TIMES, TIME, AND HALF A TIME. A HISTORY OF THE NEW MILLENNIUM.

Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.



Sunday, June 25, 2017

Chicago: A Tale of Two Cities


Image Source: Newsweek.

Today on CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS, Zakaria interviewed Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago and Obama's former White House Chief of Staff. After they criticized Trump for five minutes, Zakaria borrowed Donald Trump's electoral phrase to describe Emanuel's promise to 'make Chicago's infrastructure great again.' Emanuel described a 4-year infrastructure plan to expand runways and trains at O'Hare Airport; mass transit with 4G on it; and modernize schools. The plan would bring 50,000+ additional new construction jobs to the city.


Of course, the segregation, chaos, and violence in the city are extremely politicized. The Obamas have roots in Chicago, and they are planning a presidential library and museum there. In January 2017, Trump made headlines by promising to send in the feds if Emanuel could not get the city in hand.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Venezuela's Pyramid Shopping Mall Torture Chamber


Al Jazeera: Venezuela faces food and medical supply shortage (24 June 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

From the WSJ (23 June 2017), a follow-up from my earlier post on Venezuela's crisis, as the country defiantly departed the Organization of American States:
"Almost two decades after Venezuela’s late president, Hugo Chávez, came to power in an electoral landslide, his country’s transformation seems to be taking an ominous new turn. A country that was once one of Latin America’s wealthiest is seeing its democratic institutions collapse, leading to levels of disease, hunger and dysfunction more often seen in war-torn nations than oil-rich ones.

Mr. Chávez’s successor, President Nicolás Maduro, has called for a National Constitutional Assembly to be elected on July 30 to draft a new constitution, in which ill-defined communal councils will take the place of Venezuela’s traditional governing institutions, such as state governments and the opposition-dominated Congress. The new assembly appears to be rigged to heavily represent groups that back the government.

The Maduro government says that the new assembly will find a peaceful way forward for a country enduring an economic depression and standing on the brink of civil conflict. The government says it is building on the legacy of Mr. Chávez, a military man who vowed to fight corruption, dismantle the venal old political establishment and be a voice for millions of poor Venezuelans. But the opposition, which is boycotting the assembly vote, calls it a naked attempt to end democracy and turn the country into a Cuba-style communist autocracy. The government’s own attorney general calls the vote illegal.

The 545-member assembly, a modern-day soviet, would hold unlimited power while it writes a new governing charter, which could take years. Meantime, the assembly is widely expected to scrap next year’s presidential elections.

'This is the last battle for democracy in Venezuela,' says David Smilde, a Venezuela expert at Tulane University.

For the U.S., the prospect of a new Cuba sitting atop trillions of dollars of oil reserves is profoundly unpleasant. For the past decade, Venezuela has aligned itself with Russia, China, Iran and Syria. Whether it thrives or implodes, Mr. Maduro’s petrostate could cause far greater headaches to the U.S. and Latin America than isolated Cuba. An implosion could mean bigger shipments of cocaine to Central America and the U.S., as well as a massive increase in the current flow of tens of thousands of refugees already fleeing the country for the U.S., Colombia, Brazil and elsewhere. And a consolidation of power could let Mr. Maduro deepen his partnership with U.S. adversaries.

The Trump administration has criticized Mr. Maduro’s plans to change the constitution, urging 'respect for democratic norms and processes.' The U.S. has called for Venezuela to free political prisoners, respect the opposition-controlled congress and 'hold free and democratic elections.'

Mr. Maduro’s move has aggravated Venezuela’s political crisis. The opposition, sensing a do-or-die moment, plans to ramp up daily street protests. Some 80 people have died in such demonstrations in the past three months, and the president is unlikely to ease off on the tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons.

'Maduro’s ultimate aim is to turn Venezuela into Cuba. And we will not accept being put in that cage,' says Julio Borges, the head of the opposition-dominated National Assembly.

Venezuela’s momentous new step isn’t taking place amid the kind of revolutionary euphoria that Mr. Chávez may have imagined before he died of cancer in 2013. Rather, it is being pushed by an unpopular government trying to keep power amid an economic implosion.

By year’s end, Venezuela’s economy will have shrunk by nearly a third in the past four years—a plunge similar to Cuba’s after the fall of the Soviet Union, and one rarely seen outside of conflict zones. In a nation estimated to be sitting on as much oil as Saudi Arabia, it is common to see poor families rummaging through garbage for food, even as the wealthy pack nearby gourmet restaurants.

