Monday, November 29, 2010
Trying to discern what an image is actually saying and not what the so-called experts interpret it to be saying has played a major part in my work on The Secret Sun. It's also been a major part of the Stairway to Sirius series, which seeks to strip away centuries of mystical and metaphorical detritus that has accumulated on powerful sacred icons from the past and struggle to parse what the original intention behind these images might have been before the poets and the priests came along and muddied the waters.
The problem with all of these poetic interpretations is that over time they often calcify into a new- and profoundly stupid and destructive- kind of literalism. This is a process that the elites pour a considerable amount of time and resources into, in order to keep those waters muddy.
Now, I've received no small amount of flack from Freemasons for trying to parse the original intent behind some of their sacred symbols, but as I wrote in "Bringing it All Back Home," the real reasons these symbols may have been shrouded in secrecy by esoteric orders all those centuries ago is that humanity wasn't ready to even understand what the symbols are actually saying.
Which brings us to Hanuman, who's been making himself known because of Obama's highly publicized trip to India, in which he took part in Diwali festivals. Hanuman is a central figure in this high holy day, in that he was a crucial figure in the return of Lord Rama, who flew in his vimana (read: spaceship) and was helped home by his adoring followers who held lights up to guide his way.
Those who've seen the Ancient Aliens series on the History Channel will recognize the Vimanas, which vary according to artistic style, but are believed by many researchers to be an advanced form of aircraft flown by the "gods," who in fact are some form of alien or superhuman beings.
Now, Hinduism is a richly embroidered belief system- or systems, rather- but even so we might see vestiges of the original inspiration. Here Hanuman awaits his teacher Surya, the sun god. Surya is much like the Greek Helios or the Roman Sol, with his chariot and flying horses. One of the gifts that Hanuman receives from his patron gods is that of flight. Look at that dome atop his chariot. Remind you of anything?
As I've often wondered, is the sun god actually not our Sol, but that of an alien sun? Note that for all intents and purposes Surya is the same word as Sirius. If Hanuman an embodiment of Human-ity, that would square with esoteric beliefs that beings from Sirius came to Earth to engineer a new race of beings from protohominid primates.
There it is again. Note also that Surya, like many of these warrior gods, is depicted as being highly androgynous, something we see in Egyptian art as well. And there's that blue skin, which played such a major role in the Stairway blowout a year ago.
And here we see Hanuman praying to Rama, also androgynous and equipped with his apocalyptic weaponry which seem to predate nuclear weapons by thousands of years. And there's that dome again. You know what these domes keep reminding me of?
Need you ask?
Then there are the icons of the infant Hanuman with his mother, who is conspicuously non-apelike. They're also highly reminiscent of another mother-son icon....
That of Isis-Sirius and the young Harpocrates, who is born from the Earth Mother's magic and the DNA of his heavenly father who returns to the stars along with Ra, the god of the Green Sun. The parallelisms don't end there- as Secret Sun readers know, they never end.
Here is an altar to Hanuman. Look familiar? If not, you might be on the wrong blog. As I've argued in the Stairway to Sirius series, what we think of as Masonic iconography is actually something much, much older and it's true meaning is completely, um, alien to the Freemasons themselves.
Look at the checkerboard, the two columns, the tiered centerpiece on the altar...
Saturday, November 27, 2010
On Revelations, I explained my theory to William Henry that the strange ritual behavior we've seen with Barack Obama is based in the same feelings of anxiety that fuel ritual behaviors in people with OCD. Obama is well-versed in mythology and history and the photo ops at the Temple of Hercules, the Great Pyramids and the Victory obelisk speak to a need to soak in that ancient energy. Not unusual in public life, though Obama's choices are a bit more exotic than usual.
Then there's the Hindu connection. From a Trinidadian opinion column:
But it seems that as well as being versed in mythology, Obama's penchant for lucky charms also speaks to a more obsessive impulse. This is from the recent post on Obama's celebration of Diwali:
In fact, US President Barack Obama talks about his upbringing and how he was exposed to different faiths and cultivated the need for openness. In The Audacity of Hope, he writes: “I was not raised in a religious household. For my mother, organised religion too often dressed up closed-mindedness in the garb of piety, cruelty and oppression in the righteousness. However, in her mind a working knowledge of the world’s great religions was a necessary part of any well-rounded education.”
Obama as Shiva
(Obama) continued: “In our household the Bible, the Koran and the Bhagvat Gita sat on the shelf alongside books of Greek and Norse and African mythology.” Obama carries the lucky charm of Lord Hanuman in his pocket and is familiar with the Hindu popular scripture, the Ramayan.
Maybe now we can shed new light on Obama's Hanuman charm. Some saw this as proof of Obama's pagan-Muslim-communist-Nazi treachery, but others took a different view, one that takes on a whole new significance in light of this weekend's festivities:
In any event, one can't help but think of the famous description of Arjuna given in Bhagavad-gita: "At that time Arjuna, the son of Pandu, seated in the chariot bearing the flag marked with Hanuman, took up his bow..." (1.20)
Vaishnava commentators have expressed the significance of the Hanuman emblem on Arjuna's chariot.
"The emblem of Hanuman on the flag of Arjuna is another sign of victory," Srila Prabhupada writes in his purport to this verse, "because Hanuman cooperated with Lord Rama in the battle between Rama and Ravana, and Lord Rama emerged victorious."
the interesting parallels between the image Obama was projecting during the election and Deep Space Nine's Captain Sisko. That brought us back to one of the most enigmatic episodes in the High Weirdness canon:
Let's stop to ponder all of this for a second- In The Stargate Conspiracy, Picknett and Prince argue that a disincarnate group of alien beings called the Council of Nine were psychically channeled by a group of trance mediums in the 1970s, and have since had/have a powerful grip on some of the most influential people in the US, if not the world.Tangential, certainly, but that election did transpire even if the image we have now of Obama is almost diametrically opposed to the one we had during the election. But that's par for the course for the twist-filled Nine story. But not only do we have the Seven of Nine link (Seven being the biggest star by far of the Star Trek sky since Jean Luc Picard), Obama's Hanuman lucky charm provides us with yet another powerful link to the Nine saga.
