Monday, October 31, 2011

Habits of the Heart/ Parts 6 and 7

By Brian George

6
The Enigma of the Sign

Though the champion of the common man, the Left can be contemptuous of the superstitions that now hold sway in the Corn Belt. Social science will create a better Average Joe. Red state patriots are happy to return the contempt. The Clear Channel markets propaganda as consensus through the behaviorist technology of talk radio. The Big Lie also spreads like a virus. We must take heart, as even icons of disinformation are not always wrong.

Marxism has been discredited, and has vanished from all but a few strongholds, such as North Korea and Cuba. At the same time, as pure doctrine, its mystique grows ever stronger at the humanities departments of our major universities. The center Left carefully keeps its distance from the edge, but also sacrifices a good part of its passion in the process. Unionized dock workers will not again engage in pitched battles with the police force of San Francisco, as they did in 1934, or impose their alternate order on the streets. Social justice as an immanent aspect of the real has now fallen into disrepute. Unions dissolve; their creators take with them the last living records of that year, of the death of greed, of the flash of mutual self-interest that turned chaos into care.

Their descendants believe that it benefits the economy when a millionaire does not pay taxes. Warfare keeps us safe. Civil liberties are a threat to freedom. It is not cars but trees that pollute the atmosphere. The happy warrior takes a step back in order to leap forward.

A vision of archaic solidarity haunts the progressive imagination. "It takes a village to raise a child," wrote Hillary Clinton, quoting an old African proverb. This proverb was repeated to me by a friend from the Ebo region of Nigeria who, as it turned out, picked it up from reading Clinton's book. One may safely wonder if the anthropologist was told only what she wanted to hear—even if this required the invention of a proverb.


The concept of social justice works better as a description: Deconstructed lifestyle enclaves leap from the pages of a National Geographic. It is important that one not issue ultimatums to the living. One should not pursue an object just because it is good; one should pick, if one so chooses, the least bad or the most attractive object from the great variety that free trade with the Third World makes available. Reluctant to take the moral initiative, to employ the word "should" or to reclaim the language of individual responsibility from the Right, the Left now advances a philosophy of incremental causes. Bold futurist experiments give way to the shoring up of relics from the Great Society.

7
Damned If You Do; Damned If You Don't

The spiked goddess Liberty has a surfeit of defenders. Free traders scream for the growth of corporate welfare. All risk will be public; all benefits will accrue to the one percent, as is only fair. Radical feminists join forces with Christian reconstructionists to eradicate the scourge of pornography. Mind/ body orgasms rape the 144,000. Such violence is an initiation; it does not have much to do with sex. Alien wisdom will enforce the return of a solar cult, to be fed by a species die-off. We are heading nowhere fast.


(Illustration: Eugene Delacroix, Liberty Leading the People, 1931)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Habits of the Heart/ Parts 4 and 5

By Brian George

4
Exemplary Lives

Brian Palmer is no longer a workaholic. A period of reconsideration followed the collapse of his first marriage. He is now devoted to his second family—but in exactly the same manner that he was formerly devoted to his work. Things could easily change again—with a new romance, a few gray hairs, or even the most arbitrary of changes in the weather. To Brian, the great thing about California is that anything is allowed. The main requirements are to not harm others, to be affluent enough to afford a house, and to indulge whatever habits you may have behind the safety of closed doors.

For Joe Gorman, the goal or a good life involves service to one's family and community. Oddly, Joe does not choose to see his extended family too often. Suffolk, the town in which he lives, is not really a traditional community at all but rather a "bedroom community"—the majority of whose residents commute to work in Boston or to industrial parks that have landed in the nearby suburbs like large, hermetically-sealed UFOs. Joe inhabits the Suffolk that surrounded him as a boy—a place of lazy afternoons at the soda fountain of a drug store, a place where white males argued politics at the barber shop, a place founded by the pilgrims in 1632. Joe does not see the same Suffolk as his neighbors—upwardly mobile professionals drawn by the momentarily low housing prices—who have no interest in history, and are glad to put Joe in charge of all commemorative celebrations. They will soon move somewhere else.

Margaret Oldham is a therapist, for whom the goal of a good life is for each person to develop a mature sense of autonomy. No external demand should compel us. We are not answerable to the needs of others; in turn we should expect no assistance from them, except what they might freely choose to give.

As nature is red in tooth and claw, no guarantees will be offered to the Calvinist elect. Justice is blind. The modern therapist does not see evil in the machinations of the growing crypto-fascist state. Victims attract their abusers. Margaret says, "I just sort of accept the way the world is and then don't think about it a whole lot." Life is difficult. Relationships take work. Industry brings happiness. Rich frat boys with a history of addiction can go on to steal the presidency. The poor are free to inherit large amounts of wealth. Help is available at fair market value. Freedom, in the last analysis, is no more and no less than the freedom to walk away. Except by law, Margaret does not believe that she is responsible even for her own children.

