The Deep Ones and the Madness of Crowds
The Deep Ones
I could not but feel that some noxious marine mind had declared a war of extermination upon all the solid ground - HP Lovecraft, The Crawling Chaos
The Overlords of Childhood's End hide their true form for the first 50 years of their benevolent space brother stewardship, calculating that a half century of alien new order will be sufficient to overthrow millennia of religious patterning and superstition. It almost is. But there is still shock at their appearance: barbed-tail, horns and leathery-wings, like the demons of discarded faiths. The classic imagery of a demon had been a prefigurement imprinted upon humanity at the revelation of its doom, and cast back through race memory as an instance of reverse causation.
It would be bad enough if Clarke were right, though his godlike aliens had the grace of intellect and empathy even as they took Earth into receivership. Lovecraft's gelatinous, slobbering gods, not so much. And it's Lovecraft I worry about, and his Deep Ones dreaming.
Narrating the IMAX documentary Deep Sea, Johnny Depp's first words are to assure us we're not watching science fiction, and the creatures are not from another planet. The creatures are jellyfish, and the assurance that this is our own world fails to comfort me. Their biomass now surpasses ocean vertebrates, and are found in staggering quantities where they have never been seen in number before, because we have sickened the waters with overfishing and the climate is trending towards conditions unseen since the Carboniferous Era.
Complexity is the product of cooling, a process observable on every order of scale. The world we recognize and of which we're a part is the product of a climate mild enough to encourage diversity and intricacy. Brainless and simple jellies thrive in warm waters, and catastrophic warming means devolution of the seas back into primordial soups. The new plague of jellies appears as a harbinger of the end of the world we know from out of the world we didn't: from out of Deep Time. From slime, back to slime.
Billions of luminescent mauve stingers, "in a dense pack of about 10 square miles and 35 feet deep," wiped out Northern Ireland's only salmon farm last November. "In 30 years, I've never seen anything like it," said Northern Salmon's Managing Director John Russell. "It was unprecedented, absolutely amazing. The sea was red with these jelly fish and there was nothing we could do about it, absolutely nothing." This is more than three months old and you may have already forgotten the report, but is there a rival to this horror in all of Lovecraft's fiction? More than three months on and I still can't shake it, and it's at least worthy of the signs and wonders of a blind idiot god.
Translucent, mutable and iridescent, 98% water and almost entirely not there, a jelly is perhaps as close to a phantom as a creature can be and yet still belong to the material realm. In this respect at least it transcends the material, and gives great metaphor for the ineffable and alien yet familiar Other. Which may partly account for why they're seen these days in even less likely places than off the coast of Ireland. The sky above, for instance.
In October 2005, Bolivian Gustavo Ponce reported something above the town Oruro that was so foreign to his frame of reference that at first he refused to believe what he was seeing:
"It was a very strange and shiny figure that could be seen through the binoculars. I went ahead and took out my camcorder to videotape the UFO in the sky. As the camera zoomed toward the object, I could how it was breaking down into a shape resembling a jellyfish or something like it. It was very strange."
He added that the object was flying over the eastern part of the city and that it was the first time he had ever seen such an object, having never had previous visual contact with a UFO. [Newspaper] La Patria visited Ponce's home to see the images captured by his camcorder, attesting to the fact that the shining object broke down into a full circumference, adopting the shape of a jellyfish.Last June, a "jellyfish-shaped UFO" was seen over Shanghai. And from Sidney, British Columbia:
I stepped outside at 9:10 PM, to have a smoke and saw a bright orange ball of light heading south directly at me on September 9, 2007. My wife came out and we watched it pass overhead. I grabbed the binoculars and we both had multiple turns viewing it. My wife describes it as an "orange jellyfish" that I agree with looked like that to me too but it had a structure to the leading edge of the sphere like a crescent. It was very brilliant, pulsated and jiggled slightly. It looked like a glowing orange jellyfish and flew south over Sidney at a increasing rate of speed dimming from view.
Four days later, while Greg Lauver was driving through the Colorado town of Durango:
While driving through town on US Highway 550 on September 13, 2007, I saw an object like a glowing diamond filled with countless strands of yellow-white light at 4:50 PM. Each strand was a string of countless beads of gleaming white, all of which floated in a transparent medium which permitted the sky color to pass through yet also glowed faintly due to its contents. It reminded me of a spectacular back-lit picture of a live jellyfish by National Geographic.
Then most recently, and famously, the Stephenville UFO.
Witness Erath County Constable Lee Roy Gaitan describes his January 12, 2008 encounter:
I watch this thing in the police video and it appears to be some type of aerial object that is round. It changes from white to these different colors. The police officer says, ‘Keep watching,’ and I watched for approximately another eight minutes. And then this thing, right in front of my eyes, changes and it looks almost like a jellyfish. I compare it maybe even to a parachute – and now a very bright white. The green and blue and red is no longer flashing. It holds that shape for probably two minutes. And then to my surprise, it changes vertically like a line straight up and down.The deeper a Lovecraft protagonist delves towards the realm of the Deep Ones, beneath the banal surface order of things, the closer he draws to madness. There's no bargaining; no appeal to reason or mercy. It's a doomed commitment to seek out pitiless truth that will either kill the hero or render him senseless. Devotion to the dumb lords is no escape. Devotion's only reward is the privilege of being eaten first.
