PANTHEISTIC MULTIPLE-EGO SOLIPSISM 101
“TICKETS – YOU’RE HOLDING UP THE LINE.”
As I mentioned in the December newsletter, those of you who possess a Burroughs continua device and are engaged in space-time manipulation are probably getting ready to enjoy the Tool show in some alternate Universe (one where Danny signs autographs in ink the color of a deadly green nebula, and the audience’s cigarettes/narcotic sticks are lit by the analog-Scott’s palette of lasers). However, my beamish friends (i.e. astrogators), if you did set the verniers of your wonder buggy (no doubt laden with Tool decals), for ALUOSSIM, watch out for the ticket takers as well as any venue security personnel lest they be boojums and you softly and suddenly vanish away (especially if you happen to be a baker!) But if you don’t get this warning in time, and haven’t yet been ERASED, though it might seem to be catering to ghouls, the analog-MJK (provided this is not the universe without the letter “J”) should remind you over the voder. [Are you sure, friend Blair?]. Of course you could just bounce back to this time-axis via the continua widget, and thus be informed of any possible Black Homburgs in the building.
At this point, I’m fairly certain that those of you without the Burroughs apparatus or any other irrelevant drive are wondering what in the world I’m talking about. Well, before you print this up and toss into the destruction oubliette, let me just say that I’ve received hundreds of e-mails from Tool enthusiasts wanting additional information about the show at the Adytum Theatre in ALUOSSIM, which I clearly said was NOT in the Apocatastasis-Grid, but on a parallel earth that was only accessible by knowledge of transuniversal travel. While many are still waiting for hyperspacial pre-sales, due to my mentioning of the earth-without-the-letter-‘J’during the holiday season, others thought that the newsletter was merely a slight at Jesus or even at the Supreme Inseminator itself. My inclusion of the song “Abomination of Desolation” from the Tool album “Bethlehem Abortion Clinic” (listed in the catalogue/insert of the release of Aenima outside the United States) seemed to further this (erroneous) notion. Tool albums that might or might not exist on parallel earths aside, what a social experiment that title turned out to be, with nearly everyone believing it to contain a negative Xian message when it could just as easily be something to the contrary (yes, including being an anti-abortion statement). Think about this before jumping to such high-trajectory conclusions! At any rate, my mentioning of the earth-without-the-letter-“J” was only meant to alert readers to a ‘sci-fi’ scenario created by Robert A. Heinlein in his “philosophical fantasia” entitled “The Number of the Beast” (1980). In Heinlein’s masterwork (despite less than glowing reviews from many critics), the Number of the Beast turns out not to be the familiar 666 of the Revelation of Saint John, but, rather, “six raised to its sixth power, and the result in turn raised to its sixth power”, which becomes the calculated number of possible universes available to intrepid explorers using a space-time machine (along with uncountable variants thereof when one includes combinations of rotation and translation).
The earth minus “J” in the alphabet was discovered by one of the story’s protagonists – a well-endowed strawberry blonde who aspires to be a Barsoomian princess (but that’s another story), during the first minimal translation, and therefore, constituted proof that both the theory of N-dimensional geometry (six space-time coordinates) was valid, and that the continua device invented to explore the Number-of-the-Beast spaces actually worked.
But all is not well in our heroes’ Arizona “Snug Harbor.” Before the four adventurers can begin testing the thing, they find themselves the target of a hostile presence. This, they suspect, is an alien intelligence that doesn’t want the Pandora’s Box of transuniversal travel to be opened. So, with no time to lose (pun intended), they raid the fridge for any leftovers and squeeze into the souped-up rover, setting the controls for their initial (one quantum) translation.
