McLuhan and Holeopathic Quadrophrenia | The Mouse-That-Roared Syndrome by Bob Dobbs

McLuhan and Holeopathic Quadrophrenia | The Mouse-That-Roared Syndrome

ListenBob Dobbs at “Legacy of McLuhan Symposium,” Lincoln Center, Manhattan, sponsored by Fordham University, 28 March 1998
by Bob Dobbs
(published in The Legacy of McLuhan)

Phase 1
"…much of III.3 (Book Three, Chapter Three-ed.) is telephone conversation… As III.3 opens with a person named Yawn and III.4 displays the ingress of daylight upon the night of Finnegans Wake, the note on VI.B.5.29 is interesting:
'Yawn telegraph telephone Dawn wireless thought transference.' "
Roland McHugh,The Sigla of Finnegans Wake, p.19, 1976

"…Orion of the Orgiasts, Meereschal MacMuhun, the Ipse dadden, product of the extremes giving quotidients to our means, as might occur to anyone, your brutest layaman with the princest champion in our archdeaconry, or so yclept from Clio's clippings, which the chroncher of chivalries is sulpicious save he scan, for ancients link with presents as the human chain extends,…"
James Joyce, Finnegans Wake, p.254, 1939

(In McLuhan's private library in one of his copies of Finnegans Wake he has pencilled in the words "me" and "moon child" next to Joyce's "Meereschal MacMuhun".)
"The ordinary desire of everybody to have everybody else think alike with himself has some explosive implications today."
(the first sentence in the first article McLuhan wrote for Explorations-ed.)
H. M. McLuhan, Culture without Literacy,Explorations Magazine, Volume1, p.117, December, 1953

"Entertainment in the future may have quite different patterns and functions. You'll become a yogi, you'll do your self-entertainment in yoga style."
Marshall McLuhan,Like Yoga, Not Like the Movies,Forbes Magazine, p.40, March 15, 1967

"T. S. Eliot's famous account of 'the auditory imagination' has become an ordinary form of awareness; but Finnegans Wake, as a comprehensive study of the psychic and social dynamics of all media, remains to be brought into the waking life of our world."
Marshall McLuhan,Letter to Playboy Magazine, p.18, March, 1970

"At electric speeds the hieroglyphs of the page of Nature become readily intelligible and the Book of the World becomes a kind of Orphic hymn of revelation."
Marshall McLuhan, Libraries: Past, Present, Future(address at Geneseo, New York-ed.), p.1, July 3, 1970

"The future of government lies in the area of psychic ecology and can no longer be considered on a merely national or international basis."
Marshall McLuhan and Barrington Nevitt,Take Today: The Executive as Dropout, p.227, 1972

"And do you know," he (Eric McLuhan-ed.) enthuses, "there are actually (four-ed.) laws governing media communications? At last we can prove to people that we aren't just theorists. This is a real science.... We know there is one more law," says Eric. "And we'll find it. Sooner or later."
Olivia Ward,Now! Son of Guru!,Toronto Star, p.D1, March 30, 1980

Marshall McLuhan made two decisions in 1937: one was the spiritual strategy of becoming a Roman Catholic, and the other was the secular strategy, after intensive study at Cambridge, of translating James Joyce's Work-in-Progress (later given the title of Finnegans Wake in 1939) into an aesthetic anti-environment useful for countering and probing the cultural assumptions of a practicing Catholic.
For the next twenty years he refined his understanding of, first, the Thomist concept of analogical proportionality as the expression of the tactile interval, and second, its usefulness in perceiving the cultural effects of the new electric technologies, through an ongoing dialogue, analysis, and sensory meditation on the nature of metaphor and consciousness (including extrasensory perception) as an artifact. Since McLuhan defined "metaphor"(1) as the act of looking at one situation through another, each situation constitutive of figure-ground interplay (a concept borrowed from Gestalt psychology), then a metaphor was an instance of mixed media, or two figure-grounds. And so was consciousness - because of its essential subjective experience as doubleness, which is doubled again as the objective effect of its autonomous interplay with other consciousnesses. Metaphor, for McLuhan, was hylomorphic(2). In retrospect, the equation McLuhan was playing with could be flattened out as:

metaphor=mixed media=doubleness =consciousness=tactile interplay=the Christian Holy Cross=figure/ground=analogical mirror=iconic fact= cliché/archetype=resonant field= hendiadys=menippean irony,

each and all (except for "metaphor") squared. However, after he made personal contact with Wyndham Lewis in 1943, their dialogue enhanced his appreciation of adopting Wyndham Lewis' social probing style as a political anti-environment to McLuhan's own commitment to the poetry of T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, W. B. Yeats, and James Joyce. Hence, his own studies simulated the doubleness he was observing technically. For the rest of his career McLuhan juggled the artistic approaches of these five artists in miming the tactile qualities of the analogical drama of proper proportions - the drama of being and perception. For him, language was the drama of cognition and recognition, or consciousness.

