The Seductive Power of Facebook
To see the latest status update and earlier ones scroll down to the bold font “STATUS UPDATES”
In your face, facebook:
A friend posted on Facebook:
but i don’t want a mother fucking “timeline”.
Me: Facebook doesn’t care what you want. It will just keep reminding you, again and again and again, wearing away your will away day-by-day, until one day, inevitably, in an irreversible moment of weakness you will click OK, and then your life will forever after be defined by Facebook’s new timeline. Stop your futile resistance. You will be assimilated.
Friend: i find the forced sentimentality facebook is going for, as if your facebook is a kind of digital memory album, incredibly unappealing and getting in the way of what i actually want from a social network like facebook. at best, this is an e-mail and photo storage and info sharing site, and while there is an obvious narrative element, forcing it to be crafted around a personal narrative breaches into that cloudy privacy area facebook isn’t great at. It’s kind of like a website that doesn’t understand it’s own function and personal space – I feel like that’s why myspace fizzled out and fb became popular.
Me: They seem to be getting a number of things wrong and that’s why their IPO flopped and they just announced a losing quarter. Timeline attempts to create a false cross section of your life. It assumes that you believe, and want others to believe, that a little collage of words or images actually gives an authentic picture of your life. Essentially it says to the user: “Want to reimagine your life a series of Hallmark moments? Is your answer yes! or hell yes!!! ? Well, then jump on board the Facebox express with three quarter billion others speeding you toward superficial land. Life too much for you? Then slice and dice it with amazing speed and create your very own counterfeit life facsimile on Facebook Timeline!”Friend: exactly, well said. The previous format for facebook was much better in my opinion in that it was pretty neutral, it was letting you make it into what you wanted it to be while having it organized in a way that didn’t clutter it with too much information. With the bizarre timeline element, it’s kind of annoying to locate the content you want to find on someone else’s page, or even your own. The editing of the “life story” you mentioned is interesting because of this idea of imposing a kind of sentimental hallmark virtual document of one’s life, but at the same time being entirely subject to editing.
I find myself getting sucked into Facebook all the time and sometimes it is entertaining, on occasion even fulfilling, but a lot of the time I feel I am being distracted to death.
These two documents are transcriptions of two fights I had on Facebook yesterday (August 1, 2012)
Status Update July 18, 2012
It’s getting harder and harder for me to tell how much I benefit from Facebook and other digital communication services and how much it’s just an arousal addiction where I keep ravenously looking for these little digital crumbs of social contact that set up a little sugar rush in my brain when I see I have new email, facebook messages or sms messages. Whenever I see those little browser tab notices that there are (3) somethings waiting for me on my facebook page it feels like I’m racing to open these little presents which usually have a whole lot of nothing in them—invites to “healing” events a thousand miles away, spam and the various other sorts of digital nothing burgers forever put before our overstimulated and undernourished eyes.
Some responses I made to the many comments people appended to this status update:
Like most relationships it has an ambivalence, a love/hate aspect. Sometimes gems are found in the detritus, other times detritus is in the detritus. As Sophocles said, (I’m paraphrasing from memory) “No great gift enters the human realm with and equally great curse.” So I’m all for these things, but digital swords, like metal ones will cut both ways.
Most of the research I’ve seen suggests that the quality of people’s social skills and interactions has down. For example, when people are polled “How many people in your life can you confide in about your deepest issues?” In the 80s the average was 3 and now it is 2. I had an experience a few years ago where three people in a row, in three unrelated instances, confided in me their deep longing to find an intentional community somewhere. People are hungering for face-to-face communion with others. Facebook can sometimes feel like it’s providing insubstantial nourishment for that deep hunger. It’s like you’re hungry for a full meal, or even a feast, and you can’t find it,but there’s a large cellophane bag of Cool Ranch Doritos that follows you everywhere and when you get hungry enough you just reach for some of those. In the past, lonely people might reach for People magazine which always strikes me as high school popularity expanded to a national stage. With Facebook, it’s like you have a customized version of People magazine with some faces you actually know. You still long for real community and often can’t find it, but there’s this little shanty made of glossy magazine pages and stocked with Cool Ranch Doritos you can take insubstantial comfort from anytime you want.
September 25, 2013
Feeling a bit overwrought after catching up to the most recent episode of Breaking Bad. I’m thinking maybe I should call the DEA and just let them know everything I know about the series just so I won’t be considered complicit in anything or part of any sort of a cover up. I just need to get ahead of this thing. They can easily find out from Comcast that I’ve been watching this all along…
The friend or not necessarily a friend, let’s just say an associate with whom I watched the series says I’m overreacting, but I just can’t afford to get caught up in this thing. My associate says that from the point of view of the DEA, I’m more like a bystander and not directly involved, but I’ve got this sixth sense that it’s not going to turn out well, that we’re just past the point of no return for any sort of happy ending…
Would you like to see the sun (so retro, how many billion years has it looked like this?) replaced by a giant, white florescent tube? If so, you’ll love the look of IOS7. OK, I realize that this is a first world issue, and IOS7 has great, new capabilities and gadget lust will have me reaching for the new 5s tomorrow, but I have to think that somewhere in the lower astral Steve Jobs is smashing his updated Iphone against a wall. All the 3D object look and textured backgrounds of native Iphone apps are gone. I guess Johnny Ives and the design team decided they were just so August, 2013. They’re a highly paid design team so they have to redesign things, right? Instead of the 3D look of eye soothing textures and colors they realized that what we really wanted was thin, abstracted fonts and symbols against florescent white backgrounds. For example, the beautiful odometer style clock/timer/stopwatch interface is replaced with flat black on white abstractions that are sterile, eye straining and so many steps backward from what they replaced. There should be a constitutional amendment against white backgrounds for any computer application or program of any kind—especially Facebook and IOS. Consider wanting to reset an Iphone alarm when you wake up in the middle of the night and now have to squint into a white background like a florescent light shining in your eyes to see these spindly black abstractions. The native memo app likewise is now spindly black on white instead of the eye strain easing old font on yellow legal paper look. It’s so bad I immediately had to buy a new app to replace it. The new design philosophy for IOS graphics: “If it ain’t broke, if, in fact, it is superb and beautiful, then flatten, sterilize and whiten into an eye straining hideous redesign!”
Image: This is an example of how we can unconsciously create precise rituals. See my equinox posting just below. Yesterday I got a plastic exoskeleton for my new Iphone 5s. It looked a bit bland, so to give it some personality I took a little metal disk that had fallen off one of my dad’s 1960s era light meters. I thought it just looked cool, but today I realize it is a symbol of equinox with light and dark equally dividing the circle of the seasons.
This is the moment of the autumn equinox, the moment when light and dark are perfectly balanced. I forgot about the equinox, and without consciously planning it, this morning happened to be the day, despite not going to sleep early, of summoning myself awake between 3 and 4am (my goal) and resuming work on my fantasy epic, Parallel Journeys. A couple of hours in, it occurred to me that this must be close to equinox and then I just looked it up and found that it was.
An alchemical aspect of the equinox is revealed by this occurrence—it is a a liminal zone, a between and betwixt place between light and dark, a place where the two principles, the yin and the yang are precisely balanced, a place where zeros and ones equal and, therefore a potent moment to create new forms because zeros and ones are equally available and the matrix has not slanted toward dark or light.
Consider today a propitious zone for you to reconfigure all the strange and paradoxical ways that dark and light principles operate in your life. Today is a day to bring the secret light out of the secret darkness, a day when mutants can rewrite the source code of the Babylon Matrix.
According to ancient lore, if you are abducted into the fairy land and eat any food, or drink any drink offered to you there, you may never return. This is a warning about a hazard that few of us will actually have to face. I have a much more relevant warning about a hazard we all face: If you are abducted/incarnated into the anti-fairy land and eat the anti-fairy food and drink you find there, you may never return. For me, the most vivid anti-fairy land is the Bronx where I am staying for one more day. Usually I compromise my diet when I’m here and upon reentry to Planet Boulder I feel exhausted and take a week or two to recover my energy. This NYC visit I am resisting all the anti-fairy food being offered and am sticking to superfood smoothies and don’t feel that heavy, heavy metal, sooty, grimy, New York energy thing infusing my system. Most places, these days, are anti-fairy lands offering a 24/7 toxic food carnival, a hungry ghost buffet of anti-fairy foods and drinks. If you partake of such hollow delights, you fall backward into the wrong end of the telescope, the path of progressive diminishment, where you become one more bloated and poisoned anti-fairy stumbling wearily in the heavy darkness of anti-fairy land. For more see Zap Oracle card #356, Nourishment that does not Nourish:https://zaporacle.com/card/nourishment-that-does-not-nourish
August 10th, 2013
“I’m losing.” —-Frank Sinatra, last words
This is a rough draft for Reality Sandwich which is running a top ten greatest last words article I was asked to contribute to. I welcome any editorial suggestions, typos noticed, but please, please do not forward this to any mob connections you may or may not have. Just in case you do, and my last words come sooner than expected, here’s the epitaph I always wanted: “On ______, Jonathan Zap won his long battle with corporeality by dying.”
