Donald Trump, post-truth president. Is post-“truthiness” what he and Vladimir Putin have in common? Post-truth, post-literate, alternative facts? According to Gary Lachman, in his frightening book Dark Star Rising:
Trump seems in many ways to be modelling his administration on the kind of system Putin has had in place for years, in which the business of politics entails not only the practical concerns of running a government, but the wider, more inclusive activity of creating reality. (Gary Lachman, Dark Star Rising, p. 137)
Mr. Lachman devotes his entire book to investigating the influence of “occult” or “esoteric” ideas on politics. The continuing success of Mr. Trump, even as we approach the midterms, is depressing evidence of the power of these ideas, because he is a living, breathing example of some of them. His success, I believe, indicates that we, as a people, are turning away from reason as our guide to navigate reality. And our society, thanks in large part to the New Media, is lapsing further into infantile thinking. Indeed, instead of a post truth world of alternative facts, we are regressing into a pre-truth world, childishly unable to think ourselves toward reality.
The notion of using government to create reality operates on many fronts. It can target opinion makers individually. The Sunday, October 21 edition of the New York Times headlines with “Saudis Deploy a Swarm of Online Trolls to Stifle Critics Like Khashoggi”. The article describes how Jamal Khashoggi would greet each morning confronting an army of Twitter trolls, “ordered to attack him and other influential Saudis who had criticized the kingdom’s leaders.” ( article by Katie Benner, Mark Mazzetti, Ben Hubbard and Mike Isaac). A friend of his said it was like facing gunfire, and his friends often called him to check on his mental state. Is the general public mentally massaged, manipulated, by this same process? Let’s take a look at the big picture.
Taking another step down the proverbial rabbit-hole, or shall we call it an Inferno: “If Trump’s personal style and modus operandi suggest similarities with chaos magick, the kind of reality Putin and his ‘political technologists’ have been busy manufacturing seems in many ways very much like the kind of shifting, transitory world that chaos magicians find appealing.” (Lachman, p. 137) Chaos magick, what the hell is that?
The meat, the heart, of Gary’s book is to clarify how the roots of these current “occult”, “esoteric”, forces have grown their way into the White House and the Kremlin. They all have to do with using the mind directly “to bring reality into being.” Anybody who has taken a moment to read this blog is no doubt familiar with the 19th century New Thought movements such as Christian Science, “the power of positive thinking”, theosophy, Aleister Crowley and chaos magick, and so forth. The difference now is that the Internet has provided a new platform for this type of thinking to surface in pervasive and malignant ways. Trump’s vapid twitter drooling is just one example.
Lachman informs us, in Chapter 6, of a more serious, more systematic example of how New Media and New Thought can come together politically. Anton Vaino, Putin’s chief of staff, “presents a new system of government, designed specifically for the modern age.” Vaino apparently focuses on a device he calls the “nooscope, which is somehow able to access global consciousness.”
We have now arrived in the command center of this evil. Nooscope, noosphere, both are terms, as Lachman asserts, that correlate to Jung’s collective unconscious, to theosophy’s akashic record. Teilhard, who coined the term, used it to refer to an evolutionary merging of individual minds into a collective, as described by Arthur C. Clarke in Childhood’s End. With the ascendance of the World Wide Web, and according to Vaino’s blueprint, the nooscope will be able to detect and register changes in the biosphere and in human activity. Lachman concludes that this amounts to being able to read the “mind of the planet.”
Interestingly, never mind that Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Netflix, Amazon, and all the rest of Big Tech have been doing the same thing, it seems that now our political institutions are getting involved. To quote Lachman, “with more and more ‘smart devices feeding data into this stream, the ability to chart trends and predict and control movements in the noosphere will be more and more possible.” (Lachman, p. 144)
Gary introduced a new word to me in this book. Synarchy. It means the opposite of anarchy. If central government, and Big Tech collaborate in creating a system that is enforced by the top of the hierarchy, then we have synarchy.
In the immortal words of Lyndon Johnson, “Let us reason together.” We cannot let this happen.