Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Space Migration Number B

Tom Jackson over at RAW Illuminations posted an old essay by Robert Anton Wilson circa 1977 relevant to the recent topic here: S.M.I.2L.E.

I hadn't seen this before, and a few things stood out for me. Didn't know Mark Train wrote an essay called Man, A Machine. First heard this idea from Ouspensky via Gurdjieff. Currently, the most complete investigation and practical application of this model in book form exists as The Human Biological Machine as as Transformational Apparatus by E.J. Gold. Prometheus Rising by Robert Anton Wilson works in similar fashion but makes less overt reference to the model 'Man as machine.' However, he makes it quite clear in I Robot, the title of the essay.

The last few sentences invokes I.2:

When the robot awakens and becomes a self-programmer, it can easily have all the goals promised by the alchemists: The Stone of the Wise, the Medicine of Metals, True Wisdom and perfect Happiness. All of those traditional terms are metaphors for the awakening of Intelligence-squared.

Usually people are libertarians or fascists or snake-worshippers or Republicans or nudists or whatever, because of conditioned networks that fit smoothly into their imprints. People achieve Intelligence-squared, and become effective libertarians, only if they work for it.

Practicing the exercises in Prometheus Rising and/or The H.B.M will expand the mind and therefore constitutes neurological space migration. Finding ways to break free and go beyond conditioned belief systems, getting out of habitual reality tunnels, even just temporarily, inevitably results in space migration. We bias Here to Go, as Burroughs, Gysin, Crowley, and Groucho cheer us on with this slogan. Changing out of a reality tunnel suit if only for a casual stroll down Alternity Way also goes by the modern psychological term "breaking set." Christopher Hyatt (not his "real" name) describes breaking set very clearly in an Introduction to The Eye in the Triangle by Israel Regardie. To see examples of breaking set in action, watch any of the classic Marx Brothers films. The Brothers Marx constantly messed with and agitated reality tunnels in playful, humorous, non-violent, and non-hateful ways.

"By a commodius vicus of recirculation" breaking set recalls the Egyptian deity Set whom I called the cousin and enemy of Horus last post. Since then, I found a poem by Crowley in his collection, The Winged Beetle called The Twins. It portrays Set slightly differently, fleshes out the metaphor more. Started reading it because the first stanza grabbed my attention:

Have pity ! show no pity !
Those eyes that send such shivers
Into my brain and spine : oh let them
Flame like the ancient city
Swallowed up by the sulphurous rivers
When men let angels fret them !

It recalled the theme of confronting, overcoming, transforming obstacles or challenges. The protagonist of the poem describes the nature of the antagonist, their own nature and the intensity of their battle. In the fifth stanza their identities get revealed:

Look! in the polished granite,
Black as thy cartouche is with sins,
I read the searing sentence
That blasts the eyes that scan it :
"HOOR and SET be TWINS."
A fico for repentance !

The shock that your mortal enemy unveils as a different kind of you, your twin. Hoor represents another name for Horus. They get reborn in the tenth stanza after using the Death formula in the ninth:

Wherefore I solemnly affirm
This twofold Oneness at the term.
Asar on Asi did beget
Horus twin brother unto Set.
Now Set and Horus kiss, to call
The Soul of the Unnatural
Forth from the dusk ; then nature slain
Lets the Beyond be born again.

This poem has a dedication to Austin Osman Spare ironically Crowley's oppositely charged twin of sorts in some occult circles. Phil Baker in his Spare biography suggests this could read as an encoded love letter. Perhaps on a base level this holds true, but it overlooks the inner alchemical symbolism that Set = the individual's natural tendencies and habits. In this scenario, the reception, integration, and crystallization of expanded consciousness goes against nature. It doesn't seem natural to wake up the robot. The H.B.M. talks about a defense mechanism to the waking state.

In terms of Leary's 8 circuit model the first four "terrestrial" circuits take shape, through imprinting and conditioning, as a natural course of living and growing up in whatever culture and society one gets born in. The four "extra-terrestrial" circuits usually remain below conscious awareness. For the potential meta-programmer getting to know hirself, resistance gets encountered as soon as they attempt to permanently reimprint/recondition the terrestrial circuits or activate the post-terrestrial circuits. Some systems suggest not trying to change anything at all at first but instead observe the self and gather data. This, however, results in some change by the principle that the act of observation changes the thing observed. Reimprinting/reconditioning shows up metaphorically in Crowley's poem as the death/rebirth archetype.

A highly recommended film that has as one of its themes - higher consciousness learning to get along with ordinary conscious - is Beetlejuice. They won't let me post this clip here but if you watch it you'll see a good personification/representation of the atavistic, chthonic type of critter that crops up when starting to shine the light of awareness into the subconscious mind. I highly recommend viewing this clip when you have an extra 5 minutes. Seeing film segments outside the context of the whole film puts them in a whole new light. This clip also demonstrates a classic 'loser script' the subconscious likes to throw at most, if not all of us from time to time when it gets annoyed from being prodded out of quiescence. Robert Anton Wilson refers to this same loser script somewhere in Prometheus Rising, if memory serves. See if you can tell what I'm talking about.

Space and Time

Relativity theorizes that the faster an object travels the slower time goes by for it in relation to other objects not going as fast. In 1971 two scientists, J.C. Hafele and R. E. Keating set out to verify this idea by putting four atomic clocks on regular commercial flights and flying them around the world twice, once traveling eastward, then going west measuring the change in time relative to another atomic clock positioned on Earth at the U.S. Navel Observatory. Their findings said: These results provide an unambiguous empirical resolution of the famous clock "paradox" with macroscopic clocks." Time sped up relative to the Earth's surface when traveling west and slowed down, or dilated when traveling east in the same direction as the planet's rotation.

