Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Paleo-Future Stories (Slightly Abridged) by Panos Koutrouboussis

Here are a few words which may or may not be pertinent to the Historias. I imagine the following possibility:

One day, humans will discover that they are incapable of producing individuals or maintaining "undeveloped" societies with the gift of the particular temperament that is essential for the creation of myths and poetry. This sterility will be the result of the increase and acceleration of cerebral activity, as of the entire rhythm of human life. Of the "overpopulation" of natural knowledge via technology. Of the increasing all-encompassing interest in wealth and power at the expense of creativity. And - closely related, although inversely proportional to the above - of the near-disappearance of the external psychic environment and of the internal psychic personality; those that we heretofore called belief, imagination, humor, heart.

Nevertheless, these future humans will be well aware, by the epistemological studies they will have accomplished, of the cosmic role played by myth and archetypes for all creatures that have intelligence and consciousness of the absolute necessity of the existence of myths for the spiritual and physical health and survival of a conscious Species - for, as usual, when something has all but disappeared, it is only then, at the very last moment, and if we are lucky enough, that we realize its great value.

Until recently, the dominant belief was that the human communities-tribes developed separate "alphabets" of symbols and myths, depending on the conditions under which each one of them had come about. Now, however, new evidence shows that there are common sources of psychic symbols in the unconscious mind of all tribes and peoples. Thousands of myths taken from numerous cultures of the Earth reveal enormous, radical similarities; the archetypal symbols are thus the same for all. A pair of psychologists, Tiger and Fox, established the term "Biogrammar" to designate those common psychic archetypes which are deeply engraved in the spirits of all peoples and all eras of Humanity, unchanged from the primitive eras until now, irrespective of the language and linguistic structures of each people.

So, when people lose their power of myth-making, they will be forced to construct an electronic machine Poet, whose aim will be to undertake the transmission of ancient archetypes and symbols and their rearrangement for the creation of new Myths for humanity; and its name will certainly be Mythographer.

Yet when they do construct this machine, they will have to program it and then keep updating this program with new input. Many of the things they will teach the Mythographer we cannot know as yet. But, along with all the existing evidence concerning the raw materials of all tribes, ranging from myths, epics, beliefs, religions, fairy tales, stories, songs etc., and all the treatises written about them, there are certain recent "lessons" and instructions which are impossible not to include in the Mythographer before it starts its creative work.

On the work of Carl Jung on Archetypes, Symbols, and Dreams, and the work of Einstein and Heisenberg on the laws of relativity, probablity, uncertainty, and chance.

On the fact that the phenomenon called "the cause temporally precedes the effect" is valid only in statistical terms - as revealed by research in the inner microcosm of the atom, where everything is possible - and thus the relations between events, the very nature of time and space, may in several cases not be Causal. For example, a girl may have brown eyes because that will be the favourite color of the man she will meet when she grows up. Or, something may occur today that influenced one's behavious last week.

On the fact that the extent of a Probablity can never be verified. It is, by definition, a forever-unknown quantity, always in a state of uncertainty. Everything in the universe, from the inner world of the atom to the cosmological scale, time and space, the past, present, and future, morality, human relations, all things we know around us are constantly Relative. And...relatively constant.

On the fact that mythic events, by their very nature, often do not obey the various rules we impose on objective (?) reality or the rule of Cause and Effect.

On the fact that it is best to consider the universe as a psychic phenomenon.

On the fact that two or more opposite realities may be equally true.

On the fact that one plus one is not always two.

On the importance of Belief and its relation to knowledge.

On the importance and the activation elements of the Marvelous and the Enchanting.

On the intoxication of unknown pasts.

On the work of Dada and Surrealism.

Let us, however, allow the future to sleep. Many of these Historias Bizarros are closely related to all of the above (the hyper-three dimensions; the past-in-the-future or the future-in-the-past; the present mixed up in both; the machines; the dematerialization; the beyond of reason). Others have almost nothing to do with the Mythographer; they are but a mere facade, a tissue of images aiming at the reader's pleasure.

