It should come as no surprise to readers of my last-but-one post, The Number Games, to learn that its ‘Iron Maiden’ theme has been shadowing me. In fact, there’s nothing ‘new’ about this theme, inasmuch as it was bouncing around ‘out there’ long before I came aware of it, and certainly long before I wrote the post in question. Whether or not its longevity means anything at all – given that conventional understandings of space-time appear to be pure science fiction – is a moot point. The same can be said for its significance, given that it’s one of a number of themes that seem to repeat themselves endlessly, like self-replicating Von Neumann machines. Ultimately, its tendency to reappear (always in a revised form) may be nothing more or less than a reflection of the attention we afford it. It’s an interesting topic to explore though, if only because of its association with other symbolism and imagery on the merry-go-round we call ‘reality’.
The sinking of the Titanic is one of its more obvious manifestations, one which seems to have attained the same prominence in our ‘collective unconscious’ as the Nazis and the Second World War. The ‘Iron Maiden’ link should be obvious, but I’ll state it anyway: in simple terms, the Titanic was a supposedly unsinkable ship patched together with iron rivets and she sank on her maiden voyage. The claim that ‘God himself could not sink this ship’ (which was attributed to a ‘deck hand’) was supposed to offer passengers ‘piece of mind‘. God (champ that he is) obviously took umbrage and saw fit to intervene. He chucked an ice berg at it and the rest, as they say, is his-story.
One of the interesting things about ships is that they’re gendered as ‘female’. In James Cameron’s Titanic there’s an interesting scene in which the ship’s captain instructs his First Officer, Mr Murdoch, to bring the ship’s engines up to full throttle and ‘stretch her legs’.
For reasons that are difficult to explain (and which most people simply wouldn’t believe) there seems to be a link with baldy. I really don’t know how else to put this except to say that there’s a ‘thirst’ for everything…
Well said, Jean-Luc…but do we really wanna go there…?
Anyway, the ‘Murdoch’ reference is a little odd, because I came across another ‘Mr Murdoch‘ only yesterday evening while watching another film. Be that as it may, the leg stretching theme will be familiar to those who read my ‘Number Game‘ post, which included the below Katy Perry video.
Of course, getting (s)peed on was a factor – if not the factor – in the Titanic’s demise. It was travelling at warp 9 in the dark and just didn’t see that damn Ice Borg until it was too late. An hour or so later and the Titanic foundered itself thoroughly simulated into the uniMatrix of self-replicating Mr Anderson machines and much fun was had by all.
It should go without saying that this ‘Clash of the Titans‘ reflects another recurring theme, which seems to have something to do with ‘air’.
Or, as Frankie says, maybe it’s something that sounds like ‘air’? Check out this ultra hardcore kumquat and feel free to let me know what you think.
According to Mr Cameron…
Not, not that one, although he does make an important point: never get off the goddamn boat and enter the Heart of Darkness, not even for a mango.
Knot unless you’re me and have special dispensation.
This for the benefit of those interested in learning by The Hunger Games…
OK, back to Mr Cameron. The plot of Titanic revolved around a search for a supposedly fictional diamond called ‘Heart of the Ocean‘, which subsequently transpired to be ‘non-fictional’, although the fictional nature of our ‘reality’ seems to render the difference between ‘fiction’ and ‘non-fiction’ rather meaningless.
Unsurprisingly, the story includes a reference to Marshall…
Kate was an assistant working for Morley in one of the ‘Purveyors of High Class Confectionery’ shops, which he owned in London, and the two were secretly sailing on the Titanic as second class passengers to begin a new life together in America, under the names of ‘Mr. and Mrs. Marshall.’
Talking of Mars, let’s not forget this little gem from earlier in the week.
That’s kind of interesting, because earlier this evening I really was trying to phone home. Regardless, I’m sure we all agree that blasting an electric car in the direction of Mars to the tune of David Bowie’s Space Oddity is completely normal behaviour for this ‘reality’. There’s absolutely nothing to sea hear, so let’s move swiftly on because we’ve seen that pesky diamond before, haven’t we Mr Tabernacle? OK, it’s time for some tits!
If truth is stranger than fiction then what to do if truth is itself a fiction? I mean, let’s not forget that the Titanic’s maiden voyage began in Southampton…
The Tabernacle is indestructible and everlasting — Zardoz
Indestructible and everlasting? Is that supposed to give us ‘piece of mind’? Could God himself not sink The Tabernacle? I wonder how that one is likely to play out? Zed’s ‘Holy Bible’, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, introduced us to The Vortex. So what’s going on hear, then?
It’s huge, and if the ‘above’ is the same as the ‘below then…?
Those fucking Ripleycunts jet everyhair, don’t they?
Yes, I am indeed. But why does ‘Meghan’ seem to be at the heart of it all?
And Posh? You really wanna know? You really Wannabe what that’s all about? I could say, but that’s deep in the Jungle’s ‘heart attack’ territory and if I told you then I’d have to consign you to Davey Jones Locker.
What are we exactly, and what is this strange thing we call ‘reality’? I’m going to make a break with tradition and actually say what I think our ‘reality’ is, although the term I’ll use to describe it is not a clear cut as you might think. It’s 5:45am here and I really can’t be bothered to write a proper introduction so I’ll just launch right into it. This post is fairly YouTube heavy even by my standards, but with a few exceptions I’ve tried to start all the videos a few seconds before the relevant points.
First, let’s consider the human brain in relation to its information storage, retrieval, and processing capabilities. Even the numerically challenged can catch a ball without consciously thinking about it, yet in order to catch a ball the brain has to perform all sorts of complex calculations on variables such as speed, size, weight, trajectory, environmental conditions, etc., in addition to retrieving stored ‘data’ relating to one’s prior ball-catching experience. The same applies to any other human activity you care to mention. The mathematics of extracting oneself from one’s favourite squishy armchair are mind-boggling, yet it presents no difficulty even to those who need a mobile app to calculate a restaurant bill. On some level we’re all capable of ‘doing the math’ and teaching ourselves to do it, just as we taught ourselves to walk or ride a bike. We take our instinctive numerical abilities for granted, yet their non-trivial nature is amply demonstrated by the time, money and expertise required to program machines that replicate basic human functions.
The brain as an electro-chemical computer is a theme that pops up for me on a regular basis, most recently in the form of the Antikythera Mechanism. This archaeological oddity was developed by the Ancient Geeks and predates the most recent equivalent device by at least 1600 years. Attributed to Archimedes, this laptop-sized analogue computer employed a complex system of toothed gears to model the position of the sun, moon and the five planets known to the Greeks, in addition to predicting solar and lunar eclipses. It took a small army of academics (equipped with a bewildering array of modern digital devices) decades to finally understand how a mechanical device could perform these complex calculations. The below documentary is well worth a watch if you have the time, and one of the most interesting comments comes at the 12:50 mark.
…the team suspected ancient astronomers were trying to mechanize the movements of the sun, moon and planets. Could they put astronomy and complex mathematics into a device and program it to follow the motion of their closest neighbour, the moon?
As ever, there are always multiple levels of meaning. Was the Antikythera Mechanism programmed to ‘follow the moon’ or ‘Apollo the moon’? Archimedes was killed by a Roman soldier when Syracuse was sacked in 212 BC. Specifically, he was killed for refusing to follow the soldier’s orders, on the grounds that he was busy working on a ‘problem’. What ‘problem’ was Archimedes working on exactly? The Apollo navigation computer 1201 alarm? How many times has ‘the Eagle’ landed?
Also, were the movements of the sun, moon and planets mechanised before the construction of the Antikythera Mechanism? If the answer is No, then what was the condition of the sun, moon and planets before they were placed into standardised orbits and became ‘clockwork oranges’? It’s one of those chicken-and-egg questions that makes no sense whatsoever unless you’re already aware of just how strange our ‘reality’ really is.
The Antikythera documentary is also interesting because of its reference to the device as a simulator. Simulations are another recurring theme for me, and one that seems increasingly plausible. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether we conceptualize ‘reality’ as a hallucination, a dream in the mind of god, or a computer program devised by pan-dimensional alien beings, because the term ‘simulation’ can be applied in all cases. What is a dream or hallucination if not a simulation of ‘reality’ that takes place in the ‘unconscious’?
Today, the term ‘simulator’ is closely associated with the term ‘computer’. The two terms are strangely similar, and if we deconstruct the letters into their component parts and recognise that a soft ‘c’ sounds like an ‘s’ then it becomes apparent that they’re identical. This is hardly surprising when we consider that computers manipulate the basic building blocks of ‘reality’ (electro-magnetic radiation) in order to crunch the only form of data they understand, i.e. numbers. Computers are simulators and simulators are computers, which is precisely why you’re looking at a simulation of paper and ink right now.
The word was used in English in Greek form (analogon) in 1810. Meaning “word corresponding with another” is from 1837. Computing sense, in reference to operating with numbers represented by some measurable quantity (as a slide-rule does; opposed to digital) is recorded from 1946.
The relationship between simulations and computers is such that it’s easy to assume that a simulation always replicates or models an underlying physical ‘reality’. Yet Baudrillard‘s definition of a simulation as a ‘copy of an original that never existed’ is equally applicable and allows us to apply the term to dream states and Virtual Reality environments alike. Even a die-hard creationist would have difficulty denying that a ‘reality’ created by a ‘god’ is by definition ‘artificial’ rather than a naturally occurring phenomenon and thus capable of being defined as a ‘simulation’.
According to McLuhan, the invention of the printing press with its configurable lines of sequential rows provided an engineering template that resulted in the rediscovery of the advanced mechanisation known to the Ancient Greeks. Oddly enough, I was thinking about the film Hugo earlier, and the story centres on a mechanical automaton and the search for a missing heart-shaped key that would unlock its secrets.
Shortly afterwards, one of my Python scripts (which usually works like clockwork) decided to throw a key error. Unsurprisingly, the error related to an unknown key in a dictionary (the Python equivalent of an array) that stores data about physical locations and their latitude and longitude.
Ultimately, the invention of the printing press facilitated the design of the first digital computer and helped transition us from the analogue to the digital and usher in the In-formation Age. If our ‘reality’ is a simulation, however, then is a physical ‘hard copy’ of a text an ‘original’ and its digital equivalent a ‘copy’ or ‘simulation’? Or are the books on your bookshelf as unreal as the simulated versions that can be read on an Amazon Kindle? Are both versions nothing more than maps referencing non-existent ‘terrain’ that is just a sea of numbers?
It was Marshall McLuhan who gave us the term ‘Global Village’ as a description of the world created by in-formation. Oddly enough, his actor alter-ego, Marshall McGoohan, served time in the Global Village in his role as The Prisoner, a.k.a. Number Six.
