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Department of Mysteries

High Strangeness
A weird & wondrous journey to the very heart of our Brave No÷ World

“Strange times are these in which we live when old and young are taught falsehoods in school...
And the person that dares to tell the truth is called at once a lunatic and fool”

- Plato

Shadowboxing the Zeitgeist

We are experiencing massive cultural change. In the opening decades of the 21st century, these changes feel as if they have been abruptly and bizarrely imposed upon us, driven by forces we do not, as yet, completely understand. This is indicative of a global transformation that is greater than we yet realize. Consequently, the spirit of the times we are living in, eloquently described in the Germanic tongue as: zeitgeist, is getting stranger and stranger...

Zeitgeist (“spirit of the age or spirit of the time”) is defined as the dominant set of ideals and beliefs that motivate the actions of the members of a society in a particular period in time. Sitting here amidst the Brave No÷ World of global information and communication technology & archaic ethnic tribalism, the spirit of the times seems to be increasingly influenced by what can only be described as: High Strangeness.

High Strangeness... also known as High Weirdness... is a signifier that a given situation or event has, or is developing, properties that are peculiar, bizarre, and/or utterly absurd. At the end of the 20th century, the term began to broaden, illustrating the evolving, anomalous, cult-like nature of cultural strangeness. Certain elements of society were beginning to mutate...

At this juncture, the discerning reader may ask: How did it come to this? How did we get here? How could the situation get so weird? Good questions. Before delving further into the ramifications of such... a quick retrospective on the pop phenomenon known as, high strangeness.

High Strangeness can be described as the predominant expression of a fringe or sub-culture, whose values and norms of behavior differ... often substantially... from those of mainstream society. These values stand in opposition to mainstream cultural mores. High strangeness expresses the ethos and aspirations of a specific sub-population during a specific and well-defined era. When these fringe forces reach critical mass, such weirdness can trigger dramatic cultural change. As we shall see, there have been very specific, seemingly innocuous moments and events which, when combined, were monumental in the incubation and proliferation of high strangeness...

The reputed origin of the term High Strangeness has  been widely attributed to none other than Dr. J. Allen Hynek, in his 1978 address to the United Nations, where he gave expert testimony on the absurd, inexplicable nature of the UFO phenomenon... 

"Mr. Chairman, there exists today a world-wide phenomenon... indeed if it were not world-wide I should not be addressing you and these representatives from many parts of the world. There exists a global phenomenon the scope and extent of which is not generally recognized. It is a phenomenon so strange and foreign to our daily terrestrial mode of thought that it is frequently met by ridicule and derision by persons and organizations unacquainted with the facts."

- Dr. Hynek, before the U.N. assembly, November 27th, 1978

Thus, since Dr Hynek's 1978 address to the United Nations, the notion of high strangeness has been inextricably linked to the now vastly popular UFO/ancient astronaut/disclosure movement. However, our investigation into high strangeness goes a little further back in time...

The Empire Never Ended
Our story begins on February 20, 1974. While recovering from the effects of sodium pentothal, administered for the extraction of an impacted wisdom tooth, science fiction novelist Philip K Dick received a home delivery of medication. When he opened the door, he was inexplicably drawn to the delivery girl's golden necklace. He asked her about its curious fish-shaped design. "This is a sign used by the early Christians," she said. Dick would later recount that as the sun glinted off the gold pendant, the reflection caused the generation of a "pink beam" that mesmerized him.

Dick came to believe the beam imparted wisdom and clairvoyance; he also believed it to be intelligent. In the ensuing weeks, Dick began experiencing strange, otherworldly hallucinations…

"I experienced an invasion of my mind by a transcendentally rational mind, as if I had been insane all my life and suddenly I had become sane."

Aside from the "pink beam", Dick described the vivid hallucinations as consisting of psychedelic, geometric patterns. Dick referred to the intelligence he encountered as "transcendentally rational mind" as "Zebra", "God" and most famously as... "VALIS."

VALIS (Vast Active Living Intelligence System) had been described as one node of an artificial satellite network originating from the star Sirius in the Canis Major constellation. According to Dick, the Earth satellite used the pink laser beam to transfer information and project holograms on Earth and to facilitate communication between an extraterrestrial species and humanity. Dick claimed that VALIS used "disinhibiting stimuli" to communicate, using symbols to trigger recollection of intrinsic knowledge through the loss of amnesia... thereby achieving gnosis.

Drawing directly from Platonism and Gnosticism, Dick wrote in his Exegesis:

"We appear to be memory coils (DNA carriers capable of experience) in a computer-like thinking system which, although we have correctly recorded and stored thousands of years of experiential information... and each of us possesses somewhat different deposits from all the other life forms... there is a malfunction, a failure of memory retrieval."

