Saturday, September 30, 2017
Tide swells up to the constraints of form
Spreading nausea from the sky to thoughts to traffic,
seasickness become universal, small animals in the ceiling
Sudden birdflight flashes
Off wave-pang panic reflections
Face-on-the-ground wallops of beauty and evil,
Ground gargoyles grinning, the sepulchral skyline, steel mausoleums
Leap howling into the onrushing metal
London kills me
And nothing to drink
Basic functions of the body in Titanic projection skyward
Strike, attack, scream of Pan
and every face etched with it,
the inner stream polluted with it,
Marks of weakness, marks of woe
flowing prophetic to the estuary
(Fried goat-cheese reflux of chunks and brine)
Once and always one of the dark places of the earth
And here it stands, erected,
barged in with insane effort and expense to this shore
got good into her Book and tongued her every passage
Immolated nest to radiating square;
Ominous antenna of On
Still the highest technology of the city
inducting flows of currency, corruption, genius, good
voices carved into images undecipherable, shining to the gods
River of Sothis to River of Isis
Echoing-back metropolitan from all the standing columns of Empire
Ringing stone-electric axles of space and time
Tell me all. Tell me now.
Delta-wise gossip, cylinders and ovoids
all floating, all shifting, none stable, all beautiful, all sick
Drawn erotic drops from an ancient dinner party burn and heal
in cities of the sun and the rain, funneling pure din
with open ears in chains.
Thursday, August 31, 2017
Just 20 years ago, maybe less, the slogan of the Zeitgeist was “dissolve your boundaries.” Today, in multiple contexts, it is “build a wall.” In the wake of Charlottesville, of similar events leading up it and of more extreme events that will undoubtedly follow, it’s crucial to study this progression from dissolution to segregation.
The borders of all categories have thickened. Apparently more important than the kaleidoscopic inter-swirling of all possibilities (see Finnegans Wake) is the almost frantic assertion of identity and separation. Fundamentalism -- of religion, of ideology, of nationality, of race, of style, of preference -- is an obvious manifestation of this, but the tendency really permeates all of culture. The post-post modern is the revenge of the line. Apartheid has become universalized, internalized.
Things have become so inverted, so convoluted, that the far right, in troll/hipster drag and rebranded as the alt-right/alt-lite (-light), now promotes itself as the counterculture. A counterculture is very different than a mere sub-culture. The latter is simply a group of people distinguished by fashion or belief or background or lifestyle who live more or less in tolerated co-existence with the dominant culture.
The counterculture, on the other hand, exists to oppose and even overturn the dominant culture. Sub-cultures, because of their fringe or marginalized status, may eventually join the counterculture, but in general they are more or less content to stay on the margins without seeking revolutionary change.
The alt-right argument is essentially that the counterculture of the 1960s, which was in every respect liberal, has (since when exactly?) become the dominant culture. It is now conservatives and people on the right in general who are the cultural revolutionaries.
The dominant culture, the argument goes, has become so liberal, so politically correct, so intolerant of traditional values, so globalized, that it is only the right that offers any sort of genuine alternative. It is now the right -- and more accurately the hardcore far right -- that is truly different, that is edgy, that is new, that is hip. Everything else is awash in and captured by identity politics; paradoxically puritanical and utterly degenerate, riddled rotten with hypocrisy.
But while there is some legitimacy in its critique of the dominant “liberal” culture, and this needs to be examined closely, it is entirely inaccurate to call the alt-right a counterculture. The alt-right argument goes very wrong, and misleadingly so, with its first premise. This, intentionally or not, consists of a mistaken view of the original 1960s counterculture.
An authentic counterculture (regardless of inevitable Agency infiltration and misdirection within it) did emerge in the 1960s; and it can be called authentic not because it was liberal, but because it was anti-war, anti-corporate, anti-imperialist, anti-police state and opposed to anything that would seek to place bounds on the limits of consciousness. And in fact it was largely directed against an Establishment that fashioned itself as being liberal.
This counterculture -- despite going on to immensely influence popular culture and bring about clear reforms -- largely failed in its main objectives. Corporate capitalism, war, imperialism, the dulling of consciousness, imbalances and inequalities of all sorts, have continued and have greatly outpaced anything present in the 1960s. Only the image of the 1960s counterculture succeeded, and this only because it was so effectively co-opted and exploited by capitalism.
More flexibility in fashion and in lifestyle, more tolerance of the “rights” of marginalized groups, became accepted and even encouraged, but none of the deeper and more structural concerns -- which were the central focus of the counterculture -- were ever addressed. The military-industrial-entertainment complex, the principal enemy of the counterculture, is bigger and more powerful than ever.
And while large numbers of former members of the counterculture have indeed sold out and become the tools of the Machine, the counterculture did not become the dominant culture. It was smashed into a thousand pieces and its veneer was used to paint over the existing culture of death.
So when figures of the alt-right (and there really is no alt-right/alt-light distinction as I’ll explain below) like Paul Joseph Watson claim that their movement is the new counterculture, they are most likely attempting to deliberately deceive.
The corporate/war culture of the 1950s and before was not overthrown or even halted in the 1960s, and the Leviathan has grown far more powerful today. The alt-right poses no threat to this dominant culture and offers absolutely no alternative to it. It is only opposed to the politically-correct, social-welfare, humanitarian-intervention veneer that society has been whitewashed with since the 1960s.
