I finally got around to read the first part of this discussion between R.U. Sirius of Mondo 2000 fame, and Douglas Rushkoff—entitled, “Operation Mindfuck Was Too Successful.” And they touch upon something here that I have been thinking a lot about lately: that irony seems to be dead, and that some of the memes and colorful theories (some invented from whole cloth simply as a method for fermenting chaos) seem to be “coming to life.”
An offshoot of this is that there seems to now be multiple realities, “infinite realities,” swarming through the general population; the same bottle of Coke is simultaneously half full, half empty, and also boasting a logo that had mysteriously changed sometime after the Large Hadron Collider was first activated.
And per that last example, the so-called Mandela Effect is a perfect example of this. The wider implication of this theory is that individuals are experiencing/remembering their own versions of reality—and concretizing that by saying they have literally “slipped” onto an alternate Earth in which that reality is altered: Why did I spell that logo that way?–> because that is how it was actually spelled on the original Earth I inhabited. I did not “misremember” anything. I am literally operating in a different reality, per science we probably haven’t even discovered yet.
That may sound like a kind of ridiculous notion: but then take it up a few levels to the idea of “fake news.” People now have completely different “versions” of the news. And history. And the way people are “supposed” to live. And so on. (the “Kaazam/Shazam” conundrum pales in comparison)
And so in this discussion, Sirius refers in frustration to “psychedelic people believing in bizarre stuff”:
I found it benign and amusing in the past, but it’s one of the consequences of the psychedelic revolution that I find far more irritating and consequential now.
Hippie culture is a folk culture. It’s pre-scientific and memes spread and take over fast. Suddenly everybody knows that the Rothchilds own everything and that there’s a magical hugging lady on tour.
I remember you and I bonded again 20 years later, shortly after 9/11, when some of the more extreme conspiracy theories were going around. We both took a lot of heat for not buying into them. I wrote a piece where I was arguing these were disinformants spreading these stories because they’re trying to keep us from seeing the simple basic truth of what had happened, which is horrible enough.
And it feels like 9/11 and the acceleration of conspiracy theory that it spawned, combined with the internet and the ability to connect anything to anything else, has yielded this bizarre world of ontological relativism that we’re in today where people can be so easily manipulated and drawn into these rabbit holes of false truths.
This then goes further into a discussion of these memes/theories being possibly purposely generated as disinformation for the use of nefarious ends.
If you follow some of the ideological discourse from people who are really influential in Russia, it’s postmodernism and Operation Mindfuck in the service of amoral raw power and political strategy. I know secondhand that there are people in Putin’s mindtrust who have read their Leary and their Discordianism and so forth and they are following a chaos strategy for disrupting the American consensus… or however you want to phrase the collapsing neoliberal order. And not collapsing towards a good end.
Now, the original Operation Mindfuck was (as far as I know) not a nefarious project at all, but rather a playful experiment developed by Robert Anton Wilson and Kerry Thornley in the late 1960s, part of the Discordian philosophy/”religion.” And it was basically about challenging people’s notions of consensus reality through art, pranks, and what-have-you.
And it’s just a “game.” Only: it also seems to be a form of chaos magick. It seems to have a power to it, even if that was totally not your intention. And Wilson dedicates a large portion of his classic 1977 book The Cosmic Trigger I to a series of bizarre events in which stuff that had been “made up” in Discordianism and Operation Mindfuck sort of “came true”—and if not objectively “came true,” then certainly was strongly believed by others to the point of “virtually” being true.
Flashforward to today, and I’m hardly the first person to notice that Operation Mindfuck has become somewhat “weaponized.” That Operation Mindfuck might be one of the most potent influencers of world events today (was this possibly the fabled “Nooscope” the Russians were supposedly in possession of?)
Now, how can this all be “countered?” Do we have to “whittle down” the multiple realities to get back to some “core” foundations? And is this not the plot to the famous 1985 comic book mini-series Crisis On Infinite Earths?–> that of these countless multiple versions of Earth being decimated by the arbiter of the “correct” version, the Anti-Monitor?
We can automatically see the pitfalls of this approach—in order to do this, someone’s subjective view of reality has to be christened as the consensus reality.
Whose will it be?