Monday, July 04, 2011

Nightmares in Camelot, Part 1: The Outer Limits

In my previous post I'd mentioned how the prospect of doing The Outer Limits justice was too much for me at the moment, given my current responsibilities. However, I also realize that some of you might not be familiar with the series or the esoteric topics I was going to examine it in the light of. This all demands a book-length treatment, but an ongoing series of blogposts would do nicely as well.

There are several major issues that I would like to tackle with this series. The show has always been an enigma to me, and becomes more so as I continue to explore the issues the show itself explored. I watched reruns of it when I was very young, which was probably a mistake on my parents' behalf, given how mind-scarringly kid-unfriendly the series was. It left a very strong impression but I had no exposure to it until much later, sometime in the late 80s. Which, not coincidentally, was the same time I was beginning to explore UFOlogy more seriously.

Having spent the intervening years soaking up The Twilight Zone (TZ), I didn't quite get The Outer Limits (TOL) then. I was so used to the quick, jazzy rhythms of the Zone that TOL just seemed like that dreary TZ season when the network ordered Serling to do it as an hour-long. But there was something that nagged at me, something that told me I wasn't quite ready to understand TOL yet.

There's a fair bit of Outer Limits fan material on the web and some "critical" analysis of the show that isn't much to write home about. John Kenneth Muir has served up some worthy posts on TOL on his blog but too much of the rest of what's out there on the series is typical babyman fanstuff.

Much more interesting is Bruce Rux's analysis in Hollywood vs The Aliens. Rux posits that the show was part of a UFO educational program undertaken by more enlightened toilers in the MIC. Rux's thesis is that there's a struggle taking place in the corridors of power between those who want to quash the UFO issue and those who believe the public deserves to know the "truth," whatever that might be.

Rux has a pretty good smoking gun in the person of Outer Limits creator, Leslie Stevens. Born in the belly of the Beast (aka Washington, DC) into a powerful military family (his father was an admiral), Stevens of all show biz types would have access to classified or suppressed material about UFOs. He also had a strong rebellious streak, leaving DC at a young age to work for Orson Welles at Mercury and plying his connections to build a career on Broadway, where he met future TOL producer/head writer Joseph Stefano.

After Outer Limits was quashed (foll0wing his 17th second-season episode), Stevens took William Shatner and a film crew to Big Sur, where he shot his cult horror classic, Incubus (much, much more on that cursed production later).

Stevens seemed to spend some time with the locals in Big Sur and developed some very radical ideas -- anti-globalism and anti-corporatism wed to a Leary-esque futurism and proto-Alex Jones constitutional purism --which he spelled out in est: The Steersman Handbook. The acronym was later swiped by Werner Erhard, but Stevens' "est" stood for electronic social transformation. Quite the futurist.

Part of the enigma surrounding The Outer Limits is its repeated use of abduction tropes, which are de rigeur now but almost invisible then. Skepdicks cite TOL ep "The Bellero Shield" as the model for the Greys (via the Hills), overlooking the fact that the most distinctive feature of the Greys- the enormous, disc-like eyes- are MIA in the story's visitor.

Even so, there is still the fact that many of the show's legendary aliens are Grey-types. But the skepdicks deliberately obscure the immutable fact that the Grey archetype has been seen all over the world for thousands of years and that Stevens' connections might point to a leak (or muddying the waters on the part of Stevens' feeders).

From what I gather, there wasn't much going on in UFOlogy at the time following the successful quashing program of the 50s and many of the now-classic abduction reports (many of which took place in Europe in the late 50s) were either unpublished here or not widely circulated. Abduction reports were not necessarily unknown in 1963 , but nuts-n-bolts types were dominant at that point, and they still tend to steer away from abduction phenomena, as it's usually subjective and untestable. We saw hints of abduction in Invaders from Mars and Earth Vs. Flying Saucers, though not exactly the kind we came to know with the Hill situation, ie., the tests, the prophecies, the safe returns.

