The Banners of the King of Hell Advance

“Vexilla regis prodeunt Inferni”

– Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy: The Inferno

Try to look ahead and see if you can see what’s been coming for decades. Try to climb higher and see the beautiful things that Heaven bears, where we came forth, and once more see the stars and raise a banner of resistance to the King of Hell and all his henchmen. For they are here, and working hard as usual, and indifference will only strengthen their resolve. Don’t be deceived by these digital demons. They want to make you think they don’t exist. They wish to get you to suspend your disbelief and get lost in the endless looping movie they have created to conceal their real machinations.

For we are living in a world of endless propaganda and simulacra where vast numbers of people are hypnotized and can’t determine the difference between the real world of nature, the body, etc. and digital imagery. Reality has disappeared into screens. Simulation has swallowed the distinction between the real world and its representations. Meaning has migrated to the margins of consciousness. This process is not yet complete but getting there.

This may at first seem hyperbolic, but it is not. I wish to explain this as simply as I can, which is not easy, but I will try. I will attempt to be rational, while knowing rationality and the logic of facts can barely penetrate the logic of digital simulacra within which we presently exist to such a large extent. Welcome to the New World Order and artificial intelligence which, if we do not soon wake up to their encroaching calamitous consequences, will result in a world where “we will never know” because our brains will have been reduced to mashed potatoes and nothing will make sense. The British documentary filmmaker, Adam Curtis, has said in his recent film, Can’t Get You Out of My Head: An Emotional History of the Modern World, that it’s already “pointless to try to understand the meaning of why things happen” and we will never know, but this is a nihilistic claim that leads to resigned hopelessness. We must get such sentiments “out of our heads.”

We do not, of course, live in the middle ages like Dante. Hell, purgatory, and heaven seem to be beyond our ken. Our imaginations have withered together with our grasp on reality. Up/down, good/evil, war/peace – opposites have melded into symbiotic marriages. Most people are ashamed, as the poet Czeslaw Milosz has said, to ask themselves certain questions that the seething infinity of modern relativity has bequeathed us. Space and time have lost all dimensions; the experience of the collapse of hierarchical space and time is widespread. For those who still call themselves religious believers like Dante, “when they fold their hands and lift up their eyes, ‘up’ no longer exists,” Milosz rightly says. The map and the territory are one as all metaphysics are almost lost. And with its loss go our ability to see the advancing banner of the king of hell, to grasp the nature of the battle for the soul of the world that is now underway. Or if you prefer, the struggle for political control.

One thing is certain: This war for control must be fought on both the spiritual and political levels. The centuries’ long rise of technology and capitalism has resulted in the degradation of the human spirit and its lived sense of the sacred. This must be reversed, as it has fundamentally led to the mechanistic embrace of determinism and the disbelief in freedom. Logical thought is necessary, but not mechanistic thought with the deification of reason. Scientific insight is essential, but within its limitation. The spiritual and artistic imagination that transcends materialist, machine thinking is needed now more than ever. We emphatically need to realize that the subject precedes the object and consciousness the scientific method. Only by realizing this will we be able to break free from the trap that is propaganda and digital simulacra, whose modi operandi are to dissolve the differences between truth and falsity, the imaginary and the real, facts and fiction, good and evil. To play satanic circle games, create double-binds, whose intent and result is to imprison and confuse.

It is akin to asking what is the antonym to the word contronym, which is a word having two meanings that contradict each other, such as “cleave,” which means to cut in half or to stick together. There are many such words.

“What is the opposite of a contronym?” I asked my thirteen-year-old granddaughter, a great reader and writer raised far away from the madding crowd of flickering and looping electronic images. To which, after thinking a few minutes, she correctly replied, “The antonym to a contronym is itself, because it has two opposite meanings. It contradicts itself.”

Or as Tweedledee told Alice: “Contrariwise, if it were so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s logic.”

And that’s the logic used to trap a sleeping public in a collective hallucination of media and machines. A grand movie in which all “opposites” are integrated to tranquilize all anxieties and amuse all boredom so that the audience doesn’t realize there is a world outside the Wonderland theater.

A Place to Start

Let me begin with a little history, some fortieth anniversaries that are occurring this year. In themselves, and even in their temporal juxtapositions, they mean little, but they give us a place to anchor our reflections. A sense of time and the progression of developments that have led to widespread digital cognitive warfare and twisted simulations. Widespread unreality rooted in materialist brain research financed by intelligence agencies. Spectacles of spectacles. As Guy Debord puts it in The Society of the Spectacle:

Where the real world changes into simple images, the simple images become real beings and effective motivations of hypnotic behavior.

In 1981, Ronald Reagan was sworn in as the U.S. President. He was a bad actor, of course, which meant he was a good actor (or the reverse of the reverse of the reverse…) in a society that was becoming increasingly theatrical, image based, and dominated by what Daniel Boorstin in his classic book, The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America, had earlier termed “pseudo-events.” Reagan was the personification of a pseudo-event, a walking illusion, a “benign” Orwellian persona presented to the public to conceal an evil agenda. He was a masked man, one created by Deep-State forces to convince the public it was “morning in America again,” even as the banner of an avuncular good guy concealed, right from the start with the treacherous “October Surprise” involving the Iranian hostage crisis, an evil opening act to start the charade. Reagan received overwhelmingly popular support and served two terms as acting president. The audience was enthralled. In crucial ways, his election marked the beginning of our descent into hell.

Halfway through his two terms, Gary Wills, In Reagan’s America: Innocents at Home, introduced Reagan as follows:

The geriatric ‘juvenile lead’ even as President, Ronald Reagan is old and young – an actor, but with only one role. Because he acts himself, we know he is authentic. A professional, he is always the amateur. He is the great American synecdoche, not only a part of our past but a large part of our multiple pasts. This is what makes many of the questions asked about him so pointless. Is he bright, shallow, complex, simple, instinctively shrewd, plain dumb? He is all these things and more. Synecdoche, just the Greek word for ‘sampling,’ and we all take a rich store of associations that have accumulated around the Reagan career and persona. He is just as simple, and just as mysterious, as our collective dreams and memories.

