The Dream is the Mother

Horia Damien

“Part of the difficulty in recognizing outbreaks of mass sociogenic illness has to do with its diverse nature. A historical review of these events suggests that the features of mass sociogenic illnesses tend to mirror popular social and cultural preoccupations that define distinct eras and reflect unique social beliefs about the nature of the world.”
Erica Weir (Mass Sociogenic Illness, Canadian Medical Association Journal, 2005)

“America is no place for an artist: to be an artist is to be a moral leper, an economic misfit, a social liability. A corn-fed hog enjoys a better life than a creative writer, painter or musician. To be a rabbit is better still.”
Henry Miller (The Air Conditioned Nightmare)

“The professional moralists who inveigh against drunkeness are strangely silent about the equally disgusting vice of herd-intoxication – of downward self-transcendence into subhumanity by the process of getting together in a mob. “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” In the midst of two or three hundred, the divine presence becomes more problematical. And when the numbers run into the thousands, or tens of thousands, the likelihood of God being there, in the consciousness of each individual, declines almost to the vanishing point. “
Aldous Huxley (Epilogue to Devils of Loudun)

“I am only the least of the doorkeepers. From hall to hall there is one doorkeeper after another, each more powerful than the last. The third doorkeeper is already so terrible that even I cannot bear to look at him.”
Franz Kafka (Before the Law)

In his epilogue to Devils of Loudun, Huxley noted the seductive nature of group think, of what he called the collective alienation of herds. “Moreover, the crowd-delirium can be indulged in, not merely without a bad conscience, but actually, in many cases, with a positive glow of conscious virtue…”

He adds the mob is always in a light hypnotic trance. And willing and eager to obey. This is a critical point, I think. The age of digital communication, of social media, and really, all electronic media, has created the pseudo mob. And as Huxley notes, the agents of the state will encourage this light hypnotic state (and actually screen watching is itself induces a mild hypnotic state) to endow the mob with the virtues of responsible self flagellation. The wafer of the Sacrament is now the syringe full of mRNA vaccine. Its nothing to do with health, it is to do with an ersatz ritual of renewal. The endless popularity of post apocalyptic literature and film speaks to the reconstruction narrative as the contemporary religious fantasy.

Missal of Raoul du Fou (Hell. 15th century)

Entertainment today is awash is sci-fi and fantasy, most of it linked to the dream of starting over. There is even a sudden surge in crime stories that will include government witness protection programs; if I cant find Shangri La, a new life in Omaha will do. The idea of becoming a different person seems hugely appealing right now. And in these post apocalyptic narratives the missing element is initiation. Without initiation there is no rebirth…

“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
John, 3: 3

The loss of rites of initiation are possibly far more impactful than, at least I, would have thought. So, there are a variety of actions going on that are being expressed in the Covid event. It is now an allegory, certainly, and the naked scaffolding of the entire propaganda surrounding it is obvious, but there are deeper aspects to the mini rituals of mask wearing and social distancing and all the rest — including a new reshaping of how many institutions are perceived. Hospitals for one. And while there are places where things like mask wearing are ignored by many, there are others where it is strictly enforced. And one of the deeper aspects has been the sociogenic illness, a rather new form of conversion disorder; it is psychogenic collective illness reinvigorated by the world of screens and social media.

But as I tend to do, I want to digress a moment here. Or, maybe it is more try to frame this discussion historically, or maybe, more precisely, to examine what exactly we mean by frame in this context. The Covid story is one that is inextricably connected to wider political agendas (the Great Reset, the de-population dreams of Gates and his circle, and the Green New Deal). But these agendas have been written about extensively, most acutely by Cory Morningstar here. …

Paul Strand, photography.

I want to look at how so many people have so passively submitted to the most undemocratic edicts imaginable, and how many have embraced these new restrictions with enthusiasm. And how it is so many have rejected the same narratives, protested and refused to accept them. The numbers for each side are unclear, and therein lies another whole discussion. And to describe this all as just two sides is also misleading. Many people who go along with the edicts, who wear masks, who will get the vaccination, actually distrust the entire story. But if you have a family in countries like New Zealand, or the US, it can be scary to open yourself up to job loss and/or arrest. On the other side, there are people out protesting who might well be vaccinated for the virus, who largely believe the master narrative, but who still refuse to accept the draconian lockdown measures. They still believe, by and large, the government. And this is the problem — on all sides, there are large numbers of people who believe at least a good part of the government story. And this partly accounts for their basic trust of U.S. foreign policy and US and NATO interventions, etc. There is an instinctive distrust of the Covid story, and that is likely why the propaganda surrounding it from the WHO and Fauci and various governments constantly turns the focus toward the morality of joining, manipulating guilt about the elderly, one’s grandparents, etc. A public health story has become a moral fable. And therein lies the seamless segue to the merging of Covid and Climate as public discourse. The always felt New Age faux mysticism of much climate discussion is now travelling across to shape the late stages of the Covid narrative.

