TIMES, TIME, AND HALF A TIME. A HISTORY OF THE NEW MILLENNIUM.

Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.



Saturday, October 1, 2016

Countdown to Hallowe'en 2016: Interview with Horror Film Director, Oliver Park


Vicious (2016). The lead actress is Rachel Winters. Directed, written and produced by Oliver Park. Video Source: Youtube.

Welcome to another Countdown to Hallowe'en blogathon, in which Histories of Things to Come joins hundreds of other blogs during October to count down to All Saints' Eve. Today, I am very pleased to interview UK film director Oliver Park, whom Bloody Flicks calls "the new face of horror." Park wrote, directed and produced the acclaimed short British film, Vicious (above). On 24 September 2016, he premiered his new short horror film, Still, in the UK at the Exit 6 Film Festival in a screening at the Vue Cinema in Basingstoke, Hampshire, with more screenings in coming months in the UK and USA. Originally from Bath, Park is also an award-winning actor.

Vicious is just over twelve minutes long and has won many international film awards. It scared me! Park visually quotes other horror films, but his take is new. He told TurnAbout Media about his inspirations:
"I was born in the 80’s, so I grew up with stories by M. R. James, H. P. Lovecraft, and Stephen King. Then, when I discovered horror films I quickly fell in love with films by Carpenter, Craven, Kubrick, Romero, Cronenberg, Russell, Barker and of course – Hitchcock (to name but a few). I remember being terrified by those stories and I would regret them every night as I was lying in bed unable to sleep!

My father is also a huge film fan so he introduced me to the horrors from the 50’s and 60’s, the Hammer Horror collection – and two of my all-time favourites: Night of the Demon by Jacques Tourneur and Nosferatu by F. W. Murnau.

Modern day horrors are a new breed and cannot be compared to the older ones. I love the work of Leigh Whannell and James Wan, David Robert Mitchell, Tomas Alfredson, Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza and of course Hideo Nakata and Takashi Shimizu (among many, many others)."


I do not know if Park draws from film noir, but for me, the first scene in Vicious echoed Experiment in Terror (1962; online here), when a woman comes home from work late at night. The scene is similar, down to the barking dog. The woman hurries to leave the lonely street and get inside her house, where she'll be safe. In fact, the dog is warning the woman not to go inside her house.

This is where Vicious starts, at the moment when the place where we feel most secure becomes a cauldron. The film combines horror genres: the home invasion, the haunted house, mental isolation inside the four walls. Perhaps Park's secret is his relentless subliminal insistence on the invasion, even rape, of Millennial privacy; the associated thrall of home-based technologies and Internet connections leaves us trapped and subjugated. Our time wasted. Our lives squandered. Our identities frayed. Park's films may have monsters, but they are secondary to the violated spaces they occupy. There is no privacy, no safe place left. Park remarked on Still's premise:
"My stories are designed to target real life situations - it's not about a 'jump scare'. Still takes you on a journey that we all go on, but then it takes a detour and asks 'what if...'. We all think of our homes as our safe place, when in fact, they can just as easily be our prison - or worse - our tomb. You think you're safe inside - you're not. You're trapped."

Image Source: Turnabout Media.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Time and Politics 21: Visits from the Dark-Haired Girl


The Dark Haired Girl by Philip K. Dick (published posthumously in 1989). In his Exegesis (published posthumously 2011), Dick admitted that the dark-haired girl who showed him the larger frame of spacetime and predicted totalitarian America was his dead twin sister. Image Source: Wiki.

This post follows on my post on Wuthering Heights, The Brontë Effect (16 September 2016), to explore the implications of inhabiting time as it really as, not as we perceive it. The 'Brontë Effect,' as I coined the term with reference to Dia Sobin's words, describes the 'reverberating Gestalt' one experiences after reading a work of powerful fiction such as Wuthering Heights, which makes one aware of compressed or overlapping time, temporal identities, and spacetime continua in different perceived realities.

