Thursday, July 19, 2018

Ghost Dance – Are World Cultures becoming Crisis Cults?

Our modern capitalist societies became dominator/predator cultures as a result of European invaders’ plundering the indigenous cultures in the Americas from the 16th to the 19th centuries. Having successfully occupied the Americas, these predator cultures further exploited their policy of genocide through the barbaric use of African slaves as a workforce to replace the natives. The numbers of those natives fell by more than 90 percent because of smallpox and other plagues they hadn’t had before. The Spaniards did not conquer any of the major societies until smallpox had crippled them; in fact the Aztecs beat them the first time around.

If Europe had not been able to seize the gold of the Aztec and Inca civilizations, if it had not been able to occupy the land and adopt highly productive New World crops for use on European farms, the growth of industrial society in Europe would have been much slower.

Karl Marx and Adam Smith both pointed to the influx of wealth from the Americas as having made possible the Industrial Revolution and the start of modern capitalism. It was the rape of the Americas, that triggered the orgy of European expansion. The Industrial Revolution also equipped the Europeans with technologically advanced weapons systems, making further subjugation, plundering and expansion possible.

The experience of a relatively easy 500 years of expansion and colonization, the constant taking over of new lands, led to the modern capitalist myth that you can expand forever. It is an absurd myth. We live on this planet. We can’t leave it and go somewhere else. We have to bring our economies and demands on nature within natural, sustainable limits. But we have had a 500-year run where Europeans, Euro-Americans and other colonists have overrun the world and taken it over. This anomalous, 500-year run made it not only seem easy but normal. We believe things will always get bigger and better.

We have to understand that this long period of expansion and prosperity was indeed an anomaly. It has rarely happened in history and will never happen again. We have to readjust our entire civilization to live in a finite world.

But we are not doing it, because we are carrying far too much baggage, too many mythical versions of deliberately distorted history and a deeply ingrained feeling that what being modern is all about... is having more. This is what anthropologists call an ideological pathology, a self-destructive belief that causes societies to crash and burn. These societies go on doing things that are “really stupid” because they can’t change their way of thinking. And that is where we are.

And as the collapse becomes palpable, if human history is any guide, we… like past societies in distress… will retreat into what anthropologists call “crisis cults.” The powerlessness we will feel in the face of ecological and economic chaos will unleash further collective delusions, such as fundamentalist belief in a god or gods who will come back to earth and save us.

Societies in collapse often fall prey to the belief that if certain rituals are performed... all the bad shit will go away. There are many examples of that throughout history. In the past, these crisis cults took hold among people who had been colonized, attacked and slaughtered by outsiders, who had lost control of their lives. Similar to Cargo Cults, believers see in these rituals the ability to bring back the past world, which they look at as a kind of paradise. They seek to return to the way things were. Crisis cults spread rapidly among Native American societies in the 19th century, when the buffalo and the Indians were being slaughtered by repeating rifles and finally machine guns. The First Peoples came to believe that if they performed the right rituals, the modern world that was intolerable… the barbed wire, the railways, the white man, the machine gun… would disappear.

This famous example of a “crisis cult” ...was known as the Ghost Dance.

The Ghost Dance (Nanissáanah) was a religious movement incorporated into numerous American Indian belief systems. According to the teachings of the Northern Paiute spiritual leader Wovoka, proper practice of the dance would reunite the living with spirits of the dead, bring the spirits of the dead to fight on their behalf, make the white colonists leave, and bring peace, prosperity, and unity to the First Peoples throughout the region.

The basis for the Ghost Dance, the circle dance, is a traditional form that has been used by many Native American peoples since prehistoric times, but this new ceremony was first practiced among the Nevada Northern Paiute in 1889. The practice swept throughout much of the Western United States, quickly reaching areas of California and Oklahoma. As the Ghost Dance spread from its original source, Indian tribes synthesized selective aspects of the ritual with their own beliefs.

The Ghost Dance was associated with Wovoka's prophecy of an end to white expansion while preaching goals of clean living, an honest life, and cross-cultural cooperation by Indians. The practice of the Ghost Dance movement was believed to have contributed to Lakota resistance to assimilation under the Dawes Act. In the Wounded Knee Massacre in December 1890, United States Army forces killed at least 153 Miniconjou and Hunkpapa from the Lakota people. The Lakota variation on the Ghost Dance tended towards millenarianism, an innovation that distinguished the Lakota interpretation from Wovoka's original teachings. The Caddo still practice the Ghost Dance today.

