Spy vs Spy: Is Nu Bizarro Cold War ≠ Russians Am Coming

In am out. Wet am dry. Up am down in Bizarro America.

Billionaires iz Democrats. Republicans iz Populists. Democrats am McCarthyites in Bizarro America. 

And in the kind of irony only lousy pulp authors usually dream up, a guy whose mentor was Roy Cohn is the target of that new Bizarro-McCarthyism.  

I realize this isn't an original metaphor but comics were my beat so I'm borrowing it. And it's the only thing that can explain the madhouse this country has become.

But that's what happens at this stage in the timeline, or so I am told.

The fugue state I wrote about a few weeks back seems to be shifting, as the Democrats regroup and ready their response to a Trumpian future. Are they offering bold new leadership? Ambitious new proposals to reduce inequality and social stagnation? Brave gestures to unite a fragmented polity?

Not quite. 

Try the "Fake News" psy-op and McCarthyism 2.0. 

But I repeat myself.

There seems to be an attempt to upset the Electoral College as well, which meets on Dec. 19th to ratify the vote. One Republican elector, from Austin (of course), has declared his intention to vote for that hunk'a burning charisma and dynamism, Ohio Governor John Kasich (who may actually be the Bizarro Trump or the Reverse Trump), and claims other electors are secretly planning to join him.

There have been all kinds of stories about plans to sabotage the Electoral College- both by Democrats who support such a move and by Republicans, who obviously don't. It a tossup as to who's dreamed up the most florid conspiracy scenarios about it.

Of course, anything is possible, and we're well into Spy Agency vs Spy Agency blue water in this country, but any shenanigans by Electors would just throw the election into the House, which is still solidly under Republican control.

Getting to be what they call a "motif"


Do timeline predictions allow for runaway militarism? Ronald Reagan was a downright hippy compared to Trump, who of course never served in the military himself. I've written about the rising militarism in his circle but even his civilian cronies give off a strongly Praetorian aura.

The media, who was so heavily invested into the notion that Trump was going to staff his Cabinet with has-beens and punchlines like Newt Gingrich and Chris Christie, finally seems to have woken up to the reality that I had sussed out quite soon after the election, and that's that Trump's going to be building his Cabinet out of brass:
How unusual is Trump's Cabinet of generals?

President-elect Donald Trump has been busy staffing his Cabinet and White House, and it’s been duly noted that many of the top positions have been filled by generals.
Mr. Trump has nominated Gen. James Mattis (ret.) as defense secretary and retired Marine Gen. John Kelly (ret.) as homeland security secretary. He’s also picked Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn (ret.)to serve as his national security adviser. 
CBS News’ Major Garrett has reported that Mr. Trump is reluctant to have any more than three general occupying high cabinet and staff positions in his administration, so Gen. David Petraeus (ret.), who had been a top contender for secretary of state, may be the odd man out.
We're just looking at Secretaries here; I've no doubt that his Undersecretaries and Ass't Secretaries and on and on will look like George Patton's wetdreams.

When I'm right, I'm right

The media is squealing like stuck pigs at John Podesta's house but I think for the wrong reasons. Trump is assembling a bunch of hardcases and Alpha's Alphas who just reek of that Deep State bouquet. And I don't think it's for the piquant conversation.

The latest example? Trump's tapped the CEO of ExxonMobil, Rex (Rex!) Tillerson, for State. Yeah, that ExxonMobil.* 

What I told Gordon I believe he's assembling is essentially a 
War Cabinet. This should be more worrisome than most people think, but maybe not for the reasons people might suspect.

It should be worrying because I think the war he has in mind is a secret war, a War in Heaven. Those never seem to work out that great for those of us on Earth.


We also saw a lot of doomsday scenarios arise from the recount efforts mounted by Jill Stein but that train seems to have run out of coal. Personally, I have serious doubts that Stein was ever actually trying to throw the election back to Hillary.

She clearly hates the woman and her policies and a Democratic Administration certainly does the Greens no good.

