Friday, January 27, 2017

Ideal Objects, Delirium, and other Pizza-Related Unsense 4

When common objects in this way become charged with the suggestion of horror, they stimulate the imagination far more than things of unusual appearance; and these bushes, crowded huddled about us, assumed for me in the darkness a bizarre grotesquerie of appearance that lent to them somehow the aspect of purposeful and living creatures. Their very ordinariness, I felt, masked what was malignant and hostile to us. The forces of the region drew nearer with the coming of the night.

   -- Algernon Blackwood, "The Willows"

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If we accept for a moment the current line of the U.S. "intelligence community" that the so-called alternative media, mainly Internet based, is almost entirely under the sway of Russian disinformation, then it is instructive to examine the themes and memes that are being proliferated. Conspiracy theories are the most obvious example of this, but even these theories are far from conventional. 

For any event of political importance, and now this includes almost every event, there exists not just one conspiracy theory that purports to explain it, but a multiplicity of clashing theories. Even the "official story," once a bedrock of deluded stability, is likely itself to be little more than a widely publicized rival conspiracy theory. There is literally no way to check what is real and what isn't.

Photography, audio and video can be seamlessly doctored, made to appear either "real" or "fake" or to provoke controversy one way or another. The reality of entire "events," experienced by most of the population only through the media, is wholly denied in some quarters.

The massacre of Sandy Hook from this perspective, for example, did not really happen. Anyone shown in media footage in this and in similar mass shootings and terrorist attacks, are only "crisis actors."These are no longer "false flag" events but "fake false flag" events, designed to terrorize the masses yet also to destabilize the "awake" few.

But beyond even these reality distorting phenomena, are Internet "movements" obsessed by renewed flat Earth theories and the "Mandela Effect." Perhaps even our notions of the environment and the planet that we live on are completely false, only a mass deception. And perhaps our collective memories are either entirely mistaken or there exist multiple timelines in which even subtle things are disturbingly altered.

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Maybe Nelson Mandela really did die in prison. Maybe New Zealand was once a lot closer to Australia. And who doesn't remember reading the Berenstein Bears? Any glitch in our memories could be the result of multi-dimensional conspirators flipping and photoshopping the timelines. Nothing contained in time or space can be trusted. All can be manipulated. There could easily exist breakaway civilizations, secret space programs, time travel, mass hallucinations, extraterrestrial contact. All of this could be true.

But if we accept, for example, that space aliens are behind the Deep States of all advanced governments, then what would this mean? It would mean that anything could be possible. We would have no idea what technology these advanced beings possess, and we would have no idea how these technologies could affect us. Anyone who claims to know the objectives or potential of such aliens is deluded or joking or making the whole thing up. The alien ability to deceive the human mind would be infinite.

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And, like the AI, the existence of one alien race would almost necessitate the existence of others, each trying to manipulate human reality according to its own arcane objectives. And each race's means of doing so, as in Isaac Azimov's outworn quote, would also be quite incomprehensible.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Rival manifestations of "magic" might become evident anywhere. Or, even as certain scientists and Silicon Valley tech moguls are suggesting, maybe the universe itself is a simulacra, a computer program designed by an unknown programmer/Demiurge. If this were the case then Trump, the Russians, the nooscope, the multiple races of competing and cooperating alien overlords, and me and you are all just lines of code.

But even in this instance, why stop here? Why not, like the 1973 German film, World on a Wire, suppose that for each matrix there is even a higher matrix? And perhaps there is no ultimate origin for these matrices or they eventually loop back upon themselves, an endless continuum of programmed universes producing other programmed universes. And yet these are all just scientific/pseudo-scientific metaphors.

But what if "science" is also part of the cosmic scam? Might not the alien overlords be better described, as in older and more lasting belief systems, as ancestors, fairies, gods, demons, Archons? We have reached a stage where no explanation can be comfortably dismissed. It may seem strange, but it is the conspiracy theorists themselves that lack imagination.

Or is this going way too far? Are all of these theories -- from the flat Earth to the multi-layered matrix -- merely aspects of disinformation campaigns disseminated through the "alternative" media in order to waylay attention and muddy the waters from the actual conspiracy which is in fact only parapolitical and very human?

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Certainly, if intelligence agencies have the capital to covertly operate multi-million dollar media networks like Fox, CNN and the BBC, then they definitely possess the means to fully subvert any influential website or blog out there. All "alternative" theories could be generated by the powers-that-be, or this idea in itself might originate from the same agencies in order to promote the myth of their own omnipresence and omniscience.

The point is, upon serious reflection, that any consensus on what the hell is going on, and every facet reflecting this, is becoming more and more elusive. This has been occurring for some time. The modernists played with the idea of multiple systems of representation. The postmodernists attempted to negate all systems of representation. While in this post-postmodern, post-2012 age which is no longer an age, all models of representation and nonrepresentation are both present and absent at every point.

The real has returned with a vengeance, but no one can truly believe it at all. It's like the 71 different options people now have available for gender identity on Facebook, one of which is "pangender" which in a paradoxical, Borgesian way allows one to identify with all options at once.

Islamic fundamentalism, Christian fundamentalism, Zionist fundamentalism, atheist fundamentalism, conspiracist fundamentalism, scientific fundamentalist, American fundamentalism -- all vie for a supremacy that they can't possibly accept as being quite real. All are fake.

In the latest twist to the Trump presidential reality show, @realDonaldTrump has been accused by the intelligence agencies of cavorting with Russian prostitutes and their/his pee-pee in a Moscow hotel room in 2013, in the very bed where President Obama slept soundly on a previous visit. According to these agencies, Trump was ensnared in a classic Russian "honey trap" and is thus completely compromised.

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According to Trump and the Russian government, this was absolute "fake news" spread to discredit Trump before his inauguration. Where did the story originate from?There are again multiple claims. One possible source is Christopher David Steele, an ex-MI6 agent hired by elites of both the DNC and the RNC, who has now gone missing. More interestingly, is the 4chan claim that they were the source of the story, released as a practical joke to troll pundit Rick Wilson who called the alt-right supporters of Trump: "...childless single men who masturbate to anime."

In any case, like the fake orange-skinned, fake blonde-haired Real Donald Trump's entire campaign, this is surely an act of Kek. For Kek is as good a name as any for the ideal or hyperdimensional object that has now come into view for everyone, although as yet unknown. Kek, the frog-headed god of chaos, may be be the perfect metaphor for the Object that is both Christ and Antichrist, both satanic pedophile globalist and xenophobic paranoid nationalist, both the nooscope and the weaponized AI, the spoon dipping back into the soup after a 2000-year interval.

But Kek himself shall not be mocked, shall not be used. This is exemplified in the viral clip of Richard Spenser, the alt-right poster boy, getting clocked in the chops while explaining to reporters during the inauguration protests the meaning of his Pepe the Frog/Kek pin.



And Kek as a symbol is not without its own ambiguity. Kek is eternally united with his frog-headed female counterpart, Keket. This divine couple of amphibian chaos, both dark and light, cannot be claimed by the  alt-right or by any other group. Where Kek surfaces, his sister-bride is surely not that far away.

The triumph of God Emperor Troll Trump, soaring through his inauguration and tellingly without any interference from the Deep State, was only overshadowed the very next day by a march of millions of women worldwide. Some have called this a manifestation of a resurgent Sophia, also invoked by Trump during his inaugural prayer, but it might be better identified as the rise of Keket. The telltale, swampy and webbed footprints of confusion and the breakdown of consensus are all over this.

At President Trump's first public speaking event after his inauguration, at the headquarters of the CIA, he blamed the "dishonest media" for severely downplaying the number of people who attended his inauguration. Trump, promising to give the CIA "so much backing," also claimed that it was only the media that created the false narrative of war between Trump and the agency -- so much for the hope that he represents (in one reading) an authentic opponent of the Deep State.

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Trump's spokespeople later claimed, in rebuttal to the media, to have "alternative facts" regarding the numbers in attendance to the inauguration. It was an alternative fact that more than a million people attended, and another alternative fact that this was obviously a much greater number of people than showed up for the women's march the next day.

Kek's inauguration vs. Keket's march in a concerted move to dissolve the faith of the masses in any official portal of information -- corporate, government or "alternative." As the boiling froglords finally emerge from the soup, all "facts" will be questioned, every sense will be doubted.

And to round off this already way too long series of appalling verse and pointless musings, I'll return to Marina Abramović. In the wake of the "spirit-cooking" flurry, a list of her six favourite books circulated online. Almost predictably, several of these texts explore or anticipate the utter breakdown of the real. Three can be quoted here (and each of the three authors of these books have also had an impact on my own thought):

A good deal here seems designed for deterrence, and when you're new to the place you feel it's impossible to get past the obstacles. I don't mean to try finding out how things really are, perhaps the appearance really corresponds to the reality, in my position I don't stand at the right distance from it to establish that, but note this: opportunities sometimes arise that have hardly anything to do with the situation as a whole, opportunities when a word, a glance, a sign of trust can achieve more than tedious, life-long efforts.

  --Franz Kafka, The Castle

Obstacles and obstructions to reality are erected by the faceless bureaucracies of grey nightmares. They attempt to blur the line between appearance and reality, trying to cause us to doubt that such a line exists. And yet a single and simple glance or spoken word still sustains the power to bust through.

