It was approximately a year ago, that I got the first palpable flood of intuitive confirmation of The Shift. More specifically it was the “new” Zapruder film which to me was mind blowing evidence of a theory I had been researching, the so-called Mandela Effect. It’s called Mandela Effect because a number of people have a distinct memory of the Africa Civil Right leader Nelson Mandela having died in prison. I did not have that memory. I had read his autobiography Long Walk To Freedom, which title alone had told me, he made it out.
Forgive the digression, but I got an amusing personal anecdote on a Mandela book. During college I had tried to find a job that was more in line with my life goals, I had actually just recently read Long Walk to Freedom, and I decided to try to find some sort of political employment. This lead me to a group called Iowan Citizen Action Network, ICAN for short, punchy use. I had never worked in a call center before this, or since. But the basic deal was they give you a script, and a roll of numbers to dial, some of those number are from people who donated in the past, some are just numbers of people registered somewhere, sometime. New assholes are given crappy numbers to call, and the inside group gets the good numbers to call. I don’t think I made it through two shifts.
I have zero tolerance for that type of nonsense. Harassing old people for their social security, for supposed, necessary changes in government laws and regulations, that have what ultimate overall effect, who knows? I recall we were calling about a particular bill which would put limits on Predatory Loans, like Check Into Cash places. The thing was though the specific legislation had already been passed on, this was just openly admitted. A dead line, so now we were just using it for a front issue.
But there was something just so fundamentally awful, sitting there like that, calling up, saying the script. One guy effectively argued that he didn’t give a damn about dummies getting exploited by modern day loan sharks, and I couldn’t really tell him why his free choice perspective was necessarily wrong.
Anyway, like some many times before, I just sat down on it for a moment. Took the headset off. The Head Ponytail guy came to me, told me to keep calling, had to keep calling, dialing, that was thing. That was the job, phone ringing in the ear all the time, no matter what.
Some dusty, wrinkled foot scrapping across the carpet hoping its one of their Grand babies, but nope its me asking for a couple bucks. Guy tells me to get back on the shovel, I say no thanks I’ve had enough. Please come to the office. Great.
In office, now he’s trying to resell me. Asks why I wanted THIS job, probably looking to promote me, now that I’ve shown a bit of grit, I give some rap about wanting to be involved, thinking things are messed up, wanting a change. He asks me about inspiration, or a figure that I respect or whatever, and I had just read that book Long Walk to Freedom, so that’s what came up. And I remember him looking at me like duh, see fella, you proved my point perfectly. Nelson had to go thru the shit, so shouldn’t I go thru the shit, right now?
I told him yeah sure, but there’s different types of shit, and I don’t think Nelson would be into this sort of thing. He looked at me like I was dumb, and I probably am. Simple and stubborn. Yessir. I walked out after that meeting. Remember the rest of the workers following me out somehow, Ponytail must have let them have a break, but several of them wanted to exchange information with me, mentioned other groups I could get involved with. Sure, sure, I said, but that was it for me. Wasn’t my type of work at all, then and now, I would rather do something real, with my hands, something actually produced, then any sort of begging, though I am a Stay-At-Home Parent, so a certain amount of begging is perquisite in the end, i.e. the stone that the builder refuses, PSALM 118:22.
None the less, Mandela Effect examples have become dis-comfortingly plentiful. Several of the ones that make my skin crawl are, Queen’s We Are The Champions, doesn’t end with lovingly resolving “Of the World”, but now just sort of trails off, the Famous Line from Sleeping Beauty is not “Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest…” but is “Magic Mirror on the wall…”, in the Bible, Isaiah 11:6 now says “the wolf shall lay with lamb” when previously it had always been “the Lion shall lay down with the Lamb”, or the Sally Field shift from her gushing, “You like me, you really like me” to the now stunted “Right now, you like me, you really really like me”, or the famous line from Starwars “Luke, I am you’re Father” is never said and then the Zapruder film.
