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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)

Wednesday, December 28

whole fools

I seem to be on an all-California kick today. Following is the book description for Agrarian Dreams: The Paradox of Organic Farming in California (University of California Press, 2004):
In an era of escalating food politics, many believe organic farming to be the agrarian answer. In this first comprehensive study of organic farming in California, Julie Guthman casts doubt on the current wisdom about organic food and agriculture, at least as it has evolved in the Golden State. Refuting popular portrayals of organic agriculture as a small-scale family farm endeavor in opposition to "industrial" agriculture, Guthman explains how organic farming has replicated what it set out to oppose.
I went in search of a Whole Foods Market® -- "the world's leading natural and organic foods supermarket and America's first national certified organic grocer" -- graphic to drop in here, but found instead the Whole Workers Unite! blog, where it says...
This site is NOT run by or connected to Whole Foods Market. Rather, we are here to counter Whole Foods' attempts at misinforming its workers about what it means to unionize. Our goal is to provide news, information, and resources for everyone concerned about workers' rights.

Many people love the community at Whole Foods – this is what brought us to work here in the first place. But many of us have also seen that as the company has grown, the focus has shifted to profits and expansion at the expense of worker respect and fair compensation.

Despite what Whole Foods says, unionizing is the only way for workers to be guaranteed participation in their employment.

Highly recommended. Includes some entertaining reading on things like a Chicago Whole Foods Market® that got shut down for having organic rats, and how the company has tried to intimidate publications covering unionization by threatening to withdraw advertising bucks. Nice.

Looks as if there's only one real solution...

TV Dinners!

Tuesday, December 27

you can check out any time you like...

but you can never leave

I'm interested in what it was, exactly, about California that made it such a hotbed of the so-called '60s counterculture, and particularly, why that countercultural stew was so flavored with attitudes and inclinations that came to be called New Age. I hope (and suspect) that my questions may be answered by books such as Fool's Paradise: A Carey McWilliams Reader and California: The Great Exception by Carey McWilliams, and perhaps especially Imperial San Francisco: Urban Power, Earthly Ruin.

In reviewing that last, Publishers Weekly mentions en passant that " lord William Randolph Hearst converted a mining fortune into a media conglomerate preaching the superiority of 'the American race'..." Oh yeah.

And maybe I'll even glean something from this -- though it looks more like an example of the problem than a path to greater um enlightenment...

In searching around, I also came across an amazing series of books -- "Americans and the California Dream" -- by Kevin Starr, the State Librarian of California. I'm not sure if these books will address my specific concerns, but I sure like the cover art, presented here for your viewing pleasure...

the russians are coming! the russians are...

This is yet an undeveloped thought, as are many of the posts here. Plus, there are lots of unfinished Mystic-B files waiting here on my hard drive for the time to complete them. However, I particularly didn't want to space out this one.

It occurred to me recently that at least three major influences on the subject matter of this study came from Russia.

  • H.P. Blavatsky
    The Madame should need no introduction here. Founder of Theosophy, creator of an intrinsically racialist ontology, spiritualist extraordinaire, charlatan supreme.
  • G.I. Gurdjieff
    This exceedingly odd personage has emerged here lately mostly in conjunction with his student, A.R. Orage, and the latter's deeply antisemitic views as expressed in The New Age, a small but highly influential journal he edited from 1907 to 1922.
  • Ayn Rand
    Author of the Virtue of Selfishness and all manner of bombast masquerading as "philosophy," this randy borderline has often been featured here in her strongly supporting role as poster girl for pathological narcissism. She's not the brightest of these three by a long shot, but she might be the flakiest. No small feat, given the competition.

So what is it about these Russians? I came across a passage in Gurdjieff: The Key Concepts (p. 159) that may help to explain the basic mindset. While it may not apply directly to Rand, who favored plagiarizing Nietzsche, this cultural background may have abetted her inclination to pander to popular delusions.

