Notes from New Sodom

... rantings, ravings and ramblings of strange fiction writer, THE.... Sodomite Hal Duncan!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Exegesis of Exegesis

Rereading PKD's "Cosmogony & Cosmology" essay, and Sutin's edit of the Exegisis, In Pursuit of Valis. Just started the new Jackson & Lethem edit. Having been bumped out of the latest novel project midway through draft 2 by a couple of outstanding MS critiques, birthday celebrations and sundry other interruptions, I reckoned this should be a good way to get back into the spirit, since the project has developed along a somewhat... 2-3-74 vein.

Anyway, I though it might be fun to run a bit wild, exegesise the exegesis, so to speak. So, some freeform philosophy then, to liven up a blog that's been a bit fallow of late:

Son of Chaos

The demiurge. When we parse Yaldabaoth as yalda bahut, meaning "son of chaos," the loading of the term "chaos" seems to somehow overshadow the implications; maybe we're too busy hearing, "Murder! Mayhem! Madness! Anarchy!" to realise two things. One, far from casting the demiurge as a force of disorder, this casts the artificer as an artifice emergent from disorder -- a cosmic principle produced by but distinct from the chaotic. Two, if we see the demiurge as GAOTU, trumped only by an ineffable Monad, this casts the Monad which engendered it as the chaos. If the Monad is the progenitor of Yalda Bahut, if the progenitor of Yalda Bahut is chaos, then the One is always already the Many.

Taking the name Yalda Bahut at face value, I mean, suggests the polar opposite of most views of the sort of higher power that would trump a demiurge. From Parmenides to PKD, the prevailing notion of the (truly) supreme being evokes the same old same old of conventional creator Gods as perfections of harmonious order -- perfect as a Golden Rectangle, a circle, a clean line. The name Yalda Bahut suggests instead that the Monad is Chaos Hypsistos.

Projecting agency into Chaos Hypsistos makes zero sense to me. What unity there is in such a Monad, let alone agency, is that of a superposition of clashing configurations, not a system of consistent behaviours. This is the protocosm as a state of disorder, confusion, with the sub-stuff of all matter, hyle, in total flux, substance actively adopting structure but with a pervasive instability that's not just morphological but nomological. A state of (genuine, theoretical) chaos is a derangement of activity with no persistent patterns of transition ordering the reconfiguration from one state to another; instability is endemic both within and between the shifting states. As a stabilising structural element, even linear time should be unreliable in the truly chaotic protocosm.

Hassan i Sabbah was exactly wrong: Everything is true.

This is Hesiod's cosmogony, the Orphic cosmogony as filtered through Heraclitus's fire, Aristotle's prima materia and Ovid's "rude and undeveloped mass, that nothing made except a ponderous weight; and all discordant elements confused, were there congested in a shapeless heap." Take it right back and it's the Egyptian Ogdoad of primordial powers, which are really just attributes of pure potential -- fluid (Nu/Naunet), invisible (Amun/Amunet), dark (Kuk/Kauket), vast (Huh/Hauhet). These aren't agencies; they're qualities of the protocosm with the thinnest patina of personification overlaid. (I can't help thinking Vast Active Dark Invisible System here as a riff on PKD's VALIS. Or noting that the Egyptian terms can be acronymed to ANKH.)

The term chaos may itself originate in a notion of creatio ex nihilo similar to Genesis -- Hesiod's khaos a chasm equivalent to the Biblical tehom as void -- but what it becomes is a rejection of that non-answer, a subtler alternative that unpacks the something/nothing duality to actuality/possibility. The entelechy of the creatio ex materia cosmogony is a generatio ex potentia cosmogony which takes the idea of evolution from biological morphology and applies it to nomology. Physics, metaphysics, logic itself -- not a Divine Blueprint, just epiphenomena of a chaotic protocosm, the actualities simply those variant possibilities that propagate.

