photo of the author at Halloween party with decoupaged aspect, special effects by Nick Bostick

An Interdimensional Traveler’s Codex

Interdimensional Traveler Logo copyright Jonathan Zap, 2010

An Interdimensional Traveler’s Codex

© 2009 Jonathan Zap

Edited by Austin Iredale

Interdimensional Traveler Collage © Jonathan Zap

Parallel Journeys
black and white copy of Parallel Journeys collage copyright 1996, Jonathan Zap

It is before dawn and I only just awoke from sleeping, dreaming a variety of absurd things. A pathetic robot, sort of like a rickety torso on a skateboard. I was sending it down a grassy hill, but I knew that it didn’t have the horsepower to make it back up the hill, and I gradually became aware that I was creating this pathetic situation. This was just a haphazard little reality my bored psyche was generating for its amusement, a boy with a box of crayons on a rainy afternoon. So I left the robot to coast, and withdrew into a darkened space unbound by gravity where I was rotating slowly, because it felt good to rotate slowly and feel the fields of charged energies around me. They were mostly invisible, but some seemed fringed with indigo light, and I sensed that I could go anywhere from this space and be in any form. My disenchanting bondage of one body/one psyche had been freed from the tragic magic of the lower densities, and I was not eager to return to any version of that annoying corporeal heaviness and the absurd limitations it imposed. There was so much more power and freedom being an unbound avatar rotating in fields of energy, a self-contained vortex of awareness able to travel anywhere. It didn’t seem at all appealing to be bound to a single aging body caught in an historical time track. And this particular time track seemed especially unappealing since it was an unstable primate-collective-possible endtimes sort of time track where depressed people took serotonin specific reuptake inhibitors and the global economy was ruled by psychopaths and politics were ugly and riddled with parasitic elites, a world of allergens and toxicities of every sort and every sort of hassle and irritating inconvenience and so forth. And why was I supposed to accept that absurd set of impositions again? Why was an entity like myself, rotating in fields of unbound potential and shimmering energy, supposed to shrink himself back into such a narrow and obnoxious time track?

I saw then my bodily incarnation as an old vinyl record turning on a turntable with the tone arm removed. The record was somewhat scratched and dusty, but it reflected enough light to show that its surface was not so flat as at first it seemed. There were a great number of concentric lines deeply etched with information, vibrational information, and I realized that upon waking I would be obliged, for some absurd reason, to shrink myself down to a tiny diamond needle and put myself back into almost the exact time track of the very same record, the very same waking situation where I had last left off, only maybe six hours downstream in time. Then it would be as if the dreamtime had never happened. Some insidious power would make the dreamtime vanish like a soap bubble, like the little man on the stair who wasn’t there. What power of enslavement took the dreamtime away and forced me to reenter the particular waking life, this flatland of rotating vinyl, this not-so-golden oldie, this mechanical medium forcing me to turn with its monotonous revolutions until it plays itself out? Why is that such an inevitability? Why do I have to allow myself to be shrunk down into this dusty etching of extended play plastic, this absurd flatland?

I allowed the shrinking down in my vision, allowed myself to be the diamond needle again, circling slowly in my time track on the dusty, scratchy landscape of etched vinyl. But when my diamond needle made contact with the dark vinyl I was surprised to find that it was no longer a flatland, it was more like an intricate maze of canyons. A landscape, vast and complex, surrounded me on all sides, and it was moving, changing, and I could barely keep up with the moving and changing, and only had time to observe the smallest part of its vast and metamorphizing complexity. Also, I sensed that there were other entities rotating with me, others that were living out parallel time tracks on the same spinning record. And some of these others were deeply connected to me by inner ties. We were like planets in strange elliptical orbits with each other, and there were obligations amongst us, promises to keep. It was like we were classmates incarnating together, and somehow our grades and permanent record cards had become strangely intermingled. We were networked together as if we were nodes in a single brain, and I realized it wouldn’t be fair to the other brain nodes for me to arbitrarily withdraw from the network. It would be a betrayal for me to choose my own graduation day and skip off on my own eternal avatar summer vacation while my classmates labored on. We were brain nodes that had fired together, and wired together, and there was a certain soulful and loving sense to it all, a sense to my enrollment in the time track, this absurdly uncomfortable classroom where I sit slightly slumped, slightly restless in my seat, part of a modular desk bolted to the floor.