To cross the boundaries, first of immediate, everyday perception, then of whole dimensions, then of multiverses, sounds far-fetched, but I have discussed what it means to live in reality while perceiving time in its whole dimensionality, and not as an arrow, here. From the 19th to the 20th centuries, the fourth dimension has been portrayed by writers elsewhere - by Fyodor DostoyevskyOscar WildeH. G. WellsJoseph ConradMarcel ProustRobert Heinlein, among many others - and notably by Philip K. Dick in "A World of Talent" (1954), which I have described hereIn that story, a precognitive boy is terrified by appearances of 'others.' At first, the reader assumes the boy is schizoid and hallucinating, but these are in fact other versions of himself at different ages. He can see all versions of himself, past, present and future.

A single event in time, perceived by an observer: "Subdivision of Minkowski spacetime with respect to an event in four disjoint sets. The light cone, the absolute future, the absolute past, and elsewhere. The terminology is from Sard (1970)." Image Source: Wiki.

Multiple events in time, perceived by an observer who is moving through spacetime. In the fourth dimension, an 'event' is an intersection between space and time, following a continuum, with each event causally relative to the next: "In modern physics, space and time are unified in a four-dimensional Minkowski continuum called spacetime, whose metric treats the time dimension differently from the three spatial dimensions." The above gif shows "[t]he momentarily co-moving inertial frames along the trajectory ('world line') of a rapidly accelerating observer (center). The vertical direction indicates time, while the horizontal indicates distance, the dashed line is the spacetime of the observer. The small dots are specific events in spacetime."

Our souls know a larger experience of space and time; and stories about souls raise perceptional and ethical questions about that larger experience. In an interview, one of Dick's ex-wives, Kleo Mini, stated that all of Dick's novels concerned the "internal workings of the soul .... He wrote about people's souls, not a word I use lightly."

Dick was fascinated by self-alienation and social alienation, the blind spot when you recognized neither your own soul, nor your place in the world. To survive that moral test, he considered how characters' souls might be externalized and projected back at them as different characters - exactly as Catherine and Heathcliff are projected upon one another in Wuthering Heights. In Dick's view, if your soul was personified outside you, you might fall in love with it, but you would not necessarily accept everything about it. You might hate it and not reconcile with it, which would be heart-breaking, torturous, and tragic.

Image Source: Frith Luton.

Image Source: Carl Jung.

Dick was influenced by unsolved soul puzzles with numinous qualities, which he first encountered in the work of science fiction writer, A. E. van Vogt, and later in the writings of Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung, who thought that people were haunted by the shadow sides of their souls. Jung argued that for people to become psychologically and socially healthy, they must reconcile with their shadow. He further claimed that these shadows could embody an outer experience with the opposite gender in the anima or animus.

In Jung's hetero-assumed schema, when men and women went out into the world seeking love, they encountered opposite-gendered characterizations of their own souls. Jung theorized that men projected their soul's inner female back upon themselves; and women projected their inner male back upon themselves. Better love relationships depended on an ability to reconcile with one's opposite-gendered soul mirrors, such that one found increasingly sophisticated versions of one's mirror in the world. Men could progress through four anima soul shadow archetypes: Eve (the object of desire, who also reflects the security or insecurity around the man's mother); Helen (a woman who is externally able and beautiful, but internally lacking in virtue, faith, or imagination); Mary (a virtuous woman, who differentiates between lust and love); and Sophia (a woman of wisdom, who encompasses positive and negative qualities without being condemned). For women, the challenge was develop her inner masculine, so that she would externally find a man of physical power; then a capable man of action, a war hero or hunter; then a man of the mind, a professor, clergyman or orator; and finally, a man of hermetic enlightenment, one who could awaken in the woman a spiritual reconciliation between her soul's conscious and unconscious.

Image Source: Find a Grave.

In Jungian terms, the love relationship was a moral path in which a human being developed his or her own soul. Love was always self-referential, a struggle to improve and expand oneself spiritually, while other people became external reflections of, and catalysts in, the individual's internal process. All of this hinged on coping with the unseen, and interacting concretely or nebulously with elements of ourselves which exist beyond our linear experience of time. For Dick, the shadow anima was embodied not in a lover or wife, but in his twin sister, Jane Charlotte Dick, who died in infancy. Her presence haunted him all his life. She took form in characters in his work; he granted her far-seeing and Deus ex Machina roles. He further considered temporal aspects of the projected soul because Jane was dead. She was Philip's phantom agent, reporting from the other side. Because of Jane's influence on the famous author, she also inspired other writers. Perhaps this was why Dick considered the anima-animus not in terms of romance - as in Wuthering Heights - but in terms of society and politics.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Welcome the September Equinox



