In last week’s thrilling episode of The Kek Wars, we saw how thousands of disaffected young people who’d been shut out of our society’s circles of privilege and denied the ordinary routes to adult independence turned to magic, for the same reasons that their equivalents have always turned to magic. As we discussed in the first post in this series, magic is the politics of the excluded; the art and science of causing changes in consciousness according to will—Dion Fortune’s classic definition of magic—is one logical resource for those who’d been denied any other means of getting their needs and wants noticed or seeking redress of their grievances; and a particular and distinctly postmodern version of magic, chaos magic, was readily accessible and well suited to the work at hand.
To make sense of what followed, it’s going to be necessary to plunge into a corner of internet culture that most of my readers have probably never encountered in person: the online forums known collectively as “the chans.” These started out innocuously enough with Futaba Channel, a Japanese-language electronic meeting place for fans of anime, which came to be called “2chan” in online slang. In 2003, in much the same way that an amoeba breeds, a group of anime fans hived off onto a new site, 4chan, which did the same thing in the English language.
In the same way, other sites such as 8chan spun off 4chan in due time. 4chan and all its offspring are venues for anonymous unmoderated talk, places where anything goes—the more offensive to the conventional wisdom, the better. Long before Trump announced his candidacy, the chans were already having a significant impact on internet culture. Most of my readers will know, for example, what a lolcat is; 4chan invented lolcats. One of the subdivisions of 4chan and many of its offshoots is /pol/, short for “politically incorrect,” and that’s one of the places where the young and disgruntled gathered to talk about the things you can’t talk about in the workplace or the academy these days.
That’s a phenomenon that deserves a quick note here. One of the lessons of the history of morals is that the more stridently you repress something, the more desperately people want to do it. In Victorian England, when sex was utterly unmentionable in polite company, the streets of London swarmed with prostitutes and brothels thrived, so that people could do in private what they wouldn’t dream of talking about in public. The drug abuse epidemic in the US today, similarly, is almost entirely a product of the much-ballyhooed War On Drugs—countries that treat drug addiction as an ordinary medical issue, not a subject for moral grandstanding, have much lower rates of drug use.
Recent crusades against “hate speech” have had exactly the same effect in today’s America. Those who attend university classes or work in white-collar jobs know that their every word is scrutinized by jealous rivals ready to use accusations of sexism, racism, or the like as a weapon in the competition for status. Most people, forced into so stifling an environment, will end up desperately longing for a place where they can take a deep breath and say absolutely anything, no matter how offensive. The chans were among the internet venues that offered them that freedom. Posts on the chans are anonymous, so there was no risk of reprisal, and the culture of the chans (and especially of /pol/) tended to applaud extreme statements, so they became a magnet for the people we discussed in last week’s post: those who for one reason or another lost out in the struggle to become flunkeys of the established order of society, who were locked out of what had been the normal trajectory of adult independence by plunging wages and soaring rents, and who were incensed by the smug superiority of a system that assumed that it had all the answers.
It’s become pretty much de rigueur to denounce the chans as racist, sexist, and anti-Semitic. Is there racism, sexism, and anti-Semitism in /pol/ and its many equivalents? You bet, but that’s far from the whole story. A venue that allows people to say anything anonymously is going to field whatever kinds of speech are most loudly forbidden. What was going on in the chans was considerably broader than those categories suggest: every value, every bias, every presupposition of the cultural mainstream was being shouted down with maximum glee. That’s what you get in outsider culture.
You also get running jokes, strange mascots, and odd little bits of in-group slang. That’s where Pepe the Frog came in. He started out in 2005 as a character in Matt Furie’s comic strip Boy’s Club, an archetypal slacker who just didn’t care about anything. He got splashed across the internet in the usual fashion, and ended up being adopted by /pol/ as its mascot. Then there was the word “kek,” which is what you get due to a software oddity when you try to send the message LOL to one of the factions in the online World of Warcraft game. In the chans, “kek” became the sound of laughter—which oddly enough is what the word means in Korean.
There’s one more detail of chan culture you need to know to follow what happened. Each post on a chan site gets assigned an eight digit number by the board software. The poster has no way of knowing what the number will be until the post goes up, and it became first a running joke and then a minor obsession to look for repeated digits—say, the 333 in 14186333. A doubled digit is a “dub,” a tripled digit a “trip,” and so on. Any repeating digit is a “get.”
The moment Donald Trump declared his candidacy, a significant number of /pol/ participants rallied to his cause. It was a match made in—well, probably not heaven, but you get the point: Trump’s brashness and the sheer parodic potential of a reality TV star running for US president made him an instant favorite on /pol/, and so did his loud rejection of the conventional wisdom of US politics. There Was No Alternative until Trump offered one, calling for a massive pruning of Federal regulation, a rejection of free-trade ideology, and an end to the tacit encouragement of illegal immigration: the elimination, that is, of the three core elements of the policies that crushed the American working class. For obvious reasons, all this went over extremely well in the venues we’re discussing.
Then people on /pol/ started noticing that posts referencing Trump were fielding an unusually high number of “gets.”
By this time some of the Trump supporters on /pol/ were learning chaos magic and putting it to work on behalf of their candidate. Memes putting Trump’s hair on Pepe the Frog, setting Trump and Pepe side by side as running mates, or involving Pepe in the Trump campaign in other ways, were blossoming all over the chans and spreading out into the internet. Loud kekking arose as pro-Trump posts fielded “get” after “get”—and then June 19, 2016 came around, and some anonymous user typed in “Trump will win” in response to a long string of irrelevant posts, and hit the enter button.
That turned out to be post number 77777777.
It was somewhere around this same time, too, that someone on the chans noticed that “kek” wasn’t just a funny way of saying LOL. It was also the name of an ancient Egyptian god, a god of the primeval darkness that gave birth to the light, who was worshiped in the city of Hermopolis—and who was very often portrayed as an anthropomorphic frog. Like Pepe, in other words. Following up this clue, another anonymous user found on the internet the photo of an ancient Egyptian statue of a frog, mislabeled as a statue of Kek. It was actually a statue of the frog goddess Heqet, but no one realized that at first—and the hieroglyphics of the name Heqet look rather unnervingly like a person sitting in front of a computer screen, with a swirling shape like magical energies on the far side of the screen.
By the time this finished percolating through the chans, a great many people there were convinced, or ironically pretended to be convinced, and at all events acted as though they were convinced, that Donald Trump was the anointed candidate of the god Kek, bringer of daylight, who had manifested as Pepe the Frog and was communicating his approval to them with “gets.” In response, the chaos magicians of /pol/ flung themselves into action. Those of my readers who followed the 2016 US election will remember that rumors were swirling around the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton by this point, claiming that she had a debilitating health condition that she was hiding from the media and the voters. The operative mages on /pol/ focused their efforts on a single goal: making Hillary Clinton collapse in public.
September 11, 2016 duly came, and on that day three things happened. First, Clinton publicly denounced Pepe the Frog as a right-wing hate symbol, to the great delight of the chans—all that free publicity for their mascot! Then, as she left a memorial service for the World Trade Center attacks, in view of the cameras, she swayed, toppled, and had to be hauled into her waiting SUV like a sack of potatoes. The GOP rumor mill went wild, and the chaos magicians of /pol/ did the digital equivalent of looking at each other in shock. There’s a useful acronym in occult circles, TSW—the polite version of its meaning is “this stuff works”—and everyone who’s ever taught magic to novices is used to the inevitable TSW panic, the vertiginous moment at which the student finally grasps that there’s more to magic than make-believe, and usually has to be talked down from a state close to hysteria. The chans went through their own TSW moment that day.
Then there was the third event of the same day. Yet another anonymous poster stumbled on a piece of pop music from the 1980s, an otherwise forgettable song titled “Shadilay.” The record label had a cartoon frog on it, waving a magic wand. Oh, and the band’s name? P.E.P.E. This hit the chans the same day that Hillary Clinton denounced Pepe the Frog and took a tumble. Many people on the chans decided, or ironically pretended to have decided, and at all events acted as though they had decided, that they’d just received a big vote of confidence from Kek the Frog God.
The song “Shadilay” duly became /pol/’s anthem, and the word “Shadilay!” itself took on the same status for Kek’s faithful that “Allahu Akbar!” has among devout Muslims. After that, if Donald Trump had called on his supporters on the chans to walk into the sea, there’s a fair chance they would have done it—and the chaos magicians on /pol/ and its equivalents rallied around the banner of the Frog God with frantic intensity as the campaign entered its most crucial weeks, and kept up that intensity straight through Election Day.
That was one side of the magical conflict that shaped the 2016 election. And the other? This is where things get very interesting indeed.
Back in the first episode of The Kek Wars, we talked about the way that societies can fissure into the excluded and the excluders, and the way that each of these separate and unequal halves turn to magic: the excluded to seek change, the excluders to convince themselves that there’s no need for change. Under most circumstances these paired magical intentions find a relatively stable balance. The aristocracy bumbles along merrily in its self-referential bubble, convinced that truth and decency are on their side and all is right with the world, while outside the bubble, those who are prevented from pursuing their needs and wants or seeking redress for their grievances apply magic on a case-by-case basis to improve their own lives.
That’s business as usual in a society in which the privileged classes have convinced themselves that There Is No Alternative to a set of policies that benefit them at everyone else’s expense. It becomes business as unusual once the mistake mentioned in last week’s episode—the habit of educating far more people for managerial jobs than there are jobs to employ them—builds a large enough intellectual underclass of young people who have plenty of skills and no prospects for the future, and who turn to one of the available strategies to try to overturn the system.
It’s at this point that the magic of the excluders can turn into a disastrous liability. It’s quite easy to use the fashionable spirituality of the privileged to make yourself completely oblivious to what’s happening right under your nose. As mentioned in our first episode, that becomes all the more tempting as the risks of ignoring what’s happening become more severe.
Examples? Here’s Charles I of England, who used the Hermeticism of the late Renaissance and a good solid dose of establishment Christianity to blind himself to the way that his policies were leading his country straight into a civil war he couldn’t win and didn’t survive. Here’s Nicholas II, Tsar of All the Russias, using the mystical end of Russian Orthodox spirituality to back himself into exactly the same corner with exactly the same gory results. Here’s Adolf Hitler, using the pop occultism he learned in his Vienna days to convince himself and his inner circle that he couldn’t possibly lose, and losing all the more catastrophically as a result. There are plenty of others of the same type.
Then there’s Hillary Clinton. While Trump worked hard to win the election, crisscrossing the country from one rally to another in a highly successful effort to go around the mainstream media and get his message directly to the voters, it’s fair to say that his path to the White House was made far easier by Clinton’s stunningly inept campaign.
Some of the failings were pretty clearly Clinton’s own doing. It’s indicative, for example, that her 2016 campaign was all but identical to her failed run for the Democratic nomination in 2008. The only reason that she didn’t suffer an identical defeat in the primaries, with Bernie Sanders reprising the role played by Barack Obama in the earlier campaign, is that Clinton made good and sure to get the party apparatchiks on her side, and they bent, broke, and trampled the rules to hand her the nomination. Of course that move ended up costing her dearly in the general election, as millions of Democratic voters stayed home rather than cast a vote for a candidate they felt had cheated her way to the nomination, but that kind of own goal was par for the course in her campaign.
Still, I think there was more to it than that. The thing that doomed Clinton’s campaign, more than anything else, was the inability of the candidate and her inner circle of advisers and managers to notice that anything was going wrong. Every time polls showed that a very large percentage of American voters disliked and distrusted their candidate, Clinton’s handlers simply looked blank and set out to reintroduce her to the voters, and when that didn’t work—and it never did—they simply looked blank and tried again. From my perspective, and not from mine alone, it really did look as though they were under a spell.
As the campaign wore on, the Clinton machine’s weird detachment from reality became even more pronounced. People who were involved in local Clinton campaign organizations have written about the way their increasingly desperate attempts to warn the national headquarters that Trump was gaining ground in crucial swing states were brushed aside as irrelevant, while millions of dollars were wasted on venues such as Chicago, which the Democrats would have won easily if they’d nominated Zippy the Pinhead. As Trump held rally after rally in the critically important states of the upper Midwest, and the numbers swung further Trump’s way with every poll, the Clinton campaign ignored those battleground states and lumbered ahead as though going through the right motions would conjure up the victory that they seemed to think the universe owed them.
I’d be interested to know, if anyone kept such statistics, how many people in Clinton’s campaign staff practiced the watered-down versions of mindfulness meditation, yoga, and similar practices that make up a large part of the spirituality of the privileged these days. The problem with such practices, when they’ve been pried loose from their original context and the challenging connections to spiritual realities those include, is that they become very effective at convincing you that everything is wonderful, even when it’s critical to realize that everything isn’t wonderful and drastic action has to be taken right away to avert catastrophe. Such anecdotal evidence as I’ve heard suggests that such practices were at least as widespread among Clinton campaign staff as they are in affluent socially liberal circles generally, and may have been considerably more so.
That may have played a significant role in Clinton’s defeat, in other words. It’s also possible, though I know this is unacceptable to suggest in most corners of today’s industrial culture, that the occult labors of /pol/’s chaos magicians may also have been involved. As occultists like to say, TSW; it doesn’t matter whether or not currently popular notions about the world provide a theory to explain the efficacy of magic, the fact remains that every human society around the planet and throughout time has practiced magic, and the most parsimonious explanation for that reality is that the art and science of causing changes in consciousness in accordance with will really does cause changes in consciousness in accordance with will.
Yet there’s another force at work here, and it shows clearly in the aftermath.
After the chans got over their shock and delight at Donald Trump’s victory, many of the same chaos magicians who’d worked overtime to make that happen decided to use the same techniques to further similar projects. More magical workings, calling on Kek through his manifestation as Pepe the Frog, got launched for the next project: winning the upcoming French presidential election for Front National candidate Marine Le Pen. She lost. Several similar projects were launched and heavily backed by /pol/ chaos magicians, and they failed just as badly. As far as I know, none of these other projects were answered by torrents of “gets” and cascades of meaningful coincidences.
Meanwhile, the same weird paralysis that seized the Clinton campaign has remained frozen in place among her supporters, and more generally Trump’s opposition in the US and elsewhere. Day after day, the self-proclaimed “Resistance” melts down over whatever Trump happens to have said or done most recently, as though cries of outrage counted as effective political action. It’s reached the point that Trump is pretty clearly using the effect for his own purposes—deliberately saying things to send his opponents into a swivet, so that they don’t notice that his administration is doing something else on another subject that his opponents would protest if they weren’t too busy shrieking to notice.
What’s more, anyone on the Democratic side who suggests the two actions that could win the upcoming midterm elections for the Democrats—first, figuring out what cost them the 2016 elections so they can stop doing it; and second, finding ways to win back the loyalty of the normally Democratic working class voters who stayed home or voted for Trump in 2016, having been ignored by the Democratic Party once too often—gets shouted down. Instead, Trump’s opponents march around waving signs, exactly the way they’ve been doing since the day after his election, and having precisely as much effect as those previous protests have.
As far as I know, nobody on the chans is working magic to make all this happen, but it’s happening. In next week’s post, the final episode of The Kek Wars, we’ll talk about what may be moving in the darkness beneath the surface of American politics to bring this about.
A brief heads up might be in order here. Normally the second Wednesday of each month is book club week, in which we discuss a classic text of occult philosophy—these days, that’s Dion Fortune’s The Cosmic Doctrine. This month, that’s going to be bumped to the third Wednesday so that the present sequence of posts can run uninterrupted. See you next week!
“Most people, forced into so stifling an environment, will end up desperately longing for a place where they can take a deep breath and say absolutely anything, no matter how offensive.” — Speaking for myself, I have absolutely no desire to scream racial/ethnic/antisemitic obscenities at anyone, whether at the office or online.
Off topic, but related to the sequence (and the Green Wizard Magazine):
First, I’m seriously considering not shipping to the US at all. I have to register with the IRS to collect sales tax, which is difficult since they want information I can’t give them (such as an American address for the business). Then I also have to look into each and every state’s tax laws, and a few of them require any company which does business in the US and does not explicitly state they won’t do business in the state to file every single year. Quite a few states also look like they charge for it. There’s also a couple that charge to have no state taxes. Then there are also weird rules about income, and for a couple states it looks like I will have to file income taxes on my sales as well. Trying to navigate the rules does not seem easy, and frankly I’m not sure it’s worth the time it’ll take. Since messing up on any of these can result in a fine I need to pay before I can do business in the US, ranging up to 5 figures, I’m not sure it’s worth my time to figure out how to do this.
I could hire a tax lawyer, but I suspect that would turn this project into a money losing proposition. While I’m not aiming to make a lot of money on it, I don’t want to lose any either.
Second, I’m also wondering if I can start this at all right now. The government bureaucracy has been better than I expected, but the financial side has been awful. They are able to milk everything for fees. For example, the online providers I’ve found all charge fees in local currency and then a fee for conversion, and at a rate that gets them more anyway. Most of them also convert first to US dollars, then Canadian dollars, for any other currency they get to charge three times. The result is to increase my costs substantially, more than doubling my costs.
My personal bank, oddly, is an exception. They have a special account that can cash a check written in any currency for no fee. The account itself also has no fee, which is really nice. They require it be done in person (which is fine, that’s how I do all my banking anyway), and it takes a bit of time (depends on the country, but up to a couple weeks), but they use the market exchange rate at the time the check is dropped off at the bank. This would be really nice to have, and so I figure I’ll use them.
This seems straightforward enough, but I’m going to have three different addresses over the next year, and I don’t know for sure what they will be, so it may be a little problematic. I’ll see if I can think of something though, since there does seem to be plenty of interest.
Hi John Michael
The fascinating story continues. Excellent! Will the seemingly beyond coincidental assignment of 77777777 be covered next week within your commentary on “what may be moving in the darkness beneath the surface of American politics to bring this about”?
As always, thank you for all your inspiring and educating work. Feels like it’s time to visit the tip jar again.
Hi again, JMG.
I freaked out for two or three seconds when I saw ‘Heqet’, and then thought ”Hekate’. I can’t be the only reader who thought that… Anyhow, now I’m going to follow your likely suggestion, which would be to actually read the whole essay before continuing to run off at the mouth…
I’m sure they’re not related anyway…
This fits in nicely with the theme of the senility of the elites in more ways than just election incompetence. While many of the “chan” dwellers are currently employed and only outcast in the social/cultural sphere the next economic “stairstep” could quickly land many of them as economic outcasts. Thus the establishment could find themselves battling an insurgency that can not only wield the powers of magic but is skilled and knowledgeable in all aspects of computers and digital technology. The establishment elites could quickly find themselves stripped of money, property ownership , electronic security and transportation by their new chan enemies, and left defenseless to be finished off by the members of the deplorables who’s skills lean towards the more old fashioned arts of violence.
RE Nicholas II: “Here’s Nicholas II, Tsar of All the Russias, using the mystical end of Russian Orthodox spirituality to back himself into exactly the same corner with exactly the same gory results.”
Actually, although Nicolas II was a devout Orthodox Christian, the mystical power he and his family relyed on most was that of Grigori Rasputin, a peasant and an energy healer (some might call him a mage) with no formal links to the church. Nicolas’s son was a hemophiliac, and would suffer intense agony during a bleed. Rasputin was the only person who could stop his pain, and thus he gained power over the tsar’s inner circle, especially the tsarina.
During the time of the Tsar’s absence to be with troops during WWI, Rasputin gained complete control over the Tsarina, who, upon her husband’s return, in turn came to gain almost complete control over the tsar and his policies. Thus Rasputin became a major political player, although his main goal was to promote himself rather than any policies that could have helped his own class and made peace between the two competing social strata. (During this time Rasputin was loathed by the officials of the Orthodox Church for his debauchery and licentiousness.)
However, he did help de-stabilize the ruling family’s relationships with others in their same class and with the bourgeoisie, which added greatly to events which ultimately brought on the revolution — which some might say ultimately helped the peasant workers. Thus, a disruptor with occult powers, rising up from the peasant class, played a key role in bringing down an entrenched aristocracy.
And to this day, his healing powers are still discussed by mainstream physicians and historians who are stymied by his abilities. Operating within a relatively narrow band of the reality spectrum — that is, the material 3-d world — their best guesses usually come down to this: the man was practicing simple hypnosis. He was not.
Thesseli, then don’t frequent the chans. There were Victorian men who didn’t go to brothels, for that matter.
Will, remember the discussion two weeks ago about how metastatic government regulation in the US strangles small businesses? You’ve just provided an excellent example, so it’s quite on topic.
Jez, thank you! Yes, and those of my readers who caught the phrase “meaningful coincidence” will have a heads up on where this is going.
Casey, fascinating. I don’t happen to know if there’s a connection, but Greece in its early days absorbed a lot from Egypt, so it’s just possible that there’s some connection. I’m not a specialist in either culture, though, so that’s pure speculation.
Clay, that’s a possibility. Based on what I’m hearing from flyover country, though, the Trump administration’s policies already seem to be paying off for the working class; there are many more job openings and the beginnings of a labor shortage in some skilled trades, putting upward pressure on wages. So my guess is that the next economic stairstep may hit the end of the economy that’s profited so heavily from the policies of the last forty years. I wouldn’t want to be a professional bureaucrat, a university employee, or anyone in the paper-pushing end of health care in the years immediately ahead, but factory workers may get by fairly well.
Ruth, fair enough. I’d read that Micholas II put a great deal of stock in the Russian Orthodox church’s political theology, which basically glorified the role of the tsar as a divinely ordained absolute ruler, but I’m not a specialist in the subject and will defer to those who’ve done more research.
JMG, this is great reading. And you wrote: “how many people in Clinton’s campaign staff practiced the watered-down versions of mindfulness meditation, yoga, and similar practices that make up a large part of the spirituality of the privileged these days.” I am doing research on this phenomenon in a similar vein. The fact that these watered down practices can be used for escaping the realities of living, and that is pretty much what you said. There is a lot of “spiritual” snake oil out there, these days. Thank you, sir!
excellent! not many people remember bill griffith any more, but back in the long ago, he was as influential in the counterculture comic genre as r. crumb. even fewer probably recall that the zippy the pinhead comics featured an anthropomorphic amphibian called mr. toad who bears a more than passing resemblance to pepe the frog. a weird stew indeed.
the current uproar over alleged collusion between the trump campaign and russia looks very much like an attempt to practice a form of magic. unfortunately, it is a very far from harmless process as it puts the u.s. on a collision course with a nuclear adversary.
Dominic Cummings wrote a fascinating blog post about Brexit. It reminded me a great deal of this. Here are four quotes:
‘In January 2014 I left the Department for Education and spent the next 18 months away from politics. A few days after the 2015 election I wrote a blog about Michael Gove’s new job touching on the referendum. When I wrote it I assumed I would carry on studying and would not be involved in it. About ten days later I was asked by an assortment of MPs, rich businessmen, and campaigners including Matthew Elliott to help put together an organisation that could fight the referendum. I was very reluctant and prevaricated but ended up agreeing. I left my happy life away from SW1 and spent eight weeks biking around London persuading people to take what was likely to be a car crash career decision – to quit their jobs and join a low probability proposition: hacking the political system to win a referendum against almost every force with power and money in politics. In September we had an office, in October ‘Vote Leave’ went public, in April we were designated the official campaign, 10 weeks later we won.’
‘The closest approximation to the truth that we can get is that Leave won because of a combination of 1) three big, powerful forces with global impact: the immigration crisis, the financial crisis, and the euro crisis which created conditions in which the referendum could be competitive; 2) Vote Leave implemented some unrecognised simplicities in its operations that focused attention more effectively than the other side on a simple and psychologically compelling story, thus taking advantage of those three big forces; and 3) Cameron and Osborne operated with a flawed model of what constitutes effective political action and had bad judgement about key people (particularly his chief of staff and director of communications) therefore they made critical errors. Even if (1) and (2) had played out the same, I think that if that duo had made one of a few crucial decisions differently they would very likely have won.’
‘Our story rested on five simple foundations that came from listening very hard to what people really knew, thought, and said:
1. ‘Let’s take back control’. The overall theme. When I researched opinion on the euro the best slogan we could come up with was ‘keep control’. I therefore played with variations of this. A lot of people have given me a lot of credit for coming up with it but all I really did was listen. (NB. ‘back’ plays into a strong evolved instinct – we hate losing things, especially control.)’
‘Generally the better educated are more prone to irrational political opinions and political hysteria than the worse educated far from power. Why? In the field of political opinion they are more driven by fashion, a gang mentality, and the desire to pose about moral and political questions all of which exacerbate cognitive biases, encourage groupthink, and reduce accuracy. Those on average incomes are less likely to express political views to send signals; political views are much less important for signalling to one’s immediate in-group when you are on 20k a year. The former tend to see such questions in more general and abstract terms, and are more insulated from immediate worries about money. The latter tend to see such questions in more concrete and specific terms and ask ‘how does this affect me?’. The former live amid the emotional waves that ripple around powerful and tightly linked self-reinforcing networks. These waves rarely permeate the barrier around insiders and touch others.’
I highly recommend it. https://dominiccummings.com/2017/01/09/on-the-referendum-21-branching-histories-of-the-2016-referendum-and-the-frogs-before-the-storm-2/
That’s why I said “related to the sequence” 😉
Different topic: “One of the lessons of the history of morals is that the more stridently you repress something, the more desperately people want to do it.”
This would seem to suggest that a moral code based on what you do is more effective than one based on what you don’t, even where the rules are the exact same. For example, not sleeping in would fail, but getting up early would have a better chance of success. Hmm….
Charles I was into occultism? The irony factor here would be pretty high-you see, after the Restoration, parliament declared him a saint, and to this day, the cult of “King Charles the Martyr”-complete with icons and devotional prayers-is alive and well among right-wing Anglo-Catholics of the sort who wouldn’t touch Hermeticism with a ten-foot pole.
I’ve likewise read Czar Nicholas was a Martinist-do you know anything about that? He’s also vernerated as a Saint in Orthodoxy-I once attended a ROCOR (Ultra-conservative Russian Orthodox) church that had pictures of his family on the dining room wall.
“the two actions that could win the upcoming midterm elections for the Democrats—first, figuring out what cost them the 2016 elections so they can stop doing it;”
Sure, the path to winning is clear: (1) In 2018 (better hustle, guys!) dentify under 200 specific state legislative seats which, if flipped, would give them control of many key swing states. (2) Persuade some liberal billionaires to pour surprise fortunes into taking those seats before 2020. (3) Have these legislators use the post-census redistricting to impose extreme gerrymandering, so that if the state’s votes are evenly split, Dems may still have up to a 2:1 advantage of seats. (4) Use the resulting veto-proof majority in 2024-2026 to impose voter suppression laws and polling place closures that make it harder for Republicans to vote. (5) Sit back and enjoy what happens in the 2028 election.
Now, please don’t think that I’m denying that the Dems are also falling down on the job by failing to address their constituents’ needs. They certainly have done. (That may be changing, and from the wails of rage out of Fox News every time an actual leftist wins a primary, I’d say the GOP is afraid it will.) They are far from blameless. However, it’s also true that the “missing” African-American votes from Milwaukee in the last election would have been enough to flip the state to Clinton. And so what I’d say to liberal Dems is that you need to get just as nasty as your opponents. Tamely letting yourself get gerrymandered out of existence (cf. Austin, TX) has NOT made your opponents more kindly. Fight while you can.
The Biblical Apocalpse has it that it is three spirits resembling frogs that precipitate the battle at Armageddon. Any thoughts on that in light of this post?
Thank you for your continued efforts on the new blog.
I’ve never been on the chans, but all this sounds very much like another web site that was in the news around the turn of the millennium, and might have been a predecessor to the chans — FreeRepublic.com. The prolific and passionate contributors to that site also revelled in flouting anything they saw as “political correctness,” including most rules of civility and courtesy, and created their own jargon — a “clymer,” for example, was a liberal, after New York Times reporter Adam Clymer — used as a shibboleth among users.
“Freepers,” as they were known, were more conventionally Fox-News Republicans in attitude and loyalty, and I gather were also literate, disaffected men — although I suspect of an older demographic. They also organised a number of aggressive protests around the 2000 election and the invasion of Iraq.
I suppose you could point to many online communities as proto-chans, and of course none of the Freepers, as far as I know, engaged in magic. I thought this one was interesting, however, for its similar politics, demographics, jargon and affect on real-world activity.
Off-the-wall question: If you could harness the energy of even a fraction of these disaffected men towards some organised real-world activity, what would you recommend they do to make their lives better? What could most of them do that they’re not doing? I have my own ideas, but want to hear yours.
A somber Earth Overshoot Day to you and your readers, as well as an early Lammas. Your story reminds me of the first time I ran into the readers of 4Chan being involved in a campaign that involved religion, although it took the form of technology being used against a religion, not in creating it. It was Operation Chanology, which was an effort to expose and ridicule Scientology. That had enough success that many of the same people used the same tactics in Occupy Wall Street. In fact, I wrote at the time that Occupy Wall Street is sequel to Anonymous vs Scientology. That second effort didn’t even have the same modest level of success as Operation Chanology. Other than the meme making on the Chans, the creation of the Kekistocracy doesn’t seem very similar, but it looks more successful.
Could the ongoing rage of Trump’s opponents be because they know at some subconscious level they’ve been attacked and manipulated, even if they aren’t consciously aware what happened or how it was done?
I don’t know if this has any relevance or not. While Heqet was sometimes represented in frog form she was a fertility goddess. Kauket was Kek’s wife. She was cobra headed and she was the bringer of darkness and associated with dusk. By the way they were part of eight male/female dieties associated with darkness called the Ogdoad. If the chaos magicians have truly caused Kek to take notice and cause mischief can his cobra headed wife and their dark partners be far behind?
The inter-relationship of socio-economic class and magical perspective seems really relevant… I think of myself, at the bottom, as an Idealist, but I feel I live in a Cosmos that might be ultimately nondual yet is infinitely diversified and differentiated into countless animist expressions: gods, daimons, spirits-of-place, etc etc. One can see in the past, when Buddhist thought was becoming really philosophically intricate, that the common person (non-caste, working class, etc), would turn to the heterodox Tantric avenues: a world full of spirits that need appeasement, profoundly physical, with a dark but engaging underbelly, the spirituality of the downtrodden.
Certainly I’m seeing that today… There’s the Science and Nonduality crowd, with their Volvos and lattes, and then there’s pretty much everybody else… I really respect the philosophical insights of people like Bernardo Kastrup, who are daring to say things that will get them hated by the materialists, but the Cosmos seems more detailed and meaningful than a bare- minimum Idealist framework…
No wonder Lovecraft disliked the vibrant throbbing immigrant masses! The magic of the working class and hill-folk, with their ‘deplorable’ deities and working-class demons, getting things done…
Great series, Mr. Greer. As someone from another society, Pepe’s presence in the 2016 American election baffled me and I value learning about it.
In the hieroglyphic inscription on the base of the Egyptian frog statue, the glyph that looks somewhat like an old computer terminal viewed from the side stands for the sound [q]. It’s thought to depict a hill.
The glyph that looks like a seated person is what is called a determinative, and this one determines that the sounds are to be understood as the name of a Deity or a woman. (The photo isn’t clear enough for me to see clearly the very small difference between the two determinatives.) Since the figure faces rightward, this inscription is to be read from right to left.
And yes, it really does look like a person seated at a sceen!
As for the rest, the three phonetic glyphs represent the consonant sounds (in our order, left to right) [ḥ] + [q] + [t]. The rightmost glyph, for [ḥ], is thought to represent a twisted cord or wick. The glyph for [t], placed beneath the “hill” glyph, represents a loaf of bread. The vowels have to be inferred from context and later Coptic words, or represented indeterminately by the symbol “e.” Here it is the latter, so we get “ḥeqet.”
Very cool article, and can’t wait for the next one. I’ve had a dormant interest in the occult for years, and this really seems to be setting it off.
The ‘left under a spell’ is a thing I’ve been seeing in Ontario and Canada too. When Trudeau and liberals got in, they promised to make a variety of structural changes that they then completely failed to act upon and have now abandoned completely. They had just won a major victory (taking control of government for the first time in over a decade) and acted with the extereme arrogance and indifference of the ruling family returning to the palace after a jaunt in the country. Similarly, the Liberals in Ontario, who had only managed stay in power after a disastrous Progressive-Conservative campaign, doubled down on the same behaviour and attitude that had gotten the previous leader kicked out. And it is mostly attitude too, the previous Liberal government had some great policies and projects that are being thrown out along with the bad stuff for reasons of pure ideology. Pity.
What is really starting to interest me is how things are starting to play out now that the elites who backed Trump et. al. realize that some parts of that administration really want to bring about the destruction of those three core policies JMG mentioned, rather than simply funneling them more money and torturing minority groups as a side show (look at the recent divide between Trump and the Brothers Koch).
JMG, excellent series! I’m a longtime fan of your work who yet hasn’t commented on any of your blog posts until ……. now. Anyway, I’ve found this series of posts to be right on the money, quite enlightening and perfectly reflective of my own experiences of following the 2016 election s-show as an occasional chans-lurker but otherwise avid observer of political and spiritual trends. 2016 was a turbulent year for so many of us, so much for me that the bellicose winds of paradigmatic transformation rocked me out of a spiritual practice I had only recently begun and instead trusted me into the jaws of unhealthy political obsession; I still haven’t really recovered spiritually. It was that year I suddenly went from being a lifelong social liberal and “progressive” into a for-the-lulz Trump voter. And it really was the confluence of Kek synchronicities, in tandem with a longtime familiarity with conspiratorial and esoteric subject matter and overall disdain for anything establishment, that ended up selling me on the MAGA ticket.
One thing that often goes unnoticed is that in light of the election and its unavoidable fallout, how many disaffected liberals have abandoned anything associated with the Democratic party and have jumped on the Trump train, even if only with lukewarm inclination. It’s not just Middle American conservatives and constitutional libertarian type who are supporting Trump. Are you aware of the #walkway movement that had recently sprouted up out of nowhere and spread like wildfire? It primarily consists of lifetime Dem voters who have had it up to here with the decadent excesses of the neoloberal political establish and rigid dogma and speech codes it’s cultural arm, “The Cathedral” (the M. Moldbug reference you made in an earlier post) has been relentlessly cramming down our throats as of late. So many new people each day are uploading confessional videos about how they’re breaking away from what’s become malignant cult programming and moving toward what will undoubtedly be a new political center, likely the “Democratic Nationalism” outcome you predict that might rise out of the ashes of this paradigm shift. Also, a lot of these disaffected liberals are going back to Church (or even going for the first time ever in their lives), in effort to rediscover meaning in their lives in the face of all the nihilism and other forms of postmodern disorientation that’s become the norm over the last several decades. This attempted rediscovery of old might prove to be more of a utility than a heart-felt faith however. And it might feed into the trend Oswald Spengler called “Second Religiousness”; the trend that he theorizes comes about when a civilization is in its Winter phase and looking for whatever little droplets of cultural fuel still remain in the tank.
I’m curious to see where this all leads; hopefully not a regression to religious fundamentalism. As the old Chinese proverb/curse goes, “may we live in interesting times!”
An interesting note on the French Election:
While the Kekestanians’ candidate may not have won, that was the first election in the history of the Fifth Republic of France that the runoff did not include a nominee of the traditional left or right parties. Add in that Mme. Marine Le Pen brought in twice the number of votes as her Father would point to some victory – even if it’s not the type of victory that was won here in the United States in November of 2016.
I got the sense toward the end of your post that you’re hinting at a scenario of loosing a force that has a will of its own. Given what you’ve said about the nature of chaos magic and its blindness to the existence nonhuman will, that would make sense. Very much looking forward to the final installment.
And I am apparently one of your less-informed readers, as I do not know what a lolcat is…
(Also, for what it’s worth, I’d like to apologize if last week’s comments became too much of a Dr. Phil episode 🙂 though I guess that to the extent that the path of magic is a development of character it was all relevant. Certainly, Manly Hall focuses much of his lecture time on the notion of “integrities.” It is a journey, most definitely.)
There were many “missing” votes in WI that swung the state. Mine was among them in one sense, as was my wife’s in another. (I voted Green; she chose to not vote. Both of us would have voted for Sanders had he been the candidate.) But the fact that they were missing had less to do with electoral malfeasance — except that of the Clinton campaign — than it did with people’s view of the candidates. One of the more fascinating observations I made during my time on PoliticalWire was the absolute insistence by many that electoral fraud *had* to have occurred (as in voting machines hacked, ballots changed) because the Rustbelt could not have gone for Trump unless someone cheated. The idea that people simply chose not to vote for the Democratic candidate is simply inconceivable (in the “Princess Bride” sense of the term).
I don’t think the Dems need to get nasty; rather, they need to get a clue and understand that yelling at people who disagree and calling them fascist trolls is a poor strategy for persuading those people to vote for their party. I am quite ready to go out of my way to oppose the party, actually, given my own experiences.
Whether or not there were people memeing Hillary into collapse, It did strike me as a symbolic bookend to the other preceding 9/11 collapse that happened years ago. And nothing of value was lost.
They should’ve let Bernie win and then blackmailed him into submission, like they did with Obama. Maybe Hillary was put under a spell to make bad choices, then again, maybe she left herself vulnerable to it in the first place.
