Tuesday, May 9, 2023

The Politics of Oil and Oil Palm Plantations (reprise)

The ragtag Royal Sulu Army prepare to invade Sabah

Below are spontaneous comments on the Sulu invasion of Sabah I left on various conversation threads over the past week. It's a vastly complex and multi-layered issue made urgent by the outbreak of violence which has cost nearly 100 lives on both sides. Brute force is an entirely inefficient and primitive way to resolve differences. These notes serve as a starting point for a wider discussion...

Taking on the Tausugs
A few hundred years ago, the Industrial Revolution was in its early stages. Nobody in this part of the world could foresee that all those hectares of jungle would someday be viewed as prime real estate - especially if oil deposits exist just off the coast. Can't blame the Sulu or Brunei Sultans for being so generous with parceling out their lands in exchange for small favors.

The wheel of fate and fortune spins. Here we are in 2013, and the Sulu people - mostly living in poverty compared to richer folks in the north and across the waters in what is now Sabah - suddenly realize they have been given a very raw deal. But short of wresting Sabah back by force of arms, they can only appeal to an international court for justice. So it's a complex legal issue made more complicated by all the secrecy surrounding it.

For example, we read that as recently as February 2011 the Malaysian Ambassador to the Philippines actually offered RM350,000 to Sultan Jamalul Kiram III if he would extend the lease by another 100 years. This only reinforces the Sulu Sultan's insistence that padjak means "lease" - not outright sale.

Jamalul Kiram III, self-proclaimed Sultan of Sulu
Beyond any doubt there is an issue to be resolved peaceably and wisely, using a win-win formula. Malaysia has further compounded the problem by being in denial that the Sultan of Sulu and his heirs do have a legal right to cancel the lease and reclaim their ancestral lands - and they could also opt to sell the land outright for an agreed-upon sum. If I were the Sultan, I'd find the Malaysian government offer of RM350,000 for a 100-year lease extension insulting, in view of what Sabah is worth. If the Malaysian government does not recognize Jamalul Kiram III as the legitimate Sultan of Sulu, why didn't it discontinue payment of the ridiculous RM5,300 annual rent?

Not only that, rumors abound that during Mahathir's tenure, the Malaysian government was secretly financing the Muslim separatists in the southern Philippines - just as suspicion remains that the Muslim insurgents in southern Thailand are on friendly terms with Malaysia - or at least Umno and Pekida.

The only intelligent and reasonable path is to tell the truth - no matter how bad that makes Umno and Mahathir look (especially since they already look so bad it can hardly get any worse). What's done cannot be undone. If there are already 800,000 Filipinos in Sabah - a vast number with Malaysian identity cards and voting rights, what is to be done?

Accept them as our brethren and include them in our development programs? Or evict them by force? Obviously, the most compassionate solution is always the most enlightened. Sadly, the present Umno/BN regime doesn't have a clue what compassion, enlightenment and wisdom mean - all they know is how to skim fat commissions off unnecessary and environmentally ruinous mega-projects. That's why the bottom line is still... ABU!

A Malaysian armored car rushes into the fray

Warlordism, feudal traditions, monarchies trapped in a timewarp... these are the last vestiges of an era soon to be viewed as a bad dream of humanity's infancy.

Only 200 years ago the world was a very different scenario. Nobody thought it was necessary to live in harmony with Mother Nature. Natural resources were regarded as a means to immense wealth - timber, gold, diamonds, rivers and seas teeming with fish, forests filled with all manner of fauna and flora.

The Moro National Liberation Front, one of many
militant Islamic factions in southern Philippines (www.mnlf.net)
It was a time when an ambitious, strong-willed tribal chief could consolidate his power among neighboring tribes and become an even bigger chief, a panjandrum who could rule by fear and force of arms. The Dream of Empire drove men like Alexander, Genghis Khan, Attila, Charlemagne, Napoleon, Hitler, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs to audacious extremes.

Tausug youth
Well, folks, those ways cannot be sustained in the 21st century - not when the rise of a global middle-class and the spread of information and knowledge have empowered ordinary folk everywhere, who no longer feel a superstitious awe of their hereditary leaders, who have outgrown the habit of kowtowing before unsmiling despots issuing decrees from ornate thrones. Alas, in the less developed regions of the world, such anachronisms still persist - and Southeast Asia has witnessed a tectonic shift in social and political changes since 1913 - and these changes have dramatically accelerated over the last 50 years.

What we're seeing now in Sabah is the deaththroes of insular tribalism, of fierce competition for land and natural resources. This worldview is completely at odds with scientific advances that reveal how all life is interconnected and interdependent - and that symbiotic cooperation can produce synergies that will elevate humanity to an exciting new level of consciousness that is holistic and synchronized with cosmic cycles.The younger generations are ready for this - but it appears their elders are still stuck in their petrified, doctrinaire ways of experiencing reality.

They may look like ballet dancers - but I wouldn't want to start a feud with these Moro warriors

You just have to admire the courage and perseverance of the Tausug. Far better to have such hardy warriors as our friends and allies than as our permanent enemies. If their grouse is being neglected, marginalized and impoverished for generations, it's far wiser - and less costly in the long-term - to help them out financially. I'm sure the amount squandered just to get Psy to perform for 8 minutes in Penang would have helped the Tausug regain a sense of dignity and well-being.

Tausug men in the early 20th century
Sometimes, it takes a crisis to shake us up and remind us that beyond race, religion and nationality... we are all part of the human family. Indeed, most folks who resort to violence and crime are forced to do so because nobody was paying attention to their desperate needs. Aerial attacks on a small group of Tausugs equipped with only small arms does strike me as overkill. I'm sure there are less violent strategies...

No doubt this is one complex and convoluted issue that cannot be resolved elegantly and wisely - unless everybody agrees to shift to a higher, more inclusive perspective - and this is when I start looking at Abraham and shaking my head. How could one guy cause so much bloodshed and conflict over so many generations? Obviously the Middle Eastern portal through which the Book Religions were inserted into the 3D Matrix is controlled by renegade reptilians who will do anything to keep people divided and easily misruled - and nothing does that better than monotheist dogma and entrenched dualism.

