Marshall is on the trail of the plot. Next stop: the long-awaited interview with Ted Harmel. Yet again, he’s driving on backroads out into the countryside. Thankfully, this time the drive only lasts two paragraphs. Harmel, never one to be overly trusting, leads Marshall deep into the woods before they can talk, and makes him swear that they never had this talk at all.
“As far as the molesting of Marla Jarred, Adam Jarred’s girl — that was a bizarre set-up. I don’t know who coached her, or how, but somebody got that girl to say all the right words to the police. I do find it significant that the whole matter was settled so quietly. What I was supposed to have done is a felony; you don’t just settle a thing like that quietly.”
My earlier objections actually addressed! Glory be.
“Why did it happen, Ted? What did you do to bring it on yourself?”
Not only has Ted gone from pedophile molester to victim of a conspiracy in ten seconds flat based on nothing but his own testimony, but now we’re engaging in victim-blaming. If he was framed, he’s a victim, and now suddenly that makes it his own fault? lolwut?
“They’re working toward what they call a Universal Mind, the concept that sooner or later all the inhabitants of the world will make a giant evolutionary leap and meld into one global bain, one transcending consciousness.”
Lolwut? Evolution doesn’t work that way.
“The whole idea is built around occult ideas, Eastern mysticism, cosmic consciousness. That’s why they meditate and do psychic readings and try to meld their minds together. . . […] Every person who joins this network goes through a certain initiation process. They meet with Juleen [Langstrat] and learn to achieve altered states of consciousness, psychic powers, out-of-body experiences. […]”
“You said something about. . . melding your minds together?”
“ESP, telepathy, whatever. Your thoughts are not your own, and neither is your life. “
Okay, another round of spiritual amalgamation.
The Universal Mind belongs strictly to New Age traditions, not eastern mysticism. Generally it’s not like a Borg hive-mind thing; it’s more connected to the idea of the collective unconscious, in which we as a race share certain universal experiences. The universal mind basically is a store of knowledge we, as human beings, can tap into using certain spiritual techniques (including, sometimes, meditation or Peyote usage); it has been suggested that this higher power is what humans label “God”. It’s also basically a harmless belief. Nobody goes around mind-raping people in the name of the Universal Mind.
Occult is a term that originally referred to hidden knowledge; it’s come to be associated with the supernatural, but it basically means “secretive supernatural/religious knowledge/practices”. So in this sense, it seems to be used correctly for once: they’re decidedly secretive and concerned with belief in the supernatural.
Eastern mysticism I covered last week.
Cosmic Consciousness is the belief that every conscious being is linked together spiritually. It’s the belief that we are all one, ala Lion King 2. Again, this stuff is not nearly as terrifying and horror-movie-monster-esque once you take a few minutes to research it. It might be a bit out there for people who have only been exposed to Christianity, sure, but it’s nothing to be afraid of.
Meditation I covered last week.
Psychic Readings are basically divination. It’s an umbrella term covering many different types of divination, including stuff as mainstream and tame as the horoscopes in the newspaper and palm reading. I suspect he’s thinking more along the lines of tarot and rune reading here than horoscopes, but it’s kind of amusing to picture this guy railing against the Clarion for being possessed by demons in printing horoscopes.
Altered States of Consciousness is basically any time you’re not 100% awake and in control. This includes being asleep, being drunk, having a fever, being sleep deprived, having certian kinds of epileptic seizures, or being high. Incidentally, it can also include the states people go into when they speak in tongues, go into raptures, are “taken up by the holy spirit” or “falling out”, or have a vision from God.
Psychic powers is too ill-defined to really give information on. It’s mind-reading and telekinesis and pyrokinesis and whatever other powers you want to lump into that category.
Out of Body Experiences is another umbrella term; it can mean, like I suspect the author was going for, astral travel or clairvoyance, but it can also include near-death experiences (the whole “tunnel with the light of heaven at the end” thing).
ESP is another umbrella term. It literally means perception that comes from somewhere other than your senses (extra-sensory). Intuition, hunches, and yes, visions from angels/God all fall into this category. So does our next term, telepathy, or mind-reading. I don’t know of any spiritual belief systems that practice ESP and telepathy as part of their religious practices. A lot of neopagan traditions include altered consciousness and astral travel, but ESP and telepathy are more the realms of psuedoscience than religion.
Incidentally, don’t a lot of Christians believe that “your life is not your own”? Hell, doesn’t this book indicate it strongly, given the presence of spiritual entities manipulating humans? Apparently the right answer is “Your life is not your own, it belongs to Jesus”.
I love this line to death:
“It’s spiritual, Hogan. It doesn’t listen to reason, or to the law, or to any set of morals but its own.”
Jesus christ the next few pages have even more terms to explore. Skipping that, we get a little information on who the network controls:
- the mayor’s office
- the town council
- the county land commissioner
- the president of the Independent Bank
- the county comptroller
- the board of regents at the college
- the district judge
So yeah, vast conspiracy.