“Hating all the faking
And shaking while I’m breaking
Your brittle heart…
Bring on the new messiah
Wherever he may roam”. Echo and the Bunnymen
I suffer from the frequent recognition that we are strangers living in a world that is flawed and absurd. Alas, pneumatikoi, to be tragically informed that we are also trapped here in the dark, because of a flawed design, with a duty and hope to nurture a single spark of divine light, so impossibly placed.
I write from hospital, listening to my personal stereo, and here I have a lot of time to think, even when I don’t, I still do. It’s a long-standing habit.
Meanwhile, Russell Brand has a few “revelations”, too, whilst stood on the surface of things. He’s getting down to the nitty gritty, isn’t he?
Brand’s “controversial” self-publicity antics – getting arrested and charged with criminal damage and indecent exposure back in 2001.
I said “dancing horses” Russell, not “prancing arses”.
Mr Brand is a stereotype, not an archetype, although the Trickster momentarily crossed my mind, but no, he’s not as significant as that. Stereotype characters can easily be interchanged from one context (or story) to another without any major impact on the plot. Stereotypes tend to be characters that have little depth or originality, they are like wooden puppets that can move around and be readily utilised.
Brand is such a stereotypical publicity harlot and narcissist. It’s really no coincidence that his new stand-up show is called “The Messiah Complex”, I mean, Jesus, what ARE the media feeding us.
That Echo and the Bunnymen song has always conjured up some identifiable themes of alchemy (to me, anyway), and the true power of alchemy is that it generally remains covert and misunderstood. The general aim is that we are raised and purified to a state of perfect intuitive apprehension of spiritual truths – a direct gnosis of reality: “All obscurity will be clear to you”. That doesn’t mean you clarifying your own intellectual obscurity, by the way, Russell.
The goal of alchemy is to make this golden moment permanent in a state of consciousness called the Philosopher’s Stone. Ostensibly concerned with turning base metals into gold, alchemy was actually dedicated to transmuting the “lead” of self-hood into the “gold” of spirit: it’s about personal transformation. Not personal commodification, Russell.
A great Hindu sage wrote about the spiritual accomplishment of gnosis using the metaphor of the philosophers’ stone. Jnaneshwar the saint (1275–1296), wrote a commentary with seventeen references to the philosophers’ stone that explicitly transmutes base metal into gold.
The seventh century Indian sage Thirumoolar, in the classic text Tirumandhiram explains humanitys’ path to immortal divinity. In verse 2709 he declares that the name of God, Shiva, is an alchemical vehicle that turns the body into immortal gold. Not leather and big hair, Russell.
On a global level, dissolution – the second of seven stages of alchemy – is symbolised by the (archetypal) Great Flood, the cleansing of the earth of all that is inferior. The Dancing Horses may be seen as the four horses of the apocalypse. The Sanskrit Yuga Cycle doctrine tells us that we are now living in the Kali Yuga; the age of darkness, when moral virtue, spiritual capacities and mental capabilities reach their lowest point in the cycle. Well, you had to get something right, I suppose, Russell.
The Indian epic The Mahabharata describes the Kali Yuga as the period when the “World Soul” is black in hue; only one quarter of virtue remains, which slowly dwindles to zero at the end of the Kali Yuga (some say in 2025). Men turn to wickedness; disease, lethargy, anger, natural calamities, anguish and fear of scarcity dominate our existence. Penance, sacrifices and religious observances fall into disuse. All creatures degenerate. Change passes over all things, without exception. The Kali Yuga (Iron Age) was preceded by three other Yugas: Satya or Krita Yuga (Golden Age), Treta Yuga (Silver Age) and the Dwapara Yuga (Bronze Age). There isn’t a tin god age to be seen, Russell.
Sri Krishna foretold that Kali Yuga will be full of extreme hardships for people with ideals, wisdom and values. I wonder if that also means it will be a breeze for shallow, pretentious hypocrites and fools? Looks like it.
