Mr. Panda’s Response to “The Secret Guardian” (in CAPs, my response to Mr. P in bold).
IF INNOCENCE HAS BEEN DEPRIVED OF ITS ENTITLEMENT, IS IT THEREFORE JUSTIFIED IN BECOMING A DIABOLICAL SPIRIT?
The question of justification is an interesting one. What or who justifies a thing, and to whom?
IT SEEMED IN HIGH SCHOOL THAT INNOCENCE WAS THE WORST TEENAGE SIN. KIDS EXHIBITING FORMS OF INNOCENCE; VIRGINS, THE PHYSICALLY WEAK, FOOLS, GEEKS ETC… WERE TO BE MOCKED, REJECTED AND EXILED BY HIGH SCHOOL SOCIETY. I CAN REMEMBER PEOPLE BEING LAUGHED AT FOR NOT KNOWING THE MEANING OF SEXUAL SLANG WORDS AND SOMEONE WHO WAS A VIRGIN AT THE AGE OF 18 BEING SEVERELY MOCKED. IN ASMUCH AS TEENAGERS ASPIRE TO COOLNESS OR HIPNESS ABOVE ANY OTHER QUALITY, THE FLIPSIDE IS THAT TEENAGE SOCIETY BECOMES IN EFFECT A SELF REGULATING MASS MOVEMENT OF ANTI-INNOCENCE.
IT SEEMS TO ME SOCIETY SELF-RIGHTEOUSLY DEEMS ITSELF A PROTECTOR OF INNOCENCE IN THE FORMS OF TOKEN GESTURES LIKE THE ROAR OF OUTRAGE WHEN JANET JACKSON EXPOSES HER NIPPLE AT THE SUPER-BOWL IT IS MOSTLY UNWILLING TO EXAMINE HOW ANTI-INNOCENCE IT ACTUALLY IS.
This would relate to how the vulnerable/wounded child self must be rejected (compartmentalized away) as early as possible as a way to distance oneself from the trauma. The child remains untouched, intact, pristine, idealized (the inner child of New Agism and Spielbergian nostalgia) and therefore sacroscant – it must be protected not from harm (since that already happened), but from maturation (ie, sexuality).
The progressed part becomes adult not by maturation but by rejecting the same child self which is being idealized. (Idealization is a form of rejection/debasement, since it strips a thing of its real core existence, its right to just be.)
[From SG:] I had felt compelled to probe his work again and again throughout my adult life, like a tongue that can’t stay away from an infected tooth. Whatever Whitley’s secret wound was, finding it would mean—would depend on—finding my own. But how do you seek a secret that you are keeping from yourself?
THE INFECTED TOOTH ANALOGY IS INTERESTING. IS YOUR INTEREST IN WHITLEY’S WORK STRONGER IN REGARDS TO HIS WOUNDEDNESS OR THE ALIEN NARRATIVE HE WEAVES? YOUR CITINGS OF WHITLEY’S WORK IN THE FIRST VERSION OF THE LUCID VIEW SEEMED MOSTLY TO CONCERN HIS IDEAS AND HOW THEY RELATED TO THE UFO/CONSPIRACY ANGLE. HAS YOUR INTEREST IN HIS PSYCHOLOGICAL WOUNDEDNESS ALWAYS BEEN THERE?
Unconsciously at least. At this point the alien narrative and the wound are inseparable to me, the former being a sort of map describing the “undiscovered country” of the latter .
“I do not now find the small, gray beings terrible. I find them useful.”
I WAS WONDERING, IN HIS WRITINGS, TO WHAT EXTENT WHITLEY HAS QUESTIONED WHETHER HE WAS BEING USED AS A SEMI- UNWITTING MINISTER OF PROPOGANDA FOR THE VISITORS.
He has contemplated it, in his very first work, Communion.
[From SG:] One of the fragments that stood out for me, while I was looking over the Strieber material with newly dogged determination, was Strieber’s various descriptions of his father. When Whitley is being subjected to strange procedures as a child, either at the hands of alien beings or human ones or both, his father appears only as a powerless and frightened figure. I could identify with that. It also seemed to add up: for Whitley to have been subjected to such traumatic incidents in his childhood, his father must have been remiss, ineffective, or absent in some way.
