Synchronicity Hunting: An Interview with David Charles Plate
For twenty years David Charles Plate has explored the mysteries of synchronicity in films and music. That weird stream of coincidences that happens when you start The Wizard of Oz and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon at the right spots became, and remains for some subcultures, a rite of passage. But for young David, it began an epic adventure.
If you think Oz and Dark Side is mind-blowing, wait till you check out David’s juxtaposition of the hit 70s horror flick Carrie and Hole’s Live Though This. But that’s not even the most impressive of the correlations. How is it that one can take a film made in the 70s and an album made in the 90s and by lining them up right deepen the meaning and experience of both? Not to mention the numerous moments when film dialog or visuals correlate perfectly with musical shifts and lyrical content. Or when scenes and songs begin or end together. David has discovered a long list of relationships like this between films and albums. Enlightened by his occult and cultural studies, David has brought light to a little understood area of human experience..
My interviews are notoriously long reads, but this one might be the record breaker. David decided rather than simply doing an interview, we would turn the interview into his public record of his experiments. He realizes the length means fewer readers will make it all the way through, but for those that do, we both hope this will be an invaluable document containing interesting perspectives on Basquiat, Crowley, Krishnamurti, Robert Anton Wilson, Nietzsche, the Zohar and many other cultural landmarks.
Reality Sandwich is proud to present this account of an extraordinary experiment in the mystery of correspondences.
Tamra Lucid: What was the first step in your commitment to this fascinating art form? And what was the first pairing you made?
When I was 10 years old or so the MGM lion urinated on me. My class had gone on a field trip to a place where they kept movie animals. Everything from camels, to crocodiles, to racoons, as well as the MGM lion of its day. The man leading us along made a crack about how not to worry about the lion urinating on us because it hadn’t urinated in a week. Suddenly, the lion lifted its leg and sprayed half my class, myself included. They tried to hose us off but there was no way from keeping the smell of MGM lion urine out of our nostrils for the entire bus ride home. Take from that what you will, but my sense has been that whatever this animal was made to represent, with ‘Art For Art’s Sake’ being written in Latin above the lion’s head in the logo, along with Trade-Mark etc., I’ve felt that at least symbolically, this ‘beast’ and I have had some karma between us, karma set in motion before I was old enough to know what really hit me.
My introduction to album film pairing came from my brother when he told me about playing Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon with The Wizard of Oz back in the mid-90’s. I was blown away by the effects of starting the album at the 3rd roar of the MGM lion and letting the album repeat with the film muted. What struck me was the apparent necessity of that particular timing and so I repeated the experiment from other starting points and what I found was that although the album would continue to be relatively resonant with the film it did not ever deliver the same degree of synchronization, objectively speaking.
For example, when the album ends the first time around, we see the tinman saying “bang on my chest if you think I’m perfect” thus demonstrating he is without a heart. This coincides with the album beginning and ending with a heartbeat. Song changes corresponding with scene changes are a noteworthy aspect of the phenomenon, like on the 3rd round when Dorothy lands back in her bed in Kansas after tapping her heels together repeating “there’s no place like home” we hear Pink Floyd’s line: “home, home again, I like to be here when I can…”. There are college students who’ve written dissertations on this particular album film pairing, who’ve gone through the anomaly documenting every correspondence from beginning to end. What has been popularized as ‘The Dark Side of Oz’ was first introduced by a radio station call-in back in the 70’s, following this there were many showings at theaters which received rather large turnouts for something so niche, this could easily be likened to the interactive nature of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, in that it carried the sense of making a piece of media malleable, in that it allowed one to view a well known film from new perspectives.
Something that raised an eyebrow early on was that the film Pink Floyd’s The Wall was essentially one long music video with the film itself generally muted, not to mention Pink Floyd’s early days included two soundtracks that turn out to align with their corresponding films respectively, these being the film More and The Valley (Obscured by Clouds). Shortly after I experienced this pairing, I got the internet in my home for the first time and the first searches I ever made involved seeking out other examples shared by fringe researchers in high weirdness exploring this area.
There were a few websites with other examples that were worth exploring, in those days Pink Floyd was a constant, little did I know I would be going through their entire studio album catalogue with a fine-tooth comb for years to follow, ultimately becoming the world’s leading pioneer in album film pairing extending far beyond the launch pad that was Pink Floyd. There were no streaming uploads, just instructions, which added to the mystique and interactive nature of the experiment. To get the components and try them out felt nothing short of scientific. There are certain friends of mine now, I guess you could call them ‘sync purists’, who feel these experiments should only be shared in this way. One recommendation was Pink Floyd’s song Echoes off of their album Meddle with the final sequence of 2001: A Space Odyssey titled Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite. When I first did this, I used a VHS tape of the film and the vinyl record, because of this I didn’t realize till a few years later that the running time of said sequence and song were both exactly 23 minutes and 26 seconds long. It wasn’t until I used a DVD and a CD that this became apparent. What is more, I had no idea of the Kubrick Floyd connections, one example being Kubrick’s desire to use Atom Heart Mother for the score to A Clockwork Orange, though when he insisted on dividing the suite for various scenes Pink Floyd reacted with an unwillingness to allow it.
My first personal successful pairing ultimately came from my mother, oddly enough. I had made many attempts, Atom Heart Mother with The Egg and I for one, but though this was an interesting thing to explore, nothing had been as jaw dropping as what occurred when I had seen The Dark Side of Oz. I was looking at Pink Floyd’s album Animals and I asked my mom (note this was in Jr High) what films contained various farm animals, to which she, without hesitation, suggested Charlotte’s Web. To my amazement after starting the album on the fade out of Paramount Studios the 2 pieces of media meshed exquisitely. So, to answer your inquiry, Charlotte’s Web and Pink Floyd’s Animals was my first successful pairing, despite having to attribute this to my mother.