In the song (and please forgive my overly hermeneutic tendencies here), there is reference to the many lies surrounding us, and a description of why we become broken in spirit. Well, it was written during the Thatcher era. At one time we may have believed these lies to be true, but at the end of an age, all things change. Perhaps we may call it end-stage conservatism, it was always going to be terminal. But we do have a choice here in the outcome, and we can vote them out – making it terminal for them, and not us. In fact we really MUST.
All of those lies are brought out into the open for everyone to see. This may bring about a sense of hopelessness and apathy within us. The gravest danger is that our faith is completely smashed, the order of things decays, the world falls down, yet the grand stage is set to build up an entirely new world. Many don’t seem to mind either way because they no longer know what to believe in. Trapped in a state of cognitive dissonance. So they fall asleep to escape the pain. But that is an act of cowardice that leaves others to face the onslaught increasingly alone. We must face this as a society, and we must organise and act together.
Meanwhile, apparently we stand in anticipation to hear the gospels of a new messiah.
But seriously, folks, Russell Brand??
Gosh, and we all assumed everything was fine and dandy until dandy Russell stuck his narcissistically-fashioned oar in. It’s good to know that when asked to edit an issue of the New Statesman, Randy Brandy Wandy, who usually writes booky wooks, said: I said yes because it was a beautiful woman asking me.
How about that, Mr Brand is such a political creature, and in no way a part of the patriarchal establishment when he can muster such un-sexist responses off the top of his head. I’m convinced that his rampant sexism was just a blip, really, I am.
Here’s an extract from the Booky wook:
I love poor people … they know where the drugs are.
I stayed in touch with James after the show and used with him quite a lot. We only fell out after I gave him £100 to get me some heroin and he fucked off and didn’t come back.
It’s obviously difficult to have a genuine friendship when one of you is on the telly and the other is a tramp: “He’s a homeless person and I’m a glamorous TV presenter – we’re the original odd couple!” Still, the fact that I had a drug problem meant that wherever I went in the world, from Havana to Ibiza to the mean streets of the Edinburgh Festival, I always had to seek out the poor and the dispossessed, as they are the people who generally know where the drugs are.
Brand clearly regards poor people as a means to his own exploitative, narcissistic ends, and there is not one ounce of compassion, empathy or sign of a genuine personal connection with any of the people he describes with such cold detachment in his writing, and even worse, he forces these reduced and superficial characterisations to perform obscene stand-up comedy. He parodies their misfortune. I was half-expecting to read “a homeless person is someone you step over coming out of the club”.
If his infamous conservative patriarchal inclinations haven’t convinced you that Brand is a screaming Tory with big hair, then surely his tendency towards exploiting the poor, having them run his drug errands, using them as reduced fictional devices to promote himself does.
He talks about himself in the New statesman article with free-ranging grandiosity, and from such a small confinement, although he chucks in an occasional observation that many of us have already made from the sharp-end – that’s the frontline, and not a fix before the pub, Russell – he goes on to elaborate a shabby, nihilistic view that leads us to the almost predicable cul-de-sac comment: I don’t vote because to me it seems like a tacit act of compliance. My word, what a radical chap.
Right ho, Russy Wussy, my darlink, because not voting is going to achieve what precisely? You big ole revolutionary, you.
Ah. Tory supporters always vote, don’t they? So, what do we get with the Brand plan of
action none action? Oh, more of the same utter battering we are currently getting, ultimately, a never-ending Cameron yuga. It’s the end of the world, as we know it, but Brand feels fine, so he wants us to do nothing. And that is the real act of compliance.
Well done Brand, champion of the status quo, he doesn’t give a flying one because, well, he’s a multimillionaire. He isn’t going to starve or become homeless any time soon, so he does NOTHING but spout meaningless regurgitated Tory-shaped pap from the pre-pubescent, tacky camp of scwweamy weamy, preening and very superficial, bouffant, leather-trousered faux-angst. Brand is a comedian (allegedly), not a politician or a social commentator.
