The real problem is not Trump’s addiction to social media – it’s ours.
Keep the focus on yourself.
Category: cult religions
Keep the focus on yourself.
from the Atlantic monthly
Nothing can stop what is coming
Q is an intelligence or military insider with proof that corrupt world leaders are secretly torturing children all over the world; the malefactors are embedded in the deep state; Donald Trump is working tirelessly to thwart them. (“These people need to ALL be ELIMINATED,” Q wrote in one post.) The eventual destruction of the global cabal is imminent, Q prophesies, but can be accomplished only with the support of patriots who search for meaning in Q’s clues. To believe Q requires rejecting mainstream institutions, ignoring government officials, battling apostates, and despising the press. One of Q’s favorite rallying cries is “You are the news now.” Another is “Enjoy the show,” a phrase that his disciples regard as a reference to a coming apocalypse: When the world as we know it comes to an end, everyone’s a spectator.
People who have taken Q to heart like to say they’ve been paying attention from the very beginning, the way someone might brag about having listened to Radiohead before The Bends. A promise of foreknowledge is part of Q’s appeal, as is the feeling of being part of a secret community, which is reinforced through the use of acronyms and ritual phrases such as “Nothing can stop what is coming” and “Trust the plan.”
One phrase that serves as a special touchstone among QAnon adherents is “the calm before the storm.” Q first used it a few days after his initial post, and it arrived with a specific history. On the evening of October 5, 2017—not long before Q first made himself known on 4chan—President Trump stood beside the first lady in a loose semicircle with 20 or so senior military leaders and their spouses for a photo in the State Dining Room at the White House. Reporters had been invited to watch as Trump’s guests posed and smiled. Trump couldn’t seem to stop talking. “You guys know what this represents?” he asked at one point, tracing an incomplete circle in the air with his right index finger. “Tell us, sir,” one onlooker replied. The president’s response was self-satisfied, bordering on a drawl: “Maybe it’s the calm before the storm.”
“What’s the storm?” one of the journalists asked.
“Could be the calm—the calm before the storm,” Trump said again. His repetition seemed to be for dramatic effect. The whir of camera shutters grew louder.
The reporters became insistent: “What storm, Mr. President?”
A curt response from Trump: “You’ll find out.”
Those 37 seconds of presidential ambiguity made headlines right away—relations with Iran had been tense in recent days—but they would also become foundational lore for eventual followers of Q. The president’s circular hand gesture is of particular interest to them. You may think he was motioning to the semicircle gathered around him, they say, but he was really drawing the letter Q in the air. Was Trump playing the role of John the Baptist, proclaiming what was to come? Was he himself the anointed one?
one can easily find signs of impending doom—in comets and earthquakes, in wars and pandemics. It has always been this way. In 1831, a Baptist preacher in rural New York named William Miller began to publicly share his prediction that the Second Coming of Jesus was imminent. Eventually he settled on a date: October 22, 1844. When the sun came up on October 23, his followers, known as the Millerites, were crushed. The episode would come to be known as the Great Disappointment. But they did not give up. The Millerites became the Adventists, who in turn became the Seventh-day Adventists, who now have a worldwide membership of more than 20 million. “These people in the QAnon community—I feel like they are as deeply delusional, as deeply invested in their beliefs, as the Millerites were,” Travis View, one of the hosts of a podcast called QAnon Anonymous, which subjects QAnon to acerbic analysis, told me. “That makes me pretty confident that this is not something that is going to go away with the end of the Trump presidency.”
QAnon carries on a tradition of apocalyptic thinking that has spanned thousands of years. It offers a polemic to empower those who feel adrift. In his classic 1957 book, The Pursuit of the Millennium, the historian Norman Cohn examined the emergence of apocalyptic thinking over many centuries. He found one common condition: This way of thinking consistently emerged in regions where rapid social and economic change was taking place—and at periods of time when displays of spectacular wealth were highly visible but unavailable to most people. This was true in Europe during the Crusades in the 11th century, and during the Black Death in the 14th century, and in the Rhine Valley in the 16th century, and in William Miller’s New York in the 19th century. It is true in America in the 21st century.
The Seventh-day Adventists and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are thriving religious movements indigenous to America. Do not be surprised if QAnon becomes another. It already has more adherents by far than either of those two denominations had in the first decades of their existence. People are expressing their faith through devoted study of Q drops as installments of a foundational text, through the development of Q-worshipping groups, and through sweeping expressions of gratitude for what Q has brought to their lives. Does it matter that we do not know who Q is? The divine is always a mystery. Does it matter that basic aspects of Q’s teachings cannot be confirmed? The basic tenets of Christianity cannot be confirmed. Among the people of QAnon, faith remains absolute. True believers describe a feeling of rebirth, an irreversible arousal to existential knowledge. They are certain that a Great Awakening is coming. They’ll wait as long as they must for deliverance.
