Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Syria's 10,000 Year Layers of Reality

Image Source: Web Pro News.

Syria is currently the Internet's favourite conspiracy theorists' stepchild. WikiLeaks dumps contend with a so-called "US-led conspiracy against Syria." There are the unconfirmed Homs Youtube massacre videos and anguished MSM chatter about 'chemical weapons' aimed at the country's citizens. As the situation shifts toward international action, characters like George Galloway join the rain dance.

I won't comment here directly on the Syrian troubles, but rather suggest in this case how Millennial meta-realities are derived from information, not the other way around. This is a phenomenon which Orwell recognized during the Spanish Civil War: because of opposing disinformation campaigns, independent reality disappears. That is a frightening moment. In our era, this moment depends critically on the implementation of online media. And it offers powerful potential, recognized by all players.

Conspiracy theorists are waist deep in the usual suspects, many of which are thinly-disguised characters out of the fake fin-de-siècle anti-Semitic tract, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion: Illuminati, CIA, Zionists, anti-Zionists, Arab nationalists, religious factions, al-Qaeda, international bankers and Russians. Theorists' complex logic and exciting mythologies supposedly inch toward something called the 'real truth.' As the conflict escalates, the blogger at Examined Intelligence, who must surely be an anti-Galloway animal, describes WikiLeaks' Syrian role in metaphorical style:
The recent hype created by the limited hangout operation known as 'Wikileaks' regarding the exposures of Syrian government documents shows no real Scoops, but simply rehashes old news in a manner designed to condemn 'Western Hypocrisy' with regards to Syria. It doesn't take a genius to understand it has something to do with Assange's new Bosses at the Kremlin.

As we noticed a few months ago, the purchase of former CIA asset \ MK-Ultra zombie Julian Assange by the Kremlin's state sponsored propaganda channel ' Russia Today \ RT' (believed to be an "alternative news" outfit by all too many gullible American bloggers) where he was given a prime time show (the first of which hosted Hezbollah's terror kingpin Hassan Nasrallah), had nothing to do with any kind of 'investigative journalism'. Assange simply switched sides to the Russian FSB once he became a liability to the CIA limited hangout apparatus.

All the documents published so far by Wikileaks are related to western companies selling communications gear to the Syrian government, supposedly in violations of the sanctions regime imposed on Syria on behalf of western oligarchies. This is in a time when Russian trade with Syria is heavily condemned by the western MSM, thus the whole thing can be understood as a Russian counter measure to western propaganda. ...

A real investigative exposure would have focused on NATO's complicity with funding and arming Al-Qaeda and similar terrorist groups in an effort to destabilize the Syrian government, but Wikileaks has no interest in any of this. Instead they simply focus on whatever serves the present short term interest of their current bosses in Moscow. There's nothing dramatic with western companies trading with Assad, unless it is understood in the context of current Russian diplomacy. ...

It is best for everyone in 'alternative' media to realize that state sponsored propaganda channels (like RT or PressTV) as well as their patsy facades (like Wikileaks \ Anonymous) must be discarded (and treated like BBC (MI6)) , even when they attempt to create the superficial impression of supporting the anti-establishment agenda. This impression is always fake and meant to lure western patsies (and otherwise well intentioned activists) to serve a rival establishment which is just as bad as the western one.
After flashing the anti-anti-anti-establishment badge of trust (plus garnering points for creatively working in the popular word, 'zombie'), Examined Intelligence believes that Anonymous leads Netizens to a "cybernetic Sleepy Hollow" and argues that the hacker group is a headless bogeyman created by evil financiers: "The 'Anonymous' operation - which isn't likely to represent a real movement but rather a 'no-flag' operation played by the Banksters against the free Internet - seems to be escalating its position on the globalist world theater of destabilization with actual acts of sabotage. What are its real motives?"

Debates on Syria are full of the language of blame and irresponsibility; but these bloody, tragic troubles originate in oppression and mystery. Perhaps they are the latest in a long line of unsolved histories.

One of the more obscure headlines floating around about Syria over the past fortnight was this one, regarding an archaeologist's dream: an unexcavated 10,000 year old site in the hills near Damascus (Hat tip: Ken Kaminesky). There are layers of history here: this is a medieval monastery piled on a Roman guardtower, all perched atop a neolithic structure which one archaeologist calls, "Syria's Stonehenge." From the report:
A city that is older than the pyramids lies about 50 miles from Damascus and there is no way for anyone to get there because of war. Fragments of stone tools, stone circles and lines on the ground, and even evidence of tombs appear to lie in the desert near the ancient monastery of Deir Mar Musa. “What it looked like was a landscape for the dead and not for the living,” said archaeologist Robert Mason of the Royal Ontario Museum.

He made the find during a 2009 trip and is eager to return and further explore the site. But he says regional conflicts make such a return trip nearly impossible. “It’s something that needs more work and I don’t know if that’s ever going to happen.”

The monastery that is currently found on the site is believed to have been built in the late 4th or early 5th century, he said, and contains several frescoes from the 11th and 12th century depicting Christian saints and Judgment Day. Mason told an audience at Harvard that he “believes it was originally a Roman watchtower, partially destroyed by an earthquake and rebuilt.”

Mason believes that he found tools that date back to the neolithic era or the early bronze age. The tools, he believes, are 6,000 to 10,000 years old. To put that in perspective, Egypt’s oldest pyramid is 4,500 years old. Mason hopes to return to the monastery to excavate under the church’s main altar — he believes he’ll find an entrance to underground tombs there. He also hopes to return to strange stone formations he found in the desert, which he dubbed “Syria’s Stonehenge.”
The report made me wonder how many other such conflicts have unfolded from this vantage point, with authority broken and reset and broken again, but never getting any closer to the 'real truth.'


