Saturday, March 24, 2012

Innovating new possibilities for what can be done in science fiction

Integrating narrative with essay and poetry...

By me has been written many a book.
I hope you venture to give them a look.
Peruse the selection over along the right.
Let mind and imagination engage flight.
Philosophy, media studies and science fiction unique…
A wandering adventure through tableau fantastique.

I'm going on an indefinite walkabout, and intend to publish another book some time in 2013. This site will remain active in my absence, as a curating source.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

short story: To Remain Children All Our Lives

"The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives." – Albert Einstein

A reality with God in it is fundamentally different—epistemologically and conceptually speaking-- from a reality without God.
Ditto, a world with sentient alien life forms.
What would you do if you knew with absolute certainty that there is a God? What if you knew for sure there were aliens? What if our reality included both?
And what if the two were the same thing?
Cassandra O’Brien is about to find out… this changes everything!

Professor Nathan Nelson, Dream Anthropologist at The Prometheus Institute, had been surreptitiously training Cassie O’Brien (unknown to her) for Arcanum membership since he met her in1998. She entered the group’s awareness as a person of interest when she began dreamwalking. Anticipating she would seek him out, Arcanum requested that Nelson prepare for her arrival (to foster her development); while simultaneously subconsciously nudging Cassie in his direction.
On May 5, 2000, a sign appeared that it was time introduce her to the ranks of that august group.
Cassie had a dream she could not remember.
Which was unusual only in that, since becoming a dreamwalker, she has been able to clearly remember every dream she’s had.
This dream gave her the impression that either she had glimpsed something she was not supposed to see, or that someone had snuck her privileged information. But this dream began fading away upon waking, and all she recalled were faint images and vague impressions. And, bizarrely, a definite aroma reminiscent of Strawberry Shortcake dolls.
In and of itself, that was not peculiar; except that, as a dreamwalker, she could lucidly remember all her dream experiences.
But it was that content of this dream, such as it was, that indicated a sign for Nelson.
Her surreally enigmatic dream featured an ancient, yet highly advanced, civilization and architecture that she sensed was true, but which the arbiters of history insist was fiction & ignorance. The dream depicted a cultural landscape adorned in an aesthetic reflecting a design motif reflecting the following images:
Cassie didn’t know what it was supposed to mean. Nor why she could not remember what the dream was about. She knew only, was sure, that its message was of profound importance.
Professor Nelson also seemed baffled, and after doing some rigorous and intricate science, could offer no explanations.
Revelation felt perpetually on the verge, as if eternally lingering on the tip of her tongue— the more she tried to grasp an image just out of reach, whenever she a found some tenuous comprehension, it disappeared.
Afterwards, Cassie had spent much time alone, meditating and pondering the dream… striving to dredge up missing details and discern meaning.
This kind of self-imposed isolation, which is often engaged in, is often misperceived (by those who don’t know her well) as anti-social behavior, sometimes blinding people to her talents, her intentions. At a diminutive five foot three, this peculiar brown haired, brown eyed, bespectacled woman tended to be underestimated by those who presumed too much (or maybe too little) of her.
Cassie generally worked better alone; could gather all facts and find conclusions or solutions in seemingly unlikely places.
The subconscious working behind the scenes, fitting pieces together in the interim. But as yet, she had attained no success in making satisfactory sense of this mystery. Contrary to the status quo; a rebel without being rebellious.
She believed we shouldn’t have to fit in with society; they should learn that we don’t have to. They should aspire to be more liberated and open minded like her.
Over the years, her curiosity about the paranormal occasionally caused her to investigate the subject of ancient civilizations, evidenced in anachronistic artifacts, historical documents and myth.
Unfortunately, what she found on the internet and in libraries was so voluminous, dubious, spurious and incoherent… the amount of material and misinformation so daunting, she soon gave up the herculean task of trying to separate fact from fiction and actual from allegory, pretty much forgetting about it. She realizes a things can be both fact and fiction, depending on interpretation and representation (the way Jefferson can refer to a real person and a fictional person… and a street name); King Arthur might be a real person and a fictional person. Some elements in myth ARE symbolic, but some could be literal. The trick and trouble is discerning the distinction. Just because part of something is wrong does not mean all of it is wrong— the opposite is also true. Plus, a thing could be true and not true.
But she had so many other things she could be researching, that were more readily accessible and comprehensible.
The true history of Jesus Christ was far less convoluted and obscured than Atlantis— and that’s saying something.
This dream urged her to revisit the search, to see what new information might have become available since.
But, as before, so much of the publically available data on pre-historical anthropology and archeology was like really bad science fiction; seemingly designed to deter and distract seekers from the truth. An intriguing correlation, and n many ways, constructing a derivative kind of allegorical mythologizing about mythology within mythologies about our own society. Simultaneously making myths of myths as well as what those myths relate.
The human brain is notorious for using symbols and symbolic connections, events and ideas to formulate our understanding of our reality and experience.
She gleaned that truth lay hidden somewhere among a massive tangle of lies, fantasy and false conclusions.
As with science, she realized that history— or rather our understanding of it-- is negotiable, subject to adjustment according to new information (or lack of information). And neither science nor history are exactly as we are generally led by our culture to believe is true.
She figured something about the officially sanctioned “knowledge” of the mystery of The Lost Continent of Atlantis and Egyptian origins didn’t quite make sense as presented in the mainstream; but could never be sure what.
No conventional theory had adequately explained to her satisfaction how the Egyptian’s inconsistently advanced culture and technology inexplicably seemed to have appeared out of nowhere completely cogent from its beginning, as if pre-packaged, with no precursor from which it derived.
Assuming she would never have the means to parse the nonsense, Cassie again gave up the search for definitive answers-- but not the wondering and questioning.
In her mind, the historical evidence (actual and contrived) concerning non-existence of advanced ancient civilizations didn’t fit the authoritative propaganda model of our Mother Culture-- which egotistically preferred to presume/ pretend contemporary Western society the pinnacle of human achievement thus far.
Signifying the village idiom.
Maybe the experts really didn’t know what really happened; maybe all they really had was speculation and supposition.
She would never have guessed that the truth was deliberately being suppressed, denied; even ignored by mainstream authority. As with paranormal topics, it was considered too controversial and too incredulous for serious or legitimate study or examination. The official party line was to dismiss such ideas as either nonsense or unreal.
But now, Cassie was finally going to be shown the truth. And that extra-ordinary moment of truth, it turns out, sounded much like a magnificent historical science fiction story. You can’t know a truth of this magnitude and not have your perception of reality substantially, shall we say, revised by its immense profundity.

