I know a wonderful woman, M, who manages a machine shop.  One of her employees, D, who M has known long enough to think of as a friend, frequently expressed extreme annoyance at M’s insistence that all employees must wear masks while at work.  D contracted Covid 19 and got very sick.  She survived, but for many weeks after the primary symptoms subsided, she was super weak and unable to concentrate.   M asked D why she had not gotten vaccinated and had not worn a mask while out and about in the world.  D said she had done her research and was convinced that the Covid “scare” was a hoax, so there was no way that she was gonna catch it.

When I heard this, what especially amazed me was D’s report that she “had done her research.”  What “research” could possibly satisfy someone that Covid is a hoax?  It turns out the authority D had consulted was Facebook.  M is a super smart person, and I’m sure anyone that works in her shop…and especially anyone she regards as a friend…could not be a complete idiot.   But Facebook as the authority for how to respond to a pandemic that had already at that time killed more than a million Americans!!!!!  I had to wonder, is D out of her f—ing mind?  So I also “did my research” and some thoughts that occurred to me follow here.

I doubt that D is technically insane, and I have no idea if she is a QAnon person, but I think she may have what I’m coming to think of as QBrain – an affliction that appears to have taken hold of a scary big chunk of the American population.  Here’s my understanding of the symptoms:

  1. You may not have put it into words yet, but you know in your bones that you have an empty, meaningless life.  Your basic survival needs are met so you have time to think about yourself a lot and reflect upon how insignificant you are.

  2. You have come to think that you are in the grips of a system that is rigged against you.  Other people who are no better than you, and some who are clearly a LOT worse, have everything, including control over things that keep you trapped in your empty and meaningless existence.

  3. You are certain that the rigged system is no accident.  Reports on social media, Fox News, and in emails you’ve received confirm a suspicion that has long been in the back of your mind that the government, and the mainstream media that reports upon the government favorably, are tools controlled by a small group of people…a Cabal…that perpetuate the system that oppresses you, and keeps them in control.

  4. Emboldened by the knowledged that lots of others share your discontent you begin to feel a sense of purpose and meaning in resisting, and perhaps even working to thwart, the rigged system.  (Perhaps by challenging your boss around wearing a mask at work).  And like-minded folk you hear on Fox News, or you begin following on social media, or reach out to you via email, tell you:

    • Since the mainstream media is the government’s partner in perpetuating the rigged system that oppresses you, you can’t believe anything reported there.   But…

    • There are lots of other people who are studying the corruption of the government and the mainstream media, and are looking for ways to set things right.  And they share what they discover on social media.  So if you do your research there you will find others whose insights into the wrong-doings of the rigged system’s leaders and lackies align with yours.  Others with whom you can exchange the information you’ve discovered, and with whom you can form alliances.   People who will listen to you.  Who will take you seriously.  No matter how macabre or self-serving your take on any topic might be, if you poke around long enough in social media you’ll find soul mates to virtually high five you, and may even invite you to get wild with them at a rally in Washington.

    • Some of those you encounter in your research help you understand that since the government has been corrupted by a cabal of shadow players, it is your patriotic duty to do your research, find chinks in the cabal’s armor, and discover where you fit into the groundswell that will inevitably shake off the false government that oppresses you.   There’s lots of meaningful work for you to do.  You are important.  Your life is no longer empty and meaningless.  You have achieved QBrain.

Conversation with a QBrainer can be frustrating.  For example, try pointing out to them that it’s pretty certain prominent Democrats are not running a child sex trafficking ring out of the basement of a particular pizzeria because an armed QBrainer has stormed that location and found that it has no basement.  Such observations just annoy them.  They don’t care about the truth or absurdity of any particular QBrained assertion.  One or two or hundreds of leads that don’t pan out don’t negate the integrity of the ennobling QBrain process.  AND, they see what you are doing.  They sense that you are implying that the path they are on, which has given their meaningless life meaning, is nonsense.  And that absolutely cannot be.  That must not be.  I can’t go back to being a nobody who doesn’t matter.

You may find of interest The Prophecies of Q – an element of the “research” I performed that significantly contributed to the formation of the thoughts I’ve shared above.