Wayne Bauer is a political activist, for whom the goal of a good life is the creation of a level playing field—in the form of a society in which not only procedural but also some degree of distributive justice reigns. The poor would be free to compete on equal terms with the rich. He gives us little sense, however, of what a substantively just society would look like, or of what would really change following the day of liberation. The new society might look very much like ours—except that everyone would have an equal chance of getting a good job. Poverty could then be attributed to some genuine moral defect.

Each citizen would be free to live out of a shopping cart beneath the underpass of a highway. There is, after all, only so much land along the coast of Malibu; it could accommodate only a few more than the existing number of houses.

5
Opposites Attract the Past

Freedom can be interpreted as a presence or an absence. As an absence, it is pregnant with a myth—that the overthrow of King George would be enough, once and for all, to create a context for the fulfillment of our dreams. As a presence, no incarnation could be equal to the archetype. Opposites point to a common origin. Divergent readings of shared values lead to an unacknowledged war. Enemies can be found in one's own family.

Conservatives turn radical. Practitioners of the Tao of bait and switch, they objectify mass fears to introduce the Brave New World by stealth. Neo-Federalists advance a strategy to suspend the Constitution. Leviticus replaces Christ. Death by stoning serves many purposes. Torture is again allowed. Militant Calvinism destroys the strategic hamlet it would save.

Wal-Mart uproots the last of the mom and pop businesses. As it laments the permissiveness of 1960s, and the child rearing practices that supposedly led to today's crop of sex and violence crazed narcissistic youth, the right pursues a reductionist agenda of every man for himself—and himself alone, without regard for the social order that gives birth to the individual, the powers that protect him, or the shared resources that contribute to his growth. Born again materialists incite a war of any against all. Answerable to his version of the American Dream alone, the free economic agent is not a situated subject.


It is true that we are not "from" here, are we, any more than we are from "there," but no act of faith can remove the ancient quarantine from the farm. There is no love lost between Earth's overlords and their livestock. Grace manifest as fear has aimed a death blow at each object that once bound the destinies of the young at heart to nature. Omniscient software is at hand. A Federal Freedom Net will soon monitor the e-mail of each citizen—the least of whom could pose a clear and present danger to the corporate fascism of the state. Each suspect word will be tagged. Each insult to the true cross will be color coded for immediate or future use.

"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law," said Alistair Crowley, occult superhero and closet supporter of National Socialism. Here opposites attract. Crowley was also a darling of the counterculture. His books were fun to read after dropping LSD.

Following the injunction to "do what thou wilt"—for his own profit or in service to a cause, who can know—Prescott Bush, the grandfather of George W. Bush, acted as a financial intermediary for the Nazis throughout the whole of the1930s and into the beginning of the Second World War. For this he was censured by Congress in October, 1942, when five firms controlled by Union Banking Corporation, of which he was a director, were seized under the “Trading with the Enemy Act.” According to Charles Higham, former investigative reporter for the New York Times, it was feared that prosecution on a charge of treason would lead to an untimely scandal—not that any time would have been good—and  “would have drastically affected public morale, caused widespread strikes and perhaps provoked mutinies in the armed services.” At the war's end, the federal government seized an additional 18 firms that were controlled by the UBC.

The enemy combatant looks very much like us. Six million plus skeletons fit comfortably into the closet of the oligarch. There is space left over. Compassionate conservatism may yet cleanse our homeland of the eugenically unfit.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Habits of the Heart/ Part 3

By Brian George

Crusade of the Subcontractors

Said William Carlos Williams, "The pure products of America go crazy." Traditions divide. History was bunk—a nightmare from which we alone with all of our true values had escaped. Dreams that have only half emerged from the nonexistent unite us. No roots connect us to a natural location. A moment's inattention has removed our trust in the permanence of the material object. An off-course plane, a box cutter to the neck can result in the destruction of the World Trade Towers. Paranoia invades the body politic like a virus.

Flat Earth patriots make haste to burn the Bill of Rights on the altar of the counterrevolution. Dead heroes are loaded into transfer tubes. Collateral damage corrects the balance of deception in Iraq.