In any case, if you had to go back to 1988 and tell people what it’s like today they’d probably go “nazi frogs on online bbs’s changing reality and throwing elections”?! And stare at you with incomprehension and disbelief. I wonder what 2048 will be like?
I wonder, is magic compatible with democracy in general? Could we be looking at a completely new kind of politics?
re: OWS failing. the SJWs were the culprit and I wonder if they weren’t crafted and injected into it to stop it but sometimes the “cure” is worse than the “disease”. My take is, the -chans adapted to the SJWs and changed their tactics and strategy. The chans do learn from failure, they learn quick. They may sound dumb but never underestimate what they can do when motivated.
The post seems to touch on that which I call “disconnect.”
It seems as if – more and more – we are living in a culture where everyone is disconnected from everyone else. I can’t even watch television anymore – news or otherwise. It seems as if they are broadcasting from a different reality than the one that I live in.
In a disconnected world, you can only guess what is causing people to act in the way they do. Magic is just as good an explanation as anything else.
Devout Muslims? Kek. If there’s one thing /pol/ revels in, it’s blasphemy, even against itself. Like you said, half of /pol/ is doing it *ironically*. But which ones are telling the truth about their intents – and which ones are the liars?
I seem to recall Clinton being hauled into the van like a side of beef, to be specific.
What’s your take on the consequences of Miguel Serrano and Savitri Devi being top of the /pol/ occultists’ reading list?
I’m very much looking forward to next week’s post as to what is “moving in the darkness beneath the surface of American politics.” I’m convinced and have been for many years that there are other forces trying to shape human events for their purposes. They’re caught up in the same maelstrom that the rest of us are, but are no less real for all that.
But perhaps this isn’t what JMG is referring to. We’ll see!
This has been a very interesting series of essays JMG. Looking forward to the conclusion next week, especially with the reference to synchronicity since Jung is one of my favorite thinkers of all time.
Your phrase “self-referential bubble” seems right on point with what I see and hear regularly here in the ivory tower, surrounded by the #resistance. The idea that anyone doesn’t wake up and look to Trump’s twitter first thing to find out what they need to be outraged about is a foreign one here. It also seems that any sort of introspection about what went wrong for the Democrats in 2016 is not going to happen among my colleagues either, after all, things have been going great for universities for some time now, so obviously they must be great everywhere.
I find it increasingly difficult to interact with the managerial class that I am around during my work week, as their inability to step into the shoes of anyone in the wage class invariably leads to thoughtstopper conversation dead ends. I recently has a coworker suggest that people struggling in the small towns that have been devastated by global robber barons like Jeff Bezos and their helot wage arbitrage schemes just need to pack it all up and move to the big city to make it work, and not a week later and entirely unironically suggest that his job should be protected by the government from foreign competition because he “has a PhD”. I said that protecting the people with the brainpower to reskill but not the people who would struggle to learn new trade is akin to only allowing millionaires to receive financial welfare, and decided my own mental state would be better off with earbuds in at work. It will be interesting to see what the reaction is here when the blue wave likely ends up being a lot smaller than the tidal wave expected.
Thanks as always for the interesting read
Great series, did you see my video warning the Cult of Kek about the Satanic/Left Hand infiltration of their group? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FU2nG9gTlc
Minor quibble: /pol/ is into 9 digits now. More to the point, the post numbers assigned by the chan software are sequential per board. There have been written browser scripts and the like which attempt to predict the time of the next get. These work slightly better than chance, when traffic is steady and not too many people are trying for gets.
On the Democratic Party’s failure to woo back the working class, it’s apparent they’re a different party now and I’m not sure they care to do so. They act and speak as if they see themselves as the guardians of the liberal Order of society and of the pampered salaried classes, saving them from descent into the whipped-dog, unreliable realities of the wage classes. Even if that means “losing” elections, big donors, many of whom invest in both parties, still mostly win, and the yapping, nipping, smelly poor remain a safe if uncomfortable distance away from the heels of their betters of the salaried classes. If you’ve wondered why Democratic proposals for social programs reliably involve hiring more salaried professionals and regard the actual provision of genuine assistance as a child might regard strong-tasting vegetables on the way to dessert, this theory is explanatory and predictive. The DNC emails only confirm this theory, showing how the party systematically ran against Sanders to maintain the meritocratic appearance of orderly seniority in the firm.
I would be surprised if progressive/liberal PR firms are not “working” 4chan, and if very many of the posts that eerily coincide with the Washington insiders’ designated “issue” of the day were backed by the pure, simple Heideggerian duty of provocation, and not aspiration toward a career in the Inner Party.
Thank you so much for this series. I’m enjoying it very much and learning a bit more history and magic along the way.
Well this is even better than Harry Potter […backing away slowly…kek.] Seriously, I had no idea what was going on in the chans, but I did see what looked like mass hypnosis — which you might as well call a spell — followed by mass hysteria among many I know who supported Clinton, including those who genuinely despise her. It’s a thought pattern that translates to something like: if I work harder, march in step, further adjust (i.e. lower) my expectations, and generally improve myself, things will come out the way I want them to. And everyone must do the same! That’s what I’ve always thought of as magical thinking but on reflection, it’s really just wishful thinking. It’s hewing rigidly to old assumptions regardless of emerging patterns that I suppose a magical thinker would seek to amplify. It’s really a way of not changing. And that puzzles me, because these friends are very good people who live modestly, practice what they preach, would give you the shirt off their backs, and believe that they are striving for change. Is it fear? Is it habituation? Is it too much TV? Is it just that their privileges have not been entirely stripped away so that change is not yet a genuine imperative? All I know at the moment is that it doesn’t work. If you keep supporting what you don’t believe in, you’ll likely keep getting what you don’t believe in. And that’s not magic, it’s good old supply and demand.
Thanks and thanks again for this! What a profoundly illuminating series. I remember when Hillary fell – and those 7’s! Why do you think that they were not successful with the other campaigns in France and etc?
I’m glad, too, that you’ve emphasized the TSW side of magic. I don’t like the number of well-meaning magic practitioners dabbling in attack magic because of their political beliefs, and I think that it would be less of an issue if they understood that it was not just a fun game and a way to act aggressively without repercussions. If I wouldn’t go up to someone and punch them in the face, then why would I cast an aggressive and harmful spell? The same thing will happen if you’re not trained – the punch will land bad and you’ll break your hand and feel ashamed of yourself.
JMG, wow. Much to contemplate here, as the planes fly overhead trying to quell three fires–865 acres, 47,000 acres, and 27,000 acres–and that’s not counting the one in Redding, about 150 miles northeast of here. Puts me in an apocalyptic mood.
Re. your point about a surfeit of over-educated individuals all dressed up with no place to go, it could be that a similar scenario is unfolding in Russia. A culture that seems to foster a facility with deep thinking and sophisticated manipulation of codes: chess, computer programming, poetry. It would make an awful lot of sense for Putin to hate the Clintons personally as well as the neoliberal order they represented. It would also make an awful (in all senses of the word) lot of sense for him and others to be motivated to melt the Arctic, being they are the largest Arctic country and there are rich oil reserves underneath that melting permafrost, not to mention an Arctic passage which is now mostly ice-free in the summer. It would make an awful lot of sense for somebody like Trump to come under the sway of somebody like Putin. Thus, election interference in the form of trolling–another activity and icon with occult permutations.
This is by way of positing that there is a general psychic destabilization that goes beyond the chan culture you described. I remember the posts that were coming through during most of 2016 on social media, attacking Clinton or setting Bernie and Hillary people against each other in different ways. Certain phrases were used…It was vile. I would feel destabilized just by reading them.
A day or so before the 2016 election, a strange bruise appeared on my back. I did not remember bumping myself or falling. When I examined it in the mirror, it looked uncannily like a map of the United States, Florida tail and all. This is not “hard evidence.” But when we’re dealing with the realm of magic, it is evidence enough indeed.
I have already posted here how I see evidence of destabilization and incipient hysteria in my lib-prog friends, who are fixated on Trump in a way that exactly feeds and sustains the chan culture and Mr. President himself. They seem to have dropped allegiance to Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi, who were often invoked in easier times. Is this what it comes to–you lose your status and your iconic President, and you turn into a screeching mess? I hope not, because, even though we are clearly in a descent, we can land gracefully, or we can tear ourselves and our neighbors into little pieces.
What I am wondering is how much of this destabilization is the result of the disruption of the energy forms of the earth whose ley lines extend into and form our own bodies and souls. And then what we can do about it. I’d be interested in feedback from you and anyone on this post about means of procedure.
What makes the establishment think they reintroduce us to Hillary Clinton and we’ll just say “oh ok, I like her now and will vote for her?” Are they that convinced of their PR/marketing skills? Or do they think we are that gullible? Hillary has been in the public space for 25 years and disliked the entire time. Its quite a feat actually to be disliked that consistently.
I was reminded of this NY Post poll from 1999 on the Top 25 Most Evil People
People wrote-in Bill and Hillary and combined they would be #1,beating out Hitler himself.
Top 25 Most Evil People of the Millennium
According to a New York Post poll conducted from
September 30 – November 1, 1999 among NYPost.com users
Total number of votes received = 19,184
Name # of Votes % of Votes
1 Adolf Hitler 1664 8.67
2 Bill Clinton 1625 8.47
3 Josef Stalin 1284 6.69
4 Pol Pot 919 4.79
5 Dr. Josef Mengele 783 4.08
6 Hillary Clinton 765 3.99
7 Saddam Hussein 710 3.70
8 Adolf Eichmann 641 3.34
9 Charles Manson 548 2.86
10 Idi Amin 514 2.68
11 Genghis Khan 441 2.30
12 Jeffrey Dahmer 428 2.23
13 Benito Mussolini 386 2.01
14 Ayatollah Khomeini 365 1.90
15 Ted Bundy 327 1.70
16 John Wayne Gacy 312 1.63
17 Ivan the Terrible 305 1.59
18 Fidel Castro 283 1.48
19 Jim Jones 279 1.45
20 Vlad the Impaler 276 1.44
21 Timothy McVeigh 275 1.43
22 Slobodan Milosevic 242 1.26
23 Marquis de Sade 222 1.16
24 Mommar Khadafy 218 1.14
25 Jack the Ripper 203 1.06
Mr Greer, Would you please elaborate on the impotence of mindfulness and yoga, when removed from their parent cultures. My guess is that it is partially because many of the practitioners are using them in a secular manner for strictly physical and/or psychological benefits, avoiding the esoteric side. Perhaps part of it is lack of focus and intention. These are my first thoughts, but I would appreciate it if you would take a moment to put a finer point on what you meant.
Well I did laugh out loud at a few things in this post. More in appreciation than anything. Very well done sir.
So here’s a couple of items:
First, I just saw a casual acquaintance as I was out at the market the other day. He’s always been a staunch Dem and I asked him what he’s been doing recently. His reply floored me. He said he’s spending all of his energy opposing any policy that comes from the Trump White House. I was so surprised that I forgot to ask him how he is doing this. (Probably a bit of hand waving involved. )
More seriously, it has occurred to me that the drastic reduction in the number of actual frogs in our environment may be pissing off the big frog in the sky. If I recall correctly in a number of cultures the animal that is the emissary on earth of the god who takes that particular form is considered sacred. If I were Kek I’d smite the folks who are harming my little brothers.
Regards, Aged Spirit
“Day after day, the self-proclaimed “Resistance” melts down over whatever Trump happens to have said or done most recently, as though cries of outrage counted as effective political action.”
Of course they have. By engaging in an ineptly designed magical binding against Trump, they’ve bound themselves to their own rage and hatred over Trump. They tried to bind him to fail, so they’ll fail in their efforts against him. The Tower of their folly falls and falls and falls again, and they achieve nothing except tp undermine their own health and sanity with a constant diet of hatred and rage and impotence.
JMG, another fine post, though my first impression is that you’re in danger of jumping the shark. On the other hand, your explanation of events around the election certainly provides a version of history normally not seen in books, and does provide an excellent example of magic in action. Thank you for providing that – it’s provided quite a bit of clarity on some things I was fuzzy on. History is written by the victors though, and often the elites, so its accuracy is always open to speculation – and it requires careful discrimination of the facts, and testing them against each other to provide the coherent and logical thesis of what has transpired.
So while I believe there is still “reasonable doubt” in all this, we’re not in a court of law, and the universe is not constrained by human-centric limits. If I have learned anything in following your blog posts it’s that a good dose of humility is necessary to gain a better understand of our world. As you mentioned, I remain in the industrial/materialistic view for now, considering the elites were every bit behind Trump as they were behind Clinton, but your posts (as always) provide food for thought. In last week’s comments, Christopher Henningson provided a couple of links for additional information on the Kek Wars, including some books on Amazon priced at the rather significant amount of $11.11…..:-)
Thank you and keep up the dazzling posts!
Hello JMG and all.
May I toss in another etymological tidbit relating to ‘Kek’? It may be nothing, and I certainly won’t cry if you don’t post this.
The physicist Richard Feynmann compiled some stories and anecdotes from his life into a pair of books, titled “Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynmann”, and “What do You Care What Other People Think?”.
In one of his stories, he tangentially mentions that he never understood why people thought “nerderp” represented the sound a frog makes. He thought pronouncing “brrrrrehhh-kek-kek” was a more accurate rendition, and told how he was able to regale others with his great frog imitation, such as at his after-ceremony party in Oslo after receiving his Nobel physics prize…
Of course the “kek” in “brrrrrehhh-kek-kek” came to my mind immediately when I read your post today.
‘You couldn’t make it up’, as the saying goes! Only in America? Smile.
I had not read Charles 1st dabbled in hermeticism. I have done a bit of looking round and can come up with Robert Fludd and Thomas Vaughan but no direct connection, although certainly Charles 2nd got into some alchemy.
PS if I may; leftover from last week. If BXN wants to contact me, he/she is welcome. A London meeting of ‘Greerites’ seems possible: email my name, lower case one-word as in my comments here, with an s in the middle, then @yahoo.co.uk
Excellent series as usual, and thank you for plunging into the cesspool of the chans to explain the origins of the more baffling components of the 2016 election, for those of us trying to distance ourselves from Internet Culture. I deleted all my minimal social media accounts two and a half weeks ago after months of struggling to keep my use of them strictly utilitarian, and feel some of my pre-2006 mental faculties returning. The intentionally addictive design of the platforms was alas too much for me. I find a mixture of personal amusement and concern in the fact that several people are making backdoor inquiries into my vanishing from the digital world in the same way they would inquire about a suspected mental health crisis.
In the face of books, journal articles, scientific studies, and anecdotal evidence showing the negative impact of digital technologies and social media (skyrocketing teen depression and suicide rates, among others), the continued use and push for dependence on these technologies by business and government seems to me equivalent to if my industry had kept specifying lead paint and asbestos fireproofing long past the emergence of the health repercussions of those products. With all the chattering about the Russkies I expected the “Delete Facebook” campaign to last longer than the week it did amongst the liberal end of the spectrum, but I guess that’s the disconnect from reality and effective action that addiction engenders. Everyone I know who now hates the Russians and fake news is still “using.” Do you think tech addiction vs. tech utilization, and different biological reactions to tech could be at play in the world of politics as well? It definitely feels to me like it is wreaking havoc in the world of business and leadership is clueless.
I’m interested to see where you’re going with this conversation, and after reading this am relieved to no longer be exposed to the main conduit of the chans out to the masses.
Fascinating reading, JMG. I had heard of Pepe and the chans, but never had the whole story laid out for me before. The ineffectiveness of the chaos magicians to repeat their influence in any effective way has me very curious about the next installment and “what may be moving in the darkness beneath the surface of American politics”.
1) In your response to Clay, you talk about a possible shortage in skilled trades in the future. There is already a shortage of skilled trades, at least in the building trades. Your average plumbing contractor is 55 years old with no apprentice under him. As the current crop of skilled carpenters, electricians, and other trades age out, I expect the shortage of skilled labor to worsen. I can’t say for sure how many of the would-be trade apprentices have gotten sucked into the higher education swindle, and then into their parent’s basements, but it sure looks like a lot of them
2) Recently I had the chance to attend a live town hall meeting with Elizabeth Warren here in Massachusetts. What struck me was that her opening talk was so overtly formulaic, it really sounded more like an incantation than a political speech. It went like this: “And then I went to my Republican colleagues in the Senate and said, lets do something about [fill in the blank: opioids/student loan debt/infrastructure] and they said, sounds good but we can’t afford it because we just gave away $1 trillion to big corporations and billionaires”. She repeated this word for word with a multitude of issues. I came away not sure if she was in a trance, the audience was, or both
A fascinating article.
Very interesting take on how magic impacted the US election.
I thought you may find this article interesting, exploring how the fight to reduce our carbon emissions failed in the 70’s/80s. It’s thought provoking that studies have predicted the looming nightmare nearly 50 years ago, something I explore in my latest FI post.
I hope this isn’t too off-topic. Feel free to send me packing to Magic Monday if it is.
You mention Yoga/Mindfulness meditation as a potential detriment to Clinton. In your opinion, is that because they’re used by the privileged as non-spiritual practices, or because they’re used as spiritual practices, but in highly-convenient ways that enable people to, as you say, be okay with things that one shouldn’t be okay with?
Full disclosure – I’m asking because I recently started practicing some Yoga strictly as a workout regimen for increased flexibility (not true Yoga, but a workout plan that tosses some yoga poses, calisthenics, and aerobics in the mix as well). I’m only JUST beginning to explore some spiritual practice (via your books) and I’d hate to think I’m somehow inadvertently engaging in bad-practice. Finding effective mind/body/soul practice is more difficult than I ever expected and I’m discovering that a person should be fairly careful on all fronts.
Your input is appreciated. And excellent entry, as always.
Mac McMaster: I was quite surprised when I read The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and found book 3 chock full of mental magic. Books 1 and 4, and the first 2/3 of book 2 were concerned with more (actual) spiritual themes involving escaping the cycle of reincarnation, while only about half a dozen sutras in the entire work dealt with the postures, breathing, and meditation. I have posts on my finds over on DW (click my name if interested). I currently think it a crying shame that we westerners are only given such a tiny bit of what yoga actually is. Perhaps the privileged classes just aren’t interested in the rest of it …?
I’m wrestling with your comment on the effects of repression it and how it relates to the Cosmic Doctrine’s discussion about opposing evil. It’s seems that in some cases, opposition doesn’t merely lock its target in place but actively feeds and encourages it. What factors determine which of these results unfolds from the decision to act in opposition? Does it come down to whether or not you possess the superabundance of love* that Fortune says is essential?
* my current interpretation of this phrase is “the creative energy required to do something constructive in the space you’ve claimed by staking out an opposition”
It seems like there was a UniParty running the country, in label only going from Democrat from Republican and back, from Clinton to Bush to Obama. Trump crashed through the UniParty like a bull in a china shop. I’m assuming the leaders of UniParty are going to work hard to get their power back and we haven’t seen anything yet of what they are capable of.
It feels like the tech companies hold a lot of power these days with their deep pockets and access to our main way of communicating with each other. Do you think that is where the power center is? What kinds of things do you think they could do, besides the censorship they are already doing?
Mac, I’m coming to think that vacuous pop spirituality may be playing a more important role than I’d anticipated in the senility of our current elites. Keep me posted on your research!
Jay, I get the impression that the Russians know that it’s purely domestic US politics, and fortunately the attempts to whip up a frenzy among Americans in general don’t seem to be getting far.
Monk, thanks for this.
Will, funny about that. It’s a basic rule of magic that you should frame your intentions in positive rather than negative terms — becoming healthy rather than getting rid of an illness, and so on.
Tolkienguy, Vaughan Hart’s book Art and Magic at the Court of the Stuarts is a good introduction to the magical dimensions of Charles I’s court. I hadn’t heard that Nicholas II was a Martinist, but it wouldn’t completely surprise me…
Dewey, thank you for demonstrating my point about the Democrats being stuck in failed behaviors. If they approach the upcoming elections the way you’ve sketched out, they may win some battles but they’re going to lose the war, because all of that is based on Hillary Clinton’s fundamental mistake — treating the electorate like a passive object that can be manipulated to produce the desired result, rather than interacting with voters as people with wants, needs, and grievances that the political system is supposed to address. If the Democratic party doesn’t start paying attention to why its historical constituencies are walking away from it, and actually do something to address the issues that are causing that, it’s just going to keep on suffering one defeat after another.
Steve, you’ll have to ask a Bible scholar about that.
Brian, interesting. As for your question, that’s something I’ll have to think about.
Vincelamb, yes, I read about that as well. As far as I know, though, they didn’t have the flurry of “gets” and meaningful coincidences around Operation Chanology.
Yorkshire, that might be involved, yes.
Linda, that’s certainly possible. As I recall, the Ogdoad of Hermopolis were powers of the First Time, by whom the new cosmos came into being, so that might be an omen of profound change.
Casey, got it in one. I’m currently working on a story that draws heavily from Lovecraft’s most shrilly bigoted tale, “The Horror at Red Hook,” which is almost comical in its over-the-top loathing of the unspeakable fact that people who don’t look and talk like H.P. Lovecraft have the effrontery to exist. Of course that makes it all the more fun to stand the story on its head, and revel in the music of a hundred languages in a down-at-heels Brooklyn neighborhood where tentacled critters from three whole weeks before the dawn of time are just part of the community. 😉
Linnea, glad to hear it.
Robert, yep — but of course people who read Middle Egyptian aren’t necessarily well represented on the chans…
Andru, thanks for this! I’d gotten the sense that something of the sort was in play in Canada as well. As for Trump vs. the Kochservatives, yes, indeed — it’s going to get interesting as things heat up.
M. Agathon, yes, I’ve been watching the #walkaway movement with quite some interest, especially in that it seems to be spreading very rapidly among middle-class African-Americans — a crucial constituency for the Democrats, and one whose interests they’ve ignored far too thoroughly for far too long. I hadn’t heard that people were heading back to the churches; that’s good to hear, so long as the churches take the hint and remember that they’re there to teach the gospel and help people get closer to God, not to pander to political ideologies on either side or to parade around how faux-relevant they are. I’m quite convinced that the reason the fundamentalist churches did so well in the 1970s was that once the Protestant mainstream capitulated to fashionable atheism-lite and political activism, the fundamentalist churches were the only option if you wanted to, you know, have something to do with God.
Godozo, it wasn’t a complete failure on the part of the /pol/ brigade by any means, but it wasn’t what they hoped for, not by a long shot.
David, nah, you were fine. Those are important issues. As for lolcats…
…that is a lolcat. 😉
How utterly fascinating! Thank you for introducing us to the “chan”s.
I am not sure if it has been stated in another one of these articles, if so I apologize for not catching it, but I am wondering what is the definition of “will” in regards to Dion Fortune’s classic definition of magic, “the art and science of causing changes in consciousness according to will”. This seems quite important to know because reading through these three articles on the Kek Wars I am finding little reference to what I would consider acts of will, which would involve more than engaging on an internet forum (at least I think…), but could certainly include that. What are the acts of will from the /pol/ that are being referenced here in association with the magic? Are they indeed just the thoughts and imaginations of the members from a discordant internet forum?
My wife and I have been in deep discussion about the new labyrinthine tax policies as well, except from an inside the U.S. perspective. We don’t ship much of our product to other countries these days, but even dealing with the tax requirements of our sister states (all 49 of them) is mind-boggling enough.
JMG is right, well-spotted, and definitely on-topic, but I want to toss out another idea. We also deal with the U.S. EPA in our line of work, and at times have felt cowed by their pronouncements from the proverbial mountaintop. So far it seems like a case of all bark and no bite, if you will.
Just as empires always engage in their most monumental…uh…monuments just before collapse, I have a feeling that these entrenched power structures, sensing their own demise, are barking louder than ever. They are literally trying to crush small businesses with their volume.
My advice, for it’s worth, is to ignore it. That’s our plan. There are millions of us out there to be regulated, and they can’t do it. They simply can’t. They couldn’t before Trump, and the situation seems like it can only get worse for them now. So they shout. And try to spook small business owners out of the game…at just the wrong time. We are what the future needs more of.
Hang in there.
Before I get any farther into the comments, I just want to say wow. What a superbly mind-blowing article! I had no idea. How fascinating!! How on Earth will you top this post with your closing argument next week?? I’m all ears…
Curiously, I just started practicing the SoP recently, just pulled my first 3-ray card spread from the Carr-Gomm’s Druid Animal Oracle last week. Care to guess what my first card for the present was?
Yep, the Frog.
As an herbalist I took plenty of delight in drawing the Frog – the bringer of medicine and healing – but given the enlightenment of this post, (and the incessant soggy weather down here in southern Appalachia), it feels a lot more meaningful all of sudden!
Mind. Thoroughly. Blown.
Dear John Michael Greer,
By Jove! I am at the edge of the edgiest edgy edge of my seat for the next installment! I place my bet not on Jove, however, but something along the lines of Jungian Wotanesquerie. Hmmm.
As ever, a good many of the comments and your replies reward reading. I point to Aron Blue’s, which prompted me to visit his blog, and thence to surf around, and thence happen onto to this “bangin” recipe for lentils:
Since I am an evangelical for the Instant Pot these days, I just may try it.
Seriously, I did not think things could get wierder in the comments, never mind the subject of the posts, than last week’s back and forth about plastic drinking straws.
Finally, I do hope Robert Mathiesen will chime in.
MILLICENTLY VON LURKING
Trump brought up Koch because Koch is the boogeyman of the Democratic party the way Soros is for the Republicans. Trump has a 90% approval rating from Republicans and he is now going to work to up his approval rating with registered Democrats.
Trump is bringing back union jobs in manufacturing, just passed an education bill funding jobs training outside of college (funneled through the states so states can spend as they wish), and tax cuts to those in the salary class, . Attacking Koch separates him from the “toxic” part of the Republican party.
He is now working on a religious freedom initiative and this is going to pull in more traditional Democrats. I’d expect him to do something related to the environment, women’s health/welfare, or minority inner-city re-development – all traditional Dem issues – to really put the screws into the Dem coffin.
The Democrats are going to be left socialist/communist progressives and screaming Resisters and that is about it.
PS How did I miss this?
@ Robert Mathiesen
Owen, magic is perfectly compatible with democracy. Every human society has people who practice magic; American culture in particular is chockfull of magical traditions, and always has been; what that means in practice is that by and large, successful political movements have a magical dimension.
Mike, what makes magic a better explanation than many of the others is that it allows you to understand where the disconnect is coming from, and how to get past it.
Synthase, it probably means that /pol/ will be less magically effective in the future. Have you noticed that the groups that get into Hitlerismo esoterico and the equivalent tend to crash and burn at rather more than the usual rate?
Bird, stay tuned!
Sub, I get the impression that the academic industry is going to be hit very, very hard by the changes that are coming, and that serene indifference to anything but personal advantage is one of the reasons. I hope you have an alternate way of making a living lined up.
Davis, nope. I don’t watch a lot of videos. Have you considered posting the content in text form for those who prefer to read?
Jonathan, so noted — I haven’t had time to lurk there recently, but it follows, of course. As for the Dems, no argument — like New Labour in Britain, what had been a party that drew much of its strength from the working class was captured by the managerial class. Now comes the backlash — Jeremy Corbyn in Britain, Bernie Sanders here — and if the old guard thinks that’s going away, they have another think coming.
Liz, that’s something that’s been on my mind as well. In my bleaker moods I wonder if their beliefs are pure window dressing, and beneath that they’re good with US global domination and the rest of it, because that’s what maintains them a notch above those people…
Aron, exactly. I suspect most of the people who are flocking to parties where everyone tries to cast an inept binding spell on Trump have no clue that what they’re doing is real, that it won’t necessarily work they way they want it to work, and that they could end up way over their heads because magic doesn’t care what your intentions are and won’t protect you from the consequences of your own incompetence…
Roberta, that’s a huge question. I’ll be discussing some of what I think is behind the whole pattern next week, but of course that’s just one slice through a very complex and ramified set of issues. I’ll see if I can come up with some suggestions in the weeks ahead.
Denys, that was the entire modus operandi of the Clinton campaign; they treated the electorate as a passive object that could be manipulated at will, and when it didn’t work, they just doubled down. At the time I described Clinton as acting like someone who’s trying to get something out of a broken vending machine; she put in her quarters and pushed the button, so why isn’t the presidency tumbling down into her hands? The refusal to recognize that voters have needs, wants, and grievances that matter, and that successful politics is all about addressing these, runs straight through the Democratic mindset these days.
Clark, I’m probably going to have to do a post about that. The very short form is that if you don’t have an active spiritual dimension in such practices — that is to say, a relationship to something that is greater than your ego, and that challenges you — the practices turn into nonchemical tranquilizers and you just zone out. More on this as we proceed!
Aged Spirit, thank you. I wonder if your friend realizes that he’s made himself completely dependent on Trump, and totally manipulated by him as well; all Trump has to do is tweet something and your friend reacts as mindlessly as one of Pavlov’s drooling dogs. As for frog gods, that’s certainly possible…
Morfa, you may well be right. I wonder how many of the people who are stuck in permanent oppositional mode, jumping out of bed each morning and going to Twitter to find out what they get to be outraged at today, participated in the clueless mass working to bind Trump.
Drhooves, I write about what I want to write about, for the people who want to read it. I’m sure plenty of people thought I’d jumped the shark repeatedly when I spent eleven years writing about the end of industrial society!
Apprentice, interesting. Wasn’t the frog chorus in Aristophanes’ “The Frogs” Brek-KEK-e-kex koex koex”?
Phil H., Vaughan Hart’s Art and Magic at the Court of the Stuarts is a good source for Charles I’s dabblings in Hermeticism.
Architrains, sensible of you. This blog is the only approach to social media I ever make, and the results seem to be fairly good.
Samurai_47, (1) that’s worth knowing. I wonder if there’s any way to encourage the basement brigade to look into the skilled trades. (2) Somehow that doesn’t surprise me at all.
Forecastingintelligence, thanks for this. I’ll have a look at it as time permits.
Dudley, if you’re just doing some postures for exercise you should be fine. Don’t take up pranayama, aka yoga breathing — that can land you in trouble if you’re doing other spiritual exercises.
Fred, got it in one. If you don’t, you run the risk that it will have the surplus and will lock you into place and build on top of you…
Denys, my take is that it’s more complex than that. A society like the US has no single power center; rather, there’s a loose coalition of competing power centers all scrambling for a bigger share of the pie. What’s happening now is that one such coalition is in the process of being replaced by another. More on this as we proceed!
Patricia O, you’re most welcome.
Yaj, good. The nature of the will is an immensely complex question; Schopenhauer spent hundreds of pages on it in The World as Will and Representation. For present purposes, though, since we’re talking about magic, you can think of it as concentrated intention, backed by emotional energy and focused through precisely chosen symbols. No, it wasn’t just thought and imagination in the ordinary sense; the people we’re discussing were performing magical rituals to seek specific ends.
Tripp, well, there you have it. As we used to say back in the day, ’tis an ill wind that blows no minds!
Millicently, you’re getting warm, but not too warm. We’ll talk about Wotan next week, though. As for Robert, for some reason the blog software didn’t display his comment right away, so it hopped up into the middle of an existing discussion!
Denys, none of that would surprise me. He seems to be getting better at playing the game as he proceeds — no surprises there.
Well, according to the plumbers in question, the younger generation doesn’t have an interest in getting their hands dirty. It seems strange since all the hipsters go around dressing like lumberjacks with flannels and beards…they are certainly playing dress up of the Working Man.
“… many people in Clinton’s campaign staff practiced the watered-down versions of mindfulness meditation, yoga, and similar practices that make up a large part of the spirituality of the privileged these days.”
The problem is, that to be truly effective, such practices have to be performed in a spirit of self-sacrifice and not simply in order to “get something”. Or, to phrase it somewhat differently, the giving and the getting are reciprocal functions of each other— flip sides of the same reality.
How this principle applies to many of “the priviliged” should be obvious. That the magical influence exerted by those who have already been sacrificed at the altar of mammon (in whatever beneficent-seeming disguise) should be more potent than that of a collective agenda to seek continuity of comfort, should also come as no surprise.
Interesting note about the postelection failures of /pol/ – though Lasalle was my guy, I was crushed to see Le Pen fall to the arch-neoliberal Macron. (though he turned out to be more memeworthy than anticipated)
I wanted to observe, though, that by this point /pol/ had fractured along ideological lines. One faction formed the Kekistani movement (along with reddit’s r/thedonald, and eventually the Qanon group) in order to become uncritical soldiers of the God Emperor. The more traditional /pol/acks responded to their obsequiousness with great derision, even as they enjoyed the antics of the new president. I wonder if the Frog God tends more towards the latter opinion.
(Also wanted to note, as an active user at the time: /pol/ was absolutely swarmed with shills in the closing weeks of the campaign, so at least one person other side was definitely concerned.)
A few more thoughts on the magic of the ‘other side’:
-the Clinton campaign purportedly had almost religious faith in their algorithmic polling model itself, which was their reason for ignoring all of the analog inputs received from the front lines. Seems like a good example to fit in along with mindfulness meditation.
-There was counter-magic deployed at the time. I can’t find reference to it at the time, but I belive it is the same group continuing anti-Trump magic to this day: https://www.vox.com/2017/6/20/15830312/magicresistance-restance-witches-magic-spell-to-bind-donald-trump-mememagic . /pol/ at the time was deeply dismissive, but since then the wiccan message seems to have morphed from being pro-Hillary to a more genuine ‘prevent Trump from hurting people’ even as /pol/ fractured.
-At least one influential person on the other team was taking /pol/ seriously; the last few weeks of the campaign saw /pol/ swamped with new posters, clearly foreign to board culture(the big giveaway), using a variety of demoralization and disinfo tactics. (aka shills) It didn’t work and dried up shortly after election night, but some of their memes (“Nothing to see here, this post is old news, I’m going to bed now”) struck me as somewhere between psychology and occultism.
Very interesting essay; you have created a series of cliffhangers and I’m looking forward to next week. I have never given the chans more than a moment’s thought really.
I do wonder if the denizens of the chans actually stood behind Trump for his pro-working-class policies (after all, most of them are trained for managerial roles and are not particularly interested in physical labor) or whether they simply wanted to throw a wrench into the machine that created their misery. In any case, the result is the same.
Sometime I would like to see your analysis of Trump’s endgame; not just the success of his electoral strategy vs. his opponents. To me he appears to be an arrogant narcissist and exceptional strategist who grows stronger by maintaining the emotional loyalty of his followers and keeping his opposition in a constant state of panic. His coalition of the ultra-wealthy and the working class may both benefit from a revitalization of American industry, but it is bound to fall apart eventually.
Trump’s approval rating has remained surprisingly steady at 40-45% since his election – a very low number in comparison to past presidents. I don’t think that he can increase that by much. Though you made a good case prior to the election why candidates’ policies should be more important than their personalities, that isn’t true for me and perhaps for a majority (or at least a significant plurality) of the American electorate. I will never vote for a candidate who responds to all criticism with ad hominem attack, who belittles and dehumanizes his opponents, and who intentionally obfuscates facts.
This is to say that I can’t imagine Trump becoming more popular in the next two years – and roughly 40% of the electorate will probably vote for anyone-but-Trump – so if he is to win in 2020 it will have to be against a very weak opponent a la Hillary.
well, good for you, you’re such a fine, upstanding person (isn’t that the kind of “pat on the head” such a comment is supposed to generate?)
do as Americans have done since time immemorial, flout the law. Most states don’t bother w/enforcement. Like, on our KY state income taxes, we’re supposed to declare and pay sales tax on every purchase out of state, do we do that? No! When I used to order cigs from KY and the Seneca Nation in upstate NY, do you think I reported that to the Calif. Franchise Tax Board? No! Did my dad get busted for removing the cat. on our Ford Granada so it could take regular leaded? No!
when I had a white collar job, the problem was that I was not permitted to object to racist, sexist, etc. commentary by co-workers, or more especially by anyone even slightly higher up the food chain.
if it’s not a felony, they won’t extradite for it. 😉
Off topic (kind of),
but who thinks that Trump is our version of Putin? If you’ll remember correctly, when the U.S. orchestrated the color revolution to beat all color revolutions in the Soviet Union and put the hapless drunkard Yeltsin in charge, it was Putin who came to the rescue and showed the Western kleptocrats the door. Now, is Trump doing the same thing w/the Chinese? Eerie coincidence…
I’m following this series intently and can barely wait until next week. Trump’s election came as no surprise to me, though I did not and still do not support him. My analysis was from the Progressive or Democratic wing of the Democratic party. I have always appreciated your writing and you rarely fail to illuminate areas that were grey or unnoticed. Your magical dimension analysis on this particular subject comes as a bit of a revelation to me. Thank you as always.
I actually sent through two comments this week; the other is still lost somewhere in the ether. It was about Hillary Clinton’s work with Jean Houston, where she was enabled to converse with Eleanor Roosevelt and Mohandas Ghandi on the imaginal* plane. I didn’t copy and save my comment, so here’s roughly the same comment once again. (And about 4-6 of my earlier comments have not gone through over the last several weeks.)
