The Jumping Jesus Singularity

Thanks to Bobby Campbell for bringing this into my head. RAW on his jumping Jesus Hypothesis with some great visual accompanyment.

How drugs helped invent the Internet

Jason Silva seems to me to be a smart motherfucker who's touching on a large chunk of 'the tale of the tribe' and a large part of RAW's interests: linguistics, life extension, computers and neural-networks, philosophy and most importantly, i think, Techno-Optimism, as we enter 2012.
--Steve fly.

"The phrase that leaped to mind when I first saw Jason was ‘existential jazz’; like a trumpet player or modern-day digital Mingus, he jams, riffs and rhapsodizes through a tumbling thicket of ideas with such a sharp and vital alacrity that it can take the breath away. He’s a modern performance philosopher, reviving the vibe of Tim Leary and Buckminster Fuller and revivifying the dialogue that they started decades ago.--http://thisisjasonsilva.com/reviews/


McLuhan letter to Ezra Pound Dec.21st 1948



"The only problem with this mode of thinking and presentation, as McLuhan was to discover, lay in the resistance with which it was met, and continues to be met, by Western intellectuals. For, as McLuhan put it in a letter written in 1948, this way of writing and thinking is inaccessible to those whose mentality is "incorruptibly dialectical."
The American mind is not even close to being amenable to the ideogram principle as yet. The reason is simply this. America is 100% 18th century. The 18th century chucked out the principle of metaphor and analogy-the basic fact that as A is to B so C is to D. AB : CD. It can see AB relations. But all relations in four terms are still verboten. This amounts to a deep occultation of all human thought for the U.S.A. (21 December 1948)
It was precisely this structure and action of the metaphorical analogy, of course, that enabled McLuhan and his son Eric, many years later, to arrive at tetradic model of laws with which to study media "scientifically."--EDWIN J. BARTON.


On the run up to the year 2012 (and The tale of the tribe)

On the run up to the year 2012. by Steven 'Fly Agaric 23' Pratt.

While the domesticated primates enter the Gregorian year 2012, I would like to share some of my thoughts on interpreting the ‘2012’ phenomena , and with a focus upon Bloomsday (16th June, the single day of James Joyce’s novel Ulysses) opposed to Doomsday (the end of humanity and planet earth as we know it). Most but not all of my observations today are highly influenced by the work of Mark Pesce and his conception of the next billion seconds (roughly a giga-second or 30 years) spanning from 1995-2025. Mark’s species of ‘2012’ phenomena, if you like, does not involve any galactic alignments or geological earth shifts, or the return of the space gods it simply involves the facts surrounding humanities collective decent into novelty (connectivity) and proposes answers to the question ‘what happens after we’re all connected?’ (please forgive any miss-interpretations and blunders I may have made in recycling some of Mark’s innovative study).

Well I interpret what happens after we’re all connected based in part on Mark’s scholarly answers, to follow something along the lines of…your connectivity and your network defines you, and if you are not sharing or prepared to be shared then you may be made obsolete by some superior shared intelligence, wither, and die off quickly.

With a ‘biological meaning’ concerning the human brain body nervous system: a human health-knowledge network of shared wisdom in real space-time, to the more abstract ‘software meaning’ concerning globalised light-speed computer networks and the resulting tendency for mash-upable, sharable, and free media to flourish, Mark approaches an almost Hermetic principle for the digital age echoing that which is as above, as that which is below. To remove the up/down two valued duality it might make sense to replace up and down with Software and Hardware, to produce that which is software, as that which is hardware, somewhat exstinguishing the distinction between the two by showing their unity and ‘mash-upable-ness’, I am here reminded of Terence Mckenna’s clever inverse of the old saying ‘The flesh made word’ into ‘The word made flesh’, in describing the technological singularity possibly taking place during 2012 and beyond.

Today the idea of the ‘word made flesh’ could be ascribed to transhumanism and the impact that ‘information processing or information theory’ reflect on the human genome, neuro-psychology and thousands of other fields that are certainly radically and utterly transformed by the new ‘digital word’ or program made flesh. In this model the network provides the essential bridge between worlds, the vital connection between the two or more opposing forces, resolving them to the satisfaction of the individual, as defined by the group or connected network.

I see a similar thread of openness and sharability and mash-up-able-ness in the methods and innovations developed by those critters whom Dr. Robert Anton Wilson listed as inspirations and those he recommended attentive study of, in particular the heretics listed in his ‘tale of the tribe’ which consists of approximately Twelve historical geniuses who have had a long lasting positive impact on humanity, and on Bob; and who may still yet emerge like Dracula from the grave to reposes culture in 2012? At least I get excited the more I look into these characters and into Bob’s writings upon them and why I think they are important for all around the world humanity in 2012.

If this be a conspiracy theory so mote it be. Just consider the efforts to supress and keep out of print so many of the texts and source works cited before the age of bit torrent and pirate bay. The burning of Joyce’s books, and burning of Giordano’s body, the imprisonment of Ezra Pound, the ‘top secret privacy’ assigned to some of Shannon and Weiner’s early papers, the general harassment of Giambattista Vico, Freiderich Nietzche, and Orson Welles, and the ‘crazy stick’ poked at Marshal McLuahan, Joyce, Pound and even ‘Wilson’ himself, that damned old crank’ as he often referred to himself in that somewhat Irish humour of self-mockery. Praise Bob!

So the conspiracy, if there must be ONE in this article takes into account that the most suppressive and violent censors throughout history, generally authoritarian systems of Church and State. (remember that the first paragraph of Joyce’s Ulysses starts with the word ‘Stately’ and ends with ‘crossed’ to symbolize State and Church crossed, as Bob liked to point out to his readers.) What we see in the current 2011, OCCUPY (world around peaceful revolution of economic intelligence and shared wisdom) echoes through Wilson’s works in the form of writings on Benjamin Tucker, Silvio Gessell, Lysander Spooner, Buckminster Fuller, Marx (and the brothers Marx) and Ezra Pound. Therefore the study of ‘the tale of the tribe’ can give great footholds and anchors for the Occupy movement to expand and feed on nutritious like-minded research into the ‘open source consciousness’ all-around-the-world movement.

