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An Open Letter to the New Invisibles

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You know, I've sported a stealth tin foil hat for the majority of my life now. You take the shapes you need to to navigate this labyrinth. But I'm tired of accepting the stigma given those who question authority, official narratives, and complacency in the face of clear corruption. Everyone is aware on some level that we have deep problems on this planet, regardless of how aggressive their denial or how oblivious they are through circumstance. I'm less concerned with blame and more interested in solutions. From now on I'll wear my crazy like a crown.

A lot of people think all the high strangeness flickering across their screens popped out of a Russian data bomb in election season, but this goes back as long as people. International intrigue, political theater, blackmail and bogeymen are just the ripples on the surface of very deep water. These things are symptoms. Conspiracy is an emergent property of civilization, or at least, this one. Curiosity is innate among the living. The streams cross for many, more all the time. Call it what you want, it's here to stay. This is the time of unveiling. The world's closets are having a skeleton liquidation, and everything must go! Even the status quo can't avoid it, though the main stream is full of red herrings.

In these post-truth times of fake news and faker news and pageantry and public ritual, it's all too much for just about anyone, probably by design. Weary folk don't have the juice to fight until their backs hit the wall. It's no wonder then that people escape ever deeper into the portable data-mining virtual reality portals we call "phones." It's no wonder so many people are wearing their stress on their sleeves, in their voice, in the eyes that won't meet yours. Once you start to see the bones of this world, you don't get to stop. I can't blame people for opting out.

I've accepted that we're sleepwalking as a species, with our dreams being harmonized to corporate interests. Some of us do fall awake long enough to see the weather on the horizon and add it to the storehouse of situational awareness. Sometimes all you can do is know, and do your best to avoid adding to whatever phantom showed itself for an instant. Possibly because of a history of insomnia and a comical number of near death and baffling spiritual experiences I've had a foot in both worlds a long time now. It's old hat to me, though even a seasoned crackpot like myself is shocked at the currents that are flirting with visibility. One gets a certain vertigo when dots grow together in the clear light.

I came from the days when one's introduction to the fringe came in the form of being curious in dusty used bookstores and prowling the text based ancestors of the Internet over land lines and I'll tell you, I do long for that innocence and simplicity at times. Now there are things like communities encircling the pursuit of truths, but in the little corners where people whisper or shout about what they find between the lines, we're in the days of AI shilling, hashtag erasure, YouTube jail and Google memory holes. The hive is aggressive and does not appreciate autonomy, despite what it might tell you in car commercials.

There's too much data being sprayed at us and collected on us. Demographics have been replaced by psychographics. The old pillars of the press are riddled with cracks. The new delivery systems have different agendas. There's too much news, fake or otherwise (it's a trick question). People are exhausted, and can barely keep up with the omnidirectional information overload. The signal to noise ratio is painfully bad.

The alphabet studios seem married to the alphabet agencies and the strain you hear in the voice of opposition comes from the choke chain around its throat. We keep trying to become the media by producing rather than consuming, but the mold is really stubborn in this tenement. Since you could set type and put ink on a page some stiff was ready with a pail of whitewash. There's always a new form of the old game, which is always to squelch all opposition to the narrative. These are strange days in what could become the slave new world if we keep hitting snooze on the consciousness clock. As long as people have been trying to figure out the shape of things behind the curtain there have been stubborn pests: disinformation campaigns, fear mongering, and people making a buck off dread.

But what's also been here the whole time is a that still small voice that waits for us to shut up and hear it, that gentle pulse of guiding light toward hope. And I see it in the damnedest places these days and I love to catch it working through us. The meme wars are real, and ancient, and will be won in good time. The shadowsphere is aging poorly, and it's running out of tricks to pull. With every generation comes a population of mutants upon which the old trance won't hold for long.

Whatever happened to us as individuals to re-awaken the thrust and thirst for truth, it seems the Great Work has been taken back from the would be architects who corrupted it. It seems it's being crowdsourced to us, the new eyes and ears of The Search. This time, it's spreading to other generations, new populations, and it is finding its way around the familiar traps.

Perhaps this turn in the great game the veils will be shredded for good. Perhaps this time, all the walls between us will come tumbling down at last. What world will we build then? It's hard to guess. But at least we can see what has been built around us, and do our best to learn as we transcend the damage done.