Trust the plan. Enjoy the show. Nothing can stop what is coming.
Seven Mountains of Societal Influence. Seven Mountains utilizes the language of Dominionism — a theology that believes countries, including the United States, should be governed by Christian biblical law. Its goal is to attain sociopolitical and economic transformation through the gospel of Jesus in what it calls the seven mountains or spheres of society: religion, family, education, government, media, entertainment and business. This blends QAnon’s apocalyptic desire to destroy society “controlled” by the deep state with the need for the Kingdom of God on Earth.
Wagner and Bushey have taught their congregation to stop listening to any media —even Fox News — because they’re are all “Luciferian.” What they provide instead is a road map to QAnon radicalization comprised of QAnon YouTube channels for the congregation’s daily media diet, the Qmap website that lists new QAnon conspiracy theories and Twitter influencers.
“Deep state church”
They further insist that as Trump continues to “drain the swamp” in Washington, it’s “our” responsibility to drain the deep state church swamp. They believe the same deep state that controls the world has also infiltrated traditional churches. As Wagner stated in his April 12 service: “I am here to focus on the deep state church. This goes beyond our church and involves our culture and our politics. Kevin is here to talk about QAnon and the military operation to save the world.”
Like any church, they also run outreach ministries. OKM is currently raising funds for something called Reclamation Ranch, which Wagner describes as a safe place for children rescued after being held underground by the deep state. Children at risk is an ongoing theme in many QAnon conspiracy theories, including the famous fake “Pizzagate” theory.
The noise in my head is very loud.
If I’m going to be a criminal, I want to do something to attack the social fabric that tears a really big hole, one that will be remembered for years. Fuck propriety. Where did following rules ever get me?
Some people talk about a “social contract” as if it had been drawn up by lawyers and signed by witnesses. From what I’ve seen, it’s a bunch of unspoken agreements designed by those who have to exclude those who haven’t.
If I want to have sex with barnyard animals, that’s up to me and the critters. If I want advice, I’ll ask for it. Of course you’re free to accuse me of crimes against nature, but I think you’re talking more about yourself here than about me or Nature.
By the way, I don’t want to have sex with animals, that’s just something that came to mind while I was writing. A lot of what I say surprises me. I’m the first one to hear of it as my fingers dutifully type what the voice in my head dictates.
In fact, if the noise in my head were audible to others I’d surely be jailed or hospitalized before the day is through.
Remember, you’ll make smarter choices if you can believe deep-down that there’s nothing to be afraid of.
One set of voices croons “Things are unfolding exactly as planned. All this was designed by a superior intelligence with our best interests in mind. Even if we can’t understand what’s happening and why, that doesn’t mean that it’s not all coming together as it should.”
Of course you’re free to worry and fret if that’s what you want to do. Your reaction to what’s coming down will not affect the way these events unfold. “It is what it is.”
We could even dare to assume that though some things aren’t perfect yet, they’re on their way to becoming just that. In the long run, it won’t matter how long it takes for them to reach perfection, because the pains of the struggle will be forgotten in face of the bliss. As the Apostle Paul said “I reckon that our present sufferings do not compare with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
All this change could be seen as exciting. If you ever complained of being bored, consider that now your prayers have been answered. There’s a good chance that unprecedented upheavals are in the works. You ain’t seen nothing yet.
On the other hand, you could also take omens and portents quite seriously and begin practicing rigorous self-quarantine and stockpiling whatever you fear you might run out of while you’re holed away. By the way, how will you know when it’s time to emerge from your bunker? Will someone sound an “all clear” or will you just notice the ominous silence?
There’s a good chance that what you’ve assumed to be true about human nature in general has been a whitewash, a convenient lie. Most people are as stupid as they are cowardly. Most people would gladly stab you in the back as they pick your pocket. If someone they admire tells them to do so, they’re capable of the worst sort of treachery and will feel not a shred of remorse if caught.
It’s usually more convenient not to focus on these unpleasant truths, but avoidance doesn’t make them any less true.
It’s more fun to celebrate minor victories than it is to get to the bottom of what needs to be fixed and then scrape your knuckles trying out various fixes.
Besides, most plans are simply arrogance. Desires come and go, seemingly important at the time but in retrospect, less so. In one ear and out the other. Surprising beauty appears unexpectedly and then vanishes without warning. At first, names and dates seem momentous, but ultimately prove they aren’t. Most ambitions are merely nurtured grudges and planned disappointments. Again, they come and go seemingly of their own volition.