Number One was always in dire need of in-formation so let’s see what Number Six has to say on the matter.
A computer’s inability to work with anything other than 1 and 0 reminds me of the ‘human computer’ analogy. We might think that we’re walking down the road to buy a packet of cigarettes from the local shop, but the act of walking down the road requires us to perform a series of complex calculations over time. The exact number and type of calculations will vary, for no one journey over the same route is identical to another. The question is whether the reason behind our decision to walk down a road at any particular time and for any particular purpose has anything whatsoever to do with our conscious understanding of what that journey means.
Our journey to buy cigarettes may be uninterrupted, or we may find ourselves distracted as something (a poster in a shop window, a sign on a passing van) catches our eye and causes us to pause or reflect before continuing. Can these seemingly random distractions be thought of as ‘variables’ in a computer program? Does the act of being distracted by them serve the same purpose as initializing a variable with a particular value or set of values required by a program? Could it be that our daily activities are nothing more than a 3D simulation of an underlying ‘mathemagical’ reality? If so, perhaps our trip to the local shop to buy cigarettes is qualitatively no different than the ‘number crunching’ performed by a computer?
Viewed from this perspective, the act of walking to a shop to buy cigarettes reminds me of a spreadsheet function known as ‘goalseek’. Specifically, this function takes a desired target value and manipulates a variable or array of variables in order to achieve the desired output. If we conceptualize ‘buying cigarettes’ as the ‘goal’ of our journey then the act of walking to the shop (together with the synchronicity we experience along the way) represents the variables required to achieve that goal. This may be just a flight of fancy on my part but it’s an intriguing thought, and one which requires us to ask what the ‘goal’ of buying cigarettes (or any other human activity for that matter) actually represents in ‘simulation’ terms.
Of course, when we talk of ‘goals’ it’s easy to assume that they have to be ‘serious’. Yet there’s no obvious reason to assume that our trip to buy a packet of fags forms part of a complex equation in a deranged alien scientist’s simulation of The Doomsday Device. Thanks to advancements in computer graphics many modern games present themselves as mission or goal-based simulations, and in this context it’s difficult not to refer to David Cronenberg’s eXisTenz. This film presents us with a virtual reality game environment generated by organic ‘game pods’ that attach themselves to the human body via an umbilical cord and consume nutrients like a foetus inside the womb. The games pods that appear in the game-within-a-game that serves as the film’s main setting take this womb analogy one step further and actually live inside the human body.
Moreover, there are a number of scenes in the film that bring to mind the story of the Antikythera Mechanism. Specifically, scientists struggled to decode the device because a number of teeth on the main gear were missing. In eXisTenz, several key scenes revolve around an organic gun that uses human teeth as bullets. The ‘missing teeth’ theme is as obvious as the ‘Death to Allegra Geller’ cry that is repeated several times in the film. It’s first heard immediately before Geller is shot with a tooth, so it seems safe to assume that the reference to ‘death’ is in fact a reference to ‘teeth’. These absurd linguistic oddities are ubiquitous in films, books, articles and indeed everyday speech and provide useful insights into the nature of our ‘reality’.
What then of the ‘goal’ or ‘purpose’? According to Allegra…
Even so, there are flip sides to every coin. Why do we assume ‘it’ has to ‘want’ something or have some particular purpose? Maybe the ‘game’ or the ‘simulation’ or the ‘dream’ is its own purpose and is purpose enough?
I recently bought a Sanyo C5 ghetto blaster manufactured in 1982. The bit where the digital CD player and USB port are supposed to be has an analogue cassette deck instead, albeit an advanced computer controlled cassette deck with about a dozen soft-touch buttons. It seems to occupy a place in space-time that straddles the analogue/digital divide. Needless to say, its arrival on my doorstep coincided with the appearance of the below video at the top of my list of YouTube ‘recommended’ videos.
A ‘record breaking’ record recording medium. Isn’t that what our ‘reality’ amounts to? A ‘total in-formation’ system for the storage, retrieval, reprocessing, and display of ‘hysterical’ data.
Like my ghetto blaster, Sony’s invention represents a marriage between the analogue world of mechanism and gears and the digital world of solid state electronics and storage. The more I think about it, the more our ‘analogue’ bodies (and the ‘reality’ they inhabit) seem to represent a similar union between an ephemeral world of pure information and its reproduction in ‘analogue’ form.
Before I vanish up my own backside though, let’s not forget that if our ‘reality’ is a simulation then we have to be prepared to ask and answer hard questions about how we ought to live in it, what our attitude to it ought to be. There are more than enough clues flying about on the subject. Take the below example of ‘having a heart attack’, which includes a newspaper headline about ‘Martial Law’ and encourages us to ‘Save Sirius Children’. Is it worth getting ‘Sirius’ and having a ‘bleeding heart attack’ given that the slogan’s real meaning seems to be the exact opposite of its literal meaning? Should we just say ‘fuck em’ and have some fun instead? :-O
Maybe it’s time to jet with The Program and come inside for the big win?
Or maybe it’s a terrible tragedy. One ‘problem’ is that there’s something inherently sociopathic about treating even an unreal ‘reality’ as if it’s the latest version of Call of Duty. The flip side to that coin is what happens when our VR game pod bodies die? Will the light at the end of the tunnel fade out to a room in which our ‘real’ physical selves are plugged into a 31st Century quantum supercomputer running a porno-snuff war game called ‘Carry On Fighting’?
I really don’t know what to suggest other than giving your heart to Jesus, Mohammed, Krishna and (just to be safe) L Ron Hubbard before arming yourself to the teeth and running naked through the streets. Just make sure you know the difference between your rifle and your gun though. 😉
Yeah, it’s a simulation. But what does that mean?
OK. But should it be? More to the point, can it be anything else than what it is?
My previous three of four posts have addressed (directly or indirectly) the subject of Genesis. Specifically, the origin of our ideas and whether we really know where our ideas about ourselves, others, and the world we see around us actually originate from. It’s my contention that most of us don’t know their origin, and that these ideas originate mainly from unconscious ‘cues’ that we’re only dimly aware of, if at all. The unconscious ‘cues’ we unknowingly detect are reflected ‘out there’ in the 3D dream world we call ‘reality’, where they bounce about like sounds in an echo chamber. This will sound familiar to those who’re aware that our ‘reality’ is suspect. For example, when a word or image catches your attention for a split second you can virtually guarantee that this same word or image will be staring right back at you when you turn a corner, open a magazine, switch on the TV, or speak to a friend. Pay attention to it and it’ll follow you around until you focus on something else instead. This, in effect, is the ‘programming’ aspect of The Program.
Language and the phonetic alphabet holds the key to understanding how this works. We often focus on the thinly veiled ‘synchs’ that appear in articles and books and films, but underneath are multiple layers of ‘code’. Its existence becomes apparent only when you appreciate how The Program manipulates the alphabet. In computer programming terms, its use of the alphabet works very much like programming constructs such as loops and recursion.
This will probably make no sense at all unless you understand that our ‘reality’ is very much like a mirror, which flips and ‘inverts’ what we see in it. If we apply this mirror imagery to the alphabet itself then we notice that individual letters are interchangeable. For example, a ‘b’ is a mirror image ‘d’, and when we invert a ‘d’ we get a ‘q’ and a tailless ‘g’, which is also a mirror image ‘p’.
If we look more closely at the letter ‘p’ and its mirrors then we notice that we can separate the ‘head’ and ‘tail’ of the character. The ‘head’ can be an ‘o’ or an ‘a’ or a ‘c’. If we rotate the ‘c’ 90 degrees clockwise or anti-clockwise we get an ‘n’ or a ‘u’ or a ‘v’. As for the tail, it can form an ‘l’ or an ‘r’ or even (if we apply a horizontal stroke) an ‘f’ or a ‘t’, which are also inversions of each other.
If we apply these principles to a sentence then it becomes apparent that words ‘hide’ within and across words. These hidden words repeat themselves endlessly within sentences and paragraphs. It’s a curious sight to behold. Hundreds of words can be ’embedded’ in just two or three adjacent words. However, if we take three adjacent words from one sentence, and compare them with three adjacent words from another sentence, both ‘strings’ contain almost identical ‘code’: the same references to people, events, films, and novels appear in both.
In a long line of text, the repetition reveals itself and becomes obvious, as in the below example.
And from today’s DM headline. I’ve used DM because they have long headlines, but the same applies to any text you care to look at. Multiple repetitions of ‘cancer’ (I’ve highlighted the two most obvious) alongside multiple repetitions of many other words. Names appear as well. Merovee regulars should be able to spot the obvious reference to ‘Frank’ in ‘Strangers’ for example.
I call this the ‘glitch’, because it seems to defeat the whole purpose of reusing code to avoid repetition. As far as I can determine, the point of this repetition is the repetition, i.e. its purpose is to drive certain messages into our skulls (or rather, our unconscious).
We don’t even need to analyse ‘code’ to appreciate that everything happening ‘out there’ is ‘history’ repeating. For example, as I was writing The Crack in the Wall it seemed that every billboard in town was advertising the ‘monster’ film The Great Wall. One of the recurring references in the ‘code’ is Troy and the Trojan Horse built to penetrate the wall. Across the pond, Trump wants to build a Great Wall to keep ‘aliens’ out of the US, a direct reflection of the film Monsters. Everything appears to be a mirror image of a mirror image. Does it actually ‘mean’ anything though?
One film that keeps raising its head is Inception, in which an idea is implanted into the unconscious mind of a dreaming subject. The point was to make the person in question think that the idea was his idea and to act on that idea in a way that served someone else’s interests. The film refers to a ‘Cobol Engineering’ job, which I’ve mentioned before. COBOL is a programming language that was designed to imitate the English language.
The point I’m getting at here is best demonstrated by a comment on Merovee that caught my eye recently.
“*A relative of his, Clicky. I remember because his birthday was ten days before mine. He played the drums…*
The last two words ‘the drums’ immediately caught my attention, because the letter ‘h’ also contains a mirror image ‘r’. When we put this together we have a word from a film that keeps recurring, one that has been written about on numerous occasions on Merovee and elsewhere. One which includes conscious and deliberate mirror imagery.
This caught my attention for another reason: there’s a very strong ‘anal sex’ theme in the Merovee post referred to above, which is amply demonstrated by the Elon Musk ‘tunnel boring’ story. In my own novel, Cultish, the word ‘redrums’ appears as a drunken mispronunciation of the word ‘rectums’ and was a deliberate reference to The Shining on my part.