I am driven to know, even if I never can. I went deep into many rabbit holes that will be familiar to some of you. At times I was overcome with amusement at the absurdity of what I found and at other times got very sad and very scared at what I found there, pregnant as it was with the gravity of unspeakable apparent truth. But in these pitch dark tunnels, I found that I could see in a new way. I had discovered how to read the signs and symbols by my own light, to do my best to discern and decipher.

I wager so have you. Here we are in a domain that allows us to compare our views. What a time! We have all come from different directions and seek to uncover paths that do not always cross. Even when we employ our better natures and avoid petty conflicts, discord is sown to disrupt or for malice's sake. But this won't work forever. We don't need to be the same to work together. We can stick apart and compare notes. It may be the best way to work around the old traps.

We all take turns being the darkness as we look for the light. But we can't allow ourselves to stay divided. We all have some pieces of wisdom to trade. We are all here to help each other. As we cross paths and build maps, I hope we will collaborate rather than compete. Best to each of you and to us all. Keep digging, keep pulling weeds, and keep growing this garden. Day must always dance with night, but out of darkness cometh light!

Knock knock

Today I complimented an older gent ("Bob") on his choice of hat, as we had the same style. His wife told me it was a "newsboy" cap, and I do occasionally feel like I'm in that role. Then he told me it was also once worn by "powder monkies," little dudes who got Naval cannons ready for loading/firing. We are in something of a war, and I like to think I occasionally write something that preps somebody's cannon.

So, a little free novelty and amusement just for saying hello in there. My advice to you is once you're old enough to sort out and avoid the creeps, talk to strangers, especially those who carry the old knowledge. Never a waste of time.

Thanks, Bob!

The you inside you

The air is never truly still. The breeze sometimes spins up into wind, and the wind sometimes blows hard. It makes a racket and stirs up dust and brings clouds. And now and then it will snap branches off the tall trees and it will seem very dangerous.

But the trees survive and grow back, for their deep roots and trunks built from years and even decades or centuries give them great strength.

And you are like this, even when you do not know it.

The clouds bring rain, and the rain comes down. It washes away the surface of the ground even as it penetrates to feed the roots of the great trees. And there are great stones older than time with stories older than language. Their stories are of endurance, for the rain erodes the skin of the great stones but never threatens the deeper layers. Like the trees, their power comes from years, even eons of survival.

And you are like this, even when you cannot feel it.

Fear not the wind, nor the rain, nor the many other kinds of weather in the mind and in the heart. For they come and go, and you remain, and you grow wiser and more powerful. There is no limit to what you are, and any limits prescribed to you by others or adopted by yourself and the patterns of behavior and circumstance that follow their imprints are like wind and rain. They are to be endured, and learned from, even nourished by. They are not to be worshipped or obeyed.

The you that is there while these things come and go is the you that waits to be reclaimed. You are powerful, and solitude can speed recovery from the chaos of existence, but in the end, no one is truly alone. The connection to everything remains, waiting to serve where it is welcome. And at our best, we each become this service, and are thereby lifted above the great stones, above the great trees, and to a place where it all makes just a little bit more sense from the view of the birds.

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Ok, maybe we are all a little crazy.

A lifespan's worth of endured/engineered PTSD will do that I reckon. The permafrost of the national heart set in about 70 years ago with "The Quiet Generation" and never let up. Food production moved to Hell, war became constant, drugs and other coping mechanisms became ubiquitous. The family withered, friendship became ironic, and the quality of everything faded. We fired God, stopped listening to the elders and tuned out our kids. The memory of how it was before we split the atom and hired the enemy to save us from the enemy became a hungry ghost. 

This period feels like what alchemists called nigredo, a putrefaction following death in the stage before new life comes from the remains of the old form. Let us hope this is so, and act as if it is. The way out is through. The way back is forward. Love is, despite appearances.

In a world overrun by parasites, you must become indigestible.

Everybody is caught in the habit of pretending all is well even if they are each dragging a chain of thousand corpses through the deserts of their haunted hearts.

