[Notes at end]
Copyright © 1989 MT email@example.com
There was this Being. No, a "Thing" really.
Actually, in conformity to an approximation of relative truth, the point
in question entailed aspects of an occurrence or phenomenon rather than a
Thing or Being. (1) In point of fact, as the matter of designation becomes
clearly irrelevant to the trajectories' course, all that is required for
understanding is that something did indeed appear as a manifestation -
It shall be invoked with a masculine pronoun to elicit a context of
familiarity, and provide a mould for identification; however, familiar
moulds are often deceiving and treacherous, leading to old standard
thought processes, as an old comfortable chair evokes an old pattern of
impressions for one whom may habitually occupy it. Nevertheless, an attempt
shall be made to describe the event as objectively impossible.(2)
A necessary yet poignant digression: Singularity, naked in splendour.
Evolving state, steady; traumatically expansive report! For expedience the
cosmological euphemism will suffice. "The Big Bang,"(3) like incompatible
ideas clashing into each other, a Time was born. Dissolving scenes of
coalescing galaxies scatter throughout their expanding space of origin. One
galaxy in particular becomes the main focal point, as a starry multitude
soars past until one spot of illumination finally dominates the central
The luminous object in question is ponderously approached until a
yellow planetoid, situated in the Lagrange Point of five equidistant suns,
becomes discernible.(4) This singular planet represents the matrix upon
which this comedy shall be woven.
The planet's surface area consists of nothing but fine, yellowish sand.
From the perspective of a terrestrial observer the entire sphere of this
world - from pole to pole - would be viewed as completely flat; devoid of
any geological character, all forms including fauna or flora are absent,
except, that is, for one unusual, unique entity. This "entity" is our
protagonist. The hero without a face.(5)
His humanoid shaped body and head are as completely featureless
as his flattened environment. Neither male nor female, his unadorned
appearance is as plain as the ground and sky through which he walks,
for his skin is tinged with the yellow hue of his world.(6)
The temperature of the atmosphere never varies from the median, and
the flat, barren ground is so changelessly smooth that he is precluded
from any need for bodily protection. His sense of existence is entirely
absorbed in the yellow sand, yellow sky, and the endless task of walking;
which has never been interrupted by anything or any event. That is what he
is: THE ACT OF WALKING - a verb before a noun.(7)
As far as he knows, the walking has been going on for an eternity.
That is all he does. Exclusively. He doesn't think or talk, sing, stop to
rest or sleep. He needs not nourishment nor air to breathe. There is no
water hence no evolved use for it. Where he walks is an entirely polished,
albeit sandy, landscape. There are no outcroppings of stone nor hill to
designate any one particular region from another; and vegetation, of course,
is also nonexistent.
As far as he knows, he walks a straight, continuous line. Although he'd
have no way of knowing if he traversed merely an enormous circle, nor
would he care; for he has only the vaguest memory of walking aimlessly
since time immemorial, and everywhere is the same flat, empty,
Redundancy: the cognitive and noetic faculties are nil. He does not
think about a single thing. There is no language in his experience, nor
any temporal sense of past or future; only the sensation of interminable
walking occupies his reality. All is ground and sky. There is walking
being done, but there really is no walker. He is an eternally nonexistent
pedestrian, inseparable from the wholly empty act of walking.(8)
The entire yellow planet, where this monotonous purgatory is being staged,
is bathed in a continuous light due to the five symmetrically positioned
stars,(9) but even if day alternated with night, the walker would take
little notice, or keep track of time. He never stops walking or ever
stumbles, as there is nothing to trip over or fall into, and exhaustion
cannot touch him. He need not search for love or companionship, warmth,
coolness, respite or stimulation of any kind. All is as it is; nothing ever
striking him as peculiar, extraordinary, sad, enticing or dull. He is
defined not by what he is, but by what he is not.
Thus this walking has been for who could know how long: unbeginning,
uncounted, unmeasured. His being, eternally empty, barely cognizant of
any separate existence beyond the long, infinite walk.
And so was his state when the intrusion created an addition (or a
subtraction), and tilted the level of the unmade, inexperienced, empty
void of the walker's dull mind.
