Friday, December 31, 2010

A pataphysical conspiracy

Many tracks have been sought to discover the secret of Rennes-le-Chateau. Some seem plausible, but many oddball ideas have been uttered. One of the strangest in my opinion links the Priory of Sion to… a pataphysical conspiracy! Or the opposite (which from a 'pataphysical POV is the same).

The Société Périllos, editors of some hermetic books, published one page on their website proposing an interesting story, where 19th century symbolism is mixed up with fin-de-siècle occultism, and absurdity is elevated to a level Alfred Jarry would have appreciated.

First, a little history.



Alfred Jarry became famous by writing the father Ubu trilogy, considered the first absurdist theatre plays. He also wrote "Gestes et Opinions du Docteur Faustroll, pataphysicien" (Exploits and Opinions of Dr. Faustroll, pataphysician) in 1898, published posthumously in 1911.
In this book, he inserted his main ideas on the Science of imaginary solutions in a strange symbolist tale where Doctor Faustroll navigates through land, accompanied by 27 'Livres Pairs' (equivalent books), his ape-servant Bosse-de-Nage, who could only express himself with the words "Ha ha" (probably meant as a pun to insult Jarry's Belgian friend Christian Beck who used this as a meaningless expletive) and a bailiff named Panmuphle. They travel from island to island, each one populated by a writer contemporary of Jarry and his microcosmos. In the end Faustroll goes on a little killing spree after having seen a horse's head, the surface of god is calculated and Faustroll himself appears to be the book in which his adventures are told. All of it extremely bizarre to most people, and written in an impeccable erudite French influenced by François Rabelais, French philosophy and scientific odd facts.

Jarry was much admired by dadaists and surrealists (Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst and Juan Miro amongst others) and his ideas started to proliferate amongst the happy few, creating an environment where they were bound to give birth to some sort of club. In 1948 the Collège de 'Pataphysique was founded by one man (if I told you his name I'd have to kill you). From the start and totally in the spirit of Jarry, he clouded the creation of the college in mystification. Officially the founder is a Doctor Sandomir, who became the first Vice-Curator (the ethernal Curator being Doctor Faustroll, assisted by his Starost Bosse-de-Nage), about whom only one portret is known. He was assisted by Mélanie Le Plumet (a cat), Oktav Votka and Jean-Hugues Sainmont, all avatars of the same person (I didn't tell you this).

From the beginning writers and artists who were part of the French intelligentsia joined in, and what was at first meant as a one-man mystification shifted from imaginary towards reality. The movement slowly invaded other countries, giving birth to offsprings of the College, some of them detailed on my blog.
Since 1948, the College published regularly a magazine (only available to members) under the leadership of three other Vice-Curators elected by an unique elector (who was chosen by all members - a system not unlike the complex elections of the Doge of Venice): Baron Mollet (who used to be Guillaume Apollinaire's secretary), Opach (who was very real but about whom very little is known) and the present leader, Lutembi (a large crocodile in Uganda who might have died in 2007), while the secret founder kept hiding under different personalities (Sainmont ending up in a lunatic asylum after being thrown out of the College). Opach decided to occultate of the College from 1975 to 2000, effectively making a secret of all nominations in the complex ranking system. Meanwhile the publications went on, even more surrounded by a halo of secrecy, and more and more groups worldwide joined the movement.
All of this created a rather elitaristic atmosphere, and to people attracted to conspiracy theories the College might look like a very secret society indeed.

In Wallony, Belgium, Richard Tialans (1943-1995), an erudite librarian, painter, photographer and theater-maker, member of the College, created in 1969 the "Centre d'Orientation et d'Information Théâtrale" (COIT), a theatrical society, and started for his own pleasure to publish an irregular journal called the "AA Revue", a name obviously borrowed from Bosse-de-Nage. He claimed in 1991 to be read by 10 people and to have only one paid subscription. I still have a friendly letter from him refusing (damned) to add me to his list. A second paid subscription (from the New York Library) was simply refused! Many members of the College wrote quite bizarre bits for the Revue, which helped to make it a much sought after mythical underground publication. I still haven't managed to find one!

Now for the conspiracy interpretation.


It seems Belgian nobleman Philippe de Chérisey was linked to the Priory of Sion by French conspiracist Jean-Luc Chaumeil. The writer of the Société Périllos, André Douzet, claims to have been approached by people with a new document concerning rather personal writings by de Cherisey.
And this was none other than AA Revue # 123, which next to a French translation of Immermann's Baron Munchhausen, published three texts for in total 25 pages by the same Philippe de Cherisey: "Catalog of common circumflexes", "Circumflexes of names" and "Circumflex and Umlaut".

