Look at this picture. The first three wolves of the pack (yellow circle) are the older or sick, and they set the pace for the group. The five strongest follow, and at the end there are other 5 strong wolves (red squares), both protecting the weaker wolves in the belly of the group. At the very end comes the lonesome alpha wolf, controlling from the rear.
This image that recently went viral recalled me of a quote from Lao Tze: “to lead people, walk behind them“.
It also made me think of how our traditional societies used to work similarly: the elders led the way and were respected, the strong members of the community protected the weak, and leaders took responsibility for the whole community, striving to not leave anyone behind.
In the financial capitalist system of today things work quite the opposite: the strongest lead, biting each other to be ahead, while the weak lag behind. The elders and the sick get lost on the way as they cannot keep the pace and tend to die alone and forgotten. The alphas, furthermore, are not real alphas. They become leaders only if they accept to be guardians of the system itself (thus becoming alpha slaves), while if they are not docile enough they will attract trouble.
In our current system our value as human beings is defined by our ability to produce and consume material wealth. In its mad and unsustainable pursuit of perpetual growth (which among things is endangering life on Earth) it has induced people through constant media bombardment to become extremely individualistic, egomaniac, and to desire without end.
If we had communities of people who live together, share resources, and support each other like it was in a not so distant past, it would be a disaster for this system as in order to thrive it needs people to be isolated, frustrated, distrusting and fearing each other, because in this state of spiritual misery they will consume more in a vain effort to fill the void they have inside, and in order to satisfy this endless material need they will work more and produce more. Simply put: our unhappiness is functional to the system.
We think that today we are more free than in the past, but our freedom is only superficial. We look at ancient Egypt and we wonder in awe how few people could enslave the vast majority of people and make them devote their existence through generations to build pyramids. While our material conditions have significantly improved from then, are we really free from mental slavery compared to ancient Egypt slaves?
Think about it. Thanks to our technology we live in an age of unprecedented abundance and opportunities and yet only 1% really prosper while the vast majority is either kept in a chronic state of scarcity or poverty. How could we possibly get convinced that in order to own four walls and a roof, or send our kids to school, we need to get in debt for the rest of our lives? Can’t we see that the whole system is designed to enslave us to the production/consumption cycle? Can’t we see that money is completely arbitrary and literally created out of thin air?
Have you ever thought how our system not only tolerates, but subtly promotes 5 out of 7 of the deadly sins of tradition? Specifically: greed, pride, envy, lust, gluttony. Just turn on the tv, you’ll see all of them in action. On the other hand, it devalues the 2 greatest positive spiritual forces available to us: forgiveness and compassion. It also taught us to dismiss the wisdom of the ancients as irrational superstition so if someone suggested that a great evil is in action he would be ridiculed.
We live in an age in which, for the first time in history, we can emancipate ourselves from the burden of work. Like it or not, this is the century in which machines will replace most of human workforce, it is already happening now and it will get faster and faster: 47% of employments are at “high risk” already in the next 20 years (source: bureau of labor and statistic). In front of these numbers, the typical reaction is “OMG, what are we gonna do? How we are going to survive?”, which I imagine is pretty much the reaction those slaves in ancient Egypt would have had if the Pharaoh one day announced that they were not needed anymore because he found machines that can build pyramids by themselves.
I’ll tell you what we can do: take our life back and dare to be free. Devote our life to our passions, to our community, to raise our kids, or whatever we care about, instead than spending most of our adult life on a dull job we don’t even like. Regardless of whether our activity will produce profit or not.
It is clear that in order for this to happen something must change. Specifically, what needs to happen is the introduction of unconditional basic income: free money for everyone, as birth right, enough to cover our basic needs. Our activity, and our merit, should become a way to get a surplus rather than a way to survive.
Some will tell us that basic income is not possible, that there is not enough money for it, and wherever it will get introduced those people would do anything to make the experiment fail. Don’t listen to them, they are just desperately trying to preserve the status quo. Once again, we live in an age of unprecedented abundance and opportunities, there is enough for everyone to live a life of dignity and moderate prosperity, for no child to die of hunger, and as technology evolves our abundance and opportunities will exponentially increase.
The cultural shift that needs to happen is that we start to demand basic income as our birth right. Sounds silly? Don’t forget that also asking for freedom of speech or equal opportunities for women sounded silly until not long ago.
When unconditional universal basic income will be in place, we would have broken a big fat chain tied around our calves. I am not saying we would be entirely free from mental slavery, or that all problems will disappear, it will still be quite a complex world. But if people are going to finally be in the condition to dispose of their time with freedom and devote it to things they are passionate about or that give meaning to their life, we should witness a flourishing of humanism, compassion, art, and solidarity.