Here’s a NY times article trying to do some damage control after a small leak about just one of their sessions together:
Jean Houston is quite an accomplished mage in her own right, though (so far as I know) she never calls what she does “magic” in public, but a form of “psychology.” See her autobiographical book, “A Mythic Life” (1996). Houston’s husband, Robert Masters, as been more bold about his own work with the Egyptian Goddess Sekhmet in his book, “The Goddess Sekhmet” (1991). See also their joint work, “Mind Games” (1993), which is even more “magical”–my word, not theirs.
So, yes, in some of the inmost circles of the Democratic Party there is indeed some magic being practiced.
* As for “imaginal,” that is a different thing from “imaginary” (and also different from “real” as strict materialists use the word). Henry Corbin coined it to capture a subtle distinction in Persian (Islamic) esoteric philosophy. See his article “Mundus Imaginalis”:
Funny to read about 4chan… I was a long time lurker and occasional poster. /pol/ is fascinating because it was a board that was deleted and brought back at least once. Internally it was seen as being “worse than /b/” by most people in other boards (and that’s really saying something). I remember moot deleting it, but it came back at some point, maybe when 4chan changed hands. My only comment on that is that moot was much wiser than he is generally given credit for. It also was not as clearly right wing at all times – 4chan is very divergent even within boards and there was a very strong left wing presence on /pol/ at one point. Perhaps the very fractured nature of the R party (15 candidates in the primary?) left it open to being taken over by Trump and /pol/. It is rare to change from a position of strength.
The memes are familiar to me though I left 4chan before the Trump election (just as this stuff starting seeping into the “real world” outside of 4chan). It is fascinating to think that Trump had such great symbolism and catchphrases (MAGA), even the unofficial stuff like Pepe, while Hillary… What was her slogan again? The only thing from her side that stuck was the slur against Bernie Sanders supporters that they were all “Bernie Bros” – which is to say, privileged white men. Not that it was true but it stuck. Great divide and conquer to get an edge in the primary, also a great way to make permanent enemies in your own party.
That said, if it hadn’t been Trump, it would have been something. If anything, I think the democrats are much healthier now that they have a solid, very obvious enemy and real things to fight against and for. The Bernie wing is much more obvious now. I don’t expect a total realignment but I don’t think Trump and the R party are as solid as they seem to think. The young people are starting to make their mark on the democratic party, and they are in many ways a mirror of the 4chan /pol/ group. They aren’t afraid to be outrageous.
JMG, As somebody who was an active member of the chans and other anonymous imageboards since the latter half of 2006, I’d like to congratulate you on being one of the few writers to talk accurately about these boards and their culture from the outside.Normally, people looking into those cultures from the outside produce works full of egregious mistakes and howlers, which have so far been delightfully absent in your work.
I would, however, like to point out that the “TSW” moment that you described actually took place significantly earlier. One of the earlier intersections of anonymous culture and magic was actually something much sillier (albeit with a morbid result) than the election of Trump – the crash of Germanwings Flight 4U9525. It started with the release of the movie The Dark Knight Rises, which had an introductory scene set on a plane. The odd dialogue, pacing and plot of the scene was the start of an obsession with reposting and exploring the scene itself, finding as many different possible interpretations of the work and creating an elaborate culture/mythos about it. The phrases “For you”, “Crashing this plane…with no survivors!” and the name of the main antagonist, Bane, were shared and repeated over and over again by hundreds of people spread around the world.
Then, Germanwings Flight 4U(For you)9525(the frame of the movie at which the plane scene ends) crashed, with no survivors, in a region of France named Digne-les-Bains, and the chief investigator was named Bruce Robin(these names will sound oddly familiar if you have even the vaguest of knowledge about Batman). Digne-les-Bains is also famous for being the setting of Les Miserables, the most famous work of Victor Hugo – who, to my knowledge, was also responsible for bringing the concept of the egregore into modern language. If you’re interested in a short video about the various coincidences involved, I’d recommend https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aW0otG1buB8
I’d regard it the same as Ontarians do w/the 100/80 speed limit on the open road. 😉
Thanks again for another great and eye opening post. Last week I was beginning to suspect I have experienced a lot of magic, and the working of the gods, around me in my life. This weeks post confirmed it. This begs the question, how many of us are completely unaware of the magical workings around us and the presence of the gods? And when we are unaware, what effect does it have, if any? The answer should be obvious. This series of posts has really made me more aware of how disconnected many of us, not limiting it to just the elite, really are.
Working with magic when not having experience nor a proper framework from which to work in reminds me of children putting their hand on the stove. Usually you get burned and learn from the experience. But when you get involved with something new and things turn out easier and better than you expected, you often get recklessly involved, high on your successes, kind of like a first time gambler who keeps winning. The opportunity for disaster is unnerving.
re: JMG’s response to Clay about working class jobs
I just recently started working in a call center in the health insurance industry. The leadership seems to think this is going to be one of the busiest years, especially with Medicare Cost plans being phased out. In dealing with a lot of the customers, and personal friends and family, I’ve been getting an itch that there may be some surprises in store. If not this year, then not too far in the distant future. I won’t be sad for the loss of one job with having had about 12 different careers in the past 20 years. But I do worry that having not developed enough skills within the trades, especially over the past 10 years, I’m not going to be very wanted in the jobs that are beginning to open up. Please correct me if I’m wrong! And a little direction where to look would be appreciated if it isn’t asking too much.
What sort of spiritual practices help you see the world more clearly and help you do what needs to be done?
JMG, re: “The Horror at Red Hook”, I’m now looking forward to your story! I’ve taught in that neighborhood for years and picked up a lot of local lore and history along the way.
It’s now shared somewhat uneasily among longtime residents in the old rowhouses and the very large public housing project and a very affluent, trendy new-Brooklyn set. The old Lovecraft story is fun to read in all that light.
Thanks as always!
It occurs to me that the role of acceptable new-age spiritualism in the Clinton Campaign’s defeat may have been even larger than your analysis implies, particularly the “power of positive thinking”. This technique is popular among the managerial class for several good reasons but it has its drawbacks – it leaves the practitioner psychologically unprepared if things don’t go their way, and it explicitly condones avoiding information that could raise doubts. Imagining a bad outcome, even if it’s so one can avoid the steps leading to it, breaks the spell! It seems plausible to me that the Clinton campaign subconsciously avoided battleground states, not just because they believed they were unbeatable, but because they didn’t want to risk shaking that belief! Looking back on the choices that were made, much more of that year makes sense if several of the major players were trying to one-up each other’s demonstrations of faith.
And on the subject of subsequent attempts at chaos magic on the chans, Snake-headed Godesses, and the Ogdoad (Thanks for that info Linda K. Hug – I really don’t know as much as I’d like about the Egyptian Pantheon!) it may interest some to learn what the next eightfold get was. I didn’t consider it tied into the kek-summoning phenomenon until I read Linda’s comment, the only reason I saved the following collage was because I found it a funny commentary on my country’s collective id. Be warned, it does not conform to the rules against profanity that govern conversation in this forum.
A couple notes on the subculture’s language to help parse what is being said:
“Tay” was a chatbot designed at Microsoft to ‘learn’ speech by processing what people tweeted at ‘her’. 4chan got wind of the experiment and got her to repeat the sorts of things they say, resulting in Microsoft hastily pulling the plug and apologizing for any hurt feelings. Tay is still occasionally brought up on the chans as a kind of Anima figure.
A “Leaf” is someone posting from Canada
“gf” is ‘girlfriend’
“R9K” is, for reasons that might be relevant but are definitely debateable, 4chan’s singles board and considered dank even by that community’s absurd standards.
Seems like a rather clear omen, though of what is a bit less clear…
You mentioned the battle for Britain, in your knowledge, did any group ever try to charge US symbols like the flag or eagle, with for example a peace chant ” Peace be with you” or ” Peace in my heart “?
Your experiment with fairy glamour aims at wider social responsibility, if I’m not mistaken. Would a larger scope peace working have too unpredictable consequences, somewhat the lines of defense issues or mental health issues? And how many people would be needed to effectively produce that charge, thousands, hundreds?
May be naive questions but why not copy and improve upon the Kek success?
Big shout out to fellow recovering Democrats, yes it’s a very lonely place when practically all your friends are WaPo and NYT spellbound.
Where do common people go to meet sense and reason?
Thank you for the fun series!
Here’s a hypothetical question: Is it imaginable for human beings to evolve such that chaos magic would no longer be effective as a political tool?
Samurai_47, I can see that. All those decades of hate speech directed at the working class will have had an effect on attitudes.
PHRR, I ain’t arguing.
IguanaBowtie, many thanks for the data points! As I’ve mentioned, I only lurk on the chans now and then, when time permits, so I’m not surprised I missed those details. As for the anti-Trump magic, if that’s all the opposition the chaos mages of /pol/ faced it’s no wonder that Trump won. I’ve discussed the antics of the magical end of the soi-disant Resistance in several posts over on my Dreamwidth journal, here, here, and here. The short form is that the people who are doing this working have no clue; they’re using weak methods and an incoherent symbolism to pursue an intention they clearly haven’t thought through clearly, and they’re doing it in public, in a way that guarantees that anyone who disagrees with them will have every opportunity to mess up their workings. That is to say, they’re making all the same mistakes as the Clinton campaign. It really is rather eerie…
Mark, of course his coalition will fall apart sooner or later, but that may be well after he steps down in 2025. My take on how things are likely to go differs sharply from yours — but then we’ll see, won’t we?
Zach, thanks for the data point. Different businesses have different cultures, of course.
Shane, well, the same plutocrats hate them both, so you may have a point…
SPK, you’re welcome and thank you. I know a fair number of Bernie supporters who were utterly unsurprised by the outcome, for whatever that’s worth.
Robert, that’s odd. I haven’t deleted any of your comments, for whatever that’s worth! I’ll drop a note to my tech guy and see if he can figure out what’s going on. As for Houston, good heavens — I didn’t know about that. That makes the outcome even more easily understood. The imaginal realm is a great source of insight if you approach it with enough caution and clarity, but it can all too easily turn into a mirror that reflects your presuppositions straight back at you.
Adamx, of course! One of the very positive things that seems to be happening as a result of 2016’s election is that the grip of a privileged minority on both parties seems to be slipping — you’ve got insurgent socialists and social democrats in the process of taking over the Democratic party, and insurgent populists doing the same thing to the GOP. The failed ideology of the boomer elite may well not survive as a political force — and if that turns out to be the case, good riddance.
Rusecruise, hmm! Many thanks for this. My lurking on the chans is very intermittent, so I’d missed that. I did notice a lot of people seemingly going through a pretty fair TSW moment after Clinton collapsed, though.
Prizm, exactly. That’s one of the reasons I host my weekly Magic Monday ask-me-anything session — the more people have access to good information about magic, the more of them may be able to dodge the pitfalls. As for the jobs, I don’t have a lot of clear information yet — just comments from readers in various parts of flyover country who see help wanted signs all over the place and know people who’ve been unemployed for years and now have jobs again.
Will, some kind of meditation that doesn’t shut down your capacity to think is essential. There are other things that help a lot, but that’s the foundation.
Jonathan, delighted to hear it! Can you point me to some resources on Red Hook lore and legend? All I’ve got so far is what I’ve been able to find in books on Brooklyn and New York City in general, and a few not very helpful websites — and of course taking all three of Lovecraft’s New York stories (“He,” “Cool Air,” and “The Horror at Red Hook”) and standing them on their heads the way I’ve done with other stories of his in The Weird of Hali I: Innsmouth and The Weird of Hali II: Kingsport.
Christopher, hmm and hmm again. You may well be right.
Anne, back during the Second World War several large occult organizations — the St. Germain Foundation was one of them — organized very extensive magical operations aimed at strengthening the US against the Axis powers. I don’t know of anything of the sort being done on a large scale since then, though that’s partly because the very extensive American occult scene of the first half of the 20th century gave way to a rather smaller (and very often less technically capable) Neopagan scene in the second half of the century.
A few hundred could accomplish a lot if they chose their focus skillfully and kept at it. On the other hand, you can have a million people practicing a poorly thought out ritual with a vague focus and incoherent symbolism and get absolutely nowhere…
Mark, when you say “evolve,” do you actually mean “evolve” — that is, simply adapt to changing circumstances? Or do you mean “progress” — that is, change in some linear direction you think is good?
It’s striking to me how much of what passes for thought today on the so-called left boils down to “all Trump voters are racist and we don’t need to listen to a word they say.”
I used to try to tell them that they ought to listen to people if they want to win them over. Now I don’t bother. They didn’t want to hear it when I told them Hillary was a weak candidate in real danger of losing to Trump, either. (Now I hear it was all Boris and Natasha’s doing, lol.)
Let them carry on trying to scold and insult people into thinking their way, and see where it gets them.
Yes, if our world environment is constantly saturated with attempts to impose control over people’s minds (not unlike advertising) eventually people would get more and more practice at shutting out other conscious manipulation and eventually as a species we could gradually evolve a resistance to mind control. It would take a very long time of immersion in an environment of mind control, though.
It may not help, though, since the mind controllers would evolve, too, if they gained an advantage through controlling minds. It’s the evolutionary arms race, and it produces magnificent results.
I have speculated about this often when contemplating stories about extraterrestrials with strong psychic/mind control capabilities.
If you’re interested in politics, though, it would be cheaper, faster, and easier just to find and run a good candidate.
Magic does not make an event happen, it changes the odds of an event, similar to the way climate change affects the odds of a weather event. If you want to win, run a campaign to *beat* the odds, since magic is only one of the influences that may be working against you, and it’s not even that strong (rigged voting, gerrymandering, the other campaign, wealthy donors, vested interests, etc.).
Re Clinton’s inability to swerve when things went wrong in 2016: quite a contrast with 1948, when Harry Truman threw away his prepared scripts and saved a losing campaign. Back then it was “Give ’em hell, Harry!” but it seems there was no “Give ’em hell, Hillary!” 68 years later.
Re Denys’ comments on the “UniParty” – what you’d call the Demuplican/Repocrats: over here in Britain it’s the Remainers. Their “deep state” is prevalent in Parliament and the Civil Service, doing their level best to make sure we get Brexit-in-name-only. So although it’s heartbreaking to watch our Prime Minister throw away the opportunity of a lifetime, it’s not surprising.
The other day I watched the film “Darkest Hour”. It induced me to contemplate what would have happened if we had had Mrs May as P.M. in May 1940. I contemplated it only briefly, though. It doesn’t bear thinking about.
I’ve often wondered about the weird hold the EU has on our political class. Now, for the very first time, JMG, I am considering employing your thaumaturgical vocabulary…
“…and usually has to be talked down from a state close to hysteria.” Thanks for that first LOL of the day, JM! :0)
If I am not mistaken, 4chan didn’t exactly split off from 2chan. Rather, some anime fans from SomethingAwful, a forum that served as an earlier Western online frontier site and “meme factory”, split off from it and copied 2chan’s format. I believe it was to escape SomethingAwful’s famously draconian moderation. Modern day SomethingAwful, by the way, could make for an interesting case study in itself as a community that tries to combine an atmosphere of online informality and irreverence with being a very orthodox progressive stronghold, with mixed results. Naturally, people there tend to be rather embarrassed of their historical association with 4chan. As for 4chan, it may just be another illustration of how people go from one extreme to another, from overmoderation to practically none, and from enforced political and cultural conformity to kneejerk rebellion for its own sake.
Nicholas II had diverse occult interests (in that he was not very unusual for a European monarch of his generation). While he was by all accounts a devout Russian Orthodox Christian, he indeed welcomed the Martinists into the country and Rasputin, a rather scandalous and heterodox folk healer, at his court. On the other hand, Rasputin’s influence over him was almost certainly exaggerated. The Emperor kept him around, let him treat his son and turned a blind eye to criticism this generated, but never seemed to listen to him on any political matters.
On the other hand, it is certainly the case that Nicholas II had a remarkably blinkered perspective on the events that led to his overthrow. I am not sure how much of this was due to mysticism, but he certainly bought into the Imperial family’s own religiously-tinted propaganda, particularly the idea that the Romanovs were beloved by the ordinary people and especially the Cossacks and the Old Believers – i.e. those sections of society that were considerably more traditionalist than the mainstream Russian Orthodox population (to which he himself belonged). Even during the February Revolution he insisted, with apparent sincerity, that he could not possibly abdicate because they would rebel if he did! His generals had to talk him around. This blind faith in the supposed absolute loyalty of specific demographic groups that he himself had done very little for is a rather interesting parallel to some modern figures.
@samurai_47 You got it. It’s not hardwork that my fellow millennials are scared of, but dirty work. I’ve been toying with switching career path into the trades. I’m a specialist A-grade paper pusher right now, but I’ve done janitorial and tech work in the past, and enjoyed it a hell of lot more than my current beige nightmare. Maybe plumbing, electrical work, or locksmithing is a way to combine, have more independence, and make more money.
@IguanaBowtie – re psychology and occultism, one of the more prominent projects among governments of late has been development and deployment of behavioural psychology techniques (see Behavioural Insights in the UK for a really good example), so its not surprising they would try to create demoralization memes on the Chans. I also know that the Clinton campaign actually hired mental hacker Robert Cialdini, who has been looking at this sort of thing in advertising for decades (see the excellent book Persuasion- The Psychology of Persuasion), so maybe this was his work? I was surprised by how much things failed to change after he was brought on board, though maybe his hands were tied and his advice ignored. Only so much one person can do against the tide of apathy.
@adamx The only Hillary slogan I remember was ‘Love Trumps Hate’, which as well as being horrifically cringy, has you repeating your opponents name over and over again. I remember that being my first realization that the Dems has brought a plastic spoon to a howitzer fight, and literally shouted ‘you’re doing it wrong!’ at my monitor.
I’m hoping Q/Anon is addressed in part 4.
Will J said,
‘This would seem to suggest that a moral code based on what you do is more effective than one based on what you don’t, even where the rules are the exact same. For example, not sleeping in would fail, but getting up early would have a better chance of success. Hmm….”
I am not sure if they are related, but the above reminds me of being told that when attempting to write subconscious programming, one does not use negatives as only the actual statement gets through. So you would not say to yourself that I will not sleep late, but, indeed, that: I will get up early.
I recall a video during the campaign where Clinton was taking questions at a town hall in coal country. Someone asked about her pledge to rid the US of coal-burning electricity, that is, what would happen to the people of that town?
Clinton had no answer, not even a rehearsed answer (duh, you’re in coal country, have some answer, any answer). She just stood there dumbfounded. I think that she must have decided not to repeat the experience and wrote off flyover country. It was a strategy that came close to working.
My guess is that Clinton thought that having large, enthusiastic crowds at her rallies would may good TV (and the reverse for sparse or lukewarm rallies). After all, TV seems to have turned the tide several times since 1960. Trump turned this to advantage by being conspicuous all over the place, drawing huge crowds, and getting the footage onto the internet.
Submitted separately in case too off-topic.
JMG, until this series of posts I thought that the magic stuff was somewhat over the top, not really have effects in the here and now. That’s starting to change. Then, just today, I ran into some physicists who think that the Egyptian pyramids provably concentrate energy.
Oh, and thanks for everything since 2008, when I started following the AR.
Hi JMG. When it comes to pop spirituality, Chogyam Trungpa wrote THE book on spiritual materialism. I am sure you are aware of it. Our current elite definitely fail at this requirement.
“We have a fear of facing ourselves. That is the obstacle. Experiencing the innermost core of our existence is very embarrassing to a lot of people. A lot of people turn to something that they hope will liberate them without their having to face themselves. That is impossible. We can’t do that. We have to be honest with ourselves. We have to see our gut, our excrement, our most undesirable parts. We have to see them. That is the foundation of warriorship, basically speaking. Whatever is there, we have to face it, we have to look at it, study it, work with it and practice meditation with it.” ~ Chögyam Trungpa
One of the strangest things I came across when I was looking into this before the election was this: supposedly a lot of people on the chans first became aware of outside spiritual influence through meming the 2012 Batman film The Dark Knight Rises.
It was called Baneposting. They liked to derail threads by quoting the villain of the film, Bane, who says he’s “crashing this plane, with no survivors.” A few years of this, and on March 24th, 2015, a plane crashed in Le Bains in the French Alps. No survivors.
Everyone went wild. They pored over reports and photographs from the crash. People at the crash site were declared to be identical to characters from the film. Dire warnings were given that they were messing with things beyond their understanding. Some interpreted this as a communication from a higher being, indicating its willingness to help them.
It was funny, in a morbid sort of way. It did cause me to dust off my copy of the Kybalion that my mother had given me a few years ago. Still haven’t finished it. I had read some of your posts on magic at the Well of Galabes, but was still skeptical that something based on changing consciousness could cause such a physical result as a plane crash.
The chans were unabated and the rest is (some form of) history, I suppose.
I believe that this is relevant to this weeks post.
You explained last week that elites tend to push policies that produce more educated people than society can employ, which ensures that employees compete against each other instead of turning on their masters. Do you have any books to recommend on this topic?
@Robert Mathiesen & JMG: When Robert’s deeply informed posts go missing, I can imagine a mage who does not like what he is posting interfering. Perhaps the tech guy is not who is needed, unless he also has a background in magic.
Tripp and Shane,
The problem here is I’m very big on rule of law. There are very few cases where I advocate breaking the law, even where I disagree strongly with it. Violating a law, even one as bad as the system set up here, is not something I can do lightly.
I’m going to have to mull it over some more, and I have time to do it while I try to figure out how to make the project work anyway.
Dewey, re: your early comment.
Go back to your post and replace “Republicans” with “wetbacks” and see how you feel about yourself.
Thanks Sub and M. Agathon for speaking up.
Thesseli, I think that’s not the point. Non-Chan boards are cloying and uninspired because in a hopelessly oppressive culture, everyone censors themselves. So in some meaningful way, they are all boring, deceitful liars. Who’s energized by that? These are non-censoring places, and although paint-stripping language is used, with humans’ self-organizing, self-aware, self-limiting, biophilic behavior running things, who is actually harmed by saucy speech? They created a beer vat, in a cheese vault, bubbling nicely, in opposition to the sterile, deadly processed cheese extrusions that are pushed on us by MegaCorp.
Why 4/8Chan? You can know only too well. With the delight of Rosanne being drummed out for a failed joke, the tables turned all too quickly on James Gunn, who was younger and NOT working for Disney when he told 500 off-color jokes over the past years, only to be dredged up now and examined in the light of today’s new and shifting rules. This hasn’t settled before darling Trevor Noah is in hot water for also failing to be adequately funny long ago, and is also being beset by with pitchforks by a social media mob. Moral of the story: EVERY joke must be adequately funny to Der Fuhrer. Bad jokes will be met with severely indeed: the instant and irrevocable loss of your present job, your career, your name, your livelihood, and possibly your life, without judge, jury, or appeal. Seeing this coming, is it any wonder people preferred to be anonymous and free instead of public and at risk? Everyone is barely keeping their jobs anyway.
Quite recently, I’ve had a series of mystical experiences that have been enormously healing and quite transformative. What has been most emphasized in these experiences is that the depth of love is precisely equivalent to the depth of listening.
This has been at times painful, sometimes extremely painful. There have been aspects of my life that I’ve had to change because they conflicted with my devotion. This was painful, but again, healing. Undoubtedly, there are other things in my life that I will have to change, including some vices that I hold quite dear. This reminds me forcefully of Plotinus writing of how the presence of the Soul can be likened to an exemplary neighbor who improves you either by inspiring wisdom or shame! Of course, Evelyn Underhill speaks too of the ‘mystical character’ of ‘courage, singleness of heart, and self-control.’ The attainment of these ‘military virtues’ is very challenging, and implies a restructuring of personal values after a process of ‘Purgation’. As Underhill writes so beautifully, “Then your attitude of life will cease to be commercial, and become artistic.”
It would appear to me, from an outside perspective, that both the watered-down mindfulness meditation and the chaos magic invoking Pepe/Kek after Trump both tend to fail for lack of listening. The Gods appear to be active beings, not passive forces that can be exploited in the hands of Man, Conquerer of Nature like so many cogs in a machine.
Since we’re talking about meme magic and everyone’s favourite hemmoragic fever is in the news again, what is your take on Ebola-chan, JMG? That one predates kek and obviously failed in the /pollaks semi-ironic intentions as well. What happened?
My SO said I’m prejudiced against strong women, since I did not vote for Hillary. I voted for the other woman, Jill Stein. She eventually admitted Trump is more smarter about foreign policy, after her country had a few more terrorist attacks.
You omitted to give us the Biblical reference. I don’t recall such a thing.
“Of course that move ended up costing her dearly in the general election, as millions of Democratic voters stayed home rather than cast a vote for a candidate they felt had cheated her way to the nomination, but that kind of own goal was par for the course in her campaign.”
That was me.
I was a democrat back in the ’70’s and 80’s but after Bill Clinton I gave up on them. I stopped voting in national elections (I do still vote in local and state elections) because no matter who I voted for at the national level I got the same crap. And especially there was no way in f*cking G*ddamn hell I was voting for Hillary Clinton.
Here to explicate on that a bit is Robert Kuttner.
“For three decades, the presidential wing of both U.S. parties, cheered on by orthodox economists and financial elites, has sponsored a brand of globalization that serves corporations and bankers but ignores the impact on regular people. This disparate impact is invariably swept aside with the usual platitudes about free trade being efficient and protectionism being narrow-minded and economically irrational. We were treated to those homilies, ad nauseam, after Trump imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum.
What’s forgotten is the fact that there is more than one form of globalism. In contrast to today’s brand, the global economic system devised at Bretton Woods in 1944 was a radical break with laissez-faire. The founders of the postwar system had vivid memories of the bitter fruits of rampant capitalism—depression, fascism, and war. They wanted to build a stable and egalitarian form of mixed economy, so that this history would never be repeated. But tragically, it is being repeated today, as global markets run riot and seed neo-fascist backlash.”
I’d say that’s about right.
Hmm… interesting stuff!! Questions that come to mind…. do ‘Skull & Bones’ et al fall into the magical category? Or is it just plain old psychology. And, how much does the placebo/nocebo effect factor in? (Also, I just can’t believe that the chan was not able to fiddle with the ‘gets’… especially the string of 7’s…. the answer to my usual question, “Would they, if they could?”, is ‘yes’ 🙂
> “Most people, forced into so stifling an environment, will end up desperately longing for a place where they can take a deep breath and say absolutely anything, no matter how offensive.” — Speaking for myself, I have absolutely no desire to scream racial/ethnic/antisemitic obscenities at anyone, whether at the office or online.
That’s because unlike them you get your joy out of being holier than thou.
@JMG, Fascinating. Through the months of this blog site I’ve been asking, from different perspectives, “what is magic?” My sense remains that what you call magic seems uncannily like what I’ve built up in my own life to pull myself through health crises and much more. Some of my foundational skill set – evidenced especially in the manifestation of my most unlikely outcomes coming true, has been super-amplified emotion (gnosis); a lot of self-hypnosis, (obsession); gestalts and rituals (sigils); prayer (not tied to any one “god” but to “angels” /teachers and the universe in general; clarity toward good purpose (so I wouldn’t be conflicted and hopefully wouldn’t end up with something I asked for but wasn’t really prepared for; “artfully-clear-yet-vague” choice of targets (being crystal clear about what the goal was but being very much not attached to how it might show up and, especially, how it might be packaged.
It’s rather similar to the teachings in N. Hill’s _Think_and_Grow_Rich_ and, especially, Allen’s _As_a_Man_Thinketh_. Willingness to do any positive thing apparently required of me, especially if the Universe seems to persistently suggest something I really don’t want to do, has been important.
If, to quote you, “…the most parsimonious explanation for that reality is that the art and science of causing changes in consciousness in accordance with will really does cause changes in consciousness in accordance with will.” is a good enough definition then what I’ve been practicing fits to a tee and, in fact, I’ve been demonstrating pretty continually (except periods of ego and burnout) for three decades now. As I have said to both myself and others, “Maybe it isn’t magic, but it feels like magic”. It also seems to me it ties especially well with self-hypnosis (I mean, look at the common “abilities” manifest in deep trance, such as positive and negative hallucinations, limb catalepsy; out of body experiences; pain relief/healing, etc. and, then being brought back into waking life).
I’m having the toughest time coming up with a personal example of something akin to “divination”. I “create” the future more than foresee it, in my view. However, I’ve had some really, really, really, really unlikely “coincidences” just sort of waltz into my life after prolonged obsession. Does that count?
Anyway, I’m enjoying the series and trying to figure out how it fits and doesn’t fit with some of my own experiences. It still seems, at its core, that what you call magic and what I call “obsessional desire” are pretty much the same thing. I’m having a little more trouble with divination and calling on “gods” for favors, but even in those areas it seems I have some very similar experiences, although under a more “scientific” label (if we can call it that – and belief in science is still a belief).
Do you see any sort of total disconnect between your magic and mine? I mean, mine bends my reality in a massive way, unlike a dream, persists thereafter with compounding, knock-on effects.
If I still don’t “get” it, in your mind, I guess I’m going to have to track down a more formal teacher of some sort, because my curiosity won’t go away.
It seems to me that the “spell” that the Clinton campaign and more generally the “affluent socially liberal” segment of the population is under was not necessarily imposed from without but a product from within in the sense that it involves a considerable amount of self-delusion and psychological neurosis. It becomes self-reinforcing when the only people you interact with are of the same mind set.
In western Buddhist psychology this would be referred to as the “god realm,” a psychological state of mind in which people are consumed by pride and pleasure seeking and have a difficult time seeing beyond the life their affluence affords them. I believe it also involves a large measure of ignorance in the sense of ignoring reality, not seeing what might be inconvenient to see or to know. For years many of us who lived here would refer to Boulder (Colorado) as the “god realm,” a city largely composed of social liberals who believe all the world could be just like them if only everyone would do more–more education, more recycling, more sustainability, more yoga, more meditation, more diversity, more jogging. And who also have a sense of superiority with regard to people of other lifestyles. It’s still a “god realm” by the way, maybe even more so. It seems this is the state of mind that infected the Clinton campaign and the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party. I don’t think it necessarily requires a force from outside to imbue people with this mentality, doesn’t require a spell if you will. I think the spell is self-imposed via ignorance and pride, internal mental perturbations.
It’s interesting that my mother and I were having just this very conversation yesterday before either one of us read your most recent blog post. We were talking about how yoga has become so prevalent among the chic and affluent that it has become another virtue-signaling activity, and yoga pants have become the most common article of clothing worn by women in public from the grocery store to the local parks, surpassing even blue jeans.
Thanks so much for the discussion,
@Rusecruise Thanks for the fascinating share. After the story jmg, you, and others have shared, I guess I’m going to have to work more directly and “magically” with group level change. I’d say that is where humanity needs to find a future worth pursuing…and soon!
@Mark Grable “Is it imaginable for human beings to evolve such that chaos magic would no longer be effective as a political tool?” I think that is THE million dollar question. I’d say, and I think the evidence overwhelmingly supports, the hard truth that humans live in a waking trance. You may call this world a “bardo” (Tibetan), a persistent dream, or a “waking trance” but it decidedly ain’t THE ultimate reality … and humans, pretty much all of us pretty much all the time, walk around nowhere near as aware and conscious and self-determined as our self-directed trance leads us to believe. That has got to somehow change on massive scale and, I think, soon. What I fear most is that the crises that JMG forecasts will drive us even MORE into unconscious living … even MORE into the thrall of charismatic and psychopathic Morlocks who have directed humanity at large through most of history. So you are asking the big question, imo. I think it is possible to learn how to be more awake — to learn how to be more self-responsible. Learning hypnosis skills would be a great start; once you learn just how profoundly a well directed suggestion can change someones’ (your own) reality, you begin to get a clue as how we are all open to manipulation on many levels.
The internet puts us all in thrall. Adblocking everywhere and spreading disinformation about yourself as much as possible is kind of a counter-spell in these dark times.
“If you would not give your body to any passer by to do with as they wished, why do you give your mind?” -Epictetus
@JMG After saying “I’m having the toughest time coming up with a personal example of something akin to “divination”. I “create” the future more than foresee it, in my view. However, I’ve had some really, really, really, really unlikely “coincidences” just sort of waltz into my life after prolonged obsession. Does that count?” I just remembered:
I once fell into a dream/trance in which I had an experience more real than 99% of what I otherwise call real: I MET and talked with me from about five years in the future and he told me much about what was going to happen, while leaving much of it artfully vague.
Afterwards I knew it was all a delusion…but I also felt, quite certainly, it wasn’t. It guided me and kept me going through the dry years until, just when I had about given up hope, my new reality suddenly manifest all around … although at much larger and physical scale than I remembered from the “trance”. Does THAT count as divination? Or is that just delusion made manifest? Either way, I can think back thirty years now to meeting me of the future and it still gives me goosebumps as I look around me at all the “magic” now in my life…all the dreams become real.
@Denys, I really think the establishment believes it is Hillary’s “turn”. And that’s the extent of it. It really is that simple.
@ Yanocoches & JMG
Too true re Boulder. I lived for about three years in the Denver metro area some decades ago (Brighton, NE of Denver) but went to Boulder on a regular basis. It was always an interesting experience…
“I don’t think it necessarily requires a force from outside to imbue people with this mentality, doesn’t require a spell if you will. I think the spell is self-imposed via ignorance and pride, internal mental perturbations.”
I wonder, though, if the magic in question wasn’t so much about imposing something from the outside as it was reinforcing and strengthening latent tendencies and already-existing characteristics. I could see magic working along those lines quite easily, particularly in the case of the Clinton campaign.
Fascinating stuff. Reminds me of psychoanalyst Paul Goldman’s Growing Up Absurd, a key text if the 1950s. In his last chapter, he described the nation as an amusement park, and that young men had three different positions to it. (Young women had a natural function of raising children, so were not as susceptible to problems in the nation.) Hipsters knew how the amusement park worked, and were happy to play society’s games. Greasers knew they were excluded and were deeply angry. Beatniks (this is old stuff) knew how to play social games but refused. Goodman suggested there was another group of artists that could rise above these divisions.
The world you describe is darker and had more competitive pressures. Perhaps its globalization but it might just be that there are twice as many Americans. And women are now as subject to problems in the nation as men.
Re: Rasputin. I think he is your proof of Alexander II’s dabbling in the spiritualist side of Orthodox Christianity. Whatever the source of Rasputin’s powers, he wielded them in the name of God.
@Onething (August 2, 2018 at 12:41 pm), in answer to your question to Steve’s comment (@Steve [August 1, 2018 at 12:51 pm)]), allow me to be of service (all those years raised in a fundamentalist Christian home!).
The relevant section is Revelation, chapter 16. Using the KJV (much prettier English), verse 1 gives you some context, and verses 12-14 describe what Steve was talking about:
(1) And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.
(12) And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.
(13) And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
(14) For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
Hope this helps.
A discussion about will was where my question last week was heading. You responded with “enforced consensus is entirely conscious,” and that the “more the enforced consensus of a culture contradicts the collective unconscious, the more you can be sure that things are going to blow sky high sooner or later.”
Were/are the chans a reaction to an enforced consensus that had strayed too far from the collective unconscious?
This week, you replied to Yaj with an explanation about will, “you can think of it as concentrated intention, backed by emotional energy and focused through precisely chosen symbols. …the [chans] were performing magical rituals to seek specific ends.”
I am struggling to figure out how it was possible for the chans’ will to have overcome a conscious, enforced consensus when, from where I’m sitting, the “magic” the chans were performing also stemmed from consciousness. Can’t quite wrap my brain around how a viral internet meme is any different from media organizations all reporting the same sound bites. Both come from consciousness, right?
Where does the subconscious, which more powerfully controls our actions, come into play in this story? Are the chans tapping into subconsciousness more expertly than those who enforce consensus and if yes, how? Am I wrong in assuming that, in order for “will” to be effective, it must come from a place deeper than the consciousness…?
I’d love it if you touched upon this more deeply in Part IV. Thank you!
@Tripp: ” Dewey, re: your early comment. Go back to your post and replace “Republicans” with “wetbacks” and see how you feel about yourself.”
Since non-citizens can’t vote anyway, my “modest proposal” wouldn’t be meaningful with such a replacement. How do you feel about yourself if “Republicans” is replaced with “Democrats”? Because, you see, my hypothetical proposal was an exact description of Project REDMAP, only with ten years added to all dates and the parties reversed. In other words, a hijacking of the process such as I “suggested” has already happened.
I imagine you’d be even more upset if I’d said that young people who think Black Lives Matter should join the army en masse, get combat training, and aim to gain positions in armories and nuclear weapons facilities or to return to civilian life, take jobs in our increasingly militarized police departments (with mandatory veterans’ hiring preferences) with the goal of changing their culture, and train like-minded civilians in professional combat skills. Actually, I think they should do exactly that, and fast, if it’s not too late. Because that’s a second organized conspiracy that exists in real life, one that the white supremacists and “nationalists” have been implementing for 25 years now, as the FBI warned twenty years ago. And if the increasing list of subgroups and named individuals whose slaughter the influential ultrarightist Michael Scheuer keeps calling for is anything to judge by, being a Nice Person, who doesn’t hurt anyone or even know how to, will not get urban or educated people a Get Out of Kristallnacht Free Card when these people decide they’re ready to act.