(In contrast, most creatio ex nihilo models are actually creatio ex materia models with the word "spirit" slapped on the pseudo-flesh of whatever entity is said to have burped the cosmos into being. Every Flying Spaghetti Monster is made of stuff, no matter if one calls the noodly substance aetheric rather than atomic. Strip out the FSM so your Divine Blueprint becomes simply Theory of Everything (complete, consistent, necessary,) and even with a zero-energy universe, you're begging the question of how the essential becomes existential. As Hawking says: “What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe?”)

The Cosmic Egg

Identifying the Monad as chaotic protocosm casts a new light on the character of Yalda Bahut itself: the only thing that can be distinct from the arbitrary flux of flux is surely that aspect of it by which the ongoing process of reconfiguration is (or at least appears to be) stabilised. Which is an inherent feature of chaos, no? The very instability of chaos renders it inconsistently inconsistent -- i.e. manifesting localised pockets of coherent structure, like a chance run of heads in a series of coin-flips. Two heads in a row, three, four, five, even as many as happen in the opening of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead -- though any such pocket of happenstance consistency is a caprice, it's also order as an emergent feature, local stability that distinguishes itself out from the global instability that spawns it.

Apply this to patterns of transition, cause and effect, the linearity of time. Chaos Hypsistos allows that I might in one instance (2) smoke my cigarette and then (1) roll it and then (3) stub it out, but it's only chaos if I might equally in another instance (1) roll my cigarette and then (2) smoke it and then (3) stub it out. The key point indeed is that it's only chaos if it might always play out that way... within our little pocket of stability, that is. A coherent cosmos is just this instance of stability scaled up, a pocket of structure large enough that from the inside it appears entirely non-chaotic.

Viewing linear time itself as a structural caprice, note, we're not imagining continuity of stability as a run of improbably sustained luck. There's no phew of relief as a dice roll comes down snake eyes for the gazillionth time in a row. With linear time not even in the picture yet, there's no such thing as in a row. That continuity needs to emerge from a happenstance coin toss that decides how a series of dice rolls will decide the temporal locations of the next roll relative to the last -- e.g. the blue die will set how many steps away, the red in which direction. A blue six and a red three? Six steps backwards. A blue three and a red two? Three steps to the left. And so on. Linear time needs to emerge from a happenstance coin toss that says this set of dice out of a gazillion is weighted so snake eyes always come up, so that each roll functions as a tick in time. The temporal location of the next roll is always one step forward.

With signs of other universes in the CMB (albeit unconfirmed,) and theories like CDT recreating 4D spacetime from first principles (with one key assumption being the exclusion of configurations where cause doesn't precede effect,) it doesn't seem too outré to posit a pocket of logic emerging within the khaos as a natural feature of it, sustaining a systematic kosmos. Out of the chaotic protocosm comes the cosmos (maybe many.) Out of Chaos Hypsistos comes Yalda Bahut, son of chaos, demiurgic artificer, GAOTU.

So: the origin point is a border crossing, a transition between a global state where (A & NOT-A) is possible because everything is uncertain, indefinite, (Chaos Hypsistos) and a local zone where NOT (A & NOT-A) has emerged, (Yaldo Bahut). A frame-shift of phase/scale between chaos and order, illogic and logic. The Cosmic Egg of one Greek cosmogony is a vesica piscis formed by the intersection of epistemic Chronos (Time) & alethic Ananke (Necessity). The latter says (A & Not-A) cannot be. The former says it must be, but resolves the conflict by making the togetherness sequential, introducing a "then" -- (A & then NOT-A).

(Again Hassan i Sabbah was wrong: nothing is permitted. Although the plural would be better: it's not that zero somethings are permitted, rather that any number of nothings are permitted. It's the negation permitted among the everything that masks off parts of it, defines the somethings by negative space. Form is void.)

