Friday, December 9, 2022

23rd Series of the Aion

This series discusses Deleuze's two opposing readings of Time, Chronos and the Aion. Chronos is presented from the point of view of Plato's philosophy. Chronos is circular, encased by God. Chronos, the present, is the time of mixtures and blendings and corporeal causes. The Stoics distinguished between good and bad mixtures, whether they spread order or chaos. The "bad mixtures" Deleuze calls the becoming-mad of the depths. This becoming-mad tries to subvert the present; this is how Chronos attempts to die. Deleuze presents the argument, via Meditations by Marcus Aurelius that another element is needed, the Aion.

The Aion is a straight line (Chronos unfolded) that goes infinitely into the past and future, but is limited because its present only lasts an instant. The Aion is the world of surface effects and allows language to be abstracted from the sounds of the body. The Aion articulates the frontier between bodies and language, between things and propositions. Pure events ground language. It is what is expressed in its independence that grounds language, i.e. sense. Events and sense are the same thing. Sense brings that which expresses it into existence. Aion lasts for an instant in the present then divides into the past and future simultaneously. Aion is the eternal truth of time: pure empty form of time. Suggested additional reading: 1. Parmenides by Plato which is a dialogue between Parmenides, Socrates and Zeno, the founder of the Stoics. 2. The section on Zeno (Book VII, first philosopher) in The Lives of the Philosophers by Diogenes Laertius. 3. Sections on the empty form of time from Difference and Repetition by Deleuze, p. 87 - 91 and p. 294 - 300 in the Columbia edition. See the index under Time for more references.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

22nd Series – Porcelain and Volcano

In this series Deleuze explores a concept he calls "the crack," a crack in the surface organization. He uses F. Scott Fitzgerald's memoir piece, The Crack-Up as a jumping off point. In it, Fitzgerald discusses the disintegration of his life comparing it to a cracked plate (porcelain). He also looks at the crack through Malcolm Lowry's novel Under the Volcano. Deleuze attributes the crack in both these cases to alcoholism and does a brief psychological analysis of that disease.

However, the crack may have a beneficial side: "If one asks why does health not suffice, why the crack is desirable, it is perhaps because only by means of the crack and at its edges does thought occur, that anything that is good and great in humanity enters and exits through it, in people ready to destroy themselves - better death than the health we are given." (Logic of Sense, p. 164 - 165 Bloomsbury edition). Deleuze wants to know if it's possible to utilize the crack without compromising our health. The crack can also be brought about by schizophrenia (Artaud & Nietzsche), drugs or sudden loss of wealth or love, etc. Is it possible to get the revelations given by drugs and alcohol without chemical means? Counter-actualization seems a key to using the crack. Counter-actualization takes a difficult or tragic event and turns it into something else. The Crack-Up is both the title of a post-humous collection of Fitzgerald's letters and short stories and the name of a particular piece containing three short memoir stories originally written for and published in Esquire magazine. In the video, I incorrectly state that it was for Vogue magazine. It is the short story, The Crack-Up, that Deleuze uses. It can be read for free at the Internet Archive by registering for a free account. It begins on page 69 at this link.
It can also be purchased here. Under the Volcano is available here.

Saturday, November 5, 2022

21st Series of the Event

Transforming hardship like a Stoic. Illustrated with the story of French poet Joe Bousquet and his wound. How he apprehended the universal truth of the pure event of his wound and through Will became a quasi-cause for transmuting it into something else; in his case, becoming a poet and writer.

The only ethics worth having - to be not unworthy of what happens to you. This relates with Nietzsche's concept of Amor Fati. Also goes into Nietzsche's concept of "ressentiment" (resentment) as an attitude of slave morality. Those who feel the events of their life seem unwarranted or unjustified - it's always someone else's fault - are full of ressentiment as are those who "pick at their sores." Touches upon the two big problems of war and death. "There is, nevertheless, a good deal of ignominy in saying that war concerns everybody. It does not concern those who use it or serve it – creatures of ressentiment." The Stoic sage, the "actor," also called the Operator in this Series - I would also call a Magician - becomes a quasi-cause relative to any event in the depth of the body that may bring misfortune (a wound) by willing the pure event with splendor and magnificence which is sense. Sense can dry up the misfortune, this gets done by the static genesis and the immaculate conception, i.e. humans who know how to produce sense. The Operator takes the splendor and contour of the pure event and transmutes the misfortune into something else. The example of Bousquet using his wound (which left him bed-ridden for life) to establish a writing career. The Operator aims to turn war against war and death against death. The paradox of the actor and the ambiguity of the event relate to the two modes of time, Chronos and the Aion. The actor actualizes the event in the present moment in a state of affairs (Chronos); the pure event always bypasses the present moment splitting into the infinite past and the infinite future. The pure event is the actor's role. Quotes from The Space of Literature by Maurice Blanchot illustrate this ambiguity.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Live Music: Dalrymple and the Wild Daimons

 Today is the first day of the rest of your mythology.

A crack between the worlds opens up November 10th, 7:30 pm  at the historic Nevada Theater in downtown Nevada City, Ca with a concert by Dalrymple and the Wild Daimons and a special guest to open the show.