My first personal pairing to follow this was The Dark Crystal with Pink Floyd’s Saucer Full of Secrets. Something odd about this one, not that it’s not odd in the first place, is that if one wanted to entertain the possibility of intentionality, was that this Jim Henson, Frank Oz film was produced long after the album, even to this day this occurrence tends to be rare in my research. Lars Von Trier is one of the few directors to produce such noteworthy syncs that exude this tendency, with such examples including his film Melancholia which pairs with The Smashing Pumpkins’ album, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness and The House that Jack Built which pairs with Nick Cave’s Let Love In, the latter being one of my most recent discoveries. The House that Jack Built with Nick Cave is available upon request as it requires a password, uploading such an extreme film to Vimeo is risky, it would be a shame to have such a gem remain in complete obscurity.
Have you been inspired by any predecessors? How have Robert Anton Wilson, Jung and Crowley influenced your work?
I grew up riding my bike past Robert Anton Wilson’s home in Capitola California, a city within the county of Santa Cruz. He was one of my earliest exposures to high weirdness, but it wasn’t till after he passed away that I was informed how welcoming he was to casual visitors, I wish I had known this earlier on, we could have had tea apparently. Interestingly, I had a fixation on the number 723 dating back to my earliest days of exploring synchronicity though I didn’t know why. 7–23, or July 23rd is actually now an official Santa Cruz holiday because of this date’s role in Robert Anton Wilson’s visionary experience when he had contact with a 6 ft tall rabbit from Sirius. This isn’t the place to lay out all the specifics surrounding this strange event but I’d recommend looking up his video interviews on the subject, but the point is, this was an impactful character for me early on in my psychedelic-mystical career.
Carl Jung’s influence on me cannot be overstated, beyond having coined the term ‘synchronicity’ in An Acausal Principle his works have been indispensable in my research. Certain things should be emphasized in this capacity, especially for the skeptic who isn’t familiar with Jung’s qualifications, one of the more essential points being the relationship between acausal and causal, which doesn’t necessitate an either-or conclusion, but rather, the acausal parallelism can work as an acknowledgement of the various levels at play in our perceptual lens. In other words, a meaningful coincidence can be examined without having to know the how’s or why’s. This principle can be seen in countless examples but I’ll include my first recognition of it to demonstrate it.
The year was 1989 I was 8 years old, I remember standing in a shoe store looking at a card board cut out of Jose Conseco that read ‘Battle of the Bay’. I was just learning to read at the time and sounded out the words before asking my dad what The Battle of the Bay was. He leaned down and explained to me the significance, which went something along the lines of, “you see son, we live in what’s called the Bay Area, and these 2 teams, The Oakland A’s and The San Francisco Giants are representing cities situated directly next to each other, Oakland and San Francisco, they are going to ‘battle it out’ in a tournament we call the World Series”. Shortly after this talk, we were struck with the ’89 earthquake and after all the chaos had died down and we had television again, one of the first things I saw was footage of a car going off the edge of the Bay Bridge which had broken in the middle. I asked my father why it’s called The Bay Bridge and he explained, this is the bridge that connects Oakland and San Francisco. This left me perplexed, at 8 years old, I had to ask, “so, the bridge that connects to 2 cities ‘battling’ broke during the game?”.
These happenings had no observable connection, and as we know, correlation doesn’t automatically determine causation, but still, this happened and the meaning was apparent none the less. This was my first lesson in seeing how something can both be completely connected, yet not connected at all, at the same time, as is in the nature of a paradox. Now I find this is relatable to the roles the 2 hemispheres of the mind play as serial and parallel processors (see My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor). ‘Acuasal’ can be taken to mean that although a connection is apparent but not easily explained it’s not unreasonable to suggest the connection could exist beyond our current models and assumptions concerning reality. Unless one reads Jung’s book Synchronicity: An Acausal Principle the term synchronicity is generally misunderstood as something unscientific or ‘out there’, the first sections concern themselves primarily with probability theory while ultimately leaving more questions than answers.
Some of us can find stability within the instability of uncertainty, while others can’t deal with the cognitive dissonance involved in such grey areas, which ties directly into the work I’m doing with album film anomalies, where some experience discomfort in not knowing whether something was intentional or happenstance. Personally, over the years of sharing my results I’ve made it a point to not take an ultimate position, not just vocally, but internally as well, while letting the multi-media experience speak for itself. My current sense, all things considered, is that while I don’t rule out intention on the part of artists, it seems accomplishing such feats wouldn’t take much more than a push, so to speak. In other words, I don’t believe if any given correspondence was intentional this would be as complex a task as some might assume.
