Overweening Generalist

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Sirius A, B and Maybe Even C Has Influenced Pop Culture...

...and some of us hope it will continue to. They have their ways.

There was a very strange musician from Europe who claimed to be from Sirius. He influenced Miles Davis, Jefferson Airplane, Frank Zappa, Grateful Dead, Kraftwerk, and many others. The Beatles were influenced by him. Look at your copy of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band; he's on the cover, top row, fifth from the left, between Lenny Bruce and W.C. Fields. His name was Karlheinz Stockhausen. If you listen to his music (try THIS?), you may start to believe he really did emanate from the Dog Star system.

Clearly, the Airplane took what Sirius-born Stockhausen had to say in lectures at UC Davis...in some other way.


I just got through re-reading Carl Sagan's piece "White Dwarfs and Little Green Men," collected in his book Broca's Brain, and originally in August 1979 issue of Omni. Sagan was a marvelous popularizer of science and wrote with verve. I recommend the essay, because he tries to refute claims made by Robert K.G. Temple in his book The Sirius Mystery. The Dogon people of West Africa told anthropologists Griaule and Dieterlen scientifically factual things about Sirius that they could not possibly know, given their level of technology. Sagan does a fairly good job of persuading us that the Dogon had been "contaminated"with European scientific knowledge before Griaule and Dieterlen talked to them, and my favorite rhetorical ploy Sagan used in that essay (I wish I could find it online for you; you'll have to obtain the book) was anecdotes about other anthropologists who'd been taken in (for a spell) by remote tribesmen.

But I'm not entirely convinced by Sagan's debunking. See Temple's answers and refutations of Sagan's debunkery HERE.

I'm not convinced the Dogon were told, or had information passed down to them, by ancient fish-men-like astronauts, either. Maybe the 1893 French expedition to Central West Africa to witness the total eclipse of the sun on April 16th seeded the Dogon with some Sirius knowledge. Noah Brosch in Sirius Matters think this may be the case. But still, it seemed the Dogon knew too much. I remain agnostic, but very interested.


Temple's work is audacious and has kept the debunkers awake ever since his book appeared in 1976. Temple tried to link Sir Philip Sydney, the Knights Templars, Dr. John Dee, and Giordano Bruno together within an occult tradition that carries on to today. Temple got the Sirius idea to write a book because he'd been working with the helicopter inventor and scientific mystic Arthur Young, who may have hinted he'd been in contact with Higher Intelligence from Sirius. I don't know what to say about this, but Robert Anton Wilson's dear friend and co-writer of the Illuminatus! trilogy, Robert Shea, told Neal Wilgus that "It frequently helps an artist to imagine that the work he is creating has a separate life of its own and is being transmitted to him..." Shea then cited Stravinsky, Nabokov, Keats and Charles Rycroft. (Shea interview with Neal Wilgus, c. 1980, collected in Seven By Seven, a 1996 book, pp.43-44)

Robert Anton Wilson, Shea's friend, co-writer and co-conspirator, knew of RAW's exceedingly odd experience with (maybe) communication from Sirius, which started on July 23rd, 1973. As Wilson puts it, after many years of intense experimentation with yoga, psychedelic drugs, Crowleyan ceremonial magickal techniques, intense study of books dense, difficult and erudite, depth psychologies, non-Aristotelian logics, and a continued study of Alfred Korzybski's General Semantics, "The outstanding result was that I entered a belief system, from July 1973 until around October 1974, in which I was receiving telepathic messages from entities residing on a a planet of the double star Sirius." (Cosmic Trigger vol 1, p.8.)

As RAWphiles know, his previous grounding in scientific methods of doubt, Buddhistic doubt, Korzybskian linguistic doubt, and Niels Bohr's Copenhagen Interpretation of the quantum theory - among other systems of thought and practice - led him to posit many models of what had happened to him. Maybe he was being contacted telepathically by beings from near Sirius. But maybe he'd pushed his nervous system in a way few humans have, and this is the sort of oddness that happens. Maybe he'd reached a level of neurologic status which you just have to chalk up to cosmic hilarity. The key word here is maybe. 


