October 2-12, 2011
Hello JFR and Mark-
After a small bit of searching, I found an article in WIRED which tuned me into the fact that both of you two gentlemen know each other, and after reviewing old blog entries in the Wiz Blog, I realized that I have read many of JFR's responses in the comments section back when I happened to have joined in this mystery called Kubrick.
iAhuasca, as Mark knows, refers to my experiments listening to Dark Side of the Moon on an iPod at movie theaters. My first foray was the sixth Harry Potter film, but the results really broke through with the Deathly Hallows films. I exclusively used Dark Side, except for choosing Daydream Nation for The Fighter for some reason.
Anyways, Mark and I have been sharing our experiences with a theory of Mark's called The Tensor, which involves three distinct Pink Floyd albums, and three Kubrick films. Mark can fill you in about this.
As I have continued with this obsession, I have stumbled upon a combination of music and film that satisfies the elements of iAhuasca, The Tensor, and the entire mystery that surrounds this field. It also happens to be the most marketable in my opinion.
I want to share this arrangement with you both, although I have a firm belief that it could be discovered by both of you independently, an experiment that could also provide very fruitful results.
Please share your thoughts with me. This is EPIC, and as Mos Def knows, "Epic is epic".
I ask myself, why involve someone else? There's something about the Tensor that involves THREE, and since this guy actually screened the Shining Backwards/Forwards, he seemed like the logical extension.
Please let me know your thoughts on the three alignments I have detailed. I firmly believe that the dynamics fit into the Tensor theory, albeit modified, but without edits. I'm kinda going crazy without any informed feedback on these. I know that you have time constraints and real world responsibilities, but please keep me posted with your experiences with these.
What an interesting turn of events. John Fell Ryan is an e-friend of mine going back at least a couple of years. He is very cool and whip-cracking smart. If you think you can interest him in this experiment, I am totally cool with it.
I am sorry I have taken so long to get back to you. I feel quite nervous about starting again, and I have avoided the computer like it was the plague. I can't seen to find the right head space. I don't know why this is, but I think it is related to the long break I have taken.
I am doing the triple synch as soon as I send this mail. I believe you recommended DSOTM as the first musical choice for the 3 way play. When I have finished it, I'll drop a line for further instructions.
you could easily document these syncs using a videocamera. including real-world location and time-of-day as caught in screen reflection for reference.you know about this guy: http://www.youtube.com/user/iamaphoney#g/c/3DB7371263F724FE
PS: sirius about the Egyptian ... used to be the usher there
I can relate to the hesitation. I hope your experience with the triple synch will impact you much in the same way it has me. I think you will find that the triple synch is an absolute overload, but worth it as it hints at the underlying majesty of this mystery.
Please reference the list of Floyd/2001/Shining synchs I sent to you and JFR, as they are the product of a lot of time and effort, and absolutely overwhelm the mind, and, to me, are the perfect balance between all modes of synch, in my humblest of opinions. I am in a fairly ragged state, as these viewings continue to gel into something that is preposterously brilliant. The sequence of events that have surrounded this distillation has been equally profound. Dig it bro.
I have just finished the DSOTM triple and we are on the same wavelength. I am overwhelmed, but at the same time, this method has revealed things I would have otherwise missed. I will need at least a few viewings before it sinks in. As for your other timings, I will most certainly be doing them. So far, you have not failed to be dead on target. I suspect these viewings will take a couple of days. I am interested in your ideas for the direction of this project.
You're going to really enjoy the next few days my friend. It's almost like seeing it all for the first time, and, hearing it all for the first time. Take your time, as I have found that, like a psychoactive brew, the mind/body has a certain tolerance, and the effects are better with some time taken between experiences. As for the set of three timings I have sent, I recommend doing only one a day, with Meddle first, then The Wall the following day, and finally Dark Side. I know it may sound silly, but it maintains a certain allegiance to the iAhuasca formula.
It's great to hear from you, this work can do strange things while in a certain kind of isolation.
Last night, after doing the triple play, I had very vivid dreams--the most vivid and deep in many years. I will do the timings as you have instructed, over the next three nights, after the roomie is gone to bed.
I noticed many new wonders on my first triple. Two stand out. Of the three films, the most light saturated is The Shining. It literally shines. Also, I was stricken with the similarity in the tone and staging of EWS and The Shining. The thematic structure of these two are remarkably alike.
I am looking forward to doing those timings, and I will do as you have instructed and take it slow, over the next three nights. Last night, after doing the triple play, I had the most vivid dreams I have had in many years. Vivid, deep and dark.
I wanted to comment on one aspect of the triple that I noticed. I am very careful with my color and light balance setting on TV and PC. Of the three films, the most "exposed" is The Shining. The Shining literally shines. I also note that of the three EWS and The Shining appear to be the same movie. Very revealing.
Yes! I also noticed an added clarity to my own dreamstate. I'm very happy that you shared that aspect, as I believe that these arrangements are clues to understanding what modern media does to the brain.
I'm going to hold back comments until after you take in the first of the three tonight. I'll be up late working at the bar, so feel free to send comments after.
Did part one of your timings last night, but I couldn't start until very late and was too tired to really appreciate it. I'll try it again today.
