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.



Showing posts with label Ghosts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ghosts. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Hallowe'en Countdown 2018: Happy Hallowe'en!



Happy Hallowe'en! For today, see some old-fashioned ghost stories in the playlist below.

Note to readers: October was unexpectedly busy; I will follow up on some ideas which I did not get to cover this month in November.

Video Source: Youtube.



Image Source: pinterest.

See all my posts on the Occult, Horror, and Ghosts.
See all my Countdowns.

Click here to see other blogs counting down to Hallowe'en!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Hallowe'en Countdown 2018: Conditions of Absolute Reality


Image Source: Netflix via NAG Online.

This week in the Hallowe'en countdown, I will focus on the nature of reality. The horror genre plays with the idea that there is more to reality than we are willing to acknowledge.

Author Shirley Jackson opened her novel, The Haunting of Hill House (1959), with the statement that absolute reality was insane. In the story, the main, psychic character is repressed and has been psychologically abused. Her bid for freedom takes her into the maw of a malevolent, haunted house. The Wall Street Journal stated that Jackson's story is "now widely regarded as the greatest haunted-house story ever written." A passage:
"No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood for eighty years and might stand for eighty more."
You can listen to Jackson's original story, below.


In the original story, the paranormal is the subconscious unleashed, when ego, rationality, manners and rigid hierarchies no longer suppress the tormented individual. This work reflects the mid-to-late 20th century's focus on exposing psychological and sexual realities.

Millennial truthers are still trying to get at the whole nature of reality, but mainly in the areas of politics, the economy, community, and human-techno spiritualism. We associate social repression mainly with the past and are now more concerned with exposing capitalist fantasies (built on debt), tech addiction, and political corruption (built on lies, black budgets, secret societies, offshore bank accounts and consumers' delusions).

The horror genre warns you about trying to expose absolute reality. If you abandon materialist illusions because you feel they fall short, you are in for a big spiritual challenge.

The Netflix adaptation of Jackson's story, released 12 October 2018, is getting rave reviews for its exploration of a family's intention to renovate an old house and sell it so they can buy their dream home (aka their capitalist fantasy) elsewhere. Hill House has other plans for them, the project goes very, very wrong.

The 2018 Netflix adaptation of Jackson's story is getting rave reviews: The Haunting of Hill House | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix (19 September 2018). Video Source: Youtube.




Image Source: pinterest.

See all my posts on the Occult, Horror, and Ghosts.
See all my Countdowns.

Click here to see other blogs counting down to Hallowe'en!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Countdown to Hallowe'en 2017: Happy Hallowe'en!


Still from John Carpenter's The Fog (1980). Image Source.

Happy Hallowe'en! For today, hear a video rip from a new-retro vinyl LP. This is the soundtrack for John Carpenter's The Fog (1980), which was released in 1984. This nostalgic Youtube channel has a whole playlist of classic horror movie soundtracks on vinyl LPs; to listen, go here.

The Fog Soundtrack (Blake's Gold Edition) [Full Vinyl Rip] Part 1 (this vinyl LP release edition 2013); by John Carpenter (1980; 1984) © Varèse Sarabande. Video Source: Youtube. Reproduced non-commercially under Fair Use.

See all my posts on Horror.
See all my posts on the Paranormal.
Posts on the Occult are here.
Click here for my posts on Ghosts.

Check out other blogs observing the Countdown to Hallowe'en!
Image Source: 4Chan.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Countdown to Hallowe'en 2017: Thy Love to Me was Wonderful



In February of this year, it emerged in the UK press that the guitarist of Pink Floyd, David Gilmour, owned Hook End Manor in Oxfordshire, UK. Now abandoned, the reports were an invitation to UK urban explorers to go have a look. Youtube now boasts a number of urbex videos giving us a peek into a rock star's life from thirty years ago. The description for the video below was adapted a report from The Daily Mail:
"David Gilmour bought the manor in 1980 from Alvin Lee of the blues band Ten Years After. He recorded some of Pink Floyd’s 1987 album A Momentary Lapse of Reason in a studio at the house. Horn recorded the hit single Video Killed The Radio Star and masterminded the success of the 1980s group Frankie Goes To Hollywood.

He bought Hook End Manor in the 1990s before placing it on the market for £10 million in 2007.

