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21st Century Wire
There’s something about the idea of a “new beginning” that always makes me feel slightly uneasy. It’s one of those fleeting emotions that linger on the fringe of consciousness, hard – if not downright impossible – to pin down, yet all the more persistent, quite akin to a vague physical uneasiness preceding the advent of nausea.
And you know how it is: man is rarely ever wrong when he feels that he’s about to vomit.
From out of many mysteriously nauseating “new beginning” thought models, we’ll investigate two that are more often than not closely related, or even identical: conspiracy theory and historical revisionism.
I use the first term in a strictly pejorative sense of a “theory of everything”, which takes as it’s starting point one simple principle and then proceeds to explain away more-or-less everything from it.
I use the second term in a sense akin to so-called “Holocaust revisionism” in it’s most radical sense, i.e. an idea that proposes that something we formerly never doubted, like the destruction of European Jews on a mass scale in WWII, didn’t happen at all.
So, not to get confused in advance, my treatment of those two terms is very specific: they’ve got little or nothing to do with a genuine pursuit of truth in history and the nature of our political reality.
In the sense that I see political decisions aimed at changing the landscape of global power as essentially a non-institutional and non-transparent affair, I myself am a conspiracy theorist; in the sense that remembrance of the destruction of European Jews in WWII nowadays serves as a basis for the liberal establishment’s new religion – and this establishment is, give or take, an ideological monolith in the West – transforming a historical event into a virtual god, I am most certainly a Holocaust denier.
There’s not much else I can be, because I don’t watch TV and therefore I don’t participate in the public political circus, and I have no use for gods other than the One who’s CV you can find in the prologue to the Gospel of St. John.
Alt media as pathway to virtual world
Seek ya the pill, and the pill popping will set you free
However, most of the content that is encompassed by our thought models outlined above and accessible via the World Wide Web can be safely placed into two pejorative categories we’ll inspect here. The reason why this is the case I, as an independent analyst, find extremely worrisome because it ensures that any kind of independent thinking can in the future be marginalized from “alt-media”, by virtue of it failing to satisfy their popular purpose.
This purpose seems to be a total, methodically implemented, historical oblivion mimicking the pursuit of a new historical and, not seldom, personal beginning for a plethora of alt media consumers.
This process is what I’ll define as virtualization and, in the paragraphs to follow, I will attempt to demonstrate how it comes about under the guise of the pursuit of truth.
Conspiracy theory relies on assumption that everything formerly known was false, i.e. its adherents are not really motivated by uncovering the underlying reality, buried under the sediments of lies and illusions, but of altogether denying the existence of the reality they know, starting with the moment they usually dub the awakening. This is necessary in order for them to free themselves from conditioned knowledge, that is: knowledge they cannot establish by their own investigation, i.e. their own will. The more that anyone can establish their reality through their “own research”, the more free they are.
And this is what it’s all about: removing the awkwardness of being what you are and replacing it with the freedom of being what you desire to be.
But this freedom is not something to be proud of. It is an emancipation from all that is unconditioned by our will. Its final consequence is a denial of reality altogether, more specifically: reality of the past, and replacing it with a simulacrum of one’s arbitrary choice.
It doesn’t matter who or what purportedly runs the world, from interstellar lizards modeled upon an 80’s TV show, to a great and unconscious geopolitical struggle of continents, derived from early 20th Century linguistic theories of White Russian émigrés in Europe that developed into the so called “Eurasianist movement”. What matters is that what was believed to be true can now be proven to be an illusion: that behind the human face of a politician there lurks a humanoid lizard or that every moral, religious and political act of any given person in the East and West is being steered by his geographical heritage.
Lizards or Endkampf, take your pick …
In this way, the two-fold aim is completed. On the one hand man is able to liberate himself from what constitutes his existence, i.e. the circumstances to which he is handed over; and, on the other hand, it provides him with the principle upon which he can build a different set of circumstances, by his own volition.
