What a year.
The air is thick with madness, all over the world, to the extent that it would seem perfectly fitting with the times if it was revealed the British royal family were, indeed, the reptilian creatures conspiracy sorts have for years insisted they are.
China has taken advantage of the pandemic, evidently seeing it as their big moment to TAKE CONTROL (“… of the virus,” I can hear Boris Johnson interject) after years of lining their coffers and building their power base. They are running around beating their chest, politically, like an ape presenting itself as the new alpha of the group. No apologies. And if things take a turn for the worse, this moment in history could well end up like the moment apes pick up femur bones to use as lethal weapons in 2001: A Space Odyssey, propelling things forwards, upwards, or outwards, into a new and unknown era.
Civilisation with an entity like the CCP applying its death grip on it, slowly tightening until it has an irreversibly dominant position, is not happy thinking. Not even for the Chinese. Who knows what path the CCP would steer the world down, exactly, but it would indubitably lead to a place dark and mired in despair. And one it could take hundreds of years to escape.
On the subject of 2001, what is it about Kubrick films that strike so many tones perfectly, all at once? Monoliths have been popping up around the world, in remote spots in places like Utah and Romania, presumably put there as some kind of stunt, hoax, or statement. And why not. If the message is that this is a critical moment in humankind’s evolution, it is a pertinent one.
With the CCP it’s hard to say what is more disconcerting: when they make statements that are simply, violently belligerent (like suggesting they might just “pluck out the eyes” of Five Eyes nations if they don’t stop trying to help Hong Kong), or when they are grandstanding under a carefully constructed yet entirely unconvincing front of civility and goodness.
With the world set afire, China has been staging events loaded with messaging that they are the new preeminent world power on the block. They have been sending teams to summit Everest when no other country was, during the peak of the first wave, and landing on the moon to return samples to Earth for the first time since around the Apollo missions. These kinds of events are designed to place headlines in newspapers around the world that set a certain tone. One that hopes to create the impression that the die is already cast. That China is in the driver's seat, now, and the rest of the world just needs to catch on to that fact.
This kind of manipulation, however transparent it might be, is highly effective. It’s practically an exploit of the human brain, to induce compliance. Plus, China has grown in power sufficiently that these events are, to some extent, an official notification of their new status, as much as an attempt to manipulate how people perceive them. To some extent. Which is to say, they are mixing sufficient amounts of truth into their messages that a lot of people will buy them wholesale. Especially outside The West.
What the CCP’s stilted, carefully placed messages (the biggest of which was Wuhan city itself, which they turned into a giant advert for authoritarianism by staging street parties there while most of the world was still in the grip of uncontrolled outbreaks) never touch on is, obviously, the true spirit of the regime. That, in fact, doesn’t ever seem to be officially acknowledged—not even to the public in China. But it reveals itself in comments, like when CCP politician Zhao Lijian explained to journalists that "the Chinese never stir trouble, but they aren't afraid of trouble either." A statement that translates roughly from Doublespeak as “the Chinese people are proudly obedient to their government, and their government isn't afraid to cane them if they ever forget it.” There's a horribly indirect violence in the methods of the CCP. An evil that avoids being confronted.
Witnessing the formation of a free-standing mega power, like China may well be in the process of becoming, is a horrifying thing to observe, under-written by such principles. Conformance at any cost. Violence and forceful suppression of all who question the state's right to suppress. Means justified by the ends—to maintain the might of the state.
We don’t know exactly what happens when a power like the CCP wins gold in the World Political Olympics, and we sure as shit don’t want to find out.
The recent US election, Trump vs. Biden, played out as a battle with, in many ways, unusually clean lines demarcating good and evil. It's barely over, and into sight comes a much greater battle, with even higher stakes. It is probably no exaggeration to say the forthcoming, likely economic, battle between the US (and by proxy, “The West” at large) and China (and its satellite states) will determine the fate of humanity. Which is a ridiculous thing to say and mean it. And it’s kicking into high gear, right… about… now.
What a fucking year.