Tuesday, May 2, 2017

To the Sea ye Mystics!

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Many years later when Moses returned home 1 day from "communicating with his God" he found his children dancing before the despised Bull God Apis, the animal which carries the living spirit of Osiris. Moses heard the "heathen sounds" (timbrel'd anthems dark, boogie, jazz, down-home music, funk, gutbucket) he hadn't heard since the old days in Egypt.

-- Mumbo Jumbo, Ishmael Reed

A forgotten transmission of the Mysteries (soon to be stomped out here in the Sinai and nearly fully eradicated centuries later in Egypt herself and throughout the ancient world) caravanned across the Sahara to the Atlantic shore, finding a home as the beating heart of religions later identified as Yoruba and Vodun. Centuries later still, the Orishas and their rites traversed the ocean; stowaways of the imagination, the secret hope of the newly enslaved. The New World, paradoxically, became the setting of the oldest rites unchained.

But way back in Sinai, the repression is just beginning. A people has been set free only to be weighed down again by a law carved in stone. The golden bull has been cast down. All the shaking and shimmying and shouting has been silenced. Everything furry and feathery and fluid has been made marble-smooth and cold. Categories and definitions and commandments have replaced ecstatic customs and ethics which reflected the shifting courses of the wild.

Spirits, eight million at least, were shoehorned into the anthropomorphized molds of a transcendent dozen, and finally fused into a single Lord of the Sky. Jes Grew, for a long era in the West, just shrank. Dancers became soldiers, workers, fodder.

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At no point, except by the invention of writing, has language ever been the monopoly of a dominant minority, despite class differentiations of usage; while the medium itself is so complex and so subtle that no centralized system of control was ever, even after the invention of writing, completely effective.

-- The Myth of the Machine, Lewis Mumford

Yet despite the abhorrent and unearthly rule of the Megamachine, the greatest product of the human mind -- language itself -- defies complete control. The spoken word is too subtle and nuanced, too quickly evolving and idiosyncratic, to remain the fixed possession of a dominant class. "Educated" elites might be conned or coddled into accepting the castrated language of the state, but the speech of the common people will always be more akin to the chirping of birds and the rustling of trees.

Meaning is not a thing that can be corralled and stabled. Even Newspeak would evolve its own subtext or slang of subversion. And always this playful upset of words bubbles up from the bottom, from the base of the pyramid that stretches out beyond the horizon, radiating its sublime confusion to the very apex. It is within meaning that the spirits still boogie.The spoken word will inevitably dispel the Spell.

But even written language, the once exclusive monopoly of the priests of Empire and used initially for the inventories of commerce and bureaucracy, becomes eventual prey to Poetry. The rhythms and shades, puns and puzzles, of the spoken word begin to infect it as well. Its precision starts to blur. Its ass begins to twitch in spite of itself. Literature, first in the form of poetry and song, is the revenge of the oral tradition of free humanity over the dictators and scribes of the word bound by symbol.

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It is the first attempt to distinguish different things, which at this stage are still mutable -- forces or energies that may be formulated and shaped in any way we (as the whole system) please -- and as such is the imaginative cultivation of the vision as a creative reaching out to these formulated energies -- popularly believed to be "gods" who are somehow "out there" and turned into an eternal principle by subsequent speculation, which is at the root of all forms of theism. In the cultivation of the vision these energies are recognized as "projections" of one's own mind...

-- The Creative Vision, Herbert Guenther

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For in truth all things are mutable, unsteady, lacking in definable essence. All attempts to convince people otherwise are precisely cons -- priestly projections of illusion that pretend to bind forces, energies, words, spirits into the unchanging forms of gods or demons or laws. 

Beyond these counterfeit forms, however, flow the juices of the unfathomable. Every potential swirls and circulates here. All roots are tangled together at this point, feeding one another nourishment, lore and the power to manifest. There are really no Archetypes. No types or classes or principles at all. Instead singular events shine and resound for an instant; some mighty and some without apparent effect, but all absolutely unique facets of the churning void.

