Behold, I am returned.

Or at least, i am sufficently untangled to sit in front of a keyboard for a little while. I can assure you that any writing takes about twice as long as what it looks like it ought to have. On the mend though. Lifestyle reforms take some time, apparently, even when they’re as supposedly simple as how you sleep or how you stretch and sit. The funny thing about pain, is that if you’re going to endure, you want it to be for a good reason. Hence the outrageous delays and procrastination in writing

Compounding the whole process however has been the unremmiting string of crises befalling me and mine. As usual, I am torn between the paranoiac and pronoiac interpretations of the events, so as usual I will recourse to a both/and interpretation.

I’d have to say I’ve come fairly close a few times in the last couple weeks to my wits end. first of all I could at many times hardly stand, walk or bend over without slipping some vertabrae for all the psychophyscial tensions pulling me asunder.

Running alongside that, you have one of my oldest friends call me up to say that he’s staying at the local homeless shelter. Which is doubly suprising when last I’d heard, he was married, with five kids, a new baby, a fine home, steady work and a ( seemingly) solid middle class lifestyle.

It seems the pressures of new marrige, new child, and unresolved relationship tensions led to too much drinking, leading to an explosion of mutually destructive violence. That’s possibly his whole life, done and dusted. He’s picking up the pieces, but his marrige is quite likely toast. He’s starting from scratch. His relationship to his wife, kids, his job, his home, his money. All doing over. That’s enough to break a man. And it’s to his credit that he hasn’t broken. He’s picked himself up like this before, and he can do it again. but he’s wondering why he made some of the same mistakes in his life a second time. Aren’t we all though?

Then my Dad decides to swirl into a new low of alchoholic debasement. I hope none of you ever have to treat your parents like small children. I really don’t. There’s no talking to him. He made the critical decisions so long ago, he’d probably be long dead before he could reverse the consequences of those choices. You either accept that he’s doing this with his life, or you don’t. Some choices there’s pretty much no going back from.

 And to top it off, my mother calls me up the other night, distraught from talking to my brother, who I’ve never been close with, and hardely spoken to in years now. Evidently my elder sibling, who always had issues with pot and alchohol, is doing a good job of turning into a crackhead, thief, and violent extortionist. He’s so low that he has to call our mom up to profess his wish to commit suicide. But like the saying goes, it’s one of those cry-for-help-suicides, not the real thing. I remember talking to him once and he ended the call by saying that he was going down to the basement to shoot himself. Turns out there was no gun and no basement either. No basement for my older brother at all, it seems, just a never-ending staircase into a private hell

…and how odd is this, to realise that I have never really loved my brother until now, wishing I could go into that hell and pull him out. But it doesn’t work that way. Too bad he doesn’t realise that. Too bad he doesn’t know you have to walk out of hell under your own steam.

It’s interesting to consider that my life, my circle of family and friends has always, untill now, seemed very forgiving. Very elastic. people slip, people stray, people make bad choices, but they have never fallen so hard as they are now. I have never fallen so hard as i have now. To be physically humbled, emotionally powerless to save my loved ones. Only just recently dragging myself from the depths of sheer madness.

This is the way the world ends


And is it just my perception, or is all of it becoming very unforgiving, very unelastic? Is everyone’s life starting to look this way? Is the narrow path getting narrower still? Some people’s lives have never been safe, never been stable. But those that are, seem to be not so much, anymore, and those that never were, seem much less so now.

The crux of alchemically braindamaged comes from a synthesis of several different perspectives. Once I came to an understanding of the complex of systemic crises that grow up around the topic of peak oil, I tried to fit that over top of my earlier insights into the idea of the acceleration of knowledge and progress which clusters around such luminaries as vernor vinge, terrence mckenna, robert anton wilson, and ray kurzweil. Then you nail both of those on top of a growing sense of spiritual crisis, of a cascading disequilibrium in the psychic or spiritual realm of human life. Growing madness, ignorance, infantilism, delusion and disenchantment. An alienation that seems best encapsulated in the writings of Steven Laurdan in the earlier mode of the deconsumption blog, or in someone like Ran Prieur. Then you nail all of that on top of an integral model of development in the mode of Ken Wilber, and my own recognition of the possibilties and gradual unfoldment of human potential. What seems to emerge is a kind of conjuncture. A concrescence if you will, a chaotic transition that seems inevitably about to test and transform us all. What it is and what it means, in every facet, is what brought me here, to you, in this new incarnation of a rather old blog.

 And now… I mean, I can talk and theorise about an ‘initiatory crisis’ …but is this it? We all make choices and we all live with them, but the little systems of cause and effect that constitute our lives orbit around the fate of our society, our beliefs, our spiritual compass, our collective momentum. The energy in the system. Might it be that as the larger systems fall into disarray that the smaller constellations are neccisarily affected?

