Culture Jamming

By Nowick Gray

Introduction

As I walked from the nature reserve out onto the highway, I was lost in my thoughts, still dazzled by the beauty of those sunlit meadows. On the dirt shoulder, I picked up the pace, feeling the traffic vibe. But I was caught off guard by a big red truck barreling toward me, passing a line of cars in the slow lane.

Emergency! in the form of a big red truck, bound for glory.

This is where we are. The shit’s in the fan and it’s ramping up speed. Existential threats on a global scale are now multiple: climate change (”real or not-and important to see who is bringing about the so-called changes in our climate-with chemtrails and other nefarious ‘weapons’ such as harp, could the very people screaming climate change be the ones making it happen?-of course, it has been their dark strategy all along, in my opinion”-publisher”), ecosystem collapse, nuclear or biological war, transhumanism…

Is there a solution? The perennial debate invites all comers. Idealists of every stripe rise to the challenge. From the technological fix to political reformation, from self-help to globalism, nothing has worked so far to reverse the hockey-stick curve to catastrophe. Meanwhile the evil empire—wherever we choose to locate it—keeps making things worse. Whoever the culprit is, they are ruining our story line, our preferred pristine path, our dream of earthly paradise.

Finding a solution keeps leading back to naming the problem, and digging to the root of it. Who’s benefiting? Who or what is to blame?

As the shadow-puppets on history’s stage keep shifting, we arrive at a persistent, nagging presence—“live” spelled backwards— e-v-i-l. More conveniently still, we paste the D of Death on the front and call the prince of darkness the Devil.

In our enlightened age of science and psychology we might call this negative principle “entropy,” or simply, “the other,” not-me.

Yin-Yang

One of the world’s oldest belief systems, Taoism wraps the good vs. evil dualism in a digestible package, integrated in an eternal dance. The idealists of white light will have to take a step back to appreciate the bigger picture beyond a certain hope. On the flip side of the cosmic coin, curmudgeonly pessimists and disaster capitalists, champions of “nature red in tooth and claw,” need to step aside to make room for the innate kindness of human nature. Nature, indeed, is the model for storm and stillness blended in a living whole, jamming to the end and beyond.

 

As for our dreams of a thriving future, or our dystopian nightmares, it is helpful to see these, like everything else in our experience, as mental constructs—stories. Our heroes and anti-heroes are actors in a script of our own making. Everything we tell ourselves, and are told to believe, about what is real, exists in a linguistic universe that is subject to endless interpretation, manipulation, and rewriting. My advice is to discard the narrative that doesn’t serve us, and start freestyling the story we prefer to live.

Part One: The Televised Cultural Anti-Revolution

The Revolution will not be televised. –Gil Scott Herron

 

At the root of the ongoing crimes against nature and humanity is a dysfunctional psyche, aberrant in its exile from natural human kindness and compassion. When the history of species extinction and wars of choice is stripped of its wrappings of official story, we see the less palatable story, the engine driving the big red truck, fueled by policies and agendas chosen by psychopaths and sociopaths.

The psychopathic personality lacks empathy and so is cold to the suffering it causes others. The sociopathic personality inflicts damage, for its own amusement and aggrandizement, on the world at large. Yes, this too is a story, but it’s a primal one and so may help illuminate our situation.

The Global Parasite

Some facts are inconvenient but indisputable. War and ecocide, terror and assassination, abuse and exploitation all take their toll and leave their mark for all who experience it to see and feel. Genocide is real: crimes against humanity. Species extinction and toxic waste are real: crimes against nature.

Who has the power to cause or resist these crimes?

If money is power, look to the money. At the top of the pyramid, the richest 1% have 80% of the world’s wealth; even more extreme, eight individuals have as much as the poorest half of the world’s population (over 3.5 billion people).

If we want to see sociopathy in action, history is full of its rape and pillage. Largely the spoils have gone to the global Western empire, a political and economic juggernaut of various national stripes, from Alexander’s legions to NATO, expressing with full force the will to power. While capitalism is often blamed for its rapacious greed, the “money is power” equation reveals a deeper motive, that of power for its own sake. To justify crimes done in our democratic name, the story mill has to be cranked to full volume, so the populace buys in to the program.

 

Narrative Control

Instead of AI, it’s psychopathic oligarchs who are keeping us asleep in the Matrix. And instead of code, it’s narrative. —Caitlin Johnstone, “Society Is Made Of Narrative. Realizing This Is Awakening From The Matrix.”

Since political and economic power depends on mass citizen and consumer consent, the key strategy of the power holders is narrative control. Common language has been co-opted and massaged for effect—to paint a rosy picture of what is deemed “appropriate,” and to put a damning spin on whatever facts or opinions dare to counter the approved narrative. Thus the demonization of WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange as the number one enemy of the empire, for exposing war crimes and disrupting the narrative.