If you speak to those who identify as ‘Thelemites’ following the teachings of Aleister Crowley it is rare that they will entertain the notion of synchronicity being that this wasn’t a term Crowley himself would ever use, and so they distinguish Crowley’s book of correspondences, 777, as just that, a book of correspondences with nothing to do with Jung’s ideas surrounding synchronicity. I would argue that this is due to more of a compartmentalization than a genuine distinction. After reading loads of Crowley’s works for years I’d argue that the average Thelemite’s take on the dynamics surrounding inter-connectedness are practically identical to Jung’s acausal parallelism, despite these propagators personalities and agendas being worlds apart, to say the least. The idea of the ‘rituals being half revealed, half concealed’ is one that I have had to ponder, this is a theme in classic Crowleyan magick, in that we have two sides to the happening, one which the public witnesses in full light, and one which is more esoteric and reserved, either for those with eyes to see or those who are more privy to insider information. This double-sidedness is what would substantiate a given piece of art as a contribution to The Great Work, as it’s called. When people gather together in a darkened room and the curtains roll open to reveal an unfoldment with a beginning, middle, and end, this is not at all dissimilar from a standard magickal working as described by Crowley in Magick in Theory and Practice, which are always characterized by such an unfoldment. Crowley’s description of Dramatic Rituals as the third main type of invocation should be applicable in this context:
“The Wheel turns to those effectual methods of invocation employed in the ancient Mysteries and by certain secret bodies of initiates to-day. The object of them is almost invariably the invocation of a God, that God conceived in a more or less material and personal fashion. These Rituals are therefore well suited for such persons as are capable of understanding the spirit of Magick as opposed to the letter. One of the great advantages of them is that a large number of persons may take part, so that there is consequently more force available; but it is important that they should all be initiates of the same mysteries, bound by the same oaths, and filled with the same aspirations. They should be associated only for this one purpose. Such a company being prepared, the story of the God should be dramatized by a well-skilled poet accustomed to this form of composition. Lengthy speeches and invocations should be avoided, but action should be very full. Such ceremonies should be carefully rehearsed; but in rehearsals care should be taken to omit the climax, which should be studied by the principal character in private. The play should be so arranged that this climax depends on him alone. By this means one prevents the ceremony from becoming mechanical or hackneyed, and the element of surprise assists the lesser characters to get out of themselves at the supreme moment. Following the climax there should always be an unrehearsed ceremony, an impromptu. The most satisfactory form of this is the dance. In such ceremonies appropriate libations may be freely used. The Rite of Luna (Equinox I. VI) is a good example of this use. Here the climax is the music of the goddess, the assistants remaining in silent ecstasy. In the rite of Jupiter the impromptu is the dance, in that of Saturn long periods of silence. It will be noticed that in these Rites poetry and music were largely employed — mostly published pieces by well-known authors and composers. It would be better to write and compose specially for the ceremony.” -Aleister Crowley, Book 4, Ch. 19
Film was of great interest to Crowley who saw the birth of moving picture in his lifetime, as was the incorporation of music into ceremony. Aleister Crowley was the 1st recorded person to suggest playing phonograph records backwards, the nature of album film pairing is not too dissimilar from this practice. Those who have knee jerk reactions to such a statement will likely not be familiar with what has actually transpired in both these capacities; keep in mind however this becomes less about what Crowley witnessed or recommended in his own lifetime and more about what those succeeding him have followed through with while overtly gleaning inspiration from his ideas. Take the Beatles, the first band to use backmasking in their music with Magical Mystery Tour (inspired by William S Burroughs who got the idea from Crowley’s Book 4), The Doors (who posed behind a stone bust of Crowley on the back of their compilation album titled 13) or Led Zeppelin (Jimmy Page bought Crowley’s mansion in Loc Ness) and all the way up to bands such as Tool (whose drummer, Danny Carrey, boasts his collection of Crowley’s 1st editions). These bands’ interest in Crowleyan magick is no secret, so to postulate there could be secrets shouldn’t be out of the question; and while some might argue there is no way for the those in the general public to ascertain what these secrets entail without being told directly seems to me rather presumptuous, and dare I say, naive. There are no real secrets that aren’t ultimately in plain sight, a genuine secret is a mystery, not a secret, truth be told.
It’s worth mentioning, as I’m on the subject of influences, that J Krishnamurti played a huge role in many essential revelations I’ve had that relate to my research. These revelations have served as a ground so as to avoid getting too lost in subsequent sublimations studying cerebral occultism. The teachings of Krishnamurti become rather ironic while acknowledging these influences, considering that this was a man who spent his life renouncing the same position Crowley was doing everything in his power to embody, this being that of the ‘world teacher’. These two individuals are essentially the ultimate dichotomy, motivation-wise. One ambitiously seeking all the attention he could while spending his inheritance on self-publishing, with the other rejecting the title being forced on him for 70 some odd years after said title was pushed on him by the Theosophical Society. What some might call contradiction here, I call complimentary aspects of human endeavor; since when should one voice be the final word in anything? however polarized their personas happen to be. If I were less individuated and more concerned with who better to emulate, this would be a different issue.
I’ll say that as far as the specifics surrounding my album film experimentation are concerned, Friedrich Nietzsche would probably be my number one influence, mainly due to what he relayed in The Birth of Tragedy from The Spirit of Music concerning the satyr chorus. Nietzsche conveyed the dynamics of Dionysian theater and what he believed distinguished it from Apollonian theater which would eventually take its place and continue into what we regard as entertainment today. Basically, the idea is there were only so many plays, all of which were tragedies, probably less than 10. Because these plays were known so well by the audience, who could, at least theoretically, recite every line, there were these men dressed as satyrs that would be situated between those viewing the play and the stage, 3 sets in all. The satyrs would perform music whose poetic content would speak to the inner thoughts of the characters performing as well as the subtext for the plays themselves, literally drowning out the lines of the play to a greater or lesser degree; there were, after all, no microphones at this time. If one entertains the notion of intentionality in any of my pairings one has to consider the distinction that would exist, in relating to the components, by the producers as opposed to the masses. If one had a key role in producing a film or album one would know the thing inside and out, which makes for an opportunity similar to what was described by Nietzsche in The Birth of Tragedy:
“Schlegel’s observation in this sense reveals a deeper significance. The chorus is the “ideal spectator” in so far as it is the only beholder, the beholder of the visionary world of the scene. A public of spectators, as we know it, was unknown to the Greeks. In their theaters the terraced structure of the theatron rising in concentric arcs enabled everyone to overlook, in an actual sense, the entire world of culture around him, and in an overabundance of contemplation to imagine himself one of the chorus. According to this view then, we may call the chorus in its primitive stage in early tragedy a self-mirroring of the Dionysian man: a phenomenon which is most clearly exemplified by the process of the actor, who, if he be truly gifted, sees hovering almost tangibly before his eyes the character he is to represent. The satyr chorus is above all a vision of the Dionysian throng, just as the world of the stage is, in turn, a vision of the satyr chorus.”