Yet they are all related to the influence of the "unprecedented" on the "everyday." They all live around a nucleus of para-time. We know them all, yet they are always elsewhere in time and space, like the phantom images which appear sometimes on TV screens. There is something very odd which is never localized, but which may not even exist. Like fairy tales told to children who believe everything they hear.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Metaphor Templates by Christopher Dewdney

By disengaging a metaphor from its original application and then applying it to a novel setting one can fast breed hypercognitive structures. Conversely, by applying the laws of the metaphor throughout the systemic permutations of that metaphor; eg., if history is a book then limestone must be the pages of that book and fossils the writing on those pages, etc., one can generate novel associative binaries throughout the 'field' of which the original metaphor is but a minor component.

By reversing the causal flow of analogy language becomes a procedural system for generating hypercognitive structures.

As if, like hopeless delusional paranoids with delusions of reference, we couldn't help reading sense into any sequence of words due to the referential bias of language, and that this paranoia of reference is itself the engine of invention.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Some incredible psychedelia via Antony Milton...

“My name is Antony Milton. I am 37 years old and you catch me at the end of one chapter of my life in music. I am writing this in Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand where I have lived for the last 9 years. In a couple of weeks time I will be leaving New Zealand for a years travelling in South America. I am at once sad and excited about this change. I am leaving behind people and places I love and putting many projects on hold, but I am also looking forward to a new adventure and to see what happens. I am not even sure whether I will be returning to this city…”

There is a free album download, as well as a bunch more information about Antony and his various projects over at WeHaveNoZen blog.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Island of Xiphos by Paul Valery

The Last Atlantis

I am at present in Firgo. It is an island. Or rather, it was an island but today it is joined to the mainland by two tongues of fine sand which year by year are broadening more and more into beaches. The peak of this island is some six hundred feet above the sea and from its topmost rock one sees, or rather used to see, or perhaps used to think one saw, further land upon the south horizon. Actually, those who said they had seen it added that they had never seen it again. They called it Xiphos, and according to them it was the last remaining fragment of the world that preceded ours. They spoke (but in bated breath) of a thousand marvels in it -- marvels such that the chief end of our modern human intellect should be (if there were in existence minds able to tackle it!) to sift out the true from the false in these whispered legends, and with the utmost application to reconstruct the knowledge, the powers, and the desires of those who once lived there. They say they knew a thousand thousand times more than we, or knew something altogether different, and for that reason I wonder if they are really to be called Men. They would refuse us the name, no doubt; so perhaps we should speak of them as angels or as demi-gods. Our relative situation is barely analogous to that which subsisted between Europeans and the most primitive savages encountered in exploration.

After all why should not the irradiated generative surface of the earth have brought to being species as superior to man as he is to the other mammals?

Gozon remarked in good faith: "They possessed every sort of morality, and I possess every sort of morality. I am wicked and I am virtuous and both to excess. There is no one more impious or more devout than I feel myself to be. Truly, my nature defies definition. It pushes me to extremes -- contradictory ones! So that I feel that I am quite literally nothing. Perhaps I am some lone survivor from that era in which the sexes were not yet separate, nor was science yet divorced from art, nor strength from grace, nor freedom from the knowledge of law, nor even vice from virtue? A whole species possessing the protean properties of mind. Their god was like no other. Their dreams were part of their waking, and their waking was busy about more dreams, that were to react upon it at their next waking; or rather to develop in total freedom new combinations, new and rare simultaneity's of sensation."

The most famous of our chess players, those who play ten games blindfolded at once, and win them; our greatest mathematical prodigies: compared with most of those islanders they would be of no more than children counting on their fingers.

It appears that their senses were as superior to ours in their powers of analysis as in their powers of combination. They say some of them had never heard two sounds that were identical: they distinguished two notes of the same pitch sounded upon the same instrument under the same conditions....

Love. There are only two things the living have to do: to feed and breed. All else is inconsequence, meaningless, luxury, perversion, distraction.

