139_discoveryFor a long while I’ve been seeking an experience of The Diamond Island. That is, a mountain peak that exists within my inner world. Now I see that I’m already on the mountain. The things I was looking at were reflections of what was already there.

The black hole through space is a journey through the maelstrom of destruction, where what is true comes out the other side to a new existence. In the process many things are redeemed and made clear.

I’ve been fighting my ass off, struggling with opponents much stronger than I think I am. Both personal and collective engagements with the realities of my life, with different obstacle courses and challenges to pass through and overcome.

There are mysterious sources of power within myself I don’t fully understand. Yet somehow they come through for me, get me to the next pit stop and show me ways to push the limits of my being when I feel I haven’t any more to put into the work.

I’m listening to the personalities that help me run this psychic mechanism I use to get myself through the world. I have a lot of work to do there—people are unhappy with some of the stances I’ve taken and the way I go about things.

I don’t know where the UFO will land, other than home. Part of the stress I feel is in not knowing how things will end up, as the process is very much a push and pull in multiple directions at once. It will lead things to the right path, but it’s just one of those things you can’t predict until it happens.

Going over how to make things that are important to me now that I’m ready. Lucerna’s Mother-Mary-Personal-Helper training has given me something to focus on. Music helps me understand, but the practice is going to be a long one.

Out of the sea comes a nourishing goblet. Learning to drink from this source of refreshment, cultivate myself before I can encourage others.

I see that I do have an effect on the world around me. The places I find are brought out of myself. The things that move or are demolished are of a mind from me. Maybe they were messed up? Maybe things that reappear are okay now? The things I find will not be wrong.

The humming of bees, the helping of bees, the signs that bees are coming to the forefront of consciousness. This is important stuff.

The realization that the land inside me needs a brute conqueror king to bring the bounty out. My self image doesn’t like this figure, yet I manifest him anyway regardless of my hang-ups. To resist is only to become dishonest and incompetent.

A revelation of my personal destiny comes into view, right in front of me all this time. The signposts and helpers were there in abundance showing me the way: Imagination, family, and masculinity are the core of my being.

Movement and non-movement are also a part of this. I need to become more physical in my activity so that I can be at rest more wholly. A king needs a traveling the realm meditation to do his work properly. I must have been blind not to see this, yet again it happened with or without my knowledge. Better for me to see it now and make it a part of my conscious life.

I’m saying yes to many many things. I’m also learning to say fuck off to a lot of things I don’t need anymore.

135_unicornbloodmobileEverybody involved in the industrial production of mediopoly goods (movies, music, books, news) has been wondering what the new model will be for transactions in the age of the Internet.

There isn’t one. There isn’t going to be one.

There has to be one, right? How else will people get paid? Silly Rabbit, the ownership doesn’t care about that. The people who do the work—authors, rock stars, journalists, cameramen—they can all eat cake.

What about the executives and the shareholders and…and…you know, the patricians who have a little bit of ownership?

Nope, sorry ol’ chap. Not just professionals, freelancers, and working stiffs.

Yes, even the companies themselves are going to lose capacity. The movie industry, the publishing industry, the newspapers, all of it is going to shrivel up and break into little cubes. Taking any patricians invested in them down into the black gulf of unprofitability and layoffs with dramatic gnashing of teeth for the commentators.

The reason is simple: The world is going broke and nobody has as much money as they used to.

Rich people too—they’re holding onto their profits for dear life, not giving an inch—but the other 99% of the world didn’t have much to begin with and that’s all been tapped out.

All that’s left to take the hit are standards of living.

As they begin to drop all around the more developed countries, the industries that depended on income from the surplus of leisure spending workers had, well they shrink too. The CEOs of these industries are surprised because they thought they were part of the club. But hey guv’nor, it’s just business. Sorry to hear your son won’t be going to a top school anymore.

All the models that have been proposed so far—paywalls, pay as you go, subscription, kickstarters—they’re all dead ends. People got no money, dude! At best all you’re doing is finding efficiency techniques to redistribute whats left of a declining wage class with fewer dollars to spare.

The Internet is built around a distribution model, not an exchange model. Transactions that slow down the flow lose energy and crash out of the psychological lane of traffic.

Into this setup comes cheap entertainment from the Internet—and it’s all going to be free, all of it—mass produced and easy to make in more variations than you can consume. All you pay is your monthly Internet fee and that’s it.

Oh wait, that’s already here.

Pirates are just a bogeyman, something propped up there for people to blame like communism. The stockholders have to be told something, right?

The mediopoly companies will shift the rising cost of copyright enforcement and surveillance on the providers through the government. Mainly because they’re losing money and can’t afford to keep suing everyone. Yes, even they’re crowdsourcing the old fashioned way—on the public’s bruised back.

How long can they keep that up before they can’t afford the political favors anymore? How much can the government enforce when there’s less tax base to support the enforcement? It’s a turtle race to the bottom.

The providers can raise the prices, but again people are getting poorer and the variety of content naturally overwhelms big business content. If I can’t afford the latest HBO special I’ll just buy the craphound version off Netflix.

That’s another thing. There is no quality and there never was. There’s only your crap and my quality. You can argue that 3D Casablanca is better than Lord of the G Strings, but at the end of the day people will consume what they can afford. Fidelity loses to convenience when you can’t buy a Betamax.

People don’t want a good story. They want a story they believe is good.

That makes connection the only game to play in this environment. Some folks sense this and focus their attention on “reaching the fans” as if this was the new model itself.

