Also notable is the fact that In-Q-Tel and the U.S. intelligence community has considerable representation on the NSCAI and that they also boast close ties with Google, Palantir and other Silicon Valley giants, having been early investors in those companies. Both Google and Palantir, as well as Amazon (also on the NSCAI) are also major contractors for U.S. intelligence agencies. In-Q-Tel’s involvement on the NSCAI is also significant because they have been heavily promoting mass surveillance of consumer electronic devices for use in pandemics for the past several years. Much of that push has come from In-Q-Tel’s current Executive Vice President Tara O’Toole, who was previously the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and also co-authored several controversial biowarfare/pandemic simulations, such as Dark Winter.
In addition, since at least January, the U.S. intelligence community and the Pentagon have been at the forefront of developing the U.S. government’s still-classified “9/11-style” response plans for the coronavirus crisis, alongside the National Security Council. Few news organizations have noted that these classified response plans, which are set to be triggered if and when the U.S. reaches a certain number of coronavirus cases, has been created largely by elements of the national security state (i.e. the NSC, Pentagon, and intelligence), as opposed to civilian agencies or those focused on public health issues.
Furthermore, it has been reported that the U.S. intelligence community as well as U.S. military intelligence knew by at least January (though recent reports have said as early as last November) that the coronavirus crisis would reach “pandemic proportions” by March. The American public were not warned, but elite members of the business and political classes were apparently informed, given the record numbers of CEO resignations in January and several high-profile insider trading allegations that preceded the current crisis by a matter of weeks.
The stars are just visible. The clear cuts have ended and the forest ahead of you is thick and ancient. It seems to suck in the darkness like a deep breath, exhaling a wind filled with the sweet stink of pine warmed against granite. With every gust, the foliage of the weeping spruce shivers. Pinecones drop like dice. You stare back along the road, barely visible in the darkness—of such strange magnitude that it seems not even to have been built by humans but dropped maybe by some itinerant god who had no use for it. And you can only wonder at that obscure disaster: Did we ever really think we knew where we were going? That there was just this one path to get there?
But what of those birds that lay their eggs on bare earth? When you turn the moon is the color of ice melting into black soil, the horizon limned with it and you know that the cold, blue-fired liquid will sink into the tops of the mountains and into the forest’s many throats, channeled through branches and mycelia and finally into the million warm and ancient hearts sitting deep down in things. You know that the nightjars lay their eggs for love and love only, that without hope there is at least love in the darkness, that gamble against all odds that the eggs not be dashed apart by some passing behemoth.
And you can only cradle your lost cause for love, loving wild and desperate in the face of that determined destitution—loving as one can only love in free plummet to doom and freed maybe at last of doom in the only way possible: through loving. Loving organized. Loving aimed at that horizon, dead reckoning by the stars.
Linguistically, then, we should all be encouraging the Master to regain power. This means working with the ways of seeing and communicating which Machine culture downplays or ridicules, but which every traditional society before modernity’s advent understood and worked with. That means myth, religion, practical expertise founded upon physical work, rooted imagery, holistic conceptions of life, communication with non-human beings, poetry, complexity, questions that do not have answers, questions which are not questions at all. It means seeing time as a circle, not a line, life as a process, not a puzzle to be solved, death as a part of that life, not an enemy to be defeated. Sometimes—horror of horrors—it means embracing unknowing. It means learning to stop and be silent.
It would be easy to slip into some comfortable framework, to use the discursive archive as Foucault suggested to enforce my thought-forms, to speak truth within the discursive practices that are accepted in academic and scholarly circles of established rules, regulatory thought, etc., except that that would be to reject the very orientation of my being and breakthrough. Why return to a mold that is outworn and useless? What does philosophy or even anti-philosophy offer us today? Nothing. And, I mean just that, a philosophy of nothing. It’s as if philosophy at the end of its tether had realized the ancient Gnostic insight of the kenoma – the vastation, the great emptiness of things, the void of the void, the nihil unbound. And, yet, it comes to this by way of a complex discourse that speaks neither to the common man nor even to the general public, but rather to specialists of philosophical speculation: Continental or Analytical. Experts. Let us be done with experts, with specialists, with the practitioners of arcane thought and speculations that offer us no way out of this dark realm of political and social control and malfeasance.
If life has taught me anything it is that we have to challenge ourselves, break our habitual habits and safety nets of thought and feeling, we have to learn how to learn, break away from the habits that lock us into comfortable paths of acceptance and keep us safely in a cocoon of belief. That’s the difficult thing, breaking free of habits of mind and feeling leaves us vulnerable, open. To risk freedom is to be alone with the alone, to step out of our cocoon and suddenly realize we have nothing to fall back on, not belief system or thought-form to rely on, we are in a universe that is incomplete and open and we are alone in it without support or guide other than others of like kind who share our need to exit this prison world of modernity.