Saturday, October 26, 2013

This is the Space Age and We are Here To Go

At the Nova Convention held in New York in 1978, William S. Burroughs was asked what the convention was about.  He replied,

This is the Space Age and we are here to go.

This statement meant far more to Burroughs than a convention slogan.  "Here to go" represents an answer he and collaborator Brion Gysin came up with in response to the perennial question, " why are we here?"  "We are here to go," they offered.

Though he said this at a time when the possibility of migration into outer space looked like it was taking off in a real way, accompanied with much enthusiasm and optimism, I suspect it was meant in all ways, inner space as well as outer, and where the two meet.  One need not wait for a rocketship to take us to the stars to appreciate that this is the Space Age and We are Here to Go.

The idea that we are here to go, that life energetically remains constantly in flux, agrees with contemporary magick theory, Chinese religion, and scientific theories of relativity and quantum physics.  James Joyce's opening sentence in Finnegans Wake also synchs with the 'here to go' theme.

riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend
of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to
Howth Castle and Environs.

Riverrun recalls Heraclitus' famous statement about constant change:

No woman ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and she's not the same woman.
The Tao, the highest principle in one branch of Chinese philosophy, translates as The Way.  According to Richard Wilhelm in The Secret of the Golden Flower, A Chinese Book of Life, the character for Tao in its original form consisted of a head followed by another character for going.

 In a chapter called The Tao (1) from Magick Without Tears Aleister Crowley writes:

Note! Function. For now we see why Tao may also be translated " The Way"; for it is the motion of the structure we observe. There is no Being apart from Going."

Crowley then brings up the Four Powers of the Sphinx: To Know, to Dare, to Will, and to Keep Silence which correspond with the Four Elements of the ancient Greeks: Air, Fire, Water, Earth. He then says that because a fifth Element, that of Spirit is now recognized, he "deems it proper" to add a Fifth Power: to Go.

Then, as Spirit is the Origin, the Essence, and the Sum of the other four, so is to Go in relation to those powers. And to Go is the very meaning of the name God, as elsewhere shewn in these letters; hence the Egyptian Gods were signified as such by their bearing the Ankh, which is a Sandal-strap, and in its form the Crux Ansata, the Rosy Cross, the means whereby we demonstrate the Godhead of our Nature.

Elsewhere in the book, p.388, in the chapter titled Fear, Crowley explains how "to Go is the very meaning of the name God":

Here's that Book of Lies_popping out its ugly mug again: "Thou has become the Way." This is why the Ankh or "Key of Life" is a sandal-strap, borne in the hand of every God as a mark of his Godhead: a God is one who goes. (If I remember rightly, Plato derives "Θεως" (Theos) from a verb meaning "to run", and is heartily abused by scholars for so doing. )

At this point I should say this this line of enquiry was partly inspired by a blog posted by Michael Johnson on his Overweening Generalist site.  As I understood it, Johnson raised the question based on science telling us the Universe consists mostly of empty space, then why does much of it register as solid to us?  

I had just finished reading Cosmology by Buckminster Fuller.  He claims to know why, gives a pretty convincing answer and demonstrates the answer with a model.  Somehow reading the OG blog got me connecting it with Burroughs, Crowley and Here To Go.

Fuller's answer has to do with speed and frequency.  He uses the example of a rotating propeller blade.  When spinning fast, it appears as completely solid.  You couldn't put your hand through it, and if you threw a ball in its direction, it would bounce off.  This rapid movement apparently occurs atomically and subatomically.  In a solid object atoms are as relatively distant from each other as the planets in the solar system but move so fast as to appear completely solid to us slower creatures.   I don't know how accurate the science works out to, but he makes a convincing argument.

The reason I bring all this up is to present the supposition that higher states of consciousness begin to directly apprehend the subatomic world.  Consciousness eventually learns to function and operate in realms explained to us by quantum physics.  Enlightening Consciousness also start to see how quantum physics affects everyday life.  The manipulation of energies in a ritual of magick and the subsequent result might find its best explanation in quantum physics.

When Consciousness starts receiving more signal, it speeds up ... or, it has the feeling of speeding up.  If gone about in a gradual manner this phenomena can be hardly noticeable.  This speeding up of consciousness seems to occur as a tuning in to the vibratory nature of the molecular, atomic, and subatomic worlds.  As consciousness expands we begin to become experientially aware of realities beyond the consensual one of appearance.

Returning to the model from the Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley which says that the vast majority of electro-magnetic signals we could potentially receive gets blocked and filtered out by the human nervous system.  These filters can open and become unblocked to let more signal through.  Usually temporary, sometimes permanent.  One aspect of the full realization of the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian seems to be a complete and permanent removal of these filters - what G.I. Gurdjieff called "buffers."

