Monday, February 27, 2012
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Modern discourse has produced a Bizarro lexicon, in which words that once had meaning either take on new meanings that have little to do with their original intent, or in fact have no real meaning at all.
I think most of you know what I'm talking about here. And nowhere is this more apparent in what book publishers call the New Age market, a catch-all phrase which itself has been bleached of its original meaning. It can refer to anything from self-help gurus to alternative history to Spiritualism to the more speculative corners of conspiracy theory (think Icke, David).
So whereas my original exposure to the New Age subculture (which I discussed recently) had more to do with the occult, in only a few short years it'd come to represent people who were trying to construct a movement with no real historical roots of any significance, with no doctrines or scripture, basically with nothing but a lexicon of terms that they had stripped of any meaning at all. Words like 'spirit', 'energy', 'consciousness', 'shaman', 'metaphysics', 'light', 'evolution'.
I'd visit these meetings and see predominantly bored middle-aged to elderly women (and maybe a smattering of their even more bored husbands) toss these words back and forth as if they were passcodes, as if the words themselves had some magical power to bring them somewhere, though where exactly was never made clear.
One of these get-togethers was at the big, bad, scary Lucis Trust, the subject of countless pant-pisser conspiracy theories. It was so cripplingly dull-- literally filled with stereotypical spinsters in tennis shoes, half-listening (a couple were actually knitting beforehand) to two of the dullest speakers in human history-- that I fled during the coffee break. It was an educational experience in that it taught me how inherently ridiculous and face-punchingly ignorant a good 99% of the Snakehandler conspiracy stuff out there is.
But the culprit here isn't the victims of the New Age scam-- these people are usually good-hearted, well-meaning seekers-- it's the vapid commercial culture that produces imitation religion, from the Lucis Trust to the Megachurch. It's no mystery that neopaganism became so alluring to so many New Agers, however the problem is that the same rot quickly set in. The consumer culture fungus.
Paganism in the ancient world was primarily based in fertility, in about doing whatever it took to appease the gods to ensure a bountiful harvest. That was literally a matter of life and death. With the rise of organized agriculture and surplus economies came the Mystery cults and the philosophical religions, in which humanity put its mind to more abstract questions. I don't know how compelling fertility can be in the Monsanto era, but I'd obviously be the last guy to question the enduring power of those ancient archetypes.
All of this brings me to the P word, maybe skipping over some steps in between because this is a blog and not Time Magazine, and breaking rules is my way of staying fresh. So Jung bla bla, Synchronicity bla bla, symbolism bla bla-- you know the drill. But the P word; what is the P word, you may ask?
It's yet another word that consumer culture has stripped of meaning, a word that describes waters I've swum in my entire life but still remains radioactive to me since hucksters often use it when they want the rubes to think they're saying something when in fact they're saying nothing at all.
You know, "Paranormal."
"Paranormal" used to mean something; in Operation Trojan Horse and Messengers of Deception, the Keel/Vallee description of "paranormal" has a definite and specific meaning and a definite and specific source. Both authors argue that UFOs are an "ultraterrestrial" phenomenon that has been with us a very long time, and uses a telepathy-based technology so advanced as to be essentially magic to interact with humanity, using a series of disguises and deceptions for reasons we can only guess at.
I speculated on such a phenomenon long before I read either book, back when Jeremy Vaeni had me on his podcast back in 2008. He didn't seem to like the idea much but after hearing a presentation on abduction phenomena at my first Esalen trip I got the feeling that it was a kind of psychic theater that was being implanted in the mind by some kind of electronic means.
Of course, a lot of theorists have speculated that this was all MK Ultra and the like, conveniently ignoring the fact that abduction phenomena goes back millennia. And despite what the CIA and DARPA might want you to believe, there's still no compelling evidence that they have anything like what Serge Monast was convinced was already ready to be rolled out with the mythical Project Blue Beam some 15 or so years ago. But I digress...
Paranormal simply means "beside what is normal." That can mean a whole host of things, and include pretty much everything we talk about on this blog. It can mean psi, the occult, the netherworld, ghosts and related phenomena, hallucinogens and shamanic experience- basically anything outside the 9-t0-5 grind.
But my fear-- and this is based in my own associations with the term-- is that the word has been appropriated by the kind of nonsensical Reality (sic) TV you see on SyFy: brainless mannequins running around in "haunted houses" with night vision goggles on, huffing and puffing for 40 minutes until they all get together and trade notes about what a waste of time it all was (well, that's how I sum it up, at least).
But my negative association with the term isn't limited to that kind of Kali Yuga entertainment- it's also used by alleged UFO researchers who can't be arsed to do anything but the most superficial casework, so they throw around fashionable buzzwords like "paranormal" or "trickster" simply because they heard someone else use them somewhere, maybe.
Or maybe because they don't want to violate their audience's normality bias, so the New Agey buzzwords become a more comforting alternative. Because if you listen carefully, they end up reducing it all to nothing-- not even hallucination. So nothing is what it all adds up to.
In the modern "paranormal" marketplace, the Beast must constantly be fed so any kind of perspective or discernment is chucked out the window; Roswell or Socorro is treated the same as some Randibois playing with their balloons. Pretty soon it's all just static and chatter, and then the game becomes the "debunker" game (just like every TV show message board eventually focuses on the "10 worst episodes" and so on), especially since none of these Art Bell wannabes are equipped to deal with anything truly paranormal in the first place.
They may have liked a couple UFO or paranormal movies in some vague fashion and decided to blog about it with their typical American sense of unearned entitlement. But they never stopped to think that their perfectly normal brains and perfectly ordinary worldviews were completely ill-suited for the paranormal in the first place.
I feel extremely protective of people who have had genuine paranormal experiences, because I realize that many of them are often traumatized by them. And the last thing they need are a bunch of douchebags making a mockery of a facet of life most people already dismiss.
So you can see why I'm suspicious of these kinds of wordgames. I've been around long enough to see the unending process of appropriation destroy the very idea of a counterculture, a process I still haven't figured out how to remedy. I saw it happen with Hardcore starting as early as 1982 and repeat endlessly ever since. I suppose a return to a true initiatic Mystery cult type of system is the only solution. Which in turn runs the risk of degrading into a run of the mill secret society, but that's life.
One of the main reasons that I don't talk about the paranormal here, however, is that what we understand to be paranormal is usually anecdotal and almost impossible to prove. Talking about the stuff we discuss here and on the FB is hard enough with the Skeptics' constantly moving goalpost. And that's when I can put it all up there, with links and everything.
Even so, one of the most interesting experiences I had in the history of this blog actually started on Facebook, when I came home to report a very strange sighting I had minutes after I (well, my dog and I) actually had it. I first described it as a "ghost" sighting, though I later read a nearly identical story in a Jenny Randles book on alien contact.
That inspired a huge thread on my FB wall which led to the post itself (where I was obviously having even more trouble with the P word than now). As I reported in that piece I'd find out the next morning after seeing this strange, white figure that there'd been a serious hit and run accident at the end of the street and the police had put up an electronic sign calling for witnesses to come forward.
Unfortunately I was never able to find out what happened to the victim, but given the overall weirdness of this area (after all, Aleister Crowley's ashes are buried nearby), seeing weird apparitions hardly rates as paranormal.
But I couldn't prove I had this sighting, which still really bothers me. Painful life experience has led me to distrust memory, so I'm always looking for compelling evidence to support my arguments (hence, sticking to deal with synchronizing established facts). So I tend to keep discussions of what some might call paranormal experiences confined to personal discussions with friends.