People are not naturally greedy, we tend to act in a dog eat dog mode because our current system pushes us to do it, putting us in a perpetual state of scarcity, with highly competitive monomaniacs being shown as moral example to follow. Media are also to blame for the degradation of our soul, always tickling our lower instincts, always digging in the dirt and feeding us with gossip and sensation. Their behavior is also a byproduct of profit being our only horizon as their purpose is to sell more.
When we will finally be free from profit as our only horizon, when we will stop worshiping this golden veal, this greedy Pharaoh, this Moloch to whom we sacrifice our lives and the ones of our children, then we will be able to build societies that are more human. Let’s say more like the one of the wolves I was talking about, but waaaay more technological! 🙂
Our time to do this revolution is limited, we are running against the clock of technological evolution. The singularity is near. If we fail to take back our freedom, our dignity, our humanity in the next few decades, the tiny minority who controls the machines will have the means to enslave us for good.
All we need to do is to follow the 6th of the Ten Commandments for the Digital Millennium:
We don’t care what flag you’re waving
We don’t even want to know your name
We don’t care where you’re from or where you’re going
All we know is that you came
You’re making all our decisions
We have just one request of you
That while you’re thinking things over
Here’s something you just better do
Free the people now
Do it do it do it now
John Lennon, Bring on the Lucie (Freeda Peeple)
Some people may find it strange that someone offers free tarot readings. After all it’s a service and if you provide it for free it may sound like you are providing small value.
Shamans and healers (a tarot reader for me falls in this category) traditionally worked for free, or better in exchange of a free offer. They lived out of support from their community. Even today, in the age of social media marketing, you will still find people who work in the traditional way. My first teacher, a brujo called Toni in Havana, only asked for a free offer, which could even be a cigar or a bottle of rum (to support his family he was working as a cab driver). Also my teacher Sundararajan in Pondicherry healed people in exchange of a free offer to give at the end of the process. Their service was far from being cheap, they were among the most powerful healers I’ve ever met.
I believe there is a reason why healers tended not to ask for a compensation: that would empower the seeker and create expectations and doubts: I pay you X, I expect Y. In this way the seeker becomes the master, and I think this is hardly a productive context. The healer can also get conditioned by that and become more inclined to please the client rather than truly helping a fellow human being, which sometimes require uncomfortable answers and some firm “no”.
The seeker, in case of tarot, should come with an open heart and an open mind, appreciating the wisdom that is received from the tarot reader, giving value to it, and meditating on it. Seekers should give a free offer after the session, based on their means and their appreciation for the service received. The rich will know that they need to give more, the poor will know that they can give less. What is important is that they offer something as a form of gratitude and respect, because if they don’t they will accrue a spiritual debt (which is worst that material debt, even if less visible).
I don’t blame people who charge a fixed price for their healing services. Regardless of the abundance and opportunities technology could provide to everyone today we still live in a system where if you don’t have a job that generates profit you will end up in ruin (and jobs are evaporating due to progressive automation…). Things will change, we will get a universal basic income but it will take one generation or two. Today, if I wanted to work as a healer full time, I’d have to charge as well. For the moment I am happy to keep it as a hobby as I am busy with my artistic mission and my work.
Alejandro Jodorowsky, one of the most thought provoking artists of the last 50 years and director of “The Holy Mountain”, is also a tarot master that I highly respect. For 30 years, every Wednesday, in a Paris cafè, he gave tarot readings for free to people who went there to see him. I like his style and I decided to do something similar using my instagram as location instead of a cafe.
It works this way: you ask me your question via private message on insta and I will do a three card reading for you, providing you with an answer and a pic of the cards that came out for you. Don’t expect fortune telling, that’s not how I intend tarot plus our destiny is not written, we create it everyday. For me tarot is a tool for self evolution. Your answer will be more about spiritual forces in action and things you need to watch out.
Even if it will take me 30 mins to 1 hour for each reading, as said I will do it for you for free. But as explained you must give something back. It can be as simple as supporting my artistic mission by sharing the 2kTenCom (Ten Commandments for the Digital Millennium), which would be greatly appreciated. And/or you can share your tarot reading. Up to you, I won’t force your hand anyway and I will take what comes.
My time is limited so you may have to wait, but I’ll try to fullfill every request and do it regularly at least once a week. To ask for your reading follow me on instagram and send me a private message with your question. I can do it in Italian and Spanish as well.
May the tarot help you find your answers.
“There is something about words. In expert hands, manipulated deftly, they take you prisoner. Wind themselves around your limbs like spider silk, and when you are so enthralled you cannot move, they pierce your skin, enter your blood, numb your thoughts. Inside you they work their magic…”
– Diane Setterfield, The Thirteenth Tale
I’ll tell you a secret: you have been hypnotised your entire life. They made you believe you are what you are not, in a world that is as much an illusion as a castle made of cards. Those cards are called words and you are ultimately the one who shuffles them, creating your reality. Others don’t really exist, nevertheless you should strive to be kind to them as they are part of you: harming them would end up harming yourself.
