Thursday, October 1, 2015

initial sketches on precision neuronihilism

I'll probably get in trouble for this, but who cares. This is a draft (still needs lots of editing/endnotes etc) for an upcoming chapter in "Damned Facts: Fortean Approaches to the Study of Religion" due out sometime this winter on Aporetic. If you read this, give me some feedback.
EDIT 10/20/15: Almost done, cleaned up plus endnotes.

Mirror Maze: True Reflections of the Hyperprophets

Broken mirror mosaic, author’s home (Construction: William Spencer; Photo: Chris Rice 2015)

Subtlety grates upon the nerves, yet everything is driven by an immense crudity: death impassions us. Even before crossing over into death I had been excruciated upon my thirst for it. I accept that my case is in some respects aberrant, but what skewers me upon zero is an aberration inextricable from truth. To be parsimonious in one’s love for death is not to understand. -Nick Land, Thirst for Annihilation1

This essay will likely seem serpentine, obscure, and repetitive, as I attempt to tie various speculations together that are, at the end of the day, just that - speculations. The reason I persist despite this limitation is that I believe the tools and technology exist and have always existed to plumb this particular depth in order to prove these theories right or wrong - my conjecture is that the potential is universal, though time will tell or it won’t. Perhaps it will spark anyone else to consider the possibilities contained herein and not be daunted by the solemnity and ghoulishness of Nothing! I am not the first to have foreseen an end to blind threading of the weave of world-space. I am not the first to "gaze long into the Abyss"2, nor am I the first to discover that our personal abysses can reflect the individuated Self. I am not the first to unwind and add my own Ariadne's thread through this intimate enfolding of Trauma and Time. I am not the first to attempt an Escape from this Mirror Maze, nor the first to theorize a mechanism for its navigation. I am not the first to swim up out of the hedgerow labyrinth into the ocean of Void. Nor am I the first to have brought back a vision of our underworld from the perspective of this "positive death at zero-intensity"3: a vision of infinitely multifold reflecting crystalline geometries hung on silver string in the aether. Like hyperconnected wireframe constellations, each node a virtual mirror - pages in books on shelves in the infinite librarynth of Self. To update Nietzsche: I have a multiplicity of precursors, and what a unity these precursors construct!4 No less than proof that the simulation of external reality by mind can be turned off completely or simulated as such, that this deactivation exposes details of future states, and that all recorded memory states are experienced simultaneously within this form of pure consciousness, modulated by incoming sensory input. Mors mystica - the experiencing of the Real in real time - exposes and forces a visualization of the calculatory procedures undertaken by the brain.

Simplicity. Lord, I do admire their direct approach. Hit an old man with mirrors, watch his pieces fall in jigsaws of ice.” -Something Wicked This Way Comes, Ray Bradbury5

In my initial cartography of this concept I’ve taken to calling the Mirror Maze, I shall be paying a special notice to three primary points: an eclectic assortment of those who have went before, the nature of the intersections of these web-threads, and the layout, construction, and navigation of the labyrinth - the Prophets, the Mirrors, and the Maze. My narrative began some months before the writing of this, late one night watching the Disney adaptation of Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes, I was struck suddenly by the remarkable similarity between the mirror maze scene and a half-remembered passage from Athanasius' biography of St Anthony:

He observed that in saying "today," he was not counting time that has passed but was always laying a foundation, endeavoring each day to stand before God and to attain an acceptable form in order to appear before God pure in heart and prepared to obey his will alone, and no other. And he used to tell himself from the way of life of the great Elijah that it was necessary for ascetics at all times to know their own lives, as in a mirror. -Antony the Great, Athanasius6

A psilocybin mushroom experience from months past in which I had perceived all memory laid out before me contained in seemingly-infinite, infinitely nested hierarchies and arrays of mirrors, mirrors that contained the seeds of future choices and linked by equally infinite spiderweb-thin strings extending back in time past my own beginning into Deep Time and on into Nothing, suddenly made a different kind of sense. A sudden realization of labyrinthine reflexivity, a synchronic reflection on so many past selves - dead but clearly unburied. Parts of this strange multilevel "past" were being constantly simulated and resimulated within the mind, these looping traps seeming to distort and bend the vanguard edge of creation back toward them, preventing the full range of forward motions. Sitting alone in the dark watching an old man drown in a mirror reflecting his greatest regrets, my vision went geometric and geomorphic and I began to weep while actively hallucinating. Self-reflection was enveloped by void-thoughts and shattered across a broken-mirrored wall. I saw my Death pirouetting in the reflective surface before I reflexively shook my head and snapped out of it in time for the credits to roll.