Strangely enough, I don't extend this bias to other people's stories-- I'll give anecdotal evidence the benefit of the doubt, especially if it rings true on a subconscious level or can be corroborated through running the symbols. The classic 50s contact/abduction stories (Jenny Randles again) are a great example of this; most of them are unprovable but resonate with me on a profoundly deep level that I can often relive them as I'm reading about them.
Which is a kind of paranormal experience in and of itself, don't you think?
Saturday, February 18, 2012
"Truth" is a political construction. At the end of the day, what people accept as truth will depend on their politics, which will depend on their identity, or their perception of such.
There are those who will never question the official version of the JFK assassination, 9/11, the Apollo moon landings, Gulf War Syndrome, UFOs or any other topic you can name. No matter how compelling your evidence, no matter how shoddy or makeshift the official version of events. Certain people-- maybe most people-- simply won't go there.
Which is not to say that alternative views are necessarily correct; there's a whole host of alternative views I find every bit as shoddy and weak as arguments you might hear on Fox News or read in The New York Times. I may end up agreeing with the so-called "Skeptics" on certain issues more often than not, though that's usually a function of their tendency to shoot at strawmen to soften their audiences up for thornier and more troublesome targets. That's a technique straight out of stage magic, by the way: the art of intentional deception which most skeptics rely upon to manipulate mainstream audiences and the media gatekeepers who are the shills in the "Skeptic" shellgame.
But I'm not here to sell you used views from the mainstream or alternative media; I'm here to encourage you to find your own truth. The mainstream and the alternative media have failed equally in my view, and the proof of the pudding is in the eating of the shit that the world is force-fed every day. Everyone sees a political system that is engineered to serve only the rich and the powerful; everyone realizes that the rest of us are being left to fend for ourselves.
Everyone realizes that the free market system (so-called) exists only to serve the executive class; that the "hidden hand" of the so-called free market is actually the funny handshake of collusion, price fixing and monopoly capitalism. We're not here to argue any of that. What I'm here to tell you is that in this environment there is no longer any reason to worry about the opinions or beliefs of a professional class and knowledge-based elite that doesn't care about you at all.
The New York Times and Fox News and the rest of the corporate media have been caught lying and covering up the misdeeds of the rich and powerful so many times that they have no credibility outside the professional class whose interests they serve.
Similarly, the scientific establishment is not some Olympian overclass of aloof, disinterested monk-scholars, they are all bought-and-paid-for vassals of the corporate state. The so-called "peer review system" is doomed from the start when not a single scientist will ever dare to step outside the bounds of orthodoxy for fear of ending their careers literally overnight.
By the same token, any serious observer of the quote-unquote "alternative" media sees how much of it is simply an extension of the gun-show/survivalist wing of the American religious right, and how much of it exists to sell you gold and silver of dubious provenance and equally questionable vitamin elixirs and "survival" kits.
It's the same exact technique as the mainstream media; "scare and sell." Ramp up the anxiety with constant bad news stories to soften up the rubes to buy the palliative products of the sponsors. The only difference are the products; most so-called alt-news sources simply cut and paste the same stories you see in the mainstream media nowadays.
In the end, you are on your own. The people out there trying to influence your thinking just want your money, after all is said and done.
So take this unique opportunity to throw off the shackles of other people's expectations and pursue your own calling. Pursue it not with "skepticism" (an invitation to self-sabotage and reductionism) but with rigor and discernment. Question your methods and your conclusions but have faith in your instincts and keep your goals in your sights at all times. But at the same time be prepared for new goals to arise. Always be ready to be surprised. Surprise is the very currency of Synchronicity and esotericism.
You might have heard terms like "confirmation bias" or phrases like "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." Who's to say what "extraordinary evidence" entails? This is all just bullshit; it's about skeptics moving the goalposts until they get their required result. Even if they don't, they just declare victory and disappear. Without fail.
If you want to use the skeptics to keep yourself honest, go for it. But if not, that's fine too. Either way, never make the mistake of looking at them as anything but a kind of hive-mind paradigm. Always remember how screwed up these guys usually are (a fact which will burned into your brain if you ever spend any time among them) and if you like, do some digging on the dark underbelly of the movement. That in particular can be quite liberating.
Always demand evidence, but never dismiss evidence simply because it may not fit into someone else's reality paradigm. Be honest with yourself and your results, not to please some socially inept malcontent who spends all of his time attacking people on the Internet, but because those honest results may take you somewhere you never expected, somewhere new and wondrous.
You might notice I'm not endorsing or recommending any particular modality or discipline. That's up to you. I would recommend that you do the requisite research and make sure that people you respect take your pursuit seriously, but I think most of my readers don't need to be reminded of that. What you might need is some encouragement, and some help with understanding that one of the great advantages of living in a world in which you've been cut loose is that you no longer have to live up to someone else's expectations.
But there's one other thing I'd recommend: a dose of warrior spirit. Too many people interested in alternative pursuits are too reticent to fight for what they believe. I'm not talking about the poseurs and the phonies, who are always obnoxious, I'm talking about the scholars, the students, the seekers. There are people who want to take everything that's important to you away from you, just for a cheap thrill. Just for a momentary ego boost. Are you going to let them?
I'm not talking about going out and picking fights, I'm talking about being unshakable. About having the confidence in your work that comes with work-- very long, very hard hours of work. Having the confidence in work based in a tradition; that you aren't reinventing the wheel but are building on those who've come before you.
When I took martial arts I could always tell who the most dangerous students were-- they were the ones who were the calmest, the most centered, the most steadfast. The bluffers and the blusterers-- the ones who acted like the idiots you see on the Internet-- were the ones who didn't do the work, who didn't know the art. It was the quiet ones who'd take your breath away when they'd go up to spar.
As with the martial arts, the Hermetic arts have been around a lot longer than all of the fads and the innovations. And esotericism has captured the attention of some of the greatest minds in history while the reductionist, materialist point of view continues to contract, continues to create a culture in a state of constant collapse and leads to a class of corporate vassals working in tedious specialties so soul-destroying they immerse themselves in esoterica the same way Republicans immerse themselves in gay sex-- by attacking and denigrating that which they are most drawn to, because of the guilt and the gaping void left by their empty worldviews.
You don't need their permission. You need only your own, which is a lot easier said than done. But we've seen where reductionism and materialism and hyper-specialization has led us; it's led us to a dead, cold, empty world.
You have centuries-- millennia-- of esoteric thought and practice on your side. They have Bill Nye and James Randi, the Amazing Atheist and a host of other freaks, sickos and malcontents on theirs. They also have a lot of cowards and poseurs, who don't have the balls to navigate the stormy seas of true esotericism and become "born-again skeptics" too. To hell with all of them.
Work, study, question, develop your warrior spirit and your killer instincts. Be honest, be steadfast, be unmovable. Authoritarian Religion has failed, Corporate Science wants to turn you into a robot. There is definitely a better way.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
I hadn't time to fully process Whitney Houston's death when I first posted on it. I knew it marked a major turning point in my own life and in that of the nation, but I wasn't quite sure why. I'm still working on it, but the event seems to grow in my mind.
First, the obvious: Whitney's death came on the eve of the Grammy Awards, which is in no way a mere coincidence. I've my own feelings on this conjunction, other people their own as well. But following on the heels of Madonna's Pax Romana imperialist ritual at the Super Bowl and Nicki Minaj's equally grotesque tribute to The Exorcist (a film and novel that I've come to see as the apologia of a psychotic priest after the rape, torture and murder of an adolescent child of indeterminate gender) on Sunday, how can we escape the departure of a performer who didn't need the vulgar distractions of pseudo-occult ritual to hypnotize the entire world?
