Seasons Greetings from Daumal, Jodorowsky and myself – and from the Analogue Mounts, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse …

As, of course, I use a trackpad at home these days to avoid repetitive stress injury.

So, twas the night before Christmas, and as soon us it will be upon, the question to ask ourselves is:

Whose side are you on

And have found myself wanting as I knew I owed a gift to my loyal and by now incredibly surprised reader who had probably forgotten what the hullabaloo was all about. I mean, I never did get back to you about the winning crowdsourced blog name, nor the still developing story that is Fusion Anomaly.

If this were any other blog post before Xmas, you would be reading a retrospective on the achievements of my blog in 2014 or at least a some kind of list about said year. Being atypical, I’m going to save something along those lines for the lead up to the new year – although its a safe bet that a retrospective focusing on my blogging achievements will not be , ahem, required …

Instead, I thought it time to give you an update on the paper I was writing on Rene Daumal and Alejandro Jodorowsky that made me almost as invisible as the apparent object of both their quests – Mount Analogue:

The summit of #MountAnalogue - achievement unlocked!

The summit of MountAnalogue reached – achievement unlocked!

I finished it in November and it’ll be published in the Journal for the Academic Study of Religion‘s special issue on Gurdjieff early in 2015. For those of you without patience, here’s what ended up being the abstract:

Abstract:

The Chilean-French avant-garde filmmaker and self-styled spiritual teacher Alejandro Jodorowsky’s film The Holy Mountain (1973), is often referred to as a ‘surrealistic’ exploration of Western Esotericism, and was a pivotal cinematic moment for what Christopher Partridge (2004; 2005) has termed ‘occulture’. It is often claimed in secondary literature and informally online that the film is based on the unfinished novel Mount Analogue (1952) by René Daumal, French writer and follower of the esotericist G. I. Gurdjieff. The Holy Mountain is thus a clear candidate for testing theories about the cultural production of ‘Gurdjieffian’ film adaptations. A closer reading, however, shows that the two texts share few ideological or even structural elements. In the wake of the film’s reception and Jodorowsky’s growing cultural importance, this article maps the congruence of the film to the novel by focusing on the role played by the eponymous mountain as the only invariant symbol in both. Some of the biographical contours of the two artists’ relationship to Gurdjieffian and wider occultural esoteric discourses will also be traced to reveal the pre-critical and largely self-referential narrative of the film adaptation in the secondary literature as a species of academic urban legend-making.

However, as patience should also be rewarded, below is the slightly longer preprint version that can be found on Scribd:

You can also download it and basically bump up my altmetrics XP over at my Academia.edu account.

Although it was a struggle (never write a paper on a dare, kiddies!) I was happy with it in the end.

Not a scene from the movie but an artist’s representation of how I felt after I typed that final period …

I, too. had found my peradam.

“The clarity of this stone is so great and its index of refraction so close to that of air that, despite the crystal’s great density, the unaccustomed eye hardly perceives it. But to anyone who seeks it with sincere desire and true need, it reveals itself by its sudden sparkle, like that of dewdrops. The peradam is the only substance, the only material object whose value is recognized by the guides of Mount Analogue.” – René Daumal

The reviewers in the end were equally happy:

This is definitely a key alchemical scene from the movie and any resemblance to the comments of my reviewers is purely incidental.

On balance they thought it a novel, logical, and well-argued piece that left little doubt that Holy Mountain was not even an film adaptation of Daumal’s most famous novel.

I’m also very glad that I got to know them both so well, although I think they did outstay their hospitality in my mind’s eye. Indeed, most of the virtuosos I’ve ever written about were usually long dead, and I’d be curious to find out what Jodorowsky thought of it before he joined them.

Either way, I’m looking forward to exploring the work of both artists in future posts during 2015, and even to publish a more journalistic version that uses their imagery for greater effect.

However, my handling of the whole episode and both its immediate effects on those around me and its aftereffects was definitely a lesson in what I wouldn’t do again. Here I begin to stray into 2014 flashback territory but 2014 has been a great reminder that the world and its constituents – organisations, systems, etc – only cares about us as long as we serve its needs:

The only conspiracy theory I subscribe to

In that spirit, feel free to regift my gift to you: pass it on and share it and enjoy your Xmas days. Its the only way to know to which party you will in the end belong.

You’ll hear from me again before the New Year rings in.

Whois fUSION Anomaly? A late blogger’s lament for a haunted internet

Now has to be as good time as any for my next post.

OK, maybe now is really not a good time ...

