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 06 WiH Chapter 6: Passport to Paranoia

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1PostSubject: 06 WiH Chapter 6: Passport to Paranoia   Sun Nov 08, 2015 12:16 pm

1 During the early Eighties, I made a serious effort to identify the spiritual forces that seemed to be having an ever-increasing effect on society. When I started systematically reading the literature on this subject, both fiction and non-fiction, I found several consistent patterns in it. The most obvious was what people in the Sixties Movement called "paranoia." This is not the mental disease described in psychology texts, which involves uncontrollable emotions of fear over imaginary dangers, but the intellectual conclusion that something you dislike is about to happen, even though you can't actually prove it. Most "paranoia" of this type in the Sixties Movement was focused on harassment of the counterculture by the government or private individuals; the "paranoid" ideas discussed in this chapter focus mostly on the concept that unknown forces are manipulating the course of human history in directions that seem sinister and frightening.

2 One of my starting points was to re-examine the work of Charles Fort, the founder of modern research into unexplained phenomena. Starting with Book of the Damned in 1918, he was the first to publish many of the simplest and most obvious explanations for a number of strange occurrences. For example, he proposed that the inhabitants of other worlds might be visiting the Earth in space ships long before the terms "flying saucer" and "UFO" were invented, and he also speculated that we might be receiving visitations from the future or from other dimensions.

3 Fort didn't assume, as did most of the UFO researchers in the Fifties, that these visitations represented mere scientific exploration, but speculated that the visitors had selfish reasons for coming to Earth. He said that "certain esoteric ones" throughout history have received "messages from elsewhere," and hinted that these have helped shape modern civilization. I assumed he was talking about the Invisible College and the Eighteenth-century Freemasons and Rosicrucians, but his mentions of this subject are all quite vague.

4 However, Fort's negative speculations were more numerous than his positive ones. He is widely quoted as saying, "I think we are property. Someone owns us," and for his further speculations that these "proprietors" have always had willing collaborators on Earth, "a cult or order, members of which function as bellwethers to the rest of us..." At his most morbid, he compares us not to "property," but to "cattle." - a dark hint that the mysterious outsiders might slaughter Earth people for food or "diabolical experiments."

5 I found the writings of H.P. Lovecraft, who wrote at about the same time as Fort, to be both more interesting and more disturbing. His horror tales make utterly grotesque monsters seem entirely real to the reader, as if the author himself believed what he was writing. The basic theme of most of Lovecraft's stories is the persecution of his characters by evil, superhuman beings called the "Great Old Ones." Sometimes they are described as physical beings with octopus-like bodies, but in other stories they seem to be non-corporeal. Lovecraft frequently describes them with phrases such as "Dead Cthulhu lies dreaming."

6 The human characters in his stories are scientists or occultists who deliberately or accidentally release some of the Great Old Ones from captivity, often by reciting magic spells from a fictional occult text called the Necronomicon, which means "book of the names of the dead." Once released, Cthulhu and his cohorts often devour both the body and the soul of the unfortunate magician; and if they remain on Earth very long, they cause children in the area to be born as deformed monsters.

7 One of the things that make Lovecraft's stories more terrifying than most horror fiction is that they have little heroism and very few happy endings. There is no exorcist to drive out the Devil, no Dr. Van Helsing to drive a stake through the vampire's heart. Instead, the story ends when the protagonist dies or is driven mad, leaving the reader to wonder if the Great Old Ones are still loose, and whether they'll eventually destroy the world if they are.

8 What do these morbid horror stories have to do with spiritual knowledge and occult secrets? In terms of the plots of the stories themselves, nothing. However, anyone with sufficient conscious mediumistic powers to receive messages from the spirit-world with any regularity finds certain details in Lovecraft's horror tales disturbingly familiar. Some of the "evil spirits" commonly contacted on the astral plane express many of the same thoughts as Lovecraft's Great Old Ones, and numerous "Lost Souls" - spirits at a low level of development who seem to be having trouble adjusting to life after death - sound just like the hapless victims in the stories. My conclusion from this was simply that Lovecraft, like Shaver, channeled a lot of the details in his stories from the spirit-world.

9 Of course, the most important question still remained: exactly who originates the telepathic messages that frighten people like Lovecraft and Shaver into writing fantastic fiction? I couldn't find real answers from the details in Lovecraft's stories any more than I could from Shaver's, because I had no theoretical frame of reference to fit the information into. Nothing theorized by Fort, Shaver, Lovecraft, or anyone else was helpful in interpreting this kind of data.

