Red Shift

August 25, 2008

So I saw in my dream that the man began to run. Now he had not run far from his own door, but his wife and children perceiving it began to cry after him to return: but the man put his fingers in his ears, and ran on crying, “Life, life, eternal life.” So he looked not behind him, but fled towards the middle of the plain.

[John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progess via Quicksilver, 67]

Model of Abortive Romance

Model of Abortive Romance

The idea is that light crawling out of a gravity well has a longer wavelength, which vibrates at the red rhythm end of the visible spectrum.  Light travels invariably at the speed of light, but its vibration [its MOOD] is variable, hence the red shift of escape exertion.  Even when a mass moves toward the middle of a wormhole’d plane, and through some unforseeable portal, there is energy that passes back to the ordinary dimensions as a report on that inscrutable movement into singularity.

Ted Berrigan’s Take


New English Alchemy

August 24, 2008

“My mind has never felt quite so much like an arrangement of cranks and gears,” Daniel says.  “I decided what I was going to do quite some time ago.”

“But people have been known to change their minds-” says the reverend.

“Am I to infer, from what you just said, that you are a Free Will man?” Daniel inquires.  “I really am shocked to find that in a Waterhouse.  What are they teaching at Harvard these days?  Don’t you realize that this Colony was founded by people fleeing from those who backed the concept of Free Will?”

“I don’t fancy that the Free Will question really had very much to do with the founding of this Colony.  It was more a rebellion against the entire notion of an Established church – be it Papist or Anglican.  It is true that many of those Independents – such as our ancestor John Waterhouse – got their doctrine from the Calvinists in Geneva, and scorned the notion, so cherished by the Papists and the Anglicans, of Free Will.  But this alone would not have sufficed to send them into exile.”

“I get it not from Calvin but from Natural Philosophy,” Daniel says.  “The mind is a machine, a Logic Mill.  That’s what I believe.”

“Like the one you’ve been building across the river?

“A good deal more effective than that one, fortunately.”

“You think that if you made yours better, it could do what the human mind does?  That it could have a soul?”

“When you speak of a soul, you phant’sy something above and beyond the cranks and gears, the dead matter, of which the machine – be it a Logic Mill or a brain – is constructred.  I do not believe in this.”

“Why not?”

Like many simple questions, this one is difficult for Daniel to answer.  “Why not?  I suppose because it puts me in mind of Alchemy.  This soul, this extra thing added to the brain, reminds me of the Quintessence that the Alchemists are forever seeking: a mysterious supernatural presence that is supposed to suffuse the world.  But they can never seem to find any.  Sir Isaac Newton has devoted his life to the project and has nothing to show for it.”

[Quicksilver, 65]

The birth and infancy of Science [Mathematics and Natural Philosophy] coincided with explosions of novelty within the Christian community of Europe and the colonization of North America by English Emigrants in the 1600’s.

Alchemy is Science with the goal of Spirituality.  In esoteric terms, alchemists are after the transmutation of matter into Spirit.  In exoteric terms, they seek to turn Shit to Gold.

There was a general fever of materialism in Europe and England during the so called ‘age of exploration.’  Colonists established transoceanic trade routes by which to move gold, rubber, sugar, tobacco, tea all over the world.  Various slave trades were set up and developers established habits of unwise earth exploitation.  GEOLOGY comes out of a need to know more about the exploitable properties of the earth.  In English, the infinitive verb To Mine does double duty, referring both to the act of extracting materials from the ground [Let us Mine] and to the act of taking the materials as one’s own property [It is Mine].

Out of Geological Mining Technologies came discoveries of fossils that gave my ancestor, in the 1850’s, awareness of forms of Ancient Life [and subsequently theories of Evolution] that threw his Theological Apparatus into Tailspin.






The Next BIG [BOOK?]

August 20, 2008

What is a Big Book? And what are some examples?

