Myths, Fairytales, and Power: An Introduction

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There is much talk today about power — political, economic, military — not to mention the waning pop-psychological notion of ‘personal’ power that had infused much of the West’s preoccupation since the ‘80’s through the present day. We see this perverse concept now as a defining characteristic of global affairs. We find ourselves either controlled by these diverse ‘objectifications’ of power, or fighting against them, as “the Other.”

This is the legacy of our world, of our civilization, at least as far back as 6,000 years ago. Certainly as far back as Yahweh of the Old Testament, this concept of power, as an objective controlling force, sits like an albatross around our necks, determining the fate of nations, peoples, and nature itself (a.k.a. ‘global resources’ – you see the objectification!!)

However, there is a genuine sense in which primitive, pre-civilized, myth describes a world as felt, as experienced, before it is objectified as “Other.” It expresses a sense of ‘power’ that infuses all lived-experience. Not a power that ‘I own’ or that ‘confronts me’; but rather, as a power (pouvoir: capacity or ability) that surrounds and engulfs me. This is the reality to which primitive myth seeks to give voice, and in which each individual participates just by being-there. But, as soon as the spoken word of myth becomes written; in other words, as soon as we reach the world of literacy and objectification, that sense of power (in which I naturally participate) as well becomes objectified in the written word. And so, the literate world ‘peoples’ nature with numerous powerful objects — gods and goddesses — ultimately, with supra-personal ‘objects’ of power. And these are the powers that now confront us and take control of us: the power of the State, of the Military, of the Corporation. These are the objective concretizations of power as “Other”. These become our gods. These are the sources of our sense of meaning, of our frustrations, our fears, our hopes, and our apparent destiny.

Now, while this need not have occurred, it did. And, sadly, there really is no way to dismantle the structures anymore. I’m afraid that the die has been cast; these modern power myths, including the myth of ‘American Exceptionalism’, run too deep in the false consciousness of a now powerless and ignorant people controlled by fairytales and government propaganda. It is now the ‘Press’ that gives us our sense of power or the illusion of power, while concurrently controlling every detail of our lives, in thought and action. And our government is the embodiment of that false consciousness, and it will always be, in consort with the new supra-personal gods of Big Business, the Press, and their power-brokers… the Lobbyists. And here are just some of the messengers of those gods in the USA: Barack Obama, John Kerry, Susan Rice, Samantha Power, Jeb Bush, John McCain, Hillary Clinton, etc.  Beware your right to vote: it is just another part of modern ‘myth’, the fairytale — simply another false objectification of power.

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37 Responses to Myths, Fairytales, and Power: An Introduction

  1. Disaffected says:

    Great post Sandy. It does indeed appear that bright minds think alike, as your post this week echos similar sentiments to the Archdruid’s:

    In the aftermath of Russia’s defeat, the same strategic imperative remained, but the conditions of the post-Cold War world made it almost absurdly easy to carry out. All that would have been needed were American policies that gave Russia and China meaningful, concrete reasons to think that their national interests and aspirations would be easier to achieve in cooperation with a US-led global order than in opposition to it. Granting Russia and China the same position of regional influence that the US accords to Germany and Japan as a matter of course probably would have been enough. A little forbearance, a little foreign aid, a little adroit diplomacy, and the United States would have been in the catbird’s seat, with Russia and China glaring suspiciously at each other across their long and problematic mutual border, and bidding against each other for US support in their various disagreements.

    But that’s not what happened, of course.

    What happened instead was that the US embraced a foreign policy so astonishingly stupid that I’m honestly not sure the English language has adequate resources to describe it. Since 1990, one US administration after another, with the enthusiastic bipartisan support of Congress and the capable assistance of bureaucrats across official Washington from the Pentagon and the State Department on down, has pursued policies guaranteed to force Russia and China to set aside their serious mutual differences and make common cause against us. Every time the US faced a choice between competing policies, it’s consistently chosen the option most likely to convince Russia, China, or both nations at once that they had nothing to gain from further cooperation with American agendas.

    And voting? Not even remotely in the cards for me ever again. It’s a complete sham and utter insult to one’s intelligence. The House of Cards will fall of its own accord in our lifetimes.

