Thursday, January 26, 2023

"The Open Doors" syncs

I found Revelations on (borrow only) and read Whitley Strieber's story "The Open Doors." As anticipated, sync city.

For starters, the book begins with an epigraph from George MacDonald:

For the moments of a man's life are in spirals: we go back whence we came, ever returning on our former traces, only upon a higher level, on the next upward coil of the spiral, so that it is a going back and a going forward ever and both at once.

-- George MacDonald
England's Antiphon

The idea of Revelations is that it's a series of 10 fantasy and horror stories, one associated with each decade of the 20th century. Strieber's "The Open Doors," the story for the 1950s, is a stream-of-consciousness narrative from the point of view of the dying and delirious John von Neumann, racked with guilt over his role in the creation of the atomic bomb and in the UFO cover-up.

This is not a summary or a review, just a series of excerpts that were synchronistically relevant.

"How you cling, von Neumann," he said to the air. "Von Nooman," he said again, pronouncing it like an American. "How can you be the one?"

The "Nooman" spelling is a link to "planet n00b." ("What if Mars is planet n00b?" Von Neumann was one of a group of Hungarian Jewish scientists known as "the Martians.")

The earth, he saw now, was not a globe at all: the energy of time was what rounded it and set it on its perfect traverse of the sky. In reality the world was an immense tapestry, its leading edge being woven by the busy worms of life.

Someone called jason had left a comment on the "planet n00b" post: "Needs a comma. There's no planet, noob. Earth is a flat plane and space is fake and gay."

We applaud. Clatter, clatter, clip clap clatter. "Blue Moon" had been playing on the radio in the ready room: "Blue Moon," was it Dorothy O'Shea? The Manhattan Colleen.

The above quote is from page 242 of Revelations. In "Hurry up the cakes!" I posted three pictures, including a moon landing cake and the number 242. I had linked the moon landing cake to a comment by WanderingGondola: "You could even call the desert on that decoration narrow (albeit blue -- hm, would the moon's surface be classified as desert?)." Incidentally, the S:E:G: value of the word revelation (and of apocalyptic, antichrist, and seven seals) is 121, so the plural -- two revelations -- would be 242.

At this point, I took a short break from reading to check my blog comments. There was a new comment by WanderingGondola on "Open the door." The comment linked back to my old post "Dreams, shifty-eyed owls, and the white Starbucks cup," One of WG's comments on that old post began, "Hah, the more you know!" I went back to the Strieber story and read this:

"I don't quite follow."

No, certainly not, because if you did, I would have you killed for your own safety and the safety of the world. The more you know, America, the deeper you go.

On p. 251 the title phrase "the open doors" finally appears. It's about dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

The men in the B-36, listening to WEAF on their radio while they arm their bomb. "The Fat Man is up. Three. Two. One. Armed. Prepared for delivery. Open doors . . . the open doors . . ."

Did you know that the final verse of "Walk the Dinosaur" describes an atomic bombing as seen through the eyes of a caveman?

A shadow from the sky, much too big to be a bird
A screaming, crashing noise louder than I've ever heard
It looked like two big silver trees that somehow learned to soar
Suddenly a summer breeze and a mighty lion's roar
I killed a dinosaur, I killed a dinosaur

Open the door, get on the floor
Everybody kill the dinosaur . . .

If you scroll down to the bottom of my blog, you will see a link to my latest post and links to three other posts, apparently chosen by Google on the basis of how popular they have been recently. When I was reading old blog comments before, I noticed that the last thumbnail was Goya's etching, The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters.

On p. 256 of "The Open Doors," von Neumann is explaining how difficult it is for us and aliens to perceive each other correctly, or even to perceive each other at all.

"It is probable that a quantum barrier would exist between entities, due to the absolute lack of perceptual referents. This would men that the first difficulty would involve actually seeing one another, for we would of necessity see what our expectations allowed us to see and no more. I refer here to a neuronal and informational difficulty. We literally could not see what we could not anticipate. I suspect, incidentally, that a milder form of this problem affected the Mesoamerican peoples when they confronted the Spaniards. This is why the Spaniards reported such curious passivity in their armies, and why just a relatively few Spaniards could work the defeat of thousands.

"However, it is my belief that the perceptual barrier will be of a double nature, that is to say, that neither side will be able to 'get it right' until the other does.

"What will we see, in the absence of reality? I can only refer here to 'the sleep of reason begets monsters,' for that, thus far, is all we have encountered."

