Society as the Manson Family


Society loves its self-fulfilling prophecies. People would rather be right than perform a diagnostic of any consequence. Like Charlie Manson, young and wonder-eyed, reading meanings into the fabric of pop songs, we have the information, but for whatever reason, whether temperament, too much sugar, bad wiring, that fine line that oscillates between sexual repression and excessive porn, we jumble it up into configurations which ultimately feed the delusions that give us a sensation of power and mastery over others and over reality.

  Democracy, consumerism, materialism, bureaucracy... these all harbor perpetual wars within them, building violence into the very fabric of all our social interactions.

  It is remarkable to note how often apologists of Manson's crimes rattle off the same sentiments one hears about the president of the country: he was not a direct actor; he was caught up in a system bigger than himself, he is not necessarily responsible for the people he represents etc. There is some truth to this... As above, so below. A system which thrives off of the antagonism between opposing groups from the top down is going to produce mirror values from the bottom up. In a culture in which grievance is the very perpetual engine of how we make decisions, the west is always going to end up with the odd Manson family, the odd Jonestown and Waco, the odd cult, commune, compound, church or sports organization which specializes in preying on the fears and privations off the disenfranchised and disturbed. When you look into the eyes of Charlie Manson, you see the fevered insanity, in all of its lucidity, which reveals itself in our world as an ever-present hallucination.

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