We all have the same, basic psychological hard wiring. It makes us quite bad at long-range planning and leads us to cling to irrational delusions when faced with a serious threat. Look at the Alt Right’s belief that if government got out of the way, the lost paradise of the 1950s would return. Look at the way we are letting oil and gas exploration rip when we know that expanding the carbon economy is suicidal for our children and grandchildren. The results of which can already be felt.

In our refusal to adequately address climate change, are we going down the road of crisis cults

The veneer of Civilization is thin. When it gets to the point where large parts of the Earth experience crop failure at the same time… when whole populations are forced to migrate as a result… then we are at obvious risk of mass starvation and societal breakdown on a global scale. That is what lies ahead if we do not deal with climate change. If we fail in this great experiment, this experiment of “problematic primates” becoming intelligent enough to take charge of their own destiny, Mother Nature will shrug and say it was fun for a while to let the domesticated primates run the laboratory… but in the end it was a bad idea.

- Inspired by “The Myth of Human Progress” by Chris Hedges

Monday, July 9, 2018

Virtual Reality & Psychedelia

Excerpts from: Our Cyberdelic Concrescence: Exhuming Terrence McKenna - by Eliott Edge

Why talk about psychedelics substances and experiences in relation to VR? This question could really only arrive from a point that is virginal in regards to psychedelics. Anyone who has had a psychedelic episode needs no clarification, as it’s plain as the nose on your face. But for the uninitiated: psychedelics are chemical substances that induce altered states of consciousness, and thus altered realities. Thoughts, feelings, experiences, visions that wholly cannot be experienced otherwise, fall upon you that are titanic, very frequently religious or spiritual in scope, and yes sometimes even include what appear as alien entities of all sort. The word psychedelic itself means mind-manifesting. When you take a psychedelic, you enter another world. When you use VR you put on another head and see another world. So they are actually close relatives. One is media-technology induced altered states, the other is a chemically-induced altered state.

VR offers a parallel to psychedelics (some have argued that VR is the technological shadow of the psychedelic experience), but it is not at all the psychedelic experience proper, in all its quaking, annihilating, and mind-expanding glory. Beyond doing whatever you can to temporarily escape your local VR programming, an admission would be that consciousness itself is fundamental to all our virtual realities. Consciousness is the media through which all our cultures, religions, civilizations, thoughts, and reality tunnels play out. So although what we have created can be regarded as virtual realities, consciousness itself doesn’t necessarily fit the criteria. Consciousness is real, ‘Canada’ and ‘Canadian’ is imaginary, is virtual. Consciousness plays within the framework of ‘Canada’ and ‘Canadian’ but it isn’t those constructs on a fundamental level. Consciousness is not virtual reality, though it uses virtual realities to operate in.

Now onto the other weird word here: concrescence. Concrescence is an idea that Terrence McKenna brought up often, which was cribbed by Alfred North Whitehead’s Process Philosophy, but it was also an idea that Canada’s own stellar media prophet Marshall McLuhan, as well as Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, flirted with—And that’s the idea of some kind of spiritual or evolutionary omega point existing off the future, and that the toil of all beings leads towards. Media and technology folks jumped on this and realized the global electronic communication and its evolution would also lead up to some kind of crossing of the rubicon. Today, most of you are familiar with this notion through the work of Ray Kurzweil and The Age of Spiritual Machines: that we’ll be uploading our consciousness into silicon, the body will become a platform for total manipulation through gene editing, including reducing and eventually ending the process of aging, and that virtual reality will become the new language of tomorrow. That’s the media-tech concrescence. And that was a strong focus for Terence McKenna, what role would VR play in the evolution of language, and how it would not merely enhance but in fact expand the human psyche and the human soul. So that’s what I’m going to rap about with you today.

McKenna was an author, an ethnobotanist, researcher of world shamanism, and a philosophical gadfly with a consuming interest in VR, psychedelics, and the future. But he’s mostly known for the surviving audio and video recordings of his lectures that have made their way onto YouTube. He really exploded into global consciousness after YouTube, which sadly he didn’t live to see just how iconic he was going to become. Remember the 2012 hype? Outisde of the Mayan’s of course, it was largely due to McKenna. Whether or not you know McKenna, he’s been a massive invisible hand behind the technorati even though he very much started as kind of a password in the underground and counter culture labyrinth of psychedelic thought. But he’s the secret reason why Silicon Valley made its way to Burning Man. By the way: long live Larry Harvey. McKenna is also the reason why ayahuasca and microdosing has found a home in modern techno corporate American progress as well. Personally, these I read as crucial victories.