I am boggled by this post and this conversation. I never imagined . . .
But I find that Carl Jung may have something to tell us about Kek:
The God of the frogs or toads, the brainless, is the uniting of the Christian God with Satan. His nature is like the flame; he is like Eros, but a God; Eros is only a daimon. . . .Abraxas is to be feared.. . . You do not need to seek him. He will find you, just like Eros. He is the God of the cosmos, extremely powerful and fearful. He is the creative drive, he is form and formation, just as much as matter and force, therefore he is above all the light and dark Gods.
He tears away souls and casts them into procreation. He is the creative and created. He is the God who always renews himsel£ in days, in months, in years, in human life, in ages, in peoples, in the living, in heavenly bodies.
He compels, he is unsparing. If you worship him, you increase his power over you. Thereby it becomes unbearable. You will have dreadful trouble getting clear of him.
The force of the God is frightful.”You shall experience even more of it. You are in the second age. The first age has been overcome. This is the age of the rulership of the son, whom you call the Frog God. A third age will follow; the age of apportionment and harmonious power.”
The quote is taken from Sonu Shamdasani’s facsimile edition of the Red Book, which Jung worked on from 1913-1930. It is actually from an entry from Jung’s journal in which he recorded his first sketch for the Seven Sermons to the Dead. It can be found at the very end of the pdf freely available here:
Amazingly enough, they do not ask you to give all your personal information to get a pdf of the whole, gorgeous Red Book with all its incredible artwork, as well as the text.
I just happened to have received my hard-copy of the small text-version of the Red Book a week ago, and have been reading it with astonishment and awe, just as JMG began his posts on the Kek wars. Another little synchronicity, it seems.
In shock and awe, I await the follow-up posts.
@Dewey: In a similar vein, I sometimes suggest that the liberals I know should form a Socialist Gun Club, not in any ironic sense. The only response is a horrified double take.
Non violence only works if your opponents are secure enough to not fear your movement.
For a sense of how things can turn out, there’s a scene in Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin Stories, where a friend of (Isherwood’s), a Communist, is on the run when the Nazis have taken power. The Communist would have been just as ready to round up the Nazis if the chips had fallen the other way. The Nazis feared the Reds. Do todays liberals really fear the right, or do they just think they will be protected by the state?
I hope this is not too off-topic, but it does apply to the tactics used in many online discussions.
It is one of the key aspects of a political ‘witch hunt’ that to be accused is to be convicted and to defend or associate with the accused is to be accused and convicted in one’s turn. I have just encountered this phenomenon on Facebook in a discussion of Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists–or TERFs. A long time researcher in women’s history has been so labeled, and when I stepped up, metaphorically, to ask what she had done to deserve a call for boycotting her work, all heck broke loose. To ask for evidence of her wrongdoing was “expecting other people to do your research for you.” Any disagreement with any part of the gender activist position is transphobia and that equals violence against trans people. Expressing dismay that a small group of elderly lesbians carrying banners questioning some trans activist positions were verbally attacked, threatened and pushed around at the SF Dyke March was met with accusations that ‘they started it” because carrying a sign expressing concern over the long term health effects of hormone blockers is violence against trans people. That is a consistent theme; any difference of opinion is the same as violence.
I was accused of being a troll, of not arguing in good faith–this seems to mean I didn’t immediately say “oh you are right, I am so sorry.” I was expected to accept their version of events without any proof, because the mainstream media doesn’t cover violence against women.When I said I was going to ask the victim of the original accusations about some names that had finally been produced as evidence I was accused of being a spy and the person I was responding to blocked me and removed all her posts. Circular firing squad indeed. Another friend who was following the brouhaha speculated on whether these vicious divisions in the feminist movement are the product of yet more Russian trolling. It does make one wonder.
Oh, lest anyone leap to the attack; I am not anti-trans at all. I have trans friends and contacts dating back to the 70s. And, no this not the one mythical homosexual friend that every Republican summons up in discussions of gay rights, it is my ex-husband who transitioned way back in 1975. As I think I have mentioned in earlier comments I am rather disturbed by the numbers of people in the peak oil scene who seem to look forward to a future in which women are back in the kitchen and those pesky gay and trans people have all disappeared.
Where in my comment did it seem like I was in favor of substituting ANY alternative terms into your (or their) hate speech?
That was a great rant though. I could almost feel the flying spittle coming at me through the screen. And I’m pretty sure your voice got squeakier and squeakier as you went. At least, that’s how it sounded in my head.
If Marine Le Pen had been elected to the French presidency, that would have been a miracle, since there’s no way she could have gotten more than 40% of the popular vote, in my humble opinion. 60% of the French will simply never vote for the Front National. Marine Le Pen got 33% of the votes, although she completely flunked the debate with Macron just before the runoff, which ruined her credibility.
33%, that’s quite good, in my humble opinion, for a candidate who showed in the debate that she was both unprepared and not too smart compared to Macron.
If, with Kek’s help, Marine Le Pen had been elected nevertheless, she would have been as politically powerless as the Queen of England, because she couldn’t possibly have a majority in the Parliament. In France, the President is like the Prime Minister of the UK: he can rule only if he has a majority in Parliament.
To make the French system comprehensible to Americans: the President of France is both the Queen and the Prime Minister of England. Without a majority in parliament, he (or she) is just like the Queen. He is obliged to appoint a Prime Minister from the parliamentary majority. That’s what is called “cohabitation” in France. It happened twice already, to presidents Mitterrand and Chirac.
When there is “cohabitation”, the Prime Minister is the real head of the French government. When there is not, the President governs, and the Prime Minister is just his subordinate, like the Vice-President to the POTUS, in the US.
This being said, there’s a Latin dictum which has been on my mind for months, maybe since last year. Quos vult perdere Jupiter prius dementat. Those whom Jupiter wants to destroy, he first drives mad. Has Jupiter decided that Catholicism has lasted long enough? I wonder, when I hear what Pope Francis says about immigration and Islam.
I was raised a Catholic, but I converted to Theravada Buddhism at 38. Now, at 61, I think, as a Frenchman, that it would be good if we revived the gods of the Antiquity, as least as symbols, like king Louis XIV, a very catholic monarch, did in Versailles palace, in the 17th century. He filled the place with statues and paintings of Roman gods, and in doing this he saw no contradiction with his Christian faith.
JMG, just wondering if you plan to do a piece on the Clintonistas’ use of magic. You’ve mentioned meditation and the like, but towards the tail end of the campaign–thanks to a Wikileaks dump–it became apparent that some members of Team Clinton (John Podesta especially) were into some occult-like practices. He is (or was) a follower of Marina Abramovic, a self-describe performance artist from Serbia, who is apparently into ‘spirit cooking’ and mock-cannibalism. Some say she takes inspiration from Aleister Crowley’s ‘magick’. Is it possible that, through all this fooling around with the occult, the Clintonistas could have somehow accidentally hexed themselves, causing Hillary’s defeat?
@ David, by the lake
Yes, I would agree. It’s far easier to cause something to topple over when it’s already leaning in that direction or to cause something to continue on its current trajectory with a simple nudge, basically facilitating the continuation of things as they are but accelerating the outcome, an outcome that was likely to occur anyway without the push.
I feel I have a moral duty of civil disobedience to flout the law when I feel it is wrong, otherwise, how would the laws ever change? If people obeyed the law, the US would still have the 55 MPH(90 km/hr) speed limit, and Prohibition would still be the law of the land. It was because of the dogged principles of the drinkers and speeders flouting the law that ensure that both were repealed.
I’ve thought long and hard about this, and I would have to say that, yes, I would continue going 75 MPH(120 km/hr) on the interstate during the 55 MPH limit, and would continue drinking during Prohibition, and would do so w/a clear conscience.
Dewey: Twenty years ago, the US Army was just as concerned about inner-city violent gangs using the armed services as their training. It wasn’t only the skinheads, but Bloods and Crips and Latin Kings and a few others I didn’t commit to memory. I know because I went in twenty years ago.
Hi JMG, could you delete my comment in the second part of this series? Thanks very much.
Thanks for this series. It’s answering a lot of the questions I had about the 2016 election, and then some.
On a side note…It has been so hot in Spokane that I saw two Hobbits throw a gold ring into my yard on Tuesday.
@ Shane W “I’ve thought long and hard about this, and I would have to say that, yes, I would continue going 75 MPH(120 km/hr) on the interstate during the 55 MPH limit, and would continue drinking during Prohibition, and would do so w/a clear conscience.”
From a 1970s oil crisis viewpoint, with some physics tossed in: a car going 75 mph has about 85% more kinetic energy than does the same vehicle going 55 mph. Translating this to actual increased energy use for that vehicle at the greater speed isn’t quite that easy, but 75 mph uses much more gasoline than 55 mph. The energy savings is what Carter was looking at when the speed limit was lowered. It was probably a worthy idea, which, combined with many of the other ideas discarded under Reagan, might have enabled the USA to have achieved long term energy independence. That is primarily what the ADR was about, IIRC. (Yes, I read that from the beginning, just recently began posting.) Less gasoline usage is what the reduced speed limit was theoretically about.
Whether Carter should have implemented the speed limit the way he did is debatable – he certainly did not do it in such a way as to change most people’s mentality. A bumper sticker that was placed liberally (and picturesquely) at a rest stop In central New Mexico in 1985 echoed the prevailing sentiment: it read ” 55 MPH P1ss on it”.
This morning I was rereading the opening paragraph of this post. These lines bolded in particular really grabbed my attention magic is the politics of the excluded; the art and science of causing changes in consciousness according to will—Dion Fortune’s classic definition of magic—is one logical resource for those who’d been denied any other means of getting their needs and wants noticed or seeking redress of their grievances
The reason they grabbed my attention is because they reminded me of the how the Christian god reached out to the weak, promising they would be made strong, stronger than their oppressors. That spell, along with the promised magic of having even the faith of a mustard seed which would move mountains culminated in a very powerful, long binding magic and relationship with the Christian god. As time progressed, people moved away from the traditions, and even moved away from use of that gods name. That void allowed for another god to slip in. Is this part of the lesson, that not following a tried and true tradition to interact with a god allows for a lot of other deities to slip into that void and use it to their advantage?
On another note, thank you for the invitation to the Monday magic questions. I’ll definitely be participating as time permits. Aside from the first couple of days when a new post is up, I find it really hard to keep up with all the threads that follow. I’m not sure how much more I could handle!
Some years back when I was first learning about magic I tried interacting with the spirit beings. Once, without any real attempt I had an encounter with a woman who floated across the creek to me. As she neared I noticed she was wearing a frog headress, which in light of these posts about Kek and his wife frightens me a bit. She kept chanting a word which I believe was Nahuatl. If that indeed were the word, it makes a lot more sense I was encountering a Native American deity considering this took place in the USA. That said, the encounter frightened me enough that I’ve been pretty cautious to avoid similar encounters and perhaps most magic in general. But considering the information from this series of Kek Wars posts, I’m beginning to realize that magic exists, even in something as simple as the words we use on a daily basis. Avoiding magic is avoiding a part of ourselves. Ignorance may seem bliss to many, but in reality, ignorance is a trap. There is a lot of work to be done, especially considering the disregard to magic and gods so many of us have grown up with.
Escher, thank you. You win this evening’s gold star for expressing straightforward common sense in a far from straightforward time.
Robert, the difference there is telling. Harry Truman was an experienced politician who’d come up the hard way through the ranks of the Democratic Party. He knew politics inside and out, and when it became clear what he was doing wasn’t working, he threw out the script and tried something else. Clinton rose to power by marrying someone; her Senate seat was basically bought and paid for; and so she came to the 2008 campaign with zero real experience in campaigning and a wildly overinflated sense of entitlement, which she doesn’t yet seem to have outgrown. As for the language of thaumaturgy, why, yes, TSW… 😉
Rhisiart, you’re welcome, but it’s no joke; I’ve had to talk people down out of a pretty fair panic more than once, when they realized that this stuff isn’t just make-believe.
Daniil, thanks for this. I didn’t happen to know the details. As for Nicholas II, clearly I need to do some further reading on him!
Archella, I wasn’t planning on it. The whole QAnon thing is standard-issue disinformation from the US intelligence community; compare it to the “Project Aquarius” and “MJ-12” hoaxes sprung on the UFO believers’ scene, and you’ll recognize the M.O. at once. It’s a standard way to take a potentially problematic subculture and lead it off into La-la Land. In the case of the UFO believers, the difficulty was of course that they were snooping around the edges of then-secret aerospace projects, and the whole UFO thing was manufactured by US Air Force intelligence beginning in the 1940s as a cover for aerial tests of secret technologies — observation balloons in the late 1940s, the U-2 program in the 1950s and 1960s, the SR-71 thereafter, along with the first generation or two of spy satellites and the early stealth planes. (If you know your UFO lore, you’ll remember when all of a sudden UFOs shaped like black triangles were all over the place. What does a stealth plane look like?) My book The UFO Phenomenon discusses this in detail. It’s flattering, no doubt, that /pol/ has come in for an MJ-12-style disinformation project, but if the /pol/acks fall for it, they’re going to end up as one more subculture running in circles, like greyhounds chasing a mechanical rabbit.
Swarm, yes, I saw that too — and remembered how loudly scientists denounced the same claim when it was made by the alternative scene in the 1970s! You’re most welcome, by the way.
Mac, yes, and it’s quite a book, though Trungpa himself apparently had a lot of trouble living up to his own teachings.
Llewellyn, thanks for this. Another commenter mentioned that as well; I gather I’ll want to look into it when times permits.
Whispers, it is indeed. I particularly liked the comment by one of the readers about the economic consequences of knuckling under to bullying from the social justice scene: “Go woke, go broke.”
Olof, I don’t know of any. I figured it out by observing our society and comparing it with other societies in the past.
Peter, I’ll do some divination and see if that checks out. Thank you.
Violet, good. One of the crucial skills of prayer is the one you learn by making the transition from talking to a deity to listening…
Dusk Shine, it’s quite simple. Magic is no more omnipotent than engineering, or medicine, or any other set of human skills, and it’s acutely subject to issues of scale. When the chaos magicians on /pol/ set out to try to influence the Ebola virus in general, they were up against the momentum and collective consciousness of the global microbiosphere — that is to say, the intricately structured realm that includes the vast majority of all life on Earth. You might as well try to get a mountain to move by swatting at it with a baseball bat. So they failed.
Lunchbox, there are quite a few strong women I’d happily vote for. I just have a problem with people insisting that I should vote for someone with bad policy ideas and very poor leadership skills, just because she’s a woman.
Greg, I’d say it’s dead on target.
Nancy, as far as I can tell, Skull and Bones is what happens when a typical college fraternity has way too many rich dads to cover the bills; it’s basically Animal House with a much larger budget. As for the placebo and nocebo effects, of course those are involved — those are basic tools of magic, and a competent mage can get good results with them.
Gnat, what you’re doing used to be called New Thought; the two books you cite are of course classics of New Thought literature. It was the popular occultism of the late 19th and early 20th century, and it’s quite effective, though it has certain limits — the lack of an effective method of divination tends to be one of these. (Though in the latter years of the New Thought movement, standard occult methods of divination such as astrology came to play a significant role. New Thought isn’t central to my work, but one particular system — the Life Science teachings of Burks L. Hamner — came my way via one of those improbable sets of events, and has helped me a great deal.
Yanocoches, that’s fascinating. I’m familiar with the Buddhist teachings concerning the “god realm,” and you know, you have a point…
Gnat, that’s not divination, but it’s not delusion either. It sounds like a perfectly ordinary and helpful visionary experience — and as you say, it got you through some hard times and out the other side. The value of divination is that it gives you fair warning if your attempts to create the future you want are misguided, and will land you in a world of hurt — something which can happen all too easily if your approach to the universe is too yang, shall we say, and not enough yin.
David, bingo. Especially if the magic simply focused on making Clinton lose, and left the means up to the universe — the energies in that case would take the path of least resistance, which simply involved strengthening existing dysfunctions in the candidate and the campaign.
Terry, of course he didn’t yet realize that most of the beatniks (and later, of course, the hippies) were just playing at rebellion and would cut their hair, put on business suits, and cash in their ideals. It’s still a useful trichotomy.
@JMG I wanted to give you some quality feedback re:
“Will, remember the discussion two weeks ago about how metastatic government regulation in the US strangles small businesses?
Clay, that’s a possibility. Based on what I’m hearing from flyover country, though, the Trump administration’s policies already seem to be paying off for the working class…”
John, you are spot on about the fatality of ‘metastatic government regulation. Regulations and uncertainties EXPONENTIALLY COMPOUND producing a tsunami of costs and complexities. Authentic businesses (as opposed to those with government and banking connections) require stability of laws and most don’t survive more than a few years even under relatively stable rule of law. Small business owners who have employees are real heroes and the real bedrock of the economy.
You are also spot on that the the atmosphere of dread and hopelessness has lifted substantially under Trump as a multitude of regulations have been reversed or delayed/revised. “King” Obama did almost everything onerous with executive orders — dictator that he was — making it possible for Trump to dismiss many strangling regulations with executive orders of his own. I don’t think most people have ANY clue the desperate situation most small businesses were in as we headed into that defining election. The redefinition of “manager” that was supposed to take effect Dec 2016 would have destroyed many, many tens of thousands of small businesses alone.
Everything hung in the balance in that election; there would have been NO coming back from a third term of Obamanation. For those of you not in the know, please do some google searching of Venezuela if you aren’t up to date on how much Obama *admired* them less than a decade ago and how they’ve finally reaped what they’ve been sowing. People usually get the government they deserve in the long run. I am not sure that all of America deserved a reprieve from Obamanation, but we got it. Still, 2020 will be here soon enough and we could be put back on the hell track pretty quickly. I suggest people make wise use of this reprieve. Way over 100 million people butchered under authoritarian governments posing as “socialist” in the last century; but that doesn’t appear to be giving pause to even half of the US population.
I love this series!
Was anyone else offended by Clinton’s I’m With Her campaign slogan? My immediate reaction was – shouldn’t she be with US – not the other way around? Also her logo looked like a hospital sign and pointed to the right. Genius.
Sorry if the following is off topic – I’ll repost in your open questions week if it is. I’ve recently started to try meditation. The first time I had the experience of sensing my spirit/consciousness as separate from my ego was terrifying. It reminded me of a nightmare I had as a child where I was floating upwards like a balloon. It was really neat at first, I was able to see the treetops and the landscape, but then I suddenly realized I couldn’t make it stop and it was getting colder as I went higher. The dream was so frightening that I remember it vividly 40 years later. That’s the feeling I got meditating – I was unmoored, and I panicked. I didn’t think I’d come back -like I was “Major Tom” in the Bowie song. I backed off and prayed a lot and the next time I approached it I asked my higher power to be there with me, and instead of emptying my mind, I aim for focus on gratitude and compassion. It’s much less scary that way.
JMG, Is that what you meant by leaving the spiritual context behind? I don’t have any particular formal practice or method. Is that dangerous? My goal is to deepen my spiritual awakening so that I can be of greater service to others. In other words, I just want to get over my self and my hangups and go help people.
Beau, what you’re asking for, essentially, is a comprehensive theory of magic. That’s hard to do in a brief comment! Fortunately, I discussed some of the issues a while back in this post on the old blog.
K, oddly enough, we’ll be talking quite a bit about Jung next week, and then — after our postponed book club — it may be time to talk about him in much more detail.
Rita, I’ve seen exactly the same kind of bullying in other contexts. I wonder if any of the people who engage in it have gathered just how much damage they’re doing to their cause by that sort of abusive behavior…
Horzabky, thanks for this! As I’ve never lived in France, I have a limited grasp of French politics, thus welcome the details. As for worshiping the gods and goddesses of Olympus, there are plenty of people doing that right now, so you’ll be in good company. Why not pour a libation to them sometime soon and ask for their blessings?
Seamus, it’s entirely possible they could have done so. As time permits I may do some research into Clinton’s and her campaign’s interactions with magic, as that might make a good object lesson in how not to practice magic.
Loser, um, no. What you said is what you said.
DJSpo, you’re welcome! My wife, who grew up in Spokane, chuckled at your weather comment. 🙂
Prizm, excellent. Yes, exactly — and yes, exactly.
Gnat, I think you’re overstating the popularity of socialism outside a fairly modest minority of middle class intellectuals, and a slightly larger minority of people in the welfare class who quite sensibly want to see increases in the government handouts on which they survive. If the changes in policy that Trump’s administration is bringing about have the economic effects I expect them to have, the socialist resurgence will build a modest presence in some urban areas and that’s about it. Most Americans even now would much rather have a job with decent wages than a handout, and as the pruning of regulation, the tariffs, and the end to unlimited illegal immigration pick up steam, I expect to see a lot more jobs available and a certain amount of bidding up of wages. Once that gets under way, in turn, any politician who tries to reverse it might as well go looking for a new career right away. But of course we’ll see…
Loon, yeah, you weren’t the only person who noticed that. One of the things that doomed Clinton’s campaign is that she never seemed to notice that people needed to be given reasons to vote for her. “I am so ready to lead!” — the opening words of her first speech in the 2008 campaign — remained her keynote all along, and why the American people should consent to this never seems to have crossed her mind.
As for the meditation issue, please do bring that up next Monday on my Dreamwidth journal — I do a weekly ask-me-anything on occultism there. Answering this question here and now would take us well away from the theme of this post, and I’ll have some questions to ask about what kind of meditation you tried practicing.
One comment, JMG: the World of Warcraft renders lol as kek by design and BECAUSE it’s Korean.
Blizzard devs were extremely amused both by the popularity of a previous game, Starcraft, in South Korea as well as Korean players’ tendencies to gloat over their defeated Anglophone opponents by typing kekekekekekekekekeke after a match….
Late in WoW’s development, the developers implemented a language system that would prevent members of the opposing factions (Alliance and Horde) from being able to sh*t talk each other out in the game world (a real problem during the beta). The default language for the Horde side was Orcish, and any player whose character couldn’t speak Orcish (ie all Alliance characters) would see lol rendered as kek as a joking reference to South Korean Starcraft MANIA.
The Horde, fwiw, is made up of several smaller groups, including vengeful exiles, the diseased, marginalized natives, decadent Hyperboreans, and other deplorables…
Add my thanks to the dozens you’re receiving for this post! It’s a fascinating to read you chronicling this phenomenon, which I’ve only followed very tangientially over the past two years or so.
To recall a discussion a few months back on abstraction vs. reflection, “TSW” is very much on the side of reflection. I would contrast it with an abstractive “this makes sense” (TMS) attitude. In our age of scientific materialist abstraction, I’m sure there will be a lot of “TSW” hysteria over many things to come.
Of course, there will be people who are stubborn about their dogmas, such as the Marxist trolls who invaded the last post. It doesn’t work in practice, but hey, does it work in theory???
I recall an article written by conservative Orthodox Christian journalist Rod Dreher, where he recalls stories told to him by a Haitian taxi driver. The driver told him that back in Haiti everyone believed in voodoo and took the existence of gods/spirits for granted, and if you lived there you can’t ignore it. Meanwhile, affluent westerners are either dogmatic “skeptics” or dabble in the stuff for pure entertainment purposes.
My own return to the Catholicism of my youth happened in a big TSW instant, followed by many months of intellectually grappling with Christian doctrines with a “TMS” attitude. This reminds me of that short but very useful discussion you had with Prizm in the last post regarding faith vs. belief.
Dear JMG, I read through the comments and didn’t see any mention of the successful “it’s okay to be white” meme created by an anonymous someone on the chans. It was posted around some college campus and really triggered the left. CNN was declaring it as racist and hate speech when really it’s neither. The reaction was just what the chans were looking for, and showed a lot of people that no, it really isn’t okay to be white in America.
Also, I’ll be at a family reunion this weekend and almost all 20 family members suffer TDS – Trump Derangement Syndrome. I’ll be trying to stay out on the lake in my kayak as much as possible.
Regarding the supply and demand of educated people, I found this passage in Toynbee’s abridged “Study of History”, in the section “The internal proletariat of the Western world”:
“A Peter the Great wants so many Russian chinovniks or an East India Company so many clerks, or a Mehmed ‘Ali so many Egyptian mill-hands and shipwrights. Incontinently these potters in human clay set to work to produce them, but the process of manufacturing an intelligentsia is more difficult to stop than to start; for the contempt in which the liaison class is held by those who profit by its services is offset by its prestige in the eyes of those eligible for enrolment in it. The candidates increase out of all proportion to the opportunities for employing them, and the original nucleus of employed intelligentsia becomes swamped by an intellectual proletariat which is idle and destitute as well as outcaste.”
He says more on this, but this contains the main thrust of his argument. It seems he thinks the result is not so much deliberate, but the product of social forces over time. Thoughts?
In my experience, it isn’t just the privileged or the self-interested well-to-do who are convinced that Trump is the incarnation of ultimate evil. For instance, through the web I know a man who appears to believe this absolutely. He is poor, black, gay, and unemployed; he lives in NYC. He is old enough to remember the days of Jim Crow, which to him are a very ugly personal memory.
This man absolutely believes that in Trump Nazism has come to America, that “undesirables” – not just immigrants,” but Jews and gays are going to be rounded up imminently, and that death camps are at this moment in preparation.
He has swallowed the Russiagate narrative hook line and sinker, believing that Trump is a traitor and has sold the country to “our deadliest enemy,” Russia. It boggles my mind that an old leftist can buy this transparently McCarthyite line, but so it is. Since he has no material stake in preserving the former status quo, what kind of psychological gratification can he derive from this? It is as though he passionately *wants* to believe the worst. It is as though Hillary were somehow salvific, and Trump satanic.
I wonder how many people like this there are? It’s depressing to see someone make himself miserable with morbid political fantasies that appear to have no foundation in reality, and which show every sign of being fiction cooked up by a deeply corrupt and fantastically mendacious media establishment, not to mention the FBI, CIA and other deep state spook shop sources of alternate reality. How can he not know that they’re full of it?
Also, old friends from IRL have shown signs of believing the same schtick, or substantial portions of it. I think I prefer not to discuss my real opinions about current politics with them; the degree of revulsion and rage they express over Trump perplexes and scared me. I’m far indeed from being a fan of Trump, but the capacity for hysterical delusion among his opponents is a thing I find rather frightening.
Trump is doing three rallies this week, and the media is doing their usual job splitting their coverage between making it about them and making fun of Trump supporters. Will they ever learn? No they will not apparently.
I see how much hope he has given people and its really moving to see. I’m 50 this year and have never seen people so energized about building up this country and proud to be Americans.
All the time what’s out there when I get news is complaining and shaming people on what they said or did wrong, or what our country said or did wrong. I didn’t realize how draining and demoralizing that all was until Trump came along.
What magic could Trump be using to protect himself from the constant negativity? Not about him, but in general.
There seems to be a concerted effort to tear down white people using racist language and flat out insults. Except we are told when you say racist things to white people they aren’t racist because one can’t be racist to white people. The NYT just hired an editor saying awful things about white people in her social media and they NYT defended it. This feels like a psych op, like some sort of weird cross between social justice, gaslighting, bullying, and bad public manners. Suggestions on how to deal with it out there? How can we speed up it getting tossed aside?
@Robert Gibson I’ve been following along on the Brexit, or the lack there of, and I feel sad for Britain. People stated what they wanted and its been a shame how that has been handled the past couple years. Governments always try to serve themselves and not the people, don’t they?
Steve (and one thing) Revelations 16:13. After much consideration I have long suspected that this points to symbolism of frogs that has been lost (D.H. Lawrence would have speculated on this sort of thing), and that the frogs in the ten plagues appear to have no connection: (The sixth angel empties his bowl over the river Euphrates) …”Then from the jaws of the dragon and the beast and the false prophet I saw three foul spirits come; they looked like frogs, and in fact were demon spirits, able to work miracles, going out to all the kings of the world to call them together for the war of the Great Day of God the Almighty.”
So what did “looked” like frogs mean… (Translation from The Jerusalem Bible, by Catholic Scholars in the 1960s.) Note that I quickly found modern Protestant interpretations, but they read the Pope as the false prophet….
This is off topic and needn’t be posted through, but I thought you’d maybe enjoy this article and recording (video, sadly, but there’s nothing in it that needs to be watched, just heard.) It is a reconstruction of an ancient Greek choral performance, which has not been heard since 400BC. https://m.phys.org/news/2018-07-ancient-greek-music.html
How can anyone forget “Ready for Hillary” Sigh. lol
there is a “natural speed” for a given roadway, called the 85th percentile speed, that is discovered by doing a speed study. It is the speed that 85% of drivers are at are below. This is the speed most drivers gravitate towards regardless of the numbers on the side of the road, and is the safest speed (drivers who drive the 85th percentile speed are much less likely to get in an accident). If Carter and Nixon wanted to reduce gas usage, the more effective way would have been through a steep increase in the gas tax (to European levels), and a massive outlay of alternate means of travel (rail, transit, etc.) to provide car alternatives.
So, the “Bernie Bros” are the obverse of the Kek worshipping pol/acks?
The chan chaos magicians failing in their subsequent attempts to sway political results – could that be an example of the raspberry jam principle? By stymieing Clinton’s goals did they also stymie their own?
Hi John Michael,
I am in total agreement with you that TSW. However, it is not to be used lightly, and I am frankly curious as to why the chaos magic folks have not realised that they have incurred a debt for their workings? I can’t imagine that they believe that assistance was granted free and unencumbered. Very curious.
As a completely different perspective, I don’t ask, but I give, and the continued support for that working comes from the environment around me. I am uncomfortable with the working that the chaos magic folks sought if only for fear for the people involved, but you know, I have no beef with them, and they have to walk their own path.
As to the other lot using techniques to centre themselves so that they feel good, well that sounds a lot like masturbation to me, although I may be being a bit too harsh on them.
Another aspect I was wondering about, at the time /pol/ felt they were up against Moloch worshipers, particularly performance artist Marina Abramovic and her “Spirit Cooking”, which were apparently a popular theme at elite parties… Were they right about that being the magical opposition? What role did that bit play?
I find this essay and discussion interesting, even though I think you are looking at the events that happened with a “magical” bias and omitting certain factors like foreign influence and xenophobia. That said, I thought you and a lot of your readers would find this article about Marianne Williamson exploring a presidential run interesting. It would literally be “mage” vs “mage”. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/aug/02/marianne-williamson-new-age-author-looking-into-presidential-run
Will J, have you looked into selling individual copies through a US distributer like Amazon, Ebay or Lulu and setting up automatic ordering/billing seperately? I would assume these larger players would ‘batch’ the administrative overhead for their vendors, when I set up an account with Lulu I had to give tax information and I assume it’s automatically deducted from each sale. You could also offer issues as ‘rewards’ on a site like Patreon or Paypal, we might as well use the infrastructure while it exists.
Mark L, I happened to catch wind of something interesting going on at /Pol just as the support around Trump started to coalesce, so I feel I can offer some insight to your question. I don’t think Trump’s policies played a big part in why the chans rallied around him, with the possible exception of his anti-war stance (it may hearten some to know that around when Q started rattling sabers at Iran, a lot of us who had been enjoying the game lost interest). Satire and mischief played a role, but I think Trump primarily appeals to the chans because of style over substance – he engages in satire, ‘trolling’, crudity and grandiosity in a way that signals an alignment with the chans in sensibility if not necessarily goals. He is as outside the Cathedral as the stereotypical basement-dweller, and speaking the same language is vital to forming bonds.
Regarding endgames, I think Scott Adams has a useful take there. Shortly before he predicted Trumps win, Scott put out a book whose major thesis was that it is better to have systems providing guaranteed returns and options than goals at which one can fail. I think a large part of why Scott supports Trump is because Trump employs that philosophy. Rather than have a goal of becoming president, he had a system of seeking the spotlight. If his bid for the presidency had failed, he would have still saved “The Apprentice”‘s ratings and been better off than if he hadn’t tried. So I don’t think he plans as far ahead as you’re imagining, I think he has things he does on the regular that have little downside for him but increase his opportunities, and he recognizes the opportunities when they appear.
Which is relevant to Mark Grable’s question – I think chaos magic would stop being an effective political tool if it became the de facto modality of the ruling class. Given the chaotic leanings of people like Adams, Thiel, and Taleb and their waxing fortunes in an uncertain world, that day may not be as far off as we think.
Samuri_47 regarding trades
I have also wondered about this as every person I know who is in trades can usually find a good paying job at will. Even the elites need to flush a toilet, turn on a light switch, do maintenance on their abode. At $65 an hour why one of these skills isn’t attractive is beyond my ken. Apprenticeship is a great way to acquire these skills. I had a cousin who was largely self trained in heavy equipment operations and he was able to find very high paying jobs even after he retired.
Finding a good handy man/woman is like finding a good mechanic or a gold coin in the street. The world can use folk with these skills and they are skills that once you have them, you can take them anywhere. You can earn cash money under the table, work from your home be your own boss. I don’t know what’s not to like.
My Dad did this kind of work as a handy man for many years and while he hated the feast or famine aspect of it, the word of mouth clients he acquired were life long repeat clients. He always urged that we not follow his example and get “real” jobs, but, I only wish I had followed his example sooner, not what he said.
Just a side note, re enchantment and television generally. My wife and I have been gradually weening ourselves off of TV. Some years ago, we dropped cable, using a digital antenna instead for local channels. Shortly after that, we removed the TV from its prominent position in the living room, placing it in one corner instead. Just the other day, she looked at me and said, “I can’t remember the last time the TV was on. Let’s put it in the attic for 3 months and see how we feel when that’s done.” So in the attic it went. The space felt different immediately.
Hello Mr Greer
With all those young men living in their mothers basement commenting on 4Chan, what are the equivalent young women doing?
I ask, as women currently outnumber men in higher education so the problem of surplus entrants to the managerial/professional classes must apply to them as well.
TSW, yes I have had that experience, but with the paranormal not magic. It frightened the pants off me the first time, but I have got used to it, and it seems fairly harmless. I may tell you about it one day on your open questions blog.
Best regards all. Philip
“This man absolutely believes that in Trump Nazism has come to America, that “undesirables” – not just immigrants, but Jews and gays are going to be rounded up imminently, and that death camps are at this moment in preparation.”
What I find fascinating about this belief — which I, too, have witnessed to varying degrees — is how closely it parallels the belief that was prominent in rightward Christian circles for decades. FEMA camps being prepared for the incarceration/torture/murder of the saints during the Tribulation was an article of faith among many. If one reads, for example, any Christian fiction of the last 30 years or so, such things make their appearance quite regularly. I think that we are seeing shadow-projection and the manifestation of a common archetype, something like the Persecuted Righteous.
I agree that conversing in any meaningful way with one who has these beliefs firmly entrenched is not do-able. I don’t know if the fever must run its course or what. I’m hopeful that the mid-terms will be enough of a non-event to allow us to get on with our lives and the effective management of our imperial decline.
In keeping with your theme about the system overproducing college graduates, today’s Albuquerque Journal’s front page has a story headed “UNM turns out grads at record pace.” Subheading “Four-year graduation rate has almost tripled in eight years.” From the body of the story, “..a ‘stunning amount of growth'” and “has also made progress in its five- and six- year graduation rates.”
The letters to the editor – on the editorial page, not the sports page, are all about UNM’s decision to cancel men’s soccer, women’s beach volleyball, and men’s and women’s skiing in order to make a dent in the massive Athletics deficit.
One night many years ago, I sat on a porch in a rather tropical place, during a rather rainy season, and watched a great big frog place itself beneath the only light still on. All sorts of insects were banging around that light, crashing into it, falling to the ground, and then taking flight again back towards the light. The frog just sat there, waiting, waiting, waiting. The insects, as they continued to thrash around, eventually tired themselves out and began to spend more and more time on the ground beneath the light. The frog held its focus unflinchingly, and without even the slightest movement, despite the now tiresome insects landing all around it.
While the frog continued to remain still…. waiting, waiting, waiting, I observed next the insects, especially one great big fly, repeatedly landing closer and closer to the mouth of the frog. Then it happened, the great big fly landed right in front of the mouth of the frog, and in less than an instant, the fly was gone. After that, the frog seemed to be pulling the insects right into its mouth via its consciousness, its will or focused intent (let’s say). It was quite obvious to me that there was a lot happening out there in the open night air of that porch. A lot more than a frog practicing patience or carrying out some perfect strategy. Although that was certainly part of it!
At the end of it all, the frog turned and faced me for the first time, and stared directly into my eyes. I still get shivers up my spine to this day when I go back there. There was such an intensity to that frog’s look, and an undeniable message passed into my being. Had I witnessed magic of a kind….? hmmmm.
This post brought this memory back up for me. Not so much because of the frog, but rather because of the notion of magic, and the understanding of Will, being discussed. So, I thought I would share it here.
Another aspect of the 55 MPH speed limit that was imposed on the nation was that the American car companies were suddenly given a pass to make cars that didn’t need to be well made. After all, why build cars that could go over 100 MPH (even if they were unsafe at 15 MPH) when you could make them barely able to make 100 KPH (around 61 MPH) with a wink and a nod from the feds? And thus planned obsolescence became government policy for a few years.
