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Blind Boy Apollo
and the All-White Astronauts

New Age "Asiatic" thought ... is establishing itself as the
hegemonic ideology of global capitalism. (Zizek)

Saturday, October 29

the infinite shelf-life of self-esteem

To love is to value. Only a rationally selfish man, a
man of self-esteem, is capable of love -- because
he is the only man capable of holding firm, consistent,
uncompromising, unbetrayed values. The man who
does not value himself, cannot value anything or anyone.

ayn rand - the virtue of shellfish

Don't ask what I was doing on the Quent Cordair um "Fine Art" site. I am, after all -- am I not? -- a culture critic. Suffice it to say that when I ran across the page for one Nick Gaetano, I immediately recognized the style as that of the cover art for the many popular (why?) books by Ayn Rand. I was right and wrong. It's not just in the style of. The paintings are, in fact, the original art for the covers of those books. Here's my favorite. Speaking of unbetrayed values, this one can be yours for $595. In addition to being art deco, I believe this work falls into the category of cultural artifacts that might be roughly categorized as triumphalist.

Friday, October 28

american sampler

if you can do it with music, why not with book covers? these (mostly) link to their actual sources, (all of) which are "studies" of the paranormal. but i think they'd be better as books about global politics.

don't you?

Thursday, October 27

i am having a near-death experience

Oh no. I just got my Namaste newsletter from Tupak Okra and... oh god this is terrible... he's moving in! Just down the road from where I live. Less than ten miles from here. Even worse, he thinks we are one. I know that he's one, but he should speak for himself.

Here, from the "press kit," is the lovely Ananda complex. That's the Westin hotel on the right. I've gone here with my daughter, Selene, dangled my feet in the water, fed the ducks. Now it's going to be crawling with the absolute dregs of the Mystic Bourgeoisie. It's like what? Boulder wasn't bad enough? Now I know that, if there's a God, It hates me.

The following are clips from the "press kit," along with a few interpolated remarks. I think you'll be able to tell which parts are mine and which parts are from the Ananda condo-bondage folks.

Namaste. Welcome to Ananda, Colorado’s premier wellness destination, a true home for relaxation, recreation and inspiration.
There goes the neighborhood.

Translated from ancient Sanskrit, Ananda means joyful bliss. Anyone breathing the crisp Rocky Mountain air, meditating in the abundant Colorado sunshine or enjoying Westminster’s open spaces knows how fortunate he or she is to own a part of it.

Translated from ancient Sanskrit, Westminster means strip mall with a 24-screen multiplex -- a great place to boot up a little crank on a Saturday night at Ricky's All Day Grill, discover the open space between your ears. Cop a blissful part of that scene, motherfucker!

Inspired by the colors and textures of Colorado’s high plains, Ananda is a collection of luxury residences, Colorado’s only Chopra Center & Spa, and retail space over-looking a calming lake and connected by tree lined pedestrian paths to the Westin Hotel and the Westminster Promenade.

Ranging from the mid $200’s to over one million dollars, Ananda’s executive studios and dramatic one, two, and three bedroom floor plans capture the spirit of the Rocky Mountains with soulful spaces, appealing atmospheres and inspired lifestyles balanced with services, amenities and recreation.

Yeah, the place'll make you feel like a million bucks -- lighter. But hey, what's money when your spiritual well being is at stake? What are you, some sort of crass materialist? Just look at this pure whiteblond Aryan Brahman caste woman communing with Nature. She's getting her needs met simply by premeditating her next move in the Now. In an inner, holistic kind of way, she is watching the detectives. She's filing her nails as they're dragging the lake... And you? All you can think about is money. Or how much you'd like to light up her chakras with your serpent power. You should be ashamed of yourself.

The Rocky Mountain Chopra Center and Spa is designed to heal, renew and invigorate your mind, body and soul by infusing a soothing environment with a highly trained staff of therapists and trainers.

Good. I'm going to need a highly trained staff of therapists once these bastards move in.