Stein's true agenda might be elucidated by the distinct lack of enthusiasm the Dems showed for her push, starting with President Obama and running down the totem pole. Was she really trying to expose Russian hacking or was there something else afoot?

The Michigan Supreme Court shut down the recount (which would have been a second recount, in point of fact) so we may never know. But there were irregularities in pro-Hillary districts that may have revealed why the Dems weren't looking forward to this recount at all:

One-third of precincts in Wayne County could be disqualified from an unprecedented statewide recount of presidential election results because of problems with ballots. 
Michigan’s largest county voted overwhelmingly for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, but officials couldn’t reconcile vote totals for 610 of 1,680 precincts during a countywide canvass of vote results late last month. 
Most of those are in heavily Democratic Detroit, where the number of ballots in precinct poll books did not match those of voting machine printout reports in 59 percent of precincts, 392 of 662. 
According to state law, precincts whose poll books don’t match with ballots can’t be recounted. If that happens, original election results stand.
Stein also cited "75,000 ballots cast without also making a choice in the presidential race," but didn't specify what counties those ballots were found in. She also may have had a personal bone to pick (California's fraudy primary continues to be a source of contention with Sanders supporters), and as Gordon White explained in his newsletter:
Another Deep State faction provided the money so that the recount shows up the millions of dead and double voters who stumped for Hillary and the persistent and widespread voting fraud perpetuated by the DNC that the Greens called out in their letter to Dr Stein. It's the open secret that led to Trump's ill-advised tweet about illegal voting. 
(He should just re-banner his twitter page as "Trump's ill-advised tweets" at this point. It's its own parody account.) 
This is why the Dems -right up to Obama- are against the recount. They know there is widespread and systemic fraud for the Hillary camp stretching right back to the California primaries race against Bernie. 
Questioning voter irregularities is now apparently the province of fake news, and all the (nakedly partisan) sources the MSM cite says it simply does not exist. But this is utter nonsense and they know it.

Both parties engage in election shenanigans, even if their tactics differ (GOP tend towards suppression, Dems toward fraud).

That hive of fanatical Trumpism, er...CBS News, reported that "hundreds of deceased voters in Los Angeles County were still on voter rolls and voting. This discrepancy should have been corrected by the 2002 Help America Vote Act, but California is the only state yet to comply."

That's just "deceased" voters in one county in one state. Trump also cited Virginia; the Public Interest Legal Group says of the Commonwealth:
In our small sample of just eight Virginia counties who responded to our public inspection requests, we found 1046 aliens who registered to vote illegally. The problem is most certainly exponentially worse because we have no data regarding aliens on the registration rolls for the other 125 Virginia localities. 
My strong suspicion is that Trump believes that he has no choice but to expose all of this. The Democrats are going full Alinsky and are clearly not going to let up on the popular vote issue and will use it to try to delegitimize his Administration.

I don't think that's a good idea, seeing that they're dealing with Donald Trump, a man who's proven himself to be not only extremely vindictive and vengeful, but not half-bad at payback. And is going to have a lot of really fucking dangerous people in his pocket.

But do I really give a damn either way? I have my own problems.

Oh yeah, they're getting skittish in Washington.


The Washington Post- aka DNC News and Views Today-- made a fool of itself trying to push the "fake news" psy-op along by pimping a ridiculous shill factory called PropOrNot, who will viciously attack anyone on the Left, Right or Center who fails to toe the DNC line.

The Post
have since attempted to walk back their endorsement of the fake political think-tank (predictably a product of CIAlicon Valley) but not before the damage was done.

I realize the newly-Bizarro McCarthy party and their propaganda outlets are fully onboard with this fake news psy-op here but I don't get the sense it's being very well run.

I think that fact might be concerning. Or should be.

