2023 11:11 Special - Sharing a Vision for a New Paradigm
Once again, the Eleven-Eleven Day graces us with its 24-hour presence, which means another 11:11 Special begins... It's just a thing I do now. I've always been drawn to the 11:11 phenomenon, sometimes referred to as the "Light-Worker's Call", and feel it appropriate to write up a special post commemorating the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
The previous two of these were just glorified update posts with a little extra, nothing actually special. This one will be a little different. This one will be better suited to the Light-Worker's Call. If this is to be an homage to such a calling, the message therein should be appropriate, right? A message with the 11:11 marker should actually pertain to that calling, and not be profaned with some random internet artist's inane updates, I should think.
So, without further ado, let's jump into it!
Sharing a Vision for a New Paradigm
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." - R. Buckminster Fuller
With this website in the process of a massive overhaul (not just structurally but overhauling the very purpose for its existence), I feel it is appropriate to treat this post as a kind of send-off to the old Bradshacalypse website and a heralding of the new. With the emphasis on philosophical underpinnings being utterly erased from the new Bradshacalypse website and soon to be moved to an entirely different enterprise in the coming future, why not let this 11:11 Special be a last philosophical "hoorah!" for the Bradshacalypse, and let's talk about this Vision I've had for a New Creative Paradigm?
So here it is - you've no doubt heard about it elsewhere, but since those elsewheres are soon to be gone for good, why don't I reiterate myself in vivid detail here to serve as a more permanent reference point for this Vision of mine?
Let us begin.
To put it as simply as I possibly can, it's like this:
What's going on? The world, including the art world, kinda sucks at the moment, and is getting suckier all the time.
"Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is one who keeps the Law." - Proverbs 29:18
Why is this? It's because knowledge of Truth (that which simply is) is being lost, due to the natural course of entropy over time as well as the deliberate obfuscation of it by various groups whose modes of operation are threatened by its being known.
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children." - Hosea 4:6
How do we regain this knowledge? I propose we do what the Italians did in the 1400's that brought them out of the dark ages - looking to the past (while we still can), particularly those traditions that sought the Truth, understanding it ourselves first, and then teaching it.
"Tradition is a set of solutions for which we have forgotten the problems. Throw away the solution and you get the problem back. Sometimes the problem has mutated or disappeared. Often it is still there as strong as it ever was." - Donald Kingsbury, Courtship Rite
Who's going to listen, though? Unfortunately, many throughout history have tried to propagate the Truth, but the sad reality is that most people simply don't want to hear it, for a number of reasons that all originate in the conscious mind's reactive rejection of it.
"A servant will not be corrected by mere words; For though he understands, he will not respond." - Proverbs 29:19
What is the Artist's role in all this? Luckily, we as Artists and Storytellers have an advantage above others - we can sneak information through to people's subconscious minds like a Trojan Horse via the power of "suspension of disbelief", completely bypassing the pesky block that is the conscious mind, and delivering the goods to the stratum of consciousness where it will make an actual difference.
"Art is, like magic, the science of manipulating symbols, words or images to achieve changes in consciousness." - Alan Moore
What will come of this, though? When people know what proper behavior is on a deep, subconscious level, they will behave properly. When people know that working against Nature is futile and stupid, they will cease and begin to work with it. In short, when people's Thinking and Feeling are correct, their Actions will be correct accordingly.
"You become what you think about." - Earl Nightingale, The Strangest Secret
To boil it all down even further, you can think of this New Paradigm as this -
The conveyance of Truth by means of Beauty to inspire Good.
The Conveyance of Truth...
What is the Truth and why is it so important?
"...and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." - John 8:32
As mentioned above, the Truth is nothing other than "that which is" - it is the Real, the Actual, the Factual. When we know the Truth about some aspect of our world, we can work with it to get what we want.
Example: I want to walk from Point A to Point B... but there's a tree blocking the path between! How do we resolve this problem?
Knowing the Truth (there is a tree between me and my destination) allows us to correct our trajectory (I'll walk around the tree) to get where we want to go. This is the basic principle of Understanding.
