Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Culture of the High and the Strange, Pt 2 - Paradigm

 


Sociology (soh•see•ol•uh•jee) - noun

1. The science of society, social institutions and social relationships; specifically, the systematic study of the development, structure, interaction, and collective behavior of organized groups of human beings.

- Merriam Webster Dictionary

Cultural and socio-economic upheaval was on the rise, as we transitioned and acclimated to the new millennium. Why is this so? Just as global warming impacts our geosphere, so too does the proliferation of the “information age” impact our noösphere. To date, social media systems and technologies have come to permeate contemporary culture. These tools impact the way we collectively think. Per Marshall McLuhan’s forewarning, the medium has indeed become the message.

As you no doubt recall (from book one of this series), during the 1960’s, McLuhan prophesied that 20th Century “print” culture would be brought to an end via an “electronic interdependence” of digital media. In this new age, humankind would move from individualism, to a collective identity. McLuhan’s work implied that modern media itself was becoming more important than the content it carried. McLuhan brilliantly foresaw that a specific medium affects society, not only by the content delivered over the medium, but also, and most importantly, by the attributes of the medium itself.

Crucially, McLuhan foresaw the evolving tribal nature of a culture driven by digital media. His deductions go a long way in understanding the apparent splintering of 20th century culture into partisan, ideologically and fear-driven factions of the 21st century. Through its pervasive availability, digital media facilitates extreme contemporary ideologies such as nationalism and fascism. To quote McLuhan: “Terror is the normal state of any oral society… for in it, everything affects everything… all the time. In our long striving to recover (for the Western world), a unity of sensibility and of thought and feeling, we have no more been prepared to accept the tribal consequences of such unity than we were ready for the fragmentation of the human psyche by print culture.”

Hence the ways in which we think as a culture, are being impacted… altered by the very medium in which we communicate. To date, either through monopoly of social media technologies (ie: Facebook), or through mass monitoring of said communications (ie: the National Security Agency), the controlling “players” who regulate social media platforms, are exploiting these technologies in ways that are diametrically opposed to the ideals of individual freedoms and liberty.

Consequently, social media systems and technologies are changing our cognition. A particularly invasive classification of emerging entrepreneurial (read: capitalist) systems application has been labeled: disruptive innovation.” This model and its resulting disruptive technologies continue to destabilize long-standing social norms. 

A now-classic articulation of the disruptive innovation model was encapsulated in the infamous quote by the founder of above-mentioned Facebook Inc., Mark Zuckerberg:  “Move fast and break things. Unless you are breaking stuff, you are not moving fast enough.”  Nowhere is this disruptive model more evidenced than in the political theatre. As we shall see, disruption of the political status quo has gone to the highest echelon of the global-political food-chain.

In fact… such recent political chaos has rarely been witnessed by the general population. It seems that worldly elite powers, usually in lock-step, began to show signs of discord in the early 21st century. The resulting socio-political fallout only occurs when a major paradigm shift takes place... when the worldly powers themselves are in disarray. Such times indeed appear to be the new normal. Strange days have found us. But there are other strange powers, long forgotten, reawakening in our contemporary, Brave Noö World.

Not long ago, if a social commentator questioned the veracity of 9/11, or spoke of a Shadow Government or the Deep State, let alone the Kennedy assassinations, fake moon landings or the Roswell incident, he or she would have been promptly labeled a fanatic, a kook, or worse… a conspiracy theorist. Here in the Brave Noö World, conspiracy theory… against all odds… has somehow become legitimized. Like some foul tributary, trickling from boggy parts unknown, conspiracy theory has flowed and intermingled with the “main-stream.” This legitimacy was achieved, due to the simple fact that many of the wildest conspiracy theories of the 20th century… turned out to be true.

Conspiracy theory has long been associated with the political right-wing... hence the widely reported rise of the Alt-Right, by pop-media. This is a narrow, simplistic interpretation of a more nuanced phenomenon. The Alt-Right is but one (albeit extremely vocal) radical faction of a much more profound emergence. This phenomenon manifests and is demonstrated by the global recognition and adoption of what once was a marginalized fringe culture. In the opening decades of the 21st century, we have witnessed the rise of a “Conspiracy Culture Internationale.”

In order to fully appreciate the impact of this phenomenon, we must consider its origins. Conspiracy Culture Internationale (CCI) incubated in, and grew out of that fringy subculture of the late 20th century, whose adherents partook of a strange brew consisting of conspiracy theory, a belief in the paranormal, and a shared observation of just how weird the modern world had become. Intrepid cultural observers of that era labeled this strange brew: “High Weirdness.”


Emerging from and in alignment with high weirdness, CCI embraces the seemingly divergent communities that monitor or adhere to, not only conspiracy & Deep State theory, but Alt history, ancient alien & alien abduction narratives, PSI phenomena & the paranormal, psychedelia, occult & new age philosophies, neo-religious beliefs, astrology & magick... even cyberpunk, transhumanism & singularity. 

This escalating culture of suspicion is a massively diverse, globally-intact phenomenon. Rather than being identified by genetic heritage or nationality, CCI’s ethnicity is composed of those who identify and subscribe to these principles. Far from being the exclusive intellectual playground of the Alt-Right, similar beliefs are increasingly held by all walks of life. 

This ascending conspiracy culture is as diverse as the world’s population. The true rise of conspiracy theory as a mainstream phenomenon is driven by a pervasive mistrust of government and political institutions, the commoditization of science and the proliferation of multi-national corporatocracy. In short: The dominator (read: predator) culture. This mistrust is shared by liberals and conservatives alike… Alt-Right & New-Left. It goes beyond the political, the national, to the very fabric of modern global culture.

