Eating Brains: How the Collective Consciousness is Floating into Miasma

Part 4 of a 5 Part Series

We have to create culture, don’t watch TV, don’t read magazines, don’t even listen to NPR. Create your own roadshow. The nexus of space and time where you are now is the most immediate sector of your universe, and if you’re worrying about Michael Jackson or Bill Clinton or somebody else, then you are disempowered, you’re giving it all away to icons, icons which are maintained by an electronic media so that you want to dress like X or have lips like Y. This is shit-brained, this kind of thinking. That is all cultural diversion, and what is real is you and your friends and your associations, your highs, your orgasms, your hopes, your plans, your fears. And we are told ‘no’, we’re unimportant, we’re peripheral. ‘Get a degree, get a job, get a this, get a that.’ And then you’re a player, you don’t want to even play in that game. You want to reclaim your mind and get it out of the hands of the cultural engineers who want to turn you into a half-baked moron consuming all this trash that’s being manufactured out of the bones of a dying world.

― Terence McKenna

Analyze this blow above to the gut of a really messed up America, Europe, Mexico, Australia, Japan.  You Name It: Hello Kitty/Mad Max/Beyonce/ Apple World mind sapping junk is what is partially decoupling action from survival. Think about how many projects, how many Marshall Plans for The Environment-Education-Safety Nets that need attending to, yet, we sink into the Jello of our age — a buying and eBay-ing and Facebooking society that is so distracted, so beat down by the financial tyranny, so mixed up on what it is to be hu-man/hu-woman, that we have locked in more trivia about the Breaking Bad  and Dumb and Dumber shit-stream choreographed and cataloged (put to music, of course) than simple humanity-common sense. Anything gores the mind of the American Lost Soul, seeking redemption in junk, plastic bodies, rubberized souls, the antics of some horribly unprepared and rather dumb and middling presidential candidates (Jill Stein, excluded).

Before I continue this “homage” to the ever-crumbling American and Western brain and move words forward, I have a few disclaimers to make. Yes, in some sense these essays from time to time serve as a sort of free-fall, or maybe free-for-all, and in the term of pejorative, one might think of them as rants.

All worked up and jumping around the bonfire, leaping over the hot coals that have come to represent the burning structure of humanity in a democracy, at least to me. We are certainly in America way past civil thinking, civics, civilized thinking and homage to the intellect, smarts, collective concern for the entire community, and a willingness for sacrifice and looking at ourselves in the mirror and admitting we are shells of humanity, driven by goods and services, gods and demons, a fear of not being one of the Joneses and then with a flip of the cognitive switch, we are seeded with a bipolar hyperactivity that makes us think we are special, or we sometimes are overtaken with that sinking feeling of emptiness from this consume-consume and entertain-entertain tsunami of actions, yet conversely, we go at that superficiality and global disinterest anew each AM when we get up and become slave/at-will/precarious/just-in-time/non-permanent employees, err, read: slaves.

This hula-hoop of a systems weighs some of us down — messes with our sense of direction — until a few million of us with full cognition, full understanding of systems and causal relationships as to why the mess is so far-ranging end up sitting side by side next to many tens of millions who are now in this terribly dumb-downed state, believing in a country permanently sealed in psychological myth after myth after “exceptionalist” mythology. This pathology has been cultured like e-coli by the paymasters and mortgage Mafioso and conjured up by spin-monsters and all those terrible titans of business-industry-pain-pollution-propaganda who have hollowed out the middle and the minds, happy to suck like parasites off a majority population left on the flimsiest of life-support when it comes to smarts, thinking and revolt.

How can some of us writers — those of us who have worked in traditional small town daily journalism or mid-sized urban reporting — NOT want to open the window and shout, as Howard Beale said 40 years ago in the movie, Network

I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel’s worth; banks are going bust; shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter; punks are running wild in the street, and there’s nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there’s no end to it.

We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat. And we sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be!