It’s after midnight but they still haven’t arrived. I’m getting sleepy but am determined to stay awake until the saucer lands. They cautioned me it won’t make a sound, but I might feel a rush of wind and smell ozone. The ship itself won’t be terribly bright, just a burnt orange glow. If you’re looking right at it you’d see it, but then why would you be looking in my yard in the middle of the night?
So far I’m the only one in my family who takes this seriously. I’ve been packed and ready to go for days now. My wife is unsympathetic. The kids can’t get bothered. Fine, let them stay. I’ve been ready for a change ever since I retired five years ago. There’s nothing I want here. Nothing at all.
The other retired guys all meet for coffee at the local supermarket coffee shop at six a.m. If they’d open the doors at five half of them would be there at that time. They talk about politics and sports. Their wives take a several table, but there aren’t as many of them as there are of us. I don’t know what the women talk about. Probably us.
The fact is, we’d all be thrilled if aliens really were taking an interest in us and wanted to take us away. Only I seem to have the faith. The others may follow as their hollow lives become even emptier. I have no interest in converting them to my faith. What’s in it for me? Where I’m going, I don’t need more friends from back home. They never did much for me in the past. No, I’m looking forward to transformation, to becoming somebody else entirely.
What will it be like to wake up my first morning on another world? Will be there one sun or two? Will the vegetation be completely different or just exotic? Will women find me attractive? Will I be attracted to them? Do they even have men and women, or do they lay eggs or give birth through a hole in their sides?
I’m sure it will be way different, but I find that prospect exciting. Anything but more of this same old same old. I figure if the saucer doesn’t land, I can always move across the world to some place like Mongolia or Tasmania. Things might be different enough there to stave off boredom for a few more years.
The first few days they took me to an institute of some kind, maybe a research university, where after a brief physical examination, they simply asked me questions. How did Bach’s music differ from Chopin’s? What was the radio of the diameter of a circle to its circumference? What is plutonium? Do most compounds exist in more than one state? How many apply to water? What was the first network situation comedy filmed instead of shot live? Where was it filmed? Why were so many early television shows based in New York?
I knew the answers to most of the questions they asked. Whether or not this impressed them I couldn’t tell, because they simply moved on to the next question. After three days of this, I was tired and told them so. I wanted to be shown their planet. This request confused them. “But this is our planet,” the replied.
So this was it. They lived in bunkers underground. And I thought my options were bleak back home.
I asked them what they did for fun. The replied they watched a lot of our television shows, but since the speed of light was only a measly 186,000 miles a second, they only now were getting the shows we had broadcast in 1957. They asked me who I preferred among newscasters, Douglas Edwards, Walter Cronkite or that new duo, Huntley and Brinkley.
I told them I was homesick and asked when the next saucer would leave headed back toward my home. They laughed nervously. I told them I was serious. They said they’d ask, but there was a big universe out there and they couldn’t guarantee the timing would suit me.
In the meantime, we could try collaborating on a TV show. In our interviews, I had mentioned that my earliest memories of being delighted by creativity and wit came from watching Steve Allen on the Tonight Show. I told them I had always hoped I could have a show like that, and improvise as effortlessly as Steve Allen had. They proposed that we do such a show, and went so far as to buy me some over-sized glasses that resembled those worn by Mister Allen and Roy Orbison, for that matter. I would interview a bevy of pony-tailed starlets with names like Gigi, Gidget and Brigette, as well as some bearded hipsters named Dirk, Bret and Clay. We could talk about upcoming movies and hit records we were excited about, even though there were no such products. I’m not sure they even had television on this planet, but they did have a way of storing our performances.
They gave me a piano onstage which I could pretend to play, while they piped in Bill Evans performing in his unique style.
We made five, one-hour shows, and I became more and more comfortable playing the role of TV talk-show host. In the course of my conversation with these faux starlets and stars, I learned:
That the surface of this planet was a radioactive wasteland, the result of an unfortunate nuclear war that took place years ago.
That the forms my hosts had assumed for my sake came from their study of our planet, but in actuality they were a green, bubbling foam that rose a few inches when it got excited and then settled down to being a slimy carpet.
That they couldn’t guarantee me that upon return I would find the Earth at the same era it was when I left. Time was a slippery thing across great distance. Celestial navigation was both an art and a science. Fortunately, my memories were equally likely to become foggy and vague, and if we did return at a different time, it would be sort of like an alcoholic coming out of a blackout and having to buy a newspaper to find out the date.