The blending of medicine, psychology, and philosophy, the centuries-old Ayurvedic techniques used at the Rocky Mountain Chopra Center and Spa help you identify your optimal mind and body balance.

Smoke lots of cigarettes and eat as many cheeseburgers as possible. Am I getting warmer? Anyway, it goes on... So I'll just leave you with this suitable for framing portrait of Mr. Wonderful himself...

every aspect of the design of the rocky mountain chopra center and spa will encourage you to explore your true nature, which is infinite, miraculous, and whole. i invite you to join us at the center and experience the ocean of peace, harmony, and love that lies deep within your being.

~ Deepak Chopra

ayn randroids and the pagan pecking order

A savvy reader alerted me to this fabulous (in more ways than one) chart of "who looks down on whom" in the postmodern pagan hierarchy. My favorite entry by far is the Ayn Randroids, as pictured here.

In FAQ-style, the author writes:

4. How come I'm down at the bottom of the hierarchy?
It might be because society despises you which fact I am merely observing (e.g., Otherkin), or it may be because I, personally, despise you (e.g. white people who claim to be reincarnated American Indian priestesses) and society ought to despise you.
The graphic is large and requires panning around the screen unless you have a very large display, but it's worth the effort. Highly recommended. (btw, Otherkin was a new one on me.)

In keeping with both the foregoing and the season, the graphic in the right column links to Death Makes a Holiday: A Cultural History of Halloween.

The incident at Salem began in the winter of 1691, when a niece and daughter of the Salem pastor Samuel Parris began to exhibit bizarre behavior. After frightening themselves with with forbidden fortune-telling games, Abigail Williams and Betty Parris became subject to fits of babbling accompanied by strange physical contortions Other girls became similarly afflicted, and soon the hysterical children were accusing neighbors and acquaintances of witchcraft.
And, as Kurt Vonnegut might say, so it goes...

As he might also say: welcome to the monkey house.

Wednesday, October 26

was emanuel swedenborg smoking crack?

Despite my sensational headline, the controversy is really over whether Swedenborg was schizophrenic or perhaps had temporal lobe epilepsy. The alternative view -- that he was actually talking to angels, demons and the dearly departed -- seems delusional in itself. But hey, maybe that's just me.

The following is from the British Journal of Psychiatry (1994: 165: 690­691), as reproduced on the Swedenborg Digital Library:

Henry Maudsley (1869) wrote a controversial pathography of Swedenborg, proposing that his religious mystical experiences were psychotic in origin. This provoked violent criticism of himself and an angry response from Swedenborg's disciples. When a new edition of his Pathology of Mind appeared in 1895, all reference to Swedenborg's psychosis, present in the previous edition of 1879, had been omitted; Maudsley had presumably submitted to the pressures of Swedenborg's followers.

. . .

Swedenborg never proselytized his beliefs, although his writings about his unique experiences in the spirit world were, after his death, responsible for the foundation of the Church of the New Jerusalem, which was established in London in 1780. His teachings have appealed to a distinguished group of followers, such as Blake, Balzac, Baudelaire, Emerson, Strindberg and Yeats.

There is much more debate at that site on the question of Swedenborg's madness. If you're interested, go to Swedenborg and His Revelation: An Anthology, then page down to "Part II. The Insanity Question (from a special issue of The New Philosophy 1998;101: (whole number))."

Despite much pushback among that crowd, I'm going with my gut DSM-IV diagnosis: Mad as a Hatter, with Barking-at-the-Moon Psychotic Episodes.

