Although I was raised alongside hippies and alternative families, I’d never been huge into the activism scene. My mom was the only member of her family to protest anything back in the day, but it seems she lost the fire when she started her own business and embraced capitalism. Lately through necessity, I’ve found several groups and authors who, along with practical actions, advocate working with the culture spirit of Lady Liberty. They mention other american folk heroes such as Paul Bunyan, John Henry, Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind, and others. Those are excellent ideas, but out-dated and arguably problematic for themes of colonialism, views of Native Americans as savages, and a healthy dose of racist and sexist mindset. These folk-tales are inherently American in that way. We could look to Native American mythology, and if you are a member or want to get to know the folklore of the people who were on your homeland before European conquest, Go for it! But I want to look at this from a global standpoint, since the problems we’re all facing aren’t just in America, but all over the world and what happens in this country ripples outward to influence the whole web. We all come from different cultures and the regional folk heroes are reflective of that, but there is one shared culture that has become internationally recognized, Popular Culture.
The world has gotten smaller as globalization and the Internet have connected us in ways only dreamed up by the likes of philosophers and Nikola Tesla. An invisible web of communication as allowed us to talk across the globe in real-time and exchange all sorts of information (for good or ill) at a moment’s notice. Some could, and would be within their rights, to call it a digital web of Wyrd; and electric reflection of the Shamanic Connections that all indigenous cultures recognize/d and work/ed within. For millennia, these cultures’ shaman and holy people have acknowledged the fact that all living creatures are connected in some way. Circle of Life, All-One organism, webs and nets and the like, Energy, Spirit. What happens to one thread influences all threads of the greater weaving, and they can either break under the strain or support a greater weight. We’re all connected so it would behoove us to help each-other out for the benefit of the tribe/ species. It’s how we have ALWAYS survived as humans – take care of your neighbor because we are all on this same blue marble in space.
I would argue that Chaos Magic operates on similar principles as far as the idea that it’s the belief in our actions that create changes around us. The belief that our actions send out signals on the Web of Magic and things happen ¹ . Belief in a thought-form gives shape to the thought and thus fuels creation into a separate Being. We also know from psychology that human minds are very open and susceptible to influence across a wide social network, even if they’re not fully aware of it. That is the essence for Marketing. Meme magic was put into play during the farce of an election by various trolls who (for all I know) did it for the lulz. Their actions shook the web and I would also argue that many threads were broken by the actions and that’s partly why we are on such a precarious balance and tipping more every day. We are also seeing the resistance fighting back with perfectly set-up responses to adversarial Meme Magic .
We’ve seen how the global mindset is reverting over to right-wing, authoritarianism. What triggered it? Better minds than mine have offered ideas and pointed fingers, or else are still puzzling over why we’re taking such a phenomenal leap backwards along evolution. I am not interested in looking back and asking “How did we get here?” We are HERE. NOW. My biggest question is “How do we get to someplace better?“
It’s hard to even imagine a better place right now, being bogged down by all the horrors going on, more and more piled on us each day. But we cannot let the bad news and awful situations rob us of the future that so many are fighting for. You never know what you’ve got until someone takes it away, and now we who grew up in a world where we thought we had rights and freedoms (and were sheltered by our racial and gender privilege), are having those freedoms we took for granted ripped away faster than we can process.
This is intentional.
Human beings as a whole are loathe to make drastic changes unless our backs are against the wall and we have no other recourse but to power through and see what’s on the other side. And we allowed ourselves to collectively get where we are, by making the same choices over, and over, and over again. Insanity is defined as doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. Right now, we are an insane society. When our ancestors started changing how they did things, they either kept up what worked, or abandoned what didn’t. And then the Industrial revolution and the rise of capitalism happened and we became complacent that the way we’d always done things was how they would always function. We now know the folly of that thinking; Infinite growth on a finite resource doesn’t hold up. And the only reason we haven’t collectively made the people in charge change is because we fell for the greatest propaganda plot ever conceived. So how do we break free of that kind of deeply-ingrained thoughtform?
It sounds trite, but the only way we can start to break free of that kind of programming is to recognize it for what it is, and program something different. Think of a different outcome. Maybe don’t expect it to come true right away, because to do that now will lead to all sorts of disappointment. Instead, focus on how good living in a better future would feel. The whole point of Star Trek: TOS was to showcase how successful humanity could be when we stop focusing on our differences and instead work towards a common great goal. For decades, we’ve been focusing on dystopian fantasy, and sometimes it looks like the opposition are using those books as a guideline. But they forget that the dystopian novels always have some plucky band of rebels who stand up and say ‘This doesn’t have to be! We can do better!’ and in the end, they win. We don’t see much of the aftermath, when the rebels are building anew society on the ruins of the old ones. Solarpunk is a beautiful inspirational genre for such visualizations. (If anyone has any fiction recommendations where people are rebuilding the world and it works out, please let me know. I could use some inspirational material.)
If despair is taking hold and you’re having a tough time imagining a better world, remember this quote from Sir Terry Pratchett –
“YOU NEED TO BELIEVE IN THINGS THAT AREN’T TRUE. HOW ELSE CAN THEY BECOME?” – Death, Hogfather