Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Triptych #23: Taking Flight

"Taking Flight" - photo by Mac Tonnies - uploaded to Fllckr, January, 2008

"One of the reasons I like packing a camera is that it engages the part of my brain that processes "random," acausal events. I literally see things I've never noticed before; a sort of secret world opens up, if fleetingly, bringing to mind multiple transparencies stacked atop one another and brought to life by a projector. (Rudy Rucker, who's written on similar themes, thinks the universe is filled with "paracomputations" that take the form of natural processes. His trained awareness of relevant phenomena, such as the intricate geometric patterns on seashells and the interplay of wave-fronts in a pool of water, might help account for some of his acutely observant photographs.)

In my case, after seeing the "23" limo, I found myself inside a bus-stop with brown-tinted plastic windows. Someone had written "23" there, bedecking the number with a halo as if to memorialize it. (The recurring trumpet design from Pynchon's "The Crying of Lot 49" came to mind . . . as well as the sense of inhabiting a rather smug and mocking paracomputation.)

Later on the same walk I recalled a dream I had last night, in which I was playing with a sheet of aluminum foil that returned to its uncrumpled original state whenever I unballed my fist (the "memory metal" described by witnesses to the Roswell debris.) Moments later I found a sheet of foil on the sidewalk -- nothing remotely dramatic, but nonetheless a bit like some sort of retrocognitive memento. It's becoming steadily easier for me to imagine reality as a composite of overlapping possibilities -- a VR-like realm that creates itself from moment to moment rather than patiently awaiting discovery."

- Mac Tonnies, via this April, 2005 Posthuman Blues post

"It's intriguing how common 23 is among UFO sighting reports. (Reading Jacques Vallee's landmark "Anatomy of a Phenomenon," I was actually startled by the apparent correspondences, although Vallee seems not to have noticed.) One idea I've played with is that we're seeing a form of "compression artifact" that undermines the informational structure of spacetime. If so, who did the compressing? Do we live in a vast computer simulation?
Maybe unraveling the 23 Enigma is a way to alert -- or even communicate with -- the intelligence responsible for creating the universe; they/it might be interested in our deductive prowess . . . or maybe just looking for company."

- Mac Tonnies, via this February. 2007 Posthuman Blues post

(Note: for a previous PMB post about #23, featuring Robert Anton Wilson, try here.)

"Snowy Nude" - photo by Mac Tonnies - Uploaded to Flickr January, 2008

 I had reason to go into Mac's Flickr pages the other day, in the process of creating the little slide-show of his portraits that now appears on the side-bar. (Had I a size option with the Google gadget, the slide-show would've appeared much larger, and replaced the first photo. Not the case; but, I've uploaded the actual-size photos I used, onto this older post.)

It's weird, but whenever I go over to Mac's Flickr pages I seem to find something new... Then again, the mind is a strange thing; it focuses where it will without rhyme or reason, and tends to overlook loads of data that doesn't fit its criterion of the moment. There's hundreds of photos on Mac's photo-stream; tunnel vision might be a mental adaption we've designed to prevent ourselves from being overwhelmed.

I wasn't looking for it consciously, but Mac's photo, "Taking Flight" (above) just happened to fit a recent underlying agenda of mine. That is, I'm about to take an extended hiatus from the blogosphere. Not that I haven't put Post-Mac Blues into archival mode before - I have, a few times. But, I know well enough now, that it isn't over till it's over, and some shred of news will coax me back.

Then again, this blog is both a memorial and a time-capsule, so my continued presence has been hard-wired into place, but, the reality is, in the four years since Mac's passing, very little has really changed. It's as if the same news is being recycled over and over again. Whether the subject is Mars, the Singularity, UFOs, etc., one could go back into the Posthuman Blues back pages and find the same "news" five, six, or even seven years ago. "Global warming", for instance... or the theory of reality as a computer simulation (see this recent Aeon article), or better even, the "news" that Stephen Hawking is denouncing "black holes"*. Well, as it happens, Mac mentions just the same thing here and here on Posthuman Blues. No news (that is, speculation) is news again. And so it goes.

But, this is not to say that nothing new ever happens... new scientific inquiries continue to emerge quietly in the background, which may someday jump-start new paradigms. I'll leave you with this parting-shot: Do you feel immortal? Chances are you did when you were born. And, if this sort of thing interests you - and, if it doesn't, you're a fool - check out the Daily Grail's own Greg Taylor's latest: Stop Worrying! There Probably Is an Afterlife; chock-full of pertinent case-studies. Or, perhaps this article, sent to me via the Windbridge Institute yesterday.

"Far Above" - photo by Mac Tonnies - uploaded to Flickr August, 2008

In any case, if you want news, there are plenty of places online to find it; you can start at some places in the PMB links section. Speaking of which, as I've been tidying things up a bit before taking flight, I've been adding new links to the sidebar. Notably, in the aforementioned link section, a link from PMB reader, Joel, who informed me (via email) that a link on the PMB sidebar was broken. His site is Alien-UFO-Research, and if you haven't seen it before, check it out. I have another link, too; one that Mac sent me in an email shortly before his death, but I'd only rediscovered yesterday. As it's art-related it's going to appear on Trans-D (the other blog) (which, incidentally I'm archiving, too... and will, eventually, be dismantling altogether) but, I'll post it here as well. It's Synaptic Stimuli, the brainchild of Michael Chichi who apparently followed Mac on Twitter. He is also connected with this site. For an interview, see: Discussing Art and Aliens with Synaptic Stimuli's Michael Chichi.