Equally despicable and depressing were the flurry of tweets from the media-brainwashed ditz-brigades of America, gleefully declaring they'd "let Chris Brown beat me any time." The fact that Brown is not only still a star but a bigger star than ever tells you pretty much all you need to know about where we stand in the 21st Century, with all of our technology and social media bullshit.
But the message is clear-- spectacle and manufactured outrage are what will be sold now. True talent is too hard to package, too hard to control. With the battery of electronic effects these singers are drenched in now, they don't really need to know how to sing at all anymore. Just ask Madonna.
And so the death of Whitney Houston-- the greatest singer of her generation-- acts as the milestone for this dark, cold new age.
The exact truth behind Whitney's relationship with Robyn Crawford still seems to be radioactive, with the press only covering claims made by British gay militant Peter Tatchell (reduced to recycling made-up quotes attributed to Jaz Coleman back in the 80s before Whitney died) that Whitney's sham marriage to Bobby Brown was the beginning of her long, ugly downfall. For her part, Crawford wrote a heart-rending open letter that detailed her history with Whitney without addressing the exact nature of their relationship.
But the public record is crystal clear- Whitney started going off the rails when she married Brown and went off the deep end when Crawford departed her life in 2000. How ironic that professions of bisexuality --real or (mostly) imagined-- are essentially a prerequisite for today's new pop stars like Nicki Minaj.
I tuned it all out. My interest in Whitney Houston had less to do with her music or career and more to do with a specific moment in time. But I always recognized her incredible gifts and believed- and I still believe-- in redemption. I still believe in the power of the work to overcome the kind of struggles Whitney Houston faced, that brought her so low.
I believed until the very end that one day she would walk away from other people's expectations and retake control of her life and rediscover the gifts that stunned the world in the 80s.
I believed in Act Three.
I saw Tina Turner- who I cite as an avatar of Demeter in The Secret History of Rock 'n' Roll-- as an example for Whitney, who I saw as Persephone (with Brown as a particularly malevolent Hades and cocaine as the pomegranate seeds). Tina Turner became too "white" for the militants in the late 60s, as hard as that is to believe. So rather than submit to the passing fads of the day, she stuck to what she knew and what she felt.
After leaving the abusive Ike, Tina relocated to Europe (where she remains a superstar of the first order) and later reconquered America with one of the most amazing storybook comebacks in pop history. But there would be no escape for Whitney-- what the world saw and fell in love with was some kind of woundedness, a vulnerability, despite the hardass bitch image she projected on reality TV.
Persephone, in other words.
But Tina Turner made her comeback in another America, another world. Not the America of the shattered attention span and cheap cynicism. Not the America where "transgression" is embarrassingly mainstream. Not the America in which an Internet connection is like a Harvard PhD; it instantly confers on its owner ultimate authority. An America in which everyone becomes an authority simply by claiming to be so and then petulantly demands that their authority be recognized. An America that demands the world be its mirror.
Tina Turner's America that wasn't that much different, mind you, but it was still an America in which certain things still mattered; talent, experience, paid dues, authenticity, knowledge. Not to everyone, mind you, but to the right people. Tina paid her dues and paid them hard, and people responded to that. That kind of thing used to matter. Not anymore.
Whitney Houston appeared in my life as an anomaly. My response to her was visceral, probably hormonal, and was based in the fact that she had one of the most powerful voices I have ever heard and was astonishingly beautiful to boot. In a parade of instantly forgettable music video-- which was inescapable in the mid-80s, it was playing everywhere you went-- she stood out. But as I said before there was this signal. I realize now it wasn't necessarily coming from her, though I now realize she was certainly part of it.
But this was a time when I was kicking furiously at the doors of consciousness and discovering that Synchronicity wasn't just a disappointingly commercial album from The Police. It was a unsettlingly interactive force that seemed to correspond with all of the weirdness of my early life (which some people would call "paranormal" but I never did back then) and tied into all of the mind-expanding and mystical totems I was exploring at the time.
It's funny that Whitney Houston-- the mainstreamiest of the mainstream-- was the anomaly in all of this insanity. But she was mezzo like my mom and looked like an idealized version of my high school girlfriend (who I met at a Clash concert, of all places), so a mixture of the two was certain to be potent in my new life. This would all come back when Whitney died two days after I posted on Max Ernst, who kicked my ass and kicked it hard at the same exact point in time.
Two other things happened to me, in the midst of all that ferment; I discovered the occult (the Paranormal) and conspiracy (the Parapolitical). The first wandered into a den of iniquity my friends and I were renting at the foot of the New Jersey Skylands in the form of a Deadhead, who was an esoteric dilettante in the very best possible way. To him all of the various magical modalities were equally valid, equally interchangeable. It was all one big magickal candy store.
He'd introduce me to a host of new concepts and street-level magi, hiding in the margins of the Jersey hinterlands. He'd even attempt to initiate me as a warlock in the woods (I'm still stunned how he built a full-tilt stone altar literally overnight) in the next town over from where Whitney Houston lived for 20 years, though I must say my reaction was more bemusement and anticlimax than transcendence.
Conspiracy would come in the form of another friend who did way too much acid in high school but chose to listen to The Residents and Captain Beefheart than The Dead. He was also a Subgenii and almost terminally paranoid, but in an extremely cheerful way (he'd regale you with stories of how the government would one day just stop sending food and fuel to suburbs like Ledgewood and make it sound like a two priests and a rabbi joke). He was a hell of a storyteller and could decode the hidden agenda behind every news story. His methodology was contagious and stuck for life.
A lot of other people in our circle thought these two were just vaguely amusing weirdos, but I recognized that these were guys who spent all their time thinking. And their pharmaceutical adventures taught them new ways to think and maybe even turned on new synapses to think with.
I wouldn't quite realize it, but I subconsciously recognized that most other people didn't know how to think, and didn't want to. Even those people in the media or politics or the academy. They simply learned thought-replacement techniques, something you'll see everywhere if you know how to look for them.
But where I sit I see a situation in which everyone who's supposed to be responsible, who's supposed to minding the store, has not only failed us all and failed us all badly but is essentially out there masturbating in public, so to speak. Who are any of them to tell me how to think about the Paranormal or the Parapolitical?
If you look you'll find that those who do not truly know how to think are those who are the most eager to discourage others to truly think. If you stop and think about it, you'll see how these people have perfected this nearly-simian technique of having you beg for their permission to think a certain way. That they have perfected these apelike signals to discourage independent thought, thinking outside of their tiny little boxes.
It's by no means limited to those in quote-unquote authority. Just as often, it's these ridiculous assclowns who set themselves up as authority, without having any accomplishments or credentials. Without having done anything authoritative, in other words.
It's time to knock these motherfuckers off their pedestals and knock them off hard.
Monday, February 13, 2012
I remember being completely hypnotized by Whitney's videos back in 1985. I had zero interest in that kind of music but I had immense interest in her. I was so smitten that I started telling my friends that she was some kind of signal, some kind of harbinger of some new, X-Men-like race that would emerge from the ashes of humanity. That she was singing these frothy pop songs to reach as many people as possible and trip this switch in their brains and kick off the New Age.
The point was that everyone stopped for a moment to bask in her lean, graceful beauty, her infectious, megawatt smile and her stunning vocal range that made you stop and listen, no matter what your musical taste.
