Friday, February 3, 2012

Space Migration

Dare to be naïve.

- Motto of R. Buckminster Fuller; used in many of his speeches and writings, including Synergetics: Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking

"Whatever is asserted (i.e. derived) of anything as a whole is linear, tautologic evidence that it is partitative of an unpredictable multiple untotality of the thing."

- Austin Osman Spare as quoted by Phil Baker in his excellent biography subtitled, The Life and Legend of London's Lost Artist. It was part of an annotation on a Christmas card he sent to a close student, Frank Letchford, that consisted of a self-portrait sketch he called, "Arabesque of a 'thing' in thought thinking."

Shortly after the last post here, Newt Gingrich talked about establishing a colony on the Moon. Then I saw an interview on Facebook with my brother-in-law ( not technically - married to a close family friend) John Matson, an editor with Scientific American, pointing out on MSNBC that, currently, the U.S. has no way to launch someone into Space, and has to rely upon the Russians to get to the Space Station.

Space Migration, in case you are just tuning in now, is the first element in the formula Robert Anton Wilson gave in the Cosmic Trigger as:


Meaning limitless, I guess. An open-ended, mutually interactive, interdependent and reciprocal feedback system of infinite growth and potential. Space Migration (S.M.) will make you more Intelligent (I.2) and extend your Life (L.E.). Likewise, getting smarter leads inevitably to space migration of some sort and extends life. What are you going to do when you live longer? Go places and increase intelligence ... learn about different stuff!

Back in the day, Leary and Wilson spoke of space migration strictly in terms of establishing residence off of this rock. Getting out of this, however-many-mile gravity-well that keeps us mostly stuck to the Earth's surface. The assumption then, that Higher Consciousness would flourish in Outer Space freed from the constraints of gravity. I guess it would turn into constant levity... who knows?

At the moment, it doesn't appear happening anytime soon though interest remains strong in certain quarters. Therefore, I will look at space migration in a completely different way, what could sometimes be called inner space exploration. Yet this doesn't hold strictly true because space migration also includes all the spaces you go through in your everyday life. The simultaneously apprehended awareness of both inner and outer environments fits the description P.D. Ouspensky gave for Gurdjieff's instruction to "remember yourself" in his book In Search of the Miraculous.

Inner space exploration, or at least the possibility of such exploration and mood alteration, occurs naturally, all the time. Whenever we pick up a book to read, listen to some music, surf the net etc. etc., we enter different kinds of spaces that affect us one way or another. Many of these spaces seem quite useful to enter - they can influence and inspire.

* * * * * *

Any localized environment either internal or external to the mind signifies a Chamber in bardo terminology. We travel through several localized environments every day. Waking up in the Chamber of our bedroom, breakfast in the kitchen Chamber
drive to work in the car Chamber to the Chamber where we're employed, surf a few Chambers on the web etc. etc. A Chamber includes the physical or metaphysical ( in the case of books, music etc.) space and anything in it. Most of these routine spaces seem commonplace, often barely noticed. However, each space, each localized environment, each Chamber can affect our mood, consciousness and state of well-being ranging from so subtle as to fall below conscious awareness to strongly life changing ... usually somewhere in-between. Anyone, through sufficient self-observation, can verify that environment affects consciousness in lesser or greater degrees. Sometimes quite profoundly which gets popularly described as 'a religious experience.' This explain Timothy Leary's emphasis on the importance of "setting" in his 3 guidelines for shamanic space exploration: set, setting and dosage. I want to stress that these guidelines apply with or without using drugs. Dosage doesn't necessarily refer to any ingested substance.

Gurdjieff mentions somewhere in All and Everything that the physical space made by the architecture of a building alters the consciousness of anyone who enters it. Even a resolute atheist materialist who knows absolutely that all spirituality, religion and metaphysics comprise sham and mumbo jumbo can't help but having an exalted feeling when they enter places like St. John the Divine Cathedral in New York or Notre Dame in Paris. These spaces appear intentionally designed to raise consciousness without need of religious dogma. It definitely works for me, partly, no doubt, due to the rich harmonic acoustics in those Cathedrals and what they do with the sound. Wonderfully sonorous acoustics makes music for my ears no matter what the sound source - a door closing, someone coughing. John Cage's 4'33" constantly plays in spaces and places like that for me. I've made a whole library of ambient recordings of interesting architectural and cultural buildings from all over the world.

The conscious awareness of moving from Chamber to Chamber goes by the term "voyaging" in bardo training parlance.

Bardo training ostensibly derives from the teachings of the Bardo Thodol, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, but has widespread applications in life as well. Bardo training essentially deals with navigating space, and handling, overcoming or circumventing all the obstacles that spring up along the way. One theory suggests that the obstacles and blockages encountered in life- some of which correspond to what Wilhelm Reich called emotional armoring - will crop up as the same issues to handle in death. This makes sense according to another theory which postulates that bardo spaces entered right after the body dies consist of the unraveling of the subconscious mind combined with an extreme dilation of subjective time in the moments before brain death.