In this sense the alt-right is refreshing to many. People are understandably sick of the hypocritical facade. It’s better to be oppressed by a crook who admits that he is a crook than one who tries to make you think that he is your friend. Bad cops are always easier to stomach than “good” cops.
The election of Trump, far from indicating widespread support for any particular policies, was an expression of mass revulsion against the sham. And the alt-right is right to expose this sham. But they are, most adamantly, not in any way apart from it. They want to return to the good old days when the iron hand wasn’t cucked into wearing the silk glove. This is all that is going on.
When the system enters into a period of crisis, as it did in the 1930s, as it did in the 1960s, and as it has been in since 2008, it chooses from a handful of available strategies. If the crisis is primarily economic, like it was in the 1930s, it seeks either to cut off slack (namely reforms won the people in previous struggles) by implementing austerity programs or, if the movement against it becomes too powerful, by preempting revolution with the introduction of “reforms” and “benefits.”
And likewise, if the crisis is primarily cultural, like it was in the 1960s, it seeks to co-opt and direct any authentically revolutionary elements to consumerism and empty platitudes. And when the crisis, as it has been since at least 2008, is in nearly equal measure economic and cultural it deploys all of the above. And in all cases it does what it is the very best at: dividing and conquering.
Since 2008, or perhaps 2001 yet stemming back for decades, the internationally-coordinated response from the global 0.001% has been a combination of austerity, fear, hyper-consumerism and constant distraction.
The articulated goal worldwide is the “Chinese model” -- police-state capitalism with constant intervention in the markets by the central government, which in turn justifies its repressive actions through the use of nationalist propaganda. It is basically a historical truism that when a state goes into crisis that it seeks by propaganda to direct the anger of its people outward in order to deflect anger away from itself. But if a viable outside enemy is unavailable, it far prefers civil war to social revolution.
And another historical truism is Walter Benjamin’s often bandied about insight: “Behind every fascism, there is a failed revolution.” This entirely explains the rise of the alt-right and similar “nationalist” movements globally. The system, which is global and which cannot be accurately termed as being either capitalist or socialist -- it is corporatist -- has reverted from a “globalist” phase back to a “nationalist” phase.
At the risk of war and social breakdown it has largely abandoned its public affirmation of a globally-integrated, corporate-dominated, common market -- although this agenda also creeps forward -- and has subtly promoted the idea of national determinism in order to ward off complete collapse and/or revolution.
The only nationalism that is not acceptable to the global order, whether it is labeled as left or right, is in the rare case when a government truly attempts to sever itself from central bank-controlled, international corporatism. This is not the “nationalism” of Trump or the “nationalism” of Brexit. These two are fully accepted, quasi-fascist stopgap responses to the global crisis.
In this atmosphere of crisis, the function of the alt-right is obvious. To amass and enforce public support faux-nationalist governments need “grassroots” movements to provide the illusion of popular support and to bolster their propaganda. If these movements are even more reactionary than the official line then so much the better. The government appears reasonable in comparison. But these movements like the alt-right have a much bigger purpose. They exist to identify and to begin the persecution of potential scapegoats.
When MAGA inevitably fails -- and inevitably it will simply because it has no intention or possibility of addressing the massive debt and inequality at the heart of the present crisis -- then the alt-right will already be there to point out who caused the failure.
As pawn-level fascists have always argued at such times, the economic, cultural and social collapse to come will be the fault of Antifa, BLM, third-wave feminists, SJWs, entitled millennial snowflakes, illegal immigrants, transsexuals, communists, Muslims, the Jooooos... The aims of the alt-right are very clear: demonize these groups and more in the eyes of the public, increasingly present themselves as the more reasonable, more hip, more fun alternative, and to push for increased state repression of the above “terrorist” groups. All of this is occurring right now.
The rise of the alt-right appears to be part of a very insidious agenda. Websites that were once interested in all aspects of marginalia -- psychedelics, the occult, synchronicity, living off the grid, alternative energy, space aliens, the paranormal, conspiracy, higher consciousness, anti-police state, alternative history, Forteana, organic food, non-allopathic medicine, radical politics, general weirdness -- now have white nationalism as their primary focus.
Red Ice is the obvious case study of this, but this trajectory, while maybe not as extreme, has been taken across the board. Even big conspiracy sites like Infowars, while never remotely liberal or left, have shifted from being anti-“NWO” to being anti- “leftist.” Somewhere along the line “beyond left and right” came to mean “against the left.”
Presently Alex Jones and co. are only slightly more bonkers than the Trump White House. Muslims -- and actually fake jihadist Muslims -- are no longer portrayed in Infowars analysis as being merely the patsies of U.S., NATO and Israeli Intelligence. Instead, they are presented as being real Muslims who are seeking shariah law and a global caliphate. Old Neocon rhetoric that was once exposed as divisive bullshit is now re-embraced under the auspices of making America great again. China and Russia have become the enemy again. Israel and Saudi Arabia are no longer that bad.
It is the Muslims and the leftists and (for a growing segment of the alt-right) the Jews that want to destroy our Western way of life. Every attack on a concert, or a restaurant or other public spaces is no longer instantly labeled a false-flag event, purely manufactured and carried out by intelligence agents in order to advance the rise of the police state, but are condemned as yet another Muslim outrage aimed at destroying our civilization.
