…And I don’t wanna swim.

“To survive, the spectacle must have social control. It can recuperate a potentially threatening situation by shifting ground, creating dazzling alternatives- or by embracing the threat, making it safe and then selling it back to us”- Larry Law, from The Spectacle– The Skeleton Keys

I’m going to put on my cartoon prophet hat, and say in regards to my own question: yeah, this is it. This is the world tipping upside down. The shot below the waterline. After this, nothing is the same. Nothing will ever be normal again.

I case you’re not in loop: thousands dead, cities wiped off the map, other cities turning inexorably into lakes, refugees rammed into a hellish stadium that could turn into a coffin at any time. Surrounding energy infrastructure smashed, roads smashed, no power, no water, no food, millions displaced, chemical spills, beached tankers, jammed supply lines, overtaxed emergency relief systems. ‘Looters’ being shot for stealing supplies to survive or useless trinkets that are going to be destroyed by water anyway. War, Famine, Pestilence and Death. Those motherfuckers are riding, dawg, so you better get with the program, cause they’ve coming to your neighborhood next.

You can tell from the blasted dumbfounded news media that they have no idea how to respond to the real situation, so they spent all day concentrating on helicopters salvaging people off their own roofs. I watched one idiot ( Anderson Cooper ) comment on a ‘stunned’ bird, a pelican or heron who clearly couldn’t give two shits about a bunch of dead humans. You’re the one who’s stunned, dumbass.

If you’re wondering when the media is gonna start hyping the real devastation and horrific repercussions of this thing, the answer is simple: as soon as they can come up with an official story that incorporates the end of life as we know it, and still lets the powers that be come away looking good. If it sounds like a contradiction, that’s because it is. That sound you hear is the back of the mainstream media breaking. That’s just the start.

I feel sorry for these wingnuts who are so eager to attribute the reality priesthood with credit for this that they’ll trot out scalar waves, HAARP, and space based particle weapons to explain how the NSA had a hand in this. The pentagon had no fucking hand in this, assholes. That’s the point. If they did, they’d be eager to come in and comment on how they now have the situation under control, and there’s help on the way and everything is going back to normal.

One thing you must remember about the reality priesthood and the terrorscape they create is this: they only play up threats they can control. They must be able to turn the dial up or down, call them up on demand or make them disappear altogether. That’s why invented wars on invented enemies work so well. Natural catastrophies don’t cut it, unless they happen to little brown people that the rich over here could care less about and the poor never see unless the rich want them to. Do you see the difference now?

There is no official story, only damage control for the spectacle. Does anyone give a flying fuck about ‘the war on terror’ or democracy building in iraq right now? The whole retarded narrative we’ve had showed down our throats for years now is going down in flames for no other reason than simple scale and immediacy.

It’s all about the maintenance of illusions. We’re ‘free’ we’re ‘safe’ we’re going to ‘survive’. We will be protected by these thieves and rapists who stripped New Orleans of any protection it might have had to spend more money and lives lining their pockets somewhere else.

Like fuck we will.

Like fuck George and his self important bullshit is going to protect me or anyone I love from the wrath of nature spun out of control by centuries of heedless tampering.

If you have any questions about whether or not this system is going to protect you, just take a good look. It can’t, and and the moment you start looking after yourself , you’re going to be shot in the street and left to float downstream in a river of sewage and fire ants.

The physical damage is no worse than the Indonesian tsunami, obviously, but the physical damage echoes into image damage, and image damage equals social damage, and both equal money damage. That’s the big difference.

You are about to see, in no particular order:

Catastrophic numbers of bodies discovered drowned in their own homes, or simply washed out to sea.

American cities reduced to unlivable war zones full of desperate people who can’t get out.

Gasoline and home heating prices skyrocket immediately and for a long time after, perhaps permanently.

The neocons will lose any credibility they had left, as they continue to try and sell an unpopular war in the aftermath of the worst systemic disaster in American history. When the national guard can’t match up with the scale of this thing, it’ll become clear the homefront is being sold out to carry on foreign policy that does not serve any of the citizenry.

