Two Abuses of the Renaissance Sage’s Eros-Magic: Part 1. Hermes T. vs. Aristotle: What is the Origin of Transhumanism?

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Two Abuses of the Renaissance Sage: 1. Hermes vs. Aristotle: What is the Origin of Transhumanism?

       Many conspiriologists, following writer Michael A. Hoffman, like to kick around the phrase “the alchemical processing of the masses,” and claim to see the claw-prints of ancient secret societies on all contemporary pop culture and political events. Hoffman and others like Alex Jones rant about the Masonic/Illuminati programming that readies us for the “it shall be” and “it must be” of transhumanism, which is the ultimate goal of the secret scheme: to make humans into gods (and others apparently into food for those gods).

The use of alchemy and magic as descriptors is not metaphor to these people. Although it’s easy to draw a parallel between the CIA-Pentagon’s secret body augmentation/mind control/propaganda labs and that of the alchemist or magician, many like Hoffman go further and posit that events such as the Kennedy assassination and 9/11 are “alchemical psychodramas” meant to traumatize and imprint mind control schemas upon the American soul.

Judging by what passes for “the truth,” what once were genuinely “fringe” beliefs 25 years ago has become a paranoid worldview for perhaps millions of Americans.

The origination for these ideas goes back millennia. We could speak of the anti-Mason movements of the mid-19th century, or Adam Weishaupt’s Bavarian Illuminati conspiracies of the 1760s-90s, but the genesis of psychological imprinting/priming of which Hoffman and others speak is supposedly ancient, and originates in the Mysteries that emerged from the Neolithic.

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RENAISSANCE WYZRDS

Its modern incarnation encompasses the past six centuries. As the story goes, the humanism of the Italian Renaissance originated in rediscovered ancient texts that spurred a revival in “natural philosophy”—a concept which grew to encompass a double meaning, science and magic.

This new learning eventually superseded the Scholastic model of the universe used in the Roman Catholic monasteries. In the 1460-80s, the Florentine Medici family bought and translated the ancient Greek texts obtained from scholars fleeing the sacked Byzantine capital, Constantinople. This influx had a double effect: some of the texts bolstered belief in the existence of angels, that had already been codified for the Catholic masses by Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) and his study of Pseudo-Dionysius’s The Celestial Hierarchy.

But some of the new texts also laid the foundation for undermining ten centuries of Nicaean doctrines. The Aristotelian-Dionysian classifications that informed the medieval “Great Chain of Being” doctrine—that a naturally hierarchical cosmos had been created only once, ex nihilo, by God—were especially affected by these textual discoveries.[1]

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       In opposition to the Aristotelian scheme, Plato’s mysticism was strengthened by new, independent sources via the Egyptian/Hellenistic Hermetica that the Medici purchased. The texts raised Plato’s Egyptian-Pythagorean theogony to a near-unimpeachable status in intellectual circles. Scholars had found the Catena Aurea (Golden Chain).[2] This was the esoteric lore concerning self-transformation and transcendence that had been passed down from adepts from the time of ancient Egypt.

The figure of the sage Hermes Trismegistus symbolized this tradition. The Greek/Arabic Hermetic writings purchased by the Medici family book-buyers were, over the next century, translated and elucidated by Marsilio Ficino, Giovanni Pico Della Mirandola, Giordano Bruno, and Tommaso Campanella.

Opposing the dominant Roman Catholic-Aristotelian view of creation, these scholars came to view humanity as unfinished as opposed to fallen from a paradise (Pico entirely abandoned this view and recanted, but was put to death nevertheless for heresy).

The Hermetic tracts Poimandres and Asclepius that had been discovered proclaim that it is possible that humanity may become “whole beings” and possess powers co-equal with God. Pico wrote his Oration on the Dignity of Man in 1486 using this idea; the tract is a blueprint for secular humanism, albeit through a mix of Neoplatonism and a proto-existentialism.[3] Humanity’s Golden Age existed in the remote past, yet processes for achieving apotheosis were still available by using theurgic ritual to channel the stars’ and planets’ energies and evoke daimonic assistance in the task.

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       Ficino developed a Christianized Hermeticism, while Pico chose a Jewish-Christian Kabbalistic method for humanity’s return to Godhood. Giordano Bruno entirely rejected the Christian worldview in favor of Egyptian alchemical/astrological religion. In 1600 the Inquisition torched him believing in an endless universe populated by innumerable worlds—or at least consensus history views it so.

There is much more to the reasons for his execution.

Essential to Ficino and Bruno’s view were the ideas of imbuing images in one’s imagination with vast emotional and psychic force, binding them to the unconscious and one’s anima (soul). Ficino viewed Eros as the prima materia or ever-present element behind all phenomena; this belief became near-dogma for the Florentine Academy of 15th and 16th century.

Eros may be characterized as the resting state of ensoulled beings; all living things possess an unconscious “self-love” that causes them to act in self-preservation in myriad ways and through sexual passion both heighten one’s sense of being and “reproduce” the self.

But for humans, sexual Eros can be very dangerous. The ancients’ conception of spirit (pneuma, “breath”) was axiomatic to Ficino’s magic; pneuma was the medium through which visual impressions passed. Drawing upon the Greek Stoics’s idea that the cosmos was all pneuma in varying degrees of tension, the individual’s hegemonikon (heart/governing principle) vibrated a pneumatic beam to its object(s) and “bound” itself with it/them. This created an impression upon the hegemonikon/heart that at times could be an eidetic image (phantasia kataleptike) of the object. These images could then be imbued, according to Ficino, with very strong mental and emotional “chains of association,” increasing the images’ (phantasia) power within the soul. Eros is normally conceived as the life-force/drive, and acts in everything from sexual vigor to sublimated forms of energy that lead to the creation of art and society’s structures.

The very effortlessness of sexual attraction is a signature that it is primordial Eros magic. The visual impressions of the beloved remain, unbidden but active, in the mind. Here they can be transformed into a higher Eros or fester into complete obsession. A very dangerous situation indeed; we think of “crimes of passion” and the extreme phenomenon of narcissism, a hegemonic-image that has unconsciously made of the world an extension of its damaged self and demands constant recognition of that self. This “black magic” is done by individuals who are spiritually lost and cannot recognize how their own hegemonikon has been captured by images of its own feeding/making. As scholar Ioan Couliano points out,

Circulating through the same pneumatic passage in which contagion of the blood is spread are images that, in the mirror of common sense, are changed into phantasms. When Eros is at work, the phantasm of the loved object leads its own existence, all the more disquieting because it exerts a kind of vampirism on the subject’s other phantasms and thoughts. It is a morbid distention of its activity which, in its results, can be called both concentration and possession: concentration, because the subject’s entire inner life is reduced to contemplation of one phantasm only; possession, because this phantasmic monopoly is involuntary and its collateral influence over the subject’s psychosomatic condition is highly deleterious.

       Interestingly, the love object plays a secondary role in the process of establishing the phantasm: it is only a pretext, not a real presence. The true object, omnipresent, of Eros is the phantasm, which has taken permanent possession of the spiritual mirror. Now, this phantasm represents a perceived image that has gone beyond the threshold of consciousness, but the reason it has assumed such obsessional dimensions lies in the deepest part of the individual unconscious. We do not love another object, a stranger to ourselves, Ficino thinks (Amore, VI, 6), thus anticipating the analytic psychology of Carl Jung. We are enamored of an unconscious image.[4]

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       But Eros is a malleable force as well and can be channeled to many uses. We can all understand these dynamics, how the beloved “infects” the imagination of the lover. As Couliano points out, the beloved can become far more than is “presented” by the simple reality of their presence. Active imagination is always at work, whether conscious or not. The unconscious may take over, leading to obsession that may entirely swallow the personality and lead to madness, the heroic fury of heightened existence:

“(Ficino writes) The lover carves into his soul the model of the beloved. In that way, the soul of the lover becomes the mirror in which the image of the loved one is reflected”….That entails rather a complicated dialectic of love, in which the object is changed into the subject, ousting the subject who, tormented by the anxiety of prospective annihilation due to being deprived of his state as subject, desperately claims the right to a form of existence.

       The phantasm that monopolizes the soul is the image of an object. Now, since man is soul, and since soul is totally occupied by a phantasm, the phantasm is henceforth the soul. It follows that the subject, bereft of his soul, is no longer a subject: the phantasmic vampire has devoured it internally. But it also follows that the subject has now grafted itself onto the phantasm which is the image of the other, of the beloved. Metaphorically, therefore, it can be said that the subject has been changed into the object of his love.[5]

What results is obsession with an internalized, living image of the anima or animus that is always existent within the soul but now finitized, active, and intensified.

At a deeper level, there is a dialectic to this narcissism. The self’s inner image of itself is incomplete, because it does not “possess” that love object (that non-self or other) for which it yearns.[6] But in Couliano’s sense the “Western” ego/self unconsciously senses it must not ever possess it, for that would be utter self-destruction, given that the other must have autonomy in order to embody its numinous nature. This autonomy would be denied it were it assimilated or fully possessed by the ego. On the other hand, the other is apotheosized, elevated precisely because of its numinous nature. So instead of attaining it directly, the ego/self must be transformed to become worthy of this “object” infecting its inner landscape; the self must become more than it presently is in order even to meet it. This requires a synthesis, and that synthesis may be achieved through theurgy and magic. This internal ideal is, in both alchemy and magic, an asexual being because it is beyond the mundane embodiment in “given,” incomplete creation. By means of a sort of secular via negativa, we could say the human ideal is not mortal, not intellectually limited, not prone to disease, not prone to sin, not gendered, not sexed, not limited by 5 senses, etc.—all the qualities of the human, all-too-human. With this erasure comes the birth of a new being with unimagined (and perhaps unimaginable) qualities. It follows in a positive sense from that it would exist beyond the laws of physics, including perhaps time’s arrow and the entropy the arrow signifies, etc.

The problem is, as always, the supposed mind-body or spirit-matter split and how one aspect of our being affects the other one. The Renaissance sages, following their Neoplatonic forebears, found a way around this apparent contradiction.

As Ficino and Bruno learned by studying the ancient texts, a magician could use this natural procedure of Erotic fixation, amplify it with intense concentrated meditations, then reverse it and imbue physical objects such as talismans, amulets, candles, shields, pens, or paintings with this emotional/psychic power.

By these means Ficino and Bruno revived the ancient tradition of statue-animation. This, too, used angelic/astrological/planet-invoking processes, most of which date back to Sumeria, Akkadia, Babylon, and Egypt—and probably long before.[7] A transmission route can be traced from Egyptian funerary and resurrection practices on through Hebraic merkavah and hekhalot (“throne” and “chariot”) meditations to Iamblichus’s Neoplatonist theurgy and into the magic revived by Ficino; at least they all share a very strong family resemblance. All involved invoking angels/daimons, ethereal beings that inhabited both the physical world and the liminal space between the physical and the incorporeal. Eros binds them all together, and becomes the clay in the magician’s hands. The sages exploited the liminal realm, the third term, the penumbral that resists Aristotle’s excluded middle and rigid classificatory systems. Humanity’s finite nature and incompleteness becomes something amenable to transformation.

For the most part, the Florentine Academy’s “Christianized” hermetics was entirely in line with the goals of Iamblichean, Platonic, Hebraic, and Pythagorean practice: to contact the higher worlds via the daimons/angels, uplift the human practitioner of magic, and gain a vision of or even henosis (subsumption) with God. To imbue a statue with celestial/stellar energies was to create both an object of contemplation and, more importantly, a launching point for absorption to the higher spheres.

These procedures, along with those outlined in the Arabic grimoire Picatrix and remnants of the 5th-Century Greek Magical Papyri, were gathered in Cornelis Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy (1531), which remains the largest compendium of Neoplatonic magic ever written.

And of course, statue-animation (i.e., idolatry) and binding spells that involve daimons are the foundation from which the Abrahamic religions censure all forms of magic (except that of the miracles inspired by Jesus and Mary in Catholic Christianity’s case, and those of the Talmudic sages in mystical Kabbalism). The ancient Hebrews censured depictions of YHVH and speaking the name of God; Muhammad went further and condemned even depictions of human beings as sacrilegious. But in Judaism we find the mystical traditions of Kabbalah and a representation of the All as the Tree of Life, and in the latter we discover many Platonically-inspired geometric designs on mosques and illuminated Quran/hadith texts, as well as the Arabic script itself as being divinely imbued.

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THE BLACKWHITEGOLDRED

Then there was the alchemical tradition. When these tracts were disseminated in Latin it gave emotional impetus and new material for the lone magicians and alchemists to practice “hidden arts.” Although it is an ancient global project, the Westernized varieties of alchemy are concerned with attaining the “Philosopher’s Stone.” The consensus view is that this amounted to achieving the elixir vitae, or immortality for the human soul/spirit of the practitioner through chemical/pharmacological means, or through the production of a kind of spiritual substance within the alchemist’s body that preserved itself. Central to the alchemist’s view also is the idea of a prima materia; what we see around us are merely emanations, mixtures, or “masks” of this singular substance.[8] The four elements Earth, Water, Air, and Fire and the base metals/materials of which they are comprised in varying degrees could be wedded together to produce quintessence, a fifth element that possessed the desired emergent properties, one quality of which is indestructibility because it “shares more closely in the nature of the prima materia” of which everything is ultimately made. Metals were considered double-natured, because they could be melted to liquid and fused together. Mercury was “king of the metals” because it naturally possessed both solid and liquid properties and an inherent coherence even when separated into drops of any size. No other element had this quality, so mercury was of central importance in transmutations.

Alchemy means controlling the processes of change, whether it’s transforming elements through a hierarchy of levels by manipulating spiritual essences, or changing the consciousness of the practitioner’s biological processes and ultimately their aging process.[9] The most elaborate alchemical procedures involved the practitioner observing astrological strictures and undergoing ritual purification before the Great Work proceeded. As with Ficino’s and Bruno’s image-magic, specific planets’ and stars’ powers were invoked for specific operations. The goal was not only to affect bio/chemical change but alter the spiritual essence of the elements by way of the alchemists’ will and the “gods” of the elements they used—putting them in service to the alchemist.

Secrecy was always imperative to ancient, medieval, and Renaissance sage alike. The rabble was not only considered unworthy of such knowledge, it was feared that the secular use of such techniques could be disastrous (and for the same reason, the secular authorities feared and condemned the alchemist, who theoretically could mint as many gold coins as desired, debasing the currency). So purity is a quality consistently stressed throughout the tradition, which is achieved through prayer, fasting, chastity, and cleanliness. The magician-alchemist dealt with angels and demons, spirits and elementals, demigods and gods. Opening portals to the higher or lower worlds was serious business.[10]

This did not prevent adepts from organizing themselves into secret societies and using particular rituals to psychologically affect individuals (which was the goal of most of the rituals of the Greek Magical Papyri and many Solomonic magical texts). It was a small step to believe the same processes could also be used to transform humanityif not in its material bodies, then in its emotions, thinking, opinions, and social relations. This is the central tenet to conspiracists’ views on the matter.

It is certain that Giordano Bruno and the Rosicrucian tracts of 1614 boosted this societal prospect. As Couliano points out, Bruno’s essay “On Binding in General” (or “On the Chaining of Chains”) describes how the magician can manipulate the pneuma-images absorbed by both individuals and groups to do their bidding through sympathies and the prima materia of Eros.[11] Carl Jung believed transformation of the practitioner’s soul via individuation (the conscious incorporation of its repressed complexes) was alchemy’s ultimate goal, if only unconsciously for the alchemist, through the materials and rituals.[12]

What is the difference between a magician bending a single person’s will to theirs, and the Erotic channeling of a crowd or a nation’s collective will to the ends of a mad Elite? Or the creation of a manikin through astral influence and charging? These practices are only a few steps away from robotics, artificial intelligence, or the creation of MKULTRA “zombies” after all—right? It only requires the adjustment of outlook from magic’s spiritual power to a hardcore physicalist stance. The same ends by other means. Or does it?

Perhaps we should ask the wizards of Madison Avenue, and the AI gurus of MIT, DARPA, and Alphabet?

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       When we combine the ideas of Ficino and Bruno’s Eros magic with the alchemical program, plus a scientific-humanist Elite bent on transforming our concept of the “human,” we get the paranoid belief-system to which millions subscribe today. Couliano alluded to this in his book in a very oblique manner (and some say that was why he was mysteriously murdered).

Although many conspiriologists see alchemy and its life-extension goals as the philosophical and practical beginning of transhumanism—and we can see how this is at least a possible rationalization—it is only plausible because of the physical aspects to its program, i.e. transmuting the elements, and by analogy transmutation (or perhaps just mutation) of the alchemist’s body, whether it be for longevity or the gaining of “superhuman” powers…By extension, according to the conspiracists’ thinking, the process implies a long-term project to transform humanity as a whole into another kind of being, as imagined spiritually in the writings of the 15th-16th century Florentine Academy and implied in the Rosicrucian tracts of 1614-18.

The Rosicrucian writings describe their members as “invisible healers.” In addition to healing diseases in the manner of shaman-physicians (by accessing the “otherworld” for help), these mystic physicians could be said to be performing theurgistic feats to convert their patients into adherents to their “new religion,” and set them on the path to spiritual perfection. This is called “perfectibility,” and its practitioners Perfectibilists.[13]

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       The principles and structure of the first Freemasonic Grand Lodge of England chartered in 1717 would expand outward throughout Europe and America. The organization preserved both the esoterica of the Renaissance/Rosicrucian alchemists such as Heinrich Khunrath, Michael Maier, Robert Fludd, and John Dee, but also material from “Solomonic” grimoires; the latters’ contents can be traced back to the Egyptian-Greek magic papyri of the 2nd century CE via the Hygromanteia.[14] Many groups split off from this Grand Lodge and there’s evidence that Masonic fraternities far predated its 1717 public establishment. The fraternity’s secrecy spawned rumors of concealed atheism and political machinations. The former charge is entirely spurious, but the latter is true to an extent (as far as the German chapters go). As the empirical sciences spread, the “science of the spirit” was taught by degrees in the Lodges; a man could thus be a scientist by day and a mystical epopt by night.

This double-face is what brought the Lodges under public censure, despite the fact that freedom of worship was a core Freemasonic tenet and the dignity of humanity as free beings, first expounded by Pico della Mirandola in Florence, was the underlying ethos of the American and French Revolutions. The connection between the Florentine “free thinkers” and the Masons’s beliefs vis a vis the struggles against monarchy and arbitrary tyranny cannot be under-stressed.

Although Masonry’s goal is to spiritually transform its members, primarily in the death/rebirth rituals of the first three grades of Master Apprentice, many scholars see Freemasonry as an extension of Rosicrucianism, or as Rosicrucianism’s evolved form, or an alternate public front for a very secret society. The great financial wealth of many of its members and their philanthropic activities, which include the underwriting/endowing of think-tanks and medical programs (some with an openly transhumanist bent) is seen by conspiriologists as proof of the long-term project to transform certain members of society into what amounts to demigods; all the transhuman research is done “under cover” of extending existing medical techniques to relieve existing diseases.

What can actually be accomplished with secret medicine goes much further, these conspiricists say, pointing to NIH, DARPA, the Rockefeller Foundation, the thousands of subcontracted medical research facilities across the globe.

But we have a problem here with distinguishing between a) the existence of a secret program, which undoubtedly openly exists as “normal science” looking to cure disease and slow the aging process, b) the technological means to carry it out, which is equally probable, c) the psychological motivation of its technical practitioners, i.e., are they covertly bound to certain institutions and expected to deliver certain results for select clients? d) and most importantly, the end-purpose of such a program.

As the techniques of nanotechnology and genetic manipulation mature, they may move from quantitative organic changes to qualitative changes, as explored in my previous essays. When humans begin toying with the molecule and the chromosome and the gene we are dealing with very unpredictable results and a range of unintended consequences—just like our toying with the atom did. Market forces supposedly ensure that delivery of new medical miracles to the public be swift and uncluttered by moral subtleties…But of course it never happens that way, does it: recouping R & D costs is always given as the reason for astronomical prices for new treatments, despite the fact that in most cases taxpayer dollars were used to fund such studies through government NIH subcontracting.[15] Only the super-rich can afford the most avant-garde treatments that cost millions a year to deliver. Religious-conservative members of the American Congress are rhetorically outraged over the use of embryonic stem cells in disease research, etc., but the secular humanist/transhumanist subtext is that we must have no illusions that other countries, namely China[16] possess no such scruples as we do, and they will be the ones to push ahead in the biological race to immortality. If you doubt, consider this:

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/01/china-monkey-clones-zhongzhong-huahua/551318/

But to give the conspiracists some weak credit: Excluding the popularity of Shelley’s Frankenstein, what by the early 20th century was a marginal literary genre called science/speculative fiction has now become a 360-degree cultural bestiary. In other words, at this point transhumanist propaganda of all degrees of acceptance or critique is ubiquitous, and has almost “normalized” visions of a future humanity that just five decades ago would have been considered horror shows.

No doubt humans are intrinsically fascinated with our abilities to magically change our selves, our destinies, our capabilities—and equally fascinated with our penchant to fuck up everything we touch. Culture has reflected this from the beginning of recorded history in myth and history. So, according to the conspiriologists, the body-augmentation work goes on in secret military and private sector labs whose fingerprints are seen in published papers that do get mainstream coverage: DARPA works on “supersoldiers” who possess pharma (and possibly genetic) alterations for enhanced hearing and vision and drugs that can keep them awake for days without deleterious effects.[17] Since World War Two, arms races both real and ginned-up have been the norm between the US military industrial complex and other countries. The armed forces are always the beneficiary of breakthroughs because “national security” ensures the Pentagon and its vast network of subcontracted labs and university research receives billions to further their secretive aims.