Of course, abduction lore is rife in fairy stories and it's in that spirit (if not context) that we see these accounts in TOL. Likewise, we see contact narratives in TOL in a similar traditional spirit-- gods, angels, devils, Djinn, Fay-- coming to grant wishes and otherworldly knowledge to solitary seekers such as Alchemists.

Most importantly, the show is almost oppressively intimate- we don't see any War of the Worlds mass invasions, but quiet, deliberate insinuations that are all the more terrifying in that they deprive the contactee of fellowship (not to mention certainty).

So, here are the main talking points I wish to explore in this series...

Telling Tales Out of School: Was classified material about UFOs and alien contact (whether factual or not) being disseminated in The Outer Limits? Was the point to educate or to mislead (ie., allow skepdicks to cite the series as the source of abduction reports, as was done in the Hill situation), or both?

The Elusive Companion Hypothesis: Leslie Stevens seemed to be well-versed in the supernatural. Did he see UFOlogy as a new mythology or as the reason/explanation for the old? The contact scenarios seem to suggest a more familiar relationship between the "aliens" and ourselves. They walk among us more often than they touch down in their chariots.

Nightmares in Camelot: The Outer Limits premiered just a couple months before the Kennedy Assassination. The episode aired following the events featured JFK mega-resonator Martin Sheen as a POW subjected to mind control experiments. More so than The Twilight Zone, the show seemed to presage the unraveling of America's Camelot and its descent into nightmare.

America's military and technical prowess was merely papering over the deep schisms in the culture, despite the air of confidence the Kennedy Administration wished to project. Prescription drug abuse, racial and religious ruptures and an unspoken suspicion that America was sacrificing its children to some dark, unknowable god on the killing fields of southeast Asia would tear down the castle walls as sure as any war machine. The Atomic and Space Ages would be more like The Munsters than The Jetsons.

An alien tries to decode the Great Seal in Stevens' Controlled Experiment

The Occult Limits: Jack Parsons' restless ghost seems to hover like a storm cloud throughout the entire series, especially in Stevens' own screenplays (it's a good bet Stevens at least knew of the Rocket Man) The mixture of high-tech and high magick may not always be textual but was most certainly subtextual. The very first episode posited a modern alchemist scanning the heavens for Enochian angels and forbidden knowledge. Stevens' other scripts likewise presented scenarios of dimension-crashing coupled with occult trappings.

The Inner Limits: Joseph Stefano -best known for his screenplay for Hitchcock's Psycho- wasn't much interested in sci-fi, which of course resulted in him writing some of the greatest science fiction ever made. What interested Stefano was the psychology of alien contact and the psychology of those on the outer limits. The oft-cited film noir look of the show was meant to act as a externalization of the inner conflicts the characters experience (a move picked up by The X-Files).

Stefano's experience on Broadway also gave him insight into the outer limits of New York's demimonde, especially the then-underground gay scene. Sexual boundary-crossing seems to be a thruline in Stefano's scripts. There's been a fair amount of comment on the relationship between the Sally Kellerman and Chita Rivera characters in "The Bellero Shield," but similar themes repeat throughout the first season (esp. "The Forms of Things Unknown"). There's also the velvet mafia subtext of "The Invisibles" and the sexually predatory tutor in "The Special One." The symbolism is pretty wild once decoded.

The Not-So Outer Limits: Stevens and Stefano handed the showrunning over to lesser hands for the second season, and the show became considerably less weird and resonant. Which is not to say there weren't some great stories (Harlan Ellison pitched in with two well-regarded scripts), but the direction and production were a lot less effective.

Even so, the second season boasted some high weirdness and effective strangeness. "Expanding Human" is essentially a dry-run for Altered States, in which testing of psychedelic drugs causes one scientist to evolve/devolve into a primitive/superior being. "The Inheritors" (with a star-making turn from Robert Duvall) has dying soldiers in Vietnam possessed by alien walk-ins from a dying planet who need children to replenish their population. The script doesn't shy away from the creepy undertones you'd expect from such a situation.