We all know things are bad — worse than bad — they’re crazy.

It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out any more. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we’re living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, “Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials, and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.”

Well, I’m not going to leave you alone.

I want you to get mad!

I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot. I don’t want you to write to your Congressman, because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street.

All I know is that first, you’ve got to get mad.

You’ve gotta say, “I’m a human being, goddammit! My life has value!”

So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out and yell, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!!”

Count that — four decades ago, and the anger Beale and that interesting movie, Network, were heralding in as both conceptual and literal ANGER, well, it has been lobotomized from this generation’s and past generations’ head, channeled into violent TV-Movies-Video-Cops-Drone Fighters-Ground Wars-Air Wars-Bombings-Economic Blockades-Structural Violence-Scapegoating-Xenophobia-Infantilizing-Pop Cultural Addictions.

You ain’t gonna start no post-fossil fuel/post-scarcity/post-capitalism fires going at the toupee rallying his troops to clownish zeal at Build the Tortilla Curtain Wall and Throw Them All Out of Amerika presidential stump speeches.

Did you get that memo, all those peeps protesting, or, trying to shout down the free-speech rallies of this megalomaniac and his hurt so bad followers?

Almost a year ago, remember, at one of those carnival fourth grade schoolyard fiascos the oh-so-smart-no-so-liberal-media keep calling debates?

Trump said on stage in Thursday’s GOP candidates’ debate:

I will tell you that our system is broken. I gave to many people before this — before two months ago I was a businessman. I give to everybody. When they call, I give. And you know what, when I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them. They are there for me. That’s a broken system.

Now, Trump and his financial shysters and the MBAs and legal eagles, all those slum landlords, purveyors of punishment and PayDay Loan neighborhoods, all what he is, what America is, from Hilton to Walmart, from Ivy League School of Misdirection to Community College Running Drone Tech certification clinics, this is the monster eating the brain, and the gangrene is a slow thing, generational, fluid, new, resistant to all innoculations and therapies, because over decades — my 3.5 decades as community college-university-alternative high school-prison skills-gifted & talented teacher — the morass is us, sponginess collectively, mad cow diseased into a state of contradictory unconsciousness.

Words are powerful, and their syncopation with rhythm and mad juxtaposition that beat in the poetic line, those railing and rumbling diphthongs coupled with straightforward iambic pentameter, all those staccato leaps with adverbial-adjective pleasure, coordinating conjunctions, similes punctuated by subordinating clauses, all of that grammar and lexicon and internal and end rhyme stirred together, which is a new dance that is our post-tribal WE-COLLECTIVE, sure, there are guilty pleasures utilizing some of that machine-gun nature of various forms of some writing, and the rant that flows forth sometimes is the Molotov spray we try to direct into the manifesto of insanity of this world today —

  • poisoned food
  • depleted uranium diplomacy
  • nuclear profits and super funds
  • continuing a mass growth in spectrum disorders
  • the autism of education
  • wall after wall erected — digital and mental
  • madness from media that is our holy shepherd
  • unlivable cities of the hip — five to a couch
  • climate disruption and a heating planet
  • the loneliness of Capitalism’s love children
  • monopolies and bankers rolling all the dice
  • opinions and shouts trumping logic and settled thinking
  • science as panacea and intellectualism as distaste
  • a trillion trivial concerns bombarding a distracted globe
  • the end of nature as we should know it
  • giant churning gyres of garbage in the Pacific and in the proverbial mind
  • disease treatment and no prevention
  • money trumps all
  • rate of returns trumps money
  • singularity of profits to the few the new subjugation

So, in one sense, there is that “me” in the me-myself-and-I who wants to go ballistic, as a show of my own recognition that this open wound that is capitalism-imperialism-miseducation has cut the brains of my brethren in half. How can one wake up, view the world of humanity, of us so separated from nature — news feed or not —  and NOT be angry? Every single day.

