Sometimes it seems like you would be more right than you are wrong if you considered everything a cargo cult.
Chris has a recent post on cult fictions that I want to build out from. During some recent private discussions and analyses of influences, acknowledged and unacknowledged, in Lovecraft's eugenic, AAT fiction it was mentioned that if there is some 'background theosophicalish taint' to the Cthulhu Mythos, then it certainly sheds a new light on chaos magic's long love affair with the Necronomicon. (Even versions of it that were possibly MKULTRA plots.)
Sidebar sync: as I opened up wordpress to start this post, I approved a comment from a new reader, Tim, who is not only Australian but had an initiatory encounter with a deadly octopus he found under the sea in Gordon's Bay. (That is not dead which can eternal lie, bitches!)
Trying to find sequential evidence for these fictional and non-fictional overlays by only looking on the human side of the equation magnificently misses the point. It is saying that it takes one to tango. Somebody's spinning somewhere, yeah?
Let me talk you through my favourite historical example of cult fiction.
The Golden Legend
Appearing in the 1200s, The Golden Legend is a collection of hagiographies of European saints. It is filled with dragons, headless monks flying across Central Europe, unicorns, armies of the dead, dog-headed princes converting countries that don't exist and anything else a medieval George Lucas could possibly come up with.
It quickly became the most-read book in Europe, more than the Bible in a lot of places, thanks largely to local-language printing (new tech) and easy-to-read Latin versions. That was the whole point of it. Pulp fiction. Wide appeal.
So far so historical. But here is what I want you to do. Get out your copy of Jacques Vallée's Wonders in the Sky from the humidor where you lovingly keep all your Vallée books in publication date order (no? look into it then) and open up to the 11th and 12th centuries. The Crusades brought hermeticism and astrology into Europe, the great universities were all founded, libraries containing Arabic and Greek material sprung up, Fibonnaci introduced Arabic numerals, the Knight of St John settled permanently in Cyprus, the Albigensian Crusade scattered the mythological and financial strength of the Cathars.
And there was, to borrow a modern term, a one hundred year UFO 'flap'. Some examples:
- Above Burton Abbey in England there was 'a battle of stars' that lasted an hour.
- A Japanese saint was saved from execution by a flying sphere that came from the sky. (Bonus saint story: Francis of Assisi had an encounter that witness descriptions read like the last few minutes of Close Encounters pertaining to a luminous sphere descending from the sky and subsequent discussions with its occupants.)
- An object the size of the moon but moving at the speed of a falling star was seen over Padua for an hour.
- There was 'a duel of stars' over Parma.
- A low-flying, cigar-shaped (!) object was seen over Florence during an outbreak of the Plague.
You get the idea.
Two other things are worth noting here.
- Early versions of what would become the tarot appeared in Europe from the Near East and, along with various dice games, became a huge hit with the tavern crowd, sorta like Pokemon for drunks.
- The great cathedrals of Christendom appeared, as initiation-triggering motherships, landing on holy sites right across the Continent. They still trigger people today, so you just go ahead and think about how face-meltingly profound they would have been to an illiterate pig farmer's wife. DMT in stone.
- A decidedly stellar Lucifer appears, falling from the night sky, dislodging the 'stone' from his crown/forehead that is needed to send mankind back up in the opposite direction.
What came first, then? The codification/creation of the most-read book of High Strangeness for centuries or a collection of events that match what was contained in their pages? Does an entire continent of people absorbing these tales trigger them actually happening or can it only be an after-the-fact record? What is the precise sequence of peasants attending Mass in an initiation chamber, taking themselves off to the tavern to play games of chance with the tarot afterward and then retiring to their hovels of an evening to read about how Saint Christopher was actually a giant with a dog-head whilst the stars battle in the sky above their Plague-ridden town?
Now tell me who or what was influencing Lovecraft on his long, solo night walks through a New York (often visiting what are effectively gay bars) of The Lucis Trust, Rockefeller Progressives talking about eugenics and so on. During his lifetime, the New York Times went from writing long pieces about how we might communicate with the canal-builders on Mars to coverage of Tesla's claims of transmitting near-lossless energy through the air. Because he was a workshy snob the overwhelmingly majority of his writing took the form of personal correspondence, the underwhelming minority of which survives to this day. You could fly a spaceship through the gaps in his chronology and friendship circle.
