Are Words Meaningless?

Do words carry meaning? Or is meaning subjective, only existing in the beholder? Do stories convey meaning, or are they just tools to manipulate other people and ourselves? Does any statement make any kind of real sense? Does truth exist? Does lying matter? If lies are popular and powerful, and truth is quiet and powerless, why choose the latter? Why not go with the lie? Why not kill, or die, for the lie?

“Truth isn’t truth.”

There is an ongoing, concerted, all-out war being waged against all fact-based, evidence-based, educated or intellectual discourse, professions, and ideologies.

There is a war being waged by those who embrace trolling (lying), manipulation, denial, brainwashing, provocation, the worship of force.

This is the real “culture war,” the real “politics” going on, and, sad to say, the lies are winning. Words seem to mean whatever anyone wants them to mean. If enough people want them to mean one thing, they effectively do mean that, and the words, not them, are wrong.

I don’t even have much to say about this anymore. It’s exhausting to think about. Words used to mean something, but now meaning doesn’t mean anything, and words are just weapons to inflict violence and violation.

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Persona Ficta

Artificial Persons

An artificial person is a non-human entity that is created and treated by law as if it were a human being, and granted certain rights and obligations. The original term for this is persona ficta – a fictional person.

This sort of legal, political, economic and social make-believe is the basis for the erosion of human rights in order to benefit the so-called rights of imaginary entities.

In Citizens United vs F.E.C. Justice Kennedy concluded, “If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech.”

See the sleight of hand? Good old Kennedy studiously conflated a fake person with real persons. By law, Citizens United is not an “association of citizens;” that’s the whole point: it’s its own, separate, distinct artificial person. No citizens were in danger of being “jailed.” No citizens were in danger of being fined. Citizens United was (barely) threatened with a slap-on-the-wrist fine, but Citizens United is not a citizen.

The idea that a non-human non-citizen enjoys the rights of human citizens is so absurd, yet so common, that fewer people are even questioning it. This is fiction made real.

On the Summoning of Non-Human Entities

“Magick,” writes Aleister Crowley, “is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity of Will.”

Dion Fortune defined magick as “the art of changing consciousness according to Will.”

This is, of course, changing the consciousness of other people, not merely that of your own. The process of creating a corporation, say, is very much a magickal ritual in these terms. There is a petition made to a higher power (the government), a boon from a higher power (capital investment), some sacrifice (payment of fees), written spells (forms and documents) forming a comprehensive grimoire, confirmation from the higher powers, and then – abracadabra – a thing is summoned into existence that has “life” and “rights.”

Crowley would argue that any intentional act is a magickal one, but this is small comfort coming from “The Beast.”

Unlike the golem of Jewish folklore, the abominable creations of legal magick today are not formed from clay or mud. They have no physical body, human or otherwise. They exist purely in the realm of consciousness, or spirit. But, like the golem, artificial persons are growing larger and larger, consuming more and more, and threaten to destroy the world as well as anything sacred.

Practically Everything is an Artificial Person

Except for the 7 billion or so human persons on Earth, the players are all non-human persons.

Governments, non-profit organizations, cooperatives, partnerships, states, even certain public offices, churches, temples.

These all have legal capacity, that is, the capability of making binding amendments to their rights, duties, and obligations, and enter into contracts, such as marriages/mergers, writing a valid will, and having legal standing and status. And apparently enjoying freedom of speech.

It’s easy to see why this might be a bad idea. Does an artificial person have religious beliefs? “Deeply held” ones? Boom, then it can hire and fire and sell or deny services based on religion. And maybe you can’t boycott a business – that’s discrimination. The artificial person’s feelings might be hurt. What are the artificial person’s favorite colors?

And while ‘rights’ for fictional persons are on the rise (thanks to the crafty bribes that artificial persons make to certain corruptible human persons) rights for human persons are already absurdly limited. For example, a human person can be ruled mentally incompetent and thus have the right to determine their own medical treatment (or lack thereof), place of habitation, any and all financial or marital dealings taken away. Conversely, some human persons can get away with crimes due to a plea of insanity.

Arguably, every artificial person is completely insane, since no artificial person has a mind. Or brain. Or body.

Perhaps that’s why in our world, we collectively shrug when artificial persons commit atrocities, strip entire populations of life or rights or properties, poison and pollute the environment of natural humans and plunge the world into chaos, poverty, war and death. We understand that the entities that rule us are insane.

Like the Greek Gods, capricious, malicious, and inevitable.

They, too, were worshiped.

 

 

 

Donald Trump and the Witch-Hunting Witch

2:46 AM. The White House.

Alone in the Oval Office, President Donald J. Trump sat reading reports from his closest advisors with his brow furrowed in somber concern. Despite the landslide election which had signaled to him and the other white hats that the American People had had enough of the Deep State, the country was infested with clueless, America-hating liberals working for the New World Order. While many of his more diehard supporters suggested using force to rid themselves of the vermin once and for all, Donald was too merciful, and besides, mass murder would be exactly the kind of thing which would be deliberately misinterpreted by the Fake News as violent. He wouldn’t fall for that trap.

But, what to do, what to do? Eric and Don Jr had offered many valuable ideas. They were strong boys, true patriots, but they were still young and didn’t know how to play 5-d chess yet. They needed to learn by example. He needed to do something soon, or else the Deep State would seize power again in November, rigging the election just as they had previously.

If only someone else could do this job. I gave up everything just to serve my beloved country, he thought. But, alas, there is no one else. I’m not the hero America deserves, but I’m the one they need. They chose me. God chose me. Think, Donald, think!

Suddenly there was a knock at the doors.

“Yes, come in,” he said with some impatience. Couldn’t they understand how busy he was?

“Pardon my intrusion, Mister President,” squeaked a beta-male intern nervously. “But there’s… someone… here to see you.”

“I don’t have anyone on the schedule,” he said. “They’ll have to make an appointment.”

“That won’t be necessary,” said a husky voice, “I think you’ll find you have the time for me.”

Donald knew that voice. Everyone in America knew that voice, and hated it. He looked with dismay as Hillary Rodham Clinton brushed past the effeminate intern, sending him stumbling two steps and colliding with the open door, and strode brazenly into the Oval Office. She stood directly on the circular rug with the seal of the Office of the President on it, treasonous even with her feet.

“You!” he exclaimed. “How did you – ”

“I have my ways,” she said with a smirk. “You know you have no power against me, Donald.”

“Yeah?” he retorted, his righteous fury rising in him, “And what if I call for the Secret Service to remove you right now?”

Her wrinkled lips twisted even more. “Try and find out. You’ll be disappointed, I promise you.”

He was tempted, sorely tempted – the audacity of the nasty woman! But he knew she was right. Now wasn’t the time to move against her, the pieces weren’t all in place yet. The swamp protected its own, and this damn town was still half submerged. And that wasn’t even taking into account her… other powers.

“Damn you, woman,” he muttered. He grimaced and fixed her with his famous board-room glare, which had withered even the likes of Mitt Romney and Chris Christie.

But she was unfazed.

“Should I… sir, do you want me to…?” the intern piped.

Both Donald and Hillary turned to look at the almost-forgotten intern, glowering. He visibly wilted before the combined gaze.

“Get out,” he said. The intern fled, shutting the door behind him. He made a note to fire the guy.

Now he was alone with the witch.

“I see you’re having a hard time with the Bureau,” she said with sickly sweetness. “If you like, maybe I can give you a hand. They tried investigating me once. Once.”

He frowned. He knew what such “help” would cost him, and cost America. It was too high a price. “They won’t find anything. There’s nothing to find, as you know.”

“So confident,” she breathed. “I admire a strong, confident man.” She stepped closer, her evil eyes shining.