Something Wicked This Way Comes, Disney 1983

Re-struck by this strange-mirroring petit mors mystica, through a glass darkly, and recalling that nearly every mystical tradition made some use of the archetypes of the mirror, I began a scattershot approach to research that led me to a contused refracturing of viewpoint and attention span, overwhelmed by the chaos and brightness -the dripping intensity- of the mystical fascination with mirrors and reflection. In an attempt to re-focus my lens, as it were, I re-visited the movie that had generated this vision in the first place only to find that earlier in the film the carnival flyers Dark distributes through the town refer to the mirror maze as 'St. Anthony's Temptation.' A constellation began to coalesce out of the fog. While reflecting on Anthony, I was confronted immediately with a new mirroring, that of the visions of peaceful and wrathful deities of the Tibetan Book of the Dead and his visions, his 'Temptations.' This analogy transmutes righteous demonic combat into the struggle to overcome desire and attachment, linguistically refracting categories to remodel old wiring diagrams that re-express new purposes for old models and building a moving frame for a mobile interpretation of selflessness. In this ontological re-framing of ascetic repetition, Antony's meditation techniques mirror a yoga entrained on Death, as contortions of the mind and the contortions of the meat are trained to reflect each other with luminous precision - in his case a profound physical, mental, and emotional isolation in places such as crypts for extremely long periods of time. This asceticism and its resultant records mirror John Lilly's findings that such isolation "gives the fullest and most complete experiences of the internal explorations."8

But only the moon looked in at the hollow dark, the deep caverns. Outside, night beasts hung in midgallop on a carousel. Beyond lay fathoms of Mirror Maze which housed a multifold series of empty vanities one wave on another, still, serene, silvered with age, white with time. Any shadow, at the entrance, might stir reverberations the colour of fright, unravel deep-buried moons. If a man stood here would he see himself unfolded away a billion times to eternity? Would a billion images look back, each face and the face after and the face after that old, older, oldest? Would he find himself lost in a fine dust away off deep down there, not fifty but sixty, not sixty but seventy, not seventy but eighty, ninety, ninety-nine years old? The maze did not ask. The maze did not tell. -Ray Bradbury, SW9

In this way the mirror is related to vajrayana, the reflective prismatic "diamond" vehicle of enlightenment - this self-reflective vehicle providing a second axis of reflection on the ascetic's call to "know their own lives as in a mirror." The Diamond Sutra, a foundational text of vajrayana practice, is a short burst of directed anti-illusion ritual, a repetitive reminding of the interlocking shape of all things underlying the illusory world of differentiated names, the world of language - referencing constantly the nature of perception and communication as easily subverted by limiting forces such as language, myth, and the self-deception that anchors the individualized self-conception.

"I have seen the interconnectedness of all lifeforms. Once you become aware of this force for unity in can't ever forget it. It becomes part of everything you do." -John Coltrane10

This illusion of disconnection segues into the concept of labyrinth, an oft-utilized metaphor for being lost in the hyper-intricate sum total of self and life. Both Mirror and Maze were often brought together in the work of Jorge Luis Borges, notably in the short story Library of Babel. Not only describing a functionally infinite librarynth with a crystalline structure complete with mirrors which the author "prefer[s] to dream that its polished surfaces represent and promise the infinite"11, Borges also writes "The mystics claim that their ecstasy reveals to them a circular chamber containing a great circular book, whose spine is continuous and which follows the complete circle of the walls; but their testimony is suspect; their words, obscure. This cyclical book is God. Let it suffice now for me to repeat the classic dictum: The Library is a sphere whose exact center is any one of its hexagons and whose circumference is inaccessible."12  Within the crystalline recording reflective structure of reality, the acknowledgement of zero as infinite and interpenetrating, of Zero as God.  
Virtual Mirrors

In the image titled 'Infinity' William S. Burroughs used a system of mirror and collage to combine every photograph he had thus far taken into one image, crystallizing Time in a richly resonant, recursive, mirror-mandala and providing him with access to his "memories" in a geometrically compressed supersymmetrical fashion. Recalling a book with several essays on WSB, I noticed that the title of one was Virtual Mirrors in Solid Time and was shocked to see someone else's work wyrdly prereflecting some of my own.

'Infinity' William S. Burroughs

Over the course of this essay, author Genesis P-Orridge analyses a set of artworks, judging them to be mystical oscillators: sorcerous art crafted with the purpose of driving a desired mental state in a viewer lucky enough to gaze on them. Art designed to trigger specific states of consciousness, transmitted via the open emotional conduit art generates in a receptive viewer, and based on a system of cues and nonlinear information encoding that mirror a path of shamanistic technology, the kind of "waveform mysticism" employed by skilled musicians and DJs. As much as the essay mirror-frames itself in a hypnagogic state between magic and mysticism, the essay recursively reflects on unexplored details of the gap between art's emotional resonance and neuroscientific attempts to quantify such resonance. The essay itself resonates with non-linear information encoding, becoming an autocommentary - a commentary on a mystical treatise that is itself a mystical treatise - reflecting this triggering system back at itself and finding a harmonic resonance in the re-presentation of these art works that both further entrenches and expands on the concepts under commentarial scrutiny, the concept in this case being the structural encoding of subjective experience into art. This process I believe mirrors the process of encoding sensory input into memory - a theory that the visionary artist's encoding of actual brain state information into a piece of art is significantly more dense or "complete" than any traditional models of art give it credit for, often even approaching lossless transfer of a subjective moment with a precision that transcends even what we already expect from art. Beyond a simple affective reaction into the transmission of the subjective experience via highly compressed thoughtforms across time and space. Burroughs’ photography was designed to trigger affectations of specific memories for himself, external memory storage that would emanate from - in a sense, be 'always on' - and become recursively sharpened by the object of art, a mirroring feedback loop that would culminate in a reification process for the memory, which Burroughs considered to be preeminent time travel technology. My speculation is that 'Infinity' was a recording of the Self-less empty state that presented an energy efficient memory recall method. This state of non-self finds an external equilibrium in the spacious emptiness behind the illusory, an equilibrium wherein  "even recursion, then, is not complex enough for a mirror so deeply synaesthetic and so causally complicated,"13 a self-reflection made remarkably mobile in time and space. The traumatic counterpoint to Self-loss found in his drug use resulted in precision encoding and transmission of these subjective states, presented as clearly as a face viewed in a mirror.

