Abyssum Todo en Tinieblas

Todo en Tinieblas es el demo de 2015 de Abyssum que nos trae el refinamiento final de una obra cuyas ideas y partes fundamentales habían sido ya construidas para mediados de los años noventa; le vemos entre las piezas en vivo publicadas en el año 2008 bajo el título The Prophecy Is My Name, I’ll Be Here Eternally, en donde la pieza que figura este demo lleva el nombre ‘I am He’; de la transformación de “Yo soy Él” a “Todo en Tinieblas”, mucho se puede meditar y estudiar1. La nueva versión de esta pieza se ve envuelta por arreglos de sintetizadores que le suman mucho y le traen más cerca de la cobijante aura cósmica que caracteriza a Abyssum.

No solamente tiene una introducción de tres minutos en una pista separada, lo cual nos permite prepararnos mejor, pero también un outro de otros tres minutos que crece y extiende la nota y sensación en la que queda la música una vez callan guitarras y batería. La estructura del cuerpo principal de la pieza ha cambiado asimismo, con variaciones hechas a partes que anteriormente eran idénticas entre ellas, además de elaboraciones en los teclados antes inexistentes, y una considerable introducción de conexiones y sutilezas en la percusión donde antes figuraban más que todo patrones uniformes rudimentarios del underground metal en contexto black metal.

La nueva producción es bienvenida, así como la claridad de los instrumentos, pues Abyssum mantiene en mente la necesidad de que se preserve un aura de obscuridad y agresión que un sonido demasiado sintético suavizaría, restándole de manera irreparable al todo; confiamos en que ésta sea una muestra de algo todavía mejor para un próximo álbum completo de Abyssum para el cual algunos habrán esperado casi una década.

Lo cual nos trae a la mención de ciertos puntos importantes respecto a la forma en que Abyssum opera, con la visión sobre la Eternidad, con una visión como Arte de Inmortalidad; este es un arte viviente, las piezas nunca se petrifican, y cada uno de las grabaciones es una de sus develamientos o manifestaciones a lo largo de una evolución perpetua. Si bien se han hecho álbumes como Thy CallPoizon of god, las piezas dentro de ellas han seguido tomando formas varias y únicas a lo largo de los años, siendo su maestro un experimentador de las fuerzas ocultas que dentro de ellas se mueven y las animan.

Abyssum nos da un ejemplo de música creada por un ser para él mismo, de primera mano, pero también con una visión de ella como algo que puede seguir mejorando de manera que se afine y aplique de manera más detallada y natural al cosmos mismo, o a nuestra percepción de éste, como intermediarios que somos entre lo natural y lo que conscientemente creamos con propósitos humanos. Todo lo que pudo haber sido la música clásica en su expresión más trascendental, y lo que pudo haber sido el black metal en un refinamiento holístico más enfocado, es adonde apunta la trayectoria del magistral Abyssum; si bien una sola vida puede alcanzar la inmortalidad para sí misma, el trabajo de Arte Inmortal está en manos de quienes lo puedan tomar y seguir a través de una cadena de vidas que la puedan llevar más allá a medida se descubren y desarrollan a ellas mismas.


1 “(…)el símbolo de Hamsa (ya sea Yo, Él, Oca o Cisne), es un símbolo importante que representa, entre otras cosas, la Sabiduría Divina, la Sabiduría en las Tinieblas fuera del alcance de los hombres.”, H.P.B. en su explicación del octavo verso de la tercera de las Estancias de Dzyan; énfasis agregado. El autor del artículo se ha topado con esta referencia sin haberla buscado en referencia a los presentes títulos, mientras leía casualmente una copia de La Doctrina Secreta.

Menschenfeind The Ripening Pomegrenate of Revenge

Intentar darle un valor a Menschenfeind basado en sus elecciones estilísticas y su definición dentro de ellas no es solamente una pérdida de tiempo que nos hace perder de vista el punto que realmente quiere dar a conocer a unos pocos el individuo detrás de él, sino también nos estorba al apreciar la experiencia que promete al dejarle entrar a su paso en lugar de pedirle que nos dé lo que queremos. La música de Akherra se caracteriza, en general, por ser así, cortante en su penetración, tajante en sus gestos de alguna manera egoístas. No solamente tiene que el oyente caminar hacia la música, sino también tiene que sentarse cerca de ella y esperar que ésta decida voltear su rostro y decida que tal vez merecemos una sonrisa; este momento por lo general llega después de que ambas acciones han sido ejecutadas: acercamiento activo y paciencia pasiva.

El mensaje que se revela en las letras de este demo encaja con esta actitud musical, pues parece llevar como uno de sus objetivos, al menos, el revivir mediante un arte personal el espíritu del black metal en su entendimiento y propósito peligroso. Primeramente se debe aclarar que no nos referimos aquí al tipo de peligro o protesta que buscaría un punk, mas uno con un trasfondo metafísico, que no por ello deja de tener un elemento de riesgo real y muy físico; lo que cambia es el entendimiento, la profundidad de las razones, la extensión de la visión y más quizás. Es además preciso señalar que en este revivir no existe implicación de nostalgia o de una expresión retro, pues la forma particular es lo de menos y lo que codifique y logre transmitir a las personas correctas (e aquí el elitismo verdadero) lo que realmente importa.