I don’t doubt that few people reading the words “the drums” would consciously associate them with The Shining. What about on an unconscious level though? Themes and ideas and film plots and songs pop into our mind all the time without us knowing why, and this is usually the result of a ‘trigger’ that has escaped our conscious attention but registered in the unconscious.
And my point is? Well, if our ‘reality’ is a mirror then the more often these cues appear (and register on an unconscious level) then the more likely it is that they’ll be reflected ‘out there’ in 3D. When we become conscious that these themes are repeating we assume that they must be ‘significant’ and ‘meaningful’. Our conscious attention amplifies the process, which becomes self-reinforcing – the echo chamber I referred to in my opening paragraph.
There may be no meaning to these themes whatsoever, beyond our own belief that their appearance and reappearance ‘must’ mean something. Ultimately, their recurrence may be nothing more than a product of the amount of attention and significance we afford them.
In all this, I’m reminded of McLuhan’s warning about the danger of focusing on content rather than the medium used to transmit content.
For the ‘content’ of a medium is like the juicy piece of meat carried by the burglar to distract the watchdog of the mind.
McLuhan’s point is that there’s nothing particularly ‘novel’ about content. The content of one medium is always the content of another medium, i.e. the content of television is the screenplay. But by focusing exclusively on content we become like Narcissus transfixed by his own reflection. We become numb to the effects that the ‘medium’ itself exerts upon us. McLuhan’s conclusion? That the fundamental structure and social organisation of our world is a reflection of its dominant technologies or ‘media’. Also, that our addiction to the ‘Narcissus Narcosis’ blinds us to the very existence of this ‘hidden environment’ of structure and relationships.
That in itself is rather interesting, because although we’re accustomed to seeing reflections of ourselves in the ‘impermanent’ and transitory (billboards, adverts, Tweets, etc.) we’ve yet to adequately explain the apparent existence of the ‘permanent’: the universe itself, the ‘environment’, the illusory ‘consensus reality’, the water the goldfish swim in but seem oblivious to.
Of course, the issue with ‘consensus reality’ is this: I’ve just googled ‘space message’ and the below story about the ‘Pioneer Probe’ and ‘aliens’ appeared. It’s dated 17th May, my last day of being 45 given that I turned 46 the next day. I should probably point out that I’m tracking an old Pioneer ghetto blaster on Ebay, and that this reflects my interest in…ahem…the old ‘analogue’ ways…
And let’s not forget the Alien megastructure…
I suppose another way of saying this is that everything we see ‘out there’ is ‘content’. The universe itself is ‘content’ in the same way that what lies between the cover of a magazine is ‘content’. In both cases, the point is to determine what the ‘medium’ itself actually is, along with its effects.
Therein lies ‘The Problem’: it’s not real. The only conclusion we can draw is the obvious one: in an unreal reality the ‘non-fictional’ becomes ‘fiction’ by default. In this ‘reality’, a scholarly paper on the ‘mysteries’ of the universe has the factual basis of…ahem…a children’s fairy story.
Feel free to insert your own coughing fit at this point.
One of McLuhan’s lesser known works is a tome entitled From Cliché to Archetype in which he advocates the use of ‘cliché probes’ (how odd…) to ‘penetrate’ this hidden environment of structure and relationships. It’s an elaboration of his earlier framework called the ‘tetrad‘, in which he focuses on what a specific medium amplifies, retrieves from the past, makes obsolete, and ‘flips’ into when pushed to extremes. In this later work, the focus is on the ‘scrapyard of history’. For McLuhan, the ‘unconscious’ is a scrapyard made up of all the themes and concepts and ideas that escape our conscious attention due to the Narcissus Narcosis.
It goes without saying that as I’ve been thinking about these themes, Frank on Merovee has published a blog post in which he refers to junk DNA. Last night, for example, I watched a series of videos about Chernobyl, which contained more references to ‘junk’ than you can shake a stick at, together with this interesting phrase.
Amongst this random junk you all of a sudden find a box saying ‘radioactive material’…
The link between DNA and nuclear material isn’t obvious until you consider that the only other field in which ‘nuclear material’ is commonly referred to is biology, i.e. in relation to cells.
In other words, the ‘nuclear material’ of a cell is DNA, which is interesting because DNA is codified by letters of the alphabet. Million and millions of ‘characters’ repeating and spiralling and coiling.
DNA is an acid. We literally have ‘acid for blood’.
And of course, the discovery of DNA has allowed us to become ‘engineers’.
Oddly, ‘junk’ has some slang meanings: one relates to heroin (addiction, narcosis), the other to genitalia. As much as 97% of our DNA has been assumed to be ‘junk’ with no obvious function – but now we’re not so sure whether it means something or not.
Now, in a series of papers published in September in Nature and elsewhere, the ENCODE group has produced a stunning inventory of previously hidden switches, signals and sign posts embedded like runes throughout the entire length of human DNA. In the process, the ENCODE project is reinventing the vocabulary with which biologists study, discuss and understand human inheritance and disease.
So exactly how much of our ‘reality’ is ‘junk’ retrieved from the scrapyard of ‘his story’? How much is, so to speak, the equivalent of a radioactive golden nugget amidst all the scrap metal? Does it matter? When you think about it in biological terms, is there a difference between splitting hairs and splitting the ‘atom’?
Or is it all just a game of semen-antics?
Ben Rhodes, who ran foreign policy errands for President Barack Obama as Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications & Speechwriting, created an infamous “echo chamber” of fake news to sell the Iran deal.
Tommy Vietor? Hhmmm…
Rhodes first took aim at Gorka in response to a tweet by Tommy Vietor, a former National Security Council spokesman under President Obama who infamously attempted to dismiss the Benghazi scandal by telling Fox News’ Bret Baier: “Dude, this was like two years ago.” Vietor was, in turn, quoting a Newsweek article criticizing Gorka for criticizing a critic for criticizing his credentials. Rhodes piled on, mocking the “Breitbart credentialed Gorka” for his sensitivity.
Are you getting ‘it’ or are you too busy admiring your reflection in the mirror?
You can get ‘it’ below…
It’s a bit ‘heretical’, a bit ‘blasphemous’, chock full of ‘semen-antics’, and keeps spinning round and round for some reason…
I think it’s safe to say that over the past few years, and the last twelve month’s in particular, I’ve made a friend of what to most would seem like utter madness. I had a very strange childhood, so I’m perhaps more open to the bizarre, unusual and ‘irrational’ than is typical. Less prone to shrug off life’s peculiarities as mere ‘coincidence’ or file them away as ‘impossible’. My own life has been full of incidents science would refuse to touch with a ten-foot pole. By way of example, one of my earliest memories is of being led through my parent’s house at night by a small, rectangular object that hovered and emitted a red light. About twenty years ago, two small balls of light appeared in my bedroom and, after performing a short series of synchronised loops in front me, entered my body and disappeared. A decade ago, I was driving in broad daylight and watched a huge fireball tear across the sky and vanish over the horizon. It must have been visible to thousands of people for miles around, yet local and national media failed to report it. Last year, I had a surreal and dream-like experience walking the Seven Sisters on the UK’s south coast, where I saw three different lighthouses on the walk to Beachy Head and only two on the return journey. This kind of stuff just seems to happen to me.
Last year, I quit a dead-end tech job and disappeared down a rabbit hole of ‘impossible’ synchronicity. I started another tech job soon after, resigned a week later, and tumbled even further down the rabbit hole. The contents of my bookshelf and film collection began to talk to me. Not literally, but in the sense that their stories and themes seemed to reflect events in my own life. I noticed that articles in the mass media and YouTube videos also reflected these themes, along with my own thoughts and actions and those of regular commentators on Merovee. Historical events from the past seemed to repeat themselves in ‘updated’ 21st Century form. I thought I was losing my mind, and after watching Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, which features a ‘talking’ bookcase, I almost did. I had to take my car out for a fast drive as a means to focus on something else and hold on to my sanity. Later, I realised that my actions duplicated a storyline found in Retreat Syndrome, a short story by Philip K Dick. Here, a man living in a delusional reality takes a high-speed drive in an attempt to convince himself that his world is real.
Last month, I started another job, which I quit a fortnight later. I wasn’t entirely surprised to find that things immediately became even weirder. They became stranger still when a friend sent me a link to the below video via Twitter. The first of the ‘top five’ is about the construction of the Nazi’s network of roads or high-speed Autobahns.
What immediately struck me was the use of the term ‘network’ and the phonetic connection between roads and Rhodes. For me at least, it’s impossible to think of Rhodes without having the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of The Ancient World, spring to mind.
The Colossus of Rhodes was a statue of the Greek titan-god of the sun Helios, erected in the city of Rhodes, on the Greek island of the same name, by Chares of Lindos in 280 BC.
I was unsurprised to find that, when I searched for an image to use for this post, the first to appear was that of a supercomputer named (totally coincidentally of course) Titan. The link between the two is a little-known science fiction film from the late 1960s called Colossus: The Forbin Project. This remarkably prescient film (which I referred to in Gods and Daemons) preempted most of the themes that appeared in ‘The Terminator’ franchise, ‘War Games’, ‘I, Robot’, and pretty much all other films and games that feature a rogue supercomputer. In this particular case, Colossus becomes self-aware, drops the bomb on Russia, and informs humanity that it intends to exercise absolute power in order to save humanity from itself.
Those familiar with Cold War technology will be aware that the US nuclear deterrent of this era was based on the Titan ICBM…
Similarly, those over the age of 30 will no doubt recall that the early internet was once heralded as the…
I spent the next day pondering the meaning of the Nazi/Rhodes/Colossus theme and wondering exactly what sort of ‘network’ was created by ‘the Nazis’ and when. The film In Time, starring Justin Timberlake, had popped into my head in relation to this. In any case, I was so engrossed that I decided to skip a planned run with a friend. I sent him a Facebook message and this was his reply.
He understood his little joke without realising it’s significance for me, or its wider significance vis-a-vis the ‘machine world’.
Man becomes, as it were, the sex organs of the machine world, as the bee of the plant world, enabling it to fecundate and to evolve ever new forms. — Marshall McLuhan
After…ahem…mopping up with my friend, I popped out to my local Co-Op to buy some milk. I was still mulling over the implications of the above while standing in the queue waiting to pay. This is what I overheard in front of me:
Shop assistant: That’ll be 9.39 please.
Customer: How much?
Shop assistant: 9.39.
