Kali Yuga

It seems to you that all the low hanging fruit has been picked. All that is left is beyond the reach of one such as you.

“You shall know them by their fruits” he said, but how much easier it was to pick fruit in the beginning, how much more glory there was to be won, how much less work to win it.

Is this true? Or did it always seem so?

In the kali yuga we are worse, and the opportunities for glory are less. This is not because of some mere random spiritual degeneration as some suppose. It is because of democratisation, the death of elitism. Without gatekeepers, the rabble dominate, their weaknesses all the more apparent because competition demands they drag one another down.

The nobility hid their flaws, their prestige was a vital tool, the demos need no prestige for they have numbers – so prestige is scorned and the lowest common denominator wins out.

You kid yourself truly if you think you belong among the elite. Your affectations of aristocracy are as shameful as they are ridiculous. You lack of course the blood but be honest with yourself, do you not also lack the quality?

You are better off in this age than any other, among the throng of mob, seething and writhing like insects, incessant chatter and noise. This is your time and place, until Kalki returns.

You watch for that white horse, your cunning plan, to charge upon his sword and be reborn with the purest of souls.

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A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

You spend an awful lot of time “online” and to justify your addiction you speak a lot about the “revolutionary potential” of the internet. You’re not the only one, a lot of people do, many of them with very different visions of how the “revolution” will play out. For some it revolutionises the world through the expansion of markets, the spread of capitalism and the weakening of state power. For others it democratises the world, where once people were subject to the whims of the powerful now they have the foremost organising tool at their fingertips. Some say it enlightens mankind, never more has so much knowledge been available to so many, so fast, we will all become enlightened and educated in the illuminating glow emanating from our screens.

There are darker narratives of the internet’s power too, that it enables more oppressive forms of state control, rather than liberates man from it. That it damages our capacity to think on a deeper level in the eternal quest for new information. That it segregates man into self-reinforcing thought bubbles and reduce his contact with those ideas he finds challenging. That it destroys real “meatspace” social bonds, bonds which come with duties and responsibilities to the other, and replaces them with low investment transitory social “fixes”. That it enables the spread of dangerous information, encourages violent non-state actors and lowers the threshold for carrying out large scale violence.

You have read about all these narratives, and they may all contain a kernel of truth, but you cannot dwell on it too long because there are so many frontiers to explore. You have a gist, and you are sure that it should be enough.

Maybe you could have been someone, but …just one more page, one more argument, one more idea.

Rejected

How could they? They’re cruel, they’re mean, they don’t know what they just said no to. You’re not so bad, right? Or maybe you are… this isn’t the first time.

You used to think you were hot stuff, you used to think you occupied if not the far right of the bell curve, at least the top 10%. Now you re-evaluate. It was probably that damn Dunning–Kruger effect. You must have misappraised yourself because you’re too incompetent to appraise yourself well. How many times has this happened? At least that many obviously superior specimens must exist. Scale it up to proportionality, you can’t be better than a low average.

Low average? Is that so bad… embrace your mediocrity maybe?

No. It is salt on the slug named Ego. You look around desperately for water, but there is nothing to quench this saline death.

You died like this many times before, somehow always forget, big yourself up again… you do not like it, but it is becoming quite familiar.

Pilate

You spend a lot of time playing with different narratives. You always mused that this freedom in narrative was something of a skill in itself, the ability to look past narrative as fact and consider it as purposeful.

Now though you wonder if you did not go too far. Truth is completely elusive. Sometimes for a moment you think you might have a clue, that there are shades of validity – some narratives right, some narratives wrong. But you find it all to easy, in a moment, in a conversation, while reading a book – to step outside the subjectivity of narrative and consider another. No longer is there anything that you can grasp, nothing solid, nothing that doesn’t melt and transform into something else when you tilt your head or rub your eyes.

Narrative is very socially useful, it binds us together, binds societies, families, cultures.

You can play that game, enjoy it, be a part of something. Rail against the other, join in with the narratives of the group. But all it takes is a second alone… a tilt of the head, a blinking of the eyes. The crowd fades into the background, the noise, the camaraderie, the belonging.

You are alone again, looking down on them all, observing and analysing, their truths are not your truths.

Always the bridesmaid never the bride

You have always been on the peripheries of everything you have been involved with. It’s somehow just how it always plays out. Because of this your sense of self, of who you are, has developed into one in which you identify strongly with “the observer”.

This identity is comfortable to you, to stand outside, above, on the edge – to look down, or in toward the centre. To observe the players and their game. To assess their motives, their choices, their ideals, their actions. And never to act yourself.

You take pride in being detached and dispassionate, though if required you will play along with the game, in your soul you stand outside, you know that these bodies and other bodies are all just bodies in motion, and in your own subjectivity you are apart from all that, the stationary body around which all motion occurs.

You are of course not stationary. And there cannot be an objective observer, save perhaps – and it’s a big perhaps – God. Like a photon detecting an electron, every act of observation has an effect – and like Marx said in his longwinded German way, every action creates and transmits information.

There can be no such thing as the observer. Maybe you should take solace, you have always guarded a secret desire to do more than just watch, to be a part of something, to sacrifice your sense of specialness, of superiority, for the warm soft comfort of belonging.

But decades of identification are not easily undone, especially when you sit at the edge of the graph and no-one else has any desire to increase your centrality.

Someone is wrong on the internet

Egos clash and heat is produced.

No eyes to soften the blow, no smile, no little twitch of submission or weakness. In this realm we are all autists, blundering forward without human concern. Obsessed with our little obsessions, enamoured and fascinated by our own mediocre thoughts.

They are wrong. You cannot abide this, their very existence does violence to you, until they change?

Until they submit.

But without those cues, you wouldn’t even recognise submission in the other, there is no winning here.

All is frustration and bluster.

You don’t even believe the things you are saying now, the exchange has led you down a dark path of thought and idea. Still without those cues you cannot even tell. Taboo is meaningless in the realm of the autist… you press forward, deeper into the dark.

You catch yourself in a brief moment of self-awareness, speaking terrible things. Shame and shock overcomes you.

But you are in too deep… and you must not let them win.