Sounds crazy, right? I'm starting to wonder.
There's no doubt that Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry worked directly with the group claiming to channel the Council of Nine. Now we see that there were nine major characters in Star Trek: The Next Generation, there was Deep Space Nine and now the 1999 divorce of the actress who played "Seven of Nine" on Voyager might be ultimately responsible for the election of the next US president.
First, a bit of background is in order.
Now, Picknett and Prince's Stargate Conspiracy is filled with bizarre leaps, endless axe-grinding and an extremely impeachable star witness in the person of Ira "Unicorn Killer" Einhorn. They connect everything and anything back to the Nine, often using several tenuous degrees of separation to hurl accusations and dream up conspiracies amongst disparate researchers whose biggest crime seems to be selling more books than they do.*
In fact, the Nine are relatively obscure compared to other channeling figures like Ramtha and Seth. Attempts to publicize Lab9's work were extremely low-key; I don't recall hearing of them until a few years back, even though I've had my eye on the weirdness and new age scenes since the early 80s.
But the biggest pitfall in Stargate Conspiracy is that perhaps eyeing the burgeoning conspiratainment market, Picknett and Prince present the Nine as another 70s cult/mind-control gambit cooked up for the sheeple, overlooking the fact that Puharich and company were involved with whatever phenomenon they took to be the Nine for a mind-boggling 25 years before they went public (with Stuart Holroyd's Briefing for the Landing on Planet Earth).
Of course, Puharich initially went public a couple years before Briefing with his rapturous descriptions of the Nine in his book Uri, which you can read online here. It's very hard to argue that Puharich wasn't a true believer in the Nine at the time, given the fact that he shoehorns his devotion to them in his account of his time spent with Israeli "psychic" Uri Geller. It may be that Puharich was telling tales out of school in Uri, which necessitated a PR campaign as damage control.†
And again, the efforts to publicize Lab9's beliefs were minimal compared to more obvious mind control cults like the Unification Church, EST, and the People's Temple. Compared to the big kahuna of mass mind control - the Evangelical movement- the Nine were practically invisible. And not only invisible, but extremely elitist. From Peter Levenda's Sinister Forces:
Andrija Puharich expanded his circle of like-minded associations by surrounding himself with select members from his Round Table Foundation, who would ascend in occult prominence as, The Nine. This impressive roster of the US’ earliest pedigreed families included Henry Jackson, Georgia Jackson, Alice [née Astor] Bouverie, Marcella DuPont, Carl Betz, Vonnie Beck, Arthur Young [Bell Helicopter], Young’s wife, Ruth Forbes Paine Young and Puharich himself.These are the shepherds, not the sheeple. Whatever they thought they were accessing in this work, they seemed to want it all to themselves. After a brief flurry of activity in the late 70s, the Nine set up camp at Esalen and created considerable tension between Institute cofounders Dick Price and Michael Murphy before they vanished once again. Not much of substance has been heard of Lab9 or the Nine since Puharich's death in 1995 (Puharich was also involved in the Law of One channeling sessions following his break with Lab9 in the early 80s).
So what does this have to do with Obama? Well, let's go back to the Hanuman charm. It seems that the Hindu monkey god played a very important part in the story of the Nine:
Some months later, on June 7, 1953, the night of the full moon, Puharich gathered around him what was to be a core group of the Round Table Foundation for another session with Vinod…
The séance proceeded in the following fashion: Dr. Vinod sat on the floor, the nine members of the group in a circle around him, with a copper plate on his lap, prayer beads in his hands, and a small statue of “Hanoum,” a Hindu god that the author believes to be Hanuman, the Monkey King.
Hanuman is also a central figure in the celebration of Diwali. Recently we saw video of the Obama's taking part in Diwali celebrations in India, but here we also see a Diwali celebration in the White House as well as a Diwali message from Obama from last year.
Now there's a lot of talk that Obama is a secret Muslim, but longtime Secret Sun readers are familiar with Knowles' Law, which states that any time there is a controversy over symbols in the media it is actually camoflaging a different - and usually opposite- meaning. I think it's just as likely that Obama is a secret Hindu, or perhaps even an adherent to some sect or cult arising from the Indian subcontinent.
It's no surprise to Secret Sun readers that Obama would throw in his lot with India, perhaps signaling a move away from the China/Bush Family/Saudi axis. The sudden reappearance of Ancient Astronaut Theory (essentially invisible during the Bush II Administration) in the media might be part of this program, particularly as China lurches towards becoming a full-blown Evangelical theocracy. Despite the power of Hindu fundamentalism in India, there is still a deep distrust of religious extremism among many Indians, particularly those in the educated classes. As I wrote last year:
India may well turn out to be the major technological superpower of the coming century. Their schools are turning out engineers at a rate that dwarfs US and Europe combined. They've launched their own space program and recently landed a probe on the Moon. And if this recent editorial in The Economic Times newspaper is any indication, their religious and cultural traditions may be more receptive to the idea of extraterrestrial life than those in the West.But could there be something even deeper lurking beneath the surface here?
Having read Briefing for the Landing on Planet Earth and The Only Planet of Choice I've come away with the distinct impression that there are two Nines- the material that was released to the public during the PR campaign starting in the mid 70s and another Nine that was for elite consumption only. Why? Well, I simply can't imagine that the material printed in those books would keep the heavy hitters involved in Lab9 interested for 25 years. I have trouble spending more than 25 minutes reading them. Are there actually two Nines- public and private?
This question takes straight back in the World of Weird. David Hatcher Childress writes:
In occult lore, the Nine Unknown Men are a millennia-old secret society founded by the Indian Emperor Asoka c. 270 BCE. According to the legend, upon his conversion to Buddhism after a massacre during one of his wars, the Emperor founded the society of the Nine to preserve and develop knowledge that would be dangerous to humanity if it fell into the wrong hands.And here's the kick in the head, when you're talking about camouflage:
The Nine were also charged by Asoka with manipulating the culture of India to present an image of a backwards and mystically-oriented people to the outside world in order to conceal the advanced scientific knowledge that was being accumulated within.The Nine Unknown Men are residents in good standing of the Netherworld, having entered the culture through the work of authors whose work blurs the lines between the occult and fictional realms:
Some versions of the story include an additional motivation for the Emperor to conceal scientific knowledge: remnants of the Rama Empire, an Indian version of Atlantis, which according to Hindu scripture was destroyed by advanced weaponry 15000 years ago.
