Sunday August 18, 2019

Do words play some role in helping us assemble? Can we with them raise consciousness, as does the hornplay of Ornette Coleman’s “Beauty Is a Rare Thing”? Sit back, I tell myself. Close eyes, listen to the mad scramble of “Kaleidoscope,” and then scramble downstairs, assemble and play drums. Repair what needs repairing, tune what needs tuning.

After performing these tasks, I return to my office and read a weird tale from Gerald Heard’s AE: The Open Persuader, the final part of the book, when AE leads L to a “Fulfiller Dome” in Antarctica, home to reindeer and a Baleen whale. Through AE, Heard gives voice to a radical cultural pessimism, wearied to the point of despair. Another voice intervenes, however, with news of a “psychic ‘thaw out'” made possible by “Polar radiation” (258-259). Under the glare of the latter, “ideological-conditioned fanatic ideologies, defrosted, fall off” (259). The voice warns, though, of a further false step along the ladder of enlightenment, the retreat inward to escape suffering, claiming that “the greatest brains in the world” have fallen prey to this error. As example, the voice points to what it calls “those stupendous body-mind hypertrophies, the Baleens,” the voice regarding these large-brained creatures as “living specimens of the utmost terminal state of false samadhi” (261). By this point I’m out of my element, exhausted by the book’s elaborate eccentricity, as well as the occasional cruelty of its worldview. One way to approach the book would be to read it in light of José Esteban Muñoz’s ideas about “queer futurity.” Ideas from Lee Edelman’s book No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive also seem relevant and applicable.

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