“The historical evidence relating to “mysticism” comes, for the most part, from disciplinary measures (doctrinal, legal, medical, etc.) intended at the time to exorcise the “dangers” of an emigration (real or imaginary) in relation to the ecclesiastic, civil, or learned authorities. From the beginning of the sixteenth century until the end of the seventeenth, from the Spanish “alumbrados” to the French “quietists,” the documents constitute an immense procedural literature, dealing with “plots,” “threats,” and secret “subversions,” to be exposed and repressed. Perhaps they deceive us about what actually took place, but that is what they relate. One massive fact characterizes mystic phenomena in the sources: they are generally inseparable from quarrels and struggles. No mystics without trials.”
Michel de Certeau (The Mystic Fable)

Part of what one is seeing right now ..globally .. but in particular in north America and Europe, is a health crisis, both physical and mental, that is the result of the gradual accumulation of toxicity in the environment, bad food (in particular), stress from the constant bombardment of fear mongering and manufactured threats, and the sudden onset of a generalized autism I associate with screens (but which Debord saw already in the mid 80s). And most significantly, the dire economic precarity that stretches across almost all of the working class. Three decades of job insecurity is the greatest stress trigger of all and it is rarely addressed as such.

Gregor Torzs, photography.

The psychological effects of the lockdowns has been remarkably under appreciated. There is also the direct health costs to people from lack of access to normal medical treatments, and preventative health care such as cancer scans, diabetes screening, etc. Children have suffered the most from these missing appointments, especially in poorer countries. It is maybe useful then to look at how this marketed idea of a ‘new normal’ is manifesting itself collectively.

Now, there is enormous amounts of magical thinking tied to the marketed junk science that is so prevalent in media today, a junk science that is, of course, not science at all. But the public consumption of these usually alarmist stories has resulted in a new kind of pseudo community online.

“There are two main types of MPI {mass psychogenic illness}. The most common in Western countries (anxiety hysteria) is triggered by extreme, sudden stress within a close-knit group. It is usually triggered by a foul or unfamiliar odour that is perceived to be harmful. Symptoms are transient, benign and typically include dizziness, headache, fainting and over-breathing. Most victims recover within 24 hours and there is an absence of pre-existing tension within the group. A second type (motor hysteria) arises from long-term anxiety and features motor agitation. Common symptoms include twitching, shaking, trouble walking, uncontrollable laughing and weeping, communication difficulties and trance states. Symptoms appear slowly over weeks or months under exposure to longstanding stress, and typically take weeks or months to subside, after the stress has been reduced or eliminated.”
Robert E Bartholomew, et al (Mass psychogenic illness and the social network: is it changing the pattern of outbreaks? Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine)

Lucia Koch

Again, many of the instances of mass psychogenic illness reports are linked to environmental problems (a cyanide dump a few miles from the school or office building, etc etc.). But then, there are so many highly toxic environments in the U.S. (and to only a slightly lesser degree in Europe) that it is hard, in the end, to find causation. The reality is that is nearly everyone is exposed to toxins daily. Everyone must eat food packaged in toxic plastics. Everyone is exposed to electrical lines and car exhaust, to radiation and all of it is is linked to the paralysing stress of contemporary life.

Side bar: not surprising that Nomadland wins best picture at the Oscars. A film that suggests poverty is a choice, and that alienated labour is ennobling. It is the salve for liberal guilt and hence widely applauded. The fact is the working poor, the temp job labour force, and those living out of their cars are regularly harrassed by police, often arrested or assaulted, and most certainly are prohibited from skinny dipping at sunset because most of nature is already owned by the wealthy and fenced off from public use. Also, allow me a note on Francis McDormand. She is one of those actresses that is very skilled regarding the camera. She knows where it is, and what it is doing. She has a terrific focus during quiet scenes. But she is also remarkably insidiously insincere. Maybe its her eyes. You cant hide the expression deep in your eyes. Stage trained actors know this. Film actors have rarely learned it. She never learned it. End side bar.