“All nature is a vast reflection of that which is within us, or else we could not know it.” Austin Osman Spare. - Subjective experience is no less "real" than objective conjecture. All roads lead to Rome in a mirror to mirror function. This function of mirroring is found in the trance state in a simple direct way. The higher techniques of idea and artist's illusory skills makes effects and phenomena active through the dimensions of Spacelessness and Timelessness in ways normally consigned to the sceptical parking lot of modern existence. -Genesis P-Orridge, Virtual Mirrors in Solid Time14

Proposed distinctions in art such as psychedelic, visionary, or occult take on a new form when re-interpreted this way. Removed from a somewhat crude sense of the artist's 'mindset', visionary art could possibly be redefined as art that successfully transmits salient information about some neurological state of the creator(s) via any medium - with an added speculation that these arts are frequently attempts at training or externalizing memory storage (even if only subconsciously) rather than a simple creative action, potentially explaining why so much art is interpreted as "meaningless" by people that aren't emotionally struck by it - by people that "can't remember" the memory being presented, who would therefore never feel an emotional resonance with the piece. P-Orridge elliptically suggests the reason this form of art is so good at conveying its encoded subjectivities is because of a natural self-deception in the form of "assuming what we view is an artwork, a picture, when in fact it is a 'photograph' of a mirror of virtual reality"15 which leads to an accidental openness to the suggestion encoded. This openness subverts skepticism toward the idea of "living, moving, or changing images of a post-death entity or brain essence"16 and attempts a wedging open of this gap, this openness to the Other, in the form of neurologically experiencing another's subjectivity.

[...] I came to find that certain artworks can produce their own sense of what is real....They demand that we remake our understanding in order to contain them. They resist our efforts to do so. In so doing art works, frequently, painfully and pleasantly remind me that my present understanding is profoundly insufficient. -Isabel Nolan, Weaponising Speculation17

Harmonizing with the knowledge that a sudden realization of the gaps in one’s understanding or awareness is a major component of the mystical experience, under this lens we see an expansion of perspective (even if ONLY by one) via a connection (even if ONLY a temporary neural connection between simulations) between the subject and the creator. For those of us predisposed to stable one-dimensional viewpoints, this expansion can be emotional indeed as the resizing of this stable self-awareness highlights the size of the unknown lurking in our knowledges and seems to dramatically reduce our sense of self-size as our perspective on ourself is made up now primarily of gap, of emptiness, of Nothing.18

Gaps, tensions, connections, and failures to fit appear when artworks are placed in a room. The empty spaces between works have properties that nothing does not. The spaces can have an array of qualities - they may be exciting, welcoming, disturbing, or alienating. I am not for a second suggesting that empty rooms don't have character or atmosphere, rather that artworks make new spaces and collapse existing ones. These non-neutral objects project themselves into a room and give shape to the nothing between them. -Isabel Nolan, WS19

Thalamocortical Oscillation (TCO) is an extremely underexplored facet of consciousness that is a crucial component of understanding more precisely what the mirror maze metaphor represents. TCO is loosely defined as the manifold high-dimensional path neurochemical signaling takes from sensory input collation, synchronization, and distribution in the thalamus to higher cognitive processing and representation in the cortex in addition to the frequency at which this path is stimulated by thalamic output measured in cycles per second. TCO frequency is roughly correlative to wakefulness and mood, with low frequency oscillations diving down through relaxation to hypnagogia and finally unconscious states like sleep; and higher frequencies more associated with active task-oriented focus and anxiety. The path the signal takes is determined by the top-down constraints and attentional navigation by the default network (the “ego”; DMN) of any number of high-dimensional neuronal maps that represent the active sensory stimulation, short-term memory, instincts, enculturation, and education of the subject as heterarchical supervening tiers overlaying the near-infinitely enfolded strata of raw sensory data encoded in deep memory. The brain is made up of several functional components that operate as oscillators upon this TCO waveform, the harmonic linkage - the resonance - of these "kluges" with the driving wave is modulated by the DMN. Psychedelic and mystical states are notable for their ability to perturb this efficient stable state to the point of collapse, at which stage these variously oscillating kluges individually home in on the most energy-efficient local periodic driver - generally the strongest environmental stimuli. Music, art, significant objects or entities, environmental and social cues of all kinds can pointedly and commandingly "snap" attention onto themselves and forcefully drive mental activity in these states, interrupting external reality with dreamlike components that are essentially fragments of memories related to the object under perceptual consideration.This knowledge seems to freshly illuminate the now-infamous Terence McKenna trope "5 grams in silent darkness," suggesting that TMK was offering up a blueprint for a harmonization with zero - a psychedelic harmonization with a sensory-null environment, a harmonization with Nothing. "The void-plane touched at zero-intensity"20, wherein awareness of self is cognitively lost and these dreamlike states completely obscure external reality.