In short, it enables one to reboot one’s own existence.
Considered on a collective level it would mean creating something along the lines of “global virtual America” – a (mostly) on-line planet where everyone can start over from nothing.
Remember this nothing. We’ll meet it again further down the line.
Eradication of the past
The essential constituent of existence as immutable given is the past tense. The thing that provides us with the sense of reality and personal identity is temporal continuity which in turn stems from ontological determination of that which is always ‘before’ us. So my family, my ancestry – my inclinations even – are not something I chose but something I discover by looking back or, if you prefer, by looking inside.
In any case, the act disclosing it has a temporal and logical determination of gazing towards the past. It is that which is always before and with which, consequently, one has to deal with, whether he likes it or not, because no one can change the past and – conversely and perhaps more importantly – no one can change who he is.
In a logical sequence of causes and effects, this means that cause always has a characteristic of past tense – going down to the causes of things means to turn back and discover what is already a priori there, not choosing or projecting it.
The research done across the broad scope of alt media turns this fact on it’s head. It’s not about discovering the truth. It’s about choosing and, consequently, projecting it onto the world.
To illustrate: when historical revisionist affirms that there was no significant extermination of European Jews in WWII, he usually treats this as a discovery of the fact that there’s no written records of decision to pull off the genocide and that most of the testimony on death camps is anecdotal, i.e. personal.
Am I then to assume that what is not documented haven’t happened at all?
Who says that there has to be any documented evidence that something happened? This would mean that far more important aspect of history – the personal history of individual human being – cannot be proven to exist, because it by its own essence transcends any kind of documentation. It is not empirical precisely because it is personal.
Am I me and am I free?
Empiricism is a standpoint according to which anything that can be known must be perceivable by senses. This does not mean that empirical knowledge is personal, though. On the contrary it is as impersonal as it gets, because its subject is not the human being but an abstract, impartial, consciousness – the pure individuum.
For various reasons, this subject is held in very high esteem. It is generally believed that it can discover everything and win any debate just if it is pure enough. If individuum could speak, it would quote David Icke: “I am consciousness having an experience. I am me and I am free.”
Regardless of Icke, most “free thinking” people today worship this principle.
Personally, I consider it to be epistemological sack of shit.
The ability to erase the past rests on the premise that all knowledge is essentially empirical and that all men are individuums. Furthermore, if this premise is upheld then knowledge of reality as such is impossible because infinite stream of data cannot be digested by finite human being.
However, narratives of reality are not only possible, but necessary.
Narrative denotes someone’s standpoint on reality of some event or complex of events. It is essentially an act of will, a wishful, creative will that chooses its own reality and asserts its own power over it. Sometimes they are called ‘false’, sometimes, although quite seldom, they are called ‘true’.
I don’t see why we cannot just lump them all into ‘more or less a lie’ category and be done with it.
Namely, the purpose of narrative is to ‘make sense’ and, consequently, to make something ‘fit into it’. This has nothing to do with the truth. On the other hand, it has everything to do with power.
The will to know can very well be the will to control. If knowledge of reality is impossible – and in the case of the extreme empiricism we just described it certainly is impossible – then the need for stable foundation of existence must be satisfied by creating the system of narratives.
It is my contention that the main historical drive of our age is aimed to render all past into infinite, complex, system of narratives – some mainstream, some less so.
NATO forever and from ever
One sign of this I perceive in rare instances of alt media’s treatment of history of my own country. As Croatia is a NATO member, some alt media sources noticeably tend to “push the narrative” that Croatia was a geopolitical NATO stooge in 1991., when it has seceded from Yugoslavia.
The reality, however, was that in the, give or take, first few months of the war one of the main obstacles for Croatians to acquire the international recognition was a stubborn reluctance of USA and it’s closest NATO allies to let this happen. Those few months were life or death struggle, because Croatia was without real army and under the arms embargo, while facing the might of Serb controlled Federal Army and heavily armed irregulars.