September 5, 2013
Just got back from Burning Man, crash landing in Planet Boulder around 2am and now I have a few hours before heading back to the airport and a week in NYC for strange reasons I will explain momentarily. I was part of the Fractal Planet build crew and was there for a couple of days of breakdown so a very long time out on the Playa. A few nights ago I was MCing at the Fractal Planet speaker dome—a 60′ high geodesic dome with portal banners and a 3D funnel-shaped flower of life portal-canopy with a diameter that must have been more than a 100 feet across the ceiling and upper walls. The creator of giant art installations called “Portals,” that are at Burning Man and other festivals, just gave a presentation. Adding a little bit of transitional banter while waiting for the next speaker to set up a projector I said, “And you should all go out into the deep playa to see the Portals because we are all Portal creatures who begin life by entering a portal called birth and exit life by exiting a portal called death. As soon as I said “death” my friend Michelle Corey and a ranger came swiftly toward me. Their approach seemed melodramatic—the ranger in a khaki jumpsuit, Michelle in a brilliantly white faux fur coat that didn’t have a speck of playa dust on it as if she had just stepped out of a limousine. “We have a 9-11 message from your family.” Michelle announced breathlessly. I stepped away from the microphone and we walked just outside the dome. I had left my niece, Bernadette Salem, the Burning Man emergency contact number because she lives with my 89-year-old mom. Bernadette’s father, my Palestinian brother-in-law Jamal, had just died of a heart attack. Michelle and the Ranger were also in shock because they heard me say “We exit through a portal called death.” just as they entered the dome. I already had memorials up in the Burning Man temple for my dad and one of my two closest friends who both died in the last year. Just before I wrote this I got an email that my friend Larry Goldberg, one of the best minds on the planet, who I knew from the Society for Scientific Research in Boulder, just died. It happened while he was moving so probably another heart attack. I was planning to get together with Larry after returning from Burning Man.
I guess we all need to be aware of the portals awaiting all of us, shimmering iridescently in the night of time.
(image: peering into one of my friend Matt Elson’s amazing mirror boxes at the Fractal Planet art dome. This box is called Radiance Infinity Box (no. 6), from the Awakened Vision Series, 2013)
August 5th, 2013
People often ask me my impression of Ken WIlber—
I’ve read very little of Ken Wilber, but know some of his colleagues and have formed an impression of him. Giving a psychological impression of Wilber based on so little may be the height of arrogance, but my hope is that my arrogance gives me some sympathetic resonance with where he may have gone off the rails and is not merely shadow projection on another narcissistic personality type like myself.
I’ve read very little of Ken Wilber, but know some of his colleagues and have formed an impression of him. Giving a psychological impression of Wilber based on so little may be the height of arrogance, but my hope is that my arrogance gives me some sympathetic resonance with where he may have gone off the rails and is not merely shadow projection on another narcissistic personality type like myself.
In the last 24 hours I got a couple of emails from Frank Visser who wanted to publish my philosophy Dynamic Paradoxicalism on his Integral World site.
Frank Visser founded IntegralWorld.net in 1997 (back then under the name of “The World of Ken Wilber”). He is the author of the first monograph on Ken Wilber and his work: “Ken Wilber: Thought as Passion” (SUNY Press, 2003), which has been translated into 7 languages, and of many essays on this website.
Frank and I dialogued a bit about Wilber’s unfounded criticisms of Jung. I wrote,
My guess is that Jung is a kind of splinter in his mind he can’t get out. As Jung once pointed out, in most significant relationships, one person is the container and the other the contained. Wilber was determined to intellectually contain everyone else by categorizing them. Unconsciously, he realized that he could not contain Jung, but that if Jung were around, he could contain him and point out the archetypal possession and lack of shadow integration, etc. To his waking personality, Jung became an irritant and source of some cognitive dissonance that he couldn’t allow into full awareness. Wilber, therefore had to seek to contain Jung and diminish him any way he could to deal with his own anxiety about the distorted areas of his psyche. Wilber’s repressed and internalized Jung, like a spectral psychiatrist haunting the edges of his awareness, goaded him and was as unwelcome to his sense of grandiosity as the devil at prayers.
“A Jungian Response to Ken Wilber” (http://www.integralworld.net/erkelens1.html) also captures what I have always sensed about Wilber—the Luciferian presumption of the thinking function to rule over all else. Wilber became pridefully identified with his solar phallic aspect, and ever more divorced from the feminine. The repressed feminine aspect then overpowered him in the form of illness and the trickster. His mind overreached his grasp and other thinking types were able to trip him up by pointing out all the errors and inconsistencies.
For me, Wilber personifies the thinking function run amuck and the reason why I tend to avoid highly abstract thinking and stay closer to the psychological plane of inquiry. Wilber seems like a tragicomic to tragic figure, the naive hero who presumes upon his solar phallic power and inevitably gets castrated (the self-castration of a legacy of flawed work, and the diminished cognitive function at a relatively young age caused by his illness). As in the myth of Icarus, those who identify with the solar phallic power of the mind tend to be brought crashing back to earth by the repressed feminine. I wrote a paper related to this as a grad student in the 80s: https://zaporacle.com/the-psyche-as-an-oscillating-entity-in-thomas-hardys-jude-the-obscure/
July 29, 2013
George Zimmerman, Anthony Weiner,_________insert name of your least favorite public figure. It’s so easy to project our shadows onto these psychic scarecrows. When we project our shadow out into the world we become one of billions who enshadow the world with the personal darkness we outsource to the hollow, spotlighted folk. If you want to help the world, have the courage to face your own darkness instead of merely exporting onto “they.” If you can spare eight minutes toward the courageous path of shadow integration do please check out this youtube video of something I wrote recently about “they” (it also has some amazing steampunk graphics created by my amazingly talented webmaster, Tanner Dery.)
July 26th, 2013
Obama’s descent into doublespeak—-This is the kind of thing that’s really starting to piss me off about Obama (whom I have voted for twice). On June 27th he said (referring to NSA leaker Edward Snowden) that he’s, “not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker” Here we see rhetoric that is carefully designed to give a totally false impression. He’s saying, basically, “I’m not this mean guy that’s going to get all big government over a youngish computer geek.” Yeah, you’re not scrambling jets, but meanwhile you probably have hundreds of agents working every aspect of Edward Snowden and doing whatever you possibly can to capture him and lock him up in a sub-basement prison cell so inaccessible that you would probably have to pump oxygen into it. In other words, what you said was total bullshit craftily designed to give an impression that’s the exact opposite of the truth. Earlier in June, in another moment of total bullshit, Obama said he “welcomed the debate” about security concerns versus civil concerns. Total bullshit double speak. If he “welcomed” debate he wouldn’t have kept the existence of such a program tightly classified. If he welcomes debate and transparency he wouldn’t be so hard on whistle blowers. Obama has, in general, become more and more comfortable with being a duplicitous politician and lost even the vague impression of candor much of the time. As much as I despise Sarah Palin, I will admit that she did come up with one really great line: “So how’s that hopey, changey thing going for ya?” —-Not all that great at the moment.
