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 Wizards. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wizards. Show all posts

Friday, January 17, 2020

Politics, Ideology and the Technosphere 2: Anarchists and Luciferians

Image Source: The Transmetropolitan Review via The Conversation.

This year, I am presenting a series on ideology and the technosphere. The series rejects mainstream political discourse and returns to first principles, historical background, and online trends to deconstruct the current evolution of politics.

Thus far and in today's post, I have identified the following components of tech-oriented politics:
  • New political terms, like the Red Pill and Black Pill
  • The weaponization of political virtues, morals, ideals, and values, leading to inversions of those values in practice
  • Internet dynamics and unpredictability
  • New moral, spiritual, or ethical frameworks of common reference
Positive Values, Negative Outcomes: Our Inverted World

Political virtues, moral labels, and positive platforms contrast with real outcomes, whether in everyday reality or online practice. There is a vast gap between what people say they are doing politically and what actually happens. On the Internet, this gap is exposed and described, especially among the alt media and conspiracy theorists, as corruption.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Hallowe'en Countdown 2018: CERN is Wonderland

ALICE project at CERN: "(A Large Ion Collider Experiment) is a heavy-ion detector on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) ring." Image Source: The Royal Society.

Today's post reveals how online researchers can take two terrifying ideas and combine them to create a new, counter-factual alt-history that is more terrifying because it seems more true, when it is actually less true.

Magic and Science, A Post-Truth Horror Mash-Up

These two frightening rumours are:

Theory 1: Evil Science
Those developing technology mean to enslave us with mind-bending and reality-altering devices that will get out of control.

Theory 2: Evil Magic
The CIA's historically-documented MKUltra program is a still-operational global scheme for brainwashing and controlling select individuals. The program's Nazi roots lead to murky accounts of ritualistic cults, black magic mayhem and murder, Satanic ritual abuse (SRA updates the ritual murder myth), prostitution and child torture. The hypothesis runs that MKUltra's malevolent techniques are now being applied wholesale via entertainment and news media to mainstream culture. A typical testimony in this genre is here.

Theory 1 seems more credible and tamer in terms of content than Theory 2. It isn't.

Theory 1: TLDR
  • The double slit experiment proved that an observer transforms an object by observing it. Scientists declare this occurs only on the quantum level.
  • Terrifying online theory: this leads to the question of whether any serious research projects have set out to understand and control that process on a large scale, thus potentially gaining the ability to shape general reality and change history at will.
  • To do this beyond the quantum level (if that is possible), researchers would have to control masses of observers in the first place; they would have to learn how to control human perception generally; and they would then have to begin to conduct experiments on that energetic field.
  • There is a hypothesis on the Internet that there may be a mathematical formula which defines how human perception affects reality. That is, this is a mathematical formula for the physics of human consciousness as it interacts with, and impresses itself upon, the material world.
  • A further hypothesis considers that the means to control human perception was already known in some cryptic way in occult or magical practices, but that means was not scientifically understood or instrumentalized in a reliable, industrial way. Thus far, the bending of space-time has supposedly been rooted in organic manifestations generated by highly-intuitive, spiritually-gifted, and esoterically-trained individuals. Some of these occult secrets have been revealed publicly through the arts.
  • Or they have been revealed through politics. Another fringe theory maintains that the murderous politics of Nazi Germany was an occult experiment in altering mass perception, thereby forcing reality and history to change, with genocidal consequences.
  • Yet another fringe theory asserts that after the fall of Nazi Germany, the Nazis' research into mass mind control was transferred to, and continued in, the USA and the UK at Project MKUltra and the Tavistock Institute, respectively.
  • Conspiracy theorists think all that work is now bearing terrible fruit and that CERN is the big scientific experiment dedicated to orchestrating human perception, thereby building a tool that will create new realities through the manipulation of mass consciousness.
  • One alt-researcher, Daniel Liszt, thinks that the map for CERN's research was originally presented in mathematical formulas embedded in the Alice in Wonderland books by British author, Lewis Carroll. The Annotated Alice reveals how Carroll did indeed insert mathematical formulas into his fiction.
  • The assumed CERN-Wonderland connection was fostered by the fact that CERN actually has a heavy ion detector called ALICE.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Hallowe'en Countdown 2018: The Formula for Consciousness

To unlock the mysteries of today's technology, some say you would have to start your investigation on the ballet stages of the 1840s. To get a flavour of European dance from that revolutionary period, today's post features some scans from a little book I own, published in 1948 by Batsford, entitled The Romantic Ballet. A centennial edition, it reprinted 1840s' coloured prints of prima ballerinas who were celebrated from 1840 to 1850. Click the images to enlarge.