It's really that simple. If you just understand what is and work with it rather than trying in vain to work against it or operating as though it doesn't exist, you can pretty much get whatever you want... within the bounds of possibility, of course. But here's the thing - those bounds are so wide as to be virtually boundless!
There's the solution to all of humanity's problems, I would argue - stop pretending things that don't exist do exist, or things that do exist don't exist, figure out what does exist, and work with it instead of against it. That's really it.
For more on this, check out this series of lectures for a more nuanced understanding:
So, then... If everything we want in life can be attained by simply knowing what is and working with it, then... why don't we? Well...
Ignorance is Big Business
If you don't think there's incentive for large organizations to keep us in the dark about things, consider this:
The Pharmaceutical Industry relies on our ignorance of natural cures and remedies to keep selling us their drugs.
"Big Religion" relies on our ignorance of true spirituality to keep their tithes and donations rolling in.
The Banks rely on our ignorance of how money works to keep us perpetually in debt to them.
Government relies on our ignorance of behavioral psychology and morality to keep the votes and tax money coming.
Law Enforcement relies on our ignorance of the law (both man's law and Natural Law) to keep their quotas met.
The Entertainment Industry relies on our ignorance of objective beauty standards to keep selling us their slop that passes for art and storytelling.
The Mainstream Media relies of our ignorance of the world around us to keep the ad revenue flowing as we tune in to satisfy our morbid curiosity.
The Food Industry relies on our ignorance of health and nutrition to keep selling their cheaply-produced barely-edible food product.
The Fuel Industry relies on our ignorance of alternative fuels to monopolize their own.
Starting to notice a pattern here? There's big money to be made by keeping the Truth occulted... but that's a whole other can of worms that I won't open here, just something for you to chew on.
Believing is Seeing
“My technique is don’t believe anything. If you believe in something, you are automatically precluded from believing its opposite.” - Terence McKenna
You've no doubt heard the phrase "seeing is believing". I regret to inform you that this statement is false. If it were true, how easy would it be to win debates? This is precisely why such debates, particularly those between two diametrically opposed world views, never seem to yield results - because one debater believes one thing and the other believes something else, and it's precisely through those beliefs that they filter information; that which agrees with the belief (or "fundamental assumption", another phrase to describe this) is that which is listened to, and that which seems to disagree is that which is rejected.
Here's another way to look at it - A Christian, A Hindu, An Atheist, and a Mud-fossil Theorist visit the Grand Canyon to look at all the many layers of rock and sediment and the fossils therein.
The Christian sees full proof of an ancient world deluge per the story of Noah and the Flood. A deluge of that magnitude would no doubt kick up all kinds of mud and debris, mixing in all the animals thereupon the surface, thus creating the fossils we see today - the larger animals, like the dinosaurs, sinking further into the mud, whereas the lighter animals, like the smaller mammals and birds, staying closer to the top.
The Hindu sees full proof of the many yugas that have come and gone over the countless millennia, some of which ending in natural disasters that would no doubt bury the creatures of the earth.
The Atheist sees full proof of an extremely ancient planet and all the epochs that have passed as evidenced by the many sedimentary layers of rock, with the steady progression of creatures as they evolved over time fossilized therein, with the older species near the bottom and the newer ones near the top.
The Mud-fossil Theorist (in case you don't know what that is...) sees the whole thing as the cracked skin of one colossal petrified biological entity, evidenced by the layers of sedimentary rock corresponding to the dermis, epidermis, and subcutaneous layers of the skin.
Now this may be a slightly exaggerated example, but it illustrates the point that all of these folks are looking at objectively the same exact thing (the Grand Canyon), but are seeing entirely different things, because of their beliefs. In short, this is how perception works - believing is seeing.
How Do We Determine What's True?
Now there's a subject that can be discussed ad infinitum, so I won't even attempt here... However, I know where you won't find the Truth, and that's with those that profit from our ignorance of it.