Perhaps if the ‘decentralized cosmology’ of Giordano Bruno were applied to the Mayan cosmology and 2012 calendar conundrum we might begin to see that we are each to our own calendar?, above as so below, and that ‘every man and every women is a star. Or, that in a decentralized cosmology with no absolute centre anywhere at all at all, it follows that the self-centred idea of a single paradigm shift on a single day, on a single typical G-star orbiting the sun in a galaxy among hundreds of Billions seems just slightly, to repeat the phrase, self-centred. So maybe the galactic alignment is up to where you place yourself and the geological shifts are within your body, the super cosmic overmind inside your head? Let’s no forget however that alongside his ‘decentralized Universe’ Giordano Bruno accomplished great innovations in Kabbalistic science experiments, magical programing languages and magical devices (memory wheels, alphabet wheels, symbol systems) all of which can greatly improve the art of protest and IMPACT at any Occupy events.

McLuhan, like Fuller and like Pound might have us question ‘what is money and how is it?’ How did it get that way, and a deeper somewhat metaphysical look into the chain of values that lead to money, the relationship between credit and money etc., and right now…“No people ignorant of the nature of money can now maintain its rights, let alone attaining or holding to sovereignty. We have in our time two parties: the infamous, which tries to sabotage economic knowledge; the intelligent, which demands full light on the issue of coin, paper means of immediate exchange, and of credit. Credit, from this angle, becomes the privilege of delaying compensation.”—Ezra Pound, ARABIA DESERTA, Guide to Kulchur, pg. 271.

I have found that like Wilson’s writing on so many varied subjects, McLuhan, Fuller and Pound can radically alter your perception of ‘what is money’ by raising varied and good questions seemingly ‘ignored by the mainstream economists and journalists’ up until only quite recently 2009. Wilson would home in on these grey areas of the counter culture, like alternative economics and alternative systems of distribution, chains of value, intelligence and transparency and weave them into both his fiction (maybe the most scientific of science fiction writers) and in particular into his non-fiction. Hunt em’ down and source out the sources, a treasure trove of workable methods and principles, not least, for example in Bucky’s ‘synergetics’ ‘dymaxion geometry’ and ‘Tesegrity geometry’ lie scattered among Lovecraft’s letters, Einstein’s dreams and Goofy’s nighmares to interpret how you will. READ HIM!

“It is action at a distance, both in space and in time. In a highly literate fragmented society, “Time is money,” and money is the store of other people’s time and effort.”—Marshal McLuhan, Money: The poor man’s credit card, Understanding Media, pg. 147.

To return to Mark Pesce and hypereconomics, we can now see the real impact of technology on peoples in real time, making Bucky’s ephemeralization and McLuhan’s Global Village apparent facts of the process of living on earth in 2011.

Now we have the social networks to use as a parallel to the Global Village imagined out of thin air by McLuhan 50 years or so ago, and we have nano-technology and invisible light-speed information networks crossing the entire planet, imagined by Bucky to bring about an individual revolution of intelligence, as in the open source movement, sharing the tools and methods to then use them to build more tools and more sharable methods (maps, instructions, languages, blueprints).

McLuahn and Bucky were right on many observations and predictions about the future of technology and how we be living today socially, psychologically, technologically, but Mark Pesce presents detailed new books and fresh video lectures taking these ideas, by way of working examples from the real world, into 2012 and beyond, combining the knowledge and confidence to make it real as Bob made it real in his own literary synthesis, and helped define WHY we should also go back and read the sources and roots of these innovations in sharing and ‘open source consciousness’.

Bob specialized in this field and has a lifetime spent digging up and translating for those that follow the obscure bridges and links between multiple revolutionary innovations and their place in popular culture, Bob’s open source interests ranged from traditional computer software, political science and currency’s to open source Theology, Magick and Neuro-linguistic programing and open source psychology, and dipping beyond into open source nanotechnology and open source genetic engineering I imagine. Perhaps even contemplating open source atomic reactors for kicks?

“Of course, my position is based on the denial that money does store wealth. I think it’s a semantic hallucination, the verbal equivalent of an optical illusion, to speak at all of money containing or storing wealth. Such thinking should have gone out with phlogiston theory. The symbol is not the referent; the map is not the territory. Money symbolizes wealth, as words symbolize things, and that’s all. The delusions that money contains wealth is the mechanism by which the credit monopoly hof study. as gained a stranglehold on the entire economy. As Colonel Greene pointed out in Mutual Banking, all the money could disappear tomorrow morning and the wealth of the planet would remain the same. However, if the wealth disappeared — if squinks from the Pink Dimension dragged it off to null-space or something — the money would be worth nothing. –Robert Anton Wilson, Illuminating Discord Interview, 1976. 

And remember that if your research into the tale of the tribe starts to get a little stale and you feel lost in Korzybski’s giant tome or Joyce's Wake, or staring at Shannon’s equations in a daze don’t be afraid to grab some stickers, a pen or some paint and go out into the wilderness and connect with your environment in a way that cannot be mistaken as vandalism but viewed as Art, funny, subtle, well placed and meaningful, and from the right place. Start a study group to begin looking into some of these characters and how they resonate with our current affairs on planet earth, make music, write, exorcise, smile, hug, love and live fully awake in 2011 and 2012. Get yourself connected. The writings on the wall, gotta’ get yourself connected, stumble you might fall.”

--Steven 'Fly Agaric 23' Pratt.


These fought in any case" by Ezra Pound

"These Fought in Any Case"
by Ezra Pound

These fought in any case,
and some believing
pro domo, in any case .....

Died some, pro patria*,
walked eye-deep in hell
believing in old men's lies, then unbelieving
came home, home to a lie,
home to many deceits,
home to old lies and new infamy;
usury age-old and age-thick
and liars in public places.

Daring as never before, wastage as never before.
Young blood and high blood,
fair cheeks, and fine bodies;

fortitude as never before

frankness as never before,
disillusions as never told in the old days,
hysterias, trench confessions,
laughter out of dead bellies.