Inflation was estimated by the International Monetary Fund at 720% this year; it is expected to surpass 2,000% next year. Shortages are so acute that three out of four Venezuelans lost an average of 18 pounds last year, according to a survey by Venezuelan universities. Diseases not seen there in decades, such as malaria, are back."

Protestas en Venezuela 22 de junio 2017 (23 June 2017). Video Source: Youtube. More from 22 June here.

Political prisoners in Caracas are transported to a former drive-in shopping mall, now prison, called the Helicoide. Failed Architecture provides a full history on the ominous building, which already had a negative, creepy reputation. There are rumours that there are underground tunnels under El Helicoide which reach out into different parts of the city. Image Source: arquitecturayempresa.

The Washington Post reports that political prisoners are transported to a pyramid-shaped complex called the Helicoide, where they are forced to eat pasta mixed with excrement:
"The headquarters of the Venezuelan intelligence service is a vast pyramid-shaped edifice known as the Helicoide, a former shopping mall which now functions as an interrogation pen for political prisoners and protesters.

The 30-year-old economics student had heard enough about the infamous building to be terrified as he was led into a dank cell in early April — his eyes blindfolded, his wrists bound by his shoelaces.

'You’re going to die here,' a guard informed him, he later recalled.

The student had been detained after throwing rocks at an anti-government protest. During the 12 hours he spent inside the Helicoide, he said, the guards pummeled his torso, gave him electric shocks and ignited a type of powder in his cell that had the effect of tear gas, causing him to press his face into the concrete floor to escape the fumes."
One Youtuber denies it all; he says no one is hungry and the neighbourhoods in Caracas are almost all quiet. You can watch his dashcam video from 23 June 2017 here. The video had a high number of dislikes. Another video from the same day, via El Pais, shows a scene with a man heard yelling in the distance, supposedly from a prison cell, that he is being tortured. A fortune teller read Tarot cards to predict Venezuela's future.



Friday, June 23, 2017

Anniversaries: Monumental Masonry


Image Source: The Hedge Mason.

The 24th of June 2017 is the 300th anniversary of the founding of Freemasonry, more precisely, the first collective of organized Masonic lodges. On the Feast of St. John the Baptist in 1717four London lodges met at the Goose and Gridiron ale-house, and formed the Grand Lodge of London and Westminster; later it became the Premier Grand Lodge of England. The four lodges were named for the pubs where they normally met: the Goose and Gridiron; the Crown; the Apple-Tree tavern; and the Rummer and Grapes tavern.

Image Source: Time Out London.

To celebrate, London's Grand Lodge is opening for the public for a few hours. If you are in town, not a member, and would like to look inside, now is your chance:
Freemasons’ Hall, 60 Great Queen St, WC2B 5AZ will be open from 10am to 5pm on June 24. Entry to the building and ‘Rough to smooth: Art inspired by Freemasonry’ (Jun 24-Jul 1) is free.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

New UK Export: Police State Tools


How BAE sold cyber-surveillance tools to Arab states - BBC News (20 June 2017). Video Source: BBC via Youtube.

NSA in a box: on 20 June 2017, BBC reported that a UK firm, BAE systems, exported nation-wide surveillance and decryption tools to Arab states, notably the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, and Morocco. The BBC reporter found that this exported technology will potentially be used against the UK. Takeaway quote: "You'd be able to intercept any Internet traffic. If you wanted to do a whole country - go ahead!"

Image Source: BAE Systems.

The 52nd International Paris Air Show is on now from 19 to 25 June 2017, with reps talking about everything from commercial jets to quantum entanglement. The aerospace industry increasingly considers military applications in space. Jane's reported that BAE is there, seeking to expand its custom for fighter jets in Belgium and Finland. Despite political tensions between Trump's America and a liberal Europe, on 18 June 2017 Defense News stated that US military industry reps were sanguine: it's "full speed ahead" between Europe and the USA when it comes to aerospace and arms deals. While the event is on, you can watch a livestream from the Paris Air Show here.

Le Bourget roundup Day 1 (20 June 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Tweet of the Day: The Solstice



Welcome the Summer Solstice 2017


Image Source: mindbodygreen.

Welcome to Midsummer in the Northern Hemisphere and the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. For a description of the importance of the solstice to ancient people and pagans, go here.