Now… at this most critical crossroad in our narrative, it is useful to take a deeper dive into the root causes that brought about this more conspiracy-minded shift in consciousness.

The deeper transmutation into a culture of conspiracy appears to be a fundamental waning of the mainstream and a waxing of the fringe. Middle or mainstream moral and ethical sensibilities have rapidly been replaced by fringe-think. In these unsettling times, the giving way of the middle to the fringe, the “Widening of the Gyre” to employ W. B. Yeats’ apocalyptic metaphor, instills a palpable angst within the shifting paradigm. So how did mainstream transform into such high weirdness?

Specific to the U S of A, the mainstream has traditionally been closely associated with the middle-class. In post-WWII America, the middle-class steadily grew, expanding economic and educational opportunity to larger segments of the population. This opportunity was labeled: the American Dream. As the apex of American exceptionalism withered, the expansion of the middle-class slowed, stopped, and began to decline.

This turnaround did not happen overnight. It took decades, beginning with the Reagan regime’s “trickle-down economics” …for America’s capitalist elite, whom we call the American Archons (‘Archon’ borrowed from biblical era Roman and Gnostic terminology), to systematically dismantle such a robust society.

A long standing hallmark of the American middle-class was a hearty moral and ethical sensibility that honored liberty, equality, decency, fairness, hard work, and most importantly, a “live and let live” attitude. An attitude exemplified by: “I may not agree with your opinion, but I will defend your right to express it.” In return, the middle-class work ethic was reciprocated with an expanding economy. These were the principles that made Capitalist America great.

With the demise of an expanding middle-class, a pervasive sense of scarcity… a fear of “not enough to go around,” began to erode the American “live and let live” generosity. With perceived scarcity, circa 1980’s Capitalism got meaner… we began to quit caring for each other. Out of fear, the American attribute of generosity was infringed upon by greed. Working toward a common good was replaced with a self-centered “winning” mentality. Now, it just so happens that a “win at all cost” attitude aligns nicely with a “divide and conquer” attitude of the American Archons.

By the 1990’s, the erosion of the middle… of a “common good” identity, left a void in American’s self-identification. This identity void was filled by a corporate identity, similar to the Japanese “Saleryman” culture… hence the demise of Middle America and the rise of Corporate America. So it was that the decisive component, driven by corporate profit, was a Capitalist form of globalization that exploited the uneven value and compensation of labor. The burgeoning globalist thought: Why pay laborers x when we can pay them 10% of x… overseas?

 Certain segments of the American citizenry saw all this going down and began to, first recognize, then comment, then shout the alarm… wake up! All these societal changes seemed planned… coordinated… and hence the pop conspiracy theorist was born. To the growing sub-culture of conspiracy theorists, it became increasingly clear that capitalist globalization was designed to obscenely benefit the American Archons and their global counterparts, at the expense of the general population. The above is an over-simplification, but you can see the pivot.

  

In the opening decades of the 21st century, the void created by the attrition of the middle, began to be filled by that which once occupied the periphery… the Fringe. Additionally, those whose sensibilities once occupied the middle… re-aligned their thinking to fringe-thinking… an understandable attitude of suspicion, given what had transpired. The now-obvious danger in the societal environment of the fringe, as articulated by McLuhan’s digital media culture prophecy, resides in over-reacting… in devolving into a tribal, nationalist (read: fascist) ideology.

One small, specific illustration of the socio-political reaction to these pressures can be found in book one of this series. In the chapter entitled: “A Vision of the Future” …we compared the dichotomist rise of two fringe groups that have emerged within the mass-media landscape that is Conspiracy Culture Internationale. One such group had been popularly referred to as the “Prepper” or survivalist movement. The contrasting group had been labeled the “Community Resilience” movement. These two factions pursue very different agendas, both driven by the same macro-political climate mentioned above.

This societal splintering plays quite nicely into the hands of the American Archons, a classic divide and conquer manipulation. The fear-driven angst over the attrition of the middle leads us to our current conundrum… the periphery has supplanted the middle. This cultural metamorphosis, exploited by the Alt-Right, is in danger of becoming a permanent, predominant paradigm. 

Some would contend that the current darkness has always been with us. That it is the increased recognition of such, that gives the impression of dynamic change. Some would say that it is the impending brave noö paradigm that is exposing this darkness. Who knows, this perspective may not be far from the truth. Regardless, CCI represents a broader, more persistent response to the quickening of cultural (and climate) change... and it has a spiritual component...

to be continued...




4 comments:

Garmr said...

A breakdown in sense making. The Archon is told to view the scene as an ocean affected by various forces while the rest are believed to only be able to understand the image of the river flowing from high to low. But in the desert of the real there is only an ocean of sand. The only thing which flows from high to low is misery and hopelessness.

Dennis/87 said...

Lordee,lordee, this essay is of the highest quality. One must include spirituality in any and all polemics. Jack Heart-word Smyth, par excellence! 87

Jack Heart said...

Garmr...

For Gods sake Trevor!!! ...the mythic flow from high to low never seems to work out well... be it trickle-down economics, or Sophia's fall from the Pleroma. Per a breakdown in sense-making... and in the words of the Talking Heads... "Stop Making Sense!!!"

Jack Heart said...

87...

Yeah... we'll get to that in part three of my field report from the Culture of the High and the Strange.