*The famous line from one of Horace's "Odes":
Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori ("Sweet and fitting it is to die for one's country.")



Twenty RAW quotes for 2011



Bad critics judge a work of art by comparing it to preexisting theories. They always go wrong when confronted with a masterpiece, because masterpieces make their own rules.—Illuminati Papers, pg. 12.

Ez, McLuhan and associates reprinted Fenollosa's "The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry " As part of their Square Dollar Series. It Anticipates some formulations of General Semantics and NLP.--Recorsi

Little Tony was sitting on a park bench munching on one candy bar after another.
After the 6th candy bar, a man on the bench across from him said,
"Son, you know eating all that candy isn't good for you. It will give
you acne, rot your teeth, and make you fat.”
Little Tony replied, "My grandfather lived to be 107 years old."
The man asked, "Did your grandfather eat 6 candy bars at a time?"
Little Tony answered, "No, he minded his own fucking business.--Guns and Dope Party.

Just as a hologram is so structured that each part contains the whole, Finnegans Wake is structured in puns and synchronicities that "contain" and reflect each other, creating the closest approximation of an infinite regress ever achieved in any art-form.--Coincidance.

Green plants, alive, like
the stone Buddha — rock solid –
— as twilight descends.

In 2012, if the McKenna scenario is right, comes Omega point.--Cosmic Trigger, pg. 223.

What underlies the accelerations noted by Henry Adams and Korzybski is nowadays known as the selection of negentropy out of stochastic processes. Our understanding of this is chiefly due to almost-simultaneous discoveries (1946-48) by quantum physicist Erwin Schrodinger, mathematician Norbert Weiner and an electronics-communication expert at Bell Laboratories, Claude Shannon.--Prometheus Rising, page 110.

Like Joyce, Vico believed that poetry arose out of creative etymology ("incorrect etymology," in Academese). Like Joyce--and also Whorf and Korzybski--Vico believed a radical change in language could alter our perceived reality tunnels.--Coincidance, Pg. 22.

I distinguish between information—all that humans can check by experience—as distinct from noise—those “things” (or non-things, or nothings) that thye can only make noises or chatter about.—Another faith-based organization, TSOG, pg 89.

The two philosophers most frequently mentioned in the Wake, Nicholas of Cusa and Bruno of Nola, taught a dialectic of resolution of opposites. Joseph Needham in his monumental Science and Civilization in China, repeatedly mentions both Bruno and Nicholas as the only two Occidental philosophers before Liebnitz to have a basically Taoist outlook.--Joyce and Daoism.
Conspiracy is just another name for coalition.--The Historical Illuminatus.

New bud on the vine:
But three thousand miles due East
Wall Street still smolders--Haiku

R. Buckminster Fuller, in his Synergetic-Energetic Geometry, which he claims is the "co-ordinate system of the Universe," reduces all phenomena to geometric-energetic constructs based on the tetrahedron (4-sided), the octet truss (8-sided) and the coupler (8-faceted with 24 phases). Fuller argues specifically that the 8-face, 24-phase coupler underlies the 8-fold division of the chemical elements on the Mendeleyev Periodic Table. --Octave of Energy, Cosmic Trigger.

Every government that employs secret-police agencies must grow more insecure, not more secure, as the strength, versatility and power of the secret police grows.—Celine’s Laws, Illuminati Papers.

Two of the giants of quantum math, Schrödinger and Dirac, both spent time at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Dublin. Schrödinger, in fact, wrote his most important nonmathemetical book there -- What Is Life? [1948], in which he defined life as a function of negative entropy. This thought seemed so radical and far-out that nobody began to grasp it until Wiener and Shannon showed that information also behaves like negative entropy. Information = that part of a message you didn't expect; the unpredictable part.--Celtic Roots of Quantum Theory (essay)

Like marijuana, a Wellsian long shot creates an information overload and provokes you to enlarge your reality-tunnel to accommodate it.—An Information Rich environment, Cosmic Trigger III. Pg. 88

I think it’s time to abolish politicians entirely and let everybody participate in self-government via internet. We needed ‘representatives’ in the 18th century because we couldn’t all go to Washington. Meanwhile, times changed and our ‘representatives’ have sold us out to the corporations, as we in the majority party all agree, whatever our differences in other matters. And we don’t need ‘representatives’ anymore; we have the Net technology to represent ourselves.—TSOG. Pg 162

In the present context, Korzybski's mathematized language structures, like the Fenollosa/Pound emphasis on Chinese ideogram helps us perceive/conceive Internet in alternative ways, not possible for those restricted to Indo-European semantic structures.--Recorsi.

Sweet! Sweet!" sings a bird--
Old Ez in Virginia
Heard one cry "Tulip!--Haiku


'Marshall McLuhan strikes back' and 'the medium is the message'


More Than Ever, the Medium Is the Message: How You Can Celebrate Marshall McLuhan's 100th 

"This is the 100th anniversary of McLuhan's birth, and there's been a year-long global celebration of the man -- and his messages. All of this merry-making culminates in a conference and concert in Toronto November 7 - 10th."


Marshall McLuhan strikes back

Published On Thu Oct 20 2011
Philip Marchand, author of Marshall McLuhan: the medium and the messenger
By Greg Quill Entertainment Reporter
Of the myriad arcane factoids, theories, impressions and interpretations likely to be disclosed during the course of the International Festival of Authors’ three major McLuhan 100 readings and dissertations over the next week, one is of exceptional interest: the Toronto-based communications guru, who was able to see a bigger picture than other contemporaries in his field, had a physiological advantage over most other mammals — a unique vascular pattern in his left cerebral cortex seen only in cats.

“Actually, he used to say it was unique to tigers,” says McLuhan biographer and former Star books columnist, Philip Marchand, whose Marshall McLuhan: the medium and the messenger (1998), is considered one of the most compelling portraits of the complex and often incomprehensible academic and theorist, who is said to have pre-imagined the Internet, and laid out such forward thinking notions as “the medium is the message” and “the global village.”
“It was the result of brain surgery in 1967 to remove a benign tumor,” says Marchand, who began his biography after being appointed to the task of cataloguing McLuhan’s papers for the national archive. McLuhan died in 1980 from the effects of a stroke.

