Saturday, July 26, 2008

Ongoing conversations

I’m going to put stuff here, as so many people don’t seem to use the forums right now, but this stuff is aimed at individuals, so don’t expect coherence or details.
Tons: just thanks for pointing us to the Traces du Sacré exhibition. With such a short time to visit Paris and meet new people that formed a great focus, and I enjoyed having the company of you and Fly as we roamed through the avant-garde, modernist and occult universes. I know we could neither afford the big book, but I have discovered that online you can find an enormous collection of photos, videos and information about the exhibition and exhibits...but (apparently) only in French.

They seem to have kept this virtual show quite low profile to English Speakers!
Découvrez le site Traces du Sacré.
Go there, and do mosbunall of it again! Many of the pieces, videos, paintings - also interviews with the artists, critics and all sorts.

They didn't have much on the roots of the word ‘hip’ in the Oxford English Dictionary – could it really come from long boots? Sounds fishy to me. :-)

Etymology: [Origin unknown.] Here's their timeline of quotes:
Propaganda Anonymous
1904 G. V. HOBART Jim Hickey
At this rate it'll take about 629 shows to get us to Jersey City, are you hip?

1926 Detective Fiction Weekly 16 Jan.
I sashayed for a legger an' run into a rube hip agent with a bottle and some jake which helped some.

1938 C. CALLOWAY Hi De Ho
Hip, wise, sophisticated, anyone with boots on.

1944 C. HIMES Black on Black
I'm a hipcat from way back.
Lord Buckley
1946 MEZZROW & WOLFE Really Blues
Their hipness..bubbled up out of the brute scramble and sweat of living.

1951 San Diego Even. Tribune 28 June
We did it because we thought it was ‘hip’ or smart.

1958 W. BRYANT Jive in Hi-Fi
The correct word is ‘hip’. It comes from a story of a fisherman warning young fishermen never to wade in deep water without hip boots on because they could run into trouble. So, when you hear the words, ‘I'm hip’ or ‘I'm booted’ it's said to let you know they have no fear of trouble or that they understand what's shaking [i.e., happening].

1957 J. KEROUAC On Road (1958)
Elmer Hassel, with that hip sneer.
Lord Buckley
1959 Spectator
He has a fast line of jive-patter and uses such hip endearments as ‘angel-cake’ and ‘gorgeous’.
Ibid. 7 Aug. Audiences there are hip to the latest gossip.

1959 C. MACINNES Absolute Beginners
It was like getting a hip cat into a symphony concert, but I succeeded.

1961 Listener
As Norman Mailer would say, it's ‘hip’ to use obscure terms and meaningless symbols.

1966 H. S. THOMPSON Hell's Angels
Frank was so completely hip that he went down to Hollywood and bought the blue-and-yellow striped sweatshirt that Lee Marvin wore in The Wild One.

1971 Black Scholar.
As Cannonball Adderly has said ‘Hipness is not a state of mind. It is a fact of life.’

1972 V. FERDINAND in A. Chapman New Black Voices
We sometimes..go in for that kind of living thinking it's hip.

Bogus (2008): The OED doesn’t seem too hip or precise, if they don’t know that Kerouac wrote “On The Road”, and Mezz Mezzrow wrote Really The Blues

Other people offer a bunch of other interpretations, from opium smoking to African origins.

Let's face it, these remain word game theories. Origin Unknown remains the safest bet!

I'd prefer to spend time with His Royal Hipness, Lord Buckley. I offered links to his Hip Semantics here on my blog. A general site for him exists, too. Now if I could have given you Shakespeare in his version, it might have been a riot! Wiki entry on the Hip Messiah.

ChrisM - lord of the snows I know I don’t seem to think much of the afterlife, but I have just enjoyed reading Will Storr vs. the supernatural. He starts off expecting to do a cynical piece about ghost-hunting, but after some vivid experiences he ends up believing that something exists that needs explaining. At the same time, he does do portraits of some weird and lonely people, as well as Christian nutcases (as a Quasi-Daoist I always assumed that strong belief in such weirdness as ‘being bathed in the blood of Jesus’ does tend to produce its opposite – just like finding yourself being tortured with Fire and hot irons by The Spanish Inquisition because you don’t believe in Hell and tormenting demons). Anyway – it wasn’t just hard-line sceptical.