These reprinted images from the 1840s display an occult visual vocabulary. For example, the three graces are three Greek goddesses - culture, beauty and creativity - later translated into the Christian theological virtues of faith, hope and charity. They are represented in the tarot deck as the Three of Cups.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Hallowe'en Countdown 2018: Magic and the Technological Revolution

Donald Trump's uncle, John G. Trump, developed ultra-powerful X-rays. This is the historical first X-ray image, taken by Wilhelm Röntgen of his wife's left hand on 22 December 1895. Image Source: National Library of Medicine / The Scientist.

The new Tech Revolution is human. The top designers in Silicon Valley plainly understand a secret which they do not share with their customers. Technology is not a smartphone, a tablet, a laptop, a desktop. It's not a mechanical thing. It's not a smartwatch or a game console. It's not a Virtual Reality headset. It's not a robot, an android, or an AI entity like the HAL9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Don't look at technology as something that helps you order your Starbucks coffee. Look at it as an advanced behavioural modifier.

Technology is the human being who is transformed through interaction with a machine. The revolutionary technology is you, as your behaviour, values, beliefs - as your brain and soul - have changed while you punched keys; listened to the radio, then podcasts; stared at the TV, then videos; took selfies; talked through texts, or on the telephone, or through video calls. Technology is you as you entered the social media reality, indulged in the Internet's arcane, entertaining hivemind, and became a different person. The changed person is a type of technology. The Technological Revolution refers to an irrevocable transformation of, and assault upon, the human condition.

From my previous post on Julian Assange and his possible relationship to the Trump family: in this cinematic depiction of MK-Ultra mind control, the controllers cryptically refer to the brainwashed person, not the brainwashing itself, as a technology. The Manchurian Candidate (7/7) Movie CLIP - Decisions (2004) HD (22 November 2011) © Paramount Pictures. Reproduced non-commercially under Fair Use. Video Source: Youtube.

While body modifications, identity politics, and behavioural changes will be the most obvious outward signs that this process is running its course, the main assault will be waged internally, on human consciousness. In other words, technology is a state of transformed mind. The Technological Revolution implies an absolute, no-going-back overhaul and control of the human brain and the larger capabilities of the human soul.

If that doesn't terrify you, it should. Everyone must recognize and guard the weirder gray areas where technology overlaps with human mentalities, or they will relinquish sovereign control over the space inside their craniums, and they will never see it coming.

Competing factions appear to be vying for the right to dominate this process. They have different visions of what they want to achieve in terms of the revolutionized human being. This is partly why politics is becoming so urgent and divisive, and why the economy is on the verge of collapse. Both were geared toward an earlier, more human age and both are transforming to encase the new transhuman state.

Traditions of Organic Betterment

For thousands of years, there have been attempts to improve, control and alter the human being. One difference in the 21st century is the speed at which the augmentations are taking place. The other Millennial distinction is the use of gadgets as prostheses, which deceives the user into thinking that the process is in the user's control, and outside the user's existential state of being.

Greatest Martial Artists in History • Brief Martial Arts (18 December 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

The 2011 documentary, Jiro Dreams of Sushi chronicled the extreme discipline necessary to become the top sushi chef in the world. Jiro Dreams of Sushi - Trailer (24 July 2012). Video Source: Youtube.

