23 October 2020 —Edward Curtin
By Edward Curtin
When The New York Times and CNN recently referred to the staged town hall spectacles of Biden and Trump as dueling events, they inadvertently revealed the truth that U.S. presidential elections are America’s favorite movie and that the corporate media is in the entertainment business.
While it is ludicrous to imagine these tottering actors crossing swords in tights, their skirmishes in suits and ties are good for a few laughs, if you have the stomach to watch them. Only people who still believe in professional wrestling would think these clowns don’t work for the same bosses – the Umbrella People, aka the power elites, the national security state, etc., who own the country and choose their stooges to represent their interests in the White House.
I much prefer Mel Brooks, a genuinely funny guy.
The columnist Russell Baker once said the purpose of such political entertainment is to “provide a manageably small cast for a national sitcom, or soap opera, or docudrama, making it easy for media people to persuade themselves they are covering the news while mostly just entertaining us.”
As for debates and town hall farces in television prime time, the witty Baker said that “the charm of television entertainment is its ability to bridge the chasm between dinner and bedtime without mental distraction.”
Now let’s proceed to the dark side, where the sardonic screams of laughter dissolve into tears.
For such entertainment serves a devious distracting purpose: to conceal the nature of social evil and the driving forces behind American politics today. It is not particularly complicated unless the syllogism – All cats die/Socrates is dead/ therefore Socrates is a cat – rings true.
Then it’s an impossible conundrum.
We are not cats or Socrates, as far as I know. But like them, we will also die. Everyone knows this, but the thought of death is not particularly “have-a-nice-dayish,” so people deny it as much as possible in a host of ways. Most people prefer life over death, and when death does approach and can no longer be denied, most hope for immortality in some way, shape, or form.
Yes, there are those who assert this isn’t true for them, and there is no reason to doubt their sincerity. There are philosophical arguments to support their position, such as that of the Roman poet Lucretius in his famous poem De rerum natura (On the Nature of Things). But I would maintain with the great psychoanalyst Rollo May that all such naturalistic efforts, including Lucretius’s, to explain away human anxiety rooted in death, founder on the human emotions of pity, grief, love, and loneliness. Rational explanations take us only so far. In their efforts to deny the human condition and dismiss the spiritual dimension, the irrational, and the daimonic, they open the door to madness, as is happening today with the push by the world’s economic elite to convince people that they are machines and that their machine dreams will conquer death.
For those who love life, it seems axiomatic to me that some form of perpetuation and redemption of an individual’s life in the face and fear of death is widely desired. This can take many forms: a literal afterlife, fame, heirs, monuments, money, children, etc. History is quite clear that people have always sought some way of transcending their physical fates.
This was aptly noted by Graham Greene, the English novelist, when, as an old man approaching death, he was asked if he was disappointed at not receiving the Nobel Prize, and he said no, since he was hoping for a greater prize.
In his important book, The Denial of Death (Pulitzer Prize 1974 for general non-fiction), the cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker, puts it succinctly:
Man is literally split in two: he has an awareness of his own splendid uniqueness in that he sticks out of nature with a towering majesty, and yet goes back into the ground a few feet in order blindly and dumbly to rot and disappear forever.
Faced with such an impossible situation, then, overwhelmed from childhood with a sense of one’s own ultimate physical powerlessness but being symbolic creatures as well as physical ones, the normal person learns to repress the terror of death by building various defenses that allow one to believe that he ultimately controls his death. One’s natural impotence is then hidden within “ the vital lie of character”; one lives within the manageable social world that helps one blot out existential awareness by offering various social games and cultural symbols, agreed forms of madness that narcotize the fear. One learns to adjust. The aim is to cut life down to manageable proportions, domesticate terror, and trust in the cultural and social authorities for protection and reassurance. Obedience is key.
Listen to Big Daddy and he will rescue you , especially when he first tells you that Mr. Pumpkin Head is coming to get you unless you run into his protective embrace.