In the process of testing the mechanism, as the crew soon discover, it appears that even human thoughts exist as quanta, for while making jumps into numerous parallel universes, some of these places include fictional constructs such as Oz’s Emerald City (based on the series by L. Frank Baum) and Lewis Carroll’s through-the-looking-glass “Wonderland.” Looking for fairyland bathrooms in their nifty spaceplane (the so called “gee-whizzer” lacking certain necessary facilities), they even find themselves having strange encounters with the dramatis persona of works penned by author Heinlein, himself, in his S-F canon (prime favorites of the sightseers, of course). Along with these worlds created solely by the act of imaging them, are several nulls or blank universes waiting to be filled by some author/creator. And in the six-dimensional continua, that’s where things can get really interesting both for story’s protagonists and for anyone who is able to truly grasp (i.e. grok) the concept of “pantheistic multiperson solipsism.”
Although many fans of Heinlein’s science fiction find “The Number of the Beast” to be very confusing (and not up to par with his other works), in defending the book, some readers have offered insights as to the true meaning and significance of it. These include everything from its being a self-conscious parody of science fiction/practical joke played on his loyal audience, a cleverly disguised biography of the author’s career (as well as a farewell to his friends and colleagues), and even an ingeniously-conceived manual or textbook on how to write science fiction (which explains the satire of his own earlier writings, I suppose). In the latter case, at least one Heinlein aficionado points out that one must not focus on what’s happening in the foreground, but, rather, on certain literary references in the background. In this way, the storybook universes visited teach aspiring authors how to write good science fiction, while all the clichés borrowed from the pulps of the 1930s in the foreground serve as glaring examples of how NOT to do it. As if these “He’s a mad scientist and I’m his beautiful daughter” distractions are not enough of a clue to this seemingly-unlikely revelation, all the space-warped sex, and what to many critics appears to be a breast fetish on Heinlein’s part might be the biggest (and most telling) distraction of all, especially those exquisite features of the strawberry blonde with the anachronism of the natural cantilevering they provide for an evening formal.
However, what I have not heard anyone yet suggest is that “The Number of the Beast” also contains certain elements of the occult, possibly even offering “the keys to the city” with which to unlock its most impenetrable secrets. This observation of mine is not based on the oft-mentioned connection between Heinlein and Pasadena wizard, Jack Parsons. Nor is it because of any coded references to Thelemic principles in Heinlein’s heretical “Stranger In A Strange Land.” Rather, it is based on certain signposts in the prose; things that are not generally recognized by the more ‘casual’ practitioners of the magical arts, and which are heavily veiled in occult literature. Although there are obvious parallels with the myriad alternate universes explored by the foursome in the story and the heightened dimensions of consciousness experienced by proficient ritual magicians without ‘dirty fingernails’, the signpost-analogies which I’m talking about – that which signify irrelevant (i.e. instantaneous) transportation by what would seem to most to be of a rather unorthodox means are almost impossible to discern without the requisite key. So much so, in fact, that I don’t believe Heinlein was consciously aware of them, but, instead, received/created them from a mysterious, seemingly less than tangible source*, as did the other authors (such as Carroll) whose stories describe tryptamine-enriched realms and provide the surreal fictional constructs in the plot. Magically-minded individuals might call this the “Higher Self”, but whatever it is, it definitely appears that a shared divinity of some sort is challenging us with a grand puzzle that is, at times, beyond the conscious understanding of those literary geniuses and master storytellers ‘responsible’ for it.
* It might be relevant to note that Heinlein wrote “The Number of the Beast” after recovering from a serious illness. In 1978 he suffered a transient ischemic attack, this being a precursor to a cerebral stroke that involved a blockage of blood to his brain.
Although ostensibly a work of science fiction with all the trappings of that genre, including, of course, futuristic technology, in “The Number of the Beast”, when the protagonists are faced with, say, the paradox of “how to rescue a person who has been dead for many centuries”, the reader shouldn’t necessarily accept at face value the scenario as laid out by those with a continua device and six-axis plenum of universes at their disposal. Even when this involves clones, genetic surgeons and such. Rather, I would suggest, from this corpse in question is extracted the Jewel of Divine anthropophagy. This is hinted at in the final chapter when, in the Quest for the Egg of the Phoenix, one must pierce the veil with the sword provided. All others will find themselves trapped in a specially constructed hell, which in Heinlein’s novel is humorously called “The Critic’s Lounge”, and described as a remarkably decorated facility for which there are free passes to enter, but no exit signs, where there are plenty of typewriters but no ribbons, where there is a private bar but no liquor, and, more significantly (for those with eyes to see), a place with a lavish dining room but no kitchen. Of this facility, one of Heinlein’s characters explains that there is an easy way out… that the ‘critic’ just has to be able to read! (even though so few ‘critics’ ever learn to read.) While some students of western esotericism will think that they understand the metaphor here (those who are capable of being bitten by an imaginary snake), those without ‘dirty fingernails’ in their search for the Glitter of the Sleepers might only find a Potemkin Village illusion tailored to their subconscious…
“HE HAS TO BE ABLE TO READ!”
