26 Chapters
Medium 9781780490885

Four: Peak Oil as Deviance

Greer, John Michael Karnac Books ePub

FOUR

Peak oil as deviance

Despite the social pressures and institutional incentives bolstering the civil religion of progress, not everyone in the modern industrial world is a devout believer in that faith, and even among the believers, as in other religions, there is no shortage of disputes over questions of faith and morals. Postmodern theorists have made the useful point that social mores and values are always contested phenomena, redefined variously by competing voices that always bring agendas of their own into the discussion. Most of these voices claim to speak for God, truth, the majority, or whatever other abstraction traditionally serves to anchor successful truth claims in any given debate—most voices, but not all.

Even among believers in progress, therefore, what counts as progressive in any given case is by no means a straightforward question. The imagery of progress most often found in the cultural mainstream of industrial societies is a pastiche in which technological, economic, moral, and intellectual betterment all blur together, and it is far from uncommon for the ingredients of this melange to be pried apart by competing interests and used to support or assail the claim that any given change represents progress. The ongoing debate between proponents of nuclear energy and adherents of “green energy” technologies such as wind power has this as a frequent theme, with each side in the debate striving to portray its own preferred technology as more progressive and the other side's offerings as outmoded and regressive.

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Six: Facing an Unwelcome Future

Greer, John Michael Karnac Books ePub

SIX

Facing an unwelcome future

As the industrial world moves further into the unexplored space on the far side of peak oil, and as the gap widens between the future of endless betterment predicted by the myth of progress and the future of economic contraction, social instability, and eventual technological regress that is actually taking shape around us, the conflicts sketched out in the preceding chapters trace out fault lines along which major social ruptures can be expected. At least two critical tasks await therapists, other members of the helping professions, and interested laypersons as this pattern unfolds. The first is to anticipate, at least in outline, the nature of those ruptures and their psychological impacts on vulnerable individuals—a category that, just at the moment, may include most of the population of the industrial world. The second is to prepare meaningful responses to those impacts—a task that presupposes that those who offer such responses have already come to terms with the reality of our collective situation and are not hiding behind evasions of the sort outlined in Chapter One.

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Medium 9781904658832

Chapter Fifteen - The Hermetic Cabala in Daily Life

Greer, John Michael Aeon Books ePub

One difficulty faced by many magicians nowadays, in and out of the Golden Dawn tradition, is the apparent gap between magic and the world of everyday life. In the fantasy fiction loved by so many people in the magical community, magicians save vast realms and cast down the forces of evil; in what we tend to call real life, on the other hand, students of magic are more likely to save coupons than kingdoms, and the opportunities to fight against evil—while they certainly exist—tend to be on a distressingly small and personal scale. This kind of dislocation between grand ideals and petty realities plays a certain role in giving magic its current reputation in society at large, just as it has a good deal to do with the posturing and grandiose claims rather too common in the magical community.

This gap, though, is more apparent than real; it has less to do with the nature of magic—or of the world we perceive around us—than with the common modern habit of seeing other times and places through incurably rose-colored glasses. Behind the glossy images of Merlin's myriad clones lie older figures which, stranger and far more compelling, are nonetheless a good deal more prosaic: Myrddin Wyllt, half-mad prophet of the Caledonian woods, soaked to the skin and shivering in the rains of winter; John Dee, who sold books from his library to pay for groceries while he and his scryers searched after the secrets of the universe; the odd assortment of men and women from England's middle class who created and shaped the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. It needs to be remembered that these, not the constructs of fantasy fiction, are the real magicians, and their work took place in worlds which were not, ultimately, all that different from our own.

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PART FOUR CROSSING THE LINE

Greer, John Michael Karnac Books PDF

PART FOUR

CROSSING THE LINE

NINETEEN

19 September 2025: Chambersburg, Pennsylvania

The first church bell rang at twenty minutes to seven. Pete

Bridgeport, who was closing the door of his motel room, gave the air a quizzical look. Another joined it, and another; within moments, every bell in town was ringing.

He grabbed the railing of the motel balcony to steady himself. That could mean one of two things …

A car came down the street, horn blaring. The driver was shouting something out the window, and though Bridgeport couldn’t make out the words he didn’t think it involved

Chinese and Russian missiles on the way. He made himself go to the stairs and went down.

There was a crowd gathered around the front desk, staring at a television news program. “… been confirmed by the White

House,” the anchorman was saying. “We’re still waiting to hear from our news staff overseas, but certainly this is the most promising thing we’ve heard since the beginning of this crisis.

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PART THREE TO THE BRINK

Greer, John Michael Karnac Books PDF

PART THREE

TO THE BRINK

THIRTEEN

5 September 2025: the White House,

Washington, DC

“Did they get everybody out of Nairobi?” Weed asked.

“Yes,” Greg Barnett said. “I’ve talked to Miller—he was our station chief there. He’s in Kisumu now, and we’ve got a secure diplomatic line open from there.”

“Well, that’s one bit of good news, at least.” The president ran a hand back through his hair. “We could use more.”

None of the members of the National Security Council had anything to say to that. Weed glanced around the room, and his gaze caught on the portrait of Teddy Roosevelt on horseback.

Damn the man, he thought. He made it look so easy. “What about the broader picture?”

“The business in Saudi Arabia is picking up,” said Barnett.

“The Saudis say it’s just a few protests and they’ve got it under control. Our people on the ground say there have been dozens of suicide attacks on police stations and government buildings, and what looks like urban guerrilla forces active in Qatif and

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