Upon induction into Arcanum, new members inevitably and consistently begin accessing information on predictable topics: Jesus Christ, aliens, JFK, Illuminati, Atlantis, Egyptian Pyramids, ghosts, etc.
Immediately provided with unrestricted access to the group’s vast and thorough data stores, members are encouraged and enabled to learn the answers for themselves.
However, during orientation process, what is known about the origins of Mankind is revealed to all new members up front.
As a demonstration and fostering of trust mutual, Arcanum maintains a strict policy of full disclosure within the group.
Virtually everything they know about the inception and earliest days of humanity has been reconstructed long after the fact, pieced together a palimpsest puzzle, reverse engineered from diverse and disparate reports— official and unofficial, historical remnants and rumor.

Much of what they revealed to Cassie, she had heard before, but most of it was new to her— particularly the coherence of the context in which it is competently presented.
And because it was Professor Nelson who introduced her to Arcanum, and they who told her, she trusted them—and, therefore, what they told her. Completely and without skepticism, despite the incredibly fantastical nature of the information. Her curiosity devoured the information with the appetite of a voracious badger.
As she perused and contemplated the details, and the enormity of their inherent implications and potential ramifications, over the following several days, Cassie O’Brien was suffused and innervated by the thrill of amazement.
An eerie familiarity consumed Cassie.
She felt dense, heavy; compressed and released by the weight of this revelation. As if she was too big for her body; like a shirt worn too tight. She imagined she was entering Lovecraft’s infamous mountains of madness. All the esoteric eccentricities of all her dreamwalking experience now proved insufficient in preparing her for the epic and ecstatic horror of this arcane adventure; finding it precariously alternating between disturbing and marvelous.
A deep, queasy, restless excitement permeated her completely, intermittently inciting disquieting diarrhetic riots in her bowels.
As she delved into the data, she recognized this is what her elusive message of her mysterious dream.
It is one thing to suspect, a totally other thing to confirm; and Arcanum lattered the former. Joy in pursuing truth is nearly always surpassed by the acquisition of truth; but in this case, they were equal pleasures.