[First posted 8 March 2013, reposted 19 March 2020]

Mr Bagus and the American Rightwing ~ excerpts from a virtual debate on might-as-right and the military solution (repost)

I started the Magick River Network on 22 June 2001 after a free e-bulletin service I had been using decided to charge an annual fee. With their permission I migrated all members on my mailing list to Yahoogroups - and I'm grateful to Yahoo for hosting so many virtual forums as part of its service to the web community.

After 13 years, I'm astonished that none of the original members has resigned from the forum, even though it has fallen silent ever since facebook appeared on the digital horizon. Indeed, as of today, we still have 143 members (144, if you count Mr God as an honorary member). As virtual forums go, the Magick River Network was blessed with a great variety of acute and articulate minds - all endowed with expansive and loving hearts - even the few with obnoxious opinions!

The intense discussions that ensued on every imaginable subject are now archived in the message folder - and a few have been retrieved from crashed hard drives, like my response to Mr Bagus - nickname for a dear friend of mine from 1969 - when he was posted to Batu Pahat as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Paul's 22nd birthday in Batu Pahat
When I first met Paul Herzenberg, he reminded me of the actor Elliot Gould, with his trendy sideburns and long, wavy curls. Paul was a practicing hedonist - fond of good food, pretty girls, big bikes, waterbeds and loco weed. He became a close family friend and later married a beauty named Peggy Liew from Kulai, Johor. When their first and only child was born, Paul suggested naming him "Kit Chen" - in my honor and as a nod to his family business, called "Kitchens by Herzenberg." Peggy snatched the pen from her hubby and formally recorded her boy's name as "David."

David Herzenberg turned 24 and decided to go backpacking around Asia. His dad insisted he look in on me. David stayed a total of 9 days at the newly constructed Bamboo Palace and when he got back to the U.S., sent me an invitation to join him on facebook. And that's how I became, quite possibly, the first Malaysian facebooker in mid-2005.

Handsome son of a gun: David Herzenberg
Anyway, much to my surprise, Paul Herzenberg joined the Magick River Network and, before long, began stirring up controversy with his hard-headed rightwing views (this was around the time of 9/11 and George W. Bush's fraudulent war on terror). There was a lot of heated discussion around the Neo-Con White House and its criminal invasion of Afghanistan, then Iraq. Paul, posting as "Mr Bagus," defended the U.S. plan to bomb Baghdad and "take out" Saddam Hussein...

From Bagus2@xxx.com
Date Friday, January 31, 2003 8:33 am
To magickriver@yahoogroups.com
Subject Re: [magickriver] America is screwed!

Hey Ant and everyone................. [snip] You know; Like.... Here is an ass hole [Saddam] who is going to do his best to take us out... and Now is the time to get him away from the seat of power he has stolen from his people and also to add an element of stability in the world oil market which benefits every single country and especially the poorest citizens on the planet. Faham tak?

My friend, what I "faham" is this:

Nothing extraordinary or unusual about your worldview. Fact is, a good 85% or the human race thinks along those lines, including most of my blood relatives. It's weirdos like me who are out of sync with the COLD FACTS OF LIFE, with our hippie notions of universal love and abundance for all, including the roaches and the vipers and the sandflies and those poor misguided fundamentalist-types who have been oppressed for so many generations they only know how to blow themselves up along with as many others as they can take with them. Only difference is, my uncles & aunties aren't on the Internet - not to mention being on this list - but YOU are, and you're self-confident and honest enough to charge right in and tell us what goes on in your head at the end of a long day and you have trouble sleeping.

David R. Hawkins
(author of
Power vs Force)
Well, Mr Bagus-Bagus, let me tell you something that might be of interest to you: according to David R. Hawkins (Power vs Force) that same 85% of the human race doesn't even know what INTEGRITY actually means - they can't tell falsehood from truth and are thus easily manipulated by the newspapers, magazines, and TV programs they subscribe to. What Hawkins says is that to date 15% of the human race calibrates spiritually at 200 and above. At 400+ you value scientific precision above all else and at 500+ you begin to experience universal compassion and Christ consciousness. At 600+ you're a master of your own destiny and beyond 800 you're a living saint. Fortunately the tiny minority who calibrate above 600 exert such a powerful influence on the electromagnetic grid, they compensate for the rest of us who are still floundering in false beliefs and reactive programming.

Neo-Nazi Bush
I'd say you calibrate around 166 at this point in time, not too far from the level of Integrity. The more open we are to new notions and possibilities, the more likely we are to attain ever increasing calibrations. And once you make it past the crucial 200 mark, it's relatively easy to make huge jumps in no time at all. However, the spiritual consciousness of Nazi Germany calibrated at 177 - the level of intense ego arrogance on a national scale, and certainly nowhere near a love-thy-neighbor state.

It's remarkable that George W. Bush, Jr - the self-anointed leader of "The Free World" - calibrates at only 52, way below the level of integrity. In fact, 52 indicates that on the soul level, the entity is undergoing torment in hell - while his physical vehicle has been hijacked by a non-human program controlled by hidden hands. Those of you who practice kinesiology may want to check my readings independently. I'd love to hear what you come up with.

Is free enterprise really free? Or has it been a rigged game all along?

Marlon Brando as The Godfather
Life is great, business is good, there is an endless supply of condoms at the drug store, food is everywhere and there is the occasional smoke which we used to enjoy so much. All made possible and plentiful by the beautiful American system of free enterprise with appropriate rules and regulations. I'll tell you, it's a pleasure to pay my taxes. In America: Business is the religion of the country. We can, all of us Jew/Moslem and Christian and/or Buddhist or whatever, participate together in the religion of business. This is a religion that does not lie and have bullshit fairy tales; it is one that sustains us and by doing so allows us to love each other. When you go home at the end of the day you are free to go to the Mosque or Church and fool yourself any way you wish. But the true religion of America is business and we are getting better and better at getting along and taking advantage of it.

First we make you very sick, then we sell you the patented cure... on a lifetime plan

Just takin' care of Bizniz. Nuttin' poisonal... BANG BANG YOU'RE DEAD! Scene right out of some mobster movie I once saw (with Angelica Huston as the Capo's daughter). Well, the God of Business is also called MAMMON - and her psychotic brother AMEN (or MOLOCH) is armor-plated and armed to the teeth. And terrified of Death, hence his vampiric tendency to extend his life at others' expense... just like any corporation or state. 

