Thursday, August 30, 2007

Health Issues

Boomtime, 23rd of Bureaucracy, YOLD 3173

MLA field agent, Ko, has just posted a great set Bob's playof links and info after hir visit to the 2007 conference of the Centre for Orgonomic Research and Education (on Reichian subjects)...which you can read and refer to in the public part of the general forum, here. If the link don't work, the vandals took the can always find it in General Discussion under Orgonomania Revisited...

And speaking of health:

I hear that Kent (the founding editor for MQ) has had an extremely stressful and unpleasant time with the state of his health, recently - but still shares the planet with us, and will be back at his desk ASAP. I feel sure that all the old-timers of the MLA send him their best wishes...

You can find a link to The Kentroversy Pages on our list of members' blogs.


Saturday, August 25, 2007

Visit the Remains and Help Yourself to the Leftovers

Tao, sometimes translated as 'The Way'

[text remains unfinalised]

For new visitors, from whichever direction you arrived, just a little explanation about how I see this 'place'. RAW's wonderful (if hardly unique) creation of an interactive online forum for learning brought together an interesting group of people, with some core members emerging, and a glittering cast of guest stars, walk-ons, extras (who we might call lurkers), has-beens, wannabes, provocateurs, people hidden behind make-up and/or masks and people who strip everything off and run naked through the marketplace.

And the Academy has many more resources than a mere forum - it has a rather fine library of RAW material and work from people that he liked, I'll offer a relevant sample:

The values that Taoism sees in woman and water are their harmony with the Tao. I have not translated this key term, and I do not intend to; but Ezra Pound's translation - "the process" - seems to me more adequate than "the Way," "the Path" and most of the other attempts. Students of General Semantics might understand if I say that the "Tao" comes very close to meaning what they mean when they say "the process-world." The Tao is the flux, the constant change, amid which we live and in the nature of which we partake; or it is the "law" of this change. (But, of course, the "law" and the "change" itself are not different in reality, only in our grammar and philosophy.) A Zen master asked how to get in harmony with the Tao, replied, "Walk on!" Water and woman represent adjustment to the Law of Change, which "man, proud man, dressed in his little brief authority," and his abstract dogmas, tries to resist.

Anna Livia Plurabelle, the water woman, represents the values of the Tao in Finnegans Wake . The very first word of the book, "riverrun" - not the river and the running of the river, but "riverrun" - places us firmly in the "process-world" of modern physics, which is the world of the Tao.

Joyce and Tao By Robert Anton Wilson
From The James Joyce Review, vol. 3, 1959, pp. 8-16

Because of the ephemeral nature of a forum (a rather linear kind of transaction) we planned a quarterly magazine to capture 'the good bits'. Not only did that (through a McLuhan lens) appear based on an old-fashioned print cuture, but it seemed sluggish and unresponsive in a hi-speed modern environment - and, inevitably (or at least predictably) a few enthusiasts provided nearly all of the content, and when they lapsed the editor had to write most of it, and then the group complained it had become unrepresentative.

A few of us decided to start this blog as a more flexible alternative - hovering between chat and finished pieces. Here and Now we find ourselves on a 200th post, and a similar monoculture has appeared in terms of linear contributions by an ever-diminishing group of contributors. Perhaps just following a natural life-cycle?
The Alchemist's Lab
I would feel disappointed if people only came to see 'the latest post' and not do a bit of detective work, rummage in the archives, ask about the odd items in the apothecary jars, or the strange preserves in the old-style delicatessen section, or visit the back rooms (access via Vico's Bar).

I have started indexing, labelling and linking precisely to encourage exploration - just as RAW encouraged us to do a little archaeology (or mining) of the Twentieth Century - combined with early-uptake and adventurous responses (brain machines, online forums, Futurist approaches to the Singularity, etc).

RAW liked Pound's translation of 'Tao' as 'Process'
I think of this site more as a process that a publication. I feel free to return to, and edit, posts. After all, you don't want to find dead links, do you? Why would you want to lock down the words and images? OK, you might like to see the Director's Cut, or sample the raw source material (the first take, or even outtakes) but it seems obvious to me that we should allow ourselves the freedom to tweak, sample, cut-up, hide, reveal and edit the material. Not all contributors have Admin rights (but they could), and any contributor could start a peripheral blog and link back here (and many of us have, as you will find in the links on the right).