Unlocking Human Capability - Dr. Devi Shetty with Sadhguru (16 February 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

The traditional ways people have augmented their awareness are organic. Even if they use tools, the physical and mental states are the main concerns: a karate master who smashes a stack of boards is not obsessed with the boards as his or her source of strength. These practitioners balance mind and body through well-honed methods. Disciplined study results in rational improvement of brain functions; regular physical training brings the body to peak performance; meditation and spiritual explorations challenge and awaken the soul. Each form of augmentation has resorted to techniques and aids, developed over centuries or longer.

The highest level of this augmentation builds human consciousness to a legendary moment when biochemical, magnetic and electrical brain functions become metaphysical. For a long time, the tools used to create the altered human were mystical or magical; these are ways of dealing with rare information such that those exposed to it have earned the right to engage with it and produce seemingly inexplicable, paranormal, or superhuman results of their actions. This level of activity involves a highly sophisticated interaction through the mind, body, spirit and soul with symbolic abstractions of time, matter and energy. In our era, technological gadgets are usurping the old, supra-organic, magical role of the symbol.

Are Psychic Powers and Telepathy Real? Dr. Devi Shetty with Sadhguru (30 November 2014). Video Source: Youtube.

Transhumanism: Weaponized Consciousness?

Brain-to-Brain Interface: The Next Gen Social Network (7 October 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

Much of the Internet believes that the CIA Project MK-Ultra was developed out of Nazi research and that the second half of the 20th century developed the technological means for psychological manipulation and spiritual instrumentalization. That research has supposedly continued to the point where its torturous, hypnotic techniques have been widely disseminated via the Internet and the Internet of Things, with the whole collective's reactions continuously monitored. This approach marks a sinister appropriation and abandonment of the old school attempts at human self-betterment, as through western magic, eastern mystics and Asian martial arts. This new path weaponizes human consciousness through propaganda, education, marketing, and insidious, invasive mental bombardments. By any standards, the potential application of MK-Ultra techniques via mass technology signifies a catastrophic turn down a dark, misguided path.

Patreon-supported alt-documentary on the history of MK-Ultra: The Minds of Men | Official Trailer | Documentary by Aaron & Melissa Dykes (16 July 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

Technological gadgets are being invented to mimic or replace capabilities which have traditionally belonged to 'magic,' the human psychic realm, or if you prefer, a conscious mastery of one's unconscious to the point where it affects one's outer material existence.

There is a terrible warning here, for to use a crutch to attain a faux superlative human condition is, by definition, psychopathic. For an example of this progression, consider that some gurus believe that paranormal abilities such as telepathy exist and can be cultivated through intense and profound training. By contrast, a report from October 2018 (the 23 September 2018 scholarly publication is here) confirms that mechanical prostheses are now being built to create 'BrainNet,' a synthetic, mechanized telepathy, transmitted over the Internet. We are at a point where brain-to-tech interfaces are being used by the US military, soon to follow on social media. It's not woo. It's not a ghost story. It's real, and soon it will be at your Apple Store with a price tag on it.

Magical Technology

All of this implies that the top leaders of the Technological Revolution were and are well-versed in older techniques of achieving the superlative human, the disciplines necessary to fine-tune behaviour. In addition, they know about the mind control research and propaganda and education campaigns of the mid-to-late 20th century. And they are diverting all this knowledge into their own, hideous transhuman experiment.

In short, that means that there's some magic misapplied in the development of high technology. Officially, high tech gadgets, apps and networks are so addictive because people like the founders of Facebook embedded psychological games and tricks in their platforms. Unofficially, it is theorized the Technological Revolution was founded in dark occult mysteries and practices.

Even if you don't believe in this type of thing, others do. If Silicon Valley was founded by magicians, and its products imbued with spells, wouldn't you want to know who did this, how, and with what incantations and intentions?

Friday, October 5, 2018

Hallowe'en Countdown 2018: They Live ... Don't They?

Still from They Live (1988). Note the book behind the hero: On ESP by Edgar Cayce, which you can read for free online here. All stills and film © Universal Pictures. Reproduced under Fair Use. Image Source: IMDB.

On this blog, I have written about poverty and homelessness, the destruction of the middle classes, and how conspiracy theories provide dramatic and supernatural explanations for growing social inequality.

