I run the risk of proselytizing once more on a barely-observed record. Motivations become questioned, reproach seeps in at the borders, but those remain chattering noisemakers settled around the doorways, like the carvings surrounding Hindu temples to distract those who would bring their dharma into church with them: God seriously does not give a shit about your opinion of the universe.
I get tattoos and piercings. They're such an old method of delineation that it's hard not to understand. It's the brand logo of a person's tribe, the externalization of some ideological value that demanded manifestation on the skin, corresponding to the stimulation of nerve centers through pain and endorphin firing. The experience often creates powerful talismans, combining minor trauma and symbolic representation, not to mention a reworking of the body-image and the relationship of the senses involving the body.
Then again, I see so many people in the city just covered in boring, kitchy, shitty tattoos with no meaning other than to provide some protective layer to hide a shrieking, terrified child under a layer of false bravado, fucked up on endocrine-based opiates and turning the skin into a cheap barf of meaningless symbols like the separated fat in the cream of the collective unconscious. The subject debases itself in a cloud of 18th Trump misdirection, dressing in the dreck of the world around it in order to keep the world from penetrating and infecting the psychic womb back into which the subject has crawled. The sheer intent of meaninglessness permits the subject elements around which it can erect a field of constant self-consciousness, and thus constant jadedness and cynicism. Angry children draw all over the walls of themselves, instead of primordial humans immortalizing the images of beloved spirits on their most sacred temples in homage.
Perhaps it's no wonder: The non-spirit has given way to the anti-spirit. Compassion and love have become strangled by arrangements of causes and dietary labels to permit some illusion of positive effect and superiority. To love animals has come to mean disregarding the "cries of the carrots," as Mr. Keenan pointed out over a decade ago. To love the environment has come to mean the exorcism of human activity within it. To love humanity has come to mean the denial of aggressive instincts that unite us with our mammalian kin. Thought overcomes Mind. Anthropic bias runs wild across all fields, impoverishing our planet and our souls. Spirituality has become a giant gold Buddha statue, a graven image of the God-Suffering-Flesh and the sacrificial device, a meaningless sitcom of Universal-Scale Gender Politics.
We can't "go back." We can't undo the last 200 years of technological innovation. We will remember the "neat little box that could heat things up in seconds" and perhaps miss the background hiss of radio waves screeching through the atmosphere. We will fret and weep for our vicarious friends at opposing ends of the globe, and our species-tribe shall be carved into pieces once again before returning to exactly the same place it was prior: in constant threat of annihilation, like we have been from the get-go. Golden ages don't exist: Gold doesn't oxidize. We stare back at ourselves and mistake our own experience for the quality of the universe. The world won't end, and that may be our apocalypse: looking down and finally tasting the shit we've been smelling for so long.