A few weeks after Reagan was sworn in, his newly named CIA Director William Casey (see Robert Parry’s book, Trick or Treason: The 1980 October Surprise Mystery), made a revealing comment at a meeting of the new cabinet appointees. Casey said, as overheard and recorded by Barbara Honegger who was present, “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”

Thirdly, in August of 1981, the French sociologist Jean Baudrillard published his seminal book, Simulacra and Simulation, in which he set out his theory of simulation where he claimed that a “hyperreal” simulated world was replacing the real world that once could be represented but not replaced. He argued that this simulated world was generated by models of a real world that never existed and so people were living in “hyperreality,” or a totally fabricated reality. This was a radical notion, and his claim at the time that this was already total was no doubt an exaggeration. But that was then, not now. Forty years have allowed his nightmarish theory to take on reality. I will return to this subject later.

Technology and the Trap of the Machine Mass Mind

In his classic work, Propaganda, Jacques Ellul writes that “An analysis of propaganda therefore shows that it succeeds primarily because it corresponds exactly to a need of the masses…just two aspects of this: the need for explanation and the need for values, which both spring largely, but not entirely, from the promulgation of news.” He wrote that in 1962 when news and world events were rapidly speeding up but were nowhere near as technologically frenzied as they are today. Then there were radio, many newspapers, and a handful of television stations. And yet, even in those days, as the sociologist C. Wright Mills said, the general public was confused and disoriented, liable to panic, and that information overwhelmed their capacity to assimilate it. In The Sociological Imagination he wrote:

The very shaping of history now outpaces the ability of people to orient themselves in accordance with cherished values. And which values? Even when they do not panic, people often sense that older ways of feeling and thinking have collapsed and that newer beginnings are ambiguous to the point of moral stasis. Is it any wonder that ordinary people feel they cannot cope with the larger worlds with which they are so suddenly confronted? That they cannot understand the meaning of their epoch for their own lives? That – in defense of selfhood – they become morally insensible, trying to remain altogether private individuals? Is it any wonder that they come to be possessed by a sense of the trap?

This trap has been progressively closing ever since. To say this is false nostalgia for the good old days is intellectual claptrap. The evidence is overwhelming, and honest minds can see it clearly and a bit of self-reflection would reveal the inner wounds this development has caused. There are various reasons for this: many intentional, others not: political machinations by the power elites, technological, cultural, religious developments, etc., all rooted in a similar way of thinking. Whereas the wealthy elites have always controlled society, over the recent decades the growth in technological propaganda has increased exponentially. But the machines have been built upon a technical way of thinking that Ellul describes as ‘the totality of methods rationally arrived at and having absolute efficiency in every field of human activity.” This way of thinking is the opposite of the organic, the human. It is all about means without ends, self-generating means whose sole goal is efficiency. Everything is now subordinated to technique, especially people. He says:

From another point of view, however, the machine is deeply symptomatic: it represents the ideal toward which techniques strives.The machine is solely, exclusively technique; it is pure technique, one might say. For, wherever a technical factor exists, it results, almost inevitably, in mechanization: technique transforms everything it touches into a machine.

If only cell phones shocked the hands that touched them!

I think it is beyond dispute that this sense of entrapment and confusion with its concomitant widespread depression has increased dramatically over the decades and we have come to a dark, dark place. Lost in a dark wood would be an understatement. In the inferno would perhaps be more appropriate.

Who will be our Virgil to guide us through this hell we are creating and to show us where it is leading?

The massive use of psychotropic drugs for living problems is well known. The sense of meaninglessness is widespread. The shredding of social bonds with the journey into a vast digital dementia has resulted in panic and anxiety on a vast scale. The fear of death and disease permeates the air as religious faith wanes. People have been turned against each other as an hallucinatory cloak of propaganda has replaced reality with the black magic of digital incantations.

I remember how, in 1975, when I was teaching at a Massachusetts university and, sensing a vast unmet need in my students, I proposed a course called “The Sociology of Life, Death, and Meaning.” My colleagues balked at the idea and I had to convince them it was worthwhile. I sensed that the fear of death and a growing loss of meaning was increasing among young people (and the population at large) and it was my responsibility to try to address it. My colleagues considered the subject not scientific enough, having been seduced by the positivist movement in sociology. When the enrollment for the course reached 220 plus, my point was made. The need was great. But it was a small window of opportunity for such deep reflections, for by 1980 the Cowboy in the white hat had ridden into Washington and a rock star was enthroned in the Vatican and all was once again well with the world. Delusory orthodoxy reigned again. Until….

For the last forty-one years there has been a progressive dissolution of reality into a theatrical electronic spectacle, beginning with the push for computer generated globalization and continuing up to the latest cell phones. Science, neuroscience, and technology have been deified. Cognitive warfare has been waged against the public mind. The intelligence agencies, war departments, and their accomplices throughout the corporations, media, Hollywood, medicine, and the universities have united to effect this end. Neuroscience and medicine have been weaponized. The objective being to convince the public that they are machines, their brains are computers, and that their only hope is embrace that “reality.”

After the actor Reagan rode off into the sunset, his Vice-President and former Director of the CIA (therefore a supreme actor), George H. W. Bush, took the reins and declared the decade of the 1990s the decade of brain research, to be heavily financed by the federal government. In 1992, boy wonder William Clinton, straight out of the fetid fields of Arkansas politics, was elected to carry on this work, not just the brain research but the continuous bombing of Iraq and the slaughters around the world, but also the work of dismantling welfare and repealing the Glass-Steagall Act, reuniting commercial and investment banking and opening the door for the rich to get super rich and normal people to get screwed. So Clinton fulfilled the duties of the good Republican President that he was, and the right-wing played the game of ripping him for being a leftist. It’s funny except that so many believed this game in which all the players operated within the same frame (and of course still do), the play within the play whose real authors are always invisible to the fixated audience.