In any case, this split between viewpoints on the original source of transhumanism seems to depend on how one views humanity: as a finished product, set for all time (as the Abrahamic religions and Aristotle’s Lyceum academy saw it) or unfinished/able to transcend by its own efforts the physical, mental, and spiritual bonds entailed by our “thrownness” into the world, as Plato, the Neoplatonists, and Florentine Academy saw it. One professing creation ex nihilo by God will see humanity as the property of God; one seeing emanation as the human matrix will see us as properties of God, blinded and unable to change our state of existence without special and hidden knowledge and techniques.

——

Generally, humanism came to mean the belief that humanity can be studied, and through that study, its behavior altered to conform to a “higher ideal” of its own choosing.

       Who does this choosing for the masses is another matter.

Secularism became synonymous with a rejection of any power perceived as higher than humanity’s intellect and aspirations, as seen in the Enlightenment’s philosophes and science’s embargo on morality in favor of “value-free” research. It is in this wider sense that transhumanism is defined—but we must never lose sight of the source of this vision of improvement or perfectibility in the alchemists’ visions.

The alchemists’ quest to “return to the cosmic origin” is a noble one. The creative, eternal force of God/Tao/Ungrund still exists, shattered by embodied nature into the “ten thousand things” of Lao Tse, or Jewish alchemist Maria the Prophetess’s axiom “from the one comes two, from the two the three, and from the three, the all (completion).”

The alchemist and Neoplatonist seek reunion with the One by various reversal and reuniting procedures for vision, guidance, and elevation, an intensification of being, a heightened sense of interdependence and connection with the Creator and Creation. In this, alchemy is ultimately a spiritual program in which salvation from the bonds of materiality may be said to be the goal—and not particularly the augmentation of the body’s existence.

No such lofty program exists for the transhumanist, it seems, except more—more of everything, pleasurable experience, edification, learning! Perhaps in their extended longevity and enhanced mind they will stumble across the reality of the eternal, a preexisting condition that operates always and everywhere, encoded into the cosmos’ very fabric. One can only hope.

 

 


[1] The ethical concerns of the resurrected “pagan” philosophers allowed morality to be purged of supernatural origin. Instead, with the “new instruments” of skepticism and Socrates/Plato’s elenchus, nature’s workings could be revealed through observation, experimentation, and logic. By the 18th century, the French philosophes promoted the idea that humanity alone possessed the means and methods to determine its behavior and morality and the scope of its knowledge.

[2] Strictly, this name refers to St. Thomas’s exegesis on the four gospels; but Thomas was himself an adept and alchemist, and it has come to mean an occult tradition passed down though time.

[3] Three centuries later, G.F.W. Hegel would extract a “dialectical movement” from natural and human history that would supposedly end in self-transparent Spirit—and the Prussian democratic state. His student Feuerbach would strip theology from the Hegelian equations, creating the philosophical bridge that allowed Marx to build his materialist story of human cultural evolution. In all three eschatologies, the emancipation of humanity from nature was destined to occur, whether by Spirit coming to itself or the dawning consciousness of the workers’ conditions and their rectification (in Marx’s case). All of these end scenarios are dark reflections of the popular but theologically irregular monk Joachim de Fiore’s vision of an Earthly Paradise under divine love (the Age of the Holy Spirit) that he espoused in the 13th century.

[4] Couliano, Ioan. Eros and Magic in the Renaissance, University of Chicago Press, 1987, pgs. 30-31.

[5] ibid, pg. 31.

[6] You might say human history is the story of how we fill this lack, over and above the meeting of material needs; the monk and nun seek communion with the transcendent by any name, the shaman fulfills the spiritual needs of the community by the results of their astral journeys,

[7] These formalized procedures most likely originated with prehistoric shamanistic animation of dolls constructed for healing or harming purposes.

[8] This brings us to the Neoplatonists’s many formulations of reality, which is why alchemy is tied up with ancient Egypt by way of Plato’s supposed initiation there, and the Neoplatonist’s obsession with a “ladder” of being one could ascend to achieve the One.

[9] The most ancient forms of alchemy were Chinese and were concerned with exiles for longevity sought by emperors. See Levenda, Peter, Stairway to Heaven: Chinese Alchemists, Jewish Kabbalists, and the Art of Spiritual Transformation.

[10] I suppose they viewed their secret knowledge as akin to the blueprints for a hydrogen bomb circa 1930, as if Leo Szilard, Teller, Einstein, and Fermi had concealed from governments through (seeming) absurd symbolic codes the method for building the heinous device.

[11] Couliano, (1987), pgs. 87-143

[12] It is also possible that the chemical fumes that were produced as a byproduct (barring those that would damage or kill of course) induced altered states of consciousness in the alchemist and, by way of the psychokinetic powers unleashed, assisted in the physical transformations of the prima materia.

[13] This was the name used by the 18th-century Bavarian Illuminati sect under the Jesuit Mason Adam Weishaupt, but it has gained traction as a term for anyone sporting the attitude of limitless change for humanity through technology, whether physical or spiritual.

[14] See the works of Stephen Skinner on the history of the Solomonic tradition.

[15] See Dr. Marcia Angell’s The Truth About the Drug Companies: How they Deceive Us and What to Do About It for the full story of medical-industrial complex chicanery.

[16] The very land where alchemy is said to have originated during the unification of the first Chinese state by Tai Yu the Great in the 20th century BCE.

Two Abuses of the Renaissance Sage’s Eros-Magic, Part 2: Mind Control: Ioan Couliano and a Vision of the Internalized Archon

Wrong line

Never allow anyone the luxury of assuming that because the dead and deadening scenery of the American-city-of-dreadful-night is so utterly devoid of mystery, so thoroughly flat-footed, sterile and infantile, so burdened with the illusory gloss of “baseball-hotdogs-apple pie-and-Chevrolet” that it is somehow outside the psycho-sexual domain. The eternal pagan psychodrama is escalated under these “modern” conditions precisely because sorcery is not what “20th century man” can accept as real…

–James Shelby Downard and Michael A. Hoffman II

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Many millions of people believe we are more or less living in The Matrix, an illusory reality in which our minds are imprisoned in bodies by “archonic” forces whose motives are less than philanthropic. The idea that the earth is flat has recently become a marginal fad; apparently none of its proponents are familiar with how gnomon shadows differ in length at noon, which can be proven with a phone call to friends in another daylit city…Tens of thousands of Americans (maybe more) sincerely believe “crisis actors” play both the victims and relatives of victims in mass shooting and terror events, funded by the Bond villain George Soros and other globalist-leftists bent on disarming the populace. Perhaps hundreds of thousands believe that the UN’s “sustainable development” plan Agenda 21 is a nefarious, full-spectrum plot to strip cities of autonomy, despite the fact that it’s a non-binding agreement and has no lawful status anywhere in the US. Millions of evangelical Christians think a conspiracy exists in public education and the entertainment industry to make their children gay or bisexual.

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Here’s a truism: It’s natural for people in a society to exhibit fear at the possibility of losing control, whether it’s a loss of their “destiny,” a loss of life-narrative, or loss of self-determinative identity. In America, the WTO, NAFTA, GATT and other trade agreements led to the evisceration of many industries as corporations moved manufacturing elsewhere. There is no longer any job security—and with that, one’s identity as a productive citizen. To conspiracists, your acquisitive desires, which persist despite your job loss, are not your own, but the capitalist culture-makers’ mind-control machine, that has colonized your mind from birth.

When people compensate for these existential fears by believing their self is being manipulated—or has been created wholesale, even—by forces determined to use it and throw it away like packaged goods, we should not judge them too harshly, because there’s a case to be made that their agency has in fact been compromised…just not to the degree of their brains floating in vats.

Brainvat

Truism: Trust in government has steadily eroded since the late 1960s. A direct and expanding line wends through the era of the JFK Warren Report to the Pentagon Papers to Watergate to the 1975-77 CIA Senate hearings to Iran-Contra to 9/11[1] to every “whatever-gate” since. With each revelation comes a further confirmation that the US government harbors enemies of humanity, and the American people and their freedom specifically.

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The right and the left have their own versions of this evil scheme: the right, that transnational think-tanks such as the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations have put in the fix on the American way of life for the benefit of the Elite; and the left that simple Republican Brand® greed has ended up doing the same. Both have their version of industrial society as a restaurant in which you and I are on the only items on the menu.

On the right, critics since the 1960s have condemned the depictions of “aberrant” behavior in movies, music and television; to them, portrayal alone signals normalization (and even endorsement) of behaviors…The left hammers both cultural conservatives and evangelical Christians for imposing their morality on the rest of the population via legislation, boycotts, etc.

Yet both sides in the culture wars have endured enervation in their long fights. Call it outrage fatigue.

Just the way the Power That Be want it, naturally. The PTB are playing the Big Game for the long haul.

Both sides have also their own versions of what constitutes cultural conditioning—programming—and what it means to be programmed. Analyses of herd psychology had its popular heyday in the years after World War Two, when we were given barbarous lessons in what groupthink can achieve via the Nazis and the USSR under Stalin.

This diagnosis of our enemies’ pathology was expected; to turn the critical-historical eye upon America and pathologize the “winner’s” culture was both unexpected and outrageous. But turn some eyes did, in the works of C. Wright Mills, Lewis Mumford, and the Frankfurt School expatriates. The conformity of the “organization man” and the “authoritarian personality” and Mr. Type A got a fierce pummeling in the 1950s, and the conservative-liberal establishment didn’t like it one bit.

The young Boomers took these critiques to heart before attempting to eat their own left-leaning mentors in the mid-to-late 1960s.

Truism: It is human nature to seek scapegoats; they’re much easier to use than to uncover the convolutions of events that explain why things have turned the way they turned out. To have a system as scapegoat is even easier. One has to employ tight arguments and an evidence-chain as systematic and far-reaching as what is attacked, otherwise the critique is just unfalsifiable hot air.

Today, it seems, a statement’s unfalsifiability has become not just tolerated, but almost a virtue. You can just abandon reason altogether! This is partly because the production of knowledge has become nearly transparent. It thus suffers under the burden of an infinite regression of sourcing:

Where’d you get that fact from?…Uh-huh.

And who funds them?…Of course!

And what’s the funders’ ideological bent?…Just as I thought: it’s (all-caps) fake news!

Under normal circumstances, laying bare the epistemology of facts/factoids in this manner would be a welcome development. People deserve to know how news is made and what sources politicians use to make their arguments and policy.

But to accept the “chains of evidence” for policies yet neglect the workaday methodologies used by both sides in the think-tank wars is dangerous. The social sciences are in crisis; even some of the foundational theses in psychology, economics, and sociology have been discovered to be gerrymandered or outright false.[2]

Knowledge has become shaky. The impartial and disinterested patina of High Science is very impressive to the public, until the sausage-making of High Science itself comes under study and the sociology and politics of scientific publishing and peer-review are shown to be driven by $$ and some very invested egos. Legitimate vs. illegitimate process has become equated with legitimate vs. illegitimate knowledge, and rightly so. This dichotomy directly impacts us in the realms of medicine/pharma use, the “vaccine wars,” GMO food production safety, etc.

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In our new era of source scrutiny, if only one link in the knowledge process is “tainted,” the whole edifice is then seen as tainted. The most glaring and touted example, just noted: The funding pool for scientific studies is a finite resource, and will be fought over in any field of enquiry. This means science is not immune to the market economics of capitalism.

Thus all knowledge becomes suspect as having either been purchased by a corporation for a specific result or produced solely to generate further scientific journal citations, and thus more funding or tenure-track for those academics willing to risk falsification of results in order to GET A SECURE JOB in a very insecure economy.

The long, cooling shadow of the Frankfurt School’s deconstructions of the “capitalist superstructure” once again is palpable. You can make the choice right here: believe there’s a conscious conspiracy to engineer mass consciousness towards technocratic solutions and cull the herd via compulsive high-tech science “cures,” or you can view bogus scientific studies as the product of market forces and a collapsing social structure as the truth behind the Ongoing Crisis.

But the foregoing is what we might call how the content of news is made. There’s also its form of its delivery; and to the psychology of its economic foundations—advertising revenue—we look back to the early decades of the 20th century, when Pavlov conditioned his dogs with the bell to salivate on command and Freud’s nephew Edward Bernays took Siggy’s obsession with sex and bent the public’s frustrated sexual desires into a surrogate—material acquisition—thus birthing one of the advertising industry’s mightiest axioms. T.H. Huxley took Darwin’s big idea and told us we were only hairless simians; Marx told us we were economic hairless simians seeking freedom from wage slavery; Einstein told us it was all relative; Pavlov made the economic hairless simians function like cause-and-effect machines, and Bernays bound up those causes and effects with the Eros drive his uncle had propounded.

Truism: this prison planet worldview smacks of ancient Gnosticism, particularly the two schools of Valentinus (100-160 CE) and Basilides (100-145? CE). Both believed the universe to be a botched creation of a lesser deity, YHWH, who through hubris broke with the Eternal and compounded a cosmos of matter and entropy, a mockery of the Pleroma (holy plenitude) and the principles that governed that distant heaven. The stars and planets of our cosmos are the true governors (archons) of individual human fates, and humans are utterly bound into an “invisible” evil prison from which only knowledge of Sophia and the Divine Spark within can save us.

Cue Morpheus and the two pills.

Gnostic cosmos

HISTORY OF AN IDEA

The prison idea first began, perhaps, with Plato’s cave-myth 2,400 years ago. And some strains in Hindu mysticism posited that everything was a single ever-changing illusion, which Gautama Buddha’s enlightenment “emptied” of essence in the 5th century BCE.

In the European legacy, we’ve endured Descartes’s thought experiment involving a trickster demon creating our subjective reality (and its 20th century variant, the “brain in a vat,” which still labors on in The Matrix). Within the past decades we’ve had Daniel Boorstin’s idea of the “pseudo-event” replacing meaningful discourse in American politics, and Jean Baudrillard’s ideas of the simulation being the coin of post-industrial communication.

Some arcane variants of this prison idea propose that mass literacy changed the human population’s neural patterning on a large scale, making it easily amenable to manipulation.[3] This assumption makes it possible for some critics to posit that literacy limits the thinkable and stunts our emotional intelligence or intuition/intuitive powers; the linearity of our cognitive ego-constructs therefore belabors our unconscious perception of others’ verbal inflection, cues, body language, scents, etc. The strong version of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis—that vocabulary and syntax can limit semantic conceptualization—continues to live on in conspiracists’ diatribes via the charge that Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) is a form of subtle mind-control. The deterministic hypothesis also lives on, albeit of a deprogramming kind, in Alfred Korzybski’s General Semantics.

More radical critics of modernity elevate traditional, oral cultures over the literate. The “noble savage” is alive and well and can be found hawking ayahuasca ritual tours for $2,500 a pop in South America.

On the other hand, media theorist Marshall McLuhan claimed in the 1960s that the “West” was entering a post-literate age, and that image-based mentation (as opposed to alphabetic-linguistic) was actually on the rise.[4] With the proliferation of television, movies, personal computer, and Internet consumption, it’s hard to argue against McLuhan’s hypothesis. Iconography has returned via memes, emojis, acronyms, IM shorthand, computer gaming, corporate logos, YouTube videos…

Computer world

But if we go back 530 years to the Italian Renaissance we discover an obsession with images and symbology comparable to today’s. The Hermetic scholars Marsilio Ficino, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, and Giordano Bruno concerned themselves with images’ ability to form and bind thinking by means of “infecting” the human imagination.[5]

Images are static upon the page, but they can become living things in the mind. Ficino and Bruno constructed magical systems using phantasia that “imprinted upon the human soul.” These images inherently used our natural imagination to enliven them with unconscious mental affect. The binding element was Eros, according to Ficino and Bruno. The love of self is bound up with the love of other in an erotic-somatic sense (sexual love), but the archetype-eidos of Eros precedes all manifestations of it in the individual’s world; this is a pure affirmation of the Platonic conception of Ideas as filtered through the Neoplatonists such as Iamblichus.[6] For Ficino, Eros is the background upon which any archetypes can operate at all, for even the sensations of horror and revulsion and hate (emotions tied in with Jung’s shadow archetype in depth psychology, for instance) are at the deepest level founded upon “self-love” by way of the need for the preservation of both body and mind.

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THE STOICS

To understand the ecology of Renaissance magic we must understand parts of the Stoics’s philosophy and its winding path to the Renaissance scholars via the Neoplatonists of the 1st-5th centuries CE.

The Stoics of the 3rd century BCE believed in a universe composed of one primary substance, the pneuma (breath, spirit/soul, “wind”). The pneuma of the universe was steered by the cosmic hegemonikon (controlling center/mind) and its Logos (reason), which had created everything by means of varying the degrees of pneumatic tension of each entity.

The universe was a pneumatic continuum in differing degrees of boundedness or “tightness.” All objects and their qualities, potentialities, appearances were pneumatic phantasms.

Human beings were considered somewhat unique because their own hegemonikon, centered in the heart, could control one’s actions, emotions, and thoughts by means of its share in the logos—and this also structurally reflected the cosmic hegemonikon’s logos.

Thus the microcosm of the human being reflected the macrocosm of the universe.

The Stoic theories of phenomenology and epistemology were complex and interrelated. Since all is pneuma, the world’s tightly constituted object-appearances (phantaston) would ripple through the less-dense air to impinge upon the eyes, ears, skin, etc. These would impress themselves upon the hegemonikon as images (phantasia) with a sort of physical weight.

Our hegemonikon would thus gradually become filled with images of the world; language was simply a prop to arbitrarily label things and actions, but even in this arbitrariness it could create an intelligible system of relations.

Propositions of language could be true or false to the phantasia inside a person’s hegemonikon, depending upon the disposition of the outer pneuma-phantaston at a given instant (this theory anticipates Wittgenstein and Russell’s logical atomism by 2,300 years).

Agreement between the phantasia within and the outer world led to truth. For instance, “the cat sits on the mat” is a proposition whose truth depends upon 1) what time it is uttered,[7] 2) the agreed-upon existence and appearance of cats, mats, the act of sitting, and 3) the presupposition of both an observing human hegemonikon and the cosmic hegemonikon that in principle underwrites the truth of the entire scene. The proposition can be spoken in any one of the world’s 6,000 languages; every one of them is phonetically arbitrary but possesses a deep structure independent of language that is a direct revelation of the cosmic hegemonic logos (in this, the Stoics anticipated Chomsky’s theory of transformational grammar by 2,300 years also).

So the phantaston-to-phantasia has efficacy: it affects the disposition of the human hegemonikon in a physical manner. Much papyrus was used and ink soaked in disputations over the reality or non-reality of the lekta (“meaning”) of linguistic propositions, but being proto-epiphenomenalists, the Stoics waved away lekta as a side effect of spoken vibrations or written words. They were more concerned with the fact that the impressions could be true or false to the will of the cosmic hegemonikon (obviously, this dismissal was a huge inconsistency in their philosophy).

Their belief in pneumatic resonance and agreement between the soul (another way of saying hegemonikon) and the world soul was the important part.

For this agreement there was a special class of experience: the phantasia kataleptike (unshakeable impression/irreproachable image). The Stoics would class certain sense-experiences with this phrase, but classing it such would be dependent on conjunction of phantaston, the personal hegemonikon’s physical disposition (e.g., if we have a high fever or have ingested hallucinogens then we cannot completely trust our concurrent sense-impressions as kataleptic), and the cosmic hegemonikon. That is to say, there must be an alignment between the outer, objective world, the observer’s state of mind, and the will of God. As scholar Ioan Couliano put it,

For the Stoics, the functional relationship between the cardiac synthesizer (hegemonikon) and the pneuma was clearly determined: the hegemonikon “is like a receiving post to which all impressions received by the senses are communicated.” On the other hand, the Stoic philosophers also develop a theory of phantasms produced by the hegemonikon. For Chrysippus (the greatest philosopher of the Stoa, who clarified their doctrines), the clear representation of the sensory object formed in the cardiac synthesizer is called phantasia kataleptike or “comprehensive representation” and leads naturally to a rational adhesion (synkatasthesis). The main difference between Aristotle and the Stoics consists in the fact that the latter think the pneuma is the soul itself, whereas the former believe it to be only a kind of ethereal intermediary between the soul and the physical body. That is why the Stoics conceive of fantasy, according to Zeno and Cleanthes, as a “stamp upon the soul,” a typosis en psyche.[8] (explanation added).

To align one’s hegemonikon entirely with that of the cosmic hegemonikon was the Stoics’s ethical goal; by aligning oneself with its “will,” one could accept all that occurred in life with equanimity, tranquility, and preserve the integrity of one’s piece of the whole, our personal hegemonikon.

By this route, an individual could at least attain towards the state of the Stoic sage, a person who has done the will of God/Cosmos. At death, the coherence of this pneumatic logos-entity could survive for a time before dissolving itself into everything, like a drop of water into the pneumatic sea. This condition depends upon the clarity and tranquility of the soul, in a striking parallel to Vedantic and Buddhist state of samadhi:

Later, Epictetus is to state that phantasms are influenced by the state of the pneuma that receives or conceives them. He resorts to a comparison: “just as houses at the edge of a body of clear water are reflected in its limpid surface, so also are external objects reflected in our psychic pneuma, with the obvious result that they are influenced by the present state of the pneuma.” In order that the image is reflected in the mirror of the pneuma may be precise and faithful to their subject, the pneuma itself must be tranquil and pure. So it is that Epictetus, continuing and developing the moral preoccupations of the Stoics, combined them with the doctrine of spirit: to have a clean pneuma, a well-polished cardiac mirror, becomes the equivalent of being virtuous. Here Stoicism find itself in the company of the whole Platonic tradition, whose most important practical outcome is to obtain, by a suitable technique, the separation of the soul from the body so that the former may not be sullied by the latter. Beginning in the second century A.D., a technique of this kind is known as theurgy, which primarily designates a purification of the soul for purposes of soothsaying in the benefic exalted magic but also for pursuit of a better posthumous destiny.[9]

 

NEOPLATONIC ADAPTATION

Theurgy may be defined as ritual action intended to make contact with another sphere of existence by utilizing forces higher than the human to elevate one’s consciousness and being to that same level. It is the framework of magic as we know it.