GIVEN THAT CERTAIN STRANDS OF FREUDIAN-DERIVED PSYCHO-ANALYSIS ENCOURAGE OUR PROBLEMS WITH COMMUNITY/SOCIETY TO BE LOOKED AT PURELY IN TERMS OF HOW IT RELATES TO OUR PROBLEMS WITH PARENTAL FIGURES/GUARDIANS, I’M INTERESTED IN THE WAYS THIS PROCESS CAN BE INVERTED. CAN STREIBERS ISSUES WITH THE POWERLESS FATHER AND THE VISITORS BE PROJECTED OUTWARDS TO A PICTURE OF SOCIETY’S PROBLEMS WITH IT’S OWN PARENTAL FIGURES (GOVERNMENT, AUTHORITY ETC) AND ALIENS/UFO’S AS A CULTURAL PHENOMENON IN GENERAL. I’M INTERESTED IN THIS AS A THOUGHT EXERCISE AS MUCH AS TRYING TO ACCUMULATE CONCRETE INFORMATION, BUT THINKING ABOUT THINGS LIKE WHITLEY REPRESENTING THE NORMAL FOLKS BEING SUBJECTED TO UFO ABDUCTIONS AND THE IDEA THE POWERLESS FATHER REPRESENTING A GOVERNMENT BEING HELPLESS IN THE FACE OF A TECHNOLOGICALLY SUPERIOR ALIEN FORCE (AS IT IS OFTEN PORTRAYED IN UFO NARRATIVES) AND ITS INNEFECTIVE ATTEMPTS AT PRESERVING OUR INNOCENCE VIA SUPPRESSION OF INFORMATION.
Sure. Micro and macro, individual and collective patterns, reflecting and reinforcing one another. That’s a good parallel you’ve drawn, and you can also see it as being an internal tension between two sides of the psyche, bringing us full circle to the rejection of innocence going hand in hand with the preservation of innocence.
COULD WHITLEY BE VIEWED AS A SYMBOL OF OUR COLLECTIVE TRAUMA?
That’s what the project is doing, not so much psycho-analyzing as archetypalizing him (which is both less presumptuous and hopefully more flattering!).
THE IDEA THAT HE EXISTS BECAUSE THE HIVE MIND NEEDED TO CREATE A FIGURE THAT COULD ARTICULATE OUR FEAR OF THE ALIEN AND THEN BE EXILED TO THE FRINGES OF CULTURE SO THE MASSES DON’T HAVE TO DIRECTLY FACE THEIR OWN COLLECTIVE FEARS.
It’s a natural process, I think, not a creating but a pushing forward of individuals most “hard-wired” to enact the traumatization drama for the collective. Parallels with Christ are obvious.
WITH THE COFFIN AND THE SMOKING CREATURE YOU’VE DRAWN ATTENTION TO A LOT OF DEATH SYMBOL’S IN THIS CHAPTER.
I LIKE THAT YOU’VE MADE IT CLEAR THAT WHITLEY’S INTERPRETATION OF THE COFFIN AND WHAT IT MEANS TO THE VISITOR’S IS EXACTLY THAT, HIS INTERPRETATION, HIS OWN PROJECTION. WHITLEY DOES SAY “OUR UNIVERSE” SO THE SYMBOL COULD APPLY ONLY TO THE UNIVERSE WE HUMANS INHABIT. IF THE VISITORS ARE TRUE PRISONERS OF INFINITY, WOULD IT FOLLOW THAT THEY HAVE ACCESS TO ALL UNIVERSES AND HAVE TRANSCENDED DEATH?
How or why would that make them prisoners?
PERHAPS, THEY CHOSE THE SYMBOL OF THE COFFIN TO REPRESENT OUR UNIVERSE AS A UNIVERSE OF DEATH, THAT DEATH AND ENTROPY ARE INHERENT TO THIS PARTICULAR UNIVERSE. THIS IDEA TIES IN WITH CERTAIN GNOSTIC TEXTS AS I UNDERSTAND IT, THAT DEATH AND DECAY BUILT INTO THIS WORLD IS AN ERROR, A DESIGN FLAW.
Wishful thinking but also dualistic, circular and self-confirming logic? Because death is unacceptable to us it must be the result of some flaw. A flaw compared to what? Where’s the model of perfection outside the fantasies of children and Gnostics? Put differently, what would these Gnostics and death-defiers have to define themselves and perfect themselves by, if not the supposed “flaw” in the Creation?
REGARDING THE CIGARETTES SMOKED BY THE FERAL CREATURE. CIGARETTES HAVE BEEN A FACTOR IN A FEW OF THE ALIEN ABDUCTION STORIES I’VE READ ABOUT AND WHITLEY’S MENTIONED THEM IN RELATION TO THE VISITORS AS WELL. THERE’S ALSO THE CHARACTER OF THE CIGARETTE-SMOKING MAN FROM THE X-FILES. IF CIGARETTES ARE THOUGHT OF IN SYMBOLIC TERMS WHAT COULD THIS IMPLY? AMBIVALENCE TOWARDS DEATH? IF THE VISITORS ARE BEINGS WHO HAVE TRANSCENDED DEATH PERHAPS THEM BEING IN THIS UNIVERSE REQUIRES A TEMPORARY EMBRACE OF THE DEATH CONCEPT AND CIGARETTES REPRESENT THIS IN SOME WAY?
Or maybe it relates to WS’s own shadow or disowned nature (he is allergic to cigarettes). If the visitors came to Charles Bukowksi, maybe they would be wheat grass guzzling vegans?