In ancient times, emperors would build temples to her all across the world, and roses would be thrown at her feet wherever she walked. Even the humblest cobbler or beggar would think that surely this was a goddess come down to Earth; Hathor, Aphrodite, Inanna.
But this is the modern world, where even a goddess is reduced to a commodity. I'm not sure exactly what brought Whitney Houston back down to earth, but I'm sure the unrelenting pressure of superstardom had a lot to do with it, when your every move is scripted, recorded, and critiqued. And in America we put these people up on pedestals, shine the light of interrogation on them and then eat them alive when they flinch.
In that world, you are faced with an itinerary that creates a need for the stimulants that the sharks swimming around you are all too happy to provide. The rise of the superstar paralleled the rise of cocaine culture and the crushing schedules of in-demand stars like Houston made the lure of the leaf all that more inviting.
The flipside of stardom is how it all becomes a grinding monotony, how the business always takes the art away from you and how an artist ends up having to support a large and often parasitical corporation; people whose livelihoods rely on keeping the machine running, whether the muse has flown or not. It's an ugly, ugly business. "Evil" might not be too strong a word. And the drugs often become the artist's only escape from the devils.
And there's another narrative at work here, something spoken in whispers (or louder, later) for many years. I had heard from people on the New York music scene even before Whitney became a superstar that she was not straight, that she'd often be seen walking arm in arm in the Village with a woman who'd later work as her assistant. Whether she was gay or bisexual seemed to be a favorite subject of debate and she later married singer Bobby Brown, an act which seem to seriously dim her luster.
But given the toxic homophobia that's become nearly a religion in some quarters since the rise of Hip Hop, I think the pressures of staying in the closet could be yet another millstone that brought this goddess crashing down to the shitpile the rest of us slog through. In the 21st Century, a person's sexuality shouldn't even be an issue, but it is.* And it will continue to be as long as the harsh realities of the post-industrial economy leave a constant need to find untermenschen to feel superior to.
I wish I could leave you with some benediction here, some happy ending. But I don't see one. I see a woman who embodied the very best of us --in such a fashion as to perhaps be not of us-- dragged down below us and then destroyed. I see The Man Who Fell To Earth play out in real time before our eyes once again. Karen Carpenter redux.
I see yet another point put up on the Archons' scoreboard. I see an artist who people across the world could all agree was something special taken away from us. The only hope is that the work will live on, and that that signal continues to be broadcast until enough receivers get switched on.
PS: I should add that Whitney Houston came to my attention at the same point time I started obsessing on Max Ernst, who we discussed in the previous post (my tastes have always been pretty eclectic). A strange and kind of disturbing sync for me.
UPDATE: The Jackals feast on the Lioness' bones.
It was business as usual less than three hours after the sudden death of pop icon Whitney Houston at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Saturday, as hundreds of high-profile celebrities worked the room at the annual Clive Davis Grammy party.I mean, it's perfect. The System destroyed a goddess and then partied atop her corpse. Take a good, long look at American culture, people. The cancer has subsumed the host. Research credit to SSFB member Chris Parker.
But in a suite just four floors above, police were conducting an investigation into the death of the Grammy-winning singer. While Houston’s body remained in the room, her teen daughter stood outside fighting with authorities to see the body. This while a "crime lab" van stood out among the black limousines and SUVs escorting celebrities to and from the event.
In light of the stark contrast between the tragedy of her death and the celebration at the star-studded soiree, for those in attendance at the party, the backlash is burgeoning.
Kim Kardashian (whose ex-boyfriend Ray J was Houston's on and off again beau, and reportedly in the hotel trying to gain access to the room) was photographed smiling alongside the likes of Jane Fonda and Britney Spears, while Diana Ross and Barry Gordy hammed it up for the cameras. Stars like Ne-Yo, Kelly Rowland, Sir Richard Branson, Mary J. Blige and Jon Voight also attended.
UPDATE: Paul Weston wrote: "Can't help feeling that this event is so near in time to the Madonna Superbowl "ceremony" that we are being invited to intuit a greater unity. FFS, if you had a dream that began with Isis Cleopatra Madonna on her throne and ended with Whitney dead underwater you'd know it was screaming meaning that needed to be understood but this actually happened. Come on Chris! Go for it!"
To which I responded: "Being invited is precisely the reason not to go for it." Where does it end up, after all? With Nikki Minaj's ridiculous performance and brainwashed dimwits tweeting that they'd "let Chris Brown beat them any day." And the meaning that I feel needs to be understood has already been spelled out in this piece.
*Yet another interesting lesson from the ancient world, ancient priestesses- who became the divas of their time in their roles as temple singers- were often forbidden to marry or to "know men." The Vestals were the most well-known of these, the direct parallel to modern nuns, but there are also the priestesses of Bast, well-known for their musical performances.
The priestesses of Inanna- goddess of music and dance- are another. Given the highly charged eroticism of their rites it's safe to assume these women were not celibate, even if forbidden to "know men." None of this impacted the role these women played in society or the adulation they received. Hard to imagine in these times when, as with religion, sexuality has become politics by proxy.
In the ancient world, gifts such as Whitney's would act as a signal that she was not meant for the kitchen and the nursery but to serve the people by using her talent to bring them closer to the gods. It wouldn't surprise me at all if the divas of the ancient world were predominantly lesbian.
Thursday, February 09, 2012
The problem is that the UFOs themselves never seem to care much. The flaps die down. Sometimes there are major hoaxes or accusations of hoaxes and nothing ever seems to go anywhere. Then all of the new, young UFOlogists turn around and declare UFOlogy 'dead' and competition breaks out to see who be the most militant born-again debunker or have the most dramatic skeptical conversion epiphany.
The problem is that UFOlogy still remains an "ETH (extraterrestrial hypothesis) or bust" proposition, with all of the attendant messianic/rapture displacement grafted on thereto. The aliens are coming to save us from ourselves, just you wait. The religious aspect of this changes form from boom to bust to boom to bust, but the impulse is roughly the same.
While I certainly think it's possible---even probable-- that ETs have sent probes here and possibly manned (or more likely, robotic) missions here throughout the past what we call the UFO phenomenon is way, way too familiar and intimate with us to be anything truly alien.
My ETH enthusiasm peaked first with the series premiere of The X-Files and then again with the release of the first X-Files film. After that I found myself looking at all the usual data and finding myself at the all of the usual dead-ends. It took some time to sort out but I later found that UFOs minus the ETH (namely, the Elusive Companion Hypothesis) worked quite well when I plugged them into all of the obsessions I plunged myself after dealing with those impasses; Synchronicity, High Weirdness, deep symbology, and so on.
In fact, the ECH was the missing puzzle piece that kept eluding me when dealing with those topics.
I also soon discovered that the ECH was lurking in the shadows of nearly every single obsession-- and often every mystery or conundrum-- in my life without me ever realizing it. I discover fresh examples of this all of the time and share them with you here.
Much of his work is filled with humor and energy, but much of it also depicts a world in chaos, a world in which meaning is forever inverted and negotiable. A world in which menace and violence is either implicit or explicit, but somehow always absurd. But more importantly, his work is a riot of hidden meaning, double meaning, meaninglessness, or beyond meaning. Strange and frightening yet strangely familiar characters insinuate themselves from hidden corners. Landscapes and creatures that can only be described as "alien."
In other words, it's the work of a man who was intimately familiar with the secret world.
