Thursday, July 29, 2010

MLA meeting the sixth

From the 22nd till the 25th of July 2010, 9 members of the Maybe Logic Academy met in Oxford.

Day one

I left Bruges at 5:58. After some waiting in Brussels, the Eurostar left packed with people (and gave me the impression these trains were build for pygmies or people without legs). Arrived in London St. Pancras at 9ish local time and walked further towards Holborn to meet up with Tons. From there we went to grab a bite near the British Museum, where Nonprophet joined us. The Atlantis bookshop was still closed, so NP took us to see the John Dee display in the British Museum. Apparently NP had a bit of an argument with mr. Dee in his previous incarnation as a professional deceiver. Counterfeiting letters, lawsuit and all that. No surprise then that mr. Dee tried to hide his treasures for us. To no avail: NP's detecting skills soon showed us one of the most ancient magickal artefacts: the mysterious obsidian scrying mirror used for divination by John Dee and his medium Edward Kelly. Actually obsidian looks a lot like bachelite. And that's what it was, an antecolumbian telephone with the Otherworld.


"John Dee’s mirror originated in Mexico and was brought to Europe between 1527 and 1530 during the time of the conquest of Mexico by Cortés. Mirrors of this type were used by Mexican priests for divination. Tezcatlipoca the Mexica god of rulers, warriors and sorcerers, was connected to this practice. The Aztec Tezcatlipoca figure can be found in former Mesoamerican cultures as divine beings worshipped by the Olmec and Maya. The name Tezcatlipoca translates to mean Smoking Mirror. Tezcatlipoca is depicted with a mirror either as his right foot or on his chest, the mirror is named Itlachiayauhque which translates as the place from which he watches."

From Scrying, catoptromancy & John Dee's mirror
As a sidenote, Edward Kelly was killed in 1595 while trying to escape from a prison in Prague. Which might be the place for the meeting next year…

After the museum we were warmly welcomed by Geraldine, the owner of the Atlantis bookshop, who had graced us with a memorable hermetic tour of London during the RAW Memeorial in 2007.


We left London and caught the Oxford coach at noon, and we arrived in Oxford High Street at about 1:45 PM, passing by Bogus, Chris, the Purple Gooroo and Fuzzbuddy on the sidewalk and just in time to catch the rain, probably a result of some dark ritual involving burning dolls by Chris.





We arrived at the hostel and were able to leave our bags and started to explore Oxford under the expert guidance of The Purple Gooroo. Who has been living in Oxford since six years.






Psychogeographical map of Oxford

View Oxford MLA meeting 2010 in a larger map


I started to grow a pinhead when we finally ended in the Turf tavern for a nice evening beer, a pub where we would end up daily sooner or later. And where we finally met up with Diclonius and Fly.



Together we went past Trinity College to visit the Pitt Rivers Museum, in front of which was a massive display of dead trees.



Inside the museum we were welcomed by some fabled creatures inside the Museum of National History.
From left to right: the bloodthirsty rabbit from the Aaaaaaargh cavern, the dodo which inspired Carrolls 'Through the looking glass' and one of our demonic ancestors, the Beelzebuth monkey.




One of my favourite displays in the Pitt concerned Netsuke, an ancient Japanese miniature artform. The result seemed often surreal, even of a Lovecraftian intensity.


After a walk through a scenery reminiscent of Venice, we ended up taking the secret passageway to the Turf Tavern. The talks went on and kept on in the hostel until one by one we finally got to sleep. To sleep, perchance to snore.

























Day Two

After being reminded by Chris that we'd never manage to take over the world, getting up at about Elevenish and after having lunch we went to visit the Bodleian library. Somehow in metaphysical limbo we seemed to have lost Nonprophet, while actually it was HP who had lost us, and had returned safely to the hostel.