Moscow and St Petersburg were centres for the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century occult revival. From 1881 to 1918 thirty occult journals and more than 800 occult titles were published in Russia, reflecting interests in spiritualism, Theosophy, Rosicrucianism, alchemy, psycho-graphology, phrenology, hypnotism, Egyptian religions, astrology, chiromancy, animal magnetism, fakirism, telepathy, the Tarot, black and white magic, and Freemasonry (Carlson 1993: 22). Gurdjieff took notice of contemporary interests and presented his teaching accordingly. The cosmological form of his teaching was fully outlined between 1914 and 1918 in a form that takes account of the occult revival in Russia.
The embedded reference is to 'No Religion Higher Than Truth' - A History of the Theosophical Movement in Russia, 1875-1922 (Princeton UP, 1993). The graphic below is from the cover of The Masters Revealed: Madame Blavatsky and the Myth of the Great White Lodge.

Monday, December 26

jackboot psychics high on god

I think I understood this stuff way better when I was doing a lot of acid.

btw, if anyone knows where I can get the book below
for less than 100 bucks (which seems to be the going price)
please let me know.

It's about the Church Universal and Triumphant and it's (final) leader, "Guru Ma," a.k.a. Elizabeth Clare Prophet. I found a review in a google groups post, which says:

What struck me vividly is how amazingly different the reality can be from the appearance. E.C. Prophet, to her followers, was the true vehicle and spokesman for God, the epitome of spiritual wisdom, love, and self-sacrifice. The reality was a crudely self-centered narcissist who would stoop to any means to manipulate her membership and to put up a good facade in order to line her own pockets, and to exercise her personal power over others.
Feel more than free to click on ECP's picture there on the right to see what other havoc she and her minions have wrought. And here's another delightfully titled book about the same bunch of cosmically attuned, spiritually ascended lunatics...

You can click the pic to buy it on Amazon -- or go here and download the whole thing for free. The reason I went off in search of this stuff is that William Dudley Pelley (remember yesterday?) had a quite a large hand in setting these folks up.

In the not-so-credible-looking Channeling: Investigations on Receiving Information from Paranormal Sources -- after dropping names like Jesus H. Christ, Saint Germain, H.P. Blavatsky, Alice Bailey, Guy Ballard and Elizabeth Clare Prophet -- author Jon Klimo writes (p. 146): "In the 1930s, mining engineer Guy Ballard reported having a series of visionary and channeling experiences with various 'ascended masters' in the Mt. Shasta [wait for it...] California area." (My little joke there, heh-heh.) Our paranormal guide continues...

If there was a shadow side to Ballard's "I AM" movement, it was his association with the American fascist William Dudley Pelley and his followers, known as the "Silver Shirts." Pelley appeared to be attracted to Ballard and his ascended master connection because of its strong paramilitary character.

But this is bunk. Suggesting that Pelley came sniffing around the I AM freaks is to get things backwards. In fact, they came looking for him. On the same site where I found Psychic Dictatorship, I found this...

Before they concocted the I AM activity, the Ballards had built up years of experience in metaphysical organizations. These included The Theosophical Society and William Pelley's anti-Semitic politico-religious fascist movement, The Silver Shirts, also known as "Foundation for Christian Economics" and the "Christian Party." Indeed, Guy and Edna conducted regular spiritualist meetings in Chicago where they used Pelley publications.
And so, a good time was had by all. Or well... almost all.

emphasis on the
do not miss this exciting animation!


Sunday, December 25

white christmas

I continue to be amazed at the ubiquitous conjunction
of New Age spirituality and extreme right racist
politics. It crops up far too often to be accidental.
Here's the latest instance of such unsuspected
bed-fellowship I've discovered in my recent travels...

