Dragonflies seem stranger than i can imagine.

Reading page 132, of ‘stranger than we can imagine’ by John Higgs, posted to me by Bogus Magus (Toby Philpott), only 10 minutes ago, i had a visitation experience. Probably the closest i have come yet. Let me try to explain.

Page 132, begins with‘…was more than just a story of nuts-and-bolts physical space travel. As the slogan of the 1990s television series ‘The X-Files’ put it, ‘i want to believe. Jung was not interested in the question of whether UFOs were ‘real’ or not. He wanted to know what their sudden appearance said about the late twentieth century…’ and he goes on ‘Whether a witness reported meeting fairies, angels, demons or gods depended on which of those labels their culture found most plausible.’—John Higgs, Pg. 132. Chapter 7: Science Fiction. Stranger Than We Can Imagine. 2015. 

While i sit reading these words above, a dragonfly buzzes up real close to my head, darts around my back. Stops, hovers, then lands on me right near the top of my arm. I glance down and to my right, and stare into the incredible, green and cream eyes of this mini-miracle of nature. I begin to feel slightly awkward by the unblinking gaze, i notice tiny muscles in its face, and again the eyes looking, seemingly at my facial features. The dragonfly sits for maybe 90 seconds, as i sneak-a-peek back to the text, and again back at the flying insect.
Perfectly still, all four wings begin shooting a assortment of coloured photons into my head. Sapphire and emerald jewels, there at the lower limits of my visual perception, and like indras-net, each jewel hangs from a beautiful webbed lattice of wing-tensigrity, pretty much beyond all meaningful description.
And when i went back to pick up the text again, after it finally launched itself and spiralled off over the hedge, i thought to myself; umm, perhaps this could be a real visitation experience from a UFO, at least i feel it certainly visited me, and i’ve little knowledge about Dragonflies, and how to distinguish them from say, a horsefly, or maybe it was another species of flying insect?
And so i went on to think that maybe this dragonfly here acts like the perfect symbol for a modern day angel, god, demon, fairy, UFO? in fact, to be honest, to my own mind, it would be all of these things and more due to the context of the book i was reading, coincidently at that very moment.
Now what might have been a not so meaningful first encounter with a dragonfly, up that close, becomes a jump of point, an intersection point where synchronicity, and the real time waking processing of this reader, sitting in a garden near Bristol, England, intertwine, bootstrap and go all…epiphany on me…illuminated detail, pish: just like that. Now, what does the dragonfly symbolise to me, and to culture at large, maybe i should look to Jung first. Makes sense to me.
So…i researched some interesting dragonfly data, and compiled some short quotes that were meaningful to me (below) Two facts jumped out at me, first i used the word ‘darting’, and ‘sapphire’ to describe the dragonfly, above, and it turns out Japanese poet Basho, and English poet Alfred Lord Tennyson, also used those words to describe a dragonfly.
The scientific details about the reproduction, visual cortex, feeding habits and speciation of dragonflies boggles the mind, they do indeed seem very alien and ancient when compared with us, the domesticated primates. Most of this information is rather occult, i know of only one person who studies dragonflies, in the context of photography, and doubt that most of these details concerning my sudden interest in them today, would interest him much.
Yet, on further meditation i recalled my other previous encounters with dragonflies, but not as right up close as todays visit. In Flevo’ park, Amsterdam, i saw some dragonflies mating on a fallen tree, from the recent storm there, and managed to take some pictures. About 30 minutes afterwards, beside the Flevo lake, i managed to capture video and pictures of a dragonfly, buzzing us and seemingly patrolling the lakeside. (see media section below)
On another occasion, while swimming in the Flevo lake itself, i got pretty close up with a dragonfly, which, was captured on film too. So coming to think about it, i re-suppose that i have a few documented encounters of the dragonfly kind. But what does this tell us about our culture today? maybe its something to do with the dragonfly having a symbolic link to water, or skimming over it, and that the Native American Hopi Indians perform a Dragonfly song to warn men of danger, which features their word for water: tsee, tsee, tsee? According to information displayed at the website: www.scalar.usc.edu
I found the details of Dragonfly flight, together with the various categories and descriptions fascinating, and probably have a direct bearing on proposed advanced UFO technology, if agility, vision and camouflage are important. So study the dragonfly, the four types of flight, the physical and mathematical forces, counter-forces etc. All humankind might benefit from this, and yet, this miniature miracle could also be used for bad. Misused by defence aerospace companies, drone and missile businesses and more, to deliver death and destruction, or simply just watch and observe the prey, sending all images back to skynet.
Furthermore, i was talking to a friend in the garden about the producer ‘Youth’ 3 mins before the dragonfly landed on me. This has some relation to our story here, as John Higgs, the author of the text that triggered this blog, also wrote and brilliant piece about ‘Youth’, the guy who founded Dragonfly records. Youth also played on, and produced Beatnik Youth, an album together with my bandmate John Sinclair (this author plays drums on three cuts from the album)
In conclusion, or something resembling an answer to my initial question, how would a dragonfly help us make sense of the world today, what can it teach us? well, here goes:
Cherish your waters. Skim across the surface of id, and dive deep down into the larvae of the unconscious. Develop alternative flight paths, of speech, look through the illusion, live life to the fullest. Help save our wetlands. End the use of chemical fertiliser and stop the pollution of natural lakes, marshes, rivers, waterfalls and woodlands. Embrace transformation. Fly.
Check out the new book by John Higgs, and see what kind of visitations you have. let me know if anything comes up. Cheers.
—Steve Fly
Bristol. UK