Gene Roddenberry described humanity as a child creature, still growing up, moving into adolescence in this era. Quite literally, it turns out, we are children--- of the gods.
In expurgated summation, here is what they have so far been able to ascertain; what they told Cassie:

Not only have aliens repeatedly visited our planet and interacted with humans throughout our history, but they have been responsible for our creation and evolution (to varying degrees; biological, cultural and technological). Furthermore, there are multiple and diverse types of extra-terrestrial and extra-dimensional beings, several of which have traveled to Earth during our existence.
A distant tenth planet circling the edge of our solar system in obscurity, passes by Earth in its oblong revolution around Sol every 432,000 years— the length of time denoted by the Mayan long count calendar. This is the home world of large humanoid aliens misconstrued as gods-- who initially created us and gave us a semblance of civilization.
After evolving as a mutation of primate species, human kind transformed as the result of eugenics program and direct cross breeding by an alien race of beings with as many names as cultures aware of them. Combining various early hominid DNA with their own genetic material, these aliens created a hybrid servant labor race whose initial purpose was to help mine for gold (the primary interest they had in our planet). But whereas we use and desire gold for its assumed economic and decorative value, our long departed alien overlords wanted it for ecological reasons. Eventually, they produced a diversified new species of intelligent or sentient humanoids we call homo-sapiens, whose offspring became homo-sapiens-sapiens.
This is essentially what Genesis reveals, deciphered in the proper context.
We can trace origins of the human species 200,000 years ago.

So, wait… we are actually part alien? Humans are not naturally occurring, but genetically engineered?
Our history and culture are the residual side effects of that alien intervention?
How should she feel about that?
What should we think about ourselves, knowing this?
Who and what are we, in light of that phenomenal insight?
Is this intense disjointed discombobulation what it feels like to find out you are adopted? Or conceived in a test tube or vat?
Is this disorientated dissolution what American Indians and blacks feel about having their culture co-opted?
How the world feels being dictated and defined by American Imperialism?
What does that mean for the future of humanity? (How) Does that change the way we proceed? Should it? How would we have evolved without that manipulation? Would we have developed into civilization by ourselves eventually? What kind of civilization would it have been? Would we still be a variation of tribal primates? Imagine how different humanity would be if we had originated organically.
Our entire sociological, psychological, biological and technological ontology and epistemology would be substantially altered. Has anything we’ve ever done been truly ours?
Has our whole species, our entire history, been nothing but a derivative byproduct of bygone extra-terrestrials?
If so, does that invalidate or demean what we have achieved— all we have ever dreamed for and about since?

Abundant evidence planet wide, much of it hidden in plain sight and publically accessible, reveals that an advanced civilization existed in our collective pre-history.
Strange and incongruous artifacts built by an amazing and exotic technology contrary to Academia’s asserted inimical perception of our history, found in locations and among societies where they simply have no logical reason for having occurred naturally.
Entire cultures had been based on celestial events believed to be of great significance for humanity.
Or ancestors clearly had an extensive knowledge of astronomy, cosmology and mathematics that they should logically not have been capable of devising on their own, given the current level of their sociological and technological development.
The mere knowledge of precession of the equinoxes inherent within the Zodiac, and its associative sophisticated celestial mechanism, appearing in such a culture at that point in our history is astounding.
No, not just astounding; a logical and logistical impossibility— without interference from a more sophisticated outside agent.
How could these ancient people have possibly conceived of or calculated such complex processes by themselves? Knowledge of astronomical motion requires a very advanced scientific awareness and a time frame of observation that they simply could not have acquired organically or independently.
Globally, evidence is available to us now of machining techniques far beyond what those pre-historical societies should have reasonably been capable of designing.
Correlations between structures, temple alignments with celestial movements and numerical references, as well as the myths and historical record of separate ancient societies indicate springing from a common linkage in our distant past. If we pay attention to what these ancient cultures were saying about themselves in their own histories and legends, they tell us they and their knowledge came from the gods. That their society was built by gods.
The secret knowledge carried in the Messianic bloodline of Jesus Christ references this connection. Much of the early Biblical stories can easily be interpreted as documenting these accounts of alien-god influence.
Could the story of Prometheus be a metaphorical signifier of these gods?

Evidence indicates these alien arbiters, who were long considered gods , existed on this planet between circa 11,500 BC and circa 2000 BC.
According to archeological insight, for nearly 300,000 years prior to their arrival, humans had been culturally stagnant; there had been no significant technological development in societies of very early Mankind.
And then 3,500 years ago, what we define as modern Man arrived.