Good old Nordic Saint Nick put coal in my stocking for writing about this stuff. It figures. I wasn't planning to post this on Christmas Day. Just worked out like that. I started reading around in William Dudley Pelley: A Life in Right-Wing Extremism and the Occult. I'd never heard of Pelley before stumbling across this book on Amazon a couple weeks ago. Wow. An American Nazi -- literally -- who preached a weird mix of fascist racism, reconstituted Swedenborgianism and Theosophy, UFO mania, and all manner of bad craziness that had a direct but little known influence on later New Age "thought." See sidebar. There's a bio on Wikipedia, and a glowing tribute (sans grafik) on the Integral Tradition "Conservative Revolution" site, which never encountered a fascist it didn't just love the hell out of. Plus, there's this little clip...
...anti-Jewish sentiments first crept into UFOlogy in the 1950s when self-proclaimed contactees like George Adamski and George Hunt Williamson described blond, blue-eyed aliens in line with the Nazi ideal. Later, William Dudley Pelley, head of the U.S.-based fascist Silver Shirts, tied his anti-Semitic philosophy to Aryan aliens as well.

~from "UFO update: can the poison of anti-Semitism wreck years of pristine research into UFOs?," Omni, July, 1993

I have no idea what "pristine research" means in that title. A lame joke, perhaps? Anyway, Adamski's 1955 Inside the Spaceships is still in print, and the full text of George Hunt Williamson's 1953 saucer book, Other Tongues - Other Flesh is available at -- are you ready for this? -- The covers of Leon Poliakov's four-volume history of antisemitism are just here for decoration.

william dudley pelley: a life in right-wing extremism and the occult

New Age legacy

After eight years in prison, in 1950 Pelley set up shop in a small town in Indiana. There he crafted a new, cultish theology called Soulcraft that occupied him until his death in 1965. Never again did he venture into politics.

Beekman's biography provides a detailed account of those years -- a chapter of Pelley's life that historians have largely ignored until now. Yet Beekman maintains that it constitutes the core of his legacy. "Pelley's political views continue to resonate in 'white nationalist' circles," the biographer notes, "but I'm convinced that more people have been influenced by his religious teachings than his political views."

So while Pelley spent his Asheville years as leader of the Silver Shirts, he may have left a deeper legacy in the New Age movement that has now made Asheville one of its meccas.

"New Age groups of various stripes owe their existence to Pelley's teachings," says Beekman. "Frankly, I was frequently astonished to find very 'touchy-feely' New Age groups and publications approvingly citing Pelley's religious works – seemingly oblivious to his racist views."

~from Asheville's metaphysical fascist -- a review of William Dudley Pelley: A Life in Right-Wing Extremism and the Occult -- in the Mountain Xpress, Asheville, NC.

Thursday, December 22

a race of morons

It is extremely difficult these days to find trustworthy sources on Margaret Sanger's views. Anti-abortion activists are only too willing to vilify her and distort her positions for their own political ends. On the other hand, the statement on the Planned Parenthood site that Sanger "consistently and firmly repudiated any racial application of eugenics principles" is clearly contradicted by the following passages from The Selected Papers of Margaret Sanger: The Woman Rebel, 1900-1928. The book is the first volume to come out of the extensive Margaret Sanger Papers Project at New York University.

For starters, Amazon reports "54 pages with references to eugenics in this book." Here's a handful of relevant clips...

  • "Birth Control and Racial Betterment"
    February 1919, pp. 253-254

    ...we insist that information in regard to scientific contraceptives be made open to all. We believe that if such information is placed within the reach of all, we will have made it possible to take the first, greatest step toward racial betterment and that this step, assisted in no small measure by the educational propaganda of eugenists and members of similar schools, will be taken....

    While I personally believe in the sterilization of the feeble-minded, the insane and the syphiletic [sic], I have not been able to discover that these measures are more than superficial deterrents when applied to the constantly growing stream of the unfit....

    Eugenics without Birth Control seems to us a house builded upon the sands. It is at the mercy of the rising stream of the unfit. It cannot stand against the furious winds of economic pressure which have buffeted into partial or total helplessness a tremendous proportion of the human race. Only upon a free, self-determining motherhood can rest any unshakable structure of racial betterment.

  • "The Eugenic Value of Birth Control Propaganda"
    October 1921, p. 319

    Seemingly every new approach to the great problem of the human race must manifest its vitality by running the gauntlet of prejudice, ridicule and misinterpretation. Eugenists may remember that not many years ago this program for race regeneration was subjected to the cruel ridicule of stupidity and ignorance. Today Eugenics is suggested by the most diverse minds as the most adequate and thorough avenue to the solution of racial, political and social problems....