Quotes from wikipedia:


  • They are symbols of courage, strength and happiness in Japan, but seen as sinister in European folklore.
  • About 3012 species of dragonfly were known in 2010; these are classified into 348 genera in 11 families.
  • An adult dragonfly eye has nearly 24,000 ommatidia.
  • Defending a breeding territory is fairly common among male dragonflies, especially among species that congregate around ponds in large numbers.
  • Most of a dragonfly’s life is spent as a nymph, beneath the water’s surface. The nymph extends its labium (a toothed mouthpart) to catch animals such as mosquito larvae, tadpoles and small fish.[39] They breathe through gills in their rectum, and can rapidly propel themselves by suddenly expelling water through the anus.
  • They have four different styles of flight:[46] A number of flying modes are used that include counter-stroking, with forewings beating 180 degrees out of phase with the hindwings, is used for hovering and slow flight.
  • In high-speed territorial battles between male Australian emperors Hemianax papuensis, the fighting dragonflies adjust their flight paths to appear stationary to their rivals, minimizing the chance of being detected as they approach.
  • Dragonflies can fly at 100 body-lengths per second, and 3 lengths per second backwards
  • With the destruction of rainforest habitats, many of these species are in danger of becoming extinct before they have even been named.
  • For some Native American tribes, dragonflies represent swiftness and activity; for the Navajo they symbolize pure water. They are a common motif in Zuni pottery; stylized as a double-barred cross, they appear in Hopi rock art and on Pueblonecklaces.
  • Douglas, a British motorcycle manufacturer based in Bristol, named its innovatively designed postwar 350cc flat twin model the Dragonfly.
  • As a seasonal symbol in Japan, the dragonfly is associated with autumn.[79] More generally, dragonflies are symbols of courage, strength, and happiness, and they often appear in art and literature, especially haiku. Japanese children catch large dragonflies as a game, using a hair with a small pebble tied to each end, which they throw into the air.
  • The poet Matsuo Bashō (1644-1694) wrote haiku such as “Crimson pepper pod / add two pairs of wings, and look / darting dragonfly”, relating the autumn season to the dragonfly.[88] Hori Bakusui (1718-1783) similarly wrote “Dyed he is with the / Colour of autumnal days, / O red dragonfly.
  • The poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson described a dragonfly splitting its old skin and emerging shining metallic blue like “sapphire mail” in his 1842 poem “The Two Voices”, with the lines “An inner impulse rent the veil / Of his old husk: from head to tail / Came out clear plates of sapphire mail.”
  • ‘Dragonflies, or damselflies, were connected to Freya the Norse goddess of love, fertility and warfare. Freya was famous for her beauty and her knowledge as a magician. It was she who taught Odin the shamanic practices known as seidr which were still practiced during Christian times. The paired bodies of mating dragonflies form the shape of a heart, perhaps being the source for that modern symbol of love. In ancient lore, the dragonfly represents transformation, adaptation and insight.’–http://www.crystalinks.com/dragonfly.html