What is the antonym to a contronym?

When George W. Bush took over, he continued the brain research project with massive federal monies by declaring 2000-10 as the Decade of the Behavior Project.

Then under Obama, whose role model was the actor Reagan, and under Trump, whose role model was the guy he played on reality television and whose official role was playing the bad guy to Obama’s good guy, the money for the mapping of the brain and artificial intelligence continued flowing from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Office of Science and Technology Project (OSTP).

Three decades of joint military, intelligence, and neuroscience work on how to understand brains so as to control them through mind control and computer technology might suggest something untoward was afoot, wouldn’t you say?

Create the Problem and Then the “Solution”

If you are still on this twisted path with me, you may feel an increased level of anxiety. Not that it is new, for you have probably felt it for a long time. We both know that free-floating anxiety, like depression and fear, has been a stable of life in the good old USA for decades. Nowadays, if you notice, there are experts who are offering Online Anxiety Help to the ones in need. However, we didn’t create the anxiety, and, as C. Wright Mills has said, “Neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both.” For our biographies, including anxiety and meaninglessness, take place within social history and social structures, and so we must ask what are the connections. And are there solutions?

There are drugs, of course, and the caring folks at the pharmaceutical companies who want to see us with Smiley Faces, perky in mind and body, are always glad to provide them for an exorbitant price, one often well hidden in the ledgers of their insurance company partners-in-crime. To relieve anxiety disorders, in many countries, many medical practitioners also tend to recommend cannabis products such as CBD oil and other Edible forms of CBD. The consumption of cannabis and related products can be accomplished in a number of ways. Despite the possibility of consuming CBD through edibles, gummies, and even oil, many would prefer going the traditional route and smoking up using accessories such as dab rings and bangers (learn how to clean a dab banger here) Several scientists are studying the effects of CBD and cannabis since medical marijuana has become legal in many countries, including the United States. Treatment of generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder with CBD has proven effective as a monotherapy or complementary therapy. Among mental health problems, anxiety is the most common. Many tend to resort to products such as CBD oil (refer to CBD oil UK law, for instance), hemp extracts, etc. Even so, there are so many things to fear: terrorists, viruses, bad weather, bad breath, my bad, your bad, bad death, etc.

Is there a place upon which to pin this anxiety that floats ?

Professor Mattias Desmet, a clinical psychology professor at the University of Ghent in Belgium, has some interesting thoughts about it, but they don’t necessarily lead to happy conclusions. I think he is correct in saying that for decades there has been a situation brewing that is the perfect soil for mass formation with a hypnotized public embracing a new totalitarianism, one that has now been made real through COVID 19 with the lockdowns and loss of liberties as we descend with Dante to the lowest depths of the Inferno.

These background developments are the breakdown of social bonds, the loss of meaning making, its accompanying free-floating anxiety, and the absence of ways to relieve that anxiety short of aggression. You can listen to him here.

These conditions didn’t just “happen” but were created by multiple power elite actors with long range plans. If that sounds conspiratorial, that’s because it is. That’s what the powerful do. They conspire to achieve their goals. The average person, without the awareness, will, inclination, or ability to do investigative sociological research, often falls prey to their designs, and through today’s electronic digital media is mesmerized into feeling that the media offer solutions to their anxieties. They provide answers, even when they are propaganda.

As Ellul says, “Propaganda is the true remedy for loneliness.” It draws all lost souls to its benevolent siren song. CNN’s smiling Sanjay Gupta sedates many a mind and The New York Times and CBS soothe untold numbers of Mr. and Mrs. Lonelyhearts with sweet nothings straight from the messaging centers of the World Economic Forum and Langley, Virginia. They draw on the need to obey and believe, and provide fables that give people a sense of value and belonging to the group, even though the group is unreal. These media can quite easily, but usually subtly, turn their audiences’ frenetic, agitated passivity into active aggression towards dissidents, especially when those dissidents have been blamed for endangering the lives of the “good” people.

As has occurred, censorship of dissent is necessary, and this must be done for the common good, even when it is carried out in allegedly democratic societies. In the name of freedom, freedom must be denied. Thus Biden’s declaration of war against domestic dissent.

Mattias Desmet got it right; we are far down the road to totalitarianism.

Simulation and Simulacra

When I was a boy, I did certain boy things that were popular in my generation. For a short period I constructed model ships and planes from kits. It was something to do when I was constrained to the house because of bad weather. These kits were replicas of famous battle ships or planes and came with decals you could paste on them when you were done. The decals identified these historical vehicles, which were very real or had been. I knew I was making a miniature double of real objects, just as I knew a map of New York City streets corresponded to the real Bronx streets I roamed. The map and my models were simulacra, but not the real thing. The real things were outside somewhere. And I knew not to walk on the map for my wanderings.

When Baudrillard wrote Simulacra and Simulation, he was telling us that something fundamental had changed and would change far more in the future. He wrote:

Today abstraction is no longer that of the map, the double, the mirror, or the concept. Simulation is no longer that of the territory, a referential being, or a substance. It is the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: a hyperreal. The territory no longer precedes the map, nor does it survive it. It is nevertheless the map that precedes the territory – precession of simulacra – that engenders the territory….