“He feared a blockage of blood vessels would necessitate another operation, but rather miraculously, new vascular systems developed that were apparently uncharacteristic in human anatomy.”

What effect this anomaly had on McLuhan’s legacy is anyone’s guess, though some of his peers subsequently noted that the operation that saved his life cost him his genius, and that his work in later years never matched the promise in The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man and Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, in the early 1960s.

McLuhan might have fallen out of favour at the time of his death — “he was seen as a bit of a charlatan, because he preferred talking to writing and publishing, and used language and phrases that other academics considered dense and impenetrable,” Marchand says — but he’s back with a vengeance now, as one by one, his media prophesies become not just the new reality of communications-driven world, but a way of life.

The International Festival of Author’s McLuhan 100 events, which gets underway Friday night at the Fleck Dance Theatre with an appearance by New York University professor and renowned social and technological networks consultant Clay Shirky, aren’t just manifestations of Toronto’s official year-long focus on the centenary of one of the city’s favourite sons, an international star, says festival director Geoffrey Taylor.

“We were approached a year ago by the city to find a way of including McLuhan in the festival, which is, for the most part, a celebration of the written word and of new works of fiction.
“But it’s also a festival about ideas and communication, so it was an easy fit, particularly since McLuhan is being embraced by a new generation of writers.”

On Friday night Shirky will read from his latest book, Cognitive Surplus, and answer questions from Toronto broadcaster and graduate of the U of T’s McLuhan Program, Jesse Hirsh.
Saturday afternoon, at Studio Theatre, Brooke Gladstone, co-host and managing editor of U.S. National Public Radio’s news magazine On the Media, will present The Influencing Machine, a graphic novel on the complexities of the modern media, with illustrations by Josh Neufeld.

And Wednesday at Studio Theatre, Canadian novelist, essayist and filmmaker Douglas Coupland discusses his latest book, Marshall McLuhan, part of Penguin Group’s Extraordinary Canadians series.

The Generation X author will be interviewed by Nora Young, host and creator of CBC Radio’s Spark, which examines technology and culture.

McLuhan, says Taylor, is better appreciated in other parts of the world than in his homeland, “and generally underrated everywhere.

“But writers are having to deal with communications in so many different ways now … and McLuhan seems more relevant than ever.”

In a recent essay in the U.K. Guardian, Coupland, currently on tour in a remote region of China and outside the range of the Internet and email, outlined the origins of his fascination with McLuhan’s work, and the subject of his new book:

“To be fair, McLuhan was about more than ‘the medium is the message’, but that remains a fabulous reduction. McLuhan was an information canary, warning us that there were new media coming down the line, and it was the effects of these new media on the mind that he wondered about so extravagantly — the message seemed to be very dark, indeed.

“In his poetic and elliptical ways, McLuhan foresaw a fluid melting world of texting, email, YouTube, Google, smart phones and reality TV,” Coupland writes.

“Most of the content of any of these media is pure crap. But what's spooking us all is the inevitable message of these new media: what will be the psychic fallout of these technologies on our inner lives?

“As with TV in the 1950s, don't be fooled by the content of texts or blogging or online shopping. Look at what these media are doing to our souls. That's what McLuhan did.”

Marchand isn’t so sure either that McLuhan would have liked living in the wired world he foresaw as the inevitable confluence of broadcasting technology and the demands of the age of information.

“For one thing, he loved books, and worked in a book-lined office. He devoured non-fiction by reading every second page, and never missed a thing. I don’t think he’d have enjoyed reading e-books.

“He died before personal computers were a reality, but I think he’d have loved the Internet’s immediacy, and would have had no difficulty understanding its surrounding effect, or that it seems more real than the natural world,” Marchand adds.

“But keyboards and texting, the reliance on literate skills in this new environment — I’m not sure what he’d have made of that.”


The Mechanical Bride: Folklore of Industrial Man 1951
The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man 1962
Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man 1964
Verbi-Voco-Visual Explorations 1967
Medium is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects 1967
War and Peace in the Global Village with Quentin Fiore 1968
Through the Vanishing Point: Space in Poetry and in Painting with Harley Parker 1968
Counterblast with Harley Parker 1969
From Cliche to Archetype with Wilfred Watson 1970
Culture is Our Business 1970
Take Today: The Executive as Drop-out 1972
City as Classroom: Understanding Language and Media with Kathryn Hutchon and Eric McLuhan 1977
Posthumous books:
Laws of Media: The New Science with Eric McLuhan 1988
The Global Village: Transformations in World Life and Media in the 21st Century with Bruce R. Powers 1989

Some Joyce/Pound 'News' items...




The Politics of Modernist Poetics: Ezra Pound, Amy Lowell and Imagism:

Imagism was the poetry of directness and distillation championed by Ezra Pound and Amy Lowell in the first years of the 20th century, reacting against the flowery verse of late Romanticism and urging poets to look to earlier models—like Sappho in ancient Greece and Li Po in 8th century China—to create a poetry of precise and powerful images, without any superfluous words or ornaments.


Great literature will live on with or without a prize

With readability the watchword for the Man Booker prize, it's unlikely any of the literary greats would even get on to the shortlist
  • The Observer,  
  • Would James Joyce have ever made the Man Booker shortlist? Not, you guess, if the current crop of judges had anything to do with it. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man might have squeaked on, but Ulysses? Not a chance. "Readability" is the watchword of this year's panel, apparently, led by the former spy mistress, Dame Stella Rimington. Fellow judge and ex-MP Chris Mullin likes something with a "bit of zip".
    Given that the Booker is at heart a speed-reading contest for judges – 100-odd novels to read in a couple of months – it is not surprising that those poor unfortunates faced with the task favour books that can be tackled in a few swift hours. Eighty books in and counting, who would want to be confronted with Finnegans Wake?


