Archive for ‘Elephant Gnosis’

May 13, 2008


by David Kettle

(excerpted from PULL THE PIN: The KeroseneBomb Reader; an extract of ELEPHANT GNOSIS)

… … … If only… … … If only they knew…Clouds billowing, muffled Alps, they draw the air and the electricity in and away. Mushroom edged underneath heaven, the snaky vectors of my bad intent are written out in longhand. Elephant trunked and bilious, the clouds portend something. They are under the scored planes… … …


Happy Now? I’m here again. It’s me… Buffy Strangelove… Remember me? It’s time for re-entry. Turn the mobiles off. I’m under the floorboards and in the waiting room. I’m needled. I look around and cultivate contempt for my fellow passengers. All except Dionysia, my intended. I love her, because she’s like me, because she is me. I forgive everything where she’s concerned. I’m looking out at the planets and I’m flirting with rage. I’ve just had my 6th, one drink too many and I’m eyeing up a suitable target for dischargeable anger. When the gods fall out, mortals tremble. And I’m raged up, full of anger. My last re-birth was ineffectual. I blew it. Big time. I flew in at 8:00am a reduced presence. Never got used to the stomach churning pressure bursts that characterize cheap economy flights up and down the world, never acclimatized to the sudden loss of altitude, scoring a cheap lesion of freighted panic in my temporal lobe, electrical circuits suddenly billowing with undischarged energy…

Planes cleared for landing choreograph a mimetic ballet of grace. In and out over the sea, lugubrious and of undisclosed tonnage, the planes score out these vectors of intent, bad intent, whose directness mimics their passengers’ incorrectly assumed infallibility. It’s a conspiracy of complacency, airline placemen affecting indifference, producing a kind of somnambulant acceptance of the inevitable. Out to sea and a few circles described gracefully against the nothingness before banking back towards dry land. Birds of a feather, ironclad, bursting energy barriers, and churning the uptight stomachs of raged-up economy fliers, back from backpacking holidays and mini-breaks to the continent.

I have to admit I don’t seem like the best of flyers. I act out like a novice, wincing and palpitating with fake anxiety. I grip the arm rests in simulated panic, my furrowed brow describing an outright unease, a pretence which keeps in check my propensity for flight violence. I feign a nervousness I don’t feel, affecting a satirical antidote to the spurious serenity of my becalmed and complacent fellow passengers. I scream suddenly and ridiculously, a falsetto shriek of comedy horror, and harvest the baleful looks that are cast in my direction. Every narrowed eye, each gritted tooth a scalp, a trophy on the sideboard of my petty shadenfreude. I’m famous, or infamous, for brawling on charter flights, getting boozed up and petulant, peevishly niggling at fellow passengers, laughing as we hit turbulence, giving the attendants a hard time, asking for yet more booze, tsking ostentatiously at the way people recline in their seats. I’m always good for half a page of tabloid jokiness.

As we come in to land, engines throttling back, I discharge gently I’m noticed, a turn of the emanatory head a goddess well known to me is sitting three rows in front. My wife Dionysia, beautiful and stylish household goddess, flame headed and heavy lidded, knows from this gesture of infinite tenderness that I intend to become her, at least until customs are cleared. We sit apart so as not to attract attention. We are twins, separated at birth, and re-conjoined in love, mutual dependence, respect and gnosis. Elephant gnosis . The energy flows are open (yeah!) re-birthing season is again upon us, the elephant tracks are re-emplaced and we are about to re-open London for numinous devotional action. The electricity reservoirs are dangerously full (again), all gurus, accountants, PR men, friendly politicos, personality broadcasters, agents and commissioners of TV documentaries (and parody documentaries, and reality shows and all cable blether shows, niche slots for insomniacs and the needy mad, the belligerent mad and the quietly desperate) are primed for action. Disqualified from appearing on any of my shows are the disenfranchised who, under common law, are “idiots” and “lunatics in their non-lucid intervals”. The country, opened up to the clandestine presiding spirits, like all potentially numinous countries repeals freedom as and when it suits. A show of selective “democracy” is enough to get us fighting mad. We hate that. If the greasy politicians and psycho-secular power brokers knew we were landing, the shit would really hit the fan. So for now, I have to secrete myself. We’ll clean up here, not from a coarse desire for attention, fame or money, but out of love. Love, hate and fecklessness. We are boozed up already. We’ll spread out in London.

