Best and possibly only good thing about this week: notorious millennial Congress-ruiner AOC tweeted a line from Watchmen at her own party bureaucracy.
To quote Alan Moore: “None of you understand. I’m not locked up in here with YOU. You’re locked up in here with ME.”
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 11, 2019
Shots fired. I love it.
Alan Moore is a wizard. He’s known to the world at large for his comics work (and for being a huge grouch), but he’s also famous in occult circles. Moore is a self-styled worshipper of a Roman snake god called Glycon, and wrote a multi-volume comic-book exposition of Western magic called Promethea . He also inspired Anonymous, with his graphic novel V for Vendetta .
Wizards see the world as a war of words. As Robert Anton Wilson put it, “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.” Or as Moore himself said:
Art is, like magic, the science of manipulating symbols, words or images, to achieve changes in consciousness… Indeed to cast a spell is simply to spell, to manipulate words, to change people’s consciousness, and this is why I believe than an artist or writer is the closest thing in the contemporary world to a shaman.”
The current reality – late capitalism, the system of rituals we call “business as usual” – is the result of a centuries-old spell gone rogue. Some things you can’t put back in the bottle.
The kings and priests of the seventeenth century needed a way to curb the rising merchant class – and those merchants who had risen wanted to stay on top. They combined their powers to form a golem, with the divine right of nobility to define the law, and the capitalist’s uncanny and callous ability to extract value from distant lands. They summoned a new type of beast upon the planet: the corporation.
Corporations, the incorporeal beings which bestride our cities and bid us to behave. They didn’t exist, and then they did. They colonized the globe like a slime mold. They fought and bred with the older mind-monsters of state, nation, church. With no ideology other than self-enhancement, they absorbed all opponents. They extracted every energy source they could find.
That stranglehold is now breaking. The energy supply has flattened out – oil, magic free money from the Fed, even Moore’s law has fallen. There is no more free lunch. We’ve got the amount of sunlight that hits the planet, and the heaping refuse of our fossil-fueled feeding frenzy. In a world with finite resources, economic growth is suicide.
A drought will drive friendly neighbors to quarrel. I know this from my time on a California mountain, where I wasn’t all that friendly with my neighbors anyway. When the water dried up, lines were drawn in the sand. You can always tell, if you look someone in the eyes, whether they would let you die of thirst.
So, too, the energy descent will cause schisms in the halls of power. This year, we’re going to watch the US and the UK both self-immolate on the world stage. The status quo has liquified. We’re looking at a world where all the nuclear states are ruled by narcissistic death cultists and all the companies are owned by a dozen nerdy Batman villians.
Standoff in the saloon: everyone’s ready to fire, but you could hear a pin drop. Tensions are high worldwide. As soon as the institutional powers start swinging at each other, corporation versus state versus spook country, the “business as usual” world is going away and never coming back.
You know how, if you have a cat in your lap, and then you stand up, the cat falls out of your lap and it has no lap to go back to? That’s your job, your business, your government, your Youtub channel. You can’t count on anything anymore.
Start practicing those little leaps of faith, like “today I will get up and go about my day and not punch anyone in the mouth,” or “I’m good enough, I’m strong enough, and by God I will get that dumpster bread before the Hendersons do!” You’re going to need hope, and grit, and probably rubber gloves, in this thrilling adventure. Survive the slow apocalypse, get a free t-shirt! Restrictions apply.
As the kleptocracy crumbles, humanity will scramble for meaning, for purpose. We won’t have to look far – repairing the atmosphere and running from storms will keep us pretty busy, as will rebuilding our technology stack from the bottom up.
But for many this will not be enough: they will invent drama, and we will all have to grapple with it. A thousand cults will rise and die and our minds must be strong against them. World wizard war.
We have to make our own meaning, cast our own spells. We have to do magic on ourselves and others, make the myths we want to live in.
When the dust has settled, if there are any humans left, they will need a new and harmonious world-system. It is up to us to build that world, while the dinosaurs are squabbling over their pirate spoils. After all, we’re not locked in here with them. They’re locked in here with us.
For hundreds of years, the majority of human energy has been tied up in the corporate death cult. What can we become, when all that energy is released?
Thanks for reading,
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