The 2007 Esalen Conference on Evolutionary Metaphysics was centered on an essay contest. Eight proposals were submitted to describe what the next Big Book would be like. But what is a Big Book? Throughout human history revolutionary books have rocked the reigning intellectual consensus and brought forth radical new ideas and visions, which eventually were incorporated into the broader culture. When historians look back in time, they can see pivotal moments when bold new ideas created a ripple effect that eventually changed the course of history. To give the reader a feel for some Big Books in human history, here are five examples:

1. Nicholas Copernicus’ De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium

2. Hegel’s The Phenomenology of Mind

3. Darwins’ Origin of Species

4. Sri Aurobindo’s The Life Divine

5. Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions


Beginning with Ken Wilber’s framework for the evolution of human consciousness, this essay investigates the critical threshold crossed around the year 500 B.C.E., when human consciousness in the Western world transformed from a predominantly oral and tribal framework to a largely written and abstract one. This transformation has been called the birth of the mental-ego—i.e., the birth of an autonomous, willful, and uniquely individual consciousness. Yet, in the Western world this birth was inextricably influenced by a completely novel literary invention—the Greek version of the alphabet. Living at the precise moment when this new invention was rapidly proliferating throughout ancient Greece, the Western world’s most famous philosopher, Plato, posited his ontology of human disconnection from the sensory world. For Plato, the “real world” is the abstract world of transcendent Ideas, of which our sensory, human world is only a pale reflection. The following essay asks, then: is it just a mere coincidence that the world’s most abstract literacy tool (the Greek alphabet) and the world’s most abstract and disembodied philosophy (Plato’s theory of Ideas) just happened to flourish in ancient Greece at exactly the same time in history?

Why this is Important Now and in the New Age

I want to focus on the appearance of the issue of Alphabetic Literacy in the New Age Discourse, taking the tack of Poletti’s essay as an opportunity for distributing knowledge across disciplinary boundaries.  TRANSDISCIPLINARITY.  To ask whether ‘it is just a mere coincidence that the world’s most abstract tool, Literacy’ just happened to flourish at the same time as… is naive according to Apparatus Theory.  Which is not to say that Poletti is far from the mark, only that he’d probably be very interested to learn from Apparatus Theory that Electracy [electronic writing/composition] is as different from Literacy as Literacy was from tribal Orality.  The transition from one apparatus to another is entirely commensurate with the much decried transition into a New Age, which is why I’m interested in how thinkers in the New Age movement approach writing, publishing, the dissemination of information, etc.

Why the next big BOOK is the wrong object of speculation

The next BIG WRITTEN THING will emerge up and out of the complex of distributed biotechnological activity called the Internet.  It will be open source, available for remixes and re-interpretations, available for global participation and thereby fundamentally different from the previously mentioned Big Books.  This doesn’t mean it won’t be Big and as important in the process of metaphysical evolution as all the Bigs before, just that it will read different.

The Next Big [OTHER]

Maybe it’s time to forget writing, or at least the writing we’re used to. The internet will play a part, but writer’s have to work to connect their writing into the networked apparatus of the Big shift underway.  Industry, economy, advertising, technology, environmental awareness, pharmacology, collective dreaming.  Formulation of the Next Big [Other] is a portion of a transdisciplinary apparatus shift that is underway all over the planet and the next BIG WRITTEN THING will figure [into] the global media sphere.

The Signifying Monkey-Devil’s Opposable Green-Screen-Thumb: not sewing, but felting a rhizomatic seed for an electronic Lurning Man event

August 19, 2008
The Imperative is GO GREEN

Devil's Thumb will go GREEN


Derrida’s chorography [and Ulmer’s by extension] (using an actual place as the inventio of a discussion) recalls Plato’s use of the landscape in the Phaedrus. Socrates goes outside the walls of the city, in order to discuss the lessons in rhetoric that the latter has learned from the sophist Lysias.  They find their way, as if by accident, to a significant spot…

… [it is no accident that] the landscape occupies a much more significant place in the Phaedrus than anywhere else in Plato.  Nor is it accidental that the story of Boreas is told while Socrates and Phaedrus are taking a walk along the banks of the Ilissus, or the story about the metamorphosis of the crickets while both of them are lying under a plane tree luled by their chirruping voices in the midday heat of a southern sky.  All these things belong together.  Hour and place, along with the mythical tales, form the actual and symbolic landscape of the work.  (Friedlander, 190)


Socrates compares the written texts Phaedrus has brought along to a PHARMAKON: a ‘drug’ or ‘medicine,’ – a philter which acts as both remedy and poison….  This charm, this spellbinding virtue, this power of fascination can be – alternately or simultaneously – beneficent or maleficent…. Operating through seduction, the PHARMAKON makes one stray from one’s general, natural, habitual paths and laws [strange attractor].

Jacques Derrida, Plato’s Pharmacy

The primary poison is the Word – the Pharmakos – the one who stands-in-for.  All other poisons function through this one, the signifying poison.  Signifying monkey.  Jesus should have been stoned, not crucified.