Translated into plain English (French intellectuals can be difficult to understand), he is saying that in much of modern life, reality has disappeared into its signs or models. And within these signs, these self-enclosed systems, distinctions can’t be made because these simulacra contain, like contronyms, both their positive and negative poles, so they cancel each other out while holding the believer imprisoned in amber. Once you are in them, you are trapped because there are no outside references, the simulated system of thought or machine is your universe, the only reality. There is no dialectical tension because the system has swallowed it. There is no critical negativity, no place to stand outside to rebel because the simulacrum encompasses the positive and negative in a circulatory process that makes everything equivalent but the “positivity” of the simulacrum itself. You are inside the whale: “The virtual space of the global is the space of the screen and the network, of immanence and the digital, of a dimensionless space-time.”

So if that plain English (Ha!) doesn’t do it for you, here’s Baudrillard again:

It is a question of substituting the signs of the real for the real, that is to say of an operation of deterring every real process via its operational double, a programmatic, metastable, perfectly descriptive machine that offers all the signs of the real and short-circuits all its vicissitudes. Never again will the real have a chance to produce itself – such is the vital function of the model in a system of death, or rather of anticipated resurrection, that no longer gives the event of death a chance. [my emphases]

In the case of my model airplanes, there were real planes that my replicas were based on. I knew that. Baudrillard was announcing that the world was changing and children in the future would have a difficult time distinguishing between the real and its simulacra. Not just children but all of us have arrived at that point, thanks to digital technology, where to distinguish between the real and the imaginary is very hard. Thus the purpose of video games: To scramble brains. Thus the purpose of all the brain research funded by the Pentagon: To control brains via the interface of people with machines. This is a fundamental reason why the ruling elites, under the cover of Covid-19, have been pushing for an online digitized world through which they can amass even greater control over people’s sense of reality. Are we watching a video of the real world or a video of a model of the real world? How to tell the difference?

The weather report says that there is a 31% chance of rain tomorrow at 2 P.M., and people take that seriously, even though only a genuine blockhead would not realize that this is not based on reality but on a computer model of reality and a reality that is unreal a second degree over since it has yet to occur. Yet that everyday example is normal today. It’s a form of hypnosis. The map precedes the territory.

But it gets even weirder as a regular perusal of the news confirms. A very strange warped sense of reality unconnected to digital technology is widespread. There recently was a news report about the sale of a Mohammed Ali drawing that sold for $425,000. The drawing could have been done by a child with a marker. It depicts a stick figure Ali in a boxing ring standing with arms raised in victory over a fallen opponent. From the fallen boxer’s head a speech bubble rises with these words: “Ref, he did float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.” It is factually true that Ali knocked many opponents on their asses and raised his arms in victory. So when he drew his stick drawing he was probably remembering that. Therefore his drawing, a representation of his memory of reality and imagination, is two degrees removed from the real. For no opponent uttered those words from his back on a canvas. They are Ali’s signature words, how he liked to present himself on the world’s stage, part of his act, for he was a quintessential performer, albeit an unusual one with courage and a social conscience. Obviously his drawing is not art but a crude little sketch. Whoever spent nearly half a million dollars for it, did so either for an investment (which raises one question concerning reality and illusion) or as a form of magical appropriation, similar to getting a famous person’s signature to “capture” a bit of their immortality (the second question). Either way it’s more than weird, even though not uncommon. It is its commonness that makes it emblematic of this present era of copies and simulacra, the mumbo jumbo magic that disappears the real into simulated images.

Take the recent case of the TV actor William Shatner, who played a space ship captain named Captain Kirk on a very popular television series, Star Trek, a show filled with kitsch wisdom loved by hordes of desperadoes. All unreal but taken close to the fanatics’ hearts. He’s been in the news recently for taking a ride into earth’s sub orbit on a spacecraft owned and operated by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos. Bezos gave the ninety-year-old actor a comp ride up and away supposedly because he was a big Star Trek fan. In keeping with the pseudo-spiritual theme of this business venture and PR stunt, the spacecraft was called the New Shepard, presumably to distinguish it from the Old Shepard, whom we must assume is dead as Nietzsche said a few years ago. Sometimes these billionaires are so busy making money that they forget to tune in to the latest news. Bezos was announcing his new religion, a blending of P. T. Barnum and technology. Anyway, pearls of “spiritual” wisdom, like those uttered on the old TV series, greeted the public following Shatner’s trip. Ten minutes up and down isn’t three days and nights, but he was up to the task. A guy playing an actor playing a space ship pilot playing a TV personage on a public relations business stunt flight. “Unbelievable,” as he said. Who is copying whom? Tune in.

Baudrillard offers the example of The Iconoclasts from centuries past :

…whose millennial quarrel is still with us today. This is precisely because they predicted the omnipotence of simulacra, the faculty the simulacra have of effacing God from the conscience of man, and the destructive annihilating truth that they allow to appear – that deep down God never existed, even that God himself was never anything but his own simulacrum – from this came their urge to destroy the images.

We are now awash in epiphanies of representation, as Daniel Boorstin noted in The Image in the 1960s and which everyone can notice as those little rectangular boxes are constantly raised everywhere to capture what their operators might unconsciously think of as a world they no longer think is real, so they better capture it before it fully evaporates. Such acquisitive image taking bespeaks an unspoken nihilism, secret simulations that signify the death sentence of their referents.

So let’s just say simulacra are traps wherein the real is no longer real but a hyperreal that seems realer than real, while concealing its unreality.

This goes much further than the use of digital technology. It involves the entire spectrum of techniques of mind control and propaganda. It includes politics, medicine, economics, Covid-19, the lockdowns and vaccines, etc. Everything.