    • smokemasterjohn says:

      That’s because you have bought into the objectified illusion of power that is American politics. There is actually no power there. It all rest with the oligarchs, and has since well before World War 1. Voting IS a sham because it’s designed to make the “common man” aka those lower on the hierarchy than the 1% aka the oligarchy feel like they have a choice. George Carlin was right – “They OWN you! They belong to a nice little club, and YOU’RE not in it!” Had there actually been real national leadership, there might have been results like you describe. The last substantive leader that we had, who called out the oligarchy openly, was Dwight D. Eisenhower, and you see the impact that he had. Far too many sheeple and fiduciary cattle in the Elysian fields of the oligarchs by then. Far too many of the populace that had “drunk the Kool-Aid”, and thorough winnowing of the men most likely to stand in harms way to protest the takeover of American democracy by the oligarchy in the trnches and battlefields of two wars. Selective breeding at it’s finest.

      • Disaffected says:

        The Eisenhower / Kennedy connection is quite ironic. Eisenhower warned of the power of the MIC in his farewell address in 1961, coining the very term in the process, and his successor Kennedy was murdered by elements of that same entity a short two years later for not playing hardball with the Russians over Cuba and for threatening to pull out of Vietnam and fire key elements within the DoD and CIA. Eisenhower was himself the consummate military insider, so perhaps he was literally warning Kennedy of the dangers of crossing these guys in that speech.

        Thirty eight years later with 9-11 the descendants of the same bunch put their stamp on the sham US democracy for once and for all. Lyndon Johnson, a key player in all the 60’s skullduggery, was later destroyed himself when their grand war plans for Vietnam all went up in smoke, and his “great society” they allowed him to build by enacting pet social welfare legislation did likewise, due to the subsequent insider directed murders of JFK and MLK. Everything since has been smoke and mirrors.

        Richard Nixon was allowed to make a comeback as a relatively harmless stooge alternative to the Dems’ radical left alternatives. He was then in turn set up with Watergate by party insiders as well (did you notice that two key members of his administration, Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld came out of the fallout smelling like a rose?) to discredit him and his detente policies with China and Russia. Jimmy Carter was a placeholder to show the American people how bad things could get under a true democrat’s rule (although he was still a militarist at heart), until Reagan, a true “Goldwater conservative” at heart, could be brought in to set things right again in 1980.

        Everything since then, including Clinton and Obama (Obama has even publicly said as much), have been extensions of Reaganism, albeit increasingly ideologically virulent, with W Bush and Obama representing the first two genuine “puppets” to be installed in the Whie House; Bush on the part of the Cheney/Bush family and PNAC cabal, the driving forces behind 9-11, and Obama, nothing more than a paid actor and orator, in the interest of completely discrediting the Dem rival brand while still temporarily appeasing the American “left,” and force total political acquiescence on the part of the American sheeple. Note that by almost any scorecard you can come up with Obama has governed several degrees to the right of George W Bush, who didn’t have the liberal Democrat camouflage afforded to him. Which is also a major advantage for Hillary Clinton as well, who is herself of course a bought and paid for member of the club as well.

  2. Malthus says:

    The hell with it. I’m going sailing and will do some coastal foraging. Yep going primal. Oh yea, good one Sandy. Thanks.

  3. Great post, but the ‘dye’ is cast……..

  4. cliffkrolick says:

    Yes once we linguistically objectified (physical world) reality, labeled it, quantifying it, and elevating humans as different, smarter, etc we ultimately separated our selves from the whole . The awe and wonder of that natural power and energy surrounding all life slowly faded away. Is that natural energy still here? I believe so, can we attempt with some measure of success to access it? I do believe this too.

  5. Disaffected says:

    Looks like the national police state’s gonna get another boost with the latest nut-case mass murder in SC. The liberal sites are already hyperventilating calling it a hate crime and domestic terrorism, which always leads to calls for even more police and surveillance. The US is coming apart at the seams of its own accord.

  6. Ron says:

    Is it me or is it another creepy coincidence that another US Senator was shot? This time fatally.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Send us the link Ron… I am in Siberia!

    • Disaffected says:

      The kid mouthed prophetic words afterward: “I was trying to incite a race war.” So just to show how easily this could have been due to a so-called “conspiracy theory,” imagine this. The CIA and their assorted network of “black agencies” (I’m sure there’s far more than we can possibly imagine, many just informal networks of like-minded operatives) keep a constant tab nationally on local “extremist troublemakers” for lack of a better word. Once an advantageous situation is identified – an isolated loner with the right views and connections to cause mayhem – he is “targeted” by a single operative or two to encourage and facilitate whatever mayhem he has in mind. Not forced mind you, just encouraged and facilitated. How hard is that? A few encouraging words over beers at the local hangout. A little social/legal manipulation here and there to put the would be “terrorist” into a position where doing something stupid will appear to be a good option for him or her. Then blend back into the woodwork and wait for the inevitable carnage to take place. Hard to say if that’s what happened here (just as it always is), but that’s all the more reason to be suspicious. NEVER accept the official party line at face value!

