You’re living in the collapse phase. Like Rome, like so many great empires before, America is over. The weight of the contradictions has grown too dense, the bough is breaking, the machine is grinding slowly to the heat death of ultimate anarchy. Or is it? The thing is – nobody knows. Is history back, ready to regale us with a baton slap across the face, or is that summoning up of the specter of heroic protest and state violence itself another illusion, and in five months all of us will be thinking, looking at our mail-in voting ballots, asking “did we really think that looting the Nike store was going to overthrow fascism?”
The problem with an actual return to history beyond the dead-end of “Amazon runs everything” is that it is so totally unpredictable. All previous markers of political knowledge are dead and gone. Those who have complained about wokeness may now find themselves rooting for anarchy, especially if they can’t find a job. Those who are unemployed and whose lives are destroyed and who have no employer-based-healthcare may hope for nothing more than the Oval Office to be torn to pieces by a great swallowing up of the cognitive dissonance of the blood pact of 1776, the great Demiurgic throne built on the spines of slaves. And all those cheering it on, unfortunately, will still be on the side of Amazon, which has condoned the protests and the riots and the outpouring of your righteous anger.
Surely, America is a failed state. Anyone paying attention has known this for a long while. Every so often an Event would happen. Snowden would reveal that we had no privacy. Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange would reveal that leaking evidence of state crimes was worse than the crime itself. The Epstein saga revealed that the most vaunted halls of celebrity and political power were monuments to the sex trafficking of children. And Eric Garner would prove that selling loosies on the street was a more grievous crime in America than looting the treasury. As my dad, weeks ago, pointed out that COVID-19 seemed like a return of the motif of “I can’t breathe”, the slogan of American failure to protect its own citizens, George Floyd’s death has assumed total continuity with the reality of COVID-19 and unmasked the gums and teeth of the psychoid monster inside us which yearns for the sunset to fall on Madison Avenue, once and for all.
As an American, a young American without an obvious path forward in life, it is deeply unclear what I wish would happen. The bottling up of American terror in COVID-19, the demand to cut all bonds of community and stay indoors, to reach Great Depression levels of unemployment, has clearly been released by an act of racial terror, and now everyone is in on the plan. Crashing this plane with no survivors is an appealing gambit. After all, what is left of America but the advertising of America? The COVID-19 commercials, the false sense of community, the sickly-sweet piano music and the lie of “we’re all in this together” have demonstrated the rot in whatever aesthetic or spiritual sense we have ever had about this nation. There is nothing left!
Of course, to let it all burn is also deeply shortsighted, perhaps the most pathetic option of them all. If America falls, what replaces it? Amazon and Netflix, of course. Consumption hubs which are committed to anti-racism and still want to pay you a low wage to die with indignity and at least know that you have a rainbow flag in the snack room as a testament to the boss’s “good values”. The jackboot, no matter what happens, will remain, because even after a weekend of debilitating rioting the stock market went up. Yes, on June the first, the day after the Pentecost of our Lord, the stocks continued to rise. I am even aware that Elon Musk just sent someone to space, or something. My Tesla stock has grown. I’m richer now than I was the Friday before. Pathetic.
What we will import into space or hyperspace or into the afterlife is the same damn ambiguity we have contained here in America, on Earth. The collapse won’t bring about anything new. It will only embolden Telsa, Amazon, and the shareholders to take control of the narrative and buy out the county from the empty, looted treasury, which they just finished pouring into their own pockets. It’s all a psy-op, of course, it’s all a game – all those Twitter frogs who know deny that they were ever Twitter frogs, who loved Donald Trump because Donald Trump seemed to break the rules of the game – now the man is a wheezing sack calling in the military, waiting to lose an election and finally be done with it all after leaving the country to the rioters and the armed and trained wolves. Donald Trump, of course, never planned for all this. But they “trusted the plan”. Oh, they did.
Narratives are all dead, and they are also all alive. COVID-19, as of today, has died. Where going to the beach was a controversy not two weeks ago, today Dr. Anthony Fauci could be accused of white privilege for calling to an end to the protests on the basis of CDC guidelines on mass gatherings. And he would be well within his right to do so. And he would be wrong, because he would be a narrow mind of science – incapable of grasping any of the truths of human culture – as narrow men of science and statistics often are. But still, Fauci’s narrative has been reset. CNN, the premier hub of COVID-19 panic for the past three months, could now accuse Fauci of silencing black voices for pointing out that we are failing to flatten the curve. And they would be right to do so. Shutting down these protests is simply a moral impossibility, even as the military mobilizes tonight to do just that, whatever that entails. Dr. Anthony Fauci, at the very least, is now just a bit player in what was once his own drama.