At around this same period, fellow Californian science fiction writer Philip K. Dick began to have contact with an intelligent entity he called VALIS, an acronym for Vast Active Living Intelligence System. He too developed a welter of multi-perspectivalisms to explain this extreme weirdness. The scientist John Lilly seems to have had an equally uncanny experience - or series of them - around this time. His metaphors for superintelligent entities were the ECCO (Earth Coincidence Control Office) and SSI (Solid State Intelligence). Lilly's SSI reminds me a lot of VALIS, but there are differences, of course.

In 1971, the brothers McKenna had an experience so weird, so unheimlich that you really have to read about it for yourself - it involves intelligence from UFOs, among other Things - as chronicled in Terence McKenna's book True Hallucinations.


"World's Oldest Temple Built to Worship the Dog Star", from August 14, 2013 issue of New Scientist. Read it and make of it what you will.


The Great UFO Wave of 1973: "Well before Patty Hearst became the poster child for Stockholm Syndrome, hundreds of ordinary Americans were already experiencing their own versions of this syndrome in connection with visitations from outer space. In what became known as the Great UFO Wave of 1973, a series of sightings began in late summer and climaxed in October, ushering in a new era of official and public interest in UFOs, later commemorated by Steven Spielberg's 1977 film Close Encounters of the Third Kind." - 1973 Nervous Breakdown, Andreas Killen, p.133. Killen then cites "debunkers" who pointed out how bad things were going for Unistatians socially at the time: war broke out in the middle east (Israel-Palestine), and Kissinger put the nation on nuclear alert because the Soviets threatened to send troops to the conflict. Many in the press thought Nixon had gone mad. Then OPEC caused an artificial gas shortage, veep Agnew resigned over tax evasion charges, and talks about Nixon being impeached ramped up. "Arguing that people 'see things' as a reaction to social stress, several prominent psychologists suggested that the UFO wave was a predictable response to a month of particularly bad news." - ibid, p.134

Okay, so I think social stress may have an effect on human visual perception, but who reading this in 2015 (or later) thinks this is mostly yet another example of "experts" who are full of crap? Was there a massive wave of UFO sightings after 9/11? I don't think so. Anyway...

One reason why we might use the word "gnostic" to describe Stockhausen:

Five fingers. Four limbs. Two eyes. A brain. And a name, too: homo bipedus, sapiens, loquens. It is easy to describe man with the detachment of an inhabitant of Sirius. But the Gnostics did have this feeling that they came from Sirius, or rather from a world that was even farther away, stranger and still more puzzling, a world beyond Sirius. Perhaps this explains the alien and, above all, contemptuous view they took from our hominoform appearance, our anthropoid conformation, our condition as foetuses dropped prematurely into the deserts of the world, and therefore crying out unceasingly with the same howl of anguish that announced our arrival on earth. - The Gnostics, Jacques Lacarriere, p.34 in my hardcopy, but p.25 in the PDF linked to here)


NB: Lilly, PKD, and the McKennas do not cite Sirius as the main deal. Also note: these writers, along with Robert Anton Wilson, are/were all imaginative people, steeped in science fiction, the hard sciences, logic, math, linguistics, and neuroscience, in addition to the history of esoteric thought. They all also used psychedelic drugs (and other drugs) in order to probe the deeper recesses of Mind.

Wilson wrote about LSD and the possibility that it opened up "noise" into the human nervous system. Writing in what appears to be pre-July 1973, he says that John Lilly thought he had been contacted by alien intelligences and that Wilson knew of other LSD users who'd had the same experience. (See Sex, Drugs and Magick, p.214) All I urge Dear Reader to do here is note the profusion of metaphors for odd experience. Noise, mathematically, is information that had been previously unintelligible to a given human nervous system. Noise represents something that was unexpected, and once it interfers with a person's ontology, it must be dealt with; interpretations must be made. As an analogy, in effort to illustrate this, The Reader is urged to obtain a copy of James Joyce's book Finnegans Wake and try to read it. It may seem very "noisy" but, with experience trying to make sense of it (reading it aloud, making notes about the phenomenology of the experience of reading it, using secondary sources, reading it in a group, etc), you may notice that what was previously noise now seems understandable and even psychedelic.