Oh, and here's another bit of news, this blog is about to have a new URL. That is, "Araqinta" is a word which I may soon have use for in another capacity, so Post-Mac Blues is about to acquire the address it should've had from the beginning: Post-MacBlues.blogspot. This will happen shortly, but, don't worry, the current blog address will redirect you to the correct one for awhile. The only difference will be that I'm disabling the comment section. However, if there's a need to reach me, with Mac-related news, online material, or a heads-up on sidebar links that may be broken, feel free to contact me via the Araqinta email address at the bottom of the sidebar.

As for any future incarnation of Araqinta, well, I'm considering an actual .com with a venue for distribution of some of my work. If and when this occurs, I'll keep you posted. (Just in case you want your very own Crypto print on a vacant wall.)

Anyway, we live in interesting times. The trick is to not let "time" grind us down into so many disconnected kilobytes of virtual - and virtually - homeless, heartless particles.

Cheer up - this winter is coming to an end!

Peace out,

* Well, gee, but if there are no black holes, then WTF is this? I'm confused. But, I think I'll leave it to the cosmologists, physicists, and what have you, to duke it out. (Hat-tip to David Darling.)


  1. Thanks for keeping this blog going. It's nice to have a spot - of sorts - to check in on Mac! I hope that the Posthuman Blues book project sees completion and that from time-to-time some of the regulars on the scene will do Mac memorial podcasts to keep his name in the mix on the paranormal scene. I'm always hoping that someone will turn up an audio or video interview that has been long forgotten or never seen. What a guy! I'm also still looking for a few of his podcasts that have broken links around the web (X Zone, etc.), but so far no luck... until then, I'll have something new that's Mac-related to look forward to. Good luck with your Araqinta site!

    1. Thanks, Anonymous, for your positive feedback (of a sorts). ;-)

      I certainly believe Paul Kimball intends to finish publishing the PHB series. And notice will appear on this blog when new editions officially arise..

      And, please, if you do find any lost podcasts let me know, so I can add them to the list.

      The Araqinta project of mine will not be Mac-related - sorry to disappoint you, if that's what you meant. Well, that is, apart from the Crypto print (presently).

      Thanks again!

  2. I hope that Kimball considers collecting all of Mac's previously uncollected fiction in the last edition of the PHB book series.

    The podcast I'm looking for is from the X-Zone, Jan. 11, 2007. It seems Mac talked about extraterrestrial artifacts. I emailed X-Zone and they said they didn't have it archived... or at least couldn't make it available to me. That's what I meant above when I said that there will still be a few things to look forward to... hopefully someone unearths it.

    Something I have often wondered is what happened to Mac's book collection? I would presume that he must have had many books and it'd be interesting to see a listing of the titles, much like has been done with Terence McKenna's library that sadly was lost in a fire some years after his death.

    It'd be nice if you could keep Post-Mac Blues up on the net for posterity and again...thanks for all the work you've done and good luck with your non-Mac related site!

    1. Well, I'm only privy to a portion of what goes on behind the scenes - as is correct under the circumstances - and while I do know Mac wrote extensively, I'm not sure of the status of his unpublished fiction.

      I think I know what podcast you're referring to... I had problems locating a couple of them myself.

      Ah, yes, Mac's book collection. A couple of years back I had the brainstorm of utilizing his books as the seed elements for a "Mac Tonnies Memorial Science Fiction Library"... possibly located in MO. Sadly, I learned at the time that I was too late, and many of the books had already been donated. This is perfectly understandable - Mac had a vast collection... and his family felt overwhelmed. I know only too well the tremendous effort entailed when moving large collections of books. I found that out when I had to move mine last year.

      Mac and I once speculated that, perhaps, the reason we felt compelled to hoard books is that - after the apocalypse - private collections would become the only libraries left.

      I bet, knowing Mac, that he did keep a list of them though. So that list may surface someday.

      Oh, Post-Mac Blues will always be up. I only wish there was some way of making it interactive. There's a wonderful folk custom of leaving a small stones at a gravesite whenever you visit, and I wish there was some way of making the same symbolic, virtual gesture here. Maybe that could happen on a .com... I don't know.

      Once again, thanks for your input.

    2. PS Actually it's kind of weird that you should mention his books, as one of his photos that I initially intended to use on this post, was a shot of some of his books on a bookshelf. There's actually two such photos on his Flickr pages, and you can see their titles quite clearly.

  3. Thanks for the info regarding his books... too bad, but as you said, to be expected.

    I hear you about having some sort of interactive Mac portal... I've toyed with the idea of trying to set up a few Mac-related podcasts where people who knew him or were familiar with his work could get together and discuss Mac related topics in a structured format of some sort. Not sure if anyone would really be up for that.

    I have Illumined Black... although I'm admittedly not a major sci-fi reader - but a reader nonetheless - I feel like that's a great little book!

    1. Honestly, I have no idea what anyone would be up for. There seems to be a major communication breakdown these days.

      Re: Illumined Black. I blogged about it here:

      The current image of this book on Amazon is news by me. It should've gone into reprints, and, judging by the photo, another edition possibly exists (though its availability is not indicated). Once again, no clue.