Saturday, June 23, 2012

Strange Politics, Fast & Furious and the 23/17 enigma

Here is some free advice… Don’t go down the rabbit-hole… unless you are prepared to see how deep it goes…

The 23/17 enigma, simply stated, refers to the belief that many incidents of synchronicity are directly connected to the numbers 23… 17… or some combination or modification of these numbers. Uncle Bob Wilson (aka: Robert Anton Wilson) credits William S. Burroughs as being the first person to identify the 23 enigma. Wilson, in his book The Cosmic Trigger, related the following story:

“More important to our narrative, William S. Burroughs (author of ‘Naked Lunch’) introduced me to the 23 Enigma while I was at Playboy... In the early '60s in Tangier, Burroughs knew a certain Captain Clark who ran a ferry from Tangier to Spain. One day, Clark said to Burroughs that he'd been running the ferry 23 years without an accident. That very day, the ferry sank, killing Clark and everybody aboard. In the evening, Burroughs was thinking about this when he turned on the radio. The first newscast told about the crash of an Eastern Airlines plane on the New York-Miami route. The pilot was another Captain Clark and the flight was listed as Flight 23... Burroughs began keeping records of odd coincidences. To his astonishment, 23s appeared in a lot of them.”

Burroughs wrote a short story in 1967 called "23 Skidoo." The term "23 skidoo" was popularized in the early 1920s and means “it's time to leave while the getting is good.” This expression appeared in newspapers as early as 1906.

Wilson, along with co-author Robert Shea of “Illuminatus!” fame, more clearly identifies the 23/17 phenomenon, in that both numbers are tied to the Discordian Law of Fives. The Discordian holybook, the Principia Discordia states that: All things happen in fives, or are divisible by or are multiples of five, or are somehow directly or indirectly appropriate to 5. To Discordians, 23, a corollary of the law of fives, is considered either lucky, unlucky, sacred to their goddess Eris, sinister, sacred to the unholy gods of the Cthulhu Mythos, or significantly strange.

In Illuminatus!, the character Simon Moon illustrates this rational using the following mathematical-numerological-magical formula… in 23: 2 + 3 = 5, and in 17: 1 + 7 = 8 = 2³ ...clear as mud, right? To clarify, Moon pulls in another enigmatic number… 40. In the following excerpt from Illuminatus!, Moon further clarifies…

“That brings me to the 40 enigma. As pointed out, 1 + 7 = 8, the number of letters in Kallisti. 8 x 5 = 40.

More interestingly, without invoking the mystic 5, we still arrive at 40 by adding 17 + 23. What, then, is the significance of 40? I've run through various associations… Jesus had his 40 days in the desert, Ali Baba had his 40 thieves, Buddhists have their 40 meditations, the solar system is almost exactly 40 astronomical units in radius (Pluto yo-yos a bit)—but I have no definite theory…  yet.”

Now that we have that Discordian primer out of the way, let us proceed to the most recent example of the 23/17 (and now 40) enigma.

The US House of Representatives Oversight committee has been investigating a covert operation ran by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms (ATF) code-named “fast and furious,” since 2011. This ill-advised sting operation involved selling firearms to Mexican gunrunners, in the hopes of tracking the firearms as they were transferred to higher-level traffickers and key figures in Mexican cartels, in theory leading to their arrests and the dismantling of the Mexican drug cartels.

Although Attorney General Eric Holder originally requested the Department of Justice's Inspector General to begin an investigation concerning fast & furious, suspicion of a cover-up has been leveled at him.

On June 7, 2012, Holder appeared at his seventh Congressional hearing. At issue were certain documents that had not been turned over to Congress by the DOJ. On June 20, 2012, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted along party lines to recommend that Holder be held in contempt of congress. Earlier that day, President Obama had invoked executive privilege over those documents, marking the first time the privilege has been asserted during his presidency.

Here is where we begin our decent into the rabbit-hole. The oversight committee is comprised of 40 representatives, from both political parties. As stated above, the contempt of congress vote was split down party lines… 23 republicans voted in favor of contempt, while 17 democrats vote against. 23 + 17 phenomenon = 40 enigma.

So what is the sync-o-sphere trying to communicate to us about these political events/synchronicities? The first sync that jumped out: the republicans are associated with the number 23, while the democrats are associated with 17. The sum total of these two distinguished and highly respected political factions is… 40 (ie: the forty thieves).