The ensemble currently performs several pieces from their forthcoming 2023 album release, We Are Gods. 

The album is a musical blueprint born out of the need to align human beings with the personification of their individual destiny, the center of the source of inherited power.

The band took their name from the Greek word for Provider/Divider of destiny/fortune, i.e. The Daimon.

“There was a Daimon in me and in the end its presence proved decisive.”

~Carl Jung

Dalrymple and the Wild Daimons was conceived in the frosty confines of the Dream Factory in the isolated winter of 2020. Part band, part comic book, part conceptual art project, they defy categorization but align with the visionary artists who inspire them, David Bowie, Bahaus, Nick Cave, Carl Orff, Terry Riley, Moondog, Alan Moore and Carl Jung to name a few.

The music of this power trio borders multiple genres and tonal expressions such as neo-classical, gothic-folk, chamber-psych, avant-rock and doomy funk, all charged with cosmic undertones.

The band is comprised of multi-instrumentalist Dalrymple MacAlpin, performing guitar, piano, synth and gut-string medieval harp along his idiosyncratic counter-tenor vocals. Dalrymple is backed up by two rhymically oriented Wild Daimons, Michael Clark on drums, gongs and percussive oddities and Michael Wronski on upright and electric bass. Guest Wild Daimon Ben Milner provides textural sonic soundscapes.

On display at their live shows will be the first 9 pages of the bands forthcoming graphic novel, Planet Daimon, written by Dalrymple and illustrated by Sacramento based artist Greycat. The graphic novel is a further extension of Dalrymple and the Wild Daimons mission statement~

“To save as many Daimons as they can from being ignored, repressed and annihilated, using the divine electricity that courses through the cosmic fields of music, art, theatre, magick and the power of active imagination. Today is the first day of the rest of your mythology.”

Get your tickets HERE

For more information or to listen to their new single Blood on the Concrete (mixed and mastered by Yours Truly) go THERE to their website.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

20th Series on the Moral Problem in Stoic Philosophy

This chapter concerns the spatio-temporal actualization of the event into a state of affairs. The Stoic master wills the embodiment of the event into a limited present. The Stoic master identifies with the quasi-cause (events causing other events) to will the embodiment of the event. This also becomes the representation of the event. This willing of the event seems a dramatisation with the Stoic master as first, an actor with the pure event in eternal time (the Aion) being the character. Later Deleuze calls the actor a mime. The Stoic master in this role gets compared to a Zen master. Deleuze begins with the example of Diogenes Laertius comparing philosophy to an egg with the shell as Logic, the white as Ethics, and the yolk as Physics but says that Diogenes rationalizes - what we really need is aphorisms/anecdotes or koans. Later he criticizes Plutarch for rationality hostile to Stoic philosophy. Hence this series reads more like a collection of koans than a rational presentation. For example, Deleuze says that Divination grounds Ethics and discusses the fortune-telling art. The dramatisation of the Idea from virtual into actual as discussed in Difference & Repetition p. 216 - 218 (Columbia University Press edition) compares with the dramatisation of the actualization of the event.

Monday, October 3, 2022

19th Series of Humor

Humor appears a way to bring language down from the heights of ideas and up from the depths of bodies to the expression of sense at the surface. Objects and events communicate in the void which constitutes their substance. The Stoics conceived of the void as having extra-being and insistence. The void = the nonsense at the surface, the paradoxical element, the aleatory point. Humor = the co-extensiveness of nonsense with sense. Humor seems how nonsense can make a donation of sense. To get to the pure expression of sense one tries to abolish language and thought. Deleuze connects the Stoics with Zen Buddhists. The balance of form and emptiness. They both give blows on their staff. The way Deleuze puts it, this makes a pun on a music staff, the way music gets noted and designated. Music, like humor, can bring us to the surface. Not said in the video: "To the question 'Who is speaking?', we answer sometimes with the individual, sometimes with the person, and sometimes with the ground that dissolves them both. 'The self of the lyric poet raises its voice from the bottom of the abyss of being, its subjectivity is pure imagination.'" - The Logic of Sense p. 140. The last quote is from Nietzsche.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

18th Series of the 3 Images of Philosophers

 Discusses 3 orientations of philosophy or thought, the heights, the depth and the surface. These are represented by Platonism, Nietzsche & the Pre--Socratics, and the Cynics and Stoics. Symbolized by Platonic wings, Empedocles' sandal, and the philosophical staff blow. Connection with Zen. Empdeocles connection with magic and with Nietzsche. Vigorous attack on Platonism; the philosophical disease of Idealism which gets compared to manic depression.

Deleuze references Diogenes Laërtius book, The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers for accounts of Pre-Socratic Philosophers, Cynics and Stoics. The ebook is here. Thelemic associations not mentioned in the video: Philosophy of the heights corresponds with Nuit. Philosophy of the depths corresponds with Hadit. Philosophy of the surface corresponds with Ra Hoor Kuit (Horus)

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

17th Series of the Static Logical Genesis

The Logical Genesis continues the construction of a structure that can produce sense. It's grounded upon the first two stages of the Ontological Genesis. Language appears primary to this genesis. Language is contingent upon sense. The logical genesis = the complex structure of language. Also called the condition or forms of possibility of the structure. It is the rational or intellectual aspect.