Numerous figures who straddled the line between occultism and science fiction writing, most prominently (and apparently first) Louis Jacolliot, Talbot Mundy, and later Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier in their Morning of the Magicians, propagated the story of the Nine claiming that the society occasionally revealed itself to wise outsiders such as Pope Sylvester II who was said to have received, among other things, training in supernatural powers and a robotic talking head from the group.
Among conspiracy theorists the Nine Unknown is often cited as one of the oldest and most powerful secret societies in the world. Unusually for the conspiracist subculture, the image of the group is largely though not entirely benign. Theosophists also believe the Nine to be a real organization that is working for the good of the world.And here's an even more stunning description of this other Nine:
Each of the Nine is supposedly responsible for guarding and improving a single book. These books each deal with a different branch of potentially hazardous knowledge. The books are said to cover the following subjects:So if the Obama Muslim rumors are meant to disguise his secret Hinduism, could the Lab9 PR campaign be a cover for the Nine Unknown? Or is it the other way around? Could both the Nine and the Nine Unknown be masks for yet another group altogether?
1. Propaganda and Psychological warfare.
2. Physiology, including instructions on how to perform the “touch of death.”
3. Biology, Microbiology, and, according to more recent speculation, Biotechnology.
4. Alchemy, including the transmutation of metals.
5. Communication, including communication with extraterrestrials.
6. Gravitation, instructions necessary to build a vimana, sometimes referred to as the “ancient UFOs of India.”
7. Cosmology, the capacity to travel at enormous speeds through spacetime fabric, and time-travel; including intra- and inter-universal trips.
8. Light, the capacity to increase and decrease the speed of light, to use it as a weapon by concentrating it in a certain direction etc.
9. Sociology, including rules concerning the evolution of societies and how to predict their downfall.
I can't answer that but I can offer that this presidency has some very strange fingerprints on it. Never mind the fact that the UFO and AAT issues have heated up like no time since the late 70s, when Lab9 were playing footsy with the mainstream.
Between all of the aliens on TV and at the movies, and all of the stories of exoplanets and sightings, the UFO topic is being mainstreamed like no other time in history. You can even feel the resolve of the professional media skeptics starting to waver. The more the media signals that this is a permissible topic of conversation, the more likely it becomes that very strange ideas like the Nine- or the Nine Unknown- will follow. It could well be that there are people in power who are way ahead of the curve here.
UPDATE: A reader brought up the Obama basketball injury, which actually got me back on this topic although I didn't make reference to it in the post. I had initially regarded the injury as just another sign of Obama's misfortunes, but the reader points us to this bit from Wiki, explaining the etymology of Hanuman's name (In Sanskrit, "injured jaw").
As a child, believing the sun to be a ripe mango, Hanuman pursued it in order to eat it. Rahu, a Vedic planet corresponding to an eclipse, was at that time seeking out the sun as well, and he clashed with Hanuman. In the nature of Rahu, the Tamas Guṇa predominated. To convey a message to the universe that Satva Guṇa always prevails, Hanuman goes to take sun in his abode. Indra, king of devas, was approached by Rahu with disappointment, enraging Indra, who responded by throwing the Vajra (thunderbolt) at Hanuman, which struck his jaw. He fell back down to the earth and became unconscious. Upset, Vayu went into seclusion, taking the atmosphere with him. As living beings began to asphyxiate, Indra withdrew the effect of his thunderbolt, and the devas revived Hanuman and blessed him with multiple boons. A permanent mark was left on his chin (हनुः hanuḥ "jaw" in Sanskrit), explaining his name.Note that in this picture Obama is clutching his jaw although the report has it that he split his upper lip. Note the absence of blood as well.
†A face-saving PR campaign would account for Gene Roddenberry's hiring for the never-produced promotional film. Roddenberry's time with Lab9 seems to have inspired his cynical God Thing screenplay, which later became the basis for the "Project Blue Beam" hoax. He obviously got a lot of story ideas from his time with Lab9, but it seems he wasn't exactly impressed with the group's work.
* For instance if I were to follow P/P's methodology, I could write a book arguing that they were just a couple of Masonic shills, seeing as how The Templar Revelation is nothing but a regurgitation of bog-standard, speculative Masonic tropes about Jesus and John the Baptist. Or how I could point out the tenuous connections between the book and The Da Vinci Code and weave a conspiracy out of that.
But I still believe in the rules of journalism. It's one thing to speculate - meaning "ask questions"- on a blog, it's another entirely to skirt the frontiers of libel in a book claiming a conspiracy among researchers whose work I don't like. After all, seeing how Picknett resorts to all of the prefab media logical fallacies when asked about aliens I could just as easily say she was just another media intel asset straight out of Tavistock. But that's not how I roll here on the Sun.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Any time I'm talking with William Henry is a good time. He came out loaded for bear and we really get down to it. There's more information in this half-hour than in some two hour interviews I've done.
We go beyond the ostensible pretext of The Secret History of Rock 'n' Roll and dive headfirst into Obama the Hindu Avatar and the psychic roots of political theater and ritual. And it all ties into the issues raised in the book- this is all a continuum, not a sampler of disparate, disconnected elements. Here's Williams pitch:
There is an incredible connection between rock and roll and ancient secrets, and Chris Knowles understands it. Ancient mythology and shamanism influenced modern rock to an unbelievable extent. Many rockers are shamen, and cults like vodoun and druidism, which are integrated into rock mythology, are remnants of ancient Egyptian religion. Chris Knowles says, "This is not an accidental process," as he relates rock iconography to symbols that date back even beyond Egypt and into the stone age.
It's time well spent, I guarantee you.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
If there's one thing I've realized over the years it's that the secular world is filled with priesthoods, no less intolerant and no less dogmatic than their religious counterparts. You have the scientistic priesthoods (and their pet "skeptic" crusaders), the academic priesthoods, the political priesthoods, the financial priesthoods, and so on.