The house - thought to have been built for the Bishop of Reading around 1580 - boasted a gym, heated swimming pool, croquet lawn and tennis court, pergola and terracing.

The 11-bedroom Elizabethan manor house, set in 25 acres, boasted a state-of-the-art recording studio where Spandau Ballet and Jamiroquai also recorded hit tracks.

The home - worth around £12million - was sold by record producer Trevor Horn in 2007 after his wife Jill Sinclair, 55, was struck by a stray pellet fired from her son Aaron’s air rifle in the garden of the mansion.

The pellet lodged in Jill's neck, piercing an artery and she was rushed to hospital, but despite prompt medical attention she had to be put into a drug-induced coma. She died in 2014."
The house is currently on the site of RPA Architects as a slated refurbishment project.




Images Source: Daily Mail.

In the video below, see urban explorers go though the abandoned mansion. In the basement, they found a morbid memento, the tombstone of a small boy: LITTLE JACK. April 17th 1909. THY LOVE TO ME WAS WONDERFUL. Morrissey, lead singer of The Smiths, stayed in the house and reported that he (and other visitors) felt a ghostly hand on their chests, waking them each day at 4:10 in the morning.

PINK FLOYDS ABANDONED MILLIONAIRE 1580s MANSION (EVERYTHING LEFT BEHIND) DAVID GILMOUR LIVED HERE! (30 September 2017). At 10:48 (here) in the video, the urban explorers find a tombstone in the basement. Video Source: Youtube.


See all my posts on Horror.
See all my posts on the Paranormal.
Posts on the Occult are here.
Click here for my posts on Ghosts.

Check out other blogs observing the Countdown to Hallowe'en!
Image Source: 4Chan.


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Countdown to Hallowe'en 2017: Operation Wandering Soul


"Fair Use dissemination of documentary clip about 'Wandering Soul,' aka 'Ghost Tape Number 10' - an audio harassment theme recorded by the US Army Psychological Operations Battalion for loudspeaker broadcast during the Vietnam War. 'Wandering Soul' attempted to demoralise Vietcong opposition by engaging with traditional Vietnamese superstition and folk-lore." Video Source: Youtube.

During the Vietnam War, the Americans exploited a local Vietnamese superstition that a person must be buried in the soil of their homeland, or be doomed to wander through hell forever. The US Army developed a psyop called Operation Wandering Soul, in which they created funeral dirges and dead Vietnamese soldiers' lost souls, warning Viet Cong soldiers to retreat. They played this tape into the jungle at night. You can read more about Operation Wandering Soul, here and here.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

All Souls


Image Source: C. Bessich via Adriana Sanchez.

For All Souls' Day today, to remember the faithful departed, see photos from Melaten Cemetery, Cologne, Germany. Although the cemetery is 200 years old, this area has a dark past prior to its current use. In the 13th century, lepers were sequestered in a hospice at Melaten; later, it was a place where witches were burned. Now noted as a conservation area and for its incredible statues, it is the resting place of the city's most famous people, listed here.


Images Source: European Cemeteries.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Hallowe'en! Soul Cakes and Trumpkins


In England, people originally carved faces in turnips, not pumpkins, on All Hallows' Eve. English colonists began carving pumpkins in the New World. Image Source: Telegraph.

Happy Hallowe'en! Today's post is dedicated to Samhain soul cakes, and how Donald Trump made Jack o' Lanterns great again. Below the jump, see some pumpkin carving competition winners before - and after - The Donald announced his presidential candidacy. The whole nation is carving Trumpkins in 2016.

Soul cakes and pumpkin-carving are offshoots of cooking, preserving and baking which are part of harvest festivals in the northern hemisphere. To absorb the power of Gaelic Samhain (October 31; pronounced SAH-win), the Catholic Church combined harvest festivals with pagan funerary rites and ancient spring death rituals. In the 5th century BCE, Greek women visited graves with libations and cakes; the Romans adapted that custom to placate lemures, or ghosts, with beans and salted flour cakes during the festival of Lemuria in May. Later traditions from Ireland, to Germany, to Jamaica, to colonial America, buried the dead with small cakes, scones, or biscuits, while mourners drank liquor or port; graveyard ceremonies in Hungary and Estonia also often involved drinking special fortified wines. All of these traditions combined to inspire the American trick or treat candies, chocolates and potato chips. You can see modern recipes for Samhain soul cakes here, here, here, here and here.

