New Artwork by Atani – towards a new mythology of dispute resolution


Upaya gives Phi a good talking-to as Pee looks on                                              [©Atani Studios-2012]

Wygart is having some kind of a dispute with a friend elsewhere in the digisphere that is revolving around the extreme difficulty there is in talking about the authenticity of knowledge gained from non-ordinary experiences.    Hopefully, with the able assistance of our senior editor Upaya, some type of gainful resolution will be brought to the matter.

I’ve decided to be helpful by illustrating how things actually work around here.  Usually trouble starts with something Phi does or says, [as ironically happens to be the case between Wygart and his friend ] –  it’s simply amazing the amount of trouble that fool character causes!  Next the Meme Merchant team gets together to start to work on the problem.  The method that is used around here is to use characters to represent mythologically various endogenous and archetypal psychological functions.  These characters are then worked up in the form of some kind of art:  a picture, a story, poetry, epigram & etc to attack the problem at the archetypal and mythological level.  Once this is done it is easier to interpret down into the more mundane psychological levels without the human people’s hurt feelings getting in the way – or – being limited by discussing higher level psychological functions in a lower level mind-space.

The image above is a quick Photoshop mashup of three images:  François-André Vincent’s  1777 painting, Alcibiades Being Taught by Socrates; one of Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s etchings from his 1761 volume “Carceri d’Invenzione” [prisons of the imagination]; and a portrait of a four year old Ada Lovelace as Pee.

A Quick and Dirty Interpretation

At a glance you can see that all of the characters,  Upaya, Phi and Pee, have been to some degree:  cartooned, super saturated, made monstrous, and seem to have some kind of a Pinocchio thing happening [except for Pee] – that is they all lie, either unconsciously and habitually, or consciously as a heuristic device.

The Carceri

The busyness of Piranesi’s Carceri in the background stands in stark contrast to the very muted background of Vincent’s original painting, a drab shield and sword hung wall.  Here all of the characters have been placed inside of the dungeons and machinations of the mind, but the light of Illumination does penetrate even into the depths, where the characters, as psychological functions, hold their discourse.

Upaya

The character of Upaya, Socrates in Vincent’s original, at his most basic level represents the heuristic method of skillful means’ and the Socratic method being brought to bear on the unprocessed experience of Phi, the fool.  He is also carries the archetypes of both the Magician and Hierophant.   I have dressed Upaya in the royal purple, which contains symbolically both blue and red, by the way.  I’ve done a kind of Michelangelo on him, He has a very tall forehead and his hands are made too big.

Upaya’s scroll

One of the most important symbols in the composition is also the smallest and most peripheral, Upaya’s scroll.  The scroll is held firmly in Upaya’s grasp and represents the knowledge gained by non-ordinary experience.  On the outside it is all ‘plain brown wrapper’ on the inside is knowledge revealed by non-ordinary states.  The blue/white fractal image contained within the scroll corresponds to the faerie wings of Pee, white is of the airy-fairy mind and its blue color representing the watery blue of cosmic disolution.

It should be noted, that on careful examination the fractal image is not mapped at all onto the perspective geometry of the outside of the scroll, but is a window that opens directly into the hyper-dimensional world beyond,  This is not a static map, a representation of the psychedelic terrain rendered onto parchment and handed down from ancient authority, this is the living knowledge of direct experience that rests upon inner authority for its truth, and communicates directly to the subtle realms.

The Zot!, the relativistic jets shooting from either end of the scroll, can be interpreted iconographically as the Tibetan Vajra, the wand or staff of the Magician, or Jupiter’s thunderbolt.

Phi

The character of Phi,  at his most basic level represents the archetype of the Trickster, The Fool, and unprocessed non-ordinary experience.  He is also the Shaman newly returned from his inner voyage of discovery.  He is dressed in the red of the fiery nature of intense non-ordinary experience, the alchemical rubedo and the Jungian self.