Such drama attends the crusade of the subcontractors of Halliburton! Human capital helps to grow the technology of the organ harvest. Death gives meaning to the disaffected. There is no bread left at the circus, and there does not need to be any. Repetition turns the Big Lie into truth. Chaos integrates the collective unconscious. It appears that there are those who hate us for our universal values. Are the ignorant jealous of our wealth and beauty, or do evildoers hate us just because we are good? They should leave us in peace to act on our vision of the future—if we have one, and whatever that might be. This assumes too that the individual can be proven to exist, that we know what freedom is for, that a word does not mean its opposite, and that each self can articulate its purpose to the other. There is a hunger in the heart for some larger structure of shared meaning that cannot be micromanaged by the media. It does not respond to myths of infantile omnipotence.

Meaning need not be imposed by fiat from above. Instead we should look more closely at the subtext of our daily actions. Small leads to big; the personal becomes the political, once again. Destruction introduces the common wisdom to its shadow; the newly transparent body becomes a template for the city. Memory becomes an attribute of space, as correspondences subvert the spell of repressive desublimation, in turn prompting the oppressor to exhale a sigh of relief. "Only connect," said E.M. Forster. Reports of the death of Social Darwinism have not been greatly exaggerated. The future world is waiting for the past to arrive; it just hasn't done so yet, having taken a 5,125 year detour. Alternatives to fear grow. A symbol invites the inanimate object to dance. Being present is the key that opens the locked door to the macrocosm. Our values exist; we do not need to create them. Shared goals ask for permission to be conscious. How does this relate to “Habits of the Heart”, and to our view of the four subjects of the study?

Like many of us, the authors argue, these four individuals are much better at getting what they want than at determining what it is they should want. They are even less prepared when it comes to offering an interpretation of the American Dream—which has traditionally been understood as a dream of "freedom from" rather than "freedom to." Centuries of struggle have brought us to this place. Is the ultimate goal of freedom only for each individual to do his or her own thing?


(Illustration: Hans Glaser, 1561 battle of UFOs over Nuremberg)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Habits of the Heart/ Parts 1 and 2


By Brian George

Note: This essay was first posted on "Reality Sandwich" during the height of the 2008 global economic crisis—or perhaps it would be more accurate to say at the depth of the global economic freefall—and, over the past three years, the pessimism that I expressed in the essay—that the "American Dream" was rapidly becoming a faded image on a postcard—has remained unchanged. (Just to clarify: I do have a sense that the universe coheres in a state of multidimensional perfection, but it was also becoming clear that Gurdjieff's claim that a large percentage of the human race is asleep might be something more than a metaphor.) I did not share any of the general intoxication about Obama as the Messiah, and, for the most part, he has governed exactly as I expected that he would. It is only quite recently, with the birth and spread of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement, that I have begun to feel some cause for guarded optimism. Here are the first two of eight parts.

1
Liberty the Spiked Goddess Calls

In “Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life”, the five authors—R. Bellah, R. Madsen, W. Sullivan, A. Swidler and S. Tipton—explore the ways in which contemporary Americans use private and public modes of thought to make sense of the world around them, even as that world is swept from under their feet. This book is the result of a research project in which more than 200 people were interviewed. Out of this number, the authors choose to focus our attention on four individuals, who represent the four dominant orientations found among the larger group. Each of the four is mature, intelligent, responsible, and involved in caring for others. These are people who act on their beliefs. Each is living proof of the magnetic force of Liberty—that spiked goddess who draws home both the best and worst of her abandoned populations.

Like the dream that gave them birth—which now exists in a state of suspended animation, and to whose upkeep they contribute—each of the four presents both a solar and a shadow aspect, of which the first is on view. Neighbors would not hesitate to describe their characters as good. Each is successful in his or her chosen career, life path or calling. Each is at least normally self-aware.

At first glance, we would say that they were happy. As we come to know them, however, we realize that each wrestles with a similar and unacknowledged sense of isolation. Although confident as to their own choices, actions and values, all of the four find it difficult to articulate their relationship to any larger structure of shared meaning. Whether explicitly or implicitly, all seem to assume that there is something arbitrary about their goals—that they may well be building hallucinatory castles out of sand.

But how much do we really know about our place within the time-cycle, or of how each act connects to the precession of the equinox?

Perhaps roles chosen before the present world existed are only just now coming into focus. There are ultimatums, no doubt, that we have chosen to ignore. Future versions of ourselves may be reaching backwards to destroy our habitual right/ left oppositions. It is always possible that it is not 2008; somehow, we have gotten the year wrong. Even now, the archaic lifestyles I record may not exist outside of this essay.


2
Postscript

And we, the last survivors of the deluge, having boarded our UFOs, might comment on the signs that pointed to the freefall of the world economy, as though we were beyond it, as though the one self could be separate from the many. But hyperspace is not a shelter from the storm. It will leave no intellect standing.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Akasha Stands on my Head

By Brian George

This is section 2 from my book "To Akasha/ Part 2; The Gate that Opens out of Nowhere onto Nowhere"a book that I began in 1992 and am still just finishing up. I will be posting sections from it periodically.