"Keeper of the Purple Twilight" is a space-age update of the Faust legend (written by Goethe, who meticulously recorded his own close encounter in the 18th Century) and "Counterweight" is an exercise in psychological horror in which a disembodied alien entity infiltrates a simulation of a commercial flight to Mars.

I also want to explore how The Outer Limits revival-- which was more successful than the original, running an impressive seven seasons-- almost completely missed the point of the Stevens/Stefano episodes, yet still managed to put some quality Vancouverian sci-fi on the idiot box.

More will come as the series evolves, but that's a basic sketch of what I want to explore. But before I do that I want to explore the long and storied history of otherworldly contacts, particularly those recorded by the Alchemists and their fellow travelers. Once you're familiar with some of these narratives, you'll look at The Outer Limits with brand new eyes, I guarantee it.

NEXT: Encounters with the Elusive Companions


  1. I'm looking forward to this!

    One of my favorite topics that you explore-- especially in some of your interviews-- is "what happened?"

    I'm fascinated by the 1960s. Not only was it a decade of tremendous cultural and artistic development, but the technical advances of that decade are breathtaking. Nearly all of the technology that I'm using to post this was pioneered in the 1960s. From a technical point of view, we are very much still merely coasting on the fruits of that era.

    In the 1970s, it all ended rather abruptly. No more moon missions (and yes I do think we went to the moon), the rate of innovation dropped dramatically, the culture buried itself in fundamentalism and nostalgia, and pessimistic dogmatic skepticism took over the scientific establishment.

    I was at a scientific conference once and joked with a friend that the ritual greeting of scientists was "the universe is boring and we're all going to die from ecological collapse," followed by "yup. So how's the weather?" In other words: science became deathly afraid of the future, immensely fatalistic and pessimistic, and completely unwilling to dream or speculate.

    This happened very quickly.

    Carl Sagan embodies this transformation more than most. He was a visionary, but then he fell into rank fundamentalist skepticism and pessimism like the rest of them. Some of his original visionary nature shines through though in the Cosmos series, and in Contact, so as he might put it the candle never quite went out.

    America is still very much in love with the 50s and 60s, especially from an artistic point of view. My wife is in architecture and interior design, and she comments all the time about how America is still completely wrapped up in mid-century modern. The rest of the world-- even Canada-- has moved on. If you want contemporary modern look at Canada, Europe, and Asia. But America is still in the age of Frank Lloyd Wright and his contemporaries.

    You have little pockets-- Silicon Valley, New York (a little), a few arty small towns-- but the bulk of America just dug its heels in and stopped in 1970.

    I've thought for a long time that we entered some kind of minor dark age.

    Why? What happened?

    P.S. NASA seems almost like it was ground zero for some of the pessimism, fatalism, and dogmatic skepticism that took over science. I find that interesting, though I do not know what to make of it.

  2. I'm really looking forward to this series and the introductory stuff to it--I've even put TOL on my Netflix cue to bone up (since like you, I was a kid when it aired originally, and I've not seen many episodes since).

    I'm also looking forward to some posts on Incubus. I actually got that on DVD when it came out, not knowing anything about it except that it had Shatner and that it was at the time it was made the only full-length movie filmed in Esperanto. As a Trekker and a linguistics buff, what was not to love?

    I did like it, but it's as weird as all get out, and I'm really interested in seeing the connections and commentary on it. Should be fascinating!

  3. BTW, totally off-topic, but you might want to check out Google Takeout:

    It lets you download local copies of things stored on Google's systems, including Blogspot I think. You should really have one, since there is far too much great writing here and it would be tragic if something happened. Data loss is rare at Google but not un-heard-of, and I've heard of things happening to blogspot accounts before.