Today is the September Equinox (22 September 2016 14:21 UTC); the equinox arrives on 23 September in places at least 10 hours ahead of Greenwich. The day marks the start of autumn in northern countries and spring in southern ones.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Secrets, Scandals and Higher Truths: The Bahamas Papers



The quote of the day comes from a commenter at Data Lounge, where people are speculating wildly on the Brangelina divorce and the Hollywood pedophiles who abused 80s' Canadian actor, Corey Haim:
"I think if people really knew what went on in Hollywood, Politics, and Wall Street, they'd go crazy."
Rarely has the establishment, regardless of politics, appeared to be so compromised. WikiLeaks has released information which damages Clinton's presidential campaign - if you believe WikiLeaks.


Conspiracy theorists and whistle blowers make it look as though you cannot succeed in any quarter of society - anywhere in the world - without being ruthless, heartless, exploitative, and willing to do anything while hypocritically declaring yourself to be a defender of law, order, virtue, and the common good. The ugliest American election campaign in history concentrates on sex slave islands, million dollar pay-offs, and six-week body counts.

These 'higher truths' are dangerous, because they have huge online momentum and can change the outcome of elections, or destroy the lives of falsely accused individuals. At the same time, some revelations do confirm genuine exploitation, falsehoods, kleptocracies and plunder. We need higher truths, but on the Internet, any higher truth can be manufactured.


Today's online convulsions produced the Bahamas Papers (Twitter: #bahamasleaks), which you can read here; they concern 175,000 offshore companies registered in the Bahamas. From the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists:
"A cache of leaked documents provides names of politicians and others linked to more than 175,000 Bahamian companies registered between 1990 and 2016. ...

The new information reveals previously unknown or little-reported connections to companies owned or run by current or former politicians from the Americas, Africa, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. ...

The data released today involve the basic building blocks of offshore companies: a company’s name, its date of creation, the physical and mailing address in the Bahamas and, in some cases, the company’s directors. At a basic level, this information is crucial to day-to-day commerce. In other cases, police, detectives and fraud investigators use registries as starting points on the trail of wrongdoing.

'Corporate registries are incredibly important,' said Debra LaPrevotte, a former U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent whose work included tracing billions of dollars in bribes and corruption proceeds hidden in tax havens for politicians from Ukraine, Nigeria and Bangladesh. 'Offshore companies are often used as intermediaries to facilitate money laundering and, frequently, the companies are only used to open bank accounts, thus the corporate registry documents, which might identify the beneficial owners, are part of the evidence.' ...

Unlike the Panama Papers, 11.5 million often-detailed emails, contracts, audio recordings and other documents from one law firm, the information listed in the new Bahamian documents is plainer — if still fundamental — in content. The new data does not make it clear, for example, whether directors named in connection with a Bahamian firm truly control the company or act as nominees, employees-for-hire who serve as the face of the company but have no involvement in its operations.

When paired with the Panama Papers, the Bahamas data provide fresh insights into the offshore dealings of politicians, criminals and executives as well as the bankers and lawyers who help move money."


Time Lapses: Antibiotic Resistance


"A time-lapsed video reveals how bacteria develop resistance to increasingly higher doses of antibiotics in a matter of days." Video Source: Youtube. (Hat tip: Hugo Reinert.)

This morning, the Guardian reported that the UN named antibiotic resistance, "the biggest threat to modern medicine." On 8 September 2016, Harvard Medical School issued a time lapse video in which bacteria evolve and become antibiotic resistant:
"In a creative stroke inspired by Hollywood wizardry, scientists from Harvard Medical School and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have designed a simple way to observe how bacteria move as they become impervious to drugs.

The experiments, described in the Sept. 9 issue of Science, are thought to provide the first large-scale glimpse of the maneuvers of bacteria as they encounter increasingly higher doses of antibiotics and adapt to survive—and thrive—in them."
The research team found that the strongest mutant bacteria hang back and let others die for them:
"'What we saw suggests that evolution is not always led by the most resistant mutants,' Baym said. 'Sometimes it favors the first to get there. The strongest mutants are, in fact, often moving behind more vulnerable strains. Who gets there first may be predicated on proximity rather than mutation strength.'"
Drug-resistant bacteria promise to take us back to the pre-antibiotic period in medicine, which for many people is hard to imagine. The post-antibiotic era has grabbed the attention of doom-sayers, who may have a point: first we had Peak Oil, then the Peak Middle Class, now Peak Antibiotics.


