Wednesday, June 23, 2010
The Exegesis: The Age of Entropy
We all know the origin of the term "Dog Days," but I often remember seeing it used in the papers to describe the midsummer doldrums, when everyone was on vacation and nothing was really getting done. But these Dog Days are something else- a kind of entropic paralysis has taken over and no one knows how the hell to get out of it. It's a worldwide phenomenon, a hangover from a multi-decade binge in which strange and arcane beliefs arose, namely that consumer culture was supposed to give life meaning and corporate globalism was supposed to make all of our problems disappear forever.
We have the perfect President for the Dog Day Doldrums- a dithering difference-splitter who has alienated nearly everyone who voted for him by embracing every single policy his predecessor enacted and is methodically boring to death the Tea Party types who rose up in opposition to him. Or more accurately, rose up in opposition to the ridiculous cartoon that the right wing media created of this Wall St. water-carrier.
But I sense a deep, despairing exhaustion welling up even among the conservative mandarins who are having a more and more difficult time dealing with this President's magical ennui powers. I've no doubt that Obama is doing all he can to give the Congress back to the GOP so he can have something to campaign against. It helps that the current Republican leadership is even more craven and brain-dead than the Democrats, and are certainly nowhere near as shrewd as the Gingrich gang in 1994. And even that bunch got their asses handed to them by Clinton after the government shutdown fiasco in 1995.
Neither party will do anything to punish BP for their astonishing negligence in the Gulf. Remember BP is the same company ultimately responsible for the current cabal of madmen running Iran, just as Emperor Justinian was responsible for sending North Africa into the arms of Islam. BP is so insanely rich and powerful, they will probably pull some Rockefeller-type of split-up, put the American drilling arm into receivership and quietly buy it back a few years hence and carry on exactly as they always have.
We're hearing talk that the EU may fail due to the massive debt of countries like Greece, but also to a reawakening of nationalism among some of its member states. When the money was flowing the EU apparatchiks might have gotten some grumbles from the far right with their social policies. But with jobs scarce, no one's much in the mood for the joyful diversity that mass immigration brings, especially that of the illegal variety. Even in America, workers are starting to discover that "outsourcing" is just a fancy word for massive unemployment with decent jobs being shipped en masse to Asia.
But even that's beginning to backfire on the global gurus, as newly-empowered countries like Brazil and India no longer let Washington think tanks dictate their domestic and foreign policies. A lot of countries are hellbent on joining the nuclear club, realizing that that particular secret handshake will keep the Blackwater boys cooling their heels, far from their borders.
In short, the new President is not Harry Potter and doesn't have a magic wand he can wave over the world and make everything OK again. There's an unsettling sense of winding-down afoot out there, and a lot of it is the direct result of several brainwashing programs- religious, corporate, globalist, academic, multicultural. The programming has been much more subtle and smiley than in the Inquisition days, but no less effective. Everyone's been duly brow-beaten and no one is rocking the boat anymore. Even the ostensible boat-rockers are marching to a tune composed in a boardroom somewhere. But never mind peak oil, we're looking at peak-soil in some places, peak-water, peak-whatever resource we need to maintain this current standard of living.
I'm not encouraged over humanity's ability to adjust to the onrushing new realities. We're not a species known for soft landings. Death and destruction is usually how we work out our differences. I've been thinking for a while we're in some kind of cold world war- I shudder to think about the next hot one. As comforting as it is to believe this is all part of some devious master plan, the usual master-planners seem to be knee-deep in their own hoopla. Or altogether missing from the picture.
What I see is a world that all wants to live like suburbanites from the Eisenhower era, not even questioning whether that was all that enriching the first time around. America lost something vital in the 50s, which is one of the reasons the 60s were the way they were. The Chinese and Indians might claw their way to that peak and discover there's nothing there but stress and misery followed by a long ride back down.
At some point, the weirdos and the misfits need to get together and do what they've always done throughout history and figure out the way out of this mess. I think the post-apocalyptic scenario will have to be factored into their calculations, but not the dopey, easy Constantine version. More like the messy, miserable version where the entire world is trying to figure out how to feed itself and get the power grid back up.
Hopefully those figures will be surplus to requirements. But one thing is for sure, it's time to switch on whatever parts of our brains we don't use - fast.
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