Abstraction today is no longer that of the map, the double, the mirror or the concept. Simulation is no longer that of a territory, a referential being or a substance. It is the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: a hyperreal. The territory no longer precedes the map, nor survives it. Henceforth, it is the map that precedes the territory -- precession of simulacra -- it is the map that engenders the territory and if we were to revive the fable today, it would be the territory whose shreds are slowly rotting across the map. It is the real, and not the map, whose vestiges subsist here and there, in the deserts which are no longer those of the Empire, but our own. The desert of the real itself.

  --Jean Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation

http://www.frog-garden.com/images/xHeketandkhnumpicforheketpage1.jpg.pagespeed.ic.v91T3GE7o6.jpg

But, in truth, even for the Empire the real has long since been a reality. This has been made a state secret. A map with no territory, with no origin, and with no directions plots the non-course of those naked monarchs of the "Republic." Even its fakes are counterfeits.

Reality is synonymous with existence; that which is "real" produces effects. It follows, then, that which produces effects for one but not another has no universal reality, rather it is a special case. Each sphere, each world, each order of beings possesses a reality of its own because it produces effects in its special sphere and for its specific order of beings. Therefore, we must beware of ideas and judgements based upon our human mentality or our human senses; for these do not represent that which exists across the infinity of space.

  --Alexandra David Neel, The Secret Oral Teachings in Tibetan Buddhist Sects 

Reality, if it exists, is indescribable. But at the same time it is precisely synonymous with the individual perception/imagination of each and all. This is the only real, but it is every real. The Empire, the System or Megamachine, would deny us this insight. There has really never been a consensus.

We each perceive with our senses, limited by both internal and external factors, and the world that they behold is the mysterious Real. The Object -- the subject of these posts -- call it ideal or hyperdimensional, is the breakdown of a "consensus" that is only ever illusory. Maybe the Incarnation occurs every 2000 years or so, but this, as Blake taught, is actually "a pulsation of the artery." The New Dispensation is only sensation. Kek and Keket dance in our dreams and in front of our waking eyes. 

 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Ideal Objects, Delirium, and other Pizza-Related Unsense 3

Helen's breasts, it was always Helen's breasts,
and the wine-cup that they wrought,
called Helen's breast;

   -- H.D., Hermetic Definition

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Everything had failed against Trump -- ridicule, slander, sex scandal, warnings of imminent fascism, fake polls, rigged elections, protests, RNC defection, the recounts, the pizzagate revelation/distraction, the campaign to flip the Electoral College vote -- and the Establishment and its media mouthpieces determined to double down on their fake news/Russian hacking accusations.

Obama finally endorsed this narrative wholeheartedly, accusing Vladimir Putin himself of overseeing the hacking operation, and retaliating with the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats and their families (which Putin brushed aside as "kitchen diplomacy,"vowing to wait for Trump).

But is there any truth to the Russian hacking story? According to U.S. intelligence agencies and the Obama White House, there most certainly is. But according to most Americans (those polled at any rate), and an increasing number of mainstream media outlets, the story is even fishier than "weapons of mass destruction." And, most significantly, WikiLeaks has repeatedly denied that Russia was the source of the hacked emails, although they have consistently protected the anonymity of their sources.

But can WikiLeaks be trusted? Who is Julian Assange? Is he an agent? Russian FSB? Israeli Mossad? American CIA? Previously, I have explored Assange's own family background with a strange Australian cult. I've also also examined two of Assange's early essays on the true objectives of WikiLeaks. The whole point, he explains in these essays, of releasing sensitive and secretive information is not primarily to expose these facts to the public, but to make the System distrust itself.

The System, as Assange identifies it, is a conspiracy of power that operates against the public. But any conspiracy is only successful if it is immune to its own disinformation. If, in response to unpredictable and widespread leaking, the conspirators begin to doubt their own information sources then deep paranoia sets in.

He [Assange] decides, instead, that the most effective way to attack this kind of organization would be to make "leaks" a fundamental part of the conspiracy's information environment. Which is why the point is not that particular leaks are specifically effective. Wikileaks does not leak something like the "Collateral Murder" video as a way of putting an end to that particular military tactic; that would be to target a specific leg of the hydra even as it grows two more. Instead, the idea is that increasing the porousness of the conspiracy's information system will impede its functioning, that the conspiracy will turn against itself in self-defense, clamping down on its own information flows in ways that will then impede its own cognitive function. You destroy the conspiracy, in other words, by making it so paranoid of itself that it can no longer conspire.

Eventually, this leads to the communication equivalent of "credit crunch" -- the conspiracy becomes afraid of dealing with itself. No agent, no information can be trusted. This, therefore, is the surest way of destroying the System, which, to be precise, is international corporate capitalism. Armed revolution, terrorism, infrastructural sabotage is not required; the System will go insane and die of its own paranoia.

Analysts, in discussion of the global economic system, speak of the imminent arrival of "peak debt" -- when the debt in the System saturates to a crisis point where it can no longer be sustained, diverted or ignored. This nearly occurred in 2008, but it was avoided largely because governments absorbed the massive debts of the failed banks. Economists argue that this cannot happen again; the moment of "peak debt"has become inevitable.

Assange, as I understand, is asserting that before "peak debt," which in turn occurs well in advance of "peak oil" or any other peak resources, comes "peak distrust." And unlike peak debt, peak distrust can be invoked and spread by nearly anyone. Any individual, and especially any person with access to the Internet, can do his or her part to muddy the waters of reality, to sever the ties of trust that bind the conspiracy. Certainly WikiLeaks is a genius in this regard.

Assange, unwittingly or not, agent or private citizen, alive or dead, is an arch-revolutionary and master nihilist. His very achievable aim is the utter destruction of the global megamachine.

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But he is not alone in this. Edward Snowden's 2013 leaks demonstrated undeniably that governments, and particularly the U.S. NSA, monitor and collect data on every person that uses the Internet. For each person these government agencies have an extensive file with a complete psychological profile, with a complete breakdown of day-to-day habits and locations, with the ability to know what you will do before you know it yourself.

Snowden confirmed what nearly everyone had expected: there is no privacy, everything is watched, everything is known. People continue to use the Internet, of course, but without real trust and only because it is addicting, diverting, and apparently necessary. Snowden showed that all communication is under siege, is a front in a wider battle. Therefore it was no surprise to his enemies that he fled to Russia.

Was Snowden, then, just another tool of Russian disruption/deception? Can the revealed truth of power be synonymous with fake news? And is the Russian government really in the business of fake news or is this claim, made by a U.S. intelligence establishment definitively caught spying on its entire population, also quite unreal.

The claims of Russian fake news were at first made by Ukrainian opponents to Russia in 2014. This source, itself having U.S. intelligence ties, argued that the Russians were guilty of all manner of fabrications concerning recent Ukrainian-Russian relations: the liberation/annexation of the Crimea, the downing of Flight MH17, etc. Throughout the Cold War, the U.S., the U.S.S.R., Communist China, and intelligence agencies across the world, were involved in a multi-pronged propaganda war for decades. In this sense, then, the present situation is not very new.

Cold war propaganda, however, can be crucially distinguished from the disinfo wars of today. The former was largely involved in the promotion of certain truth claims (from the Pentagon, from the Kremlin) and the active discrediting of counter-truth claims. This obviously still occurs, but the fairly new element is the total abandonment of all pretenses, on any side, of possessing anything even close to the truth.

In the words Putin speaking of U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry: "...he is lying and he knows that he is lying," also implying that Kerry knows that Russia knows that he is lying. There is no desire to even appear truthful. Each government realizes that a big percent of its population will not believe their statements -- and perhaps eventually nobody will -- but these spurious distractions take up sufficient media cycles to occupy our attention and debate before they can generate the next round of spurious distractions.

And as the general public becomes increasingly desensitized to absolute bullshit, each new lie needs to become more scandalous, more salacious, more likely to provoke the breakdown of the entire social order. In Russia, at least, this has become explicit and highly theorized. In fact, it has become an avant-garde art.

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Putin's ex-Deputy Prime Minister and adviser, Vladislav Surkov, very openly uses the the forms and methods of the avant-garde to destroy any possibility of accurate representation. Like coloured oil paints in an abstract expressionist splatter-work, truth is deliberately mixed and contrasted with untruth to the point where both are indistinguishable. British documentary filmmaker, Adam Curtis, had this to say about Surkov:

His aim is to undermine peoples' perceptions of the world, so they never know what is really happening.
Surkov turned Russian politics into a bewildering, constantly changing piece of theater. He sponsored all kinds of groups, from neo-Nazi skinheads to liberal human rights groups. He even backed parties that were opposed to President Putin.
But the key thing was, that Surkov then let it be known that this was what he was doing, which meant that no one was sure what was real or fake. As one journalist put it: "It is a strategy of power that keeps any opposition constantly confused."