Everybody wears a mask and our great privilege and delight is to see and share glimpses of each other's true faces. Everybody takes turns being halfway through the bowels of things we don't discuss in polite company. Given all that, let's try to be kind, despite habit, despite conditioning, despite the hip-gnosis that blocks true sight.

Human beings and human doings will swell your heart and wring it dry. Somebody is bearing a weight you can't imagine. Somebody is carrying the seed of incredible good works and every horror bears the potential for redemption. Don't let the machine hijack your limbic system. There are ways of living off the pain of others. As the ant farms the aphid, as we farm the other animals, there are those that farm our darkness and encourage this dark mess. Starve 'em, say I.

Life is getting more complex, more bizarre, and therefore more terrifying. The lust for control born in the fear of pain and incubated in the Verbal Hologram we all soak in makes us crazy and our "leaders" madder than we can imagine. The truth is it's all on shuffle, balancing itself, and we are only in charge of our actions and reactions. We need not sell ourselves to cardboard cutouts or put our wrists out for hungry manacles. Freedom will not come from bowed heads.

We are driven by a need for order, but undulation is the law. You will get seasick in the waves of chaos from time to time. When you're ill and low and feeling chewed up, remember that there is a part of you that cannot be turned into fuel by the unspeakable and invisible. Try to identify with that and in the meantime, try to remember we're all in it.

Sunshine kills infection. Be radiant. And when you can't, make amends and start over. Learn to return. Give the things that would devour you so much gas it won't be worth the trouble. Catch yourself, moment to moment, cooperating with your psychic tapeworms, and stop short of the well-worn path. Step up and out, from circle to spiral. That way lies freedom. It's gradual, it's tedious, it's exhausting, but it's the cure.

Starting now, stop being food. Start finding ways to feed.

 

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..and I feel fine.

Today, September 23rd, 2017, is the end of the world. I saw it on the internet, so it's true. Never mind that it wasn't true 2 years ago the last time it was predicted. Never mind that every doomsday date is wrong since ever. Never mind that the Bible itself says don't bother setting dates because it doesn't work. It's a pity the doomslingers don't read that bit. Bad for business.

Somebody is selling the doomsday du jour for clicks or attention, citing the return of Planet X, or spooky shapes in the stars predicted by astrology they don't normally believe in, or the internet becoming self aware and turning all the butt-scanning toilets into laser guns or whatever. I've heard the boy cry wolf before, and paranoia is becoming passé as my hair and patience thin. I know I'm getting old because even the apocalypse is in reruns. Yawn.

Here's my 2 cents on the matter, as an MP3.

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We aren't crazy and we aren't doomed.

Our rising cultural anxiety and depression isn't just random or as simple as biological defect. There's a dimension beyond what self-care prevents and relieves. We are more separated than ever as individuals in a technological hive that promises connectivity but delivers mostly tracking. Yet we remain connected beneath the surface, and empathy is rising so we are beginning to share the pain of other beings. Information continues to double and technology makes transmission instant.

 We are watching world after world end, or threaten to do so. Doomsayers besiege us from every corner of the media maze as we're herded into boxes for the benefit of the panopticon. Thus we are all afflicted to various degrees with "apocalypse fatigue," some more than others. We are aware of industrialized suffering and destruction, and we see the veils that dress it up as "how things were and are and need to be." We yearn for change.

The good news is that we can choose to embrace the eschaton, not with the death-urge that underpins current culture, but with a zeal for creating new worlds from the bones and ash of the one we're shedding. We already know how to make worlds, for we've always done it internally as a coping mechanism. We've been incubating in survival mode, waiting our turn. The call has come.

In the split seconds where we can see the whole picture, each of us will catch glimpses of how and where to displace horror with humor and abuse with compassion. No one is coming to save the world, but if we each take our corner, the whole thing gets done. Do not give way to despair, however great the load. There is always some space in which to move, some light to add. Go now in peace, and do the work your heart commands.

Release and Regenesis

Eighteen years ago, I was walking down the street after a day of classes, distracted with idle conversation, when I heard the sound of a car coming to a stop. Before I looked, I knew it was for me.

I turned and looked to see who it was, and the identity of the occupant told me exactly what would happen. An old friend of the family was looking at me with a deep sadness, and then she nodded at the passenger door.

"It's happened?"

"It's time."