Pharmakos also meant ‘poisoner,’ and ‘sorcerer,’ and ‘magician.’  Plato banned the pharmakeus, the shaman, from his Republic in 480 BC.  The Chinese kicked the shaman out of the government in the first century, along with her whole family.

Standing-in-for, the Logos.  Morphine wearing the mask of endorphin, tetra-hydrocannabinol dressed up like anandamide.  Molecules standing in for stimuli: sensation symbolized on the cortex, rhodopsin a metaphor of light.  Intellect is mediated and mediator, a mapping of pattern to patterns of ions, ratios, concentration of amines, layers of neurotransmitters themselves in flux, charged and shaped by emotion and memory.  Mind acts it out, moves mountains, changes its own environment, altering the very reactions that led to the alteration.

and that’s a good trick

Patterns, likeness of pattern, and some analogous likeness of likeness: the swelling of sound in adagio and its neuronal reflection.  The great bead game, poetry is poison – echoes of phonemes, ghosts standing in for ghosts.


My proposal for an electronic monument is to set up a series of VJ performances in green light on the surfaces of Devil’s Thumb [light is highly LNT].  People observing the performance from the suburbs of South Boulder would get a low resolution sense of the Collective Signifying Monkey-Devil’s Opposable Greenthumb, and people watching the performance at the thumb itself would glimpse the content of the projected video images, which could include remix mash-ups of global-environmental music-thrillers (Koyaanisquatsi, Baraka, Manufactured Landscapes) and a video collage concerning the disappearance of Lance Hering from El Dorado Canyon in 2006, among other things.

A relay for remix source material:

The electronic monument would convey its meaning via fractal resolution.  In other words, it would offer similar meaning structures across different scales.  Viewed from far away, the message would be general – Devil’s Greenthumb.  Viewed from closer, the message could be more specific – remixed image content developed by individual VJ’s.  If the performance were allowed to happen a few weeks in a row, it would be ideal if people who saw the program from the suburbs one week were lured out of the city toward the mountains the next week by the Devil’s Greenthumb, making it a veritable Strange Attractor.  The added benefit of this electronic monument’s location is that people who are lured toward the Strange Attractor are lured out of town, at night, into the psuedo-wilds of the hills, where they might very well encounter various forms of the Other.

Then, one day, walking the usual route across the Shadow Canyon ridge heading West toward the Continental Divide, a restless spirit took hold of him.  It was as if he were walking into yet another phase space he had no control over…  Within ten minutes he was at a thin oval-shaped cave.  A green and yellow and red tapestry of lichen surrounded the cave entrance.  From where he stood it looked like an enlarged vagina with technicolor pubic hair.  He thought he smelled the dank erotica of a woman just come.  Closing his eyes and breathing in deeply, he felt an uncontrollable urge to masturbate out in the open air [this is PANIC masturbation, the vice of the shepherds in the hills.  In this version, the wind whipping through the hills is pheromonal medicine woman scent].  A rush of blood funnelled straight to his cock and he pulled it out softly taking hold of it and slowly jerking the entire shaft imagining that all of Nature’s open space was his to jizz in….


The Medicine Woman explained that the psycho-pharmakinetic effect of acidophilus mixed with a special legume grown near the Aztec ruins in the Yucutan would provide him with the necessary proactive stimulant one needs… She said that the Mexican bean was responsible for activating the latent Sexual Blood (she used the term Sexual Blood as if it were a way of life).  This activation caused a mirrored aphrodisiac effect.  Instead of producing in the person who took the drug an incredible urge to screw anything that had a genital attached to it, the intaker of said drug would emit an aura of irresistible libidinal energy that would make certain select Others mad with the prospect of screwing IT... Once one took the drug and started encountering Others who were interested in becoming IT by physically loving IT, then one was allowed to share the secret of Sexual Blood with this Needy Other.

Sexual Blood is the product of a poison, a pharmakon [which can be words whispered on the winds, but can also be vegetal matter].  We can wonder about the percentage of people who’re turned onto Sexual Blood by abstraction/poetry/signification alone, by the pharmakon WORD, logos.  But let’s get materialistic about it.  Let’s get away from monkey signification production, even if we always have to come back to it.  Let’s focus on breeds across the boundaries of reproductive isolation, inter-special production of hybridized affect.  The growing growing grown concern for the earth and the problems that arise around the cultivation, commodification, and transportation [read Capitalistic Control] of plant life is reason to focus on the public policy issues in the green material dimension of the production of so called Sexual Blood.