"The measure of our (Catholics-ed.) unawareness and irrelevance can be taken from the fact that no Thomist has so far seen fit to expound St. Thomas's theory of communication by way of providing modern insight into our problems."
H. M. McLuhan,The Heart of Darkness(unpublished review of Melville's Quarrel with God by Lawrence Thompson, 1952-ed.), p.8, 1952

"The analogical relation between exterior posture and gesture and the interior movements and dispositions of the mind is the irreducible basis of drama. In the Wake this appears everywhere. So that any attempt to reduce its action, at any point, to terms of univocal statement results in radical distortion.(p.33)... It needs to be understood that only short discontinuous shots of such a work as Joyce's are possible. Linear or continuous perspectives of analogical structures are only the result of radical distortion, and the craving for 'simple explanations' is the yearning for univocity."(p.36-7)
Marshall McLuhan,James Joyce: Trivial and Quadrivial (1953) in The Interior Landscape, pp.33 and 36-7, 1969


On McLuhan's Mental Mosaic - Hologrammic Prose

"But McLuhan created a more fundamental means to a more organic understanding in the very aphoristic style in which he chose to convey his ideas one consciously embodying the concept that the medium is the message. Its means is not to follow a continuous, linear, and unbroken line of thought, but to create a tessellated pattern of ideas, with each of the tiles in the mental mosaic a particular facet of the overall pattern. Like fractals, an analogue that has gained currency only since McLuhan's last work, the grand, overall pattern is contained in miniature in each of the parts. He also took as models for this style writers in the symbolist and modernist movements, particularly Mallarme, Eliot, Pound, and Joyce."

Fenollosa - Pound - Yeats: (Certain Noble Plays of Japan)

From The Manuscripts Of Ernest Fenollosa,

Chosen And Finished

By Ezra Pound

With An Introduction By William Butler Yeats

Fenollosa, Pound and Yeats are all members of Robert Anton Wilsons 'all star cast' for The Tale Of The Tribe.

Here we have one document which features 1/4 of the stars. Well worth the read i presume. In particular for anyone interested in Theatre.

Keep on truckin'

--Steve Fly



Introduction by William Butler Yeats, April, 1916.

In the series of books I edit for my sister I confine myself to those that have I believe some special value to Ireland, now or in the future. I have asked Mr. Pound for these beautiful plays because I think they will help me to explain a certain possibility of the Irish dramatic movement.


Giordano Bruno, Timothy Leary And The Starseed Transmissions

Einstein's equations. Nuclear energy. The revelation of DNA code as literally a code to be deciphered. Neurological imprinting. Anti-matter. Mankind clings to the old myths, avoiding the new truths.
It happened before.
Towards the end of the sixteenth century, Giordano Bruno aroused the groggy world, asking it to fling its mind far beyond the planets. He speculated that the cosmos extended to infinity.
This in itself was not so shocking; but Bruno went considerably further—he postulated a multiplicity of world: suns and planets with life, unseen companions for the race of man. He toyed with man's conception of himself; for this, and for magical claims and political entanglements, he was burned in 1600." The Discovery of Our Galaxy,Charles Whitney.
Shortly before Bruno's death, in 1600, Tycho Brahe made the first announcement of a 'new' star in the sky. A few years later he observed a comet, and proved that it moved among the planets; thus he shattered the crystalline spheres which had been supposed to carry the planets and stars about the heavens.


Dr John C. Lilly on human/dolphin communications.

You're probably best known as "Dr. John Lilly, the dolphin man." What is the aim of your current dolphin research? 

At Marine World, we're working with computers to develop a human/dolphin code, analogous to the Morse code used in telegraphy. The project is called JANUS -- for Joint Analog Numerical Understanding System. Like the Roman god Janus, it has two "faces" -- a dolphin side and a human side.

A human/dolphin language must contend with the fact that dolphins communicate at frequencies ten times above the human range. While our speech falls between three hundred and three thousand hertz, or cycles per second. dolphins talk to one another underwater at frequencies from three thousand to thirty thousand hertz. If you go into a pool with a dolphin and he starts whistling, you'll hear what sounds like very high-pitched squeaks. So the problem is to bring their frequency down into our sound window and ours up into theirs.