These days, it’s Halloween all year round in the land of the free and the home of the brave where the fear of death is handed out like poisoned candy and Big Daddy waits at the door disguised as everyone’s benevolent grandfather. To be treated, you must be masked. That is his trick. “Stay well,” he mutters, after he drops a dollop of sweet fear into your bag and cackles behind his face.
Everywhere you look these days, people are doubly masked. The paper kind and by definition, since the the word person, being derived from the Latin, persona, means mask, while there is another Latin word, larva, that also means mask or ghost or evil spirit. Clearly there is a dance contest underway, a danse macabre. And who will win nobody knows.
“Every conflict over truth,” wrote the psychoanalyst Otto Rank, “ is in the last analysis just the same old struggle over … immortality.”
This is exactly what is going on now with the fierce disagreements over Covid-19.
Like the attacks of September 11, 2001, the anthrax attacks, the ginning up of terrorism fear with Homeland “Security’s” color-coded warning system, the lies about weapons of mass-destruction, and the coronavirus early warning systems, people have adopted positions upon which they stake their psychological lives. To admit you were snookered is a little death that is hard to swallow.
We are being subjected to mind-control on a vast scale, the continual pumping up of the fear of death to control the population. Americans have been living in an atmosphere of dread for almost twenty years. It’s so old and so obvious but cuts so deep it works like a charm. “You don’t want to die, do you, so come here into Big Daddy’s arms.”
In Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell writes that “The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake.” It is a famous quote that is not true when taken out of context. The Umbrella People and their lackeys don’t seek power entirely for its own sake. They have a larger agenda: immortality.
If one reads Orwell carefully, one comes upon a key passage that clarifies the previous quote. The evil O’Brien, the torturer and member of the Inner Party who poses as a member of the resistance to Big Brother (sound familiar?), asks his victim Winston Smith to reverse the slogan from “Freedom is Slavery” to Slavery is Freedom:
Alone – free – the human being is always defeated. It must be so, because every human being is destined to die, which is the greatest of all failures. But if he can make complete, utter submission, if he can escape from his identity, if he can merge himself in the Party so that he is the Party, then he will be all-powerful and immortal. The second thing for you to realize is that power is power over human beings. Over the body – but, above all, over the mind. Power over matter – external reality as you would call it – is not important. Already our control over matter is absolute.
All power is fundamentally power to deny mortality. This is true whether it is the power of the state or church. And it is always sacred power.
Many often ask why do the super-rich and powerful always want more. It’s simple. They wish to transcend their pre-existing human mortality and become gods – immortals. They stupidly believe that if they can lord it over others, kill, dominate, achieve status, become billionaires, presidents, magnates, celebrities, etc., they will somehow live in some weird forever.
In a process that has spanned at least a hundred and fifty years or so, our traditional cultural/religious symbol systems have been radically undermined, most momentously by the Faustian creation of Lord Nuke. All forms of symbolic immortality (theological, biological, creative, natural, and experiential) that formerly provided a sense of continuity have been severely threatened. This is the haunting specter lurking in the background of life today.
What is death? How to defeat or transcend it? How to affirm life in the face of death?
One paradoxical way that political leaders do this is by killing. Followers who accede to such killing join their leaders, not simply to see others dead, but to acquire power over death itself – to kill their own deaths. It is perverse of course, and is summed up in the saying to love the bomb joyously, to experience the nightmare of oblivion as ecstasy. Isn’t this what the philosophy of voting for the lesser of two evil is about? At least he will be our killer. Our evil killer, but not as bad as yours. You lose.
I have read that there is a painting still visible at the entrance to a house in ruined Pompeii that tells us much about power and wealth. It perfectly symbolizes the meaning of the economic gap between the super-rich – e.g. those behind the World Economic Forum, the CIA, the presidential candidates, the corporate media – and the rest of us. It pictures a man weighing his penis on a scale of gold coins. Gold, God, wealth, and power. It’s an old story.
Today, however, there is a difference, for the spirit of nihilism has grown as belief in the spiritual dimension and God has diminished dramatically. Money or gold, wealth in all its forms, is today’s foremost immortality symbol, a sign that one is powerful and can conquer death. What else are Trump’s gold-emblazoned Tower and hair, and Biden’s boastfully admitted threat to withhold one billion dollars from Ukraine unless they fire the prosecutor investigating his son, Hunter. The greasing of palms, bribery, tax theft, etc. – par for the course in a corrupt society run by thieves and criminals.