This new Prison Planet line is far more compatible with the current pro-Trump ethos of the alt-right. And while evil Muslims commit atrocities at pop concerts their allies -- radical leftists -- take even more cunning aim at Western values. These Social Justice Warriors strike with vicious malice and the intent to eradicate any of the last vestiges of white, male, heterosexual, bourgeois, traditional, Christian society. These two especially -- Muslims and leftists -- are, in the final reckoning of the Infowarrior, the real enemies. The NWO was just a code-word for these scum.
And this is basically, to a greater or lesser degree, what one finds today in online “alternative” opinion. From Henrik to Milo to Jordan Peterson to the Proud Boys to 4chan to Tucker Carlson to Roosh to Stephan Molyneux to Jay Weidner to Jan Irvin to Lauren Southern to Stormfront to John Lamb Lash to the New Atheists to anti-feminists to larp nazis and even to more cautious internet celebs like Joe Rogan and others the same themes recur endlessly.
These, supposedly our new countercultural heroes, fit hand in glove with the perpetuation of the flailing Empire, now under MAGA auspices. Obviously, there are differences of all sorts between them -- they are brought together as more of a spectrum than a political faction or party -- but they are united by a common outlook: that to be a “rebel” these days is to be anti-leftist, and that the problems of our society boil down to a single ideology of evil -- cultural Marxism.
Cultural Marxism, in these circles, is viewed as being even more of a menace than radical Islam. In fact, the latter is almost depicted as being the creation of the former. But what is cultural Marxism? There are several answers available. Nearly everyone, not only those on the right, agree that it originates from the Marxist philosophers of the Frankfurt School in Germany. For the far right and the alt-right, though, cultural Marxism has a very specific design and purpose.
It was created by Jewish intellectuals in the first half on the 20th century, as part of an on-going Jewish conspiracy stretching back for centuries, with the expressed desire to destroy the white family, the white race and white civilization itself by promoting state-controlled education, multiculturalism, “human rights,” “environmentalism,” feminism, homosexuality, transsexuality, socialism, anti-gun laws, New Age spirituality, etc. The alt-right, which is just a rebranding of the old far right, expresses its opposition to this conspiracy very succinctly in its infamous 14 Words:
We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White Children.
However disturbing and paranoid this may be, at least it is a coherent ideological statement. Leaving aside for the moment the impossibility of trying to define the White Race, at least the alt-right and its allies are presenting a clear goal. Not so the “alt-light.”
The alt-light -- distancing itself from the heil-Hitlering minions of Richard “punch’im-in-the-Dick” Spencer and his ilk -- likes to portray itself as the real protector of Western values like Free Speech and Rationality, values that are inclusive of everyone regardless of sex, race and creed. Even raging homos like Milo are welcomed by this hip and plucky bunch.
Yet the alt-light also believes the West has been infected by Cultural Marxism, and CM for the alt-light has exactly the same goals as it does for the alt-right. The only exception is that the Jews are not viewed as being behind the plot, or at least this is not openly admitted. But then who is it that wants to destroy Western (the alt-light shies away from calling it “white”) civilization and all of its institutions including Christianity and the family? It’s the Cultural Marxists, of course; the globalists, the leftists.
In other words, the members of the alt-light, unlike their alt-right brethren, really don’t have an answer to this question. And, quite logically, the alt-light has been challenged by figures in the alt-right for not addressing the “Jewish question.”
While the alt-right is openly anti-Semitic, the alt-light -- likely for recruiting purposes -- keeps its crypto-anti-Semitism to itself for the time being. Yet its ideology of anti-Cultural Marxism (read anti-semitism) is essentially the same as it is for anyone else on the far right. The alt-light/lite remains, as it always was, a part of the alt-right. (And now, post-Charlotteville, the frantic attempts by the alt-light to distance itself from the alt-right are even more laughable. The exiting rats are now flailing and drowning.)
But what is Cultural Marxism? Does it exist as anything other than a xenophobic fever dream of the far right? Yes it does. The Frankfurt School most certainly did exist and it still has a significant influence on culture. It can be traced back to World War One. The huge question following the war for Marxist intellectuals was how was it possible that working men, by the millions, signed up -- and they were not generally forced -- to kill and be killed for the cause of bourgeois nationalism and imperialism?
A good question! Why, instead of actively striving for the international social revolution that would lead to complete liberation, would workers actively become the fighting fodder of their oppressors? Why, instead of turning their guns on the bosses, did they actually fire them at each other? The conclusion, reached in retrospect by these intellectuals, was that the workers were not yet ready for revolution. They were too conservative, too hampered by old traditions, too bourgeois, to realize their own interest in social revolution.
So these Marxist revolutionaries -- Adorno and Horkheimer and later Herbert Marcuse and others -- realized that two things must change: conservative traditions must be eroded and a new revolutionary class or classes must be fostered. As white, male workers were too privileged, or at least too convinced of their “privileges,” under capitalism a new and more marginalized “proletariat” needed to be found.