John Higgs talks with Rawillumination about his new book on The KLF and RAW

Raw scholars of the highest caliber in conversation. Thanks Tom. 

JMR Higgs talks about his new book on The KLF and RAW

It’s strange to say that a book about a British pop group is one of the best short introductions to the work of Robert Anton Wilson, but it’s also true. JMR Higgs’ KLF: Chaos Magic Music Money discusses the group but puts it in the context of the band’s biggest influence, the Illuminatus! trilogy and Robert Anton Wilson.

So it’s a pop biography that has lucid explanations of reality tunnels, model agnosticism and Discordian philosophy. I also learned about the history of Ken Campbell’s stage production of Illuminatus!

Mr. Higgs entered the literary scene with I Have America Surrounded: A Biography of Timothy Leary, which I plan to read next year. His novel, The Brandy of the Damned, appeared this year and another novel, The First Church on the Moon, is largely complete. The Tumblr companion for the KLF book is here.

Higgs, who lives in the United Kingdom with his family, cheerfully agreed when I asked if I could pose some questions. This interview took place a couple of days ago via email.

What impelled you to write a new book on The KLF? Your bibliography shows that other books have been written on The KLF.

Hi Tom, yeah there have been fanzine histories and The KLF have been mentioned in broader music books, but there hasn’t been a book like this. One of the main reasons for writing it was a desire to write about Robert Anton Wilson and Discordianism, because that was the obvious next step after writing a book about Leary.

I’m a sucker for writing about ideas, but really what I like are ideas that kick up an absolute shitstorm in the wider world. That was fine for a Leary book, because he escaped from jail and was hunted around the world by the US government and so on. But I couldn’t think of a way to write about Bob Wilson which brought more to the party than we already had in that fantastic ‘Maybe Logic’ documentary. So this was my response to that problem – tracing those ideas all the way to that burning of a million quid on a remote Scottish island.

Why do you wish the two members of The KLF had not burned 1 million pounds?

Ah, good question. I said that because every era has a strange undercurrent of previously unthinkable ideas preparing to bubble up to the surface, and during my formative years that current was the Chaos current. The Chaos current, by definition, is never dull but it is not concerned with destination, and for me there’s something unsatisfying about that. (This, in part, was the cause of my unease about the book before putting it out.)

I wrote the book to record an aspect of the history I lived through which was in danger of being lost. That’s all well and good, but I couldn’t help think those in earlier eras such as the Enlightenment or the Renaissance or even the Sixties had more fun, and at times when I was deep in the book I would grumble about how what fell to my generation was sodding chaos and money burning.

That said, after getting the book out I feel much happier about the whole thing, and if Cauty and Drummond wanted to burn a million pounds, then good luck to them. There were far worse eras to live through. It was certainly better than the early 20th Century, when the strange undercurrent was all proto-Nazis and Aleister Crowley fucking goats and the like.

Has there been any response by Bill Drummond or Jimmy Cauty to your book?

Not that I’m aware of, but then I wrote the book and put it out without informing them. That’s not an approach I’d use for any other non-fiction book, I should add, but it was necessary for this one.