Don't get me wrong - trade itself is an ancient activity by which means tribes were brought into mutually beneficial interaction. However, with the onset of gunboat diplomacy and piracy on the high seas, the equation became lopsided. It was no longer "fair exchange" but outright exploitation - rape, plunder, pillage. No doubt it was all part of Empire Building, the Father-Knows-Best syndrome, look at the size of his cannon! Put those giant toothpicks you call spears away...

A nobler level of intertribal intercourse would be cross-cultural collaboration. I could never have accessed the Iranian or Japanese psyche - except through literature, music, or films produced by sensitive Iranian and Japanese artists. These days, the overall trend of "global" business is homogenization - what social philosophers call Coca-Colonization.

Nicolas Cage in Lord of War: "If I don't sell them guns, someone else will do it."

As such, the game has fallen into the hands of the Big Players - and the local grocery has been taken over by a predatory global franchise. In effect, your Religion of Business is a 19th century carryover which no longer applies in the 21st century - if only because there was never any real soul in the rough game of money-grubbing where Darwinian beliefs made it okay for the strong to bully the weak - instead of helping them.

It's the best example the rest of the world can have. Create common interests and create scenarios whereby strangers can be in close proximity and work together. Forget the false love shit - be friends first and the rest will take care of itself.

Peter Finch as newscaster Howard Beale (1976)
Did you ever see the movie Network (starring Peter Finch and Faye Dunaway)? You sound just like the CEO of the TV Corporation who called Finch in and converted him from Corporate Critic to Corporate Apologist.

Push them buttons all you want but the truth, if you live long enough to see it, will be there for all to see........... The good guys are going to win over the religious fanatics.

A fanatic is a fanatic, regardless of ideology. Takes one to know one. There are no good or bad fanatics - only rampant or reformed ones. BTW, Paul, you're not the only American friend from the Good Old Days (1960s/70s) who's taken refuge in comforting rightwing beliefs in their late middle age. My best friend from West Essex High School recently found my email on a search engine and we were delighted to once again be in contact. But 4 or 5 emails down the line, I discover he's considering a job with the NSA (National Security Agency) - the ultra-secret office that supervises all covert operations.

George Herbert Walker Bush: his father Prescott
co-founded the Skull & Bones Society
THAT is the saddest outcome of what has transpired on this planet since Daddy Bush inaugurated the New World Order in 1990.

Incidentally, I'm re-reading a first novel by Daniel Blair Stewart called AKHUNATON: The Extraterrestrial King (Frog Ltd, 1995). I'm truly impressed with Stewart's acute insights and research which he skilfully combines into a monumentally significant allegory for the New Millennium. The final chapter is chillingly prophetic of what's happening right now within the Pentagon: fundamentalist Christian hawks taking over from the old war god Amen whose high priests demanded human sacrifice... just as they do today, never mind if they're Iraqi children or brainwashed American conscripts. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED READING AT THIS TIME!

It's a funny world. It's a beautiful world with almost infinite possibilities...

Paul, that's the mellowest thought you've contributed to the discussion so far and I was touched by your use of the phrase "infinite possibilities" - because that's my definition of "heaven on earth."

Seed by Richard Sarson
A world of Infinite Possibilities allows for a total change of heart that will stay the hand of a would-be hunter or sniper or defense secretary. It allows for spontaneous understanding and sudden enlightenment and the effortless reconciliation of antagonistic viewpoints. It allows for the miraculous realization that separation is really an illusion, that there is a profoundly beautiful coherence waiting to be experienced as an unexpected epiphany.

As a species we can only evolve as swiftly as the slowest, most fearful, most aggressively resistant family member. Your opinions serve a great purpose, in that those of us who do not share your views are forced to be more compassionate and patient in the way we look at earthbound humans.

We have to adjust to the psychodynamics of apparently conflicting perspectives without giving up on communication and sharing. Even if occasionally we unleash a harsh or unkind response, it's a case of "sticks and stones will break my bones but words can never really harm me." Hurling the worst manner of invective at our foes - whether Al-Qaeda or Saddam Hussein or Muammar Gaddafi or George Bush or Dick Cheney or Squinty Rumsfeld - is okay, even if it gets us hot under the collar. But launching bombs and depleted uranium missiles is NOT okay. And I hold this truth to be self-evident.

Speaking softly is optional...
Herein lies the crux of the issue: the moment we give up on gentle persuasion and resort to the big stick, we have lost moral ground. In the case of geopolitics, if we cannot win hearts and minds over through the power of all-embracing love and understanding - and are compelled to use brute force - then our self-righteousness becomes hollow and hypocritical. And this disqualifies us from any claim to moral leadership in the game of planetary futures. We become "fair game" - and will be 'taken out" even as we plot and scheme ways to "take out" those we accuse of malice and wrongdoing.

Sending you a blast of tropical warmth,

[Excerpts from the Magick River Network forum, January-March 2003. First posted 4 July 2012, reposted 8 August 2014]

Uninstalling Sexual Guilt & Shame (reprise)

I may well be one of a tiny handful of humans who somehow managed to escape the all-pervasive systematic programming that has instilled a hardwired sense of sexual guilt and shame in the collective human psyche.

None of that occurs among animals, insects or plants. What makes humans so different? I would venture that it’s our capacity to abstract general ideas from everyday experience and convert them into language. The power to name and objectify and be programmed by words; to be encoded from birth by alphanumeric, auditory and visual symbols – that same power is also our greatest weakness.

A long time ago I wrote an essay titled “The Fig Leaf Syndrome” which discussed the ostensible erotophobia common to the Abrahamic Agenda (“ostensible” because it more often than not serves as a camouflage for a perverse species of ego-driven erotomania). Those who publicly preach modesty and abstinence are invariably sexual predators of the most loathsome kind, personifications of false piety and genuine hypocrisy.

But what about me? Am I not also a “sexual predator”? No, I’m a dator, not a pre-dator; I love the dating game, especially if it leads to mating, which doesn’t necessarily have to result in progeny, only a bit of harmless erogeny.

