Either this post is the audio commentary to Chris's post, or vice versa. Let us see if we can't get the phenomenological plane into the air with only two engines (feel free to start your own at any time!). Then let us see if we can land it somewhere beyond the absurd reach of Roswell slide jibberjabber.
But first, a word from Pete Carroll, from Epoch:
A growing body of ideas have haunted the magical imagination since Giordano Bruno first mused upon the possibility of alien life in other star systems in the 15th century. Aleister Crowley suspected that Aiwass, the supposed author of the infamous Book of the Law might have an extraterrestrial origin, and then HP Lovecraft developed a colourful gothic mythos about various alien races and creatures with terrible powers and knowledge that present a threat (or perhaps an opportunity?) to humanity. Popular culture fairly quickly took him up on this idea and we suffered an avalanche of ufology, von Danikenism, Scientology, and lately Raelianism as humanity tried to acclimate itself to the possibility of a much bigger universe.
Let us play a little thought experiment. It's 1947 and you are a senior adviser inside the Pentagon. You have all these Nazis put to work in rocketry, chemical weapons and psychiatry. They have with them some really strange ideas to do with manipulating human consciousness and whether we could survive in space thanks to their appalling experiments from the previous decade. NASA does not yet exist. You have the existential threat of those dastardly Soviets coming to take our freedoms and our soda fountains... they got a boatload of Nazis, too. Did they get any that have some of this knowledge? How many years before a Soviet spy drops something in the water supply of New York or Chicago and turns us all commie? Is that even possible? Could we do something like that?
And then you have whatever happened at Roswell. Pete Carroll again.
The universe undoubtedly contains intelligences but their purposes remain inscrutable and incomprehensible to us. Intelligences in the universe remain indifferent rather than malevolent towards humanity, yet they pose a great danger to us for our search for knowledge may easily end in disaster, but that means absolutely nothing to the vast, uncaring universe.
To paraphrase HPL, how does the (military) mind correlate these contents?
What do I mean by 'risk a little more bite'? I mean we need to push the boat out a little -a lot- more. We need to demand more of ourselves when it comes to cosmologies... and demand more of our heroes. More on that after this quote from a 1988 interview with Terence McKenna, conducted in a sports car driving along the Pacific Coast Highway.
I think of Mahayana Buddhism, the multileveled, many-inhabited, demon-haunted, Buddha-haunted realms of peace and joy. The insistence of Mahayana Buddhism that there really is no center, that everything is a construct of time and space, is the most sophisticated psychology. But I'm not willing to climb aboard the Buddhist ethic because Buddhism says suffering is inevitable. That's not a psychedelic point of view. I think that the psychology of Buddhism is the older strata, and that arises out of shamanism. Shamanism worldwide insists that the universe is multileveled, populated by beings that can do you great good, do you great harm. And beings who don't give a hoot about you one way or another.
Risking a little more bite, then. I'm -I don't want to say dismayed- but perhaps mildly conflicted by the return to prominence of Robert Anton Wilson, Discordianism, etc. So that I am not misunderstood, Cosmic Trigger remains firmly in my book game. It is essential, mind-opening reading. But we are now four decades on and a lot of the concepts are either too hoary for any use or just a bit too milquetoast... to the point that you become suspicious of some of his dubious shadow state connections (Thornley, Leary, etc). Here's what I mean:
- His repeated insistence that it was the mob that killed JFK rather than the CIA (He was affiliated with people around Oswald in New Orleans at the time).
- The '8 circuits of the brain' that resemble nothing so much as medieval humours now that neurology and consciousness studies have moved on.
- This faux-whimsical 'we can't really know anything and maybe everything is a conspiracy and you should not believe anything or maybe nothing is a conspiracy and you should believe that too' blah blah blah. That's the milquetoast part. Because here are dozens and dozens that were born out. It is a way of dismantling alternative analysis that is so effective it may as well be COINTEL. In fact, it's DIY COINTEL.
- He largely missed the nascent NDE research (Moody, etc) going on at the time, he mangled Vallée's Magonian theories, he wasn't active in the 90s when we started to get the Stargate information. So from my perspective I would say he avoided what are the most critical data points for building a revised cosmology.
- His general hard-on for Leary, who got his LSD from the CIA for widespread distribution as part of some kind of MKULTRA A/B testing.
- God save me from the unending occidentalism of the first-generation American migrant. His version of Ireland belongs on a cereal box.
