How Cyberpunk Did The World Become?

It’s now 33 years since Neuromancer was published – establishing the cyberpunk timeframe as near-future – and that’s as long as either Alexander the Great or Jesus had in this world. It’s long enough for this essay to look back from the vantage point of 2017 and see how cyberpunk Planet Earth ended up becoming in this timeline.

Where Neuromancer and Snow Crash were half right was in their prediction of a matrix within cyberspace that filled the human need for societal interaction. FaceBook and the other giants of social media certainly led the ordinary citizens of meatspace to spend a lot more time in cyberspace, but we are still limited to the bulletin board model.

Advancements in virtual reality technology have been limited, to a large part, by the need for extreme amounts of processing power. A VR setup must be capable of generating a sufficient rate of frames per second to avoid latency from the perspective of the user, because this leads to simulator sickness, which decreases the level of telepresence.

So nothing really like the eponymous all-encompassing virtual environment in The Matrix, or the metaverse, has yet arisen.

Where all of the cyberpunk classics got it right was in the widespread adoption of novel classes of synthetic drugs.

Humans have always loved to experiment with consciousness – use of magic mushrooms, cannabis and alcohol all predate the use of writing. So it was fairly predictable that new advances in chemistry would lead to new frontiers in the exploration of mental space.

Although most of the chemical enhancement in cyberpunk literature has been for the purposes of increasing martial aptitude, as in Lucifer’s Dragon, most of its use in consensual reality has been psychonautic. In other words, here on Earth people mostly use the new waves of drugs to get high – but that doesn’t make for very good fiction.

Blade Runner didn’t foresee much different in the way of human drug consumption, but it did anticipate how close artificial intelligence came to passing the Turing Test. Many people chat with bots on social media without even knowing it – especially in online poker rooms and on large politics pages.

Certainly this film, based on Philip D Dick’s Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, accurately captured the uneasiness of being a human and dealing with something that appears entirely human but for subtle differences.

Where the classics tended to get it wrong was politically, especially the diminished role of territorial governments. There seemed to be a glib assumption, perhaps expressed in extremis in Snow Crash, that corporations and the influence of corporations would expand to the point where 20th century-style governments no longer held any power.

In reality, hard iron laws like “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun” continue to hold true, and any government capable of raising sufficient taxation to raise an army or secret police will still be a force on the world stage.

In the world of soft power, Transmetropolitan correctly predicted that the political landscape would be as shallow and insane as ever. The absurdity of the various political candidates in Spider Jerusalem’s life are an eerily accurate foretelling of the rise of the Donald Trump/Hillary Clinton circus.

Corporations have started implanting microchips in their employees, which has been a staple of cyberpunk horror for a long time. My own The Verity Key, however, predicted a different path of adoption for microchips under the skin: I figured that people, especially the technophilic, would adopt it themselves for increased access to private space.

It remains to be seen if this will happen – the expense involved in reaching a sustainable critical mass might make private adoption of RFID networks unworkable.

Things didn’t really get as dark and dystopic as cyberpunk predicted. This was always the probable outcome for a literary genre that consciously adopted elements of horror from other genres and from film noir. Things really just became weird. Perhaps the most accurate of all – predicting the current obsession with transgenderism – was Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War.

If there are new avenues of cyberpunk still to be explored, it’s possible that they will feature characters who are unrepentant rebels with regard to questions of cognitive freedom, in particular characters pushed underground by new technologies that make intrusion into the mind possible.

That’s one way in which the brilliant anime series Psycho-Pass blazes a new path: from the harder, engineering and physics based sciences towards the biological ones. Much like The Verity Key, the Psycho-Pass series raises the question of what life will look like when neuropsychological technology advances to the point where the private thoughts of every individual have become a public matter.

The controllers of the mindreading technology in Psycho-Pass are public entities (or at least government ones), which makes for an oppressive totalitarian atmosphere, as opposed to the nihilistic anarchy of The Verity Key. Probably this timeline became more nihilistic than totalitarian, but who knows what might still happen?

With news that remote-controlled drones and tank-like war machines running off AI might soon become cheap enough for terrorists or rogue states to use every day against enemy targets, the most cyberpunk elements of human history, fictional or otherwise, may be still to come.

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Vince McLeod is the author of cyberpunk novel The Verity Key and of the upcoming cyberpunk novel The Man With A Thousand Fathers, to be serialised here starting from the summer of 2018.

The Basics of Anarcho-Homicidalist Etiquette

A couple of dozen supporters of the governing conservative party are shot dead by automatic rifle fire after coming out of a conference, and the gunman is soon shot dead by Police. On his YouTube account the media discover a video of the gunman talking about how his actions were inspired by the philosophy of anarcho-homicidalism. This essay examines the considerations that the anarcho-homicidalist will have needed to have made.