This is certainly fake news in its most perfected form. And whatever U.S. dissenters and doubters say, it is definitely Russian. And Surkov is fully aware of the official U.S. condemnation of his methods but, knowing the full extent of its hypocrisy, does not give a shit. In response to reporters in 2014 about being forbidden to enter the U.S., Surkov said he was honoured and furthermore:

The only things that interest me in the U.S. are Tupac Shakur, Allen Ginsberg, and Jackson Pollock. I don't need a visa to access their work. I lose nothing.

All of these American cultural products, being pure information, are now omnipresent, infinitely dispersed. The U.S.A. that Surkov loves has no more necessary link with the actual American homeland than Dostoyevsky and Tarkovsky have with Mother Russia. Here he is signalling that his real battle is also with non-localized and ethereal powers and principalities, not with a chunk of real estate branded as the U.S.A. And his choice of U.S. artist-heroes is also very instructive.

Tupac is the focus of a very widespread set of conspiracy theories that deny either the official fable of his death or his death itself; a conspiracy theory that even Obama referred to in an attempted slight of Trump.

Jackson-Pollock is an abstract expressionist, a movement that completely annihilated the idea that art needed to represent anything beyond itself, was also posthumously accused as being, unwittingly or not, covertly funded by the CIA in order to somehow subvert and undermine Soviet Realism.

And Allen Ginsberg, most well known of the Beat poets and with a similar effect on poetry as Jackson-Pollock had on painting, also plays a central role in recent revisionist theories that the entire nineteen-sixties counterculture was nothing but an elaborate extension of the CIA's MKUltra program.

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Surkov's statement is clearly designed and intended to provoke and there can be little doubt that these three figures were highlighted by the master obfuscator and strategist because all three are artists who blurred the bounds of perception and challenged the necessity of representation, as well as themselves being major figures in culturally distorting conspiracy theories. These theories themselves were quite possibly promoted by Surkov and his respective international counterparts of post-pomo propagandists.

Surkov resigned as Deputy Prime Minister in 2013 (although remaining as a personal adviser to Putin), yet he paved the way for things and persons far stranger. In August 2016, articles began to surface in the Western media of a Russian "scientific" report whose subject was a new technology designed to cause substantial alterations in mass consciousness. The purported author of the report, the mysterious academic AE Vaino, happens to share the name of Anton Vaino, Putin's chief of staff, and the general conclusion is that these two men are the same person.

Vaino's machine, therefore, is called the nooscope. This is a pretty blatant allusion to Teilhard de Chardin's concept of a noosphere of human consciousness networked by mass media which surrounds the Earth like a new atmosphere. The nooscope, very simply put, analyzes and manipulates the noosphere.

The nooscope is a device that consists of a network of spatial scanners [utilizing "smartdust"] meant for the receipt and record of changes in the biosphere and human activity with the help of transactions — 'film shots' of events — images of space-time-life intersections...The nooscope is the first device of its kind that allows for the study of humanity's collective mind.

What is not at all clear, though, is how this "machine" would function, if it's at a practical or theoretical stage of development, or even if it exists beyond a kind of avant-garde practical joke. Russian official sources dismiss it as being Western propaganda. Is this an outright lie, or is this a bluff to make people think it really does exist, or is this a statement of fact? Each one of these three possibilities leads to bizarre and unsettling conclusions.

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Is the entire Russian "fake news" campaign, starting in earnest with Surkov and taken to a new level with Vaino, which includes the propagation of extreme and outlandish conspiracy theories, just one facet of the nooscope? Or is this suggestion of a technology so ridiculously powerful as the nooscope, just another extreme and outlandish conspiracy disseminated by Western intelligence agencies?

Or, even more alarming and extending these conclusions logically, is it not likely that the U.S. and other advanced governments have their own equivalents to the nooscope which are also, at this very moment, generating and channeling the ebbs and flows of human consciousness? Mightn't the U.S. surveillance state, exposed by Snowden and others, be one large component of a Western nooscope?

And indeed there is evidence of this. Opponents of the Clinton campaign accused it of using a sort of "weaponized AI" against its rival. In addition, the controversial President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, made a weird statement that the voice of God told him to stop cursing during a flight from Japan. This was later blamed on the "weaponized AI" which aimed, evidently, to drive Duterte mad. This form of the "weaponized AI" appears to have, exactly like the nooscope, the function of disrupting and directing consciousness.

Are these reports also fake news? Or, in other words, are these claims of one consciousness-altering weaponized artificial intelligence really just generated by another consciousness-altering weaponized artificial intelligence?

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Or are all of these reports , on every side, simply bullshit and no such technology exists? Is it one big bluff -- like HAL's bluff to Frank Poole that HAL was (falsely) about to beat him at chess? Are vastly inferior artificial intelligence units simply lying to us (and perhaps their designers and administrators) about their supposed omniscience?

Or, given that there must now be multiple high-spec AIs in operation from a number of different and rival governments and other institutions, might it not be likely that they are in constant interference with one another -- like vacuum bots running on different algorithms on the same piece of carpet -- to the point where prediction of their combined interaction and emergent effects is utterly impossible?

Such a complex ecology does exist in the world of high finance where, in 2008, the synergistic and clashing effects of different debt-based derivatives very nearly brought down the entire global financial house of cards.

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In like manner, there may in fact exist multiple internationally operating artificial intelligence systems covertly influencing and directing the fluid movement of the consciousness of entire cultures and subcultures. And this ecology -- a whole landscape of psyops and clashing disinformation -- interacts in a pattern which is entirely unpredictable.

Nobody, even the high-level crafters of disinformation campaigns, would have any idea if they are not actually the unwitting tool of a rival AI. And there would be no way of knowing if any AI is or is not completely autonomous, possessing its own will and its own secret objectives quite outside of the original intention of its human designers and "masters." Like HAL, these AIs could already be quite insane, or just they might not exist at all. They might, at this point, be only fictitious projections of all-too-human megasystems of propaganda and disinformation.

And yet wouldn't megasystems of this scale be virtually indistinguishable from technologies like the nooscope anyway? How would anyone know any differently? What sentience, what objective will, would collective entities of this sort possess? What changes in human consciousness would they be trying to attain? What bullshit would they be spreading? What Object would they be furthering?

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Ideal Objects, Delirium, and other Pizza-Related Unsense 2

What discords will drive Europe into that artificial unity -- only dry or drying sticks can be tied into a bundle -- which is the decadence of every civilization? How work out upon the phases the gradual coming and increase of the counter movement, the antithetical multiform influx.
   -- W.B. Yeats, A Vision
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The Object, the Influx, progressively widens its field of contact. More and more its contours and spires are perceived. It's impact can be charted to some degree by reviewing the singular events of the past while, events that trace our deepening inability to decisively know anything.

By the time Trump announced his bid for the presidency -- appropriately on Bloomsday 2015 -- no consensus could even project the illusion of being a vital force. Now, no official story remains. All has become conspiracy theory.

Throughout his campaign, Trump and his supporters complained that the establishment and its corporate media were involved in a conspiracy to prevent him from being elected. Trump went so far to say that the election would be rigged against him. The media portrayed him as being a racist and sexist doofus, yet his supporters, instead of trying to defend Trump against these claims, simply dismissed them as being media lies.

Trump, unwittingly or not, unleashed an army of alt-right trolls, mesmerized by Trump's outsider image, who conducted a campaign of "memetic magic" against his opponent, eventually taking credit for Hillary's collapse at the 9/11 ceremony in New York. These 4chan trolls, affected by a kind of dark and literal synchromysticism, came almost to manifest or invoke an actual avatar of chaos in the guise of Pepe the frog: the neglected Egyptian frog-headed deity, Kek. The culture was being cucked by Kek. More on this god later.

Yet after Trump got elected the conspiracy theory narrative flipped to the other side. Now it was Clinton and the DNC who claimed that Trump was conspiring with the alt-right and Russia, and ultimately Putin himself, to poison the minds of Americans against them. Trump, who they previously attempted to slander as being a conspiracy theorist, was at the centre of the wildest conspiracy theorist imaginable.

The Russians hacked the election! And their means of doing this was equally sinister. They used WikiLeaks, previously considered by liberals to be an ally against the military industrial complex, to release hacked emails from the DNC and Hillary's campaign manager, John Podesta. The Russians, after years of covert preparation, were able to disseminate the sordid revelations of these emails through "alternative" media websites and its own RT satellite network.

All of this was soon denounced by mainstream media sources like the New York Times, the Washington Post and CNN, as well as the always credible CIA (or at least "unnamed sources" within this agency) -- and thereby tipping off millions of Trump supporters and other dissidents that it was all bullshit -- as being "fake news."

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Fake news has been portrayed as being even more dangerous than conspiracy theories because the latter at least make an attempt, however misguided and pernicious, to uncover the real truth of unfolding events. Fake news is just pure disinformation, pure confusion, pure nihilism.

Soon lists of fake news outlets proliferated in the mainstream media and their acceptable online allies. Suspect sites included Infowars, Antiwar.com, Zerohedge, GLP, etc. In some circles, to have a site branded as fake news would be like presenting it with a badge of authenticity. In other circles, it was precisely this acknowledgement of the all-too-obvious official contempt for these sites that made them even more suspicious. The public chastisement of these websites, in other words, was also fake. An opposition, after all, is much easier to control if it is an official opposition.