10 The work of a more recent imaginative writer, William S. Burroughs, proved to be of greater use. Even though Burroughs' name is synonymous in the public mind with chaotic avant-garde writing and with "the author as junkie and madman," his work is easier to read and contains more useful knowledge about the spiritual conspiracies I was looking for than that of Lovecraft or Shaver. One of the major themes that run through his books is that mysterious "agents" are working to manipulate the course of human history. Burroughs assumes that not all agents are on the same side, though he never clearly reveals how many different factions are involved or what their ideologies are. He does hint from time to time that some of the agents are extraterrestrials, or perhaps beings from other dimensions.

11 He also makes it clear that one of their chief duties involves reprogramming the minds of individual Earth people, manipulating their emotions and thoughts along desired lines. In most of his books, Burroughs describes this as being done on a strictly physical level: through violence, intimidation, bribery, or just plain "hard sell" persuasion. Both psychedelics like LSD and hard drugs like heroin are also widely used by the agents to alter people's consciousness in connection with other means of manipulation. There is frequent mention of telepathy and other psychic powers, but they are usually described in vague terms.

12 One idea of his that seemed to resolve some of the paradoxes and contradictions in the body of information available about conspiracies and telepathic mind-control was the concept of "conscious" and "unconscious" agents. I found the idea that agents can vary in consciousness to be very useful. A simple example of how the "consciousness of agents" operates can be drawn from real-world espionage. For example, take a low-level CIA agent whose immediate superior and control is a double agent. Now, the second agent's role is complex enough; he's playing both sides, and perhaps actually favoring one of them over the other. But the first agent's role is in a totally different category: he or she is functioning as a double agent without knowing it. A lie-detector test would affirm this agent's loyalty to the CIA, yet the person's actual work could all be against the interests of that organization.

13 Burroughs uses this kind of power structure in a much more complex form to describe the conspiracies that are trying to alter the course of human history in various directions. Most of his agents are unconscious, in the sense that they don't know who is giving them orders or even what they're trying to accomplish. They simply do what they're told, for pay, out of fear, or for less explicable reasons.

14 On the other hand, many of the agents in the Burroughs stories are conscious in the sense that they believe they're working for some definite organization or cause. However, the conscious agents very often seem to be in the same mess as the unfortunate spy we mentioned earlier. The reader is given reason to doubt that the organization the agent is working for is actually what it purports to be.

15 In itself, this concept does not sound very important, but I made a lot more progress after I started using it. When most people look for conspiracies, they assume that the conspirators know what they're doing and approve. This, in turn, means that conspiracies have to make at least rough sense in terms of motivation and self-interest. And I hadn't found out much during all my years of looking for negative conspiracies that furthered the interests of the people in them.

16 Here are a couple of quotations to illustrate Burroughs's style and some of his major themes. I will begin with one from his first published book, Naked Lunch (1959):

17 "Naked Lunch is a blueprint, a How-To Book ... How-to extend levels of experience by opening the door at the end of a long hall... Doors that only open in Silence into vast, other planet landscapes ... Naked Lunch demands Silence from The Reader. Otherwise he is taking his own pulse .... There is only one thing a writer can write about: what is in front of his senses at the moment of writing.... I am a recording instrument .... The Word is divided into units which be all in one piece and should be so taken, but the pieces can be had in any order being tied up back and forth ....This is Revelation and Prophecy of what I can pick up without FM ....Chicago calling...come in please. A mighty wet place, reader .... Possession they call it... The Answering Service... Wrong! I am never here .... Never that is fully in possession, but somehow in a position to forestall ill advised moves ... Patrolling is, in fact, my principal occupation ... 'What Are You Doing Here? Who Are You? ... You were not there for the Beginning. You will not be there for The End...Your knowledge of what is going on can only be superficial and relative'...most of them don't want to know...and you can't tell them anything..."

18 Next, here are some excerpts from one of his latest books, The Place of Dead Roads (1983):

19 "Kim Carsons does he exist? His existence, like any existence, is inferential... the traces he leaves behind him... fossils... fading violet photos, old newspaper clippings shredding to yellow dust...And this book. He exists in these pages as Lord Jim, the Great Gatsby, Comus Bassington, live and breathe in a writer's prose, in the care, love, and dedication that evoke them: the flawed, doomed, but undefeated, radiant heroes who attempted the impossible, stormed the citadels of heaven, took the last chance on the last and greatest of human dreams, the punch-drunk fighter who comes up off the floor to win by a knock-out, the horse that comes from last to win in the stretch, assassins of Hassan i Sabbah, Master of Assassins, agents of Humwawa, Lord of Abominations, Lord of Decay, Lord of the Future, of Pan, God of Panic, of the Black Hole, where no physical laws apply, agents of a singularity. Those who are ready to leave the whole human comedy behind and walk into the unknown with no commitments. Those who have not from birth sniffed such embers, what have they to do with us? Only those who are ready to leave behind everything and everybody they have ever known need apply. No one who applies will be disqualified. No one CAN apply unless he is ready. Over the hills and far away to the Western lands. Anybody gets in your way, KILL. You will have to kill on the way out because this planet is a penal colony and nobody is allowed to leave. Kill all the guards and walk…

