Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Watching the Reptilians: Stewart Swerdlow.

Reptilians Allegedly Witnessed at Montauk Airforce Base, Long Island.

If you visit the website Expansions run by Stewart Swerdlow and his wife Janet, you'll find a fairly innocuous and stereotypical amalgam of New Age/Self Help sales pitches. Expansions offers to help “YOU harness the infinite power of your mind.” Located on the “crystal leaden beaches of Lake Michigan, a natural step-up transformer surrounded by ancient copper mines and the energetic vortex of the Great Lakes”, Stewart and Janet offer a series of life-altering seminars which run a fairly typical gamut of the paranormal and human potential movements. A teaching schedule for this October carries the following blurb “Everyone has unexplainable experiences at one time or another. Find the answers to the REAL mysteries of life in this fascinating experiential seminar. From the Crystal Skulls to Spontaneous Combustion to Immortality NOTHING is left out....if you've got a question, we've got the answer.”
Montauk Radar Tower.

Operating on the outer edge of fringe belief, Stewart Swerdlow claims to have been a participant in the notorious Montauk Project. The Montauk Project, like the Philadelphia Experiment to which it is often linked, is one of the wilder vagaries of American Conspiracy lore. The basic core of the belief is that a series of experiments in mind control, teleportation, parallel dimensions, and time travel were carried by the US government within Montauk Airforce Station on Long Island. Weirdly enough, we now know that the US military did dabble to a certain degree in all of these things, so so far the tale is not entirely beyond the realm of the possible. However, the Montauk mythos was continually expanded and elaborated in various retellings and revisions, until it became a insane palimpsest of conspiracism, incorporating Nazi gold, worm-holes in time and space, communication with extraterrestrials via a hyperspatial language of glyphs and archetypes, and cameo appearances by John von Neumann, Nikola Tesla, and the usual assortment of Greys, Reptilians, and Nordics. (I will present a more thorough treatment of the Montauk mythos in a later post.)

Stewart Swerdlow insists that he lived through all this madness, claiming it had a devastating impact on his private life, resulting in years of “severe illness, broken relationships, and premature Kundalini activation.” (Do not worry unduly, Stewart, with regard to premature Kundalini activation; I have been assured that it happens to all guys from time to time.) Nevertheless, those trying years furnished Stewart with a unique insight into the workings and history of the Illuminati/New World Order, an insight Stewart shares with George Noory in this scintillating Coast to Coast interview. Sample exchange:
Swerdlow: Autism is really being a dolphin in a human body, to all intents and purposes.
Noory: This is wild stuff, Stewart....

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Crashing through the Moonset. Conclusion.

For whatever reasons, ideas of theatricality and fakery have hovered over the Apollo 11 landing from the very beginning, with some suggesting that Hollywood operated as a subtle whistle blower to the deception. The first significant AHT book, We Never Went to the Moon: America's Thirty Billion Dollar Swindle by Bill Kaysing, was released in 1974. However, three years earlier, United Artists released Diamonds are Forever, the seventh James Bond film. (Amusing trivia: actor Michael Gambon was considered for the role of Bond, but apparently told producer Albert R. Broccoli that he was “in terrible shape” and had “tits like a woman.”) For the most part, it was business as usual for Bond, albeit with a cruder and campier tone than previous outings. However, upon infiltrating the villain's lair in the Nevada dessert, Bond wonders into the middle of a peculiar rehearsal:

The scene is made all the more weird by the fact that it has no particular relevnace to the overall plot, and isn't really referred to again. However, if Diamonds are Forever was a subtle, blink and you miss it anomaly, Hollywood went into full whistle blower mode in 1978 with the release of Peter Hyams' Capricorn One, a fast-paced conspiracy thriller in which a journalist (Eliot Gould) discovers that a highly publicized live landing on the surface of Mars is a hoax. If I've seen Capricorn One at all, its so long ago that the memory completely escapes me. Watching the trailer, though, its hard not to be struck by how explicitly the movie plays on memories of the Apollo landing:

Indeed, the whole trailer, with its pointed suggestion that mediated history-in-the-making could be wholly fabricated by a ruthless and shadowy conglomerate, is stunningly subversive. Notice particularly the shattering reveal at about 1:09, accompanied by a voice-over which echoes almost word for word the title of Bill Kaysing's 1974 book. (Note also the fact that Capricorn One astronaut OJ Simpson would later stage his own considerable coup in the blurring of the lines between staged spectacle and real-time news.) In his Space Review essay Little red lies, Dwayne A. Day places Capricorn One neatly in the historical context of post-Watergate paranoia in which AHT would continue to flourish:
Capricorn One is the kind of movie which can only be appreciated if you consider the period that it was made, most notably in the years following both Vietnam and Watergate. Peter Hyams had worked as a journalist in Vietnam, where he became convinced that the government would conceal a big lie if top officials wanted to do so. After all, Nixon had waged his “secret war” in Cambodia. Later revelations, such as the Church and Pike congressional investigations which revealed CIA plots to overthrow governments and kill Castro with exploding cigars and poisoned wetsuits only added to the anti-government paranoia. The movie reflects not only distrust of government, but also features the crusading journalist as hero; All the Presidents Men, about Woodward and Bernstein and Watergate, had already been a hit movie two years earlier.”

I remain very reluctant to believe that the moon landings were hoaxed. However, as a resonant contemporary mythology, AHT has a hell of a lot to tell us about our contemporary condition. About our prevalent distrust of official histories, figures of power and authority, even the evidence of what our eyes can see. The lunar footage itself, which appears alternately awe-inspiring and strangely comic, otherworldly and theatrical, reveals the Janus face of technology: its ability to produce an inalienable record of an event, tempered with the awareness of its potential to produce a near perfect fabrication of an event; the inevitable failure of filmic representation to approximate the certainty of experience and reality, when the two, as opposing forces, seem only to deplete one another's potency.

“Just a month before, Apollo 11 astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong had left their colleague Michael Collins on-board spaceship Columbia and walked on the moon, beating by five months president Kennedy's goal of putting a man on the moon before the decade was out. The old carpenter asked me if I really believed it had happened. I said sure, I saw it on television. He disagreed; he said he didn't believe it for a moment, that “them television fellers” could make things look real that weren't. Back then I thought he was a crank. During my eight years in Washington, I saw things on television that made me wonder if he wasn't ahead of his time.”
Bill Clinton.

Crashing through the Moonset: Hollywood Breaks the Apollo Fourth Wall. Part 1.

The Mission that Never Got Off the Ground.
Tag Line for Capricorn One (1978).

Having let the Moon Hoax cat of the bag, I'm going to run with it for one more post. The Apollo 11 landing in 1969 represented on the one hand a palpable expression of something new and quintessentially of the 20th century, and on the other perhaps the last triumphant gasp of something far older. The new thing, beyond the technologies involved in the mission itself, was the manner in which it was experienced as a global media event. By holding the entire developed world a captive audience to a dramatic live spectacle, NASA had instigated a massive groundswell in in the realization of McLuhan's global village, and a tentative first step towards the constant mediation of experience characteristic of the modern period. The older thing was most evident in the planting of the flag. If everything else about the moon landing was futuristic and new, that gesture alone evoked the spirit of exploration and conquest which had essentially lead to the eerily rippled flag planted on the moon. Everywhere on earth had been discovered and mapped, and space was the natural next frontier to extend the human longing for adventure, danger, and fresh horizons.

So the Apollo 11 landing was the beginning of one era, and the end of another. And it really was the end; in a fascinating recent piece on NASA by Tom Wolfe, the Right Stuff author asserts “the American space programme, the greatest, grandest, most Promethean – O.K. if I add godlike? - quest in the history of the world, died in its infancy on 10:56 p.m. New York time, on July 20, 1969, the moment the foot of Apollo 11 commander Armstrong touched the surface of the moon.” The gist of Wolfe's piece is that the political will behind the space programme was mired in the mentality of Cold War one-upmanship and nationalistic prestige, and once those very terrestrial /territorial goals had been attained, its interest drifted elsewhere. The funding dried up, and the 20th century's Magellan adventure ended essentially where it should have begun.

There are many ironies here. The global village was the natural consequence of the spirit of exploration here on earth, and its ineluctable end and limit. The moon landing was a globalised event, a giant step for mankind, and yet the flag was a reminder that our space exploration, like that of the oceans and the earth, was a heroic thing that was compromised by grim ulterior motivations – an expansion of our perspective which walked in tandem with the narrow, territorial focus of our minds. As Arthur Koestler put it: “Prometheus reaches out for the stars with an insane grin on his face and a totem symbol in his hand.”