    "Poetic possibilities

    Review by MARTIN SPICE

    Poet/editor Ezra Pound’s contribution to what we now know as The Waste Land was profound and is well documented. Many years ago, British publishers Faber & Faber released a facsimile transcript showing his comments and crossings out and he is frequently referred to, rightly or wrongly, as the architect of the poem. Those amendments and alterations are included in the app and can be seen alongside the final version of the poem. There are hours of interest here in examining just what Pound left in and took out.


    Mad about the girl: Tate Liverpool's Alice in Wonderland show

    Alice Liddell inspired Lewis Carroll, whose books inspired a thousand art works. But are they any good? Adrian Searle heads down the rabbit hole at Tate Liverpool's new show
Alice Pleasance Liddell taken by Charles Dodgson aka Lewis Carroll 
The real Alice … Alice Pleasance Liddell taken by Charles Dodgson aka Lewis Carroll. Photograph: National Portrait Gallery London
Lewis Carroll, or rather the fictive world of Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, is firmly embedded in our culture. I am surprised no one has made a religion out of Alice. Perhaps they have.

She is also very much at large in Tate Liverpool. Here she is, here she isn't: in James Joyce's Finnegans Wake and in Jorge Luis Borges; in Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit, and in the surrealist works of Max Ernst and Salvador Dalí. Alice captivated Virginia Woolf and Walt Disney, inspired Robert Smithson, Sigmar Polke and a host of better and worse visual artists. Characters from the Alice books, or rather their putative ancestors, can be found, according to Alberto Manguel (writing in a brilliant, short catalogue essay), in Hamlet and Don Quixote, in Kafka, Homer and the Bible. The influence of Carroll's creation can be found in sci-fi, detective fiction and philosophy, in pre-Raphaelite painting and in hard-arsed conceptualism. You can't shake Alice off.



on reading Finnegans Wake

From the Guardian....

I've finally got round to Finnegans Wake. Here's how you read Finnegans Wake: you get a good guide book. You don't expect to read it like an ordinary novel any more than you would complain that Picasso's Weeping Woman hasn't got her face on right. You take it slow, keep a sense of fun and don't care about not understanding everything. Read aloud. Listen to its rhythms because it's music as well as prose. Linger over sentences that are like holograms. Find yourself mentally using Wake words such as "teetotalitarianism" and "chaosmos". Like Shakespeare and the Bible, the Wake will begin to throw up the right words for everything. At last something exquisite and strange begins to happen. You feel you've wandered into the collective unconscious. Chiming themes emerge, running through all history and experience, and underneath it all, a family lives out a small tragicomic drama that is the same human drama that has been acted and re-enacted since time began.

The Wake invokes death and the dying of the light with some of the most sublime poetry in the English language. It is almost unbelievable, a madly audacious and impossible work, and I can understand why some people hate it. But for me it's like falling in love with reading all over again.

Carol Birch will be appearing at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on Wednesday 24 August.




Michael Johnson annotates the new book

[If you missed it, Michael Johnson posted a long comment to Sunday's blog post about How the Hippies Saved Physics, which is literally all about the offbeat physicists in the Bay Area who greatly influenced RAW's thinking. Michael's comment is a useful annotation to the must-read book of the summer, so I am reposting it here everyone will see it -- Tom]

The Physics-Consciousness Research Group. See:

Illuminati Papers: 32 (diagram of "context-dependent language model of Nick Herbert); 56 ( Sarfatti on ETI contactees); pp.94-103

Leary's Info-Psychology: 33 (and 8th circuit); 49 (note Sarfatti in context); 129-131 (written by Nick Herbert)

Cosmic Trigger 2: 257 (Back To The Future best artistic expression of quantum logic: Sarfatti model fro Chris Lloyd); 267-268

Schrodinger's Cat Trilogy: 242 & 314, 426-427 (Herbert's QUIP); 274 (Capra's Tao of Physics); 343-344 (Sarfatti); 345-346 (Sirag's General Field Theory); 540-545

Trajectories May 1982 and Fall 1984: Nick Herbert and Bell's Theorem

Gnosis, Winter 1988-89:(Sarfatti and Faster-Than-Light ideas FTL); Edwin Harris Walker

Coincidance: 153-155 (Walker, Honegger, Sarfatti)

Semiotext(E) SF: 70-72 (Nick Herbert's wild particle physics story that includes RU Sirius)

Omni, Dec, 1979, "UFO Update" (Sirag's conjecture about time travellers)

Prometheus Rising: acknowledgment page: Sirag, Sarfatti, Herbert, who "clarified (RAW's) whole comprehension of epistemology;" 41 (and 8CB model); 183 (Barbara Honegger: cave paintings & 5th circuit yogic/shamanic brain: 30K yrs ago); 204 (Honegger's theory of synchroncity); 267-269 (Bell's Theorem and Sarfatti, et.al)

Mavericks of the Mind: 67-88 (Nick Herbert); 124 (Honegger); 125 (Walker)

Chaos and Beyond: 232-235 (review of Fred Alan Wolf's Eagle's Quest)

Everything Is Under Control: 138 (Sarfatti)

New Libertarian magazine Interview, 4/10-77: two pages on magick and quantum mechanics. Sarfatti as the head of the PCRG. RAW recommends Space-Time and Beyond, by Bob Toben, but Sarfatti says the ideas are his?

for another view of Sarfatti, see him as a North Beach denizen (San Francisco) in Herbert Gold's book on Behemia

Email To The Universe: 41 (Capra and Herbert); 244 (group mentioned); 223 (Mishlove might have been PCRG)

Michael Hollingshead interview (High Times?): RAW says he's the PCRG's "chief literary spokesman;" RAW talks about physicists who've used LSD

Wilhelm Reich In Hell: 33 (Capra and "fundamental holism")

see Sarfatti in Imaginary Weapons, pp.11-14

see Kripal's book on Esalen: 291-314 (Capra, Stapp, Sarfatti, F.A. Wolf, Nick Hergbert, Gary Zukav)

New Libertarian mag, RAW interview, 9/5/76: RAW recommends recent issue of Spit In The Ocean, for Sirag and Sarfatti on quantum consciousness Sarfatti as a "skeptical contactee"

Eight Circuit Brain by Antero Alli: 293-294 (mentions Saraffti and Sirag at RAW's salons in Berkeley hills, 1979)

I could list more if anyone's innarested.

