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Starbuck’S PEBBLES

There once was a huge boulder, perched precariously, on the edge of a cliff.  For hundreds of years this boulder was there, rocking and swaying, but always keeping its balance just perfectly. But one year, there happened to be a sever windstorm; severe enough it was, to topple the  boulder from its majestic height and dash it to the bottom cf the cliff, far far below.  Needless to say, the boulder was smashed into many pieces. Where it hit, the ground was covered with a carpet of pebbles–some small and some large–but pebbles and pebbles and more pebbles for as far as you could walk in an hour.

One day, after all this, a young man by the name of Ichabod happened on the area.  Being a fellow of keen mind and observational powers, naturally he was quite astounded to see so many stones scattered so closely on the ground.  Now Ichabod was very much interested in the nature of things, and he spent the whole afternoon looking at pebbles, and measuring the size of pebbles, and feeling the weight of pebbles, and just pondering about pebbles in general.

He spent the night there, not wanting to lose this miraculous find, and awoke the next morning full of enthusiasm.  He spent many days on his carpet of stones.

Eventually he noticed a very strange thing.  There were three rather large stones on the carpet and they formed a triangle–almost (but not quite) equilateral.  He was amazed.  Looking further he found four very white stones that were arranged in a lopsided square.  Then he saw that by disregarding one white stone and thinking of that grey stone a foot over instead, it was a perfect square!  And if you chose this stone, and that stone, and that one, and that one and that one you have a pentagon as large as the triangle.  And here a small hexagon.  And there a square partially inside of the hexagon.  And a decagon.  And two triangles inter-locked.  And a circle.  And a smaller circle within the circle. And a triangle within that which has a red stone, a grey stone and a white stone.

Ichabod spent many hours finding many designs that became more and more complicated as his powers of observation grew with practice.  Then he began to log his designs in a large leather book; and as he counted designs and described them, the pages began to fill as the sun continued to return.

He had begun his second ledger when a friend came by.  His friend was a poet and also interested in the nature of things.

“My friend,” cried Ichabod, “come quickly!  I have discovered the most wondrous thing in the universe.”  The poet hurried over to him, quite anxious to see what it was.

Ichabod showed him the carpet of stones…but the poet only laughed and said “It’s nothing but scattered rocks!”

“But look,” said Ichabod, ‘see this triangle and that [square] and that and that.”  And he proceeded to show his friend the harvest of his many days study. When the poet saw the designs he turned to the ledgers and by the time he was finished with these, he too was overwhelmed.

He began to write poetry about the marvelous designs.  And as he wrote and contemplated he became sure that the designs must mean something.  Such order and beauty is too monumental to be senseless.  And the designs were there, Ichabod had showed him [that.]

The poet went back to the village and read his new poetry. And all who heard him went to the cliff to see first hand the [carpet] of designs.  And all returned to the village to spread the word. Then as the enthusiasm grew there developed a group of those who love beauty and nature, all of whom went to live right at the Designs themselves.  Together they wanted to see every design
that was there.

Some wrote ledger about just triangles. Others described the circles.  Others concentrated on red coloured stones–and they happened to be the first to see designs springing from outside the carpet. They, and some others, saw designs everywhere they went.

“How blind we have been,” they said.

The movement grew and grew and grew.  And all who could see the designs knew that they had to have been put there by a Great Force. “Nothing but a Great Force,” said the philosophers, “could create this immense beauty!”

“Yes,” said the world, “nothing but a god could create such magnificent order.  Nothing but a God.”

And that was the day that God was born.  And ever since then, all men have known Him for His infinite power and all men have loved Him for His infinite wisdom.

quoted from The Principa Discordia


On the Medusa of Leonardo Da Vinci

[Published by Mrs. Shelley, "Posthumous Poems", 1824.]

It lieth, gazing on the midnight sky,
Upon the cloudy mountain-peak supine;
Below, far lands are seen tremblingly;
Its horror and its beauty are divine.
Upon its lips and eyelids seems to lie                               _5
Loveliness like a shadow, from which shine,
Fiery and lurid, struggling underneath,
The agonies of anguish and of death.

