Thursday, October 27, 2011

V for Vendetta and Anonymous - emerging persona

When it debuted in 2006, the Wachowski brothers film “V for Vendetta” was not quite the box office phenomenon that their 1999 hit “The Matrix” was, yet the cultural and memetic importance of the film has in many ways surpassed The Matrix’s influence.  Although the Matrix was huge at the box office as a dystopian sci fi/kung fu action film, it was essentially a philosophic Gnostic/Buddhist composition. Despite the cool special effects and over-the-top fighting scenes, it becomes less accessible and more cerebral as time goes by.

V for Vendetta, on the other hand, is a political tome that, given the state of the world, becomes more impactful as its anarchic message continues to resonate with a wider (more politically disillusioned) audience. The film’s protagonist, known merely a “V” has become (perhaps it is more correct to say V’s persona or mask, has become) popularly symbolic of resistance to the global power elite. In our media-immersed culture, visual imagery has a global impact. The Guy Fawkes mask has become the world-wide face of revolution.

First, a brief synopsis of the movie (based on the comic book written by Alan Moore and illustrated by David Lloyd) from The Matrix 101:

Set against the futuristic landscape of totalitarian Britain, V For Vendetta tells the story of a mild-mannered young woman named Evey (Natalie Portman) who is rescued from a life-and-death situation by a masked man (Hugo Weaving) known only as "V". Incomparably charismatic and ferociously skilled in the art of combat and deception, V ignites a revolution when he urges his fellow citizens to rise up against tyranny and oppression. As Evey uncovers the truth about V’s mysterious background, she also discovers the truth about herself - and emerges as his unlikely ally in the culmination of his plan to bring freedom and justice back to a (British) society fraught with cruelty and corruption.

After V for Vendetta’s premiere, the mask quickly became a Halloween favorite, especially among young adult revelers. Halloween (Oct. 31) resonates with Guy Fawkes Night (Nov. 5) not only by proximity of date, but by a shared archaic-pagan-party vibe, complete with nighttime merry-making, bonfires, etc. Soon thereafter, the mask took on greater cultural significance. The following snippet from Wikipedia outlines the continued cultural impact…

Since the release in 2006 of the film V for Vendetta, based on a comic book series about a dystopian future United Kingdom, written by Alan Moore and illustrated mostly by David Lloyd, the use of stylised "Guy Fawkes" masks, with moustache and pointed beard, has become widespread internationally among groups protesting against politicians, banks and financial institutions. The masks both conceal the identity of individuals and demonstrate their commitment to a shared cause.

The character first became an internet meme, common on imageboards such as 4chan as well as on video-sharing based websites such as YouTube. The Internet-based group known as Anonymous adopted the Guy Fawkes mask in 2008, following its use by members during the Operation Chanology protests against the Church of Scientology. On 23 May 2009, protesters dressed up as V and set off a fake barrel of gunpowder outside Parliament while protesting over the issue of British MPs' expenses.

During the Occupy Wall Street and the whole ongoing "Occupy" protests, the mask appears internationally as a symbol of popular rebellion. In October 2011, campaigner Julian Assange attended the Occupy London Stock Exchange protest wearing such a mask, which he removed after a request by the police.”
- from wikipedia’s “gunpowder plot in popular culture"

Thus the widespread use of the Guy Fawkes mask as a symbol of protest and solidarity continues to gain momentum around the world.

Of particular interest is the correlation between the Guy Fawkes persona and the internet moniker Anonymous. Within the bulletin board and blog-o-sphere, the use of anonymous is a convenient and unidentifiable (some would accuse irresponsible) way of signing comments without publically implicating oneself. Much commentary on the Internet is done anonymously, using pseudonyms. These names can take on an identity of their own and provide a degree of separation from the actual author. Anonymity is a time-honored component of a free society, especially in the arena of political dissent.

Within this context, signing an internet post as anonymous takes on a greater, more nuanced meaning… it now becomes associated with subversion and rebellion. Otherwise unassociated individuals using the anonymous tag to mask identification on-line become co-conspirators in the global resistance to the machine. In this regard, signing a post anonymous now becomes a revolutionary act. Anonymous are everywhere.

It is fascinating how seemingly mundane objects or events become symbolically significant to large segments of the population. What ineffable property resonates with humanity, turning the common into the extraordinary… turning a plastic mask into the face of revolution? Ultimately, it is the use of symbols… the artifacts of the mind that turn the ordinary into the magical… that is so intriguing. Use of symbols and the ability to communicate deep understanding with their use, is what being human is all about. It’s what makes the pain and suffering of being human... tolerable.

