Cathee: I've slipped into a conversation with Pres. John, after feeling him come in yesterday. And I feel great. I mean, he feels wonderful. He was fourteen years older when he died than when the parallel John I've had with me died, and he seems a real statesman. He has a beautiful maturity.
We're talking about his wife Carolyn.
Johnny: Cathee, I don't know if I want to record this. I'm not interested in writing a celebrity gossip book! (laughs) But you won't use it against her.
Well, maybe it is fun to talk. That's what people do after their death—write their memoirs.
Carolyn was kind of bitter. She was very good at entertaining and being first lady, but she didn't like doing it. She felt very put upon by it, and didn't like to greet the heads of state. I think she liked to get lost in her fantasy world. She always thought that I didn't really see her for who she was, and appreciate enough her beauty and her brilliance.
Alcohol was about her only drug of choice that she could get away with in the White House, even though it wasn't her drug of choice, really. She would spend a lot of time in fantasy novels—Harlequin romance kind of stuff, only a bit more literary than that. And movies. But even more than with what she read and watched, she was in her fantasy world a lot. I sometimes worried about her that way, although I didn't have much time to spend with her.
In other words, I don't think she was very interested in the affairs of state—social and legislative issues. A real interest in people just wasn't there. She felt overwhelmed by mass consciousness and the media, and just retreated within herself.
She was constantly compared to Jackie when we went to the White House, and that's just not fair to do to someone. She wasn't as well educated, or fluent in several languages like my mother. She was more a society girl.
We had a son and a daughter at that point. They brought me joy, but they seemed a little bit dumbed down. But I think everybody was. By the time we got to the White House, I couldn't shield them from the general environment, and the environment of the White House. The EMF's. The food supply was pretty dismal already. And I was pretty conventional in medical choices. It wasn't at all like my childhood there, and I knew it.
By the time I got out, things were cracking. It wasn't just HAARP.
In this world, Pres. Obama is trying to work with huge, serious cracks in the economic infrastructure. And there's certainly ecological craziness here too. In my old parallel—it feels good to speak past tense about it—the underlying tone of despair was just accepted. In yours, news media still report on terrible corporate ecological malpractice, such as the superfund clean-up sites that never get cleaned up. You're blitzed with reports of what's wrong. But there's still some underlying feeling of "we can somehow turn it around." And Obama's saying "we can turn it around." My campaign slogan was more like "we can survive." There was already a feeling of "we probably won't turn it around. We just don't have the resources." It was like I imagine parts of Africa are now in your parallel. It's a different attitude, of "how can we survive?" And heaven help the children. That's a grief on my parallel that is rarely talked about—how our children will make it. Let alone, there's not much talk of grandchildren—how they'll make it.
And so Carolyn went into fantasyland. Although, she didn't have at her disposal all the fabrics and gowns that Jackie did. Already there was an oil shortage, and you couldn't just order up something from France, even if you were the first lady. Especially if you were the first lady. You'd get a lot of criticism if you seemed too undemocratic, or too not "for the people," or not in solidarity with most people's standard of living. The whole idea of my family being American royalty—by the time I got into office, there was a lot of anti-royalty feeling. A lot of hatred towards the wealthy, with a belief that they had gotten us into the fix we were in. The Republican party was not strong, at least in the sense of the Old Guard Republicans that wanted corporate business to have more power, and all the rhetoric of the Reagan era of the trickle-down economy. In a way, that was irrelevant. It was a survival thing. And people were really strident that the rationing should be fair and should not depend on one's wealth.
We were moving more towards a socialist society, only we didn't have the resources to take care of everybody, and we knew it. So it wasn't really socialist. But there was still a great outcry against conspicuous consumption. I even watched how often I used Air Force One. I didn't take unnecessary trips, for sure. And if I did, I tried to not be visible in the press about how often I was travelling, and how big my entourage was.
The media was still very hooked up in my parallel with live media coverage, and a very strong internet. There were those who were vigilantly watching out of a survival attentiveness what was happening to the resources we did have left, and what was happening with health. At that point, the dangers of EMFs were well-known and accepted. But not a lot was done about them.
So there was a split between that group and the fantasyland people, who were in denial about anything real. They were truly lost in their entertainment, in their drugs and sex and trivia. Football games. Sports were huge. People would get a lot of exercise by shouting at the teams, you know? (laughs) But some coliseums were indoors, and almost all buildings at that point had some kind of filter system in place. Exercising outside was not exactly encouraged any more.