  1. "because of opposing disinformation campaigns, independent reality disappears."

    But is that really Millenial? Did anyone publish "independent reality" in the wars of the deep past? So Augustus tells his people a story about how rotten Marcus Antonius and Cleopatra are just before setting out with a big army to conquer them. Maybe some clever people in the crowd notice that recently they were all allies and told different stories. They could have thought all sorts of things, but we'll never know because their thoughts weren't published. Maybe that's the difference between then and now. Today, these thoughts are published. Blogs are cheaper and more plentiful than Roman scribes. Even if these ideas don't get around to many people, and even if they get disparaged by those who do see them, as you've done with this particular theorist's rant, the thoughts can get published.

    We are perpetually told in this culture what a disease it is to have this will to disbelieve. All the nonstandard rants are lumped together under the broad monolithic label "conspiracy theory" and associated with noxious things like antisemitism. You could just as easily applaud people's ability, however strange they are, to think independently, even under the endless barrage of tendentious accounts, each one paid for by some party with a dog in the fight. Maybe it's proof that a flicker of human independence still remains.

  2. Ah, that is a complex remark you left, Anon, thank you. Regarding the opposing disinformation remark: I was making specific reference to a passage of Orwell's writing in which he talks about the death of history during the Spanish Civil War. It came about in a conversation with Koestler in 1936 (the related link is above in the post). Orwell observed that biased history had always existed. This is history of the kind you point to, running back to Antiquity, and well before that. In the 1970s-1990s, there was a push to find the voices of the voiceless members of history, those whose stories were not told due to bias, and assumptions deriving from power imbalances based on class, gender, race, etc.

    All well and good. I take your point. But Orwell distinguished between biased history and fake history. He observed that prior to the Spanish Civil War, everyone had more or less agreed and always (always!) accepted that there was a common reality. One might lie about it, bend it, be biased about it. But no one thought they could just erase it, or act like an event that everyone knew occurred simply did not matter at any level (recorded or not) compared to what the media said existed.

    Orwell observed that fake reality (which could have, but needed, no basis whatsoever in actual reality) could be virtually created and any regime could gain power from forcing people to subscribe to that fake reality. It was this total departure from reality that so disturbed him, the mentality that could say and believe that 2+2=5.

    Now regarding anti-Semitic burblings on the Web as the independent and otherwise oppressed thoughts of the little man: I am sorry, but no, that one will not fly here.

    The themes that pop up in conspiracy theory chatter on the Web have a long history and are continually reinvented in new forms. I don't know if someone has compared them to the spread of myths, fairy tales and urban legends, but someone should. I would not be surprised if conspiracy theories behave very similarly to urban legends. ...

  3. ... Instead of anti-Semitism, one could pick any number of recognizable narratives in popular gossip (for example, during early modern witch trials; or the rumours around Marie Antoinette during the French Revolution; or for a really hair-raising and fascinating recent example, try the Hutu vs/ Tutsi dehumanizing pre-genocidal gossip that morphed, post-genocide, into fears of alien visitations) and recognize them for what they are. The bits of half-truths married to fantasy that exist in conspiracy theories are not literal truths; nor are they conveying the voice of emancipation and free speech. If anything, they convey a benighted and enslaved viewpoint. The hostile concepts slotted into conspiracy discourses are always inserted just at the instant that the momentum in a debate needs to consolidate and move in a certain direction. It is better not to think of them as in any way true, but rather as authoritative communicative mechanisms used to bend popular behaviour and to solidify group alliances. Conspiracy theories are NOT a sign of people showing that they can think for themselves; theorists do indeed feel and claim they are, I know, but these ideas lead one straight to the opposite, to people who are not thinking for themselves, but in the service of others.

    Now that does not mean that I am saying that the MSM version of what happens is 'true.' One can be equally skeptical of official media reports, which are now generally biased (as one blog reader, pblfsda, pointed out in the comments in the recent post here on the BBC World Service).

    I do not lump all nonstandard rants under the label of conspiracy theory. I think that one should come to information, repugnant or not, with an open mind, sift through it and try to weigh conclusions in as objective manner as possible. Of course, no person is objective, but one must try. As a result, I read a great deal of stuff with which I do not agree, just to hear other perspectives. I also read a lot of stuff which is 'out there' and definitely off the radar of conventional academics. This blog is an exercise in trying to understand phenomena which are forbidden from, or discouraged from, serious study in official academia.

    At the end of the day, I would consider a conspiracy theory to be something that (a) points to shadowy powerful actors who control large parts of the world (however the scope of that world is defined for the intended audience, be it the next village or the global marketplace); (b) something that seamlessly seems to explain a lot of difficult and troubling problems in a very easily comprehensible way, due to the agency of actors in (a); (c) conveys to the believer a gnostic or Randian or othewise empowering characterization through the belief in secret, special and liberating higher knowledge; (d) alleviates the believer of individual responsibility for some social ill or source of anxiety and plants that responsibility on the shoulders of others.

    Real knowledge is incomplete and painful. I feel that it leaves one wondering and grappling with self-doubt because one has engaged with something difficult and messy. Yes, it is possible to argue out of analysis that that a general trend did happen. But it is not a sure thing.

    Finally, is this all Millennial? I think the Internet accelerated pre-existing patterns that Orwell recognized.