But I understand that tiptoeing with language, how the power of words and the personal syncopation and assault of images and turn of phrase and topological hurricanes can be construed as rant, or uncontrolled rant.

The aim is much more than an ice bucket to the cranium. The needs in our society from the poet, artist, writer, performer, are so tied to being the absolute anarchist against common deadening consumer culture and the flag-ship of following the bandwagon.

Yet, as a writer, even if my words penetrate the minds of more than one might expect, this idea that we are in this together, and a rant can only take the concepts and expressions so far, well, I have to subsume that position from wise people who have done the kind editorial helping hand to point out that I may be going over the top or over the edge!

This essay is about the mind going to rot, in some sense, filleted by the controllers, and how some of us slogging away at barely living velocity have to put it all into a bag of many other good people’s perspectives and contexts.

I am a human being. I am writing this on my way to the Red Heart Ceremony at Fort Vancouver — read my piece at DV here — Red Heart. That humanity is cultivated in histories long forgotten but revived. These Cowlitz tribes and Nez Perce, they will settle with memory, ancestor remembrances, settling for the old way now in a new world. Teaching what it is to be Indian (their own term).

I know this Clan of Red Heart, all 33 who went back to their Idaho village to NOT fight a war, were rounded up, shackled and taken to Fort Vancouver. That two year old boy’s remains were buried somewhere, and to this day, we walk on the bone spirits of a fallen brave.

I will become that sullen spirit, the end of the rant, listening, watching my fellow human beings work to seal some lamentation about the injustice of illegally imprisoning Nez Perce in the late 1870s (August 6, 1877), and then see a boy child dying from the cold lock of the cell and white man’s disease.

I will remember Little Big Man, the movie, for what value it has, and what that chief says to Jack Crabb, Dustin Hoffman’s character:

Jack Crabb: Do you hate them? Do you hate the White man now?

Old Lodge Skins: Do you see this fine thing? Do you admire the humanity of it? Because the human beings, my son, they believe everything is alive. Not only man and animals. But also water, earth, stone. And also the things from them… like that hair. The man from whom this hair came, he’s bald on the other side, because I now own his scalp! That is the way things are. But the white man, they believe EVERYTHING is dead. Stone, earth, animals. And people! Even their own people! If things keep trying to live, white man will rub them out. That is the difference.

Humans are the mythical lemmings (the animals DO NOT jump off cliffs in mass suicide — that was a Disney staged shot years ago) and the proverbial (but not accurate to this species) frog in the slow cooking pot of cold water and staying there until boiled (again, another myth and lie-fable that mischaracterizes the amphibian when in fact it’s HUMANS that let the world warm up and boil and then finally figure out they can’t jump out of the boiling pot). And, it’s the human animal that jumps off any number of cliffs (those duped by 9/11 lies, the very essence of manifest destiny and exceptionalism, the blind patriotism, the idiocy of any number of hundreds of millions of big lie after the bigger lie) like frightened weasels, who as a species (the lemming) would never ever commit that mass anything, let alone suicide. Leave that to the individual Homo Sapiens and collective human species.

This is a troubling time, where words are used any number of a million to the fifth power ways to confuse and amuse, to repel and to rejoice, and still, here we are, mind-smacked by the barrage of stupidity that is mostly our 6th and 9th grade reading level culture.

I’m seeing how that monster sucks the mind. I just got the Washington State primary voter pamphlet (pp. 6-11, ouch!). And, OMG! WTF? This is what precipitates rants, and many of my rants are fugues, or deliriums created by an advancing cancer upon the minds of my fellow humanity. This voters guide, with Clinton, Sanders, Cruz and Trump, Kasich and the ghost of Carson (still on ballots), is an abomination.

