Barry's Blogs # 260-261: Breathing Together – QAnon and New Age Thinking, Parts 1-2 of 8

Part One:

Things fall apart; the center cannot hold. – W.B. Yeats

All that is solid melts into air. – Karl Marx

In a previous blog series I discussed how the gatekeepers of our culture exclude and demonize much progressive thought by associating it in the reader’s mind with bizarre right-wing claims, thereby delegitimizing both:

…countless websites and books devoted to narratives that marginalize anyone who questions the dominant paradigms of the culture. They typically do this by identifying “loony” theories from the perspective of the “rational center.” Such gatekeepers almost always lump all of the questioners together. Then with patronizing, pseudo-psychology they explore the unconscious motivations of conspiracy theorists, be they fascists or anarchists, Christians or Pagans, oligarchs or street people.

I’m talking about people who want us to forget about radical change because – they tell us – some of its adherents and some of their proposals are as laughably, preposterously unacceptable as are those on the other extreme.

The use of the term “conspiracy theory” is one of the main ways in which they banish any legitimate criticism of those in power to the realm of the truly illegitimate. The intent is insidious, even if often sincere. The only position that reasonable people could hold is the only one that remains, C – the consensual center that ranges between “not as crazy as A” to “not as crazy as B.” When they hear it often enough, people hold to that center so as to reaffirm their sense of American Innocence, and their identities.

I’ve read much by those who claim to objectively analyze conspiracy theories, and they all, left or right, serve that gatekeeping function. Even though most of what they say applies primarily to the right-wing loonies, they consistently associate the same faulty thinking with people further to the left.

But here is something new. In this age of fake news, “alternative facts”, high-resolution film and internet, when any image can be manipulated, some right wingers have become very skilled at offering theories with superficially progressive themes, but which, upon closer inspection, reveal reactionary agendas. They rely on the inability or unwillingness of countless good-hearted people who consume their well-funded rants and web posts to actually discriminate the former from the latter. One writer refers to these folks as “DRH” for “Down the Rabbit Hole.” I suggest another term: “New Age Conspiracists,” or NACs.

The wild popularity (seen by over 84 million people and translated into 27 languages) of the 2011 film Thrive is an example. Its creator Foster Gamble interviewed many progressive thinkers but hid his own libertarian views. Once they learned about those views, ten of the participants publicly denounced the film, claiming that Gamble had misrepresented himself. For more on that, see my blog, “The Mythic Foundations of Libertarianism” or Ben Boyce’s essay, in which he acknowledges “…how a skillfully edited documentary, backed with a big budget, can draw new adherents to a long-discredited political doctrine.” Later in this essay, I’ll describe how other “influencers” are manipulating thousands of people.

The pandemic year 2020 has seen massive resistance to social distancing and masking guidelines that have overlapped with vaccine skepticism. The great majority of it has emanated from right-wing and libertarian sources. But for now, I offer some confusing truths: quite a few left-wingers also favor personal choice on these matters – and the right is well aware of this. So we’re seeing slick, well-designed, “free-speech” websites such as Londonreal that, like Thrive, include articles by Noam Chomsky. But the further down one reads in their links, the more explicitly right-wing writings appear. This appears to be a deliberate strategy to influence young, anti-establishment, New Age readers.  

Let’s get a few things straight. Of course, there are conspiracies in which powerful people or classes discuss their shared goals and strategies away from the public eye. After all, to con-spire is merely to “breathe together.” Call it the Committee of 300, the Illuminati, the British Royal Family, the Rothschilds or the Khazarian Mafia – or just call it late capitalism and neo-colonialism rationally pursuing its short-term goals. Such people would be crazy not to get together periodically to shape national policies and international trends in their interests. And for my money, in this kind of a world, Trumpus is a minor mob thug and a useful idiot, while George H.W. Bush was Capo di Tutti I Capi of the Deep State.