Phi is armored and carrying [sheathed] the sword of the intellect.  His attitude is both insolent and sly.  His shaman’s helmet, a dazzling and overblown affair, represents the intellect of the traveler [and its limitations], and also suffers a bit from the Pinocchio effect.  In its plumage we see displayed the dazzling Cauda Pavonis or peacocks tail of the alchemical initiate.  In Western Alchemy, the Cauda Pavonis is often attributed to the alchemical operation of distillation, and sometimes putrefication.

This bird flies during the night without wings. By the first heavenly dew, after an uninterrupted process of cooking, ascending and descending, it first takes the shape of a raven’s head, then of a peacock’s tail; its feathers becoming very white and good smelling, and finally becoming fiery red, indicating its fiery character.  [Gerhard Dorn-16th century]

[Interestingly a prescient, pre-anticipation of the psychedelic experience.]

Pee

The character of Pee at her most basic level represents the Higher-Consciousness, feminine, uncorrupted, and wise.  Pee is a revisioning of Vincent’s version of Socrates’s angelic daimonion [literally: ‘divine something’] or carrier of the logos and a regular member of the Meme Merchants Consortium.  The golden light of her nimbus is reflected in the yellow sunlight light entering the Carceri from without.  She also represents the partnership of the sly-elf-chemists within the endogenous human brain and in the vegetable kingdom that make non-ordinary states of consciousness available.  She travels intra-dimensionally on faeries wings.

It is also notable that Pee is a silent, passive, observer.  Instead of whispering truth into Socrates’s ear she takes a slightly more distant position.  She does not take part in the conversation, she has no human voice – she shows.  Her power is that nothing escapes her notice and her power of vision.

BTW –  if you think your higher-self has something to say, understand that your ego is mediating the experience.  Any ‘voice’ you hear in your head, in your native tongue, is being mediated by the ego through your personality at some level.

~ ~ ~

So that’s is the basics, there is of course much more that can be said, and much more that could have been done in more than a few hours work by the fully competent.  So, what do you think of our method – or is it madness?

[Update 2/12/2013]

Commentor Dionissis below lead me to think I needed to make a point about the Meme Merchant process I have been describing in this post, which is, that first and foremost this is the process that you use on yourself in order to gain insight into your own mental process [and its possible errors] and how that might be contributing to the dispute rather than performing this analysis upon you interlocutor.  Since you don’t usually have access to that person’s mind the process outlined above is probably of limited utility.  All of this is in line with the Meme Merchant theory on the ‘Trickle Up’ nature of human thinking, namely that to lesser or greater degrees we all tend to be held in carceri the subconscious and the subconscious, per-programed parts of our own minds and psychologies and that is an enormous limitation upon our human potentials – the slope-browed-retro-troglodyte rules.

~ Atani

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6 thoughts on “New Artwork by Atani – towards a new mythology of dispute resolution

  1. Hi Atani, and thanks for the really warm (and unexpected!) welcome.

    I am such a compliment-junkie that when you spoke about intelligence in my Augean Stables’ comments i spent all my time cherishing the feeling, and went oblivious of the surprise that you follow Landes’ blog and commentators.

    If i owe my “bit of ride ’round her[e]” to my ancient namesake, then i think it’s the first time in my life that i will compliment my country’s past (Greece, i am saying it for the benefit of Mika, in case he shows up – i doubt he will, but maybe it’s because i have stereotyped him too much, although i doubt that too! He is kind though, and not malicious and if he is a Jew then the first explanation that would spring to my mind is loss of family during the Holocaust, i have met one person like this in an Israeli blog, Israpundit, who has spoken of such loss, but inductive inferences cannot be based on just one observation, so i am overgeneralizing. Of course, i have no clue as to the deeper psychological workings that drive people paranoid).

    My completely uneducated concept of Dionysus is that of a non-violent playful wickedness, and i love it. And since you said he is , in his capacity as an endogenous psychological function, the patron and enabler of the psychedelic experience, i can only deplore myself for having been such a nerd and good-grades-junkie during university years that i missed the chance to explore him in action.

    “I am not particularly friendly to conspiracy theories, because I can’t make the leap faith that would lead you to believe that anyone could get hold of the beast enough to control it.”