For yet others, though, the fake news smear smacked of neo-McCarthyism. In 1951, the Russians wanted to destroy Western Civilization by sponsoring and spreading communist subversion. In 2016, The Russians wanted to destroy Western Civilization by sponsoring and spreading neo-fascist subversion.

Meanwhile, the content of the Podesta emails, hacked/leaked by the Russians or not, indicated that the DNC definitely conspired to unfairly sideline Bernie Sanders and his campaign. Sanders supporters are surely justified in asserting that there was a DNC conspiracy against their candidate. This conspiracy, however, began to look a little less clearcut when Sanders himself, after "losing," vociferously and actively put all his support behind Clinton in order to vanquish the perceived menace of Trump.

What happened? Did Bernie sell out? Did he sell his soul to Clinton for a big summer home and a campaign jet? Or was he compromised from the get go? Was his"role" one of Pied Piper to the Occupy kids? Or is Trump in fact so evil that he needs to be stopped even if that involves sleeping with the demon Killary?

But many could not follow their hero on this dark path. They transferred their support to the person they assumed was the only honourable candidate left in the race: Jill Stein of the Green Party. But suspicion eventually fell on Stein as well. After the election, Stein spearheaded an effort to demand a recount of votes in the Democratic firewall states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, all states that Trump unexpectedly won.

Why recounts only in these states? Why not in states that Clinton won? Was Stein also working for Hillary the whole time? The recount effort failed to alter the outcome at all, but Stein's trusted reputation was shattered.

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And lurking within the Podesta emails was something that would for many shatter the trust they once had in the structure of society altogether. The sinister weirdness began when an email to Podesta first came to light. The email was an invitation for John Podesta to come to his brother's house for a special and private "spirit cooking" event hosted by the avant-garde performance artist, Marina Abramović.

Within hours of this email surfacing from the WikiLeaks hoard, the internet knew all about Abramović and spirit cooking. The videos available online of public spirit cooking events were so weird and disturbing that they were quickly branded as being satanic in nature. More sinister still were comments, also discovered online, by Abramović herself that while such public events were mere art, spirit cooking in private, as at the Podesta's, moved into the realm of magical ritual.


But spirit cooking -- partially involving writing on white walls with blood, mother's milk and other bodily fluids -- was only the dark portal to a far deeper and more elaborate cavernous realm of evil and utter depravity. Very rapidly the truth was unearthed. Podesta and his friends and colleagues were communicating in code! "Pizzagate" was revealed.

Hi John, 

The realtor found a handkerchief (I think it has a map that seems pizza-related. Is it yorus? They can send it if you want. I know you’re busy, so feel free not to respond if it's not yours or you don't want it.  

Susaner

It soon became common wisdom that the term "pizza" used with uncommon frequency and in strange context within the emails, was pedophile code for girls while "hotdogs" referred to boys. Nobody, when really pressed, could give a clear source for where this code originated from, but rumour on the web was that the list of pedo code words came from the FBI.

This was the same FBI, of course, and especially its director, James Comey, that last July had very controversially cleared Clinton from any intentional wrong doing in discussing classified State Department business on an unsecured private email account.

But then, in a bombshell to the world, less than two weeks before the election Coney announced to the U.S. Congress that the FBI was reopening the Clinton case. This was in regard to information that had surfaced in the investigation of former congressman, Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of Huma Abedin, Cinton's closest and most trusted advisor. Weiner was charged with sexting a 15-year-old girl.

On the web, rumours and "insider" testimony swirled that the FBI, along with possibly the NYPD and other "white hat" factions within the establishment, was engaged in covert information warfare against the CIA, the DNC and the White House. Even Trump tweeted that maybe the system wasn't as rigged against him as he had thought.

Then, suddenly, as if they consciously were trying to sow as much confusion in the populace as possible, the FBI again announced that according to their superhuman sifting of 650,000 emails that there was still no evidence present against Hillary. Comey had, depending on the narrative, morphed from villain to hero to villain again -- or the exact inverse -- in the space of five months. Whatever the final judgement of his character, he was now universally derided as being inconsistent at best and treacherous at worst.

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In any event, this is the FBI that is the most credible source for the pizzagate pedo code. Researchers, by the hundreds and perhaps thousands, quickly moved beyond the code and the emails themselves -- taking them for granted -- and began to investigate the online identities of people mentioned in the emails. The Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. accounts of these people were scoured for incriminating morsels. Creepy photos involving children became viral, and recurring "friends" of these people were also crowd-investigated.

Soon a new and very dark narrative emerged. What was coming into light was a massive high-level pedophilia ring, involving top politicians and bureaucrats as well as avant-garde artists and occult practitioners. This ring, based in the DC area, centred on a Washington hipster pizza joint called Comet Ping Pong, the site of numerous "pizza parties" featuring the sexual violation and possible sacrifice of children. News circulated of underground passage ways linking the basement of Comet Ping Pong with other pizza shops and various businesses in the same neighbourhood. Surely something this nefarious must be happening underground.

For seasoned and hardened conspiracy researchers these revelations did not come as much of a shock. They were well aware of the sordid cases of Jimmy Savile in the UK and Jeffrey Epstein's "Orgy Island" in the Caribbean (which Bill Clinton is said to have frequented), and the reality of an international elite of satanic pedophiles and child murderers was unquestioned. But for those tens of thousands of the newly initiated -- many undoubtedly naive former Clinton supporters -- pizzagate hit them with the force of a mass trauma. This might even be worse than Trump!

By December 5th, while these investigations and the increasingly manic speculation surrounding them were reaching a boiling point, a man named Edgar Welch -- apparently much concerned about the horror of these revelations -- entered Comet Ping Pong and shot it up with a high-powered rifle. Instantly pizzagate became mainstream international news.

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Forums like Reddit and others banned discussion of pizzagate, claiming that it was turning into a witchhunt against innocent people; similar, from another perspective, to the neo-McCarthyite witchhunt against "fake news" outlets. Comet Ping Pong owner, James Alefantis, protested in several TV interviews, that his restaurant did not even have a basement.

Claims were made that the Comet Ping Pong shoot-up was an obvious false flag, designed to discredit the legitimate investigative movement. Others, even more cynical, argued that this event proved that the whole pizzagate narrative was scripted from the start (like Hillary supporters claiming that the original Podesta emails were altered). It was all subterfuge, a spectacular distraction to buy time in order to attempt to produce faithless electors against Trump in the Electoral College vote (an attempt which also failed miserably).

Or, perhaps more significantly, it was designed to lead people away from the really damaging, actually incriminating, contents of the Podesta and DNC emails: the Clinton Foundation's pay-for-play, "donations"for for classified secrets, scam which indicated corruption and even treason at the highest levels.

Many others, more skeptical of any conspiratorial explanation, ridiculed the entire thing, mocking the absurdity and baseless conjecture of mass uneducated fever dreaming. This was essentially the line that the mainstream media ran with, along with the added warning that pizzagate, and the resulting Comet Ping Pong shooting, was a prime example of what could happen when Trump-encouraged, Russian-generated "fake news" got out of hand.

Soon social media companies, most notably Facebook, promised to safeguard its clients against the onslaught of fake news. Handy applications were devised to instantly alert unwary smartphone users who suffered from atrophy of their critical faculties.

Everyone could feel that the collective plot was being lost. The hyperdimensional object was well in view, but no two individuals it seemed were interpreting it in precisely the same way. Consensus was no longer even imaginable.


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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Ideal Objects, Delirium, and other Pizza-Related Unsense 1

The green had gone out of the meadows, and a faint smell of rot and mold rose up to the newcomers. The only colors left were those of swollen giant mushrooms and of garish, poisonous-looking blooms that suggested nothing so much as the figments of a maddened brain. Enfeebled and trembling, the innermost heart of Fantastica was still resisting the inexorable encroachment of the Nothing.  

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Ioan Couliano, the Romanian historian of religion assassinated in a University of Chicago restroom in 1991, began his last book, The Tree of Gnosis, with a discussion of Einstein and the Flatland. Couliano explains that a significant source for Einstein's special and general theory of relativity was Edwin Abbott Abbott's popular book, Flatland, first published in 1883.

According to Couliano's scholarship, just as Abbott speculated on what a three dimensional object would appear like to hypothetical beings inhabiting a two dimensional world, Einstein carried this speculation one giant step forward: how would a four or higher dimensional object appear to people living in our own 3D world? From this basic analogy emerged Einstein's famous theories of relativity and "his view of the universe as being the hypersurface of a hypersphere."

Of course, I am grossly simplifying Couliano's own simplification of Abbott's influence on Einstein. The point, as always, is the creation of metaphors. Couliano's own metaphoric representation of Flatland is what he calls "Soupland." The 2D inhabitants of Soupland are the small circles of oil on the surface of a bowl of soup. Couliano asks, what would a spoon, breaking through the surface of the soup into its depths, be experienced as for these soup scum denizens?

Undoubtedly, taken as one movement it would be a world shaking phenomenon, but as they would have no notion of the third dimension it would probably seem like a series of strange yet apparently unrelated events. The wisest of the soup scums might have a inkling that there must be something bigger and more powerful linking together all of these uncanny occurrences, but they would have no means by which to determine what that something is. Something exceedingly weird had happened -- was happening -- but on this observation only could consensus be reached.