I'm not saying he was lying about being an atheist, I believe he thought he was. Instead I want to suggest two things to you. The whole point of the alternate spiritualities flourishing at the time was that they were 'scientific'. There was no AAT so you could say with a straight face that you were an atheist and humankind was seeded on earth by the canal-builders of Mars. The other suggestion -which I prefer- relates to what Lovecraft himself wrote in the beginning of Call of Cthulhu to do with the artists of the world waking up one day and all creating something based on the same 'signal'.
Second star to the right
Perhaps because it risks cooking too many sacred cows, but far too little exploration has been done of what is essentially Jacques Vallée's entire thesis: that the worldview and destiny of mankind of being manipulated in a specific direction by external forces via the deliberate intervention in the culture, folklore and religion of the masses.
Let me give you another example.
No doubt you are all aware that Goethe was a full-on wizard. His story is considerably more Magonian than it seems. From Dimensions:
An adolescent extradimensional encounter. So that is about the exact same time he was told to look into hermeticism and set up an alchemical lab in his parent's house because of a severe illness caught in his late teens. From the introduction to Goethe's Tales for Transformation (written by the translator, Scott Thomas, not by Goethe):
Goethe becomes important because of the life-changing impact he would have on Rudolf Steiner, who was invited to translate some of his scientific works while still a student. The rest is history, as they say. Steiner's existence was permanently shaped by his exposure to the works of this experiencer/wizard, even naming several of his bizarre buildings (which contained Lucifer and Ahriman) after the man. So once again we have a nexus of early-twentieth century money and ambitious social engineering with a beginning in the UFO phenomenon (by way of Theosophy, no less).
On both sides of the Atlantic, then, you have the Great and the Good concerning themselves with mankind's origins, potential improvements, genetic destiny, true spiritual nature and what kind of society we should build as a result. All the while these changes are happening over some decidedly non-human timelines.
One had to wonder how to account for an event that broke like a storm over European humanity, stemming from causes impossible to assess in the ordinary way of judging historical events. Anyone who is aware that scarcely more than thirty or forty people in all of Europe were involved in the decisive events of 1914, and is aware too of the state of mind of those few individuals, faces a really significant problem. For strange as it may sound today, most of those individuals were in a state of dimmed, darkened consciousness. Indeed, in recent years a great deal has happened as the result of just such a condition of dimmed consciousness. We see the most important decisions issuing from positions of authority at the end of July and the beginning of August, 1914— decisions taken by individuals in a state of beclouded consciousness.
Huh. manipulation of the consciousness of the elites to bring about changes upon the earth. What an exciting premise for fiction.
It surprises a lot of people to learn that Kubrick's original intention was not to make 2001, but another Arthur C Clarke novel, Childhood's End. The stated reason for not doing so was apparently the special effects weren't up to the task. This is the same excuse used for switching Bowman's destination from Saturn to Jupiter in the movie version of 2001. It strikes me as a dubious excuse given Hollywood still uses special effects techniques Kubrick single-handedly invented and especially in the light of Clarke's subsequent comments about Jupiter's moons, particularly Europa, containing non-human life.
Clarke himself considered Childhood's End to be either his best or his second-best book, depending on when you asked him. And I'm not so sure Kubrick didn't make it over the course of several films. What you have to remember is that Kubrick had a 200+ IQ. His entire life he was staring out over a sea of comparative morons. He could have told you to your face where the Holy Grail was hidden and if he didn't actually want you to know, you would never find out.
Oh, the plot of Childhood's End, I hear you ask? Let's ask wikipaedophile.
The story follows the peaceful alien invasion of Earth by the mysterious Overlords, whose arrival ends all war, helps form a world government, and turns the planet into a near-utopia. Many questions are asked about the origins and mission of the aliens, but they avoid answering, preferring to remain in their spacecraft, governing through indirect rule. Decades later, the Overlords show themselves, and their impact on human culture leads to a final utopic Golden Age, but at the cost of humanity's identity and eventually the planet itself.
Behold the Golden Legend of the mid-twentieth century. Into the postwar power-vacuum of the Nazi international, Operation Paperclip, space programmes overt and covert, the rise of the CIA and MKULTRA, the Kenneth Arnold UFO sighting, the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, nuclear MAD and the great clash of humanity's two dominant forms of social engineering; corporatism and communism you have... this.
