Monthly Archives: September 2010

Arthur, Marilyn and Me

I’ve always fancied Arthur Miller.  I was an impressionable teenager when he waltzed into London with Marilyn on his arm. He seemed to my eyes so perfectly male and she so perfectly female. I guess the relationship struck a deep cord at a time when I was sorting out the male from the female in my own psyche. The male part of me loved his plays, the fact that he was so tall and handsome, his reputation for building his own furniture and the fact that he painted his own barn. Also he was left- wing, angst ridden and intense. The female part of me identified with Marilyn’s desire to be taken seriously, her vulnerability and her sweetness. The pair of them fed my dreams.

I’ve just finished reading  Arthur Miller: A Life by Martin Gottfried. I always have a biography by my bed to lull me to sleep. I’m ashamed to admit that I skimmed the lit.crit. in this one to glean the nuggets of gossip, about Marilyn particularly. I like digging, delving and burrowing for connective tissue in the lives of others. I guess it is something to do with my age and the fact that I was born into world where the excitement of Hollywood lit up a truly drab post war landscape.

Forget the fact that the marriage between Marilyn and Arthur didn’t stand a chance and didn’t last five minutes. Glamour can’t feed a relationship because it is empty and illusory. It brought together two people who each wanted nurturing. She called him Papa, which was an unpromising start and was astonished that he couldn’t provide her with the emotional succour that she craved. There is a moving interview with an older Miller, in which he tries to the best of his ability to say how difficult it is to meet the needs of an abused child.

Marilyn in spite of her damaged child was nobody’s fool. In Dame Edith Sitwell’s autobiography Taken Care Of,  she tells of her meeting with ‘Miss Marilyn Monroe’, who she describes as quiet, with great natural dignity and extremely intelligent. She was also,she said, extremely sensitive. Dame Edith tells of a magazine article that she was commissioned to write about her visit to Hollywood and this included a face to face encounter with Miss Monroe, who she suspected the magazine moguls thought would hate one another on sight.

They were mistaken.  ‘On the occasion of our meeting she wore a green dress and, with her yellow hair, looked like a daffodil. We talked mainly, as far as I remember, about Rudolf Steiner, whose works she had just been reading’.  Who would have thought it? There is even a photograph of this momentous event in existence , though sadly in black and white. 

Because a man is brilliant and tall and good looking, it doesn’t mean he  has good judgement and by the end of their honeymoon, Marilyn was beginning to doubt Arthur’s . His doting wife, Mary, had cultivated his innate talent and taken care of his creative interests. When Arthur married Marilyn, they both lost their stabilising half.  He just did not have the wherewithal to provide her with the care and comfort she needed from her man. So started her catastrophic dependence on pills. A couple of miscarriages and The Misfits all but did for what had been a shaky marriage from the start. Seven years after their divorce she was dead. Miller lived until he was nearly 90, dying in his beloved Connecticut farmouse, with his 34 year old girl friend at his side. In the meantime he had been married for 40 years to Inge Morath, a sophisticated, serious-minded European, who was a natural homemaker and who lived happily with Arthur in the Roxbury home that had become his through the generosity of Marilyn Monroe. When Inge died in her seventies, it left Arthur alone for the first time in his life. But not for long…

The puzzle to me here, is why I should identify so powerfully with this couple and why that identification should be so common. Can it be that we see in the lives of others a simplicity of form that makes the complex lines in our own lives more understandable? We see as though through a window that filters the emotions , and therefore what we see somehow helps to settle our souls a little. It’s no different from watching a play by a master playwright. Death of a Salesman for example, a play with the capacity to move us to the depth of sadness, because it shows us clearly that below the skin, we are one, and doomed to suffering.


Pioneer of the Borderlands

Yesterday I woke up as usual at 7.30, made a cup of tea and, as it was Sunday some toast, then climbed back into bed with Tottie and Terence McKenna. I spent the next two hours in another dimension, without having  to risk my fragile web of psyche in the tunnels of actual psychedelic experience. The ideas emerging from McKenna’s world are exciting and mind-expanding and I am very grateful that there are people like him willing to take such risks,  in order to push the boundaries of consciousness and check out what the word ‘reality’ actually means. Later I googled him and found that he had died in 2000.