Ivan Kupala Day in Eastern Europe. Image Source: CNN.

Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (1910) by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958). London Philharmonic Orchestra (David Nolan, Bryden Thomson). Video Source: Youtube.

Image Source: Amy Van Artsdalen / pinterest.

Friday, June 16, 2017

In Millennial Eyes 5: Aryan Mystics of Antarctica and the Fourth Reich


Image Source: Nachtwächter.

The Millennial mind confronts many fears. Fear of poverty, fear of misrule, fear of violence and chaos. In a world dominated by science and technology, the ultimate fear is that rational systems could create mass irrationality. How could a pervasive anti-rationalism come to dominate a landscape framed by reason? Worse, anti-rationalism can manifest its own power. These concerns give rise to the fear that magic has been combined with politics, or that magic has been combined with technology.

Rationalists break things down, analyze them, and solve limited problems within defined boundaries. Wholeness is suspect in a world dominated by specialized knowledge and compartmentalized action. Universal knowledge is a path to faith, mysteries, and madness; however, it is enjoying a vogue in high circles and low. Conspiracy theorists - who lead the fearful - share a comprehensive vision with the supposed New World Order leaders they claim to oppose. Conspiracy theorists are now the world's greatest holistic myth-makers. If physicists seek the Grand Unified Theory and philosophers consider the Theory of Everything, conspiracy theorists offer their own brand of all-encompassing pseudo-knowledge.

The theorists have developed a Grand Unifying Conspiracy Theory, which centres on Antarctica, and uses the seventh continent to explain the role of Germany and America in 20th and early 21st century history. Beyond that, this theory claims to explain our entire world as it currently exists, and as it has ever existed.

Before I continue, I want to state clearly that I personally do not believe this conspiracy theory, nor do I subscribe to its racist or outlandish elements. However, I think it is an important phenomenon, which reflects the evolution of online behaviour and technoculture. This is the conspiracy theory to end all conspiracy theories. It revises the whole history of humankind. This alt-vision would be impossible without the Internet.

Post-Truth and Tomorrow's Politics

Salon screen capture, from a 4 March 2017 article, in which author Andrew O'Hehir lamented over "fake news and endless lies." Image Source.

The craziness of the phenomenon described here shows what happens when politics becomes a battleground of perceptions and opinions. Information is detached from reality and weaponized, and narratives are too. The Salon article above cited a New York Times article from 2 March 2017 on how Donald Trump has destroyed the tone of public debate and is jeopardizing democracy. We must find ways to determine between fake and real information. We must also consider what may or may not be discussed in the public square - and which voices are authoritative, and how, and why. But all these worries ignore a critical point.


If one allows that fake-versus-real is one discussion, one must still consider a second discussion, in which post-truth is a given. When post-truth is a given, one must learn how post-truth functions, in the same way a linguistic anthropologist studies urban legends, digital folklore, and their real contexts. If we agree with Samuel Greene at KCL that "voters' perceptions have become untethered from reality," we still need to understand how untethered perceptions work.

Post-truth is not fake news. It is neither true nor false. It is a principle for people who would like to keep all their options open and stay flexible when it comes to understanding reality. That grey area has tremendous utilitarian value, especially if it draws from deeply embedded cultural memory. In terms of that utility, it doesn't matter whether information is true, false, or blended. If established authorities decry threatening information as fake, so much the better. They stake their current power on a weakening principle, that is, old, limited forms of knowledge. Those who grasp post-truth's dynamics and mechanics have the advantage. That post-truth practical advantage drives the Antarctic conspiracy theory.

Still from Heimat (Season 1 Episode 1, Fernweh - 1919-28 (The Call of Faraway Places); first aired 16 September 1984). Image Source: Cartoon Simkl.

It may appear that conspiracy theories are idiotic nonsense, online entertainment for lunatics and basement dwellers. However, I am reminded of the Heimat German television series. That series dramatically covered the history of Germany from 1919 to 2000.

When I watched Heimat's first episodes on PBS in the mid-1980s, I was struck by how Nazis were depicted when they first appeared in rural Germany in the 1920s. They were shown as ridiculous, marginal figures, brown-shirted spotty teenagers, goose-stepping in the background of town squares. They were ignored by decent folk, who were talking in civilized tones in the foreground. In other words, no one who was 'normal' took these adolescent Nazis seriously.