Time dilation as allowed by Relativity means that someone traveling on a rocket away from Earth will age more slowly than the people they left behind. It's been suggesting that a practical application of this phenomena would allow travel to nearby stars without having to spend a whole lifetime getting there. However this requires a new, as yet undiscovered system of propulsion. The Orion Project was a serious effort at designing spacecraft with a new method of propulsion using a series of atomic bomb explosions. Concern over fallout ended it in 1963 even though these explosions were supposed to occur in Space. This interests me because in at least one instance in Against the Day Pynchon lets some dynamite explosions get used as a metaphor for migration to alternate spaces. This apparent non sequitur leap into literature makes more sense if you saw the last post, maybe.

The image of a rocketship speeding away from Earth into Space powered by a carefully timed series of hopefully non-radioactive explosions at a high enough velocity to enable serious time dilation recalls one of William Burroughs' instructions for humankind to "get out of time and go into space." He echoes this theme with the last words in The Western Lands ( his take on the Egyptian Book of the Dead) "Hurry up please, it's time."

Burroughs had some interesting techniques for self-metaprogramming and breaking set like this example from The Soft Machine:

Whatever you feed into the machine on subliminal level the machine will process--So we feed in 'dismantle thyself' [...] We fold in writers of all time in together and record radio programs, movie sound tracks, TV and juke box songs all the words of the world stirring around in a cement mixer and pour in the resistance message "Calling partisans of all nation--Cut word lines--Shift linguals--Free doorways--Vibrate 'tourists'--Word falling--Photo falling--Breakthrough in Grey Room."

Can literature take us out into space, that endlessly vast space and spaces outside our conditioned reality tunnels? Shaking William Burroughs hand as we met catapulted me into a heretofore unknown space and awareness which I wrote about here. If part of that dude's awareness really existed out of time in some alternate space then it had a magnetic effect because it certainly felt like a timeless moment to me.

I can recall two other instances where it distinctly felt like time became suspended a little, or stretched out. One happened the first time I ever saw Robert Anton Wilson lecture. It was at the Open Center in New York sometime in the late '80's; Peter Lamborn Wilson introduced him. Seemed like RAW took us all on a free form journey through cutting edge ideas of brain-change technology, conspiracies, zen jokes, zen riddles, and witty commentary on current events. To be honest, I don't remember exactly what he talked about, only that I got a very strong contact high. He took a break about 90 minutes in but it felt like I'd been there forever and could have stayed forever. I told my ex-wife as we got into this large elevator, that it felt like time dilated, which I'm sure is the first time I said those words aloud, not realizing that RAW was on the other side of this freight elevator. I glanced over at him to see him looking intently at me; he had overheard what I said.

The other time I'll mention was at a Ravi Shankar concert at Carnegie Hall with his classic band of Ali Akbar Khan on sarod and Alla Rakha on tablas. When it ended it felt like I'd only been there for 10 - 15 minutes although three hours of clock time had elapsed. The music definitely entered timeless chambers and disconnected me from consenual reality except in the most basic navigational sense. It felt like traveling through the heavens on sound and trance with Shankar the Guide steering the way. Somewhere Gurdjieff talks about the excellent acoustics of Carnegie Hall, and how they had a sacred quality unlike anywhere else in the world. He directed several dance performances there. Good acoustics + top of the world music = a non-chemical pyschotropic effect of great magnitude - seems how it works for me.

A less artistic, more scientific and sobering examination of the idea of going out of time into space gets told by Franklin Merrell-Wolf in his classic PATHWAYS THROUGH TO SPACE A Personal Report of Transformations in Consciousness:

The time principle dominates in the case of consciousness manifesting in primitive forms. It is thus in the massive or numerical sense preponderant, for not only is the bulk of human life under its sway, but as well all of subhuman life. In the historic sense Spengler is right when he says that spatial comprehension comes into dominance only as a culture flowers. It is born and sustained in this world with difficulty. But, on the other hand it wields the ultimately victorious force. The cosmic integration of Sir Isaac Newton is a good illustration of the power of the spatial principle. He gave an especially strong impetus to the conceptual grasp of the universe under law. By supplying a command over a planted time mystery that had held humanity in its thralldom before his day, he effected a substantial degree of liberation for human consciousness. A considerable sector of time-mobilized nature now stands definitely conquered by man as a result of the spatial understanding introduced by Newton and other men like him.

When you have an extra 10 minutes, theoretical physicist Michio Kaku gives an excellent interview on how new data from the WMAP satellite project can quite possibly redefine our concepts about Space. He also mentions another satellite system called LISA - Laser Interferometer Space Antennae - scheduled to go up in five or six years which again could radically change our understanding of Space. LISA consists of three satellites to be positioned in a triangulated formation three million miles apart from each other.


  1. Highly fascinating post. I started with the excellent Marx Bros compilation (of course) as I have a strong affinity with clowns and fools (breaking set) but will return to review the other links and clips.
    Strange that I have to find time to go through it all, but I will, I WILL!

  2. Thank-you, Alias Bogus. Along with breaking set, clowning makes an excellent story-telling device, as I'm sure you know. The second vid I posted, the link to a "Beetlejuice" scene, takes a clowning approach in communicating sometimes a most gnarly subconscious archetype.

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