And then I run my hands over the smooth imitation oak laminate surface of the desk. The desk top is sloped at an angle convenient for writing. The laminate surface is framed by a smooth, rounded border of aluminum and can be lifted up. There is space inside the desk, like a sink without a drain made of beige painted sheet metal, and in it are notebooks, my notebooks, and some are black and flecked with amoeboid shapes of white. But the notebook on the top of the pile is not black or flecked with amoeboid shapes of white. Its cover is a many-colored collage and it is thicker and held together by a long coil of wire like an unelastic spring. Words arise in my dreaming mind and I realize that this is what is called a “spiral notebook.” That name seems weird and uncanny somehow, so I pull this very thick and spirally notebook out of the belly of the desk and I see that the cardboard cover of the notebook has been etched with blue ballpoint, designs carved and shiny from the belabored passes of a steel ball bearing greasy ink. I open the notebook to a particular blank page that has been indented by a ballpoint pen pressed between the pages like a butterfly. Or maybe like a butterfly if a butterfly had a wingless torso of faceted transparent plastic with a single, central artery of greasy blue ink. As I take up the pen and press its steel ball to the paper, I see the vision again of the diamond needle scratching along on the concentric time tracks of the record, rotating slowly at a rate of thirty-three revolutions per minute. I see that the diamond needle is reading vibrational information etched into the record, but at the same time it is also etching new information onto the record. It is a read/write needle. Then I notice other diamond needles in contact with the same record and they are read/write needles as well. I see that myself and my fellow travelers are all reading and writing from and onto the same spinning medium, orbiting together in undulating, concentric bands. I realize that I need to fulfill my role, a particular read/write needle revolving in a particular time track. I pick up my pen and write a title at the top of the blank page: “A Guide to the Perplexed Interdimensional Traveler”

An Interdimensional Traveler’s Codex

Interdimensional Passport © Jonathan Zap

VII. An Interdimensional Traveler Must Never Surrender to any Particular Matrix

photo of the author at Halloween party with decoupaged objects, special effects by Nick Bostick

At all costs, the Interdimensional Traveler must never surrender multi-incarnate identity and essence to the Babylon Matrix, or any other such matrix. Since so many readers are most familiar with the hideous strength of the Babylon Matrix, we will give it particular emphasis.

From a thousand-thousand angles, the dark magnetisms of the Babylon Matrix would love to pull travelers into the wrong ends of telescopes. Essentially, the Babylon Matrix has a tunneling effect that can easily shrink your incarnation until it is like a twisty wormhole burrowing into the festering tissues of a rotten apple. When you choose the BM wormhole over the rabbit hole of the self-aware Interimensional Traveler, your incarnation shrivels and descends like the slow intestinal twisting of an endless, monotonous colonoscopy, winding its way down the wrong end of a telescope.

The Babylon Matrix seeks to remake you in its own image. It would like to play you out as a tragicomic retread, the six billionth remake of Honey, I Shrunk the Interdimensional Traveler.

The Babylon Matrix churns out remakes by shrink-wrapping hominids into stock characters. It would love for you to be a frat boy, a homeboy, a drama queen, a geek, a couch potato, a yuppie, a workaholic, a celebrity, a celebrity stalker and so forth. Surrender to its shrinking rays and you might find yourself living out your incarnation as one of these diminutive caricatures, a skin job with a limited shelf -life.

In the Eighties, in the early hours of a smoggy and overcast Monday morning on the Cross Bronx Expressway, I first saw what would become a ubiquitous bumper sticker. It read, “I owe, I owe, so off to work I go.” It was as if the veil had pulled back right there on the Cross Bronx Expressway, and something I wasn’t supposed to see, one of the underlying black magical spells, actual source code of the Babylon Matrix, suddenly became visible in the manifest realm.

What potency such spells of darkling magic have! A spellbound victim, the owner of the bumper sticker, laboring under the power of malign enchantment, discovers the spell, the actual contract the devil made him sign in blood, and yet cannot break from it. There it is, the devil’s contract, turning slowly in the spinner rack of a convenience store, rendered word for word onto self-adhesive vinyl. The victim purchases this perfect copy of the spell that rules him and attaches it to the bumper of his car where he sees it every day, and yet he never awakens from its power.