In Cocteau's film Orphée, an improbable set of events lead a confused but tragically egoic poet on a counterintuitive journey through the underworld and back via mirror portals. Hounded by an uncompromising love of his Death that propels him further and further from ordinary reality and its concerns, he ignores several warnings before missing and being partly responsible for the death of his wife, Eurydice. Death begins acting erratically when exposing herself to Time for this game and eventually sacrifices herself to non-existence for her own love of the poet, reflecting her own power onto itself to give its love more Time in life. The principle of Time and Void as reflective structures grows, a crystalline nucleation from the future imposing its multi-faceted surface onto all past maps. Death as the strangest, strongest attractor in the circuit of life.  

Jean Cocteau’s Orphée, 1950

“I am letting you into the secret of all secrets, mirrors are gates through which death comes and goes. Look at yourself in a mirror all your life and you'll see death at work like bees in a hive of glass.” -Heurtebise, Orphée21

In all of these mirrors are found a common denominator, a shape lurking in every corner of every mirror, the outline of Death and its certainty as expressed in Time. In each mirror a threat and a promise. Considering several mystical, artistic, and literary works with this new visionary interpretation-framework and their overlap begins to expose this open secret. The hidden knowledge behind the fact that uncountable numbers of descriptions of Time and Death's machinations reverberate with the holographic reflective structuring of Memory. Works such as Infinity, the heretic Porete's 'Mirror of Simple Souls', Bradbury's Something Wicked, Cocteau's Orphée especially seem to amplify a signal that echoes the possibility of knowing our own Death, as intimately as a reflection in a mirror - a third axis of the ascetic maxim, which, along with the emulation of brain death in the mystical and psychedelic states, discloses this mode of non-linear, image-, archetype-, and pattern-based, topological cognition that intuitively acts to oppose the limitations of time via expression, i.e. the creation of memories, the creation of Time as Art. That, indeed, also seem to reference these possibilities of decoupling the timing control of the thalamus (leading to expansive feelings of timelessness and a disconnection from the concept of past/future as everything becomes Now) and relaxing completely its gating and filtration mechanism, shifting consciousness from an oscillatory and transient waveform in vector space to a solid standing wave that fills all available space - filling all gaps with signal instead of being limited to pre-constructed pathways. Signalling into these gaps illuminates their edges, sharpens their definition, and highlights the superstructure of memory as if it is all coterminous with the present moment.
...some of the best current work in neuroscience [...] suggests a view of the human brain as a system that constantly simulates possible realities. [...] Recent evidence points to the fact that background fluctuations in the gamma frequency range are not only chaotic fluctuations but contain information - philosophically speaking, information about what is possible. This information - for example, certain grouping rules, residing in fixed network properties like the functional architecture of corticocortical connections - is structurally laid-down information about what was possible and likely in the past of the system and its ancestors. [...] Not being chaotic at all, it might be an important step in translating structurally laid-down information about what was possible in the past history of the organism into those transient, dynamical elements of the processing that are right now actually contributing to the content of conscious experience. -Thomas Metzinger, Being No One22

....a passage that eerily mirrors the conception of the Mentat in Frank Herbert's Dune, whose divination is brought into sudden feasibility...

Unlike computers, Mentats were not simple human calculators. Instead, the exceptional cognitive abilities of memory and perception were the foundations for supra-logical hypothesizing. Mentats were able to gather large amounts of data and devise concise analyses in a process that goes far beyond logical deduction: Mentats cultivate "the naïve mind", the mind without preconception or prejudice that can extract the essential patterns or logic of data and deliver, with varying degrees of certainty, useful conclusions. -Dune Wiki23

Laplace’s description of absolute predictive knowledge does accord with the descriptions of prescience for Paul and Leto II. Prescience seems like a super-attunement to the present instant of time that brings with it a super-awareness of the possibilities for the future potential in the present instant.” Jeffery Nicholas, Dune and Philosophy24