This new revolutionary class was readily available. Women, minority groups, colonized people, homosexuals, bohemians, students, dropouts of all sorts were being sidelined and alienated by global capitalism. Thus, during the revolutionary explosion of the 1960s and early 1970s it was these groups, and not generally the working class, that found themselves on the front lines of the struggle. The counterculture formed and the era of identity politics had begun.
Notice that there is no elite Jewish plot involved here. There did exist a plan for revolution and social reorganization, but, it can be argued, the plan was for a legitimate revolution against an economic system that would happily and efficiently slaughter millions in imperialist wars.
As explained above, however, this revolution also ultimately failed. Capitalism once again out-maneuvered its resistance. The truly revolutionary aims of the counterculture were quashed and what remained were “identity politics,” a cluster of reform movements whose aim was and is to achieve equal rights and even privileges for marginalized groups within capitalism.
This has become more or less the official position of liberalism, represented by the campaign of Hillary Clinton, and it is these reformist identity political groups and their allies which are now the chief targets of the alt-right, now ironically representing marginalized white working-men. Missing on both sides of this dichotomy is a revolutionary critique of corporate capitalism. Cultural Marxism, if it exists at all, has been fully co-opted by the system. The alt-right boxes a shadow.
What is really destroying families, traditional cultures, the environment and the social fabric is corporate capitalism. When the same handful of global companies is selling the same products in cities and towns across the globe to people who are wearing the same fashions and absorbing the same mass media as everyone else, then it is ridiculous to speak of preserving national cultures.
Japan, for instance, is championed by members of the alt-right as a country that has resisted globalism with strict immigration and the promotion of national pride. If these people actually lived in Japan, though, they would soon find out the Japanese economy is dependent on the wage slavery of millions of salarymen and women who work long overtime hours in transnational companies, who hardly see their families, and who are in real danger of mental and physical breakdown and/or suicide.
Japan, swamped by debt and lacking resources, is hyper-dependent on global capitalism. An even stricter immigration policy, because of the demographic decline, would actually make the situation worse. Japan, like every other country today, needs a genuine social revolution, not alt-right horseshit.
And similar misconceptions abound everywhere. Scouring the web after Charlottesville, the doublethink of many in “alternative” circles is quickly evident. It goes something like this:
We are opposed completely to the Empire in all of its forms (although we support President Trump in his struggle against the “Deep State”). We think that the street battles occurring recently are part of a colossal divide-and-conquer psyop (but there is no possibility that the psyop also envelops people who condemn both sides). And we do think that both sides are wrong (but Antifa and BLM are actually much worse).
In short, there is a widespread fear on the web to not be duped. It is better to not pick a side then it is to support a group, however close its purported ideology may match personal convictions, that might actually be part of a Soros-funded psyop. The threat of capitalist financiers and manipulators is real, but so is the threat of paralysis when it is concluded that everything is part of a Soros-inspired plot.
Soros is a symbol which functions for the “right” like the Koch Brothers as symbol functions for the “left”. Soros provides funding to left groups thereby compromising their legitimacy for people more aligned to the right. And the Kochs provide funding for right groups thereby compromising their legitimacy for people more aligned to the left.
Each side then accuses the other as being covertly acting in the interests of shady billionaires, and no sharing of viewpoints is possible. Each is seen as being part of a sinister plot against the other. The two sides are in this way, among many other ploys, kept completely isolated from each other. Not the 99% against the 1%, but the 49.5% against the other 49.5% (although these percentages are in constant flux).
This did not have to be the case. There were a number of times when a wider anti-authoritarian and ant-imperialist movement that was authentically inclusive was nearly forged over the last 20 years. Not everyone on the “left” or the “right” have authoritarian and statist inclinations. Most, I’d argue, do not.
One of the first high-water marks was in the anti-globalization movement of the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. This was a massive international movement that was starting to pose a serious threat to global corporatism. It was building to a intense culmination point -- a rally and march on Washington DC that would have included thousands of group and unions, which was scheduled for the end of September, 2001 in the midst of economic recession.
9/11, of course, directly caused the cancellation of this march, but it also effectively ended the movement. The War on Terror became the focus of the Empire and its media outlets, and xenophobia, fear and war became the norm. Even here, though, there was still a glimmer of hope. More and more people began to seriously and actively doubt the official story of what happened on that day. Many of these doubters were former anti-globalization activists.
There was a opportunity for the movement to be reborn by taking a much deeper parapolitical turn in its analysis, to discover how the system frequently uses conspiracy to protect its structure and deflect crisis. It would have only taken Noam Chomsky to say that it was a legitimate perspective to doubt the official story of 9/11 in order for this movement to crystallize. Chomsky, limiting his methodology to the analysis of public documents (and I don’t believe he had more sinister aims in mind), did not do this.
Instead, the remnants of the anti-globalization left largely followed Chomsky’s lead and adapted the “blowback” thesis for 9/11. This move, I think, alienated hundreds of thousands from the left. These people, sent adrift as I was, scrambled to find answers elsewhere and it didn’t take long to find them. They were discovered in the old conspiratorial right and in its new media incarnations.
How many people were driven directly, and seemingly paradoxically, from Chomsky to people like Alex Jones and beyond from about 2002 to 2006 just because the left had no good answer of what really happened on 9/11?