Orchestrated propaganda operations are well documented (notably, the CIA confessing to Congress its “Mockingbird” program to infiltrate and control the media) though still shoved under the carpet (“Oh, that was back in the seventies, ancient history. We don’t do that anymore”). The pervasive use of emotional triggers and repetitive story lines amounts to an ongoing campaign of linguistic mind control.

Freud’s nephew Edward Bernays, inventor of the science of public relations, was the insider’s prophet of the new age of disinformation. Call it art or science, the spin doctors have been busy selling war and propaganda, consumer goods and “official” history ever since.

Political discourse in the West has been dumbed down to a synthetic pastiche of buzzwords: democracy, freedom fighters, terrorists, Axis of Evil, conspiracy theory—a term first popularized by the CIA to steer a desperately curious citizenry away from inquiry into the assassination of JFK. Following script after the events of 9/11, President Bush warned the public not to entertain “outrageous conspiracy theories”—that is, any skepticism of the government’s own officially authorized theory of “the bad guys’” conspiracy.

 

False Flags, Proxy Terrorists, and Other Useful Diversions

The use of “false flags” to blame enemies for one’s own crimes, in order to justify violent countermeasures, has a long and ignoble history. Iraq’s phantom “weapons of mass destruction” come to mind, along with the mythical incubator babies in Kuwait that led to Daddy Bush’s first Gulf War. The neocon think tank Project for a New American Century proposed the need for a “new Pearl Harbor” in the year before 9/11, to galvanize public support for the coming imperial conquests: “starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.” No accident to invoke the ghost of Pearl Harbor, itself a convenient excuse for a war the American people didn’t want.

“National Security” Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski had already mapped out the bigger prize, the land mass of Eurasia, three years before, in his book with the telling title, The Grand Chessboard. Russia is the prize of that endgame, which helps explain its demonization to this day.

Meanwhile, the brushfires where empire meets resistance are used to light the campfire story theatre. Examining any of the following official stories, we find evidence that is shaky, concocted, or missing; with key witnesses, journalists, and skeptics silenced and disappeared: ISIS, Ukraine, Bali bombing, anthrax, Oklahoma City, USS Liberty, Gladio, the King David Hotel, the Lusitania, the Gulf of Tonkin, JFK, RFK, 911, Christchurch

The strategy of modern mafia journalism is two-pronged: fake news and no news. If a nation’s citizens are glued to the TV, radio, film and print outlets of a handful of major media corporations, it’s a simple matter to present a single narrative and exclude all others. The pretense of liberalism and objectivity is as simple as maintaining the illusion of choice between Democrats and Republicans, or between Pepsi and Coke. No other contenders need apply.

That leaves you and me to do our own research and make our own assessments of what makes sense. And don’t assume that sites like Wikipedia or Snopes are trustworthy authorities. They are certainly co-opted too.

The old legal question Who benefits? is a good one to ask when discerning the truth of any narrative. In the case of the term itself ( Cui bono?)Wikipedia is refreshingly transparent in expounding: “Crimes are oftentimes committed to benefit their perpetrators, especially financially. Which party benefits may not be obvious, and there may be a scapegoat.” So dig deeper—to your own intuition. If what is presented here resonates, you can go to my trusted sources (links below) to investigate further.

 

Intelligence Pimps and Liquid Screen Culture

The illusion of freedom [in America] will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”

—Frank Zappa, musician and cultural iconoclast

The emphasis of those in power to control the narrative extends beyond the realms of public relations, propaganda, advertising, and media monopolies. It goes back through the centuries of thought control by the Church, and of blind allegiance to King and Country. In the early twentieth century an American-style cultural revolution was begun, with mass indoctrination through public and higher education overseen by moguls Ford and Rockefeller. Through control of grants and funding, literature and the arts became compromised. Pre-computer public “programming” got a major upgrade from radio to the new household god, TV. As if the steady stream of scripted stories and advertising was not enough, a VR drip of subliminal messaging was inserted to promote “patriotic” values. From Hollywood to Super Bowl halftime shows, occult symbolism is invoked (like the Nazi swastika) to seal the new deal in the semi-lobotomized brains of viewers. Behind the scenes, brainwashing and mind control became programs of advanced research and development, to an extent only hinted at beneath the curtains of our manufactured-in-Oz worldview.

It’s comforting to blame the perpetrators for our systematic abuse. Easy to point to the CIA, or the Matrix mafia, or the Bilderberg bluebloods, as the Devil—especially when they don that mask shamelessly. If our eyes are wide open, we can also vilify the presstitute media as accomplices, like the mockingbirds destroying Syria—and whatever country (Venezuela, Iran) is next on the hit list. In the case of Venezuela, with zombie Elliot “Death Squad” Abrams in charge, the imperial raptors brazenly work the controls of destruction with the curtain pulled aside.