The purpose of undertaking a campaign of anarcho-homicidalism is to effect social change by increasing the adverse consequences of trying to enslave people.

One reason why slavery has been so common in human history is that there are very few downsides to it, as long as you are not the slave. All that’s really necessary is the ability and will to make a credible threat to the physical coherence of another person’s body, and it becomes possible to extort them out of their productivity.

In other primates, this credible threat is based around claws and fangs and is usually made to extort other primates out of food they have gathered or hunted. This is also the long-forgotten origin of slavery in the human animal.

The first ever anarcho-homicidalist action was probably undertaken by a young adult male primate, who had food resources constantly extorted from him through the threat of violence. As he grew from a juvenile into an adult, this male may have developed a physical strength greater than that of his tormentor, and then eventually killed that other ape to protect his own food supply.

When metallurgy became possible, it also became possible to place on other people chains of iron (they were literally chains of copper at first). This represented a considerable advance in the technology of slavery because metal allowed the enslaver to create physical bonds that could not be easily broken.

This meant that it was possible to bind a person to a particular place. Metal also made it possible to enslave people through the threat of stabbing them.

In the 21st century, slavery is primarily a question of chains of silver. These are not physical chains but mental ones. People are bound by their desires, and especially by their fears. They are also bound by confusion and deceit.

The way politicians enslave people with chains of silver is with laws and statutes. The trick with chains of silver is to get the slaves to put them on each other, backed up by the ultimate threat of a sharp and pointy bit of iron.

This method of enslavement reached its apogee in Communist East Germany. At one time it was estimated that 20% of the population were Stasi informants. In such an environment, ordinary people are regularly too terrified to do anything original or creative, and so the ruling classes are free to plunder the place without consequence.

Chains of silver are the basis of the question that has to be asked by modern people who want to be free. In particular, a person has to ask themselves, “At what point does Government overreach become slavery?”

Because once that point is exceeded, the anarcho-homicidalist will consider themselves duty-bound to take action; action predicated on the moral tenet that everyone has the right to kill anyone trying to enslave them.

The consequences of an act such as the one described in the opening paragraph of this essay might be taken if the National Government enforced a law that the anarcho-homicidalist considered to be slavery.

It doesn’t matter what this law might be specifically, because every individual has to decide for themselves at what point the actions of another become an attempt to enslave.

The idea is that, after anarcho-homicidalist action had been taken, the authority figure making the enslavement attempt might think again.

If the previous authority in their position had met a grisly end – such as the conservative party supporters gunned down in the opening paragraph – their replacement might well be conscious that the people they were trying to rule had set limits on that authority.

For this reason it would be necessary for an anarcho-homicidalist to make clear, to whoever was responsible to clean up the mess, why the mess was made.

For example, let’s say that an individual is facing criminal charges for collecting rain water on their own property. After a lengthy court struggle, that individual is put into so much debt that they end up losing the property, and consequently they decide to undertake an anarcho-homicidalist action by killing some of the council members responsible for making it illegal.

It would be essential to, at some point, make it clear to a likely-to-be shocked general public why this action was undertaken.

If the anarcho-homicidalist is shot dead by Police during their action – which is very possible – then it would be necessary to record a message beforehand. This could be a YouTube video explaining the reasons for the action, or a written message.

The important thing is that the anarcho-homicidalist makes clear that their actions are not simple acts of terrorism. Anarcho-homicidalist actions can only, by definition, be taken in self-defence. Therefore, any anarcho-homicidalist taking ultimate action is obligated to explicate their reasons for taking ultimate action, and to explain why their target was an enslaver and not an innocent.

Beneficiaries Are The Only True Environmentalists

The only truly environmentally responsible way of life is to consume less than a sustainable level of the world’s resources. In the West, it’s mostly only those on welfare who manage this

Humans now need the equivalent of 1.5 planet Earths to sustain our current level of consumption, and if we all lived like Americans it would take four. In 2013 we reached “Earth Overshoot Day” – the day by which we had used an amount of the Earth’s resources equal to what it can replenish in a single year – by August 20, and every year it draws closer.

The reason why we would need four Earths to all live at the same standard as Americans is because Americans consume so much more of the planet than the average human. The average American consumes 25 tons of the world’s natural resources every year, and they operate 25% of the world’s motor vehicles, despite only being 4% of the population.

This is broadly true of Westerners in general.

We buy big cars, often with every family member having their own, we buy boats, we go on overseas holidays, we buy enormous amounts of plastic, especially in packaging, and we recycle electronic appliances well before they become obsolete.

One thing can be said for certain about all this consumption – namely, that it will end. The planet is finite whether we like it or not. Sooner or later, like sand through an hourglass, the supply will run out and activity will diminish.