Let me end with one small example. A trifle, you’ll agree. I began by noting the election of the actor Ronald Reagan in 1980. Then the quote from the CIA Director Casey: “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”

Then came the CIA actor George H. W. Bush, the two-faced Bill Clinton, George W. Bush the son of the CIA man, Obama, Trump, and Biden. Rather shady characters all, depending usually on your political affiliations. Suppose, however, that these seven men are an acting troupe in the same play, which is a highly sophisticated simulacrum that plays in loops, and that the object of its architects is to keep the audience engaged in the show and rooting for their favorite character. Suppose this self-generating spectacle has a name: The Contronym. And suppose that at the very heart of its ongoing run, one of the lead characters, who had been reared from birth to play a revolutionary role, one that demanded many masks and contradictory faces that could be used to reconcile the personae of the other six actors and perhaps reconcile the Rashomon-like story, suppose that character was Barack Obama, and suppose he was reared in a CIA family and later just “happened” to become President where he became known as “the intelligence president” because of his intimate relationship with the CIA. And suppose he gave the CIA everything it wanted.

Would you think you were living in a simulacrum?

Or would you say Jeremy Kuzmarov’s report, “A Company Family: The Untold History of Obama and the CIA” was a simulation of the most scurrilous kind?

Or would you feel lost in the wood in the middle of your life with Dante? Heading down to hell?

“‘I was thinking,’ said Alice very politely, ‘which is the best way out of this wood. It’s getting so dark. Would you tell me, please?’

But the fat little men [Tweedledee and Tweedledum] only looked at each other and grinned.”

Yet it is no laughing matter. If we want to get through this hell we are traversing, we had better clearly recognize those who are carrying the Banner of the King of Hell. Identify them and stop their advance. It is a real spiritual war we are engaged in, and we either fight for God or the devil.

28 thoughts on “The Banners of the King of Hell Advance”

  1. Edward, thank you so much for your powerful essay.
    Plautus used to say “Nomen es omen” and others after him. Maybe Romans were just superstitious yet the name of one the hell banner bearers seems to proves them right: Fauci/ the Sickler…von Spike I would add. Jean Baudrillard also mentioned the extinction of the use of the negative in photography digital era oblige…
    I am always happy to read you. Take care.


    This article talks a bit about the history of electronic communications and how and why it is used to promulgate propaganda and the simulacra of reality chosen for us as consumers of information. It focuses on TV, but obviously a similar paradigm is applied via cellphones and social media platforms.

    Many of us expect propaganda via news programs, but the more sinister aspect is what is subtly communicated to us when we are expecting to be entertained. We are constantly nudged in certain directions. This can be done by subliminal programming or just in the casual conversation of characters.

    There are a number of people who now complain about how the traditional roles of men and women are being supplanted and how unlikely examples of diversity are now apparently required in recent shows, even when they purport to represent historical situations where it did not exist in reality.

    But earlier iterations of such electronic social engineering were not benign. It is by small increments that general attitudes are molded. The self-appointed world controllers play a long game, but it looks like they are reaching for a tipping point, where the mild hypnotism of the television, etc. is replaced or augmented by the introduction of manmade technology into the very structures of life.

  3. Magnificent opening image, like from a epic movie, that we will never see.

    BTW, who would you cast as the King of Hell?

    My only hesitation at wholly embracing all of these sentiments is that it has a certain air of nostalgia and American credulousness. We seem to be desperate to return to a point in time where all meaning was that, Meaning. Perhaps a time where the Bible was that fount of the sacral, and somehow it was the lynchpin for this once and great Judeo-Christian tradition, (save those few thousand years of slaughtering those OTHERS) over where we could hang our common hat.

    Ok, we figured out that BOOK wasn’t going to save us, but maybe some other book? Some more grands Words, in different sentences, that will be our salvation, right?

    Well, maybe I have become a nihilist, but THE PAST was never that.

    It was always a series of fables, conflations, self-deceptions and outright lies, covered in a fancy vernacular. Religion is the greatest example. One of the reasons the Catholic Church ran its sermons in Latin, for centuries, was that a vast majority of parishioners would never had sat (and stood up, then sat down again) through such tripe, except they didn’t know a lick of that old dead language. Look what happened after Vatican II: an hemisphere-wide mutiny. But there are still many countries deep in their self-deceptions.

    What all of these quotations from French sophists covers up is that the Europeans themselves, all throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, have always been far more jaundiced about those GREAT meanings, whether it was in art, music, philosophy or otherwise.

    Things like the Shroud of Turin (and the found masterpieces by long-dead Masters) were produced and promoted like they were the new Hollywood blockbuster. Insiders winked and the viewers embraced these enchanting tales. But when they were exposed as frauds, no tar-and-feather mob formed.
    Instead, fakers and fraudsters, especially when it came to painters, were prized for their craftsmanship and EVEN after they were exposed, collectors still bought their output.

    I have become a big follower of Miles Mathis and his thorough debunking of what is so many of these concrete events (all the ‘Ronald Reagans’) as they were all major FAKE(s). But he suffers from this same deep nostalgia for the REAL, CONCRETE meaning of yesterday.

    It reeks of the star student, diligently studying and getting good marks, only to find out that all the answers were spoon-fed LIES. I too, was once one of these boys who excelled in school, yet all these teacher-pleasing skills, which its utility have been rendered useless by the techno-tyranny.

    Boys, books and words wont save us and they never were going to anyways. Both Ed and Miles have this whiff of nostalgia that they should see through. We have always been our masters’ slaves: we have just traded shackles for cell-phones.

    Perhaps the Europeans are more secure in their culture, most of those people having come from ‘their’ ground, up from the earth upon which they were birthed. Contronyms all, but it is THEIR contronyms.

    Americans have no such claim. We worship at the altar of credulity. We are so uneasy in those contradictory spots. Maybe that’s why we keep moving like some locust plague, always hungry, never sated, clawing up the dirt like we are ashamed of it’s rejection.

    It also shows the great meaninglessness at the heart of America’s darkness.

    1. “Americans have no such claim. We worship at the altar of credulity. We are so uneasy in those contradictory spots. Maybe that’s why we keep moving like some locust plague, always hungry, never sated, clawing up the dirt like we are ashamed of it’s rejection.” Is it not because their country is Utopia come “true”?

