PETER KEATING AND THE FALSE GODS
by Jon Rappoport
May 15, 2012
“Once you realize the free individual can create with power, you’re immediately confronted with the question of how far that power can go. You’re dealing with assumptions of limit that have been plaguing the human race since the beginning. Remember, there is a vested interest behind every theory about restraining power.”
Jon Rappoport, The Magician Awakes (unpublished)
They come from every corner and stratum of life. Some use religion, some use economics, some use their own artificial sense of deprivation, some even use science. But they all want the same thing:
exoneration of lives lived in a sea of lies.
Most of all, they don’t want anyone to stand out from the group, the mass, the swamp, the collective. Because that presence of someone who is so separate from them could trigger alarm bells and confirm their deepest fear:
an individual with power and his own singular creative vision can exist.
They want you to believe you’re just a drop of water in the great ocean and once you attain higher consciousness you’ll give in and float in the sea, and you’ll offload that oh-so primitive concept of yourself as Self. You’ll be One with all the other undifferentiated drops of water.
Or, to put it another way, you’ll have a grand case of amnesia, narcosis.
So go ahead, join the club, join the Matrix. Membership is free. At first. Then you have to surrender up everything you have, everything you are, everything you could be.
In their ritual of joining, people present a sword on which is inscribed: I’M NOT VERY MUCH.
Just that little phrase can open the door into the Collective, can give you entrance into the Matrix of the common consensus.
In The Fountainhead (1943), architect Peter Keating swung that sword. And on the other side of it, there was a second matching inscription:
I AM GREAT BECAUSE OTHER PEOPLE THINK SO.
Keating, the social grasper, finds acceptance from people of influence. They welcome him and reward him with commissions because, well, they think they are supposed to; after all, his name has been bandied about by “those who should know Quality.”
It’s a world in which no standards apply except the opinions of people who carry weight.
And Peter is conventionally handsome, he’s the golden boy, he’s quick, he can design buildings that look like other buildings, he can work with others, he can look like he’s enjoying life, he’s good at parties, he’s congenial.
On what other basis should rewards be handed out? What else exists?
Unfortunately and fatally, Keating knows the real answer to that question, since he’s the boyhood friend of Howard Roark, the man who does have a singular vision, who stands beyond the crowd without trying.
Keating returns to Roark time after time; to insult Roark, to beg him for help, to be in the presence of a Force.
Not determined enough to be himself, still possessed of a shred of conscience, Keating is caught in the middle, between the man of vision and power (Roark) and new friends who offer him, Keating, “the glittering world”—and the grips of this vise are unrelenting.
Adulation, money, success, fame, acceptance…Keating is given all these things, and still he destroys himself.
Here is yet another reason The Fountainhead provoked such rage from the self-styled elite: they’re committed to live on an insider’s rotting feast of mutual admiration and support, and in Keating they see themselves reflected with a clarity they’d assumed was impossible to construct. But there it is.
The very people who launched attack after attack at Rand, for pawning off such preposterous characters as real, were boiling inside, as they viewed themselves on the screen of her imagination and in the pages of her novel.
How dare she claim that ideals exist beyond the automatic reach of the wealthy!
Money is proof of value, whether it is inherited, stolen, or coerced!
The avid socialist who owns six houses and a fleet of servants must have special knowledge of what the world needs, because he is rich!
Keating is eventually reduced to an abject yearning: would that his life had been lived differently, better—while at the same time he maintains a dedication to hating that life he might have had. He’s consumed by the contradiction. He sees his own career fall apart, while Roark’s ascends. The tables are turned. But beyond that, Keating has administered a poison to his own psyche, and the results are all too visibly repellent.
The Keatings of this world carry water for their masters, who in turn find bigger and better manipulators to serve. It’s a cacophony of madness, envy, and immolation posing as success.
The world does not want to watch itself through the eyes of Ayn Rand. It does not want to see the juggernaut of the drama playing out, because, as with Keating, it is too revealing. And yet Rand has been accused, over and over, of being an author of cartoon personae!
