Monday, March 30, 2015


Head on over to our sister-blog (and my "catch-all" blog), the Daily Dirt Diaspora, to read my breakdown of the March edition of Harper's Magazine! 

Normally, I wouldn't bother Useless Eater Blog readers with this, but there's a tone of paraculture-related offerings in this particular issue; everything from how the CIA infiltrated student government organizations in the post-war world, to serious academic research being conducted into the phenomenon of past life memories, to the ongoing death of Fukushima and the Pacific Ocean, to the rising tide of the global surveillance state as it applies to the workplace. 

We're talking an information-rich broth, here, folks, so clip, save, and enjoy!

Saturday, March 28, 2015


1. One of the greatest philosophers the world has ever known is rarely thought of as such. I refer here and now to the late, great Robert Anton Wilson, a veritable titan of paracultural analysis, who would be celebrated the world over as one of the most original thinkers of aberrant, paradigm-shattering thoughts, if only he'd had the foresight to write in a language other than English. In the Anglosphere, you see, "Philosophy" is an profoundly limited analytic ship that has long been mired in the fever swamp of logical positivism, while the French, Germans and other Continentals get to have all the philosophical fun, at play in the Fields of the Word. Another reason why R.A.W. is poorly served by posterity is that he was an unabashed cheerleader for the "woo", and was not as fearful in the face of the uncanny and otherworldly as such "public intellectuals" as, say, Noam Chomsky, or the increasingly ridiculous Richard Dawkins. As evidence of his unorthodoxy, I give you this most excellent essay on Cabala (as R.A.W. always spelled it) and its potential real-world applications for all and sundry. It begins:
There's a tale they tell at Military Intelligence in London, when the candles gutter low and the fog curls about the windows. It happened in 1914 (they say), when England was losing the first world war and it seemed only a miracle could save her. There was this writer bloke (they say), name of Arthur Machen, never popular or well known, a bloody Welshman in fact and a mystic to boot. Well (they say), this Welshman, this Machen, took it into his head to write a story about the kind of miracle England needed, so he imagined St. George himself leading a group of medieval archers to aid the English troops at Mons. And after the story was published in a magazine, some enterprising newspapers picked it up and reprinted it as fact. And (they say) the whole damned country was gullible enough to believe it. It did as much for national morale as the real miracle would have.

What is even weirder is the sequel -and the chaps at Military Intelligence only discuss this when the candles gutter quite low and the fog is very thick, of course. Soldiers at the front, in Mons, began claiming that they had actually seen the phantom archers created out of Machen's imagination. They insisted on it. Some of them were still insisting on it 40 years later. They said they had won the battle because of this supernatural assistance.

Fair gives you a turn, doesn't it?
Stranger still: Machen, the man with the contagious imagination, was a member of a secret society in London. This was known as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and it claimed to know the long-hidden secrets of Cabalistic magic.

There were several other members of the Golden Dawn who made a bit of a name. Florence Farr, one of the great actresses of the period, was a member, and it was she who gave Bernard Shaw the ideas about life-energy and longevity dramatized in Back to Methuselah; those ideas are currently influencing life-extension research. Algernon Blackwood and Bram Stoker (Dracula's creator) were members; so was the coroner of London; so was an electrical engineer named Alan Bennett who later, as Ananda Maitreya, played a key role in introducing Buddhist ideas to the West.

The egregious Aleister Crowley; who claimed to have come to earth to destroy Christianity; was a member for a while, and I know a good World War I story about him, too. It was Crowley's habit to give his pupils a word to meditate on every year. In 1918, Crowley gave them a number instead of a word: 11. All year his pupils meditated on 11 for at least a half hour every day. . . And the war ended on the 11th minute of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

Did you feel another queer flash then?
Indeed, Mr. Wilson.... I did, I did. And I do hope those of you who've read this far will keep reading. I assure you, there is more under the Sun than there is in your philosophy. So, by all means, start learning.

2. Now that I've given you some nightside food for thought and dreams, I figure it's time I give you something useful, like tips on how to survive the coming economic and societal collapse and TEOTWAWKI. Check the link to find out what that means, and to read about 10 wonderful ways in which you can begin, right now, to prepare for a so-called "disruptive event".

