Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Nifty Old Book

I like old-book hunting. Every now and then you find a gem, like this one here, whose find I briefly report here in the seasonal spirit: Marion L. Starkey's The Devil in Massachusetts, Time Inc. Book Division, New York (1963).  This book I discovered and purchased is the 1963 republishing of M.L. Starkey's 1949 historical piece based on court transcripts of the 1692 Salem Witch Trials. To make the package even more delectable, it comes with an introduction by Aldous Huxley.  This was quite a find, and its condition was definitely not poor; the book, I can tell, has never been read, probably never even cracked open, for 51 years.  Huxley's introduction is refreshing, considering that he makes no bones whatsoever about the paradigm shift with respect to the "wholly evil," that it is the force, the authority, which has perpetuated witch-hunts throughout the centuries.

From M.L. Starkey's introduction:

"It's bad business meddling with the devil; it makes you superstitious. I find myself impelled to report that the very hour I began my formal research ... a small hurricane came through my open window, wrecked the room, brought every tree in the yard crashing against the house, and toppled the steeple of the East Saugus Community Church, visible in the lightning beyond my window. Then again, the evening of the day I finally shipped off this manuscript, there came a plague of lightning, continuous and directly overhead, striking neighbors' houses but missing mine."

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

1947 Roswell "Flying Disc" Questions

Here are some questions regarding the ancient Roswell UFO incident of July 8, 1947 at the Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF). Why this topic, all of a sudden? I was watching something on TV about it, so these are all my somewhat rhetorical questions about the event.

If the object which crashed was in fact the purported nuclear-testing Project Mogul balloon, then how come Walter Haut and 509th Operations Group of the field didn't know about it? And even if he (they) didn't know about it, why would the Roswell Army Air Field public-information officer say that a "flying disc" was uncovered if a flying disc wasn't uncovered? Why did he use the word 'flying,' why didn't he just say they uncovered a disc, plain and simple? Why would he have publicly jeopardized his job and secret military activities by saying such a thing to the media, to what avail?

Think about it. Let's say you're a coast guard person on duty. You see something unusual floating in the ocean, in the dark. You see it for a while then it's gone. You don't see it again. First thing you'd think, and be trained to think, is that it's something that belongs in this world. Would you hold a press conference the next day and claim that you had seen the Kraken, Godzilla, or Cthulhu?  Would you say you had seen a flying unidentified object when it was only floating?  Would you jump to that unwarranted, absurd conclusion and come out and say it?  No, you wouldn't, though you didn't know what it was that you had seen. You wouldn't say anything about it in the first place except to your close circles, because it would be something important to report, but that would be about the size of it.  In other words, a high-security military man wouldn't have called a fallen balloon a "flying disc."

So what would compel a man to say he had seen a 'flying disc' uncovered at a high-security military field if it was a balloon?  No matter how you view it, his choice of words is very odd, the very action itself is very odd, if in fact they had just uncovered some kind of balloon.

There's a lot of ideology contrary to extraterrestrial scenarios of all kinds, but people experience what they experience, sometimes shattering their ideology of a closed world governed by scientific principles as contemporaneously known or ideology based on religious dogma. People who embrace scientism would never admit it, but their closed-off zeal is quasi-religious.  There have been publicly prominent, respectable people who have said to have seen UFOs.  Why would they do that, what for, if they didn't?

In the 80's I knew a retired professor emeritus, a deep, brilliant man of keen intelligence, tell me quite matter-of-factly that he stepped outside to the back of his house to feed his mountain cats, and there was an enormous disc-object that had landed there (this is up in the desert mountains of Southern California).  He said it was very quiet, that it had lights on it.  He watched it for a while, then went back in to his house, and when he returned, it was gone.  He had nothing to gain by telling me a whopper.  It wasn't his style.  In fact there are many people who have seen unexplainable things in the sky or on the ground; it would beat all scientific odds if every instance is based on misperception or hoax.  It's far easier to believe that there is indeed something extraordinary to the overwhelming accounts than to believe that they're all hooey.  

