Crossing the Nadir

from where you are, you can’t even imagine what hitting bottom is like.

-Tyler Durden, Fight Club

like I said a little while ago, I plan to change the focus of things around here pretty dramatically from where it’s been, which no longer seems especially relevant.

We are crossing into an area that is a true singularity. ie; where, by definition, no prediction is possible. The corrupt and discredited assholes in charge have successfully made a system that is too large, too complex and too fast to control, and demonstrated they can’t even comprehend basic notions of risk and reward. What the fuck did they think was going to happen at 200+ to 1 leverage and with utterly fraudulent lending practices? They gambled the world, and everyone loses. Good job fellas. If they were smart they’d concentrate on avoiding a firing squad. But they aren’t smart, they’ve proven that. It is truly the worst aspects of the reign of the oracles.

By the time Obama gets into power, we’ll all be eating soylent green, at the rate things are going. And even if things hang together a bit longer, he’s got too many of the same old crew telling him what to do. I wouldn’t hold out much hope that B-Rock will pull out the save, much as we might like him to.

I reject any notion that any of this is orchestrated or controlled. These idiots can barely control themselves in front of the press, never mind some baroque illuminst conspiracy. It also flies in the face of everything I know about systems and nonlinear dynamics. Conspiracy is a comfort to those who need to believe that somebody is in control. Doesn’t mean they don’t try, just that they can’t really succeed.

The other side of this, the personal side, is that I have had it pointed out to me in a shocking way that my mindset of the last little while has been a stagnant dead end. I suppose I always knew it would be, but I felt like I had to play it out, and that’s exactly what I did. I now have a new appreciation for the regenerating and fertilizing powers of chaos and catastrophe. And as time goes on, I realize that the fate of humanity is in the hands of those who can adapt and be creative in the face of the worst circumstances, those who can trust in the catastrophe, who can embrace change. I am done picking the scabs of a dying world. I side with life, and with the living.

This is the business we are in. We are magicians. We live in the realm of the impossible. Our world begins where the possible and the predictable end. We do not choose off the menu of the known. We are creatures of will. And soon, there may be nothing other than that.

Closing the Loop

So, uh, “the market”… eh? So much for that.

Never mind all this ‘rebound’ shit. They must be aiming these lies at people with fetal alcohol syndrome or something.

We’re near the end of the first round of thermodynamic contractions in the global system. The important thing to remember is that this is all fundamentally being driven by energy. There have been ‘bubbles’ before, since at least the early eighties, so suggesting that some poor wretched fool who took a sub-prime mortgage he couldn’t afford is what collapsed the global economy is just asinine. It’s worse than asinine, it’s insulting.

It’s really about derivatives, which is just another way of saying ‘side bets’. You’re gambling on gambling upon gambling to the nth power, and from what can be discerned from the outside, mostly losing in the process. Why take the risk? because it’s the only way to mask that your underlying physical economy is declining, and your energy supply has peaked. And when I say ‘mask’ I mean to oneself, and to others. The banksters are just as clueless about the energy situation, by and large, as anyone. That’s manifestly clear by now. What they see is that profits need to rise, and that they had to work harder and harder to keep making that happen. WHY probably never occurred to them. So a hallucinated bubble of speculative paper is the last resort. If you can’t create real wealth, you have to pretend that you are, and everyone else has to pretend, too.

We’ve reached the point where economic collapse is curbing demand for energy enough that we are outracing the decline curve. Over time this will create the illusion of an ongoing series of relapsing depressions, as we slide farther down the depletion cliff, stabilize at some lower level of demand, and then fall back into chaos as the cliff drops away from us again. So this is not going to be the last time we see this shit. Obama might get lucky and catch a break in his first term. Anyone who thinks that the republican party will even exist in a year or two needs to quit huffing paint.

I sincerely hope you took my advice from a few months back and triaged yourself ahead of time. You now have room to think about where to go from here.

