As is instinctive after events like this, the world now grapples with meaning. After the profound sadness and grief around last night’s events in Paris, I am now mired in nausea at the reactionary attempts to shoehorn this into one ideological container or another, whether it be: gun control, Islamophobia, NWO False Flags, or “Those French had had it coming”.
Every single one of these narratives disgusts me and in my mind misses the larger and more existential issue of our time which is how can events like this, including their causal and second order effects be occurring in our world?
It’s been nearly a decade since I mused that all extremists should be lined up against a wall and shot. It was in the aftermath of the Britain’s 7/7 bombings and I thought the title was a half-joking pun that got the point across:
The problem with this is when extremists take shots at each other, they hit the other guy’s moderates
I also lamented that in some places “the extremists” were in charge (and that not all of those places are “over there”).
We’ve got more than enough data to gain a visceral understanding of Einstein’s maxim that you can’t solve any problems with the same level of thinking that created it.
Yet repeatedly the responses to events like these fit into fairly predictable buckets:
French president Hollande as promised a “pitiless war” against the perpetrators of last night’s crimes. Why? Because the French ruling authorities are infected with the same mind virus as those who perpetrated the attacks (regardless of what the underlying motive for the attacks turns out to be), and the same soul sickness that will infect and impel revenge attacks going forward, and copy-cats, and other escalations.
The Wetiko: A Destructive Mind Virus That Defines This Epoch
Alas, those who actually carried out the crime are all dead, so vengeance or punishment against them is for all practical purposes off the table. That only leaves those who planned it, incited it, or more accurately those whom we think planned and incited it. This distinction is critical, here’s why:
When I was much younger, a child still I think, I read a book called “How To Become A Spy” – or something like that. I can’t find a book that matches today, but I remember one particularly salient quote which I’ll paraphrase:
When recruiting an asset it doesn’t really matter who you are, or if their ideology ultimately aligns with yours. You tell them what they want to hear and that’s who you become. In their minds, that’s the cause they serve. If your target is a Communist, you invite him to work for you, a KGB spymaster. If they’re pro-West, you’re from the CIA or MI-6. If they’re a militant Islamist, then so are you. It really doesn’t matter. They just need to believe they’ll be serving their own ideology and then you can use them to suit your own purposes.
Thus, finding out who orchestrated the attacks or discerning whether it was a “false flag” is somewhat beside the point. (I think from an historical hindsight, nearly half of all “terror attacks” turn out to be false-flags in the rear-view mirror). Experientially speaking, ideologies are largely interchangeable. What really matters is the True Believer mentality and the accompanying underlying soul sickness that perpetuates itself through these types of “means-to-an-end” atrocities.
If one truly wishes to confront this epidemic of violence – which is ultimately against ourselves, one has to confront, for lack of a better term, The Wetiko:
“There is a psychospiritual disease of the soul that originates within ourselves and that has the potential either to destroy our species or to wake us up, depending on whether or not we recognize what it is revealing to us”
– Paul Levy, Dispelling Wetiko
Wetiko is a “soul sickness” that has come to permeate society at an archetypical level. It infects individuals who then constellate into structures: power structures, criminal structures and impose coercive frameworks onto the societies wherein they operate.
It becomes an institutional psychosis which then shapes and defines future iterations of the institutions themselves. Even a well-meaning populist or progressive candidate toward high office will be corrupted or co-opted by the soul sickness that defines the institution itself.
Remember Gandhi? “Passive Resistance FTW” Most people do. But few know that eight months after securing India’s independence from Britain, the Indian National Congress outlawed passive resistance and made it a crime (Saul D. Alinsky – Rules for Radicals p43)
More recently, we have Obama who campaigned on a platform of “Change We Can Believe In” (which I usually paraphrase to “Change We Can Only Believe In”) – considering that his policies have been largely a linear extrapolation of his predecessors’, not a lot actually, you know changed. It just got worse.
The problem today is that we’ve been through sufficient iterations of the mind virus that the political process effectively screens out non-sociopathic candidates. In other words, being susceptible to, or already consumed by the Wetiko mind virus is a prerequisite to attaining and holding political power across any power structures today – states, governments, revolutionary movements and non-state entities.
For awhile I thought there were exceptions. I believed that “the Problem is The State” and that anarcho-capitalism was the answer. I even ran as a candidate for the Canadian Libertarian Party in the last federal election. Then I realized that joining the LPC felt like joining a cult. Debacles ensued after revelations that dossiers were being compiled on the candidates, especially those deemed at high risk of going “off script”.
