Dissident Dialogues: Dr. Naomi Wolf
As the author of eight nonfiction bestsellers; cofounder/CEO of DailyClout.io (now on Substack!); and fearless warrior on the battle lines for truth, freedom, humanity, and justice along with her intrepid husband Brian O’Shea, Dr. Naomi Wolf likely needs no introduction.
Naomi was among the earliest to speak out against COVID tyranny, instantly recognizing the signs of fascism she had identified in her 2007 book The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot. She is not only brave enough to say Mistakes Were NOT Made, but she brings the receipts to prove it.
Now she has a new book out documenting the very totalitarianism she once prophesied along with the spiritual journey she underwent while confronting this darkness: Facing the Beast: Courage, Faith, & Resistance in a New Dark Age.
Formerly a darling of the legacy media, Naomi earned an unceremonious ejection from her professional and social circles by speaking out against authoritarianism, with the fact-chokers smearing her as a conspiracy theorist, the White House colluding with Big Tech to censor her, Facebook launching a “scorched-earth erasure” of DailyClout, and mainstream straddlers like Alex Berenson describing “much of what she said” as “counterfactual (and batshit crazy).”
She has demonstrated intellectual humility by recalibrating past positions in light of new knowledge and experiences, calling out the cowards and quislings in her erstwhile “tribe,” and apologizing for prior misconceptions about those she now considers allies in the fight for our freedoms, rights, and lives.
Naomi brings a literary lens to her analyses, having earned a DPhil in English literature with a focus on Victorian poetry from the University of Oxford (2015) and a BA in English literature from Yale University (1984), where she delivered a galvanic speech condemning its COVID injection mandate for students in 2022.
From finding miracles in the depths of grief after the loss of their beloved Mushroom to learning what it means to have a puppy heart from Loki, Naomi draws wisdom from her cherished canine companions and generously welcomes us into her tender heart as she reflects on these life lessons.
On a personal note, I feel grateful to call Naomi a friend and was particularly touched when she reached out to me after she returned from the hospital following her near-death experience. At a time when her inbox was likely inundated with thousands of backlogged messages, she followed up about an exchange regarding a safety threat to make sure I was okay.
Naomi has sacrificed prestige, media access, and security in her Outspoken quest for the truth, and she is a deeper, kinder, braver human being for it.
In your new book Facing the Beast: Courage, Faith, & Resistance in a New Dark Age, you write:
“[F]riends and colleagues of mine who were highly educated, and who had been lifelong critical thinkers, journalists, editors, researchers, doctors, philanthropists, teachers, psychologists—began to repeat only talking points from MSNBC and CNN, and soon overtly refused to look at any sources—even peer-reviewed sources in medical journals—even CDC data—that contradicted those talking points. These people literally said to me, ‘I don’t want to see that; don’t show it to me.’ Eventually they started to say, ‘This debate is over.’
“It became clear soon enough that if they absorbed information contradictory to ‘the narrative’ that was consolidating, they risked losing social status, maybe even jobs; doors would close, opportunities would be lost. One well-educated woman told me she did not want to see any unsanctioned information because she was afraid of being disinvited from her bridge group. Hence the refrain: ‘I don’t want to see that; don’t show it to me.’”
When I read this, I felt like jumping up and down and exclaiming, “YES!!” To me, this has been perhaps the most perplexing, disappointing, and frightening aspect of what has occurred over the past four years. People I knew to be discerning, knowledgeable, loving, and thoughtful individuals suddenly lost all intellectual curiosity, all willingness to listen, all ability to see beyond the pitch-black contact lenses they had voluntarily stuck in their eyes.
When it came to the topic of COVID, their critical thinking faculties evaporated. I begged, pleaded, and groveled for them to just spend thirteen minutes watching testimonials of the vaxx-injured or eighteen minutes capturing scientific fraud happening in real-time. I’d tell them the perpetrator admitted on camera his collusion with a Gates-funded nonprofit to downplay ivermectin’s efficacy for COVID could result in the unnecessary deaths of 500,000 people, and they still wouldn’t look.
They might fritter their lives on all forms of frivolous entertainment, but people who supposedly cared for me couldn’t read a single article of mine or spare four minutes watching the most meaningful accomplishment of my life.
I honestly struggle to overcome the revulsion I feel in the face of such cowardice, the shame I feel on their behalf for having relinquished their judgment to the fact-chokers, the shock I feel at how easily they slipped into the role of excluder, the pity I feel for their decline into menticide.