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Original artwork by Emi Hensley
Kashmir Daze
ChartPak Marker, Micron Pen, NuPastel, Bingo Stamp, India Ink, Photoshop
More work at: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/emibree

Saturday, August 16, 2014

For he who laughs last.

Laughter was your savior
An honorable stigma
To have us brighten,
For a moment,
To make us
The Present
The world,
Will always be-
With woes.

With wonders
You made us
Laugh, into laughter
From the laughter
You dispensed
Like the morning
Light radiating
In reverse
That river
Unlike Nature's
Out to sea
Your flow
Took life
Just to be-
"The Joke
It really was
meant to be!"

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams 1951 - 2014

The ironic Pagliacci syndrome; he himself could not laugh though he made millions laugh. Comedy ended in tragedy, which is tragic indeed. 

I believe there are and will be stragglers of the age of tragedy who cannot embrace the human comedy, the ego comedy, the laughable absurdity of self and collective importance. Tragedy is to be subsumed into Comedy, not the other way around.  

Robin Williams.  His merit is truly great.  He has brought the Medicine of laughter to millions; he prescribed transcendence and healing.  True teachers never need preach.      

From a Dzoghcen pericope:

Since everything is but an illusion,
Perfect in being what it is,
Having nothing to do with good or bad,
Acceptance or rejection,
One might as well burst out laughing.

Longchenpa (1308-1364)
The Great Perfection’s Self-Liberation in the Nature of Mind

Practice the high Comedy which subsumes tragedy,  Robin Williams.  Continue making laughter and medicine.

Robin Williams 
July 21, 1951 - August 11, 2014

Sunday, August 10, 2014


The holiday was ordered
Somewhere to be alone 
No doubt it’s for the best
The doctor requires it

You do remember him?
Yes, angular, bald, spectacles
An  enormous lime tree
Outside the practice- swaying

In April, he fiddled, scratched
Around the airless, spotless room
He spoke while grasping phrases
Between breaths like a  trout

Coming up for air- you lit up!
Your face fractured in subtle lines
I never noticed before? “He’s right-
“Somewhere to be alone is best”

And was it four leaden weeks?
Later, after fragmented conversations
Brittany was that land, chosen
For some vague ancestral reason?

Or perhaps you just liked its odd
Curved like finger projections
And indentations that distracts
The mind from the plain facts of life

And death- we never mentioned-
Until we drove the grassy road
It was a mistake, no shortcut-
How the willows simply glistened

Not a vehicle for miles and miles
Fields with poppies, cows with bells
Like Mahler’s tragic sixth you said!
Still pretending to be middle classed!

Cultured, respectable until the bitter- end?
How it was after all the sharp bends
The road just petered out- no abrupt
Transition- just a limestone path-

To a patch of ancient stone circles
You counted, rubbing their surfaces
You knew their meaning and purpose
Smiling, silently alone, finally at peace.

Afterwards you visited that doctor
With his awful pills the size of grenades-
You endured the well greased machines
And got through it- somehow, indifferent, free?

The Dark Energy of Fanaticism.

Consider what's happening in Iraq at the moment. Consider what's happening in the Gaza strip at the moment too.  Then consider what happened in the Balkans during the 1990s. The common thread again is monotheism and the unbalanced sense of self righteous correctness it seems to instill in all who submit to its dictates, regardless of whether they are actually Muslims, Christians or Jews. Monotheism breeds fanaticism in all its forms and the secular versions of it like Communism or Fascism were exactly the same. The treacle like density and opacity of every version of monotheism, can only be fully appreciated when you consider that the fanatical hatred and brutality being displayed by the ISIS (Sunni)  group who are in the process of conducting mass genocide at the moment, is, equally going to be applied not just to Christians, but also the other Muslim groups (Shiites and Kurds) in Iraq. The long withstanding difference between the Sunni and Shiite groups goes back centuries, yet, the substance of the difference between both forms of Islam is slight. The mass executions, rapes, be-headings, live burials, torture, are all done by the gun waving fanatic because he knows he's 100% right, because his God is singular, absolute and 100% right in everything he demands of his followers. Like all monotheism, the Sunni religion seems to prefer obedience and action to both the truth and compassion. There is also perhaps another more controversial thesis too about what happens in situations like Iraq which allows people who are in the classical sense evil to the core, to carry out what they want, to whoever they want, whenever they want without any consequences, and who do what they do "in the name of a religion" without believing any of it themselves. However without the dark energy of the fanatics whirling around their desert, war gods in the first place, the opportunistic evil ones, who believe in nothing, and enjoy being cruel and destructive for the sake of it, would never get their chance to join their holy god inspired brothers in the task of purifying the land for their monotheistic thin pot God.


Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Hyper- Reality of the Lonely Crowd.

"Forget Reality- that's the slogan of our new affluent society" John Galbraith

"People can only handle so much reality" T.S Eliot 

People have always wanted to escape from reality. The many reasons are obvious and well known, boredom, curiosity, the need to be different, the taste for newness or a desire for a sense of otherness, the need to commune with like-minded souls who are different from members of your family or community etc. Traditionally, Religion, the Arts, Sport, Cinema, even Science have been some of the different forms of "structured escape" from reality in the past. All of these types of escape usually involved some type of shared cultural beliefs among those whose were members, like those who belong to certain churches, or, those who support and follow certain football teams for example. Also, membership implicitly implied that the members of such social groupings would be high knowledgeable about their form of escape, and, often even their language would take on a different dialect and become highly nuanced when members would be together. 

Recently, I was at a public discussion held in my own city about the new possibilities for reality and society arising from the social media revolution. At the meeting there were the usual academics, members from various IT companies, Government officials and of course ordinary members of the public (usually under 30) who were daily users of Twitter and Facebook. The level of the discussion despite the grandiose title was decidedly parochial, but, largely most speakers seemed to be overwhelmingly positive in their general acceptance and enthusiasm about almost every facet of data that the social media has to offer society. What struck my mind forcefully at the discussion was the plain fact that the social media revolution dose not actually offer anything really novel in terms of its stated objectives. The form may have changed for our age, but Facebook is essentially nothing more than a collective pen-friend club, and, Twitter despite it claim to be producing a more inclusive and "clued in" society actually diminishes real debate and discussion by allowing users to anonymous make whatever crude or stupid remark comes into their skulls. I don't believe that the social media represents a great creative force akin to the forms of structured escape society had in the past, as essentially due to the lack of structure and shared beliefs that informs the whole social media fabric there is no real community out there in the first place!. You cannot escape reality and create something more real then the everyday world by positing a realm which is simply a running and often banal commentary on the latest general trends and opinions formed by society itself. There can be no transmutation of the mere facts of life by simply getting users to comment ad-nausea on the mere facts once more, and, pretending that this  somehow equates to creative insight and discussion. The traditional forms of escape allow for it members to undergo real states of change, whether this is through their football team winning, from going to a music gig, to writing a short story, all of these activities are based on certain beliefs that allow certain anticipations to arise in the imagination, and this is how they become creative activities. At the discussion, it unnerved me how blind, naive and uncritical many members of the younger generation are regarding the role of technology in society. It struck me at a psychological level that there's a tendency for people, especially, younger people to accept technology as it seems to equate to successful technique in their minds, and knowing how to successfully use an IT app is to be, up-to-date and "ahead of the game" in their world.             

Afterwards I reflected more and I came to the conclusion that unlike the older forms of escape the social media does not represent reality in the first instance, rather it is carefully constructed form of collective ideology called Hyper-Reality. Hyper-Reality is a collective form of a-historical, abstract, laxity that at best just induces users to be nothing than "informed" about the latest trends and stories and to be become "creatively"  involved in the story by adding their own text or tweet. Just like internet porn, it represents a kind of profound negation of our own unique creative potential by serving up what was once genuinely subversive, different and taboo as just another way to join in and loss yourself in the The Lonely Crowd.