I wanted to marry Dionysia many years ago, but she was from a different caste, and was disadvantaged in my dreams by the furious opposition of her mother and especially her father from contemplating a re-birthing with me. But I overcame all opposition. I always overcome all opposition. I’m a can-do kind of guy. I operate out of rage, from under the floorboards. I nurture bitter obsessions and nurse vendettas in my bosom. People better watch out for me. I killed ’em all. Palace coup, gunfire ringing through the windy corridors, made to look like an accident. But anyway, as I say, Dionysia and I were joined in birth, joined like royalty at the head. The shared brainpan eventuating massive Gnostic capability, approached in intensity only by the larger mammals. Like elephants. Whales too, although cetaceans don’t have their unlimited power. Unfortunate associations and alignments with navel gazers and earth huggers circumscribe cetacean power. They’re too closely identified with bleeding soul types, tainted slightly by association. But we’re self-selecting see? Our kind of exhibitionism is beyond the scope of satire. We appear as we are, self selected. The best surgeons were dismissed and we were subsequently enabled to separate ourselves. Tripartite separation oh, did I mention Frank? No? Well Frank’s a bad man. He was involved somewhere. We killed him though. Oh, later on. Frank doesn’t have a psychology. He doesn’t behave as you might expect, doesn’t conform to traditional narrative linearity. He was married to Dionysia before me. He was my brother, but like I say, I killed him. He became an academic, reason enough one might assume for fratricide.

Through customs, I blend in. Not willing to attract attention to myself, I am secreted in translucent carrier bags; I morph into more seductive forms. I become sexy, stylish, high heels clicking over the parquet. Giving out pheromone signals, I turn heads, distracting attention from the fact that I am toting a good deal of surplus electrical baggage. At this stage one of my clandestine familiars, a gentleman dressed in the American style, with long unkempt hair and with a cigarette dangling from his lower lip, approaches the customs officials and introduces himself. After an eternity of pretended efficiency and half-arsed officiousness, they are still staring bleakly at him. He then pleads for clemency on the grounds of his own stupidity, a plea that is rejected. Meanwhile I am able to sneak through with the minimum of fuss, the sniffers’ attention distracted by the American who continues to loudly proclaim the innocence of the camera which he wears around his neck, which he claims is a dependent. My essential being meanwhile is hidden under a starkly effective mink, a cosseted fetish in furs. Frank is in a duty free bag and Dionysia is me again. The customs men are, as I say, too pre-occupied or dazed to realize that all other observers and potential troublemakers are in the throes of love. I am able, from the bag, to capture the desecrated hearts of all men and women in the vicinity with a capacity for beauty. They are suddenly aware (in some cases for the one and only time in their lives dimly recognizing that there is something they’ve forgotten to take care of, something intrinsic, something fundamental) of the over-riding need for love . These people immediately break down sudden emotional incontinence, hugging each other, spontaneously keening and moaning. Low level heartbreak, all the more poignant as it is of course merely a temporary window into their forsaken-ness, mischievously and maliciously opened by me, a window whose existence they’d always thereafter be aware of, but which they’d have no means of re-accessing. Heartbreaking all round. They sense for this one transcendental moment that their lives have up till now been lived according to un-likely and highly spurious rules. And because of my ersatz malevolence they will forever after be obliged to live with the memory of something they can never recapture. Like I said, I’m a can-do type of a guy. I have to hurt to make the connection. Ruthless honesty and soul searching, in the quest for personal attention, must be rigorously applied. I plan to re-awaken the urge to seek attention, to recapture the briefly enlightened moment of transcendence. Otherwise they’ll never know. But this is only a foretaste. This is only the beginning. There’s more to be done, electricity to disperse.

