Saturday, December 15, 2012

They Have Gone Down to the Center of the Earth

By Brian George

I had reached an impasse. Doubts possessed me at the limit of my natural understanding. Who was I to act as a messenger between worlds? I could not go forward. I could not turn back. Dreams dressed like terrorists. They struck at random. They erupted at inconvenient moments into consciousness. I had no location. There was no internal or external space. My memory was a screen on which phenomena were projected. Objects were ghostly. Symbols got physical. Bad weather warned of the appearance of my guide.

A comet killed history. The desert east of Eden blazed. A tornado popped the plate-glass windows out of skyscrapers. Record banks flew. Winds brought down the collective house. Out of nowhere spoke the voice. The shadow of an echo became more solid in appearance. It said:

It is I your pharaoh--voice of the four rams of the Abhwyr. To be with you I have come complete out of the bowels of the sand. I have explored on foot the labyrinth of the great Platonic Year--that multidimensional prison. It is I who ate the key to the pyramid at Giza.
With my staff I strike: the target on the egg explodes. Do you know how much I love you? When I returned to Azilut out of my light years in the age, I found that it was I who had organized the Holocaust. 12,000 years had passed in ½ second.

There are few left who speak my language. The ones who do are old. They weigh more than the Earth.


Observe the wonders of the ancient world. They endure as opaque symbols. Industrial strength sacrifice has corrupted the transformation of the genome. The dead desire. Abandoned objects have grown hungry for experience.


With a crutch I struck out blind at Utah. When I thought of you I wept. I have arrived on Earth before I came. The salt flats were a mirror of the Zodiac. At the Mormon Incest Data Banks, a patriarch joined the hands of two armies of damned souls in matrimony. Sex was retroactive. Gods drank blood. Slaves were free for the taking. Their indigenous skins were beautiful. It was the first day of the rest of the breach birth of the fascist encyclopedia. Birds picked flesh from the monumental statues. Smoke rose from a gopher hole.

Upon hearing these words I had no choice but to follow. Space was locked. The once transparent library had become a roost for pyromania. Books burned. Geniuses petrified. Flame at first brought no illumination. The guide said:

Star-crossed was the Khan. The landing pad was not on land. Do not stop at the greenhouse to water the reactor rods. Assur was a plate of glass that broke. They spread their map out on the globe. Dr. Strangelove, come forth from the future! The gods trust you to point your finger at the map!

On columns that blazed like fluorescent tubes bad rulers towered in their nakedness.

Shamans kept death simple. Knowledge was to eat. Gods were for use. Does the feathered serpent dare to think himself more intelligent than the prophet? All politics was personal. Speech was direct. In stupor ended the black magic of the technocracy. It was all good.

An army of years followed behind an ant in the great assault on the time cycle.

Others veered south from the Bering Straits. Vene vidi vici. Spikes stuck out from their heads. They stepped forth clothed in rainbows from the ark. Traditions of dismemberment had also been transported. Hearts blew open, like the doors to archetypal energies. Tongues coiled and struck like snakes. The throat of the east turned blue from eating Agent Orange. Arms and legs were gnarled into branches. Hands sprouted leaves. The red man with a saw cut igloos out of blocks of blood. They have gone down to the center of the Earth.

Damnation was relative to the speed and duplicity of the viewer. I was the murderous victim, the martyred sociopath. In slow motion birds collaborated to unwrap my karmic bandages. Self knowledge grew as I compulsively replayed the death flash video. The guide said:

There were big wheels inside baby wheels. The matched pair struck. To kingdom come by the vortex was the remnant blown. Day saved light but the state was not on Earth.

On a fence the red cock crows. Broken pillars on the plain smolder. The souvenirs of industry are plowed into a trough. No life emerges. Mohenjodaro--look: melted by the Aryan.

Giants broke laws. Each branch and blossom of science was occult. A flood has removed all traces of the lineage that an earlier flood had transplanted. The world tree has been hacked at the root. Yggdrasil is now horizontal. The park where you were made to live is black. The clay is scorched--on the ziggurat that Gumbie baked.

By touch the guide communicated many worlds of information. He would not give his name. His strength was frightening. He had no appearance. His eyes became my windows. An incantation echoed in my memory:

Prototype of Jaws: discover the harmonica. Tidal wave: roar. Action painters: stretch Toltecs over paint by number altars. Ghost: flap. Long was the knife that cut the bag. Age of wind: blow. Through the night--horse: fly. Shu: shuffle the house--the continents rearrange by chance. Living space-suit of the astronaut: devolve.

Poets gone beneath the ocean: speak. Make love to an exploded star. Space itself: feed the snake of time its tail. Protocols of the Elders of Zion: stamp out the Atlantean decimal system. It is bad. Seed city: from its fossil, free the godlike archaeopteryx. Slow orbit of amnesia: demand that the macrocosm dance. Just once is enough.

The guide said:

The man-made moon was whiter than a wrecking ball in heat. A black lead zeppelin had set fire to Siberia. Trees turned to matchsticks. Ruins flashed under permafrost. Rest period was up. Primogenitors ate their instructions. From the mouth of the most high the craft erupted with a bang. Get out!

Take wife. Erect out of mud the backward City of the Sun. Cross-pollinate the brain that the scarab out of dung raised. Your solar plexus is not old enough. No intestinal fortitude! Seek love through war. Out of hide make ego. Bend with a spade to shovel seashells from the sandbox. When you are done boys--put them back.

The great eye dropped a map across your mother, muse to German shepherds. She was great to the dream boats of the prehistoric navy. Rotten to the corps.

Don’t touch me baby or the energy will kill you. I will teach you how to play. Dead.

You who hang head downward from the rafters of a hollow egg- your head is hollow. Through it blows an age of wind. At last my dear one I can show you how the gears that turn the great year interlock. I love you so much--mutant DNA of the Triumvirate. Get out! Break a thighbone! We will guide you from a place beyond the Zodiac.

Having taken me this far, my guide fell silent for a century. He stared unblinking at an object known only to himself. There was nowhere I could go.

In a flash it came to me--that the underworld is no more than an alternate mode of consciousness. It is subject to its laws, and responds to a shift in focus. Lost cities turned to gold as my consciousness accelerated. The gods were holy terrors. Ferocious beauties competed for my love. I attended a refresher course in the art of primordial breathing. Raising a hand palm outwards, the guide said:

To Amalekh: made plain is the book--signs in your own language. If you do not read the signs will talk. Warning: your memory will be blotted utterly from under Shamaim.

Fear tested my ecstatic transport. At the center of time/space, and lifted by opposing vortices, I flew.
The vehicle had not yet self-destructed. As quickly as he had come, my guide again disappeared. I could not recognize my own face in the mirror. He had never left. He lifted my dead hand with his adamantine talons. A squeeze issued the commandment: Come. The guide said:

You are to give thanks to the lord! It is too bad he was sentenced to hard labor at the centrifuge. Statues were in charge. Plants powered the hallucination. The spider strung Einstein from her web.

The telescope stared from Afghanistan. The ghost of Akhenaten stood guard at the bell. The cuckoo wound up at his head and swung. Clang! Butterflies flapped from a silo. The stock was dead. The third experiment--over. Cyborgs in the labyrinth tore out pages from the book.

Green the line of light above the great domes of the Gobi. The sand blazed. The mineral guts were sucked up out of Earth. The turbines blew 10 ways to Sunday. With its hair a globe of flame- the day: Sat- danced incarnate as a child.

The rainbow fell in chunks. The Abhwyr turned 12 signs against the Zodiac. They have studied gears. They have stretched above incandescent oceans the two wings of a Frankenstein.  

White. Ain Soph. Black. Light screamed--O mama- no! on the heights of the Forbidden City. At the 4 gates of the breath the snake flags flapped. Volts rose up the ass of god. Boats flew. Nagas guzzled saki from a cratered bulb. I have torched a burning book. Birds sang at the break of day.

False hope had made the messenger a zombie. He met death. Like a mother he would bear the bones of Auschwitz and of Buchenwald. Each pore sweats out a UFO.

It was necessary to go down in order to go up. Past opened future. The flame transformed. The way out was the way through.

Intoxicated gods had thrown away the Earth. I had no name. An unspeakable teacher took me by the hand. He led. I followed. Fast or slow. It occurred to me that I had walked in those footprints on many occasions before. We stopped on the shore of a primordial ocean. Once ancient birds built totems to appease the brontosaurus. Fossils were now fuel. Red waves lapped at memories like tongues.

In front of us was a frame with two gates that opened onto nowhere. Salt pocked the images on the giantwork. Its towering mass tilted from a dune. Hieroglyphs rearranged themselves. From the wave-scarred gates I read out loud the words:

Immortal music moved our architect. We were spit from the creator's throat--the throat of Atum/ Tefnut/ Shu.

We erupted whole from between the thighs of the Enead. We were conjured- today- at the world’s first dawn, before sound’s exile into space was sung.

We guard the seed-sounds from which light evolves. We guard the octaves of the ancient spheres.
We were raised up by primordial love. Transcendent vice. Orgasmic intellect.  Who does not bear his memory as a gift cannot return through us. Abandon time--all you who enter here.