The lunar landing was dogged by conspiracy theories pretty much from the get-go. I'd like to offer a few thoughts on the virulence of this meme. To the post-Watergate world, and more explicitly to the paranoid consciousness of our postmodern period, the AHT (Apollo Hoax theory), like any truly effective myth-cycle, actualises certain core assumptions in how the myth-bearing community views the world. Principal among these assumptions would be They're lying to us! Secondly, the AHT expresses a sense many of us have acquired about the media itself: that it stages events, that it operates under various agendas, including those of propaganda, distraction, indoctrination, and so on. Suspicions about the veracity of the moon landing, like the staged WWF wrestling bouts of the eighties, are an interesting precursor to the general fog of ambiguity that hangs over the modern mediascape. There is a gnostic or Platonic character to the contemporary paranoid consciousness; we envision the media both as a component of, and an ideal metaphor for, a world which appears rigged by unseen forces, and essentially illusionary. The cave is a studio set, and seeing beyond its shadows, escaping the demiurgic prison, is a question of breaking the fourth wall.

On the other hand, the AHT may tell us something about how myths are made in an age where nearly perfect film records are kept of events. Myth-making began within a strictly oral context, and flourished, for obvious reasons, in direct ratio to the sketchiness of historical record-keeping. With this in mind, the existence in the modern period of photographic and film cameras should represent the pinnacle of historical accuracy, and the end of the blank spaces in the record which myths have traditionally exploited. However, we find instead that myth-making adopted a new strategy – it began to exploit the ambiguity, the inherent imperfections, contained in even our most accurate recording mediums. It found its thread to unravel official histories in the blurry spaces, shadows, artefacts, and anomalies of film stock which were now available to be watched and re-watched ad infinitum. This obsessive poring over, and continued exegesis, of newsreel is a common characteristic of the Kennedy, Apollo 11, and 9 11 conspiracy movements, as well as of UFO and planetary anomaly theorists.

Then again, it may have something to do with the character of the footage itself. The lunar landing photos and film footage are absolutely wonderful. They are as ingrained in our collective psyche as the Madonna and the Crucifixion were to the iconographic imagination of previous epochs. They haunted me as a boy, and to this day have the capacity to re-ignite the increasingly unlikely ambition of walking on the moon. And yet there is something, owing perhaps innocently enough to the nature of the moon itself, that renders these images theatrical and staged looking.
The faking of the entire process of the moon landing would have been an extraordinarily complex and difficult thing to achieve; almost as difficult, many have argued, as actually getting to the moon for real. But creating the actual lunar footage itself possessed certain advantages for the would-be hoaxer. There was, for example, a minimum of props necessary to create and maintain the illusion: a couple of astronauts, who are masked like Greek tragedians, the lunar module, a few instruments, and the flag. The lunar landscape itself is so remarkably sparse and minimal as to be a set or stage designer's dream: a completely black sky, a arid landscape of uniform colour and consistency, and a steady horizon line which allows for numerous tricks of perspective. ( Even the sunlight on the moon is redolent of theatrical lighting; astronaut Peter Conrad said “The sun's bright, it's like somebody's shinning a spotlight on your hands! I tell really is! It's like somebody's got a super bright spotlight!”) In summary, the Apollo lunar footage epitomises in every regard the minimum amount of props and visual cues necessary to create a theatrical illusion, like Waiting for Godot in zero gravity:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Eyes Wide Shut.

I was trying to avoid the whole Apollo Moon Landing Haox Meme, but this one is too good to resist.

Crop Circles. Part 3: Fragments of the Invisible Text.

I also liked to think that founders of religions, prophets, saints and seers had at moments been able to read a fragment of the invisible text; after which they had so much padded, dramatized and ornamented it, that they themselves could no longer tell what parts of it were authentic.
Arthur Koestler.