When it’s in black and white, in their 6th grade reading level unexpressive writing, there in front of me, the total lack of credentials, the total lack of humanity, of anything, from education, to community service and to professional experience, to their insipid statements (Bernie is like a child, Hillary is like a daft meat pie maker, Cruz is like some sad third place junior high school debate team participant, and Trump and Kasich  –well, Trump has more to say about taking on the special interests, taking on the capitalists, the stacked deck political system than the two Demon-crats — how is that weird — more arrested development) show there is a place every second of every day, waking or sleeping hours, where a few tens of millions should be stopping traffic, disordering the world, blurting out — “We are mad as hell and we aren’t going to take it anymore.”

In this very act of reading their inane and asinine and silly and shallow as a puddle in the desert “stuff,” there is no one I know with revolutionary and anti-authority bones who would not want to do more than belt out Howard Beale’s proclamation. We are talking about these people, running — the most unqualified, untested, unseasoned, uneducated, un-average-citizen like, un-informed, under worldly — and how is it that the automatic response for some of us is not more punditry and analysis or faux intellectual banter, but rather RANT.

Their souls are vapid, and so what is a good person supposed to do when sucked into this vortex of media manipulation, propaganda spin, unholy slow and flawed thinking? Participate? Vote? Discuss in a calm manner their attributes or lack of them? Imagine these candidates even worthy of being on the same stage as fourth grade spelling bee contestants, or with the junior class robotics team, or with any number of 4-H winners, any of the sophomore essay writing winners, anyone of those youth getting involved in community service and thinking and activism. Imagine all these shallow folk, from Sanders to Trump, from Clinton to Cruz.

This genuflecting to the masters of the madness that is the Andy Warhol Pot – pop, deadening culture famous for 15-million-gigabytes. Their eyes are swollen shut from the blinding Hollywood fabricated lives who are cut-outs, drama queens, inspirational empties, like broken Bud bottles holding the ashes of our ancestors.

This is an unending cycle of insanity, unending barrage of inanities, broken narratives, souls captured by debt and hoarding to send insanity into the night, those drones and Hell Fires, ratcheted together by more of the same suburbanite, the people who see their role on earth as gods of goods, in line waiting for the circumcision of both soul and mind, by the money holders, the renters, the info whores.

Our children play on toys of racism, those joysticks with dogs of war videos and their Forty-Niner underwear while their masters push their vile wars in the air, the poisons, depleted uranium, the toxins pushed into muscle, the brains leached of common sense, no history, just that Old American Can Do-Kill Spirit, packaged for half time nachos, stolen into the night, as garbage disposals hum and water purifiers drip – drip – drip.

Look at the epigram above, and replace McKenna’s allusion to Bill Clinton with, oh, Hillary, oh, Trump, oh, This or That Thieving College-Professional Owner/Athlete. All those utterances from multi-millionaire lightweights like Jon Leibowitz Stewart and his South African Replacement, or that other racist, Bill Maher, or the fool Rachel Maddow, or any number of operatic fools in MainStreamJournalismAntics101, from Charlie Rose to the usual suspects in the entertainment wing of what those cable outlets and mainstream networks call “journalism.”

How can there not be a rant in our bones, no way beyond this alliance with all those controllers?

Newsmakers, multi-billionaires, the “crash at 6” and the “murders at 11,” if it bleeds, it leads — all that info-tain-ment, jive ass infantilizing stuff that makes Western Consumers like cartoons, but worse – wielding the power to suck resources from the people who are of the land, children of those commons — Americans, Jews, Germans, British, Australians — with the power to bomb and drone and smother villages-towns-cities-countries, the power to eat the world into a corner, the power to climate change the rest of the world into chaos and death, the power to State Department the world into Baby Imploding and Wedding Party Massacring Madness.

There are not enough people pounding open windows and screaming, “Hell, no, I can’t take it anymore.” Standing or sitting, prone or vegetative state, everywhere, yelling, and then, mad?

Monsters: They are suit-wearing killers, their varsity letters from tennis clubs, their lacrosse people drinking caviar and lapping up scripts and eating mushrooms and dropping tabs of drugs and vomiting up yesterday’s sirloins.

