Ra-Dio-Active

A few years ago I was firmly in the grip of a survivalist mindset and heavily into ‘prepping’. For those unfamiliar with the term, ‘prepping’ involves building a stockpile of food, equipment, and skills in readiness for something the prepping community dubs “TEOTWAWKI”: The End Of The World As We Know It. Don’t get me wrong – I didn’t build a nuclear shelter at the bottom of my garden but I did accumulate a fairly impressive arsenal of gear and survivalist lore. Prepping can be pretty intense and it’s surprisingly easy to go from stockpiling a few weeks worth of food to constructing a DIY Faraday cage and laminating biological and radiological warning signs to scare off would-be scavengers. Seriously. Once you get the mindset it seems to follow a course all of its own and everything you see seems to herald impending doom. That said, if The Apocalypse (zombie or nuclear) ever does strike then I’d probably be a good person to have around. I’m no Bear Grylls but I’ve rigged my share of temporary shelters. All the same, it’s fair to say that throughout this phase I was a bit of a paranoid shut-in.

My interest in prepping began to wane round about the same time I started to become conscious of the weird nature of the ‘reality’ we inhabit and the absurd nature of the threats communicated to us through the media. For me, the journey began with 9/11 and my inability to make sense of either the ‘official’ narrative or the many competing ‘conspiracy’ theories. Later, I discovered Marshall McLuhan and realised that my own personal perception of ‘threat’ was, in part, a reflection of the hypersensitive nature of the vast digital ‘brain’ which encircles the globe. This ‘brain’ wears its raw nerves and central nervous system outside its skin. An extension of our physical senses, it brings us news of potential and actual conflict across the planet, acting as a kind of ‘singularity’ that sucks in and magnifies our perception of threat. If we view the planet itself as a living organism then small ‘pokes’ that might have gone unnoticed 50 years ago now register as acute pain. The response is always the same: immediate and drastic remedial action to relieve the source of discomfort.

I’d almost abandoned prepping altogether by the time Channel 4 broadcasted a one-off docu-drama called Blackout in 2012. The film mixes internet footage of riots and power cuts in a ‘what-if’ scenario where a cyber-terror attack takes down the UK’s national grid and returns Britain to the Stone Age for seven days. The film’s main characters soon realise how dependent they are on the power grid. They seem mystified when their taps stop working, not realising that water has to be pumped and pumps require generators. Ditto gas. Ditto petrol. Shops are emptied of food almost overnight. People have nothing to cook with. Hospitals are unable to function. Ironically, one of the film’s main characters is a prepper who comes to understand that his expensive gadgets and food stocks are a liability: they draw unwanted attention and put himself and his family in danger. After his gizmos and food are stolen he enters a looted supermarket (recording the event because he wants to be ‘accountable for his actions’) and ends up beating a man to death in a fight over the few remaining cans of food. Seconds later power is restored and we are transported from Stone Age to Digital Age in a blink of an eye.

Blackout reminds us just how reliant we are on our ability to harness and control basic elemental forces. Yet from the ‘planet-as-digital-organism’ perspective, we can tease another theme from the film’s title. A blackout is a temporary loss of consciousness resulting in memory loss. The grid goes down and the brain goes down, the brain goes down and we go down. Why? Because we can no longer recall the old ways based on oral transmission (Father-to-Son, Mother-to-Daughter) of the knowledge and skills on which our survival depends. Knowledge of the simple things (like knowing whether that berry you’ve just picked will nourish you or kill you) has been lost. Consequently, when the force that binds us together ceases to function (and pizzas no longer magically appear on our doorstep at the push of a button) we fracture and split apart. We become elementary particles. We become Atomised or (to say it with an American accent) Adamised. Adam and the I. The Many from The One.