The pollution was an amazing array of stuff. Like when in your world, New York City's Twin Towers skyscrapers burned and fell apart, huge amounts of toxic debris went into the air. There was war in many areas of the world. You know how in one of your wars, oil wells were set on fire intentionally, which put tremendous pollution in the air. There were many sources of pollution. Uranium mining. Bomb testing.
There was some advance in a nuclear deterrent. It was known that HAARP and the whole system was so built up that if someone tried a nuclear attack—besides with a very small suitcase bomb or something—the retaliation would be swift and severe. And so that's kind of totalitarian rather than a deterrent. But I guess it's better than a nuclear war.
In parts of the world, people had really gotten into growing their own food in their own yards. And in parts of the United States, that was true. But I was in Washington, D.C. and New York, with skyscrapers. I was not living in areas where people could do that too much.
There was a huge dichotomy between the parts of the country that were innovative, tried to become self-sufficient, and had given up on the central government. And the parts of the country that were totally dependent on government for rationing, health subsidies, and the usual hand-outs to corporations.
So that's the atmosphere in which I went into office. For parts of the country, Washington was just a figurehead government. Or they wanted it to be—it really had more control over their lives than that, but that's what they would have preferred. And for other parts of the country, the government was like one big pension system, from birth until death. But everyone knew it was on very fragile grounds. There were rolling black-outs across the country for electricity, but also for gasoline once in awhile.
[later the same day]
My mother lived longer on my parallel, and so Carolyn had a living icon as a mother-in-law. It was really hard for her to be compared to Jackie, when Jackie was still alive. Mummy liked her, and I think there would have been a fine relationship between them—they were a lot alike, as everyone says. But Carolyn knew that she didn't have a chance to ever be as prominent in the public imagination as Jackie Kennedy. There was nothing I could do about it. It was just something the press took off with when she chose to marry me. When we got in the White House it was even worse, of course, but throughout my political career it was difficult. And yes, she was the same Carolyn in both parallels. She helped keep me going in a lot of ways. She had a very big heart. And I think she truly did love me.
Michael Bergin's book [a tell-all that came out on Cathee's parallel about Carolyn's affair with her former boyfriend.] I may just not know. (laughs) There was no book in our reality, because she didn't die in a plane crash earlier. I don't know what was there. But I didn't worry about that. There may have been others, heaven knows (laughs) but I did feel that Carolyn loved me, and went into this with good intentions.
I think she got bowled over by . . . well, you know how it seems like everybody and their dog is getting plastic surgery, even in your reality. If you're going to be a cultural icon of fashion and beauty, the pressures on you are seriously intense—especially since so much is media based, and has to do with the camera angle as much as what you actually look like.
When I said that Carolyn got lost in fantasy-world . . . I think the development and popularity of virtual worlds was probably more intense in my parallel than I see in yours. And it may be because the environmental degradation was faster and more intense too. You still have a national park to go to, and so you can keep a little bit of clarity about there being a real world out there.
Something happened with the water supply that some people considered a result of terrorism. Others thought the government did it to control people. It's hard to call it a chemical, because there was a biological component to it. I'm having trouble translating—I don't have a word for it in your brain, of what that was. It was like mycoplasm. It was a huge problem, and was discovered—or identified publicly, anyway—very late in the game. It caused brain and nerve damage even beyond that from the genetic engineering of crops, which was certainly going on. But the water—it was so hard to filter this out. By the time it was discovered, it was very widespread. And a whole generation grew up with it.
There was plenty reason for people to escape into virtual reality. It was something people clung to. And virtual reality was amazing. You could go anywhere in the world virtually, and feel like you were there. It's like the holographic reality you channeled about in your projected parallel future. Only it was more in their hands—it was people choosing their own holograms. You could buy a tropics party virtual reality, project it throughout at least your living room, tell your friends to show up in their Hawaiian shirts, have some pineapples around, and listen to the surf. It wasn't anything like being in the real Hawaii, but people thought it was. They got such a kick out of it. In a way it was all the same no matter what the theme was, because you'd see beautiful pictures. You couldn't create the breeze. You couldn't create the smells and the feel of the earth. I thought it was all like watching TV, only it was vivid. But at least people still got together to have these parties. That was something.
People thought that virtual reality mimicked actual reality, but actual reality was pretty scary to be out in, with all the pollution. Cathee, I don't know whether even you would have recommended that people spend a lot of time outdoors in our situation.