In 1988, horror film director John Carpenter made a film which tackled all these ideas. It was entitled They Live. Carpenter intended his film to be an attack on the Reagan era and 1980s' conspicuous consumption. The film suggests something prevalent in Millennial conspiracists' circles, namely, that the establishment élites are pawns of alien overlords who conceal their true appearance and feed off the energy of the impoverished common people. This is a metaphor for social alienation, racism, and socio-economic distress. But the film raises an additional question as to why They Live presented a story which many netizens now believe to be literally true.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Countdown to Hallowe'en 2017: The Famine of Memory

This is an early incarnation of the villain, Sauron, when he was known as Mairon. Image Source: The Land of Shadow.

One of the premises of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings is that the characters live in a perilous time when real history has been lost. Thus, mortal danger arises not from the arch-villain, exactly, but from the abandoned vigilance of memory.

A later incarnation of Sauron, when he was known as Annatar. Image Source © Angel Falto/Tolkien Gateway.

Another conception of Annatar, who deceived the elves in the Second Age. Image Source © Alaïs/deviantART/Tolkien Gateway.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Beltane's Faustian Bargains

Beltane Fountain. Image Source: Osgrid Gallery.

April 30 is Walpurgis Night. It is the eve of the May Day honouring of St. Walburga, a West Saxon princess by birth, and an 8th century English abbess. In the mid-700s, she traveled to Francia (to what is now Bavaria, Germany) with other English missionaries, to convert the Germans - who were still pagans at the time - to Christianity. In that work, she supported her famous uncle, St. Boniface, and her two brothers, St. Willibald and St. Winibald.  Dark Dorset describes how the celebration of Saint Walburga overlaps with the older pagan May 1 spring festival of Beltane:
[H]er feast day also coincided with a much older pagan festival of Beltane ... [which] marked the beginning of summer. The eve of Beltane 30th April - 1st May became ... known as Walpurgisnacht, perhaps originally in an attempt to Christianise the festival. Like Halloween, it was also the night in which spirits wandered and witches favoured, as it was an auspicious time for holding their midnight sabbats and for conjuring spells. The most famous of all sabbats held on Walpurgisnacht was supposed to take place on the summit of the Brocken in the Harz Mountains of Germany as mentioned in Goethe's Faust [which you can read in German and English here, and watch here].
In Europe, the night of April 30 became a spring Hallowe'en, when witches and sorcerers held fertility rites around bonfires in wild areas. In earlier times, it was the time when livestock were driven out to pasture after a long winter, and charms were uttered over the animals as they ventured out into the wilds to protect them from harm. In the New World, Walpurgis Night is associated with the dark occult, including the establishment of the Church of Satan in 1966 in San Francisco, California.

Thus, these two days, April 30 and May 1, centre on a moment of pagan-Christian ambiguity, a grey area between seasons and between evil and good, freedom and security, old and new. The sense is of turn-over, confronting the very last of winter's deaths and tests, and putting them behind to be open to spring growth. Dark Dorset summarizes these tensions:
On Walpurgisnacht it was customary for local folk to ring the bells of the church at night, cutting sprigs of blossom from the May bush (Hawthorn) and hung outside or inside the house as deterrent of witchcraft. The burning of Need-Fires and life size straw effigies of men or women which were made prior to burning and cursed with ill-health and ill-luck of the old year. Creating lots of noise by banging on drums, wood or firing of shotguns were all considered effective ways of ridding the area of witchcraft, evil spirits and dark forces. The very name St. Walburga (or Walpurgis, Waltpurde, Gauburge, Vaubourg, Falbourg, as known in other parts of Europe) and her image were also used as protective charms against witchcraft, plague, famine and storms.
In the first part of his great tragedy Faust, published in 1808, Goethe included a scene set on Walpurgis Night:
Now to the Brocken the witches ride;
The stubble is gold and the corn is green;
There is the carnival crew to be seen,
And Squire Urianus will come to preside.
So over the valleys our company floats,
With witches a-farting on stinking old goats.
Goethe's Faust explored the problems that symbolically arise around Walpurgis Night. His famous work principally concerned man's attempt to control the natural environment through scientific investigation and linear understanding, and the points at which faith and magic overtake that rational effort. Goethe's story describes Faust as a scholar, or alchemist, who makes a bargain with the devil to attain limitless knowledge. Faust's quest for infinite understanding automatically forces moral questions about how that knowledge might be exploited. Goethe insists: limitless knowledge can only be mitigated, and finally attained, by a leap of faith.