Phaedr. What an incomprehensible being you are, Socrates: when you are in the country, as you say, you really are like some stranger who is led about by a guide. Do you ever cross the border? I rather think that you never venture even outside the gates.

Soc. Very true, my good friend; and I hope that you will excuse me when you hear the reason, which is, that I am a lover of knowledge, and the men who dwell in the city are my teachers, and not the trees or the country. Though I do indeed believe that you have found a spell with which to draw me out of the city into the country, like a hungry cow before whom a bough or a bunch of fruit is waved. For only hold up before me in like manner a book, and you may lead me all round Attica, and over the wide world.

Ethan Brand is an aspiring alchemist, which is to say a pseudo-materialist, interested in the transmutation of matter into spirit, the emphasis in the case of Sexual Blood being the green matter at hand [the Devil’s Greenthumb, another version of the hook shaped alien appendage].  What matters, in this register, are the organic conditions under which the strange attractor expresses itself.

And, despite the sprouting of fractal ferns and algorithmic roses, there are no plants in cyberspace – not that one could eat, anyway.  Nor in the noosphere.

Lawn Gone Manifesto

August 17, 2008

“The Manifesto of Surrealism,” and for that matter all of the manifestos of the avant-garde, belong to the tradition of the discourse on method.  A comparison of Breton’s manifesto with the various classics of method reveal that they tend to include a common set of elements, which are representable for mnemonic reference by the acronym CATTt (Ulmer, 1991b).  The CATTt includes the following operations:

C = Contrast (opposition, inversion, differentiation)

A = Analogy (figuration, displacement)

T = Theory (repetition, literalization)

T = Target (application, purpose)

t = Tale (secondary elaboration, representability)

[Heuretics, 8]


The front lawn symbolized the collective face of suburbia the back-yard its private aspect.  In the back, you could do pretty much whatever you wanted, but out front you had to take account of the community’s wishes and its self-image.  Fences and hedges were out of the question: they were considered antisocial, unmistakable symbols of alienation from the group.  One lawn should flow unimpeded into another, obscuring the boundaries between homes and contributing to the sense of community.  It was here in the front lawn that “like-mindedness” received its clearest expression.  The conventional design of a suburban street is meant to forge the multitude of equal individual parcels of land into a single vista – a democratic landscape.  To maintain your portion of this landscape was part of your civic duty.

[Michael Pollan, Second Nature, On Long Island in the late 1950’s]


A sub-urban front lawn should take account of the community’s wishes and its self-image, but it should do so according to what we, as a community, know about the darker aspects of wishes and wish-fulfillment [‘Careful what you wish for” cf. the myth of the Pied Piper].  Our lawns should express the theory, which also came to a prominant position in American popculture in the 1950’s via psychoanalysis, that our self-images contain paradoxes and blind spots.


The conventional design of a suburban street is meant to forge the multitude of equal individual parcels of land into a single vista – a democratic landscape.

‘Multitude’ is more complicated in the same way that wishes and self-image are.  Hardt and Negri’s attempts to articulate the conditions under which a joyful Global Democracy might emerge is theory about what it will take to ‘forge the multitude’ in a world organized by Global Capitalism.  I am under the impression that the theory of the ‘Multitude’ calls for an alternative to the implicit homogeneity of a ‘single vista’, namely a political dimension made up of heterogeneous political entities, each with their own agendas, all working against the homogenization that certain kinds of Capitalism bring about.


Without making large scale policy suggestions – no prescriptions for the whole world – it seems safe to say that the American Lawn is an artifact of a bygone era and should give way to some kind of diversified expression of our current communal values.  In Boulder there is already a movement underway that fits this programmatic, at least partially.  Community Roots is a distributed multi-plot suburban farm that gives local landowners a way to introduce local labor into the food economy and to strengthen communal identity in the forms of CSA’s, farmers markets, and other local food sharing institutions.  The organization’s conversions of lawn space into food producing gardens definitely expresses the community’s dissatisfaction with an economy that depends of fossil-fuel for food production and transportation.  What may benefit this movement, in addition to hard work and soil toil, which definitely will benefit the movement – What may help is an electrate tale [a blog] that works to place the movement in a historical context, and that will figure a way to express some of the more ambiguous, unspeakable dimensions of growing plants in a deeply wired transition town.


Ethan Brand finds himself guilty of the Unpardonable Sin.  First a 19th century iteration, now a 21st century iteration of the myth of the Original Sin for which AdamEve was expelled from the Garden.  The garden, as the replacement for the suburban lawn, is a site of avant-garde activity.

