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II. “Agent Smith Syndrome” or “No Exit” OR: “Everything is permitted, nothing is real.” (Continued from this post.)

According to the apocalyptic storyline which my friends and I had concocted – a shared movie storyline in which we (of course) had cast ourselves as the heroes – the dawn of the Aquarian Age after the turn of the Millennium would signal a return of the Holy Grail, since the symbol of Aquarius is a person pouring water from a cup or some other vessel. I was certain that this would be the deciding factor which would turn the tide of the battle in the “good guys’” favor. Of course the “bad guys” would try to keep it from being found, or would try to keep it for themselves.

Looking back, it was easy to see that part of the reason for this shared mythos was that it allowed us to transition into mundane adult life and function as “grown ups” without fully giving up our belief in magic, and the idea that there was more to existence than selling our labor, punching a time clock, and collecting a paycheck.

We weren’t sold on the idea of selling out, becoming 9 to 5 wage slaves, eventually having kids, buying a minivan, and moving to the suburbs. In short, it was a way of rebelling against the stability that we felt our Baby Boomer parents had betrayed their radical youthful ideals and dreams to achieve.

This was primarily happening for us during and after Bill Clinton’s re-election, when most of us were in our early twenties and going to college, working entry-level retail jobs, service jobs, or tech support jobs during a time when it was still taken for granted that a person could “work their way up the ladder” to economic prosperity. None of us were aware then that few of us or our Millennial kid siblings would even get a shot at the kind of stability and prosperity that our parents’ generation got to enjoy, anyway.

But we all felt that something was coming. The idea that some sort of cataclysmic event would occur right around the year 2000 weighed on the collective subconscious. You could feel it. We just had no idea that it would take the shape of the Dotcom Bust and a massive terrorist attack in New York city in 2001, followed by nearly a decade of war, and exacerbated by a financial crash in 2007 and 2008. We were thinking it would be way more fantastical and esoteric than that.

X Files and the film Independence Day had people watching the skies for Zeta Reticulan invaders. David Icke railed against the Reptilians that he claimed controlled society at every level. We’d watched the ATF stakeout, and eventually the botched raid, on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco on our TV sets in 1993, and seen the pictures of the creepy scene of the shrouded bodies in their Nike sneakers when the Heaven’s Gate cult committed mass suicide in 1997. And all of it fed back into the shared mythos of our peer group.

As I mentioned before, we were awash in conspiracy theories and a deluge of movies with apocalyptic themes, as well as the new age, religious, and occult literature which had become available to us as we graduated high school, got jobs, and started to investigate different belief systems. We appropriated ideas from everything we saw or read: from adaptions of ancient texts, to science fiction and fantasy novels, and comic books.

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