~ a stream of consciousness writing on “mesmerism.”

“They who have put out the people’s eyes, reproach them of their blindness.”
~ John Milton

Do you know what “mesmerism” is?

In short, it’s the method or power of gaining control over someone’s personality or actions, as in hypnosis or suggestion.

A theorist of animal magnetism — or “the existence of a natural energy transference occurring between all animated and inanimate objects” — Franz Mesmer is the father of mesmerism.

^ look at this weirdo

To be mesmerized is to be taken in. Not necessarily confused but captivated. Enchanted, spellbound, enraptured. Silenced by your own attention. Trapped, yet smiling serenely.

I happen to feel mesmerized all the time. By the world. By the gloriously burdensome knowledge I hold about our most probable coming futures. By my penchant for personal hedonism and a lack of control over anything in my life save for my own mind’s turning. These things all help to mesmerize me.

Eren Jaeger, he’s seen so much, too muchMusic / video by Samuel Kim.

I’m mesmerized. Not by my desires — but by my need to be constantly amused.

Yes, amused. “Pleasantly occupied.” Entertained. Diverted. By the various screens around me, by my own thoughts and imaginings.

Not to overstate the obvious, but I despise doing things I don’t want to do. I don’t hate any people, but I do absolutely hate wasting time. Most days, I wish for nothing more than to be left alone to my own devices, devices which include making and enjoying art and stories that I either haphazardly or painstakingly self-select for myself to engage with, reflect on, enrich my soul upon.

A trio of my most recent obsessions: Attack on Titan (anime), Elden Ring (video game), Berserk (manga, RIP Miura). Yes, all three masterpieces feature a Yggdrasil-esque mythic tree of epic proportions.

Yeah. Pretty much.

I am mesmerized by social media, Twitter being my prime brain poison of choice. I spend minutes-into-hours during the workday scrolling through takes and comedy and events and art and horror and people and bots and nonsense and ads, etc. I do it not because I necessarily want to, but because I have nothing else to do. At that moment in time, it’s a way for me to kill time. To learn something. To laugh at some online absurdity. To find some beautiful art to appreciate. Sometimes, to even try to sincerely connect with some other faceless, anonymous user out there.

Mostly, Twitter media spells the mundane moments of my remote day job of freelance writing.

As I’ve said before, the online world is NOT real and I certainly feel a meaningful absence when I spend too long there. The unreality sets in after a while. Like Fox Mulder and his dear sister, social media can act like UFO phenomena, making you *miss time* {“wait… wtf am I doing? How long was I out?”}

But goddamn, it can be entertaining. A digital veteran at this point, I can brush off getting mired in any serious *discourse*, never truly involving myself — heart or mind — in its brain-rotting vortex of outrage, culture war, bad faith preaching, woke-scolding, dunks and dodges and drivel. {If you don’t know what I mean by any of this, consider yourself real fucking lucky…}

👑 ~ Michael Shannon, everyone.

From political mass media, which I still consume for the sake of informing myself on world events, there’s little news which I can find hopeful. The world seems to be getting worse and there’s not much I can do — or even point to, which can reliably counteract such a dire thesis.

My hope for a #BetterWorld — where our technology and institutions work for humanity, instead of exploiting us and the environment for the sake of a nihilistic accumulation — seems to be fading. {Just like Bernie’s political relevancy… and life force😭our man is 80!}

~ PUNISHED BERNIE | Aamon Animations

The mass media mesmerizes us by their choice of what to focus on — and more importantly, what to ignore. Reporting on stagnant wages, the potential solutions to homelessness, the coming climate terrors if no changes are made in how we produce our energy — all pale in comparison to war porn and celebrity gossip.

I don’t think journalists and TV anchors are bad people persay {maybe a little more psychopathic than your average person…} But like any modern economic agent {“worker” is too degrading these days, and threatens to awaken class solidarity}, they operate from within institutions with ingrained interests that are often ignorant to the public good. Or the real truth underlying any given world conflict or systemic problem.

The mass media engages in mass mesmerism every day of the week.

The mass media serve as a system for communicating messages and symbols to the general populace. It is their function to amuse, entertain, and inform, and to inculcate individuals with the values, beliefs, and codes of behavior that will integrate them into the institutional structures of the larger society. In a world of concentrated wealth and major conflicts of class interest, to fulfill this role requires systematic propaganda.”

~ A Propaganda Model — Edward Herman & Noam Chomsky — Excerpted from Manufacturing Consent, 1988
Certainly, Chomsky and Herman’s propaganda model — as outlined in their robustly-researched, breakthrough text Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (1988/2003) holds quite true today in the United States and throughout the western world. Image source: ~ great comic.
“The “filters” yield a propaganda result that a totalitarian state would be hard put to surpass.

From trash movies and prestige TV, to the constant stream of news on famous people of all stripes, to new episodes of favored anime, or world-class video game releases set to break new ground in photorealism, or narrative design, or the challenge of a big, weird boss monster begging to be defeated, but only through a complex learning process involving knife-edge tactics promising to test your patience and rattle your very soul as someone called *gamer* … I have a penchant to get lost in worlds that do not belong to me.

I am a master, however, at making them mine. I let them inspire me, spread their MEMES.

Same as any digital citizen, I compose parts of my identity by the things I consume. Such an admission isn’t necessarily shameful, to me. But it is surreal. It makes me feel like the singular subject of an Adam Curtis documentary, a mark for all that our modern world has wrought through accelerating technology and culture and isolation.

Can’t Get You Out of My Head (2021)— Love, power, money, ghosts of empire, conspiracies, artificial intelligence — and You. An emotional history of the modern world by Adam Curtis.

I am mesmerized by my own self-awareness. I don’t feel myself to be smart or stupid. I don’t really judge myself much anymore. But I do spend too much time avoiding people. I do harbor doubts about my ability to connect with real people, with reality itself.

I believe I’ve constructed a positive self-image, and I do love myself. My mental state is probably more balanced than it’s ever been. But there are still things missing in my life. There are parts of me missing.

There are hidden potentials I can envision but cannot yet grasp, as I now live and breathe at present.

I desire engagement with *real* things, as anyone should. Real emotions, like companionship and love. Real work, providing meaningful value to others through the labors of my hands and brain. Real progress, wherever and however I can manage it, for myself and the organizations and circles of which I am a part.

But still, I’m mesmerized. I spend every day inside boxes and screens and imagined worlds of infinite consequence to themselves and of no real consequence to myself. I’m at the keyboard, with my hands on controllers, my avatars seeking grace and power. I have so many hopes and dreams. Some of them I work towards every day. Others are long since forgotten.

Right now, as of this moment, I am serenely mesmerized by the calmness I feel at my own powerlessness.

I must then beg the questions: How much of that feeling of powerlessness is an illusion? How much of that calmness is healthy? And how much of all this is simply part of the deal that this cruel world offers to someone like me? ~

ELDIAN RING (Attack on Titan X Elden Ring OST) – APETITAN X Elden Ring | Epic Orchestral Cover