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Dream Machines by Steven Connor  

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djedi
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15/05/2020 7:17 pm  

One of the few works I would truly describe as broaching the 'Scientific Illuminism' Aleister Crowley envisioned, 2017's Dream Machines is a philosophically understated but intelligent examination of machinery as an expression of man as a spiritual being. It doesn't dally in the parlor of the languid existentialist, but invites us to think personally of not just machinery as concept, but as a real extension of ourselves as thinkers, feelers and animals.

An excerpt from the first chapter, Psychotechnographies:

We pass through the relay of the machine, the idea that the machine incarnates, in order to round upon ourselves. By helping us be sure of what we are not, machines help us come to, as we say (‘or rather from’, as Beckett puts it). Because we are such incessant proxy readers of machines that cannot read themselves, and we write and read ourselves off from them by a logic of exception, we appear to ourselves ex machina, rendering ourselves machine-readable.

Ever since I was a boy, I have been fascinated with machines. My father worked as a mechanical engineer, and taught me early that all my toys and games, etc. worked and were constructed according to principles wrestled down from heaven by great minds. Some LAShTALians may recall that I spent much of my ignorant youth in the study of physical cosmology.

Here's an excerpt from chapter six, Radiation Machines:

The material and the mechanical are so closely twinned as to seem synonymous. A mechanist view of the world is one that does not allow for any kind of metaphysical entities or principles. The world of matter, on this view, is held to be fully explicable by laws that are mechanical in their regularity and their totality. Mechanism is simply how matter works, in the absence of anything else but matter. And yet, we have seen that, in their need to be imagined, machines can seem to involve the occult, the invisible, the anoptic (that which is not of the order of the visible), or the imaginary, so that they can seem to exceed or escape from the conditions of self-evidence.

This is an open access book, licensed under Creative Commons By Attribution Share Alike license. So, here it is, courtesy of UCC: https://cora.ucc.ie/bitstream/handle/10468/5670/Dream-Machines.pdf


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Shiva
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15/05/2020 9:00 pm  
Posted by: @djedi

... not just machinery as concept, but as a real extension of ourselves as thinkers, feelers and animals.

Right. We covered this in detail in The Lighted Way (ciirca 1986). The primary, and most obvious, machine is one's auto-mobile (French for "self-moving"). After all, it's the vehicle for one's vehicle for the perception of consciousness.

 


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djedi
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15/05/2020 10:39 pm  
Posted by: @shiva

The primary, and most obvious, machine is one's auto-mobile (French for "self-moving"). After all, it's the vehicle for one's vehicle for the perception of consciousness.

The second chapter, Transports, is entirely concerned with conveyance both as a mechanism and a metaphysic. There's even a section in it about the meaning of the word 'vehicle' and its implications for the greater subject. Here's another excerpt:

I have said that machines of transport work by converting commotion into motion. But the point of transport is often to recreate or make possible just such an agitation or commotion. When Boswell remonstrated with him that the Giant’s Causeway was surely worth seeing, Dr. Johnson replied ‘worth seeing, yes; but not worth going to see’. What is the transaction implied here? It is surely something like the promise that the expense and fatigue involved in travelling to some other place will produce an experience that will render it worthwhile. To jargon it, extension will make possible intensity. Put in mechanical terms, this might be seen as a reversal of the original transformation of commotion into directed motion: one travels to the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, the Taj Mahal in order to be transported, in order to experience an intensity of being there that is a kind of transport, a departure from oneself.

...

If I have any criticism for the book, it's only the same critique I apply to most: it says more than it means. Friedrich Nietzsche ambitioned to say in ten sentences what others said in a whole book, and I wish more authors could take that stance. However, I suspect Dream Machines was not written to enflame minds like ours here on LAShTAL, which are capable of seeing a great deal in just few words or symbols, but those whose preconceptions have to be disengaged by so many references to this treatise or that opera before the meaning can hit their subconscious, like hypnosis.

But that's what makes it a nice, casual read, anyway. For what it is, its demographic and the author's intent, I think the book is a huge leap in the right direction.


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Shiva
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15/05/2020 11:06 pm  

Now that I've gotten Insude and Dog's Chain out of the way, I' m working on "My Life as a Car - 32 (maybe 33) incarnations" in steel and oil. It is being upgraded from a webpage into a book. I will probably change the title and add metaphysical metadata with universal correspondence to enhance the ride. Let's cut to the chase (in ten words or less) ... This was the "peak" of the curve ...

15 65 maserati

1965 Maserati - Incarnation #15 - 180 mph

 


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ignant666
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15/05/2020 11:20 pm  

The so-called "auto-mobile" is of course nothing of the kind, as it depends on gasoline.

Totally un-Thelemic, as dependent on outside forces, and not Will and physical fitness, unlike a real man's vehicle- a bicycle.

See also "Feet (use in walking)". That ankh ain't no ignition key.

I have never had a "driver's license", since i am against the automobile culture for political/environmental reasons. Easier when i lived in NYC of course.