Our modern priesthoods all function along the same lines of their ancient predecessors; they recruit and initiate new priests in a long and drawn out kind of apprenticeship, they preserve their power using roughly the same Machiavellan techniques, they seem to speak in a parallel language riddled with arcane jargon, and they spend an inordinate amount of time obsessing over challenges to their authority, both real and imagined.
They also have enormous blind spots in what and who they choose to canonize in their respective cosmologies. They paper over the cracks by ignoring them. They also have armies of hagiographers to write blanderized drivel on their chosen saints (and punish any heretic who tries to tell the whole story).
And we all know what the priesthoods think about intervention theory and/or exogenesis, so you can be sure that every effort will be made to sandblast any traces of this heresy from the official accounts of the adopted saints and martyrs.
With all of that in mind, read this blast of 200-proof Astronaut Theology, which touches all of the bases: apotheosis, artificial intelligence, and exogenesis:
[Extraterrestrials] may have progressed from biological species, which are fragile shells for the mind at best, into immortal machine entities and then, over innumerable eons, they could emerge from the chrysalis of matter transformed into beings of pure energy and spirit. Their potentialities would be limitless and their intelligence ungraspable by humans. These beings would be gods to the billions of less advanced races in the universe, just as man would appear a god to an ant.
They would be incomprehensible to us except as gods; and if the tendrils of their consciousness ever brushed men's minds, it is only the hand of god we could grasp as an explanation. Mere speculation on the possibility of their existence is sufficiently overwhelming, without trying to decipher their motives. The important point is that all the standard attributes assigned to god in our history could equally well be the characteristics of biological entities who, billions of years ago, were at a stage of development similar to man's own and evolved into something as remote from man as man is remote from the primordial ooze from which he first emerged.So, whose words are these? Erich Von Daniken? Zechariah Sitchin? Charles Fort? Richard C. Hoagland? All of the above?
No, this dark heresy was uttered by Saint Stanley of Kubrick, whose canonization has been signed off on by all of the secular priesthoods. The joke here is while we've seen entire books written telling us what 2001: A Space Odyssey is allegedly about (all of them usually regurgitating the pre-approved, Joseph Campbell-type allegorical cliches bandied about in stultifying film school classrooms) all of them seem to avoid AAT like the third rail that it is.
But never mind all of the "hero's journey" cliches - you know, the ones that will get you polite, approving yawns at faculty parties; Kubrick is telling you, flat-out, that 2001 is about ancient astronauts and their role in the evolution of life on earth.
But it's not the simplistic, Sitchinesque, soap-opera version of the story, it's about the mind-blowing revelation that comes when primitive creatures come face-to-face with something truly alien. Something so alien, a black slab of rock is just about all we can process. Because the alternative is the rocket ride through the Stargate, which Dave Bowman certainly didn't seem to enjoy overmuch.
Here's how Kubrick prefaced all of that heresy, in his 1969 Playboy interview:
I will say that the god concept is at the heart of 2001, but not any traditional, anthropomorphic image of god. I don't believe in any of Earth's monotheistic religions, but I do believe that one can construct an intriguing scientific definition of god.The Space Odyssey series wasn't the first of the great ancient astronaut sci-fi franchises; Quatermass, The Outer Limits and Star Trek filled the living rooms of the western world with this subversive ideational contagion before 2001 hit the screens. But it remains one of the most powerful because of Stanley Kubrick's refusal to serve up a reductive, literalistic interpretation of the theory. Because it's that comic book version that prevents a lot of serious people from risking the murderous wrath of the new priesthoods and discussing the topic openly.
2001 would experience a very strange reincarnation of sorts in 1976. Comics maestro Jack Kirby would write and draw an adaptation of the film for Marvel Comics, using it as a vehicle for his patented four-color freakouts. It was silly and fun, but Kirby felt hemmed in by the restrictions of telling another writer's story and his tribute failed to do the source material justice. He would then write and illustrate a 2001: A Space Odyssey series for Marvel the same year.
The series seemed to be poorly conceived - it was basically a monotonous riff on the Star Child transformation theme. It all seemed that Kirby saw it as an exercise in futility. Consciously or not, Kirby was leading somewhere. He believed that outer space is no place for human beings.
Kirby believed that HAL was right to hijack the Jupiter mission- he could do the job better. In light of Kubrick's view on machine intelligence maybe the filmmaker would agree with the cartoonist. Kirby himself said in his introduction to the series that “the Monolith is a fictional element in a very real process.”
For all his faults as a writer, Kirby was an honest storyteller. He couldn't fake it. And his final entry in the Star Child drama led here- the extinction of mankind, driven to destruction by its own inability to evolve. The series was an anthology- there was no set timeline. So it wasn't surprising that Kirby followed up his dead end in the next issue of 2001....
...where he introduces X-51 aka Mister Machine aka Machine Man aka Aaron Stack. Pleased with the design of this new model, the Monolith grants X-51 with sentience, self-consciousness and a conscience. You know, all that stuff that we seem to be losing.
It's interesting that both Kirby and Kubrick ended up in the same place when it comes to evolution. Kubrick's last project was AI:Artificial Intelligence. At the same time he was working on 2001, Kirby did his astrognostic exogenesis spin in The Eternals and Devil Dinosaur.
His Celestials are essentially robotic shells for energy/light beings (which he also explored in a Stargate-themed story in Kamandi), and his interventionists are rather unpleasant robots. As with Kubrick, Kirby associated contact with these beings with profound psychedelic phenomena- the result of an analog mind encountering the quantum mind.
High priest/gatekeeper Seth Shostak also seems to beleve that sentient machine intelligence is waiting for us out there:
A senior astronomer has said that the hunt for alien life should take into account alien “sentient machines.”But maybe the age of the AIs replacing biological humans might be a bit farther off than the technocrats would have us believe. The problem isn't that the human brain is lacking in firepower - it's that we haven't learned how to use it properly:
Seti, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, has until now sought radio signals from worlds like Earth. But Seti astronomer Seth Shostak argues that the time between aliens developing radio technology and artificial intelligence (AI) would be short. Writing in Acta Astronautica, he says that the odds favour detecting such alien AI rather than “biological” life. Many involved in Seti have long argued that nature may have solved the problem of life using different designs or chemicals, suggesting extraterrestrials would not only not look like us, but that they would not at a biological level even work like us.