  4. AdamI: Takeout does not let you archive blogspot/blogger, but that platform has its own archiving feature.

  5. Another interesting trope is that of the genius child being educated in a sinister secret programme. The episode 'The Special One' covered this decades before Strieber's Secret School. Interestingly I wonder if this was also truth disguised by whimsy - considering Strieber's material and the 'phonecall from a computer' stories of Sarfatti & others. Was there really some sort of odd government manipulation programme aimed at bright kids in the 50s/60s masquerading as ET education?

  6. Wow, I picked the right week to start reading The Secret Sun again.

    You've taken control of my laptop. I won't attempt to adjust the monitor.

  7. I had a feeling you were going to move on this topic soon. I'm glad to have been correct. TOL was a major influence on all that followed, whether this was admitted or not. One can see examples of almost all types of interactions between humans and non-humans. Thanks Chris.

  8. Hey Chris,

    I'm very glad that you're moving in this direction too, as my knowledge of TOL is limited to the reruns I saw in my formative years - and I feel there's a whole bunch of stuff I can learn from your posts.

    I'm more familiar with the history of otherworldly contacts, but I'm eager to see the connections you make in reference to TOL. I think you've hit upon a juicy synchromystic horn-of-plenty with this subject, and while my knowledge is limited my spidey-sense tells me that there is a lot of powerful stuff going on here. I'll be getting my oscillators primed and ready, dude!


  9. Chris,

    I am very excited that you will be writing so extensively about The Outer Limits! It is in my opinion, the greatest sci-fi show ever created. I first discovered it in the early 80's in reruns, when I was 12 - 13 years old, and it made a very big impression on me. I still watch it regularly, and am very interested in reading everything that you will be writing about it.

    Take care,

  10. Adami, I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks that everything has been screwed up since the 70's! ;) Sometimes I think it's just me being middle-aged, but I think there are a lot of legitimate things, as you allude to, that seem to have gone askew from that point onward.

    I think in addition to what you mention, there were a lot of economic processes brewing--the rightward political shift, the upcoming Reaganomics, peak U.S. oil, etc., that were involved. How much all of this may tie together is an interesting question.

    It's interesting that you mention Sagan. I've pointed out to several friends that there's nobody like him anymore. I mean, in the 60's, 70's, and even into the early 80's, you had lots of very intelligent people with a firm scientific background who were also celebrities who popularized science for the masses. Remember, Sagan was a frequent guest the Tonight Show when Johnny Carson was host.

    There were others--Jacques Cousteau, Marlin Perkins, Jim Fowler, Joan Embery, Isaac Asimov, to a lesser extent Stephen Jay Gould--lots of smart people who were very visible and promoted learning about science, the environment, and so on. Now? The closest we've had recently was Steve Irwin (fun, but no Jim Fowler), now sadly deceased. Richard Dawkins has gone from writing about science to hysterical anti-religious screeds. You hardly see the old stalwarts of yore who are still alive. As to relative newbies, there are one or two who are fairly visible, like Michio Kaku (I think he's been on the Daily Show), but there's nothing like back in the day.

    Some of this is probably because of an increasingly fragmented mediascape--it's no longer three networks and everybody watches Carson--but still, I'm not sure that explains it. Very strange.

  11. Lelain de Peche4:08 PM, July 05, 2011

    Chris, I look forward to your series. Adami and Turmarion: I have to admit that the pervading pessimism and the drive to escape via drugs or through forms of media only happened after the late 60's. I remember that sense of hope for the planet and for humanity as a whole that was common place in my childhood (70's) dwindling to nothing in the 80's and 90's. The sense of connection both to other people and to the planet has shrunk to near nothing. Young people do not feel a connection to anything and thus feel no hope for a future. I have never understood why all this went away for the generations after mine.

  12. Chris…

    Your continued focus on the Twilight Zone & the Outer Limits has been sparking multiple synchronicities… This post’s opening photo of Martin Sheen in TOL got our attention, as we have been riffing on “Apocalypse Now” imagery in our “Navigating the Apocalypse” series @ Tekgnostics. Apocalypse Now explored the dark side of the “Archaic Revival” mythos popularized by Terrence McKenna, with Sheen’s sacrificial slaying of the Kurtz’ character (archaic king) in the film’s climax being rich in archetypical metaphor.