Years ago, when my wife and i first bought a car for her to drive, we got insurance through USAA, which is for veterans and their families (and dirt cheap). Since i was the eligible one (my late dad was in the Air Force), the wife was asked "Why hasn't your 41 year old husband ever had car insurance before? Why doesn't he want to be insured now? Will he drive the car?"

She asked me [heavy Brazilian accent] "Amor, why don't you drive?"

Me: "I think driving cars is un-manly; it suggests weakness, like a wheelchair."

Wife explains to insurance person" "He says eet ees un-manly to drive a car."

Probably not an answer they get often.

[Cue wrath of Shiva The Hot-Rod Juggernaut Enthusiast]


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djedi
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16/05/2020 1:28 am  
Posted by: @shiva

32 (maybe 33) incarnations

Were any of them a Dodge Phoenix? … or a Pontiac Phoenix, I guess?

Posted by: @shiva

I will probably change the title

My Frater the Car, or maybe Stains, Chains and Automobiles? Or perhaps the ever-blasphemous Enginery of War?

Posted by: @shiva

This was the "peak" of the curve

I know very little about automobiles, but I can appreciate a good-looking one. (This is also how I feel about women.) I've always liked the Maserati aesthetic, even as it's changed, but a lot of Italian cars don't look so good to me -- especially supercars like Ferrari and Bugatti.

Posted by: @ignant666

I think driving cars is un-manly

I also avoid driving when I can. It's not that I care about the environment or anything, I'm just indolent.


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Shiva
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16/05/2020 2:09 am  
Posted by: @ignant666

The so-called "auto-mobile" is of course nothing of the kind, as it depends on gasoline.

This is true. Both steam and electric cars do not.

Also, the human vehicle depends on food.

Posted by: @ignant666

a real man's vehicle- a bicycle.

I used a bike a lot at one point. I think it was incarnation #0 (no car, pre-car). The last time I tried on, my brother's, it was slightly unsteady and I envisioned needing a trike.

image
Posted by: @ignant666

That ankh ain't no ignition key.

No, it's an Ignant strap.

Posted by: @ignant666

I have never had a "driver's license"

I have had several. Some under different names. At one time (circa '59-'60) I was a professional race car mechanic and driver. This does not male me better than you ... just faster.

However, I am all in favor of decently-priced electric "self-movers," assuming solar power can be the source of locomotion.

image

Worksman Lightning Electric Tricycle
for unstable, elderly racers

Posted by: @ignant666

Cue wrath of Shiva

No Rath. The bottom line makes my point about the French lingo.
Auto-mobile.
Self-reliant man (needs food).

Posted by: @djedi

Were any of them a Dodge Phoenix? … or a Pontiac Phoenix, I guess?

No. No Firebirds either.

Posted by: @djedi

My Frater the Car

No. I will invent the Farter-mobile.
(Natural gas fuel).

Getting back to machine-extensions (like Light in Extension, but denser), what is the position of this fellow on computers.

 


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djedi
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16/05/2020 3:17 am  
Posted by: @shiva

Getting back to machine-extensions (like Light in Extension, but denser), what is the position of this fellow on computers.

Computers only appear with any significance in the eponymous third chapter:

In M. Mitchell Waldrop’s The Dream Machine: J.C.R. Licklider and the Revolution That Made Computing Personal (2002), the phrase ‘dream machine’ is applied to the personal computer, and the role in its development of a psychologist who was absorbed in ‘the challenge of deciphering that ultimate gadget, the brain’ (Waldrop 2002: 12). Waldrop’s usage refers back to Ted Nelson’s Computer Lib/Dream Machines (1974), a manifesto for personal computing that took the form of two books bound back to back and printed at 180º to each other. One half of the book, Computer Lib, is an attack on the secretiveness and centralisation of computing technology, technologists, and technicians. The other, Dream Machines, is an evocation of the many uses which the computer would have once it became liberated from centralised technical and bureaucratic control. Nelson sees computers not as apparatus, but as media, of a peculiarly ubiquitous and liquid kind: ‘we live in media, as fish live in water […] But today, at this moment, we can and must design the media, design the molecules of our new water’ (Nelson 2003: 306). The two conjoined halves of the book are expressive of the idea that the mental and the technical may be fused and of the ways in which this may occur: ‘To work at a highly responsive computer display screen, for instance, can be deeply exciting, like flying an airplane through a canyon, or talking to somebody brilliant’ (306).

My favorite chapter is the sixth, Radiation Machines. Of any chapter, it probably holds the most promise for LAShTAL users. It's this chapter which contains the information I sought when first I stumbled across the text: exposition on the so-called Feraliminal Lycanthropizer, an alleged 'thanato-auric wave generator' whose "Trithemean incantations richly pervading the machine’s aural output produce feelings of aboveness and unbridled openness." This thing is Wilhelm Reich on crack.


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Shiva
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16/05/2020 3:37 am  
Posted by: @djedi

Wilhelm Reich on crack.

He (Reich) suffered for his sins.

 


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djedi
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16/05/2020 5:02 am  
Posted by: @shiva

He (Reich) suffered for his sins

Tell me when he starts suffering for my sins. Then we'll be in business.