We're using a computer system to transmit sounds underwater to the dolphins. A computer is electrical energy oscillating at particular frequencies, which can vary. and we use a transducer to convert the electrical waveforms into acoustical energy. You could translate the waveforms into any kind of sound you like: human speech, dolphin-like clicks, whatever.

Read the whole interview here:

Douglas Rushkoff Rocks The Google Bus

Douglas Rushkoff Rocks The Google Bus

Douglas Rushkoff is one of those rare writers and friends. He can ask big gnarly questions, and then before you know it, present a buffet of solutions that leave you with a ravenous appetite to dig into the future.

In Program or Be Programmed, Rushkoff made the compelling case for the need for all of us to be programmers. Choose to program and “you gain access to the control panel of civilization. Choose the latter, and it could be the last real choice you get to make.” Yikes, I read that and immediately went to use my limited HTML skills on my nascent website.

Despite my admiration for his past work, I approach his new book with some trepidation. I guess I thought Rushkoff was going to be the one throwing rocks. Nope. I should have known better. Rushkoff is always more complicated than that. 

In Throwing Rocks At The Google Bus, Rushkoff begins with some powerful truth telling. 

The digital economy is breaking things. The media can’t seem to survive digitization. Drivers are losing to Uber. Airbnb is turning neighbors apartments into rentable dorm rooms, and as he lays out the current state of play – event tech visionaries find the demands of the startup economy closing their vision.

But Rushkoff isn’t claiming Google GOOGL -1.03% is at fault. He says: “there is something troubling about the way Google is impacting the world, but neither it’s buses nor the people in them are the core problem; they’re just and easy target. He says we’ve brought a set of industrial age. “We are running a 21st-century digital economy on a 13th Century printing-press era operating system,” writes Rushkoff. 

Now it’s not all bad. “On the bright side, millionaires and billionaires are being minted, maybe not enough to compensate for the millions of people being displaced, from their jobs, but they are inspiring just the same.”
Looking for an example, Rushkoff settles on Uber, and he takes on the company with relish. “By calling itself a platform rather than a taxi dispatcher, Uber has been able to work in a regulatory gray area that slashes overhead while inflating revenue. This is how Uber can be valued at over $18 billion dollars while many of its drivers make below minimum wage after expenses.”

The crux of the argument that Rushkoff makes is that the digital economy is a house of cards built on fictional growth metrics that drive companies to raise money, undercut human workers, sell on the public markets and then – almost inevitably – collapse under the weight of public market demands. And he’s not alone in his concern. Quoting Union Square Ventures founder Fred Wilson, the book shares Wilson’s blog post. In it Wilson “worries aloud that digital entrepreneurs are more focused the increasing monopolies and entreating value than they are on realizing the internet potential to promote value creation by many players.”

Growth, it turns out, may be an illusion. “If infinite growth is no longer a possibility or even desirable, then you must shift your sights away from the big “win” in the form of an IPO, acquisition or growth target” writes Rushkoff. “Think of it less like a war, where total victory is the only option, and a bit more like peace, water eat objective is to find a way to keep it going.”

The core message of the book is that the current state of play in funding, driving, and exiting digital companies is unsustainable. And to bring that point home, Rushkoff shares his stories of  Ventureless Capital: the Patience of the Crowds. His example is a good one – his friend, and mine, Scott Heiferman. Heiferman founded Meetup after selling his first startup at the hight of the dot-com boom. Meetup aims to be a civic platform rather than a platform monopoly. “We’re not trying to vertically/horizontally integrate or get into news busses or invent self-driving space elevators. We know what business e want to be in, it’s a big opportunity and we don’t see ourselves and empire-building imperialists.” Meetup aims to be Meetup, and to grow that business – a perfect Rushkoff example.

In Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, Rushkoff calls on business to:
  • Accept that era of extractive growth is over. 
  • Reject platform monopolies like Uber in favor of distributed, worker-owned co-ops, orchestrated through collective authentication systems like bitcoin and blockchains.
  • Resist the short-term, growth-addicted mindset of publicly traded markets.
  • Recognize contributions of land and labor as important as capital, and develop business ecosystems that invest in the local economies on which they ultimately depend.

“None of us can wave a magic wand and transform the economy from an extractive endgame into a prosperous commons,” writes Rushkoff in his conclusion. “However, I do believe we can reposting our careers and our businesses to become less a part of the problem than participants in the solution. There’s a lot of hope here.”

Steven Rosenbaum is serial entrepreneur, author, and filmmaker. His latest book, Curate This! is in print and ebook on Amazon.com. He is the CEO of Waywire.com (enterprise.waywire.com)


James Joyce and the Comstockery of internet.

Fuck the censors.