The "problem" is the reality of the genetic element. The problem is not propositional but only exists within propositions. The surface gets formed and organized by the depth in bodies. Left out of the video: Sense is that which is formed and deployed at the surface. Sense is that which happens to bodies and that which insists in propositions. Sense is doubly generative, it engenders language and things. As long as we remain within the circle of the proposition - revolving between denotation, manifestation & signification - we can only infer sense. We have to break through and go beyond the rational to directly experience and work with (produce?) sense. More on Avicenna's idea that God = not.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

16th Series of the Ontological Genesis

Describes how individuals and their world come into being from the transcendental field of singularities as the first stage of the genesis. This stage gets engendered by sense. It's with reference to Leibnez's theory of the monad and of compossible and incompossible worlds. The second stage establishes and develops the Ego or Person on top of the first stage. The first stage comprises an umwelt. Good sense gets actualized here. In the second stage the person sees more objectively across individual worlds forming a welt.

Deleuze's formulations resemble the Many Worlds interpretation of Quantum Physics. He uses the same literary example they do, The Garden of Forking Paths by Jorge Borges.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

14th Series of Double Causality

Sense is always an effect but it requires two causes to acquire autonomy. The first cause is corporeal, from bodies, states of affairs and mixtures. The second cause is incorporeal, metaphysical, coming from the paradoxical element, the empty square, nonsense, or an aleatory point which circulates between the series of things and the series of propositions.

Sense has two aspects: 1. It's impassible and sterile in relation to bodies and things while neutral in relation to language. 2. Sense gets produced. Sense engenders the dimensions of the proposition: signification, manifestation and denotation. The two aspects of sense sets up a problem. If sense is impassible, how does it get produced to engender the proposition? The problem = how to produce sense, or how does sense get produced? Deleuze needs and begins to set the groundwork for a transcendental field for the bestowal of sense. The problem raised by the two aspects of sense indicates a choice between Formal Logic and Transcendental Logic. One way Deleuze states this problem: "At the heart of the logic of sense, one always returns to this problem, this immaculate conception, being the passage from sterility to genesis."

Saturday, August 13, 2022

13th Series of the Schizophrenic and the Little Girl

This chapter starts from the fragility of the surface and looks at the problem of nonsense overwhelming the surface. It also provides a solution. 

Deleuze compares the schizophrenic writings of Antonin Artaud and Louis Wolfson with Carroll. He looks at it from a tripartite arrangement of The madman, the poet and the little girl.  Bio of Artaud  Bio of Wolfson.

Deleuze introduces Artaud's "body without organs" and describes it a bit. This concept will turn up with more elaboration in Deleuze's two major collaborations with Felix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus.  Deleuze analyzes the schizophrenic languages invented by Artaud and Wolfson. 

He talks about "passion words" and "action words" and relates the latter to a theater of cruelty referring to the well known article by Artaud with the same title. In this article Artaud writes of communication in the theater by means other than conventional language. The Theater of Cruelty can be read here

 Deleuze introduces psychoanalysis in this chapter, a subject he'll write of extensively in the latter part of the book. 

 Not in the video but should be: Deleuze values the madness of Artaud over the logic of Carroll: "We would not give a page of Artaud for all of Carroll.

Friday, August 5, 2022

12th Series of the Paradox

This chapter looks at the problem of paradoxes and the territory they cover. Paradoxes are opposed to good sense and common sense. Good sense is a unique sense bound by a demand of order to go in a particular direction. Discusses the attributes of good sense and common sense. Common sense is what allows identity and recognition. Examples from the paradoxical world of Wonderland and Alice show when she doesn't have good sense or common sense.

The sense from paradox goes in two directions simultaneously comparable to the two directions of Time in the Aion with the present moment splitting and be simultaneously subdivided into the past and the future. This sense goes "in tandem." More examples from Alice and Through the Looking Glass. An obscure Stoic example of going in tandem from Cicero's Academia section 29:
"one can always manage in tandem, slowing the horses when the slope becomes steeper, or decreasing with one hand while increasing with the other." This is Deleuze's paraphrase from The Logic of Sense. The full section 29 appears below. The word "sōrites" in the text below represents paradox. Paradox has as its object a donation of sense but the gift of sense happens with signification. Sense hovers over the surface. It inheres in the expression of propositions and subsists in states of affairs and attributes of states of affairs.

                             Cicero Academia section 29
 [91]    "What is it that the reason is capable of perceiving ? Your school says that dialectic was invented to serve as a 'distinguisher'  or judge between truth and falsehood. What truth and falsehood, and on what subject ? Will the dialectician judge what is true or false in geometry, or in literature, or in music ? But those are not the subjects with which he is acquainted. In philosophy therefore? What has the question of the size of the sun to do with him ? what means has he to enable him to judge what is the supreme good ? What then will he judge ? what form of hypothetical judgement or of inference from alternative hypotheses is valid, what proposition is ambiguous, what conclusion follows from any given premiss and what is inconsistent with it ? 