Regular readers will already know that I have been listening to the Muse album Black Holes and Revelations recently. Here are some of the lyrics to one of the songs from that album, "Map of the Problematique":

Life will flash before my eyes
So scattered almost
I want to touch the other side
And no one thinks they are to blame
Why can't we see
That when we bleed we bleed the same

I can't get it right
Get it right
Since I met you

Loneliness be over
When will this loneliness be over
Loneliness be over
When will this loneliness be over

At this point, having had Muse brought to my attention, I took another break from reading to watch the video for "Knights of Cydonia" again. This frame caught my eye.

I'm not sure why, but I thought, "Is that supposed to be Pancho Villa? Did Pancho Villa have a famous horn that he blew?" I ran a search.

Virtually all the results are longhorn cattle -- specifically, a Texas longhorn steer from Alabama named Poncho Via (sic), former world record holder for the longest horns.

Then I went back to "The Open Doors" and read this, on p. 260:

What will they say in a thousand years, of our age? It was a time of music and science, the chief products of this civilization. Prior to the West, man had only a little music, the curious mixolydian twanging of the Greeks, the long mourning Roman horns, the elaborations of China. But then there came the bursting flower of five centuries of song and thought, the discovery of the natural world curiously linked to the invention of instrument after instrument after instrument, the lost chord to the unified field, the chance missed by music also missed by science, and thus no fusion between science and religion, no service to the divine.

Besides the "long horn" reference, the mention of mixolydian, one of the seven diatonic modes, is a link to "Mere Locrianism."


ben said...

That p256 excerpt.

I wonder if, in ancient times, there might've been a process in which the knowledge of a deity would spread and that would allow for stronger interactions with that deity. This would have to do with the idea of a deity's name being important, the need to invoke the name of the deity, to be regularly thinking/speaking (praying) to the deity.

This has to do with the whole idea of reality being made both by itself and the participant in reality, somehow.

Craig Davis said...

"For the moments of a man's life are in spirals":

Ben Pratt said...

The "long mourning Roman horn" bit stood out to me when I read it this morning, but I haven't yet figured out why beyond what you noted.

"Pancho" is a nickname for Francisco, which was Villa's given name.

Today I was watching a math video (as one does) by Michael Penn that was his solution to a problem posed by Lewis Carroll (C. L. Dodgson) in the 1893 work Curiosa Mathematica II or Pillow Problems. Online I found a .djvu file of a reprint published in 1958 as The Mathematical Recreations of Lewis Carroll, which contains 72 problems Dodgson originally worked out in his head.

Problem 58 was originally worked out by Dodgson on the 20th of January 1884 and its text reads as follows:

"Three Points are taken at random on an infinite Plane. Find the chance of their being the vertices of an obtuse-angled Triangle."

Dodgson provides his solution in which he constructs a shape composed of two arcs and a line segment. Rescaling the triangle and equating its longest side to the line segment, all possible triangles (scaled appropriately) are contained within the shape. He also includes a semicircle with the diameter being the line segment.

Michael Penn follows the same basic approach in that he constructs the same shapes, but he includes their reflections across the line segment. This, of course, results in a drawing of a vesica containing a circle, a shape that has been in the syncs.

I also note that the infinite plane the three points are selected from is a "flat plane" as discussed above.


Michael Penn video:

Ben Pratt said...


I was just reading a question and answers on Stack Overflow for something at work, and I happened to notice one of the Hot Network Questions in the right sidebar was "In honor of Lewis Carroll’s birthday, January 27", linking to

When I submitted the above comment in both of our time zones it was January 27. I did not know that that is the birthday of Lewis Carroll until just now.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...


I didn't know that yesterday was Lewis Carroll's birthday, either. I read this passage in Green Doors yesterday. Petra, private secretary to a psychiatrist, is snooping in the doctor's files, looking for the records on a patient named McCloud.

Petra was pulling out the drawer marked in small black letters Mc. She pulled it slowly, as one might open a door onto an unknown landscape. She herself thought of Alice. "It might be the rabbit hole and here I am on the verge of tumbling down it." Indeed, she felt herself a second Alice and as if this deep drawer held a wonderland into which she was about to escape from the stifling hot afternoon of the upper world. Could she had known what it held for her, how different her hesitation in going on pulling out the drawer would have been, how much faster her heart would have beat!

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

Just saw on TV an ad for the show “Pawn Stars.”

“Alice in Wonderland,” said a voice and then, immediately, the scene changing, “Tyrannosaurus teeth are really rare.”

Sync: Odin at the door, DD lemniscates, sideways eyeballs

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