So, why do I — fifty-one years old, tall, skinny, bald, bearded, English — care about Moloch, Ahriman, or the Solid State Entity (see part one for an introduction to these characters)?
I apparently came into this world with a desire to understand it, and with some ember of faith that answers are worth pursuing burning inside me. This despite the often overwhelming evidence to the contrary, and my own tumbles into, and scrambles out of, rabbit holes such as nihilism, conspiranoia, spiritual emergency, overdoses of new age positive thinking, and occasional tiptoes along the precipice of madness itself.
Part of this utterly irrational faith which has always accompanied me is that it appears that there are relatively few 'bad' people in existence, in the sense of Hollywood villains: people who revel in causing harm to others, although my reason and life experience tell me that there are indeed people with little or no empathy, and these people do tend to be successful in the world we have somehow ended up creating.
This need to understand led me to study Philosophy at university, in the hope that some light could be shed by those who have come before us, some signpost that we missed along the way, and which could help us go back and find a new route branching off towards a less painful future — because my sense has always been that this world is unnecessarily hurtful ; that we are like ships in a storm, pushed by the waves to crash into each other, sinking each other without even wanting to. And on some level, we are also the storm itself, with our efforts to right the ship ending up causing the waves to become even more overwhelming.
I had experimented with psychedelics in my teenage years and this only served to increase the sense of possibility, that the answer lay near enough to almost touch it, like the fish that one tries to catch in one's hand when snorkelling, but which is always too quick and escapes one's best efforts to trap it. This experimentation also increased the confusion, the sense of being adrift, the realisation that nobody knew what was going on, even as they fiercely pretended to, especially to themselves.
Philosophy proved to be a dead end in my search, an endless fragmentation into the meaning of words, when I had the sensation that I needed to dive beneath the words and into the stillness of the deeper ocean. I found meditation, a refuge at first, but one which I again grasped too tightly, spending many hours giving myself a headache in the hope of transcending a self I had come to despise.
I rejected Western philosophy, throwing a fairly well-developed baby out with the bathwater in the process, and read Eastern philosophy and those influenced by it, such as Alan Watts, Robert Anton Wilson, Terence McKenna (the latter two were involved in an event I co-organised in 1997), and John C. Lilly. Lilly particularly intrigued me with his tales of Earth Coincidence Control Office and The Solid State Entity , both of which we will get to later in this series.
When the financial crisis broke in 2007, I became intrigued by how seemingly the whole of humanity could be so dependent on the utterly contingent ebb and flow of the stock market, and how those apparently driven by greed could rise to have such positions of decision-making power in our society.
For the next two or three years I went on a reading rampage about money creation and the economy, having previously been entirely alienated from those subjects — probably due to them not being seen as relevant for my training towards becoming a bureaucrat in my second-tier private school — and became an activist for a new peer-to-peer way of organising the economy, from a distinctly leftist perspective.
Bitcoin had just been invented and I had the sense to realise that it was going to be a game-changer. I unfortunately didn't have the sense, as did some in the leftist-anarchist circles in which I moved, that it would be a good idea to start mining it. I easily could have done, a regret I surely share with many others.
So from that perspective, what was needed was a revolution. To replace the 'bad' people who were running the economy with less greedy and more altruistic models. Or just tear it all down and start again.
I was there in the Plaça Catalunya in Barcelona during the 15M protests (Spanish equivalent of Occupy Wall Street), the 8th of June 2011 — the tents had been there for nearly a month, and the behemoth of an abandoned bank overlooked the scene (unfortunately not visible in my photo):
That revolution ended up being a false start, although it was a lot of fun at the time and the seeds it sowed can be seen in tools like Loomio and some DAO governance systems.
Finally, after immersing myself in this stuff for a while, I came to the realisation that we have indeed created, as some environmentalists had been saying, but which I needed to verify for myself, a system built for infinite growth on a finite planet. Money is issued mostly by private banks as interest-bearing debt. This essentially means that there will always be more debt to be paid off than there is money in existence.
The result of this is that, as Marx so utterly nailed it in Capital Volume 3:
In its capacity of interest-bearing capital, capital claims the ownership of all wealth which can ever be produced, and everything it has received so far is but an instalment for its all-engrossing appetite. By its innate laws, all surplus-labour which the human race can ever perform belongs to it. Moloch.
Yes, Marx mentions Moloch in Capital. It was a surprise to me too.
In the next part I will go into the mythological Moloch and the parallels with Steiner's concept of Ahriman, and possibly also Lilly's Solid State Entity.