I'd like to share with you the dream I had last night, written as I awoke:
"UFO in the sky, appears like a white XBox, takes control of my body and propels me through a window into the sky. I understand that to achieve height and speed, I must not fight the energy, but submit to it's momentum. I am being carried only as high as the tree tops, until I arrive at an industrial area, where I fly low to the ground at increasing speed towards a Green Wall. As my speed increases I realize the UFO is intending me to smash headfirst into the wall. At the last second, I lower my head and lead with my shoulder in an attempt to break through the wall. I slam into it breaking skin and bones. I am in fear more than pain, and then shudder at the realization of my mistake.
I then arrive at the restaurant where I work. I recognize that I have completely forgotten that I had worked and closed the night before, and I am uncertain at the condition I have left it in. This confusion signals to me that I am either in a dream, or simply unconscious from the crashing into the Green Wall. I enter the restaurant and as I race in I hear it stop. I am in the kitchen at this point, and I sense that I am not alone. I shout to scare away whoever it is, and turn the corner to see a 12 year old African child. I tell him to run away, when I realize his father is behind me with a bat. It is at this point that I question whether I am not in a dream or a reality, but finally trapped in infinite regression, eternally falling through nightmarish scenarios.
As I come to, in a hospital bed, I ask a friend if there was any significance to the Green Wall. He tells me yes, it was the Green Door, it is spoken of in the Manual. It is official, I am not ready yet."
Lucid, clear, exhilrating, but dark.
This mail should be read a little slowly, while listening to the following track.
What a kick ass dream. I would offer an interpretation with the caveat that my impressions are exactly that--"impressions"--and not more. Lately, I have been increasingly cynical about the legitimacy of any proposed "meaning". But nevertheless, I remain firmly transfixed to the "potential" for meaning. So here goes...
First,we see the beginning of the dream as a standard archetypal portal into the dream state.
The most important feature of your account is found in the second paragraph, where you remark that you "..."hear it stop...". This is interesting because you do not explain just what it is you have heard. Now, you may feel, upon this reading, that you now remember what you "heard" in the dream, but because the original account is fresh, this anomaly must not be explained away.
So it seems that "sound" is a critical element. In the prior account, the main sound event appears to be the collision with the Green Wall. (I can attest from experience that in the immediacy of a violent injury, the sensation of sound is overpowering). So it seems, by linear ordering, that the "sound" that "stops" is the sound of your body being broken against the Green Wall. Keep this idea in mind.
The next key is your arrival at work, which is a place of amusement. As a restaurant, it is also a place of "rest". The uncertainty of the state of the place and of your contribution to that state is mirrored when you later awake to your friend who says you are "not ready". Hence, you are not "at rest".
As you are aware, color in dreams is of the utmost significance and the one color you declare is Green. Now there is a leap here, but we'll connect the gap in a minute, so hang on. The color Green of your dream is the same as the green "zero" on a roulette wheel. The "rest-aurant" is "the casino" or more appropriately "The House". The ball on the wheel is spinning (this is the momentum of your prior account) and it comes to rest on green zero. The sound of your bones and scrapes is the sound of the ball cluttering as it loses speed and falls into the green slot. As you are both the "ball" (body) and "house/restaurant" (universal self), and because we infer that you are "uncertain" and "not ready", and at last because you awake "in hospital" as if from some earthly injury or disease, we conclude that you are unprepared for Death/The Wall/The Green Zero. You are not Jack in the Green Maze, you are Danny (dna) in the Hospital/Hotel. Recall the deleted finale to The Shining, in which Ullman visits Danny in hospital and returns to him the tennis ball.
OK, here is the linking data. Take a look at the image of the Rider Waite "Wheel".
We discern that "Wall" becomes "Wheel" and also "Weal". The "manual" your friend invokes is the Tarot itself. The depth of the term "manual' is wildly improbable, and well worth a lecture on its own merit.
The bat wielding Dad and his Child are the the Sphinx. Recall the riddle of the sphinx, which is a analogy of the normal human life cycle. The Dad with his "bat/sword of deliverance" is Death and his Black Child is the reborn Osiris. To quote Crowley: "Osiris is a Black God".
So, at least according to this P.I., your dream is reckoning with the mystery of Death and a firm message you are not ready. In this fact you are not alone--for who among us is ready for Nothing.
I want to say a quick word about our project. You have noticed a depression in the frequency of my contribution. I do not feel I owe an explanation, but I would like to give one. First, I remain completely committed to the project and to our partnership. Also, up to this point, I have completed every timing you have suggested, and investigated every lead you have forwarded. I have no intention of stopping that practice now. You can count on the fact that a) I will follow up and b) that I have great trust in your ability in regard to this work.
I make my living as a d-list entertainer, and I take work when it is available. Because of my low brow talents, the overwhelming majority of my work is done during the dreaded "Christmas Party Season". Added to this, my beloved nephew is visiting from China, where he works as a Christian Bible Thumper (what can I say, the kid is a whack job, but I love him). I haven't seen him in 2 years and here is here for the next month, so I will be busy there too.
So that, along with a few annoying seasonal concerns, is my main excuse for what may appear as my flagging interest these days. I hope you feel assured that I remain attached and fascinated for the long haul.