July 26, 2013
Breaking News Alert: Stop Telling Me About the Following Predictable Crap—
On a planet of 7 billion people, every few weeks a train derailment will kill a couple of dozen people, something will go wrong with a passenger jet, a bus with a high school sports team will crash, and somebody might fall into a sinkhole. Let’s just take that as a given so you can stop telling me about this shit. There are seven billion monkeys and sooner or later several monkeys will slip on the same banana peel and die. It’s predictable, unfortunate and not newsworthy. Newsworthy would be if one person in three fell into a sinkhole or if we went two weeks and there were no freak accidents anywhere on the planet. Also definitely not newsworthy are gruesome, outlier violent crimes involving hotties in a country of over three hundred million people. Every so often an attractive young mother with blonde hair will drown her child or a man will keep a woman or two captive in his house for ten years. Very newsworthy for their friends and family, but for the rest of us it’s just the same old, same old, blood stained carnival show you keep wheeling out to distract us from real news. Oh, and another thing that’s not news—celebrities, as well as ordinary mortals, will have breakups, sex scandals, substance abuse problems, and various other misadventures. If one of them gets bitten by a radioactive spider and develops super powers or emerges as an Antichrist and establishes a World Government Federation I’ll be glad to hear about it on the news. Otherwise, why don’t we just silently take for granted that celebrities have tawdry personal lives and let them sleep around, have break ups, takes drugs and go in out of rehabs in private. This will leave a lot more space for news that’s truly newsworthy which means that it’s NEW, and not the same old, same old blood and sex show. Save the news for the stuff that really matters—like rumors about new features on various smart phones which is something I happen to care about deeply.
And if you think this is just an ungrounded rant see this Daily Show segment that reports on CNN eliminating its entire investigative news department. They decided it would be cheaper and more popular to focus instead on celebrity court cases and doubled down on “if it bleeds, it leads” journalism. http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-january-14-2013/investigating-investigative-journalism
July 25th, 2013
Pacific Rim as a 3D IMAX was a very entertaining thrill ride (special thanks to John Haeberlin and Panda Gordon for the old school automotive type ride) and although alien godzillas on steroids versus giant cyborgs in a rock em’ sock em’ robot scenario worked in this case (with some assist from 60,000 watt subwoofers and the awesomeness of the 3D IMAX format), and although I’ve always had a soft spot for the analog, old school Mark III cyborgs that keep on ticking even after EMP detonations (still wondering how analog technology does the 3D holographic heads up displays, but Mark IIIs are not to be underestimated), but nevertheless I really, really wish sci-fi and fantasy films would take a chill pill once in a while. I tried to explain this on the ride back from Pacific Rim as I struggled to adjust to the almost eerie lack of explosions, fire balls and particle beam weapon debris fields (calm before the storm?) on I 25. I refurbished a review I did of Oblivion to make the case of chill pill therapy for some of our big budget blockbusters. https://zaporacle.com/oblivion-and-the-need-for-sci-fi-and-fantasy-movies-to-chill-out-once-in-a-while/
July 21, 2013
If you want to hear the one hour interview I did with KTKK last night go here: http://www.k-talk.com/index.php/archive/ click on “Fringe Radio” then you’ll see last night’s show at the top of the list. I was the third guest so slide the player forward to 2hrs. 7 minutes
July 18, 2013
Are you an Invisible? There are many sorts of Invisibles—some are part of a hermetic circle of Invisibles, others seem to drift at the margins of social matrices, never fully bonding with fellow Invisibles. Some Invisibles fulfill their mission to shift the matrix in some essential way; others fade from Invisibility and become passively alienated or even merge with the opaque herd.
July 14, 2013
How to Empower Evil: Keep Talking About They
Although it’s nothing new, something I keep noticing is how many people (including me) love to talk obsessively about how bad they are. Who are they? They are the folks wearing the black hats: the globalists, the banksters, the Illumanati, the Reptilians, etc. They are the bad folk, the ones that never include the speaker. To be fair, there are always bad theys out there casting their shadow over the world. And of course, the bad theys think they are needed to fight other theys. Read more: https://zaporacle.com/how-to-empower-evil-keep-talking-about-they/
July 12, 2013
I awoke from uneasy dreams and posted the status update “facebook relationships are superficial.” Gregor, a facebook friend I don’t know outside of facebook, liked my comment so I, more or less automatically, liked his like. But then it suddenly occurred to me that perhaps I shouldn’t have liked his liking of my statement because I wasn’t sure if he meant that he agreed with or liked the truth of my statement as a criticism of facebook or if he took it literally and actually liked that facebook relationships are superficial. I decided to edit my liking of his like and changed it to a leaning toward like. Then he liked the change in the status of my like. This made me distrustful and I wondered if he was liking the state of anxious ambiguity that caused me to change my full like of his like to merely a leaning toward like. I decided to do a leaning toward dislike of his liking of my altered like status and he responded with a full dislike of my leaning dislike. Now I wasn’t sure if I had hurt his feelings by leaning toward dislike of his like or if he originally meant that he liked the superficiality of facebook relations and by nuancing my dislike as a lean I was being annoying authentic from his point of view. To test this I did a full like of his dislike figuring that this should be readily discernable as an inauthentic move and if he liked it, it would suggest that he took my original statement literally rather than ironically. He caught me off guard by responding immediately with an emoticon of a beehive with a smiley face behind it. Was he saying that he approved of the hive mind or being ironic about it? Or maybe he as just using an ambiguous emoticon to create cognitive dissonance in me. I threw together an emoticon of a mouse standing triumphant on a mercator projection map of the world figuring that…. (more later)
July 11, 2013
These two articles by Paul Levy are not light reading, but could be two of the most important documents that you ever read, revealing crucial things about the nature of evil. I noticed many parallels to my work on “mind parasites” and when I ordered Paul’s book and left him a note he wrote back that he’s been reading my work for years. We have very parallel views on the nature of evil and I left comments at the end of both articles.
Recorded live at Sonic Bloom 2013 Mark Heley, Michael Garfield on festival culture, the science of transformation and man’s place in the cosmos
May 31, 2013
I know that Facebook experience tends to default into an arousal addiction for quick buzzes of info and social transaction that is not particularly friendly to a ten-twenty minute speed bump, but I just wrote a concise description of two Chaos Magic Practices I created that are working powerfully for me and that could greatly enhance your life if you have that will to invest 10-20 minutes to find out how they work. https://zaporacle.com/two-chaos-magic-practices-to-enhance-life/
April 29, 2013
As short as his writing career was, Jack Savage was one of the greatest poets of his generation, the millennial generation. His poems are the voice of the soul, sometimes celebratory, often struggling with the darkness of the world, always profound.https://zaporacle.com/savage-reflections-the-poems-of-jack-savage/
April 24, 2013
In Memoriam John (Jack) Spenser Savage 1989-2013 —a very tough day for those of us close to himhttps://zaporacle.com/jack-savage-in-memorium/
Oblivion and the Need for Sci-Fi and Fantasy Movies to Chill Out Once in a While
© Jonathan Zap, 2013
(This was originally tossed off as a Facebook status update so expect it to seem a bit off the cuff.)
Oblivion was much better than what reviews and the Rotten Tomatoes 59% rating led me to believe. OK, some elements of the plot late in the movie might seem a bit convoluted or contrived. It’s no masterpiece. Some of the ideas may have been overambitious or lacking in emotional depth, but they weren’t cheesy, and there were intriguing twists that kept you thinking if perhaps not entirely satisfied at the end. It’s not in the top tier of science fiction films, but Oblivion has plenty of merits. If a sci-fi film has high production values and the plot, ideas and dialogue are not offensively bad it will often still work for me because I can get a lot out of a high-resolution trip into the future.
Prometheus did that, but I sometimes wished it would chill out for a few seconds from all the exploding, alien, parasitical life forms attacking so I could just take in what it would be like to be in some of the futuristic settings. The daughter of the tycoon had this amazing apartment with wraparound pixelated walls that appeared to be a panoramic window onto a beautiful aspen forest with falling snow, etc. I wanted to spend some time just checking out her really cool apartment without some species threatening catastrophe constantly intruding. Oblivion allows for this more relaxed way to check out the future, especially the first half of the movie that had an elegant sparseness. What was also a brilliant choice is that the futuristic hardware was kept to a relative minimum and what was there was really, really well done. Some of it looked like something a clone of Steve Jobs would design in a hundred years. The production design was exceptionally good and busyness and frenetic action weren’t constantly crowding it out.