“If gardening is an exploration of a place close to home, being a teenager is an exploration of mobility, and these two approaches to place, or home, are bound sooner or later to come into conflict… Much of gardening is a[n attempt at] return, an effort at recovering remembered landscapes.”   Gardening is an activity for Theoria, an exploration of a place to find out for one’s self what is going on in the world, as opposed to being at the mercy of global market speculation.

The tale goes that Ethan Brand is convinced that his Sin of abortive romance deserves a recompense of immortal agony, and his tale ends with self-commitment to a fiery furnace or a portal.  If the sub-urban gardens of Boulder don’t figure this tale exactly, they should at least figure some of it’s ambiguity.  There is ample cultural and experiential evidence to believe [and theory is the production of belief via supra-scientific pain sensing] that there are portals to ‘Other’ dimensions that play a part in this tale, and this is a direction for further research.  In trying to imagine a public understanding of what it might mean to pass through a portal to the ‘Other’ dimension, I get the impression that the lawns wont be the only thing that get gone.

Gate Gate Para Gate Para-sam Gate Bodhi Svaha

Power Plants – Light at the Speed of Life

August 14, 2008

CLICK to find out wtf

Photovoltaic power. Appreciation of photovoltaic power is part of the shift toward an appreciation of the elegance of solid state that plants possess. Plants practice photosynthetic solutions to the problems of power acquisition. Compared to the water or animal-turned wheels, which [were] the Ur-methaphors for power production in the human world, the solid-state quantum-molecular miracle that involves dropping a photon of sunlight into a molecular device that will kick out an electron capable of energetically participating in the life of a cell seems like extravagant science fiction. Yet this is, in fact, the principle upon which photosynthesis operates. While the first solid-state devices arrived on the human cultural frontier in the late 1940’s, solid-state engineering had been the preferred design approach of plants for some two thousand million years. High efficiency photovoltaics could today meet the daily needs of most people for electricity.

[Plan Plant Planet]

The application of abstracted plant knowledge to the generation of renewable energy resources [a plant hack] is only, at most, one quarter of the big picture.  The cultural invention happening during the transition from literacy to electracy also includes the invention of novel subject formations, novel community formations, and novel forms of belief.

the 'Other' hand

the 'Other' hand

Consider the belief, widely decried if not widely held since the seventies, that we’re living on the brink and/or IN a New Age.  Then consider, on the other hand, the theoretical reports that the transition is an Archaic Revival.  Electracy is now, but it’s also somewhere back in the future, in between modern Literacy and archaic Orality.

Regardless of which figure you use, there shouldn’t be any doubt about today’s abundance of human suffering.  Yet, as a Boulderite, news of wars and famines feel like rumors.  To become theoria, I have to somehow learn to sense them for myself.

Pain exceeds the reach of science, hence the continuing appeal of belief.

PROPOSITION: Theory is the production of belief via supra-scientific pain sensing

OBSERVATION: the transition is increasingly about the issue of ‘green’

As models, as material realities [materealities], as objects of attention and affection, How do PLANTS figure our personal and collective pains?  To respond to this question, I want to invent and/or make a monument with both electronic and plant features that figures the tale of Ethan Brand and his theoretical discovery of the Unpardonable Sin in his own heart.

People living in Electracy need experiences that make the apparent incommensurability of duration [sustainability, conservation] and speed [techno-innovation, novelty] into FELT.  The measured pace of a plantscape which is sown, bloomed and harvested by seasonal, annual, biannual, even centennial chronologics is much slower experiential field than the breakneck speedy proliferation of new media applications like the ephemeral condensation of the tag-clouded blogosphere.  In contrast to the super-computed model made of blog-post particles [part-articles] every few days, the cultivation of the Ethan Brand greenscape will take years to develop.  This time-span is in accordance with the years it takes Ethan Brand to find the Unpardonable Sin.  An integral part of any Wisdom ecology grows at plant-pace.

A tentative solution to the problem of plant-pace vs. techno-pace, using a symbiotic inverse proportionality:

Plants grow slowly and live/die in one place.  They epitomize conservative locality.  They invert the widely assumed imperative to process life at the speed of light.  Photosynthetically speaking, they teach how to process light at the speed of life.

Song Forms – Musical Linguistic Objects

August 12, 2008

Every culture has singers, musicians – ones who make beauty with sound – the beauty of music is order.