That raging foundry of Trumpery, uh, The New Yorker, spoke for most observers (those who aren't embarrassing shills, I mean) when it observed that:

To PropOrNot, simply exhibiting a pattern of beliefs outside the political mainstream is enough to risk being labelled a Russian propagandist. 
Indeed, the list of “propaganda outlets” has included respected left-leaning publications like CounterPunch and Truthdig, as well as the right-wing behemoth Drudge Report. The list is so broad that it can reveal absolutely nothing about the structure or pervasiveness of Russian propaganda.

 In a scathing takedown on The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald and Ben Norton wrote that PropOrNot “embodies the toxic essence of Joseph McCarthy, but without the courage to attach individual names to the blacklist.”
Confirming the observation made by Obama adviser Ben Rhodes that most reporters are "27 year-olds" who "literally know nothing," the Post leaped onto PropOrNot's rickety jalopy apparently without even reading the fucking thing:
But a close look at the report showed that it was a mess. “To be honest, it looks like a pretty amateur attempt,” Eliot Higgins, a well-respected researcher who has investigated Russian fake-news stories on his Web site, Bellingcat, for years, told me. “I think it should have never been an article on any news site of any note.”
That persnickety Putin, jamming our wires with his rascally "fake news" monkeyshines! Why, we oughta bomb him back to the Yeltsin Era if he keeps it up! Listen here, you no-goodnik Russkies, we're on to your Jedi mind-tricks!

We're going to outlaw every damn news outlet that don't keep their damn noses clean! We're going to bring the blacklists and the internment camps and give every Russkie-lover a knuckle-sandwich just to show how much we love our freedom!

 That'll learn ya, Boris! Had enough or do ya want some more? 

Because every legitimate thinktank uses emoticons

Let me be frank here: all news is "fake news," if you really want to get down to brass tacks. All news is packaged. Every major news outlet is terminally biased, every news outlet buries stories and mainstream journalists conspire- as a matter of course- with other journalists as well as with the political parties of their choice to manage and shape what people see, hear and read.

The only thing you can do is pick and choose from several sources and weigh the evidence until you come to a version of the truth you can live with.

Which may become more difficult with the bipartisan "Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act", an Orwellian title if ever there was one.

Or a Bizarro one. Ministry of Truth, here we come! 

Gordon digs to the roots of all this chicanery:
Probably everyone who reads this newsletter is aware that the term ‘conspiracy theory’ was created and deployed by the CIA in 1967. In April of that year, the CIA wrote a dispatch which coined the term “conspiracy theories”  -and recommended methods for discrediting such theories.  The dispatch was marked “psych” -short for “psychological operations”-  and “CS” for the CIA’s “Clandestine Services” unit. 
The dispatch was produced in responses to a Freedom of Information Act request by the New York Times in 1976.

Say this for the term "conspiracy theory." At least it is elegant. "Fake news" is just so… ugly. Ugly, clumsy, monosyllabic words. it is a sad indictment of just how stupid and lazy the West has become that the official update of the Deep State’s witches mark is just so primitive. You would say fake news if you were trying to explain conspiracy theory to a four year old whose first language wasn't English.


In the normal world, the CIA destabilizes foreign countries and manipulates their elections.

In Bizarro World, Bizarro CIA am destabilizes U.S. with States of American. Bizarro CIA am manipulating U.S. with States of America elections.

Is good! Am fun!

Just in time for the Electoral College, the CIA is accusing Trump of conspiring with Russia to manipulate the election. Glenn Greenwald, no fan of Trump, writes:
Without a shred of evidence provided, and despite Wikileaks' own on the record denial that the source of the emails was Russian, the WaPo attack piece claims the email messages were steadily leaked out via WikiLeaks in the months before the election, damaging Clinton’s White House run. Essentially, according to the WaPo, the Russians’ aim was to help Donald Trump win and not just undermine the U.S. electoral process, hinting at a counter-Hillary intent on the side of Putin. 
“It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,” the newspaper quoted a senior U.S. official briefed on an intelligence presentation last week to key senators as saying. “That’s the consensus view.” 
CIA agents told the lawmakers it was “quite clear” - although it was not reported exactly what made it "clear" - that electing Trump was Russia’s goal, according to officials who spoke to the Post, citing growing evidence from multiple sources.
And The Washington Post had to admit the evidence was thin:
The CIA presentation to senators about Russia’s intentions fell short of a formal U.S. assessment produced by all 17 intelligence agencies. A senior U.S. official said there were minor disagreements among intelligence officials about the agency’s assessment, in part because some questions remain unanswered. 
Minor? Oh surely, that's no big deal, right?

