 1932 to 1970, where hundreds of black American men were deliberately denied treatment for syphilis so the disease could be monitored.
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The wilful endangerment of these practices resulting at times in injury and death provides a ripe metaphor for the fragility of humanity when subject within a system. Even more revelatory then are the CIA and US military experiments with LSD and other hallucinogens on military and civilian test subjects. The psychological damage sustained by many servicemen is interestingly paralleled by considering the opening of others minds to gorgeous and ecstatic spiritual gestalts by the sentinels of order. Allen Ginsberg was among those originally turned on by the military; of the LSD experience in general he later said: 'slowly you approach the mysterious feeling that if all these histories and universes exist in your mind at the same time, then what about this one you're "really" in - or think you are? Does that also exist only in your mind? Then comes a realization that it does exist only in your mind; the mind created it. Then you begin to wonder, who is this mind?'
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Leviathan is the gesture that confirms your subjugation. The appreciation of this is in understanding its specificity and that the totalities which apparently confer om lekhaity are illusory.
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