The *public* is hidden from the view of the public by corporate media. They consciously construct images, statistics, points of view, which serve to bolster their desired position. They create an imaginary public. And most people sense this, at least unconsciously at the least. But this ersatz imaginary public is so familiar now that it passes without comment, usually. The populace moves along in this ‘light trance’, as if mentally underwater — and mostly they reflexively align themselves with this or that position on public affairs, or they identify as fans of this or that sports team, or have libidinal attachments to celebrities or politicians which are superficial and transitory often. The big marketing firms mount propaganda campaigns using sports figures, movie stars, politicians, and then carpet bomb media with a simple message over and over and over. One sees that this week with

Nicola Hicks

“This climate of “crisis” probably betokens something essential. The mystic tragedies, great and small, put persons more than statements into question. “Your existence must change,” say the voices that raise the challenge, “and not your propositions, which will thereafter conform to your choices.” There is no longer any autonomous space in which truths and proofs can be discussed objectively. “Either you convert, or you reject life.” The injunction makes either disciples or adversaries. Such a dictate repeats the ancient biblical trial between Yahweh and his people, but the controversy, pitting the opposing wills of the interlocutors against one another, takes, in the archives, the form of legal suits, condemnations, and imprisonments that forbid the (supposed) neutrality of a common law or a reason of state.”
Michel de Certeau (Ibid)

The new mystic is an abstraction. It is *climate*, of *Gaia*, or *the pandemic*, or *overpopulation*. The call from the avatars of corporate ruling class projects demand ‘your existence must change’.

The modern precursor case for mass hysteria is the McMartin Preschool scandal. There are several pretty exhaustive studies of this case, but I will link one here:

What is so telling is that the *experts* involved in the trial and in the original investigation were nothing close to expert and had in fact no experience at all with child abuse cases or had any paediatric training. And the second notable fact was that there were dissenting voices from the beginning. There were people calling this a witch hunt even before the trial began. But those voices were immediately stigmatized and effectively silenced. Anyone not on board were accused of not caring for children. It hardly bears mentioning that this is exactly like the claim not to care about your grandparents that is sounded today if one objects to the Covid master narrative.

Daniel Hopfer (early 16th century, Germany)

There are countless almost ritualized fears that permeate society in the West. Often they involve children.

“Each year on Halloween, politicians, police,and the news media join forces to scare parents and their children about the dangers posed by evildoers preying on children and poisoning their candy. Surprisingly, over the past 100 years there has not been a single con firmed case of a child dying from eating poisoned Halloween candy as a random act by a stranger.”
Robert E. Bartholomew and Benjamin Radford (The Martians Have Landed, A History of Media Driven Panics and Hoaxes)

The new *new age* clericalism, though, has been weaponized in a sense by the global capitalists who are driving the health emergency and the Green New Deal. These are the high priests of capital who are behind brand ‘Greta’, and who link up with the facist vanguard of globalism…i.e. Modi, Bosanaro, and Boris Johnson. This is a planned McMartin Pre School scandal on a much wider level. The recovered memories cases provided evidence that people can be made to believe nearly anything, and will cling to it with tenacity if joined by others. Interestingly in the UK some 1500 Catholic and Anglican priests and churchmen have written a letter of protest against the vaccine passport. The organized church resisting the new digital church of Capital. Sort of. The counter revolution — what Federici rightly labels capitalism in the context of the witch burnings of the 16th century — periodically regroups and rebrands and alters tactics and strategies. The ruling class, in all its factions, share common interests. They diverge at times in terms of strategy. But it is worth reflecting upon the fact that there are considerable splits within organized religion. Perhaps not at the top, but as one travels down to regional and local levels, there is a sense of mounting opposition.

“Capitalism the counter-revolution that destroyed the possibilities that had emerged from die anti-feudal struggle — possibilities which if realized might have spared us the immense destruction of lives and the natural environment that has marked the advance of capitalist relations worldwide.”
Sylvia Federici (Caliban and the Witch)

Vivien van Blerk

Federici writes of her book… “is a history of the development of capitalism in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries analyzed from the viewpoint of its impact on women and the reproduction of the work force which in capitalist society becomes “women’s labor.” It shows that war and enslavement were fundamental conditions of capitalist development (as they continue to be) and, most important, that capitalist development required and began with a war against women.”

