Who could possibly want to read another take-apart or close reading of the 2016 presidential election? Not me. And yet…
Rather than opinionate I’ve tried to cull some out-of-the-loop views to consider, punctuated with some random insights. So I’ll just toss these out there like bird seed. Peck at what you like and leave the rest. And if you skip the whole thing, well, who could blame you?
• The nature of reality is that it will not be cornered or tracked or predicted; in the same way that a dream you have at night — free from your ego’s edits and preferences — is a wild card narrative unfurling beneath your closed eyes. Reality and dream — only our waking state appears to separate them.
The Internet has taken the entire contents of the collective unconsciousness and the savage qualities of the id, and placed the amalgam at our beck and call, on phones and monitors across the globe. This is a form of dream overload.
Anytime you have a screen of any sort (be it your iPhone’s or your desktop computer’s) you’ll have a projected dream moving across it, right there in front of your face. And we have been trained for this response; first by cinema and then by television — though now we are participants, content creators, Tweeters, bloviators, in the dream narrative that shimmies and glows everywhere on our devices.
We are tethered to them in a symbiotic loop cycle, always tapping and poking the images and the data forward. Everywhere I go now it’s people shuffling about with their heads tilted down and scanning, scanning, scanning their phones for the latest tidbit or section from the collective dream field.
The dream bubble most liberals and Democrats floated within depicted a new world, with the first female president and all that was wonderful with a Clintonian dynasty redux. And the dream bubble of the GOP and its advocates was, of course, completely polarized from the other. The dynamism of life is continually oscillating and pulling the rug out from us — it just burns more when we’re the particular group experiencing the yanking. The collective dream field of the two factions never allowed for intersection or integration — the victor of this malfunction was Trump. And so here we are.
• A good way to actually integrate your experience of the past week is to view the entire event as a happening within a dream narrative. Imagine you went to bed and had this particular dream. What does it tell you about yourself? I don’t mean this to be a navel-gazing experiment, but an actual process of gaining insight to shadow parts of the psyche. Why? Because most of that regressed material is usually projected out onto what is perceived as the enemy or the tyrant or the monster or ogre — and, wow, with The Donald, we seem to be getting the entire package of horrors. Or are we?
What if our projections actually feed into the monstrous narrative that we’re terrified of? What if like Dave Chappelle offered in his opening monolouge on SNL, we gave Trump a chance, wished him luck and waited a bit to see if he can do a good job? How hubristic is it to assume we know exactly what’s to come (and many of us are acting that way)? It’s sort of embarassing, especially after what you’d think would be the humbling aftereffects of the election.
What if you settled into the notion that Trump is a human being like you are, with a heart, and longings, and wishes — a complex psychological history that feeds into his fear of being a failure and doing a bad job? Can’t we all relate to these qualities? What would happen I wonder if we each held this upcoming period in abeyance, supported by good wishes? I’ve been playing with this notion when I wake up in the morning and feel as tho someone has stomped on my head. It’s an interesting experiment in thought projection. Play around with it.
• “Life happens too fast for you ever to think about it. If you could just persuade people of this, but they insist on amassing information.” — Kurt Vonnegut
Here’s a ‘real’ world issue: The endless glut of news and opinion that’s vomited out of computer monitors worldwide has eroded our ability to think for ourselves.
To attempt to manage and metabolize the spew of data, updates, breaking stories, scandals, Wiki dumps, investigative exposes isn’t humanly possible. In fact, it’s fucking crazy-making.
Worse is the inability to know what is factual and what is fiction. This later predicament has grown exponentially throughout the year. And social media is the main culprit.
Forty-four percent of Americans get their news from Facebook, according to the Pew Research Center, filling a void left by the declining ranks of newspapers. By comparison, only 2 in 10 U.S. adults get news from print newspapers today. Facebook vets nothing and Mark Zuckerberg is groaningly disingenuous when he said: “Voters make decisions based on their lived experience.” Right, Mark. And many people are actually living their online life locked completely within Facebook’s echo chamber and gated community.
• Something I’ve suggested to a lot of friends and folks writing to me since Election Day: Round up a copy of the Masterpiece Theater miniseries I Claudius. (Or search for the production on Youtube, I think the entire series is posted up there.)