And isn’t he dating Jemima Khan (nee Goldsmith)? Jemima’s father was Sir James Michael “Jimmy” Goldsmith, a billionaire financier and tycoon. Jemima has two brothers; Zac Goldsmith, a Tory MP who is married to Alice Rothschild, and her half-brother owns a little £1,500-a-year membership nightspot in London’s Mayfair – where various members of the royal family are regulars. You know, for a guy claiming to deplore the establishment, Brand sure likes to hang out with the wrong sort. An anti-establishment establishmentarian, if you would. He has the multi-faceted, remarkable intricacies and complexities of a stifled yawn.
If those who advocate a no vote or a spoiled ballot paper heard the archive interviews with women from the imprisoned suffrage campaign hunger strikers describing how they were pinned down and force-fed, with nasal tubes brutally forced all the way down into their stomachs, perhaps they would feel shame enough to change their mind. Or perhaps they ought to read about the Peterloo Massacre. They suffered so that we may have the right to vote. Use it.
Most people who read this already feel the crisis facing us, many of us have spoken about it in depth, for some time. We know already about the profit-driven corporations that are raking in vulgar levels of profit and contributing to impoverishing and killing people, and to the destruction of the planet, there is nothing we didn’t know there. And many have articulated and analysed in depth, and with depth. Campaigners with integrity, who care about what is happening under this authoritarian nightmare, many directly affected themselves, yet some shallow publicity whore comes along, and suddenly he’s the guru of the moment. Meanwhile, those who have worked hard to publicise the information are forgotten by a public that prefers style (well, allegedly) over content every time. Brand the celeb gets on the telly after all, he must be important (sorry, typo there: I meant “impotent”). I mean Jesus, just what is the media feeding us?
Authoritarian governments depend upon an apathetic, disengaged public, to emerge and to remain in power. If not voting worked, we wouldn’t be facing the crisis that we are now because of this opportunistic regime that are currently running this country and its people into the ground. And they are doing everything they can to continue to do so. That includes employing celebrity propaganda spokespersons. (See Jamie Oliver.) But we have to change the cycle, and the only way to do that is by gnosis, by taking responsibility for informing ourselves, our knowledge, political participation and actions.
Russell Brand isn’t waking people up – he is lulling them back to sleep.
Without our constructive acts of engagement through organised and intensive, grassroots campaigning, lobbying and dialogue with key political figures we will remain ignored and nothing will change, the never-ending kali yuga of the Tories, with no social progress, ever again. Only further descent and dissolution.
It is precisely this nihilistic and reactionary disengagement from political process, which is what Brand is advocating, that allows powerful corporate lobbies to corrosively influence our democratic process, and enables proto-fascist parties like UKIP to increasingly shape political discourse, it’s a condoning of apathy – and of course, apathy fuels more apathy.
What really concerns me is that there are many people under the impression that not voting, or spoiling their ballot paper will somehow shame the Tories into decent behaviour, and force the Labour Party to do their precise bidding, personally tailoring policies to suit just them, because that happened the last time a lot of people didn’t vote, and the time before, they sure got a “clear message” then, and were SO bothered by that, weren’t they? Meanwhile Tory sponsors, donors and supporters won’t ever allow THEIR votes to be split, spoiled or wasted, you can bet on that.
The Tories don’t give a f*ck if you are apathetic, feel alienated, don’t vote, spoil your ballot paper, feel disenfranchised, or want to protest, they just simply want to rule you, pillage your country, continue to exploit you and take your money. In fact, by not voting or spoiling your ballot paper, you may as well hand Cameron your vote, and everything else you have, too.
And far too many people are prepared to allow that to happen, one way or another. Again.
Brand is not waking people up, he is lulling them back to sleep. He’s a pro-Tory fop and irresponsible pseudochristos, without conscience or grace.
One thing is for sure, five more years of the Tories and it really will be the end of the world as we knew it. Cameron yuga.
Thanks to Robert Livingstone for his excellent, spot on memes
This article started life in the comments I made, in anger, here