The Year Ahead: 2020 in View

Work, holidays, and other unavoidable hurdles in life – and there have been some tough ones – have kept me from keeping up this blog. For one thing, 2019 had me travelling around the globe, from Bogota to Sydney and Melbourne, New York to California’s Big Sur coast – where I spent at week at a fantastic symposium at the Esalen Institute – with pit stops in Montreal, Munich, Berlin, Rome, Turin, Milan and even China along the way. Whew indeed. Now I’m stationary, at least for the moment, and able to look at what lies ahead. Some travel, but also some appearances closer to home.

On 20 February I’ll be at the Kensington Central Library again, this time talking about my book Jung The Mystic. Yes, I know, for some it should be Jung The Mistake, but not for me. As I grown older and imperceptibly wiser – hmm – I see that the sage of Kunsnacht has more and more to say to me. And to you.

On 29 February I’ll be talking about my book Beyond the Robot: The Life and Work of Colin Wilson at the Theosophical Society in England headquarters in London. To those who don’t know, Colin was and remains a central influence on my work. I’m happy to have a chance to speak about his ideas and the importance they hold for us today. He was and remains well ahead of his time. And ours.

On 7 March I’ll be speaking about Aleister Crowley, that old beast, at the Pagan Phoenix Conference in Penstowe. From what I gather from the flyer, it sounds like it should be a jolly good time.

On 16 March I’ll be talking about my book Dark Star Rising: Magick and Power in the Age of Trump for the Science and Medical Network in Hampstead, London. You may have had your fill of Trump – I’d be surprised if you hadn’t – but if you want to get an idea about occultism in politics today and the effects of what I call “trickle down metaphysics,” this is the place to be.

On 18 April I’m scheduled to be interviewed by Kasper Obstrup at the Avisen Live 2020 Festival outside of Copenhagen, Denmark. Travel again, but only a short hop to “the continent.” Kasper is a Danish writer with a fascination with “radical culture,” which means the Beats and other denizens of the outre fringe. I suspect I will be in good company.

On July 3 I’ll be talking about “Colin Wilson’s Double Brain,” relating Wilson’s insights into split-brain psychology to recent developments in that area at the Third International Colin Wilson Conference, held in Nottingham, 3-5 July.

I’m also on the bill for the Ozora Festival, which will be held in Ozora, Hungary, outside Budapest, a psychedelic trance event held from 20-26 July. Details to follow. I’ll be re-reading Arthur Koestler’s autobiography, Arrow in the Blue, on the way.

In other news, there’s an interview with me and an excerpt from my new book, The Return of Holy Russia, in the latest edition of New Dawn magazine. Here’s the tweet.

I also have an interview in a new book about David Bowie, of all people. Masks: Bowie and Artists of Artifice explores the relationship between identity and creativity. I’m included along with John Gray, Slavoj Žižek and other fascinating, talented individuals.

Last, but surely not least, some nepotism. Here’s a link to my son, Max’s, You Tube Channel. Max is a violinist and filmmaker who has one proud ex rock ‘n roller for a dad. Please listen and subscribe.

There’s your mission. You have no choice but to accept it.


15 thoughts on “The Year Ahead: 2020 in View

    1. Hello Gary! Having appreciated your work for years, I’ve been rereading Dark Star Rising since the impeachment trial. What subject(s) are you turning your attention to currently, and when might you visit the States?

  1. Don’t take a precognitive view of synchronicity in your new book. Precognition is to synchronicity as Newtonian mechanics is to physics. It is adequate to explain some cases, but there are synchronicities so magical and vast that precognition is silly.

    1. While not the same thing, synchronicity and precognition are clearly related. Indeed, Jung tried to explain precognition in terms of synchronicity. And precognitive experiences are often magical and vast. So I don’t see the problem.

  2. What I meant was to dissuade you form an overly scientific approach (and it is easy to be entrapped so). Rather, synchronicity is a topic which demands a philosophy — at least some view about life — and so it is a good subject for an author to use to expound a personal philosophy. For example, to me, the philosophy of Wittgenstein handles synchronicity well, since he believed that any form of learning was necessarily a piece of self-understanding, and self-understanding is an idea which seems to me to be common to synchronous events. You may have other ideas.

    1. If you know my work you’ll know I’, not overly scientific, so there’s little chance of that being a problem. In fact, it will be a ‘personal approach’ to the question of precognition, synchronicty, coincidence, so it looks like we’re on the same page.