He stood to his feet, towering mightily over her. “Knock it off. Flattery will get you nowhere. What is it you want?”

She cringed slightly before his imposing, broad-shouldered figure. “Why, what does any woman want?”

“To be a 10?” he suggested. “Too bad you’ll never fit the bill.”

She screeched.

Bored now, Donald narrowed his eyes. “You’re wasting my time. If you have nothing to say, you can leave now, and damn the Service, I can remove you myself!”

“Fine, fine,” she said. “I’ll say what I came here to say. You’re drowning, Donald. Your friends are going down. The rats are flipping, and leaving your sinking ship. You have no chance. I read your book, Art of the Deal. It’s a good book, perhaps one of the best books. So I’m offering you a chance to make a deal with me, and we can bring… peace… to this divided country.”

“I make no deals with the Enemy,” he replied defiantly.

“Look around you. We have the media. We have the intelligence agencies. We have the governments of the world’s nations in our pocket. You can’t win.”

“You don’t have Russia,” he pointed out. “And you don’t have this government. The people voted.”

“Be that as it may,” she allowed, “You are outnumbered and outmatched. I’ve got a horde of illegals and rapists, all ready to march on my command. And even if you get that wall of yours built, we have the Union Thugs, Black Lives Matter, and my Antifa shock troops. If it comes to force, we’ll win.”

“I don’t think so,” he growled. “I’ve got the United States military. Including my new Space Force.”

The Space Force was his own brainchild, a brilliant and unforeseen way to get around the CIA monopoly on satellite and top-secret orbital weaponry that they acquired from the Greys.

“I wouldn’t count on your boys in blue too much,” she said, giggling. “MK-ULTRA will turn most of them to my will.”

“Your will,” he said sourly, “You mean his will.”

She cackled. “Yes! Mine is the will of the Great Horned One, the All-Seeing Eye, He Who Shall Reign Ten Thousand Years of Darkness! This whole world is his, and you have no chance of victory.”

He crossed himself, putting on the first of the Armor of God. He’d been learning ways to protect himself against the dark forces from Mike, a pious and indomitable warrior for Christ.

“Blasphemer!” he spat. “You have no authority here. Leave this holy place at once!”

Hillary’s eyes turned coal-black. “Yea, in the Name of the Goat, I shall summon the Dark Ones. Think you this place holy? Nay, I have cursed it, drenched it in the blood of the innocent!”

“In the Name of Jesus Christ, I banish you, foul one!” Donald Trump roared.

Hillary winced at the name, but an inky black darkness was beginning to encircle her, its tendrils already extending outward. The room smelled of sulphur. “I have feasted on the blood of unbaptized babes tonight,” she declared, in a voice that was at once her own and also that of someone, or something deeper and far more insidious.

Tears of manly outrage came to Donald’s eyes, knowing what she and her kind had always done to the young ones. But he was not shaken. “In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, I cast thee out, demon! The power of Christ compels you!”

Hillary grimaced, but focused her unholy might, and the inky tendrils shot out toward him, burning away his red power tie and his collared shirt, revealing only his muscular, tanned torso and the golden cross on a chain around his neck.

A deep, deafening roar began to get louder. So Donald just raised his voice. “The Power of Christ compels you! The Power of Christ compels you!”

The dark tendrils began to retreat and dissolve, and Hillary let go of an unearthly screech as Donald repeated the commands, again and again. The deafening roar quieted, and then faded away.

Finally, her spell broken, she turned and began to limp and run for the door.

“You’ll regret this, Donald, I swear! This isn’t over yet!” she yelled back at him, before fleeing the Oval Office and the White House.

“No,” said the President, “It’s only just begun.”

Transcendence in “The Walk Home”

“The Walk Home” by Steve Cutts is an evocative, hauntingly beautiful 2015 animated short that offers interesting and profound questions and themes about life, death, good, evil, and spirituality. Everyone should go watch this video right now.

Synopsis

Beginning

The video opens to a cold, snowy night in a run-down inner city. No cars are moving, the lights are out everywhere, broken windows, graffiti, boarded-up doors, trash-littered streets, and smoke and soot darken the sky. The level of dystopia shown is bordering already on the post-apocalyptic.

We find the main character, an unnamed boy of perhaps 12, awakening on the roof of a busted-up, burned-out abandoned car in an alley. His face is bruised, one eye is swollen shut, and we get the impression that he has either passed out from exhaustion or been previously knocked unconscious.

He lifts himself up wearily, just getting to his senses. Suddenly, half a dozen gang members strut toward him from the alley entrance. Alarmed, he barely has time to get to his feet before one of them punches and swings a kick at him.

The boy flees, crashing into the walls of the alley and falling into a pile of rubble, while the gang members laugh and point. Their faces don’t look quite human – their eyes are completely hidden in shadow.

As he struggles to his feet, the leader pulls out a long knife and brandishes it as he approaches. The boy can only keep running, barely missing getting slashed, while the rest of the gang throws a few bottles at him, crashing in the pavement behind him as he takes cover around a corner. No longer pursued, he begins stumbling through the city in a daze.

Middle

So begins the titular walk home. The nightmare of the boy’s waking is only just started. He passes a beggar on the street, with one eye swollen shut, the other alertly following him. He sees a woman in a slim dress, legs askew, slumped on the sidewalk against a building; possibly unconscious, overdosing, sleeping, or dead. He sees a man slumped at a bar table, his eyes shrouded, face distorted.

We see what might be wealthy businessmen or politicians, drinking champagne and celebrating through barred windows, while just outside in the foreground a homeless man and woman are huddled together for warmth.

We see another shot of three men in suits, clutching stacks of money and champagne glasses as they recline on a lounge sofa in a strip bar. Like the politician/businessmen behind the barred windows and the gang members earlier, their eyes and eye-socket areas are completely black, like a skull’s. Here, though, we notice their faces seem to have scales.

Finally we have a shot of what might be a parliamentary procedure of some kind, with a podium and microphone. The attendants and speaker wear suits with what look like award or honorary badges, as the rest of the suits seen so far have, but now their heads and faces are completely reptilian: mostly alligators, a few snakes, and one or two that might be something in between.

The boy continues walking, passing and being passed by a quick montage of more skull-eyed humans, carrying knives, wearing hoodies or trench coats. We see a woman walking who drinks a bottle of malt liquor, tilting her distorted, grotesque head back and pouring it between her alarmingly oversized teeth and jaws, before crashing to the ground.

Flashes of violence and death. Someone shoots an Uzi into the back of someone’s head. Knife-wielding shadows in hoodies appear and disappear in rapid succession. Two thugs struggle violently, their heads porcine, teeth like needles, skin like a radiation poison victim. Three men stomp and kick a woman lying on the pavement. A line of gang members in hoodies sitting on a low wall, their lower faces shrouded by either the hoodie or a bandana or both, their black eyes surrounded only by just enough white to hint at a face. A car fire, and another hoodie with a face mask; the skin of his cheeks and lower forehead like melting cottage cheese. A woman late in pregnancy, her swollen belly protruding from her ragged clothing, lit cigarette in her mouth, a vague look of utter misery and despair. More knives.

The boy stumbles along a row of cars. A frozen image of a face-mask wearing thug slashing a young man in the back or side with a long knife. A woman lying face-down in the middle of a crosswalk, her purse spilled open. More pig-like, evil faces, more destitute and injured or prone victims.

A brief image of a masked, hooded character with others in the background – his face is entirely black, except for eyes glowing and afire.