Capitalism throughout its development was to accumulate labour power. War and slavery are necessary adjuncts to this.

“Thus it has constantly attempted to control women’s bodies, women’s sexuality and women’s reproductive function. By accusing women of killing children and making men impotent, and by condemning contraception as a demonic activity, the witch-hunt broke women’s control over reproduction and turned the female body into an instrument for the reproduction of the workforce.”
Sylvia Federici (Notes on Caliban and the Witch)

This is important when looking at the Great Reset, the ‘build back better’ campaign. And it pertains directly to the Gates Foundation drive to sterilize poor women. And already one of the chief side effects of the vaccine in women has been to disrupt their menstrual cycle. The establishment is quick to try and soothe anxieties…

Harry Gruyaert, photography.

“The COVID-19 vaccine is not capable of exerting reproductive control via proxy. Nothing is,” writes OB/GYN Jen Gunter in her Substack newsletter, The Vajenda, which frequently debunks scientific misinformation. “This is because it is a vaccine, not a spell.”
Lisa Winter (The Scientist, April 2021)

Hmmmm. But the language of marketing often betrays itself. And the effects of the lockdowns, varied though they are, still seem to share a quality of something best described by Norman O.Brown, Ernst Becker, and others over fifty years ago. And this is the terror men feel about female sexuality, the fear, often, that both sexes fear about reproduction, about children– because all these areas are inaccessible, really, to science and to the clean hygienic feel of empiricism. The mystery of childbirth looms accusingly. As does desire. And it is women who finally have that mystery as their own, no matter to what extremes men will go to erase that. And I suspect there is a significant element of this fear of women embedded in the overpopulation myths. That so much energy and money is spent to sterilize poor women (rarely if ever men) under cover of paternal concern, is not an accident.

The 16th century assault on women, on their agrarian economy, emphasized that the Devil was who hired women, and within the logic of the Witch burnings the rising male capitalist patriarch was morally bound to forbid women wage earning work. The devaluing of women’s reproductive labour devalued all labour. It also set up templates for the advancing power of Capitalist expansion. Progress became strictly a matter of technological innovation. Progress de coupled itself from the human. The human was aided by science, by technology, but only if he or she went along willingly. When Americans engineered a mass genocide of indigenous tribes in the New World, the story it told itself was that ‘Indians just couldnt get with the program’. Shockingly this is still used as a justification by white historians (Niall Ferguson for one). But then Colonial denialism is in full swing these days.

“A March, 2020, poll found that a third of Britons believed that their empire had done more good than harm for colonies—”
Maya Jasanoff (The New Yorker,Misremembering the British Empire, 2020)

Dan Estabrook, photography.

The promise of infinite progress, linked to constant technological innovation, shifted to constant cyber innovation, to AI these days. Computer technology came along to save a somewhat faltering narrative and give it a new boost, a new promise of infinity. Today you cannot read a major newspaper (online or otherwise) without at least one story on AI.

The mass hysteria today around Covid, then, is linked, I think, with decades of increasingly bad health, obesity, and stress, and that in turn with a war on women and children, and that in turn with the various branches of the de-population agenda (from coercive birth control, to sterilisation, to structural racism and sexism) which in turn ties into the Great Reset, the trending of western governments to overt and outright fascism. The personality of the ruling class, collectively, is identical to those who burnt hundreds of thousands of women in the 15th and 16th centuries. There is a kind of ruling class hysteria, too, that is anal/sadistic, emotionally stunted, and which — it seems to be, in my experience anyway — terrified of germs, dirt, the spectre of the unwholesome (notwithstanding their own, often, louche lifestyles) — the inevitable effects of seeing themselves each as the Torquemada of advanced capitalism. Extreme wealth breeds a need for justification, a justification beyond just being superior, and that is to see themselves as self sacrificing. They carry a burden for mankind. The burden of the executioner.

Religious revelation remains strangely disruptive to the status quo — hence the need for faux revelation, for New Age mysticism which was born in the 60s and which was once deemed eradicated, is back with much corporate backing. Part of the appeal of ‘brand Greta’ is the stealth mystical aspect embedded in her ‘Aryan youth’ visage. She has increasingly taken on the 1000 yard stare of the martyr or chosen one.