You truly are what is beyond words, the presence observing the mental chitchat that keeps you awake at night. Life as you think it is fiction, a movie you are creating. You must either transcend that lie or believe in it to the point to make your life a story worth telling. If you do both at the same time, even better. Anything in the middle would end up making you miserable. Doubt is healthy, doubt is evolutionary, but you’d better also embrace illusion as long as it feels righteous. That’s what makes life worth living.
“Always speak honest words and forgive and forget hurtful words. Don’t take words too seriously in general. Cultivate irony and direct it primarily towards yourself.”
– Barabeke, 4th of the 10 commandments for the digital millennium
Very few people today in the western world would say that it’s ok to discriminate people based on gender, beliefs, sexual orientation, age, physical ability, or any other type of diversity. If a culture of acceptance has become dominant over the last couple of decades, most of the merit goes to the politically correct ideology as propagated by media, corporations, and institutions. But have they created a real culture or most people are sticking to political correctness because they are afraid of the consequences they may suffer?
The surge of hate and fear of the diverse that we are witnessing today seems to suggest that the dominance of politically correct in our culture is just superficial, a mask people wear, and fear and prejudice are prospering underneath it more than ever.
What I’d like to put under scrutiny here is not the principle of political correctness. We should all strive to be politically correct, it’s a positive thing, it prevents being unfair and hurting other’s feelings (which should be the point of it). My J’Accuse is directed to the way it has been enforced and to the values and interests that hide behind the mask. I hope I will be able to show you how the big enemy of politically correct is not Donald Trump but its own dark side which I’ll summarise in these four points:
A stupid word out of millions you’ll ever pronounce in your life, maybe taken out of context, is enough to publicly disgrace you, ruin your career, and attract hate campaigns. Apologizing is often not enough, even if you are genuinely sorry. If you have a job, you may be dismissed or forced to resign, and if you are a public figure you will be haunted for the rest of your life by that stupid word, maybe said because your car broke and you were in a bad mood on that day. Can a culture of acceptance and tolerance be imposed through persecuting, humiliating, and disgracing people who said something wrong, without space for forgiveness?
2. DEGENERATED INTO A DIRTY WEAPON FOR POWER STRUGGLES
I think it’s evident how politically correct has increasingly become a weapon that is maliciously used in power struggles, whether it’s for political power or between work colleagues or even within families. Media are extremely skilled in taking words out of context to create sensation, and quite often you get the feeling that they are following an agenda rather than trying to sell more copies. It should be noted how their selling power significantly decreased because of the internet, which makes journalism of today more vulnerable to corruption (or influence from power structures if you prefer to call it this way).
3. THREAT TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH
I will make a practical example here, in which I would need to break one of politically correct taboos for pedagogical purposes. I choose Islam as it’s a current topic but perhaps prejudice vs women or gays would provide a better example of politically correct hysteria. Let’s assume someone casually says on a social network:
“I’ve read the Quran and I found words like: ‘I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. So strike above the necks, and strike off every fingertip of theirs’ (Sura 8:12-17). It made me fear that Islam might not be entirely a religion of peace”.
One can agree or disagree with that, but reasonable people would consider it a fair point worth debating, with others sharing their views, providing evidence of the contrary, contributing to an informed opinion. If we were in the ’70s, maybe that constructive debate could have happened. Today very few, even among intellectuals, would dare to express a similar opinion in public as they would be afraid of the merciless politically correct machine coming after them (unless they count nothing and have no affiliations like me or if they have shoulders and balls as big as Donald Trump – oops I said “balls”, now I am a sexist I shall burn in hell!).
One of course is still free to express their genuine opinion, but is it real freedom when a word you say, even taken out of context, can get you persecuted? Sure, not by a special totalitarian police or by the holy inquisition, but are the intentions, the lack of forgiveness, the irrationality, the hypocrisy, the methods, and the devastating consequences on people’s life really that far away from former witch hunts used to reduce people to obedience?
“Monk (announcing Torquemada): Torquemada! Do not implore him for compassion! Torquemada! Do not beg him for forgiveness! Torquemada! Do not ask him for mercy! Let’s face it, you can’t Torquemada anything!
Torquemada: Let all those who wish to confess their evil ways and accept the true church convert now, or forever burn in hell! For now begins the Inquisition!”
(scene from Mel Brooks’ History of the World: Part I)
4. POTENTIAL OF BECOMING A TOTALITARIAN NEO-LANGUAGE
Children born today will have most of what they say, write, read, and watch in their life recorded and traceable, from their first cry to their last goodbye. Including all the bullshit they will say in between.