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Interestingly, in Aleister Crowley's 1917 novel, Moonchild, an identical thought experiment is performed using the image of a wooden cone breaking through the surface of water in a basin. Crowley writes as the magician, Simon Iff:

So it dips its point, thus. The water perceives a point. The cone goes on dipping. The water sees a circle round where the point was. The cone goes on. The circle gets bigger and bigger. Suddenly, as the cone goes completely through, snap!
    

Now, what does the water know?

Nothing about any cone. If it got any idea that the various commotions were caused by a single object, which it would only do if it compared them carefully, noted a regularity of rate of increase in the size of the circle, and so on -- in other words, used the scientific method - it would not evolve a theory of a cone, for we must remember that any solid body is to it a thing as wildly inconceivable as a fourth-dimensional body is to us.

Couliano uses the very similar Soupland metaphor to explain the methodology he employs in The Tree of Gnosis. Couliano calls this method "cognitive morphology," by which a complex, multifaceted and multi-denominational historical phenomenon -- in Couliano's study, Gnosticism -- is examined as an "ideal object" that is "transformed," or represented differently, according to the unique intellectual or logical perspectives of its observers.

It should be noticed from the beginning that all gnostic systems, without exception, appear as transformations of one another and therefore can be said to be part of a larger "ideal object," whose possibilities are being explored by human minds at all times, regardless of time and space... gnostic myth originates in the transformation of other myths... gnostic doctrines ultimately derive from one another not through direct transmission but through a cognitive process of transformation.

The "ideal object" of gnostic revelation -- the spoon of Soupland -- is interpreted very differently according to who experiences it. The exegesis and systemic interpretations that follow from this revelation are extremely varied and at times even contradictory -- the terminology differs, alternate logical conclusions are made, and the myths are transformed -- but the "ideal object" that these sects and individuals are attempting to describe is essentially the same.

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And while many such ideal objects could potentially exist, Couliano emphasizes early on that Gnosticism itself mostly represents a diverse set of perspectives on an ideal object that was, and is, the focal point and epistemological axis of all Christian theology both orthodox and heretical: the supposed Incarnation of Christ, the Word made Flesh, the irruption of the Logos into history, the perfect union of Spirit and Matter.

The "event," this "ideal object,"when surveying as Couliano does all of the varied orthodox, heretical and gnostic interpretations/misinterpretations of it, is hermeneutically bottomless. It is a mystery without resolution. And now, over two thousand years later, this great mystery, although much faded in memory, still persists (as even outright denial is also an interpretation).

It is interesting, then, that Terence McKenna -- prophet of singularity and the ultimate concrescence of novelty -- also pointed to the incarnation of the Logos as a kind of pedagogical device. And it, at the very least, could be compared to humanity's encounter with what he likewise called the "hyperdimensional object" that was to happen, by his reckoning, in 2012.

We all remember the swelling wave of expectation and near hysteria that swept over the culture building up to the winter solstice of that year. The anticipation -- in echo of Hollywood, of the clamour of the New Age, of McKenna himself -- was for a climactic happening, terrible or wonderful, that would utterly and instantly end history and even transmute the fabric of reality. This might take the form of an alien invasion/disclosure, a mass consciousness shift, Earth changes, the hand of God, yet none of that or anything similar actually occurred.

And as uncritically and effortlessly as we accepted the theories of 2012, we at once dismissed them in like manner as being delusional or fraudulent afterwards. 2012 was just another passing spectacle or scam. Nothing even vaguely transcendental happened and the world merely continued its incremental and dreary slide into banal entropy. Or did it?

To get back to Couliano, what would an encounter with an ideal or hyperdimensional object actually look like to us three dimensional beings? How long would the encounter last? Who would notice it? How would it manifest itself? If it first appeared, like Crowley's cone on the surface of the water, as a single point, then wouldn't it be overlooked by virtually everyone?

Is this what really happened on 12/21/12? Only the slightest initial rupture of the surface of our 3D continuum by the hyperdimensional whatever would, regardless of how loud the foreshocks of anticipation, be noticed by nobody. Initially, the point of contact would be indistinguishable from any other coordinate in time and space. Only gradually, using the Flatland or Soupland analogy, would this "point" ripple out to wider and wider circles. Only at this stage would it begin to become noticed by the very perceptive few.

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But what would be noticed? If we accept, along with McKenna and Couliano, that the Incarnation of Christ did represent the arrival of some sort of hyperdimensional object, then we may hypothesize that it would arrive again in a similar manner: within the medium of human thought or consciousness. The ripples, should they be felt, would be noticed first within human culture, involving human means of communication.

And it, like the Incarnation, would not initially effect the content of culture -- that would come later -- but with the very forms or structures of communication and thought. The transcendent object becoming immanent -- where the spoon hits the soup -- is primarily ideal, primarily mental (although anything affecting the mind will eventually affect the body and vice versa).

As an exercise in bad poetry, therefore, let's accept for a bit that this has happened. Let's accept that McKenna and the Mayan calendar and the New Age Casandras and Panglosses and assorted cults and secret societies were all right about 2012. But to be clear, they might have been right that something would happen in 2012 but, insofar as they prophesied a dramatic climax of some sort, were absolutely wrong about what it would be.

McKenna insightfully observed that as Jesus Christ's whole ministry only lasted a mere three years and yet totally changed the world, a similar incarnate event in our own accelerated and interconnected global paradigm would only need to "minister" for a fraction of that time. But why should we assume this to be the case? In some versions of the story, Christ's entire incarnation was 33 years. Why wouldn't the present encounter be at least as long?

So again, let's assume hyperdimensional contact did commence in 2012, but at first only gradually, imperceptibly, a slowly widening circle of disturbance. As in PKD's own metaphor of the arriving Logos, it comes into view like a zebra cautiously exiting its camouflage of high grass. Now, slightly more than four years later, its effects -- although still not positively identified by anyone -- have become readily apparent even within "mainstream" channels of communication.

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It is also of little surprise that the eye of this cyclone of weirdness has emerged first in the heart of the world's principal media, financial and military empire, the U.S.A. From this vantage point it would emanate out and infect all of human culture and thought.

A detailed survey of its possible reverberations is required. But as its contours and impressions are by definition unknowable, we are really whistling in the dark. As always, we are discovering patterns that may only exist in our imagination. And yet it could be that it is the imagination that is the actual object we are attempting to describe. We can only plunge in.

The ideal object does not arrive as a definite something -- the classic UFO landing on the White House lawn -- but as an indefinite everything.

The surest sign of its emergence is the total breakdown of consensus. This has been occurring for many decades now, just as the Incarnation of spirit into matter was expected by thinkers and visionaries for over a century before Christ, but at this moment it has become an undeniable crisis for everyone.

Donald J. Trump, billionaire and reality TV star, has inexplicably for millions become the president of the most powerful nation in history. In a way, Trump's triumph is the culminating point of the new Incarnation. He -- the man -- is not the Messiah or the hyperdimensional object in himself, but he is a kind of threshold where the effects of that object become evident to most.

A demonstrator in New York City held a sign stating that the election of Trump was worse than 9/11. In a way, she is right. 9/11 was still confined within the consensus narrative, the conspiracy theories questioning or doubting the official story of 9/11 only circulated gradually. It took years for these theories to reach the mainstream, and even after that the discourse took on a predictable dichotomy: the sane official story vs. the wild conspiracy theories.

In this dualistic form the consensus persisted, but 9/11 was really the shot across the bow. The consensus began to really fray at this point. Conspiracy theories began to multiply. The consensus remained, but the counter-consensus fragmented endlessly. 9/11 was the foreshadowing in physical form of the more significant ideal encounter with the wholly other beginning in 2012, yet not really noticed by most until the present moment. By Bloomsday 2015 it took on an uncanny yet definite form.

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Barking Our Infernal Shins

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And I have felt 
A presence that disturbs me with the joy 
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime 
Of something far more deeply interfused, 
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns, 
And the round ocean and the living air, 
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man; 
A motion and a spirit, that impels 
All thinking things, all objects of all thought, 
And rolls through all things.

Deleuze's recurring image of the rhizome has its origin in Jung. In his autobiography, Jung wrote that all of the marvelous encounters of life bloom forth from the always present subterranean root system of the rhizome. In Deleuze's term it is the virtual, not unchanging or eternal in itself but awaiting its chance to break through the ground.

This is Jung's archetype, an idea which he in turn develops from Henri Bergson's notion of the intuition. The rhizome is not solely made up of repressed traumas, as in Freud and Lacan, but it is the unseen well of creativity -- much more vast than the individual and his or her experiences. These experiences sprout up like mushrooms from the mycelium, but they are merely the visible fruits of an internal yet impersonal bed of becoming.