--Steve Fly

One of Comstock's first actions was to obtain the passage of a strong federal indecency law--which was then used to pursue authors and publishers of novels including works by Balzac and Tolstoy. This law today is largely dead on the books though never repealed, as a result of many leading free speech cases. Senator James Exon of Nebraska, in proposing the Communications Decency Act in 1995, reinvigorated the Comstock law in two ways. His vague Internet indecency language echoed part of the wording of the original Comstock law. Even more outrageously, the CDA extended portions of the Comstock law to information transmitted over the Internet. As a result, some long-disused language banning the distribution of abortion information became federal law again--until the Justice Department stood up in federal court in Brooklyn and announced that the government would not attempt to enforce this provision of the CDA.
The CDA restored to federal law a crime involving the distribution of "indecent" material even though it had literary or artistic value-- and allowed a jury to make the decision based on "contemporary community standards." Effectively, a law of the type under which "Nausicaa" was deemed too dirty to distribute was back on the books for the first time in many decades. Could an online version of Joyce be censored again?--http://www.spectacle.org/398/gertie.html

We can escape history and break out of the infinite series of repeated folly by understanding freedom of speech to mean protecting the next James Joyce-- in print, on the Web, or in a medium undreamed of yet.--http://www.spectacle.org/398/gertie.html 

Pound to Joyce: ‘Wall, Mr Joice, I recon you’re a damn fine writer, that’s what I recon’


December 19, 2013


Pound, who had already been responsible for getting A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man into print, was impressed by the first episode of Joyce’s new novel, Ulysses. For the next three years, Pound was editor, critic, and even censor of Ulysses.
Shortly after A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man started to appear in serial form in the Egoist in February 1914, Joyce started work on Ulysses, a novel he may well have been thinking about since his time in Rome in 1906-7. However, he put off work on Ulysses in favour of his play Exiles, and it was not until June 1915 that the first episode of Ulysses was written.
However, even in April 1917 Joyce still maintained that the only part of it that might be ready for publication was the ‘Hamlet’ chapter, and he was reluctant to see that cut to fit the space available in the Egoistmagazine. He told Pound in June that he had finished the ‘Hades’ episode and was working on ‘Aeolus,’ and by August he was telling Margaret Anderson that he hoped to send some of Ulysses to Pound for the Little Review.
A severe attack of lumbago and glaucoma meant that Joyce had to undergo an eye operation at the end of August, and in mid-October he moved to Locarno to recuperate. The first three episodes of Ulysses were finished there, and sent to Claud Sykes in Zurich for typing. The first episode was then sent on to Pound who hoped to publish it in the Little Review and the Egoist.
In his letter of 19 December 1917, Pound declares that the opening chapter is ‘echt Joice’ and though there was a passage on the third page that made him question it for a moment, he reread it, and could find nothing wrong. There were some words that he wondered about, for instance ‘merry’ in the phrase ‘merrying over the sea,’ but again these were not a matter for concern.
The one thing that seemed to occur prophetically to Pound was that the novel was sure to be suppressed but, he declared, ‘it is damn wellworth it.’ Unwittingly, Pound had a dig at Anthony Comstock, the founder of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, and promoter of a bill that made it illegal to deliver obscene, lewd or lascivious material. It was Comstock’s law and his Society for the Suppression of Vice that got Ulysses suppressed in 1920.
Pound concluded his letter in a voice imitative of an American drawl: ‘Wall, Mr Joice, I recon you’re a damn fine writer, that’s what I recon’… You can take it from me, an’ I’m a jedge.’

Sources & Further Reading:
Joyce, James: Letters of James Joyce, vol. II edited by Richard Ellmann, London: Faber & Faber, 1966.
Pound, Ezra: Pound/Joyce – The Letters of Ezra Pound to James Joyce with Pound’s Essays on Joyce, edited and with Commentary by Forrest Reid, London: Faber & Faber, 1968.


Psientits finnd evedance ov malta faqtol arkitechsure in FW

probably one of the best descriptions
of Hologrammic Prose i have read
in yonks. Quoted from the Guardian Newspaper
by Alison Flood. Noyse wairk.