The Clockwork Head

The anthropomorphic projection of agency is as absurd for the systematic cosmos as it is for the protocosm, but it's easy to see beyond such literalism. The blindness ascribed to Yalda Bahut is clearly cognate with the ignorance of his own subordinate status, his supremacy delusion, but it's just as workable as a signifier of non-sentience. The demiurgic Godhead of the kosmos is clockwork simulacrum, a reality-shaping machine which we attribute blindness to as mark of its inhuman obliviousness -- c.f. Palmer Eldritch's artificial eyes. It's the severed head of John the Baptist, hollowed and stripped to skull then retrofitted as a mechanistic travesty, iron innards and plastic exterior, set before us as an animatronic head with the face of PKD. The back of the clockwork head is open, Chaos Hypsistos pouring in to be processed in the maze of machinery, gush forth from the automaton's mouth as a stream of equations, articulated in the AI voice PKD called VALIS. It smiles with steel teeth.

As blindness may signify non-sentience, madness (also cognate with the supremacy delusion) may signify that the demiurge is not a creator at all. As blindness (ignorance) refutes intelligence, madness (nonsense) refutes design. The trope may be intended to explain evil in the world via a flawed creator. It might even resolve the nonsense of a perfect being exercising volition born from want, judging creation a way to improve perfection, judging the lack of creation an absence to be rectified. But it's also an apt symbol of the unreason of any creatio ex nihilo claim. The clockwork head is claiming to have invented clockwork; of course it's mad, suffering the full-blown psychotic episode of acute schizophrenia, to be precise. The cosmos projecting a supreme agency into its clockwork is apophenia (finding pattern in random connection), pareidolia (conjuring sense out of noise), a delusion grandiose and/or paranoid.

A dream-state might also be ascribed to the demiurge, Yalda Bahut as Brahma, not blind or mad but asleep -- but this makes for a twist; as psychosis becomes psychedelia becomes hypnagogia becomes oneiria, the figuration of the cosmic shaper becomes less malevolent the less agency is afforded it. The dreamer being aware but not active, it seems, resolves the angst: with ignorance and nonsense acknowledged as inherent in the non-lucid caprice of phantasia, there's no need for warning flags, no need to paint the symbol in a menacing light. No nous is good news. As the phantasia engaged with the corporeal (i.e. actual sensation) is swallowed into the phantasia engaged with itself, the roiling flux of sensory caprices becomes an analogue of Chaos Hypsistos indeed, rather than Yalda Bahut. Brahma is protocosm with cosmos as its dream.

In other words, even within the wholly anthropomorphic mythopoeic discourse there's an anti-creationist strain in the figuration, (strain in both its senses -- thread and tension -- I mean,) an undercurrent dragging the poetic imagery towards a cosmogony without agency, with a notion of emergent order in its place.

But I'm less interested in these tropes as figurations of the real world, anyway. As much as I enjoy a bit of poetic cosmogony, I'm more interested in... the cosmogony of poetics, so to speak.

The Semiocosm, Idios & Koinos

Macrocosm, microcosm. As above, so below. ("As beyond, so within," would be better.) The semiocosm, the world of signifiers, is the microcosm of Chaos Hypsistos -- or seems so at least, as experienced via the oneirica of dreams (or hypnagogia, psychedelia, psychosis -- any level of phantasia.) It seems a similar state of disorder, of confusion, a superposition of clashing configurations of import, with the stuff of phantasia in flux, actively adopting structure but with a pervasive instability that's again not just morphological but nomological. In each dream we live a derangement of activity, with no persistent patterns of transition ordering the reconfiguration from one state to another. The resemblance may be superficial though, the "chaos" here that of modern maths (i.e. Chaos Theory) -- perfectly systematic, just dynamics versus mechanics.

Thesis #1: that phantasia is allostatic (a system remaining stable by being variable), aimed at restoring balance by modifying behaviour, in this case by modifying the configuration of import. Practically? A phantasia of a doberman ripping out one's throat adjusts what the seme dog means one way while a phantasia of a border collie leading one to safety adjusts it another. Via the actions and attributes assigned, every seme used in the phantasia is reconfigured in its import and in its relation to others, with the system working like Todorov's narrative, seeking resolution to a new equilibrium... until the next disruption comes, which it does with every waking moment; sensation is tension.

