Mark Romel

Peer into the Shew-Stone.

This is that most unusual of things … a philosophical and spiritual novel, a katabasis and nekyia, venturing into the Land of the Dead, into the accursed world, into Capernaum. This is an exploration of Pandemonium, the city of all the demons. This is a journey to the magical Mistletoe world of Doggerland, the once and future realm. It is a Red Book, a chronicle of a descent into madness. It dispenses with many novelistic conventions in order to reach the heart of darkness.

The Mistletoe Murders is a psychological and philosophical murder mystery drawing upon the great Arthurian tales, cast in a Nietzschean light.

Heaven is on the far side of hell. To get there, you must travel through your nightmares. You must confront the profoundest archetypes. Those we have chosen are those of the world of King Arthur.

Come and meet Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, Merlin, Nimue, the Black Knight, the Green Knight, Mordred, the Fisher King, and many others. Venture into Camelot and the Grail Castle and find the Holy Grail. But you must endure the Wasteland - the end of hope - before you have any prospect of encountering

the Grail.

You must travel through the barren land to lift the curse that has brought universal misery. Only the hero can succeed. Only the hero can confront and

overcome the physical and spiritual wounds that are infecting everything.

All heroes must cross the threshold. They must leave the ordinary world and travel to the extraordinary world, where they will risk it all. They must leave this world for the Otherworld.

What price will you pay? Would you risk it all to win it all?

This is not a whodunnit, whatdunnit or howdunnit. It's a whydunnit. It's food for the brain. As Sherlock Holmes said, "I cannot live without brain-work. What else is there to live for?"

The Seer of Unreality: The Hyperreality Wars

You feel compelled. To do what? To bridge the gap. What gap? The Information Gap. You need to know why the world seems increasingly unreal. You need to know why the reality principle is fading before your eyes.

What will human beings do when they realize they are in the Matrix, but there is no red pill to let them out? We stand on the verge of the ultimate wars of the human race - the Unreality Wars, the Hyperreality Wars. These wars constitute the true Apocalypse. They are the wars to wipe out truth and meaning once and for all. As Baudrillard said, "We live in a world where there is more and more information, and less and less meaning."

We will drown in data and be starved of purpose. The dawn of Nihilism is here. Social media is its Church and "influencers" are its prophets. In the Age of PewDiePie and the Kardashians, no one can hear you scream.


The Cosmic Jest: The Joke's On Us

"DC: Washington is being taken over by DC: Comics." - Salman Rushdie

The world is increasingly understood as a comic story, involving superheroes and supervillains. Confusingly, they are often one and the same. Donald Trump is the superhero for conservatives and the supervillain for liberals. Heroes and villains are now shapeshifters. They no longer reflect a common narrative. Their heroism or villainy depends on where you stand in the culture wars.

Next time you go to watch a superhero movie, imagine what it would be like if the superhero kept "flickering" into his opposite - the supervillain. Would you be able to follow the story? Whom would you be rooting for? Wouldn't the plot be all over the place? You wouldn't understand anyone's motivation. The story would be pure chaos.

Or imagine you were in a cinema where half of the audience were booing and hissing one character while the other half were cheering and applauding the same character.

What happens when one group of people worship the Devil and call him God, while everyone else just calls him the Devil? That's what Abrahamism is all about. The Gnostics said that Jehovah was the Demiurge (aka Satan).

A conventional narrative is not meant to be like a sports event. You are not meant to have two sets of supporters rooting for different characters, and having opposite views of heroism and villainy.

Why do so many people love superhero movies? It's because superheroes can resolve problems, evidently what no one can do in real life. Superheroes are the human fantasy of bringing the worldwide mess to an end. They are the new generation of the old gods.

Humanity now has a comic-book mentality, with a comic-book understanding of reality, revolving around bizarre conspiracies and aliens. Many right wingers believe that shapeshifting, pan-dimensional, extraterrestrial lizards are running the world! Is that a comic-book idea, or something that reflects reality? Isn't it incredible that billions of people now seem genuinely unsure of the answer?