This includes the two biggest gatekeepers of Truth, Religion and Science... or rather, their "mainstream" counterparts. I'm not knocking either of these institutions on their fundamental premises, as they are both pursuits of the Truth, albeit from differing angles; Religion seeks the Truth of the non-physical inner world of spirituality, and Science seeks the Truth of the physical outer world of phenomena. Both are perfectly valid pursuits.
"We place no reliance On virgin or pigeon; Our Method is Science, Our Aim is Religion." - Aleister Crowley
Unfortunately, these two institutions are obviously controlled by those that want to keep us ignorant, and thus impotent.
For me personally, I believe we should at least consider the old esoteric traditions as potential sources for or guides towards the Truth, such as Hermeticism, Alchemy, Kabbala, Christian Mysticism, Tarot, Shamanism, etc. I tend to think that those that have been historically persecuted for their practices by the ruling institutions of their day might not have anything to gain from keeping us ignorant, wouldn't you think?
For those who are curious about this topic, look no further than this series of videos:
Also, this book is a great introduction to the esoteric traditions of old, I highly recommend it:
Anyway, just something to consider. Regardless of where it comes from, what we are ultimately seeking is the Truth, and especially how to convey that knowledge of Truth to others.
So, if beliefs and fundamental assumptions are the blocks to the intake of new information, then what do we do about it?
... By Means of Beauty ...
What is Beauty and why is it so important?
In the context of this Vision for a New Paradigm, Beauty is that which, when combined with knowledge of Truth, creates Good... Strange how something so self-evident as Beauty is also one of the most difficult to describe objectively. Perhaps the best way to describe it would be "that which harmonizes with that which is".
To be fair, the term "Beauty" may not even be the best word here, I'm just going off the classic philosophical trio of transcendentals for a more grounded preconception of this whole thing.
Even without being charged with truthful information about the nature of morality or Natural Law, a work of Beauty is still valuable in and of itself, especially in this day and age where ugliness is the new black. Everywhere you look, there it is - ugliness. We have ugly people in an ugly world wearing ugly clothes living out ugly morals founded on ugly ideologies as they produce and consume ugly art and tell and listen to ugly stories with ugly themes that just inspire more and more and more and more ugliness.
It's time to change that.
A Remedy for Truth-Rejection
It's a commonly known thing in psychology that we tend to reject information that seems antithetical to our previously established beliefs, as touched upon previously. If you want to see a living example in action, try convincing a born-again Christian to join you in a pagan sex magick ritual and watch their response, or give some materialist atheist some healing crystals charged with the light of Zion Heaven like it's going to help them and see how they react.
Herein lies the age-old conundrum - how does one adequately convey knowledge to one who simply rejects it on sight? Several strategies have been formulated over the millennia, but I personally believe one in particular to be especially effective for us creative types - the Suspension of Disbelief.
Suspension of disbelief is what happens when you engage with a work of art or a story. For a time, you "make believe" that the dried pigment smeared all over a canvas is actually a scenic landscape or bowl of fruit, that the characters conjured in your imagination at the behest of some words printed in a book are flesh and blood people with hopes and dreams, that the commotion of people in costume prancing around on a stage is an actual event unfolding. For a time, you suspend disbelief and accept what appears true is really true...
Aha! There it is! Our solution!
How do you get someone to take in information that they automatically reject? Simple - package it in something that can only be appreciated by actively, consciously, suspending disbelief!
Even from a modern psychological perspective, this makes sense. The mind can be divided into two parts - the Conscious Mind and the Subconscious Mind.
The Conscious Mind is the part that is, well, conscious. It's aware, it's looking around, it's on guard, and is in charge of decision-making... but it's not the boss.
The Subconscious Mind is the real show-runner. It's the part of the mind that controls everything, from your habits to your heartbeat... but it cannot discern. It can only accept what comes at it, and it's the duty of the Conscious Mind to guard it from unwanted information, such as that which seems to conflict with instilled beliefs.
By using Art and Storytelling, however, we can bypass the Conscious Mind by "distracting" it with fascinating and engaging stories, characters, plots, scenarios, ideas, aesthetic experiences that require it to suspend disbelief in order to experience.