A screech echoed from a gull. My outmoded guide turned back with the small nod of a parent. I followed my own shadow through the gates. On the other side there heaved a revolutionary chaos. It was not hell. Space shattered like an egg. Pieces of shell landed on the ocean.

(Illustration: Mario Sironi)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

To Akasha/ Part 1/ Section 12

By Brian George

His course is set for an uncharted sea. He has been carried off upon the surges of an ocean, an ocean that now boils to all compass points with suns. An ocean that now choruses the collapse of all 3-d coordinates. Whose only limits are the boundaries of a sphere. Whose center is the great dome of the human skull. Whose circumference is now constructed by the 1st man out of lightning.
Akasha come: dance naked on the opened cranium of the courier. His bones have been devoured by the ocean. His head is now suspended high on the flood. From a mile high trough your lost courier would call:    
May my mouth be opened. May my memory return.
May my mouth be opened. May my memory return.
May my mouth be opened. May my memory return.

Your lost courier would come to you but his body is not sound. He would raise his members dripping onto the sands of a diamond shore. To a shore where rest is an epileptic seizure. To a shore beyond the technological birth pains of the Zodiac. He would call forth each 1 of his bodies from the ages. He would raise his 14 members dripping onto the sands of a diamond shore. He would walk forth conjuring the bandwidth of a Horus out of the violence of the mile high troughs.

His own body is his only vessel. His mouth would be your instrument. He would approach on foot the gates to the Pleuroma. He would wander wide eyed through a wonderland of ruins. Through the wonders of the modern and the ancient worlds.

On that diamond beach the flowers are extinct. Lost cities float on clouds. Stone heroes wear archaic smiles. Their hands gesture at the moment between death and transformation. Species old before the Earth existed can there choose to reactivate their statues. 

He would now return the way he came. He would practice martial arts with Baal upon the 12 steps of a ziggurat. He would ply with human bones the 7 and the 12. He would touch the torch of Lady Liberty where it thrusts out of atomic shards.

He would put on and take off the shadow that was left by an atomic blast. He would wash the skull of Darwin in the clear spring of the Helikon. He would dust the sand from the Atlantean crystal. He would spit on Pavlov’s grave. He would excavate the telescopic hand of the Nefilim.

He would reach back into history. He would bounce his voice off planets at the circumference of the theatre. He would stand upon the shoulders of the tiny gods behind them. He would give thanks to the model of the Ptolemaic solar system.

He would climb on the rusted monkey bars of the 2nd law of thermodynamics. He would kiss the feet of the prototype of an alien version of himself. He would yawn and stretch. Like a happy lab rat he would shake off water.

He would swing on blackened brontosaurus bones. He would fasten to his ankles the still working wings of Mercury. He would join his song to that of ancient spheres. He would finger the strings of the Paleolithic instrument that once tilted the Earth’s orbit. He would tear the still beating heart out of his chest. He would celebrate the wound that heals, the wayward comet that impregnates, the world destruction that provokes.

He would raise towards the sky the spearhead of Longinus. He would lick from it Christ’s blood. He would stand before you with his eyes aglow with all the secrets from the Dawn Star’s fall.

His speech creates. No wish goes unacknowledged. Fulfillment precedes the desire by 26,000 years. As if according to a story known from childhood, each footstep falls where it had earlier been placed. Time is the machine that activates the symbols of the nonexistent. Fossils employ entropy to retrieve fuel from the biosphere. A wheel does not evolve.

He has stepped forth from the ocean with his phallus aimed at the light of a distant constellation. It is raised like a salute to the great dream that exploded, to a city he left long ago. On his back there hangs the hide of a baboon.

(Illustration: Jackson Pollock, Ocean Greyness)

Monday, November 19, 2012

To Akasha/ Part 2/ Section 9

By Brian George

You are the “I” that is “that.” Blue luster. Void one. Whose conch sounds fearfully. Of a preexistent race the incognito explosion. Resolute. Muse to the egg Hiranyagarbha—last survivor of the flood. Body conjured from the numbers 1 through 10. Brahma’s logarithmic spiral. Pitcher of the curve ball in the game of world destruction. Atomic skeleton. Shiva's juggernaut.

Beyond movement the circumference. You who execute the art of dance. Great solar chariot—Shakti. Purusha’s pyre. Ark of dawn. Eurika!—without amnesia. The Siddhas’ V8 wishing well. Nurse to tribes the Burning Ground aborts.

Horizon hung from zero. Spontaneous grain. Cracked code. Space created language. Self-entrainment. Resonant wave. Joy void made of void joy. Decimation’s octave maw. Geometer to the x/y chromosome. Austere 1. Form of letters. Ananda. Sat. Chit. Sleep erected. The 1 standing. Rigor of unconscious law. Millions. Knowledge. Defect. Waking state. The 4th state. Of the egg born. Shape of serpent. You who cast the net. Maya. Coiled sun. Unknowable. Clandestine.

Up rooter. Power of action. Without thought. Diamond hacked in battle. Primordial 1. Bondage. Abode.  Who have chained the ocean Ten Ten. Varuna’s snare. To the antipode—arch enemy. Deconstruction’s builder without bounds. Ahangkara in the form of Chit. Youthful. Who hold the Pinaka Bow. The bent low victim of Orion’s tusk. Of Doomsday—the word. Curtains to the Cow Cave. Vishnu’s tantric intercourse partner.

Star hub. World half maker. Vajra backward. The only 1—love of violence. You who have shattered Vala. Seed of the Assembly Beyond Space. Of Aryaman and Bhaga the reunion. Who have brought from Earth a crop of fragrant wood. You whose ark is measured 3 x 4. To UFOs—the fuel.

Surya—of great age. Muse to asteroidal iron. D-Day at the gates to the beyond. Transducer of sequential music to the spheres. Erupting bank. Gong struck by a revolution. Auspicious sign. Bridal gown—constellated. You who hold the atomic trident. Of the lotus foot. Made for Krishna. Breaker of the law that separates the vertical from the horizontal. O sandal made of wood. Biology transported.

When the sun is in Agha they kill the cattle. When in Arjuni your remnants are shipped glowing back towards home.

Awakened Kundalini. Milk maid power. The Bharata’s final solution. Refractive wave of salt. Body thrice wound—Soma. It burns. It bites and migrates. More dangerous than poison.

It has been made to eat. Asvins only may contain that measure—by the mouth of Mitra known. Magnet to Matruka—the future’s tractor beam. You who move beyond the speed of light.

Inverted radiance. Of no land. Without fear. Self-knowledge gone to ground. Triadic zigzag. Agent of anathema—constructor of the A-ankara bolt. Harvester of corpses. Retracted seed of Gaia. Soul maker. Holder of 10 thousand weapons. Root of law. Sunyata’s shadow. Giver of strength. To Agneya the acceleration. Sound. Unstruck. Nada. Void. That can not be moved.

O Durgashatanamastotra—you have danced forth thumping on a man hide drum out of the helix of 1 globe of light.

(Illustration: Kali, Artist Unknown)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

To Akasha/ Part 2/ Section 1

By Brian George

Triune power called Akasha. Sphere of light’s circumference. Voice of many waters. Square constructed out of oceans. Blackened branch. Green shoot . Wheel of burning cities. Fierce dawn light over Carthage. Great urn of suns. Fixation of nigredo. Trans-aeonic vessel. Althanor of 1st light. Velocity of void. Seed of constellations. Triune power of the atom. Great sphere without circumference. Shulamite—root and measure of the sky.

You who couple with the corpse of god. Lyre of living filaments. Skeleton of quasars. Embodied book of splendors. Sheath of fractal chaos. Pythagorean harp. Harmonic code of chaos. Soul scavenger. You who drag dead oceans with a net.

Fundament under exile. Unconstructed radiance. Blacksmith to the 1st man’s bones. Great slayer of the Zodiac. Circumference of the void. Clear lightning of Sunyata. Orgasmic temple self-constructed out of oceans. Lady of 10 thousand names. Great Isis, Seckmet, Hathor. Who have not died. Whose resonance is strong. Who only seem to have descended to the Earth.       

Great soul of the future present. Encoder of the present past.

Atomic wingspan. Wet nurse to Methuselah. You who guard the speed of light. Swallower of 7 swords. Keeper of man’s solar organs in 4 great canopic jars. Self -existent knower. Self-evidence of knowledge. Geometry of naked light. Contraction of the void. You whose wings have spread out from Sakkara. Pleiadean jasmine. Aloe of Los Alamos. Scent of loving coupling known at Auschwitz in the blinding dawn.

Inverted Shekkinah. Stone granary. Orion’s conch. Vast violence without victim. White moth of Hiroshima. Sub-quantum void of serpents. White noise over poles. Guardian of the 1st seed sounds. Spouse of Machar Seth. Love beyond all knowledge. Full conquest without victor. Controller of Aroziel. Great slayer of the gang of 4. You who with harmonic overtones have cracked the 2 chains of man’s DNA. Expiation of the 7 and the 12. Arcturian coadjutant. The laughing martyr’s muse. Of human history the sole survivor. You who with a lightning bolt have danced forth from the 8. From the twice 5. From the triad squared.