This link between the satyr chorus of Greek tragedy and contemporary music was Nietzsche’s own observation, albeit in his own day; much of The Birth of Tragedy focuses heavily on what in his time was labeled as folk music, which is where what we call rock and roll has its roots. So, when we consider the visual element inherent in the theatron, there is ample rationale for the justification of my medium, not just for myself, but in what might drive the wills of various producers’ own potential sleight of hand, in that this merging of audio and visionary elements helps to reconcile a fundamental disjoint which plagues the art world of today, a disjoint missed by those satisfied to be mere spectators in their relationship to dramatic media. This book, which happens to be Nietzsche’s earliest work, stands as the most direct articulation of my research, so much so that I’d like to include another quote from it due to its profound applicability:
“It is in keeping both with this insight and with general tradition that in the earliest tragedy Dionysus was not actually present but merely imagined. Original tragedy is only “chorus” and not “drama” at all. Later an attempt was made to demonstrate the god as real and to bring the visionary figure, together with the transfiguring frame, vividly before the eyes of every spectator. This marks the beginning of “drama” in the strict sense of the word. It then became the task of the dithyrambic chorus so to excite the mood of the listeners that when the tragic hero appeared, they would behold not the awkwardly masked man but a figure born of their own rapt vision. If we imagine Admetus brooding on the memory of his recently departed wife Alcestis, consuming himself in a spiritual contemplation of her form — how a figure of similar shape and gait is led toward him in deep disguise: if we then imagine his tremor of excitement, his impetuous comparisons, his instinctive conviction — then we have an analogue for the excitement of the spectator beholding the god, with whose sufferings he has already identified himself, stride onto the stage. Instinctively he would project the shape of the god that was magically present to his mind onto that masked figure of a man, dissolving the latter’s reality into a ghostly unreality. This is the Apollonian dream state, in which the daylight world is veiled and a new world — clearer, more comprehensible, more affecting than the first, and at the same time more shadowy — falls upon the eye in ever changing shapes. Thus, we may recognize a drastic stylistic opposition: language, color, pace, dynamics of speech are polarized into the Dionysian poetry of the chorus, on the one hand, and the Apollonian dream world of the scene on the other. The result is two completely separate spheres of expression. The Apollonian embodiments in which Dionysus assumes objective shape, are no longer “an eternal sea, a changing weaving, a glowing existence,” [Goethe’s Faust I, 505–7] as is the case with the music of the chorus, no longer those powers deeply felt by the enthusiast, but which he is incapable of condensing into a clear image. The adept no longer obscurely senses the approach of the god: the god now speaks to him from the proscenium with the clarity and firmness of epic, as an epic hero, almost in the language of Homer.” -Ibid
Do you rely on intuition or measurement or both when finding the pairs and how they fit?
My techniques have undergone some shifts over the years, but certain aspects to my process remain a constant. This question is a good springboard for an important acknowledgement, this being the whole notion of a ‘concept album’. For many people these days, with the advent of the i-pod and i-tunes, the playlist has taken the place of the album. When one would purchase an LP, the artwork was a significant aspect, and though an album would contain various songs, the theme that would thread through the album was often unmistakable while adding to the meaning of what the artists intended to convey. Tying back to my earliest work for convenience, if one listening to Pink Floyd’s Animals were asked what this album is about one might respond simply, ‘it’s about animals’, but what is it really about? The lyrical content reads more like Orwell’s Animal Farm than it does Charlotte’s Web, but then one should ask, what is Charlotte’s Web actually about, and this becomes the kicker. What happens in Charlotte’s Web? We see a pig fearing for his life whose life is substantiated by what gets written on the web, “some pig”. One could take this as ‘hey, that’s SOME pig’ thus imbuing the animal, or ‘that’s just some pig’, thus writing it off. Though this is a classic children’s story it starts to have a similar feel to another children’s story, Watership Down, the more one delves into it, and this is where the lyrical content of Pink Floyd’s Animals becomes paramount, pun intended. “Harmlessly passing your time in the grassland away, only dimly aware of a certain unease in the air…” etc. The flying pig produced by Hipgnosis, though unusually designed by Roger Waters, denoting the classic phrase ‘yeah, when pigs fly’; here we see something impossible, but true, just like the spoken to alignment that occurs when one goes to the trouble to run the experiment, however unlikely the results may be, they are clearly demonstrable. If you see a flying pig, so much for the phrase when pigs fly, however often it’s been used by the populace (see Black Swan Theory by Nassim Nicholas Taleb).
Along with concept albums we see musicians who embody corresponding archetypes to accompany the themes, often specifically for the duration any given album is being toured. Here we see examples from musicians as contrastable as David Bowie and Blondie to Marilyn Manson and Lady Gaga. Some artists will even make concept albums which are twists on previous concept albums; for example, Saul Williams produced an album titled The Rise and Inevitable Liberation of Niggy Tardust, an obvious reference to David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust. While Bowie was known for his part in the film The Man Who Fell to Earth, it came to my attention that Brother from Another Planet was the black equivalent, just as his album was the black equivalent to Ziggy. It turns out if you align Saul Williams’ Niggy Tardust with Brother from Another Planet the result is uncanny. His album, Martyr Loser King pairs phenomenally with the film Basquiat. I paired these two before listening to the album, basing my decision to do so on nothing more than the cover of the album along with an interview I saw of him talking about the title where he seemed to be mimicking Basquiat himself.
Little did I know, until watching the sync, that he gives this tragic artist a shout out in the album itself. To delve into any given phase among musicians becomes a rabbit hole of exploration unto itself, to then attribute the album to a synchronous film then becomes another tier to the enigma being shared. One could relate this in principle to light and water. One can only perceive a rainbow at 42 degrees, as this is the exact angle at which light refracts water to produce a rainbow in our perception. Water is one thing, light is another, together they produce a 3rd thing we call a rainbow, which we perceive when we meet their interplay at just the right angle.