Because of the secrecy of the publication, Douzet even issued doubts whether there had been other issues. The date, from the pataphysical calender, "Absolu 107", was seen as another hermetic sign. (1)
Douzet adds 123 to 107 and wonders what 230 means. The word 'vulgar' next to actual date is interpreted correctly as "meaning that they are using the ordinary calendar system as compared to a more sacred calendar, like that of some organisation or society", and through the use of another calendar "the reader may think that this publication is created by 'initiates'”, but the author goes on to refer to the Masonic calendar. Then there's the title of the publication. Douzet wonders whether this is the secret review of the enigmatic AA. And the editor goes by the strange name of 'Richard Tialans', for Douzet obviously a pseudonym! And as out of three texts, three are by de Cherisey, Douzet extrapolates this is all a mystification… but one to cover the real editor, de Cherissey and his secret agenda. de Cherissey might have published this review as part of a disinformation scheme, in the same vein as Dan Brown's books.
Douzet then elaborates on his doubts on the amount of publications as no one within the 'esoteric France' community ever heard of it. "This document appears to be almost totally unknown and unstudied". (2)

(1)The Collège issued several versions of the calendar, all based on the first one proposed by Jarry in his two almanachs of 1897 and 1901. Erroneously Douzet mixes up the first calendar by Jarry, which used the Christian year, and the later editions developped by the College, where the 'Pataphysical Era start on September, 8, 1873, the birthdate of Jarry. What remains is that the Pataphysical calendar used thirteen months, twelve lasting 28 and one lasting 29 days. They are: Absolu, Haha, As, Sable, Décervelage, Gueules, Pédale, Clinamen, Palotin, Merdre, Gidouille (29 days), Tatane, Phalle. Later on the College changed the names of the saints and holidays.
(2) And for obvious reasons… I recieved a list from Tialans with the aformentioned letter and can assure he did publish more than 200 issues from 1969 to 1991. Most used the Christian date, but N° 78 to 126 used the 'pataphysical calendar.

Four covers found online, #109-110, 123, 166 and 202-203.

Then the inquiry takes a leap forward: Douzet discovers the 'Pataphysical calendar was developped by Alfred Jarry. The apostrophe in front of the P is another mystery to him. But the concept of 'Pataphysics in relation to metaphysics as metaphysics is in relation to physics, confirms the belief that it deals with a realm beyond soul and spirit. And the author utters the very pataphysical (inconscious, hence without apostrophe) "Ubu is in their interpretation both God and the Devil. And it is hence obvious that this discipline is at the same time both utterly serious, and totally laughable – absolutely absurd and philosophically essential."
And then he totally looses his marbles. "And what are we to make of the fact that Alfred Jarry provides his “father Ubu” with a mistress, and gives her the name Madeleine – Magdalene? Does it not sound similar to that old Cathar ideology, in which they too believed that there was an “other god”, to use the words of Yuri Stoyanov, whom was deemed to be female, and which in the region of the Languedoc, by the local Cathars, was apparently identified with Magdalene (…)". And he goes on, comparing the riddles in the Rennes-le-Chateau mystery with the grotesque plays featuring père Ubu.


Now the order of AA, not to be confused with uncle Al's A:.A (or is it?) was supposedly a hermetic order in 17th and 18th century France and consisted exclusively of priests.
One of the two main sources about the AA is a book published in 1775, 'L'AA Cléricale', published by 'Mysteriopolis'.
The other source is count Henri Bégouen's, "L'AA de Toulouse aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siecles, d'après des documents inédits" (1913), a recent reprint of which I bought last month. Bégouen was a French archeologist, and this is his only work outside of his field.