Salman Rushdie said, "We are being ruled by grotesques." We certainly are. Politicians are monstrous caricatures. They are not real people. One reason why Donald Trump won the Republican presidential nomination was that his rivals actually seemed like robots. They were so constrained by fear of saying the wrong thing that they could barely say anything at all. At no time were they authentic. Their humanity disappeared and they became machines. Trump, by contrast, reveled in saying the "wrong" thing, and did so with so much glee and enthusiasm that he seemed exactly the same as his rancid, deplorable base, who therefore flocked to him as if he were the Messiah.

People now exist in a permanent state of cognitive dissonance because they are permanently presented with two opposite narratives, which make sense of reality in opposite ways. People try to reduce the cognitive dissonance by hanging out only with their own kind, their own tribe. They seek out the echo chamber of their own beliefs. They wallow in "indignation porn". Being indignant turns them on.

Who's laughing now?

Mad World: The Seduction of Insanity by [Romel, Mark]

Mad World: The Seduction of Insanity 

"Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness." - Blaise Pascal

Crazy people get locked up. Their madness is easy to detect. They have drastically disordered thoughts. It's as if their dream content is leaking into their daytime reality. They don't make sense. They can't keep it together. They're incoherent. They can't interact meaningfully with others. They have lost touch with reality.

But what if there's a second kind of madness, a much more subtle and dangerous kind that goes unnoticed? In this version of madness, people have ordered thoughts, indeed often highly ordered. They make sense. They keep it together. They can meaningfully interact with others, often brilliantly, and they seem completely in touch with reality. What's not to like? Not one of them is locked up. Far from it. In fact, some of them are running our world.

The problem is that these people believe and repeat stories that cannot possibly be true … above all, the stories of religion. They base their entire lives on plainly wrong ideas.

Humanity is shaped by falsehood, by absurdity, which is why humanity has so many difficulties, and so many people are so discontented and dissatisfied with their lives.

Human thinking is fatally entangled with ersatz truths, faux truths, simulated truths, fake truths, human truths, story truths. Humans subscribe to word-based stories. Reality, however, operates according to number-based non-stories. In that dichotomy lies the human condition, the human-all-too-human struggle to understand existence. It is literally impossible for humanity to grasp the Truth via words (stories, opinions, beliefs, religions) rather than numbers (reason and logic).

Perception is what passes for reality. For humanity, story is perceived to be reality. But, of course, story isn't reality. Story is story. The human tragedy is that humanity has insisted on regarding stories as truths. Humanity cannot evolve until it recognizes stories as fiction, and numbers (non-stories) as facts. Humanity hates mathematics because there's no story there.

Here's the central human problem: humans think narratively, but the world isn't a narrative. The world is a calculation. It's math, not story.

According to the Bible, God made the world in six days and rested on the seventh (the classic narrative). According to Pythagoras, all things are numbers and number rules all (the classic non-narrative). Who's right?

The False Awakeners: Illusory Enlightenment by [Romel, Mark]

The False Awakeners: Illusory Enlightenment

False Awakening: A convincing dream about awakening from sleep, when in reality you are still asleep.

Wake up!

What is the most sinister world you can imagine, the worst of all possible worlds? It's the one where all of the people are endarkened but believe themselves enlightened. None of them wants to change because they think they are perfect. They exist forever in this benighted condition, doing nothing to discover the Truth of reality, to find the answers to existence, to see the real light rather than the fake light.

Our world is full of the fake enlightened, the phony awakened, the fraudulent "lightworkers". The so-called light they perceive is "darkness visible", i.e. Satanic light, the light of hell.

Everywhere, you will find the false awakened, those aggressively proclaiming falsehoods as truths. These are the Shadow people who live as prisoners in Plato's cave of shadows and cannot imagine the true world of light and freedom outside. Wikipedia says, "[Plato describes] a group of people who have lived chained to the wall of a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall from objects passing in front of a fire behind them, and give names to these shadows. The shadows are the prisoners' reality. Plato explains how the philosopher is like a prisoner who is freed from the cave and comes to understand that the shadows on the wall are not reality at all, for he can perceive the true form of reality rather than the manufactured reality that is the shadows seen by the prisoners. The inmates of this place do not even desire to leave their prison; for they know no better life."