Both the Dems and the Repubs pursue their skullduggery in Washington, DC, which has a long tradition of association with conspiracy theory. A classic conspiracy theory has DC’s street layout illuminati designed, incorporating an inverted pentagram with the bottom pointing directly at the White House. The pentagram is, of course, a 5 pointed star, with obvious occult inferences.

A fundamentalist Christian conspiracy narrative might look like this: The 23rd psalm includes the infamous line: Yea, though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil, yada, yada, yada… ominous imagery indeed. Psalm 17 is the Prayer of David: Hear me, Lord, my plea is just; listen to my cry, blah, blah, blah. We leave this imagery to the reader’s fertile imagination.

When we at Tek-Gnostics ponder such esoteric questions, we often consult the master text of synchronicity… the I-Ching.  Let us begin with the 23 republicans who voted in favor of contempt… the I-Ching’s 23rd hexagram is titled “Po.” The image is:  The mountain rests on the earth: The image of Splitting Apart. Po’s judgment reads: It does not further one to go anywhere…

“All is not what it seems. Sometimes, reality is like a hall of mirrors. Intrigues multiply like summer flies, and there are signs of discontent all around. This is a time of illusion and disillusion, disintegration, distrust and deception.” –

Now we consider the 17 democrats… the I-Ching’s 17th hexagram is titled “Sui”. The image is Thunder in the middle of the Lake: The image of Following. Sui’s judgment reads: Following has supreme success. Perseverance furthers. No blame…

“Following brings supreme success. You may not be able to change the direction of the wind, but by frequently adjusting your sails, you can arrive at your destination.”

A skeptic might argue that as with most numerological claims, the enigma can be viewed as an example of apophenia, selection bias, and confirmation bias. In interviews, Wilson acknowledged the self-fulfilling nature of the enigma, implying that the real value of the Laws of Fives and Twenty-threes lies in their demonstration of the mind's power to perceive "truth" in nearly anything.

In our final analysis, the appearance of the 23/17 enigma in the media surrounding “fast & furious” acted as a cosmic trigger pointing to just how strange US politics has become. Partisanship is rampant. There are Republican representatives who claim that fast & furious was no botched operation but a deliberate effort by the Obama administration “set up as an assault on the Second Amendment.” Likewise, there are Democratic representatives claiming that the attack on Attorney General Eric Holder was payback for his opposition to the growing GOP-led attempts to disenfranchise voters as evidenced by Florida’s recently changed voter fraud/purge laws.

In reality, neither party’s elected officials give a rat’s ass about the citizenry they were elected to serve… especially the disenfranchised and politically weak segments of our society. Republicans oppose Obama’s health care reform bill simply and only because they want to defeat Obama in 2012, at all costs. Apparently, the 32 (sync) million Americans who currently are not insured, who would be covered under the health care bill are part of that cost. Democrats are equally culpable.

Even the Supreme Court, who should be the non-partisan branch of our government, routinely hand down decisions that are split 5 to 4… along party lines.

As our politics get stranger and stranger… the rabbit-hole goes deeper and deeper. Newtonian physics gives way to quantum relativity. As we move into an era of high weirdness… the façade of political normalcy and stability fades, while the true chaotic nature of reality shines through. Our politicians cling to the old reality. As our near future unfolds in a fractal pattern of synchronicity, the 23/17 enigma becomes a mile-post… an indicator of things to come. We truly are moving into “strange days” as prophesized by Jim Morrison. So in these strange times…

"When the going gets strange, the strange turn pro"…


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Yankee and Cowboy Psychedelic War, pt 2 “Origins”

Catching the Wave of Psychedelia, circa 1967

Even as America basked in the sunshine of a new-found prosperity in the years following World War II, all was not well in the nation considered to be the “leader of the free world.” A profound expansion of higher education, driven by the GI Bill… fueled by an unbridled optimism in the decades following the end of the War was, in retrospect, the calm before the storm. There was a growing concern in the mind of then President Dwight D Eisenhower… a nagging suspicion was creeping into his consciousness. A suspicion that, given the outcome of WWII, given the growing concern over the USSR and China… the “powers that be” in Washington DC were mutating into something beyond the control of traditional political checks and balances.

As the supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe during the war, Eisenhower knew better than (almost) anyone, the ramifications of a changing world. The nation Dwight loved had risen to the challenges of Nazism & Fascism during WWII… had “pulled together” …militarily in Europe, the South Pacific and on the home front, to defeat the Axis powers. Even as the Allied forces accepted the surrender of their adversaries, the insidious seed of Nazism & Fascism persisted… defeated… dormant… but very much alive. It was as if the fascist seed, trampled under foot by allied forces, clung to the tread of their military boots marching home… carrying an unexpected contaminant to American soil.

