Monday, September 26, 2011

"The Dream is Collapsing"

“Who knows whether the other half of our life, in which we think we are awake, is not another sleep a little different from the former, from which we awake when we suppose ourselves asleep? And who doubts that, if we dreamt in company, and the dreams chanced to agree, which is common enough, and if we were always alone when awake, we should believe that matters were reversed? 

In short, as we often dream that we dream, heaping dream upon dream, may it not be that this half of our life, wherein we think ourselves awake, is itself only a dream, on which others are grafted, from which we wake at death….”

Blaise Pascal, Pensees

It’s tempting to think that the immensely gifted director Christopher Nolan derived his premise for “Inception” – multi-layered dreams within dreams orchestrated by teams of “extractors” who are nimble in the dark arts of psychological manipulation – from Blaise Pascal’s 17th Century philosophical tract. In any case, there are many points of correspondence between “Inception” and the similarly elaborate exercise in collective delusion and artful deception called the “American Dream.”

At its most accessible level, Nolan's story is about a team of industrial espionage agents, led by a tormented man named Dominic Cobb, who employ shared dreaming technology (originally developed for the military, of course) to steal corporate secrets from the subconscious minds of people while they dream. Cobb and his “extractors” were hired by an Asian corporate mogul named Saito to perform an "inception" – that is, planting an idea in the subconscious mind of Robert Fischer, a man who stood to inherit a vast energy corporation. Fischer would thus be manipulated into breaking up the company; this would be to the benefit of Saito, who owned a rival corporation.

This scheme required the creation of a multi-layered dream “architecture,” and the deep sedation of Fischer in order for the dream state to remain stable long enough to plant the desired suggestion. 

In the dream state, laws of logic and physics don’t operate as they do in the physical world; this is why deep sedation was necessary to keep a target “under” and drive him into a progressively deeper dream state. 

Often the “extractors” would appear in the targeted individual’s dreams, and sometimes one of them would “expose” the other in order to build confidence in the victim and thus gain more intimate access to his subconscious.

Those who invaded Fischer’s mind through shared dreaming could be brought out of the dream state either by being "killed" in the dream (which would wake them up immediately) or through a series of synchronized “kicks." These are sudden, violent jolts – such as driving a car off a cliff, or falling from a building – that cause a dreaming person to awaken involuntarily. Those who don’t respond to the “kicks" may descend into “limbo,” an inaccessibly deep subconscious level in which the individual loses his ability to distinguish dreaming from reality -- until, of course, physical death ensues.

Losing the ability to recognize objective reality is the most acute hazard of working as an "extractor." This is why Cobb and each of his colleagues carries a "totem" -- a tangible object with a distinctive weight and balance that only the owner will recognize. Cobb's totem is a small metal top that, if spun by its waking owner, will topple over. If it continues spinning indefinitely, Cobb will realize that he's dreaming. Cobb's totem, incidentally, is the key to decrypting Nolan's story.

An idea that is "incepted" (that term appears to be a neologism of Nolan's coinage) into a dreaming person's subconscious mind can continue to grow and expand in the individual's waking state. Cobb made this sorrowful discovery after performing an "inception" on his wife Mallorie, a professional colleague who became addicted to living in their shared dream state. He planted in her mind the idea that her real life was actually a dream; that idea persisted in her waking state, eventually leading Mallorie to commit suicide in the futile hope of "waking" up in the dream world she idealized.

"What is the most resilient parasite?" Cobb muses at one point. "Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient -- highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it's almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed -- fully understood -- that sticks; right in there [gesturing at his head] somewhere." As he had learned, this can have tragic -- and even fatal -- consequences.  This principle is more than just a clever dramatic device: It is a vivid, tangible, and all-encompassing reality as the Power Elite's "dream architecture" collapses all around us.

The “inception” responsible for the current system of institutionalized delusion was the creation of the Federal Reserve System, the Regime’s official counterfeiting arm. 

