Maybe it’s just my seasonal affective disorder kicking in, but I’ve been thinking a lot about German philosopher Friedrich Nietzche. He famously said, “Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”
I think that is probably good advice, unless of course your job is to hunt monsters or monitor the activities of the abyss, in which case you either have to learn how to deal, or just accept the monstrous aspects of your nature, I guess.
You would think it would be easy to follow Nietzche’s advice because we’re constantly told lines like “There’s no such thing as monsters” and “There’s nothing to see in the abyss.”
Unfortunately, I am bad at taking advice.
I have a perverse and unquenchable curiosity. If there are monsters, I want to see them — and expose them so everyone knows to avoid the monsters — and I think it might be in the public’s interest to chart the abyss.
It’s no secret that I am the Indy’s resident spooky journalist. My very first forays into serious journalism involved looking into a local self-help group network with some early connections to Scientology — admittedly one of the more benign products of Scientology — and cattle mutilations.
I’m also the go-to extremism writer, so it's probably not surprising that these days I’m getting pretty into parapolitics.
Parapolitics has been described by Canadian poet and academic Peter Dale Scott as “one manifestation of deep politics, all those political practices and arrangements, deliberate or not, which are usually repressed rather than acknowledged.”
It looks at things like the work of various intelligence agencies, businesses, and criminal enterprises, and their impact on politics and the world. It overlaps with fields like UFOlogy in weird ways. Are alien abduction experiences just the results of MKUltra experiments?
I mean, the United States government was studying a lot of weird stuff during the '60s and '70s. Was the first famous abduction experience, of Barney and Betty Hill really just an elaborate plot to undermine the New Hampshire branch of the NAACP?
Parapolitics also overlaps with studies of extremism and fascist movements. It examines the political right’s weird links to the occult, which is still very much a thing.
I realize it might be easy to write parapolitics off as a kind of QAnon for leftists, but it might be a good lens through which to examine current political trends. It’s weird, I get it, but the reality is that we live in a pretty weird world that is only getting weirder.
It might be a good idea to start paying attention to some of the weird stuff, but keep Nietzche in mind.
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