I don’t know how many other people feel this, but I wish more sci-fi and fantasy films had an atmospheric quality, a chance to live in the setting without some frantic scenario where the whole galaxy is at stake and there are constant ray gun battles and what not. The remake of Solaris was really good at that elegant sparseness and a plot that was more intelligent than frenetic. There was a wonderful moment late in the series Lost (which had been losing value for me as the plot got more convoluted, contrived and frenetic). A bunch of the main characters were breathlessly racing to stop some cosmic doomsday device and in their frantic countdown chase across the island they run across this older couple whom we hadn’t seen for several episodes and who had set up a nice little camp for themselves and were just enjoying life and the lasting bond they had with each other. The characters run up to them breathless, sweating, in a state of frenzied panic and are like, “Blah, blah, blah!!!! We’ve only got 11 minutes till the blah, blah, blah goes off and the whole island is time displaced from the blah, blah, blah!!! We’ve got to blah, blah, blah right now!!!!“ The woman of the couple, a wise, well-grounded black woman in her sixties, just looks at them and says, “What is it with you people? It’s always something.” She just waves them off and goes back to working on dinner or whatever while they race off after the MacGuffin.
Yeah, if you can really pull off an-everything-in-the-galaxy-at-stake plot, go for it. And yeah, I realize that there’s a lot of pressure to pace things to appeal to the nervous system of an 11 year old on an ultra-sour-candy-and-ritalin-sugar/endorphin rush. Personally, I’m willing to pay for a movie ticket just to get a high-resolution, high-production quality trip to the future or another world and the people there could be having a human drama and that would be enough for me. The hardware could be incidental and atmospheric. I just want more chances to experience other worlds than these…
April 20, 2013
CREATIVITY AND PHYSICAL CONDITION
Something that’s not said often enough about relating to the creative muse (in fact, it’s rarely said at all) is the connection to physical condition. Obviously, we realize that athleticism depends on bodily condition, and athletes have relatively short careers compared to those pursuing creative arts (except ballet). Even though I’m emphatically not a neurological materialist, no one can deny that while we’re associated with a physical body our neurological condition is a huge factor. Like the rest of the body, the brain ages, and our neurological condition fluctuates during the course of a single day.
In my case, I’ve long been aware that a high level writing session is very dependent on my neurological condition (among other key factors). Predawn, upon awakening from quality sleep with lots of REM, is, for neurological and a number of other reasons, the golden zone for creative writing sessions. ( see: https://zaporacle.com/predawn-window-zone/) It is even more crucial for the highest-level creative writing sessions, which for me is fantasy fiction, or highly stylized nonfiction. A well thought out email is something I could write at almost any time of the day, but I can’t do the high level writing any time of the day.
To ground this in a practical example, if I were to stay up late drinking some night, the odds of a high level writing session the next morning are less than 5%. At this life phase, however, if I exercised the day before, ate really well and got to sleep early the odds of a high level writing session the next morning are closer to 95%.
The creative muse and physical condition are dependent variables so long as I am associated with a corporeal body. An athlete, early in life, finds that the muse of athleticism is in a war with the clock—their skill and experience is going up, but their peak bodily condition starts going down. If they’re lucky there is a golden zone between these two curves where they have enough skill and experience and their bodily condition is still close to peak.
The creative person is usually dealing with a gentler version of those two curves. Skill and experience have longer to accumulate and the downward curve of neurological condition is less steep, but still a major factor. Eventually, however, if the creative muse continues to demand big things of you late in life, you also experience the war with the clock. This can be a different struggle than the classic human struggle with mortality and corporeality, but it has its overlaps. I’m not at war with death, I’m excited about that event horizon, but I’d much rather cross the corporeal finish line after completing certain key life tasks rather than leaving them in an unfinished state. (why I’m enthusiastic about death: https://zaporacle.com/life-lessons-from-the-living-dead/) When it comes to stuff that often leads up to death, such as profound aging and ill health, I am much, much less accepting and, in general, my struggles with mortality have always been about the nonperfectable nature of the human body (at any age).
At the moment, I realize, I have few causes for complaint, only a very small percentage of all Homo sapiens have ever made it to age 55, and I am in much better shape than the average 55-year-old. I jumped off the death train of the standard American diet when I became a vegetarian at age 19. I have a long history of exercise, my dad made it to 93 and my mom is 89 and still able to live on her own, etc., etc. Nothing bodily has, so far, limited my relationship to the creative muse except that what I do today has powerful effects on tomorrow morning’s writing session.
This is fortunate, and although some of it is the result of my efforts toward nutrition and exercise, some of it is also the good luck of genetics, modern hygiene and medicine, not being desperately poor, etc. There are quite a number of writers who, in their fifties, were still being pulled by the creative muse, but whose bodies were totally spent and had to leave unfinished work. Dickens and Dostoevsky, for example, died just a couple of years older than I am right now and looked like extremely old men at my present age. More recently, Robert Jordan, author of the amazing fantasy series, The Wheel of Time, departed in his fifties leaving the last couple of books to be written by another author. Of course, he might have gotten sick anyway, but when I recently happened to see YouTube interviews of him and George R.R. Martins (author of The Game of Thrones series) I noticed by their fifties they both looked grossly out-of-shape like they hadn’t exercised in decades and were walking with canes, etc. Long writing sessions, and fantasy writers probably endure the longest of writing sessions, are really bad for physical condition. Robert Jordan would sometimes write from 8 in the morning to 11:30 at night which is enviable from the muse point of view, but horrible for his body. Just in the last year or so all this research has come out that sitting for an hour or more is really bad for your health even if you get in an hour of vigorous exercise later in the day. I didn’t realize this until recently and used to be one of those people who believed that my intense cardio workouts made up for long writing sessions (to some extent they do, but not entirely). Now I write at an adjustable height desk that allows me to pedal a short elliptical trainer as I sit. I also can work standing. There has been a movement toward more ergonomic work stations, sit-to-stand desks, treadmill desks, etc.
If the creative muse were to stop leading me constantly in new directions I could probably catch up with all unfinished nonfiction projects in a year or two. I never can get caught up, however, because new projects keep showing up. Additionally, there is a gigantic mountain before me, larger than anything I’ve done before, and that I have scarcely begun to climb—an unfinished, experimental fantasy epic called Parallel Journeys. Most fantasy writers who complete a major fantasy epic begin no later than their early forties. Parallel Journeys, in one form or another, has been haunting me since I was 20, but portals into it open rarely. When they do, it is dramatic and an overwhelming. A three-week period beginning in the middle of February saw a whole book’s worth of content play out and dominate my consciousness for three weeks. Then it quieted down again and new nonfiction projects pulled me into their vortex. Everything I’ve written so far seems highly experimental and in need of rewrite. Also, although I have way more than my 10,000 hours in with non-fiction writing, I don’t have 10,000 hours in with fantasy fiction writing. My nonfiction skills are still improving, and my fiction writing skills need much more development. This is especially the case because Parallel Journeys wants to be written a highly unconventional, experimental style that demands much more skill than a conventionally structured narrative with less stylized writing.
Of course, I’ve long realized that Parallel Journeys might never be finished. It might be my version of that thing that’s always just up ahead but ever recedes from your grasp like the green light blinking on the dock in the distance that Gatsby stares at every evening and relates to his unfulfillable romantic longings.
When I was twenty, and made my discoveries about the Singularity Archetype I had a strong, intuitive realization that even more important than writing about it and exploring it from a nonfiction perspective would be to create a fantasy portal into it. The latest download (the three week period) was the most intense one ever, so it still feels like momentum for it is still building in the unconscious. But I’m still waiting for the major opening into this work, the opening that will allow me to finish whole books, etc. In every other case where the muse has pulled me into something I’ve been able to produce finished work, so it’s not outside the range of probability that I will reach such a zone with Parallel Journeys.
And this brings us back to closure with the subject of bodily condition and the creative muse. To be able to pull off such a huge writing project, one that will probably require thousands of hours of high level writing, I need to continue to be in far better shape than average for my advancing age. Presently, I’m 33 days into smoothie regimen, which is definitely helping, but I need to do even more toward physical fitness and need to keep that up long term. So if any of you extreme health and fitness people out there have any suggestions for me. I’d love to get your input. Also, if you are driven by the creative muse, I hope what I’ve written about my case gets you thinking about your own relationship between creativity and physical condition.