11-26 Update: Krampus as archetypical symbol of “Occupy Movement”

Symbols evolve rapidly under the watchful eye of the media. Even as coordinated efforts to squash the Occupy Rebellion have brought un-intended consequences to the “powers that be” …the face of “occupy” is morphing. That old rascally trickster, Krampus, aka: Black Peter has reared his ancient, gnarled grimace, much to the delight of the news media’s camera crews.

Krampus is the personification of the old pre-Christian Nordic woods-spirits… the face of the old pagan deities of Europe. In an earlier yuletide post, we more fully examined the Krampus Mythos. 

While there are many good reasons for members of the Occupy movement to relate to the rehabilitated image of Guy Fawkes/”V”, I am personally convinced that the image of Krampus could potentially be a much more effective iconic symbol of the Occupy movement, especially in the coming weeks leading up to Christmas which is arguably one of the biggest and most lucrative times of year for large banking institutions and corporations that have been shown to have connections to less-than-equitable business practices. Krampus represents responsibility and accountability for one’s actions while more than willing to punish those who engage in harmful practices – business and otherwise.

The full post from which the above quote was taken can be found here.

People may know… but the people don't care…
that a man could be as poor as me.
Take a look at poor Peter… he's lyin in pain…
now let's go… run and see… run and see… run and see!

 - from “Black Peter” Garcia/Hunter

2012 Update:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Synchromystic “Cosmic Trigger” – Number 9

Number nine… number nine… number nine… number nine…
- From “Revolution 9” by the Beatles

Cultural Syncs
The imagery of a tattered Soap-Box Preacher on the street corner, holding a sign proclaiming “the end is near” is, of course, completely true on some level. The cycle of birth and death and the changing of the seasons… the life and reproductive cycle of “annuals” (those plants that complete their life cycle in one growing season)… the incredible and completely magical metamorphosis of the caterpillar to the butterfly… all mark cosmic cycles that recur anew each year. In this regard, the end is always near… as is the new beginning.

Ancient man conformed to the succession of the seasons with ritual and technology. Although epic cycles such as the agricultural age, followed by industrial age and proceeding to the current information age all mark evolving epochs, civilization has always danced to the rhythm of the seasons… the annual revolution around Sol. Ancient artifacts like Stonehenge accurately measured and delineated key transition days such as the solstice and the equinox.

These cyclic artifacts blend and overlap with other cultural world-views and artifacts of reckoning, such as the Mayan “long count” calendar. The long count was used to mark the procession of Mesoamerican epochs. The Mayan calendar has achieved recent (and conflicting) wide-spread popularity within segments of Earth’s population. Some envision a cataclysmic ending, an undefined immanentization of the eschaton. Others envision the beginning of a new epoch or “new age” on Earth.

I confess to a cynical bias toward the “new-agers.” I see them as suspiciously sanctimonious and more than a little woo-wooish (a “woo” is defined by some as a unit of measurement that assesses a quanta of pseudoscience… defined by others as “bullshit”). With that said, I acknowledge the 2012 phenomena as a pop cultural expression and a genuine manifestation of the completion of an epic cycle… the ending of an era. Certain artifacts, such as the Mayan calendar, reveal these cycles and act as “cosmic triggers” to raise awareness of them among the population.

Mediated Syncs
In order to get to the synchromystic cosmic triggers in question, a recap of current affairs is necessary: The time-frame in question begins with the tragic events of 9/11 and continues through a decade of war, followed by global economic crisis… the effect of which is still playing out… and finally leads up to the present “Occupy Wall Street” movement. This recap is a massive over-simplification of events, but it serves as a backdrop for the information of synchrony that has popped up in recent news media.

It is painfully clear that the first decade of the new millennium has generated significant amounts of shared angst for all of Earth’s citizenry, both politically and culturally. Emerging pattern recognition, triggered by the media’s coverage of current events has revealed symbols of cyclic change that have a distinct Synchromystic flavor. These symbols speak in the language of archetype… sparking connotations outside the realm of logic… conveying meaning that lurks on the fringe of reason, yet startles us awake as we begin to connect the dots.

The synchromystic “cosmic triggers” that revealed the cyclic trending of current affairs, hinting at the possible ending of an era “surfaced” in the form of the number nine. In Numerology, the number 9 is the last simple number and is therefore considered the number of finalization or completion before the cycle renews (ie: 9→10). In this regard, 9 completes the old cycle, while the number 10 represents the new beginning, the commencement of the new cycle.