The graveside consumption of cakes and wine may have led to the term 'cakes and ale' coined by William Shakespeare in Twelfth Night (1601-1602); merry-making and a wanton good life symbolized by cakes and ale defend us from death. But they also remind us that death is never far away and bring us closer to it:
"Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?"
With one line, Shakespeare summarized the religious injunction against the pleasures and temptations of mortal life when one contemplates mortality. Yet contemplating mortality makes us want to indulge. This time of year is about losing and rediscovering a balance between life and death, light and dark. Cakes and wine ease the grief of the living, and calm the spirits of the dead. Overindulge, and religious authorities warn, you will find yourself possessed by forces beyond your will.

My friend C. suggested the BBC Radio 4 recording from 2011So You Want to Be an Exorcist. Other BBC shows on exorcism are on Youtubehere. The exorcists interviewed for the BBC Radio 4 show claimed nearly anything can open you up to demonic possession, including ouija boards, street drugs, sexual immorality (which can be code for homophobia), astrology, yoga, New Age spirituality, and tarot cards. Apparently, the Anglican Church now has an official exorcist on call in every diocese due to rising demand, which I find hard to believe.  It sounds like they realized the Catholic Church has cornered the market, and they want their own Indy 500. I can just see the C of E promotional television series about an Anglican exorcist, starring Helen Mirren. That doesn't exist yet, but you can watch the terrifying new American television FOX series, The Exorcist, online here or here. The trailer is here. In 2010, The Daily Mail reported here on 21st century exorcists.

Samhain soul cakes. Image Source: My Witch's Kitchen.

The Starbucks seasonal pumpkin scone with spiced glaze follows the ancient soul cakes tradition. Image Source: Starbucks via pinterest.

To celebrate the pumpkin harvest, here is a pumpkin scones recipe, inspired by Starbucks. I checked the best cookery book which collects the historic recipes of colonial America, and offer this pumpkin pie recipe, altered and adapted from: Helen Duprey Bullock, A National Treasury of Cookery, vol. 1, Early America (New York, New York: Heirloom Publishing Company, 1967), p. 54.

2 9-inch unbaked pie shells
2 cups mashed cooked pumpkin
3 eggs, well beaten
1.5 cups heavy cream or 1 14-ounce tin of sweetened condensed milk
3 tbsp. rum
0.5 tsp. vanilla extract
0.25 cups granulated sugar
0.25 cups brown sugar
0.18 cups molasses
0.5 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground mace
0.5 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. finely-grated candied ginger or fresh ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
0.5 tsp ground cloves or allspice

Make the pie shells and refrigerate them, or thaw frozen commercial pre-made pie shells in the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, eggs, cream or condensed milk, rum and extract, sugar, salt, spices. Blend well. Pour into chilled pie shells. Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Reduce heat to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 45 minutes.

Best pumpkin spice latte you can make at home. Video Source: Youtube.
Different pumpkin spice latte recipes are here, here and here.

History Channel's history of Hallowe'en explains the origins of Jack o' Lanterns. Video Source: Youtube.

A pumpkin carved by Scott Cully, "the Northwest's legendary pumpkin carver," Parkplace Mall, Kirkland, Washington, USA (2008). Image Source Mickeleh / flickr via Daily Picks and Flicks.


Cully's 2010 lantern, lit. Image Source: pinterest.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Countdown to Hallowe'en 2016: Urbex in Your Mind


Dan Bell explores an abandoned house, site of a tragic 1983 crime in Randallstown, Maryland, USA, when Craig Johnson decapitated his baby son, possibly while under the influence of drugs. (Video published 8 May 2015.) Video Source: Youtube.

For today, see some videos from American urban explorer Dan Bell, who visits abandoned properties and films them with camerawork and subtle editing reminiscent of horror movies. He is not a ghost hunter or paranormal believer; his interest merges the artistic with the historic to create unnerving video experiences on his Youtube channels (here and here). Beyond urban exploration, he could be an aspiring feature film director with an uncanny knack for locating disturbing places.