The Madness of Crowds
Foremost among the living objects were inky, jellyfish monstrosities which flabbily quivered in harmony with the vibrations from the machine. They were present in loathsome profusion, and I saw to my horror that they overlapped.... - Lovecraft, From Beyond
Prey evolve adaptive strategies for species' survival. It's in the predators' interest that they do. The prey is their feed pool, their life, and if they drive it to extinction then it becomes their doom as well. Prey needs to thrive for the health of the predator. And if the prey cannot adapt fast enough then the predator must, suppressing its appetite in ways that sometimes create bizarre codependencies.
According to the theory of endosymbiosis this is a story written in our Deep Biology, in the nucleated cells of nearly every living thing. In our mitochondria.
What doesn't kill us makes us...different. In their Microcosmos: Four Billion Years of Evolution from Our Microbial Ancestors, authors Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan write "imagine the ancestor of our mitochondria: a ruthless attacker, capable of breathing oxygen when it was around, or maybe even doing without it if necessary":
The ancestors of mitochondria invaded and reproduced within our other bacterial ancestors. At first the occupied hosts just barely kept alive. But when they died, they took the invaders with them. Eventually only cooperators were left. The invaded victims and tamed mitochondria recovered from the vicious attack and have lived ever since, for 1,000 million years, in dynamic alliance.
In the long run, the most vicious predators, like the dread disease-causing microbes, bring about their own ruin by killing their victims. Restrained predation - the attack that doesn't quite kill or does kill only slowly - is a recurring theme in evolution. The predatory precursors of mitochondria invaded and exploited their hosts, but the prey resisted. Forced to be content with an expendable part of the prey (its waste) instead of the entire body of the prey, some mitochondria precursors grew but never killed their providers.
In this primitive example the predatory proto-mitochondria knew a good thing when they ate it, and adapted to the point of domestication, the resultant symbiant becoming the conveyor of two independent sets of DNA in virtually all living things on Earth. However, Margulis and Sagan allow that the story is still being written, and may not end happily ever after. Some cancers, they write, may represent a "sort of atavistic return to the original state of prokaryote animosity." And through his study of the behaviour of mitochondria in cancerous tissue, Philip John of the University of Reading has concluded that "mitochondrial rebellions have not been permanently quelled."
Political animals are still animals, and politics as practiced at the top of the food chain may be just another instance of restrained predation, whose signature distinction is merely that it is happening to us. This would be intra-species predation, at least for now ("humanity may split into two sub-species in 100,000 years' time," says evolutionary theorist Oliver Curry), but that too is found in nature. Here is the unnatural: if humanity does eventually bifurcate into sub-species, it will be only biology's punctuation to the division of class, effected 6,000 years ago by the global emergence of an urbanized, priestly patriarchy whose rule is typically equated with "civilization."
Paedophile rings that cater to the elite are great practitioners of restrained predation, preying typically upon orphans, their own and the children who fall between the cracks, such as those of Boy's Town in the Franklin scandal and Jersey's dungeon-like Haut de la Garenne, from which kids were reportedly "loaned out" to wealthy yachtsmen for "rape cruises." They don't need all the children, or so many that the lattice of their privilege and appetite would draw attention. (The Pale Man leaves the ones who don't touch his banquet table; some are taken, and some are left by the hungry black car of The Reflecting Skin.) They take enough to feed well, but not enough to be noticed by those who have already been told there is nothing to see. (And I think it deserves noting that it was the hysterical overstatement of the numbers of victims by the likes of Ted Gunderson, who speciously contended that upwards of a million American children a year go missing, which 20 years ago helped consign ritual abuse to the domain of urban legend.)
So predators inhibit their appetites to avoid detection. But when they are above detection, they had better do so anyway in order to preserve the feed stock. That they didn't, may be one of the measures of the Nazis' madness. If they had killed Europe's last Jew they would have destroyed themselves as surely as the Onceler who chopped down the last Truffula tree, because their machineries would have lost the lubricant of Jewish blood. And perhaps it's because they didn't, that they won and are still with us.
(One other thing: in so far as the predator class operates with seeming inhumanity, it becomes easier for their natural prey to imagine that they may be other than human. This may account for both the truth and the lie of Icke's reptillian "secret," and how it could ever find currency.)