A car of tattooed gangsters shooting guns in a drive-by; other gang members firing pistols back at them. A dead young man, wearing clothes similar to the boy’s, in a pool of blood from an abdominal wound. A woman struggling against a knife-wielding attacker. That same woman dead in a pool of blood. The gang members from the alley in the opening sequence.

At last, the boy seems to arrived at what might be home: an immense, foreboding high-rise. He stands looking at it, but something eats at him, a disturbing intuition perhaps, guiding him to look down…

Ending

..and sees himself, sprawled on the gritty ground in a pool of blood from a fatal wound near his heart.

Shock and horror grip him as he slowly falls to his knees, staring at his own corpse. The snow now falls a bit heavier, and we can see it behind him as he is subtly transparent. Suddenly, other figures approach; pale, translucent spirits of the dead, many of them showing the wounds of their deaths.

A ghostly woman offers her hand, and he hesitantly takes it. The other spirits, now in a circle around him, place their hands on top, and the translucent half-light of each ghostly figure becomes brightened when overlapping another.

Suddenly, like a sun, bright yellow-white light spills out into the world around them in an exploding sphere. We see the violent, nightmarish beings and their guns begin to break apart in the blinding light, their grisly deformed faces dissolving and flying upward, revealing the boy himself underneath each one. Even the original gang member who came at him in the alley with the long knife (and presumably killed him) is revealed to be indistinguishable from him.

All but one – a slowly dissolving, hooded and dark-faced figure. The boy gazes at him from the light, as if perplexed, and the figure seems to gaze sullenly back at him, before turning away and completely dissolving away, leaving nothing beneath or behind.

Descent into Hell

A man once asked me, “How do you think Jesus defeated Satan? Was it like a knock-down, drag-out fight?”

I’ve often wondered about that, for many reasons. I don’t think he was referring to resisting the temptations of Satan in the wilderness, because it’s pretty clear, according to the New Testament itself, how he did so. He stuck to his principles, and resisted temptation, and finally told Satan to get outta there. No real mystery.

So I think he was asking me about what is called the Harrowing of Hell – the period after the crucifixion and before the resurrection, a period which, according to various doctrines, Jesus is said to have descended into the realm of the dead and conquered Death or the Devil (or both), and gave salvation to the righteous and offered the gospels to every soul there.

For it’s one thing to imagine the son of God resisting the devil on Earth – arguably, the entire story of Jesus is him doing exactly that, by living righteously. But what about in the Devil’s home field? What would that be like?

Not so simple, I suspect.

I think we can look to “The Walk Home” as highly suggestive of this kind of process, which is of course not limited to Christian mythology but has traceable roots in Classical mythologies around the world. Shamanism, for example, is centered around the idea of the Shaman entering the spirit world, suffering for it, and returning. The wounded healer archetype is fairly universal in human culture, but I’m going to examine it here in the Christian context.

In the beginning of the video, our first shot of the boy is him lying on the rusted old automobile, arms spread-out in a manner very reminiscent of the cross. Should we take him for an allegory of Christ? Well, unlike most of the other inhabitants of this dark city, he seems to be in it, but not of it.  He’s not a part of any gang or other social group that we can see. He seems to be rather innocent, in the sense that perhaps he, like the viewer, is uncertain where he came from or where he is.

If we do take him as an allegory for Christ, we are starting from the position of the crucifixion. Subsequently, he is beaten, chased and persecuted. This is a reversal of his experiences in life.

His walk through the underworld, with its increasingly surreal and horrific imagery, could represent a kind of gradual exposure to the evils of the world, gaining wisdom but, as Ecclesiastes 1:18 points out, much sorrow.

The moment of enlightenment comes after he faces first-hand the fact of his own mortality. Most of us are intellectually aware that we will die, but this is different from the much more profound experiential knowledge, or Gnosis, of it as truth.

For most people, near-death experiences and close calls are dramatic life-changing events that bring a crisp, newfound sense of gratitude. Here, the boy is experiencing death as a retroactive event, a la the Sixth Sense. In that film, the restless ghosts were in denial of their own existence as being dead, but were brought (like Bruce Willis’s character) to a state of acceptance and peace after finally coming to grips with their reality. While initially disturbing, the boy in “The Walk Home” is similarly comforted, for at least, he no longer has to worry about avoiding death.

While a lot of Christian iconography depicts the Harrowing of Hell in grandiose terms, showing Christ the Conqueror, the Devil and Death in chains, Adam and Eve led by their wrists out of captivity, this is the “knock-down drag-out fist fight” theme. In these kinds of doctrinal conceptions, we can imagine that Jesus, after waking up in the Underworld, marches confidently to rescue imprisoned righteous souls and smites the Devil in the testicles with a well-placed sandal kick. Probably with a witty one-liner.

As R.R. Reno writes in 2008 about Catholic heretic Hans Urs von Balthasar:

…the Church teaches that Christ’s descent was to “the limbo of the Fathers,” which is to say, to the patriarchs of the Old Testament, in order to liberate them. Moreover, this descent was “glorious” and involved no suffering on Christ’s part.

There can be no doubt that Balthasar’s own theology of Holy Saturday teaches otherwise. Inspired by the mystical visions of Adrienne von Speyr, Balthasar developed an extraordinarily vivid account of Christ’s descent into hell. Instead of entering hell in triumphant splendor so as to rescue the Israelites of old whose faith was awaiting completion, Balthasar envisions the crucified Son of God as a depth charge of divine life tossed into the abyss of dissolution. The more deeply the Son sinks into death, the more profoundly does the eventual, inevitable, and triumphant explosion of divine life reverberate.

…Balthasar has Christ descending to what really amounts to the metaphysical depths of nothingness, while, according to Pitstick, the tradition teaches that Christ descends to “the limbo of the Fathers.” Balthasar goes to great lengths to dramatize the agony of separation as the dead Son descends ever farther from the everlasting life of the Father, and again the tradition seems to go in a different direction, emphasizing the invulnerable, triumphant divinity shared between Father and Son.

Why should anyone, even Jesus Christ, enter the depths of Hell with a functional memory of who they are and where they came from, or a full conscious awareness of where they currently are? No one enters the world of the living like that.

The boy of the video has no knowledge to guide him, no teachings to learn from or to spread, no special powers or abilities. Nothing but the spirit as it takes him through a world of endless suffering.

It’s not by his own bootstraps that in the end he is lifted up, but only by trusting in another. (And that other being a creepy ghost-woman.) In other words, faith alone.

Throughout this journey, it’s implied that the goal is pretty simple – how to pass these dark streets without getting stabbed or lost, so he can reach home. Where is home, not just for Jesus, but for any redeemable spirit? Heaven – the Light.

With death, or the realization of his death, the boy stops trying to look for a building or a safe neighborhood. The journey transcends that surface-level apparition. Just as, in Catholic doctrine, Hell is “a state or place,” meaning it doesn’t have to have any physical locality to it whatsoever, so too is the Kingdom of God.

“Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”
Luke 17:21

The boy, in this moment, finally sees the truth, and together with the other martyred souls, his whole body becomes full of light. Not just their bodies, but the whole world, aka Jesus as the Light of the World. Even the nuclear-like exploding ball of light that emerges is reminiscent of the word “apocalypse,” which of course means “revelation.”

The revelatory detonation literally washes away the sinful outer natures of the lost and tormented/tormenting souls, revealing the universality of the inner Kingdom of God.

The one who simply disappears entirely can be assumed to be the Christian Devil, or Death – there is no soul underneath to redeem, nothing there but evil. Hell has not simply been the target of a prison break and march of conquest, it has been transformed by the power of faith and goodness into a realm of pure light. Home.

Enlightenment

Another framework to look at “The Walk Home” comes from Eastern religious traditions, namely Hinduism and Buddhism. The boy is not a Christ allegory here. He begins not in the Underworld, but the modern world as we know it: the illusion of Maya, or ignorance.