But I was willing to risk it all just to get home.
I have access to real truth that you won’t be able to find anywhere else. With this truth comes power. If you become my disciple, you will wield unimaginable power. With power comes wealth. People will find you more attractive because you are now wealthy and powerful. You will never regret a moment after you become my disciple.
My truth is an unearned gift that was given to me by God Himself. I don’t know why He chose me, but He did. He wants me to draw worthy souls to myself in order to experience this Truth and Power and to eventually know Him. I am merely His servant.
In order to be my disciple, you will have to move to be with me. This is not an attractive area. No one has ever come here on vacation. There are no tourist guides written about its beauty. It’s a distant suburb of a dying rust-belt city in the middle of America. Even the motels have shut down. At least half the houses and commercial buildings are lived in by vagrants, raccoon’s and possums. I live in a tent. You can have your own tent, if you bring one. There’s room for several tents.
We don’t own the land we’re camping on. Nobody knows who owns it, and nobody cares. There is city water nearby, and nobody seems to mind us using it. We could call all this a “miracle,” or merely a series of oversights. What it could be called doesn’t matter. It’s our life, here and now.
We need someone to learn ventriloquism in order to operate several dummies we found in an abandoned house. This could provide a way for us to attract followers and possibly earn money through street performing. What the English call “busking.” It would be nice to have some children in our community. Hanging around only with other old people ultimately proves depressing.
If you’re coming, give us a few days notice before you arrive. During the hot weather we’re often nude all day long, and we don’t want to give you an unpleasant surprise. We have no hidden agenda regarding nudity. It’s simply been the natural outcome of heat and isolation. We’re not into free love any more than most old hippies.
The truth I have to share with you is Absolute Truth, not corrupted by falsehoods of any kind. It is the Real McCoy. It is what you’ve been looking for for all of your life. Once you embrace this truth wholeheartedly, you will never be the same. You will no longer cause yourself or others grief. You will stop pointing the finger at others and blaming them for your unhappiness.
And that is just the beginning of what you will experience and learn from what amounts to a conversion process that can best be described as “returning to your natural state.” The cost? It is, of courses, absolutely free.
Recently, I tried to show some eight year olds something on YouTube. They had no interest in what I was trying to show them. They clamored for some sort of video game that showed a deliberately crudely rendered monster lurching about in a equally crude field. They found this fascinating. It was accompanied by the most annoying sound track I have ever heard, and for all I could see, there was no story or plot to it. Just random lurching.
My video had words, maybe too many for their taste, and a point to it if you bothered to listen to the words, but they couldn’t be bothered to do so. I got the impression that there is just too much stuff out there, and everyone alive, even little children, have decided they need to ignore most of it and focus on a very few things that have caught their attention for one reason or another. It’s all about personal choice. Nothing else matters. These are my preferences and dammit, I’m sticking to them.
Maybe this is the YouTube version of anti-intellectualism. Pick you favorite character and watch it go viral. Make the video’s creator rich. Everyone else can go suck an egg.
Comfort is underrated. People get all hung up on excitement, but what they really would rather experience is comfort. It’s hard to describe peace but a lot easier to picture war. People pay big money to sit ringside to watch fights, not calm discussions that end in consensus.
Joel Osteen charges five thousand dollars for the seats closest to him at his mega church. Quakers are dying out as a religion, because there’s nothing sexy or exciting about friends getting together in silence to honor the Christ within and the spirit of brotherhood they share.
I keep trying to find ways to promote my writing, but the only advice I get it from people who write those magazine-like articles “5 tips to better time management” “Dress for success at work and at play”
“Eight tips to sure-fire weight loss.” I don’t want to write that kind of stuff. Does that mean I’m doomed to never finding readers and never making any money? There’s a very good chance that’s the case.
Nothing is as it seems. Everything is full of secret innuendo. Even the warning lights on your dashboard are full of hidden import.
That little pitcher has nothing to do with water or oil. It’s an ancient Egyptian hieroglyph that refers to the Sun God Ra. It’s suggesting as overtly as it can (hampered by Department of Transportation regulations) that you perform a sacrifice to Ra as soon as possible. The thing that looks like a lamp emitting rays is about the different forms of radiation that might confuse you while driving. Gamma rays can make you seek out the nearest pancake house, alpha rays will sexually arouse you and cause you to find the “bad part of town,” where ladies who do that sort of thing might be found.
Likewise, your fuel gauge and odometer are using symbolism to make their point. They have no idea how far you’ve come, where you’re going, or whether you’ll make it to your destination before you die. It’s literary fiction more than it is science or engineering.