Image Source: Business Insider.

In the new Millennium, the moral dimension of limitless information, knowledge and technology is a huge problem. There are no St. Walburgas and St. Bonifaces standing now at the confluence of the environment and human knowledge of the environment. You may encounter many devils at the crossroads between environment and technology these days. For example, this week, Business Insider reported on a paper given last weekend at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting, which concluded that one third of babies in the USA are using smart phones and tablets before they can walk and talk; and toddlers under the age of one use smart devices for at least one hour per day.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Favourite Journeys to Middle Earth

Legolas and Gimli on the cover, the 1978 J. R. R. Tolkien Calendar. Image © by the Brothers Hildebrandt via The Golden Age.

In 2012, the first part film version of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey, attracted less excitement than the LOTR a decade ago. I think that is because we are so used to CGI effects by now and the story was somewhat decompressed. I thought the whole cast was great - especially  Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield. Audiences are jaded, because Hollywood has gorged on CGI.

Smaug from the 1977 J. R. R. Tolkien Calendar. Image © by the Brothers Hildebrandt via The Golden Age. 

Goldberry from the 1977 J. R. R. Tolkien Calendar. Image © by the Brothers Hildebrandt via The Golden Age.

After I learned to read, the first real book I read was The Hobbit. And long before Peter Jackson, when Boomers were still spraypainting Frodo Lives! on alley walls, there was a minor industry making paraphenalia around The Hobbit (1937), the Lord of the Rings (1954-1955) and The Silmarillion (1977).

The Ring of Galadriel from the 1976 J. R. R. Tolkien Calendar. Image © by the Brothers Hildebrandt via The Golden Age.
Bilbo at Rivendell from the 1976 J. R. R. Tolkien Calendar. Image © by the Brothers Hildebrandt via The Golden Age.

What nostalgia to see The Golden Age blog post all 36 paintings by the Brothers Hildebrandt from the 1976, 1977 and 1978 J. R. R. Tolkien calendars - here! I still have the original calendars tucked away. That post inspired me to scour the Web for some compelling depictions of Middle Earth; although my most recent favourite is the Middle Earth meditation series. I think the LOTR films likely influenced many Millennial artists whose work does not explicitly refer to Tolkien, such as Zoë Keating.

The Pillars of the Kings from the 1978 J. R. R. Tolkien Calendar. Image © by the Brothers Hildebrandt via The Golden Age.

Farmer Maggot's Hospitality from the 1978 J. R. R. Tolkien Calendar. Image © by the Brothers Hildebrandt via The Golden Age.

See my finds below the jump. They point one way or another to Tolkien's parables on good and evil, heroism and weakness, drawn partly from his musings on the past from prehistory, from ancient and medieval languages and cultures, and from World War I. With the exceptions below, I have yet to find convincing depictions of Orcs, a race of ruined and corrupted Elves. If you have a favourite depiction of Middle Earth you would like to suggest, write to me and I will post it in this collection.

Shelob from the 1978 J. R. R. Tolkien Calendar. Image © by the Brothers Hildebrandt via The Golden Age. 

Saruman and the Palantir from the 1978 J. R. R. Tolkien Calendar. Image © by the Brothers Hildebrandt via The Golden Age.

Beorn the Berserker from the 1978 J. R. R. Tolkien Calendar. Image © by the Brothers Hildebrandt via The Golden Age.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Look Skyward: Ring of Fire Eclipse over the Ring of Fire

Image Source: What's On Xiamen.

