The World as we choose to see it
Note: This is my first published blog in 4 years. It is a train of thought, written in one burst as an act of mental exercising, rather than a researched and considered piece of writing then edited carefully to ensure it’s congruent and well thought out. The opinions contained are only my own, informed and uninformed as they may be! I also retain the right to change my opinion as and when 😉
Over the last weeks, I have encountered many people and many posts on social media that focus on the negative of what is taking place currently. It has, as the lockdown has continued here in the UK, overwhelmed the more optimistic narrative that had earlier begun, a narrative that included wildlife returning to cities and cultivated landscapes across the world; air pollution levels dropping and a hope that the rapid changes could lead to our tackling the climate crisis in ways unimaginable just days before. That voice seems drowned now and struggling to be heard.
As lockdown set in, the overwhelming tone of messaging I saw remained hopeful, but more about our ability as a human culture to come through the lockdown stronger, and our ability to cope with it through homely and healthy activity, humour, shared experience. This came with a strong dose of comedy – funny memes, short videos from sites like TikTok, repurposed images telling the new story of our shared captivity.
Since then, things on social media appear to me to have taken a different turn. On the local level, Facebook Groups for the town closest to me seem to have become dominated by bickering between those staying inside and disapproving of others for not doing so, and those who have been venturing out and using their legal right to exercise and even drive to a local place of exercise. Yesterday, one person published a picture of 2 boys on their own in an empty playground, as proof of people flouting government rules, with no empathy or consideration for what their individual circumstances might be. Without wishing to be melodramatic, these are overtones of the kind of actions you might expect from a 1984 set-up or Stazi Germany – people turning on each other, assuming the worst, anonymously reporting neighbours to the police via forums set up for this very thing.
Naturally, being British, this is all being done in a particularly curtain-twitching way and without the violence and disappearances you might expect in a more tyrannical regime. Nonetheless it is, for me, a dark instinct that brings others to so quickly point fingers at those around them and the shadow of a darker world that see neighbours reporting neighbours to the authorities, over raising their concerns directly or simply accepting and trusting others in their actions. That is idealistic, of course, and there are always worthy exceptions, but even the Police seem to have come to the conclusion that this is not healthy behaviour and toned down their activity and messaging to scapegoat fewer people.
Beyond the local, though, I’m finding things in the wider social media field far worse. The quantity and scope of conspiracy theory that is prevailing in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic are displaying some of the worst tendencies of humanity towards melodrama, finger-pointing and irrationality. It is in our nature to question, and this has been enhanced by living in a time when information, misinformation and disinformation converge and intermingle to produce twisted and complex narratives that are spread globally far easier than any virus could.
Furthermore, for most of our history we have lived under regimes of leaders, of governments, of Kings and Queens, Emperors and Tyrants, who systematically lie to protect and augment their power base. The democratic governments of the world, whilst marginally more accountable than those authoritarian ones in existence, are no less inclined to lie to their citizens in the name of national security or official secrecy. We need not go back far to see this – from MOD biowarfare experiments on our own citizens to the assassination of democratically elected world leaders in the name of Western security and interests – and, in all cases, the initial narrative is denial, often with mock horror that one could suggest such a thing. It is usually many years later that the dark truth emerges, if indeed it does at all.
In light of this, as well as our human need to fill in the gaps in the maps – ‘There Be Dragons’ – there can be no surprise that conspiracy theories exist. Nor can there be any surprise that there are complex narratives woven around them, often involving vast unwieldy and all-powerful cabals running all things for their own ends. Nor should there be any doubt that many of these theories have kernels of truth at their heart. It is from these kernels that the story emerges. An example might be that, yes, children are harmed by the actions of global elites. This is because capitalist policies create inequalities, exploitation and fail to deal with key endemic challenges such as poverty and isolation. It is – most likely – not because cabals of the world’s bankers and politicians are stealing children to drink their blood and feed the carcasses to demons living in underground temples beneath the monuments of the world’s capital cities. I could spin an awesome story around that, utilising the power of my imagination in combination with knowledge of world affairs, a bit of research and an understanding of how conspiracy theories work. This does not, however, make it true.
I was yesterday given the pleasure of watching David Icke live on Youtube, spinning a web of a story involving 5G, COVID-19, Bill Gates, DNA research, oxygen theft, AI, Uber, Tesla, Elon Musk, Veganism and Laboratory-produced food and much much more. Had I been the interviewer, I could so easily have prodded him into telling us how climate change was fake, how we require freedom from the EU technocrats stealing our sovereignty, how Mossad has a role in COVID-19 and many more common conspiracy threads. I could see David on his roll, joining the dots as he went, weaving in – almost magically – the many elements of his mind and the many elements of a dystopian vision that permeates the paranoid corners of the internet and, beyond that, our society, where social isolation began far earlier than the current lockdown and where disfunction fuelled by inequalities allows beliefs such as this to thrive. For all the energy given to him as a truth-teller, this energy should be directed to acclaim him as a storyteller, an almost unparalleled weaver of conspiracy narratives, as it is this that is his USP. I heard what he had to say and almost all of it was something that I had already or could easily read on the internet, with a flick through the profiles of a few social media friends and contacts who delve deeply into these things. What was unique was the way he brings it together, and that is spellbinding. It always has been for our species. In some ways it’s heartening to know that great storytelling still has a place in our society.
