In the forum for my essay "The Snare of Distance and the Sunglasses of the Seer," Jasun Horsley wrote, “I'd like to address the idea of the stupidity of the 1% also. I think it may be true of 99% of the 1% but not of the 1% of the 1%; not at all. These do not appear to be driven by a goal of wealth or worldly power but something deeper & darker.” I responded: The whole of the economic, political, media, and corporate landscape does strike me as an exercise in black magic, a part of which is instinctive and a part of which is quite conscious. This exercise may be sophisticated in its means, but it is also, I believe, still fairly basic in its ends, to the extent that anything is. Even wealth and power can be seen as ritual acquisitions; how much of either can anyone really use? Just beyond this, as you say, there may be a space where something more opaque and perhaps more pointlessly malevolent is going on. If I were going to look for examples of opaque malevolence, though, I don’t know that I have to peek behind any curtains. There seem to be more than enough immediate examples of it to go around! And if I were going to piece together some sort of super-intelligent dark globalist cabal, I would probably select a different cast of characters, one that did not include Margaret Mead and Arthur C Clarke and Aldous Huxley. But I think your point is that they are dangerous exactly because they widely admired and appear to be so innocuous. Richard Dawkins, on the other hand, I would be happy to put on any sort of a hit list.
Exceptions aside, I think that I get what you are saying. We are far more at risk from those who have somehow managed to successfully appropriate and rearrange the almost invisible substructures of our minds than we are from any external form of coercion. This has probably been true from the time of the first empires and bureaucracies. I think that it is the rule rather than the exception that the most successful form of colonization is internal. Get people to enthusiastically embrace the forces that oppress them, and there is only a minimal need to resort to force. The brilliance of this method can be everywhere seen in the sad spectacle or US politics. The threat of career death or prison or physical violence is, of course, always there, just out of sight, in the background. I still don’t think that any of this necessarily demands any depth of intelligence or breath of ritual power on the part of the colonizers. To some extent, the process would seem to be an almost automatic one; wealth generates wealth and power tends to accumulate in smaller and smaller circles. Those with power want to hold on to it and those without it want to be a part of something larger than themselves. These are natural enough instincts, which are just as naturally perverted. Whatever the opaque malevolence that we might attribute to some person or group, my attitude and strategy remain the same. As the Roman playwright Terrence said, “Nothing human is alien to me.”
Contrary to what John Lamb Lash and some other contemporary theorists assert, when the Gnostics spoke of the hypnotic power of the Archons, I do not believe that they were referring to the actions of gray aliens from Zeta Reticuli or of blood drinking interdimensional reptilians or whatever; rather, they were pointing to the all too familiar political, economic, artistic, religious, and occult powers that have somehow managed to monopolize the foreground of our attention, who have caused us to believe that we are smaller than we are. (There is a good smallness, of course, of the sort that allows us to slip though the eye of a needle, as well as a bad smallness, which causes us to kiss the boots of those who do not have our best interests at heart.) In The Snare of Distance, I have tried to point to the space that exists between and beneath and within and around things.
All that we see will pass. The familiar will again become strange, and will then cease to exist altogether. The current global empire—which is perhaps maintained by a web of conjurations—will inevitably fall, as has every previous one. “But ours is so much bigger!” some might argue. Unfortunately for the current empire and its henchmen and apologists and true devotees, great size is no protection, as has been proven by the Mastodon and the Tyrannosaurus Rex. The common adage “Time heals all wounds” is, of course, not especially reassuring, and, viewed from one angle, even silly. This is sort of like saying to a person suffering from an agonizing attack of appendicitis, “Don’t worry, you will soon be dead.” Viewed from a different angle, such a statement may indeed point to a meeting place in which all of our current problems will be redefined. It all depends, I guess, on what we think death is, and on how we imagine the space that will open up beyond it.
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Illustration: Ernst Fuchs