Technology has become prosthesis for the human species. It’s our machines and our technologies that are now the major evolutionary forces acting upon us. It’s not our political systems, it’s these extra-sexual children, these mind children that we have assembled out of the imagination.

We fear the dehumanizing effect of so many computers. We fear them; we say that we’re moving further and further from nature, deeper and deeper into our own psyche. But this is a dualism. Our psyche is nature, and we cannot move away from nature by exploring these places. 

The entirety of human history has been the story of the monkey becoming the flying saucer. It is taking just that long in geological time. But we, for some strange reason, we happen to be living through the final moments of that process right now.

[We need a] philosophy not made around the campfire. But philosophy based on the acquisition of extreme experience. That’s how you figure out what the world is. Not by bicycling around in the ’burbs but by forcing extreme experience.

If you don’t treat VR like a portal into an uncanny weird future, than you’re as done as the dinosaurs. Like Douglas Rushkoff asks: what are we going to do when Augmented Reality has turned the world into one giant mall? The real leaders in VR are going to create tools that make it easy for folks the world over to create their own virtual realities. VRs that they can develop and then share with others. And the leading VR makers will be the counter culture, the avant grade, the psychedelic visionaries, and youths. They will actually be driving the future of language and communication, just as rock n’ roll did decades before them.

There is a greater agenda lurking behind the surface of all this flashy immersive tech. And those who intuit that are going to be the real leaders that I am talking about. Tomorrow’s leaders aren’t going to be the Fortune 500, or the top 40 over Forty. The real leaders are going to heal themselves and this world culture, in part with using VR tools. As one netizen Mystic_realmz said it, “With other senses we would have other realities.” VR makes this actually possible.

My advice, if I were to offer any advice is, create tools so young people and vanguard artist can more easily create virtual worlds. Provide the platform. And get psychedelic.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

AlienCon 2018 Debriefing

DATELINE June 15, 16 & 17, 2018
The ancient alien convention, aka: AlienCon 2018, was a huge success... at least for the intrepid Tek-Gnostics Media team. Our booth was busy from the opening moments Friday morning, until well after the event was closed to the public on Sunday evening. Sales of our entire product line, such as the Tek-Gnostics Alumni T-shirt, were strong... but our measure of success was determined by the increase in networking.

There appeared to be a distinct threshold or tipping point... a critical mass of interest if you will… that was achieved at this event. People were very interested in a booth labeled by the event organizers as: "The Tek-Gnostics Heresies." Many convention-goers were familiar with Tek-Gnostics and had recently visited our website. Many more dug our “extra-dimensional/psychedelic take” on extra-terrestrial contact and our general irreverence for the proceedings. Our new monograph, The Return of the Archons, which we debuted at AlienCon, sold well.

The event was equal parts Ancient Alien presentation and Sci Fi convention, with interesting panels and meet & greet/photo-ops for fans. All the stars one would expect at such a gathering were there. David “Fox Mulder” Duchovny was there, the granddaddy of AAT, Erich von Däniken was there… and of course the pop phenomenon, Giorgio A. Tsoukalos (Giorgio! … Giorgio!) was there. The crowd went wild when Giorgio showed up for his autograph session, I will tell you.

The marketplace, where our outpost was located, was well organized. Tons of interesting vendors including our friends at the “Mystic Maverick” …voted best UFO T-shirts of the convention, by the Tek-Gnostics staff. Cosplay was also present, if not overly domineering. 

The event was not free of conspiratorial controversy…

For instance, why was “ReptiCon” …a Reptile Convention being held and taking place directly adjacent to AlienCon? Did the reptilian overlords need their own presence in close proximity to the Ancient Alien convention? Was it a coincidence that "the Orange One" announced the (supposed) inception of a "Space Force" during the AlienCon weekend? And why was a FEMA communications vehicle stationed directly below our hotel room for the entire weekend?

The enigmatic Agent 87, w/ two of his disciples

Coming in November 2018

AlienCon 2018 was an event that featured topics and information streams of the Fringe... presented to the general public. The event had its share of those looking to be entertained, as well as those looking for answers. More and more people are beginning to question the official, party-line version of "Contact" and what it may mean for humanity. And as Fox Mulder knows... the truth is out thereAll in all a great weekend, filled with strange encounters and odd synchronicities...

Stay tuned dear readers, as there may be future posts inspired by the events of AlienCon 2018...

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Dualistic Universe Part 2 - Gnosis (yin) Edition.