We all say stupid things during the course of our life, a lot of them, that’s part of being human. Anyone who’s honest would admit to have said things that could get them in trouble if recorded and used against them. Imagine that most of what you ever said was actually been stored and hacked, like it may happen for the children of today. Wouldn’t that make you feel under perpetual blackmail threat?
Unless we stop this madness that pushes us to turn the illusion we call words into solid entities that we make as powerful as gods (or demons), prepare for Aldous Huxley’s nightmares to become real.
This new dictatorship, supremely democratic in appearance, won’t care too much about what you say unless you have power and influence. You will be free to write your conspiracy theories on your blog, whatever you say would be lost in the buzz of billion of voices, read by very few. The new censorship won’t need to censor, most content not from mainstream media will simply be condemned to systemic irrelevance and volatility as it’s increasingly happening now. They will track you in automatic anyway based on the keyords you use, and if you start to become very popular, maybe the leader of a radical opposition, then you can start to be scared about all the data recorded about you and available to those who really want to put their hands on it and have the skills to do it. In all that data, they will find something bad or wrong you said in the past, maybe when you were 20. If they want current content to use against you, you may get an insect size spy drone following your butt up to the toilet (this is not sci-fi, such drones already exist). When they find proof of something compromising, they’ll find a way to package the scandal and get it rolling in the mainstream news. And if they don’t find proof, they’ll fabricate it. You won’t need to be as important as Strauss-Kahn or Assange to receive these special attentions, the potential for control on every single human being is exploding exponentially and it will get more and more automated, to the point that nothing apart from our thoughts would be 100% safe from this control.
THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM
What makes this dystopian future possible is not technological progress (which by itself is neutral), but any ideology that assigns a value to words that is enormous and literal in a way that could be compared to the value monotheist religions assign to words in their books. If on top of that such an ideology is unforgiving, like politically correct as manifested today is, then it is to be considered as a potential totalitarian neo-language, a vehicle for conformism led by fear. Failure to take power off of words may lead us to a very dark age that would see us enslaved to a totalitarian regime in which people would be afraid of anything they say, suspicious with one another, and ultimately unable to freely express what they really feel or even joke unless they are willing to take a risk.
The root of the problem is to be found in the cultural industry. Not politicians, not the financial power, not corporations: they influence and sometimes control the media, which they may use to build favour around them or damage opponents and competitors, but let’s not forget that they are also under the threat of being smashed by the same hammer. That I believe is the main reason why they are all religiously politically correct: they are scared. It takes a lot of ingenuity to think of a financial institution or an oil company as genuine paladins of kindness and generosity, that’s a mask they have the convenience to wear and a rule they must observe in order to protect their business from the hysterical politically correct machine. They are not the source of the problem, rather the perpetrators and the victims.
A FUTURISTIC SOLUTION
As said it is the cultural industry (journalism in particular) that needs fixing, and it’s not going to fix by itself. I have a solution in mind that I believe is viable, even though extremely tricky. I suggest we start to envision an algorithm connected to the blockchain that would enable the press of tomorrow to have the following qualities:
Under these conditions, I believe much more journalists would be enabled to practice the noble art of journalism as they learned to love it at school: information as a service to the community that is honest and independent, less based on gossip and sensations and not any more a subtle agent of marketing or manipulation of the public opinion as it is increasingly becoming today. This system would introduce conditions and enforce ethics that should significantly contrast the dark side of politically correct and its potential as totalitarian neo-language.
Utopia? I don’t think so. Today it would be technically possible to build a system that would allow similar conditions to be in place in automatic. If any bright geek familiar with the blockchain, and also some journalist, want to start to think about how this algorithm could work, please get in touch I’ll give you all the inspiration and support I can. Change won’t be easy but the sole existence of this algorithm, even if just in theoretical form, would be an important step that make change possible.
FINAL APPEAL FOR EVERYONE
I’d like to conclude with a note addressed to people in general in an effort to show how we can stay on the bright side of politically correctness (which again, is supposed to be about being fair and not hurting the feelings of others) without falling for its dark side. After all, if people were not so incline to sensation and gossip, full of prejudices, envious, happy to feast on the disgraces of others and celebrate the fall of anyone powerful, there wouldn’t be need to change how the cultural industry work (it should be noted though how media, by constantly fuelling the lower instincts and bombarding with negativity, empower and exacerbate what is low in us. As to say: if your life is shit, part of the blame goes to the media. If it doesn’t appear so, it’s because we are so constantly immersed in them and we forget how was life without them).
Only a culture that is strongly grounded on forgiveness and compassion can bring more peace and acceptance to the world.
