You spend five years living in the city with the highest rate of individual boat ownership in the world without so much as a Sunday afternoon in a fishing dinghy.
Then you move to the most polluted city in Europe and it sometimes it seems you’re barely on land.
I’m always suspicious of boat parties because there’s no way you can shut it down if it turns out to be lame or you get over it.
Which is, of course, why companies like to throw them for their business partners.
And being that it’s hosted by the company I work the closest with, a trip out to the Thames Barrier combined with four hours of free wine sounded great.
But sailing up and down London’s ancient waterway makes for contemplative viewing if your mind is apocalyptically inclined. Continuously occupied for about 10,000 years, the inhabitants of this river valley have run the world twice, saved it once, broken it at least twice. You can see all of this in almost archaeological layers as you float on by.
There is (booo!) Canary Wharf, obviously.
Even from this far out, you can feel the demonic energy howling around the skyscrapers like a ghostly, out-of-control fire hose.
Then there’s the Royal Naval College.
The shipping lanes that are, to this day, the backbone of global trade were conceived and protected by officers who trained here.
Speakers from LOCOG and BBC Worldwide knit my thoughts together. Austerity, collapse… this is the new regime.
And chatting to the other guests, a twofold mechanism for -if not thriving- then at least coping is emerging.
The first one we are familiar with. Fight dirty.
The second requires a bit more elaboration. Speaking to someone who works for the millionaire, she’s not sure that everybody’s favourite search engine is the right environment for her. Huge companies make it less likely you can achieve large, lasting difference. In fact, she’s pretty much completely over media (the second person who has said that to me this week) and would like to work in a less dickish industry.
So I would say the second trend/coping mechanism is a de-coupling of status and wealth, followed immediately by a re-coupling of status and authenticity. The organisation of meaning around individuals rather than consensus opinion -creative, medical or otherwise- is a genuinely new thing. It’s like Crowley’s New Aeon dawning in a post-Facebook world. (Sometimes I wonder if Legis is talking about Facebook in parts.)
Anyway, the brief few moments I got to myself, standing on the deck, listening to the industry yammering going on around me, I tried to organise my thoughts into three apocalyptic buckets… to get a Thames-eye view on our whole sitch. Then I rounded up some pertinent articles to elaborate.
Clearly, the biggest issue is the Euro’s imminent sundering. (It may actually turn out to be China’ property bubble and collapse in industrial demand but go with the Euro for now. It looms larger in our secular shrinking and the emerging world’s continuing growth.)
This is the best article I have ever, ever read outlining Merkel’s options as it is solely in her unlucky hands. Poor bitch. Imagine finally getting Europe’s top job and then having to deal with all this. For what it’s worth, I don’t think they’ve modelled the risk of more than one country exiting correctly… I think it would be vastly more expensive.
The New Republic provides a lengthy and interesting scenario plan for a post-Euro world. If the fate of the single currency even tangentially affects you, then I earnestly ask that you read all three pieces. It’s amazing how quickly we can seemingly get bored of the actual cause of our own destruction. It’s like falling asleep in the water with a shark circling us.
And make no mistake, the villains are the usual suspects:
This so-called crisis is being run by and for banks. They were burned by the credit crunch, by their own reckless lending to a housing bubble and to spendthrift governments. Declaring themselves too big to fail, they demanded policies whose sole virtue was to see their loans secured, at whatever cost to the European economy. They do not want a collapse of even a part of the euro, as that would jeopardise their balance sheets.
Like established power down the ages, political leaders are imprisoned in fighting old wars with dodgy allies. European policy is still spooked by the ghost of 1970s inflation, a ghost the euro under German leadership was supposed to exorcise.
As it is, politicians dare not stimulate demand, boost consumption or expand employment. They dare not inject real liquidity into the real economy.
They take advice from banks, but that advice is to bail out banks, directly or indirectly. They behave as if they alone hold the golden key to Europe’s recovery, but they don’t.
European leaders are in thrall to the profession of high finance. They are ruling a continent now in a recession whose depth and longevity does not seem to concern them. They are devastating an entire generation of Europeans and for no good reason. People may love circuses, but soon or later they will demand bread.
Speaking of villains…
Even a broken clock is right twice a day. Which is why I’m sharing a lengthy article from a delusional fantasist (not a tautology in my ontology!) who thinks he is the reincarnation of Edgar Cayce and has been bleating about mass arrests all year.
Because, mass arrests aside, this is a perfectly adequate run down of the international robbery we’ve all been subjected to and how tiny and interconnected the vile creatures who perpetrated it actually are. It also, in its own way, captures something of the sea change of the mood of the world.
The data from the New Scientist article (which I shared a while back) is like holding an x-ray of the Demiurge-as-egregore up to a lightbox… here are the bones of the creature simultaneously running and destroying the world.
Also, through this lengthy piece I found a great article from the wonderful Matt Taibbi.
As for the Archons crawling all over the Demiurge-as-egregore and inadvertently doing its bidding… well they are hiding $21 trillion dollars in tax havens from you and me. Libraries are closing all across the First World and there is $21 trillion of taxes being hidden from us.