“Deep State” is a phrase that can mean anything to anyone, and it seems that NACs especially use it too loosely. So I’ll try to define it from three perspectives:

1 – From the Center: The Deep State is the entrenched status quo that (in public perception) gets nothing done, whose members, lazy career bureaucrats and unmotivated administrators, care only to protect their own positions and retirement benefits. From a slightly more charitable perspective, it is composed of areas of government, including regulatory agencies such as the (pre-Trumpus) EPA that exist permanently, keeping the whole thing going, regardless of periodic changes in the White House. For more, read here.

2 – From the Right: The Deep State is “Big Government,” ideologically devoted to piling up infinite numbers of regulations intended to crush personal initiative and redistribute the national wealth to the undeserving poor. As Ronald Reagan said, “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” Note the mythological assumptions: only in America, with its aggrandizement of radical individualism, is poverty considered the fault of the individual. Similarly, we celebrate people who claim to have accumulated vast wealth without the benefits of inheritance or the assistance of that same State. For more on this topic, see my essay, “Blaming the Victim,” and take note of how deeply this cruel belief system has penetrated the American religious psyche, especially in New Age thinking.


This is the libertarian perspective of many NACs, who perceive federal regulatory agencies as instruments of a massive conspiracy to deprive them of the right to choose for themselves, especially in matters of health. To be clear, I agree with them to an extent, but it is very much a matter of discrimination, as we will see below. This thinking can slide down a long continuum that posits secret groups that control even the Deep State itself. In the most extreme scenarios, they are composed of alien (or Jewish) pedophiles determined to impose and dominate a New World Order; there is little practical difference between Big Government and the shadowy figures who conspire to control everything and everyone.

Note the mythological assumption: It’s a dualistic world of extreme good vs. extreme evil. This thinking has its roots in ancient Zoroastrianism, became solidified in Medieval Catholicism and justified centuries of European barbarism that led directly to the Holocaust.  

3 – From the Left: The Deep State is what we used to call the Military-Industrial Complex. Now we could describe it as the Military / National Security / Intelligence / Corporate / Petrochemical / Big Pharma / Big Banking / Big Agriculture Complex. From this perspective, government is not inherently bad, but it has been so utterly corrupted by capitalism that the State itself creates and maintains a culture of fear to generate a perpetual state of war. It crushes the imagination and redistributes the national wealth to the undeserving rich. Note another mythological assumption: nothing in our 400-year history has so deeply held our attention and limited our natural kindness as fear of the Other (the internal Other of race and the external Others of immigration, communism and terrorism). In this model, there is hardly any practical difference between Big Business and Big Government. When Defense Secretary Charles Wilson said, “What’s good for General Motors is good for America” in 1953, he was speaking quite literally.

Of course, more than one person conspired to kill John F. Kennedy. Even the U.S. Senate found this to be likely. Of course, elements within the government conspired to assassinate Martin Luther King, Jr. Indeed, a court determined that this is a legal fact. Obviously, elements of the Bush administration had some foreknowledge of the 9-11 attacks and did nothing to prevent them. And there are plenty of broader conspiracies to worry about.

But many people who have rejected the official narratives, who clearly understand that the mainstream media have shaped a false picture of the world (and possibly of American innocence) for decades, also seem to be getting caught up in some really wacky, paranoid, misogynistic and certainly racist claims. It appears that once you reject the center as illegitimate and the media as mendacious and locate yourself as a maverick out on the margins, you naturally become open to other marginalized opinions. From this perspective, when you entertain the possibility that everything we’ve been taught is wrong, then any alternatives may well be right.

Not long ago, most so-called conspiracy theories were clearly divided between right (Obama “Truthers”) and left (assassinations, CIA drug dealing). Gradually, many people have come to muddy the distinctions (if with very different conclusions), beginning with health issues such as fluoridation and the vaccine controversy, with the right mistrusting the government for intruding on their liberties and the left rightly criticizing Big Pharma’s perversion of the FDA. Meanwhile, the liberal, rational center – the abode of the gatekeepers – desperately holds to a naïve trust in objective and uncorruptible science, a working democracy, mainstream media who inform us (rather than selling us to their sponsors) and a foreign policy that protects freedom.

