Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Friday, July 15, 2016

In Millennial Eyes 2: The Inversion

The next three posts on the blog (on the economy, politics, and war) deal with discrepancies between perception, hard reality and the history that emerges from both. I will discuss the way the gaps between the contemporary framing of events and actual events created distorted narratives around the economics of the Great Recession (poverty recast as prosperity - 21 July 2016); the revolutionary origins of modern politics (violence underpins order and ideological ideals - 28 July 2016); and drone warfare (war presented as peace - 5 August 2016).

I wrote these posts before the tragic events in Nice, France on 14 July 2016 and Turkey on 15 July 2016. In particular, the second post on politics considers the historic impact of the Terror during the French Revolution; no comparison to the Bastille Day attack in Nice and no disrespect to those killed or injured is intended.

These posts explore my blog's hypothesis that Millennial media unhappily combine an Age of Reason with an Age of Faith. Cold, hard facts become matters of opinion, and vice versa, in competing cultures of truth. The posts will consider why attempts to reassert rationalism or sanity lead to opposite results, horrible outcomes, and an inversion of meaning.

Photos after the 14 July 2016 truck terror attack in Nice, France. Images Source: Time.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

In Millennial Eyes 1: I Remember the French Revolution

Screenshot from Assassin's Creed Unity (2014). Image Source: ABC News.

In Millennial Eyes is a new series on this blog which explores how historic events are depicted and discussed from Millennial perspectives. 14 July is Bastille Day in France. One Millennial depiction of the French Revolution is the 2014 video game, Assassin's Creed Unity, developed by Ubisoft Montreal. Neo-history emerges from the game's virtual reality combat.

The location of the Assassin's Creed Unity developer, Ubisoft, in Montreal is interesting, because if you ever wanted to know what France would have been like had there been no French Revolution - or at least, a different kind of revolution - you need to go to Quebec. Like many former colonies, Quebec, originally known as New France or Canada, and later Lower Canada, followed a real path of 'alternate history' compared to that of her mother country. One glance at the map of New France in 1750 (below), compared to the map of Lower Canada in 1791 (below the jump), tells you what a devastating loss France and the French people suffered in North America in this period. Voltaire (1694-1778) famously quipped that losing New France was no great loss. In Candide (1759), he asked what use France had for a "few acres of snow (quelques arpents de neige)?" It was a lot more than that! New France once extended west to Saskatchewan, and south through the American Great Lake states, down to Texas and Lousiana. French Canada struggles with that loss to this day.

New France in 1750. Image Source: J. F. Lepage/Wiki. After the Battle of the Plains of Abraham and other British victories over the French during the Annus Mirabilis of 1759, New France became British under the Treaty of Paris in 1763.

After the Treaty of Paris in 1763, Canada (light pink) came under British control. Under the 1774 Quebec Act, the British placated the French population by maintaining their civil code laws and Catholic religion; the Quebec Act angered settlers in the Thirteen Colonies who had moved into Canadian territory over the Appalachians. This was one of the causes of the American War of Independence (1775-1783). Image Source: US Department of State via Wiki.

Image Source: pinterest.

Quebec's provincial motto, present on all post-1978 automobile licence plates, is Je me souviens, which means, I remember. The motto carries a mixed message. The architect of Quebec's provincial parliament building, Eugène-Étienne Taché (1836-1912), invented the motto in 1883 to express the greatness of New France and Lower Canada's founding role in Canada. Taché's provincial legislature displays the motto alongside statues of figures whose work collectively came to express a dual French-English historical meaning. Wiki:
"[The original statues] included founders (Jacques Cartier, Samuel de Champlain and de Maisonneuve), clerics (de Laval, de Brébeuf, Marquette and Olier), military men (de Frontenac, Wolfe, de Montcalm and de Lévis), Amerindians, French governors (D'Argenson, de Tracy, de Callières, de Montmagny, d'Aillesbout, de Vaudreuil) and, in the words of Taché, 'some English governors the most sympathetic to our nationality' (Murray, Dorchester, Prevost and Bagot) and Lord Elgin, who was given a special place for he was seen as an important player in obtaining 'responsible government.'"
The Amerindian statue group by Louis-Philippe Hébert (1850-1917) outside Quebec's National Assembly (provincial parliament) building commemorates Quebec's native peoples in the establishment of New France and Quebec as a Canadian province (click to enlarge). Image Source (August 2013) © Paul Gorbould via flickr.

In 1978, when the motto was revived by Quebec separatists, Taché's granddaughter controversially informed the Montreal Star that the motto's whole verse confirmed a dual memory: Je me souviens/ Que né sous le lys/ Je croîs sous la rose. ("I remember/ That born under the lily/ I grow under the rose.") In this view, Quebec is the child of France and England.