20 Ghostwritten by William Hall, punch-drunk fighter, a shadowy figure to win in the answer, Master of Assassins, Death for his credentials, Lord of "Quien Es?" Who is it? Kim, ka of Pan, God of Panic. Greatest of human dreams, Quien Es? The horse that comes from there, who is it? Lord of the future son, does he exist? Inferential agents of a singularity, the fossils fading leave the whole human comedy shredding to yellow dust... Unknown with no commitments from birth. No one can apply unless he breathes in a writer's prose hills and faraway Western Lands .... Radiant heroes, storm the citadel... Kill the last guards and walk. Guns glint in the sun, powder smoke drifts from the pages as the Old West goes into a penny-ante peep show, false fronts, a phantom buckboard... The Lords have lived here since time began. To go on living one must do things that you Earth people call 'evil.' It is the price of immortality... I cannot save your companions... they are already dead... Worse than dead. They are already eaten: body and soul.

21 John Keel is another writer whose theories seem quite paranoid on the surface but proved very helpful to me in making the breakthrough. He is the Ufologist who claimed back in the Sixties that mysterious "Men in Black" often pose as government agents and harass people who have seen UFOs to keep them from talking about their experiences. A major theme in all of his books is that the U.S. Government, and other governments all over the world, deliberately interfere with independent UFO investigations and make a major effort to cover up the truth about UFOs.

22 I agree that there have been cover-ups and interference with private Ufologists, but I don't accept Keel's conclusion that they are proof that governments have hard evidence that physical UFOs and aliens exist. I've come to the opposite conclusion from the same evidence, because my long experience as a political radical has taught me that modern Western governments are just as afraid of the people as the people are of them. I think the cover-ups conceal ignorance, not knowledge.

23 I also agree with Keel that government and military officials have often lied to the public by claiming that all official UFO investigations have been discontinued for lack of evidence that the phenomenon is real. The government's own records document quite clearly that the military, as well as various police and intelligence agencies, has been investigating UFOs very seriously since 1948, and that these investigations continue right down to the present. What has all this expensive bureaucratic investigation learned about UFOs? I suspect that the government files contain roughly the same type of information, as do the private UFO investigators' files, except that there's more of it and it's written in different jargon.

24 I believe that if the government had definitive information about the nature of UFOs, someone would have leaked it long ago, as Daniel Ellsberg did with the Pentagon Papers. However, I do believe that government investigators are able to find enough information to keep them convinced that there is something real and important behind the phenomenon. So the investigations continue, and the government covers up their magnitude to prevent public criticism for spending so much tax money without discovering any real answers to the UFO mystery.

25 In The Eighth Tower (1975), Keel concluded that UFO contact reports had a common origin with certain very intense religious and occult experiences, such as visitations from gods, angels, or demons. He postulated that the cause of all these events is a natural phenomenon, which he names the "Superspectrum." Keel's Superspectrum seems to be based loosely on Jung's concept that the human race possesses a "collective unconscious," but he carries the idea much further than Jung did. Jung had conceived of the collective unconscious only as a body of information stored in the subconscious minds of many different individuals that causes all of them to think or behave in similar ways.

26 Keel carries this concept much further, and postulates that the Superspectrum involves specialized forms of matter and energy unknown to present-day science. He borrows concepts from occultism and coins scientific-sounding new terms to describe them. His Superspectrum simply seems to be another way of saying "influence by spiritual beings and psychic powers." However, he doesn't conclude that the Superspectrum is a being or group of beings, as the occultists usually do with their concepts of gods, demons, and spirits. Instead, it is simply a kind of natural phenomenon with a "computer-like intelligence." The next writer I discuss has researched this same line of reasoning even further.

27 In one sense, it's an insult to Jacques Vallee to discuss his works in a chapter called "Passport to Paranoia," because his approach to Ufology has always been as rational and scientific as that of anyone in the field; but his books from the Sixties and Seventies show a pattern that fits right into what I've been describing here. When Vallee started his investigations in the Sixties, his working hypothesis assumed that UFOs were a physical phenomenon: either extraterrestrial spaceships or advanced flying machines built on Earth. However, in 1969 Vallee published Passport to Magonia, in which he reluctantly admits that many accounts of UFO sightings and "close encounters" with their occupants resemble religious and mystical experiences more than they do observations of physical events. He obviously didn't want to do this, but he really had no choice if he wanted to remain truly scientific and empirical in his methods, because that's where the information he was gathering led him.