The Fed infected the world economy with the idea that wealth can be created ex nihilo by fiat money "dream architects." In the real world, currency -- gold and silver -- were tangible substances with specific characteristics that made them valuable and impossible to counterfeit. 

The pseudo-world created by the Fed, however, is one in which the laws of economics appear to be suspended, meaning that "wealth" and "value" can be conjured into existence simply by emitting more paper, or doing the quivalent in the digital realm.
Creation of a central bank was necessary in order to permit the Regime's "extractor class" slip the shackles of hard currency. This eventually led to FDR's confiscation of gold in 1933, and to the Nixon administration's final repudiation of the gold standard in 1971. 

It was during the reign of FDR, America's first Fascist President-for-Life, that the ruling elite "incepted" the idea of that the federal government could be an indispensable partner in helping citizens achieve the "American Dream." Thus the Regime unveiled the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, was supposedly intended to expand the ranks of home ownership. Through the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Fannie Mae), the government purchased mortgages issued to low-income Americans. Those mortgages, in turn, were bundled into marketable securities and vended to others willing to participate in the shared delusion.

In 1968, amid a torrential outpouring of red ink resulting from the Vietnam War and the Great Society welfare programs, Lyndon Johnson "privatized" Fannie Mae in order to move it “off-budget.” This is possible, once again, because the laws of economics don’t operate in the “reality” created by the Federal Reserve. In 1970, the Nixon administration created a second federally subsidized lender, Freddie Mac, supposedly to compete with Fannie Mae. But like the “extractors” play-acting in Fischer’s subconscious in “Inception,” Fannie and Freddie were part of the same government-created debt cartel, working to prolong and deepen the societal fraud called the residential real estate market.

In 2003, the first “kick” in the housing market occurred when Fannie and Freddie were forced to disclose billions of dollars in misrepresented earnings. This revelation literally caused their stock price to fall off a cliff. Not to worry, insisted the Fed’s dream architects as they injected the market with an even stronger sedative in the form of “liquidity” – that is, inflation. Amid gathering auguries of an impending housing collapse, then-Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan cut the Prime Rate nearly to zero, while simultaneously urging Americans to refinance their Adjustable Rate Mortgages yet again – when they could only “adjust” in one direction.

Millions of home “owners” – a curious term for people who are merely renting houses from the banks that issued the mortgages, and who can still be dispossessed for delinquent taxes even after paying off the note  – acted on that perfectly insane advice. This set up a second, more violent “kick” – the collapse of the real estate/mortgage refinance bubble in 2007. That kick was a gentle tap compared to the body blow that was delivered in fall 2008, with the bailout of Bear Stearns, the failure of Lehman Brothers, the implosion of AIG, and the nationalization of Fannie and Freddie.

As layer after layer of artfully wrought deception collapsed, the dream architects grabbed the strongest sedative they could find and emptied the syringe: They had the Fed emit trillions of dollars in fiat “money” to indemnify Wall Street’s bad debts, and then began a rampage of “qualitative easing” – another euphemism for inflation – in order to fuel government spending.

The people who orchestrated this deception have been able to ride the “kicks” to safety. In early 2008, Alan Greenspan warned a gathering of Arab financiers in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia that they should divest their dollar-based holdings. Bondholders in China, Russia, and elsewhere have been bailed out by the Fed, often by way of corporate cut-outs or through loans to foreign central banks.

Greece and Italy -- in fact, the entire collection of parasitic polities who constitute the "Euro-zone" -- are in the queue for another bailout. The domestic element of the "extractor class" is busily at work, as well, devouring everything within their field of vision -- as even a cursory examination of public employee pensions and benefits will demonstrate. 