The population problem was not so bad as with your parallel. Somehow people caught onto that. They kind of had to.
So that's the context in which I fell from the sky. It was a society where the news could report, well, the president's plane went into a zero point hole and didn't return, and the populace knew what that was. They didn't know who did it. "Well, who created that zero point hole?" The assassination conspiracy theories were still there. But they understood what that meant, somewhat at least, because it happened to more than just me.
I think HAARP was a bit worse in my reality. And again, people knew it was there. They saw rainfall as being part of the pork that their elected representatives should go after. (laughs) But how they would get it was more secretive than, you know, a Rainfall Appropriations Committee. It wasn't acknowledged by the government or the military, but it was pretty well accepted as a notion among the people of this country that someone was controlling who got the rainfall. I think it was a control mechanism on the part of the government. States that got too out of hand in their own legislation that interfered with federal legislation might not get the rainfall. That was one issue that was very live.
But it was like campaign finance reform—nothing was done about it, because there were as many states that were getting rainfall as that weren't. (laughs) And thought well, maybe this isn't such a bad system, because no one knew, if we just walked away from HAARP, whether the whole country would be in drought. Once you have control over the weather, through artificial manipulation, if you try to let it go back to a natural state . . . which of course you couldn't, because there were countries in the rest of the world that had their HAARP equivalents set up. The rainfall and other weather factors were more important than nuclear deterrents. And once you're there, even if the whole world would back down from their HAARP and various other weather control systems at once, we knew that the weather we had was very unnatural. And for nature to correct herself and come into balance would probably take years, if not decades, of rather chaotic weather. And we didn't know what parts of the world would end up being the areas with enough rainfall to grow food. That was pretty scary to everyone in the world. No one knew where the best place to live would be.
A lot of our food at that point was grown in greenhouses through intensive techniques I don't think you even have words for. There were technologies for doubling the photosynthesis in a plant so that you could grow things very quickly. And even for growing food that isn't really plant-based, but looks like a plant. I don't know how to describe some of the organisms that were conceived of and became our food—very fast carbohydrates with not nearly the kiss of the sun in them.
So the population was quite a sick population. I know in yours there's a lot of obesity and depression and so forth. But in ours there was an underlying general weakness.
And I shared that. You've been surprised that your impression of me is not at all like your feeling of John. I seem like a flabby, older guy. The difference is partly due to age, but partly due to my environment and food supply. In some ways I feel very spacious, but that's probably 'cause I'm dead (laughs) and am seeing from a bigger perspective. I think if you had known me when I was alive on that parallel, I wasn't sickly, but I wasn't healthy-looking. I didn't get outside much, and so I didn't have a tan.
Gosh, now that I'm really looking at your parallel, we were all like people who spent their days in a mall. You can paint on a picture of health with make-up, with clothes, and to a certain extent with plastic surgery. But after awhile you forget what the real, natural thing looks like. So we were all a version of health that we painted on. But I don't think most people knew the difference. I mean, someone could be more beautiful than another, and someone could look healthier than another. But when you lose your "really healthy" standard, then it's like your elk population when they're shedding their old coats and growing in their new coats, and they're scrawny and scruffy looking. Kind of like that. Still kind of cute.
So I guess I want to tell you that it's not like you're headed necessarily to a situation quite as bad on the parallel you have been on as what ours was. Although, yours may be headed worse in other ways, and better in some ways.
Hope is a big thing that distinguishes our civilizations. Once a people accept apathy as normal, and accept corruption as pretty normal too. . . . The feeling that you are at the mercy of big government—big brother—and yet somehow you expect some sustenance from him as well. I don't know if you just get used to totalitarianism, to where you say, "It's my government and my way of being," even though there are some scary things about it. It's like you've heard about the Russians. There's an investment in it, a feeling that someone is in charge and knows what's going on. "Someone connected with our government is controlling the weather, and we do have food." So you can get to where you think, "Well, thank goodness someone is controlling the weather. Thank goodness we're not just at the whims of nature. And someone is in control of the economic system. But thank goodness, because we do have an economy that keeps going somehow, even though it's difficult and there's rationing."