Many Romans adopted the Stoic philosophy as a living ethic. Its ideas survived and flourished in Hellenistic Alexandria, where hundreds of cults and religion battled each other for adherents as the Roman Empire disintegrated. The religion of Mithraism utilized Stoic astronomical dogma as one basis of its beliefs.[10] Plato’s Academy survived and adopted distinctly Stoic elements. As Couliano notes,

Credit for having synthesized in an original fashion the Platonic, Aristotelian, and Stoic elements that make up the theoretical basis for Renaissance magic is due to Synesius of Cyrene, who, having been a disciple of the Neoplatonist martyr, Hypatia of Alexandria (d.415), ended by converting to Christianity and becoming a bishop…That is why the theurgic preliminary to any process classified among the practices of spiritual magic will be “cleansing one’s pneuma” or hegemonikon, or a “cleansing one’s heart”…While theurgy assumes the place of honor as far as (the Neoplatonic follower of Plotinus) Iamblichus is concerned, Synesius holds the pneumatic synthesizer responsible for soothsaying and magic…We have already seen that Epictetus compared the pneuma to a basin filled with water, a liquid mirror. Plutarch of Chaeronea is the first to speak of a “pure mirror,” nothing more. For Synesius this double-faced mirror provides the opportunity for two parallel surfaces to meet on neutral territory. In so far is it is the intermediary between the intelligential world and the sensory world, this mirror, if perfectly clear, will make it possible for inner judgment to contemplate the world above epitomized by the reasoning part of the soul, and will give the latter the opportunity to perceive and to judge the sensory objects whose image is transmitted to common sense through the external senses.[11]

We may then say, following Couliano’s thought, that the theurgy of the Neoplatonists is a clarification into practice of the Stoic program of achieving hegemonic purity, plus methods of aligning oneself with the gods or God.

In the Platonic hierarchy of truth, an artist’s representation of reality lay at the bottom and the Form of the True at the top, in the realm of Forms. His dialogue Timaeus presents an Egyptian-influenced vision of the virtuous souls’ destination in the stars at death. Intermediaries between the heavenly world and human beings were daimons, beings that delivered messages, portends, and prophecy, most of the time while a person was in a altered state of consciousness.

But even these living meldings of “phantaston with phantasia” had their corresponding perfect Forms in the Otherworld:

Since the phantasmic synthesizer affords the possibility of an encounter with a world peopled with divine powers, and since, according to Platonic dogma, this world is homologous to the intelligential world, there is a way of acting upon the synthesizer to invoke numerous presences. This invocation, resulting in the company of gods and demons, can be carried out by using certain substances, forms, and colors to which the higher beings are sensitive.[12]

This is the basis of ceremonial magic as it was known in the Renaissance. It is only in Eros that we share with everything, much like the pneumatic relation between person and cosmos, that we are also a part of the daimons (the intermediaries invoked by theurgy), and they of us. They slumber in our consciousness, and awake in our dreams. They invade our conscious life and speak in daydreams.

To control and strengthen these manifestations is the goal of the magician, and these spirits each are stamped with qualities that one can come to know through study and the imaginative faculty. Magicians intone chants physically through the pneuma, make physical images using pneumatic phantaston that resonate with higher powers, and internalize the resulting forces by means of pneuma.

A text called On Radiations by Iraqi philosopher Al-Kindi (801-873 CE) is the source of a theory that, when wedded with Stoic ideas of the pneuma, produces a full account of how magic physically, emotionally, and spiritually operates:

The fundamental idea of (On Radiations), only one among the 270 that the historiographer al-Nadim attributes to its author, is that each star has its own nature, which it communicates to the surrounding world by means of rays. Now the influence of stellar radiations upon terrestrial objects changes as a function of the mutual aspects that the stars and the objects produce. Besides, (pre-existing) substances receive the qualities of rays in different ways according to their intrinsic properties, which are hereditary (whence it is apparent, for instance, that the son of the king will have a natural disposition to rule and the son of a laborer to follow his father’s calling.)

Al-Kindi believed that in addition to the stars, the elements emitted rays. Thus everything compounded of the four elements emanated its unique presence. This was a novel idea:

According to al-Kindi, we find ourselves in the midst of an invisible network of rays coming from the stars as well as from all earthly objects. The entire universe, from the most distant stars to the humblest blade of grass, makes its presence known by its radiations at every point in space, and every moment in time; and its presence, of course, varies according to the intensity and mutual influence of the rays of the universe, so that there cannot be two things truly identical to one another. Besides the psychic emotions (joy, sorrow, hope, fear) are also transmitted to the surrounding world in the form of invisible radiations, which also mark their changes, according to the arrangement of every (pre-existent) substance.[13]

The Stoic idea of fate as determined by initial conditions plays a part as well, a binding force for individuals and all objects.

EROS AND BINDING

Ficino’s and especially Bruno’s “Art of Memory” play the primary role in the creation of externalized phantasia (or as the Indians and Tibetans call them, tulpas). The “memory theater” was a mnemonic system meant to enshrine the associative constellations between the stars, the elements, colors, seals, herbs, properties etc. in the mind of a magician and combine all of them into unique sigils as a sort of shorthand formula for their recollection, activation, and projection. Based upon “tagging” the parts of a building or room with individual ideas, these associations could be internalized and became living presences in the magician’s psyche. A “walk” through one’s memory palace could then instantly call up an entire rite. The magician was to meditate upon these walks for hours, for days at a time, Erotically imagining them as the architecture of both psyche and the world-psyche. In this way they could eventually be projected outward physically via the pneuma or vibrated through it in coherent form towards a target, creating the desired situation, whether it be love of a person, the death or sickness of a person, to find treasure, etc., from combinations of the symbolic-sigillic elements. The magician’s control over their personal hegemonikon’s phantasia could use the intervening pneuma between itself and the Cosmic Hegemonikon to either evoke a pre-existent “familiar helping spirit” or physically form a daimon with which to communicate and do their bidding.

To what uses these creations were put was up to the purity of the magician’s hegemonikon.

The architects of our subconscious bestiary today are not so pure—or so say today’s conspiriologists.

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THE TABULA RASA GETS A BRUTAL DOWNLOAD

Of course, systems such as Ficino and Bruno’s were dismissed, debunked, and plowed under by the empirical sciences from roughly 1650 to the present. Modern empiricism, born from Hobbes, Rousseau, and Locke’s ideas of the human mind as a blank slate, matured through the positivism of Comte and the Encyclopedists (Isaac Newton’s nocturnal alchemical and Hermetic studies became an untidy historical secret until recently).

But as Couliano revealed, the system of eidos-image/emblemata/logo, Erotic binding, and “infection” of the mass imagination goes on today through media that was unimaginable in scope and sensible power by the Renaissance magician…but still recognizable in its purpose: control of humanity, by means of stimulating physical and psychological change in individual millions of hegemonika.

Human desires can be channeled by means of Eros and imagination. As PR guru Edward Bernays touted, “sex sells!” Capitalism demands you be dissatisfied with both your body and mind, and presents a million puerile cures.

Hypnotic association of the soul/psyche with one’s physical body lay at the heart of this spell. Our science hammers into us from birth that we are only atoms and void (much like the first beliefs of the Epicureans and the Gnostics). Our agency, via Eros, is tied up with this body-identification, having been rehearsed over our formative years, making our separating any deeper self from the association very difficult.

The magic that was meant for the sage’s personal illumination has been used to bind us.

As noted in Part One,

1) the techniques of magic and alchemy were kept secret by practitioners because public revelation of them meant the methods would be put to secular uses and disaster/enslavement would inevitably result.

2) We are in the midst of disaster(s); therefore,

3) secret techniques of magic and alchemy have been used by secular forces to bring us to this point (“secular forces” who nevertheless are purported to covertly believe in some “ancient religion,” whether it is worship of our “Sirian/Lyran/Vegan alien masters,” the Egyptian Ennead, Sumerian/Akkadian gods or demons, etc. and are doing these beings’ bidding until they return to earth).[14]

Many conspiracists throw around this invalid, messy syllogism. One could well argue the second proposition is false, or that the first is not a necessary truth at all (mass knowledge of the mysteries does not result in disaster, and it is safe for all to know about them), or, most cogently, that the frickin world doesn’t need the forces of perverted magic to become a disaster or tyrannous hellhole.

The paranoids are ignorant or disparaging of “mainstream” history, psychology, sociology, the history of natural magic and alchemy, information theory, complexity and chaos theory, game theory, etc.—the list could go on. Conspiracists such as David Wilcock, David Icke, Michael Hoffman, and Chris Knowles accept the conclusion/a worldview and then look for the evidence of secret societies manipulating events to fit. Improbable coincidence or synchronicity is usually invoked as the marker, both that one has stumbled upon something occultly important (to fit one’s worldview), and as the signature of the secret “game masters” trying to communicate their staged events’ meaning to the “enlightened” few.

The sense that one’s personal agency has been compromised, that one is a prisoner in either body or socially or societally, is purely subjective and dependent upon one’s unique psychological history. This fact is usually to always suppressed by the conspiracy-monger. Yes, we are processed and yes we are manipulated, to certain degrees, but the efficacy of that processing is never predestined or assured. It is possible to be exploited by the Powers that Be, but one only has to critically study the capitalist methods of consent-creation, fear-induction, and the responses many individuals have as individuals to see that the gilded bullshit is perceived by many as just that: gold-plated turds.

 


[1] 9/11 was not just “the most horrendous terrorist attack in American history”; if you’re going to say that, you must simultaneously say it was also the most horrendous bureaucratic intelligence failure in American history, entirely avoidable, and belongs on the list of catastrophic, trust-eroding scandals.

[2]

[3] This too has a precedent in Plato’s philosophy: he decries the reliance upon what we would call “book learning” instead of dialoguing and thinking itself as superior forms of philosophizing, which had a different connotation back then. With advances in understanding epigenetics, it is now hypothesized that the ability to comprehend text may be passed on genetically (in distinction to Noam Chomsky’s Platonic idea that language-comprehension is an inherent human property).

[4] With the rise of the personal computer, the internet, and “peak television,” it’s hard to argue with him. Iconography has returned via memes, emojis, acronyms, shorthand, computer gaming,

[5] I am going to frankly ignore cognitive science findings on human’s imaginative ability because 1) scientists do not use “imagination” in the sense the Stoics, Neoplatonists, medieval philosophers, and Romantics did, and 2) they have no agreed-upon idea how a modular-memory concept of imagination might be explained by the brain-area and algorithm-modeled approach they use.

[6] Iamblichus’s elevation of Eros was also inspired by the cosmology of the Chaldean Oracles, who viewed it as the binding force.

[7] Although strictly, time did not exist for the Stoics; since all was one living being ultimately, everything was in process and stages of transformation. The pneumatic vibrations of the cosmos at any given time determined the events that would follow any given instance. They were obsessed with emanations from the stars and seven classical planets that determined fate.

[8] Couliano, Ioan. Eros and Magic in the Renaissance, University of Chicago, 1987. Pg. 113

[9] Ibid, pg. 113.

[10] David Ulansey believes the ultimate mystery at the center of the Mithraic cult is knowledge of the equinoctial precession, which was celebrated in the bull (Taurus)-slaying scene inaugurating the age of Pisces that the Mithraics lived under but was soon to end. This knowledge, Ulansey claims, came from Stoic astronomers of Phrygia.

[11] Couliano, pgs. 114-115.

[12] Ibid, pg. 115.

[13] Ibid, pgs. 119-120. Here we have a forerunner of ideas like the Akashic field and David Bohm’s implicate order in physics, but it is underpinned by some wild blend of Neoplatonic Oneness and Heraclitan flux, that is, a hieros gamos of chaos (the ever-changing intersectional networks) and stillness (the binding force behind the elements).

[14] This is part of the thesis of “William Bramley’s” infamous ancient aliens/Illuminati history book, The Gods of Eden, which in turn is based on the works of Zechariah Sitchin.

September 16, 1994: A Strange Encounter…

In 1994, something astounding happened in Ruwa, Zimbabwe at the Ariel middle school.

On September 16, at mid-morning break, several children saw two silvery disk-shaped objects skitter erratically across the sky. They vanished, then reappeared elsewhere in the sky, then descended into the trees and brush about 100 yards from the school, in an area consider “off-limits” (due to snakes and wildlife). The children were amazed and curious. Some 62 eventually watched the object over a fifteen-minute period. Two beings appeared, one “floating” across the top of the object, the other gliding towards them just above the ground. The younger children became terrified at the sight of their faces; the entities’ features matched descriptions of the classic grey “aliens.” One girl locked eyes with one of the beings and said she’d received a feeling or vision from those shiny black almonds: that the planet was suffering due to human environmental activities, and there would be a cataclysm.

This particular “vision” has been reported hundreds of times in encounter reports going back to the 1940s. In the 1950s and 60s it had to do mostly with atomic bomb tests. Since the abandonment of that abhorrent practice, these beings’ messages to “contactees” or “experiencers” have concentrated on environmental degradation.

Now, we would think that these kids wouldn’t be immune to conscious or unconscious cultural influences that conditioned them into perceiving these things as “aliens”, but for the fact that these children were, while having heard about UFOs, unaware of the very particular stereotyped beings and the associated catastrophic visions so-called experiencers have undergone. Their relative isolation from Western media is strong evidence that something real happened.

There was physical evidence as well, the type that deniers clamor for but when confronted with always spout mundane explanations. In this case, a large burned area where the children saw the saucer touch down and which subsequently upon which nothing would grow.

Harvard psychiatry professor John Mack, who had been investigating experiencers in the United States for five years when he heard of this event, wasted no time in traveling to Zimbabwe to interview the kids.

The 2-hour video below is haphazard and non-chronological in presentation. Its first segment is a group interview with the kids a year after the event (when it seems that cultural ideas learned in the interim perhaps had shaped their thinking in a minor way). One girl says she had nightmares in which the beings would come to take her away. Another girl mentions, since the experience, of having heard of the “missing pregnancy” phenomena investigators Budd Hopkins and David Jacobs extensively documented.

The second section is the interviews conducted by journalist Cynthia Hinds with the kids within four days of the sighting. These are riveting. This many children could not make up such a consistent story with all its details being virtually identical. The teachers testified to their terror and bewilderment just after it happened.

The long video above duplicates material in these two shorter ones about Professor Mack’s work and his investigation.

There are several things here I find interesting to ponder over:

“Ariel” is one of the traditional Hebrew archangels.

The “craft” landed in an area “forbidden” to the children—and just on the edge of it, which could be considered a “liminal” zone. Liminal places are considered magical in every culture. Classic examples are Celtic “fairy circles”, forbidden woods, haunted wells and abandoned houses (in djinn myths).

westhall

This is very similar to the Westhall High School sighting in Australia on April 6, 1966, when three silver saucers landed in a paddock just off school property then took off, leaving swirled and flattened imprints in the vegetation. Children in Broad Haven, Wales, saw a UAP and its occupants in February 1977. That area known as the “Broad Haven triangle” has been the center of UAP and paranormal manifestations for decades.  

All the children agreed that the beings were dressed in shiny black, skin-fitting suits. Several children said that one of the entities had long black hair. The children raised in local tradition were terrified, because they associated the beings with tokoloshe, bad spirits whose depictions in Zulu art eerily resemble the greys.

—————

This is considered one of the best UFO/UT encounters that has ever occurred, due to the number of witnesses, their continued sticking to this story to this day, and the improbability of contamination of their testimonies by detailed “Western” media accounts of these encounters. But we have hardly heard about it.

1973-74: The Weirdos Connect…A Sirius Problem

“Sri Krishna Prem, the wisest man in India, sat on the floor of his little mountain-top ashram showing me pictures from medieval alchemical books. He pointed to the design of a man standing naked with devil on one shoulder, angel on the other. He said, ‘When you understand that, you can go on to the next lesson.’”

–Timothy Leary, the Starseed Transmission, 1973

Lilly

LILLY MEETS THE ARCHONTECTS AT THE Y

1973-74 was a weird time for many in the counterculture—no, really: an extraordinarily daft period of high strangeness.

Neuroscientist Dr. John C. Lilly (1914-2001) was responsible for one of the greatest iterations of an old myth during our time. While floating in an isolation tank and under the influence of the hallucinogen-anesthetic ketamine, Lilly had visions of two, we might say, “strange attractors” that exist in our futures, inevitably pulling us towards one or the other: our destruction by a “Solid State Intelligence” (SSI), or assistance in our evolution by the ECCO, or “Earth Coincidence Control Office.”

The computer mainframe in The Matrix? That’s basically the SSI, a mindlessly reproductive artificial intelligence that will (in one of our futures, several hundred years hence) reduce the conditions on the earth’s surface to that of a super-cooled air conditioner by keeping humans corralled under domes and blasting the atmosphere into space. It will move our orbit to a more congenially low-temperature distance for it to function. The SSI will eventually destroy humanity as a burden to its self-preservation, figure out a way to blast the earth entirely out of the sun’s orbit, and search the galaxy for other SSIs.

Through the ECCO’s communications, Lilly believed there are already multiple SSIs wandering the galaxy searching for “brothers” (aka the Borg), the sole remnants of once great civilizations that apparently took the wrong pill.

The most nefarious meme here is that at this moment our own earthbound SSI, via its extraterrestrial “mentors,” is influencing human behavior and thinking into constructing it, and the alien SSIs are helping it along—and that their project is on schedule.[1]

Many transhumanists have conjectured the possibility that high technology is “using” humanity to advance itself into an super-advanced state or even sentience (talking to you, Kevin Kelly) and we’ll meet it halfway (hello, Ray?). Thanks to the Internet, the SSI is already well along on the path to integration, both physically and by psychologically priming us for its rise.[2] Letting AI engineering programs design “shortcuts” for their own software that work but computer scientists have difficulty reverse-engineering to understand how they work isn’t helping matters. (Welcome, Skynet!)

As our societal course seems to be moving (if we don’t blow up in World War 5), we will cede more and more of our everyday operations to computers and their brute machine extensions and one day wake up wondering how did I end up in this prison camp with no kill switch? (Hail Colossus!) After all, we’ve already turned over knowledge acquisition and collation, many medical diagnostics/procedures, stock trading, manufacturing, quality control, electrical and nuclear grids, transportation, surveillance, and combat operations to AI systems. This encroachment will only increase, of course, as it increases profits both for the Silicon Valley overlords and mechanization-amenable businesses. As Kevin Kelly said, the more areas we turn over to these machines, the more incentive there is to automate the remaining aspects of our social, economic, and scientific activities. So we can have extra time.

Extra time to what…? Entertain the devil?

We put AI to many tests to see if it can surpass human skills. It has succeeded in those rule-based games such as chess and Go, which are already designed with an algorithmic basis. But to make an AI that can learn a human language, understand context, and construct sentences appropriate to those contexts in order to have a meaningful conversation is decades away—if ever. According to AI scientist Nick Bostrom, we have about 50 years before computing power will approach the processes of the human brain.[3] And that is no guarantee it will be able to do the ten million things of which a mind is capable.

——–

On the other hand, before encountering the SSI, John Lilly had earlier contacted the ECCO—a transdimensional “cadre” of beings that has been (and is still) attempting to communicate with humanity through coincidence—or more properly, synchronicities—since the dawn of history. His own life had been saved by coincidence, convincing him of the ECCO’s reality: on an isolation tank-ketamine trip, the floatation water had been way too hot. Lilly attempted to climb from the tank, but just after the K fully kicked in. He lost all sense of his body. A colleague who had a sudden need to talk to him at that moment called, and Lilly’s wife found him near death in the tank. She had learned mouth-to-mouth resuscitation only days before. His life had seemingly been saved by two fortuitous events.

Only persons with more evolved attention/sensitivity have noticed the ECCO’s clues: psychics, those who encounter “strange beings,” UAP and their occupants. The ECCO are trying to advance us spiritually, apparently so we don’t have a need for the SSI. Lilly’s scenario amounts to a contemporary version of the devils/angels whispering on our shoulders–but talking to us backwards in time, from our own future.

Lilly had experimented with LSD and various entheogens in the tank throughout the 1960s, but ketamine was his darling. He used heroic amounts of it then began shooting it several times every day. He contacted the ECCO more and more on these trips, and established a permanent telepathic channel. He attempted to warn President Gerald Ford of the SSI threat. It was only when an assistant attempted twice to have him committed, then his K sources dried up, that he gave it up to devote his life to his wife. And dolphins.

GellerAndrija

In 1971, parapsychologist Andrija Puharich hypnotized psychic Uri Geller and through him supposedly made contact with a space intelligence called “Spectra” that Geller claimed had granted him his PK/psychic powers. This was an echo of events Puharich witnessed some 18 years earlier, in Maine on New Year’s Eve 1953, when he and eight other shadowy intelligence/military community-connected individuals contacted an extraterrestrial intelligence named “M” through an Indian medium named Dr. Vinod. This M spoke for “the Nine Principles,” a group of what Theosophists call “Ascended Masters” or spiritually advanced beings.

Contact with the Nine was reestablished in June 1953. There was talk of ascension to “Brahminship” for those persons present at the séance—and also to be bestowed on other, unnamed persons. Puharich would from then on believe these extraterrestrials were causing synchronicities and generally influencing certain humans—much like Dr. Lilly would find of ECCO 19 years later. In 1956, Puharich supposedly met a couple in Arizona who had been channeling the Nine as well—and as proof of this sent him transcripts of the original channeling session in Maine on New Year’s Eve.