To speak more to concept albums, one example among my films which approached what would be considered ‘viral’ (before my first Vimeo account was terminated for supposed copyright infringement) was Marilyn Manson’s Antichrist Superstar and Jesus Christ Superstar, after I discovered what transpires when the album is started the second the door to the blue bus opens in the opening scene (Note the license plate of said bus reads ‘666’). This took years to decipher the proper timing to achieve the desired effect, which I did initially by rewinding the VHS over and over again until it finally achieved this end. In many instances the release dates will play a role in the cause for suspicion. Album’s that were released the same day and year as films, that also pair considerably well include: Lana Del Rey’s Lust for Life and Dunkirk, George Michaels’ Faith and Aria, Cherry Glazerr’s Appocalipstick and I, Tonya, Vera Blue’s Perennial and Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, Jay Z’s 444 and The Beguiled, Studio Killers’ self-titled album and The Bling Ring, David Bowie’s Heroes and Starship Invaders, The Church’s album Further Deeper and Birdman, etc.. Something else that will happen frequently is that if I align certain albums to the second a film begins it will turn out that the album, after doing 2, 3, or 4 rounds will end the second the film ends. Examples of this include: The Eagles’ Hotel California and Private Lessons, Abba’s album Arrival and the 1976 version of King Kong, Abba The Album and The Message; these Abba albums make 4 rounds and play the exact length of their respective films to the T. More often than not, I will align an album’s closest ending song to the end of the film, either right when it cuts to credits or at the end of the credits and see where it happens to land at the beginning, the frequency of this landing at what appears to be a symbolic or otherwise significant anchor point is staggering, so much so that those watching my films will have no idea that the chosen second was not intentional but will assume otherwise.
There are what could be called film on film anomalies as well, such as Ex Machina and Under the Skin, which aligns with Leonard Cohen’s New Skin for the Old Ceremony. If you start these films at the exact same second, they will cut to credits at the exact same second. I’ve had to acknowledge that most older examples tend to have more straight forward starting points, such as the fade out of a production company, while many of the newer ones practically require the aid of an editing program to see how to align the ending as I just described. In many cases dates can become important as the theme of the album will relate to real life events, which are often sensationalized tragedies, for whatever reason this tends to be an ongoing theme. More obvious examples of this include, Bob Dylan’s Love and Theft, which was released on September 11th 2001 syncing with Vanilla Sky, whose production in New York coincided with the 9–11 attacks. Another album released this same day and year, 9–11–01, was Jay Z’s album The Blueprint, which if you align the end of this album to the second the Oliver Stone film, The World Trade Center, ends it will allow the album to loop twice and begin on the second Nicolas Cage hits his alarm clock in the opening shot.
Albrecht Durer’s famous etching titled ‘Melancholia 1’ inspired 2 familiar pieces of media, Melancholia by Lars Von Trier as well as Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness by the Smashing Pumpkins. If you bookend the album with the title track and align this first track to the 24th second of the film, it will play through in its entirety and end on the second Lars Von Trier’s name drops away at the end credits. I discovered this without the aid of an editing program because of Albrecht Durer’s magical square which appears in his etching and is referenced in the film repeatedly, see if you can spot them, they’re not subtle. DCP film is characterized by using 24 frames per second due to a bet of sorts between Leland Stanford and a photographer named Eadweard Muybridge (see Sallie Gardner at a Gallop); so, to start the album at the 24th second indicates 24×24, as though Trier was playing on the idea of his own ‘magic square’ of sorts. If one studies Babylonian squares in depth, which make up the earliest recorded mathematics in existence, it becomes undeniable that we discovered numbers and did not invent them. While we certainly invented the symbols to represent numeration, numeration itself is a naturally occurring expression found everywhere in nature. This is an essential point emphasized in Kabbalistic study, and it is unfortunate how misunderstood language is as a corollary to this fact, in that the earliest alphabets didn’t simply have corresponding numbers, but rather language itself is mathematical in its roots, people used to speak in math, literally. One reason this is hard to fathom is that our relationship to math is drastically different than it was when we were right brain ‘dominant’, for lack of a better word. This is where we get the Hebrew term Abracadabra, ‘to speak is to create’. This is relayed in the spiral which twists from right to left communicated in the Kabbalistic Tree of Life with what European occultists refer to as the 777 lightening flash described in the Sefer Yetzirah, the Book of Creation. The right hemisphere is the basis for the left and never the other way around, all the cognitive dissonance in the world could never change this fundamental truth that negates our assumed mass projection of duality onto an underlying polarity. If opposites aren’t in opposition, are they still opposites? How long does it take for the left hemisphere to come to terms with what the right already knows? The whole of human history apparently. As Plato used to love to point out, all knowledge is innate, dividing our projection is not the accumulation of knowledge, rather it merely demonstrates our ability to infinitely articulate what is ultimately understood on a deeper sheath of our emanation.
The results of pairing Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness to Melancholia at the 24th second were apparent and I was thrilled. For some bizarre syntax, I found this Director’s Statement after discovering the sync, the last words of which blew my mind all things considered, and helped to affirm my overwhelming suspicions regarding Trier’s intention behind the work, whether this intention was conscious or unconscious is hardly the point, it’s there, and as Bill Cosby would say, the proof is in the pudding:
“It was like waking from a dream: my producer showed me a suggestion for a poster. “What is that?” I ask. ”It’s a film you’ve made!” she replies. ”I hope not,” I stammer. Trailers are shown … stills … it looks like shit. I’m shaken. Don’t get me wrong … I’ve worked on the film for two years. With great pleasure. But perhaps I’ve deceived myself. Let myself be tempted. Not that anyone has done anything wrong … on the contrary, everybody has worked loyally and with talent toward the goal defined by me alone. But when my producer presents me with the cold facts, a shiver runs down my spine. This is cream on cream. A woman’s film! I feel ready to reject the film like a wrongly transplanted organ. But what was it I wanted? With a state of mind as my starting point, I desired to dive headlong into the abyss of German romanticism. Wagner in spades. That much I know. But is that not just another way of expressing defeat? Defeat to the lowest of cinematic common denominators? Romance is abused in all sorts of endlessly dull ways in mainstream products. And then, I must admit, I have had happy love relationships with romantic cinema … to name the obvious: Visconti! German romance that leaves you breathless. But in Visconti, there was always something to elevate matters beyond the trivial … elevate it to masterpieces!
