Growing up, I watched a lot of television. Not the good stuff, mind you: rather, I would gambol home from elementary school to watch hours of Designing Women re-runs and then laugh uproariously at Step By Step while enacting my early OCD tendencies in elaborate Lucky Charms marshmellow seperation projects. In retrospect, I realize that I could have been playing soccer or going to sleep-away camp. My bearing witness to the worst television programming of early 1990s, however, has probably shaped me in ways I am yet to fully understand.
For example, I am haunted to this day by a "Cablevision" public-access show that I would often chance upon during my manic commercial-break channel flipping. The program in question is incredibly hard to describe: it was cultish and hosted by a ludicrous blond woman named Uriel, who appeared to be the Tammy Faye Baker of New-Age occultism. Uriel, in a floppy purple hat, would ramble incoherently about something called "the interplanetary conclave of light" while tripping out to ethereal synthesizer music and 8-bit video animations of glowing pyramids, iridescent comet tails, and UFOs bearing "love and understanding." The aesthetic was similar to the kind you see in Jehovah's Witness pamphlets about heaven: lots of rolling hills, utopian cornucopias of fruit, people in white robes stroking lions, and ringed planets setting in the sky. In short, a total mind-fuck for an already sugar-high eight-year old.
The show was a truly psychedelic and aesthetic experience for me, years before I even knew what that meant. It was, I have since discovered, the primary proselytizing arm of the Unarian Academy of Sciences, a New-Age Science movement based (appropriately) outside San Diego. Unarius, (UNiversal ARticulate Interdimensional Undestanding of Science) founded in the early 1950s by Ernest and Ruth Norman, claims to study the "interdimensional psychodynamics of the mind," under the auspices of being a nonprofit scientific and educational foundation. Since its inception, the Unarian Academy has been tirelessly printing hundreds of books with titles like The Infinite Concept of Cosmic Creation and The Last Inca: Atahualpha, all written by students channeling inspiration from higher energies. Although the Unarians had a heyday in the 1990's under the guidance of Ruth Norman -- who, at this point, was wearing flamboyant space costumes and calling herself Uriel -- the organization has recently struggled after the failure of a prophesized space-fleet landing which was supposed to occur on the ruins of Atlantis in 2001.
Why am I bringing this up? Because Science is a broad categorization, my friends, one that often finds its seemingly indomitable legitimacy battered, shifted, or radically reevaluated. If you consider science to be just one manner of explaining the world around us, then the Unarians have just as legitimate a claim to it as anyone else does. Certainly, this shatters the notion of scientific objectivity, its hallowed separation from the dubious realm of belief. But, hey, the increasingly fantastical developments of modern quantum physics often blur the lines between philosophy and science too, while theology is constantly -- especially these days -- butting heads with scientific research. In any case, connections between the occult and the reasonable are always wheedling their way in and out of popular conception, or hiding, clad in purple hats, in places that you would never expect.
For example, I recently picked up a largish and fairly dry book of the patent applications of the much-maligned inventor Nikola Tesla. Tesla, as I'm sure you know, invented the AC current, the Tesla coil, the radio, and about 400 other essential technologies of the 20th century, and died poor and alone in a New York hotel, his reputation shattered, after he became convinced that his sensitive electro-magnetic receivers in Wardenclyffe, Long Island, were picking up signals from Mars. Although he was as famous as Edison in his day, he became obsessed in his later years with the number three and began to follow the Vedic philosophy of Swami Vivekananda. Tesla now glumly lingers in a second or third tier of historical notoriety. Still, his early work was fully legitimate and dictated the shape of electricity in the United States in the early century. In any case, as I was browsing the biographical notes in my stuffy tome of Tesla inventions (Dynamo Electric Machine, Alternating Current Electro Magnetic Motor), I came across a passage which, without breaking from authorial sincerity, stated:
"What the hell?" I thought to myself, thrilled with anger, delighted at having found in this seemingly sensible place something so greatly weird. I rifled through the rest of the book and found similarly casual allusions to time travel ("Perhaps Tesla went on into the future, and has already returned to the past!"), pyramids on Mars, underground cities, and teleportation. Who could be responsible for such erroneous nonsense? I turned to the bibliographic information page.
I should have seen it coming...
Copyright 1993, The Unarian Academy of Science.
The Unarian Academy is two hours away from Los Angeles, on a strip mall in El Cajon. How could my curiosity not be piqued? I'm working on an eight-part historical docudrama about my recent visit to the Unarian Academy of Science and the conversations I had therein. The project will be documented in a completely sincere Power Point presentation on Thursday, May 18th at the Taix Lounge in historic Echo Park, Los Angeles, as part of the LA Alternative and the Historical El Ey Boys and Girls Society's Talk. Talk? Talk! series.
WHAT A TEASE!
totally rad. check out the cyborgs dude.
where I can access a video of this documentary and more footage of unarius on line, i tryed you tube and there offical website already. the two are ok but i am in detroit and really I dont have a contempting amount of sufficient unaius resourse that fuffill my desire of connection or more indept information. these site are ok but so far i think you can understand i been of search for matterial like yours that seem more insightfull.
-- James Ph. Kotsybar
Faith is often blind,
and that seems tragic;
It drops to its knees,
humble and devout.
is lack of magic;
it canât accept the mystical throughout.
Each sees light stream through a prism of glass.
The pious think of stained-glass and Godâs bliss
and all but simplicity they let pass.
They have no need for a hypothesis.
The logical need to know how lightâs bent,
and measure photon wavelength to decide
if particle-waves end the argument
or there are more dimensions to divide.
The first has all the answers that it needs.
The other must seek before it accedes.