2
Akasha Stands on My Head

Radiancedestruction or posthistory? Explosions under ground. Force contained by matter. The middle way that opens worlds. Death as act. Vam! The shattering of worlds. A piece of broken shell. The last survivor. Radiance. 1 body standing.
__

At the end of time your petals have now opened with the splendor of 10 thousand suns.

Your footstool has been seeded. You have come with signs and wonders several years before yourself. On the courier’s skull you have placed your foot. It cracks, but is somehow adequate to support you. A scent of sandalwood still trickles from the reactors at Chernobyl. The red sun is to enter from the west every 26,000 years: to Orion you have given the command.

You now stand naked on the Great Wall of China blowing aeons from a thighbone trumpet.

Like flags Sunyata’s snake skins flutter on the heights of the incandescent city. To Omega point Earth’s population escalates. You have cast your nets for sailors out of Tyre. Rap stars from the Bronx. Blond masters of electroshock from Kenya. Monkey kings half frozen out of fallout on the Bering Straits. Eggs that have broken yokes. Architects from the Olduvai Gorge.

The Van Allen radiation belts change keys. Tuning up, they discharge from storage their auroras. The human vessel must be redesigned for travelthrough the center of the sun.

A blacksmith shop has now reopened on Mt. Ararat. Iapetos limps. He leans on a staff. He throws his shadow through the wastelands of 4 continents. He assembles a new race of crash test dummies that will fight against the deluge. Cultic suicide will transport the lovelorn to the laboratory inside Halley’s Comet. French letters have been sent to every Hasid in Siberia. The human UFO is forged. The bins at Harvest Home fill up with wealth. Into them are shoveled many radioactive split cocoons.

You have placed your mark on every petal, on each chromosome and atom. You have programmed all 3-d appearances to remain much as they were.

You now lie in wait beneath the ruins of a satellite dish in Colorado. You have exposed the name of every alien behind the great hoax of the Shroud of Turin. At the Mormon Incest Data Banks you have set free your own weight in gold.

The great above has placed its foot on man. It has fed with violence on the great below.

You have turned your face towards planet Gaia. You have gone the way that does not turn back. Your light globe hops and oscillates above a barbecue of body bagsit is a picnic of The Lutheran Police League of Pretoria. You have polished up your face with the convulsions that enact the world. You have laughed at a defiled Mother Theresa floating face up on the Ganges. You have wept to see how the growth of child labor in Kiangsu has slowed to a crawl the squaring of the circle. Rex Tyranosaur is lifted by a web of complex chains through the Zodiac.

The great above has fed on fossils. It has calcified all evolution. The world is backwards under stood. Your foot has caught a shooting star. You have pulled the beard of Ahriman. You now stand naked on the Great Wall of China blowing aeons from a thighbone trumpet.

Out of light’s circumference you have stepped to Earth in 1 body blazing with 10 thousand suns.

At the end of time, you have come to play.
__

You have stepped down out of light to say, "Child of post-history observe and register: 2 cobras couple on a hot tin roof. The roof collapses in a hurricane of centuries. What body is left standing at the shattering of worlds? Observe beneath your mouth: my feet. Observe the trap door at the center of the underworld. 
                     
"By way of it lightning rises through the Zodiac. Observe your body, naked god, now fully present in my own. Observe the free fall of my soma to your mouth. Observe the diamond burning in the lotus. I have waitedhere and now. You have never died. Observe the light globe of the Queen of Heaven!"

__

Reproduction of your trauma is a mass hallucination. You are an atom spun before the laws of space existed. The root of matter squared is not the equal to ½ your energy. You are the iris of a haunted ocean. You are the ancient shadow that had once been alchemized out of the bones of unknown birds.


(Illustration: Victor Brauner, Consciousness of Shock, 1951)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Cosmogenesis: In a Small Boat, Drifting on the Ocean/ New sections (3 and 4)

By Brian George

I have added an additional two parts. These will be parts 3 and 4, so that the previous parts 3 and 4 are now parts 4 and 6, etc.