Customer: Oh, I thought you said it’s 19.39
The history books tell us that World War II began in 1939, and those familiar with the history of the computer will know that the very first digital computer was developed during World War II. It too was called Colossus. Needless to say, I paid for my carton of milk and exited the store in a daze, with The Matrix on my mind…
Colossus was designed by the engineer Tommy Flowers to solve a problem posed by mathematician Max Newman at the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) at Bletchley Park.
The prototype, Colossus Mark 1, was shown to be working in December 1943 and was operational at Bletchley Park on 5 February 1944. An improved Colossus Mark 2 that used shift registers to quintuple the processing speed, first worked on 1 June 1944, just in time for the Normandy Landings on D-Day.
The Matrix is one of a number of films that just keeps following me around everywhere I go. At the end of February, I received an email containing this image from the…
…asking me to renew a subscription I didn’t even know I had. It seems they got hold of my email address after I entered it in order to download a database required by a COBOL compiler I use now and again. I did at one time entertain the idea of becoming a COBOL software engineer…
But I digress…
About ten months ago, I was hit by a wave of information about nuclear war. To this day, I have no idea where it came from. Suffice to say that everything I now know about the mechanics and technology involved I learned during this process. Prior to this, I had no real interest in the subject, although I was interested in the politics of the era, having studied the Cold War at university. I found myself compelled to post about it on Merovee incessantly, and at some point someone remarked that I must believe that a full-scale nuclear war was imminent. My reply – which even I found odd at the time – was that I thought a full-scale nuclear war had already happened. Perhaps the best way to explain it is like so:
Britain v Germany, Empire v Reich…
The ‘incredible true story’…
The ‘attack warning red’…
USA v USSR, manifested in 3D no less…
Madness you say?
…the Titans most famously included the first twelve children of the primordial Gaia (Mother Earth) and Uranus (Father Sky). They were giant deities of incredible strength, who ruled during the legendary Golden Age, and also composed the first pantheon of Greek deities….[they]…were overthrown by Cronus’ children (Zeus, Hades, Poseidon, Hestia, Hera and Demeter), in the Titanomachy (or “War of the Titans”)…
The classical Greek myths of the Titanomachy fall into a class of similar myths throughout Europe and the Near East concerning a war in heaven, where one generation or group of gods largely opposes the dominant one.
In my view, the entire Cold War period is a retelling of this mythology in our 3D ‘reality’. A battle for supremacy between two giant powers, both sides wielding an elemental force – nuclear power, the power of the atom or ‘Adam’, control over the basic building blocks of ‘reality’ itself – that is simultaneously a destroyer and creator of life. Did they not rule the earth and sky with their political, economic and military might? Were they not godlike in their power? Did they not hold the keys to heaven and hell? Are they not in some way reflections of the original two superpowers, Atom and Eve?
The storyline of Colossus: The Forbin Project takes the above and gives it a twist, one that seems to predict the outcome of the Cold War itself. Here, the two superpowers are supercomputers: Colossus on the American side, Guardian on the other. After becoming operational, Colossus deduces that the Soviet’s have built their own supercomputer and blackmails both sides, forcing them to establish a permanent link between them. The two devise an entirely new computer language and merge to become a single system that controls the whole planet, offering humanity two possibilities: the peace of plenty or the peace of unburied death.
Colossus, along with its more recent counterparts, is both a modern and totally outdated retelling of the War in Heaven. Here, the Greek pantheon of gods is replaced with a single godhead along Judeo-Christian lines. Like the god of the Old Testament, Colossus is a tyrant who offers a ‘free’ choice between binary opposites: do not eat the apple and live, eat the apple and die, obey the Ten Commandments and live, disobey and die, etc., etc. This is a reflection of the human mindset: the fear of letting go, losing control, needing to control. Colossus was the ‘child’ of humankind. Sometimes a child inherits a parent’s personality, and sometimes the resemblance is only skin deep. With this in mind, I wonder what a New Age retelling of the myth will look like?
Did the Clash of the Titans happen? Is it happening now? Will it continue to happen in the future? Has anything ever really happened? What is our 3D ‘reality’? What is IT?
It’s 8am, I’ve just finished writing and opened the curtains to find myself in the grip of a nuclear winter.
A few months ago a friend asked me to take some pictures of his girlfriend for her acting portfolio. The weekend before the ‘shoot’ I realised I hadn’t used my camera for some time and headed off to take some pictures. Back home, I decided to post one of the pictures to my Facebook ‘timeline’. I uploaded the image and clicked the Post button. Virtually no time elapsed between clicking Post and seeing the picture appear on my timeline. Yet when the picture appeared I realised that my friend’s girlfriend had somehow managed to ‘Like’ it. I brooded over this for about an hour. Information may travel at light speed but humans are not supposed to. In the blink of an eye it took to see the image appear I can think of no way this person could have seen the image on her timeline and reacted so fast that the image and her ‘like’ registered as a single event at my end. I was so suspicious I questioned her later to confirm she’d liked the picture. It was, quite simply, impossible even for someone with the reactions of a fighter pilot.
Information travelling at light speed is the ‘ground’ part of Marshall McLuhan’s ‘figure-ground’ relationship, a refinement of his earlier mantra ‘The Medium is the Message’. In saying ‘the medium is the message’ McLuhan is drawing our attention to the massive psycho-social impact of technologies or, as he called them, mediums. That is to say, the actual effect of a medium far outweighs the impact of the content it carries. In fact, McLuhan regarded ‘content’ as a ‘juicy piece of meat’ carried by a burglar for the purpose of ‘distracting the watchdog of the mind’. Content is the distraction which blinds us to the psycho-social effects of the medium itself. The content of a medium is another medium. The content of a film is a screenplay, the content of a book is speech. Preoccupation with content is a misdirected reaction to the novelty of the medium itself, a reflection of our inability to see the environment it creates.
In order to fully understand this we have to recognise that all technologies or mediums are extensions of the human senses. The club extends the arm, the wheel extends the foot, and so on. The creation of a new medium is usually associated with a pressing need to solve a problem. McLuhan conceptualises this in terms of stress or irritation. The wheel emerges as a ‘counter-irritant’ to the problem of stress placed on the foot, the club emerges to extend the reach and power of an aching arm. In this sense, technological development is a dialectic process whereby a source of irritation demands a counter-irritant and the counter-irritant, over time, becomes a new source of irritation that requires a new counter-irritant. New technologies tend to ‘heat up’ societies by altering the scale, pattern and pace of human association. Eventually, the ‘relief’ provided by a medium becomes a new source of irritation as it struggles to cope with the demands of the environment it brought into being.
The effects of all this on the human organism are dramatic. A technological extension can also be thought of as an auto-amputation of the sense it enhances. The most obvious recent example is the rise of the computer. Back in the Middle Ages, memories were prodigious enough to memorize entire volumes of texts. Today, smart-phones and Siri remember on our behalf. The are two important points here. First, that new technologies alter the balance or ratio among the senses and result in a diminishing or ‘closing down’ of consciousness. A medium that prioritizes the eye will reduce the importance or ‘stress’ placed on the other senses and cause the forms of consciousness associated with these senses to atrophy. Second, that our response to the psycho-social ‘shock’ of a new medium is one of numbness. New technology has an anaesthetic effect which McLuhan termed the ‘Narcissus Narcosis’. In Greek mythology, Narcissus became transfixed by his own reflection. He did not, as is commonly thought, fall in love with himself. Rather, he failed to recognise himself in the reflected image. So it is with our own technologies, which seem to have a life all of their own.
Once it is understood that the hidden ground of our time is information moved at the speed of light, then it becomes easy to see why schooling is changing so drastically.
— Marshall McLuhan
McLuhan’s refinement of the above states that the true meaning of a figure (a person, a technology, an organisation, an event, a text, etc.) can be ascertained only in relation to its ground. The ground (medium) forms an environment which shapes and changes the content (message). This is evident in the transformation of the internet from Information Superhighway (a Roman Road of hyper-text leading to a digital Library of Alexandria) to the all-singing all-dancing Web we know today. Here, the medium’s message is both figure (content) and the ground (environment) it creates for that content. However, the ground is not an object. It is a process or a living organism, hence it remains below the threshold of consciousness and becomes visible only when rendered obsolete by a new medium/ground/environment. At this point the old environment changes from process to object and springs into view. The wasteland of obsolete media litters the landscape like the ruins of Hiroshima. Unable to see the new, we superimpose the old forms on top of it. We are always looking at and into the past.
The figure is what appears and the ground is always subliminal. Changes occur in the ground before they occur in the figure. We can project both figure and ground as images of the future using the ground as subplot of subliminal patterns and pressures and effects which actually come before the more or less final figures to which we normally direct our interest
— Marshall McLuhan
The question to be asked is this: if our technologies re-prioritise our senses, causing some to atrophy, then what happens to the ‘unprocessed’ sensory inputs that bypass consciousness? McLuhan believed that the unconscious mind ‘discovered’ by Freud and Jung was a slag-heap of rejected consciousness, a dumping ground for that which falls beneath the current threshold of consciousness. It has to be said that McLuhan’s overwhelming pre-occupation here was the key role afforded to the eye in relation to the creation of the alphabet, and later the printing press, as mediums. The printed word is a visualisation of speech and Gutenberg’s printing press created an environment that provided the basic template (linear sequence, mechanised repeatability) for the Industrial and Electric Revolutions. The dominance of the eye paved the way for the translation of the non-visual into visual form and a preoccupation with a form of order, standards and morality predicated on visual appearances: cleanliness is next to Godliness, children should be seen but not heard, etc.
McLuhan contrasted the visual Gutenberg technologies with the electronic age. The electric telegraph and morse code began the process of exteriorising the human central nervous system. In 1945, with the creation of the digital computer, we ‘outered’ the brain itself. We literally turned ourselves inside out and exposed our raw nerves and grey matter to the elements. Yet despite McLuhan’s attempt to draw a dividing line between the two, contrasting the visual industrial age with the tactile electronic age, the electronic age is an age of information or in-formation. The in-formation age is still preoccupied with characters, lines, rows, precise organisation. The eye still has the upper hand – we still reduce the non-visual oral/aural/tactile senses to purely visual phenomena. McLuhan’s promise of tribal unity, a Global Village of interdependence and a harmony of the senses, has yet to emerge. The in-formation age is still in formation.
Why? Well, it’s something to do with grounding. Something to do with our connection to Earth. Something to do with – and here’s where the madness starts – the need to become Neo-Not-Sees…
…the need to close our eyes and start to listen. Why? Because the myth of Narcissus is inseparable from that of Echo. How many of us ever really listen? I mean really listen? Have we forgotten our on-board Echo locater?