John Lamb Lash, in his Gnostic reinterpretation of sacred history, Not In His Image, puts it this way (and though I normally balk at the use of "Illuminati" to talk about anything but Weishaupt's Bavarian order, I do like Lash's application of it to describe the followers of a deviant shamanic path who falsely employ initiatory knowledge to social control):
Around 4000 BCE, with the rise of urban civilization in the Near East, some members of the Magian order chose to apply certain secrets of initiation to statecraft and social engineering. They became the advisors to the first theocrats of the patriarchal nation-states, but in fact the advisors were running the show. Their subjects were systematically programmed to believe they were descended from the gods. The Illuminati inaugurated elaborate rites of empowerment, or kingship rituals. These rituals were in fact methods of mind control exercised on the general populace through the collective symbology and mystique of royal authority. Kingship rituals were distinct from the rites of initiation that led to instruction by the Light and consecration to the Great Goddess. Their purpose was not education and enlightenment, but social management. Gnostics refrained from assuming any role in politics because their intention was not to change society but to produce skilled, well-balanced, enlightened individuals who would create a society good enough that it did not need to be run by external management....
Historians recognize a split in the Magian order, but do not understand either its origin or its consequences. Within the order, the telestai [spiritual initiates] were given the title of vaedemna, "seer," "wise one," as distinguished from the priest, the zoatar, who officiated openly in society and advised Middle Eastern theocrats on matters of statecraft and social morality.... So arose the first theocratic city-states in the Fertile Crescent. Urban populations required social control, and the Illuminati assumed the role of planners and controllers - more often than not, hidden controllers.
The Illuminati program was (and still is) essential to patriarchy and its cover, perpetrator religion. While it cannot exactly be said that the deviant adepts known as Illuminati created patriarchy, they certainly controlled it. And still do. The abuse of initiatory knowledge to induce schizophrenic states ("entrainment"), manipulate multiple personalities in the same person ("platforming"), and command behaviour through posthypnotic suggestion (the "Manchurian candidate" technique) continues to this day, with truly evil consequences for the entire world. If we accept that the Mysteries were schools for Gaian coevolution dedicated to the goddess Sophia, they could not have been run by the Illuminati, as some contemporary writers (who believe they are exposing the Illuminati) have supposed. Everything the Gnostics did in the schools was intended to counterbalance and correct the machinations of the deviant adepts. Initiation involved melting the ego boundaries in preparation for deep rapport with nature, not lowering of ego consciousness so that the subject could be "sectioned" and behaviorally programmed using the power of suggestion, imprinting, and other psychodramatic methods. These behavioral modification tools of the Illuminati were strictly forbidden in the Mysteries overseen by Gnostics.
This, I think, is the deep context in which we should situate the perpetual travesty machine of American politics. Here too, restrained predation "doesn't quite kill or does kill only slowly." Here, rather, it "keeps hope alive."
All through the Bush years, scores of non-Republicans have anticipated the brutal full-flowering of traditional dictatorship with all the trappings: martial law, mass internment and the cancellation of elections. Through much of the Clinton years, many non-Democrats looked for the same. It didn't come (though some are still waiting). It's as if they've not only expected the worst, but sought it, to put them out of their misery. But the worst exceeds their expectations, and their misery is to be protracted indefinitely.
The Kennedys and King, the October Surprise and Mena, anthrax and Wellstone, Gore and Kerry, Florida and Ohio: you might think that would be enough to make most Democrats say You know what? This isn't working out. But elections are paced like the Olympics, and in another four years the Jamaican bobsledders may really have a shot. Hey, anything's possible. And so long as people believe that, and that anything means everything they want, the cycle repeats and self-perpetuates.
The great assassinations of the Sixties were decapitation strikes, never intended to kill the host or to extinguish hope. It's only the hopeless who are dangerous. Hope must be encouraged, because you don't need to do anything to have it, and it keeps the prey from becoming wise to its own nature and seeking extraction from the cycle. Hope makes it possible to write and believe such things as "Al Gore will save the planet but Barack Obama will save this country." Hope that the system works, even if it is just a digestive system.
Restrained predation upon the Democratic Party may be at an advanced stage of domestication, but it also mimics molecular endosymbiosis with the injection of alien organelles in the form of the Trojan horse DLC to which, of all the contenders, both Clinton and Obama are closest in tactics and ideology. Funny how that happened.
And how did that happen? I think there's an institutional instinct at work, in the Deep Context, that maintains the insectival social engine of power. Does Obama know his role? That may be irrelevant, because the volition and cognition of the individuals who form the living manifestation of the system may be grossly overstated. They have given themselves to the system, the system has groomed them and raised them above all others, and they instinctively know what the system requires.
Is it hopeless? Thank Christ, yes, so get used to it. There's a liberation to hopelessness, in knowing what can't be done (or more typically, politically, be done for you), which I personally find preferable to another four years of huffing one's own jenkem. There's no salvation within the political cycle of death and rebirth, consumption and excretion - jellies eat and shit through the same simple hole, which could also be a reasonably sophisticated media analysis - and to hope for such a savior is to be the doomed hero of Lovecraft's fiction.
Perhaps it's not be so far from the Deep Ones to Deep Politics. You could say it all comes out right in the end, but you know what comes out in the end.