Skeletal dawn orgiast out of the skull troughs at Treblinka. Virgin with no clothes. Support of shattered worlds.

Concentric splendor of the 10 dimensions. Hurricane of broken symmetry. Eye of Atum, Tefnut, Shu. Root of wormwood. Number of the beast. Sphere whose boundary is spoken light. You who raise the Atlantean trident. Dismantler of the planet Earth. Last butterfly of Terazin. Black lotus of Cydonia. Milkweed blown from garden. Seed of diaspora. Arc of rainbow after flood. Figurehead at the prow of the precession of the equinox. You who go before those who have gone before. Silent sacrifice. Scent of blackened pyramids on Mars.
Gift guarded from the ego. Instruction from a branch plucked by the preexistent species. Book open to each self.

Incarnate language of the lightning void. Of 10 thousand suns the spontaneous combustion. Cocoon to amnesiac UFOs. You whose name is Memory of Space. Of light through space the curvature. Decimation of the half-god’s body. Space around all sound. To the remnant the last resort—Akasha!

Zigzags crack Earth’s rim. Wheels have opened out of wheels. You stare straight as you place your foot before you. You have stepped forth blowing on a thighbone trumpet out of the helix of 1 globe of light.

(Illustration: Artist unknown, Sculpture of Durga)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

On the Dangerousness of the Zero/ Part 6

By Brian George

Here today; gone tomorrow

“Soma has climbed up in us, expanding. We have come to the place where they stretch out life-spans.”—From “We Have Drunk the Soma,” The Rig Veda

“Newton even devised an anagram of his name as a pseudonym (‘Isaacus Neuutonus’ becoming ‘Jeova sanctus unus’), which allowed him to exchange manuscripts with his correspondents while remaining anonymous, despite widespread speculation.”—Alain Bauer, from “Isaac Newton's Freemasonry; The Alchemy of Science and Mysticism”

Hi bcasey11,

You wrote, “Belief in aliens, god, or anything esoteric is stupid. Why don't you guys just drop this stupid crap—so unimportant. You guys are just crazy. Haven't you even heard Bill Nye the Science Guy’s view on this stuff? He says it’s all baloney.”

I would grant, yes, that Science has taken a few baby steps towards “objectivity”, but the problem is that scientists may be still not objective enough. Civility prevents them from deploying their big guns. Many a theory of impure origin has gained access to the Institute.

Thus “objective methodology” should compel us to discard the last 50 years of genetic research, since Crick was high on LSD when he first “discovered” the double-helix structure of DNA. Kekule dreamed of a Uroboros—a snake eating its own tail—which prompted him to arrange the 6 atoms of Benzene into a ring. No more of that! Such Jungian molecules can no longer be allowed.

Newton’s decades-long infatuation with Alchemy and Kabbalah should give us pause, and force us to question the legitimacy of the “Principia.” While we’re at it, we should probably throw out the Pythagorean Theorem, since Pythagoras was a believer in transmigration—there were 4 past versions of Pythagoras, plus the 5th—and he quite unreasonably subjected his followers to a taboo against eating beans.

We must strengthen our collective will to expunge the dangerousness of the “Zero”—that so called “number”; without which there would be no differential calculus, or so the 18th century has led us to believe. We must once again learn how to get along without it. For the Zero is, as Alain Bauer argues, “a strange and terrifying concept”, and one “rejected by (almost) all the thinkers of the ancient world.”

For—as we know beyond the shadow of a doubt—a number cannot be “nothing” and simultaneously “infinite.”

If we allow for the introduction of such revolutionary concepts, then there is no telling where the “laws” of Physics will end up, or if any laws will be left. It is possible, of course, that we have already fought this battle—in a universe that is long ago and far away.

Crick, is that you banging around, and could you pass a message to Watson for me? Always “finding” things that he does not return, Tesla seems to have made off with my E-Meter.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

On the Dangerousness of the Zero/ Part 5

By Brian George

The theft of Occam's Razor

“Those who move neither near nor far, who are not real Brahmins nor pressers of Soma; using speech in a bad way, they weave on a weft of rags, without understanding…”—From “The Origin of Sacred Speech”, the Rig Veda

On December 9th, 2009—one day before President Obama was scheduled to give his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in Oslo—a rotating white spiral appeared in the pre-dawn sky over Norway. It was seen by thousands of people, and was visible for several hundred miles. The bright “pinwheel” at the center was surrounded by a series of harmoniously spaced rings. A blue cone could also be perceived to emanate from the center, or else to originate from a point on the horizon from which the spiral was projected. As the spiral pulsed and expanded, it looked at times like a Yin/Yang symbol and at other times like a nautilus shell. After 15 or so minutes, it collapsed into what many have described as a “black hole.”

Hi Stace (Tussel),

You wrote, "Of course, 'official' explanations are beginning to filter out into the media, including what I expect to eventually be the popular explanation: that the spiral was comprised of fuel debris from a failed Russian rocket launch—a launch which Russian officials have denied. What motive would exist to deny the rocket launch, especially when the evidence was hanging there in the air for 10 to 20 minutes, at least?"

You would think that it might be difficult to come to terms with such an event—you would think. Perhaps one should take a few moments to allow it to sink in—or out and down—and to filter through the archeological strata of the mind? But even before its afterimage faded, small armies of “debunkers” had set fire to their keyboards. Indeed, we are living in strange days. It is rare for each government press-release to be taken at face value; to be many times repeated, almost word for word, by those who should know better.

As if their very survival were at stake, and the Earth might decide to collapse into a hole—leaving only a smudge where a hieroglyph used to be. As if disinfomation were a breastplate against death.
Occam wrote, "Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem," which translates as, "Entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity." What else is this "Russian missile" if not an unnecessary "entity" that has been conjured out of the small amount of evidence at hand? As if this weren't enough, there are two "official" Russian versions of the cover story—that the "failed missile launch" did not exist, and then, later, that it did. Such "entities" would indeed appear to have "multiplied" beyond necessity.

People are always putting words in poor Occam's mouth, as well as claiming to have inherited his razor! But which side in the debate about the Norway Spiral would Occam actually be on? It always amazes me that supposedly "hard-headed" observers can somehow fail to take into account their own ontological fears; if the evidence does not add up in one's favor, then one has only to throw out bits and pieces until it does.

The “simplest explanation” is that we do not know what we are looking at, and that it falls outside of our current framework of “reality." To say as much, however, would be to justify the ways of the “big mind” to the “little mind”; it would be for the Ego to capitulate to Terror. It is we who are the innocent balloons! To defend against the pin invasion any slight-of-hand is justified.

Fate “took from our eyes the day of our return”—and thus no such day can be permitted to exist.

False analogies are productive; because they both involve "spirals," the Norway Spiral is "like" a failed missile launch. This is like saying that there is no difference between a sheet of notebook paper and an interstate highway, because they are both more or less "2-dimensional." One's opponents are by definition "flakey." If all else fails, one can always appeal to the God of the Hermetically Sealed Observer—which, in its role as both a "participant" and a "judge," is uniquely suited to place its thumb upon the scales.

Perhaps the Norway Spiral is a kind of "sky-art," an atmospheric version of a "crop circle," in which plasma is a substitute for wheat? No; no way; not a chance; don't even think about it! As you listen to my voice, you are getting very sleepy...Such things cannot "exist" because we know that such things are not "real." Because—well—Occam said so!

I am not at all convinced, however, that Occam would jump to dismiss the Norway Spiral as an "out of control rocket." Too often, these days, it is the conventional scientific explanations that fly in the face of common sense, and that are actually the screwiest and most implausible. My own sense is that certain "skeptical reductionist" elements have hijacked the once flexible concept of "Science"—keeping only the shell of the methodology of "Empiricism"; to which lip-service must be paid, after the manner of all orthodox religions. A true "Enlightenment" position would be one that argues in favor of open-ended inquiry; it would put Curiosity always at the forefront of its virtues.

We should not regard an explanation as the "simplest" simply because it corresponds to our existing system of beliefs. Conversely, we should not regard an explanation as "far-fetched" simply because it calls attention to the limits of our knowledge, and thus forces us to question everything that we believe ourselves to "know."

In New Age circles, almost everyone feels free to heap abuse upon the 18th century; as if a group of long dead explorers were responsible for our own outdated habits of perception, and for our failure to respond with focused intuition to the challenges that confront us. But Newton—who spent 40 years in the study of Alchemy and Kabbalah—was not as far from Blake as we imagine, or as Blake imagined then; stealth concealed the extent of his revolutionary impulse. Even now, perhaps, he continues to experiment with “spooky action at a distance,” as his followers attempt to imitate the blank perfection of his marble bust.

Newton did what he was able, as must we. Fixed laws must be once more set in motion. “Here is the Tropic of Cancer,” we will say, “and here is the Tropic of Capricorn—but how does the 3rd dimension intersect with the 8th?” Daring ourselves to conceptualize and to test a new 10D version of “longitude,” we must set forth on the sea of the 64 cube tetrahedron.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

On the Dangerousness of the Zero/ Parts 3 and 4

By Brian George
With three quarters the Man rose upwards; one quarter remains here

“What was the original model, and what was the copy, and what was the connection between them?”—From “The Creation of the Sacrifice,” The Rig Veda

Among other things, Roger Scott wrote:

“Someone's first-hand experience can be taken with a grain of salt as concerns their 'interpretation(s) (of hard inter-dimensional data).