Which it does with REM sleep too indeed -- rather than simply wait inert for the waking moment to start the day's dance, the semiocosm spits up arbitrary semes to keep the phantasia going. How? Hobson suggests sensory experience is fabricated to interpret chaotic signals from the pons, but if dreams don't stop with brain stem damage (c.f. Solms) simple neural oscillation may be a better source of the random stimuli. Either way, we get phantasia running off its own bat, building itself with/around semes spawned by chance. Why? It's also autopoetic, self-(re)generative, fusing and fissioning to produce new semes, complexify the system. The aim is not just restoration of balance but development of agility. I wonder if there isn't a link to the idea of adaptive unconscious here.

Thesis #2: that the culture-at-large functions as a koinos semiocosm to our personal idios semiocosms, one big Umwelt to all the little Eigenwelts, the whole (dynamically) chaotic system of societies in a state of flux. Metanarratives, memes -- the Zeitgeist is also a superposition of clashing configurations of import, reconfigured by the ritual dramas playing out around us, countless miniscule adjustments every minute of the day for every 9/11 that creates a seismic shift. The koinos semiocosm is the nearest thing we have to Plato's morphological realm, to any metaphysical realm. It's the realm of discourse. A news story of a doberman ripping out someone's throat adjusts what the seme dog means one way while a news story of a border collie leading someone to safety adjusts it another.

Living in the Lie

Either of those adjustments for dog might function as entrenchment rather than corrective though. The idios semiocosm may be allostatic, but vicious circles are plentiful. An example? The story of the Fall is the Fall. Which is to say, the phantasia reconfigures the import of and relations between the semes God, humanity, serpent, fruit and world, pathologically alienating humanity from reason (the serpent is wisdom, but wisdom is deceit) and passion (the fruit is satiation, but satiation is temptation) and nature as a whole (the garden becomes the cursed field of toil.) The moral filters set on these semes render them sources of angst, creating the very situation they cast as lamentable -- folly, woe and world-weariness. The very action that would resolve the angst -- accepting the innate faculties of reason and desire, restoring good relations with the natural via a recognition of these positive features of our own nature -- is cast as the action that caused this state. Where this action would be an exercise of autonomous judgement repudiating an imposed moral authority as wholly spurious, indeed, it is cast as the crime of all crimes on exactly that basis. To question what's right is wrong of itself.

Such pathologies don't just imbalance the semiocosm, engendering angst; they actively suppress our corrective capacities and enlist our support in doing so, shifting the blame for the misery onto that which would heal it, rendering it anathema, which further imbalances the semiocosm, deepening the angst. Propagating from idios semiocosm into idios semiocosm, propagating out into the koinos semiocosm, institutionalised and inculcated -- because to eliminate questioning is right of itself -- they become pervasive and malign cancers usurping as much of the regulatory function as they can. If one can't resolve the angst naturally, well, obedience is right, so rules that can be followed by rote, rituals that enact appeasement... these can be spawned ad infinitum so that we can find relief in certainty of rectitude -- and the stronger the sense of certainty, the stronger the sense of relief.

The Fall story is possibly the purest example of a phantasia embodying such a pathology, but if we strip out the semes and look at it as pure mechanism, it may be more correct to speak simply of the pathology. At root, this is Kohlberg's Level 2 (Conventional) Stage 4 (Law-and-Order) morality -- though I see this not as a stage it's natural to grow into and natural for the average to subsist at, but rather as a social construct imposed over the top of innate empathic-ethical judgement (vide experiments by Paul Bloom at Yale and Jessica Sommerville) which actively retards/supresses judgement such that only the unconventional end up dismantling it.

We are, in a very real sense, living within the semiocosm, idios and koinos. It's not wholly figurative to put it in PKD's words:

"Any lying language creates at once in a single stroke a pseudo-reality, contaminating reality, until the Lie is undone." (TEoPKD, p. 20)

One just has to shift the frame from cosmos to semiocosm. Contra PKD and his Gnostic forebears, material reality is not the Lie, the maya or dokos projected over a true "spiritual" reality. That fallacy is the Lie, or part of it -- the cursing of the earth. Instead it's a matter of the semiocosm, idios and koinos, as it would be without the moral filters, and the semiocosm, idios and koinos, as it is with that occlusion in play.