The day was like any other, the ground was the same undifferentiated
flatness, and the sky the even, spotless ceiling of yellow haze; but the
most distant edge of the horizon revealed a minute, single protrusion
marring the imaginary line. One slight object occupied the pristine
landscape, and an unconscious urge directed the walker's aimless,
empty wandering toward the distant point.
As he walked, miraculously, slight physiological changes began to
occur gradually upon the surface of his completely featureless, smooth,
ellipsoidal face. Tiny slits began to form where on a humanoid the two eye
sockets would normally be set. Now with the emergence of the corneas, the
long walker's dim mind received its first primeval impression, namely: the
mysterious object now becoming clearly discernible. Amazingly throughout
the seeming eternal "long walk," this particular path had not been tread
until this moment; and the strange object - as well as the equally strange,
oncoming destiny ahead - was about to collide with the emerging
consciousness of the long walker.(10)
The object, clearly in view yet still miles away, is revealed to be an
awesomely huge edifice constructed of a stone-like material, apparently
by some rare form of advanced intelligence.(11)
To describe some of its more comprehensible aspects, in terms of size
and design relative to earthly structures, would involve combining elements
of the Mayan and Egyptian pyramids; the ancient ziggurats of the
Sumerians; the vast, synthetic, steel, plastic and glass towers of the late
twentieth century; and the meticulously detailed structures found in
certain parts of India, Indonesia, Asia and Draco that are quite literally
"encyclopedias set in stone." (12)
The walker, now at the base of the enormous structure, detects, with
his newly hatched eyes, a formidable spiral staircase ascending into the
very "deepest heights" of the monument. A seemingly autonomic instinct
compels him to proceed up the stairway until he encounters the first
stone-like panel carved in bas-relief. Forthwith he ceases all movements,
gazes deeply into the panel, and vanishes amidst the scene being evoked;
thus finding himself identified in a weird little drama.(13)
The walker experiences himself to be a disembodied "point of view,"
observing a circular clearing, surrounded by a thick, dark forest. In the
center of the clearing sit three, aged gentlemen. Their long hair and
beards are of the whitest silver that maturity could possibly bestow. They
are simply adorned: wearing full length robes, each of a different colour.
One is white. One is black. And the third is yellow.(14)
The black-clad figure was quietly speaking to the other two sages, and the
long walker was able to interpret in a primitive manner what was being
communicated. This is what the old man was saying to the others:
"When considering the matter of consciousness, we - meaning the
multitude of 'separate beings' incorporated into a single 'collection' of
interstellar substances and forces called 'a sentient being' - must ask
ourselves the following questions: What is consciousness? Is it
fundamentally incomprehensible, or is it possible for 'it' to recognize
'itself' through some form of feedback that is as yet unknown? Is it
fruitful for us to even attempt to ask such questions, or does it merely
reduce us to a state of pathological self-indulgence, wherein we
narcissistically reflect the old cliche' of the intrepid canine hopelessly in
pursuit of his nethermost appendage?
"Is it the mark of a well balanced individual who never even notices his or
her own self-in-operation, and thus never questions whether or not there
are any hidden meanings behind the apparent surfaces of everyday
existence? The profound difficulties involved in these questions may just be
an indication that they are fruitless enquiries, and any individual who
gives birth to such ponderings would do well to immediately turn his or
her back to them, and forget he or she ever encountered them..."
The old sage attired in white was sound asleep, snoring lightly. Upon
noticing this minor lapse of will, the entity in the yellow robe gave him a
gentle kick, causing him to stir back to life to continue his edification by
the black-robed soliloquist:
"...However, the fact that the question 'what is consciousness?' can
even arise in the first place gives to itself its own credibility and
justification, possibly even revealing a first step toward arriving at the
aforementioned 'feedback system.' But the fact that a question may be
asked does not necessarily lend credence to the possibility of an answer.