  3. Entered a comment here previously but it seems to have disappeared into blog-space…
    I am greatly interested in the connection between brain, consciousness and time, particularly as it relates to the division of function between the cerebral hemispheres as addressed by Iain McGilchrist in ‘The Master and His Emissary’. My personal approach to this subject is through the triadic semiotics of the greatest of American philosophers, Charles Sanders Peirce, who Whitehead once called ‘The American Aristotle’ (in a letter to Charles Hartshorne). The application of Peircean semiotics to the life sciences, ‘biosemiotics’, can provide a whole new perspective on the significance of time in the context of cognitive science and signification, or ‘semiosis’–the ‘action of signs’, the process through which meaning is extracted from experience. The basic argument is that the left hemisphere (McGilchrist’s ‘Emissary’) sees time in interpolated ‘frames’–for it, time is discontinuous and cinematographic, while the mute right hemisphere (McGilchrist’s ‘Master’) connects down into the real temporal continuum. It also relates to the concept of biosemiotic ‘code duality’ (one digital; one analog) put forward by the late Jesper Hoffmeyer and Claude Emmeche. And it all connects back to a critical debate that occurred on April 4, 1922 in Paris between Albert Einstein (whose concept of time–from the perspective of the physicist–was physical and public–meted out as a sequence of timepoints by an oscillator), and Henri Bergson (whose concept of time was experiential and personally felt intuitively as a continuous flow). The debate is covered very nicely in Jimena Canales’ book ‘The Physicist and the Philosopher.’ The argument is complex and runs deep, but to capture the basic idea, let’s just say that Einstein was operating explicitly primarily out of his left hemisphere, while Bergson was operating implicitly primarily in the realm of the intuitive right hemisphere. Of course, each was right in their own way–from the perspective of their particular hemispheric vantage point. From the perspective of Donald D. Hoffman’s book, ‘The Case Against Reality’, you can think of the left hemisphere as providing a non-veridical interface with reality that confers conscious access to space-time, while the right hemisphere holds on to a veridical, relational connection to the continuum of potentia that constitute what quantum physics theorist, Ruth Kastner, calls ‘Quantumland.’

    1. Many thanks for your comment, which didn’t disappear; I simply hadn’t got around to it yet. I know of Pierce’s work through W. James and I write about Whitehead and how his ideas about perception – spelled out in his little book on Symbolism – relate to McGilchrist’s on the difference between the right and left hemisphere in my book The Caretakers of the Cosmos. Bergson’s in there too. I have to say though that I do find much of the quantum approach not very helpful. It seems a handy deus ex machina for too many theorists. My own approach is existential and phenomenological.

  4. As far as the quantum physics understanding, I actually see it as a critical element while admitting that it is not something with which I have a lot of familiarity or comfort.

    On the other hand, I have found the ‘Relativistic Variation of the Transactional Interpretation’ of quantum mechanics put forward by Ruth E Kastner (her revised version of the Transactional Interpretation due to John G Cramer), especially as expounded upon in her two books for the ‘uninitiated’ non-physicist such as myself:
    1. ‘Adventures in Quantumland’
    2. ‘Understanding our Unseen Reality’
    More on all of that can be found at Ruth’s blog/site:

    I can really resonate with the idea of ‘The Reality of Possibility’, that potentia are real and that the critical question then becomes ‘The Problem of the Actualization of the Potential’ which, in quantum physics, is basically what has become known as the ‘Measurement Problem’. Which is something that must have something to do with what Donald D Hoffman refers to as our non-veridical evolved ‘virtual interface’ with reality that is our conscious connection–unique to our species–to the world (which I would argue has a whole lot to do with the functionality of the left hemisphere!) which has a great deal to do on the reflective capacity that language confers–ie. that we can not only perceive but also know that (and what) we perceive. As I understand it.

    It actually is pretty darn cool stuff, IMHO…

  5. For a literary comment regarding the importance of the semiotics, philosophy and process metaphysics of CS Peirce (not to mention his many contributions to math and logic!) in addressing the problems of modernity (ie. its ‘fundamental incoherence’), and the need to rail against the dualisms, the oppositional contrarities, induced by Nominalism through putting forward the alternative of ‘Synechism,’ there is always the wonderful essay by famed American author and psychiatrist, Walker Percy, that turned into his Jefferson Lecture to the National Endowment on the Humanities ca. 1989. The essay was titled ‘The Fateful Rift. The San Andreas Fault in the Modern Mind’ and you can find the essay here…

    …as well as a very nice essay by John Desmond regarding it here…

    And I think this may well have relevance when one’s efforts are focused on bridging the gap between the humanities and the sciences by building a literary bridge that spans the fault-line–something that I see as a theme in your own endeavors, Mr. Lachman. If I may be so presumptuous.

    1. Thanks again for sharing this. I know Walker Percy’s work. Lost in the Cosmos indeed. If you’re interested, I write about Gebser at length in A Secret History of Consciousness. In The Secret Teachers of the Western World I use Gebser and McGilchrist’s work to understand the history of the western Hermetic tradition. I will have to check out the links you’ve shared. Colin Wilson had much to say about the differences between the left and right brain, and much of it has been echoed by McGilchrist.

      1. You are most welcome, Mr Lachman. And I do think that a penetrating look at the true nature of time is very clearly the way to go.

