Sunday, June 29, 2008
I love Google's AI, mostly because it reveals so much, so quickly, about the human condition. I tried to google the name of a book some people have been discussing on a forum. I got as far as "initiation into" and received two guesses:
initiation into hermetics
initiation into a gang
I wonder who googles the latter. I'm sure they'd think I'm weird, too.
Updated to add: this handy link. Warning: a PDF will come at you if you click it.
I'm delighted that people are still making films like this.
This is what it feels like inside my head sometimes, particularly during the summer months. (Good thing? Bad thing? Only my psychiatrist knows for sure.)
Via Further: Strange Attractor & Beyond.
"This is going to sound hyperbolic but I really believe we’re at are at the dawn of a new age of scientific exploration. The external world is mapped; now the explorers are turning inward. The galleons have left port. They’re approaching a huge mysterious continent. They won’t be the first to arrive. There are paths already cut in the forest, where shamans and monks and others have set up outposts and launched their own expeditions into the interior."
Via Corpus Mmothra, who got it from somebody who got it from somebody else.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
"When I was in Paris for the first time when I was 19, when I had just come out of the RAF, I went along to this so-called atelier in the Rue de Seine run by Raymond Duncan who was the brother of the famous dancer Isadora. Raymond had come to Paris, made a pair of sandals for himself, and other people saw them and asked him if he could make them some like that, and suddenly it was a business and made him a fortune. He became a millionaire several times during his life and then spent it all again, made huge fortunes. Now Raymond regarded himself basically as a poet and an idealist and when I went along to see him he invited me to move into this place on the Rue de Seine. He said: ‘What we are trying to teach people like you is that if you are an idealistic poet, you’d be a far better poet if you can actually mend a leak or do various other practical things’.
“I believed him absolutely totally. It was a conclusion I’d already arrived at, that we must have this practical, down-to-earth spirit, enjoying the real world and real life. I could see what had killed off all these Outsiders was the fact that they’d been Romantics, and they’d been flapping around up there in the ethers, and getting themselves into terrible states, and that actually what they really needed was a far more practical attitude. This was a very deep feeling of mine.
“The proper way to get away from the problem of the Outsider was simply to become more and more practical about it and to finally begin to see that there must be practical down-to-earth solutions, that the world isn’t somehow loaded against artists, and eternity kills them off, and so on, that Dostoevsky is wrong when he says we’ve got to give God back his entrance ticket because we’re in such an appalling world. In point of fact, once you take a practical down-to-earth attitude towards things - once you try dreaming to some purpose – you suddenly begin to see what things really are about."
From an old interview by the inestimable Colin Wilson.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Commemorating the first meeting of the RP Film Club, held spontaneously. Summer Solstice 2008.
Read here about the dark history of the Dakota building, where Rosemary's Baby was shot.
For all Galloway readers:
You are formally invited to an upcoming talk at the Harvard Divinity School, 45 Francis Ave., Cambridge Mass. on Friday July 4th, Independence Day at 8pm. Mr. John Nihil will represent the perspective of the writer Jean Paul Sartre, and Mr. Dick Romance will define the Rousseauian view of the world in a talk entitled, 'Photocopiers: Friend or Foe?" Both speakers are well known for their ongoing debate of which philosophical school of thought should rule the modern workplace: a deep sense of anomie, emptiness, a giant blank universe? or a largesse view of an embracable, loving, heart felt universe? Or is there a third animal that has not yet been considered that posits neither the extreme of nihilism nor eternalism? Both men have extrapolated their research from a longitudinal 20 year study of workers' relationship to copy paper. Should it be out on a table or in a drawer? Should it be in an orderly display or in chaotic confusion? Do you hate the paper? Do you love the paper? Is it essentially blank, or does it have inherent characteristics? You decide by listening to this lively debate by two of the foremost paper philosophers known today! A polite question and answer session will follow the talk. Food will be served on paper plates. RSVP. Please consider inviting co workers to this obscure yet important niche of knowledge.
Submitted by M. Silva, agent-on-remote.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Here was the key for which he had always been searching! The key to the mystery of faith. The faith that would persist in believing, despite all disillusionment, that round the next corner it would find the Real and the Good. The gods of men's worship were not things in themselves, but the creations of the created -- the forms under which man represented to himself his ineffable Creator and Sustainer, the form changing as man's power of understanding increased. The forms did not matter; peppery old Jehovah with his long white beard and golden crown could go into the discard without anybody being damned; and, equally, those who liked him could go on worshipping him still, without being damned either. You could help yourself to the kind of god that suited you, so long as you realised that he was only a dramatisation. The real thing was behind all the gods, and no man had ever dramatised It. On your head be it if you made yourself a nasty god that liked blood-sacrifices; or a silly god, who wanted to make a pink sugar confectioner's heaven of this tough old earth. The nearer you got to the facts in your conception of God, the better for you, but no man's concept had ever been the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, nor ever would be. When he reached that stage he would just quietly pass out and go free. God was the Absolute, whatever that might mean. Murchison shrewdly suspected it meant nothing. Anyway, it was no use to the average human brain, which needed bulk to work on, same as the intestines. It had to have images and a story.