McKenna spent his short life pursuing the radical and illegal, in order to create a visionary  view of who we are and where we are going. He was a scholar and he writes like a poet. He was unorthodox, brave, original and pioneering. In short, my kind of man. One of his many accomplishments was the creation of a software program that maps the cycles of time according to elements of flux found in the I Ching. (A program that incidentally maps the end date of time as December 21 2012, even though he declares he didn’t at the time know this was the Mayan’s chosen end time.) He uses the term ‘novelty’ after A.N. Whitehead’s idea that this is where interconnectedness reaches a concrescence, leading to a transformation in the ontological nature of time. He says that in this moment, that which has been drawing being through the whole of history, will finally be one with the 3 dimensional world and ‘the image of time will have discovered itself to be Eternity.’ Sounds rather like Gebser to me.

 I like McKenna’s idea that space is filled with a vast mycelium network of hyperlight communication across time and space. Fragile as a spider’s web, this connects all and everything , in a collective hypermind and memory of all worlds. It unfolds through deeply held laws of symbiosis, creating a molecular song via patterns of energy and intent. It is the song that DNA sings; the transmission of a natural language that is locked deep in the mystery of being.

Although everything is at this moment being pulled towards the nexus of transformation, the future is not yet absolutely determined. That isn’t how the universe is put together, so one can assume that fortune tellers are making it up. Actually what is happening is that mysteriously, out of  a set of all possible events, certain events are selected ‘to undergo the formality of actually occurring'(A.N.Whitehead again.) So things happen for a reason and the reason is not a causal one. Resonances, interference patterns and fractal regresses are how the universe is put together, forming patterns that coalesce into concrescences. The song of your life and all life is made of language and the linguistic structure of language that is carried in mind. Language takes us beyond the speakable, where it is possible to invoke the Other. Psilocybin mushrooms create a fast track entry into the worlds where we are heading anyway. With the support of the mushroom that speaks within, we can enter the mycelium network, thus creating a relationship with mutual genetic material that will carry us all into the galactic mainstream of higher civilisations.

And me? I’m on the slowtrack. I get there via trancework and drumming.The message I return with is always the same. We are in the process of turning ourselves inside out. The imagination is as ever the ground of being and the unconscious will not be kept waiting for ever. The body is to be internalised and the soul exteriorised as a living golden disc. 

Consume my heart away; sick with desire/And fastened to a dying animal/It knows not what it is; and gather me/Into the artifice of eternity.(Sailing to Byzantium)

Maybe this is what flying saucers are saying…

My Mothers Corset

One thing I know about time is that it is unlikely that I will come across my mother walking across the room dressed in her hideous corset. This is because my mother has been dead for nearly twenty years. It indicates that time is linear and what is past has gone. But Terence McKenna is stirring up some seeds of doubt. He talks about volatility being the feedback from some future event. When I think about this, it does my head in. I know how the past affects my present. I will not ,for example, EVER wear an undergarment like my mother’s. But I can still hear her voice saying, “You wait my girl, you’ll need one of these one day,” while patting her ample but caged belly. So how do I know that she is not somewhere ahead, around a bend in the road, waiting to wrestle me to the ground and force an apricot satin straightjacket onto my thrashing limbs? Death is non- negotiable I know. But what about time? Could it not play tricks and bring both the past and the future back within reach of the present? Could time be like an old-fashioned skein of toffee,  thrown and pulled by forces as yet invisible and unknown, so that parts come back and mingle and after being reordered are then thrown again? What if it’s all only a construct of consciousness, belonging in a world unaware of the Second Law of thermo-dynamics, which expressly forbids any repetition of a past state of the material world? What is time anyway? The definition I like is:- Time is what prevents a piece of music being one cacophonous crash. Or A.N. Whitehead’s,” the advance from disjunction to conjunction.” A flow that sounds rather like the Tao.

Certainly time isn’t just what the clock says. It has an ontological meaning as well and it is this latter aspect that is in the process of being transformed. Being is in the process of drawing into ever deeper reflection of itself.  Eventually consciousness will reach the point of being transparent and at that point we will see what is meant by the word eternity. Then Time and Eternity will be one.