Were they related to the SRI group with Targ and Puhoff: Scientologists? Who funded them? What role might Werner Erhard have played? How close was Ira Einhorn to the group?

How influential was Stapp? How did Barbara Honegger make it into the Reagan Administration? She wrote the first book titled October Surprise.

RAW had mentioned a few times that he sometimes played with the idea that he had been a "useful idiot" to the CIA or some other group.


TTOTT in 12 lines or less

TTOTT in TWELVE by Steve 'fly agaric 23' Pratt.

  1. without pip center/ever changing cyclic world/Brunocentral
  2. gods hero's and men/recycling through the ages/recorsi vico
  3. eternal return/the gods nietzsche left us here/beyond either or
  4. oak branching forces/ideogramic method/Fenollosa's trees
  5. spatial symbolist/weasels fighting in a hole/before the war Yeats
  6. Ezra made it new/cantos brewing history/juxstaposition
  7. Joyce cracked the cypher/hologramic comedy/to make Einstein cry
  8. word is not the thing/no such noun only see verbs/motion in the thingzski's
  9. ...went in for structure/geodesic dymaxy/future's Fullerene
  10. Boolean Logic/and electrical switches/bit twinned by Shannon
  11. turn on tune in drop/Joyce in digital village/Ez save McLuhan
  12. Orson at hawks well/cinema collage life force/fake filter buster

Imagism in the Cantos and Vorticism in the Tate

"These lines are followed by a sequence of identity shifts involving a seal, the daughter of Lir, and other figures associated with the sea: Eleanor of Aquitaine who, through a pair of Homeric epithets that echo her name, shifts into Helen of Troy, Homer with his ear for the "sea surge", the old men of Troy who want to send Helen back over the sea, and an extended, Imagistic retelling of the story of the abduction of Dionysus by sailors and his transformation of his abductors into dolphins. Although this last story is found in the Homeric Hymn to Dionysus, also contained in the Divus volume, Pound draws on the version in Ovid's poem Metamorphoses, thus introducing the world of ancient Rome into the poem.--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cantos

"Can you fell the force of the Vorticists?

by Brian Sewell.

Wyndam Lewis
Red: Wyndam Lewis's Crowd of 1914-15. By early 1917 he had joined the Royal Artillery and was at the Front. He survived, most important male Vorticists did not.
Wyndam Lewis Wyndam Lewis henri gaudier brzeska Jacob Epstein

16 Jun 2011

A vortex, according to the Concise Oxford Dictionary I had at school, is a whirlpool, a whirling mass of fluid, fluid in rotating motion, anything whirling that is capable of swallowing all and everyone drawn into it.

As this definition goes on to discuss rings, spiral, arcs and curves, it might be reasonable to assume that a group of artists dubbing themselves Vorticists produced art that was certainly curvilinear and possible soft-edged, suggesting fluidity, rotation and other characteristics of the vortex, its depth and singular dedicated force. There was indeed such a group, but arcs and curves, though occasionally present, played surprisingly little part in their work; this, in painting, was for the most part hard-edged and rectilinear, jagged and fragmented as though by internal explosion, centrifugal rather than centripetal, rather than forced into a coherent design suggesting vortical compulsion.

If there is depth in it, it is the depth of shallow planes superimposed, or of low relief entirely subject to design, or of some architectural or mechanical construction often set, like an object of still life, against a flat ground. In painting, vertiginous rather than vortical forces are implied; in sculpture, either no force of any kind, just enclosed weight and form, as with Gaudier-Brzeska, or a force of entirely different character, that of the machine, as in Epstein's Rock Drill.

In 1914, the American poet Ezra Pound, his associate Thomas Ernest Hulme (always known as T E Hulme), a combative philosopher-cum-theorist-cum-critic, and a very small group of artists working in Britain chose the vortex as their emblem and dubbed themselves Vorticists. The term was far more logically first used in the 17th century of those who followed Descartes' hypothesis that vortices of matter had determined the structure of the universe, and my hunch is that Pound, who re-coined the term in 1914, must have known Descartes' considerations of cosmogony when he proclaimed the vortex to be "the point of maximum energy". Wyndham Lewis slightly modified this view, arguing that "at the heart of the whirlpool is a great silent place where all the energy is concentrated. And there, at the point of concentration, is the Vorticist." Hulme, who knew nothing of the creative processes of the painter and sculptor and whose head was full of the theories of his immediate contemporary and associate in Germany, Wilhelm Worringer, who had firm grounding as an art historian before he became a philosopher, introduced the notion that "the idea of machinery" would differentiate all that was then contemporary art, and particularly the Vorticists, from the long arm of an exhausted Renaissance. He who reads Worringer's thesis, Abstraction and Empathy, published in 1908, need never read Hulme's Speculations, published posthumously in 1924. Both men wished to clear away "the sloppy dregs of the Renaissance", both offered a blueprint for a modern aesthetic and justification for all modern art movements, and both commended reference to the near abstract art of the far past (Egypt) and the primitivisms of Oceania and Africa, rather than the realism of the Renaissance which, they claimed, had weakened man's capacity for abstraction. I suspect that Hulme had difficulty with the concept of abstraction - for "abstract" he substituted "geometric" and as the term empathy first entered the English language in 1912, he may not have known it and used "vital" in place of "in feeling", the meaningless literal translation of "Einfühlung".

One may reasonably argue that Hulme was an ass with influence far beyond his knowledge and experience of art. One may argue, with equal reason, that Pound too was an ass, a frivolous intellectual gamester whose knowledge of art reached no further back than Whistler, recently dead, whom he saw as a touchstone of aesthetic excellence, "the great grammarian of the arts" and, absurdly, as some sort of avuncular spirit for his "little gang" of Vorticists. They influenced each other's thinking, yet for each behind the other's back lay scorn and derision, Pound complaining of Hulme's unintelligible lectures and loud-mouthed "crap", while to kick Pound downstairs was often in Hulme's mind. They are part of the history of Vorticism only because they were the pseudo-philosophical leaders of the little gang, but to it they contributed nothing but drivel and confusion. The one man who really matters is Wyndham Lewis.