In a dream, they watch me pass through customs as though they’ve seen an angel. As indeed they have. I’ve always been a prick-tease like that. My beatific countenance always evinces a beatific spirituality co-mingled with deadpan whorishness, a devotional come-on, Hollywood inspired. So, this brief inner stirring, this all too transient tumescence of the soul is, for these tormented individuals, for whom the presence of angels is heartbreakingly only for this one moment among many a possibility, so sad. So sad. Oh well, things to do. Tracks to lay, agents to contact. I’m actually lying when I say that my actions are born out of malevolence. But I can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs. I needed we needed, to clear customs intact.

So this is how Dionyisia and I skip customs. We show them the light, briefly enough for their hearts to be broken. Our custom is thus to slip un-noticed although fully re-birthed into country after country, onlookers in the reception lounges uneasily aware of an incipient divinity within their grasp. It’s a responsibility we don’t intend to evade. I’ve lived under the floorboards too long. Through a natural talent for outsider intransigence, I spin webs, spiritual matrices to catch the souls of those willing and able to see us our visions, to re-cog us as the angels we may well be. I’m traduced for this by apostate ex-gods, stethoscope toting functionaries, obsessive demiurges, surgeons of the base levels who stalk me and my dreams, who are in pursuit of me, who are switched off, who don’t believe in this thing that we’ve become. Non-twinned and from the lower castes, they eke out a living carving out the tumours and lesions that mere flesh is prey to. They are hospital vampires drinks parties with the admin whores, civic unction displayed at all times, kickbacks from the drug companies, reliance on pure hospital grade morphine, holidays in the darkness of needless operations.

They say:

“I help people… people like you….”

To which their patients reply

“Meaning what?”

“Meaning… what you want it to mean…”

“You… you just leave… my wife… alone!”

“If you’ve got a problem with your conscience, it’s gonna get a whole lot worse afterwards, believe me.”

The above dialogue filtered through to me from a distant place. Some sort of waiting room. A place in which the vengeful pursuit by Ahab of my tripartite godhead had been ruthlessly fictionalized, for a purpose not of my own making, brought to life by second rate actors. My life had, in this tarnished version, become cheap (although expensively assembled) Sunday evening drama. It was an echo from a pre-birthed age, a psychological past, and a past in which people were able to believe in a narrative psychoanalysis of their motives. An age before psychology had not yet become entirely coffee table. An age of production values, devalued intent, faces upon which expressions can be read, no matter how artful the attempt to conceal motives. Faces lit ingeniously to capture the spiritual essence of this or that character. Like we ever believed in that. Maybe some did. Maybe. But I resolved to use it later on in my dealings with Frank, who would need some careful handling when it came out about me and Dionysia…

(other voices intervene here) There might be a way around this though. Let this drift, till management takeover. Finance? Overdraft. Also, don’t minute this. Divisional stringency and a lifetime’s drift. In Academe. I WILL be at future meetings. Wankbait has to say. Review progress -> instigation. Human remains/resources fr. Rebirthings. Scumcunt. We can’t review this until we ourselves are reviewed. I am process/in review. Hellenic. Subjudice. Mythological format to confound psychologist linearity. Suggested alter-ego – Nobby Wyse – English and Foreign Livestock. Be more fruity. Tombstones of the failed re-birthed observed on back of pick-up trucks all over N.London, instigating enquiry. The permanently dead now taking up valuable space. Pachydermal hints already picked up by, er, “switched on” types in city slacks. Mobile phones are humming with incidental intent. Click, bzz, crkk…this is how we know. It’s Walkman interference. Matrices are in confusion at this time. (Some say) tragic metaphysician, under the influence of half-baked occultism: lounge music (wink) cocktail music, dinner jazz intonations at odds with the badness of the intent. Me I’m the only boozer who’s not intimidated by Frank, he don’t scare me. That’s what normal people do – whistle. I whistle right in his mug. He seems confused. Medusa Rappa the ex-witch has SHOT her newest lover but being her ex-husband I fully support her actions. I understand misconceived intent. This is now burnout. There is a residue of superfluous electricity. The newly enfranchised (locators of the soul in the SELF) have devised extreme hedonist templates for city living. Result: too much electricity. Rectify this as a matter of urgency…