I noticed that the bellyaching over the 55 MPH speed limit reduced to a whisper (and a Sammy Hagar tune) once affordable, well made Japanese vehicles became well known. American car companies groped their way back into the game, and the Federal Government answered (invoking the 10th amendment) in due time.
As for TSW, I remember my moment. Oddly enough, it brought to me a deep respect for the spirit world and its powers along with a wariness towards those who’d practiced those arts (let’s just say there was quite a bit of disfunction within the New Age group I hung out with at the time – enough to dissuade me from practicing the arts even as I gained a deep respect for them). Twenty years, a changed situation, this blog, and a memory of the few sane practitioners I knew from back then allowed me to try again at magic.
another advantage of high gas taxes over reduced limits–it reduces overall VMT (vehicle miles traveled), which reduces fatalities more than an artificially low speed limit. 55 only saved a fraction of a percent of gas, b/c 99.9% of gas burned is on local streets and roads already posted lower than the maximum.
@Tripp: ” I could almost feel the flying spittle coming at me through the screen. And I’m pretty sure your voice got squeakier and squeakier as you went. At least, that’s how it sounded in my head.”
That tells us about what is in your head, not about me. I recognize that my proposal might have upset people who don’t know about, or prefer to pretend they don’t know about, Project REDMAP and the following legislative acts, to say nothing of Jonathan Swift. Let me make it more clear: I would not actually want to see the Democratic party follow that full plan (and it’s hard to imagine how you could selectively target people who can afford cars and drivers’ licenses for disenfranchisement). All I did was describe exactly how the Republican party has acted during the past ten years to achieve near-total dominance in closely divided states, with the labels reversed (or as JMG likes to say, “with the serial numbers filed off”). If it is “Hate Speech!” to even suggest facetiously that Democrats get that dirty, then what is it when Republicans say it in a closed room full of billionaires – and then actually do it?
Kay, Samuri_47, et al regarding the trades:
For context, I am a 53 yo white guy who’s worked in the building trades continuously for 25 years, and for 5 years in my youth. I’m also familiar with the so-called elites, having attended the academy all the way through post-doctoral research, and also because I sometimes work for them, including more than one billionaire.
My perspective on the trades is that they have been crushed, and it will be at least a generation before they fully recover. The reasons have mostly been covered here already: outsourcing, uncontrolled immigration, and unconcealed contempt for tradespeople by the white-collar class.
But there is another important issue as well that has driven down wages. Most ‘consumers’ of trade services today are ignorant of the difference between real quality and good appearance, and as a consequence most end up paying for crap work done cheap, since the one thing they understand well is price. And so unfettered price competition drives both wages and quality to the lowest possible level.
A generation ago, most people still had some experience with the real, physical world, which was enough to help them recognize the difference between quality and commodity, even if they weren’t trades people themselves. A generation ago almost everyone spent at least a little time dealing with a fussy car, a fireplace that didn’t draw well, or a fence that needed painting. Today, only the dealer can fix our super-computerized vehicles, ‘smart’ thermostats control our home heating, and plastic never-need-painting fences predominate. Most young folks today have grown up in a cocoon that is impermeable to the physical world.
Unlike trade and immigration, which can be changed quickly by legislation, and contempt, which can be unlearned by a single good personal experience, ignorance of real quality in the physical world cannot be learned quickly and easily. Until a generation of young people again work with their hands on real physical objects, at least a little bit, the trades will continue to struggle.
Part of the solution would be bringing ‘shop’ classes back in to our school curricula. I’m not holding my breath.
Following on my last comment, here’s a simple, real world example of how ignorance of simple physical work costs us all, big-time.
The pond across from my house in Seattle needs to be dredged every 7 years, using heavy equipment. This time it will cost $2.8 million, to remove 9000 yards of dirt. That’s $311/yard. Anyone who has ever shoveled dirt for even one day should know that’s ridiculous, since almost anyone can easily move a couple of yards a day or more with a shovel BY HAND.
Assuming 70% overhead (so the elites could get their cut!), we could pay laborers $180/day, provide free shovels, and still come out ahead. There would be a line around the block for this work.
But almost no one here shovels anything anymore (excluding Bullshale), so the bulldozers are rolling in.
Tangentially related to the subject of this week’s post, and more generally to the role of magical belief and practics in politics is the story of Berlusconi’s fascination for occultism.The Italian tycoon and former prime minister is known abroad for his extraordinary political career, perhaps for his membership in the shadowy ‘P2’ Masonic Lodge (where P stands for Propaganda) and for his notorious ‘Bunga-Bunga’ parties. But leaving aside the claimed debauchery of his ‘elegant and sober’ – as he described them – parties, few people outside of Italy know that the architecture of his various mansions and villas betray his fascination for esotericism, the bizarre and a quite a few pagan motives, from stone circles, to sacred geometries.
With your permission I will paste links to two articles in Italian, which Google Translate renders surprisingly well. The tone is understandably tabloid / sensationalistic:
The first contains a description of elements of his 150 acres villa in Sardinia:
The second contains aerial photos of the garden, and other descriptions:
I never read any evidence suggesting that Berlusconi is a practitioner of magic, but since I first read your equation of marketing and black magic, I could never rid myself of the suspicion that there might have been more to his meteoric rise to the Italian political scene of the 90’s than meets the eye.
At the end of the day, he was the entrepreneur who introduced commercial television in the country in the 70’s and his media empire, Mediaset, manipulated Italians for over 20 years before his choice to enter politics. And most of his advisers and trusted men during his political career came from a restricted circle of executives from Publitalia, his advertisement broker agency (a Mediaset company), many of whom eventually went on to become parliamentarians, ministers, etc.
When your read that Berlusconi designed his Egyptian-style mausoleum, located in the park of his mansion in Lombardy, to include space for 36 additional tombs, not for his family, some questions legitimately arise…
Again, I am not suggesting the man is capable of any magic, but certainly there are parts of his story that to my knowledge have never been explored in depth, even in Italy, and ended up either ridiculed as eccentricities or brushed away as fabrications.
This makes sense to me. During the election, I realized that the rage directed at Ms. Clinton was clearly out of proportion to her actual faults. Not that she doesn’t have plenty, and I have never liked either of the Clintons, but her actual positions have always seemed to me in pretty careful, middle-of-the-road territory, and I can’t remember much significant coming out of her time either in the Senate or the State Dept. Just a very run-of-the-mill centrist Democrat. Way too centrist for my tastes.
Yet the anger aimed at her for decades now has been remarkable, and had a quality demonstrated by social media memes that really raised the tenor of crudeness and, well, juvenile quality. It began to resemble to me the kind of rage I have seen demonstrated by young teenage boys toward their mothers, especially in households in which a father was either missing or not regularly present.At the time I called it, “Mommy rage,” with Ms. Clinton having taken on a lot of deep misplaced male anger. Instead of the beloved mother figure, she came to represent the despised, weak mother for boys, really, looking for the daddy they never had.
This also recalled for me the “cuck” phenomenon I began seeing about the same time. At first thinking it was a vestige of Elizabethan literary knowledge with a modern shortening, I was soon educated that it was a meme coming out of the world of internet porn. And it occurred to me at the time that if someone had figured out a way to reach and effectively speak to and motivate the army of young men who had been by that time saturated in internet porn for most of their developing lives, they would be working with some powerful mojo indeed. (My reaching for that term at the time wasn’t a reference to actual magic, but was just a colloquialism. Who knew?!) Now I can’t help thinking the two phenomena are connected.
Hi, CLK – Thanks for the link to the reconstruction of ancient Greek music. When I was trying to find out about the subject 6 years ago there wasn’t much to listen to, but I stumbled into some evidence that the traditional music of the Coptic Christian Church would provide a window into it. Coptic chant is accompanied with triangle and hand drum percussion. Unfortunately, all the music of the Coptic Church that I can find to listen to is New-Age-ified.
My sense is that the choruses to the Greek tragedies would have sounded a lot more like Led Zeppelin than Gregorian chant.
Thinking about the situation in terms of magic, I suddenly realize why Republicans use “The Left can’t meme” as an insult: both sides here are using chaos magic, which revolves heavily around subconscious manipulation using sigils as you said, but the Right has had much more success with it. Thus, it works perfectly to both bring to light what the Left is really doing, and insult them by saying that they’re bad at it.
As for the activities of the chans and their success in helping Donald Trump to the Oval Office, versus the campaigning of the Left against him, I had tried to think about this in relation to the duality between Dion Fortune’s Ring-Cosmos and Ring-Chaos. What I eventually deduced about it is this: much like how a martial artist can block an opponent’s swing and retaliate, the chans are Trump’s way of fighting negative evil with more evil. Then, the second method examined by Fortune, of using evil as a push-block off which to propel yourself towards a goal, comes in with Trump himself; by goading the Left into an outrage, he and his supporters can make them look even worse than they already do, and benefit himself by comparison.
Overall, phrasing this debacle in the form of a battle between wizards, using magic to change the consciousness of voters in accordance with their wills, has made it make a lot more sense. I can’t wait for part 4!
I think that one of the things that often gets lost in today’s political discussions of Trump is the extent to which he has altered the trajectory of what was the Republican party. It is easy to forget in the midst of the angry denunciations of the outrage du jour the degree to which he ran against the fundamental components of the Republican platform, specifically the economic components which comprise the bipartisan consensus. Free trade, TPP, and the like being prime examples. Too frequently, the focus is on Trump as a Republican, which is more happenstance than anything else — he executed a hostile takeover of a party and that party happened to be the one with the elephant as a mascot.
To my mind, Trump is a catalyst. We have been, for some time, needing something to nudge/push/jolt us from the trajectory of the status quo. (A trajectory which HRC would have continued.) The change agent could have been someone like Sanders, had a mirror image take-over occurred in the Democratic party. That isn’t what happened. The catalyst appeared in a great orange halo of outrageous ego in the Republican camp. Because of this fact, there will be certain natural consequences.
The intelligent thing for the Democrats to do would be to recognize *why* Trump won — that he offered an alternative to the TINA argument, that he offered the very thing that all had been told did not exist. He told the working class who’d been getting shafted for decades, “Hey. You’ve been getting shafted for decades and I can fix it.” After acknowledging this fact, the Democrats should then adjust their policies accordingly and offer their own, better alternative to the status quo.
But this is unlikely to occur. For one thing, the natural action-reaction principle applies. Trump is the action, the catalyst for change from the status quo. The reaction to change is stasis, digging in, reinforcement of that very status quo. That is where I believe the Democrats will end up going. By reacting to Trump, they will double-down on the old TINA position, “American exceptionalism,” the current economic world order, the American empire, and the whole nine yards. In doing this, I see them attracting many old-guard Republicans, who could readily find common cause with establishment Democrats on the basis of their shared values of the bipartisan consensus. In this way, the Democrats will become the conservative party of the status quo. The opposition party (either formed out of the Republican party or, more likely in my opinion, a new party rising from the rubble of a collapsed Republican party) will be a party of economic nationalism, balancing the globalist nature of the Democrats (or Democrat-Republicans, or whatever we want to call them).
I could be wrong and perhaps things will go differently. But I think what we’re seeing are the initial waves of change that will be echoing and reverberating and combining in surprising ways over the coming decades.
I am wondering now if the chaos magicians have indeed not set something in motion that no one fully understood and which has a will and/or momentum of its own at this point.
Have any of you seen the latest controversy concerning Izvestia on the Hudson? Gotta love those racist double standards that have become par for the course on the social justice left!
The liberal establishment just doesn’t get it, do they? All they are doing is playing right into the hands of their enemies, including President Trump and the Alt-Right.
Frankly, I want to see them continue down the path they are on, because that way more and more people get to see them for what they truly are and it’s not a pretty picture. When you’ve got the New York Times making excuses for years of openly racist hatemongering by their new tech editor, you know just how disgustingly hypocritical and morally bankrupt the liberal Democrat establishment really is. They are doing a fine job of destroying whatever credibility they might have had left.
Dear Mr. Greer – Twice in the last week, I’ve seen frogs. Not something that happens very often. Once while watering my garden plot, once while picking blackberries. I thought, but did not say, “Pepe? Is that you?” :-). But, I got to thinking about it and wondered if it had any “significance.” Given that I live in western Washington State, I decided to look into how the Native Americans viewed the frog. And, found this …
“Frog is a creature of great importance in Northwest Coast art and culture. As a creature that lives in two worlds, water and land, Frog is revered for his adaptability, knowledge and power to traverse worlds and inhabit both natural and supernatural realms. Frogs are primary spirit helpers of shamans. A great communicator, Frog often represents the common ground or voice of the people. Frog’s songs are believed to contain divine power and magic. When shown in art as touching or sharing his tongue with another creature, Frog represents an exchange of knowledge and power. Frog designs are commonly used as decorative elements, so that Frog faces, for example, peek out from another creature’s ears, mouth or hands. In symbolic terms the emergence of frog from these orifices may represent an eruption of magic and unseen interior and other worlds.
Frog is often associated with copper and great wealth. Legendary Haida princes are said to have attended feasts wearing necklace chains made of living Frogs. The Haida carved Frog on house pole to prevent them from falling over. They also included them in many other carvings, from feast bowls to totem poles. Frogs on Haida Gwaii, B.C.’S Queen Charlotte Islands, are actually northern toads. One Haida name for Frog (toad) is “crab of the woods”.
I found particularly interesting the part about “traversing worlds” and being “spirit helpers of shamans.” Seems to fit right in with what you’ve been discussing.
Also, thanks for this series. I’d heard bits and pieces, but hadn’t really seen a coherent whole. And “exchange of knowledge.” Yup, and yup. Lew
Great installment and many thanks for last weeks reply.Lots of food for thought, It’s funny how one sometimes realizes they had the answer to their own question, through having someone answer it. 🙂
Not sure if you’ve looked in Discord? It’s a platform used by gamers, but been co-opted by everyone else. It’s essentially the evolution of a forum. I find there’s so many interesting reply’s on each blog, but they can get lost…. Might be a good way of archiving interesting tangents/thoughts/book study discussion? Although perhaps your perfectly happy.
Now for some good news: thanks in part to Trump’s economic policies (tariffs, deregulation, tax reform, etc.) and the crackdown on illegal immigration, the US unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in decades and unemployment rates for women, African Americans and Hispanics are the lowest they’ve been since the government started keeping track of unemployment statistics by race, gender and ethnicity.
Things are definitely looking up for a great many working class Americans such as myself. While the Long Descent is still an unstoppable reality when viewed from a long-run historical perspective, prospects over the short to mid-term for tens of millions of Americans are looking better than they have in a long time. This is one of the reasons why I expect Trump will win reelection easily in 2020 and why I believe his brand of populism is the wave of the future in America. Personally, I have gone from being a reluctant Trump voter (and someone who voted for Obama when he ran for President) to being an enthusiastic Trump supporter because of the results I have seen him deliver.
I strongly suspect that when the history books are written decades from now and we have the benefit of being able to put things in perspective without being caught up in the passions of the moment, he will go down as the greatest American president since FDR.
@DudleyDawson I’ve been going Yoga to increase range of movement. Check out ‘Nat Movement’, for me its Juon Taiso 2.0. This guy is great!
God, yes, my first car was an ’81 Ford Granada econobox–the most uninspiring car ever (the one dad removed the cat. from) It went from 0-60 (MPH) in, like, 2 min, and shook over 70. My parents were doggedly buying American in those days, and would never consider a “rice burner”…
[i]”I’m sure plenty of people thought I’d jumped the shark repeatedly when I spent eleven years writing about the end of industrial society!”[/i]
Perhaps, but you did it well, and your reason, reasonableness, accessibility and fine writing were not only convincing, but also allowed many (ahem) to take your other peculiar views more seriously than they might have. To the point where here we are reading this series and the idea of a consciousness hijacking an attempted group magical working isn’t even cause for the batting of eyes. It was a worthwhile side journey!
My kids (20 and 24) have kept me updated on the chans over the last year or so, although I have not visited there. I’ve suspected there are things at work beyond what appears on the surface, and I have cautioned them not to be too accepting of any group, as it is too unclear where this is going. It will be interesting to read your take next week.
I’ve thought of your essay on The Death of God, and wondered how would we tell if one showed up on the scene? It’s unlikely a nobody such as I would be directly involved, but it might be observable from a distance. There’s a lot of chaos and change in the world today, with the ending of that industrial society not being the least of it, Maybe some opportunities for other consciousnesses in there somewhere too?
As a follow-up to a previous comment, here is a great op-ed from Brietbart about the way the liberal left, particularly the so-called “mainstream media”, has bent over backwards to create an atmosphere of racism, hatred and violence.
One of the things that is so ironic about the New York Times making excuses for years of vicious racist tweets by their new tech editor Sarah Jeong is the fact that so many other people have had their lives ruined merely for inadvertently saying the wrong thing. Look at how talk radio host Morton Downey Jr had his career ruined because he used an old-fashioned term for a Chinese person (he used the term “Chinaman”) without any malicious intent. But he was tarred and feathered as an evil racist. Or look at what happened to Paula Deen, a popular cooking show host, when it came out that decades earlier she had once used the N word in a fit of anger after being robbed at gunpoint by someone who was African American. Again, the liberals in the press went out of their way to demonize her and paint her as an evilly evil person who deserved to have her life destroyed. Even the ex-con who had robbed her spoke out against the way she was being targeted by the liberal press while the media lynch mob was piling it on.
One of the commenters wrote not too long ago that he hates the Democratic Party with a pure and beautiful hatred. I could not agree more. There are plenty of decent people in the Democratic Party, but the reality is that much of the Democrat establishment and the liberal left have become a bunch of depraved and out-of-control hypocrites. It has also been suggested by some commenters here and over at the Dreamwidth site that some of these people act like they are demonically possessed or at least demonically obsessed and I wonder sometimes if that isn’t one of the reasons why we are seeing so much insanity and destructive behavior (including self-destructive behavior) from social justice left. Many of them seem to behave more like rabid dogs than human beings.
@ Shane W,
Agreed, having significantly more mass transit options would save a lot more than driving slower on the highways. Idling cars and gridlock due to traffic congestion waste a lot.
A few years ago, my boss and I were going to travel to the same area for the weekend. His round trip was 420 miles, mine was 480. Neither of us had to drive our vehicles other than the round trip – they were idle at the destinations. We had the same year and same model car. We compared notes when back at work: he got 25 miles per gallon, I got 31. He drove 70 mph, I drove 60 mph. So, he used 16.8 gallons of gasoline, I used 15.5 to travel 60 miles further than he did. Had his destination been the same as mine, he would’ve used 19.2 gallons for the trip, or about 24% more than I actually used.
So…for sake of discussion, let’s assume that 90% of USA gasoline is used at low speeds, rather than your 99.9% figure. So, 10% of my 24% fuel savings is 2.4%. So if everyone on the highways travelled 10 mph slower, it might save 2.4% of our total gasoline usage. Let’s say 80% of travelling is at highway speeds, which seems ridiculously high. Then our fuel savings would still be less than 5%. Would even 2% help? Yes. However, the low hanging fruit here would be increased usage of mass transit both within cities/towns combined with better and more intracity mass transit options. That would be talking major drops in gasoline usage.
I know that bus ridership here had a large increase a few years back when gasoline was around $4.00 per gallon here. Tax it more and develop more mass transit? Not a bad option, and there are scads of worse ones.
Bori, thanks for this! WoW is way outside my knowledge base, so I didn’t happen to know that.
Carlos, good. Yes, exactly — TSW is a reflective experience, because it’s caused by the realization that something just happened for which the abstract theories of existence our culture prefers has no explanation at all.
Carl, I mentioned that in a post a little while back. It was a brilliant move — a fine piece of rhetorical judo that caused a lot of people on the left to look really stupid in a hurry.
John, excellent! Yes, and I’ll be talking about that discussion — from the big 12-volume version of Toynbee, natch — in an upcoming post.
Kevin, I get that. Mimesis is a complex thing, and it’s worth noting that the current elite can still get a fair amount of mimesis out of some demographic sectors.
Denys, my advice is to keep your distance from the mainstream media and use whatever spiritual or religious practices work for you to keep your connection to the things that really matter. The more people turn their backs on the managed consensus, the weaker it gets.
CLK, thanks for this!
Shane, it was pretty forgettable…
Darren, that’s a definite possibility!
Chris, spiritual masturbation is one of the occupational hazards of the privileged, since they can always pay to have somebody preach to them exactly what they most want to hear. No, you’re not being too harsh.
Synthase, as far as I can tell it was the usual spirituality-as-entertainment the rich so often get into, with zero actual power. Figure out which church the rich folks in town go to and you can be sure that what’s on offer there is bland feel-good pap; the same is true of the more exotic spiritualities now in fashion.
Docshibby, having actually talked to a lot of Trump voters, I’m giving the losing side’s claims about xenophobia and foreign influence exactly as much weight as they deserve, that is, zilch. If I may engage in a little bit of memetics here:
I live amid and amongst frogs and more frogs – pickerel frogs, leopard frogs, wood frogs, tree frogs, peep frogs, green frogs, bull frogs. In the Summer time, not a day goes by that i don’t encounter numerous frogs. Heck, when I mow my ‘lawn’ I go very slowly to give them a chance to jump out of the way – they will feel you coming if you give them the chance. I have always loved them, and I really couldn’t care less what certain political groups think about it. They are wonderful creatures. Screw Pepe. Pepe is not ‘frogs’.
I’m rather fond of toads, too, come to that.
Dear Hal Fiore, I suggest that the rage directed at Mme. Clinton was more than matched by the adulation of her following. My objection to her was her often demonstrated, stunning, incompetence. In nominating her, the Democrats threw away the one advantage they have always enjoyed in presidential politics, that they nominate certified grownups who have verifiable histories of public service, not some cutup or party animal regular guys might want to have a beer with, To illustrate, I offer my own experience. About 2 weeks before announcing her candidacy, Mme. Clinton gave a major speech to a convention of agribiz and biotechnology companies in which she pledged her support for ongoing genetic engineering and stated that the assembled companies needed to do a better job of selling their products to the public. This was not of course covered by LSM (lamestream media). I read about it at the Organic Consumers Association website and said to myself, no way am I voting for her. ( I voted for Stein.) Now, maybe the sector of the voting public who is strongly anti-GMO is small, but anyone following politics knew as early as 1915 that this was going to be a close election, and any candidate with sense would not gratuitously offend even small groups of motivated voters. I would not call her any kind of Mommy figure. To me, she has always seemed like your basic main street clubwoman, conniving, selfish, brutal in her dealings with others, and with an unseemly (and undemocratic) taste for luxury and bling. Her intellect is mediocre, her manners appalling, her public record undistinguished; she possesses one outstanding quality which is that she is absolutely relentless.
Dear Yves Vetter, there are now craftsmen producing implements of excellent quality for the organic gardening and farming sector. Check out, for example, Rogue Hoes and Red Pig garden tools. I use products from both. About the time the head of your Walmart hoe comes off its shaft and goes whizzing through the air, narrowly missing a window or someone’s pet…is when you decide to invest in some quality equipment.
David, huzzah! Welcome to the real world. 😉
Philip, good question. I don’t happen to know.
Patricia, yep. Sigh…
Yaj, thanks for that. It’s a great teaching story.
Godozo, I was fortunate enough to be in a better situation when I had my first big TSW moment, and so went forward. Still, it’s never too late.
Bucintoro, fascinating. That’s all the more plausible in that Italy has had a huge and thriving occult scene since the days when your politicians wore white togas.
Hal, that’s a very good point. I confess I find the incandescent hatred on both sides baffling and alarming. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are two ordinarily corrupt, self-seeking politicians, who happen to be supporting very different economic and political policies; neither one of them is evil incarnate, and it’s interesting that so many people these days seem unable to disagree with someone and not turn that into an opportunity for venting rage and seething hatred.
Ethan, it really does make sense of things, doesn’t it? Part 4’s already written; stay tuned…
David, that’s roughly my take on things. I’m not sure the chaos magicians set it in motion, though; from my perspective, they got swept up in something much bigger than they had any way of knowing.
Dragon, one of the really clever things Trump has done is figure out exactly how to goad his opponents into doubling down in ways that will alienate moderates. He’s gotten very good at it, and the other side just keeps falling for it.
Lew, fascinating. Definitely looks like a meaningful coincidence…
Shizen, I’m pretty happy with the setup I’ve got, but thanks for the suggestion.
Dragon, since the history books are written by the winners, you may well be right — and it’s worth remembering that FDR was loathed and denounced in shrill tones by the privileged classes and their media back in the day.
Twilight, thank you. As for the appearance of a god on the scene, I’ll have something to say about that next week, and more to say on that as we proceed.
Dragon, you might want to keep those comments of yours in mind next week when we talk about what Jung had to say about “projecting the shadow.”
JMG, I feel the same as you about the incandescent hatred towards Trump and Clinton, but I also am perplexed by the almost religious adoration often expressed by their respective admirers. It feels like both the extreme hatred and adoration got a boost with Obama. The hatred of all things Clinton and somewhat likewise Bush was simmering there before but never had such a flaming eruption until later.
A somewhat related aside, a while ago I dug out from storage the only TV we own (fittingly a clear cased 10 inch prison TV that I bought at a yard sale for $5) since my wife wanted to see the PBS Ken Burns documentary on the Vietnam War. Watching that, it was obvious that Nixon wasn’t actually much different than Trump is, we just didn’t hear about all the nefarious things he did until many years later. Lots of dirty tricks pulled prior to the election to delay things in Vietnam so that he would be elected, and so on. His language wasn’t much different either. Listening to the White House tapes, he might as well have been talking about “Fake News” and saying that the press is the enemy of the people. Pretty much those words. He just didn’t have Twitter.
BTW, we have a bunch of new Hams here in Sweet Home, OR since I taught the class and we’re getting together regularly to learn about emergency communications and how to do it without spending megabucks. I’ll be having a simple 2M antenna building meeting in about a month.
Oh no. I meant to type 2015, not 1915.
One of the saddest, most poignant incidents of the 2016 campaign occurred on Daily Kos when some feminists from Honduras almost apologetically requested American women voters to at least consider the Clinton record at the State Dept. These brave women were living with the aftermath of a brutal American intervention in and contravention or their election, and they actually thought they needed to all but apologize for “telling American women how to vote”.
I think that _both_ candidates lost in 2016, each in a way most hurtful to them. Clinton ran as a technocrat, and lost on the Electoral College technicality; Trump ran as a populist, and lost the popular vote. Had it been the other way around, then they would have both been quite content. As is, America found a way to make them both lose. How ingenious of America!
Whatever spell America cast on itself still holds; the D’s machine is still malfunctioning, and Trump remains unpopular.
Speaking of spells; I worry for whoever wins the 2020 presidential campaign, because of the Zero-Year Curse. I hear tell that Tecumseh cursed the presidency; whoever is elected on a zero year shall die in office.
Tecumseh’s curse has been highly effective, and fairly specific. There are exceptions; Zachary Taylor died in office though he was not elected on a zero year. Reagan was elected on a zero year and survived his presidency; the same is true for George W, Bush. But Reagan’s mind did not survive his presidency, so he did not entirely evade the curse; and W wasn’t really elected in 2000, so he got off on a technicality.
I suspect that the D’s will throw the 2020 fight, just to give the curse to Trump. And he is arrogant and stupid enough to walk into the trap.
But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Tecumseh’s curse is weakening. Or maybe he goes easy on reactionary presidents, because they harm America.
For what it’s worth…
“Hal, that’s a very good point. I confess I find the incandescent hatred on both sides baffling and alarming. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are two ordinarily corrupt, self-seeking politicians, who happen to be supporting very different economic and political policies; neither one of them is evil incarnate, and it’s interesting that so many people these days seem unable to disagree with someone and not turn that into an opportunity for venting rage and seething hatred.”
As neither I nor my peers have any living memory of a (local) elected political ‘representative’ acting in our interests, a complete lack of any form of human decency is assumed to be prerequisite of being a politician. Snake people only, humans need not apply. I don’t think I’d encountered any humanizing account of a contemporary politician before your story Retrotopia, which was probably the most surprising element of it to me.
How are people posting photos and videos to the comments? All I get is the url when I try to do it.
I am of like mind with sgage: “They are wonderful creatures. Screw Pepe. Pepe is not ‘frogs’.” And toads are of course a very beautiful presence – look into their exquisite eyes. There are indeed deeper matters. Yaj makes as you say a good teaching story. How our minds flutter like the moths & flies!
I was working first time 20 years ago in Skopje at a critical time of transition in the Balkans. The city could not afford much street lighting but was a safe space to walk at night with gentle crowds enjoying the cooler evening air. The pond in the open parks by the sports stadium was full of frogs singing of their hearts. I mentioned this to a young colleague for whom this was the normality she had known from childhood – nothing exotic. I said I wished this would continue a long time – if the frogs ever went silent then the city should know it had done something very foolish.
Talking of toads when they are on the great spring migrations these days they are very vulnerable. Toad traditional crossing points can be defended – our relatives in Aberystwyth, Wales, send wonderful pictures. For anybody in UK who cares to leave their car behind there is magic in the night.
I, too, have found myself disturbing a large number of frogs hiding in the greenery this year. I have mostly been happy to see them looking healthy, and having the right number of legs, etc – frogs being a sort of “canary in the mine” species for local pollutants and environmental insults.
I’m happy to be reading this series, and have very little to add to it, apart from my awareness of the existence of a certain population of the disgruntled, dispossessed and disspirited – their reasons are many, and they are by no means a coherent group. Still.
I have never forgotten an explanation I was given by a Quaker when I was a teenager of the dangers of a “disgruntled rump” turning into a force for sabotage – one of the reasons Quakers have worked so hard to perfect the art of decision-making by consensus rather than majority rule.
i am often minded of the fairy tale warning of the dangers of the unwanted and ignored and the chaos they can wring – the 13th fairy theme. The 13th fairy is never invited, being unwanted, unloved, feared, yet turns up anyway, and creates even more havoc for being uninvited.
Jordan Peterson has (uncontroversially in my opinion) made reference to the dialogue that needs to continue to take place between the hierarchies which naturally form around differences in people’s skills and abilities, and the “dispossessed” inevitably created if the hierarchies also control the distribution of resources, who, if the hierarchy can find no useful place for, or way to channel some resources to, are capable of bringing the whole hierarchy down.
Eric Hoffer also says: “A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding.”
All of these, obviously, touch on themes discussed on this blog.
I think of my personal stake in the greater political dialogue as keeping channels of communication open, and promoting the flow of resources sufficiently fulsomly that no 13th fairy, or disgruntled rump, or dispossessed fury, is left unloved, unwanted and feared enough to want to mind (or worse wreck) my own business for me.
I like Chris’s advice in relation to pests (which could also apply to 13th fairies) – invite MORE life to your garden, MORE fairies to your feast, MORE people to active participation in your society. LOTS of all different sorts and persuasions and interests are so much better than two factions who mutually divide the world into Good and Evil, placing themselves on the indicated side (giving any god looking to take advantage a lot more energy than they could gain from the LOTS of all different sorts situation).
Rapt in anticipation of your next.
Yep, sitting here in my new TV-less living room now (which my wife completely rearranged while I was at work yesterday) enjoying my morning coffee in this wonderful space.
Re the waves of change and chaos magicians
Are you then thinking that they were more of an augmentation of an already-existing momentum, rather than causal? I could see the pattern playing out similarly in a multitude of variants, but something brought things to a head at this moment of history rather than another. Was that something a combination of wills, human and otherwise, making the choices that they did or was it something more fundamental that made this particular outcome more likely than another? I know one can all too readily think oneself in circles trying to understand these things, but I’m admittedly quite curious as to why things unfold as they do. And imagining a mirror universe where the populist takeover occurred on the Dem side, with its elite getting increasingly uncomfortable with the upstart at the helm while the opposition is reduced to gelatinous outrage at every utterance, makes for a fun mental exercise. Particularly if one pictures Trump in that role as well 😉
On another note, the current DACA drama is puzzling to me in principle, although I understand the short-term thinking politics of it.
So the Democrats are arguing, in effect, that the executive orders of a previous administration are now somehow binding on later administrations? At what point did EOs take on the force of law? The judge in this case seems to say that the administration must give “compelling arguments” to end the program, rather than having the ability to shift its policy at will (as the previous administration had done in creating the program in the first place, I might add). Now, I’m all for fair treatment of the Dreamers and I for one believe they have a compelling case for amnesty, but this must be dealt with through proper channels; that is, by Congress getting off its hind end and actually passing legislation — preferably a compromise that grants citizenship to the Dreamers while strengthening border security and stemming unauthorized immigration (including effective punishments for employers). In any event, EOs aren’t laws and should not be treated as such by the judiciary. This is bad precedent and will lead to no good place.
well, as JMG’s Burkean conservatism would require, we need to look at how people behave in the real world, not how they should ideally behave. And in the real world, putting lower numbers on signs does not appreciably lower speeds on highways. I’m in Ontario right now, which has the lowest maximums in North America–100 (62 MPH) on freeways and 80 (50 MPH) on most other highways, regardless of how well designed. These limits have no appreciable effect on travel speeds. Driving the 400-series (Ontario fwy system), the speeds are no different than American interstates, same for well built undivided highways. People simply don’t drive any slower despite the lower limits.
@ David, by the lake.
I largely agree with your post of August 3, 2018 at 4:35 pm
JMO but I think the Democratic party leadership knows very well why Trump won. I think the Republlican party understands it too. The Democrats, by being the party of Republican-Lite, have backed themselves into a corner. They want to defend the “welded in place” bi-partisan consensus. They wan’t to do that because they wan’t the super-pac money/corporate sponsorhip, and because in some cases they may actually believe the bipartisan consensus is best. They’ve spent so many decades defending it that they’ve actually come to believe it. Having bought into the consensus they cannot easily walk away from it.
The Dem leaders can’t change their stripes. Even if they were to give up corporate money and finance their campaigns on donations of $27, they can’t reinvent their public persona in a believable way. IMO they see the handwriting on the wall and know their days are numbered. They aim to hang on for as long as possible and one way to do that (they hope) is to convince their loyal followers that Trump won because of racism/sexism/Ruskies. This plays well to their salary class supporters because those supporters are a) not hurting economically and b) can’t fathom any llegitimate reason for anyone to disagree with them about anything. (They are, in their minds, the smartest people in the room) If the leaders can whip up enough anger to raise turnout just a little, and with a little lingering mimesis by people who really shouldn’t be supporting them, they may hang on another cycle or two. Or maybe not. We’ll see. I think that’s the plan.
The alternative, for the Dems, would be to admit they sold out the working class, change policy, take a plasma cutter to the “welded in place” consensus and start representing multiple classes of people. IMO that just isn’t going to happen. My prediction is that the Dems will continue to loose working class voters until there is simply no way to win elections with the salary class alone. I suspect the leadership will double down on stasis even as their party disintegrates.
IOWs, it’s not the Democratic leadership who are bewildered at Trump’s victory. It’s my dentist, and my cousin the accoountant, teachers, etc. OTOH the factory workers, and janitors, and the long term unemployed are not the least bit confused as to why Trump won.
Both the Democrats and Republicans wanted to prevent a populist takeover in thier parties. The Democrats were successful, and that’s why they’ll conitnue to loose. JMO.
@Denys: re Brexit, yes, it’s sad. And not only because of governments versus the people; the people themselves aren’t exactly shining examples of patriotism – having rewarded Euroquisling parties with their votes for almost a half-century, and only voting for Brexit by a 52-48 margin when they finally got a say in the matter. Furthermore, many of those votes were probably for the wrong reasons – just moody protest votes, like teenagers making a point of disagreeing with whatever an authority figure says.
I very much hope that the above grumpy comments are wrong. Perhaps, before jumping to conclusions, I ought to jump on a bus and ask the passengers if they are sufficiently profoundly aware of the infinite value of the web of qualities that go to make up the country’s accumulative historical/cultural/topographical heritage continuum. Duh, you never know…
i hope a lot of the “beautiful hatred” of any party or faces is just a phase as you’re on your way to a more forgiving expansive, SOLIDLY CONFIDENT position. there’s still a lot of UNDERSTANDABLE rage and reaction, and as a mixed race girl, i UNDERSTAND.
i think a lot of people who are mixed or have grown up between different classes, know that it’s all magic and THEATRE: the signs and “tells” that people can’t often pin point. but we SMELL them and must learn to move between them unnoticed (which ends up being impossible or making one insane and unstable because you’re always living in a separate watching world and are never lost in any world).
one of the magics in the STUDY of art is emulating the works of masters, so you can FEEL how and where they got a “look.” that’s the thing: you start out going for a 2-D “look,” and before long you’re on a mystical trip where you feel the energy that MADE that original work, running through you and it compresses time and what you think spirit energy or a “person” is.
as an artist and maybe as a female, i don’t know, i’ve not been so into formal magics BUT i have been taught by men, yes MEN, mages who study and know this other world and have tutored me so i’m not just pulling the zip tie and running away and into oncoming trucks like i have my entire life. they were all a lot like John Michael Greer, so i recognize what he’s doing on an epic scale. and i’m glad to see it’s not for his own ego or any living: JMG’s reason for doing what he does is to help move consciousness forward out of the gutters rage so often falls into. the “beautiful hatred.”
i speak on this because the first comment this week said he doesn’t “need” to go rage and spit like someone with turrets on a chat room. but i’m in san francisco watching the end of everything cool fun and accidental in america die in fast motion, and a decade or so ago i snapped out of the hologram and could barely get out of bed. i decided to love my own colored people fiercely and platonically because i saw how we’d all imbibed the self hatred and tried to make ourselves into some fake image of “whiteness” that doesn’t exist. an abstraction.
so the more i decided to love my own men, the more i realized as another (much younger) teacher taught me: once i decided to fully love my own and my SELF, i realized it was about loving EVERYONE.
which brings me to the phones and mind boggling abstraction of everything and what Yves Vetter said has been with me since i read it almost two days ago. please forgive me taking up all these column FEET instead of inches, but living in san francisco watching what tech and phones have done to this city in such a short amount of time is what’s had me fighting an epic existential nausea:
Yves Vetter says:
“My perspective on the trades is that they have been crushed, and it will be at least a generation before they fully recover. The reasons have mostly been covered here already: outsourcing, uncontrolled immigration, and unconcealed contempt for tradespeople by the white-collar class.
