I don't know if John Lilly's version of the omniscient Orbital Machine Intelligence (OMI) which he named ECCO (for "Earth Coincidence Control Office") is as true or as real than any other OMI fever-dream.
But I do know that when you really dig into the study of Synchronicity-- when you peel away all of the simple coincidence and happenstance and approach the phenomenon with a brutal rigor-- it becomes very hard not to begin to see it as the provenance of a force or an intelligence that is definite.
Which is to say not a nebulous, pie-in-the-sky, touchy-feely "energy" or "consciousness," but an agency.
There have been times when Synchronicity seemed to volley back and forth with me in real time, when it answered questions that I had asked quite clearly in my mind just as if we were having a conversation. I found that the more rigorous I became-- mostly meaning the fewer variables I kept in play-- the more powerful and specific Synchronicity became in turn.
For a very long time I approached Synchronicity with the attitude that it was impossible, that only multiple sources of corroboration-- preferably in hard copy-- would make me believe what I was seeing. And even then I would challenge my own results.
I threw away hundreds of occurrences, which I labeled "guppies," in order to focus on the bigger picture. And in order to quantify the most significant I developed a five-point criteria, which looked for what I call Compound Synchronicities, incorporating several improbable co-incidents into the whole.
Which brings us back to Jack Kirby.
Becoming a conduit for whatever intelligence may be broadcasting out there is not an easy task. Maybe Jane Roberts and JZ Knight are the real McCoy, maybe disembodied ancient spirits really chose them as vessels. Maybe, but I doubt it.
I think in order to get to a point in which our ordinary consciousness is breached and the mind is free to go somewhere else or to tune into unknowable frequencies, our ego filter has to be bypassed. Meaning "shattered."
It seems to be a very dangerous process and I imagine for every true prophet there are a hundred thousand madmen. In Kirby's case, it was most certainly the war, but also maybe something else as well.
In the last post we looked at this bizarre convergence of machine intelligence contact and the year 1974, claimed by Andrija Puharich, Uri Geller, John Lilly, Philip K. Dick and Robert Anton Wilson. Readers cited Timothy Leary and his Starseed Transmissions as well as contact claimed by Ingo Swann. There are probably others as well.
What most of these men (aside from perhaps Geller and Swann) have in common is what is somewhat irresponsibly called "heroic" use of powerful hallucinogens. What separates these guys from your ordinary acid casualty like Syd Barrett is that they continued to be high-functioning and prolific. Perhaps even more so.
You can certainly dismiss their claims but you can't ignore the fact that these were highly intelligent and cogent individuals, working in highly specialized fields.
There are also the examples of visionaries such as Francis Crick and Steve Jobs, both of whom credit part of their genius to hallucinogens and both of whom were no stranger to alien/UFO memes.
And then there's Jack Kirby.
I've written several times about Kirby's own channeling of the OMI meme in OMAC. Let's just recap-- OMAC was a near-future sci-fi series about a OMI who creates a One Man Army to deal with threats that the GPA (Global Police Agency) can't handle. He's essentially Captain Marvel redux, only he doesn't switch his identities.
In issues three and four, OMAC was sent to repel an invasion undertaken by a foreign dictator on a weak neighbor, which was the same situation we saw in 1990 with the invasion of Kuwait.
And here's where we get to the compound Synchronicities; the story begins with OMAC wearing a virtual reality headset, which were all the rage in the early 90s. This story was drawn in 1974.
As he flies to battle OMAC finds himself chased by video-guided smart bombs, which were not used in the field of battle until...you guessed it, the early 90s (the smart bomb was the star meme of the Gulf War).
Jumping forward in the timeline, the arrest of the dictator from his bunker is remarkably similar to the image we saw of Saddam Hussein's bunker arrest, right down to the ragged beard and gaping mouth and tongue.
The similarity of the imprisoned dictator to Saddam is striking here, even with the balding head. The same goes for the crimes against humanity that the dictator is charged with....
The timeline was a bit jarring to me, in that it combined narratives from the Gulf War of the first Bush Administration and the Iraq War of the second. But in the stories that Kirby would write immediately after that timeline would be rectified in the major plot points of a multi-issue arc that would bring us straight to the doorstep of a Stargate.
William Henry (among others) has argued that the invasion and occupation of Iraq was not about WMDs or democracy or even oil, but about obtaining hidden records of the ancient gods popularly known as the "Annunaki."
The ancient cities of Sumer and Babylon (literally "Gate of the Gods") lie in the Fertile Crescent between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Rumors had been circulating for years that Saddam had been digging feverishly for Annunaki relics, which he had supposedly found, as well as proof an ancient Stargate, or interdimensional portal used to travel vast distances in time and space.
And to file this under crazy theories undergirded by naggingly inconvenient facts, you might remember that one of the first things the US Army did when it reached Baghdad was loot all the museums.
Kamandi is not really the last boy on Earth, since he's actually 18 and there are a bunch of other humans (including boys) running around on Earth A.D. (After Disaster). And the title was a pastiche of Kirby's 50s work (including a story in which Earth is taken over by talking animals) meant to cash in on the Planet of the Apes craze of the early 70s.
I remember seeing the book now and then but it seems as if it didn't make it to the stands near me (comic book distribution was a corrupt mess back in the day) very often. So #30 was the first issue I actually bought for myself and was my entry point into the Kirbyverse.
I remember buying it with money my mother had given me to buy soda and potato chips and Ring Dings at Valles News (pronounced Valis) one morning when I was supposed to go on a field trip to the Boston Aquarium.
Be that as it may, you may now note that the first Jack Kirby book I ever bought was about a classic alien abduction -- not to mention the Stargate.
