The Great Awakening
Its impact on the tech industry
My expertise is in telecoms, not world affairs. Nonetheless, I have put together this essay with all my diligence, intelligence and integrity, and offer this as my best understanding. There’s no way of separating our social and political context from our professional activities.
I stayed up until 3.30am on Wednesday morning in London to watch President Trump’s State of the Union address streamed live. I don’t recall doing that for any other political speech in my life. None has ever had the necessary significance. However, my evaluation of the open source intelligence is that something big is about to happen over the next few days, weeks and months. So I made an exception, and topped up my coffee intake yesterday in compensation.
At this point, I ought to lay a few of my own cards on the table. I never had any political affiliations until recently, being an anarcho-capitalist libertarian green crypto-socialist quasi-republican pseudo-monarchist democrat. I have no affinity to either main US party. But I did join the UK’s Labour party when Jeremy Corbyn came along, as he seemed to be making some of the right people uncomfortable. My attachment is to truth and integrity, not to any institution or personality.
As I have sometimes mentioned in public, I spent much of my childhood exposed to the paedophile-infested Jehovah’s Witness cult. (I got away physically unscathed, but was spiritually abused.) I can attest that there are bad people who will hack your sense of perception so as to enslave you and your descendants. This undeniable reality in my family’s struggles has sensitised me to systems of deceit and subversion. More recently it has caused me to research the JW’s true origins. After all, when you’ve been the victim of a conspiracy, it makes you a natural lifelong conspiracy analyst!
The best sense I can make of the enormous amount of material that I have processed over many years is that we are at a turning point. Old systems of human control (be they financial, media, religious, or otherwise) are corroding and collapsing around us. Some extremely difficult truths about the spread of evil are going to be faced soon, such as with widespread and horrific trafficking of children. On the other hand, new systems and realities seem poised to emerge, and many people articulate hopes for a wonderful “new dawn”. We shall see!
What appears to be certain is that our past has indeed been strongly shaped by “shadow” forces, albeit often hidden in plain sight. Just as loving people adhere to the positive moral codes of say the Torah or Bible, psychopaths also have their longstanding and effective immoral doctrines. Their devious nature requires concealment as occult movements associated with secret societies. These have always been with us, some being not particularly secret. It is also ordinary for many organisations to have falsified their true nature and intent. At the extreme, war is in its essence the art of deception to gain advantage, with both sides sometimes being unwittingly played against each other. None of this is original insight or particularly controversial.
Fifteen years ago at Sprint, a teammate with an intelligence community background gave me some sagely advice. To make sense of the telecoms industry, he counselled, you have to take account of the unseen needs and covert interests of the spooks and spies. I’ve held that in mind over the years, as many things you see make you go “Hmmm…”. The JWs taught me many things, one being to always look at the shadows behind the public relations facade, if only as a safety measure. Often you find interesting and unexpected things when you peek behind the curtain.
I suggest that we can generalise this colleague’s insight. To make sense of the world, we need to realise we never have a full picture. As the guru-philosopher Alan Watts said: “Human consciousness is at the same time as being a form of awareness, sensitivity and understanding, is also a form of ignorance. … Now, the question that is absolutely basic for all human beings is: what have you left out?”. Our perception is always limited, and open to manipulation: we each can only take in a very tiny part of the unimaginably big whole of this universe.
That’s all rather esoteric stuff, so let’s return to the more grounded, with Trump’s speech and events in the United States. It seems to me that there is about to be a mass revealing of that which has hitherto been “left out” of our awareness. For example, recent Executive Orders have declared a state of emergency around human rights, and prepared Guantanamo Bay to take on an influx of enemy combatants (who may be US citizens… and even corrupt politicians). There is a record number of sealed indictments lined up. The forthcoming report from the DoJ’s Inspector General, Michael Horowitz, may contain explosive revelations about very serious… conspiracies. And a certain famous memo seems set for imminent release!
Watching Trump’s audience, there seemed to be a great deal of uncomfortable squirming going on in some quarters. Listening to his words, there was a revealing sub-narrative that is evident to those who have made the effort to understand the wider “shadow war” that appears to have been raging away for many years, transcending political parties and national boundaries. I accept there may presently be wildly divergent interpretations of who the right people to have power are, and time will show whose discernment is better! I am a mere humble functionary in telecoms, not a political savant.
Nonetheless, I believe that what we are seeing is indeed a period of transformational shifts in our shared consciousness. Some commentators are referring to this new collective awareness of our civilisation’s predicament as the “Great Awakening”. This is a semantically loaded term, given its strong religious history. Maybe that is intentional: what is being called for is a moral revolution to reassert goodness over wrongness. The challenge, as with the JWs, is to figure out whose intentions are actually virtuous, and who is running a political or personality cult!
To me it seems we are at the end of a very long cycle of the accumulation of power in systems of dominance and hierarchy. Either we succumb to a nightmare of totalitarian control (through manufactured fear and technologically-enabled violence), or we withdraw from that future entirely and chart a different planetary path. There really is a choice, and to continue an ethically indifferent or amoral view of technology is to implicitly give consent to for former path. We need an awakening, great or otherwise, in order to take the positive path towards lightness.
That’s a very big picture view, and I may turn out to be delusional in my sense-making. It’s a risk of public prognostication, and I’m just another fallible human with much left out of my perception. So let’s return closer to my professional home of telecoms and tech, where I am on firmer ground. There are many things going on that give me cause for concern. For example…
Why does Google have such strong roots in “deep state” funding? Was its extremely close involvement with the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton campaign appropriate for a company whose employees span the political spectrum? Is its CrowdStrike unit pursuing morally upstanding activities, or is there another agenda at play? What was Eric Schmidt really doing in North Korea, which is a chamber of human rights horrors? He recently resigned as Alphabet chairman for a reason…
Twitter has been caught on camera by Project Veritas as having a cavalier disregard for its users’ privacy, manipulating feeds to suppress “wrongthink”, and terminating the accounts of dissidents who question foreign powers. I suspect worse may be to come: the Saudi investment behind Twitter was hardly part of an ethical investment portfolio. Four top executives have just resigned, and @jack’s tenure looks terminal. What’s really going on here?
The close relationship of Amazon with the CIA and its Washington Post media proxy is highly suspect. The working conditions in Amazon warehouses seem to be the product of calculated disregard for human wellbeing, a form of automated slavery that routinely drives human workers to physical collapse. Whilst the technical and commercial achievements of Amazon are impressive, the risks to society of such concentrated power over information infrastructure should be a matter of wider public debate.
We are also seeing a stream of revelations of (child) sex abuse rings in major technology companies like Microsoft, backdoors in all Intel CPUs, and compromised devices being used to in spy and blackmail rings. Has Facebook ever been fit for human consumption? It wouldn’t surprise me to discover the answer is negative.
It is the responsibility of everyone to be awake and make their own judgement based on their best discernment of the full facts. You need to be alert to the possibility that you’re working for the tech equivalent of the JWs. Keep your eye on the shadows and use your intuition to sense deceit or danger. If something feels wrong, it likely is. And as for Trump’s true intentions, only time will tell.