You’re going to see terrible starvation, disease, mass exodus of refugees, and the slow creep of martial law out from the disaster zone as ‘relocation ‘ marches slowly across America. This’ll be helped along by the as-of-now financial trainwreck and energy shortages that will unravel buisiness as usual pretty much everywhere.

And if think the Chinese, Russians, and Europeans don’t smell blood, you’re kidding yourself. The usual noises of sympathy and support will be followed by the boots they’ve been waiting to put into the United States for quite awhile.

Oh yeah: and anyone who tries to refute global warming will soon look like the stupidest asshole in a stupid asshole contest.

All of this will of course not reach your consciouness for as long as can possibly be helped. So I suggest you get yourself in the loop and make your plans. The ship is sinking friends. Our civilization just hit the iceberg.


Bourbon blues on the street, loose and complete
Under skies all smoky blue green
I can’t forsake a dixie dead shake
So we danced the sidewalk clean
My memory is muddy
What’s this river that I’m in?
New Orleans is sinking man
And I don’t wanna swim

Death Letter

I got a letter this morning
What do you reckon it read?
Said “Hurry, Hurry because the gal you love is dead”
It looked like ten thousand people standing around the burial ground…
I didn’t know I loved her ’till they began to let her down…
You know it’s so hard to love
Someone that don’t love you
Won’t get satisfaction
Don’t care what you do
son house

So I took a couple days to train, and didn’t look at the news. I come back and it turns out there’s a good chance New Orleans will be wiped off the face of the earth today. And what I end up thinking to myself, is ” is this it? is this going to be the one that does it? ”

I’m well aware of how sheltered and complacent our lives, my life, is here. I’m well aware we live in an imaginary bubble. I just pop out of it to fulfill my hobbies as a clown on the edge of the spectacle, and pop back into the bubble so I don’t have to think about it the rest of the time. I struggle with my wakefulness. I struggle with my love for this imaginary bubble that we call civilization. And I do love it. I love the books, I love the art, the music, the science, the architecture. And I know that nomads clinging to the edge of survival don’t do things like that. That civilization is a product of people who don’t have to worry about survival from one day to the next, so they can spend their time maintaining the conceptual grain silo that feeds our thirst for aesthetic considerations. And we tend not to think about the wanton brutality that keeps us insulated from worries of survival.

That’s what Rome was really. It was a colossal, millenial monument of culture, and the people who swung the swords to protect the monument understood that. There was no need to justify anything. It was what it was. Even if you loved Rome, Rome didn’t love you. Couldn’t love you. And when it was clear that Rome would fall, it was bittersweet. Because you loved, but you also hated.

You hated the blood on your hands.You hated the obligation to be a hypocrite. You hated the impossibility of moral consistency. You hated lacking all credibility to even criticize the thing you loved, because you were complicit in it.

It’s like your parents. You can disagree with how they raised you. You can resent them, you can hate them even. But you are their child, and you can’t ever change that.

And as a child of falling Rome, you look at your meager few possessions, and you see the signs, and you wait. You wonder when you will know when it’s time to let it go. Will you ever let it go? Or will you be one of those who lay in the path of the flood, safe in your imaginary bubble…

Perhaps you find the causal linkage I’m implying spurious. You’re welcome to do so. It’s all one structure. Energy flows from the inside to the outside, as above so below. The Alchemist recognizes the world as a projection of the activities of his own consciousness. We know nothing about some hypothetical ‘real’ world. We know our own perceptions.

This world made us. We make the world in turn. That world we made unmakes us. In turn we must unmake that world. Because it is that world that will doom us all.

And out come the wolves…

Now that the thrill of the massacre is over
Isn’t it sweet when she sucks on your veins
Glimpses of grandeur now faced with defeat
I’ve waited so long
Now that your kingdom of Babylon’s fading
where will you turn when you can’t find Your soul?
the Tea Party-Babylon

Ah, poor Dubya. I’d hate him if only he weren’t so clearly a sock puppet. Whatever they did to the poor bastard to make him a viable presidential robot obviously broke something inside of him. It’s sad to see him constantly whimpering that no one supports his ‘democracy building’ initiatives.

But never mind that. I’m not here to piss on the guy anymore. It’s beside the point.