Today, a rare annular solar eclipse will occur over China, Japan, the Pacific Ring of Fire seismic zone and most of North America. It is the first central eclipse over the North American continent in the 21st century. It is called a 'ring of fire' eclipse because the moon will not quite block out the sun, creating the appearance of a burning ring in the sky. It starts on May 21st in Asia, then crosses the International Date Line and loses a day.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Hallowe'en Countdown 25: Bhangarh

A Bhangarh gallery. Image Source: My Travels Private Limited.

Perched in India's ancient northwestern hills between Jaipur and Delhi, Bhangarh (भानगढ़) is a ruin of a fortified palatial town near the Sariska Tiger Reserve.  Bhangarh is also reputed to be one of the most haunted places in the world.  It is seen as a terrifying, cursed place where the living will not survive to see daybreak if they are unfortunate enough to get trapped there after sunset.  Those who enter until recently encountered a sign ordering them not to remain after dark.

Bhangarh warning, no longer posted. Image Source: My Travels Private Limited.

Translation for the above: The Government of India
The Archeological Survey of India, Bhangarh
Important Notice: 1) It is strictly prohibited to the borders of Bhangarh before sunrise and after sunset.
2) Shepherds are not allowed inside Bhangarh area, violators will face legal action.
3. The Kewda or Pandanus trees belong to the Archaelogy Survey of India. It is forbidden to cause any kind of harm.
Note: Anyone violating the rules mentioned above will face legal action.
By order: Supervisor, Archaelogical Survey

Here are two accounts of twilight in Bhangarh:

Paritosh Kumar Singh (Ranjay) – New Delhi Director Info-tech Company.
I went to Bhangarh with my friends last December. We somehow tricked the watchmen and entered the premises of haunted ruins. The ruins were looking like a set of horror films as I have seen in many horror movies since my childhood. It was dark and silent. There was no one till the far end of the area. We were three people and we tried to brave our fears that night. We were walking to the old temple and then we felt that someone is following us. We heard crazy sounds and then we were too afraid so we immediately ran out to our vehicles.”

Rannvijay Singha – Mumbai MTV VJ & Actor.
My Friends and I visited Bhangarh a few years back. There was nothing scary in the day but we were late to come out of the gate at the given time. It was evening and was going to get dark any moment. We were heading to the gate and one of my friends heard a loud voice. He freaked out as he thought there was big cat in front of him which growled. I did not care much to believe him but throughout the way back he was shivering.”

Friday, May 27, 2011

Ancient Cities 2: Dying Babylon's First and Last Museum

Image Source: IO9.

Imagine travelling back in time 2,500 years to a museum which preserved artifacts that the Ancients thought were ancient! IO9 is reporting on a fascinating mid-1920s' discovery of a Babylonian museum - the world's first - and the tale it told of its own dying culture.  The museum was located in a palace in Ur, once an important city-state seat in ancient Sumeria.  Ur was later absorbed into neo-Babylonia.

The archaeologists were working on the palace of Nabonidus, the last neo-Babylonian king.  They found a strange chamber where his daughter, Princess Ennigaldi, had created her museum. They could not understand why the room contained artifacts from much earlier time periods, all mixed together:
In 1925, archaeologist Leonard Woolley discovered a curious collection of artifacts while excavating a Babylonian palace. They were from many different times and places, and yet they were neatly organized and even labeled. Woolley had discovered the world's first museum. 
It's easy to forget that ancient peoples also studied history - Babylonians who lived 2,500 years ago were able to look back on millennia of previous human experience. That's part of what makes the museum of Princess Ennigaldi so remarkable. Her collection contained wonders and artifacts as ancient to her as the fall of the Roman Empire is to us. But it's also a grim symbol of a dying civilization consumed by its own vast history.
The artifacts in the museum were between sixteen hundred and seven hundred years older than the palace itself, which dated from 530 BCE. In other words, Wooley's 1920s' archaeological discovery in the palace at Ur extended tangible human memory back to just over two thousand years before the time of Christ.

Wooley felt that the museum and the study of history for this civilization was a sign of over-sophistication and ultimate decline.  While the great city of Ur was winding down and coming to the end of two thousand years of history, its royal family was obsessed with preserving a once-glorious past.  By around 500 BCE (a mere thirty years after the founding of the Princess's palace museum), Ur was abandoned.  Its territories would soon be absorbed by the new upstart Persian Empire.