    2. Thank you Kurt Frederick ZUMDIECK…The church-The state-The military…create fear, reinforce fear…, fear of the unseeable, no computer modeling centuries ago…, only brute force! Genuflect to fraud, stop thinking, deaden curiosity. May 4, 2016: six and a half months after giving this Keynote Address, Steven Newcomb called on Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square to formally revoke the May 4, 1493 Inter Caetera papal bull. He is seen here giving the Pope a copy of his book, Pagans in the Promised Land: Decoding the Doctrine of Christian Discovery. The beginning of the book, from the Cover through page 15 is accessible here.
      See the 1967 movie, ‘ IF ‘
      We are a lost society!

  4. Why are America and Western nations on the Fastrack to HELL?

    Look at it this way.. we just had one group of idiots vote knowingly and gleefully for a lech, a grifter, liar, P* Grabber, tax cheat, and a racist.. TRUMP. All while they claim to be Christians.. They lie, they steal, they cheat, they worship a man who is all and all a P.O.S. They actually behave more like ANTICHRISTIANS.

    Then the other half of the country voted in an old senile guy (Biden)..who is HELL bent on mandating a jab in the arm with an experimental vaccine regardless of what chaos that might unleash on the economy, further running the U.S. straight into the ABYSS after Trump first drove it over the cliff by poking China with his tariffs(which was soon followed by Coronavirus and the meltdown of the U.S. economy to the benefit of the Chinese economy. Wink. Wink.) Said Senile old guy Biden.. has no real interest in actually finding out what happened in China he just wants you to jab your arm because DR. FAUST, I mean Dr. Fauci says you should do it.

    American Democracy is broken, doesn’t work any more… 21st century Americans don’t seem to have what it takes to keep the train on the tracks. Biden is in the White House precisely because Trump was such a P.O.S. President. Don’t tell that to Trump voters though.

    No one wants to KNOW the TRUTH about anything, the facts, they just want a politician who tells them what they want to hear.

    People believe it’s OK for government to tell them what to do with their health no questions asked. Knowing DAMN well that eventually a government will come along that will misuse that given AUTHORITY against them.

    It’s that Ben Franklin quote and all that about getting what you deserve…

    …in this case Hell on Earth.

    I’m not religious but got to admit…. yeah its getting toasty.

    Welcome to INFERNOLAND : Please Keep Your Arms and Legs Inside the HAND BASKET TO HELL at all Times. Enjoy the Ride.

    “The Inferno describes Dante’s journey through Hell, guided by the ancient Roman poet Virgil. In the poem, Hell is depicted as nine concentric circles of torment located within the Earth; it is the “realm … of those who have rejected spiritual values by yielding to bestial appetites or violence, or by perverting their human intellect to fraud or malice against their fellowmen”

  5. Now look what you’ve done, Ed, gone and made me think of this again:

    Phil Ochs – The Power and the Glory

    “Come and take a walk with me thru this green and growing land
    Walk thru the meadows and the mountains and the sand
    Walk thru the valleys and the rivers and the plains
    Walk thru the sun and walk thru the rain
    Here is a land full of power and glory
    Beauty that words cannot recall
    Oh her power shall rest on the strength of her freedom
    Her glory shall rest on us all (on us all)
    From Colorado, Kansas, and the Carolinas too
    Virginia and Alaska, from the old to the new
    Texas and Ohio and the California shore
    Tell me, who could ask for more?
    Yet she’s only as rich as the poorest of her poor
    Only as free as the padlocked prison door
    Only as strong as our love for this land
    Only as tall as we stand
    But our land is still troubled by men who have to hate
    They twist away our freedom & they twist away our fate
    Fear is their weapon and treason is their cry
    We can stop them if we try.”

    Says more in 2 minutes than some say in a lifetime … as always, best of luck to us all …

  6. “And within these signs, these self-enclosed systems, distinctions can’t be made because these simulacra contain, like contronyms, both their positive and negative poles, so they cancel each other out while holding the believer imprisoned in amber. Once you are in them, you are trapped because there are no outside references, the simulated system of thought or machine is your universe, the only reality. There is no dialectical tension because the system has swallowed it. There is no critical negativity, no place to stand outside to rebel because the simulacrum encompasses the positive and negative in a circulatory process that makes everything equivalent but the “positivity” of the simulacrum itself. ”

    I don’t remember hearing about contronyms before, so it is some consolation that your spell checker here does not like the word, or or least the way it is spelled. If I spell it contranym, it is fine with that, though a search finds that contronym is correct. (Or is it? If only Google were available to speak directly to my mind, with the one and only answer, life would be so much simpler!)

    Likewise, in matters of spelling, my first reading did not detect that New Shepard is not New Shepherd, and thus the old Shepard is indeed dead, being Alan Shepard, first American in space, who is said to have died in 1998.

    His name and its conflation with shepherd takes on additional meaning if one is of the persuasion that the space program was phony, and that Alan was shepherding the flock into the TV “space age”. I find that thought intriguing, but am not here to advance any such claims.

    Certain things do lend themselves to such ruthless speculation, however. The New Shepard in 2021 takes passengers on a ten minute ride to the edge of space. The old Shepard actually ventured into space, and he and/or other member star sailors orbited the Earth in the 1960’s and soon thereafter landed on the moon, with excellent TV coverage.

    I was there. I saw it on TV.

    But there is, of course, a good explanation for this apparent disruption in the linear march of technological progress. A NASA official on a video somewhere said that the technology for the moon landing was lost. Perhaps it was misplaced in all the excitement.

    But we are here, trapped in amber, in no position to judge the NASA housekeeping without our tinfoil hats showing. How are we to know? It may have been Schrodinger’s space program.

    William Casey could perhaps have explained it to us, but he has gone the way of the old Shepard.