If I appear to state the obvious you have to understand that I recently visited another forum and got severely told off for going back and editing or deleting posts of my own. Apparently it made communication difficult for them, and more particularly could get used to make others appear stupid or incoherent, or myself look clever. IMHOApparently, once something gets said (written) in their world, it goes into the electronic akashic records and you have to live with the karma of your own stupidity (or something). I find that impossibly conservative and restrictive! So, I can't correct typos, factual errors or uninformed (or badly phrased) opinions - nothing ever gets forgiven and forgotten! Ludicrous! The Wayback machine and cached Google pages suffice for me, and if people quote the parts of my posts to which they are responding, where can confusion arise? Unless I deny I ever said such a thing!

As a lover of Burroughs, Cage and other anarchists and process-based types, I couldn't believe how oppressive that felt (not to mention the flaming). After all, you can only mess with your own contributions to a dialogue, and further feedback from others remains possible. Of course, if you acquire admin rights (so you can interfere with other people's material) then you do incur some responsibilities, too - and need to act with good intent.

The wind is part of the process The rain is part of the process -- Ezra Pound, Canto 74However, you can always sample the source and re-mix. I liked John Cage's distinction between communication (with intent to affect the other) and conversation (idling along together in parallel).

Whether this blog can remain a process, and can resist turning into an object, remains to be seen. I like the idea that we continue to develop what Bob initiated, and these recent posts simply form my attempt to devise some Brief MLA courses, in the tradition of self-directed learning.

Meanwhile, I will work on making the blog denser, but not longer - feel free to do what you want with it. You can always check out further opinions of mine on my own blog. Be Seeing You!

NB: the next Maybe Quarterly falls due on the Autumnal Equinox, 23 September 2007 - that leaves you a month to consider making a contribution.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Paris by Night

Spot the deliberate mistake
We seem to have Paris in our sights for next year's MLA European get-together (Bogus View - Borksy View - of MLA Meetup 2007).

Borsky has started on our trip to the Underworld; I would insist on dropping in on Shakespeare and Co.
George Whitman George Whitman is the legendary owner of Shakespeare and Company. He originally comes from Salem, Massachusetts, but for the last sixty years has made Paris his home. George is a bibliophile of such stature that he insists his guests read a book a day and believes himself to be living in a novel. At 91 years old, he has recently retired but still sits as a figurehead above his store.

The Rag & Bone Shop of the Heart a piece by George...

I may disappear leaving behind me no worldly possessions - just a few old socks and love letters, and my windows overlooking Notre-Dame for all of you to enjoy, and my little rag and bone shop of the heart whose motto is "Be not inhospitable to strangers lest they be angels in disguise". I may disappear leaving no forwarding address, but for all you know I may still be walking among you on my vagabond journey around the world.

NB: He allows young travellers to stay in the residential quarters of his rue de la Bucherie premises, in exchange for two hours' work in the bookshop each day; you are also encouraged to read a book a day during your stay...
Virtual Tour of Shakespeare and Co.

les escaliers de Montmartre - Brassaï 1936I'd love to bring Brassaï to people's attention (try Google Images) but only because of my early love affair with Henry Miller's writing (before sombunall of the feminists labelled him some kind of chauvinist - but ask Anaïs Nin before you judge him too harshly, and anyway the guy seems more like a mystic than a flâneur to me - and while on the subject of the French (and Duchamp, etc) I'd like to point you to Man Ray for sure, and Lee Miller, and all sorts of other wonderful people (I'll get back here with links and images when the whisky (for the flu) wears off.

Let's see - Louis Aragon (Paris Peasant), Louis Malle, Burroughs and Gysin at 9 Rue Git le Coeur (the famous "Beat Hotel") , Queneau, Prévert, Les Enfants du Paradis, oh, I'd better just go sober up and start again, seeing as how Paris in the 30s and 40s seemed like London in The Sixties...Picasso and Dali came up from Spain, people hung out, what can I say?

Maybe we can meet up there next year, but meanwhile...

...anyone got any clue as to the most creative city to live in right now?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Happy New Ears!