Services like Pandora come close to databasing connectivity, but we’re still a long way off from any kind of prototype with which to make a media database standard. A Manhattan style Wikipedia project is probably what’s required.

Until that happens we’re stuck with “the hunt”. Friends as clue finders. I don’t care if I can get it all, I care about if I can get what’s mine.

That’s why services like Spotify don’t work as well as YouTube or Amazon’s recommendations. Tell me what part of the forest to look and I’ll get it myself. If the interface isn’t brute simple you have slowdown and again, you drop out of the psychological lane of traffic.

Even if connection is achieved though, it’ll end up being an efficiency advance. Something to mask the declining revenue pool a little longer.

The industrial age has reached its peak and is starting to decline. This confuses people because they’re used to things trending up, not down.

The owners of the world are extracting more from a smaller and smaller money pool through efficiency and productivity gains. Getting the gold is the goal, even if the river is drying up. The winners just make less.

It’s like that old Lexx episode, “Feeding Pattern.” The house still always wins, but full winnings are now half winnings and half winnings are now quarter winnings. Only in this case there’s no spaceship to take the owners to a new planet to start again.

What industry servants and their patrician managers refuse to accept is that the cost has been shifted. The slush pile has been moved to the public and crowdsourced.

Less pay doesn’t mean the death of publishing, it means more craphounds.

The craphounds see the gates to the river are now open to the public and think their chance to strike it rich has finally come. Then they see what’s left of the river.

The owners are abandoning the mediopoly factories and manipulating the remaining consumers into covering the upfront costs. Rust of media factories and their personnel is the natural outcome. Why invest in new infrastructure when the returns are going down?

Some industry folks think the problem is too many craphounds. No, that was always the cost of doing business.

The problem is that profits are shrinking. There need to be more craphounds to increase the declining pool of wizards that may still exist to be exploited before the enterprise enters the steep end of the decline curve.

You find your biggest wizards in the beginning. Then you plateau. Then you enter decline. This is how life works, folks.

So what’s going to happen?

Well the whole thing looks like a craphound mega-farm to me. This long tail mega-farm is too big for fiefdoms to control and still make a profit. What you need is probably something along the lines of Borg control nodes. That means a larger number of smaller, mid-list way-stations to provide structure and channel libido projections.

There will probably be one or two corporate overlords that remain, only in diminished form; everything else gets divided up into drones and drone units (seven of nine). The overlords will vacu-jack up the most popular and monetizable eruptions of public interest, extract the Gelfling essence. But these will become quarterly or yearly events.

Much as going to the movie theater is now.

The Internet cooperative has formed itself into a way to farm out labor most efficiently to the public leisure spending that still exists. It’s a development that serves the reactive ownership in masking something more significant.

What does crowdsourcing the gatekeepers mean for servants in the mediopoly industry?

I predict extended periods of pressure to work twice as hard with half as much. Professionals will find themselves separated from their skills and positions as an identity. They’ll be expected to adopt a jack-of-all-trades model of independent contracting so they can fit into whatever flavor of the month project their patrician managers want them in.

As individual value is minimized, prestige and bargaining power will be reduced. Wages will shrink. In short, you’ll be a crew chief at Winky Dinky Dog, but it’ll be for less pay!

The patricians themselves will be forced increasingly into a hatchet man role as the owners come down on them hard to “cut costs” and “do things differently”. That’s Secret Langauge Noble for getting rid of servants and turning the treadmill dial up on those who still have jobs.

All standard plays from the ownership dream manual. The usual efforts to summon the psycho goals of free labor, automation of specialists, and value decoded by algorithm.

In short, the ideal vampire world. Fully socialized blood for the members of the Dracula Club! Anything less than 100% domination is a humiliating failure, so if the blood pool shrinks then the difference comes out of your neck first.

Meanwhile, the craphound mega-farm grows a freelance economy of atomization, domination, and zero dignity all hand delivered like a pizza. It’s diabolically brilliant.

There is no next incarnation of distribution that enforces paid transaction. This is it folks. Hold your arm out and let Renfield insert the vacu-jack.

Not just movies, books, comics, newspapers, music and magazines, but even sports will be affected. This is the decline of the second capitol, of the conglomeration of culture. It’s simple economics.

Just wait until prices start to rise on computers again. That’s when things get really interesting.

116_menageriecat2Today is my birthday. Holy cats, these things creep up on you like The Behinder!

Lots of new plant energy coming in as Spring activates more by the day. Winter Wolf is starting to get the sleepies; been a most mysterious and unusual Winter this time. Me, I’m just glad to still be kicking it and capable of having another round from the Slack Bar.

Great cards, including one with a Bigfoot on it that says, “Believe.” There’s a message I can believe in! Thanks Duke, you’re awesomesauce.

Speaking of Bigfoot, got the complete series of In Search Of… on DVD from K’s dad. I scored me the ancient tome of imagination and inner discovery. My kid self is squeeing loud enough to be heard all the way from the past, this is so cool.

Yeah, time to sit down with some eerie music, Leonard Nimoy, and crazy psychic investigation. This is the X-Files before the days of Twin Peaks, yo. I’ll be doing some serious wizard research with this pup, let me tell you.

Also cool, lots of well wishes from friends and family over on the social media channels. I’m always warmed and pleased by the words of the people I care about. That’s a reminder to count my blessings and give thanks for the gold in my life. That stuff shines brighter than any physical treasure.

In the meantime, I’m taking it low key and staying home to watch 22 minute episodes on UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, Ghosts, and the Abominable Snowman, among others. Tasty snacks, delicious beverages, cats all over me on the newly named Cat Couch, and K snuggled up with me under a blankee. Time to take some time and just be.

