Author Archive | Jeremy D. Johnson

Listen to William Gibson Read Neuromancer

222889-noselectall322“The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.”

Cyberpunk readers will love this treat: listen to William Gibson read Neuromancer in this original audio edition, which is unfortunately no longer available. Also, don’t mind the cheesy musical interludes. They just add to the experience.

“…and still he’d see the matrix in his sleep. Bright lattices of logic unfolding across that colorless void.”

I’ll be listening this to psyche myself out for Gibson’s The Peripheral, out this October.

Via BoingBoing

Featured image by thierry ehrmann

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World Leaders Call For End of Criminalization of Drug Use

drugwarToday in New York City, the former presidents of Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Poland, Portugal and Switzerland join with Kofi Annan and others to call for the end of drug criminalization. They are also calling for legal and regulated use of psychoactive substances. This press conference is being held at 9:45 AM by the Global Commission on Drug Policy:

Via Drug Policy Alliance:

Today, the Global Commission on Drug Policy will release Taking Control: Pathways to Drug Policies that Work, a new, groundbreaking report at a press conference in New York City. The event will be live-streamed and speakers include former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, former Colombian President César Gaviria, former Swiss President Ruth Dreifuss, Richard Branson and others.

The Commissioners will then meet with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson in the afternoon following the press conference.

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Romancing the Biomechanoid: H.R. Giger’s “San Gottardo”

News keeps coming down the vine about lesser known projects H.R. Giger had left unfinished before his recent passing. The latest is a little-known science fiction movie idea called The Mystery of San Gottardo, which he was working on since the 1970’s. “A unique love story… about a man and his love for a freak of nature, Armbeinda, which is really a sentient limb combining an arm and a leg.”

This is why we love Giger.

A 1994 magazine called Cinefantastique goes into more detail:

The story concerns a race of biomechanoids created by a military organization. The premise: your arms and legs are slaves that do your bidding, but what if they have a mind of their own and were set free? Ink drawings depict the disembodied parts attacking their creator (Giger’s self-portrait) in the San Gottardo border tunnel which links Switzerland and Italy. To insure that his vision remains intact, Giger hopes to retain creative control as a producer on the film… and not be forced to rely on CGI.

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Psychedelic, Shamanic and Magickal Themes in Anime Culture

Paprika-Wallpaper-1024x640Benton Rooks, author of KALI-YUGA, wrote up an excellent piece analyzing the desire to “shamanize” beneath the Neo-Tokyo aesthetic of popular anime culture:

So like immersion into video game virtuality, spirit-oriented themes in anime culture is also indicative of the unconscious desire to shamanize, or “walk” between the worlds of the material and spiritual planes of existence in trance. This cosmological framework is perhaps best represented by neo-platonic influence in the Islamic metaphysics of Ibn ‘Arabi and the equally intricate Mahayana Buddhist cosmological frame work, depicting the complex “planes of existence” that one must pass through in order to obtain the androgynous God-head. [4]

Indeed, it seems that the central hell of Japan is the elimination of indigenous shamanism, in which the direct interaction with the Gods is severed by the enslavement (and ironic obsession) of the machine. This theme has been best represented by the films of Miyazaki, Mamoru Oshii and Satoshi Kon—each of these masterful Japanese artists depicting universes so overrun with industrial and transhuman intelligences that the repression of supernatural (and often primitive) imaginal instincts, are made to literally burst with violent force onto the material plane (as in Paprika and, Spirited Away).  Machines otherwise considered inert become demonically possessed by AI infiltration, a sad commentary on the pitfalls of human intelligence in the techno-shamanic age (Ghost in the Shell).

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Erik Davis on VALIS, P.K.D. and High Weirdness

APhilipKDickMomentAs part of the inaugural reread series on Reality Sandwich, Erik Davis, author ofTechGnosis and Nomad Codes, spoke with me recently about the “High Weirdness” of Philip K. Dick and the postmodern pink-gnosis of VALIS, a partly autobiographic scifi novel where Dick literally wrote himself into fiction, and, as it were, “hacked the Hero’s Journey” (1).  Erik tells us about how he first discovered Dick’s work when he was no pop culture icon but a pulp cult underground writer.

VALIS is loaded with half-fiction, half-truth narratives told by a multitude of personas. Philip K. Dick. Phil Dick. Horselover Fat. As Erik Davis will tell us, there is a method to this madness, PKD was always more than one author, and Dick may have ended up writing himself (2).

Just watch your step through the hallucinatory fiction this side of Chapel Perilous.