According to Pound, in December 1913 the gang had been forming for five years. The minor figures drawn into the vortex and very rarely heard of in any post-Vorticist context were Malcolm Arbuthnot, an experimental photographer, Lawrence Atkinson, Jessica Dismorr, Cuthbert Hamilton, Frederick Etchells and Helen Saunders; the major figures, in addition to Lewis, were Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, William Roberts and Edward Wadsworth. David Bomberg and Jacob Epstein were closely associated with the gang, but neither joined it nor signed the manifesto issued in July 1914; nor was Etchells a signatory, but Pound and another poet, Richard Aldington (one of the Imagist group for whom Pound wrote another manifesto), were.
Christopher Nevinson drew close to Vorticism but was never quite sucked in.

A month later the First World War began. Gaudier-Brzeska was killed within 10 months; Hulme, an early volunteer to the Royal Marine Artillery, survived until September 1917 and was then killed within sight of Lewis, who had joined the Royal Artillery six months before; in November 1915 Bomberg enlisted as a sapper, and in April 1916 Roberts too became a gunner; Wadsworth joined Naval Intelligence in June 1916 and in the same month Jessica Dismorr went as a volunteer to France. Pound did what he could to hold the rest of the depleted and inactive little gang together and took on Alvin Langdon Coburn, an American and another experimental photographer, assisting him in the development of his futile Vortoscope for taking Vortographs (no, not to be found in Edward Lear's little dictionary of Wurbl Inwentions) first exhibited in the London Camera Club in February 1917; these were superimposed exposures that rendered image and portraits semi-abstract.

....Please read the full article here:

The Vorticists: Manifesto for a Modern World – review

"The moon is frequently associated in the poem with creativity, while the sun is more often found in relation to the sphere of political and social activity, although there is frequent overlap between the two. From the Rock Drill sequence on, the poem's effort is to merge these two aspects of light into a unified whole.--Wikipedia.

This article from the Guardian gives us some context for Pound's impact, and gives us some insight into the creative explosion in the arts just before the first world war turned that creativity on its head. Some accents added and some removed--steve fly.

The Vorticists: Manifesto for a Modern World – review

The Observer
Tate Britain
    ‘A pile-driving vision of the future’: The Rock Drill by Jacob Epstein, 1913-1915. Photograph: Jonathan Hordle/ Rex Features
    Rock Drill ought to be his name, not just the title of this long-lost work (this is a reconstruction of the dismantled original). He has terrible force of personality. And he is the most devastating creation in this show by some way, a sculpture from 1913 that seems to summarise all that vorticism stood for with its driving ambition for machine-age dynamism and shattering new forms. The Rock Drill ought to be the ideal host, the perfect symbol for both the movement and the show. Except that Epstein was never a paid-up vorticist.
    In the long march through modernism, vorticism is the quickest of steps. It flares up in 1914, peaks briefly in 1915 and sputters out towards the end of the first world war. There are only two shows. There are only two issues of its in-house journal, Blast. There may be only one full-time vorticist. "Vorticism," declared Wyndham Lewis in the 1950s, "was what I, personally, did, and said, at a certain period." The assertion may have infuriated the surviving members of the group, but it is not without its merit when you consider the diversity of their gifts, from the painter David Bomberg to the French sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, compared to Lewis's single-mindedness as ringleader, recruiting sergeant, megaphone, exemplar and theorist of England's only homegrown avant-garde movement. Lewis belongs to the first generation of Europe's non-representational artists. His drawings are incisive, satirical, on the edge of abstraction. His paintings from this phase – angular, syncopated, explosive – are even better, which is some claim, given that scarcely any survive. In the 1912 illustrations for Timon of Athens, he begins to abandon depth for a flat pageant of forms that jostle like the elements of some unsolved puzzle. By 1915, in his enormous painting The Crowd, he shows quasi-cubist figures haplessly scattered in a system of grids that seems to prefigure the pinball machine. Workshop (1914-15) is a marvellous concatenation of geometric planes, in coruscating pinks and hot mustards, that almost resolve into windows, ladders, stacks and shelves, by day and yet also, as it seems, by night. It turns architecture inside out. And seeing it in Tate Britain's survey, surrounded by fading issues of Blast, old catalogues and invitations, typed manifestos and handwritten declarations of solidarity or hatred – period pieces of English art history from 100 years ago – it suddenly looks more modern than ever. With its graphic zip and register, Workshop conjures pop art half a century in advance. There are other masterpieces in this show, but not many. Tate Britain has David Bomberg's terrific painting The Mud Bath, with its interplay of bent, reclining and zigzagging forms packed into a scarlet tank. It has Gaudier-Brzeska's Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound, on loan from the National Gallery in Washington, biting its mucklestone lip. From the front, it is Pound to a stylised T (was ever a poet more portrayed?) from his goatee to his bouffant quiff. From the rear, it resembles a circumcised phallus. "Make it virile," was Pound's bombastic command; contemporary critics found it merely pornographic. Nobody visiting this show could fail to spot the influence of abroad in almost every work. The Dancers, Les Demoiselles: Wyndham Lewis's chorus line wends its way directly out of Picasso. Roger Fry had mounted his celebrated exhibition, Manet and the Post-Impressionists, back in 1910, the same year Marinetti delivered his futurist lectures in London. The trick with this show is to try and remain indifferent to the obvious strains of cubism and futurism that appear wherever you look. It is not hard, for instance, to deduce local figurative forms in all this accordion-pleated abstraction – piano keys and nightclubs, people and performers, London alleys and even the back-to-back terraces of northern mining towns. Lewis saw that cubism, for instance, could be more than a highly advanced visual language. It could be made to speak of life itself, with all thronging motion, humanity, incident. One of the strongest works here is his wonderfully acute Architect With Green Tie (1909), which skewers the self-importance of a particular man while sending up the profession's characteristic fondness for that calculated spot of colour. The work isn't abstract at all, in fact; it's one of Lewis's best caricatures. But it also predates vorticism, exposing an unusual dilemma for the curators of this show, which originated in North Carolina. Vorticism is such a brief movement and so little of the art survives (a huge tranche of it, belonging to the US collector John Quinn, vanished long ago) that it is quite a feat to assemble anything representative. The exhibition attempts to counter the problem by including a good many fellow-travellers, recreating both of the original vorticist shows and displaying the issues of Blast, with its upper-case insults, wonderful woodcuts and wild demagoguery, along with testaments of war, imaginary and real. Here is the row between Lewis and Fry over the Daily Mail's Ideal Home Exhibition, of all things, played out in aggressive letters. Here are the missives from the Western Front, including Gaudier-Brzeska's final postcard before he died in the trenches. He was 23. By the time you get to the end of this vigorous yet melancholy exhibition, vorticism has dwindled into a graphic style. Anyone can imitate it by now and they do. There are still some startling works to come: Edward Wadsworth's fantastically concise woodcuts are among the best things here. Look at his Newcastle, as neatly condensed a sonnet to industry, ironwork, bridge span and community as you could find, all stitched together with saw-tooth zips: English printmaking at its sharpest. But even if its members had not lost their lives, the first world war had to kill off this machine-loving movement. Alas, because this show is so strictly vorticist, you do not see how the best of the artists responded, what Lewis made of the trenches in his war paintings, how he mocked his own brutal machismo, his own vicious energy, in the savage self-portrait Mr Wyndham Lewis as a Tyro. But what you do see is what became of Epstein's The Rock Drill, once again an accidental symbol of the group. Legs gone, drill removed, hands lopped off, Epstein turned the torso into an amputee, vulnerable, disarmed, a victim of wartime violence. http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2011/jun/19/vorticists-tate-britain-review