In truth we citizens of the Western empire are all co-opted and compromised by the dominant system of belief and lifestyle. Our innocent desires for personal comfort and security—pandering to what Mao called “the bourgeois in all of us”—translate to complicity, implied consent. Enjoying our relative affluence, we welcome the filters of cognitive dissonance, the stories placed around our heads like blinders on a horse, or a hood before our own gradual execution.

If we are victimized more completely, like the colonized peasants of Central and South America, we don’t even have the time or will to think about such matters, even as they press more heavily upon us. Our sights are set to low: bread on the table, a bed to sleep on, a roof over our heads.

 

Time is Money is Power (”Or perhaps Power is Simply Our Personal Freedom”-publisher)

Who benefits from the takeover of real social space by virtual social media? We humans by the billions are lapping it up, unapologetic, exercising our so-called free choice. But the result is even more overwhelm. If we had time on our hands (once upon a time) to muse or reflect or discuss face to face, it’s all gone now into the black hole of the ever present screen.

In our global jungle economy, everybody’s strapped—but still strapped into our cheap fake news and entertainment seats. Mainstream media delivers an ear-blasting, fast-action cascade of violent diversions, a veritable Roman circus; replacing real news with a selective pastiche for desired effect, reinforced by sober commentary from vetted experts and airbrushed personas.

Digesting that plastic TV dinner, we assume that energy is scarce, time is running out. Forget the murdered inventors of free energy devices—it never happened and you didn’t hear about it. It wasn’t part of the history you were part of and it won’t be part of your future, either. Besides, you have to set the alarm and get up for work again…

But wait! The terror alert is fixed on high, and there’s more coming, so buckle up… and remember you can still “vote” using our like totally fail-safe corporate-secured black box (secret codes for official use only).

If we find ourselves strapped with necessity and overwhelmed with choice, no wonder we can’t keep up with the pace of the breakaway civilization engineered from on high. Bush Jr.’s speechwriter (who else?) Karl Rove put it best (chiding a pesky reporter Ron Susskind):

We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.

I prefer to pass on that end game. I say we scatter the pieces, stand up, and move to a new board altogether.

 

Part Two: Cultural Evolution: The Sacred Rebel

If the sacred rebel is not awakened, we will continue to live in a culture drenched in fear and distrust of nature. —Alana Fairchild, Sacred Rebels Oracle

The first illusion is to buy into the controlling narrative, to see an “evil enemy” challenging our homeland, our national security, our way of life. Then once we see through the fake news, we can start to fill the gap with true history from independent investigative journalism, and brave whistleblowers like Ellsburg, Manning, Snowden and Assange.

Does that help, to shift our recognition of evil deeds from fake news to real news? Yes, and it’s not enough. Because that too is a story. As any artist knows, metaphor trumps program, every time. Because it invites awareness. But even if our new truther’s lens is more transparent than the corrupted corporate media, the danger is to stay locked in a good guys / bad guys polarity. We might correctly identify the oligarchs at the top as the source of the world’s problems. Still we need to dig deeper to understand their pathology, with both personal and global dimensions. The problem then invites an appropriate response, also personal and collective.

Humans have brought about the extinction of so many other species, our own survival now becomes precarious. Have we adapted too successfully for our own good? In the face of crises, we have prevailed; but it’s not just because of endless greed and precocious technology. We can take pride, and hope, in a more sustainable skill set: the art of improvisation.

The specific adaptation that made us most fundamentally human might have been the evolved capacity to navigate niche transitions in much faster than biological time. Throughout our species’ developmental history, we found ourselves pushed to the edge of extinction many times. Over and over again, our survival depended on becoming capable of leaving one niche and adapting to a new one. Ultimately, this problem itself *became* our fundamental niche. Evolution finally found a way to create a species whose niche is niche transition.

Evolution did this by moving almost all of our adaptive specialization from the biological (hardware) layer into the cultural (software layer). And it coded (at a very deep level) a capacity to shift from “culture mode,” where we are limited to using the tools in our given cultural toolkit, into a creative “liminal mode,” where we can form collective intelligence to navigate complex reality directly and with remarkable fluidity. —Bret Weinstein paraphrased by Jordan Hall

After confronting false flags and fake news and setting the record straight, after opening our conscience to hidden crimes funded with our taxes and shielded by our screens of distraction, what’s left is not just to fight, but to unplug, defusing and descaling the parasitic matrix of global, multinational and even national power.

At this stage of history the little man behind the curtain is exposed for all to see. It’s an exclusive tea party of ”uberwealth”, pulling strings and levers, its loyal class of functionaries serving a menu to the rest of us ranging from belief and consent to obedience and fear. But our consent gives way in the light of truth awareness.