Regular visitors to Merovee will know that memory is a persistent theme: the message is that we need more Random Access Memory (RAM). Accompanying this are recurring references to a film I discussed in-depth in another post: Christopher Nolan’s Memento. Memento is The Matrix through the looking-glass and tells the story of what happens to Neo when he chooses the blue pill and, as Morpheus says, wakes up in his bed and believes whatever he wants to believe. Neo wakes up with anterograde memory loss and is unable to make new memories. Unaware that he is The One, he embarks on a never-ending, cyclical, and self-defeating mission to find and kill ‘The One’ in the belief that ‘The One’ is the person who raped and murdered his wife. His memory loss, not to mention the world he sees around him, is a mirror image of his own guilt-ridden psyche, a reflection of his unconscious knowledge of the consequences of his decision to remain asleep in the Matrix.

As so often happens, something has been directing my attention to a number of related themes of late. Thinking about it now, this latest example started last year when I visited Hack Green Nuclear Bunker, home to one of the largest collections of decommissioned nuclear weapons in the world. My visit was surreal to say the least and culminated in a horrible ‘road-rage’ incident after a woman cut me up on the drive home along a wet and muddy B road with one of the worst records for accident fatalities in the UK. In August this year I visited Dungeness on the UK’s south-east coast. The area is home to two nuclear reactors and I narrowly avoided being arrested by armed police after taking a picture of one of the stations. Today I discovered that Dungeness UK has a US doppelgänger in Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge in Washington State. The significance? It forms part of the high-resolution terrain I referred to in a recent post about simulations, hacking, and the nature of ‘reality’: The Outer Terrain. I’d ‘flown’ over it many times without realising.

Dungeness UK is a graveyard for old boats
Dungeness UK is a graveyard for old abandoned boats

More recently a number of peculiar news reports caught my eye. First was a story about King Henry V’s Crystal Sceptre being put on public display for the first time in 600 years. The sceptre was presented to Henry V following his victory at the Battle of Agincourt. For ‘Crystal’ read ‘Christ all’ and if you don’t believe me then consider that the very next day another story emerged about the discovery of King Henry V’s lost flagship christened The Holy Ghost after Henry’s personal devotion to the Holy Trinity. The Holy Trinity reference is cemented by the ship’s previous name: Santa Clara. This was the name of one of the trinity of ships associated with Christopher Columbus and the discovery of the New World. The weird thing about this (other than its very obvious weirdness) is that Dungeness UK is a graveyard of old abandoned boats, which litter the headland.

About a week ago the following excerpt from the James Bond film Skyfall appeared at the top of my YouTube ‘recommended’ list for no apparent reason whatsoever.

Like all Bond films, Skyfall is an Eon production and Eon (or Aeon) is among other things a measure of ‘life’ and ‘time’, as in the life and half-life of a radioactive isotope.

The word aeon /ˈiːɒn/, also spelled eon (in American English), originally meant “life”, “vital force” or “being”, “generation” or “a period of time”, though it tended to be translated as “age” in the sense of “ages”, “forever”, “timeless” or “for eternity”. It is a Latin transliteration from the koine Greek word ὁ αἰών (ho aion), from the archaic αἰϝών (aiwon). In Homer it typically refers to life or lifespan. Its latest meaning is more or less similar to the Sanskrit word kalpa and Hebrew word olam. — Source: Wikipedia

The Skyfall video sees the villain shoot the woman with a shot-glass full of whisky on her head, whereupon Bond refers to her death as a ‘waste of good scotch’. There’s a very similar line in Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds which references the sniper (or marksman) Fredrick Zoller and features Bridget von Hammersmark. It’s all about shooting, climaxing, and balls…

Scotch is not just a well-known alcoholic beverage…

Scotch from scocchen meaning “to cut, score, gash, make an incision”