The point I was trying to make, before being overtaken by nostalgic digression, was that crop circles are a relatively new phenomenon. Many cerealogists point to a woodcut and pamphlet, The Mowing Devil, or, Strange News out of Hartford-Shire, published in 1678, which would seem to depict a proto-typical crop circle incident. This pamphlet, which I suspect may resonate a note more of contemporary agrarian unrest than timeless cosmic mystery, recounts the tale of a farmer who becomes enraged at the price a labourer demands to mow his field, and swears that he would sooner suffer the Devil himself to mow his corn. That night the farmer observed his field engulfed in an obsidian flame, and awoke the next morning to found a perfect circle mysteriously sown in the field. (The tale may indeed be true, but the casual student of folklore will instantly recognise a characteristic expression of the rash promise motif, common in folk yarns since the time of Chaucer.)

Some theorists will go back even further along the timeline, and cite the infamous Nazca lines, carved in antiquity into the arid deserts of the Peruvian Pampas de Jumana, as an ancient precursor to the modern crop circle. A perennial staple in the serious study of ancient astronaut theory, the Nazca lines do share many common characteristics with the crop circle: both, roughly speaking, are geoglyphs, or motifs which are worked into the natural constitution of a given ground area. Both are so massive as to necessitate a elevated, aerial perspective in order to become fully sensible as images. While our modern technology allows us to take stock of the crop circle with relative ease, no such provision existed for our Nazca brethren in the years before 700 BCE; consequently, we are none the wiser as to who these massive hummingbirds, spiders, llamas, and lizards were addressed to, to say nothing of what sense they were designed to convey. They are an example of an untranslated, non-verbal language, of which history provides us with countless scattered fragments. These languages are the subject of this post.

It is immediately apparent that, even by stretching the generosity of analogy in this fashion, we can find few genuine precursors to the crop circle phenomenon in our history. Why then do they provoke that peculiar ripple of the ancestral memory-pool which I referred to earlier? A partial explanation is found in the seasonality of the practise. The modern and the pre-modern sensibility are set apart by as many cultural canyons as there are drops of water in the ocean. Nevertheless, I believe the most pervasive and significant of these lies in the perception or experience of time. (Time, whatever it may be, is the great kernel of all mysteries. I believe that identity itself, be it of the individual or the species, is constituted entirely in the active demarcation of temporality. It is for this reason that the seasoned mystic and psychonaut experience as a simultaneous phenomenon the collapse of standard temporal demarcation, and the dissolution of individual, egoistic consciousness, into the apprehension of atemporality and universal identity/non-identity.)

The pre-modern experience of time, like the mandala and the flying saucer, was circular in character. More than this, it was intrinsically connected to seasonal growth cycles of the earth. The earliest expressions of religious ceremony and artistic performance, the two virtually indistinguishable in their nascent forms, were strictly aligned to the change of the seasons. The modern, urban sensibility, though it may experience a rise and diminution of its passions in tandem with the march of the months, or some meagre Pavlovian excitement at the prospect of officially allotted holidays, has for the most part thoroughly lost this seasonal, Gaian consciousness. Crop circles, being an artform of an entirely earthy, evanescent and seasonal character, restore to us something of that sense of endless cyclic return, of constant mutability which is in actuality algorithmic sameness; the grand, slow time of our ancestors.

Yet this mystery runs much deeper. The real allure of the crop circle is that they actualise two interconnected, and apparently perennial longings in the human psyche: the need for an intricate code to crack, and a strange, ubiquitous longing for a pre-verbal, pre-linguistic, visual medium of communication. This fascination expresses itself in an endless variety of forms: our vain attempts to recapture the meaning of the entopic and therianthropic iconography our pre-historical ancestors painted on the caves of Lascaux, Pech Merle, and Altamira; the strange, runic scripts produced in automatic writing by channelers of every persuasion; the self-actualising sigils of ritual magick; various dead, mythic, invented, and allegedly extraterrestrial languages; the arcane symbology associated with alchemy, occultic societies, and glimpsed on the exterior of UFOs and on the uniforms of their occupants; right down to the asemic writing of Brion Gyson and the contemporary avant-garde.