And then they were eight. We had no idea the Agatha Christie reference would turn up to be predominant that day, and we decided to go punting at the Magdalen Bridge.
Two teams tried to move forward. I must admit my catastrophic punting got us left behind by Tons, Diclonius, Fly and The Purple Gooroo, so Chris had to save the day.
Turning a curb and seeing the others moving on, we were suddenly stopped by a guy with a microphone who claimed they were filming a German Miss Marple , and so we had to wait for about 5 minutes. 5 minutes later he repeated the same thing to boats that followed us, and so 5 minutes ended up becoming 30. He did change his story however, ending up telling the last of the row that a fruity person had jumped in the water. We never knew whether this last claim was true, but were able to get past the curb at last and returned to our starting point.
We might have known from our rather dodgy pedalo ride in Milton Keynes a few years ago and with the exception of Fly (whose algae regime helped develop gills) that we're not the floating kind.

After meeting up with Nonprophet we ended up in the Lebanese restaurant not far from the hostel.From left to right: Tons, Bogus, Fly, Nonprophet, Borsky, Fuzzbuddy, Diclonius, Chris Matthias and The Purple Gooroo.
That night and in order not to wake our sleeping friends, we hadn't turned on the light but used tea candles to be able to see what we were saying.
At about 2 in the morning the fire alarm went off, waking everybody. Of course we hid the evidence. But we weren't to blame: apparently some fruity person had hit the alarm just for fun.





Day Three
After a slow start (again) we visited the Ashmolean museum, bizarrely renamed 'Asmodeus' by Tons' dark side. Quite a big collection, so we skipped some floors. Below a laughing sarcofagus, some Horii with a hermetic gesture and a large statue of the ithyphallic god Min (whose wooden phallus fell off aeons ago).
















At 6:30 we went to the Oxford castle where for the Bill Spectre (whom we ended up renaming Phil Spectre and who according to Bogus looked like Kryten from Red Dwarf) ghost tour. Our host erroneously claimed a ciseled door inspired CS Lewis 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' while it actually is a gorgeous Green Man. En passant he did mention a 'Brazenose Hellfire Club' .












Below are my last pics of the trip (Fly made us realize a real ghost must be the life of the party at the Oxford church meetings). We gathered for the final online meetup that evening in the hostel.












NP had downloaded recording software beforehand so we could archive this meeting for the generations to come.
We managed to have first a video meeting with B.Kane, which was truly great. The reception at our end wasn't very good though, so I apologize for totally misunderstanding what Errol Flynn collectible it was he was so proud to show us. Result of long days in booze and smoke, and a twisted sense of humour. It felt rather surreal sitting there, while Chris and TPG were gone for a pizza, talking to B.Kane and expecting Chris to suddenly pop up behind him. Finally all 9 of us gathered in the microscopic room facing the webcam, B.Kane showing us some of the treasures from his library. After a while we had to put him on hold (sadly skype doesn't permit more than two video chats) when Bobby Campbell entered the virtual room. Strangely the image and audio were much better. Cool to meet for the first time, Bobby. We switched to audio so we could all chat together. Fuzz asked me whether the recorder was on, after which I switched it on… Then everybody started talking at the same time, all I recall is Diclonius' great idea to start a pope group on Facebook.
After the meeting Fly, Fuzz, Bogus and I went to the club for an absinthe (they should really tell the people behind the bar that they should add water!) and for a nightly walk in the park. Slowly turning into a zombie I tried to write down in the fading moonlight some of what then appeared like a bright discussion, but all I can read today looks like a lot of gibberish.
"Gilligan is Terry Gilliam" (Fly)
something about a gig with multiple stages and people wearing headphones (Fly)
"I heard one of your friend's connections cut the hair of Harry Potter" (Fuzz)
something about the movie 'Harvey' with James Steward (Bogus)
"Locker- BP" (Fly)
something about Lady gaga's cock (a running gag for the last couple of days)
and my favourite Fly quote:
"You might feel you're in the crowd, man, but really… you're it!"
Which imho resumes the way we felt during these three wonderful days, a crowd of very different people feeling united by Maybe Logic.