...There stood in a little square, surrounded by houses with curious ornaments, of fresh or of faded guilt, a pedestal bearing a woman of flawless beauty, clean-cut as a statue, in a noble pose. Several times a day she was to be heard speaking or declaiming poetry at length. Then she would begin to sing. There was so perfect and so elemental a consonance between the tone, the inflections of her voice, and the successive positions of her body answering from head to ankles to every variation in her breath, that one stood arrested in submission to the power of Purity.

Her function was to fix the language of the country and to sound, as a clock sounds true hours, the most desirable accent and the most elegant syntax of the tongue.

On certain days she would speak the truth to whoever wished to hear it; and she spoke it with so lucid a diction, so searching a cadence, so bewitching a harmony between the expression of her face and the perfection of her speech, and above all with so plenary a concord of her entire body whose least parts in their slightest tensing or most delicate ripple or muscle evidenced that nothing was withheld, no lies whispered aside, that in general everyone was too frightened to question her. It seems that the whole body is incapable of maintaining a lie, and that is why Truth is represented naked. However, I was informed that some persons had protested against using so beautiful a woman so, alleging that Truth is far more often ugly, indeed may be the hideous truth. But no account was taken of this.

She held the rank of priestess. Whether a virgin, is uncertain. Daughter of whom and of whom? I have no idea.

Toward sunset she fell upon her knees....


And there was also a grotto scooped out of the mountain by some unknown hand and whose entrance, facing the sea, was shaped to symbolize woman. [Only men would enter it, anointed with unguents, the face veiled.] There, at the brim of the cavern, stood a sort of isolated column, erected in the shadow's cool--yet it was itself always almost red-hot. Whoever touched this fetish was turned into a bull....Groups of girls hung about outside for those who came forth. Etc....

Island of Xiphos (or the place of wicked thoughts)

...At Xiphos there was a god who rejected not merely prayers but even those inward posturings that other gods appear to exact from their creatures. "With the most part of your pretended believers," he would say to the other gods, "what they call their 'faith' is constriction, a craning of the neck, a struggle painful to see, which may become a mere nervous tic; it is something contagious, imitative, born of fear, even of boredom sometimes, and only too often the result of a crude attempt to deceive you. They say to you what they have been taught to say and do not and could not think, but are substituting speech for thought....And what they say to you is pointless. Do they imagine they have something to teach you?

"But I," he added, "I am the god of those who resist me in so far as I am and desire me in so far as I am not. Ah!, they say, if only there were a god! They are not afraid to deny or remain ignorant of such things as they can neither see, nor conceive; or to reduce whatever is offered to them as 'holy', or which they feel to be such, to its true status as a product of their own nature--a product often full of beauty or of power but which can never be of a different substance and modality from the other constructs of their intelligence. In such an attitude there is something I esteem, which is their attempt to abstain from creating and universal lord, and so on."

(The philosophers.) One who took time literally as a Heraclitean flux, and set himself to scientifically investigate the hydraulics of the events and states of that river, attempting to deduce the equations of flow, of pressures, of eddies--of effects of rams.

This approach, applied to impressions, ideas, sensations, actions and reactions of every sort--as though to floats--should yield singular principles and laws.

Effects of relative motions.

How to explain our impercipience of this flux?

Flux as substance (in fact, an unperceived sense-datum because INVARIABLE. Cf. radio-telegraphy, the "carrier-wave").
And flux as alteration--the senses fluctuations of the "modulating-wave"--
Perhaps it is from the interference-beats set up by these two waves, these two aspects of flux, when their ratio is consonant, that we derive our sense of rhythms?

Crystal song of the statue of Memnon.

A--when the sun first shows and the ray strikes.
B--when the sun leaps up--
I, washed in dew--at first I murmur, faintest cries, then sing
--Substance: noise of cracking--Source: sun, on eyes that are blind--and finally the radiance has dried the dew.
I sparkle dumb--

Marriage in Xiphos

...Young marriageable men were shown, one by one, a company of young girls who did not know they were under observation and of whom each wore some token or hair style that would distinguish her from the others.

They said which they preferred, and this was noted.