This aligns mysticism with cutting-edge findings of neuroscience, bringing the fact that human brains are essentially anticipatory networks making guesses out of a patchwork past into the open void of the future, in line with the multitude of claims that several forms of meditative, yogic, emptiness-based rituals lead specifically to a higher-dimensional viewpoint of time, a viewing of the past such that the holofractalographic pattern of the creation of the Now in perceptive space is exposed through the cracks in our after-the-fact papering-over this Now via language. I theorize here that this viewpoint, by virtue of its perspective on the past, is able to utilize this knowledge to construct sharper and sharper guesses and hypotheses of the immediate future, of the expected reality to come rather than just the reality of the past, by tracking these strings of mirror shards forward in time. This similarly accords with the large bodies of work dedicated to the precognitive powers of the adept, though it also reminds us that these are only probable futures, that uncertainty in particular is impossible to stamp out in any of its forms and attachment to particular outcomes skews and deforms the process. Viewing the past in this way tends to humiliate anyone that was completely sure of their predictions or of formalized completeness, but it also paves the way for the suitably skilled, or suitably informed and aware, or even suitably aligned, to be a cognitive step ahead of those still in the realm of lower-dimensional individualized thinking - as this entity will maneuver maps with a qualitatively different kind of speed and clarity even if the landscape becomes more complex. In this sense, Burroughs was spot-on when he said "magic is just being there first" for it is no less than being attuned to the moment-to-moment creation vividly displayed in this metaphoric death of the self. This being-there-first is orthogonally exemplified by Coltrane's 'Om', exhibiting anothers’ contention that all time can be re-experienced, in particular by the use of a quote from the Vedas on the album:

"I am absolute knowledge
I am also the Vedas— the Sama, the Rik and the Yajus,
I am the end of the path, the witness, the Lord, the sustainer;
I am the place of abode, the beginning, the friend and the refuge;
I am the breaking apart, and the storehouse of life's dissolution:
I lie under the seen, of all creatures the seed that is changeless.
I am the heat of the sun; and the heat of the fire am I also;
Life eternal and death. I let loose the rain, or withhold it.
Arjuna, I am the cosmos revealed, and its germ that lies hidden."25

...which comes in tandem with his attempt to let the music be his thesis on the sound of the beginning of all things, a beginning some think he “saw” under the influence of psychedelic drugs. The word "om" is a vibration, a reflection of the unity of Nothing before creation. It is the manifestation of the truth essential to Hindu philosophy that Brahman (God) and the Atman (Soul) are one; that their separateness is an illusion. The acknowledgement of this truth, or rather the attempt to practice it, is what Coltrane seems to be doing with Om. The open secret of how LSD changed his outlook on reality in the early 60s casts an interesting light on his work that I speculate is not at all unrelated.26

Given the likelihood our brains have evolved to present a gapless experience, glossing over our enormous multi-dimensional lacks with simulations ranging from data-driven hypotheses to outright guesswork, is it possible we are just being presented with a dimensionally- or algorithmically-compressed reality? A reality in which the topology of the gap or interval is the true world-in-itself? Perhaps the Diamond Sutra is a technology for the reconfiguration of this high-dimensional constellation/circuit called the self-model such that it structurally aligns with the world-simulation-level map touted by Churchland in Plato’s Camera? A disciplined re-harmonization of Self such that the container and the self-model are brought into a structural isomorphism? A “psycholocator,” so to speak, combined with infinitely nested maps for the triangulation and navigation of an annihilation of all erroneous Selves and the final death of the primitive individualized ego? It is with these speculations in mind that I further adjust the angles of my mirror microscope and reconsider the set of artworks that are aligning themselves under this interpretation. Suddenly, a new pattern emerges from beyond the reflecting portal, the reflection of a pattern obscured by reactions to it..  
When the entire brain is opened into this involute infinity of zero-input, all memory is "viewed" from a higher spatial dimension, providing the god's-eye, rhizomatic observer-less point of view on the librarynth of Self/Knowledge, exposing its construction - exposing zero, the gap, as the stable centrality supporting the infinitely generative multidimensionality of consciousness. In laying zero as this mobile foundationless foundation, the central gap whose tendrils extend out infinitely as every gap, pre- post- and during Being is shown to be interconnected, Ø proves hyperscalar, dimensionless, rather than simply a starting point or as some abstract linear position eternally pre-beginning and out of range of phenomenal experience. Zero becomes interchangeable with the Sartrean perfect witness as this tracking-of-emptiness becomes a permanent ungrounding process of divorcing from preconceived ideals and habits - a mechanism for practicing the "undocking," so to speak, from ideology, culture, or self. A precision nihilism at the level of neural correlates to sense perception - where "passive nihilism is zero religion, active nihilism is the religion of zero."27 This reconfiguration easily overturns dualisms that would suggest anything other than Ø=∞, and indexes again that Ø represents a fundamental field of creative relation interpenetrating all things, as darkness has always been prior to light.