For example, intelligence agencies do not have specific intelligence showing officials in the Kremlin “directing” the identified individuals to pass the Democratic emails to WikiLeaks, a second senior U.S. official said.  
Well, maybe not so minor. I mean, we don't have specific intelligence, no. But we got a hunch, Buster. Boy, do we got a hunch!

Let's also remember the mind-numbing stupidity of the Russians electing the candidate whose nascent Administration has more brass around than an all-tuba orchestra.

Wow, those Russkies have been busy!

I don't think for a minute anyone with a triple-digit IQ actually believes any of this. If the Russians did the hacking the material would have gotten pulled off the Web before you could say "Spirit Cooking."

We have enough evidence this was all an inside job, but to admit to that is to admit that you have major agencies- far, far bigger than the CIA-- who want you out of town.

No one wants to admit that because the day they do they're over. This is all just face-saving on the part of the Rockefeller Republican Democratic Party, who, lest we forget, are still in control of the CIA.

But for the rest of us, this isn't about us. This isn't about party or ideology or any of those things people without power believe in. This is about major power blocs at war, fighting over turf and control over the idiots and deviants in Washington.

But stay tuned: this may yet end with tanks in the streets and a ruling council of generals and admirals constituting an "emergency provisional government."

It can happen here. Or is that actually the point to all of this?

*However, proving Trump really doesn't care about social issues, Tillerson was instrumental in opening the Boy Scouts up for gay kids, which is probably confusing a lot of Daily Kos readers tonight. 

The Secret Sun on THC

It's been nearly a month since Greg Carlwood and I tore into it for three hours, covering all kinds of ground and any number of different topics. Happily, Greg was able to make some sense of it all and banged it all into a fairly-coherent 2 1/2 hour chat.

There's a big swath of it on Free THC that you can download here (grok the copious show notes) and there's even more to be had on THC+.

We talked a lot about the election but also talked a lot about Bell Labs, the Roswell Ritual and Lucifer's Technologies, the Sumerian origin of the Prometheus/Lucifer archetype and the shadowy machinations of MK-OFTEN.

I hope you enjoy it. Share your feedback here, I'm interested to hear what you think.

Arrival and Doctor Strange, or Breaking Saturn's Spell


Yes, sir. 

What can you say about 2016? 

I've noticed that after eight solid years of relentlessly attacking and ridiculing anyone who questioned the press-release version of reality that we get from our mainstream media, that people on the left side of the spectrum are starting to see conspiracies under every rock. 

There are, of course, but still. 

We're just at the starting gate here- we'll be seeing so-called "real news" sites absolutely bursting with conspiracy theorizing in 2017.  Hold on to all those hit pieces we've seen in the Times and The New Republic et al over the past few years; you know, the ones with the ghoulishly unflattering photographs and the unfunny jokes about tinfoil hats and trailer parks.

Marijuana legalization is now a major states' rights issue, pretty much in defiance of the whims of elected officials. The brain needs food and our microevolution is going to carve its own path, kind of like a leak in the national roof. 

Ayahuasca tourism is a bonafide growth industry, so much so that there may be a need to regulate the market, in light of concerns over the purity of the product and basic ethics.

Magic continues to mainstream in a way we haven't seen in 40 years-- if not actually since the glory days of Alexandria-- and "meme magic" (meaning the art of conjuring through internet memes) practically became a household word after being taken up by Trump fans on sites like Reddit and 4Chan.