So… synchromystically speaking… the number 9 suddenly started popping up everywhere within the media. The first 9 sync came to my attention several weeks ago and was reported on the evening news, concerning the republican presidential hopeful, Herman Cain and his 999 plan. Candidate Cain (also a sync to the Cain & Able myth… “am I my brother’s keeper?”) had proposed a flat tax of 9% to individuals, a flat tax of 9% to businesses… and a 9% national sales tax… hence 9-9-9. It was not Cain’s plan, but the 9 that caught my attention. This sync brought to light political and cyclic connotations around the 2012 elections and the economy.

The first trigger was followed by a second sync that took the form of the “We are the other 99%” slogan being flashed at the many “occupy” events, first in New York City, then across the USA and the world. Here, the 9 represents everybody except the 1% wealthiest plutocrats. The popular opinion is that we are all being fleeced by powers-that-be from NYC’s financial district… that the US government “bailed-instead-of-jailed” the banks and bankers (read: criminals) of Wall Street. The intent of the occupiers of Wall Street was to shed light on the real culprits behind the economic melt-down.

The third 9 sync came in the form of a PBS show, [I]ndependentlens… that did an episode called “Wham! Bam! Islam! The episode was about a comic book project, titled… The 99.”  The comic book series chronicles 99 superheroes with roots in Islam and Islamic culture, each one exemplifying one of the 99 attributes of Allah. The concept of the 99 is to exemplify the Islamic virtues of compassion, understanding, and tolerance… qualities not often associated with Islam by the West… in the superhero format. This third sync merged the “War on Terror” with the superhero mythos that is currently percolating within the sync-o-sphere.

Many of you are familiar with the work of Christopher Knowles, specifically his book: “Our Gods Wear Spandex” in which the mythos of the superhero is examined as a modern depiction of the mythological diety archetype.

Needless to say… these syncs resonate on many levels for those who delve in the synchromystic realm. This last decade has been dominated by the “War on Terror” …the financial bailout of “Wall Street” …and the media circus that is American politics. The synchromystic practitioner might examine the pertinent memes presented by the media and extract meaningful coincidences… collective unconscious signals that arise from the overriding information stream. Within this context, certain patterns emerge.

Bearing in mind that you cannot separate the observer from the observed, the multiple number 9 signals point, from my perspective, to the conclusion of a major cycle… the end of an era. This end of an era meme was also transmitted with the passing of Apple’s Steve Jobs. On the day that Mr. Jobs’ death was announced, President Obama was trying to sell his “jobs” Bill to the American Public. The news media proclaimed Obama’s Bill to be… dead on arrival.

Death being the ultimate expression of cyclic transition, it did not take a great conceptual leap to symbolically equate the death of Mr. Jobs… idealized by industrial America as the epitome of the successful CEO… with the death of “jobs” in America. It seems clear that the number of traditional jobs lost in this country cannot be fully replaced by any new economy that arises. Significantly, the persistent 9% unemployment rate in America is indicative of the fact that this country’s manufacturing base was sold out decades ago, to be replaced with a service economy. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that a service economy is doomed to fail without the value-added foundational support of a manufacturing economy.

Revolution 9
It is no wonder that the networking warriors of “Occupy Wall Street” felt compelled to take a bite out of the big apple. Their consciousness tells them that not only is there fundamental inequity in the distribution of wealth… not only are the perpetrators of fiscal debacle getting off scot free… but that the very foundation… moral, ethical and spiritual… of the western system is bankrupt.

This is truly the end of an era. The pundits are worried about a global recession… if only it were that simple. The old paradigm is done… stick a fork in it. What is to come… is still in flux. This is what those who occupy NYC’s financial district are grappling with. The Mayan long count calendar ends on Dec. 21, 2012… events of the world seem to be coinciding very closely with the Mayan system… synchronicity. Cycles are concluding… systems are winding down… as seen from many different perspectives.

One point: I do not subscribe to any “end of the world” scenario. I choose not to put energy in any apocalyptic armageddon. Quite the opposite... I place my creative energy in participating in the manifestation of what comes next. For as surely as one cycle ends… another begins. When one door is closed, another is opened. We can make the new paradigm anything we can imagine… this time around. The revolution that some fear and some hope for… is just that… another turn of the wheel. Wheels within wheels. In the words of the old Beatles tune: Revolution 1… “Don’t you know It’s gonna be… alright!     

Meanwhile, the world keeps turning… and we continue to keep alert… stay awake… keep watching the symbols… keep your lovelight trimmed and burning.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

“Occupy Wall Street” – hairline fractures in the New World Order...