The pessimist’s day is not an illumined space for the advancement of experience and action, but a permanently and inescapably reflective zone, the vast interior of a mirror where each thing is only insofar as it is, at best, a false image of itself. Within this speculative situation, inside the doubleness of the mirror, pessimism splits into two paths, false and true, one that tries to fix pessimism (establish a relation with the mirror) and decides in favor of the apparent real, and another that totally falls for pessimism (enters the mirror) and communes with the greater reality of the unreal. -Nicola Masciandaro28

Re-evaluating the fractal mirrorscape this way would seem to index a repetitive ferocity to -remember- this “empty set" of neuronal coordinates in Art, to entrain thought and being toward the doom and discipline of time and inevitability, toward a new understanding of the strangest and most traumatic attractors, becoming a perennial philosophy of self-emptying into Art. Rembrandt's self-portraits in this sense transversally mirror The Picture of Dorian Grey as crystallized moments in subjective time are captured and encoded against finality. The pattern again invoked, a triumph over the fear of death not by solving a puzzle - but by accepting that it is puzzles all the way down. Every image you have ever taken of your reality has a You at its core that this self-reflection exposes as a container for sufferings that can be made larger by openness, by bringing it into contact with the Outside, and by a willingness to empty the container into the Art. This builds an angular momentum, like a feedback loop, toward the unification of the subject/object dualism, as if intension and extension align, a du[e/a]lling connection that reflects the unified self not just in aggregates of memory images but also in the process of constructing memories itself because you are this ever-growing reflective network that seems to expand beyond your self both in space and time, oscillating and expanding along with world-input, and so also the trajectory of the process is You and every gap is Nothing, but now a measurable Nothing - measurable in its interpenetration of multiple dimensions. When coordinated with the doctrines of interconnectedness presented in both quantum physics and biology, this structure crashes headlong into near-identical concepts as they provide a scaffolding for vajrayana, in the Diamond Sutra:

World-honored One, having listened to this Discourse, I receive and retain it with faith and understanding. This is not difficult for me, but in ages to come - in the last five-hundred years, if there be men coming to hear this Discourse who receive and retain it with faith and understanding, they will be persons of most remarkable achievement. Wherefore? Because they will be free from the idea of an ego-entity, free from the idea of a personality, free from the idea of a being, and free from the idea of a separated individuality. And why? Because the distinguishing of an ego entity is erroneous. Likewise the distinguishing of a personality, or a being, or a separated individuality is erroneous. Consequently those who have left behind every phenomenal distinction are called Buddhas all. -Diamond Sutra29  


This is a primary axiom of self-navigation, an alignment with the gravity of zero, the gravity of non-existence. That the tuning and navigation of this librarynth is the fundamental skill set of philosophy, mysticism, psychology, science, and mathematics alike obscures the realization that a side-effect of holographic access to memory is that they will be ordered, in effect catalogued, by their emotional significance, the density of interconnection to and from their neural correlates in the hippocampus. The most significant memories - good and bad - will function like strange attractors exhibiting beacon-like gravity in proportion to their intensity. "lt is because she knows that not she or anyone else knows anything of her horrible sins and faults in comparison with what God knows of them." Porete says in ‘Mirror of Simple Souls’30, or as Tad Delay remarks in ‘God is Unconscious’, "A psychoanalytically informed theology is a conception of trauma. Regardless of who we pretend to be, our facades of humility and arrogance alike betray the deeply buried illusions we inflict upon ourselves with an irascible wrath, all for the misguided notion that our trauma will not surface and show itself through the veneer of security. The illusion of non-anxiety works until it does not."31
In correspondence with Marie von Franz titled Reflections on the Structure of the Universal Number Continuum, mathematician Jefferey Bishop makes a case for dimensional transition in geometric terms being a strange mirroring, a mirroring on each dimensional axis. It is a meandering and difficult text, looping and repeating itself, and even occasionally seeming to get lost in its own looping. In this sense it resembles Burroughs and Brion Gysin's cut-up experiments, seeming to break free of linearity via abstract self-reflection and what can be described in a tongue-in-cheek manner as dimensional travel - but this, a simulation based on finding or constructing transitional moments between mathematical dimension. As zero is the same zero in all dimensions, it becomes a kind of multi-axial elevator shaft connecting each coordinate of the librarynth to every other, a strange “tunnelling” through levels. An interesting takeaway from this piece comes at his contention that the 4th dimension requires a substantial inward-facing energy to be able to mirror and "invert" or more properly implode along 4 dimensional axes - represented in thought as a black hole of reflectivity that performs as its own attractor in this abstract vector space. "But the fifth dimensional element of symmetry is not an axis in any formal sense, and is altogether a more complex extension ‘into an unknown space.’ This is the symmetry element described as the non-performable operation of inversion through the center."32 In his terms, dimensional or scale transitions can only occur in spatial positions that conform to certain types of complexity, positions that align across dimensions such as zero, for systems capable of taking error-corrective action, of maintaining a balance.

At the moment of self-loss, whether virtual or actual, every point in the brain becomes electrochemically connected to every other point in the brain. This experience is often recalled as a feeling of hyperconnectedness, of "everything is everything" - a complete breakdown of the subject-object dynamic as the vast array and complexity of the sense stream often completely overwhelms any ability to recognize the self-model and the first-person perspective decays until all input and output are perceived simultaneously across all the senses. When this barrier has been passed, the subject ceases to perceive images directly from shared reality, being left only with their symbolic representation in mind. According to Julius Evola, “If the normal man is able to orient himself at all without the direct support of these images, he finds himself in a state of reverie, and then in the dream state, in which the energization of the imaginary activity, dissociated from the external senses, is accompanied by further reduction and emptying of consciousness of Self...further still and he enters into a state of apparent death”33 but another expression of balancing du[e/a]lisms as explicated by Land, "on the one hand death as the ultimate nostalgia of signification, on the other death as the virulent flux of communication"34 sets up a radical notion of balance as the diagonal solution for this di-lemma of the ego being trapped in the astonishment. Of particular use in the navigation of this state are the lessons learned from yoga, meditation, and vajrayana: acceptance, relaxation, breathing, preparation for mental contortion as one is funneled through the mirror-strung ego tunnel toward a “central” zone where we transcend reflection and become the mirror maze. This radical ungrounding presents the concept of an observer-less infinite perspective on all possible realities, in all directions, including internally, as the true world-for-itself.