Thanks to Wikileaks we've gotten a look at the intersection of occultism and transgressive art and how these tendrils reach into the very highest reaches of political power. 

The connections all this may have to darker and more disturbing activity is still highly controversial but the connections between highly placed officials and art that would have gotten you arrested forty years ago are beyond dispute.

A major candidate for office promised to take up the cause of UFO disclosure and found herself subjected to the most relentless covert operation since Nixon's secret machinations were exposed by a cabal of intelligence operatives centered in the FBI and the Washington Post. Surely a coincidence, no? 

Her campaign manager- who has been banging the disclosure drum since the 1990s- has been raked over the coals as well.

Even so, UFO sightings have become so routine this year that even the debunkers seem to have given up trying to shame people into looking the other way. This of course doesn't mean these are alien spaceships- recent mass sightings in Turkey may well point to a more conventional origin point for at least some of these objects. 

But something strange is going on.

It makes sense then that this year rang in with a tsunami of hype for the X-Files revival, whose kickoff unleashed some of the most radical rhetoric ever heard on network television. The conspiracy community lit up like a Christmas tree and excerpts from 'My Struggle' popped up all over social media. 

The revival's momentum seemed to founder with a string of routine monster-of-the-week episodes (and an inexplicable decision to air not one, but two, comedy episodes) but the seeds were planted, nonetheless.

They bore fruit in the summer with Netflix's nostalgic Stranger Things miniseries, which took on MK ULTRA and experiments undertaken in the 1980s by the Department of Energy (which the DoE would at first deny, then admit to). The series seemed to set off a depth charge in the collective unconscious, speaking to those who were there as strongly as those who were not.

It should be noted however that sources with TenThirteen Productions- which produces The X-Files- report that plans for a new season were suddenly cast into doubt the day after the US elections...

I've had a very strange 2016. And not in a good way, either.

It also seems to be getting stranger in ways I can't really talk about now. But I very much wonder if this process of unveiling, of illusions of normalcy falling away and revealing a much weirder reality underneath, isn't just a macro-process. 

What about you?

All I can say is that I've been having what I can only describe as flashbacks, incredibly powerful and anomalous experiences that threaten to pull me back into a situation I thought I'd clawed my way out of. (There, is that vague enough for you?)

So I guess I was looking for answers of some kind when I decided to catch up on my movie-going and see two films that are directly connected to themes we've discussed in-depth here over the past 10 years.


Arrival and Doctor Strange might both tackle topics broadly familiar to those in the loose Synchromystic community but could not be more different: tonally, thematically, cinematically, temperamentally. 

Arrival is a long, slow, quiet tone-poem, sci-fi in the Solaris mold (perhaps the remake more than the original) and Doctor Strange is a fairly traditional Marvel superhero origin movie with some cinegenic Hollywood metaphysics tacked on for seasoning.

I haven't been to the movies in some time, having been on a provisional boycott. I'm still very much interested in the form, but the intellectual vapidity of mainstream media-- conjoined with the persistent social engineering agenda evident in nearly every form of commercial entertainment-- is keeping me away. 

I want to be entertained, rather than indoctrinated by a radically dumbed-down version of Soviet Socialist Theater.*  

Doctor Strange touched all the tentpole bases-- apocalypse-sized threat, cities aflame, multiculti heroes banding together under a militaristic regimen-- but added themes roughly parallel with the wilder expressions of Tibetan Buddhism and psychedelic culture (according to this writer, DMT culture, specifically). 

It's a fascinating admixture, especially given how closely it in fact lines up with the Mithraic Mysteries that were the power base of the Roman Praetorian Guard, a theme Secret Sun readers have seen well up in the wake of the election.

Timing, as they say, is everything.

The most surprising thing about Doctor Strange was how closely it followed the plotline of the animated Doctor Strange DVD, a film I quite enjoyed at the time.