“The absolute record in terms of multifractality turned out to be Finnegans Wake by James Joyce. The results of our analysis of this text are virtually indistinguishable from ideal, purely mathematical multifractals,” said Professor Stanisław Drożdż, another author of the paper, which has just been published in the computer science journal Information Sciences.
Joyce himself, reported to have said he wrote Finnegans Wake “to keep the critics busy for 300 years”, might have predicted this. In a letter about the novel, Work in Progess as he then knew it, he told Harriet Weaver: “I am really one of the greatest engineers, if not the greatest, in the world besides being a musicmaker, philosophist and heaps of other things. All the engines I know are wrong. Simplicity. I am making an engine with only one wheel. No spokes of course. The wheel is a perfect square. You see what I’m driving at, don’t you? I am awfully solemn about it, mind you, so you must not think it is a silly story about the mouse and the grapes. No, it’s a wheel, I tell the world. And it’s all square.”
The academics write in their paper that: “Studying characteristics of the sentence-length variability in a large corpus of world famous literary texts shows that an appealing and aesthetic optimum … involves self-similar, cascade-like alternations of various lengths of sentences.”
“An overwhelming majority of the studied texts simply obey such fractal attributes but especially spectacular in this respect are hypertext-like, ‘stream-of-consciousness’ novels. In addition, they appear to develop structures characteristic of irreducibly interwoven sets of fractals called multifractals.”


The Pound Question: “Light lights in air”: Value, price, profit and Louis Zukofsky’s poetry By Andras Gyorgy

On the Pound question,
Quoted from the article “Light lights in air”: Value, price, 
profit and Louis Zukofsky’s 
poetry by Andras Gyorgy: 
(wiki links edited by steve fly)

The “Pound Question” is a complex one. At this stage we may conclude at the very least that his well-known fascist sympathy in the war and broadcasts on behalf of Mussolini need be set against his enthusiastic support of Zukofsky’s circle, mostly Jewish and avowedly Marxist. 
British painter and writer Wyndham Lewis, with whom Pound worked on the Vorticist magazine Blast in 1913-14, offered some insight into the American poet’s personality. Lewis called Pound, “A bombastic galleon, palpably bound to, or from, the Spanish Main. Going on board, I discovered beneath its skull and cross-bones, intertwined with fleurs de lys and spattered with preposterous starspangled oddities, a heart of gold.”
Pound had discovered the power of “movements” which consisted of little more than a manifesto, a special issue of a journal and an anthology. At his most enthusiastic, he would be praising and advising Zukofsky almost daily, sometimes more often, in letters, introducing his discovery to editors, giving him the benefit of his time, his wondrous editing, academic sponsorship. When his friend James Joyce was down on his luck, Pound sent him a pair of old shoes. According to Ernest Hemingway (in A Moveable Feast), Pound was “so kind to people that I always thought of him as a sort of saint.”
The touching relationship between Zukofsky and Pound, which did not cease in warmth and respect to the end of their days, is an aspect of the passing on of the modernist tradition to another generation of Zukofsky’s Objectivist circle, and then again through Robert Creeley and his generation, or “company” as he called it. 
Zukofsky fought for years to have “A” 1-12 (1959, 1967) in print. The poetic sequence Anew (1943), also the name of the collection of shorter poems that New Directions is bringing back, was the last volume that a publisher brought out for a very long time. A testament to Zukofsky’s mood during the long period of his neglect is the title of the sequence “Barely and Widely” (1962), which refers to Louis’ complaining to his soul mate Celia, as he often did, about how “barely” he was known and how “widely” neglected. This was true at least until many of the poets represented in Donald Allen’s very influential anthology, The New American Poetry (1959), discovered and championed him in their war against “academic” poets and the Eliot-inspired “New Criticism”, which ruled English departments after the Second World War.


Hilaritas Press - The New Home of Robert Anton Wilson publications

Hilaritas Press grew out of a desire to keep the books of Robert Anton Wilson in print and to fulfill Bob’s wish to provide for his children, something that during his life was difficult when authors typically receive less than ten percent of the money generated by their work. Bob’s daughter Christina and his friend Rasa, directing enterprises of the Robert Anton Wilson Trust, created Hilaritas Press as a way to fulfill Bob’s wishes and insure that his legacy remains robust. We’ve enlisted the aid of a small group of Bob’s treasured friends and others who are advising and helping out the Trust on RAW related matters. Bob would have loved that. Throughout his life he generously gave thanks and returned support for the many people who were touched by his heart, humor and wisdom.

Bob said that he first got the word hilaritas from Ezra Pound’s Cantos which was quoting the Byzantine philosopher Gemistus Pletho who said “you can recognize gods even in their human form by their outstanding hilaritas.” Bob notes that in Pletho’s time, hilaritas meant “cheerfulness, good humor we would say, but not in the sense of always joking.” For many years Bob would often sign his letters, and then emails with “amor et hilaritas”, or simply “hilaritas”.

After editing, reformatting and publishing Bob’s books in eBook and Print editions, a huge task that will take us a while, Hilaritas Press will invite other adventurous authors to become members of the Hilaritas Press family. Stay tuned to this internet channel for more details!