More of my thoughts and history relating to the creative muse: The Path of the Numinous—Living and Working with the Creative Muse
April 18. 2013
Someone just posted an absurd map with the title “Zionist Plan!” that purports to show how Israel would take over the Middle East. I left the comment:
Or the tortured mental projection shimmering anxiously in a paranoid’s mind who has forgotten that the cascade of inner maps is not the territory. Zionism (a linguistic Trojan Horse for conjuring fearful images of Jews like myself) is another of the long shadowed bogey men of history, a scarecrow to attract the shadow projection of fevered and ignorant minds. Oh, wait, hang on, my Iphone is lighting up with an incoming call—-it’s Henry Kissinger, my overlord in the World Jewish Conspiracy—what’s that Henry? You saw the facebook post and are calling in a drone strike? Henry, I really think you are overreacting! What do you man you can’t call it back?—Hey listen man, I think you better get away from your computer right now, the WJC takes these sorts of Facebook posts pretty seriously.
Slightly more serious perspective on projection, politics and the Middle East: Projection, the Enemy of Peace and Justice
April 18, 2013
Comment I just left for a young student I know who lives in Boston and has been feeling the tragic magic shockwave of the recent events (The Boston Bombing):
Must be weird to be so close to the eruption of an unexpected vortex of darkness and world scrutiny. Always a strange feeling to be so close to ground zero of a shockwave that vibrates the whole zeitgeist. Maybe as a musician you would envision it acoustically, cymbals crashing together in a darkened music hall or something like that, sounds waves that permeate the air but are loudest to those who stand closest to the pressure wave of colliding brass discs. I’ve experienced this a few times. Once when I was living just across Central Park from the Dakota where (and when) John Lennon was shot. I could feel the concentric ripples of disturbance in the force emanating from across the park as if someone had cast a pebble very to where I was standing in the collective pond. So besides all the other things—a cause for compassion, and prayer, etc.—see this as a chance to perceive a disturbance in the force, a rippling of zeitgeist effects emanating from a point in the matrix of history that is so close by.
April 18, 2012
The comment thread on this document, as of this morning only six comments long, is one of the best I’ve participated in:
https://zaporacle.com/on-the-seeming-impossibility-of-civil-dialogue-with-atheists/ (a week after I posted this status update a tragedy occurred that completely altered the story. I posted a brief epilogue explaining this.)
April 17, 2013
Materialist science, which is more properly called scientism, is a set of irrational biases that masquerades as science, but is actually more of an affectation, a pose, that the poser thinks defines the cosmos when actually it is more revealing of personal limitations and cultural prejudices. It is an intellectual version of tough guy affectation, a nerd’s version of machismo, and this is why so many committed materialists are so rude to discourse with, and sound like dogmatic religionists. This seems to be particularly the case when scientism overlaps with atheism, which it often does. We expect religious fundamentalists to be hostile to science, but it is also important to realize that scientism is anti-science. It discounts empirical findings and even replicable studies done with the highest scientific rigor that produce results that contradict its limited worldview. It is essentially a form of cognitive self-amputation pridefully posing as masterful objectivity. It neurotically pairs feelings of superiority to others, with an extremely degraded view of human experience and the cosmos. Larry Dossey, in a fascinating article just published on RS http://
Thomas Sheridan just posed an incisive essay on “Obsessive Debunking Disorder” and looks at the problem of militant atheist/pseudo-skeptical debunking types with their superficial rationalism and inquisitor like vindictiveness from the point of view of left hemisphere dominance. Highly recommended:http://thomassheridanarts.com/
worse than the TED problem is the domination of Wikipedia by scientism. My friend Rob Brezsny just sent me the following.
Check out these two essays on ” the concerted effort by upper-case Skeptics to keep Wikipedia a woo-free environment.”
Finally, for those who really want to drill into the core of this whole problem, the book that must be read is the Trickster and the Paranormal by my friend George Hansen. Very briefly: the paranormal is anti-structural, it violates expected hierarchies, and various mental constructs and, therefore, the more organized a social structure is, the more likely it is to be anti-paranormal. A hunter-gatherer tribe has a low level of organization, and is friendlier to the paranormal, but a complex patriarchy is genuinely threatened by it. For example, in the 1990s the Catholic Church published a new catechism that said “interest in the paranormal is fundamentally anti-religious.” This from a religion in which there are talking snakes and seas being parted by intention and so forth. Essentially they are saying: “We’ll keep the paranormal safely contained in the distant past, but want no more of it now where it would be a wildcard and might corrode accepted dogma, hierarchy and cognitive structures. The highest level of organization right now is the whole military-industrial complex, academia and institutional science. The paranormal is fundamentally threatening to many of their structures. One example is that psi research shows that it is nearly impossible to quarantine experiments (even ones with just physical apparatus and no human or living subjects of any kind) from observer effects. This finding introduces a wildcard variable calling all sorts of experiments into question. The anti-structural aspects of the paranormal are fundamentally threatening to highly structured social and mental constructs and this is why you see this peculiar parallelism, a inquisitor like vindictiveness from the odd bedfellows—religious fundamentalists and the priests of scientism. A classic example, John Maddox, senior editor of the journal Nature published an editorial about Rupert Sheldrake entitled “A Book for Burning?” Quotes from the editorial are featured prominently in the wikipedia entry for Sheldrake to this day. The battlelines have been drawn at it is hard to deal with possessed true believers. What confuses the matter even more, though, is that irrationally motivated true believers can be found on both sides of the equation: https://zaporacle.com/
April 9, 2013
Just watched some pieces of video, cross-sections of the American psyche, and I feel some of the classic American types, in a slow motion cascade through my mind—the hottie, the loser/geek, the lonely old person, the caffeinated yuppie—and they are tumbling in my innermost imaginal space like a pack of playing cards falling in extreme slow motion. They are all picture cards, slightly yellowed, and they are all illustrated in the tawdry, garish colors of old comic books, but finely drawn, as if by Robert Crumb, with lots of detail, more than my eyes can quite resolve, as they tumble and fall.
Each of these types, so easy to flatten into caricatures, are played out by fellow hominids of flesh and blood, living and breathing creatures anxiously struggling to play out these tired roles. I’ve known some of these role-playing persons, and at times been aspects of them, felt myself played out like a card tossed onto green felt by the deft and indifferent hands of an old croupier. As I stare at the cards, and try to slow them down even more in my mind, they start to accordion out into long and blurry lines of people standing behind each face card, the cast of millions of living, breathing people who have played out the loser/nerd, the hottie, the tryin’ to be a gangsta’ type, and so forth…
As I look within, I see the faces of all these types falling slowly through the night of time…
Part of Reality Sandwich’s upcoming Reviews Section will be a list of the top ten favorite demigods. Here’s my entry:
March 27, 2013
For the last several days I’ve been working on an interview with a visionary, young Dutch Artist Thijme Termaat
https://zaporacle.com/i-paint-by-thijme-termaat-a-brief-review/ You could start with the review, which is shorter, watch his three minute video and then read the interview:
March 25, 2013
So long as our global civilization is running on fossil fuels we’re like an obese, hard driving businessman in his fifties living on cigarettes, coffee and fast food. He’s still racing around doing stuff but that massive heart attack can bejust around the next corner. My faith is in human ingenuity, and if we could just get renewable energy sources going we might have more of a Star Trek future, but we need to make them happen really soon. I reflected briefly on the fossil fueled heart attack possibility vs. the Star Trek future we were promised in my youth early last Spring:https://zaporacle.com/timelines-trembling-before-the-collapse-of-the-wave-function/ Of course, from the point of view of my work on the Singularity Archetype, there are many other ways we might metamorphose and some may be too strange for us to anticipate.
In New York City, about ten days ago, I was walking around on a late night photo safari with my friend John who teaches English to Koreans. Knowing that I’m always fascinated by cultural differences John told me that, very appropriate for an American, when his students, who are often his age or older, would come in on Monday he would naturally ask them as part of a polite small talk, “So what happened with your weekend?” An American would respond with a story about what they did with their weekend. The Koreans, however, would look at him quizzically, and laugh, and say “Nothing happened, John.” What he came to realize is that Westerners, are narrative builders, we are filming a movie about our lives that has much more story structure. As a Jungian I encourage people to do this, to consciously mythologize their lives, and I apply story structure to everything. The Koreans, however, are no where near as much into this individual story or narrative mind set apparently. When they go somewhere it is not to have an individual event usually, but to be part of a social ambiance where nothing particular need happen. They don’t feel a need to construct a story about their weekend. So this is an example of a massively, massively different editing style of reality. I attached a photo I took of John during this very conversation while we were in a Korea town that has sprouted up in Flushing, Queens. The photo is in the basement food court of this Korean mall in Queens that is a place I found fascinating and surreal because it is as if someone airlifted a mall from Seoul and dropped it in the middle of Queens.