    It’s so blatantly true, that i wonder how one gets afflicted with the disease. I have used this precise expression in the past, “impossible to control”, to explain to patients that no unified center can rule the world, or impose globalization, or whatever of that sort.

    In my country the favorite boogeyman is the Jews (did you know that they control America?) and we learn it from our peer-group and street-wise guys at an early age. But this only explains the origin of conspiracy theorizing, not what exactly it is in humans’ psychology that makes them susceptible to it, and unable to shrug it off under the demands of rationality and observation when they grow up.

    “At the moment Wygart is working up a comment over at Landes’ blog on the Scarfe/Ward/Kellner affair, but is at the usual anxiety ridden pre-post stage of wondering how grenade-like his comment is likely to be perceived.”

    If Wygart, who sounds like a VERY relaxed person, feels pre-post anxiety, then i feel exculpated enough to admit that i am probably so vain that i feel such pre-post anxiety to a very high degree. And i find it shameful because such anxiety makes me look weak – which, of course, i am, given that i feel the anxiety to such an extent. I am also guilty of grenade-like aspirations in commenting, and that too is my vanity speaking, but it doesn’t make me feel weak so i don’t mind it.

    Now, maybe i am reading too much into something you said, but i will say it anyway because your digital domicile feels very warm and i don’t mind making a fool of myself in such a place: you said that you follow Landes’ posts and have an idea of commentators’ posts, and that you have come across some of my comments. So maybe you have come across my comment in the post that Wygart is right now preparing to comment. Maybe you saw my comment was exactly of the quality that you described (anxiety ridden and grenade aspiring), and maybe you wanted to show me an example of the method of dispute resolution as applied to my own mental processes: sort of using wygart as a mirror of myself, because maybe i would get too defensive if such a remark was directly addressed to me by someone else. Whereas now, at least i gave it a thought, i allowed the possibility of such a scenario to enter my mind and was more comfortable to see potentially hurtful truths.

    In case i am not reading too much into your words, i need to thank you for being so considerate, and wonder how i can apply such an approach to myself: i tend to like to think of myself as a hero in the process of know thyself, sort of like “bring it on dionissis, i can take the degradation, i can take the truth no matter how much it hurts”. But i have a hunch that this is not a very appropriate attitude to pursue self-knowledge (even though it could be put to some use, i don’t know, i am just babbling thoughts relevant to (self) dispute resolution).

    ” What ever he does, Wygart doesn’t seem he can be careful enough, polite enough, complimentary enough; inevitably SOMEBODY’S sacred cow winds up on the barbecue – nutritious for the rest of us beefeaters – but unpleasant for the cowherd.”

    Poor Wygart! So eager to please that he becomes kind of slavish. And i predict that if it so happens that he does not feel reciprocated, he feels bad. And in case he gets hurt by the one he’s been slavish to, he snaps (i think it happened to him very recently in an Israeli blog, no grenades there, more like bunker busters). And in his excessive anxiety not to be seen as a weakling he goes for the most sacred cow of the opponent (whatever nonviolent and lawful action will hurt the opponent the most). And you can’t get it out of my mind that he enjoys this situation – only if he has won. He has become used to it, his brain needs it. I guess he recites to himself the verbal blows he delivered to the cow – such a productive use of spare time, indulging into mentally repeating the sentences used in victorious arguments!

    I never thought that the pronoun “he” could be so useful!

    Maybe i could try thinking of him not as judgmentally as i did in the above paragraph.

    Atani, thank you very much for having responded to me. I really appreciate it.

    P.S. In real life i am a vegetarian, i don’t want to be responsible for animal suffering.
    P.S.2 At some point i must read the “About” section of the Merchant Memes, i haven’t done it yet.

    • Hi, Dionissis, Wygart here

      Politeness counts for a lot. So does being nice when possible. Since this is the Meme Merchants Consortium’s digital domicile, hospitality is also important [learned that one from the Lakota]. It’s just that as of yet not many visitors stop long enough to leave a comment, unless they feel they have been slighted somehow – I seem to have that relationship with E.M. Smith over at Musings of The Chiefio.