      • Disaffected says:

        Whether or not this kid was facilitated in any way, he’s turning out to be the poster child for the anti-gun, anti-hate group crowd. A little too convenient me thinks? At any rate, the liberal sites are just spun up into a frenzy over this one.

  7. smokemasterjohn says:

    I agree, at a level with your notion of objectification but find myself at odds with the implicit notion that all objectification through language is bad. I see this in exactly the same light as sexual relations – in an of itself, the mating of two partners of choice in a given species. It is neither good nor bad. The context and intent within which it is conducted gives it the range of possibilities from profoundly harmful to profoundly euphoric & joyful. In another analogy – analog presentation of music and digital presentation of music – digital stands-in for your linguistic objectification. Despite the fact that the digital representation has the potential to be harsh and anti-musical, and can be easily manipulated to be even worse, it is not in and of itself, bad or horrific. It has also been responsible for the ability of many to experience a range and fullness of music that if we were only to allow the analog presentation would have continued to the province of exclusively the rich and powerful. Again, it is the skill, the ability, the intent of the application that defines it’s outcomes more than the limits of the medium itself, despite what the analog purists may say.

  8. Disaffected says:

    Here’s a very nice, mostly non-political, video interlude thanks to Jackson Browne, one of the America’s (and indeed, the world’s) all-time most accomplished artists:

    • Disaffected says:

      All of the best moments of your life are free, whether perceived as given or taken. In the end, given and taken are both revealed as illusions as well, as all is revealed as one, and given and taken are revealed as nothing more than the eternal breath expanding and contracting, in and out.

  9. monalisa says:

    Thanks Sandy, great post.
    If just more attention would be paid to the spirit of nature in US politics (and elsewhere too! for example within the EU!).
    Mono-cultures are unable do withstand diseases and in fact destabilize over times-its surroundings as well as itself.
    Our universe was set-as is already well known-right from the beginning to create dfferent kinds of everything. This I would say is the “spirit of nature” and comprises everythng of our known (and perhaps, logically thinking our unknown) universe.
    To act contradict will result in the inability to go much further-while the tipping point shows us not to enforce the automatically coming results.
    Much to my regret the monotheistic religions state that men are superior over nature and that mankind should subdue nature to its liking.
    This is an extreme contrast to old Asian cultural believes as well as most of the archaic believes where mankind should live more “in accordance with nature”.
    Regarding masses-oh I would say they are sheeple stripped of any senses to defend themselves.
    Or in other words: people who didn’t mind being stripped of their own rights while wrapped in hypocrisy and self-righteousness being superior which feels wonderful.

    Its like an old Persian story/poem: a traveller enters a small town and as extremely thursty he searches for drinking water. Finally he found a bigger place where a well was situated. Happy about he asked a bypasser if this is drinking water and if he could take some. ‘Yes’ was he answered “be free to take any amount of water’. His first mouthful tasted extremey strange to him and he asked again a bypasser if this is drinking water as it tasted strange and if there are other wells he could drink from. ‘Yes, it is our best water we have’ was the answer. As the traveller was still very thirsty he drunk from it wondering why the people in this town don’t taste the strangeness of this so-called “drinking-water”.

    monalisa

    • Disaffected says:

      Or in other words: people who didn’t mind being stripped of their own rights while wrapped in hypocrisy and self-righteousness being superior which feels wonderful.

      I think you really hit it on the head wit tha line monalisa, as well as your subsequent story/poem.

      I’ve really noticed of late that the partisan internet sites/boards seems to be spinning more and more out of control. Sure, the conservative sites have remained steadfastly so, just as they always do, resolutely so. In fact, they seem to be the only dependable center we’re holding onto of late.

      But the liberal sites on the other hand… They seem to be spinning wildly out of control as Obama’s pseudo “new world order” (which is actually anything but) seems to be spinning out of control. I chalk it up to the cognitive dissonance of recognizing after 8 long years that the “champion” they’ve elected turned out be merely a stooge for the opposition, and further, that the opposition is all there is.

      • kulturcritic says:

        And yet, I am amazed at how the opposition seems to think Obama represents anything but!