A few brief examples, to get the ball rolling: it is said that in Italy in 1539, a man called Ludovico Spoletano contacted the Devil, and asked him to respond to a question in writing. Ludovico claims that once the question was asked, a pen was taken up by “an invisible power which seemed suspended in the air”, and rapidly wrote the following:

In 1583, Edward Kelley, the alchemist/charlatan and close compatriot of John Dee, allegedly channeled the ur-language of the angels, which was spoken prior to the fall of mankind and the linguistic cataclysm of the Tower of Babel. He called the angelic language Enochian:

In 1985, another Ludovico, this time Granchi, witnessed a massive UFO hover over his home in Rio de Janeiro. As Granchi watched the craft, a brightly lit panel covered with black symbols, resembling a holographic projection, was revealed to him. Granchi felt a peculiar compulsion to copy down the symbols, and a sense of “dire” importance that he be as accurate as possible. To date, the alien symbols of Ludovico Granchi have not been decoded:

While it is clear that there is much of charlatanry in these arcane symbols, and more of a kind of meaningless subconscious scribbling, they nevertheless exercise a peculiar fascination over the imagination. We can never be sure when the medium, shaman, or schizophrenic has merely brought back scraps from the refuse bin of the mind, or whether, among his travels in this trash spectrum, he has chanced onto some higher frequency of possibly genetically encoded or extraterrestrial information; some fragment of the invisible text, the great, alchemical unravelling of the mystery of ourselves, which wants only to be pieced together. Witness the example of the Swedish artist Hilma Af Klint. At the turn of the century, Miss Klint presided over a circle of women who claimed to receive messages from “ascended masters.” Klint produced many paintings derived from the etheric messages she was receiving, but two years before her death was told: “Protect your drawings. They are pictures of drenching waves of ether that await you one day when you're eyes and ears can apprehend a higher summoning.” The following painting was called “What a Human Being Is”, and was produced some fifty years before the discoveries of Francis Crick and James Watson:

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Crop Circles: Mystery in the Fields. Part 2: Afterglow.

What is it about the crop circle, a mere pattern trampled in the midsummer harvest, that arrests the sensibility of those as critical and jaded as ourselves? There is nothing miraculous in the material, nor is the hurried and surreptitious execution quite beyond mortal ingenuity. And yet there is something about the whole appearance, ambience, and culture of the crop circle that instils in us a subtle stirring of ancestral memory, a vague yet palpable intimation of the pre-modern, the antiquated. To what do we owe this eerie deja vu? The phenomenon itself, in its fully recognizable modern form, only goes back to the late seventies; that glorious period in which I, and countless others of my generation, were still basking in the afterglow of the psychedelic adventure which had consumed all our lives since the mid-sixties.

Let me attempt to convey some sense of the psychedelic fin de siecle. The experience of youth, in any era or epoch, is the experience of intensity and energy. It is only in our adolescence and early adulthood that all the experiences of life emerge freshly minted from the loom of nature, and we, also fresh from that miraculous loom, gaze into the youth of the world as though into a strange fairground mirror. In those short, precious years, we are all strangers in this world, all existentialists by necessity, all losers, petty criminals, and romantics by temperament. Only then do we swim in the stream of potentiality, and partake of that fluidity of being which is commonly called the Protean. Though the intensity of youth is a phenomenon common to every individual and every era, I believe that to be young in the sixties was an experience of an entirely different order. An unprecedented confluence of forces - social, technological, chemical, astrological, wah wah pedal-related – all conspired to heighten the normal foibles of youth to a pitch of immense magnitude. In the words of Hunter S. Thompson “there was a fantastic universal sense that what we were doing was right, that we were winning....and that, I think, was the handle - that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn't need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting – on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding on the crest of a high and beautiful wave....”

To those of us who had fully imbibed the psychedelic revolution – who had conversed with Jungian archetypes and fled his Shadows, who had swam in Mandelbrot swirls and met ourselves coming up and down the spirals of Escherian staircases – the late seventies were a strange time indeed. The wave was crashing down, the adventure was ending. Our casual friends were getting married, having children. They read newspapers and voted; some were even seeking permanent employment. To the rest of us, it felt as though the entire adventure had been one long, sustained trip, and the late seventies was a bright sunny morning, wherein we were awakening once again to the world we had left behind. We were coming down, yet still in the afterglow. And just when it seemed as though it was time to leave all that weird rapture behind us forever, to leave it to dwindle, as is the way of all memory, into the waning stuff of dream, just when we thought it was time to surrender, and go meekly into the greyness of adulthood and Thatcher's eighties........the circles began to appear. Like the fabled midsummer pranks of Scots faery and Irish pukka, as elemental as the morning dew, the circles appeared, by the shadow of the ancient stones of Avebury, by the ripe cider orchards and Grail storied Tor of Glastonbury, in all the old places where we had danced. I know it was a trick of the time, but to us, it appeared as though our entopic visions had imprinted themselves on the landscape, and the circles were a kind of keepsake we had brought back through the Door in the Wall.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Arthur Koestler: The Hours by the Window.