-From the editor's partly-unglued copy of Dion Fortune's 1936 novel, The Winged Bull
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
In my youth I majored in mathematics for a few years before switching to Education and then to Psychology. Out of this strange smorgasbord, I developed a lot of the surreal ideas in my books, and especially my weird habit of looking at art and myth in terms of isomorphisms ["similarities of structure"].
For instance, when I first saw Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind, I immediately saw an isomorphism with the Grail legend. Roy [Richard Dreyfus], the contactee most traumatized by his experience, seems like a fool to everybody -- especially to his wife. Parcifal also seems a fool, even "the perfect fool" in Wagner's version. Yet Roy gets past the government cover-up and enters the Mother Ship, and Parcifal passes through Chapel Perilous and finds the Holy Grail. Since Roy and Parcifal both have lots of companions or rivals on the Quest, one can even see an analog with the single sperm that beats all of its brothers and reaches the Egg first...
Close Encounters also has strong isomorphism to H.P. Lovecraft's "The Call of Cthulhu;" but I leave that to the student's own ingenium, as Crowley would say.
Or consider the folktale, found from Russia across Europe to Ireland, in which a young girl on an errand of mercy meets a cannibal in the woods. The monster sets her three riddles, and when she solves them, instead of eating her he becomes her ally and defender. One variation on that became "Little Red Riding Hood" and another became The Silence of the Lambs.
The three brothers who go forth to slay the dragon in many fairy-tales appear as the three shark-hunters in Jaws; the Three Stooges trying to repair a plumbing system; the Englishman, the Welshman and the Scotsman, in many jokes of the British Isles; Smith, Jones and Robinson in logical puzzles [note the distinctly English, Welsh and Scot names]; Dumas' Three Muskateers; and all of these plus the three sons of Noah and the Holy Trinity in Finnegans Wake.
You might find some amusement in discovering the isomorphisms between Jesus' parable of the Good Samaratan, "The Little Engine That Could," and Ulysses; you might even glimpse why Joyce, who never used a word without intense awareness of its history, describes Bloom as behaving "in orthodox Samaratin fashion" in the first sentence of Book III.
Any number can play this game. Try finding the isomorphisms between the ancient ritual of bride-capture; the Eternal Triangle of Finn/Graunia/Dermot, Arthur/Guinevere/ Launcelot, Mark/Isolde/Tristan etc.; Zeus and Leda, Zeus and Danae, etc.; King Kong; Behind the Green Door; the rude man in the lower berth who interrupts the honeymoon couple in a 1001 bawdy jokes...
The more often you try this method, the more likely you will come to credit something like Jung's "collective unconscious" or Sheldrake's "morphogenetic field" and to suspect it has a structure both sexual and mathematical, like I Ching.
From the man's old blog.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
It has finally been revealed that our hoary second-in-command Dick Cheney designed the wardrobes for inspirational film classic Plan 9 From Outer Space. Of course, some adepts among us intuited this information long ago; the trained eye can easily see Cheney's peculiar imagination at work in these creations.
Monday, June 9, 2008
"Having explained these dangers, the method I advise for cultivation of will is, to imagine your head as centre of attraction with thoughts like rays radiating out in a vast globe. To want or desire a thing is the first step in the exercise of Will; get a distinct image of the thing you desire placed, as it were, in your heart, concentrate all your wandering rays of thought upon this image until you feel it to be one glowing scarlet ball of compacted force. Then project this concentrated force on the subject you wish to affect." -Florence Farr
Sunday, June 8, 2008
A wonderful missive from the venerable Michael Prescott:
Anyone who spends much time laboring in the vineyards of psi, even an armchair investigator like myself, becomes aware of the vast number - the truly extraordinary number - of claims that have been made throughout history, and continue to be made today, of miraculous, bizarre, unexplainable phenomena. Every kind of strangeness has been reported by apparently sober witnesses. There is a whole field of study, Forteana, which involves collecting such reports, which easily run into the tens of thousands.
To me, the existence of this mass of material is a bit unsettling. It suggests three basic possibilities, none of which is very palatable. The first possibility is that these weird claims are true, in which case reality is bafflingly and perhaps frighteningly strange. The second possibility is that these claims are false, in which case there is a great horde of otherwise normal people who believe things that are, in fact, crazy. This, too, is rather bewildering and scary; it means the human race is largely insane; psychosis is rampant; we are surrounded by nuts, and may be nuts ourselves. Then there is the third possibility, the one I personally find most likely - namely, that some of these things are true, and some are not, and a great many occupy a wide swath of gray area, an ambiguous borderland where the labels "true" and "false" are not easily applied. And this is, in some ways, the most disturbing prospect of all, because it suggests that we can never be quite sure what is real and what isn't. We can make educated guesses, we can say that one case seems valid and another seems bogus, but we can't really know and we could be quite wrong.
Click here to read the rest of Prescott's essay, "The Unbearable Strangeness of Being."