3
In “Soul-Sick Nation; An Astrologer’s View of America,” Jessica Murray wrote:

“The placement of America’s Pluto infuses whatever it touches with a hybrid of control and desire. Since the country went off the gold standard, its symbols have become more and more estranged from their source meaning, but they are no less freighted with talismanic charge. It is easy to see how this would be the case, for Pluto governs the archetype of underground treasure; powerful secrets hidden within the psyche and raw mineral wealth hidden beneath the soil. Gold fever has been replaced in the history of America by oil fever, now ratcheted up to a fatal condition…

“A consummate example of this (distorted Plutonian) drive at work is the not-all-that Secret-Doctrine erected by several administrations’-worth of policymakers. This document outlines, quite specifically, a geopolitical and military action plan whereby an alliance of business and governmental elements would achieve control of the world’s resources. Kind of exactly like the I-want-to-rule-the-world-Bwa-ha-ha-ha plotline that super villains are always hatching in comic books. One gets the same feeling from Donald Rumsfeld’s pithy phrase ‘Full Spectrum Dominance.’ It sounds like he dug it out of an old copy of Superman…

“We expect there to be a self-destructive subtext whenever Pluto is involved; we don’t see it as incongruous. Sometimes this undercurrent results in creative self-destruction, whereby a person or a group entity experiences nothing less than rebirth in the area in question. Otherwise, the self-destruction is blind.”

4
Black gold and Pluto’s helmet of invisibility

In 1980, just before or after Reagan’s victory, I had a kind of upside-down visionary experience, in which dread and horror were the dominant emotions. I was visiting my family in Worcester, at the house where I grew up, and was dozing off in my bedroom. This was a room in which I had many out-of-body experiences—at first involuntary, and, as time went on, more voluntary, if not completely under my control. I was used to strange things happening. In any case, I was just dozing off in my bedroom, when, all of a sudden, an incredible kind of a rip occurred—as though the top layer of North America had separated from its under-layer, and I had been sucked through some jagged opening into the darkness underneath.

The experience was intoxicating, in a way, in that it involved a sense of vast expansion, as well as a kind of split-second initiation into a layer of secret knowledge. I saw darkness swirling in intricate and yet chaotic patterns—like rivers of oil flowing into lakes of oil, a kind of world war of kaleidoscopic clouds, boiling beneath the surface of the Earth. It struck me that Earth’s overlords all had knowledge of and access to these forces, which the greater part of humanity was quite content to ignore—much as we choose not to think about the insides of our bodies, particularly our digestive systems. The dominant reality here was power: Acts of naked power and the lust for ever more power and the incantation of key words of power and raw magical assertions of the will.

I felt that, with each act of power and magical assertion of the will, a piece was being ripped out of the Whole—which I saw as being a luminous sphere, or a fabric, or a body—a Whole whose structure had been originally self-evident, but which was becoming more and more difficult to see or to imagine. What was seized by forces in one part of the Whole was taken from another, until only an underground sea of darkness, heaving with ill-gotten wealth, was left. As I said, the experience was a visionary one, but with none of the sense of liberation that usually comes with such experiences. I was traumatized, and barely able to function for several weeks. At first, I couldn’t speak about or conceptualize the experience at all.

As important as it was, I have seldom written about the experience too directly—perhaps because the darkness did not have clear-cut edges, and because the information came at me in an overwhelming rush. It took me more than a year to begin to incorporate some of the insights gained into my work. In the three decades since, I have come to realize that this experience of the secret order of the underworld was not only—or even primarily—a metaphorical one. Instead, it was a preview of the political, cultural, and economic forces that would manifest—like a death flash video—in the events of the external world.


(Illustration: Max Beckmann, Death)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Cosmogenesis: In a Small Boat, Drifting on the Ocean/ Part 10, Beginning


By Brian George

The Theatre of the Zodiac

Hi Don (Shake),

You wrote, “Although I have admitted to you that I have difficulty with some writings of yours—indicating that they were over my head—this one was on the edge of my capability to understand and enjoy. And after reading all of the comments above, which acknowledged and expanded upon my perceived understanding, broadening my enjoyment—as if to say ‘Here you go Don, this will help you even more’—I'm now somehow different—improved—from who I was before reading it. ‘The Devil is in the details.’”

As always, it is a pleasure to hear from you. Part of the difficulty with interpretation that you describe has to do with my background as a writer; I had written seven books of poetry before turning my attention to prose. Even when I start out by trying to be as direct as possible, as I did here, each piece I write tends to go through several dozen revisions, and, in the process my tendency towards paradox tends to reconfigure all ideas. 

I do not think in terms of either/ or oppositions. And lately, as I struggle to push beyond the whole concept of duality, I find that most social and political modes of discourse are inadequate to the moment. 

Much mainstream economic theory since the 18th Century assumes that we are rational actors, who, in maximizing their individual gains will also do what is best for the body politic: I do not see this at all. The decentralized autocracy is adept at playing games, as well as at manufacturing the illusion of consent. The top one percent hold 42 percent of the wealth, and Joe Average is convinced that he will soon become a billionaire. If top experts build a chain of nuclear reactors on a fault-line, then there is no way that an accident could occur. Risk/ benefit analysis will direct us to one conclusion: That atomic fission is the best way to boil water. In the event of a catastrophic meltdown, there is, in fact, no downside for the well-prepared investor: The cost, of necessity, will be borne by six billion others. In the same mode: Oil is not a finite resource, and we can never have too many cars.