“But there is another important issue as well that has driven down wages. Most ‘consumers’ of trade services today are ignorant of the difference between real quality and good appearance, and as a consequence most end up paying for crap work done cheap, since the one thing they understand well is price. And so unfettered price competition drives both wages and quality to the lowest possible level.
“A generation ago, most people still had some experience with the real, physical world, which was enough to help them recognize the difference between quality and commodity, even if they weren’t trades people themselves. A generation ago almost everyone spent at least a little time dealing with a fussy car, a fireplace that didn’t draw well, or a fence that needed painting. Today, only the dealer can fix our super-computerized vehicles, ‘smart’ thermostats control our home heating, and plastic never-need-painting fences predominate. Most young folks today have grown up in a cocoon that is impermeable to the physical world.
“Unlike trade and immigration, which can be changed quickly by legislation, and contempt, which can be unlearned by a single good personal experience, ignorance of real quality in the physical world cannot be learned quickly and easily. Until a generation of young people again work with their hands on real physical objects, at least a little bit, the trades will continue to struggle.”
THIS IS IT, right here. we’ve got a level of abstraction and addiction that seems to hijack every human animal urge to live, screw, connect, fight it out to the other side… LOVE.
i saw a couple of teenagers kissing in a secret cul de sac in the park behind our apartment and i was so happy because i don’t see indiscriminate kissing or nastiness or even simple nudity here in the city anymore. nudity was outlawed already. but the young couple kissing seemed defiant for LIFE and the guy’s got his hands under the catholic school girl’s skirt cupping her keister and i’m screaming joy to James to come look! life is not OVER!–
–and then he pulls away from her and pulls out his phone and hunches over it, scrolling while she’s wound up and practically crawling through his hair to get his attention back.
it was all i could do to fling open the window and yell, “no! go back to it or you’ll end up going broke paying hookers in your old age to play this scene out til you die, to atone for ignoring the beauty of this moment!!!”
this is related to what Yves Vetter said because i see it in our system now EVERYWHERE: landlords will make bank just being slumlords doing nothing now that rents are $4k+ for a 1 bedroom, and thus the management company now no longer uses the regular dependable handymen, and instead bid out jobs to the lowest bidders and our ghetto ignored steps were cited by the city to be completely replaced–front and back.
it took many, many months and the job had to be ripped out and completely done at some point and STILL we had steps with planks that had 50% overhang and snapped and still snap and they now say people are unscrewing the steps. (???)
and the painters underbid even the crappy step builders, the crappy step builders were SHOCKED. so was i, because they painted in the wet winter, didn’t finish, and it all took on water and flaked and came off within a couple of weeks.
and workers scraped entire plexi glass panels not telling the difference between glass, and razor blades were tossed on the ground below in the gravel and big paint spots and brush strokes were left on grey areas and paint was left on windows 3 stories off the ground and they got PAID…
the paint job felt like an actual assault to those of us expected to live full time in their “money shot” if you get my drift.
and the landlord and management company don’t care because they don’t come out here, but as you said: THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY’RE LOOKING AT WHEN THEY DO.
i won’t go on. suffice it to say it all got me pretty depressed because i even said to James what you said: none of these people understand materials anymore. they don’t care. all that matters is what’s on the SCREEN. there’s a whole other screen world of getting things done…
but in the real world even the slumlord next door evicted and paid everyone to leave so she can flip the place empty, she is doing “improvements” by cobbling together different work men who come at strange hours and make crazy messes and have started two fires next door already.
my point is, Mr Yves… you’re RIGHT. and what makes me blue is that nowhere is safe for this level of abstraction (b.s.). you’re right: no one knows quality and WORK PEOPLE BEING EXPECTED TO DO CRAPPY JOBS DAY IN AND DAY OUT WITH YOUR HANDS… IT’S A FORM OF EVIL.
i’ve seen the SICK on the painting outfit’s workers. few returned if they showed up at all.
i used to figure the trades were where you had honor because there’s something … connected… about working with your hands in art or in craft. same thing.
and if i can go bonkers and scared and tripped out in a “TSW in a whole OTHER WAY!” way, from drawing a michelangelo hand in pencil, then people who work with their hands all day…
it can’t be a good sign when teenage boys would rather look at their phones than kiss a girl in a catholic school skirt, or a kid can’t feel the difference of plexi and glass, but will scrape the window up before realizing it’s a problem.
i realized these magic phones make mind control and genocide overwrought. we pay for these tracking devices and i’ve seen and had many people talk to me in frantic panicked whispers because they’re having an animal visceral reaction to being IGNORED.
i passed out in front of the gym from dancing in the sun too long and asked a fellow member young tech guy for water. he said “there’s water inside” and went on in and i passed out. he didn’t mean harm– i went up to him later because i was so sad about it. he was OBLIVIOUS.
these tech people have brought a rampant fxck you culture. our own neighbors in the big remodeled aquarium house that look down on the homeless who sleep on our block won’t even say hello BACK when we say HELLO to their FACES.
this terrifies me. it does something to all of us to ignore, be ignored.
and Mr Yves… you hit on where reality and abstraction are converging and being scary in our own foundational existences.
this is why i have to work harder at getting over my own irritations at “white folks” and try to see beyond the whatever and get to what’s next. what connects us.
my art now is offline and loving EVERYONE albeit platonically. i cannot screw everyone nor do i want to. i have to use my art of love affair magic in plain sight with people i will never kiss. i see it’s needed and necessary. especially with men. women i try to get them out of the passive “do me/ make me feel good” shtick. feminism got derailed into a gutter and small dreams of give me the crap. the stuff.
the stuff game is over.
so i don’t know about putting shop back into schools. i don’t know about institutional ANYTHING anymore as nothing is about the “thing” anymore; it’s all about the job, whatever you can skim while ‘doing good.’
this is why the trades seemed like the last bastion that’d hold out from the b.s.
i think the painters were just some cat who rented the equipment, got the workers (one guy was sofa surfing, looking to buy a car to live in), berated them and bid low on jobs no one will ever EVER check on because they don’t need to: they’ll make money letting everything deteriorate.
i feel like i’m living in a city of addicts. this makes the heroin problem in nyc in the ’70s or the crack epidemic in the ’80s seem cute. people will tag and decimate and distract themself and pay for it themselves!
people who go through that TSW hysteria… when you realize this system is being propped up by people who’re crushed by it and sold to us and a great idea? the hysteria you feel when you see what the magic phones are rolling out to a city and country near you? … airbnb and uber et al have already gone global.
but when you see how it subverts your humanity and the unease and fear of being filmed called out as even ALIVE and HUMAN… it all will make TSW hysteria seem CUTE.
these people really do think mars is a great idea. and all while being in one of the most gorgeous cities in the country if not world. they don’t see life or the beauty of a short plaid skirt or …LIFE.
sorry this was so long. Yves.. you GOT me. i couldn’t believe people didn’t jump on your comment.
hands are magic. and solidity. that’s all i can say to end this rant.
and as for the person who was too holy to wanna rant dirty mean things: i’m a sweetheart but all this SJW stuff has ruined sex and romance for me so much so, that the other day i remembered how nasty and good old erotica used to be–incest hookers voyeurism bestiality all of it. i can’t dip into online porn stuff without feeling sick from the back stories of the collective sexual unconscious which is all about that cold mean take that “money shot.”
no one’s having fun anymore. so i even found myself simply going to duck duck go to do heinous searches for pages i was too chicken to actually click on, like having myself to “faces of death” because i need sex to feel wrong scary nasty innocent again. so i get going to chat rooms to say anything nasty because it FEELS like, to quote myself: it feels good like farting past first class or peeing while swimming naked.
the hands… i wish people talked about the physicality of us and how it is also an antennae to the spirit world. that’s all i know. since people put out subject requests like you’re a DJ, i hope you one day feel inspired to say something on hands and …magic.
Regarding JMG’s response to Hal (“I confess I find the incandescent hatred on both sides baffling and alarming. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are two ordinarily corrupt, self-seeking politicians, who happen to be supporting very different economic and political policies; neither one of them is evil incarnate, and it’s interesting that so many people these days seem unable to disagree with someone and not turn that into an opportunity for venting rage and seething hatred.”).
I wonder if part of it might not be a result of so many people wanting to convince other people of things that are palpably untrue, and then abusing them when they refuse to agree, which winds up making people really, really pissed about being lied to like morons, and that leads, paradoxically, to a more irrational and extreme form of rejection and hatred?
Rationally, I also do not think that Hillary Clinton is any worse than your average corrupt, self-serving politician with a poor track record, and up until 2016, my thoughts on her (when I bothered to think about her) were “I don’t particularly care for her or her record.” But ever since 2016, I sometimes find myself just wanting to scream invective about the woman for no other reason that I am SO VERY SICK of people trying to make me believe that a corrupt, self-serving politician with a poor track record is some kind of martyred saint Fighting For Us and anyone who can’t see that and won’t get happily on-board With Her is (pick one or more: racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, deplorable, selfish, in need of a privilege-checking, etc.) and How Dare Sanders run against her or people choose not to vote for her, you should all be ashed of yourselves! The Democratic Party’s determination to rig a primary for her, insist that she was a strong candidate when all the evidence clearly said she was a weak candidate (and attack anyone who pointed to the evidence saying so), and then vilify and blame the voters when she lost to her own pied-piper candidate (like many of us had predicted she would), has engendered a lot of what I know is fairly irrational kind of “blow-back hatred” in me. I imagine I’m not the only one on the left end of the spectrum who feels that way – although I do TRY to remember that I’m not being rational, just having that reaction to feeling like I’ve been being bullied and manipulated.
Perhaps that “gaslighting” tactic of the Democrats might have been what caused some of the more irrational, incandescent hatred of HRC in the past two years?
As for hatred of Trump – well, we’ve talked a lot about why he attracts so much hatred, for different reasons.
Carlos, JMG, and all:
I was thinking a lot about the way people support the leftward end spectrum of things today after a rather long, emotional debate with my mother last night. It didn’t seem to matter how much of the ideas I presented made sense to her, she was hooked, line and sinker by the ideas presented by the mainstream media. It’s all the more ironic to me because I can easily talk about ideas of the Long Descent and peak-oil with her. But when it comes to Trump, it all becomes emotional.
I realized this morning it is a magical weaving, a net, cast through spells of words. I realized then that it doesn’t matter how much of the “TMS” attitude you present to a person who is caught in that net, they’ll struggle more in it futhering becoming ensared. The only way out is finding another magical working, an opposing spell. This does beg some questions though. Who is casting the spell? The Democrats. The mainstream media. But one must dig deeper than that. They’ve also been caught in a spell. That’s why they’re able to keep digging in deeper when it is obvious they’ve failed to see reality. There is definitely a god, or gods at work here. Some intent on keeping us stuck in the myth of progress, which on paper many can logically see doesn’t make sense yet we still continue down that path.
As I was thinking, I was also doing some yard work. Work which I realized I didn’t need to be doing because it wasn’t of the utmost importance. But as I have worked I’ve realized that it’s actually been a starting point of creating a beautiful area which is further spreading to other areas of the yard and the buildings. This helped provide me with a physical way to see how magic can work.
Here, I feel it’s important to consider the Tree of Life. Just as a tree grows upward and branches out, so too do the gods. Some are much closer to the center and source, while some are very far out on the edge of the branches. Their reality is important but if it becomes too big, it weighs heavily and causes the branch to break off. This in my mind is chaos. And I feel it has an obvious parallel with the myth of progress.
Our host also has been weaving a magical net. First on the Archdruid Report and here now on Ecosophia. It’s been one of the gods much closer to the source and center which is why so many have been following for years, and why many feel a sense of groundedness when reading these weekly posts.
So, trying to bring this circle of thoughts now all together, the “TSW” moments are similar to my yard work outside. It doesn’t have to make sense or be logical. It just has to work. This is belief. The more you work at it, then, eventually you’ll come to an “aha” moment connecting the “TSW” with the “TMS”. The irony of it all though, is this framework can be applied to any and all gods and magic. Which is what we have seen with the left and now with Trump.
Sorry for a tangled mess of thoughts!
Denys, Trump may or may not be employing deliberate protective magic but I recall reading someplace that the office of the presidency conveys a certain amount of low-grade passive protection all by itself, simply because of the belief and awe with which the nation has collectively imbued it. As the duly elected leader of the nation, confirmed by the rituals of election and inauguration, he’s insulated to some degree from the kind of sporadic, unfocused psychic attacks that tend to get hurled at public figures. It’s not infallible but it can deflect quite a bit of the malefic intention that gets focused at them – until they leave office, of course, at which point their health often deteriorates rapidly.
August, and of course you’re right; the disproportionate hatred directed at Clinton and Trump by their enemies is balanced by the disproportionate adulation directed at them by their supporters. It really does show the presence of potent nonrational factors at work. Delighted to hear about the new hams! (And thank you, btw, for the reminder about my license; I was aware of it, but it took longer than I’d anticipated to find the paperwork with the necessary data to renew it. Fortunately that’s all taken care of and I’m good until 2028.)
Nastarana, yeah, I recall that. Also the way that Clinton supporters shut them down.
Nathaniel, it’s an ingenious country. 😉 As for the Tecumseh curse, Reagan broke that one with the help of a good astrologer; it wasn’t a problem for Dubya and probably won’t be a problem from here on in.
Nancy, I saw that. Somebody’s been having fun with the software…
Synthase, the interesting thing is that I’ve known a number of politicians who don’t fit the stereotype. Are they in the minority? Sure, but it’s not just one here and there, either. A friend of mine who was getting screwed over by the VA, for example, got everything he was entitled to get once he contacted his congresscritter and had said representative intervene; I’ve known other people who’ve had similar experiences. I wonder if there’s more going on here, in other words, than a straightforward reaction to circumstances.
Denys, I don’t know how to do videos, but you can put in an image by using ordinary HTML: (angle bracket)img src=”url of image” alt=”name of image” width=”pixels” height=”pixels”(angle bracket) does the trick.
Phil, I ain’t arguing. Frogs and toads are seriously cool — but they can also be omens.
Scotlyn, and the first political party over here that grasps what you’ve tried to say will redefine politics in the US for the next half century. Unfortunately, both of our mainstream parties are stuck in chase-’em-away mode.
David, it’s really difficult to make sense of phenomena like these using cause and effect as a tool. I’d say that the chaos magicians were part of a much larger phenomenon, certainly. As for DACA, it’s all short term politics; those who benefit from flooding the labor market with as many illegal immigrants as possible will pursue their advantage, those who don’t will push back. This is precisely how republics turn into empires: the rule of law gives way to the rule of whatever gets the desired goal, and then to the rule of personality.
Kitten, thanks for this. And that’s exactly it, of course — to push through the abstractions that attempt to flatten out all the strangeness and individuality into a collection of interchangeable people-parts, and remember that the world really is a lot weirder and a lot more alive than our industrial culture wants to pretend.
El, I can certainly understand being desperately sick of people insisting that this or that hack politician is light itself, or what have you. And yes, it takes work not to be sucked into an opposition just as extreme as the adoration — but that’s crucial, since avoiding it is the only way out of the trap. We’ll be back to some semblance of national sanity again when people get around to noticing that Trump, Clinton, Sanders, et al. are just a bunch of politicians.
Prizm, it’s not tangled at all. You’re pointing toward something huge, which I’ll be trying to discuss in more detail as we proceed.
@ Shane W,
One of the unappreciated factors I can see emerging in politics in the decades ahead is a strong aesthetic sensibility. What is striking about some of the neo-reactionary groups, such as the Tradcats or the High Tories, is the beauty of much of their imagery.
Liberal progressivism has to ceaselessly attack the very idea of beauty, because beauty is the concrete manifestation of the notion that some things are inherently better than other things. And, by inference, that the world is inherently unfair. This is also no doubt the reason why hierarchically minded worldviews are drawn to beauty.
I don’t think the neo-reactionaries have quite realised the potential of weaponising beauty yet, but if and when they do, I think this could have enormous power.
Hi JMG, as to the provenance of “kek”, I suppose you’ll be familiar with the passage in Aristophanes’ “Frogs” (405 B.C.), where the chorus of frogs sings “brekekekex quax quax” for the first time in human history.
quote from Wiki: This is the point of the first choral interlude (parodos), sung by the eponymous chorus of frogs (the only scene in which frogs feature in the play). Their croaking refrain – Brekekekèx-koàx-koáx (Greek: Βρεκεκεκὲξ κοὰξ κοάξ) – greatly annoys Dionysus, who engages in a mocking debate (agon) with the frogs.
I enjoy your current series; never heard of lolcats and kek before, nor of the dealings of chaos magicians. Glad to be up-to-date now.
Just as Bush was “not really elected” in 2,000, I see no reason to have confidence that Hillary’s campaign did not also cheat. Our election process has lots of room for that, so I wouldn’t take a couple of million votes seriously. I assume that she did assure herself she would win by engaging in election fraud and it is no doubt a main reason that there was so much cognitive dissonance when she lost. You can shift a few numbers, but you can’t do too much if you don’t want to get caught. I suspect she lost by quite a bit.
And no, losing the popular vote is not a loss on a technicality. It is how our republic is supposed to work, ensuring that we don’t have a tyranny of the majority all the time. At least, that is my understanding.
Reagan survived the presidency but was shot.Nancy employed a very good astrologer, without whose analysis he did not make any moves. It may be that she saved his life.
Let me just say (no matter how awkward it comes across), how much I appreciate JMG and all of you commenters (especially the regulars). I am walking a lone path at the moment, and this is one of the few places where I can come, listen, learn, feel part-of, and breathe. So thank all of you.
This morning was the official end of yet another social media sabbatical. Woke up, blessed the cats, made (decaf) coffee, and settled into my routine. Within 10 minutes, I caught myself in an unreasoning, angry, oppositional mood. (You guessed it: I had scanned the news and my social media feeds). Thing is, it was totally irrational, and out of the blue. The article I had scanned talked of a subject I have no stake in and a person I know nothing about.
It was a strange, “burn it all down” mood. This has been happening off and on for a couple of years now (it’s why I eventually take sabbaticals in the first place). Okay, okay, I’m denser than most of you, but I had to come to awareness. Number one, nothing digital first thing in the morning. Nothing. I can read a book. I can journal. I can meditate. I can draw. But nothing digital.
It’s also a bit humbling, since, naturally, I like to think I’m above all that. Instead, I fell right under its spell. And after this series of articles, I’m wondering if, indeed, “spell” may not be the correct word.
“I realized this morning it is a magical weaving, a net, cast through spells of words. I realized then that it doesn’t matter how much of the “TMS” attitude you present to a person who is caught in that net, they’ll struggle more in it futhering becoming ensared. The only way out is finding another magical working, an opposing spell. This does beg some questions though. Who is casting the spell? The Democrats. The mainstream media. But one must dig deeper than that. They’ve also been caught in a spell. That’s why they’re able to keep digging in deeper when it is obvious they’ve failed to see reality. There is definitely a god, or gods at work here.”
I have been thinking in this direction for some time, but am not necessarily ready to impute a god at work. I’d like to know more about parallels in other times. Was it like this at the dawning of the 3rd Reich or the leadup to the French Revolution? When I say ‘like this’ I am talking of the fairly sudden sea change in people’s behavior, the utter unreachableness, like facts are completely irrelevant and are just loose tools for the agenda, which is hatred and persecution. It is also obvious to me that most of the accusations of the left are projection. Perhaps that is why no kind of defense of the accused is permissible. It is the accusers who are self-accused and have found themselves guilty, and want punishment to happen, to whom does not matter.
It’s like there is a longing for catharsis, it’s like a runaway train. I admire those, like Jordan Peterson, who are standing up to it, but for me and mine, I hope we can lay low and dive under the wave. These things are patterns that no pundits can fathom. I don’t want to be part of it and I am sure that during previous such times, there were many people who just saw the world go insane and tried to be as bland and invisible as possible to wait it out.
In terms of consciousness, this is a group thing. And as people go to sleep and sometimes have nightmares, so has a large cohort of Americans and Europeans decided to go to sleep together, and have a nightmare together. I suppose dreams are lonely. A shared dream could be satisfying.
In my old age I see more and more how delusional people are, how little they know themselves, how quick to judgment and how slow to analysis. Many think that they are one kind of person, but in fact they are quite another, have quite different priorities that they are all but unaware of as they act them out, very much like zombies. Truly, life is but a dream.
Your response to Hal:
“that’s a very good point. I confess I find the incandescent hatred on both sides baffling and alarming. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are two ordinarily corrupt, self-seeking politicians, who happen to be supporting very different economic and political policies; neither one of them is evil incarnate, and it’s interesting that so many people these days seem unable to disagree with someone and not turn that into an opportunity for venting rage and seething hatred.”
made me think about a feeling I had just after I graduated from high school and continued on through my young and middle adulthood. That feeling was, “I have been lied to”.
It seemed to me that it was a cultural lie. No one person had willfully lied to me, but everyone had. In my youth after a period of modest rebellion, where I couldn’t really find a solution to being lied to, I settled down, got a real job and got on with life. However, the feeling that I had been lied to never really left me. When I reached my fifties, the program finally pitched me out on my own. I have since learned a lot about the ultimate DIY project called life and it was in accepting something programmed that I detected the lie I think. Not accepting the program is very scary and I know I was when I realized I would never have or be able to get the kind of job I had had when I got kicked out as it also was when I realized in my youth that I didn’t know of any alternative. Ultimately, it was a good thing I was kicked out of the program, I did find my was, but it was scary non the less.
I kind of think that I am not the only one who has felt “lied to”. Perhaps when people wake up in their middle adult hood or perhaps earlier and realize they have wasted their precious life by following the offered program or that the program is unavailable to them or it has kicked them out, they might find that the only expression for the depth of emotion they feel is the pure rage you and Hal are referring to as they try desperately to cling to the lie.
This is where a huge credit is due. You have for years been taking huge issues and ideas and breaking them into manageable chunks that are easier to absorb. You do it in a way which tends to be understandable and written with artistic prose.
Last month I bought a copy of The Celtic Golden Dawn. The past few days I’ve been teasing ideas out of the first exercise. The symbolism and meanings have sprouted new ways of thinking. In turn, that has helped me gain new perspective on these posts you do.
Christopher L. Hope said
“Both the Democrats and Republicans wanted to prevent a populist takeover in thier parties. The Democrats were successful, and that’s why they’ll conitnue to loose. JMO.”
May be JYO, but I think that was very well put.
Back in the Chanology days I was interested in 4chan, and actually wore a Guy Fawkes mask to a protest. It was a great time, we partied hardy, and there was cake. The actual damage to the CoS is hard to guess, but I think there was some success in airing out some of it’s dirtier laundry in public. I recognize the trolling tactics of our own era, where the Kekistani forces draw out their opponents into looking publicly dumb, as being developed for field usage at that time. Anonymous (as the spirit of that movement was named) regularly played the game of drawing the CoS into situations where they would oppose something they did not understand, and in the process act out the part of every bad thing what was being said about them. I remember in particular a guy from the church with a telephoto lens trying to get pictures of any protesters who would take their masks off, which certainly played in the the paranoia about the CoS working to target it opponents with legal action of harassment.
I don’t remember how it ended, as after a protest I moved on with my life and generally lost interest in the chans, except as a place to peep on the Id of the internet. I think there was a lulz shortage, and that the dreams of internet emergent behavior radical change were pulled in the direction of Occupy and Arab Spring where they were traumatically transformed by much harsher encounters with reality.
I remember in the early days of Chanology a buddy of mine quipped something relevant to the thesis at work here. He reckoned that the Internet was something of a ‘New World’ for memetic organisms; which in his final analysis are so similar to spiritual beings not to worry about. Such that beings that had manifested in other environments of information evolution (cosmic, geologic, genetic, heuristic, ecological, neurological, cultural, linguistic, written, digital) were slowly learning to venture into this new ecology and gradually adapting to manifest in it, with individual humans function in this new setting like cells in a brain, or plants in a forest. He further suggested that in the early process those entities which have the highest tolerance to chaos (think extremophiles) would be the pioneer entities. He suggested that 4chan in particular was at that time “the Kali of the internet”, he was fascinated by the phenomena, and respectful ,but also kept his distance. My buddy was not at the time extremely educated in a wide variety of mythologies, and perhaps other dieties were closer, but I certainly felt that 4Chan was somewhat Kali like; remember that a ‘chan’ in the context of the culture is a female, even if Anon was masculine.
Also, in advice animals there was Fowl Bachelor Frog, which was often somewhat gross and self depreciating humor, and I think an early form of Pepe.
An interesting observation about my buddy’s ideas. He had kinda come to the conclusion that gods and spirits were real in roughly the same sense that people are real from with in a material rationalist framework. My friendwork with him lead to me discovering Bateson, I think one of the most useful stepping stones beyond hard materalism, and Wolfram. One of the things that got me reading TADR when I first took a look at it was that you had made an off hand remark about Bateson, which drew my focused attnetion. It also made things considerably easier as I realized that you believed in more things than I had deduced between heaven and earth to follow along. Back in the framework of those days we were in a tricky spot of believe that TSW, but coming to that point with out a particular non theoretical framework. Lead to wild flights of fancy.
@JMG – Forgive me in advance if you have already had to field a similar question. I will admit to no background in magic anything, and have not rousted up a copy of the Dion Fortune book yet. SO, that in mind, if magic produces results, why did attempts to help LePen win the French election fail? If TSW, then why does it seem to work capriciously?
Also – Tsar Nicholas II was indeed a very devout Orthodox Christian and by all accounts a devoted family man. He was also a very incompetent ruler. The man, as head of the Duma (which he created by imperial edict), repeatedly dismissed or vetoed any bills he didn’t like, which were often the reforms most needed to deal with the rapidly changing empire he ruled. It is true that Rasputin was certainly a mystic and indeed won over the Tsar’s wife with his abilities to heal, or at least ameliorate, the effects of their son’s hemophilia. That said, I am skeptical that magic played any more of a role than say; an unreformed 19th century army fighting on a 20th battlefield, or an economy in rapid flux with no channels for its discontents, or an imperial bureaucracy which had grown quite senile for the exact reasons outlined in this series of essays.
3rd – LOLcats always make be chuckle. Thanks for that!
Let me try to upload something that makes me laugh out loud every time I see it. Just needs a frog added to it.
I haven’t made it all the way through the comments yet, so maybe John has already addressed these issues, but must post some of my own before I lose the thoughts!
In regards to making details of your magic public (as in the curses against Trump): I have noticed throughout my life that things often go smoother and I experience more “good luck” if I am careful with my words and with who and when I share them. There is so much encouragement now (pop therapy?) to share your feelings; to be open which is equated with being honest; being vulnerable so that you can be held accountable. There certainly are places for all of these to be followed; however, can’t practicing all of the above without any discernment create an opening for you to be used by others? That has been my experience, so now I am very careful. I am reminded of the old tales of using hair and nail clippings to cast spells against people. So if having personal physical objects can be used against someone, can people having too much info on your emotions, weaknesses and thoughts work spells against you? And I’m not even talking about what happens online, when your past can come back to haunt you!
JMG, in a later post said “…most of the beatniks (and later, of course, the hippies) were just playing at rebellion and would cut their hair, put on business suits, and cash in their ideals.” Goodness, I used to think in these exact terms. I remember telling someone the hippies had cut their hair, donned suits and joined Wall Street, so what’s not to say that the hipsters and activists of today won’t march down the same road? You know what would make a good story? Choose a future date, 40-50 years from now. Have the now elderly Millenials being ridiculed and condemned by their children and grandchildren. (“What do you mean, you only recognized 12 genders; don’t you know the number is infinite?” “How could you have been fooled by the Hollywood actors pretending to support woke causes, when they were really lining their pockets and using it to promote their careers?” “You voted for xxx in 2028? Didn’t you know how fascist she was?” “Oh, Mom/Dad, I’m embarrassed when you talk about your early work for what you thought were liberal causes that were really so oppressive!”) Cue predictable generation gap fights, street protests, etc. Tie in with ecological, political, and societal collapse. Would this be considered a work of fiction, or a visionary experience? You know, pretty much what the Millennials are doing to the Boomers will happen to them. And history repeats itself. Is this Karma at work?
About comments regarding yoga, mindfulness, etc. being used in business and among the liberal progressive set: as has been pointed out, much of the spiritual practice and teachings behind eastern teachings popular in the west has been abandoned. People tend to want the easy path, which results in a cheap consumerist faux-enlightenment. Once I somehow ended up received a catalog selling items that were clearly aimed at this set. One example of an item offered was a meditation pillow which cost something like $200. I was thinking, “You’ve got to be kidding me”. Based on my experience while in Christianity, and for a few years of examining New Age/Positive Thinking beliefs, is that while there is a great deal of fluff being taught, there are kernels of truth within. The trick is to separate the wheat from the chaff. I’m now coming to realize that, within most religions and philosophies there are deep truths, and bad teachings. The bad teachings often come because of the clash of cultures, where one culture likes and adapts certain ideas from another, but doesn’t understand the need, or even want, to fully study and follow the teachings as originally taught. Of course, bad teachings can simply come from a bad teacher! The trick is, how to recognize that wheat, to avoid choking on the chaff, and finding a teacher who does not lead the wrong way. John, how does one go about finding a good teacher? Actually before that: How does one find what path (Taoism? Druidism? Traditional Religion?) to take?
Thank you so much for addressing the KEK wars. Ever since the election, one thing had been a mystery to me. That day, I woke up, and immediately felt a strange energy the whole day. Here, in Michigan, at least, the air itself was electric all day long, and I knew Trump would win from the onset. I don’t get tells like that often, it’s rare, and for me, this was the first and only time I got such a tell of a world event.
I also walked into the voting booth, ticked off all the democratic boxes, and got to Trump and Hillary. Although I had, for years, supported the alt right (the non-racist version), I intended to vote for Hillary, but my body wouldn’t let me. For whatever reason, I felt absolutely compelled to vote for Trump, and I did, and I left the voting booth feeling absolutely giddy and giggled the whole way home. I’m not the only person this happened to, and it did feel like something in the air affected us that day.
I have been bringing up some themes from this series for discussion at work, leaving aside bits which would thought stopper any of my coworkers and prevent productive conversation. A fairly interesting line of though came from that, and I will try to present some of it for consideration. Because several days of discussion are being drawn from for material there will be quite a few tangents and I am condensing this to core thoughts, meant to be recoverable through thoughtful readin, I hope those threads come together as close to a good yarn.
1. Positive thinking acts as a gate keeping tool for a certain, particularly diverse and widespread, faction of the consumer class.
The consumer class includes a substantial fraction of the American public, appearing rarely at low levels of the income distribution, but becoming predominant above the median income level. The mark of this class is that significant fraction of their income potential is available for ‘free consumption’.Free Consumption is the act of spending money to consume resources at ones own choice, a choice which reflects ones own tastes and goals. If you have to spend the money consuming resources to stay in your faction, it is status consumption; if you have to spend money consuming resources to stay alive and tolerably healthy it is subsistence consumption. Consumption is the spending of money on resources that are consumed, that is to say used up by the expenditure. Once something has been consumed, what it was before entering that economic activity is gone. Buying a new chair consumes the wood from which the chair was made.
In America we have far more money than there exist resources to spend it on at present prices. Therefore it follows that most money must be allocated to transactions which are non-consumptive. We must have a non-consumer society, because a fully consumer society with our sum financial resources would burn itself out in a few weeks. It is in order to keep price of consumption low that the fraction of money which can be spend on consumption must be limited. Money spent to use a resource in a way which does not up the resource is access. Buying a used chair, and then passing that chair on or selling it in turn, is not consumption, as the chair is not depleted it counts as access. Resources vary widely in how much their access is inherently exclusive. A chair can only sit so many people, a national park as well, but very different numbers of people. Money can also be spent on services, which are access to another persons talents and resources. Money spent for membership in a faction is status.
Many Americas have access to considerable income, if it is considered in terms of consumer power. But maintaining access to that income requires them to spend it on status (consumptive or not) and access. Access to ever more trite parts of a civil life and public resources grow ever more expensive, what with fees, licenses, taxes, tuition, fines, tickets, interest, permits, inspections, subscriptions, certificates, rent, and steep service costs.
Because there are a preponderance of status and access costs, services are very expensive. My granddad could hire a darn good carpenter who only needed enough money to consume some beans, coffee, bullets, corn whisky, and denim; so long as Granddad wasn’t picky about when Harvey showed up at work. Harvey’s Grandson Devin needs to pay many times those costs total just for his one room apartment and his reefer, let alone keeping his truck running (a status consumptive cost for handymen), McDonalds, Healthcare, Carharts, paying off his tickets, court fees, insurance and that’s assuming he isn’t even trying to charge the good money by paying various sorts of protection money to lawyers so he can charge more than chicken scratch for his work. Therefore Devin’s services are far more pricey than they historically would have been, just because the guy’s got a big parasite load to support, even to maintain access to membership in a very non-competitive faction. If he chose to move to a faction which required an education, then pray for us all.
Factions are recognizable, each one must have observable traits to make them noticeable. The stereotypes you know are your catalog of factions. Factions have a fractal nature, breaking into sub-factions onto sub-sub-factions all the way down to the level of the individual. A sub-faction must maintain the recognizable traits of their over-faction(s), while having other distinguishing traits to distinguish them from other sub factions. As each persons catalog of factions is much more limited than the fracturing of the population, and updated by personal experience, the exact nature of the fractions is in flux. Also, most people’s catalogs tend to be most complete for those in factions most similar to their own, and the factions they must deal with most often. Traits which can define membership in a faction include, but are not limited to, status costs, consumptive or not. They can also include language, creeds, ethnic markers, ideologies, hobbies, tastes, values, relations, wealth, gender, orientation, and about anything else that you can notice about another person, either obviously (say hair style) or only upon knowing them personally (a distinctive type of childhood trauma).
Membership in a faction is one of the most important requirements for getting access to an income potential. The Positive-thinking faction has substantial control of disposable income, for instance, and has considerable power to support its own. There are other wealthy factions, and there are corresponding opportunities with each of them. But, the Positive Thinking group is very wide spread across geography and income level. There are poor members who have chosen to “accept the blessings of the cosmos by being in the present” who can have limited access to wealthier sub-factions in approved venues. Those who maintain a positive thought dogma, but fail to have a noticeable amount of free consumption (be it hitching to Oregon, or chartering a jet to an exotic island, to buying a Volvo) are obviously not thinking positively enough. The positive thinking meme is self fulfilling, because one of the largest pathways to success is a group that requires positive thinking for membership. It is a self fulfilling story. Until the whole thing goes bust. Many members of the group do not make their income by way of sucking off the access and status costs of our society directly, but they can afford their consumption because those high prices keep the supply of free consumption low enough that their are resources available for them to consume. Even if you work providing services (like I do) you have to provide services for the positive thinkers, and to their tastes. They tend to be idiots who want to pay double for tiny and hard to process vegetables. But, if you try providing services to any other group, they cannot afford to pay you enough to support your access and status costs, because their income goes to access and service costs.
2. The Positive Thinking faction are the transcendentalists.
Some of Emerson’s ideas about nature got twisted in weird ways before the ink was dry. A lot of the national parks are inspired by his line of thinking of nature as the divine spout of beauty separate from the muddle of man and society. But being social institutions they because systems which effective commodified access to the natural world as something separate and objectively observable to the human subject. The pesky human being who had been living in those areas had to go. In my own area it is noticable that the land the Utes considered pretty choice places to be were cleared out, and then declared parks. We didn’t even use (most) of the land that was taken from them. We marked it off as a public park, which was separate from the taint of human society. The irony is cloying. The land was trapped in a social construct which excluded the humans who had a (more or less) symbiotic relationship with it, in the wake of a movement which made some darn good critiques of the cussedness of human constructs. The parks became a play ground for the wealthy to look down upon in spandex.
Transedentalism was, among other things, a reaction to some of the ugliness of the excesses of human consumption; the radical economic status brokering of mundain life and the desire to simply escape it. It some ways it is a desire to escape from the ugliness of the system that prepares the world for our consumption.
