These Are Gnostic Times


It's been nearly a year since I've posted here, having been overwhelmed by the two irreducible realities in my life; work and chronic pain. Many a plan and project has been sacrificed on the altar to these unrelenting gods. I've lost count of the times I've gotten started on a project only to have to back burner it when the need to pay the bills rears its head. 

These gods are like some Janus-faced thing; one a stern taskmaster that nonetheless allows me to maintain some semblance of a middle class American life, the other a wild beast that seems to serve no purpose at all but make everything in my life more difficult, more tiring, less enjoyable. I've learned that my particular condition is known as the "rabid dog" of chronic pain conditions among health care professionals, and that even fibromyalgia specialists (who are used to dealing with a vexing disorder) find themselves exasperated by it.

I recently discovered that even a floatation tank aggravates it. Any normal chronic pain condition would benefit from floating in a nice, warm epsom salt bath, but with me it just irritated all of the damaged nerve clusters (known as "trigger points"). So needless to say most of my surplus energy has been spoken for.

For my part, I think the local environment is the primary stressor with my condition (particularly the humidity, barometric pressure, static electricity and mold), which is all too appropriate for a diehard AstroGnostic. I've tried everything but it beats back everything you throw at it. Because I don't belong here.

The problem is that I want my daughter to be able to take advantage of the outstanding public school system as her brothers did, since that experience allowed her oldest brother to graduate with highest honors from a major university this year and score a good paying job even before he was finished with school. The notion of self-sacrifice has taken a beating in the Selfie Decade, but as my grandpappy used to say, fuck that shit. Do the best for your children.

So this Janus-like lord that's parked itself over my life like a permanent Saturn transit basically drove me to close up shop, for the very immediate and compelling reason that I very much didn't want to die.

I hadn't planned to make a book-length series out of the Secret Star Trek thing, it simply imposed itself upon based on a random detail in Star Trek into Darkness. But in addition to putting in 12 to 14 hour work days I found myself driven to capture this story as each new revelation came to light. It was insane. Obsessive-compulsive workaholic binge madness.

For sure a lot of it had been percolating in my unconscious for some time, but that weird tingling in my sinuses just wouldn't leave me alone, that signal that drives me on to dig up hidden connections. But that's not always the healthiest thing to do when your energies are required elsewhere.

What's more, I have to say the response to the post didn't feel commensurate to the information that was being revealed. This is very much a product of the new Internet reality, one I can't exactly say I'm crazy about but one that needs to be adapted to nonetheless. I've come to understand that longform posts (like, say, this) are self-defeating in an age when more and more people are accessing the Internet through their phones.

Which goes to show you that the notion that evolution leads to things getting better is one of our culture's most pernicious myths. 

Nearly everything is getting demonstrably worse.

But it's OK- I'm addressing a small core of people here intentionally. I don't plan to be doing a lot of long-form blogging in the long run.

My longterm plan is to reactivate The Secret Sun Radio Mystery Hour, which I had already planned to do before hardware problems made that an impossibility (ie., my computer got all messed up). 

I still haven't fully solved those problems. I have a new computer but now we've been having a lot of problems with our current ISP and the router (if it's not one thing...). But once those are addressed- hopefully by summer's end- I hope to start up the Mystery Hour again. It's something I've wanted to do for a couple years now, but if you've gotten this far you'll understand how events have conspired to keep me away from the microphone

With the onetime major alt.research podcast becoming something very much unrecognizable to those of us who were there in its early days, there seems to be an opening for something interesting to fill the vacancy. But I will only pursue this if I can do so with the highest level of professionalism I can muster. I have to admit that I got complacent with a few podcast appearances in the past, simply because I was too busy or preoccupied to prepare like should. I regret that and don't intend to repeat that in the future.

 I'm taking suggestions for hosting services. My experience with FraudBean was a nightmare.

SPEAKING OF NIGHTMARES

I don't think I need to go into too much detail as to how much worse things have gotten out there in the past year, how the world seems perched on the brink of a conflagration the likes of which it hasn't seen in 70 years. 

The past few days I was going through some old posts and it was depressing to see news stories of people's expectations for Obama (that Peace Prize seems like the sickest joke imaginable now), and how they've been dashed.

