Getting a Handle On The Messiahs, Part 2

Earlier I noted I think most Messiahs are dangerous, because to think you’re one is to think greatly about yourself and ill about others. Such belief is often toxic, as you can tell by cracking a history book or watching the news, preferably with chemical support.

Such destructive Messiahs – and I’d argue most are, perhaps especially in our times – leave a trail of wreckage. They may not just lead cults when alive, but leave legacies of followup cult leaders, fractured lives, and endless piles of bullshit teachings. Even death won’t stop them as people find plenty of ways to follow someone after their passing. Like movies, you can start with one storyteller, but it takes a team to build an elaborate and overblown all-encompassing cinematic universe of pathology.

Now let’s think about the destruction left by such Bad Messiahs. It can be very extensive, from communities to countries. It can go on for centuries, eroding societies and relations. These problems can lead to crises and crises call for solutions. What do you get during crises?

You get more Messiahs.

The surest way to get some grifter, some arrogant person, or some delusional savior is to have a crisis. Someone will doubtlessly arise, claim they can solve it – perhaps only they can solve it – and then of course make things worse. Sometimes you don’t get a grifter, an egomanic, or some madman, but all three in a convenient a-hole size package.

Of course if people follow those Messiahs, they don’t solve the problem. They may make it worse. They might delay it, they might kick the can down the road a few years or even decades. But they’ll make other bad decisions, and the problems will often still be there. The Messiahs may still be there too.

If the Messias are still around they may try to save the day from the crap they helped create.

I see the latter a lot in the spheres of technology and politics. Things get worse because of someone’s greedy, boneheaded, or pathological decision and then the same asshole shows up with new solutions. Throw in the fact some people in tech and politics are basically silver spoon nepo babies with no sense or care of how the world works and you have a real nasty Messianic Stew. If any of these people leave the picture, plenty of others are ready to enter the Savior Sweepstakes.

Keep in mind that these Messiahs may not even think they’re solving anything. You’re just someone to steal from or get votes from. It’s easy to pose as a Messiah, there are plenty of examples.

So remember when you’ve got a Messiah don’t just be suspicious. Be suspicious they’re trying to solve problems created by other Messiahs. Hell, they might have created the problem they’re trying to solve – or say they’re solving.

Whenever you meet a Messiah, ask what other Messiahs created the problems they claim they’re solving. Then you have even more reasons not to listen to them.

Getting a Handle On The Messiahs

I live in Silicon Valley, which as we’ve seen, has spawned people with Messiah Complexes. There’s always someone out there ready to save the world with their new solution or idea – you can check the marketing materials. And if you think you know who I’m talking about, you’re probably wrong by the odds – because we’ve got a lot of them.

I also move in spiritual and political spaces. There’s plenty of messiahs there to, ready to tell you how to save your soul and save the world., sometimes at the same time It’s the same old gig we’ve seen for thousands of years, really. Oh, and once again if you think you know who I’m taking about you’re probably wrong because of, again, the odds.

Now you may think I’m going to talk about grifters and opportunists. I am, tangentially, but I’m also talking self-proclaimed Messiahs in general. Because Messianism goes pathological if it didn’t start that way.

Think about what it takes to think you’re a Messiah. You have to believe that you are the one or a small amount of the ones who will save the planet. You have to know that it’s up to you to do everything, that you’re the linchpin of human history. You have to think you’re really special, if not touched by God or his/her immediate stand-in.

Know what you also have to believe? That everyone else is useless without you.

To be a Messiah is to know you’re special and by contrast everyone else is lesser. A Messiah may not say it, may not think it, but they must believe everyone else is lost without them. I don’t’ buy the superiority of these Messiahs, but it seems obvious many of them didn’t just buy it, they got a subscription.

In fact, to be a Messiah, you need other people to be worse than you. Messiahs are nothing without someone to save. To be the savior is to need people who need saving, and without that a Messiah means nothing. If your identity is bound up in being a Messiah, then other people automatically get a downgrade in your book.

What of those people who don’t think they need you? To many a Messiah, they’re the enemy, the disbeliever, the opponent of humanity. To get in the way of the Great Savior by not believing in them shakes up the entire Messiah’s belief system.

Being a Savior needs the saved, and needs someone to explain why the salvation isn’t happening.

This is a pretty toxic mix. You have to believe people are worse and that you’re the best or better. I also am pretty damn sure many a self-proclaimed Messiah started with the dislike of other people or increased self-regard, and then built up from there. I imagine many an honest, sincere Messiah even lost their metaphysical marbles confronting all of these psychodynamics.

Even a potential benevolent Messiah risks getting pretty goddamn pathological. I’m sure in this day and age many of the mass-media Messianic Maniacs started pathological and only went up from there – or down, depending on your viewpoint.

So no, I don’t trust Messiahs. I trust people, folks as messy as I am, hands dirty, getting busy just trying to get things done. There’s lots of those, working every day. Some of them may be legitimate Messiahs . . .

. . . but you’d never know it. And maybe it’s better that way for all of us.

Games, Culture, and Spiritual Grift

Spiritual merchandise is quite a world to explore. Stones that supposedly block 5G radiation, pants that circulate Chi energy, assorted crystals that are different from those other crystals, potions with luck vibrations, and so on. Plenty of people are ready to sell you all sorts of made-up solutions to your problems that your major problem will be poverty.

Now I’m not against spiritual merchandise per se, like any good mystic I have my own selection of tools and idols and the like. However some of this market gets grifty, with all sorts of claims, questionable testimonials, and even more questionable practices. There’s more than a few sales pitches dug up from the depths of social media that eevated my blood pressure.

A lot of this merchandise seems to be Conspiritual in nature, promising to sell you secrets hidden by them or to fight their influence. You know, that them. It seems things sell better when you think you’re screwing someone else over by buying it. People also seem to ask less questions when you can battle some conspiracy with a credit card charge.

Looking over all of this, something strikes me – a lot of this spiritual grift-merchandise sounds like something out of a role-playing game.

You know what I’m talking bout, games with treasures like The All-Seeing Sphere of Vormak or The Whirling Axe of The Moon. Games with Potions of Healing and Draughts of Clarity. Those specific treasures with special magical effects you’ve probably seen if not spent hundreds of hours using in various games.

These sound just like these 5G Blocking Crystals and Spell Kits For Invoking Loki At A Discount

And I wonder . . . is that an influence?

I mean by now standard RPG game tropes are pretty far integrated into culture. Dungeons and Dragons is a worldwide phenomena and a surprisingly fun and good movie. Computer games with plenty of lovingly-rendered magic items are available to play. Game tropes have worked their way into assorted fictions.

So now I find myself wondering, is all this grifty merch playing on the fact that we think in terms of magic items?

I really don’t know, but now I wish I had a way to analyze it to see if I was on to something or merely have been playing too many games. So if you have any insights, let me know.

If nothing else we can trade game recommendations . . .