Above, a house outside Baltimore, site of a 1983 Christmas Day beheading of a child by a father. Some Youtubers dismiss Dan Bell's work as sensationalist; some like his added effects, including music from Stanley Kubrick's The Shining (1980). All commenters debated whether the evil of the 1983 crime remained in the building; part of the Youtube experience involves their collaborative reactions:
  • "Here's what I found and Researched on the man named Steven Craig Johnson the Drug addict. A Baltimore-area man, who police say thought his son was Jesus Christ and had to die for the sins of the world, was denied bail Monday after being charged with first-degree murder in the decapitation of his 14-month-old boy.Baltimore County police said Stephen Johnson, 28, was charged with first-degree murder and held at police headquarters in Towson."
  • "Creepy music and a house slowly falling into ruin does NOT make a house evil. Sheesh. The PCP caused the man to hallucinate that his son was Jesus, and for whatever his drug-addled mind thought, the son wound up dead at the hand's of his own father. That was HUMAN EVIL ... not some house. PCP is evil!"
  • "You miss the point here. Dan Bells videos are his art and he obviously likes to bring horror movie elements to his videos. Its his point of view and a genre he has chosen. Its totally irrelevant weather the house truly is evil or not."
  • "Stories like this destroy the real estate market. Not Dan's fault. I'm glad that history leaks. I rent-to-own an apartment and when I had tile installed the tile company told me the place is contaminated. I got out of the contract. Two people were murdered in the bedroom and the carpet foam had blood in it. Now I know the patched up holes weren't picture holes. They were bullet holes."
  • "Both my parents died in our family home. They were in their 90's, on hospice and died peacefully. We did not have to declare it, nor did it ever occur to us that we should. The people who bought the house after a company bought the house seemed to get upset when I went over there and took them a framed artist's drawing of the house that I had had done for Daddy for Father's Day one year. I'm not sure how it came up in the conversation but I gave the man and his daughter a little history of the house. It was built by my grandfather for my grandmother, then she died and my parents bought it from him and they lived in it for almost their entire 71 year marriage. The man seemed shaken up that my parents died IN the house, so I wish I hadn't told him, but it's not like there was a murder. However, not long after that, the house disappeared. I asked the neighbors and they said a crane woke them up one morning and by noon, the house was gone. There doesn't even look like a house was ever even there. Very sad. I would have loved to have lived there, but I couldn't afford to buy out my sister's half."
  • "Another problem with this type of places is that when something like that happened in there (murder, witchcraft, playing with ouija), they're usually haunted, I had to move out of a house because of that shit."
  • "I wouldn't say its so much evil I would call it a complete wreck but the one odd thing that stood out to me if anyone else caught it. This house is in complete ruins with what looks like a brand new energy star hot water heater in the basement and the paint is still glossy while everything else is severely weathered. I don't think the house is as evil as the water heater."
  • "All those flies are a classic sign that the house is demon possessed. It's very dark and oppressive atmosphere. It's damp negative lowly energy. And it's perfectly clear that something is very very wrong. It takes a brave person to go into a place such as this, because it's facing our inner fears. A film or documentary would be interesting. Did any one hear voices on this footage? or were they part of the musical background? Thanks for sharing."

Occupant's keepsake, occult prop, or message from a previous visitor? The curious note next to remnants of a woman's dress, found in the Johnson closet, reads: "About luck thats good for us. I don’t know what made thy house evil, I only know that thee begs thy help of whatever within here can help with. Undo." Image Source: Dan Bell via BlumHouse.

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.

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.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Hallowe'en Countdown 2015: Enter the Underworld


Image Source: Saya in the Underworld.

Daily existence requires a tacit denial of death. When people do contemplate mortality, the denied Underworld offers up secrets. This is why all cultures have legends and rituals around facing that fear, crossing that line between life and death, and returning with knowledge that proves essential to a longer, better life. The 'Descent into the Underworld' is so universal that it is known as a mytheme, an irreducible, unchanging element of all stories.

This mytheme runs back thousands of years; there are actual geographic locations which are historically considered gates to the Underworld. Modern technology provides new portals. An autumn equinox wiccan ritual visits Persephone "in the time of global warming" and allows participants to exchange knowledge with "the darkness" of the Underworld through New Age meditation. One rumoured Japanese Millennial rite involves locking oneself in a darkened house and unlighted bathroom, calling spirits from the Underworld via the toilet or bathtub with one's mobile phone, and controlling them with salt.