The narrative I have found most disturbing in recent weeks is that of the alt-right that has rapidly penetrated into corners of alternative society that I once would have strongly identified (and identified with) as far left. This narrative weaves in some incredibly out-there beliefs emanating out of America relating to Donald Trump as a messianic superhero, ridding the world of Satanists who mainly take the form of democrats and perceived liberals. In many ways, this bonding of alt-right and alternative culture is natural. Looking back on many of our conspiracies held over the years – and I say ‘ours’ because I have held many of these beliefs for a time myself – there are so many elements that support the same position as the alt- and far-right. A belief that the state is there to persecute us; that it is controlled by nefarious influences from bankers to billionaires; that there needs to be a cleansing and clearing of those embedded in the power structures of the world. The most ridiculously incongruent element, however, is to in any way associate the need for mass social change with the figure of Donald Trump.
This is a man who is clearly not highly intelligent – certainly not on any emotional spectrum at least – who is not in any way compassionate or empathic, who clearly has all the tendencies of a narcissistic sociopath. In some beautiful way, perhaps he is the one to come and overturn the apple cart – fuck, that would be funny on a cosmic joke kind of level – but let’s not pretend he would be doing any of that on purpose and in conscious alignment with some divine plan.
What is worrying about this, is the lack of congruence that I experience between some of those who share stories, conspiracy theories, videos, memes, etc, without question, despite there clearly including views in support of the far- and alt-right, and the stated beliefs of these people in love, compassion, a fairer world and so forth. There is a serious disconnect here. Listening to Icke, the undertones of alt-right were clearly there, as they are in fears of transhumanism, transgender issues, sustainable development goals, 5G control agendas and much more.
In the last week, a recording was shared in many places by good humans of sound mind, purportedly of a boss of Vodafone talking about 5G causing COVID-19. I only had to flick through the recording and do 5 minutes of research into certain elements to pick out an array of untruths. What was most interesting was that around 1/3 of the recording was about God’s plan, the devil and Revelations. It was, essentially, a neo-Christian, alt-right talk piece utilising 5G and COVID-19 as the latest expression of anxieties about the end of the world. The same anxieties/prophecies that have been made, more or less every year somewhere in the world about one scenario or another. The Vodafone bit may as well have been stuck on the front of something that could have been written by a fundamentalist Christian pastor in the Deep South of America. Yet it was shared and shared, and its continued removal from Youtube seems to only give it more power and authority. I am minded to make just such a recording, release it anonymously on to Youtube (though it may have to be a different platform now they’ve cracked down on such thing) and see how far it reaches.
Then there is Bill Gates. There’s a man people love to hate. The latest figurehead to face the wrath of humanity for deciding to have a purpose, errant or not, and to use his accumulated wealth to make a difference in the world. I am not pretending Bill Gates is an angelic figure, or that he is even on the right path, but I am pretty sure, from his perspective, that he is doing what he believes is best for the world. If I had billions of dollars, what would I choose to do with it to have maximum impact? What would you do? Bill Gates has chosen vaccines and child poverty as his mission. His actions and words, by and large, appear to be congruent with his belief in these things. Naturally, as somebody using his wealth to have a voice and influence, we distrust him, after all, wealthy men have long used this very power to corrupt our world and society.
We sit in a society largely free of disease – part of the reason COVID-19 is so shocking for us – a good part of which has been built on the effectiveness of modern medicine and vaccinations. That is not to say I approve of mandatory vaccinations, or even all of those that exist, but I recognise we are privileged to have had this to build a civilization on. Much of the world has not had that privilege. Infant mortality in much of the world is really fucking high. And you, white western man or woman, living in an ivory tower, wish to deny them the very treatments you have built your health and wealth on? Nice. Yesterday, I started seeing excerpts of a video with Bill Gates saying that mass gatherings again will not happen until there is mass vaccinations. I have not seen the full transcript, but a 10 second take out from an interview, and 2 minutes of a person explaining their perspective on what he said, is not in itself good practice or evidence of a cabal. Beyond that, Bill Gates would, of course, say that! He is, after all, super into vaccines!! And, finally, it’s worth saying that Bill Gates is also just a guy. A very wealthy guy with influence and money for sure, but still just a guy, with strong opinions, like you and I. He is not actually in charge of the world, despite the power we may wish to give him. Just saying.
This blog is not meant to be a rant, but I appreciate it is in danger of turning into one. I am frustrated by what I have experienced these last weeks, witnessing entrenched positions become worse. Of course, the whole thing is amplified by everybody being locked in their homes and, frankly, fucking bored. The increased isolation from society at large; the lack of other activity and distractions outside the internet; the sense of loss of what we knew and what we had. The issue with the social media world is that, now, should WWIII break out, it’s unlikely to be believed. Should aliens land and broadcast a message of love and hope to our homes, it would be widely dismissed as fiction. Should COVID-19 kills tens of millions of people, it will be rewritten in the minds of many as sanctioned murder or fake news. In the face of this, where NOTHING can anymore be believed, what can we do? What hope have we got of building a better world? Where can we find truth?