For within the province of the mind dwell countless illusions and fantasies
which could be accepted as objective truth, were it not for a conflicting
outer reality to contradict their apparent validity.(15)
"So then, are we ultimately doomed to a state of mental catalepsy
when confronting the questions of our own reality, and therefore sentenced
to live out the rest of eternity in a state resembling perpetual
bewilderment? Or is there some hope for some kind of at least partially
enlightening solution? And if there is a possibility of eventually
recognizing the absolute 'point' to it all, would we benefit from the
revelation or would we instead deeply regret the understanding of it?
Might the great 'point unveiled' be such a chaotic, void and inhuman one
that we would desperately yearn for our lost ignorance, and frantically
search out any means possible to curtail our expanded awareness? And if we
could again regain our 'lost innocence,' would we then feel impelled once
more to search for the great meaning to existence, and therefore end up
condemned to endless cycles of remembrance and forgetfulness?(16)
"Whichever way this situation ultimately does turn out, we must
continue the questing journey with as much confidence and stoicism we
can muster, for we are insatiable creatures of 'mind' with the precarious
fate to be eternally cursed, and blessed, with an unyielding habit of
The ancient speaker fell silent at this point, and placidly gazed upon
the other two as they were both deeply and soundly asleep. He rose slowly
from his crouched position, and quietly wandered off into the dense,
wooded forest, leaving the other two to dream and wonder if anything had
ever really happened at all.
The long walker, having observed all this, understood very little of
what had transpired. He felt himself pulled from this lonely scene and at
last returned to the steps of the massive temple where he continued
his own wandering up the hard stairway. Now, however, a major
metamorphosis had occurred upon the surface of his head and face. Those
particular features forming and constituting the five senses of
consciousness were now present on him, and they were being used to
clarify and intensify his absorption and concentration into the next
sculptured panel on the wall that he passed by. Now(17) ... after countless
exposures to endless worlds and time-frames, another bas-relief appeared,
then another. Myriads upon myriads.
Hypnagogic. Shattering. An eternity lived in moments.
And then, finally, one more. A concave, timeless face set into a
prismatic hued block secured to the wall, drew him forth. Superimposition;
interface becoming. Now... complete identification: At the conclusion of the
day's business, he found himself leaving his office, feeling slightly time
displaced. The other two partners of Triad Construction Inc. were
relentless, lingering inquisitors, scrupulously attending to some final
engineering problems on the Nox Unit Inverted Tower.(18)
"The ICE IS melting in the Sun Over The Horizon, Interiors Surfacing,"
he sang to himself automatically without knowing why.(19) He laughed. A
proper shake of the head to clear out the circuitry, and a casual walk
homeward. The elevator breaches, unveiling potential exits unto his bound,
shining mind; then, suddenly out. City sounds, polyphonic, mixed voices:
"American Born, Royally Anxious, Hardly A Dent, And Brakes Right
Away!"(20) Was the dominating, first entrepreneurial call to assault his
ear upon the opening of the door to the great labyrinth of a city inside him.
Strange, he thought, as he stepped out onto the street. Crying merchants
belonged to another era, an aeon of young, conquering gadgets. The yell
itself was ambiguous enough: 'Hardly A Dent?'; and maybe 'brakes' was
'BREAKS?'(21) Someone must be selling automobiles off the street, or door
to door, as the case may be. Financial district; there weren't any lots in
this sanctioned neighborhood. Private free enterprise could not be in
action here, he decided, at least not with cars or kindred souls of cars. He
heard the yell only once, then, far off in the distance to his right, towards
the bay, he heard it once again. Turning red, Doppler Shift receding.
Thrice... dimly. Enough to warrant investigation at last, he moved to his
right, engaging a predators, tentative gait bound for the source of the cry.
A random act.