Let’s be honest: we don’t work to live anymore, at least not in the West. Technological advancement has made it unnecessary. The average Westerner has so much accumulated capital increasing the value of their labour that a surplus exists easily large enough to feed us all.

We work because we want more stuff. Fuck Earth Overshoot Day! We want an even bigger car, the latest Playstation, and to upgrade to a McMansion – and we want it now!

We could collectively cut down to working half the number of hours that we do, but we won’t, because the need to accumulate stuff is its own moral imperative.

The GDP per capita in America is around USD57,000 per year, which is close to $75,000 in New Zealand dollars. If Americans use four times as much of the Earth’s resources than what the Earth can sustain, then we can put a dollar figure on the upper bound of possible consumption.

One quarter of $75,000 is $18,750 per year. This figure represents the maximum level of consumption that humans would have to limit ourselves to in order to collectively avoid ecological collapse.

Curiously, $18,750 is a level of consumption roughly equal to what New Zealand beneficiaries are already forced to live on, which raises an interesting point – in the long run, environmental laws dictate that the average person on Earth cannot be any wealthier than the average New Zealand beneficiary already is.

In other words, almost every Westerner with a job – who in almost every case will be spending far more than $18,750 a year – is consuming an amount of the world’s resources that is not sustainable in the long run.

In the long run, the average person cannot consume the world’s resources at a rate greater than that of the current average New Zealand beneficiary.

Considering that all of us will eventually have to cut down to this level of consumption, whether we like it or not, the people who are currently beneficiaries are actually giving us a glimpse of what level of wealth is realistically sustainable.

In that sense they are harbingers of the future, unlike the rest of us currently consuming an unsustainable amount of resources. Thus it could be argued that beneficiaries are the true environmentalists.

The Four Tenets of Anarcho-Homicidalism

Politicians who push things too far might find themselves faced with this

Anarcho-homicidalism is a radical new philosophy that is rapidly challenging people’s conceptions of what is possible within political space. Despite the tooth-and-claw simplicity of the doctrine, it is not always obvious how one transitions into it from a lifetime of statism. This essay examines four basic precepts.

1. Violence is the basis of self-defence.

In this physical, material world, life is dog-eat-dog to a major extent. Cannibalism is, after all, a fairly recent phenomenon in these very isles, and often the only way you were able to avoid this fate was with counter-violence.

It could even be argued that the very concept of violence perhaps not being fully legitimate is a particularly human invention, and even then not shared by all. As such, the concept of illegitimate violence is far from universal.

A truth frequently denied is that all property rights ultimately come down to the capacity to enforce violence. In our modern societies, there is little more to property rights than being able to bring the Police force to bear on any trespassers.

Therefore, your ability to defend yourself comes down to your ability to inflict violence upon anyone threatening you.

2. You’re allowed to kill anyone trying to enslave you.

If any other person tries to make you into a slave, you have the right to kill them in self-defence. This recognises the fact that anyone who approaches you with a will to enslave you is going to succeed unless deterred.

After all, if you are not allowed (or willing) to kill people trying to enslave you, then you don’t have any rights at all, because you will eventually find yourself unable to assert them.

If a person is not trying to make you into a slave, you don’t have any more right to kill them than you otherwise would (i.e. in the vast majority of cases, doing so would constitute murder).

Therefore, the anarcho-homicidalist only strikes upwards; only ever up the dominance hierarchy. If no-one tries to assert dominance over the anarcho-homicidalist then there is no reason for them to upset the peace.

3. Everyone must decide for themselves who they kill.

Not only does the anarcho-homicidalist never strike downwards, but they also refuse to kill on command. Anarcho-homicidalists do not kill on other people’s orders, because to do so necessarily brings into being a dominance hierarchy.

Note that this gives the anarcho-homicidalist cause to shoot any conscription officer that comes to his house. Conscription is slavery, and if someone else tells you that you have to kill another person who you’ve never met, the anarcho-homicidalist is within their rights to turn the gun on the person giving the orders.

An inescapable consequence of the total application of this tenet would be that no armies could ever be raised to attack anyone else, because anyone being pressed into one would simply kill their conscriptor.

Therefore, nothing like the invasion of Iraq could be possible, because there would be no-one willing to serve in a dominance hierarchy that killed on command.

4. Everyone is 100% responsible for the consequences of their decision to kill.

There is absolutely no guarantee that a person taking anarcho-homicidalist action will be protected from the consequences of having done so.

An anarcho-homicidalist might decide to shoot a government apparatchik who works to enforce some totalitarian horror, but nothing within the tenets of anarcho-homicidalism necessarily protects him from the consequences.

The Police and secret services will still definitely come after anyone who homicides a high-ranking political figure, no matter how fervently the homicidalist believes in their philosophy.