A leftist answer was there, from rare critics like Peter Dale Scot, but it became totally overshadowed by the onslaught of conspiracy theories from the right. And once people became convinced that the government and the media was lying about 9/11 -- that it seemed unavoidable but to conclude that the government murdered its own people either indirectly or directly -- then it became possible that all conspiracy theories could be true. All needed to be investigated “independently.”
And what or who was really behind these conspiracies? The CIA? The Deep State? The NWO? The aliens? But the hard right already had a well-worn track in place to direct researchers to the real culprits: the Jews.
This, I think, is the real origin of the alt-right, long before it had taken on that name. It consisted of mainly online researchers, many once affiliated with the anti-globalist left, who were directed through the rabbit hole straight to the clutches of the already deeply paranoid and anti-Semitic hard right. The popularization of the critique against Cultural Marxism began at this point.
But even with this ominous turn the development of a widespread anti-authoritarian and inclusive opposition was still possible. The original Tea Party, formed by followers of Ron Paul in 2007, was libertarian, anti-war and anti-corporate. It was open to an alliance with like-minded progressives on the left and for a short time this looked possible.
Quickly, though, this became unrealistic. Leftists became convinced that the Tea Party was a Koch Brothers plot (see above), and they seemed to be proved right when the Tea Party was entirely absorbed by the Republican Party and shorn of its anti-war and anti-imperialist elements.
The next near-breakthrough point came in 2011 with the Occupy movement. Many of the predecessors of the anarchists on the “left” and the libertarians on the “right” now battling each other at contrived “Free Speech” rallies, were once sitting together in parks and public centres across the US and the world genuinely trying to reach a consensus by which to combat the elite 1%.
In many ways the analysis in this movement was deeper, and therefore more threatening to the system, than the anti-globalization movement. A combined structural and class/conspiratorial analysis was in the process of being developed in the context of prolonged economic recession, but without antisemitic or exclusionary overtones. Each “side” was learning from the other. The Democratic Party dreamed of transforming Occupy into its own private Tea Party, but this was firmly resisted. Only violent suppression by the cities, directed by Homeland Security, stamped out the movement.
With the rise of Trump -- a billionaire media figure posing as an anti-establishment counter to Clinton, but in truth the perfect candidate to further divide the population in a time of ongoing crisis and revolutionary potential -- all possibility of reconciliation of the anti-authoritarians on the left and right vanished.
Libertarians and anarchist capitalists became pushed to the hard right, to the point where they have begun to violently defend the “free speech” of racist and truly fascist assholes on the right, and often mutating into members of the alt-right proper. And anarchists and other anti-authoritarians became pushed more deeply into the ranks of statists concerned primarily with identity politics. This is basically where things stand at present. Battle lines have been formed. Everyone is urged to choose a side.
And is there a choice? At first glance the answer is absolutely no. Both camps are deeply flawed. Both are violent, exclusionary and plain ugly. It is easy to conclude that we are being set up to fight each other, largely because this is certainly the case. Again, the system much prefers civil war to social revolution.
This last point is key, however, as truly only one side -- however flawed -- is even advocating revolution, only one side is inclusive and open enough to allow for the broad working-class base needed for a revolution. The alt-right wants to return to a time where, to paraphrase a poster on the GLP forum, “the blacks stop being uppity, women return to the kitchen and the faggots go back in the closet.”
There is much to criticize about the tactics of Antifa, but the overall sentiment of anti-fascism should be embraced wholeheartedly. Punching Trump supporters in the face for being "Nazis" is stupid and counter-productive, but recognizing the Mussolini-like politics of the Trump regime is essential analysis. Trump, however much this image of himself is propped up, is NOT a defender of the people against the Deep State. His administration, like the fascist and Nazi governments of the past, is the perfect response of the corporate system to deep economic and social crisis.
There is a definite rift in the US ruling class, with a sizeable and influential faction attempting to cling on to pre-crisis globalism, but with the deepening of this crisis this rift will likely be bandaged over. Preserving the failing boundaries of Empire will once again be the predominant concern of the entire ruling class.
In this crisis, there can be no alliance with the alt-right for people who actively seek genuine change and liberation. The alt-right is the on-the-ground fascism that aims to replace revolution. It acts as the civilian shock troops for the proto-fascist regime in power. It must not be allowed to portray itself as revolutionary or countercultural. Its aims always are to build walls, not to dissolve boundaries.
But to stop the flow of truly concerned people of anti-authoritarian/anti-imperialist bent into its camp, the "left" also needs to radically change. The emphasis needs to be once again on structural and revolutionary change. Identity politics, which however always needs to be kept in mind, must take a back seat to the goal of recreating a truly international and revolutionary opposition to the corporate empire and the 0.001%.
It should not even need to be stated, but any effective movement against corporate capitalism must completely sever any links that it has to the Democratic or any other neo-liberal party, to the corporate media or any "alternative" media that functions only as its mirror, to the funding of financiers however indirect, to the promises of the pharmaceutical companies or other multinational conglomerates, to any bonds of national patriotism or global governance, to any divisions of race, sex, creed or preference, to the culture of ceaseless consumerism and endless waste and destruction.
The existing movements on the "left", now on the street, may be far from this presently, but there is literally no alternative elsewhere. The choice not to choose has been taken away from us. To be inactive is to invite reaction. Yet there is a non-duality of dualism and non-dualism. The "left" needs to be completely transformed and the alt-right needs to dwindle into nothing. Civil war must be avoided at all costs and social revolution, in the most profound Blakean sense, must be our only aim. Only in this effort will a real counterculture emerge again.