Another Japanese creepy pasta (an online urban legend) claims people can enter the Underworld using an elevator. The elevator ritual instructs the individual to ride an elevator alone in a 10-storey building to floors 4 -> 2 -> 6 -> 2 -> 10. One is then supposed to take the elevator to the 5th floor, where a young woman will enter. This is the sign that things have gotten weird, since it is forbidden to speak to, or look at, the woman, who is supposedly not of this world. The principal then presses the button for the 1st floor, but if the ritual has worked, the elevator will instead go to the 10th floor. At that point, you are on your own. The elevator ritual has also appeared in South Korea, where there are instructions on how to return to reality. Below the jump, see videos of attempts at the elevator ritual, and a VICE report on how near death coffin experiences became a Millennial fad among careerists in South Korea.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Hallowe'en Countdown 2015: The Tunnel


The Pont de l'Alma tunnel in Paris, where Princess Diana died in 1997. Image Source (2009) © shirley77 at flickr.

Tunnels symbolize death, near death experiences, ascension to heaven, time travel, or a sealed fate. As Princess Diana lay dying in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel in Paris in 1997, police arrested seven photographers at the accident. A commenter under a video about the paparazzi who chased her car into the tunnel wrote:
"I can't imagine what it would be like breathing your last and all you can see is flash bulbs going off and knowing that people will make a mint out of your death. There's something eerily pornographic about the photographers standing there taking pictures and not helping."
Tunnels represent travel forward to a new or final destiny. In the French film Irréversible, Monica Bellucci's character Alex is raped in a pedestrian passage in Paris. The film's scenes run in reverse chronological order to connect her grim end to time travel:
In An Experiment with Time, which Alex is reading during the last (i.e. chronologically first) sequence in the film, J. W. Dunne postulates the existence of a "time-travelling observer", which in dreams can move backwards or forwards in time to actually observe events which may not have yet happened. These are the 'premonitory dreams' which Alex mentions to Marcus and Pierre. Alex earlier describes such a dream to Marcus, where she is in a 'red tunnel' which breaks in two.
You can read An Experiment with Time (1922), here. The theory of the book is that all points in time coexist simultaneously; due to human perception, we are only conscious of one forward stream of time. But the other events are there, including potentials. To indicate this, Alex discovers she is pregnant shortly before her rape in the tunnel. Those who claim to have had psychic or precognitive experiences would, in Dunne's terms, be people who tap the unconscious parts of their brains to see past, present and future. This is how Dunne would have explained precognitive experiences of fictional characters (or in Diana's case, of a real person), whose destinies end in a tunnel.

The subheading of the film title is 'Le Temps Detruit Tout' - 'Time Destroys Everything.' In the film, the tunnel Alex enters is analogous to the course of normal human perception, which rams forward to cut off all possibilities, except the one set of events we finally perceive as 'what happened.' The vicious creation of one path of consciously-seen outcomes, i.e. 'time,' is akin to a brutal rape and destruction of all other potential alternate futures.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Hallowe'en Countdown 2015: Post-it Note Enantiodromia


Images Source: tickld and John Kenn.

Danish children's television producer John Kenn Mortensen draws monsters on Post-it notes in his spare time under the alias Don Kenn. Obviously influenced by Edward Gorey, Mortensen's monsters are not Victorian or Edwardian, rather they are situated in the unconscious of the Millennial world, around suicide, child abuse, bullies, nightmares, a vengeful natural environment, ghosts of the past, and dreamlike beasts. Mortensen has a talent for capturing moments of extreme vulnerability and isolation in mundane circumstances, whether that involves nosy neighbours or a hike up a mountain. He also depicts situations in the everyday world where dangerous energy has accumulated. Some of Mortensen's Post-its remind me of Final Destination films, in which scares depend on hair-trigger coincidences, a vase left by a windowsill, a kettle boiling over near a sparking plug, the conversion of potential energy into kinetic energy.


To shed light on the messages behind Mortensen's doodles, consider the great Viennese psychoanalysts from the turn of the last century. Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) argued that most horrors stemmed from repressed sexuality. Alfred Adler (1870-1937) claimed they came from the will to power as an individual violently molded his or her personality. Adler's ideas inspired a typology to classify personalities as 'getters and learners'; 'avoiders' who are overtly successful but never take risks; 'leaders or dominants'; and the 'socially useful.'