Are you inside the cave? Are you one of the deluded prisoners? Do you jeer at those who have left the cave, those brave individuals who ventured into the real world and returned with true knowledge?

Nothing is more dangerous than a false awakening. The world is full of legions of the falsely awakened, of endarkened zombies. They are still asleep, still inside the cave, and merely dreaming that they have seen the light.

Wake up!

Identity and Lifestyle: The Forces That Drive the World by [Romel, Mark]

Identity and Lifestyle: The Forces That Drive the World 

You build your lifestyle around your identity. Your identity is your fate. You are what you do, and you do what you do because of your identity. What you do constitutes your lifestyle. Most people are so busy with their lifestyle that they fail to consider whether or not their lifestyle is helping them or hindering them. You optimize yourself through having an optimal lifestyle, but how do you decide what lifestyle is best? Most people drift into lazy, easy, convenient lifestyles - acceptable to their peer group - that guarantee they will fail in life.

Changing your lifestyle involves changing your identity, and that is the most difficult thing possible for all average people. They just don't have the will, courage or determination. Most fat people who go on diets end up putting on weight over the longer term. They haven't changed their fat identity, their fat lifestyle. They have just made token gestures that soon dissipate. After a temporary alteration to their habits, they soon revert to normal service, to business as usual. Their will to change has exhausted itself.

It's lifestyle rather than ideology that changes the world. The lifestyle is the medium for all ideas, and the medium is the message.

We are not in a world of clashing cultures and civilizations, but in a world of clashing identities and lifestyles. Any Reformer has to deal with these before doing anything else. The Reformer must create a new identity and lifestyle that seduces the masses, or he must disrupt all mechanisms for perpetuating existing identities and lifestyles. As Nietzsche said, he who would be a Creator must first be a Destroyer. He must bring to an end old values. He must revalue everything.

How many people are ready for the revaluation of all values? This entails the replacement of all existing identities and lifestyles.

Don't bother talking about changing the world unless you are in the business of destroying old identities and lifestyles, and creating brand new ones. As soon as you try to change a person's "sacred" identity, you are at war with them. People never change identity voluntarily. Are you ready for the mother of all wars?

Unreal City: The Strange Disappearance of Reality by [Romel, Mark]

Unreal City: The Strange Disappearance of Reality

It's finally happening. Reality is disintegrating. The Age of Nihilism is dawning. Fake news, post-truth, post-facts, alternative facts, "everyone has their own truth", the Dunning-Kruger effect, Mythos, hyperreality, hyporeality, virtual reality, virtual irreality, simulation, simulacra, the copy without the original, the map that precedes the territory, the authentic fake. Whom will you believe? Whom will you trust? Who is telling the truth? Who is lying to you?

It's time to explore the Unreal city, the Unreal world. Soon enough, humanity itself will be Unreal.

The Rigged Race of Life by [Romel, Mark]

The Rigged Race of Life

It takes a fool to participate in a race he cannot win, a race which he is guaranteed to lose. The race of life is designed to ensure you fail ... unless you belong to the privileged elite. This is a race in which it is not the fastest runners who win, but those who, thanks to inheritance, are brazenly, arrogantly and obnoxiously placed right in front of the finishing line. They need only take a step to win. They could fall over and still win. It takes a fool all right to support this mad game, and that's exactly what the system produces: fools in their countless legions, all of whom believe themselves inside dopesters who know it all. They are the foot soldiers of the Dumbocracy, the Idiocracy, the Moronarchy. They are all slavish followers of Freedumb.

You have to hand it to them. The 1% have done an astounding job of controlling the 99% and making the masses bow to them and serve them at all times. The 99% dream of being the 1%. That's their ultimate aspiration. That's the "American Dream". Those who dream of being part of the rich elite will never revolt against the rich elite, even when that's the only way to free themselves. Tellingly, Herbert Marcuse wrote, "At the highest stage of capitalism, the most necessary revolution appears as the most unlikely one."