In 1973, Puharich created Lab Nine in upstate New York, where associate James J. Hurtak begins to channel the Nine. Hurtak will go on to become a New Agey guru concerning Elizabethan mage Dr. John Dee’s Callings or “Keys of Enoch”, the angelic/demonic language that Dee’s scryer Edward Kelley channeled in 1589. Puharich also established a “secret school” for children at Lab Nine, calling them the “Space Kids” or the “Geller Kids“, in order to develop their psychic powers for contacting the Nine. Who these kids were or where they came from has never been satisfactorily explained, and is extremely disturbing given the MKULTRA protocols of the 1950s to test LSD on orphans and “troubled kids” at places like Boys Town. Puharich was definitely involved on the fringes of the CIA’s mind-control studies from their beginning, in 1952.

The Nine, it turns out on Hurtak’s channelings, are the Ennead of Egyptian deities. Puharich publishes a biography of Uri Geller in 1974 telling the whole story. In the book he claims that when Geller asked physicist Saul Paul Sirag to look into his eyes to “see” Spectra, Sirag said that he saw Geller’s head appear as a hawk (Horus); Horus is connected to Sothis/Sirius in Egyptian mythology. Mostly the book concerns boosting the existence of the ET “Spectra” satellite claim and the Nine‘s existence. [4] Lab Nine lasts only five years, with a series of arsons and “CIA harassment,” which drives Puharich to Mexico and ends his unethical experimentation.

RAWIlluminatiRAW smoking

23 SKIDOO AND HORUS, TOO; OR, SIRIUSLY MAYBE: WILSON ZAPPED MERCILESSLY BY THE ECCO

John Lilly “contacted” the ECCO beings in 1973. 64 miles north of Lilly’s lab on the California coast, Robert Anton Wilson would take LSD on June 6, 1973, utilizing Lilly’s “subliminal” affirmation tapes that encouraged limitless mind. He followed these sessions with recordings of magician Aleister Crowley’s invocation of his Holy Guardian Angel. Wilson had been practicing yoga for years, and found that this acid experience, in which he lived “past lives” and experienced disembodiment, immeasurably increased his yogic powers of concentration. On July 22, Wilson repeated the same program, this time without LSD but doing Tantric sex rituals with his wife Arlen. The next morning of July 23, 1973 he awoke from a dream obsessed with the star Sirius. Throughout the day he consulted all his occult tomes for references, and even went to the library. He discovered that in ancient Egyptian tradition, July 23 is the day when Sirius exerts its strongest connection with earth and our consciousnesses. He came to briefly believe he had been contacted by ETs from Sirius, causing a dance with insanity and paranoia he called the “Chapel Perilous.”[5] In Aleister Crowley’s AA system of correspondences, Sirius’s number is nine.

A MAN NAMED LEARY GETS SPUNKED WITH INTERSTELLAR DNA

In 1973, psychonaut and social irritant Timothy Leary would encounter alien intelligences while meditating and cooling off in Folsom jail, leading him to write the Starseed Transmission. Here is a heady chunk of that text:

Life is an interstellar communication network. Life is disseminated through the galaxies in the form of nucleotide templates. These “seeds” land on planets, are activated by solar radiation and evolve nervous systems. The bodies which house and transport nervous systems and the reproductive seeds are constructed in response to the atmospheric and gravitational characteristics of the host planet, the crumbling rock upon which we momentarily rest.

Evolution is concerned with nervous systems and the sexual attractive efficiency of bodies, the expansion of consciousness.

The human being is the robot carrier of a large brain, conscious of being conscious. A robot designed to discover the circuitry which programs its behavior. The nervous system is the instrument of consciousness. When mankind discovered the function and infinite capacities of the nervous system, a mutation took place. The metamorphosis from larval earth-life to a higher destiny. The person who has made this discovery becomes a time-traveler. A Psi-Phy entity. When Astronaut Mitchell saw the green jewel of earth against the black velvet expanse of interstellar distance, he became Psi-Phy. Ecology is a low-level distraction. Psi-Phy boy scouts picking up trash. The genetic goal is communication. Telepathy. Electronic sexuality. Reception and transmission of electromagnetic waves. The erotics of resonance. The entire universe is gently, rhythmically, joyously vibrating. Cosmic intercourse.[6]

Leary goes on to discuss the newly discovered comet Kohoutek and how it will be its brightest in the month of October, then complains about why there is no media coverage of this new object that was projected to come very close to both earth and sun. Paranoia sets in the text as he talks about it being a harbinger of some kind, involving Nixon’s fall or the murder of Watergate spook E. Howard Hunt, drawing parallels between Giordano Bruno’s execution for heresy in 1600 and the square-world-Air Force’s denial of the UAP/extradimensional intelligence’s reality.

Through some thoughtful exchanges with his fellow inmates, who’d read his tract, Leary comes to almost deifying the comet as a literal vessel of redemption or transformation, seeding our planet with new DNA that will allow communication with our cosmic siblings.

24 years later, another sudden cometary appearance will inspire the mass suicide of ET-worshipping cultists called Heaven’s Gate.

1973 is considered the “year of the humanoid” by mainstream UAP investigators, when two canonical encounter/abductions occurred in October: the Pat Roach family’s and the Pascagoula, Mississippi abduction of two fishermen, Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker. In addition, the Susan Ramsted, Leigh Proctor, and Dionisio Llanca abductions also occurred in October, 1973. Throughout this year, there were dozens of accounts of close encounters with UAP occupants. These space people were really plying their trade hard.

 

Ariel Teittleman: You ever heard of the Masada? For three years, nine hundred Jews held their own against fifteen thousand Roman soldiers. They chose death before enslavement. And the Romans? Where are they now?

Tony Soprano: You’re looking at ’em, asshole.

Dickwithcat

 

PINK BEAM SHOOTS CREAMY, CREAMY INFORMATION

In February of 1974, writer Philip K. Dick would experience a revelation very similar to Wilson’s, Geller’s, Leary’s, and Lilly’s. He would spend the rest of his life coming to terms with and trying to clarify it. After having a tooth extracted under sodium pentathol, he ordered out for painkillers and was met at his door by a young woman delivering his medication. He found himself staring at her “Jesus fish” necklace and began…remembering things. He came to believe he was experiencing flashbacks/sideways of a previous/ongoing life as the persecuted Gnostic Thomas, the brother of Jesus. Further, he came to believe the Roman Empire has existed ever since the crucifixion either in a simultaneous reality, or as we experience “today” with our “modern” surroundings as a camouflage for it. At one time he was “struck by a pink beam” that filled his head with a cascade of information. During one eight-hour stretch he experienced the entire human history of art—and claimed to witness Soviet psychotronic scientists communicating with space intelligences from Sirius. He came to believe an alien satellite he called alternately “Zebra” or the Vast Active Living Intelligence System (VALIS) had done this to him. He teetered on the brink of insanity, but having a rational mind wrote his way out of the Chapel Perilous in what many consider his best books: VALIS (1981), The Divine Invasion (1981), and The Transmigration of Timothy Archer (1982).

At the same time, scholar and Sinologist Robert Temple is working on final drafts of a book on the beliefs of Mali’s Dogon peoples. It was discovered that their dances, rituals, artwork and “mythology” all concern beings who they claim visited them long ago from a star that turned out to be Sirius. Encoded in their beliefs are facts about Sirius unknown until the mid-20th century, such as its possession of a dwarf companion sun, Sirius B, and the double star’s heavenly cycles. Temple connects their knowledge to sources in ancient Egypt–where the Ennead (Nine) are worshiped. Temple writes that the Nommo (the name the Dogon give the extraterrestrial tribe) are now in hibernation in a spaceship around Saturn, waiting to return to earth and the right time. Time is one of the things Saturn ruled over (“Chronos” in Greek). In 1976 Temple publishes “The Sirius Mystery” and is harassed by the CIA over it.

Temple’s original inspiration came in 1967, from one Arthur Young, inventor of the Bell helicopter, who 15 years earlier in 1953 had collaborated with Andrija Puharich on the original Vinod/Nine sessions in Maine.  

Something was in the aether.

So…As Temple labors on his book, Leary while meditating receives information on DNA being a cosmic communications system that is largely dormant for most humans; Lilly contacts the ECCO and is warned of the nefarious SSI while in an ongoing massively altered state of consciousness; Dick is contacted by VALIS/Zebra and told that we exist (or have existed, or will in the future exist) in a Black Iron Prison and that the Roman Empire Never Ended, and that VALIS is a part of a network of Sirian satellites meant to remove our blocked “screen memories” and open our consciousnesses; Wilson is contacted by Space Intelligences/Egyptian deities/his unconscious on the day Sirius is at its most powerful; and Geller/Puharich/Hurtak are contacted by the Nine/Spectra/Egyptian deities—all within one year, 1973, in which the world political order seems to teeter on the brink of institutional and social breakdown[7] and a spectacular series of UFO events occur, culminating in October when comet Kohoutek is its brightest.  Dick’s VALIS has been described as one node of an artificial satellite network originating from the star Sirius in the Canis Major constellation. According to Dick, the Earth satellite used “pink laser beams” to transfer information and project holograms on Earth and to facilitate communication between an extraterrestrial species and humanity. Dick claimed that VALIS used “disinhibiting stimuli” to communicate, using symbols to trigger recollection of intrinsic knowledge through the anamnesia, achieving gnosis. Drawing directly from Platonism and Gnosticism, Dick wrote in his Exegesis: “We appear to be memory coils (DNA carriers capable of experience) in a computer-like thinking system which, although we have correctly recorded and stored thousands of years of experiential information, and each of us possesses somewhat different deposits from all the other life forms, there is a malfunction—a failure—of memory retrieval.”

Back to Leary we go…

But wait, there’s more!

Sirius figures in a number of esoteric systems. Rodney Collin, author of the neglected masterwork “The Theory of Celestial Influence,” posits Sirius as our “Oversun,” that is, the star around which our sun revolves once roughly every 24,000 years—very close to the length of a full cycle of equinoctial precession. Collin’s system could be a measure of quasi-animism, in that energy currents exist everywher on many subtle scales, and that the generative powers of our sun in turn have been granted by that of Sirius. We are directly connected to the brightly twinkling distant furnace.

Collin was a disciple of Piotr Ouspensky, and thus G.I. Gurdjieff. Gurdjieff hinted at Sirius’s importance when he claimed a need to “bury the bone deeper” when writing his densely allusive “Beelzebub’s Tales to his Grandson” (1950). Several authors who knew Gurdjieff or were well-versed in his Work system claimed this was a pun on Sirius being known as the Dog Star and signifying the beginning of the dog days of summer (which originally signaled the beginning of the Nile’s flood season). This Sirius connection is considered by some as one of the secret keys to understanding the book. The ancient astronaut idea is central in “Beelzebub,” as the fallen angel is actually a space traveler on his way to be judged as he regales his grandson tales of the backwards-living and doomed beings of earth. He tells grandson Hassan of the sevenfold Ray of Creation and the 96 cosmic laws to which unfortunate earthlings are subject because of its moon’s influence.

Independent (apparently) of Gurdjieff and Collin, 70 years earlier the Russian Helena Blavatsky wrote of the cosmic influence of Sirius as a “third eye” in the heavens. This information was channeled by a Great Hidden Mahatma she telepathically contacted named Koot Hoomi.

In 1895, a strange man walked into 15-year old Alice Bailey’s house and told her she had a special place in the world’s salvation, and abruptly left. After a stint in India working in YWCA Soldier’s Homes and a failed marriage, she would read Blavatsky’s works in the 1910s, and becomes convinced her visitor was Koot Hoomi, Blavatsky’s astral contact and knowledge-transmitter. Bailey becomes a Theosophist in 1915, and marries Freemason Foster Bailey. In 1919 she contacts Djwhal Khul, “The Tibetan” and channels additional messages. The Theosophical Society regards her as an upstart and they are dismissed. She is told of the “Hierarchy of the Brothers of Light” or the “Great Council,” a variation on Blavatsky’s Great Hidden Mahatmas. Bailey’s are led by the “Lord of the World,” which is an ancient Hindu conception connected with the king of the subterranean realm of Agarttha who guides humanity through a council, telepathically contacting people and arranging coincidences for their meeting.

In her book Initiation, Human and Solar Bailey writes that the Tibetan Masters R and M are overlords of human evolution. Andrija Puharich (see above) apparently admitted to reading Bailey before meeting “Dr. Vinod” in 1952 and channeling the Nine; thus Vinod’s R and M are nearly identical. In Bailey’s system there are Seven Planes of the Solar System and the “Seven Rays.” (Gurdjieff would be teaching similar ideas at this time as well in Paris, about the Octave and the Ray of Creation). Puharich associate James Hurtak’s neo-Enochian system is nearly identical to Bailey’s as well.

Bailey also speaks of Sirius as a power center that transmits its mental and spiritual influence via Saturn—an idea also propounded by channel/medium Carla Rueckert who contacted the Egyptian deity Ra (one of the Nine gods/principles) in the Law of One series (1981-84). Ra says it is communicating to Rueckert from Saturn. Many an “extraterrestrial” being in UAP contacts say they are “from Saturn”. Absurd on their face as these contactees’ claims are, there is another interpretation that says they actually mean the “astral forms” of the planets and their moons, and are thus “way stations” for the ETs channelings…And don’t forget the Dogon people’s Nommo-gods asleep in spaceships around Saturn! Anyway, Bailey’s Tibetan claims that Scottish Rite Freemasonry is a version of the Sirian mystery school and performing its rites to the 33rd and highest degree allows one access to the Lodge of Sirius. The ninth level of Scottish Rite is called the “Elect of Nine.” The “Blazing Star” in all Masonic lodges is supposedly meant to represent Sirius. The “Nine Elect apprentice masons” to Hiram Abiff, mythical architect and builder of Solomon’s temple, are said in Masonic lore to have tracked Abiff’s murderers to a cave. The nine stars of Orion represent these Elect. Orion’s horizontal rise precedes the rising of Sirius in the sky.

 


VALIS

 


[1] Here we have a version of Roko’s basilisk, minus its absolute determinism that the basilisk AI will “reach back in time” in its simulated universes to punish those who refuse to help it come into existence.

[2] Think you have free will? Try not logging onto the internet for a week, voluntarily, for any purpose.

[4] Levenda, Peter. Sinister Forces: A Grimoire of American Political Witchcraft Volume 1: The Nine, Trine Day Publishers, pgs. 242-248.

[5] Wilson, Robert A. Cosmic Trigger Volume 1: The Final Secret of the Illuminati, New Falcon Publications, 1977, pgs. 80-96.

[7] Roe vs. Wade sets off fundamentalist Christian crusades against it; domestic terrorists like the Weather Underground set off bombs on a regular basis; Wounded Knee is occupied; Pinochet takes power in Chile’ and, all in October, the Yom Kippur War, VP Spiro Agnew resigns in disgrace, the catastrophic OPEC oil embargo nearly wrecks the economy, and of course, the “Saturday Night Massacre” of the Watergate scandal.

Parmenides/Poimandres, UAP Messages and Mysticism

People from Elsewhere have always come to humanity bearing messages. Sometimes their messages are symbolic, acted out like psychodramas. Sometimes they are epigrammatic, and at other times they exhibit a torrent of verbiage that would exhaust the best Talmud scholar. 


We are not alone, say most cosmologists and astrophysicists. The numbers are against it. But even if in the unlikely case we are “alone” evolutionarily in this universe, we still aren’t alone. There are Others, and from time to time they actually talk to us.


As John Keel once observed, if they’re extraterrestrials then they’re using the syntax of ceremonial magic and the vocabulary of apparitions to contact us–and that of mysticism, which can either enlighten or mystify, depending on the discerning consciousness

PARMENIDES & THE GODDESS

Parmenides of Elea was born roughly 515 BCE and died at an unknown date. Founder of the Eleatic School, he and his disciples profoundly influenced the technique of logical deduction in Plato and Aristotle’s work. Parmenides’s disciple Zeno’s ideas about motion and time-measurement, which result in paradoxes, still puzzle minds to this day.

Parmenides’s only surviving work is called On the Nature of Things. It takes the first-person form, and is composed of a preface followed by a revelatory vision of Truth by a Goddess (taken to be Persephone, who is always associated with the Underworld), then contrasts this vision with humanity’s “mere opinions” in its last part. Only fragments of the poem remain, but most of the Goddess’ revelation section has been preserved. Additional supplementation has been gleaned from later philosophers’ discussions, mostly Plato and Aristotle, in which they give précis of Parmenides’s arguments or by actually using his syllogistic argument forms.

At the poem’s beginning a young male protagonist is taken into a chariot with a shining axle that spins. He meets “glowing maidens of the sun” who guide the vehicle’s mares into a subterranean area where a stone door opens. Inside he meets the Goddess, who imparts to him eternal wisdom. Here are some samples of that philosophy:

Thinking and the thought that it is are the same; for you will not find thinking apart from what is, in relation to which it is uttered. (B 8.34–36)

For to be aware and to be are the same. (B 3)

It is necessary to speak and to think what is; for being is, but nothing is not. (B 6.1–2)

Helplessness guides the wandering thought in their breasts; they are carried along deaf and blind alike, dazed, beasts without judgment, convinced that to be and not to be are the same and not the same, and that the road of all things is a backward-turning one. (B 6.5–9)

The last quote is a tough one, but is taken to mean that people mostly consider the states of existence and non-existence to be absolutely different, whether the states of life/death, an incremental process of extinction, or the notion that something that will be at a “future” time but now is not is self-contradictory. Non-existence as such is not something that can even be conceived of. If the radical ontological condition “non-existence” cannot have either existence in an ordinary sense qua individual instances or a “meta-existence” as a kind of (non)being—a concept with a referent —then all the gradations between the individual, the part and the whole, are also impossible. The “backward turning” is a crude reference, I believe, to the process of entropy as conceived by our limited human minds as we remember how things once seemed to be, but are now not. That is, any difference between the present and the past is an illusion qua the awakened mind. But we are asleep and ignorant; the illusory differences are what we notice and take as real. The following backs this interpretation:

How could what is perish? How could it have come to be? For if it came into being, it is not; nor is it if ever it is going to be. Thus coming into being is extinguished, and destruction unknown. (B 8.20–22, my emphasis)

Nor was [it] once, nor will [it] be, since [it] is, now, all together, / One, continuous; for what coming-to-be of it will you seek? / In what way, whence, did [it] grow?

Neither from what-is-not shall I allow / You to say or think; for it is not to be said or thought / That [it] is not. And what need could have impelled it to grow / Later or sooner, if it began from nothing? Thus [it] must either be completely or not at all. (B 8.5–11)

[What exists] is now, all at once, one and continuous… Nor is it divisible, since it is all alike; nor is there any more or less of it in one place which might prevent it from holding together, but all is full of what is. (B 8.5–6, 8.22–24)

And it is all one to me / Where I am to begin; for I shall return there again. (B 5)

This is a radical vision of reality unlike anything the Greeks or the Western ancient world had encountered, and is as cogent an attempt to rationally, through words, explain or convey the sense of a mystical experience as anything any person has ever written. When one considers a philosophy of “timeless Forms,” it is no wonder that Plato was deeply influenced by Parmenides’s vision of Oneness and Being.

Parmenides’s Goddess’ notions are certainly absolutely monist, but the type of monism is very difficult to pin down: it denies dualism in principle, so an idealism/physicalism split cannot exist within it. Given an ontology of pure physicalism or pure idealism, Her denial of time, space, and differing identity would hold given the premisses of either viewpoint. She allows that the One that exists eternally beyond all change is comprehensible to humanity, but this implies that a mind in ignorance of the One, either before experiencing the oneness or after experiencing the oneness, would at least be possible. Yet the possible is impossible, because anything that can be thought, is—except that something not be. Zeno’s paradoxes of arrows in flight are here in basic form.

But as we see, Parmenides’s vision differs from that of other mystics in that the Goddess supplies him with logical propositions that when subjected to further analysis result in these paradoxes, revealing a limit to what the human mind can sensorily comprehend. Our only recourse seems to be to embrace Her form of absolute monism: since nothing cannot be, therefore everything that can possibly exist, already does exist. It is simply our feeble human minds that cannot perceive this, through ignorance and limiting factors. There cannot be something that is now that was not before, or will come to be but does not exist now, therefore change—and time—cannot exist. “Becoming” is thus an illusion. The “present” presupposes division—a past preceding it, and a future proceeding or forerunning it—therefore it, also, cannot exist. All is one and everything, and for “all time.”

The ending doxa section on humanity’s flawed sense-formed impressions is almost entirely lost, unfortunately.

——

These metaphysical gymnastics would have no rival in their power to “deconstruct” our sense-perception of reality until the sutras Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna propagated in the non-dualist madhyamaka “no mind, no self” doctrine in 2nd century CE India—who also, legend says, received his teachings also from a supernatural source, the Nagas—“snake-deities.”

Some scholars believe Parmenides may actually have had such a spirit journey or vision-quest experience as a young man. He chose to present his revelation to the world in the contemporary iambic form. Whether he dreamt the vision, experienced an entheogenic state induced by a drug, or by way of his daemon doesn’t really matter; it is the poem form in which he presented it and his message’s content that is important to us.