By means impossible to explain because of certain misconceptions in your model of reality all my mycelial networks in the galaxy are in hyperlight communication across space and time. The mycelial body is as fragile as a spider's web but the collective hypermind and memory is a vast historical archive of the career of evolving intelligence on many worlds in our spiral star swarm. Space, you see. is a vast ocean to those hardy life forms that have the ability to reproduce from spores, for spores are covered with the hardest organic substance known. Across the aeons of time and space drift many spore-forming life-forms in suspended animation for millions of years until contact is made with a suitable environment. -- Psilocybin: The Magic Mushrooms Grower's Guide, O.T. Oss, O.N. Oeric

The rhizome, as Deleuze witnesses, is ahierarchical, decentering. It has no head and no middle. It is connected to itself at every node with every other node. It is vastly different than Plato's forms or at any rate it provides a much fuller picture of them. It reveals the shamanic, the more archaic, version of Plato. More image than archetype.

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There is another world, yes, but it is not a crystal museum of perfect Forms. It is organic, networked, a vast ever-transforming cauldron of creative and anarchic possibilities. It doubles as the Magician's hat and the Magician herself. It is there -- the rhizome bed -- behind both thoughts and substance. It is the originless origin of both, the virtual that enables all individuation.

Earth is all the higher bodies because all the higher lights come together in it. For this reason earth is called "Pan" by the poets, that is "the whole," and it is also given the name Cybele, which is almost like cubile, from cube (cubus) that is, a solid. The reason for this is that earth, that is to say, Cybele, the mother of all the gods, is the most compact of all bodies, because, although the higher lights are gathered together in it, nevertheless they do not have their source in the earth through its own operations, but the light (lumen) of any sphere whatever can be educed from it into act and operation. Thus every one of the gods will be begotten from it as from a kind of mother. The intermediate bodies have a twofold relationship. Towards lower bodies they have the same relation as the first heaven has to all other things, and they are related to the higher bodies as earth is related to all other things. And thus in a certain sense each thing contains all other things.  -- On Light, Robert Grosseteste

The rhizome, the root system, is of course the foundation of all trees. But trees are the very symbol of the hierarchy. Hierarchies exist, to be sure. They become actual. But they are passing works of art, sand-paintings, not to be taken entirely seriously.

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Trees, too, are products of the rhizome, and so the blood of its chaos also breathes through them, waiting to be tapped into and released. But they are as seasonal and transitory as a ripening fruit. Eventually they will rot, fall down, and be once again absorbed as creative fodder for the rhizome. They are merely vertical extensions of its transformation.

The light which on ten thousand faces shines,
     The beams which crown ten thousand vines
     With glory and delight, appear
         As if they were
Reflected only from them all for me,
That a greater beauty there might see.
      Thus stars do beautify
      The azure canopy.
         Gilded with rays,
         Ten thousand ways
They serve me, while the sun that on them shines
Adorns those stars, and crowns those bleeding vines.  -- "Goodness," Thomas Traherne 

"Trees", then, are not fought by cutting them down -- they will grow again. It is even less effective to break off a branch -- the hierarchy is in a continual process of self-production. Even more futile, counter-productive, even reactionary, is to develop as a new tree, as one higher, more beautiful, more just than all the others. This is delusional madness. All trees will rot, will become twisted and cruel. All are both the fruits and food of the rhizome, the mother devouring her children.

The only way to defeat the Tree is to course down through the twigs and branches, reversing through the secret sap channels of the trunk and reunite with the rhizome -- to the space of all possibilities. From this vantage point the tree is no threat -- it is yet another root. We can be awed by the beauty of its form and yet not swept up in its self-illusions of permanence or greatness.

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Deep within the rhizome the tree has no hold over us -- not with the state, not with the society, not even with the family. Here we dwell in the root of the Oedipus myth, of myth in general. The father is killed, the mother is raped and on and on -- unclefuckers, sistereaters, doglickers, pigsuckers -- all permutations are present and possible, no one myth dominates over the others. We are at the place where all myths are born.

A religion, almost a religion, any religion, a quintal in religion, a relying and a surface and a service in indecision and a creature and a question and a syllable in answer and more counting and no quarrel and a single scientific statement and no darkness and no question and an earned administration and a single set of sisters and an outline and no blisters and the section seeing yellow and the centre having spelling and no solitude and no quaintness and yet solid quite so solid and the single surface centred and the question in the placard and the singularity, is there a singularity, and the singularity, why is there a question and the singularity why is the surface outrageous, why is it beautiful why is it not when there is no doubt, why is anything vacant, why is not disturbing a centre no virtue, why is it when it is and why is it when it is and there is no doubt, there is no doubt that the singularity shows. -- "Rooms," Tender Buttons, Gertrude Stein

Here, then, the intelligible is not truly separated from the sensible. It is impossible to say where the tree ends and the rhizome begins. One appears more underground and horizontal than the other, but this is also illusory. Branches spread out, too, and the leaves are buried in the air. The elements mix. So where is the rhizome? It must be right here, nesting in the thickest branches of the tree.

Does this lend itself to a revolutionary analysis? According to Deleuze, and maybe Jung, it demands a voluntary, aware schizophrenia. The rhizome is here, in our unconscious, the seat of all creativity. It demands the conscious deconstruction of all arborescent metaphors that smother our imagination. The most toxic metaphor out there is that the unconscious is also enclosed, determined by the tree. But the unconscious is also the taproot. It is ridiculous to assume that the tree could colonize the rhizome. In contrast, the tree is but one expression of the latter.

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We need to consciously enter back into the dark rootwork. It is an alchemical process, back to the prima materia in order to generate new forms, new works of art. The tree is subverted by ceasing to believe in its permanence, by actively moving back within it, inside it, under it, and becoming something else. Becoming-animal, becoming-plant, becoming-rock. Flowering forth new forms of imagination. Tree: root: tree.  

At the hill temple,
Stillness invites the curiosity
  of the creeping, the fluttering and the shy

The pre-dusk chorus commences in the branches
  just behind my head
Its refrain is echoed and amplified
  in the bushes to the right and left
Repetitive droning, chiming, chirping
A dancing lattice of sound

Feedback, overtones, distortion
Simple themes woven into a
  bewildering fugue
Many-layered and synesthetic
Defining a fluid architecture
  of rhythm and tone

Birds join in
Nightingale warbles
 incanting ancient sutras
Grim crows caw

Breathing in, a wind blows
  up from the valley
Leaves rustle, patterns  
  of light and shadow interplay
  with song and silence

The glow in the West brings
  blood to the breeze
Eyes and ears only reflect, take in
The edge of self blurs
  into the foliage

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Dig Ressions and Sessions of Greasy Madness

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Kant's distinction between noumenon and phenomenon -- the latter always already structured by categories of Time, Space and Causality, the noumenal forever unknown.

Husserl and phenomenology -- "things-in-themselves" are bracketed. Only this world is explored as it appears to our senses. Merleau-Ponty places emphasis on embodied experience.

The next step is presaged in Nietzsche's observation that with the end of the "real" world the "apparent" world also vanishes. The two become merged into a third term beyond both subject and object.

Derrida's deconstruction is a technique to make obvious this actuality. Deleuze goes beyond -- taking as a given that all is a becoming, he sets out to describe these always interconnected fluxes.

This does not bring us back to Berkeley's idealism, where all matter is merely individual perception, but to a place where all perception and matter is indissolubly coupled. When we move further away from a rock and we perceive it to grow smaller, does it actually decrease in size? Doesn't a "rock-in-itself" remain, independent of our perceptions and ideas of it?

These are the wrong questions. There never is a "rock-in-itself." Even if no sentient being ever came across this particular rock, it would never have an existence outside of the smaller particles that make up its being, or the larger whole that it is a part of, or the elements and forces that act upon it. At no point is it independent and unchanging. Our perception of the rock is simply another "force" acting upon it. It changes the rock.

As Deleuze points out even physical forces have "perceptions." They "see" the rock and react to it in their own singular way. Never does the rock exist, then, outside of it being perceived by another. This is just a further aspect of its flux. And so it is with every other object/subject. All are always already perceiving and being perceived, acting and being acted upon. At no point can the "in-itself" be situated.

Kant explained that we structure the phenomenal world with our minds with a priori categories, most notably Space, Time and Causality. Others since Kant have pointed out that even these categories cannot be universalized. All three seem also to be in constant alteration. It may be true that these three are always present in some fashion, but they are in no way absolute. Each is relative depending on the perceiver and what it perceives.

A more thorough phenomenology would explain that aside from the shifting aspects of these three, we human individuals are always embedded in changing worlds that are determined by many other factors.

If all of our senses are functioning normally we perceive a certain range of colours, scents, sounds, tastes and tactile sensations. These spectra tend to widen and contract depending on the state of our consciousness -- what some would call brain chemistry. Under the influence of certain drugs or plants we can perceive colours, for instance, that we do not normally see.

In addition to the physical senses, though, we are always embedded in a complex web of emotions, feelings, thoughts, relations with others, bodily movement and position, memories, fantasies, dreams, etc. We never just perceive with our senses alone. It would be one thing if we were just looking at the rock in question with our imperfect sense of vision, but we almost never do this. The rock is already a player, and a shifting one, in our internal world. The very word "rock" captures it into the web of our language and the culture which it in turn is coupled with.

How does the rock make us feel? Have we seen it before? Does it remind us of other scenes from past episodes of our lives? Do we like the rock? Do we dislike it? Are we indifferent to it? Does it trigger in us other seemingly barely related memories? The rock is never separate from this nexus of association, whether this is conscious or not.