OK, maybe now is really not a good time …

As my paper on Jodo was dragging on in a temperamental replication of the man himself, and in lieu of those more weighty posts on THE NAMES, I kept making excuses as to why I couldn’t write until I remembered what a friend of mine had re-posted a few weeks ago:

A No Excuses Guide to Blogging (PDF, EPUB, MOBI – free!); also, notes on publishing

Sacha Chua’s No Excuses Guide to Blogging

So I’ll write about what I don’t know even has an answer – the state of the internet today. And because there appeared already to be an answer to that question, I picked on something my own size, i.e. in part, why:

The State of the Web, Winter 2011-2013 - The Oatmeal

Even with the jarring effect of that final Latin phrase, it probably didn’t even take you 15 seconds to read this silently …

 Maybe it’s not so weird to see that GIFs are making a comeback (because Vine etc). Now, I’m not ashamed to say I came to internet adulthood during the rise and fall of the last great age of the GIF, the late 90s to the mid-to-late 2000s – you know, with the feeling of having your mind blown by RSS and when WordPress was still mysterious; seeing Bloglines go and Google Reader come (and feeling the Google Rage as it went).  When the viridian design of Worldchanging was still relevant; Boing Boing still looked mostly onomatopoeic, and the best blogs were written by smart people who posted whatever was interesting to them. Cool Tools abounded. The goofy literate UFO weirdness of (saying) Brainsturbator. When Huge Entity was still, well, huge. When 10 Zen Monkeys was reporting from the countercultural underground; and Rigorous Intuition was the countercultural underground.

But somehow until recently I’d missed GIF-tastic fUSION Anomaly, “Atomjack’s nodebased memetic flowchart on Indra’s Net”:

a.k.a what Wikipedia would have looked like if it was designed in an alternate universe where the institutions of modern science never felt the need to keep Isaac Newton’s Secret secret.

And, as for some reason it’s impossible to access the website from the home page, fUSION Anomaly. Go ahead, click the links and then keep clicking: I dare you not to have an internet party getting lost down that warren of rabbit holes. You won’t regret it and I’ll be right here waiting for you …

<time passes>

Welcome back! You’ve changed … Surprisingly, search turns up little in the way of information on the site: just two blog posts, plus one great review on tech news site Geekosystems, ‘fUSION Anomaly: The Secret, Ancient, Bizarro World Wikipedia‘ which will help you navigate through the tangle of indecipherable incestuously conspiratorial hyperlinks that seem impossibly dated (hey, just like Wikipedia!).

But what would be the point of doing that? I can’t remember exactly how I stumbled upon it now, but it certainly wasn’t through StumbleUpon. When it comes to today’s web, where’s the serendipity? That 90s/00s Net had so much serendipity …

But the real jewel in this fractal crown reminded me of the reason I wanted to blog in the first place – the fUSION Anomalog, a real and active WordPress blog which trades in strange pictures and GIFs like it was a Tumblr, but most of which are not just reposts from thisisnthappiness.com.

I don’t think my obsession with this blog can be put down purely to nostalgia, but more that it haunts me as a possible sign of ‘the sense of atemporality that underpins our present culture‘. 

So as much as I love the mystery, I want to put out a plea for help and a call to action to my 19 fellow readers in Feedly and the whole internets: whois fUSION Anomaly?

And also tell me, internet: who runs the fUSION Anomalog?

All I know that might narrow it down is that they seem knowledgable enough about contemporary Australia and UFOs to be living in or be an expat from the Northern Territory in a way a non-Texan American would find difficult.

I want the internet to find ‘Atomjack’ because as the blog posts are all devoid of username, with comments disabled, and provide no context to what the hell it is we’ve been wading through, I’d like to ask:

  • Why do they blog at all, when all the conventions and customary advantages of the weblog format aren’t being used?
  • Does a blog need a clear purpose?
  • Why isn’t Tumblr their natural haunt?

But most of all I want to be able to thank them not only for all the obscure animated gifs:

Yes, that is an animated gif of a Vine of a video of a flipbook of an animated gif of a rollercoaster

Yes, that is an animated gif of a Vine of a video of a flipbook of an animated gif of a rollercoaster…

But also for allowing us all to to be GIF-ted, i.e., steal from them without the possibility of attribution – while being myself stolen:

... by the Great Poke and Swipe - after all, we are property ...

… by the Great Poke and Swipe – after all, we are property …

At any rate, if you can’t tell me who they are, you can always subscribe to them. It would almost make up for your ignorance. And because ‘you are what you cache’, and unlike Atomjack, I look forward to you commenting yourselves into existence below, and perhaps a brave soul will attempt to answer the questions posed by the existence of a blogger who publishes an ‘anti-blog’.

On the summit with Alejandro Jodorowsky and René Daumal, no peaking allowed

This is a quick post intended to stoke smouldering embers and keep hearth fires burning until delayed guests arrive.

