By Apuleius Charlton
Special guest blogger
Prometheus Rising remains relevant; brain change does seem to be one of the pressing issues of the moment. While we can’t look towards the “aughts” as any sort of golden age of stability and societal harmony, I do think it can be argued that there was much more in common between the last couple decades of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first than our nascent twenties have in common with said beginning. While not everyone, large parts of society have seemingly gone off into another dimension beyond any possibility of objectivity-through-consensus.
Regrettably a lot of the sinister elements of this brainwarping day-and-age aren’t like 1984 or Brave New World, just tedious and incredibly stupid. Dismaying -- somehow a man who was bragging about being able to perform autofellatio this weekend is still considered a relevant source for medical advice by too large of a segment of the populace. In a way, I wonder if this mass abandonment of any discernment or forbearance has something to do with the “breaking down” process that occurs during a “typical” brainwashing. We are repeatedly reminded of “the loneliness epidemic,” societal disenfranchisement, extremist political posturing and general pessimism about the future that is sweeping across much of our world. I believe that these factors might be serving as their own strip-search, with everyone having their own “bend over and cough” moment when the promises of yesteryear are finally revealed to have been mostly hollow.
So, as we are all continuously broken down by our forty plus hours every week and whatever new insipidness life has to throw at us, our minds are ripened for something completely different. For some people it might be a heightened sense of absurdity, for others life becomes an arena where we are pitted against mighty forces that seek to take something away that we have convinced ourselves mustn't be given up. But, in my observations, the contest isn’t against any shadowy group or Other but rather against the increasing waves of information and quickening change; many humans are essentially drawing lines in the sand as the tide is coming in.
One thing that Wilson doesn’t mention, and I am convinced this is an intentional omission, is that while Crowley discusses our “great teachers” and their mysterious changes he also proposes that his system of experimentation is designed to replicate those events and create “prophets” out of its practitioners. I believe Wilson might not have felt it was necessary to mention that in this chapter because that is what he is also trying to do throughout our book with his challenges to our robotic script and his exercizes. Perhaps Wilson the magician didn’t want to reveal the trick to first time readers just yet.
While both can have the opposite effect, I do see some training in “real” magic or conspiracy theory as a possible inoculation to having one’s brain changed without consent. Of course, we will still possess our foibles but these systems, if used judiciously, tend to create an overpowering sense of curiosity and agnosticism. Of course, both areas can become the hunting grounds where our minds break from their leash and go wild. Hopefully, under the guidance of such a worthy teacher as Wilson, one is able to avoid such hazards for the large part and change one’s own brain before someone else does it for you.
It is worth noting that while attempting the final exercize this weekend, it occurred to me that many of Jones’ congregation only drank the cyanide-laced Flavor-Aid under duress. While that makes the Jonestown occurrence all the more disturbing, it does allow us to see that he wasn’t the Svengali that history remembers. He pulled a lot of crap to get his followers to that point, and even then many tried to resist. Is this hopeful? I don’t know.