The above from Robert Anton Wilson's "The Illuminati Papers"

Yin  -  Negative/passive/female principle in nature, symbolized by the moon…  overcast, shaded orientation ie:  north side of a hill or south bank of a river. Covert… feminine, concealed, hidden sinister, treacherous.

In part one of this series, we suggested that traditionally and throughout history, humans have maintained a notion that Manifest Universe demonstrates dynamic ebb and flow that is dichotomous in nature. Yin/yang, light/darkness, observer/observed, etc. The very act of being born into Universe requires the accommodation of dualism. In the second half of our examination of an apparent dualistic Universe, we will explore the covert properties of such.

In theology, dualism can refer to the relationship between God and creation. The Christian dualism of God and creation exists in some traditions of Christianity, like Paulicianism, Catharism, and Gnosticism. The Paulicians, a Byzantine Christian sect, believed that the universe, created through evil, exists separately from a moral God. The Dvaita Vedanta school of Indian philosophy also espouses a dualism between God and the universe. The first and the more important reality is that of Vishnu or Brahman. Vishnu is the supreme Self, God, the absolute truth of the universe, the independent reality. The second reality is that of a dependent, but equally real universe that exists with its own separate essence.

In Wicca, dualism is represented in the common Wiccan belief in a god and a goddess... a dual partnership in ruling the universe.

In ontological dualism, the world is divided into two overarching categories. The opposition and combination of the universe's two basic principles of yin and yang is a large part of Chinese philosophy, and is an important feature of Taoism, both as a philosophy and as a religion (it is also discussed in Confucianism).

In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang (dark-bright, negative-positive) describe how seemingly opposite or contrary forces, may actually be interconnected and interdependent in the natural world. Moreover, they give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another, in an eternal dance or balance. Many tangible dualities (such as light and dark, fire and water, expanding and contracting) are thought of as physical manifestations of the duality symbolized by yin and yang.

Duality is found in many belief systems, but yin and yang are complementary parts of  Oneness which is also equated with the Tao or the intuitive knowledge of the way of life. The term 'dualistic-monism' or dialectical monism has been coined in the West, in an attempt to express this fruitful paradox of simultaneous unity/duality. Yin and yang can be thought of as complementary (rather than opposing) forces that interact to form a dynamic system in which the whole is greater than the assembled parts.

Dualism between God and Creation has existed as a central belief in multiple historical sects and traditions of Christianity, including Marcionism, Catharism, and Gnostic Christianity. Christian dualism refers to the belief that God and creation are distinct, but interrelated through an indivisible, divine bond. In specific sects like the Cathars, this manifests as a dualism between the material world, created by an “evil” and a “moral” god. Religious scholars have divided Christian dualism into absolute dualism, which held that the good and evil were equally powerful… and mitigated dualism, which held that material evil was subordinate to the spiritual good. 

Various Gnostic teachings indicate that humans possess a dualistic nature… that there are two separate yet integral aspects to humanity. One element is immortal being made of light ie: spirit or soul… and the other mortal darkness ie: flesh or materiality. Our spirit is of divine origin, emanating from the true God above Gods. It is an immortal light that descended from the heavens. In opposition to this light, the human body is inherently material, earthly and susceptible to darkness. It was made of mortal flesh ruled by a false, deranged creator God who holds dominion over those materialistic souls who have not reached spiritual knowledge or Gnosis.

In these examples, the dualism of Christianity can be somewhat compared with the dualism that exists in Zoroastrianism and the Samkhya tradition of Hinduism.

In closing, we leave you with a passage from a certain blasphemous, forbidden text. This succinct passage serves to illustrate a dualistic mythology that appears to be the predominant, pervasive nature of manifest Universe. It also illustrates the Tek-Gnostics Network's default, binary operating system. Based upon our dichotomist experience here on the planet of the apes, our understanding of dualism takes on a certain Discordian flavor…

"Magicians, especially since the Gnostic and the Quabala influences, have sought higher consciousness through the assimilation and control of universal opposites... good/evil, positive/negative, male/female etc. But due to the steadfast pomposity of ritualism inherited from the ancient methods of the shaman, occultists have been blinded to what is perhaps the two most important pairs of apparent or earth-plane opposites: Order/Disorder and Serious/Humorous.

Magicians, and their progeny the scientists, have always taken themselves and their subject in an orderly and sober manner, thereby disregarding an essential metaphysical balance. When magicians learn to approach philosophy as a malleable art instead of an immutable Truth, and learn to appreciate the absurdity of man's endeavours, then they will be able to pursue their art with a lighter heart, and perhaps gain a clearer understanding of it, and therefore gain a more effective magick."

- the Principia Discordia