2014 talk from Robert Wallace on evolving pathogens and agroeconomics at the Institute for Global Studies, University of Minnesota. Video Source: University of Minnesota via Collapse of Industrial Civilization.

Related:
  • Joseph Gottfried, Harvard Law School (17 April 2005): History Repeating? Avoiding a Return to the Pre-Antibiotic Age
  • CDC (January 2011): Ceftriaxone-Resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Japan
  • Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (July 2011): Is Neisseria gonorrhoeae Initiating a Future Era of Untreatable Gonorrhea?: Detailed Characterization of the First Strain with High-Level Resistance to Ceftriaxone
  • WHO (2014): Antimicrobial Resistance: Global Report on Surveillance
  • Bloomberg (30 April 2014): Everyday Infections May Kill as Antibiotics Lose Potency
  • Bloomberg (2 May 2014): Remember Life Before Antibiotics? No? Wait, It'll Come to You
  • WHO (25 July 2014): Pre-Antibiotic era looming large - The world is almost out of time
  • Journal of Infectious Diseases and Preventative Medicine (July 2015): Infection in a Pre-Antibiotic Era
  • The Tribune (14 September 2015): Pre-antibiotic era may return, warns WHO
  • ESOF (26 July 2016): Regression to the pre-antibiotic era: time to panic?

"CDC staff show two plates growing bacteria in the presence of discs containing various antibiotics. The isolate on the left plate is susceptible to the antibiotics on the discs and is therefore unable to grow around the discs. The one on the right has a CRE that is resistant to all of the antibiotics tested and is able to grow near the disks." Click to enlarge. Image Source: CDC.

In the pre-antibiotic era, people who could afford it took to sanatoriums with chronic infections which never really healed. Image Source: Herd Effect.


Friday, September 16, 2016

The Brontë Effect


Image Source: Opheliac Madness.

At the great blog, Trans-D, Dia Sobin finds artistic connections between layers of time and dimensional existence. Recently, she dug through a trove of old books - with initial posts here and here - and settled on a 1943 edition of Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights (1847). She wrote an incredible post on how Catherine's and Heathcliff's love reveals the blurred boundaries of reality. I commented, because she described something one might call 'the Brontë Effect'; the italicized text cites Dia's post, with my comments in non-italics:
"'And, there is also the transdimensional aspect of the story: the odd way in which Emily presented her narratives, from several different points of view, intertwining numerous points in time, thereby, creating a weird, reverberating gestalt as opposed to a linear chronicle.' ... [I responded:] I felt that there was an indistinctness, especially because the characters give their kids the same names. Past, present and future are jumbled together. ...

I wonder if Emily Bronte was exposed via her father to Scottish freemasonry? Because when you look at the story in the sense of two souls in an alchemical marriage, the story becomes much more clear. Maybe she intuitively 'reached for' alchemical concepts without knowing them. I am sure someone has researched it. A lot of the primal gothic takes on the trans-dimensional or multi-dimensional aspects ... if you consider the alchemical. Across time, space, in new incarnations, like the two lovers embody a conflicting spirit of humans on the moors, but [also on] Jacob's Ladder ... ."
First, regarding Dia's observation that Wuthering Heights is trans-dimensional and multi-temporal, one senses this less in reading the novel, and more in the lingering impression after one reads it. The story leaves one with a feeling of time smashed together through characters' blurred and overlapping identities; their names and roles repeat, and generational tweaks are permitted over decades. The novel goes on forever, but Catherine is only about 18 years old when she dies at Thrushcross Grange. The 2009 dramatization had her die at age 25; either way, she remains eternally young and a persistent force.

ITV 2009 adaptation of Wuthering Heights, starring Tom Hardy as Heathcliff and Charlotte Riley as Catherine. Image Source: Elementary.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Ex-NSA Hackers Form Start-Up


Area 1's Oren Falkowitz was among CEOs who pitched for Fortune Magazine's Brainstorm Tech Unicorn Idol 2015. The judges were Amy Banse, managing director at Comcast Ventures; Brad Feld, managing director at Foundry Group; and David Stern, former commissioner of the National Basketball Association (21 July 2015). The winner of this competition was the start-up Accion. Video Source: Youtube.