I’m here to declare victory. Yes you heard me right. It’s all over but the crying. I realize that’s a bold statement, but it’s patently obvious that whatever support he had in most quarters has dissolved. His war is lost, his base is turning against him, and his retarded flailing is bad for business. Sometime in the last couple weeks the force shifted and everyone and their dog can smell George’s blood.

So I imagine that in short order we’ll see what’s left of the neocon agenda unravel entirely. There’s probably enough scrutiny out there to preempt any manufactured terrorist events from having any useful purpose. The real powers have enough to deal with without this clown and his gang of fanatics whipping the populace into a frenzy. When gas is $5.00 a gallon, and the housing bubble bursts, no one wants this embarrassment still sitting in the white house. He’s too obvious of a scapegoat for a soon to be enraged populace. There aint enough troops to control Iraq, let alone a combustible homefront in the grip of social upheaval. Far better to shuffle George off the stage and replace him with a less controversial puppet to help calm things down and gird the american people for ‘tough times ahead’.

Which is not to say it’s smooth sailing. Like I say, there are plenty of gut punches coming from the reality priesthood, but they’re about to toss the scapegoats out the exit hatch, and get on with the real plans. Namely a grab-back of resources and wealth to make the great depression look like a garage sale.

But for the moment I will kick back and look forward to George’s long-deserved public asswhuppin, and have a drink in honor of old Hunter S. Thompson, god rest his soul, who sadly didn’t live to see his prediction come true.

Immediately after the first debate ended I called Muhammad Ali at his home in Michigan, but whoever answered said the champ was laughing so hard that he couldn’t come to the phone. “The debate really cracked him up,” he chuckled. “The champ loves a good ass-whuppin’. He says Bush looked so scared to fight, he finally just quit and laid down.”

…”What is that horrible smell in the office, Tex? It’s making me sick.”
“That is the smell of a Loser, Senator. He came in to apply for a job, but we tossed him out immediately. Sgt. Sloat took him down to the parking lot and taught him a lesson he will never forget.”
“Good work, Tex. And how are you coming with my new Enemies List? I want them all locked up. They are scum.”
“We will punish them brutally. They are terrorist sympathizers, and most of them voted against you anyway. I hate those bastards.”
“Thank you, Sloat. You are a faithful servant. Come over here and kneel down. I want to reward you.”
That is the nature of high-risk politics. Veni Vidi Vici, especially among Republicans. It’s like the ancient Bedouin saying: As the camel falls to its knees, more knives are drawn.

…They all loved the whiff. It is the perfect drug for War — as long as you are winning — and Hitler thought he was King of the Hill forever. He had created a new master race, and every one of them worshipped him. The new Hitler youth loved to march and sing songs in unison and dance naked at night for the generals. They were fanatics.
That was sixty-six years ago, far back in ancient history, and things are not much different today. We still love War.
George Bush certainly does. In four short years he has turned our country from a prosperous nation at peace into a desperately indebted nation at war.

…Bush is a natural-born loser with a filthy-rich daddy who pimped his son out to rich oil-mongers. He hates music, football and sex, in no particular order, and he is no fun at all.

…We were angry and righteous in those days, and there were millions of us. We kicked two chief executives out of the White House because they were stupid warmongers. We conquered Lyndon Johnson and we stomped on Richard Nixon — which wise people said was impossible, but so what? It was fun. We were warriors then, and our tribe was strong like a river.
That river is still running. All we have to do is get out… while it’s still legal, and we will wash those crooked warmongers out of the White House.

Justice delayed, but never denied, George. History will stomp all over you and everyone like you. You aren’t the first. Buh-Bye. Victory party in the comments!

Hunter S. Thompson 1937-2005 R.I.P.

Alchemy for the Braindamaged II: Difficulty

 in difficulty, creativity and development are effective if correct. Do not use. There is a place to go. It is beneficial to set up a ruler. – the Taoist I ching

I’ve incorporated some aspects of the I ching here because it’s a good map of this whole process from a non western perspective. I’ll be switching metaphors liberally however to give a multi faceted overview of this thing filtered through many systems.