Sex is nature’s way to encourage procreation, but many animals (including humans) have discovered sex as recreation, an intensely pleasurable use of leisure, which facilitates intimacy and deep bonding (when conducted without deceit or guile, and with childlike innocence and purity of feeling).

However, it must be played on a level field, with mutual consent and without coercion, intimidation, unfair advantage. Otherwise, sex becomes a game of power, of domination and submission, master and slave. This loveless species of eroticism leads to a reality construct populated with (and to a large extent controlled by) energy vampires, hungry ghouls, fiendish appeasers of their own bloodthirsty demons who derive atavistic pleasure from reliving carnivore (and even cannibal) cellular memories.

19th century erotic art by Aubrey Beardsley
Unfortunately, humans who fall prey to infestation by astral parasites (you may have heard of them as Archons or Jinns) often serve as agents (witting or unwitting) of cruelty, inflicting pain and terror on others deemed disadvantaged or powerless, especially women and children.

Their total disconnect from their hearts and complete lack of empathy makes them ruthlessly manipulative – which fuels their egoic ambitions to dominate everyone around them and claw their way to the top of the proverbial food chain. This explains why the so-called elite bloodlines are almost always predatory, pedophilic and vampiric, addicted to tyrannical power over others and greedily feasting off negative emotional discharge in the form of grief, pain, misery, despair and terror.

When we consciously uninstall sexual guilt and shame from our neural circuitry, we effectively delete any ideological implants we may have inherited from our own ancestors or acquired through cultural and religious imprinting. Implants that undermine our sense of self-esteem, that mark us as “sinners,” “fornicators,” “libertines,” “sluts,” “dirty-minded” or “unclean.”

For countless generations, we were insidiously programmed to believe that pleasure was sinful - and pain somehow, perversely, virtuous. 

Aubrey Beardsley (1872-1898)
Well, even a single-celled organism like an amoeba has the good sense to be attracted to pleasure and repelled by pain. Only mind-controlled humans are crazy enough to believe that the more we suffer, the more we qualify for a reward in the afterlife.

Once we reclaim and embrace our right to experience pleasure guiltlessly and shamelessly, we stand a good chance of also freeing ourselves from any martyr complex we may have unconsciously acquired as children, listening to insidious tales of famous martyrs like Jesus, Saint Stephen, Joan of Arc, Mahsuri of Langkawi, the Báb of Persia, or any number of poor, misguided jihadists who blew themselves (and others) to pieces believing they would find themselves in a halal version of the Playboy Mansion, surrounded by nubile nymphs, all virginal. (I wonder if female jihadists entertain erotic fantasies of waking up in paradise to a bukkake and gangbang orgy with members of the Vienna Boys’ Choir.)

Look at how the Roman Church glorifies suffering as virtue, by choosing as its symbol the crucified Christ. Can you imagine anything more BDSM than that? (Well, if you lift up the loincloth, you might find that his royal scrotum has also been nailed to the cross).

Be like the cat, the dog, indeed any creature that lives, and openly enjoys being caressed, hugged, kissed, licked, sucked and fucked (without any hidden agenda). Then all humans will finally be released from the pain-follows-pleasure cycle and will no longer experience so much suppression of the libido (or kundalini energy) that their passion erupts in destructive, invasive, exploitative ways.

Don’t just have sex, make slow and tender love. But do so as consciously as possible, with heart wide open and a totally clear conscience. Feel the emotional bond with whomsoever you are intimate with, and allow it to deepen as much as it can. By all means swear undying love in the heat of excitement, but never promise exclusivity, (unless you’re a sucker for guilty pleasures and the embarrassment of being eventually shown up as a liar and hypocrite).

Postscript: The only other activity I have found as gratifying as (if not more than) making love, is making music, so it’s easy to understand why the opening line of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night describes music as “the food of love.” But alas, the nexus between food and love often manifests in mildly cynical songs (written in my youth) like Strange Flesh and Black Widow.

[First posted 4 June 2020]

Sunday, May 7, 2023

Understanding Pedo, Necro & Coprophilia (revisited)

I’ve noticed a spate of sensational stories about child marriages, child prostitution and assorted pedophilic perversions. Apparently the Dirty Old Man Syndrome is erupting everywhere: in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Belgium, Britain, Germany, the USA, Israel, Australia, even (or should I say especially?) halal countries like Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Malaysia.

I was tickled to find a self-help organisation for pedophiles called the North American Man-Boy Love Association of which the late poet Allen Ginsberg (shown at left) was a member. He was once quoted in the New York Times as saying: “It’s a discussion society, not a procurement organization. I myself don’t like underage boys. But they have a right to talk about the age of consent. I see it as a free speech issue, a discussion of the law.”

Pedophilia is nothing new, the cynic opines. To the cynic there’s never anything new. Ecocide, exploitation, rape, genocide, venality, skullduggery - it’s all been done ever since way back when. Which isn’t saying anything at all except: “Look, don’t bother me, I have problems of my own and bills to pay.”

Perhaps viciousness and perniciousness have always been part of the human melodrama. However, we haven’t always had the benefit of worldwide media (and social media) coverage of these apparent aberrations. Hence we must accept the challenge of honest, open discussion - followed by deep, quiet contemplation. That’s the only hope we have of transmuting our tragedies into cogent collective learning experiences, if not actual comedies, since it’s not easy to laugh when an 11-year-old daughter of a friend’s friend (or, worse, your own) has just been gang-banged by a pack of demented ruffians or, worse, abducted by human traffickers.

This is no light topic we’re delving into here. One might have to ruminate through a whole shelf of densely-worded books to study the problem in depth. Nonetheless, a hysterical demand for “stiffer penalties” or “beefed-up security” is no way to resolve anything. Already we are far too punitive in our approach to eradicating crime. No doubt there are instances where a quick tight slap or a sharp rap on the knuckles or a well-timed shout could be highly effective in preventing the recurrence of wrongdoing - but generally we are, as a species, dangerously prone to scapegoating and too goddamned reluctant to accept responsibility for whatever happens in our cozy little artificial realities.

Violent, invasive behavior like rape or molestation arouses deep and ancient fears in the social psyche. It is my contention, however, that such occurrences compel us to investigate their root-causes, to look within our own taboo systems for clues that might help us resolve certain internal conflicts.