It was only much, much later that I found out that Ernst was an Alchemist and was believed by his fellow surrealists to be a genuine magician. From the 2001 book, Max Ernst and Alchemy: A Magician in Search of Myth By M. E. Warlick
Unfortunately, "Alchemy" has become one of those buzzwords that poseurs throw around when they want to sound like they're edgy and profound. As a concept it's become defanged all too often, stripped of its inherent insanity. But we don't fall for that kind of thing here. We look at the aspect of Alchemy that some want to run away from-- the Elusive Companion aspect of it.
Alchemical philosophy offers many symbolic parallels to surrealist thought...Ernst played a significant role because of the knowledge of Freudian theory that he brought to the surrealist group early in its development, and because of his contributions to the sexualized nature of surrealist art. Throughout his career, Ernst fused male and female imagery into cohesive hybrids, similar to that most pervasive symbol of perfection, the alchemical Androgyne. Analyzing these aspects of his work reveals the pervasive alchemical symbolism it contains...
The construction of Max Ernst as the magician of the surrealist movement began early in his career.
By the 1930s, André Breton, Paul Eluard, Louis Aragon, Robert Desnos, René Crevel, and Hans Arp all described Ernst as possessing magical powers of transformation. In (his autobiographical writings), Ernst clarified his indebtedness to hermetic traditions, citing alchemy as a model for his working processes and claiming Cologne's occult past as his artistic heritage.
Chemical Nuptials, 1947
His first hermetic images appeared during the Cologne Dada period...his interests in psychology, alchemy, and other occult phenomena paralleled similar explorations among the early surrealists. Their search for psychic automatism, visits to clairvoyants, group séances, and walking tours of the alchemical haunts of Paris are described as a backdrop for the evolution of Ernst's art throughout the 1920s and 1930s...In "Au delà de la peinture," he described alchemy as the perfect metaphor for his working processes."
As Jacques Vallee puts it in Passport to Magonia:
Throughout medieval times, a major current of thought distinct from official religion existed, culminating in the works of the alchemists and hermetics. Among such groups were to be found some of the early modern scientists and men remarkable for the strength of their independent thinking and for theirAnd again, as Robert Anton Wilson explained these kinds of contacts in depth in the first volume of Cosmic Trigger, quoting Timothy Leary:
adventurous life, such as Paracelsus. The nature of the beings who mysteriously appeared, dressed in shiny garments or covered with dark hair, and with whom communication was so hard to establish intrigued these men intensely.
Interstellar ESP may have been going on for all our history, Tim (Leary) went on, but we just haven't understood. Our nervous systems have translated their messages into terms we could understand.And as I added before:
The "angels" who spoke to Dr. Dee, the Elizabethan scientist-magician, were extraterrestrials, but Dee couldn't comprehend them in those terms and considered them "messengers from God." The same is true of many other shamans and mystics.
Indeed, these contacts-- whether actual or aspirational --lie at the heart of Alchemical enterprise. All of the great masters were primarily concerned with contact with --and harnessing the power of-- "angels."
Max Ernst left his native Cologne for Paris but left for America during the Nazi takeover. Ernst eventually settled in Sedona, Arizona, where he lived with his second wife, the painter Dorothea Tanning. Ernst's work became considerably more playful and almost cartoonish during this time, but the Arizona landscape obviously had a profound influence on his work, as did the art and culture of the Hopi Indians.
Maybe other parts of the Sedona landscape did as well. Sedona is known as an energy vortex location, as well as UFO hotspot. So I got to thinking- did Ernst ever paint any UFOs?
You tell me.
Aside from this stunning piece (The Almost Late Romanticism, 1960) typical Ernstian foliage with what looks like a classic glowing cigar-shaped UFO, Ernst's work is littered with tantalizingly explicit references to touchstones in the high weirdness canon. Along with the endless parade of alien beings dancing through alien landscapes under alien suns.
Yet Ernst isn't painting science fiction here-- his alternate reality is blithe, perfectly matter of fact. You take it or leave it. He's not trying to sell you on its reality. He's spent far too much time there to waste time with that.
Plus, he doesn't really care what you think about his reality, in the end. Alchemists never do.
This Sedona era piece (Tribute to Yves Tanguy, 1955) pictures the red rock mesas, along with what looks for all the world like the Millennium Falcon, or at least its prototype. Take it or leave it. It's all the same to Ernst.
Then there's this little green man (Old Man River, 1953), who sits among the deserts where the Anasazi once roamed, with a curiously familiar elongated skull. Yet at the same time, that strange bubble around him is oddly reminiscent of the Star Child from 2001.
But Ernst's flirtations with High Strangeness- or any kind of strangeness for that matter-- didn't start in Sedona. There's this collage, from his classic 1929 collage-based graphic novel The Hundred Headless Woman. The numinous power of it is like a punch in the gut and more powerful than any photograph. And strangely, more validating. Ernst's unconscious testimony trumps any photo, which after all, can be hoaxed.
And this, which almost seems to depict a classic abduction scenario over an industrial city.
Or this ziggurat-shaped flying saucer. Remember all of this is almost 20 years before Kenneth Arnold and Roswell.
From the same book, we see a version of Ernst's alter ego, "Loplop, Bird Superior," looking for all the world like the Mothman. He's even drawn to the streetlights, like a moth.
From 1934's A Week of Kindness we see a kidnapping (read: abduction) committed by man with the head of an Easter Island Maoi pasted over him. Now that we're finding that some of the Maoi have entire bodies buried beneath the soil, the Ancient Aliens boys must be champing at the bit to get a camera crew down there.
Of course, Ernst was working in the context of Alchemy and magic and not UFOlogy, but that's exactly my point. Strangeness seems to be the expressway to what is really going on behind UFOs, and what has been going on for a very, very, very long time.
Arthur C. Clarke is widely quoted for his maxim that any science sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from magic. And god knows there's way too much mindless chatter about magic out there. Even so, maybe our magic is their science after all.
But every time I look at UFO photos and read about recent sightings or abductions I get trapped in the letters and the pixels like I'm encased in amber. When I start to look at UFOs through the prism of Synchronicity, Symbol and Strangeness, it all opens like a flower and thousands of puzzle pieces start falling into place like a Tetris game played by an invisible hand.
And then things start to happen. In this consensus space-time. Lots of things. Lots of really strange, sometimes impossible things.
But that's a whole other discussion. And maybe you need to find that out for yourself anyway.
UPDATE: Confirming the very foundational thesis of The Secret Sun, the Fortean Times explains how UFOs were the catalyst behind the Sixties counterculture in England, and how Ernst's ziggurat UFO played a talismanic role in that revolution.
UPDATE: Loren Coleman explains in a story on the death of Ernst's onetime lover Leonora Carrington how Ernst may have summoned a Mothman-like entity to Cornwall.
The Owlman story began when paranormal researcher Tony “Doc” Shiels was approached by a man, Don Melling, who had been visiting the area on holiday from Lancaster. Melling said that on April 17, 1976, his two daughters, 12-year-old June and her 9-year-old sister, Vicky, were walking through the woods near Mawnan church when they saw a large winged creature hovering above the church tower. The girls were frightened and immediately ran to tell their father.
Shiels has suggested himself that surrealism may hold the key. Sixteen days before the first recorded sighting of the Owlman the surrealist artist Max Ernst died (April Fool's Day, 1976- CK). In 1937 Ernst had visited the area with friends (apparently including Carrington according to photographs from that time) and performed rituals to invoke the appearance of all sorts of mysterious creatures. One of these may have been Nightjarman, half bird, half human.