      To reassure you, No Wygart is often anxiety ridden and is probably not nearly as relaxes as you might think [or he might hope], though he works very hard at faking it. One of the principle reasons for the pre-post anxiety is that on the internet there is always the possibility of somebody much smarter, much better educated and much better informed lurking who is entirely capable of shredding you completely – with footnotes. So, it is always with a certain amount of trepidation that we hit the post button and wind up deleting a lot of stuff prior to post. Another problem is that there are an awful lot of truly pathological personalities drifting around out there on the internet, like decrepit naval mines, their Hertz Horns corroded and ready to go off if even touched

      So if you happen to fear being seen as weak, Wygart fears being seen as wrong. Its just at this point in his career he has come to realize that there is an enormous amount of what he once considered to be correct that has later been show to be wrong, either in whole or in part. So, you reorganize your personal epistemology into ‘that what you know’ which is very small, and ‘everything else’, which is very large. You may be able to draw some comfort from the fact that this situation is true for everyone else as well, and try not to be to rude when you point this fact out to people who haven’t taken this notion fully on-board yet. This is called being a scientist, that is in its true meaning as a method of knowing, which is you are constantly updating what you know, discarding what is proven to be wrong and constantly refining your methods for determining which is which; which I like to call learning to tell “the shit from the Shinola” [a somewhat antique Americanism, Shinola is btw an antique brand of American shoe polish]

      One of the reasons I like Richard Landes’s blog, it seems to attract a lot of smart, well informed people. Martin Malliet is impressing me today with some of his ideas – I just try to filter out the negative and not get sucked into any arguments. Opening with a compliment helps.

      On the other hand it took an enormous amount of restraint not to eviscerate akmofo – publishing a blood libel at the Augean Stables? That type of behavior is begging to be denounced – not my blog though. Mika sometimes has interesting things to say but the one tracked nature of his obsession with ‘Rome” makes me wonder about the integrity of his logic. It’s the basic problem with paranoia [a lower level thought process] in general and conspiratorial thinking [a higher level thought process] specifically – it arises out of making false associations. Once the false associations start running the program [your thinking] everything else starts to become unreliable.

      This is actually the normal state of affairs for people, their lower order though processes, that is evolutionarily more primitive ones from deeper down in the brain, tend to run and organize the higher level thought processes. Here at Meme Merchants we refer to this as “trickle-up psychology.”

      As far as our “dispute resolution method” goes, if you are really interested, the thing that you have to make sure you have well in hand is that it is designed to help you solve your half of the dispute – its a self-analysis. It’s all about introspection. The next thing to grasp is that all of the characters: Upaya, Phi, Pee are already you, they are very much like the proper conception of the various Gods, like Dionysus, they were always psychological functions endogenous to the human mind – not metaphysical facts. Uncle Joe [Campbell] can set you straight on that notion, he’s really got the work on that one.

      If you reread the post it may make more sense now.

      Upaya is YOU using the Socratic method on yourself. Its all about asking the right questions. There’s a quote of William Blake’s that I like, it goes something like, ‘If the truth can be told in such a way as it can be understood, it will be believed. If somebody isn’t believing you it’s either because you are wrong in some way, or he isn’t understanding you, so rework your argument till its understood.

      it’s a kind of self-interrogation, only the questions are supposed to reveal, if you’re having a dispute with someone, what you interlocutor didn’t understand about what you said. Most of these things erupt out of a “mis-understanding”. Unless you were just being rude, then apologize. The ones Atani and I get into trouble with are being “pedantic” or being “polemical”. It’s about watching your own language and knowing when you’re going to get into trouble with it.

      So, if your still interested I can use a Meme Merchants example, I think I’d prefer not to use you as an example.