In the early 1970s, while all this was going on, Timothy Leary was in prison and developing his ideas for Starseed, which involved contact with Higher Intelligence.

                                      section of a Stockhausen score

The OG has been using the term Higher Intelligence, but there might be other semantic senses of this term. I have seen very many articles and books that assert, like the true conspiracy of the CIA's MK-ULTRA program, that clandestine intelligence groups have been involved in this High Weirdness. (See for example, The Stargate Conspiracy, pp.282-287, esp. writer Lyall Watson's very bizarre experience in 1973 that supposedly came from some sort of Higher Intelligence of Black PsyOps, pp.218-219)

Indeed, Wilson knew all too well about these sorts of things, and was even accused by some counterculturalists as being a CIA man himself. Paranoia feeds on itself, and its ravenous hunger seemingly knows no bounds. RAW was circumspect enough to wonder if he had been what the CIA calls a "useful idiot."

RKG Temple himself has claimed that after he publication of The Sirius Mystery he'd been hounded by multiple governmental intelligence agencies. The skeptic here, Jason Colavito, says he has found no proof of Temple's assertion, but that intelligence agencies have investigated a more popular - and less scholarly - "ancient astronaut" writer, Erich Von Daniken.

Maybe Colavito is right. What's far more interesting to me is his book, The Cult of Alien Gods: H.P. Lovecraft and Extraterrestrial Pop Culture, published in 2005. I have not yet read this book, but the reviews look promising. RAW, PKD, the McKennas all had read Lovecraft.

Could it be that intelligence agencies followed anyone who proclaimed some metaphysical relationship with Sirius because that's what mystic/Christian fascist/all-time weirdo William Dudley Pelley had done? Just throwin' it out there...


In his "historical grammar of poetic myth," Robert Graves unpacks myth after myth, digging deeper and deeper and making us feel weirder and weirder. Graves's book The White Goddess has proven to function as a strange wind, blowing many minds, mine included.

There is an ancient story that includes a male roe deer called a roebuck, a short-billed bird called a lapwing, and...a dog. And various heroes. See if we can follow Graves here:

But why Dog? Why Roebuck? Why Lapwing?
The Dog with which Aesculapius is pictured, like the dog Anubis, the companion of Egyptian Thoth, and the dog which always attended Melkarth the Phoenician Hercules, is a symbol of the Underworld; also of the dog-priests, called Enariae, who attended the Great Goddess of the Eastern Mediterranean and indulged in sodomitic frenzies in the Dog days at the rising of the Dog-star, Sirius. But the poetic meaning of the Dog in the Cad Goddeu legend, as in all similar legends, is "Guard the Secret," the prime secret on which the sovereignty of a sacred king depended. Evidently Amathaon had seduced some priest of Bran - whether it was a homosexual priesthood I do not pretend to know - and won from him a secret which enabled Gwyndion to guess Bran's name correctly. Hercules overcame the Dog Cerberus by a narcotic cake which relaxed its vigilance; what means Anathaon used is not recorded.

Okay, so Graves is fucking my mind here. There is much wild knowledge and obscure names of gods and goddesses and symbols that lead up to this paragraph, and lead onto many similar, that I confess pixillates me somewhat. Still: dog symbols guarding a secret? Sodomy and proto-Bill Cosby-like drug cakes are a fun addition. The erudition is staggering, the style bewitching. But the SECRETS!

Notice Thoth, the messenger-god of the Egyptians. He also gave them other little things, such as writing. Hermes is the Greek version. More than a couple Lovecraft scholars have identified Lovecraft's own Nyarlathotep in his Cthulhu mythos with those other two messenger gods.