Men of statistics are the least prepared to face the coming age. The well-meaning rationalists continue to post evidence that it is still statistically rare for unarmed black people to be shot by police in America, thinking that graphs and averages will save us. They do not understand that the unconscious grasps onto whatever is most important to it, regardless of whether or not it is borne out by science to be objectively the most significant event on a particular statistical sheet. As Carl Jung pointed out, we may hold a handful of stones, and measure out the weight of the “average stone” as a function of mathematics. Yet, this “average stone” is still just an abstraction. No single stone in the handful may actually weigh that precise amount. The mathematical fact is a fabrication.
The fact of the matter is that everyone is still caged within their own experiences, and fatally so. A peaceful protester tear-gassed and shot at out of nowhere knows where he stands. A store owner whose shop was vandalized and raided may become a hardened right-winger for the next fifty years. No one, truly, can stand outside of their own experience. The most erudite thinker and “man of letters” is more or less a prisoner of circumstance, of whether or not his local Catholic priest turned out to be a pedophile, and if he did, then he will never take Catholicism seriously a day in his life. And Carl Jung claimed to have seen Christ in molten-green gold standing at the foot of his bed in the night, an alchemical stone in human form. Experience informs all, absolutely all, that we are and can be. We are all of us Monads, infinitely limited, incapable of grasping the whole. America will never be the synthesis of all possible views which its rationalistic, freedom seeking founders believed. Democracy is impossible, because each person in their heart holds two votes.
I am made up of two poles, and I am mad that I am bipolar! One side of me of course despises the cops and yearns for action, any action at all, to make a stand against the knee on the neck of the black man who in the year 2020 is the incarnate psychic image of the crucified Christ in the American consciousness. The Rosicrucian cross, black and adorned with roses, is the Christ lynched in the south, adorned with the promise of utopian socialism all around him, the holy linage of Martin Luther King and the truly Christian response to state terror. I know all this is true. And yet, I also know something else is true – that I read Dostoevsky’s Demons and I know that at the end of a mob with righteous anger at its side can be anything ranging from a single murder to the proposal of the raising of a new false God. Is it possible to build a new type of society, here, today, in the United States? Out of the fractured psyche we inhabit, where God the Father is a patriarch and an amoral monstrosity, and the color of one’s skin becomes a symbol of sacred identity? I am not so optimistic. I think, in the end, Bezos will still win. Bezos always wins. He’ll outlast Trump. He’ll outlast the fascists. Efficiency, still, conquers all.
But there won’t be a revolution anyway – America is bought and owned, and the military is here. God only knows what they will do. Will there even be a protest this weekend? Or by then, will the peaceful protests have been flattened alongside the riots, and everyone told to stay in their homes once again? No one knows. In my heart, I wish for a continuation of uncertainty, a continuity of chaos, the archangel of history descending once more in the fields of Bohemia to whisper to Frederick V of the Palatinate that the world will be conquered by will and inspiration. Sophia of the golden fields will ride from the ruin of the kingdom and give birth to a new line of royalty, not by blood, but by imaginative power. Human beings will become the conscience of the world itself, and our actions, for good or for ill, will determine the color of the clouds, the temperature of the rain, the wilting or the reign of the red flowers.
In the end, though, there is pain, and there is spectacle. There is an America in a Great Depression with no prospect of return, ripping itself apart. In November, we will nominally ask for Joe Biden to save us. And he will not. And every narrative will live again, and die again, and in the living and the dying we will pretend to know what will happen and what is right. But we are all of us bipolar, split right down the middle. We could wish to abandon the world and become saints, prayer as our only tool, in the same hour that we wish the riot would raid an Amazon warehouse from shelf to shelf, leaving it bare for the lambs to roost inside and occupy. We have only wishes, and we do not know who we are. And the military is coming, sirens ablaze, the army, the army, is on its way!
I appreciate your intelligent writing. You call yourself a young American but your words are those of a sage. I, too, feel bipolar right now. Thank you for putting the turmoil into words.
I grew up in a more simple time. Sorry to leave this mess for you all. It certainly is not the world I wanted for my kids. We got caught up in being of the world and here we are.
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