The world we live in is fairly accurately (if dramatically) depicted in the microcosm of the dark city. It’s full of suffering, violence, poverty, injustice, greed, impermanence, and fear. Fear above all. We can look at, and even admire, the boy’s individualism and innocence, but he could just as easily do as the other inhabitants do. People join gangs, or even political parties, largely out of fear.

Similarly, the boy is not seeking the Light nor guided by faith. Instead, his actions are guided solely by the fear-based survival instinct. He runs from threats and stumbles haphazardly throughout his life. He is governed by fear; in his experience, fear is represented by the apparently-soulless, evil, even monstrous inhabitants of the city. His fear manifests as the mortal threat presented by incomprehensible Others.

However, he finally stops running, for whatever reason, and looks down. Here, his worst fears are revealed before him: his own death. Everything that he has fought to protect must end, and has, in effect, already ended. His struggles have been for nothing. There is, in the end, no running away from the truth.

In some dreams or perceptions, we experience ourselves through ourselves, as an actor looking out into a dream world; a first-person point of view. In others, we experience ourselves in a third-person point of view; a dissociated, rather than associated, state. By looking at his own body, as if standing over it, he is experiencing a dissociation from his identification with his physical existence. He is suddenly realizing that he is not who or what he always thought he was.

In meditative practices, this realization is a key moment which recontextualizes our view of reality. In the default philosophical paradigm of naive realism, we assume that everything is exactly the way we perceive it. Our aversions, attachments, fears and self-concept are unquestioned. But when one comes to know, through whatever means, that things are not as they seem, we begin to pierce the veil of Maya.

This process – and it is a process, not a momentary epiphany, although it can begin that way – can lead one to the point of what is called Enlightenment. Obviously this is represented in the video by the bright Light.

Fear, although powerful and justifiable within the context of Maya, dissolves with the light of understanding. This understanding is also Gnosis, that is, a kind of gut-level knowledge that transcends intellect, logic, reason, or belief. Until then, for example, we fear the Other – other people, external situations or events. This fear is based on ignorance, namely the illusion of separation and separateness.

In the Yogic tradition, Brahman (the Self) is pure consciousness, and this is the absolute nature of all reality. This Absolute consciousness is differentiated, and filtered down into a lesser state of awareness called Atman, or the individualized self. Brahman is Atman, but Atman is not aware of this and believes it is the Ego of you, me, or anyone else. In this sense, we are one Self, dreaming that it is multiple selves, dwelling in finite space and time; but nothing actually exists other than Brahman, not even space or time.

So in this sense Enlightenment is literally about waking up from the dream of reality. In the video, the dreamlike grotesques are blown away by the light of awareness, revealing the boy underneath – there never was an Other.

He was here all by himself the whole time, imagining that he was a whole city full of various people; just as, in a dream, you are not aware that the other characters and the places and even your dream-self are just figments of consciousness. Not even your consciousness, since the you that you think of as you is Ego, the false self.

Ego, the illusory separate character played by Atman, has no existence. Whether this Ego is an innocent child or a scraggly homeless man, a criminal or a victim, a lizard or a human, these are all just masks. The more “impurity,” such as greed, anger, and so on, the more distorted, frightening, or even comical these masks can be. The process of Awakening is the removal of these masks entirely, not the transformation of them.

And it may be that the only way to permanently remove Ego is by death. You might never be able to truly “realize the Self” because, by the time it happens, you might no longer exist, so who are you to realize anything?

Still, we might catch glimpses of the truth – when we’re not running away from it.

Final Thoughts

“The Walk Home” is one of those videos I find myself watching repeatedly. You do catch things you might have missed the first time, or even the first few times. Aside from the spiritual philosophical mumbo-jumbo I like to deal in, it’s a powerful social commentary and a warning about many problems of our times.

I don’t have anything to say about what Mr Cutts intended to convey by this video, nor am I making any interpretations on the basis of presumed authorial intent. Death of the author, I say!

And I find it hard to consistently invest myself emotionally into any particular belief system, so the two views I’ve presented are not meant to be mutually exclusive and I find a sense of meaning in both. I find the commonalities insightful.

In both cases, the realization of one’s own death is an essential part, either of redemption, salvation, or enlightenment. In both cases, we are hampered by either sin or illusion, or both, in terms of how accurately we can perceive ourselves, other people, and the world. In both cases, there is a need for trust (or faith), and a letting-go of our material concerns, required to see clearly.

The spiritual path is not a lovely dance through a rose garden. Singing songs of praise, bowing and praying, seated calmly in a lotus position, lighting incense, reading holy texts, having the right beliefs, or even intending to be on a spiritual path are not required. The spiritual path may look like nothing of what we consider to be “spiritual” – it might be a terrifying journey through terror, degradation, humiliation, agony, alcohol, drugs, violence, poverty, hopelessness and despair.

Thanks for reading. Maybe I’ll see you on the walk home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1984 and America

The Deep State, or the Military-Industrial Complex

Let’s assume, for the sake of a thought-experiment, that there is, in fact, a Deep State. Other terms for this might range from Military-Industrial Complex, New World Order, THEY, or the People In Charge; for my purposes all of these refer generally to the same concept of a shadow government.

Trump supporters, for various reasons, believed – and want to believe – that their candidate was an exception to the rule of this shadow government, something that was unpredictable and a great threat to them. Supporting evidence: the mainstream media and Democrats (and many others) have been fervently opposed to him from the beginning; and the mainstream media is assumed to be the voice of THEM.

But Trump supporters, in moments of clarity, also admit that the mountains of media attention actually helped Trump’s campaign, to the same degree that the comparative silence regarding Bernie Sanders hurt his campaign. If THEY had really not wanted Trump, why give him so much press? Are they just stupid, despite apparently controlling the USA (and the world) for decades or more?

I think not. The fact is, most Trump supporters who endorse the concept of a shadow government have reduced it to something of a farce, a strawman. Generally, these days, it refers to the Democrat Party, the intelligence agencies (but not so much the CIA, apparently), the mainstream media (except Fox News), banks, the Clintons, Hollywood, and occasionally to certain wealthy families (but not, of course, the Mercers or the Kochs or the Murdochs or the Saudi Arabian Royal Family). Mostly, it’s become just an alternative way to refer to Democrats. Thus, the Deep State was foiled because the Democrats lost the election.

How easily these nefarious globalist rulers are undone. I guess we can all go back to watching TV and wait for Trump to drain the swamp.

No.

If there were a shadow government, it by definition lives in the shadows. Intelligence agencies are just part of the State. The Democrat Party is just one of the two only choices voters are allowed to have; it’s again effectively part of the State, as is the GOP.

The Deep State can’t be just part of the State; it has to be the other way around for it to effectively rule.

The shadow government isn’t contained within the government, and given a budget, and subject to government regulation, oversight, and recognition; or else it’s not a shadow government, just government. Puppets are not the puppeteers.

If we’re going to assume there’s a shadow government that’s been in charge of US and much of world politics for a long time, then we must look to how things are in order to look at what it would really want, if we’re going to conclude whether anyone is actively fighting against it.

Now let’s examine the book-within-the-book of 1984, “THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF OLIGARCHICAL COLLECTIVISM.”

War is Peace, Ignorance is Strength

…these three superstates are permanently at war, and have been so for the past twenty-five years. War, however, is no longer the desperate, annihilating struggle that it was in the early decades of the twentieth century. It is a warfare of limited aims between combatants who are unable to destroy one another, have no material cause for fighting, and are not divided by any genuine ideological difference.