La música de este segundo demo podría verse como el precursor a lo que luego se extendería suntuosamente en el Graznar a Estigia publicado en 2010 bajo el nombre de The Brinepit of Eternity. La música de la primera pista tiene algo de un gancho, pero no se abusa de esto como en la música popular adoptada por el resto del black metal, y se le difumina en el trasfondo más grande e importante de un black metal que cabalga el riff, y depende de el para hacer cosas más grandiosas mas no se centra en el como si fuese en sí el punto de todo. La segunda pieza, The Killing Moon, se toma más el tiempo y procede de una manera más claramente episódica, con transiciones sutiles, pero manteniéndose orgullosamente dentro de la tradición black metal y no con pretensiones innecesarias de ninguna clase.

El triunfo de este black metal se encuentra más claramente en que la forma en que se esconde no es una forma de esconder una falta de contenido o potencia, sino, entre otras cosas, un gesto consciente de preservar privacidad; el escucharlo apropiadamente revela música con rico contenido y estructuras utilizadas de manera muy eficiente en cuanto a que se expresan detalladamente con lo mínimo que encuentran. Lo que vemos en esta evolución es la suntuosidad velada y privada que Akherra lleva luego a peldaños aún más altos; esperemos que esta evolución pueda todavía continuar.

C.R.U.E.L. Cantus

C.R.U.E.L. nos muestra una percepción de la realidad más demente que cósmica, abrazando fuerzas del subconsciente en lo que parece una acción de suscitar y evocar fuerzas subconscientes —esa parte de nosotros sujeta a demonios a los cuales el humano común sirve de inconsciente esclavo y perpetuo alimento. En Cantus especialmente, y mas aún que en las obras anteriores, se sienten enfocar los instrumentos a el mantenimiento de una tensión particular, con cadencias enfáticas de fuerte inclinación percusiva, dándole así un tono más fácilmente asimilable desde Abajo. Lo que vemos como el cuerpo principal de la presente obra es, tal vez, menos de dos tercios del total, y el resto consiste en sutiles sonidos, susurros y breves teclados espasmódicos de los cuales surge el metal como forma concreta.

La búsqueda y descubrimiento de este proyecto todavía se estaba concretando para cuando se dejo venir el presente demo, el cual muestra un C.R.U.E.L. de una voz  propia más clara que antes, si bien no del todo destacada todavía; para ver a un C.R.U.E.L. del todo desarrollado tendremos que esperar posiblemente para el siguiente álbum entero, el cual seguramente reunirá las lecciones aprendidas durante la última década y finalmente refinadas hasta el preludio suave y restringido que es Cantus.

Como mucha de la música por individuos de esta talla, el oyente ha de aproximarse a la recepción del arte con detenimiento y respeto, por directo y sencillo que parezca de primera mano el material; en el caso de la presente obra, ese lugar es uno que sea adecuado para rituales herméticos y obscuros, lugares que faciliten la introspección, y que permita por medio de un enfrentamiento y encarnación de pasiones suprimidas una unión en máxima expresión con ellas. Para esto podría ser utilizada esta música, para quien tenga la valentía de mirar directamente y hacia adentro como corresponde; cada quien lo hace a su propio riesgo, y el humano corriente, por supersticioso o con ínfulas de superioridad moderna, puede ser excusado, y reírse y pasar de largo le sienta mejor.

En Cantus, además, se nos otorga una banda de sonido que, percibida y seguida como si fuese la pauta de un ritual, promete abrir cuartos abandonados y pasadizos olvidados a los lados mas recónditos de nuestra mente y la inmediata realidad velada. El canto, en su uso tradicional y religioso, tiene como objeto primeramente alterar el estado interno del practicante; yendo más allá, sin embargo, y en una vena quizás un poco más esotérica, también la de alterar la composición de los alrededores por medio de este cambio en el practicante en calidad de portal entre lo visible y lo invisible, lo evidente y lo oculto.

Monarch Exile

This is an underground, self-released EP/demo that outwardly evokes traits of Infester and the likes of Cianide, thus utilizing a cross between doom metal, death metal and progressive rock. The latter is the greater influence in the structural approach of the album, but the spirit is permeated by the esotericism and medieval-macabre surrealism of classic death metal. The release’s aura resembles these medieval dark mystic paintings in that it would appear as if the music attempts to trespass beyond the rationalizing agency and into the darkness of the unconscious. That said, there is no proper abandonment of the a logic of structure or coherence of expression.

Such a feeling of alienation transports the listener into an opaque world of grim fantasy that seems always submerged in a dream-like brume. It is recordings such as this one which represent a true underground spirit, not in that it is not associated with a label (for that is meaningless nowadays), but in that its free, wild and personal recordings seem to speak from and to the author himself. The work, in other words, is cryptic and hermetic in the full sense of the word —hermetic in that the meanings and the symbols perused here are shown in an outward, opaque presentation to the listener but are disclosed to the author alone.

