Monday, February 1, 2021

My reading exercise for 'Prometheus Rising' (Week 17)

Our current Prometheus Rising series of blog posts is supposed to be about doing the exercises rather than simply reading and discussing the book, so I have decided to do a reading exercise, using what Eric Wagner is doing as my blueprint.

In his last post, Eric described his plan to carry out one of the assigned exercises for Chapter 1 of PR:

Chapter 1, exercise 5, says, “With your own ingenuity, invent similar experiments and each time compare the two theories – ‘selective attention’ (coincidence) vs. ‘mind controls everything’ (psychokinesis).” On January 7 I decided to start with the hypothesis that James Joyce’s work has something to offer me right now. I will spend 23 days beginning using a “selective attention” model and then 23 days using a “mind controls everything” model. During the first few days of using the selective attention model I read Joyce’s short story “After the Race” with some commentary, read a chunk of Ulysses and a bit of Finnegans Wake, and finished rereading a book on Joyce by Sheldon Brivic.

In the comments, Eric cleared up a couple of points. BFHN asked Eric, "I am curious, how are you bringing about selective attention to the reading of some of Joyce works ? Are you looking for something, patterns and whatnots?" And I asked, "Eric, Can you give us an idea of what you are planning for the "mind controls everything" part of the exercise?"

Eric replied:

BFHN, for "selective attention" I just read Joyce (and his commentators) and try to understand. I focus on what will help me with my Finnegans Wake Club as well as with future exercises in Prometheus Rising. Chapter 5 will ask for a character analysis of Leopold Bloom, and chapter seven asks about the reception of Ulysses. Other chapters have Joycean aspects as well.

Tom, for "mind controls everything" I plan to look at Joyce's works as magickal texts. I plan to approach them less rationally.

Eric's exercise intrigues me, so I'm going to try something similar. For 23 days, I will read two of my favorite authors, Robert Anton Wilson and Tyler Cowen, on alternate days, using the "selective attention" model. Then for 23 days, I will read them using them as "magickal texts." (I don't really know how to read them as "magickal texts," but I figure I know some people who can offer suggestions. Gregory? Cat? Oz? Anyone else?)

As I deal with my life, I want to focus on how to stay positive and how to deal with information. So for "selective attention," I believe it would make sense to focus initially on RAW's Cosmic Trigger 2: Down to Earth and on Cowen's The Age of the Infovore: Succeeding in the Information Economy. 


Oz Fritz said...

Well, you got me thinking, Tom, I can't say I have a good answer but I can offer suggestions of how to look for one as I search myself. Magick = the Science and Art of causing change to occur in conformity with Will. Dion Fortune amended, or awomened, or streamlined this definition to include "causing change in consciousness ..." Initially, beginning magick aims for the "Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel (HGA)" which I interpret as contact with a specific (but multiple) Higher Intelligence from the territory of C6 (as in Leary's model) or beyond; only one interpretation from a concept that appears a multiplicity. The specificity of this contact has to do with the model that the HGA = the ultimate expression of one's True Will i.e. what you really wish to do in life. So perhaps reading something as a magickal text intends to move that along?

This model includes the notion that Higher Intelligence ranges freely and can communicate through any medium. You might see a billboard that communicates something about your work when expanded out from the context of the advertisement; a young child might randomly say something that has relevance to your spiritual goals; your cat might cause spillage leading to hidden treasure, etc. So perhaps the psychokinesis model, applied to reading books, allows for the possibility that your HGA entered the consciousness of the author(s) causing them to write something personally useful to you years later. I sincerely hopes this helps and doesn't muddle things further.

BFHN said...

"As I deal with my life, I want to focus on how to stay positive and how to deal with information."

That is a very laudable goal to keep in mind. I cannot stress enough how much this blog and the endless rabbit holes it leads to have brought a more positive vibe to my life in the past few months. So thanks again, everyone!

In all honesty, I have not been paying much attention yet to this specific exercize Eric and you are focusing on at the moment.
But I have been willing to ask people in here about exercize 9.
How does one figure out someone else's Thinker/Prover, especially in the case of "two relative strangers", without falling into the trap of simply being judgemental ?