By far the best big-frame thinking on these issues is going on at global guerillas. Forget all the half baked doomers with freeze dried pizza and shotguns; John Robb is so far ahead of the curve on this he should probably be in B-Rock’s cabinet. Hell, he should be the vice president. The only ways through this that I can discern are either what he proposes, or a Larouche style New Deal For The Planet. The latter is probably more desirable on the whole, but the former fits more with what I’ve forecast. Your millage may vary.

You probably have a few months to a couple years before you might have to kill marauding cannibals with a wrecking bar, ( FYI it’s most efficient to be hitting someone in the brain stem, collarbone or the temple. Break the thicker bones in the arms if they get in the way. ) so use them well. I’ll hang in there with ya as long as I can.

The ant, the teacup, the volcano

It’s really a shame Hunter S. Thompson didn’t live to see this. You will have to settle for my half baked homage.

So yeah, anyway: the biggest bank failure in U.S. history is unfolding this morning, the wall street journal is advising people that storeable food might be a better place for your money than the stock market, or a savings account, and these bailout meetings sound like what happens when you drop fifty sharks on PCP into a giant stadium full of blood.

John McCain stops his campaign for president, not because he’s losing, or because he has nothing substantial to say about the issues, and not because he needs to take a time out to teach his ‘running mate’ how to speak english, but rather because he has an uncontrollable need to jump into a stadium full of blood. Maybe he’ll resolve the impasse with several rounds of russian roulette, like out of the deer hunter. We should be so lucky. How long before ‘the maverick’ suggests calling off the election too? Wait for it.

Poor pathetic bush is actually being pressed into service and encouraged to open his mouth and make some noises, because someone told him that this might encourage the public to support giving all their money to a bunch of rich scumfucks who have already proven they can’t manage their own money, never mind yours. Now would be a good time to suggest that he impeach himself. He’d probably do it.

Meanwhile Lyndon Larouche is prowling around the house with a baseball bat threatening to kill anyone who tries to create a ‘consensus’ around destroying the united states. Some of you might recall my animus towards the idea of consensus, so I cannot fault the guy too much.

Even such a reactionary culture-war shock trooper as Bill O’Reilly has failed to fall into line completely and wants to break people’s fingers. Maybe he should start with his own. In the words of snoop dogg: “fuck Bill O’Reilly”.

The new narrative is coming into focus, and it’s an oldie, but a goodie: CLASS WAR. Except this time, everyone on every side actually knows that’s what it is, instead of pretending, or being horribly duped by fascist parrots like Rush Limbaugh into thinking it’s about gay marriage or abortion or race.  Obviously CNN and FOX are having a little trouble with this becuase the headline “THE RICH TRY TO FUCK THE POOR”  might draw some ire from their standards and practices division.

The bottom line is we are surfing the ragged edge between a deflationary crash and an inflationary one. You will either have no money, or your money will be worthless. The only question is when.

… and whether or not the poor will be kicking the severed heads of the rich around in the streets like soccerballs, when there’s less discretionary income for entertainment.

the transcendental trainwreck at the end of history

Well this shit is getting more surreal by the minute. and not surreal in a trite way, either. I mean surreal as in “david fincher directing christopher walken as gordon gecko in a remake of ‘wall street‘”, surreal.  Or perhaps “david lynch re-edits inland empire into a documentary on economic theory”.

I really don’t know what to think when I look at what’s going on right now. I feel like we’re in the center of a pivot point for civilization.

It would have been one thing if the finance oligarchs had rammed through the mother of all bailouts in short order. But that appears to be bogging down, in spite of the bush administration howling that it will mean the end of the world as we know it if they don’t. And they may be right.