Monday, July 31, 2017
Towards the top of page four of Finnegans Wake -- the first full page in the book -- we are invited to an initiation. Strange words are found:
Brékkek Kékkek Kékkek Kékkek! Kóax Kóax Kóax!
The repeating fragment within this incantation should be alarmingly familiar to anyone paying even remote attention to what is just below the surface of the current political insanity. The ancient Egyptian frog-headed god of darkness -- now incarnated in the guise of Pepe the Frog -- Kek, is openly invoked seven times.
Most of us by now know the story of how the at first ironic "worship" of Kek spread, by apparent synchronicity, from geek nihilist forums like 4chan to eventually becoming a revered and potent symbol for the entire alt-right/alt-lite subculture.
Kek/Pepe, regardless of the deity's own intention, has become a "symbol of hate," a banner and rallying cry of white nationalism and/or pro-Trumpism and/or sneering anti-leftism. Indeed, Kek's power has grown so strong that his adherents claim that it was his supreme amphibian malice that struck Hillary Clinton down on September 11th of last year and ultimately enabled Trump to take the White House.
The story is weird enough on its own, but why is Kek seemingly summoned at the opening of Finnegans Wake? Total randomness? Yet more memetic magic? Coincidance? Or is something even more bizarre going on?
Digging into the Wake reveals a sliver of its secrets. The line, it is known, is directly taken from Aristophanes' comic play, The Frogs, written by the Athenian playwright in 405 BC.
The god of wine, Dionysus, and his noble and capable slave, Xanthias, have descended to the underworld of Hades in order to return the recently-deceased Euripides to Athens and so restore the quality of tragic drama in the city. In the vast and festering swamps surrounding the realm of the dead they are continually pestered by a chorus of frogs. They are maddened by the ceaseless chirping:
Brekekekex ko-ax ko-ax. Brekekekex ko-ax ko-ax.
It will be noticed that the "kek" parts of the chorus are even more emphasized by Joyce than in the original. This, I think, is significant. The fact also that the creatures making the kek noises are frogs makes this, in my opinion, at least as striking as any of the coincidences linking the Egyptian deity to the alt-right. The connections, though, run much deeper than just this.
The same passage on page four makes an undeniable link to the American far right and especially to the Ku Klux Klan. There are two K.K.K. sequences in the opening incantation and a few lines later we find:
Killykillkilly: a toll, a toll.
And if there is any doubt about the identity of this group, between the two lines is a reference to "the Whoyteboyce of Hoodie Head." The Whiteboys were an Irish nationalist group, but in the context of the triple Ks mentioned Joyce's additional meaning should be clear. The hooded white boys are members of the Klan, but in prophetic fashion typical to the Wake they could also be the white boys (Proud Boys?) of the alt-right, sporting hoodies and devoted to Kek. Irish nationalism becomes U.S. nationalism, white nationalism, Western chauvinism.
The whole opening paragraph describes opposition and conflict from the earliest times to the present.
What clashes here of wills gen wonts, ostrygods gaggin fishygods!
Oyster-totem clans against fish-totem clans, Ostrogoths against Visigoths, patriots against imperialists. All of the turmoil and strife of history is reflected and reproduced in the battle of the brothers, Shaun and Shem.
And in The Frogs this strife is also taken up. The main action of the play centres around what amounts to a rap battle between Euripides and the older tragedian, Aeschylus. When Dionysus and Xanthias finally reach the underworld, Xanthias asks about the noises of argument:
I say, what's all the rumpus? What goes on -- a row?
He is answered by Aeacus, a judge of the dead:
Aeschylus and Euripides -- At it again. We've had a great to-do down here -- amounts to a civil war, in fact.
He then explains that there is a "statute on our books" which stipulates that the most skilled craftsman of every art, such as the fine arts, poetry, etc., be allowed to sit next to Hades/Pluto at the god's dinner table. As it turns out, the stakes of this particular poetry slam are greater than ever as Dionysus decides that the victor -- who turns out to be Aeschylus -- should return with him to Athens, the land of the living.
The poetry battle is naturally quite comical, but scholars have agreed that the play hides a much deeper significance. The journey to the underworld is the central rite in the Mysteries of Dionysus. The chorus of Frogs is suddenly replaced by, or transformed into, a chorus of Mystics:
Now hear ye!Call forth the Holy Child with song; summon the Babe Iacchus,That he may join our pilgrim throng, votaries of Bacchus.Thou who the fairest of festal music inspired,Come seek with us, O Infant ever desired,Thy Mother's fane,And prove thee able to sustainThe toilsome course untired.Iacchus, lover of song and dance, lead me on.
The Iacchus and Bacchus mentioned here are of course different titles of Dionysus, and as Iacchus, the god in infant form, he leads the torch-lit procession of initiates towards Eleusis at the opening of the Mysteries. These Mysteries most centrally involved Persephone's descent to, and return from, the underworld, but they are paralleled in Dionysus' own descent to the shadowy realm to release his mortal mother (and he is the only Olympian to possess such a parent), Semele.