…Speaking in tongues like some dippy fucking fairground fortuneteller, I come over like some recidivist psychopath on the revenge trail. The guys in peaked caps look askance. They’re immune to this pheromone jazz. It happens, fellas, but I can see I need to explain to you how I reviewed this received information for future boardroom level emanations. I am a man of authority and command respect in the City, my solutions to multifarious spiritual problems generally praised if not entirely understood by the dipshit moneymen, the currency grinders and power brokers for whose soul needs I have undertaken a kind of responsibility. It’s about electricity. Superfluous electricity is produced here by “irritation”, a very modern phenomenon occasioned by close proximity to other power sources and over use of gadgetry. And by over-reliance on therapy fetishism, a synonym for extravagantly lived, hyper-solipsistic lifestyles. The have it all mentality. Only gods can have it all. Mere pre-birthed individuals produce, in the attempt to “have it all”, a superfluity of electricity, which needs to be discharged somehow. I have the key. City bimbos routinely assume a countenance of objectively perceived glamour, behaving as though actions don’t have consequences (and of course they don’t -but they don’t know that) and as though celebrity debauch is in and of itself transferable to their own quotidian realm. They behave as though there is no price to pay. The tab is never picked up. The bars are full of raged up X chromosomes, heedless of excess. They are no different in appearance to the fallen stars of their imaginations. They fall into and out of nightclubs; get blotto on tomorrow’s mortgaged time.

Or again, for example, excess electricity is produced in extremis by macro-biotic types who’ve developed an “interest” in eastern religions, a misguided yearning after elongation of personalized Terran linear time span. The doomed quest is heart breaking. The quest for re-tumescence of the perceived Inner Core of Being, being itself putatively located in the inner core of the so called Showoff and Display part of the brain, the temporal lobe, located next to the hippocampus. This proximity produces in pre-re-birthed individuals a surfeit of electrical activity, of bad intent, intent which if not discharged in ritual peregrination of the old bus lanes ends up surging impotently around the city precincts. Hence the importance to all personalized spiritual efforts of this organ within an organ, this wheel within a wheel, previously (wrongly) assumed to be concerned exclusively with locomotive and direction finding abilities. Of course, all (so-called) primitive cultures invoke power over nature via repetitive and ritualistic perambulations, an evocation of divinity via the obsessive treading and re-treading of pre-determined routes. Rain invoked, or in this case dispersal of a surfeit of electricity, achieved by treading the elephant trails, mythic route-shapes which, when viewed from above (from a space ship or whatever) delineate a vast Picasso sketch, a domed trunked head; trunk and ears, dome viewed head on. This is of vital importance to all that follows. Everything follows from the nature and shape of the city’s ex-bus lanes. You following me fellas?