We don’t have to kill the messenger, just the pathological message. We can open up the space between all the stories—“ours” as well as “theirs”—and get back to reality: humans discussing, face to face, as inherent equals, the way forward, the cure for our cultural disease. If our critical adaptive advantage as a species is to improvise, we can dismiss the con game and start practicing a democratization of narrative.

In “The Old Way”—that of the Ju/wasi (Bushmen) who successfully endured 150,000 years of life in the harsh environment of the Kalahari—that collective wisdom percolated around the campfire, near the waterhole. Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, who met that culture in the 1950s, in its last days before it succumbed to extinction, found the key to their cultural matrix was social relationships, and common sense. The Ju/wasi faced their own occasional disturbed individuals who threatened to wreak havoc, and the solution was also personal and expedient: a poisoned arrow, to save the collective from their own loose cannon.

I once taught in an Inuit village, a culture on the edge, also having no margin for error. My students heard on the radio rumors of war, and I explained that some people, believe it or not, actually wanted war. One student asked matter-of-factually, “Then why doesn’t somebody kill them?”

Our own playgrounds might be posted with similar, if less deadly, advice: “How to Deal with Bullies.” But will any formula work every time? One bully’s motivation might be power; another, acting out hurt; another, an imbalance of brain chemicals. A creative response will have to fit the situation.

Free of stories, of prejudgment, demonization, synthetic moralizing, we might be more open to authentic responses to dysfunctional and antisocial attitudes and behavior. We won’t accept policies or prescriptions at face value, but will seek our own truth and that of our nemesis, the starved child driven to steal all the cookies, the alpha male hoarding the watermelon.

In the moment to moment lies the power of now. The switch to our awakening and liberation is always ready, and when we switch it we discover the potential for change.

Fear gives way to action motivated by inner truth. Right action includes what Quakers call “speaking truth to power.” We not only witness the truth of what is happening in the world, we also witness the human equality of the power holders, and we actively express our witness by speaking our truth, regardless of the power imbalance previously holding sway.

If our foundational truth is the vital principle and living web of Nature, as it was in The Old Way, then our predicament is ever more precarious. The Ju/wasi, we might say now, overadapted, specializing in their locale to such an extent that they could not adapt to changes brought by the outside world.

The New Way, I suggest, can still take nature as its foundation, if we add to environmental stewardship the commitment to embrace the improvisational spirit driving our even longer evolutionary strain.

We were not born in the Savannah, after all, but in the rain forest, and in the oceans, before that. We carry a heritage of change in our DNA; and we carry all these histories within us—even the false histories that have marked the plague on nature that calls itself “civilization.”

We can be global in our vision and compassion, yet local and decentralized in our decision-making and care of the environment. Even as we are all colonizers and self-colonizers, we are all indigenous. So let us be naturally human in pursuing reconciliation with nature and each other, by means of acknowledgement and reparations.

With numerous utopias advanced as models of human progress, will we ever erase the specter of evil? Jungian psychology would tell us that before thinking so, we should first take account of our own shadow. Maybe it’s both personal and universal: the Fred and Wilma Flintstone in all of us. Maybe we’re still just a bunch of chimps fighting for a piece of the watermelon.

Nature doesn’t care if the parasite kills the host. Even if the host is a whole species hijacked by “bad actors.” In truth we are all parasites; and we are all hosts. When the host is Nature itself, we have nothing to fear for her sake, except the raiment we like to see her clothed in. Nature naked will endure, to fashion new garments from whatever she has left in her inexhaustible wardrobe. Nature moves on, empathetic or unsmiling, as we may dare to project. She abides.

Let’s follow her model, then, compassionate and dispassionate, even passionate in our honoring of the life force.

If dance we may, then dance we will.

Jennifer Espenscheid – Shiva, Lord of the Dance

Maybe you, or you, or I, are the hundredth monkey, the one who finally “gets it” and transmits simultaneously over the global monkey brain so we all get it—it being whatever it takes to take the leap from monkey to human, from Shiva the destroyer to Shiva the dancer.

Maybe, in our moment of final crisis fast approaching, we’re about to stumble at last upon Tielhard de Chardin’s “Omega Point” of unity consciousness. Some will call it the Rapture, but we’ll invite everyone on board.

Well, maybe not everybody. I think compassion calls for leaving war criminals behind, in their little red rusting trucks. It sounds harsh, I know. But even the New Age drum circle can have one rule. Where I came from, it was simply, “Keep the beat” (in the wee hours, someone has to do it). In the latest incarnation, it was “No performers” (it’s not about you, but the group groove). Those are not the kind of prescriptions and proscriptions you can carve in stone tablets and enforce in courts of law. They are principles of respect, invitations of responsibility.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s jam, shall we?

Nowick Gray writes and drums from Salt Spring Island, BC.
View more of his writings at NowickGray.com.

 

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Nowick Gray writes and drums from Salt Spring Island, BC.

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