    In the limited space of the present paper, I have time only to touch upon some of the fundamental convictions that form the basis of our Birth Control propaganda, and which, as I think you must agree, indicate that the campaign for Birth Control is not merely of eugenic value, but is practically identical in ideal with the final aims of Eugenics.

  • Letter to Ross Delano Aldrich Dunn
    October 1923, p. 383

    Indeed, it has been a great surprise to me, during the past several years to find, that neither the medical societies throughout the country nor even the Eugenic Society -- both with the unlimited means for the enactment of such legislation, have failed utterly to encourage sterilization of the unfit or to educate the public that it should be done.

  • "Racial Betterment"
    radio address, Vassar College, August 5, 1926, Poughkeepsie, NY, pp. 453-454

    There are two problems now confronting civilization. The pressure of population on the food supply of the world, and the reconciliation of humanitarian practices with race betterment.

    ...while we close our gate to the so-called "undesirables" from other countries, we make no attempt to discourage or cut down on the rapid multiplication of the unfit and undesirable at home.

    In fact through our archaic and inhuman laws against birth control information the breeding of defectives, idiots, insane and feeble-minded becomes a necessity.

    These types are being multiplied with the breakneck rapidity and increasing far out of proportion to the normal and intelligent classes...

    The American public is taxed, heavily taxed, to maintain an increasing race of morons, which threatens the very foundations of our civilization.

in the name of eugenics

eugenics, american racism, and german national socialism

Leon F. Whitney, secretary of the American Eugenics Society, was similarly supportive of Hitler's race policy. In a note sent to several newspapers in 1933, Whitney, speaking for the American Eugenics Society, claimed that Hitler's sterilization policy had demonstrated the Führer's great courage and statesmanship. ...he described the measures as evidence that "sterilization and race betterment are ... becoming compelling ideas among all enlightened nations." [p. 46]

Tuesday, December 20

that was zen, this is dao

The more fortunate reader will be scanning the above title slug from the comfort of a barf-bag equipped 747. It's from an article in the January 2005 issue of CommonGround -- "A Conscious Enlightenment Publication" -- titled Esalen at the Edge.
Esalen’s furthest edge may be its Center for Theory & Research (CTR), a think-tank that probes "frontier inquiries" and serves as an incubator for future workshop programming. CTR has conducted programs in alternative and holistic health and has compiled a bibliography of scientific research on meditation. It has archived 10,000 cases studies of supernormal human functioning, including acts of telepathy and extraordinary strength. Recently, CTR has explored more sustainable methods of capitalism with leading CEOs, sustainability experts, and activists.
Ah yes, sustainability -- the nominalization that made global economic rape and pillage a cozy concept for millions of idle First World poseurs. Consider the following eco-porn...

After smarmily informing us that "[e]ven Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson once worked here as a caretaker/security guard" -- oh wow, man -- the CommonGround article goes on to relate that...

In its early history, two stars of the Human Potential Movement battled for dominance over the soul of Esalen. Psychologist Abraham Maslow, promoting intellectual development, faced off with Fritz Perls, pioneer of Gestalt therapy, who advocated for the primacy of the body and feelings.

Yeah? Well here's another "human potentiality"...

Saturday, December 10

california dreamin

John Pentland was was a student of the Ouspenkys, Gurdjieff, and Madame Jeanne de Salzmann, and was instrumental in spreading Gurdjieff's teaching throughout the United States. He was president of the Gurdjieff Foundation of New York from its inception in 1953, and established the Gurdjieff Foundation of California. [back cover]

In 1955, responding to inquiries from interested people in California, Lord Pentland first visited there; and soon groups formed around him in San Francisco and later in Los Angeles. The material in the present book is drawn from group meetings in California between 1955 and Lord Pentland's death in 1984. [p. xxiii]

What exactly is it about California? Since the 1960s, it's been the breeding ground for all manner of high weirdness, perhaps best epitomized by Esalen Institute and the New Age rage for spiritual perfection that that quintessentially Californian institution spawned.