And yet these are people I love, people I once respected, people I want to respect again. If they gave the tiniest inch, if they were willing to simply listen, look, or read, I would be doing somersaults.
But they don’t. And I fear they can’t. It’s bad enough if they injected themselves, but if they did it to their children, I can’t imagine the terror and guilt they are fending off with every ounce of their strength. So I begin to understand why they would choose denial. It saddens me, but I get it. And, like you say in A Lost Small Town, I forgive them.
It is only when I let go of my judgment of them that I can have compassion for their predicament, and it opens up a space for dialogue that was formerly crowded out by my zeal.
I see myself through their eyes and realize I sound like a Jehovah’s Witness trying to convert them. They don’t want to look at my pamphlets. They’ve already made up their minds that it’s bunkum, so why should they waste their time?
So I pull back. I stop pushing. They know my position. They know where to find me if a seedling of a question takes root in their consciousness.
When you contemplate this transformation of your friends and colleagues, how did you feel when you realized they could not see what you were seeing, when they would not see it?
What explanations did you come up with to account for this behavior, both when it was first happening and over time as your perspective evolved? What do you think were the mechanisms of causality?
And what differentiated you from them? Why could you see what they could not?
I certainly relate to this. It’s been baffling to me to see people who are highly educated—including doctors, scientists, journalists, editors, and managing directors of major companies—engage in this kind of uncritical, cultlike response to information, including primary source information.
Some of this can be attributed to the brain changes caused by isolation, which I addressed in the past when I researched the use of isolation in torture. Some is greed—that famous dictum (I paraphrase) that you can’t get someone to engage with an idea if his or her livelihood depends on rejecting it. But by midway through Facing the Beast, I came to realize that a material explanation for all this was insufficient and that we—or at least I—had to grapple with the fact that we could be witnessing a spiritual battle, on a global scale, in which “strong delusion” for some people was an element.
For me personally, I suppose three things made it impossible for me to keep silent. One is that I am a student of history and specifically of totalitarianism (for my book The End of America), so I know that speaking out now, whatever the risks, is far less dangerous, ultimately, than remaining silent.
One reason is that I know I am mortal and I expect some day I will be asked to review my life, and I had better have an answer about what I chose to do when all of humanity was threatened.
And one is that I do have professional pride as a journalist, and I can’t ignore the biggest story of our time. An additional reason is that I married a man who spent many years fighting kinetic wars, and he explains war to me in a way that helps (i.e., that war lasts for years, not months); he lets me know when it’s shock, or when it’s battle fatigue, etc., so I can avoid giving in; and he reminds me that making the bad guys burn resources or fighting them to a standstill is also part of victory.
Ah yes, I have cited that Upton Sinclair quote—“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it”—more than any other adage when explaining how perfectly nice-seeming people can become colluders in tyranny and democide.
Regarding isolation as a torture technique, Joost Meerloo writes in The Rape of the Mind:
“If one can isolate the mass, allow no free thinking, no free exchange, no outside corrective, and can hypnotize the group daily with noises, with press and radio and television, with fear and pseudo-enthusiasms, any delusion can be instilled. People will begin to accept the most primitive and inappropriate acts… That is why it is so easy to sloganizing [sic] people into the mass hysteria of war. The outside enemy who is attacked by vituperative slogans is merely the scapegoat and substitute for all the anger and anxiety that lives inside the harassed people.
“Delusions, carefully implanted, are difficult to correct. Reasoning no longer has value; for the lower, more animal type of thinking becomes deaf to any thought on a higher level. If one reasons with a totalitarian who has been impregnated with official clichés, he will sooner or later withdraw into his fortress of collective totalitarian thinking. The mass delusion that gives him his feelings of belonging, of greatness, of omnipotence, is dearer to him than his personal awareness and understanding.
“The lonely prisoner in a totalitarian prison camp is the more easily compelled to surrender gradually to the collective thinking of his guardians when part of his own infantile thinking has been conditioned to give in to strong suggestive power. He has to communicate with his guardians lest he be delivered to his own private delusions. Only a few remain their true selves in that heroic battle.”
Can you talk more about your past findings on the use of isolation in torture and how they map to what occurred during the COVID era?