As we take in information about the world from our senses, which our minds almost miraculously project outward as living, seamless holograms, the "outside" world is really no different from the "inside." What we see is what we think, and the opposite holds true as well.

This is not to say that the mind creates the world, but that both are wholly inseparable. There is no independent "mind" that objectively looks out or creates its own world. No mind is to be found outside of the flux of the All, but the "world" is never free of the qualities of the "mind" either.

Modern Buddhism seems to neglect this point. Thich Nhat Hanh famously wrote that in this sheet of paper we can really see the tree from which the paper is made, the sunshine that allowed the tree to grow, the logger that cut it down, the bread that the logger ate, etc. All of this is certainly true. This image wonderfully presents the interconnection of the natural and human worlds. It presents an ecological, naturalistic model of Buddhism.

This is fine and good but it leaves out the human mind. This page also has writing on it. This writing causes us to imagine trees, sunshine, loggers and bread, and with all of these we already have mental associations, memories about, emotional ties with. The physical page itself might also remind us of similar pages, past experiences of reading, reflections on the shapes of the letters, the number of the page, the smell of the book. Thinking of trees and sunshine, for example, may make you put down the book and go out for a walk. All of these are also in the sheet of paper.

The ecological model, then, is far too simplistic. It allows for one example of Indra's net in our world, but it leaves out another very important dimension -- the human mind. Buddhist meditation, in the present reading, is not about "stopping our thoughts" -- this is not possible as the processes of thinking, perceiving and living are entirely combined. Instead, meditation is the action of becoming aware of this single process.

Modern Buddhism, by promoting this ecological vision of itself as a sort of "scientific" spiritualism, falls trap to the deceptive reductionism of science. Science is not a phenomenology, it is an attempt to grasp the "in-itself." It tries to strip away all of the secondary and tertiary aspects of objects, everything that we individually sense and feel about them at particular points of space and time, and to discover what is really there.

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And of course science does find something. There are things that exist nearly universally and repetitively and regardless of subjective observation, and these things can and are used and applied as technology, but they are no more real or important than a daydream a child might imagine and quickly forgets one sunny afternoon. In other words, they take us no closer to Truth or even what it means to be human to the fullest extent.

The scientific method reduces the world according to its own parameters, its advocates dogmatically declaring that it brings us as close to Reality as we can possibly get. Science demands that all other takes on reality  -- say a child's daydream -- be judged according to its own standards and those that do not measure up are quickly dismissed.

But the reductions of science are not the reductions, for example, of mystical experience. The two cannot be compared, but again science insists that all other reality claims be weighed by its own understanding of evidence. This is a type of epistemological fascism.

Modern Buddhism attempts to conform to the dictates of science by passing itself off as ecological. Yes, Buddhism does show that all organisms and their environments are inextricably intertwined, but it also demonstrates much more than this, whole dimensions more.

It reveals that mind runs through everything, that the land and its inhabitants, human and otherwise, are constantly awash in memories, emotions, dreams, relations, ideas and fantasies. None of these can be separated out from the physical stuff as described by science. The land dreams as all aboriginal people know. This should once more be the focus of Buddhism, not some vain hope to become a "scientific religion."

At the moment, though, modern Buddhism, especially in its Western variety, does not generally do this. And accordingly it cuts itself off from how people actually live their day-to-day lives. We are embodied, thinking, feeling, dreaming. Buddhism is not a religion of would-be Mr. Spocks, ceasing all desire and witnessing the passing of life with detached logic and rationality. And if it was this I would completely reject it.

Buddhism is, for me at least, the affirmation of the whole of experience. It is the conclusion that we suffer when we do try to parcel up existence into artificial, reductive boxes and categories. It is the saying YES to flux and change within everything, even our impressions of ourselves.

We can better see this view, perhaps, in literature. Joyce's Ulysses is the prime example. He we intimately witness the whole lives of two men -- their experiences, thoughts, emotions, aspirations, farts, pissings, etc. -- in just one day, and we are inside of this process happening in real time. The book presents a mirror of how exactly we all perceive and live in our worlds which unfold along with us.

In Ulysses the everyday is the mythic, just as the mythic is the everyday. This is only another formula for nirvana is samsara, or the noumenal is the phenomenal. This is the animal that requires observation, the monster that looks at itself in the process of looking at itself. This is also Deleuze's world which he explores and describes throughout his work.

Joseph Campbell compares the insanely interconnected dreamworld of Finnegans Wake, which Ulysses leads into, with both Indra's net and Schopenhauer's own comparison of lives as dreams. Schopenhauer wrote how dreams are remarkable because by the end of any dream seemingly chance events and characters are so skillfully woven into the fabric of the dream that they have become essential. Upon waking and remembering a long dream it appears almost impossible that one could have imagined something so creatively coherent.

What is even more amazing, Schopenhauer reflected, is the similarity of this aspect of dreams to our own lives. At an advanced age we realize that all "chance" meetings and events have all played their parts perfectly to seamlessly pattern the story of our lives. Not one detail could have been changed and, just as in our dreams, it appears as if a master story teller had plotted it all out ahead of time.

It gets even weirder than this, however. Not only does my life story play out in this uncanny way, but so does the life story of every other person. This means that as you played roles in the lives of others so they performed for a time in your story. And all of these fit together perfectly. The interconnected complexity of this coherence is mind-blowing. It almost seems impossible to fathom and yet it happens to all of us each day.

This is definitely where Joyce takes us and it is also a very vivid example of Indra's net in concrete terms. Schopenhauer's view of things, however, is not exactly comparable to Indra's net. For the philosopher, just as we compose and construct our dreams, whether consciously or not, we also compose and construct our lives and an even greater author, God himself, is able 
to bring all of these billions of narratives perfectly together within the grand story of creation.

Within Indra's net, though, and maybe in the work of Joyce as well, no author is required at any stage or level. Or, to put it in a better way, the author is always already a part of the text. The words themselves write the author into the story.

The stuff of dreams, the stuff of autobiography, the stuff of the story -- all stories and the authors of these stories -- are but one Stuff, one stuff that is not defined or limited by oneness. It is stuff that also goes beyond the one and the many.

But how does it move? What are its dynamics? It dances in cycles, in spirals. It has a beat. It is possible to flow with it or against it. It oscillates from one extreme to another. Seasons, waves, sunsets, births, deaths, sleeping, waking -- wheels within wheels. And thought, even collectively, also has a cycle.

Our imaginations soar creating a vast civilization, now global in reach, a master over the whole world. The magnificent edifice is unrivaled in its power and splendour, every aspect of life is determined and improved upon. We have truly uncovered the formula for prying out Nature's secrets. Now we are supreme. Our knowledge has given us near omnipotence. We are at the peak of our strength.

But to arrive at these giddy heights what have we trampled under our feet? What have we suppressed? What do we keep having to hack back, flush down, fight off? Our aim is a world entirely of our own making but we, the control freaks, dupe ourselves into thinking that we ever really have control.

Things are only kept down for so long before they come up again, and when they do so it is not a pretty sight. All the toilets are overflowing. All of the trauma and injustice of history is coming to the fore. History is a nightmare, a spell, which is perpetuated by those who would stand to lose most at the final judgement, but this day is inevitable. We used to be aware that the extreme of anything will invariably transform itself into its opposite. We used to hold stock in ideas such as hubris and moderation, but now this wisdom is also scorned within the general pattern of suppression.

And yet the scum always rises. Every dog has its day and the long day is ending. The wild is returning. This is the simplest and most apt way to put it. History is essentially the tale of civilization's suppression of the wild in all of its forms -- unrestricted imagination, non-hierarchical organization, free spirituality, the feminine, the animal, the embodied, the dirt, the tribal, the primal, the uninhibited and free spirit of Enkidu. All this has been lost, been shut off from our reality, is only accepted as romantic nostalgia or flavorless imitation. Now it is coming back.

It is not returning as something fresh and clean and new. It is arriving in shock and pain after a hard labour in a grave of decay. The Spring will undoubtedly come, but first we tromp through the crusted dogshit of the Winter thaw. All will be shaken.

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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Feeling the Breath of Empty Space

And against this inward revolt of the native creatures of the soul 
mechanical man, in triumph seated upon the seat of his machine,
will be powerless, for no engine can reach into the marshes and 
     depths of a man.

-- D.H. Lawrence, "The Triumph of the Machine"
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Locke. The arrival of empiricism. Nothing in the mind that was not first in the senses. The blank slate. No innate ideas. But do sense impressions accurately correspond to external objects? This cannot be known definitely. And yet we can make a distinction. There are "primary qualities" that can be objectively measured -- shape, motion, weight, etc. -- and there are "secondary qualities" which are subjective only, varying from person to person -- colour, taste, feelings, odour, etc. Thus we can know the real dimensions of a given thing but not its colour. The Eye over all other senses.

Berkeley. But isn't this distinction between primary and secondary qualities also arbitrary? Doesn't this also break down? Even primary qualities are just mind experiences. There is no guarantee that there is any precise match up to external reality. Everything is filtered through the senses and the mind itself, phenomenal, bound to appearances. Idealism as hyper-empiricism.