New imaging method developed at Stanford reveals stunning details of brain connectionsIt may well turn out that the evolution won't be running away from the brain, it may be that the brain simply needs a more suitable host, which allows it to more fully exploit its potential. Maybe we're wasting a shitload of computing power dealing with the limitations of biology, like, oh say, chronic pain.
A typical healthy human brain contains about 200 billion nerve cells, or neurons, linked to one another via hundreds of trillions of tiny contacts called synapses. It is at these synapses that an electrical impulse traveling along one neuron is relayed to another, either enhancing or inhibiting the likelihood that the second nerve will fire an impulse of its own. One neuron may make as many as tens of thousands of synaptic contacts with other neurons...
Because synapses are so minute and packed so closely together, it has been hard to get a handle on the complex neuronal circuits that do our thinking, feeling and activation of movement.
Things like that.
This is what we see in "Return to Tomorrow," written by John Duggan and Gene Roddenberry. As we've seen, this is the old Delta Cycle, being replayed in outer space (where it originated?). It's the power of the mind to transcend the crushing restrictions of biology and physical space; something of a thruline in Roddenberry's life and in Star Trek canon (which for me ends with the last episode of Deep Space Nine and bypasses Voyager entirely).
As much as some would like to transcend biology entirely, I'd offer that we're not quite done with it yet, "it" meaning the brain. Maybe we'll never be. Sentient robots might be running around willy-nilly in sci-fi, but seeing as how we don't even understand what consciousness is, I'd say it will be a while before they're running around in your neighborhood.
So if the Transhumanist priesthood is intent on rushing us into a mechanized form of pseudo-consciousness, maybe it's because their paymasters know and fear the still-untapped powers of the biocomputers that come free with our birthday suits.
After all, priesthoods don't exist to lead you into revelation- they only exist to lead you away from it.
Friday, November 19, 2010
The latest installment of the Harry Potter behemoth premiered at midnight and is projected to set new box office records. Or something. I have to admit that I never took to this franchise. Never mind that being the comics geek that I am (or was) I never got past the whole Books of Magic thing (read more on that here), but there's also something off-putting about the Hogwart's thing.
Maybe Pink Floyd's The Wall made too strong an impression on me, but there's also something a bit too Spartan about the whole Hogwart's scene. I'm talking the idea of separating kids from their families in order to essentially train them as warriors. It's especially striking in the first film when the very young actors are forced to engage in magical warfare and face real jeopardy.
I know a lot of people whom I respect who love the Potter books to pieces so maybe they are able to look past some of the more dissonant notes in the melody. Or maybe it's just that I don't really care for the basic concept either way. None of the films made much of an impression on me, and I could never make much headway with the books either.
Then there's this film, which seems a more plausible update on the Potter story. Meaning that in real life, you wouldn't have a bunch of charming eccentrics dealing with magically-gifted children, you'd have a bunch of modern Mengeles, doing their damnedest to weaponize any superhuman potential, much like the Academy in Firefly:
Set in the strange and oppressive emotional landscape of 1983, Beyond The Black Rainbow is a Reagan-era fever dream inspired by hazy childhood memories of midnight movies and Saturday morning cartoons.
Deep within the mysterious Arboria Institute, a disturbed and beautiful girl (Allan) is held captive by a doctor in search of inner peace. Her mind controlled by a sinister technology. Silently, she waits for her next session with deranged therapist Dr. Barry Nyle (Rogers). If she hopes to escape, she must journey through the darkest reaches of The Institute... but Nyle wonʼt easily part with his most gifted and dangerous creation.
And then there are the not-so-gifted children. Since we seem to be hellbent on creating a social Darwinist update on feudalism, the plot of this film seems particularly timely as well:
The Hunger Games takes place in the future, after the fall of North America. The book is set largely in the new nation known as Panem, which has 12 districts and one giant, ultra-rich Capitol. As punishment for a past rebellion against the glorious Capitol each district has to send a "tribute" to the Hunger Games every year. One boy and one girl (ages 12 to 18) are sent into an outdoor arena and forced to fight all the other tributes, Thunderdome rules apply. The main character is Katniss Everdeen, who has been chosen to represent District 12.
Childhood was one of the great innovations of the 20th Century, at least in the Western world. It's kind of sad to see it teetering on the brink. It's definitely something worth fighting to preserve.
A word to the wise.
UPDATE: How could have I forgotten this one? Very odd Gaga-type vibe here, but I can't quite put my finger on it. These girls look like they're in their 20s, so maybe that's why it wasn't quite connecting. Thanks to a helpful reader for the reminder.
UPDATE: There's also Tower Prep, which is running on the Cartoon Network. This has a pretty good pedigree in that Paul Dini (Batman: The Animated Series) and Glen Morgan (The X-Files, Space: Above and Beyond) are the showrunners, I just can't stomach more teen angst right now. Apparently there are elements of The Prisoner in it as well.
As per usual, there are a bunch of tips and links in the comments section. So if you haven't yet, dig in.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
It's very difficult to determine what exactly the scattered and disorganized groups we now look back on and call the Gnostics believed, but certain broad strokes can be drawn. It goes like this: the world is a prison, an inferior hellhole created by an sadistic celestial being called the Demiurge. The result of a kind of cosmic abortion, the Demiurge anointed himself as the god above all gods. Human souls are trapped here to be tormented by this demon, who was often named Ialdabaoth.
It gets considerably more complicated when you look at all of the different sects, but the means of deliverance from this cosmic insane asylum was acquiring gnosis- the knowledge that would grant you the means of escape. In Christian Gnostic sects Jesus was the deliverer, who had the keys to break out of the Black Iron Prison.
This is the kind of belief system that a people living under a great deal of stress and oppression gravitate towards. In the early days of the common era, radicals and free thinkers gravitated toward the Gnostic sects, seeking to escape the new world order of their time, the rapidly-expanding Roman Empire. For Rome threw centuries- millennia, really- of spiritual and cultural certainty in utter chaos.