However, a sufficient quantity of anarcho-homicidalists would still be able to form an underground railroad for the sake of protecting any of their own who gave the dominators the full measure.

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This is an excerpt from Viktor Hellman’s upcoming Anarcho-Homicidalist’s Manifesto.

An Anarcho-Homicidalist Primer

Homicidalism is a new branch of anarchist thought. The essential belief is this: authoritarianism will always arise unless dominance hierarchies are actively resisted by killing the people at the top of them. The impetus behind this line of reasoning comes from a passage from the great author Aleksnder Solzhenitsyn.

“And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”

In essence, homicidalism recognises that individuals have the ability to kill each other by exercising their free will, and that homicide (and fear of homicide) is the basic social tool keeping authoritarianism in check.

Consider this thought experiment. Try to think of a law that would not change that day if the people who were to be arrested all behaved in the manner that Solzhenitsyn described above.

A practical example of homicidalism in action was given in the case of the cannabis laws by Jan Molenaar, who was responsible for a Police siege that led to the death of one Police officer. Considering that there were 10,487 total cannabis offences in New Zealand in 2014, and that the total number of Police officers is fewer than this, it’s clear that cannabis prohibition could not continue for more than a few days if every victim of it resisted “Molenaar-style”.

Of course, Molenaar did not survive long after taking guns to the Police. This is both obvious and a crucial point.

The first law of homicidalism is this. All tyranny exists because the people oppressed are unable or unwilling to kill their oppressors. This is because it is in the nature of oppressors to tighten the screws further and further until the population begins to resist, and then to release them a little so that the population is oppressed but not enough to revolt.

Thus, homicidalism recognises the psychological reality that tyrants tyrannise to the degree that they can get away with it.

Therefore, all oppression exists because the people oppressed have set the point at which they will revolt and kill their oppressors too low. Had they “loved freedom enough”, as Solzhenitsyn put it, they would have revolted earlier, would have killed their oppressors before the oppressors could have established a stranglehold.

Anarcho-homicidalism is explicitly anti-Christian. The very message of Christianity is, as Friedrich Nietzsche taught us, a slave morality, in which people submit to authoritarians out of fear and then try to drag all others down by way of resentment.

To the homicidalist, the admonishment to “turn the other cheek” is to encourage tyranny by lessening the consequences of trying to oppress a population. “Render unto Ceasar” is the same as accepting the rule of tyranny in the world.

The real difficulty with homicidalism is that it is something of a taboo subject, for the obvious reason that anyone with an intention to commit tyranny instinctively fears anarcho-homicidalists. It is unlikely that homicidalism will ever be taught at a Government-funded school, for example. It is also very likely that anyone publicly promoting homicidalism will get a visit from the Police.

Homicidalism is explicitly anarchistic because it is considered immoral to kill anyone weaker than yourself. This inverts the usual pattern of things, and provides a clear distinction between homicidalism and serial killing. It is also a bridge between anarcho-communism and anarcho-capitalism, as both of these sides implicitly concede that the means of production always belong to those most willing to kill to control them.

It also has an immune system built in. One of the great problems with most anarchist solutions is that, when the power structure is abolished, there are no mechanisms in place preventing it from arising again.

Homicidalism gets around this by simply continuing to kill anyone who tries to take charge. The ruling class are killed until they stop ruling, and then anyone who tries to disrupt the ensuing anarchy by creating another dominance hierarchy is summarily executed by the nearest homicidalist.

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This is an excerpt from Viktor Hellman’s upcoming Anarcho-Homicidalist’s Manifesto.

Not A Manifesto

VJM Publishing is working with Not A Party to produce a manifesto of New Zealand anarchist thought, titled Not A Manifesto.

The idea is that the document will serve initially as a FAQ indexed on this page (or rather a FUQ of Frequently Unanswered Questions), later to be made into a paperback for sale on TradeMe and Amazon once there are enough entries.

NOT A MANIFESTO ESSAYS (last update 09 JUL 17)

What is Anarchism? (Agent Orange)

The Government Giveth; The Government Taketh Away (Propaganda Minister)

What’s the best place for a guerrilla soup kitchen? (Culture Vulture)

The Peacock’s Tale: The Fundamentals of Alchemical Transmutation

Science would have us believe that it has debunked alchemy. The narrative we are given is that the discipline of alchemy was a fundamentally flawed and erroneous form of primitive chemistry that has been ‘disproven’on account of failing to physically transmute lead into gold.

Therefore, so one stream of popular wisdom concludes, the value of alchemy is reduced to zero, and it is to be discarded as pseudoscience and relegated to the annals of weird illustrations and woodcuts.

This view is exceptionally narrow. What else does the process of transmutation have to teach us? What about at the level of the phenomenal, the level of mental space?