But meanwhile we tackle the three dimensional difficulties of understanding the meaning of time. Why do the same ideas brew in minds at the same point in history? Darwinism could so easily have been Wallace-ism( but for the fact that it doesn’t quite roll off the tongue in the same way?) Was it a coincidence that aliens started to appear in the human psyche at the same time as the sub- atomic anarchy show hit the road?Even with complete information about a sub atomic particle, no one can predict what it will do next. Anything can happen. Our journey into the sub atomic world has enormous philosophical implications concerning consciousness and the role of the observer. The micro world is not a scaled down version of the macro, but rather a melee(sorry still havent learned how to type accents!) where the individual loses identity and timelessness rules. This is scary. Are we living through a split second of cosmic spacetime, with the borderlands growing ever thinner and more likely to leech past present and future into one another? It’s all very exciting as well as scary- just so long as I don’t get any corset flashbacks or flash forwards for that matter. But hey- here’s a thought to blow corsets out of the water. Whatever it all means, all I need to do is remember  that the collapse of the cosmic panorama from potential to actual is me (and you). If you can get your head around that, you are on the way to next dimension living. Bye bye three, welcome four. We now live in a world of fractal geometry, complex systems and feedback loops. The computer is increasingly opening up to us a universe that appears to be a limited 3 dimensional hyper surface of a 4 dimensional hyperspere floating in unlimited, infinite space. The plane of consciousness surfs this like a wave.  How on earth can we pin a concept like time to such complexity?

My mother had no worries on this score. She had time on her hands. Life depressed her. I was never going to be a woman like my mother. No high heels clopping down the garden path to hang out the washing on the line. The accoutrements of her womanliness became for me a closet of fetish. I had the stockings , the suspenders, the heels, to be brought out and played with on my terms. My mother drove my sexuality underground. In my family time tells two corset stories; one apricot silk and hideous, the other red satin and very, very expensive. I’ve promised myself the latter for my 70th birthday from “Tailors of world classbody shaping corsets.” Until then I’ll keep myself amused pondering time.

Modern Mystery Part 2

Earlier in the year I was sure that by my birthday in September, I would have some idea what is going on each summer in the fields of Wiltshire and beyond. But do you know what? I still have no idea.

It’s still a mystery and I’m rather glad of that. I love  my epiphenomenon (an accompanying phenomenon outside the chain of causation). The safe world of certainty holds no attractions for me, tinged as it is with the red glow of fundamentalism. I am heading towards the blue.

But I do have some views on what might be happening. These have a lot more to do with human consciousness than little grey men out there. The human psyche is deep uncharted water; anything might lurk there. Add to this the fact humans can produce staggering feats of magic by will and deft fingers and that humans are prepared to turn a blind eye to what they are told is not there and you have a canvas on which anything might appear.

One of the most extraordinary feats of crop art was the formation that appeared near the Chilbolton radio telescope in the summer of 2001. It seemed to be an answer to a transmission sent by Dr. Carl Sagan’s team at Cornell University. The following year a reply was received at Crabwood Farm nr Winchester. This was an alien face plus a circle that held a message in Asc11 binary code. Paul Vigay confirmed the translation before dying under mysterious circumstances. The translation is under the picture on the right. It doesn’t make a great deal of sense but maybe that’s the point.  Not all crop circle messages have been deciphered. One that is awaiting an interpretation is the 1000 foot long phase 3 or the Astrolobe tail which appeared in Alton Barnes in June 2009. There is no doubt that a symbiosis is created between the circles and the humans observing them. Human consciousness and the sounds that the human larynx makes are somehow part of an as yet hidden understanding of language. The state of mind involved in the creation of crop circles provokes a response that we, as yet, do not understand. It is something to do with belief perhaps. We create a reality according to our beliefs. If we all believed in good, evil would disappear off the face of the world, because it is a projection of our consciousness. By this token the world that we are believing into view must happen. Then joy will return with the realisation that we are one.

Terence McKenna believes that reality is a creature made of language and of linguistic structures that we carry unwittingly in our mind. It is this fourth dimensional language that creates reality and its nature is somehow embedded in the machinery of epistemic knowing itself. It lies within the organism. The organism is all of us and there is a common language within the system. If only we can decondition ourselves from our historically created cognitive system, we will be able to escape and create a better world. McKenna thinks the key lies in unlocking the imagination, the ground of all creativity, by psychedelic means. It reveals what he refers to as the Logos, which is the Word that in the beginning made the world. It creates a congruence between the outside and the inner worlds because the intermediate states between mind and matter share this language of information.   It fills the world as it is replicating itself in DNA. Thus language is living and has infested matter, replicating, defining and building itself within us. If you listen to my thoughts (or in this case read my words) meaning is transferred(hopefully) from me to you. Reality is a domain of codes, some accepted and some not yet accepted. The  hidden language that crop circles are opening up is part of this Word world. The meaning plays through our bodies, where the truth of the macrocosm is held. It refers to an awakening world.

