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«The Prisoner of Infinity Trauma, Transformation, and Transhumanism: A Psycho -History of Whitley Strieber Crucial Fictions 2013 [Trigger Warning: ...»

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I was beginning to think there was a simple, if unorthodox, reason why the usual suspects—Aleister Crowley, Polanski, Manson, the Kennedys, the Process, Charles Whitman, David Bowie, Nic Roeg, Jimmy Savile, Stanley Kubrick, William Sims Bainbridge, L. Ron Hubbard, Aldous Huxley, Gurdjieff, and now Whitley Strieber!—kept cropping up wherever I seemed to look. For all the billions of people on the planet (allegedly at least), were there only a few hundred, at best, who had any sort of visible role in the grand theater unfolding before the public eye? And of course they would all hang out together, formally or otherwise, literally or not, because they were in the same business—that of socio-spiritual engineering or “culture-making.” It might seem like world history was far too vast and complex a metaorganism to be reduced to a handful of players, but was that just part of the illusion? Actors on stage exist in a world of their own, complete unto itself, while the audience exists in a kind of limbo realm, having no say about how the story unfolds. Even so, their attention was essential to the maintenance of the illusion. The audience is complicit in its own irrelevance—it has to “disappear” from the scene in order for the surrogate reality to take full hold.

* Associate Clinical Professor in Psychology at Harvard Medical School at the Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Center, senior author of Memory, Trauma Treatment and the Law.

Insofar as my own psychic development had been informed (let’s not say hijacked) by all of these cultural influences or “players,” was it perhaps inevitable that, someday (in the process of trying to become a “player” myself, i.e., have some cultural influence, a goal I had pursued ever since I first discovered Polanski, roughly), I would wind up struggling to identify those agents, and the shadowy agendas behind them, in an attempt to make sense of my own past?

* “Because the psychogenic theory makes the individual psyche both the source of variation and the unit of selection, it posits that childhood is the central focal point of social evolution.” —Lloyd de Mause, The Emotional Life of Nations So where in the performance did we leave Strieber? Fleeing London, after which he fled Rome, and wound up in a hotel in Barcelona, “holed up in a back room.” I can remember nights of terror, being afraid to put out the light, wanting to keep the window and the door locked, living like a fugitive, never wanting to be alone, haunting the Ramblers, grateful for the unceasing crowds. The rest of the memory is a jumbled mess. I am just not certain what happened, except that I lost weeks of time. I remember something about being on a noisy, smelly airplane with someone who called himself a coach, and something about taking a course at an ancient university. I also recall seeing little adobe huts, and expressing surprise to somebody that * their houses were so simple (Communion, p. 138).

Strieber remembers that he returned to London “in an odd way,” weeks later than he had planned, with no way to explain the missing time and no memory of how he got back. He found himself outside a hotel at about six in the morning, got himself a room, and slept until noon. (Very precise recall for someone whose memory was a jumbled mess!) The next day he went to his former lodgings and found that his room had been let and his belongings “stored in a trunk in the basement.”14 On June 5th (note the date) 2004, Whitley Strieber’s website aired an interview with author Donald Bain about “CIA mind control” and the case of Candy Jones. He told Bain that, like Sirhan (whom they discussed on the show), he was among the “5%” of human beings who are highly susceptible to hypnotic suggestion. He described having been subjected to the same sort of procedures as a child at the Randolph Air Force base, under the direction of “Dr. Antonio Krause,” and then told about having a total memory blackout while driving with his wife and winding up at Randolph, with no idea of how he got there.

Strieber went on to describe a friend he’d had at the University of Texas “who recruited for the CIA—we both did this together.” (Apparently that was a slip of the tongue and Strieber had meant to say “applied for” the CIA.) He described receiving a dire warning from a “rather famous man” who told him flat out, “You will be killed, you will not live, if you join the CIA.”† Regarding the question of his having been mindTy Brown in his “Whitley Strieber and the Paradigm of Doom” series from 2007, noted that “in July of 1968, the People’s Front for the Liberation of Palestine hijacked an Israeli passenger plane in Rome, Italy and diverted it to Algiers. Many of the Israelis on board were held hostage for five weeks as a bargaining chip for the release of some Palestinian prisoners.” Brown admits it’s a stretch but still worth putting on the table. I couldn’t help remembering that Sirhan Sirhan was also Palestinian.

† His friend joins and is killed ten years later. Strieber doesn’t specify but it’s likely this is the same “CIA friend” whom Strieber saw in the presence of the visitors, on one of his first adult encounters, and who he later found out had died.

controlled, Strieber told Bain: “I don’t know what I did in connection with this, in terms of intelligence.

Apparently nothing. I can’t remember anything at all, not even a snatch of anything.” On an audio recording he made for his website in 2010,15 Strieber stated that “bad things” had happened to people from his past when he tried to get back in touch with them. He recounted an odd story about a close friend from his time in London with whom he had regained contact a couple of years previously. He received an email from the friend with some photographs of the friend’s activities, including a photograph of Strieber with his son and grandson. There was also a copy of a letter, supposedly written by Strieber some time in the past, that referred to his “CIA activities... back in London in 1968.” Strieber dismissed the idea—although it is the same one that somehow made it onto his author’s bio in 1981*—saying that he was just a boy (he was twenty-three) at the time. He suggested that the letter was meant as a warning to both him and his friend (who claimed to know nothing about it) to stay away from each other: “There might be something you’ll [sic] remember that somebody doesn’t want me to remember.” (It’s notable here how Strieber shifts the focus mid-sentence from second to first person.) What that something might have been was something Strieber offered no opinion about. The idea that he might remember having worked for the CIA didn’t seem to enter his mind—making him by now maybe the only person who isn’t thinking it. Like the lost summer of ’68, or his on-again, off-again memory of witnessing the Whitman shootings in 1966, the question of what, exactly, Strieber was being trained and/or programmed for at Randolph Air Force base during his childhood remains obscure and elusive, in equal measures tantalizing and forbidding. At his public forum in 2007, he touched upon the

subject briefly:

What happened was, essentially, a Bluebird-style effort to fracture me and the other kids into multiple personalities. This “Krause,” I believe, had done this for the Gestapo, in order to create children who could be made to be unwitting spies on their parents. The children were tormented in this way, then let go. They absorbed information that could later be “downloaded” from the hidden personality, with the child’s normal personality never knowing what had been done. [I]t is no “experiment.” It is something much larger. And it DOES lead to contact, and whoever is behind this assault on children knows this, and is, I believe, intentionally putting people in harm’s way by methodically shattering their grip on reality when they are children, then monitoring them and learning from the contact experiences they then have.

* In Amy Wallace’s account of being married to Carlos Castaneda, A Sorcerer’s Apprentice, she recounts how Castaneda confessed to having worked as an assassin for an unnamed government agency (though on other occasions he mentioned the CIA and US military intelligence). A friend who roomed with Castaneda in 1957 said he had heard similar stories from Carlos. Castaneda’s first wife, Margaret Runyan, recounted a story he told of being seriously wounded while serving in “an intelligence division” in Spain or Korea. According to Wallace, Castaneda had even confessed his secret to his “nagual” (sorcerer master) don Juan.

* “He has traveled through many parts of the world, working in fields as diverse as intelligence and filmmaking.” (From the author’s bio notes for The Hunger, first edition.) Later, when I had met don Juan, I told him I had a terrible secret. Terrible, the worst, and I had never confessed it. I had been don Juan’s apprentice for years before I found the courage to speak of this horror. “Tell me, estupido,” said don Juan, “what can be so bad, eh? Is this why you’re always so heavy, so pesado? Why do I have to stand on my head to move you an inch? What is it, this terrible thing you did?” “I killed people, don Juan. Lots of people.” “That’s it?? You killed people? Carajo, Carlos, you killed apes. That’s what you’re so ashamed of? Killing a few apes?

Believe me, there are always plenty more to take their place. And you’re making yourself sick * with this Great Big Secret?” Wallace reported that Castaneda was trying to turn his experiences with the CIA (or whoever) into a novel in his final months of life. He called it Assassin. So here again was the invitation to reevaluate one of my former influences and question how, and why, I’d chosen such a dodgy role models. On the other hand, this was perhaps the unavoidable dark side of the mystical path and the individuation journey both. My early heroes, whether Elvis or Bowie, Eastwood, Polanski, or Peckinpah, were all associated with one form of self-destructive excess or another. I was being drawn to the dark to see what was there in my own unconscious, that was controlling me and leading me into aberrational or self-destructive behaviors. So not to follow such dubious “leads”—might that not be as fatal as to follow them blindly?

My mind always tends to want to focus on simple moral questions, such as whether the aliens, or government agents, or sorcerers, or teachers (or parents), are acting for good or evil. But the psyche is beyond good and evil, so the real question is one of fragmentation or wholeness. A fragmented psyche can do no right, and a whole psyche can do no wrong. The greatest “evil” of all stems from a fragment that takes itself for the whole. Mine wasn’t, and it was looking for symbols of wholeness outside if itself, and finding, inevitably perhaps, only fragments of a shattered mirror.

The guardian protects the wounded child-self. To do so it adopts a dual guise, as both angelic, wise, and caring, and demonic, deranged, and destructive (though still protective). An “alter” (as in the case of programmed shooters such as Sirhan, but also many of us who grow up with unbearable trauma) is created to do the “dirty work” which the conscious personality won’t, and can’t, do. The alter “cleans up” all the loose ends, inconsistencies, and awkward or compromising elements (the “leaks”) that threaten the illusion of the benevolence of the guardian. Anything, in short, that interferes with its rule over the divided and conquered kingdom of the psyche. The “progressive” or “benevolent” guardian (like the spiritualized ego) is a politician (or a movie star) whose spotless public persona is dependent on a covert agenda of bribes, blackmails, illegal wiretaps, harassment, and assassination. The “light” side depends on the dark.

This led me to what seemed like an unavoidable question: was programmed murder the necessary flip side of self-engineered spiritualty (killing the ape of the ego), if both were fuelled by the guardian in its unbending “will to power”? I remembered my 1993 dream of the intelligent limbs. When I first decided to include it in this piece, I left out the part about programmed killer robots. It seemed unnecessarily dark and I thought it would distract the reader from the main narrative—that of childhood trauma informing quasi-memories of nonhuman beings. I’d posted the whole thing at my blog a few days before, * Wallace, A Sorcerer’s Apprentice, p. 96. Other references from The Life & Teachings of Carlos Castaneda, by William Patrick Patterson, Arete 2008, p. 115-7. In the first book in the Castaneda series, The Teachings of don Juan, Castaneda’s nagual tells him, “I killed a man with a single blow of my arm.” however, and a reader who had been helping with the investigation messaged me about it: “one thing from your blog that keeps repeating in my mind,” he wrote, “is the phrase ‘I’m not a girl. I’m a boy!’” He described the detail as “haunting.” I asked if he thought I should reinstate the fragment into the current work. “It’s a dream,” he replied. “Err on the side of accuracy.” His point was that the unconscious knows things which the mind has trouble letting into awareness and that the smart move was to let the dream speak for itself. It was unthinkable, but there it was. “Alienprogrammed killers” were starting to look like an integral part of the dream-narrative—and Magonia was starting to look more and more like Manchuria.

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