As if I didn’t have enough good reasons not to listen to the final Presidential debate last Wednesday night, I had the ultimate one of finding myself in a motel room on the Gulf Coast with my companion a Bernie Sanders fan who will probably, reluctantly vote for Clinton sometime in the next couple of weeks. I’m sure I’ll find time somehow before Nov. 3 to likewise vote for Trump, and thank God neither of us wanted to subject the other to that conflict on vacation. It’s been my unfortunate lesson that wakefulness is not contagious, but also that one loves who one loves, regardless of their mistakes. Or of one’s own.
It was unseasonably warm last week in Galveston – perceived temperatures, at least, in the 90s, and muggy. The human on the beaches was still mercifully thin, and I’m sure the locals are ready for autumn. We were staying at a relatively inexpensive motel with an excellent restaurant on the seawall near the Convention Center, but we found a nearly empty stretch several miles down the coast in Jamaica Beach, a deserted stretch with no improvements near some houses on stilts (built southwest of the seawall). Deserted that is, except for a mysterious crowd of small, seemingly dark people who walked down to the beach apparently from the highway at some point, motivating me to keep an eye on our camp chairs while we walked the other way. I didn’t get close enough to see who they were. I may have been more interested earlier in my life; at this point I’ve decided it’s best just to avoid such groups. Such is life in America in the 21st Century.
It’s usually been the case with me that I maintain, not separate lives, but several different clusters of interests that carry me in different directions, to different sub-identities for periods while the others rest. Having like many others been briefly sucked reluctantly into caring about politics in this election year, maybe being gulled momentarily by the Trump movement in the alternative culture while being spared by my aversion to mainstream media, to much exposure to the man himself, I have come to reluctant but inevitable realization of the sham nature of it all, which of course I have known since 2009, at least, when it became obvious that the Obama candidacy was the perfect set-up, the last time I would be fooled (cue the Who). If anyone hasn’t learned from sixteen years of Bushbama, with all the prequels, there is nothing I can say.
You have seen, of course, my identity within the cults of our blood. Walking along the sand in Galveston, with the ocean I first saw as an infant, and where I was in some sense thought not physically conceived, lured to this incarnation (where my parents met while he prepared to ship out to fight on the wrong, “winning” side in that War), I feel myself as primevally old, older than civilization and than any races that have names. I say my prayers, my approximately daily dedications and invocations to the powers above and beside me to do for me the things this identity cannot do, so that I am thereby enabled and obligated to do the things that I can. But this time, and briefly before I went on this trip, and still now, I was and am called to another cluster of Self. Arguably, I am called to escape, although it feels like a fresh cool bath of sanity, which allows me to reforge the Self which I must have to move forward. I am called to good fiction.
Two writers in linked genres called to me now, as they do frequently and eternally: William Gibson, the father of the movement called cyberpunk, which he would disavow, and whose writings stand so far above the rest of that (now mostly deceased) subgenre as to make them superfluous; and Shirow Masamune, the creator of manga like Ghost in the Shell and Appleseed, whose vision of a transhuman world also so far transcends that of his peers, that one must experience it to understand. I could write many words about each of these writers, and have abortively tried to do so. Perhaps these writings will see print some day, but I encourage my readers who find their minds frying on the griddle of current events who want intelligent and stylish diversion, to take some comfort there. Comfort in a rather cold place.
It’s probably an adjunct to such flights into what I find constructive fantasy, that I find myself drawn into the actual manifestations of the world that have inspired and are inspired by such futuristic visions, and the best of “science fiction” in general. It’s another manifestation of the apparent clash between what I believe to be best and necessary and what draws me. It all fits in somehow with the fact that, in a world that needs my progeny, I don’t mind that I find myself childless at an age where a change in that status would be by all accounts unfortunate; it is a perhaps unfortunate reality that during the years which in a different man would have been prime for child-rearing, I was engaged in other battles and it is a blessing to souls waiting to be born, that they were not born to me during those times. Similarly, I rather strongly believe that our technological civilization is headed for collapse, as perhaps it has done many time before. I find it extremely likely that we, or our children will live in a world without advanced technology, and I find it more than unfortunate that most of us have lost the minimal skills necessary to do so. My father’s generation could have lived, and their parents’ did live, on the land in the 1920’s when a lower level of tech fled. My nonexistent children’s could not, as neither could most of my own. I strongly support and encourage all the back-to-the-land movements.