John Cage having a laugh
When RAW died at the age of 74, it seemed to me that I found myself next in line (at the age of 61). The Forum and the Academy seemed generally a space for younger folk. Not that I thought it made me any wiser (or put me at the front of the line for dying!) but it does (inevitably) make my frame of reference different, just because of having started earlier in the Twentieth Century.

Now that I (along with an unknown group of others)have begun working on the self-directed course of The Tale of The Tribe (which doesn't have a discussion zone) I seem to have leaked a lot of my 'thinking aloud' to this blog...and with Comments we can at least have brief exchanges, as we would in the forum.

The monologue aspect of a blog post suits me, too (no interruptions and sidetracks - heh heh).

One of the reasons I started talking about Duchamp and Cage, etc, arises from wanting to create a context. It seems so easy to think of creative people working in isolation.

Bob in younger daysEven now, I get a little shock when (say) Bob Dylan mentions Neil Young, in Highlands as though I somehow assumed he doesn't live in the same soundscape world as me...or might have read the same books, seen the same films, etc.

I'm listening to Neil Young, I gotta turn up the sound
Someone's always yelling turn it down

So, to put Joyce and Pound and Korzybski and Fuller in context (when what they worked on still really was 'modern' - as in contemporary) I have studied around them, I want to know if they knew (or knew of) each other...and find it amusing that Joseph Campbell ended up the way he was because of total poverty in The Thirties (and just giving up and retreating into books) - so I also find it intriguing that Cage (from sheer poverty) started playing Furniture Music (finding sounds in all the objects around him) - and then got into electronics and experimental music (early uptaker in The Forties) and began the 'Happenings' in The Fifties that mosbunall people associate with The Sixties (if they don't think of Cabaret Voltaire in The Twenties). And yes, I have deliberately used those decades (inaccurate though I find them) to show how we cut up a century. We even believe something 'new' happened in 2000, but many people in 1900 felt the same...they felt really trendy and new...

Anyway - I am working my way around John Cage again. I have access to a couple of his books through the library - Silence, and For The Birds ("I am for the birds, not the cages that people put them in"). The library also has various pieces of his 'music', but I feel more interested in his cross-over work. I really enjoyed Roaratorio (a soundscape - or Irish Circus -he made for Finnegans Wake) and just got a copy of his highly amusing 'radio play' Marcel Duchamp, James Joyce, Erik Satie: An Alphabet.

I already have, in my collection, the rather wonderful Indeterminacy, a series of 90 one minute stories he tells on one channel, while David Tudor adds random sounds on the other stereo channel. JC collecting mushrooms

Plenty of mushroom stories for our Phly. You can find the stories online here...and while reading them on screen just listen to the sounds of the environment you find yourself sitting in (it'll do just as well, and I feel sure he would approve).

I feel like I want to make a timeline, and put all these people onto it - maybe focused on 1932 (when Bob arrived on the planet, and Cage arrived back from a trip to Europe, aged 20, to study with Schoenberg), from William Burroughs (studying with Korzybski) to Joyce refusing psychoanalysis from Jung, from Joe Campbell in his cabin, to Crowley on his Hitler and Korzybski and Wilhelm Reich, and on and on and so on.

Ahem. You can see what I mean about my tendency to monologue (or even, to get Shakespearean, soliloquy). Musing. Brooding. Thinking. Meditating.

Strictly speaking, I feel I should take all this over to my own blog, but so long as it seems fairly relevant I will stay and clutter up the blog. OMMMM. AUMMMM.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Okey Dokey

Regular readers of this blog (if such exist) will know sombunall of the work of Bobby Campbell...and if you don't then you can use the Imperfect Index (search for Bobby's Art) to sample his prolific contribution to both this blog and the MQ magazine. I may leave it to him to explain in detail, but he has put a re-vamped edition of Okey-Dokey #1 up online here (and you can also order a hard copy, using PayPal - for a price that hardly covers mailing costs, I would think).

NB: I created the Index before Blogger introduced Labels (which posters can add for themselves), so although I will attempt to update the site using the labels so you can filter by subject, you'll miss out on the tantalising titles to posts, when I simply cluster all posts by, or about, Bobby's work (say) - in the Index you can browse all the intriguing titles...

