It can be a fascinating barometer for the change in attitudes and consciousness in the (western) world.
How many people outside of the US even knew what the NSA was before this summer? Now we have an exiled spook giving Christmas messages to the world from somewhere in Moscow.
Here's Charlie Brooker on 2013:
About this time two years ago, I described 2011 as feeling like "an end-of-season finale", thanks to all the spectacular news events it contained. The Arab spring! Fukushima! The August riots! Dead Bin Laden! Dead Gaddafi! Remember? Course you don't.
Like all season finales, it was a tough act to follow, and consequently 2012 was a sort commercial break – and comparative lull – whereas 2013 has been the opening episode of Humankind: Season Two. And this time around the producers are going for a pared-down, considerably darker feel, with less emphasis on spectacle and more on shock after stomach-churning shock.
Yes: 2013 was a horrorshow. The news became a Stephen King short-story collection accidentally being adapted into live events in real time. Even unpleasantly extreme news stories that would normally stand out as the most appalling thing you'd ever heard about were quickly replaced by something even worse. Remember when that footage of a Syrian rebel commander eating a dead man's heart turned up and we assumed we'd collectively experienced a new low for humankind, one that would never be forgotten? Admit it: you'd discarded it completely until I mentioned it just there, and even then you had to squint with your mind's eye to remember what the hell I was going on about. That's the sort of year it was.
Yes, that is the sort of year it was. But let's not forget the servants of the enemy have taken some substantial king hits. Syria, drug policy, PRISM, the Anglosphere's criminal banking monopoly, even Chris Anderson backpedalling into hiding over the whole Dr Sheldrake/TED Talk affair.
This time last year, I got in a huge argument with my father over Syria. He refused the believe the so-called uprising was entirely phoney, when in reality the 'rebels' were dangerous foreign psychopaths paid and armed by NATO.
Two days ago, sitting in the living room of my childhood home, we were watching a '2013 in review' clip series on the local news. Syrian stuff came up and I rolled my eyes, calling the whole thing "petrodollar CIA/Al Qaeda bullshit". He completely agreed, then said "just as it was in Libya and Egypt". (Though he has amnesia as to where he first got this idea from.) It's impossible to overstate how big of a change this is. He's a psychiatrist... so he is literally an inquisitor. He gets all his news from Sky (which is Fox, for our American friends).
Putting it another way, whenever I want to find out what educated right-leaning people think about a particular subject, I ring up my father and ask him his opinion. So this is quite a shift. None of this is to diminish the actual pain and bloodshed going on in Syria or anywhere else in the world. That's a tired, straw man response from the actual perpetrators.
This, from a recent keynote speech by Glen Greenwald:
[Greenwald] also took time to focus on the way the NSA revelations made possible by the leaked documents have helped expose the complacency of mainstream journalists too often willing to accept the government line as opposed to acting as an adversarial force against state and corporate power.
"It really is the central view of, certainly, American and British media stars," declared Greenwald, "that when, especially people with medals on their chests, who are called generals, but also high-ranking officials in the government, make claims, that those claims are presumptively treated as true without evidence, and that it's almost immoral to call them into question, or to question their veracity."
And I think we have routed this presumption in the Mind War. To some extent, it reminds me of the scene in Return of The King, immediately after the Ride of the Rohirrim, which YouTube won't let me cue up, but begins at the 37 second mark.
We have achieved an entirely-unexpected route. This has implications for the archonic response in 2014. Two more pertinent end-of-year quotes, first from Independent Congressman Bernie Sanders:
The Congress has just ended one of the worst and least productive sessions in the history of our country. At a time when the problems facing us are monumental, Congress is dysfunctional and more and more people (especially the young) are, understandably, giving up on the political process. The people are hurting. They look to Washington for help. Nothing is happening.
In my view, the main cause of congressional dysfunction is an extreme right-wing Republican party whose main goal is to protect the wealthy and powerful. There is no tax break for the rich or large corporations that they don't like. There is no program which protects working families -- Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, affordable housing, etc. -- that they don't want to cut.
But the Democrats (with whom I caucus as an Independent) are most certainly not without fault. In the Senate, they have tolerated Republican obstructionism for much too long and allowed major legislation to fail for lack of 60 votes. They have failed to bring forth a strong and consistent agenda which addresses the economic crises facing the vast majority of our struggling population, and have not rallied the people in support of that agenda.
We know this Left/Right divide is illusory claptrap, of course. And I think that's one of the next key theatres in 2014's Mind War. Here are the numbers to support that:
Some conservatives continue to claim that President Obama is unfriendly to business, but the facts show that the richest Americans and the biggest businesses have been the main - perhaps only - beneficiaries of the massive wealth gain over the past five years.[..]
This first fact is nearly ungraspable: In 2009 the average wealth for almost half of American families was ZERO (their debt exceeded their assets).