“When I asked for 'references', it wasn't for some self-reference. I could do that. I can ask any reader to refer back to something I wrote before and so make circular nonsense appear to be 'referenced'…

“Do better. Present a crystal-clear delineation of bare-bone FACTS!

“Right. We'll get meat-of-fact from fictional characters or maybe someone who's got an 'e-meter'…

“Imposing world on dream or vice versa: gonna lead to some problems…
“And as enunciated above: internal, self-referenced or hermetic certainty is nothing to the world at large.”

Let Indra the killer of Vrtra drink Soma in Saryanavat

“He is the navel of all that moves and is firm, who with his mind stretches the thread of the poet.”—From “The Hidden Agni”, The Rig Veda

“They forced up the fountain with their power; they split open even the mountain on its solid base. Blowing their reed-pipe, the Maruts who give fine gifts performed joyous deeds in the ecstasy of drinking Soma.” –From “The Maruts,” The Rig Veda

In responding to Roger Scott, I did not attempt to counter his “rational” arguments with similar arguments of my own; instead I incorporated many of his points and phrases into a mythological narrative, before presenting a brief description of the method behind the madness.

I wrote:

Hi Roger,

Pretty harsh, and surprisingly incurious for someone who is rumored to be a serious student of the Vedas.

In pursuit of the 1-inch hyperobject, and, at will, moving up or down into the shadow known as “History”, those yogic poets followed where their energy systems led. Speech was the technology that gave birth to each archetype. Their random moods prompted changes in the weather; their fears could easily be mistaken for an army, against whose numbers an “enemy” would be delegated to advance. They did not need eyes to see; their vision was omnidirectional. They would not have put their trust in the “good intentions” of the gods. They would have asked questions and demanded answers from them.

To them, seeing was not believing; for even a good memory played tricks. A day was 4,320,000 years long, and no act of conjuration was ever to be taken at face value. The 1 law: to breathe in and out. Nature was not other than the fossilized image of one’s body—that an alien presence had made somehow discontinuous. First-hand knowledge was of a world that one had made with one’s own hands.

Snares had been set. In spite of the hermetic certainty of the magicians, and in spite of their explosive focus, the spell cast by the powers of devolution grew. Some strange trick of perspective had occurred.

The Satya Yuga and all of its wonderworks were now written off as a “hoax.” Few remembered that to speak was to create.

The Vedic seers became as nothing to the world at large.

—But I digress. Possessed by the 1-inch hyberobject, my intoxication is such that I am ignorant of the year. You must educate me. Much thanks for drawing the 3-ring target on my head; for by striking it you will wound yourself. And so, my ritual counterpart, let us start again:

My goal in posting “The Invasion of the Bindu”—which is based on a short piece posted in September of last year on the forum for Daniel Pinchbeck’s “Absorbing Orbs”, and which was revised over the weekend in response to issues raised on the “Crop Circles; An Invitation” forum—was not to present a scientific argument or to provide you with  any “proof” of the phenomena that I describe; it was rather to call attention to the “direct experience” component of empiricism, which has long since been supplanted by the component of “objective observation.”

Let me say this very simply—I don’t believe that any amount of fact gathering is ever going to illuminate the mystery of crop circles, or open us to participation in the type of dialogue that is being offered. Without assistance from the lamp of intuition, and without the raw fuel of other-dimensional experience, the vehicle of abstract theory is not going to go anywhere at all. This is like the classic story of putting 10,000 monkeys in front of a row of typewriters, and waiting to see how long it will take them to come up with a version of “Hamlet” by banging on the keys at random. It is just not going to happen; or would, if possible at all, take longer than the amount of time left in the universe.

My objective in this, as in much of my work, is to speak directly to the deeper levels of the mind, to disorient and to provoke, and to challenge the reader to reconfigure the very structure of his/her thought. This, I believe, is also the objective of the actual makers of the circles, who are neither human hoaxers nor benevolent and/or evil aliens from a “different” part of the Milky Way—but rather something almost unimaginable from the “inside” of our present state of amnesia.

Once, an alien technology had coiled Soma in a cloud-mass; the life-force did not flow. Some regard this as the origin of the digestive system, or of the convolutions of the neo-cortex. We are what we ate. We are trapped within the factory to which we had herded other species. We must act, and yet even the most omniscient of our actions lead to death. As if planning for a war, the problems that we face are practical: by what means can we liberate our vision from the cloud-mass, and thus reconnect with the energy of the Zero?

Questions and answers go hand in hand. One leads the other, and the questions that we ask determine the answers that we get. We keep on asking questions—ad infinitum—for love means never having to say that you are sorry.

It is for this reason that we do not “see” or “hear”—or at least not like we used to; when, as resonant space, we gave birth to the gods.

Then we questioned the reliability of our omnidirectional senses, but, once having sorted through each atom of the evidence, we were just as happy to throw caution to the wind. We listened with wide-open ears. We did not hesitate to act upon our vision. Now, our eyes and ears have shrunk. One thought no longer fills immensity; false messengers stuff our heads with information. The more space we fill the fewer gigabites of memory are available. We do not always recognize that an answer is an answer.

Like a lightning bolt aimed at the dark bellies of the cloud-mass, a glyph can blast apart our conceptual obstructions. It must come from the “outside.” Through 8 overlapping worlds, flashing “in” and “down” from the circumference to the center, it will there imprint the map of its descent.

Quite suddenly, the “world” has stopped.

The world that is in front of you has stopped. Worlds continue to explode out of the back side of the mirror.

Do not attempt to adjust the settings on your television set.

For we control the Vertical. We control the Horizontal. But perhaps we faceless manipulators are not who or what we seem.

We may or may not have played both sides off against the middle. In the end, our “both/and” logic will prevail. What I have just said is true in a “manner of speaking”; it is one way to frame a fairly complex issue. Other tricksters may say otherwise.

Let us look once more at the following critique of my approach, which through the centuries has appeared in a long series of variations. The inventor of the Snare, once known as Vrtra, wrote: “I can ask any reader to refer back to something I wrote before and so make circular nonsense appear to be 'referenced.’” My reasoning may well seem circular, it is true; since the circles pose a non-linear challenge to the Psyche—one “gets them” or one does not; with all relevant details to be filled in later by some more transpersonal version of the Self.

In “Allogenes”, a manuscript from the Nag Hammadi Library, the author describes a kind of protean figure that can be understood only through his contradictions. Anonymous writes:

“He is superior to the Universals in his privation and unknowability. For he is not perfect but he is another thing that is superior…He is not corporeal. He is not incorporeal. He is not a number. He is not a creature. Nor is he something that exists…And he is much higher in beauty than all those that are good, and he is thus unknowable to all of them in every respect. And through them all he is in them all, not only as the occult knowledge that is proper to him. And he is united with the ignorance that sees him.”

It is not a question of raising one’s I.Q., or of meeting the most famous thinkers of one’s period at a seminar, or of finding the key to some lost theorem of Pythagoras, or of betting on the biggest dog.

For Darwin is dead, thus proving the Theory of Evolution wrong; he was unfit to survive. You will argue that I am not “playing fair.” Yet “I”, as well as “We”, am here; we have never ceased to live. We have put our shoulders to the wheel of Time; by stealth our energy has assassinated both Darwin and his opponents. Space does not need to be “created” by a god; it is the vacuum from whose geometry the past and future are projected.

We are going nowhere fast; even as we are not going anywhere at all. It is not a question of figuring out this or that; we must instead let go of our every preconception. The New Human will then improvise a new set of laws for Supernature, which every cosmonaut will be free to follow or to disregard, as he/ she chooses. This new/ old world will be almost infinite in its simplicity, and tactile; touch will be used to translate the most convoluted of archaic texts.

If there is any “end” that is imminent—and I do not dabble in linear speculations of this type—then I believe that this has to do with the completion of one particular stage in our growth, and with the breaking apart of the shell that has—for this period of 5200 or 12,000 or 26,000 years—protected us; even as it has blocked us from full access to our origins.

2) There is an excellent translation of the Rig Veda by Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty. In the introduction she has a comment on the peculiar style of the Vedas that I immediately saw also as a description of my work. She writes:

“The hymns are meant to puzzle, to surprise, to trouble the mind; they are often just as puzzling in Sanskrit as they are in English. When the reader finds himself at a point where the sense is unclear (as long as the language is clear) let him use his head, as the Indian commentators used theirs; the gods love riddles, as the ancient sages knew, and those who would converse with the gods must learn to live with and thrive upon paradox and enigma.

“The riddles in the Rig Veda are particularly maddening because many of them are Looking Glass riddles (Why is a raven like a writing desk?): they do not have, nor are they meant to have, answers. They are not merely rhetorical, but are designed to present one half of a Socratic dialogue through which the reader becomes aware of the inadequacy of his certain knowledge.