Day Four
All we did on Sunday were goodbyes. We were all fairly tired, I left Oxford with Tons and Nonprophet at noonish, and after a little visit to speaker's corner in London we begged each other farewell. Hopefully we'll find a way to organise video meetings every 23rd, until we meet again IRL maybe next year in Prague, or Stockholm, or Capitola…
Some of us have big projects going on. Tons, I hope somehow I'll be able to read your book once it's published (even if I have to learn German); Fuzz, Fly and Nonprophet, I won't divulge your respective projects but I hope we'll hear more of you soon!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Some Maybe Logic links



After 4 great days in Oxford last week for the sixth yearly MLA meeting here are some sites to delve deeper into this Maybe Logic thing.
First of all, the Maybe Logic movement started after the publication of the Maybe Logic DVD based on the life and works of Robert Anton Wilson.










A (free) forum was started about 7 years ago. It went through several versions, the current being the fifth (5 and a half actually). Regularly throughout the years online courses were organised, and so a small online community started to grow.
One main result of this community is the Only Maybe blog. In the past, an irregular ezine was published as well, the Maybe Quarterly - number fourteen, the last one being actually published as a hard copy. I've still got some exclusive and free copies left if anyone's interested.


The members of the MLA come from very different backgrounds and have very different interests; but they share a main passion for seeing the fnords and keeping at least one open reality tunnel. Bob Wilson's main catma remains "Think for yourself, schmuck!"
Here are some member's blogs:

And there's much, much, much more, like a collaborative Wiki on Bob Wilson's Illuminatus, a collaborative writing attempt , Rawilsonfans with a huge amount of resources concerning Bob Wilson, etc.

It seems lately more and more MLA members are somehow involved in writing projects. Some have published, others are in the process of being published. I feel extremely lucky to have met this ecclectic group of strange and shining personalities.

Online French books

Gallica, the site of the French national library offering a large amount of digitalized books, recently developped a widget to read their books on other sites.
An attempt:

Shemhamphorasch



I recently looked at Crowleys intro to his Book of Thoth (you can download it, as well as a large amount of excellent files on the DMT Nexus) and read about the Shemhamphorasch. The word in kaballah means the 'divided name' and stands as a shortcut for all 72 names of angels, and is derived from three verses from Exodus.


The word reminds of Shem and Shaun in FW, often compared to the Osiris and Seth bros in Egyptian lore.




Whose conception was made possible by Thoth, thanks to the 5 degree of difference between the lunar orbit around the earth and the earths orbit around the sun: as these cycles do not fit (although the Babylonians erroneously thought they had found a common ground in cycles of 19 years, which cycle has been basically adapted for the Jewish calendar), at the end of the year some 5 days were necessary to make it work (the discrepancies of which were too small to notice during one lifetime).


So Ra, the solar god, ordered their father Shu (god of the air) to come between them, separating the pair with a violent storm. Shu held Nut up away from the ground to create air space in which the sun could travel. Darkness came daily, whenever Shu let let her down, but every morning she was lifted off of Geb all over again. As the god of the earth, it is Geb who causes earthquakes whenever he laughs.



The legend went that Nut (the sky) and Geb (the earth), the first lovers (compare to HCE and ALP in FW), were forbidden to procreate by the sun god Ra who feared the offspring would take over his throne. So Ra decided Nut would be unable to give birth in any month of any year.
Thoth lured the moon into slowing down, so her cycle would would be off for 5 days as compared to the sun's cycle; these five days came at the end of the Egyptian year and weren't assigned to any month, which gave Nut the opportunity to procreate and give birth to Osiris, Isis, Seth and Nephthys.
Shem the penman might also be another name for Thoth, the god of words; just as Shemhamphorasch is the word of gods.

Sources:

  • Daniel Boorstin, "The Discoverers" pp. 4-8

  • Joseph Campbell, "the hero with 1000 faces" p. 283

Monday, July 19, 2010

Some recent patablogs

On Tarology blog there's an excellent article on "the ‘pataphysics of the marseilles tarot". The Tarot de Marseille is one of the earlier tarots , probably developped around 1500, based on the so-called Visconti-Sforza deck, featuring 22 large arcana and 56 small arcana (which is the basis of the regular card game). The original purpose was simply playing games, although the hidden meaning might have been a prototypal Operation Mindfuck, inducing an old and hidden knowledge in the minds of the unsuspecting players.
In this blog article, the author Enrique Enriquez mentions André Breton, who helped develp the Tarot surréaliste during WW2, and who had a particular appeal for the works of Jean-pierre Brisset, one of my favourite 'Fou littéraire' or kook. For Brisset language was the key to analyse the world. One could see how wordplay in its Jungian interpretation, similarly to the joycean interpretation of dreams, could play a part in the interpretation of the Tarot, where visual homophonies play their part as well. The author also examines the 'pataphysical value of arbitrary choices. Excellent article IMHO, and the blog in general seems very valuable with its 'sideshow' studies (like 'How to turn a deck of cards into a thermometer') and poetry.


An article about visual artist Charles Avery who gives a solo exhibition in Paris called "Onomatopoeia" on the blog 'What to see in Paris'. The artist shows the history of the utopian island Onomatopea, "a revision of the real world, an alternative to our existence that develops a playful reflection of the everyday world". And it is said his world is more 'pataphysical than surrealist, full of imaginary solutions.

The Guardian describes him "There are few artists brave enough to play God, but Charles Avery has no problems on that score. Over the last 10 years he has been building an island and painstakingly documenting its inhabitants, landscape and cosmology in text, paint and sculpture".


Pataphors are studied by John Finlay on his Wingwams blog. I'm reading Edward de Bono's 'Lateral Thinking' right now, and I'm convinced he might indulge the use of pataphors to solve complex problems. Even if the solution is highly and utterly imaginary!
The author mentions string theory as an example of pataphor and develops his thoughts on psychosis and Rube Goldberg contraptions. Excellent.



Finally, on Twittering Machine there is an article about Charles Vernon Boys and his bizarrely titled book "Soap Bubbles and the Forces Which Mould Them " published in 1896 which was an inspiration for Alfred Jarry's "The Exploits and Opinions of Dr. Faustroll, pataphysician". A nice little overview of Jarry as well.
More of the same on the excellent Arthur Cravan blog. "This year Charles Vernon Boys was to be the lecturer. There were rumors that he had some magical tricks he would show...Promptly at three, the lecturer, Charles Vernon Boys, stepped through the opening in the rear curtain and came forward onto the stage. In his damp hands he had a soap bubble nearly a foot in size; he tossed it from one hand to the other as he walked. " This blog is definitely worth more than one visit!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Entheomemes

Nothing published yet in 2010. It has been a hectic year. The few free time has been put to the good use of enjoying life. The rest was spend on work.
I miss the writing off course. I miss the insights, the sparkles through feedback with my fellow MLA critters. Whom I'll meet again one week from now, as the 6th MLA meeting shall take place on the 22nd till the 25th of July in the eerie city of Oxford. I expect many happy returns, the joy of catching a ghost, beautiful stories of medieval torture and decay, lots of Guinness and other clarifying materials, and words, words, words, words… But especially the divine company of shiny diamonds. I feel lucky to have joined the Maybe Logic Academy in 2004. Back then my only goal was to follow courses with Robert Anton Wilson. Which we all did, until he emmanentized the eschaton in 2006. The bright companionship of the people kept the relationships alive. The people became my goal. We started to meet, every year around the 23rd of July, a day chosen by RAW.
The forum almost sank into void for about a year; it was replaced by an underground eristic version. Today the MLA is slowly getting into its old normal speed, which is a few posts every day.
Today is the first day of my yearly vacation. I intend to make more time (from work, not from enjoying life) for online stuff, through this and my other blogs, and especially through the MLA.

I'd like to thank all MLA members which won't be there physically - Bobby, Psmith, Bhavani, Minnar, Propanon, Zenpunkist, B. Kane, Ragu, Phodecidus, Kebap, quackenbush, Hbillings, el8ed1, … and all the others.
You can bring a visit to some of the people who will be there (there's much more where it comes from):
Tsogblogsphere
Right… Well…
Me dea
justthoughtyoumightbeinterested

Thanks a lot Bogus, Fuzzbuddy, Fly, Nonprophet, Diclonius, Chris, Tons, The Purple Gooroo. Each time the MLAmeeting is my yearly intake of entheomemes.
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