Sunday, November 11, 2007

Are You Sitting Comfortably? Meditations on Zeitgeist & No End in Sight and How Covert Rule Becomes Overt Rule

(there is also a shorter version of this piece at

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”
Jimi Hendrix

Question: Do we know how lucky we are?

To live in a world that moves further and further into chaos and yet to be so damn comfortable?

Question: if our comforts and luxuries and our peace of mind all depend upon an economic and political system that is steadily stripping the world of all comfort, all possible peace—of mind or any other kind—how long do we expect that comfort to last? How long? And is it worth it?

Question: Would you be willing to see the end of that system if it meant losing all the comforts you have come to rely on and returning to nothing—to nuts and berries—knowing that the planet would survive as a result of your “sacrifice”? Well, would you?

If you ever wonder how easily the public is deceived by the people in power, don’t. Awareness of the truth comes at a high price, and few of us really want to pay it.

How many of us really want to join a revolution or return to the forest? How many of us would do just about anything rather than that? Yet I guarantee you, if you knew the real truth about this way of life we depend on for our comfort and stability, you would go gladly into the wilderness. The alternative would be complete and irrevocable despair.

In the end, the revolution is coming to us, my friends. And then the wilderness will come also. We have seen the birth of the last generation. There is no future past this point.

Do you doubt this? Then you have just proved how effectively your need for comfort has blinded you and how susceptible we are to the lies that control us, because of our desire to believe.

I just watched a series of documentaries, Loose Change, Zeitgeist, Michael Moore’s Sicko, and No End in Sight, about the Iraq “war.” I am left wondering not “Is there any hope for mankind?” I have known for a long time the answer to that one (the answer is no). I am left wondering a much deeper and more urgent question: “What am I supposed to do with this knowledge?”

It will surprise no one that the only thing I came up with was to write. If I can’t testify to personal despair, what good is it to me, or to anyone?

Loose Change leaves no room for the discerning person to doubt that 9/11 (along with most if not all major “terrorist” attacks, before or since) was an “inside job” with precise ends that have more or less all been accomplished in the six years since. Primary among these—besides of course the infinite-budgeted and open-ended “war on terror” itself, including handy new “rationales” for meddling in the middle east—was the rapid corrosion of whatever was left of the democratic governmental process: individual rights, and so forth. And yet, you or I are probably largely unaffected by this at a personal level, beyond the ubiquitous presence of CCTV and the ever-increasing security measures at airports. (Our phones may be tapped, true, but we won’t know it if they are.) Amazing isn’t it? How big the lie, and yet how subtle the effects once we have agreed to swallow it. We are still comfortable, that’s the main thing. Right? Complicity—all down the line.

Zeitgeist goes a fair bit deeper into the intrigue, and hence that much further out on a limb. It shows how a small group of individuals are able to control events—and therefore people—by controlling the economy, and points out that the Federal Reserve (which prints all the money in the US) is anything but federal, being a privately owned corporation that increases its power and wealth—its hold over a nation, or for that matter a planet—by steadily increasing the collective debt. What’s curious about this fact is that the people who control wealth actually don’t need money, and become more powerful, not so much by amassing capital (though it doesn’t hurt) but by disempowering the rest of the world and making it ever more dependent upon their “resources”—even though they are really just colored bits of paper. This is a very advanced form of sorcery, and like all black magic, the proof of how well it works is that we are almost completely unaware of it. We are under the spell of money, and all the “comforts” it can buy.

Another interesting fact which the documentary points out —especially interesting to American citizens—is that there is no actual law obliging people in the US to pay taxes, because taxes are in fact unconstitutional. According to the film, 90% of taxes paid by US citizens go straight into the pockets of a tiny group of individuals, the ones behind the Federal Reserve and the central banking system. Taxes essentially have nothing to do with government (who as everyone knows are the deepest in debt of all), which is presumably why there’s no law enforcing tax payment. (This doesn’t mean the IRS won’t harass you if you don’t pay, only that they can’t actually prosecute you in a court of law.) Of course, anyone who is even beginning to wise up—and these days you have to really be out of the loop not to be wising up at least a little bit—knows that “the government” has little to do with much of anything these days. It has become almost as nominal a “power” as the monarchy in the UK.

No End in Sight amply illustrates this fact by showing how the major decisions in the Iraq “war” were made by a tiny handful of individuals without ever consulting any of the relevant parties (e.g., military advisors and US officials posted in Iraq). Admittedly G.W. Bush was (possibly, though not definitely) included among these chosen few, but the general impression given by the film (without ever actually suggesting this) is that the visible government was covertly following an agenda that had already been set, by unseen intelligences for undivulged reasons. This was the reason the token, visible government officials who were included didn’t bother consulting anyone: because a) they were going to do it anyway (they had their orders); and b) they were such blatantly “bad” ideas that the only way to implement them was by ensuring that as few people knew about them as possible until it was too late to do anything about it—only those, in short, who were being directed from “on high” by the “unseen hand” of the shadow government.