What "is" the message?

I don't know. Neither did Robert Anton Wilson, but if you obtain a copy of Cosmic Trigger, vol 1 and study very very VERY closely pages 13-16, I think you might be onto the Final Secret of The Illuminati.

I said "might." Which seems a close cousin to "maybe."


Eric Wagner said...

Terrific piece. Siriously.

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

Really enjoyed this post. A lot to follow up on. I know just a bit about Stockhausen's music, but clearly I have a lot to learn.

I had not heard of the Robert Shea interview you mentioned, so now I have to track down a copy of the Neal Wilgus book, which seems pretty obscure. Wilgus is on Facebook, but he never responded to a message I sent him about a year ago. Kind of like trying to get in touch with somebody from Sirius ....

if you are noting alleged contacts with aliens, don't forget everyone's favorite hippie physicist, Nick Herbert, and his contact experience:


I may not have the same edition of Cosmic Trigger you have. What's the subhed of the section you want us to study?

michael said...

@Eric: Thanks!

@Tom: Yes, I should've added Nick Herbert's weirdness. The wonderfully odd aspect of this Early 1970s Bizarre Contact Stuff is that there's much more of it. But thanks for linking to Nick's post about his contact with alien intelligences. The stories around Jack Sarfatti and physicists who received metallic-voiced phone calls encouraging them to pursue physics, etc is really weird. I'm not sure what to make of it. Then there's the Ira Einhorn stuff. Complicating this, I've read too much about CIA and other intel agencies trying to infiltrate/influence Minds. Many a time I've been with professional people with degrees who had heard of ML-ULTRA but when I tell them about particulars, they think it's conspiracy theory in the sense: paranoid and "unproved," but I only talk about the stuff that's well-documented and even "ex" -CIA guys have confirmed is true.

Try talking about Project Paperclip and related occluded history and, if you're like me, you'll meet with skepticism. But there's nothing controversial at all about it!

Now, with the NSA bent on following every thought and movement of every citizen...

Thanks for reminding me that subsequent editions of Wilson's books may have different pagination. The part I was referring to was the last 3 pages of the Prologue, where RAW lays out ideas about how phenomenology of his Sirius stuff might be modeled, and he uses a theory and then "And/Or" another idea, then And/Or again, then again, with the last And/Or being, "a combination or permutation of the above is going on simultaneously." It's Modernist multi-perspectivalism/Model Agnosticism writ larger than in the sciences.

What it later boiled down to was his Maybe Logic.

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

Thanks, Michael! I have the Pocket Books mass market paperback, which has the Prologue in Roman numerals, then switches to Arabic for the rest of the book.

PQ said...

Love this stuff. Thank you.

chas said...

Page 143 of the New Falcon edition of Cosmic Trigger 1 (quoting J G Bennett's Gurdjieff: Making a New World:

[Gurdjieff] himself used to listen to chapters [of Beelzebub's Tales to his Grandson] read aloud and if he found the key passages taken too easily—and therefore almost inevitably too superficially—he would rewrite them in order, as he put it, to "bury the dog deeper." When people corrected him and said he surely meant "bury the bone deeper," he would turn on them and say it was not "bones" but the "dog" that you have to find. The dog is Sirius the dog star

Anyway, that reminds me of the dog guarding the secret.

michael said...

Chas- Yea, good find...and if I'd gone into Crowley and Bruno and esoteric/occult/secret societies and how they cited Sirius I'd have written another 4000 words, and I already spew too many words, right?

After I finished writing these two blog posts on Sirius, I thought, "Who will find all this interesting?"

There probably are curious, smart people out there who know almost nothing about the weirdness of Sirius stuff. Then I think there are a lot of readers who read this and think it olde news...and how come I didn't even mention Crowley or Gurdjieff or Bruno or the Masons?

What do YOU think it means to "bury the dog deeper"? Certainly we have to work hard to attain enlightenment, in some models of it, at least. But I think there could be a slew of interpretations here.