The Frogs of Aristophanes' comedy are in a sense identical to the Mystics. The chorus both welcomes and challenges the would-be initiates on their journey to the depths. There is no evidence that I'm aware of that either Aristophanes or Joyce had Kek in mind when they were composing their works, but the Egyptian connection to the Mysteries was obvious to both writers.
No less an authority than Plutarch, himself an initiate of the Mysteries, identified Dionysus with Osiris and makes clear that he was merely following a tradition in doing so. Both gods, in a manner which is echoed in the initiatory visions of shamans worldwide, were dismembered and then restored to life and wholeness. Kek appears to have been a relatively minor god within the ancient Egyptian rites, but it is possible that there was something of him that entered into The Frogs.
What is certain, though, is that Joyce began the Wake with a descent to the underworld in mind, and in the context of an ongoing and universal conflict of opposites. He is describing an initiation or a plunge into the unconscious which can only be completed with the full, shattering awareness of the coincidentia oppositorum, the coincidence of opposites. This is the idea that if the individual terms of any set of opposites are spun out to infinite extremes they become identical to one another. In essence, therefore, every apparent contrary is the same.
This doctrine is a constant and all-pervasive theme or structural plank of the Wake, evidenced most readily by the widespread references to Giordano Bruno and Nicholas of Cusa. The coincidence of opposites is at the crux of Bruno's philosophy, and the idea can be traced back through the work of Nicholas of Cusa, to the Neoplatonists, to certain dialogues of Plato himself, and further on to the pre-Socratic philosophers, especially Heraclitus. Heraclitus was said to have received his own philosophy through study in Egypt. So "Kek" enters in again.
In the Wake, as mentioned above, the two archetypal and opposed forces or figures are the twin brothers, Shem and Shaun. Shem is the radical and Shaun is the reactionary. Shaun is the puritanical alt-righter and Shem is the degenerate libtard cuck. Shaun is an Irish nationalist and Shem, according to his brother, is an "Europasianised Afferyank!"
In other words, Shem is a thoroughly globalized and mongrelized citizen of both the world and nowhere. He is equally European, Asian, African and American, and is set against the purity of race, culture, language and nationality. It is evident, that while Joyce deemed both brothers as essential parts of the whole, his sympathies really laid with Shem.
Joyce obviously rooted for the liberal, Jewish, tolerant and would-be cosmopolitan, Leopold Bloom -- the very epitome of the cuckold in literature -- over the xenophobic, antisemitic, Irish nationalist, The Citizen in Ulysses. Bloom is fallen, but the Citizen has fallen far further.
Joyce often ridiculed the fascist posturings and affections of his fellow modernists like W.B. Yeats and Ezra Pound. In a letter to Harriet Weaver about the increasingly rigid trajectory of modernism, Joyce wrote:
...the more I hear of the political, philosophical, ethical zeal and labours of the brilliant members of Pound's brass band the more I wonder why I was ever let into it "with my little magic flute."
Joyce's own political leanings, as far as they were political at all, were individualist and anarchist, much like Shem's. But he was also a humanist and a universalist. He was equally scornful of British imperialism and Roman Catholic dogma as he was with xenophobic and narrow Irish nationalism. Beyond both the nation and the empire is the creative artist who, in a Blakean sense, creates his or her own system and is subject only to the Imagination. Priests and kings and presidents and parties are all worthless shams compared to it.
Only through the imagination -- which at its full extent realizes that as all opposites coincide there is nothing that is not possible -- can the ascent from the underworld be made. Only through this can conflict momentarily cease (although this whole process is cyclical and not teleological and so endless) and the severed parts be fashioned again to a whole.
Jung called this individuation and the emergent image or archetype of this process is the mandala, but another image of this World Soul is the primordial man or person; Adam Kadmon of the Kaballah, Blake's Albion and the Wake's H.C.E.
H.C.E., introduced also on page four as Haroun Childeric Eggeberth (about as multicultural as you can get) and better known as Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker, is also called Bygmester Finnegan and could be named the Masterbuilder or Masterbilker, builder of towers and skyscrapers, or Donald J. Trump.
H.C.E. is the fallen version of Blake's Albion. His two equal and opposite sons (Shaun and Shem, Donald Jr. and Eric) have not yet been reconciled and fused. He is likewise severed from full union with his wife, A.L.P. and is twisted with guilt by his incestuous longing for his lovely daughter (say no more!) He is the Fallen Man, the cosmos in chaos, the maimed king of the Waste Land.
Joyce would find it hilarious, but not really surprising, the the chosen deity of the alt-right is being invoked on the first complete page of his last work. Hilarious because the alt-right is so laughable. Laughable because it is a half, and an ugly half, that takes itself as a whole, and even more laughable because it represents a half that is most opposed to any sort of reconciliation or even inclusion.
And pathetically laughable because it dares to invoke a god of darkness (who the alt-right already has severed from his female counterpart, Keket, the light) that it does not understand, and defiles rituals and Mysteries that could possibly still lead it to wisdom.
The cult of Kek, at the very opening of Finnegans Wake, has been long predicted and has already been made obsolete. The only thing left is to track its demise. The renewed Mysteries of Kek & Keket, Darkness and Light, will follow in its wake. The fallen man will pass, and with him all vestiges of both Nation and Empire. From the bottom of the pit the ascent begins.
All these do I warn, Begone, begone! Avaunt! is my stern exhortation.