Eric Wagner said...

Tom - sounds good.
BFHN - one can observe the way people explain themselves. This can give a sense of their thought processes, their thinkers and provers.

Rarebit Fiend said...

Hey Tom,

Oz has a better explanation than my narcissistic sally. (Oz- I am so sorry I haven't responded to your last email and realized that I have let months go by. I apologize and will write soon.) That said, my answer would be: Wilson's books are some of the most powerful magical texts in my library. I've learned more about the sapient secrets of the cosmos and the darkness that lies in the heart of man from his works than most honest-to-Cthulhu grimoires. If you look at the article I wrote for Bobby Campbell's project, I have more there. Just imagine that the radical ideas and expositions of the mind you experience while reading them are becoming reality: THC helps. I'm pretty sure RAW is still alive in some manner and speaks through his texts. The grand old man, follow the threads. I don't know Tyler Cowen very well, so I can't give much advice there. Do the same thing, I guess?

I apologize to everyone that has been commenting on my posts. I have enjoyed reading everyone's thoughts and greatly appreciate people doing a better job of reasoning out what I'm talking about than I do in the original posts. I have been consumed with school and whiling away the days. I will respond to my last week's comments.

BFHN said...

Thank you very much for taking the time to answer despite your busy schedule, Gregory !
I assume you are referring to your article in last year' New Trajectories ? I will go and read it again.
I sure wonder how narcissistic I might be sometimes, but at least here, in the context of a group reading of a book on self-experimenting, I feel like it only make sense to talk about oneself.

I also think that Bob is somehow still alive. As long as people keep on reading and commenting on him, he's around. :) I find that one way to transcend time and physical death in our times lies in internet presence. There is for instance a ridiculous amount of Terence Mckenna's rants and raps on YT, that makes him perhaps more alive, or at least present, than he ever was.

Eric: Thanks for your answer, I will keep that in mind. As well as actively listening to what people are saying, while also attempting to do so without letting my own opinions and prejudices come to the forefront of my grasping of the situation.

Oz Fritz: once again you are bringing very interesting elements to the discussion. Motivated by Eric and Tom's take on exercize 5, I came up with an idea, and your above thoughts fit well in what I have in mind.

I noticed in the past that I tend to experience odd coincidances through the medium of cinema. Films with no obvious connections apart from the fact that they get watched by me around the same time resonate with each other, or have correspondances. I tend to see this as minor, meaningless, synchronicities that until now I simply acknowledged with a smile, not really deciding if it only 'is' selective attention from my part, or at best a wink from the Universe telling me that I am doing it right (what can 'it' be, I don't know).
Rather than just leaving it at this, I will from now on record and date those occurences, and assume that I should do something about it. At the very least, follow the thread and into the rabbit hole.

For instance, a very recent thing is the popping up of JFK references.
It started when I decided on my own to watch the 70s paranoid flick Executive Action, which speculate about an occult group killing the president and using Oswald as a front. A few days later, friends insisted on watching Bubba Ho Tep, where this black guy in an hospice is persuaded to be JFK.
This blog also participated in it when mentionning Jim Garrison in the Adam Curtis post.
Incidentally, Adam Curtis also fits in all this, as a few weeks ago YT suggested I watch the first episode of Pandora's Box on the very day I already had decided to start watching this mini series. And later on during the episode, I had someone uttering a sentence that had almost word for word popped up in my mind 20 seconds earlier.

I will come back to this in the future if any interesting developments arise. I am looking forward to read about other people experiences in applying a magick reading to texts.

The lasagna is flying high these days. :)

Oz Fritz said...

No apology necessary, Gregory. I'm massively behind on everything directly unrelated to making a living.

I use selective attention to look for esoteric transmissions in my reading of Under the Volcano and Proust.

I employ the psychokinesis model to make sure everything runs smoothly with the equipment and technology I use to record and process music, equipment which is often vintage therefore subject to breaking down. And with computers and software which can sometimes seem to act as if they have a mind of their own (likely true); and to counteract the dreaded "mercury retrograde" phenomena that supposedly interferes with communication.