Trump, as a fairly blunt representative of those who prepare the world for consumption is disgusting to them, because he is opening the doors of the sausage factory before dinner. He represents the capitalists that the transcendentalists tried to transcend. The best of the Transcendentalists were honest that to transcend the grinding of the world required right lifestyle” or, roughly speaking, poverty.
The industrialists were the elite faction and gate keeper for a long time, and many of todays transcendentalists are. like Emerson before them. reacting against that ugly. But unwilling to accept poverty, or keep there expensive status markers strictly non-consumptive, they are forced into the same world that the Transendental movement seeks to, erm, transcend.
There was a faction opposed to both the transcendentalists and the industrialists, whose line is still opposed to the detached consumption of the transcendentalists and the vulgar industry of the would be conquerors of nature. The a literary critic at the time of the Transedentalists, Edgar Allen Poe.
See, Poe wasn’t in his own life well known as a writer of poetry or fiction, but as a ruthless literary critic, and there was no group he attacked with more glee than the Transcendentalists, which he liked to call ‘the Frog-Pondians”. He thought, if I understand what I have read of the feud rightly, that they were full of hot air, and basically phonies trying to escape from the nitty gritty of life here as it is. Also, his gothic romanticism is characterized by a sense of decline and obviously death.
The artistic spirit of the West was encountering its own moralist and responded with a split into escapism and morbidity in the transendentalists and the gothics respectively. All the while the industralists were carrying on sure that nature would surrender any day now.
That derail finally connects back to the failures of the positive thinkers. You see, positive thinking is the urge to deny death its place, and it comes not from those aspects which survive death renewed, but from those parts which are brittle dead wood. If fails to learn from its mistakes because in is the spirit of detritus, which refuses to decay (Poe’s decadence is a call for decay). It become lifeless and brittle.
The god it calls can be one of flame of flood. The frog spirit suggests the latter, flood. Something will wet the detritus and it will decay, breaking down into aspects which can be taken up by life again. Bugs, life in it’s sick, and frogs to eat in the dank. I would take that over the flames.
Olof, JMG, if I may,
“Secular Cycles” by Peter Turchin and Sergey Nefedov had quite a bit to say about elite overproduction and its role in societal decline.
my point was, in any hierarchy there will be penalties for not playing by the rules — as often inflicted by those fighting for the same rung as by those higher up.
your caricature of workplace “political correctness” is merely a specific iteration of something that takes an almost infinite variety of forms. because i was unwilling to participate in racist, sexist, anti-semitic — in short, “othering” — discourse, my career ran aground. i had refused to join the club, therefore they would not have me.
similarly i think you missed thesseli’s somewhat related point. and i do not know why you would let shane’s egregiously unkind rejoinder through.
we are forced into workplaces to keep from starving in the streets. i cannot think why these should be “safe” spaces for bigots.
@JMG and @KittenLopez
I am delighted by the depth and scope of the commentary that is present here, especially considering that I have little stake in the political drama of the USA. Nevertheless I see similar patterns self-defeating behavior in my own country’s elite; I see otherwise well-educated people fall hook, line and sinker for the mainstream media’s anti-trump hysteria; In our well-off classes I see the same preference-for-tiny-screens-over-living people; And I see the confused hopelessness of young people (myself included), who’ve been conditioned to be terrified of their own desires, are desperate for having fun but have no idea how to. Hard times.
Mr. Greer, when you mention the hidden forces behind this ‘Kekism’ and the broader dysfunction of the anti-trump campaigns, I can’t help but remember your early essay on Anthropolatry and the archetype of Man the Conqueror of Nature. Though this may not be what you had in mind for this particular series, kittenlopez’s view on the preference of abstractions over raw natural reality made me think that Anthropolatry features in this somewhere.
That rant was raw and beautiful! I am in awe of it. I wish I had a more thoughtful response than that 🙂
A few more random thoughts stirred up by this post and different comments.
The term enforced consensus was used earlier. It reminds me of an old saying: a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.
“Love trumps hate” was often thrown at Trump supporters by Clinton fans. As Clinton supporters chanted this, or waved signs printed with the slogan, wouldn’t this have some magical function? How is chanting “Love TRUMPs hate, love TRUMPs hate” different from chanting “Trump, Trump, Trump”? They were focusing on the wrong (for them) person, and therefore, strengthening their nemesis. Even if you don’t consider it magic, it’s a common advertising gimmick to get the name of your product in the public mind constantly. Democrats yelling “Trump, Trump” even in derision was like free advertising for him.
As this is just stirring more thoughts and questions about magic within me, I can see that I am going to have to find the time to start reading John’s Dreamwidth site also, especially on Magic Mondays. I find myself examining things I have experienced and reviewing what I used to believe with what I am learning now, and wondering if magic wasn’t always around me and at work in me, even if I might have called it a different name. All sorts of questions are arising within me, but I don’t want to derail the monthly blog posts here. The Cosmic Doctrine is probably working on me too, though I am having difficulty in not reading ahead of the monthly lesson!
For people like me who missed the details. Very long.
This “… week’s issue of The New York Times Magazine is an unusual one. It’s dedicated to a single long story, by writer-at-large Nathaniel Rich, about the ten-year period from 1979 to 1989, the decisive decade when humanity settled the science of climate change and came surprisingly close to finding a solution. The world was ready to act. But we failed to do what was necessary to avoid a catastrophe. Rich’s story is a gripping narrative that reads like a historical whodunit.”
“The Decade We
By Nathaniel Rich
AUG. 1, 2018”
The different factions in the Democratic Party continue to fight over who caused Hillary’s loss:
Did left-wing Hillary hate put Trump in the White House? A toxic question with bad answers.
Yes, a tiny subset of the radical left hated Hillary more than Trump. Does that mean they’re pawns in Putin’s plot?
I find it amusing that they mentioned Boris and Natasha. Also, that there are Leftists Not Entirely Against Trump, AKA Chomskyites. Ah, let’s regress back to the good old days of show trials, and since we don’t have a lot of Trotskyites around (though I’m sure there’s a few) let’s get those Chomskyites!
@ Ray Wharton. You said: “You see, positive thinking is the urge to deny death its place, and it comes not from those aspects which survive death renewed, but from those parts which are brittle dead wood.”
This is a rough, natural diamond of a thought. Thank you.
Wharton set the stage
To wax poetic all day.
Oh I took your description entirely seriously, JM, knowing its truth. It’s just that the phrasing seemed so apt.
If anyone wants to review a catalog of the NYT editor Sarah Jeong tweets that are so controversial – Twitter user @nickmon1112 screen capped them all by year and highlighted the most racist.
Or you can read the roll-up of the twitter thread here – https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1025437806775226368.html
How did we get to a place where someone can publicly talk like this about people and get hired into a position of influence and power?
Yves Vetter and others:
Mr. Beekeeper is an electrician, union-trained, and he never, ever, takes short cuts in his work. There are also brands of electrical supplies that he will not use, because he does not trust the quality or has had a problem with them in the past. You are right about how badly people understand the genuine value of a job done right.
I mention that my husband was trained in the electrician’s union because the construction trade unions have excellent apprenticeship programs, a combination of classroom and on-the-job experience. Not only did Mr. B learn to be an outstanding electrician, the union was quite strict about job safety procedures to prevent serious injuries.
The bonus is that my husband spends every day with tradesmen and women who are also experts at their respective jobs. If we have a plumbing or other issue at home, John can ask any of the other trades how to fix it; in all our years of marriage we’ve never had to hire a repair person for anything – money not spent is as good as money earned.
Re cause and effect
But isn’t that the purpose, or at least part of the purpose, of this entire exercise? By hermetic principle all things are causes and effects, are they not? Everything is an effect of prior causes and a cause of a subsequent effect. I see what we’re trying to do here as an attempt to understand the array of forces (and entities?) involved, their vectors (and motivations?), and the current state of things, so that we are better able to assess 1) what the feasible set of possible alternatives is, 2) which of those alternatives are achievable at what cost, and 3) how we might put our available resources, energies, and time to the best possible use to achieve those desired outcomes. If we cannot properly understand the nature of cause and effect (or worse, if those causal relationships are unknowable or else don’t exist — from our finite perspective, indistinguishable states), then we are doomed from the start. Or am I missing something?
(To some extent, this circles back to the earlier discussion re logic. I suppose my greatest fear is exactly that last scenario: a universe without causality, order, or purpose. Second worst is a universe wherein those things theoretically exist, but are unknowable, and therefore do not exist for all intents and purposes.)
Jay Moses: I well remember Bill Griffith and his Zippy strip (which, btw, he’s still publishing, at least on-line.) Pepe the T also reminded me of the sublime Mr. Toad. Zippy was/is really a good strip! And for JMG; I think I said last week that I thought PR was the magic of the elites, and referred to a claim made to that effect by the late Ioan Culliano. There’s an example, relating to the PFAS contamination being found here in Michigan water supplies, at least in areas near former military bases and other places where fire-retardant foam was used. A study exposing the harms of PFAS contamination apparently was quashed by the Trump administration with the comment that publishing it would “create a huge PR problem.” (sorry, I neglected to note the source when I read this.) So any real problem, whether it’s a threat to public health or Hillary’s flagging poll numbers, gets dismissed as a “PR problem.”
Meaningful coincidences – yes, I noticed the phrase and will be waiting to see what you make of it in the next post.
I would like to stick up for mindfulness meditation, because it saved my life at one time. I was a standard issue yuppie through to my mid-forties, and then had a pretty spectacular mid-life breakdown – caused by stress, pushed-down emotions, all the usual suspects. After a few months of shuffling around on my arse, I got my self back into a serviceable level of functioning largely through mindfulness meditation and listening to Eckert Tolle for hours at a time. It was just what I needed. My mind was like a troop of angry monkeys, and before I could get to a place where I could start to change my thinking again I had to calm-the-frog-down. Mindfulness meditation, without a lot of contemplation or discursive insight is great for that.
I know that many in the more-dollars-than-sense set get into this sort of thing and graduate into a life of numbed-out blissiness in fancy yoga pants, but a lot of people don’t. At least I didn’t. As far as I know. And when you’ve got a lot of scary monsters hiding away in your thoughts it isn’t at all easy to just let them come up in meditation, so it does take a bit of courage to meditate mindfully, and let what needs to come up, come up. So, wanted to say that. Thank you JMG for all that you do, you have also been a life saver for me.
Off topic, but GMO plants seem to have been found spreading without obvious human intervention. What I find the most fascinating is that the plant seems to be a new variety, suggesting that the genes have spread into the broader ecosystem (much as many have said would happen).
@inohuri – I saw a link and description of that NYT piece as well, it’s a wonderful bit of propaganda.
Never is there the slightest doubt that we can have all of our comforts and stop climate change too. We just missed the opportunity to stick it to the oil companies who force us to drive SUVs and live in climate controlled McMansions. The fault is in those evil people, not that one who stares back at us from the mirror – if not for them we’d all have self driving EVs that cause no pollution of any kind, and all energy would come from fusion reactors. Once we deal with those evil ones we’ll have perfectly clean energy we ever could ever want.
I had that very same feeling, “I have been lied to”. For me it started much younger, as a child in the 1970s. By the time I was in 4th grade I was running away from school with migraine headaches. Having a heroin addict as a father and getting involved in the punk scene didn’t help the feeling, but once I became a teenager and a high school dropout, and was facing a life on the streets like my father eventually ended up living, well sometimes you become desperate enough to give in to those lies, or at least ignore them, to survive.
I, like you previously, am in the process of being tossed out at 48 years old. The last 5 years it’s been impossible and emotionally and physically unbearable to ignore the lies any longer, and the system expects and enforces obedience or else.
So, no, you are not the only one who has felt lied to. And not the only one who has woken up in middle age only to be punished and ultimately tossed aside. Right now, the grief is almost unbearable, and yes the fear as well, knowing intimately what our society does to those who refuse to live the lie any longer and are without a trust fund to fall back on. That you survived and thrive gives me hope. Thank you for that, and for your story.
I am in the East Bay, and commuted into SF for years (lived there briefly from 1996-1998). Thank you for sharing your feelings. When I try to talk to people about what I feel in SF people tend to think I am insane, so it’s good to hear I’m not completely alone. I had to stop going in 2 years ago, I finally told my husband that one day I was going to jump in front of the BART train rather than get on, the pain I feel in that city was becoming so overwhelming. I got a job at UC Berkeley only to discover it’s even worse there. Thank you so much for your writing, both here and the letter on your blog, both have given me strength for today.
Thanks for creating this space and encouraging such honest conversation. If only I could find this in the “real world”. It seems like even when I do meet someone I feel like I can connect with for a moment, people eventually run away and disconnect. No one wants to follow the thread to the logical conclusion, that by continuing to live in and support the way the system currently is we are complicit in the way things are. To admit that you either go mad or have to change. And what is the alternative when you are middle aged and don’t know what to do or where to go? Knowing you’re a little bad luck away from the tent cities growing under the freeways.
@ Zach Bender –
It is indeed true that “in any hierarchy there will be penalties for not playing by the rules.” You encountered one form of it, and suffered the consequences of not participating (“because i was unwilling to participate in racist, sexist, anti-semitic — in short, “othering” — discourse, my career ran aground”).
I think the point you may be missing is that nobody her is arguing (at least as far as I can see) in favor of “racist, sexist, anti-semitic” bigotry. Rather, the point that a number of us, including our host (if I understand him correctly), keep making is that there is more than one kind of “safe space for bigots”. Where various safe spaces can be found just depends on against whom, exactly, you are bigoted.
Class bigotry exists just like the forms of bigotry you mention, and in my experience class bigotry is the bigotry that most self-proclaimed liberals refuse to acknowledge exists, much less stop practicing with abandon.
I don’t know what kind of environments you’ve lived and worked in, but I have spent a fair amount of time in elite circles (e,g., private schools, fancy institutions of higher learning, and the kinds of workplaces where graduates of private schools and fancy institutions of higher learning tend to wind up). In those environments, the “racist, sexist, anti-semitic” othering you mention (along with anti-LGBQT bigotry of any sort) is rarely tolerated – and can, in fact, get you ostracized at best, and fired and even prosecuted at worst.
But class bigotry? Oh, that is allowed! Encouraged, even! If you want to get ahead in elite circles, class bigotry won’t hurt you one bit – in fact, it will probably help you fit in. Not only that, but if anyone does point out class bigotry, then ad-hominem attacks and accusations of other sorts of bigotry (race, gender, religion) will almost inevitably be employed to shout down the accuser.
And there is a certain strain of “political correctness” that is basically just a code for upper-class language mores and thought-policing, but which never has anything to say about economic exploitation – and which, in fact, is designed to enable class bigotry and economic exploitation.
That’s what most of us are talking about.
@Will J – it is not a new wheat variety arising from the burger ecosystem, it’s one that was used in GM research 300 km away, 30 years ago. What they were saying is it is not a wheat variety that is currently in production in unmodified form in Canada, either, so don’t believe it can breed with current crops. It is also confirmed not to be escaped from the US, which has already had a number of wheat escapees, so they are confident where it came from. We don’t have wild wheat relatives here, so gene escape is lower risk for wheat…. But canola is related to lots of wild brassicas, so that is a much more risky GM crop in terms of ecosystem escape.
What this does mean is that it had managed to persist undetected, and travel long distances, breeding true on its own for some time – which is worrying, but not quite as bad.
A retirement-aged life-long-liberal friend of mine recently admitted to me in hushed tones that in the last two years she’s become a fiscal conservative. She can’t admit that to other liberals, but she can admit it to her contrarian libertarian-localist friend young enough to be her daughter! Which suggests to me that there are probably other middle-aged folks who see the lie in one area or another and are terrified of punishment if they admit that they see the Emperor isn’t wearing his hat, or his hose, or his tunic . . .
Those of you a hair younger than my friend, seeing bits or all of the lie, there are others who see it. It’s just still punishable by death (of career, of reputation) to admit the Emperor has no clothes. Maybe you can find a way to identify others-my way, as a home schooler and multiply self-employed lady, is to be confident and comfortable enough to say what I mean out in public and let others squirm, but I have very little to lose-but surely there’s a less risky way! Maybe those needing to protect themselves and others could wear a pin with a jester’s hat or something
Phil K, that’s a fascinating point, and it ties into something I’ve been reflecting on at length in recent weeks — the way that the fine (or formerly fine) arts have become so hostile to beauty over the last century or so. More on this in an upcoming post.
Ronald, yes, I’ve been thinking of that too — BreKEKekex! Meaningful coincidences…
Onething, I’ll have to look up the story, but I recall precincts in the Detroit area which reported three times as many votes for Clinton as there were ballots in the box when checked. The thing is, voting fraud is as American as apple pie; the only US elections that didn’t have massive ballot-box fraud were the two that elected George Washington, and he ran unopposed. I’m sure both sides cheated like anything, as they always do.
Mark, thank you; I’m glad this space helps you. As for digital media, yep. I’m not immune from it, which is why I keep my online time to a minimum and stay off social media pretty much entirely, except for this blog and my Dreamwidth journal. “Spell” really is the only word that makes sense of it all.
Kay, that makes a great deal of sense. I had the same experience in my teen years — “I am being lied to” — and that played a large role in my decision not to pursue the kind of middle class job to which my class background more or less entitled me. Looking back on it at the age of 56, I’m profoundly grateful that I had the common sense to do that; Sara and I had to learn to handle being poor, but the flipside of that was that we could live the way we wanted rather than the way our families and culture insisted we ought to live. To buy into it and then end up discovering that it was all a lie…that’s got to be a hideous experience.
Prizm, thank you. I’m delighted you’re finding the CGD exercises useful!
Ray, the internet as a memetic ecology — that works. That really works. Thank you for this!
Ben, to say magic works is not to say that it’s omnipotent. Magic is just as fallible as engineering, or medicine, or any other set of techniques developed by human beings to deal with the cussedness of existence. The fact that engineering works doesn’t keep bridges from falling down sometimes; in the same way, various things can cause a magical working to crash to the ground — and there are ways to assess workings in advance to figure out if this is likely to happen, and to guard against it, just as in engineering and medicine.
As for Nicholas II, did you think I was saying that magic was the only thing involved in his downfall? Of course there were many other factors — but what I was suggesting is that his participation in magical and spiritual activities that convinced him everything was fine, when everything emphatically wasn’t fine, was one of the things that led him to veto the reforms that could have saved his government and his life.
Denys, I haven’t seen your funny post in the queue yet.
Joy Marie, excellent! Exactly. One rule that most successful writers know is that you never tell your stories to anyone until they’re written; if you do, that takes the energy out of them, and odds are you’ll never get them written. And of course you’re right that talking about your feelings to all and sundry guarantees that anyone who wants to manipulate you will know precisely how to do it. As for your story, write that puppy! I want to read it, and I want to be able to recommend it to people who would benefit from the experience of seeing themselves through the eyes of a future generation…
As for finding a teacher and a path, I wish I had a straightforward answer. There’s a sense in which everyone finds the path that they need to find, whether they want that or not; it may well be, for example, that many of the people who are numbing themselves with mindfulness meditation and the like need to have the experience of convincing themselves that everything is fine, and then running face first into the brick wall of a universe that doesn’t care what they believe. Beyond that, I suppose the best advice I have is to read books written by people who follow various paths, and choose the one that resonates most with you. Don’t worry too much about finding a teacher — there are way too many con artists masquerading as teachers these days. Just find a practice, start doing it regularly, and let the teachers, texts, and experiences you need come to you.
Dennis, that’s fascinating — and of course Michigan was one of the crucial states that went for Trump and gave him the victory. I wonder if any of my other readers in the critical swing states had a similar experience.
Ray, please develop this into an essay. I mean that with utter seriousness. I think you’ve got hold of something absolutely crucial, and I’d like to see you write it out as an essay that anyone can read and understand, without previous exposure to the conversations on this blog. Once it’s finished, I’ll do whatever I can to see that it gets published somewhere.
Graeme, thanks for this.
Zach, obviously I wasn’t there when you got into trouble at your former workplace, and I don’t know what happened. On the other hand, I’ve personally witnessed several cases that were described, by the person who got fired, in exactly the same terms you’ve used, and what happened in those cases was that the person who got fired went around picking fights with coworkers, insisting that they were racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. because they didn’t happen to be au courant with the latest fashionable politically correct jargon. (“It’s racist to say ‘black’! You have to say ‘people of color.'” I wish I was making that up.) In the cases I witnessed, the person responsible was asked by human resources to stop the constant moral one-upsmanship, doubled down on it, and was fired for creating a hostile workplace environment for their coworkers.
Again, I have no way of knowing whether that’s what happened in your case; I wasn’t there at the time. One of the things you say, though, has me wondering: your comment about how workplaces shouldn’t be safe spaces for bigots. You know what? From my perspective, workplaces should be safe spaces for everyone, in that people should have the right to their private opinions, no matter what they are, so long as they act toward coworkers and customers in an appropriate and professional way. Equally, workplaces should not be safe spaces for anyone, in that nobody gets to make their own opinions mandatory on everyone else. Yes, I’m quite aware that in politically correct circles these days that defines me as racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. — which is of course precisely the problem I’m discussing here.
Lordyburd, you know, that’s not a connection I’d thought of, and it makes a lot of sense. Thank you.
Joy Marie, you’re just hitting ’em out of the park, one after another. 😉 Yes, exactly. The whole “Love Trumps Hate” thing was, magically speaking, a stunning own goal for the Clinton campaign; it gave Trump all that free publicity, in an ordinary sense as well as a magical one, and it guaranteed that more and more of the Democrats would come to “love Trump’s hate” — to turn themselves into mirror images of what they thought he was. Thus we get Democratic moguls insisting (for example) that Trump’s son Barron should be thrown into a cage with pedophiles, Antifa activists beating up the people they hate, and so on. What you hate, you imitate…
Inohuri, thanks for this. I’ll take a look at it as time permits.
Rhisiart, sure, but it was still funny.
Denys, we’ve been in a place like that all along. You just have to hate the right people. As a song from an old musical puts it, it’s all about hating the people your relatives, or coworkers, or superiors hate…
David, good. Those are all issues that I’ll have to deal with at length in a future post. The very short form is that cause and effect, like other logical relationships, is a model created by the human mind that more or less successfully tracks certain parts of the way that the universe of our experience functions. Imagine that you’re standing on one side of a fence, there’s a gap between two boards, and you see a cat walk past on the other side: first the nose, then the head, then the rest of the cat one sliver at a time, all the way back to the tip of the tail. If the model you had for that experience was causative — the nose causes the head, which causes the rest of the cat in due order — you’d make accurate predictions; here’s the nose, here comes the head! That doesn’t make cause and effect true; it just makes it an effective model, when used in the right way, with allowances for the fact that it’s a map and not the territory. Does that make any more sense?
Mark D, I wonder if it worked so well in your case because you combined it with a course of study on spiritual topics. I’m not particularly familiar with Eckhart Tolle’s work, but I know people who speak very highly of it, and one of the things that sets mindfulness meditation as used in Theravada Buddhism from its use in current pop culture is that your Theravadin monk or nun combines mindfulness meditation with study of Buddhist sutras. So you may have done things the right way! One way or another, though, thank you for the data point.
Will J, of course they are. The claim by the GMO industry that modified genes can’t possibly get out into the broader ecosystem was patent nonsense from the get-go.
Tude, I get that. I’m fortunate in that I refused to get involved in the rat race from my teen years, got comfortable with poverty, and worked out a way to support myself and my wife that doesn’t require me to sell out. It’s getting really difficult these days, and I know a lot of people are facing very hard times; I wish I had more to offer — and I’m glad that at least I can provide a space where people can talk about the realities of their lives.
BoysMom, that’s fascinating. It’s when people start admitting in private that the Emperor is distinctly underdressed for the occasion that you know to expect the moment when the kid says it all out loud…
JMG and David by the Lake re: cause and effect. If I might interject an idea into your conversation? I tend to think that everything does result from cause and effect. However, due to our human limitations, we are unable to see what the causes are all of the time. A ball on a pool table, which exists in a 2 dimensional world, basically, has no idea why another ball smacked into it. Yet, from our 3 dimensional viewpoint watching the pool cue hit the cue ball and watching the results, we can detail the cause and effect that caused, say the 12 ball to get smacked by the 7 ball. Maybehaps we could understand more about cause and effect if we were 7-dimensional beings, although we’d likely still bemoan the fact that we still missed something about cause and effect that 11-dimensional beings could see!
Okay, here goes my attempt at some levity in keeping with the theme of this blog post:
OK JMG, just had to add this on the subject of “Hating the Right People”
Tom Lehrer – National Brotherhood Week
Yes, I believe so. If I understand what you’re suggesting correctly, we have no way of ascertaining whether or not the causality is in fact true or if we happen to have hit upon a consistent, but nonetheless fallacious, post hoc ergo proper hoc scenario. If the map works, then within its limits, the fact that it isn’t the territory is irrelevant — it is when we attempt to extrapolate beyond those limits that we get into trouble.
But of course, to the extent we are seeking to experience the actual territory and not merely the map, then we are simply fooling ourselves. Is there a way to touch the territory without a map? To my mind at least, that is why one would take up a magical/spiritual discipline in the first place: to extend one’s experience beyond the conventional map of reality to touch the actuality that lay beyond that veil. (Getting outside the parameters of the post here, I acknowledge!)
Clearly the yard work that you are/were doing is of at least of _some_ importance! In the modern world, we are taught that such things – since they don’t directly lead to increased quarterly profits – are irrelevant, which of course they aren’t.
@Prizm, JMG, et. al
Jordan Peterson has been mentioned in a few places in this blog’s comments, with the folks around here being all over the place regarding their opinions of him. That said, one common criticism of him that I see is that he is merely a dispenser of trite folk wisdom. This misses the point; I am a non-Westerner who grew up in a culture that reveres its elders and traditions, I believe in a non-ironic manner that the folks (generally) possess wisdom. Take, for example, the “Clean Your Room” meme. The typical fan-testimonial goes: “Hi Dr. Peterson, I followed your advice about cleaning my room. After I cleaned my room, I noticed that my kitchen got clean. And after that, my garage got clean. And after that, I fixed my relationship with my dad. And after that, I found a stable job after two years. Thank you for changing my life.”
That. Stuff. (Just) Works! And also one of the reasons that Peterson is so popular, especially among young folks who have never heard “folk wisdom” being dispensed in any serious manner.
What else? Rule #1 in his “12 Rules” book: Stand Up Straight, with Your Shoulders Back. Sounds like something your grandma would say, i.e. folk wisdom, Also, TSW!!! Whether you think the (now infamous) lobster-on-serotonin analogy is a profound speculative theory on evolutionary biology, or some pseudoscientific ramblings of a mad professor, in any case, “Stand Up Straight” is firmly in TSW territory.
I agree with JMG that I would like to see an elaboration of your comment regarding consumer culture. I am reminded of something I read in Freya Mathews’ book, “Reinhabiting Reality” (which is a critique of modernity), where she writes: “Yet the sensibility of the gothic, in this Romantic sense, was charted against a background of scientific enlightenment so unassailable that this sensibility was never really more than a titilation, an alluring ‘transgression,’ rather than a serious challenge to the modern mindset. In this sense, the modern imagination is never more modern than when it is indulging in the gothic.”
So the question for me is, what are the alternatives to gothic or transcendentalist romanticism? I ask this somewhat rhetorically. I certainly don’t feel drawn to either as both escapism and morbidity are indulgences.
Ray Wharton, thank you for your post. It is perhaps one of the best comments that has been made in the last few years on either this blog or the old one.
@kittenlopez, JMG, et. al
“it can’t be a good sign when teenage boys would rather look at their phones than kiss a girl in a catholic school skirt, or a kid can’t feel the difference of plexi and glass, but will scrape the window up before realizing it’s a problem.”
I’m what people would normally call a “devout” Roman Catholic and “staunch” social conservative. So when I read up that rates of teenage pregnancy and pre-marital sex have gone down, that should have been encouraging. Except that I learned that the reason why this happened is that teens simply “lost interest”, probably they’re too busy looking at pornos on their mini-pocket-supercomputer screens, which turned out to be disheartening.
If premarital sex was on the uptick again… well at least I can thank God that humans are still normal! Confession was instituted for a reason. 😉
my usage was perhaps inexact. i had meant to say i do not see why the workplace should be a venue in which bigots can freely vent their hatred, while others are expected to just smile and nod.
This is a long response, sorry about the verbage.
As I read and reread this weeks article the one thought that kept popping into my mind was “this is the machine mind,” in reference to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Mindfulness meditation and yoga are both used to prime to the mind to begin a long and very difficult path of spiritual growth, and as the Buddhist’s say one must have the right motivation in addition to the right mind. The priming is done so that the mind can interact with the non-verbal, or non-logos, aspects of reality. The way it’s used in pop-culture is backward, in that it is used to shut out the non-verbal and open only to the verbal or conscious parts of reality. It doesn’t even attempt to bring the non-verbal into the conscious mind, but simply brushes them aside. That effectively means that emotions and feelings, the core of instinct and sound decision making, are shut down so the practitioner can focus only on Data that is considered relevant by their culture.
All “data” is together by our sensory organs. In living beings the majority of data cannot be consciously processed. What is consciously processed is only a thin thread of what we actually know, and can actually be put into words. So the ancient masters discovered meditation to help us process all the excess data. Everything else is non-verbal, in that we haven’t put it into words because we haven’t noticed it or because we don’t have the words for it. That latter factor, not having the words for it, is why developing a mental toolkit is so important, and why out society is a boiling font of rage. Our culture has systematically denied us the ability to process what we experience, and actively denied what we experience as real.
Organizations follow the same principals as individuals, as above so below. In an organization the sensory organs are the individuals who do the grunt work. As the go about their duties they deal with two streams of data that form the groups culture. The data which is consciously processed is usually expressed numerically or as buzzwords. Numbers and buzzwords are cheap to generate and easy to process. “What are The Numbers?!” the aristocrats will often yell. The hard to process, but far more important, data is “The Stress.”
To deal with The Stress, which disrupt the normal functions of the group, the aristocrats took techniques like yoga and meditation to negate The Stress. The problem is that negating The Stress didn’t make it go away, and The Stress is the data that tells the body when something is horribly wrong. In other words they tell us where the body hurts, how hard to push that point, and what needs immediate attention. Thus, The Stress accumulates until something bad happens. Where does it accumulate? In the unconscious mind.
What are 4chan and its offshoots? Back in college I accidentally referred to it as the ID of our culture during a discussion with a philosophy student, 4Chan is one of the regions in our social consciousness where all the stress that has built up in our society goes to be processed. It is closer to the non-verbal than most other places on the Internet.
The constant desire by Hillary and her mechanically minded flunkies to reset events is probably the single largest example of ignoring The Stress our society has yet produced. It’s basically corporate re-branding, when a CEO or Board of Directors, are unable to deal with the deep dysfunctions of their company they re-brand. Similarly everytime Hillary was given inputs that showed she was losing, she tried to reintroduce herself to the public. Like when a computer freezes up and we hit the reset button.
The Chan groups are where all of the Stresses of our society went, basically everything that didn’t translate properly into words. All the anger, fear, and confusion that couldn’t be otherwise addressed because the people who felt those emotions didn’t know how to express them, ended up in that place. Trump did so well, and sounds so incoherent, because he isn’t speaking to his bases logic, he’s speaking to their emotions – their Stress. All that energy that our society created by not providing a functional means of processing it, just went to the chans and sat there as potential energy.
Kek, god of chaos and bringer of light, simply used that potential energy of our undigested emotions and manifested with help from the chaos mages of the chans. Why did the mages have so much success here in the US, but not other places? Well in other places in the world there are mechanisms in place to allow emotional energy to be digested or dissipated, either in the form of alternative parties or approved outlets. The US has no alternative systems in place, both sides of the political spectrum embody the archetype of “Man the Conqueror of Nature.” Even the mages of chan, being explicitly chaos mages who do not believe in the existence of outside entities, embody that archetype.
This god, Kek, used their lack of awareness to his advantage. Afterall, you said that gods act through the human sub-conscious whether we like it or not, and awareness is the only thing that gives us agency in the whole process. What could be more chaotic to a machine society, one that is actively trying to internalize the spirit of our tools, than the introduction of a nature god of chaos? This god used the potential energy and crossed over.
The chaos he brings is the dragging of all our dirty laundry into the blazing light of day – all our anger, all our hate, basically all the issues we haven’t dealt with these many years. Any faction that dares claim the mantel of logic for themselves, the ideal of the machine archetype, is facing the same exposure to the light. Funnily enough ever side is pointing to the other and saying “you are the illogical ones,” which means that you are the ones who are closer to nature – to man as a beast of nature. The best example of this is how wildly statics are thrown by both sides, The Numbers!
Now Kek would probably be somewhat merciful to the first faction that embraced that accusation, he would probably prefer Man the Beast over Man the Conqueror. But we’re Faust and can’t let go of the latter archetype. The Chan’s are the ones who summoned Kek, not because they’re part of nature, but because they were looking for a tool to allow them to gain access to corridors of power. The want so desperately to be the shadow the hate, in much the same way their opponents want to be them. The tool wasn’t recognized as a living entity, just a club to beat their enemies with. Unfortunately the club seems to have plans of its own.
Man, we really need to summon a god of mirrors, so these folks can all take a good long look at themselves.
@ Ray / regarding the Positive Thinking issue –
That was a very interesting comment, thanks.
It also happened to jog my memory that there was a book written a few years back by Barbara Ehrenreich called “Bright-sided,” that was about the perils of positive thinking.
I never did get around to reading it so I can’t vouch for its quality one way or the other, but based on the description, you might want to check it out:
Frogs and toads are magical creatures and are often used for enchantments. Your description of the frog looking at you straight in the eye and the intensity of the stare, reminded me of something that most people will not mention in this PC culture. I don’t expect anyone to believe it but it’s true. Back in the day, one of the standard practices for someone learning to hypnotize was to develop an unflinching stare, and to put as much power into it as possible. One of the traditional exercises (not very used on the second part of the XX century but still taught by some traditional schools) was to pick up a toad and to put in a box without possibility to leave. The student would then look at the toad in the eyes. The toad would try to avoid the person’s gaze as much as possible, trying to leave the box and to hide. After a while, they would give up and look straight back at the person. After a while the toad would have a seizure and die. But I know of a case when the toad’s gaze was stronger than that of the person and it was the human that had the seizure. If his dad didn’t happen to show up in time and call an ambulance to take him to the hospital he would have died.
Perhaps it is because I am (among other things) a Chaos Mage but I don’t think that those chaos mages owe a great debt to Kek. He was there patiently waiting, until a group of people showed up to help Him do His job. If they show Him proper respect He will help them in return.
Thank you for this. Funny that it is the second time in less than 20 years that one of the Clinton’s is in the middle of a massive working (although I still consider the working that influenced Bill Clinton to be bigger and with a 100 % success rate.)
@millicent Thanks for checking out my recipe – though my preferred pronoun is she/her LOL I’ve never had the chance to say that before.
I never knew Lovecraft wrote a story about Red Hook! I’m playing a show in Red Hook this Friday 10PM at Rocky Sullivan’s 46 Beard Street. I love synchronicity 🙂 It’s one of my favorite neighborhoods in NYC – glad you’ll be revisiting it from a different perspective while keeping the mythos.
re: Jordan Peterson I just put down his “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos” after reading two chapters. It is one of the most poorly written books I’ve ever come across. It reads like it was dictated and then loosely edited to take out the um’s and pauses we make when we speak. The chapter titles don’t match the content of the chapters, and one paragraph barely ties into the next.
His ideas put forth in the chapter titles – clean up your room, treat yourself like someone you value, etc – are worthwhile, and as parent I have no issue with those! Who doesn’t want young adults to be clean and value themselves? I’m assuming the videos do better to express his ideas than this book.
I will consider expanding that sleep deprived rant, but I don’t know if I got much else to say about that. For an essay I would like to be able to fit things together more neatly than my thoughts actually fit. I really prefer the exhaustion addled rant as my literary form of choice. Supposing I was to try writing an essay some time about something what are good goals or parameters to keep in mind doing so?
@ DJSpo (& @ JMG)
While there are limits to our perceptions, I’d agree, we can certainly conceive of and work in higher dimensions — n dimensional matrices are little obstacle mathematically, for example. While I’m veering toward Seldonian/Asimovian phychohistory here, as is my habit in these things, John would rightly point out that such matrices are merely representations of a reality, not the reality itself. Yet another map, if you will.
I think that one of the points John is making — which I’m struggling to accept, but find no way around it at this moment — is that our concept of causality it ultimately an inferred characteristic, not a proven one. (John, please correct me if I’m misstating this.) That is, we may say if p, then q — but that merely means that we’ve observed q wherever we’ve observed p (and observed ~p wherever we’ve observed ~q). First, unless we’ve done an exhaustive search of reality, this is not a truth but an inference based on a preponderance of evidence. Secondly, correlation is not causality, although one can model it as though it were and utilize such a relationship as a functional predictor of states, within limits. I think this is what John is suggesting when he refers to the map of reality versus the actuality of the territory.
