In the Air
Oh if there's an original thought out there, I could use it right now - Bob Dylan
One thing this blog has taught me is the fallacy of original thought. Or I suppose, to sharpen the point and turn it on myself, I mean the fallacy that my own thought might be original. A comment to Friday's post, for instance:
In one of Colin Wilson's works...he speaks of certain cases of people with brains that are largely fluid, covered over with a thin layer of cortex. While most people with this condition are severely retarded, there are known instances of such people showing normal or above normal intelligence. Wilson goes on to speculate on the idea of the brain not as an organ of thought, but as some sort of receiver for thought that arises outside of the body. The idea's an odd one, yet in many ways attractive for the number of loose ends it ties up.
I haven't read that from Wilson but I'm familiar with the study he cites, and it's been helping to inform for me a concept of the brain as a receiver of non-localized consciousness. It seems conducive to a holographic model, and it could contribute to an understanding of a number of psychic and even religious phenomena such as mind reading, possession and reincarnation. (For example, perhaps rather than evidence for rebirth, a child's memories of a past life are the result of ego confusion brought about by signal error. Or, to use the radio jargon that's appropriately spooky for this metaphor, when a "strong signal [is] in the proximity on the low bands, it will cause crossmodulation and create a 'ghost' signal.")
I still think it's still a good idea, though I no longer think it's my own. And a good thing, too. Because perhaps the actual fallacy here is not original thought, but independent thought.
I was just thinking that. Maybe we don't need to put our heads together. Maybe instead, we need to imagine our skulls as durable cabinets protecting the circuitry that receives the signals pulsing all around us.
When ideas come of age they're simply in the air. Inventors and great minds, suddenly and seemingly independent of each other, appear to tap into the same ineffable thoughtstream. Great artists are often recognized by the clarity of their manifestations of universality. In Martin Scorsese's No Direction Home, singer Liam Clancy says about Bob Dylan that "it wasn’t necessary for him to be a definitive person – he was a receiver – he was possessed," while producer Bob Johnson says Dylan's work isn't to Dylan's fault or credit: "He’s got the holy spirit about him – you can look at him and see that."
If we're potentially co-authors and participants in ideas that are "out there," then perhaps we can also intuit and anticipate the bad ideas that come of age to work mischief. Because it doesn't always take a secret lodge or a Grove cabin for dark elements to conspire together; it only requires a compatability of unspoken means and motive, up and down the chain of unaccountability. Once the pieces are in place, the commands needn't be explicit and top-heavy and the conspiracy needn't even be self-conscious. For instance, I don't think for a moment that Tony Blair "gave the order" for the murder of David Kelly, though I can well imagine that, on hearing the news, Blair immediately recognized the hand of statecraft and perhaps even his own numb complicity.
Maybe this is what accounts for the 9/11 synchronicities of The Lone Gunman pilot. Rather than Chris Carter being tipped off, perhaps he tapped in.
Many of us have been intuiting spoilers to the story arc of the Iraq War for years: The death squads and black ops creating untenable chaos, sectarian strife and intentional failure to the bogus "mission" of democracy, with the objective of generating the "regretable inevitability" of partition. "Civil War" was talked up, because the End Game for Iraq was always division into impotent colonial Bantusans. We just knew it.
It seems like the End Game has arrived, because suddenly partition, which "just months ago was largely dismissed as a fringe thought," is now being described by the usual suspects in the Pravdas of this empire as being the "surest - and perhaps now the only - way to bring stability to Iraq." And just as The Washington Post chimes in, Joe Biden shows up in The New York Times with an editorial contending that Iraq should be split into three separate ethnographic regions.
If we lack independent thought, then so do they. And if we can see it coming, then maybe we can do something about it before it arrives.