is that a dagger or a crucifix I see
you hold so tightly in your hand?
blood of eden
Our text this fine Spring Sunday morning is a book titled Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts. Emphasis in original. As in Original Sin. For yes, brothers and sisters, that's what we're talking about here. But "sin," far from being original, is such a cliché these latter days. So no, this here is more of a cognitive sorta deal with a little Hindoo ego analog tossed in to make it more... gripping. You know all about hurtful acts, don't pretend you don't. Like that time you pissed on the American flag when you thought no one was looking. That's right, we're talking about your well deserved shame.
You see, you never grew up. Never wanted to grow up and face adult responsibilities. All you ever wanted to do was get ripped out of your mind and chant some Hopi bullshit as a neon harvest moon the size of a State Fair ferris wheel rose over the desert somewhere outside Santa Fe that you can't remember now where it was because you were too fucked up on weed at the time to even read the road signs. Think about what you've lost.
Confronted with the sheer enormity of life, you feel stunned, conflicted, confused. Understandable for one so morally defective as yourself. Van Morrison once said, "If I ventured in the slipstream, between the viaducts of your dream..." What he meant by that, precisely, we shall never know, as this left-hand conditional element of his poetic hypothetical was the sideways outcome of some lysergic astral week now long lost to history. Before he went all Celtic on us. Ah well, not important, really. But I was reminded of Van being born again in a ditch where the back roads stop, et cetera, because over the weekend I watched a movie called Slipstream. And that's not really important either, except for this one part where a menacing psychopathic geek played by Jeffrey Tambor says something like: "People say I look like Dr. Phil. Do you think I look like Dr. Phil?"
So me, not knowing who the fuck Jeffrey Tambor was in the first place, I'm going holy shit, they got Dr. Phil to act the part of a homicidal maniac! Probably not all that great a stretch for him, but still, I'm all like wow how hip is that? Chalk it up to unwilling dispensation of misbelief. But it got me thinking about Dr. Phil and Oprah and all the helpful selfers out there in Amazonland.
It will come as no surprise to faithful readers that I have not read Word One of any of the psycho-spiritual books pictured here (emphasis on the psycho). And why is that? It's because, even without the annoyance of slogging through these dismal handbooks of the mod-ren spirit, I already know what they say. Allow me to summarize:
It's your fault because, as we all know, you create your own reality! Don't believe me? Just click on that Google search link and see if you don't find, as I just did, 36,000+ hits for that exact phrase. Come on, people, haven't we already been receiving this precious teaching from Jane Roberts (a.k.a. Seth), Esther and Jerry Hicks (a.k.a. Abraham), and J.Z. Knight (a.k.a. Ramtha) for decades now? THAT is what the bleep we know!
And lest you be deceived into thinking that this is merely some New Age spiritual thing, note how nicely this miasmic theory of kultural karma meshes with the agenda of the Republican party. Poor? Well, you created that reality. Old, sick, black, brown, red, yellow? Fucked up on bad morphine in some Veterans Hospital after three tours in the Iraq and such as? Ditto, dude. Get your shit together. Semper Fi, motherfucker. No pain, no Jane.
A Google Books search for...
...(don't ask why; the connections become obvious at a certain point) led me to Mission and Menace: Four Centuries of American Religious Zeal. The book description tells us that "Chapters include: Colonial Beginnings: The City Set Upon a Hill; The Second Great Awakening, Manifest Destiny, Reform and Reaction; From the Civil Rights Movement to the Vietnam War; The Political Distortion of Religion: Triumphant Fundamentalism, Impeachment, the War Against Terrorism; and more."
Oh yeah, so much more.
So no, far from being just some shuck pulled out of the asses of asses, so to speak, this self-fulfilling prophecy of reflexive reality creation is a Universal Truth, an essential element of The Tradition, the philosophia perennis et universalis, if you catch my esoteric drift. There is a cure. And make no mistake, the doctor is IN.
But to reiterate the salient question once posed by Mick Jagger...
I'll tell you why. Or, even better, let me present Exhibit A in the form of -- what else? -- a quote. This is from the opening pages of The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth from 9/11 to Katrina by Frank Rich. Rich is, in turn, quoting Ron Suskind, author of The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America's Pursuit of Its Enemies Since 9/11. (Suskind's original New York Times piece is available here.)
In what may have been the single most revealing paragraph anyone has reported about the Bush administration, the author Ron Suskind, writing in The New York Times Magazine two weeks before the 2004 election, recounted a conversation with a presidential aide who spoke sarcastically of journalists and their "reality-based community." The aide, who sounded uncannily like Karl Rove, informed Suskind with great condescension that a "judicious study of discernible reality" is "not the way the world really works anymore." The aide explained, "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."
OK, then. Any questions?
the unlikely story of how America slipped the surly bonds of earth & came to
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SPECIAL THANKS TO
New Age "Asiatic" thought ... is establishing itself as the
hegemonic ideology of global capitalism. (Zizek)
Sunday, May 4