THE LONG WALK : Quad4, Vortex Symmetries, & Kabbalah for Knuckleheads     Return to: Quad4 and Weird Symmetries
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[Notes at end]

Copyright © 1989 MT

    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 - somewhere... sometime...

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 view.

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, indistinguishable ground.

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 wonder."

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 chaos?(22)

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.
24. Puberty.
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.
45. Sovereignty.
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 about ourselves.

(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 knowing why.

(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.

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