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The War on Reality (Revisited)
Reality isn’t what it used to be. It never really was, but that’s another story. This one isn’t about reality per se. It’s about the War on Reality, the one we’re in the middle of, the war that started when the War on Terror was cancelled in the Summer of 2016. It’s actually an extension and an evolution of the War on Terror, and the War on Populism, and the rollout of the New Normal in 2020 … but that is also another story. I want to focus on the war that is raging currently, on the Internet, in people’s workplaces, homes, among friends and families, and in people’s heads. I’m pretty sure you know the war I’m talking about, regardless of which “side” you feel you are on.
The War on Reality is a civil war, but it is much more than just a civil war. It is an asymmetrical, polymorphous, metastatic, multiplicitous war. An ontological free-for-all. It has no conventions or rules of engagement. There are no battle lines. The battle is everywhere. Alliances shift from day to day. It is chaos, unrelenting, inescapable chaos. An omnipresent, immaterial, omnipotent organism attacking itself. It is continual, and completely unwinnable. It is unwinnable because it has already been won. It ended in victory the moment it began, and now we’re doomed to go on fighting it forever, or until some less ethereal leviathan is born, or reborn, out of its ashes.
Unfortunately, that’s rather likely, the less ethereal leviathan scenario. It may not come about in my lifetime — and, selfishly, I’m hoping it doesn’t — but this state of affairs cannot continue indefinitely. As I wrote in an essay in June of 2021 …
“The global capitalist ruling classes are implementing a new official ideology, in other words, a new ‘reality.’ That’s what an official ideology is. It’s more than just a set of beliefs. Anyone can have any beliefs they want. Your personal beliefs do not constitute ‘reality.’ In order to make your beliefs ‘reality,’ you need to have the power to impose them on society. You need the power of the police, the military, the media, scientific ‘experts,’ academia, the culture industry, the entire ideology-manufacturing machine. There is nothing subtle about this process. Decommissioning one ‘reality’ and replacing it with another is a brutal business. Societies grow accustomed to their ‘realities.’ We do not surrender them willingly or easily. Normally, what’s required to get us to do so is a crisis, a war, a state of emergency, or … you know, a deadly global pandemic. During the changeover from the old ‘reality’ to the new ‘reality,’ the society is torn apart. The old ‘reality’ is being disassembled and the new one has not yet taken its place. It feels like madness, and, in a way, it is. For a time, the society is split in two, as the two ‘realities’ battle it out for dominance. ‘Reality’ being what it is (i.e., monolithic), this is a fight to the death. In the end, only one ‘reality’ can prevail.”
I wrote that almost two years ago, in the relative calm before the storm of fascistic, hate-drunk mass hysteria and systematic official persecution that was unleashed on “the Unvaccinated” in the months that followed. If your memory of 2021 is hazy, my year-end column, The Year of the New Normal Fascist, or this video compilation by Matt Orfalea might help sharpen it back up. Since then, the madness of the reality-changeover in progress has intensified, albeit somewhat more subtly … or at least Keith Olbermann is not shrieking hatred like a meth-addled Goebbels anymore.
GloboCap, Inc. and its innumerable subsidiaries, agents, assigns, political puppets, media goons, and other loyal minions are desperately endeavoring to enshrine the official Covid-19 narrative in the annals of “history.” According to new figures from the WHO, “almost 15 million excess deaths” (or “a total of 336.8 million lost life-years”) had been caused by the virus by the end of 2021, none of which had anything to do with ventilators, or the classification of anyone who died of anything (i.e., cancer, heart disease, an auto accident, etc.) who had also tested positive as a “Covid death.” Previously perfectly healthy young people are dropping dead left and right from heart attacks and other “natural” (or “undisclosed”) causes that have nothing to do with the experimental “vaccines” that they did not need but were coerced into taking, which saved millions or 100 million lives. The masks that didn’t work worked, except that they didn’t, but that was only if you studied how they worked in reality. Being locked down, forced to wear medical-looking masks, gaslighted and terrorized by official propaganda, bullied, segregated, censored, demonized, and otherwise systematically tortured, was actually good for people’s mental health, except for “people with existing mental health conditions, and children, and people with disabilities, and adolescents, and people without financial or social security nets.”
Meanwhile, cognitively dissonant New Normals are taking to the Internet to claim that no one knew better at the time, and that, OK, sure, “mistakes were made,” but if we “science-denying conspiracy theorists,” who they censored, demonized, and systematically persecuted for over two years, had just spoken up …
I could go on, but you get the picture … or, rather, you either do or you don’t. Because it’s not just the folks at GloboCap, Inc. that are fanatically waging this War on Reality. Everybody and their brother is trying to ram their “reality” down everyone’s throat. You got the “Viruses Do Not Exist” people. You got the “There Are No Neo-Nazis in Ukraine” people. The “Putin Is Our Savior” people. The Vote Blue Cult. The Multipolar people. The Transgendered People’s Army. The Doomsday Clock Hucksters. The Folks Who Still Listen to NPR. The Insurrection Truthers. The Insurrection Deniers. The 9/11 Truthers. The Moon-Landing Truthers. The Cult of Trump. The Church of Russiagate. The Rothschild Obsessives. The Anti-Racism Racists. The Anti-Anti-Semitism Anti-Semites. The Mass Formation Movement. The Cult of Marx. The Cult of Capital. The Climate Change Fanatics. The Musk Cult. The list goes on and on.