What I am saying is that he was a product of his time, not ours. Deep-diving into it today runs the very real risk of leaving the neophyte operating with an incomplete map. Which brings me to Discordianism... which very definitely is an incomplete map. Discordianism is something to talk about in between bong rips. A hugely fun activity but ontologically insignificant. The rules of reality creation have long since passed from the established churches. Founding your own religion is a process enshrined in law. The idea that your local vicar is the arbiter of what is socially acceptable and what is not is long-gone. There is no radicalism in declaring yourself a Pope. It will not shock people unless they (quite reasonably) misinterpret your comment to mean you are a paedophile. In today's world, Discordianism isn't just bringing a knife to the gunfight of reality creation, it's bringing a fish. (Eris, on the other hand...)
Let’s see what happens when you publicly found a new government. Try handing those cards out.
McKenna gets tarred with my bite-brush, too. And I don't just mean his later-in-life return to scientific materialism, people can reach their own conclusions if they bother to do the work... which he certainly did. I mean his utopianism has a very dubious subtext in a post-MKULTRA world.
The man himself, interviewed again:
I am not alone in advocating a revisioning of psychedelics, but my colleagues and I certainly represent a highly suspect and not entirely integrated faction of the human potential movement. In a way, you see, we are still reacting to what happened in the 1960s. One can say many things about one's personal psychedelic experiences -and they are always very personal- but if you try to look at ten thousand psychedelic experiences the generalized conclusion you reach about what these things do is: Number one, they dissolve boundaries whatever the boundaries are. And as a consequence they dissolve cultural programming. So Marxist, shaman, fundamentalist Christian, and nuclear physicist will all find themselves deeply questioning their own beliefs, postpsychedelics. The thing about LSD that did mark it as different from all the other psychedelics was that a reasonably competent chemist could produce five million doses in a single day! Well, that was unique in human history. When you go to the Amazon or when you take peyote with the Huichol it is quite a chore to get sufficient material for twenty people. So the release of so much LSD into modern society caused the powers that be to assume that the whole social machine was being dissolved in acid - literally, before their very eyes. I think that this was a mistake, to go at it like this. There were many voices at that time, with many theories of how it should be handled. If Aldous Huxley had lived another ten years, it would have been very different. His idea was to get the psychedelic experience to artists, philosophers, city planners, architects... not every eighteen year old on earth.
Hmm. So looking at the subtext, we see the large-scale human testing of psychedelics -which we know happened- and then an emerging belief that the experience should remain with the more rarified, more targeted nodes. The thing is... how can you be sure that did not happen? NASA started weird, got weirder (providing seed funding for what became the Stargate Project), had its most exciting stuff privatised and now makes gnomish, enigmatic comments about Mars and humans leaving the planet. From Chris's latest post:
We've seen that groups like Blackwater see themselves as the new Templars, and we see the revelation of secret societies we had no idea existed before. We have an iron wall of secrecy that's descended over any kind of parapolitical research (even the Snowden revelations were simply confirmations of long-held suspicions) under the aegis of Homeland Security.*
We simply have no idea what is going on behind closed doors- what new sects or cults are taking power. We can only guess by the signals that leak into the media, but even so there's so much noise it's impossible to tell.
I presume you all caught this tweet on Friday (the 13th)? Let's have the inimical Grant Cameron put some context around it for you:
Podesta was the former Chief of Staff for President Bill Clinton and was known as the X-files man in the White House for his strong interest in the UFO issue. He also publicly called for UFO disclosure in 2002 during the Bush administration.[..]
Podesta now becomes the chief advisor to the Hillary Clinton 2016 presidential campaign. This will make for interesting extraterrestrial politics as Hillary was a key player during the Rockefeller Initiative from 1993-1996 where billionaire Laurance Rockefeller made a move to get the Clinton administration to make a public disclosure of the UFO situation. Hillary's role was
- all information moving from Rockefeller to Clinton's science advisor and from the advisor to Rockefeller was going through Hillary's First Lady office in the EOB.
- Hillary helped Rockefeller edit a letter on UFO disclosure to the President.
Would that be the same Laurance Rockefeller who funded crop circle research and Esalen? Why yes, I believe it would. Let's head for the conclusion, by way of one more big chunk McKenna.
I am referring to the Logos-like phenomenon of an interior voice that seems to be almost a superhuman agency - a kind of genus loci. I consider this an alien intelligence -an entity so beyond the normal structure of the ego that if it is not an extraterrestrial it might as well be. Its bizarreness and its distance from ordinary expectations about reality is so great that if flying saucers arrived here tomorrow from the Pleiades it would make this mystery no less compelling in comparison. It amuses me that the scientific community has taken over the search for extraterrestrial intelligence and defined it as they care to define it and have dedicated radio telescopes to search the galaxy for signals. The world's largest radio telescope is at Arecibo in Puerto Rico, and within the shadow of that installation, psychedelic mushrooms grow in the fields and the cows graze quietly in the sunshine. It's a marvellous interpenetration of the near and the faraway. I believe that the place to search for extraterrestrials is in the psychic dimension, and there the problem is not the absence of communication but an abundance of signals that must be sifted through, because the fact of the matter is that shamans and mystics and seers have been hearing voices and talking to gods and demons since Paleolithic times and probably before. We shouldn't rule out this form of communication. It seems to me far more likely that an advanced civilisation would communicate interdimensionally and telepathically, and the amounts of time available for an intelligent species to have evolved these kinds of communication are vast.