126_jessicaFor a long time I’ve had a roster of crewmembers who populate the internal main bridge of my psyche. You might say that the Star Trek organizational scheme provides a ready archetype for my thoughts and feelings to constellate around.

Handling the communications console is a personality named Jessica. I’m pretty sure she was meant to be the female companion who accompanies Logan in the 1976 film Logan’s Run. I had a childhood crush on the actress Jenny Aguetter who played Jessica in the movie.

At that age I thought Jessica the character was the real person and Jenny was just her name in our reality. So creating a character based on her in my own mind to accompany me on my journey of imagination, or just general life influenced by a personal inner world, seemed like a good idea.

The crew of the Starship Snipe still carries the internal psychic organizations I’ve given them to this day. However, I’ve never explored them in detail—they all embody personal connections with characters from books, movies and TV that I enjoyed growing up with.

With the UFO becoming the central organizing principle in my psychic voyage, it may be time to reexamine my crew and the starship model. Ultimately, Star Trek and the characters I’ve borrowed are someone else’s experience that has become collectivized.

Such communal models are easy to access and use. They have value to our survival. However, they can only be launch pads for our personal explorations. The human dimension of wholeness requires that we make a personal journey to inner space to align ourselves with the actual organic connectivity of people.

I need to strike out on my own and identify the processes and elements behind my image. What if I’m oppressing or harming some aspect of myself by relating to it through a simplified model of consciousness?

So here we go. Using my power of imagination to inquire about Jessica as an internal personality and psychological adaptation.

The name Jessica comes up in my dictionary as having a Hebrew origin—Yiskah and Iscah which means “shut up” or “confined”. There’s a Greek and a Latin version, Ieskha and Jesca respectively. Unfortunately there’s no cultural context to go on, I’ll have to beam in the Internet connection.

Which, as it so happens, is Jessica’s job on the starship. She’s helping me along with this, naturally. Maybe this is a search for identity episode, a character building moment where I finally gain enough understanding to grasp a concept of her personality.

I think of the Teen Titans comic issue #38—”Who Is Donna Troy?”—where a detective investigation leads to the truth of Wonder Girl’s parents.

A strange smell of sanctity runs past my nose. That Holy Ghost effect that I know Lucerna would find compelling evidence I am on the correct trail.

The first recorded use of Jessica comes from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, and refers to the daughter of Shylock, who is of Hebrew origin in the story. I also dig up numerous baby name sites that give variations of the meaning as having to do with either God seeing, watching and beholding, or referring to gifts and wealth.

I let this trail of synchro-mysticism go off into the woods for now. Next up is the position itself.

The communications officer in Star Trek has often been criticized as being little more than a switchboard operator, with Lieutenant Uhura’s role minimized many times to the point of uselessness. I agree with this assessment, mainly because the position is actually critical to the operation of the ship. It requires someone who operates at a high degree of ability to perform properly.

Think about it. The communications officer has to direct the flow of information all over the ship. Repair crews, medical teams, and security details all rely on this officer’s leadership to act efficiently. If a crewmember notices something amiss the communications officer will likely be the first to hear of it and be able to warn the captain or relevant department head.

Depending on how you interpret the technology and schematics of a starship, the communications officer also needs a high degree of technical knowledge to operate the subspace radio and long range sensors that go along with that. I could see skills in computer programming and electronics as being necessary.

Maintaining a selection of diplomatic strategies and tactics is a huge order. Languages, linguistics and translation all need a lot of theoretical as well as practical knowledge. The person in the position has to be adaptive, flexible, and open-minded as well as intelligent and highly trained.

There’s an element of espionage implied in this function too—ciphers, jamming enemy transmissions and releasing ship wide alerts. I can see why the Next Generation Star Trek world merged communications with security.

Needless to say, you see some hints of these roles with Uhura in the TV show, but it almost entirely disappears by the time of the movies. Space battles don’t require anything other than making sure the shields and weapons work. If they don’t speak English then shoot to kill. It’s profoundly anti-specialist, anti-technology, and anti-science.

Need to transmit or receive data or messages? Maintain channels of information in-ship? Jessica has done all this and more. I only vaguely comprehended it—mainly I fell into the trap of casting the girl on my ship into the role of social interaction mediator. See how powerfully influential role models can be?

The point of communication is to share, divide out, impart, inform, join, unite, and participate in. In other words, “to make common.” Such an important task! And yet, Star Trek has subsumed this role into something else after decades of making it a minor position.

No! Boo!

Well I’m bringing chat back, yo. Or at least recognizing what has always been there all along: Communications leader Jessica doing an incredibly difficult, complex, important job without recognition or respect from me. The collective reckoning needs to evolve; it’s way behind the times and has been fifty years ago.

At this point I have to start questioning my own assumptions. Is Jessica even her name? Is it a nickname based on a projection? Is Jessica really female, as a kid would grok it, or a human being from earth? I might be overreacting; it might just be the dialogue has been so limited as to include only basic details.

I’m usually not so good with practical questions. The time has come to face the difficulty and start asking, to open up a hailing frequency with my own communications officer.

Jessica, I’m listening!

I’ve gone on about the Count before, and it’s no secret that I admire what that undead dude does for the sake of civilization. This time, I’m going to go way out there and let people know what I’m all about.

There’s this DVD that came out, known by the illustrious title of Every Other Day Is Halloween. Basically, the changeable and fantastically talented core of which Count Gore is but one manifestation—near as I can tell an ordinary human being known as Dick Dyszel—is admitting the passage of time in order to let his story be told.