Arthur Koestler, who we will return to by and by, tells the following story in his autobiography The Invisible Writing:

"I was standing at the recessed window of cell No. 40 and with a piece of iron-spring that I had extracted from the wire mattress, was scratching mathematical formulae on the wall. Mathematics, in particular analytical geometry, had been the favorite hobby of my youth, neglected later on for many years. I was trying to remember how to derive the formula of the hyperbola, and was stumped; then I tried the ellipse and parabola, and to my delight succeeded. Next I went on to recall Euclid's proof that the number of primes is infinite...

Since I had become acquainted with Euclid's proof at school, it had always filled me with a deep satisfaction that was aesthetic rather than intellectual. Now, as I recalled the method and scratched the symbols on the wall, I felt the same enchantment.

And then, for the first time, I suddenly understood the reason for this enchantment: the scribbled symbols on the wall represented one of the rare cases where a meaningful and comprehensive statement about the infinite is arrived at by precise and finite means. The infinite is a mystical mass shrouded in a haze; and yet it was possible to gain some knowledge of it without losing oneself in treacly ambiguities. The significance of this swept over me like a wave. The wave had originated in an articulate verbal insight; but this evaporated at once, leaving in its wake only a wordless essence, a fragrance of eternity, a quiver of the arrow in the blue. I must have stood there for some minutes, entranced, with a wordless awareness that "this is perfect---perfect"; until I noticed some slight mental discomfort nagging at the back of my mind---some trivial circumstance that marred the perfection of the moment. Then I remembered the nature of that irrelevant annoyance: I was, of course, in prison and might be shot. But this was immediately answered by a feeling whose verbal translation would be: "So what? is that all? have you got nothing more serious to worry about?"---an answer so spontaneous, fresh and amused as if the intruding annoyance had been the loss of a collar-stud. Then I was floating on my back in a river of peace, under bridges of silence. It came from nowhere and flowed nowhere. Then there was no river and no I. The I had ceased to exist.

When I say "the I had ceased to exist," I refer to a concrete experience that is verbally as incommunicable as the feeling aroused by a piano concerto, yet just as real---only much more real. In fact, its primary mark is the sensation that this state is more real than any other one has experienced before---that for the first time the veil has fallen and one is in touch with "real reality," the hidden order of things, the X-ray texture of the world, normally obscured by layers of irrelevancy.
What distinguishes this type of experience from the emotional entrancements of music, landscapes or love is that the former has a definitely intellectual, or rather noumenal, content. It is meaningful, though not in verbal terms. Verbal transcriptions that come nearest to it are: the unity and interlocking of everything that exists, an interdependence like that of gravitational fields or communicating vessels. The "I" ceases to exist because it has, by a kind of mental osmosis, established communication with, and been dissolved in, the universal pool. It is the process of dissolution and limitless expansion which is sensed as the "oceanic feeling," as the draining of all tension, the absolute catharsis, the peace that passeth all understanding.
The coming-back to the lower order of reality I found to be gradual, like waking up from anaesthesia. There was the equation of the parabola scratched on the dirty wall, the iron bed and the iron table and the strip of blue Andalusian sky. But there was no unpleasant hangover as from other modes of intoxication. On the contrary: there remained a sustained and invigorating, serene and fear-dispelling after-effect that lasted for hours and days. It was as if a massive dose of vitamins had been injected into the veins. Or, to change the metaphor, I resumed my travels through my cell like an old car with its batteries freshly recharged.

Whether the experience had lasted for a few minutes or an hour, I never knew. In the beginning it occurred two or even three times a week, then the intervals became longer. It could never be voluntarily induced. After my liberation it recurred at even longer intervals, perhaps once or twice in a year. But by that time the groundwork for a change or personality was completed. I shall henceforth refer to these experiences as "the hours by the window."

Crop Circles: Mystery in the Fields. (Part 1: Synchromysticism.)