On September 17th (heads up, Mr. Knowles), a few hundred protesters assembled at “Liberty Plaza” in New York City, USA to draw attention to the ever-increasing disparity between the haves and the have-nots, and the incredible transfer of wealth from the citizenry (the many) into the hands of the uber-wealthy (the few), that has occurred in America in the last decade. And thus the occupation of Wall Street began…

The media pundits seem perplexed by the multifaceted, un-homogenized nature of the group. Without a clear political agenda and without clear leadership, this un-organized rabble cannot be taken seriously… so the pundits rationalize. What is being completely missed by the mainstream media is that it is precisely the business-as-usual political strategy that is being rejected by the loose-knit assembly. The last thing that this diverse band of occupiers wants to be… is another tea party.

"Occupy Wall Street is leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%. We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends and encourage the use of non-violence to maximize the safety of all participants.

Our nation, our species and our world are in crisis. The US has an important role to play in the solution, but we can no longer afford to let corporate greed and corrupt politics set the policies if our nation.

We, the people of the United States of America, considering the crisis at hand, now reassert our sovereign control of our land.

Solidarity Forever!"

Now that organized labor has joined the demonstrations and pledged their solidarity to the occupiers of Liberty Plaza, what started out as “quaint example of performance art” has become the beginnings of a potentially game-changing movement… an unpredictable opposition to the New World Order.

Back in February, we posted a piece, drawing attention to what was to become known as the “Arab Spring.” At that time, it felt like the beginning of something new. Here is an excerpt from that 2/8/11 post…  

Again… I am not sure where all this is going… but I feel it is important that we pay attention to these events in Egypt. The plea of Egypt’s people for freedom effects all of us. I feel that humanity is at a crossroads between the old and new paradigm. The choices we make today will impact what the new paradigm will be. Our future is one of all peoples of Earth collaborating in harmony. Let us hope for all our sakes that this moment in time moves us toward love and away from fear.

- from Navigating the Apocalypse 1.4 Revolution in Babylon posted 2/8/11

Then in August, we reported on the London riots. Again, an excerpt from the 8/10/11 post…

The unrest and anger in London is more of an indicator of global conditions, as it effects the industrialized (post industrial) West, than it is a protest over police brutality. All is not well on either side of the pond. The Evil Empire is straining to the breaking point under the heavy load of the New World Order. London is the “canary in a coalmine” for the modern world. The UK is burning… young Londoners are waking up… while that sleeping giant, the US… reaches for the snooze alarm.

-         from London Calling posted 8/10/11

Now it appears that the “sleeping giant” referred to in our earlier post is waking up. What occurred first in Cairo, then in London and now in NYC is truly an awakening. It is a peaceful and creative expression of a desire for real change. Not the kind of change that is promised in campaign slogans… not the kind of change that is dropped in a beggar’s (previously middle class) tin can… but Earth shaking change. We’re talking the P word… paradigm.

2012 is fast approaching and many different cultures, utilizing many different world views and different reality tunnels, have expressed their version of what Earth shaking change might look like. Whether it’s political, economic, geologic or cosmic… there are commonalities to all of these prophesies. The key shared element, from different perspectives… is a fundamental shift in the nature of co-existent life on Earth: Beginning with an understanding of the essential autonomy of all life... and continuing with the fair, just and honorable allocation of Earth’s ample resources to all earthlings (not just humanity) in need of those resources. To follow the golden rule…

This view may be perceived as idealistic and naive… just as the occupiers of NYC’s financial district may be perceived as naïve. But believe me when I say that stranger things have happened. The time has come for us all to… in the words of R Buckminster Fuller… DARE TO BE NAÏVE!

PS: the Gobal Guerrillas blog makes a good point as to WHO the targets of these protests are...

- JH

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Goodbye Mr. Jobs

"You are already naked... There is no reason not to follow your heart... Stay hungry... Stay foolish" - Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs - 1955 - 2011

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Shamanic Dreams - part 1

The realm of dreams and the practice of dream interpretation have, since ancient times, been interwoven with the spiritual realm of humanity. The world’s oldest book of dreams, a compilation of dream symbols and their meaning, comes from Sumerian Mesopotamia, circa 5,000 BCE. The Egyptians took many ideas from the Sumerians; they viewed dreams as messages from gods. The dreams of the Pharaohs attracted the most attention, as they were revered as gods themselves.

Around 335 BC Greek philosopher Aristotle said that human beings are capable of achieving the pure form of wisdom only during sleep, when our minds are liberated.  His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama said: "Tibetan Buddhism considers sleep to be a form of nourishment, like food, that restores and refreshes the body."