Here is what you can do to help bring on this culture. Someone said something wrong or hurtful? Tell them, help them understand their mistake. They apologise? Forgive them. They don’t apologise? Forget about it, move on, there are other people you can get better vibes from, spend more time with them. Just stop creating solid dark entities in your head built upon words, they are not real, they don’t exist, you created them (even if they come from others), you made them real and having a negative effect on your life. Stop labelling others and most of all don’t accept labels on yourself, just stop creating this word based drama and attaching to its shadows. Cultivate self-irony, that can save your mind from such a madness. Meditate regularly, so you will understand more deeply how words are an illusion.
“Always speak honest words and forgive and forget hurtful words. Don’t take words too seriously in general. Cultivate irony and direct it primarily towards yourself.”
(4th of my 10 commandments for the digital millennium)
If you check the hashtag #suicidal on Instagram you’ll find more than 4 millions posts. Mostly from teenagers that are considering suicide, usually because they feel ugly, rejected, or alone. As I write, 50 suicidal posts have been published in the past 8 minutes. And that’s just one of a collection of very alarming hashtags like #depressed (8 million posts), #suicide (5 million) #killme (1,6 million) #suicidalthoghts (290K). The scenario we see emerging talks about an humanitarian emergency which is causing the death of one person every 40 seconds.
Instagram seems to be conscious about the issue and is doing something to help. If you try to access the hashtag #suicidal (or similar) you will be warned by this message:
“Please be advised: These posts may contain graphic content.
For information and support with suicide or self-harm please tap on learn more”
Which leads to the website of an association of volunteers called Befrienders Worldwide that helps prevent suicides by providing emotional support. Unfortunately, it appears that Instagram redirects to this website only those who search for the hashtag #suicidal (who may be just curious to see who’s desperate), while if you post with the hashtag #suicidal because you are considering to commit suicide you won’t be prompted to check that website (just tested it, perhaps there is something to review in Instagram’s mechanism?).
But the real question is: can we really remain indifferent in front of 4 million suicidal posts, mostly from young folks, hoping that Instagram or those volunteers will be enough to help? It’s all happening now, in real time, under your eyes. While you read this post dozens of people are suicidal and just 3 clicks away from you. Is there really nothing we can do for them? I think there is at least one small but powerful thing we can do: being kind. I don’t see a lot of people being kind to them. On the other side, I saw some idiot encouraging a suicidal guy to kill himself… (immediately reported).
Let’s be clear, they are not people that is easy to deal with and before even thinking about engaging with them you should read this advice from Befrienders Worldwide. And yet, in an Instagram context, it would be relatively easy for anyone to bring some positive vibe without need to get too much involved in other people’s problems.
These people feel so deeply alone, ugly, unwanted, with nobody caring about them. All one would need to do to help is just to be kind and care a bit. I would discourage to like suicidal posts (that would be almost an encouragement), or engage with these posts in general. You should avoid to connect to their negativity as that would risk to reinforce it and you would risk to absorb it. But you can still leave a nice comment on some other pic where they share something more positive, something you connect more to. For example I saw a suicidal girl who previously published a “10 things about me” in which she was rather cheerful, so I left a positive comment that acknowledged her uniqueness. Will it make a difference? One of the 10 things she wrote about herself was: “I love all of my followers and think it’s amazing that you take the time to say kind words to me”. Then yes, the kindness she receives from others seems to be one of the things that keeps her going. Every little helps.
I encourage not to fake kindness: you should care a bit about these people, look at what they post, try to see some sparkle of beauty in them. Maybe they are cute, or smart, or artistic, whatever it is just tell the goodness you saw in them. If they feel worthless, make them feel they can be important, if they feel ugly show them their beauty, if they feel like no one cares, show you care. You don’t need to be a hero, you don’t have to take responsibility for them, you don’t need to overdo it (and you probably shouldn’t unless you are qualified). You are not going to solve their problems and you shouldn’t even try, they are not even looking for your advice, they just need someone who listens and cares and be kind to them. Don’t forget that in the darkest night receiving a nice comment could make the difference between life and death, that’s how much your kindness can be important. See yourself with your eyes what an abyss of sadness our society is sprouting, how much these people feel alone, and how few are saying something kind to them: #suicidal on Instagram.
Everyone can be nice. It just takes a little, less time than posting a selfie or sharing a funny cat. A bit of kindness costs nothing, makes you feel better, and in this case might also contribute to save a life. If there is one practice that truly recurs in all spiritual traditions, that is the practice of kindness.
“Practice kindness all day to everybody and you will realize you’re already in heaven now”.
Since kindness is increasingly rare in our dog-eat-dog individualistic and profit based societies, I decided to create a Facebook group for positive-minded people who also feel this world needs more kindness and are happy to provide a bit of theirs.