?Realizing that it is a science fiction staple for advanced technology such as a nuts-and-bolts, kick-the-tires continua craft to be described as having thoroughly self-aware circuitry (i.e. being sentient), if one is a mad scientist aged 49 (curiouser and curiouser said Alice), the sanctum sanctorum (Holy of Holies) is perhaps not such an unusual choice for the assembly by a screwdriver and sweat of a space-time machine. However, when “techniques for Hunting SnARKS” are on the program at a convention for interuniversal travel, I am more inclined to believe that these parallel worlds are accessible to those magicians who are capable of “pulling a hat out of a rabbit.”
No doubt some critics of this idea will claim that in “the Number of the Beast” Heinlein has merely pushed the boundaries of science fiction into magical realism with these references to hunting SnARKS, boojum-villians, and other nonsensical creatures that inhabit realms once considered to be fictional until opened up by the Burroughs apparatus. To those, rather than point to the thirteen steps leading to a fancy lounge (decorated by Escher, no less) with plenty of typewriters, I would suggest a careful examination of some of the more illuminating passages in the final chapter. For it is here, amid the circus atmosphere at the convocation of the Interuniversal Society that delegates from many cultures in all of known space discuss in (albeit) a rather oblique manner, certain riddles left by Carroll and others, and, at times, the S-F characters’, cardboard cutouts or otherwise, takes on these “demented fugues” of our childhood can be rather eye-opening. (In any case, take the author’s advice: Don’t go into that lounge – you are not a critic!)
It is also important to keep in mind that the enemy “Black Hats” have infiltrated this spectacularly-unlikely gathering (having been enticed to it, actually), and are wearing multiple disguises. But, as many Heinlein readers have noticed, all of the Black Hats in the book are anagrams of the author himself (or of his wife, or pen names of Heinlein). This might be an inside joke in a satire of the author’s own earlier writings,, and/or as part of the lesson in plot structure if the book is indeed a textbook on how not to write bad S-F and how to write good S-F. But it could also be something wholly unsuspected by even the most devout Heinleinite in See-What-You-Expect clothing illusion and wearing spectacles “that see through the thickest mist.” What is certain, however, is that the Black Hats share many characteristics with the Black Brothers of occultism and the mysterious Men In Black of UFO lore. Just like the bizarre, robotic MIB that haunt the annuals of ufology, in “The Number of the Beast”, the Black Hat-boojums appear in an official capacity (with dubious I.D. cards of their stated authority), speak in stilted B-movie clichés, make threats as if determined to keep certain things from being known (in this case, the knowledge of six-dimensional non-Euclidean geometry), and are, for the most part, totally inept at enforcing their threats (like those pesky things who head back to their black Caddy when their batteries run down, or ask serious questions while attempting to consume Dr. Pepper with a knife and fork).
