a diamond necklace played the pawn
hand in hand some drummed along, oh
to a handsome man and baton
a blind class aristocracy
back through the opera glass you see
the pit and the pendulum drawn...
beach boys ~ brian wilson ~ surf's up
you haven't got long before you are all
going to kill yourselves
because you are all crazy.
charles manson ~ court statement
nice day for a
So I just found out Charlie Manson and I were born on the same day. What to make of coincidence? One like that I can write off. Though of course I'm going like hmmm... high Scorpio, hmmm...
Others aren't so easy. Especially when they start to pile up. I call it Synchronicity City, for the (intensely personal) sense of which I am indebted neither to Carl Jung nor Wolfgang Pauli. It's just my own shorthand for something which otherwise would remain too obscure to even hint at. It is, in fact, itself the hint. Without the Jung/Pauli irony, however, my shorthand would definitely lose something.
Give you an example. I lately stumbled onto this wonderful book called Children of the Sun. I alluded to it recently in my little pictorial slide show, Body, Mind and Spirit II: Empire of Ecstasy (recognize the cover?). It figures again, and in more depth, below.
The reason I think the book is "wonderful" lies not its penetrating analysis, but rather in what it so deftly manages not to say. Like that so many of the people it glowingly eulogizes were in fact far-right racist scum. One man's opinion. However, it doesn't shy from underscoring connections I'd like to doubly emphasize myself, the first being the enlightening subtitle: "A Pictorial Anthology from Germany to California: 1883-1949." And in the same vein, as it were, a couple more:
In the brief bibliography, Kennedy lists The Mountain of Truth: The Counterculture Begins. Ascona, 1900-1920, and I can't wait to get my hands on it.
However, Ascona hardly "died out after 1920." In fact, it underwent a major revival in 1933 with the launch of the hugely influential Jung-inspired Eranos conferences. As I previously observed that Harry Oldmeadow once observed
...George Steiner has observed, the "alpine priesthood" of Eranos was susceptible to a kind of conservative-romantic mysticism which was at least tinged with "Führer-politics."
Here's a fun quote from The Mysteries: Papers from the Eranos Yearbooks, edited by good old boy Joe Campbell. The following is from the first paper, "The Indian Theories of Redemption in the Frame of the Religions of Salvation" (p. 3)...
Outside the Eranos circle, the nature of the underlying concept which gives these meetings their meaning is perhaps not fully realized. The wish to understand the Orient and an interest in psychology are uniquely combined in the personality and the work of Professor Jung. Each one of us, however, must seek to clarify what analytical psychology and the age-old experience of the Orient have in common.
Meanwhile, I was stoked (surf's up!) to discover that much of the text of Children of the Sun is online (though you should buy it anyway, for the nakey Fidus "art" if nothing else; see Beethoven and Friend, right), at a page titled Hippie Roots & The Perennial Subculture -- self-described as "a book about the origins of the Hippie Movement in Germany and the ideas they introduced to the US in the early 1900s." And: "It clearly describes the important links between the German health and nature pioneers, and their latter day California counterparts." [emphasis: take a wild guess]
In addition to mentions of Esalen, Kennedy also writes about
...long-haired bearded individuals during this same era who wore sandals or bare feet and usually tended to favor mild subtropical places like southern California and Florida where they could forage their meals from the fruit trees that were so plentiful then.
"Bill Pester at this palm log cabin in Palm
Canyon, California, 1917. With his "lebensreform"
philosophy, nudism and raw foods diet, he was one
of the many German immigrants, who 'invented' the
hippie lifestyle more than half a century before
the 1960s. He left Germany to avoid military
service in 1906 at age 19, for a new life in
America. (Photo Courtesy of Collection Palm
Springs Desert Museum, Palm Springs, California)"
[caption verbatim (emphasis mine) from
And Kennedy asks -- though with markedly different intent -- essentially the same questions I've been asking here on Mystic Bourgeoisie...
So why Germany? What was happening there in the 19th century that caused a phenomenon like this to erupt so big?In partial answer to that one, he writes:
Perhaps the most central Neo-Pagan element in the German folk movements was sun-worship, believed to be the ancient Teutonic religion. From at least the Romantic era, sun-worship was offered by prominent Germans as the most rational alternative to Christianity. The solar images were at the center of a desire to return to natural Paganism and a natural lifestyle in harmony with the earth.