In the meantime, despite the best efforts of the dream architects to keep Americans sedated, millions are waking up into a multi-layered nightmare. Rock star Sammy Hagar of the AARP-qualifying supergroup Chickenfoot -- of all the unlikely people -- has provided one of the best capsule descriptions of that nightmare-within-a-nightmare.
The band's new single, "Three and a Half Letters (I Need a Job)," takes its lyrics from letters Hagar has received from people desperately looking for work."I just returned from Afghanistan -- spent four years in the military service," writes one of Hagar's correspondents. "I'm 24, strong, and I can't find work in my hometown. I'm married with one beautiful son -- seven months old today. Never had a chance to buy a home. Can't afford the apartment we've been living in. [We're] moving in with Debbie's parents, whose home in in foreclosure. Can you help?"

Beyond using their considerable gifts to publicize the plight of the unemployed, how can Hagar and his colleagues help? It should be acknowledged that Hagar is smarter and more honest than most policy-makers, which admittedly isn't the highest hurdle to jump. As a member of the seminal rock band  Montrose thirty-seven years ago, Hagar wrote a song called “Paper Money” lamenting the end of the gold standard and the economic destruction caused by the Regime’s fraudulent, worthless, paper currency. A generation after composing that protest song, Hagar is now chronicling the human costs attendant to the unraveling of the fiat money system.

Last summer the air was rent with anguished and hypocritical warnings about the ruin that would ensue if the U.S. government were to "default." Actually, the default occurred forty years ago, when Washington sundered the last links binding the dollar to gold. We're now living through the deferred but inevitable consequences of that default. 

The dream is collapsing, and reality is re-asserting itself in spite of the strongest sedatives the Keynesian dream architects can deploy. Historical precedent suggests that they will soon prescribe the "Mallorie Option" -- inducing mass murder-suicide through war on the assumption that this is the only way we can return to the bewitching dreamland of artificial prosperity.

Your donations to keep Pro Libertate on-line are indispensable -- and much appreciated! God bless.

Dum spiro, pugno!


the silent critic said...

Will, you get better and better as you go.

The predictable consequence of abandoning honest money is so easy to see, and yet we all tend to see only the narratives to which we are accustomed.

People will ignore your airtight arguments all day long, but tell them a good story and they might listen.

This was a really good way to present your position, I love it... well done.

liberranter said...

Ditto silent critic's comments. It's a tragic shame that the millions of ignorant, deluded souls who really would benefit most from this article (and every other that you've ever written) will probably never see it. Even if they did, it would be well above the heads of most and the few that could comprehend it are in such deep denial that its message would never be allowed to penetrate the curtain of delusion behind which they've been existing.

All of the above said, I know you won't let it deter you.

methylamine said...

One of your best, Mr. Grigg.

We must all remember this lesson: central banking and fiat money are the NUMBER ONE ENEMY that must be destroyed before all the other evils of tyranny.

For it is through printable "money" that tyranny is able to fund its wars against others and its own, able to endlessly cajole, spy, harass, detain, arrest, torture and kill its own.

End fiat money, and you will cage the Beast long enough to finally kill it.

I read a fascinating article--sorry, source forgotten--that chronicled the decline of culture concomitant with debased money. Debased money--and cheap credit--change time preference from long- to short-term; it feeds an ethos of immediate gratification because when money is debased, saving is foolish.

Over time the debasement of money debases culture in equal measure until both are worthless.

Hard money rewards saving, prudence, patience, and thrift--values that made us great once.

P.S. buy silver NOW while it's cheap. If you have to cash out your retirement to do so, do it; the coming market crash will destroy the funds anyway.

Bob said...

Another excellent column, Will!

Bob said...

Another excellent post, Will!

MamaLiberty said...

Great stuff, William - but what happened to the font? Too small to read here. I had to copy/paste to a word processor to see it.

The real wealth, and repository of value, is human ingenuity and productivity. What we choose to use as "money" is not nearly as important if we conduct our lives with integrity within the free market.

In the meantime, my "savings" are invested in a far more precious metal for the immediate future... and other things that will become necessary to ride out the storm.

When people are starving all around you, a handful of silver will be meaningless. Later, yes, it will be a good medium of exchange, but you can't eat the darn stuff.

At least I won't be trading the food I have stored for silver any time soon.

Sans Authoritas said...