Wednesday, February 08, 2012
From Raj Sisodia. Enjoy.
A new group has been excavating the Maoi at Easter Island and it turns out that some of them are not just heads and busts but actually have entire bodies buried beneath the ground. Explaining away the logistics behind this massive undertaking has gotten that much harder for the increasingly tedious orthodox history crowd.
And who was there first? Jack Kirby, of course. In 1959.
Tuesday, February 07, 2012
You can keep your Mandonna EgyptoRoman war is peace rally. Nothing will ever be as over the top -- or as revealing-- as the opening of the Atlantis Hotel in Dubai in 2008.
Take some time to watch these videos. It will change the way you look at the world, and more importantly, look at all of the struggles to control the Persian Gulf. All about oil?
No, I don't think so.
Now remember, the fireworks display was meant to be seen from space. In fact, it made very little sense to anyone on the ground. How about that?
Here's the halftime show if you haven't seen it yet. I've been down this road so many times and all of this imagery is so embedded into the culture, I don't think I can say much I haven't said a million times before.
But here again we're seeing ancient ritual motifs taken not from the "Mystery Schools" (sic) as some historical illiterates might have you believe, but from their opposites; the elite cults of state, with their pomp and circumstance and their regimentation and militarism. This is straight out of the Temples of Jupiter and Juno on Vatican Hill, and the meaning, message and desired outcome behind it is exactly the same. "World Peace," indeed. More like "Pax Romana."
Never mind Madonna's runaway narcissism, identifying herself with all of these symbols: is she the "High Goddess of Pop" now?
Conquered people always dance suggestively for their new masters during the high holy days, going back thousands of years. Well, the women do. The conquered men kill each other off in the arenas.
I've been doing some research on who "Vigilant Citizen™" is-- or rather are-- whose interests they represent and who they in fact work for and I'm nursing this crazy, nutty thought like maybe they were hired on as consultants for this grotesque display. Zany, right? Well, given what I'm learning-- never mind all of the Fortune 500 companies that bankroll their various sites with advertising-- maybe not so zany. Notice their sites have been rather quiet lately.
I've taken some screenshots for when the vid gets yanked.
Notes: This was a replay of the 2008 New York Nefilim- New England Patriarchs game with yet another 17 in the score. The area code of Lucas Oil Stadium? 317. I kid you not.
In case you were puzzled by the admixture of Roman militarism and Egyptian religion, don't be-- that's as old as the seven hills. It just shows whoever designed this display knew all about Roman Egyptomania. Which probably proves it wasn't the Vigilant Citizen™ cabal after all.
UPDATE: Here's a photo gallery on The Daily Mail if you haven't the patience to sit through 15 minutes of woefully inept lipsynching and puzzlingly doubletracked live vocals. Yes, it's exactly what you'd expect it to be.
UPDATE: Knowles' Law has it that whenever a controversy erupts over symbols in the media it's meant to distract from a deeper symbolic narrative. Like, oh, androgynous EgyptoRoman militarism:
Middle finger 'malfunction' mars Super Bowl halftime show
Rapper M.I.A. provided a middle finger salute to network cameras Sunday night during the 12-minute extravaganza, when she joined Madonna during a performance of the latter's new single, "Give Me All Your Luvin'."
The apologies from the NFL and the broadcaster, NBC, came quickly -- they blamed each other.
UPDATE: Ikea and Activision join Time Warner, Visa, McDonald's, Ford, Chrysler, Dunkin' Donuts, Sears, MetLife and many, many others as proud sponsors of the Vigilant Citizen™ family of websites.
UPDATE 2/7: Was the Montreal-based music industry internet viral marketing agency that many have said is the real force behind corporate-sponsored conspiratainment site Vigilant Citizen™ involved in the Madonna halftime special after all? The producers of record are Montreal-based Cirque du Soleil and Moment Factory. I've traced Vigilant Citizen's™ servers to Sherbrooke, Quebec, a suburb of Montreal. That's one hell of a coincidence.
Anyone with information on this, please let me know.
Saturday, February 04, 2012
Jay Weidner made quite a splash with his documentary Kubrick's Odyssey, in which he argued that Stanley Kubrick was shanghaied by NASA to help create a cinematic and photographic simulation of the Apollo missions for public consumption.
Weidner argues that 2001: A Space Odyssey was essentially Kubrick's R&D project for a much bigger-budget production set to be filmed within the gates of Nellis AFB's Area 51 and that his wildly unfaithful adaptation of Stephen King's novel The Shining was his cinematic mea culpa, confessing to the con.
Contrary to what some have assumed, Weidner is not arguing that the NASA did not land men on the Moon, but that the Apollo missions were a cover for a secret space program. Having reviewed a lot of Apollo skeptics' arguments I have to say I find them all pretty compelling on one level; the footage and the photos are problematic, to say the very least.
The Establishment's response to Weidner and the more radical skeptics who insist that human spacecraft have never left low-earth orbit has been weak; the usual mix of of outrage, dismissal and ridicule. I found it particularly rich that The New York Times lambasted Weidner for his conspiracy theorizing, given that their own conspiracy theorizing helped start the Iraq War.
But looking at the Apollo hardware I can't shake the feeling it's all Hollywood. I can't imagine three adult men spending any amount of time in that flimsy looking stuff, never mind all the life-support gear and moon buggies and all of the rest of it.
And given the highly specialized and regimented nature of a giant bureaucracy like NASA, the only people who needed to be in on the scam would be the high echelon in Mission Control and the astronauts themselves.
We all know there is a secret space program; the only question is how deep it all goes. My assumption has always been that there were two missions, showtime with the Apollo and a real mission, using much more serious military hardware that's a lot bigger, heavier and much less telegenic. I doubt very much that the real mission involved much golf playing or picture taking.
One of the most dangerous myths of our time is that the government can't keep secrets. The whole notion that the government can't keep secrets is a comforting conceit for delusional folks who still believe we live in an open society. Having grown up with a grandfather who worked as an engineer for MITRE I know that the government can in fact keep secrets, and has a whole kitbag of punishments for people who can't.
Besides, a lot of people seem to feel that the Apollo 1 fire and the subsequent deaths of other astronauts and NASA personnel was a pretty good motivator for any potential whistleblowers to keep their concerns to themselves.
THEY'RE WATCHING US
But there is a major stumbling block for Apollo skeptics; this was during the Cold War. The Russians and the Chinese were watching NASA's every move, and had the expertise, the technology and most certainly the motivation to call bullshit on any chicanery.
I have no doubt that every intelligence agency in the world was poring over every frame of imagery being released from these missions, since the idea of establishing missile bases on the Moon had a lot of currency at the time.
Exposing a faked Moonshot would be a propaganda coup like no other, especially given the fact that all of this was going on during the height of an extremely unpopular war that was in danger of making the USA an international pariah. Add the assassinations, the race riots and the general civil unrest, and a scandal over a faked Apollo mission might well have been a tipping point for a revolution in this country.
And yet, most people who aren't totally beholden to whatever received authority wants them to think (meaning non-skepdicks) can at least look at all of the evidence gathered by the Apollo debunkers and think there might something to it all, right? If that's so, then what would have motivated the Soviets et al to go along with the charade?
To try to answer that question, I want to return to 2001: A Space Odyssey and share with you again my interpretation of what Kubrick is putting onscreen. I realize there has been a parade of writers telling us what Kubrick was "really trying to say" in the film. But as before I'm going to stick as close as I can to the actual narrative of the film itself, since what's actually onscreen is a lot more subversive than any symbolic rendering of the text.