* * * * * *
S.M.I.2L.E. seems to connect space and time into a single continuum as do current theories in physics. Becoming generally familiar with some of these theories can increase intelligence regarding space travel ( of any kind) and time dilation. Einstein pointed out in his Relativity theories that the measurement of anything physical depends upon the frame of reference of the observer, and that no absolute frame of reference observably exists that can make absolute physical measurements. James Joyce, Aleister Crowley and others applied relativity to metaphysics and consciousness research.

The spacetime continuum gets measured in dimensions. Theoretical physicists don't agree on how many dimensions exist, some string theorists postulate as many as 26, Bucky Fuller listed 14. The commonly held view consists of three spatial dimensions and one of time. Herman Minkowski devised a four-dimensional coordinate system and measurement grid known as Minkowski Space. Points in this space signify "events" in spacetime.

The way Buckminster Fuller put it in Synergetics:

Time and space are simply functions of velocity. You can examine the time increment or the space increment separately but they are never independent of one another.

The velocity of what one might ask. This may relate to Fullers cognition:

I live on Earth at present, and I don't know what I am. I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing — a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process — an integral function of the universe.

* * * * * *

Musical spaces, the reception and integration of them in recording studios or concert halls followed by their transmission through mass media will be the focus of another post. Suffice to say here that the 4 dimensions physicists use to measure spacetime have their correlations in the construction of an audio sound environment even with stereo sound ( as opposed to 5.1 surround sound.) The frequency range corresponds to height, the pan position defines the width dimension, dynamic range gives depth, and rhythm measures time. Robert Fripp, who I got some of these correspondences from, wrote an article many years ago for Musician magazine where he pointed out patterns in architecture follow the same mathematical relationship as patterns in some musical scales. It follows then that a mixer can speak of an architecture of sound, and that this 'architecture' can potentially have similar consciousness altering properties that Gurdjieff talks about above.

One of the intentions of invocational magick, or shamanic exploration, involves accessing nonordinary spaces that may provide some kind of gnosis. It's sometimes done by creating a model of a Higher Dimensional space in an isolated chamber and forging some kind of connection through the principle of sympathetic resonance. A recording studio makes for a good isolated chamber to experiment in this way. More on this later.

Another future post related to the value of space migration will examine the powerful effect Rock Concerts can have to alter consciousness in profound ways. Right now I'll discuss one such instance because it lead to an understanding about a book I'm currently reading. As I pondered over what the Hell I was going to write about space migration, I recalled spaces I'd migrated to that had life changing results. I'd had a significant epiphany at a Who concert circa late '70s early 80's that led me to experiment going to concerts after engaging upon certain shamanic type activities that I'd picked up from the usual suspects. I went to David Bowie's Serious Moonlight concert at Calgary's McMahon stadium about 3 hours before the first act in order to ensure a spot up front. For about 2 hours I sat in the warm afternoon sun and did rhythmic deep breathing unnoticeable to my fellow attendees. While breathing and while waiting right before the start and in-between set changes, I auto-programmed the suggestion to "open myself to receive Higher Intelligence." I also had a small dose of a very potent South-East Asian herb just before Bowie went on. I considered the experiment a success.

One of the highlights came when Bowie sang Heroes. I had the very distinct irrational sensation that Bowie channeled these lyrics from somewhere else and that they carried great importance.

I, I wish I could swim.
Like the dolphins,
Like the dolphins can swim.

At the time, well-steeped in John Lilly's theories suggesting the higher intelligence of dolphins, this read to me as actively playing in the field of transcendent consciousness or something like that.

Though nothing, nothing can keep us together.
We can beat them, forever and ever.
For we can be heroes,
just for one day

I wondered, why just one day? Fast forward approximately 30 years and I'm reading Thomas Pynchon's Against the Day. That book migrates through many spaces often nonlinearly in a way that recalls bardo voyages. Does Bowie's just for one day correspond to Pynchon's Against the Day? Are they referencing the same kind of day? Pynchon's book has many archetypal motifs so logically it makes sense for the title to refer to an archetypical day.

Then I recalled a movie Robert Anton Wilson said ( in a forum post) was the best example of magick he knew of on film: On A Clear Day You Can See Forever.

Wilson wrote a haiku about it posted on his website:

On A Clear Day You Can See Forever
"Witchcraft" not spoken
But still the best film ever
About Wise Women

What can we tell about this Day? Well Bowie, who on an earlier album sings of being immersed in Crowley's uniform of imagery, says that we can be heroes on that day. Robert Graves in The White Goddess linguistically connects the Hero archetype with Horus. Robert Anton Wilson has a character in Illuminatus! named Doris Horus.