“This deliberate obfuscation of issues that are in any case intrinsically unfathomable seems to add insult to injury; one feels that the hymns themselves are mischievous translations into a ‘foreign’ language. Like the Englishman who announced that he preferred English to all other languages because it was the only language in which one said the words in the order that one thought of them, one feels that the Rig Veda poets are not saying the words in the order that they thought of them, let alone the order that we would think of them.”

Thursday, September 13, 2012

On the Dangerousness of the Zero/ Part 2

By Brian George

Signs of the Unseen

“You did the deeds of heroes in that ocean that has no beginning, no support, no handhold, when you Asvins carried Bhujyu home after he had climbed on board your ship that has a hundred oars.”—From “The Deeds of the Asvins”, The Rig Veda

Taken mostly from Janet Ossebard, here is a partial list of crop circle puzzles and anomalies—also known as “facts”:

“When a crop circle appears in a young crop, its seeds germinate and grow up to five times as slow as usual. When a crop circle appears in a ripe crop however, its seeds germinate and grow up to five times as fast as usual.”—J.O.

Snow melts immediately where a crop circle was months before, producing a “ghost” of the original design.

In the soil of many crop circles, up to 800 times the normal amount of magnetite can be found. The amount is no higher than normal just outside of the formations.

Crop circle plants are often “bundled” by their leaves, or twisted into complex basket-weave type patterns. This would not occur if the plants had been pressed down by a board.

“In some cases, the seed-heads of crop circle plants do not contain any seeds.”—J.O.

Many plants show blackened edges, where the seed-heads have been scorched and shrunk by heat.

Many genuine crop circles contain elongated and blown nodes, which appear to be the result of a brief, intense burst of heat. These are never found in man-made circles.

Heat and spiral movement can sometimes bundle plant shafts into balls—like the nests of field-mice—but with the bottom of the shafts still green and connected at the roots.

Nodes are sometimes bent into a horizontal curve, caused by cell manipulation along one side of the shafts. This cannot be reproduced by human hands; any attempt will cause the shafts to bend back or to break.

“Crop circle seeds show an extremely high secretion of free radicals.”—J.O.

Mysterious white powders have appeared in the counter-clockwise circles. Electron Dispersion Spectroscopy has shown some batches of this powder to be a compound of soda-lime-silicate—quite similar to ordinary glass—but which has been subjected to temperatures in excess of 3000 degrees. Lab analysis has shown another batch to be a copolymer of styrene and butylacrylate. Again, it had been subjected to high temperatures. The shape of the copolymer was completely unknown to science.

Crop circles have appeared during nights of driving rain, with no footprints leading to or from them through the muddy fields.

Many crop circles appear almost instantly. For example, on July 7, 1996, a large number of eyewitnesses, among whom were professional pilots, reported that the “Julia Set” crop circle appeared in a matter of minutes in a field outside of Stonehenge. This was a complex fractal spiral, made up of hundreds of smaller circles. It was not there at 17:30, and then was there at 18:00.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

On the Dangerousness of the Zero/ Part 1

By Brian George

The dawn banners of the Asvins

“Yes! I will place the earth here, or perhaps there. Have I not drunk Soma?...I am huge, huge! flying to the cloud. Have I not drunk Soma? I am going—a well-stocked house, carrying the oblations to the gods. Have I not drunk Soma?”—From “The Soma Drinker Praises Himself,” The Rig Veda

In her essay “Crop Circles; An Invitation,” Amely Greeven describes and theorizes about her experience in Wiltshire, England, in the summer of 2009, where more than 70 complex crop circles appeared between April and the end of August—an average rate of one circle every two days. Among these was a 600-foot “Portuguese-man-of-war” jellyfish. To me, the scale and flawless complexity of these circles argued for their “other-than-human" creation, at least insofar as the word “human" is currently understood.

Occam’s Razor would reveal the simplest explanation; in this case, much evidence points to the very explanation that we are also the most reluctant to confront.

When the essay was posted on Reality Sandwich, I was amazed by the number of mechanical comments on the forum, and decided to play the role of “agent provocateur.”

Many “skeptical reductionists” dismissed the phenomenon of the circles out of hand; they argued, as is the custom with such thinkers, that the most wildly implausible of explanations was—of necessity—the most “scientific”; so long as one’s own habits were not called into doubt. True science should be subject to small tweaks, as well as open to the demands of a continuous revolution. Step by step, the laws of Nature can be modified, by word or paradigm-generating act, as they have been with each passing year. One universe is rolled off; another is rolled on. Slight-of-hand rules, and by far the great majority of our views are not formed by “objective” means. The “conventional wisdom” is a law unto itself; it yearns for the classical solidity of a world that never did exist.

Most often, these flat-earth proponents would explain that the mystery of crop circles had been long ago cleared up. Reasons ran the gamut from A to D, and then back again to A:

A) They had a friend who knew a guy who had met one of the circle makers.

B) It had been reported by the 5 large media conglomerates that this or that group of circle-makers had “confessed.”

C) The best reasoning by the biggest brains had been proven to be circular; nothing unreal can exist, and thus the phenomenon of the circles could not be other than a Hoax.

D) All of scientific theory from the time of the Renaissance would be wrong if such a thing as inter-dimensional artwork could exist.

Or variations on the above. For example, “InOurbrain” wrote, “The first crop circles appeared in 1966 and the creators of the circles eventually admitted crafting the hoax after recent tales of UFOs. Now that digital space/flight imaging is more affordable and graphing software is widespread, it’s amazing that these human and computer crafted pieces of art are thought of as anything more.”

In this comment, there is no trace of anything that might resemble a piece of evidence. Instead, the author imagines humans at their desks, chuckling to themselves as they perfect their ever more incomprehensible Pythagorean brain-teasers, and “wondering who will come up with the mythology to define them first.” To have launched such a 43 year transcontinental project, these Neo-Pagan technocrats would have to have been busy bees indeed.

Roger Scott, a passionate science teacher with often highly idiosyncratic views—and a thinker for whom I have a great deal of respect—argued that we have so far not accumulated enough “facts”, and that it was only a question of becoming more systematic in our approach. Science was not at all ill-equipped to interpret such a “mystery’; instead Science had not yet deployed the full arsenal of its methods. I could grant his point, and yet still ask, “Why?” With a phenomenon of such complexity and duration, one has to wonder what mainstream Science has been waiting for.

Based perhaps on her experience as a teacher of Vedanta, Amely argued for what I would call a “methodology of wonder.” This is the orientation to which Keats referred as a state of “negative capability”; the capacity to wait—to actively do nothing—and by waiting to remain open to many contradictory views.

She writes, “Try too hard to decode, translate, and semiotically read the symbols and you risk losing the essence of what they're about. A child, frankly, can understand the symbolism of the crop circles, because they trigger an instant experience. For example, looking at a perfect geometrical image, which is what many of the formations are, will deliver an instant understanding of something profound. At some universal level of reality, even if it's far below your chaotic reality, you know that everything is balanced and in the right order. You don't have to understand ‘how’ geometry works. You don't have to know the significance of twelve arms of the mandala versus ten. Like hearing notes in a tuneful chord, you immediately experience the harmony as a felt experience inside yourself when you see it depicted visually.”

There were few significant differences between Amely’s views and my own, and yet I decided that a more confrontational attitude was in order. The resulting tone of voice was one that my wife described as “mean,” as well as “self-important.” Perhaps, but that is neither here nor there; for this was a voice that I recognized as one belonging to my “Double.” It taunts me also, and probes the Body/Mind for flaws. As harsh as it is generous, it provokes me to confront the full extent of the unknown—from which I have come. It mocks my ignorance of the preexistent records, of the bad faith of the gods, of the Archimedean Point from which the circles are projected; it challenges me to adapt to the technology of the vacuum.

In many of my forum comments, I had put on the mask of a 432,000 year-old Trickster; who, although his native language was “Paradox,” was also fluent in the grammar of these geometric glyphs—a sub-dialect, say some, of the Music of the Spheres.

The circles spoke clearly; it was we who had refused to listen or respond. We would far prefer to be tortured on the Procrustean bed of the Psyche. It was easier to ignore any and all such ultimatums from the beyond. Quite oddly, I did believe that we knew exactly what we were looking at; we simply chose to pretend that we did not.

The mystery of the crop circles is not a problem to be solved; it is a boundary between the existent and the non-existent orders; a test that we must pass.

At the table of the Transparent Ones a chair is waiting for us to sit in it. Again, the archaic smile will return. The Great Year tunes its instruments. Again, we have been invited to join hands with the 12. We may go here or go there, and subject ourselves to any method of dismemberment; yet in each case, we are here—at the intersection of Hyperspace. From time out of mind, laws have dictated that we should see the world from only one direction. We must dare to remove to two hands from the clock. To see the world at once from all of 360 degrees would be to overthrow the atomic guardians of Duality.