Well, with one major exception, that is. And that's where we'll start.
THE DAWN OF ROSWELL
Weidner's thesis is that Kubrick's technical acumen in dealing with military hardware in his 1964 antiwar satire Dr Strangelove Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb first brought him to NASA's attention. From a review by Andrew Griffin:
Dr. Strangelove, notes Weidner, “made fun of the Pentagon, the generals and their various war plans” and while this irritated the Defense Department, they were more amazed that Kubrick had pieced together what a B-52 looked like on the inside by looking at pictures in military magazines.Weidner himself argued in 2009 that JFK's race to the moon was inspired less by Sputnik and more by shall we say more exotic technology:
Because the U.S. Government, through NASA, was hellbent to get a man on the Moon before the end of the 1960’s, as President Kennedy had promised, and because they wanted to prove to the Soviet Union that the U.S. was going to win the space race, they had to have some insurance – a way to prove, at least to the public and the world – that the U.S. had the technology and wherewithal to get to the Moon.
That’s where Kubrick comes in. Impressed with his work on Dr. Strangelove, Weidner speculates that Kubrick made a deal with the U.S. Government to fake the Apollo Moon landings – with Apollo 11 ultimately being the first one to land in July 1969.
Soon after seeing the flying saucer technology JFK made his famous speech asking NASA to land a man on the moon before the decade was out. Many insiders believed that this was a ploy by JFK to get NASA and the secret government to release their saucer technologies.Adding yet another log into our wacked-out conspiracy theories undergirded by inconvenient facts bonfire, I'll point to this 2011 bombshell.
Since it was obvious to everyone that standard rocket technology could not get man to the moon and back, JFK may have thought that NASA would be forced to release the knowledge of the flying saucers in order to get to the moon by the end of the 1960's. JFK's ploy was therefore intended to free this advanced technology from the insidious hands of the shadow government.
Was JFK killed because of his interest in aliens? Secret memo shows president demanded UFO files 10 days before deathNow Weidner argues that Kubrick was essentially given the keys to the candy store when he made 2001: A Space Odyssey. His writing partner was of course Arthur C. Clarke, (original author of the story the film was ostensibly based on) who was plugged into all kinds of spooky networks- science, military, intelligence, you name it. Weidner also claims that Kubrick and Clarke were given access to the NASA inner circle-- including the Paperclip boys-- and told all kinds of interesting stories.
An uncovered letter written by John F Kennedy to the head of the CIA shows that the president demanded to be shown highly confidential documents about UFOs 10 days before his assassination.
The secret memo is one of two letters written by JFK asking for information about the paranormal on November 12 1963, which have been released by the CIA for the first time.Author William Lester said the CIA released the documents to him under the Freedom of Information Act after he made a request while researching his new book 'A Celebration of Freedom: JFK and the New Frontier.'
I would argue-- and argue quite strongly-- that Kubrick's primary interest in the making of this film was telling tales out of school as cleverly as he could about all of the juicy UFO and 'ET' stories he was told. Not much of a stretch given the film's plot, but as I explained on Mike Clelland's Hidden Experience podcast some time ago, there's a major piece of the puzzle people are overlooking.
Anyone who studies parapolitics for any period of time becomes familiar with the various methods and techniques used to deal with an exposed secret in a broadband media environment. Disinfo, misinfo, red herrings, water-muddying, shills, ridicule, intimidation, denial, misdirection and so on and so forth are used to create such an atmosphere of total confusion that most people find it to be too much trouble to sort through the rubble to get to the truth.
And so it's been with the UFO issue. Most people assume that it all popped in 1947 with Kenneth Arnold, but in fact UFOs and all of the attendant phenomena have been a constant feature of the human condition as far as back as you can go in the historical record, and much before that besides.
Even so, the alleged crash at Roswell is a particularly contentious episode in modern UFO lore. I've heard all of the pros and cons, the debunkings and the responses, the backs and the forths. I've heard all of the theories about Project Mogul (and before that Skyhook before someone realized Skyhook didn't exist at the time), but the plain fact of the matter is that I simply don't find them convincing, given what we know about the military's frenzied response to the original incident.
And as I've written here, if there was a crash of an exotic craft (as regular readers know I do not subscribe to the extraterrestrial hypothesis, rather a variation on the ultraterrestrial hypothesis I call the Elusive Companion Hypothesis) it might go a long way not only in explaining all of the extraordinary lengths the military has gone to to deny the whole thing ever happened, but also the sudden and unprecedented explosion in sophisticated electronic technology we saw in the postwar era.
Let's save the arguments about the reality or unreality of Roswell for later, because as with everything we discuss here, I'm more interested in what people believe is true than what may actually be true (which is subjective, after all).
What really interests me here is the possibility that Kubrick and Clarke may well have been told by their sources that yes, one fine morning a flying saucer did indeed crash in the desert sands of Corona, NM and was taken to the Roswell Army Air Base, where it was taken up the chain of command and back-engineered by America's finest black project boys.
The gimcracks and doodads that the fellas at Nellis and Skunkworks were able to figure out gave Uncle Sam a huge boost in the struggle against godless Communism, in fact quite a few of the goodies they were able to work out are being used as we speak by the NASA boys and ain't that just something?
Well, that's all fine and good, but do we see any evidence for it in the film itself? Let's go to the tape.
Let's remember that Kubrick left us with the distinct impression in Dr. Strangelove that he didn't think much of the Military Industrial Complex. It's not much of a stretch--given the warlike behavior we see these apes engage in-- that these monkeys too are Kubrick's caustic allegory of Cold War-era America.
What's even more interesting to note here is that these apes-- jungle creatures, if I'm not mistaken-- are sitting out in the middle of the desert.
And lo and behold, they wake up one fine morning and discover alien technology in their midst.
The narrative has it that the Monolith is inspiring the protohominids to use bones as weapons-- tools-- which helps kickstart evolution. That is radical enough, and would be completely beyond the pale if our ape friend here was given to spray-on tans and excessive use of hair gel.
But I would argue that the bone here has a double meaning, and that Kubrick's jumpcuts with the Monolith are identifying the bone with the Monolith itself. That will be made clear in a moment, but let me spell it out for you in no uncertain terms.
The pile of bones the Moonwatcher is picking through symbolize this...
...and I will absolutely go to the mat on that one. The next sequence makes the connection absolutely clear...
...when Moonwatcher throws the bone into the air and it becomes what? A spaceship.
So "The Dawn of Man" sequence works on two separate levels. First, Kubrick is saying that human beings were engineered by an alien (or what we call "alien," it's actually anything but) technology.
Second, Kubrick was probably passing on the stories he heard, not only about Roswell but also apocryphal tales about German and Russian engineers reverse-engineering crashed UFOs and using them as the basis for the spacecraft that respectable scientists only a generation before thought were absolutely impossible.
Now, remember: I'm not saying those stories are necessarily true, I'm saying that Kubrick is retelling them in a very clever and allegorical fashion.
The coup de gras is this parallelism: the apes fighting over the watering hole (representing the Cold War) and Heywood Floyd's chilly meeting with his Soviet counterparts in the Space Station lounge, the 21st Century "watering hole" (or Well, if you prefer).
The two allegories are linked by that bone/spaceship. The spectacle of apes screaming over a watering hole is transparently Kubrick's commentary on the Cold War; the scene in the "watering hole" on the station makes that inarguable.