In Russia, where science is more open- minded, scientists have identified the frequency of DNA and work on it via voice- modulated laser light. DNA is capable of responding to The Word, which is the language of the whole. Sound, light and visuals are interconnected by this because they are all part of the same system. When we fully understand the implications of this deep thought, we will we on our way to collective enlightenment.

So no, I don’t know in my head what the summer circles and all those that went before mean but my body sings with the possibilities. This I believe is the upgrading process necessary for me to exist at the higher frequency.

Water, Salt, Honey and…

Cider Vinegar! These are the items in Allie’s Materia Medica. Whenever I feel a chill coming on, I reach for the cider vinegar and mix it with hot water and a spoonful of honey. A couple of these and the symptoms vanish, the tickle departs and I am again filled up with the vital force.It’s magic  (or is it just chemistry and another example of the wonder of the molecular resonance, David?)

How does it work? Well this is my take on it, forgive me if it is not too scientific, but I take my references from the arcane and folk medicine. When the body Ph becomes alkaline, the bugs gather and start their attack on the system. They recognise a cosy niche when they see one and they are in there. So the answer is to zap the system with acid and send the buggers packing. This is where cider vinegar comes in. Not only does it adjust the system, it provides a delicious and refreshing drink. This together with plenty of filtered tap water and regular spoonfuls of local honey should set anyone up for vital living.

Or so I told Laverne, who is off to University this week. She came for lunch with her Grallie before leaving and I cooked a duck dinner. Unfortunately I tipped a pot of cooked peas into the bowels of my new oven, erasing in a moment the ‘new’. After lunch Laverne and I spent a merry hour on the floor of the kitchen, skewering peas out of the door hinges -not quite the way I wanted her to go off remembering me.

I gave her a bag of ‘goodies’ to take with her into her new life. Vitamins, Echinacea, Lavender oil, Nux Vomica, Arnica and a silver heart. What else does a girl need as she makes this rite of passage? It was more than a goodbye hug to each other at the door. No wonder there were tears. That lovely girl has been such a joy to me.

Now it’s time to let her go into a new life, which I know she will love. She has inherited my joy in living and my love of the written word. Over lunch we spoke about the I Ching and she asked if I would show her how to throw a hexagram. The first we drew didn’t ring true to either of us, and sure enough we had got two lines muddled. The next was much better. She drew  The Wanderer (the Seeker), with its suggestion of keeping inwardly steadfast yet yielding, reserved and yet light giving. It told her that it is a great thing to grasp the inner meaning of THE WANDERER. She’ll be a lifetime coming to her own conclusions.

Now I have another soul to bring on. This weekend I’m off with Archie who is now six months old and his parents, to the seaside for a few days of cuddles in the Autumn sun. Two years ago I thought my grandparenting was coming to an end. The conclusion I reached with his arrival is that all I know adds up to nought. I’ll spend the rest of my days reaching to grasp the inner meaning of that thought.

The Primary Drama

…is being alive, now, in this moment. Nothing beats the feeling of stopping, being quiet, just being. For in this moment one acts out the primary drama of time . Into that one moment of being are drawn the skeins of destiny, time, galactic evolution and soul. The richest experience of all time is the experience you are having at this very moment, for the cerebral cortex is the most complexly ordered material in the universe, created over aeons of time for a reason. This reason, in this time and place, is not yet apparent to  humans, through any of our restricted cultural means anyway. To see we have to wander beyond culture. Being is a good place to start.

What is most astonishing about our lives today is that this one simple fact is not yet fully accepted by our society; an enterprise that is starting to look decidedly fragile and uncertain. We human beings, because of the infinite capacity of the cerebral cortex, hold the potential to see the larger picture. The future belongs to the human mind, the engine room of which is the cerebral cortex.

To get glimpses of the bigger picture, I use any tool I can lay my hands on. Once upon a time this included Ayahuasca but the experience proved so damaging for two of my close friends back in the Amazon Basin in the 60’s, that I vowed I’d not go there again. Via mind altering drugs, I mean. I might well one day make a valedictory journey up the fabulous Amazon, before the insurance for such a jaunt becomes as crippling as my ageing limbs.

I trust that I am willing to go where I need to go. I trust that when the time is right I will be shown the way. On Saturday the path lit up in my local Heart Foundation Charity Bookshop. There sitting in pristine condition, wearing a label saying £2 was True Hallucinations and the Archaic Revival: Tales and Speculation about the Mysteries of the Psychedelic Experience. The book spoke to me, even before I opened it. It said ‘Every moment of your life brought you to me. Now sit and absorb what I have to tell you. It will show your mind the truth without any danger of getting lost.’