Don't forget that you can Search the blog, using keywords, with Blogger's own searcher (top left hand corner of screen). Putting 'Okey' into that will take you to an Okey-Dokey prelude from June 2005, and a Work-in-Progress version from April 2006.

For any MLA members who wonder why I went so quiet on the Forums - I figured I could usefully go back and re-read some of this wonderful extra-curricula stuff that we 'student/participants' generated (apart from reviewing all the course material), and indexing and labelling and hyperlinking it gives me the excuse and motivation to go look at it all again. I'd think of it as a real shame if it just faded into Web ephemera, for lack of a hard copy archived in a library, somewhere.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Trip (a trap)

I have no idea how many visitors we get ("LOOK OUT! Mind that thing on the floor!") and/or how many return, and/or how many simply pass through. This blog doesn’t represent the Admin side of the Maybe Logic Academy but belongs to a bunch of ‘students’ who like to spread the word of a fun place to hang out, and share their (sometimes) obscure and esoteric interests.

As you can see from this post last October, among the people who ‘study’ at MLA you will find all sorts of creatives (writers, musicians, artists, etc) as well as philosophical folk, people into magick, or gardening, or Reichian work, etc.

As the Maybe Logic Academy originally started so that people could attend seminars and courses with Robert Anton Wilson without him (or them) having to travel around the world, that original flavour pervades throughout – but new tutors have come on board, and RAW has left the planet, so changes seem inevitable.

The MLA quarterly magazine may give a more balanced view of the range of our group interests, but this blog reflects a rather narrow cross-section of the student body…and in particular my own little reality-tunnel containing Zenarchy, Duchamp and conjuring, etc, which may display my ageing brainmind, and might well leave the other contributors quite cold.

To misquote the Principia:

Not Bob Dobbs from the back "Everybody understands Mickey Mouse. Few understand Herman Hesse. Only a handful understood Albert Einstein. And nobody understood Marcel Duchamp."

[side trip]
With apologies to
Emperor Norton - and if you haven’t heard of him, or The Discordians, try this site.
Emperor Norton
Here’s someone
following the trail

I first heard of him [Emperor Norton] from reading the Principia Discordia, written by the Joshua Norton Cabal of the Discordian Society. Their motto is: "Everybody understands Mickey Mouse. Few understand Herman Hesse. Only a handful understood Albert Einstein. And nobody understood Emperor Norton." The Discordian Society is sometimes called "nonsense disguised as religion or vice versa."

About Marcel Duchamp:
by Donald Kuspit
Chapter 2, Part 3 Spiritualism and Nihilism: The Second Decade

In 1917 he made Fountain, a urinal purchased from "Mott Works," a New York plumbing company, and signed "R. Mutt" (not only an ironical misspelling, suggesting that the artist is a mongrel dog or stupid person, but, as has also been thought, a play on the German word "Armut," meaning poverty). That same year he made Trébuchet (Trap), in chess a term for a pawn placed to 'trip' an opponent's piece. (Duchamp supposedly retired from art making in 1923 to devote himself entirely to chess, becoming a champion.) The work was a coat hanger which Duchamp nailed to the floor of his New York studio, where visitors could trip over it.
A Trebuchet
Actually, and more interestingly to Lasagna flingers, 'Trebuchet' can also describe one of those medaeval catapults...whether we should consider this piece of 'art' as the equivalent to a rotting cow thrown over the battlements of the art establishment, I don't know (but I am not the only one to notice the ambiguity/pun):

Duchamp had constructed other ready mades before Fountain. Bicycle Wheel, Bottle Rack, and Comb, for example. The title of each piece is the name of the object. He seems to diverge from this pattern with Trebuchet, which is generally translated as trap, but is also the name of a medieval catapult. Trebuchet is a coat rack affixed to the floor. Were you to trap your foot in one of the hangers, you would no doubt catapult yourself into a wall.
KEYNOTE ADDRESS by David Rhodes "Educating Artists"

However, my interest in Duchamp does not arise from his Trickster/prankster aspect (amusing though I find it) but from the fact that he escapes easy labelling as an 'artist'. He seems well informed on the science of the day, and in fact invented several items which you could see as contributions to the sciences of the day:

