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Transrealism Interview With Leon Marvell

My scholarly friend Leon Marvell has been visiting from Melbourne, Australia. Today he made a video of us in conversation, with an eye to editing the material in weird ways later on—the video not yet available. I made an audio tape into a podcast The topics were my novel, Turing & Burroughs, transrealism, surrealism, the richness of the world, the natural incompleteness theorem, predictability, the book business, self-publishing, and beatnik SF. Click on the icon below to access the podcast via Rudy Rucker Podcasts.

And here’s Leon himself. Trained as an art historian, Leon now teaches film and media studies. Two years ago, Leon and I gave a talk on “Lifebox Immortality,” see my Lifebox page for more info and for a link to the paper. Leon studies art history, but now teaches film and meadia art, and is intersted in esotericism. His best-known work is his book, Transfigured Light: Philosophy, Science, and the Hermetic Imaginary.

Before he arrived, I found a two-dimensional mandala on the sidewalk.

As I mentioned, my wife and I were on a road trip through the Wild West earlier this month, and I’m going to start posting some images from that. Here’s a nice picture taken at the upper New Fork Lake near Pinedale, Wyoming. I love the wiggle of the mountains and the clouds in the water. As above, so below.

On the way out there we spent a night at the Border Inn on the line between Utah and Nevada. Saw a glorious Western desert sunset. In this photo, I’m standing in Utah and the buildings are in Nevada.

The dinner cost $20, and I won $20 on a slot machine. The room was like a storage locker with a bed and an air-conditioner. A pleasant place nonetheless.

With a solitary basketball hoop in the desert.

Exciting to be so far off the grid.

6 Responses to “Transrealism Interview With Leon Marvell”

  1. Téx Royahaha´ Says:

    Podcast is très agréable. The notion that the human can only do so much gives dreams a lot of solid purpose and floaty weight. Great description of the transreal ‘higer-reality we’re embedded within’. I am a human hermit crab. Every night I slip into a slick new dream shell and explore the ocean. Remember me this way in our next life. What archetype are you playing out right now, Rudy?

  2. Alex Says:

    Very strange sound recording there… the background sounds are super clear, I thought that bird was outside my house! And the voices are very low, and sure enough you spotted this half way through, then the chainsaw started!!

    On the self publishing theme, how about you issue some audio books? Your voice is very suited to audio books…

  3. Rudy Says:

    Tex, glad you got into the ideas. My present archetype? I like the Brando Godfather when he’s an old man growing tomatoes. Or the Eskimo on an ice-floe who’s steered the floe to a cozy warm inlet with a soft beach.

    And Alex, this was indeed recorded outdoors, in my back yard. It was the first time I used my new recorder, a Zoom Handy H2. I should have put the foam guard over the mic head to keep the wind-rattle off, and I should have set the recorder closer to me, or consistently spoken louder and clearer. Live and learn. In any case it seems listenable, kind of nice being “outdoors” like that, with the airplanes and the distant sirens and the birds. I think I’m gonna like the Zoom H2.

    I’ve thought of making audio books, but it would really take a long time. I typically speak about 100 words/minute, so a short 80,000 word book is 800 minutes, about 13 hours. Doable, but then there’s the distribution channels to worry about, and I don’t have head space for that at this time. Maybe after I get my tomato garden going.

  4. Téx Royahaha´ Says:

    The end of the recording was darkly symbolic… Being cut out by a chainsaw on the subject of the status of creative/publishing industries. Keep singing to ye wee tomatolings on that cozy beach Rudy, the oxygen will make ’em grow big n juicy. Also stroke the leaves on occasion, apparently touch also encourages growth <<pro-tips

  5. Alex Says:

    I hope you do some audio books,
    it would be good for future generations to hear your voice.

    As an example of how good an audio book can be.
    Check out the brilliant Paul Giamatti version of ‘A Scanner Darkly’.

    http://www.randomhouse.com/book/40609/a-scanner-darkly-by-philip-k-dick

    The link has an excerpt from the audio book.

  6. EH Says:

    That mandala looks like the Golden Dawn representation of Malkuth, the only difference is that the positions of green and white are interchanged. (Malkuth is the Kabalistic root of the Tree of Life, the Kingdom, the Earth, the four elements; but also the preimage of Kether, the crown or highest.) This diagram is used by Israel Redardie in his book on the G.D. to illustrate a bit of Kabalistic geometry that seems like the sort of thing that might appear in your books. As Neil Mann explains it in his article on Yeats’ use of Golden Dawn symbolism:

    The Cabbalistic formulations taught by the Golden Dawn were also significant in preparing the Yeatses for the geometry that so dominates A Vision. For instance, the meeting points of the Trees of Life in different worlds involve a ‘convoluted transmission’ of the forces from one world to the next, so that the transference is shown by an ‘Hour-glass symbol or double cone’. A consequence of the transference from one level to the next is that the ‘forces are caught up and whirled about by the upper cone of the hour glass symbol into the vortex where through passeth the thread of the unformulated, i.e. the Ain Soph. Thence they are projected in a whirling convolution (yet according unto their nature) through the lower cone of the hourglass symbol unto Kether’, so that the lower Kether is titled ‘the commencement of a whirling motion’.

    [See Mann’s article here for the diagram and more on the manner of the projection. It’s about 3/4 of the way down the page]

    The first half of Regardie’s original caption for that illustration is also worth quoting: “(1) The Malkuth of the higher Tree is projected into the Kether of the lower through Ain Soph, the Infinite, placed above Kether in the simple Tree. (2) The forces are transmitted through the Pole to the Equator involving a reversal and interchange in which the highest level does not take part, since it does not reflect downwards. ”

    The projection is reminiscent of a conformal projection from a space of a higher dimension to a lower, with Ain Soph serving as the projective point at infinity. The “hour glass” mentioned is actually a double cone, like a light-cone in relativity.

    Going off the rails a bit, the double-cone’s vortex form can be made by swinging a rod by its center point so that the ends describe circles. ( It may be dangerous, though. Doing this in Atlanta on March 14, 2008 at 9:00-9:15 PM with a 6-foot copper-plated steel grounding rod was synchronistically associated with a tornado dropping out of a clear, calm sky within 30 minutes and 3 miles. The tornado caused one death, hundreds of millions in damages and came within half a block of taking out a packed stadium. Strangely, I have not been able to find any photos or videos showing the tornado itself, just its effects.)

    Another instance of a form similar to the double-cone occurs in Bruce Moen’s exploration of what the Monroe Institute calls “Focus 27”, though the cones are more like bells or hyperboloids. He describes a large, antenna-like, horizontal structure of this double-cone form whose function is to compress souls (which he says look like cocktail shrimp or cheese curls) so that they can reincarnate without excess awareness, which would lead to sensory overload. His observations of spiritual topology are quite a bit more complex than this snippet might indicate, though.

    Yeats had a more interesting vision of the importance of the double-cone – he saw helical gyres on the surface of the cones as tracing out the history of every mind: “The mind, whether expressed in history or in the individual life, has a precise movement, which can be quickened or slackened but cannot be fundamentally altered, and this movement can be expressed by a mathematical form’ and this form is the gyre.” (Mann) This was the origin of the famous lines:

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    [from the opening of Yeats’ poem “The Second Coming”]
    There was much more in his “A Vision” than that – the double-conical spirals repeat in a triangular waveform and interpenetrate with similar spirals which are exactly out of phase, having interchanged triangular peaks and troughs so that one gyre is expanding as the other shrinks. The site cited above has much more on Yeats’ occult symbology.


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