The American Republic has given way to Empire, of that we can all agree. Liberals say nothing at all about it (well, besides mocking the Kulaks in flyover country) because they are hypnotized into believing they will be the courtiers in the new Imperial palace, but in reality the rugs are slowly being pulled from beneath them. By the time they notice it will be too late and they'll all be out on the street.*

One of these rugs is publishing. Borders is gone and Barnes and Noble is in very serious trouble. Ebook sales are falling as well. The major publishers are fighting Amazon for the right to charge full price for Ebooks (which benefits neither authors nor consumers), a fight that may go down in history as their Waterloo.

I'm seeing this from the inside and can't say more than it's much worse than it looks from the outside. I haven't published anything in 4 years because my experience with Secret History of Rock n' Roll didn't whet my appetite for another go-round. I simply can't deal with the limitations imposed on my work by commercial publishing.

My work needs the tools of academic publishing- footnotes, bibliographies, indices, appendices- otherwise it's too easy for skeptics to dismiss out of hand. I also need as much room as I need to put my points across. All of this is anathema to commercial publishers who are convinced their customer pool is made up of idiots. But I don't. I think the people who are drawn to alternative points of view want as much data as you can give them.

My first book was self-published and I must say it was the only truly positive experience I've had in the two decades I've had my work in print. And with publishers expecting authors to do more and more of the promotional work, there's really very little reason to continue with conventional publishing anymore.

So that is something else I wish to pursue in the future. I've got quite a few projects in various stages of development so finding compelling material won't be a problem. Finding time might be, but that's another story...

THE WORK

The Work (as in the Great Work) continues on. I'll save that for a later post but all I can say for now is that it's been rather stunning and has seriously fucked with my previously held beliefs in causality, agency and whatever hell else you want to throw in. And this is from a guy who's been messing around with Synchronicity and the rest of it for decades now.

What is the point of it? The point seems to be to find strength to carry on with the work in a world seemingly hellbent on making miserable, mindless robots of us all. 

And that's quite a point.

I'd like to say the bad guys will lose because good always triumphs but right now that's a pretty hard prediction to make. But people like us have been here before, and maybe by looking at how they dealt with the Black Iron Prison we too can work up some coping strategies of our own.

32 years ago The Bad Brains wrote a song that declared "These are Coptic Times." I don't know if they really understood the meaning of the word, maybe they thought it just sounded heavy and Biblical. What these are are Gnostic times, there are no two ways about it.

These are the times prophesied by the Gnostics and the times most conducive to Gnostic thought. Not necessarily Alexandrian or Bogomil Gnostic thought- the genius of Gnostic thinking is its elasticity and adaptability. A Gnostic canon is an oxymoron.

I think in the days to come a new Gnostic thinking-- one that has shaken off the dust and cobwebs of the library and the lecture hall-- might be the difference between sanity and the Abyss.

There's a strange symmetry of history as we stand on the brink of a new Cold War with Russia and China; the Gnostic Gospels unveiled themselves in 1945 at the dawn of the first Cold War, now a major diaspora of Gnostic peoples- Mandaeans, Ismailis, Yezidis, Druze- looms as Obama's ISIS mad dogs run rampant through Mesopotamia and Syria.

Already many of these Gnostic people have sought refugee status, it will be fascinating if they break centuries of separation and seek to make connections in their new homes.

Scholar Harold Bloom saw Gnosticism as America's native religion and perhaps the already waning atheist/nihilist phase is a necessary step in shaking off the last vestiges of Puritanism and evolving into a purer, more self-aware variety of Gnosis. One that has broken away from the stifling Medieval past.

2000 years ago Gnosticism and Christianity struggled for the hearts and minds of an Empire, but the world wasn't yet ready for Gnosis and Gnosis wasn't yet ready for the world. Then too the Empire's cosmopolitans and sophisticates shunned all gods and mysteries, only to see their legacy wiped forever from the face of the earth. The same fate awaits their counterparts today. The question remains who will inherit the future?

 * Literally. Worse still, they may well be served up as scapegoats to the burgeoning far right, that is angrier than I've seen in my lifetime.

42 comments:

  1. So weird how I just happen to stop by here while listening to an X-Files podcast and I thought of the Secret Sun after you stopped posting.

    Good luck on your pain.

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  2. From everyone who showed up to this game too late: thank you so much.

    Even if the content of this blog can't be published commercially, please consider using some of your limited free time to liberate it from its platform.

    It's awful to think some buy-out or corporate hic-up could divest the community from the content it's still engaged with it. I have a hunch quite a few people would download every word of it if there was a way.