The ceremony started with a metallic triad, each wave-length with its own phase.  When each one pierced the space by itself, they sounded in major relation, but when they sounded simultaneously their collective phase-decay turned their relationship minor.

The ayahuasquero sang plant songs…

some of which I could interpret with language [vibration to spanish to english] – some of which I could isomorphically map and make mean – some of which I could translate into the english lexicon – some of which were at least partially mappable onto consensual physical space, linear time, familiar stellar bodies…  One way to describe these songs is ‘addressed to Humans’ – ‘this is what I have to say to you’.  These songs were built with hope and encouragement.

Reina del amor, hija del sol,
que viva en una estrella…
Mañana es otra dia
Que vive la alegria

and others felt like pure buffoonery.  One icaro especially commanded that I produce reverential short-burst laughter every time its strange central object assembled, each time it bubbled tumescent gobbledygook, like fungus out a trunk – and these descriptions are just partial isomorphics, they don’t preserve very much of the information at all… These were the peak experience, the singular magic, the farthest from ordinarily available consensual space, the most ‘Other’ worldly, like ‘Look Human.  Listen Human.  This is what I am’ – ‘this is what I sing to myself’.

And the punctuation was air – there were blow darts, hyper-dimensional air trajectories through space, replete with loop ring emanations and round ends, like mist dropping horizontal on arcs.  Others were thumpy, blunt, padded air caps.  Others were like the whistle trails of fireworks and smoke-snakes.  I wonder now whether these were protective measures, boundary establishments.

Arkarta in the Quechua language means “defense” (J. Szeminski, pers. commun.). I questioned each of my four informants about their arkana. Don Jose told me about four of them: huairamanda arhana, yahtamanda arhana, yahumanda arhana and meolinamanda arhana. Huairamanda arhana is a hurricane which will blow away his enemies. The other three are defenses against enemies coming from the earth, water and air. He describes them as darts which were given to him by his murraya or spirits. On the other hand these spirits guard the place where he is taking ayahuasca.

The instruments were multi-sonorous – each one a bunch of things shaken all in concert.  Aggregate instruments.  The main shaker sounded at least 5 rhythms with each shake.  There was also a rattle that sent multi-scalar elliptical-complexes [like an antony gormley sculpture] through the space.  Another was a shimmer-shell cloth that glistened waves.

”]Musical ObjectsWhat isn’t at all clear is the method of the ayahuasquero, the way all these elements are sequenced and directed.  [Songs the plants taught us…]  He told me that whatever I saw was conditioned by my archetypes, and I believe him.  I wonder what these songs are like for him – I imagine he is closer to the ayahuasca and farther from archetypes and that his situation lets him sing the plant [the plant to sing through him] in an open, indeterminate way so that all us peons can make our own meanings, salves for our own wounds.

I guess I’d be interested to try to apply the concept of chora to thinking about the relationship between ayahuasca and the ayahuasquero…  The issue seems to be the degree to which any given human translates the ayahuasca’s message into their own archetypes via partial, contingent, conditioned isomorphics – hypothesis = the ayahuasquero does this to a degree approaching zero.

At one point, fairly early on, I felt the tops of things fizzing off, up and out of the frame.  I wondered if this was the general transition from nature-culture to techno-culture… But I couldn’t really know anything about this.

Before I started feeling ayahuasca, my mind was racing through all of the things I think I can say about myself… The micro-narratives that course through my neural net all day were buzzing conductive business as usual.  I understood this to be my introduction of myself to ayahuasca.  ‘Things’ didn’t start ‘happening’ until I gave my attention to the songs.  “I stop combing my mind so my thoughts can lock“.  At first, I was surprised by the delicacy of it all.  At first it was small angular screens, like a bay of cockpit windows with diamond lattice plasma curtains, flashing and waving colors.  All I could think to give them were smiles and small gasps of awe.  Very gently, their borders pushed and the frames gave way to extension.  I did have some comparative thoughts, like, ‘My goodness.  Some things are so crude, so gross, so loud, so noisy.  This is gentle, extensive but very manageable.’

Other people were making noises in the dark.  The belches and digestive cavern echoes were very interestingly qualified by the delicacy of the ayahuasca and the brilliant supra-intelligent order of the songs.  I took very much joy in sensing the arrangement of the ayahuasca, but I also felt worried by the suffering of the other humans and even thought that it might be impolite to experience so much joy in the same room as what sounded like agony… When I realized that I felt this way, I told myself that every person has their own suffering and it shouldn’t take the place of others’ joy.