        • Disaffected says:

          Cognitive dissonance. It’s simply too painful to admit that the world view they’ve subscribed to forever is completely wrong. Not to beat a dead horse, but that’s why the 9-11 myth keeps going too (and the perps know this full well). It would destroy the entire American mythology with a single blow.

  10. the Heretick says:

    When mankind attempts to tame the Spirit it turns in the hand like a knife, it moves where it will.
    These modern day wizards words stand on their heads, the truth is not in them, they make up myths to justify their raw, naked abuse of the power they have seized.
    All these exploitative systems stand on one principle, the use of force, the use of violence to achieve their nefarious ends,
    The lie is sold constantly of all the good things modern science has brought to us, proton therapy, wonder drugs, liberation for the human form, if you can afford it. The plain fact is that these perks are for them who can afford $1,000,000 homes while the hoi polloi toil for $8.50 an hour, part time at that.

    Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? And women, as they have all pretty much bought into the charade; and who knows where the spirit will move next? Now that the hearts of mankind grow cold.

    Yes, we can kill just fine, but can we live?

    • Disaffected says:

      I think we’re better at killing and prefer it too. Another one of the inevitable side effects of extending our numbers and our range beyond carrying capacity: survival of the fittest becomes more and more the inevitable reality. Easy to be a pacifist when everyone’s got plenty. Not so much when they don’t. Catton reckons overshoot as beginning as long ago as the late 19th – early 20th century, long before the effects were apparent to anyone. If that’s the case – and all the evidence indicates that it is – we’re in the death throes now, certainly of industrial civilization, and likely of all civilization. Whether humanity itself can survive the knock on effects Climate Change and/or Environmental Degradation remains to be seen, but the early returns certainly don’t look favorable.

    • Disaffected says:

      I think posting videos of good music on the internet might be all we’re left with now, HT. Good one!

  11. monalisa says:

    The most scaremongering point shown directly in nowadays politics of the West:
    nothing out from history has been learned, acknowledged and taken into consideration.
    US uses the same “script” as during 19th and 20th century, same goes to most of the European countries.

    Seems to me that only one part of some brains developed while the other part not only being the same as twothousand years ago but-in my opinion-being frozen in archaic ways of thinking and producing primitive acts not different of Roman times and the Middle Ages in Europe.

    While being blind to the fact that the arrow of time directs in one direction only.

    • Disaffected says:

      Our Western leaders have imagined us in an alternative future “new world order” since the collapse of the USSR in 1991. Francis Fukuyama’s epic The End of History and the Last Man thus turned out to be absurdly seminal in the Orwellian group think it ushered in. Trouble is, the stupid fuckers who bought into his hogwash are still alive and in power to this day, most of whom were also behind 9-11, which REALLY WAS the “end of history” as far as western democracy is concerned. In any possible human future in which mankind actually survives, 9-11 will be THE seminal event in this round of human evolution.

      If the mankind survives and the forces behind that event remain in charge, no doubt the historical record will remain expunged and the powers that be and theirs will be the only one’s to make it through the bottleneck ahead of us, if even they do. I think this most likely.

      If the truth of 9-11 is ever recognized, it will be because the western populace has finally dropped a pair of balls such that they’re willing to consider that which they now consider unthinkable: that their leaders are incorrigible scoundrels of the highest degree who would stop at nothing to subjugate them. Unfortunately for us – and equally fortunate for the perpetrators – such a recognition would set off a shit storm of truly historic proportions, from which western democracy in any form would certainly not emerge intact. In that case, certainly western (now global) industrial society would go up in smoke (of a mushroom cloud?), and likely the rest of humanity with it.

      Bottom line: 9-11 was nothing less than western democracy/capitalism’s final hole card. It was a marker laid down for all to see that US hegemony as the sole representative of democratically elected and approved capitalism was NOT NEGOTIABLE and NOT TO BE FUCKED WITH in any way! Further, and obviously, it was a blank check to do ANYTHING in support of that goal from that day on, the results of which we are living with to this day.

  12. monalisa says:

    just a short notice:
    The only democratic country which exists on our earth is Switzerland – only this country so far.
    All other countries especially Western ones-usually claiming that their “democracy and freedom” constitutes its essence of politics-don’t have it. Point.

    US citizen would hardly swallow the truth about 911: They can neiter bear the truth about it nor to abandon their exceptionalism which would be shaked if the truth comes out OFFICIALLY.
    That’s what I see from afar. However, I think most of the great countries’ politicans are aware of/know the truth.