    It's also also awful to think of the suffering caused by your ongoing affliction, but congratulations to your son on his achievements. Here's hoping this world will tolerate sane folks long enough for your daughter to repeat them. All the best.

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  3. Well, it's good to see that people are starting to get caught up with the fact that America is an Empire, but that's been the case for more than most of us have been alive. 1946 or so is when it all got its start, and it was pretty well sewn up by about 1978. The only resistance left at that point was the USSR, and we all know what happened to them - they're now a wholly-owned subsidiary of oil companies.

    The wealth pumps keep on a-pumpin', and the troops keep on protectin' the wealth pumps. Too bad that the wealth supply is starting to run low. Maybe we should have hitched our wagon to a different source of wealth.

    Basically, nothing about the current situation is different than, say, Rome around 100CE, or the Ottomans taking over from the Seljuqs around 1250CE. Maybe a century earlier or later than that, but right on the normal schedule for any civilization. As they say, history may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.

    Me, I'm not going to get all bent out of shape watching the normal things happen for this stage of a civilization's life cycle. It's what I (and others) have been saying would happen for decades now, and it all ends up the same, no matter what people try to do about it.

    Rather than getting worried about this or that group, work on setting up a way for knowledge to be preserved. When Rome fell, it was the monasteries. I'm sure some similar institution can be formed to keep the torch burning (only maybe this time without so much of the destroying what doesn't fit the group's philosophical agenda in a fit of ideological purity).

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  4. So sorry for your woes, Chris.

    Not just Gnostic times, I think - possibly a Chapel Perilous for the species. With all that implies.

    There are some signs of life between the bars of the Black Iron Prison. One for which I have high hopes is the revival of Robert Anton Wilson's thought coming at the hands of Ken Campbell's daughter Daisy Eris Campbell, who is staging a production of Wilson's autobiography 'Cosmic Trigger' in a wave of synchronicity - partly fuelled by the street ritual Daisy & I did in Liverpool on 23 February to call on the currents of both CG Jung and John Constantine to aid this endeavour (more on this here http://cosmictriggerplay.com/ and http://www.catvincent.com/?p=1096). In Gnostic times, the thoughts of a Gnostic Agnostic may be of great help.

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  5. Unknown- You see? Timing is everything. Welcome back.

    TSH- Cheers. I'd like to keep this blog ad-free but at some point I'm afraid that decision will literally be taken out of my hands. There is enough material here to fill a few decent sized books, however.

    Faoladh- While I don't advocate doing nothing at some point you have to acknowledge the massive forces out arrayed there, forces which have finally peeled back the velvet glove from the iron fist. Romans and Ottomans lived with these realities as well. Everyone has to do what they feel they must do. I have my own calling and intend to pursue that. I think there's tangible value in it.

    Cat- Well, I'm afraid that things are much grimmer and less hopeful than in RAW's time, when you still had a functioning counterculture and a thriving intellectual counterweight to Empire. I think if he were alive he'd be more like George Carlin in his latter days, darker, angrier, more pessimistic.

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    1. Possibly... but as one of RAW's main aims was to cultivate optimism as a survival strategy, I'm not sure this world would have broken him. But of course, I try to maintain the same practice...

      I'd say the concept of a single counter-culture in opposition to the mainstream is, and has always been, a misnomer. There are many cultures - and, for good or ill, the internet lets us find those whose culture suits us. As for an 'intellectual counterweight' - there are still heretics in academia (even if it's harder to maintain that status) and again the net helps unpopular intellectual positions have some reach.

      I'm with Grant Morrison on this; it's not a war (literal or intellectual) - it's a rescue operation.

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    2. Well, sure, the forces arrayed are adamant and steel, they are unyielding and unstoppable. That's why fighting them is pointless. The best move is to avoid them as much as possible, and prepare for their eventual passing - as they will pass and the slate will be wiped clean once again. Eventually, the slate will become cluttered again, but that's the way that it works, an eternal cycle. This age will pass and another will come to take its place. That is the way of ages.

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    3. "The spiritual revolution is the real revolution. As far as I'm concerned, you're not gonna beat these people that have tanks and f***in', you know—the real revolution is a revolution in consciousness." - John Joseph

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  6. Great to see a new post here! I guess I'm not normal in that I rather enjoy reading blogs regularly, thanks to apps like Feedly. Instead of reading a morning paper (like I used to do in Neolithic times) I now read my Feedly feed over coffee each morning. I especially look forward to days when a Rune Soup or a Secret Sun post shows up.