Perfectionism is a key concept of the New Age. Pushed too far -- and the push needn't be all that great -- it becomes pathological. And pathological perfectionism morphs all too easily into a narcissism that has nothing at all to do with "self-esteem" -- at best a code word to camouflage the underlying pathology. At the core of this sickness lies shame, and a desperate attempt to mask it.

But it goes back much further than the '60s. California was the Westward bound of manifest destiny. Only the Pacific ocean could stop America's apparently desperate need for more lebensraum. Is it far fetched to associate such an overtly Nazi concept with the great state of California? Read on and decide for yourself whether perfectionism applied to the self might not be the result of frustrated attempts to perfect others -- just as geographically frustrated manifest destiny eventually drove Californians not out of, but into their heads. From colonizing Mexican territorial space to colonizing the space of mind -- all it takes is 100 years of practiced arrogance, a couple hits of acid and a hot tub.

But we needn't belabor the metaphor.

Edwin Black, author of War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race, wrote an article that appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle on November 9, 2003. Its title: Eugenics and the Nazis - the California connection. Here are a handful of high points...

...the concept of a white, blond-haired, blue-eyed master Nordic race didn't originate with Hitler. The idea was created in the United States, and cultivated in California, decades before Hitler came to power. California eugenicists played an important, although little-known, role in the American eugenics movement's campaign for ethnic cleansing....

Much of the spiritual guidance and political agitation for the American eugenics movement came from California's quasi-autonomous eugenic societies, such as Pasadena's Human Betterment Foundation and the California branch of the American Eugenics Society...

...the main solution for eugenicists was the rapid expansion of forced segregation and sterilization, as well as more marriage restrictions. California led the nation, performing nearly all sterilization procedures with little or no due process. In its first 25 years of eugenics legislation, California sterilized 9,782 individuals, mostly women.

If you weren't white, you weren't perfect. And anything less was offensive to those who were. Anything less was to be surgically removed from society. Here's one more clip from the same article...

During the Reich's early years, eugenicists across America welcomed Hitler's plans as the logical fulfillment of their own decades of research and effort. California eugenicists republished Nazi propaganda for American consumption. They also arranged for Nazi scientific exhibits, such as an August 1934 display at the L.A. County Museum, for the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association.

But all that is over, right? It did happen here, but it can't happen here again. Don't bet on it. This is from Genetics and Reductionism (Cambridge University Press, 1998, p.1):

There is very little doubt that the genetic explanation of human behavior has returned with a vengeance, not only in scientific and semiscientific circles, but in the popular imagination as well. This renewed faith in genetics has emerged hand-in-hand with a new-found popular deification of DNA. New Age bookstores in San Francisco have begun offering music based on the frequency spectra of DNA molecules.... [A] California company plans to sell pieces of DNA -- possibly encoding genes -- cloned from pop idols including rock musicians and movie stars.

...genetic explanations of human behavior last enjoyed this level of hegemony in the 1920s and 1930s, at the height of eugenic enthusiasm in the United States and Europe. Eugenics -- and its attendant research programs -- then disappeared, largely due to the Nazi abuse of biology...

faults and frontiers of better breeding in modern america by Alexandra Stern

"Stern brilliantly exposes the dark role that the Golden State played as a leader in the closely-linked eugenics and early conservation movements. By demonstrating how theory became practice in California's institutions and laws, and how those ideas persist today, she reveals the survival of demons we thought we had vanquished."

~Gray A. Brechin, author of Imperial San Francisco: Urban Power, Earthly Ruin

and a primary source by the men who made it happen...

Twenty-eight years of sterilization in California, Paul Popenoe and E.S. Gosney, Human Betterment Foundation, Pasadena, 1938

~Library of Congress Subject Heading: Involuntary sterilization - California

"Underpinning the institutional structuring of white supremacy were notions such as 'manifest destiny' ... California remains a contested racial frontier..."

~Racial Fault Lines