The movie on this disc tells the story of how Mr. Dyszel found himself a central figure in a local broadcast station, playing several inspired characters, before the forces of mediacrity moved in and demanded tribute in the form of the bottom line.

Along the way, you see how Mr. Dyszel inspired people with his individual and honest outlook, as personified by the characters he played and the shows he hosted—Bozo the Clown, Captain 20, and Count Gore De Vol.

Certainly, there are other folks behind the scenes who contributed to this outburst of creative depiction on local programming. And the spirit of the seventies no doubt played a part in what locals in the Washington DC area remember fondly as “better times”.

Peak times to be sure, and total respect to the unsung efforts of those who get things done, but it always starts with an individual carrying a vision, or a talent, or a way of existing in space-time that shows us what we have lost.  How to adjust our course and return to ourselves.  The true genius constellates those talents and circumstances necessary for raising our consciousness.

So what experience do you get when you buy into this examination of an inspired man’s exploration of himself for the betterment of the community?  Quite a lot, actually.  Though, with any localized phenomenon, there are going to be experiences that only those who lived through it will get.

However!  Keep in mind that the treasures waiting to be discovered are in and of themselves examples of the finest art and of inestimable value to those who seek insight.  Surprises and secrets await those who quest with an open heart, who can hear what has gone before and dare to recreate what may yet be again.

The cover itself is an enigma easily dismissed as an attempt to downplay the contents—Count Gore presenting a can of steaming offal and garbage, while caricatures of other horror hosts float around the vapors with comical expressions. Horror hosts have often hidden behind a veil of humor in order to make their performance less threatening and more acceptable to societal antibodies.  This is activism at the base—always speak in the terms familiar with the audience you find yourself before on any given show.

Look more closely though, past the sadness that is self-depreciation and see the truth behind the images. One has only to know that in many fairy tales it is the worthless thing—the junk—that one finds the most important things of all.

If the hosts are masked in humor, one has only to know that we the audience are always the biggest joke of all.  In that realization there is humanity and redemption—the host always throws us the viewer back upon ourselves to realize the awesome horror and painful glory of being alive.

Opening the case, one cracks open a casket of horrors, yet also proclaims that they live! Passing beyond the threshold, one finds a Channel 20 Club card amongst the expected insert and disc. Yes, there is something of the child in all of us who desire to belong to wonders great and beautiful.  In the local DC area programming of Channel 20, such cards were a visible sign of divine power and a reassurance that magic was abundant.

That the coprorate centers of power regularly co-op such toys of civilized play to encourage “loyalty” to mechanized food outlets is proof of their inherent inventiveness.  Artists, entertainers, and magicians all know the way to reclaim such treats, for is not the card part of the trickery that conceals the true magic in the mind? Beyond a doubt, Captain 20 knew the card trick to remind us how such small things matter.

The disc itself contains the movie, and a veritable infectious fungal colony of extras.  Most of these will be of easiest value to those who remember. Yet pay attention and you will see how improvisational television programs work. How character and setting contribute to situation even in a fluid dynamic such as a studio for viewers.

Variety acts thrive on this sort of transformation—commercials, contests and cartoon blocks are mere forms to be molded and rearranged at will.  Green muppet mutants, friendly adults dispensing worthy advice from the heart, or showing manga style programs way before the mainstream caught on—these are the stuff of which legends are made manifest.  Do we not save the world as audience when we remember ourselves, or as performer when we remind others with our smoke and mirrors of the human spirit?

The movie itself contains a story of an intrepid entertainer’s journey from rough ore to final realization.  What strikes me most is how grounded and ordinary Mr. Dyszel appears. One can almost see the grandiose and unstoppable force of his shadow as personified by Count Gore De Vol lurking in the background.

Is that not the supreme mystery and absurd irony of our times?  That only in the nicest and most unassuming of men could a creative force arise to spark the flames of a thousand and one hearts?

When one is confronted with the simplicity and utter banality of a sock puppet wearing a chef’s hat speaking kitchen wisdom to us with the utmost sincerity, do we not believe?  It speaks volumes for the depths of our own souls, whether we respond with kindness and smiles or turn away in revulsion.

Pity those who see only the surface and not the invention of a lone soul progressing his art beyond a mere tool.  They are the unfortunates consigned to make programming decisions from a vast distance.

Another key point worth noting is how the story progresses into the horror host phenomenon.  This is where Mr. Dyszel fumble-foots into a trove of glittering gemstones and becomes part of a signifier for a deeply relevant art form’s transmutation.

Exiled from mainstream television, only to return and finally be banished again, Mr. Dyszel would seem too nice to survive such a crushing blow as the loss of all he held dear—the beloved figurehead of a local television station yanked from the stage, how contemptable!   Nevertheless, Mr. Dyszel continued his exploration and found in himself the ability to manifest studio in a backpack.

As a result, Count Gore spread his creative power into the Internet, and now no longer needs the station to transmit.  Vanquish the shadow, and he returns again in a new form requiring that we reckon with him once more.  We cannot escape ourselves!

The Internet allows everyone and anyone to be both host and audience, without the coercion and repression one finds in the structure of an impersonal system of power.  Such an environment is a natural breeding ground and salon for a revivification of what can only be termed a capsule of catharsis through the ceremonial experience of violation.

Mr. Dyszel’s successful exploration of the ideas within his passionate being speaks for itself.  To invent his own show regardless of the trauma and set himself firmly at the next foundation of where all culture will be transmitted in the future?