Esoteric alchemy refers to the inner meaning of the alchemical project. This refers to the state of consciousness. This is where all true alchemy takes place. This is the beating heart of the Hermetic philosophy. This is the centre to which all alchemical mythologies point.

There are many ways to explain or mythologise this, but look at the primary objective of alchemy, which is to transmute the lower into the higher. Lower into higher vibrations, one polarity into another, one substance or form into another. This is represented allegorically in the traditional depictions of the alchemist in his laboratory with various chemicals, flasks and equipment.

The common practice in any culture is to discard what is seen as without value, the chaff, the dregs. This is seen as common wisdom, but it is also entrenched in duality, the frame of the world being divided into poles of value and experience.

We take what we call ‘negative’ energy, and we try to relieve ourselves of it by throwing it away, condemning it, ignoring it or repressing it.

This is unwise, according to the practice of alchemy. You do not discard the lower, you transmute it. This may have been what Jesus meant when he said “Show me the stone that the builder has rejected, that is the cornerstone”.

You do not seek outside of yourself for what you imagine to offer you reprieve or salvation. You begin where you are, with what you have.

If you discard the lower, you will simply continue to receive more of it and nothing will ever change. The alchemist who does nothing with the lead bars he is regularly delivered packs it away into his steadily growing warehouse and sits idle without tending his furnace, ready for his children to inherit his hoard, and so on ad infinitum.

What we do not attend to alchemically is passed on in one way or another. It can be the thoughts, habits, and behaviours we pass on, or it may be the mark we have left upon the world in the form of how we treated others, how we approached problems, or the structures we reinforced and lent our support to during our time on the planet.

This is immediately evident to us because this is what we are confronted with, a world of inherited structures and agreements, things that those before us have gone into accord with and left for others to navigate.

When you are given lead bars, you are not being gifted with chaff and dregs. You are being gifted with the energy of life, the building blocks that you have the option of transmuting through a little know-how and a lot of persistence.

We are not merely talking of positive thinking or making lemons into lemonade. Alchemy does not put a ‘positive spin’ on things, it transforms them.

Imagine someone who has acquired a lot of rubbish in their backyard. A person in a low state of consciousness might discount personal responsibility for the mess. There is a level of consciousness at which others are viewed as separate and that you can better yourself at the expense of others.

Someone at this level of consciousness may attempt to relieve their mess by throwing rubbish over the fence for the neighbour to deal with. The mess hasn’t been dealt with but has only been temporarily relocated, and at someone else’s expense.

This is essentially what happens on an energetic level when you do not take direct responsibility for the management of your vibration.

For example, when you experience feelings of anger and you choose to ‘vent’ this by polluting others with your energy by giving them ‘a piece of your mind’, or at the least, attacking them energetically with resentment and anger, or at an even lower level, physically assaulting someone.

All you are doing is unloading your energy elsewhere, claiming implicitly that you are not personally responsible and that others ought to be made accountable. This is literally insane.

How can our lead become gold? After all, this is the esoteric meaning of alchemy, the lifeblood within the flasks and vials. The philosopher’s stone is not some ancient artifact buried beneath the desert somewhere, waiting to be discovered and exploited. It is a tool integral to the self. You are your own alchemical laboratory, and you have all the tools at your disposal that you need to commence work. Everything that appears within your phenomenal space are the various reagents and elements you work with.

What does the work look like, you may ask?

It is deceptively simple, but it does require understanding, vigilance and persistence. For any of this to take place at all you need to be in your laboratory, your workshop with a primed furnace.

The requirement is conscious vigilance. This is variously referred to as occupying the witness state, the seat of awareness, or ‘to keep one’s lamp burning’. In the simplest of terms, this means: stay awake.

The next most important component of this is the power of intent. In other words, in order for this process to begin, you need to care enough to attend to it. If you do not care enough about transmutation, it will not happen until you are prepared.

Here is where the real magic happens: that which arises in a state of vigilant awareness is transmuted form lower into higher. There is only one state in which this can occur, and that is the state of burning awakeness. St. John referred to this eloquently when he said: “anything which is shown up to the light will itself becomes light”.

You cannot be in two states at once, the higher and the lower simultaneously. This is the reason that Jesus said that an archer cannot bend two bows, nor can a servant serve two masters. If these lower energies are active in a lower state of mind, then they will remain unaffected and they will perpetuate.

This is the state humans are almost always in, so of course there will be no transformative change. The witness state, the third order of awareness, changes everything it comes in contact with.

It is called, in the Eastern traditions, the burning sword of Prajna, the wisdom that cuts through any deceit that is given up to it.