Panic at the Pied Piper Portal

August 10, 2008
Panic starts with a Sound

A Strange Attractor

There was a rustling,
that seemed like a bustling
Of merry crowds justling at pitching and hustling,
Small feet were pattering, wooden shoes clattering,
Little hands clapping and little tongues chattering,
And, like fowls in a farm-yard when barley is scattering,
Out came the children running.
All the little boys and girls,
With rosy cheeks and flaxen curls,
And sparkling eyes and teeth like pearls.
and skipping,
ran merrily after
The wonderful music with shouting and laughter.


“Panic” comes from Greek panikon, “pertaining to Pan.” Pan is the god of woods and fields who was the source of mysterious sounds that caused contagious, groundless fear in herds and crowds, or in people in lonely spots. [wikipedia]


BARTRAM the lime-burner, a rough, heavy-looking man, begrimed with charcoal, sat watching his kiln, at nightfall, while his little son played at building houses with the scattered fragments of marble, when, on the hill-side below them, they heard a roar of laughter, not mirthful, but slow, and even solemn, like a wind shaking the boughs of the forest.

“Father, what is that?” asked the little boy, leaving his play, and pressing betwixt his father’s knees.

“O, some drunken man, I suppose,” answered the lime-burner; “some merry fellow from the bar-room in the village, who dared not laugh loud enough within doors, lest he should blow the roof of the house off. So here he is, shaking his jolly sides at the foot of Gray-lock.”

“But, father,” said the child, more sensitive than the obtuse, middle-aged clown, “he does not laugh like a man that is glad. So the noise frightens me!”

“Don’t be a fool, child!” cried his father, gruffly. “You will never make a man, I do believe; there is too much of your mother in you. I have known the rustling of a leaf startle you. Hark! Here comes the merry fellow, now. You shall see that there is no harm in him.”


When, lo, as they reached the mountain-side,
A wondrous portal opened wide,
As if a cavern was suddenly hollowed;
And the Piper advanced and the children followed,
And when all were in to the very last,
The door in the mountain side shut fast.
Did I say, all? No; One was lame,
And could not dance the whole of the way;
And in after years, if you would blame
His sadness, he was used to say,–
“It’s dull in our town since my playmates left!
I can’t forget that I’m bereft
Of all the pleasant sights they see,
Which the Piper also promised me.


The endeavor of making the internet, of doing the work to connect diverse forms of abstract information, is riddled with ambiguity.  For now, a highly curtailed historic sketch via human embryogenic metaphor: We humans have built and organized an informational body on a global scale, and the internet is the brain and the consciousness.  It involved [involution] in the 1950’s under pressure of the United States’ involvement in the Cold War, and since then an increasingly diversified array of humans [Us, fellow Netizens] have devoted a large percentage of our energy to developing it.  Formal systems and computer languages built by specialists have given many of us platforms for participating in the activities of network formation and collectively distributed thought-processing, and with increasingly massified involvement, the developmental process continues to accelerate, apparently exponentially.  At this point it is all already moving so fast that it’s whistling through the hills.

On one hand, the process self-organizes – it is self-referential.  It screams feedback loops.  It’s a solipsistic bachelor machine.  And yet, on the other hand it seems that there is something outside the process that conditions it.  This ‘Other’ thing has hooked the process and is trying to pull the whole shebang onward and upward, out of its habitat, away from its home.

The Alien Appendage

The Alien Appendage

This ‘Other’ dimensional thing PULLS/COAXES/LURES/CONDUCTS the collective creation of cyberspace.

The folkloric figure for this strange attractor is the Pied Piper.  Before him, the ancient Greeks called the strange attractor Pan.

We feel panic when we sense the sound of the strange winds whipping through our ecosystem.  We have heard stories that suggest that the sounds we sense may presage our arrival at a portal to an ‘Other’ dimension from which we may never return.  Many before us felt the intuition of what it might mean to cross this threshold.  More of us now than ever are convinced that we are the ones who are actually finding out.  What we don’t get to feel, then the next few generations will.  And so it goes.  The children hear and follow the music.