It was the great intuition of Carl Jung, and all who have followed in his mighty footsteps, that nothing is accidental, and this world is a great and wondrously intricate alchemical text, which communicates via the language of mythic archetype and symbol, and wants only for patient exegesis. Where the scientific man sees only coincidence, projection, and pareidolia, Jung and his disciples saw synchronicity - a subterranean design woven into the fabric of everything, a strange feedback loop between psyche and cosmos which infuses events, both large and small, with meaning, however obscure. The Jungian sensibility has flourished on the internet, producing a vibrant subculture called synchromysticism. Where the scientific man sleeps in a cosy reverie of eighteenth century enlightenment, an ossified Newtonian museum of billiard table metaphysics, the synchromystic is uniquely attuned to the modern sensibility – he understands that the vantage from which man views his environment has shifted utterly. In the past, it was perfectly feasible to regard the world as a mightily befuddling, al-be-it ultimately knowable entity, and to regard knowledge itself as a kind of field wherein men sowed the wheat of true facts, and threw away the chaff of misleading assumption.

Throwing aside these quaint historical fallacies, synchromystics are the pioneering theorists of a new polymorphous reality – a world in which the initiate eschews the pursuit of merely provisional truths, and thrills instead to the constant pulsation of the barely possible. This is the era of the depth paranoiac - the deep-sea diver in seas of ontological uncertainty and eldtrich rumour. This is a new sensibility – a Frankenstein patchwork of the underground, the outre, and the fringe, which speaks in a mixture of the patois of science fiction, psychedelics, conspiracism, and b-movie eschatology – the language of the tabloid-gnostic.

This alien artwork, channeled to the psychic and healer Mavis Burrows in 1982, bears an uncanny resemblance to recent crop circle designs. Well, either that or the cover of an anthology of essays about Esra Pound and the Modernists.

For those of us who till in this rippling, psychoactive field of wild speculation, these are interesting times indeed. In the political sphere, the shadowy global elites continue their brazen controlled demolition of the world economy – an economic system which they themselves had constructed as a house of cards, a suicidal Tilt a Whirl to carry us to the very brink of the abyss. In the midst of this chaos, the foment of new theories and wild ideas continues apace – a massive paradigm earthquake gathering pace beneath our feet. NASA celebrates the fortieth anniversary of man's alleged first walk on the moon - meanwhile a sci-fi movie called Moon goes on general release, directed by the son of the Man who Fell to Earth himself, David Bowie – meanwhile the whole world becomes utterly mesmerised by the death of another androgynous/alien-like popstar – the moon walker.......To where to all these scattered clues and inferences tend? They point to a convergence, an unravelling that must surely be December 21, 2012 - the incalculable event whose ripple effects run backwards along the timeline, simultaneously announcing and immanentizing the eschaton. Those ripples spoke to the ancient Maya in their moonlight Cyclopean temples, and they recorded its distant immanence both in their mythologies, and in the aeon-spanning calender which was the grand summa of their culture. Those ripples spoke again to the ancient Egyptian stargazer, who, armed with the technological and astrological remnants of much older Atlantean societies, built vast, runic monuments which are at once mausoleum, observatory, and prophesy. Yet again, in the Amazonian village of La Chorrera in 1971, the cosmo-millennial ripple reasserted itself, speaking via microbial interface to the nasal-voiced visionary poet Terence McKenna, giving him the conceptual tools to envision 2012 as the Strange Attractor at the End of Time.

Of all those scattered cosmic innuendos, these palpable outward effects of the 2012 ripple, none is perhaps as crucial, yet elusive, as the mysterious glyphs which have appeared annually in the corn fields of southern England since the late seventies. About these eerie formations, there is little consensus, but three primary interpretative perspectives. To the aesthetically minded sceptic, crop circles are an exuberant new guerilla artform, whose secretive nocturnal execution, anonymity, and mystical controversy restore a charge of excitement long lost to the academic sphere of the gallery. To the punitive sceptic, who guards his mundane reality like an embittered cuckold, crop circles are yet another outrageous outer limit to the credulity of the New Age mystery monger. Finally, to hardcore believers such as Michael Glickman, crop circles are a cosmic imaginal Morse code – a series of messages designed, like a lengthy university course, to gradually educate and expand the minds of those who attune themselves to the language of the speaker. Readers should note a fourth possibility – that they are all these things, and constitute yet another passport into the schizoid realm of the excluded middle, the quantum country of paradox from whence we abstract this solid, negotiable world of the everyday.
To be Continued in Part 2: The Devil's Handwriting.