    This imagery evokes the psychedelic, extra-terrestrial and synchronistic nature of many Secret Sun themes.

    One of our oldest gnostic-experiential mediums, the Grateful Dead not only did the soundtrack (tribal/jungle ambience) for “Apocalypse Now” …they also did the theme music as well as many individual episodes for the 1985 Twilight Zone revival series.

    The Dead delved deeply into psychedelic exploration during their career, with their live performances being the most profound within an initiatory, mystery school (cult-like) environment. Noted mythologist Joseph Campbell, in reference to the Dead said this:

    "The first thing I thought of was the Dionysian festivals, of course. This energy and these terrific instruments with electric things that zoom in... This is more than music."

    Don’t know where this is all going… but you seem to be on a particularly rich thought-stream. Keep after it…

  13. The conversation between Adaml and Turmarion was very instructive.

    What happened in the 60's to kill America's forward motion and progress? The FBI and the CIA won, just like Willis Harman said they would. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X were both murdered and the Black Panther party was taken down by COINTELPRO -- that's why we couldn't move forward into a sci-fi golden age: we couldn't let go of racism.

    The obvious heir to Carl Sagan is Neil deGrasse Tyson. He happens to be black. Just an interesting thread, not accusing anyone of overt racism so much as observing how white Science Fiction culture inherently is.

  14. Justin, I'm actually aware of Tyson--when I spoke of "one or two" relative newbies, of whom I named Kaku, I had him in mind. I just couldn't remember his name at that moment and didn't have time to do a web search. I'd agree that he's the closest heir to Sagan around, and he's good, from what I've seen of him.

    However, to my knowledge (and I admit I no longer watch a lot of TV) neither he nor Kaku nor anyone else has near the media exposure or whose name is nearly as much of an everyday word as was the case with Sagan in his heyday. Nor, to my knowledge, have he or Kaku had the number of high-selling books as Sagan nor anything as ambitious as Cosmos.

    None of that is meant as negative towards Tyson, Kaku, or anyone else; rather, it's an indictment of our society, which, outside of a smaller niche, no longer seems to care about such things.

  15. Friends,

    RE Jack Heart's quote:

    "Apocalypse Now explored the dark side of the “Archaic Revival” mythos popularized by Terrence McKenna, with Sheen’s sacrificial slaying of the Kurtz’ character (archaic king) in the film’s climax being rich in archetypical metaphor.

    This imagery evokes the psychedelic, extra-terrestrial and synchronistic nature of many Secret Sun themes."

    I find this interesting because I partially agree, being a fan of Apocalypse Now and Joseph Conrad's novella 'Heart of Darkness' on which the film is loosely based. I recently made an Outer Limits-inspired video called ‘Please Stand By’ that I posted on Secret Sun's Facebook page, in which I used a brief shot of Brando's Kurtz from Apocalypse Now. Here's the link:

    So it's personally amusing to see Jack Heart's Martin Sheen connection linked to both The Outer Limits and Apocalypse Now, in light of the video I made. What does it mean? Is this some kind of synchronicity?

    Also, I wanted to share a strange experience I had tonight. All this talk of TOL made me watch 'The Box' again, a great little film that Chris has mentioned many times. After watching the world of Arlington Steward, played by Frank Langella, I decided to take a night-time walk to the corner shop. On my way back I see this frog or toad sitting on the pavement. At first I thought it was a toy, but a very weird feeling had already overcome me, and on closer inspection I realised it was real and wet and fleshy, not made of plastic or rubber. Now, just to be clear – I’ve NEVER seen a frog or toad sitting on a London pavement before. You might occasionally see one in someone’s back garden if they have a pond. But let’s just say it’s not a normal sight for the city streets of East London.