That was all, but that was all that the moment needed. Silence and my whirring thoughts filled the car. I played over the timeline in my mind. My mother had not been the same since the heart surgery. Pneumonia crept in, and in time renal failure took her kidneys. She went yellow for a time, jaundiced as I had been when I was born.

She went on a sort of hospital tour, but in the end it had been too late for some time. The pain medicine went unfiltered by her failing organs and took her mind for wild  rides through time. When I visited, she thought I was someone else. She requested imaginary objects and got upset when I humored her.

My father was steadfast, there every day after work for months. I was there less than I might have been due to school.

She continued to decline. The hallucinations became immersive trips backward in time akin to Alzheimer's. She was going. She lost the use of her legs, and gangrene began to appear. 

Eventually, she let go. When she passed it felt like the fulfillment of a sort of curse, as her father had died the same age after going blind from diabetes. Yet it was a blessing at the same time, a release for almost all involved.

It took me until tonight to fully release her. I realized that my guilt at not being as there as I could have been for her, and her poor mother (to see your own child die before you is no doubt a pain unmatched in this world), and her infinitely patient husband. It occurred to me that the pain had turned 18. It was time to kick it out.

So tonight, on the eve of the eclipse, I played a set of ritual ambient noise music, remixing a song I wrote in her honor while she was nearing the end of her journey. Tonight I combined it with my own voice, homemade instruments and a recording of the Tibetan Book of the Dead in a kind of prayer that her soul has found its way home. I feel her with me from time to time, and after tonight, I am choosing to feel the love without the guilt.

As you read this, I hope you too will release some burden unto the symbolic event presented by a blocked sun. In times so long ago they seem impossible to us in the modern, hyper-jaded world, the sky was wonder itself. The stars were our guides through time and the inspiration of our legends. Most important, they were constant reminders of the mystery. We would be wise to regain our sense of awe.

See you when the sun comes out. May we all be a little lighter despite dark days.

"A blindness that touches perfection"

Back in school, on the edge of the internet, I heard a publisher was compiling a book of interviews on the topic of isolation. I felt qualified to contribute and apply by email. I received no response. The above anecdote is not a Steven Wright joke, though it is a bit funny in the way of which he is the master.

I never did find out if that book made it into physical reality, but I was neither surprised or especially worried that I didn't secure a spot therein. By this time in my life, I had already wandered through the fog of isolation for some years. I am an only child, so time alone was just natural, and in childhood, I had filled it with nature and books and creativity. A series of deaths in the family and the endocrine clusterbomb/social pressure combo hit delivered by puberty put me squarely in the role of a teenage hermit.  

I found solace and magic among the bins in the squalid used book and record stores my little Army town had grown around its edges. I was discovering evidence all the time that this involuntary monastic life was not an experience reserved for me. Those books and tapes felt like messages from some realm beyond or mystery cult of benevolent survivors, and they shored me up like an esoteric exoskeleton. I can remember the paradoxical moment when I knew I was alone in my experience but not in my condition. I was 3 or 4 hours into a sleepless night, with the radio on for company. I was brought out of my haze when the music stopped, and I heard three words ring out as clear as a peal of thunder:

"I know you."

As the monologue continued, the introduction proved itself to be accurate. I sat up as if snapping out of a dream, wondering what was happening. I always kept a blank tape in the stereo deck at the ready, and I scrambled to capture what I found out was a piece by Henry Rollins. I heard the voice of a stranger describing the feeling in my spirit to me, and in such excruciating detail that I could have written it myself. The shock of realization gave way to the comfort of resonance and the excitement that there were others after all. If you have never heard it, I suggest you take a moment to dig it up now. I won't mind, and I believe it would do you good. I'll wait here.

We're all born into a situation that not even our parents can fully illuminate, for there are parts of the human experience that defy classification despite age or experience, and parts of it we may. It understand until the brink of death pushes away all our familiar veils. Civilization has built up defenses and detours for navigating the space between entry and exit in a way that keeps the show on the road. Most folks ride generational waves of momentum right into the social currents, but some get swept in the undertow of the unconscious world and its dark gravity. Wherever we come from or feel compelled to go, we each touch isolation in some way. It gets baked into the cake of human experience, particularly in our days of a delusional division.

