I continue to have a surprising lack of outward emotion (unless you count a constant churning of dread in the stomach) regarding last November’s election, and the resulting chain of events.
I just feel like I’ve seen all this before. And I don’t mean that 100% metaphorically, either.
There is something that feels unreal about Trump in the White House. This feels like a movie. This feels like a bad early-to-mid 1990s superhero movie, the Trump/Bane parallels notwithstanding (though of course, the first cinematic appearance of Bane was in 1997’s Batman and Robin and not 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises).
More than a movie, this all feels like a clear re-cycle of several decades at once, most particularly the Eighties but also the Sixties and Aughts.
I had a dream last night that I was in two time periods simultaneously—literally split down the middle, each half in a different era (or even timeline).
I’ve been encountering a massive amount of symbolism regarding the changing of the eras, of death and rebirth and pregnancy. I suppose when we get a new president, it truly is such a change—but what has happened here seems more seismic and strange.
Because the elephant in the room here is the amount of truly game-changing technology just over the horizon—and by “over the horizon” I mean within the next three years alone. This tech—which the majority of the American public are not educated or informed about to any useful degree—will not only change the way we live and work, but our very paradigms and identities.
For example, NASA is interested in visiting an asteroid which contains enough astronomical wealth in rare minerals as to throw our current financial equilibrium (such as it is) into chaos. If we start mining asteroids, a whole new paradigm in world economy will have to be built. And while the Usual Suspects in terms of business and power will make their plays for this new wealth, it’s most likely that a whole new class of billionaires will emerge from these emerging markets.
The Earth trembles at the possibilities/shake-ups that AI, self-driving vehicles, automated workers, genetic engineering, and increasingly sophisticated augmented reality will bring.
And in the middle of one of the most crucial turning points in humanity’s history is Donald J. Trump.
I had always figured, in spite everything else, if Trump could significantly move the needle on things like space exploration and asteroid protection systems—things that, make no mistake, humanity absolutely needs to proceed into the decades and centuries to come if it wants to survive—he could almost redeem himself and his presidency. Because the fight for equality and freedom and love cannot proceed if a giant rock smashes our planet to pulp, or if we do not have the capacity to colonize humans elsewhere in case the planet goes tits up.
But I realize now, just as in my “belief” (aided and abetted by the media) that Hillary Clinton was going to win the election, that this might all be what I wanted to happen rather than what Occam’s razor is showing me.
Things seem catastrophically chaotic and disorganized in this current administration, and we are barely 2 weeks in. Again I face the eternal question: what is more frightening, an extremely well-planned over-arching conspiracy, or the idea that nobody had much of a clue what the hell they are doing?
The pendulum swings one way, and pendulum swings the other. The eras seem to change, but they also mirror each other; they react to each other in opposite-but-the-same ways.
That all said, some sort of mutant thing does seem to be being born…birthed in the ashes of a country profoundly split down the middle in terms of ideology, two halves of a nation increasingly living in totally different realities.
In Timothy Leary’s book Musings on Human Metamorphoses, he anticipates just such a mutant emergence. He also theorizes what type of humans will make the ideal candidates for our next great exploration and migration, into space.
Surprisingly, Leary—who is often considered to be one of the fathers of the 1960s counter-cultural movement—did not believe that the type of human represented by the hippies of that era had the “right stuff” to be intergalactic colonists. Instead, he believed it would take a far more pragmatic, rational, and durable human to go through the rigors of training and have the self-discipline necessary.
Of course, people who believe that the entirety of current scientific knowledge is just an Illuminati plot and that the only guidebook they need is the Bible will probably also not make great candidates to be space pioneers.
What we need instead of these two extremes is the hybrid mid-point between them both…this third, mutant thing that combines compassion with the type of pragmatic leadership necessary to embark on an uncertain journey upon a possibly hostile (or cruelly indifferent) new world.
Until we find this mutant midpoint, the pendulum continues to swing.