    Ok, so I figured maybe I was just freaking myself out – attributing more strangeness to the thing than was warranted. But what creeped me out was that I felt that spooky feeling before I even realised what was sitting on the pavement.

    So I’m walking back home thinking about the toad in reference to the creepy movie me and my girlfriend had just watched. When I recounted the story to my girlfriend she got creeped out too – and jokingly suggested that Arlington Steward from ‘The Box’ was trying to communicate with me extra-dimensionally, taking the form of the frog.

    So, then we sit down to watch an average chase-thriller called ‘Unknown’, starring Liam Neeson. And halfway through the movie Frank Langella appears playing a mysterious Intel agent, wearing a very similar hat to the one he wears in The Box as the character of Arlington Steward. As soon as he appeared on screen me and my girlfriend stare wide-eyed at each other and start laughing.

    I had no idea that Frank Langella would have a guest appearance in the second movie, wearing practically the same hat.
    Now, I guess perception is a very personal thing, and we’re prone to see connections in the experiences we have – but this whole thing genuinely amused me and slightly unsettled me.

    I’m sure I’m just seeing what I want to see, that it’s my powerful imagination that imbued the coincidences with spooky significance, but that doesn’t change the strange atmosphere that permeated my evening. Just thought I’d share it with you, for what it’s worth.


  16. Tumarion: I've felt for a while like they don't want people being interested in science... at least not the open-minded "man, the universe is fascinating!" sort.

    They want people into closed-minded ideologies of various kinds because those are easier to manipulate. Dogmatic skepticism, religious fundamentalism, pop green ideology, and so on... too many to list. Your choice of State Sanctioned Ideology doesn't matter though... as long as your views can easily be characterized in a statistical breakdown of the population.

    Chris remarked once in one of his interviews that "science is profoundly boring." I disagree... science is profoundly fascinating, but I think there has been a deliberate effort to make it profoundly boring by crushing the wonder out of it.

    I have this feeling that the last thing "the man" (and I'm sort of agnostic about what "the man" really is) wants is people being in awe of the universe.

    This whole thread of discussion might seem off-topic, but I don't think so. Any probing of the psychic undercurrents of the 60s-70s immediately gets me onto this topic.

  17. Thanks, thanks. Born in 1955, I remember seeing the Twilight Zone and the Outer Limits on TV when I was very young. Thank you grandmother Esther! Those shows definitely influenced my experience of the 1960s and early 70s and the perceived "decline" in the 80s and 90s up to now.

  18. Hey again, Chris,

    I just wanted to say that I kind of agree with AdamI's comment about "the Man" wanting to make science boring by crushing all the wonder out of it.

    It makes sense to be that "the Man", whether internal, external, or both, would not want an open-minded sense of scientific wonder - because that would inevitably lead to profound scientific breakthroughs and an explosion of uncontrollable data, theories and speculations. It might give folks a sense of hope, gosh darn it. Or it might lead to the implication that we are not living in a vast clockwork universe after all.

    If hippies helped to save quantum physics, imagine what a group of wide-eyed, open-minded scientists might do. For one thing they might stop trying to reinforce old paradigms and just look at the data. If wonder and awe returned to science it might awaken the sleeping giant of scientific genius. And then things like art and culture and spirituality would become just as interesting just to these newly liberated polymaths.


  19. Ahhhh, looking forward to this continued analysis. I was born in the 50's, adopted, always felt like an outsider in my family. Watched Outer Limits, Twilight Zone, Lost in Space, Star Trek...totally absorbed by the messages and stories. Thanks.

  20. One more thing about the decades--researchers Justin Wolfers and Betsey Stevenson found that reported happiness in the U.S. has not increased in the aggregate since the 1970's. One always has to take sociological research like this with a grain of salt--how do you quantify "happiness"?--but it's interesting. I think the change in the economy to a more dog-eat-dog mode and the breakup of neighborhoods are a big part of that. Still, it's interesting that this tracks to the exact same time period as all these other phenomena. I'm not sure what it all means, but I don't think it's coincidental.