Yes—it is such an important subject. In Guantanamo, prisoners were being kept in solitary confinement, and, in spite of this being a violation of human rights law, they were denied visits or even letters from their families. Those detained on charges of being part of terror “sleeper cells” in the United States were also kept in isolation. In the Bush 2 era and during the “global war on terror,” these violations of laws against isolation led to cases in which people who were simply homeless or drug-addicted and had no ties at all to “sleeper cells” confessed to crimes they had not committed.
That led me to be curious about the role of isolation in breaking down individual reason and the individual’s ability to withstand pressure, and I learned the reason solitary confinement was outlawed and considered to be a form of torture is that it actually changes the functioning of the brain and can lead to a permanent level of psychosis. Cults also isolate people to disorient and break them; so do abusers.
The effects of this are also well-studied. Why isolate a cult target or a battered woman if isolation did not keep people weaker, make them more submissive, and make it harder for them to resist?
For all these reasons, I feel various forms of isolation were weaponized during lockdowns. And people will comply with anything to avoid the punishment of being placed in isolation again. So here we are.
I got chills while reading “it actually changes the functioning of the brain and can lead to a permanent level of psychosis.”
As an Apocaloptimist, I remain hopeful about humanity’s ability to pull itself back from the brink of totalitarian enslavement, but I also recognize many people have now been conditioned to accept ever-escalating levels of infringements on their rights and autonomy.
Add to this the likelihood that their brains have also been altered by mRNA injections as you discussed during your International Crimes Investigative Committee (ICIC) interview last year, and it appears we are not only battling psychological manipulation but also biological alterations that have further compromised people’s ability to think clearly and escape the vortex of their neurolinguistic programming.
Just as I know it is possible for a Stockholm syndrome sufferer of narcissistic and cult abuse to metamorphose from victim to survivor, so do I believe the psychologically and pharmaceutically captured victims of COVID tyranny have the capacity to escape their brainwashing—I have to believe that, or I wouldn’t be spending every moment working toward their awakening.
Given your understanding of the neurological impact of Biderman’s Chart torture techniques combined with the impact of lipid nanoparticles—which you postulate “are able to negatively affect the very essence of our humanity”—do you feel hopeful about people’s ability to overcome this fundamental violation of their humanity, and if so, what are your ideas on how to help facilitate that recovery process?
I don’t think anyone will like my answer. I think that these injections have interfered with the creation of the Creator so extensively that humans cannot heal what went wrong. I do. I think they are forcing us to realize that we aren’t just some random aggregate of matter but that we were actually created by God in God’s image just like He advised us, and that a negative force is trying to scramble or profane that creation. So I guess where I am at is that only recognition of God as the ultimate physician, and prayers for healing—in the Hebrew idiom, “refuah shlemah,” a complete healing—will help at this point.
That hints at the spiritual journey and renewed commitment to God you discuss in Facing the Beast. In Chapter Four, you write:
“I was now willing to speak about God publicly, because I had looked at what had descended on us from every angle, using my normal critical training and faculties, and I had concluded that it was so elaborate in its construction, so comprehensive, and so cruel, with an almost superhuman, baroque imagination made out of the essence of cruelty itself—that I could not see that it had been accomplished by mere humans working on the bumbling human level in the dumb political space.
“I felt around us, in the majestic nature of the evil encompassing us, the presence of ‘principalities and powers’—awe-inspiring levels of darkness and of inhuman, anti-human forces. In the policies unfolding around us I saw anti-human outcomes being consistently generated: policies aimed at killing children’s joy; at literally suffocating children, restricting their breath, speech, and laughter; at killing school; at killing ties between families and extended families; at killing churches and synagogues and mosques; and, from the highest levels, from the President’s own bully pulpit down, demands for people to collude in excluding, rejecting, dismissing, shunning, hating their neighbors and loved ones and friends.”
I understand why you would come to that conclusion after having encountered such viscerally repugnant behavior and gruesome consequences. That said, I almost feel like ascribing what we are witnessing to principalities and powers partially absolves the human perpetrators of their responsibility for the egregious sins they’ve committed. Philanthropaths like Bill Gates; tyrants like Justin Trudeau; and mendacious miscreants like Dr. Mengelfauci and Klaus Schwab are 100-percent culpable for the millions murdered by their directives, and I don’t want to give them even the eensiest excuse for their actions (e.g., “the Devil made me do it”).