Monarch’s Exile, however, only presents a brief picture that does not seem to finish unfolding itself and disappears out of sight when one barely steps into it. Half of the content seems introductory or would give one the impression of being a preparation to the actual material. The last two tracks, furthermore, seem slightly out of touch with the main piece of the work, and they seem to constitute more of an afterthought than a meaningful addition to the present work.

We can only hope that the artists behind Monarch will move forth and present a development of these ideas so reminiscent of the mystic expression that Hieronymus Bosch transmitted through painting. There is great potential in the seed ideas that are only barely articulated in Exile, and where one sees limitation and incompleteness, one may also sense dormant forces awaiting the kiss of life.

Problems With Perennial Philosophy

muhammedhid


I. Admitting biases


Before starting this brief recount of reasons for rejecting some of the aspects of Perennial Philosophy (later ‘Primordial Tradition’), it would only be fair to admit to some of the own biases that affect this judgement. In so doing it will also be useful to point out how this background, and a particular take on them, results in a discrepancy with what I understand to be Perennial Philosophy and what seems apparent from a direct experience and pondering on the general subjects (rather than specific expertise in the contents of The Book of the Dead, for instance).

First of all, my first serious introduction to esoteric studies was through Blavatsky’s The Secret Doctrine, which I grew to respect a lot without necessarily believing everything it asserted —something the author of the work herself constantly stresses is relevant here: she admits to the fallibility of her writings and constantly reminds the reader she is interpreting and re-transmitting what she thought was an ancient set of teachings. This attitude and approach were more valuable to me in this area of intellectual inquiry than any claims to complete validity (which are only marginally supportable in the social sciences —including History).

Secondly, I received a rather brief but effective introduction to the premises of Perennial Philosophy by a scholarly friend who had spent some time studying them and adhered to them. Our conversation was especially effective because we quickly came to the points of contrast between what I had taken (and personally interpreted) from Blavatsky and the views of Perennial Philosophy behind which my friend stood in a more reasonable and conservative stance than my own burgeoning and militant attitude regarding what is and what can be.

Lastly, my foremost reference regarding the idea of a Tradition from the Golden Age and beyond comes from Julius Evola’s Revolt Against the Modern World. Evola is sometimes mentioned by those who adhere to Perennial Philosophy, but he was not himself an adherent in the same way that Alduous Huxley, for instance, was. The degree of compatibility extends to where all agree that there are teachings and practices from so-called pre-historical times that seek to connect human beings with the greater aspects (whether higher or lower) latent in themselves, and through them towards a greater occult reality. Evola himself, it must be said, was strictly discriminatory between what he found as ‘better’ and ‘worse’ approaches to transcendence; and his specific opinions on those matters I respectfully ponder on and pay attention to although I do not necessarily share.

Most recently, my on-going reading of Gwendolyn Taunton’s Primordial Traditions, Vol I. has brought me back to the subject. Taunton made it possible for me to very clearly see what things my own thought shares with Perennial Philosophy and where the great basic points of divergence are. More of a collection of essays in and around the Primordial Tradition (another, more organic, name for Perennial Philosophy), Primordial Traditions, Vol I. presents the reader with a good introduction to the modern form of a Tradition of and for transcendence.

In general, the greatest value of Perennial Philosophy is as a gateway for scholars into a greater reality, which enables us to also peruse their abilities as researchers, thus excavating and re-discovering much knowledge and teachings in a spreading area of subjects. While a subject remains stuck in the ideas of Perennial Philosophy, he will be tied down by civilized, and thus temporal, thought.


II. Blinded by inclusiveness 


The first thing one notices about Perennial Philosophy is that emphasizes the inclusion of all religious ideas, wishing to see beyond the gaping differences between them. The method followed is not difficult to see: cherry-pick the similarities, especially those that align with tolerance and love (because they are nice and marketable), interpret some aspects to match their vision, and simply dismiss discrepancies and the more violent aspects as temporal cultural distortions of the ‘truth’. Now, besides the obvious difference of opinion, I have no problem with the method itself so long as they acknowledge that theirs is a particular interpretation of traditions as per their own premises and even prejudices; but they do not and as good modern scholars, hide behind the facade of academic pretense to attain the closest thing one can get in the ‘modern age of science’ to a kind of supernatural authority.

Whatever Blavatsky did with Theosophy, I never cared much for; I rather followed the wise advice of an older person in holding on to my own ideas while openly exploring and considering new ones insofar as I could learn from them unbound. At the end of the day, the greatest ‘sins’ to modern eyes of both Blavatsky and Evola, are that they outright rejected Judaism as degenerate, though each in their very own and detailed way. When doing so, they both presented specific reasons that were logical and sound, but most would not accept them simply because today’s status quo demands inclusiveness and brainwashes the population into an emotional need for it.

In hindsight, I find Blavatsky’s approach in The Secret Doctrine to be of a more healthily skeptical and having a scientific mentality than the little I’ve read and heard from Perennial Philosophy. This statement may leave some flabbergasted because Perennial Philosophy is the academically accepted account, which to some of us implies something very different than to others; to the majority, the endorsing by at least a certain percentage of academia means there is a degree of ‘objective truth’ in whatever is being endorsed; to others of us, it only signifies that the ideas do not present a direct or drastic threat to the modes of thinking typical of academia grounded in intellectual discourse and tolerance. In other words, academic endorsement in the social sciences is more of a political and emotional marker than anything else.