    I perfectly understand that life keeps you from posting as frequently as you used to, but please know that I'm surely not the only one out here who is glad to get what we can from you.

    I'm certainly not adverse to paying for new material of the caliber as your Star Trek posts. I fully support any endeavor you undertake to self publish these. I've seen conflicting numbers about ebook sales (some say they're rising, some falling), but they are a good way to get work available to a paying public. (Marketing, of course, is the problem here, but you've surely got enough blog and FB followers to help spread the word when you have a new release.)

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    1. Maybe a Patreon launch would be the way to go?

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    2. I've become a big believer in hard copy, Boris. For many reasons. I'd like my writing efforts to move in that direction. The ephemeral nature of digital media makes me nervous.

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    3. I've been buying real, paper books that I'm interested in. I'm concerned that the 'net is just to easy to "disappear" at the hands of those that do wrong.

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  7. well-come back. I thought you had permanently retired.

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    1. Oh, I've been yapping away here and there on FB. But I think that's run its course...

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  8. Good morning Chris! So nice to see a post from you, and timely, as most posts from most anyone I read on a regular basis seem to be these days. As you well know, I do so enjoy the flow of synchronicity.

    What is more, I saw this pop up while checking things on my phone and immediately hopped off of that and onto my computer to read your post slowly, savoring every word.

    Your point of view is much like mine, though at times it may seem upon the surface as though we diverge. Yet, the more I gnosis I gain in various ways, the more I realize we do not.

    It is a delight to see a post from you, though I do understand your reasons for taking a break. Chronic pain isn't easy to work with, or live with. In light of this, I must chime in and echo sentiments welcoming you back and say I look forward to future posts and pod-casts. I've done a few in the past as well, though I have no recollection of the hosting service. Others were in charge of that aspect. I simply did my thing as I am known to do. I'm grateful for simply having a platform to do it at that time.

    If I find a hosting service that is reasonable, or can stumble upon the info from past days, I shall be happy to forward it to you.

    Lastly, many tasty morsels to chew upon within this entry. Thank you for that. Have a wonderful day, Chris.

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    1. Cheers, Rose. Like I said, more and more people seem to be using their phones to access the Internet so longform blogs seem to be as hip as 56K modems and privacy. I'm interested in the challenge of writing for the podcast, not just talking off the cuff.

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    2. Heh, truer words were never said. Those were the days. As for the podcasts I did, which were interspersed as part of a series, each one created by individuals and aired weekly (perhaps monthly, I can't rightly recall now), I always wrote mine out; like a script; taking time to research the topic of discussion, etc. I also attempted to weave the various topics of the podcasts I created together in some way to help emphasize the overall arc or theme I was presenting at the time... which continues to be part of the themes I explore to this very day.

      Personally, unless you're having a conversation with someone which includes prepared questions and an idea of where those questions may lead, I think writing out your podcasts is the wise way to forge ahead. Just my three cents, though. YMMV

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    3. A little of this, a little of that...I'm a huge Joe Frank fan btw.

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    4. You know, I never checked into him before but having taken a look at his official site, I've a feeling I'm gonna like this guy. Thanks for the tip. Feel better, Chris. Cheers!

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  9. Good to see you back, Chris. And it is very cool to see my favorite Johfra painting ("The Revelation of Hermes Trismegistus") opening this new phase. May the blessings of Hermes be with you.
    Cheers,
    Pedro

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  10. Gnosis and Christianity did not struggle here in North America, 2000 years ago. Just the Word made Flesh.

    Still going on, not broadcast to the public. Never was about anything than restoration to original.

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  11. It's good to read from you again!

    And I would've loved to read The Secret History of Rock'n'Roll with footnotes, sources, and all.

    All the best to you!

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  12. This was a great read...gives us all a lot to think about. Nice to see the sun rise again. Best wishes.

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    1. You know it, David. Rock the house down, my man.

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  13. I encourage you to look into Chi Kung for your pain especially Zang Zhong which requires only that you learn
    to stand properly. Lam Kam Chuen is a teacher and you
    can do a search and find the references. Bruce Frances is
    another source.

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    1. I misspelled zhang zhong, that will get you to the proper site.

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  14. I did searches and the best one is Lam Kam Cheun, the others are misleading.