(Illustration: Brian George, Head with lightning sphere, 2004)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Mad Mother of Barbarian Tribes/ Part 3

By Brian George

This brings me to a point that I am hesitant to make. In spite of the important memories it stirs, my attitude towards the Gardner changes as I try to bring it into focus. When the gift of a Renaissance palace has been offered to the city, with a fortune devoted to its upkeep, who could be so cynical as to question the benefactress’s intent and so ungrateful as to not approve? Should not such generosity serve to box the ears of the disobedient lords of industry and finance? Should not such Ionic passion prove that there is one and only one way for these objects to be arranged? Should not such virtue help to educate the bureaucrat, who has never learned to think big, and who, too often, has no fresh straw in his stall? Should not such vision finally silence her detractors, who, though living, served less of a useful purpose than the dead?

The building and the collection are so obviously labors of love. So much care and learning and imagination have been poured into them, that I suffer guilt to learn the extent of my ambivalence, which is strong. The Gardner is, in its own way, perfect, but it is not perfect in the unpredictable way that most living things are perfect. It can, at times, seem like an experiment in taxidermy, as conducted by an alien geneticist, or like the first read-through of a play in which no actors will be needed, or like the shadow cast by a widowed spider in her web. Often, as I enter through its doors, I feel like Alice stepping through the Looking Glass, not knowing if the objects on the other side will keep their expected shapes. I cannot help but wonder if these objects may have long ago disappeared, as, perhaps, has our race: What we see is the result of occult action at a distance. A kind of inside-out perspective then takes over, as though you were to look the wrong way through a telescope.

The space itself is somehow more exciting than are any of the objects it contains. Something is just slightly off. The worn Mediterranean floor tiles are more luminous than is “The Concert” by Vermeer, which, since the 1990 heist, now looks like no more than an empty frame. The porcelain reliefs, by obscure artists, are more beautiful than the Greek and Roman sculptures. The tapestries are more challenging than the paintings, as masterful and famous as many of these are. Even Titian’s incomparable “The Rape of Europa” seems somehow like a postage stamp—much less vibrant than it would be in almost any other space. The rippling of the fountain in the courtyard is more satisfying than Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet, as performed at one of the Gardner’s Sunday salons. The light of a late autumn afternoon, as it filters through the skylight and the windows, is more mysterious than the objects on which it falls, which are, in the end, no more than three-d objects. The hand of the great collector is more powerful than was the eye of her pet critic, Berenson, who she delegated to inform each genius of his rank.

Like Alice, we shrink or grow, as directed by an unknown influence. On certain days, the spell cast by the Gardner makes us small. On other days, the spell acts as a catalyst, a lens that serves to magnify and focus the energies of those passing through, and prompts them to feel and say and do things that they would otherwise hold in check. Are we celebrants of a Sabbath, with the wonders of creation heaped around us, or the accomplices to some act of unnatural preservation?

Let me state it again simply: I am ambivalent about the Gardner, as well as fearful of the presence that still micromanages its beauty, which has come, through the years, to seem more and more like bait. The space is dominated, if not haunted, by the spirit of a woman dead since 1924. Towards the end of her life Mrs. Gardner, as she hovered above her creation in the fourth floor living area, must have seemed, like Miss Haversham, like something just this side of a ghost. The July 19th Boston Globe obituary states that she was to be buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, in a family tomb, but such a record may be no more than the act of a magician, the movement of the right hand to distract us from the left.

There is, in fact, no doubt as to where her web is located; a skylight stares down from the center of the web, and it is there that she waits for fresh humans to arrive.

The dowager has declared, and it will not be taken back, “I am the mad mother of barbarian tribes, the hand of the Byzantine water clock. I have mummified the sea. I have built a tomb, which will serve as a museum for the education and enjoyment of the public, forever. It is important to eat large amounts of salt. Take off the human body. By the door are hangers, where you, the living, are to check your lives. My blood is an experiment in transubstantiation. It is not red but blue. Like Shiva, I have swallowed all of the toxins in the world. Some call me for this reason Nilakantha.

“I was Astraea, who, at the end of the Golden Age, withdrew, filled to bursting with disgust. Arachne also. To the ignorant: Anathema! You are drunken worms, flies banging on the window. You are the dust that sticks to the bottom of my shoes. Embrace Beauty and destroy ambivalence. Forego all thoughts about the exit beyond Saturn—to which I alone hold the key. No change of even the smallest detail is ever, repeat EVER to be allowed."

As her will states, the substitution of even a window treatment or a chair gives the board of directors grounds to dissolve the whole museum. One cannot help but wonder if the hyper-vigilance of the guards might be no more than their reasonable reaction to a threat: should a detail be disrupted, then the whole of the museum might suddenly be sucked back through the skylight, in a geometric flash, to leave no more than the fragrance of burnt ozone on the wind. I have sometimes joked that we are privileged to view the paintings in the splendor of their original dirt. Not a speck has been removed. The museum is a shadow that the Great Year sealed in amber, a spider that was accidentally caught in her own web. It is a petrified sky turned backwards on itself. It is a genetically modified mammoth flash-frozen by a glacier, the food still undigested in its stomach, the flowers that it was munching still stuck in its teeth.

(Illustration: Photo of Isabella Stewart Gardner)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Mad Mother of Barbarian Tribes/ Part 2

By Brian George

When I first came to Boston to go to school in 1974, the Gardner was quite a discovery. I remember one gentle spring day, when the first buds were just popping from the branches. I had arranged to meet a girl called Donna Contantineau at the Renaissance courtyard for lunch. I remember the feel of the cool courtyard stone beneath my fingers, as we consumed a feast of pita, babaganoush, stuffed grape leaves, nuts and apricots. Donna was wearing an Indian print skirt. I couldn't figure out if she had just taken a shower with some wonderful soap, or if that were just her natural fragrance, or if my mind were playing tricks on me.

At the end of the meal, she demonstrated an unusual talent, which I had not seen before and have not seen since. She had the ability to repeat whatever you were saying, with no hesitation, at the exact moment that the words came from your mouth. It was as though some glitch in the projection of our wave-forms had occurred; we were seated on a stone bench by a fountain, from which the gods observed us, yes, but we were also the gods that were doing the observing. Voice and image had become unsynchronized; a slight gap had opened, though which we could slip. The museum was a wheel. It turned as slowly as the great Platonic year. We were statues spinning through the stage sets of a dream. The Gardner stood by like an eccentric aunt, taking note of the first signs of romance, but too preoccupied with abstract beauty to fulfill her role as chaperone.

I remember going to the Gardner several years after this with my high school friend Danny Panagakos, who was going through a New York performance art phase. He arrived for the visit wearing his then customary outfit of black leather and chains, with a three-day growth of beard and a skeleton earring. We might as well have brought a spotlight with us, and then set it up in the corner of each room. A group of security guards shadowed our every step, waiting for the sudden appearance of a knife or can of spray paint. Danny had asked one of the guards if they had an extra set of oil paints, a few brushes, and a pallet, since one of his paintings was not quite done and he had come back from the dead to finish it. A bit later, he managed to get into a shouting match with several of the guards, the only Irish immigrants I that have ever met with absolutely no sense of humor. The shouting match escalated into a shoving match, before he was thrown, with great theatrical fanfare, out of the building, and told never to come back.

My friend Danny was the fly in the metaphysical ointment, the snake that had volunteered to bring chaos to the garden. It was he who had removed the vowels from the tower of the one world language, before spreading the Big Lie that the sky did not exist. It was he who had shrunk the head of the Most High. Due to Danny, God could now be mistaken for the stopper in a bathtub. It was he who had once commissioned the Mona Lisa to paint a second and distorted copy of da Vinci, which the whole world somehow took for the real thing. For millennia now, it had been difficult for him not to lose track of his goals, and to act in such a way that he would not appear redundant. Just imagine the thrill: to find an audience that might still be capable of shock! It was a twinge of satisfaction that he would not soon forget. With all eyes on me, I quickly followed him out the door.

During the autumn 1998 visit of my father and his third wife, Judith, to Boston, my father suggested that we go to the museum. My wife, Deni, and then one year old daughter, Elizabeth, also came. My father was very impressed with the courtyard. It reminded him of the courtyard of a house he once owned in Mexico, during a period of affluence, before his company collapsed like a pyramid of cards, and he was forced to declare bankruptcy. He treated us to an enthusiastic lecture on the history of courtyards, veering from ancient Greece to North Africa to Islamic Spain to Mexico. Though not unheard of, such eloquence about aesthetics was quite unusual for him.

He would more often say, “I went here. I saw that. At such and such a place I saw so and so conduct. He was good.” For example, he might say, “That was the year that I heard Yo Yo Ma at Tanglewood, where he played Prokofiev’s Sinfonia Concertante in E Minor. A great performance. Bernstein conducted. A few of us went to a get-together afterwards. Bernstein brought his boyfriend. He drank too much, and decided to change into some blue velour briefs with a flowing cotton robe.” My father’s inner life was locked. There was only one key. On a schedule to be determined by himself—or in a joint-venture with the businessman who also occupied his body—he would take his inner life from storage, which involved, coincidentally, the removal of his cello from its case. He would stand his inner life up and then, by a telemetry of joy instead of the usual force of will, he would make it sing and dance. On this day, however, the museum had taken charge, and had prompted him to speak in great detail about his thoughts and memories and emotions.