But Swedenborg was not atypical of his era -- or of ours, come to think of it. In Holy Madness: Romantics, Patriots, and Revolutionaries, 1776-1871, author Adam Zamoyski writes (pp. 52-53):

One thing that could not be banned, or even stemmed, was the ovine rush to find a new belief-system. People sought either a purer or a more essential form of Christianity, or some cosmic system of absolute truth from which all religions purportedly descended. They followed a variety of teachers such as the mysterious Martines de Pasquallys, who started up the fellowship of the 'Elect Cohens' and wrote a treatise on 'reintegration.' He preached a perverted form of Christian dogma, with frequent recourse to the symbolism of numbers, and asserted, amongst other things, that the Earth is triangular in shape. Another whose teachings drew in seekers after truth was the mystic philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg. Swedenborgian societies sprang up in many countries in the 1780s, including one in Moscow whose members called themselves 'children of the New Jerusalem ', and one in Berlin some of whose members claimed to witness people rising from the dead in large numbers. Some flocked to rosicrucianism or theosophy. or to one of the many other sects that sprang up, almost in proportion as the Catholic monastic orders were dissolved in the name of Enlightenment.

Those seeking the elixir of life, the secret of the alchemists, the kabbalistic key or some such panacea were drawn into alchemy, hermeticism, necromancy, cosmosophy, chiromancy and a whole gamut of sorcery. There was much juggling with magic numbers, deciphering of the Bible with the use of equations, substituting of values and numbers for musical notes or colours, developing theories from the alleged 'moral planes' in the structure of the Pyramids and like nonsense. Occultism rubbed shoulders with pseudo-science, dressed up in the fashion of the day -- be it Gothic, Hellenic or Oriental. This was a rich hunting-ground for charlatans such as the Sicilian Giuseppe Balsamo, alias Count Cagliostro, who ranged across Europe making and losing fortunes, bedding the most desirable and befuddling the most respected, flogging love-philtres and elixirs of eternal youth. Barely more reputable was the Austrian doctor Friedrich Anton Mesmer, whose theory of 'animal magnetism' and claims of healing powers thralled fashionable Paris. People as self-regarding as Lafayette sat for hours in bubbling vats filled with dubious chemicals, holding hands in a dimmed interior with plenty of mirrors and soft music, while Mesmer drifted about dressed as a children's-party magician, waving a wand over his victims.

We'll have much more to say about Mesmer, who is looking increasingly core to our slowly unfolding story. Stay tuned...

on one occasion when the interior heaven was opened to me and i was talking to the angels there i was allowed to observe the following activities...

emanuel swedenborg
arcana coelestia

heaven & hell

Monday, October 24

narcissism in the news

Maureen Dowd talks to Publishers Weekly -- an interview with Dermot McEvoy about her new book, Are Men Necessary?, and other matters.
"My thesis is that feminism is dead," she says. "That it's been trumped by narcissism and materialism, which are much more important 'isms' in the 21st century."
I wonder whether the interview took place before or after Publishers Weekly panned Men: "intermittently entertaining, but neither sharp enough nor sustained enough to work as a book." Me, I frame no hypothesis. But I like the quote. And I love the cover!

it's not easy being green

Libertarian National Socialist
Green Party

This site lists a fair number of books whose themes and authors I've written about here. I've selected some of these books below. While not saying anything definitive about their content or their author's intentions, the fact that they are recommended under the sign of the swastika -- however "green" -- speaks volumes.

[hyperlinks and graphics added]

Sunday, October 23

fiction into fact

What did Madame Blavatsky and Indiana Jones have in common?

full text online

From the Gothic Labyrinth...

Although today known for the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, which awards prizes for bad opening sentences (Paul Clifford is the novel that opens It was a dark and stormy night) Bulwer-Lytton was, in his lifetime, arguably the most successful and influential novelist in England.

Wagner based an opera on his novel Rienzi, The Last of the Tribunes. After reading Rienzi, Poe wrote: There may be men now living who possess the power of Bulwer -- but it is quite evident that very few have made that power so palpably manifest. Indeed we know of none. The opera also had a profound effect on the young Adolf Hitler. In that hour it began, he was to say later.

The Coming Race, an early science-fiction work, with its superman race the Vril-ya, descended from the same ancestors as the great Aryan family, from which in varied streams has flowed the dominant civilization of the world, spawned an occult secret society known as Vril Society or Luminous Lodge. The Vril Society's philosophy and swastika symbol were absorbed by the Nazi party.