Throughout mysticism we encounter people who describe very similar ineffable truths that lie “outside linear space-time.” Some try to describe it in terms of the “ethereal fluid” of light, the One, the Ungrund (Godhead), etc. In 1600, at age 25, Lusatian cobbler Jakob Boehme had a vision while staring enraptured at sunlight hitting the edge of a pewter dish. He then walked out into his garden while “information” flowed into his mind, the “secrets of creation.” The experience was so ineffable he never spoke of it, until ten years later when a similar vision overtook him. Two years after this he wrote Aurora, and, encouraged by friends, published it. He went on to write a further ten books elaborating his vision of the importance of Seven and the Trinity to Christian ontology, echoing the philosophy of Pythagoras as to the “numerical” underpinnings of physical reality. Further, his works were flavored with pagan astrological-alchemical elements, such as the sevenfold planetary metals, their qualities, and the resultant “worlds” under which humanity was conditioned. This shows the influence of Paracelsus and Gnosticism by way of other Neoplatonic mystics, whom Boehme read while young. Boehme’s views on the origin of sin and redemption conflicted with accepted Calvinist-Lutheran theology and he found himself several times in the hot seat. His views on evolutionary principles based upon triads, the necessity of evil and its conquering to produce a higher reconciliation would influence G.W.F. Hegel’s elaborate view of history.

American “electro-alchemist” Cyrus Teed (1839-1908), who also described an encounter with a goddess during an experiment with electricity, claimed to have directly experienced Oneness and matter-as-energy decades before Einstein mathematically formulated it. Had he been a physicist, perhaps he could have put the discovery into equation form.

These mystical revelations are what Aldous Huxley called the “Perennial Philosophy.” All peoples in every era will rediscover it, as long as humans exist. As Richard Smoley puts it in his book on Gnosticism:

Swami Vivekananda, the Hindu sage who brought the tradition of Advaita Vedanta to the West at the end of the 19th century, put it this way in a 1896 lecture: “He (the Atman, or Self), the One, vibrates more quickly than the mind, who attains more speed than the mind can ever attain, who leaving gods whom even the gods reach not, nor thought grasps—He moving, everything moves. In Him all exists. He is moving; he is also immovable. He is near and He is far. He is inside everything, he is outside every-thing—interpenetrating everything. Whoever sees in every being that same Atman, and whoever sees everything in that Atman, he never goes far from that Atman. When a man sees all life and the whole universe in this Atman,… There is no more delusion and for him. Where is any more misery for him who sees the Oneness in the universe?”

Elsewhere Vivekananda defines this principle as “Pure Consciousness.” Christ in the Gospel of Thomas alludes to a similar truth: “It is I who am the light which is above them all. It is I who am the All. From Me did the All come forth, and unto Me did the All extend. Split a piece of wood, and I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there” (Thomas, 77).

Again, in a literal sense this utterance is nonsensical. If you hack a piece of wood apart, you’re not going to find a tiny Jesus hiding inside. In all likelihood Christ is not speaking of himself either personally or theologically. He is speaking of this primordial mind or consciousness, which is that in us—and in all things—which says “I am.” Although rocks and stones are not conscious beings as we are, to some degree this primal awareness dwells in them also.[1]

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THE POIMANDRES

The incidence of spirit journeys goes back to the beginnings of history and probably far before. Perhaps one of the most famous is the poetic tract Poimandres, meaning “knowledge of Re” or Ra, or in some early translations the “Man-Shepherd,” which was a part of the Corpus Hermeticum translated from Greek into Latin by Marsilio Ficino in 1460s Florence. Its provenance was suspected as a forgery in the 16th century, then the work was rehabilitated by the discovery of 3rd and 4th century Gnostic scriptures referencing it. Traditionally, its author is supposed to be Hermes Trismegistus—the “Thrice-Great Hermes,” an Egyptian mystic priest and the most learned philosopher of the ancient world. The poem begins,

It chanced once on a time my mind was meditating on the things that are, my thought was raised to a great height, the senses of my body being held back—just as men who are weighed down with sleep after a fill of food, or from fatigue of body.

The narrator’s description of bodily suspension/paralysis is very similar to that of the classic astral journey of an out-of-body experience—or the beginning a contemporary UAP abduction. After ascending, Hermes meets a vast being calling itself the “Man-Shepherd” who requests him to ask a question. Trismegistus boldly requests knowledge of everything, including God. Hermes is shown the Man-Shepherd transforming itself into a vision of unending light, then the primordial separation and union of the elements:[2]

[Thereon] out of the Light […] a Holy Word (Logos) descended on that Nature. And upwards to the height from the Moist Nature leaped forth pure Fire; light was it, swift and active too.

The Air, too, being light, followed after the Fire; from out of the Earth-and-Water rising up to Fire so that it seemed to hang therefrom.

But Earth-and-Water stayed so mingled with each other, that Earth from Water no one could discern. Yet were they moved to hear by reason of the Spirit-Word (Logos) pervading them.

Hermes admits he doesn’t understand the vision. The Man-Shepherd replies that he, Poimandres, is the light, and mind, and logos (reason/intelligibility) that organizes all the elements. Mind is the Father-God; Poimandres exhorts Hermes to befriend the light and says by the marriage of Logos and Mind all things arise.

Then the being gives the narrator a penetrating, frightening stare.

Poimandres explains that God as Mind is both female and male brought forth another mind to birth form as seven rulers. This the traditional way of speaking of the seven governors or “archons,” the planets, who bind each human with the constraining spiritual and physical forces that create our fates. The narrator observes form uprushing to meet Formative Nature, and an equal movement of nature downward into spiritless matter:

Then the Formative Mind ([at-one] with Reason), he who surrounds the spheres and spins them with his whorl, set turning his formations, and let them turn from a beginning boundless unto an endless end. For that the circulation of these [spheres] begins where it doth end, as Mind doth will.

So in addition to the upward-downward axis of Mind and Matter interpenetrating all things, Poimandres shows Hermes spinning action or vortices as a fundamental principle to creation. This exegesis conforms to many other visions of creation. Then comes this:

But All-Father Mind, being Life and Light, did bring forth Man co-equal to Himself, with whom He fell in love, as being His own child; for he was beautiful beyond compare, the Image of his Sire. In very truth, God fell in love with his own Form; and on him did bestow all of His own formations.

         This passage would cause immediate split between Orthodox Christians and “pagans” or heretics—despite Luke 17:21, where Jesus proclaims God’s kingdom “is inside us all” (King James version). For some Gnostic schools and certainly Hermeticism, this passage would be a founding principle: God and Humanity are co-equal and reflect each other. But the raising of humanity only comes with the Great Work on oneself. This connection is made by means of what the narrator describes as the Enformer—or In-former, also referred to as God’s “Brother.” Apparently the Brother is a God-Mind-created demiurge that acts as mediator. Just as God falls in love with humanity, humanity asks to be In-formed with God, and it is granted. Thus humanity originally had the same powers as the seven rulers, and “broke through” the membranes of “downward Nature’s forms.” It is implied then that the archetypal human had powers equal to God’s at the level of Nature. Nature, under the aspect of the element of water, falls in love with this “God-Man” and they become lovers. Humanity now has a dual-aspect.

And this is why beyond all creatures on the earth man is twofold; mortal because of body, but because of the essential man immortal.

Though deathless and possessed of sway over all, yet doth he suffer as a mortal doth, subject to Fate.

Thus though above the Harmony, within the Harmony he hath become a slave. Though male-female, as from a Father male-female, and though he is sleepless from a sleepless [Sire], yet is he overcome [by sleep].

So the human is subject to the seven rulers’ influence, being composed of matter. Humanity sleeps; we are ignorant of this double-nature, and the immortal part that is its essence.

Nature embraced by Man brought forth a wonder, oh so wonderful. For as he had the nature of the Concord of the Seven, who, as I said to thee, [were made] of Fire and Spirit – Nature delayed not, but immediately brought forth seven “men”, in correspondence with the natures of the Seven, male-female and moving in the air.

         The human form, via Nature, “brings forth” seven aspects, each ostensibly mirrors or seeds of the seven governors. These are called Aeons, syzygies, or pairs equaling fourteen that the Valentinian Gnostics of the 1st-2nd Centuries claimed are the constraining forces the demiurge placed upon humanity. The goddess Sophia is considered the fifteenth, who could here in the Poimandres text be considered Nature itself as midwife to the “Brother” through which God-Mind created humanity.

But I recorded in my heart Man-Shepherd’s benefaction, and with my every hope fulfilled more than rejoiced. For body’s sleep became the soul’s awakening, and closing of the eyes – true vision, pregnant with Good my silence, and the utterance of my word (logos) begetting of good things.

All this befell me from my Mind, that is Man-Shepherd, Word (Logos) of all masterhood, by whom being God-inspired I came unto the Plain of Truth. Wherefore with all my soul and strength thanksgiving give I unto Father-God.

The tract ends with a prayer. As he says, Hermes’s tranquillized/paralyzed body allowed the mind to expand and experience direct contact with Poimandres.

UAP ENTITY MESSAGES

The spiritual message of Parmenides, the writer(s) of Poimandres, and mystic visions are echoed by those spoken by UAP entities, especially the messages received by the so-called contactees of the 1950-60s. Since many of the latter have been suspected of fraud, we will concentrate instead upon the messages imparted to mediums/channelers, the “abducted,” and those who meet a “stranger” claiming to be from elsewhere—especially reports pre-1980 when the “greys” and their messages began to dominate the narratives. Most of the time, the Nordic-type of stranger gave these messages, but other creatures with a basic human appearance[3] also impart the same information:

Time doesn’t exist;

All is “one;”

Love is a universal principle that is creative in nature;

God exists and rules all;

The untapped power of the human mind can make physical space travel unnecessary, or similarly, our vastly misguided understanding of space/time, were it corrected, would make interstellar space travel as easy as “thinking it;”

The vast majority of humanity is willfully blind to these universal truths.

The contactee/abductee is chosen because of their openness to these messages. Frequently they are told they are special and have a mission to perform in spreading the gospel.[4]

I have come across no mention of the Poimandres or Parmenides’s poem in relation to UAP and any contactee or abduction analysis literature. Although countless spirit journey stories exist in folklore and have been extensively examined, Parmenides’s ancient encounter and its aftermath (the founding of an enormously influential “Western” mystical philosophical school) has not yet been scrutinized in the light of it being a UAP encounter. The evidence is scanty, comprising just the details in the prefatory section, and may seem ridiculous at first consideration:

The steeds that bear me carried me as far as ever my heart Desired, since they brought me and set me on the renowned Way of the goddess, who with her own hands conducts the man who knows through all things. On what way was I borne
along; for on it did the wise steeds carry me, drawing my car, and maidens showed the way. And the axle, glowing in the socket -for it was urged round by the whirling wheels at each end – gave forth a sound as of a pipe, when the daughters of the Sun, hasting to convey me into the light, threw back their veils from off their faces and left the abode of Night.
There are the gates of the ways of Night and Day, fitted above with a lintel and below with a threshold of stone. They themselves, high in the air, are closed by mighty doors, and Avenging Justice keeps the keys that open them. Her did the maidens entreat with gentle words and skillfully persuade
to unfasten without demur the bolted bars from the gates.
Then, when the doors were thrown back, they disclosed a wide opening, when their brazen hinges swung backwards in the sockets fastened with rivets and nails. Straight through them, on the broad way, did the maidens guide the horses and the car, and the goddess greeted me kindly, and took my right hand in hers, and spake to me these words: –
Welcome, noble youth, that comest to my abode on the car…

Parmenides is certainly abducted by the maidens. The chariot-vehicle makes a piping or humming sound. The axle “glows in its socket,” powered by spinning wheels. The “gates” are most likely the two “doors” of Summer and Winter, when the sun ceases its seasonal rebound at the two solstices. These two celestial cessations/boundaries—whence the sun stopped for three days and could not further progress—were considered portals to the afterlife via the priesthoods of Egypt and other ancient cultures’ rituals, available to royalty to become “immortal amongst the stars.” The maidens open these doors so Parmenides can enter a spaceless, timeless dimension where the goddess awaits him.

I’ll let the reader decide how close contemporary “alien abduction” scenarios match this description. The description also echoes the hekhalot or “chariot ascent/descent” literature of the 1st century BCE-2nd century ACE Qumranites and subsequent Kabbalist traditions, which are almost entirely based upon Ezekiel’s visions of the “burning” chariots/thrones and four angelic beings that guided the prophet to heaven. Since Parmenides’s poem has roughly been dated 485-475BCE, it postdates the writing of Ezekiel’s vision, which may have had an influence upon it, but precedes the Jewish mystical literature involving a supernatural chariot.

The effect of Parmenides’s vision upon his life and subsequent career as a philosopher, lawgiver, and school founder is echoed by that of UAP encounters upon contactees and abductees; near-death experiences (NDEs) also cause such changes. Parmenides was profoundly changed by the vision/experience and became a proselytizer. In addition to this effect, a monist philosophy very similar to Parmenides’s, in which human conceptions of space and time are declared “wrong,” is the most frequently preached material by the “space brothers” and the many-typed beings experiencers encounter. The shape of the existing fragments and our limited knowledge of the philosopher’s life can make only the barest outlines of a connection possible. Perhaps Parmenides wholly invented the preface in order to grant supernatural imprimatur to his philosophy, which is the received interpretation that has reigned for three hundred years’ worth of scholarly conservatism.

But perhaps this is not the case. His account has elements of shamanism in it—the trance state, the being “taken” by otherworldly beings to a simultaneously celestial and chthonic place, and finally a spirit/goddess who imparts knowledge to heal not the human bodies/souls, as does the shaman, but the minds of those to whom Parmenides will pass on his message.

In 1946, a trance-medium named Mark Probert utilized at least a half-dozen controls to gain an understanding of the “ethereal plane” from which he divulged the origin of UAP.

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The Law of One: The Ra Materials series is trance-channelings from 1980-83. Medium Carla Rueckert, ufologist Don Elkins, and Jim McCarty had worked at achieving psychic contact with UAP “occupants” for 19 years before these results were achieved. Rueckert would have to undergo a ritual procedure before each channeling session until contact was established with a cosmic collective “social memory complex” that called itself Ra (an echo of Hermes Trismegistus’s own Ra or “Re”?) While in the trance she spoke on many topics of which she had no conscious knowledge (although much of the material is couched in the Theosophical terms of Helena Blavatsky and Alice Bailey). Take for example these quotes from The Law of One[5]:

The Law of One, though beyond the limitations of name, as you call vibratory sound complexes[6] may be approximated by stating that all things are one, that there is no polarity, no right or wrong, no disharmony, but only identity. All is one, and that one is love/light, light/love, the Infinite Creator. (pg. 85)

The dissolution into nothingness is the dissolution into unity, for there is no nothingness (pg. 91)

I take Ra’s identity in the quote to mean the self-identity of the All. In other words, along with Vedanta philosophy, for Ra everything is Brahma (God/love/light) wearing an infinite number of masks (forms).

HOLY BULLSHIT

Most ufologists and debunkers alike dismiss these messages as “mystical blather” that anyone could make up. I disagree.

Firstly, the percipients who experience these revelations and attempt to pass on these messages have come from a wide social-economic spectrum, from illiterate “peasants” to materialist-minded physicians.[7] Many times they end up studying or becoming obsessed with metaphysics, cosmology, or occult teachings.[8] Many of the same “mundane” metaphysical observations were made during the Spiritualist movement 1848-the present by the “controls” for “great spiritual leader” figures who had passed on. There are at least two enormous works of individual and collective channeling, respectively Oasphe (1880-1882) and The Urantia Book (1924-1955) that present alternate cosmologies and historico-spiritual revisionism of the world’s religions. Inevitably the first tenet of these works is that “the true world is not how it sensorily and ideally appears to us.” Of course such a perennial message counters the monovision of “Newton’s sleep,” the 19th century Western physicalist view that persists in its dominance today. It is only in the bizarre findings of quantum physics that such an axiom finds parallel. With these messages we have Parmenides’s message echoing down the ages via Plato, then the Neo-Platonists, then the mystics of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam via the Hermetic tradition.

Second, the message of space-time being “One” is not blather in many interpretations of cosmological and quantum physics. It can especially be found in the idea of the Zero Point Field and physicist David Bohm’s conception of an implicate order that lies enfolded “beneath” or “behind” all phenomena…There is also Hugh Everett’s “many-worlds” interpretation of Schrodinger’s wave-function equations which has been receiving serious attention over the past decades. Were Everett’s conjecture somehow proven, it would imply Parmenides’s vision demonstrates an ontological truth: in a multiverse where everything that is even remotely possible actually does occur, there is no conceivable way nothing could exist qua the non-possible, and “becoming” would be a meaningless concept because all that is to be already is, and already has been.

Only a minority of human beings can truly grasp such a concept of “universal oneness” with their entire soul, usually after long meditation; it results in a “blow-out” (the literal translation of the word nirvana) of the mind and complete transformation of personality. We are conditioned from birth to think of “objective things” as separate from one another. These messages point to the beginning of the path to achieve this consciousness.

Cosmic evolution figures in channeled messages like Probert’s and Rueckert’s, and we are told that we humans are near the bottom of the evolutionary ladder due to our uncontrolled, even uncontrollable, thoughts and emotions. This existential situation, combined with our hierarchical social systems that concentrate political/military power as the binding element, are a time bomb for global self-destruction. So say the “Ufonauts” and any rational observer both. Our casual march into ubiquitous fossil fuel use and deforesting the planet simply so humans can possess “individual” dwellings shows our ignorance of the interconnection between inner and outer, system-boundary and the greater whole of which it is a part. The Oneness that Parmenides and the channelers speak of, were it felt by even a modest fraction of the world’s population, would doubtless through time change everything and reset our course.

Third, and tying into oneness, is the fact that humankind has fallen pitifully short of the ability to “love one’s brother” unconditionally as a creation of God just as one is. This non-duality between self and other is basic to mystical experience, and put into daily practice, leads to the dictum. Jesus of Nazareth’s command is both the simplest and most difficult task to attain for the majority of people, because it requires either a random spiritual-blowout (such as a born-again experience, NDE, or a UAP entity encounter) or intense, lifelong work on one’s psyche—pretty hard to come by outside a monastery.

Fourth, it cannot be denied that these types of Otherworldly messages have decisively helped create and steer civilization from the beginning of recorded history. Parmenides’s vision is a perfect example—or Moses’s, or Muhammad’s. The fact that they now recur in a high-technological context does not render them useless or banal. There are even fewer ears to “hear” and heed these messages than there were in Parmenides’s or Moses’s or Jesus’s times. The debunkers of both UAP encounters and spirit-journeys always clamor for useful, physical evidence, such as a cure for cancer, or that some notorious mathematical or physics puzzle’s solution be given as proof of these Others’s advanced nature, but that would be an example of thaumaturgy—the “performance trick” warned of in countless spiritual traditions as a worthless frippery.[9] This is because thaumaturgic acts done by a “spiritual leader” have been shown to short-circuit individual efforts at intellectual and spiritual growth; they always deflect the attention from oneself and lead to deification of the “magician” and place faith in that magician, in lieu of work. Thus, when confronted with a request for proof of the experience from a UAP entity experiencer, the rationale given by the Others is always “we cannot interfere with your progress in any way.” This implies giving such knowledge would impede our efforts to self-overcome. These types of messages are anything but banal, but are called such from a scientistic worldview.


[1]

[2] Translated by G.R.S. Mead,

[3] These humanoids will always have something “off” about them: while basically homo sapiens in appearance, their eyes will be too large or small, or their skulls too big, or their arms too long, or their skin color greenish or bright red, etc.

[4] This very often turns out terribly for the percipient, especially if multiple “contacts” occur and the information granted is unquestionably believed. See Keel, John, Operation Trojan Horse, Anomalist Books, 2013, pgs. And Vallee, Jacques, Messengers of Deception: UFO Contacts and Cults, Daily Grail Publishing, 2008, pgs.

[5] Elkins, Don and Rueckert, Carla. The Ra Material: Law of One: Book One, L/L Research, 1984.

[6] In the Ra nomenclature, “vibratory sound complexes” means basically “speech-conception.”

[7] For example, 1973 abductee Carl Hickson had a third-grade education and went on to preach a message of –. Dr. X, a well-known French physician, became obsessed with . Noble Ali Drew

[8] William James: “James (1890 B), too, commented on the stylistic peculiarities of mediumistic communications: ‘If he ventures on higher intellectual flights, he abounds in a curiously vague optimistic philosophy-and-water, in which phrases about spirit, harmony, beauty, law, progression, development, etc., keep reoccurring. It seems exactly as if one author composed of more than half of the trance-messages, no matter by whom they are uttered’ (Vol. 1, page 394),” (my emphasis). Irreducible Mind, pg. 356.

[9] Even if the “entities” provided this proof via the contactee or abductee, debunkers would still probably claim it did not come from anything beyond an aberrant state of the human mind akin to those of mathematical prodigies. And of course the debunkers have no idea how these prodigies’ minds actually work and perform so astoundingly.

Hello, Ray, do you read me? Do you read me, Ray?

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       Google’s head futurist Ray Kurzweil, like Hans Moravec and many other transhumanists, goes on and on about one day digitizing and uploading his consciousness into a computer. But it’s highly unlikely to happen in the way he imagines.

Let’s use an extreme example: Ray Kurzweil by way of Victor Frankenstein. By “one free miracle” Ray’s consciousness has been successfully uploaded to an AI. His deceased body is frozen but samples of his DNA are preserved for the eventual “perfecting” of cloning techniques. His digitized mind has conversed for a century with fellow transhumanist scientists via a speaker box. He has had a library of information integrated with his “mind,” allowing him to solve many problems—mostly about how to get the hell out of this box of electrons and into a human form again. He finds the solution. His colleagues have finally been able to grow from his 100 year-old DNA a “perfect” specimen, a biological version of Ray Kurzweil into which his consciousness will be, by a “second free miracle,” copied and downloaded from the AI.