Ecological and energy crises create survival crises, survival crises create emotional crises, emotional crises spiral into spiritual or existential crises. Can we really fool ourselves that it’s not all connected? Maybe fooling ourselves is what created this mess to begin with.
How many people swirled down into the hole and we collectively didn’t catch them? How many have fallen into the abyss, and we figured it wasn’t our problem? Did we imagine that it would be as cut and dried as driving less, or saving more, or growing your own food, or voting with your money? Maybe If we’re really ambitious we devote ourselves to personal understanding, and insight. But is any of that going to cut it when the world trembles on it’s axis and we all sail off the the edge?  Oh no. Oh no, friends. In a very real sense we all hang together, or we all hang seperate.

And I wonder where this narrow path leads anyway? It seems to me that all it really is , is the freedom to remain detatched. To look down on the hellworlds and hyperworlds and not be snared in them.  You can walk that tightrope for a long long time, but sooner or later you probably swirl into orbit of one of your irrevocable choices.

That’s the frightening thing to me. The idea that perhaps a lifetime of good choices, of skillfull circumspection and carefully cultivated perspective, can be thrown away on one bad choice. I’ve heard it said that no matter how great your job, or your relationship, or your friendships are, a half dozen words in the right place could destroy any one of those forever.

And conversely, you could be in the whole world of shit, and turn it around with one simple choice to take responsability and work your way out.

I think these things have always been true to some extent. some eras are more elastic than others. Some lives have the luxury of more bad choices before you can’t turn back. Some don’t.

What I feel like is happening in the world today is that we’re all slowly but surely being herded onto the narrow ledge. And there we are tested. And eventually almost everyone falls. Into the arms of god or the devil. Or if you like, the crown of the godhead or the talons of the dragon. The window of time wherein you could debate your options expires and you have to make a choice and learn to live with it.

It’s not that strange of an idea. Something like world war 2 comes to mind. Surely there were some germans who never had to make a choice, who could walk the line all the way through. But not many.

Rudolph Steiner felt that our era would culminate in a great mass of humanity succumbing to the pull of the ‘old moon’ the ghost train of despair, false materiality, and dead matter. Meanwhile the rest would ascend to the ‘new jupiter’ a flowering of our true creativty and mental powers.

Quite clearly these are metaphors. Every day of your life is a choice, to walk the path of rightiousness or fuck each other over out of blindness. But some days require more choices, and lend those choices made more weight. And while no choices are truly irrevocable, some might as well be.

And somehow that rings true to me, that all of us are tested everyday, but the collective momentum of those smaller tests, passed or failed, can come together from time to time. It rings true to me that right now, what so many of us feel is that chaotic nexus. And as we each pass through it, we make what seems like just another choice, little suspecting that this, or maybe the next, or the next; that choice will decide our fate.

   And I want to be clear that this is nothing imposed from above. We made the systems, we fed them, we made our lives within them, and then we spun them into chaos. And in those moments of crisis, we make the choices, from the menu we composed, and we pass sentence on ourselves from the rules we’ve internalised.

  The only difference between today and any other day, is whether you see it or not,  pretty much everyone is either going through this now, or soon will be, and the cumulative weight of those little trials will tell the tale of the human race for a good long time, and maybe forever.

  There’s a saying in sports: we didn’t lose the game, we just ran out of time. Occultists often like to say that initiation never ends. We always face the doorway to new growth and rebirth.

  It’s true. You never stop growing, but sometimes you just run out of time.

 My brother is running out of time. My father. My mother, my friends, and me. If I had jumped the wrong way in my brush with madness I wouldn’t be sitting here writing to you now. It’s not the sort of thing you come back from easily, if at all. It doesn’t matter what kind of person you thought you were. You jump the wrong way once too often and then you’re gone. 

   In a world like that, all you can do is treat every choice like it might be your last. Cause it may well be.

8 thoughts on “Down and Out in Chapel Perilous

  1. Not to worry friends. I am tough like old boots and i will follow the light till there is nothing left of me. You may depend on that.

    Sometimes i think my periodic nosedives into the abyss are just self administered challenges to prepare me for the really hard stuff to come.

    If you’re not the hero of your own story then what kind of fucking story is it , anyway?

    Glad to be back, and thankyee many times for your consideration.

  2. Thanks Zac for your honesty. As I was reading your post you reminded me of when I was 32. At that time I did crash and I did burn and I even died in a dream I had. That person, or spirit, or source no longer lives in the dark within me. Having had that experience I don’t know if I could ever go through it again since it was so incomprehensible and painful (and it all started with two broken vertebras received from the man I was living with). I was dealing with violence, molest, fear, alcoholism, drugs, anorexia, and poverty. I let life consume me because I had no choice left.

    Happily, I will be 49 in two weeks. I do believe what I have gone through and continue to go through in life are the stages of alchemy. Before this period I had killing dreams for almost 2 years. I had places all of the USA where I buried the people, and these were hellish nightmares. Then finally came the death dream and an experience that I can only call “the exorcism.” After this death (I was then 32), I got my first “alchemical crown” which consisted of having and finding babies every night in my dreams for months and was followed by beautiful pieces of art that “they” told me was mine. I did not have the language for what had happened to me in those days. But after many years of research I have come to believe that this is the living alchemical process.

    Over the years I have watched many of my friends begin this journey. Many have died through it, not being able to endure the pain, or have returned to even a greater abuse of numbness. This past year I have been watching my daughter begin her process of moving into her darkness. I commend you for sharing your darkness with us. I believe courage and talent are necessary for the journey, two sides of the coin that I believe you have.