As a result of these reciprocal relationships with Things, which he would habitually control through his thought processes (but we all of us can, and it is by no means certain there is a difference, even in time, between thought, volition and act, cf. the Holy Trinity), he no longer made any distinction at all between his thoughts and actions nor between his dreaming and his waking; and perfecting Leibniz' definition, that perception is a hallucination which is true...

-- Days and Nights, Alfred Jarry

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Thought, will and action are but one movement, a trinity in unity. When we perceive we incarnate the Spirit into formless matter. This happens within dreaming or within waking life, under the Moon or under the Sun. All existence is resolved pataphysically, and the only solutions are truly imaginary. Relations with Things are reciprocal at this juncture because it is no longer clear where I stop and Thing begins. And Thing One and Thing Two...

Who is the hallucination of what? The cosmos is a simulation of who? For a perceiver dwelling on the surface, the infinite sphere and the infinite plane would be identical. And the real story (snicker snicker) must be both and neither.

and indeed your words are esoteric
and difficult enough sometimes,
but exhausted by the whirlwind,

-- Hermetic Definitions, H.D.

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It is the whirlwind that is key here. In the spiral pattern of this breath, this spirit, does language -- again, our fundamental technological extension -- emerge and find its motion. These spiraling breaths, carrying all signs and signals, interlace each Self and each Other together. And the message is difficult and esoteric, teaches the clear-sighted imagiste, but there is something vast and roaring yet simple and straightforward just behind it. The whirlwind. The heathen sounds.

Ahab is Conjur Man. He invokes his own evil world. He himself uses black magic to achieve his vengeful ends. With the very words "in nomine diaboli" he believes he utters a Spell and performs a Rite of such magic.

-- Call Me Ishmael, Charles Olson

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With the coming of Ahab, Moses returns. A desert of salt water replaces the desert of sand, though both are equally shifting and treacherous. Moses tries to pin down the voice of God into rock. Ahab tries to pin down God as Leviathan with actual harpoons. One loves and obeys his deity and prey, the other hates and rebels against its every command. Maybe Ahab is the more honest hunter.

It makes sense, thinks the poet Olson, that Ahab invokes the Devil during his mad quest. Satan also disobeys out of love and as a result he separates himself from God. But -- one more time around -- who is this "God"? The White Whale? The Gold Bull? The Crucified Man? Isn't he/she/it just the endless flux and storm of sand and water and words?

How could anyone, from such a perspective, ever become separated from this? Moses' obedience, Lucifer's rebellion, Ahab's revenge, Christ's forgiveness: all shams, bad mojo, the sleight of hand of the conjur man. Ahab's goetia is Moses' theurgia. Caught in the harpoon ropes, our savior-captain crucifies himself on the side of the albino Demiurge that he had no chance (or real expectation?) of really slaying.

To the thoughtful mind all history is sacred, and the whole world is a holy land in which man walks as in a garden planted by the hand of his Creator. Mystery encompasses his steps on every side; a divine voice breathes in the rustling of the trees at eventide and in the songs of birds at sunrise; he reads the nightly scripture of the stars, and his heart accompanies the solemn chorus of the sea.

-- The Divine Mystery, Allen Upward

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And for a few, in fleeting moments of intensity, the Fall never really took place. And we realize instantly that they are correct. The fall from what to what? Satan was no rebel, Eve/Lilith was no temptress, Adam was no dupe.

Or perhaps they played their assigned roles so well that almost no-one noticed they were acting? Even today full suspension of belief is only possible if one is arrogant enough to try to step out of the story. And this is only self-delusion, gazing at one's reflection in a glass sparkly.

But if we accept the accounts of these revelations to the few, what emerges is the most dangerous heresy imaginable. It means that we would, all of us at every second, continue to dwell in Paradise. It would mean that all perception is blessed, that all things possess meaning, that all separations are illusory, that all history is sacred.

The deadening technology we hate, the behemoth institutions, the despised mAgamachine and its poison & oppression & ignorance & weapons of war, are even still the crystallized derivatives of language through which the divine voice also breathes. This voice speaks, though, with summer and winter, with feast and famine, through wide and loving eyes and through the hollow sockets of a grinning skull.