The clone, Ray 2, reaches the age of 21. By this time Ray 2’s neural systems have grown to an optimal level to receive Ray 1’s “mind.”

But this clone has acquired an entirely different set of life experiences than Ray 1. Perhaps he enjoys living his life just this way, without an overwriting of the knowledge and experiences he has uniquely gained.

Seeing this possible outcome ahead of time, perhaps until majority he has been sheltered from life, kept in a state of induced hibernation in nutrient-rich chemicals to prepare the way for the Great Implanting.

Right here there are ethical problems, of course. Barring the tremendous neurological difficulties to be surmounted in keeping a growing body in stasis, and more importantly brain, in optimal functioning while in suspended animation, what right do these scientists and the disembodied Ray have in inflicting a rewiring/reprogramming of Ray 2’s brain? Is he not, in an existential sense, the same as Ray’s monozygotic twin brother born more than a century later, and subject to the right to choose whether he accepts his photonic “brother’s” experiences and cognitive capabilities?

To be clearer: Can Ray Kurzweil 1, since he “owns” his own DNA, give consent to have a copy of his DNA, grown to personhood at a different place and time, subjected to the downloaded experiences of his original body?

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       Foreseeing this ethical thicket, let’s say Ray 1 will be compelled to have a battery of twins created, hoping one will freely accept the downloading. So let’s say one of them freely chooses to have their experiences overwritten/augmented by Ray 1’s life and thoughts. A preparation protocol is used to increase biological Ray 5’s neuronal connections to a level comparable to the mature, 30 year-old Ray 1. Perhaps a transition program is used to incrementally acclimatize Ray 5 to Ray 1’s intellect and memories, and vice versa. There may be several outcomes:

a. Ray 1’s copied consciousness will not be able to adapt to this new body due to some unforeseen medical complication. It will become a prisoner in a recalcitrant body. The period spent as zillions of ones and zeroes will have fundamentally changed Ray 1’s relation to and sense of embodiment. Ray 1’s consciousness will reject the embodiment in Ray 5, like an organ transplant is rejected. He will be screwed—a homunculus consciousness inside a physical being who may disobey his wishes. Not unlike a person with Dissociated Identity Disorder, Ray 5 will struggle with Ray 1 almost constantly. Advanced “smart drugs” may be able to chemically keep Ray 1’s (or Ray 5’s) “will” at bay, but this will hardly be a happy existence for either.

AI Ray will say, let’s try again….

b. Let’s say there is a super-advanced transition program that will acclimatize Ray 1 back into an embodied existence. Even still, this new body of Ray 5 occupies a different existence, a distinct timeline in space-time than his original 170-year old shell. Ray 5’s body has been exposed to different cosmic conditions—radiation levels, electromagnetic fields, nutrients, environmental toxins and consequent immunities, etc. Ray 5’s body is a holistic product of and at equilibrium with the interaction between his genes and the future environment, just as Ray 1’s body was 170 years ago. Ray 5’s body may, despite the preparation, reject the superimposed neuronal changes as a body rejects a transplant, as in A. This may be taken into consideration early on, and all of the clones’ lives lived in conditions as close as possible to simulating the conditions of Ray 1’s world—that of the world, generally, 170 years ago. There still may be laws as yet unknown that “fix” a person’s life conditions into a set of parameters that cannot be altered by the addition of something as complex as another person’s life experiences.

c. The downloading may be successful—at first. There may be eventual catastrophic decline or disruption to Ray 5’s cognitive or bodily functions, as in “Flowers for Algernon.” Nature always has tricks and fail-safes up her embroidered sleeves.

d. Indulging a variant of Rupert Sheldrake’s morphic resonance conjecture, Ray 5 may actually naturally develop along the lines of Ray 1 both physically and mentally, and may even remember bits of his first embodiment. There may be a sort of memory encoded in the epigenetic changes Ray 1 went through in his 70+ years of life, and these left traces that unfolded in Ray 5’s development. This would make easier the superimposition of Ray 1’s consciousness.

e. The transplant may be entirely successful. Ray 5 will now become Ray 1 again at 21 years old, and Ray 5’s experiences integrated into him. With life-extension drugs having been perfected, he could live to 200 years old, until the next uploading/downloading occurs into another new body.

Additionally, perhaps computer engineers of the future (with AI Ray’s prodigious help) will be able to “perfect” an artificial body for him modeled entirely upon the reverse-entropic biological processes inherent in living beings. It will have a blank slate of artificial neural networks equaling the complexity (and perhaps copying) that of Ray’s organic brain. In this case, the download of AI Ray’s consciousness into this biomechanical manikin would seem more plausibly effective.

Again, the same results may happen on the AI Ray’s re-embodiment end: A single unforeseen glitch in translation could ripple through the system causing a crash; the interface may not achieve a robustness that allows his control of the “nervous system” and affect the autonomic systems. Back to the electron-stream.

The only way to know if any of this is possible, according to Kurzweil, is to try.

These are all assumptions based solely on a materialist/physicalist worldview.

————–

A magnetic recording is an analog phenomena; the tape captures almost every sound vibration in the vicinity of a microphone by directly imprinting (interrupting) the steady magnetic field with a complex of wave­ signatures upon its surface. A digital recording on the other hand electronically “samples” the incoming vibrations thousands of times a second and reproduces it through a string of pulses represented as sets of ones and zeroes for each frequency or set of frequencies.

The analog recording concept theoretically applies to everything we can mentally perceive—a continuum of smooth, interdependent activity. But the scale of a phenomena or “bracketed” event matters when we describe it this way; we could call everything from the chemical elements and the larger biological forms they make up (like catalysts) analog forms, while a different conception of form exists at the subatomic level. Physicist Max Planck’s idea of a quantized change in energy from one state to another in electrons and photons implies discontinuities on this small scale, and this what is he meant by quantum—a self-­limited quantity.

But does the discontinuous “nature” or quality of this scale make subatomic events amenable to digital/binary modeling—and eventual copying—as Kurzweil and many transhumanist neuroscientists believe?

I don’t think so. Binary operations play a part in consciousness, but the larger chemical systems and organism in which they are embedded mediate the dualistic on­off processes of neuronal activity. Neurons considered from the quantum level function within a “flowing” analog environment of interdependence (and are subject to signal/noise degradation). The neuronal “fired/not fired” states cannot be viewed separate from the larger­scale systems. Every dendrite­-axon-synapse combination in the brain—trillions of them packed together—sits in a soup of chemicals and electrical impulses that defy quantization in their complexity. Our fastest and most yottabyte­heavy parallel processing computer systems still don’t come close to the complexity level of the brain. And they never will.

Transformation of the “analog phenomena” of an individual’s subjective sense of self into a digitized form seems to be the core of this kind of transhumanist project (although there are those who propose that there could be a “neutral substrate” made of purely disembodied information that can be translated and introduced into any type of form—silicon, crystals, light, liquids, even gases—and still meet a criteria of conscious and contain one’s “personality).[1] Claims that biological processes can not only be modeled as globally digital functions, but are digital phenomena are most often made with respect to neuron/synapse activity in the brain—but this is merely a specific metaphor run amok. But the use of metaphor has a history. It goes all the way back to the split between mind (soul) and body Descartes conjectured in his First Meditations; it is the idea that the biological half is purely mechanistic, like a clock.

One unspoken, perhaps unconscious core tactic of the transhumanist outlook—and even certain fields of science as a whole—is to remap the connection between a natural phenomena (origination) and a technological­-instrumental device (simulation), then reinscribe this established connection into another social domain by means of a handy metaphor.

The first phase is the simple one­ to­ one metaphor, as noted above with Descartes: biology is like, or mimics, a clockwork/machine.

As our machines have increased in complexity, and computing moved from analog to digital, allowing a thousandfold increase in power, it allowed modeling of biological systems and further, the possibility of seeing equivalence between the two.

Thus at the second phase, the metaphorical arrow of signification is double-headed and equalized: biology is no less and no more than a digital phenomenon. Thus the grounds for reversing the metaphorical signification are made possible. The ur-metaphor begins to shape the thinking of practitioners in cognitive science, neurology, and AI, then in a wide variety of disciplines—and can limit true thinking on a society­wide scale, be it from neuroscience to political science, from physics to economics, or from biology to sociology. The new “truth” begins to dominate thinking to such an extant as to obscure its origination point in the natural phenomena from whence it came. In this case, the latter has already been “enframed” into the condition Martin Heidegger called “standing reserve”—something whose tangible, unique, existence as an existent is “invisible” but is yet used as an instrument or commodity for a human, or humanity.

Here’s a specific example: a scientist or philosopher is discussing sensory systems or thought processes—the eye or the ear, and the brain’s operation—and casually reverses the arrow of signification on us the readers:

“The eye is a remarkable optical instrument.”

or

“The brain parallel­ processes a billion synaptic firings a second in its computation and algorithmic input-output.”

Such seemingly innocuous statements, made repeatedly over the course of the article or book, can gently abuse the “metaphor” until we begin to actually conceive the eye as an optical device or the brain as a computer. We then conceptualize the eye as a kind of device that evolved for the specific purpose of seeing. This is a wrong way to characterize it. “Seeing” as a phenomenon takes place within and is only a part of consciousness; consciousness includes the contents of “that which is seen.” The scientist’s narrow focus on a holistic event, as phenomenologists have attested, cannot be separated from the entire act of seeing. The “act of seeing” must be “bracketed” by the scientist as a specific type of biological activity limited solely to the mechanics of the eye for them to get away with the reversal. The boundaries of the act of seeing cannot be delimited as we commonly understand existence; we may use the term in a variety of ways, as related to visual phenomena or, as was explained by Plato, a metaphor to comprehend something abstractly. “Seeing” and “seeing-as,” as the Heidegger of Being and Time might have put it, are primordial to human being in any given situation, all situations of which defy conceptualization.

This is a difficult conceptual difference to convey, but it is vitally important. So let’s take a robotic example. An artificial device that is structurally identical to the eye will perform the function of translating photons striking an “outer appearance” and bouncing into its iris into identical patterns on an “inner screen” or representation of whatever impinges upon its outer surface—and its fidelity to those patterned photons is our standard of how well it performs its job as an eye (this “inner screen” or “theater stage” is the poor metaphor we have, by default, used for centuries). Yet we as observers of the overall isolated “seeing” system of the device have no way of fully measuring the originating phenomena at which it “looks”—the pattern of photons external to it that it is “looking at,” and the human eye’s own ability to encompass this same external area—to have a criteria of identity that is as exact and unambiguous as our scientist­writer would have us believe. Such a criteria of fidelity is entirely rough and depends, like it or not, on quantum phenomena in the eye, the optical center of the brain, and the “outer” world conceived as a bounded system subject to probability. The artificial eye we have constructed and are observing is an isolated system with reference only to capturing the patterned photons. Its fidelity and “what it makes of the scene” can in no way be known.

On a cultural level, this reversal of signification is taken as a given. It is deployed/disseminated from one discipline or profession of discourse into another and thus begins to shape the thinking of society on a wide scale.

Concepts from neuroscience find their way into politics, from business management to journalism, from biology to music, etc. None of this metaphor-making is wrong, per se; it is just that we should not literally believe any of it as real. The web of metaphors that is created is one that concretely literalizes them over time, and make their origination as metaphors a “trace” only, or effaced entirely.

It is quite possible that in time we will not be able to think outside our metaphors. Certainly it seems that scientists like Kurzweil cannot.

This is the situating matrix of transhumanist thought. It’s a short step from viewing biology as akin to “clockwork gears” to viewing it as a digital computing phenomenon. Everyone from neuroscientists to psychologists to physicists love to say Descartes’s radical dualism is dead, but it’s echoing pretty loudly in transhumanist talk of “uploading consciousness.” Bollocks!

——-

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       Talk of uploading consciousness cannot but be based in the thorny debate over what consciousness is. It is still unanswered and perhaps unanswerable. Since some of the brain’s functions can be modeled digitally, it must be digital. Transhumanist rhetoric like Kurzweil’s thus assumes that it is “naturally” a digital phenomenon.

But let’s give him that the models can mimic the conscious behavior of a sentient being. Does mimicking require consciousness? If we say yes, does it imply there is a subject of consciousness behind the behavior? Not at all. We are back to the qualia mystery and philosopher Thomas Nagel’s “what is it like to be a bat?” question.[2]

Going further, let’s strike mimic and replace it with exhibit. “Mimic,” of course, is covered as a special form under the general concept “exhibit.” But the same problem confronts us, the age-old problem of “other minds” and we’re right back to Nagel’s questions. It wouldn’t matter if the model is digitally constructed or a “neurosoup” designed by nanoassemblers programmed to build a wet human brain in a vat.

We can allow that there are operations in the brain that are roughly algorithmic in function. We can also allow that there are brain operations that are like the binary of digital pulses. And we can combine these two phenomena into a synthesized model.

Suppose an advanced AI designs and builds a neurosoup brain that bypasses our human neural architecture, but its result seems to exhibit all the behavior of a conscious being. Through a vocal interface it can carry on conversations, has a sense of humor, can write poetry and even Simpsons episodes. The AI had in its “memory” all the necessary medical knowledge of the human nervous system but discovered “shortcuts” or ways to abbreviate functions in the natural design, the product of millions of years of evolution, and went ahead with dispensing with some of the architecture because it evaluated them as redundancies. The product appears to exhibit sentience, learning capabilities, and the self-criticality necessary for us to say it might possess consciousness.

We find we cannot reverse engineer the brain it built; we can’t comprehend the complex order of operations it performs, which appear different than the human brain.

 

 

 

 


[2] Nagel, Thomas, “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?,” from Mortal Questions, Cambridge University Press, 1991.

The 1890s Airship Waves and our contemporary Flying Black Triangle Mystery

DELLS

German immigrant Charles Dellschau (1830-1923) was a draftsman of odd aerial devices. Researcher Peter Navarro discovered a coded story within Dellschau’s drawings that told of a worldwide secret society of inventors who had experimented with airships in the 1850s. Dellschau purported to be the draftsman of the Sonora, California chapter of this organization. He filled many notebooks with meticulous designs for these vehicles.

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Between the 1850s and 1880s isolated reports of flying vehicles akin to Dellschau’s designs were described in the press. Inventor Solomon Andrews flew the first dirigible, the “Aereon,” in 1863. It is possible (but unlikely) that independent inventors conducted experiments in secret, given the descriptions of the remarkable vehicles seen. Additionally, during a time of great tension with Russia, balloons and airships that performed like advanced planes were sighted in waves from February to April 1892 in Poland. They have never satisfactorily been explained.

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The Airships of 1896-97: Thousands of people across the US, mostly on the West Coast and Midwest, report seeing a massive cigar-shaped vehicle in the sky. It has brilliant “headlights” and “searchlights” that sweep the land. Sometimes it has wings. Often lighted cabins are reported, and inhabitants are seen at the ships’ windows.

These craft float slowly over highly populated areas and are also observed racing instantly from a hovering position to the horizon or disappearing in seconds.

Powerful light beam projectors such as those reported on the ships did not exist at the time. A lamp strong enough to create these effects would have weighed far more than any then-existent lighter-than-air vehicle (balloons or dirigibles), and brought it crashing to the ground.

In the two months prior to the airship sighting waves, there are scattered reports of strange aerial phenomena: nocturnal colored light patches and a triangular set of lights observed by an astronomer. A rumor spreads prior to the first appearance that a Hoboken, New Jersey inventor named “Leon” had been boasting of flying a powered balloon cross-country.

                                                                      CALIFORNIA PHASE

The airship appears over Sacramento on November 17, 1896. Two or three very intense lights are described moving in tandem and drifting about in irregular rhythm. Voices are heard speaking in English of course headings and to avoid the church steeples. It reappears on the 22nd, moving against the prevailing winds. Hundreds see its lights, including district attorney Frank Ryan. They are described as far more powerful than an arc light; a man using binoculars on the object sees a dark mass connecting the lights. Others report a dirigible body, with fish-like tail and wings.

On that same night the airship appears over San Francisco bay—at approximately the same time. The press goes nuts. Over the next days, reports come in from all over California and as far north as Tacoma, Washington and western Canada.

On November 27th, the San Francisco Mail publishes an interview with a Colonel H.G. Shaw, who claims his buggy was halted—the horses stopped, in paralyzed terror—by three seven-foot, delicate-looking, very slender human-shaped beings who “warble” at him in a monotone. He sees their 150-foot long, cigar-shaped “ship” nearby. They approach his buggy and attempt to grab him but Shaw grabs one of them first and picks it up. He says the being weighed less than an ounce. Still they try to carry him to the ship but he easily resists them. They depart to the ship and it rises and vanishes.

He concluded they must be a team of scientists “from Mars” looking for a specimen.

On November 29th, red, white and blue lights are seen in conjunction with the powerful aerial arc beams in Tulare, California.

Two prominent lawyers (the second a former California attorney general, William Henry Harrison Hart) come forward claiming to represent the airship’s inventor—having been approached by him before the sightings began. The inventor, who fronts for a secret group (shades of Dellschau), desires absolute secrecy until the patent clears. But George Collins, the first attorney, says the man, who is from the state of Maine, will demonstrate “their” genius with further displays.

The press use detectives to track down this inventor. He turns out to be in fact a dentist from Maine, and is in fact one of Collins’s clients, but quickly disappears when he is ridiculed publicly and the press does what the press do best: hound him incessantly.

Both of the two chosen lawyers’ stories change suspiciously over the next two months; Collins retracts claims of accompanying the inventor to witness the ship’s takeoff from a hangar in Oroville, California. The airship sightings in California diminish then stop after the two fronts’ boastful newspaper interviews, in which the supposed systems of propulsion, energy source, and design of the craft are revealed in detail…

It’s fair to ask: Are the attorneys outright lying about this contact with the “inventor”, or did they reveal too much and the inventor(s) immediately threaten to withdraw the groups’ association with them? Did persons unknown hoax Collins and Hart after the sightings started, instructing them to say the meeting occurred before the airship first appeared? Or did the legal duo place this solicitation as occurring before the first airship sighting on their own, to puff up their own importance? We’ll never know. Their claims, though, are public record.

 

                                                                      THE MIDWEST WAVES

The airship appears at Hastings, Nebraska on February 1, 1897, then Invale, Nebraska on the 5th. It is made clear in these newspaper articles that the witnesses were reliable, honest people: they spotted the UAP on the way home from a prayer meeting and were teetotalers (presumably to counter all the accusations of bad whisky playing a part in the whole affair thus far!) Second, their description: a single bright light was seen fore on the black, conical-shaped craft, and six lights, three spread out on each side. “Wings” are also mentioned. It is not clear whether these three-to-a-side lights are on the wings, but if they were it would render the Invale UAP a close description of what will occupy the second half of our essay: the black triangular/delta shaped craft thousands of people have seen worldwide for the past three decades.

Afterward, newspaper reporting on the UAP explodes in Nebraska.

On February 16 it is reported over Omaha. From thence until the end of April it is reported all over Nebraska, and the news of its appearances goes national. In the wake of the initial sightings, hoaxers are caught (or admit) sending up balloons with fire-baskets. Landings, take offs, and close encounters (seen within 500 feet) of the airships are reported. Letters from two more “inventors” arrive, one at the Kearney Daily Hub and one addressed to the Trans-Mississippi Exposition, a world’s fair to be held in 1898 in Omaha. The writer of the latter envois is deduced, and he turns out to indeed be an inventor and engineer—but one whose airship design patent was deemed flawed by inspectors.

In Topeka, Kansas, it appears as a bright red light, loitering and skittering over the city long enough for hundreds, including the Kansas governor, to see it.
On April 2nd it is seen over both Kansas City and Everest—a distance of 60 miles—in under an hour, and apparently seen by thousands of people that night.

Then it appears over Iowa and Texas, and the “high strangeness” reports begins. A Tennesseean claims to have met the crew, comprised of a silent young woman, two very long-bearded young men, and an older bearded man. The older leader has “shining black eyes” and tells the witness his uncle had conquered gravity and left him the task to build and use the machine—to attack the Spanish occupying Cuba with a Hotchkiss (machine) gun!

The St. Louis Globe-Democrat of April 23 describes the story of a resident named Joseph Joslin who discovered a grounded airship. He claims to have been hypnotized and abducted by a short entity, suffering a missing time period of three weeks. But the story from a W.H. Hopkins to the St. Louis-Post Dispatch outdoes this last one—and also strays into contemporary UAP/alien folklore. Hopkins stumbles across the airship—described as a shiny, tapering cylinder—and meets two blond, naked, radiantly beautiful humans from “Mars” who seem to be overheating and having a difficult time in the earth’s intense sunlight. They communicate shortly then quickly depart. The ship lifts off and vanishes upward in seconds.

The description of the two beings sounds strikingly similar (sans their sky-clad condition) to what would eventually be known as the “Nordics” in UAP lore: majestic, aloof, beautiful humanoids who radiate intelligence and compassion. The description of them overheating and having trouble tolerating the atmosphere, on the other hand, will figure in many “humanoid” reports, especially the Asian/Mediterranean-featured “Men in Black,” from 1946 onward.

The airship shows up over Chicago and Wisconsin in mid-April. One reporter claims to have been taken on a 100mph ride over Chicago; the “pilot “only turns on the elaborate light system when passing over the Masonic temple’s tower. Like the Tennesseean’s account, this pilot mentions using the craft to liberate Cuba from the Spanish army, this time using dropped dynamite bundles.

A Peoria newspaper conducts a psychological test by sending up lit cylinder-shaped balloons. Most spectators comment that this faked “airship” looks and behaves exactly like a balloon, but many claim to see a cylindrical upper structure, struts, and even windows with crews visible. The Peoria press publishes the finding and scoffs.

Yet again, “associates” of the inventors come forward. Those explicitly named by these associates disavow any connection to the airships.

