Swimming Against the Stream


Recipe for a New Dark Age

An Old Truck full of Sweaty Dynamite on a Decaying Bridge. (Sorcerer 1977)


Historical Events (the larger the better)
Radical Doubt (it helps if this is quite philosophical)
Religious Irrationalism (this can be quite stale)
Nihilism (there’s nothing to be said about this)
Pop Culture ( the more commercial the better)
Nostalgia (see Pop Culture)
Technology (you can’t find enough of this!)
News (easily obtainable 24/7)
Entertainment (see News)
Economy (see Conspiracy Theories)
Propaganda (not what we believe)
Conspiracy Theories (see the Internet)
Fun (the fresher the better)
Positivity (this is good)
The Internet (information that meets your needs)
Social Media (maybe it will even be viral?)
Human Beings (wherever you can find them)


Take several large historical events, these should be events so large that they cannot be understood without diligence, but are easily incorporated into Conspiracy Theories (see below). World War Two, the Cold War, the Social Upheavals in the 1960’s, the Rise of Computers will all do nicely. (Others can be added.)

Sprinkle Generously with Radical Doubt (particularly in the University setting), Religious Irrationalism, Nihilism

Whip in 50 years of Pop Culture with the predominating message of personal freedom, following your dreams, living on your feelings, acting upon your desires, doing your own thing, listening to your own heart, living instinctually or simply being intuitive. Make sure you strip from Pop Culture any messages anything that suggests using one’s intellect, caring for others at the expense of the self, fighting for Truth (don’t even think capital ‘T’). These bacteria of misguided Pop Culture might spoil the Dark Age we are trying to make. But don’t worry about the sad songs, the endless stream of broken relationships, the depressing movies. All of these can add a pungent spice to our eventual New Dark Age. Also religious messages in various media are perfectly wonderful as long as they are strictly personal and deal exclusively with what seems to work for the individual in a confusing world. Also anti-religious messages are to be encouraged, especially if they are said religiously.

This Should Probably Be Seen as a Study in Colors.

A word of caution about adding books: Stick with the books most reflective of current Pop Culture (self-help books, lavishly illustrated books, pop fiction, crossword puzzle dictionaries, trendy subjects), although certain philosophical books might also help as well. Any book that suggests that there is no point to learning, no matter how densely written, is certainly worth adding. They are like fine ingredients with a fragrant truffle scented Nihilism. But it’s probably best to add the popular, more cheerful versions of these ideas. So in other words: Nietzsche? Yes, but watch out for shards of reality that might taint the texture. Dawkins? Perfect. Simple overstatements that allow the reader to feel superior. But anybody’s oversimplifications will do.

Continually add new modes of Technology for personal listening, viewing, reading and general consumption.

Now put into a mixer and blend thoroughly. As time passes add more and more Nostalgia to disguise the taste, which inevitably leeches out during the cooking process.

Pour into a pot with portions of News and Economy. (Make sure you save enough News and Economy to use later.) Simmer for several decades.

Now while you are waiting for the pot to boil you can begin preparations for next phase:

Lets start working on our Propaganda crust.

First of let’s start with the News. Make sure that the News is first and foremost largely bits of repeated information marinated in Entertainment. Let’s make sure that the graphics of magazines completely obliterate the line between editorial and commercial content. Make sure that the News is primarily visual. I can’t stress this enough. It doesn’t matter what is believed as long as it pictorial. Avoid adding meaningful language! (It’s even better if you have a theory stating that all words are essentially worthless.) Make sure the News is full of images. It doesn’t matter if they seemingly contradict each other. As long as we find News with a low word content. The perfect use of words can be seen in advertisements: Words rendered vacuous and turned into pure graphics. Let’s make sure our News whatever the source is like that as well: Headlines and captions.

Now let’s add more Entertainment. Really you can’t add enough Entertainment. In fact let’s simply make everything entertaining. Let’s make old high school photographs entertaining. Let’s make politics entertaining. Let’s televise everything we can. But avoid old books!!! Don’t go near them. Unless we can suggest through a movie based upon an old book that the past was identical to the present. And that the past was Fun.

That’s the next thing! Let’s add some real Fun. (Let’s not define this word though, let’s leave it as a teleological abstraction.) Let’s make sure that people think having Fun is the number one reason to be alive.

And let’s make sure to add Positivity. This corruption of certain old religious principles is a wonderful additive. It will fit in quite nicely with more Religious Irrationalism. (Remember that Religious Irrationalism can be of any persuasion including Atheistic.) And the overall benefit is that in public people will value getting along together over anything resembling intelligent discussion. It will actually make people more sensitive and envious and will help fuel their not so hidden desires to rip into  anyone who disagrees with them in the virtual media.

Dare You Disagree? London Rioter ca. 2012

Now we add our well seasoned Propaganda. The best Propaganda has been fermenting in different forms since World War Two. The content doesn’t really matter as long as we make sure of two things. One, that people should always be sensitive to the Propaganda of other groups. And Two, never become aware of their own. Always keep in mind that we must have an Us and Them. We are the honest ones. They are stupid inhuman fools. In other words the best Propaganda is always disguised as truth, our truth. (Disguising it as truth will also help us to keep any stray strands of actual Truth out of this recipe, which could spoil much of our New Dark Age.) Make sure that Propaganda surrounds us at every orifice.

And the best way to do that is to add more Radical Doubt, more Nihilism and now let’s add our Conspiracy Theories… to taste. (You know who is responsible for this mess. That’s right Them!)

Add lot’s more Technology. Keep people swimming in new technology. Don’t let them fully get the hang of the present. But always hold the present out as a goal. Avoid ANY serious historical research of the past. Keep the future vague but ominous, unless our Propagandists are right.

Mix seductively with Social Media. In the past we used to get our Propaganda from large media organizations. But we have perfected this with the Internet. Now we can simply stay immersed in our own Propaganda bubble. Our eyes go blood red when we hear anyone speak a syllable we disagree with. Since there is very little dialogue in reality anymore Propaganda comes not only to us on the Internet, but through us. Perfect. While people still fear their own versions of Big Brother (Big Government, Big Corporations, Big Media, Big Money, etc.) in fact they have become Little Sister and Little Brother. They post endless pictures, photos, cartoons, videos, articles, at each other on Facebook, never realizing that in doing so they further substitute Propaganda graphics for real life words.

Finally we shape our Propaganda crust into personal sized pies and fill with the simmering ingredients.

Oh! And add what’s left of your Human Beings.

To keep things simple. Let’s not make anything else. Let’s consign all of our words, images, sounds, films, data to the Cloud. Let’s not own these things. Let’s consign them to the days of a past, and goofy, materialism. Add more Fun. Press Like.

This is a man-made underground gas fire that has been burning about 40 years. It’s called “The Door to Hell” in Darvaz Uzbekistan.

Now cook.

We suggest a decade, possibly two, on a fairly consistent heat. Keep sprinkling with bad environmental and economic News and lots of Positivity and Fun. DO NOT ADD any real dialogue between people of differing views. Protest? Absolutely! Talk? No.

Now unplug the Internet with a prolonged attack by Anonymous hackers, wretched Spammers, other fed up souls pickled in Nihilism and sick of the Virtual World we have all (Us and Them) created.

And voila! A perfect New Dark Age!

There are other recipes, but if this is what you are craving … Bon appétit!

We’ll be lucky if the New Dark Age look like this.

Does anyone know how to make shoes anymore?

Byrne Power
Haines, Alaska