And while I agree with you about the epic level of phantasmagoric horrors we are witnessing, I also resonate with Hannah Arendt’s famous observation in Eichmann in Jerusalem:
“Evil comes from a failure to think. It defies thought for as soon as thought tries to engage itself with evil and examine the premises and principles from which it originates, it is frustrated because it finds nothing there. That is the banality of evil.”
What if evil isn’t so much a presence as an absence—an absence of good, an absence of love, an absence of light? And when enough of us shine a light on the darkness, it illuminates the shadows and we realize it really isn’t as frightening and powerful as it appears? From a biblical perspective, only God can create, whereas Satan must content himself with destroying, and creation is an infinitely stronger force than destruction.
We’re dealing with narcissistic psychopaths who, at their core, are empty—devoid of empathy, love, joy, all of the positive and euphoric feelings that make us human. They are monstrous, yes, but also dull, vacuous, unimaginative, and ultimately prone to error, which means they will—and have—bungled the execution of their democidal ambitions.
Most notably, they have engaged in such brazenly tyrannical acts; relied so heavily on coercion and force; and told so many easily exposed lies that they have shaken hundreds of millions if not more than a billion people out of their automaton stupor, and that awakening is now spreading like wildfire. This is going to make it far more difficult for the totalitarians to corral us into digital pens like the livestock they are accustomed to steering so easily.
I am by nature an Apocaloptimist, which is a succinct way of saying I am a practitioner of the Stockdale Paradox and Confront the Brutal Facts. Facing the Beast is clearly about confronting the brutal facts, and I am guessing you are at essence an optimist who thinks it is possible to wake people up, reverse tyranny, and stop democide, or you wouldn’t be working so hard to accomplish those goals.
Would you characterize yourself as an Apocaloptimist as well, and what are your thoughts on the nature of evil and humans’ culpability for their actions within the spiritual framework you’ve described?
This is a tough one, as I don’t pretend to have figured out the nature of evil. For certain, the sense of “dark energies” that I describe in Facing the Beast are entirely new to me. The only time I have ever sensed anything like them before was when I was reporting in Guantanamo, and I met a team of “doctors” and “nurses” who were purportedly force-feeding hunger-striking prisoners and one of them died—of starvation—while I was there. But even then it was a localized sense of evil—this shadow over the world seems to permeate and saturate the globe now.
From your question, I think there is a big difference in how Jews and Christians think about this issue. In Facing the Beast, I briefly explain that “Satan” or “the devil” was to me an inadequate explanation for what I was witnessing. I go into a bit of detail in the book about how our contemporary notion of “Satan”—as in the phrase “the devil made me do it,” which you so aptly quote—is derived from Dante and Milton and popular representations, more than from scripture, and in any case, the “Satan” who appears in the New Testament versus the Hebrew Bible, are very different characters. In the Hebrew Bible, “ha-Satan” is more of a prosecuting attorney—a lawyer figure—who confronts people with their own spiritual shortcomings, or invites them to give up on God, rather than a figure who is embodied as tempting people or as seeking their souls. Indeed, the reason I thought that “Satan” was inadequate to explain what I witnessed, because in the Western tradition, “the Devil” is a fallen angel and still very much focused (negatively) on God and humanity, but these forces I felt newly entered or re-entered the world, simply did not care about God or about us. So when I read Pastor Jonathan Cahn’s The Return of the Gods, it resonated. He is a Messianic Jew—meaning he is influenced by both Christian and Jewish thought about these issues. His premise is that the pagan, pre-Hebrew, pre-Christian “Gods” have “returned”—that is, the energies of Moloch (violence), Baal (power), and Ashera (unlicensed sexuality). I don’t take these descriptions as literal “beings,” but his analysis did resonate because it did seem—with the sacrificing of children, the dissolution of family ties, the closing of churches and synagogues, the genocidal imagination unleashed in the world—that these were pre-Judeo-Christian energies; it felt like the dark pagan world had returned. His theory is that we took our hands off of the Covenant in the West, in essence, and as a result these forces were able to rush right in, and that resonated, too—whether you believe in God or not, our institutions for the last two to four thousand years (depending on how you are counting, Christian or Jewish narratives) have indeed taken the shape of the Ten Commandments. And maybe indeed when we turn away as a society from all morality, God eventually just says, “Okay, have it your way—see what this feels like when you worship, basically, yourselves, or greed, or power, or violence—and then you get this awful pagan world again. The other reason that Jewish and Christian imaginations are different when it comes to this question—with the Jewish sensibility being more pessimistic—is that in the Hebrew Bible, there are times that God actually does give up—or nearly gives up—on humanity. There are floods, wanderings in the desert, exiles, diasporas. He gets fed up a lot. Whereas in the Christian story, it all ends well. In the Hebrew Bible, the outcome entirely depends on human moral choices. So I really do feel more like a Jeremiah these days—trying to warn people that things can get very very bad indeed if we don’t turn back to a moral path. I do believe that. I hope this answered your question about how I see the question of evil.