We started well in the 1960s, but as Hunter S. Thompson observed, those with the right kind of eyes could actually see where the crest of the counter-cultural wave finally broke and rolled back. Here in what remains of the tribal Jungle we’re in desperate need of a new sense of porpoise.
Last week, the local government in Calais announced that a third of the camp, an area home to some 1,500 of the camp’s 6,000 residents, was to be destroyed, and those living in the area moved to purpose-built housing.
Meanwhile other refugees were pictured gathering up all their possessions including mattresses and cooking equipment in bags and backpacks ready for the move. The migrants have been offered places in new refitted shipping containers, equipped with heating and sockets for electricity.
— Source: Daily Mail
Refitted shipping containers as porpoise-built homes? That sounds like the sort of thing I’d expect to hear from an Eye Robot…
A joke perhaps? Another recently deceased victim of Cancer, Motorhead’s Lemmy, reminds us not to forget The Joker. Here he is presenting his calling card to the Mob, a.k.a. Organ-eyes Crime. They’re the Goodfellas, the W-eyes Guys. You might have come across them before in Ka-see-no.
But I digress. The In-formation Age affects us totally. It works and moulds us in its own image. The visual stress, the focus on specialisation, the rigid hierarchy of sequences and rows marching along in ordered precision, explains how China’s Long March…
New media literally lay waste to their predecessors, but as we’re unable to discern the ground created by the new media we continue to superimpose the images of the ruins of the old over the new. China’s Long March to Long March is a textbook example of what happens when we lack the right kind of eyes: we carry images from one era over into another. The images don’t fade away so our finger is continually hovering over the rewind button.
If you read one of my previous posts, Ra-dio-active, then you’ll appreciate that it’s a shame to waste good Scotch. Oh, and that the latest gadget from Q Branch is called a radio…
In the eye’s case, the Earth itself seems to be sending us a message in the form of the visualisation of sound. The message is that the natural formation is in-formation. The Earth – the ground – is an active process, not a thing.
NASA expert discovers alphabet letters hidden on the face of our planet
Here, it’s worth noting that one of the key features of Gutenberg’s printing press is repeatability. Provided one master copy of a text is extant, multiple exact duplicates can be generated or ‘cloned’. McLuhan found another mythological counterpart to this feature in the Lernaean Hydra. The Hydra had many heads, and each head that was chopped off grew multiple replacements. In this sense – in relation to print’s overwhelming influence in prioritising the eye over all the other senses, we’re all Children of the Hydra-gen. In psycho-social terms, the effects of the printing press were no less devastating than that of a nuclear blast.
While we’re on the subject of NASA and matters nuclear, Major Tom has made another appearance in the form of Deutschland 83 currently showing on Channel 4 here in the UK. The theme song used for the opening credits is Major Tom (Coming Home) by German synth-pop musician Peter Schilling. The series is set during the Cold War and, as you’d expect, the subject of nuclear weapons (specifically Pershing or ‘Perishing’ missiles) is the centre of attention.
Meanwhile, above our heads in low-earth orbit, Major Tim was obliged to cut short his spacewalk after his colleague’s spacesuit sprung a leak. Again, as in Part 1, I’ve now come full circle back to the subject mentioned at the beginning of this post.
One small selfie for man, one giant tweet for mankind: Major Tim Peake takes cheeky snap just before his space walk is cut short after his American colleague’s helmet starts filling up with WATER
Flight Engineer Kopra got a feeling of dampness around helmet absorption pad, before reporting a golf ball-sized water bubble spreading across his visor quickly.
The ‘selfie’ in question is, for me at least, an absolute jaw dropper.
Major Tim (the figure) shoots his camera as the whole/holy Earth (the ground or ‘ground control’) is reflected in his visor. For me, there’s no other way to put this than to say we are being spoken to. If you look at the image and think about the source (i.e. the camera he’s holding) then the message is clear.
Major Tim/Tom is the Star Child freed from his umbilical, cut from the womb, floating free, unattached to the ground. He no longer needs eyes to see. Everything is a Silver Screen projection. And we’re the content.
Prometheus stole fire from the Gods and created humanity. He created the first Adam or Atom and Eve. In the below image, an Artificial Intelligence, David, holds the whole world in his hands.
Prometheus didn’t go unpunished. He was chained to a rock – to the ground – and an eagle was despatched to feed on his liver.
Major Tom, David Bowie-man the Star Child, died of liver cancer.
Houston, The Eagle has landed!
It’s a movie folks, or rather a musical. If you’re still a bit BMEWSed then let me offer some clues.
The first ever music video. You could blame it on Mercury, but it’s best not to shoot the messenger.
In Puccini’s La Boheme, Mimi (me-me) dies of consumption.
Excess consumption results in Fallout, which in nuclear terminology is the product of a Ground Strike. A diet of eye-scream ain’t good for a growing Star Child.
The ground is The Social Medea.
Because All The World’s A Stage – it never happened.
The Golden Globe is Ra-Dio-Gaga.
Open your ears, close your eyes, and enjoy the Tribal Echo Chamber!
In the meantime, here’s a little something to prep you for re-entry.
As time passes – or as what passes for time passes – I’m finding that my attention is increasingly drawn to matters nuclear. This week I began work on a scriptwriting project centred on a site I’ve mentioned in previous posts: Hack Green nuclear bunker. Hack Green as a site has origins in World War II and was heavily modified in the early 1980s at the height of the so-called ‘Second Cold War’, i.e. when Reagan-era America redesignated the USSR as the ‘Evil Empire’. The site was designed to serve as a Regional Government Headquarters (RGHQ) in the event of a nuclear strike on the UK and the subsequent (and probably inevitable) collapse of central government. As such, it was fortified against the effects of a nuclear blast and given enhanced protection against fallout and Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP). Theoretically, this would enable its full complement of 135 personnel (a mix of government ministers, civil servants, and scientific, technical and military staff) to survive for a period of 45 days before emerging to sift through the radioactive sludge like the rest of us poor mortals.
After being decommissioned in 1992 Hack Green became a museum. The current owner has managed to acquire an impressive stock of decommissioned nuclear weapons (the story goes that if they retained their warheads then Hack Green would be the world’s seventh largest nuclear power) and a host of monitoring and warning equipment from the UK’s Regional Air Operations Command based at RAF Fylingdales. This equipment formed part of the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS) used to issue the national Air Attack Warning, as immortalised in the song “Two Tribes” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood. BMEWS (let’s call it bemuse or be muse) was linked to a network called HANDEL, which would issue the Attack Warning Red alert via 250 Carrier Control Points (CCPs) located at major police headquarters. In turn, the CCPs would alert thousands of Carrier Receivers at other strategic locations and activate sirens giving us the infamous “Four Minute Warning” to fuck ourselves silly.
In any event, just hours after I started researching Hack Green the usual madness began. It started with an attack on Hack Green’s website. One minute Google was listing the site as usual, the next a message appeared stating “This site may harm your computer”. According to Google’s Transparency Report “www.hackgreen.co.uk is not safe to visit right now” as it may attempt to install malicious programs, which typically take the form of a Trojan Horse. The obvious conclusion is that Hack Green has been hacked! Then, from out of nowhere, the media broke the story of the sudden deaths of David Bowie and Alan Rickman and…OK, let me explain…
What immediately struck me about the deaths of Bowie and Rickman is how much they remind me of the death of Freddie Mercury. Mercury’s illness, like that of Bowie and Rickman, was known within the industry and presumably to the media, who managed to exercise an uncommon and uncharacteristic restraint in not reporting it. The kind of restraint that was noticeable only for its absence in relation to, for example, the recent ‘outing’ of Charlie Sheen’s HIV status. Bowie and Rickman’s struggle with cancer seems to have been similarly shrouded in secrecy, as if subject to a media blackout. The Mercury connection (and its links to Mercury/Hermes as the winged messenger of the Gods) was picked up over at Merovee, where I linked it to NASA’s Mercury space program from the 1960s. Lest we forget, David Bowie was the Starman, not to mention The Man Who Fell to Earth. He was deliberately and consciously a Space Oddity.
The song is about the launch of Major Tom, a fictional astronaut, and was released during a period of great interest in space flight. The United States’ Apollo 11 mission would launch 5 days later, and would become the first manned moon landing another 5 days later. The lyrics have also been seen to lampoon the British space programme, which had only launched rockets at that time and has never attempted a moon landing. Besides its title, which alludes to the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, the introduction to the song is a barely audible instrumental build-up that is analogous to the deep bass tone in Also sprach Zarathustra that is prominently used in the film.
Building on the Starman reference, it’s worth noting that both Bowie and Rickman died of cancer at the age of 69. If we rotate the number 69 through 90 degrees then we’re left with the symbol for the star sign Cancer.
That both stars died of the same disease at exactly the same age brings our attention to another star sign: Gemini or The Twins. Co-incidentally, Gemini was the name of NASA’s second space program. The basic purpose of the Gemini program was to perfect the rendezvous and fucking docking procedures required to fulfil John F Kennedy’s vision of a moon landing before the end of the 1960s. Essentially, Mercury gave birth to Gemini and Gemini gave birth to Apollo. The twins of Gemini are Castor and Pollux, mortals who were elevated to the status of Gods after death and placed in the sky to become the brightest stars in the constellation Gemini. The mythological Apollo was a sun-god and the sun is also a star. When we consider what a star is and how it shines we’re brought full circle to the topic introduced at the beginning of this post.
A star is a luminous sphere of plasma held together by its own gravity…a star shines due to thermonuclear fusion of hydrogen into helium in its core, releasing energy that traverses the star’s interior and then radiates into outer space.
At this stage it’s important to note that the history of space flight is inseparable from the history of nuclear weapons. The ‘nose cone’ in which today’s astronauts ‘ride the lightning’ was designed to house Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicles rather than a life-support system for human beings. The ‘space rocket’ is simply a re-tasked ballistic missile. Its nose cone cover is referred to as a ‘shroud’.
On the subject of chain reactions and star signs, another Zodiac-themed story emerged this week about Leo-nardo DiCapri(corn)io at the Golden Globes.
Leonardo DiCaprio embarrassed after his priceless reaction to Lady Gaga barging past him goes viral…
The Mail Online proceeds to describe how Leo ‘rolled his eyes’ at the ‘platinum’ blonde (and totally oblivious) Gaga. The point – or rather the pun – being that platinum is the least reactive of all metals.
At this point, it’s impossible not to mention the film Capricorn One. Anyone familiar with Stanley Kubrick and “2001: A Space Odyssey” will be aware of the conspiracy theory surrounding his role in the supposed faking of the Apollo moon landings. The suggestion is that NASA fulfilled Kennedy’s vision as Hollywood dream rather than reality. Capricorn One is a thinly veiled allusion to this, with the astronaut’s destination switched to Mars (think Ziggy Stardust) rather than the moon.