Thought I'd drop a line re: the overlapped The Shining JFR sent you. Holy Shazbot, Batman... it is the funking shiznit. And of course... I did it to Meddle. Simply awesome.
Very cool to learn you are from the Second City. I have strong feeling about the importance of Chicago as it relates to the dawn of the millennium. I have visited once, in the late 70's, and got a malted at an old school pharmacy in Grayslake, where I was staying. True Rockwell Americana. I'll never forget it.
On Wednesday, I have a free day, and I plan to look at all three of your timings, unless you think I ought to do them one at a time. I have a whole ten hours alone, so I'd like to see what it's all about.
'll say this in regards to the timings: I've been trying to get some consistency from my mac book and DVD player. The timer on the DVD is slower. I need to find a way to get this into a perfect alignment, which I believe is possible. Doubt has an amazing way of creeping into anything I do.
Despite this, I recommend viewing The Wall timing and I think you'll see what I'm going for. If it goes perfectly, the door slamming in One of My Turns should synch up with Wendy slamming the door on Jack.
I have faith that you will recognize the key synchs. Let me know.
I just can't get this to gel. Check out my timing for the Wall for sure, tell me what you think. My brain is fried.
My brain might be literally bleeding. I'm slowly crawling out of this abyss but I need some help. Mark is going to watch my timings, would love for JFR as well.
I really need a professional editing eye to grasp the connections and align this bitch because I can't do it with MacBook/SONY DVD/iPod. At least not to the specs that I envision.
This superimposition is daunting, I almost threw up ingesting it.
I have had some major breakthroughs with incorporating Kubricks love for Thomas Mann's "The Magic Mountain" and Steven King's assumed lifestyle during the writing of The Shining (think of the elevators as nostrils).
Here's a coupla quotes:
"As the tall, thin man in his mid-40s lay unconscious on the floor of his office, his eyes shut tight and his shirt-front soaked with blood, the silence of the night all around him was broken only by the shrieks of the bats which haunted the rafters of his vast Victorian mansion.
The scene was like something out of a novel by that master of the macabre Stephen King, ironic given that the comatose figure was none other than King himself - dead to the world after drinking countless cans of beer and snorting so much cocaine that his ravaged nose had become a gushing crimson fountain. "
"We must also remember Kubrick’s flirtation with Jung’s concept of coincidence as sign of larger forces at work in the world as basis for hope in higher, beneficent powers. This provided some psychological compensation for his basic Freudian pessimism about a cold, indifferent universe, a universe that most recently and horribly had permitted the Holocaust."
Re: Magic Mountain
"What Castorp learns to fathom is that all higher health must have passed through illness and death. [...]. As Hans Castorp once says to Madame Chauchat, there are two ways to life: One is the common, direct, and brave. The other is bad, leading through death, and that is the genius way. This concept of illness and death, as a necessary passage to knowledge, health, and life, makes The Magic Mountain into a novel of initiation."
Closely connected to the themes of life and death is the subjective nature of time, a leitmotif that recurs throughout the book. Thus Chapter VII, entitled "By the Ocean of Time", opens with the narrator asking rhetorically, "Can one tell – that is to say, narrate – time, time itself, as such, for its own sake?" Mann's authorial (and ironic) response to the question posed is, "That would surely be an absurd undertaking...", before going on to compare storytelling to the act of music making, with both described as being alike in that they can," ...only present themselves as a flowing, as a succession in time, as one thing after another..." .
This structure reflects the protagonists’ thoughts. Throughout the book, they discuss the philosophy of time, and debate whether "interest and novelty dispel or shorten the content of time, while monotony and emptiness hinder its passage". The characters also reflect on the problems of narration and time, about the correspondence between the length of a narrative and the duration of the events it describes.
This structure reflects the protagonists’ thoughts. Throughout the book, they discuss the philosophy of time, and debate whether "interest and novelty dispel or shorten the content of time, while monotony and emptiness hinder its passage". The characters also reflect on the problems of narration and time, about the correspondence between the length of a narrative and the duration of the events it describes.
Mann also meditates upon the interrelationship between the experience of time and space; of time seeming to pass more slowly when one doesn't move in space. This aspect of the novel mirrors contemporary philosophical and scientific debates which are embodied in Heidegger's writings and Einstein's theory of relativity, in which space and time are inseparable. In essence, Castorp's subtly transformed perspective on the "flat-lands" corresponds to a movement in time.
Magic and mountains
The titular reference to mountain reappears in many layers. The Berghof sanatorium lies on a mountain not only geographically, but also figuratively, a reclusive, separate world. The mountain also represents the opposite of Castorp's home, the sober, business-like and (for Joachim Ziemssen) mortal "flatland."
The first part of the novel culminates and ends in the sanatorium's Carnival feast. There, in a grotesque scene named after Walpurgis Night, the setting is transformed into the Blocksberg, where according to German tradition witches and wizards meet in obscene revelry; also described in Goethe's Faust I. At this event, Castorp finally woos Madame Chauchat; their subtle conversation is almost wholly performed in French.
