Whether it’s the archbishop of Canterbury becoming embroiled by association in some scandal involving young boys; George Osborne on a retainer from the company that benefited from his pension reforms or insider trading ahead of a merger deal between two of the world’s leading stock exchanges, the upper rungs of the echelons of power are greased with backhanders, dodgy deals and secret handshakes from which we plebians -especially in this era of weaponised misinformation – are likely never to hear the half of it.
Hell, even Goebbels’s own propaganda secretary didn’t have any idea what was really going on, which makes one question the version of history we’ve been spun by the victors since – yet not to believe is, of course a crime, and not just against humanity. Oh, please don’t put me in the denier camp – I’m not that stupid – but then, interrogating one’s education feels essential amid a system that’s teaching my own children pedantry rather than enabling them to think for themselves.
But then, what’s good and what’s evil only exists according to some media soundbite, for all the atrocities keep on being dripfed through to my eyeballs with such monotonous regularity I’m inured to them. But if there’s no oil involved, or some other issue at stake that’s not always transparent at the time, the people in charge are less concerned to stop them.
So if you can’t believe the present, and you can’t believe the past, what’s left to believe in, save the future? And if you put your faith in science, you’ll know that even that’s a sham, since we’re likely just a holograph of some data coiled up somewhere in a quasar tucked down the back of some parallel universe, our ending as inevitable as our beginning was vanishingly unlikely. But that’s okay, since we all relive our memories as our brain shuts down in the moments after our death, leaving our consciousness somewhere outside time and space, if only in the deepest recesses of our minds. In this godless age – well, except for the extremists, if they even exist except in some fake news story or false flag state sponsored event – that’s as comforting a thought as any I’ve had lately, which isn’t saying much.
Embittered old cynic with a penchant for conspiracy theories though I undoubtedly am, I can’t help feeling that it’s not worth getting caught up in my newsfeed cluttered up with wearisome anger over an algorhymically biased version of events and the manufactured backlash against them. It’s not like I don’t care about those people affected by outrage-inducing diktats from a puppet president that are largely intended to appease one angry section of the populace by creating another. It’s more that I see through it. Dividing us keeps us weak, and makes us easier to control. Not by some Ninth Circle mind control illuminati death cult (but boy, those guys are fucked up, even if they are just conjured up in the fevered imagination of some tin hat-wearing cyber geek)- although the pyramid of power does only ever get smaller the further you got up. In fact, the more you read, the more it all starts to align in some weird logic, like falling down the rabbit hole into Stranger Things‘ upside down, and feeling as though the rosy-tinted spectacles with which you once viewed the world have been peeled off with your retinas still attached.
It’s all got too much for me, what with my archaic dead end DNA that struggles to cope with the pace of modern life’s relentless change. I mean, I can’t even cope with my own hormones. So how to move forward, without attaching all hope to some pseudo-revolutionary flogging a stand-up show, when my online data enables democracy to be more effectively rigged than ever.
It’s enough just to focus on the little things, and those that are within my power to control – the wallpaper; my gym attendance and by default that snugness of my jeans, if not my genetic predisposition to gathering pounds around my midriff. At least I’m no longer funding god knows what with my casual BAT habit (that’s British American Tobacco for non-initiates, for whom I once penned a catchy phrase with which to capture market share of Africa’s emergent middle classes in order to feed and house my own offspring) although I’ve somewhat replaced that bad habit with chocolate, which, as I know from my time greenwashing for a cocoa company is at least, if not worse, as bad in terms of human cost. Nothing is pure – not even, it seems, clean eating – even veganism has its issues, what with an underpaid immigrant workforce making the udders for hire of the raw, organic dairy industry (from whom I get most of my milk) look almost pampered by comparison.
In fact the only thing I do believe in, market forces -and I’m no Conservative- is the arbiter of all this misery, and yet the alternative, which advocates rigging it even more than benefit-the-rich, chummy capitalism, either by protectionism or communism, isn’t much better. Human nature, said a philosopher who apparently inspired Hitler, is a power seeking missile, and as another of German descent said, that tends to corrupt as absolutely as E equals MC2 (which apparently isn’t true anymore in any case). Which means that, all else being equal, some psychopath somewhere will find a way to get one over on everybody else.
So what to invest in, when all is tainted, and the playing field is uneven (and the game’s already fixed)? It’s hard to say without resorting to platitudes about looking after loved ones and being stronger together than apart, or some buddhist meme-fodder about living “in the here and now, because ultimately that’s all we’ve really got.” And all we really know is what we can trust our senses to tell us (which have been fundamentally biased via evolution in any case).
For me, that means a tacit acceptance of the inevitability of aging, with backache my constant companion despite fending it off with physio. But at least my mood, which once ricochetted at the behest of my monthly cycle, and my skin, which reacted to it, have been temporarily quelled into submission by some third generation pill (which may increase the risk of breast cancer, but that’s okay because it’s made me quit smoking) can now be trusted, for all it’s taken with it the little spark of genius that goes hand in hand with being slightly unhinged.
But, though I acknowledge my mind may be playing tricks on me, I can at least take some masochistic comfort that there is always pleasure in pain and pain in pleasure: my gruelling workouts this week produced an endorphin high so potent I felt as though I was drunk; while the white wine hangover I struggled with this morning felt worth it at the time but never ends up being.
This world has conspired to teach me that balance is preferable to excess; but also that most people never change their habits. It’s taught me to no longer believe in the myths of good or evil- just in power and weakness. And that you have to flatter a narcissist to get them to do what you want, which might explain why Vlad is having so much luck with ol’Tiny hands in drumming up a case for WW3. It’s a tactic I wish I learned before I burned my bridges with Dad, but then he will never forgive me for the mood swings of my teenage years because of his own innate monochrome thinking, and the fact he doesn’t need to.
So all I can do is accept a perspective that grows in bandwidth as I age, though confirmation bias may taint the view. My appetite for life’s obstacles grows ever slimmer, while remaining so becomes a battle that’s ever harder to win. But what little power in charm I may may be losing, I’m making up in real estate. It is a game, this life, and we can but play it as we may- even though the outcome has already, somewhere, been decided. And only if someone’s paying attention, anyway. But then, one should never believe anything you read in the Daily Mail.