It is this (computer-like) information system that we have lost the ability to read. With this Gnostic code scrambled, both ourselves and the world as we know it is "occluded" ...cut off from the brimming "Matrix" of cosmic information. Instead, we are under the sway of the "Black Iron Prison" (Dick's term for the demiurgic worldly forces of political tyranny and oppressive social control). As in Imperial Roman times,  "The Empire" is a psychological as well as a military state. It exists as a mental construct, as a psychopathic state of mind... as a system of control. All of humanity continues to be infected with this thought-form virus. Consequently... The Empire Never Ended.

"The Empire is the institution, the codification of derangement... it is insane and imposes its insanity on us by violence, since its nature is a violent one. To fight the Empire is to be infected by its derangement. This is a paradox: whoever defeats a segment of the Empire becomes the Empire... it proliferates like a virus, imposing its form on its enemies. Thereby it becomes its enemies."

The above fascinating yet extremely odd narrative, marks the inception of Dick's now famous contributions to the lexicon of high strangeness. The Black Iron Prison has come to represent humanity's unconscious state of psychological (and spiritual) imprisonment. Dick's iconic phrase: The Empire Never Ended, represents the never-ending imposition of a system of tyranny and oppressive psychological control, overseen by a worldly and spiritual superclass.

Although somewhat obscure, these phrases are foundational in the conspiratorial thinking of the subculture of the fringe... of what has come to be defined as high strangeness. Dick's Black Iron Prison would inspire later fringe conspirators and spawn similar notorious, if not nefarious mind-virus terminologies such as: Prison Planet. Yet at this point in the narrative, the strangeness had not yet achieved critical mass.

In 1988, the most reverend and/or foul prophet of the Church of the SubGenius, Ivan Stang... published a book compilation entitled: “High Weirdness By Mail - A Directory of the Fringe: Crackpots, Kooks & True Visionaries.” The book examined many non-mainstream or marginal cultural movements of the period. As the title would suggest, the compilation was dedicated to an examination of “weird culture” by actually putting the reader in touch with it/them, by mail. The book would be divided into sections, subtitled: “Weird Science, UFO Contactees, Drug Stuff,” and other such categories. Each section contained a variety of mini-articles describing organizations. Each organization article concluded with a mailing address and in some cases... the organization's telephone number.

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It is important to remember that during this timeframe, high strangeness was as much a left-wing “liberal” mind-blowing prank, as it was right-wing “John Bircher” paranoia. Dick's writings of the previous decade, while strange, were considered merely science fiction. Other actors of the era, such as Robert Anton Wilson & Robert Shea, with their Illuminatus! trilogy... and Greg Hill & Kerry Wendell Thornley's Principia Discordia material, played significant roles in the transmutation of the contemporary zeitgeist. However... and arguably... High Weirdness by Mail acted as a pivot point, wherein the so-called normal culture took a turn away from the conventional, toward the fringe...  where the concept of high strangeness was to finally achieve critical mass within the pop cultural psyche.

Up to this point, the tomfoolery of high strangeness was received warmly and with good humor by left-wing hipsters, emerging cyberpunks, libertarians and right-wing fundamentalists alike. Then, something strange and unexpected occurred. Certain segments of the population, who shall remain nameless, began to forget that all the high strangeness shtick was a joke. They began to believe the prank. Add to this seemingly obscure and tangential mix, the erosion of the Western Middle Class during the close of the 20th century, and a clearer picture of cultural and economic attrition begins to emerge.

In the ensuing years, the apparent giving way of the middle to the fringe, the Widening of the Gyre to employ Yeats’ apocalyptic metaphor, instilled a palpable angst within the shifting paradigm. Widespread, fear-driven anxiety over the realization of the rise of the fringe, led to a completely unanticipated cultural metamorphosis… the periphery quietly and subtlety began to supplant the middle! This transformation drastically refigured the predominant paradigm. Additionally, and in keeping with another manifestation of high strangeness... the hundredth monkey effect... those whose sensibilities once occupied the middle, spontaneously re-aligned their thinking to fringe-thinking… an understandable attitude adjustment, given all the weirdness that had recently transpired.

Follow the White Rabbit
In 1999, a Wuxia inspired, noir infused science fiction action film, created by the now-notorious Wachowskis, was released by Warner Brothers. The film’s title: The Matrix. The Gnostic influence of the film's premise, echoed Philip K Dick's 1970s "Matrix" of cosmic information. The Wachowski's illusionary Matrix construct was arguably inspired, in part, by Dick's earlier vision, reaffirming that... The Empire Never Ended. In an early scene, a black-clad computer hacker known as Neo falls asleep in front of his computer. A mysterious message appears on the screen: “Wake up, Neo.” To his amazement, his hacked computer warns: “the Matrix has you” concluding with the cryptic message: “follow the White Rabbit.”