It is nothing less than stunning.

The movie ends with the closing of a former door and the opening of a new portal to worlds undreamed of.  It’s a whole new shared creative space.  One might say the monster not only survived, but lived to help spread the horror of a profound mystery to those who will come after us.

The horror host movement seems poised at the edge of a vast unmarked frontier.  What the practitioner-audience hybrid will make of it is hard to say—anything goes now.  There’s enough history now to form an idea of how things work out of countless trailblazed innovations.  The reactions of those who are themselves following personal visions as hosts are worth studying.

For example, I see in the easygoing testimony of Jerry Moore—who manifests as the outrageous Karlos Borloff—an affection for what Mr. Dyszel has accomplished.  He gained strength from the things he learned by experiencing himself at play with Count Gore on the tell-a-vision.

It’s enough to make me believe that the medium of late night horror shows not only has returned in a renewed form, but in a sense is better than ever before.  One has only to see the de-atomization of the community and the rapid sharing of ideas to see a strange solidarity emerging.

An ancient form of performance taking shape before our very eyes. Watch the movie and learn how profound changes in the world transform the way we experience ourselves as people. That we should owe our very life and soul to a vampire as channeled by a wandering artist of great destiny is truly a miracle of the age.

The key question is: “Did he meant to do that?”  Was it part of the act, this death-defying leap into the future? Before you can stop thinking again, the Count is before you, telling a horrible joke to bring it all back around again.

There’s this television program I watched back in the day.  A show called The Prisoner that played on PBS (The Public Broadcasting Station). My folks and I would huddle around the television set and marvel at The Prisoner’s originality.

Ugh, the term “television” seems so dated now, even though it’s still useful in describing a dominant electronic device in use.  Who would ever have guessed television sets would end up being the precursor to the monitor, whose job it is to communicate computer activity to us?

Or that tell-a-vision would become 2-way?

The slot for The Prisoner was set at an hour, but the episode only lasted 45 minutes. Since this was PBS there were no commercials—what a novel concept!  A short program based around playing chess took up the remaining 15 minutes.

Jerky stop motion animation of a chessboard and its pieces, accompanied by a measured English voice, described the game as it unfolded. It was entertaining and engaging to my folks and I, so we stayed through to watch it.

But enough talk! The Prisoner is today’s topicality of chitchat.

What Is This Show On?

The Prisoner is about a secret agent (or perhaps he is a highly placed government official with access to sensitive information) who resigns from his job and begins packing for a trip. While he is loading up his suitcase, a group of men break into his home and fill the room he is in with knockout gas.

He awakens to find himself in a high-tech security town known as “The Village”. Everyone is called by a number instead of their real name.  His new name is “Number 6”, or just “6”. The Village is self-sufficient, cut-off from the rest of the world, and presided over by a director who is always referred to as “Number 2”. This director is almost always a new person in each episode of the show.

And those are the least weird parts of the place.

For example, The Village relies on security patrols (by foot, helicopter, and boat) to keep people from escaping.  But their primary means of recapturing escapees is a gigantic flying blob-sphere called “Rover”.

Rover paralyzes (and sometimes kills) those who go too far, bringing them back by dragging them to a pick up point.  The thing also makes really scary roaring and movement noises as it goes about its business.

The series lasts only one season, and consists of attempts by the forces of The Village, led by Number 2, to force Number 6 to answer the question, “Why did you resign?” Every kind of coercion is attempted, from outright physical torture to psychological manipulation involving hypnosis and drugs.

Number 6 tries to escape and resist as best he can. Most of the people who live in The Village are operatives for whatever political force runs the secret prison; many of them are undercover, posing as prisoners themselves.

Some inhabitants are genuine prisoners like Number 6 who usually think he’s “one of them”, or are too far broken down to be of use. Mainly it’s up to Number 6 to muster enough wits and skill to keep from being broken.

What Is This Post On About?

Okay, so if you haven’t seen this series yet then stop here and go watch it! I’m about to go into spoiler territory, so ahrooo!

The final episode of The Prisoner has provoked heated discussion over what it means. Basically Number 6 eventually turns the tables on his captors and is invited into the inner circle of power to join them as their new leader, or to depart.

In a surreal unfolding of events, Number 6 leads a machine gun attack on the inner circle and causes what looks like the destruction of The Village.  He and a few compatriots escape back to the real world, where these helpers resume their roles in society.  Number 6 drives off into the sunset.  The number on the door of his home says “1”.

What does the ending mean? How does it explain the events of The Village? Many viewers were expecting a sophisticated puzzle ending.  Here’s what’s been moving through my brain as I consider the meaning of the show for me.

The entire series represents a complex hallucination in which his captors attempt to brainwash him into a state of compliance, whereupon he can do no harm as an independent agent.  The elites of political entities really hate those independent agents.

At the end, Number 6 manages to overcome this hallucination and return to reality, symbolized by him leaving his home and driving off into the sunset, or the endless horizon of freedom.

Which can also be interpreted as a return to the cycle of the beginning of the series, but I think this only reinforces a closure of a complete experience in which Number 6 is no longer Number 1 or Number 6, but Number 0—a fool free to roam at will through any boundary or state of mind.

The last episode is a collapse of the hallucination and the return of sanity.  He has escaped his role as Number 1 (the leader of the system of coercion and repression which he served)—the mysterious butler is the part of him that “served” this system in his capacity as Number 1—and he has escaped his role as the prisoner, Number 6.

