Forget Mars: It's Our Planet They're Taking

Thomas Harrington has written a must-read article, “You are Damaged and Only We Can Repair You” in which he looks from a literary angle at the end of our era. 

This is an agonizingly true take, from a bookish perspective, on something that has been clear from an industrial and economic angle: that society has come to the end of a wave and there is no sign of the next one. We are beached, and for the first time there is no industrial or cultural revolution on the horizon.

Despite the hype there was no Age of the Internet. There was only the continuation of data over wires, that began with the telegraph two centuries ago, but which now flowed in greater volume, becoming an tsunami of bits that no-one really knew what to do with. Instead of revealing new industries, the most powerful impact of the Internet was to kill price discovery and arbitrage by destroying the fine mesh of business that interweaves society, thus unleashing a penny-pinching race to the bottom.

In place of the architect of the universe we got the infernal accountant, ever slicing and dicing the numbers, driving forward at full tilt with his eyes glued to the rear-view mirror.

Harrington’s article shows how this was no mere economic phenomena. It destroyed the balance of our market economy — which was more vulnerable than we thought — when it broke the connection between production and consumption. It trashed the relationship between time, experience, labour and care, and the value that society put on that investment of effort. The work ethic being the last leg that provided support to culture and society, the latter soon collapsed.

Indeed we can also lay the blame on the Enlightenment which was far less enlightened than popularly imagined. The canon of liberty and human rights that we celebrate was the work, as ever, of dissidents. The fetishization of science led people out of the dark only to lock them in a cupboard — bereft of their spirituality, of any responsibility to heal themselves, of any understanding as to why they were conscious and, therefore, what they should do. Whatever the reader’s religion or philosophy, it is clear that “as much as you can afford” was a very poor answer.

What about the Fourth Industrial Revolution, you might cry. Look closely and you will see it is about resisting revolution. It is an attempt by bankers and billionaires to lock in their current advantage by seizing assets and utilities: from water and farmland to energy and living space. This is accomplished by the mass generating of money under the excuse of Covid stimulus, most of which is going to the billionaires, their corporations and foundations. Inflation will soon render this money worthless, but not before they've bought out Main Street and the locked down middle class. 

Real industrial upheaval, like political revolution, is a time of tumult in which the leaders of the existing order risk their wealth and their heads. Look again at the Fourth Industrial Revolution and The Great Reset and you will see a kleptocracy desperately trying to turn their monetary gains into control of the physical world, while dispossessing the rest of us.

This small mindedness is the opposite of the grand vision of revolution, political, industrial or otherwise. That is why, spiritually and culturally it is, in the phrase I used earlier, a race to the bottom.


Through the ages people have fought to impose their world view: bishops clashed with monarchs, popes with emperors, philosophers with the bureaucrats policing the thought of the day. There was deception aplenty. Bankers cloaked themselves as pontiffs, high officials served one monarch with an eye to the next, university prelates rewrote religious texts to the regime's order and the new profession of mass media propagandist spread like ink from the playwright's pen.

Blood flowed freely. Deceptions rarely stayed hidden for long — being not the object but a means to an end. They were resolved in assassinations or, if the playwrights had done their work, in mass hangings, drawings and quarterings, to rally a righteous public. The rulers require drama!

Those who molded the Earth did not hide; on the contrary they brandished their accomplishments. Architects built cathedrals into the skies. Engineers shackled the elements to the Age of Steam. When challenged to prove their inventions they publicly demonstrated their claim to industrial leadership, unleashing the hissing and spitting propulsive power of fire and vapour. 

Today it seems that deception is the object. We are urged to stare at computer animations that promise a grand future, but always around the corner. This will happen, that will happen. Yet the advances are absent from the here and now. You cannot touch them or use them. In our daily experience we know that services have declined and civilization is a shadow of even the recent past, and that there is no technology that can take its place. 

Reputable analysts of a dissident streak point to the missing millions and insist that "they" must be doing something: assembling a secret space force, populating a planet, building a networked, resilient, interdependent, sustainable, ecosystem of aliens and billionaires. This is no future world as dreamt by Jules Verne or Fritz Lang. This is desperation clinging to hope, wishfully thinking that "they" must be doing something with all that money we pay in taxes. That as the living standards of ordinary people hang by a thread, there must be salvation on the way. Look up at the stars: we're going to Mars.

Well, I suggest "they've" done nothing of the kind. They are building bigger yachts and hillside bunkers, buying up works of art and stashing them away behind private armies and airlocked doors. Giant commodity trading companies have moved from storing grain to hoarding the land, seeds and water itself. The only thing that is becoming ever more interdependent, networked and interlocked is the ownership, hidden behind Swiss banks.

And the freshly-polished Tesla car beaming dash-cam footage from space? Images clearer than anyone has ever sent from the Moon, now including helicopters in the spartan air of Mars? Is that where you are looking?

Orson Welles, arms upraised, directing a rehearsal of CBS Radio's The Mercury Theatre on the Air (1938) - Public Domain

These are the time-tested legends of aliens "out there". Friendly for now but always threatening wanton destruction in the dome above us. Zeus hurling thunderbolts. Chicken Little in a space suit. Archetypes that send us scuttling into the arms of our earthly protectors seeking protection from divine wrath.

These tales are our version of H.G. Wells and Orson Welles'. Both men worked closely with the richest financial powers on the planet; the former with the Fabians, the latter with Rockefeller* very probably with a mandate to manipulate the people. Each was in his way a propagandist, a playwright, bleeding his ink blot in our consciousness. 

And the purpose? It's not in the stars. It's not even in the skies. It is about who we answer to in the here and now.

  • From the Rockefeller Archive Center: Did you know that Orson Welles broadcast “The War of the Worlds” on October 31, 1938? The General Education Board, a Rockefeller-funded philanthropy, supported the Princeton Radio Project, a study of the hysteria created by the broadcast. For more information, check out the Rockefeller Archive Center’s lesson plan on the project: “Understanding Mass Media News – The 1938 ‘War of the Worlds’ Broadcast and the Power of Radio in the 1930s.” 


Anonymous said...


I'm fortunate in that I only really learnt to "talk" and "think" in numbers. By the late 1960s, it was clear that I was only doing 0.00000625% of the work needed to support my lifestyle the other 99.99999375% was provided by fossil fuels. Back then it looked as though economic collapse would occur around 2010 to be followed by a societal collapse in the 2020s. Looking around during the last 50 years it is clear that very, very few people are doing any physical work at all, no more than say 1%.

In real life(!) you will not have met anyone who thinks in numbers like me as we have nothing in common. The fact that I have never done a stroke of work my entire life falls into the realm of occult (hidden) knowledge and is of course where the ego crashes into the Laws of Physics.

Obviously, the folk who put this flu idea around are much like me and could see that they needed to shred the social contract by 2020, at least 50 years ago.

And the really funny thing? This hidden knowledge was hiding in plain sight for all to see. You only needed the temerity to think for your bloody self. Far too much for virtually everyone.

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