In order for this to work, you must be willing to subject what you perceive as your darkest idols of mind before the light of awareness. If there is anger, jealousy or arrogance, do not give it half-heartedly, but feel it expressed all the way through. Feel it not as a victim, but as a witness sacrificing everything to the light of scrutiny.

Some have said that to arrive at this point of preparation may not be entirely in your control. It may have been borne of great suffering or the persistence of a burning question. Suffering is a great teacher in alchemy, because it shows you how all of the lead you are inheriting continues to impinge upon your well being until you discover that you can align the direction of your energy and begin to transmute.

In any case, you will not arrive at a point of readiness until you are genuinely ready, and finally that rests with you.

Where does the peacock fit into this?

There is a Chinese myth that the peacock lives in the deepest part of the forest where no other creatures dwell, where there is nothing to eat but poisonous plants. The peacocks eat what is available to them, and their ingestion of the plants does not poison them, but sustains them because they are employing a process of transmutation. They are taking what has been rejected by others.

What the peacock does in eating this poison is to turn it into a magnificent tail. One form of energy is translated into another.

This is a simple but powerful alchemical myth. Confronting rather than avoiding or displacing your lower vibrational energy may seem from the outside like eating poison. This includes all of your hatred, anger, depression, anxiety, and every other possible byproduct of fear and separation. But if you exert the power of will, it can be transmuted.

What then happens is that the power that has been processed is reclaimed and reborn in the heat of the refiner’s fire.

When science discounts the value of alchemy as a legitimate scientific endeavor, what it is really saying is that there is nothing that the scientific enterprise can gain from it. This may very well be true. A roadworks crew cutting out a culvert in a hill do not care about whether they destroy any rare fossils that they should happen to dig up, because the only thing that is within their purview is cutting out a path for a new road.

Of course, a paleontologist or museum curator might be mortified by the lack of respect shown, but that is only because they see a value there that the roadworkers do not. It simply doesn’t fall within their brief to make allowance to preserving the rare and delicate.

Science has a tendency to see what it values and discard the rest, which makes for a poor alchemical exercise. Of course, this does not mean there cannot ever be a roadworker who values fossils, or a scientist who values spiritual alchemy – only that the institutions that they are operating within as cultural frames of reference have a limited field of value and interest. They have quite different objectives.

The claim of science is to have debunked alchemy on the point that it has failed to turn lead into gold. This is no more conclusive or meaningful than saying science has debunked the efficacy of 12-step program because the building where the AA meeting took place did not have 12 steps at the door.

The power of alchemy as I would argue lies in its being what I refer to as an instructional mythology of transformational psychology. It is not compromised by any material objection regarding the physics or chemistry of alchemy.

Similarly, Plato’s myth of the cave is not rendered redundant because there is proof that humans do not physically live in caves, or that Michelangelo’s Sistine frescoes are worthless because there is no evidence of the Biblical account of creation.

Again, science has a limited range within its values. It can astonish with its design of spacecraft and captivate with its production of taxonomical charts, but success in these endeavours, or any serious endeavor, for that matter, tend to come at the cost of wearing blinkers.

To achieve these things, it is true that there must be ambition, dedication and methodology to be sure. However, science simply cannot afford to dive into the many questions that a spiritual psychology such as alchemy raises. It is a different undertaking, demanding a different application of one’s talents and energies.

I would further argue that alchemy is essentially a kind of roadmap to spiritual awakening. In this respect, it is no different to mystical Christianity or Buddhism, or any disciplined regimen of self-inquiry or meditation, only that it represents a map in a different language. The Buddha cautioned against mistaking the finger pointing at the moon for the moon itself. All of the obscure reagents and paraphernalia of alchemy may be seen as the finger pointing at the moon – there is no need to get caught up in it.

If you’re reading this, chances are you have a burning furnace you might want tend to. Why not go and see for yourself what significance alchemy might have in your own life.

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Simon P. Murphy is the author of His Master’s Wretched Organ.

The Fundamental Masculine and Feminine Moralities

People often talk about one singular, monolithic, ideal morality as is God was sitting up in the heavens waiting for us to figure it out. The belief appears to be that if we ever did figure this out, we would all behave according to it and life on Earth would be harmonious forevermore.

This childish magical thinking is, of course, false. The reality is that there are two very different moralities that represent opposite ends of an ethical spectrum upon which all actions fall.

The fundamental masculine morality is to maintain good order, and the fundamental feminine morality is to allow life to naturally express itself.

Maintaining good order and allowing life to naturally express itself might not sound like contradictions necessarily, but they are still poles on an ethical spectrum.

One can convince oneself of this by realising that all threats to good order arise from the natural expression of life, and that all bad order restricts the natural expression of life. Likewise, all good order allows for the natural expression of life, and all unnatural expressions of life lead to bad order.