This whole story makes me reflect on my review of Paul Laroquod's blog yesterday, including further remarks in the comments section on the current declining value of copyright. This story about Princess Ennigaldi's museum, in my mind, provides some justfication for copyright as a historical tool; it is more than a formula for declaring possession of property and enforcing power over that property in the name of profit. Copyright is also a marker of time; it is a signpost of intellectual precedent and associated historical legacies.  Through copyright, we can establish not only who had an idea first, but (perhaps more importantly) the sequence in which ideas and created objects appeared in our culture.  The potential of doing away with copyright includes the potential of living in an ahistorical world, where date-stamps (easily manipulated) become meaningless.  Our perspective on the sequence of time as measured through our creative achievements will disappear, unless that sequence is described via another legal or other sort of convention.

H. P. Lovecraft was fixated on the idea that annotated scholarship allowed us to penetrate the clouds of the distant past.  Carefully following citations (that is, the trail of stated copyright) was like following the trail of breadcrumbs back through time.  By tracing historical documents to ever-older tomes, the truly erudite scholar could leapfrog backward through millennia.  In a similar manner, a museum curator could follow the artifacts backward.  Lovecraft suggested that the right sort of occult object, invested with mystical-temporal magic, could allow a Magus to move from the realm of the known past (history), to the near-forgotten past (legend), to the forgotten past (myth), to the realm of Ur-past (the occult), the deepest past of all.  Antiquarians unwittingly crossing oceans of time and disturbing the information and forces that slept there was also a common theme in the stories of M. R. James.  James's stories often start in universities, where a scholar has turned up some curio that is more trouble than its worth because it provides a gateway to past time.  In those past eras, James hinted that some elements of human knowledge were discarded, forgotten and left behind for a reason, because they were unmanageable and dangerous.  Toying with them in the present would only awaken their dreadful potential.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Modern Witchcraft Accusations

Sarah Palin voo doo doll?  Image: Psychology Today.

At the dawn of the Tech Revolution, it is easy to believe that we have become Postmodern, or post-Postmodern. There is less understanding of what that might mean if change that is too rapid. There is a lot of talk floating around that we 'are already living in the amazing future.' The gadgets confirm this; and where they leave off, the glossy ads pick up. They congratulate us on our multi-tasking attitudes, our sleek looks, our breathless, ever-new pace of life, our subterranean Web addictions, and our mass narcissism, funneled into our machines and mirrored back at us. Occasionally, something reminds us that there is a spiritual cost to all of this frenetic activity. Super-science sometimes walks hand in hand with the most primitive philosophies. Some evil practices we thought forever relegated to the 'barbaric' past reappear. Thus, we see the spread of modern slavery and piracy. When such phenomena reappear, we have to ask why. For example, why have witchcraft accusations been revived?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Times Outside History 3: Visions of Eras Beyond History - J. R. R. Tolkien


After the massive success of the LOTR films, almost everyone is familiar with J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth.  The sources for his work are as legendary as the books and films themselves.  His high fantasy novels synthesize Celtic, Scandinavian, Germanic, Jewish legends and mythologies with Plato's account of the lost Kingdom of Atlantis and contextualize that synthesis in fictional reflections of his own experiences with the industrialization of England and World War I.  What is most compelling, though, about Tolkien's fantasy world is that it was presented as a historically viable construction That is, Tolkien, through his academic studies of ancient languages, cultures and myths, developed completely new, but real-seeming, languages, histories and lore for his fictitious world.  Even more important was that Middle-earth was presented as an 'alternate,' lost or unaccounted history of our own planet.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Zoë Keating - A Cool New Album

Zoë Keating © Lane Hartwell 2008

Neil Gaiman circulated this link on his twitter feed, for the new cello album from Zoë Keating, Into the Trees.  Think Sir Edward Elgar meets Gandalf.  It has a nice 'we are hobbits dealing with the post-apocalypse' feel to it.  Keating is a Canadian based in San Francisco.  Her twitter feed is here.  You can hear the album and download it here.