The term ‘gash’ is a vulgar term for ‘vagina’ so Bond’s reference to ‘a waste of good scotch’ is a joke about the woman rather than the drink. Lieutenant Archie Hicox makes exactly the same joke in Tarantino’s film: “There’s a special rung in hell reserved for those who waste good scotch”. He goes on to refer to the scotch as “damn fine stuff”. Here, the ‘gash’ to be wasted is Bridget von Hammersmark. This is made ‘explicit’ by Major Dieter Hellstrom calling her a ‘slut’. Bridget von Hammersmark survives the ‘shooting’ but is later strangled by the ‘Jew Hunter’, SS Colonel Hans Landa played by Christoph Waltz. At the very end of the film Landa has a swastika carved on his forehead, forever identifying him as a criminal and outcast. He receives the Mark of Cain. The same Christoph Waltz is currently playing the villain in a certain James Bond film…

The ‘shot-glass marksman’ scene draws our attention to the latest installment of the Bond Franchise. But is it Spectre or Sceptre?

spectre

For those who haven’t seen Spectre here’s a spoiler alert: Christoph Walz’s character informs Bond that Spectre has been behind all his misfortunes and torments, including the death of Vesper Lynd. Towards the film’s end Waltz inserts a needle into Bond’s head in an attempt to destroy his memory. Does this sound familiar? Specifically, to destroy Bond’s ability to recall the face of the woman he has fallen in love with. Again, does this sound familiar? Presumably to ensure Bond continues his never-ending mission to kill ‘The One’ and treat women as faceless ‘gash’ to be ‘wasted’. The needle goes in but it appears to have no effect: Bond tells the woman “I’d remember your face anywhere”. Compare this with Memento where Natalie/Trinity (played by the same actress) kisses Leo/Neo but Leo claims he can’t remember her. By contrast, in The Matrix, Trinity’s kiss awakens Neo and brings him back from the underworld.

Jacking-in (or Jacking off?) to The Matrix

The significance of women in this context relates to the Trinity: Father, Son and…WTF? Holy what? When we understand that the Holy Trinity is but a thinly veiled version of the Ancient Egyptian trinity of Osiris, Isis and Horus it’s obvious that the ‘Holy Ghost’ is the missing feminine aspect of Isis excised by the patriarchal founders of the early Church. In Bond movie terms, the Christian tradition has completely ‘wasted’ Isis. She doesn’t make an appearance even as a ‘piece of gash’. Her absence is ‘ghostlike’. She’s a Spectre. Yet despite being invisible she’s been pulling strings in the background all the time, just like Bond’s Spectre – which is nothing more-or-less than a mirror image of himself, an echo of the battle raging in his own mind.

There is, however, a double-meaning here. Recall that ‘scotch’ means “…to cut, score, gash, make an incision…”. The issue here is pregnancy, or rather a specific form of birth which circumvents the vagina altogether: caesarean section. The origin of the term ‘caesarean’ is often attributed to the birth of Julius Caesar (another JC or Jesus Christ) and links to the Caesareum of Alexandria “…a temple conceived by Cleopatra VII…to honour her dead lover Julius Caesar”. In the Christian era it became the HQ of Cyril the Patriarch. Much later, the temple’s phallic obelisks (known as “Cleopatra’s Needles”) were shipped abroad. They now stand in New York’s Central Park and the Thames Embankment in London. It’s also worth noting that caesium is a radioactive isotope used in atomic clocks.

In any event, the message appears to be for those obsessed with maintaining – how can I put it? – their structual integrity and the sensation and physical characteristics of virginity. This too is a recurring theme in the mindlines. Consider this story from mid-September.

‘I was holding my stomach feeling the blood leave’: Mother whose baby was sliced from her womb by a stranger describes regaining consciousness, holding her gushing belly in and calling 911 – unaware her baby was gone. Michelle Wilkins is recounting the terrifying attack by a stranger she met on Craigslist where her baby Aurora was stolen from her body — Source: Daily Mail

The above story appeared on September 14th , a few days after the below story showing newly published photos of the Aurora cinema shooting during a screening of ‘Batman: The Dark Knight’. The shooter, James Holmes, played the role of The Joker. He certainly did lots of ‘shooting’…

Map of a massacre: Laser beams trace the trajectory of every bullet James Holmes fired during Aurora midnight bloodbath. Red and green neon lasers represent every bullet James Holmes fired in the Colorado movie theater shooting — Source: Daily Mail

Both the above stories were predated by the following daytime TV oddity, which emerged on September 10th .

