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The Miracle of Context

Image Source: Minds . Can you recognize  the truth, if it's taken out of context? The Internet has lately become Pandora's Box, spilling out its contents to those who dare to look  (or look again - or again ). Images Source: Hello! Magazine / Getty . Last week, a friend dismissed my claim that people want to see the truth. He thinks people are not interested in abstracts like 'truth.' They just want to get on with their lives. Whether they want the truth or not, the signs and symbols of truth are on the move. Conversations float around and skim the surface. Another friend wondered out loud tonight, "It feels like the virus is more of a meme than anything else." In the wake of the US inauguration, disinformation, strange rumours, and weird info dumps are circulating online. Everything feels off, but bizarrely connected. There is something bigger at play. Image Source: 4chan ; also here . Truth and fiction overlap. There is no way to drill down to bedrock. It

Ask the Anchorman of the Apocalypse How Power Really Works

A Street Corner in Prague (c.1900-10) by Jakub Schikaneder (Czech, 1855-1924). Oil on canvas, 105 x 84 cm. Image Source: pinterest.

Writers who want to produce a certain effect may examine other writers who have managed it. I once went over one of Kafka's short stories (Rejection) to figure out how he created his famous Kafkaesque realities, which are off-kilter, off-putting, and uncertain. Kafka (1883-1924) accomplished this style through a particular art of description. Below are two short short stories (Rejection and On the Tram) which are typical examples.

Image Source: Slideshare.



Translated by Willa and Edwin Muir

When I meet a pretty girl and beg her: ‘Be so good as to come with me,’ and she walks past without a word, this is what she means to say:

‘You are no Duke with a famous name, no broad American with a Red Indian figure, level, brooding eyes and a skin tempered by the air of the prairies and the rivers that flow through them, you have never journeyed to the seven seas and voyaged on them wherever they may be, I don’t know where. So why, pray, should a pretty girl like myself go with you?’

‘You forget that no automobile swings you through the street in long thrusts; I see no gentlemen escorting you in a close half-circle, pressing on your skirts from behind and murmuring blessings on your head; your breasts are well laced into your bodice, but your thighs and hips make up for that restraint; you are wearing a taffeta dress with a pleated skirt such as delighted all of us last autumn, and yet you smile - inviting mortal danger - from time to time.’

‘Yes, we’re both in the right, and to keep us from being irrevocably aware of it, hadn’t we better just go our separate ways home?’

On the Tram

Translated by Willa and Edwin Muir

I stand on the end platform of the tram and am completely unsure of my footing in this world, in this town, in my family. Not even casually could I indicate any claims that I might rightly advance in any direction. I have not even any defense to offer for standing on this platform, holding on to this strap, letting myself be carried along by this tram, nor for the people who give way to the tram or walk quietly along or stand gazing into shop windows. Nobody asks me to put up a defense, indeed, but that is irrelevant.

The tram approaches a stopping place and a girl takes up her position near the step, ready to alight. She is as distinct to me as if I had run my hands over her. She is dressed in black, the pleats of her skirt hang almost still, her blouse is tight and has a collar of white fine-meshed lace, her left hand is braced flat against the side of the tram, the umbrella in her right hand rests on the second top step. Her face is brown, her nose, slightly pinched at the sides, has a broad round tip. She has a lot of brown hair and stray little tendrils on the right temple. Her small ear is close-set, but since I am near her I can see the whole ridge of the whorl of her right ear and the shadow at the root of it.

At that point I asked myself: How is it that she is not amazed at herself, that she keeps her lips closed and makes no such remark?


Kafka's legendary style depended partly on describing a lot of minute details in a very non-committal, clinical, removed way. When recounting everyday life, he was like a doctor listing symptoms of a disease. This impartial, resigned tone made his writing unsettling.

Kafka's focus also zooms in and out. He reveals the threads in the fabric of someone's clothing, and then pulls back to the imperial level. This micro-macro focus, conveyed with the cool voice of a scientist, is punctuated here and there by outbursts from a slightly panicky, unconscious voice. Kafka's passages contain sudden moments of alarm, emotion or frustration. Yet even these are disarmingly still passed on in a weirdly detached way. The effect is: Look at all this stuff, up close, far away, [what's *that* OMG] it's upsetting, but there you are.

Kafka would have been the anchorman of choice to relay news of the apocalypse. The tone of the detached clinician or reporter is the rationalist's voice, which has become part of a trademark, deadpan modern style, for which Kafka's masterworks are known. The only problem is that that voice occasionally becomes hysterical.