Yes, thank you for fleshing out those nuances, Naomi. I’d like to delve deeper into the topic of culpability. I’ve been noticing a growing divide in the freedom movement between those who are brave enough to say Mistakes Were NOT Made and the mainstream straddlers who are unwilling to acknowledge the intentionality behind the atrocities we are witnessing.
The latter may be a) self-censoring to avoid coming across as “conspiracy theorists” or to make their message more palatable to normies; b) serving as limited hangouts by admitting millions have been killed while simultaneously erecting a firewall against prosecution of the guilty; or c) remaining willfully blind to the fingerprints and DNA evidence smeared all over the crime scene.
“I learned yesterday that the reason my speech to the AfD party in the German Parliament was banned is because I had the temerity to state plainly that the injuries & deaths from the injections are intentional.”
Thank you for being one of the courageous voices unflinchingly saying the injection harms are intended. Not only that, you have provided extensive evidence demonstrating intentionality, most notably in the Pfizer Documents Analysis Volunteers’ Reports eBook: Find Out What Pfizer, FDA Tried to Conceal.
In Chapter Ten of Facing the Beast, “The Pfizer Documents,” you share the findings of your DailyClout volunteers comprising “3,250 highly credentialed doctors, registered nurses, nurse practitioners, biostatisticians, medical fraud investigators, lab clinicians, and research scientists,” who analyzed the 450,000 Pfizer documents the FDA tried to conceal from the public for seventy-five years.
You outline a litany of injurious and lethal side effects that were known to Pfizer and the FDA by early 2021 as documented in the post-marketing report covering December 1, 2020, through February 28, 2021, the most harrowing being those impacting babies and reproduction. You write:
“Reproduction itself is targeted by the mRNA vaccines. And if you know that reproduction is harmed, and babies and fetuses are harmed, and you know that this is at scale, which everyone at Pfizer and at the FDA who read these documents, knew—and if you do not stop—then does that not ultimately become a genocide?”
I’ve argued that if people cannot fathom that 17 million people have been intentionally killed, they must at the very least concede negligent democide is occurring. As you pointed out, the corporations, governments, and agencies have known about the catastrophic damages caused by these products since they were first unleashed, and yet they forged full-speed ahead with the vaccination pogrom while lying to the public about them being “safe and effective.”
What would you say to persuade those who persist in denying the continually mounting evidence that Mistakes Were NOT Made?
The overwhelming amount of evidence the WarRoom/DailyClout Pfizer documents analysts have uncovered, and presented now in ninety-two reports on DailyClout.io, shows that harm to humans, including deaths and devastating impacts on fertility, were studied affirmatively, known, and were actively concealed from the public. Our lawyer Ed Berkovich FOIA’d CDC emails on “myocarditis” and revealed that fifteen White House top-level message staffers, Dr. Walensky, Dr. Collins, and Dr. Fauci were all looped in to coordinate a coverup of risks of myocarditis in young healthy people caused by the mRNA injection. President Biden was copied on some findings from this group. Two lawsuits from attorneys general have confirmed that the White House and CDC leaned on Twitter and Facebook to smear and censor critics. Billions of dollars were secured by individuals engaging in these crimes and coverups.
Thousand died and millions were disabled. Babies died in utero. The harms continue to this day.
To those who say, “Mistakes were made,” my answer would be legalistic. There is clear intent in all of the above revelations. There is knowledge of wrongdoing. Why else would FDA ask the court to conceal these documents for seventy-five years? Why else would the White House scramble to concoct a “script” to lie about the risks of myocarditis? Why study the disrupted menses of thousands of women, as we see in the Pfizer documents, and not then disclose these risks to women, or why report on the deaths of two babies in utero due to “maternal exposure” to the vaccine, unless you wish to disrupt the menses of women and harm babies in utero? There is no way these injuries are accidental if they are studied and documented in detail and then rolled out on the public with no informed consent.