Bizarre moment woman astounds onlookers by crushing three huge watermelons between her THIGHS in just 14 seconds Source: Daily Mail

And just to emphasise the point, an equally bizarre echo of the ‘watermelon’ story appeared only yesterday.

Chinese man, 70, has enormous gall stone the size of a MELON removed after it went unnoticed for decades. ‘Normally, the cut is around three inches (for such surgery). For him, I had to extend the cut all the way to his belly button, and I had to think of a way to excavate the stone’ — Source: Daily Mail

Tarantino can tell the story better than I can.

Equally, there’s yet another meaning. Recall that ‘scotch’ means “…to cut, score, gash, make an incision…”. The term ‘cut’ is slang for circumcision, a well-known Jewish tradition. As a Jew, Jesus the Son would have been the owner of a circumcised penis and, as with his mother, the early Church denied Christ any kind of sexual identity other than abstinence and virginity. If we ignore the problem of treating Jesus as a historical figure for just a moment, there is absolutely no evidence for this whatsoever other than the prejudices and assumptions of the Church founders. Here we’re dealing with another definition of ‘circumcision’ altogether as it relates to ‘spiritual purity’. But is Christ’s ‘virginal’ depiction an accurate one? Or was there a communication problem?

Science tells us that the source of light and life is radiation. Radioactivity (Ra = the Ancient Egyptian sun deity, Dio = God) is the source of life and the genetic mutations required by evolution would be impossible without it. Yet were it not for the existence of the Van Allen Belts, radiation from the sun would very quickly destroy life on earth. Too little ra-dio-ation is bad, too much ra-dio-ation is also bad. In its ‘purest’ form, ra-dio-ation is something from which we must be shielded. We can see this shielding at work in the form of Aurora: the northern and southern lights.

Auroras are produced when the magnetosphere is sufficiently disturbed by the solar wind that the trajectories of charged particles in both solar wind and magnetospheric plasma, mainly in the form of electrons and protons, precipitate them into the upper atmosphere…where their energy is lost. The resulting ionization and excitation of atmospheric constituents emits light of varying colour and complexity. — Source: Wikipedia

A few days ago another YouTube video popped into my ‘recommended’ list and stayed there for absolutely no reason whatsoever. As ever it disappeared as soon as I watched it and I’m glad I did because it’s a veritable goldmine of references to the ancient Gods and ra-dio-activity. It’s quite long but highly recommended. The subject matter is high-altitude nuclear weapons tests: basically, exploding nukes in the Van Allen belts and producing artificial aurora. Below is a list of keywords I jotted down as I watched it. I’ve emboldened the ones that really caught my attention.

Nukes in Space-The Rainbow Bombs, V1, V2, vengeance, terror, Nike Hercules, Nike = goddess of victory, victor, Handley-Page Victor – the UK’s ‘V’ bombers, Castle Bravo test – Man in the High Castle, ICBM, H bomb, Dr Strangelove, Redstone missile, Atlas missile, IRBM Thor (Thor’s Hammer), Sputnik 23 inch, Werner von Braun, Van Allen belts, Spectre, Holy Spirit, X-Men, Magneto, aurora, Christopholis, Project Argos, South Atlantic Anomaly, X17a missiles, new belt of radiation, ionosphere, selective blackouts of ra-dio communications (amnesia), Johnstone Island (for those who know my name) and Redstone missile tests, Teak fireball, ra-dio disruption, failure of longwave comms, dummy warhead, coffin launchers, Titan rocket, Corona spy satellite, coming over the pole, Minuteman (Watchmen), cluster warhead, Nike-Zeus ABM, atom/adam, self-extinction (abnegation, nirvana, ego, ISIS, Sartre, existentialism, John Oliver), JFK, Starfish Prime and Thor and violent auroral display, EMP, highly charged ra-diation, Mercury program, plutonium contamination, Bluegill Triple Prime, tightrope, Safeguard, radar blinded, SDI and Star Wars, Peter Kuran re: Trinity and Beyond