The Space Odyssey/Oddity theme is currently playing out above our heads in the cold vacuum of space. It seems that ‘Major Tim’ has cut the umbilical cord and freed himself from the womb of the ISS (i.e. ISIS) in order to change a ‘Sequential Shunt’ power unit.
This story mirrors a sequence from Kubrick’s film where HAL fakes a failure in the AE-35 control unit and astronauts David Bowman and Frank Poole are obliged to perform a spacewalk in order to replace it. Crucially, it’s the AE-35 unit that enables Discovery to remain in contact with Mission Control on Earth.
Additionally, a Bowie-Mercury theme can be found in the same story in relation to the song Under Pressure. The song later appeared on the Queen album Hot Space.
Major Peake and Flight Engineer Kopra began their preparations more than an hour ago by ‘prebreathing’ which means inhaling pure oxygen, to purge their bodies of nitrogen. The process stops astronauts getting a serious condition known as decompression sickness or ‘the bends’ when they leave the high pressure environment inside the ISS – which is similar to the Earth – to the lower pressure spacesuit.
The reference to breathing pure oxygen refers us to the Apollo 1 disaster caused by a stray spark in the capsule’s pure oxygen environment. The subsequent fire resulted in the death of all three astronauts and raised serious questions about NASA’s ability to achieve Kennedy’s goal.
The Mission Control theme appears in another story related to Bowie’s death. Specifically, to Madonna’s grief-stricken on-stage collapse, making her Bowie’s concubine as ‘The Woman Who Fell to Earth’. The location of her fall? Houston. The significance? NASA Mission Control is based at the Johnson Space Centre and is commonly referred to by the site’s location – Houston.
The Madonna incident comes as no surprise given that Bowie’s death coincided with the release of his latest single, Lazarus. The Raising of Lazarus is a key event in the life of Jesus, one that seems to pre-empt or foreshadow his own subsequent death and resurrection. There is a link here to ISS or ISIS and her husband Osiris, the ‘Green Man’, a dying/rising God associated with the cycle of birth-death-rebirth. The Christian Madonna and Child has its origins in the much earlier mother-child relationship of Isis and Horus. Again, another Space Odyssey theme can be seen here in the death of David Bowman and the subsequent birth of the Star Child at the very end of the film.
The iconography of Bowie’s Lazarus is very revealing. In the video, Bowie is shown as if being raised from the dead, but with his eyes buttoned shut. This echoes “Eyes Wide Shut”, Kubrick’s final film before his death in 1999 following a massive heart attack.
Another story that emerged after Bowie’s death seems to play with this theme.
Teacher who took class on black run faces investigation after two pupils among three dead in French avalanche
If there are three pupils and two are dead and unseeing then the other must be the Third or All-Seeing Eye…
All very well and good, but what of Bowie’s twin, Alan Rickman? Like Bowie, it seems that Rickman remained active throughout his illness and his latest film is due to be released in April. It’s all about Islam (eye slam) and the Electric Eye (or ‘I’) in the Sky.
Which is curious because the Electric Eye appears prominently in Bowie’s Moonage Daydream…
And Bowie’s son, Duncan Jones, provided us with a Moonage Daydream in film form. In Moon, a clone named Sam Bell is responsible for harvesting helium-3 from the lunar surface. As mentioned above, helium is the by-product of a star’s thermonuclear fusion.
The Electric Eye is also a major theme in a certain Stanley Kubrick film…
There’s yet another link here between the ‘Major Tim’ ISS story and Kubrick’s Space Odyssey. The Mail Online article shows the below picture with the caption “This shot shows Major Peake grasping a tool in his gloved hand. It’s possible to see the Earth beneath him”.
In Kubrick’s Space Odyssey there’s a dramatic transition scene from the Dawn of Man to the modern era. The scene involves one of the apes learning how to use a bone as a tool, as a weapon. After using the tool to kill his mirror image from a rival ‘tribe’, the ape throws the bone into the sky where it turns into a satellite orbiting the earth. The film only alludes to the nature of the satellite in question, i.e. in relation to tensions between the US/USSR superpowers. However, Arthur C Clarke’s book makes it clear that the satellite is in fact an orbiting nuclear weapons platform in the vein of Reagan’s Strategic Defence Initiative, colloquially referred to as…Star Wars.
And if you read my previous post then the question I’ll leave you with at this point is: “Have you grasped the Tool yet…?”
Are you beginning to feel the electromagnetic pulse of Ra-dio-activity?
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.
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?
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.
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’?
A year after the Wachowski’s introduced us to The Matrix, future directorial star Christopher Nolan gave us an equally stunning film that explored the twin themes of reality and identity: Memento. A friend and I analysed Memento in-depth a few years ago and came to realise that the two films are interconnected. In The Matrix, Morpheus informs Neo that his doubts about the ‘reality’ of his world are “Like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad”. He presents Neo with a choice between red and blue pills. In The Matrix we’re shown what happens when Neo chooses the red pill, whereas in Nolan’s Memento we’re shown what happens when the other side of the probability waveform collapses. In other words, the world of Memento is a parallel reality, the reality Neo finds himself in after choosing the blue pill, a world in which (to paraphrase Morpheus) Neo ‘wakes up in bed and believes whatever he wants to believe’.
The film’s central character is Leonard (Leo), played by Australian actor Guy Pearce. Leo suffers from anterograde amnesia after being struck on the head during ‘the incident’: a botched robbery by heroin addicts, which resulted in his wife’s rape and murder. Although Leo shot and killed one of the perpetrators, police did not believe his account that a second intruder was present. Convinced that his wife’s murderer is still at large, Leo is on a mission to find and kill ‘The One’ responsible for taking her away and destroying his ability to make new memories. Due to his memory problems, Leo can only keep track of the ‘facts’ by tattooing them on his own body and trusting his ‘instinct’. This leaves him vulnerable to manipulation by various predatory characters who use Leo for their own ends. The characters in question are ‘Teddy’ and ‘Natalie’ played by Jo Pantoliano and Carrie Ann-Moss, who also appear in The Matrix as Cypher and Trinity respectively.
The events in Memento are told in reverse chronological order, so the beginning is the end and vice versa. By starting at the beginning (which shows Leo killing Teddy) and working backwards, Nolan allows us to see how Leo’s distortions of the truth play out as an endless sequence of self-pity and self-deception as he searches for ‘The One’. In fact, the film goes much, much deeper than this and shows us that Leo has locked himself in an endless closed loop in which he searches for, and kills, ‘The One’ over and over again. The ‘whys’ and ‘wherefores’ of this are fairly complex, so I’ll endeavour to keep the explanation as simple as possible.
To help others understand his ‘condition’ Leo tells the story of Sammy Jankis, a former accountant suffering from the same affliction. As a former insurance investigator, Leo was assigned to investigate Sammy’s case to determine whether he was faking it. Ultimately, Leo dismisses Sammy’s condition as mental rather than physical and the insurance company refuses to pay out. Sammy’s distraught wife – a diabetic – designs the ultimate test in an attempt to get Sammy to ‘snap out of it’: she asks him to give her repeat doses of insulin at set intervals. As Sammy is unable to remember administering the first dose, he gives her a second, then a third. His wife slips into a coma and dies, Sammy is confined to a mental institution. The point here is that Leo’s memory of Sammy is false. At one point we’re shown an image of Sammy in hospital, and just before the scene cuts away we see Leo sitting in Sammy’s place.
Leo’s memories of his wife’s death and his quest to find ‘The One’ are fictitious. Teddy tells Leo the truth shortly after Leo kills Natalie’s boyfriend, Jimmy, in the belief that he is ‘The One’. The truth is that Leo’s wife survived ‘the incident’ and was subsequently killed by Leo in the same way ‘Sammy’ killed ‘his’ wife. Sammy was a ‘faker’, whereas Leo’s own ‘condition’ is not physical but mental – he is ‘out of his mind’, physically capable of making new memories but psychologically unable or unwilling to do so. Teddy (a corrupt police officer) has been taking advantage of this by manipulating Leo to kill drug dealers such as Jimmy. He shows Leo a picture of himself taken shortly after a previous killing of ‘The One’. Unable to accept the truth, Leo destroys the evidence Teddy gives him and writes down Teddy’s car licence plate as a ‘fact’ that will later lead him to identify and kill Teddy as ‘The One’ responsible for his wife’s death.
The point is this: Leo is ‘The One’ just as ‘Neo’ is ‘The One’ in The Matrix. But Memento is The Matrix upside-down and ‘through the looking glass’. Shortly before Neo exits the Matrix for the first time, Cypher refers to The Wizard of Oz and says “Buckle your seatbelt Dorothy ’cause Kansas is going bye-bye”. In Memento, the reverse scenario plays out: when Leo kills ‘The One’ his world changes from black-and-white to colour, just as Dorothy’s world goes technicolor when she arrives in Oz. Leo goes ‘over the rainbow’ and wakes up to find himself in bed in ‘some anonymous hotel room’ trying to figure out who the hell he is and what he’s doing there. Leo has left the ‘real world’ and re-entered the Matrix. As Teddy says: “You’re living in a dream world kid”.
Further evidence that Leo is cycling through the same events in a fictitious ‘reality’ appears in the film’s numerous overlap shots. As one main sequence ends the next sequence begins with a repeat of the previous sequence’s ending. These short sequences ought to be identical but contain subtle differences. Leo parks his car in a slightly different location, the position of dollar bills counted by Burt the motel clerk changes, Leo wakes up on his left side, then wakes up on his right side, and so on. Through them we learn that each sequence is taken from a different iteration of the loop: Leo is repeating the same events over and over again.
Each killing of ‘The One’ ends with Leo being informed of the reality of his situation, a reality he rejects. He then goes ‘over the rainbow’ to Oz and wakes up in bed, willing to believe ‘whatever he wants to believe’ and covered in ‘freaky tattoos’ – his own memento mori. The illusion is so strong that even Natalie’s kiss (in The Matrix he is brought back from the dead by Trinity’s kiss) fails to shatter it. Natalie wants Leo to ‘remember me’, she repeatedly asks “You don’t remember me?” – but Leo’s response is always negative.
Throughout the film Leo seems desperate to believe the ‘reality’ of his dream world: he is obsessed with so-called ‘facts’, he bangs on tables to demonstrate the ‘reality’ of his world, he says the world doesn’t just go away when we close our eyes. The end/beginning of the film has Teddy/Cypher imploring Leo/Neo to “help me find my keys”. Lenny ignores him, drives away and engages in a philosophical monologue with himself as he struggle to reconcile himself to the world he sees around him. His conclusion: “We all need mirrors to remind ourselves who we are. I’m no different”.