"The creative potential of dreams is unquestionably valued in traditional Tibetan culture. Within Tibetan Buddhism there is a class of dreams labeled Milam Ter or “dream treasure.” These treasures are teachings that are considered to be the creations of enlightened beings. The teachings were purposefully hidden or stored in order to benefit future generations.
Buddhist and Bonpo systems for dream awareness training appear to be thousands of years old, according to Norbu Rinpoche. Dream awareness training is discussed extensively in the text of the inconceivably ancient Mahamaya Tantra, whose author is unknown. Many millennia before the historical Buddha Shakyamuni lived, the tantras were taught by the buddhas of past eras to both human and non-human beings."

- Michael Katz – from Dream Yoga & the practice of natural light

In the Americas, the Kagwahiv, a Tupi speaking Amazonian group of peoples have a saying… “Everyone who dreams has a little bit of the shaman in them.”

In early 2011, I had a series of transformative dreams, the ramifications of which are still unfolding. The nature of the dreams was such that upon retrospect, they might be classified as “lucid dreams,” with one caveat. Although I “woke up” or became aware that I was in a dream state, I did not consider that what I was experiencing was a dream. More precisely, although I became conscious during this series of dreams, I didn’t perceive them as less real or consequential than my normal waking state. If anything, the dreams felt more real.

The dreams followed a common thread in which I invariably found myself immersed (entangled) in a psychedelic search for the miraculous. The set and setting of each dream varied greatly and often dealt with widely different cultures or subcultures in which inner exploration played a central role. Of this series of dreams, there are two which I shall relate here.

The first dream occurred on the evening of March 10th, 2011.

As I became conscious within the dream, I found myself in what appeared to be a twilit tropical grotto or what I came to think of as a “sacred grove.” Diffuse light filtered trough the canopy above me in luminous, smoky beams. The darker encompassing vegetation contrasted the beams of light to produce a soft, warm, otherworldly effect. The awareness of being in a dream state underscored my experience that the colors, although of earthy tones, were extremely vivid… to the point of being psychedelic. There was also an aspect of communication or conveyance from the surroundings, to me, as to what was about to transpire.

I was part of a group of two-dozen or so individuals. As my consciousness focused, it became clear that we were waiting for something… a decision to be made. At this realization, it also became clear that a circle of ayahuasqueros, or shamans were in counsel nearby but concealed from our view. This indigenous circle of elders was fifteen in number (the significance of 15 elders was unclear within the dream).

Awareness of the counsel and it’s deliberation brought about the realization that the waiting group, of which I was part, were being individually considered for either initiation into the mysteries of this shamanic circle… or perhaps a ceremony that was about to be performed. My desire to participate was clear. Recognition of this desire brought with it the knowledge that each aspirant in the group was accompanied by a helper or guide. The role of our guide was to act as an advocate for each of us in our bid to partake in what was apparently about to happen… in what was being decided by the counsel.

At this point, it is important to mention that at the moment I became aware of myself within the dream… of my surroundings and my situation (predicament)… it was clear that I was at a critical juncture of events of magnitude. I was not aware of the circumstances that had brought me to this decisive crossroad... of how I came to be in the middle of a primordial rainforest… of how I became a candidate for some arcane ritual… or even how I had come to be associated with my guide, let alone the ayahuasqueros. What was clear was that whatever obscure series of events had brought me here… this was a nexus point of consequence. This was the culmination… the intersection of possibility.

Abruptly, the elders made their decision and I was out. I hadn’t been picked and the proceedings and preparations were being carried out without me. As this new development permeated my consciousness, or perhaps because of it, multiple occurrences transpired… my dream guide simultaneously communicated with the elders, received information from them and relayed that information to me. One of the selected candidates could not fulfill their commitment to the event and my guide was successful in securing my place as a participant. I was back in.

I was thrilled and slightly apprehensive at the developments as they unfolded. I prepared myself for the… initiation?... ceremony?... psychedelic journey? It was not altogether clear what was about to occur. The surroundings began to communicate anew. Complex strata of information began to flow into and through me. It was as if the very fabric of the realm became a vast data-structure that was suddenly made available to me... that I was suddenly in tune with. Along with my guide, I made my way to the threshold of the grotto where the elders awaited. I steadied myself as we entered the sacred space…

Of course at this moment the dream transformed itself into some other realm… some other space. Where I went from there, I cannot say. I had and have no memory of any further dream travels that night. I awoke with those golden moments reverberating in my mind. What combination of events lead to and spark our awakening while in dreamtime, remain a mystery. Where we were prior to and where we go hence remain in the realm of dreams. We can only proceed in wonder.

To be continued…