The monster is giant and ever-amorphous and in the gut bacteria, in the stomach linings, in the TV=Video=Facebook-mauled minds of children as they get buffeted by the soul-crunching stuff that is their haunting ground. Fakers, Spinners, Web Creators, Fog after Fog of Nothingness, these floppy stories on TV, in their books, in the ether — schools locked down, the metal detectors and the special playground cops.

The reality is a death, daily, as the baselines shift minute by minute, and daily we have more and more history vanished, more and more knowledge trashed, more and more humanity and caring, eviscerated. This churns into a broken dialogue. Some see it as a dying world, not the rant of our lifetimes, nor is it spilled milk or a 59-year-old (me) throwing cynicism into the pyre of this  world. It’s reality, the very essence of my work in the fields that should have been the safety nets to some sort of salvation or turnaround or revolution – journalism, education, social work, political activism around the environment.

None of what I did seems to count in the minds of my friends, my people, and that seems to be the American way. You can have 100-plus Books to Your Chomsky Name, but not a one counts, as the liberals consume this  crap of Charlie Rose or anything out of the pouty mouth of a Vanderbilt-Anderson Cooper, Duck Dynasty, Big Boobs and Bellies Beer Tossing, anything out of those macabre book authors of untruths, all those warped narratives that are EVERYWHERE, like the very bad air we breathe, all those icons of the steal, the mortgage theft, the murderers insulting humanity with their life on earth as MBAs, Bank Presidents, Economists, Hedge Funders, Anyone That Has to Do with “The Lobby.”

The Monster is Gangrenous, eating the souls, the guts, the bodies, the land of Homo Erectus, now Consumopithecus Retailopolus.  We try to hold our own, fill our communities with hope, but we are a species being bombarding by Walmart-Home Depot-Trader-Joes-Macy’s-Target-You-Name-It-Big/or/Little Box store.

The rant is our song, the livid poem, the narrative theatrics, anything to pinch the nerves to prove there is more to this life than holding strong and clear and favored.

It’s not Clinton and Michael Jackson that’s on the minds of this dying world, but each new version of each new toy, each new digital ding-a-ling, each new Kill That Colored Person Mortal Combat Shit, Each New App, Each New Post on Twitter, Spotify, Each and Every Botox and Baby from the Elite, Each and Every Orgasm from Johnny Depp-Silverston-Paltro-Pitt-Hans Solo-Teletubby.

Smorgasbord of bad, perverted, violent and simpleton stuff ready to take more brain cells while the Uber Rich, those Chosen Few, gnaw on Exotic cuts and Jet Set Around On Slum Tours from Hell.

There is no righteous indignation without first a catharsis, an emptying of the soul in this world. What readers have here is the mysticism and magic and surreal, a writer taking on the personas of a hundred imprisoned dissidents, the souls of a million dead poets. Some see the death of culture as: Disney-fication, Walmartization, Infantilization, Usurpation, Denaturing, Girting, Gutting and Evisceration, hormone-splitting, degender-ization, anti-intellectualization, all the money pimping for the One Percent, Zero-Point-One Percent and their cadres of worker (rich) bees pulling up the rear – that mind-sucking 20 percent of the USA population controlling 92 Percent of the Power of the Greenback . . . ownership of land, sea, air, dirt, patents, minds, thoughts, spirit, and, souls.

That monster eats minds slowly, with misinformation, with anything that takes us from the truth. Dissect McKenna’s warning above. Cultural diversion – battles around sex marriage; the right of women in combat; the order of adoption for same sex couples. The war plans are set by the neocons, broadcast by the hucksters of the digital dramas. This guttural side to culture has been hoodwinked by the Elite, the Chosen Few Writing the Cultural Narratives, the Laws, the Patents, the Education Delivery Systems, the Order of Things in the Liberal Class, those Elites With the Magic of Madison Avenue and Freudian Subliminal Mind Control to Get Anyone to Vote with Their Pocketbook and Vote Diametrically Opposed to Everything They Stand For and Believe in and From Whence they Come!