In 1983 the families in America's poorer half owned an average of about $15,000. But from 1983 to 1989 median wealth fell from over $70,000 to about $60,000. From 1998 to 2009, fully 80% of American families LOST wealth. They had to borrow to stay afloat.
It seems the disparity couldn't get much worse, but after the recession it did. According to a Pew Research Center study, in the first two years of recovery the mean net worth of households in the upper 7% of the wealth distribution rose by an estimated 28%, while the mean net worth of households in the lower 93% dropped by 4%. And then, from 2011 to 2013, the stock market grew by almost 50 percent, with again the great majority of that gain going to the richest 5%.
Today our wealth gap is worse than that of the third world. Out of all developed and undeveloped countries with at least a quarter-million adults, the U.S. has the 4th-highest degree of wealth inequality in the world, trailing only Russia, Ukraine, and Lebanon.
Congress has responded by cutting unemployment benefits and food stamps, along with other 'sequester' targets like Meals on Wheels for seniors and Head Start for preschoolers. The more the super-rich make, the more they seem to believe in the cruel fantasy that the poor are to blame for their own struggles.
President Obama recently proclaimed that inequality "drives everything I do in this office." Indeed it may, but in the wrong direction.
And yet with all of this going on, I can't help but feel like 2013 was at least an 80% personal success... orders of magnitude greater than 2012 for me. Here's an incomplete list of things that happened. (There's a point coming.)
- Went to Glasgow for a film festival.
- Encountered Merlin and the Saint of Little Things.
- Visited Glastonbury a few -but not enough- times.
- Saw William Blake originals in Manchester.
- Completed a two week Baphomet working, culminating in a successful invocation in the hellfire caves.
- Completed an experimental Gnostic entheogen working in Amsterdam.
- Private speedboat on the Thames, gave speeches in a haunted castle, hung out on a Scottish island, writing and overlooking stone circles.
- Woke a dragon.
- Visted the Holy Isle of Anglesey.
- Played Zombie Dice at Tolkien’s table.
- Made more money than ever before thanks to some epic corporate game of thronesing that has thankfully come to an end.
- Was maybe the 11th person to ever snorkel in Wales.
- Farewelled my second mother in Paris.
- Had a final Christmas in my childhood home as it is being sold, by way of Kiev.
- Met my nephew for the first time.
- Met some heroes in the flesh: Graham Hancock, Paul Laffoley, Robert Bauval, Ronald Hutton.
- Visited Crowley’s death place.
And finally: Spent the last month Tarot Trump Sixteen-ing my whole life, the outward manifestation of which included emergency landings in Kiev, blanketing London in thick fog, buses catching fire with me on them and so on. The reasons for this will be made clear in time.
The point, then, is this. What will happen to the world will happen to the world. In the meantime, stay weird. Either you feel this already or you can just take my word for it and give it a shot:
As a magically-inclined weirdo, you are a node in the shifting web of global meaning. What you do, say and think creates an above-average network effect. So when the dominant narrative attempts to reassert itself, resist it. Resist it at the dinner table. Resist it around the water cooler. Resist it at family reunions. Resist it at town meetings. If you can be bothered, even resist it in the comments section of newspaper websites. (I can't, but each to their own.)
So much of the world is casting around for a new map of reality, as this materialist/banking/spook/hydrocarbon warfare one has been found extremely wanting. The majority of the population is punchdrunk from the last twelve months of revelations of things you and I have always known. If you do or say nothing at this juncture, then eventually their drunkenness will wear off, replaced by the sobriety of the old materialist map.
But every time you resist it, you create a space around you where others feel safe to think differently and this may keep them drunk for just long enough to allow a worldview that is not imprisoning to set in. Even in heartland Guardianista territory like North London, I can now create these spaces.
Let me give you an example. After my father and I found ourselves in surprising agreement regarding Syria, I used the opportunity to mention that the single biggest investigation ever undertaken by the SEC was into suspicious trading activity in the lead-up to 9/11. They unilaterally declared nothing was unusual -even though there patently was- and then destroyed the files of the investigation. His eyes narrowed. "I didn't know about that." (At this rate, by next Christmas I imagine we'll be discussing directed energy weapons and the secret space programme. Not bad for a man who refused to believe there was anything unusual about the JFK assassination exactly twelve months ago.)
So it appears that this is what the Aeon of Horus looks like. There's no worldwide conflagration, followed by the sweeping installation of Thelemic laws across the planet. There is a rapid and dramatic collapse of dominant ontologies, concurrent with the growing capacity for individual voices to achieve change across the spectrum. Macro and micro... intertwined and equally important.
And so I'll leave you with a humble suggestion for a new year's resolution:
Reform the line and keep cockpunching holes in consensus reality. It's working.