Gravity's Rainbow Reading Group | Sections 70-73 | Week 21
We're nearly at the end, so well done to everyone who has made it this far, including those of you who are reading these threads years after they have taken place. This thread was, like my comments, typed up on the Notepad app on my phone, which has a questionable spell-check function. As such, I'll be returning to the thread over the weekend to fix any spelling mistakes I might have missed. Also, because this thread was too long to post, the final part of it will be put into a comment below the main body.
SO WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR:
The section begins with a return to teenage witch girl Geli Tripping, who is wandering the Zone in hopes of finding her lover, Tchitcherine. She plans on enacting some kind of elaborate spell, which involves the use of a few select items: "a few of Tchitcherine's toenail clippings, a graying hair, a piece of bedsheet with a trace of his sperm, and tied in a white silk kerchief, next to a bit of Adam and Eve root and loaf of bread baked from wheat she has rolled naked in and ground against the sun." The purpose of the spell will become clear in Section 72, but, for now, let's just talk briefly about one of the used items.
"Adam and Eve root," also known as Aplectrum, is a real plant - but it only grows in the United States. Obviously, the importance lies in the name - it calls to mind the imagery of the Tree of Knowledge, a mystic symbol which implies the forbidden enlightenment of experience, and how this evokes the wrath of authority (represented by God). By including this forbidden plant in her ritual, Geli demonstrates the anti-Christian freedom inherent to witchcraft, and therefore also points towards magic as an empowering alternative to the orthodox structures of belief, which is something you'd be wise to keep in mind throughout this thread. This is why there are hundreds of girls who are searching for Tchitcherine, but only she can find him - as a witch, she has escaped those orthodox structures, and is able to see the whole pattern from the outside.
She takes these items to a secluded farmhouse, where an older, wiser witch speaks to Geli over her morning Bauernfrühstück (which "is a warm German dish made from fried potatoes, eggs, onions, leeks or chives, and bacon or ham." From Wikipedia. It looks like an omelette.) Geli is unable to provide a picture of Tchitcherine for their spell, and suggests that she's sometimes able to find his face in tea leaves, but not often. The older witch responds: "But you're in love. Technique is just a substitute for when you get older." Geli wonders why, if that's the case, we don't simply stay in love forever. They make tea and nothing appears in the leaves.
There's a bunch of stuff going on in this short paragraph: First of all is the concept of tasseography, or tea-leaf reading. The basic concept behind this practise is that tea drunk without a tea bag will leave behind clumps of burnt leaves which will fall into a pattern, which can then be interpreted by fortune tellers. But this is exactly what Enzian has been talking about this whole time - that there are definite patterns in the universe which appear to us as random data clumps (represented by the "images" in the tea cup) but are really being drawn into their final position by unknown physical forces, beyond our capacity to understand (represented by the liquid that moves the leaves). It gets to the heart of a major theme of the novel - that true randomness, as a concept, does not exist. All we have are things that we understand, being influenced by things that we don't.
Furthermore, the idea that "technique is just a substitute" for the wisdom of experience draws to mind two further strains of magical thought. The first is that of the Tarot, specifically the image of The Hermit, embodied here by the older witch. She, like the figure in the tarot card, has rejected the life of the city, opting instead for farmland isolation, where she can focus on her inner-self, away from the restrictive rules and artifices that govern the way people act in the presence of other people. And, like the card, she represents the figure of a teacher, accepting an outsider into her house with hospitality so that they might leave her abode with some imparted wisdom. Though often portrayed in the Tarot as an old man, hermits have historically been shown as women, cast within a sort of three-way convergence between a Medieval hatred of women, the femininity of witchcraft, and the heresy implied by rejecting the values of contemporary society. The only way in which this older witch truly differs from The Hermit is that she is not an ascetic - remember, she is employed in the Hermit role whilst eating her Bauernfrühstück. Rather than follow the idea of Christian Europe that enlightenment can be achieved through suffering, this witch has achieved her wisdom through doing what she wants.
The second thought I have regarding this "technique" business is the idea that would come a decade after this novel was published: chaos magick. An important aspect of the chaos magician mindset is that magic is, essentially, a forcing into existence of your desires through sheer spiritual willpower, and that any and all "techniques" and rituals are founded in unnecessary, arbitrary symbol-systems, often directly descended from the Abrahamic faiths that they claim to be alternatives to. Geli's willpower is immediately identified by the wiser witch as her love for Tchitcherine. That Geli's ritual returns no results seems a disappointing conclusion (until you remember that her spell is eventually successful, as we find in Section 72).
