Monday, November 7, 2011

Our Secret Masters Return

In a previous post titled Our Secret Masters, I wrote about one of the ideas expressed in Grant Morrison's Supergods, that we are being authored by someone or some persons other than ourselves. I linked this idea to the daimon, that Classical idea of a twin or spiritual other in each of us. 

It turns out that Jeffrey Kripal has been thinking about this, too. I just finished his Mutants and Mystics, and it just so happens that that idea is what drives the whole book -- we are being written and we can become authors ourselves of our impossible lives. His previous book, Authors of the Impossible, explores this in some detail by singling out four "authors of the impossible" (Frederick Myers, Jacques Vallee, Charles Fort, Bertrand Meheuest) and how the paranormal intertwined with their work in unexpected and uncanny ways. I haven't read this book yet, but I certainly will soon.

It's a fascinating idea. Alan Moore has talked about this, too, referring to how Iain Sinclair developed a limp after writing in depth about a character with a limp. Was he writing himself? Or was he subconsciously aware of a problem with his leg that his mind alerted him to through his writing? Or was someone else writing his life? These things are curious and hard to fathom in our materially causal paradigm, although a paradigm that organizes life through meaning rather than the physics of dancing atoms comes closer to providing a coherent sense to it all. Jung's and Wolfgang Pauli's theory of synchronicity, for instance.

What I am especially curious about is the idea that we can turn all this around and author our own lives, not in an orderly, causal manner, but in a pattern centered upon meaning. We can write meaning into our lives and watch as elements imbued with that meaning are attracted to us in strange and unexpected ways. Doors open where before there were walls. I'm not talking about some egoistic get-rich scheme like The Secret, but a weirder experience, one we can't fully control but can participate with. 

Keep your eyes open.

1 comment:

Allen Varney said...

It's a useful metaphor to regard the material of an "authored life" as a collection of historical documents or facts. From these components the scholar assembles an overall view that, he or she hopes, gets at the truth of the topic. In practice -- both in history and in an individual life -- there are so many data points, you can assemble equally credible portraits that argue opposite views. It's apophenia, like finding pictures in cloudscapes. In terms of the topic at hand, you can't "author" your life, but you can note and emphasize the behaviors that reinforce, in your own mind, a desired pattern.