Finally, Carl Jung (1875-1961), founder of the school of analytical psychology, believed that monsters emerged from conflicting opposites in our natures, some of which were confined to individual perception, some of which were universally shared. Jung defined these opposites as the conscious and unconscious, and hypothesized that in western culture, consciousness (associated with Freud's Ego) was dominated by thinking and sensory sensation. The remaining two impulses - emotional feelings and intuition - were repressed and driven underground into the western unconscious. In this way, a stark line was drawn in the west between body and heart. Even now, decades after Jung's death, those who bring elements of the psyche into the material world are deemed in the west to be artistic (at best) or insane (at worst). This was not the case, according to Jung, in eastern cultures. He ignored the "modernized east," but his work on traditional eastern religions and texts led him to conclude that the eastern cultures widely accept "psychic reality."

The unconscious - a pool of symbols shared by all cultures - became a paradox in the west. It could be harnessed and applied to creative endeavours and innovation. Or it could be repressed and unleashed to deal with threats. The Jungian western unconscious turned upon itself during the two World Wars; aimed outward, it could prove a hidden reserve of violent ruthlessness to ensure the survival of western societies. Either way, Jungian theory indicated that westerners remain obsessed with exploiting the constructive and destructive power of polarities. They define themselves in terms of inclusion and exclusion, in terms of an inner world and an outer world, ever mindful of the walls between.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Photo of the Day: Bathroom Subjectivity


Photo "found inside a stall at a gas station in Virginia." Image Source: Facebook.

You can read Bertrand Russell, Problems of Philosophy (1912), chapter two, for free online here. According to Russell, the original problem from Decartes' "I think, therefore I am" confronts the distinction between subjective and objective, rather fitting for a bathroom wall in Virginia, or anywhere else for that matter:
"'I think, therefore I am,' he said (Cogito, ergo sum); and on the basis of this certainty he set to work to build up again the world of knowledge which his doubt had laid in ruins. By inventing the method of doubt, and by showing that subjective things are the most certain, Descartes performed a great service to philosophy, and one which makes him still useful to all students of the subject.

But some care is needed in using Descartes' argument. 'I think, therefore I am' says rather more than is strictly certain. It might seem as though we were quite sure of being the same person to-day as we were yesterday, and this is no doubt true in some sense. But the real Self is as hard to arrive at as the real table, and does not seem to have that absolute, convincing certainty that belongs to particular experiences. When I look at my table and see a certain brown colour, what is quite certain at once is not 'I am seeing a brown colour', but rather, 'a brown colour is being seen'. This of course involves something (or somebody) which (or who) sees the brown colour; but it does not of itself involve that more or less permanent person whom we call 'I'. So far as immediate certainty goes, it might be that the something which sees the brown colour is quite momentary, and not the same as the something which has some different experience the next moment.

Thus it is our particular thoughts and feelings that have primitive certainty. And this applies to dreams and hallucinations as well as to normal perceptions: when we dream or see a ghost, we certainly do have the sensations we think we have, but for various reasons it is held that no physical object corresponds to these sensations. Thus the certainty of our knowledge of our own experiences does not have to be limited in any way to allow for exceptional cases. Here, therefore, we have, for what it is worth, a solid basis from which to begin our pursuit of knowledge. The problem we have to consider is this: Granted that we are certain of our own sense-data, have we any reason for regarding them as signs of the existence of something else, which we can call the physical object?"
Philosophical discussions on how to verify truth and reality have never been more relevant than they are now, with malleable truth dominating the Internet and a growing confusion about the distinction between virtual reality and everyday 'real' reality.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The New Age of William Butler Yeats


W. B. Yeats by John Singer Sargent.

Today is the sesquicentennial 150th anniversary of the birth of the great Irish poet, William Butler Yeats (1865-1939). Many modern poets have captured the spirit of our times. But Yeats stands out as a Romantic Modernist whose work most clearly described the great transition of our times, from one age to another. In his works, he depicted periods of time as sharply-dermarcated sections of human experience during which certain symbolic, spiritual, moral, occult or magical ideas gained total dominance. Thus the passage of time and the turn of ages was imagined by the poet as a violent, ongoing battle between contending philosophies and ways of being. Yeats equated the passage of time with millennia-long developments in collective human psychology. To understand how and why Yeats depicted the current Millennial transition so rarely and perfectly, we need to travel backward through his life, from the end of his days when his visions of the future were most pronounced, to the influences of his early childhood (Thanks to -C.).