March 12, 2013
American Cyclopath —a brief article I wrote about Lance Armstrong now on Reality Sandwich:http://www.realitysandwich.com/reality_sandwich_reviews_march_5_2013
February 24, 2013
Is there a link between the Oscar Pistorius murder case and climate change? No. In fact there isn’t a link between whether a guy with carbon fiber legs accidentally or on purpose killed his blonde girlfriend and anything that has anything to do with any of our lives. Yeah, maybe if I were deeply involved in the South African carbon fiber leg running community I would care a little bit more, but even then I wouldn’t want it taking up half the news every night for the next six months. The media principle: if it bleeds, it leads, has a new corollary: if it bleeds, has carbon fiber legs and a dead, blonde haired hottie then we’ll follow it like a pack of starved subway rats chasing a two day old extra cheese pizza being pulled on a string. Just stop it. If thousands of fast running guys with carbon fiber legs start shooting say 35% of the world’s hot blonde women that would be newsworthy, but this one grotesque case is not. It has no relevance to anyone’s life. We need some sort of social movement to stop hottie/celebrity murder cases from dominating the news. Just say no to celebrity/hottie murder cases.
Back in Boulder from Tucson after a 48 hour bus ride which included getting abandoned by Greyhound in Las Cruces, NM at Chucky’s Food Mart, a little island of cellophane wrapped food-like substances on wire frame racks and sheet melt shelving that lived in perpetual florescent high noon, but which also closed at midnight. That was where I learned that the connecting bus to Denver was canceled “until further notice.” I had money for a motel room, but there was another stranded passenger, a somewhat pushy guy from Ethiopia who spoke almost no English and said he had no money. I didn’t feel like bringing him to a motel room because he was a bit sketchy and could have been a drug mule with a suitcase full of contraband for all I knew. I made a bunch of phone calls on his behalf, eventually getting to the Red Cross. They picked him up and got him a $74. hotel room and gave him a Red Cross Mastercard with $5. credit. When I showed up the next morning at Chucky’s Food Mart I was like his hero. I didn’t do much, just a couple of phone calls, but if I hadn’t they would have just put him out of the convenience store at midnight into 18 degree winter with 30 to 40 mph hour wind gusts and some blowing snow. The perfect conditions for a hypothermia death, in other words. Greyhound, of course, took absolutely no responsibility and a deceased Ethiopian was unlikely to sue them for criminal negligence.
The trip to Tucson was nominally about the gem and mineral show, but became an unintended but very fulfilling vision quest, with new parts of my fantasy epic, Parallel Journeys, unfolding themselves vividly and with great emotional poignancy within. I did meet some interesting and very worthwhile people staying at the excellent Road Runner Hostel, but these events were greatly overpowered by what was going on in Parallel Journeys. The unfolding of scenes and visions was almost continuous and has continued back on Planet Boulder where I am presently typing lots of voice notes I made on my IPhone—mostly character dialogue. The emergence of the fantasies seemed to be helped by my being in a state of travel, a state of liminality, and the warm daytime temperatures meant that I could walk out into the desert by myself at Sagaro National Park.
Parallel Journeys, is my longest standing creative project and the one that seems the most completely out of ego control. To really incorporate the new material I would probably have to start the whole work from scratch. With fantasy fiction my relationship to the muse is humbling because I can’t control it. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to bring this work to fruition as actual books to be read by others or if it will just continue to play out episodically within me or merge, as imaginal occurrences sometimes have, with the outer world.
The most crucial part of the trip was revisiting Biosphere 2 in Oracle, Arizona. Biosphere 2 became the setting for much of what transpired in the story. I had an unexpectedly emotional response to the place when I first visited it about 14 years ago. Maybe that was a “future memory” that it would one day be a major setting for me in the imaginal world.
Parallel Journeys is more about the muse leading me down rabbit holes, fascinating ones, but it doesn’t necessarily cooperate with my wanting to emerge from the rabbit hole with an artifact of writing that I can share with others. Nevertheless, it feels more important and transformative than anything else I work on so I’m going to stay with it. Maybe Parallel Journeys, as a written work, will consist of a series of unfinished versions. It’s not up to me. E.L. Doctorow, the novelist, and my writing mentor at NYU in the 80s, described this type of writing as “Like driving fast at night with headlights.” If you’re lucky you can see what’s just up ahead.
February 16, 2013
I haven’t read this book (someone posted quotes from a book where the author claims that death and dying come from a state of mind that can be overcome) but there have been a series of New Age types who have made the claim, based on the faulty you-create-your-own-reality philosophy (I can provide a link to my critique of YCYOR) that death and all disease is a psychological product. Actually, this notion is a form of morbid materialism and is a thought form likely to make people ill on various levels. Tolkien called being in a single, unaging body “premature immortality” and it was the reason why the elves envied man. Tolkien derisively called the elves “embalmers” because they sought to stop development and preserve a stagnant equilibrium. Even the use of the common phrase “anti-aging” is deceptive because, like almost all animals, we are in pro-aging bodies. We also have an immortal spirit body already, so the identification with preserving the particular physical body is a type of perverse and morbid materialism, which turns up in a desperate neurotic like Ray Kurzweil. One of the best ways out of this neurotic suffering is to study NDE material (see Life Lessons…). Research shows that even the study of NDE produces parallel effects to having the experience where people typically lose all fear of death because they realize that their consciousness is not in their body. Neurological materialism, which is defeated by NDE research (see Pam Reynolds case in Lessons…), is what gives many people a fearful intention to cling to this one leaky life raft. Animals, who do not usually have beliefs about death, die anyway, so the author’s notion that death is a mental construct doesn’t meet the most obvious reality test. For those of us who have been out of our bodies and returned (I’ve had numerous OBEs) death is revealed as an emergence, not an emergency.
January 29, 2013
The above link is the best article I’ve ever read on high school. It summarizes a number of scientific studies of high school and its lasting impact on people. I’ve often said that few people ever recover from high school. The statement, however, is based, oddly enough, on my experience of high school between the ages of 29 and 37.
The high school I graduated from at age 16, the Bronx High School of Science, was exotically different from the usual American high school experience. We had no prom, but many of the smartest kids in a city of 9 million who had taken a competitive test to get in. Bronx Science graduated 8 Nobel Prize winners, 7 in physics. We had no football team, but we did have the number one debate team in the entire country where I made most of my closest friendships. These were kids who self-identified with intellect and creativity rather than athletics and popularity games. There was also a lot of focus on political activism and the larger world, rather than the social world inside the building. Students and teachers related like colleagues.
Then I had six years of high school from ages 22-28 as teacher and dean/building security coordinator of a vocational high school in the South Bronx in the Eighties. This experience was more about the violent world of the crack epidemic and the burnt-out South Bronx as well as the birth of hip-hop. Grand Master Flash invented scratching and turntablism at shop class in this school. I knew a lot of the early graffiti writers, etc.
Then I got a job at a suburban high school in Long Island, New York and, for the first time, encountered the American High School. I thought I was on a movie set for a teen exploitation or spoof film like Fast Times at Ridgemont High. What I had assumed were comic movie stereotypes were the reality, and it was a massive culture shock for me. During my 8 years in that world I discovered what high school does to people, and it is not a pretty picture. If you look at artifacts from the supposedly adult culture, People magazine, for example—it’s high school gossip and popularity games on a national scale. The high school experience permanently imprints most people, and that’s why we have such an adolescent adult culture (which we also export to the world). This article backs up the idea of high school as a lifetime imprint with some solid data.
As a former school teacher, still licensed to teach English in the state of New York, I am legally empowered to give assignments, and my assignment to you is to contemplate the many ways you have been shaped by high school and think of some things you can do to finally graduate from its cruel social hierarchy.
Oh and one more word about the lingering effects of high school—Facebook. A recent study in Germany shows that Facebook tends to make people depressed. People always post photos of themselves at parties and social events looking like they are having a great time. It gives people the impression that everyone is more popular and having a better life than they are.