The Empire Never Ended

Macrocosm, microcosm. As above, so below. If the semiocosm is the microcosm of Chaos Hypsistos, this self-replicating pathological mechanism is the microcosm of Yalda Bahut at large in the world. Order for order's sake: to question what's right is wrong; to quash such questions is right. Blind and mad, non-intelligent and non-designing, the demiurge is a manufacturer of ersatz reality, but only as a factory devouring children, spewing out adolescents decapitated, copies of his clockwork head fixed on their shoulders. Only as Ginsberg's Moloch: "Moloch the incomprehensible prison! Moloch the crossbone soulless jailhouse and Congress of sorrows! Moloch whose buildings are judgement! Moloch the vast stone of war! Moloch the stunned governments!" The best figuration of this regulating archon may well be that hit upon by PKD -- the Empire. It's an agency only in the corporate organisation sense. It's system out to eradicate agency.

By this, I mean, its aim is to suppress secondary consciousness, vide Edelson -- as opposed to the sensation & emotion of primary consciousness that can't be quashed -- which I'd term metaconscious. What that word means: the reflective faculties of metasensation (awareness-of-awareness) & metacognition (thinking-about-thinking) that are present in lucid dream but absent in non-lucid; abstraction & volition; essentially the capacity of recognition, (re-cognition,) the recognitive faculty. Aristotle's poetics rightly makes recognition a lynchpin of narrative -- anagnorisis -- as does Todorov's equilibrium theory. Without it, a character has no real agency and cannot be a protagonist. So, Yalda Bahut's work against the metaconscious is a pre-emptive measure, suppressing the recognitive faculty to prevent us from even struggling, let alone succeeding.

The ersatz humans running through PKD's work, simulacra and schizophrenics, prefigure the 2-3-74 phantasias which are indeed a massive ongoing abreaction and anamnesis. The writer of alienation par excellence spends the 60s tackling the results of Yalda Bahut's success -- kenosis, the emptying of will preached by the Empire's religious arms. He spends a good while living it, seeing the schizoid robots who got there by drugs -- no wonder Burroughs resonates for him. He throws himself into an entire ouvré exploring the monstrum. Ersatz realities are a recurrent trope, and associated with death (the inevitable fate the characters of MAZE are forestalling, the half-life the characters of UBIK are persisting in.) With SCANNER taking the kenosis thematics to its conclusion, it's not hard to see him as primed for breakthrough. Add a deliberate action to try and fix himself (a vitamin regime designed for schizophrenics,) and the Ichthys symbol trigger only needs to be a glimmer of salvation his phantasia can lock onto, a catalyst and semiotic springboard. Boom. It's not hard to see how someone who'd already glimpsed Moloch / Yalda Bahut in the shape of Palmer Eldritch might have their idios semiocosm reconfigured in a cascade of the requisite phantasias -- beginning with the notion that it was really still 45 AD, that the Empire never ended.

"I'm glad to say once released from the Lie I saw passivity, resignation and despair as intended by-products of the Lie, and any system of thought or religion which taught these as virtues (Christianity included) as a manifestation of the Lie." (TEoPKD, p. 18)

Ghosts in the Machine

The Black Iron Prison is the semiocosm viewed as pure mechanics (death realm). The Palm Tree Garden is the semiocosm viewed as pure dynamics (life realm). What Dick was seeing in the BIP was the tomb-world he'd been writing about for decades, not just as a personal dysfunction of Eigenwelt but as the self-propagating gestalt of such, an Umwelt systematically created and maintained -- not by conspiracy but by corporate behaviour. Corporate psychopathy is not just functional but selected for. Recognising this automatically entails recognition of the alternative.

Ubik and Valis are the subsystems of the semiocosm working to transform one view into the other, the same module seen respectively as immanent and transcendent, earthly and heavenly. A spraycan sold on TV and an AI satellite in outer space. Zebra, the AI voice, the sibyl, Sophia -- one could be conservative and say we're talking purely idios semiocosm here. Or one could entertain a wilder conceit of grand systems at work in the koinos semiocosm, systems that are functionally agencies, distributed but coherent, entities of discourse.