      It’s not “poor Wygart” or even “poor Atani”. My dispute with my friend is private, but the one over Lourdes is internet public, which means world wide and forever. You can follow the conversation as far as it went here:

      http://wondersinthedark.wordpress.com/2011/03/16/the-magic-of-motion-jessica-hausners-lourdes/

      You can see how we handled the situation and draw your own conclusions about the kind of “truthy” incisiveness that can get Atani and Wygart into trouble. In the case with James Clark’s essay, Atani and I both knew we were going to catch it, but felt it was intellectually necessary to oppose because we thought it represented exactly the kind of: “pretentious, swaggering gibberish passed off as scholarship at leading universities” that the late Dennis Dutton used to expose in his ‘Bad Writing Contest’. [that was something we actually edited out of our reply to Clark btw] You can then come back here:

      https://thecoralinememe.net/2012/09/16/lourdes-prologue-to-a-posy-playing-cinema-interruptus-with-jessica-hausner-or-a-mad-mad-quest/

      and see if you feel Atani did a better job with his [still not complete] art analysis of Lourdes than Mr. Clark did with his.

      We surmised that Mr. Clark was a serious film student, possibly at graduate level, possibly faculty somewhere, but we still felt that he had his art-analysis backwards and that he needed an editor badly [to be very polite]. What Atani did not tip his hat to with Mr. Clark, because he felt it would be in poor taste intellectually, was that he has an Ivy League education in Architecture and is all too familiar with “art-speak” and how all too easy it is to get the arrow of your analysis wrong and try and pour meaning into an artwork that is not there in the form. This is where we tend to run into problems with “pedantic” and “polemic” when you’re really wrong, well tell you so, and we don’t really care who you are or what your credentials are – but – if your going to stick your neck out like that better watch out for the axe!

      Wow, its way past late, and I’m late for bed.

      Regards
      ,
      Wygart

      • Wygart, thanks for the clarifications on the dispute resolution method. Yes, i knew that it was meant as self-analysis and that It’s about introspection. Is there anything that you would point me to read concerning which those endogenous psychological functions are? You mentioned Joe [Campbell] as a source for clarification that these functions are endogenous to the mind, and are not metaphysical facts. That, i knew already (hey, i am a physicalist, until further evidence disprove the thesis), i just think i need a framework in which to
        reinterpret my personal raw psychological data (and theories) that i have accumulated up to now, and i thought that knowledge of which are those fundamental endogenous functions would help. But i guess i’ll find something on
        this in your blog if i search properly.

        Now i understand that i completely misunderstood Atani: i thought he was
        speaking metaphorically about you and that he was really referring to me, but i got it all wrong, he was speaking literally and he was indeed referring to you (i have been embarassed like this in the past, anyway!). So i hope you did not misread my “poor Wygart” as reference to you, i was just lamenting myself.

        I haven’t read Atani’s animadversions with Mr Clark yet, i will comment once i read them. Should i tell you that as far as the arts are concerned i am at the homo erectus level, or have you guessed already? (though i might have some something to say on films).

        Whatever the risks of your and Atani’s truthy incisiveness are, since it’s truthy it’s worth it (and i didn’t see Mr Clark responding anywhere in length, so your version prevailed – btw, i need to see the film, i am downloading it now but i am not sure i will be able to find appropriate english subtitles).

        I really look forward to exploring all those ideas that i came upon here – and thank you both for that.

        P.S.i think akmofo was not endorsing the blood libel. I think he was casting this libel as part of the mindset of Martin’s German Catholic mother (or grandmother, i can’t remember which). Something like “Martin, what are you talking about, your mother was a Catholic, so she surely had this blood libel in her mind, so what are you talking about when you present her as Jew-friendly?”.

      • Hi again,

        The one problem I have always had with you Greeks is the physicalist nature of your mathematicians, always had a hard time distinguishing between the special cases and the general rule.