Anyway. One of the big movements of occultism in the last century was to shed a lot of what was seen as ‘trappings’. Certainly even up to the Golden Dawn or OTO there were rather a lot of formal declarations, applications and sponsorship, oaths of various kinds and involved induction rituals before instruction would begin. These practices still survive in many forms mind you, but they are increasingly seen as archaic holdovers from an uptight and self important elitist practice that have no place in an egalitarian democracy which professes freedom and equal opportunity. Certainly the best example is the chaos magick current which prides itself on the complete absence of extraneous trappings.

Why the hell should I have to make all these binding promises and jump through hoops to learn this shit? Put up or shut up, guys!

The big problem with this mentality is that it promotes the same kind of crippling thinking that infests capitalism and consumerism ie; if I am prepared to pay the market price for something and show up, I should be entitled to have the product on a silver platter, at no personal cost to myself. I worked for my money already, so why should I do anything else?

This may work for buying a pimped-out ride or some fly new sneakers, but when it comes to inner cultivation, that shit won’t fly. This is not a market transaction. This is not a democracy. This is your inner world. Is your inner world subject to the constitution, to egalitarian social mores? Is your inner life subject to market forces? It is not. If you think it is, then you have my sympathy.

What unfortunately gets overlooked is that while a lot of those trappings seem unnecessary, they fulfill a very important function: they make you work for it. If you aren’t prepared to face some difficulties and perservere through some obscure rituals, if you aren’t willing to make some personal sacrifices and bind yourself with some commitments to your teachers, your fellow students and yourself, then you haven’t got the fortitude to do anything with the teachings anyway, so you might as well save everyone the time and the hassle and go home. Think of a buddhist temple, or old school martial arts. Go chop wood for a few years, or dig me a well, or stand out in the cold for a couple days, then you’ll be ready.

If you look at this thing from the perspective of cultivating intent, it starts to make sense, yes? You’re already learning something before you get in the door.

So before you run off half cocked looking to secure power and obscure knowledge, ask yourself this; what am I prepared to do? What am I prepared to give up? Am I willing to wait, to endure discomfort? Am I willing to let things slide in other areas? Are you correct in your intentions, or are you looking for a free lunch?

If you think you’re going to learn a new skill without making some room in your life, and cutting some things loose, you’re probably kidding yourself.

The other aspect to this, which I’m sad to say has gotten lost to a large extent these days is what the description of the hexigram calls setting up a ruler. Meaning, the willing submission to a larger principle. Be it a teacher, a religion, an overarching ideal, or a relationship. Where’s your compass? What will bring you through the difficulties of the path? Most people get by on the weak nourishment of an ego fattened on consumer culture and unearned luxuries.

If this seems too harsh or confrontational, I assure you it is in your best interest. The couch is always there if you get too uncomfortable. Your next assignment, should you choose to overlook your bruised sense of entitlement, is twofold:

Examining our list, ask yourself what you are prepared to do to meet that goal. How far are you willing to go? Will you do whatever it takes , or are you hoping it will land in your lap? Are there some things on that list you will give up to get other things? Are there items, that once you’ve thought about it, aren’t really worth the hassle? What’s the one thing you must have on that list above all others?

answer and revise your list accordingly. If you’ve dropped some things, add more using your new criteria. If you can, rank the things on the list in terms of importance.

Once you’ve done that, you probably have a good idea of how to set up a ruler. What’s the overriding principle? What unifies your life? What is your purpose? Who or what do you serve? If you don’t know, then put it on the back burner for now.

next time: how to banish demons!

Alchemy for the Brain-Damaged I: The Royal Art

I thought it might be time to get round to this. I’ve never intended to be a simple alarmist, or a pithy commentator. That gets old rather fast. So let’s run the grand old experiment… start with some definitions, a little background, and some operating premises.

You can peek at the first part of this if you haven’t already and then come back.
It would certainly help to read a good block of what I’ve got on AB so far as well, just so you get a feeling for my take on magick, but it’s not mandatory obviously.

Okay. So are we talking technique, or are we talking visionary experience? Hopefully both. From the ‘spiritual’ perspective it behooves one to preference the latter, but part of the point of magick is that it empowers the personality to pursue the spiritual more effectively. My feeling is that done correctly, technique leads to vision, with the added benefit of also having a skill set to implement the vision afterword. In a nutshell, unless your natural inclination is towards renunciation and asceticism, or christlike devotion to others, you’ll get something out of cultivating some skills in this area. So we’ll start with technique.