What the psilocybin experience seems to argue is that there is a kind of parallel universe that is not at all like our universe, and yet it is inhabited by beings with an intentionality... What has always put me off about occultists is the humdrum nature of the other world. They talk about radiant people in flowing gowns -ascended masters and so on. My overwhelming impression of the other realm is its utter strangeness -its "Otherness"... This is not a reality for the menopausal mystic, the self-hypnotized or the soft-headed. This is real. And the feeling that radiates out of the psychedelic experience is that it has a historical implication, that what has really happened in the twentieth century is that the cataloguing of nature that began in the sixteenth century with Linnaeus has at last reached its culmination. And the cataloguing of nature has revealed things that were totally unexpected -for example the existence of a dimension that our entire language set, emotional set and religious ontology deny.
Noodle this one out for me:
During the decades of Cold War I, mysterious government types repeatedly released disinformation into the 'nuts and bolts' ufology crowd, followed 'researchers' and went so far as to claim very obviously fraudulent 'crashes' (Aztec) as being legitimate. At the very same time, the largest, longest-running series of experiments into the effects and use of hallucinogens, telepathy and psychokinetic powers ever attempted was going on. Also at the very same time you get so-called skeptical groups, riddled with sex-abuse scandals, sharing offices and resources with the military. They receive publicity and air time far beyond what their ragtag little outfits should ever deserve -indeed they still do.
Chris intimated in this direction in his recent post, and we have certainly spoken of it regularly before, but consider this:
What if the reality of psi is 'The Cover Up'™?
Rather than little green men and recovered spaceships, what if all this cointel effort is designed to have the populace look literally anywhere -up in the stars!- instead of at their own consciousness.
What is more likely to unravel the fabric of today's society? Fossilised slime found on Mars or your true reality as a luminous being?
That would suggest that the opaque groups responsible for getting us into space -now including a grab bag of billionaires- have some understanding that 'space' and 'psi' are in some way related. Could this be one of the reasons for NASA's bizarre ritualism? Is it full-blown magical assistance? Does naming your mission after Osiris the King provide the same apotropaic benefit as performing the Headless Rite? Ask a magician and she will say "kinda." (Or at least I will say "kinda".)
McKenna frequently mentioned that it was language that structures reality, and it is a failure of language that keeps the psychedelic implications out of the wider culture. We already know we can't see colours -out of space or not- that we don't have words for. So perhaps it is time for a new ontology... or potentially a very old one. Perhaps it is time for a new Necronomicon. Pete Carroll again:
The Necronomicon consists of what we could call an Astral Book that mutates over time continually re-writing itself, and periodically creating representations of itself in physical form.
The Necronomicon represents the struggle of the magical imagination to find the 'names' or the 'words' or the concepts with which to overcome powerlessness and death, a quest which has taken millennia of inspired effort so far, merely to identify some of its objectives.
Because it seems only appropriate, let's end with a ghost story.
In a very Michael Jackson way -and yes, do read into that- HP Lovecraft struck up a lifelong friendship with a 13 year old boy named R.H Barlow... he called him his "O Fortunate Floridian" in one of the 159 letters he wrote to the kid. Little Barlow's dad built a shack on their property for the adult Lovecraft to stay in when he came to visit his minor son. R. H. Barlow even became Lovecraft's literary executor upon his death. Because all of that is completely normal.
When little Barlow became big Barlow, it seems the influence of his special adult friend, "creator" of the Necronomicon, never rubbed off. He received Rockefeller (!) and Guggenheim funding for his various anthropological studies into the Maya and ancient MesoAmerica... home to Gordon Wasson's mushroom (though his Life article wasn't published yet). Barlow eventually became chairman of the anthropology department at Mexico City College... where he taught a young William S Burroughs. A lifelong closet-case (presumably from early teenage years), Barlow committed suicide in January 1951 when a student threatened to out him as a homosexual. (Perhaps teacher got too handsy? Where would he have learned that?)
Burroughs saw the corpse when it was discovered several days later. The same Burroughs who would go on to regularly experiment with peyote and psilocybin and opine on Wasson's theories. The same Burroughs who would one day describe the publication of the Simonomicon as "a landmark in the history of spiritual liberation".
Something is moving not through but between space and time. Recognise patterns. Recognise other pattern recognisers.
Risk a little more bite.