I have a friend who legitimately believes that the world is ruled by alien bankers, and that our only hope is a different kind of aliens who run blogs called “Resistance 2012” and “Dream Portal Prophecy”. He’s always on about so-and-so being an Illuminati puppet, or the ritual timing of elite sex parties.

It’s hard to argue with him. For two reasons.

One, he’s not exactly wrong. I agree that there are alien forces manipulating human society for their own benefit. I just think they’re egregores, self-propagating ideas. Not, like, physical lizard-men from ancient Mars. But I can’t exactly hit him with Occam’s razor.

Two, the meme is not implanted through reason. It doesn’t claim to have logical coherence. Instead, it infiltrates through Trojan horse tactics. The Galactic Harmonic Super-Secret Resistance packages itself as a conspiracy disclosure, or an occult lodge, or a vitamin supplement. Whatever you’re looking for, it’s got. It’s like a strip mall, but all the storefronts open into the same dim dungeon, where a man with sanpaku eyes chuckles in a deep baritone, stroking his hairless cat.

Some memes do use reason as bait. They’re internally consistent and that’s part of their appeal. This is why people still believe in capitalist democracy. It makes sense in some abstract way, even if it fails to deliver any of its egalitarian promise. “Progress” is a hard narrative to shake.

Whatever their infection strategy, these egregores have to spread somehow. They plant their seeds, lay their eggs. They reproduce in the wet meat of our minds, but their seeds can live dormant indefinitely. Encoded in electrons or ink, scattered across the world on winds of wit and whimsy.

Take for example the group chat. These communal meme-gardens can be a fun escape from the howling chaos of the public internet. The group chat is where the real communication happens, where you can trust enough in the context-field to speak your mind without fear of misinterpretation. But what do you do when someone starts to question the Holocaust? The Holodomor? How do you protect that context from the invasion of the Spectacle?

If your ideology is not reasonable it will be impossible for me to reason you out of it. The way to escape terminal knowledge is through induced cognitive dissonance. You must break trance.

Let’s practice this right now. Come one – it’s easy, and at this point it’s almost inevitable. Observe this cognitive hazard:

image of stick person in a hat. caption: 'This is Ralph. Ralph is a concept, created by you while reading this. When you stop, Ralph ceases to exist. Your attention is the thin barrier between Ralph and the void. "I'm scared," says Ralph.'

How do you feel? Where is Ralph? In what part of your actual head do you feel Ralph? Pay attention to that texture, that vector.

Are you worried about Ralph? He says he’s scared. Are you keeping him alive, with some tiny tendril of belief? Or have you consigned him to oblivion? Does it bother your conscience, to be responsible for this orphan thoughtform?

Here’s the secret: fuck Ralph . That little shit, fuck him and all of his mind-clones. He’s not scared. He’s lying to you. Ralph is a parasite. He doesn’t deserve you.

That’s what it feels like to break trance. Whenever Ralph returns, trying to live rent-free in your head, tell him to get fucked. Banish him, block his text messages, turn the volume knob all the way down. A trance is a feedback loop in the brain. You have to cut that loop, with the sheer force of your will.

The blatant mind-viruses like Ralph (break trance), or the Game-where-you-don’t-think-of-the-game (break trance), or the chain letter you must forward to five people or else die (BREAK TRANCE), these self-serving psychopathic thoughtforms are the easy ones to defeat.

Harder to break trance with your parents’ religion, your friends’ politics. Harder still to cleanse the mind of clutter and see the world with an unlabeled eye. But it’s what we must do, to navigate the convergent catastrophes of our time.

Banish every day. The reptilian overlords are only as real as Ralph.

Thanks for reading,

– Max


###### SCIOPS is a compulsive letter-writing habit that I banish every week. Feel free to forward it, or share it, or reverse-engineer its memetic lineage. You can find a web version of the latest letter here , or view the archive here .

If you have thoughts, questions, or criticism, just respond to this email. Or, contact me securely at permafuture@protonmail.com

If you’re seeing this for the first time, make sure to sign up for more cyberpunk weirdness in your inbox every week.

If you want your regular life back again, you can unsubscribe. I can’t guarantee that will help. But you can try it