Geli leaves and feels anxious about the Schwarzkommando leaving Nordhausen, which now "felt like a city of myth, under the threat of some special destruction." She knows for a fact that they are heading for Tchichterine. Behind her is the Hexes-Stadt, town of fellow witches, "full of too many spells, witch-rivalries, coven politics..." As Pynchon tells us, "you either come to the Brocken-complex with a bureaucratic career in mind, or you leave it, and choose the world. There are two distinct sorts of witch, and Geli is the World-choosing type."
But what is the World, and why is it suddenly capitalised? "Here is the World. She is wearing gray men's trousers rolled to the knee that flap around her thighs as she walks by the rye fields." Remember at the beginning of the section when Geli made that bread from the wheat she had been rolling around naked in? In the Tarot, The World is the final card of the Major Arcana. It represents a triumphant merging of the dualities of existence, expressed in the image of the male and female becoming one in the hermaphrodite. Here, we see Geli in men's clothing, with the rye fields reminding us of the bread embedded with her sexual essence, which Tchitcherine will consume in Section 72, making them One.
She travels farther, asking about Tchitcherine, finding out that he has built up a reputation as "The Red Doper" and that everyone is trying to kill him. They claim that he is "out at the edge" of something because of his connection to the Rocket. She sees a man creating a cross in the ground, which makes her feel something. She follows an eagle into the woods, where she feels the presence of Pan (a pagan forest god whom the modern image of Satan is based upon). What follows is a beautiful, psychedelic description of earliest Life, the Titans, who lived before the creation of Men. "Alive, it was a threat: it was Titans, was an overpeaking of life so clangorous and mad, such a green corona about Earth's body that some spoiler had to be brought in before it blew the Creation apart. So we, the crippled keepers, were sent out to multiply, to have dominion." In other words, God created Man to destroy Life. "It is our mission to promote death," Pynchon tells us. And, of course, we're actually doing a pretty good job.
In the valleys, "titans stir far below. They are all the presences we are not supposed to be seeing - wind gods, hilltop gods, sunset gods - that we train ourselves away from to keep from looking further even though enough of us do, leave Their electric voices behind in the twilight at the edge of town." Why would a person nowadays believe in pagan gods? Because worship of the old gods is an active rebellion, in which the mind can be literally reprogrammed with the forgotten values of a more colourful age, to escape the boundaries set upon us by Them and Their society. So there. Pan, in the form of the Rainbow Serpent, jumps into the sky.
The perspective then shifts to Gottfried, a small boy and sex slave to Captain Blicero. He describes how Thanatz and Margherita were Blicero's final links to reality, and that now that they have gone, "he is now always the same, awake or asleep - he never leaves the single dream, there are no differences between the worlds: they have become one for him." This introduces another form of magic: the Kabbalah. In Kabbalistic teachings, there is something called The Tree of Life, made up of a series of spheres, each representing a different aspect of existence. Between the spheres are 22 connecting lines, each of which corresponds to a card in the Tarot's Major Arcana. The bottom sphere, Malkuth, represents material reality. Above it is Yesod, representing the Imagination and dreams. The line connecting these two spheres, where reality and fiction blur and entwine corresponds to (yep, you guessed it) The World card. Blicero has run himself through the journey of the Major Arcana and this is the result - which, you might recall, is also exactly what happens to Slothrop. More on that in Monday's thread.
Gottfried goes into a surprisingly eloquent rant, for a child, about the relationship between sexual release, bodily abjection, and the journey into the afterlife, all the while, unbeknownst to him (or us, at this stage), that this is his final day on Earth. We are told that "his father uttered only commands, sentences, flat judgements. His mother was emotional, a great flow of love, frustration and secret terror," linking the boy himself to the World and the Tarot - he is the unified synthesis of the masculine Emperor card with the feminine Empress card.
Blicero makes a speech which presumably makes no sense at all to anyone present. "Sometimes I dream of discovering the edge of the World. Finding that there IS an end," he says. "America WAS the edge of the World [...] America was a gift from the invisible powers, a way of returning. But Europe refused it. It wasn't Europe's Original Sin - the latest name for that is Modern Analysis - but it happens that Subsequent Sin is harder to atone for." What Blicero is saying is that we almost, as a species, achieved the unity embodied in The World card, but that, as previously recounted in the William Slothrop episode, the settlers ruined their chance to create a unified society in America, instead focusing on building a world of Christian Death once more, but this time without any of the ancient paganism to fall back on to remind people that there are alternatives to this way of living. The comment on Modern Analysis is also interesting and brings up another magical concept - 'solve et coagula', or analysis and synthesis, whereby something must be continually deconstructed or 'analysed' (like The Fool in the Tarot being split into The Magician and The High Priestess) in order to be understood, and then reconstructed or 'synthesised' (as shown in The World) in order to be put to use once more. Blicero goes on, rather pathetically, about how the Moon is the next chance for synthesis, for a society founded on the ideas we have found through analysing current societies - the synthesis that we messed up with America, basically. Perhaps he is right, or perhaps, as subsequent real-life events have shown us, this is just more naïve rocket-apologism.