    Adaml and Raj, I have no doubt that the Man doesn't want us to have awe and wonder about anything, science especially. Pink Floyd hit it on the head with "Comfortably Numb".

  21. Raj: the Newtonian clockwork universe is already dead, and has been for a long time.

    Look up Ilya Prigogine, who said: "Determinism is fundamentally a denial of the arrow of time."

    He doesn't even have to drag in quantum mechanics to demolish the deterministic view. He does it with thermodynamics.

  22. Good stuff as always. My rather antinomian view is that Western civilization has been in decline since the 1960's precisely because the "liberals" won the culture wars. We simply lost our confidence as a culture, deconstructed ourselves into ruin, and have become a weak, divided, decadent and visionless civilization.

    Anyone who has read Spengler knows where this process ends: the Collapse of the West. The Han Napoleons and the Hindu Hitlers will simply roll over the ruins of our civilization later in this century, and we will have no one but ourselves to blame.

    Since I know most of you are big fans of Star Wars, Lovecraft and Kirby, I wanted to shamelessly plug my latest post and invite you to explore the Dark Side:

  23. Good stuff, AdamI. Thanks for the heads-up!


  24. Fascinating moment for me here-I had some thoughts on the nature of the skeptical mind/fear of the unknown or maybe pessimism-and there's Adaml's thoughts, right there. Well, dang, if that aint a bit o' synchronicity.

    Anyways, here's a bit of thought I'm doing at the moment: it might be less a fear of the unknown, and more an anxiety, caused by the uncertainty. Certain mindsets very much like fact A, fact B, and that when you put them together, fact C follows, and thus consensual reality is known. Some skeptics turn to ignoring or invalidating anything quantum. Because, when dealing with these often bizarre connections, observing the events, physical, thereupon, provides little in the way of illumination. Often a critique of synchromysticism is "But what does it all mean? After all, all this thinking gets done, but there's no fact A or B. No real conclusions, just shadowy suggestions."

    A good reply is that it may all function like a Koan. There may be no higher intelligence, it may simply be that consensus reality is perfectly capable of doing a kind of quantum folding, making connections that resonate, all by itself. But, if consensus reality is like a koan, then of course, it aint about having an answer, it's about opening creative pathways, dancing with data, exercising, or possibly exorcising the mind. Well, the alpha state bound one, anyways. If anything, the 20th century and early 21st century seem saddled with a narcissistic obsession with the alpha brain state.

    I'm still working out possible conclusions to that whole ramble there...

  25. One other thing-as a strange aside, probably totally unrelated, I have the soundtrack to Dead Man, the excellent Jarmusch film. The scene where Iggy Pop and a few other characters have an argument over who gets Depp, upon the first dozen or so listenings, continually struck me as sombre, and bleak. One day, recently, I started laughing like mad, for I suddenly found it the funniest thing ever. No synchronicity, just a way of saying that meditating upon something brings about new layers of potential meaning.

  26. Hi, all - coming to this thread four and a half years after the discussion. I'd like to comment on the '60s and '70s and the end of what I think we perceived as an exploratory expansiveness in society. I agree with that perception and many of the comments above. What I'd like to note for comment by anyone is information new to me re the hippies, psychedelic drugs, and psychedelic music; namely, that there is pretty strong evidence that these were not the results of "grass roots" movements, but rather that they were social experiments carried out by the military industrial complex. In that line of thinking, the experimenters either learned what they wanted to learn and caused the effects they wanted to cause - OR they didn't - and for either reason decided to take society in a different direction. Take a look at the book, Weird Scenes Inside The Canyon by David McGowan. The book doesn't provide definitive answers but lays out a foundation of events and relationships that are convincing to me that the whole "scene" was not what we thought it was. I'd love to hear others' thoughts on this and any other sources of relevant info. Thanks!