Eric Zener

“Finally,the story that gave me the greatest morbid delight appeared in the London Sun under the headline “I’d Shoot My Son if He Had AIDS, Says Vicar!” accompanied by a photograph of a man holding a shotgun at a boy at pointblank range. The son, apparently more attuned to his father’s penchant for violence than the respectable reverend himself, candidly added, “Sometimes I think he would like to shoot me whether I had AIDS or not.”
Leo Bersani (Is the Rectum a Grave)

Now, at this point it is worth mentioning the plague (sic) of scientism that is inextricably bound up with these psychogenic outbreaks. At least in the contemporary version, sociogenic and psychogenic mass outbreaks are usually enclosed within a scientific (however junked) world view. But that is probably because everything is so enclosed. I mean the Heaven’s Gate cult desperately wanted scientific verification and one of the amusing (I know, I know) stories about the cult was that they bought an expensive home telescope to watch the comet. They returned it to the store complaining that it was broken or defective. The clerk asked what was broken and was told the telescope failed to show the alien spaceship in the wake of the comet. In a sense this is where art and myth become hugely important. And one of the largely missing elements in the scientism debates has to do with language, and by extension with cultural experience overall. The rise of science from the Enlightenment onward has gradually helped shape everyday language as well as the many specialized vocabularies and grammar that accompany nearly all scientific disciplines. To the point that creative writing workshops today often sound like high school chemistry class.

Pushpamala N.

“Is it really true that I cannot know what my birthday is, merely because I have never done any scientific research on it? Can I not know that killing for fun is morally wrong just because that belief of mine is not based on scientific research—and maybe cannot even be based on scientific research?”
Rene van Woudenberg, et al (Scientism)

The psychological effects of the lockdown have exacerbated the already existing emotional fragility of western consciousness. Its most obvious, I suppose, in the U.S. where daily life has been gutted of the small things of quality that make toil and tedium tolerable. Barely. But the sheer ugliness of strip mall America, of parking garages and traffic jams and the ubiquitous presence of police, coupled with the now glaring inequality, is creating low grade dissociative disorder as a general rule. Henry Miller wrote the Air Conditioned Nightmare in 1945.

“It is a world suited for monomaniacs obsessed with the idea of progress – but a false progress, a progress which stinks. It is a world cluttered with useless objects which men and women, in order to be exploited and degraded, are taught to regard as useful… Whatever does not lend itself to being bought or sold…is debarred.”
Henry Miller (The Air Conditioned Nightmare)

What has changed since Miller wrote that? I think the answer is that there were still islands of relief, there was still enough community, unions were active, there were still realms of autonomy, however reduced, where one could breathe. The erosion of community has eviscerated day to day life. Economically the worker is far more uncertain of his livelihood. And the values that Miller describes are now exaggerated. And one wonders what he might have made of social media?

“The most difficult adjustment an expatriate has to make, on returning to his native land, is in this realm of conversation. The impression one has, at first, is that there is no conversation. We do not talk—we bludgeon one another with facts and theories gleaned from cursory readings of newspapers, magazines, and digests.”
Henry Miller (Ibid)

“Sonship and brotherhood are espoused against fatherhood: but without a father there can be no sons or brothers. { } Fraternal organization in the body politic corresponds to ego-organization in the body physical. As fraternal organization covertly assumes a father, ego-organization covertly assumes a super-ego.”
Norman O. Brown (Love’s Body)

Mid 19th century Ivory bracelet, Yorube, Benin/Nigeria.

Robert Bly once said, in conversation, that a sick society is one that has confused myth and daily reality. He said burning witches was one such confusion. And this is true, and I take from this, along with Federici, that the foundational psyche of the capitalist was both sick and terrified by the inherent unity of women and childbirth. Capitalism is anti-human at its core. It is nihilistic, it strives for a domination that guarantees its own extinction.

“All brothers are brothers in crime: all equal as sinners. “To expand the population, Romulus followed the model of other founders of cities: he opened an asylum for fugitives. The mob that carne in was the first step to the city’s future greatness.” “The remission of sins which makes us citizens of the Heavenly City was faintly adumbrated when Romulus gathered the first citizens of his city by providing a sanctuary and immunity for a multitude of criminals.” The Heavenly City is also only an asylum for fugitives. Or as social contract thinkers see it, the social contract establishes corporate virtue as an asylum for individual sin, making a moral society out of immoral men; men whose natural inclination, according to Hobbes and Freud, is murder. The social contract establishes the general will to counter the will of each—that general will which Freud called the super-ego. The super-ego is supra-individual; even as the crime, so also conscience is collective.”
Norman O. Brown (Ibid)

The ruling class has imposed a culture of control, and of domination, but one that has in its basic operating manual included them in its irrationality. And today’s hyper concentration of wealth and the ownership of the majority of property on the planet has only intensified their madness. And the one optimistic aspect to be taken out of this cauldron of misery is that the underclass today is beginning to see the madness of the proprietor class, though collectively they have yet to understand it. The fall of the Soviet Union unleashed this current form of madness, and the last sense of a future, at least temporarily, dissolved with it.