But then something new happened. The palpably obvious lie of the official 9-11 narrative brought individuals on both right and left together, if again with wildly different conclusions. Meanwhile, the mainstream media circled the wagons to marginalize all dissent in favor of unified military belligerence, just as they had done 84 years before to drag the nation into World War One, 60 years before to drag the nation into World War Two, 37 years before to drag the nation into Viet Nam, and only nine years before to drag the nation into Iraq.

People such as David Icke (one of the few people interviewed in Thrive who has not repudiated the film) have taken advantage of this really large segment of the public – remember, 100 million potential voters have opted out of the system – to posit a world in which powerful yet secret groups are striving to control the destiny of the entire world. This leads us to the QAnon phenomenon.

Part Two

The essence of American politics is the manipulation of populism by elitism. – Christopher Hitchens

The QAnon narrative, as most of us know by now, explains how we are in a sinister and dimly visible global power struggle. On one side of the fight is a depraved group of pedophiles, secretly sowing chaos and strife to create a pretext for their rule. On the other side is the public, decent people who have been deceived by the power brokers and their collaborators in the press. But patriotic elements within the military recruited Trumpus, and he’s been working hard behind the scenes to defeat the evil ones.

Whoever Q is (or are), its millions of followers receive and re-post thousands of hints about its agenda, and Trumpus himself (who many believe to actually be Q) has taken full advantage of it, especially in terms of coronavirus skepticism. Q followers agree that a great awakening is approaching to bring salvation. A promise of foreknowledge seems to be part of Q’s appeal, as is the feeling of being part of a secret community, which is reinforced through the use of acronyms and ritual phrases such as “Nothing can stop what is coming” and “Trust the plan.”

The year 2020 has added another dimension to the conspiracy mongering. Many people on both the right and the left who have legitimate concerns about corporate corruption of federal regulatory agencies, specifically on the question of vaccines, are finding it easier to question some aspects of the consensus on the Covid pandemic. And the Q people have skillfully taken advantage of this skepticism to convince them that the evil cabal of insiders deliberately created the pandemic or is at least ruthlessly exploiting it to frighten the public into accepting a totalitarian world government under permanent medical martial law. William Stranger writes:

The QAnon conspiracy represents nothing less than the chickens coming home to roost for the massive loss of public trust created by the plethora of outlandishly uninvestigated, under-investigated, and even fraudulently investigated marquee crimes in American history…

But we need to realize that QAnon is well-situated in a long and racialized American tradition in which people who feel threatened by evil cabals are in fact relatively well-off. It’s a story about victimhood (as I write in Chapters Seven and Eight of my book) and an excuse for violence, real or vicarious, that we’ve been telling ourselves ever since the first massacre of Indians in the early seventeenth century. But in this new version, the savior is the President himself, who is arguably the most powerful person in the world already, and his people are already in charge. It’s a story that seems to have been designed to cope with the cognitive dissonance caused by the gap between Trumpus as his fans imagine him and Trumpus as he is. Here are some articles I’ve found useful:

The Wizard of Q  

Decoding QAnon: How the delusional theory beloved by far-right loon... 

QAnon spreads across globe, shadowing COVID-19

The Prophecies of Q: American conspiracy theories are entering a da...

The deep, twisted roots of QAnon: Delusions of demon-cannibal consp... 

Majority of Republicans believe the QAnon conspiracy theory is part...

A list of key words and phrases used by QAnon followers

How to know what’s true? Or, as Caitlin Johnstone asks, How You Can Be 100% Certain That QAnon Is Bullshit:

1. It always excuses Trump’s facilitation of corporate agendas.

2. It always refuses to prove the validity of its position.

3. It’s made countless bogus claims and inaccurate predictions.

I would add a fourth point, as a question: How many people who claim to be victims of the deep state are people of color? Or are they in fact people who are generally quite privileged and almost universally white?