Questions of power - and powerlessness - must be raised. Events that manifest externally are often metaphors of internal conditions and circumstances. Patterns of psychosis and neurosis researched by generations of Freudians, Jungians, Reichians and Transactional psychologists need to be re-evaluated and collectively understood.

Sigmund Freud’s ground-breaking theories on the Oedipus/Electra Complex, wherein he postulated an incipient erotic tension that invariably exists between Sons and Mothers, Daughters and Fathers - and inversions of these “complexes” along homosexual lines - seem to have fallen out of favor in recent decades. But no metaphor worth its weight in words has a use-by date: there is always a grain of truth in these generalizations that can help us look beyond the surface of actions and events.

When confronted with such unpleasant “facts of life” as robbery, rape, slavery, tyranny and the fascinating variety of abuses we keep inflicting on each other, I tend to examine my own preprogrammed prejudices a little more closely. It’s so easy to feel fear and loathing towards some projected Monster at the threshold of our comfortable domesticity. But it’s far more enlightening, I feel, to nose around the seldom-visited, cobwebby crannies of our own “unconscious” where, to be sure, we are bound to stumble on some moldy skeletons locked away from public, and even private, scrutiny.

Name the deed. I have committed it sometime, somewhere in the illusory privacy of my innermost thoughts. As folk-poet Bob Dylan once wryly sang: “If my thought-dreams/could be seen/they’d probably put my head/in a guillotine.”

I’m talking about the uneasy mixture of attraction and repulsion we all feel in the face of a ghastly accident or when we hear of some unspeakable act. An enraged husband chopping his wife into tiny bits and turning her into a curry. A necrophilic morgue attendant caught with his pants down. A scoutmaster coaxing campsite blowjobs out of his pet cubs. A deranged warlord dining on the raw livers of his murdered enemies. A wild-eyed mind-controlled "terrorist" blowing himself up along with a tentful of infidel stormtroopers. A veteran coach offering his post-pubescent athletes full-body rub-downs as a regular part of his training regimen. Now this last “unspeakable act” I readily admit might have caused me to feel fleetingly regretful that I never took sports seriously enough.

Have I ever “lusted” after a minor of either sex? Yes and no. Yes, because I have encountered extremely adorable children whom I thoroughly enjoyed dandling on my lap and cuddling wholeheartedly. No, because it has never occurred to me that I should stick my prick into any of those tiny, tender orifices.

Sensual pleasure is not necessarily confined to the genitals - and I believe there is absolutely nothing despicable about being openly sensuous. Take household cats and dogs for example: are they bashful about demanding their daily quota of affectionate fondling?

All living things emanate a vibrant electromagnetic field which can be charged up through bioenergetic contact with a sympathetic field. It is, in fact, an important factor in the maintenance of good health and a general sense of well-being. (Readers interested in exploring this further should read Wilhelm Reich’s seminal work, The Function of the Orgasm.)

However, where brute force, coercion, and fear tactics come into the picture, we have to diagnose the behavior as pathological. There’s a world of difference between seduction and rape, between persuasion and compulsion. And, most importantly, there is always a need for mutual respect and love. A society that repeatedly exhorts young people to respect their elders is definitely out of balance with itself. Respect must always be reciprocal and spontaneous. It must be won honestly, not elicited at gunpoint or by wielding the cane.

Without this basic understanding, is it any wonder that our do-as-I-say-don’t-do-as-I-do forms of parochial authority have generated such a horrific spectrum of abuses, particularly of disenfranchised factions like children, women, animals, indigenous cultures and “illegal immigrants”?

Here it may be useful to turn our attention to the work of Immanuel Velikovsky (1895-1979) - medical doctor, psychoanalyst, classical scholar and cosmological theorist extraordinaire. Having given up his medical practice to study with Freud and Jung, Velikovsky next got involved in helping his father compile a monumental history of Hebraic culture. Before long Velikovsky was fluent in several ancient languages, and found himself completely engrossed in his research. A gestalt of pre-Christian lore began to form in his fertile mind, leading to the publication in 1950 of his first book, Worlds in Collision.

In a nutshell, Velikovsky’s hypothesis was that the Earth had undergone at least one cataclysmic trauma within human memory, when an electromagnetic derangement of the solar system caused Venus and Mars to approach perilously close to our planet, resulting in dramatic aberrations of her spin, axial inclination and the temporary collapse of her magnetic field. Needless to say, the havoc was nightmarish beyond comprehension. Entire civilizations were erased with barely a trace. Continents drifted thousands of miles apart, radically altering the very surface of the Earth and her climatic zones.

When the dust finally settled, the human survivors had regressed into animality, totally amnesiac about the horrors of the cosmic holocaust that had hit them like a million nuclear disasters all at once. The only way to heal and move on was to quickly forget. But buried deep within the collective psyche of the human race, distrust and resentment of God (or the gods) had formed the seed of a primal existential angst that plagues us to this day.

And thus perpetual doubt and egoic insecurity festered in the racial memory, erupting now and again in amok episodes amongst the scattered tribes. The irrational urge to ravage and plunder in quasi-ecstatic surrender to the wild promptings of the Id became the basis of human history. After each release of pent-up primal rage, the rampaging hordes would suddenly turn into farmers, artisans, merchants and philosopher-scientists. This Jekyll-and-Hyde pattern of human behavior, and the inner conflicts it engendered, produced a schizoid dichotomy in our moral sense:

Daddy beats us when we are Bad. He says we must be Good. But we can see that Daddy does Bad things sometimes. We want to be like Daddy. We shall be Good when Daddy is watching us - but when he isn’t we can be as Bad as we want.

In 1955 Velikovsky published Earth in Upheaval - augmenting his original hypothesis with fresh evidence supporting his catastrophe theory. By this time the American scientific community had been alerted to the threat that Velikovsky posed to the entire edifice of academic dogma. He was dismissed as a charlatan, a quack, merely a publicity-seeker. Velikovsky was primarily a medical doctor and psychoanalyst; he had no business venturing into the archeological, paleontological and cosmological domains. Catastrophe theory? Totally beyond the pale, outrageous and amateurish, if not outright crank.