        First off, if you actually plan on watching Lourdes, please watch the movie first before you let Jim Clark spoil it for you [or me] – then read what he has to say and see if you can map it onto the movie you just watched. I couldn’t. When you have to start diagramming people’s sentences to try and figure out what phrase refers to what clause, in the Meme Merchant Style Manual, you need an editor. You can read what he wrote, it reads a bit like James Joyce, very stream of consciousness, but if you try and extract any meaning from it, [unlike Joyce] it starts to get very convoluted

        Also, if you happen to have any ‘issues’ with Catholicism, you should check those at the door, the whole story is told from inside a Catholic frame of reference, and could be distracting if you find the Catholic point of view bothersome.

        You said:
        ” i just think i need a framework in which to reinterpret my personal raw [p]sychological [sic?] data (and theories) that i have accumulated up to now, and i thought that knowledge of which are those fundamental endogenous functions would help.”

        If I could suggest anything to you [or anyone] it is to find the method for stepping outside of your frames of reference completely. Ultimately this is more useful. This is possible but you will need some assistance.

        Uncle Terrence [Mckenna] once reported that the entity you meet inside the Psilocybin molecule once told him, “It is as likely for a human to gain enlightenment form another human as a grain of sand is to gain enlightenment from another grain of sand.” – I agree with the mushroom completely. Don’t make anyone your Guru, find out for yourself. Don’t depend on me to help you with this problem, you are just going to get used to the idea, as Uncle Terrence used to put it, “You’ll just have to humble yourself enough to seek help from somebody who’s idea of a good time is growing in a cow pie.”

        The experience I have that you lack is that reality is provisional. Reality, of which our ‘consensus reality’ is only a subset, is a construct, very much in the way the movie The Matrix describes the Matrix itself is a construct. It’s one thing to see the movie, it’s one thing to read the book, it’s another thing to have the experience for yourself. If you have the authentic experience you will know that you have because it is completely convincing.

        No, no, you cannot do this on ‘the ‘natch’, [and no, you will not be able to drive] you can spend twenty years meditating and get nowhere – the ego is that sly – and resistant – once you apply the method meditation will start to do you some good. For one you will understand which part is your Self and which part is your ego. Unfortunately this experience, and the method, have been made illegal, an entire category of experience as significant to the human experience, as love and sex, simply made illegal. Now you see what what we’re up against, nobody wants this cat let out of the bag, your own ego especially. The psychedelic experience is the death of the ego, one reason by the way, the ego will kill the Self under certain circumstances.

        At some point I should buckle down and write down some more of my own experiences, but then it’s still only my description of my experience, you have to find your own experiences.

        This is one version of the experience I downloaded a number of years ago and placed on The Meme Merchants Consortium’s ‘other’ blog. [BTW you can find the side entrance to that blog under the “Readability Test” tab on the Meme Merchants menu bar]

        http://readabilitytest.wordpress.com/2011/09/15/night-patrol-by-w-w-wygart/

        The synopsis:
        “The psychedelic experience wrapped around the bent mandrel of dystopian narrative, redeemed at the end by pulling the lapis philosophorum, proffered by sly elves, through a crack in hyperspace.”

        Another version of the experience can be found here:

        http://readabilitytest.wordpress.com/2011/09/21/i-am-by-w-w-wygart/

        Here is the synopsis:
        “What the burning bush who spoke to Moses and said, “I am the I am,” has to say when you have been transported to the very center of the mandala.”

        If you need someone else’s description of what the experience is all about go here and navigate to the mp3 download of “Eros and the Eschaton” Uncle Terrence’s best one hour statement on the stone c. 1994:

        http://mp3.rapidlibrary.com/mp3.php?file=1156188&song=eros+and+the+eschaton

        As for akmofo, it seems he’s not a native English speaker, obviously not European, but if the blood libel thing was metaphorical or something else, I really couldn’t tell at first read, maybe I was too shocked by it to tell. Maybe he was missing a couple of question marks and it was a rhetorical question and he was blaming it all on the Catholic Church. Hard to tell. If his point was that it was the Catholic Church that concocted the whole blood libel meme, then there are much clearer ways to say it. A couple of two or three times he just veered off into to the [apparently] hysterical, racist diatribes in the middle of one of his paranoid rants, like the whole, “blue-eyed devil dog,” thing. Not even Mika has done that. On the one hand its interesting to see a completely non-European take on European history, on the other hand, he seems to have some real issues with self-restraint, and some wicked sort of axe to grind. Talk about distorted, or false assumptions.