Becker says of this wealth obsession:
The only hint we get of the cultural repression seeping through is that even dedicated financiers wash their hands after handling money. The victory over death is a fantasy that cannot be fully believed in; money doesn’t entirely banish feces [decay and death that is of course defeated with toilet paper as Covid-19 has proven], and so the threat of germs and vulnerability in the very process of securing immortality.
Enter Covid-19. Like the attacks of September 11, 2001, it is death writ large. An insidious terrorist threat. Invisible, sneaky, ready to pounce. Fear and trembling. So-called surprise attacks that were preceded by simulations and live drills. Numerous parallels, too many to mention. Let’s not. Have a nice day! Stay safe!
So what do the super-rich controllers want now? What are the World Economic Forum’s Klaus Schwab, Google and the Defense Department’s Eric Schmidt, Bill Gates, Ray Kurzweil of Google and “The Singularity,” et al. pushing now that Covid-19 has so many cowering in fear?
These people have realized that the thing that their money and power must do is to create a world where trans-humanism must triumph and people of flesh and blood must be induced and forced to become the machines they have been told they are. If you doubt this is underway, research the World Economic Forum’s agenda, see what the Great Reset is about, the Build Back Better slogans, the massive push to create on-line existence for everyone, etc. As a recent ad I saw says: “The world is going digital.”
The goal of these mad technocratic elites is to create a fabricated reality where the visible world becomes nearly meaningless once the screen world becomes people’s “window on the world.” An electronic nothingness to replace reality as people in the industrialized countries gleefully embrace digital wraparound apparitions and the poor and vulnerable of this world suffer and die out of sight and out of mind. It is the fundamental seismic shift of our era and perhaps the greatest propaganda operation ever undertaken. A sort of end-times desperate gambit.
And “it just so happens” to revolve around the use of death fear to accomplish its goals.
But for the elites, there will be no death. For having realized that their stolen wealth and power can only take them so far, and they too will become food for worms, they have commandeered science and medicine to undertake their immortality projects. If medicine fails to find for them the secret of immortality, then computer science and Artificial Intelligence will, and they will be uploaded into computers and live forever in their beloved cyberspace. Digital immortality is not a joke for these people – see Kurzweil’s (the director of engineering at Google) “The Singularity,” etc. – for they are actually insane but hold key positions throughout the computer and biotechnology industries. Check where the super rich invest their money to confirm this. None of it is secret.
Having heeded Russell Baker’s words about television offering no mental distraction between dinner and bedtime, I took to my crib early, knowing Tweedledee and Tweedledum would be dueling again, this time in what they humorously called a debate. I was surrounded by my stuffed animals that protected me and I slept safe and sound.
Upon awakening, I read that the gladiators had exchanged blows but that both were left standing for the big showdown on November 3. I also noticed that each had used the words “dark winter” in reference to Covid-19. Biden said one was coming and Trump said he didn’t know.
Neither, of course, spoke of the Dark Winter Exercise, a senior level war game conducted on June 22-23, 2001, about a biological attack, a smallpox outbreak, the public health response, the lack of vaccines, the need for quarantine and isolation, the restriction of civil liberties, and the role of the Defense Department and the military in the response. Nor did they speak of anthrax attacks, but the Canadian researcher, Graeme MacQueen, will here fill you in on both, in case you don’t know.
Maybe the boys just forgot.
I am sure they didn’t talk about the elements of Trump’s “Operation Warp Speed,” but if you wish to understand how we are being gamed, Whitney Webb will tell you here.
Was there any mention of the Russians? I haven’t heard. They are always a kind of a solution. As my friend Joe Green has said:
All dissenting opinions are Russian. I think Socrates said that. I’m paraphrasing.
Distinguished author and sociologist Edward Curtin is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He is the author of the new book: https://www.claritypress.com/product/seeking-truth-in-a-country-of-lies/