The Conjuring

DavidM, writing over at Integral Permaculture, was quick on the draw this morning with an assessment of the results of the election (“Chaos, Havoc, and The American Abyss“), which was less of an election than a conjuration of demons (as I noted in my comment to David’s post there).

And as I noted there also, America has now not so much a president as a conjurer — a shaman king — who summoned the demons of the dusky deeps to aid his bid for power — demons of unreason, demons of untruth, demons of rage and resentment, demons of paranoia in a true pandaemonium. Trump never articulated policies in any rational way because they were only conjurations, just as much as he proposes to conjure “jobs, jobs, jobs” and resurrected national glory out of thin air in the new Magic Kingdom.

It remains to be seen whether America’s democratic institutions are resilient enough, and effective enough, to contain Trump’s megalomania — in fact, whether democratic institutions anywhere are secure these days. It will be a real test of their effectiveness in moderating the hubris of power. I’m not optimistic on that score.

It’s tempting to say that nothing good can come of this whatsoever. (Perhaps I terminated the old Dark Age Blog too soon?). The dreadful “Consequential”, as Jean Gebser once described it, seems to have arrived. But also with this comes the spiritual challenge of transcending it. It is quite literally, as Tom Paine also once put it in his own time, “a time to try men’s souls”, and now women’s too (and perhaps especially so), and many souls will be found wanting.

As I noted earlier, we are all today trapped between the Dreadful and the Dreary — the ears of the wolf dilemma — and can neither go backwards nor forwards. It may well be that Trump’s megalomania and nihilism, which fulfills a logic begun with Thatcher’s “there is no such thing as society”, may well serve some useful and ecological purpose of which Trump himself is ignorant. It may well prove that the new consciousness — the aperspectival-arational — required just this challenge, just this degree of resistance represented by Trump, to realise itself, for “where the peril is greatest, there lies the saving power also” (Hölderlin) and “the cure for the disease is in the disease” (Rumi).

Ironic reversal, or enantiodromia, remember, cuts both ways, for which reason the tongue of Christ in the Book of Revelation is depicted as a two-edged sword, not forked like the serpent’s. There is great truth in that symbolism of the tongue.


16 responses to “The Conjuring”

  1. Steve Lavendusky says :

    The human heart can go to the lengths of God.
    Dark and cold we may be, but this
    Is no winter now. The frozen misery
    Of centuries breaks, cracks, begins to move;
    The thunder is the thunder of the floes,
    The thaw, the flood, the upstart Spring.
    Thank God our time is now when wrong
    Comes up to face us everywhere,
    Never to leave us till we take
    The longest stride of soul we humans ever took.
    Affairs are now soul size.
    The enterprise
    Is exploration into God.
    Where are you making for? It takes
    So many thousand years to wake,
    But will you wake for pity’s sake?

  2. dadaharm says :


    It seems that the integral revolution has been postponed somewhat.

    First humanity will try simple solutions (like denial and scapegoating) for the current crisis. Only when it becomes clear that all the simple solutions are bogus solutions, will humanity try something that does not only treat symptoms but also the deeper causes of the crisis.

    We can only hope that the number of simple bogus solutions that people will come up with is somewhat limited.
    Otherwise there will be no planet left to save.

    • Scott Preston says :

      It seems that the integral revolution has been postponed somewhat.

      It may appear that way, but it isn’t. It’s a necessary stage in its development. As I’ve written here many times before — it must pass through the crucible, because it wouldn’t be worth a tinker’s damm at all if it folded before such stresses posed by the authoritarian right. It’s only in such circumstances that it acquires its temper.

      It’s just such developments that characterise “chaotic transition” and its in wrestling with those conditions that the integral consciousness will emerge.

      And if it doesn’t, well then… the gig is up.

  3. abdulmonem says :

    Suffering of humanity is the same everywhere. It is the problems of those who sit in the chairs. Sowers of discord are not suitable for the chairs but alas those who choose have lost their bearings. It is no longer election but selection and the citizens if there are still citizens are supposed to elect from an already designated list. In Iraq no body is allowed to nominate and people are forced to choose one of the prescribed list nade by the liberator.