Against the light, crossing Ayin street, he contemplated the
incantation. Eleven words, significant. Martyrdom and revelation. Was it a
woman's voice beckoning mysteries, or listener created sounds; fragments
of gibberish combined to give new meaning to the order out of the
The falling of the light created temporally, an equal and proportionate
reaction in the sodium vapor orbs suspended above his head. Crime
deterrents. Illuminators along the way. Seers in the night. A passing
glazier's truck, unusable shards reflecting, formed a spiraling wake of
dust in his path; sailing a discarded newspaper against his left leg,
clinging steadfast. He kicked it free, catching two words of a headline:
TROOPS INVADE.(23) A courier, dressed as a mime, navigated a black and white
unicycle around an invisible obstacle, rhythmically patting a yellow
dumpster filled with decaying fish.(24) Intimations, staccato sound... then
gone. The aroma prevailing. Escalation, stabilization, diminishing vessels
nocturnal. Olfactory windows of the soul. Voices, eleven words, meanings,
city by darkness, one foot in front of the other. Why? That was his
mystery. Seeking to understand the obscure by dissecting into the very
heart of obscurity. The minute particulars, apparently unnecessary to basic
survival, built that rock of initiation which left him a Fool.(25)
Now he had forgotten the wording, and now he had lost the direction.
It was growing darker. He sat down on some steps. Two caustic, old
litigants were arguing resuscitation techniques over a sick, dying crow.(26)
A senile old woman was watching and laughing. He grew tired, reclined,
then fell into sleep. Dreamtime:
A beautiful golden bird, soaring over a single enormous
mountain, deposits a single grain of sand, upon the highest
reaching peak. Never to return again, until one thousand years have
passed, and another grain selected, for only the singular mass.
He awoke slowly, fearing the agitation in his stomach. Sweat pouring
off his brow; he forced his gaze away from the panel carved in bas-relief.
He was momentarily confused by the transition. Remembering that he was.
Incapable of perspiration, agitation, or even confusion, the long walker
glanced below at the tangible distance he had climbed. At last, cognizant
of the reality it all seemed to possess, he began to register an emotional
shock. A structuring, relative to the journey's actuality, started to form
within. He began to understand.
The building was a holographic record of change. Upon each
millennium, the yellow planet would focus all its random, potential
sentience into a single entity; spitting its being from the sand. For
hundreds of years it would walk, until the eventual, chance encounter with
its work: 'the great edifice,' would be revealed. Each long walker, the same
yet differentiated by time, would construct one elaborate panel, add it to
the whole, then disperse. The theme of each panel was to be a synthesis of
the whole, wrought from the nothing of forgotten time.
The current long walker stood upon the apex, basking in the wisdom
of paradox. He would diverge from the program. The record was too
complex. He would divide himself; create his antithesis; create his mate;
create his world.
Externalizing the record, he shattered the temple, as three suns
exploded in silence. It was a small beginning. Little did he know that it
had been done countless times before.(27)
(1) A Thing or Being. This metaphorical fable was written in two parts.
The first part was set down in the early '80s following a long hike in
the hills. During this hike, my mind was trying to imagine a state
devoid of all sensory, emotional and intellectual faculties in order to
deduce what the core being might consist of in total. In part, this
exercise was inspired by a passage from "Cutting Through Spiritual
Materialism" by the late, great Tibetan boozer, Chogyam Trungpa.
In the book he likens the state prior to the birth of ego as a wide,
spacious, empty field. The second part of my fable was written near
the end of the '80s. This part was intended to complete the earlier
evolution in a rather chaotic and randomized fashion; also I was
somewhat inspired by a lot of occult nonsense. Long after completion
of this fable, I came across something by another wild man, Al Crowley
(1875-1947) entitled: "The Star Sponge and the Fifty Gates." Crowley
had a vision of the universe/"Star-Sponge" as, "Nothingness with
Twinkles." Interestingly enough, astronomers have observed vast
accumulations of galaxies structured in a form not unlike soapy foam,
or, a star sponge. The "Fifty Gates," I felt, dovetailed nicely with my
little fable, hence I set down a small portion here.