Any intelligent person who is also moderately informed on this can’t help but be aware that the US government basically ensured the Iraq war continue indefinitely, even though (as the film shows) it was “won” back in 2003, or could have been if different decisions had been made. The problem is that intelligent people tend to take a lazy view of things: putting such decisions down to incompetence rather than to a darker, Machiavellian agenda, they effectively give the government the benefit of the doubt. This is why GWB is the ideal patsy President for the last 8 years: he has helped immeasurably to compound the erroneous notion that, behind the increased level of madness and just plain malevolence in US foreign and domestic policies (which by extension have impacted the whole world) lies nothing worse than plain stupidity. Naturally, though this idea is troublesome, it is far more comforting than the notion that specific individuals are consciously implementing these policies in order to ensure the world sinks deeper and deeper into chaos, and to profit thereby. To take on board such an idea, we would have to then accept that the situation is not going to get better, but will only continue getting worse, and worse, and worse, until the day (maybe sooner than we think) on which the marching chaos arrives on our doorsteps and pounds down our doors, demanding our blood.

According to No End in Sight, the total cost of the Iraq war so far is around $1.8 trillion. Cui Bono? Not you and I, that’s for sure. And not Iraq, that’s for damn sure. So who? Increased spending equals increased debt, equals increased power—for someone.

Follow the money and you will find the truth. And the truth will make you very, very uncomfortable.

Perhaps the most surprising little nugget of information in Zeitgeist relates to the North American Union and the creation of a common currency for the new US/Canada/Mexico state: the Americo. Did anyone out there hear about this? I didn’t think so. The entire superstructure of Western society was fundamentally altered, and it didn’t make the evening news? Does that make you wonder what’s wrong with this picture?

Bush (and the Mexican and Canadian supremos) signed the agreement back in 2005, without involving either Congress or the “voting public” (ha ha). This hasn’t been kept secret, exactly—it was reported and even criticized by CNN at the time—and yet somehow no one is talking about it. Barring that initial, brief disclosure, the media have kept entirely mum on the subject. The day that CNN refers indignantly to a “group of elites” changing history without consulting us, don’t you think maybe it’s time we stopped talking about “conspiracy theories” and started facing the facts? The fact, for example, that hidden forces behind government are making all the decisions that count, and the news is being carefully controlled to ensure any resistance is kept to a minimum? The US government responded to charges of underhandedness at the time by saying that the union wasn’t covert: it had been reported on their website. Oh well, in that case….

What these documentaries all show is an increased level of amazement and confusion on the part of people who actually belong to the institutions involved in these bizarre new policies. This includes people at (apparently) high levels of government. It is exactly as if some mysterious rogue element or “virus” were taking over the system and had little or no worries about being detected. Perhaps the reason is that it is now sufficiently advanced to know it can no longer be stopped? What seems beyond doubt is that covert forces behind visible governments are becoming increasingly active in the policies being implemented, and as a result are slowly emerging from behind the scenes. Covert control is becoming open rule. This is presumably because these parties wish to accelerate their agenda, and can no longer afford to waste time getting new bills by Congress, much less courting “public approval” (ha ha).

Judging by No End in Sight, the “secret elite”—what else you gonna call them?—knew full well that the military and other US advisors in Iraq would have been strongly opposed to dismantling Iraq’s armed forces, since by doing so the US practically guaranteed that disenfranchised soldiers would join the Iraq uprising and resist the US army, instead of joining forces with them (as they were apparently quite ready, even eager to do). But since there was no way to “explain” this questionable decision without admitting to the hidden agenda behind it—to keep Iraq destabilized and so keep the game of war going—the US advisors in Iraq found out about it by seeing it on CNN! The same applies to the North American Union: since it was known that many North American citizens would have opposed it and Congress would have questioned it, neither were consulted. Their opinion was considered worthless, since they could not possibly understand the nature of the “game.” Of course, only the elite can do that.

The alternative to this complete bypassing of democratic—or even governmental—process entails creating circumstances like 9/11 which create the necessary conditions to steamroll dubious new policies past Congress and the public (e.g., the Patriot Act, Homeland Security). Needless to say, such “event manipulation” is a far more elaborate and costly procedure and must be kept to the minimum, i.e., until strictly necessary. It’s also costly in other ways: in the parlance of currency, the less of it there is, the greater its value, a law that applies as much at the psychological level as at the material. The events of 9/11 have gone a long way in terms of furthering the policies of the elite, but the danger of having too many dramatic “terror” scenarios play out over a short period is that people will become desensitized to them, and will need increasingly dramatic scenarios to get the desired response, that of fear, anger, and despair. Like in a movie, you have to be sparing with your effects to maximize the impact on the audience. This is similar I suppose to torture techniques in which the victims are given time to recover their strength before the next onslaught: to be sure they’re awake enough to feel it! Put another way, if conditions of discomfort are maintained indefinitely, people become used to them. They must be given a temporary illusion of comfort to soften them up for the blows to come.