He will travel freely through many worlds or experience - from direct contact with life-process forms and images, he may pass to visions of human game-forms. He may see and understand with unimagined clarity and brilliance various social and self-games that he and others play. His own struggles in karmic (game) existence will appear pitiful and laughable. Ecstatic freedom of consciousness is the keynote of this vision. Exploration of unimagined realms. Theatrical adventures. Plays within plays within plays. Symbols change into things symbolized and vice versa. Words become things, thoughts are music, music is smelled, sounds are touched, complete interchangeability of the senses. -Timothy Leary, The Psychedelic Experience35
...floating tomb [that] enshrines a dark abyssic twinness with the eternal, one spiritually defined by inverse suspension in a volitional forcefield of opposing attractors. The love that is its place is not soft, but adamantine, contentious, and operative in negation, in the form of resistance which permits not. Suspended with the finality of death in the divine abyss of itself, secure in the omnipresent center....the tomb is saturated with the blackness of this negativity, this NO, which holds the unthinkable thingless essence of creativity and everlasting freedom. -Nicola Masciandaro, Wings Flock to My Crypt, I Fly to My Throne36

We can suppose that this matrix stores information in a regressing hierarchy of interiorized reflections of itself, in a form similar to the familiar Chinese ivory balls carved one within another, each level free to rotate independently. -Terence McKenna, Invisible Landscape37

This presents a unique perspective on awareness when brought toward consilience with neuroscience and mysticism - that it may not be bound necessarily to being human, or even mammal or animal at all and could be a fundamental property of existence, possibly a type of empathy that expands our subjectivities via taking into account the subjectivities that surround us, viewing the Other not as if through a window, but as if we are their mirror. It is through this dream we realize Metzinger's proposition of transparency of self, and begin a methodology of opacity, a practice of observing the observer as it winks out of existence and subsequently rebuilds itself. A methodology of disallowing the self from interjecting over the interconnectedness, and an always-working-hypothesis of the eternality of Reason based on an alignment with the unknown - the infinite dissolution of our Selves in the boundless sea of hyperspace, the "infinite ocean of God."38  

When thought dissolves, we dissolve with it. Whoever we think we are dissolves into awareness that is free of the concept of self. In that very moment, we can directly experience the non-solidity of phenomena, the reality of emptiness, or shunyata. At the same time, there is so much energy present—so much so that it forms into another moment. The energy brings a sense of clarity that is so sharp, it is like a clear mirror in which mind can at last recognize itself. In this mirror of mind, we see the radiant yet transparent nature of our own awareness. -Dzogchen Ponlop, Mind Beyond Death39

In summation, the brain as a reflective structure may be no mere metaphor, deep physical and emotional isolation exposes the jagged edges and missing pieces of our inchoate selves, and subjective experience seems to be constructed by the closing of or simulation over perceived gaps between already-hyperconnected multi-level nodes of sensory recordings in the brain by analogy, logical connections in abstract thought, and causal/spatial/temporal "adjacency" (direct experience). The shift from a spatial abstraction (3 dimensional external reality) to a higher dimensional temporal abstraction gives us a simulated "top-down" view of our entire self-memory, but the transition between these dimensions involves traversing a hyper-mirroring "ego-tunnel" that exposes us to a totalized reflection of our utterly incomplete yet utterly interconnected selves and generates an automatic gravity toward the replay of emotionally significant memories while showing just how malleable memory is within emotional space. That this could be of profound importance to psychotherapy belies the fact that it is, quite simply, terrifying for the traumatized as the worst *always* comes first. The training received in yogic and ascetic practices take on incalculable value, as a kind of never-ending deconstructive "self-less" balancing act seems to be the only method for remaining within this space - this, the charnel ground of the infinitely blissful horror of pure self-knowledge. As the entrance to the Mirror Maze can be found in every Self, so the Escape is found in Self-less-ness.

Numerological Graphings of several words and phrases -Nick Land, Fanged Noumena (Falmouth: Urbanomic, 2011)

​"Homological Scaffolds of Brain Functional Networks" G. Petri, P. Expert, F. Turkheimer, R. Carhart-Harris, D. Nutt, P. J. Hellyer, F. Vaccarino
J. R. Soc. Interface 2014 11 20140873; DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2014.0873. Published 29 October 2014

Neural Net Map -

1: Nick Land, Thirst for Annihilation: George Bataille and Virulent Nihilism (London: Routledge, 1992), 15.