Thoughts of his 24-room mansion on Avenida de los Insurgentes, where he hobnobbed with Samosa, led to thoughts about his student flat above Louisburg Square. How many unexpected turns his life had taken since the 1950s, when, after giving up his dream of becoming a musician, he first moved from Michigan to attend the BU School of Engineering! My father’s mood of autumnal nostalgia was contagious, and surrounded us like the smell of burning leaves. We did not realize that this mood would prove to be prophetic, or that several months later my father would be, very unexpectedly, dead.

Another year went by, as the Gardner continued its mysterious transactions with the infinite. I again visited with my wife and daughter, who by then was two years old, and as prone to perpetual motion as a dervish. Elizabeth, when she saw the Medieval lions that stood guard at the courtyard, chortled and shrieked with joy. Crouching down, she put her face a few inches in front of each one of the lions, went “Rooaaaarrr!” and then waited for a response. When none was forthcoming, she crouched down and went “Rooaaaarrr!” in front of each of them again. Oh no they didn’t! She could not believe her ears. Again, the silence of the seed-vaults of Antarctica. Elizabeth had no doubt that the Gardner was alive, in its own reverse engineered and hermetically sealed way. Because of this, she could not help but be annoyed: There was no good reason for the lions to be rude!

By the time we got to the second floor, she felt an overwhelming urge to express her tactile appreciation for objects, or perhaps to search for the openings through which life entered the inanimate. Again, in violation of the laws of nature, the Irish security guards exhibited not the slightest trace of humor, nor did the corners of their lips turn up. They did, in fact, both move and act like Golems, who had been conjured out of blood and clay by the power of the Kabbalistic word; they served, one pointedly, the power that had called them forth. “If she’s going to make noise and touch things,” we were told, “she can do it somewhere else.” We were instructed, in no uncertain terms, to “Please control the child.” The request was reasonable, but “controlling” a two year old is far easier said than done.

She was moved to wrath. Her imperious will to power would not be thwarted. A spell had been cast. The hand of the great collector had touched her soul. A voice whispered in her ear, “The world is yours to appropriate. Carpe diem! There will time enough later to throw sculpture at the masses.” How dare the guards try to tell her what she could and could not do with her possessions! Yelling for obedience, with eyes as wide as a Sumerian statue’s, she walked with hands out towards a five-foot urn. “Mine,” she shouted, “Mine! Mine!” I scooped her up and quickly headed for the exit, her legs still pumping, and the curse on her subordinates still echoing through the halls. It would seem that the Gardner is not a child-friendly place. Some 13 years later, perhaps to keep herself on the right side of the law, Elizabeth is now thinking about becoming a museum curator. Much scholarship will needed for the stalking of her target. For somewhere, in a corner of the subterranean web, she can hear that the heart of the progenetrix still beats, if slowly. She would ask of it a question. Its answer would be in the form of a meta-linguistic key. She may yet have a chance to get her hands on one of those giant, ash-filled urns, and the lions may, any day now, decide to wake from their naps.

Curiously, it was not just children but also human beings in general who, in the first few years, were seen as potential Disrupters of the Peace. As first planned, the museum would be open for four days per month, for only three months out of the year. Using tax-codes and import duties as their weapons, Federal Philistines had insisted on a six-day per week schedule, thus tainting the pure concept of the gift. As often happens, the external world had been forced to intervene to prompt one subject to acknowledge his/ her fate. If it were not for bad luck we might have no luck at all, and the Zodiac would not be able to grow feet. This fallen version of the Gardner is the one that we now see and touch.

(Illustration, Andras Zorn, Isabella Stewart Gardner in Venice)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Student of the Nagas

By Brian George

"That which is the element of light ... is seen to exist on account of [in relation to] darkness; that which is the element of good is seen to exist on account of bad; that which is the element of space is seen to exist on account of form.”—Nagarjuna, circa 150-250 BC

“Method is more important than strength…By dropping golden beads near a snake, a crow once managed to have a passerby kill the snake for the beads.”--Nagarjuna

Hi  Olujide,

I am sorry to hear that your experience of the Vipassana method at the Goenka retreat was less than ideal. This method can, indeed, seem overly dry and rationalistic. While focusing on the normal inflow and outflow of the breath, you allow the random contents of consciousness to bubble to the surface, calmly labeling such things as “fear,” “resentment,” “greed,” “hatred,” “sexual attraction,” “nostalgia,” or, more reductively, “thought,” or “emotion,” and then, without judgment, you allow them to go on their way. So far, so good. It is a simple and powerful method, and, over the long run, can produce far-reaching results. The problem, in the short run, is that the method may not lead easily or inevitably to a state of expanded energy, and that it is the already constricted intellect that is doing all of this labeling. The web of interdependent origination, which can be perceived as directly as a landscape in a state of ecstatic consciousness, can, in this method, sometimes be pursued as a kind of moral imperative—i.e., as something that you should see, instead of something that you actually do see. I think that its effectiveness depends very much upon the character of the meditator, as well as on his or her objectives. For some, it can seem as though they are putting the cart in front of the horse, and then going, over and over, around in very slightly wider circles.

For those with an artistic bent—such as you or me—it might be better to focus first on the generation of energy, and then, once you have been projected into space, it may be easier to take in the whole of the landscape at a glance, and to grasp how each detail is related to the others.

Curiously, though, you also quote this strange and wonderful passage from the Nag Hammadi manuscripts—Allogenes XI, 3—which reads like a Gnostic version of Nagarjuna’s seminal “not this; not that” philosophy, which is, arguably, at the heart of the Vipassana method. The Nag Hammadi passage reads, “He is superior to the Universals in his privation and unknowability, that is, the non-being existence, since he is endowed with silence and stillness lest he be diminished by those who are not diminished…For he is not perfect but he is another thing that is superior. He is neither boundless, nor is he bounded by another…He is not corporeal. He is not incorporeal. He is not a number. He is not a creature. Nor is he something that exists, that one can know. But he is something else of himself that is superior, which one cannot know…He neither participates in age nor does he participate in time…And he is much higher in beauty than all those that are good, and he is thus unknowable to all of them in every respect. And through them all he is in them all, not only as the unknowable knowledge that is proper to him. And he is united with the ignorance that sees him.”

In capsule form, Nagarjuna argued that the “self” and/ or “reality” is “not this” and “not that.” Nagarjuna is generally credited with the founding of the Madhyamaka School of Mahayana Buddhism, but the method of “not this; not that” would not seem to be specific to a single school. How could it be, when you think about it? In Vipassana, by focusing, moment by moment, on the transience of all objects, we are empowered to see through the foreground of our everyday attachments and into the deeper background of the landscape. Some traditional sources say that Nagarjuna received his understanding of the Sutras directly from the realm of the “Nagas,” the “Snakes” who hold the keys to inter-dimensional knowledge—as well as, perhaps, to the lost history of our race. His very name—“Naga” (snake) plus “Arjuna” (white, like lightning or the dawn; clear)—argues for this connection. His methodology is perhaps best understood against the backdrop of the versions of sacrificial  Vedism and monistic Shaivism that were current during his period. We tend to think of these versions as “early,” but they were, I believe, very late developments in a tradition that was almost inconceivably old, and they may, by that point, have become too formulaic. This was also the period during which the Zero was invented—or reinvented—and his methodology could perhaps be seen in terms of the Zero as opposed to the One.

The key insight was that all things are inextricably connected, and give rise to each other; thus the existent cannot at any time be separated from the non-existent, nor can the high be separated from the low. While it is true that Nagarjuna was part of an international trend towards rational philosophy, his insights could nonetheless be applied in any number of contradictory directions, including that of shamanic strategy. If, in the minds of later Buddhist scholars, he was first and foremost a philosopher, this does not mean that he was any less a student of the Nagas. By attempting to be all things to all people, he made use of their non-local subtlety, and was able to do each thing while seeming to do something else. “Method is more important than strength,” as he said. In the Vedic and Shaivite views then current, the gods and the Atman—or higher self—were more or less eternal and substantial, while human beings were transient and insubstantial. What Nagarjuna perhaps set out to do was to place all beings on an equal footing, and to create a relative ease of movement between physical and non-physical realms.

If the “here” is inextricably connected to the “there,” then why should we be desperate to break through to the Beyond? There is no hard and fast barrier, and we are free to take a “middle path.” It is even possible to interpret some of the more extreme forms of asceticism in the Buddha’s and Nagarjuna’s day as coming out of a Vedic equivalent of the concept of “original sin.” We humans were incorrigibly asleep, the slaves of Maya, the food of demons, the puppets of the gods, the prisoners of our five senses, and only the most extreme measures were sufficient to set us free. (I believe that this form of asceticism—Sthanu, or the withdrawal of one’s energies from manifestation to preserve their explosive potency—actually goes back to a much earlier period, and has a different origin and purpose than might be immediately apparent, but I will address this issue in some future post.) During this period, the relationship between the worlds had become clouded, and the gods were not seen as the help-mates of human beings. They were powerful forces, to be appeased, or magicians, to be emulated. At best, they were our direct competition, against whom we must struggle with one hand tied behind our backs. Heaven had become overpopulated, and the gods desired to keep any new generations of ascendant yogis out.