With the Empire this is not that wild a conceit. It serves the Empire for those who serve it most wholly to be in positions of power whereby they can propagate it. The same is true of any ideology -- fascist, communist, capitalist; believers in the right places can exploit their power to spread the ideology. It serves those in power for the Empire to be propagated, as it bolsters their power. Where ideologies like socialism and democracy advocate the equitable (re)distribution of wealth and privilege against the oligarch's interests, and where ideologies such as fascism and totalitarian communism advocate usurpation of such against the oligarch's interests, the purity of the Empire's "order-for-order's-sake" principle supports even the oligarch on his last legs -- e.g. Pinochet -- as integral emblem of social order. Reagan was the epitome of this, sustained in his senility. Dubya was a reprise. If you can install such perfect avatars of the idiot demiurge as figureheads -- and it's hard not to think of Talbot Yancy here -- then it's a mark that what you have is the Empire.

What about the adversary to this though, the antagonist of Empire that is, by default, the advocate of humanity? Isolated instances of individuals playing such a role are to be expected. The mythologisation of such individuals (by themselves and by the culture at large) is to be expected. We should even expect the drive to manifest in and to some of those individuals via phantasias that render the metaconscious as autonomous entity in the most florid archetypal guise. But to what extent can we sustain the idea of another ghost in the machine, of the culture as allostatic, autopoietic system responding to the Empire with concerted action(s), not volitional but behaving as if it were?

That would be the supposition: VALIS as an emergent Turing Machine realised via the culture itself, processes predicating for moments like Dick's Ichthys sign epiphany -- not by magically directing the necessary person to the necessary place, but in the feedback loop reinforcement of that seme with a certain (countercultural) import such that it spreads, such that the situation in PKD's environs becomes charged with the potential of such an event. The dynamics of the koinos semiocosm being such that the system propagates catalytic semes which naturally, organically invoke a subsystem in the recipient idios semiocosm that could be quasi-autonomous. Meanwhile, seeding encounters shape Dick's anima as a distinct dark-haired girl. A dominant mother charges it negatively, but the lost twin sister strengthens the identification link. He's primed for the girl with the necklace.

Behold the Everyman

This is the real significance of Joshua's testing in the wilderness. The accuser is self-critique manifesting via phantasia, reflecting grandiose drives for power to explicate their dangers, the excuses of expedience, devotion and specialness that lead one into bad faith. The shaitan Joshua wrestles with (adversary, antagonist, accuser) is the self-same metaconscious he'll ultimately identify with. Which is not at all fanciful, really; it's just a claim of individuated unity, of having reconfigured the idios semiocosm to undo the alienation, expunge the Empire. ("I have conquered the world.") With the pathology removed, the inner accuser becomes the inner authority -- the father whose will he is doing, the sacred inspiration (pneuma theos) that he is realising, with the dynamic system of the wind as symbol of the protean flexibility of authority that is really autonomy, agency. It's the antithetical backlash to the Empire, the logical enantiodromia. A recognition that super-ego is just the inculcated mechanism of moral thought (the Empire within,) is a recognition that the metaconscious has precedence over it. ("The son of man is lord of the sabbath.")

But he doesn't just see this as personal individuation. He's projecting that agency out into koinos semiocosm. Note that when he refers to "the son of man," this is a common Semitic idiom best translated "the everyman." The echo of "son of God" makes us read it as titular, but even when used as such it's an identification with humanity as a whole, especially the downtrodden, and key usages are clearly less "I" than "we". "When the everyman comes in his glory" is a promise of the repressed metaconscious being unleashed in the culture at large, of a revolution in the koinos semiocosm. He accepts the role as avatar of the metaconscious unbound, the Empire's thrall being such that he's alone in having overcome it, but the promise of the Advocate is a promise that all will ultimately achieve the same state. He sees his own achievement as simply the spearhead action of the koinos semiocosm itself responding to the Empire. This agency within the koinos semiocosm -- autonomy, adversary, antagonist, accuser, advocate -- has been made flesh in him, but only as a vanguard move in restoring it to its rightful place within every individual.