The most important point of divergence for my own thinking lies in that while Perennial Philosophy asserts that the differences between religions represent the re-discovery of exact same eternal truths through the lenses of individuals in different historical and cultural contexts that distort those teachings, Blavatsky rather posited the idea of a “Secret Doctrine”, which stood since time immemorial and the knowledge of which sipped through the cracks of not-so-hermetic circles of keepers and adherents to take on interpretations and forms that were closer to the truth in different degrees. Basically, where Perennial Philosophy offers a picture of all religions singing Cumbaya in a circle of irrelevant and superficial differences (a similar dismissal of racial differences is advocated by Politically Correct scientists) that ultimately has no bearing upon the ‘inalienable truth that all of them connect to’, Blavatsky talks about religions that got it certain things right and other things wrong, religions that were simply degenerated beyond recognition, and those that maintained a semblance of the original teaching.

One acquainted with Evola’s Revolt Against the Modern World might notice the similarity in at least this admission of religions differing in terms of relations to the truth rather than simply being equally valid yet distinctly reflecting versions and interpretations of it. Where the one emphasizes reality and human fallibility, the other swims in a mystic pool of happy feelings that wishes to grant equal footing to the ‘subjective opinion’ of all religions.

In holding on to a kind of democratic/humanist ideal in mind, the Perennial Philosophers argue for this dream of human-wide brotherhood, even if they do not themselves like democracy or humanism in themselves; the reason for this is that the disease behind them is the same: the unwillingness to see that there is better and worse, even though this leads to the danger of mass prejudices. Modern intellectual types, especially those involved in academia and recognized by society as authorities have a hard time discriminating against certain kinds of characteristics; in today’s world, you can discriminate against political ideas and such, but you should not make differences of race or belief a central subject in anything. Truth and reality in all this is utterly unimportant; thus we distinguish…


III. Not far enough in either direction


Typical of any idea on spirituality that is well-received among circles of academics and well-to-dos, the present ‘Perennial Philosophy’ / ‘Primordial Tradition’ is theoretically one of commitment but mainly one of moderation where the typical social norms of the time are left relatively respected; never mind the more extremist solutions placed forth by those who would act in the plane of the relevant; never mind even those crazy and (oh, the Horror!) of those  shady and less than acceptable connections of Evola.

The desire of Perennial Philosophers to be accepted leads them to put logic aside in place of rationalizations (these two are not the same, for those not paying enough attention). They talk about faith and the necessity of pragmatic asceticism, both of which I would agree in a way, it is not so in the extremist or wholly committed way that would break rightfully and inevitably break this society apart and bring the opportunity of reconstruction. What is more, because Perennial Philosophy is primarily academic and over-intellectual  it is at the same time in a constant fear of not being deemed reasonable enough.

At the end of the day, it is not logical and skeptical enough as to uphold reason completely, nor is it fanatic enough to attain the occult power of the true ascetic. It defends this mediocre stance by stating that art and religion escape logic and reason, and that it thus can only be apprehended but never understood. With this, I might generally agree, but again, they do not go far enough; they do not go far enough to understand that all such divergences in perceptions are the illusion, and that even if they acknowledge it in words they are not actively realizing that all reality is one.

If art and religion have a connection to human reality and emotion, there is also a logical (because structured) explanation to it that does not demean or decrease its power and truth. In reality, everything with an order should be explainable logically; that we cannot explain the next level only points out a present limitation in our capacity and understanding.

 

Arthame Fiendish Symphonies

arthame-flyer-aDark ambient of the type that can fall into categories such as dungeon synth or the more cosmic variety type of spacing out is an interesting companion of black metal that retains the whole atmosphere minus the transcendental aggression of the former. The way texture tends to vary throughout rather constant expanses and the attachment to long and simple but expressive melodies is itself a refinement of the musical spirit of black metal. Arthame’s Fiendish Symphonies, in particular, is a clear attempt to fuse the two together in an obvious acknowledgement of this kinship.

The writing methodology for each song is exactly the same, producing something akin to constant-texture riffs that are entirely adequate for synthesizer. The sounds selected for the synthesizer are not changed and they are kept minimal so as to further enhance the sense of a certain approach. These effects are changed a bit in different tracks depending on the wanted effect, but they always remain in the vicinity so that the artistic voice in the writing is further enhanced and supported by a particular instrumental timber. As an additional touch, there are brief inclusions of rasped vocals in the background of this pensive music.

Given these observations, it is only fair to look at Fiendish Symphonies as distilled black metal; we can hear the sombre and impersonal mood that alludes to night-sky contemplation along with a self-realization away from the mediocrity of the crowd; there is loneliness in this music, and yet, a soft whispering of a serpent perhaps, or of the Earth itself, or is it the Moon itself drawing us towards it? Is it the memory of blood and soil that links us to this planet in different ways? Is it a call to the stars? I am inclined to believe it is all of these, and a shadow-call for us to reconnect with what saw us become human, and what gave rise to our dark beauty that cannot be contained in deterministic models.