  4. Andrew says :

    The best alliteration of 2016 courtesy of JMG: ‘evilly evil evilness’ …..

    Like Greer, I stuck to my Trump prediction all year in the face of all the, ‘ it will be a Hillary landslide.’ My first prediction with Trump was in 2009 over at the IPMS forum where I said Trump/Coulter …..

    For the record, IMO: Integral is not synonymous with political leftism; which is , imo, the flip side of the conservative coin of an outdated mode of consciousness….

  5. Scott Preston says :

    I see protests have broken out in the US over Trump’s win. This might be cathartic for some, but not very effectual, unless the idea is to make America ungovernable by intensifying the havoc. If that’s the strategy it comes with complications.

    Ideally, the best result would be to allow Trump to carry through his agenda, for if we truly believe the kind of politics Trump represents is wrong, then it will be self-devouring, self-defeating, and self-destructive, and everyone would come to see it as so (hopefully) and break the spell. Trump would be hoist on his own pitard, and that would be the ideal outcome. But this strategy of patience also comes with its own complications. How much damage are we prepared to suffer waiting patiently for Trumpism to discredit itself, as it surely must.

    Yet, “resist not evil” would seem to be the ideal strategy. Let it implode on itself. And if we truly believe they are wrong-headed, they will eventually become self-destructive. The spell of the Alt-Right has to be broken. It’s grip on the imagination needs release, and I don’t see how else this will happen unless it discredits itself. The only way out is through.

    • Scott Preston says :

      I just read T. Collins Logan’s post on this at his website “Blurts & Spasms”, which pretty much suggests the same approach

      • InfiniteWarrior says :

        If progressives want to make any progress on that front, they’ll need to start by dispelling the myth that “angry white Americans” elected Trump.

        Clinton won the popular vote by 151,116. Trump won the election thanks to the electoral college.

        In response to a tweet by George Takei posted by The Other 98%, Eddie McNutty said, “The people elected Bernie. The system elected Hillary then Trump.”

        That couldn’t be more true. Start there.

        As long as public discourse remains drawn starkly along the lines of class, ethnicity, party affiliation, demographic and every other “wall” that supposedly divides us, “progress” ain’t going anywhere. Progressives can blame their fellow Americans — millions of whom are already in “survival mode” because they live with the daily reality of laboring in a “class” that economists don’t yet seem to realize even exists — or start drawing attention to and transforming that system. Their choice.

        • Scott Preston says :

          Depends what it is that people think they are progressing towards. Historically,, in the US, that was “a more perfect union”. Well, that seems to be in ashes right now. I even hear of secessionist noises coming from California since Trump (and Texas with Obama).

          “A more perfect union” was something you could measure and assess in terms of progress. An admirable goal, I suppose, but which has always struggled against the reality and suffered from self-contradiction. Trump may end up being king of the ash heap.

          Maybe it was always a mirage on the horizon, and progression towards a mirage is no progression at all. Anyway, it’s not setting a very good example for the world — a case of “physician, heal thyself”.

          America is, today, the Wounded Land.

  6. Scott Preston says :

    My greatest fear right now? That someone will martyr Trump before he’s had the opporunity to really fuck things up.

    For the next few years, anyway, most people are going to be deaf to any “rethinking the world” or the contemplation of alternatives. That’s the real misery of this thing. Until Trumpism discredits itself, there will be no ears to hear anything else until it does breakdown. And it we are truly convinced it is all smoke-and-mirrors and delusional thinking, then it will.

  7. InfiniteWarrior says :

    In addition to T. Collins Logan’s, yours and a great many others, Eisenstein also has a few words for us today.

    It would appear there is a general shift toward “Agape” — by whatever name one chooses to call it — and, lest one think it’s isolated, spend a little more time on social media than major news outlets today.

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