Isolation is not solitude, for we often choose it and it can be restorative if employed with mindful intent. It is not loneliness, for loneliness is the desire for company, specific or general. Descend a few layers down from this, not goosebumps but chilled bone, and you find isolation. Isolation is a voice, never completely silenced, that asks "who am I really, and why am I here, and what is the point, and why hasn't anybody got the answers I need?"

The human being takes a wide variety of forms. We are different from each other and different from ourselves at other points along our individual timelines. I'll tell you a secret. Isolation is a shape-shifter. It is different things to different people and at different times. It's when you make plans you know won't gel. It's saying goodbye in your heart when you meet a new friend because nobody stays in this town but you. It's feeling like the last person alive amid throngs of other people. Isolation is hearing a hearty laugh down the hall and accepting that you can't pull that song out of the bird get face to face. It is the muscle memory of intimacy, forgotten over years of neglect. It makes a ghost of you, and a hole in you.

Isolation is feeling your mortality and the weight of the human predicament in a world where almost no one feels free to speak of it. It's screaming "Memento mori!" and "Carpe diem!" into a crowd of the deaf, and most of all yourself, the one who needs to hear it most of all. Isolation is stumbling onto the uncomfortable truth, accepting its inevitability and having no quarter offered when you knock on the doors of other people's paradigms. It's when you start to believe in the boxes other people may put you in as part of their defenses. It's a wall you help the world build around your heart.

Isolation is the gnosis of the void, the dull embrace of freezing space. Isolation is whispering "Is anybody here?" in a soundproof room. It is an illusion that in times of strife and weakness can feel more real than your awareness. Isolation is a room made of black rice paper that feels like an obsidian tomb. It is a place of waste, and waste away it does. Within its mercurial tesseract of illusions, there are no windows and no doors, but there are locks.

Hope springs eternal, even when obscured by dark mirage. Dimensions of novelty and connection wait for us to scratch through the barriers. The sands cascade through the hourglass for us all. The spirit of a nation threatens to collapse as surely as its neglected roads and bridges have begun to do already. Divide and conquer is the oldest, best trick the war lords and profiteers have, and it is working like a charm. We are taking the hate bait. We are trading the power of our hearts for the false security desired by the metastasized ego and offered on a hook by the powe structures of this world.

We're renting what the poet Hafiz called "the cheapest room in the house." After years of living under a strategy of tension, our zeitgeist has a death-urge which is encouraged by those who live on and profit from an air of constant fear. In the big picture, the sabers are rattling, and the economy is trembling. In our private lives, we wage personal wars against the ones we ought to cherish or at least respect.

Isolation is a natural thing to feel in such times as these. The oversoul of Western Civilization seems to beg for dystopia and an end. This victim script leads to a coward's end. These war games are contrary to who we are, in the bedrock of being. The trauma continues, but the patient is still hanging on. To heal these great rifts we will need to cut out some memetic cancer, but we don't need a civil war. We need civility back.

As the radicals and psychonauts have urged us, find the others. Put out the signal. Tell the world, "You are not as alone as you feel, and your sense that you are keeps your life small and your spirit missing its part to play on the world stage." The state in which we live in ignorance and do the dances of caged animals is what the parasite class prefers. Defy it. Call up the specter of teenage rebellion and marry it to the power of your enlightening heart. Reach across the aisles, go into "enemy" territory, and bring your awareness and compassion with you.

New bridges need building. New roads wait for us to pave them. In a world pushing hate, compassion is punk rock. In a world divided, unity is a sacred subversion. In a culture that breeds isolation, liberating each other is sacred work, whatever you believe. So now it's time. Tell your story, that it may relieve those who hear it. Unlock the gate, and let your fear out as you let love fill the cathedral in your heart. Speak truth to power and resist evil where you find it, but also, speak to each other as equals without gnashed teeth and gnawed tongues. Do not become what you fight.

Isolation is an acute form of spiritual amnesia. Remember how to touch and honor the ones you love and recognize the need for it in all. Learn again how to listen to the wordless wisdom of intuition and the still small voice that tells the truth. Bring your light out of its prison and see anew the treasure that darkness hides. Come together again. Take the shapes that are necessary to get us out of the saucepan as the water rolls toward a boil. Set fear down and pick up love, while you still can.

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