Another topos of German literature is the Venus Mountain (Venusberg) that also appears in Richard Wagner's opera Tannhäuser. This mountain is a "hellish paradise," a place of lust and abandon, where Time flows differently: the visitor loses all sense of time, and though he thinks his stay only lasts a few hours, when he finally leaves the mountain, seven years have passed. Also Castorp, who originally planned to stay for three weeks, leaves the Berghof only after seven years.
In general, the inhabitants of the Berghof spend their days in a mythical, distant atmosphere, full of references to fairy tales and sagas: The x-ray laboratory in the cellar represents the Hades of Greek mythology, where Medical Director Behrens acts as the judge and punisher Rhadamanthys and where Castorp is but a fleeting visitor, like Odysseus. Behrens compares the cousins to Castor and Pollux, Settembrini compares himself to Prometheus. Frau Stöhr mentions Sisyphus and Tantalus, albeit confusedly.
The culmination point of the second part of the novel is perhaps the – still "episodic" – chapter on Hans Castorp's blizzard dream (in the novel simply called "Snow"), where the protagonist gets into a sudden blizzard, beginning a death-bound sleep, dreaming at first of beautiful meadows with blossoms and of lovable young people at a southern seaside; then of a scene reminiscent mainly of a grotesque event in Goethe's Faust I ("the witches' kitchen" , again in Goethe's "Blocksberg chapter"); and finally ending with a dream of extreme cruelty – the slaughtering of a child by two witches, priests of a classic temple. According to Thomas Mann's interpretation in the text, this represents the original, but deathly-destructive force of nature itself.
Of course, finally Hans Castorp awakens in due time, escapes from the blizzard, and returns to the "Berghof". But rethinking his dreams he concludes for the moment that "because of charity and love, man should never allow death to rule one's thoughts." Hans Castorp soon forgets this sentence, so for him the blizzard-event remains a pure interlude. But for Thomas Mann himself the sentence (which throughout the whole novel is the only one in italics) remains important, and so he states it, for personal consequences and for his readers."
"Chauchat" or "hot cat" is Blake's Tyger-Tyger, burning bright ... or as Eliot would say, Christ the Tiger ... chilled atop Kubrick's Holy Mountain as T.O.N.Y. boxed in Frosted Flakes. Think of another feline trickster, The Pink Panther, emerging from the hot mess of space, smoking a lazy spliff, chased by a chalk-white nose-man. Say hello to my little friend!
Kubrick reduced King's (Christ?) bestseller as the snowblind shining of Mann's (the Baptist?) true view.
I apologize if my emails have been a bit erratic. I need to step away from this for a bit, the brain is filled with numbers, images, backwards forwards. I'm just fried. Hopefully you can zero in on what I have seen in this arrangement.
I was having a little trouble getting the message. Tonite, after completing The Wall timing you suggested, I felt disappointed. Then I opened your mail and looked at the images and I got it right away. My trouble has been looking at the images side by side. I need to see them one atop the other, as in your stills. Unfortunately, this will be a bit of a hassle for me to set up, as I have no laptop and my computer monitor is on a desk with no shelves to place another monitor "on high". I've got an idea to set up this way, but will have to move my computer again. As far as your state of mind... it is no wonder your head is spinning, with your job, studies and the looming nature of our colossal project. Perhaps you need the chill that I have enjoyed this last several weeks. Bit of a vay-cay, as it were. The way as I see... we've got all the time we need, or nowhere near enough time. Suchly, it is always cool to take a little breather and enjoy a bit of "normalcy". This is a mother of a monolith before us... it isn't going anywhere.
October 30-November 6, 2011
Feeling revived and refreshed...complete detox, mentally and physically. Been sober and nutritiously disciplined, at the gym nearly every day.
I had the opportunity to expose an old high school friend to a viewing of Wall/2001/Shining, and I was delighted by his feedback. He had never heard the Wall, and only viewed each movie a couple of times. His interest was deep, and he shared an excitement at the mystery.
Somehow, I feel as though I can now move confidently into the next phase of my life, get my first job as an RN, and allow myself to let the future of this project evolve at a more mundane pace. It was an extraordinary summer of deep space, and I am not kidding when I say I feel very lucky to be alive. Hope you are well my friend.
I sat at the computer for the first time in three days for the express purpose of sending you a mail, so it is good to see a note from you. I am glad to hear pretty much everything from your mail, and it makes my response a billion times easier. I rate the discoveries of our friendship to be among a handful of the most shattering and inspiring events of my 46 trips around the sun. Lately, for a variety of reasons, many of which I have shared with you, I have been feeling something close to authentic nihilism. I am in a very dark place, but it seems natural. Not like depression or regret, this state, which has developed since my visit to Japan, is more akin to the dawning awareness that everything I know is somehow wrong. You have lightened my spirits, for which I am thankful. I wish to--need to--continue our work, but I am glad you feel as you do, because these days, I am dragging around like a 17 year old house-cat. Don't get me wrong here, I am doing OK, and like you i am very glad to be alive. I used to be an alpinist, and I am accustom to the thrill of a dangerous climb becoming, for a time, a deserted plateau or a knee crunching descent. I have worried that you would become frustrated by my desultory nature, and I suppose that could happen still. But for now, it seems that you are cool and that is a great relief to me. I do not want to lose our friendship, but as my few friends know, I trend egregiously toward the hermetic. I am disappointed by the response of JFR. We have chatted over the years and I admire his talent, but I can't break through to the person enough to get a bead on him. I think you are onto something that we need a third mind, but I don't think it is JFR. However, I do think I know just the right man for the job. His name is Jon Kidd, and he is a real mensch. I have talked to him once on the phone. He is young and has bitchin' Kubrick knowledge. If you agree, I'll drop him a line. In the meantime, I'll try and find some of his work and send you a link.