Then to those who, now knowing this, suggest that we “move on,” I would ask, what is the point of having a justice system at all?
When nations have no rule of law or accountability for crimes, they soon collapse into chaos. If elites can murder or sterilize with impunity now, we have truly validated a genocidal future, since without reprisals, they just won’t stop.
I teared up as I read your reply, Naomi. You spell out the evidence for malice aforethought as well as the devastating consequences with such surgical precision, no rational person of goodwill could deny intentionality after absorbing that.
I recently listened to The End of America and was struck by how prescient your warnings were in 2007. Indeed, you were picking up on the subterranean groundwork being laid for the biofascism we are now living through.
As you wrote in a 2007 Guardian article, you identify the ten steps “any would-be dictator must take to destroy constitutional freedoms” in that book. You revisited that list in a March 2021 Defender article, where you conclude we have reached Step Ten, “Subvert the rule of law.” You also discussed the applicability of this list to COVID tyranny in your first Corona Investigative Committee presentation:
“I find those citizens’ struggles to sift truth from lies to be so moving. At that point, the state had made truth fungible.
“History shows us some reasons why the administration may be so intent on sending lies into the press stream and accusing those who tell the truth of lying.
“Perhaps the barrage of lies serves a more substantial purpose than simply advancing a certain position. Sending a current of lies into the information stream is part of classic psychological operations to generate a larger shift—a new reality in which the truth can no longer be ascertained and no longer counts.
“In this reality citizens no longer feel empowered or able to establish the truth on either side—and therefore give up their agency. At this point people can be manipulated into supporting almost any state action. For how can citizens know what is right? Truth itself has been cheapened, made subjective and internal, not absolute and external.”
That passage feels like a verbatim description of the Orwellian practice of “reality control” we have watched unfold in real-time as the Ministry of Truth floods the zone with lies through calculated media narratives, a topic CJ Hopkins and I discussed in his Dissident Dialogue.
In a section titled “The Appearance of Normalcy in an Early Fascist Shift,” you address the fallacy I so often point out to people who fail to discern the gradational progression to totalitarianism:
“It’s easy to look around at America in 2007 and choose to believe that this warning is overheated: After all, we are for the most part doing what we have routinely done. We are going online into a vibrant Internet world; clicking through hundreds of TV channels; enjoying Hollywood films; reading bestsellers that present views across the political spectrum. The courts are ruling, newspapers are publishing exposes, protest marches are being planned about the war; a presidential race is underway.
“But there are plenty of examples of a shift into a dictatorial reality in which, for several years, while the basic institutions of freedom are targeted and rights are eroding, daily life still looks very normal—even, for many people, pleasant.
“Americans tend to think of the shift to fascism in scary set-pieces: the boots on the stairs, the knock in the middle of the night, the marching columns, the massive banners waving over city streets; a Leni Riefenstahl film all the time, or an unrelieved scene of citizen terror with crematoria smoking in the distance.
“We are so used to seeing depictions of the most sensational aspects of totalitarian societies—the gulag, the death camps—that we don’t pay much attention to the fact that there is often an incremental process that led those societies to become places where such things could happen. The view that fascism looks from the start like a nationwide prison camp rather than a fairly normal society can be comforting when facing an argument like mine. It’s natural to wish that the two realities were so categorically different that, of course, ‘It couldn’t happen here.’
“But as would-be dictators consolidate power, if they are training their sights on a democracy, things proceed fairly routinely in many areas in the earliest years.”
In They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933–45, Milton Mayer shares the following observations of his philologist friend:
“‘The dictatorship, and the whole process of its coming into being, was above all diverting.… To live in this process is absolutely not to be able to notice it—please try to believe me—unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us had ever had occasion to develop. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, “regretted,” that, unless one were detached from the whole process from the beginning, unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these “little measures” that no “patriotic German” could resent must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over his head.’”
His friend then contemplates:
“‘How is this to be avoided, among ordinary men, even highly educated ordinary men? Frankly, I do not know. I do not see, even now. Many, many times since it all happened I have pondered that pair of great maxims, Principiis obsta and Finem respice—“Resist the beginnings” and “Consider the end.” But one must foresee the end in order to resist, or even see, the beginnings. One must foresee the end clearly and certainly and how is this to be done, by ordinary men or even by extraordinary men? Things might have changed here before they went as far as they did; they didn’t, but they might have. And everyone counts on that might.’”