The 1% have constructed an entirely false consciousness in the masses. They have made the masses adopt the 1%'s values and outlook, and thus the 99% have no real desire to get rid of the 1%. If they did, the 1% would already be gone.

And so the 99% will keep on losing in the rigged race of life, and keep blaming everyone other than those who have rigged the race … the 1%.

Social Capitalism: Against Mammonism by [Romel, Mark]

Social Capitalism: Against Mammonism

"Ye cannot serve God and Mammon." - Matthew 6:24

What is Mammon? It's the demon or devil of wealth and materialism, opposed to spirituality and "holy poverty". Or it's wealth itself, regarded as a false idol of worship and devotion, as an evil, seductive and debasing influence. The Cave of Mammon is the abode of the deity of wealth, full of the most desirable objects in the world, all the wealth that anyone could want.

Mammon can corrupt anyone, even the Muses, the goddesses of the arts. Poor artists are vain and can be bought. It's easy. Everyone has their price. Mammon knows each person's "number", the price for which they will sell their soul.

Matthew (6:24) was wrong. You can serve God and Mammon, if Mammon IS your God, which he invariably is.

There's no evidence that the average person in the West pays much attention to God if "God" differs from Mammon. Mammon is altogether different. Average people are consumed by Mammon. He's never out of their thoughts. They go to sleep thinking about him, and wake up ready to do his bidding. He shapes them, he defines them. He's their first cause, their efficient cause, their final cause. He's their motivation, their purpose, what they labor for and aspire to. The American Dream is the Dream of Mammon.

Wouldn't you like to live in a different world, one not ruled by Mammon? It's time to shut down Mammon's power.

This book is directed against the economic platform of Mammonism, namely predatory free-market capitalism, the basis of globalization. How can capitalism be tamed? How can it serve the people rather than rapacious, psychopathic elites?

This is a book about social capitalism rather than the anti-social capitalism that currently prevails. The job of social capitalism is to give everyone in the system a fair deal and an equal opportunity to succeed.

En route, the controversial topic of left wing Nazism is explored. What if, on the Night of the Long Knives, the Nazi left wing had eradicated Hitler and the Nazi right wing, rather than the other way around? How much would history have changed? Would the Nazis have gradually dropped their nationalism and racism and evolved into a movement resembling the radical left wing Jacobins of the French Revolution?

The predatory capitalists - the 1%, the super rich elite, the Ownership Class - will do anything to prevent social capitalism from succeeding. They are the Mammonists. They are the enemies of humanity. When will the world call time on their reign of error?

The Wasteland: America's Search for Redemption by [Romel, Mark]

The Wasteland: America's Search for Redemption 

Imagine the Spirit of America as the Fisher King - the Maimed King - of the medieval Arthurian romances. The King is charged with preserving the Holy Grail (American greatness). But the King has been wounded in the genitals and rendered impotent. The power of the Grail is the only thing that keeps him alive. He cannot move. He is unable to perform his tasks. His kingdom suffers just as he does. His impotence stretches across all the land, affecting its fertility, devastating it and turning it into a barren wasteland. The Wounded King reigns over a cursed land.

Is that not America today? It is a divided, bitter, angry land, full of warring factions. It has no unity. It does not know which direction to go in. It has lost its way. It no longer knows the path.

The King has to wait for someone to save him, to heal him. Only the chosen can accomplish the feat.

The Wasteland reflects the symbolism of a cursed, desolate land in need of a hero to lift the curse and allow the land to prosper and grow again. Only the hero can restore the land to its old glory.

In the Arthurian tales, the great knight Percival comes to the majestic Grail Castle. Every night, a magnificent Feast is held, and a solemn procession takes place through the castle's grand dining hall, in which various hallowed objects, including the Holy Grail, are displayed.

Every morning, Percival wakes to find the castle in ruins, and deserted. No one else is there. But every night everything returns to its pristine perfection, and the castle is full of people. Such is the magic of the Grail Castle.