So people become invested in malfunctioning systems. I think this is true on your parallel already too. Even if people know that their systems are not sustainable. . . . For instance, that the soil is getting infertile, and pollution is getting so bad that in less than a generation the systems will totally break down. As long as folks have their entertainment to slip into—their virtual reality—and as long as they stay in denial that it's electricity that keeps that going, and the supply of electricity could disappear too. Then you have the corruption of the metaphysical idea that "you create your own reality." Some people took that literally, (laughs) and created virtual reality, and didn't understand that there is a reality beyond virtual reality which at some point would catch up with them.
If people are invested enough in the system, they're not going to want change. If they can't remember what health is, and if they can't remember what natural cycles are, they don't trust them. They think they are virtual reality, an illusion. And I do see that already in your culture.
My mother developed some kind of emotional disorder that made her very difficult to deal with later in life. I'm really glad on your parallel that that didn't happen. I find myself having to switch my ways of thinking about her. People couldn't keep up the dreamy-eyed enthusiasm about Camelot [Jackie's mythologizing about her husband's administration] that still seems to be going on here, when it got out in the press that the main icon, Jackie, was very difficult to deal with. So then you get more the stereotype of the upper class queen, who is a tyrant. And of course, there's plenty historically for that mythology to thrive in the mass consciousness.
So I'm very, very, very glad you guys came for me. I feel like I can just walk away from that cultural milieu, and lock the door behind me, and say please just let it go. Just let it go.
When you live in an environment like that, you can see the beauty in other people, but it's like seeing the potentials in someone that they'll probably never have a chance to develop. I could see the beauty in Carolyn. I could see her loving heart. I could also see her escapism, and I knew the escapism was winning. I could see people's innovative ideas, but could see that they were built on unsustainable energy sources, unsustainable distribution systems, and an unsustainable resource base. There was a big shortage of certain metals and forests. It was really bad.
There's something beautiful about people going to the dump and making something worthwhile out of the waste. Cathee, you recently saw a newspaper article that showed artwork made from tires that a woman got from a junkyard. And so you see the beauty of it, but you also wonder, this woman in another time and another place—would she create something much more beautiful if she had something to work with besides tires? That's not a direct analogy because the woman in your parallel could have worked with something besides tires—she was making a point with them. But in my reality everything was kind of like that. (laughs) It was like, within this system that obviously is toxic, and where we don't want to accept our part in having gotten us here, we'll make beauty out of what we can. And there's creativity of sorts, and there's even some political progress, given what you have to work with. But underneath it all, you know that you're tired and everyone's tired. A kind of chronic fatigue was considered normal. You don't have the energy to think too much about what it was like when those poor, primitive people had to live in caves. You have no idea what a natural world would have been like in those times, when people trusted nature.
So I bring you this picture.
The Leapers have said that you will leap to another parallel, but bring the knowledge of the old with you. I have, in some ways, been leapt over to your parallel. I have not brought my body with me, but like the John on your parallel, I am walking into you, too. I will be a presence in your psyche. (Actually, you felt that I came in very physically a couple days ago.) And I do bring news from the other parallel.
I'm getting oriented. I think this is a marvelous parallel we're on here, whatever it is. You felt me looking around, and telling you how beautiful your living room was, and asking why don't you consider this a wonderful place? These plants—to you, they look like they're not doing well. To me, they look like they're doing great. I look out. I see a blue sky. I don't see a haze of brown.
We went for a walk when I was first coming in, and it was so beautiful, up in the woods here. The deer followed us. They were above us on the side of the mountain, and then they circled around to below us, and came very close, and were looking at you the whole time. And I could see the exchange of energy between you, as you were consciously sending love out to them. They were eating it up, Cathee. They were. It was beautiful to see a natural animal in a natural woods. When you go in the woods, you see how the forest service has thinned out the trees, but I see, my gosh, what an amazing place. (laughs) So that was a great introduction for me.
But even now, I'm looking out the window, and there are beautiful green pine trees surrounded by snow on the mountain across the way there. It's gorgeous, Cathee. It looks healthy. (laughs) And to think people have left it alone! There are some houses in there, but there's probably land that hasn't been messed with. It's kind of amazing. I know there's a mine over to the side of that mountain, but this side of the mountain looks very natural. It looks almost as good as our virtual reality versions of it would look, and they tend towards ideal, better than reality. (laughs) So, what a blessing.
