Getting a Handle On The Messiahs: We Can Be Heroes

I’m still writing on Messiahs in our world. Last few times I suggested that Messiahs were usually pathological, at least in modern times, and often arose promising to clean up messes made by other Messiahs. It’s world saviors all the way down, a giant Jenga tower of narcissism and delusion.

(Probably why I adore the almost-certainly fictional story of Lao Tzu, who basically wrote one book and f***d off into the wilderness.)*

I’ve realized lower down the Messiah Tower of Babel-on are the Heroes.

The Heroes are people who aren’t Messiahs (yet) but want to fight a battle against darkness. They may not launch a Crusade, but they’re more than ready to get on board with whatever you’re willing to hand them. They’re vital fuel for the Messiahs, at least the pathological ones.

I see a lot of Heroes on the internet – what are sometimes called Keyboard Commandos, the 101st Chairborne, and so on. People who are ready to talk a big game, who want to be involved – as long as they just keep typing. They feel important for posting the latest meme, even if they’re at best a cog in a large social or propaganda machine.

I see plenty of Heroes ready to get sold a cause they can support if it’s not too hard.. They can “help the children” or “stop the conspiracy” or whatever. They’ll gladly donate or buy some merch or whatever is offered to them. They are happy to provide money so they feel good, funding whatever the Messiah Of The Month is. Maybe they even go to seminars and so on, shelling out funds to take hours of courses that will just get them to pay more.

Finally, there are the Heroes who take action – and make things worse or create more problems. They’ll go on some “mission” for whatever grifter they latched onto that invades privacy, disrupts lives, or accuses the innocent of crimes. Some of them do various forms of misery tourism where they “help” others by swooping in, take a few photos, and pretend to care for an hour. Hours just end up engaging in what is bluntly terrorism, their Hero status replaced with people screaming “false flag” or “lone wolf” – especially the Messiahs they followed.

The heroes are the foot soldiers – and cannon fodder – of the various would-be Messiahs. They’re much easier to rile up today with mass media, internet connectivity, and weakened social bonds. You can sell them a fantasy to keep your grift going with ease.

They’re also easy to rile up because of our media. So many tales sell hero stories, where the hero is righteous, supposedly humble, and of course ultimately justified in their actions. We’ve been told we have to be James Bond, Aragorn, and Jack Reacher. Of course, people want that, and are glad to buy a simulation by whoever will sell it to them.

We need more people who are people, not Heroes following a script. They’re just Messiah fuel.


* If you wonder my actual take on the Tao Te Ching, in my limited knowledge, I think there were a few writers who held the title Lao Tzu and that solidified a political guide to the Taoist mystical philosophy.

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.