This reference to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland becomes a recurring theme in the Matrix. When our hero Neo meets the archetypical Wiseman: Morpheus… he poses the film's pivotal question to Neo: “I imagine that right now, you're feeling a bit like Alice. Hmm? Tumbling down the rabbit hole?” Morpheus proceeds to offer Neo a chance to wake up from the illusion that is the Matrix: “This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill… the story ends… you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill… you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.”

This encounter between characters in a film, denotes the turning of a dark corner in the very real world of contemporary high strangeness. This was the moment when “going down the rabbit hole” entered the lexicon of the fringe. No longer did this reference conjure the whimsical world of Carroll’s Alice… nor did it even convey the psychedelic connotation of Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit. At the dawn of the new millennium, the term “rabbit hole”  was now evocative of computer surveillance and impending Artificial Intelligence... was now synonymous with an emerging networked global conspiracy. How deep the rabbit hole went, was indicative of how far the conspiracy reached.

Conspiracy Culture Internationale
ot long ago, if a commentator spoke of a Shadow Government or the Deep State, let alone the Kennedy assassinations, fake moon landings or the Roswell incident, he or she would have been promptly labeled a fanatic, a kook, or worse… a conspiracy theorist. With the rise of 21st century identity politics and the unsettling evolution of what has been called the “new media” ...conspiracy theory has become legitimized… has gone mainstream. Conspiracy theory has long been associated with the political right-wing... hence the recently and widely reported rise of the Alt-right, by pop-media. This is a narrow, misleading interpretation of the rise and the impact of what the editorial staff at Tek-Gnostics call: Conspiracy Culture Internationale.

The rise of conspiracy theory as a mainstream phenomenon is driven by a pervasive mistrust of government and political institutions, the commoditization of science, and the rise of a multi-national corporatocracy. This mistrust is shared by liberals and conservatives alike… alt-right and no÷ left. It goes beyond the political, the national, to the very fabric of modern global culture.
Conspiracy Culture Internationale is indicative of the current state of high strangeness. It is a darker, more paranoid manifestation of such. In a way, it is a strangely predictable outcome of the unprecedented quickening of cultural change. It is a symptom of... a byproduct of our cultural acceleration, moving away from the 20th century print culture, toward a digital, 21st century, luminous screen culture. Again, the question must be asked: how could the situation have gotten so weird?

The Sacred Foole
t is a mad, mad world. There are many events in life… often tragic… that cause needless suffering. When we witness the horror of man’s inhumanity to man… the senseless atrocity… the comedy of errors that is the hallmark of modern bureaucracy… we can either laugh or cry. For at the end of the day, there is a fine line between tragedy and comedy. But it is precisely in how we react to these events that our character is truly tested. Our reaction in these moments of tribulation is also our opportunity for personal growth, both as individuals and as a species.

These tragic events, exacerbated by the nefarious deeds of the powerful few, those who the occupy movement labeled the 1% (whom we label: American Archons), are the very real instigators and perpetrators of our planetary woes. At this most critical time, we choose to make fun of these seemingly un-stoppable forces… precisely because it is either laugh or cry in times such as these. We believe that by poking fun at those responsible, we diminish their power… even in the face of the horror. By making fun of the American Archons, we counteract fear with mirth… we offset horror with humor. We “engage the enemy” with our very irreverence. We enjoin violence with vaudeville.

Let us not forget that the observation and identification of high strangeness began as a joke... a prank.

It has been said that fools rush in where the wise fear to tread. Do not underestimate the power of the fool. We believe that what this planet needs, at this most critical point in time in our spiritual and planetary evolution… are fewer fear-driven reactionaries… and more fools. This may sound crazy but it was none-other than the jester… the lowly yet sacred fool… who could ridicule the king without fear of beheading. None but the fool dare speak the truth… It has also been said that humor is a sign of intelligence. Lord knows that the evil bastards who run things do not possess a sense of humor. Pity… for a little laughter goes a long way… and in the final analysis… as we have mentioned elsewhere… if you don’t have a sense of humor… it’s just not funny anymore… BAZINGA!

- the above excerpts written by Jack Heart



Tek-Gnostics Network Hyperlinks

Pop Future

High Weirdness by Aggregation

Chapel Perilous  ~  Conspiracy Central  ~  Cosmic Joke  ~  Culture Wars  ~  The Dark Side

Discordianism  ~   Illuminoids  ~  Memetic Engineering  ~  Mind Magick

Exegesis  ~  Extra-Terrestrial Transmissions

I Want To Believe  ~  Psychedelia

Operation MindF#@k! 

Third Party Weirdness Resources


The Return of High Weirdness by Mail

Adam Gorightly

Historia Discordia

High Strangeness subReddit

Cast Iron Chaos

The Church of the SubGenius

Principia Discordia

The Fringes of Reason

Fringe: The Strange and Terrible History of the Far Right and High Weirdness

Erik Davis' High Weirdness Review


Lucifer's Technologies