In Changing My Mind Among Others, Timothy Leary says that one main reason for meditation,  doing yoga, eating right, etc. is to prepare the nervous system for the increase in signal from expanded states of consciousness.  Training of the attention, the ability to focus, also becomes more crucial as signal flow accelerates.  This applies as equally to high states of meditation and ritual work as it does to working in a recording studio with intense musicians, etc.  Raising of consciousness happens all the time (well I do live in California!) not just in special exercises and practices.  Mostly, these moments of waking up seem brief, and go unnoticed.

The last time I saw Timothy Leary was at a club in New York called Wetlands.  He seemed his usual, jovial, optimistic, enlightened self, if a little more thoughtful and slower to respond.  A brief but poignant moment came when mentioning his daughter Susan's recent suicide.  It was interesting and educational to see how such an intrepid voyager dealt with that kind of tremendous pain.  He acknowledged the loss without getting sentimental about it, but you could tell it affected him a lot.  Then he said something like, 'I see no point in wallowing in grief,' and moved on. 

As his time drew to a close, Leary went into a short rap telling everyone they should imagine themselves as quarks, the subatomic particles that make up protons and neutrons.  "What do quarks do, how do they behave?" he asked rhetorically.  He was trying to get people to think in terms of quantum physics and how that awareness might help to successfully navigate this long strange trip we travel through life.

Murray Gell-Man coined these building blocks of matter "quarks" after reading the poem "Three quarks for Muster Mark" in Finnegans Wake.  This seems quite appropriate because one level of Finnegans Wake which Joyce symbolized in his notebooks as a backwards "E", and what Robert Anton Wilson calls the non-local circuit, illustrates the nature of the quantum Universe.  In my opinion, reading Finnegans Wake will start to familiarize consciousness with all the idiosyncrasies and ways of life as a self-directed subatomic particle.  Timothy Leary once remarked something to the effect that reading Ulysses and Finnegans Wake makes excellent preparation for observing energy in its raw, vibratory state. 

In Leary's 8 circuit model of Consciousness, the 8th circuit is called "Neuro-Atomic (Metaphysiological)" by Robert Anton Wilson in Cosmic Trigger.  Each circuit has 3 stages.  In The Game of Life, Leary describes the first stage of the neuro-atomic circuit as:

Technological Stage:

Quantum Consciousness, Awareness of Charge and Spin, Meta-physiological receptivity, Self-Definition As Starmaker, as a Radiant, Hi-Velocity Celestial Entity, as Singularity.

Ontogenetic Stage:

Awareness and Manipulation of Sub-atomic-nuclear-energy (S.A.N.E.) by the nervous system


Planful movement...

It's useful to read the whole section on the neuro-atomic circuit in The Game of Life to get more of an idea and feel for quantum awareness.

The Schrodinger's Cat Trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson is another highly recommended exploration of consciousness and its relation with quantum physics.  This book, more than any other I know, bridges the gap between quantum physics, everyday life, and magick.  One even finds there a glossary of models to explain quantum physics at the time of writing.  I don't know if any of them have been rejected since the book came out?  If so, it would still be very useful to read anyway.

Virtual reality engineered in cyberspace seems another excellent way to gain experiential knowledge of these inner spaces.  The easiest way to do that is to play a computer video game.  People who research these things have discovered that currently the best video game for this is Diablo 2Quake, Team Fortress is another good one.

Playing these video games gives you the direct experience of being  'here to go' in the quantum world.  They move fast.  They will begin to show you what it's like to voyage in the Macrodimensions of the Labyrinth, as E.J. Gold puts it.  This seems a good way of describing metaphysiological awareness.  You have the sensation of moving at a greatly accelerated speed  through different spaces.

To be continued ...

1 comment:

  1. If you're looking for a musical resonance, Hawkwind's Born to Go is a good one. Lyrics follow -

    We were born to go, we're never turning back
    We were born to go, and leave a burning track
    We were born to go, and leave no star unturned
    We were born to grow, we were born to learn
    We're breaking out of the shell, we're breaking free
    We're hatching our dreams into reality
    We were born to blaze a new clear way through space
    A way out of the maze, that held the human race
    We were born to go, as far as we can find
    We were born to go, to blow the human mind

    The band were involved in an ill-fated plot to bust Leary from prison at one point, the idea being their music coming from a helicopter and light show would be mistaken for a UFO. Perfect cover for an escape...but not to be.

    The studio version of the track is pretty good, but the live version on Space Ritual features the band's classic line-up, including Lemmy on bass. He went on to form Motorhead after his time with Hawkwind, and would in due course work with Bill Laswell.