... Don't believe me? That's fine, I didn't come up with this concept, others did. If you want more on this idea of harnessing the power of the subconscious mind, look no further than this audio book:
Wait, isn't that what Propaganda is?
Functionally, yes, that is basically how propaganda works (which is why it's so effective). However, the fundamental difference between what I'm talking about and what propaganda is is that I'm talking about instilling Truths via Beauty / the aesthetic experience, whereas propaganda is the instillation of falsehoods.
Classic example - the Nazi party of Germany in the 1930's and 40's used these same techniques of bypassing the conscious, reasoning, rational mind using select words, imagery, etc. to instill in the subconscious minds of the German people that they were the master race, and thus had the right to rule over the other less fortunate races of the world. That's a hell of an idea to convince anyone as being true, let alone an entire country of folks... but they certainly succeeded, and it took the abject horrors of a world war to snap them out of that programmed delusion.
Imagine the psychological havoc those propagandists wreaked upon that nation's people. This is a power we all have over the human psyche as artists, as storytellers, as image-wielding myth-makers... it's a neutral power we can use for good or for ill.
I suggest we use it for Good.
... To Inspire Good
"To learn and not to do is really not to learn. To know and not to do is really not to know." - Stephen R. Covey
You Become What You Think About
"For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he..." - Proverbs 23:7
Action is always preceded by Thought. A Thought, once charged with an Emotion, becomes a Feeling that, once ignited by Will, becomes an Action. The nature of our actions is thereby determined by the nature of our thinking. Good thinking, that which harmonizes with Truth, naturally produces good action, which is the entire point of all of this.
Goodness, right action, is what it will take to turn this ship we call humanity around, and we as Artists and Storytellers have a unique opportunity to participate in the mass instillation of right thinking to bring about this required right action.
The Responsibility of the Artist
As mentioned above, we as Artists and Storytellers wield a tremendous power over the collective consciousness of our species. We are the Culture Makers. We are the ones who install the operating systems off of which civilizations run. We are the ones who make visible the many potentialities of the future. We are the ones who embed messages directly to the deepest strata of mind with merely the stroke of a pen, or the swipe of a brush. We have the power to change the very engine of change itself - our thinking... and we don't even realize it.
Consider this a beckoning call to realize this mind-changing power you possess, to learn and to understand how it works, and to courageously use it for the betterment of us all. In the coming future, I'll be developing a website for precisely this noble enterprise. It will serve as a place for those of us who want to step into this power for our own good and for the good of all, to join forces with like-minded Creatives to create a new culture of Beautiful works that convey all varieties of Truths. I hope to see you there.
Thank you for your Attention.
That about does it for the lofty philosophical talk, now back to your regular scheduled dumbass cartoon art shenanigans.
Also, from here on, I think I'll just tag short, succinct updates like this to the tail end of each blog post rather than making whole entire posts dedicated to what I've been up to. That way, the blog isn't cluttered with stuff no one really cares about, but you can still be informed of that on the off chance it actually interests you.
The New and Improved Bradshacalypse
So far, the new Bradshacalypse website is coming along nicely. I've gutted all the superfluous pages, added new ones, etc. Changes won't go live for a little while yet, though, as I'm still working on it, but once it's ready to go, you'll know. It's gonna be very different!
If you're curious as to what all these changes entail, I suggest you read the previous blog post as I give a pretty good summation of the coming changes. One thing I didn't mention though was that the old "Story Index" is returning... with some tweaks.
In a previous version of the website I had a section called the Story Index, which served as a kind of repository for my many different creative properties (for lack of a better term). Unfortunately, they didn't amount to much more than glorified synopses. This time, each one will actually house content pertaining to the property. For example, the Kiki Banana page will be where the web comic, print comic, animated shorts, etc. can be found. Also, I'll wait until I actually have content to share before I go and make a page for a creative property so I don't leave y'all hanging with a "Coming Soon" for years.
And that about does it for this year's 11:11 Special, hope you enjoyed it! As always, Peace Be and Take Care!