This is why a sophisticated totalitarian regime resembles Brave New World as much as (or more than) 1984: a controlling elite keeps its people comfortable not merely to prevent them from causing trouble, but also to make them progressively softer and more pliable. A person who cannot survive a day without a cell phone and cable TV and comfort food products is very, very easy to terrorize.

Enough morbid thoughts! We are still left with the question of what to actually do about any of this.

It seems common sense to me that, before deciding on any course of action, one should first get all the facts (or as many as one can), and then try to see what the overall picture looks like. The first, maybe the only, thing to really do “about” any of this is simply—get informed. Forewarned is forearmed. Beyond that, the answer is the same as it always is: we have to look within.

The only thing to be done about the situation we are currently in as a society and as a species is—face up to our part in it. If we want to find out what the hell is wrong with “human nature,” we may as well start with our own. The world is a condition that must be treated. First of all it has to be diagnosed, which means looking unflinchingly at the symptoms: all of them. And although the “disease” is within, many of the symptoms are manifested without. What I am trying to say is that this fucked up world is our responsibility. By allowing the worst elements of the species to take charge of our collective destiny, we have sold ourselves into slavery—and into something even worse than slavery.

Our challenge is to have the courage and strength to look at the very worst aspects of existence and, instead of judging them, take responsibility for them. There but for the grace of God go you and I. Not only could we be numbered among the miserable oppressed—a year, a month, a day from now, your home town could look like Iraq does today; we could also find ourselves among the even more miserable oppressors. Both extremes exist in us: the horror of the helpless victim, and the deeper horror of the those psychopaths who, in their own way, cannot help themselves. Instead of judging the demons that lurk behind the scenes—engineering misery and profiting from atrocity as surely as a baker trades in bread—and instead of pitying the victims, we need to ask how we profit from this self-same system, how we depend on it for our comfort and security, making us the inmates and the guards, trapped inside a prison, with no conceivable way of escape.

How helpless are we? Look at it this way: if peering for a moment or two behind the paper-thin veneer of our comfortable lives of luxury, at the seemingly bottomless abyss in which we live—I mean really live—if such a glimpse drives us to look inward, at the bottomless abyss inside us, isn’t that perhaps a good thing? Isn’t it an opportunity to grow, evolve, to transform ourselves into something a little bit less sympathetic to this horror we call the world? Because in the end, isn’t our horror, our pity and despair, directed at ourselves? Isn’t there somewhere in us the sneaking certainty that, at some level, we are complicit with all of this horror?

For every zone of comfort we have taken refuge in, there is a corresponding zone of misery and despair: both were created by the same forces, the same agenda. We have agreed to look the other way and pretend it isn’t really happening, in exchange for our own peace of mind. But what kind of peace of mind is it that requires complete indifference to the suffering of others so long as they remain but numbers on a page, images on a screen? How long do we really think this peace of mind is going to last? How long?

This world is our world. The miseries belong to all of us. The longer we keep the truth at bay, the worse it is going to be when it finally catches up with us. We all know this, deep down: that’s the one truth we keep furthest at bay.

This isn’t a sermon. The last thing I feel qualified to do right now is tell anyone what to do with their misery. It’s not an appeal. It doesn’t make any difference to me personally if you get up in arms about this world or the secret forces that have made it this way (with our implicit approval). If you want to carry on with your head in the sand and your ass in the air until the bombs fall on all of us, that’s fine with me. But I don’t suppose you would have read this far if that were the case.

In my experience, taking a look at how truly awful things are doesn’t necessarily make us feel any worse. It can actually be a kind of relief. It lets us get a better grip on why we feel so bad for so much of the time. For a moment or two, the pressure of denial is reduced. We can let the truth wash over us, in a great bloody wave, and see what’s left in our lives that we really care about.

We live in fear every moment; isn’t it about time we looked at what we are so damn afraid of? Until we identify the source of that fear—of the misery, despair, rage and self-loathing that eats away at the hearts of us all—we can’t even begin to process it. The price of repressing our feelings—repressing the truth—is that the good gets shut out with the bad. We can’t even begin to love with such a backlog of pain to process. We can’t even begin to live.

But no, this isn’t a sermon. This is just my way of saying to those of you who are ready to accept responsibility for this mess—ready to say along with Howard Beal in whatever way is right for you, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”—that I am with you all the way. You are not alone. The beauty and power of accepting that we have created a perfect Hell on Earth is in realizing that, by the same token, we can take the whole damn thing apart and start over, the moment we choose to do it. So why not do it today?

A change is coming: whether we know it or not, whether we want it or not, a wave is coming that will sweep all of this away, leaving only the beautiful, terrible truth of who we are, and what we have become. All we have to do is make sure, when that day comes, that we know, really know, where our allegiance lies.

Are we shackled to our comfy little lives, our fancy toys, our fond and fervent “agendas” and this world of manufactured madness around which they revolve? Or are we ready to kiss all of that goodbye, put our trust in the Sun—the One they can’t bring down—and let the wilderness gather us home again?

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