One Degree of Separation from Reality

In my last post, I discussed how Plato's Cave sets the model for metaphors as descriptive devices, while leading to the idea that one can climb a ladder of expanding awareness and knowledge. The Cave metaphor depicts one step, or one degree of separation from mundane, everyday, material existence. This means that you can't understand language as a modality for awareness and corresponding power without departing, step-by-step, from reality.

Similes and metaphors are meta-tools in speaking and writing which express this experience. They take the narrative one degree away from reality. Think of Shakespeare's line: Shall I compare thee to a Summers day? The metaphor is separated from the author's everyday life by one degree:

(0) Thee -> (1) A summer's day (idealized, remembered)
Narrative -> Metanarrative
Reality -> Metareality

These devices channel frustrations about the author's limitations. They remove readers from the author's reality and take them to another reality, by way of subtle comparison. They express a yearning to get away, to recast this space in another context, to see things through different eyes. They implicitly acknowledge a local, granular incompleteness by trying to add a non-local or abstract completeness. They shed light on our whole understanding of reality. Our own framework is found wanting, and the only way to accurately describe something unusual within it is by way of comparison or allusion to something separate, analogous, transcendent, or independent.

Metaphors and similes reveal a desire on the part of the author (or speaker) to locate a larger truth. This search for a larger truth opens up a host of philosophical questions about art as a mirror of reality, and which reality is real. Which reality is truth, and which is fiction? Is art a lower, sub-creation of our dominant, mundane, material, daily existence? Is it just a fickle mirror? Or is art a living, higher reality, a homage to the Creator? Plato's Cave assumed the latter. Art as a descriptor was one step up above reality.

How Power Really Works: Compartmentalized Realities

Power works by compartmentalizing levels of knowledge and consciousness. The higher your awareness, the greater your access to established power, or to the ability to challenge established power.

At the first level of power in the citizenry, political and social orders overtly favour science and rationality; they give credit to materialism and data over imaginative leaps of faith. This bias gives false empowerment to the masses, who have been educated to believe that this is the only endgame and rationale of modern democracies. They think they can use mental reasoning and knowledge to control reality - say, by arguing about politics at a grassroots level - when they cannot. Their actions certainly matter, but these efforts will not release them from a larger, arcane, systemic bondage. This is the public formula of democratized power; it is presented to us as a Kafkaesque anchorman would relay it, in a deadpan voice, punctuated by an occasional panicky sub-tone:

(0) Material reality -> (1) Scientific rationalized understanding, control and exploitation of material reality

In our modern societies, the true code for authority expands the formula to include art or belief as a mystery, which is one step above the rational mind. For our officials and leaders, imagination and spirituality provide a larger framework. They pay lip service to empiricism and positivism to keep us subjugated, while secretly worshipping what they regard as the higher mysteries. Their private formula for power is two degrees of separation from reality.

The New Zealand vlogger at The Outer Light channel on Youtube made his name by revealing the serpent's head design of the Pope's audience hall in Rome. Image Source: Twitter. Reproduced under Fair Use.

Every vlogger, anon, and conspiracy theorist who slogged through the Internet's trenches over the past two decades knows that the elites use symbols to control the world's mysteries. These coded messages allow their acolytes to move beyond the reach of rational understanding:

(0) Material reality -> (1) Scientific rationalization -> (2) Symbolic 

Two Degrees of Separation from Reality: The Mysteries

The Neverending Story (9/10) Movie CLIP - Call My Name (1984) HD (7 October 2012). Video Source: Youtube.

This is tricky territory, as it takes us beyond reality by two steps. Some of these higher mysteries are considered morally good, are creative, artistic, and aligned with God, and some are destructive, exploitative, and morally evil. Typical of human factions, there are different philosophies and pecking orders around all this. Both good and evil metaphors imply that somehow, symbolic, mysterious, or mythical realities have their own independent existence and integrity, which carry us up to higher levels of power.

In this notion of ranked dimensions, even the most exalted or benighted principles still connect, at their roots, to our daily existence, and by the same token, our little actions may transform the worlds of art, dreams, and fantasies. In other words, what happens at the basic level in the real world, among the common people, always matters.

The Neverending Story (7/10) Movie CLIP - Come for Me, G'mork! (1984) HD (7 October 2012). Video Source: Youtube.