At the rate things are going, this bailout won’t get approved until there’s a social welfare package attached sufficient to grant the united states admission to the european union. The presidential candidates and the congress are lining up to see who can fuck wall street to death with rusty switchblades the hardest. It’s the best spectator sport going, right now. The gravitational pull of quadrillions of dollars in fictitious derivatives, the demands of presidential campaigning, the threat of a soviet style economic collapse, and the unleashed bloodlust of main street america, who are carrying a big stick because of the election, are all tearing the media in separate directions.

Consensus reality hasn’t looked this tattered since hurricane katrina. Enjoy it before the grid hardens up again, and slip your magickal intentions into the gap before the reality priesthood get back on message. At this point I have no idea what would constitute a best possible world out of all this, so use your best judgment I guess. The entire united states squatting mortgage free in their own houses on an open-ended basis is a good start. The complete destruction of the republican party and the street lynching of Bush, Cheney, and the last three heads of the federal reserve, may be a popular choice.

Fuck man, I’m invoking the transcendental object at the end of history with a football hemlet on my head, and a fifty pound bag of brown rice in the cupboard.  Seems about as likley as anything else. Hang onto your hats. It’s the apocalypse as reality show.

You try and take a vacation…

…and the whole fucking global economy collapses.

anyway, I thought it might be usefull to chat about the economic situation, while there still is one.

I found this documentary interesting. I’ve been following Lyndon Larouche for a couple years now, and he’s actually a well respected economist in other parts of the world. ( Russia, China, India, South America). Whereas here he’s a crank at best, and a dangerous criminal cult leader at worst. I’ve always found him to be quite lucid. The excesses of his personality cult I can take or leave. Kind of like the Wilbernator these days. The analysis is spot on, as far as I can tell. A return to a new-deal style fixed exchange rate system has got to be better than sucking the whole world into a hyper-stagflationary singularity. Or raping the taxpayer planetwide to bail out bankers who will then turn around and foreclose on you.

The moral of the story is that people who actually understand living history ( rather than a string of events racing to make space for us, right now) are too dangerous to permit in public discourse.

Best Intentions

Oh, I’m sorry. Did I break your concentration? I didn’t mean to do that. Please, continue! You were saying something about “best intentions”? What’s the matter? Oh, you were finished? Well, allow me to retort!

I apologize for the ugly spectacle that has unfolded in the comments thread a little ways down. I probably handled it badly, combined with letting certain people abuse my goodwill to a degree I’m not comfortable with. I have no problem with people disagreeing with me. In fact, I encourage it. What I won’t tolerate is throwing around insults in lieu of command of the facts, or wild and uninformed speculation about me as a person, or anyone else here. The internet has enough social retards without entertaining any here.

The way I parsed my arguments for an energy related die off probably threw some people into a bit of tailspin, especially if you’ve read a lot of my other stuff and can’t quite figure out how to reconcile that material with the idea of a mass die off of a sizable section of the human population.

Let me say again, in case it wasn’t obvious enough: I do not claim to have any special knowledge, and I do not claim to have the only answer. That is why it was so upsetting for me to solicit some alternate interpretations of what I was looking at and find nothing but shallow grasp of the facts and good intentions.

The ‘good intentions’ aspect of this is probably the most troubling. I can deal with people who don’t have time to do research and don’t have the figures at their disposal, who haven’t got time to listen to hundreds of hours of lectures and commentary, and hear all the arguments and counter arguments. That’s cool.

What’s frustrating for me is when people want to open this up into the occult dimension, and even worse so, when they want to parrot my own work back to me as if that exposes some contradiction in my thinking, or some fundamental inauthenticity in my work.

Because, after all don’t I go on and on about the psycho plastic nature of reality, about not getting snared in negative reality tunnels, or malignant conspiracies to control your views? And it’s true; I absolutely have.

But here’s the thing: when people get turned onto this stuff for the first time, it’s like a lot of profound experiences in life; because the world and the people around you never talked about it, and show little evidence of understanding any of it, you almost feel like you’re the first person to ever see the world that way. You could almost feel like you got there first, and everyone is just going to have to catch up with you.