Crowley would suggest and most seem to agree, that magick is about change and will. Alchemy traditionally of course revolves around the refinement of the base material of consciousness into ‘gold’. Yoga translates literally as ‘union’ or ‘yoking’ (as in yoking an animal to a plow). You could look at this as consolidating the scattered and disparate foci of the mind and body into a perfected vessel of the divine. The esoteric martial arts are similar to yoga, but slanted toward the practical necessities of battlefield survival, and other forms of violent confrontation.

For our purposes here, we’ll be treating magick as this: the cultivation of intent. Full stop. That’s it. That covers everything you need to know for now.

In terms of models, I’m going to go to what seems like the source of magic ‘systems’ which to me is hermeticism. You could make a case that shamanism is the oldest form of magick, and I’m not inclined to disagree, but my feeling is that most shamanism was and is idiosyncratic and personal. It’s like jazz. Each shaman makes it up as they go along. And while I have a lot of fondness for that idea, you don’t need me to go and make up your own shit. So we’ll start with ‘the royal art’.

First of all, you could learn a bit in asking why it’s called that. The royal art? Well simply, I think it was called that for three reasons. One, only the ruling classes had the education and time to learn magick. Second of all, the cultivation of intent is obviously quite useful to a priest, or a king, or for that matter anyone who aspires to be a king, chieftan, or a priest. It was sort of the ancient equivalent of personal empowerment seminar or success psychology, but obviously a bit different given the older and more rudimentary psychology of the average person of prehistory. I mean if developmental psychologists are to be believed, the structure that we think of as the ‘ego’ is a relatively recent invention, and is definitely less formed in archaic cultures. Whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing is besides the point for our purpose, but it’s interesting to contemplate how much of the ‘modern’ mind is the product of ancient alchemy. You may not like what’s been done with it, historically, but the fact that you can even question or critique it, is proof that you enjoy its benefits… And Third, this path is sort of a symbolic process of merging with the godhead, which is about as ‘royal’ as royal gets.

It’s important to recall that in ancient times the ruler was synonomous with the godhead, and while we’re inclined to think of that as ignorant authoritarianism, those societies and systems of government endured for thousands of years, while our current ‘democratic’ experiment looks to have petered out in less than a couple hundred. So while the modern knee jerk reaction is to assume we know so much better than those stupid peasants and servants back in the day, maybe they knew something that we don’t.

But let’s leave aside any further theoretical preamble for the moment and get down to brass tacks. Surely we will be discussing all kinds of outlandish techniques and tools for exercising and developing the intent, but if you lose sight of what those things are for, namely to help you understand the workings of your own mind, you’re well on your way to the ghetto of the lost and the doomed. At all times keep in mind that it’s about discovering the difference between what you think you want and what you really need, and you should be fine. That can be hard to do when reality starts to feel like putty in your hands, and gods are offering you a seat on the board of directors, but the truth is, even dieties are unhappy sometimes and just because their experiences on a scale of 1 to 10 go to 1,000,000 doesn’t change the relative facts of it.

So. What I want you to do, provided you’re interested in playing along, is to make a list of what you want. Let’s say ten things. Ten things you want that are achievable from your current perspective. You may want to be a rock star, but if you don’t think it’s possible to be a rock star, for you right now, then leave it off the list. As well, for the moment, I suggest you make as many of the things on the list as possible relatively short term projects. The reason is, you want to be able to complete some of these relatively quickly and turn over your list a little bit–but we’re getting ahead of ourselves. By the same token, you want the things on your list to have bit of emotional juice to them. Wanting to make a sandwich is not so great. Wanting to drive for three hours to the nearest Arby’s is better. Wanting to own your own restaurant chain is better still. And yes it’s perfectly alright to want utterly banal and trivial things. That’s part of the point when we start. That’s the base material which we will proceed to refine.

Good enough for now? I’ll be participating in this myself and posting my doings, by way of illustration if nothing else.

Off you go!