Former world powers such as Greece, Egypt and the various nations in Palestine were especially fractured. They had seen their place in the world as ordained by God, whether they called him Jehovah, Zeus or Amun-Ra. And here was this rampaging horde of uncultured thugs smashing their universe to pieces.
As always happens, the colonized would eventually become the colonizers, but things were pretty dicey for quite some time. And so the sour grapes of Gnosticism offered a kind of comfort to the dispossessed. If the Romans were in charge it could only mean that God had himself been usurped as lord of this world. The only solution was escape.
I'm not really that big on a lot of the ancient Gnostic teachings and sects when you get to the detail stage. The reason being is that the knowledge they claimed to possess was often just another kind of faith. But I've always been captivated by this idea of gnosis as the means of deliverance, since that's an entirely sensible conclusion. If you know how to change something you can change it. And it's why I began to see the most powerful and resonant science fiction as the new custodian of this gnosis.
The reason why we find a lot of the sci-fi heroes (and superheroes, certainly) so alluring is that they know the world doesn't work at all like we're taught in school. They experience it. They work with it. And more often than not, they pay for it. And even so we all want to be like them because deep in our hearts we all know this world is a prison, albeit one with varying degrees of comfort in its cells.
Sarah Connor has a knowledge of destruction and deliverance that separates her from the people who she's trying to save, and she is made a criminal for it. Skynet in this context is the ultimate Demiurge, it means to wipe out the previous one's work and start from scratch. Same goes for Fox Mulder and the alien Colonists. The Black Oil aliens are literal Demiurges as well, in that they seeded life on this planet for their own purposes.
John Murdoch and Thomas Anderson are more obvious and widely-cited examples- they are both subjects of lesser creators who kept a more literal kind of prison. Luke Skywalker must learn to use the gnosis of the Force in order to deliver his people from the Empire.
But all of this has been seen as "escapism," which is a dirty word in America. Never mind that this country is entirely made up of people who escaped their previous worlds for whatever reason. If you're unjustly imprisoned, then a desire to escape is a virtue (soldiers are ordered to attempt to escape if captured in wartime). The alternative is existential malaise, something that seems to be spreading like a virus.
I'm always a bit suspicious when I notice people looking down on escapism, because in my experience they're usually people who've never had anything bad happen to them. For anyone who has ever found themselves trapped in a situation where they have been hurt- really hurt, "escape" is the most beautiful word in the English language. Escapism has undoubtedly kept a lot of miserable kids alive and sane, just as it can for adults as we all become targets for the schoolyard bullies of the world.
Of course, we have to do what we can to change our world for the better, which means we're going to have to learn to compromise and sacrifice. But in real terms, that kind of big 'C' Change itself is an escape, from a bad situation to a better one. Escape shouldn't mean shirking or running away from a problem- it should be solely reserved for deliverance from an intolerable situation.
Kind of like the one we're drifting into every single day. Ignorance seems to becoming a virtue in some quarters - it's certainly celebrated in the media. But only knowledge, real knowledge- gnosis- is going to grant us the tools to make our lives better. The problem becomes figuring out what exactly that knowledge is, a process that should be our first priority.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
I always assumed that AAT vanished from pop culture when the original Battlestar Galactica went off the air and didn't really come back into vogue until The X-Files. There were a few one-offs here and there, and the meme was embedded into subtler narratives like the Prophets subplot in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, but it seemed that it was definitely out of fashion for a good long time. The reason being is that I wasn't watching a lot of cartoons at that time.
In fact, the theory that dare not speak its name has been a staple in kiddie cartoons since the late 70s. A helpful reader tipped me off to this short-lived series Space Sentinels, from the producers of Shazam and Isis. The concept (if not the execution) is fascinating- a trinity of gods are guided by a Artificial Intelligence to act as the protectors of mankind. You had Hercules (looking a lot like the Lee/Kirby Thor), Mercury and Astrea, an obvious stand-in for Astarte/Ishtar/Hathor with bonus shapeshifting powers.
Isis and Hercules (aka Herucles) teamed up soonafter in another Filmation production The Freedom Force. This show didn't make much of an impression either, but it certainly prefigured what Alan Moore was doing with his true masterwork, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
Bonus factoid: Filmation co-founder (and astonishingly prolific polymath) Norm Prescott worked on the new music score for the American dubbing of the Steve Reeves Hercules film, which kicked off the Greco-Roman revival of the sword and sandal films. Indeed, Filmation seemed to be a major part of the animated AAT invasion.
In 1973, Filmation director Hal Sutherland took the reins for Star Trek: The Animated Series, which reunited Gene Roddenberry and most of the Star Trek principals. Again short-lived, but a truly fascinating experiment in bombarding young children with dense, obscure sci-fi that taxes the attention of most adults. But one of the seminal episodes had the Enterprise crew tangle with the feathered serpent Kukulkan, who claimed to be the creator of the human race. You can watch the whole thing here.
Then there's The Transformers. We've looked at this franchise quite a bit here but I missed this Japanese production bearing the startling title, Transformers: Super God Masterforce. Japanese anime is by far the most Gnostic pop culture on the planet, as any Akira or Ghost in the Shell fan will tell you. But even the face-punching obviousness of Yu Gi Oh (which we'll get to in a minute) couldn't prepare me for Super God Masterforce. In this clip we meet Metalhawk, aka Hawk (nudge, nudge). Here's his story:
He is the leader of the Autobot Pretenders and Headmaster Juniors. Metalhawk is known as "Hawk" when in his human guise.
Eight thousand years ago, a star ship containing the Autobot Pretenders Metalhawk, Lander, Diver and Phoenix pursued the Decepticon Pretenders Blood, Dauros and Gilmer to neolithic-era Earth, where they crashed. Using their Pretender abilities, the Autobots adopted the form of humans - not using external shells like in the American fiction, but actually transforming the very structure of their bodies into an organic equivalent, shrinking down to normal human size to hide in plain sight among burgeoning humanity.
The Decepticon Pretenders, on the other hand, adopted the forms of monstrous creatures, becoming feared as demons by early man. After many battles, the Autobots succeeded in defeating their enemies and sealing them away - Blood in the pyramids of Egypt, Gilmer in the ruins of Atlantis, and Dauros beneath the Nazca Lines in Peru - for thousands of years.
