Mind over Mind
Eden is burning; either brace yourself for elmination,
or else your heart must have the courage
for the changing of the guards - Bob Dylan
Maybe I've been reading too many comic books, or maybe too many books that should be comic books. Or perhaps a lot of non-fiction that describes a world most people presume to be fantasy. But I've been thinking lately how it can't be enough to know enough to recognize how strange and perilous our circumstances are, and how wicked the rulers of this age. Because if that's all we're about then it will be first they came for the communists-time all over again. Though possibly with the added insult that they won't even be bothered to come for us, because so long as we don't progress beyond analysis and diagnosis to treatment, then our virtual world has no congruity with theirs, and we're nothing but paperless tigers.
"To fight the Empire is to be infected by its derangement." Philip K Dick wrote that in 1978, when it was easy to give up the fight because it appeared already won before it was truly engaged. Americans saw a modest President who wore sweaters in the Oval Office, and who asked small, sensible things of them, such as consumption in moderation. (What they weren't allowed to see was his National Security Advisor "stirring up Muslims" in Central Asia.) And for what it's worth, and it must be something, in every year since there's been a Bush in the White House either by fact or by proxy. And the manifestations of seemingly intractable Empire are promoting in its demoralized opposition a paralytic state of apprehended madness.
So, if we mean to do something, how can we avoid Dick's paradox? How can we safeguard ourselves and whatever victories we may win from the viral derangement of Empire? But before we can answer that, perhaps we need to learn of what we're capable. Because the Empire knows, and would rather that we didn't.
A few weeks ago on the RI board, "slimmouse" introduced me to the story of Mirin Dajo, the "inviolable man," whose performances were banned when the sight of his assistant running fencing foils through his body induced a heart attack in an audience member.
Tony Crisp writes that, in 1947,
A Swiss doctor, Hans Naegeli-Osjord, hearing of Dajo's alleged wild talent, induced him to allow scientific investigation of what happened when he was pierced. In the Zurich Cantonal hospital many people, including doctor Naegeli-Osjord, doctor Werner Brunner, the chief of surgery at the hospital, and a number of other doctors, students, and journalist observed and reported on the experiment. In front of them Dajo stripped to the waist and after spending some time in meditation, had his assistant once more plunge the steel through him. This should have damaged vital organs, but there was no apparent harm, although the witnesses were shocked. Dajo was then asked to allow an x-ray to be taken with the rapier still in place. He agreed, walked to the x ray theatre with the foil still in place. The result of the x-ray undeniably showed Dajo was pierced through vital organs. At a later date Dajo was again examined by scientists in Basel, and this time allowed the doctors themselves to pierce him. Each time there was no apparent harm.
Jack Schwartz was a Nazi concentration camp survivor "who for years had to train himself to endure severe torture and pain." After liberation he "repeatedly astonished dozens of physicians by sticking mammoth six-inch sail-maker's needles through his arms without injury or bleeding."
More on Schwartz:
Below, Jack Schwartz painlessly - smiling - thrusts a large darning needle through his biceps repeatedly on request for the lab researchers. He was able to stop and start bleeding at will, control his heart rate (stop his pulse), hold lit cigarettes to his arm with no pain, or permanent skin damage. The cigarrette burns ranged from simple red marks to blisters on different occassions. With 72 hours all trace of burns dissappeared. Although he had been doing these kinds of demonstrations for years, the reserachers remarked that "The skin on Jack's arm is as smooth as a baby's." All of his puncture "wounds" closed immediately, and were completely healed and completely invisible between 24 and 48 hours.
Michael Talbot, in The Holographic Universe, uses examples of multiple personality disorder to demonstrate how consciousness, even when fragmented within the same individual, creates its own physical states. Medical conditions possessed by one alter may not be shared by another. Dr Bennett Braun of Chicago documented a case in which all but one of a patient's subpersonalities were allergic to orange juice: "If the man drank orange juice when one of his allergic personalities was in control, he would break out in a terrible rash. But if he switched to his nonallergic personality, the rash would instantly start to fade and he could drink orange juice freely." Psychiatrist Francine Howland had a dissociative patient arrive for an appointment with an eye completely swollen shut from a wasp sting. She immediately booked him an appointment with an opthamologist, but in the meantime, as he was in severe pain, and since one of his alters was an "anesthetic personality" who felt no pain, she had the anesthetic alter become dominant. The pain stopped immediately, and the swelling was gone by the time the opthamologist could examine him an hour later, who saw no need for treatment and sent him home. The following day, after the anesthetic personality had relinquished control, the swelling and pain returned, and he again visited the opthamologist, who later called Howland for an explanation. "He thought time was playing tricks on him," she said. "He just wanted to make sure that I had actually called him the day before and he had not imagined it."
Trauma inducing altered states of consciousness, and dissociative personalities exhibiting compartmentalized functionality even on the biological level - where have we seen this before? The Empire's mind control work has always been about more than zombie creation. It's been about activating dormant, and heightened, human capacities in its service. The "Monarch" subjects were not treated like royalty, but like butterflies: emergent creatures with novel powers, who were told to be proud of their status and their new flesh.
For example, survivor Kathleen Sullivan describes "Theta" programming as "thought energy":
I just knew it as magnetic-type energy from the individual to do a number of different things that they were experimenting with, including long-distance mind connection with other people - even in other countries. I guess you would call it "remote viewing" - where I could see what a person was doing in another state in a room or something like that. It was both actual programming and experimentation. Because what they did - they kept it encapsulated in several parts of me, several altered states. It was a lot of training, a lot of experimentation.
Sullivan notes that this level of programming went beyond remote viewing, to projecting mental energy in attempts to kill others at a distance. Fort Bragg's "goat lab" was also training ground for psychic killers, according to Jon Ronson's The Men Who Stare at Goats. At least one Green Beret, Michael Echanis, is said to have had success, though former psychic spy Glenn Wheaton told Ronson that Echanis's own heart suffered sympathetic damage. "Everything goes with a cost, see?" said Wheeler. "You pay the piper."
And so we're back to Dick's paradox. The Empire is mad, and we don't want to share in its madness and recreate its enslavements in our opposition to it. But it's made our consciousness part of its dominion, and it exploits our ignorance of ourselves and our power to maintain us in a state of false weakness. We shouldn't want to stop hearts with a burst of psychic energy - that's what they're about - but we should know that, however unlikely, it's possible that we could. And then we should try to do something better.