Returning to 2001: A Space Odyssey then, it is definitely worth your time to watch both of Jay Wiedner's Kubrick films, Kubrick's Odyssey 1 and 2. For what it's worth (which was USD $40 and a trip to iTunes), I bought both of them. However *cough* vimeo and nemesis.tv *cough*. But before you watch either, read Chris's seminal pieces on Kubrick and the Reality Stargate. This one and this one especially.
Like Chris, I don't think Kubrick was killed because of Eyes Wide Shut, so I certainly don't follow Wiedner to his 'full conspiracy' conclusion, but I possibly follow him a bit further along than Chris. Every film student knows that the bone picked up and used as a tool is a symbol of the beginnings of mankind's tool use ultimately getting us into the stars, and I agree with Chris's extension of that image into a more specific metaphor:
I want to extend it even further into a more paranoid symbolism. The apes were vegetarian, then one of them becomes a hunter, then there is a murder. 'God' is somewhere nearby. The symbolism is just too Biblical (Cain and Abel, obviously) for me to not suggest Kubrick is making a bloodline comment. It is a specific bloodline that ends up in space.
He makes repeated bloodline comments in basically every other film in his 'crypto-history arc'. "All the best people" stay at the Overlook hotel, and Jack encounters them in concealed ghost form as their doomed servant, for instance. Pretty much everything in Eyes Wide Shut is about this. Dr Strangelove frontran the rest of world's awareness of just how Nazi the US military industrial complex really was, just as A Clockwork Orange frontran the world's awareness of MKULTRA and cryptofascist psychiatric experimentation on civilians... particularly children. Then of course, in 2001 itself you have a reenactment of the military elite's unilateral decision to keep these discoveries away from the populace, in the hands of -in another movie- "all the best people".
What sealed it for me was learning that -by dint of the fact that he was a legit genius- Kubrick was a chess demon, to the extent that if he wasn't the greatest filmmaker who ever lived he could have been a professional chess player. The white room -whose symbolism is, as Chris points out, very 'alien abducty' (my words, obviously)- is also very bloodliney; in a French antique way. The floor is composed of sixty four squares which is not only deliberately Mercurial but is a chessboard in which one side has completely triumphed. Nailing this interpretation for me was when Wiedner -in an interview I can no longer find- highlights Bowman pointing at the monolith as he dies.
Apparently this is a reasonably common gesture chess players make when they have been checkmated, particularly in those situations where they're playing multiple games at once. They point.
How much of this forty year sequence of books and films is a deliberate attempt to disclose something the creators felt needed disclosing? Probably a lot more than you currently think and, fortunately, a lot less than you might otherwise fear. In any case, it is irrelevant. Kids who end up going into the space industry read space books growing up. Presumably the same holds true for the power-mad and our unelected elite.
We return to the chicken and egg liminality of the Golden Legend. Did the fiction trigger the phenomena or did the phenomena trigger the fiction? Both, obviously. We cannot expect to comprehend a sequential understanding of AAT -whatever that is- by a direct transfer of fiction to reality. Even when it is staring us right it the face it is done wrong.
Childhood has ended and we approach adolescence's end. Some new sophistication is called for. The 'secret' of masonry or NASA's crypto-Egyptianity is not some Sitchinesque disclosure that our gods really"are" spacemen. There is no degree in any system where you are taken into a back room to meet the space baby.
Instead you have what appears to be an evolving and deliberately bifurcated cluster of belief systems with
- the billionaire ones -for whatever reason- making 'more room' for a wider, more cosmic interpretation of spirituality running to completely separate timelines and
- the smaller, more manageable and literalist one for the hoi polloi.
It is unlikely any members of ISIS/ISIL are subscribers to AAT but technically AAT fits into a 'wider Islam' just as well as it fits into anything else. I have no doubt you will get a very different answer if you ask a member of the House of Saud, for instance.
After a century of some highly suggestive and ambitious stellar fiction, we now live in a world that is building private space ports at a rate of knots and a man who was declared CEO of the Year plans to mine asteroids made entirely of diamond.
Be more alchemical, universe. Just try.