That is why explanations of how power really works are so prevalent in children's tales. Young readers in their bedrooms have great power, because they still have the imagination to grasp these higher concepts. They understand that fantasies are connected in some causal way to our reality. They can feel how mysteries threaten to become tangible. A great example is Die unendliche Geschichte (1979; The Neverending Story (English translation, 1983)) by Michael Ende (1929-1995). In Ende's tale, if the fantasy land dies - if hopes, love, and dreams die - then our own real world will be rendered soulless and will be decimated and destroyed. This is a positive reassertion of faith; Ende's metaphor describes creativity, pitted against despair. These are two degrees of separation from everyday life.

(0) everyday life -> (1) fantasy world -> (2) fantasy affects                                                                         everyday life

Another example is Labyrinth (1986). This dynamic is negative, but it follows the same idea. There is a danger that David Bowie's goblin king will trap Jennifer Connelly's young character, Sarah, on the other side of her bedroom mirror. There are unsettling messages here, as a dazzled Sarah dances in Bowie's arms. Dancing symbolizes sex. This scene implies seduction and sex inside a crowded ballroom of corrupt, masked onlookers. Labyrinth revealed the world of the Illuminati's masked balls a full thirteen years before Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut (1999). The scene below from Labyrinth is a concealed version of the full-on orgy scene from Eyes Wide Shut. In Labyrinth, the metaphor for power runs:

(0) Everyday life -> (1) Labyrinth of fantasy and confusion ->
(2) Illuminati activities, mysteries, symbols, and control

Ballroom Scene - Labyrinth (Jennifer Connelly, David Bowie) 1986 (5 October 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

Even with the evidence everywhere, we have difficulty accepting that there is this higher order above us. We can see it, and there are comments, videos, and blogs all over the Internet which expose leaders' scandals, inconsistencies, and anomalies. For example, last year's billionaires' holiday design fad was Eyes Wide Shut chic. The video below adds music from Eyes Wide Shut to Melania Trump's Christmas decoration choices. As a Trump critic, you might be tempted to laugh. Don't. It's not funny. As a Trump supporter, you might be offended. Don't. Adding the Eyes Wide Shut score to this scene was accurate.

Melania Trump's 2019 Christmas Video but with more appropriate music (3 December 2019). Video Source: Youtube.

The tweet below juxtaposed a still from Eyes Wide Shut with photos from a real 2019 holiday fundraiser for top American Democrat contender, Pete Buttigieg. We see, but we still struggle to believe it is true, to believe with our hearts that we are enslaved and betrayed by a network, grounded in certain aesthetics. Anons would argue that we need to see and believe in this betrayal by our elites, the way small children believe in Santa Claus. We are ruled not by laws, constitutions and governments, but by an iron-clad order of higher symbols and mysteries.

Three Metaphorical Degrees of Separation from Reality: The Mystery becomes Independent

Inception [2010] A Dream Within A Dream (HD) | Başlangıç Rüya İçinde Rüya | Türkçe Altyazılı (4 February 2019). Video Source: Youtube. Reproduced under Fair Use.

Similar cinematic tales for adults are two Millennial films, both Leonardo DiCaprio vehicles, Inception (2010) and Shutter Island (2010). In Inception, the public is shown nested metaphors as boxed dimensions, created by dreams-within-dreams-within-dreams. In Shutter Island, the audience sees the same concept, but the modality is nested insanity: sanity-within-madness-within-sanity. Surrounded by powerful doctors, all with dark wartime secrets, is the main character who investigates them crazy? Or is he one step ahead of them all? The main character may be insane and deluded, but he is still right. He is factually wrong, but his attitude still represents the truth.

Shutter Island (2010) - Welcome to Shutter Island (12 May 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Shutter Island (2010) - Patient Interviews [CLIP] (2 October 2013). Video Source: Youtube.

Shutter Island best scene. Video Source: Youtube.

Shutter Island (2010) | (2/2) | The Truth (19 June 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Shutter Island (8/8) Movie CLIP - Live as a Monster or Die as a Good Man (2010) HD (2 March 2012). Video Source: Youtube.

Perhaps the best examples of nested metaphors are found in David Lynch's films, Lost Highway (1997), Mulholland Drive (2001), and Inland Empire (2006). The last film, Inland Empire, is particularly challenging and creepy. It concerns a meta-film: a film, inside a film, inside a film.

In the background plot of Inland Empire, American producers have kept secret that they attained the rights to a cursed movie that was never completed. In the original, unfinished Polish production, Vier Sieben, the two leading actors were murdered and the crew disappeared, possibly after falling prey to human traffickers. The film which audiences watch - Lynch's 2006 Inland Empire - depicts the development of the 2005 American remake, On High in Blue Tomorrows.