Blicero speaks of what might be death in Viking battle - "ascent, fire, failure, blood." He knows the Vikings weren't rocketeers, but thinks of how "their dreams were of rendezvous, of cosmic trapeze acts." He reiterates that he wants to escape the Death-cycle. He is scared, and jealous of the "stupid clarity" in Gottfried's eyes.
This section ends thusly: "If there is still hope for Gottfried here in this wind-beat moment, then there is hope elsewhere. The scene itself must be read as a card: what is to come. Whatever has happened to the figures in it [...] it is preserved, though it has no name, and, like The Fool, no agreed assignment in the deck." In case you don't know, The Fool, in the Tarot deck, is normally assigned as card Zero. It can be (and has been, many times) placed almost anywhere in the Major Arcana sequence and still make sense, but the orthodox approach, if that's the right word, is to place the card at the very beginning of the deck. It represents the universe moments before its journey began, in the same way that Gottfried, whose eyes have yet to be dulled or glazed over by the horrors of the world, represents the human being before they start to feel the effects of the parabola, AKA before they receive a fear of Death - before Gravity drags them down, basically. The rest of the Major Arcana is the analysis of The Fool, or the splitting up into dualities of all aspects of humanity, and The World, the final card, is the happy ending synthesis where it comes all comes together again. Though Gottfried dies, the moment of hope is preserved - his innocence is taken as direct evidence that The World can still be found.
This section opens with the return of Enzian, who, with his Schwarzkommando buddies, have created their own doom: the 00001, the second S-Gerat. They entertain visions of the apocalypse, and find themselves asking "where will you go? What empires, what deserts?" and Enzian thinks back to a time without shame, to Test Stand VII, where the 00000 was fired, "the holy place."
Pynchon relates to us the tale of a photographer who died of mercury poisoning in 1856 from developing a photo of the Racketen-Stadt. Talk about suffering for your art. The photo shows the city's true shape: it is built in "mandalic form like a Herero village." There is construction all over the city - as we would expect, "for nothing here remains the same."
Enzian has a case of sudden onset stream of consciousness, in which he says this: "Of Course It Begins Infinitely Below The Earth And Goes On Infinitely Back Into The Earth it's only the peak that we are allowed to see, the break up through the surface, out of the other silent world." This is referring to the metaphysical force at work on the rocket: from our limited perspective, we can only see the rocket's parabolic arc, with a defined start, middle, and end. We do not have access to the "other silent world" beyond the material plane, in which we would see that the force controlling the rocket is not a parabola, but a sine wave, flowing up and down through infinity, forever.
We then learn a couple of things:
We learn about the Aether: "The assumption of a Vacuum in time tended to cut us off one from another. But an Aether sea to bear us world-to-world might bring us back a continuity." In other words, the Aether could have allowed us to show a kind of empathy to all peoples of all Times, (which were really the same Time, of course). Too bad it ended up being wrong.
We learn about the great Quarternion-Vector War of the 1880s, in which the quarternion mathematicians tried to use older, more formal forms of their art to come to some pretty mind-bending conclusions about the nature of space and time, whereas the newer, more radical vectorists promoted the much-different theory of understanding physics which we now utilise today. In the same paragraph, we see a three-way analytical dispute of the imagery of the Rocket from Gnostics, Kabbalists, and Manichaeans, who believe in rocket-twins: "a good Rocket to take us to the stars, an evil Rocket for the World's suicide." As Pynchon puts it, "Each will have his personal Rocket."
The text tells us the "objectives" of this adventure. How to learn the tracks of the railways, how to find alternatives to paths patrolled by the Allies, how to care for the fevered children "in the rains of early Virgo." Indeed, none of the objectives actually involve Death by Rocket - only the journey leading up to it. The rocket has literally given Enzian's life direction. We are told that the rocket is in pieces, and that each piece is to be delivered to the launch site separately.
Enzian and Christian have fallen into long arguments about the whole thing. "It comes as the Revealer," Enzian argues, "showing that no society can protect, never could - they are as foolish as shields of paper." His argument, basically, is that all human society is meant to defend against Death, and none of them can do it, so they have failed. "Before the Rocket we went on believing, because we wanted to. But the Rocket can penetrate, from the sky, at any given point. Nowhere is safe."
We are then told of Nazi plans to create a "sonic death-mirror" using a paraboloidal design to blow up their enemies. Enzian decides that he wants to build one, thinking that the desert would be a good place to try them out, as there are always optimal firing conditions. We then switch momentarily to Katje, who asks: "Who would fight for a desert?"