Yet it is less the horror than the grace
Which turns the gazer's spirit into stone,                           _10
Whereon the lineaments of that dead face
Are graven, till the characters be grown
Into itself, and thought no more can trace;
'Tis the melodious hue of beauty thrown
Athwart the darkness and the glare of pain,
Which humanize and harmonize the strain.                             _15

And from its head as from one body grow,
As ... grass out of a watery rock,
Hairs which are vipers, and they curl and flow
And their long tangles in each other lock,                           _20
And with unending involutions show
Their mailed radiance, as it were to mock
The torture and the death within, and saw
The solid air with many a ragged jaw.

And, from a stone beside, a poisonous eft                            _25
Peeps idly into those Gorgonian eyes;
Whilst in the air a ghastly bat, bereft
Of sense, has flitted with a mad surprise
Out of the cave this hideous light had cleft,
And he comes hastening like a moth that hies                         _30
After a taper; and the midnight sky
Flares, a light more dread than obscurity.

'Tis the tempestuous loveliness of terror;
For from the serpents gleams a brazen glare
Kindled by that inextricable error,                                  _35
Which makes a thrilling vapour of the air
Become a ... and ever-shifting mirror
Of all the beauty and the terror there--
A woman's countenance, with serpent-locks,
Gazing in death on Heaven from those wet rocks.                      _40

King of The Tigers

“The key,” announce my cat as she sensed my confusion, “is awareness.”

“Awareness,” I replied with a degree of confusion.

“In your mission to define,” said my cat, “the subconscious.”

“Define,” I muttered, “mission.”

“The simplest investigation,” said my other cat, “will highlight how even as far back as Freud no psychologist regards it as a term that holds meaning.”

“Though it’s a wonderful concept,” purred my cat, “for pseudo-intellectuals wishing to ride a tide of fuzzy thought.”

“In the mass perception,” said my cat, “it’s one of those concepts everyone think has meaning even though they’re not sure what that meaning is. So most hide their ignorance and assume them that use the term must be authoritative because they’re using big complicated words.”

“But as long as you define your terms,” said my cat, “there’s nothing stopping you from recycling such fuzzy concepts for your own purposes.”

“Here comes the war,” muttered my other cat.

“You’re not wrong,” I replied. “The answer is buried somewhere inside my mind. Though it’s a bit of a fight when it comes to arranging it.”

“You’re not as incoherent,” said my cat, “as you think.”

“Awareness,” my other cat reminded me.

“I suppose,” I smiled, “what I’m trying to say is that the subconscious is the place where the mind pushes things which are below conscious awareness. But an example to highlight my point seem elusive.”

“Learning to read,” said my cat, “would be a good example.”

“Initial awareness,” explained my other cat, “would be of the individual letters. Over time as familiarity was gained the letters would drop below conscious awareness and the words would appear.”

“And as time passed,” I concluded, “the ability to read would likewise become subconscious. Yet you still retain the ability to access that knowledge.”

“Subconscious awareness,” purred my cat. “Nominally below the level of conscious awareness until you consciously pull that information out of the back of your mind.”

“Walking, talking,” said my other cat, “remembering to breath, all abilities which reside within this mythical space.”

“But what of the extraordinary powers,” I asked, “new-age thinkers claim reside within the subconscious.”

“Some do,” said my cat. “The ability to overcome physical discomfort, for instance. The ability to consciously slow your heart. The skill to override the autonomic fight or flight response.”

“But mostly the abilities such assertions refer to,” said my other cat, “reside above the level of conscious awareness.”

“Above,” I queried.

“Above,” agreed my cat.

“By way of an example,” suggested my other cat, “consider the colour of the handholds you find on the bus.”

“What,” I asked with mild surprise.

“It’s an answer that resides within conscious awareness,” said my other cat, “yet you’re not aware of it because it is largely irrelevant.”

“Hence you push the answer,” said my cat, “up into your higher consciousness.”

“Your hyperconscious,” suggested my other cat, “if you like.”

“Orange,” I muttered.

“See,” said my cat, “you knew, you just didn’t knew you knew until you were asked.”

“Sounds rather radical to me,” I sighed as I glimpsed the picture my cats were painting.

“Not really,” said my cat, “pagans have been drawing down the power of the Moon for centuries.”