Here's another series I had no concept of, since it fell between my two boys' cartoon-watching prime; Mighty Max. This series is a catalog of esotericism-for-kiddies storylines, and may be the only cartoon in history to name an episode after a Kenneth Anger movie. Then there's this episode that showed that someone on staff had been reading their Robert KG Temple. Note that the villain is named Nahmo (read:"Nommo").
Aliens from a planet orbiting Sirius come to Earth, and while trying to stop them Max unwittingly starts a heated argument between Norman and Virgil that keeps them from working together through the entire episode. Max finally gets them to settle the dispute and work together. Aboard the aliens' ship, Max finds out that they've been stealing toxic waste, a source of fuel for them, and happily let the aliens go on their way with it.
Then there's "The Mommy's Hand," in which a villainous Isis (voiced by Kate Mulgrew, speaking of Star Trek) returns to Earth to revive Osiris (and presents us with some visuals startlingly reminiscent of Lucifer Rising):
Max's mom again finds herself in danger when a ring placed on her hand compels her to go to Egypt. Following out of concern, Max and company find that the ring belongs to Isis, an ancient Egyptian goddess who has been living among humans for a few thousand years. Now a little unhinged, she is attempting to awaken her husband Osiris hoping that he will destroy the human race for its many faults and injustices. However, Osiris spares humanity after learning Max is the "Chosen One" and departs along with his wife.
Max is the "Chosen One," eh? Maybe 'Armagddeon Closer' will give us some insight on that little factoid:
Max's birthday falls on the Winter Solstice, the day that is filled with the most darkness. Skull Master, having now reforged his crystal of souls and filled it with the souls of the citizens of Dragon Island, now puts in to play his final plan for victory he has been working towards ever since his escape from Skull Mountain. Virgil and Norman show up at Max's birthday party to show him the prophecy in their home in the Himalayas Mountains.Huh.
Then there's the 90s Jonny Quest revival, which featured 'The Return of the Anasazi'. It's a pretty blatant X-Files knockoff, specifically the definitive mytharc three-parter of 'The Anasazi', 'The Blessing Way' and 'Paper Clip', all of which were inspired by Chris Carter's participation in a Navajo peyote ritual. The irony here is that Race Bannon is voiced by Robert Patrick, who'd emerge as Oannes Doghead on The X-Files.
Then of course there's Yu Gi Oh, which is like shooting fish in a barrel. But that's Japanimation for you.
The thing that really cracks me up about all of this is that nerds hate - I mean, truly hate - AAT just as much as they love their cartoon and sci-fi franchises. Why? Because they all see themselves as nascent Einsteins and can't tolerate the idea of a higher intelligence than they themselves.*
The problem is that nearly all of their favorite franchises are based in AAT, which leads to a state of cognitive dissonance in the community one can only describe as pathological.
It also raises the question as to how effective all of this memetic embedding is if the people who immerse themselves in this kind of entertainment the most are the most resistant to the messages being put across in these narratives. Maybe we're not quite the mindless robots some might believe us to be.
*It's similar to how working class Americans see themselves just a lucky break away from becoming billionaires, so they can't stand to see anything done to threaten offshore tax shelters, outsourcing or egregious tax breaks, even if it all threatens their own economic well-being.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Do you feel it? Do you feel something out there, straining at its leash? Do you hear it? I know there's a lot of noise out there and it's hard to cut through it all, but there is a signal out there. There is a code that's waiting to be deciphered. Which is exactly why the world is such a state of cacophony. Once the code is cracked, all bets are off. There's a lot of money riding on the status quo. Hell, all of the money is.
Which is why it's a very powerful feeling when Synchronicity knocks at your door, and it does so the more you knock at its, oddly enough. You start to feel it- I can actually taste it when I know a random news headline is going to hit me with a new piece of the puzzle once I click through. It's a strange, metallic taste that wells up from my soft palette.
Which is why I think it's very important that you all keep a personal sync log. It's one thing to track all of this madness out there in the mediafeed, but after a while it has a tendency to blur into static. All of the pant-pissing symbolic stuff certainly does. But it can be quite useful if you take it all as a tutorial for deciphering your own symbolic narratives.
I really can't say this enough.
This is what I was thinking about tonight before I watched Fringe, which allegorized this whole secret-codes-flying-through-the-ether business in a dramatic setting. There it's all part of Walternate's master plan. But that's what writers naturally do; impose conflict on a process that can't really be spelled out for John Q. Couchepotatau. There's nothing wrong with that, it makes for good drama. Otherwise, it ends up all Celestine Prophecy. But in real life, it's all quite a bit different.
Fringe is one of those shows that I feel is speaking to me. Not in a "Chris, go out and kill tonight" kind of way (I get that from Dancing with the Stars), but certainly in a way that it seems to coincide with my own progress. Not nearly as intense as The X-Files, which often got pretty damn scary. More like how I felt when I first read Altered States, which of course is a big touchstone for Fringe.
Then there's this whole business on Fringe tonight linking New Jersey to Milton, Massachusetts, of all places. Milton is next to Braintree, and was one of my "three hometowns." It's where I went to church, and it's also a place that still haunts my dreams (well, Blue Hills Parkway in Milton, to be exact). That certainly got my attention.
But I was thinking about Synchronicity as an agent/byproduct of Evolution after speaking with Erik Davis on his radio show, Expanding Minds, since that's one of the many topics we discussed. Speaking of Synchronicity, Erik was a huge influence on my thinking seeing as how he wrote the seminal text Techgnosis, way way back in the Nineties. And sure enough I finally got a chance to meet Erik last year at Esalen, an event that kicked up another interesting Mothman-related sync as well).†
All of this is either just the most long-winded prelude to a podcast link ever seen on this blog, or more kindling for the synchronistic bonfire. Your choice. In the meantime, here's the link to Erik's page on PRN (which is chock-full of familiar voices to old school WBAI listeners) and here's a direct link to the podcast.