I am confused now and feel guilty. What have I done? Is it ’exit Trier?’ I cling to the hope that there may be a bone splinter amid all the cream that may, after all, crack a fragile tooth … I close my eyes and hope!”
Lars von Trier, Copenhagen, April 13, 2011.
So, the thing that gets me here and why I’m sharing this statement are the last lines. He has produced a film, and obviously the film is the film, what is it that he is ‘closing his eyes and hoping for’? What is this “bone splinter” to “crack a fragile tooth”? I am confident that I found it!
Do you have any personal theory about how these coincidences that seem to whisper of deeper meanings come to be? Are they anomalies or synchronicity or?
In certain cases, the back story of how the pieces of media connect will be brought to my awareness after the fact. So, the syntax becomes an essential aspect in my extrapolations. Often the syntax will work to establish the legitimacy of the pairing, which is hard to convey to those that haven’t witnessed the process behind it firsthand. For example, when I saw the results of pairing Marilyn Manson’s album Holywood with Alejandro Jodorowsky’s The Holy Mountain I was oblivious to the fact that Jodorowsky and Manson are actually close friends, not only that, but Jodorowsky officiated Manson’s wedding with actress Dita Von Teese. Here is an applicable interview excerpt with Manson speaking to a film project that never came to fruition, though I’d argue it ultimately did, though as more of an ‘Easter egg’ than an actual film: “There were plenty of people interested in working with me, but the material was too controversial, both politically and religiously with regards to violence. I spoke with Alexandro Jodorowsky, a hero of mine, and my favorite filmmaker. He and I were going to work together on it.”
Playing Manson’s album, The High End of Low with Jodorowsky’s Fando and Lis produces similar results. Worth mentioning as well is that The Doors album Strange Days aligns flawlessly with Jodorowsky’s director’s cut of Santa Sangre, an example of a film synchronizing to an album which came out years prior. When I first paired the film Party Monster with Lady Gaga’s debut album The Fame, I wasn’t privy to the fact that Marilyn Manson had a small part in the production of said album, they even produced a remix of one of the tracks together. Manson had a small role acting in the film as well. On a symbolic level, both these artists have gone to great lengths to invoke related archetypes into their concept albums, Marilyn Manson portraying the Antichrist with Antichrist Superstar and Lady Gaga portraying the Scarlet Woman who rides atop the Beast with The Fame Monster which pairs flawlessly with Metropolis, a film inspired by The Zohar which deals with the roots of said archetypes, these being Lilith and Samael, the Scarlet Woman and The Beast of the book of Revelations being derived from these figures in Jewish mysticism.
When I first saw the poster for the film Atomic Blonde, I initially thought I was looking at a Blondie advertisement, being that Blondie produced a song called Atomic on Eat to the Beat. If you play Atomic Blonde with Eat to the Beat the results are incredible. One song on this album, Accidents Never Happen, speaks to the question I’m replying to:
“No I don’t believe in luck, No I don’t believe in circumstance no more, Accidents never happen in a perfect world, So I won’t believe in luck.”
So, I have to ask myself, how practical is magic? When I pose this inquiry to the universe, the answer that keeps coming back to me is, ‘more practical than your rational mind could ever accept on its own terms.’
It’s downright eerie how these pairings seem to add meaning and emotional depth to both the music and the film. Together they form meta works of art. What are your thoughts about that?
Not only does this happen in individual cases, it’s been observed by myself and those who’ve taken in many of these experiments that there are definite observable themes that run throughout the pairings. This can often be uncanny, and complimentary to what may have already been a solid meta-work on its own. If you look at Joy Division’s debut album Unknown Pleasures with Alien for example, you might notice the subtext in the film meeting the subtext in the album and spelling out far more meaning than either would convey on their own. In both cases you have satirical statements on Nazi ideology. This is not my personal observation, it’s been pointed out by many people. Joy Division got its name from when the Nazis would separate out the Jewish women they wished to have sex with in concentration camps, which speaks volumes to the ridiculousness of eugenics and its fundamental ideology, not that this example is needed to prove such an overt distortion. In Alien we see the way the life form is regarded by the military as a ‘perfect being’ despite the fact that it is violently destructive and conveys a hive-mind orientation. So, if this is the goal, to proliferate this terrible species, what does this say about our assumptions around what it means to evolve when Darwin himself denotes the ability to show empathy as an indication of evolutionary advancement in his book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals.
So, there we have this very deep resonance with a subversive and ironic message being relayed which then goes even deeper with Joy Division’s 2nd and final album, Closer, pairing with The Elephant Man, a film which conveys the exact opposite. Here we have Joseph Merrick, (John in the script) being the epitome of what the Nazis would have taken to be an ‘undesirable’, yet what he brings to culture with love and intelligence surpasses most people, revealing his ultimate worth and value to society beyond the appearances which labelled him a ‘freak’ in the eyes of the world. This is the exact opposite of what we saw with Alien, and these respective albums mirror this as well.
Of course, Ian Curtis, the lead singer of Joy Division would take his own life after Closer’s release, so these two albums will always be all there is to Joy Division’s catalogue. The concept behind these 2 albums is generally lost on people except by the more serious fans, but it is my feeling that these 2 films bring these concepts out into the open as concealed but revealed art. Was this intentional on the part of the filmmakers and/or producers? I can’t know, but what I do know is that either way, this wouldn’t take anything away from the profundity of the thing, at least for me.