Of course, I haven’t had the experiences, so remain unconvinced about demons, but have never been a real fundamentalist materialist when it comes to ‘atmospheres’ or replay ghosts - traces recorded in the environment.

Lethbridge suggested water might record events, but here the people he meets subscribe to ‘natural iron’ (in parallel with Ferris Oxide in recording tape, and Electronic Voice Phenomena, etc) – the Stone Tape Theory.

And at least I stayed off the subject of the Headless Way, even if I found a copy of Wei Wu Wei's The Tenth Man: The Great joke (which made Lazarus laugh) when I got home, which I guess comes to a similar conclusion.

The Tenth Man is the only man. There is no other.

And you did ask about where to find the Nine Characters Wiki - well, you may find I smuggled The Tenth Man into the Absolute Elsewhere already (he looks a little like Orson Welles). Oh, and we now have ten avatars, too, just to add to the confusion. :-)
Borsky – you know we couldn’t ID some of the avatars on Bobby's mock-up cover – you may recognise the one that represents Prop, as you can see on his MySpace page.

Oh, and (from the online exhibition) here's the Mushroom Mantra

Fly – I loved that Beat room at the exhibition, and in particular John Giorno on the Death of William Burroughs video – which you can see on You Tube.
William died on August 2, 1997, Saturday at 6:30 in the afternoon from complications from a massive heart attack he'd had the day before. He was 83 years old. I was with William Burroughs when he died, and it was one of the best times I ever had with him.

Doing Tibetan Nyingma Buddhist meditation practices, I absorbed William's consiousness into my heart. It seemed as a bright white light, blinding but muted, empty. His consiousness passing through me. A gentle shooting star came in my heart and up the central channel, and out the top of my head to a pure field of great clarity and bliss. It was very powerful - William Burroughs resting in great equanimity, and the vast empty expanse of primordial wisdom mind.
I was staying in William's house, doing my meditation practices for him, trying to maintain good conditions and dissolve any obstacles that might be arising for him at that very moment in the bardo. Now, I had to do it for him.
Last word in the Traces exhibition - from Giorno
In pursuit of more Giorno I came up with this page, scroll down and you will find a sample of a hilarious sound recording of Eating The Sky (Prop might like that, too – especially as he missed the exhibition - below there's a link to the whole thing).

I first heard this on a pirate cassette of the Nova Convention, an event so hip that I’d commit suicide and reincarnate retrospectively at the right point in spacetime, just so I could attend.

Laurie Anderson, W.S. Burroughs, John Cage, Allen Ginsberg, Brion Gysin, Julia Heyward, Timothy Leary, Les Levine, Peter Orlovsky, Anne Waldman, Robert Anton Wilson, John Giorno, Philip Glass, Patti Smith, Terry Southern, Frank Zappa
Giorno at UbuWeb: Track 4 is the whole 13 minutes of Eating The Sky at the Nova Convention - 1978

12:03 "And we sit here drinking Scotch and smoking a joint, and we sit here drinking Scotch and smoking a joint..."

5:30 "And when you wake up, it's breakfast in a foreign country, and you're in Paris, France..."


Thanks for the Lovecraft and Houdini link. I had vaguely heard that HH commissioned HPL (and others) to ghost-write for him ( stories published in Weird Tales but had never focused on that bit of HH’s career before.
HH and HPL write for Weird Tales
"In 1926 the magician Harry Houdini hired Lovecraft and his friend C. M. Eddy, Jr., to write an entire book combating superstition. This work -- perhaps analogous to Houdini's own previous work, A Magician Among the Spirits (1924), a debunking of spiritualism -- was to be called The Cancer of Superstition. Houdini had earlier asked Lovecraft to write a rush article on astrology, for which he paid $75; this article apparently does not survive. A detailed synopsis prepared by Lovecraft for The Cancer of Superstition does survive, as do three chapters of the treatise written by Eddy; but Houdini's sudden death on 31 October 1926 derailed the plans, as his widow did not wish to pursue the project."

Fortean Times piece for people who consider HPL an initiated believer, rather than a debunker.

"My brain is the key that sets me free." HH

I had it as ‘Mind’ not ‘brain’ when I did the Magical Means piece. Hey ho.