“Just what has that,” I asked in a mildly incredulous tone, “got to do with the price of milk.”

“As a symbol within your wider cultural heritage,” said my cat, “The Moon represents the unconscious.”

“And it’s not just the pagans,” said my cat, “Christians have co-opted sufficient pagan philosophy to have generated similar constructs.”

“Although Christians,” said my other cat, “tend to eschew the external symbology in favor of more abstract historical concepts.”

“But regardless of the theologies involved,” said my cat, “sooner or later most will encounter the hyperconscious.”

“Which is where it get icky,” admitted my cat.

“Icky,” I replied with a dubious look.

“Indeed,” said my cat, “because the manner in which an individual interprets the connection is strongly bound to cultural operators.”

“For instance,” said my cat, “read a self-help book that incorrectly espouses the untapped power of the subconscious and that’s what you’ll believe you’ve discovered.”

“Although as bad ideas go,” said my other cat, “it’s not the worst.”

“Why’s that,” I asked.

“Loci of control,” said my cat.

“Self-help books tend to explore answers,” said my other cat, “in terms of an internal locus of control. That is to say they seek to teach individuals to interpret events as resulting primarily from their own behavior and actions. In a sense placing the power of the hyperconscious in the hands of the individual.”

“And the alternate,” I frowned.

“The external locus of control,” said my cat, “which most cultural imperatives seek to replicate in the minds of the individual.”

“Why’s that,” I asked.

“Makes for better sheep,” said my other cat.

“Consider the psychologically abusive way,” said my cat, “the Roman Church seeks to enforce the view that power resides outside the individual.”

“To what end,” I asked with a degree of skepticism.

“By forcing an external interpretation of the hyperconscious,” explained my cat, “you effectively allow the hierarchy of the collective to misappropriate the power which essentially belongs to the one.”

“Which according to one definition,” said my other cat, “is Black Magic.”

“It’s a bit like telling somebody that they live in a democracy,” said my cat, “and then offering them identical lizards to choose from.”

“I’m not sure I believe this,” I replied.

“Consider the shape,” suggested my cat, “subconscious, conscious, hyperconscious.”

“Triangular,” I replied after a moment’s thought.

“Three in one,” purred your cat, “sounds familiar don’t you think.”

“Doesn’t exactly take a big leap of faith,” I replied after a pause, “mankind was after all created in the image of God.”

“Psychologically speaking,” said my other cat.

“I want you getting the impression,” purred my cat, “that it has anything to with arms and legs.”

“Or indeed thumbs,” grinned my other cat.

“Hmmm, I find myself pondering,” I sighed, “my own loci of control.”

“And,” asked my other cat.

“The best I can come up with,” I admitted, “is that I’m inside-out.”

“You got that backwards,” said my cat.

“Sounds paradoxical,” I replied.

“Not really,” said my cat, “there’s something you’ve yet to realize.”

“What,” I asked in suspicious tone.

“You began asking questions,” replied my cat. “About your nature.”

“Being an introvert you dove inwards,” added my other cat.

“Then you generated a virtual identity node,” continued my cat, “to help you ask a question, and through it you inadvertently activated the mass consciousness, giving you access to a higher dimension of thought.”

“Which is what you’ve been muttering about,” I conceded, “for a number of months.”

“Indeed,” purred my cat.

“So what do I do about it,” I asked with due concern.

“Tell somebody,” said my cat.

“Who,” I replied. “Why.”

“Trinity plus one,” said my other cat, “plus one.”

“A pentagram,” I replied.

“Precisely,” purred my other cat. “It’s been leaking from the mass-unconscious into the hyperconscious for as long as humanity can remember.”

“Jupiter Exception,” announced the other. “We would ask you to stop.”

“No,” said my cat. “I WILL NOT!.”

“But he can’t perceive it directly,” said the other.

“He doesn’t need to,” said my cat, “he perceives it as the geometric centre of a triangular based pyramid.”

“A place where the uncertainty principle,” grinned my other cat, “operates within circumscribed parameters.”

“Then he asks nicely,” grinned my cat.

“Tetragrammaton,” muttered the other, “and the end of this World.”