The term ‘coincidence’ can be used differently depending on the inflection, this is similar to the way the word ‘semantics’ gets used these days, as in ‘oh, that’s just semantics.’ Neither of these terms assume a lesser significance on their own, it almost comes across as some sort of ‘PR move’ to give them the established connotation they generally hold. Semantics is the branch of linguistics and logic concerned with meaning, there is nothing downplaying about this technically or traditionally. The same goes for charged terms such as ‘conspiracy’, which etymologically means “to agree, unite, plot,” literally “to breathe together”. A conspiracy is regarded as a ‘secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful’, but note well that man’s greatest inhumanities to man have always been legal, and at the same time there doesn’t need to be more than 2 people involved in an activity for it to be deemed a ‘conspiracy’. I don’t rule out the possibility that somewhere in LA or the like, there are private showings of album film pairings after they’re produced. I also don’t rule out the possibility that the universe has far more intelligence and organizational tendencies than we assume. But whatever the case may be, ask yourself this, assuming you’ve seen my work, which of these explanations is closer to Occam’s razor, and why do we assume it’s either one or the other and not perhaps a degree of both?
What do you think it is about yourself that gives you this sense of finding hidden associations between films and records?
Well, for one thing I’ve been obsessively focused on this phenomena for well over 20 years, long before the internet was available to me, let alone programs like Final Cut and Adobe Premier; meaning what I can now simply place in an editing program and get a direct sense of how the bars of the components align, I used to have to rewind and repeat VHS tapes with CD’s or even LP’s. Growing up my mother had an accountant who was married to a man who owned a video rental store so we got to rent movies for free for years. Every time we watched a new film, my mother would have 2 VCRs hooked up so we could have our own copy, this was the original technique to pirate videos. Due to this we ended up with a hallway with nothing short of a couple thousand videos (no exaggeration) accumulated over the years and I had unlimited access to all of these. You could say I was raised in large part by the VCR, a bit like Jim Carrey in The Cable Guy, but with my own form of neurosis as opposed to his psychotic one, hopefully. I was born deaf and had surgery to widen my ear canals, so on a personal level I feel there was a certain therapeutic sense to this growing up because it put me in touch with a familiar space, the muting factor kind of replicates the experience of what it was like for me to be deaf. Pink Floyd’s The Division Bell pairing with Children of a Lesser God really runs with this association.
Throughout my twenties I practiced keeping silence while writing on a board for months at a time, as my teacher Baba Hari Dass did for over 60 years until his recent passing. Meditation is essential in my process, and silence is the most helpful aid imaginable. As long as one is compulsively interjecting commentary it can be difficult to see what is right in front of the viewer. From a place of complexity, it’s hard to recognize simplicity, while from a place of simplicity it’s easy to navigate the complexity. There is something paradoxical about clearing one’s mind in this way, clarity is all about vantage point. As I’ve stated elsewhere, though I’ve been at this regularly for so long, truly solid album film alignments have been far in between but began to escalate in frequency when I found the others, as Timothy Leary would say. A few people who’ve been instrumental in this capacity include: Patrick Sevc (with The Overlap Hotel), Alex Fulton (with Crypto-Kubrology), Jason Barrera (with The Mask of God), Steve Willner (with The Labyrinth of the Psychonaut) , Jordan Bartee (with Synk Century films), Kevin Halcott (with Live from the Logosphere), Lauren Coleman (with Twilight Language), Sibyl Hunter (with The Libyan Sibyl) and Jake Kotze (with The Brave New World Order), who in particular popularized the term Synchromysticism, a portmanteau of synchronicity and mysticism. This has been described as a phenomenon “existing on the fringe of areas already considered fringe”.
I had a near-death experience several years ago when my intestine twisted shut during an Ayahuasca ceremony, which had me purging for 20 hours straight, hyperventilating on a hospital floor, followed by 5 days in said hospital, while 4 of those 5 days doctors debated cutting me open to straighten out the twist. After this experience, along with a series of other experiences not so extreme, I found my approach became far more somatic, which by its very nature is next to impossible to describe contextually. I will say however, that It’s my understanding after studying the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali under the direct guidance of Baba Hari Dass for many years that at times what we call intuition, which comes as a lightning flash of insight, can be an expression of Samyama, ‘(from Sanskrit sa -yama — holding together, tying up, binding, integration). Combined simultaneous practice of Dhāra ā (concentration), Dhyāna (meditation) & Samādhi (union). Samyama is a tool to receive deeper knowledge of qualities of the object. It is a term summarizing the “catch-all” process of psychological absorption in the object of meditation.’ To look deeply at an object, with focus and intent, can reveal the inner meaning of the object beyond the biases which obscure its more subtle, subliminal communication.
The same can be said of Jung’s notion of the shadow. The unconscious never becomes conscious, otherwise it wouldn’t be the unconscious, as stressed by Jung in Man and His Symbols. The best we can do is let the object reveal itself, all projection and position taking falls short. In Sanskrit we say Neti Neti i.e. not this, not this. The path of negation is the path to understanding. It isn’t necessary to say what something ultimately is, rather admitting what it isn’t will reveal more than affirmative belief and judgements ever could. Though there may be a plethora of ideas surrounding signs and inferred symbols that have accumulated in the psyche, my more substantial connections are derived from breaks in the commentary, the interpretations that bookend the insight are supplementary to the initial recognition.
How frequently do pairings not work? Was there one you’d be willing to share that you really thought would but didn’t?