J: While doing some research myself, I noticed in this article you mention studying Philip K.Read the rest

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Colin Wilson, Dead at 82 (CONFIRMED)

colin_oldWith great sadness, Colin Wilson has passed at the age of 82:

It is with sadness and regret that I have to report that Colin Wilson passed away at 10.45pm on Thursday, December 5, peacefully, in hospital in Cornwall, his home county. His wife Joy and daughter Sally were with him. He was 82. After a serious spinal operation in 2011, Colin suffered a stroke, the effects of which he was unable to overcome, and in October this year he was admitted to hospital suffering from pneumonia. He made progress towards recovery and it was hoped he would be able to return home, but this proved not to be possible.
The Colin Wilson World website remains as a tribute to one of the greatest cultural and literary figures of the 20th century.

Geoff Ward

via Colin Wilson World

Like many readers here, I was deeply inspired by Wilson’s unbridled optimism in the power of Faculty X.… Read the rest

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Reality Sandwich 2.0!

2_0Reality Sandwich, a magazine curating content for transformational culture, is expected to launch a fully redesigned site early this week.

Curious about what to expect?

For starters, more community participation: upvotes, downvotes, videos, news streams and more.

Here’s an interview that co-founder and editor-in-chief, Ken Jordan, did with Zoe Helene at Huffington Post:

 

What are some of the major changes on the new site?

We’re continuing to do all the things we currently do on Reality Sandwich — the long articles, the essays, the different features. I like that most people think of Reality Sandwich as a place to go for a full range of long, in-depth articles about transformational culture, so that will stay the same.

We’re adding a way to post a lot of short, newsy little posts from our editors and the community that creates a continual stream about what’s happening in the scene. We’ll still have our writers, but we want to add a special community area where anybody can post and the community can vote up or down when they find something they think is interesting.

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Haunting Voices of the Past: Ancient Greek Music Reconstructed

Delphi: ApollEver wonder what Greek music sounded like circa 450 BC? Well, a bunch of smart people came together and figured out vocal notation on Greek pottery. Voila. The ghosts of the ancient world sing again.

via Open Culture via BBC:

[Ancient Greek] instruments are known from descriptions, paintings and archaeological remains, which allow us to establish the timbres and range of pitches they produced.

And now, new revelations about ancient Greek music have emerged from a few dozen ancient documents inscribed with a vocal notation devised around 450 BC, consisting of alphabetic letters and signs placed above the vowels of the Greek words.

The Greeks had worked out the mathematical ratios of musical intervals – an octave is 2:1, a fifth 3:2, a fourth 4:3, and so on.

The notation gives an accurate indication of relative pitch.

David Cleese, a classicist from the University of Newcastle, brings this notation to life through this recording. Listen here: What Ancient Greek Music Sounded Like

If you like this sort of thing, be sure to check out Hear the Epic of Gilgamesh Read in the Original Akkadian, where the sounds of ancient Mesopotamia reach out from the past, and speak to us again.… Read the rest

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KALI-YUGA: An Interview with Graphic Novelist Benton Rooks

I digitally “sat down” on my flight from LA to interview Benton Rooks, an old friend and author of the exciting new indie graphic novel, KALI-YUGA:
kaliyuga01

“KALI-YUGA is an epic dark fantasy/sci-fi graphic novel trilogy concerning the fate of the heroic, time traveling wizard named Abaraiis, who is born as a 500 year old man.”

As the name suggests, Benton’s artistic directions implicitly explore esoteric and mythological dimensions of our time. I wanted to hear more about how these ideas played into the creation of KALI-YUGA.

Here is our conversation.

Note! My readers should also see Benton’s Kickstarter campaign for KALI-YUGA. If the spirit so moves you, consider donating a little something to support this fantastic indie art project:

KALI-YUGA: Issue 1

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JJ: How do you situate yourself, as an artist, in a hyper-mediated, rampantly technologized time? From the looks of it, KALI-YUGA explores both mythology and some epic-sized science fiction.Read the rest

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“Art is a Religion”: an Aesthetic-Esoteric Manifesto by Joseph Péladan

Sasha Chaitow, founding director of the Phoenix Rising Academy, and PhD candidate at the Centre for the Study of Myth at Essex College in the UK, has recently shared a fine selection of translated writings from the 19th century French Symbolist, artist and novelist Joseph Péladan. Aside from the beautiful translation, it reads like a hymn to creativity; and for you magickal artists out there, I think it might strike a resonant chord with the arguably hidden meaning and occult purpose behind creative our endeavors.

Here’s an excerpt from her translation:

EXHORTATION

Artist, you are a priest: Art is the great mystery and, if your effort results in a masterpiece, a ray of divinity will descend as on an altar. Artist, you are a king: Art is the true empire, if your hand draws a perfect line, the cherubim themselves will descend to revel in their reflection. Spiritual design, a line of the soul, form of understanding, you make our dreams flesh.

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