But Duchamp, as a disciple of Henri Poincaré, also understood the mathematics of non-Euclidean geometry and higher dimensionality in a far more serious and technical way than any other artist of his time. He maintained a passionate interest in science throughout his life, and he made several innovations, in optics, mathematics and perception, that we have not understood both because Duchamp himself chose to be maddeningly cryptic about his intentions and achievements, and because we have not been open to the possibility that an acknowledged genius, once categorized as an "artist," could also be innovative in science.
by Rhonda Roland Shearer & Stephen Jay Gould

The reference to Poincaré seems appropriate, as he often gets described as a polymath and the last universalist of mathematics (before the field became so immense that no one brain could grasp it all) - and I think of Robert Anton Wilson (RAW) as a polymath (of a different kind). With reference to Duchamp's 'art' I find it interesting that among Poincaré's many interests we find chaos theory, dynamic systems, the theory of relativity, quantum theory and (especially) Topology.

Like Joyce, Duchamp seems to have built in quite a few jokes and timebombs for future critics to puzzle over, or discover belatedly.
An Artist's Timely Riddles
Deploying scientific methods to understand a Dada artist's provocative creations
Ivars Peterson

Nude Descending a Staircase (No 2) Duchamp Descending a staircase The Second Life avatar of Tasrill Sieyes

Marcel Duchamp site
Understanding Marcel Duchamp Truly excellent animated timeline of Duchamp's work
tout-fait (online magazine of Duchamp studies)
Jarry, Joyce, Duchamp and Cage a piece from tout-fait
Art Science Research Laboratory (Includes animations of the Rotoreliefs, etc)
Duchamp plus music
Anémic Cinéma film by Duchamp

RAW renewed our interest in the 'Moderns', even though they worked many decades ago, now (and Duchamp didn't come up in conversation) - in particular Joyce and Pound - but (enjoying my ear) I also like the work of John Cage - and he seemed particularly inspired by Duchamp's use of chance in creativity - something also explored by William Burroughs and Laurie Anderson (amongst others). I don't think all these ideas have become dated, yet, or explorations completed! I find particularly intriguing the cross-over inspirations and collaborative work, like Cage's "Roratorio, an Irish Circus on Finnegan's Wake" (1979), and Somewhere between Dream and Reality: Shigeko Kubota’s Reunion with Duchamp and Cage - a wired-up chess set changed the sound scape of the space depending on the moves made by the chess pieces.

"In the nature of the use of chance operations is the belief that all answers answer all questions."
John Cage.

"At a Dada exhibition in Dusseldorf, I was impressed that though Schwitters and Picabia and the others had all become artists with the passing of time, Duchamp's work remained unacceptable as art."
John Cage, Interview, 1973

The Original Trap
The Original Trap "A real coat hanger that I wanted sometime to put on the wall and hang my things on but I never did come to that - so it was on the floor and I would kick it every minute, every time I went out - I got crazy about it and I said the Hell with it, if it wants to stay there and bore me, I'll nail it down… and then the association with the Readymade came and it was that" - Marchand du Sel
Some Other Readymades.

NB: I'd feel stupid discussing 'moderns' from 70 odd years ago, if they hadn't drawn on so-called '19th Century work' like Etienne-Jules Marey, Étude chromo photographique de la locomotion humaine, 1886
I got these simply from development pages of Understanding Duchamp - a true work of love...from Andrew Stafford...although most of us may feel more familiar with the work of Muybridge.

Just found this site - it looks useful: An Encounter with Marcel Duchamp

Saturday, August 04, 2007

A Mystery To Me

I have just read The City of Secrets by Patrice Chaplin. My attention got drawn to it by an article in the latest Fortean Times... which described some hoax pictures designed to discredit the main concept, which the author left out of the book. Either a sinister conspiracy to try to discredit her, or a rather good double bluff.

You'll find lovely little teasers for people who like Rennes-Le-Chateau and the Priory of Sion, you know:


Which either gives you an “Aha!” moment or a chance to say “whooo, scary…”

This seems perfect material for testing RAW’s tactics and strategies for assessing the amount of truth in a story, for attributing levels of probability, for evaluating what you hear and read. If you think that Rennes-Le-Chateau really does contain a mystery then this whole new angle on the story will truly excite you. Instead of revamping all the known material, the story moves to Spain (well, Girona in Catalunia) and includes Kabbalah, a secret ceremony which creates visions, a twin tower, a society which guards the secret, an ephemeral Grail, etc.