Friday, April 24, 2015

Time and Politics 14: Who Now Remembers the Annihilation of the Armenians?


Image Source: BBC.

Wer redet heute noch von der Vernichtung der Armenier? Who now still speaks of the annhilation of the Armenians? These were Hitler's words to the German military forces on 22 August 1939. In this speech, he ordered them to invade Poland and exterminate the Polish people. He insisted that the Poles were expendable, not just at that moment in an act of war, but that they could be completely wiped from the pages of history. The monstrous idea behind Hitler's imperial vision - he who writes history controls politics, society and the future - applied deadly lessons from World War I; it was recognized by other world leaders and thinkers at the time. In one sentence, the German leader summarized his clear, conscious awareness that history could be altered, and it was on that basis that one could do anything to anyone to achieve near-infinite aims.

Today is the 100th anniversary of the start of the Armenian genocide. Source: imgkid.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Forty Days and Forty Nights: Christian Lent and Easter


The Temptation of Christ (1854) by Ary Scheffer. Image Source: Wiki. Based on Matthew 4:9: "Satan says that to Jesus: 'All these things I will give you if you fall down and do an act of worship to me.'"

The number 40 is central to the Christian religion. It is the pivotal signifier of the temptation and resurrection of Christ. It is the number, one might say, on which his proclaimed historic existence and divinity depend. If one were to hang the entire faith on numbers, they would be 3, 1 and 40; and according to the Rule of Three, 40 is mathematically and mystically related to 3 and 1. As Christianity evolved away from Judaism, an incredibly elaborate religious story mingled with Roman imperial history. Taken literally by its believers, this legend of human and divine sacrifice came to obscure the Christian faith's underlying numerology.

Jews remain more forthright than Christians in their numerological mysticism. Building on ancient Mesopotamian mythologies of water gods, they used ingenious mathematical theories to see 40 as the harrowing number of sin, atonement and forgiveness, and made it a symbolic catalyst of revolution:
According to Rabbi Geoffrey Dennis, author of The Encyclopedia of Jewish Myth, Magic and Mysticism, the number of 40 represents "a time of radical transition or transformation." Any time the number 40 appears in a biblical passage, it's meant to indicate a liminal time when something extraordinary occurs. Multiples of 40 also are used to denote extraordinary circumstances ... .
Aside from delayed messianism, the heart of the Jewish tradition turns on the problem of sin and how to resolve sin. The number 40 represents that resolution of sin as a basis for a jump to a new level of development. It is a way out of the terrible dilemmas posed to humans who try to find a higher path when confronted by the bestial aspects of their nature: immorality, depravity, viciousness and brutality.

The magic of numbers, the deep, transformative and pure value of mathematics to find absolute truths in a flawed world, lies at the core of this story. Math provides quantitative and definitive keys to otherwise unknowable abstractions. And for any human being on this planet, not just Jews and Christians, that is really something. The breathtaking power of mathematics offers a path away from compromise, from failure and shades of grey, from violated ideals and muddied knowledge. For those who wish to renew hope amidst the grime of adulthood, for those who yearn for purity, numbers provide real answers. Although it is not usually acknowledged in spring religious observances (descended from pagan fertility rites and projected onto the Christian calendar), it is on these mathematical and numerological assumptions that Christian Lent and Easter are founded.

Image Source: Busted Halo.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Freezing Time Before the Watershed


The Ballad of Narayama (1958) concerns the Japanese legendary practice of ubasute, or, abandoning the elderly in the mountains to die. Different characters obediently accept the practice or violently reject it. Image Source: QBranch.

In story-telling, there are several famous characters who try to freeze time before a watershed moment changes everything. They are traumatized by the moment of change and their rigid attachment to the past is almost always self-destructive. Perhaps this is a way of defining a ghost, someone who acts against the course of the world's destiny and becomes trapped in one frame of time, rather than moving along through many frames of time.