Arthame communicates this vision and leaves us wondering of a possible brethren amongst the stars, although we cannot tell if such a cosmic desolation is a premonition of the future of humanity in projections based on an ancestral memory of our more primitive past here on Earth. As a fulfillment of the black metal ideal, Arthame conjoins all of these together beyond rationality, and in individual discernment beyond opposites in a holistic apprehension of reality that is at once intuitive and logical.

Gorgoroth Live in Hilversum ’96

gorgorothlivehilversum96The present is a live presentation by Gorgoroth poorly recorded in 1996 in Hilversum. The six songs contained here are selected from Pentagram and Antichrist, arguably the two best releases by this band, whom soon after lost their touch for obscurity and moved on to raw crudeness without sensitivity and then towards completely sterile technical performance. This is a snapshot of a golden era, of the music even if not the people, in which black metal was magickal, engulfing and sincere in a bare-bones manner.

Many will find the quality of the recording so poor that they will wish to pass on it; many would argue if there is any good reason to listen to such an unclear and distorted recording if one can simply listen to the first two albums, whose production is already raw enough but with a nice, clear sound to go with it. One could simply answer saying that they are two different experiences to appreciate different aspects or to contemplate them from different vantage points.

The decay and death in the sound is so pervasive and overbearing that the recordings are indeed blurred, indeed going beyond conceptions of delightful nekro sound. A good reason, however, to listen to a recording such as this is that it forces the listener to actually listen with all his intent and attention; it is as if the listener had to earn the privilege of the the music. Furthermore, the conditions make it so that the live recording must be listened to in a quiet environment, and it needs concentrated attention.

What ends up happening is that only the overarching gestures, broadest textural changes and structural progressions are reflected in this recording, while the details are certainly obfuscated to a degree that they are rendered out of the question for study. He who would properly peruse and thus appreciate this record it to a full and ecstatic experience need tune in to the motions of the music as if to the rhythms of an ocean’s tide under the ravenous moon.

Barry Cooper Beethoven

barry-cooper-beethovenBarry Cooper proposes in this medium-sized biography to give us a picture of Beethoven through a study of his music as the central theme of the composer’s life. In part, this is an endeavour to correct the many vituperous and fanciful biographies and commentary that became fashion after the middle of the 20th century to denigrate any historical European figure that might pose as a kind of hero; such dirty tactics often employed cryptic Freudian readings and other such magical means of divining colorful thoughts shaped more according to the writers of such nonsense than to what we could, in fact, confirm or see clearly in the object of their decadent trains of thought.

What Cooper shows us is he portrait of a genius of a composer along with all the quirks and vulnerabilities that Beethoven suffered from. We are shown his idealistic ramblings and acts, from a well-meaning but also quite believable point of view. For the music enthusiast, the passion that Cooper transmits along with the copious yet not overbearing amount of technical details and descriptions is more than a delight, it is the concretion of the figure of the composer who gives his life for higher art; and in so doing, someone like Beethoven crafted works that are either immortal, or at least the future benchmark for Western classical music.

An impartial reader might also, however, be drawn to notice the negative effects of such an imbalanced asceticism, which suffered from such neglect on part of Beethoven towards so great portions of his life and being that one might contend whether he was actually a genius or simply an obsessive nerd whose whole ego rested on his musical accomplishment. At least ‘equally great’ composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach (which I am inclined to consider superior as a whole) certainly did not destroy or neglect their lives as a kind of payment; rather, greater artists seem to live a life of nurture and an impulse away from their natural indulgence and sensitivity towards maturity to some extent (see Sibelius, for instance).

Among the things that Groome does not hide from us, is the great emotional immaturity that Beethoven always displayed, and that he at least recognized as a part of himself, thought he may perhaps not have called it immaturity or indeed a completely negative trait. The music of Beethoven is the technical peak of Western European classical tradition in music, and it achieves such a feat by a brutal dedication by the composer who virtually gave his life for such an immortality of name. His dreams aligned with a kind of Masonic worship of the quasi-gnostic Godhead, and an ignorant artist’s dreams of human equality and what not (which superficiality can be observed in his changed dedication of his 3rd Symphony). A great work he left, but a poor example of a life well-lived.

David Groome An Introduction to Cognitive Psychology

groome-psychology

Psychology as a scientific endeavor is not a particular interest of mine, but rather I see it as a necessary means to several ends, one of which is simply the understanding of the relationship between human beings and reality. What is interesting and revealing is how some theories of mind have come to be supported by observed fact, even though this does not necessarily ‘prove’ them in the scientific sense of the word (scientific theories are never proven, they’re only continually not disproven, as Karl Popper would say).

Mandler’s organisation theory suggests that memory is structured into a semantic network of related items, and accessing each item activates the whole network.

—p. 170, in Chapter 6: ‘Long-term memory’. Reference: Mandler, G. (2011). From association to organisation. Psychological Science, 20, 232-235.

What is fascinating about cognitive psychology, as presented by Groome, is that it attempts to bring all methods under the most scientific, and thus impartial and objective, approach that will look for physical/biological parallels and observable events of complex but distinguishable aspects of the mind.