The arc is essentially the same (and roughly hews to the original story, briefly sketched out by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko): Strange is a hotshot surgeon whose hands are damaged beyond repair when he wrecks his sports car. 

Searching desperately for a cure Strange eventually finds the Ancient One and his/her disciples, who are essentially raising a magical army to battle an existential threat from another dimension and its human agents. 

As with the animated film, and as distinct from the original comic book stories, the emphasis here is on collective action, on a magical collective acting in the service of all humanity.

It's not necessarily the way I'd personally treat the material. I'd go smaller and darker, and try to create a world in which it all felt very real. That there really were supermagi fighting it out all around us and we were essentially oblivious to it, because it all worked on a much more limited scale. Think a grown-up Harry Potter, but even more scaled down and realed-up.

Given that Doctor Strange is a major international hit, this shows ($618 Million in box office so far) how out of step I am with what the movie-going audience is looking for these days.

The extradimensional threat is depicted in a similar manner to the way it is in the animated film and as such is distinct from its depiction in the original comic stories. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I think the traditional depiction is actually more threatening (or could be, depending on how it was handled), since it exists in a spatial context we can wrap our heads around-- sort of-- in our mundane reality. 

Sometimes things can be so big that we can't really see them anymore.

It was the original strip's intimacy that crawled under my skin when I read the original comics- Doctor Strange was a kind of Kolchak, a weirdo loner solving occult crimes before eventually getting drawn into a globetrotting occult conspiracy. 

It was kind of like The X-Files in that regard, starting small and self-contained, growing somewhat but staying intimate, dark and paranoid.

What I found especially interesting in the wake of the election-- and the work I've been out on a limb alone exploring-- is the presentation of Time as a malevolent force. And in the perspective of the film's main antagonist, as the great existential evil and threat to all human striving. 

Which, of course, it is.

There's no readily-apparent parallel to be found in the film but this is practically orthodox Mithraism. In his incarnation as Aion, Mithras represented Infinite Time, who freed men from the ravages of Finite Time. The great scholar of the Mystery cults, Walter Burkert, observed that Mithraists saw the limitations of time as the source of all evil.

There's an interesting parallel in the original comics as well, since in battle with this great evil Doctor Strange was instructed to see the aid of Eternity himself, a kind of superheroic analog to Aion.

Now I've seen some of the more imaginative speculations as to this film being filled with MONARCH triggers and being an MK ULTRA training film and so on and so forth. 

Um, no.

There's really nothing here that you can't find in the comics (I've seen speculations about the hand poses, for instance; actually those come straight from the original Ditko comics, being one of the artist's idiosyncratic trademarks), so I wouldn't look too hard for kitten programming or whatever those kooky kids are into these days.

But if you're looking for deeper subtext in the Doctor Strange character himself you might want to look into the "Wizards, Workings and Walk-Ins" series, which delves into the fascinating evolution of magical superheroes (starting with my beloved Doctor Fate) that eventually bore fruit in the good doctor. 

All of the Secret Sun hobbyhorses are there for you to ride: Jack Kirby, ultradimensionals, Aleister Crowley, Jack Parsons, ancient astronauts, Egypt, Mars, Salem, Mass., and on and on and on.

You may also want to read this Wizards installment, which traces the otherdimensional landscapes that Ditko drew so well to an obscure Jack Kirby story that may in fact be based- somehow or other, don't ask me- on the Babalon Working (they also bear no small similarity to art created by Marjorie Cameron).

Arrival was a surprise. That it's done comparatively good box office is probably encouraging news. 

It's slow and languid, and is fueled more on dream-logic than standard Hollywood octane. Doctor Strange goes big and stagey for the dream imagery, drawing heavily on Christopher Nolan's Inception but also on Winsor McCay's Little Nemo in Slumberland. If you don't get the reference, google it before you see the film. Or better yet, afterwards.