Make way for the mystic, the pure, the artistic, who, roused by a holy elation,
Will dance till the dawn and will rest in the morn, as is meet for this fair celebration.
Friday, June 30, 2017
In a sprawling and exciting Bloomsday conversation I had with sync sorcerers, Douglas Bolles, William Klaus and Dennis Koch, recorded for the 42 Minutes and Always Record podcasts, the topic of Joyce's connection with Giordano Bruno's art of memory came up. Later this sent me on another wild loop of research and a 1965 essay by critic Norman Silverstein was uncovered.
Silverstein discusses the Italian philosopher's memory system in "Bruno's Particles of Reminiscence":
In order to know the world, refined men must know that gods and heroes remain spirits in our world and that these gods and heroes retain special powers. In order to invoke these special powers Bruno composed a list of 150 sounds of reminiscence based on a 30-letter alphabet.
This list was fashioned into a incredible wheel-image by the Renaissance scholar, Frances Yates, who argues convincingly in her Art of Memory that Bruno must have intended his system to be set in a complex series of revolving wheels-within-wheels that would yield nearly endless combinations of insight and surprise:
The lists of images given in the book are marked off in thirty divisions marked with these letters, each division having five subdivisions marked with the five vowels. These lists, each of 150 images, are therefore intended to be set out on the concentric revolving wheels. Which is what I have done on the plan, by writing out the lists of images on concentric wheels divided into thirty segments with five subdivisions in each. The result is the ancient Egyptian looking object, evidently highly magical, for the images on the central wheel are the images of the decans of the zodiac, images of the planets, images of the mansions of the moon, and images of the houses of the horoscope.
Here is a graphic of Yates' reconstruction of this system, which may be clicked on to better see its detail:
Joyce's fascination with Bruno throughout his writing career is well-known. From an early critical review of a book on Bruno to almost continual reference to the Nolan and his ideas in Finnegans Wake, Joyce reveals himself as a faithful devotee of the Magus. Silverstein points to a hidden reference in Ulysses that might provide a key to Joyce's whole magical design.
In the opening section of the Walpurgisnacht-like "Nighttown" or "Circe" episode of Ulysses, a "bawd" calls out to Leopold Bloom to entice him into her brothel, promising "ten shillings a maidenhead." And a warning is also given:
THE BAWD: (HER WOLFEYES SHINING) He's getting his pleasure. You won't get a virgin in the flash houses. Ten shillings. Don't be all night before the polis in plain clothes sees us. Sixtyseven is a bitch.
"Sixtyseven is a bitch." Silverstein insists that 67 is not just the number of a red light district police officer, but it is also a significant reference to Bruno's memory system. This can be verified by checking Yates' wheel. The deity representing number 67 is none other than Circe and her "invention" is, appropriately enough, "fascination." To the argument that this reference is very intentional on Joyce's part, can be added the fact that one of Bruno's major works on the art of memory is Cantus Circaeus, or The Incantation of Circe (1582).
Silverstein himself does not get deeply into the implications of all this, but it leads to some pretty obvious speculation. Ulysses and especially Finnegans Wake are vast and still very active memory systems. And the intention of these systems, following Bruno, is not for the enhancement of memory alone, but to launch a magical working which aims to radically renovate the whole of both physical and mental "reality." Yates make clear Bruno's sorcerous design:
Bruno's mind is working on lines which are extremely difficult for a modern to recapture... that the images of the stars are intermediaries between ideas in the supercelestial world and the sub-celestial elemental world. By arranging or manipulating or using the star-images one is manipulating forms which are a stage nearer to reality than the objects in the inferior world, all of which depend on the stellar influences. One can act on the inferior world, change the stellar influences on it, if one knows how to arrange and manipulate the star-images. In fact the star-images are the "shadows of ideas", shadows of reality which are nearer to reality than the physical shadows of the lower world.
Difficult for a modern to recapture, maybe, but this is essentially what Joyce has done. His later books are magical spells or counter-spells painstakingly constructed, through the art of memory operating mostly unconsciously for readers, to smash the nightmarish lockdown of history -- "...the ruin of all space, shattered glass and toppling masonry, and time one livid final flame..." -- and to reveal the eternal in every moment.
This wish is not unique among poets, or even other modernist authors, but Joyce is perhaps alone in transforming his writing into a functioning magical force. This is also the culminating vision of D.H. Lawrence's 1915 book, The Rainbow:
And the rainbow stood on the earth. She knew that the sordid people who crept hard-scaled and separate on the face of the world's corruption were living still, that the rainbow was arched in their blood and would quiver to life in their spirit, that they would cast off their horny covering of disintegration, that new, clean, naked bodies would issue to a new germination, to a new growth, rising to the light and the wind and the clean rain of heaven. She saw in the rainbow the earth's new architecture, the old, brittle corruption of houses and factories swept away, the world built up in a living fabric of Truth, fitting to the over-arching heaven.
The architecture of the world recast into a rainbow-formed "living fabric of Truth." This is a hog-mad imaginative vision. But let us not fear it. Circe is at work here as well. And Bruno, through Joyce, has shown us the recipe to make it happen.
Tuesday, May 2, 2017
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
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
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.
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.
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.
Friday, January 27, 2017
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"
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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
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.