This work is hermetic work, so we both fit the mold. I know that I personally could not have accomplished the work of the last year if I had a roomate or a girlfriend, or any relationship that would have necessitated too much "quality time". My dark nights of the soul are awful at times, especially when I am convinced that their nature is the bedrock of reality. But I must cling to my faith, ANY faith, at all costs. I hope you aren't feeling too beat up from the battle.
JFR is sharp, but he knows he's sharp, and I doubt he has any room for anyone else in his head. He may prove to be valuable down the road, but at this time he doesn't strike me as someone into the WORK. Just my limited impression.
A third person, the right third person should provide some welcome momentum, and illuminate dark corners that may elude us. I'm all for your judgement in this.
I have been retracing my steps, rereading McLuhan, Joyce, and commentary on Finnegans Wake, as well as your essays on Kubrick (as well as other Kubrick sites). In this retracing, i realized that the concept that truly opened up the next phase of understanding for me is that of the hypercube.
So, in reresearching, I stumbled upon a website that discussed the tesseract (hypercube):
"We are watching several projections of a point moving in four dimensional space. Unfortunately, we can't show all four dimensions in the picture at once, so we show more than one view, and piece together the information in both panels to understand what is going on in 4-dimensions."
I guess the next step for me is to hammer out a mental outline of where I am and what I am thinking so that we can synchronize our psychic watches. Great to hear from you.
Wow Bill, Thank you for the awesome response. I literally feel ten years younger reading your mail. You have proven over and over a kind of level headed intelligence and empathy that I strive for in my own life, with very limited success. I await your mental outline and in the meantime, I will devise my own agenda and send you an outline to make my case. I will talk to Jon Kidd to see if he is interested.
On page 8 of JSB's essay "One Shot of The Shining", he comes so close, with the paragraph starting "Side note:...". He senses and knows the interlocking, but, to our knowledge, never completely goes there (because it is too literal, too simple?).
The interlocked 2001/Shining revealed to me countless elements that were hidden, but none so obvious as Wendy's pregnancy (horror, final elevator of blood, fetus). This inherently female horror is not usually "shined" by this male dominated field, but it's truth is revealed through the union of both films. The fact that she was most likely raped is another theme expressed during "Young Lust" in the Wall.
I remember reading JSB's essays, and I like his approach. I'm seeing a lot more in there that I missed before, like noting connections to Magic Mountain. All of these arrows pointing towards this are there, just so much clearer. I highly recommend reading about Magic Mountain, I downloaded Donald Blevins annotated writings.
One of the biggest whoppers between Magic Mountain and Kubrick that almost certainly seals the deal completely, is the perfect symmetry between the scene where Jack approaches the naked woman in 237, and Bowman is replacing a perfectly good BOX. Both boxes are dark, rather small.
These two Boxes are examined closely by Jack and Bowman, one penetrated by tongue and one by x-rays.
In the Magic Mountain, the main character Hans Castorp keeps an X-Ray of his temptress Claudia Chauchat in his bedroom.
You are blowing my mind dude... I think you are the first observer in the history of my research to shock me with his own discovery. All any other has managed is to confirm my own preexisting gut feeling. Seriously, seriously fucking wicked, dude. I desperately want to set up your timings, but it is a challenge, because I find I can not concentrate on the side by side image. I need to see it one atop the other and I don't have the furniture to set it up, or a lap top to make it easy. I have an idea: a tray on top of my computer monitor that can hold the weight of a small digital TV, but I have lagged on this. I am so immediately riven by your data that I think I am going to give it a try right fucking now. I just re-read your mail and holy holy fuck of fucks is it brilliant. I am literally tingling with fear and curiosity. I will make this happen, and that right soon. It gets tricky here. I had no intention of talking to you today, or doing any damned thing other than vegging out. I am a very fragile guy and a hardass loner. Not the sort of loner who is bitter he ain't cool, or the sort who doesn't like folks, or the sort afraid of folks(maybe a little), but the sort who simply prefers to be alone alot of the time. A whole lot. That is what I meant when I said I was hermetic. It is been a day or so since I have opened the net--I was gonna facebook my nephew to recommend a film I liked. Lately, I avoid the computer exactly to avoid you, but I must now propose what I have been shying from for a long time... or a least a safe introduction to the subject. Not TMI, just what you need to know right now. The rest--all of it--later, and only if you wish. It is self evident that you and I don't know each other very well. Such discussion trends fiercely into metaphysics--for who can really say they "know" another soul. I know that I can not make such a claim. Nevertheless, I do have deductions about you, and in many a regard. It doesn't matter if these are correct or not, because I must reconcile my own feelings on the matter. Nor do I entertain that it is even remotely likely that you might be able to alleviate my questions about you, in spite of your own legitimate earnestness. I say all of this to clarify that from this point and as it widens, things might get weird, dicey and maybe dangerous. You have followed Da WWWiz fairly closely, so you may be aware that I have made overtures to the exact kind of relationship that you and I now share. Indeed, such is a driving motivation for the blog in the first place... which explains why I have stopped all research and writing outside of our exchange. I emailed Jay Weidner about the Big 3 timings, but I regretted it at once, and it went nowhere. To understand, you must realize that I do not engage in manipulative flattery, and what I am saying here is not hyperbolic. I am increasingly