Anyway, we return to the Schwarzkommando to find that they are being followed by Ludwig, the insane German boy, who has found his lemming, Ursula, which is real. Lemmings that don't run off cliffs, children left homeless and wandering; "to expect any more, or less, of the Zone is to disagree with the terms of the Creation," implying a kind of Taoist ideal that the world should not be all 'good' but a perfect, constant and equal combination of good and bad, as it was in the beginning.
Sitting in the passenger side of his transport, Enzian, caught in a tired reverie, suddenly spots a black face in the road and demands that the driver make a U-turn. It is a very badly wounded comrade, Mieczislav Omuzire. We learn of the group's failures: "Orutyene dead. Okandio, Ekori, Omuzire wounded, Ekori critically." They decide to head for the railroad, "6 or 7 miles northwest." There, they come up with an insane plan to "ride the interface," to push their convoy through the edge of American and British zones on one side, and Russians on the other, hoping that the major players will be too cautious to start any trouble along a disputed border region. Before they go, Enzian and Andreas have an argument over who gets to take Christian with them.
On the road, Enzian considers the paradox of being a leader of the Preterite: "Who will believe that in his heart he wants to belong to them out there, the vast Humility sleepless, dying, in pain tonight throughout the Zone? the preterite he loves, knowing he's always to be a stranger... Chains rattle above him." He takes a tablet of desoxyephedrine and a stick of gum - gum chewing, we are told, was "developed during the late War by women, to keep from crying."
Enzian meets Ombindi of the Empty Ones, for the final time. The latter states his issue with Enzian's ideology: "Suicide is a freedom even the lowest enjoy. But you would deny that freedom to a people." When Enzian laughs this off as ideological nonsense, Ombindi makes it personal, revealing the selfishness of Enzian's entire plan: "You would deny YOUR people a freedom even YOU enjoy." Enzian gets Ombindi to back off by convincing him that Enzian jas gone insane, and believes Ombindi to be a death-wish hallucination. He stares Ombindi down until the issue is resolved.
The others around them realise that Enzian has never been willing to eradicate the Empty Ones, and that the Ombindi "issue" was never going to be resolved. The Schwarzkommando allow the Empty Ones to leave with their weapons and ammo - "No one has ever taken those away. There's no reason to. Enzian is no more vulnerable now than he ever was, which was plenty."
The section ends with Ludwig, "a fat glowworm in the mist," imagining a separate white army, but "he would never call them down. He would rather go on with the trek, invisible." He is the living dream of the freedom from the System that comes with total invisibility.
In this short section preceding the grand finale, we finally find Tchitcherine again, who is now living under a bridge, like a troll or something. More importantly, he lives in the arch beneath the bridge - trapped inside the parabola. Sketched on the arch are a few lost messages, a drawing, and a game of hangman, bearing the unfinished word: "GE-RAT-" which is next to "the hanged body visible almost at the other end of the culvert, even this early in the day." This image immediately calls to mind another part of the Tarot: The Hanged Man, reversed, which you might recall is also a part of Slothrop's Tarot reading. In essence, when it is reversed, The Hanged Man symbolises a struggle to accept a basic part of yourself - it is the ego fighting against the world which it inhabits, though perhaps fruitlessly, because it cannot really escape those forces. This struggle is not just a metaphor for the idea of a "counterforce", but is also a symbol for every character in the novel who finds themselves fighting the descent of the parabola - which is basically everyone except for Blicero and Pudding.
And, as I said, there is also the drawing on the arch to consider: "a drawing, in Commando blackface-grease, of a man looking closely at a flower. In the distance, or smaller, appears to be a woman, approaching. Or some kind of elf, or something. The man isn't looking at her (or it). In the middle distance are haystacks. The flower is shaped like the cunt of a young girl. There is a luminary looking down from the sky, a face on it totally at peace, like the Buddha's." I'm sorry to say, but this, too, is a Tarot reference - this time, the card is The Lovers, but with certain key differences. Firstly, the mountain between The Lovers has been swapped out here for a haystack, a callback to Section 70's synthesis of the Male and Female in a wheat field. Similarly, in The Lovers, we see the man looking at the woman, while the woman is focused upwards on the face in the sky. This originally represented how the rational mind looks toward the sensual and unconscious for transcendence, but the unconscious itself is informed by spiritual knowledge. Here, the imagery is reversed: the woman looks at the man, who is looking downwards, at a cunt-flower. It's not an unusual image - I think it's a fair assumption that the rose has been symbolically tied to the vagina pretty much since the discovery of the vagina. Anyway, the reversal offers yet another synthesis of Male and Female - another step towards the edge of The World, and this is only reinforced in the reversed gaze as well - the duality of sky and earth collapses as the man in this drawing, instead of seeking spiritual enlightenment, seeks enlightenment through the material world.