Percival learns that it is his own failure to ask about the mysterious Grail procession which ensures that the Fisher King's wound remains unhealed, and the country stays as a wasteland. Percival should have asked the simple question, "Whom does the Grail serve?"

What is the big question Americans have failed to ask? Every American needs to ask, "Whom does America serve?"

Does America exist for the glorification of its private elite (the 1%), or is it there to give the people (the 99%) the best possible, most fulfilled and optimized lives, with the greatest number of opportunities open to them? Do hard work and talent take you far in America, or is it all about who you know rather than what you know? Do doors open only to the privileged elite with access-all-areas golden passes?

No genius needs to spend much time looking at today's America to reach the inescapable conclusion that America's sole purpose is to enrich the 1% and allow them to enjoy extravagant, luxurious lifestyles beyond the dreams of kings. One of the 1% now sits in the White House itself (America's Grail Castle, which is supposed to protect the national soul). All power has been transferred from democracy (people power) to plutocracy (the power of the rich elite).

America has suffered a coup d'état, and is so blind, so brainwashed, so under the thumb of the elite, it hasn't even noticed.

Abraham Lincoln defined democracy as government of the people, by the people, for the people.

America is in fact a cynical, sinister plutocracy constantly manipulating the people. It's government of the people, by the plutocrats, for the plutocrats.

America is a Wasteland for its people. The rich elite - the 1% - are the wound that afflicts the nation and curses it. Only the plutocrats prosper in America. Only they have great and glittering opportunities. Everyone else is left to fester and rot.

The masses are supposed to spend their whole lives fantasizing about success, about the "American Dream". As George Carlin wryly said, "It's called the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it."

Where are the American heroes, the noble knights, to heal the dreadful wound in the American psyche and make America the great land it ought to be? Who will bring America to redemption?

Strange World: Why People Are Getting Weirder by [Romel, Mark]

Strange World: Why People Are Getting Weirder

This is a very strange world, and getting stranger all the time. Actually, it's not the "world" that's getting stranger, it's people. Their minds are full of the most bizarre ideas. People's beliefs are becoming weirder and weirder by the day. Everyone believes their own propaganda. No one accepts the Truth. Everyone makes up their own truth, based on their own opinions, beliefs, experiences and feelings. It's illiberal - politically incorrect - to tell people they are wrong. It flies in the face of multiculturalism. It seems authoritarian and fascist. It seems to contradict free speech since if you tell people they are wrong, you are implying you want them to stop speaking. And so you do. As Pythagoras said, "Be silent, or say something better than silence."

We live in a world where every idiot must be permitted to ventilate as much as they like. Trolling is regarded as a First Amendment right.

We live in an anti-meritocratic world. People without merit shout the loudest, and command most attention. They drown out all people of merit. They drown out the Truth. Social media now gives them endless opportunities, indeed a global pulpit from which to preach their demented views. In the past, gatekeepers stood in their way. Now, technology has blasted the sentries out of the way.

It once seemed that nothing could be better than demolishing the power of the gatekeepers, who invariably worked for the elite and curated the interests of the ruling establishment, thus oppressing the people. However, the law of unintended consequences has kicked in with a vengeance. The hope was that new, smart voices that had been deliberately silenced and marginalized by the gatekeepers would now be heard. Instead, the loss of the gatekeepers has opened the floodgates to all voices, without rhyme or reason. Now we are inundated by a mindless, hateful babble, a kind of existential scream of the Idiot, of the eternal Dunce. We live in the Dunciad, the world of fools. The Troll has been let off the leash. Everything that is worst in human nature has been released. Pandora's Box has been opened, and every evil has flown out, free at last. Quality has been destroyed. Standards no longer exist.

The world consists of tribes of thugs hysterically screaming at each other and threatening each other. No one ever backs down. No one ever changes their mind. People look for the fake news that supports their cause, and reject the fake news that doesn't. Fake news you agree with is true. True news you disagree with is fake. That's the Trump Doctrine.