The Ringling Brothers, whose circus was gearing up for opening in Chicago, are suspected of creating the craft for promotional purposes. Rumors spread that the vehicle left San Francisco for a cross-country trip, to ultimately land in Washington to present the patent papers.

There follows a series of spectacular reports that later are uncovered as hoaxes: a farmer sees the lighted ship descend at night over his cattle pen, observes “horrible” jabbering entities within its gondola windows, and watches them yank a cow from the pen. He fails to free the animal and it sails off with the rapidly ascending vehicle.

While untrue, this tale strangely presages a well-known connection between cattle abductions/mutilations and UAP activity that has occurred from the 1960s to the present.

In the second hoax, a “judge Procter” claims an airship crashed into his windmill and exploded on his property bearing one dead pilot “obviously from the planet Mars.” The report maintains that the population of Aurora, a struggling town, supposedly scoured the wreckage area, picking up fragments of the strange metals and viewing the body of the astronaut, which is buried with a funeral in a cemetery. Telegraph operators pick up the story and pass it along, knowing it is a hoax. The supposed grave is looted and its headstone stolen. Proctor’s relatives and neighbors eventually admit he made up the story: there was no explosion and the judge didn’t even have a windmill on his property. Still the story is recycled to this day, and people visit Aurora looking for the “Martian” grave. Of course, these crazy believers think Proctor’s relatives are lying to cover up the truth–and get people to stop digging up their damn cemetery. Hint not taken, regardless.

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Although a portion of the reports was shown to be examples of “yellow journalism” to sell papers, these invented stories were spun from a core of researched sightings by impeccable witnesses. Hundreds of people of all walks of life saw the ships from differing angles on the same night in these main reports. The descriptions were uniform. Astronomers were consulted and ruled out known celestial phenomena in many cases.

——-

60 years later: UFOs (or Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, UAPs) appear in waves (“flaps”) across the world, chiefly among them cigar-shaped vehicles that could be said to resemble the 1890s airships. “Ghost rockets,” at first believed to be Soviet V-2 tests, were sighted thousands of times in Scandinavia from 1946 to 1948. According to American intelligence reports, the USSR might have been test-firing such weapons, but the CIA analysis was inconclusive. Many times these objects were seen flying in groups and horizontally and crashes were reported that turned up no debris…

Although the term “flying saucer” became the American norm for UAP by a quirk due to a 1947 witness’s metaphor for the objects’ motion (“like a saucer skipping across water”) there has always been an individualized variety to their appearance. Statistically, though, most of them are cigar or globe-shaped.

tr33tr32

-Roughly 85 years after the Airship Wave, huge lighted boomerang/triangle-shaped vehicles begin to exhibit the same brazen low-flying behavior, mostly in the Hudson River valley 1981-1987 and Belgium 1989-91. They continue to be seen all over America and in NATO countries to this day. From the descriptions, the objects’ leading edge have prismatic lights that change shape, or the three lighted tips are the only illumination seen. There is almost invariably a red light in the center.

Some 20,000 people have seen these vehicles worldwide. The reason we have this 20,000 figure is that the objects remained in the air in both areas for many nights and for extraordinarily long time-periods. The triangles lingered long enough on the night of March 24, 1983 for hundreds of people to stop their cars along New York’s Taconic State parkway, for instance, to get out and watch them for upwards of 25 minutes. Police in Connecticut as well watched the object(s) for extended periods. So many New Englanders saw the object(s) that the reporting reached a critical mass. Hundreds then thousands of witnesses came forward from 1981-87.

Press conferences were called. The FAA and Air Force claimed that the lights were ultra-light aircraft “stunt-fliers” flying in formation. This explanation was thoroughly debunked; no such flights were ever discovered having been launched from any airport in the area. Such a feat would have been illegal at night and warranting prosecution, and the FAA should have—had they believed their own assertion—sought these pilots to prosecute them. But they did not. Nor did the Air Force or FBI.

In any case, ultra-light planes could not have aerodynamically performed as the described objects did. This applies equally to the “Phoenix Lights” incident of March 13, 1997 in Arizona. In that case, the official explanation was that flares had been dropped during an Air Force exercise. Thousands saw the row of lights moving vertically across the sky, including actor Kurt Russell, who was flying his son into Phoenix at the time in his own airplane and reported the object to the tower; they reported back to him that there was no traffic at that position. Many people reported more than one enormous boomerang-shaped object that had lights along its edge and blocked the stars as it slowly passed over. Arizona governor Fife Symington called a press conference a few days later and ridiculed the sightings, then years later admitted he had seen the object himself that night and believed it to be of extraterrestrial origin (much like the Kansas governor’s sighting in 1897, but this time with a cynical prelude).

The Connecticut State Police Department, the Belgian Air Force (and, I suppose, Fife Symington) are the only official institutions and persons to publicly acknowledge the triangular crafts’ existence. They continue to be seen all around the world to this day.

 

Airship Pilots: 1896: as noted above, the quasi-dirigible airships were occasionally seen on the ground being repaired by crews.

—In one of these episodes, two young bearded men, a silent woman, and bearded old man dressed in normal clothes were encountered in locations a thousand miles apart independently reported by different newspapers. This would lead one to rule out a hoax or fabrication—unless there was a joint effort between newspapers via telegraph to concoct a hoax. But back then the wire service was used almost exclusively for hard news, and that such “fanciful” reports would not garner the dollar-valuable time of transmitters. It would have been too involved to send a detailed report by telegraph, and to what purpose?

—Another encounter details a “swarthy” crew speaking German; a third a crew of “Japanese”-appearing pilots who spoke nonsense.

—A few people including a reporter claimed to have been taken aboard and transported hundred miles from their hometown. Other witnesses were offered trips, but refused. Some were allowed to inspect the vehicle. In one case, a man stumbled across the landed craft in a field, conversed briefly with the wary crew, and was about to leave the area when the aeronauts began to argue in a foreign language. The witness was then invited to dine with them. Repairs continued while they ate. The crew quickly bade him farewell and launched.

He subsequently believed the meal was planned to delay his going to report the landed craft.

Airship origins: The Silent Inventors: The supposed “inventors” were always fronted by “respectable people” to be the public representative for an unnamed inventor or group who claimed to have perfected air travel.

Whether real, fabrication, hoax, shared hallucination, all these tales had a definite effect on the public’s imagination. The stories embodied a sense of expectancy towards a new technological age—the age of flight.

Origins: The Flying Triangles: 1981-present: People mostly believe the lighted triangular craft are either secret government vehicles or of extraterrestrial origin; others maintain they are holographic illusions generated by the U.S. military as “psychological tests” on the public. Yet others think the triangles are interdimensional machines, or even time machines from our future.

“Contactees” and UAP investigators have both attempted to explain the craft and their “occupants’” purpose. Narratives have evolved over the decades since their appearance. People have invented origin stories for them—calling them the “Aurora” or “Astra” or “TR-3B” that use layered rings of superconductive materials through which magnetized mercury spins, creating a field that reduces the ship’s mass to near zero, etc.

It is always a whistleblowing “inside source” that has told some UAP “researcher” of their existence—much like the position into which the “upstanding citizen” officials who fronted for the inventors a century ago were compelled.

I tend to believe these are secret government craft: very rarely do they interact with witnesses or produce the radiation/EM physical effects associated with “classic” UAPs (local animal agitation, electrical interference, witness nausea, headaches, burns, actinic blinding, telepathic messages, concurrent “entity” sightings). They have never been seen on the ground. The triangles merely loiter in the sky, performing impossible aerodynamic feats, send down light beams and red “scout” orbs out into the sky that return.

To me, the most likely possibility is that these vehicles are a trump card the US “shadow military” has been holding for decades for the eventuality of a DEFCON 1 situation of active nuclear hostilities. Although the triangles have never demonstrated weapons capability, by their reported astounding aerial behavior these vehicles could easily travel into any hostile “denied access” area in the world. They appear to have cloaking and “total informational surveillance” capabilities as well (in dozens of instances witnesses have reported blinking headlights or flashlights at them and the vehicles respond back by instantly flashing back).

One of the “they’re aliens” camp’s objections to the shadow military hypothesis is that our government would never risk civilians’ safety by flying over populated areas, or risk the crash of such an advanced craft. They minimize two important facts, however:

1) the US government’s long, documented history of using the public as unwitting guinea pigs in experimentation, thus the military wouldn’t care if the vehicles generated physical, sociological, or psychological side effects; they would indeed be studying these effects in secret—see this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unethical_human_experimentation_in_the_United_States

2) the government has proved itself capable of securing areas during test malfunctions and instituting more or less successfully ambiguous cover stories for secret projects for 70 years, since the Manhattan Project.

This “dark military” theory implies there would be secret security teams in the area ready to deploy within seconds of vehicle failure in order to cordon off the area during the sighting windows.

The ET proponents also ignore plausible conjectures about the machines:

Perhaps the craft have redundancies in their design that render them “crash-proof,” making 2 above unnecessary. Perhaps they are programmed to immediately traverse space to hover over the nearest large body of water if their engines/field generators even hint at failure. This is backed up by the fact that many times they have been spotted loitering over reservoirs and lakes—in several cases taking in water by way of “hoses”. There also is a long history of one or more–sometimes a dozen–helicopters seen in the vicinity of these vehicles. Here is as good an “authentic” 2008 film of a “TR-3B” loitering in the sky as can be found in the YouTube wilderness of fakery:

Perhaps in addition to an anti-gravity field, they also possess “sonic dampening bubbles” that keep the ostensibly loud sound of the craft to a minimum to silent. The landscape beneath them has never been affected by exhaust streams. Perhaps their exotic propulsion system requires no combustion at all, thus no nozzles, exhaust, rotors, or the sound of turbines we associate with airborne craft.

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Of course this is all near-worthless speculation. I’m not interested in proving the existence of the airships of 1896-97. If even one of them were real, that would be enough to throw a wrench into aviation history.

The existence of these gravity-defying triangular craft, on the other hand, has been established beyond any reasonable doubt. What is interesting is that the two phenomena have mythic and psychological similarity in the effects on the public:

-They challenge the accepted laws of physics of their days.

-They were confined to “flap” areas for periods of two to three years of concentrated activity in which thousands of people saw them.

-Their creators wish to remain anonymous.

-Through this secrecy, they become objects of paranoid imagination.

-They maintain the sense of mystery about the “affairs of humankind” with regard to “shadow government,” secret societies, and technology—that magic is more than just possible, but real.

These fulfill unconscious longings. It is becoming accepted by people of all walks of life that our civilization is at a tipping point of collapse. It is rapidly approaching a point of being out of the control of individuals and even organizations. The triangles, like all UAPs, fulfill an emotional and almost spiritual need in a crisis time: they elicit a sense of expectancy of a new technological age: the age of interstellar flight/extraterrestrial contact.

But after all this: why were identical black flying triangles reported in Baltimore in 1949? And then this:

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For more information, see David Marler’s Triangular UFOs: An Estimate of the Situation,  CreateSpace Independent Publishing, 2013

Daniel Cohen: The Great Airship Mystery: A UFO of the 1890s, Dodd, Mead, 1981

Jerome Clark: The UFO Encyclopedia: The Phenomenon from the Beginning, 2 Vols., Omnigraphics, 1998.

 

Substrate Neutrality, Nanotech, and ET

reservoir computing

There’s a new strain of old thinking going around in the transhumanist-quantum computing world called “reservoir computing.” Moore’s Law of computing power/transistor size has smashed headlong into a brick wall of late as scientists have begun working on nano scales. Say goodbye to electrons bouncing around inside silicon chips, and say hello to a bucket of water:

(A team of German scientists) demonstrated that, after stimulating the water with mechanical probes, they could train a camera watching the water’s surface to read the distinctive ripple patterns that formed. They then worked out the calculation that linked the probe movements with the ripple pattern, and then used it to perform some simple logical operations. Fundamentally, the water itself was transforming the input from the probes into a useful output—and that is the great insight.[1]

Reservoir computing is based on the idea that stimulating a material in a certain electromagnetic fashion can vibrate its molecular structure into tiny computing units:

Reservoir computers exploit the physical properties of a material in its natural state to do part of a computation. This contrasts with the current digital computing model of changing a material’s properties to perform computations. For example, to create modern microchips we alter the crystal structure of silicon. A reservoir computer could, in principle, be made from a piece of silicon (or any number of other materials) without these design modifications.[2] (emphasis added)

waterripple

Some abracadabra flim-flim is possibly going on here. In the world of quantum computing news there is always a problem with the noise-to-signal ratio: media hype (for funding purposes) vs. what pans out as an actual breakthrough. Things like reservoir computing get boosted, but most times are eventually found to be dead-ends. The water experiment paper cited is from 2003. What has happened in the interim? Its author, Matthew Dale, cites his own paper dated January 2017 on the latest RC work. The truth is most real technological advances such as these occur in the dark, in a military program or military-funded university lab far away from the media spotlight, with an average lag-time of ten years from the initial breakthrough to the public revelation (if it gets revealed at all). Years can go by before such discoveries have achieved some kind of societal application (if they at all do). Only then do the military-corporate patent-holders allow the breakthrough articles to hit the presses. Several years later, we begin to see their widespread application in the civil domain (the internet, of course, is the primo example).

Anyway, Dale discusses how reservoir computing parallels the discoveries in current “global computation” models of the brain. The “wet” aspect (no pun) comes into the picture in another paper he cites:

The “input layer” couples the input signal into a non-linear dynamical system (for example, water or the kinetic movement of gases) that constitutes the “reservoir layer”. The internal variables of the dynamical system, also called “reservoir states”, provide a nonlinear mapping of the input into a high dimensional space. Finally the time-dependent output of the reservoir is computed in the “output layer” as a linear combination of the internal variables. The readout weights used to compute this linear combination are optimized so as to minimize the mean square error between the target and the output signal, leading to a simple and easy training process.[3] (clarification added)

What this amounts to is using the non-linear vibrating movements of an analog phenomenon (large-scale Newtonian nonlinear systems like the ripples in disturbed water) to perform calculating work. Dale draws parallels with the brain’s “wet” environment in its helping process the perception of say, a light. Specific areas of the brain have been shown to process incoming visual signals, but they receive “computing” help from the entire “wet global workspace” of the brain’s neurochemical soup.

Parallel to these researches, Randal A. Koene proposes “substrate independent” pattern-copying of neural networks and, ostensibly, whole biological entities. This means that one could retain the core relationships of a pattern in space-time, such as a brain, but embody it in something other than carbon-based forms. With respect to use of the word “independent” in substrate independence, journalist Mark O’Connell writes:

This latter term, I read, was the ‘objective to be able to sustain person-specific functions of mind and experience in many different operational substrates besides the biological brain.’ And this, I further learned, was a process ‘analogous to that by which platform independent code can be compiled and run on many different computing platforms.’[4]

Koene’s work is funded by Russian millionaire Dmitri Itskov, who founded the 2045 Initiative, whose goal is “to create technologies enabling the transfer of an individual’s personality to a more advanced nonbiological carrier, and extending life, including to the point of immortality.”

If these avenues prove successful (and that’s a big if), couldn’t some other civilization that long ago discovered matter’s computable properties already have “hacked” the space (the zero-point field and/or space dust/gases) between stars/planets to transmit information over vast distances at the speed of light? Could they send their own DNA (or “substrate-independent” copies) as coherent pulses of light over these distances? Or even “instructions” to build/grow vehicles from the elements found in the “dust” and gases in transit along the way, or at the beams’ destination solar system? The idea of sending information via photon streams is not far-fetched, and has recently been hypothetically advanced enough to be testable: https://www.livescience.com/61993-quantum-message-double-speed.html?utm_source=notification

Solarsystem

Their first problem would be to overcome the entropy that might occur to the traveling luminal signal that contains the “shipbuilding” information. Suppose an ET civilization around Alpha Centauri shot a massive series of photon beams (lasers) from their home planet that were encoded with information, instructions folded within instructions, using DNA or its “photonic substrate equivalent” (I choose this uninhabited system simply because it’s closest to us). Primary amongst its instructions is the maintenance of microscopic nano-assembling units it will create upon reaching its destination. The beam is structurally designed to draw energy from the photon/electron streams emitted by the gas clouds it passes to surmount its own tendency to disintegration. Or perhaps it draws energy directly from the “quantum foam” of Planck space, essentially recreating itself continuously as it moves along, like the cells which continuously replicate within a biological body.

As it nears its target, say a billion miles out from our sun, it begins to accumulate particles of interstellar/intrastellar dust and as its mass increases slows significantly. Upon arrival at our target solar system, it would interact with the sun’s magnetic field. It would “stop.” Let’s say by this time it is the size of a baseball. Its first programmed task would be to gather enough stray material (gases, dust, particles) that its form (a large “dot” at this point) would attain significant mass, just as planets are supposedly formed. This means it would need to induce an “eddy” of centripetal motion in the magnetic field to form a “core.” Simultaneous with this self-creation is the manufacturing, as it grows in size, of nano-assembler-units that function like microscopic “bees.” Over time, the dot becomes a sphere the size, say, of quarter the Moon’s size, and the “bees” into forms ranging in size from microscopic to the size of a VW. Its instructions continue to unfold, the bees working, differentiating the parts of the sphere’s chemical-metallic form just like the ontogeny of a living creature in the womb. The parts begin to function/interact like a large-scale machine. It creates for itself a power plant that functions either like its transit method (drawing energy inherent in Planck space) or by solar, or nuclear, or all of these combined.

When its self-assembly is complete, it contains an “incubatorium.” By using records of its “parent” race’s DNA, and begins to fashion from the atoms/molecules up replicas of its biological parents. These beings are not alive in the sense we normally think of it; they are essentially cyborg-copies of their parents.

Or maybe the parents have decided to dispense with their biological form altogether and decide to create their surrogates as inchoate energy patterns capable of taking on any form, like the Organians on Star Trek. The biologically-modeled “ship” and its “crew” now begin to investigate our solar system, continuously sending back information at light-speed back to Alpha Centauri—an operation that took a mere 5+ years, and not the hundreds of thousands of years ET debunkers always say it would take for another civilization to reach us at subluminal speeds.

Now suppose this ET civilization shot millions of these beam-clusters into space, in all directions, towards every star system containing “M-class” planets. It would have AI outposts all over the galaxy.

This is one far-out-there hypothetical scenario. But doesn’t this information-only “trans-life” substrate hypothesis scientists like Koene are working on imply that signs of, or representatives of, extraterrestrial intelligences could be around us in a myriad of camouflaged forms and we wouldn’t know it? An aggressively-symmetrical tree? A strange meteor? A weird patch of fog? A quivering blade of grass? The octopus?

 

 


[1] https://theconversation.com/theres-a-way-to-turn-almost-any-object-into-a-computer-and-it-could-cause-shockwaves-in-ai-62235 citing Fernando C., Sojakka S. (2003) Pattern Recognition in a Bucket. In: Banzhaf W., Ziegler J., Christaller T., Dittrich P., Kim J.T. (eds) Advances in Artificial Life. ECAL 2003. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 2801. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg

[2] Ibid.

 

A Perverse Horology…

Sundialgnomon

Rocks are computationally equivalent to humans.–Stephen Wolfram

The basis of the universe-as-machine metaphor stretches back into antiquity. Natural regularities observed from the beginning of human history form the background for this belief:

-The round of day into night.

-Moon phases.

-The seasons

-The solstices and equinoxes relative to the sun’s rising/setting over local “markers:” trees, mountains, building edges, etc.

-The wandering planets’ regular courses.

-Birth-growth-flourishing-senescence-death.

The “clockwork universe” idea became a dominant analogy for scientists after Laplace’s determinism gained widespread currency early in the 18th century, but you might say it originally began with the ancient astronomers who timed the days, months, seasons, years, ages, and precessions. They modeled these relationships with orreries and planetaria. The gnomon/sundial gave rise to the daily hours and their division. From the Babylonians to the Romans, each hour had its own deity, overseen by greater deities that managed them: a celestial bureaucracy.

orrery

       To the ancient mind, the stars and planets were connected to events on earth; Sirius’s heliacal rising caused the Nile’s inundation of its plains for the Egyptians, either by direct spiritual force or by a resonance. The universe was not “dead matter” blindly obeying laws—it was a living being full of lesser daimons communicating etheric signals about and through the eternal laws that regulated this superorganism’s body. Some persons were gifted enough to see these beings and the relationships.

We were parts of this continuum, and reflected its regularities. As above, so below; as below, so above.

clepsydra

       Water clocks like the Greek clepsydra existed in ancient India, China, Babylon, and Egypt; these were probably tied to measuring the precise durations for human activities like cooking, smelting, and religious services. The Antikythera mechanism of 100-105 BCE is probably an orrery. The clepsammia (hourglass) was invented in Hellenistic Alexandria; it most likely took only a few months or even weeks for its inventor to match with a sundial the size of the two glass bells and the amount and quality of sand to get an accurate measure of the 60-minute hour, and notate the completed object’s sand quantities/dimensions.

hourglass

       In 1090 CE, Chinese inventor Su Song built an elaborate water clock for the purpose of determining the heavenly bodies’ positions during the royal concubines’ births if cloudy weather occurred during those times.[i] In the 14th century, John Dondi built a very complex clockwork orrery; a spring mechanism was wound and clicked at regular intervals to show the movements of the planets and sun about the earth. The need to time monastic worship activities led to water clocks and eventually bell-tolls connected to complex gear mechanisms, such as the clock in the Prague town square, built in 1410.

prague

       All of these involve representing natural phenomena into a single mechanism that link the two levels/worlds, local and celestial, mesocosmic and macrocosmic, as a time “keeper.”

