Just over a year ago, I encountered a transmission. It was a cross between a mindfulness mp3 and a public information broadcast. It was a life-changing ordeal. If you aren’t interested in that, then you can skip directly to the foot of this post and listen without any of the context: a scoundrel’s bargain. If, however, this is not for you, then please, read on.
Last year, a device I didn’t recognise connected to the bluetooth speaker I was sitting next to. It started playing some very ambient sounds, like patchouli scented wallpaper, I distinctly remember thinking at the time. There was a warm, fuzzy edged nostalgia feeling to it, like sitting on carpet after a day of school in front of the television. It featured a softly spoken guiding voice, which would have had me transfixed, if it hadn’t been immediately apparent that my responsibility was to record and spread its message.
‘Aliens of Chill’, was its mantra… the words resonated with an uneasy significance, and yet I felt compelled to capture this unlikely event on my mobile phone. I believe that this technological behaviour may have protected me from experiencing potentially dangerous first-level exposure to the transmission’s strange, peaceful influence.
When the transmission ended, the urge to upload its content immediately was strong, but I knew that the recording was of insufficient quality to be believable. History is, after all, littered by cranks with their mesmerism acts and fuzzy Loch Ness Monster pictures, diverting folk down shady side streets where false hope threatens to bloom, and in which resides a terrible monster, far more real than anything secretly dredged out of a Scottish lake: the era of post-truth.
As I started to consider how the recorded material should best be repackaged for mainstream consumption, my principal mistake came in allowing it to be heard by scientific experts – a social group quite outside my target demographic of highly opinionated amateurs. To my shock and disappointment, they refused to verify any of the recording’s content, citing a pedantic ‘need for further analysis’. But by this point I had already forged well ahead with the work of unspooling the transmission’s intricate layers of meaning.
If the experts’ well-intentioned servility to rigorous standards of so-called method proved anything, it was as a hindrance to the investigative process.
I refused to be held back, but then, disaster struck. One evening, whilst driving my quad bike around the car park of an old people’s home, some burglars subjected my property to the needs of their economy. From tv to biscuit tin, they had taken it all. And after what felt like an age of desperate searching it became clear that my mobile device could not be found.
This meant that the Aliens of Chill transmission was now held exclusively by members of the expert community, since I had foolishly sent the files via bluetooth and had not remembered to back them up. Nobody I got in touch with again was willing to expend any more time thinking about whether or not they had knowledge of the recording, presumably on account of my problem’s failure to fit within their agreed upon model for setting the standards of altruistic practice – they effectively ignored the problem. When the courtesy of a reply was shown, it was only ever from the institutional contact addresses of laboratories and clinics, directing me to email other professional laboratories and clinics.
Case in point:
It was no use, and as a last ditch attempt to retrieve my file, I contacted the local MP, via her Facebook page, and asked what kind of oversight is in place to rein in uncooperative experts operating freely and with rank impunity, only to be met by a barrage of sickening abuse from strangers whom this really needn’t have concerned. Risible acts of chicanery thwarted me at every turn, promising avenues evaporated, fakers, moonlighters, and japesters sent me falsely-titled recordings of insipid BBC Radio 6 broadcasts edited in such a way as to exaggerate their conceptual lacunae, I was sent numerous essays on the sexual import of baggage carousels, I fell victim to knock-a-door run pranks, and all this to the effect of filling my mind with detrimental junk, vulgar distractions from the task of understanding and sharing the counter-scientific vagaries of a shaman from space.
Of course, at the time I had also been working on an important sociological treatise regarding the ‘Bullshit-Pisstake Dyadic Paradigm‘, which I expected the various authorities to treat with their usual silence or tactical flippancy (not the pinball strategy) upon (self-)publication. It would probably have been a far more valuable piece of work than this will ever be. Nevertheless, since I had now decided to derail this particular study, I was free to use every moment of spare time I had in trying to wind up the maddening thematic coils that had left their tangled traces in personal memory. But in order to resist full absorption into the transmission’s worldview, it was necessary to uphold a healthy, distant, critical attitude.
This distancing effect was not achieved. The phrase, ‘being in over one’s head’ has surely never seemed so applicable, only in this particular usage, ‘one’ refers to the notion of ‘truth’.
If there has ever been a time in which the truth wasn’t controversial, humanity is yet to hear of it. Paradoxically, though, truth is supposed to be uncontroversial, as if it stands unshakeably above or outside of history. Controversy concerning truth would only arise out of its rejection by the ignorant. Except, in an era that reckons itself to have gone beyond truth, there would appear nothing left to do except muddle.
A misunderstanding seems to have taken place.
Does the proper response to a crisis of authority lie in the hyperbolic simulation of its symptoms? Does beauty justify chaos?
Though it cannot be said with absolute authority, I would guess that the sounds emitted from the bluetooth enabled speaker that day were part of an apocalypse-themed meditation tape.
(n.b. I don’t know if aliens have any concept of the wage, but to think that someone got paid for that broadcast is truly out-of-this-world. Whilst being paid to spread misinformation is a very normal human practice, being motivated by any other reason seems deeply illogical, so we can only assume that someone was paying the alien money. Conspiracy theorists, get your pencils at the ready! Marxist materialists, ditto! Journalists, choose a side!)
Certainly, this will seem unlikely to many who take issue with the general plausibility of basically apolitical warnings about ecological disaster and throwaway jibes about how the future has been cancelled. (Don’t worry, it hasn’t.) But is it really so unreasonable to consider that there are beings beyond Earth’s orbit, probably, who seek to escape their own problems through imagining the many ways in which our planet might be fucked?
Taken at face value, the recording is filled with inaccurate facts. But could it be that the Aliens of Chill broadcast was intended for consumption by people on this planet to reveal a different kind of truth, one that perhaps pertains to the limits of understanding shifts in culture without having learned a properly scientific understanding of history? (No.)
Having recollected as much of this alien broadcast as possible, it is now available for interested parties to read the transcript HERE
Further to this, a reproduction of the transmission has also been created using pirated DJ software and a microphone. I have attempted to recreate the vocals as best possible using reverb effects, but it should be made clear: any mistakes that serve to cover up the realism that lies are the heart of this work reflect my own technical failures rather than those of the original transmitter.
 As an expansion of Harry G. Frankfurt’s insubstantial thesis that ‘sincerity itself is bullshit’, (See: Frankfurt, On Bullshit, Princeton Press, 2005), the Bullshit-Pisstake Dyadic Paradigm was a conceptual horse vault intended to reveal the dialectic relationship between pisstaking and bullshitting to create a revolutionary theory of jestership. This attempt itself proved insubstantial, and was inadvisedly revealed to Surkovian artists, who are clearly now using it to terrorise soft-headed Western journalists.
 If the truth is only ever transitory, drifting from claim to claim, incapable of settling in one spot for ever much longer than the blink of an eye, then it perhaps becomes necessary for its makers to force it into chosen sides. Rather than embracing the absolute unknowability of truth and splashing around in it like a puddle in a playground, truth should be given a direction in line with certain historical tendencies. This is not truth as a magical number god, or as any inhuman force with an independent will of its own, but truth as submerged in and shaped by the world of social relations, a truth that changes in accordance with how humans fight to fulfil their needs.