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 "Einf├╝hlung".

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