Contamination took the form of “Operation Paperclip” which was enacted by previous president Harry Truman in August of 1945. The Office of Strategic Services (OSS), which later became the CIA, launched operation paperclip to recruit Nazi scientists for employment by the United States, thereby denying Nazi technological expertise to the Soviets. Specifically, the OSS was desperate to acquire Nazi rocket scientists and aerospace engineers to monopolize intercontinental weapons delivery and the militarization of space. This was the genesis of the “Cold War” …a protracted covert campaign of espionage, statesmanship and military brinksmanship, waged between the US and the USSR.

With the Cold War (which lasted overtly until 1991) as a backdrop, the two “superpowers” as they became known, entered into what amounted to a technology war… a race to achieve technological superiority. In retrospect, the Berlin Airlift, the Korean War, the Cuban missile crisis, mutually assured destruction (MAD), the space race, détente… finally the demolition of the Berlin Wall (“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall”  – Ronald Reagan, circa 1987) …all fall into place as pieces to a global techno-industrial puzzle/plot. The symbolism of the Berlin Wall being the “alpha and omega” of the Cold War is intriguing, given that Germany, twice rising from the ashes of national defeat and devastation, is currently the dominant power of the European Union.

Meanwhile, back on January 17, 1961… a worried President Eisenhower is preparing to leave office by delivering his now famous “Military-Industrial Complex” speech. In this farewell address, Eisenhower predicted and succinctly defined humanity’s current socio-political dilemma. Prior to the invention and first use of the “Atomic Bomb” in WWII, industries making swords in times of war could make plowshares in times of peace. After WWII, military weaponry became so sophisticated as to require a large complex of industries dedicated solely to its development. Military technologies such as intercontinental missile capability and nuclear weapons gave rise to the modern corporate-controlled State.

The “defense industry,” in tandem with an escalating legislative bureaucracy, fed by outrageous sums of money and influence wielded by the lobbying industry, was the cancerous mutation in American politics that Ike feared. If left unchecked, Ike implied, the military-industrial complex would become the tyrannical masters of a new world order. But it was not enough to control governments and economies… these tyrants, via their newly created lackey spook show, the CIA… wanted to control the very minds of the citizenry they were supposed to protect. They not only sought to control outer space, (a nudge from Sputnik 1 in 1957 launched both the space race and the aerospace industry) they planned to control “inner space” as well.

Several secret U.S. government projects grew out of Operation Paperclip. Their purpose was to study mind control, interrogation, behavior modification and related topics. These projects included Project Chatter and Project Bluebird, which was renamed Project Artichoke in 1951. A memorandum from OSS veteran, Richard Helms to CIA director Allen Welsh Dulles indicated Artichoke became Project MK-ULTRA on April 13, 1953.

Project MK-ULTRA was the code name for a covert, illegal CIA human experimentation program, run by the CIA's Office of Scientific Intelligence. MK-ULTRA began in 1953 and continued at least through the late 1960s, and used ordinary citizens, including university students, as its test subjects. Over thirty universities and institutions were involved in this extensive testing and experimentation program, which included covert drug tests on unwitting citizens, Native Americans and foreign nationals. Several of these tests involved the administration of LSD-25 to test subjects in a variety of social situations.

In one such experiment, subjects were given LSD-25 without their knowledge. They were subsequently interrogated under bright lights with doctors in the background taking notes. The subjects were told that their "trips" would be extended indefinitely if they refused to reveal their secrets. People being interrogated in this manner included CIA employees, US military personnel and “agents” suspected of working for the “other side” during the Cold War.

Evidence suggests that a CIA-sponsored MK-ULTRA experiment was conducted at Harvard University from the fall of 1959 through the spring of 1962. Dr Henry Murray, the lead researcher in the Harvard experiment, secured a grant funded by the United States Navy. Murray’s Harvard “stress” experiments strongly resembled those run by the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), where Murray served during World War II. Twenty two undergraduate students, including Theodore “Unabomber” Kaczynski participated in the Harvard experiments, which were described by some as "disturbing" and "ethically indefensible."