2: Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil - Aphorism 146 (London: Penguin, 2003). This fragile lacework narrative must necessarily be limited by page constraints. Though it forms from a constructive unfolding web of disciplined retracings of steps, it has proven to be a particularly complex journey and will be plagued by speculation as long as the exploration of inner worlds continues to be considered outside the purview of the hard sciences (not to mention, in the case of psychedelics, the law).

3: Nick Land, Thirst for Annihilation: George Bataille and Virulent Nihilism (London: Routledge, 1992), 81.

4: Nietzsche, Postcard to Franz Overbeck, Sils-Maria (30 July 1881) as translated by Walter Kaufmann in The Portable Nietzsche (London: Penguin, 1954).  "I have a precursor, and what a precursor!" referencing Spinoza.

5: Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes (New York: Avon, 2006), 112.

6: Athanasius of Alexandria, Life of Antony trans. Tim Vivian. Coptic Church Review: Volume 15, Numbers 1 & 2 (1994), 8.

8: John C. Lilly, Programming and Metaprogramming in the Human Biocomputer (Portland: Coincidence Control Publishing, 2014), 15.

9: Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes (New York: Avon, 2006), 31.

10: John Coltrane, Sleevenotes of Meditations (Impulse, 1966).

12: Ibid.

13: Karmen MacKendrick, “The Voice of the Mirror: Strange Address in Hildegard of Bingen” in “The Mystical Text (Black Clouds Course Through Me Unending…),” eds. Nicola Masciandaro and Eugene Thacker, special issue, Glossator: Practice and Theory of the Commentary 7 (2010), 212.

14: Genesis P-Orridge, “Virtual Mirrors in Solid Time” in Book of Lies, ed. Richard Metzger (New York: Disinformation, 2003), 136.

15: Ibid., 134.

16: Ibid., 134-135.

17: Isabel Nolan, “How to Make Space-Time and Influence People” in Weaponising Speculation (New York: Punctum, 2014), 39.

****18: James Harris, “Mycelegium” in Mors Mystica: Black Metal Theory Symposium 4 ( NEED CITY :Schism, 2015), 81-97.

19: Isabel Nolan, “How to Make Space-Time and Influence People” in Weaponising Speculation (New York: Punctum, 2014), 41.

20: Nick Land, Thirst for Annihilation: George Bataille and Virulent Nihilism (London: Routledge, 1992), 77.

21: Orphée. Written/Directed by Jean Cocteau (Paris: DisCina, 1950).

22: Thomas Metzinger, Being No One: The Phenomenal Self-Model Theory of Subjectivity (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2004), 51-52.

24: Dune and Philosophy: The Weirding Way of the Mentat ed. Jeffery Nicholas (Chicago:Open Court, 2011), 81-82.

25: John Coltrane, Om (MCA, 1989).

27: Nick Land, Thirst for Annihilation: George Bataille and Virulent Nihilism (London: Routledge, 1992), 103.

29: Diamond Sutra trans. A. F. Price and Wong Mou-Iam (Boston: Shambala, 1990), 32.

30: Marguerite Porete, Mirror of Simple Souls trans. Hugo M. Van Woerkom (unpublished), 34.

31: Tad Delay, God is Unconscious (Eugene: Wipf and Stock, 2015), xiii.

32: Jeffery Bishop, Reflections on the Structure of the Universal Number Continuum (2011).

33: Julius Evola, The Hermetic Tradition (New York: Inner Traditions International, 1971), 104–105.

34: Nick Land, Thirst for Annihilation: George Bataille and Virulent Nihilism (London: Routledge, 1992),125.

35: Timothy Leary, Richard Alpert, Ralph Metzner, The Psychedelic Experience: a Manual based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead. (1964), 26.

****36: Nicola Masciandaro, “Wings Flock to My Crypt, I Fly to My Throne: On Inquisition’s Floating Tomb” in Mors Mystica: Black Metal Theory Symposium 4 (CITY: Schism, 2015), 379.

37: Terence McKenna, The Invisible Landscape (New York: HarperCollins, 1993), 75.

38: William James, Varieties of Religious Experience (New York: Barnes and Noble, 2004), 342.

39: Dzogchen Ponlop, Mind Beyond Death (Ithaca: Snow Lion, 2008), 17.


  1. i see the numbers for the footnotes,but not the footnotes themselves - this is disappointing

    speaking of pessimism, as you do -

    optimist, cheerfully: this is the best of all possible worlds!
    pessimist, glumly: i'm afraid you may be right

    and see also bruce cockburn's song "the trouble with normal (it always gets worse)"

    1. I'm striving for the middle way: worst of all possible worlds? Awesome!

  2. I'm getting 'round to It
    This was, after all,
    hastily scrawled,
    in the middles of all the nights
    and I come pre-emptively pre-exhausted.

  3. ..catalyst that implicates what I say as at all toward any human benefit. In other words : did God really send me or was it just the universe assigning me this important role in instructing people?

  4. (Google screw up). I guess once we recognize that I am not the first, then I need come to terms with why I need say anything at all. Is it thus some ... (See the pervious part). Lol