We get poor while they say, in the words of Monty Burns: “Hooray! I’m slightly richer!”
If you cut government spending and the income of the poor during an economic crisis, you are likely to make it worse. But last week David Cameron insisted that “we will go on and finish the job”, while the chancellor maintained that the government has a ”credible plan, and we’re sticking to it”.
Two questions arise. The first is familiar: why has the public response to this assault on public life and public welfare been so muted? Where are the massive and sustained protests we might have expected? But the other is just as puzzling: where is the economic elite?
Surely the corporate class and the super-rich – the only people the government will listen to – can see that these policies are destroying the markets on which their wealth relies? Surely they can see that this scorched-earth capitalism is failing even on its own terms?
So where is the economic elite? Counting the money it has stashed in unregulated tax havens. Thirty years of neoliberalism have allowed the super-rich to detach themselves from the lives of others to such an extent that economic crises scarcely touch them. You could see this as yet another market failure. Even if they are affected, the rich are doubtless prepared to pay an economic price for the political benefits – freedom from democratic restraint – that the doctrine offers.
Now onto some ‘criminals’. Firstly, here’s an interesting piece uncovering the ludicrousness of the rape charges against Julian Assange. (Speaking of fantasists.) We should all find this really, really troubling. Unbalanced applications of domestic and international law applied at the whim of an unaccountable elite.
Next, a detailed look at the raid on Kim Dotcom’s South Auckland house. Can you say overkill?
All of it amounts to a legal and economic firewall with us on one side and them on the other. And the differences on either side of the wall could not be greater. Have a look around my host’s new offices. Yikes.
A value adjustment
Is it admitting defeat if you allow your opponent to take the trophy uncontested?
I have given this a lot of thought. Because you can just hear the response of the impossibly successful high school bully who only lives in your head. “Well, you would say that because you couldn’t hack it.”
To that I say two things:
- I look forward to admiring your new SUV in the afterlife.
- Fuck you.
Because I don’t think it’s a defeat if you choose not to compete for an archonic trophy. And there are a few pieces of macroeconomic data that just about hint at a real shift in the way people see the world: the fastest rate of personal saving in seventy years, a boom time for Euro board games (Smallworld recommended), record profits for the food division at Marks and Spencer.
All of this paints a picture of a movement of people not so much opting out but opting inside. Our suitcases were loaded onto the Eurostar groaning with French supermarket wine and a few books… not clothing, not homewares. We drank it with my visiting space wizard cousin while playing Smallworld. Not exactly status-seeking.
This appears to be what’s in the ether. A bolshy quest for hyper-personalised authenticity appears to be the cure for both this current apocalypse and hipsterism (the fifth and most annoying horseman… but you’ve probably never heard of him. He’s pretty niche.)
For me, this hearkens back to the story of Crowley creating those werelights for Rose in the King’s Chamber of the Great Pyramid. She was impressed and he was all “what’s the point of it?” Because the globe is indeed stalked by very bad men who are inadvertently playing a toxic game of table tennis with ancient symbols.
Firstly, if you think all modern music sounds the same, that’s not just you being old. It really does.
Which is further indication of the rapid decline in global kraken stocks.
Would you like a previously unpublished F. Scott Fitzgerald story?
Yeah you would.
Keeping it fancy and to some extent classist, here’s a great little piece in The Guardian about how The Great Gatsby is the quintessential American story. At least until Beasts Of The Southern Wild gets a reasonable theatrical release.
Too highbrow? Let’s go lower… subterranean even.
Too low? Split the difference and read this article by Will Self. Yes, he’s a patchy novelist but I genuinely believe this is the best thing he has ever written. It’s a fascinating meditation on modernity and art. (These are the kinds of things I picture myself discussing -possibly in fluent French by some miracle- in my post-apocalyptic life where I consult for three months of the year but otherwise wear berets and drink supermarket wine.)
Also… to touch back in with apocalypse pharmaka… total decriminalisation incontrovertibly works as a health, defence and civic safety policy. Homeopaths are considering rebranding some of their treatments as candy to continue marketing their product. I am actually completely fine with this because
- You know my opinion of FDA (and similar) politics.
- Homeopathy actually works which is weird because the evidence supporting this breaks the entire construct of molecular medicine. (In your next lifetime you’ll know it works through some kind of morphogenic impact. But rest assured it somehow works. I will write more on this.)
The last piece is a bit cute. It’s cute because it’s fun when wizardly best practice occurs to non-wizards. (Or, in this case, demi-wizards.) Basically… what if those beings you are channelling are totes trolling you?
After a lightshow at Westminster Palace, the boat pulls up at Waterloo Pier at 11pm. I walk across the bridge, tired, to Embankment, to get the tube home. There is no way I’m going anywhere this week. I’m too tired and there is supermarket wine to drink in the backyard.
The apocalypse is already pretty intense. And it’s going to get more disruptive. So we’re going to add an extra bullet point to the advice.
- Fight dirty.
- Be your own superhero.
Add to that:
- Take up pétanque.