On the West Coast, Oregon author Ken Kesey and singer-songwriter Robert Hunter both volunteered for MK-ULTRA experiments involving LSD-25 and other psychedelic drugs, being carried out through and in association with Stanford University. Kesey's experiences while under the influence of LSD-25 inspired him to champion the drug outside the confines of the MK-ULTRA experiments, which influenced the early development of the psychedelic counter-culture that was blossoming in San Francisco. Similarly, these experiences were creatively transformative for Hunter:

“Sit back picture yourself swooping up a shell of purple with foam crests of crystal drops soft nigh they fall unto the sea of morning creep-very-softly mist...and then sort of cascade tinkley-bell like (must I take you by the hand, every so slowly type) and then conglomerate suddenly into a peal of silver vibrant uncomprehendingly, blood singingly, joyously resounding bells....By my faith if this be insanity, then for the love of God permit me to remain insane.”

Although Dr Albert Hoffman’s “problem child” LSD-25 was clearly the most infamous of substances used by MK-ULTRA, other amazing psychedelics came from odd corners of the natural world.

Hofmann created LSD-25 largely out of ergot, a fungus that grows on rye. Mescaline is nothing more than the synthetic essence of peyote cactus. Psilocybin, the drug that Timothy Leary preferred to LSD-25 for his Harvard experiments, was synthesized from exotic Mexican mushrooms that occupy a special place in CIA history…

When the MK-ULTRA team first embarked on its mind-control explorations, the "magic mushroom" was only a rumor or fable to the Western world. On nothing more than the possibility that the legend was based on fact, CIA scientists tracked the mushroom to the most remote parts of Mexico to identify, test and develop its mind-altering properties. The results, like the LSD legacy, were as startling as they were unintended.”

The CIA scientist sent to Mexico in 1953 to investigate such rumors…

heard amazing tales about special mushrooms that grew only in the hot and rainy summer months. Such stories had circulated among Europeans in Mexico since Cortez had conquered the country early in the sixteenth century. Spanish friars had reported that the Aztecs used strange mushrooms in their religious ceremonies, which these converters of the heathens described as "demonic holy communions." Aztec priests called the special mushrooms teonanactl, "God's flesh." But Cortez's plunderers soon lost track of the rite, as did the traders and anthropologists who followed in their wake. Only the legend survived.”

- from the Search for the Manchurian Candidate by John Marks

In 1973 CIA Director Richard Helms ordered all MK-ULTRA files destroyed. Pursuant to this order, most CIA documents regarding the project were destroyed, making a full investigation of MK-ULTRA impossible. Fortunately, a cache of some 20,000 documents survived Helms' purge, as they had been incorrectly stored in a financial record building and were discovered following a “freedom of information act” request in 1977. These documents were fully investigated during Senate Hearings of 1977.

~  ~  ~

The great irony is that MK-ULTRA and the CIA, in their sinister quest to develop and exploit the ultimate truth serum, (for use against foreign agents, both real and imaginary, as well as paranoia induced domestic threats) were instrumental in “unleashing” these profound substances upon the American public. For these incredibly powerful psychedelics, both synthesized and naturally occurring, to be suddenly made available to the masses, at such a crucial time in American history, seems more than a coincidence. In fact, these psychedelic substances seemed to have found their way, as if “of their own accord,” …to the very people who were ready to receive them. Magic Mushrooms, Peyote and LSD-25, for better or worse, became the Eucharist of the counter-culture that caught fire simultaneously on both the East and West coasts, in the late 1960s.

By their own hands, the tyrants of the military-industrial complex unintentionally ignited a firestorm of resistance to their manipulations and control. Blinded by fear, believing their own propaganda, they inadvertently shed light upon their own nefarious activities. The counter-culture of the 1960s, “turned on” by psychedelics, launched the first counterstrike against the Evil Empire. The “Heads” of the counter-culture found strong allies in the civil rights movement and to a great extent spawned the environmental movement.

Ken & Timothy, circa 1996
More significantly, the development of psychedelic culture… unique to each coast… laid the foundation for the Yankee and Cowboy Psychedelic War that was to be defined by the inner explorations of Leary and company on the East Coast and the antics of Kesey and the Merry Pranksters in the West. Each coast found their unique way in these turbulent times to develop distinct sub-cultures fitting to each coast’s character. The Psychedelic counter-culture blossomed, morphed, went underground… but is still with us today. It irreversibly altered our planetary consciousness and started us down the “western road” to enlightenment… in the words of Kesey’s house band:  “What a long, strange trip it’s been.