I have been having huge fights with liberals, these Obama Apologists, These People Who Continue to Say It’s the Republican-Controlled House and Senate causing the illness of Capitalism, Democracy. Huge fights, to the point of throwing down and trashing friendships –sort of like the days in the ’80s and ’90s when families broke apart because X was for outlawing humanity’s right to conceive or not conceive, versus Those Who See Every Consummation As Holy and The Be to End All No Matter How Many Women Die and Children Languish.

This monster eats its way through each generation, copulates with the lies of the empire, the money changers, and attempts to rape all those truth-and-tribalism-and-rights-of-nature values passed down for tens of thousands of years, until we are this point of genocide experts, eating the brains of their own ignorant people so the order of things is to take and rape and pollute the rightful people’s land. Here, John Pilger, for his movie, Utopia:

It is this “traditional life” that is anathema to a parasitic white industry of civil servants, contractors, lawyers and consultants that controls and often profits from Aboriginal Australia, if indirectly through the corporate structures imposed on Indigenous organisations. The remote homelands are seen as an ideological  threat, for they express a communalism at odds with the neo-conservatism that rules Australia and demands “assimilation”.

It is as if the enduring existence of a people who have survived and resisted more than two colonial centuries of massacre and theft remains a spectre on white Australia: a reminder of whose land this really is.

This is the monster, all digitized, all prettified, all culled by its progenitor, its placenta-eating mother and earth-splitting father. The monster is compliance, those HR directors, those Institutional Leadership Fascists, Those Deans and Administrators in Schools, those Military-Pharma-Prison-Insurance-Financial-IT-Big Ag Complex legionaries who lord over us all, who make the poor pay for a thousand years of fines-garnishments-back child support, all of it . . . . So the Elite, Those Chosen Few Gangrenous Monsters from Zion and the Holy See and Capitalism Central can rise on the exposed flesh of us all, the chosen masses, the majority.

Yet the order of the day are these intellectually anorexic folks delivering copy, all those jive ass lies and spins that make for a very upsetting news watching session for some of us, all preened, all gussied up, all those members of the Misleadership Blacks Class ending up on those talk shows, election 2016 Talk Shows, all the Prognosticators, all the illicit ones taking a take on the absurdity of these Un-Un-I-T-E-D states.

The conversations everywhere are inane, these people, so many even worse off morally and intellectually than Trumpite liberals, who believe their bloviating about anything about his country’s so-called righteousness to destroy everything else, anyone else. So many I know and meet are weak to begin with, held by the standard of informed consumption, fake green politics, knowing all the latest styles and caring about those cultural wars all the while their Hillary brains are hardwired to forget about the real rapine committed in their names.

It’s a monster that pulls from us, seeds thinking at birth, and every so often in the process of being marks, debt holders, styling folks who look at everything in the display windows, that brain is yanked out and rejumbled to fit the mauling mass media narrative to cull families, individuals, all the while sucking up each and every sliver of gold squeezed from the pile of cremains they steal from us all.

When is a word not a tool, when is a stanza not a weapon, when is not a poem a tribute to revolution?

The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall.  — Che

• Part One, Part Two, Part Three

Paul Kirk Haeder has been a journalist since 1977. He's covered police, environment, planning and zoning, county and city politics, as well as working in true small town/community journalism situations in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Mexico and beyond. He's been a part-time faculty since 1983, and as such has worked in prisons, gang-influenced programs, universities, colleges, alternative high schools, language schools, as a private contractor-writing instructor for US military in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Washington. His book, Reimagining Sanity: Voices Beyond the Echo Chamber (2016), looks at 10 years of his writing at Dissident Voice. Read his autobiography, weekly chapter installments, at LA Progressive. Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.