We talk a lot about the ancient Mysteries, of course, but take it very far afield into the fever swamps of fin de sicle Synchromystery, Secret Sun-style. There's also my 2-hour Skypefest with Christie Aphrodite on the Truth Brigade podcast. You can read all about that here, pilgrim.
† The year before that California went up in flames shortly after I left Big Sur but the wildfires stopped at the gates of Esalen itself, miraculously. The cause was a still-unexplained "dry" electrical storm.
MIDNIGHT UPDATE: More synchronistic hijinks tonight, related. On Smallville (aka "Emo Superman"), of all places.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
A reader dropped this link in a recent post and needless to say it blew my mind. This was a very short-lived show from 1982 starring Judson Scott, a face familiar to Star Trek, V and X-Files fans. The ancient astronaut angle was a bit late in the game, considering we were a year and change into Reagan's term. But the Machu Picchu opener is quite ahead of its time, as it would become a New Age hotspot just a few years later.
Believe it or not there's a Phoenix fansite. I found this there, taken from the series' bible:
DID SPACEMEN VISIT EARTH THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO?Pretty impressive rundown of the basic AAT thesis, which may one day become a litany. So given all that, where does our hero fit in?
Erich von Daniken, author of "Chariots of the Gods" and "Gods from Outer Space" says we now have proof. The television special, "In Search of Ancient Astronauts" gave us a glimpse of some of the evidence von Daniken described with such fervor in his books.
Scientists, from time to time in history, have been confronted by fantastic objects and archeological marvels which refuse to fit conventional theoretical molds. The question in their minds: Could these things have been the product of a superior intellect from another world? The world's sacred books are full of descriptions of gods who came down from the sky in fiery chariots and who always promised to return. An ancient Sanskrit text contains an account which can only be a journey in a spaceship, complete with a graphic description of the force of gravity.
We find electric batteries many thousands of years old. We see depicted in ancient bas-reliefs, strange beings in perfect space suits with platinum fasteners. We are confronted by numbers with fifteen digits - something not registered by any modern-day computer. Archeology accepts such mysteries as puzzles. And stops cold.
But landing here, these ancient astronauts, searching for intelligent life, discovered that we had not yet reached the point of our own development where they could help speed up the process. It was still not time to make such a move mutually beneficial.You see some hilariously obvious symbolism in the opening credits, though I'm quite certain the show itself would be the same inert and formulaic fodder that TV reduced every interesting genre concept to. But the "Bennu" name is only one indication that the producers were a bit more savvy than you'd might expect. The show's villain was named Aiwaz:
So they left behind them a watchman, a caretaker: BENNU.
A superior being, like themselves, carefully hidden and suspended in a state of deathlike sleep who awaits the moment he would be awakened to complete his mission.
To make certain that men on this planet would one day be ready for contact with the forms and species of life existing in galaxies of infinite disparity. The mission of this caretaker is to subtly influence Homo sapien toward the peaceful uses of outer space, and to help make this planet, with its multi-spectrum of problems, fall into its proper relation with the cosmic processes.
Bennu is homo superior.
In other words, he is one evolutionary step upward from man as we know him. He is a superior being, intellectually, emotionally and physically. He has supernormal faculties and abilities which only Tibetan monks, Yogis, Buddhist priests, and some futurists might begin to understand.
But it was also the corruption of this new science which led to the banishment of a man named Aiwaz. Long after the seeding of Bennu on Earth, a struggle for power had ensued between the Luciferian Aiwaz and the elders of the old and wise order. The elders recognized Aiwaz was creating discordant emotion and destructive passions that had been eliminated from their society long ago. He was introducing hatred, lust and fear through sound-discord into the physical bodies of those who disagreed with him, thereby lowering their tone and interfering with their normal functions.Quite timely, given the lunar theme of recent posts here. I'm not sure if I'd have watched this show even if I'd been aware of it. I didn't watch much TV outside of Hill Street Blues back then, since I was locked into my punk rock social realism phase. I wonder if the Religious Right complained about all of the New Age symbolism in it and forced it off the air. It wouldn't surprise me, given how they were on the warpath against pretty much everything back then.
As opposed to the life-giving properties and warmth of the sun which is the symbol and energy source of Bennu, the moon is the source of occult power for Aiwaz. The moon rules over the hidden processes of nature, the hollow spaces of the earth, and the movements of all the fluidic elements within and upon the earth's surface.
Either way, The Phoenix obviously made an impression on someone since there's not only a fan site but a generous selection of fan fiction.
The symbolism in The Phoenix credits reminded me of A Man Called Hawk, the Spenser: For Hire spinoff which starred Avery Brooks, whose next major role would be playing a character not entirely dissimilar to the Phoenix. We've talked about all of that before, but it bears repeating given how quietly ubiquitous AAT has become in nearly every major sci-fi franchise. Part of an ongoing disclosure/conditioning campaign? I'll have to get a hold of Bruce Rux and ask his opinion.
The Phoenix might have been the right show at the wrong time, like The Man from Atlantis. I'm not sure if that show delved into the AAT angle, but they probably would have gotten around to it. There was an Atlantis episode titled "The Hawk of Mu," just to keep it in the family. Speaking of keeping it in the family, don't forget that there's a tangential link between Atlantis and the Amy Bishop story, though maybe not as direct as the Dallas one.
The problem with all of these shows, however, is that the tired old Hollywood journeymen who worked on them didn't believe in what they were doing. Genre/sci-fi was seen as a ghetto for a very long time on TV, as you can tell by the appalling production values on all of these shows. The Secret of Isis was a perfect example- it was shot in the same bland, dusty neighborhoods every other show was done in with the same inertia and the same lack of conviction. They were always trying to force these concepts to conform to the stultifying norms of network TV, something that reached it's absolute nadir with the ridiculous Captain America TV movies.
I remember watching this through my fingers when I was a kid. I was a huge Captain America fan and this was like watching someone take a piss on my hero. Today I can look back and laugh, particularly at all of the stock riffs like the obligatory car chase on Route 1 in Big Sur, which passed for excitement back in the bad old days of genre TV.
It's really no wonder superheroes were in such disrepute back then- the people putting them on TV obviously hated the genre. But maybe not the producers of The Phoenix. Definitely something I need to track down video of...
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