If the reason judges these and similar matters, it judges about itself ; but the promise that it held out went further, as to judge merely these matters is not enough for all the other numerous and important problems contained in philosophy. [92] But since your school sets so much store by that science,  see that it is not essentially entirely against you, when at the first stage it gaily imparts the elements of discourse, the solution of ambiguous propositions and the theory of the syllogism, but then by a process of small additions comes to the sōrites, certainly a slippery and dangerous position, and a class of syllogism that you lately declared to be erroneous. [29.] What then ? is that an error for which we are to blame ? No faculty of knowing absolute limits has been bestowed upon us by the nature of things to enable us to fix exactly how far to go in any matter ; and this is so not only in the case of a heap of wheat from which the name is derived, but in no matter whatsoever - if we are asked by gradual stages, is such and such a person a rich man or a poor man, famous or undistinguished, are yonder objects many or few, great or small, long or short, broad or narrow, we do not know at what point in the addition or subtraction to give a definite answer. [93] 

 But you say that the sōrites is erroneous. Smash the sōrites then, if you can, so that it may not get you into trouble, for it will if you don't take precautions. 'Precautions have been taken,' says he, 'for the policy of Chrysippus is, when questioned step by step whether (for example) 3 is few or many, a little before he gets to "many," to come to rest, or, as they term it, hesychazein.'    

'So far as I am concerned,' says Carneades, 'you may not only rest but even snore ; but what's the good of that ? for next comes somebody bent on rousing you from slumber and carrying on the cross-examination : "If I add 1 to the number at which you became silent, will that make many ?" - you will go forward again as far as you think fit.' Why say more ? for you admit my point, that you cannot specify in your answers either the place where 'a few' stops or that where 'many' begins ; and this class of error spreads so widely that I don't see where it may not get to. [94]

 'It doesn't touch me at all,' says he, 'for like a clever charioteer, before I get to the end, I shall pull up my horses, and all the more so if the place they are coming to is precipitous : I pull up in time as he does,' says he, 'and when captious questions are put I don't reply any more.' 

If you have a solution of the problem and won't reply, that is an arrogant way of acting, but if you haven't, you too don't perceive the matter ; if because of its obscurity, I give in, but you say that you don't go forward till you get to a point that is obscure. If so, you come to a stop at things that are clear. If you do so merely in order to be silent, you don't score anything, for what does it matter to the adversary who wants to trap you whether you are silent or speaking when he catches you in his net ? but if on the contrary you keep on answering 'few' as far as 9, let us say, without hesitating, but stop at 10, you are withholding assent even from propositions that are certain, nay, clear as daylight ; but you don't allow me to do exactly the same in the case of things that are obscure. Consequently that science of yours gives you no assistance against a sōrites, as it does not teach you either the first point or the last in the process of increasing or diminishing. [95]   What of the fact that this same science destroys at the end  the steps that came before, like Penelope unweaving her web ? is your school to blame for that or is ours ? Clearly it is a fundamental principle of dialectic that every statement (termed by them axioma, that is, a 'proposition ') is either true or false ; what then ? is this a true proposition or a false one - 

'If you say that you are lying and say it truly, you lie' ? Your school of course says that these problems are 'insoluble,' which is more vexatious than the things termed by us 'not grasped' and 'not perceived.' 

Saturday, July 30, 2022

11th Series of Nonsense

 In this Zen koan-like chapter, Deleuze posits a mode of co-presence of nonsense with sense. Sense doesn't come from the heights or the depths, God or Man, but rather inheres upon the surface, the border between the series of language and the series of bodies or things. Nonsense connects with the paradoxical element, the aleatory point, also called the empty square, that constantly circulates between these two series. Sense gets produced by this circulation of nonsense. Nonsense has no sense, but provides a donation of sense such that nonsense is opposed to the absence of sense.

Two figures of nonsense, regressive synthesis and disjunctive synthesis. Both get demonstrated by Lewis Carroll's esoteric words. A nonsensical word like Snark is a word that communicates it's own sense. It's a word that appears both a word and a thing. This is regressive synthesis. Disjunctive synthesis occurs in portmanteau words where the virtual word of one part communicates the sense of the virtual word of the other part and vice versa.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

10th Series of the Ideal Game

The Ideal Game provides a model for talking about thought, events, chance and the two readings of time as known by the Stoics: Chronos - the time of the present, and the Aion, the time of elongated pasts and futures. The Ideal Game has no rules, the rules change with every move, no winners or losers and it affirms and ramifies chance. The Aion is the ideal player of the game. Ordinary games divide an apportion chance. They have rules based on hypotheses.

"The Lottery in Babylon" short story by Jorge Borges affirms the role of chance and also supports the subdivision of time as done in The Aion "The Book," the uncompleted magnum opus by 19th Century symbolist poet Stéphen Mallarmé provides an example of the Aion as the ideal player of the game. A description of it is here. Not in the video but should have been: The Ideal Game can only be played in thought and the only result it can produce is a work of art.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Arcing For to Carry Us Home


"The Vietnam War had been punishing in ways to all Unistaters, but Case, embroiled in the center of it, experienced it as very bad TV. It was like the film had stuck and Moe kept jabbing his finger in Curley's eye, over and over in infinite regress, until the myth and metaphor had turned meaningless through redundance. If the war wasn't that, it was sloppy editing or just plain bad taste."