Perhaps Qabalah can shed some light. Through the method of Notarikon ( creating an acronym):
On A Clear Day = 83,
Malkuth, the material world, the spacetime continuum = 10
83 + 10 = 93 which represents the Horus current among a few other very interesting and relevant things.

Pynchon writes knowledgeably, if obscurely, of various obstacles that crop up in the way of "seeing forever." Against the Day. A main character, Webb Traverse whose name suggests bardo voyaging, gets killed pretty early but his death continues to inform some of the plot lines well into this thousand plus page tome.

In my opinion, Pynchon alludes to Horus when he writes of a young boy trying to earn money to get back home to East 93rd street. He works for a Mr. Archer and has to learn how to handle a horse driven wagon.

In Egyptian mythology the enemy of Horus is his cousin Set. Set is the god of the desert, storms, and foreigners as well as darkness, confusion, and chaos. Kenneth Grant writes:

In magical terms Set is the epitome of dormant subconscious atavisims

These gods may then represent various evolutionary processes to the individual. Horus, perhaps, symbolizes newly awakened abilities and functions of some kind. Set, perhaps, as the subconscious complexes and emotional armor that resists the leap to a permanently realized higher velocity. This relates to a saying I heard years ago: In the bardo you have no enemies, you have yourself. Maybe you have enemies in other areas particularly if you are in law enforcement or the military or politics, but in the science of brain- change, magick, bardo training, the biggest obstacle appears to be yourself.

As mentioned earlier, some theories say that bardo spaces cross the observer's event horizon as a result of the conscious apprehension of the subconscious mind which seems to unravel more and more as you approach the point of biological death. Bardo training therefore consists, in part, of diving in and attempting to perceive and become familiar with areas of the subconscious mind long before death. Making the subconscious conscious also represents stated goals of both Gurdjieff and Crowley in their systems of voluntary evolution.

Be aware that I'm presenting speculations and ruminations - my abstract truths, not necessarily relevant to anyone or everyone else. In Relativity, contradictory views may each be 'right' from their own frame of reference. As Bucky Fuller puts it:

Relativity is inherently convergent, though convergent toward a plurality of centers of abstract truths.

I welcome and would love to hear dissenting, opposing or alternate views.
We can be heroes just for one day...
Heroes was produced by Brian Eno and features guitar playing by Robert Fripp.

Bowie was inspired to write Heroes after seeing two lovers kiss at the Berlin Wall. To him it symbolized overcoming all obstacles.

This is the live version from the Serious Moonlight tour:


  1. Holy Methuselah. What a great post. Mind-blowing and inspiring. I want to write on some aspect of SMI2LE now.

    Thanks, Oz!

  2. And that's inspiring to hear, Michael! I'm hoping that these posts will encourage further dialog.

    1. Great post. I remember reading Wilson and Leary on SMI2LE years ago . Sadly RAW's optimism about space travel never really became fact, although you do suggest a metaphysical meaning as well.... I did not know at the time that Bowie was so involved in 'Crowley's imagery.'

  3. Just re-reading this and really love the overall conceptualization about spaces as different "chambers" we experience, because it seems more usable as a form of thinking than the "really real" and the "merely mental" spaces we inhabit. I love the way you put it because it assumes (or seems to, to me) all spaces have some equality, and it's more neurologically "true" because, it seems we experience it more "like that" than the other "it's really out there" and "I'm/You're only imagining it." Etc.

    I also have always loved Bucky's "Dare to be naive." It may be the only antidote to the chronic, desperate "irony" and "knowingness" too many illlusioned 18-35 year olds we see too often. They think because of all their gizmos and gadgets they've seen it all, heard it all. A cultivated naivete is a sure way OUT of that!

  4. Fascinating...I love "In the bardo you have no enemies, you have yourself." Put me in mind of something I recently blogged about at Extract follows:

    "There’s a notion within magical thinking about how the microcosm contains the macrocosm, and vice versa. That’s the state of grace you’re aiming for in developing a story of any sort, whether it’s a radio play, graphic novel, or background to an online game. And it’s not easily attained. Pushing for it makes it all the trickier. I had an analogous experience, after my meeting with the filmmaker, when I remembered a film I thought would be good for him to see. Only, I couldn’t recall the title. And the harder I tried, the less I knew it. So, I took another tack, and kind of left space in my mind for the name to appear. Only, it sensed that I was lying in wait for it, and refused to participate. I’m pretty good at this stuff usually, and decided just to leave it there. Except I knew I was only doing so with intent, so the name waited in the wings and taunted me. Eventually, I really did forget about it, and a similar name came into my head. I knew it wasn’t the right one, but it was like my mind had given me a hint. And a few minutes later I recalled the title and texted it to my client."

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