Logic tells us that these things are true. No leaps of imagination are required—or, within a public realm defined by the five large media conglomerates—allowed. Indeed, such concepts must be classified as facts, since the alternatives are, quite literally, unthinkable. We are just getting started. We are young, and any alternate interpretations could throw a monkey wrench in our plans.

The 812 million cars now in the world are still far fewer than we would need to build a bridge to Pluto. Annually, more than 270 billion gallons of petroleum are burned. We have not yet located the reserves of off-planet oil. It is just a matter of time! Each year, also, great breakthroughs are being made in such earth-bound fields as agriculture. In the days before genetic engineering—to which we will here refer as the Dark Ages—seeds used to be left to reproduce by themselves. Now, they can be purchased at the beginning of each season from Monsanto. Let us say that a single seed is smart enough to fill up the entire world: Just how would this be a good thing? Our scientists would have no way to improve it, or to patent its explosive force.

The more we accumulate the less we have—and, almost certainly, there is nothing left to give. Divide and conquer. A world of superconscious cellphones  and of wage-slaves working 90 hours a week to buy products they cannot afford. Every Freedom Fighter for him/ herself. The Devil is in the details. So yes: Strange forces are at work—or so the rational actor might conclude.

On the other hand, in many of the recent crop of conspiracy theories, the theorizers assume that powerful—almost omniscient—forces have worked in consort to subject the human race from a time before the pyramids were built: Such theories whet my imagination but do not satisfy my hunger. There is no point to escaping from the personal version of the shadow into an even more grandiose method of projection. Like the children of abusive parents, such theorizers tend to mythologize evil, which they do not see as sad. Taking comfort from the knot in their collective solar plexus, as from the locked door of a closet, they underestimate the breadth and depth of what a human being is, and, ever anxious to assign blame, mischaracterize the role of the alternate self in the scripting of events.

Contemptuous of death, we are the actors who have volunteered to be sacrificed to the God of Bi-location. Birth is an initiatory passage into a fuller knowledge of the figure eight. Let us imagine that, after 26,000 years of progress through each step of a curriculum, we are now, at the time that we should have learned our lesson, in a state of economic and political and environmental freefall. But what seems, from one angle, like a form of linear progress or decline, can, with greater accuracy perhaps, be viewed as a convoluted movement through a sphere. Parmenides, in a discourse called “The Real,” describes this sphere as a presence of which it could be said, very simply, that: “It is.”


(Illustration: Brian George, The membrane between worlds, 2005)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Cosmogenesis: In a Small Boat, Drifting on the Ocean/ Part 7

By Brian George

On the immanence of the "future world"

Hi Gary (Lachman),

In “Ghosts of futures past,” you wrote, "Tomorrow is yesterday, only a little more expensive. History is littered with the ruins of the future. We step over them every day.”

Much thanks for your cryptic comment. It is a poem really, as slippery as a fish. In trying to get a sense of how your three—apparently simple—sentences fit together, I can empathize with those readers who find the density of my style to be a challenge.

Your comment—let us call it a “cryptogram”—poses questions that do not always or only have one answer. My imagination could take a statement like “History is littered with the ruins of the future” in quite a number of ways, and then pursue each of them in any number of directions, all of them productive. Whereas science moves to one falsifiable end, and, at each step, brings details into sharper and sharper focus, the cryptogram makes a method out of the madness of the wave/ particle duality of the serpent-force, and is content to keep the greater part of its meaning under wraps.

Curiously, it is this very difficulty that may put wings on our ankles. “The mind is a muscle,” as they said in parochial school, which grows stronger by being pushed to its breaking point, and beyond. It is this very difficulty that may be of help in our efforts to break through and out of the eggshell of the psyche, there to access the web of non-local correspondences.

There is a kind of world weary humor in the statement “Tomorrow is yesterday, only a little more expensive.” This might lead me to impart a certain fatalism, or even cynicism, to what follows. But the lines “History is littered with the ruins of the future. We step over them every day” could just as easily be read as a visionary statement, along the lines of “The Kingdom of Heaven is spread out all around you, but you see it not.” Did you mean to imply that the future already exists, in and of itself, or did you mean that we were surrounded by the ruins of failed social engineering projects?

But no, wait a minute; it might be best if you don’t answer that! Let me fight the temptation to jump to any premature conclusions. It is a clear day, with only a few dark clouds and tornadoes in the sky. The sun is out. A bolt of lightning will illuminate—as needed—the next lines in the Ur-Text. The dead actor will come to appreciate his strange role in the drama.