January 19, 2013
REVERSE ENGINEER AN IDEALIZING PROJECTION My suggestion for today (which worked well for me) is to reverse engineer at least one idealizing projection. Try the following experiment, at a coffee shop, restaurant, airport, etc. notice a stranger that invites very positive projections—someone you would look at admiringly. (It’s important that they be a stranger so there is no real life info to collapse the idealization.) This type of idealization will usually be onto someone of your gender. Quickly write down all the positive qualities you imagine that they have based on how they look. These qualities are the ones that you need to recognize and cultivate in yourself. The title of a book by Cheri Huber is “Be the Person you Want to Find” Tell yourself, “I have all these qualities or I would not be able to project them onto another. I just need to recognize and cultivate them.” Next, do what William James recommended: Act as if. Act as if you already embodied and personified these qualities. The slang version is “Fake it, till you make it.”
January 18, 2013
Zeitgeist Snapshot JFK 1/17/2013
My current scan of the zeitgeist, especially as concentrated in JFK’s Delta Airlines Terminal of 1/17/13, finds sad layers of disappointed potential. It feels like a time lapse portrait of a young man with great promise stepping into his mom’s house and lapsing into thirty-five years of processed food and cable television. The viewer witnesses his deterioration at a sluggish 6 frames per second, agonizingly dragged out for seventy seconds. Now it’s 35years/70seconds later, and he’s aged from a nineteen-year-old into a morbidly obese fifty-four-year-old diabetic, with hardened arteries and skinny legs, stumbling at the edge of that inevitable and final coronary. But at the same time that he shuffles about in his mom’s house in a thorazine haze, we see that he has also generated a doppelgänger, an Asian adolescent boy with spikey, jet black hair, and androgynous neo-Tokyo accoutrements. His intelligent, emotionally disassociated gaze is directed at high resolution images squirming beneath an elegant oblong of Gorilla Glass. These divergent doppelgängers exude the cognitively dissonant flavors of dissipated potential and digital intrigue.
Sent from my iPhone
December 25, 2012
A White Magickal Christmas—I’ve been practicing some Chaos Magick this morning. I highly recommend this brief manifesto of Chaos Magick by my friend and colleague, the Australian Hermetic Philosopher and Magician, Harald Kleeman:http://home.exetel.com.au/sanctuary/magicknew.html
Magickal Praxis”, part 3, is a dialogue between Harald and I. See also: But see also my Liber Conjura Lingua Gnosticahttp://home.exetel.com.au/sanctuary/conjura.htm
December 22, 2012Up until late last night I didn’t think there was going to be any news that would seem like a fulfillment of the end of the Mayan long count calendar. And then, late last night, the shocking news came like a punch in the stomach. Ashton Kutchner filed for divorce with Demi Moore. On the same day that we lined up with the dark rift in the Milky Way this huge rift opens up between two of our most important stars. Hard to escape the fulfillment of ancient prophecy….I mean I knew they were on the rocks, but nothing prepared me for the finality of this, and for it to happen right on the end date. It’s just too much…we all just need to keep breathing, we’re going to get through this and by the time the Mayan long count rolls over again the whole Moore/Kutchner split is going to seem like ancient history What’s getting to me though is all the sheeple I see walking around out there like nothing even happenedDecember 11, 2012We live in a time where only dark themes are considered sophisticated and appropriate subjects for art, music, novels, films, etc. If goodness or light, or, God forbid, happy endings, characterize a cultural product, it is seen as naive, sentimental, insincere, comercial and mediocre. The only subject considered worthy of “serious literature” are downbeat stories about failed relationships.My friends Alex Grey and Rob Brezsny have both spoken out about this unfortunate and irritating trend.”Some art reflects and serves the delusions of life. Three things that constantly get people’s attention are sex, violence and humor. The artist who can weave these subjects together creatively is probably assured an audience. Yet artists can become attached to powerful imagery of violence, sexuality, irony, cynicism, anger, and fear as a way of attracting their viewers. Much pulp or romantic fiction and many action and horror films mirror and foster such dystopian attitudes. Art need not serve only the confused desires and pathologies of the ego. Art can serve to reflect the condtion of the human soul, which includes but transcends pathologies.” —Alex Grey, The Mission of ArtSee also: Evil is Boring by Rob Brezsnyhttp://freewillastrology.com/beauty/beauty.main140.shtmlOct. 28-30, 2012f you want to navigate intelligently in the murky Babylon Matrix in which we find ourselves incarnate, do me, you and everyone, a huge favor: Learn to see the difference between a dak shade of grey and a much, much lighter shade of grey. Vote Obama! As Pericles said, “You may not take an interest in politics, but politics may take an interest in you.” All that’s necessary for the triumph of Romney, is for good people not to take the time to vote.Although he never delivered on the hopey/changey thing, at least not as much as we wanted, nor as much as he wanted with a determinedly obstructionist opposition party, an Obama second and final term is likely to be much better for the middle class than a Romney first term. So, for the next 8 days, the most positive thing you can do is to vote for Obama. The next most positive thing you can do is find out which of your friends would vote for Obama, but might not out of apathy or some other circumstance, and get them to vote. For example, talking to a young woman I know who just relocated to Boulder, and who doesn’t follow politics much, I discovered that she had not registered to vote in Colorado and the registration deadline has passed. She could, however, get an absentee ballot from her home state if she filed for it by Tuesday. I printed up the application for her and gave her $12. to pay for overnight postage. In other words, by spending 20 minutes and $12 I got Obama another vote in the swing state that she comes from. Look around for this kind of opportunity.Elections are about consequential choices between usually non ideal possibilities. Much of our lives are about consequential choices between non ideal possibilities. For example, I could have a dinner of steamed organic veggies and quinoa or Kentucky Fried Chicken. The steamed organic veggies and quinoa will still have traces of pesticides that are run-off from nearby farms. Whichever dinner I eat I will eventually die anyway. Choosing the KFC on a regular basis, however, means that I will likely die sooner and have more unpleasant life along the way. Voting for Obama will not solve all our problems or even mean that life in this country will be better in four years. No one is in control of the boiling cauldron of wildcard variables. Voting for Obama does not mean that you agree with everything he has done. If I ever had a chance to speak to Obama, within the first five mintues I would give him shit for appointing Michael Taylor, of Monsanto infamy, as our food safety czar. I did not send in my mail in ballot for Obama because I think he is an ideal choice, but because he is the tactically wiser choice. Voting for Obama is a tactically wiser choice than voting for some more ideal third party candidate with no chance of winning. Careening toward us throughout our lives are choice scenarios that involve nonideal possibilites. You are driving along at night and see that a large, swerving Cadillac is speeding on the wrong side of the road, your side of the road, straight toward you. On the other side of the road there are oil spots and loose gravel, but survivable space. Neither choice is ideal, but compared to the headon collision with the speeding Cadillac, the tactical choice is easy. Romney is like a speeding, swerving Cadillac heading straight for you. If you can avoid it, you won’t solve all your problems, but you will be much better off than if you passively allow it to hit you. Make the tactically wise non ideal choice and vote for Obama. Not voting because you don’t like either cannidate is a choice to become Romney Cadillac road kill.
Status Update Aug. 6, 2012
watched live streaming from NASA the entry into the atmosphere of Mars and successful landing of the Mars Curiosity Rover. I spent a couple of hours seeing the live feed from the control room. Keeping in communication with the space craft through multiple stages of detachment was extremely iffy, but all the fragile radio links, (the Odyssey orbiting satellite had to be positioned just so and only if the line of site across the horizon of the landing site was angled just right could they successfully relay off the capsule, the skycrane and ultimately the rover itself. Communication was continuous and every stage signaled its perfect completion. And then the first images arrived, two of them, from the rover, showing a wheel on the surface of mars and another image showing the shadow of the rover against the surface. The euphoric explosion of the control room had the wattage of Olympics parents watching their kid win about 18 gold medals in a single, seven minute event. Congratulations Curiosity Rover and team, I hope this is the beginning of an amazing voyage of discovery. We have never had such good eyes on the surface of another world, and may learn much about the origin of life, about our origins and about our sister world, one of our very few neighbors in a lonely stretch of the endless vacuums of space.
Status Update July 14, 2012
I just discovered a couple of paragraphs I wrote one disgruntled morning a few weeks ago. It was the beginning of a story about Thor and some other Norse gods falling to earth and their horror of the heavy, gravity-bound conditions here. For your amusement:
A Tale of Horror—Descending with Thor into the Babylon MatrixDespite our weakened state and the loss of our luminosity many of the women in this sickly land, and even some of the men, looked at us with hungry eyes as though they wanted to devour our very flesh. A great many of the people we saw were bloated, as though their bodies swelling up from some unknown cause.