The message I take from all this (as I continue to watch open-mouthed as others think my thoughts and they mine) is that we are all one body and the ‘purpose’ of the ‘creation’ (if there is one, and if I can call it that) is recreation in all its forms. In one sense or another it’s all about fucking. The violent act of childbirth – the process of being torn from the womb so to speak – is a form of separation and individuation, the splitting off of a new ‘polyp’. We emerge into the world with only our senses, with minds as clean slates, devoid of any conscious memory of our relationship to the whole. Yet somehow, and despite our belief in our own individual identities, a force we can neither see nor feel nor hear nor taste nor smell continues to bind us together. Fundamentally, that force is the Atom/Adam. We split it and split it and split it – but the whole remains indivisible. Is it real? Is our ‘reality’ real? I very much doubt it, but the point is moot given that it’s the only ‘reality’ we know. The indications are that we’re free to make of it what we will. I wonder what we’d make of it if we all abandoned the idea that the pink meat between our ears is sacrosanct, inviolable and entirely private ‘space’?

We are The One.

Advertisements

The Body of the Many

Writing in the 60s and 70s, Marshall McLuhan’s prophetic work on digital communications technology depicted our complex interlocking web of computer networks as a living organism. This organism represents the externalisation of the human brain and central nervous system, and the picture McLuhan painted was that of a fragile and sensitive creature, one which wears its brain and central nervous system outside its skin, with raw nerves exposed to the risk of shock and infection. McLuhan also speculated on what type of human ‘attitude’ would be required under these conditions. That is to say, in what way would human attitudes and behaviour be expected to change in order to create a suitable ‘habitat’ and ensure that the delicate environmental balance remains undisturbed? His alarming conclusion was that docility and compliance would become primary virtues.

However, this ‘habitat’ should not be interpreted as a physical environment as such. Rather, McLuhan was referring to the effects of the digital environment, its ability to bring the entire globe together in an immediate and instantaneous way. He suggested that the effects of this commingling might manifest as a form of Extra Sensory Perception. He even hinted that it might result in the emergence of a single global consciousness. It is against this backdrop that we must interpret McLuhan’s comments as the final ‘withering away’ of the individualism and privacy of the mechanistic age. Today we can see the erosion of these values in the social media ‘gaffe’: cue the instantaneous global backlash, the inevitable climb-down, the abject apology. The message is clear: conformity is ‘in’. The question is: has it ever been ‘out’?

The idea that we are all one consciousness, moving towards a single or shared form of consciousness, or are individual parts of a gestalt whole is a fairly popular one and has been explored in numerous works of fiction and non-fiction. This particular article was prompted by the usual strange events on Merovee, where myself and others regularly experience phenomena similar to those described by McLuhan. In this particular case, by a bizarre mix of references to the Nazis, eugenics, the popular Bioshock video game series, and an article about the sinking of the Leviathan.

Leviathan

Leviathan is the title of a well-known work of 17th Century political philosophy by Thomas Hobbes. Hobbes’ core assumption is that humankind’s ‘natural’ state amounts to a war of all against all in which life is nasty, short, brutish and poor. He argues that the only possible escape from this literal state of anarchy is for the many to voluntarily submit to rule by the few or, more preferably, the one. The many become part of a single body politic ‘represented’ by a sovereign with supreme authority and absolute power. Hobbes’ work contains the paradox inherent to all attempts to reconcile individual freedom with social solidarity, i.e. its central thesis is that we become free, and can enjoy freedom, only by surrendering our freedom.