That dramatic interpretation can be questioned; the history of youth movements in the 1920s confirms that Nazism was much more popular than that and its ideas grew from old precedents in Europe. But certainly, within ten years, Nazism, with all its outdoorsy nature worship and ludicrous magical politics became very serious business indeed. That is why the Antarctic conspiracy theory may seem a silly waste of time - arrested development fodder for adolescent Internet gnomes - but it would be wise to pay attention to it.

Technologically-induced social transformations are opening up power vacuums. Nimble opportunists on all sides recognize that everything is shifting, and potential power bases of the future - not yet extant - are up for grabs. Conspiratorial narratives are one way to surf the post-truth waves to future prominence and control. Today's Internet gnome is tomorrow's politician.

Memories of the racist past in the USA, especially the South, may feed American fears of neo-Nazis and of Trump as a new Hitler. That is, Nazis-in-America may not be as real as the American cultural memory of racism in the United States, a separate historical phenomenon from National Socialism in Germany.

In this post and a subsequent post, I describe how one thread of post-truth, which I call the Antarctic Fourth Reich, covers everything. It works on its own mythical terms, and defies fakeness or realness. In later posts on this topic, I will consider the Fourth Reich's cultural meaning and actual utilitarian effect in terms of real history and real politics.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Inequality, A Function of Virtual Reality


Still from Videodrome (1983) © Universal. Reproduced under Fair Use. Image Source: The Dissolve.

Today, academics at the London School of Economics are discussing socio-economic inequality and the rise of a dual-track system between haves and have-nots. The scholars at LSE recognize that whoever understands and commandeers the narrative of inequality will control new Millennial politics. They think there is a need to reframe the terms of debate, which means Millennial inequality is a partly-unknown quantity which is up for grabs. They consider inequality as a form of identity, that is, a subset of populist nationalism. Unfortunately, by using recognized terms from the 20th century political lexicon, these researchers are missing dimensions of the problem.

This blog has been exploring inequality rather differently. I maintain that technology and the Internet intensify the conflict between the establishment and the precariat. Globalization would be impossible without technology; the global economy's most basic motivating source is not political and is instead a function of the tools we are using. Technology has also fragmented 20th century economies and polities. The Internet compounds the breakdown through intensified media experiences, which lead to contrasting views of reality. That is, inequality is related in cryptic ways to the corresponding expansion and deepening of virtual reality.

Still from Videodrome (1983) © Universal. Reproduced under Fair Use. Image Source: The Dissolve.

I consider the influence of technology to be poorly understood. Philosophically, it implies that there are disturbing new ways of existing, the ripple effects of which are unprecedented and unknown. Of course, the current president of the United States did not come to the narrative of inequality through conventional politics, but through years of experience with the modality of reality television.

If the philosophical implications are difficult to grasp, consider the physical effects of technology for a start. A recent conspiratorial video from Truthstream Media concerns a 2003 patent, here, entitled, Nervous System Manipulation by Electromagnetic Fields from Monitors. The patent concerned the ways multimedia gadgets could be used to alter the functions of the human nervous system to change mass behaviour. It sounds like something for the tin foil hat crowd, except that the author of the patent expressed misgivings about potential abuses of the technology he designed. He recognized that his invention could damage collective psychology and physiology, but he only considered this outcome as a kind of regretful afterthought.

This Creepy Patent Proves They Can Remotely Hijack Your Nervous System (7 June 2017). Video Source: Youtube.


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Crisis in a Box


This image circulates on truther sites. I have not confirmed its origin or supposed associated terror event. Image Sources: here and here.

This summer's blog posts assess how weaponized propaganda in the media and on the Internet is affecting behaviour and perception. I have never seen so much chaotic, dangerous and disturbing information and disinformation.

The problem has arisen in an already uncertain environment. The Internet is culturally anti-statist, an attitude reinforced by leaks, hacks and whistle-blowing. Although leaks and whistle-blowing were and are intended to make the establishment more transparent and less corrupt, revelations also destabilize society. Some quarters now exploit the credibility of whistle-blown information, so that 'real truths' become vectors of disinformation. As a result, no one knows what to believe.

In a climate of disillusionment, everything, including real facts, is disbelieved. On the Internet, all authorities are suspect. Truth in international affairs has become a question of atomized subjective belief, confirmation bias, and personal preference. Trust, rather than rationalism, drives the information sphere. The mainstream and alt-media compete for credibility and dominance in the fight to win the public's trust.