She elevates characters and destroys other characters. She picks and chooses according to her own standards and ideals. She never wavers. She passes judgment. She differentiates vividly between the forces and decisions that advance life and those that squash it.
Again and again, she comes back to the fulcrum: the collective versus the free individual; the featureless consensus versus unique creative power.
Creative power isn’t a shared or borrowed quality. One person doesn’t live in the shadow of another. The creator finds his own way, and if that weren’t the case, there would be no basis for life.
We are supposed to think existence by committee is a viable concept. This is a surpassing fairy tale that assumes the proportions of a cosmic joke.
And now, a sharp turn in the road…
WHAT ARE THE LIMITS OF INDIVIDUAL POWER?
The Matrix is every form and fashion and venue of mass consensus, extending from social relationships to the very primacy of the so-called laws of the space-time continuum. It is all hypnotic. It is all fiercely defended.
At the same time Rand was writing Atlas Shrugged, the New York painters known as Abstract Expressionists were watching their public fame diminish. These artists (whom Rand would have hated had she paid them any attention) were riverboat gamblers out on the edge, who declared in their own way that space was a malleable invention. They weren’t challenging physicists to a duel, but they were asserting a freedom that was unnerving to the rulers of the art world.
The amusing and absurd thing was, for centuries painters had known about space. They had experienced the effects of manufacturing it on the canvas. They understood a psychology of creation that was too extreme and heretical to voice. Sumerian artists and Egyptian artists and Greek artists and African artists and Persian artists understood it.
And if painters had experienced their own invention of space, what about architects, sculptors, choreographers, stage directors, conductors?
For a very long time, percolating under the surface of art, there has been a growing consciousness that The One Space and The One Time are fictions. We can detail The One and study it and generate workable equations and formulas about it, but that doesn’t make it supreme.
“Many worlds, not one.”
Who really wants to enter this discussion, though?
Well, I’ve been carrying on my side of it for some years now, and I claim that, for a fuller understanding of The Matrix, you need to engage this subject and pursue it wherever it leads.
The very same dedication to, and acceptance of, the elite that Peter Keating lived for is applicable to the elite One Space and One Time formulation of this universe. The mindless cocktail parties at which Keating worked the room and made new friends is, to a startling degree, the chatter and movement of chunks of matter in outer space, in whose presence we seek some strange sort of redemption.
“We worship The One Space and The One Time of the Universe. All hail!”
Whereas the free individual with power can and does exceed those space-time walls.
The free individual with power who creates is working with forces that go beyond the Continuum. His own forces.
The hypnotic apparatus that weaves itself into the Matrix is there to convince us that all human creation takes places inside this Continuum.
We have been led to believe that, if individuals can create spaces and times and energies that are beyond this Continuum, we will be forced to accept some hazy mystical explanation for it. We’ll be back in times of gross superstition.
That belief is incorrect. It stems from fundamental misconceptions about what the individual is, as distinct from the group, and how distinct from the group the individual can actually become.
Not as a cold lifeless being, but as a dynamic powerhouse pursuing his creative goals.
The truth, if we could see it that way, is that such individuals gain a new relationship to the world. They bring energy to it, they bring innovative ideas and inventions and new startling kinds of beauty. Not because they are in thrall to humanity, not because they feel compelled to serve, not because they need to satisfy others, but because in the natural course of things, what they invent spills over its borders and ignites the imaginations of those ready and able to respond.
The myth of Prometheus, who stole fire from the gods, was mollified to make it acceptable to the citizenry. In fact, he committed this act because it fulfilled him, and incidentally the energy/fire he brought back to Earth benefited others. Much later, that myth was further distorted to turn Prometheus into Lucifer, the light-bearer, who broke the pact with God and thus became Devil, the personification of evil. The Lucifer story was told and promoted to build a false puerile ceiling on individual power.
There is no ceiling.
The author of an explosive new collection, THE MATRIX REVEALED, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world.