Mario Cresci, photography.

“The foundation of the fraternity or state is itself a crime, or rather the primal crime. The brothers club together in a criminal (Catilinarian) conspiracy: “society was now based on complicity in the common crime.” Freud says that the sense of guilt can be allayed only by the solidarity of the participants. Actually, it is the common crime that creates the solidarity. “
Norman O. Brown (Ibid)

J.M Bernstein, in a really superb essay The Idea of Instrumental Reason (Routledge Companion to the Frankfurt School) writes..

“..this model of knowledge, “the subsumption of the actual, whether under mythical prehistory or under mathematical formalism,” is one opposed to radically transformative human action and human invention because, in reducing the different to the same, or what is its equal, making “the new appear as something predetermined which therefore is really the old,” any future that is not repetition is occluded (Horkheimer and Adorno).”

Here is exchange value as the compulsive/obsessional repetition of the same. The future is then not the future. Not a future.

Fear disappears when there is nothing that is not known. This was the presumptive idea of the Enlightenment. Horkheimer and Adorno (Dialectic of Enlightenment) saw it as almost ur-dialectic thought;

“The concept, usually defined as the unity of the features of what it subsumes, was rather, from the first, a product of dialectical thinking, in which each thing is what it is only by becoming what it is not. This was the primal form of the objectifying definition, in which concept and thing became separate.”

Enzo Cucchi

Bernstein explains…“What Horkheimer and Adorno mean by this hyperbolic locution of “making things into what they are not” is that in order for some immediately invasive, unknown phenomenon to become known, its immediacy must be negated, and further, it must be placed into a pattern of like occasions: tiny-buzzing-objects-delivering-small-bites is given a concept name, “mosquito,” little fly. The concept detaches the living phenomenon from the experience of it and hence de-subjectivizes it and makes it a worldly element”.(Ibid)

This process of knowing works toward a control of that which is conceptualized. Categorized. From reiteration to universal empirical proof. Or predictability. Which is ‘truth’.

Technology is born with this process. And as Bernstein notes, how can narration of past events compare with this.

“…all that reminds us of nature is inferior, so the unity of the self-preserving thought may devour it without misgivings… The sublime mercilessness of the moral law was this kind of rationalized rage at nonidentity.”
Theodor Adorno (Negative Dialectics)

The rationalized rage is now deposited disproportionately in the ruling class. The liberation of the underclass is, in a sense, more possible than it has been in a hundred years. But this will return us to the mass hysteria being encouraged by the propaganda that sells fear. A fear that only technology can end. This is why the role of experts is pernicious. Deference to the idea of ‘expert’ is usually deference to science and technology.

Mass psychogenic illness is the failure of control, not its success. Commonly the onset of mass psychogenic illness is a sudden stress to a close knit group. However, the second variety is one that occurs to a group with a long standing anxiety. The current situation is both, except that it is an attempt TO form a close knit group. In a society in which closeness is mostly absent, the mandate of social distancing is just one of the contradictions in play. The societal hysteria is both an unconscious sense that it is all impossible — the knitting together, AND the story being told. The pre-existing anxiety is magnifying underlying rage and frustration, it is the witch burning story retold. When the patriarchs of new Capital, in the 16th century, saw the need to limit the power of women and the economy of women, there was a rabid mobilization of snitches (frustrated neighbors, resentful relatives, jealous friends) that drove the hunt for the Devil’s workforce (i.e. women).

Belly mask Body Mask,Nago/Anago. Benin.