28 After investigating hundreds of such cases, Vallee concluded that the early Ufologists had not been truly scientific when they dismissed UFO contact stories as hoaxes or hallucinations. Professional psychologists have tested many contactees with polygraphs, hypnosis, "truth" drugs, and a wide variety of psychoanalytic techniques, and have concluded that they are neither lying nor showing recognizable symptoms of psychotic delusion. Vallee also learned that contactees all over the world, regardless of their background knowledge of the subject or their personality type, received similar information from the "space people" and underwent similar personality changes afterwards. This lead him to believe that "close encounters" with UFOs are not a purely subjective psychological phenomenon, but have an objective cause.

29 However, he didn't find the "close encounter" stories consistent enough in their details to allow him to simply take them literally and conclude that the contactees had indeed met extraterrestrials face-to-face or been inside physical space ships. Instead, much of the evidence concerning UFO-encounters resembled descriptions of psychic and spiritual phenomena in occult literature. This introduced a further complication; Jacques Vallee is one of the world's best-known computer experts, and he did not want to jeopardize his reputation with the scientific establishment by using terms drawn from occultism or religion to describe the phenomena he was studying. So instead of talking openly about telepathy, spirits, etc., he invented a jargon of his own to describe the same concepts.

30 As Vallee's investigations went further, he gradually formed the opinion that the contactee phenomenon represents interference in human affairs by essentially benign forces. In 1975, he published The Invisible College, in which he recounts further cases of mental reprogramming through UFO encounters and cites evidence that similar encounters with "mysterious visitors" have been occurring for hundreds of years. He mentions that secret conspiracies may have influenced the development of modern science and political theory while working through the Masonic and Rosicrucian lodges of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth centuries.

31 The name of the book is derived from the use of the term "Invisible College" to describe some of these secret societies, but Vallee doesn't emphasize that most writers who've used it were occultists and have assumed that the Invisible College indoctrinated people using psychic powers and occult rituals. Instead, he postulates that the Invisible College employed methods similar to those used by modern behavioral psychologists, based entirely on operant conditioning by physical means.

32 The Invisible College also contains some interesting speculation about the purpose of the mental reprogramming received by UFO contactees. For example, the majority crone away from their experience believing that a higher power had chosen them to play a special role in advancing human civilization. They seemed filled with hope, optimism, and creative energy, expressing the belief that contactees are going to help the "Space Brothers" lead the human race into a New Age in which Earth will take its place among the advanced civilizations of the universe.

33 The specific elements of ideology advocated by the contactees were completely familiar to me: world peace, universal brotherhood, and social justice. They also talked about the general concept that the Sixties counterculture called "consciousness expansion," especially forms of it achieved without using psychedelic drugs, but they usually expressed it in terms that wouldn't directly identify them with the controversy over drugs and hippies. It was immediately obvious to me that this was just another form of the "Aquarian Age Message," phrased in terms of space-traveling aliens and galactic civilizations instead of the terminology of the counterculture.

34 However, by 1979, when Vallee published Messengers of Deception, he apparently had changed his opinions on UFOs to something approaching those John Keel had expressed in The Eighth Tower. Vallee had become extremely disillusioned with the whole concept of mysterious conspiracies that meddled in earthly affairs and tried to change the course of history by reprogramming the minds of individuals. He was more convinced than ever that such conspiracies existed, but had gone from considering them beneficial to condemning them as evil.

35 He described how some of the UFO contactees had founded cults that resembled "high-demand religion". Some leaders of contact cults were saying "democracy is obsolete," and becoming despots over their groups. A few had taken reactionary stands on social and political issues that resembled the views traditionally held by Fundamentalist churches. Others reminded him of the Nazis by saying that contactees are a "master race" with extraterrestrial blood in their veins. Above all, he was disturbed to see contact-cult members running their lives according to messages passed to the leaders from "space people" instead of thinking for themselves.

36 Messengers of Deception contains a possible explanation for the whole UFO and contact-cult phenomenon that is very similar to Keel's Superspectrum.

37 "I believe there is a system around us that transcends time as it transcends space. I remain confident that human knowledge is capable of understanding this larger reality. I suspect that some humans have already understood it, and are showing their hand in several aspects of the UFO encounters."

38 Vallee isn't certain who these people are, only that they don't seem to be physical extraterrestrials or supermen. He speculates they might be government intelligence agents, especially of the CIA and KGB, or perhaps members of extra-governmental conspiracies like the hypothetical "Illuminati." Whoever they may be, he doesn't like them.

39 However, Vallee seems to have changed his mind again during the Eighties and decided that there are several different factions of secret manipulators, some good, some evil. The main reason for this change is apparently that he has started working with Robert Anton Wilson, who has held the "good guys and bad guys" view of the whole thing for years, as I describe in the next chapter.
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