According to an NYT report from 11 June 2016, ex-NSA hackers formed a start-up in 2013 called Area 1, based in Redwood City, California, USA. They have hacked Chinese hackers attacking American targets; and they have hacked North Korea's missile launch systems. In this overlap between public and private interests, with a whiff of government contracts and outsourcing national security, Edward Snowden responded in social media. He wondered why classified information was shared in a mainstream press piece, which also promoted this new company in the area of 'threat intelligence.' NYT:
"Area 1 was founded by three former N.S.A. analysts, Mr. Darché, Oren Falkowitz and Phil Syme. The three sat side by side at Fort Meade, tracking and, in some cases, penetrating adversaries’ weapons systems for intelligence. A little over two years ago, they decided to start their own company and raised $25.5 million in funding from major venture capitalists and security entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, including Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers and Cowboy Ventures, and security veterans like Ray Rothrock, the chief executive of RedSeal, and Derek Smith, the chief executive of Shape Security.

Area 1 is a new player in threat intelligence, a nascent subsector of the security business that includes companies like iSight Partners and Recorded Future that track attackers in underground web forums and on social media, gleaning intelligence about them.

Threat intelligence is still more art than science. The jury is still out on whether companies are equipped to use that intelligence to thwart hackers. Area 1 claims that it can head off attacks through the compromised servers it is tracking. It can also use its vantage point to see where attackers are setting up shop on the web and how they plan to target their intended victims."
Area 1 CEO and co-founder Oren Falkowitz. In 2015, Area 1 raised USD $15 million in support from Icon Ventures and Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers. Image Source: Fortune.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A New Lament Configuration



It is odd that an architect, much less an American Gen X architect, commissioned to do a World Trade Center design, would not check the cultural message associated with his design at such a sensitive site. From Inhabitat, the new renderings of the Ronald O. Perelman World Trade Center Performing Arts Center released this week show a glowing, lantern-like cube:
"According to the architect, Joshua Prince-Ramus, the rooms and halls will all feature moveable walls that will create up to 11 configurations. ... Designed by REX, the building will be made out of translucent, veined marble and glass, which will give it dull sheen during the day."
I cannot believe that the REX lead architect does not know about Clive Barker's horror puzzle box, also known as the Lament Configuration, which opened gateways to hell in all the Hellraiser films. Youtubers recognized it immediately: "It's the cube from Hellraiser!" This is not the way to quell 9/11 conspiracy theories. The WTC Twin Towers appeared in Hellraiser 3 (1992); you can see the scene here. That flim ended with the box being hidden in the soft cement of a skyscraper foundation in Manhattan, which influenced its subsequent design. In Hellraiser 4 (1996), the skycraper and architect become the epicentre of another battle with demons.

Video Source: The Real Deal via Youtube.

The REX WTC Performing Arts Center design (September 2016). Image Source: yimby.

The conclusion of Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992). Image Source: Edge of the Fringe.

The Hellraiser III promotional poster featured the Twin Towers. Image Source: Subscene.

See my previous post on Hellraiser 3, here.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Anniversaries: 11 September 2001


Image Source: TheoPol.

On 15 July 2016, newly declassified information appeared to confirm the Saudi government's larger role in 9/11 than previously publicly known. You can see footage of World Trade Center Building 7 burning, released in October 2011 here on Live Leak via the Freedom of Information Act, which disputed conspiracy theorists' claims about controlled demolitions.

I visited Ground Zero in spring 2002; the scorch marks in the surrounding area were still visible. In particular, one neighbouring skyscraper looked as though a gigantic piece of charcoal had drawn a line up one whole side. Just that scorch mark, six months after the event, looked like a physical manifestation of a scream in an unbelievable fire. I will never forget it.

Image Source: Creeping Sharia.

On 24 August 2015, Marcy Borders, a Bank of America worker who was captured in an iconic 'dust lady' photograph on 9/11, died after battling years of depression, post-traumatic stress, illness and finally stomach cancer. She was 28 years old on 9/11 and died at age 42, likely due to the toxic contaminants she inhaled that day.

Video Source: Youtube.