- Schrödinger's Cat (SC), Robert Anton Wilson, p. 24 - 25

In some ways this essay continues my previous 2020 Maybe Day article, Navigating the Pandemic Lockdown with Literature, Magick and Science published online in New Trajectories_2021 starting on page 40. It continues where the latter left off further exploring the premise that Civilization, as we know or imagine it, continues through a transition known as Crossing the Abyss or what Robert Anton Wilson (RAW; sounds like RA) called Chapel Perilous. This premise turns up in a different way on a recent Hilaritas podcast featuring writer and editor Jesse Walker, hosted by Mike Gathers.  

Schrödinger's Cat starts off with a look at Pavlov's dog. It concludes the first small section by asking us domesticated primates to consider the mechanical nature of our behavior though admitting that "[m]ost primates ignored this philosophical challenge." p. 6
It starts with a philosophical challenge.

The very beginning of Schrödinger's Cat states problems of humanity: "They had territorial squabbles and politics and wars and a caste system." p. 5. These problems get attributed to "bugs" which sounds like a metaphor for the dark, destructive side of human nature.  Especially if one looks at the film Men In Black 1 (the title says it all) which has much magickal metaphor in it. A "Bug" in that film takes over a human and proceeds to wreak mayhem and destruction in his quest to steal and control Universal Well-Being, as modeled by a necklace worn by a Cat. One gets a strong sense of this Cat model of Universal Well-Being by really seeing the cover illustration of the Dell omnibus edition. All SC quotes and page citations come from that edition.

The second section begins with a (hopefully) fictional problem, missing plutonium, that points to a real problem, destruction through atomic weaponry. The first chapter concludes with instructions for building a nuclear bomb, again pointing to a very serious problem, the potential ability of any sociopath to carry out their destructive mission. I don't know how fictional this notion looked at the time Wilson wrote the book. A quick google search comes up with at least a couple of You Tube videos with step by step instructions for building an A bomb.

Incidentally, two well-known cat lovers include Freddie Mercury, the lead singer for the band Queen and lyricist for the songs, We Are the Champions of the World, and Don't Stop Me Now. The latter has the lines: "I'm travelin' at the speed of light, I want to make a supersonic man outta you. Another cat lover, William S Burroughs, wrote The Western Lands about the Egyptian land of immortality, and had an important influence on Robert Anton Wilson..
* * * * * * 

I have yet to come across any direct evidence that RAW perused the philosophical writings of Gilles Deleuze. In his article Damnation by Definition found in Email to the Universe one finds several parallels with Deleuze. For instance, they both criticize "'common sense,' that dreary bog of Stone Age prejudice and muddy inertia," as Wilson writes. Other parallels turn up in the De Selby footnotes in The Widow's Son. I regard these as coincidences due to Deleuze and Wilson having much in common.  Their overlaps include James Joyce, Lewis Carroll, William S Burroughs, Carlos Castaneda,  David Hume, Baruch Spinoza, Frederich Nietzsche. They both criticized some of the traditional philosophies of Plato,  Aristotle and Freud. For instance, in the same article Wilson writes, "A psychoanalyst, finding an Oedipal castration ritual here has performed a third Damnation..." With Felix Guattari,  Deleuze wrote Anti-Oedipus. Both both included Hermetic puzzles and codings in their writings, both directly reference Qabalah, both participated in social activism. Of course, there are many differences between the two, also.

I argue in my You Tube presentation of The Logic of Sense series, that Deleuze outlines and provides (often Hermetically, of course) the metaphysics for Aleister Crowley's system of magick.  In Sex, Drugs and Magick Phil Farber says, "Bob did more to raise the awareness of magick as a form of brain-change than anyone since Aleister Crowley." 

Relevant to this piece, in The Logic of Sense Deleuze presents a transcendental field (what seems behind it all, what causes things to come into existence) based on extremely mobile, unique events as opposed to Plato's field of static Ideal forms.  Deleuze says events bear exclusively on problems and define their conditions. He'll use James Joyce, among others to illustrate this point (LoS p. 56). Defining the conditions of problems provides the genesis for solutions. This reflects something I've often heard about engineering, solutions come from how well the problem gets stated. 

In my video series, I suggest that Deleuze points to War as a major problem. Schrödinger's Cat satirically explores problematic aspects of war in the first chapter. Might we not regard one level of this quantum epic as an effort to correctly state various problems of human existence, both individual and general? By definition, this effort also provides solutions.

Unfortunately, the problem of humans not getting along with each, to grossly understate the problem, seems relevant now more than ever. We have a war in Ukraine that pits Russia against the Western World.  Even though we don't directly fight them, we are fighting with them and they are fighting with us. Apart from the usual atrocities, this war makes a serious impact on the global economy and aggravates food shortages. In my opinion, sanctioning this war by not making serious efforts to stop it, throwing weapons at it instead, subconsciously gives permission and makes it easier for every sociopath out there to potentially enact violence. If Rupert Sheldrake's theories hold true, the morphogenetic field of violence increases with every violent act. The United States currently experiences a crisis of gun violence that only seems to get worse. 