Rosie sent b.kane in her place I'm glad we met up to talk before the madness started. Ideas we threw around on the train continue to pop into my mind, but I haven't begun to digest all the things that you know already...

[he puts his hands behind his ears, and flaps them madly, as Stein grabs his nose and blows - as they go through a tunnel and their ears pop. He looks out of the window of the speeding train...]

"Are we in France yet?"


Star Larvae said...

What are we to do? We disdain rules, so we can't organize ourselves. So we compensate with myths of, and longings for, spontaneous self-organization. But we are in THIS world not THAT one (if that one even exists).

Yet, it seems at times SO plausible. The great constellation of psychic forces, from Cage to McLuhan, from Leary to McKenna, from Burroughs to Bucky, usw. History must be set up for these points of light to cohere into a


(with apologies to Alex Jones, David Icke, and Dr. Happy Harry Cox.)

What's it going to be then, you droogs?

Bogus Magus said...

Phew, Heresiarch - you got me there.

I didn't think that these twinkling points of light in the mindfield (artists and creatives) added up to a new movement...I didn’t even know we HAD to replace the Old World Order if we ever managed to do away with it. Such wandering between authoritarian structures (Catholic to atheist, Christianity to Communism, etc) seem to keep seeking structure.

I like the idea of Process. I like Ezra Pound’s translation of Tao as Process. I don’t use the word ‘God’ very much, though, it seems such a loaded word – and so open to introducing confusion into conversation – because of the multiple meanings and interpretations that have led to so many wars.

I enjoyed the recent post on your blog on randomness (although I think of ‘Random Chance’ as a tautology), which gave me several new insights, to supplement the kind of discussion we had a while back at the Academy - some of which I grabbed and sampled over in the blog I use for my notes on magic, gullibility, belief systems, suggestion and such. You can find it here.

Random Samples posted to Intelligence Increase

Briefly in a room with seven other people I had a couple of wonderful panentheist insights – especially as we had somehow been drawn into that vortex room for no apparent reason. I just know I enjoyed finding myself there.

I certainly don’t ‘disdain’ rules. Finite Games need rules, just to make a game the participants can enjoy. I have a whole spiel on that subject (rules get invented to create a ‘level playing field’ – so when playing table-tennis you can’t wear a black shirt with one inch white polka dots, for instance, a rule which implies someone tried it at one point because “‘there was nothing in ‘the rules’ to say they couldn’t.”) So a rule got invented, so people could still enjoy playing the game.

Personally, I quite like the idea of letting people do what they want – and look forward to the ‘drug Olympics’ where people can use anything to enhance their performance.

But, yeah, I feel like a theophobe. If someone uses the word 'god' in every other sentence (I listened to the sound sample in your blog profile) and throws in 'jesus christ' as a buzz word almost as powerful as 'sex' or 'drugs' then I start to feel queasy. I find it hard to even use that kind of language – as someone willing to simply ‘accept the mystery’. I have no empathy for The People of The Book - but have not gone running to The East for a solution.

But then again, in a previous incarnation as Oolon Colluphid I seem to remember writing a series of Best Sellers (later reviewed by DNA in H2G2)

· Where God Went Wrong
· Some More of God's Greatest Mistakes
· Who Is This God Person Anyway?
· Well That About Wraps It Up for God

Star Larvae said...

Going thru the Intelligence Increase post -- heartening to see that others have been bugged by the conceptual fuzziness surrounding "chance" and "random". The I2 comments reminded me that some of the confusion comes from bouncing between physics and math. A random mathematical sequence, like the digits of pi, seems to me less problematic that a physical sequence being called random. The difference to my mind has to do with causality.

Actually, until writing this I've never thought about how causality might apply to mathematics. Does it make sense to ask, "What causes the angles of a triangle to add up to 180 degrees?" Ugh, that's another thread . . . .

But I (provisionally, at least) want to hang onto the notion of causality when explaining the physical world. And in that arena, where we admit causality, chance and random need to be booted or precisely defined.

YES, I'm a great fan of process philosophy. I've been immersed in the books of Charles Hartshorne for a few years. It's a sure-fire cure for theophobia. You feel less squeamish about using “the G word” once your understanding has been squared with good logic and exorcised of superstition. His book, The Divine Relativity, is a good place to cut your teeth.

