Monday, October 9, 2017

Fear & Loathing

The horror that was visited upon Las Vegas cuts deep into the American psyche.  The murder and mayhem of the evening of October 1st, not only goes down in the annals of infamy as the most horrific mass shooting in these United States, it reframes the disturbing trend toward mass violence in America. A report released in September 2017 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed what many citizens have already assumed, but law enforcement officials have never documented: Mass shootings have risen drastically since 2001.

There were, on average, 16.4 such shootings a year from 2007 to 2013, compared with an average of 6.4 shootings annually from 2000 to 2006. In the past 13 years, 486 people have been killed in such shootings, with 366 of the deaths in the past seven years. In all, the study looked at 160 shootings since 2000. This report was published 2 weeks before Las Vegas, so add 59 to the above 486. The level of violence appears to be accelerating.

What the hell is going on? …one might ask. 160 shootings since 2000… Has our world gone crazy since 9/11? Clearly, post-twin towers America is a more violent place. Beyond the 9/11 attack itself, contributing factors to this new violent reality include the massive homeland security apparatus put in place after 9/11… the dismantling of the American middle class, facilitated by the 2008 housing bubble/land grab, the mass transfer of wealth and the subsequent victory of the 1%... the proliferation of new media and the dismantling of the 4th estate… and of course, the rise of Conspiracy Culture International.

The Las Vegas mass shooting left law enforcement and the public alike, scratching their heads… once the initial shock and horror had subsided. None of the reporting made any sense. How was such a clearly professional (black) operation carried out by a guy, reportedly a lone gunman, with no military background? The savvy conspiracy culture internationalist assumes Las Vegas was a CIA "Black Op" or some other, more nefarious organization’s "Working." The shooter was either a patsy, a fall-guy or an asset who had out-lived his usefulness.

There are also factions among the synchro-mystic branch of conspiracy culture international who point to the symbolic, occult trappings of what is ominously being referred to as the Las Vegas Harvest. Per the signs and portents, something deeper and more sinister was going down. Read into that what you will. At this point, the situation is so occluded, so crazy, so desperate as usual, that no scenario, no matter how unlikely, can be ruled out.

At this point, it should be pointed out that there is the school of thought that suggests that when horrific events occur, seemingly absent any discernible motivation… many, in their profound desire to make sense of the horror, resort to conspiracy theory. They concoct a grand scheme to explain (to themselves) what otherwise is an unthinkably senseless occurrence. Atrocities such as these don’t just happen… it must be the Deep State, the Satanists, the Illuminati. This line of reasoning is preferable to an uncaring universe where insane events just happen. And then there is the "will of God" line of reasoning...

It is beyond this blogger’s ability to satisfactorily answer such existential questions. However, there have been anciently occurring systems of thought that have brilliantly addressed the often horrific nature of worldly existence. Those esoteric sub-cultures of antiquity, collectively known by modernity as Gnostics, thought deeply on such matters. Although there are variations within different sects, the Gnostics held a philosophically unique perspective on the horrors of the material world.

The Gnostic mythology maintained that the reason the world in which we live is such a horrifically uncaring, seemingly insane place, is because the world was created by a horrifically uncaring, insane God. This angry, jealous, insane God… known to them as Demiurge… created the material world out of vanity and ignorance of the true “God above Gods.” Thus, the Demiurge became the creator of a flawed material and psychic cosmos… all of which he created in the image of his own flaw. This creator deity, unaware of his origins, imagined himself to be the ultimate and absolute God. In short: the creator deity known as Demiurge… was crazy.

If we are to indulge the Gnostic assertion that the creator deity was indeed insane, certain fundamental questions such as: “why is there so much pain and suffering in this world?” could be looked upon in a new light. The Gnostic interpretation of a creator deity that was completely deranged… would answer many philosophical quandaries pertaining to the horrific nature of worldly existence. If the very creator of this world is crazy, little wonder that earthly events appear to be crazy. An unhinged God begets an unhinged world.

Additionally, the Gnostic doctrines rejected original sin. They maintained that a spark of divinity rests deep within each human… a divine spark that provides a direct link to the great, unknowable God above Gods. This divine link bypasses Demiurge, who in his insanity, jealously rages at the impudence of the puny humans. Therefore, the sins of the material world were not driven by humans, but by a deranged creator god. It was this very heresy, this very impudence of the Gnostics that so enraged the early Church that they were expelled as heretics.

Perhaps it is not a coincidence that we are currently experiencing a renaissance in Gnosticism and Gnostic thought. Perhaps Gnosticism is the most applicable spiritual response to the times we are living in. The Gnostic position of “trust no one, not even your own Gods” instills a sense of inner personal resiliency, in a world gone crazy. Perhaps a Gnostic sensibility instills and enforces the very real need for “individual agency” as a mechanism of survival in the 21st century. 

This may be cold comfort in light of the horror of Las Vegas. But after the pain and suffering temporarily subside, we are in need of a modern mythology to help us abide the horror of life on the planet of the apes. We need a personal mythology of integrity… a mythology of personal power, free from sin and guilt. We need to nourish a personal autonomy free of the fear and loathing of Demiurgic insanity. 

The Gnostic perspective affords us a personal authority wherein we are not at the mercy of a merciless God …an authority where we share the spark of divinity with that which remains nameless. 

At the end of the day, it may be advantageous for each of us to take up the Gnostic mantle, for… in answer to a question being asked recently by those who consider such quandaries… yes… we are living in Gnostic times.

They say that funerals, dirges, wakes, memorials, and remembrances for those who have passed, are for the living, not the dead. It is in the spirit of this profound truth that we hold a small prayer in our hearts for those who have lost friends and loved ones in Las Vegas and all the atrocities that came before…

May we all find peace and shine forth. 

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