But we mythologists cannot afford to wallow in our own form of patronizing self-deception. This is a mass phenomenon, and besides, plenty of its adherents are armed to the teeth. More critically, we have to acknowledge that at its core, it represents a legitimate, if misdirected anger at a secular state (and its media) that in their (and my) mind is no longer legitimate. Johnstone continues:

…it’s an obvious propaganda construct designed to manufacture support for the status quo among people who otherwise would not support it. It presents itself as an exciting movement where the little guy is finally rising up and throwing off the chains of the tyrannical forces which have been exploiting and oppressing us, yet in reality all it’s doing is telling a discontented sector of the population to relax and “trust the plan” and put all their faith in the leader of the US government.

And that’s exactly what makes QAnon so uniquely toxic. It’s not just that it gets people believing false things which confuse and alienate them, it’s that it’s a fake, decoy imitation of what a healthy revolutionary impulse would look like. It sells people on important truths that they already intuitively know on some level…It takes those vital, truthful, healthy revolutionary impulses, then twists them around into support for the…president and the agendas of the Republican Party.

The Anti-Fascist Network places Q and its strategies squarely within an old tradition:

Part of the fascist strategy is to misguide people into thinking the centrist neoliberal policies that trouble them are leftist policies. The far-right then pretend to be rebels against capitalism, whilst in fact standing for an even more extreme and brutal form of capitalism.

To simply dismiss these people, however, is to ignore the implications of two of the basic ideas I’ll be speaking about further on. The first is that even a broken clock is right twice a day.Q followers and progressives agree that the mainstream media and mainstream political parties can’t be trusted, and some of the things that Q people say may well sound superficially attractive. But – and here is the second – we all need to learn how to discriminate, to notice when the clock really is broken, why it’s been broken and who broke it.

The issue is immensely complicated by technology – despite those few points of agreement, Q followers no longer share a common language with progressives. Indeed, the documentary The Social Dilemma reveals that the major social media sites have deliberately ensured that these people don’t ever read or hear the same news that we do.

Still, we must acknowledge that the worst lies can effective if they contain a core of truth. The great majority of Americans are suffering from a brutally unequal economic system and behind that, a soul-killing mythology, and the one thing all but the happy ten percent agree on is the need for change. Again: Q is “a fake, decoy imitation of what a healthy revolutionary impulse would look like.” That said, I’m interested not so much in its Tea-Party, libertarian or evangelical followers, most of whom identified with racist, misogynist, Republican politics long before Q arose, and will return to their roots when it disappears.

I’m more interested in figuring out what makes the NACs tick, and why so many of them have fallen for this con. It has been suggested that such people are particularly susceptible to being manipulated because they are perceived as high on empathy and low on boundaries. Also, it appears that one of the far right’s current strategies is to actively rebrand themselves as spiritual teachers or “new paradigm influencers.”

But we first we have to detour through American history and myth.

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Comment by Barry Spector on March 15, 2019 at 11:15am

Yes

Comment by Steve Staniek on March 15, 2019 at 11:06am

Barry - You okay?

Comment by Steve Staniek on March 11, 2019 at 7:30am

Having said all that, I'd like to close the loop with two of my spiritual practices:

a) as a spiritual warrior, I offer my fight song, performed powerfully by "soul singer" Gloria Gaynor long ago:

b) my declaration of spiritual sovereignty (independence), which I keep posted on the back of my bathroom door.

I WILL SURVIVE, by Gloria Gaynor

At first I was afraid, I was petrified
Kept thinking I could never live without you by my side
But then I spent so many nights thinking how you did me wrong
And I grew strong
And I learned how to get along
And so you're back
From outer space
I just walked in to find you here with that sad look upon your face
I should have changed that stupid lock, I should have made you leave your key
If I'd known for just one second you'd be back to bother me
Go on now, go, walk out the door
Just turn around now
'Cause you're not welcome anymore
Weren't you the one who tried to hurt me with goodbye
Do you think I'd crumble
Did you think I'd lay down and die?
Oh no, not I, I will survive
Oh, as long as I know how to love, I know I'll stay alive
I've got

The Path to Spiritual Sovereignty, by Steve Staniek

Liberate your spirit by tearing up all contracts you made under duress,

when you were weak, hopeless, and at the mercy

of the parasitic forces of darkness and their hierarchies,

that continue to demand your worship and obedience.