disturbed by the emerging picture of your "wild talent", and it scares me with delight of a kind I am not sure I want to be party to, and which I have earlier plumbed with difficult results. And yet I feel committed by fate, by desire, and by my inherent peculiarity. Moreover, I am not an histrionic. The simple truth is that for me this stuff is perilously close to a living fire, and therefore must be regarded in the coldest and most critical sense. I examine only my "direct" experience by experiment and the well known record of the history of the process, which I can and will report to you with precise honesty, and finally to the rational inferences that can be drawn from therein. These inferences are awfully subtle, but you already know that, as you seem able to up the ante at will. You seem dialed into the grid. Cocked, locked and ready to rock--as it were--for a challenge of abysmal complexity. What is communicated in this note may read as cheaply dramatic. I am a showman by trade, but it is emperor's new clothes, my panache... gallows humor. The frequency of my emotion on this matter reduces me to awestruck jelly--a stunned gorilla--I shit you not. I have been at this missive for hours. I am beat. I have smoked non-stop. I was on my way to have a nap. No such luck. So here I can begin to make my point... This is not fun for me... the whole thing. My blog, my research, and my persistently feline curiosity. This is not to say that I don't "enjoy" and often thrill with the ever more dazzling intensity of discovery. It is not "fun" exactly because it is personal. Surgically personal. Previous efforts to make headway in this matter have faltered due to the nervous weakness of my own integrity. Oh, my heart was in the right place. But my thoughts were not, nor my guts. I simply could not allow myself to "go there"--into the belly of my conundrum. I created a pompous, mad scientist persona and flirted with my truth, hoping to tap-dance toward the light and steal the show. Nonsense and folly. In ten years, all I have done to solve a singular mystery can be considered of value because of our friendship. Only you have the eagle eye, the knowledge base, the fascination with Kubrick, and the open-mindedness and intellectual flexibility--all rolled into one. Maybe you're a genius, or a dedicated adventurer? I don't know. The kicker is your interest in me. For only you have tolerated my phlegmatic and skittish attitude, and with the perfect modulation, giving the impression that I am dealing with a real mensch who has a solid grown-up ego. You stand up for what you believe with the precise aptitude that you also listen and consider outside impression. But what is really in it for you, Bill? A satisfying challenge? A thirst for knowledge? Something more? In a nutshell and to inexpressible depth... you frighten me, and I am afraid that I like it. It is electric, and because you continue to zap me--awake me from slumber--without regard for my glaring delicacy, instability and deficient strangeness. It seems only fair that you should share the pain. Am I getting through to you? I am a fatalist, what happens is what happens, that is all there is to it. And thus I could drop it all right now without regret, this thing of ours. I lead a modest monastic life. Comfortable, but very, very far beneath anything like greed, power, or the slightest need for society, status or respect. I am a political centrist which means I don't care. I have a small family and I love them. I have two friends, who love me. I have a psychiatrist who maintains (for a decade) that he is the doctor I the patient. It is to laugh. I fancy that I could sustain contentment with life as it is for a millennium of more of the same. One quiet year, cycled over and over, never touching ground, with just the right amount of forgetfulness and irregular anomaly to give it my kind of tension. It's a dream I have. I am a dreamer who dreams for its own sake--beyond the desire for subjective meaning or sanctity or beauty or truth. I am happy with my own kind of peace--a Scholastic Punk, a lifer on the dole in what I hope is an eternally socialist shit-hole paradise of the North, with decent round-the-clock cable, a reliable black market, and good corn moonshine that ain't too pricey. No ritual, no value, no God... and the ship sails on. I reckon that so far this is about the best general image of the puzzle that can be managed under the constraint of brevity. During our discussion, I have been carefully truthful. I have glossed over some details about myself, to avoid delivering the dreaded TMI and fronted some exaggerated data to make a point more convincing, but I can stand by my words (to you) to within a hairs breadth of agonizing damnation. Given our talk thus far and along with this note, there are no big surprises in left in store. A few amusements, more or less. So I can at last wrap it up here, for the purpose of the message. But there is just one thing I haven't told you--that "surgically personal" event alluded to, that lurks offstage. When I tell you that it is connected-- intimately welded--to the nature of our study I am making a polite understatement. This shit, this event is real--horribly real to me--and it shocked into rude awareness a thousand details about first myself, and then one by one the bloody, murderous details of the human mystery. When it started, in mid to late 1999, it was profound and kinda spiritual. It felt like a sort of cleansing. I felt good about myself. Too good, but it was manageable. After a while, I started to confront a variety of sub-conscious demons. This emboldened me to explore the perimeter of my reality, and I acted out in ways that were socially inappropriate, stressful for my mom, sometimes confrontational, but with consistent integrity in matters of great emotional importance to me and others in my life. It got a little weird, but not too tragic, and for me it seemed necessary, sane, and of good value to me and those I loved. I suffered a near fatal injury in the summer of 2000 and things changed. I was very happy but I wanted to be alone, although I also tried to (and failed) to connect romantically and with friends. I was passionate and creative. I quit a long time well paying "safe job" to give myself more free time to think and watch TV, the pairing of which is an especially favorite activity. I took my old job playing piano up in the Yukon. It