There are many worlds, and each corresponds to a particular mode of interpretation. Once resonating beyond time, and simultaneous, the worlds are flattened and projected into horizontal space. At an angle to the Earth, downward, through the circuits of the non-local vehicle of the body, we experience life, first, from the outside in and then later from the inside out. Signs do their best to inform us of what ancient city we are visiting.

See: Over there is Ashur, with its ziggurats, with its faster-than-light discs, and beyond that is Los Alamos, with its logarithmic fungi, with its self-constructing buttresses of flame, and beyond that is New York, where the torch of a spiked statue is just visible above the sand, and beyond that is Mohenjo Daru, with its seed-bins and its forced austerity, where, a hair’s breadth from the flood, they have dared to reinvent the wheel, and beyond that is CERN’s eight-mile-wide particle accelerator, and beyond that is the Zero, the non-dimensional city that is also known as Ur, still collapsing on the edge of a black hole. 

It is possible that we will have lost—at some stop along the way—our eyes. The signs will speak loudly, but we may not hear, and, if we do, then we may still be too afraid to understand. It will be up to us to do something useful with the ruins. Among them, there are those still bursting with inhabitants, some few of which are as clear as glass.


(Illustration: Mario Sironi)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Cosmogenesis: In a Small Boat, Drifting on the Ocean/ Part 6--End

By Brian George

It is possible that each step in the march of evolution—which some, with equal justice, might view as the march of devolution—has to do with the educational stages that unfold in the primordial egg. Laird Scranton writes, “For the Dogon, as in string or torsion theory, these vibrations occur inside a primordial egg. As we have mentioned, the vibrations, which are characterized by the Dogon as the seven rays of a star of increasing length, eventually grow long enough to pierce the egg. This act of piercing, which the Dogon consider to be both the eighth and culminating stage of a first egg and the initiating stage of a new egg, is defined as the conceptual point at which the finished Word is spoken. For both the Dogon and modern astrophysicists, these eggs in a series form the membranes that constitute the woven fabric of matter. Consequently, the process by which matter is formed is compared by the Dogon priests to the act of ‘weaving words.’”

We can certainly view words as just another type of object. If we do then they are just more clutter, which, at some point, we must clear away. Let us also imagine, however, that our words may still conceal some spark of genuine power: that they are tools of memory—the quaint traces of a supernatural technology—and that, even in our semi-conscious state, we can use them to transmit, to embody, and to reveal.

Somatics had advised me, “Language is black magic and the double edged sword. Please only take it out of the sheath to reflect light into the dark not to hack away at gifts placed around you.” But, to my mind, this is simply a description of the two-fold movement of primordial energy, and of the particle/ wave ambiguity of the serpent-force itself. This is just what Kundalini does: At the beginning of each cycle, it can be sent forth—like a beam from the forehead—to create; at the end, it frees energy from its projection into form. It is the potency that can generate either knowledge or illusion, that directs us in through the door of the strange labyrinth that is History, and then out again, bearing gifts.

You wrote, “Is it possible (this idea keeps cropping up in my head) that we should stop reading, writing and talking?” My thoughts, also, have often wandered in this direction. During the early 1990s, almost every day for several years, I felt overwhelmed by a flood of other-dimensional information, which proved no more difficult to access than my breathing. On the one hand, it almost felt like an assault, on the other, death appeared to be my friend, and it did not seem necessary that I should slow the process down. Space was transparent from one end to the other. The records of all time periods were now simultaneously present.

In a poem called “Opening of the Records” I had written “War will be declared on the improper use of trees. Books will have no pages. Telepaths will judge the haunted farms. Few of the many will not at first go mad.”

During this period, I worked with a sociopath called Richard, who had confessed to me that, after being fired from his job as a software engineer, he had purchased a rifle with which to kill his former coworkers and friends. A few practical considerations had interfered with his plan. He also believed that Hitler had been too soft on the Jews. He was a sociopath, yes, with a very limited insight into people, but he did have an amazing eye for the carefully hidden weakness. Once, he had asked me, “If you have so much faith in what you call “Akashic Memory,” then why do you have so many thousands of books in your house?” He had me there. As a husband and a father, I have learned to make due with a less absolute approach.

If the Akashic Memory and its bank tellers have any use for me at all, I doubt that it is as an example of perfection! I can barely remember what I said to my wife yesterday, or to pick up milk at the store.

If we are swept along by a process that is as perfect as if needs to be, then why should we add our words to the total of those spoken? Let us think of space as the preexistent sun—as a sphere whose center is both local and non-local—and of the last 12,000 years of civilization as the moon. In a “total eclipse,” from our vantage point, the moon appears to be a foreground object that blocks access to illumination. A foreground ball of rock conjuncts a background ball of flame. How odd then that their sizes match up so exactly! My words point to the fact that the sun has not departed from its orbit.