Theoria-Artisan in Transition Town

August 8, 2008

Originally, theoria meant seeing the sights, seeing for yourself, and getting a worldview. The first theorists were “tourists”–the wise men who traveled to inspect the obvious world.  Theoria did not mean the kind of vision that is restricted to the sense of sight, but implied a complex but organic mode of active observation–a perceptual system that included asking questions, listening to stories and local myths, and feeling as well as hearing and seeing. The world theorists who traveled around 600 B.C. were spectators who responded to the expressive energies of places, stopping to contemplate what the guides called “the things worth seeing.” Local guides–the men who knew the stories of a place–helped visiting theorists to “see” (Eugene Victor Walter via Ulmer).

The revitalization of this specific sense of the word Theoria is part of a global transition, which in terms of ‘apparatus’ discourse is the transition from Literacy to Electracy.

Literacy = School / Concept / Self ::

Electracy = Internet / Emblem / Brand

Since I am biologically located in Boulder, Colorado, I am learning how to work as a Theoria in that situation – the guiding slogan is ‘think global, act local’.  In lieu of traveling around the three-dimensional world to ‘see the sights’, I travel in cyberspace to ‘see the sites’.  Cyberspace is one of the ‘Other’ dimensions of my local life.

Recently, in 2007, a significant portion of Boulder’s citizenry decided to act to re-invent Boulder as a city organized in response to and in anticipation of global disaster, most immediately imagined as climate change and the end of peak oil.

Boulder’s chosen title for this collective self-organization is ‘Transition Town‘, which places it in solidarity with other so-called Transition Towns around the world.  The word ‘Transition’ is multivalent – it makes Transition Town resonate with the apparatus transition from literacy to electracy.  Transition also suggests thermodynamic phase transition.

the artisan learns to FEEL these phase transitions

the artisan learns to FEEL THE TRANSITION

Before the advent of scientific measurement technologies, Artisans were people who learned to experimentally ‘sound out by ear’ the critical points in the phase transitions of different materials, in order to exploit these critical points to fashion weapons, tools, and other cultural materials for living.  With the advent of scientific measurement, which could mechanistically determine a material’s critical points more precisely than any artisan ever could organically ‘by ear’, Artisans were left with more humanistic imperatives.  It became the Artisan’s work to use ‘by ear’ intuition to learn how to manipulate available [contemporary] material-media in order to locate and exploit critical points in the spiritual-emotional complex called ‘human experience’.

While it is clear that Boulder’s citizens are already focusing energy on responding to the effects of the transition on the community’s ability to procure vital resources [local food sources, local energy], I want to learn how to locate some of the affects of the transition.  To start, I am ‘seeing the sites’ in ‘Other’ dimensions in search of patterns that give form to the mental, emotional, and spiritual properties of the transition.  My proposal is to work locally as a Theoria-Artisan who writes and produces culture to express the critical points in these dimensions of life in Boulder.

Lime-Kiln Portal to an ‘Other’ Dimension

August 6, 2008

Ethan Brand, it was said, had conversed with Satan himself in the lurid blaze of this very kiln. The legend had been matter of mirth heretofore but looked grisly now. According to this tale, before Ethan Brand departed on his search, he had been accustomed to evoke a fiend from the hot furnace of the lime-kiln, night after night, in order to confer with him about the Unpardonable Sin.

doorway to the dead

doorway to the dead - Lenox, MA

Within the formal system of the Ethan Brand entertainment narrative, the meaning of the phrase ‘Unpardonable Sin’ remains somewhat untranslated. The ‘Unpardonable Sin’ is this story’s name for the unpronounceable dilemma in the broken/calcified heart of the eponymous character.  The image of Ethan Brand’s marble heart is a clue that the ‘Unpardonable Sin’ is what organizes the text [an abstract machine].  The hard heart is the material actualization of a virtual sin, not the sin itself.  Still, as Ethan Brand knows too well, the likely result of looking for the Unpardonable Sin is that the seeker will find it in their self.

“…the good folks still talk about Ethan Brand, in the village yonder, and what a strange errand took him away from his lime-kiln.  Well, and so you have found the Unpardonable Sin?”

“Even so!” said the stranger, calmly.

“If the question is a fair one,” proceeded Bartram, “where might it be?”

Ethan Brand laid his finger on his own heart.

“Here!” replied he.

This report puts the ultimate findings of Ethan Brand’s research in line with the findings of the EmerAgency, whose slogan goes, ‘Problems B Us‘.  Still, the lime-kiln is a portal to an ‘Other’ dimension where fiendish Satan dwells, in the furnaces, in the hillock.  Or so the legend goes.

What can we say about these rumors of an Other-dimensional entity who is summoned to confer with Ethan Brand about the Unpardonable Sin? We need some theory to account for this.