If you've been tuning out the media entirely let me bring you up to speed: Arrival is a film about a mass alien contact event- giant UFOs appear across the world overnight. As may well happen, the authorities discover they are completely unable to communicate with the aliens so an American college professor- who also happens to be a languages prodigy- is enlisted to try to decipher the random grunts uttered by the visitors. 

Other countries do the same but a crisis erupts when the aliens' complex, symbolic language is misinterpreted.

As with Doctor Strange the plasticity of time is a central conceit in Arrival, but all that will sneak up on you in ways you can't anticipate. I'm not going to say too much about that because I don't want to spoil it. But also because I'm not entirely sure I could spoil it. 

Doctor Strange is a movie about spells- Arrival is a movie that strives very much to cast one.

Interesting to note also that Arrival featured a major player on loan from The Avengers (who are referenced in Doctor Strange), none other than Hawkeye himself, Jeremy Renner. He's capable enough but I'm not sure I completely buy him as a physicist so brilliant that the government would choose him above his peers to initiate contact with an alien race (both films also feature character actor Michael Stuhlbarg in roughly-similar bureaucratic pest roles).

Amy Adams- an actress I've had limited exposure to- is very good. It's a complex, challenging role, filled with hairpin emotional and narrative turns, and she pulled it all off, nary a seam to be seen. She conveys the sense of terror and awe (plus, more terror) one would experience in her situation.

The aliens themselves- as you've probably heard- are cephalopods, or as we called them back in the old days, giant octopi. This jibes quite with recent scientific discoveries about these fascinating creatures:
Octopuses are aliens — or, at least, so vastly different in their genetic makeup that they might as well be considered out of this world. Scientists recently sequenced the first genome in the Octopus Genome Project, a huge undertaking to map out the entire DNA structure of the complex cephalopod. What they found was simply incredible.

Octopuses have 33,000 genes, roughly 10,000 more than a human. This alone sets it apart from any other invertebrate in the world. They are also uncannily clever, with the ability to open jars, solve puzzles, and even use tools. It’s no wonder that some might think this creature is from another planet.
In uncovering the sequence, scientists found that octopuses have a similar set of genes to those found in humans, that make up a neural network in their brains, which accounts for their quick ability to adapt and learn. We also share a large brain, closed circulatory system, and eyes with an iris, retina, and lens. All of these independently developed in another species vastly different from our own mammal origins.
The film's aliens communicate by spraying ink in the dense atmosphere they exist in, and it's their complex form of communication that becomes the central McGuffin of the story.

Let me just say that while I found all this to be theoretically fascinating (exactly how we'll get to in a moment), as a tentpole experience it was a bit lacking. Anticlimactic. I'm not exactly sure what I was looking for in place of the film's central conceit, but definitely something a bit less writerly, a bit less film-school. 

Writers love to imagine that words themselves will save the world and rewrite history at its core. It's an inspiring idea, to be sure, but unfortunately it tends to be action and not words that decides the direction that events will take.

There's some real theory behind the sci-fi here, though, a theory dealing with the transformative effects of language:
The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is the theory that an individual's thoughts and actions are determined by the language or languages that individual speaks. The strong version of the hypothesis states that all human thoughts and actions are bound by the restraints of language, and is generally less accepted than the weaker version, which says that language only somewhat shapes our thinking and behavior. 
So Alan Moore's truisms about "spells are spelling" and "grimoires are grammars" aren't quite as facile as they sound, are they?

But you can read all that anywhere, can't you? What's the Secret Sun angle? 

I'm glad you asked.

Over the years I've mentioned a guy I used to know who kind of got me started on this whole Synchromystic business, some 20 years ago now. He was a genius when it came to breaking down words and numbers and finding parallels in history that people wouldn't even sense, never mind connect. 

We got to know each other through email and were stunned to discover that he once lived a short distance from where I do know, off the very same highway.

Stunned, but not surprised, really.

I lost touch with him several years back. He worked under psedonyms and seemed to vanish back into the electronic fog. I thought I found him time and again, but could never be certain.