You can buy any food you want still. I thought we had an incredible breakfast, a turkey sausage stew. It was wonderful. I think it was the leftovers from the last three nights' suppers, with sweet potatoes and lots of onions and vegetables. And the vegetables were real. In our parallel, we tended to dry vegetables (whether they were anything you would recognize as vegetables or not) because the transportation costs were so high to haul vegetables around. Especially if the truckers had to refrigerate them, or heat them to keep them from freezing in the winter. So most of what we ate was dried, at least in the city. People would can their own if they could buy food from local farmers. Folks in rural areas could get fresh or canned food, but in the big cities, a lot of it was dried and reconstituted. And it was mush. (laughs)
In the White House we could eat better than most people, and because of our wealth. But again, we were expected to be in solidarity with people, and not stand out. Even (not the finest but) a nice restaurant would have largely reconstituted food. Dried food, resoaked. The cooks would get creative, and they'd make elaborate sauces and soups. But nothing like stuffed green bell peppers that you could tell were real. (laughs) Fresh off the vine. That was a very rare treat. Biting into an apple was a rare treat. Which was OK, because most people's teeth were in bad shape anyway. It can be hard to bite into things that aren't kinda squishy.
So I guess I'm a refugee from the old—but technically, from a future time. My death was in a future time from where you are, although only a couple years. But again, I don't know how time works across parallels, whether it's necessarily the same. In a way, it doesn't matter.
And just like you were told by the Leapers that someday you'd be sitting in a room saying, "Well, I came from this old parallel." Here I am doing that. Saying, "I came from an old parallel. And man, you have it nice here."
I don't think there was nearly the honor and respect afforded to the presidency by the time I was president that had been given my dad. It was more like the country was a big corporation, and someone had to run it at least nominally. There was less power on the part of the president.
Again, my hands were tied by the ecological situation especially, and by the economics. We had worked ourselves economically into a state of homeostasis, somewhat. We were constantly responding to resource shortages. But I think things had come to a place of cooperation with the rest of the world, where you couldn't pull anything too fast in terms of tariffs or issuing too much currency or something, because the whole world economic system was almost one system. You'd have immediate protests if you did anything that was not fair. There would be big tariffs and boycotts of American products if we didn't come to the table and make the distribution about more than just who had the big money. I don't think we were as wealthy, actually, although maybe it's partly because we just didn't spend into debt as much as you guys have. Your debt is amazing. You would have no money if notes were called for. So things were different economically too.
There were extreme ups and downs in the economy, and I mean extreme. I don't think your extremes are anything like our extremes were, because you don't have quite the resource and pollution crises we did. Everyone recognizes at a certain point that it's in everybody's interest to keep things from swinging around too much. So it was like a socialist world in the sense that after people had truly taken the capitalism model as far as they could, they came to recognize that raping the Earth's resources in the name of capitalism is not a sustainable model. And a new "great innovation" was recognized to not be so innovative if it upset the delicate system of trying to feed everybody.
So one thing that was good from our parallel was that the intense rhetoric that I still see on yours around capitalism versus socialism versus communism—at a certain point, if people aren't being fed, and if people are scared enough, those are just labels. They don't really mean much. Who cares what you call this? A certain amount of cooperation has to happen. And the wild west image of the entrepreneur who is going for the overnight riches, but is trashing the Earth and upsetting the economic system in doing so, and dumping employee's pensions, and all that kind of behavior that's still somehow seen as inevitable capitalism and good in your culture. We got past that a long time ago. The baron robbers were seen as baron robbers. And it became unfashionable to have your nine million dollar houses, and the huge corporate or even governmental salaries. They became not worth people's scorn. The corporate boards stopped granting that kind of salary, which I think was a good thing.
We managed to keep our wealth in our family. But you know, we never were terribly ostentatious. The Kennedys had their large homes, But we had a huge family. Square footage per person in our so-called mansions were not that different, when we were all there, than. . . . I probably am rationalizing here, because those were not our only homes. But I do think the Kennedys were not known for trying to look opulent at the expense of social responsibility (besides my mom in her married-to-Onassis phase). And as a result of that, people didn't seem to hold my wealth against me when I ran for office. My bicycling-to-work-in-New-York image certainly served me well later.
Our culture was more easy-going, really. You didn't feel like you were a total failure if you didn't have the highest paying job where you could do a lot of conspicuous consumption, because you wouldn't have been honored for that anyway. You know, you wouldn't have more friends because you were like that. You might have less friends attracted to you if they saw you as greedy, and not fair in your consumption.
from Johnny's World to:
Part Two of Parallel Worlds Leap Manual
Intro to Parallel Worlds Leap Manual
© Cathee Courter and Peter MacGill, photos and text. All rights reserved.
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