The scene around the bridge reminds us of what the material world really is: "Trees creak in sorrow for the engineered wound through their terrain, their terrenity or earthood." Interestingly, The Secret Life of Plants, the book that introduced the scientific world to the idea of plant sentience, was released in 1973, a few months after Gravity's Rainbow. And there's also this: "High up the slope, someone is swinging an ax-blade into a living tree..." A rather brutal and unfortunately commonplace image of Man's destruction of the Earth's flora, intended here to illustrate our often completely unnecessary disruption and alteration of the natural world.
So, the actual story here is that Geli Tripping has blinded Tchitcherine through the use of a voodoo doll: the text describes "the eyes of the doll, his eyes, Eastern and liquid, though they'd been only sketched on clay with her only long fingernail", which is interesting for a few reasons. First of all, voodoo dolls were actually used historically to fight back AGAINST witches, which means that this Pynchon guy must be some sort of idiot. More importantly though is the idea raised by voodoo itself, the next form of magic in the text: the idea of controlling the life of a person through the use of forces beyond their comprehension is one of the major themes of the novel. The voodoo doll carriers of our reality are not witches, probably, but rather the faceless, bodiless Elite clubs and agencies that influence our lives without us ever becoming privy to their existence. That the voodoo doll in the text is crafted out of clay adds a secondary, spiritual layer to the concept; in the Book of Genesis, and other Jewish writings, we are told that God sculpted Man out of clay. The myth of Prometheus is sometimes told as a story of Prometheus not just bringing fire to Man, but actually using that fire to create Man from the primordial clay. So, perhaps, just as Geli has ruined Tchitcherine's life, a God or parabola is also working behind the scenes to ruin all of ours.
Also, Geli's spell on the doll calls upon "the Angels Melchidael, Yahoel, Anafiel, and the great Metatron," who are all apocalyptic angels. There is one apocryphal source (I think it's the Book of Enoch) that describes Anafiel as the tallest angel in Heaven, which would link the angels to the King Kong quote from Part II - has the whole novel been an attempt to bring forth the apocalypse, the epilogue to which, in the Tarot, is The World?
The section ends with the moment we've all been waiting for - Enzian and Tchitcherine, the two brothers fated to kill each other, meet. "Tchitcherine manages to hustle half a pack of American cigarettes and three raw potatoes." Oh. Neither one recognises the other. So, instead, what we get is a small act of human kindness shared between two utterly defeated men. And this, we are told, "this is magic. Sure - but not necessarily fantasy. Certainly not the first time a man has passed his brother by, at the edge of the evening, often forever, without knowing." Interesting phrasing there, by the way - does a man often pass his brothers by forever, or is a man forever at the edge of the evening?
The final section of Gravity's Rainbow is mostly split into different mini-sections, with the exception of the very first part, which makes up one third of the total length of it. This opening section begins with a depiction of a fictional city which has "grown so tall that elevators are long-haul affairs, with lounges inside." It is difficult not to draw comparisons with the crystal city mentioned on the opening page of the novel. A tour guide on one of these elevator trips, Mindy Bloth of Carbon City, Illinois, "dreamy and practical as the Queen of Cups," lets passengers know how the world used to be before "the Vertical Solution" - "all transport was, in effect, two dimensional." As someone tries to call her out, she explains that airplane flight is different from this, because of a "common aerodynamic effect" whereby gateways are different in shape before and after one travels through them. Lord only knows what that's supposed to be referring to.
Nearby is the performance of the tightly leather-clad Lübeck Hitler Youth Glee Club (now known as 'The Lederhoseners'). In the audience are Thanatz and Ludwig, who initially discuss the mother's legs as a security symbol, followed up with an argument about S&M. "Why are we taught to feel reflexive shame whenever the subject comes up?" asks Ludwig. "Why will the Structure allow every other kind of submission but not THAT one? Because submission and dominance are resources it needs for its very survival. [...] If S and M could be established universally, at the family level, the State would wither away." Here, Pynchon tells us that S&M is a political statement - that it has been co-opted by the government as a form of maintaining its power, and that it is in its own interest to retain that power by keeping S&M a shameful act. Otherwise, people would begin to feel pleasure from the Structure's fucking of them, which would diminish its power, as this power primarily rests in causing fear and discomfort.