The hippocampus is thought to be one of the most important brain structures involved in memory. The case of the patient Medusa Rappa, one of the most famous case studies in neuropsychology, strikingly demonstrates the importance of the hippocampus. In 1983, as a 27-year-old woman, MR underwent brain surgery to control severe epileptic seizures. The surgeons removed her medial temporal lobes, which included most of the hippocampus, the amygdala, and surrounding structures. Although the operation successfully controlled MR’s seizures, it had an altogether unexpected and devastating side effect: MR was unable to form new long-term memories in a way that she could later retrieve them. That is, she could not remember anything that happened to her after the surgery. She could not remember meeting new people or new experiences for more than a few minutes. This resulted in her later shooting dead a former lover, who’d come round to try and effect a reconciliation. Still in possession of a latchkey, he’d insinuated himself one morning into her flat and then her bed in confident anticipation that his overtly romantic gesture would meet with her eager approbation. Instead he awoke in her a startled revulsion that found immediate expression in action of the most affirmative and precipitate nature. Amazed to find a man she didn’t recognize in her sleeping quarters, and to make matters infinitely worse a man sporting a lascivious smirk, a smirk which he imagined was the precursor to renewed and impassioned relations, she expediently reached over to the bedside table, picked up her shooter and blew a hole in the centre of his forehead, rendering his own hippocampus, along with the rest of his brain, permanently ineffectual. His memory, both short and long term, underwent a sudden and irreversible turn for the worse. Notwithstanding this inconvenient episode, her memory of events prior to the surgery was mostly intact, and her reasoning and thinking skills remained strong if somewhat febrile. A further side effect, which was noted at the time but suppressed (for reasons we can’t guess at) in the case history, involved a loss of spiritual intent and capability. Friends noted that she’d become indifferent to matters of the self, to the renewability of the soul and was turning up late, if at all, for Polarity Massages and Mythic Rejuvenescence sessions. Researchers concluded that the hippocampus and its surrounding structures in the medial temporal lobe play a critical role not only in the encoding of episodic memories, especially in binding elements of memories together to locate the memories in particular times and places, but also in spiritual capability and devotional direction finding (peregrinatory invocation of divine intervention)…

…Whole daze. Days. Forgotten to talk. Neighbourly watch, even at the moment of crisis I cultivate error correction. Collective error correction. I am aloof generally. Lazy bastard in other words the city’s former bus lanes, now reserved for elephants, are vital as conduits for electricity dispersal. I want to live but there’s too much other stuff. Stuff I created. I can’t live in this pre-corrected state. I’m here in the waiting room, eyes half open. My sight’s going, I see my reflection in you. Or me. I can’t tell which. I am psychoanalyzed by Ahab, and I went AWOL. I slept in Finsbury Park. I wasn’t there. I don’t know why not…

…To get back to me: through customs, re-entry via the channels of no resistance. I do not resemble my passport photo and it’s pure sleight of hand that I get through. I am Dionysia and she is me. I am in her duty frees, a perfume of incalculable seductiveness and overpowering pheromonal effect. We are each other, joined at the head and arse, at birth, and now split asunder. Otherwise like last time, it’s air rage re-entry. Cause, by misbehaviour in and around the cockpit (ritualistic slagging of the pilot and his/her sexual orientations) a nosedive and potential disaster that is only averted by some pretty sharp thinking on the part of the airheadhosts and hostesses. I’ve been wrestled to the ground and subdued on more than one occasion, Dionysia observing me from a window seat with a quiet smirk of appreciation. It assures us safe passage through customs. But I don’t want to use that too often. Good gags should be used sparingly.

So anyway, back in town, in the waiting room, the walls seem to press in on me. (Hi fellas! It’s me. Buffy! I’m here again!) Single 60 watt bulb, attendant hosts and hostesses in night robes, masked and scrubbed, are seemingly intent on psychoanalysis. Can you believe that? In this post-psychological world, they cling to outmoded forms as jealously as would a visiting academic to the impression that he might still possess (as though he ever did) some form of sexual charisma. I am obliged to recount, under hypnosis, my impressions of the guiding principles of my, er, philosophy, for want of a more appropriate term. I glance mischievously at Dionysia, who turns up the volume on her walkman. The faint tss tss of escaped sound announces that she understands. She increases the volume and I notice, although the flight attendants don’t appear to, that there is a faint blip in the electrical power supply to the building. She turns it up some more, and finally even the personal trainers/therapists in attendance on me (rather too closely for my full comfort I have to admit) are obliged to notice a significant diminution of the power supply. Their perturbation is a picture.