Mysteriously, out of the set of all possible events, one was chosen and my hand picked up the book and took it to the counter, where I handed over the £2 and left the shop. Something in my mind had guided me to that book at that moment. The time was right.

 What it was to show me over the next few hours was that time itself is closely linked to resonance, the ensuing process creating cycles and cycles within cycles. Nothing about time is the linear process that we perceive as reality. It could in fact be a wave and events take place as resonances linking moment to moment through a complex series of cycles that have nothing to do with randomness or causality. Things happen for a reason but that reason is not causal but resonant. Resonance is the mysterious phenomenon in which a vibrating string invokes a similar vibration in another, even though there is no physical connection.

The book by Terence McKenna gives radical and innovative insights into the complete pattern of an individual’s time wave.  The world that he leads me towards is one I am familiar with. Where the self is the Self and in the understanding of this, all division disappears, so that the dualism that our society dreams is just that. A dream. It is not the truth.

A synchronistic event occured on my way to the McKenna book. On the pavement outside the newsagents was a pile of Guardian supplements. I don’t tend to read newspapers for complicated reasons I wont go into here. But this one promised an encounter between David Attenborough and Richard Dawkins, my favourite and least favourite human beings (you work it out) so I had to buy it. Very in-ter-est-ing, as Richard Feynman would say. Clearly with little love lost, Attenborough took Dawkins to task for using the word ‘magic’ in the title of his new book, The Magic of Reality. ‘Things in nature are wonderful,’ he said firmly,’ but they are not magic.  Rabbits don’t really live in hats. It’s magic’.

We tend to refer to things that we do not yet understand as magic. We do not yet understand completely the depths with which we are at one with water and plants .  Although David Attenborough might not see it this way, magic lies in the spirit not in the matter, for it is at spirit level that we communicate. There is so much that we don’t understand about such a transaction. ‘We abandoned ancient wisdom in favour of scientific superstition’, Eliot Cowan tells us in Plant Spirit Medicine, a book which explains things that are beyond explanation about our relationship with the spirit of plants. The primary drama is here right before our eyes. In the moment we are one with all and communication between the parts is totally available. What we can learn this way is invaluable for our health. The imagination  after all, is the true ground of being.

The Grand Design

I’ve often thought that we are living at the crossroads. Now I see I am supported by none other than Stephen Hawking, who has just published The Grand Design with Leonard Mlodinow. It’s a short book, weighing in at under 198 pages, and begins with what some might read as a contentious comment- that ‘philosophy is dead’. But what can you do when it is soooo difficult to get anything published and there are soooo many willing to hang on every word uttered by someone with the reputation for mischief. The use of the word ‘design’ in the title might be seen as a subtle example of that very mischief.

The book is apparently full of semantic jousting, which is a pity as it’s a good idea for science to start addressing the ‘why’ questions, though perhaps a less provocative approach would have been more useful to the ongoing debate. I see it as another brick in the wall of scientism, to construct an intelligent debate on a foundation of contention. It’s a pity that a man of Hawking’s stature (yes I know, but I’m on a roll here) finds it necessary to throw his weight behind ‘model dependant realism’, a scientific idea that has all the depth of a celebrity soundbite.

But it’s good to see that the Anthropic Principle is back in favour and that the universe, though vast,  is finite, therefore providing the design with a boundary to work within, albeit too huge for our consciousness to hold in any meaningful way. I haven’t managed to get my mits on a copy of the book yet, so am writing this based on The Wall Street Journal review. But I didn’t notice much spacetime being given to the subject of consciousness in the analysis of quantum mechanics and general relativity coaxing the universe into complexity. Funny the way that consciousness is so often erased from the why questions. Not in the brief of physics perhaps?

The way Hawking and Mlodinow get round the something- from- nothing question is by cleverly supposing that one of the multiverse states is nothingness. The universe, like particles themselves, does not exist in a well- defined position but rather lives in a supposition of many possible positions. Got it?

So it’s back to living at the crossroads of time. It’s great that we can all take part in these ‘why’ questions. Curiosity is after all one of the things that makes us human. It’s also interesting to see science picking up the ‘now dead’ cloak of philosophy. I just wish I didn’t see so clearly the shadow of justification lying under the question, like bleeding pentimento. What’s wrong with a designer anyway, just as long as it isn’t tainted with dogma?