Here in the so-called ‘real world’, the anniversary of 911 and has just come and gone, bringing its own set of bizarre mirrors and synchronicities.
On the Eve (as in Adam and Eve – “would you Adam and Eve it?” is Cockney rhyming slang for “Would you believe it?”) of the anniversary a double rainbow appears over Manhattan, seeming to start at the site of the Freedom Tower erected on the ashes of the Twin Towers. According to the bible, the rainbow is God’s own memento – it signifies His promise never to repeat the events of Noah and The Flood.
And on the anniversary of 911 itself, a crane linked to the Bin Laden business empire is struck by lightning (think Zeus) during a freak storm and crashes into Mecca’s Grand Mosque, one of Islam’s most holy sites, killing over a hundred people.
The individual who took the ‘rainbow over Manhattan’ picture just happens to be CEO of a company named “The Leverage Agency”!
On the same day the world remembers the events of 911, when planes attacked the twin icons of the capitalist system and its relentless pursuit of profit, a disaster occurs in the holy city of Mecca, the spiritual home of a faith created by the Prophet Mohammed. One attacks the Profit, the other attacks the Prophet.
Coincidentally – if you believe in coincidence – on the very same day a story emerged about the discovery of a new species of dinosaur dubbed the ‘Lightning Claw’, so-called because its claw resembles a grappling hook. The fossilised remains were discovered ‘over the rainbow’ at Lightning Ridge in Australia (Oz).
Moreover, at the beginning of last month a private plane owned by the Bin Ladens and carrying three members of the Bin Laden family crashed at Blackbushe airport in the UK, killing all on board.
Doesn’t this bizarre sequence of events stretch the boundaries of credibility? What exactly is this construct called ‘reality’ that we so readily take for granted? Does it exist in quite the way we think it does? When we open our eyes is it ‘reality’ that we see? Or it just our collective self reflected back at us, flipped around, turned back-to-front, and repeating endlessly?
A few years ago, we thought we killed ‘The One’.
But it doesn’t seem to have made any difference, because we’re still killing ‘The One’.
And even this hasn’t made any difference, because we’re still trying to hunt down and kill ‘The One’.
EXCLUSIVE: ‘There’s drones in the air!’ How paranoid Jihadi John lives in fear of death from above – as revealed by two men who had a terrifying car ride with ISIS knifeman
Do you buy this? Any of it?
Does any of this still look and feel ‘real’ to you?
Have you ever had a dream that you were so sure was real?
Or do you still need a mirror to remind yourself who you are?
Are we – collectively and literally – out of our mind?
As stated in my Definition and Manifesto, peculiar patterns and arrangements of symbolic imagery are the focus point of my ‘probes’ into the nature of the Global Digital Unconscious. No doubt there are times when these arrangements are purely coincidental and, to paraphrase Freud, the cigar really is just a cigar. Similarly, there may be times when such patterns are, as Jung puts it, ‘meaningful coincidence’. As ‘meaningful coincidence’, these strange symmetries or ‘synchronicities’ of symbolism function as an interface between the ‘irrational’ unconscious and the ‘rational’ conscious, almost as if the universe itself were attempting to throw light on an occulted or hidden area of human existence. What follows is an example of this kind of probing and, I believe, a prime example of ‘meaningful coincidence’ originating in, and manifesting itself through, the Global Digital Unconscious.
Over the last few days the mass media has been awash with references to planets, lions, cliffs and death. The most obvious example is the New Horizons probe and its dramatic fly-by of the dwarf planet Pluto. At first view this has no connection with Jupiter whatsoever, save for the fact the probe passed Jupiter in 2007 in order to take advantage of Jupiter’s ‘gravitational slingshot’ and speed its onward course towards Pluto. In ancient Greek mythology, however, there is a rather more direct and familial relationship between Jupiter and Pluto: they are brothers. Jupiter (as King of the Gods and the Roman equivalent of Zeus) is associated with the sky and thunderbolts, Neptune with water, and Pluto with the underworld. This makes Pluto a chthonic god and associates him with the dark and mysterious world of the unconscious mind and its ‘inhabitants’: the anima, animus and shadow.
In conjunction with the New Horizons fly-by, Jupiter has appeared (directly and indirectly) in a number of stories concerning missing, presumed dead and actually dead persons. These stories, along with others, also make reference to Leo or its Greek equivalent Leon. For example, CNN published a story about missing teenagers who departed Jupiter, Florida (the Sunshine State) by boat. Their craft was later found adrift off an area of coastline known as the Ponce de Leon. A few days earlier, two young men taking part in the 2015 Grand European Rally died when the Seat Leon car they were driving crashed through a barrier and plummeted down a cliff face.
The recent death of Arthur Cave, son of musician, actor and screenwriter Nick Cave, a chthonic figure described as rock music’s “Prince of Darkness”, pre-dates both the above stories. Arthur Cave died after falling from a cliff in Ovingdean, near Brighton, UK, earlier in July 2015. The significance of ‘cave’ is that it allows us to retrieve Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, which depicts mankind in darkness, confusing true reality with the shadows it sees dancing on the cave wall. Through Nick Cave we retrieve links to Satan or Lucifer or ‘the Devil’. Arthur himself retrieves myth and legend in the form of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. A cursory examination of the Round Table retrieves its function as a mandala symbol, identified by Jung as a recurring motif in the unconscious.
The death of Arthur Cave was itself ‘anticipated’ by a run of stories about teenagers risking their lives by posing for photographs on the UK’s crumbling south coast cliffs. The cliffs in question are known as the Seven Sisters and this links them to the Pleides, a star cluster in the constellation Taurus. The Pleides are named after the Seven Divine Sisters of ancient Greek mythology. Jupiter (in the Greek form Zeus) appears again here and is portrayed as having affairs with several of the sisters. Furthermore, Taurus is the Bull and both Jupiter and his Greek equivalent Zeus are associated with bulls. In fact, Zeus adopts the form of a white bull in the story of his abduction and rape of Europa.
It’s interesting to note that the continent of Europe owes its name to Europa, a fact which adds extra symbolic weight to the Great European Rally story referred to above. Europa also just happens to be the name of Jupiter’s sixth moon. Also relevant is the similarity between “Great Europa-ean Rally” and the Planetary Grand Tour – a proposal to send probes to the solar system’s outer planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. New Horizons’ fly-by of Pluto marks the culmination of this vision, which was proposed way back in 1964 and began with the Mariner and Voyager space programmes.
More recently, a story has emerged about the killing earlier this month of ‘Cecil’, Africa’s most famous lion. The culprit is one Walter Palmer, an American dentist. With the assistance of local guides, Palmer appears to have lured Cecil outside the boundaries of his home in a Zimbabwean National Park, shot him with a crossbow and then tracked the wounded beast for several days, before finally despatching him with a rifle. This particular story is not just rich in symbolism and mythology – it appears for all the world to be a retelling of the First Labour of Hercules and his slaying of the Nemean Lion.
The similarities here are striking. Hercules and Walter both try and fail to kill the lion with bow and arrow. Both lure the lion to a place it can be killed. Hercules lures the lion to a dark cave to take advantage of the cover of darkness, whereas Walter’s lion is named ‘Cecil’ meaning ‘blind’. Hercules uses a club and his great strength to kill the lion, whereas Walter uses a gun, a modern extension of the club which is also an extension and amplification of the arm’s strength. Hercules skins the lion, so does Walter. The only substantial difference between the two stories is the outcome. Both figures represent the conscious mind conquering or repressing a primitive, unconscious animal instinct, yet Hercules is depicted as a ‘divine hero’ and Walter a coward. The global response to Walter killing Cecil reflects a fundamental change in consciousness, i.e. it reflects a desire to reintegrate the unconscious, not repress it.
The story of Hercules killing the lion is a prime example of mythology mirroring unconscious processes. His struggle with the lion in the cave’s darkness is pure dream imagery and will be instantly recognisable to anyone familiar with Jung and psychoanalysis . As an unconscious background process it’s another example of the ‘daemons’ referred to in my previous post, Gods and Daemons. Hercules is depicted overcoming (rather than integrating) an animal instinct and this throws light on the myth as a symbolic representation of a civilising process. Civilisation and the process of becoming more civilised is always attended to by, and the result of, knowledge, discovery, and invention, i.e. technological change.
The link with Hercules is made more apparent by Walter’s name and profession and their association with Hercules’ Second Labour. Walter is a dentist by profession and his name means ‘ruler of the army’. There is a parallel here in relation to the mythological hero Jason and his quest for the Golden Fleece. Not only does the ‘Golden Fleece’ bring to mind the golden fur of the Nemean Lion, some versions of Jason’s quest describe him sowing the Hydra’s teeth, which immediately grow into armed men. And, coincidentally, Hercules’ Second Labour was the slaying of the Hydra.
Here we can see an additional theme teasing its way to the foreground: that of the epic journey so common in mythology. The epic journeys of Jason and Hercules have their modern counterparts in the Great European Rally, the Grand Tours of the Mariner, Voyager and New Horizons space probes, and the safari (safari is Swahili for ‘journey’) of Walter Palmer.
In my previous post, Gods and Daemons, I identified the Hydra as a metaphor for the printed word. The Hydra’s immortality was based on its ability to grow two heads for every one head cut off – provided at least one head remained attached to its body. In the same manner, the immortality conferred by print is predicated on its ability to produce exact copy after exact copy – provided at least one master copy remains in existence.
Marshall McLuhan relates the above to print’s effect as a visual medium, its role as the Father of Nations (see Gods and Daemons), and to the linear, sequential and repeatable method of the printing press itself as a template for the Industrial Revolution and the forms of social organisation it gave birth to. Here, McLuhan makes a direct connection between the printed word, with its massed ranks of sentences and paragraphs, and modern armies with their massed ranks of men and women. This provides insight into the destructive effects of new technologies, which lay waste to the environments created by the technologies they make obsolete.
On the subject of the destructive effects of new technologies, the lead character in Channel 4’s sci-fi drama Humans also happens to be named Leo. The character is portrayed as a human-synthetic hybrid and leader of a small group of sentient synthetic humans. Leo is attempting to affect a revolution by gathering all the sentient synthetics together in order to execute source code that will bring sentience to all synthetics, thus placing the future of the human race in doubt. I dealt with this subject in some depth earlier this month in my very first post.