  7. “…These conditions didn’t just “happen” but were created by multiple power elite actors with long range plans… It involves the entire spectrum of techniques of mind control and propaganda… We had better clearly recognize those who are carrying the Banner of the King of Hell. Identify them and stop their advance.”

    One could start with the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and its network of interlocking affiliates.

    Billionaires Larry Fink (BlackRock), David Rubenstein (Carlyle) and Marc Benioff (Salesforce) are trustees at the Davos WEF promoting the “Great Reset”. Fink is a CFR director, and Rubenstein is the CFR chairman. Benioff, who now owns Time magazine, is a CFR member.

    As in past administrations, key players on the “Biden team” are CFR members, including the secretaries of State, Treasury, Defense, Commerce and Homeland Security. Also the CIA director, Fed chairman, UN ambassador, and dozens more.

    Nearly every CIA director has been a CFR member, including Allen Dulles who ran the CIA “Operation Mockingbird”. Dulles was a CFR director for 40 years, and most of the media barons of the period were CFR members (Paley, Sarnoff, Sulzberger, Graham, Luce, etc). The same is true today, see chart:

  8. Thanks for posting the link to this very fine piece at NC, Zagonostra; that’s where I found it.

  9. Excellent, Ed! On point!

    “Cognitive warfare has been waged against the public mind. The intelligence agencies, war departments, and their accomplices throughout the corporations, media, Hollywood, medicine, and the universities have united to effect this end. Neuroscience and medicine have been weaponized.”

    “These conditions didn’t just “happen” but were created by multiple power elite actors with long range plans. If that sounds conspiratorial, that’s because it is. That’s what the powerful do. They conspire to achieve their goals. The average person, without the awareness, will, inclination, or ability to do investigative sociological research, often falls prey to their designs, and through today’s electronic digital media is mesmerized into feeling that the media offer solutions to their anxieties. They provide answers, even when they are propaganda.”

    Cognitive warfare. The brain is the new battlefield.

    Great Game India has a recent article with more on this.

    “Now, NATO is spinning out an entirely new kind of combat it has branded cognitive warfare. Described as the “weaponization of brain sciences,” the new method involves “hacking the individual” by exploiting “the vulnerabilities of the human brain” in order to implement more sophisticated “social engineering.”

    “A 2020 NATO-sponsored study of this new form of warfare clearly explained, “While actions taken in the five domains are executed in order to have an effect on the human domain, cognitive warfare’s objective is to make everyone a weapon.”

    Of course it’s not, NATO, or the deep state, or the empire that’s most responsible for all this. It’s the global oligarch families and billionaires. They have names and faces. Like Rothschild, Rockefeller, DuPont, Bush . . . Bezos, Gates, Koch, Soros . . . and all the ones we never hear of.

    “Monopoly – Who owns the world? A documentary by Tim Gielen 2021”

  10. Excellent piece and great comments!

    It makes me think of the ancient command of God to make no graven images and not to worship them. Because these days human artifice is worshipped constantly, the minds of millions focused on the little and large screens learning the simulacra of reality de jure to inform their later electronic communications and how their likes and comments shall be apportioned to their electronic friends.

    That is maybe the key to why our instincts (for those of us resisting the replacement of reality) tend to lead us back to appreciation of the natural world, which is at least one degree closer to the source of life and to the worship of God. There is nothing created by man, however beautiful, which can bear any comparison to the simplest of natural creations.

    My parents were not great church goers, but when they did go, it was to a Baptist church. I remember not understanding the stance of the church on dancing and movies. Dancing I could do without, but I do recall seeing the marquee of the movie theater, at that time right next to the church in my little town, with “2001: A Space Odyssey” advertised.

    Probably, the church had in mind to keep boys and girls away from the potentially sexualizing influence of movies and dancing. I broke with the church at some point, and attended the movies. But now I understand better the reasons for such prohibitions, beyond the fear of anything new, which it seemed to be at the time.

    But spending your time watching entertainments of this kind puts you in the hands of those who created them. These days, though I have not completely foresworn watching the idiot box, I bring a good deal of salt to the table, looking for why a certain idea is being taken for granted in a work of fiction.

    The stakes have apparently gone up since my youth, and most everyone has fallen under the spell of the banners of Hell. I don’t look for any organized, incorporated church to be free of the disease, but perhaps small pockets of those still seeking.

  11. Excellent article, thank-you very much.

    Given that we are social beings, pretty much all activities fall under the rubric of our dominant narrative. A central characteristic of that narrative, or path for understanding, is our split model of reality. We have built our modern world around the notion that the spiritual and the material are fundamentally different things. But, while this is a convenient assumption for power (God is far away),a consequent cannot prove an antecedent,and the opposite assumption may well be true.

    If, collectively we were to assume that the spiritual and the material are the same thing, we might have a better chance at changing this Man defined reality towards a more Creator based reality.

    Creator based reality depends on learning through mistakes. It is a broad based learning program, whereas the Man based system claims that only a select few understand what’s going on, so naturally they are obligated to save us from our mistakes. Small problem, the Man based system relies on manipulation, coercion and stifling of the human spirit. Its orientation is toward death.

    The elite think of it as their job to interfere with the common mans heart connection to Source, because they know they will be redundant when the common man has the proper means to develop that connection.

  12. Towards the end of an interview with Mattias Desmet as one aspect that shouldn’t be ignored is the power of crisis, both to control the population, but also as a means of giving one’s life purpose. I use to work in a very high pressured environment – a large corporation. With some frequency there would be crisis and crisis management when all technical departments and business functionaries would begin and end their days, weeks/months at a time on crisis “projects”. You could see that they were deeply enthralled by this tense sense of crisis, not altogether real, but labelled such was sufficient. These crises always seem to peter out with no fanfare. So much of everyday life in the “modern world” is simply passing time in “quiet desperation” (Thoreau’s “The Desperate Treadmill of Desire”).