You were clearly practicing Principiis obsta and Finem respice when you wrote The End of America, and you were labeled a conspiracy theorist for doing so.
Is it the inevitable fate of the Conspiracy Cassandras to suffer—or “bear witness” as you write in the introduction to Facing the Beast—the unfolding of our bleak predictions as I describe in Letter to the Amnesty-Demanders, or do you think if enough people awaken in time and “Resist the beginnings,” we can torque the wheel of fate away from tyranny toward freedom?
As if by a stroke of fate, just as I was writing this question, Quill Cross left a comment on that letter referencing Theodore Roethke’s The Waking, the first stanza of which seems the perfect accompaniment to this discussion:
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.
How much of life is fate, and how much free will? Have we been cast in the role of dissidents, “feeling [our] fate in what [we] cannot fear” and “learn[ing] by going where [we] have to go”? And as we follow our nature to be Outspoken, are we heeding fate or exercising our free will, and are those we are seeking to awaken fated to “wake to sleep, and take [their] waking slow”?
Thank you for your kind words about The End of America, my 2007 book warning how easily fascism could come to our nation. Everything I predicted did sadly come to pass. As I often point out, that does not mean I had any special foresight. It only meant that I’d read histories of closing societies, and democracies always close down in the same ways. It’s useful to have done that research though since it shows me that whatever dangers and financial losses we may suffer now by speaking out, they are as nothing compared to the far worse dangers to come if we remain silent.
Free will v. destiny? Wow, why not go right to the biggest question of all! But it’s wise indeed in this time to return to the biggest question.
I have to say the answer for me is “Both.” As you know, Facing the Beast describes a faith-related awakening for me, that came about, paradoxically, when I was confronted with the massive evil represented in the genocidal intentions for these mRNA injections. I am still on my journey and don’t pretend to have reached the end. But I am convinced now (both from my observation and analysis of this time and from my recent reading of the Hebrew and Geneva Bibles) that God is a lot more surprising and impressive than He is presented to us as being (by 400 years of bad translations, plus institutionalized religion), and that He also loves us and cares about us more than we were told. So His knowing how everything is going to end, PLUS assigning each of us real free will, is not beyond Him, and is in my view what is actually happening, though I certainly can’t explain how He accomplishes both. I am certain, relatedly, though, that this time is a test for humanity, and that it absolutely matters, down to the ultimate level, what side each of us chooses. “Decide this day whom you will serve …” The outcome for humanity, I am convinced, depends upon our moral choices now, in a way that is more overt and transparent than it has been at any other time in our living memory.
And I also think that there are no guarantees. If we keep messing up and not noticing or indeed actively destroying the miracles with which we were gifted … families, bodies that heal, the planet, community, babies, sexuality, faith itself … they may be taken from us for good, as so much has been taken away in the last three years.
Humanity has come close to being wiped out before now.
On a happier note, I can’t think of events being better designed to compel us to notice these as gifts and as miracles than the awful circumstances through which we are living.
Is it all ultimately going to be a source of blessing? My hope is yes.
Haha, I figured we might as well dive all the way down since we were already swimming in the deep end 🙂
I was thinking about this question myself and wholeheartedly echo your answer of “Both.” As a strong individualist who believes in self-responsibility, exposing corruption, standing up to tyranny, and awakening the sleeping, I obviously believe in free will or there would be little point in doing the work I’m doing.
That said, I also recognize seemingly miraculous synchronicities that have occurred throughout my life, from the pinpoints of connection I share in Lattice of Coincidence to little moments like the arrival of Quill Cross’s comment just as I was composing my question for you. In the first essay of mine published in a book—way back in 1998—I write:
“And it is precisely at this intersection of the particular and the universal that the ordinary takes on heroic, indeed spiritual proportions.