I had indicated that the next few weekly posts would focus on the meanings of the names I had selected for my hosted blog. Instead, I’ve been mountain climbing with the Chilean-French avant-garde filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky and the French para-Surrealist writer René Daumal:

IMG_3619

What my free time last week looked like – writing a journal article on analogous mountains

I had expected to reach the peak by now. When I got there though I realised I was only half-way up and needed to make camp in the next few days, so there’s nothing else for it but to keep climbing. I should be back to my original plan within a week, but I had to express my thanks for both the quantity and quality of the engagement I’ve gotten already on my first post (thanks for the name votes folks btw, keep ’em coming!) by following up with at least a recommendation – because if you haven’t watched Jodorowsky’s Holy Mountain you haven’t lived:

With his first new film in decades ‘Dance of Reality’ having come out last year, a documentary on Jodorowsky’s Dune, the greatest sci-fi movie never made, having just come out, and an ever growing influence over pop culture, now is a good time to check out his work. All I can say is that I’ll miss writing about him once I’ve made it through to the other side:

No, this is a scene from the move …

Daumal deserves his own series of posts, and I’m sure it will not be the last time you read something from me about him. In the meantime, check out Gary Lachman’s 2001 introductory article. I’ll leave you with one of his poems from Mount Analogue, the implications of which I’ll be grappling with as I begin to make my descent:

Poem from ‘Mount Analogue’

One cannot stay on the summit forever –
One has to come down again.
So why bother in the first place? Just this.
What is above knows what is below –
But what is below does not know what is above.

One climbs, one sees –
One descends and sees no longer
But one has seen!

There is an art of conducting one’s self in
The lower regions by the memory of
What one saw higher up.

When one can no longer see,
One does at least still know.

And remember:

 

Making tomorrow better, after 5 years – but, posse, what’s in a name?

So … I’m finally ‘officially’ blogging after 5 years of talking about it. It may not be perfect but at least it is.

Friends may remember conversations way back in 2009 where I talked about starting a blog – y’know, back when blogging was still ‘cool’, i.e., ‘not dead‘, according to recent prophecying by the Elder Netgod Kottke.

Before the dark times – before the Empire:

That ending kinda gives you an idea of what I’ve been doing with my time, as well as the angst I felt while doing it.

INTERNET TIME!

Its not like this is an artist’s interpretation of what allegedly took place in my online ‘life’, 2009-2014.

In fact this was one of the reasons why Facebook collectively assembled its politest heroes who kindly suggested that a blog may be a more appropriate avenue for the carpet bombing of wonder to which I was subjecting their timelines.

But then, of course, I discovered Twitter

It’s not like I haven’t blogged before today. Disinfo, Daily Grail, Earthsharing – I’ve had a crack at a few while I was learning the ropes but nothing stuck. So why blogging again and why now?

Exhibit A – determination:

#mythreewords 1 Jan

Twitter seems to have lost the URL for this public declaration, but my best guess would be twitter.com/djp1974/status/418170347507023000

A blog was part of the plan for the third word for this year and thankfully every day is the best day of the year. But given the next word in this series in every year previous was procrastination, what’s different this time?

Exhibit BMilt Olin.

After that, its hard to hit that snooze button.

Blogging is a writer’s tool to get to ‘just write!’ And before I die I want to be a writer – the verb, not the noun.

Exhibit C – inspiration, peer-to-peer and with just a little friendly pressure:

http://witterdaily.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/please-blog/

‘Sent by a friend, who should soon be blogging too’ – I am now, @mattner_d!

But my seat is directly in this seat because of Cat, another friend who yesterday wrote:

So why come back now?

Well, I missed talking to myself (with my husband and the odd friend occasionally listening in). I missed having a truly personal blog that didn’t have editorial calendars and engagement strategies. I missed having a catch all space for the various stuff that I collect. I missed having a place where I could write on whatever took my fancy.

(I also made a pact with a friend to start a blog this weekend. He assures me he will have a post up by tomorrow so I had to hold up my side of the agreement.)

And yes, I am the odd friend to which the author refers throughout but more especially at the end.

It was after all the upholding of bargains, the reputation and feedback systems, which drew me to the Web in the first place. So it was with great interest that I read the latest blog from Microsoft Research’s Principal Researcher danah boyd (of It’s Complicated fame) about her experiment with Medium to rekindle her blogging practice. Her origin story captures the flavour of why those of us drawn to blogging do what we do:

When blogging was “cool” in the mid-2000s, I was immersed in a blogging community where we were all reading and thinking about each other’s writing. As more and more people caught onto blogging, the practice became professionalized and my blog professionalized alongside that transformation.

Like danah’s Medium experiment, what my peers are also trying to do a little is to “incentivize each other in our writing, to spark ideas for each other, and to give feedback to each other as we blog about all sorts of things.”

Which brings me back almost full circle – because like Facebook and Twitter (and WordPress.com to some degree) what happens in Medium, stays in Medium. For at least 30 days, at any rate. What’s more, almost none of you will have found this link through a feed reader. Most links will have come through Twitter and Facebook (Medium and fortune will have to wait).

For me, this is where the final piece of the inspiration puzzle fits in – the IndieWeb, a syndication model where you post your content on your own domain first, then syndicating out copies to 3rd party services with permalinks back to the original version (or POSSE for short).

It’s a key part of why and how the ‘IndieWeb’ movement is different from just ‘everyone blog on their own site’. I will get the most control by using self-hosted WordPress. So in the name of the spirit of 2005, over the next fortnight I’d like to invite you all to take part in a poll to help me select one of the below purchased domain names:

 

During the next two weeks, each of the following posts will focus on the reason each URL has a meaning for me and why you should vote for it.

http://pregnantfilm.tumblr.com/post/1072837442/psychic-rally

Looking forward to you input.