The AA is linked to the "Compagnie du Saint-Sacrement" (Company of the blessed sacrament"), a French catholic secret society, self-proclaimed charitable society, and a militant association for the defence of the Church founded in 1630 and abolished by Louis XIV in 1660.
The AA might have existed prior to the dissolution of the Compagnie, but it took over some of its goals in an even more secretive way. The name AA is unclear. Maybe it comes from the alchemy, where AaA means 'amalgamate'. Others think it's shorthand for Associatio Amicorum. Or it might mean 'Amis', the plural of friend just as 'MM' in French means 'messieurs', plural of sir and 'CC' means the plural of consul. Bégouen discovered 29 cities in France where a secret AA society regularly convened. The mystery of the AA was such that it might appear as a hoax, and its central 'secret' goal remains unknown. It has been compared to an intelligence agency.
From RH-forum:
"There is mention of a password, how to envisage the self-destruction of the cell, to destroy all traces of its existence, to pass from action to silence if there is the slightest doubt. You can wonder whether terrorist organizations practice such a level of secrecy. This type of moral convention is of such an inconceivable rigor that the only framework in which this document could come about is that of a fanatical sect… or of a movement that was elected to safeguard a frightening secret."
“At the same time, behind this congregation or visible company, there was another occult one. It was the true AA, whose existence was a mystery and the name of the members an even greater mystery still. There were several political characters among them. The meetings were secret and certain members, in particular Prince de Polignac, only went to them in disguise. For on being allowed into this association, it was necessary to swear to absolute secrecy, to promise a blind obedience with passwords which no-one else knew.”
"The AA is the best candidate for the framework in which Saunière and his closest allies operated; membership of the AA could explain the extreme level of secrecy that Saunière adhered to – at the same time being instructed on how to maintain that secrecy so that his “double life” would never be known."


From Philip Coppens' website
"The reference is so enigmatic that you might suspect you had become a character in a detective novel! The “with permission” reference is just one in a long series of incredible details. Is it a hoax? A joke? Have these documents been falsified, as has been the case in some instances in the mystery of Rennes-le-Château? "

At the end of his article on the aforementioned Perillos website, Douzet thinks he found the link: as de Cherissey became involved with the story of abbé Saunière, who might have been part of the AA, it's only fitting that he should write in a publication called AArevue; and as such, for Douzet, both the mystery of Rennes-le-Chateau and the College of Pataphysics are both smokescreens, part of a larger secret: the AA society. Or how a mystification can become a conspiracy in the mind of the gullible.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Only if you want to...


A lot of our readers may well fall into the 'starvin' artist' category, so we just wish you a cool season, but for anyone with spare gift money, looking for a good cause...The Bucky Fuller Institute (a non-profit) need to reach $25000 by the end of the year to stay solvent, and have so far got $14,500.

If you do like the idea of supporting a worthwhile group of researchers, then maybe consider this...worth a visit, anyway, to see what they get up to...

Bucky Fuller fund-raiser

Friday, December 10, 2010

Mavericks of the Mind (Second Edition)

(Please post and redistribute. :) ~DJB)

Dear Friends,

I am happy to announce the launching of the second edition of my book,
Mavericks of the Mind, which was just recently published by the
Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS).

Just in time for the Holy Daze!

Loaded with new material--a new introduction, additional interviews, as
well as new photos and artwork--the second edition of Mavericks of the
Mind also includes the transcripts from the events that brought together
interviewees from the book to debate philosophical topics in roundtable
discussions. This stimulating collection features in-depth conversations
that Rebecca Novick and I did with accomplished thinkers, such as
Terence McKenna, Laura Huxley, Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary, John
Lilly, Carolyn Mary Kleefeld, Rupert Sheldrake, Riane Eisler, and Robert
Anton Wilson.

The interviews explore such fascinating topics as the frontiers of
consciousness exploration, how psychedelics effect creativity, the
relationship between science and spirituality, lucid dreaming, quantum
physics, morphic field theory, interspecies communication, chaos theory,
and time travel.

Copies of the book are available on Amazon for $22.95. To order a copy
today go to: http://alturl.com/idhbw

Wishing you a most joyous holiday season. May 2011 bring you many
unexpected delights.

Warm Greetings,

David Jay Brown

Reviews:

"When it was first published, Mavericks of the Mind was more than a
breath of fresh air -- it was a hurricane of ideas and visions perfectly
tuned to the time. This 21st century expansion pack will ensure that
these maverick spirits--many of whom have now passed on-- will continue
to channel the mindscape beyond the bend." --Erik Davis

"This is a fine collection of original thinkers, an important national
resource. Everyone who wants to stay current with information from the
outer perimeters of consciousness exploration should read it." --Jerry
Garcia of the Grateful Dead

"Depending on how one chooses to view it, this aptly named book is
either a potpourri of strange and wonderful ideas or a collection of
far-fetched suppositions. ...there will certainly be readers interested
in this volume's unique subject matter." --Library Journal
"This is a fine collection of original thinkers, an important national resource. Everyone who wants to stay current with information from the outer perimeters of consciousness exploration should read it."  --Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Spatial Thinking

Bucky time seems to have arrived (no doubt he predicted about how long it would take for his ideas to reach their moment - he always appeared aware of how long it would take for new ideas to become obvious, depending on the field of study).