Evem very early in the visual system there appear to be (at least) two basic distinct streams of information flowing back from the retina (Shapley, 1995). These streams are referred to as the parvocellular and magnocellular (…) These pathways carry information back to the primary visual cortex. (…) [Then] the visual infrmation is maintained in (at least) two distinct streams. One stream is termed the ventral stream and leads to inferotemporal cortex and the other, leading to parietal cortex, is known as the dorsal stream.

—p. 46, in ‘The Difference Between Sensation and Perception’. Reference: Shapley, R. (1995). Parallel neural pathways and visual function. In M.S. Gazzaniga (ed.), The Cognitive Neurosciences (pp. 315-324). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

It should be by now evident, to those with a certain independence of mind, self-honesty and a realist logic, that most people live their lives in illusion; this statement can be extended and made specific by saying that a greater part of people’s perceptions and memories are at least distorted, if not outright fabrications. This has to do with the capacity for reception and then the host of factors that affect the storage and subsequent retrievals of memory.

Bartlett concluded that subjects tended to rationalise the story to make it fit in with their own expectations, based on their own experience and understanding of the world [schema].

—P. 161, in Chapter 6: ‘Long-term memory’, reference: Bartlett, F.C. (1992), Remembering, Cambridge Press University.

The beauty of a scientific endeavor such as the practical study of cognitive psychology is that it can show us this is demonstrable in terms of the complex systems of sensation and perception, and the manner in which they are constantly liable to frequent and irredeemable distortion. What was most interesting to me as I read the early chapters, was how much, to my mind and limited understanding of what little I was able to grasp of Critique of Pure Reason, the modern theory of psychology in its most refined and scientific carrying out corroborated more than a few of Kant’s philosophical derivations about the mind and its limits.

Sensation will be considered to be the ‘raw’ bottom-up input from the senses, and perception will be considered to be the end result of the processing of that sensory material within the visual system.

—p.36, in ‘The Difference Between Sensation and Perception’


§ History and Human Fallibility


For better or for worse, in today’s world it is history, and certain narratives of it, which shape our conception of reality, with some degree also relying on a politicized interpretation of scientific research. Hence, it makes sense to concentrate on the perception of the world as a whole from the case of the recording of what we know as history and its subsequent retelling, supposed confirmation and utterly-unscientific moral/cultural judgement.

There is a very good reason why eye-witness accounts are the lowest and most distrusted form of evidence in a modern court of law worth its salt: not only can eye-witnesses be convinced to say anything, either by others or by themselves, but human impression and memory itself is known to be so fallible and prone to distortion that very little stock can be placed on it, in general.

Di Lollo et al. (2000) demonstrated that changing one stimulus rapidly for another disrupted processing of the first stimulus, a process referred to as masking.

—p. 43, in ‘The Difference Between Sensation and Perception’. Reference: Di Lollo, V., Enns, J.T. and Rensink, R.A. (2000). Competition for consciousness among visual events: The psychophysics of reentrant visual processes. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 129 (4), 481-507.

Most of what we consider history, however, boils down to eyewitness accounts of people with preconceived ideas, or opinions and judgement arising later. Where we may find some physical evidence indicating a series of possibilities, historical narrative is, most of the time, based on the greatly distorted view of an interested party. The historian himself, moreover, usually spouses a certain narrative himself and is never a truly neutral and impartial agent.

Distortion of eyewitness testimony by previous schemas has also been investigated, (…), memory was likely to be distorted for any events they had witnessed which were inconsistent with their previous knowledge and schemas.

—p. 164, in Chapter 6:’Long-term memory’, reference: Tuckey, M.R. and Brewer, N. (2003). How schemas affect eyewitness memory over repeated retrieval attempts. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 17, 785-800.

One would think that historians have taken serious account of this already throughout the 20th century, but the truth of the matter is that, for all their so-called ‘corroboration tactics’, their conclusions and opinions always remain their sole judgement of situations that at best could be considered murky. This is how, even today, there is a great divide in opinions, among scholars, about the nature of the series of events that we know today as The Crusades. For the major events, even in recent history, such as the two World Wars for instance, very little besides specific events such as major battles or troop and logistic movements are actually verifiable, and only up to a certain degree. All else is affected by trauma, propaganda, prejudice or outright lies that are spread by rumor and become consensus and which consensus forms the basic material that historians study: their ‘truth’ amounts to whatever the documents of some people said they saw.

Context reinstatement is only effective when the participant is paying attention to their surroundings, and its effects may be masked by distraction or stress.

—p.176, in Chapter 6: ‘Long-term memory’. Reference: Thompson, L.A., Williams, K.L., L’Esperance, P.R. and Cornelius, J. (2001). Context-dependent memory under stressful conditions: the case of skydiving. Human Factors, 43, 611-619.

When asked to recall autobiographical events from earlier in their lives, people in a sad or depressed mood tend to recall a disproportionate number of sad and depressing events…

—p. 177, in Chapter 6: ‘Long-term memory’. Reference: Miranda, R. and Kihlstrom, J.F. (2005). Mood congruence in childhood and recent autobiographical memory. Cognition and Emotion, 19, 981-988.