The universe is dead for us, and how is it to come to life again? "Knowledge" has killed the sun, making it a ball of gas, with spots; "knowledge" has killed the moon, it is a dead little earth pitted with extinct craters as with small-pox; the machine has killed the earth for us, making it a surface, more or less bumpy, that you travel over. How, out of all this, are we to get back to the grand orbs of the soul's heavens, that fill us with unspeakable joy? How are we to get back Apollo, and Attis, Demeter, Persephone, and the halls of Dis? How even see the star Hesperus, or Betelgeuse.

-- A Propos of "Lady Chatterley's Lover", D.H. Lawrence

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Lawrence is describing the present winter of our imagination. Where are the gods? We have killed them! But not really. We have only killed them for ourselves. Nothing beyond this is possible. They are waiting, some more patiently then others, for us to acknowledge their "return". Yet even these ancient ones, we remember, are constructions and projections of mindstuff. Apollo and Attis and Apis and Ahab are our designations for massive convergences of energy, vast eddies in the whirlwind, standing waves mistaken for eternal archetypes.

Behind and beyond and within them are the boogie-woogying sprites of syntax, pun funksters, pointy-headed nixies of the second death. The whole heaving and hairy madhouse of Faery lies just at the back of their eyes. Tentacles, creepers, claws, fangs, plumage, blossoms, spazzing, spinning, melting, congealing at all speeds and all possible and impossible patterns of thought and volition. How do we get back to this? How is it that we came to believe that we ever left?

Imagination is Creative Power. Medicine uses imagination fixed. Phantasy is not imagination, but the frontier of folly. He who is born in imagination discovers the latent forces of Nature. Imagination exists in the perfect spirit, while phantasy exists in the body without the perfect spirit. Because Man does not imagine perfectly at all times, arts and sciences are uncertain, though, in fact they are certain and obtained by means of imagination, can give true results. Imagination takes precedence over all. Resolute imagination can accomplish all things.

-- Paracelsus, quoted in Hidden Riches, Desiree Hirst

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The words differ from poet to poet, but let's not be unintentionally confused. The good doctor here dislikes "phantasy"while Tolkien affirms it. Coleridge writes of "primary and secondary imagination," Jung of "active imagination," Corbin of "creative imagination." Blake, maybe most perceptively, affirmed "Jesus the Imagination."

It's easy to get tied up in hairsplitting, but the gist of these terms is clear and can almost be felt as a physical force. The forces of nature, latent or not, are identical to what we know to be the imagination. The perfect spirit, in a less Platonic way than Paracelsus may have intended, is ubiquitous and perpetual. It is revealed by the senses and in words and in actions. It is at the wellspring and at the taproot, the virtual and the potential, and this is the where and the why and the how of the accomplishment of all things.

The arts, the sciences, medicine, religion all burst through this door. Nothing is dead if death is to mean an icy impossibility in which all transformation ceases. The imagination returns any object, tangible or not, to its elements and elementals and then in fusion creates anew.

Sub-creation reflects creation, the secondary imitates the primary, but every level is in fact enfolded upon itself. Basic to all is the very stuff of creation, the living plasticine of the gods and demons which they know also shapes their own existence. Absolute Matter and absolute Spirit meet at this point beyond the understanding of both mortals and immortals.

Love is encompassed in my Lady's eyes
Whence she ennobles all she looks upon.
Where e'er she walks, the gaze of everyone
She draws; in him she greets, such tremors rise,
All pale, he turns his face away, and sighs,
Reflecting on his failings, one by one.

-- La Vita Nuova, Dante

And on the one path set out for us in tradition, the straight path of descent and ascent, the only reliable guide is Love. Dante's lifetime quest was to reconnect with this pathfinder. In our journey up through the three realms and the seven spheres (all of which are really present at present), relying on the imagination as imagination is not sufficient if this path is chosen.

