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.