It has been discovered that practising the retrieval of a memory trace not only strengthens that trace, it also apparently inhibits the retrieval of rival memory traces.

—p. 187, in Chapter 6: ‘Long-term memory’. Anderson, M.C., Bjork, R.A. and Bjork, E.L. (1994). Remembering can cause forgetting: Retrieval dynamics in long-term memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 20, 1063-1087.

…there is evidence that people are able to deliberately suppress a memory if instructed to do so, and this is assumed to involve effortful and conscious processing.

—p. 190,  in Chapter 6: ‘Long-term memory’. Barnier, A.J., Conway, M.A., Mayoh, L. and Speyer, J. (2007). Directed forgetting of recently recalled autobiographical memories. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 136, 301-322.

For all intents and purposes, the greater fallibility of the historian himself comes into play when he judges the sparse accounts; which are by no means actual evidence of anything except a consensus that may arise from a variety of situations, non of which actually means things actually happened as claimed. The more scientific approach is to, of course, only submit to the highest level of verification and the highest forensic standards. Some cross-verification works: two or more truly and completely independent sources stating the exact same details. But this last is very rare in history.

Many experts argue that most recovered memories are actually false memories. —p. 378

Highly emotional states, both negative and positive, impair deductive reasoning. —p.395


§ All in all


 Groome’s book is a gold mine for those wishing to understand why the field of History is such a fickle area of study that is only supported by the political inclinations of the status quo and society’s religious respect for academic figures. Studies in amnesia, significant memory distortion and how common it is, disorders of cognition, witness manipulation and more are included in the book if only as ways to discuss the introduction to the scientific studies.

There is more actual history to be learned from archeaologists with a bent for the chemical sciences than from so-called Historians, which we might better compare to paper-research-based story-tellers. So much rides on this fanciful story-telling that the status quo will always go out of its way to create ‘educational’ campaigns, propaganda and even laws to protect the myths that shape a certain directed ‘reality’.

False memory studies offer a possible explanation of the way that recovered memories, or at least some of them, could have been created by misinformation and possibly even by the therapeutic process itself.

—p.199,  in Chapter 6: ‘Long-term memory’.

  • Reference 1: Loftus, E.F., and Davis, D. (2006). Recovered Memories.. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 2, 469-498.
  • Reference 2: Geraerts, E. Schooker, B.J., Merckelbach, H., Jelicic, M., Hauer, B.J., and Ambadar, Z. (2007). The reality of recovered memories: corroborating continuous and discontinuous memories of childhood sexual abuse. Psychological Science, 18, 564-568.

[M]ost judges have little knowledge of research findings about eyewitness memory, and jurors know even less.

—p. 200,  in Chapter 6: ‘Long-term memory’. Reference: Benton, S. et al (2006). Eyewitness memory is still not common sense: Comparing jurors, judges and law enforcement to eyewitness experts. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 20, 115-129.

Marie Cachet Le Besoin d’Impossible


To begin with, we should make it clear that whatever is written here on the ideas proposed in Le Besoin d’Impossible by Marie Cachet are the sole interpretation in the understanding of this reader. French is not my strong suit, though it is manageable in writing, and though Cachet’s propositions are set forth in a very formal and logical manner, metaphysical treatises are not known for their accessibility. That said, I am glad to have been able to make it through with a dictionary in hand and a resonance with many of the ideas being put forth, especially towards the end.

It should be clear that this is but a casual, and rather short, commentary on and an emphatic recommendation of the book; the book is short but dense, and is designed to take the reader step by step in logical derivations. It is not precisely a ‘fun’ read, for it is straight up metaphysics, but it does make some bold and interesting points as part of the journey of reason it takes the reader on. If I have misunderstood, I hope the reader and Marie Cachet will forgive me; on my part, I also try to elaborate my own thoughts on this wonderful book.

It is also worth mentioning that upon finishing this book, it struck me that it is actually an excellent formal companion to Varg Vikernes’ Reflections on European Mythology and Polytheism, also published in 2016. Besides that, it seemed to me like the remarks of Cachet towards the end of her book pertaining artistic creation and the ‘temporalization’ of the Eternal in them were an excellent descriptor of the whole intent of Burzum‘s music.


§ The Need for Transcendence


   The main idea of Le Besoin d’Impossible is that humans not only have a predisposition towards the need of finding meaning in the things they do and their life as a whole, but are even hardwired to do so. That means that the moment they find themselves in a position where all transcendent ideas, such as religion, myth, and ideals in general, are taken away from them, they enter a cycle of despair. These ideas are understood beyond what moderns would refer to as ‘superstition’ or ‘mere beliefs’, and require the comprehension of a different mode of thought in a world where religion attains the character of the objective in the eyes of the individual.

The topic is rather well-suited for our modern world, in which a greater part of the population has fallen into this mode of thought; the lower way of life that cycles between the need to survive and the need to escape from the life of survival. Today, humankind believes it has been freed from what it sees as the chains of religion; in truth, it has only changed a kind of religion for another. When before it looked towards the gods and the priests, perhaps, now it looks towards the government and the science establishment. Whether people want to dispute the validity of such claims does not change the fact that people in general do treat these authorities as their new anchor for meaning and purpose.