How could ancient drawings of dinosaurs exist, if dinosaurs are supposed to have become extinct long before the arrival of humanity?
How, unless they co-existed at some point in their mutual histories?

Uncanny parallels and similarities occur in the creation stories of Christianity, Hindu, Hebrew, Norse, American Indians, Mayans, Egyptians, Sumerians, Babylonians.
Obviously, they are influenced by a common central source of origin.
Atlantis, Lemuria and Mu were descendent antediluvian colonies of their offspring with homo-sapien lineage; cities all destroyed in a catastrophic flood.

Egyptian Pharaohs and Mayan Kings adopted and adapted a given alien culture as their own. We may infer some aspects about the aliens’ culture by examining the infrastructure of ancient Earth civilizations that integrated alien artifacts. Our own adoration, valuation and fascination for gold in the present day is a throwback to the attitude introduced by them.
The pyramids around which our ancient civilizations formed their society were an incredible architectural achievement, and yet the quality of all subsequent constructions within that culture has steadily declined and devolved.
Every aspect of Egyptian knowledge seems to have been complete from the beginning, as if their culture suddenly and inexplicably emerged fully formed, rather than having grown and evolved organically. No precursor developments exist that could account for and lead up to that level of knowledge at that point in their own history. Sciences, arts and architectural techniques and language systems show virtually no sign of inception.
Inexplicably, the achievements of these earlier eras were never equaled or surpassed.

How did distinct, isolated and disparate cultures all around the planet happen to acquire such remarkably similar cultural, technological and religious elements-- and apparently had no contact with each other-- unless they shared and derived from a common source?
There is sufficient proof to conclude that more than one, but related, ancient civilizations existed in the darkness of antiquity. Are we supposed to believe this is the accidental remnant of archetypal manifestations from our collective unconscious?
Not coincidence… evidence; hidden in plain sight.

This advanced alien civilization clearly possessed (and left for us) complex craftsmanship, knowledge and manufacturing… but utilized such rudimentary materials and the aesthetic of a seemingly primitive culture on Earth. Were cities built this way on their own world?
Or was this just an expediency of an Earth bound outpost?
Different eras, different cultures have different mentalities and perspectives.
So it is difficult for us to understand and accept the hows and whys of their foreign culture.
Ancient humans learned to perform and perpetuate extant technology provided by the aliens, but not how to develop or evolve it on their own.
Their origins have grown so old, so lost to time, that their own rituals, customs and roots of their society and technology have become myth to them. They no longer maintained knowledge of the purpose of those cultural artifacts and processes.
The source of those things have been so long gone, that it is commonly not believed to have even existed today.
Our common, consensus view of history is quite clearly wrong.
And instead of trying to discover and understand the truth of our history, we are collectively (and ignorantly) complicit and negligent in perpetuating a sort of deliberately insistent historical fiction. To challenge ideas taken for granted by our own culture is difficult for us— especially when the vast majority of us are not aware if an idea is taken for granted, and do not think to consider that history as we are told might be otherwise.
Exotic exceptions contravening the official story are routinely rejected by Academia-- and therefore by society, as a matter of course. That is not how science is supposed to operate; this is a blatant defiance of science.
An epic monomythic conspiracy of contemporary culture is being waged against us; akin to lies parents tell their children. Maybe something monstrous had been crammed into human form, while anyone who notices is likely to lose their train of thought.
Our governments work diligently to provide as many distractions to our daily lives as they can, to keep the population preoccupied, so as to not notice or even care about the deception being orchestrated against, around and through them.
Cassie watches all the various documentaries covering the subject of Ancient Astronauts and Ancient Civilizations and Alien Visitation, but are invariably composed as sensational tabloid expose, framing the questions with either an implication of “what if?” or nothing more than a kind of speculative fiction based on circumstantial evidence and over-active imagination. Ultimately, they can be reduced to “We don’t Know what really happened.”
Or “We aren’t allowed to tell you”.

Where these alien gods went, why they left us (and for so long), when/ if they might return, or even if they still exist is currently unknown to Arcanum. But theorists within the group hypothesize that these aliens left because they had gathered enough gold from this planet, and were no longer getting sufficient return on their investment, because humans were becoming more trouble than they were worth to the aliens. Will they ever come back?
If so, when?
And why? And what then?