We then turn to the Lüneberg Heath, where construction of the 00001, or second S-Gerat is under way. Pynchon relates the parable of the boy who hated kreplach - The boy's mother took him to a therapist, who suggested that the fear of the kreplach is the fear of the unknown, and that making the kreplach in front of the boy would cure the hatred. So, the mother did just that, and the boy loved watching the process of its creation. Then, as it finally took shape, the boy recognised the kreplach, screamed, and ran away. The point of this is that, in a similar way, the S-Gerat and its creation are two completely separate events, whereby the Schwarzkommando feel obliged to create the rocket, because it represents their Life, but once it has been made, they will fear it, because it represents their Death.
Pynchon tells us about "some secrets" given to Gypsies, Kabbalists, the Templars, the Rosicrucians, and so on, "to preserve against centrifugal History." What does that mean? Well, have you asked yourself what the "force" is in the "counterforce"? Since we're near the end of the group reading, I'll tell you: it's magic. Magic is the force with which we must fight back against Them. Every act of transgression, from Mexico's impromptu vomit party, to Byron the Bulb causing the serviceman below him to get his throat cut, to Slothrop escaping Their eyes forever, every single act has been caused by a willing into existence of their deepest desires. In following the teachings of magic, we allow ourselves to abandon the teachings of Their traditions, and we find ourselves unbound.
We then get part of Slothrop's Tarot, "laid down, Celtic style, in the order suggested by Mr. A. E. Waite": The 3 of Pentacles, and The Hanged Man (Reversed). He is also associated with The Fool, which is apparently the name of an English rock group whose album cover he appeared on. On trying to identify which one is him, Pynchon says: "knowing his Tarot, we would expect to look among the Humility, among the gray and preterite souls, to look for him adrift in the hostile light of the sky, the darkness of the sea..." So, how do we interpret his Tarot? The 3 of Pentacles represents a path to enlightenment through regular work. The Hanged Man reversed, as stated previously, represents a struggle against allowing the self to surrender to outside forces. The Fool represents the emptiness before the Big Bang, the chaotic freedom prior to the creation of Structure in the universe. It all seems a little depressing, suggesting that he will work forever to escape Their sight. But then, what is Slothrop's final fate, really? Didn't he escape? Isn't it true that no one is looking for him anymore? That he has attained complete freedom from the System that no one else in the novel gets to experience? In my own, possibly controversial opinion, Slothrop does get a happy ending. His was a battle against Law and Order, and, for better or worse, he received the freedom of Chaos in the end. Twenty years later, a group of children in America would find a psychiatrist who would give them sympathetic advice on dealing with the racial hatred growing in their neighbourhood against their black friend. The psychiatrist was called Slothrop. This is recounted in "The Secret Integration," a short story that Pynchon wrote in 1964, around the time that he started Gravity's Rainbow.
There is a part also here in which it is claimed that Jamf, the mad scientist who dragged Slothrop into this mess by conditioning him, is actually a work of fiction, "to help him explain what he felt so terribly [...] that he might be in love, in sexual love, with his, and his race's, death." Following this, we immediately jump into an interview with "a spokesman for the Counterforce," who describes what Slothrop is meant to represent, and a whole school of thought known as the "Microcosmists." What's happening here is interesting: Slothrop is being analysed, literally deconstructed as a fictional character, and not one of his 'analysts' is willing to put him back together again, to reconstruct him into something useful. When the scene shifts to Bodine's last major memory of Slothrop, Bodine is called "one of the few who can still see Slothrop as any sort of integral creature any more. Most of the others have given up long ago trying to hold him together, even as a concept." Slothrop is literally being analysed to death.
Bodine gives Slothrop a piece of clothing to remember him by - a shirt soaked in John Dillinger's blood. We are briefly told that Bodine has begun to dress in Magda's clothing - Magda being, noticeably, a woman. "It is a transvestism of caring, and the first time in his life it's happened," implying that this event (the loss of Slothrop) has caused a major upheaval in Bodine's life. Here is how Bodine described Dillinger's influence on him: "What we need isn't right reasons, but just that GRACE. The physical grave to keep it working. Courage, brains, sure, O.K., but without that grace? forget it." Here is another Tarot fact for you - there is a card called The Tower, which features a solid Structure being torn down in a moment of violent upheaval. Located in the flames falling from the Tower, you find the first letter of God's name: yod. Yod, just so you know, represents Grace.
What is the moral of Slothrop's story? "The object of life is to make sure you die a weird death. To make sure that however it finds you, it will find you under very weird circumstances." You cannot escape Death, but you can escape its Systems - people die ordinary deaths, deaths approved as regular within the society They have set up, all the time. But people who die weird deaths must have done so by living outside of Their rules and boundaries. Those who die a weird death have not escaped Death, but they have escaped the fear of Death that prohibits and supresses so many of our most imaginative desires at the benefit of fitting into proper society. In other words, they have lived a Life which they can truly call their own. And in dying a weird death, they also live on as a memory, which is a form of escaping the cycle because it represents immortality.