I called it Merry Kindsters. Here is the manifesto:
If you like the spirit of this initiative and you think it’s good to dedicate even just 2 minutes of your time to be kind to others, please join us and help spread the word!
Someone asked me to explain how did I come up with these ten commandments for the digital millennium, which were found at the end of the rabbit hole in my Voyage at the Centre of the Universe: a Fractal Odyssey.
Here is my explanation: they came to me one night a couple of months ago, as a sudden inspiration from what Jung would call “spirit of the depths”. It took me ten minutes to write them down on my evernote. Then I asked myself: what am I going to do with this stuff? So I came up with the idea of the fractal journey, a serial story to run on social media to build a bit of curiosity around this revelation, or whatever you want to call it. My point was: if I have to deliver ten new commandments for the digital millennium, let’s be entertaining and let’s be fictional, because this world had far too many people creating sufferance and putting chains on the human soul because of giving too much importance to words and turning symbols into idols. In delivering these words I tried to be respectful of the 4th commandment…
I must admit I felt the responsibility of what I was doing, even if I am well aware that these words may be forgotten. I put all my best knowledge and sensitivity into making sure these ten commandments didn’t leave out anything meaningful and would permit, if followed, liberation and evolution for humankind in this brave new digital age. I spent a considerable amount of time pondering and doing research, to make sure that what came to me through the spirit of the depths was in line with the spirit of the time, and made some minor edits.
While most people may laugh at me or consider me a weirdo, I am happy to have completed what is for me a key artistic mission. My karma feels good about it. Up to you what you want to do with these words. If you want to print them and wipe your butt with them, go for it! After all, they are just words. They don’t mean anything by themselves, their job is to touch something inside of you that is not part of the rational mind. I have to warn you though: if you truly wipe your butt with them you’ll be sorry about it…. Your butt will get all dirty with black ink!
Many of the commandments may sound familiar to you as you probably heard them from others in different forms. Not my fault if key spiritual teachings look all the same. If people followed them more, perhaps there wouldn’t be need of people reminding them once in a while 🙂 Some may be a bit obscure, for example the 9th commandment “build a universe inside a machine”. That will make more sense if you read my credo, which also comes from the spirit of the depths (in that case I could be more rational and connect more easily with the spirit of the time).
If you feel there is wisdom in these words, and that even if they come from a jester they are more positive and helpful than the words of hate that surround us everyday, then please share, and feel free to make fun of me if you want. Cheerio! 🙂
Who is Barabeke?
Barabeke in my local dialect from Padova means “bogeyman”. That’s how my father sometimes used to call me when I was a kid. I am an Italian in London, a man of intuition and wit, but after all a common man with common problems. More than an artist I am someone who likes to provide others with inspiration, no matter if they are artists or scientists. My mission is to inspire people who are less common than me who will come after me. I don’t hope to succeed in it, but I try.
How do works like your “The Carrying of the Cross” come to life, also on a technical level?
My most complex works require, apart from some inner work, a huge work with Photoshop. My version of Bosch’s “The Carrying of the Cross”, in which I am the model for all the 18 characters and where all sort of symbols plus fractals appear, required months of work and the final image file was 1GB heavy. I interpreted Bosch’s original characters in a free and grotesque way. Someone may not like that I also interpreted Christ, but at the same time I was the persecutor, the vicious, the proud… I consider that painting from Bosch as a powerful representation of the human drama that unravels within us in what Jung would call “collective unconscious”. In my psychedelic version I am all the characters not in an effort to be a superman (even though I also appear as Superman) but as a common man.
Talking about fractal art, what’s your process for creating those works?
I’ve never been good at maths but thanks to a software called Ultra Fractal I can play with formulas and visually explore the fractal space that is generated. Then it’s all a matter to follow my instinct. When it comes to fractal art, mine is more a work of recognition than a work of creation.
Looking at many of your works it’s possible to notice a certain taste for symmetry.
As an indigenous who looks at it for the first time, I am not entirely convinced that behind a mirror there is nothing to be found. From here my interest for reflecting surfaces and my passion for apps that permit to reflect images. Many of my recent works have been entirely created on my iPhone.
What is Fractal Surrealism?
Fractal Surrealism is simply a term I created to define those works in which I mix photos with fractals. I don’t think it exists as an artistic movement, I’ve never seen anything similar so far at least. If we talk about digital surrealism, I think there are many people around who are much better than me. For me the creative act, rather than an aesthetic pursuit, is an urgency that I cannot avoid and is fuelled by the need to deliver my message to the next generations.
What’s the message behind your works?