As David Icke muttered towards the end of his video – after 20,000 or so had tuned out (Love is a lot less interesting than a good thriller) – nobody knows everything, even him, and if we self-realise and live Love, then everything will be okay anyway. Love prevails. Or words to that effect. That truth seems to stand out, even from the mire of conspiracy narrative. Outside of social media, people are planting up their gardens and allotments; making sourdough bread; doing those DIY projects they have been meaning to. People are using their creative spirits to design new enterprises, take up art again, learn to make music and write song. We each have a different creative path through the lockdown, and it is in this we can find hope. These things are real, they are things that we ourselves can experience. We can listen to the bees and the birds and know they exist. We can watch the Spring flowers emerge and the blossom blooming on the trees and the full moon rising. We can notice those things that we might not otherwise have done, had life just carried on as normal, and we can be confident they are really happening.
Nearly everybody I know has, on one level or another, known that things have to change at some point. We all knew it couldn’t just carry on like this forever. Then, WHAM, out of nowhere, we are granted our wish. The world has stopped, suddenly, without a fuss and with minimal harm – though of course many people will die horrible, painful deaths from the virus, and we may all, in the end, know people affected by this, and perhaps be affected ourselves. Nonetheless, in all the possible versions of a plague or apocalypse that stopped the Earth, this has to be a fairly gentle one. Here we are, things have stopped and it is for each of us to make the best of what is right now, and what comes next. For all that the David Ickes of the world (and there are many more) may wish to say the path is set towards this horrendous dark future, it is not. The truth is, as far as I understand it, that we do not know what is coming next. We don’t even know what is happening right now, not all of it. I don’t believe anybody does.
No matter what you personally believe, whether the virus is manmade or natural, whether it’s a false flag or a real event, there is an opportunity in this moment to do something different. We can hand over our power to those in authority and say that I am powerless to make a difference, or we can make a choice in how we behave and what we do next. Nobody has to return to how things were before, nothing has to go back. There is as much opportunity in this moment to make something new as there is to do the easy thing and return to what we know. Sure, we may be heading towards a dystopian future on current projections – we can all see the possibility of that, the overwhelming possibility to some extent – but that’s not to say we can’t still write a different story and the moment is available, now, to do just that.
If we have any belief in powers beyond our own, in a conscious Earth or a humanity on a journey of self-discovery, then wouldn’t this be one of those moments that we’re meant to have?? Could it be that, rather than a sinister plot to send us further down the spiral of control into a dark future, this could be the opposite? It could be an opportunity to raise us up, put us back on the path to a harmonious relationship with each other and with the planet we live on. We are, in my cosmology at least, a part of the Earth, never separated. We are, in fact, through our every action, carrying out something that is a vital part of the Earth’s functions. This may not always be beautiful – destruction rarely is – but that is not to say it’s not vital nor that it isn’t meant to be. In that story – and, ultimately, it’s just a narrative right now, as I have no way to scientifically demonstrate the truth of it – whatever COVID-19 is, wherever it has come from, it is part of the Earth and it is part of our path. In light of that, I choose to see it in the light of positivity and optimism, just as I choose to see a vision of the future that is more utopian than dystopian, where there is hope and love and better things to come, rather than the opposite. It’s all choice, it’s all storytelling.
Of course, none of this can be said to be objectively true, any more than David Icke’s stories, or Bill Gates’. I am, after all, just one man, laying out just one of the many internal tales that I hold to at the current time. Much like David Icke and Bill Gates, my truths change as my understanding develops and as my awareness grows and as circumstances around me evolve. I am not even sure I remember everything that I believed 10 years ago…perhaps I should have written some books like David Icke to capture it. I am sure, though, that David and Bill would both agree that their own beliefs have changed over time (lizards?) and that some of the things they have said earlier may not stand the test of time. Who knows, maybe they’re even aware that some of the things they say now may not be objectively true?
Given this and that there is no known objective truth (other than Love, apparently, though I have not yet fully gotten to the bottom of that one myself), perhaps what we could all do is take some time to consider that we may not know what is going on, that our own deeply held beliefs may not be entirely in alignment with those of others and, indeed, may even contain some things which could be called false? Perhaps, when we listen and read the words of others, we can consider that about them too, that maybe some of their own beliefs and understandings may not be completely in alignment with what is actually happening. If, as a species, we all took a little more time feeling comfortable with not really knowing, and feeling comfortable with knowing that everybody else is in the same boat, we might find that we are a happier bunch, more willing to trust each other, more willing to learn from each other and engage in humane dialogue that respects the views of the persons we are in dialogue with. I, for sure, could do more of that.
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
May we all find happiness, health and new beginnings in this great time of change xx