The inner circle would prefer he resume his post or be broken.  They divide his personality in an attempt to either cause his complete mental breakdown or remake him into his old role.  Perhaps they are the same thing!

However, instinct triumphs over programming. His stubborn refusal to give up his identity (“I am not a number, I am a free man!”), to cling to the zero as it were, preserves him.

Number 6 asks, “Who is Number 1?” and he is always answered, “You are Number 6.”  This is said in plain sight of the television watching audience many times.  He doesn’t catch the comma in that answer, nor does the audience!  “YOU ARE, Number 6.”

What’s That Again?

The interesting thing for me is how the conflict is always framed in terms of Number 6’s refusal to answer the question, “Why did you resign?”  The thing is, Number 6 answers this question at one point—that his conscience was bothering him about what he was doing.  Being Number 1 must have meant decisions that led to the suffering and death of not only many establishment agents, but innocent people as well.

For example, when Number 2 kills number 73 (an innocent woman), Number 6 reacts with brutal efficiency in destroying the man.  It must have been a similar incident—the death of an innocent in the performance of his duties—that led to Number 6 questioning his role. He gained back part of his soul when he felt remorse, and this in turn led to him to suddenly react against the system.

That Number 6 finally gives an answer—and this answer is ignored-—shows that his captivity isn’t about information at all.  It is about obedience.  The concern about his resignation is a pretense for removal of his identity and re-education.  Send him to the Gulag, folks!  Just make sure it is “justified” by some official reason.  That is, mask the real issue.

Number 6 tries to tell the inner circle but they shout him down.  “I, I, I!”  The magistrate looks on at Number 6’s anguished face.  He understands as Number 6 realizes, it has never been about his stand of conscience, or the fear of his going over to “the other side”—is there such a thing when the inner circle is both black and white in dress? Where the system is total and complete?

There is only one political force—ownership. They merely argue over method.

The Number 2 destroyed by Number 6 returns to initiate the last and most brutal interrogation of Number 6 before the final episode. The inner circle must have believed using this personality piece was key to breaking 6’s will. But I think by this point they had already lost the upper hand and were clutching at straws.

For this Number 2 is, in effect, a form of Number 6’s own past persona.  The part of him that initiated Number 6’s development out of the previous trauma involving the dead woman.  He has, in effect, betrayed the system by self-recreating his own conscience and therefore a person who does not fit under the typical number system.

Number 2 is “destroyed”. He is “dead”. The truth of self-captivity ended his ability to perform his duties. Number 6 is free to go.

This Number 2 is brought back to life and put on trail as an example of a “betrayer”, who bites the hand that feeds him.  But it is a futile gesture.  Nature trumps the system in the end, always. Number 6 is who our protagonist is now, and putting his old identity on a rocket to be shot into space is no use.

Not that the inner circle won’t try to place all the “bad” personalities into that rocket in hopes of being left with only a butler (Number 1).

The young man gunfighter Number 8 from the Living In Harmony episode is brought onto trial as well (as Number 48).  He is put forward as an example of youth that does not rebel in the societally accepted way. He is guilty of rebelling with no purpose, rhyme or reason—not unlike the fool.

This nemesis “kid” was used by the system to threaten others, but he had a drawback.  He was difficult to control and extremely violent.  Youth stifled and manipulated is a dangerous tool to the system.  When we allow the system to send youth out to kill those who oppose repression, we create dysfunctional individuals.

By refusing to fight, as Number 6 did in this episode, one threatens the source from which coercion draws the strength of its force.  Displaying a character who held this kind of basic stance of non-violence was the reason the episode was not allowed to be shown in the U.S. at the time.

It’s revealed that the Living In Harmony episode has been a hallucination within a hallucination in an attempt to get Number 6 to either resume his former post as gunslinger for the ownership or be a victim of his immature personality of violence and confusion, to be “destroyed” by his shadow as it were.

Number 6 “killed” Number 8.  By refusing to strap on a gun and a badge at the same time, Number 6 showed that he wished to remain independent.

Number 48 will also be going up into space on the rocket.

I, I, I!

Number 6 is sent into the rocket to meet with Number 1.  Meaning he will either end up in the tube with Number 2 and Number 48 (who are both laughing and babbling insanely) to be blasted off and disposed of, or he will emerge in a form suitable for control once more.

In the rocket, Number 6 meets a figure wearing the mask of the inner circle.  He strips the mask away only to reveal an ape’s mask underneath. He strips more masks off.  Finally he comes face to face with himself as the figure is revealed to be—himself!  The two of them struggle, the unmasked version of himself laughing maniacally and babbling like a fool.

A fool. His true self!

Number 6 attacks the guards and frees Number 2 and Number 48.  They lead a counterattack against the inner circle; launching the rocket in a surreal confrontation of energies that can only mean the fundamental construct of the hallucination can no longer be defended.

Isn’t that what the system is, after all? A shared imaginary space we participate in? But as they say in gaming circles, “system matters”. Dysfunction leads to typhoid game play and “fun, never.”

Rover is destroyed, melted to slag.  His job was to maintain the boundaries of the hallucination.  In the episode Many Happy Returns, Number 6 actually manages to escape back to the real world for a brief time.  There is no “Rover” or guards to stop him.  The purpose of letting Number 6 temporarily escape was only to fool him into thinking The Village was a literal place.  But it never was!

As the hallucination collapses, the personalities return to their appointed places in the psyche as the “world” becomes more real. We were only a short drive from London after all!  The youth, Number 48, goes off to hitchhike. Number 2 goes off to a job in the government. The butler enters the residence of Number 6. All the personalities within our fool protagonist return to their proper place in the psyche (and appropriate memories).