was a five month commitment, which would pay me enough to live on for about a year. I could do it every summer and live my dream life. It was here that IT happened. My life evolved, after 35 pointless and petty years, from a mundane series of seasonal changes and childish fantasies and into a complete fucking nightmare more quickly than I could imagine. From 88 mph with the top down and straight into the abyss in a matter of two minutes flat. I'll spare you the details, for now. I was soon declared legally mentally ill and shuffled like a zombie elephant through a circus of psychiatric hoops, in and out of forced care for two years. During this time I was asked to explain my predicament again and again. A certain mantra was gently proffered. "Mark, we understand you have suffered, but it is a behavioral event advanced by chemical imbalance. What you report is a delusion, a meaningless series of self-imposed references, strengthened by your intelligence, curiosity and prodigious memory". But I knew better. I know better, because it happened just as I know it did. That or I am truly and completely insane, unreachable, and what possible difference could that make? In an attempt at some comprehension of what had happened to me, I researched, wildly, madly, until I found a stream of thought that might have answers. I made overtures and met resistance. I balked repeatedly and died a thousand ugly, dingy deaths, learning awful secrets all along the way, things I used to think I wanted to know. I started Da WWWiz and when it got too hot I backed off and deleted a hundred pages of my best writing forever. Trying again I got in with the synchromystics and it was a botch. Switching into the Kubrick scene was a disaster--up in that school a student must be also a "fan". Time passed, voices dwindled, and my circles became smaller and smaller. Upon my return from Japan, I wanted to write about "Knight and Day", which I had seen while I was over there, in a rare trip to the cinema. Just had to go to the movies in Nihon. Five weeks and I went three times. Anyhow. I wanted to have fun with that article, really stretch my chops, and be silly at that same time. I pitched it to metaphilm and it took me three weeks to get it where I wanted, and it was a richly emotional process. I was proud of the result, sure, but to my amazement, both JFR and JSB wrote me to say that they loved it, that they thought I had found a unique voice and that I must continue writing. JSB (who is a brilliant writer and a really nice man) urged that I do something big at once. A book. He put me in touch with a publisher. metaphilm wanted more. But for me, it all felt wrong. I fell sick and became deeply depressed, and I didn't give a damn. I tuned out everyone. Everyone but you. My tormentor. For a short while, I imagined that our thing would be a chance at that book. A fine partnership. Maybe some buzz, maybe even a little cash. However, upon the auspice of what cracks up to be our second wave, I have a pause. For me and forever more, this affair is about one thing. What happened to me at lunchtime, sometime in the first week of July, 2001? What happened and how in the hell is it even possible? You have been a good friend thus far. For that I am grateful. But I am done pussy-footing. This is scary, dangerous, really dangerous, and way too fucking real to me. There is no reason I know to drag you into this, and I am not even sure I want to continue, but I will, and for just one reason. Because you insist. If you insist, I will have to continue, and I will do so not because you insist, but because if you do insist, it means something important. Something I don't understand, but that I must face. If you insist, I will forge ahead, with the soul of wit, a stiff upper lip, the strongest knees I can muster and in the spirit of what could be the greatest adventure and/or the worst horror either of us have yet to behold, and as friends in arms. Beyond such insistence from you, and we are done. What I promise is this. At your go ahead, I will explicate the detail of my puzzle. Not a Rousseau-esque confession, mind you. I don't want to share my bawdy tales, my perfunctory habits and quaint peccadillium, although some of this will be necessary to expose and I will try to keep it killer and no filler. What I share, to start, will be an outline of what happened and the stupefying connections to the subject before us. I don't want to bog you down with detail, but expose the shape of a colossus. You will recognize the veracity of my statements at once, and there is a reasonable chance, if you have represented yourself truly thus far, that you will be perturbed. You may wish you had never heard of me or Stanley fucking Kubrick. As stated, I'm pretty much 100% sure I have had enough of this for a very long time, maybe for good. I do not want to hurt people, or lose my precarious and precious peace of mind, so you must understand that this is real, and really risky. It may seem unfair that I put the chips on you in such a striking manner, but here it is, for once and for all... Do you need to know? Am I getting through to you? If you insist on knowing, if what I have proposed reaches you as real and vital and important, then return this message at your peril. The worst that could happen is bad. And I'm not talking some awkward stalking situation, where I won't stop pestering and you worry I might buy a ticket to Chi-Town and go postal on-yer-ass, or any less malevolent weirdness that demands that we meet in person. I almost never leave my home because I don't have to. I'm am done with new friends and almost all of the old ones. Leaving you alone will be easy as pi r squared. Rather, if I am right about this, what you learn may damage your happiness, and mine too. If I am right what I tell you may have a way into your mind. I threatens to rock your world, rock it into rubble, and you may not like it much. Or it could be the answer to the most important, elusive questions of existence. Your existence. Your life. Your life and mine in the bargain. All that remains is the mystery. If you insist as I have asked, as a matter of your own devices and desires, then it becomes fate, and we must go on. If you do not insist, we must part. Such is life my friend--seriously harmful to your health. I am tired and shaken, and need to retreat for now. If you reply, and I live to see next week, you will hear from me again.
