Untimely Observations

Under the Nihil


Synchronicity—the inexplicable simultaneous occurrence of remarkably similar events with no seemingly common causal denominator—undoubtedly takes place more often than one would suspect. What we make of such cosmic parallels, whether we shrug them off as random and coincidental or view them as portentous and deeply significant, depends largely upon our philosophical orientation.

While Catholic in belief and practice, I remain implacably agnostic in orientation. I never know for sure just what to think of alleged signs, portents, and prophecies indicating that man stands at the precipice of apocalypse. Things are bad; things are dire; “things fall apart; the center cannot hold,” and Doomsday must be near, or so the case is often made. But… truth be told, haven’t things always been “bad”? Haven’t soothsayers long predicted one species of Armageddon or another? And yet at the same time, haven’t skeptics of all stripes long pointed to the fact that Armageddon didn’t happen in the past, despite the dire warnings of the prophets, to indicate that it probably won’t happen in the near future, either?

Yet the end must surely come eventually. After all, the precept “All that lives must die” applies not just to individuals, but to civilizations as well. So temporal synchonicities must have some meaning and significance, but what, exactly? And is it ever really possible to know for sure?




I am moved to ask these questions because I find myself baffled by my latest brush with synchronicity, in which to all appearances the cart has been placed in front of the horse; the effect has manifested itself before, rather than after, its apparent cause.

Earlier this year, I published my second novel with Counter-Currents, entitled Under the Nihil, which is in many ways a thematic follow-up to 2011’s The Columbine Pilgrim. In this novel, the unnamed first-person narrator endures a horrifying psychic and spiritual breakdown. He survives, but his soul is in tatters.

At this vulnerable point, whilst sprawled out in his hospital bed, the narrator is visited by a mysterious and rather dapper stranger who claims to represent a top-secret arm of the U.S. government. “Mr. X” has flamboyantly coiffed hair, a patrician Kennedy-esque brogue, and a smiling, self-assured, somewhat patronizing manner. The narrator takes an instant dislike to “X,” but is caught up short by the deal he offers: the agency “X” represents will pay the down-and-out narrator a generous monthly salary if he only agrees to start regularly taking an experimental drug called nihil (pronounced “NI-UL,” like the Egyptian river), so that “X” and his team can take stock of the drug’s as-yet unknown side effects.

Nihil has been manufactured in secret laboratories, apparently for the purpose of assisting in inducing American soldiers to fight the so-called “war on terror” with greater fierceness and strength of conviction. The properties of this chemical compound, it seems, take away a person’s inhibitions, including his fear of death, so that any hedonistic, worldly-minded, flesh-attached postmodern Western slacker/couch potato can, for once, match the determined and devout Muslim jihadis in battle. Indeed, nihil offers “the fruits of faith, together with the luxuries of faithlessness,” and the narrator, a washed out seminary student who has recently lost his spiritual moorings, consents to be the shadow-government’s guinea pig, feeling he has little to lose.

Once he goes “under the nihil,” the narrator’s incipient embittered nihilism grows ever more expansive and wide-ranging. Formerly a timid “beta male,” he transforms into a bold and unscrupulous Lothario, who successfully courts attractive women before cruelly humiliating and rejecting them for his own sadistic enjoyment.

But violence ultimately interests him more than sex, and in the end, the narrator goes rogue and becomes a lone-wolf terrorist himself, intent as he is on throwing everything back in Mr. X’s smug face. However, a question hangs in the air at the book’s finale: Is this, possibly, what he’d been programmed to do all along? In attempting to rebel against his masters, has he in fact wound up doing their will?




I wrote Under the Nihil before I was even aware of Vigilant Citizen, a bizarre and fascinating website that exquisitely articulates the new frontier of postmodern paranoia. In his regular posts, “VC” tends to focus heavily on the different branches of the diabolically evil, occult-dominated entertainment industry. Indeed, to hear VC tell it, nearly every music video is a symbolic manifesto of transhumanist Luciferian Baphomet-worship, every glamour magazine photo shoot is an excuse for photographers and models to indulge in depraved imagery and throw up blatant Illuminati gestures and symbols, and every Hollywood blockbuster is an effort to indoctrinate the masses into accepting the inevitability of a looming cataclysmic event in which billions will be wiped out, and those that survive will be forced to do the bidding of an ungodly elite claque of rapacious reptilians, the supreme rulers of the New World Order.

(If you haven’t yet read VC, and would like a taste, I suggest reading his many discourses on Lady Gaga.)

This is all well and good, and even rather unexpectedly compelling, in a slightly nutty way, like a trippy, mind-bending sci-fi novel. But what I find somewhat frighteningly synchronistic relates to Vigilant Citizen’s analysis of supposed “mind slaves,” those victims of psychological conditioning at the hands of secret government agents, who are most assuredly working in tandem with all the high and mighty Satanic mucky-mucks who rule the music, movie, and fashion industries. VC makes the case that numerous young and well-known ingénues, including Natalie Portman, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and Kate Moss—have probably been brutalized in this manner; as a result, they have “disassociated” from their true selves, having formed “alter” personalities. Though they little know it, these pop stars are just mind-controlled puppets, totally at the mercy of their puppetmasters.

This thesis, like many others floated at Vigilant Citizen, seems a bit farfetched. But the notion of mind-control, as it turns out, isn’t at all half-baked sci-fi fodder. In fact, numerous declassified government documents readily offer evidence of a secret campaign of experimentation on subjects—some willing, some unsuspecting—to instances of psychological manipulation, physical abuse, and deliberate exposure to harmful substances-- often resulting in dire consequences for the said subjects, including death.

Apparently, at one point, those crazy lads at the CIA even attempted to assemble their own “Manchurian Candidate,” who could be induced to assassinate enemies of the state through hypnotic suggestion that bypassed the volition of the subject himself. (One thinks of Reggie Jackson’s role in the first Naked Gun movie, wherein he is hypnotically manipulated by Ricardo Mantalban into attempting to murder the Queen of England during an Anaheim Angels baseball game; in fact, I’m surprised that VC hasn’t yet written an in-depth analysis of the Naked Gun trilogy and all of its rampant Illuminatic symbology hiding in plain sight!)




The fact is, I knew very little about any of these matters while composing Under the Nihil, a novel in which a tragically broken and brutalized young man develops an “alter” personality after taking part in an MK-ULTRA-like government experiment, and

eventually becomes a perpetrator of a “false flag” terrorist incident. Instead, I had more personal inspirations. Specifically, I’d been prescribed antidepressants, and had found the effect surprisingly underwhelming; the pills were supposed to have made me “happier,” but I didn’t feel terribly different than I did before. I kept waiting for the “boost” to kick in, but it never did. Hence I conceived of the name, “nihil,” which after all is a Latin prefix for “nothing.”

Yet beginning from that familiar point of entry, I somehow found myself going on to tell a story of black ops, vast conspiracies, “inside job” terrorism, and mind control, subjects that hadn’t terribly interested me before. Later, after completing and publishing the book, I discovered vigilantcitizen.com, and things peculiarly enough came full circle. I found that I had unknowingly intertwined with the culture of mistrust, suspicion, and fear, which manifests itself so conspicuously in our age. The personal had become the political, and vice versa.

So it goes. So be it. I don’t know what it means, but there you have it: synchronicity, distinctly manifested. Make of it what you will. (And while you’re pondering this question, feel free to purchase Under the Nihil now available in hardcover or paperback, and on Kindle.) Thank you, and Baphomet bless.