The reason for not being eligible for “humanitarian intervention” was precisely that Croatia was not a NATO stooge nor was it at the time meant to become one. My deep personal conviction is that it was meant to let it be quickly eradicated, while looking the other way, so that Western powers can discuss the realignment of former Yugoslavia with their main then interlocutor – as Russians would now say: “partner” – Slobodan Milošević.
Milošević, now rebranded by certain alt media sources as defiant martyr of NATO expansion, was always one step ahead of other nationalist leaders in cuddling with Western powers, until he overplayed his cards in the second part of the Nineties. There are many reasons for this, but suffice it to say that Yugoslavia’s capitol of Beograd was a training ground for so called “Belgrade boys”, i.e. diplomats-cum-businessmen epitomized by Lawrence Eaglburger, the man who was, while serving in the wake of the conflict as an adviser to President Bush Sr. on all things Yugoslavian, acting chairman of Kissinger Associates, the firm that was heavily involved in lobbying for shady businesses between USA and budding Greater Serbia, still disguised as Yugoslavia.
This is just to throw in few essential pieces of historical reality in the mix. Yet, if we are to believe emerging “mainstream alt media narrative”, the war in Yugoslavia was NATO engineered coup d etat, starting with helping Slovenia and Croatia to secede and ending up by bombing the shit out of defiant Serbia.
The reality, however, was and, consequently, is that an ability of former Yugoslav republics of Croatia and Bosna to, in the crucial first months of the war, respectively in ’91. and ’92., survive pre-planed (at the latest from the mid-Eighties) Serbian attempt to ethnically cleanse and absorb them into Greater Serbia (in the best case scenario cca. 80% of Croatia and 100% of Bosna) thwarted the simplicity of the situation and forced the West to deal with changing power landscape in the region.
The support for Milošević was gradually dropped after 1995., notably in the aftermath of Srebrenica massacre – which, according to some alt media sources, was a media simulacrum exploiting some violent “excesses” of Serbian forces righteously defending themselves from the besieged Bosniaks – when it became obvious that the strong man of Beograd cannot control his minions in the war torn republics and that further dealings with him will weigh heavily on PR, because Western public couldn’t but notice things which it haven’t noticed in 1991.
What we see from this example is that emerging alt media narrative is ditching everything that can thwart the simplicity of situation, above all the ability of small peoples to at least to some extent act on their own, without control of NATO, CIA or some other Western alphabetic soup agency. Such eventuality, of course, would not fit the narrative, therefore it has to be excluded from it.
The web, the spider and the nothingness
As far as I’m concerned, I don’t see anything alternative or non-mainstream in this. It is simply another contribution to the myth of absolute power of American and Global institutions, supposedly criticizing, but in fact, in a roundabout manner, praising them.
Hence nausea, I guess. Because, as J.P. Sartre rightly affirmed, it is a necessary reaction of human being to nothingness.
And narratives are about nothingness.
They are attempts of to a various degree powerless individuums to overpower the world, once they succeeded in eradicating it’s reality. The empirical “facts” can be realigned as need be, because when all those who remember die, the reality will finally die too. So mainstream narrative will be one selection of facts, while alternative narrative will be another selection of facts. It is my contention that those two systems of lies are now beginning to reinforce each other and that in the future we’ll witness more and more realignment. Multipolar or Unipolar, no matter. Power is multilingual.
And where there’s no reality, no personhood, no past and no truth, only power speaks, weaving it’s web of virtual reality. From the viewpoint of the fly caught into it, this web can seem as this or that. But from the viewpoint of someone standing outside of it, it’s all one and the same World Wide Web.
And there’s only one and the same spider at the center.
He is always hungry and, from out of many names men used to give him through history, “New Beginning” would certainly be an adequate one.
Author Branko Malić is a Croatian author and owner of Kali Tribune, with the background in classical philosophy. He’s focused on philosophy, media, culture and deep politics analysis.
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