(That's a joke. I am pure and without sin.)

The original pamphlet for the Feraliminal Lycanthropizer: https://juniperhills.net/feraliminallycanthropizer.pdf

Whenever I see a magical wunderwaffe like this I want to build one, and then, being the entrepreneurial all-American I am, I wonder if anyone would actually buy the things. The market is cornered on the orgone apparatuses, but this machine and the tepaphone... hoo boy.

I would have to write my own Trithemean incantations, of course.


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Shiva
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16/05/2020 6:57 am  
Posted by: @djedi

I wonder if anyone would actually buy the things.

Jack Schwarz (Jack Black in English) latched on to what he called a "photodriver," which was two flashlight bulbs that alternated (like railroad crossing lights) ...

image

This was an animated gif before I posted it -
but, surely, you get the idea.

... and one could adjust the frequency from 2 cps (Hz) to 60 cps (Hz). You put these bulbs against your closed eyelids and the frequency would "drive" the brain frequency up or down as you turned the dial.

One (anyone) started around 20 cps and slowly turned the frequency down. Theoretically, you would go from beta (normal - stressed) through alpha (relaxed but focused) to theta (hypnogogic images arise). The theory worked and I was overly-impressed. I said, "Jack, is the circuit for that device available?"

"Well, you see," he said, "we're going to develop this and sell it." (That meant, "No way.")

So I bought an erector set (with a tiny motor), added some brushes to touch the rotating commutator wheel and ... it worked. Then someone told me to get a flip-flop circuit, used in model railway crossings. That worked as well, and it was less "mechanical."

One person begged me to build him one. I did. I charged him $25 for the parts. Jack sold his model for $295. Many entrepreneurs copied me and copied his, and soon the new age market was flooded with these devices. I'm sure they're still out there.

This thing was a real blast when I  put someone into beta and then cranked it down to low theta (4 Hz) fast. I enjoyed doing this because I enjoyed doing it to myself, so why be selfish? This was like walking down the street and, within a second, being grabbed and tossed into the Abyss. It wasn't terrifying, it was neat. But it would induce a strong, rapid shift into nothingness.

Devices of this kind are holdovers from Atlantis, an attempt to gain control of the mind, sort of like electronic psychedelia without side-effect or acting Outside the Law.

When you build your device, whatever it will be, be prepared for others to copycat it and steal your profits.

 


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soz
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16/05/2020 5:50 pm  

Here's a link to some information about Brion Gysin's Dreammachine, a rotating metal cylinder with cut-out holes and a light source in the middle which uses the same principles as the machines described above:

https://bluestwave.com/toolbox_dreammachine.php

There's also a link to an online simulator with a frequency selector dial. When my friends and I tried it we found that it works, and they and I received hypnagogic images within a few minutes.

 

 

 

 


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ignant666
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16/05/2020 7:08 pm  

Wait- machines that induce visions, and trances- are we maybe unwittingly talking about ....
 

The "Horus Toy"

here?


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djedi
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16/05/2020 8:16 pm  
Posted by: @shiva

photodriver

I had an idea for a device just like this, although mine was much more involved with aural and tactile stimulation in addition to the visual. One of my flourishes was to match colors to frequencies using Bennett's work in hermetic musical theory, and each color would have a set of symbols a la the vault of the adepts. I didn't know at the time that the concept had been executed so much more efficiently. I might still build the thing, but there's theorizing to be done vis-a-vis Bennett's work and the lower frequencies with which I would be working.

Posted by: @soz

an online simulator with a frequency selector dial.

Thank you! I'll try it out later tonight and maybe report my own experience.

Posted by: @ignant666

are we maybe unwittingly talking about .... [REDACTED]

Since the thing to which you refer would allegedly allow even Caspar Milquetoast to heft heavy cars, I would imagine it's closer to one of those Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulators they use in physical therapy. 


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Shiva
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16/05/2020 11:57 pm  
Posted by: @soz

an online simulator with a frequency selector dial. When my friends and I tried it we found that it works, and they and I received hypnagogic images within a few minutes.

Recently, I went shopping around (again - for the 4th time) for a brainwave biofeedback instrument (EEG electro-encephalo-gram). As usual, everything was priced sky-high and seemed intented for medical use. I did find one helmet that you run around in, and when you get stressed ("doing more than one thing at a time") the device with pull you down (in frequency). Around $200.

These EEG devices can help us see what thoughts and feelings aid or deter the meditative states we are seeking. But nothing I found was similar to the one Ken Wiber used in
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFFMtq5g8N4

which was/is the type I'm looking for.

From a higher siddhi point of view, that video is one of the most impressive demonstrations  around.

My professional opinion (as a race car driver and pig farmer) is that any of these devices can and should be investigated in terms of using them to assist ourselves in gaining control over (parts of) ourselves.

Their passive use, such as turning on a calming frequency, might be helpful for a neurotic matrix character (they have no soul), but the initiate will prefer to do his or her own work. Otherwise, one doesn't need all this gadgetry when the can simply swallow a Valium.

 


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