[WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS!]
Damn you, Game Of Thrones. And thank you. Thank you for the reminder that life is entropy, and that it breaks down, and that ours is not to question why. Ours is to conjure ways out of the mayhem after the last hope has been cut down and all that remains is us, standing raw, green, and clueless between the world and eternal night.
The enemy is at the door.
Hold The Door. Hold. The Door.
Who is the enemy?
Let’s start with Austria where a far-right president was only marginally defeated at the polls this weekend, meaning that 49% of voters were in support of a political extremist representing a party with ties to Nazism.
Let’s move on to Cyprus where the far-right cadres scored a victory this weekend, clinching their first ever seats in the republic’s Parliament. Also note that in Cyprus there is still a Communist party in operation, very popular, too, recycling bankrupt ideologies, while in the north a forty-thousand-strong army from Turkey occupies a third of the island by force.
Speaking of Turkey, let’s talk totalitarianism. Turkey is in the hands of a modern-day Sultan who imprisons and destroys anyone who opposes him. Europe is negotiating with this man and his administration on whether to let Turkey join the EU. Not a pretty sight, and the prospects are kind of unsound, too.
It gets even worse when you move over to the Philippines where a murder-loving thug has just been elected president. This man has been making jokes in his rallies about a missionary who was gang-raped and killed in a prison riot many years ago, back when he was mayor, saying, ‘I was angry because she was raped, that’s one thing. But she was so beautiful, the mayor should have been first. What a waste.’
This man is now the leader of the Philippines.
Meanwhile, across the Pacific, in the good old US of A, another madman is surging, his sights set on the highest office in the land, his only obstacle an equally mad woman. Hillary and the Donald. Their madness differing only in hue and quality, but madness all the same. The Donald wants to pass everything through the shredder, come what may, and Hillary is rallying for business as usual, which is what got the country into this terrible mess in the first place.
Madness everywhere. Who is the enemy? The door is the only thing standing between us and them, shaking on its hinges under their frantic blows, but we have no idea who is beating it down. Enemies abound. Corridors blocked off. A maze of dead ends. Choose a door and bang on it, try to get out. The people on the other side are terrified. You’re not the enemy, you shout, you just want to break through and find your way out of this mess, but they don’t believe you, they won’t let you through. You pound on the door harder, kick it in. The corridors echo with pounding, the house shakes with it. Desperate measures. Our world a house suffering cardiac arrest.
Peacekeepers storm in to restore order, but they bring about war and sectarian violence instead. Gods of peace give rise to barbarism. The economy of affluence bankrupts nations and fuels extremism. The environment is set afire in the name of life. A holocaust for a future. Austerity without an end in sight, as toxic as endless credit. Both eat away at the flesh and muscle of civilization. They feed the tumors, the populists and fearmongers. Countries become subject to inept politicians, empty ideologues, cronies, stooges, clueless people.
Greece, for example. A state in the hands of neo-Marxists who were voted in to rid the country of the Second Memorandum’s chemotherapy treatment only to usher in a Third Memorandum, all the while wasting whatever precious surplus had been created after years of hardship.
Their rightwing opposition is no better. The Second Memorandum — they administered it. Some progress was made on their watch, true, but not enough. The fact that there was a Second Memorandum to begin with tells all. But there was no chance to make substantial and lasting progress when the people responsible for the mess in the first place, for the First Memorandum, were a combination of squabbling and unaccountable leftists, rightists and centrists who, to each their own, exploited the state, adding their two false bits to the country’s crushing debt in exchange for votes. Seats in parliament. Civil service appointments. Influence, authority. All future sacrificed in the name of short-term power. Lies, deceit, a mockery of the system of democracy. The enemies running down the hall, storming through the house, ransacking and looting and pillaging and pilfering away the hard-earned toils and goodwill of honest people and their enterprises. The neo-Nazi Golden Dawn rising in popularity, taking up seats in Parliament, as if that solves anything. 10% of voters backing them. The situation made even worse as a result. Outrage and folly entrenching themselves. The age of reason come and gone, along with the age of progress. Back in the whirlwind of romanticism we are flung, a new age of conflict. The industrious are under systematic attack by swindlers and ghosts, pharisees and scribes, hollow religion, dogmatic economics, brinksmanship.
The enemy is at the door. Hold the door, we cry out, stay your hearts, kill your innocence with your own hands before they murder it, and ready yourself. Be prepared to do what you have to when you are called upon to do it. Know your limits so that you may break them when you must needs, smash them alongside whoever threatens you. It’s none for all and all against one, and all against all, the picture shifting, changing, allegiances crossing and turning like the whims of medieval monarchs and baron strongmen, witches and beasts. There’s no truth to speak of, except the one still standing after the dust settles. Can you hold on? Will you be swept away? Do you have something to fight for, even fall for, if need be? Do you have something in whose name to make others fall, strewing the land with corpses on which to step and rise above the mayhem? Make no mistake, this is not the age of heroes. This is the age of villains and thieves pointing fingers, crucifying saviors, poisoning men of reason and common sense. Hemlock and nails. Mounds of swords. A game of thrones. A heart in conflict with itself, testing the constitution of all individuals. This you must endure.
The enemy is at the door. Hold the door, or kick it down, stay your course and fulfil your purpose, and let history be the judge of your actions. If you truly believe in what you do, then you will have spent your life pursuing what you believe in, and that, my friends, is not a bad way to be.
Game Of Thrones knows it. That’s why it’s so popular — it speaks of a world where in the absence of certainty everyone fights for something different, casualties abound, the conclusion far from foregone. It may have all happened before, and may yet happen again, but that doesn’t mean we know exactly how it will play out. In some ways, we’re just getting started.
From your unnervingly accurate Spin Doctor,
Eyes open, mind sharp.