        Well, I’m officially late for bed again,

        W^3

  2. I just found your blog through a link that w.w.wygart left in the Augean Stables, and i already have fallen for it (wygart’s calm and uncontentious common sense in his/her comment where i found the link must have contributed to the ease with which i fell).

    I will have to read more from your blog to familiarize myself with the vocabulary and see how much of it i can relate to my introspections.

    I don’t know the meaning of 99% of the terms used in your post, and i can only think in terms of various impulses in me (or voices, or egos, or significant mental structures, i understand all these words interchangeably) but your method of depiction of dispute resolution immediately struck me as (ok, here comes the cliche) deep and useful – but i can’t explain why.

    • Hi Dionissis,

      99%??, oh dear. Well, we’re word people around here, ones with absolutely no sense of self-restraint about alliteration. We’re also subscribed to Michael Quinion’s newsletter World Wide Words [three W’s gotta love it] so we are plugged into an almost infinite number of new and peculiar words.

      Welcome to the Meme Merchants digital domicile. We’ve always appreciated the intelligence of your comments over at the Augean Stables, so it’s a pleasure to have you stop by here. You also get a bit of ride ’round her because Dionysus happens to be one of our favorite characters: as a literary and mythological figure, and as an archetype who represents the bridge of the shamanic impulse into the civilized world and mind-space, and as an endogenous psychological function in the human mind, the patron and enabler of the psychedelic experience.

      We’re not sure what’s going on with Mika thought, what his whole dig about the Jesuits is really all about. Maybe he will stop by and explain himself, we never censor or snip, we take the more frightening position that what ever you say will stand forever, though not necessarily uncommented, on as testament to either your brilliance or….

      The psychological phenomenon of paranoia in general and conspiratorial thinking in particular is a primary interest of the Meme Merchants Consortium, it seems to drive an awful lot of what’s wrong with the world. As for the Jesuits it seems to us, from our cave deep beneath the earth and the slow trickling of information through the cracks in the rock strata, that the heyday of the Jesuits influence upon the World came to a close several centuries ago. Our Uncle Terrence had this to say on the subject of conspiracies, probably twenty years ago [actually it was 1994]:

      Change is accelerating: invention, connection, adumbration of ideas, mathematical algorithms, connectivity of people, social systems, this is all accelerating furiously, and under control of no one. Not the catholic church, the communist party, the IMF… no one is in charge of this process. This is what makes history so interesting, it is a runaway freight train on a dark and story night. This is why I am not particularly friendly to conspiracy theories, because I can’t make the leap faith that would lead you to believe that anyone could get hold of the beast enough to control it. Conspiracies of course, we have conspiracies up the kazoo, but none of them are succeeding. They are all being swept away, compromised, astonished by new information and endlessly agonized.

      We’ve taken this notion to heart, and to head, because it seems to be in much better agreement with observation than anyone in particular’s conspiracy story.

      At the moment Wygart is working up a comment over at Landes’ blog on the Scarfe/Ward/Kellner affair, but is at the usual anxiety ridden pre-post stage of wondering how grenade-like his comment is likely to be perceived. Wygart actually causes almost as much trouble as Phi, but is not quite so hair triggered [the reason why we restrict Phi to three sentences and a tiny box in the sidebar of the home page]. What ever he does, Wygart doesn’t seem he can be careful enough, polite enough, complimentary enough; inevitably SOMEBODY’S sacred cow winds up on the barbecue – nutritious for the rest of us beefeaters – but unpleasant for the cowherd.

      ~ Atani

      P.S. – It really helps to follow the hyperlinks, we all tend to write hyper-dimensionally around here, that is it’s not just a link to an encyclopedia article or a reference source, it may also be a literary reference, a reference to a illustrative concept that won’t fit in the sentence or even just a sly joke.

      ~ A.

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