There are two main approaches to non-fiction – the first is the academic, encyclopaedic approach where you painstakingly pile on fact after fact and hope the accumulated impact on the reader gets the subject across. The second is about capturing the spirit of the thing – something like the Led Zeppelin book ‘Hammer of the Gods’ is a good example of this – and that was what I was trying to do here. An ‘official’ or ‘approved’ or even an ‘acknowledged’ book wouldn’t have been in the spirit of the thing, and that would have damaged the book.

That said, I did meet Jimmy Cauty when I first attempted this book about five years ago. He was a lovely guy and as helpful as you could wish, but speaking to him I couldn’t shake the impression that deep down he wished that no-one would ever mention The KLF or the money burning ever again. Shortly after that the publisher who had wanted to put that book out went kaput, so I put it to one side and left it. Or I tried to, anyway.

Your new book says that the “path” you chose in telling the story of The KLF was determined by a desire to “create a narrative that was (a) a good yarn and (b) something that would mess with the reader’s head on as deep a level as possible.” Does this describe your objectives in The Brandy of the Damned?

I was being a bit flippant there to drum home the notion that all non-fiction books are far from neutral truths, but that said it is pretty close to my approach to Brandy. Although Brandy really is intended to heal and sooth the reader’s head, rather than mess with it. I think of it as a balm. It is supposed to feel complete and satisfying at the end, even if it only makes sense on a subconscious level. It’s supposed to leave you feeling new and clean, and positive. I’m not claiming that I achieved that, of course, but that was the aim.

I’m quite open that all my books are attempts to hack the reader’s mind without them noticing, reprogramme them a little and send them on their way subtly different to how they were before. Advertisers do this all the time, but they are doing it to make you unhappy and to make you want things you don’t actually want. In that context I don’t think what I try to do is too much of a liberty. I get all this from Robert Anton Wilson, of course – anyone who’s read Cosmic Trigger and the like will know how books have the power to alter readers like that.

It’s a lot of work, writing a book, and I couldn’t do it if my ambitions were just to entertain or to distract or whatever. There are enough books that can do that already, and we really don’t need anymore. I have to convince myself that the finished work will be a more valuable use of my time than going round and giving all my friends and family a hug, or hanging out and making them a cup of tea or whatever.

How is the First Church on the Moon coming along? Our friend Orlando Monk from The Brandy of the Damned will turn up again, will he not?

He will – for one scene at least. The book’s going great and the aim is to finish the first draft by Dec 31st, so that I can think to myself, “2012? Oh yeah, I wrote three books in 2012.”

The First Church on the Moon is much more of an out-and-out comedy. Whereas Brandy is aimed at the head, without being rational, First Church is aimed at the heart, without being sentimental. (The third and final part of the trilogy is about sex and death in a way that is neither gothic nor erotic. But that’s a tale for later!)

First Church will be fun and daft and just be a real pleasure to read, with the ambition behind it not becoming apparent until the end. It’s the first thing I’ve done that I think has mainstream appeal, so I’ve got to decide whether to hawk it around big publishers or put it out quickly with the others. Going mainstream with it makes a lot of sense until you realise that it wouldn’t then appear until 2015, which would destroy any momentum I’ve been building up this year. So, you may see it soon, you may not.

Why did you release your book under the Creative Commons license? Are you unconcerned that some people might obtain copies without paying for them?

That doesn’t really bother me, if I’m honest, the more heads I can get into the better. Putting my books out under the Creative Commons Attribution/Non-Commercial license  and keeping the ebooks DRM free, just seems the healthiest approach to writing these days.

That said, the fact that the character of Orlando Monk declared himself to be Public Domain is more of a worry. I woke from a dream when I was writing ‘Brandy’ thinking, “Shit! Orlando Monk has put himself in the Public Domain!”, so I added that to the text because that book had to be true to my subconscious.

That was more worrying because I’ve got a backstory to that character that I like a lot and think is pretty outrageous, but I’d have to adapt it if others start adding things to the character. The first person who was going to add Orlando Monk to one of their stories, incidentally, died shortly afterwards. That’s not connected, of course, but I mention it whenever possible in an effort to unsettle other writers who might be thinking about using him.