The Fifty Gates(Copyright 1975/90/98 B. Heidrick):
1. The darkness of the empty womb.
2. The darkness of the fertile womb.
3. The fetus grows in the darkness.
4. The fetus moves in the darkness.
5. Birth into the outer light.
6. First breath.
7. The chord is cut.
8. First feeding.
9. First sleep.
10. The eyes first open.
11. The first perception.
12. The first dream of the outer world.
13. The first deliberate act.
14. The first love.
15. The power to move by will.
16. First pain from love.
17. Beginnings of speech.
18. First understood answer to speech.
19. The power to stand and walk.
20. The power to discriminate safety & danger
21. Cultural behavior begins.
22. Control of body functions.
23. Learning and reason.
25. Physical growth stops - adulthood in society.
26. Cultivation of the senses.
27. Expression of the senses.
28. Awareness of spiritual existence.
29. The soul reaches beyond the spirit.
30. The soul acts apart from the body spirit.
31. The soul vitalizes the senses.
32. The soul inspires the dreams.
33. The soul teaches rational powers.
34. The soul guides the emotions.
35. The soul rules the body and spirit
36. The soul guides beyond the body.
37. The soul blesses beyond the body.
38. The soul endures without body.
39. The soul acts without the body.
40. The soul grows without the body.
41. Consciousness of world is a flame.
42. Guardianship of the world.
43. Guardianship of souls.
44. Guardianship of the Watchers.
46. The power to destroy.
47. The power to preserve.
48. The power to build.
49. The greatness beyond light.
50. Eternal being.
(2) Objectively impossible. "Objective consciousness," in the Gurdjieff/
Ouspensky scheme of things is considered to be so difficult as to be
almost impossible. One of the root causes for this difficulty is what
Ouspensky calls "Identification," i.e., the considering of what others
think of us, as well as what we may feel about ourselves, to the point
that we identify with it so whole heartedly that the true, core self is
obscured; hence, the same old feelings derived from sitting in the
same old chair.
(3) The Big Bang. Older astronomers were originally appalled by the
big bang theory, instead preferring the steady state theory which
posited that hydrogen was miraculously generated by the void.
In light of quantum physics this wasn't such a nutty idea. However,
the expansion of space, the red shift of galaxies, and the detection
of background radiation all lent credence to the theory that all known
matter was once a "singularity" which decided to explode.
A decision only higher mathematics can make any sense of. Personally, I prefer
a multidimensional big bang universe where singularities are occurring
constantly, and universes are bubbling up all over the place, only we're
cut off from them.
(4) It is highly unlikely that any planet could survive the gravitational
effects of five evenly spaced stars, let alone form under such conditions.
A pentad star system appealed to my demonic sensibilities.
(5) The Hero without a Face. A play on Joseph Campbell's book,
The Hero With a Thousand Faces.
(6) Yellow. The King in Yellow(?) The relation of yellow to black and white
is explained in note #14.
(7) A verb before a noun. Buckminister Fuller's famous quote: "I seem to
be a verb." There are no nouns as there is no being, only doings.
(8) During my hike in the hills, I came very close to becoming nothing but
"the act of walking." I suppose jogging must get like that at times.
(9) Five again. It's only a metaphor. Fives: bodily extremities, fingers,
starfish, pentagons, pentagrams, etc...
(10) The emerging consciousness corresponds (coincidentally), with #10
of The Fifty Gates: The eyes first open. [See note #1]
(11) Advanced intelligence. Not unlike Arthur C. Clarke's extraterrestrial
monolith which triggers higher evolution, some people believe that human
intelligence (frontal lobe expansion of the primate brain), was caused by
some kind of outside intervention. Naturally, the consensus hovers over
more mundane explanations. The building in my story is either an analog
of the monolith, or a compressed representation of civilization, or a metaphor
of the initiatory tradition. Incidentally, I came across another "building of
records" in one of Whitley Strieber's abductee books; wherein his "mind" is
telecommunicated (presumably) to a desert planet where he encounters a
building where interactive, holographic records are displayed. I read about
this long after the writing of my little story, but there is something
archetypal about magical buildings after all.
(12) Encyclopedias set in stone. Again, a metaphor: the superimposition of
mind over matter. Also, there's a magnificent temple near Bali,
Borobudur, covered with bas-reliefs which tell, pictorially, the corpus of Buddhism.
Draco is a northern constellation (the Dragon).
(13) To be identified in a weird little drama or not to be identified in a
weird little drama, that is the question. If consciousness is information,
and information technology continues to develop, what sort of magical
buildings are in store for us?