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  15. Great stuff as always, Chris. These are gnostic times, you'd have to be to look straight at it and survive. I agree with faoladh's comment, there's no point or purpose in fighting the empire. Your reality is so much deeper and colorful than corporate reality that it outshines rather than outfights the stadium hordes of sixpacks. Creating a beacon across time to someone who can access that dimension. Until the dimensional portal (internet) is closed and we go back to wondering what those black boxes are. Thanks!

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    1. I've been accessing some interesting dimensions lately. I'll be discussing that in the days to come.

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  16. Hey Chris,

    It's truly heart-warming and inspiring to see another Secret Sun post here, even if longform posts will understandably be a rarity. No magician or artist should become too dependent on his or her tools, but at the same time tools are necessary - as are emblems of truth and good intention. For me the Secret Sun has always been and will always be one of those emblems.

    We all need emblems that can gather, organize and galvanize positive intent. As you said, vast forces are arrayed against us, and the best any of us can do is try to heed our inner calling to make things even slightly better somehow. We are indeed living in archonic times, I feel, where knowledge is being uncoupled from context, experience is being divorced from perception, and many of us seem to need a selfie to prove we actually exist.

    What you said about the point of it all being a quest to find the strength to carry on, it resonates very deeply with me. As does your dealing with chronic pain and health issues. Watching someone very close to me valiantly fighting a terrible, physically and psychically draining disease has taught me many things. Hopefully I can use these things to cultivate a greater maturity and a keener appreciation for the blessings I do have in life. Your work has also played a huge part in what I consider my spiritual evolution - or revolution - and I am forever indebted to you for that. I hope you can get the Mystery Hour up and running eventually, Chris. That would be thrilling! Maybe by doing what we can in the face of monstrous adversity we'll be able to incrementally draw the fabled Pleroma a little closer, or at least have the knowledge and experience that we are standing up and trying to have the courage of our convictions -- despite the process being neither easy nor painless. All the best to you and yours, Chris.

    Peace

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    1. Cheers, Raj. And I hope everyone here checks out Raj's brilliant and inspiring work. He'll be guest-starring on the Sun in the Dog Days to come...

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  17. Christopher Knowles, Christopher fuk king Knowles! WELCOME BACK!

    If there was anyway to mitigate your pain...

    Heard of hints of you on Gordon's blog. Could it be, CLK, making a return. Kept popping in to the blog, perchance to see if, if just if CLK was posting. Well now you are and I feel like a shithead not knowing the trauma of your physical condition. Pretty selfish of me, a bonafide SecretSun addict.

    Did Gordon turn you on to any of his UK. Limited edition publishing friends? Hope so, could do wonders for you.

    Be well Christopher, congrats on you son doing well. Mom and pop must be proud.

    Oh BTW, was a 9:30 club regular 83-84... Bad brains and all.

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    1. Right on. I hope to be posting more- I've got a lot of ideas waiting on deck. But sure enough I got a new assignment and had a major pain attack today. We were supposed to see The English Beat tonight but I spent the night writhing.

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  18. Good to see you back. Shine forth Christopher. Dennis

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  19. The Secret Sun rises again...rock on Chris.

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  20. What a big smile came across my face Chris, when I seen a new entry! I have health issues of my own, so I totally relate to the elephant they can become in one's life. I believe you hit it right on the head when you said you felt that those who were looking at Alternative views want as much data as possible. So good to see the Secret Sun again, take care sir. :)

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  21. I understand the politico-philosophic position of the cyclic inevitability of empire, as suggested by Faoladh, above. However, resist we must, for... "The Empire Never Ended."

    It is important to stand up and be counted as being in opposition to the empire of darkness... regardless of the odds.

    In a (metaphoric) struggle against the powers, we resist through music, dance, prose, slapstick and general bafoonery. These are our weapons and strategies.

    - S

    PS - welcome back to the resistance, Chris...

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  22. Yaldabaoth seems to be bent on a major operation mindf-ck these days, reaching every people's soul on this planet.

    Me, still carrying on the struggle from a small town lost in the mists of enclosed psychogeography. The BIP is strong over here.

    However, I read parts of your blog for a while, and am ever astounded by your inner depth and covert resisting anger.

    Whatever befalls, the layers of spectral reality go way beyond our puny grasp… mayhaps some unfathomed uncreated light resides in some far off Treasury. In which case your fight (our fight) would not be in vain.

    Fight on.

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