Similarly, in Lewis Carroll’s dark poem, while hunting for the elusive SnARK, if one should by chance encounter such a wonderful thing, if it turns out to be a boojum, the person will “softly and suddenly vanish away and never be met with again.” This sounds a lot like the hollow threats of the MIB after someone alleges to have experienced something of an otherworldly nature. But it also sounds like the warning that comes with certain grimoires. Is this why a puzzled academician once said: “It is not children who ought to read the words of Lewis Carroll, they are far better employed making mud pies.” If so, then something else to consider is that, in Carroll’s ‘nonsense’ poem of “the impossible voyage of an improbable crew [guided by a blank map] to find an inconceivable creature” it would appear that the inherent danger of a snARK – one that is a boojum, that is, is particularly so for the crew member known as the Baker. Could the Baker (alchemist?) be more vulnerable simply because he is the only one capable of finding the SnARK - the Stone of the Philosophers that many seek with their athanors, and various alchemical implements. (NOTE: With regards to the Baker being the most vulnerable to the SnARK-Boojum, those of another school of thought - who think that it was the crew member known as the Boots [a shoe shiner] who did the Baker in, should keep in mind that, while not exactly turning dross into gold, a shoe shiner takes something dull and makes it… shine.)
Although the “Hunting of the Snark” is certainly one of the most analyzed poems ever written and, hence, subject to numerous interpretations, many baffled scholars suspect that it contains a hidden message, and this is usually thought to be the repeating stanza:
“They sought it with thimbles, they sought it with care;
They pursued it with forks and hope;
They threatened its life with a railway-share;
They charmed it with smiles and soap.”
While some believe that this refers to the treatment by doctors to patients in insane asylums in the late 19th century London, I would like to suggest that it might very well be a cryptic allusion to something that, like the SnARK itself, eludes all those children (i.e. the uninitiated) making mud pies with their little fingers, and the line “They threatened its life with a railway-share” offers us the best clue. Having said this, unless you believe that he was a closet magician of the highest order, if a conservative like Lewis Carroll did receive knowledge of the Jewel of Divine Anthropophagy (also known as “The Dream of the Dreamless”) then it was undoubtedly revealed by a source that he was not consciously aware of (similar to how H. P. Lovecraft was able to conceive of the Cthulhu Mythos and the dreaded Necronomicon, which occultist Kenneth Grant believes to be an astral grimoire). When repeatedly asked what the poem meant, Carroll repeatedly claimed that he didn’t know, asking those: “Are you able to explain things which you don’t yourself understand?” Even more enigmatic, perhaps, is that he said that the poem “pieced itself together.” Those of you who like occult riddles and allegorical works that make use of the langue verte might appreciate this particular stanza in The Hunting of the SnARK:
“I engage with the SnARK every night after dark
In a dreamy, delirious fight;
I serve it with greens in those shadowy scenes,
And I use it for striking a light.”
But getting back to Heinlein’s World-as-Myth concept, when the protagonists first encounter a Black Hat-boojum, they don’t softly and suddenly vanish away – IT does (shades of the Grail). In fact, during the course of our adventures’ journeys, there is no real evidence that the baddies represent a hostile alien intelligence bent on suppressing the knowledge of transuniversal travel. With its various masks (but usually appearing as a uniformed ‘guardian’ type, such as a Federal Forest Ranger and Interspace Patrol Agent), it would seem to represent a particular facet of a person who is fearful of losing his/her ego-individuality while experimenting with other dimensions of reality. This might explain why at least one of the crew fears being erased from the ‘script’ after questioning whether or not they, too, are fictional constructs dreamt into existence by some master storyteller! And in the dramatic final scene, at the convention that was called especially to entice just such a beast, when recognized through its thin disguise (remember, the names of all the Black Hats in the story are anagrams of its author), the thing attempts to cross back over the vast, flaming Rainbow Bridge by which one gains entrance into the otherworld (i.e. other dimension of consciousness) inhabited by dead heroes… Which brings me to this: Dare we consider that the boojums arrived in the story in an attempt to suppress the transferal of esoteric knowledge from the mysterious source slowly initiating those able to decode the allegory? If so, are their threats to be taken seriously? Or are they intended to draw attention to this wisdom?