Now any number of these can be written off as remembering failures, but the ones I have listed gave me extra pause, because there is for me that distinct certainty of remembering all these the previous way. The Sally Fields one was a prehistoric meme, parodied on countless shows like Saturday Night Live, In Living Color and MadTV. The Wolf and Lamb, I recall the visual iconography I’ve grown up around, always depicting a kingly lion’s mane with a velvety kneed lamb. Queen! I would bet my life the song always trailed off, dat dat dat, of the world. But then the Zapruder film, I can go right back to that day a year ago, watching it at the Boyd St house. Everything else that was going on with the crazy election, Trump and Clinton, and my own percolating major decision and change, all that existential cross-roads anxiety, like two parallel future hung in the balance. And I hit that thread that said the Zapruder film had changed, and watched the new clip, the whole universe vibrated on its ontological axis.
The Zapruder film is a well-known historical document, a visual recording of the assassination of President Kennedy, shot by one Russian Jewish immigrant, garment worker from Manhattan, Dallas transplanted, 33 degree Scottish Rite Free-Mason, Abraham Zapruder. The film as it currently exists shocks me. I can’t believe what I am seeing. If you would have asked me to describe the film before. I would have told you it was black and white, shot on an old 8millimeter camera, shaky, spotty, the dustiness of the old film, it showed four people in the long coffin-like white? convertible, traveling down the road in Dallas, out of crowd filled walkways of Dealey Plaza. The Kennedys are in the back, Govenor Conally sits shotgun, in front of JFK and there’s a driver. It’s a shorter, an enhanced brevity, because of its subject, a moment gone by in a flash. A murder in the public square, history and reality on the crucible.
My first encounter with it was probably through the JFK film by Oliver Stone which came out in 1991. Later as my interest in these things grew, and with the resource of the internet, I’ve taken in all sort of media and information on the subject. Objectively, I have probably spent time more researching all this stuff then the average person. And, if I had been on a game show and was asked how many people were in JFKs car when he was assassinated, I would have taken a sigh of relief and answered without thinking, four. I can remember Kevin Costner so vividly, chopping up that grainy black and white Zapruder film, back and to the left, back and to the left, over and over.
What is the Zapruder film today? First, its in stunning, vivid technicolor. I couldn’t believe that, watching it a year ago. Had to be enhanced, updated, nope, high definition glossy resolution. It doesn’t make sense. Why does it look so clean? And then what? Six people in the black car? A whole middle seat and partition? But that doesn’t make sense? What about the magic bullet and all that? And then the terrifying moment, somehow more vulgar, and graphic then before, it’s like watching a whole new imagined version of the scene, maybe set for the big-screen. I can’t make sense of what I’m watching. This isn’t what happened. I remember I sent a bunch of texts that day, wife, mom, best buddy, hey no big deal, random question, but if you have to say gut level quick response, how many people rode with Kennedy that day in Dallas total, what would you guess? Fours, all around.
Now what do you do. That’s the look I get from my wife at this moment. I spent some time on the Mandela Effect, studying what others were saying, which is a lot suprisingly. It’s not a bunch of cranks speculating about it either. Its all wrapped up with CERN and other advanced technologies, computers, artificial intelligence, the internet itself. The flexibility, relativity of time, apparently, an infant source of quantum energy and intelligence sitting there on the other side waiting. A bunch of Science Fiction type sounding nonsense that is impossible to understand or believe, yet seems to smack of the truth. What the hell are they doing smashing atoms, and trying to surpass the speed of light and what ups with the funky rituals and symbols, and it was “of the world” goddammit!
I recognize and understand terms like confirmation bias, the idea that once you have a theory you’ll start subconsciously selecting information which supports your theory and ignore data that contradicts it. Rest assured, I read both sides of the issue, believers and debunkers. Last year though there was so much going on, and it was all very real. Now, the rest of this is even harder to articulate, but I started seeing a shift in the Goodness of the world itself, like slowly it feels like things are getting harder, meaner, darker.