With things like magick, or whatever brand of new age ‘new paradigm’ piffle they’re shilling these days, the natural instinct for people like this is to imagine that we can transfigure the whole world with magick and positive intentions, that all you have to do is jack off over sigils scribbled in the margins of the dancing wu li masters and that quantum physics and probability waves will make it all better.

But here’s the false bottom in that little fantasy world, and the key to the naive arrogance in that thinking: you want to change the world as it appears to be, into the product of a magickal act? Well guess what; the world as it it appears to be is already the product of magickal acts.

Long before you got up this morning and tried to change reality with your happy thoughts, long before you were even born, there were adepts doing that very thing, and doing it better than you ever will. Except their thoughts might not always qualify as ‘happy’ in your books.

Tell me, what’s the difference between eckhart toole fulminating about ‘a new earth’ to squadrons of gape mouthed well wishers who read the law of attraction, and George H.W. Bush professing a New World Order to the planet? Here’s a hint: old eckhart didn’t have the CIA, the drug cartels, the IMF and the united states military working for his vision.

It is, alas as the late Robert Anton Wilson used to say; The border between the Real and the Unreal is not fixed, but just marks the last place where rival gangs of shamans fought each other to a standstill”.

And I’m sorry guys, but if you really think you’re running with the toughest gang of shamans, I’m flattered, but you need to give your fucking head a shake.

A lot of what I’ve done here is precisely to bring up the quality of ‘our’ ( whatever ‘our’ means…) gang of shamans, and while in some ways the result has been encouraging, in other ways, not so much.

As I’ve said at least a couple times now, peak oil was one of the formative influences on my work here, starting in 2005, and I had been researching it for a couple years before that. Part of the reason I am even here is that I saw a window, a slice of time where things were still plastic enough to be changed, when the magickal zeitgeist was still being formed, when the gang fight could go in either direction.

What I’m trying to say here, at least in regards to certain aspects of the peak oil question, is that that window has clearly begun to close, if not closed entirely. The front line of the war has rolled over us, and pretending that it hasn’t is just foolish. If you didn’t have the chops to prevent it, you certainly don’t have the chops to reverse it, or mitigate it to any significant degree.

Your ‘probability waves’ or sigils, or reality tunnel shifting, or good intentions are not going to change what has cemented into a consensus reality by now. You will not be changing the amount of oil in the ground, you will not be changing the energy infrastructure by snapping your fingers. You will not be making food out of thin air. The best you can do is to command your own private sphere and work to redraw the playing field in some useful way.

But don’t kid yourself that you’re going to out-magick the reality priesthood. Not about this. You needed to get up a lot earlier in the morning for that. An awful lot of really holy, really spiritual, really positive people have suffered gruesome fates over the centuries, and a lot of them understood this stuff much better than you or I ever will. The reason you don’t hear all their stories, is because they’re dead. Just because a few optimists lived to write theirs, doesn’t change the truth of that.

You don’t get to wish away the physical world and it’s momentum just because you had a couple interesting insights. You don’t get to ignore hard facts by thinking happy thoughts. If you keep thinking that, the wave will crash right down on your head, and you’ll be another optimist who doesn’t get to write an uplifting biography.

This shit is chess, not checkers.

The gnostic space opera rides again…

I’m noticing a resurgence of interest these days in the whole counter-initiatory, gnostic paranoia, school of analysis out on the internets these days, and I suppose that’s natural when all the bleakest wet dreams of malthusians, libertarian psychotics and primitivists all appear to unfolding on schedule.

I can’t really point the finger, because I arguably played a major role in taking this stuff to another level. At least among left wing occultists, and spiritually minded social liberals. Let’s just call it the Jeff Wells school.

To me it’s just a bit of fun. Adds some color to the otherwise gut-wrenching parade of daily tragedies and cycling through the dukkha nanas of insight practice, so let us dance around a bit.