Hartshorne was a student of Whitehead and a teacher of Richard Rorty, so an interesting bridge figure. Rorty rejected metaphysics in favor of pragmatism. My next blog post will attempt to dissect that philosophical dichotomy.

I find it interesting how “psychedelics” have been replaced by “entheogens”. When did that happen? Was it a PR move, like the switch from Rap to Hip-Hop? Anyway, since you bring up panentheism, how about another re-naming. Let’s call the deconditioning agents, “panentheogens.”

Process Psychedelia, anyone?


Bogus Magus said...

I love that word 'theophobia'.

I must get some NLP quick fix for that phobia so I can run around shouting 'Oh god, oh god!' without feeling silly and squeamish.

Only someone who starts from an assumption of some kind of godhead behind reality could imply I have a phobia about it, IMHO.

I think of people who keep attributing things to 'god' as people phobic about the idea that we live in an 'empty' and essentially 'meaningless' world - which doesn't make it any less beautiful, fun or mysterious.

Each to their own. Just because someone (or a culture) once made a word up for a concept they came up with doesn't make the thing they use the word to describe any more 'real'.

'Tao' will do for me, as it remains mysterious and slightly feminine - if I have to try to describe the 'All' - or 'Universe' or 'Cosmos' or something. Although how often I have to attempt to describe 'the whole system' I don't know. Not very often. The whole planet, yes, sometimes (ecologicially).

So enjoy your 'god' - and I'll continue to chuckle when I hear people use the word, because as soon as it enters a sentence all meaning leaves (for me). To me it sounds like what physicists call a 'hand-waving' explanation.

Neti, neti.

It might amuse you to check out Bobby's version of Nagarjuna's Claim.

Star Larvae said...

It’s such a tragedy that Sunday School has ruined God for so many people.

I’m sympathetic to the Tao as a gloss for “whatever it is that orders the world.” But the Tao developed in a culture outside of history (immersed in what Mircea Eliade called “sacred time”). We are not of that world. The karma that put us here (in the U.S.A. at this point in history) implies a dharma that obliges us to participate IN THIS HISTORIC MOMENT by navigating it, not dropping out of it. At the end, Leary and McKenna saw the predicament of the historical contingency of our lives, despite our ability to chemically short-circuit the temporal (unfolding) experientially. We are HERE, not THERE. We live in Time not beyond it (again, despite our ability provisionally to pierce the veil).

My general preference for “God” over “Tao” and the like springs from an appreciation of REALPOLITIK. In the U. S. A. at this point in history, the word “God” is a potent weapon in the struggle for CONTROL. Who claims/owns “God” has a very real political tool. And at this point we have handed it over to the fascists. It’s time to reclaim God. SHe is on OUR side, after all, not theirs.

“Tao” is left-hand waving.

Tons of Love,

Bogus Magus said...

Ah well, I don't live in the USA, and I forget how lively the 'God' wars may still feel over there.

Here in sceptical old UK the issue doesn't seem as large. It still annoys me that a humanist would never make it to Prime Minister (nor would a dope-smoker), but religion plays a very small part in our culture - even when suspicious of Muslims (because of terrorism) that mostly manifests as racism rather than a religious war. Even in the 62 years I have lived the situation changed. In my childhood Church and State seemed linked (through schooling, etc), but that no longer feels true.

And to me 'God' has always seemed like a political tool. Indeed, that remains one of my strongest objections! The Holy Roman Empire, and all that. Anyone under that regime who tried to actually meet 'God' face-to-face (Gnostic tendencies) would get burned, etc.

I didn't say I do use 'Tao' more often, but that the implied model seems closer to how I understand the world. I can imagine physicists attempting to understand the Tao (even if it finally remains mysterious) but I can't see scientific experiments about 'God'. Just my own limitations, no doubt.

And it comes down (as usual) to quibbling about what you mean by the word, and whether we can come to some agreement, and if we do, can we stop people misusing it? The whole war seems based on such arguing over definitions. You can't even attempt to quote "Thou Shalt Not Kill" or "Love Thine Enemy As Thyself" and ask where the ambiguity lies...I don't see religion as an intellectual, but an non-rational and emotional enterprise. There's no talking to some people...


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