This means that it is commonplace for adherents of the masculine morality to want to destroy expressions of life that threaten good order, and it is commonplace for adherents of feminine morality to want to destroy bad order that prevents natural expression of life.

For the most part, it’s entirely possible for these two moralities to work together. But sometimes they don’t.

A man might act according to masculine morality when he tends to his garden. A gardener is not at all interested in allowing life to express itself through the form of weeds. His task is to maintain good order by keeping the weeds out, by keeping the plants in correctly spaced rows, to prevent the soil from becoming too wet or too dry etc.

A woman might act according to feminine morality when she raises a child. When raising a child, women are generally not particularly concerned with the degree of order that child has. What she wants is for the child to express itself through growth, to be healthy and strong, to feel joy at being alive, and this is made more difficult by forcing order on it.

Masculine and feminine moralities therefore come into conflict when a given order is considered good by some and bad by others.

In fact, this is how most conflict starts. A king might consider his kingdom’s operation to demonstrate good order, but there may be forces in the kingdom who disagree, and who consider his rulership to be bad order.

These forces will come into conflict because the natural expression of the sentiments of those who disagree with the king’s rule will conflict with the king’s desire to maintain order, and the king will find himself forced to stamp those sentiments out else risk chaos befalling the kingdom.

In the same way that silver is a compromise between clay and iron and more valuable than either on account of its finer balance, so too does the correct course of action in any given situation appear as a balance between the masculine and feminine moralities.

Morally retarded people are those who are unable to find a balance between the masculine and feminine moral orientations, and so they either try and impose maximum order upon everything (penis-worshippers and control freaks) or maximum chaos upon everything (postmodernists and hyperfeminists).

People who go too far down the masculine track start wanting to maintain order for order’s sake. The concept of good order is forgotten.

Our cannabis laws are an excellent example of an excess of masculine moral sentiment. It’s obvious to everyone that the New Zealand cannabis laws are not fit for purpose and must be changed, but those who wish to maintain order for order’s sake are unable to countenance so much as a conversation about the subject.

People who go too far down the feminine track start wanting to introduce chaos for chaos’s sake. The concept of healthy chaos is forgotten. These people essentially “just want to watch the world burn”.

The refugee policy of Europe over the past two decades is an excellent example of an excess of feminine moral sentiment. The refusal to discriminate between the natives and non-natives, usually for what are claimed to be moral reasons, has led to a collapse in good order as all manner of chancers have flooded in to compete with the natives for resources.

The only way out of our predicament will be to find the correct balance between the masculine desire for order and the feminine desire for free expression.

Metaphysically that means choosing the right combination of clay and iron so that the overall structure can be polished into silver.

In other words, the same as it ever was.

Divide and Conquer in New Zealand

As the 2017 General Election draws nearer, the intensity of the propaganda is increasing from all sides. Even the Internet – once a technophile’s lodge of respite from politics – is now full of Gareth Morgan’s advertisements. In all the confusion, it’s easy to forget that the ruling class will win the election, as they have every other one.

The principles of iron are the same in all times and all places. Ultimately, if someone is capable of bringing more physical force to bear on your body than you can on theirs, they are your boss and you can only act freely at their pleasure.

It’s very easy to see how this operates in reality.

Iron can be used to make an axe, and the axe can divide the head of any person opposing the will of the wielder of that axe from that person’s body, rendering them incapable of resistance.

For the majority of the billion-year history of life on Earth, iron took the form of fangs and claws and teeth. Nowadays, that iron takes the form of handguns on the holsters of the loyal Police, but the principles are the same.

Everyone understands this – but few understand that the principles of silver operate in much the same fashion.

There is no need to divide someone’s body with iron if you can equally well render them incapable of resistance by dividing their mind – and this is done by silver.

More specifically, this is done by telling lies.

Take, for example, the lies that John Key told about GST to get elected – in particular, promising not to raise GST from its then 12.5%. This promise was made because it is known that consumption taxes disadvantage the poor relative to income taxes, and so the suckers in the middle were more likely to vote for Key.

When Key was duly elected and took power, one of the first moves was to raise GST to 15%. This had a particular effect on the electorate that was not noted at the time.

What this lie did was to cleave New Zealand, as if with a silver axe, into one group who profitted from the lie, and one group who suffered from it.

The group that profitted from it didn’t appear to really care much that the other half of the country had lost out from being lied to by their Prime Minister. After all, they ended up with the long-coveted income tax cuts.

The group that suffered from it found that, not only had they lost, but they had lost by being lied to, and they had lost from being lied to by their own Prime Minister. Worst of all, no conversation about the effects of these lies seemed possible.

The corporate media, beholden to Key and to the National Party for their news cycle, moved on to the next infotainment fad, and the subject was forgotten.