What's more, Heywood Floyd and the Russians are discussing a possible outbreak at Clavius Base. "Clavius"is another clue, it sharing the same root word ("key") as "clavicle," or shoulder bone, and it was the use of bones as tools which got us up here in the first place.
And with the crashed saucer technology from Roswell the USA seems to have the upper hand, which of course it seemed to as the Space Race proceeded in the late 60s. And here's where the story moves into the second phase.
As I've said before, I see Heywood Floyd as a distinctly sinister character and I very much believe that Kubrick did as well. Kubrick was a rebel; though I don't believe the stories that Eyes Wide Shut got him killed (the 50 years of chainsmoking is a more likely culprit), I do believe that he did want to expose what he saw as the dehumanizing decadence of the ultrarich in that film (and it's not as if other films haven't covered similar ground, such as Story of O and Emmauelle).
After 2001, he made A Clockwork Orange, an anti-mind control tract, and subversive and anti-authoritarian themes were a constant throughout his work. In other words, Kubrick was one of us.
So it's interesting to me that Clarke saw Floyd as an idealized version of himself in 2010 and Kubrick clearly saw him as bagman, an bully and a hush-up artist. I believe the Clavius discovery is yet another allegory for the same event allegorized in "The Dawn of Man," which is more of a generic contact with a concrete alien technology.
In other words, Kubrick is messing with the chronology but it's all the same event he's telling us about. And in his talk at Clavius we hear Floyd spout the same lines included in the 1960 Brookings Institute on extraterrestrial contact at the same time not-so-subtly remind his disgruntled underlings they're to keep their god-damned mouths shut.
The cover story of a plague means that everyone is stuck there, and when asked how long the discovery will be kept quiet Floyd responds with typical bureaucratic aplomb. Of course, we learn later in the film that eighteen months after the discovery of the Monolith no one has told anyone anything, a situation that leads to the death of the crew sent out to discover the origin of a signal transmitted by the artifact.
So in the second part of the film we are clearly dealing with a government cover-up of the reality of alien contact. That's Heywood Floyd's role in all of this; to facilitate the cover-up.
None of this is discovered until the last surviving astronaut of the Jupiter mission dismantles the onboard AI and triggers a recorded message from Floyd revealing the true objective of his mission. I can't help but think of the Apollo One fire and all of the astronauts and NASA employees killed in freak accidents. Prophecy? Inside knowledge? Simple coincidence? All three?
And of course, after the disastrous Jupiter mission, the film entirely changes track again. Up until now we've been dealing with the nuts and bolts aspect of the UFO enigma, as well as the mysteries of Ancient Astronaut Theory. Whether or not you buy into my theory that "The Dawn of Man" is in fact about recovered saucer technology as well as AAT --and of course, I think you should-- we're still dealing with alien hardware (the Monolith) as all sorts of human spacecraft.
As we saw in the original installment, Kubrick not only takes through an "alien abduction," he takes us through the most mind-blowing, psychedelic, initiatory version of one ever depicted onscreen.
The Stargate is a completely internal journey. We hear a signal at the beginning of it all and then the light show begins. Certainly Kubrick would have been familiar with psychedelics at this point in time, and I'm reasonably certain that NASA and other agencies may well have been experimenting with them to test the endurance and mental toughness of the flyboys (never mind the darker corners of the trade like MK Ultra).
But certainly the identification with aliens was novel in the mid 1960s when this film was being produced.
Novel in mainstream culture, at least. The Beatniks were magic mushroom enthusiasts, and pilgrimages to Mexico became popular stops on the circuit. Was Kubrick experienced? I really wouldn't be surprised. Neither would I be surprised if he hadn't some contact experiences himself.
Which brings us back to the white room. I made the connection in the previous installment and since then have been furiously looking for examples, though most of the ones I've found have been post-2001, like the Travis Walton case I mentioned in the first piece.
But as UFOs: The Psychic Dimension puts it, "Abductees typically find themselves in a strange, brightly-lit room, often filled with sophisticated equipment." The oddly-lit white room features in the Barney and Betty Hill incident from 1961, which wasn't published until 2001 was in production, but given the way the film was made, Kubrick could well have added the scene in to accommodate the new information.
But the Villas Boas abduction from the late 50s (also not published until 2001 was in production) also featured the oddly-lit "white room":
Now he found himself inside a small square room, bare of furnishings, brightly lit—"the same as broad daylight"—by recessed square lights in the smooth metallic walls. Suddenly an opening appeared, from the seamless wall, and Boas was led into another room. "The only furnishings visible was an oddly shaped table that stood at one side of the room surrounded by several backless swivel chairs (something like barstools). They were all made of the same white metal.It should be noted that DMT trippers have also experienced the featureless white room as well.
I can't help but wonder how many tales Kubrick and Clarke might have heard from their sources that we will never know about, not only about crashed saucers and the rest of it but those mysterious, oddly-lit white rooms.
And finally, Bowman's trip through the Stargate and exit through the white room results in his apotheosis, of sorts. His exposure to the Monolith and the pure, undiluted experience of otherness results in NASA's and the Brooking Institute's worst nightmare; a new, evolved stage of humanity.
Let's review this step by step:
• An "alien" intelligence makes itself apparent to humanity.
• Those in power use this contact to their own advantage.
• The authorities then work to cover up knowledge of this intelligence.
• The cover up backfires and ends in disaster.
• The intelligence reaches out directly to humanity.
• Humanity's self image is destroyed because of this.
• Out of the ashes comes a new humanity.
Sounds pretty much like a Stanley Kubrick film, no?
So to answer the original question; why might the Soviets looked the other way at faked moon photos and footage. It may well be that they were partners in the secret space program, which had nothing to do with the Cold War and everything to do with figuring out what the hell those UFOs are and where they are coming from. Like, maybe the Moon, perhaps. That would be something of mutual interest to both parties, right?
Do you catch my drift here?
How much does 2001: A Space Odyssey have to do with was really going on on the Moon? Probably not much, outside of the cover-up. What exactly I don't know, but since this is the government and NASA, I'm sure something somewhere was being covered up. Did Stanley Kubrick fake the Moon footage and photos? We can only guess, but damn, those are some fine pictures for a bunch of flyboys with chest-mounted cameras to be taking. Then there's always this...
What I can say for sure is the more the scoffers scoff and ridicule and stomp and scream and refuse to actually engage the evidence at hand and present a compelling counterargument, and the longer we go without sending anyone back up there even with all of our ultra-roswellian computertech and the rest of it, the better people like Jay Weidner start to look.
SECRET SUN READING LIST
This is a post I really didn't want to write. I've been engaged in a hearty inner debate as to whether I actually should write...
As always, there's way too much going on out there. I've fallen a bit behind on my semiotics and pseudo-science, but here'...
I got your Shimmer right here . Being old and jaded as I am, I do have to say it's a real joy to see so many new natural phenomen...
There's this great line in Jeff Kripal's 2011 pop culture opus. Mutants & Mystics . It goes something like, "If the mot...
Sunday brings us the Super Bloody Castle Wolfenstein Moon (or whatever), so as you would expect lots of different folks are getting read...
Good Lord willing and if the crick don't rise, I'll be getting my debut novel He Will Live Up in the Sky into your hungry littl...
OK, first things first: on a textual level, the History Channel's (sic) Project Blue Book is a dumpster fire of epic proportions, h...
Welcome to Sunday's Secret Sun Typically Tardy Treatise (or SSSTTT). Longtime readers know often I'll dive into a film o...
A movie I think Secret Sun readers need to watch recently popped up on Amazon Prime. So to mark the occasion, I've revised a revie...