Tuesday 20 May 2008

Opening paragraphs of original 2001 "Cheating THe Ferryman"

For one of those Gnostics
the visible universe was an illusion
or (more precisely) a sophism.
Mirrors and fatherhood are abominable
because they multiply and disseminate the universe.

Jorge Luis Borges
(from: Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius”).

In 1988 I purchased a book entitled “Labyrinths” written by the Argentinean poet and philosopher Jorge Luis Borges. I had come across one or two of his stories in anthologies of fantastic literature and his style and content so intrigued me that I wished to read more. I quickly discovered that although I enjoyed the strange worlds that he created I simply did not fully understand what he was about. At least once a year I took the book from my bookshelves and took a different story as a starting point. However in the way that certain books can, I found myself admiring the style rather than the content. In this way the book was to remain not fully read and not even vaguely understood, a silent testament to the success of ignorance over pretension.

Twelve years later I began research into the book you now have in your hands. Many dinner parties and frustrating pub discussions had lead me to believe that the only way that my curious cosmological theories could be understood would be if I wrote them down. For years I had watched as inquisitors, initially fascinated, became more and more puzzled by my esoteric ramblings. In a curious vindication of the overall theory I had come by my beliefs through introspection rather than research. Like Schliemann and Troy I knew that my intuitions were correct but I could back them up with no empirical evidence. However as I began my quest I discovered that every book I picked up at random from my personal library gave me the support I needed. I discovered that my ideas had not spontaneously occurred but had come together in a very deeply subliminal way. My ‘facts’ had been quietly marshalling themselves within my subconscious so that when I came to look for support my book collection became my personal Hill of Hissarlik. All the books that I had, as far as I could understand at the time, bought and read at random, showed a pattern. Gems of supportive information fell from the pages with no search needed from myself. “Cheating The Ferryman” was not being researched; it was being excavated. It lay just below the surface of my conscious mind waiting to be uncovered.


johar said...

True Daemonic guidance in my humble opinion Tony.

Your story bears witness to the outcome.

Robin said...

“When you sell a man a book, you don't sell him 12 ounces of paper and ink and glue - you sell him a whole new life.” ~Christopher Morley

and thank goodness...

“It is not all books that are as dull as their readers.” ~Henry David Thoreau

Karl Le Marcs said...

Robin: I CERTAINLY agree with your Morley quote, that's how I feel about most of my beloved books (and I have over 4000 of the swines!!!) hence my Gestalt Existentialism.

The Eyes have it! Oh the eyes have it!
*private smile*

Karl Le Marcs said...

Tony: Thank You for sharing this with the blog.

You know, from our own brand of pub lolling and philosophy that I see much in your story reflected in that of my own.

(That 'look' you get in the eyes of your friends with whom you try and explain your theories??? You know what I mean)

And I feel you and I share a Library Angel.

(either that or our respective literary guardians are as well suited as you and I)

Thank You, see you tomorrow and don't forget the 'exchange'
*private smile*

Hurlyburly said...


I recall telling you when we met up in London about my experiences at university. It seemed when ever my back was against the wall and i was rushing to get an essay finished i would pick up cerain books up at random and somehow find (ridiculously easily and very quickly) helpfull material to support my arguments. The number of times this happened seriously reinforced my rather cocky belief that everything would indeed work out just fine, which it did!

There is definately a reflection of recycled culture within film and books where information is used and re-used in such a way.

I know EXACLTY how this feels though and it's quite a strange phenomenon.

Anonymous said...

Tony this post completely reflects what I am feeling at the moment. I am a reading addict (I'm famous for it!). I must have read thousands of books over my lifetime. Sometimes, over and above the quality of the writing, some books (and indeed films, paintings, music and TV programmes) have the tingle factor that tells you they mean something significant. The ideas and images resonate over time. Having just discovered ITLAD, so many of the tingly things suddenly become clear to me as linked together.

It's exciting isn't it!

Karl Le Marcs said...

I think Woodsprite is right!
(something is going on here, I keep agreeing with you!)

Arthur Koestler is credited with first using the term "Library Angel" to describe a coincidence where a combination of synchrondipity and intuition guides one towards exceedingly relevant books or source references.

Arthur Schopenhauer and Colin Wilson have also written extensively on this literary guardian and mine, over 37 years, has directed me to over 4000 disparate and seemingly unrelated books which now sit in my back bedroom/library interconnected in Quantum Entanglements of their own through ITLAD.

And that's just the books I've bought, never mind ones I've read and not kept.

I would, of course, assert this phenomenon to be more evidence towards one universal consciousness, an Akashic Library if you will!


SM Kovalinsky said...

Tony: Not much in the way of anything further enlightening can be added by me to so wonderful a post and the ensuing remarks, but I will say that this process you describe, and that K. has related to, is a recognizable one which repeats in all truly great undertakings, especially the literary and philosophical and all those of import. Nietzsche also writes on this in his Ecce Homo and elsewhere. It is one of the most beautiful and profound processes in human history; how grateful we can be for such as you, K. and others who fall under the spell of daemonic guidance and begin to lead what Schopenhauer and James both call "the led life".

Ed said...


Just in case anyone thought I had gone on holiday... I am still here, speed-reading thtrough mountains of blog and finding no time to add my own thoughts!

I just need to say that It is all very inspiring stuff.

I am really looking forward to Book 2 so that we can exercise our joy muscles (not to mention our Daemons) all over again!

I the meantime, I will bathe in the seamingly exponential rush towards collective enlightenment.


rac said...

I find it interesting that you started from an esoteric perspective and worked your way to the hard science. All this time I assumed it was the other way around. Thanks for sharing some deeper personal insight into the book.

Karl Le Marcs said...

*waves at Ed and waggles empty glass in universal sign which means "get me another pint please"*

RAC: Good point Robert, you will find that spending some time here makes you subconsciously see things from both sides of the mirror.

Susan Marie: My Dear Lady how we should collaborate on a Nietzsche/Schopenhauer/Gurdijeff/Ouspensky et al post and thank you from my heart for your kind words. It is staggeringly touching to be considered your Ecce Homo (can the immature ones in the room please stop giggling, yes I'm looking at you Martin!).

Hurlyburly said...

Homer: "Hee Hee... Look at this country... U R GAY.. heh heh heh heh."

Karl Le Marcs said...

Ah! The Psychology of the mind!
That which a man shall often joke about is often most attributable to himself!

Hurlyburly said...

Now you've got me. I'll have to stop being a sarcastic-well-spoken-well-educated-dancing-wine(rose!)-drinking-sensitive-guy-with-big "individual" hair-&-long-eyelashes and start drinking pints instead to overcompensate?

Karl Le Marcs said...

Ah! It's always nice when a lost sheep returns to the flock!

*raises glass*