To make sure no paradigm shift would be triggered by this maverick scholar, the university community browbeat Velikovsky’s publisher (who specialized in academic works) into rejecting all his future manuscripts. In effect the publishing firm had no choice: if it continued to entertain Velikovsky, it would lose all its lucrative textbook contracts. And so Velikovsky was forced to use a non-academic publisher, which seriously undermined his credibility in the eyes of the reading public. It wasn’t till after his death in 1979 that scientific evidence from various space probes began to validate many of his cosmic scenarios.

As a development of his catastrophe theory, Velikovsky had put forward a clear diagnosis and prescription for the healing of the human psyche. Beyond a certain point, protective amnesia was counter-survival. We had to convert our cellularly-ingrained traumatic experience into conscious memory. This cathartic release of the genetically-transmitted emotive charge would ultimately lead to maturity and wisdom, a coming of age of humanity.

In short, Velikovsky was advising the human race to see a shrink. Or at least recognize the critical need for uncensored deep memory retrieval and rituals of reconciliation as a prerequisite of emotional healing. We now have the benefit of a broad spectrum of unorthodox emotional therapies developed since the late 1960s which have yet to be incorporated into orthodox healing practices. I suspect the powerful pharmaceutical companies that dictate medical practice are adamantly opposed to these alternative approaches - mainly because these remedies and cures do not involve prescription drugs.

Now this long digression on Velikovsky is necessary to our discussion - if only as a demonstration of how stubbornly reluctant humans are to confront the mystery of our origins and to acknowledge the abysmal gaps in our historical memory. By refusing to face the truth for fear of its “nastiness” - in other words, to “save face” - we are prepared to go on living in a neurotic hell of programmed unawareness, rather than endure the brief pain of remembrance, acceptance, reconciliation, forgiveness of our own so-called sins and therefore others’ - which is an absolute requirement for true happiness and contentment. But, no, we insist on blaming it all on somebody else. And thereby keep missing the opportunity for authentic self-knowledge, ultimately the only kind of knowledge that won’t destroy us.

What, then, do we make of our assorted “philias”? Why can’t pedophiia simply be an unconditional and uninhibited love of our young? What’s so wrong with us that we have to carry it to the crazy extreme of wanting to screw  them? Is it because we have been made to feel ashamed of our need to fondle and caress and cuddle? In a community of sexually fulfilled adults, every child would be vouchsafed the inviolability of his or her innocence. For in such a community, guilt itself would not exist.

What of necrophilia - the erotic abuse of the dead? Is it not a twisted form of ancestor worship? Or perhaps a chromosomal crossover from our hyena and vulture days, the heady days of drooling carrion-eating? Personally I don’t feel at all turned on by cadavers, but I can vaguely understand how an extremely shy or timid person could be forced into fornicating with the non-living - simply because the dead don’t tell tales or talk back and they can’t refuse, reject or resist. But, then, wouldn’t it be more hygienic (and politically correct) to discharge one’s libidinal excesses on a lifesized inflatable sex doll? Could I myself be lured into such a macabre sexual experience? Over my dead body!

On the reverse side of necrophilia, our myths abound with instances where a Queen or Goddess has succeeded in getting herself impregnated by a deceased husband. The Egyptian Goddess Isis was said to have conceived her son Horus after her consort Osiris had been murdered and cut to pieces - simply by using his severed member as a dildo while reciting ritual incantations.

I mentioned coprophilia - an obsession with shit - and now I’m beginning to regret it, because the subject can get really messy.

But the relationship between toilet training and military discipline has long been observed, particularly by that eclectic savant and student of bizarre behavior, Robert Anton Wilson - who, in his revealing study of conditioned reflexes, Prometheus Rising, drew attention to the sphincter-contracting fear of paternal punishment around which soldierly training revolves. Being tight-lipped, tight-assed, constipated, scared shitless - or, conversely, loose-mouthed, loud-bottomed, diarrhoetic, flatulent, artillery arsed - are expressions commonly heard in army barracks.

As an amateur fecologist myself, I have developed an elementary theory about the universal truthfulness of shit. Hunters rely on its traces when stalking their prey. One can glean an astonishing amount of information from the careful analysis of fecal matter. Indeed the study of fossilized dung is a formal academic discipline in its own right, known as scatology. You can tell exactly what the subject had for breakfast (input) simply by scrutinizing his, her, or its droppings (output). Unfortunately modern sanitation has made it extremely difficult to become an authority in this field.

Coprophilia as a neurotic syndrome has been sagely commented upon by no less an expert than Stanislav Grof (pictured right), former Chief of Psychiatric Research at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center and later Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Prof. Grof’s theory of the Basic Perinatal Matrix - conditions and circumstances surrounding one’s birth experience - constitute an immeasurably valuable model of early trauma patterns.

For example, the tortuous process of being squeezed through the birth canal - with its attendant anxieties and horrors, mixed in with sensory data like the aroma of urine and feces and blood, plus the slimy sensation of slithering down a stygian tunnel towards the light - often imprints the psyche with a confusion of violent, hellish images, which later results in a tendency to will into being the violent, hellish reality of war.

The entry into physical reality for many of us is a pungent, panic-inducing, life-threatening event full of gory, gooey, ghoulish subconscious memories that can result in an unconscious hankering for a return to the safety of the womb - in other words, the sanctuary of the fetal domain where no irksome responsibilities reside, where the All-Sustaining Mother provides and protects, where no decisions have to be made and therefore no possibility of error or failure exists. This results in a chronic sense of anomie or alienation - an inability to feel for others.

Grof was convinced that a person’s predisposition towards optimism or pessimism depended largely on whether his or her experience of birth was smooth or rough.

Most clinical psychiatrists are of the opinion that such theories are basically a load of crap. They prefer the biochemical solution of dosing the “mentally ill” with synaptic suppressors and assorted tranquillizers. In effect, these practitioners tend to follow the conventional unwisdom of ignoring the causes while forcefully attacking the effects of disease. If they were transferred to a law court, they would be advocates of corporal and capital punishment. Stiffer penalties, beefed-up security, and so on.