Tobacco, Flying Saucers and Hypnosis

Saucers Over Hollywood

Is every creative act a form of biography? Does everything we elect to do with purpose and care paint a portrait of us in miniature? And what about those things we do spontaneously with little care? Perhaps even carelessly? Might they actually be the most accurate indicators of who we are – even when we can’t see it ourselves?

And then there’s the stuff that comes to us uninvited? Dreams, imaginings, visions. Is that biography as well?

One of my earliest memories is of a dream. A merchant steamship is moving slowly through thick, silvery fog at dawn or evening twilight. A time that could be any time. The captain steps out of the wheelhouse and leans against a railing looking out into the mist, listening. A lit cigar is pinched between the first and second fingers of his left hand. Smoke drifts from a cylindrical ash at the tip. With the unconscious ease of a maneuver performed a thousand times, the captain brings the cigar to his lips, takes a puff, then grasps it between his thumb and index finger. He flicks briskly with his middle finger and I fall away from the glowing ember. At first I drift on a misty breeze. Then I’m bobbing on the sea, but only for an instant as I feel myself dissolve into the vastness of the ocean, becoming one with it.

I love the memory of that dream, and it may have predisposed me from a very early age to associate tobacco with transformation because I love tobacco too. I don’t smoke often. Perhaps one pipe full or a cigar every six weeks or so. This is intentional so that each experience is intense and approached with sweet anticipation. Colors are more vivid. The edges of objects more distinct, as if outlined – an especially exciting effect when looking at something detailed and dynamic like the swaying bough of a tree. My visual depth of field expands so that items both near and far appear in the same plane and in focus. And I’m filled with contentment and a sense of optimism. As the last puff swirls away and is gone a nostalgia embraces me, like a vacationer saying goodbye to Venice or some other extraordinary place.

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Tarot & “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

Druid Craft Tarot - Strength

Spoiler Alert:  In the following discussion with tarot reader Nan Budinger some key plot elements from the film “Beasts of the Southern Wild” are revealed. See the movie before reading further.

Thrum:  Nan, you are a corporate namer – you’ve named companies and products. You’ve written screenplays. Spent lots of time thinking about images and stories. How did you become interested in tarot?

Nan:  I was moving my office from one location to another and I came across the business card of a tarot reader I had met years before at a party. I thought, “This is a time of great transition!” I’d never had a tarot reading and I didn’t have a clue what they were about. I just knew that this reader was an interesting person, so I thought it might be fun to get a reading. The experience included a great moment of recognition. I realized that tarot was all about engaging archetypal imagery. It just made so much sense to me. I was delighted. I gathered as many books on tarot as I could, and read as much as I could. I learned that tarot is a mystery tradition and that I really needed a teacher. So I looked on line and discovered some tarot classes were starting the following week. I took classes for a year and about nine months into the process my teacher said, “You should be doing this too.”

T:  Do you feel that there is a storytelling aspect to reading tarot?

N:  Yes. The cards all contain images of deep symbolic and archetypal significance. So the way that you do a reading is that a question or a problem is posed and you put a spread of cards in a pattern. Then you look to find the story that is emerging through the relationships of the images offered by the cards in relationship to the question or the problem that has been posed. So, yes, it’s a lot of storytelling.

T:  Do you see any similarity between film editing and what’s going on when you are doing a reading?

N:  I’d say the primary difference is intent. With film editing, as I understand it, what you try to do is create associations that are relevant from one scene to the next. And that happens most often through the placement of images that have particular symbolic meaning. So the film editor is creating associations that may remain more-or-less unconscious to the viewer, but the viewer nonetheless experiences a sense of continuity in terms of the storytelling. With tarot, however, you’re working with a pattern of images that came into relationship with each other without your conscious intent. The film editor crafts associations, images and their relationships. But with tarot you’re looking at images as they are placed in relationship to each other within the spread – and interpreting them on behalf of the client. And, hopefully, you’re able to get your ego out of the way and let the imagery speak.

T:  You recently saw the movie “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” How did you like it?

N:  I thought it was really wonderful. It was a movie that seemed to trust in the images themselves to be able to carry the movie. There was little dialogue. The plot was really, really simple, following a young girl on an archetypal journey to establish herself in the world.

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