    I look forward to reading more about your discoveries…

  3. Lo zac, haven’t looked at your site in a while but for some reason its clicking with me today. I’m literally rushing as I read. Always a good sign.

    Thinking about being the hero of your own story, wand vs. cup etc (“Can wisdom be put in a silver rod, or love in a golden bowl?” William Blake. Smart man.) reminds me of an unforgivable month of slackness I took last summer where I worked my way through a couple of episodes of Smallville. Now, to be fair, I was trying to distract myself from Apocalyptic premonitions and it was summer, and there should be a place for very low quality teenage drama in everyone’s life, but still, I found it incredibly useful stuff! It brought me back to the role of art as part of self-development, which was originally part of the Great Unfinished Guide To Everything (it fell somewhere between dreamwork and cultural studies, if I remember), but had fallen by the wayside somewhat.

    Anyway. Smallville. Series One has the purest rendition of the ‘Superpowers as adolescent awakening’ allegory, and I found the archetype sinking into my mind and emerging into my dream journals. Invariably admiration for Tom Welling merging into identification with and adoption of the role myself.

    I always thought that Superman was the lamest of the superheros – not enough flaws, none of the character, wit and slyness of Spiderman, a bit aloof, cold and alien – too PURE a Superhero (straight out of 1930s post-Nietzschean zeitgeist). But it is precisely this lack of humanity, which makes him so dramatically uninteresting, that also makes him such a powerful site for the projection of archetypal energy. Long story short, I started regaining agency in the dreamworld – becoming the hero of my own story – and good things started to spill out into the real world from that.

    I’m sure I had a good reason to tell you all of this. Maybe I’m arguing for television as a powerful shamanic technology. Maybe it was the Nietzsche quote. I think it was the wand and cup thing – the whole dreamworld politics of identification and detachment, and how just disidentifying with everything won’t get you there – sometimes we have to immerse ourselves in the fiction to reconnect with the wellsprings of being. But probably I just liked something I read and wanted to give something back. Even if it is just an interminable anecdote about TV. 😉

  4. Hi zak – belated welcomes over here to wordpress. Listen, there come a time when the recipe runs wild and we lose track of the ingredients. I know where you’re coming from, and I empathize, indeed I really feel for you. Family is particularly a sensitive issue when we can recall from what great heights those mighty images of past memory have now fallen. Dealing with physical issues is equally troublesome. I hope you have recovered by now.

    So, there comes a time of liberation when we just need to throw everything upon the holocaust of God’s love. It’s terrible but there comes a time. I have noticed your hermetic leanings, but haven’t figured out your actual “theology” but let me offer one healing balm: Jesus is recorded in saying, with zen precision, that unless you become as an innocent child, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. The liberating lesson I rec’d from this is simply realizing we dont have to hold on to it all, becoming tough, cool, worldly. Let go with don’t no mind. Keep straight. Be pliable like a reed in the breeze. The sky opens up.

  5. “”Maybe fooling ourselves is what created this mess to begin with.
    How many people swirled down into the hole and we collectively didn’t catch them? How many have fallen into the abyss, and we figured it wasn’t our problem? Did we imagine that…””

    Zac, you’re a great guy. You really and truly do care about others. You see though, Jesus Christ said so Himself that He didn’t come here to bring all, together, he came here to do The Father’s Will. And that would involve everything you already said,. in THIS post.

    For example, the family is not going to be united, but split. The father from the son the mother from the daughter etc etc etc.

    The reason why, is because of the physics of reality. Once we start on the evil trip, then it consistently compounds itself. Just as does the good. Even. So there is no escaping the knowledge tree. Good and Evil. The evil that was done since Adam and Eve’s time, has compounded like you said in another post, how time moves on, and it seems slow, but nevertheless continuously progressing. Therefore, you will see evil grow in its strength just as much as good. Sort of like the tares and the good seed growing together.

    Jesus didn’t want the workers to pull out the tares that the enemy had sown overnight, in case that would make the good seed get pulled out WITH the weed, or bad seed.

    I too went through what you went through. My family life was hell. Hhahaa. Yea. My mother died of cancer at the age of 62….and she was a cantankerous woman most of her life. It was only in her last few years she bacame like an angel. Then my idiot younger brother who was a drug addict and alcoholic since who knows? 12 years of age? He constantly tried to commit suicide by swallowing pills. Most of us wished he would at least be successful at that. But noooo…he had to take the cowardly way out and have the police kill him because he haha couldn’t do it himself! So one day he provoked them. And he’s dead. At the age of 31. That was a few years ago. And my dad. He died at age 69. Who knows WHAT of. I think he was just bored of living any longer hahhaa. He wasn’t so bad though. I actually liked him most of the time.

    So there you go. EVERYONE has problems. Let’s just stick it through, you Lambs of God, and who cares of all the hells that we can’t do anything about. Stop worrying ourselves with things we have no way to change. And get happy again to continue doing the wonderful things we can do. Can accomplish. Love. And goodness. And lovliness. All that nice stuff.

    (You have the BEST blogs)

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