He seems to have used visualisation as a way to approach the world, and whether you think it stimulates holistic thinking (whole-istic?), or the right brain (or the cerebellum as Stan Gooch controversially suspected) these meditational devices may feel to you as inspirational or soothing, fascinating or simply beautiful.

This one appears on Grunch.net here


By Chardhawk (or can we assume that means by Richard Hawkins & Kirby Urner?)

Anyway, Synergetics on the Web (definitely attributed to Kirby Urner) might intrigue you for a while...



"The brilliant manner in which Fuller fused the development of a revolutionary structural system, the geodesic dome, out of a combination of many hundreds of paper and cardboard geometrical models that were ostensibly intended to be analogical aids for a system of thought, deserves careful consideration. Perhaps the best explanation of it is offered by his 1989 biographer Lloyd Steven Sieden.

'Thinking is sorting experiences’, writes Sieden at the beginning of his exposition of Fuller’s approach, ‘Separating the huge set of experiences that are irrelevant from the very small set of experiences that are relevant’. But irrelevant material itself falls into two categories, and Fuller believed that imagining thought as a transparent sphere helped him to see a way of distinguishing between them. He visualized a situation in which all irrelevant experiences that were too small and too frequently occurring were inside the imaginary sphere, and all those that were too large and too infrequently occurring could be regarded as outside it.

The way Fuller imaged the thinking process, the surface of the imaginary sphere itself would then only consist of relevant experiences, or thoughts. He then wondered how many relevant experiences it would take to establish the ‘insideness’ and ‘outsideness’ necessary to create a sphere of thoughts. His answer was that while any two experiences could be joined by a line, it too three to fix their relationship – a concept perhaps not dissimilar to the journalistic principle that it takes three events to make a trend. This point Fuller diagramatized by drawing a triangle. But to establish a sphere containing ‘insideness’ and outsideness’ something robust enough to be called a thought, was impossible using flat triangles on paper, because the triangle had no integral space-enclosing depth. Three-dimensional structure, in thought as in geometry, could only be achieved by plotting in a fourth experience. The resulting three-dimensional model, a three-sided pyramid, or tetrahedron, Fuller came to believe, was the true geometrical model of a thought. It consisted of four points, or experiences, which in turn generated six sides, or relationships."


from p122 of Martin Pawley’s little book on Bucky

Hey, feeling child-like? Try this Bucky4kids site - why not?

you'll find all sorts of fans out there...this website hasn't updated since 2006, but might prove worth a visit...

"The whole world has to be turned into music or into a Fuller university." John Cage

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The imaginary is something that tends to become true

The man who started the ball rolling with one of the most popular memes of the conspiracy sub-cultures wrote one final book.

Gérard de Sède "Rennes-le-Château: the dossier, the impostures, the fantasies, the hypotheses” (tr. Roger Kersey)
If anyone wants to read a summing up of this widely covered field, I would recommend this book. The first edition was 1988, but we now have an English translation available.

His original book, “Le trésoir maudit de Rennes-le-Château” (translated as "The Accursed Treasure of Rennes-le-Château") published in 1967, fell right into the meme-field then current (Morning of the Magicians, Erich von Daniken, etc), but although it had the air of journalism, it seems a good idea to bear in mind that de Sède had belonged to a Surrealist group called La Main à Plume back in the 1940s.

The Dossier section reiterates the various strands of the story.

Section Two covers the impostures and fantasies, referring to the activities of M. Pierre Plantard, Henri Lobineau, the Merovingian tale, the affair of the Red Serpent, all the way to “The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail” (Baigent, Leigh, Lincoln), "Genisis" (David Woods’ thick felt tip lines drawn on small scale maps to produce patterns) and The Temple of The Stars. He seems fair in his assessments, and writes amusingly.

The third Section covers some more reasonable hypotheses to explain the odd events surrounding Abbé Bérenger: the selling of Masses, treasure, forged documents, etc., but he settles for a version which implicates occult groups of the turn of the century, Rosy-Cross and Freemasonic, as well as fairly sinister sounding groups inside the Catholic Church, like the Sodalitium Pianum (no-one expects the SP!). And what do we know of George Monti (the ‘serial esoteric society joiner’) and his links to (infiltration of?) the OTO and other groups.

All very intriguing.
"The imaginary is something that tends to become true." André Breton

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