Situations like the ascendancy of Donald Trump have occurred since the dawn of time, in various permutations — though the 1976 mini-series based on Robert Graves‘s book, gives you a decidedly Western version of the wild ruptures within politics: The backroom games, shadow government, the Mafia-like forces that corrupt and poison, the descent of greatness and ascent of madness.
Much of this has to do with what Nietzsche wrote: “Insanity in individuals is something rare — but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.” The point being, grasping the concept that when it comes to mobs of people very little ever changes. Individuals have opportunities to evolve, but socio-cultural evolution is glacial at best. I Claudius demonstrates that ‘interesting times’ are always happening. Yes, some phases are more devastating than others, but always this predicament haunts human beings attempting to govern themselves. We are incredibly slow learners. We need to face that. Read more
When an author approaches the end of writing a book it’s not unusual for the unconscious to rebel and throw up roadblocks on the path to completion. I assume this is true for any artist serious about his or her long-term project. A day of reckoning always looms.
These rogue psychic forces are related to the process that accompanies severance. To end the creative flow is to relinquish control.
Worse, there will follow the book’s actual existence, after the fact; a harsh distinction between the fantasy that accompanied imagining the project and its materialization.
As Jung’s right-hand agent, Marie-Louise Von Franz noted: “People sometimes resist becoming creative because one’s would be creativeness is always so much more impressive … than the little egg one lays in the end when birth takes place!”
And so, not surprisingly, as I’m starting to push my new book Astrology, Facebook and The Zombie Apocalypse into the final laps around the track, my nocturnal dreams — the great compensatory forces in life — have become more forceful and direct.
Many years ago I took a job as a telephone psychic because I needed money. What started as a lark turned quickly into a kind of purgatory until I realized that I’d a rare opportunity to turn something grindingly tedious (and bizarre) into gold. I wrote and sold my book about my experiences to a mainstream publisher. And then later that same book became the fodder for an upcoming television series. Read more
Like many writers, some of my better efforts — especially of an astrological nature — inadvertently (from laziness) show up on my Facebook page and not on AstroInquiry, my website.
Because many people still do not interact with Facebook and because Facebook’s algorithms have become more restrained as of late — (meaning although I have thousands of followers/friends on the social network my posts seem to only reach people who live in teepees in their backyards) — I’ve decided to reclaim ownership of my writing and create periodic updates like this one to publish on my network: The MeBook.
I’ll do this periodically as my agitation builds to a tipping point. Maybe four times a year. I dunno.
Enjoy. Or maybe not.
Or just fucking follow me on Facebook and save me the pain.
If you’ve ever pondered the planet Mars’ rulership of the sign Scorpio, consider this quote from Scorpio president Theodore Roosevelt: “Get action. Do things. Be sane. Don’t fritter away your time. Create. Act. Take a place wherever you are and be somebody. Get action.” When Ted was a kid the doctors warned him that because of his questionable health any sort of heightened activity would kill him. And that warning was disregarded to the fullest extent of his body’s wild, unfettered spirit. The Scorpio spirit personified.
Camille Paglia unleashed in a rip-roarin’ Salon piece: Covering the Don, the Clinton Creature and the Prince! Fab.
As I mentioned in another post: Camille’s the only critic I’ve read that’s tuned into and teased out Prince’s Scorpio ascendant (ala the voodoo element). There’s always mention of Prince’s manipulation of sexual imagery and bombast, but with Prince it was transgressive in a way that made his 80s peers — especially Madonna — seem conventional.
Too, his persona’s decadent arc: Rent-boy to silk and lace dandy — yes! — also very Scorpio ascendant. The extremes. The larger arc, with Scorpio’s all-or-nothing demeanor? S&M rent-boy to monkish Jehova’s Witness. All the same trajectory.
Nothing in the 80s can match his LP Dirty Mind and its taboo-shattering (a song dedicated to incest, etc.) array of tracks. Yes, the themes, lyrically, were transgressive, but the construction of the music itself was voodoo-ish and hypnotic. Once the album got on your turntable it was impossible to turn it off. Spooky magic.
Learn Astrology Via Cartoons!
Here’s a Mars in Pisces individual in the planning stages of his day:
My last Prince post; ’cause it’s gotta stop now.
So I just finished playing Purple Rain from top to bottom, something I haven’t done in years because we’d played the record so many times in its entirety back in the days (it’s probably the last album that required that sort of commitment — total immersion or nothing).
And I’m speechless — but will write some stuff out anyway.
