Ecocide. Methane feedback loops.
And perpetual, low-grade war for the planet’s resources that will render her hostile to human life. (Can you blame her?) This is the criteria of our time. Thus descends an enveloping, abiding sense of alienation that feels like a sickness of the soul.
Is the collective soul of humankind itself in a state of runaway pathology? A mania attendant to the avoidance of the reality of our circumstances? From all indications, a fleet, shape-shifting demon of avoidance has seized us – a dazzling entity of the mind so swift it has outrun the soul of the world.
Apropos, the angst that nettles us, the alienation that enervates us, and the despair beneath it, all are symptoms of Anima Mundi’s sickness. Those who are confused have a surer grip on the realities of the moment than those who claim certainty. And there is no permanent solution. There is only the same struggle: to retain one’s humanity amid dehumanizing circumstances. To wit, few endeavors are more dehumanizing than living in a time of the compulsive commodification of All Things and its concomitant ecocide and perpetual war.
of overextended kingdoms,
nations, and empires have
always been blood-crazed
and thieving maniacs
Given such circumstances, one will feel as though one is going mad. This is an understandable and appropriate response to the madness of the era. Know this: The powerful and the elites of overextended kingdoms, nations, and empires have always been blood-crazed and thieving maniacs. Is it any wonder that you feel ill at ease? It is a sane response to being held in the thrall of the actions of a dangerous lunatic.
The Beast will arise from the black depths of the churning sea, augers scripture. Yet the oceans of the earth are besieged by humankind. Vast swathes of the Pacific Ocean are dead zones.
Freud appropriated the term ‘oceanic’ to describe a phenomenon in which the psyche had not yet become differentiated from nature. The psychical state, although natural in infancy and early childhood, was inhuman, because like the forces of nature, its order was vast, unfathomable, and impersonal.
Mob actions are oceanic in nature, as are authoritarian structures (which are rigid, hierarchical orders of defacto mob rule). Hyperbole, you say. Then try this: Attempt to approach or even antagonize an authoritarian order (e.g., corporate, law enforcement, governmental) deploying reason and decency. You’d have a better chance of coming out unscathed confronting a classic mob.
These monsters of the mind are camouflaged by authoritarian structures. The Beast is glimpsed in its cultural spectacles. Also, the state’s propagandists are experts in projecting the culture’s monstrous nature on an ever-shifting legion of outside monsters du jour, from domestic minorities to (alleged) foreign personifications of evil itself.
The Beast rises from the dark tides of the authoritarian personality’s turbid mind, revealing its proclivity to perpetrate incessant violence; commit lawlessness in the name of order; its bottomless cupidity, and its compulsion to levy slavery in the name of freedom. The Beast arrives at the end of things. It is the force by which rigid authoritarians bring their world down around them. The name of the Beast is Empire.
Illustration by Dan Booth not to be reproduced without his express prior permission.