(Illustration: Brian George, Egg with Columns and Instruments,

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cosmogenesis: In a Small Boat, Drifting on the Ocean/ Part 6--Beginning

By Brian George

The persistence of the 3-dimensional book

Hi Dave,

You have correctly understood that this is less a piece of social criticism and more a diagnosis of our particular point in the time-cycle. Time—whether or not it actually exists—does appear to be accelerating. We can feel this physically, as around us we see the objects that the stagehands have rearranged. It is not surprising that these objects block our view. More surprising: That the stagehands that we see are not usually the same ones that have moved the objects. So: In the foreground we have objects, which we—as “domesticated animals” or livestock herded to the slaughter—must once more learn to read as signs, as we fill in all of the relevant missing pieces of the Ur-Text. Our eyes see what is in front of us; to see the rest, a different faculty is required.

You wrote, “When, 12,000 +/- years ago we decided on agriculture and religion, we sealed our fate. The end began. As it accelerates, what does one say? What does one suggest? As this bus careens off the cliff should we open the windows or leave them closed?” I would answer: That this is not the first time that the world has been destroyed. We should go off the cliff with the windows open.

As the man said when he jumped off of the 50th floor of a building, “So far, so good!”

There have, indeed, been many words spoken over the past 12,000 years, and even more words over the past 108,000 years, and even more words over the past 432,000,000 years—more words all the time, the great majority of them useless. There are those few that are not. “Words, words, words. Endless words,” you wrote. Let me add: Words float like the wreckage of an inter-dimensional ship on the surface of black water. Gone: The greater part of the ship, its passengers, and its cargo.

You wrote, “Unless we can reintegrate ourselves into the living, conscious, multidimensional web, we will annihilate ourselves and our planetary home. We either will, or we won't, and I'm betting on the latter.” As paradoxical as this might seem, to say that we must “reintegrate” ourselves is perhaps to repeat the very mistake that we criticize. Somehow, it is up to us to “fix” the large-scale movement of the cycle—but perhaps our greed and our alienation and our near-suicidal arrogance are also parts of the process. 

Laird Scranton, in “The Cosmological Origins of Myth and Symbol,” writes, “Commensurate with the notion that each Word of the civilizing plan was meant to be reflective of a stage of creation, Ogotemmeli says that one consequence of the introduction of the First Word, like the initial act of perception in a massless wave, was that it resulted in a great deal of confusion and disorder among mankind.”

Let us imagine: That we are standing on the curve of a curriculum as solid as the gradually changing surface of the Earth, and as fixed as the Earth’s orbit around the sun, as fixed as that of the sun around its hyper-dimensional source. Let us imagine that all of the oceans of the Earth are just stage-sets in a tiny theatre—a theatre that itself is turning through the oceans of galactic space, whose energetic currents lash the globe. So, is there anything in particular that we should do? I would say: That we must find a way to see and then to act from more than a single location.


(Illustration: Mario Sironi)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Walking Dead

In his comment titled, “The Walking Dead”, Dave Hanson wrote:

Thanks, Brian. You describe well the end of the world. Margaret the therapist expresses the spirit of the times perfectly. Margaret says, "I just sort of accept the way the world is and then don't think about it a whole lot." She likes the notion of "a mature sense of autonomy." "No external demand should compel us," etc. In other words, we can have a "good life" as alienated, terrified slaves to the machine of civilization. The Kogi, on the other hand (as one example of many) are responsible for the health of the world. They came down the mountain to tell us to grow up and begin caring for our planet. Throughout the indigenous world we find that our work, our intention, must be in part to sustain everything else. We must be compelled by that external demand.

You have accurately described a culture of domesticated animals using language and myth to fool themselves into thinking they will not be slaughtered. Words, words, words. Endless words. Unless we can reintegrate ourselves into the living, conscious, multidimensional web, we will annihilate ourselves and our planetary home. We either will, or we won't, and I'm betting on the latter.

When, 12,000 +/- years ago we decided on agriculture and religion, we sealed our fate. The end began. As it accelerates, what does one say? What does one suggest? As this bus careens off the cliff should we open the windows or leave them closed? Is it possible (this idea keeps cropping up in my head) that we should stop reading, writing and talking? Could we, in silence, be more agile travelers, more easily merge with our living brothers and sisters? Perhaps the only dialogue we should have is with our plant helpers and those beings who have been pushed aside and kept silent all these horrific generations. Let's try it!


(Illustration: Mario Sironi)