3. And now, to finish things off... wanna see something REALLY scary? Don't say I didn't warn you.

Thursday, March 26, 2015


1. For years, decades, nay, even centuries, the Powers That Be have tried to figure out why "some people" insist on refusing to believe what they're told (you know who you are). Indeed, there exists an entire, rather vigorous publishing genre devoted exclusively to this conundrum, producing tomes that vary in quality on a scale from the empyrean heights of Richard J. Hofstadter, to the frankly embarrassing barrel-bottom scrapings of Gerald Posner. But until recently, nobody has ever managed to come up with a handy, one-size-fits-all, bite-sized explanation as to why "conspiracy theories" continue to hold such stubborn sway. Enter Quassim Cassam. With a little help from intellectual sparring partner "Oliver" - apparently the living embodiment of the Straw Man rhetorical tactic - this pseudo-anonymous denizen of the blogosphere has boiled the entire Debunking Project down to its intoxicatingly simple essence: Believing in the existence of conspiracies shows a "lack of intellectual character". Here, let Quassim explain it to you:
Meet Oliver. Like many of his friends, Oliver thinks he is an expert on 9/11. He spends much of his spare time looking at conspiracist websites and his research has convinced him that the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, DC, of 11 September 2001 were an inside job. The aircraft impacts and resulting fires couldn't have caused the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center to collapse. The only viable explanation, he maintains, is that government agents planted explosives in advance. He realises, of course, that the government blames Al-Qaeda for 9/11 but his predictable response is pure Mandy Rice-Davies: they would say that, wouldn't they? 
Polling evidence suggests that Oliver’s views about 9/11 are by no means unusual. Indeed, peculiar theories about all manner of things are now widespread. There are conspiracy theories about the spread of AIDS, the 1969 Moon landings, UFOs, and the assassination of JFK. Sometimes, conspiracy theories turn out to be right – Watergate really was a conspiracy – but mostly they are bunkum. ... 
I want to argue for something which is controversial, although I believe that it is also intuitive and commonsensical. My claim is this: Oliver believes what he does because that is the kind of thinker he is or, to put it more bluntly, because there is something wrong with how he thinks. The problem with conspiracy theorists is not, as the US legal scholar Cass Sunstein argues, that they have little relevant information. The key to what they end up believing is how they interpret and respond to the vast quantities of relevant information at their disposal. I want to suggest that this is fundamentally a question of the way they are. Oliver isn't mad (or at least, he needn’t be). Nevertheless, his beliefs about 9/11 are the result of the peculiarities of his intellectual constitution – in a word, of his intellectual character.
So there you have it, all neatly tied up with a big red bow on top! According to Quassim, the most certain indicator of someone's "intellectual character" is a strict adherence to rigid ontological orthodoxy, and the surest way to maintain one's mental hygiene is a steadfast refusal to question the status quo! If turning a blind eye to the gushing torrent of lies, propaganda and disinformation The Powers That Be spew into our collective consciousness on a day to day basis sounds like a legitimate information navigation strategy to you, then by all means, continue reading this essay

2.  If there's a better way to spend one's time than creating fake book jackets and sneaking them onto "real" books being sold in the "Self Help" section of your local bookstore, I certainly can't think of it. You can see my favorite one, above, but there are many more to check out and admire, and you certainly won't want to miss the informative inside cover flaps, complete with author photo and biography! Don't let the website's name fool you; this exercise in literary subversion is neither sad, nor useless.

3. I have a quick appendix to... um... "append" to today's first Suggested Reading selection! If Quassim Cassem's "Ode to Officially Sanctioned Thinking" resonated powerfully with your own intellectual vibrations, then you'll probably be relieved to learn that the nation of France is currently moving to make "conspiracy theories" illegal by government decree! Big Brother... what's not to love?!

Friday, March 13, 2015


1. Holy Conspiracy Fodder, Batman! Even the foax at FOX News now harbor doubts about the legitimacy - at least in certain regards - of some of the more recent ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State snuff-propaganda videos. For instance, whither the origins of their alleged battalion of seven-foot-tall desert warriors who were recently shown beheading dozens of captive Egyptian Copts? I personally have no idea, nor any theories. However, the fact that such questions are now being entertained in even the most rigidly controlled sectors of the mainstream media must surely be indicative of SOMETHING... a certain crisis of "reality", perhaps, with quotation marks hanging ominously and sign/ificantly over the proceedings?

2. This Guardian editorial expresses quite forcefully something I've been experiencing for some time now in regards to what is rapidly evolving to be a "circular firing squad" consisting of competing "camps" among liberals, progressives, social justice advocates and leftists. I hope this editorial spreads far and wide, and I especially hope that it's message reaches some of my more militant, leftier-than-thou friends and acquaintances. It begins:
I am a “lefty”. I have voted Labour all my life. I believe in the abolition of public schools and the inviolability of the NHS, and that the renewal of Trident is a vanity project. I believe the state must work to ensure equality of opportunity for all: women, the LBGT “community”, those with disabilities, those of minority cultures and ethnicities, and the working class. The Guardian has been my newspaper forever. I was glad to see the back of the Sun’s Page 3, and I believe there should be more all-women shortlists for parliamentary seats. I believe immigration is more of a positive force than a negative one. 
However, you might be less certain about my status when I finish laying out my stall. Because I find myself holding a “transgressive” body of beliefs and doubts alongside my blue-chip leftwing ones that are liable to get me branded a misogynist, an Islamophobe and a Little Englander – at least by people on my Twitter feed, and others of my peer group. 
These “beliefs” are more like questions, largely about identity politics, those deep and dangerous rift valleys of the left....
Read on, friend.

3. There hasn't been a new Infomercial over at [adult swim] for a while now, so I thought I'd present another funny video, "The Best of Totally For Teens", on the off-chance that you haven't already watched it. Enjoy... and remember... Don't use drugs!