Finally, we have to situate all the above in the realms of astronomy and astrology. The term ‘astrology’ itself is highly significant: it can be defined as ‘meaning in the stars’. This reminds us that the ancients consigned many of their greatest mythological figures to the stars themselves in the form of the constellations and zodiac signs we still recognise and use today. More significant still, however, is the current position of Jupiter in the night sky. Care to guess which constellation Jupiter is currently passing through? Unsurprisingly, it just happens to be Leo!
What, then, are we to make of all this? The twin themes of the unconscious and technology are clearly evident and this is consistent with McLuhan’s belief that mythology is technological change encoded in symbolic form. Mythology reflects our inability to see or comprehend the environments created by new technologies. These environments seem alien to us and appear to function magically and independently. Cut off from conscious apprehension, they are afforded the status of gods, demons, nymphs and so on. Their true meaning only becomes apparent after the fact, i.e. once a new technology scraps the existing environment and reveals it to us as a wasteland or junkyard.
The significance of the mythology encoded in the media stories outlined above lies in the centrality of the image of Jupiter/Zeus, the Father of the Gods, who dispenses divine retribution (i.e. restoration of order) in the form of the thunderbolt.
In ancient Hellenic and Roman religious traditions, the thunderbolt represents Zeus or Jupiter (etymologically ‘Sky Father’), thence the origin and ordaining pattern of the universe…
The thunderbolt can only be properly understood in the context of James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake. This massively complicated work charts mankind’s technological development from the Garden of Eden through to modernity and back again – an eternal return. It takes the form of an enormous cryptogram comprised of portmanteau words which serve as single word metaphors for invisible environmental changes and their effects. Its use of language is deliberate, its purpose to highlight the role of language as a technology and to use language as a probe into language’s effects as a technology. Each major technological change is accompanied by a one-hundred-letter portmanteau word – a Thunder – representing the change in question. The Tenth Thunder is supposedly the final one, but just like the Zodiac and the Labours of Hercules there are in fact twelve in total. The Tenth Thunder and the text that surrounds it is, if you’ll forgive the pun, absolutely electrifying:
For his root language, if you ask me whys, Shaun replied, as he blessed himself devotionally like a crawsbomb, making act of oblivion, footinmouther! (what he thickens else?) which he picksticked into his lettruce invrention.
The Tenth Thunder is a portmanteau word containing multiple references to the Nordic gods (i.e. mudgaard = Asgaard, lukki and lokki = Loki, etc.) ending with a direct reference to Thor himself. It shouldn’t be necessary to point out that Thor, as a thunder god, is the equivalent of Jupiter/Zeus in Norse mythology. This identifies the Tenth Thunder as corresponding to the splitting of the atom and invention of nuclear weapons. Joyce refers to it earlier in the Wake as follows:
The abnihilisation of the etym by the grisning of the grosning of the grinder of the grunder of the first lord of Hurtreford expolodotonates through Parsuralia with an ivanmorinthorrorumble fragoromboassity amidwiches general utterosts confussion are perceivable moletons skaping with mulicules while coventry plumpkins fairgosmothersthemselves in the Landaunelegants of Pinkadindy. Similar scenatas are projectilised from Hullulullu, Bawlawayo, empyrean Raum and mordern Atems.
Even through all the portmanteau words we can discern the core themes of annihilation, molecules, atoms, projectiles, the Micronesian islands used for testing nuclear weapons, and so on. The ‘abnihilisation of the etym’ is the annihilation of etymology, i.e. the annihilation of origin or life itself. The link to etymology (the study of the origin of words) retrieves the ancient Greek Logos or Word as a divine organising principle. The reference to ‘mordern Atems’ and ’empyrean Raum’ directs our attention to the atom, Athens and Rome. Joyce is establishing a direct link to ancient Greece and Rome as wastelandsannihilated by new technologies.
What does this signify? The splitting of the atom and the harnessing of the atom’s power represents mankind’s discovery and control of the ‘origin and ordaining pattern’ of the universe itself. We have gone further than Prometheus (who merely stole fire from the gods) and taken the Crown Jewels from the King of the Gods – the secret of the nuclear. We sucked the energy from Jupiter’s thunderbolt.
Although most believe there are only ten thunders in the Wake, there are in fact two more. The eleventh is simply “Thud!” and reflects the consequences of the Tenth Thunder and Jupiter’s impotence as he releases a thunderbolt containing neither lightning nor thunder. The “Thud!” is the noise it makes as it falls harmlessly to earth. The computer – developed as a weapon of war – shared the same womb as the atomic bomb, and so the eleventh thunder is the electronic, digital age – the age of the device, the network, the internet, the Global Digital Unconscious which has opened up the unconcious to conscious examination for the very first time.
And the Twelfth Thunder? A clue is provided in the story of Walter and the lion, a retelling of the first of Hercules’ twelve labours and symbolic of new technological development. Another clue is the reference to Nick Cave or ‘Old Nick’ – the Prince of Darkness, the Devil himself. The Wake is cyclical – it starts and ends in the Garden of Eden. The Twelfth Thunder is, therefore, also the First Thunder.
The Twelfth Thunder is the Fall of Man.
Symbolically, the global response to Cecil’s killing as an act of cowardice rather than heroism suggests a desire to reintegrate an animal instinct that was previously restrained – that we wish to become less civilised. This aspiration is perfectly consistent with our new tribal existence in a world shrunk to the size of a Global Village by modern technology. A symbolic return to the Garden of Eden – a world in which the lion may lie down with the lamb – is a perfect expression of this change in consciousness. This time, however, we’re going back to the Garden fully conscious and with our eyes open. We are not the naive Adam and Eve of the Old Testament. The Twelfth Thunder may put an end to many of modernity’s ‘civilising myths’, but it may also be the beginnings of a Europa-ean Renaissance.
And another manifestation of synchronicity over at Merovee.
Thanks to Roobeedoo2 and Elena on Merovee for providing the links to Europa and the CNN Florida story.
Yesterday, NASA announced the discovery of Earth 2.0, the Kepler space telescope’s latest revelation and the first Earth-like planet known to be orbiting a star similar to our own sun. A mere 1,400 light years away – just a trip down to the chemist in astronomical terms – it’s perfectly understandable that John Jenkins, data analysis lead at Nasa’s Ames Research Center, would be quoted as saying:
“It’s a real privilege to deliver this news to you today. There’s a new kid on the block that’s just moved in next door.”
The very fact we can refer to our new neighbour in these terms is a reflection of the time/space compression brought about by our technologies. Our ability to communicate at light speed, using the medium of light itself, has (as Marshall McLuhan observed decades ago) shrunk the planet to a Global Village. In the same manner, our technological ‘outerings’ have amplified and extended our senses, allowing us to penetrate further and further into outer space. At one and the same time, they have also enabled us to peer deeper and deeper into inner space – the mysterious world of the unconscious. As I wrote in Definition and Manifesto:
In his seminal work “The Gutenberg Galaxy”, Marshall McLuhan defined the unconscious as a “slagheap of rejected conscious”. In his view, what we call the ‘unconscious’ is a product of a ‘closing down’ of the senses, which is itself the result of the re-prioritising of the senses via technology.
The visual stress of the product of Gutenberg’s invention – the printed book – resulted in the deprioritisation of our other senses: oral, aural, olfactory and tactile. Unsuited to purely visual processing, the experiences engendered by these other senses became part of a repressed unconscious. Consequently, the unconscious became something dark and alien to us. Unlike tribal man, we literally lost touch with it as lived experience: as ‘walkabout’, as rite of passage, as a tribal dance based on a harmony of all the senses.
Associated with this transformation of the real world into science fiction is the reversal now proceeding apace, by which the Western world is going Eastern, even as the East goes Western. Joyce encoded this reciprocal reverse in his cryptic phrase: ‘The West shall shake the East awake/ While ye have night for morn.’ The title of his Finnegans Wake is a set of multi-leveled puns on the reversal by which Western man enters his tribal, or Finn, cycle once more, following the track of old Finn, but wide awake as we enter the tribal night — Marshall McLuhan
The electric and electronic revolutions changed all this. Our new technologies are not primarily visual mediums. We interact with them, we stroke and gesture with them – they have become extensions of our atrophied audile-tactile senses. The purely visual is losing its dominance as digital technologies usurp the role of the printed word. We are becoming tribal again. The environments created by these technologies are extensions of the unconscious itself. Hitherto, we could only access the unconscious through the dream, the ecstatic vision, the terrifying hallucination. Today we can interact with and explore it directly and consciously through mediums such as the internet. It is no coincidence that the term ‘medium’ is associated with the spiritual, the occult – the hidden.
Nor for that matter is it coincidental that on the same day NASA announces the discovery of Earth 2.0 news stories emerge to provide the first images of the Amazon’s last ‘lost’ tribe. The tribe in question has slept through the Renaissance and three entire revolutions: Industrial, Electric and Electronic. Only now has it fallen under the electric eye – the ‘squiddie’ – of digital technology.
For 600 years the Mashco Piro clan – also known as Cujareno people – have lived in the forest in Peru close to the border with Brazil and had no contact with the outside world.
The point I’m building up to here is best left unsaid, best stated symbolically instead.
Taken through a telescope, this is the tribe suspended in space as Planet Earth, looking and pointing back to us just as we gaze at it. It is a mirror image, and represents the reintegration, of the conscious and the unconscious, the tribal and non-tribal.
The visual stress of the printed word hypnotised us and put us to sleep: hypnosis is brought about by the focused attention of a single sense and the reduction of other sensory inputs to the periphery of consciousness. The transistor and the electronic reharmonises our senses and wakes us up again. The discovery of Earth 2.0 by the Kepler space telescope reflects this perfectly: its designation as Kepler 452 puts it exactly one degree above Farenheit 451 – the temperature at which paper autoignites.
Earth 2.0 isn’t ‘out there’ in space – it’s us in inner space reconnecting with the Lost World of the unconscious and becoming tribal again. And the startling synchronicity of these two seemingly disparate events is such that we have to wonder about the source of the messages…
Voices and other sounds. Can you hear me now? This is Planet Earth. You’re looking at Planet Earth. Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba…
The ancient Egyptians believed that a human soul was made up of five parts: the Ren, the Ba, the Ka, the Sheut, and the Ib….The ‘Ba’ was everything that makes an individual unique, similar to the notion of ‘personality’. (In this sense, inanimate objects could also have a ‘Ba’, a unique character, and indeed Old Kingdom pyramids often were called the ‘Ba’ of their owner). The ‘Ba’ is an aspect of a person that the Egyptians believed would live after the body died, and it is sometimes depicted as a human-headed bird flying out of the tomb to join with the ‘Ka’ in the afterlife.