What Grof - and a growing number of his more adventurous colleagues - advocate is “pneumocatharsis”: holotropic therapy, deep breathing, hypnotic regression techniques that trigger dramatic death/rebirth experiences in the subject. In other words, a good honest look down our own genealogical and reincarnational time tracks. In recent years I have personally investigated and benefited hugely from emotional healing modalities like Systemic Family Constellation and Lindwall Emotional Releasing. If you feel you could do with some internal clearing, I strongly recommend you explore these powerful self-healing methods.

No blame, no shame. The name of the game is opening to the truth. For the truth, as Velikovsky was only trying to remind us, shall set us free.

[This article first appeared in the December 1996 issue of Journal One. It was published here 24 April 2007, reposted 27 October 2013, 29 March 2016, 6 July 2018 & 24 April 2020]

Hmmm.... warped tendency... or what?

Keep The Ravioli In Orbit, Folks! (repost)

Eris, goddess of discord, courtesy of SilverStar

ROBERT ANTON WILSON ~ "Secret Agent of Synchronicity"* (1932-2007)

Truth be told I'm not much of a joiner (and I'm a sorry excuse for a carpenter too). However, a few months ago I was prompted to join a Facebook Group that calls itself Keep The Ravioli In Orbit - inspired, no doubt, by Robert Anton Wilson's legendary throwaway credo: "Keep The Lasagna Flying, Folks!"

Watch this highly instructive video:

Some of you may want to know just who Robert Anton Wilson is - oops, he hated the word "is" so I'll rephrase that. You may want to know what Robert Anton Wilson apparently signified (the past tense is a minor concession to the popular notion that the Great Man discarded his hydrocarbon-protein spacesuit on 11 January 2007). I dedicated a blogpost in May 2007 to RAW that offers a brief overview of his colossal contributions to Consciousness and Cosmic Humor.

What about the Facebook Group, Keep The Ravioli In Orbit - A Tribute To Robert Anton Wilson? Well, I must confess that I was mighty chuffed to receive a notice from Steven Pratt, Dish Washer of the Group, that he had anointed me Artichoke Duke and Lord of Keep The Ravioli In Orbit.

An honor such as this does not come one's way every day. And so, to commemorate this entirely random event, I've chosen to publish a selection of juicy quotes borrowed from the homepage of the Group....

"The greatest of all crimes are the wars that are carried on by governments, to plunder, enslave, and destroy mankind. The next greatest crimes committed in the world are equally prompted by avarice and ambition; and are committed, not on sudden passion, but by men of calculation, who keep their heads cool and clear, and who have no thought whatever of going to prison for them. They are committed, not so much by men who violate the laws, as by men who, either by themselves or by their instruments, make the laws; by men who have combined to usurp arbitrary power, and to maintain it by force and fraud, and whose purpose in usurping and maintaining it is by unjust and unequal legislation, to secure to themselves such advantages and monopolies as will enable them to control and extort the labor and properties of other men, and thus impoverish them, in order to minister to their own wealth and aggrandizement. The robberies and wrongs thus committed by these men, in conformity with the laws, - that is, their own laws - are as mountains to molehills, compared with the crimes committed by all other criminals, in violation of the laws." - Lysander Spooner

"The normal is that which nobody quite is."
- Arlen Riley Wilson

"And the Beast said,
By their pee shall ye judge them
And by your pee shall ye be judged
And all shall be judged by their pee
And in the snow shall their names be written"

-Stun de Xim, Book of TSOG

"Is," "is," "is" — the idiocy of the word haunts me. If it were abolished, human thought might begin to make sense. I don't know what anything "is"; I only know how it seems to me at this moment."
- Sigismundo Celine, The Historical Illuminatus

"A change in language can transform our apprehension of the cosmos."
- Benjamin Lee Whorf

"Animals outline their territories with their excretions, humans outline their territories by ink excretions on paper." - RAW, Prometheus Rising

"Events which appear crude or offensive in the instant may become, with a change of perspective, somewhere between droll and riotously funny."
Hannibal Lecter, M.D.

"Do not pester people at home.
Do not annoy them at work.
Leave them alone,
or they will curse you.
- Dao De Jing, 72

"What amazes me most is the piss police. Even Kafka and Orwell - who wrote the craziest, most far out satires on totalitarianism that their wild surrealist imaginations could imagine - they did not include piss police. And yet we got them and the American public just gullibly and submissively accepts it." - RAW

"I used to be an atheist, until I realized I had nothing to shout during blowjobs. 'Oh Random Chance! Oh Random Chance!' just doesn't cut it." - RAW

[Interview extracted from Metroactive.com

The Original Slacker: Wilson was the model and inspiration for the Church of the Subgenius and its iconic figurehead J.R. 'Bob' Dobbs.


Robert Anton Wilson, the iconoclastic genius behind the famed Illuminatus! Trilogy, has a few thousand things he'd like to teach you...

*By Bill Forman

Decades before the crossover cult film What the Bleep Do We Know!? popularized the idea that the principles of quantum mechanics could be applied to the world at large, Robert Anton Wilson had laid out much the same theory in his book, Prometheus Rising. Venture further into Wilson's oeuvre and you'll find equally prescient material on longevity research; you'll likely even stumble across source materials that inspired Dan Brown to write The Da Vinci Code.

"I think I'm the most ripped-off artist of our time," says Wilson, seated in the living room of a modest Capitola apartment adorned with an array of pookahs, Buddhas and at least one Loch Ness monster. "People keep coming out with books 30 years after - books on things I wrote about - and they all become bestsellers.

"I wrote about them too early," says Wilson, raising a thin arm and shaking his finger to emphasize his point: "Don't be premature."

Lance Bauscher agrees. "This whole Da Vinci Code thing with Dan Brown, I mean, that's all Bob's material," says Bauscher, who directed a film about Wilson called Maybe Logic and also runs an academy through which Wilson's online course, "Tale of the Tribe," begins on August 14. "Dan Brown has read all of Bob's books. But Bob doesn't really compromise his storytelling - not that Dan Brown does - but it's for a general audience, and Bob just doesn't go there."

Maybe that's because Wilson can't helping throwing his audiences so many curve balls, mixing esoteric facts with wild flights of imagination - and rarely revealing which is which. From self-destructing mynah birds to world domination enterprises determined to grant immortality to Adolf Hitler, the irascible Wilson's Illuminatus! Trilogy (written in the 1970s with co-author Robert Shea) is a fun-house ride through every conspiracy theory under the sun - as well as a few that appear to have been hatched in some far distant solar system.