“It was the growing landless proletariat which emerged in the wake of commutation that was the protagonist (in the 12th and 13th centuries) of the millenarian movements, in which we find, beside impoverished peasants, all the wretched of feudal society: prostitutes, defrocked priests, urban and rural day laborers (N.Cohn 1970).The traces of the millenarians’ brief apparition on the historical scene are scanty,and they tell us a story of short-lived revolt, and of a peasantry brutalized by poverty and by the clergy’s inflammatory preaching that accompanied the launching of the Crusades. The significance of their rebellion, ’is first that it inaugurated a new type of struggle,already projected beyond the confines of the manor and stimulated by aspirations to total change. Not surprisingly, the rise of millinarianism was accompanied by the spread of prophecies and apocalyptic visions announcing the end of the world and the immanence of the Last Judgment, “not as visions of a more or less distant future to be awaited, but as impending events in which many now living could take active part.”
Sylvia Federici (Caliban and the Witch)

Gracie Ward

It is important to note the changes that took place in the 12th and 13th centuries. Firstly, the commericialization of life began to create classes, and most significantly, a large underclass dependent on alms and donations. Secondly the focus on money ushered in the fetishizing of money and intensified a distrust of Jews (already existing to some degree, in countries like France and England). Jews were driven out of certain countries at the same time women were driven into cities as their rural dispossession intensified. Women, however, able to live alone or with their children found a certain autonomy in urban life and formed small communities. They learned new crafts and wielded a certain authority. Alongside the millinarian movement came the herectics. The Church was not going to tolerate the more organized and theoretically grounded heretic movement. And at this point, the point of most intense scapegoating of Jews and women, arrived the creation of the Holy Inquisition.

“Although influenced by Eastern religions brought to Europe by merchants and crusaders, popular heresy less a deviation from the orthodox doctrine than a protest movement, aspiring to a radical democratization of social life. 18 Heresy the equivalent of “liberation theology” for the medieval proletariat. It gave a frame to peoples’ demands for spiritual renewal and social justice, challenging both the Church and secular authority by appeal to a higher truth. It denounced social hierarchies, private property and the accumulation of wealth, and it disseminated among the people a new, revolutionary conception of society that, for the first time in the Middle Ages, redefined every aspect of daily life (work, property, sexual reproduction, and the position of women), posing the question of emancipation in truly universal terms.”
Sylvia Federici (Ibid)

Mogao cave, 9th century, Zhang Xiaogang

By the late 1300s there was intense suppression of any heretical expression, any disobedience to Church orthodoxy. And secular authorities, local police and militia, were learning that violent repression of anything smacking of heresy was a sound strategy. The local policing apparatuses throughout Europe began to work with the Church, and often instigated the burning of crafts rebels as heretics. Weavers in Flanders were burnt for trying to organize against unfair conditions, and etc. Now it is interesting to note there were also contradictions within the resistance to feudal relations. The Cathars, who were centered in southern France, were pacifists, vegetarians, and puritanical about sex. They also provided a place of safety for Jews, and to some extent women. There is an important and complex history of birth management embedded here. The Church was aware that it was no longer an advantage to have a lot of children. Certainly not in urban areas. Sex out of wedlock was an edict that the Church began to emphasize. But the Cathars had already understood that proper management of family size was crucial for stability. The Church was trying to usurp that and introduce their own version of control over the reproductive rights of women.In heretical communities the puritanical aspect was ambivalent. But this is so wildly reductive a micro history, that I will try to only point to a few things relevant to this post. Charles Lea’s staggeringly exhaustive history of the Inquisition ….in three volumes…is terrific reading, contrary to what you might expect. But the chapter on the heretics is fascinating, and especially the influence of Manichaeism on the Cathar movement. Such influences included Buddhism and Islam, found their way to the Cathars and Albigensians of the 12th century. This dualism was to linger long after the eradication of all heretical sects. The crusades against Albigensians and Cathars launched by Pope Innocent was a twenty year affair. Bit like the US/NATO long war against Iraq/Syria/and by proxy Iran.

“Catharism thus was a thoroughly antisacerdotal form of belief. It cast aside all the machinery of the Church. The Roman Church indeed was the synagogue of Satan, in which salvation was impossible. Consequently the sacraments, the sacrifices of the altar, the suffrages and interposition of the Virgin and saints, purgatory, relics, images, crosses, holy water, indulgences, and the other devices by which the priest procured salvation for the faithful were rejected, as well as the tithes and oblations which rendered the procuring of salvation so profitable.”
Charles Lea (A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages, vol.1)

For people today must learn to read aesthetically. A term which is likely unfamiliar to many raised by screen education. Corporate indoctrination. The new fascism wants to radically eradicate all aesthetics. It is the new crusades, and a complete erasure of history would be just fine.