    The majority of US citizen believed for decenniens what they had been brainwashed for and being better than other countries sounds so wonderfully in their ears.
    I think too the majority will hold onto this belief until they will be swallowed up by the coming-inevitable-storm.
    If there aren’t big mushrooms.

    monalisa

    • Disaffected says:

      The true beauty of the whole 9-11 caper was the sheer magnitude of it. People often dismiss the conspiracy theories (which, with all the new research and documentation out there, are now conspiracy FACTS), saying that there’s no way that many people could have kept this hushed up. And at first blush, damn if that doesn’t seem correct! But the beauty of something this large and brazen (and it took hundreds, more than likely thousands of people to have some, at least limited level of knowledge) is that a.) Unless you’re an insider that has some serious gravitas and a mountain of proof, no one would believe your allegations anyway, and 2.) If you were, you would either be a co-conspirator or knowledgeable of the fact that you and your entire family and circle of friends would be put at risk if you ever stepped out of line. They were thus effectively able to carry the whole thing off – warts and all – right out in the open and in plane sight for all to see. Most Americans will never accept the truth no matter how much proof you present them, and no judge in his right mind would ever agree to hear any of the evidence, knowing full well the personal risk he or she would assume by doing so. The old phrase “go big or stay at home” comes to mind here.

    • Disaffected says:

      And more directly to your point, I have no doubt either that nearly all national pols either know the truth of 9-11 (some, no doubt in great detail), or have been discretely advised by their in the know colleagues not to ask questions and mind their own business. It’s likely the best kept “non-secret secret” in the land. In the end, if you’re a rich DC parasite who’s for big business and the “American way,” the 9-11 lie is the gift that keeps on giving, so there’s no reason to rock the boat anyway.

      • Disaffected says:

        Same goes for major foreign leaders. I’m sure they all realize they could “get got” any time, any place, if they were to speak out of school. US global reach is now pretty much universal if they really want you dead. But 9-11 really served global capitalist interests everywhere, so I’m sure more than few foreign leaders at the time were involved in it as well. Certainly Israel, without a doubt. Might as well call Israel our 51st state, albeit a super state at that. Or maybe just call it NYC/DC East. Or better still, call NYC/DC Tel Aviv West.

        To the the major power players in the US, there are only three cities that even matter: DC, NYC, and London, with Boston occupying a distant 2nd tier as a backup financial and brain power center. ANY of the rest they’d sacrifice in the proverbial New York minute if they needed to make a point, which could well happen down the road. Imagine this: a false flag Soviet nuclear attack on Chicago or LA, followed by an “appropriate” US response. If they’d resort to an abomination like 9-11 and the more recent false flag shoot down of a civilian airliner over Ukraine (which should be a MAJOR RED FLAG warning sign that the same cabal of miscreants are up to their usual shit again!), surely something as simple as an errant nuke over a major US city would be no big deal to pull off. As they say, the possibilities are endless.

  13. Ron says:

    I am sure that someone here has seen the series Jericho. There is a reason why that series ended after 2 short seasons. Too close to the truth. TPTB will destroy this place rather than give up their power and position.

  14. Disaffected says:

    And right on time, another “terrorist attack” in the news today, this time in France. Imagine that!

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/27/world/europe/french-factory-lyon-attack-isis.html?_r=0

  15. monalisa says:

    and yet another one in Tunisia !
    Oh yea, Europe has to be kept unter control ! That’s it !

    The month of fasting in the Islamic world has just started: Fasting is one of the five pillars in Islam.
    As I have been lived in the Middle East for a longer time to me it is highly improbable that any Moslem would carry out something like this during Ramadan (the fasting month!).

    Anyhow, in my opinion the same “script” as used during the 1st cold war.
    Remember “Gladio” in Italy ? Remember the false flag attacks on people in Europe ? Remember who had been accused ? The Communists in the UdSSR !
    However, meanwhile it had been found out officially that the Communists didn’t do that ….. so who wanted to “win” or in other words had so much interest to keep a “subdued” Europe ?

    It all comes to one remark: “cui bono?”
    Yet, certainly not the Moslems ….

    France is outraged, many in Europe are outraged about the spy-scandals.
    So what to do? Oh yes, sure, to mount an attack ….
    and the European vassal politicans will be kept silent and under control.

    monalisa

    • Disaffected says:

      Yep. You’re seeing things through the right lens alright. They’ve been doing this for decades, but the advent of the modern media acting as a more than willing accomplice really turned things up a notch. They learned the lessons of Vietnam, where honest press coverage brought them down, very well.

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