Prominent Germans... Religious, not political... I like that. You like that?
But wait... I seem to have gotten totally off-track here with all this stuff about Jung und der organischer Volksstaat and so forth. What I was really thinking about at the start of all this was the cult movie, Surf Nazis Must Die! (1987)
Tagline: The Beaches Have Become Battlefields... The Waves Are A War Zone!And that got me thinking about The Beach Boys and how one of them at least (Dennis) did a fair amount of hanging out with Charlie Manson. How weird is that? So I looked up all kindsa stuff, like Stoked! A History of Surf Culture by Drew Kampion (which sounds pretty good), and The Family, in which former-Fug (if you have to ask, it's too late) Ed Sanders writes (p. 112)...
Helter Skelter was a dream project for ambulatory schizophrenics. There was something in it for everybody. Those who had had creepy childhoods looked upon Helter Skelter as a means of "saving the children." Others had a more racist point of view in that Charlie put up a picture of a white elite ultimately ruling over a black population.
And here's Manson in His Own Words, of course denying all of it...
They say I became convinced the Beatles' White Album with its songs of "Piggies," "Revolution #9," and "Helter Skelter" held special messages for me and my circle, that I interpreted them as signals to create an uprising between the races, and began programming everyone to prepare themselves for the shit that was going to come down.And that's when I found out Charlie and I share a birthday. But that's not the real Synchronicity City part. The real Synchronicity City part was where, right after learning that, I went into my bathroom -- for the usual reason one goes into any bathroom -- and got wondering whether any of the books I keep stashed in there (they're everywhere so I'll never be alone with my thoughts) had anything to offer on any of the above. Right?
So on a random hunch I pick up Dreamer of the Day, a really terrific book about arch-fascist extraordinaire Francis Parker Yokey, which of course I haven't (yet) read (much of). And I flip open to a chapter titled...
wait for it...
Children of the Sun
Which I still haven't read, but this has to end somewhere (for now anyway), and it must be soon. So I'll leave you with what I wrote at the beginning but now comes at the end. You just never know about these things...
side note: There's a technical explanation for this sort of thing. And it's a pretty profound one, about which I could write a book -- I've thought about it. The technical term is collaborative filtering, and the biggest user of the technology is Amazon.com, the site on which I -- not so coincidentally -- spend most of my time. (Note I did not qualify this by saying "most of my online time." No, most of my time. Period.) I have another shorthand term for what collaborative filtering enables: Wide-Area Knowledge Acquisition. WAKA is the short form. It helps to know that "knowledge acquisition" was a term of art in artificial intelligence, a field in association with which I squandered ten years of my life. It also helps to know that "knowledge acquisition" was the impossible dream that crashed AI.So, non-sequiturially perhaps, let's hear it one more time for Fidus and solar völkisch pederasty...
Oh, and just two more little clips, indulge me...
From Health, Race and German Politics between National Unification and Nazism, 1870-1945 (Cambridge Studies in the History of Medicine) by Paul Weindling (page 79):
The European communes sprouting up from the 1880s were based on ideas of positive health. Notable examples were the vegetarian colonies Heimgarten, founded in 1892, and Eden, in 1893, which survived by producing health foods and drinks. 'Eden Reform-Butter' was a prototype of margarine. The physician, Raphael Friedeberg, underwent a metamorphosis from adviser to sickness insurance funds and SPD member in the 1890s to anarchism and Lebensreform in the 1900s. He replaced materialism by a creed of 'psychism,' and conventional medical therapy by nature therapy. His settlement at Monte Verita near Ascona pioneered the first 'air huts' or Lufthütten for fresh air and nature therapy. The colony's vegetarianism and anarchism attracted such visitors as Bakunin, Kropotkin, Lenin, and Trotsky.
OBITUARY: Heiner Hesse; Son and promoter of Hermann Hesse, The Independent (London, England), 16 April 2003:
Hermann Hesse's novels became enormously popular in the youthful countercultures of the 1960s and 1970s. The royalties from their huge sales - some 100 million copies - allowed Heiner Hesse to devote his time to promoting his father's artistic legacy, and he remained active in doing so until the last year of his long life....November 12, 1947. Triple Scorpio rising.