In "UFO: The Wildest Trip on Earth" (wink, wink), Kamandi and his mutant sidekick Ben Boxer are taken to a distant "barren pile of sand" by the alien, who turns out to be an energy being contained in a suit.
Who is Ben Boxer? Well, he's part of a trio of astronauts who sat out the Great Disaster (WWIII) in Tracking Site, an low-orbit space station. They survived the holocaust and developed mutant powers and worship the ancient god, "NASA Mind."
Kirby never said as much but it's safe to say Ben Boxer is his Gus Grissom, because Jack was plugged into every other damn thing you can think of.
What is this invader doing in this desert land? She (it turns out to be a girl after scanning Kamandi as a template) is looting the treasures of the earth to send back to her home planet by way of a....
Where, as the fanatically alien-obsessed Kirby tells us, "UFOs come from." If you scroll back up you'll see a statue based on the Babylonian gods (also featured on the issue's cover) found in--wait for it now...
...the Iraqi National Museum.
So, let's recap-- in 1974, Kirby draws a story about an OMI-powered supergod with main plot points that eerily foreshadow the two Persian Gulf wars, including virtual reality of all damn things.
Immediately after that, we are taken on a trip to a sandy wasteland where an invading alien is looting artifacts, including those identical to those displayed in the Iraqi Museum, which was itself looted by an invading force 29 years later.
Kamandi #30 also features a terrorism subplot, in which Kamandi and Ben find a jetliner lifted from the Arctic in which a passenger carries a suitcase nuke. When the satchel is opened the device is armed and the explosion closes the Stargate, leaving the UFO and its pilot stranded on Earth.
Now, the reason I hadn't put the whole story together is that I usually began and ended with #30. Big mistake. That's only just the start.
In issue #31, the stranded alien energy being looks for a suitable host and possesses Ben Boxer, Walk-in style. He becomes a steel-plated giant (Ben's mutant powers allow him to become the Silver Surfer, sans board essentially) and goes on the rampage.
At the same time the alien is trying to find a host-- Jesus, I don't even know how to say this-- an invading army arrives in the desert from America.
The invading force from America arrives at this barren desert to fight their enemies, the Gorillas. The battle picks up in #32, a giant size issue that includes a reprint of Kamandi #1. And not for nothing, either...
...for the first issue of Kamandi begins in the ruins of lower Manhattan and ends at the military headquarters of the new American Empire. On page 17.
The invasion force from America is led by Kamandi's old chum, Prince Tuftan, son of the "Great Caesar" of the Tiger Empire.
Did I mention it's headquartered in America?
You see, this is the second Gorilla War-- the first war took place in issue #3 and 4, following the story arc begun in #1.
The first war was fought by the father, the second by the son.
By the way, that's a gorilla war, not a guerrilla war.
So, what I innocently wandered into early 1975 was a storyline that eventually featured a UFO abduction, an intra-galactic Stargate, Annunaki relics, jetliners as terrorist weapons, and a two-stage war fought first by the father of a American Empire and then the son.
And did I mention this was written immediately following the smart bomb/virtual reality/Weapons of Mass Destruction war story in OMAC?
The storyline continued with alien genetic engineering and the UFO repelling the gorilla forces. It concluded in orbit, with Pyra taking Kamandi and Canus on a trip to a Russian satellite manned by a Lovecraftian mutant.
This is all just one or twelve too many more "coincidences" with Jack Kirby to chalk up to happenstance. And what we are looking at again are "Compound Synchronicities," in which the co-incidents are stacked in sequence, with Kamandi #30 being published immediately following OMAC #4. And what we are looking at are the major plot points of these stories, not just random details.
Starting in the late 50s, Kirby began receiving transmissions that seem to transcend the boundaries of time and space. He buried it all in allegory (read: "wacked-out sci fi"), or rather, translated whatever he was picking up. But I believe there's some thing behind this all, and not just the moon in June and the birds and the trees, fa la la. And 1974 seemed to be a crucial year in this process for him, as with others.
POSTSCRIPT I: I'd be remiss in not mentioning that I began working on this piece on Dec. 28th, the 37th anniversary of one of the three life-altering traumatic events I experienced in my early days, which I wrote about here. That event -- the violent and suspicious death of someone very close to me and my family-- happened at the end of 1974. I often think it left me wide open, psychically. And just two and a half months later, this Stargate madness came into my life.
An earlier and even more traumatic event also prefigured my very first exposure to Jack Kirby (via this issue of The Witching Hour). I can't help but think of that co-incidence as well.
POSTSCRIPT II: And bringing it all back to those Sirius transmissions, who do we find in the centerfold of Kamandi #35 and its alien goddess-in-orbit plot? A familiar face, indeed.
POSTSCRIPT III: And who's that above Lady Sirius? From the Wiki:
(Christopher) Glenn made his best-known report on January 28, 1986 when he anchored CBS Radio's live coverage of the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger. Glenn had just signed off -- after what was thought to have been a normal launch -- when the shuttle disintegrated, killing the seven astronauts on board."I had to get back on the air real fast to describe that, and had a very difficult time doing that," he recalled. Glenn and correspondent Frank Mottek (now a reporter at CBS Radio Station KNX) covered the Challenger disaster from that point.
POSTSCRIPT IV: Speaking of the Challenger disaster, does anyone know anything about the provenance or authenticity of this video?
POSTSCRIPT V: Ned Sonntag reminded me that Ben Boxer can trace his astronaut-as-supergod lineage directly to the Fantastic Four (astronauts who were transformed into super-beings via radiation), and that the FF themselves are widely seen as a take-off from Kirby's Challengers of the Unknown (both of whom trace their origin to aeronautical disasters). Click here for the lineage.