The cast and crew of On High in Blue Tomorrows become trapped in a bleedover from the Polish cinematic space onto Hollywood Boulevard. Inland Empire is an incredible, terrifying film, because its topsy-turvy surrealism drags the audience, along with the lead actress, right into a moment of sickening awakening and misunderstanding: "Damn, this sounds like dialogue from our script!" Watch it here, while the link lasts. The metaphor is gradiated:

(0) audience -> (1) Inland Empire ->
(2) On High in Blue Tomorrows -> (3) Vier Sieben

In Inland Empire, women are abused repeatedly, in several incarnations. Lynch uses the theme of spousal abuse to unleash his mysteries in nested, tortured unrealities.

Domestic abusers create webs of lies around their victims in order to hide their guilty actions from society. They typically gaslight and blame their victims, by stating the victim is responsible for their (the abuser's) actions. This removes any guilty conscience and recognition of agency from the abuser's self-definition and from public scrutiny. It is an insane power gambit, based on lies, which places the blame for craziness and social disruption on the shoulders of the abused partner. In Lynch's field of vision, the abuser twists reality so viciously that he or she becomes an independent, uncontrolled supernatural force:
"abusers are expert at convincing friends, family, and others in their circle that the abused is the one at fault. In Lynch's world, the abuser is endowed with supernatural powers, so he is literally able to force his outlook upon the entire world through the curse. In his worldview, the Lost Girl's infidelity was the catalyst that set off a series of tragic acts, and he seeks to tear down women like Nikki/Sue by showing that all women are unfaithful."
Abusive gaslighting at the micro level resembles lies and cover-ups practiced by corrupted power players at the macro level. In modern politics, admired authority figures' deeds often diverge from their stated beliefs. When their true actions are revealed, they attack those who expose them, and project their crimes onto their victims.

Four or More Degrees of Metaphors: Nested Realities

Click to enlarge. Image Source: 4chan.

Below, you can see a spiritual adaptation from Plotinus's Neoplatonic schema. If nothing else, it offers one model of how humans understand hierarchies of power in terms of levels of knowledge.

Image Source: Youtube.

You can see this simple and sad pattern in all fields of human learning, where authorities lay claim to the right to speak about the highest levels of discourse, based on a matrix of social approval, university degrees, professional conditioning, and gender-based messages. They then safeguard their levels of authority with incremental symbols and mysteries. Then they go deeper or higher, beyond mysteries, into the most unfathomable realms of human intuition, ability, and behaviour.

Shutter Island Soundtrack - Symphony No.3 Passacaglia - Allegro Moderato. Video Source: Youtube.

It is easy to see how one could keep going, splitting, refining, claiming greater authority based on greater and greater levels of awareness, and never get any relief. The larger problem here is that the metaphorical ability to create meta-narratives reveals that layers of authoritative knowledge do not just provide the building blocks of power. They create parallel realities of action, encased dimensions of understanding and spiritual meaning, layered upon one another. This is why power corrupts and the greatest power players go mad.

Waking Up

For ordinary citizens who are just waking up during the nCov pandemic, all of this is very hard to believe. You can see blue pills struggling with cognitive dissonance on social media as they rage at bad policy-making decisions. Why, in a global pandemic, would authorities let travelers keep moving around, with minimal screening, while obliging citizens to lock themselves up in their houses? Why, in the first quarter of 2020, would they allow work forces to keep working, permit mass religious and street gatherings, concerts, sports and entertainment, when they knew and know these congregations were deadly? Why would they deny the efficacy of masks, and then walk back the policy? Why the hopeless muddle instead of sharp, decisive action? Blue pilled critics always focus on political divisions, or the economy, or identity politics. Inconsistencies and inequalities are attributed to stupidity, bad decisions, bad politics, racism, sexism.

But if a politician is making decisions that are so moronic and terrible that even a four-year-old child could see through them, it may be that the politician is not a moron. Deadly policies aren't launched because politicians are incredibly stupid, or because they prioritize banks or big business, or because they are left-wing or right-wing, or because they are racist - although they may be any or all of those things. Those justifications are mental shelters, soother excuses offered from on high to distract uninitiated grassroots critics from larger explanations.

Consider the possibility that authorities just do not have your best interests at heart. It is not until you, as an individual, directly and personally experience the fact that you are expendable that you start to understand how power really works. It doesn't matter how much education you have. It doesn't matter what your social background is, be it low or high. It doesn't matter how good-looking you are. It doesn't matter how great or essential your job is. Cease to be useful, and it can all be taken away from you. Your networks won't help you. Your money will not protect you.