(14) White, Black, and Yellow. The big Three. Passive, active and neutral in
the Gurdjieff/Ouspensky system. The triad. The triangle as the basic form
in Fuller's geodesics. The three schools of Magic (or Magick): Yellow= the
middle way, Buddhism. White= the right hand path, JudeoChristianityIslamic
etc. Black= the left hand path, Black Magic (will). "The Long Walk" is full
of threes and based on three (not an original idea).
(15) "In the province of the mind, what one believes to be true is true
or becomes true, within certain limits to be found experientially and
experimentally. These limits are further beliefs to be transcended.
In the mind, there are no limits." [John C. Lilly, M.D., 1972]
(16) Endless cycles of remembrance and forgetfulness is a variation on
Ouspensky's theory of eternal reoccurrence. The theory of e.r. states that
we are trapped in an eternal loop, doomed to repeat our lives over and over
again with little or no chance of changing it or escaping the loop. It is
believed by some that the idea of reincarnation, or metempsychosis, is a
degraded interpretation of this much older belief. I imported this idea into
my story because I can't for the life of me understand why we know so little
(17) Now... This is the demarcation point where I ended the story in the early
'80s and then picked it up again in the late '80s.
(18) Nox Unit Inverted Tower = NUIT: "Mystery of Heaven" Our lady of the stars,
the natural universe. The ancient Egyptian feminine embodiment of the sky.
The word NOX is a tripartite symbol rich with meaning in sex magical lore.
And, the inverted tower is an intimation of the left hand path - willful,
intelligent creation. The Tower is also one of the major arcana in the Tarot.
(19) ICE IS = ISIS. A familiar image of Isis has a star above her, one of her
feet in water and the other foot on land. A dynamic archetype, it would not
be a stretch to correlate her with a host of other female archetypes, including
the Germanic Isa,' symbolized as ice, as in "fire & ice" fame. Sun Over The
Horizon Interiors Surfacing = SOTHIS = Sirius... Archetypes being what they
are, they tend to operate below the surface, automatically, without our
(20) American Born, Royally Anxious, Hardly A Dent, And Brakes Right
Away = ABRAHADABRA. An eleven lettered word used by Al Crowley
as a ritual key, a magical statement, a word of power. In the center of the
word is the three lettered word "HAD," or Hadit: a divinely inspired utterance.
"Hardly A Dent?" My use of Abrahadabra is to poke gentle fun at Kabbalah in
general and the occult community in particular. (See note #15) Abrahadabra
is not to be confused with Abracadabra, lest you turn into a sponge.
(21) BREAKS. More occult nonsense (Al again.) Crowley wrote a great book
entitled: The Book of Lies, and he subtitled it: Also falsely called breaks.
I have no idea what that means. Young conquering gadgets is a play on Horus
the Younger, a.k.a. the young conquering child.
(22) Ayin = the eye of Horus, a famous symbol. A woman's voice beckoning
mysteries must be either the Anima, the great Earth Mother (Gaia), Isis,
Nuit, or the bag lady around the corner. In numerology the number eleven
means martyrdom and revelation which is what The Long Walk is about. Order
out of Chaos: a book by Ilya Prigogine. Chaos, one of the oldest archetypes,
has finally come into its own in terms of science. There is also a Chaos
Magic which is not to be confused with religion.
(23) Troops Invade. As far as prophecy goes, this was an easy bet to place
on a newspaper. I finished revising this fable shortly before the squashed
democracy movement in China. Not to mention the invasion of Kuwait...
(24) Decaying fish in a yellow dumpster. The wheel of time will consume
all divisiveness and outmoded beliefs, maybe.
(25) The path of initiation is often an obscure one. The Fool is always there,
laughing. The Fool = 0 in the Tarot.
(26) Once upon a time, two old fools went to court to argue over the rights
to the corpus of another old fool named Crow. One fool won but, alas, all
three are now currently deceased. The legacy continues. Our lady of the
stars, by now quite senile, gazes down and laughs.
(27) All may be one, but one seems hopelessly enchanted with many, etc.