The increasing aggressively adversarial nature of politics have increased threats of violence across the political spectrum by some people who don't like what the other side does. From Supreme Court Justices threatened with assassination over unpopular decisions, to threats against election workers counting votes, and educators mandating masks.  A recent poll concluded that 58% of Americans see a strong possibility of Civil War in the United States. I find this a misnomer, all wars seem uncivil and extremely impolite. 

British and French politics appears in disarray, the former very much economically struggling against the aftermath of Brexit. Covid mutates and lingers like an unwanted house guest, or a bug, who won't clean up and refuses to leave. Are we dealing with climate change effectively and quick enough? Etc. etc. etc., In a general sense, human society may seem like it goes through the disorientating, discombobulation of Chapel Perilous. How do we get to the Universe Next Door? 

* * * * * * 

"Joyce is a comedian but his comedy goes to the essence of existence"

 - Robert Anton Wilson, On Finnegans Wake & Joseph Campbell, 1988 talk.

"Megalithic monuments were certainly not places of worship but places of refuge fleeing the advance of mud"  – Furbish Lousewart V, Unsafe Wherever You Go"
– Quote opening the section "Funny Valentine" SC, p. 161

Humor may not directly solve problems, but it certainly helps with lifting ourselves out of a despairing perspective, perhaps a first step. It can significantly change our moods when going through personal crises or when Chapel Perilous seems a tad too intense. As Groucho says, "we're way past tense, we're living in bungalows now."

On another recorded talk, RAW is asked what he likes about Aleister Crowley and he answers by saying that he's the funniest mystic he knows. He loves finding all the hidden jokes in Crowley's writings; ditto with Finnegans Wake. He riffs a bit on all the humor in Crowley. It seems most, if not all the leading satirists and social critics had a wicked sense of humor. The ones I can think of off the top of my head include Cervantes, Francois Rabelais, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Jonathon Swift, James Joyce, Thomas Pynchon, Robert Anton Wilson, and Garfield the Cat. 

From the same 1988 Joyce talk: "If the publishers just had the sense to put on the cover, 'The funniest and dirtiest book in the world - Tindall/Columbia,' it would sell a lot better and people would make the effort to decipher it." Wilson gives this marketing strategy advice for Finnegans Wake, but I reckon it could just as easily apply to Schrödinger's Cat.  

A rationale for encoding jokes and other information cryptically and hermetically concerns teasing the reader into using their own Intelligence. Solving puzzles, unraveling various labyrinths of meaning
Increase's Intelligence - the middle term in Leary's famous S.M.I.2L.E. formula. Leary may been inspired by a cat, more specifically Wonderland's Cheshire Cat when Alice asks,"'Would you tell me please which way I ought to go from here?' 'That depends a good deal on where you want to get to', said the cat." Soon after the cat disappears completely except for his grin prompting Alice to say, "she has often seen a cat without a grin but never a grin without a cat." The two states of visible and invisible cat seems isomorphic with the two states of dead or alive cat in Erwin Schrödinger's famous thought experiment on quantum causality. Increasing intelligence seems one general solution to the problems we face as a species. 

In the second chapter of SC, Wilson describes himself in the third person as a scientific shaman and puts himself in the company of "Leary, Lilly, Crowley, and Castaneda." A Shaman, in the general sense, can be thought of as someone who goes outside their ordinary realities and identities to explore Unknown Territories and bring something back, something useful, perhaps healing, for the Tribe. Great artists perform this shamanic function in the creation of their Art. Artists have the advantage of having a skill at a medium which expresses and communicates their shamanic explorations. It comes through painting, music, literature etc. Wilson, and the other scientific Shamen he cites, knew how to communicate their shamanic visions extremely well through writing. At the end of the chapter the author suggests SC "is actually a manual of shamanism in the form of a novel," then immediately walks it back.

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RAW likes hunting down all the synchronicities and prophecies in FW, he calls this a favorite thing. "So many things in Finnegans Wake refer to events after 1939 when Finnegans Wake was published," he says in the 1988 talk. He mentions that he plans to write a book along these lines. The first example he gives comes from the middle section where Buckley shoots a Russian General. "Buckley was a friend of Joyce's father who served in the Crimean War which to Joyce was a symbol of all wars because it had the word "crime" in it." The current Ukraine War could be said to have started when Russia annexed Crimea in 2013. Many Russian Generals have been shot in the current war. RAW says that Joyce put all the wars in history into that one chapter. He suggests Joyce alludes to the atom bomb dropping on Nagasaki, Japan which occurred in 1945. At the end of a lengthy riff beginning with "Adams and ifs" – quantum uncertainty, on one level – Wilson says that he thinks that "Joyce is prophesying the entrance into the whole Space Age that we're now entering." He connects the prophesying with a deep dive into Carl Jung's Collective Unconscious. This Collective Unconscious may represent the Unknown Territory shaman's explore.

It makes sense that an invocational, scientific shaman like RAW might have prophecies in his own books. We know that Joyce greatly influenced Wilson's writing. He begins the first chapter of SC by twisting Joyce's well-known line from Ulysses and attributing it to the character Stephen Prometheus in Carl Jung's Odysseus.  Knowing how the quote actually goes provides a valuable clue to the intention of SC as a shamanic manual. Finding out what the quote really says requires effort on the part of the reader who doesn't know it already. 