The need to accept change  in order to live in a healthy manner is the larger reason for the ancient injunction: Don't look back. This is the message in myth and religion, as with Orpheus and Eurydice or Lot's wife. Fables, ghost stories and superstitions are full of warnings against mirrors that can capture a hostile past, reflect it back at you, and trap you forever.

"Lot's Wife" pillar, Mount Sodom, Israel. Image Source: Wiki.

Sodom's destruction. Lot and his daughters escape, while his wife turns to a pillar of salt. 12th century mosaic, Duomo di Monreale, Sicily. Image Source: Wiki.

Lot leaving Sodom, with his wife looking back. Woodcut from the Nuremberg Chronicle (1493) by Michel Wolgemut and Wilhelm Pleydenwurf.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Tomb of a Sleeping Queen?


Image Source: AP via National Geographic.

From Marie Antoinette, a modern Austrian princess, we go back through time to another queen, Olympias. We go back through Austria, or Österreich (the 'Eastern Reich,' the modern remnant of the Eastern Roman Empire), and before Rome, back to Greece. In Greece, archaeological circles are buzzing about a newly-discovered burial chamber from the time of Alexander the Great (Hat tip: Graham Hancock). It is 2,300 years old and is the largest ancient tomb in northern Greece.

The burial mound stands near ancient Amphipolis, 600 kilometers (370 miles) north of Athens. The tomb inside the mound is massive, marble-walled and ornately decorated, and must house the body of a royal personage, perhaps Alexander's mother or wife.

It is unlikely to be the tomb of the famous king himself, whose grave is lost somewhere in Egypt - another mystery waiting to be solved. The site is dated after his death, in the latter quarter of the 4th century BC, approximately between 325 and 300 BCE. Alexander died in 323 BCE. A member of the Argead dynasty ('from Argos'), Wiki describes him simply: "The most notable ancient Greek King and one of the most celebrated strategists and rulers of all time. Alexander at the top of his reign was simultaneously King of Macedonia, Pharaoh of Egypt, King of Persia and King of Asia." Because of his blinding legacy, still evident today, Alexander's impact arguably surpasses that of any other leader of the ancient world, including the Persian kings, the Egyptian pharaohs, and successive Roman emperors. Unsurprisingly, that interpretation is disputed by modern Iranian scholars. Legacies aside, the tomb dates from ancient Greece's highest moment of glory and power before the flowering of a multicultural Hellenistic imperial culture, which eventually led to the emergence of the Roman Empire after the Battle of Actium in 31 BCE.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Marie Antoinette's Millennial Rococo


Image Source © Cathy Fitzgerald via etsy.

The Internet has made history ahistorical, a treasure box for post-Postmodern plunder. Globalization allows designers to create a crazy quilt of anachronistic, cross-cultural references. Even as traditions are upended, they gain new life. For example, the world has never been more republican, but royal families survive as minor celebrities. There is also a subculture devoted to some royals who have achieved historical dead movie star status.

Image Source: etsy.

Popular history of these dead stars survives in role-playing clubs and historical reenactment communities, fueled by the Internet. The craft merchant site Etsy gives a snapshot of the cult around Marie Antoinette.

Even in her lifetime, she fell prey to a modern pattern of celebrity. She entered the French court as a teen-aged magnet of attention, and set the highest standard of beauty among her contemporaries. After giving birth in front of an audience of hundreds of courtiers she complained:
"I put on my rouge and wash my hands in front of the whole world!"
There are many cryptic and apocryphal quotations associated with her, including the falsely attributed, 'Let them eat cake,' to dismiss the starving people of Paris. This was actually a quote from Rousseau, published when Marie Antoinette was only nine years old and still living in Vienna.

Her mother, the great Austrian empress Maria Theresa, purportedly consulted a seer on whether her daughter would be happy in France; and the seer supposedly replied:
"There are crosses for all shoulders."
Finally, one of the most famous quotations associated with the ill-fated French queen is:
"I have seen all, I have heard all, I have forgotten all."
She still represents ornately-adorned beauty and lavish, glittering excess. She is also popular in Gothic circles as a morbid symbol of retribution for wastefulness and exploitation, a pale face of warning. This mixed message of wealth and justice, beauty and death rings true today, and so her popularity endures.

Addendum (23 October 2015): Tea at Trianon found an English transcript of Marie Antoinette's trial, here.

Image Source: etsy.