“There are not many persons who know what wonders are opened to them in the stories and visions of their youth; for when as children we listen and dream, we think but half-formed thoughts, and when as men we try to remember, we are dulled and prosaic with the poison of life.”
“If religion were true, its followers would not try to bludgeon their young into an artificial conformity; but would merely insist on their unbending quest for truth, irrespective of artificial backgrounds or practical consequences.”
--H. P. Lovecraft

Read more:

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Wait For It: Lindsay Lohan

I’ve never been impressed with Lindsay Lohan as an actor. I have never even liked any movies she’s been in.
That may have as much or more to do with the low quality of her filmography, so far, than her actual acting ability. I believe she has not really had the opportunity to shine, but I think she can.
And yet, I am rooting for Lindsay to become the great actress she now declares that she hopes and strives to become, in the process of reviving her acting career.
I have no investment in her potential victory— other than emotional; but for reasons I have difficulty articulating, I want her to succeed. I want Lindsay Lohan to do well, to exceed and surpass her tabloid travails.
Just to get this out of the way: I confess that, while I think she is pretty, I’m not particularly attracted to her.
But there is something alluring and fascinating about Lindsay that appeals to me. Maybe something to do with her kindly, adventurous, playful demeanor. Maybe her genuine wish and intent to be a better actor, and regret for her indiscretions getting in the way of that pursuit.
The vibrant and sincere earnestness with which she now asserts in reclaiming and transforming her life to make it better, to be better. Maybe it is her childlike nature and hopeful, well meaning optimism.
Maybe I like seeing the underdog win.
Maybe because I enjoy discovering the rise and development of new artistic talent; the joy and fun of witnessing the blossoming of a great actor. Such is an experience of beauty, of awe.
I want her to prove her critics and haters wrong, to prove that she can be the great actress Lindsay said she aspires to be. I really hope she does. I really hope the world lets her.
And so, I watched her appearance on Saturday Night Live with tentative optimism; hoping she wins, but expecting her to fail. Admittedly, she— alas-- didn’t do a good job.
I was disappointed for her (and in her) miserable performance. But keep in mind, and to be fair, she has not been seriously engaged with acting for a while; she’s out of practice, so we should be forgiving and sympathetic if she isn’t brilliant straight out of the gate. She was clearly rusty: the obviousness of her cue card reading, flubbed lines, and poor pacing. She was plainly and understandably nervous and struggling; certainly aware that this could be make or break time for her, that her performances would be under a giant microscope of public scrutiny. She’s going to need more training before she is capable of a role like Liz Taylor.
It didn’t help that the SNL producers didn’t give her much to work with, or much screen time. No amount of good acting could have saved their awful scripting. Plus, this was LIVE; no re-takes and no take backs. She got one shot, and unfortunately she blew it. Watching her “come back” SNL episode was painful and heartbreaking to watch (more so than typical for SNL in recent years), but the producers are at least AS responsible for her poor showing as Lindsay-- if not more so… for not providing adequate guidance and for putting her on stage before she was ready.
She was pretty much set up to fail; and whether that was intentional or not is debatable.
But ultimately, I conceived her SNL participation as-- at worst-- a kind of rehearsal, a practice run… not deserving to be judged too critically. Or harshly.
As disappointed as I was about her poor SNL performances, I was much more disappointed (dismayed, really) about the vitriolic and malicious public display of schadenfreude.
The vast majority of the negative criticisms cavalierly and ignorantly waged against Lindsay had nothing to do with helping her or making her a better actor. And may only contribute in further destroying the career of someone who is publicly struggling to improve herself.
We could at least have the decency and maturity to give her a chance and the time to become better; Lindsay has just begun her transformation. Development is a process, a journey… not a moment. To use a Buffy metaphor: Right now, Lindsay is cookie dough, freshly placed in the oven. She’s not done yet. Let’s let her finish baking. Even George Clooney was mediocre until his Batman movie. But after, he transitioned into a magnificent actor.
What we should be doing, instead of public ridicule, bullying and berating, is promoting civility and mindfulness in what we say about others.
In this age of increasing social responsibility, we must rally to help those who want to get better and improve themselves. We should aim to help each other where we are able, and to do no harm.
If we want a culture which fosters the best in us, we must first be willing and able to enable ourselves and each other to do so.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Speaking of Independent Artist...

...these three TED videos insightfully comment on the core of creativity; and are brilliant works of art themselves:

Plus, this:
Through Visionary Temple artist Sandeep Chandran has produced stunningly beautiful digital sculpture which can be cast in resin or glass via the method of colored glaze.