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 Shirley Jackson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Shirley Jackson. Show all posts

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, September 4, 2012

The Silent Generation's Separate Peace

Marilyn Monroe by Andy Warhol (1967). Image Source: Christie's.

From the 1960s onward, alternate histories became very popular with the Baby Boomer demographic. The genre has long precedents - but it has a special place in the last half of the 20th century.**

Most alternate histories imagined by Baby Boomers are dystopian, eerie, fascist and terrifying. These are explorations of 'what could have been' if World War II or another key moment in history had turned out differently, which would have meant that the Boomers themselves would not come along. These stories reassure against generational doubt, and implicitly insist on the rightness of 1968's path. Later books involve Boomer meditations on what-ifs around post WWII events: the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Kennedy assassinations, 9/11.

Given this generational fascination with fictional historical alternatives, it may seem strange that a very real, living alternate history has been ignored or smoothered by the Boomer media. This is so much the case that among generational commentators, that alternative might as well not exist.

There is a real alternate history to the Baby Boomers' 1968 social revolution, and it is the legacy of the Silent generation, born roughly from 1925 to 1945. Silents were dubbed as silent when they were anything but. They created a reality that shared elements of Boomer ideals, but Boomers could not fully appropriate these elements for their radical and iconoclastic ends. If you want to see the Boomers' 'path not traveled,' you have to look at the work and perspectives of the Silent generation.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Cryptids and the Hunter's Moon

Four stamps of Canadian Cryptids: The Sasquatch, the Kraken, the Werewolf and the Ogopogo. © 1990 Canada Post. Image: Pib's Home on the Web.

The mood of late October in Eastern Canada is constantly shifting. One minute, leaves gleam gold and crimson in the bright sunshine. The next minute, the landscape becomes a dead husk. There are two layers in the breeze. The top layer is late summer, the underlayer smells fresh, like snow. Its a strange scent, but if you know it, it's unmistakable, the smell of winter coming.  The sun races toward the horizon faster every evening, and the moon springs up into the night sky like a Jack-in-the-Box.  Out in the countryside, and further up in the woods, the landscape becomes much less friendly.  It both heightens your senses of your surroundings and makes you doubt them more.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Notes from a Country Lane

Right near my house there is a wooded country lane. About a quarter of a mile down the lane the woods open up into a meadow, three fields deep, surrounded by trees on all sides. It's a lonely, creepy, secluded stretch of road. One of the neighbours who lived directly opposite committed suicide across the way about ten years ago, and this meadow is on the boundary of that family's property. In the distance, the field has a large stone standing upright, and it's at just the right distance that it always, every time I walk by there, makes me think of that scene in The Innocents (1961), where Miss Jessel is standing in the bullrushes watching Flora.

Just perspective itself can be frightening.  You don't even need anything unsettling standing in the distance - it just has to be positioned at exactly the right point within the depth of field - that distance where your eyesight starts to blur, where you can't be quite sure what you're looking at.