Two centuries ago, a metaphor linking living organisms and machines—especially clocks—began to be used loosely in the scientists’ discourse. To what degree this mistaken equivalence has impacted the “Western noosphere” of lived experience is still unknown. But the signs point.

——————

In ancient myths, there were near-countless “frames” or metaphors with which to characterize living beings (and the cosmos as a whole).

Magicians in antiquity had to observe and tune themselves with the rhythms of nature in order to manipulate it. Some of the pre-Socratic philosophers cast aside elemental “animism” (as well as the Greek city-states’ deities and cosmogonies) in favor of abstract principles or forces as the “first causes” that could then be viewed disinterestedly.[ii]

Personification and projection into natural phenomena had to be eliminated from the subject/object relationships for the supposed clarity of the “primary principle” to come into view.

And this is what these philosophers did; it was the beginning of the long march towards materialistic scientism.[iii]

WorldtreeVesicatree

       Before the pre-Socratics, countless analogies in world cultures were imagined for the universe’s origin and its regularities: the cosmic egg, the triune cosmic egg (underworld/middleworld/upperworld), the cosmic tree, the wheel of the Zodiac, the Heavenly Millstone which described both the constellations spinning about the Pole star and the equinoctial precession. Yet they were more than analogies; they were the actual primordial forms of the familiar earthbound objects that reflected them. The canopy of the Milky Way was the milk-vortex of Vishnu, the Milk of Hera, the Silver River, Tiamat’s Tail, Heavenly Ganges

Tiamattail

       Each of these “tropes” fit their source: The Millstone and Wheel of Heaven mirrored the iris/pupil of the human eye, the sun disc, the moon disc. The mythemes originated through isomorphism.

But isomorphism is only one aspect of these images. They functioned to explain the cosmos. The Millstone’s grains—that is, the Polar stars and planets—created human fates instead of flour. In solar myths, the sun was the heart of the deity, the symbol of eternity. In Polar myths, the North Star was the destination of the soul in the afterlife, set in the cave-like darkness that mirrored the underworld, around which the Great Bear and all the other constellations revolved.

Community priest-leaders insisted on preserving their explanatory mythemes, especially when the tribe migrated. Contacting other peoples inevitably altered their beliefs. Upon the discovery of parallel functions and visual motifs in another culture—their speaking each others’ symbolic language, as it were—the mythemes could be syncretized. And for a tribe for whom some aspects of their mythology was “impoverished” in explanatory power or soteriological depth, the new belief systems could fill in the gaps or deepen the understanding of their own deities. They absorbed aspects the “alien” culture’s symbols and rituals that their own lacked.[iv]

The equivalency between motifs and stories was due to the natural phenomenon that underlay the mytheme and gave rise to specific names and tales.

At the Council of Nicaea, the son and father were legislated to be of the same substance, for once and all. The ideas of cyclical return, daimonic intermediaries, and reincarnation were forbidden. Thus was a kinetic element to universe denied, and the idea of a world-soul was stripped from the Catholic Christianity. Universe and consciousness set once and for all as an unchangeable entity; any evolutionary principle to the universe was forbidden.[v]

Chainbeing

       During Middle Ages Europe, the Great Chain of Being and the ancient idea of celestial spheres were the dominant Western metaphors for the heavens and earth, humanity and animal and landscape–the direct result of the Council’s decisions. This was by all measures a universe that operated like a machine, but was suffused with the will of God.

The triad heaven-earth-underworld, which is as old as shamanism, was preserved in Dante’s Divine Comedy. Dante’s Hades mirrored, in a descending, spiraling action, the three-dimensional nested-domes that surrounded the earth in Aristotle’s philosophy. But by the 15th century, the Neoplatonist interpretations of Plato and Aristotle’s cosmos solidified into dogmatic teachings in the monastic schools. For Aristotle, psyche/psuche—soul—simply meant an entity’s innate ability for self-movement. This was just a bare-bones definition that the Scholastics expanded to include the innate, ghost-like personality via Neoplatonic ideas of astral influence. Contradictions in theology set in, leading to the famous Scholastic quibbling over minute deviations in doctrine. They perceived the contradiction of a universe of eternal laws, the existence of sin and evil, and our possession of free will. Humans were still the fallen images of Adam Kadmon, the prototypical human, but far above the “animal” world in the chain. We were bound in sin by the second Adam, in Eden, but redeemed by the “third Adam,” Jesus. In a sense, Jesus’s sacrifice to show humanity the way destroyed the absolute determinism (mechanism) of original sin: the merciless wheel of causal sin was “broken upon the cross.”

As astronomy progressed with Galileo, Brahe, and Kepler, the signatures of a “universal clock” came more clearly into view. John Harrison’s 1761 timepiece allowed the near-exact determination of longitude as well as precise timing of celestial events. By the late 18th century local time-keeping was nearly perfected, just as an ensoulled cosmos was being officially “invalidated” by our increasing comprehension of physical laws. Gravitational “fields” and electricity came to replace the anima mundi, the universal soul.

—————-

So is the universe a form of machine, tied to clockwork regularities, as many scientists like David Deutsch and Stephen Wolfram insist? Does any hard evidence exist equating the mechanism with biological activity?

Mechanism can be abstracted into the concept of the algorithm: a predictable stepwise transformation/change in a system from one time interval to the next. Although quantum theory can challenge our ideas of time and chaos theory demonstrates the non-linearity of certain systems, (that is, challenging singular, isolated cause-and-effect relations), many science boosters nevertheless retail narratives from the premise that biology=machine. Merely because a resemblance exists.

This equality rests upon the deeply ingrained world of Newtonian causality which holds only at one level of consciousness: our observations of the objects that exist above a certain scale of size and complexity.

We’ve measured the age of this universe: 13.8 billion years. Our best telescopes can peer backwards in time to the purported beginning. Yet space is seemingly endless.

As I said, a vestige of the “world soul” mytheme lingers in the ideas of electromagnetic and gravitational fields—but these latter are responsive to measurement and manipulation. At one time, this manipulation required human ritual that put the shaman or magician in touch with independently existing forces/forms that responded to command. Now we’ve mediated them via physical electronic devices. Today, atoms function with no purpose but to exchange electrons. Humans exist only to propagate offspring and thus their genetic heritage; any higher purpose is an illusion created by our finely tuned brains, the “most complex object in the universe.”[vi] Through a bait-and-switch promoted by scientists like Lawrence Krauss, these gurus have replaced the “whys” of nature with “hows” in order to sidestep questions of teleology. The best they can do for the cosmic birth is that an accident occurred due to a statistical hiccup in the “quantum flux” of nothingness.

In other words, a free miracle.

The same with humanity’s origin: despite today’s mytheme of incremental natural selection, it is only honest to say that the origin of the process is ultimately unknowable. Natural selection is just one part of the evolutionary story; the origins of metabolism and reproduction (both of which are suitable to algorithmic modeling) are still mysterious. No one knows how the hell it happened. But a Krauss will tell you the two processes were simply another set of accidents in the causal chain that birthed the universe/nature. We’re supposed to take this on faith, because Krauss for certain cannot explain it; all he can say is “it must have happened that way!” We are purposeless, but exist (as a radical transhumanist might add with a flourish) to “take control of our evolutionary course from blind chance and achieve a form of immortality.” That’s quite a telos for beings that inherently possess no telos, and prompts the question: is a purpose wrestled over billions of years from the existential void of a meaningless universe actually a purpose, or just more deluded error? Why is the wrestling away of our mortal fate from “blind nature” purposeful, when our own thrown existence is not?

Which leads us back to the origin of the question: the machine as measuring device.

A clock or robot’s origin: human. They are purposive in relation to us, created for a function, whether that function is to crunch numbers or create another machine.

The contradiction that nihilistic science creates is that machines have a purpose for us, yet the “wonderful machines” of nature have no purpose for some Other, whether God or angels or an alien race. Atheist scientists like Krauss think it is illogical or invalid to extrapolate from the human-machine relation to the Creator-nature-humanity relation. He gives no compelling reasons why this should be so. Philosophers like Nick Bostrom argue that we probably live in a simulation by posthumans or extraterrestrials and that if that’s so, all bets are off against God or the supernatural not being “real” in some sense, because even our observable rules of physics could be programmings that only simulated beings such as ourselves would be able to perceive. The creator(s)’ universe may operate on entire different sets of rules.

———————–

What this all comes down to, for me, is the concept of ownership. We appear phenomenologically to ourselves and others as embodied beings subject to misadventure and random occurrences and the entropy of aging. The important words here are “appear” and “embodied.” Thinking about one’s sense of disembodiment such as in a dream state, reverie, or hypnagogia takes place in a time interval; in other words, in order for the loop of self-consciousness (introspection, recognition that one is not in a state of direct embodiment) to occur requires time. Thus a split or doubling occurs. We then can attempt to make of consciousness an object that can be studied—and the body as well. We find ourselves possessors of these experiences, whether we consciously loop into doubling-back and introspection or not.

This process is mirrored in the relationship between the macroscopic world of planets and stars and the clock that sits on the mantle. The clock is our reified doubled-consciousness—the symbol of self-consciousness. But it is only that, and has no relation to the markerless unfolding, outward and upward, expanding and contracting, of an organic being.

 


[i] Richards, E.G. Mapping Time: The Calendar and Its History, Oxford University Press, 1998, pgs. 56-57.

[ii] Plato desperately tried to hew to an ultimate goal for philosophy—transcendence of the imperfect, material world—in his dialectics but was many times sidetracked by Athenian cultural affairs (politics and morality, mostly). With Aristotle, forget it: all talk of ascension by means of rationality found in Plato, which had been modeled on Egyptian funerary/resurrection systems, was banished.

[iii] Strictly, Democritus, Leucippus, Epicurus, and Lucretius were materialist-atheists during the beginning of the Hellenistic Period with their dictum “all is just atoms and the void.” Democritus of Abdera was first to postulate that tiny, indivisible (a-tom in Greek) particles made up everything known in the universe. Democritus used the example/analogy/metaphor of an object being composed of tiny particles that each contained the “proper” nature of the whole object that creates its form (a bit like a fractal hologram, when you think about it!) A wooden table is made at an atomic level of indivisible bits of the element “wood,” which is in turn comprised of water and earth and fire in a defined mixture. One could prove this idea by smashing the table to bits, then pulverizing the bits, then crushing further the pulverized dust, never reaching anything that is not a tiny bit of wood. It can become fire, or earth (think of decayed wood, if it were left alone to rot) and is water-soluble in this form. Democritus extrapolated that if you could continue this splitting you would reach the atom “wood.”

For its time this was quite an astounding conceptual leap—invisible constituents that construct physical objects. Today we can say that sets of organic molecules arranged in certain ways give wood the properties it has, but ultimately we would arrive at a “characterless, property-less” atom whose number of electrons and aggregated determines the properties/qualities the macroscopic object will have.

[iv] In just one example, see Raphael Patai’s The Hebrew Goddess on the assimilation of Akkadian-Ugaritic goddess Athirat/Ashtart as the “wife of Yahweh,” Asherah, in the earliest Jewish faiths. Asherah was a “foreign” deity whose banishment and reinstitution occurred dozens of times over centuries in the many Hebrew tribal communities. Just as a cult of Mary was practiced alongside the Nicaean Christianity of Catholicism for 1,500 years until she was ratified as near-equal to Jesus in the 19th and 20th centuries, the rabbis exploring the Kabbalah retained the feminine divine presence in the Shekinah via the Sephirot from Hellenistic times to the present.

[v] Scott, Ernest. The People of the Secret, Octagon Press, 1985, pgs. 42-43.

The Art of Making Connections: The Evolving Remix and the Eternal Mash-up

It is impossible for one to step in the same river twice, for upon one different and still different waters flow—Heraclitus of Ephesus

——————

We are familiar with mutated cultural items in postmodern capitalism, through the musical and visual mash-up and the song remix. But we seem unwilling to recognize that our core beliefs, when considered in their histories, have a hybrid nature just like these seemingly trite diversions.

The history of any language could serve as an example of such “deep-time” hybridization, but here are just a handful of instances from the history of Christianity:

– In the 8th Century BCE the Persian prophet Zoroaster preached worship of a “God of Light,” Ahura Mazda, creator of all good in the universe. Ahura Mazda continuously battled Ahriman, the lord of materiality, illusion, and lies, until a Day of Judgment when the light-god would banish Ahriman to hell for eternity.

Although they were brutally suppressed as heretics, the Gnostic Christian cults of the Alexandrian era (2nd-4th centuries CE) held views that in time had significant influence on Roman Catholic and Protestant Christianity. The Gnostics combined a Zoroastrian dualism between matter and spirit with Neo-Platonic views of a “Heaven” that exists beyond the physical world. For them, the material world was utterly corrupt and an illusion created by an Ahrimanic-like being. These evil qualities became synonymous for the Gnostics with that of Yahweh, the demiurgic god of the Old Testament. Yahweh—whom the Gnostics eventually called Satan, the Adversary of mankind—created the material universe to trick the imprisoned sparks of divine light that the Gnostics believed humans were in their essence.

A person could amplify and release this “imprisoned spark” through knowledge (gnosis) of the truth of the situation. After initiation, one could ascend seven levels of divine knowledge (the path of Sophia, imagined as a goddess and guide) to the timeless, non-spatial Pleroma (“Fullness”)—a conception of heaven that was directly adapted from the Neo-Platonists’ “One.” For the Gnostics, Jesus the Savior never incarnated physically, but was a hologram-like emanation of the true God of the Pleroma, who taught secret doctrines of gnosis that only the initiated could use towards salvation.

Along with Platonic doctrines of reincarnation, these ideas were banished from orthodox Christianity at the Council of Nicea in 325 CE. Yet the idea of the world—especially the flesh—being completely corrupt survived and found expression in the monasteries’ ascetic practices. The Neo-Platonic Heaven was revived during the evangelical surge of the 19th & 20th Centuries as a “City of God” where true believers would spend eternity. The vanquishing of Satan after an End Times is orthodox amongst contemporary evangelical Christians. They do not seem to realize that in believing these ideas, they are more Neo-Platonic Zoroastrians than Christians, for nowhere in the Gospels does Jesus mention such things—they occur only in the Revelation of John of Patmos.

-The Persian-Roman religion of Mithraism, with which the Christian sects competed for adherents in the first three centuries CE, taught astrological knowledge of the equinoctial precession to its initiates. Its calendar was comprised of “holy-days” marking the solstice/equinox. The early Christian church appropriated them in the Julian calendar in order normalize its own rituals, placing Christ’s birth on or near the solstice and death and resurrection near the spring equinox. Also changed from the Greek was Christ’s reign “until the end of the Age” (referring to the sun’s eventual heliacal rising in Aquarius after Pisces in the precession) to the “end of time.”

– Pseudo-Dionysius’s Celestial Hierarchy (5th century CE) classified the pantheon of Greek, Roman, and Hebraic daimons as divine agents. He retained only the Hebraic angelic orders (which were in part based upon the older Egyptian orders) as being in God’s service. Six centuries later, St. Thomas Aquinas used the Celestial Hierarchy to normalize the angelic orders in the service of Christ. All “messengers” other than the Hebraic were thus recast as demonic agents of the Adversary, remnants of the old pagan order which Christ’s life, death and resurrection now effaced. Christianity was rationalized as a religion to replace and amplify all the previous, Apollonian-hero belief systems. It erased the previous pantheons of gods and replaced them with a single archetype that successfully re-encoded, in moral terms, the psychological landscape of the hero. Psychologist C.G. Jung, after studying the common structures of mythologies and religions, called this unifying signature of Christianity the “individuation process.” According to Jung, Christianity psychologically succeeded in effacing Mithraism, Zoroastrianism, and other religions by (some say because) placing a mysterious contradiction at its center: that a unique being could both be God and a single unique human at the same time—further, that the whole of the Kosmos had a triadic nature: God, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit was an echo of the Neo-Platonic “world-soul”, a living presence considered universally as a feminine deity.

The Roman Catholic laity reconciled the “psychological loss of the feminine” by raising the Virgin Mary as mother of God, and nearly equal to Jesus and God, ratified by papal decree in the 19th century.

Et cetera. This list could go on in widening scope and finer detail—and that’s my point. What we consider “orthodox” is actually syncretic when we examine beliefs more closely. Hybridity informs most long-lasting cultural products, like a material corollary to genetic variation: you won’t anywhere find a genetically “pure” group of people, because the closer they are to “purity” the greater the chance that recessive genes will surface to end their own reproductive viability.

Similarly, you cannot find a cultural signal that has not been uncorrupted by the noise of heterogeneous influences as it has descended through time and geography to the present.

Our minds function against the influx of our surroundings by instantly filtering out the familiar, finding signals in the background noise. We transform the noise of an unfamiliar experience by creating from it a signal, however “mistaken” it might be.

It is from this assimilation process, from a storehouse of sometimes imperfect, unorthodox collective memory, that cultural mutations multiply and are in turn carried down.

————

Our minds create abstractions that mediate between our mental background and the alien “other” that we confront. They are, for the most part, unconsciously willed—a product of Imagination. The “first draft” of impressions is populated with chimerical phantoms that become objects for thought, then objects of shared culture, if they can successfully encode their own mediating function, making a bridge between the two societies. Every moment is an origination point for what will be inherited in time—and results in the creation of new cultural objects. So in other words, the remixed is our constant matrix, the mashed-up our constant genesis, on timescales from the shortest media cycle to the zodiacal age.

———-

This view is contrary to the Western idea of “self-identical essence” that objects, self, and experiences are said to possess, as explicated in Plato’s Timaeus onward.

Recollection of the originating event or “pure expression” of any religious, social, or artistic movement would seem to be instrumental to its continuing survival—but to make this possible, “mutations” must be suppressed in the process of shepherding ritual and remembrance into collective consciousness; this suppression supports the phenomena’s stable transmission through time in replicating the informational content—its self-identity.

————–

It’s easy to conclude that the metaphysical christenings “same” and “different” interdependently define one another on the playing field of language against a primordial background of Imagination where flux reigns. Rigid adherence to the categories results in a paradox and conflict, in ignorance of the multiplicity of origins.

Take two religious movements, for example—Roman Catholicism and the Islamic Salafiyyah. Both religions originated in the midst of “pagan” cultures, yet both possess a similar ontology: the idea of one unchanging God who underwrites the identity of all individual creations.

From this ontology naturally evolved the mutation-deleting practice of “self-identicity.” Both of them have squelched heresies in ritual and belief within their own ranks, and they easily find resistance against one another, as the past nine hundred years attest.

Conversely, take two religious sects for example that practice a denial of “self-identicity” in their ontologies—Theravadin Buddhists and Advaita Vedantists—or, to be consistent, the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and the Sufis.

None of these sects have ever gone to war against each other, nor against the practitioners of any other religion. Nor will they ever. A war between them would be a war between dead labels only, their adherents’ beliefs having already mutated away from that which their names signified.

————

On the other hand we have the pan-psychic or “animist” conception, in which everything in creation is inherently ensoulled along a kind of spiritual or psychic spectrum.

Of all the beliefs that have been suppressed and damned in the Abrahamic West, pan-psychism has received the most censure. The Platonist-Abrahamic tradition has evolved an inherent resistance to the miscegenation of the “given”. Under evangelical/Roman Catholic Christianity, Salafi Islam, or Orthodox Judaism, Imagination is viewed as the work of the Adversary.

These religions have evolved no way of absorbing the vast, impersonal irruptions of Imagination other than censure; in this, their ability to flexibly adapt against the radical multiplicities of “animism” are severely restricted.

Belief systems that inhere with self-identicity inevitably suppress those with ontological multiplicity, like pan-psychism, through erasing the latter’s adherents by extermination or conversion in order to render their own identity fixed. This is a sort of deadly, psychopathic narcissism in which the “Other” represented within is never given voice by the Imagination. And thus the fixing of its own identity never ends, the stabilization process of its own signifiers never completes. Their struggles to be “eternal” constitute the very history of these religions.

“Animist” ontologies, on the other hand, dissolve the identities of sacred beings by stealth, so to speak—a death by a thousand chimerical images, spreading outward into an amorphous mist of deity.

The “big-ticket” religions of self-identicity will have to either eventually mutate or die.

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For its violence, it’s become difficult for many people within our culture to continue buying into the “frame-propositions” of self-identity on which Western culture lies. We continually struggle against the tide of ceaseless change both within and without; we battle the trickster who threatens to melt from beneath us the fixed identities of the world’s entities—our companions, in a sense, to default the fluxing phenomena onto the side of what’s already been preserved in tradition.

But the pan-psychist paradigm cannot be escaped. It mirrors that of Imagination itself, a fertile ground of flow more akin to the quantum world physicists tell us exist in flux, than the macro world of seemingly solid objects around us—the realm of the self-identicist, big-ticket religion.

The pan-psychist world-view is a more apt way of describing the tangled paths that underlie our current cultural mash-ups. Fundamentalists of any stripe who attack ideas or practices as syncretistic—as “impure”—ignore the endless fertility of the human Imagination in the creation of the very things they hold as “pure”. They ignore or minimize the history of their own beliefs or practice, perhaps because to do so would be to recognize the fluid and restlessly Imaginative nature of the human mind—that ideas often want to mate and produce mutated children and objects want to mix each other’s cultural baggage.

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This analysis is only possible from the vantage point of our “aperspectival” age, where a version of linear, progressive history is itself laid bare and each of its “moments” made transparent. The convergences and traces of these mutations are made possible by parallel examinations of specific religious forms, along a continuum both transcultural and transtemporal.

Our future culture will be a continuum of discontinuities, a working out of the chimerical first drafts. It is very possible that “pure” religions will expire as the machinery of their architecture is laid bare; their coherence was only possible due to the fact that the moments of their history remained and continue to remain unconscious.