Historically, we humans have not done very well in such psychotic ontological environments. When “reality” is shattered into a thousand little shards, and things fall apart, and the center does not hold, we tend to get rather scared, and confused, and agitated. We start to panic. We try to put “reality” back together again. This does not work. This worsens our panic. We start looking around for a new “reality.” We start looking for a savior, a leader, a Führer, someone with a vision, and the will, and the power, to impose a new “reality” on the ontological chaos that is making us so confused and agitated, and scared, and angry, and restore some sense of ideological cohesion so that we don’t have to think about “reality” on a moment-by-moment basis anymore.
This is the time of dime-store messiahs, tinpot tyrants, zealots, gurus, hustlers, hosers, scam artists, quacks, snake oil salesmen of every variety, fanatical revolutionary movements, new religions and political parties, and so on. Typically, eventually, once the hapless masses have been repeatedly duped, and bilked, and betrayed, and gaslighted and humiliated to the point where they can’t even think anymore, literally cannot think because their brains are broken, and they just want someone to make it all stop … well, to rephrase an old Buddhist platitude, “when the masses are ready, the despot will appear.”
I think you know how this story ends.
The fascinating thing is, GloboCap, Inc. (i.e., global capitalism, corporatism, or whatever you need to call the supranational network of global corporations, governments, banks, military contractors, media and entertainment conglomerates, pharmaceutical behemoths, assorted oligarchs, non-governmental governing entities, etc., that are currently running the world) cannot afford to let that happen, and is tirelessly working to prevent that from happening.
Traditional (i.e., 20th Century) totalitarianism does not work for GloboCap, Inc. Capitalism, though it can adapt to anything, has never been inherently inclined toward fascism or any other form of totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is a value-coding machine. Its objective is to completely code society with its values, its official ideology (i.e., “reality”). Every aspect of society, not just politics, culture, and so on, but the most intimate aspects of people’s lives.
Capitalism is a value-decoding machine. Its objective is to completely decode society of any values that impede the free flows of capital, rendering everything and everyone a de facto commodity, transforming societies into markets. It can adapt to totalitarianism and other varieties of despotism when necessary, but left to its own devices, or … you know, granted dominion over the entire Earth, and every creeping thing that creeps upon it, it sets about decoding and destabilizing values, destabilizing value and meaning itself, until, ultimately, everything means anything, or nothing, or whatever the market determines it means or is worth at any given moment.
The point is, the ongoing War on Reality is not a means to an end. It is the end. The official ideology (i.e., “reality”) that GloboCap, Inc. is implementing is not a set of official values or beliefs. It is the absence of any values or beliefs, any non-commodifiable values and beliefs. Values and beliefs are fine, as long as they’re just empty signs, logos, meaningless identity statements, and not principles and beliefs you are trying to live by, and that you are crazy enough to fight to preserve. Those kind of values have to go, so that the people of the New Normal future can be free to believe that war is peace, ignorance is strength, two plus two equals five, men have periods, Donald Trump is a Russian secret agent and literally Hitler, Vladimir Putin (who is also literally Hitler) invaded Ukraine for no reason whatsoever, or certainly not because of anything to do with GloboCap, Inc., or NATO, or the non-existent Ukrainian neo-Nazis, and then destroyed his own pipelines in the Baltic Sea, or whatever blatantly ridiculous nonsense they (i.e., the people of the New Normal future) are told to pretend or to actually believe by Rachel Maddow and the other talking heads you saw in Orfalea’s video.
And, if that doesn’t sound like your kind of future, or reality, the “everything is a floating signifier” reality … no worries, you can always drop out of the “mainstream” and join the carnival of “conspiracy theorists, anti-vaxxers, Covid deniers, Russiagate deniers, climate change deniers, disinformationists, malinformationists, transphobes, white supremacists, violent domestic extremists,” and assorted other freaks and curiosities of nature that are actively being quarantined, or are quarantining themselves, in ideological ghettos where normal consumers never have to see them and they (i.e., we, the deviants and freaks) are preyed upon by legions of charlatans, demagogues, agents provocateurs, and other such spiritual and emotional parasites, until the day comes when we find ourselves spastically tweeting about an 86-year-old Chomsky chasing naked sex slaves around Epstein’s island, ripped to the gills on Viagra and Ecstasy, and probably freshly harvested adrenochrome!
That, or you could withdraw from society completely, and go live in a Kaczynski cabin in Montana, or Idaho, or wherever folks are doing that these days, as several of my readers advised me recently, and forage for berries, and barbecue squirrels, and, well, you know, defecate in a hole in the ground.
I’m sorry, I realize that all sounds pretty bleak. I guess I’m in a bleak mood these days, or running short on passionate intensity … or something. There’s no shortage of passionate intensity out there, if that’s what you are looking for. Don’t let me stop you. It’s just that, whenever I switch it off for a while, that passionate intensity, that howling maelstrom of warring realities, and listen closely, I hear the slouch of Yeats’s rough beast, whose hour, apparently, is coming round again.
I’m not sure which “side” it is slouching our way from, but probably it doesn’t matter.
Oh well … as the French say, plus ça change, and so on.
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