First, we can admire the prescience of George Orwell in predicting that war as it was fought in the first half of the twentieth century (the book was written in 1948) is drastically changed. The Allied and Axis Powers practiced Total War, hence the enormous destruction, conquest and genocide involved. There were ideological differences; effectively, the Axis was based on racial supremacy, fascism, and autocratic rule, while the Allies tended to be based on a certain level of racial tolerance and democratic governance. The goal was nothing less than the complete eradication of the opponent by conquest and restructuring of society as well as government.

In comparison, while the world has been at war more or less continuously since the end of WWII, it has fit this model of warfare.

…in a physical sense war involves very small numbers of people, mostly highly trained specialists, and causes comparatively few casualties. The fighting, when there is any, takes place on the vague frontiers whose whereabouts the average man can only guess at.

The US has led the way for world military development, eventually eliminating the draft, aka conscription of mass numbers of troops, and favoring a technological, highly trained, and smaller force model. Even in countries that do not follow this model exactly, the trends have been designated, and nations are less prone to throwing millions of poorly-armed and untrained draftees into the meat-grinder.

As of the time of this writing – 2018 – the United States of America is currently at war in Libya, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan. Operations in Afghanistan began in 2001, with the endless “War On Terror” under which many other sub-conflicts have, and will fall, meaning we’ve been continuously at war for 17 years. Many people in this country are not aware to the extent that this is the case, or could list all the countries in which we are at war. I admit I had to do a Google search just to write this paragraph.

Bernie Sanders, of course, ran on a radical campaign of “No More War,” but despite his popularity, the Democratic Party locked ranks against him (with a famous middle-finger given to his supporters, from behind a line of heavily armed police), ensuring that only the two corporate candidates would be on the ballot. It seems that being genuinely opposed to warfare is a big no-no to the Powers That Be.

Trump, on the other hand, despite his style of being a rebel against said powers, continues the policy of continuous war, has increased the already massive military budget, and thus satisfied the goal of war.

What is the goal of war for the oligarchical collectivist shadow government?

…the object of waging a war is always to be in a better position in which to wage another war… to use up the products of the machine without raising the general standard of living.

War itself is the goal. Is it any surprise that the aim of a Military-Industrial Complex is unending war, both by the US, its allies, its proxies, and even its enemies? Why wouldn’t it be, since it’s highly profitable for the globe-spanning corporations that produce and sell weapons of war?

Orwell’s “machine” refers to the general system of advancing scientific-technological progress, production and distribution that marks modern civilization:

From the moment when the machine first made its appearance it was clear to all thinking people that the need for human drudgery, and therefore to a great extent for human inequality, had disappeared. If the machine were used deliberately for that end, hunger, overwork, dirt, illiteracy, and disease could be eliminated within a few generations. And in fact, without being used for any such purpose, but by a sort of automatic process – by producing wealth which it was sometimes impossible not to distribute – the machine did raise the living standards of the average human being very greatly over a period of about fifty years at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries.

But it was also clear that an all-round increase in wealth threatened the destruction – indeed, in some sense was the destruction – of a hierarchical society.

The 2019 defense budget allocates $716 billion to direct military spending; about 17% of the $1 trillion federal budget.

Compare this with the $59.9 billion Department of Education budget for 2019, already relatively tiny, and is $8 billion less than 2018.

It goes without saying that a shift in priority from “defense” spending to, say, education, or combating poverty, hunger or disease would go a long way to eliminating these problems not only domestically but in the world. It’s clearly possible, materially and financially – yet it would not be in the interests of the People In Charge.

For if leisure and security were enjoyed by all alike, the great mass of human beings who are normally stupefied by poverty would become literate and would learn to think for themselves; and when once they had done this, they would sooner or later realize that the privileged minority had no function, and they would sweep it away.

The literacy Orwell is talking about here is not, in my interpretation, merely the ability to read and write, but rather a deep kind of literacy that includes powers of reason, critical thinking, analysis, logic, research and overall awareness – everything that is contrary to the practice of crimestop or doublethink and threatening to the global hierarchy.

The biggest enemy, in other words, of the “Deep State” is true socialism, which, despite that Deep State conspiracy theorists mark socialism as the ultimate bogeyman, is antithetical to the totalitarian world government they claim to oppose:

Thus, the Party rejects and vilifies every principle for which the Socialist movement originally stood…

And, as good (Republican) Party members, Trumpists hate and fear socialism or even vaguely-socialist ideas like universal health care; they completely support the increased military spending, don’t oppose any of the ongoing wars, and have a widespread distrust and animosity of teachers, professors, academics and intellectuals in general. “Trickle-down economics” is the prevailing economic position; the notion that by increasing the wealth of the super-rich and the corporations, somehow, the common people will benefit despite this having no basis in facts or statistics.

To the Party, ignorance truly is strength, and by being constantly at war but managing not to think about it, war is peace.

Fake Elections/Controlled Opposition

Left or right, people are now increasingly aware, or at least suspicious, of election results being manipulated or tampered with in the US. Of course, each side blames the other, but still they agree that free and fair elections in the US weren’t a reality in 2016 and probably won’t be in 2018 either.

The myth of American democracy is that they generally are, and any meddling has an insubstantial, if any, effect on the results. Thus, Trump’s election is held by the Trumpist narrative to be a stunning defeat for the shadow government.

A useful phrase oft-repeated in these circles is “controlled opposition.” This is the basic divide-and-conquer strategy as applied to the politics of meta-elections. The surface level of apparent reality is the narrative that there are two “viable” parties, and thus only two options, and that these two choices are at odds with one another, so all you need do is hope your team wins. The level of controlled opposition is that these choices are a false dichotomy, pre-selected by powers you cannot choose or refuse and that you do not see, and that they generally only seem to be different, and no matter which team wins, nothing changes.

Many people who, like me, were very hopeful about the Obama presidency began to wake up when it became clear that very little of what he offered came to pass. The essential structure and hierarchy of the nation, and the world, remained the same. And in fact, the military activity and expenditure increased, and corporations got a big break, just as has been the case with the Trump presidency.

It is a guarantee that had Hillary Clinton won, the same would also be true. One can speculate about Bernie Sanders, but it’s less useful – he never had a chance. Though running on a Democrat ticket, he was in effect a third party and potentially a real alternative to the choices that were selected for the American citizenry by the two Parties. Still, it’s unfortunately not hard to imagine that if somehow he had been allowed to win, we would see the same disappointing pattern.

If democracy consists of choosing between only two pre-selected options and both options result in neither progress nor meaningful difference, is it really democracy?

A ruling group is a ruling group so long as it can nominate its successors. The Party is not concerned with perpetuating its blood but with perpetuating itself. Who wields power is not important, provided that the hierarchical structure remains always the same.

I have alluded to a literal interpretation of the “war is peace” strategy; that the world’s nation-states, especially the US, have economies dependent on continuous warfare and the purpose of this is to keep the standard of living at a standstill by robbing the people of wealth, equality and education.

But let’s use it as an analogy for the internal political struggles of the US, with the likes of Trump or Clinton representing the superstates of 1984 and their ideologies. In the book, it’s strongly suggested that all superstates are part of the same, shall we say, Deep State.

Actually the three philosophies are barely distinguishable, and the social systems which they support are not distinguishable at all. Everywhere there is the same pyramidal structure, the same worship of a semi-divine leader, the same economy existing by and for continuous warfare… so long as they remain in conflict they prop one another up, like three sheaves of corn.