But before I lost track of him he came to hold very radical- some might say extreme- ideas about Synchronicity. Where some people might take a quantum physics-based approach to the phenomenon, if not a spiritually-based one, he took a more specific approach. 

He came to believe that we were all being manipulated by extraterrestrial, interdimensional beings of unimaginable scope and power, beings who exist outside of time and space. 

He came to take a profoundly paranoid interpretation of meaningful coincidence, and quite probably a malevolent one.

It reminds me in a way of John Keel, whose research into paranormal phenomena was second to none, and the paranoid worldview he came to hold. No one can accuse Keel of jumping to conclusions, of failing to do his homework or show his math. He knew the material better than anyone, forgot more than most people will ever know. 

So if nothing else, we should take his POV under careful consideration, if we do nothing else.

But it may be more complicated than all that. Maybe we are not in fact bound by time and space, as both Doctor Strange and Arrival come along to tell us.

There are scientists like Rick Strassman who took people to realms like those we see Strange travel and there were scientists like Wolfgang Pauli who flirted with ideas about the transformational effect of reframing time as something other than a fixed constant.

Is there a way of recording our experience that will in fact work to help us transcend the nature of those experiences? Is Synchronicity itself a kind of language, one we haven't even begun to map? 

Those who work with Synchronicity can't help but notice how it seems to communicate with the experiencer, how it responds to thought. And it can do so the more rigorous and analytical you are in approaching it, which certainly seems counterintuitive to many people.

Just don't pretend that that process is always going to be easy or pleasant. The deeper the waters go, the colder they get. And the pressures can become intolerable. 

Anyone who tells you otherwise has never been there.


Space is not the final frontier, Time is. Learning to break Saturn's spell might well be the true Grail. We're hardly at the beginning of that journey, but we may finally be beginning to realize that there may be ways out of Chronos's cosmic concentration-camp.

Time is our jailer, it's the great taskmaster. It's the ultimate destroyer. It takes everything away from us. But only if you choose to play by the very reductive and incontrovertible rules you are taught when approaching it. 

Does Synchronicity play a role in breaking this spell? I don't know. But it certainly usurps conventional models of time and causality, and that is definitely a good place to start.


One thing I found fascinating was the choice of sneak previews frontloaded before the features. I told my wife just before Doctor Strange began that I felt like I'd seen eight films already. 

The previews for Arrival focused on the increasingly rare standalone feature, meaning a movie whose title isn't bisected with a colon or numeral. The only previews that stood out were for the creepy new M.Night Shamalayan movie, Split (a movie on DID Dissociative Identity Disorder aka Multiple Personality Disorder) that is certain to raise a ruckus on social media from the "multiple community." (If one doesn't exist, it will by the time the film is released)  

And I hasten to add Split comes across as creepy in ways that the filmmaker may not have intended. I should also add that I'm currently living a LARP of Shamalayan's ecodisaster film The Happening, which starred my old Braintree neighbor Mark Wahlberg. It's even less fun than it sounds.

The other was for a Jennifer Lawrence SF vehicle that is milking the corporate space exploration megatrend. I'm certain a lot of these projects were greenlit in the wake of Interstellar- there was a teaser-trailer for a spacepic before Doctor Strange as well. 

There was a preview for a new Will Smith picture that seems to completely misread his appeal and presents him as a low-energy depressive who is either in communion with embodied archetypes (Death, Love, etc) or is suffering from pharmacological hallucination, take your pick.

The previews before Doctor Strange were all genre, explosion-laden junk. Was a time when that might have appealed to the puer aeternus in me but really; enough is enough. You're starving the mind while feeding the eye (and the adrenal gland). 

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one burnt on the pabulum- audiences have been staying away in droves from the noisy garbage constantly foisted on us.

*I have been exploring some of the independent films on Amazon Prime, though I haven't had a great deal of luck so far. I admire the industriousness of the new independents, if nothing else. It's grueling hard work, particularly when there's not much of a payoff on the other end.