 

Open your heart-mind heroically to the All That Is within you.

Embrace and transcend All of the darkness and All of the light,

All the way up, and All the way down.

Own every particle, photon, and space without judgment.

 

Consult the divine within to remake your bond with the All That Is.

It awaits your return to reclaim your spiritual sovereignty.

Grow love of self to clear and fortify your sacred temple,

Driving out the demons that feed on fear, hate, and despair.

 

Never surrender your divine sovereignty again by kneeling before a throne.

Know that your submission empowers the hierarchies of darkness.

The All That Is does not demand worship or obedience.

Mutual unconditional love is the path to spiritual bliss.

 































Comment by Steve Staniek on March 11, 2019 at 6:27am

Sorry Barry, my glib response was an attempt to avoid this deep and unpleasant explanation.

What if the information that JK Rawlings channeled (supposedly) into her writing is basically true? We've seen many channeled writers: Jules Verne, Orson Wells, Aldous Huxley, predict our future with fairly accurate insights.  

Rawlings explores the theory of spiritual entanglement by contact, possibly based on her own experiences during her depression when she felt her energies being sucked away by something dark. She reveals how she thinks that soul transfer/loss can occur during interactions between players. When she makes evil Voldemort attack innocent HP (as a baby yet) she speculates (?) that soul fragments are transferable to other people, places, and things. As for the spiritual "exchange" between V and HP, that took place during their physical battle, she does not show if some of HP's soul becomes transferred to V at the same time? Rawlings makes use of the spiritual threads that some psychics have identified as cords that each of us release from our etherial body, and that connect us, willingly or not, to those who we have had significant encounters with.

Point of interest - When an infuriated Y-J slugged me in the back of the head in high school in the 60s, he attacked my Tree of Life. It's the white matter in our hind brain (cerebellum) that communicates information from our senses. Some of his spiritual energy (soul?) may have fragmented, and may have penetrated me. At the same time, a piece of my soul went to him. Is his soul fragment still lurking somewhere inside me? I had to smile at your suggestion "to look within", because I've spent the last 50 years in regular introspection, since I crashed and burned in my teens. Yes, I see the darkness in me, and I've learned to reach out to it, and embrace it as a part of the greater cosmic me, but it is not part of the divine me which I keep sovereign (independent), thru my spiritual practices. 

 

Comment by Steve Staniek on March 10, 2019 at 2:13pm

Harry Potter comes to mind. Unwillingly.

Comment by Barry Spector on March 10, 2019 at 2:04pm

As far as I'm concerned, soul and body are one. What makes us human is our ability to recognize our unique gifts, which are usually inseparable from our wounds. It doesn't matter to me whether those wounds and gifts came from nature (past lives) or nurture (cultural conditioning). What matters is whether we can break the chains, stop passing on the wounds and offer those gifts to the world.

And that begins with looking within. So, with respect, I will rephrase what I said below as a question: How do you embody Yahweh? 

Comment by Steve Staniek on March 10, 2019 at 1:43pm

Hmmm...this is where we drill down to the quantum level...I stated in my earlier message that I know Yahweh-Jehovah to be a violent criminal from personal experience. Here's the rest of the story....

At 14, I was punched in the back of the head while sitting at my desk in a Catholic high school, by a senior teaching priest, who was also the boxing coach and knew the consequences of his blow. He interpreted my Tourette's induced remarks as disrespectful, and he used Christian violence to restore Christian respect in the classroom. His brutal attack damaged my head for life, but I don't believe that was his intent. I had disrespected one of his priests in public, and I know now, deep in my soul's heart, that it was the swift spiritual hand of the narcissistic and insane Yahweh-Jehovah that struck out at me like a coward. Yahweh rabbit punched me, cracking my skull, and knocking me unconscious. Yahweh-Jehovah could not stand to have his agent disrespected in a Catholic high school, and he lashed out at me in his insane fury. It took me nearly a lifetime to sort out the real players in that horrible scene, but now I know who damaged me, and I may go after him for some serious compensation....yes Yahweh-Jehovah, known intergalacticaly as, the Father of All Lies, The Great Deceiver, is a real entity, and in need of heavy duty medical intervention. 