And yet, I myself, raised on a farm, never wanted much to do with farming. I worked when I had to in their gardens and I raised cattle. But that was never where my pleasure or my identity lay, and as a youth I longed for urban environments. I loved San Francisco when I lived there in the 1980’s. I am sure that these environments and I are both transformed so that we would not fit together now. But Gibson’s cities, from Neuromancer and later Pattern Recognition and most recently The Peripheral, like that of Blade Runner are places where one of my souls has very much lived.
I had listened to The Peripheral on Audible last year and enjoyed it. Gibson has probaby done the most ground-breaking of his work, had done it with the trilogy in the mid-80’s that started with Neuromancer, and after that worked on refining his craft itself. But we all live in a world that is much like he envisioned in Neuromancer. The Peripheral is in some ways almost a return to roots for Gibson, closer to SF than he has gone in while. But he has become a genius of language, a master stylist; so that I was drawn, while reading (or re-reading?) that latter work on my Kindle this week, to his use of the word “kleptocracy” to describe one of his multiple future governments. For some reason I hadn’t encountered the word before, or hadn’t retained it. Its meaning is obvious from its etymology; it is government by thieves. You can look it up alone, with some interesting results. Of course, what occurred to me is how descriptive it is of what “ours” has become.
We do not live in a democratic republic, no matter what the mainstream media or some of the alternative, tries to tell you. We live in the remnants of an empire that manifested within the remains of such a republic sometime around 1865. The American Empire took the assets of the British one by 1945, and since then the dissolution of it and of its mirror in Russia have occupied the main place on the stage of world events, have dictated all its costumes and scenery. Elections do occur; the mechanism are still in place, and sometimes they probably even proceed as intended. But not the important ones. It amazes me that the same people who point out how Clinton – who no one supported and probably few really do, still, for President – stole the primaries from Sanders, think Trump can win the election. Trump cannot and will not win the election in fifteen days, unless the powers behind Clinton and Obama and Bush before them want him to win.
I will probably waste my time to take off work to go in and vote early for Trump, because I personally find such gestures to be necessary. You may not, and we both can live in the same world.
But I realize, having concluded my personal vacation (though not my return to Gibson and Masamune), that I have known for some time now, that this is a re-formative period, one of those times when shifts occur in “time” which presage a new age. It has felt to me, on macro- and micro-, societal and personal levels, that events would occur by the end of October whose consequences will filter down and settle in to begin a whole new course of things by mid-January. My feelings and perceptions around such things exist on the same level of reality that some draw from the Tarot and the Runes; I like to feel that I have learned to channel them directly. Maybe you will have a sense on an intuitive level, or on a very concrete one, in the next few months, of whether I was right.
But the election is not the process of which I speak; it is but a superficial manifestation in this material world of the deeper shift of which I speak. We are heading for a long dark time in the Age of Lead, of which a Clinton Presidency will be only the initial, preliminary stage of collapse. So much so that I shout out now, while perhaps my voice will be heard, if only by a few, at some risk that there will be memories in bad places, of my shouting. All such behavior is a calculation and an attempted balance, and your decision is your own.
As for myself, I feel myself drawn to things like the cyber-world that is so important to Gibson and Masamune Shirow. I tried to learn Linux for a more secure and verifiable OS but found I didn’t have the time, and lacking that the talent and inclination to do it quickly, and spent my time researching VPNS and alternatives. A clampdown is coming on our internet functions which perhaps we can do nothing to avoid; we all know about the UN takeover, the true nature of the TPP… I am always amazed at those who do not believe that the internet cannot be shut down in a heartbeat by the powers that be, along with the grid itself. Or failing that, to be so tightly controlled and regulated that cries like mine will only be echoes in a wilderness of the mind that perhaps some can recover.
In other worlds, I make these gestures, project my identity into these scenarios that my mind tell me, will not be true, will not occur. But some part of my soul tells me otherwise. The survival of our people, if we are to survive, probably lies with the warrior and the farmer, and at a time when I am too old to be either of these, effectively. I feel very much to be a necessary figure of the progenitive age, whose mostly unknown work and study will in some way inform the time to come, to become fruitful in a bloodstream that is not literally mine.
Or perhaps having spent some time in a cooler cyber realm, having perhaps refreshed myself, maybe I will step back into the fray. Maybe just in time to be beheaded by a grenade or a sniper? We shall see.