The imagination, as in Empedocles, contains both Love and Strife. All extremes are equally accessible. In this it is easy to become overwhelmed and lost. Love, true love that causes tremors and reflection upon failings, charts out a forward path. We cultivate our own projections and perceptions and love is the highest metaphor that we can choose.

The Paradiso concludes with the affirmation that love moves the sun and other stars. Strife is forever present, but love can be the only reason for creation. The desire for new forms of the old is a desire stemming from love. We meet her gaze and we imagine an end of this dead world.


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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Doggerelians

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Layers of Onians

The seat of consciousness
resides in the blood and the breath.
These represent two states
of one substance.
The heart and the lungs are
way stations of this current,
propelling its vitality throughout
the whole body. But essential is,
in the words of Rabelais,
the entire "miraculous network."
Breath always includes emotion, bodily
movement, rhythm, ideas, memory;
every aspect of conscious thought
and experience.
Blood is breath in liquid form.

We breathe with each of our senses.
The eyes breathe in colour and images.
They breathe out their own focused
vision, felt often as a force
-- the sense of being stared at.
The nostrils play an obvious role.
The ears also breathe in and out
vibrations carried by the air.
Touch and taste depend on the
small breaths of each pore and bud.
And so breath always contains
colours, images, odours, textures,
temperatures and tastes.
These are continually and synesthetically
melded together as one sensation
for each breath.

No analytic separation ever experienced.
Combined always with emotion,
memory, thought and movement
forever churning in measure and proportion.
This is consciousness, thumos, vital breath,
active in the body, but not exclusively.
The breath of one mingles with the
breath of all, the breathing
of all bodies at once.
The miraculous network extends
through animals, plants, fungi, water, rocks.
The anima is never without the anima mundi.
At death our breath returns to
this greater network.

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Breath exists yet also the shadow.
Call this the psyche, or even the unconscious.
The soul, the seed, centred in the head.
And in the sap and the vapour of the
cerebro-spinal fluid running in subtle
channels within the marrow of the spine
to the organs of procreation,
and on down through thigh bone marrow
to the lower pockets of seed in the knees.
Down to the hooves and up to the horns.

Fat, tears and sweat glisten with its
potency, urine also without doubt.
The staff of Hermes, the path of Kundalini.
The living Tantra of the West
brought to an end only by the
devastation of the Thirty Years War
and the "Enlightenment."
It is the psyche which lives on
in dreams and death.
The unseen source of both
procreation and creation.

It extends also beyond the body
to saps & juices & oils & unguents
of every consistency.
It runs with all rivers.
Encircling Okeanus, the oldest river
and serpent, entwining around
the Orphic egg of the world.
Panoriginal psyche, the aeon
of each single life and the
vast cycles of the multitude.
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Hen and Herb


There exists an ecology of becoming not just at the level of the material, from the perspective of samsara, but also from this level to the most refined and rarefied realms of spirit or nirvana. The two are but two poles of the same dynamic system, two "poles" which intersect and interpenetrate at every moving point. These are Yeats's tinctures of primary and antithetical -- both inaccessible to human experience -- and between these are gradations and combinations of the two which are also omnipresent.

These gradations or inner layers have been symbolized variously in many traditions. They appear as the chakras, as the spheres of the planets and the fixed stars, as the spiraling upward rings of purgatory, as fairy land, as lands of myths and fantasy, as hurqalya, as the mundus imaginalis, as the anima mundi, as the world of the creative imagination.

As in Neoplatonic philosophy, pure matter is really equivalent to pure spirit. And yet our understanding of the two is different. Matter contains no awareness while spirit possesses infinite awareness. Alchemy is a process by which matter is increasingly refined and made subtle through a process of mind.

The visualization of, and identification with, deities in Tibetan Buddhism is a type of internalized alchemy. The Christian heresy of docetism comes closest to this. Christ is the prima materia, both matter and spirit and so neither. He is imaginal, crucified and resurrected with every perception and breath, waxing and waning like the moon.

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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

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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. Its 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 theory 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 Comey 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