PR reminds me of a masterpiece painting, like something from Caravaggio. A bizarre comparison but Caravaggio had a prescience that brought Hollywood glamor lighting/chiaroscuro charisma to the most solemn of subjects, and Prince does that with PR. He’s showing/playing you the joy of creating some kind of prototype of musical perfection. Like a Mozart concerto or Miles Davis solo.
Celebratory giddiness is pressed hard against the ache, devotion, and itch of unrequited love, religious fervor and sexual obsession. We kind of forget about that amalgam when we think of Purple Rain. The muscularity of the musicianship is shocking. Airtight. Like a coded transmission from another galaxy: “I’m not a woman I’m not a man. I am something that you’ll never understand.” A gorgeous thoroughbred horse standing proudly amidst admirers.
But really: No words. Just put it on again.
Presently. (Full Moon in Scorpio conjunct my natal Moon.)
“People who have a nice, healthy connection to their crotch have a better connection between the head and their heart, and in a land of sexually healthy people we’d have less crime, less poverty, less divorce, less drug use and fewer right-wing Republicans.” –Larry Flynt
When you’re a writer Facebook becomes a peculiar problem.
Famous writer Zadie Smith, in her list of 10 rules for writers, says that working on a computer without wi-fi is essential. I guess she was tempted, while writing, to make too many visits to The New York Review of Books and start grazing.
In this post, I’m using the word peculiar to evoke its deeper etymology. Peculiar’s Late Middle English usage was to indicate: “Belonging to one person.” But even more peculiar (and further back in time) is the word’s Latin origin and usage, which is related to cattle and how those cattle belonged to you, were your property.
The Latin etymological tree goes like this:
pecu (cattle) > peculium (property) > peculiaris (of private property) > peculiar (particular, special).
So this is good to note, because you need to guard your stock when you’re working on your own creative stuff; to keep your words in your own writing stockade — rather than let them roam too much within the Facebook dream field. Grazing.
Secrets, Tips and Suggestions
Over the years, as a writer and incessant Facebooker, I’ve found that I can use Facebook for:
1. A well-deserved breather.
2. A maneuver to avoid an impending inner-critic attack. All writers know the inner-critic’s voice and the damage it does: “This is horrid and Dad was right, I’ve no talent. I should have stayed a cashier.” If I stay there grinding away on a paragraph in tandem with my inner-critic’s voice grinding away on me, well, I’m fucked. The abuse is dehumanizing.
The inner-critic’s job is to sabotage whatever creative expression you undertake and insure that you remain identified with the idea that you’ve no skill or talent.
Kids are psychic sponges and retain every judgement aimed in their direction — from the moment of conception forward, those critiques eventually morph into the inner-critic’s voice.
I have a friend whose sister had a baby girl that she’d called an “asshole” so frequently, from babyhood onward, that whenever the toddler met someone outside the family circle she’d announce proudly: “I’m an asshole!”
So strategies must be developed to dodge (or defend) against the inner-critic. Facebook can — if used wisely — act as a respite, unplugging you from your inner-critic and its attack on your present-time creation.
3. An energizing or remedial moment: I’ve often been working on a chapter and then hopped out of Google Docs and into Facebook and bumped into a post from The Guardian about how a trapped starfish can detach its own foot, keep moving, and then grow a new foot later. And for some unknown reason, reading that random bit of weirdness galvanizes my creativity, back into its flow.
Or, conversely, whatever particular post I land on will act as a non sequitur that unravels what I was previously laboring over; revealing that my effort was, indeed, shitty, and that I need to stop writing and start reading about starfish that unhinge their feet.
4. A Dada-like exposure to chance or what I call ‘synchronic serendipity’. Dada or Dadaism was an European avant-garde art movement from the early 20th-century where the Dada artists employed randomness, chance, and synchronic mirroring to create their creations.
Dadaism became very popular with artists willing to enter the realm of the irrational and illogical to achieve their creative inspirations and creations. And like all magical processes it involved rituals of various sorts.
Facebook can be employed in a similar way for a writer. The other day, frustrated with a difficult section I was writing about the planet Mercury, I stopped, logged into Facebook, and the first post I encountered was a post about the actor Brad Pitt‘s alleged bi-sexuality.
This was the perfect ingredient I needed for inspiring a point within the chapter about Mercury’s hermaphroditic nature. Shameless plug: You’ll love this part of the book when you read it. I promise. Read more