So now that you’ve embraced the concept of pantheistic multiple-ego solipsism, and are sitting there in your Snug harbor with a one-eyed Texas honeybutter stack, before you install a continua widget in your sporty roadable and set the verniers in order to leave Universe-Zero (your point of origin) to catch a Tool gig in one or more of the base-six spaces where the band plays “Abomination of Desolation” or “Balchipushti”, or “Crawl Away” (from “Aenima”* – it was, after all, a minimum translation), you might want to pack a few things for the trip. I would suggest a Tervis Tumbler traveler with a lid and flexible straw, a bottle of raspberry-flavored Lomine for nausea, an up-to-date brochure listing the storybook universes with clean bathrooms, and the manual entitled “Techniques for Hunting SnARKS.” As for some advice about the after-show extravaganza: If you’re on the Red Carpet (located directly behind the ‘Potemkin Village’ stage) looking for Danny with a green pen, and happen to encounter a rather large Venerian dragon with a cockney lisp, be prepared to draw the right sword (ladies – that chocolate candy ‘purse’ pistol which you got through the venue security personnel might do). And if someone offers you free passes to the Critic’s Lounge, keep in mind that, while there’s a private bar, it’s not stocked.
And finally my beamish friends: the universe that lacks the letter ‘J’ is one thing, but if the show is in the ZPG Sector (ruled by the anti-Pharzuph – Pharzuph being the Angel of Fornication, you see), be damned sure to watch out for any boojum-erasers in See-What-You-Expect clothing illusion and black Homburgs!!!
“THE SILENCE IS UNNATURAL. LISTEN TO IT.”
It had been over 25 years since I had read “The Number of the Beast”, but after picking it up again a few months ago, I began to think about the suggestion made by one Heinleinite that the novel was actually a cleverly disguised textbook. I remembered that he said that one shouldn’t focus on what’s happening in the foreground, but should instead pay careful attention to the literary references in the back ground if one wants to learn how to write good S-F from the master of that genre. With this in mind, I decided to take his advice, not with “The Number of the Beast”, but with another book of which I had long suspected there was more than meets the eye. This was a thriller published in 1948 by Bernard Newman, and entitled “The Flying Saucer.” As I wrote at length in my chapter of the DailyGrail anthology, DARKLORE, VOLUME I (see: “Incredible As It May Seem” by Blair MacKenzie Blake), I was convinced that the author had led a secret double life, and was almost certainly a British intelligence agent who had a great deal of knowledge about the purported crash/retrieval of an alien spacecraft near Roswell, New Mexico back in 1947. Although I used numerous cryptic passages in Newman’s book to bolster my case that the whole Roswell affair was a deliberately contrived psychological warfare tool by an elite group who wanted to make the public receptive to the idea of a UFO threat, at the same time I mentioned that the book probably contained more revelations that I hadn’t yet discovered, or, as I wrote: “Perhaps I didn’t yet have the correct mordant needed to render the invisible ink of the book’s cryptic passages visible as if by Majik.” However, after a closer examination of certain things in the background (as opposed to all the 1930s-style pulp clichés in the foreground of the narrative), I was able to discern further revelations from the shadowy informant, who even seemed to challenge me with the words “don’t you see?” after mentioning “the very slight deviation of the picture from its previous position.”
The clue as to where to look for certain answers regarding a staged UFO event came when one of the protagonists began talking about the game “Snakes & Ladders.” It would now seem to me that the code is laid out in the numerical sequence of dice-throw moves on the board. For those who are able to obtain a copy of this rather scarce publication, consider that the person in question was on square 94, and needed a 6 to win, but threw a 5 and landed on 99, where he was penalized and had to go back to square 22. Substitute the number of the squares mentioned with page numbers in the novel, and you might see why the person says of this unfortunate roll of the dice: “And I could not say what I thought because of the presence of the child.” Was this Newman’s way of telling us that he couldn’t openly divulge what he knew about the Roswell Incident to his readers, they being in the public sector (i.e. children)? After the sentence, he seems to confirm this by adding: “So now you see my position.”