THE final cause, end, or design of men (who naturally love liberty, and dominion over others) in the introduction of that restraint upon themselves, in which we see them live in Commonwealths, is the foresight of their own preservation, and of a more contented life thereby; that is to say, of getting themselves out from that miserable condition of war which is necessarily consequent, as hath been shown, to the natural passions of men when there is no visible power to keep them in awe, and tie them by fear of punishment to the performance of their covenants…

The idea that we all share a common interest by virtue of geographical location, ‘race’, culture, or economic interest is a common one. History is full of examples of those who would lead us by the nose for the sake of their idea of the Greater Good. Yet no matter how tight the social bonds are supposed to be, the leader is always the exception who supposedly proves the rule. The Leader stands alone as the supreme authority. It’s a trend that received its full expression in the totalitarian regimes of the mid-20th Century, although it’s still evident today in the increasingly salient and ‘messianic’ roles of modern Prime Ministers and Presidents.

Exactly the same paradox applies in the case of McLuhan’s digital organism. Can we really conceive of a single consciousness, the one from the many? Perhaps the best known fictional example is The Borg from the Star Trek universe, yet even here the so-called ‘hive mind’ is under the control of a single individual who speaks as ‘I’ rather than ‘We’. The ‘We’ are merely drones under the control of the ‘I’. The assumption being that without a directing ‘I’ the ‘We’ are helpless and unable to act, a directionless mishmash of competing ideas and impulses with no judge or arbiter as to which goals to pursue and which paths to take. Yet when removed from the hive mind’s influence the individuality of the ‘We’ begins to return.

We see the same thing in the Bioshock series of video games. Here, an idealist creates an underwater utopia called Rapture free from governmental interference. It quickly degenerates into a dystopia based on eugenics and battles for control of ADAM, a substance which facilitates genetic manipulation on a vast scale. Ultimately, in an attempt to impose social solidarity by technological means, its founder releases a substance which obliterates the population’s free will. Bioshock has its origins in the earlier System Shock series, in which a rogue Artificial Intelligence employs eugenics in an attempt to incorporate humanity into a single organism called “The Many” under her control. The second installment takes place on spaceships called the Von Braun (after Nazi rocket scientist Werner von Braun) and the Rickenbacker (or Reichenbacker).

Similar themes are explored in the Star Trek episode The Return of the Archons. Here, the Enterprise investigates the disappearance of the USS Archon (Greek for leader or monarch) and visits a planet stuck in the 19th Century, controlled by a mysterious leader called Landru, ruled over by hooded lawgivers, and populated by human automatons who have been absorbed into “The Body” and lack individuality. Ultimately, Kirk and Co. discover that Landru is just a projection of a well-meaning but long-dead leader who rescued the planet from chaos and anarchy. Before death he encoded himself into a computer, which maintained his vision of peace and stability at the expense of individual creativity and freedom of expression. When Kirk challenges the computer and accuses it of betraying Landru’s vision it promptly commits digital hari-kari and goes up in smoke.

The memory of The Body will be cleansed…

For the last two thousand years The Body has been viewed as something dirty and sinful, something judged and found wanting, something to be denied and suppressed. The same theology behind this distorted image of The Body also provided the underpinnings of our judicial system. Some have argued that the ethos of this theology also provided the foundation of our capitalist economic system. This ethos permeates our legal, socio-economic and political systems, and they in turn now permeate the entire globe in one form or another. The message is that The Body is deficient and must be brought into subjection. It must not be left to its own devices. Salvation itself depends on its perpetual subordination to a Higher Power.

The perennial problem of human existence has always been leadership. Who leads and how, what is the source of their ‘authority’, what safeguards exist to prevent injustice? As we continue the process of translating ourselves into ‘pure’ information we have to question the messages buried in the bizarre synchronicities we see ‘out there’. Are they telling us that we’re in the process of forming some kind of singular consciousness? Or are they telling us that a singular consciousness has always existed? What if the message isn’t that we’re entering into a hitherto unknown union but that we need to revise an existing one? What if what we see ‘out there’ is telling us that someone or something has always been tucked away behind the curtain, pulling levers like the Wizard of Oz, masquerading as a Higher Power?

What if the messages are an invitation to pull back the curtain and free The Body?

Are you of The Body, friend?