I hold eccentric opinions about the origin and nature of the universe, which have some scientist among their sympathizers. Basically I believe that our universe exists within a machine, a super computer running a simulation that is so complex that it will take us several centuries to create it ourselves. As a consequence reality is a projection of our consciousness, as in Eastern philosophies or in Berkeley. Nothing exists if not observed, or better it exists as potential until is calculated into existence by interacting with us. Time travel is technically possible, and so instantly reaching every corner of the universe and beyond. Those who created us live in a dimension above us within an universe that is basically a Russian doll containing ours.
And what is your purpose in supporting this belief?
I just think it’s a good idea for humanity. An idea that may prove to be a vehicle for peace and maybe save future generations from a dark night… Such idea is just a preparation to my key artistic message, which will be revealed at the end of my Voyage at the centre of the universe, an adventure inside a fractal that I am publishing on my Instagram.
(This interview was originally published in Italian on Daily Storm)
In this visual journey inside a fractal I am going to take you deep down the rabbit hole, make you explore depths and wonders that defy imagination, and perhaps even challenge your vision of reality. We’ll sail together on a magical ship through the waves of space and time, like modern Argonauts looking for gold… Will we ever reach our destination? Only the brave who take the journey will know what the future holds. I can give you a hint though: at the end of this fractal odissey the mysterious words of the song ’39 by Brian May might make a lot of sense… may they be auspicious for our journey! 🙂
Here the ship’s log begins…
Once upon a time, in a colorfoul fractal space, I found a hole that goes down deep, so far that is beyond imagination. That hole is the big one you can see on the top half of this pic. Come join me like a modern argonaut in this journey inside the fractal, let's explore its depths, see were it leads, and whether we can find some light at the end of the tunnel.
DAY 1. As we dive deep inside the rabbit hole, we notice it is an apparently endless tunnel that travels through spiral dimensional layers. There are strange horizontal lines everywhere, like a psychedelic interference on a cosmic tv screen. What can they be? It's not something you would expect to see in a fractal… let's move our ship closer!
DAY 2. Our ship got closer to those strange lines we noticed yesterday. They look almost like barcodes from here, but while we were approaching they kept changing shapes, presenting irregularities, like they were broken lines of codes. All around us myriads of beautiful spiral holes that look like flowers with tentacles. They attract us with their gravity, but it's more like they are trying to suck us. Since they are literally all around us, we can escape the attraction and find a safe route only by aiming to travel at equal distance from opposite holes. If you get too close to a hole you will soon find yourself inside it as we experienced 5 times. We are kind of getting lost already…
DAY 3. Today we decided to take a risk and move our ship closer to the field of attraction of those holes. As we got closer, the colored horizontal lines kept on mutating, in a way that led two members of the crew to swear they saw messages in them. This is the closest we could get before, once again, one of the holes sucked us in. We are now officially lost, as it's lost our hope to find a way back. But the spirits keep being high in the crew, as the mariners of Columbus we were all aware this could have been a one way journey to an uncertain promised land…
DAY 4. Lost as we are inside a tunnel that leads to infinite tunnels, inside the ship the bewilderment of the crew is thankfully rivaled by the excitement for the marvels that keep on manifesting in front of our eyes. The myriad of lines that surround this endless spiral of black holes sometimes give the impression of being lines of code, or words. One member of the crew suggested that we may be traveling inside the mind of God… These visions have been reported by 3 people so far, but we have been unable to capture evidence on camera so we dismissed them as hallucinations. Today is to be reported as an exciting day filled with hope though: we finally found a hole that seems different from the others. As you can see there is a strange line pointing inside the big hole, which we never witnessed before. Clueless and lost as we are, we all agreed to take it as a sign to follow and headed our ship towards that black hole.
DAY 5. The strange line we saw yesterday, which we took as a sign to follow, vanished as soon as our ship approached the hole and we found ourselves once again totally lost. Inside this new hole the landscape is consistent with what we witnessed so far but our computer spotted an anomaly in frequency on the point you see indicated by the arrow. Unfortunately we couldn't get closer to observe that interference or else we would have entered the field of attraction of another hole. But we are processing a magnification of that point where the interference was spotted with the hope of getting some clue.
DAY 5 (Part 2). We magnified the previous pic on the point where our computer spotted the anomaly. I can hardly express how much this picture left us speechless. We basically found evidence of human writing… inside a fractal! The writing is in Italian, it reads "Cerca Trova" ("Seek Find"). The computer confirmed the calligraphy is from Leonardo da Vinci (!) This finding defied our reason like nothing else so far. The most cool and rational within the crew, those who always had an explanation for everything, this time remained silent and you could see in their eyes how much their mind was shaken. On the other side those who in the previous days reported sights we dismissed as hallucinations were full of excitement because they finally could demonstrate that they were not the crazy ones. Two people even got on their knees and started to pray… Whatever we are in, it has an intelligence of its own and is trying to communicate with us.