An Interdimensional Traveler must never surrender to such spells! These spells are swirling around us like sheets of self-adhesive shrink-wrap spun by a tornado. We live within a tornado of memes, a dark and smoky twister spinning fragments of culture. Spinning within the twister are newspaper headlines, faces, fragments of video, sound bytes of neurotic conversations, glossy magazine torsos—a swirling shrapnel of sticky cultural fragments. Lose your footing and the twister rips you out of Oz, out of agrarian Kansas, out of all the infinite places you could be, and shrinks you into an anxious meat puppet, stuck in traffic, worried about being late for the florescent-lit cubicle, unpaid bills and debts stinging like pale scorpions at your shrunken kernel-like mind animated by coffee with non-dairy creamer, kept afloat by serotonin-specific-reuptake-inhibitors and propelled by spell-induced fears.

Is there an engine driving the twister that eludes us, adding invisibly to its torque and stickiness? The Interdimensional Traveler will at least keep that an open question. He knows that there are other worlds than these, and who can account for all the forces that interpenetrate the Babylon Matrix?

Certainly there is no ambiguity about the existence of the agents of the twister, the enforcers and minor black magicians of the Babylon Matrix. They are all around us, uttering their obvious and yet potent and insidious spells from school yards, televisions, street corners, classrooms, boardrooms and bedrooms, from the thousand-thousand blind alleys of the Babylon Matrix.

The interdimensional traveler must not step through the wrong ends of telescopes! The interdimensional traveler must not let anxious voices, inner or outer, hurry them down narrowing corridors. The interdimensional traveler must not step onto the conveyor belts of degrading and dreary timelines!

Some foolish interdimensional travelers will perceive these injunctions through the exciting, intoxicating and scintillating distortion fields of the archetype of the eternal youth. These archetype-possessed travelers will see the injunctions of what not to do as an infinite license to indulge, and though they emulate Peter Pan on steroids, they end up as flabby Peter Pans with kidney damage, divorcing the Babylon Matrix only to marry flaccid Never Never Lands where obese lost boys play video games in their mothers’ basements. The path of the Interdimensional Traveler is not a license to indulge, it is a space that opens when the imagination of the eternal youth and the impeccability of the Warrior meld. It is a path that demands prodigious will and discipline. If you try to follow the path of the Interdimensional Traveler without will and discipline, you will end up as a pathetic lost boy of some sort, sucking weakly at the soured edges of the Babylon Matrix, caught in a grey limbo where embittered contempt for the realm of shrink-wrapped, spell-driven drones melds with a parasitic dependence on the fruits of drone labor.

Portals open for the traveler on a mission of compassion who is aligned with his or her True Will. Different portals open for a dark traveler possessed of and by a dark will. Still another set of portals open for the young fool traveler who may, for example, step through the wrong end of a kaleidoscope. Certain intentions beckon certain matrices, for better and for worse.

An Interdimensional Traveler must be a Warrior, must have a moral purpose, and must be aware of all the shrinking rays that press upon us. The price of freedom for the Interdimensional Traveler is eternal vigilance about the sticky enchantments that would like to bind us to the Babylon Matrix and turn individualized travelers into hordes of automatons and hungry ghosts. To step across the event horizon you need to molt the many layers of malign enchantment encasing your soul.

Go then, there are other worlds than these…

About Jonathan Zap

Jonathan Zap is a contributing editor for Reality Sandwich, and writer/explorer of themes emerging from the collective unconscious as we hurtle toward an evolutionary event horizon. He's an author, philosopher, journalist, and teacher who has written extensively on psychology and contemporary mythology. He graduated from Ursinus College with honors in Philosophy and English and received his Masters degree in English from NYU. Jonathan has worked as a staff gemologist and instructor for the Gemological Institute of America. He has taught English in high school and college and worked with troubled youth as the dean of a South Bronx High School. As a wilderness guide, Jonathan has led inner city kids and other young people on expeditions to remote desert canyons and to the summit of Mount Rainer.