The war, in the analogy, is not to eliminate excess production capacity but the capacity for attention in the cognitive ecologies of the voting population (and even non-voters who nonetheless invest time and energy into the great game). Recall that in 1984, Goldstein and the rebellion of the Brotherhood are actually manufactured by the Party – a controlled, phony opposition, who will always exist to be hated and feared, and can never be truly defeated. Similarly, as long as Democrats and Republicans hate and fear each other and spend all their efforts in eternal conflict, they never pose a real threat to the hierarchy that enslaves them all.

The actual policies of the Democrat and Republican Parties are barely distinguishable. Both sides ignore the threat of climate change, for example, both support the military, both support the big business and big banks, and both support constant warfare. And the social systems of hierarchy and oligarchy each party tacitly supports are, of course, the exact same system.

“Big Brother” and “Goldstein” were apparently opposites and apparently fighting each other over ideological reasons, but serving the same ruling group, and only making a grand show of fighting. In the end, the very ideologies espoused by either entity was a fiction (since the only ideology is control and power) and both entities were themselves fictional. They were never at war, and arguably Democrats and Republicans are not at war against each other either, just two invented entities serving the same function.

The war is waged by each ruling group against its own subjects, and the object of the war is not to make or prevent conquests of territory, but to keep the structure of society intact.

Trump vs the Deep State is portrayed by his supporters as Goldstein vs Big Brother, while the Resistance Democrats vs Trumpublicans is portrayed as Goldstein vs Big Brother, but if there were a Deep State worthy of the title, both Democrats and Trumpists are loyal to it, knowingly or unknowingly.

Again, it’s unimportant that the philosophies or personalities of each side appears to be different. What’s important is that the structure of society remains the same. This structure is a pyramid – real power is concentrated in the hands of a very few unseen, and the vast majority of people are fundamentally powerless.

All the beliefs, habits, tastes, emotions, mental attitudes that characterize our time are really designed to… prevent the true nature of present-day society from being perceived.

In Conclusion…

Is there a Deep State? Is there a THEM?

I don’t know, but if there is, Trump is not opposing their interests or threatening their rule in any meaningful way. The largest, wealthiest, most influential organizations and the people who own or run them are not going away anytime soon.

1984 has some valuable insights into the psychology of fascism (as discussed in my previous post), the way that a global class structure sustains itself through various means, and the way that hierarchies maintain the status quo while the people who ride them jockey for position in various maneuvers and deceptions.

But it’s not perfect, and it doesn’t describe the world as it currently is accurately, despite many broad similarities. Technological progress isn’t stagnating or even slowing down; it’s speeding up. Science, despite the shackles it is generally given by economic forces, continues to develop a better understanding of the natural world. The overall standard of living is going up, if not everywhere, and slower than a humanist would prefer.

What it does do, and I haven’t gotten into much, is show the delusional nature not of the ruled masses, but by the people who govern.

O’Brien is a perfect example of a psychopath with delusions of grandeur, both for himself and the fascist movement he has identified with. While, using torture, he is able to break the mind of his victims and get them to say and think whatever he wants, he isn’t able to make 2+2 actually make 5. He can insist on his version of reality most persuasively, but the objective reality of the situation doesn’t bend to “reality control” as practiced by the Party. Ignorance is not strength, war is not peace, and freedom is definitely not slavery. Only in the social-consensus reality of groupthink does this kind of stuff have any meaning, and there is an absolute reality outside of social-consensus reality.

That said, I’m not going to try breaking down his ‘arguments’ to poor Winston Smith, or argue against the sort of people who make such arguments. There is no point in doing so; people operating on the basis of doublethink are never going to argue in good faith. They may be conscious and/or unconscious of their own disingenuous positions, and don’t care about logic, facts, truth, or meaning itself.

It’s very much like arguing with trolls on the internet. Although one can imagine O’Brien is a bit more eloquent than the typical Trump supporter in a YouTube comments section.

 

 

 

 

 

Trumpism and 1984

Reality Control

I usually pay attention not to the official political discourse of sanctioned media outlets, but to what everyday people think and say. This is why one of my less-than-pleasant habits is to wade into YouTube comments on political or social videos and observe the trends in thought and emotion. Patterns emerge.

Conservatism has been replaced, gradually, over the years. First by the Neo-Cons, then the Tea Party, then the Alt-Right, and this burgeoning transformation takes shape in the form of Trump, and what we can call Trumpism.

Big Brother is the guise in which the Party chooses to exhibit itself to the world. His function is to act as a focusing point for love, fear, and reverence, emotions which are more easily felt toward an individual than toward an organization.

Many Trump supporters specifically alleged that Trump was preferable because he was, somehow, outside “the establishment” (despite all evidence to the contrary) and a sort of underdog everyman (despite being, in his own words, “super elite”); furthermore that he seems more raw, real, honest, “telling it like it is.” In this way he is relatable, whereas the interests he actually represents are most assuredly not.

And in this way, people who might, on the surface, be unwilling to accept rule by one of the two proscribed Parties have become loyal Party members, safely back in the herd of the faceless duopoly.

The argument is made that he is opposed to these faceless machines, but the truth is that he hasn’t done a thing opposed to them. The US continues its warlike policies, and its bombing campaigns. The multinational corporations that profit off war and violence are given tax breaks, and literal representation in the State (e.g. Exxon’s Rex Tiller being made Sec State).

The facts starkly contradict the reasoning to support the so-called independent anti-establishment swamp-drainer, who mysteriously doesn’t drain the swamp and for some reason just makes the establishment stronger.

This is where doublethink, aka reality control, comes in.

Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them. The Party intellectual knows in which direction his memories must be altered; he therefore knows that he is playing tricks with reality; but by the exercise of doublethink he also satisfies himself that reality is not violated. The process has to be conscious, or it would not be carried out with sufficient precision, but it also has to be unconscious, or it would bring with it a feeling of falsity and hence of guilt.

Trump, who lies so constantly and outrageously that it’s hard for even him to keep up, allows his presence to spark doublethink amongst his cult-like following. Big Brother, being infallible, cannot ever be wrong:

It is also that no change of doctrine or in political alignment can ever be admitted. For to change one’s mind, or even one’s policy, is a confession of weakness.

Therefore, some impressive mental gymnastics must be employed in order to reconstruct a new reality that is at total odds with public statements, public record, facts, history, even recent history.

Zealots of any political leaning can, of course, exhibit the tendency towards reluctance in admitting wrong. But with Trumpism, this is taken to the extreme, because Trumpism taps into a kind of toxic masculinity ideal of what is “strong” or, as the kids say, “alpha,” which is constantly attempting to assert “dominance” according to the classical fascist strongman model of virile sons of the fatherland; which Trump embodies.

Hence, Trump promised to have a big wall built and Mexico will pay for it, but then, magically, it was okay that American taxpayers would pay for it and the promise was forgotten. Trump also strongly suggested Hillary Clinton would be in prison (if he was elected), and that too seems to have been forgotten.

To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which canceled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it… to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself-

On one level, Trumpists know and completely understand that Trump tells lies, but on another level, they believe he is completely honest. Whatever facts contradict the adulation of Big Brother and support of the Party are forgotten, and in arguments when the opponent brings them up, dismissed, often as “fake news.”

To quote Rudy Giuliani, “Truth isn’t truth.”

I remember a time when even in the hives of scum and villainy (the internet), political debates occurred. There would be acknowledgment of the other side’s views, concessions, compromises, an actual dialogue. This doesn’t seem to happen anymore, because there are no opponents, only demonic, baby-eating enemies with whom agreeing would be blasphemous.

True debate is inhibited by the protective measure of crimestop.

Crimestop means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction.

This applying not to “Ingsoc” but to the collective un/consciousness to which an individual has totally submitted.

Historical Revisionism

One of the most startling and disturbing examples of “continuous alteration of the past” that emerged from the writhing snakepit of the Tea Party era was revisionist history put forth most famously by Glenn Beck and which lasts to this day.