I've heard or read RAW tell the story of how he and Shea put a cult whose leader tells his members to commit suicide in Illuminatus! then being shocked when it actually occurred with Jim Jones in Guyana. Coincidentally, RAW participated in the Nova Convention honoring William S Burroughs in 1979 not long after it happened. Bill Laswell attended this event: "Burroughs began the proceeding by walking onstage in cowboy boots and a big cowboy hat and facetiously saying in his dry, dead-pan voice, " I've recently come back from Jonestown, everything is going exactly as planned."

Eric Wagner made a comment in the Prometheus Rising discussion group about something in Schrödinger's Cat. that gave me a good enough excuse to reread the novel, the first time in 17 years. The timing of this new dive into it seemed completely random.  About five weeks after Putin's invasion I came across Ukraine in the Collapse of the State Vector chapter, p. 80. Ukraine is what Josphine Malik mishears when Hugh Crane says his name outside her door. Crane tells her, "The novel we're in is coming to a horrible conclusion ..." He also tells her he was Hagbard Celine in the previous novel they both appeared in. Their interaction ends with nuclear annihilation of the city. This astonished me as I'd read news articles earlier in the day speculating whether Russia will resort to the use of tactical nuclear weapons on the Ukraine battlefield. Whenever Hugh Crane, aka Cagliostro, turns up later in the adventure I tagged it with the Ukraine association.  

On page 336, Cagliostro gets assassinated on Central Park West, in New York City, in a scene that conflates the assassinations of Kennedy, Lincoln and John Lennon.  Well, I thought John Lennon because of the location, method and same month. Uncertainty creeps in after noticing the Dell edition has a copywrite year of 1979. Lennon was gunned down on Central Park West in December, 1980. 

His killer in the novel hears voices egging him on. Shortly before he pulls the trigger one of those voices "wanted to know which monk Vlad impaled?" The synchronicities between Ukraine getting attacked, their peace (Lennon, an ardent symbol for peace during the Vietnam War) assassinated, their country impaled by Vladimir Putin seem rather prophetic, not a stretch at all. The shaman may see and record visions across time as evidenced by both Joyce and Wilson.

I continued reading with Ukraine on my mind. Fifteen pages on from the metaphor of the assassination of peace, the next book, The Homing Pigeons begins: Part One Who's Zelenka. Of course, I immediately thought of Zelensky, the former comedian, now the leader of embattled Ukraine. The first chapter begins with the title: The Universe Will Surprise Us; immediately true, for this reader. Zelenka refers to the baroque composer Jan Zelenka. The chapter begins with Frank Dashwood going through an identity crisis as characters from the universe of  Illuminatus! try to convince him that he's really George Dorn. Asked why he thinks he's Frank Dashwood, he gets the answer, "[w]e're in Maybe Time here." Maybe Time indeed. That answer would also work for my question, how did RAW happen to choose the name of an obscure Bohemian composer whose name closely resembles a major player on the world stage some forty plus years later? A major player who fits perfectly into the metaphorical subtext of the assassination of peace in Ukraine. 

Dashwood goes through a bardo/dream sequence then wakes up in his own bed and tells himself it was only a dream. He turns on the radio to help get back to terra firma and hears some classical music he can't identify.  After the music concludes, the dj say it was "Concerto for Harp by Jan Zelenka" No such piece exists in this universe, as far as I can tell from a google search, though the composer did. "Who the hell was Zelenka? Same period as Bach, I'm sure." thinks Dashwood. As our intrepid orgasm researcher goes about his business, this question, who's Zelenka? keeps running around his mind and surfacing for the rest of the book. Finally, in the last section of the penultimate chapter, Dashwood, modulating back and forth with his George Dorn persona, gets handed a short bio of Zelenka by none other than Hugh Crane (Ukraine), naturally. Right after that, as if to underscore my point about humor, a surrealistic scene ensues and we hear a character exclaim "Gravity sucks! ... "The cream of the jest rises to the top. That's the Law of Levity." 

What do I conclude from this startling synchronicity/prophecy? That Schrödinger's Cat requires a lot more serious study, pun intended, and that it can serve as a valuable instrument for navigating these times of social chaos and uncertainty.  I have barely scratched the surface of RAW's all quarks in motion masterpiece, it seems. Also worth noting, Hagbard Celine/Hugh Crane/Cagliostro the Great makes his last appearance in the penultimate section of the novel saying he used to be a stage magician, "[b]ut then I got turned on to Cabala." Not at all playing into my confirmation bias, lol. 

In the very last section, we find a riff essentially connecting magick with metaprogramming along with a well-known Crowley quote, one that he painted on the wall of his Abbey of Thelema in Sicily. Wilson changes the first line of the quote to now suggest a key for the solution of problems stated earlier. I'll let you, dear readers, discover it on your own. SC begins with an altered Joyce quote that he makes into a negation, and ends, nearly, with an altered Crowley quote that he makes into an affirmation.  Problem stated, problem solved ... or the keys to given... maybe.