It was as if we were statues made of meat and bone. We could still walk and in great necessisty run for short distances, but otherwise the dreadful heaviness of this world kept us bound. You see those hills, Magni, that we bound over to come to this valley? In the Babylon Matrix even such a simple exertion would be impossible. Perhaps with great exertion you could jump over that fallen oak over there, but the hills you would have to tread step by heavy step.
Snapshot of the American zeitgeist:
Status Update 6/27/2012 Bristol, Tennessee
I just stepped out of a K Mart. The people I encountered within had a weird, hypoglycemic slowness. An anesthetizing and invisible barbiturate haze seemed to hang in the air
. Just beneath the numbness there was a sense of embittered victimization. Many people were obese and pasty and some needed motorized carts to get around the store.
I didn’t see a single nonwhite person in a couple of hours driving around Bristol. Nevertheless, there was a feeling of southern caucasians as a dying breed. Lots of people were old and even people in their twenties seemed tired. I saw only one child and one teenager even though we passed a large high school. The high school was dominated by a football stadium that we at first thought was a prison yard with guard towers.People seemed humble, depressed and disassociated. The zeitgeist was very distinct, especially since it was so different than those of Boulder or Sonic Bloom which had so recently enclosed me in their so much more vibrant and colorful zeitgeists. In Bristol everyone seemed in slow motion disassociation mode. You could sense that behind closed venetian blinds were obese, diabetic women in bathrobes and slippers watching soaps, ice cubes clinking softly in glasses of ice tea made from powdered mix. I had an uneasy feeling that if I were to allow myself to fall asleep beneath a shady tree I might wake up to discover I had spent thirty years eating processed food and watching cable. I know this sounds very sarcastic and condescending, but mostly I felt a sad compassion. People seemed caught in a slow motion, unhappy dream and many looked vulnerable and lost.
Everywhere I saw devastating signs of bad nutrition. The salad bar in their largest supermarket had items like white elbow macaroni mixed with cooked ground beef and mayonnaise, cold scrambled eggs with melted American cheese and green jello.
Status Update May 25, 2012I seem to need the pre-dawn hours to work on my fantasy epic, Parallel Journeys. Pre-dawn I can gaze out at a boundaryless horizon shimmering with interdimensional portals. Most people in the community are deep in REM sleep, traveling in the dreamtime. The air is filled with possibilities.
But when the sun comes out the wave function collapses and the whole machinary of the Babylon matrix boots up. There is the sound of traffic and garbage trucks backing up. Anxious commuter thoughts crowd the psychic ether and the iridescent perfume of fertile darkness becomes the smell of gasoline and coffee with non-dairy creamer.
Status Update April 28, 2012
When I was growing up on science fiction I thought by the year 2000 I’d be living in a space/time continuum. Now it’s 2012, and I find that here in the Babylon Matrix, I, like most people, live in a money/time continuum where it takes vast amounts of my time to make enough money to buy time in my apartment and other resources that allow me to persist through time. Is there a reset button, short of suicide, that will allow me to get out of the money/time continuum and into some sort of continuum that is less cash based? In case any starships out there are monitoring facebook—I’m ready to get beamed up to a cashless One Galaxy Federation right about now. Make it so.
Status Update April 14, 2012
Slightly difficult day. There is a moving scene in the movie The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys where two boys who are 13-14 years old are walking down highway when they come to a dog that has just been struck by a car and is dying. One of the boys wants to go off and get help and says something about “maybe they can help” The other boy, who is on his knees beside the dog, and who realizes it only has a couple of minutes of life left, looks up and says, “There is no they—we are they.” They stay with the dog until it dies. Today was a day when I wanted there to be a they, but it turned out I was they. I had just worked 5 days in a row in Denver with two hour public transportation commutes each way and not even enough time for sufficient sleep. I finally made it to a day off and woke up to find 4 texts from a young woman I barely know who had gotten beaten up by her boyfriend. I had her come over while I tried calling hotlines numbers, shelters and found that the support system I would have thought was there was not there. Almost everybody was not available till after the weekend. She showed up at my doorstep—visible signs of abuse. She had the classic abuse victim psychology and wanted to answer his calls and see if “he really meant he was sorry” though there was a 3-4 year history of abuse interspersed with apologies. I was about to call the police when he showed up at my door and she insisted on going with him. Staying in touch with her by phone I got her to get in her car and drive away from him. I met up with her at a coffee shop and made dozens of phone calls and discovered, once again, there was no they. Meanwhile time was ticking away and I had a meeting scheduled with a very important person, someone with incredible connections who was in Boulder briefly, wanted to meet up with me, someone who could advance my writing career, etc. But I knew that if I left her for even an hour she would end up back with the abusive boyfriend whose abuse had just escalated and they were currently homeless living out of her car and she could easily have become a news story in tomorrow’s local paper. On the other hand, if I could keep them separate for even 24 hours the abusive boyfriend, who had her working a job so he could stay in a motel room and smoke pot and play video games (she had lost her job and therefore the motel room the week before) would just go back to live with his parents a couple of states away. There were threatening calls from the boyfriend. At one point I spoke to the police whom even some of the hotlines advised me to avoid because of the many ways the can make matters work. Contrary to what one source told me they didn’t have any place for her to go, and she wasn’t in immediate physical danger, and she wouldn’t be willing to press charges, etc. And then, a degree of success—she got a call from the boyfriend’s parents. They were on their way to pick him up this evening and take him a couple of states away. Hopefully in a few days I’ll be able to find a place for her at a women’s shelter and obviously she needs a program designed to help abuse victims, since her history of abuse goes back to a mom who was a crack addict with abusive boyfriends and who ODed, etc. If anybody knows of resources in the Boulder area that I might not think of please let me know. I don’t think I did anything special, just what anyone with a conscience would do who found themselves in such a situation. I’m not a particularly self-sacrificing, rescue type person, I was much more interested in pursuing my own agenda today. If I could have found a shelter ready to take her in or anyone capable of helping her, a they, I would have done it. But there was no they. There are situations in life where you just have to realize that you are they.
Status Update January 13, 2012
Stereotyping is bad, except when it’s funny which this is. Although I do my share of mocking the New Age, New Age folks tend to be less harmful and sometimes more alive than a lot of other types. For example, I was once traveling up the coast of California with a friend. I stopped in shop that probably sold crystals and there were two wealthy looking late middle-aged New Age women who were about as classic examples of New Age types as there could possibly be. They were talking about particular crystals they owned, perhaps by name, as if they were a cross between grandchildren and goddesses, etc. I walked out of the shop and found that most people in the town were conservative, late middle-aged tourists traveling in RVs. As silly as the New Age women seemed, they seemed so much more alive than these other folks their age. So much more playful and imaginative. The totally straight RV folks had sour expressions and a sense of lifeless rigidity.
Status Update November 13, 2011
Would a zombie apocalypse amount to class warfare? Some would say yes, that zombies are essentially socialists with an agenda of protein redistribution. I don’t agree. Zombies are job creators. American job creators. Zombies are an innovative new cultural phenomenon almost exclusively created by American workers. I think it’s time we let go of prejudices and stereotypes and consider a Zombie American as a third party candidate for president.
Status Update December 25th, 2010
Just saw The Black Swan—whatever thoughts I had of being a lead ballerina are now officially over—just not worth it—I’m asking all my friends to respect my decision to remain ballet free for life. I’m going t need therapy to help with trust issues, etc. before I resume any connection to lead ballerinas ever again.
Status Update December 8, 2010
I’m frustrated with Fox News talking about the “war on Christmas” because they never say anything about where you can sign up. I would like to be a frontline soldier in the war against the annual retail festival of 12/25 but no one can tell me where I can find a recruitment office.
Status Update September 2, 2010
The dream that I just awoke from seems to crystalize in my mind why certain people I know, and many people throughout the modern world are unhappy—lack of real intimate communities—and the more most people live and grow up this way, the fractured, unreliable and often cynical and exploitive social matrix, the more unsuitable so many become to live in such communities. This is making many people sick.
Status Update Sometime in 2010
“My Avatar betrays me. It is a mortal corporeal version 1.0 requiring constant, expensive upkeep. It carries me, like an arrow through linear time. It includes a brain that builds a simulacrum of this sensual world. I want to perfect my Avatar with mouse clicks, but it stubbornly adheres to source codes I cannot access. What an uneasy alliance I have with this quintessence of dust.”