DAY 24. Back from 19 days of black out. Our ship's computer has been sabotaged by one member of the crew. We had to face a riot, it has been difficult to regain control of the ship. There has been blood, but no one was killed. It's difficult to express how much this electrical landscape we are immersed in is challenging our brains, causing all sort of hallucinations, and ultimately spreading mad superstitions among the crew, which caused the riot. We finally repaired the computer and I can update the journal, which would have been rather depressive in the past couple of weeks, both because of the events inside the ship, both because after the great hope after finding the writing of Leonardo "cerca trova" inside the fractal space we have been as lost as ever. The marvellous and hypnotic rabbit hole we are in has lost its power to excite us and as the days went by it became endlessly monotonous and repetitive, as well as terribly silent. We are losing hope of finding our way, the fear of being lost for eternity is raising and is shaking the minds of the most loyal and rational within the crew. We desperately need another sign…
DAY 34. After 10 very difficult days, when hope was lost and madness was widely infecting our minds, we finally found another message inside the rabbit hole! From the monotonous and endlessly repetitive fractal space another intelligent sign emerged: the Google logo plus a visual artwork. Our computer identified it as "Journey to the West" by a mysterious Italian artist called Barabeke, a freak who claims to be a "messenger of an extravagant theory about the origin and nature of the universe". There seems to be no relation at all between Google and this guy, which adds even more question marks in our already puzzled minds. No matter how strange the sight, the excitement that brought to us was comparable to the one of a thirsty explorer who after a long and lonesome journey in the desert finally spots an oasis. Without second thoughts we directed our ship closer to the artwork, which we'll be exploring in detail.
DAY 35. As our ship got closer to the artwork we found inside the fractal space, we noticed a mysterious doll holding a ball of purple energy with a heart and a cross inside it. As soon as we stopped to observe it, the image started to mutate and all sort of creatures began to arise from it, almost as it was a dream created with Google’s Deep Dream Generator. Soon we found ourselves sucked in that dream full of organic forms with alien eyes all around watching us. It was almost like an evolution in reverse, we went from primates, to reptiles, and finally we reached the insect stage where we found strange bugs whose body seemed to be in part mechanical. In the eye of one of these bugs there was an azure light. As we got closer, that light revealed itself to be the scariest vision we had so far: an eerie creature, some sort of a ghost made of fractals whose power of attraction we could not escape….
DAY 41. As we approached the fractal ghost we found in the last update, a field of attraction located in the ghost's head started to suck us in and we entered what seemed to be the creature's third eye, which revealed to be a dark endless tunnel. We have been lost inside this tunnel for the past 6 days, never losing the hope that we will reach the end of it and find an answer to our journey…
DAY 42. After one week we finally reached the end of the tunnel and we found ourselves in this landscape, free at last from the field of attraction of the fractal ghost we are in and able again to control the ship and choose our direction. We noticed a strange asymmetry in the landscape, the dot you see on top, slightly on the left side. That's where we are going next as we have no other option than following what is calling our attention…
DAY 43. As we approached that strange dot we spotted yesterday it soon revealed to be another fractal ghost, this time resembling a mysterious lady wearing a hood. Once again we got sucked in the head of the creature and we found ourself inside another tunnel, going deeper and deeper towards an uncertain destination, "deeper" being the only direction we can follow as our hope to find a way back is long lost…
DAY 45. We reached our destination. What we found at the end of the rabbit hole is these 10 commandments which we take as message for the new generations. As soon as we captured them the rainbow colors turned into a bright light, then into a round opening that sucked us in, through which we saw some of the beautiful things that heaven bears. And thence we came forth to see again the stars.
This concludes our magical journey. I hope you enjoyed it and will treasure the words we found and the end of the rabbit hole. These Ten Commandments for the Digital Millennium are my heritage for the new generations.
Mater Historiolosa & Sons. The following are all fractals, the first one generating the batch of 9 in the second pic through “genetical mutation” of the code.
How a single fractal can tell a thousand stories. One could spend years of his life writing a novel using just these 9 characters… Then burn all those years of work in one tweet that is likely to create zero engagement.
Like the Italian writer Aldo Busi recently wrote: “morta è ogni cultura che non sia mangereccia” (“dead is any culture that can’t be consumed with immediate satisfaction”), as a way to say that a great novel like Moby Dick or Don Quijote could maybe find a writer today devoting part of his life to such opus magnum, but hardly enough readers to turn it into a pillar of our culture. There is just too much distraction, so much easy, fast, colourful, sensational content providing instant gratification, that only what is truly popular and easy for everyone (ie. Gangnam Style) can raise to become a cultural icon. I am not saying there won’t be new great works of literature, I am saying that 99,9% of humanity will ignore them because they will get lost in the noise.