Namely this: the Nazis were socialists, even liberal progressives.

The most common argument is that “Nazi” was a shortening of “National Socialist,” which is assumed to be an admission of socialism instead of a marketing technique.

The simplest counterargument, since apparently historical facts are now uncertain, is to point out that North Korea styles itself the Democratic People’s Republic, but is not democratic, nor of (or for) the people, and as a dictatorship, isn’t really a republic either.

But that’s an analogy that points out a logical error – and it will never, ever convince someone who has accepted the revisionist historical view that they are wrong. I’ve never seen it work. Crimestop is highly effective, and most horrifically obvious in this particular example.

Of course, there are other arguments, such that the Nazis advocated for some level of gun control and health care, but these are made out of a (perhaps deliberate) caricature of socialism (and of Nazi “health care” too) rather than doublethink. On the other hand, ignorant or not, accepting false history is essential to accepting authoritarian regime.

Revisionist history and revisionist facts even apply to the book 1984 as well, which is often quoted but seldom read or understood: Trumpists largely view the book as a warning against socialism, since, after all, Ingsoc is “English Socialism” and is therefore liberalism.

You’ll notice this is the exact same argument for why Nazism is socialism, and it’s wrong for exactly the same reason. Similarly, accepting that it is right is done for both cases for the same reason:

Thus, the Party rejects and vilifies every principle for which the Socialist movement originally stood, and it chooses to do this in the name of Socialism.

[…]

These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy: they are deliberate exercises in doublethink. For it is only by reconciling contradictions that power can be retained indefinitely … If human equality is to be forever averted… the prevailing mental condition must be controlled insanity.

As Orwell could have predicted, the whole “Nazis were socialists” revision has been added to, the contradictions piling up, one after another. AntiFa (Anti Fascism) is called fascism. Nazis are now not merely socialists, but also communists. People who oppose racism are called “the REAL racists.” The fact that Neo-Nazis in the US support Trump and virulently oppose the left is somehow forgotten or dismissed. Trumpists can be seen slandering Blacks, Mexicans, Muslims and Jews, but claim to be victims of racism and even genocide. And, of course, Holocaust denial is quite a bit more popular now than a few years ago.

I don’t believe Orwell was writing specifically in favor of or against any particular politics, as he quite clearly illustrates that there is no particular politics at play in 1984. The Party, like the Nazis, could be for or against abortion, could provide or not provide health care – this is utterly irrelevant. The Party, above all, is in power, and the only philosophy is submission.

Submission to the Party

The first thing you must realize is that power is collective. The individual only has power in so far as he ceases to be an individual… if he can make complete, utter submission, if he can escape from his identity, if he can merge himself in the Party so that he is the Party, then he is all-powerful and immortal.

And this touches at the very core of fascism.

Anti-individualistic, the Fascist conception of life stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with those of the State, which stands for the conscience and the universal, will of man as a historic entity.”
Benito Mussolini, The Doctrine of Fascism

While fascism appeals strongly to the far right of the political spectrum, it is, because of its extremist nature, as fundamentally opposed to conservatism as liberalism because of its anti-individualist nature. And while the alt-right will, of course, lay claim to both individualism and conservatism, its no coincidence that a majority of them will do so by regurgitating enlightening phrases like “fake news” and “snowflake.”

Indeed, the use of “snowflake” as a pejorative is pretty revealing. The idea of snowflakes is that they are unique individuals. By showing contempt for this as a concept, the alt-right show contempt for individualism – even more so by uniformly showing contempt in this exact same way.

Submission as a philosophy is also going more blatant and mainstream. The popular hypermasculinity is based on unalterable biological hierarchy, with human males classified as alpha, beta, delta or omega. Big Brother Trump is, of course, the alpha, and fealty to him would seem to be a confession of being no better than a beta – and yet, because he represents the Movement, submission to him is becoming him.

Thus, Trumpists may be working poor, struggling with medical bills, with no real hopes of seeing wealth or having any kind of political power themselves, resentful and fearful of minorities, foreigners and anyone else not like them – but so long as they submit their personality to the cult, they can exalt the leader’s “winning” as if it were though own. They are poor, but because they follow the leader and the leader is “super elite,” they, too, are super elite. He’s an alpha, and you become an alpha by repeating what he says, attacking his enemies, behaving like he behaves and following the group consciousness.

In the name of rugged individualism, Trumpists vilify and oppose individualism in practice.

Slavery is freedom.

Suffering

Obedience is not enough. Unless he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation.

The undeniable fact is that over the past few years, political and social discourse has become more violent, cruel, and just plain mean. Trumpists have been remarkably “sore winners,” graceless and gloating, from the very moment Trump himself walked out to the tune of “We Are the Champions.”

There have always been sore winners in any election, but when the Leader himself takes that stance, it becomes more prevalent in the body politic, and this is aptly demonstrated if you take a look at any forum of any level of political discussion.

Trump has paved the way in violent rhetoric, from advocating the torture of women and children, “bombing the shit” out of countries, numerous examples of advocating and glorifying violence against protesters, and that sly suggestion that “maybe the Second Amendment people can do something” about Hillary Clinton; the latter of which was quite brilliant since it was just subtle enough to pass on a technicality, but just obvious enough that everyone understands what he meant.

The Administration has also firmly labeled the press “the Enemy of the People,” which is straight out of 1984, page 11:

As usual, the face of Emmanuel Goldstein, the Enemy of the People, had flashed onto the screen. There were hisses here and there among the audience.

A bit obvious, isn’t it?

The Enemy of the People isn’t necessarily only the media, of course. The list is already quite long: Muslims, Jews, gays, feminists, socialists, Mexicans, immigrants, unions, scientists (particularly climate scientists), professors and teachers, the homeless, the poor, liberals, leftists of any stripe, even conservatives who are not as far-right as the mainstream. These are all safe targets to despise in Trumpism.

The ultimate Enemy of the People, of course, is the Deep State. What is the Deep State, exactly? Depending on who you ask, and what they need it to be at any given moment, the Deep State is the Democrat Party, the FBI, the CIA, Hollywood, the Transhumanist Agenda, the Gay Agenda, the Illuminati, the Rothschilds, the Clintons, and/or the Jews.

One thing is for sure: the Enemy of the People will always be around, just as it is in Orwell’s classic.

The face will always be there to be stamped upon. The heretic, the enemy of society, will always be there, so that he can be defeated and humiliated over again… Goldstein and his heresies will live forever. Every day, at every moment, they will be defeated, discredited, ridiculed, spat upon – and yet they will always survive.

In the book, Goldstein and the Brotherhood are invented by the Party itself.  There is no actual opposition. In reality, Trumpism didn’t invent, say, the Democrats or the Clintons, but if they did not exist, they would have to, because as a reaction to Enemies of the People, fascism requires a constant supply of enemies. Imaginary ones – like the Illuminati or the Cabal (in which Reptilian Baby-Eaters are secretly controlling everything) – will suffice.

The notable psychology, as much as I’ve personally observed, among Trump supporters can be partially described by Orwell:

In our world there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement…. There will be no loyalty, except loyalty toward the Party. There will be no love, except the love of Big Brother. There will be no laughter, except the laugh of triumph over a defeated enemy.

If you’re looking for genuine humor, Trump’s supporters rarely demonstrate it. The only jokes are mean-spirited, bitter insults and shock-jock in-group/out-group signaling. The prevailing attitude of seriousness and hostility murders the soul of any attempts at comedy. The underlying punchline is usually: “we hate the Enemy of the People.”