The only things that exist with certainty are the mind and its ideas. And yet all is evidently not subjective fantasy. There is an apparent, even objective, common experience. How can this be accounted for? The world only has a coherent form because all perceiving minds are contained in the mind of God. The Eye becomes cosmic, omniscient.

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Hume. But the postulation of "God" to hold the world together betrays empiricism entirely. There is no way to know anything -- God or his surrogates -- beyond the data that the senses impress upon the mind.  Likewise, however, all statements of reason -- defined by logic and mathematics -- are ultimately tautological. They may only refer to themselves. Heads up their own bums. No way of knowing if there is any fixed correspondence to anything external.

Induction -- crucial to science -- is also entirely based on non-empirical assumptions. Even though we have observed the Sun rising in the morning day after day there is no absolute surety that it will do so tomorrow. As with all phenomena. The "physical laws" are only provisional just-so tales. Causality itself cannot be sensed. We assume that A causes B, but we never actually witness the causal connection between the two.

We cannot even hold that there is a consistent Mind that does the observing. There are only moments of observation. No Self can be isolated and sensed, only an unceasing stream of impressions, sensations and ideas. What self? What mind? Where can it be located? No objective knowledge is possible through such a non-entity. The Eye dethroned. Empiricism has eaten itself. Complete epistemological skepticism. And Hume loved his beer.

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Kant. Abruptly shaken awake from his "dogmatic slumber" by Hume. But, but surely some knowledge must be possible? Newtonian science, for one, works, doesn't it? It has a predictive capacity. How can this be? There must be a real correspondence between inner mind and outer world. But Berkeley and Hume are also right -- we cannot know anything outside of our mind and its senses. And, as Hume demonstrated, there is no evidence of a God that could hold it all together either. So what gives?

Kant sparks off a "Copernican revolution" -- the whole of the world that we will ever know is that structured by the intrinsic categories of the mind. The categories of time, space, causality, substance are embedded in the very structure of our minds. They exist prior -- a priori -- to anything observed by the senses and therefore they condition every experience. Newtonian science works because the world that it describes is necessarily that which is framed by the categories of the mind. There is no escaping this.

The phenomenal world -- things as they appear -- is the only world describable by science or any other epistemological method. The noumenal world -- things as they are -- is entirely unknowable. We can only observe with our minds the world which is structured according to the categories of the same mind that observes it. We order the world according to how our perception is ordered. Every look out is also a look in. An apparent step back from Hume's skeptical cliff edge.

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The German Idealists. Pushing the limits of Kant came Fichte, Schelling, Hegel. Perhaps the phenomenal world is the noumenal. There are no things outside of the mind. Back to the idealism of Berkeley, but God is now part of the mix and not external to and transcendent of it. Our minds are identical with the mind of God. God is immanent in this world, the world of the mind, one perfectly reflecting the other. This is also the worldview of the Romantics. As in Coleridge:

The primary imagination I hold to be the living power and prime agent of all human perception, and as a repetition in the finite mind of the eternal act of creation in the infinite I Am. 

Hegel's World Spirit evolving itself through the media of time and history, from pure spirit to the plunge into unconscious matter, to gradually recovering sentience, to eventual and ultimate self-awareness as spirit once again. This process encompasses all. Spirit and matter becoming butter as they chase each other around the Tree. Skepticism morphed into mysticism.

After the Revolution. But why stop at the categories of space, time, causality, etc.? These are not the only shaping factors of the mind. As Richard Tarnas explains in The Passion of the Western Mind  (where much of this is derived), the inbuilt yet changing lenses and filters are legion:

From Kant and Hume through Darwin, Marx, Freud and beyond, an unsettling conclusion was becoming inescapable: Human thought was determined, structured, and very probably distorted by a multitude of overlapping factors -- innate but nonabsolute mental categories, habits, history, culture, social class, biology, language, imagination, emotion, the personal unconscious, the collective unconscious. In the end, the human mind could not be relied upon as an accurate judge of reality. The original Cartesian certainty, that which served as a foundation for the modern confidence in human reason, was no longer defensible.  

Yet even these "categories" are only identified as such by some other category-determining faculty. And this faculty is also a category. It all turns in on itself, devouring and copulating, like an Albert Ayler free jazz saxophone blowout.


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Kant's original a priori categories of cognition -- the last vestiges of absolute certainty for the philosopher -- have themselves dissipated, wafts of grey vapour reenter the fog. Melted away by the very intellectual force that Kant had hoped to save -- science. Tarnas:

But with twentieth-century physics, the bottom fell out of Kant's last certainty. The fundamental Kantian a prioris -- space, time, substance, causality -- were no longer applicable to all phenomena. The scientific knowledge that had seemed after Newton to be universal and absolute had to be recognized after Einstein, Bohr, and Heisenberg as limited and provisional. So too did quantum mechanics reveal in unexpected fashion that the radical validity of Kant's thesis that the nature described by physics was not nature in itself but man's relation to nature -- i.e., nature as exposed to man's form of questioning.

Where are we left then? There are no longer any "transcendent" categories. Nothing remains that could be called objective or absolute or permanent. We are brought back to Hume's cliff edge. Reason, causality, the existence of the self -- none of these can be affirmed absolutely. We are collectively placed in the position of Nietzsche's infamous madman, and none of us can travel any further along this route than he:

"Where has God gone?" he cried. "I shall tell you. We have killed him - you and I. We are his murderers. But how have we done this? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What did we do when we unchained the earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving now? Away from all suns? Are we not perpetually falling? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there any up or down left? Are we not straying as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is it not more and more night coming on all the time? Must not lanterns be lit in the morning? Do we not hear anything yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we not smell anything yet of God's decomposition? Gods too decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we, murderers of all murderers, console ourselves? That which was the holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet possessed has bled to death under our knives. Who will wipe this blood off us? With what water could we purify ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we need to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we not ourselves become gods simply to be worthy of it? There has never been a greater deed; and whosoever shall be born after us - for the sake of this deed he shall be part of a higher history than all history hitherto."

God is surely dead, but as Nietzsche makes very clear "God" in this sense is only a placeholder for any centralized and/or centralizing vantage point. Away from all suns. No facts, only interpretations. The grimmoire of grammar is one of the last hiding spots of the Demiurge. A sentence is also a prison sentence.

Philosophy and science have largely tried either to ignore or downplay our epistemological predicament. Philosophy has in most part retreated into the analysis of language, logical wordgames, phenomenology, academic circle-jerking and beard-tugging, and science into the manufacture of novel trinkets for the corporate and military death machine. Experts, texperts, choking, smoking. And endless spectacle and distraction for the rest of us.

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But what these specialists of the non-sacred are avoiding and/or trying to actively hide is that the old rules no longer apply.

Because induction can never render certain general laws, and because scientific knowledge is a product of human interpretive structures that are themselves relative, variable and creatively employed, and finally because the act of observation in some sense produces the objective reality science attempts to explicate, the truths of science are neither absolute nor unequivocally objective. In the combined wake of eighteenth-century philosophy and twentieth-century science, the modern mind was left free of absolutes, but also disconcertingly free of any solid ground.

Hume was right. Induction is a reassuring convenience, but nothing more than that. Without it, and this is the fluid groundless ground we now all shake and shimmy on, metamorphosis and mystery and magic come raging back in full force. Neither time nor space are uniform or continuous. Form itself is in question. If it is possible in thought, in the imagination, it may also be possible in "reality". After all, we are only ever and always looking simultaneously out and in on our own mind undulations.

The philosophers have mostly given up, washed their hands. It is the time again for the poets, not as debauched entertainers and cynics, exiles from the Republic, auto-castrated and word-weary, but as true Bards and Makers, books of verse as dynamos of flame, casting spells, spinning worlds, stopping war. Coleridge and the Romantics were on the right track. Mind is the unus mundus. Nature and the imagination interpenetrate, mutually inspire. Poe's dismay in his "Sonnet -- To Science" has finally been overthrown.

Science! true daughter of Old Time thou art!
Who alterest all things with thy peering eyes.
Why preyest thou thus upon the poet's heart,
Vulture, whose wings are dull realities?
How should he love thee? or how deem thee wise,
Who wouldst not leave him in his wandering
To seek for treasure in the jewelled skies,
Albeit he soared with an undaunted wing?
Hast thou not dragged Diana from her car?
And driven the Hamadryad from the wood
To seek a shelter in some happier star?
Hast thou not torn the Naiad from her flood,
The Elfin from the green grass, and from me
The summer dream beneath the tamarind tree?


Dragged Diana from her car! Driven out the Hamadryad and thrown the Naiad from her watery home! No more. They have never left and they are eager to return.

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There are only fragments of Thales left, the first known Western philosopher, but these are powerful. They are testimonies, almost incantations, of another world dominated by poetry. Philosophy had not yet become fixedly chained to the rational, a strange wind blew across the barrier.

Three of his postulates survive according to G.R. Levy in The Gate of Horn: there is one original soul-substance -- "water" but really the transforming fluid of life itself; the All is alive, nothing is without life including rocks, river, fire; the All is full of daemons, gods, spirits, elementals. Man into woman into animal into tree into god into man. This awaits us. This is already here.