At age 73, Wilson's body and voice have both been weakened by post-polio syndrome, but his brain and his humor are as sharp as ever.

"His humor is constant and people are never sure if he's being serious," says Bauscher of Wilson's intellectual gymnastics. "I mean, the Illuminati: is it a joke or serious? And Discordianism: is it a joke disguised as a religion, or a religion disguised as a joke?"

All of which helps explain why Wilson's name doesn't frequent bestseller lists, nor is he routinely credited for the insights that are beginning to capture the public imagination decades later.

In fact, one day this past spring, after Santa Cruz moviegoers had lined up to see What the Bleep Do We Know!? in sufficient numbers to justify its three-month run, Robert Anton Wilson was lying alone, conscious but unable to move, on the floor of this one-bedroom Capitola apartment for 30 hours.

"It really didn't seem that long," says Wilson of his collapse, which ended when his daughter arrived and broke down the door. "And I remember thinking, as I'm lying there trying to move and unable to move: Hey, I may be dying now. And it didn't frighten me or bother me at all."

Wilson's subsequent trip to the hospital, the first of his adult life, was a different story altogether.

"The worst thing about hospitals," says Wilson, who was rescued when his daughter managed to break into the apartment, "is that all the rights guaranteed in the first 10 amendments are immediately canceled. You have no civil rights whatsoever. And the second thing is, all the ordinary rules no longer apply - you are no longer a person deserving of kindness, you're a disobedient child who has to be reprimanded and herded around. My God, I don't know why people put up with such treatment." Wilson, we can presume, doesn't particularly like being told what to do.

"Not by people who treat me like an idiot. Not when I'm 73 years old, I have 35 books in print, I supported a wife and four kids for most of my life. I do not appreciate being treated like a disobedient 4-year-old, the way they treat everybody in the hospital."

Of course, you don't have to go to a hospital to be treated like that, but Wilson's on a roll ...

"I was an editor of Playboy, for chrissake," he cries, as though that, if nothing else, should carry some weight in this culture. "I've had plays performed in England, Germany and the United States; my books are in print in a dozen countries. Why the hell do they treat me like a child? I refuse to tolerate it. If they won't treat me with dignity, I won't go anywhere near them, especially with all the goddamned germs they got floating around there. CNN did a report on it - the number of people who are killed by diseases picked up in hospitals is much greater than the number who are killed by cars.

"I'm never going to a hospital again. Never, never, never, never! I will lie on the floor and die before I go back to a hospital."

Some of It Has Got to Be True

The opening of the American mind, or at least the one belonging to Robert Anton Wilson, continued more-or-less unabated throughout the '50s and '60s. In 1958, he married Arlen Riley - who had worked as a scriptwriter for an Orson Welles radio show - and she went on to introduce Wilson to the work of Alan Watts. Friendship and collaborations with Timothy Leary followed, as well as experimentation with an array of drugs and mystic traditions. But it was in the decidedly secular surroundings of the Playboy editorial office, back in the late '60s, that two associate editors would hatch the idea of the Illuminatus! Trilogy, which remains Wilson's best-known work to this day.

"I'm sorry to disappoint you, but it was much like working at any other magazine," says Wilson, who never even got to visit Hef's grotto. "I mean, you went into the office, you did your job and you went home. The difference is that all the girls were good-looking. Of course, I was happily married and not fucking all the secretaries, I'm sorry to say."

Wilson and co-conspirator Robert Shea did borrow a few ideas from letters to the editor they received at Playboy, but most of the influence on their collaboration came from the broader gestalt of an era that was obsessed with esoteric arcana and increasingly paranoid about all manner of conspiracies.

"He and I were talking one night over bloody marys and peanuts," recalls Wilson, "and he says, 'What if every conspiracy theory is true?' It began as satire, but a lot of people were really scared by it. Which makes sense, because some of it has got to be true."

Careening wildly from detective story to first-person rant, from twisted history to apocryphal speculation, the Illuminatus works continue to influence the oddest assortment of young minds. Camper Van Beethoven were outspoken fans, as were the Seattle Posies, who paid tribute to Wilson on their first album. (Wilson says Guns 'N' Roses were also fans, but it's probably unfair to hold him responsible for them,) Author Tom Robbins is a Wilson devotee, as is Bay Area author R.U. Sirius, who took his name from Wilson's book, Cosmic Triggers, and went on to found Wired magazine precursor Mondo 2000. (Sirius is also one of the instructors at the Maybe Logic online academy, as are Dice Man author Luke Rhinehart; chaos magic godfather Peter Carroll; DePaul professor Patricia Monahan, who is also Robert Shea's widow; and several others.)

Wilson has also inspired at least two religions, or send-ups thereof: Discordianism took root in the immediate wake of the trilogy, while the Church of the Subgenius enshrined Wilson - in the form of pipe-clenching icon Bob Dobbs - as its figurehead some two decades later.

While introducing him at a convention, Subgenius founder and high priest Ivor Stang called Wilson "the Carl Sagan of religion, the Jerry Falwell of quantum physics, the Arnold Schwarzenegger of feminism" and "the James Joyce of swingset assembly manuals."

As the years went on, Wilson continued to write and speak with relentless energy. After he and his wife moved up to Capitola in the early '90s, he used an early incident here as a way to explain quantum physics.

"When I moved from Los Angeles I moved into what I thought was Santa Cruz," Wilson told a European audience during footage included in Bauscher's film. "Then we had something stolen from our car and we called the police, and it turned out we didn't live in Santa Cruz, we lived in a town called Capitola. The post office thought we lived in Santa Cruz, the police thought we lived in Capitola. I started investigating this and a reporter at the local newspaper told me we didn't live in Santa Cruz or Capitola, we lived in a unincorporated area called Live Oak."

"Now quantum mechanics is just like that," Wilson continues, "except that in the case of Santa Cruz, Capitola and Live Oak, we don't get too confused because we remember we invented the lines on the map. But quantum physics seems confusing because a lot of people think we didn't invent the lines, so it seems hard to understand how a particle can be in three places at the same time and not be anywhere at all."


[First posted 24 December 2007]