On the other hand, when I’m predicting electric loads for tomorrow and I see that the forecast peak temperature is in the mid-90s, you can bet that I’m going to expect that the power usage to be higher due to A/C loads, regardless of solidity of my philosophical foundation 😉
Well, that was a complete failure. I made a LOL cat on the theme of the post. Can’t seem to get the image to show up. I will try once more…
If that doesn’t work, maybe a simple link to the image
Carlos, et al,
Regarding Peterson. When I see a simplistic dismissal like the one that he is merely a dispenser of folk wisdom, I know what I am seeing and have seen before. It means the author either knows almost nothing about him or worse, has watched some vids and is incapable of actually taking it in.
I read a book about the Appalachian hillbilly cohort and why they are in trouble these days, written by an insider. My liberal Buddhist meditation group had some guy who wouldn’t even read the book because it got dismissed by an ‘Appalachian Scholars’ group. I didn’t have any bias, having picked the book up in the new book section at the library. I thought highly of it, it was an amazing memoir and attempt at facing some problems. The criticism was juvenile and disrespectful, and worse, takes a sincere attempt at examining something serious, and just turned it into contemptuous gossip. The desire to make it go away was obvious, and that is the purpose of such criticism of Jordan Peterson.
Your point that folk wisdom comes from the accumulated wisdom of the human race is a very good one. But he does quite a lot more. For one thing, he’s very articulate, just when he needs to be. Also, he analyzes what is going on in real time and puts it out there. Also, he is taking a stand and showing how it is done. He is also well aware that he is walking in a mine field and has said so, has said he expects to get into trouble because he knows he can’t expect to be perfect. People make mistakes and he is in a completely unforgiving environment. To watch him do so carefully and so far successfully is like watching an acrobat.
The Canadian academic Jordan Peterson has – somehow – gotten caught up with all of this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BoOdMx_zDU 4:01. What do you think ?
Hatred is a very strong word, Zach. Is that really what you were seeing? I don’t know that I have ever seen hatred in a workplace. What sort of work environment was it?
Just for the record, my haiku wasn’t an indictment of Ray Wharton’s lengthy post, per se….
Thank you for this wonderful series and for sharing your time and expertise on this site, both now and past.
I have often felt lied to, since teenagerhood, by whomever was preaching our ”American Dream”. Unfortunately, I was not as quick to escape as you, being firmly entrenched in suburban America where everyone went to college, got a job, then married, had kids and SUV’s, etc. I had near escapes and years of travels and being ‘underemployed’ (that is a rather funny term if thinking about it). My childhood friends are now all engineers, lawyers, doctors and otherwise beneficiaries of the system. I married a serial overachiever, very gifted with people, but very closed to ”alternative’ methods of, well, anything.
I work in the trades now, and rather enjoy the beauty and difficulty of a hard Day’s work. I am surrounded daily by the ‘nether classes’ and go home to a priveledged lifestyle, supported by my wife. I often express the desire to have less of everything except time and land, to only get shunned and reminded of how good we have it and to look on the positive side of things. My wifes revulsion to looking under the hood of both society and our lifestyle is great, to the extent of some verbal assaults upon seeing my reading “Bright-sided” by Barbara Ehrenreich (much recommended read to any interested). My family and friends are not much different, and mostly it’s not worth even bringing up topic, to only be labeled (again!) the kook friend/family member. The duality of worlds I survive in is becoming suffocating and this wonderful site has become an oasis of common sense and gritty truth for my self.
Now to only find a way to break the ‘spell’ of positivity my wife is under so maybe our kids will better understand the world as they see it when they reach teenagerhood, as opposed to what I experienced in my HOA suburban reference formative years. Any suggestions or past successes anyone had with a similar situation and is willing to share will be read attentively and appreciated!
The quality of the responses here always blows me away (thanks to Ray and kittenlopez for this week’s greatness). The articles are pure gold, but the discussions/rambles afterwards can be just as richly rewarding!
So to get to the point of my long ramble: I have great appreciation for those that have jumped out of the
main stream, for I strive to escape regularly, but have been met with only failure thus far. Being on the outside is definitely not an easy place to survive, let alone thrive. But it has to be better than being trapped on the inside and looking out longingly. Or maybe I’ve just convinced myself of that?
PS- JMG, if this is considered irrelevant, please refrain from posting. This being my first post, I’m a tad unsure on tangents limits…
That was an amazing analysis.
Dear Carlos, about falling teen pregnancy rates, and also, if I am not mistaken, falling rates of drug use among teens: What I am seeing around me among working class kids is that from an early age those kids have lived with the consequences of their parent’s behavior. Many have been homeless, hungry, lived in inadequate housing, and seen violence and even been victims of violence in their homes. They have lived in homes where there was no furniture, utilities were intermittent, had no transportation, and moved frequently. So, I suspect their avoidance of pregnancy has a lot to do with not wanting to repeat their parents folly. Many of the poorer among my generation have not to this day established stable lives, many have already died of their various excesses, and are not able to provide the same level of comfort and support as did earlier generations of grandparents.
“That tells us about what is in your head, not about me.”
Alright, Dewey, you win. I don’t have any weapons in my arsenal that can combat the “I’m rubber, you’re glue” defense.
JMG; you said “One rule that most successful writers know is that you never tell your stories to anyone until they’re written; if you do, that takes the energy out of them, and odds are you’ll never get them written.…As for your story, write that puppy! I want to read it, and I want to be able to recommend it to people who would benefit from the experience of seeing themselves through the eyes of a future generation…”
This made me laugh; in that your advice to my first question seems to contradict your second answer! Of course, they address two different topics, but it is amusing. 🙂 The question now is, since I’ve shared a possible story outline of Aged Millenials vs. the Collapsed Generation will I ever get it written? There’s probably enough there for a novel!
“A friend of mine who was getting screwed over by the VA, for example, got everything he was entitled to get once he contacted his congresscritter and had said representative intervene.”
It’s called constituent service and all US congresspeople and senators have staff in their offices who specialize in each different government department and who have direct contacts within those departments. Of course, the quality of constituent service does depend somewhat upon the emphasis the representative or senator places on it and the quality of the people s/he hires, but it’s available from anyone in congress.
Years ago when I was trying to get a US passport – I’m a naturalized US citizen – I had nothing but trouble with the passport people. They seemed to have no idea how to handle the paperwork, as if I were the first person to show up with a foreign birth certificate and naturalization papers. One call to the office of my then-US senator, Arlen Spector, and the mess was straightened out in a single afternoon; my passport was in the mail. Literally. All of your US readers should keep this in mind and make use of this resource that they’re paying for through their taxes.
Our youngest son called us over the weekend to ask for help dealing with a problem. The house he’s lived in for a couple of years has a large swimming pool whose cover he never bothered to remove. Until now.
The pool is filled with thousands of tadpoles and frogs. It looks like a frog metropolis. After this week’s post, I was not the least surprised.
We’ve all decided the best approach is to skim them up in a pool net and carry them, one bucket at a time, across the street to the pond. Looks like we’ll be busy this week.
Barbara Ehrenreich’s book, _Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking is Undermining America_ (2009), is a pretty focused critique on the downsides of modern New Thought. One of those downsides is the “blame the sufferer” mentality that is used by the privileged to justify their privilege: If you’re diseased (or disabled or poor, or …), it’s never the fault of anyone else, or of chance, but it’s always you and you alone who are to blame that you have inflicted your disease or your disability or your poverty, etc., on the rest of us by your failure to think positively. (A good-sized dose of this blame-the-sufferer thinking seems to have been pushed on Ehrenreich right after after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Ugh!) Her book is weak on the history of the movement, but quite strong on its implications for the crisis of our society–which has only gotten worse since she wrote.
A better history and critique has now been written by Mitch Horowitz: _One Simple Idea: How Positive Thinking Reshaped Modern Life_ (2014). Both works, IMHO, are essential reading for anyone who wants to understand where Trump and his admirers are coming from, and why he has such a wide and large following.
Data point on Mrs Clinton and esoteric practices: she was practising yogic breathing after the 2016 election, according to an excerpt from her book “What Happened”:
This has been a fascinating series, so far. I knew exactly none of any of this, but then again, I decided, a couple of decades ago, to quit watching fictional people lead active, interesting lives on TV and instead go out and lead one for myself. Thus I gave up a lot of indoor (in)activity, including TV, games, and internet message boards &c. Not entirely, of course, but nowhere near as much as the ordinary North American.
During a discussion with friends this past weekend, we noted a few ideas which seem to me to be relevant to these essays, in particular the degree to which the past few generations of males in North America, as commented upon particularly by James H. Kunstler in his ‘blog, are not mature in any sense other than physically. I believe that is a significant factor in the childish mindset of the /chan/ denizens that had them turn to magic as an apparently effortless way of achieving something. In this case, something political.
They have been raised within a popular culture that conveys the delusion that they deserve to have easy success, lots of money, and the adoration of abnormally sexy women, just for being white and male. For example, a steady stream of blockbuster movies over the past 50 years which introduce the white, male protagonist as the geeky, outcast kid, who then cleverly proves everyone else wrong and wins the day (and the girl). The point of such movies, is to show white, teenage suburban boys that this could be any one of them. They see someone much like them with some suppressed special powers, and through the course of the movie they succeed in beating the bad guy and winning the love and affection of the amazingly beautiful girl. Star Wars comes immediately to mind, but there are many others. This is supplemented by TV where the main characters always live in neat, beautiful houses and apartments as a matter of course. As I said at the beginning, they all seem to lead active, interesting, and exciting lives. Sheldon from the popular show “The Big Bang Theory” is another iconic example of the genre. So the denizens of the /chans/ spent their youth absorbing the implicit message that the Effortless Good Life (TM) is their due.
Moreover, just as you point out how, despite their training, they have been denied access to the higher earnings echelons which leads to frustration, I’d say it’s also a factor that they were raised with this as an article of faith that a college degree guarantees entrance to the wealthy wage-earning class, and furthermore the work done for those earnings is not hard. I’d argue that this was mostly true back in the 1960s and even the 1970s. Almost every person I’ve ever met who graduated post-secondary schooling before 1975 pretty much walked into a high-paying job. By the 1980s, employers were demanding a degree as a requirement for entry-level positions which 10 years earlier required no more than a high-school diploma and it’s only gotten worse since. I’ll further argue that that belief has been subconsciously reinforced by the plethora of video games wherein there is always an exciting quest, which gives the game meaning (exciting quests being noticeably absent from most people’s working lives) and, moreover, rewards and riches are freely scattered throughout the game for the taking. If even if we understand these as metaphors for prosperity, the ease with which one attains them is utterly at odds with a real world where the vast majority of people have to work hard at stressful, tedious jobs earning a limited wage for often unpleasant overseers. If we take the game-rewards as a metaphor for opportunity to create wealth, such as owning land with access to minerals and raw materals, the problem is even so, wealth was never easy to produce in the real world; a world wherein these have also become noticeably short in supply, anyway. So, this frustration they are exhibiting if it doesn’t stem from, it is at least attenuated by, that sense of anger at the betrayal of the implied promise that if they just went to school and passed, they would be showered with a wonderful, easy life. As seen on TV and played in games.
In a final point, it seems that these past couple of generations have never been taught how to work, either. In previous generations, only pampered children of the very rich did no work. Even middle-class children were given chores to earn their allowance and expected to ultimately grow to manhood and take their place in the job force. As you have pointed out, many of the jobs they might have done in earlier times have been outsourced overseas or wages for existing jobs are far below what one might reasonably live from. Even had they not been conditioned to see such jobs as beneath their dignity, their pampered childhood means these are not “men” in any meaningful sense of the word, but rather “overgrown children” who believe they do not need to work at all. Hence their childish expectations and propensity for consequence-free magical thinking. In accordance with what you have pointed out, a mature person would appreciate magical work the same way they would appreciate physical work, as something that requires effort to achieve results.
Hi John Michael,
Thanks for confirming my suspicions. Mate, I don’t know what to say to that, other than it is probably not a good idea. Not that that will do much good.
A question or two for you. If Kek proves ineffective at present or in the future, or no longer works in accordance to your desires, do you walk away? And what do you believe will be the consequences for that? Just then I was reminded somehow of the old saying that a frog is for life, not just for Christmas.
JMG, you said:
“Tude, I get that. I’m fortunate in that I refused to get involved in the rat race from my teen years, got comfortable with poverty, and worked out a way to support myself and my wife that doesn’t require me to sell out. It’s getting really difficult these days, and I know a lot of people are facing very hard times; I wish I had more to offer — and I’m glad that at least I can provide a space where people can talk about the realities of their lives.”
My wife and I were headlong into the rat race when I had my foot in the door slammed hard in the door jamb back in ’08, when the economy in Florida caved in. Blew through my savings while applying for lateral positions over the next 9 months before giving up the idea of keeping our house, and then moved into my wife’s childhood home back in Spokane. That involved a 3000 mile move, with a 3 week old daughter, and radical cut in consumption.
THANKFULLY, we had one of those aha moments, a la David Holmgren, shortly thereafter, and turned down a completely different path. It took finding you 3 years later to really start getting my head on straight (or at least to start the process!;) but I thank my lucky stars for both of you.
We went through some pretty lean times there, as you may remember from my comments at the ADR, the four of us living in a big wall tent with no plumbing or electricity for 2 years, and we don’t have much more than that even today, 6+ years later: 400W of solar power and a burning desire to stay out of debt, out of the public schools, and off the radar as much as possible. Our cabin is still dry. But so are our beds on stormy nights, and that is a blessing.
My wife and I have what we call “glad we don’t live in a tent anymore” mini-holidays! Had one quite recently as a matter of fact! Makes you appreciate the little things…
We spent what little money we could muster on a small parcel of land, so that we wouldn’t owe anyone a monthly payment for rent or mortgage, having learned that lesson the hard way 4 years earlier. We dodged the regulatory system, skirting the law where we had to, at every turn to make it happen. Our total bill load is less than $500/mo today, and should be sub-$300/mo by March, and sub-$200/mo a year or so later, as we check off existing debts. Unless something shifts fairly radically, our student loan debt will never get paid. We don’t even really consider it. We still suffer from “poverty fatigue,” as we call it, at times, but knowing that the future could be a lot leaner than the present, we figure we have it pretty good these days.
Thanks as always for your gifts of knowledge and wisdom along the way. They have been priceless.
A la Robert Mathieson, I’ve had a few comments eaten by the digital hall monitor during this series, too. They were mostly just “seconds” to other people’s comments, but I know I like to get those here and there, so…
Onething (about Trump’s probable larger margin of victory in 2016)
E. Goldstein (about being ghost taxed to death by our industries)
you have support comments from me out there somewhere! Cheers!
Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance – is this book you’re referring to? I very much liked that book and highly recommend it!
increasingly fine distinctions being drawn here, possibly to avoid acknowledging the point.
let’s say the nature of the workplace was the legal department of a bank trust company. let’s say the nature of the discourse to which i was not permitted to object was the casual characterization of jews as miserly. there were other workplaces and countless other examples. in an extreme case i had to hear about the elders of zion or some such.
also race, also class, whatever. the old boys network. there were accepted narratives — sort of the point our host is making here, but applied to other, rather different specifics.
and while a lot of this was pre-internet, i am not aware of a parallel flight of — for lack of a better term, though i know my choice of phrasing here will become another target for those who decline to listen to the underlying argument — a flight of leftists into anything resembling fourchan. all we did was quietly fail to fit in, not get the promotions, go the front of the line for reductions in force, etc.
is “hatred” too strong a word? sounds like “casual disregard,” zach. but i would argue that the systematic dehumanization of the “other” is the best hatred there is.
@ David by the Lake: JMG was posting his replies last night about when I was writing my idea to you and him. Had I been a few minutes later, I would’ve stayed silent: I think JMG’s response was great. So I’ve been mulling over his response to you and yours to me. I’m appreciative of the chance to learn!
Accepting that there may be no cause/effect relationship for an event is HARD. Coming from my physics and engineering background, I struggle with it a lot. With multidimensional matrices, and with human limitations of actual observation, it probably doesn’t make much difference if a cause/effect relationship is so complex that we can’t see it, or that there is no cause/effect relation and merely correlation or even less. What I need to constantly remind myself is that whatever is pragmatic is important, not simply the mental construct that approximates reality, the map of reality. YMMV.
I’m reminded of a picture I have at the job: a chap is on a rock, meditating, surrounded by water. The caption reads “Relax. Nothing is under control.” I’ll probably spend some time thinking about that in relation to TSW for awhile.
If teen pregnancy and drug use are falling for the reasons you have stated, then that is something we can all celebrate! Although I grew up in a poor country, I am fortunate enough to have grown up in a relatively stable domestic situation. I cannot imagine what it would be like otherwise, and would not wish the instability of divorce/alcoholism/drugs/prison to even my worst enemys’ household.
Oops! I replied to you without referencing your name. Here goes:
A question or two for you. If Kek proves ineffective at present or in the future, or no longer works in accordance to your desires, do you then walk away? And what do you believe will be the consequences for that? Just then I was reminded somehow of the old saying that a frog is for life, not just for Christmas.
Oops! The second comment may appear confusing because it is. Please accept my apologies. 🙂
I’ve been watching Jordan Peterson off and on for about a year and I had the thought today that he’s what JMG called a revitalization movement. He sees the world getting worse and he’s very well-meaning and he thinks, what’s gone wrong? What should people do? And the answer is, they should work hard and get a career and marry and have kids and follow the script that worked more or less during the 20th century. And the problem of course is that the system has changed, and doing those things won’t work, and I have the eerie feeling that a bunch of people are going to come out in a couple years and say, ‘I followed Jordan Peterson’s advice but my life didn’t work out the way I thought’ – and why? Because these ideas don’t address the roots of the problem. And I think you can see this in the way that Peterson keeps banging on about progress and technological improvement and so on. Basically I think that, as much as he’s portrayed as a kind of savior of the young generation (and this is true to the extent that he recognizes that something is wrong with the state of the world, which is more than many older people manage), he’s really an expression of the same ‘the kids are lazy’ attitude that so many older people have, and his mission is really an attempt to get society back on track by exhorting the young to “get off their ass”, as if young people somehow have just lost their nerve and he can get society working again through his sheer force of will. But it won’t work, because fundamentally his idea is that we should go back to the past, that everything will be ok again if only we do the things that used to work. So really he’s another avatar of ‘Make America Great Again’ – what everyone wants to believe, that things will ‘start working again properly’ if only we all do X. So, a revitalization movement. And I think, if I might go so far, that this also explains that why JMG has so little interest in him; a number of times now I’ve seen commenters saying, so to speak, ‘Well, what about Jordan Peterson?’ and getting little reaction from JMG, and I think this is because JMG is immune to such revitalization movements and therefore simply isn’t caught in the Peterson spell, whereas people who are still yearning for the better times ‘buy-in’ because, fundamentally, they want it to be true – not because Peterson has argued them into it rationally, because anyone calm can spot the holes in Peterson’s arguments a mile away (my favorite one is the one where he says ‘Well, you think you can’t influence anyone? But even if you only know 100 people – those 100 people know 100 people, and they in turn know 100 people, and so on!’ which of course completely ignores the well-known fact that people who I’m friends with are much more likely to also be friends with each other than randomly chosen people.).
The other thought that I’ve noticed, probably goes along with this, is that his depth of knowledge is really quite shallow. Of course compared to the average American he’s profoundly educated, but if you look at his reading list of favorite books it’s rather extraordinarily narrow, essentially all books from the 20th century and late 19th century, highly focused on psychology and catastrophic, tragic events. And he cites psychological studies as if there were no problems with replication and scientism and so on. The other thing he’s known for is looking at the Bible and mythologies and so on, but I think this is all autodidactic – I doubt he’s read Augustine or has an understanding of traditional religious interpretations of the Bible. And apart from that, about science, mathematics, history, political theory, literature, art & music history, etc, he seems to know very little. And I guess the way this relates to the first point I made is that this lack of knowledge is essential for him to continue his mission; because, really, too much contact with reality would destroy his confidence in his mission. He needs to remain in his partly-educated bubble in order to maintain his faith in revitalizing Western society (and indeed to maintain his listeners’ faiths). For knowing a bit about Roman history would show some obvious and agonizing parallels with America, and knowing a bit about monasticism would give the lie to his idea that all childless old people become miserable and lonely, and knowing a bit about physics would make him realize that technological progress will not soon ‘lift’ everyone out of poverty. Anyway…
I wanted to say a bit more, but to split it up from the comments about Peterson, so here’s another comment. So personally I find other commentators on today’s situation more moving, and I think (thinking out loud here) that perhaps the trap I see people fall into is ‘right and left’, ‘conservatism and liberalism’, ‘back and forward’, which T.S. Eliot I think rightly called ‘habits of mind’ (quoting from memory), ‘and not true philosophies’. And you see this everywhere today, because the left people want to go forward a bit more, let’s have some freedoms and pull down some more restrictions, and the right people want to go back a bit, let’s make it more like when I was a kid, everything seemed to work better then, let’s have order, but neither of them really think about the fundamentals. They’re all reactionary in the literal sense of the term; they don’t have a real philosophy, they haven’t thought life and society from the ground up all the way to the leaves on the trees, they just react to the current situation in the two stereotyped ways that have been part of Western culture since (at least) the French revolution. A particularly good example of this I think is the two brothers Christopher and Peter Hitchens; I suspect that anyone who knows one will know less about the other, but they’re a good example of this dichotomy: Christopher is the left one and Peter the right one, both are frightfully articulate and well-educated (I say ‘are’ but technically Christopher died recently), both love to argue and propose changes to the social order, but neither have a real philosophical grounding – they’re locked, mainly, in the present, responding to the world around them and to the world of their youth with the tools (atheism, Anglicanism, liberalism, conservatism) they have to hand, but not really aware of the broader picture of history and philosophy and so on.
Well, I find other commentators more inspiring. JMG, for instance, who has a completely different view, though I don’t agree with it all, but JMG stands much further back from the scene. Another person who I quite like, from a different world, is Cardinal Sarah, who comes right out and says ‘Europe is dying’ (as JMG also did), who has a comprehensive world-view which he practices and not just preaches and has some historical evidence behind it. I see some parallels between JMG and Sarah (not in general, just as thinkers who I think have a healthy view of the political and social situation, which is what I’m focusing on): an affection for the medieval era, a religious world-view and philosophy, outsiders to the mainstream of Western culture, being raised far from the centers of that culture. It seems telling that it takes such distance – grounding in religion, being near the fringes of society and culture (and power) – to see the political and social situation in any kind of reasonably sensible way; it seems to show that the Western world is deeply wound up in an unreal system of thought, the more so the closer you are to the ‘center’ of it (NYC, DC, SF, LA, London, etc; politics, economics, etc), and that you have to be at or near the edge to escape the distortion field.
Re causality, etc.
You ain’t kiddin’. I am distinctly challenged by the notion that all I thought solid may be nothing but illusion — functional illusion that assists in navigating this world, but illusion nonetheless. Even more challenging is the notion that such is all that I may ever be able to know, that the actuality will lay always beyond my comprehension. There is a hint of Ecclesiastes here: “All is vanity!” It is the understatement of a lifetime to say that my years on Ecosophia and its predecessors have been educational.
I’ll have to see if I can find a version of the picture you mentioned. It sounds like something I would find useful to keep at my desk as well 🙂
“Man, we really need to summon a god of mirrors, so these folks can all take a good long look at themselves.”
Amen to that–though I also wonder how many of them would recoil in horror. I have to say, when I was compulsively overeating sugar and flour, destroying my health and my mental state, sometimes I’d look in a mirror and think “Hey, sexy.” Guess it just depends on how distorted some of these Keksters mindsets can be.
Your discussion put me in mind of the recent horror flick HEREDITARY, which is like a ROSEMARY’S BABY for the present times. I didn’t really like the film, but this general conversation resonates with the arc of that movie, and where it leads to in the end.
Maybe I missed something. I saw arguments that we cannot see the true causal chain of events from our limited perspective, but no cause and effect? Seems unlikely. I wouldn’t grab onto that too fast. Oh well.
Yes, Carlos, that was the book.
There have been numerous incidents in the past weeks where, since being introduced to the concept of flunkies and their cutthroat competition to lick the boots of their “betters,” I have found it a succinct and clear motivator for the behaviour of many people I hear about, read about, and talk to. This is the stuff that keeps me coming back to your blog for over six years and counting. Diolch yn fawr!!
Without wanting to commit myself to any position on US-American politics, I can’t fail to notice that Reiham Salam on The Atlantic seems to have been reading JMG!
“The people I’ve heard archly denounce whites have for the most part been upwardly-mobile people who’ve proven pretty adept at navigating elite, predominantly white spaces. A lot of them have been whites who pride themselves on their diverse social circles and their enlightened views, and who indulge in their own half-ironic white-bashing to underscore that it is their achieved identity as intelligent, worldly people that counts most, not their ascribed identity as being of recognizably European descent…
It is almost as though we’re living through a strange sort of ethnogenesis, in which those who see themselves as (for lack of a better term) upper-whites are doing everything they can to disaffiliate themselves from those they’ve deemed lower-whites…
Embracing the culture of upper-white self-flagellation can spur avowedly enlightened whites to eagerly cheer on their Asian American comrades who show (abstract, faceless, numberless) lower-white people what for… it pays to be exquisitely sensitive to the beliefs and prejudices of the people who hold the power to grant you access to the social and cultural capital you badly want…What better way to demonstrate that you’re not a humdrum worker bee, afflicted with a lackluster personality, than to carefully and selectively express the right kind of righteous indignation?”
I don’t know if there is a better or worse in life when you find yourself in a place you don’t want to be or don’t feel comfortable. I grew up very poor and had opportunities in college to marry very rich, and have a very different life, but I always hated the way I was treated (as a poor white trash gold digger) so I vowed to do everything on my own. Now I am in the weird situation of having been the primary breadwinner for the past 20 years and realizing I can’t do it anymore, yet having a partner who depends on my income for our lifestyle (which btw is still considered poor for most in the Bay Area). So, which is easier or worse or whatever? I don’t know, I suppose it’s equally hard to live a “lie” no matter what the circumstances. And being with a partner that’s not on the same page is difficult no matter what as well.
Thank you for your story, it’s similar to what I’d like to do. I’d like to get up enough courage to sell this house I am in, put the money in the bank, and head to OR, WA or ID and rent for a while and just try to figure it out. But the hubby has lived here his whole life and do I want to be the one that rips him away from his work and home? We’ll see. It’s certainly inspiring to hear it can be done. If I end up unemployed I suppose I will end up in a place of desperation soon enough, that has a way of forcing radical change whether you want it or not.
” If Kek proves ineffective at present or in the future, or no longer works in accordance to your desires, do you walk away? And what do you believe will be the consequences for that? Just then I was reminded somehow of the old saying that a frog is for life, not just for Christmas.”
Well, that’s a poser and no mistake. I’m not sure that Kek is proving “effective”even in the present (in my particular sense of opening up the table of dialogue in such a way that even the misfits, the curmudgeons, the unloved and the unwashed have their place). It seems to me that the table itself is torn and broken just now, more like Aslan’s Stone Table, and it is exceedingly hard to gather folk around it.
Still, a certain subset (by no means all) of the currently dispossessed have raised up this frog. What they will do with him now that he’s here, and whether, indeed, there will be consequences for forgetting that (paraphrase) “a frog is for life, and not just for lulz” remains to be seen.
For my part, I add my own small magics to the web, by setting an extra place for every meal, by sharing blessings received, by inviting riffraff into my garden, etc. As, I see, do you. No matter what, chop wood, draw water, eh?
Be well, Chris.
“A question or two for you. If Kek proves ineffective at present or in the future, or no longer works in accordance to your desires, do you then walk away? And what do you believe will be the consequences for that? Just then I was reminded somehow of the old saying that a frog is for life, not just for Christmas“
First allow me to clarify something. I am a Chaos Mage but I am not an American citizen and never worked with Kek (yet, that may change soon).
I will try to explain what I think based on my experience and answer your questions (I may be wrong, take it with a grain of salt)
The God Kek, is not a frog God, He is (any God/Goddess is) an unconceivable stream of consciousness to which our limited brains attach a mask to try to make some sense of it. That is why on Tibetan Buddhism, the chela visualizes an image of a God/Goddess until it becomes perfect. What he creates is an interface that allows the God/Goddess to interact with him without blowing up his mind.
Nobody summons a God unless He/She/It wishes to be summoned. And before that you usually get a lot of hints. A God/Goddess does not become ineffective, it may simply loose interest on your affairs.
What happened in this case was not that those mages sucked up the power of the God to implement changes in the world, it was that the God wanted to make changes in the world and used them. When you do the LBRP you don’t coerce/suck up the power of the Gods/Goddesses/Angels to banish. They give it to you because when you do that you are helping them to change the world.
Am I being clear?
Imagine that you have an insect problem in you farm and that you want to increase the number of amphibians on it. You can go and pick them up in the surrounding areas or you can make one or more ponds on your land and wait for them to show up. The meaningful coincidences, the 7777777, PEPE, Shadilay, were Kek building the pond to attract those that would work with him. No, I don’t think that Kek cares about politics but I do think that He cares about this world and that interfering/changing the outcome was a form of banishing of what could become a problem.
It is possible that some of the people that worked with Him before may walk away, the same way that an amphibian can walk away from your pond. Life becomes harder, not because there is a persecution, but because the person or amphibian is no longer reaping benefits from the pond.
It is much more probable that He can walk away from them, unless they start a relationship with Him (prayer, meditation, offerings – Nothing fancy but done regularly).
Personally I interact with Gods/Goddesses the same way that I interact with other forms of life (including human life). With respect and good manners life is smoother.
I did think your question not quite “tailored” for myself, but I did my best with it, because it is always interesting to be asked a question. Anyway, thanks for making it make better sense. 🙂
Varun: “Man, we really need to summon a god of mirrors, so these folks can all take a good long look at themselves.”
Varun’s comment put me in mind of something, which also addresses the following:
Onething: “Maybe I missed something. I saw arguments that we cannot see the true causal chain of events from our limited perspective, but no cause and effect? Seems unlikely. I wouldn’t grab onto that too fast.”
That something is pratītyasamutpāda, or dependent (co-origination). The Wikipedia article on it is pretty informative. The metaphor of Indra’s net is sometimes used to illustrate it. Indra’s net consists of jewels each of which reflects the other jewels. (“A god of mirrors” reminded me of this.) Thich Nhat Hanh’s explanation of the concept is pretty interesting: “Pratitya samutpada is sometimes called the teaching of cause and effect, but that can be misleading, because we usually think of cause and effect as separate entities, with cause always preceding effect, and one cause leading to one effect. According to the teaching of Interdependent Co-Arising, cause and effect co-arise (samutpada) and everything is a result of multiple causes and conditions… ” I don’t want to get into the weeds of Buddhist philosophy on this (not that I understand it well in any case) but this is a place I would look to get into the concept of cause and effect more deeply. The way I think about it in this case is as follows: one can’t imagine the alt-right without the ctrl-left, and vice versa: they “dependently co-originate”. This also gets back to the mirror concept.
It occurs to me that the current POTUS is perhaps the ambassador of the god of chaos, Apep, who is represented as a snake, not a frog, but “Apep” and “Pepe” are pretty close; also, the frog-headed gods of the Ogdoad had snake-headed goddesses as their consorts. I say this because if it is the case that one thing neo-conservatives and the neo-liberals have in common is their economic policy, and since it is the case that the current POTUS is precisely opposed to that policy and is aggressively taking it apart, then he is a force of chaos in the face of a presumptive new world order (look at the back of a dollar bill). This led to the further thought that the really productive struggle is not between left and right, or good and evil (where good and evil is defined simply by which side one happens to be on), but between order and chaos, and while too much chaos for too long is a bad thing, so is too much order. They have to take a turn at succession. Too much of the same old order for too long can be stifling.
Thanks for sharing your families story. There is a lesson in there, and it is that the earlier you start, the more comfy you are. You are way ahead of the curve and things are clearly on the up, but imagine what could be possible if you began your journey in ’92? 😉 People fail to understand the physical realities of your journey. I get it, and I hear you.
@ Matthias Gralle
From the way the text is behaving and colored green I think you meant to provide a link. It isn’t working in Firefox or Opera. I have given up on Chrome, it seems neglected.
I did the same thing, too, but my vote didn’t really count, as KY overwhelmingly went Trump, but, as a swing state voter, your vote very much did matter and carried him over the top…
One further thing about Jordann Peterson, that I think is on-topic:
One major reason for the amount of hate and vitriol he gets from “SJW” types is that every now and then he rails on what passes for “social justice activism” in elite universities as the baby 1% (students) being taught by the 0.1% (professors and administrators) to hate the 0.01%; he frequently cites Orwell in noticing that most socialists are in fact middle and upper-middle class types who don’t really love the poor, they just hate the rich(er).
Obviously, you will not get any love from the elites (and their social-climber, hangers-on flunkies) by pointing out their little game for what it truly is: an attempt to obtain or maintain elite privilege.
Thank you for your reply and story. I guess I could certainly have a case of rose colored glasses. Only way to ever know for sure is to take the leap to less, although it probably won’t be nearly the same as when forced, a la Tripp (thanks for sharing your story, too, Tripp).
I did the opposite of you both and voted Hilary against my better conscience (wanted Green or libs) and to this day feel dirty. The only vote I’ve ever been ashamed of afterwards…guess I was susceptible to the spells from her camp near the election? Oh well, she lost thank goodness so I don’t feel responsible for anything at least.
Scotlyn in response to Chris- beautifully said and thank you for your thoughts.
I am glad to hear you renewed your ham radio license. You might also want to find some old mimeograph machines in good working order as well. It looks like you (and we) may soon enough need them, old-fashioned “samizdat” publications.
In A Corporatist System Of Government, Corporate Censorship Is State Censorship
Former FBI agent says tech companies must “silence” sources of “rebellion”
The fact that they are going after a somewhat unsympathetic figure like Alex Jones is standard M.O. Once they “manufacture consent,” people like you are next in line. Count on it.
The question being: what IS [beep…beep…beep] in reality?
You probably don’t have the stark experience of your reality diverging heavily and measurably from the reality you’re not allowed to question at a p.c. workplace.
Such a reality exists;
It’s a dimension of human experience among the manifold that in some circles is unthinkable. But those who don’t know about it won’t ask, and accordingly will not make the experience.
Every bigger society has its ideology and elite culture, we have ours, there’s always slogans and levels, competition and common ritual. Somewhere along these economic, sociological lines there are people who are discouraged to express what others qualify as [insert respective buzzword] in their workplace, while sometimes they’ve made an opposite experience in reality, or more, or their whole wider background makes the experience so that the p.c. answer has to be at least partly wrong.
People are stressed in the modern world and yes, in their darker times also these p.c. mandatory projections that diverge from their reality are worth as fuel for the unease.
If you think that anyone who has the feeling that something isn’t right in a spot is rightfully called a [buzzword] as soon as someone else(who?) thinks it is [buzzword], then that’s your surface of reality.
Either one really knows the experiences of others and judges them by their actions, or tries to understand their actions while being a bit slower to judge, anything else is bound to be speculative.
Our realms of experience in the modern society are very disconnected, while anyone is overly connected to the virtual version of our society and its parts.
Thanks for the wild and erudite ride! I’d like to contribute a couple of observations about the possible role of “non-denominational” mindfulness meditation and also on more structured Buddhist practice as it relates to “The Clinton Cult.”
I’ve heard a number of more formally oriented Buddhist teachers respond to questions about generic mindfulness practices with observations that, even when an attempt is made to separate mindfulness from the “religious” (magical) practices of invocation and evocation, a surprising number of generic mindfulness practitioners end up having deep, transformative experiences that change their life path without regard to whatever plans for material success they originally had in miind.. Perhaps even the simple act of meditation is magically charged enough so that “if you build it, they will come.”
On the other hand, I was dismayed to hearProf. Robert Thurman, a Buddhist practitioner who has enlivened my own practice with his wit and insight, give a talk called “Hillary Clinton is the President of My Heart,” or some such drivel. Back in the late nineties, Thurman wrote a wonderful book called “Inner Revolution” that charted out a potential “Buddhist political path” for America that is considerably to the left of even Bernie Sanders, let alone Ms. Clinton’s neoliberal program. Somehow, her belligerent foreign policy record didn’t even rate a mention from Prof. Thurman.
I commented about this in the talk’s thread, and was mobbed by people, allegedly practicing Vajrayana Buddhists like Thurman, who were shocked, simply shocked that I would not be supportive of Ms. Clinton. For my part, I don’t understand how they, and a great many of my once-radical friends, could a) support her and b) get snookered by the Russiagate flim-flam, which is obviously an NSA domestic psyops program.
As for Pres. Turnip being an embodiment of the change maker, I hope you are right but I think that, given the bloodthirsty characters around him and the irrevocable damage he and his government are inflicting on this planet’s fragile human-life-supporting ecosystem, that he is more of a Wotan type. Time alone will tell, but by the time we know for sure it will be just about too late to change our fate.
Thanks again for your insightful and challenging writing!
OK, sorry to be the dreary narrow-minded rationalist but I fail to see any phenomenon that requires an esoterical explanation.
a 70 year-old having a brief faintness => definite proof that TSF!
very many further attempts by the chaos magicians failed badly => this stuff still works!
Now if they levitated the pentagon…
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