        I think Gebser was really onto something of fundamental significance in the recognition of the (necessary) emergence of Integral Consciousness in ‘The Ever-Present Origin’ and its relation to a completely new form of time cognition. Check out what Jean Keckeis says about this on page xx (last paragraph) in his ‘In Memoriam Jean Gebser’ essay that precedes the ‘Preface’ in the English translation of ‘The Ever-Present Origin’; he speaks of the emergence of an ‘aperspectival, integral perception of the world’ that is directly linked to ‘the irruption of time into our consciousness.’ That, of course, needs to be unpacked, but I think it is a very potent suggestion that derives from Gebser’s theory and its relationship to time.

        AND I think this also connects to the late John Deely’s claim that we are in the midst of a fundamental transition between the end of the ‘Way of Ideas’ and the begining of the ‘Way of Signs’–if we can somehow manage to survive it! Given that the ‘Way of Ideas’ that has created an impenetrable wall between human and nonhuman elements of the natural world, has brought us to the brink of extinction on this ‘Pale Blue Dot’ by basically giving the human the power and the permission to basically destroy the natural world upon which we are all fundamentally dependent for our existence.

        Deely’s idea in his astounding book ‘New Beginnings’ is that we got way off on a left hemispheric tangent with good old Rene Descartes identifying the human as the only ‘thinking animal’ on the planet (really?!), when, at the very same time, the opportunity was developing to recognize that signification and meaning bridge the fault-line between thought and ineffable affect/experience (about which thought is a limiting synecdoche), between mind-dependent and mind-independent reality, with the fundamental breakthrough insights that populate the revolutionary ‘Tractatus de Signis’ of John Poinsot. Unfortunately, history buried Poinsot (that is, until Deely discovered and basically resurrected him) and celebrated Descartes. It is an entirely tractable and quite remarkable hypothesis and story!

        Here is what Deely had to say in a paper published back in 2005 regarding the human being as the ‘Semiotic Animal’ as quite distinct from the Cartesian idea of the human as the ‘Thinking Animal’:
        “As modernity began with a redefinition of the human being, so does postmodernity. But whereas the modern definition of the human being as res cogitans cut human animals off from both their very animality and the world of nature out of which they evolved and upon which they depend throughout life, the postmodern definition as semeiotic animal both overcomes the separation from nature and restores the animality essential to human being in this life. Semiotics, the doctrine of signs suggested by Augustine and theoretically justified by Poinsot, developed in our own day after Peirce, introduces postmodernity by overcoming the Kantian epistemological limits on the side of ens reale and showing the social constructions superordinate to ens reale as essential to animal life.” I’d say that is one hell of a powerful observation. Just my opinion, of course. But it seems to me that we ignore it at our own risk….

        Bring John Deely and Jean Gebser together around the idea of signification and an emergent aperspectival integral time consciousness, and I’d say you have one hell of a powerful story to tell!

  6. By the way, while I am very familiar with Walker Percy, Jean Gebser and Iain McGilchrist, I need to check out the work of Colin Wilson. And I need to check out all the ‘Secrets’ about which you are writing, as well. Thanks for the tips on the Secret Teachers and the Secret History. I really do need to pick those books up and get myself informed. As well as to get myself up to speed on the late Colin Henry Wilson. He seems like a hell of a thoughtful and prolific author and very cool thought leader. Great introduction was watching the interview of Colin Wilson with Jeffrey Mislove (when he had some hair) on YouTube.

    Love the idea that ‘The Outsider’s salvation lies in extremes…’ Just wonderful to hear him describe the ‘splitting experience’ and the distancing between ‘subject’ and ‘object’…the fundamental pragmatic paradox of existing and knowing that one exists or the observing of one’s existence… the split between being and knowing. Which corresponds to right and left hemisphere perspectives, respectively. Remarkable. The challenge in existence is working out the coincidence of opposites so as to seek some degree of mediation. And figuring out the ‘safe’ pathway to ‘peak experience’…being ‘in the flow’ or getting into what Kurt Goldstein (who, by the way. was one of the key teachers of Abraham Masloff at Brandeis University, who is mentioned by Wilson in this interview as being a correspondent) called ‘the Sphere of Immediacy’…. ‘the experience of power coming from one’s own depths (of experience)’… I think it is managing the balance of flow between left and right hemispheres and moving into an ‘integral’ state.. and getting comfortable with uncertainty and vagueness which is the operative mode of the mute right hemisphere–as distinct from the left hemisphere which is constant seeking certainty and security.

    And love the metaphor near the end that draws a match between the relationship between the hemispheres and the roles of the ‘straight man’ and the ‘comic’ in the context of the team of Oliver Hardy ( who does most of the ‘straight-talk’ speaking ) and Stan Laurel (who generates most of the laughter and delight often through a silent moment of mime) !

  7. Obviously, it is Abraham ‘Maslow’ and Jeffrey ‘Mishlove’; my mistakes on the spelling of their last names.

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