This part ends with Dzabajev, Tchitcherine's ex-right hand man, living the good life throughout the Zone, and deciding that tonight he will shoot up. With wine. And why? "A wine rush is defying gravity, finding yourself on the elevator ceiling as it rockets upward, and no way to get down. You separate in two, the basic Two, and each self is aware of the other." So, he is trying to escape from Gravity through intoxication. He finds himself transported to the elevator city from the beginning of this section, separated into a duality from which, he hopes, he will never come down.
The Occupation of Mingeborough
We begin the final flash of scenes with a brief trip into the American Dream, in the middle-class suburbia of Mingeborough, where, sitting beneath a tree, "with anyone else but Slothrop, is a barelegged girl, blond and brown as honey." We are told that life here will go on as normal, "occupation of not, without or without Uncle Tyrone." We hear about yellow busses, automobiles, old black ladies with housecats, soliders returned home and selecting beef cuts from the freezer at Pizzini's general store. We are told that this is Slothrop's town, and the text provides directions on how to get to his house using these reference points, "but it is the occupation. They may already have interdicted the kids' short cuts along with the grown-up routes. It may be too late to get home." In other words, this is a final vision of Slothrop lost in the Zone, yearning, like many Americans today, to return to an idyllic pre-war past that never existed.
Back in der Platz
Gustav and André, wacky musicians from long ago in the novel, have made a hashpipe from a kazoo, which, as it turns out, is already the exact optimal shape for use in hash consumption. "Another odd thing about the kazoo: the kunckle-thread above the reed there is exactly the same as a thread in a light-bulb socket." Gustav points this out with his own light-bulb, which turns out to be "none other than our friend Byron," the sentient bulb who is currently thinking that the link was somehow intentionally crafted by the bulbs, "a declaration of brotherhood by the Kazoo for all the captive and oppressed light bulbs." Here, the connection between Byron and the kazoo seems to have been done to connect the idea of drug use as a form of psychic subversion of the regime.
The two men are watching a film by von Göll (der Springer) entitled New Dope. It is about a new form of dope, one that you cannot remember after taking, so that it is not you who finds the dope, but rather "it is the dope that finds you." Different titles flash on the screen at intervals, starting with:
Gerhardt von Göll Becomes Sodium Amytal Freak!
True to title, we now turn to von Göll himself, in the midst of a kind of glossolalia, inspired no doubt by the Sodium Amytal: "No not for roguery until the monitors are there in blashing sheets of earth to mate" and so on. Interestingly, Sodium Amytal is supposed to be a truth serum, so perhaps von Göll's speech is actually deeper than we initially think; perhaps he is, in fact, in touch with a primal aspect of pure language that is rising to the surface as the drug dissolves the boundaries set by regular speech.
We are told that because of things like this, the film is mostly only popular amongst old friends and "devotees of the I Ching." This introduces a new form of magic; the I Ching is a spiritual Chinese text, written as a series of short, seemingly unrelated, almost surrealist paragraphs. The idea is that any pattern can be applied to the book, any reading order assigned for the individual paragraphs, and it will still result in a series of statements that describe the present and future of the individual creating the pattern. In this sense, it's a very, very complicated version of Tarot magic. These same people are under constant threat from other, blacker types of magic: "visits from Qlippoth, Ouija-board jokesters, poltergeists, all kinds of astral-plane tankers and feebs," because, apparently, these things are swarming the Zone these days. An angel, who is supposed to be responsible for watching these things, looks down from his vantage point, laughing.
(Check out my comment below for the rest of the thread).
submitted by EmpireOfChairs
Increase the lv cap of the 5ds and DsoD worlds to 45: Pros and Cons
It has been over a year since 5ds world has been added, a few months since its wheel of character was able of spinning properly and a whole hot minute since someone thought "Why are the rewards still stuck at lv 35?".
It's time for Konami to increase the levels of the 5ds world and possibly also of the DsoD world.
-It will give an opportunity to add cards that are interesting to play with as one-ofs or two-ofs but would be too powerful right now at 3 copies per deck, a notable example being Carly's fortune ladies, and cane be added to the card trader or card flipper campaigns later on (DNA surgery used to be a 1 of lv up reward from Weevil and Toon Gemini Elves used to be a 1 of Pegasus lv up reward but were added as a drop to his roaming event).
-Those worlds, right now, are far too easy to level up to the max. I have pretty much every 5ds and DsoD character to max lv and i'm pretty sure that's the case for most people aswell, as much as i like their visuals staying there simply isn't worth it when all the missions and all the characters are already complete and Gx's and DM's aren't.
- There aren't
-Even the dreaded "muh Konami doesn't want to give us free gems" argument falls apart since you have to actively play the game to get those and they are finite. If they didn't want us to get gems events wouldn't have gems period.