“The very thought that you can find, can experience the holy, the presence of God—‘inscape’ as Hopkins would call it—in a pomegranate, in a bowl of—as Zooey would say—Bessie’s ‘consecrated chicken soup,’ or in one of Hopkins’s bluebells is an idea that has been rattling around in my head for years. I have experienced it periodically throughout my life, this sensation and awareness of something sputtering and simmering beneath the surface. And these hierophanies, to use historian Mircea Eliade’s term, always occur at the most ordinary moments—whether it be while, as a four-year–old, I am inspecting a deer-gnawed twig in the snow in a forest in Belchertown, Massachusetts, or nearly twenty years later, while I am washing and peeling potatoes for potato soup, when I suddenly become aware of the millions of others who have peeled and removed eyes from potatoes, or who will go on doing so in the future. At this particular moment, I think of the millions of Irish women who had prepared potatoes as I was now doing, whose families had subsisted on potatoes for generations, who themselves suffered evictions, unemployment, dispossession, malnutrition, and starvation during the Great Famine. It was this ordinary task of scrubbing potatoes that connected me to these women, that offered me a faint intimation of their unrecorded lives.”
After writing this, I happened upon your essay on energies where you write so poetically about similar epiphanic encounters with nature, including—synchronistically yet again—bluebells:
“If you stood on the bench and looked into the corner of the garden, which was raised up, you could see nasturtiums made of tongues like fire—with apricot and russet, lemon-yellow and radiant orange, petals; all of them were streaked with deep red at the hearts, and all bore tiny cups of honey.
“You could see pale-blue bluebells too, bending their necks like dancers. The nasturtiums and the bluebells were like two companies of ballerinas, clothed in different costumes. There were shafts of sunlight somehow within that circle of nasturtiums and bluebells. And all of this treasure was contained somehow within another circle, one made up of dark green—of wet, tangled, protective grasses, that overshadowed and enclosed the secret place.”
Alicen Grey recently introduced me to the concept of pronoia, which is reverse paranoia. Instead of thinking the universe is conspiring against you, you feel like it is conspiring for you. Psychology Today describes it as follows:
“Reverse paranoia—or pronoia—depicts not a disposition of social apprehensiveness and skepticism, but a far more welcoming orientation: one characterized by feelings of hope, trust, faith, and love. And these much more positively regarded qualities are themselves related to a strong inclination toward optimism and resilience.”
I immediately resonated with this concept because I have repeatedly witnessed these perfectly-fitting puzzle pieces of events and connections that have fallen into place just at the moment when they were needed to facilitate some beautiful outcome.
Even the apparent adversities usually result in profound blessings—like being targeted by a covert passive aggressive narcissist blossoming into my friendship with Alicen and Mickey Z., an experience I know you can relate to yourself, although that targeting was the opposite of covert and you may have yet to discover the blessings.
Perhaps this transformation occurs because it is in my nature to turn lemons into lemonade and I seek opportunities to learn from every experience, but it also seems like something greater than myself is at play causing the variables to intersect in just the right way.
I find it appropriate that the Psychology Today article illustrates pronoia using a quotation from J.D. Salinger’s Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour, an Introduction, which was my favorite book by my favorite author in high school. Seymour states:
“I am a kind of paranoid in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy.”
I don’t think of this as being about me, personally, though, but rather about those of us who are working together to defeat the forces of evil you describe in Facing the Beast.
And I’d say that’s exactly why I am an Apocaloptimist—as it appears you are, too, judging by your closing sentence above and what you wrote about attaining “puppy heart” in your exquisite post Thankful:
“Nothing is broken. Nothing is disconnected.
“Nothing is ever really lost, no one is after all ever really alone. We are none of us really alone, even if we are spending this day in isolation.
“Love holds us all in spite of ourselves.
“Love gathers it all together for us even in the depths of our despair, though we do not believe that that can really be happening.
“Love molds new shapes for us from the imprint and echo and aggregate of the past.
“We can’t believe we are deserving of all of these gifts, so most days we don’t even notice that these are all gifts.
“If we knew how loved we are, if we saw the world as it really is, we would every day be as delirious as Loki. If we knew how deeply our Creator actually cherishes us, we’d relax into celebration of creation.
“As it turns out, it’s all—all of it—a gigantic love letter. Can we come to realize that in this one lifetime?
“All of it is, as it turns out, I say again, a love letter. Appetite, satisfaction, the hug of a child.
“Can we remember that? Can we let ourselves truly believe that we deserve such great love, and if so, act accordingly?
“All would be different if we did.
“Earth would be, in fact, heaven.
“Meanwhile, may we remember this thought—so intimately that it becomes simply our breath:
And thank you, Naomi, for the gift of your treasured time, dazzling mind, and wide-open heart.
One of our country’s most important freedoms is that of free speech.
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