Michael Borremans

“It is all psychodrama. The symptom is a dramatized wish; neurosis endows reality with a special meaning and a secret significance. ” ‘I have a little dog and they want to take it away from me.” “The dog was his disease, his personality, and his penis.” Sickness is all shamming, role- playing, acting-out. And so is therapy; in the transference, the patient is acting out, reenacting, new editions of old conflicts. Social groups are theatrical groups, for group therapy.”
Norman O. Brown (Ibid)

Repetition, occlusion, and suppression. Covid has a 99 plus percent survival rate. Children are not at risk. 99.05% percent survival rate. Ponder that.

To donate to this blog and to Aesthetic Resistance on Soundcloud
you can use the paypal button at the top of the page. Everything is much appreciated.


  1. Gary Weglarz says:

    In the mid 20-teens my wife and I lived for several years in the Languedoc in southern France, the Cathar country. We were drawn through some uncanny means to both a good deal of reading about the Cathar history and to visits to the various ruined castles and now bustling towns that were once the sights of mass burnings and/or slaughter by sword. Lately I’ve found I’ve been yet again drawn to other multiple historical accounts of these events, surely as a way to understand the present rather than as some preoccupation with a distant past.

    Standing at the site in Minerve where 140 were burned brought tears to my eyes. I couldn’t really explain it. It was something very deep. While a visit to Bezier where 20,000 were slaughtered (mainly Catholics refusing to turn over their Cathar brethren) felt like my subsequent visit to Auschwitz – a scale of industrial level barbarity too vast for me to access an emotional reaction.

    What strikes me most profoundly about the Crusade against the Cathars is that their Catholic friends, neighbors and family members often resisted turning the Cathar “heretics” over to the crusaders to the point of being killed themselves. The 20,000 slaughtered at Bezier were in the majority Catholic. That “solidarity” somehow touches a deep emotional place for me. The idea that one would knowingly risk one’s own life in order to protect someone who saw the world through radically different eyes than you – seems to me a part of Europe’s common humanity that was surrendered along with those many deaths. That very solidarity was surely seen as as great a threat to the power of Mother Church as the Cathar’s heretical ideas themselves.

    In many ways it seems the church policy of “kill them all – god will know his own” was as much a war against not only the Cathar “heresy,” but against our common visceral humanity that engenders empathy and creates a sense of solidarity. “You’re either with us – or you’re with the terrorists,” resonates back in time through these many centuries.

    And now of course to simply rationally question the “sanctity” and “divine revelation” of the MSM Covid doctrine – or the implied – “infallibility of the Fauci” – renders us all heretics worthy of the stake.

    Sadly here in America I see no sign that my family, neighbors and friends would for a moment show the solidarity of those Catholics in Bezier a thousand years ago. The apocalyptic fear engendered by today’s MSM fire and brimstone preachers of the one true faith has indeed done its work. Here in America I see no sign of a Montségur where one might take even temporary psychic refuge from the madness.

    Thank you for the Charles Lea history of the Inquisition recommendation. My wife and I both read Sylvia Federici’s work based on one of your earlier posts and in fact she’s now re-reading it.

  2. to add: yes, preachers do sometimes rile people up but what struck me was the notion that somehow she, the liberal progressive, was immune to influence–when, from my experience, there’s a lot more skepticism in people who don’t read the NYT as “truth”.

  3. ha think the rest of my comment above got eaten, capcha-ed, no matter. Anyway, among other things I thanked you, and Morningstar, Hamada and Eddebo for the most recent podcast (and all of them really) and you for this post, which is clarifying some things in my mind too. so, gracias.

  4. Regino Robainas says:

    Algoritmic Souls in Ford Toxic Sand

    Conditioned Hitlerite Rats & All-Encompassing Fordism
    is our current ontological cave. In the year of our Ford, we
    recall our first readings of Huxley as somewhat vaguely
    panerotic & half pleasing. Today it feels- living in this
    convincing simulacra of total nightmare, which constitutes
    our social landscape, as some fuzz y hybrid between Texas
    Chainsaw Massacre, Chucky III (Cheese), & a panlovian circumcision
    performed by an Amazonian dreaming Henry Ford ghost.

    On the benefit or asset side of this divine & unsolvablepartial
    differential equation remains Desire plus the traces of
    surprise, eroticism, and rage that the becoming eunoch still

    But, wait- I made a little mistake…It’s Spring and the
    little red ballonman whistles and.

Speak Your Mind


To Verify You\'re Human, Please Solve The Problem: * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.