    I think those committed (the managers and politicians (particularly some executives)) to this pseudo-crisis of operation COVID are driven by that same sense of purpose, a purpose otherwise lacking in their lives. It’s reminds me Chris Hedges’ first book: War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, where he states, “The enduring attraction of war is this: Even with its destruction and carnage it can give us what we long for in life. It can give us purpose, meaning, a reason for living.”

    The rulers are of course “above” the crisis.

    1. Yes, there always seems to be SOMETHING horrific happening doesn’t there? Always something…it’s very tedious and as such can be easily ignored. Theater. Distractions. Theater. Distractions. Rinse and Repeat – ad nauseam. Once you see this as a pattern you can tune out.

  13. great stuff.

    “Meaning has migrated to the margins of consciousness. This process is not yet complete but getting there.”

    yeah, we are perilously close.

  14. Ken Wilber:
    At every single moment, there is a spontaneous awareness of whatever happens to be present and that simple, spontaneous, effortless awareness is ever-present Spirit itself. Even if you think you don’t see it, that very awareness is it. And thus, the ultimate state of consciousness — intrinsic Spirit itself — is not hard to reach but impossible to avoid.”

    Jiddu Krishnamurti called it ‘choiceless awareness’ . The awareness we have when we are not seeing the world through a mind that has been conditioned by those around us.
    Thanks Edward.

  15. A great piece Ed. Your references to those thinkers that have in many ways predicted our predicament leave me asking where is there an Ellul today, or a Baudrillard, or Boorstin or Debord. And I think you answered that question in your piece. We are now so far down the rabbit hole, so deep into the simulacra of simulacra that there is simply nothing solid to reference or hang on to. What is “real” anymore? While we have been endlessly entertained decade after decade by our media and their electronic contraptions we have lost all moorings to the natural world that I was born into in 1952. That world of second-generation immigrant “values” that have guided a lifetime included a deep love and respect for the mystery and beauty of the natural world – a natural world from my childhood which today is almost impossible to explain to anyone except my 4 and 6 year old grandsons. They see the beauty and mystery – but since there is not monetary value that can be placed on such notions, they have faded from public consciousness. If you can’t “make a buck” on it in America, it simply doesn’t exist. I have taken recently to subscribing to any site on Youtube (so I get daily updates) that shows videos of the many protests around the globe against the mandates and lockdowns. These are simply ‘images’ of the resistance I feel myself a part of, yet they are as close as I can come to that resistance it seems in my actual life. How sad that there is some simple pathetic pleasure in clicking the “like” button on a video of protestors defying the police and oligarchy – leaving me playing a part in my own absurdist drama about “resistance” in a world where figuring out simply “how” to resist becomes more difficult daily. This was a wonderful piece Ed, I will re-read it tomorrow. Thank you.

    1. I think the path to resistance lies in rejecting video entertainment. Having grown up in the age of television, it has been an awakening for me to live without TV for the last few years. Living in a rural area has helped immensely as well. When I go back east and visit my sisters, I feel like I’m from another planet with the TV on constantly, and it’s endless infotainment and propaganda.
      I was caregiving my parents and an uncle for about eight years, and they were all victims of dementia to one degree or another. My parents would sit hypnotized in front of the TV for the entire day, mostly watching CNN’dless, with the same news going ’round and ’round, the faces changing every couple hours, but the same stories. I would often have to leave and take the dog for long walks to maintain my sanity. Towards the end of caregiving my uncle, I blocked CNN. I just couldn’t take it anymore. He was too gone to understand what I had done.
      The past few years of freedom has been a slow healing process. Long walks in the woods, and rafting down a few rivers has been my path to returning to reality.

      1. As always I really appreciate your thoughts Skip. Yes, my wife and I too have done without TV for many years now and because of that live in a completely different “reality” from most of our friends and family. Whether it was regime-change disinformation on Syria, Russiagate, Trump derangement syndrome, or now the so called “pandemic” the divide between MSM TV promoted narratives and actual events in the ‘real world’ was and is a huge chasm. I’ve reached the point where I’m clearly more likely to be right if I completely disbelieve ANY AND ALL MSM reporting until/unless I can confirm it – yet my friends and family take the opposite tack, and yet never seem to bother to examine other sources of information. The result is as Ed pointed out with that quote from William Casey: “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”

        It is interesting Skip that you have cared for relatives with dementia, I too cared for my mother for several years with dementia. Just as she lived in a largely alternative “reality” from me, I find that when I speak with friends and family members these days it reminds of conversing with my deceased mother – as they are literally living within a reality I have no access to as I don’t ingest the complete delusional nonsense disinformation that they absorb day after day, year after year. It sometimes feels as if we might as well live on different planets. How strange to find myself thinking of friends and family with no known cognitive limitations as essentially suffering from a sort of “TV induced dementia.” A situation in which everything they know about the world “is false.”

        Like you Skip the natural world, trout streams, mayflies and fly fishing in my case, offer the deepest healing and recharging of my soul and reconnection with “reality.” There is more truth in the song of the Mockingbird that has been serenading me through my open window than all the MSM reporting in the world. Warmest regards.

    2. You wrote: “These are simply ‘images’ of the resistance I feel myself a part of, yet they are as close as I can come to that resistance it seems in my actual life. How sad that there is some simple pathetic pleasure in clicking the “like” button on a video of protestors defying the police and oligarchy – leaving me playing a part in my own absurdist drama about “resistance” in a world where figuring out simply “how” to resist becomes more difficult daily.”

      Speaking as someone exactly your age, I can tell you that you’re not alone in feeling this way, Gary…I couldn’t have said it better.

      1. Thank you for sharing that Willem, it’s helpful to know we are not alone. There is solidarity in that. It is stunning at some level that people around the globe are standing up, yet I’m not aware of protests, other than the recent one in NYC, here in the U.S.

Comments are closed.