I left the party disillusioned and have spent the intervening time reflecting and researching. The only possibly governance model I can think of that seems largely unscathed is a radically decentralized community with a clear holistic mission. One example being the structure of self-help groups modeled after the 12-step principal heralded by AA, of which the defining characteristic is that the “solution” to the “problem” must be spiritual in nature.
One of my longest held strategic maxims has always been to never compete on terms defined by your opponent. Figure out what your enemy wants you to do, then do something else.
What this means is, we battle the Wetiko on the spiritual plane. Anywhere else just feeds it and gives it strength. It wants you to try and confront it head on. It wants to incite revenge, it wants you to be angry, it wants you to hate.
We are literally acting out en masse on the world stage our inner process of disassociating from, projecting out, and trying to destroy our own darkness. The inner psychological process of shadow projection is spilling outside of the boundaries of our skull (i.e our inner life) and is manifesting and revealing itself in the outer world through collective world events….
When we shadow project, we hypnotize ourselves into believing that our shadow exists outside of ourselves. Originating in the depths of the archetypical psyche, shadow projection is typically imbued with and carried by religious, archetypical energies.
In it’s extreme form, the enemy is seen as the devil, the principal objective in incarnate form while we identify ourselves as the heroic agent of God, the principle of goodness and justice. This polarization is an expression of the extreme split and dissociation between the psychic opposites within the one projecting.
Paul Levy, Dispelling Wetiko
Going back to the alcoholism analogy: trying to eradicate terrorism via drone attacks, targeted killings or regime change is like trying to stamp out impaired driving by firebombing liquor stores. All you’re going to accomplish is a lot of destruction, a lot of collateral damage after which the survivors and the next-of-kin find themselves driven to drink. Rinse, lather, repeat.
As any recovered alcoholic can tell you, you don’t solve that problem by blowing up the liquor store. You solve it via a profound psychological shift within the problem drinker that has it’s basis in spirituality.
Spirituality in this context is not religion. Spirituality is in fact antithetical to structured, dogmatic religions and it’s associated extremism and militancy. To paraphrase The Dao, the true spirituality which can be described in words, or wrapped up in a religion is not The True Spirituality. It can only be experienced and thus rules out intermediaries, “priests of the temple” and other middlemen.
How To Confront Wetiko In Your Own Life
As I’ve found personally, you can’t confront this through joining the correct political party. Nor will it help to follow one Guru or another, joining a cult or killing the right terrorist. It all has to start within. On you, on me. We have to confront our own shadow, our own darkness and work on our own psyche.
How would you go about that? I’m no expert, but my approach has always been:
- Self-actualize. If you don’t know what that means, start by looking it up. Abraham Maslow coined the term, but I find Colin Wilson’s writings (across numerous books) on “The Peak Experience” and to a lessor extant “Faculty X” germane to this.
- Form Genuine Communities. Cultivate mutually reinforcing relationships and resiliency in both real-world and online communities. The glue that bonds your community is at your discretion (Charles Hugh Smith has a lot to say on this)
- Become a Self-Sovereign Individual. The concept of a sovereign individual (originally inspired by the Davidson / Rees Mogg) book is a big one for me. It has since evolved or grown to include the concept of living with conscious awareness (Nathaniel Branden) and “Living an Inspired Life” (Catherine Austin Fitts, Jon Rappaport)
- Turn off Your TV. You are way ahead of the game if you do this one step.
- Read More Books. Self explanatory. We all lead busy lives. Once I became a father it seemed I’d never have time to read a book again. But I started listening to audiobooks and podcasts in the car instead of listening to the radio. I probably read 4 books a month that way now.
- Get of out debt. You can’t live an inspired life if you are a slave to your wages, mortgage, monthly nut and this is true if you’re a billionaire building an empire on pyramided debt. You are not free if you can’ liquidate your debts right now, in full if you had to.
- Quit all addictions. I’ve had my share of these over the years. In fact I’m on my second last day of coffee (again). Coffee? Can’t you even have a cup of coffee?! Well, maybe you can, but I can’t. One cup and within a year or two I’ll be a smeared out wreck with no energy and trashed adrenals. Everybody has theirs. Usually it’s such a huge pervasive force in your life you are trying real hard to ignore it, right now. Face it, kick it. Live.
Another book about the Wetiko (Columbus and other Cannibals) puts it thusly:
The “norm” for humanity is love.
Brutality is an Aberration.
We are not sinners by nature.
We learn to be bad.
We are Taught to stray from our good paths.
We are made to be crazy by other people who are also crazy and who draw for us a map of the world which is ugly, negative, fearful and crazy.
My thoughts go out to all victims (past / present and future) victims and causalities of the horrific event we will remember as #paris.