Ugly, evil behavior has always been going on, but things have gotten sort of horror movie level as of late. For a decade plus, I have been an enthusiastic information gatherer, and I think this gives me an informed opinion on the subject, and things are much darker now then they were in the past. And its not just the ugliness of the news stories, its the reactions and acceptance of the general people, the fact that they’re used to it. And many would argue, and I would agree, that a lot of this is just the world itself, that things have gotten kind of mean and dark, with time. But I would argue, there’s an extra element in it, an abrupt shift to a meaner world.
I hate to keep using fictional examples, but they work if you’re following. I had gotten hooked on this TV series Fringe, which is a rare thing for me. I can’t usually get into television series. But this one had sort a spooky, SCI-FI vibe and story lines, and I was blown away by the parallels to our own world, or rather how the show seemed to be written by the same people, that were exploring the possibilities in the real world. Not to say they are the same, obviously not, but that everyone must be sipping from the same pool, material or otherwise. And I suspect its goes that deep, into what they call the collective unconscious, the ripples in the history emerge from the subconscious, and powers-that-be seek to manipulate and anticipate these matters, but to what level of efficacy, I have no idea.
There was something going on the last year, one of those fork in the road moments. I felt so much anxiety, with the election and the world. How to me everyone was being played, duped, manipulated. The self-censoring everyone has to do in this hot political climate. It was part of the reason for the move, a huge part. This Noah, prophetic like intuition that it was time to flee a sinking ship, time to zag. And I know this sounds crazy, magical thinking, and narcissistic, but I felt our decision to move averted some impending apocalypse, personal or worldly, I can quite distinguish, and its hard to disprove something like that, something so sollipistic, because Trump won and the world did keep moving as its apt to do. But as the year went on, it seemed to get meaner. I’ve felt this dynamic at play in my life, this feeling that personally, in my own space I could be happy, satisfied with the world, but that danger, pitfalls were waiting on the shadowing fringes of the world. No, not just waiting, hunting me, us.
And there has been some sort of uptick in the evil in the last year, I would argue. The city I left had a string of violent murders. Numerous national stories of violence and barbarity that just seemed to have an extra little something that just made me sick to my stomach. I won’t list them here, though I could, but the truth is I know you could probably make the list yourself, and its sort of beyond the point. Either you see it or you don’t.
I think it all gets twisted up with this theme, ideas that only get flushed out in Science Fiction. Specifically I’m thinking of Issac Asimov’s book The End of Eternity, and it applies to so much of human imagination and invention, the idea that if it can be done, it has been done. (BTW Field of Dreams is not “If you build it, they will come,” its “if you build it, HE will come,” which doesn’t really make sense because its a whole team of ball players, and the community show up. Even more, note how all the Mandela Effects are slight degenerations.) Specifically, with Time Travel, that if it is possible, then it is already done, because the persons in the future who discovered it, would be moving through time already, and that this would have produced these butterfly Mandela effects, small ripples and distortion in the whole thing, the great chain of being. And that as we advance towards this moment, we will accelerate in our resonance with it, speeding up the process, like one great Marco Polo game through time. And this is what that whole Age of Aquarius moment is about, this great pouring out of time, the dissolution of meaning and certainty. These are the terms we use today more frequently today to capture the ethic, truth of thing, all watery terms, flow, progress, fluidity.
Years ago I started an essay titled “The Thin Line Between Fact & Fiction”, the general idea was that we had reached a cultural, societal, tipping point where people spent more time in artificial/fictional realities then the “real world”, and that with this change, truth itself would become quite slippery, that Art and the Myth was now in control, so holy shit, watch out. I think that remains my point today. No one is concerned with “how the sausage” is made, yet more and more there is the inclination to make it yourself. In George Orwell’s 1984 the main character works at a job where he scripts the news, clipping and changing the details. The language and propaganda programs are effective at shaping the narrative, to the point where they can say anything is true or false. And no one can tell the truth. And though the material of this change is now digital, the realization of it back then makes Orwell prophetic, or inspired. Truth has become editable.