“A COKE AND OLIVES, PLEASE”
Coincidently enough, only days after making this possible new discovery, I experienced something that those familiar with tangential phenomena might find rather interesting, if not down right bizarre. In the late afternoon on New Year’s Eve, while sitting in a near empty local bar, having (ONE) drink with my girlfriend and another lady friend (that’s not the bizarre part), a man entered the place with a somewhat strange gait and repeated three times with a mechanized precision the following: “DO YOU REMEMBER ME? DO YOU REMEMBER ME? DO YOU REMEMBER ME? He then ordered from the lady bartender a “coke and olives.” Now, although this fellow wasn’t olive-skinned, nor did he have an Asiatic cast, and didn’t exactly look like the type who would ask to borrow a cup of salt with which to take a pill, I nevertheless looked down from my perch for any thick-soled shoes or even for green wires attached to his socks. There were none, and by all appearances this was a meat person. But it was after what he did next that made me think I was going to be harassed or threatened before the ectoplasmic figure in the black sweater and knit cap who placed dozens of olives in his glass of Coke vanished in a sulphurous stench (well, I at least looked outside for any black Cadillac enshrouded by a yellow mist that might carry him away). It wasn’t when he – not being an employee of the bar – began to release balloons inside the place that I recalled something that happened earlier in the day. No, it was when he picked up a broom and began to sweep little bits of aluminum foil-debris out the door that I recalled my girlfriend seemingly randomly pointing to a turquoise-colored spine of an old book among hundreds on the same shelf, and asking me what it was. It was Gray Barker’s 1956 printing of “They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers” I told her. (Care to guess what was on television when I returned from the bar? Keeping in mind that I don’t have cable, but only rabbit-ears for which to get poor reception of six channels max, it could probably be seen as just another coincidence that what was showing was “Men In Black II”.)
“SWEPT OUT OUR BACK DOOR”
“We all went back into the house, and my mother swept the floor, because some of the smaller pieces of the materials were still on the floor. Therefore, a few tiny fragments were just swept out our back door.” Incredible as it may seem, this is what Jesse Marcel Jr. says in his new book (“The Roswell Legacy” 2007) when talking about the strange metallic debris that his intelligence officer father collected from the Foster Ranch, and what he truly believed at the time to be of extraterrestrial origin. Let me repeat that. What he truly believed at the time to be of extraterrestrial origin. What! When I first read this in William Moore’s 1980 book entitled “The Roswell Incident” I thought surely this was a misprint. But here it is again, right from Marcel Jr,’s own mouth, the person who was actually there… who witnessed first hand the anomalous material that so excited his father, and which caused him to awaken his then eleven-year old son in the middle of the night to show him such marvelous stuff. Call me crazy, but wouldn’t even a tiny piece of debris from a crashed spacecraft of alien manufacture be worth keeping? In fact, if you think about it, ONLY a tiny piece would be worth keeping.
People should be flocking to the house at 1300 West Seventh Street, Roswell, New Mexico right now, sifting through every square inch of the property for anything shiny that may have been swept out the back door over 60 years ago! That I KNOW that the real Men In Black, with or without bulging thyroid eyes and freakishly long fingers, got to Jesse Marcel Jr. is evident in another passage in his book, and I’ll tell you, this one’s a real doozy! According to Marcel Jr., his father, an avid Ham radio operator, “made friends with some Japanese operators living in San Francisco in 1939-40.” After visiting them once, he was “astounded when he saw their equipment – huge assemblies capable of transmitting fifty kilowatts, far greater than the capacity of your typical amateur operator’s rig. Their apartment, beyond being filled with a mass of radio equipment, afforded them a panoramic view of San Francisco Bay. After the war, my father learned that his fellow ‘hobbyists’ were actually Japanese spies.” AFTER THE WAR, JESSE!!! This is Jesse Marcel Sr., soon to be the Intelligence Officer of the elite 509th… the first person to handle the debris of what is believed to be an extraterrestrial vehicle, fragments of which he let his wife sweep out the back door. Damn, perhaps it really was just an ordinary weather balloon. More likely though, the powers that be don’t want us to know the real truth. That we… all of us… are merely fictional constructs in a near infinite number of universes, and that those from another space-time crashed here back in 1947 while attempting to visit their favorite story in a sporty continua craft. Unfortunately for them (and us, as well), those who found them were boojum-erasers who probably eat their lime Jell-O with a straw.