Since the koinos semiocosm includes us in it, and the idios semiocosm is us, to all intents and purposes, it's perfectly sound to project agency into semiocosm, the self that is being created by the autopoietic system -- golden-winged, serpent-coiled, androgyne Phanes (Bringer-to-Light) aka Ericapaeus (Power) aka Metis (Thought) aka Eros (Desire). The puer aeternus, the Peacock Angel, the alchemical Rebis linked to Mercury (with his winged sandals, serpent-coiled caduceus). Given the archetypal nature of this image, it's begging for interpretation. Mine? Take the libidinous base of psyche that Freud calls Id, but understand that contra Freud this incorporates empathic passion and therefore ethical judgement (vide Bloom & Sommerville,) making Jung's Self closer to the mark, with Freud's Ego really a moderating compromise of functional dysfunction thrashed out between self and the pathology.

Passion and reason are fused in this symbol; it's wisdom without the aged impotence, wisdom as inspiration. It's the image of self as empyrean ideal, the potential denied by the Empire. Firebright, in PKD's terms. Is it possible to see the gestalt of the koinos semiocosm as cumulatively impacted by our quasi-conscious activity -- in which the everyman is expressed even when repressed -- so as to manifest real agency? Does the allostatic & autopoietic activity scale up to the everyman being latently active in the culture as a sort of macromind?

Either way, there's a case for seeing Jesus as sired by koinos semiocosm. Where PKD sees Jesus as Zagreus as Dionysus, the child sent into hiding on earth, sought by Herod as the demiurgic prince of this world, as Pentheus in The Bacchae -- the Slaughter of the Innocents resulting from the Empire's attempt to expunge the metaconscious -- I see an obvious narrative logic that inverts cause and effect: the Slaughter of the Innocents is what makes the surviving child exceptional in the first place, propels him into the protagonist role. I can't remember if I worked that into INK, the idea that Jesus becomes sole repository for all the inspiration that would have been distributed among his entire generation. That would be the figurative way of playing it though. The literal Slaughter would be the three thousand Pharisees executed by Archelous, as pointed to in the parable of the minas and the apocryphal story of Zecheriah's murder in the forecourt of the temple -- where the son sought should really be Jesus rather than John. The impact of that creates a cascade of ripple effects, an interference pattern in the koinos semiocosm, instability from/in which the advocate is bound to emerge.

Undoing the Empire requires more than bringing down isolated bastions though. Another Pentheus simply pops up elsewhere. And casting the crucifixion as salvific sacrifice is only a stratagem by which the Empire co-opted the message, reasserted our essential alienation from the Palm Tree Garden. What is required is the full reversal of the Fall myth. So, what I've been doing in much of my fiction is continuing the last two millennia's reconfiguration of Lucifer via mythopoeic art in that aim, playing cosmic pothealer with the potshards of this Adam Kadmon: the serpent in the garden and on the Mosaic staff, Nehushtan; the adversary or accuser of the Book of Job, Shaitan; the angel who wrestled with Jacob and stayed Abraham's knife, Sammael; the angel of death, Azrael; the pagan overgod, Baal ze Baal; the king of Babylon, the Morningstar fallen; the leader of the fallen Nephilim, turned to the earthly, Azazel; the shining captain of the host who rebels, Lucifer; the Dionysian diety of horn and hoof, the Devil.

The koinos semiocosm has been slowly working through its own inherent tensions, reconfiguring in order to resolve. The entelechy of Lucifer is, I think, emerging through all the "Satanist" waffle that continues to demonise even as it postures identification with the diabolic. When it clicks together properly, expect zero goth-wankery to the character; the ultimate reconfiguration of the semes entailed will be aimed beyond that. Doesn't seem like a difficult target to me either after 20th century revisions like Gaiman's. Seems like it's really just the last twist on the trope that's required.

The Empire's end might well be imminent. Or immanent. Or maybe it's sorta the same thing here.

So to speak.

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