You mention that you did not actually read Illuminatus! until you were 90 percent finished with the book. What did you think of it after reading RAW’s nonfiction books?

I had read the first volume twenty years earlier, but I’d never got round to finishing the full thing. But that first book alone definitely opened me up and changed me for good. Most of the RAW I’ve read has been non-fiction so I’m anxiously waiting for his back catalogue to appear as ebooks so I can have a good wallow in his fiction (they’re not always easy to get hold of in the UK). I’m eager for any news about when his back catalogue will appear on ebook, incidentally!

I think publishing RAW ebooks is important. At the moment his work is kept alive by the Californian counter-culture, the conspiracy theory scene, Libertarians and the like and that’s great, but it’s also stopping his ideas from spreading further, where they are needed. As I say in The KLF book, Bob’s multi-model agnosticism does seem to me to be the only way forward from the whole post-modernism thing, without retreating into false certainties and ignoring the things that brought us to post-modernism in the first place. So I’m genuine when I say that I think he was one of the most important thinkers of the late twentieth century, but I’m aware that may not seem convincing in light of the lurid 70s book covers and so on.

I think a lot about how RAW should be presented to the 21st Century but I don’t really have any great ideas about how to do that at the moment. I will write more about this at some point. But in the meantime, I want to say how important blogs like yours are and the research you do – so thank you for all your work!

Pull the Cosmic Trigger. Pull It. Pull It.

Matt Black – Cosmic Trigger crowdcapering appeal by Complexity Productions

Jim Broadbent – Cosmic Trigger crowdcapering appeal by Complexity Productions
Douglas Rushkoff – Cosmic Trigger crowdcapering appeal by Complexity Productions
The Cosmic Trigger Play – A taste of Alan Moore by Complexity Productions
Cosmic Trigger Play Indigogo Crowdfund https://www.indiegogo.com/project/cosmic-trigger-play/embedded

Multi Model Agnostic Geometry: MMAG by Steve Fly Agaric 23

His philosophy was one of multiple model agnosticism – not just simply about the existence of God but agnosticism about everything. With MMA, there is no point getting hung up on the models themselves because that’s all they are – models.—John Higgs, KLF. pg. 258.


Multi Model Agnostic Geometry.

by Steven James Pratt

Flyting: Selected Writings

by Steven James Pratt

Link: http://a.co/f5pSkqP

Continue reading “Multi Model Agnostic Geometry: MMAG by Steve Fly Agaric 23”

The Late Great Robert Anton Wilson Event Part 1 – John Higgs

One day before heading down to London on the bus from Dudley, to see the show at the Horse Hospital i had the following experience:

yesterday, in Stourbridge i had an encounter with an Angel, or what Arthur Koestler calls…’the library angel’ category of coincidence, or in my case the charity shop Angel. Let me explain, i walked into the British heart foundation shop and started scanning the books, and within just 2 minutes i found ‘The Wild Boys’ by William S. Burroughs for a bargain price of £1.50, and on the shelf below a copy of ‘The Trial’ by Franz Kafka for just 50p. A few hours later i opened up ‘Wild Boys’ and on the acknowledgment page i became spooked to discover that the only text mentioned, for permission to quote from is non other than ‘The Trial’ by Franz Kafka. A splendid intersection point and angelic contact coincidance.

“Published on 3 Nov 2013
The Late Great Robert Anton Wilson Event Part 1 – John Higgs

Watch Part 2: http://youtu.be/HsBWj5jNadw

John Higgs (http://twitter.com/johnhiggs/ http://johnhiggs.com/)
Daisy Eris Campbell (http://twitter.com/DaisyEris/)
Hosted By Scott Wood of The London Fortean Society (http://twitter.com/ForteanLondon/ http://forteanlondon.blogspot.co.uk/)

at The Horse Hospital 23/Oct/2013″