It’s important to remember that the core feature of gnosticism, at least the branch that concerns us here, is the predominance of dualistic themes of ignorance, and knowledge, evil and good, light and darkness, etc. The more modern re constructionist tendencies in the gnostic community tend more towards something that resembles mahayanna buddhism for Christians, only without the clear practice instructions, but that’s neither here nor there.

Historically gnosticism is absolutely and unequivocally an offshoot of the hellenistic philosophies. All you have to do is look at their terminology. “demiurgos” is straight out of platonism, for example. Their cosmology is likewise straight up neo-platonism, like most early Christianity. Modern scholarship leads us to believe that jesus himself was a hellenistic philosopher, not a judaic rabbi, or an independent flowering of some kind, so there’s no reason to think gnosticism is anything but another side branch of greek thought.

Where these derivations stray is that platonism doesn’t invest in dualism, which is basically a recipe for ideological trench warfare that goes nowhere. There is only the One, also known as the Good, and anything else is only absence of the good, or of oneness. There is no opposing force. Full stop.

So really the gnostic paranoid notion of evil, or the neo-traditionalist pattern of degeneration is only a perceptual phenomenon, not an actuality. Which is a safer and saner way of dealing with this stuff: as a perceptual filter, not an ontological reality.

To me, whether or not the most wildly depraved thing in the universe actually happens or not, is an open question. What isn’t open is whether or not people think that they happen, which in and of itself opens up some rather disturbing and interesting areas of inquiry. For instance: whether or not aliens actually exist, you have a profound number of people who really do think that aliens exist and interact with them, physically. That’s not a curiosity, it’s a psychic epidemic.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. I thought I’d spend a little time on a more top-down view of this then you usually get, and march it down through a few layers until we get to the ground level.

So we start with the one, also known as the good.  What makes things one unto themselves, and thus provides for their existence. What provides for existence is the highest good and hence the two terms are considered the same. And because it is “The One”, not “A One”, when you talk about it in this way, there is no other, and hence the one encompasses everything. Hence, everything is good. Period. It is the principle of absolute unity and non-duality.

Now, here’s where we get into gnostic territory: at some point the One decides to make something. Because it is the only thing that exists, and because it is good, it can only make something good, and can only use itself as a model for that making. It thus generates a copy of itself that will be the ‘idea in the mind of god’ that will serve as the model for creation itself, also known as the Logos, or the Word. In every case  of a rational principle at work there must be intent, which requires a model for actions, or the ideal goal, thus the model must precede the copy, which in this case means the One must precede the logos, and the logos must precede the creation of the material universe.

But a funny thing happens when the one does this: because it possesses the quality known as Ousia, it is fully transparent to itself, it can turn on itself and know itself in all ways ( this is the analogous principle to mindfulness in humans) and thus can lend all of it’s features to the model, with a major and profound exception: Because as soon as there are two things, the creator and the creation, there is no longer “The One”, but rather two things that are “ones-unto-themselves”, so to that extent, neither one of them is any longer the perfect one, or likewise, the perfect good, at least when regarded in this way.

From the first perspective, nothing has actually changed, and “The One” is still the same, and indeed, the one lacks any qualities that would allow it to change in any way, as any change can only deviate from perfection. Complex eh?

So from our second perspective, there are now two things: the transcendant maker, also known as the demiurge, and the first creation, also known as the logos. Both are subordinate to the one, and can thus both be regarded as creations of the one.

So even here, at this early stage, there is no dualism, but a trinity. The One, the demiurge, and the logos. And every further step from the perfect one, no matter how perfect of a copy it is, can only be less and less a perfect good, because each new thing only introduces new division and new disunity. Just as when the one tries to reproduce itself and loses the quality of perfect oneness, because every copy can theoretically reproduce everything except that which makes a thing what is it is unto itself, every copy is slightly distorted from its model. Thus, the farther you go down this chain of perception, the less good there is.

This is where we get the illusion of evil.

to be continued…