So here's where the rubber meets the road, as we say in my parts...What makes us "human", our  body or our soul. Are we really interdimensional souls having a human experience on Earth in a human body? Yahweh, in a former incarnation may have manufactured the human model known as: "homo sapiens", by mixing and manipulating the DNA of the local hairy ape with their own advanced DNA. But there were no skilled operators inside, so they recruited souls that were willing to come in and earn some spiritual credits for living as Earthbound humans.

So is it our soul that makes us human, or the homo sapiens body?

Comment by Barry Spector on March 10, 2019 at 12:07pm

Steve, I agree 100% with you, and I must repeat what Hillman says: “We are each children of the Biblical God…(it is) the essential American fact.” None of us escapes this heritage; all of us must remember that it lies at the base of our psyches, especially when we criticize others. Yahweh is not just "out there," as a mythic figure. He is, to briefly reduce myth to psychology, “in here" as well. For more of my thoughts on this, please read here: https://secureservercdn.net/166.62.111.84/30k.675.myftpupload.com/w...

Comment by Steve Staniek on March 9, 2019 at 6:00pm

Thanks Barry

From personal experience, I know Yahweh-Jehovah to be a violent criminal, with no redeeming features. When I ask missionary Christians who come to my door, about his redeeming features, or to provide one example where Yahweh-Jehovah has actually done something good in public to help humanity, they could not provide one...not ONE good act from a fake god sold to the world as the source of all love. Hold the candles and incense, cause something smells rotten in this deal.

Serious students of ancient Sumerian, Egyptian, and Israeli history trace Yahweh-Jehovah back to the Sumerian pantheon, where he was known for his violent destructive nature. Not really a god, just another advanced being who belonged to a royal house of rulers from another planet named Nibiru. Sumerian records are more credible because they were not created as a sales manual for Yahweh. These ancient colonizing fake gods broke many rules when they decided to create a slave race of worker humans. We're made to serve in many ways, and be recycled as many times as the Demiurge demands to use our souls. 

There were many here in those days, Rome, Greece, India, Mexico, Peru, was rife with them. They designed and ruled the empires we constructed for them over thousands of years of violence, directly mainly against our brothers and sisters.The violence became so extreme that it surpassed all human appetites, suggesting it was being driven by darker forces working from other places in order to feed the negative energy mill that is war. So who is behind all the violence? Yahweh as father of humanity, is said to have gone insane while travelling thru a dark hole. His behaviour is inspired by dark entities that attached themselves to him, and drive him crazy.

Now how's that for cosmic conspiracies?

 Indeed, Yahweh's first commandment exposes his wimpy jealous nature as he demands that his worshipers have no strange (other) gods before him. Paranoid, hostile, irrational demands,

When we really want to know someone's background today we do a Criminal Records Check. I did one on Yaheweh-Jehovah, by returning to a commonly respected source, the Bible that he is said to have inspired/channeled,,,so no contest. It states that the first order he gave to his newly contracted people, the Hebrews, was to commit genocide in Jericho. Apparently, no one was spared. His war making successes (?) provide us insights into his wrathful, hateful, merciless, destructive, extremely vengeful nature. It suggests someone with strong pathological tendencies to violent self-destruction. His irrational demands to inflict needless first pain on virgin boys (circumcision), his manipulation of others to do his bidding (Moses, Jesus...X Popes) infanticide, genocide, and in the end, hell for all those who buy into Yahweh's hell.

Just in modern times, we see how Christian violence in WWI and WWII, and the bombing of Cambodia, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, by western Christian nations...has nearly destroyed humanity. I believe that human violence has a single source, and it's probably Yahweh-Jehovah.

Comment by Barry Spector on March 9, 2019 at 3:30pm

Hello Steve -- Thanks for writing. You've made me aware of a community and terminology I was not familiar with. Feel free to add more thoughts about this blog (and parts 3 and 4 that complete it in the following blog). Barry


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