I think "Inception" might have been inspired by the 1984 movie "Dreamscape." Complete with creepy wolves with red rotoscoped eyes.

Similarly, "Shutter Island" is nothing but a blatant, [and better] remake of "The Ninth Configuration," by William Peter Blatty.

Workingstiff said...

Will, I've followed your column for several years, and this has to be your magnum opus of all your articles to date. You've taken a complex metaphysical metaphor and lucidly brought it into focus to describe our current condition. Kudos for a job well done....

....Unfortunately, as you have so richly illustrated, our economy is also "well done" beyond salvation.

Terry Pearson said...

Will, thanks for your article. Unfortunately, we do see this dream collapsing. It is too bad that so many cannot see clearly the intellectual arguments for sound money.

By the way, I am a first time reader and I will be adding your blog to my regular reading list! Great work!

Anonymous said...

To Mama Liberty:

I'm thinking silver will be good on the network of the folks who have had the guts to get prepared, because you may have something that I can get but don't yet have in possession, and vice versa. We'll be a bartering network where your knowledge of availability will create the need for the medium of exchange. If you need socks and I have none but know a friend of a friend who does, and you only have a bag of pasta that I or my friend doesn't need, we'll all need something to represent the value that can be passed up and down the supply line. And, of course, the more metal you have, the wider range of possibilites you also have.

Also, as long as products are available in stores at any price, store keepers will take metal before they'll take a trillion dollar FRN for a can of beans. Think Zimbabwe. Products were still available, but the stores eventually stopped taking paper since they couldn't replace stock the next day with the paper they took in the day before. But with gold that people panned out of the creeks, they could.

It's all going to be interesting, no?

Anonymous said...

MamaLiberty wrote, "When people are starving all around you, a handful of silver will be meaningless."

This is a common meme these days, one that doesn't quite jibe with the facts on the ground.

I'm surrounded by Oceans of corn, endless squares of soybean fields, almost countless pens of hogs and cattle,... your statement seems to ring hollow. People on the ocean side prolly have a similar outlook.

The Only(!) People who will be starving are those who rely on goberment for sustenance, imho. Or those who have Nothing to trade. People with gold or silver (or anything of value) will be welcomed by those here who have much to give. The free market rocks! And I'm not talkin' about the "free market" put forth by bankers,... the real deal is where it's at.

"Are you still alive?! ... Treasures here, sunkin' there, buried treasure's everywhere"

And, I could have swore the lyrics were: "SUckers walk, B.S. talks, don't touch my Three Lock Box!" ... unless of course you have something to trade.

Another thing I keep in mind, when the U.S was leaving Vietnam, the locals rushed to obtain paper thin sheets of gold to take with them. (Lost the link) I haven't read any stories where they rushed to get sacks of rice, bags of flour or barrels of bacon,... only thin sheets of gold.

What's that tell you?

Also, I have a some caned chicken saved just in case, so I can trade it for gold or silver. If I do,... I imagine many others do too.

~ my two copper Cents.

- clark

Anonymous said...

My serious argument against government imposing sound money is this:

If you don't dispose of the involuntary taxation in all its governmental and banking pretenses, and the taxes are in gold and silver, and you are to buy it via your labor and via your time resources, you have just been had. Again.

So until the idea of government is uprooted from the minds that wish a free market, you haven't really gotten rid of the seed of evil, despite all the attempts in all other forms.

E. Lee MacFall said...

MamaLiberty wrote, "When people are starving all around you, a handful of silver will be meaningless."

This is true--however, starvation is not usually what an economic collapse entails. In every economic collapse since the beginning of the industrial age, goods have not ever been that dear. It is the function of society which distributes those goods, and in so doing informs producers of what the needs of the people are, which fails.

It will not be the case that there will be no corn in the fields, oil in the refineries, or cloth coming from the factories. It will be that the people who grow, refine, and spin those products will be demanding something other than what had, to that point, been the standard medium of exchange. A handful of silver is EXACTLY what the average person needs in such a scenario.