I enjoyed it as a read (but I like this sort of stuff) and it certainly reads better than Dan Brown’s cardboard cutout people, but (like Castaneda or The Celestine Prophecy) it takes advantage of the fact that it can show and conceal at the same time...

I leave it to you to decide whether something truly ancient lies behind all this, or whether we should think of it as group creativity and imagination.

City of Secrets site
Andrew Gough interviews Chaplin
Andrew Gough goes to explore
Perillos site

You might prefer some middle ground like Mizrach at Florida U

If you belong to the group who get dismissed (too easily) as mere skeptics, you may prefer to read deadpan deconstructions like Paul Smith’s Priory of Sion site, and maybe check out the discussion forum (although they often look more like a monologue from PS!)

I still lean to the ‘pataphysical connection (if that doesn’t sound like an oxymoron), myself...
Paul Smith on Cherisey
Perillos on the AARevue and Cherisey
...and found Rat Scabies and The Holy Grail far more amusing...

I have no idea whether Kabbalistic chanting can generate images others can see (or whether a magic lantern show on the mist works better). When such things get surrounded by “don’t try it, you might die if not properly prepared” I just say “OK!”

With phenomena like Alien Spacecraft and Ghosts you either have seen them or you haven’t. With this new genre (as with crop circles) one can see the possibilities for generating tourism (and look how well Lourdes did!) I’d feel astounded if Dan Brown didn’t get some kind of free flights out of tourist boards, but I don’t intend to imply that Patrice Chaplin works for the Girona tourist board...ahem.

I do find it interesting how people seem to think that ancient mysteries have real power, but modern ones don’t. Just as you can read about the occult obsession at the end of the 19th Century in Europe, and the New Age frenzy at the end of the 20th (as if Christian calendars contained real magic to divide the world into centuries in the first place) – I happen to have started on my thesis “Religious Fads, Fashions and Fallacies of the Ancient Egyptians”. That these attempts at exerting magical power over a totally indifferent universe continue to fascinate people amazes me, but then again, as a non-initiate I still haven’t witnessed anything that would incline me to believe in such powers, available to humans.

But I find consciousness a puzzle, and imagination a wonder, so I don’t deny that something interesting occurs when people work together...

Friday, August 03, 2007

New Courses for the Fall

Understanding Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot
Lon Milo DuQuette / August 13 - September 30 / $135

Myths, Invocations and Rituals
Patricia Monaghan / September 3 - October 28 / $125

Erik Davis / September 17 - November 11 / $120

Well, it may have gone a little quiet during the summer semester in the main forum (or maybe that’s just because I have STFU) but MLA has plenty of goodies for The Fall, including a new experiment, self-directed courses. These will run without a tutor/facilitator, and the syllabus will cover similar ground to previous courses, offering a chance for students to continue work on the material, on their own.

Now His Serene Absence has moved on to higher pursuits this seems like a great chance to help amplify and complete his work. The Tale of the Tribe course will include and expand upon work RAW originally offered in two of his courses: The Ideogrammic Method, and The Tale of the Tribe.

The first two S-D offerings are Robert Anton Wilson's Tale of the Tribe and Philip H. Farber's Meta-Magick.

MLA Self-Directed Course - Tale of the Tribe

An Interactive Exploration
with Robert Anton Wilson

10 week access to S-D Course Site
For more info, $60

Derived from Robert Anton Wilson's landmark MLA courses 'The Ideogrammic Method' and 'Tale of the Tribe,' this self-directed course bridges the political, the social and the psychological in a mix only Wilson conjure. Starring Ernest Fenollosa, Ezra Pound, Alfred Korzybski, James Joyce and Buckminster Fuller -- the nucleus of the extraordinary minds that have helped shape the information age of 21st century and the mindscape of Robert Anton Wilson. Follow RAW through the labyrinths of Joyce and Pound as we learn to perceive/conceive in non-Aristotelian categories and join the Global Village.

MLA Self-Directed Course - Meta-Magick

Where Magick Meets the Brain
with Philip H Farber

10 week access to S-D Course Site
For more info, $55

NB: for students who already participated in these courses, I believe you may get a reduced price, email Admin for advice on this.


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