What a world! And don't expect any cure. All the indicators are pointing downwards. Things will get a hell of a lot worse. The strangeness has barely begun. Donald Trump is about to let the world know exactly how weird America has become.

God help us all … well, apart from the fact that "God" was humanity's first version of fake news. Humanity's assault on the Truth began with religion. The philosophers of ancient Greece were the first supporters of the Truth. But no one pays any attention to philosophers. Philosophers love wisdom. No one else does. The baying mob are enthralled by Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.

Thank you, America. God Bless America, as the politicians insist on saying. Is God a Republican AND a Democrat? He must be if both political parties seek his blessing. What was it the Reverend Jeremiah Wright said? Oh yes … "God Damn America!" Even most Americans will say Amen to that as long as the shadow of Trumpism falls over the nation.

The lamps are going out all over America. We shall not see them lit again in our lifetime. Or until Trump's gone.

Theresa May: The Bankruptcy of British Politics by [Romel, Mark]

Theresa May: The Bankruptcy of British Politics

Everyone can see the signs. The British political class have failed to understand reality, and their Reign of Error will soon be over. New voices will emerge and replace the decrepit, bankrupt system that has dutifully served the British establishment for as long as anyone can remember.

Veteran political commentators openly confess they can no longer predict what will happen next, in which case they are irrelevant, inept, and useless. They ought to resign. Who needs dinosaurs to tell us about mammals?

Opinion polls are less and less reliable. They failed to predict the result of the 2015 general election, they failed to predict Brexit, they failed to reflect the rise of Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.

In 2008, 99% of professional economists failed to predict the financial meltdown. If 99% of astronomers failed to predict an eclipse, their subject would be renamed astrology. Thomas Carlyle coined the phrase "dismal science" to describe economics. Carlyle was wrong. Economics is not a science at all. Economics has more in common with fairytales, and, indeed, astrology. During the Brexit campaign, the Brexiteers openly mocked "experts", dismissed every projection they made, and highlighted that the predictions made by all economic models never intersect with reality. Is there any such thing as an expert economist? Where is the unblemished predictive record of any economist, especially those with the big reputations and the Nobel Prizes?

No one in power has the vaguest clue what is going on. How can a leader lead if he doesn't understand the world? We might as well choose chimpanzees to rule us, or pick leaders at random if there is no requirement to have genuinely and demonstrably knowledgeable people in charge.

In The Emperor's New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen, two cunning weavers provided the emperor with the most magnificent new suit of clothes ever. Unfortunately, there was a catch. Their exquisite beauty was invisible to everyone unfit for their positions, i.e. all stupid, incompetent and tasteless people.

When the Emperor duly paraded before his subjects in his new finery, no one dared to admit that he was stark naked. After all, the fault lay with them and not with the wondrous work of the weavers. It took a child - someone who wasn't part of the foolish games of adults - to see through the charade, and shout out, "But he isn't wearing anything at all!" Only then did the laughter begin. In Britain, we are still stuck at the liminal moment before the boy shouted out. We are seeing things that aren't there. We still imagine that our leaders are fully clothed and know what they're doing. But any second now, that child's voice will ring out and change everything. Our vision will clear and we will all see stark reality.

To show how absurd today's politics has become, it's useful to conduct an exercise that ought to be performed every year: a line by line dissection of the prime minister's speech at her party conference where she justifies what she did in the last year, and gives a vision of what she will do in the coming year.

In a democracy, every citizen has the absolute right to quote and challenge every statement made by the prime minister of the country given that all of us are affected by the thoughts and beliefs of that person.

This is a deconstruction of Theresa May's monstrous speech at the Tory Party Conference in 2016 where she masqueraded as a meritocrat despite being the leader of the party that supports an anti-meritocratic monarch as the head of state, an anti-meritocratic private education system (where all that matters is the wealth of your parents), and anti-meritocratic, rentier capitalism where those who have the most assets run and own the country despite not doing a single stroke of meritorious work.

Let's see if May has a coherent plan, or if she just strings sentences together and hopes no one will notice that she is politically naked and clueless.

© Castalia