DSM-5, a dystopian novel

DSM-5DSM-5, written under pseudonym by “The American Psychiatric Association”, is a novel in the form of a lexicon of “mental disorders” being used by psychotherapists in some parallel universe. The loneliness of the narrator, who can think of other human beings only in terms of what seems to be wrong with them, is its central theme.

Sections like those on the personality disorders offer a terrifying glimpse of a futuristic system of repression, one in which deviance isn’t furiously stamped out like it is in Orwell’s unsubtle Oceania, but pathologized instead. Here there’s no need for any rats, and the diagnostician can honestly believe she’s doing the right thing; it’s all in the name of restoring the sick to health.

Sam Kriss reviewed this book for The New Inquiry.


Sirens of the Lambs


This is a major overhaul of an earlier post. There’s a bit more to say about it.

Street art megastar Banksy has been busy around New York this month.
There’s an overview of what he’s been up to at banksyny.com.

I love this piece. Then, there was the market stall where you could buy an original Banksy stencil print for $60. It turned over 420 (sic) bucks. That’s a good day selling art on the street even while the Art-with-a-capital-A world hugs you to death.

Molly Crabapple, another artist I admire, wrote this recommended read about Banksy’s stay in New York.


Is Christianity a psyop?

According to  Joseph Atwill, writer of the book Caesar’s Messiah, the Roman Empire created the Gospels and the figure of Jesus Christ in the first century, as propaganda tools against the uprising of Jewish Messianic cults. He claims that the life of Jesus runs parallel with that of emperor Titus Flavius as described by one Josephus. Be that as it may. I also found this article that passionately rips into it. Christianity has most certainly been a power tool ever since it’s been around.

The real situation was probably, as usual, more messy than that. I recently read Raoul Vaneigem’s masterpiece The Resistance to Christianity. The Heresies at the Origins of the 18th Century, available for free at the invaluable Anarchist Library. It’s an exhaustive compendium of Christianity and its “heresies” from the rise of the Jewish Messianic cults a few centuries “BC” up until the Enlightenment. According to Vaneigem, there was no “historical Christ” until the fourth century. By that time there already was a Church of Rome, and the recuperation of the Messiah took some seven or eight hundred years. He does agree that Jesus Christ was constructed for political reasons.

Having an informed layperson’s opinion on this matter seems to me at the very least a year’s work.



@ Nick: Is there an Overmind? Yeah, sort of.

I follow my fellow Pope Nick Margerrison’s podcast the Cult of Nick. Nick used to make a radio show in England named The Night Before. When that show ended, he got away with the tapes. He now reuses those for the podcasts without Auntie looking over his shoulder. He has some of the weirdest guests on and lets them finish their sentences, and he has some good weirdness of his own to bring to the table. It’s a show I value highly.

In the latest, he quoted a comment from me in full – the second time he did that – and he raised this question:

“I mention an idea which I’m currently trying to digest in this podcast, I’d hugely appreciate thoughts on it from fellow CON members. It’s “the oversoul” idea. The god mind, the secret doctrine, this notion that there’s a form of biological internet that envelopes the earth and provides ideas to people. I don’t see why people believe in it, at all. If you do try and explain why in a comment on this blog www.thecultofnick.co.uk“.

Nick MargerrisonHere goes. Hi Nick,

Do you remember the Graham Hancock and Rupert Sheldrake vs. TED brouhaha? That was the latest skirmish in an ongoing war in eggheadland. Consciousness is the Golden Apple everybody is fighting over. The sKeptics will have none of it. Hancock has called it a War on Consciousness. If they had looked into what consciousness is, they would have realised they picked the wrong fight. On a deeper level, consciousness is not at stake at all. It’s about life versus power.

This is where I pick up the Golden Apple and run with it. Hold on to your hat.

I am here.

This is what I know. I am here. I am here, having this experience. I am here, first, having this experience, second. I am here.

So, if I’m mixed up, it does not imply that I am here to be mixed up. It does imply that I am here. I wouldn’t be mixed up if I weren’t here in the first place. Rock bottom certitude.

Does consciousness exist? Depends how you define the verb to exist. It is required for the existence of anything else. If a tree fell in the woods and there was no one to witness it, did it fall? Does a bear shit in the woods? Is the Pope Catholic? Whether or not something exist when no living thing is conscious of it is a moot point.

Consciousness does not exist in the world. The world exists in it. Consciousness can therefore not be found in the world. It can not be localized, scrutinized, sliced & diced. The sKeptics will never find material proof of it, and neither will anyone else. It does not answer to Aristotelian logic. It is not object. It is subject.

What is consciousness? I’m it. Being here. Having this experience.

So here’s a little meditation suggested to me by John Sherman:

Look at yourself.

Just for a moment, turn your attention on what it feels like to be you. That’s all. Nothing more to it. It can’t hurt. It will bring about change, though. A glimpse of yourself will eventually dissolve your belief in yourself and your doubt in yourself into being yourself.

Does your head spin yet? Good. Bear with me. I needed all that as a preamble to that Overmind thing. I have no use for an Old Nobodaddy 2.0 and I guess, neither do you.

Now those thoughts running around my head, what are they?

They are experiences occurring in consciousness.

They are not me. I am here no matter what the contents of the thought, and no matter whether there is thought at all.

They are not mine. By far most are nothing special, and nothing that does not occur in the minds of pretty much everybody else. Besides, they come and go as they please.

I am here, having the experience of thoughts passing.

Where do they come from? Where do they go? Are they local to just my brain or moving about somehow? Does it even matter all that much?

This is where I finally descend into speculation, stealing from two fierce opponents in the Consciousness Wars. In the left corner, Richard Dawkins. In the right corner, Rupert Sheldrake.

First off, it’s the height of irony to me that sKeptic head honcho Richard Dawkins reformulated magick in a workable way for our time when he came up with the idea of memetics. There’s assumption number one: thoughts are entities in their own right with properties of live organisms and interests of their own. They’re not ours. Our minds are their habitat.

Then there’s Sheldrake’s morphogenetic field. No big leap of faith once you see the universe as an epiphenomenon of consciousness. When enough monkeys know a trick, all of a sudden all monkeys know it. There’s assumption number two: Sheldrake is right about that.

If memes can move about a morphogenetic field, then there you have your Overmind.

All the more reason to look at yourself. The more monkeys learn that trick, the better our chance that life on earth will prevail.


They Live… are we awake yet?

john Carpenter’s cheerfully ham-fisted allegory on the way all of us are being manipulated has gotten quite a lot of renewed attention on its twenty fifth birthday. It must be because Holtzman glasses, the ones you can see the real world with, have become somewhat easier to come by lately.

Everyone’s favorite Marxist intellectual, Slavoj Zizek, made this video to say what he thinks about it.

“Rowdy” Roddy Piper, the ex-pro-wrestler who played the movie’s protagonist John Nada, has been tweeting that “‘They Live’is a documentary”. He’s exaggerating, of course, but he may have a point. Melissa Melton has made this video in which she correlates They Live with the subliminal messages in the video of the Star Spangled Banner that closed the day on American television, every day throughout much of the sixties and seventies. She wrote this post about it.

So there you have it. Here are some words to consciously take a close look at. Savour the full portent of each of them. You could meditate on them. Regardless what you believe or not.