Pax and Comfy Slax
Two things I avoid, two things that represent the danger of desire, in the Buddhist sense, are sex and violence. Hearts of darkness, hearts of light: the horror.
I have experienced death, as I know it, twice in my life. I have tried to kill myself once. I have tried to love everyone, and I have nothing. Nothing is selfish, but everything else is egotistical.
I have read your last email as carefully as I can. This is what I gather:
Mark LeClair died on July 4th, 2001, Independence Day. He was rejected at the Gates, he was shown proof beyond a shadow of a doubt, and he returned. A damaged, Gnostic zombie, abandoned at the altar. The corpse who fell to Earth. The WWW is Mark's attempt to understand why, and to gently and humorously inform the public about the nature of our nature.
To put it another way, a feline way, the Schroedinger Way: not satisfied with A, B, or A and B, you opened the Box. So far, every individual who has managed to actually open this Box, has found a
furry pile of rotting flesh. The hidden secret to Life: we are all Dead.
I say: Put the dead cat back into the Box. Now, we're right back where we started. Alive, and Dead, again. Maybe.
James Joyce opened that Box. He threw that cat back in, knowing he could never bring himself to opening that Box again. He just couldn't stand to find, to see and to smell that dead cat again. This didn't stop him from obsessing over the possibility of resurrection. What if the cat actually came back? Joyce needed X-Ray vision. And for someone who went blind, Joyce saw more than anyone one. McCluhan understood this about Joyce. Kubrick understood this as well. All of
Kubricks Major films document his X-Ray visionquest, his NC-17 Matrix. The point is this: the medium is the message. Reject content, focus on the medium. "X-Ray Vision" is the extension of man, and you can either accept it or reject it.
I'm rambling now...
My goal is to develop X-Ray vision so that I may start to see the world around me, and understand the lessons offered from our most wise and accomplished brothers and sisters. Hopefully, one day, I can also teach others, become a Rabbi. Jesus was a Rabbi. Buddha was a Rabbi. Mark LeClair, the Wrong Way Wizard, is a Rabbi.
Maybe, just maybe, for all you've taught me, for everything you have given me free of charge, I owe you something in return, and in order to balance my cosmic check book, I am supposed to teach you something back. I don't know what that is, I don't know if I can. I know that our working relationship is suffering because one of my greatest teachers hasn't published in a long long time. The Wiz blog has been vacant for months, and countless students are waiting to hear from
him, including me.
If teaching brings you too much pain, stop. If I bring you too much pain, this can stop.
I will not ask you for your confession. I will not invite the danger you describe to be brought upon myself, and to risk affecting the ones that I love. If I am truly naive, if I am truly swimming amongst
sharks, then this current refusal is weak, and, eventually, I will ask you for your secrets, and I will invite the danger that you assure me is real into my life. I guess we will find our answer one of these days.
Stay strong. I hope this brings some clarity, any clarity. All I ask is for a final goodbye if there is to be a goodbye.
"Let me present you with a metaphor. Let us say that there exists this very rich patron of the arts. Every day on the wall of his living room above his fireplace his servants hang a new picture - each day a different masterpiece, day after day, month after month - each day the "used" one is removed and replaced by a different and new one. I will call this process blogging along a linear axis. But now let us suppose the servants temporarily running out of new, replacement pictures. What shall they do in the meantime? They can't just leave the present one hanging; their employer has decreed that perpetual replacement - i.e. changing the pictures - is to take place. So they neither allow the current one to remain nor do they replace it with a new one; instead, they do a very clever thing. When their employer is not looking, the servants cunningly alter the picture already on the wall. They paint out a tree here; they paint in a little girl there; they add this; they obliterate that; they make the same painting different and in a sense new, but as I am sure you can see, not new in the sense of replacing it. The employer enters his living room after dinner, seats himself facing the internet, and contemplates what should be - according to his expectations - a new picture. What does he see? It certainly isn't what he saw previously. But also it isn't somehow...and here we must become very sympathetic with this perhaps somehow stupid man, because we can virtually see his brain circuits striving to understand. His brain circuits are saying, "Yes, it is a new picture, it is not the same one as yesterday, but also it is the same one, I think, I feel on a very deep intuitive basis....I feel that somehow I have seen it before. I seem to remember a tree, though, and there's no tree." Now, perhaps, if we extrapolate from this man's perceptual, mentational confusion to the theoretical point I was making about lateral change, you can get a better idea of what I mean; I mean, perhaps you can, to at least a degree, see that although what I'm talking about may not exist - my concept my be fictional - it could exist. It is not intellectually self-contradictory."
Phillip K. Dick