I am of course merely playing a role here. I’ve never been in a hospital in my life. I don’t believe that there can ever be a reason to enter these establishments unless accompanied by a camera crew and with full SAR-B (suicide assisted re-birth) accreditation. I realize that in my very English assumed self-loathing I cut a very Bogardian figure, a sort of nervy academic type, with military bearing but suggesting a history including some deep personal trauma that might account for my, ahem, psychosis nurses falling in love in discreetly British fashion with my tortured countenance. I am just a poor boy, not a man, a boy in need of love and understanding, a manboy endowed with the face of a neurotic, a monkey-genius. English nurses go for that one big time. More than once, I’ve woken from general anesthetic proclaiming my love for some sweetly countenanced English rose and more than once I’ve observed that love reciprocated, if un-acted upon, these gorgeous creatures unwilling or unable to abuse their therapeutic position. I wouldn’t mind a bit of abuse. I’ll tell you that for nothing.

The head shrink Abrahams is pushed to and fro on a sort of metal trolley. He assumes the aspect of some sort of panjandrum of self-importance, issuing orders to his underlings, imperiously barking out directional commands like the captain of some circumscribed vessel that’s destined for the rocks, his messianic expression clearly indicating the essential obsession with which he endows his every action. He’s a man possessed. I fancy He imagines Himself as Ahab, and I am His Great White Whale. Not that he actually has any need to assume this dictatorial and frankly ridiculous, self-aggrandizing posture, his absurdly self important conveyance entirely at odds with the actual role he fulfils, which is merely that of facilitator of my dreamtime musings. Like all limited (non-twinned) professionals, he can’t bear not to be the centre of attention. Very like Frank in fact. In fact, maybe he is Frank.

So anyway there I am lying there in Finsbury Park, watching the scored planes fly overhead, a whisper of breeze, the shadows of the nearby trees looming large and grey. I notice that the tune on my Walkman is increasingly compromised by a variety of electrical blips, squeaks and buzzes. Interference. The ether is loud enough in itself, so I wonder what’s causing this. My listening pleasure is somewhat diminished, my ears full of electrical discord. I see quite suddenly, at the crown of the hill, a small herd of elephants, intermingling with the shadows. The electricity seems to ebb and flow as they move into and out of my immediate vicinity. A group of mobile-toting life-stylers saunters past and the electricity seems to swell. The ckk,bzz,tss,crkkk intensifies and then recedes. But still there’s a residual pool, a reservoir of understated voltage disturbing the general ambience. And then it happens. Something happens to alarm the elephants. They are distracted by some commotion at the other end of the park. There is a trumpeting, a honking, they relinquish the sanctuary of the trees and the crown of the hill up by the running track and the lake and stampede down towards the Seven Sisters’ Rd. And as they go, I realize that suddenly the air has been cleansed of previously stagnant electricity. They have somehow contrived, by their sudden removal, to decontaminate the surroundings of stale electricity. The air has been purified, somehow distilled. The tune on the Walkman is now crystal clear, the ambience somehow divinely regenerated. To say that this discovery is a watershed in my pre-birthed existence would be an understatement. Literally an understatement. Everything follows…

As a result of this epiphany the city’s abused bus lanes have become, by my divine Gnostic agency (soul regeneration), elephant trails. They tread the well-scored vectors, all around the city, dispersing electricity by ritual peregrination. This divine act occasions in the tuned in citizenry a kind of spiritual calm lays the tracks for intense post-psychological soul searching, or Elephant Gnosis as I’ve termed it. Via this patented and affordable technique, citizens are afforded previously hidden opportunities for spiritual Rejuvenescence and suicide-assisted rebirth. It’s no secret. I’m a big noise in the city and in the channels of mediated power. I assume multitudes of personae, electricity flees my agents, and I re-birth at will. I enter and re-enter. I have discovered previously hidden secrets, the divine and arcane secrets. I fictionalize and re-fictionalize, adumbrating the outlines of Gnostic self-therapy. Multitudes of additional personae are re-birthed, multifarious aspects of the self, all interchangeable and clamouring for attention. The self is (needless to say) the most precious commodity, the currency of ubiquity in this meta-therapeutic age, and I have hi-jacked all available outlets. I hold the leases on all franchised outlets. Elephant Gnosis has been patented. I precipitate as many elephant-gnostic emanations as I choose. I am plurality, in a newly minted pleroma of inconsequence. Hot shit! -30-

(5/13/08 )