By Wayne Allensworth
I was walking down a path that skirted a fence line not far from our home. In the neighboring pasture the great longhorns, one of them a majestic bull, grazed quietly, looking up casually to watch me pass. The great bull shook his head and snorted, then went back to grazing.
Overhead, a hawk hovered over the trail, then a second one appeared above the other raptor, twin predators as magnificent as such beasts can be. The beauty and the terror of the natural world. I stopped to watch them glide effortlessly above. I went on walking and looked up again and they were gone.
It’s late afternoon in November, and the sun was already sitting lower in a blue sky that seemed deeper, less wispy and ephemeral than in the high heat of what had been a scorching summer.
Walking helps soothe the soul and ease one’s mind in troubled times. Nature’s small wonders hint at greater mysteries that one can only see glimpses of, suggestions of transcendence. A sense we carry with us all our lives. If we haven’t lost it, that is. More of us seem to have lost it — along with any connection to a reality that if viewed as clearly as we mortals can view it, should remind us of the depths and beauty of a universe that is a mystery while remaining concrete, a reminder of something that grounds us all in this world. Oh God, that grounds everything, open our eyes…
We seem to be cast adrift in the “weak coherence” of the modern, now postmodern, world. As I observed previously, Iain McGilchrist has a deep understanding of where we are and how we got here. Things fall part in a modernity that has lapsed into the nihilistic embrace of post modernity, its tentacles dragging us down, weakening reason and intuitive understanding based in experience and imagination. McGilchrist traced our weakening grip on reality to the development of a post-industrial technological society that took our alienation from nature, a key element in a solid grounding for our psyches, further along a descent it had been on for hundreds of years. Mechanization had brought with it a mechanistic view of the world that denied its mystery and shrugged off our inherent sense of the divine. Urbanization weakened what Burke called the “little platoon” of the family, as well as other social units that bounded and added coherence to our being. Increased mobility strained the social fabric further. And the Left Hemisphere’s Will to Power asserted itself as never before. Not surprisingly, mental illness is ubiquitous in our increasingly fragmented world.
Tearing down social structures and tossing all the accumulated wisdom of our ancestors onto the ash heap of capital “H” History has not, as the utopians dreamed, made us freer. Instead, it opened the furnace hatch of madness. As McGilchrist wrote, “Increasing virtuality and distance from other human lives tends to induce a feeling of an alien, perhaps hostile environment.” It’s not surprising, then, that “social isolation leads to exaggerated fear responses, violence, and aggression,” which, in turn, tends to magnify and increase isolation.
I don’t have to look far to note evidence that an “exaggerated fear response” has been unleashed in a milieu marked by uncertainty, anxiety, and distrust. An example: Dear readers, if you hadn’t heard it yet, let me inform you that Joe Biden is dead. No, I do not mean incapacitated by dementia. A number of our countrymen actually believe that what we see at those increasingly rambling press presidential conferences is something called a “body double.” Which would mean that the Man Behind the Curtain, or the ever present “they” who are the supposed puppet masters who control everything, have replaced a dead man with a “double” who is as incoherent as the original, as well as identical in very detail. Right.
That’s not the worst of it.
Some of the same people who believe that a mummified “body double” is in the White House also believe that the Earth is flat, that the Moon landings were a hoax, and that a hidden civilization is buried beneath Antarctica. All part of a grand C.I.A. plot, no doubt. They previously were convinced that the narcissistic reality TV star Donald Trump was actually a grand master of “4 D” political chess, and probably still are.
Dear friends, I don’t believe or trust the Blob’s minions at all. I believe the globalist Blob exploited the Covid outbreak for its own nefarious purposes, and that Anthony Fauci is a conniving snake. But I do not believe that the globalist elites are omni-competent, all seeing, all knowing demigods, global puppet masters who control everything everywhere. What’s more, their plotting has more or less gone on in the open. It’s not as though the managerial class has hidden its designs. And the clumsy, even amateurish, efforts of the “masters of the universe” to manage the globe have blown up in their faces as often as not, prompting Russia and China to mount a counterattack on Western managed globalism. They are not invincible and are as deluded as some of their opponents.
Their followers also believe the craziest fantasies imaginable, their claims that all accusations leveled against the Blob are “conspiracy theories” notwithstanding. A sizable contingent of “progressives,” who imagine themselves to be smarter than the “deplorables” they despise and fear, apparently believe that there is no such thing as sex as a biological classification… that the hapless Trump was a Russian master spy…that any conglomeration of “pan sexual” lunatics can be a “family”… that Middle America harbors roaming bands of neo-Nazis and Klansmen bent on the destruction of “people of color” and that that The View is a venue for intelligent conversation.
The pathological level of suspicion we are witnessing is a clear signal that America is in a state of psychological meltdown. It is no longer a “high trust” society, a requirement for representative government and the effective functioning of a market economy. The fear mongering is a sure sign of social decay. We are reaching a point I’ve called “the end of politics,” a state in which conventional politics are no longer possible.
It’s not as though this hasn’t happened before. The flat earthers are always with us, and mass hysteria has gripped societies throughout history. How many times have desperate and fearful people declared that the Apocalypse is nigh? How many times have ruling classes been intoxicated by their own vanity and sense of omnipotence? The difference today is that the technologies available to the latest manifestation of Milton’s Satan writ large makes “them” more dangerous, as it inflates the Blob’s hubris, while mainstream mass media acts as an amplifier for its propaganda. The Blob is reckless. I believe its globalist project will eventually fail. I can only hope that we are not crushed by the falling rubble of a societal collapse, and that we do not succumb to our own despairing madness in the process.
Chronicles contributor Wayne Allensworth is the author of The Russian Question: Nationalism, Modernization, and Post-Communist Russia, and a novel, Field of Blood.