Cabalists often work contrariwise. Through the looking glass. The sense of the Joyce quote changed to almost opposite what Joyce said. The first line of the Crowley quote changed into something much less dark sounding than the original. I don't think RAW consciously saw  Volodymyr Zelensky down the road but it does interest me that he happened to choose a musician/composer with a soundalike name. You can't get more opposite in the major events of their lives. In a feed to the 2022 Grammy Music Awards: "What is more opposite than music?" Zelensky said. "The silence of ruined cities and killed people."

* * * * * *
In those halcyon days of the early 1980's when I came across and hungrily consumed the inspired optimism and hope for the future found in the writings of Robert Anton Wilson, Timothy Leary, Buckminster Fuller and other visionaries it seemed like only a matter of time before things would get better. I looked forward to the cutting edge of humanity reaching for our H.O.M.E.S. in Space, living  greatly extended lives and becoming intelligent enough to sometimes transcend our robotic programs and Pavlovian conditioning. Leary had a gift for making it all sound so easy, Wilson clarified the message and championed the cause. These Utopian prognostications seemed to get confirmed with the dismantling of the Soviet Union, the tearing down of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Eastern bloc.  Maybe wealth and technology would flow more easily across the world.  Perhaps the elimination of the Communist threat would enable the start of a shift from weaponry to livingry. 

In our current political, social, and economic climate with so much violence and unrest, it seems crucial to preserve, embody and transmit all this brain-change information and technologies for future generations.

In the Widow's Son, RAW presented a puzzle that, in the context of the story, indicates a theme of carrying the light underground through the darkness of world conditions. The story takes place in Paris just prior to the French Revolution.  This puzzle begins with a stone given at the end of a Masonic ritual that has the Latin phrase ET IN ARCADIA EGO inscribed upon it. "And in Arcadia, I" Arcadia refers to a Golden Age. This stone represents the stone the builders rejected that's now become the center of the Arch.  John Babcock, the one getting initiated, has these thoughts about it:

"The stone that was rejected . . . they are dramatizing that imperfection is illusory, not real . . . I am in Arcadia, the Golden Age, all the time . . .  it is not faith, hope, or love that sees through delusion to the essence of things; it is courage . . ."

ET IN ARCADIA EGO becomes a floating signifier in the story turning up in a variety of circumstances, including a list of Initiates and a painting belong to the King called the The Shepherds of Arcadia. "The shepherds were looking at a tomb. Their expressions did not show grief, not at all: they seemed to be looking out of the canvas right at you with expressions that seemed to say nothing else but 'we know something you don't know." ET IN ARCADIA EGO was on the tomb. 

The enemy, in the form of Satrines the Spymaster, comes across this enigmatic phrase and searches to unravel it. He questions the imprisoned Sigismundo Celine: "'What does this mean?'
The paper said ET IN ARCADIA EGO.
"It means time is unreal. The illuminated mind sees across and beyond time." 

Satrines rearranges the letters to read I TEGO ARCANA DEI. Sigismundo translates it as "I conceal the secrets of God." My point - ARCADIA changes to ARCANA, different, but related meanings. Arc appears common to both. These three letters can  signify both an arc, like an electric arc or welder's arc, and its homonym "ark" - a repository of something precious like an arcana or life in the case of Noah's Ark. Arc appears cognate with Arch, the stone the builders rejected, now the center of the Arch. An arch or arc or ark across time. In The Widow's Son the Masons carry the light of Illumination through the darkness of revolutionary France.  

Speaking of courage, that attribute arcs to, connects with, the Courage found at the conclusion of Schrödinger's Cat. Another surrealistic floating signifier found there is a detached flying phallus that travels around the world. Markoff Chaney finally gets ahold of this phallus and has a procedure to make it part of him. He nicknames it his Courage. He gets sexually aroused when talking to someone about consciousness and intelligence and observes, "His Courage was growing." Three or four sentences later we find another and more hopeful permutation of the famous Ulysses quote: "Death is a nightmare from which humanity is trying to awaken." 

There seems a lot more death and death threats going on than usual currently on this backward planet. Courage seems good advice to get through. This advice gets dramatically given in coded fashion on 
p. 521 when, in crisis, Dashwood does some magick, roaring a long vocalizaton which manifests as 5 large lines of a phonetic sound representation. The section which immediately follows is called Chapel Perilous. I'll leave it there for a puzzle to solve. It seems a significant clue for how to navigate through that chaotic and frightening territory.

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Music has the ability to extend words beyond the verbal level allowing them to sink in on deeper emotional and spiritual levels. Bob Dylan's words have changed my outlook on life more than a few times.  A delicate but powerful new song, Evil Crawls the Line by Mariee Sioux has that effect. Helping Mariee produce this art by engineering it has placed it at the core of my being. It effectively expresses a theme of this essay – carrying a precious transmission through the disorienting Chapel Perilous of modern times. It's in the final stages before release. Stayed tuned to this space, I'll let you know when it comes out. The first verse begins: 

"Bare the light
And guide Death for to the carry us home 

We went out to find
What kept our brothers from making it home."

The last chorus cycles around and around singing:

"Bend the light
Arcing for to carry us home "  

Schrödinger's Cat concludes with the theme of returning home at the end of the final book, The Homing Pigeons. "Well, cheer up George. It's over now. We're heading home."