Truth Or Dare

Within the Aeon of Horus we are defined by our history, now more than ever. With enough archived footage of even the most trivial events sitting on hard drives around the world the classical concept of living memory has been rendered completely obsolete. Of course our perceptions have long been cut and manipulated by the mass media from a multitude of angles, each edit designed to garner the desired response from a wider public that never learned to question the idiot box in the corner of their living room. The one with all the flashing lights and bright colours that told them what to think, how to dress, who to hate.

In The Mindscape of Alan Moore the sour old Magus points his bony, nicotine stained and heavily ringed finger at advertising executives the world over. He openly accuses them of utilising their quasi-shamanic skills for language based memetics to manipulate the masses wholesale. Grant Morrison, taking the podium at Disinfocon 2000, rightly charges companies such as McDonalds of essentially sigilising reality for their own corporate ends. But unfortunately, just when people began to wake up to the idea that they were being taken for a ride a whole new methodology for enslaving the masses presented itself and in doing so swept the freethinkers aside like a blood soaked tsunami.

In many ways September 11th changed the whole world for the worse, kick-starting the current downward spiral of Western civilisation. It tore away the wings of personal freedom from our collective backs and cast us all into a bottomless pit of corporate control. Cementing the ideas of the other and the outsider in the minds of the masses it did far more than simply send drones to blow up women and children on the streets of some backwards foreign country. The internet, television, free press, all these have suffered since the dawn of the Millennium, and far from slowing up now that the war on terror is supposedly over this affront to cognitive liberty is instead gathering pace.

When faced with the ever present threat posed by some shady, ill defined group of religious zealots the majority ran headlong towards the farmer and demanded to be put in the sheep pen, even though they had to be at least dimly aware that the next stop could only be the slaughter house. The governments of the world were more than happy to oblige, lobotomising their respective populations with draconian emergency powers and silencing dissent through engineered fear in a way that would seem oddly beautiful if my neck were not in the noose as well.

As a result the world remains a chaotic place, one in which our merry band of unthinking sailors drink and fight and screw themselves into an anaesthetised stupor while drifting between Scylla and Charybdis. The captain sits long dead at the wheel and the first mate screams in his bunk until sunrise over a laundry list of misdeeds, all the while accompanied by the ever present ticking of a clock winding down. There is no truth but decay, no fate but that thrust upon us by the sands of time. Everything ends, and eventually history itself dissolves into a nothingness where what was once held dear ceases to matter.

Long ago we British were the envy of the world, masters of our own destiny and lords of all creation. The sun never set on our empire, the machines we invented and sciences we codified bringing us both prosperity and decadence. The complacency that would be our undoing was a byproduct of the very affluence that created the monetary class system, ultimately causing the few who had to fear the many that did not. We were led into this new, darker world by those who have always lead us, always feared our freedom, our right to choose. Those above shall ever manipulate those below, no matter the sins that must be committed to do so.

To the shadowy overlords fighting tooth and nail to maintain their increasingly tentative grip on power, their enemy is no longer outside the castle walls, beyond the ocean or living in a tribal village over that next hill. Their enemy is within their borders, and in all of us. The villain is choice, now as it has ever been, and all those who hold it dear. Thus, our existence is reduced to a deceptively simple game of truth or dare. When they invent a reason to come for your goddess, your magick or your voice in exchange for a stay of execution, what will you choose? Will you die for your beliefs, or live as a sheep awaiting the ever present butcher knife? How much is too much, and how far will you go to remain yourself?

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