- I guess the more they wait the more powerful cards they can add as lv up rewards.
As a comment suggested, here are the guidelines of the possible lv up rewards for the different characters:
Yusei Fudo- He has a ton of cards he used both in the anime and that were added later on in the TCG/OCG as support to his main archetypes, Synchron, Stardust, Warrior and Junk, with that said level up rewards mostly avoid giving boss monsters so we can exclude big boss monsters like Stardust Warrior but everything else feels like fair game so it could be anything ranging from Junk Archer to Mono Synchron and Formula Synchron.
Jack Atlas- due to his reappearance in the ArcV series his Red Dragon Archfiend has had an impressive amount of retrains and evolutions and he also has several cards with minor appearances in both 5ds and ArcV, he doesn't have that many archetypes tied to him compared to Yusei but the choices are still far too many to exclude anything beside cards focused on burning the opponent's lp like Scarlight Red Dragon Archfiend. Since one of his lv up rewards is "Dark Bug" and another is "Dark Resonator" one of his lv up rewards could be "Dark Diviner"(https://yugioh.fandom.com/wiki/Dark_Diviner
Akiza Izinski- An easy one! Her plant theme is very consistent during the series and her "Rose Garden" and "Rose Dragon" archetypes have gotten support recently. Now, i don't think they'll add the rose garden archetype per-se, but some of the cards she used in the anime and currently uses in game like Splendid Rose and Twilight Rose Knight seem the most probable candidates.
Crow Hogan- Blackwing support. Probably a one of copy of Kalut to make the levelling worth it and some of the pack filler blackwings like Kuniyoshi the white rainbow and Sayo the rain hider.
Luna- Miscellaneous generic fairytale creatures ASSEMBLE.
Leo- Datatron, Magnen, Boarden....the good Morphotronics are already in the game except maybe Stereon who can lead to otks with the right equip spells.
Dark Signers (all)- The support for the Eartbound immortal playstyle in the anime is much more expanded, they have even their own synchro monster and all, the lv up rewards are the perfect opportunity for the anime-only Earthbound immortal cards to be imported to the game.
DS Carly- Probably a one copy of Future Visions, there are the Fortune Fairies cards but i do think they'll add regular Carly with them at some point.
DS Kalin- Infernity support....but the bad ones. They'll bring Launcher and Doom Dragon as a main box UR and we all know that. Hopefully 1-2 more copies of Necromancer and Avenger, unless they add those with the uncorrupted version of Kalin.
DS Rex- Supay Duskwalker and Ascator Dawnwalker would be nice, but i feel like his lv up rewards will be centered around Earthbound immortals the most.
Tetsu Trudge- the Goyo archetype has many interesting synchros and i hope they'll add a copy of the more hard to summon ones since so far the ones we've got were f2p.
Kaiba- Recent Blue eyes support? Nah, they'll add the retrains of the monsters he used in the movie like Neo Kaiser Glider and Kaiser Vorse Raider and maybe a copy of Neo Blue Eyes Ultimate Dragon so that it can be summoned without relying on the skill to put it in the Extra Deck.
Mokuba- He plays Thunder Dragons. Thunder Dragons are meta in the current TCG. If they add Colossus to the game it's GG for everything else. They could add Thunder Dragonduo as the makeshift boss monster until the game can deal with their fusions.
Scud- A-B-A-K-I, with a summoning animation to flex on Ishizu players.
Sera- she's a mess. Constellar AND Cubics without any semblance of unity or support.
The newl box, that was announced after this post, added several cards that would've been good lv up rewards:
Right Driver+ Lefty Driver (but still no good lv 3-4 synchros? smh)
Might aswell add the predictions for the box:
The URs will be meta defining. Stardust Spark Dragon is the single best stall option for synchro decks as it can target itself and Tragoedia will bring sheer terror to people who don't respect the attack order.
DD warrior lady is incredibly powerful in a red eyes fusion deck.
Chain Disappearance? More like "Alesteir Disappearance" (cries in 3 copies)
The archtypes are...not at full power. Psyframes are the most promising one and will be relatively f2p but you do need 3x of their field spell, a SR, for them to work while Superheavy Samurai lose to archetypes we currently have since they miss their true boss monsters.
Cyber Dragon will be playable and capable of KoG, be prepared for Machine Duplication shenanigans with Core, explosive OTKs with Overload Fusion and insanely good recycling power with Cyberload Fusion!!
Dark magician gets a boost too and since Circle is a searchable hard opt you won't need 3 copies!!
Artifacts? Without their xyz and mst? At least Lancea is a situational meta counter since it's a hand trap
submitted by Bringbackwodstarfall