Like Water Unto Fish

In reply to a reporter’s question “What do you think of Western Civilization?”
“I think it would be a good idea!”
-Mahatma Gandhi

This’ll probably be kind of rambling and disjointed but it all comes together under a discussion of race, I suppose…

The other night I had a chance to see Darwin’s Nightmare, which I recommend highly if you don’t mind wanting to spew from the bottom of your gut at the corruption of the globalist system. I cannot help but be amazed by how seamless the racist imperialism has been integrated into our global economy, to the point where it’s practically invisible. It’s a little hard to countenance that we all play a hand in supporting a system just as evil and corrupt as any racist regime that’s ever existed. But how can we denounce ourselves right? If you start down that road you’ll never stop. And of course that’s the idea. It’s the rug again. You’re made complicit without knowing it, so dependent on the system, to the point that you become morally obligated to go homeless, starve, or go to jail. Is it suprising that most professed anti-racist people balk at that responsibility and instead engage in breathless attacks on safely distant historical figures, or trite fringe lunatics?

I mean, if this system operated in countries full of white people the same way it does in Africa, to the point where we were goaded into endless war and genocide against each other wouldn’t we drop everything in shock and horror? Wouldn’t we demand a stop to it? Of course we would. Take Kosovo for instance. But Rwanda, Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, Angola?

cough…cough… Well things are bit different in Africa you know.. They have a much different history… cough…cough…

Dr Dennis Leary says SHUT THE FUCK UP

If smashed economies and gun running don’t do it for you, lets take my recent favorite reality priest, Joseph Kony.

I mean seriously. If some white guy was running around kidnapping 12 year old kids in north america or europe, forcing them at gunpoint to rape murder and kill people, to in turn kidnap and brainwash more kids to perpetuate the whole crazy guerilla war, which has no real objectives, besides this fucking lunatic’s lamebrained interpretation of the bible, FOR OVER A DECADE, WOULD WE OR WOULD WE NOT GIVE IT A LITTLE MORE CONSIDERATION THAN WE DO WHEN IT’S IN AFRICA? And before you strain yourself too hard thinking about it…It’s already happened. We know the answer to that one.

Let’s be honest. If that shit were happening where white people lived we’d be kicking down the doors of government in about a week. But as a society we tolerate it in other places, because it helps perpetuate this myth of the ‘black incapacity for self-governance’ which helps us to justify this mechanism we benefit from.

Rather than face the truth, that the Reality Priesthood knows damn well when and where and with whom deviation from the consensus will be tolerated, that it’s allowed precisely when and where and with whom it will best perpetuate the myth necessary to the continued existence of our global death machine, we instead throw up our hands and pretend that this sort of thing only goes on interminably ‘outside’ our ‘civilization’ amongst the ‘savages’. You may not think it to yourself too loudly, but that’s pretty much it, isn’t it? It’s all around you, and it’s like water unto a fish.

But if that too challenging you can always savour the irony…I’ll be selling “part of problem” t- shirts outside for $9.95 plus tax… made in indonesia!

The “Open” Conspiracy

It seemed to me that all over the world intelligent people were waking up to the indignity and absurdity of being endangered, restrained, and impoverished, by a mere uncritical adhesion to traditional governments, traditional ideas of economic life, and traditional forms of behavior, and that these awaking intelligent people must constitute first a protest and then a creative resistance to the inertia that was stifling and threatening us. These people I imagined would say first, We are drifting; we are doing nothing worth while with our lives. Our lives are dull and stupid and not good enough. Then they would say, What are we to do with our lives? And then, Let us get together with other people of our sort and make over the world into a great world-civilization that will enable us to realize the promises and avoid the dangers of this new time. H.G. Wells- The Open Conspiracy

So I had nothing to do today, and I decided, ‘ hey, I’ll go swing a sledgehammer at a hornet’s nest! ‘

and it goes like this…

When you look at the history of the internet you find, perhaps not so suprisingly, that a lot of the seminal guys involved in online media were also tied up in magick and conspiracy theory as well. Whenever some sort of dramatic new innovation is appearing chances are there will be some variation on the shaman figure cobbling it together in the background, whether he or she is conscious of that role or not. Sometimes they are very much so. Mark Pesce is one of them. And for our purposes, Joe is the other.