The same experiment was tried with each girl selecting from among the boys. Comparing their choices yielded various results.

The Temple of Fear

Fear, essential--the basis of every society.
There is no society of heroes. However, a very early attempt at Xiphos.

In the island of Xiphos there was a district in which were confined all those suffering from the disease called Anastrophe. After performing any action its victims immediately performed its opposite--or else its simulacrum: a thing terrible to be seen rather than merely absurd. Other lunatics repeated each action many times over.

--There was a sort of house of Egophobes, where those lived who never spoke of themselves. The words I and Me were never heard there.

The Beggars Oh yes, they had beggars! Some begged for love. Others for esteem. Others for glory. And they looked down upon such as demanded food or money. Some put out their hands for an idea, God bless you kind sir, or a good couplet--or a style that could be called "original."

The Mutes

"All that issues from man is impure" was their view, and so they kept as silent as possible.

They were bursting with love and ideas bottled up inside the precincts of their superstition against all outflowing.

The restorer's philosophy.

"Moral" tale, or prose poem with a refrain.
The restorer of pottery, porcelain, marble, alabaster....Such beautiful words. And then one discovers this man seated upon the steps of the church. He lists his pleasures--one cannot stop listening.

Accident assumed. Philosophy of the broken vase--game of Patience.

Anecdote. A strange torture:

The king ordained ("I condemn you to death, but only in so far as you are Xios, and not in so far as you are You") that Xios should be taken into quite another part of the country. His name to be changed, his features cunningly altered. His new neighbors to be obliged to attribute to him a past, a family, abilities, altogether different from his own.

If he mentioned anything of his former life, they would deny it, tell him he was mad, etc....
They had a family all ready for him, a wife and children who said they were his.
In a word everything assured him that he was who he was not.

A man was certain of something. No one could think what to do with him. They put him in turn into prison, into a pulpit, onto the throne, into a lunatic asylum; they thought of killing him. Others wished to force him to fertilize a thousand chosen women. In the end, weary of all these metamorphoses, he announced that he was certain of nothing, and was left in peace. He took this opportunity to write an "Ethics," which is one of the most influential books in the world. For everybody speaks of it and quotes from it, but no one has read it.

The temples of the true gods:

Fear, Hunger, Desire, Diseases, Cold....
The true gods are the powers and potentialities of the senses.

Treatment of the Sun--colloquial
Worship. The god visible but dazzling.
"With us, god is essentially deniable."

Life was found in the island of Xiphos as copper is at Tharsis, incense and cinnamon at....

Life of a find and potent quality, the product of exceptionally favorable conditions.

Their instincts formidably keen; their sensibility extraordinary. Their intelligence both simple and disciplined--and all these combining or remaining distinct according to simple laws....

In one of the squares of Xiphos was to be seen a flat surface of polished agate, watched over by one who was scholar rather than sage, and upon which rolled endlessly from face to face a strange polyhedron cut in such a manner that it could find no position to rest.

Elsewhere a strange egg danced as if alive at the crest of a jet of water.

The fountains were ingenious and set problems. Some sang.

That what is may be

This would be one of the inscriptions over one of the gates, literally but not well translated:

Go out to come in

(concern yourself not to know what you know, in order to know how you know it and to know your knowing)

An island without shame--where all go naked, and not merely naked but as free with the body everywhere as we are with our uncovered faces, our mouths, our hands.

A monument all of whose successive shadows, and all the shadows of whose parts, were beautiful, making changing designs. A sort of building casting a silhouette.

This solitary tried out upon himself all the poisons of abstract language. Upon others he tried out the word God. Xiphos, isle of ? simplicians.

Medicine at Xiphos:
Longevity--with preservation.
Prolongation of life with prolongation of the values of life
The wise men. Marriage--after training.
The synthetic animals.

Politics and Economics. People who could not agree were shut up together in the same prison until they could.
This worked wonders.

Isle found by chance, floating, repelled by every other body.

They had a special sort of electricity.
Religion, mysteries.
Ways and Means.
"A shipwreck put us in possession of your sciences, our own are entirely different."


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