To confuse the newshounds

"To confuse the newshounds, he joked, the bride would be dressed as a lifeguard while the groom would wear green satin and a white veil and carry an orange umbrella."



Vico's age of heroes and the age of men...

Great big thanks to BOBBY CAMPBELL for putting this one up. Cheers:

Title: Vico's age of heroes and the age of men in John Ford's film 'The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.' (Giambattista Vico)
Author(s): Vittorio Hosle and Mark W. Roche
Source: CLIO. 23.2 (Winter 1994): p131. From Literature Resource Center.
Document Type: Article
Vico, the father of historicism, discovered that the nature of man changes: the archaic man feels, thinks, acts in a way completely different from modern man. In Vico's scheme of the necessary evolution of every culture, three phases are distinguished: the age of gods, the age of heroes, and the age of men. The age of gods is characterized by a theocratic government: it is anterior to any differentiation of the various aspects of curlture such as religion, politics, or art. The age of heroes, on the other hand, is dominated by the conflict between classes, the heroes and the plebeians. This age does not yet have a state; therefore, force and violence reign. The right of the stronger is the main ground of legitimacy. Two types of relations are characteristic of this age: the relation between enemies who fight each other, risking their own lives and those of their combatants, and the relation between master and servant. The duel, a fight between two heroes accompanied by their servants, is the symbolic action of the heroic age. In it the value of a person is proved, even constituted. Relations toward wives in the age of heroes are clearly asymmetric: women are not yet recognized as having the same human nature as men. "Love of ease, tenderness toward children, love of women, and desire of life" are alien to the heroes, so Vico once sums up his view of the heroic age.(1)  CONTINUED

W.B Yeats and Avision

Snipped from the NATION:

Think back to the autumn of 1917. Stuck in the Ashdown Forest Hotel, her four-day-old marriage a disaster, George began (by her own admission) to “fake” automatic writing in order to entertain her despondent husband: she then felt her hand seized by an unseen power. Willy described what happened next in the revised edition of A Vision (1937), the esoteric account of all human history and personality that the automatic writing ultimately made possible:
What came in disjointed sentences, in almost illegible writing, was so exciting, sometimes so profound, that I persuaded her to give an hour or two day after day to the unknown writer, and after some half-dozen such hours offered to spend what remained of life explaining and piecing together those scattered sentences, “No,” was the answer, “we have come to give you metaphors for poetry.”

Over the next several years, Willy and George produced more than 3,600 pages of script, his questions, her answers. This is their most intimate exchange, and it is almost never referred to in the actual letters Willy and George wrote to each other.
The first few days of automatic writing have not been preserved (the remainder having lately been transcribed and edited by George Mills Harper and a fleet of assistants), so there is no record of Yeats being assured that the spirits had contacted him, through his wife, to further his poetic career. George remembered the initial contact differently: “What you have done is right for both the cat and the hare,” she scribbled, confident that her husband would understand that the hare was Iseult Gonne and the cat was herself, which he did. In the approximately 450 sessions of automatic writing that followed, the intimate sex life of George and Willy Yeats looms as prominently as metaphors for poetry (though Willy would go on to write great poems about sex). “What is important,” says one spirit through George, is “that both the desire of the medium and her desire for your desire should be satisfied.” Willy is advised to keep up his strength by making love to his wife more than once a day: “it is like not taking enough exercise & a long walk exhausts you.” “You mean,” asked Willy, “by doing it once I will lose power of doing it twice.” Yes, came the answer, “& then of doing it once.”
The automatic script ranges widely over innumerable topics; it is often tedious; it calls on vast reserves of esoteric knowledge. But one theme is constant: if the conversations are to continue, the medium (or “interpreter,” as George preferred to be called) must be satisfied. And when the interpreter is not satisfied, the script shouts it out loud and clear:
     I dont like you
     You neglect me
     You dont give me physical symbols
to use
 Despite the aura of possible chicanery that inevitably surrounds such an enterprise, George emerges from it as the same brilliantly capable person who managed her husband’s career while also raising two children and electing to spend her summers in a castle with no electricity, no indoor plumbing, jackdaws nesting in the chimneys and a first floor that regularly flooded to a height of two feet.