Now when you’re talking about one of the grand wizards of the internet, it’s hardly suprising that his presence online is pretty strictly managed, so it’s hard to get a lot of background on Joe, which is compounded by the games he likes to play with it, but there’s enough. I can visualize someone like us, back in the day, when the internet was first picking up steam, who for whatever reason is able to cultivate relationships with all kinds of delightful counterculture characters. I’m talking, in particular, Hakim Bey, Nick Herbert, Robert Anton Wilson, and Dr. Christopher S. Hyatt, among others.

Now I can’t track down all the sources anymore, but young Joe cultivated an interest in two particular esoteric fields. One was ‘metadata’ or what you might call the archetypal informational structure of the universe, what is sometimes called the akashic record. It’s not hard to imagine why an information technology student would be attracted to the idea that reality might have an underlying code. The other field was ethnomethodology, which is essentially the study of how people understand the world and implement that understanding.

Now let me step back for second. Maybe you’ve heard of Ong’s Hat? Maybe not, but the core documents are worth a read simply as entertainment. Now, if you’ve done that, read a little bit by Hakim Bey. The style of writing of the mysterious author of these conspiracy documents, and the elusive poetic terrorist are awfully similar aren’t they? Which makes sense, since Bey has essentially admitted to writing them.

Okay then. So what Joe does, back in the day, is to take that fictional seed, and use it in a kind experiment on the emerging culture of bulletin boards, now the internet. What you do is take the faux-conspiracy documents, and build up just enough ambiguous evidence around them that it becomes nearly impossible to sort what is real from what is not, especially when Joe can carefully manage what is fed into the emerging internet on the topic.

Now leaving aside the content of the Ong’s Hat mythos itself, Joe’s experiment seems to have blown up in his face a little bit. It appears he was subject to harassment, paranoid delusions, stalking, bizarre synchronicities which may have led him to wonder whether his ‘fictional’ story was as fictional as it seemed. Under these circumstances, it’s not suprising that Joe seemingly engaged in some pretty intense and heavy handed efforts to secure his privacy and sanity. Fair game, I say. But it doesn’t stop there.

I’ll leave OH for now, and concentrate on the Maestro. By the looks, he took what he learned from that experiment, for good or ill, and helped pioneer what is known as ‘alternate reality gaming’, using some of the same fictional themes in books as well, as well as cultivating a substantial resource base for his circle of friends and fans. He’s popped up as a facilitator for events with RAW, Bey, Rob Brezney, Genesis P. Orridge, and disseminated all kind of materials here.

And the metafictional media-hoax games continue. He’s right at the heart of the Poker Without Cards media blitz, and there’s no reason to doubt he’s a principal architect. It seems like a move to bring greater awareness of corporate/media manipulation into the mainstream, and to manufacture a latter Christian Rosenkreuz /Cogliostro figure to play with. Although the game is rather transparent by now, and probably only ‘works’ on the marks who fall prey to media as it is. So is the only way to wake people up, to punk them one more time?

As recently as 2002 he’s sat in room full of people and spent a couple hours fucking with them and treating them like ‘two-dimensional’ lab rats with his Ong’s Hat routine. Not that I’ve never done the same type of thing, or been tempted to play headgames with people, but when is enough enough?

It’s kind of like Discordianism. Some of the same people involved after all. It’s fake but it isn’t, but it is but it isn’t. It’s fun if you hold it lightly. It makes you think. It’s supposed to help free your mind. That’s what these people profess to be about, after all. Helping to free our minds, yes?

In some sense it’s like a recruiting scheme. As if one day, Joe or his friends will appear to you like Morpheus and offer you the red and blue pills. They want you to play the game and become an ‘extreme individual’ like them.By all means play the game, but don’t ever forget whose game it is…

addendum: I did want to add, on further consideration, that I do have a lot of respect and gratitude towards these people and everything they’ve done. I cannot guess where I would be without these people’s work. I simply felt it important to point out some of the duplicitous and manipulative nature of some of these activities. Not to take anything away from Joe or any of these guys. I just respectfully disagree with some of these tactics.