Number 6 gets in his car and drives off into the sunset/sunrise of consciousness. He is free to go.  At the very least he will awaken and perhaps find himself in a real captivity, but one in which he can actually physically escape from.

It is the fool who encourages us to resign, to claim our life as our own, and to reject numbers altogether. At the end of the adventure he comes around to encourage us to begin anew.

Of course, as cool as the Robotech anime was for me back in the day, what has that got to do with the here and now (such as it is)?  Fear not intrepid reader, for I shall reveal more.

I mentioned that I had kept my die cast metal SDF-1 in part one.  I took it with me to college as a protective talisman.  During times of stress, it helped me to imagine I was the commander of the space defense fortress, fighting off the invading problems of my life.

The toy-as-talisman, or security blanket, encapsulated several reassuring images for me.  While being a military vessel it also contained the citizens of Macross Island, who had rebuilt their destroyed city within the ship.  They grew crops, manufactured goods, and engaged in trade with one another as the ship pursued its course back to earth.

There’s an element of Lost In Space inherent in the image, as well as a Noah’s Ark archetype at work.  The whole of humanity contained within a protective vehicle that manifests all their needs as it transports them to a new state of consciousness.

In the series, most of the population of earth gets destroyed during the final Zentraedi attack.  It’s the unlucky refugees who are isolated from their old life on earth who primarily survive to continue humanity in the new intergalactic world.  Bad as that recycled air and water must have been, it beats being atomized by reflex cannon bombardment from orbit!

Not exactly a wholesome or reassuring reality when you think about it.  The archetype still captures our imagination, however.  Battlestar Galactica used it’s titular spaceship as the flagship that rallies the survival of humanity in the fleet.  Starblazers used the Argo as the means by which the crew accomplishes their goal of restoring earth.  The Discovery in 2001: A Space Odyssey brings humanity in touch with the alien intelligence of the monolith at Jupiter.

The ship as the transport vehicle through the unknown or the unconscious (represented by the sea or space), carrying with it the experiment of humanity from one state of awareness to the other.  The whole package by default carries with it all that is needed.  As they say, wherever a human being goes they carry themselves with them!

You might say that these ships are all small imitations or intimations of the biggest ship of all, the earth.  These ship-tales echo our own world experience by bringing the grand affair into a more comprehensible field of form.

So while I’ve been making use of these popular tales, from Star Trek to Robotech, I’m getting the feeling that it’s time for me to consider what my own, personal, individualized form of the ship-tale is.

If this were an ocean based exploration I’d choose a submarine, something closer to Voyage To The Bottom Of the Sea or 20,000 Leagues Beneath The Sea.  One could make it an earth adventure, and then get something akin to At The Earth’s Core or The Last Dinosaur.  Outer space could mean the vast strangeness of Space: 1999 or long struggle and searching of Lost In Space.

Countless environments, phenomenon and consciousnesses waiting to be experienced and meditated upon.  All worthy and interesting explorations to me.

Trouble is, what will I pick?  Perhaps I will build something from the ground up, exploring what components the experience consists of through discovery.

Stay tuned!

Nowadays Anime and Mecha (giant robots piloted by humans) are no big deal.  While I was still in high school though, many a moon ago, any appearance on television was a huge event. Of course, the concept of television was not the endangered species it is today either.

You had to get up early to catch this kind of stuff, like many shows that were barely allowed to show in the backwaters far from prime time slots.  But Robotech blew my mind with its character complexity and ongoing story.  Like Speed Racer, Marine Boy, and Starblazers before it I would be exposed to new ways of thinking and civilization would move forward in microscopic ways.

The premise is this: An alien vessel crash-lands on earth, filled with advanced technology and a brand new fuel source—protoculture.  The event causes the earth to unite under a world government and rebuild the alien ship into the flagship of a military organization called the Robotech Defense Force (or RDF for short).  It is believed that the aliens will come looking for the ship and earth wants to be ready to repel them.

Turns out that’s a correct assumption.  On the day of the maiden voyage of the flagship (known as the SDF-1 or “space defense fortress”), the aliens (giant humanoids called the Zentraedi) appear with the intention of capturing the flagship and returning to their home planet.

In the first series, known as “Macross” (named after the island the SDF-1 crashed and was rebuilt upon), we follow the adventures of both the humans and the Zentraedi involved in the struggle over possession of the SDF-1.  During the initial attack to recapture the ship, the humans discover not all of the modified-for-human-technology works at they believe.  Despite their superior forces, the Zentraedi find the behavior of the humans confusing and are constrained by orders not to destroy the SDF-1.

The Macross series really begins in earnest when the humans use the SDF-1 to execute a “space fold”, but botch the process.  They end up transporting themselves and most of Macross Island to outer space, at the far end of the solar system.  They are forced to rescue the 50,000 or so inhabitants of the island along with as much supplies and material as they can, then try to return to earth.  The Zentraedi attempt to stop them as the SDF-1 makes its way back home.

All a decent enough back-story for what happens, and in many cases that would drive the action of most television shows. What struck me as most powerful though was the idea that you could have a vast array of different iconic characters that included the “bad guys”.

Who it turns out aren’t as bad as first thought. The Zentraedi are controlled by the Robotech Masters who have stolen the fuel source of protoculture from another alien race—the Invid.  Protoculture, the source of immense power that fuels all the giant robot machines in battle, is a life form that belongs to the Invid.