 The book is divided into three parts in which it presents the claim, elaborates a metaphysical core of thought and thence presents a higher conclusion based the first two. Not deeming myself completely in command of the arguments, I will only briefly explain what each of the three chapters of the book were roughly about.

The first was an establishment of certain premises for the book, including the idea of despair as motivation in modern man to surrender to faith (concentrating on the Christian religion); how this also part of the entertainment humans look for to distract them from the desperation that arises from their own realization of how little they understand and have within themselves. The book necessarily starts from an accurate condemnation of Darwinist Evolution and Freudian Psychology as the companions of the Judeo-Christian faith as the main promoters of guilt and thence blind faith in modern man.


§ We live the Beauty of Eternity


The second chapter goes into a brief metaphysical exposition of the point of view that matter is all there is. That space may permeate matter but that there is no such thing as space without matter; furthermore, that time is the evolution (the change) of matter. This seems to be roughly put together with the Descartian idea of cogito ergo sum (something I was never convinced of, and now am sure is not valid —think hard enough on your own, or read Kant), to then, basically, put forth the idea that all there is for us to know is what is experienced. The latter I consider, perhaps, one of the weakest points in the book, if only because I digress with Descartes.

More interestingly, and arising from the trinity of existence in space, matter and time, is the idea of Eternity within each moment. Such a derivation needs but self-honesty and a logical, mentality stripped off sophistry and unnecessary convolutions that can see through to the bases and simple origins. The idea is that your recollection of the past is merely a present interpretation of reconstructions and hints of memory, the future that has not come to pass does not really exist, and so all that you really have is a continuous fluxion of states that we call the immediate present.

Since in that moment we are perceiving a finite bit of the total of existence, that is, we as finite beings are presencing the all that is, by our available means of perception, essentially infinite, we can say that Eternity, the Eternal, as a whole, is captured or peeked through in every waking moment. That is to say, the window is there, and we are living through it throughout or continued existence. The option to actually stop and witness it or to keep summoning the imagined past or the non-existent possible set of future situations is a decision. The door is there, says Marie Cachet, and it is the individual who chooses to open it as much as he will, or to close it completely.

Le point de vue seul doit changer pour transposer le sujet humain et fini dans l’Éternité, le présent. En effet, le corps, ou même la conscience humaine, est fini(e) et limité(e), mais l’Éternité est bien présente, partout, et l’unique présent. Nous pouvons comparer l’accès de l’homme à l’Éternité à une porte que le sujet peut ouvrir plus ou moins ou fermer totalment.


§ Knowledge of the maze we tread


 As a direct consequence of the derivation of the accessibility of the Eternal in the experience of every conscious human being, the idea of divinity is discussed. Divinity as an amoral (as in lacking the idea of good and evil) state of what is and what permeates reality, as opposed to what humans project onto it. Our relationship to this Eternal, and to the Divine, would appear to lie in the degrees in which we are aware of it and in how we think of it or make use of it.

Its amoral —neutral, as Cachet says— nature in itself is uncaring in the human moral sense; and any distinctions lie only in how close we humans get to perceiving it as it is. Cachet wanted us, from the beginning of the book, to move away from the modern concept of subjective and objective as if they were dichotomies that represent what is real and what is imaginary. And so this ‘subjectively’ perceived divinity is ‘objetive’ in that it is a thing in itself, though perhaps not in the sense that modernity uses the term to signify ‘scientific material confirmability’, and must be approached through inner changes of oneself.

In tandem and as an introduction the concept of will is presented; the will not as a creator, but as the instrument that enables us to redirect and channel forth the Eternal —the infinite— into finite forms that are reproducible in one way or another. Will is also presented as the attraction between spaced out particles of the eternal, which through this separation and polarity create every kind of motion and ultimately represent love at both a higher and more earthly levels.1

The crown of the book, and of these beautiful derivations, is found in the arrival at the traditional idea of the labyrinth of life lived with a transcendental awareness; that in presencing the Eternal, and so connecting with the Divine in ourselves and in everything else, we may rise in that Present and contemplate the maze that life is; in so doing we descry the center of the maze, and so attain our own secret purpose and meaning.

Such words may appear as mere words to those who will not plunge into the depths on their own and need to be guided; but such a feat, and such a world, can only be attained and traveled to through that contemplation and by that stopping of time into essentially what is. To do so is an individual effort, and one that requires simply that one directs one’s senses; it is a simplifying towards what is always there, and away from the complex illusions that abstractions and hubris have created.


Footnotes

It bears mentioning that this idea echoes ancient Indian cosmogony, and Greek philosophy; both of these also find more obscure and esoteric correspondences in the incredibly ancient lore of Hyperborean Europe. More than a few serious works have been written on this topic, but a certain one should be referenced that touches on the traces of Scandinavian lore which can be found in Vedic lore with remains in certain vestiges in ancient Persia. These three constitute the main trilogy of ancient Aryan foundation, as I understand. The interested reader should refer to The Arctic Home of the Vedas, by Bal Gangadhar Tilak.