As Ben Vidgen points out in the foreword to the Second Edition of State Secrets, the corporate media has been lying to people forever, and will sneer things like “conspiracy theory” every time someone does actually speak the truth.

It can be predicted, without any great effort of foresight, that the corporate media will use this year’s General Election as an occasion to set the plebs against each other for profit.

It can also be predicted, with similar ease, that anyone who points out the grotesque nature of the charade that is the televised circus of psychopaths dumping their verbal excrement into your subconscious mind at 50Hz will not find appreciation among those same plebs.

As Vidgen told you in 1999 and as we’re telling you now, you’re surrounded by bullshit on all sides. With an election in three months’ time, the frequency and intensity of the bullshit pumped into the heads of every Kiwi through the mass media is about to sharply increase.

So much so that knowing which of the possible options represent a “genuine change” and which are just the usual lineup of pocket-lining, trough-guzzling criminals will become impossible in the noise and chaos.

We could tell you that we were going to provide an alternative, but then why would anyone with sense trust us?

The Government Giveth; The Government Taketh Away

There was some excitement in the New Zealand cannabis community this week after the news that the Government would remove restrictions on doctors who wanted to prescribe cannabidiol (CBD) in the form of an oil. It was the first admission from the Government, ever, that cannabis actually had medicinal value, and for this reason it was significant.

Those of us who are not enamoured of politicians are naturally eager to point out that, after twenty years of sick Kiwis being completely ignored when it came to the cannabis question, progress is only now being made in the foreshadow of a general election.

Neither are we surprised to see hordes of Green Party hacks swarm the battlefields of social media to play down the magnitude of this change. The consensus tactic appears to be describing the changes as “not medicinal cannabis”, despite the fact that CBD is the component of cannabis that has shown by far the greatest medicinal promise.

After all, it’s important for the Green Party – now that the will of Kiwis for some cannabis law reform is undeniably clear – to craft a narrative of having been at the forefront of cannabis law reform all along.

Politicians being what they are, the Greens will deny at all costs the truth: that they sucked up cannabis law reform votes from 1999 and gave back nothing but contempt, until a few months before Peter Dunne (of all people) changed the law himself, without Green Party input.

All of this shitfighting distracts, and is intended to distract, from the fact that if the Greens do get into Government and change the cannabis laws to something intelligent and reasonable, they will, at the same time, make some other aspect of legislation stupid and unreasonable – and this is the necessary flipside of the deal.

The Government giveth; the Government taketh away. This is the nature of politics. The Government never simply gives freedoms back to the people it manages.

We are losing rights now, and will continue to lose them into the future, because the Government and all parties running for Government are in agreement about taking away our rights to use tobacco.

Many people have been able to predict that we will get legal cannabis at the same time as we lose legal tobacco. The rhetoric from the Government is for a “Smokefree New Zealand” by 2025, and we know that they will pursue this futile goal (previously described by this column as a sadistic idea dreamed up by morons) with the same mindless zealotry that they did the goal of making New Zealand cannabis-free.

And it will be equally as futile. Tobacco may be less fun to smoke than cannabis, but people still do it – not because they are “addicted”, as our moronic mental health establishment would have it, but because tobacco has a strong medicinal effect to people suffering from a wide range of mental problems, in particular psychosis and/or excess anxiety brought about from complications of trauma.

Statists and control freaks everywhere are mewling: “But we used to think tobacco was medicinal, but now science has advanced and now we know better.”

But this was exactly what they said when they made cannabis illegal.

Cannabis has been widely used by humans for centuries, and the propaganda against it early this century was all based on a two-pronged attack: first, deny any and all benefits of the substance, no matter how obvious; and second, attribute any and all detriments to the substance, no matter how peripherally related.

And so, in much the same way that we just had nearly a century of hearing that cannabis causes psychosis and schizophrenia and brain tumours and amotivational syndrome and blah blah blah, and how all of the positive effects that people had noticed from cannabis use were really just delusions brought about by the psychotogenic effects of the plant, now we’re going to hear all the same rubbish about tobacco.

Mental health patients will continue to tell politicians and doctors that tobacco use significantly alleviates their suffering, as it has done for mentally ill people for centuries, and they will increasingly be ignored as the devotion to the righteousness of the crusade against tobacco overrides all logic and reason.

We’re sure we banned the right thing this time!

Of course, at some point in the future we’ll get legal tobacco back, because the suppressed mental health benefits of its use will at some point be rediscovered, and then another campaign of spending decades trying to talk basic commonsense to goat-stubborn morons and brainwashed doctors will begin.

And when that process ends, we will lose legal alcohol, probably on the grounds that it causes too much violence and brain damage. At this point, the massive social and emotional benefits of alcohol will be suppressed and forgotten.

The Government giveth; the Government taketh away.