The second series would examine the Robotech Masters and the third the Invid—and their effect on humanity.  In the second series the main protagonist is a woman.  That was another cool thing; how different kinds of women could have important parts in the drama.

The Zentraedi find the human culture awesome and exciting and many eventually elect to “micronize” themselves to human size and assimilate into humanity. The show evolves from a struggle for survival to a question of integration among different cultures.  This is handling the big stuff folks.

It isn’t perfect. There’s bias creep in the stories, not all of which holds up today.  But back then it was like advanced technology.  Cool characters dying? Questions of gender identity? Complexity in villains?

It was hard, getting up to watch this show.  Remembering to program my folks’ Beta VCR to record it wasn’t easy either.  Sometimes there’s only so much willpower available to a teenager, even when the stakes are something you really care about. This wasn’t the first or last show I had to fight to watch.

But sometimes that’s what young people have to do, fight for the things that matter for them.  Their very education is at stake. I would argue the future of civilization itself is at stake.  For where else will you learn the important lessons of culture if not through the hard-to-reach treasures of artistic pronouncement?

I still have my die cast metal SDF-1, bought on discount from Kaybee toys for ten bucks. My symbol of the adaptability of human transformation and the ability of new forms of thought to disrupt even the most ingrained forms of coercion and repression.

Nothing belongs to us; it is all borrowed on the backs of someone else.  Yet in a sense we are stealing from each other because we need to separate ourselves from truth, believe we are special above all others.  This is the dilemma of our civilization, the ability to recognize our limits and accept our indebtedness to others’ lives, yet still celebrate the individual who dares to speak with an honest need.

The stories are there now—alive—as we speak. What secret wonders are being revealed to youthful and eager eyes beyond our imagining?

A gal over at one of my watering holes started talking about plot, mentioning it as a process. I keep seeing plot mentioned in and around the stellar chatter of the interweb system channels, so I figured I’d tackle this one.

Simply stated, plot is “what happens”.

Not to be confused with premise, which is “what it’s about.”

I wonder about the aversion some people have to formulaic plots.  I don’t believe that’s what people object to exactly.

For example, I think of the TV show House, which is the same plot every episode—cranky doctor solves medical mystery despite obstacles.  Even though it’s the same thing every episode and the premise is never actually addressed—it’s better to be an honest jerk than a well-meaning phony—I still see it as an interesting show because it is reliable.

I think what people object to is the use of writer force to override viewer authority.  In other words, bad technique.

Plot, like light, is actually both a wave and a particle. It can be both a thing and a process.  The question is whether we are dealing with prep or improvisation.

Plot emerges from the work through the resolution of situations (character plus setting equals situation).  When it’s a process it arises from the working out of the story.  When it’s a thing it is exerted upon the story as a planned phenomenon.

Both have an underlying structure, a platform in which they emerge on-stage.  Both require practice in order to put on a good show.  Both have strengths and weaknesses it pays to spend time understanding.  Both are legitimate courses of exploration that can be adjusted to fit the project.


Way back in the days of great doom there used to be this crazy cable station that played music videos all the time.  For those of us too poor to afford access to this fountain of culture, there were television shows with videos.  That is, when you didn’t have to pay cable companies for the privilege of television with commercials.

One such television show was Friday Night Videos. They showed many if not most of the popular videos, along with a handful of oddities.  Had a rockin’ intro too.  It was like a weekly ritual with my folks and me for a while.

Friday Night Videos disappeared. But it was okay because the crazy cable station moved down to the level of “standard fare” and I could see videos galore. It was a golden age of seeing what was happening in music for me.

Then a strange thing happened–the cable channel began mixing shows in with the videos. At first it was edgy programming like Beavis and Butthead and The Maxx. But slowly, those videos faded away until all that was on were fake reality programs and weird attempts at gameshows.  The videos disappeared.

Rumor had it they’d moved to a clone station somewhere.  They lost me.  See, this thing called the Internet had become the place to hang out and hear the latest.  I remember when I first heard of MP3—I thought it was crap and would never catch on (dial-up was still the rule then).

My folks got rid of their cable subscription.  The free channels are awesome, because they aren’t beholden to the big corporations (there’s no money in “only commercials TV”) and you can see things you don’t normally see anymore.  Local stuff.  Personal stuff. International stuff that isn’t whitewashed with Hollywood phony baloney culture.

I don’t miss the cable.  The other day, Comcast came through the neighborhood with a two-man team.  They sent one guy one day and the other guy the next day—my guess is to wear down resistance and get past first-impression blocks due to psychology incompatibilities.  They were hyper aggressive and refused to take no for an answer, trying to barge in and sign us up.

See, when I had Comcast their service was horrible and their product stunk.  I’ll never go to them again, even if it means no television.  All these tactics do is remind me how much I hate them and never want to hear from them again.  It also makes me laugh because if this is their new tactic—they are desperate for cash and just don’t get why.

The new economy is about consumers getting what they want, when they want it.  You can’t ram stuff down our throats anymore.  Unwanted, irrelevant, inconvenient come-ons and advertising gets NO PLAY with me.  And from the attitudes of these guys, and the look on their faces when I said I only watch Netflix or the Internet, I can tell I’m not alone.

K, the folks, and I sat down on Friday and watched a free television program come on.  Two hours of videos, from mainstream acts to obscure weirdoes and local artists.  It blew our minds how cool this stuff was.  Friday Night Videos is gone, but its spirit is back and better than ever.  We sat down as a family and watched with an excitement we haven’t felt in years.

Rock on UFO Girl, rock on.

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