In conclusion, I’m not suggesting with this article that we live in a totalitarian dictatorship under Donald Trump, although psychologically, he serves the function of Big Brother to those that embrace Trumpism.

But what if he serves the function of Emmanuel Goldstein, to those who reject Trumpism?

Next time, join me for a fun and harmless look at conspiracies.

The Sum of All Fears

Meta-Fear

What is the worst thing? Pain? Pain sucks, I admit, but it doesn’t last. Nothing lasts. Eventually, all experience will come to a complete end, and nothing will have meant anything.

That’s probably the worst thing. Meaninglessness. Futility. Finality. Oblivion.

There is speculation about an afterlife, or reincarnation, or being ascended to an alien starship, or waking up from the Matrix. But those are just stories. Even the stories of hell have a strange kind of upside. Even if we’re burning in fires, at least we still exist. Even pain is better than non-existence – this is the very basis anyone endures any level of pain. It’s hard-wired.

Non-existence is nothing; nothingness. There’s no pain, there’s no fear, there’s not anything. Have you ever been given a full anesthetic, for surgery? You see the mask descending, you’re told to count down from 100. 100, 99, 98, 9…. and then you wake up, hours later, instantly.

Non-existence is where you were in that instant. That’s what death is like, only you don’t ever wake up. There’s nothing. “You” cease to be. The world ceases to be. It’s not even blackness. It has no features whatsoever. Doesn’t seem so bad, but it’s the fact of life – everyone must die. So why do we spend so much time avoiding it?

“There is only one really serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Deciding whether or not life is worth living is to answer the fundamental question in philosophy. All other questions follow from that.”
-Albert Camus

If the assumption is that death is not final, that there’s some eternal never-neverland, some continuation of existence, then death (whether by suicide or other means) is just a phase everyone goes through, like any other phase.

But if it’s infinite nothingness, then it definitely is the most serious problem of all.

If death is eternal, unavoidable nothing, then there is no hope for you. Nothing matters. Anything you think matters won’t matter to you, because there is no you for it to matter to. Anything you experience. Anything you believe. Anything you achieve. Time itself will destroy the Earth, the Sun, the Galaxy. It hardly matters, at this point, if we’re talking about surviving through your legacy, your works, your impact on other people, your good deeds or good karma and so forth – death comes to everyone and everything.

Death, if comatose and anesthetized states are any indication, means the end of the world. The whole drama and story of everyone and everything you perceive comes to a close. In a very real sense, when you die, everyone dies. When you cease to exist, the universe itself goes away, as if it was created by you.

Death is not just “my body” dying, with some room for “my soul” to live on or “my legacy” to continue: it’s annihilation of self, and self is everything.

Who Dies?

The personal aspect of death seems most terrifying – like being dead is something you will, or can, experience. But it’s not just a lack of something experienced, it’s a lack of someone to experience it, and while we can all be reasonably sure that something probably will continue on (after all, people die all the time, and yet, here we all are), there definitely won’t be someone, the self that you identify as being who and what you are.

So it’s a good time to consider the question, ‘Who am I?’ Since you’re going to die anyway, you might as well come to know yourself before the end.

And this brings us to the present, where most people are in a constant state of getting to know who they really are. The problem with this is that most of us are actually just making it up as we go along, and reinforcing the image of ourselves through other people, in an elaborate 24/7 role-playing game of life.

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;”

-Shakespeare, As You Like It

Self, which is another term for ego, is not who we really are, but who we think and believe we are. Self is constructed not just from imagination or creative impulses but mostly from environmental and social cues and factors. Those who live an unexamined life never question their roles; they assume they and their roles are one and the same. But even those who question and seek are really just modifying the core self-concept, the internal map. At some level, everyone is maintaining and preserving self – not from death, but from fear.

Fear that, despite everything, “I” will cease to be. Further, the fear that, despite everything, “I” don’t even exist right now.

Humans cannot exist in a vacuum. Rugged individualistic ideologies aside, no one is an island. If you deprive a human of other people and sensory data, you destroy him. This is why solitary confinement and sensory deprivation have both been employed as a means of torture (and still are).

But it’s also why the most intense meditation practices are lengthy, silent sojourns into completely pitch-black caves, and why sensory deprivation chambers have been used by people voluntarily for various psychological and spiritual pursuits, and, for that matter, why many people use psychedelics to experience so-called ego death. The goal is not death, but dying before you die; a destruction of the false self.

The thing is, whether voluntary or involuntary, none of the above experiences truly destroy the false self. Ego is reformed. Perhaps even reinforced. Doing a lot of acid is not going to remove your ego. This is tricky to understand, but the ego can’t be removed, the self cannot be destroyed, because it doesn’t exist to begin with.

Even death can’t kill what was never alive.

No one dies. Because no one is who you are.

Neti, Neti/Tat Tvam Asi

“Neti, neti” is a practice of negation. You consider the question of who you are, and for every possible answer, you say to yourself, nope, not this, not that, not this either… and you do this until enlightenment, whatever that means.

“Tat tvam asi” is rather the opposite: “that thou art.” In this case, you consider yourself to be anything and everything, systematically. You are your fears, you are this thought, you are that person on the street, you are a rose, a butterfly, a slug, etc. And you do this, I guess, until enlightenment – whatever that means.

And the tricky part is both are true, both lead you to the same place, and you’re left being both non-existent, and yet the entire scope of reality at the same time. Everything and nothing. Alpha and omega. There is a you, but there isn’t a you. There is and is not a world. Yes and no.

It’s tricky because language is inherently dualistic. When your ape-man ancestors decided to call that furry, toothy-clawy oversized kitten a “lion,” the word had to mean exactly one thing and not another. And certainly, absolutely, the word could not mean it’s exact opposite, “no-lion,” because that would lead to all kinds of potentially lethal hijinks, shenanigans and tomfoolery.

Dualistic language, and for that matter dualism itself, is inherently practical. But when it comes to the issue of truth, it’s woefully inadequate, even misleading. Because in fact, a lion is not a lion, even though it obviously is a lion.

The answer to the question, “if I don’t exist then who is reading this silly article?” is, of course, “I am.” There is clearly someone who is conscious of things, such as these words right now. But whoever it is that’s conscious, it’s not “you” as you think of as you. I’m not saying I’m any different – I’m definitely not who I think I am.

I can modify my thoughts of who I am, try to become more accurate, and this is surely good and worthwhile. I’m not a lion, for example. If I thought I was a lion, that’d be pretty silly. But it’s equally silly for me to think of myself as, say “a writer,” or “an American Citizen,” and yet few people, if any, can see how absurd these identifications are. Indeed, with the latter, at least, there’s all kinds of documentation and social consensus to reinforce it. Law, documentation, social consensus, activity, birth, location – of these kinds of things ego is constructed.

I am whoever I think (and whoever you think) I am because I play the role. I’ve got my toy police gun and plastic badge, and I’m playing real-life cops and robbers. You’ve got your oversized white coat and plastic stethoscope and you’re doctor. Only we’re playing this game as adults, which means we’ve forgotten we’re playing, and these roles (and all roles) come with blood, sweat and tears.

So it’s not that I don’t exist, it’s that “I” don’t exist, but most of the time, I assume I’m “I.”

You can see how words don’t really convey any of this stuff well at all. I’m not even sure why I’m bothering. These are deep waters and I’m no more familiar with them than you. I just happen to know that beneath the surface is where all nightmares, and all dreams come from.

All nightmares and dreams evaporate upon waking up. Our greatest fear is that we are still asleep, and that all of our fears and hopes will evaporate, and our dream selves – and all elements of the dream – will be as if it never was. Everything we thought was real, turning out not to have been real. Everything we thought we were was nothing.

Truth is the ultimate fear.