You have to be on the receiving end of an exercise of authority where you, or your job, or your career, or your home, or your family member is removed or erased, without a flicker of human concern or compassion. At first, the arguments are somewhat defensible, as with triage of the elderly under terrible pandemic conditions.

But then, the arguments for oppression and erasure change. Then, the arguments are not aimed at abstract old people. Then, the arguments are aimed at you. The leaflets and posters in hospitals which advise current triage conditions will disappear. The health care workers who implement triage of the elderly under systemic rules today will be held to account in scary show trials to appease the public tomorrow.

Outside the hospitals, when the tanks are on your doorstep, you may begin to see the truth, that the people who came to you with smiles and reassurances of safeguarding your life, wealth, and health as a citizen and a worker, only do so insofar as it supports their interests - and no further. 'You' are not special. 'They' do not care. Think of democratic politics as a movie you are watching. It is time to step out of the cinema.

Only then do you start to listen to the marginalized voices in the alt media and grasp that these derided voices - dismissed as purveyors of fake news - are the only people who are actually in your corner. These jobless flakes in the basement who were 'left behind' are actually ahead of the curve. They are the only people who are penetrating the first-level illusion of political benevolence, and who are fighting for the laws of the land, and for your rights and your life, as well as their own, with everything they have.

If that is too much to imagine, start at least by recognizing that the notion that the rational mind defines the limits of human power is a fallacy. Secular materialist rationalism is power politics, Baby Step One.

Layered Red-Pilled Counter-Narratives

This is why conspiracy theorists have graduated levels of recognition too. They speak of destroying the illusion created by mainstream society, and embark on progressive deconstruction of authoritative realities. They know that they are unraveling systems of descriptive metaphors and similes, peeling back layer upon layer of real and fabricated formations of power. The anons and alt media hammer at each gate until they break through, and make greater and greater claims to truth, as below.

Click to enlarge. Image Source: Reddit / 4chan.

Don't dismiss truthers' layered madness because of the madness. Rather, recognize the pattern in this questioning of mainstream reality, which has already reached nine tiers of truther authority. Although conspiracists may think so, their analyses are not necessarily revelations of truth and fact, but they are accurate revelations of the way power works. Conspiracy theories are blunders in the dark. They are a game of Pin the Tail on the Donkey. These efforts show common people wrestling with symbolic frameworks of discursive and symbolic authority, with no knowledge of the original guidebooks.

Image Source: 4chan.

We can see this current fragmenting of debate and understanding around the coronavirus, as alt researchers struggle to come to grips with this threat and force of nature. In the videos below, you can see how fringe analysts are picking apart the pandemic, in multi-layered assessments of current power structures.

The first video, from alt health speaker Mike Adams, assumes that the establishment have jumped from environmental concern about dying insect pollinators to advocating mass deaths of useless human eaters. Adams implies that the elites have turned genocidal, based on their concern for the health of the planet. Is this true? Adams is wrong in thinking that only humans are affected by nCov.


If You Think You Can Handle The Truth, Here It Is! (2020) (4 April 2020). Video Source: Youtube.

Anonymous declared war to Bill Gates. (6 April 2020). Video Source: Youtube.

Dark Journalist X-84: Blackouts And Bunkers! COG Deep State Plan For Crisis Takeover! (3 April 2020). Video Source: Youtube.

Coronavirus Bioterrorism? Dr Francis Boyle Thinks So. (5 April 2020). Video Source: Youtube.

Other alt analysts tend to play down the virulence of the virus. They see the pandemic as an engineered excuse to implement government totalitarianism and an opportunity to crash an already broken economy. The last video, above, from conspiracy theorist George Webb, assumes that the elites are drunk on their own power. Their policies brought the planet to its knees and the virus, in Webb's view, is just one of many weapons developed to achieve larger geopolitical ends.

I am reposting these videos as examples of efforts to deconstruct and disassemble discursive and thematic architectures of power. The accuracy - or inaccuracy - of alt analyses will come to light in time, as these marginalized themes and discourses will either force power structures to crumble, or they will not.

My publishing these videos here does not constitute my personal agreement with these opinions. If anything, my personal opinion about this pattern is that hierarchical expression and authority are an endemic human problem. Moreover, I think that the only way to dissolve toxic hierarchies is to ground them - as Voltaire advised - in a simple human life, while at the same time transcending them with larger, morally better, and more powerful mysteries which do not seek power and domination over others.

- All copyrighted material reproduced here is republished under Fair Use.


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