In the “Saiva Siddhanta,” a Sri Lankan school of philosophy that—according to some scholars—originated around 250 BC, this tension between humans and the gods was explored at considerable length. Here, for example, is an anonymous text that succinctly sums up the issues. It reads, “Whoever among gods, sages or men becomes enlightened became the very self of the gods, and the gods had no power to prevent him. But whoever worships another divinity is like a sacrificial animal for the gods, and each person is of use to the gods just as many animals would be of use to a man. Therefore it is not pleasing to those gods that men should become enlightened.” In this tradition, the human soul is generally described by the word “pasu,” which means “beast.” Having fallen from a state of primordial clarity, the soul becomes vulnerable to the projections of a “lord,” or “pati,” who is not under any obligation to play fair. By the power of the “pasa,” which means bond or snare, the soul—like a victim of the Stockholm Syndrome—then willingly comes to embrace its own subservient position, as it looks to its oppressor for small gifts.

A kind of impasse had been reached. If the heroic yogi, with his arsenal of “siddhis”—or supernatural powers—posed a threat, then perhaps the “An-Atman”—or “Not-Self”—could slip back and forth throughout the higher worlds unseen, or at least without stirring up any premature opposition. “There is nobody here but us chickens!”—as the saying goes. Of course, there are such incidents as the Buddha’s apocalyptic confrontation with Mara, but this conflict was not so much won as simply side-stepped, by a kind of metaphysical judo. Because, in one sense, there is nowhere in particular to go, the physical plane is just as beautiful and as valuable as any other, and provides us with a stable platform from which to act upon the cosmos. So, what does the Arhat—or “enlightened being”—do when he has reintegrated his mind and body into the field of zero-point energy? The conventional answer would seem to be based upon a preoccupation with imprisonment. It is that, if the Arhat chooses to return from his state of ecstasy, then this must be due either to the unresolved karmic pull of his attraction to the lower worlds OR to his compassion for the suffering of all sentient beings. Compassion is certainly one valid reason to return, but I believe that there is an older, and somewhat more peculiar, reason. If we were to probe far back into the mists of human history, and then even further back, before the gods had been created from our surplus, and when the yogi was not different from the poet and the warrior, I believe that the original reason would have been “to play.”

Even with recent breakthroughs in our theoretical understanding of the Zero, we still, on some deep, historically conditioned level, cannot help but think of the world as a kind of inanimate stage-set. We cannot begin to imagine that the earlier versions of ourselves were in any way instrumental in bringing this and other worlds into existence. In saying this, let me be very clear that I am not referring to the New Age concept that we “create our own reality,” which I tend to see as an ego-based fantasy of omnipotence. No, we were non-local givers, not autobiographical hoarders. We were death-defying acrobats, not passive-aggressive spectators. Because we are operating on a fraction of our preexistent voltage, we tend to misunderstand both the motives and the actions of the early race, and thus to misdiagnose the origins of what we now perceive to be our imprisonment.

In the Norse “Elder Edda,” there is a line that goes something like, “The Sons of Ivaldi labored for an age to build Skidbladnir, best of boats.” When I first read this, around 1977, the line hit me like a depth-charge. Why would it take so long for the “dwarfs” to build a boat? And what sort of a boat were they talking about? Perhaps the physical world, as well as each of the worlds before it, was first envisioned as a kind of “boat,” or “vehicle,” upon or within which the gods could ride. The attributes of the boat were certainly peculiar in the extreme. Here, for example, is the way that it is described in the “Dictionary of Norse Mythology.” It says, “The ship was big enough to hold all the gods and their horses and equipment, yet small enough to be folded up and put away in a pouch when not in use. It could sail over land or through the air, as well as on the sea, and has been compared to a swift-moving cloud…” I thought to myself, “I will plant this concept like a seed, and, if I tend to it through the years, it will bring me many insights.” And so it has.

Not long after this, I also stumbled across a line from the “Orphic Argonautica,” a text written about 500 BC that seems to refer back to a previous world destruction. In it, it is clear that the Orphic speaker is both an observer and a participant, whose job, perhaps, is to gently lean on the steering-oar. At the end of the poem, he says, “Now the gadfly leaves me stinging and burning. My body learns from the unremitting sky. You will hear from my voice all the things I concealed from stubborn men; how the heroes and half gods passed over into Peiria and the steep sheer head of the Wet Country…I sail upon the ship of the world.”

(Illustration: Victor Brauner)

Monday, July 2, 2012

The inadequacy of Anitya

By Olujide Adebayo-Begun

Many  thanks for  your article “Descent of the Merkavah!” I recently attended a ten-day Vipassana retreat, organized by the Vipassana International Association (SN Goenka school), held at the Emrich Center, Brighton, Michigan; a 26-acre retreat center with very beautiful lawns and wooded area. The course duration was ten days, excluding the days of arrival and departure. The daily routine was ten to twelve hours of meditation, interspersed with hour-long breaks in order to get meals (which were very delicious vegetarian fares), shower or rest. And for the ten days there was a law of noble silence, which meant meditators could not communicate with themselves through any form or gesture. The experience was a powerful one, but also left me with a certain feeling of ambivalence, and with reservations which, at first, I could not quite bring into focus. Your article hits straight at the heart of my apprehension about the Goenka method, and gives me permission to articulate my dissent. Prior to the ten-day retreat, I knew very little about Buddhism, and this retreat served as an introduction of some sort.

The thrust of the method to the extent of its revelation in the ten-day program is that since everything in existence is a sensation that rises and passes away, it’s pointless having either craving or aversion to anything. Unfortunately most of us humans have failed to realize this, hence there’s misery. Every craving and aversion generates impressions known as samskaras which manifest as bodily sensations and perpetuate human misery. Vipassana technique entails observing bodily sensations- samskaras- with equanimity. By merely observing with equanimity, the human being would cease generating new samskaras and old samskaras will be forced to come out to the surface and be dealt with. And not only that, the person would transcend both body and mind, achieve nibbanic peace, and find true happiness, love and compassion. I find the technique to be simple and very effective in exploring the body-mind connection. The silence, over the ten-day period, dramatically concentrated my mind, and practically forced me on an inner ride. However my grouse is the definition of the human condition implied in the vipassana technique.

Over the course of the program I heard so much about life being misery and my mind kept asking: why is it so? If all is nothing but passing sensations, I ask: what is the method to the madness of the anitya? Why did they ever arise to pass away?

And while at it, I thought about some of your ideas and realized quite clearly that I am a happy pagan- not afraid of death, not afraid of misery: you once said something about the need to “respond with orgiastic laughter to a dare.” This paganistic, ecstastic hubris sustains the wheels of the universe, creates joyous illusion, distributes ashe, occasions a pleroma of tragic beauty whose alternative is nothingness and dearth. We’ll pass away. So what? My understanding of human existence was never really so turgid as to create anxiety over our passing away. That which arises to pass away is also the thing that exists beyond mind and matter. We have always been a wish-fantasy of the chthonic realm. We are a trick of frozen light. An offshoot of a cosmic prank, a love note from nothing to nothing. The real miracle, I think, is not enlightenment. The real miracle is the illusion of separation, of movement, of the head that thinks and the legs that walk, the real, magical feat is the creation of pain and pleasure. If the difference between the world of particulars and world of forms is only illusory, then perhaps what is needed is a widening of horizon, we must counter misery with a sensitive and yet robust felicity, a felicity that is keen on equanimity, and sophisticated enough to see misery as the other side of the coin to joy, both being temporal, and both being indispensable to the human condition.

Your article not only implicitly assumes this, it makes a powerful yet subtle prognostication of the way forward (I use way forward lightly) which is “repair the rip in the structure of the cosmos.” As you said- the peace on earth is not ours, we must travel on the wings of paradox to our true home. We are not the meek to whom the inheritance of the earth has been promised. We must see our true face! And your writing nails it, kills it. After it, there’s nothing to say, nothing to add: I cannot overstate how much of pleasure and understanding I derive from reading your works! One day I had to burst out to my colleagues in the MFA world about your work-forget your fatuous obsession with plot and publishability, come and see writing and bow!

You write so well about these things that comments are almost superfluous lol. Your writing has anticipated it all. The ultimate challenge is a paradox, a paradox which the reading of your works, over the course of several months, has illuminated quite clearly for me: how do we make Ashe dance after we have repaired the rip in the structure of the cosmos? You make two suggestions- we have to master the art of bi-location, to be the shadow and the substance at the same time, to equip our hardware with a factory-fitted fully developed Eshu and then some. But the second suggestion is more tantalizing, which hints at the "end of all descent... geometrically encoded in its origin": “He is superior to the Universals in his privation and unknowability. For he is not perfect but he is another thing that is superior...He is not corporeal. He is not incorporeal. He is not a number. He is not a creature. Nor is he something that exists...And he is much higher in beauty than all those that are good, and he is thus unknowable to all of them in every respect. And through them all he is in them all, not only as the occult knowledge that is proper to him. And he is united with the ignorance that sees him.” Achieving this will be the ultimate triumph of Ashe. We would have flown into that which cannot be named!

Best regards,