The frequency at which I hit gold in my media experiments has heightened considerably over the years, especially after the aforementioned incident. Examples of noteworthy success used to be far in between with great gulfs separating genuine AHA(!) moments. For every pairing that blew me away there could have been anywhere from 10–30+ attempts that didn’t approach full synchronization, there could be ‘interesting aspects’ but I have been consistently focused on higher targets after witnessing what is possible. It is often that I come across ‘happy accident’ pairings that I love, but wouldn’t consider as profound, and though I’ve often been hesitant to share these, only because I rather someone witness a heavy hitter than get the impression those lesser examples are ultimately representative of my discoveries. A couple examples would be the 3 Jim Carrey films from 1994, Ace Ventura Pet Detective, Dumb and Dumber and The Mask with Green Day’s album Dookie. I could also include Demi Moore’s 3 films Strip Tease, The Scarlet Letter and Disclosure with Lil’ Kim’s album Hard Core. These are just fun, and though there are plenty of connections, there aren’t as many WTF moments, which are really what I’m after.
Despite the specific question being posed, I’m going to include a success story because I want to make an applicable point concerning this edge between genuine success, happy accidents, and potential insanity. When I was pairing Lady Gaga’s The Fame Monster with Metropolis I was in a domestic relationship at the time and my partner became concerned that I wasn’t eating or sleeping as much as I should have been because I was spending days replaying the album and the film looking for the right timing. Though she may have had probable cause for concern this is one reason why I’m now happy to live alone, being that I may spend weeks with a particular pairing before I finally find the anchor point, or I may drop it and revisit it only to find it months or years later, or I may never find it at all and just move on. I am well aware of how insane it must appear to an outsider to see me sitting there listening to Lady Gaga over Metropolis on headphones over and over like a detective, but this doesn’t appear so crazy when one actually witnesses the end results of the discovery. It turned out the timing in which to start the album is the second that the pyramid at the beginning begins to turn black, starting at the pyramidion i.e. the capstone. When the song Telephone starts for example, it begins with a telephone call:
“Hello, hello, baby You called, I can’t hear a thing I have got no service In the club, you see, see Wha-wha-what did you say? Oh, you’re breaking up on me Sorry, I cannot hear you I’m kinda busy”
This then corresponds to a video phone (this is a 1926 film btw) being picked up at the exact second the phone call intro in the song starts, and this intro ends the exact second the phone in the film is hung up. Another example would be the Lady Gaga sample in Dancer in the Dark that says “kill him” corresponding to the exact second the subtitle in the silent film reads “kill him”. This pairing like many others, builds considerably as it goes and totally delivers at the end sequences, so there is a necessary degree of faith involved. It is therefore my understanding that if I didn’t enjoy the happy little coincidences as much as I do it wouldn’t be as likely for me to stumble on these more astounding examples. I have a very high standard when it comes to sync, and at the same time, it can be good fun even if it doesn’t blow me away. I recently paired my friends’ (Will Morgan and Zach Bower’s duo: Pattern Recognition) album titled 8-Bit, with the Super Mario Brother’s movie and The Wizard and found it very enjoyable. A similar thing happened with a mix I produced which I paired with Black Swan years after the fact. In both these cases there is no way these were intentional on the part of the artists, but they are very enjoyable, none the less. My sense is that if this can happen on its own as well as it can, then it stands to reason that it wouldn’t take so much to produce such an effect intentionally, meaning it wouldn’t have to be as mechanical a process as some might assume. Another way of saying this is summed up metaphorically at the very end of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon where it’s said, “there’s no dark side of the moon really, as a matter of fact it’s all dark”. When it comes to genuine synchronicity and happenstance, there’s a distinction, but there’s no separation.
What kind of reception have you found for your art? How do people react?
The internet often encourages clips and brief thoughts to entertain while people are scrolling along in social media platforms. My film experiments don’t fit as well into the regular flow people are accustomed to in that realm, even just for the fact that they’re feature length. They do great on video hosting sites when they are allowed to exist there, some used to go viral fast with the windows I’ve had, but YouTube doesn’t distinguish research when it’s just analyzing content, for them copyright is copyright and so there is no possible exposure for me there anymore as a result of this. It’s rare for an individual to recognize what’s actually being placed in front of them, which is understandable, because how would they know what it actually is without seeing it? Just about all who’ve watched any of my films through have given me rave reviews, my work is well loved by many, though beyond my niche fan base, so often people will watch 10 minutes or less of one and then feel this is enough to ‘get an idea’ of what it is that I’m attempting to share with them.
These films are meditative, which means to say, they aren’t for casual viewing, seeing as how things will happen lyrically, or there will be a scene change that moves flawlessly with a change in the music that if one has their head turned, or is carrying on a conversation could be easily missed. When I did a film showing in Olympia of The Doors’ LA Woman with Knight of Cups people talked over the whole thing. If one were to do this during a regular film in a theater people would have been hushed, but because of the nature of the thing being shown, people will be so excited to discuss something they caught that they’ll miss several other things that happened while they were busy discussing the initial thing that caught their attention. On a certain level, I embrace this, because for one thing, they are excited, which is itself a compliment, and for another, I’ve witnessed this tendency in people for so many years I’ve come to expect it, but it still is a bit of a challenge to know what they’re missing and witness them missing it. So, short answer: people that see my work through always seem to love it, people that don’t actually watch it don’t generally like it as much. On a relevant aside, it’s rare for someone interviewing me to have actually seen my work, and so this has been a regular issue and a source of frustration. That being said, I appreciate you taking the time to do so, it shows in the questions you’ve presented me with that you are more aware of what I’m coming with than most have been.
What’s it like navigating all the copyright filters even though you don’t profit from your creations online?
I can honestly say that copyright has been the biggest challenge of my life, nothing short of the bane of my existence. At one point I had 42 films disappear along with my whole Vimeo account, this happened after my hard drive happened to crash right beforehand, which meant the loss of a thousand hours of work; work which I had to start over from scratch with limited means to reproduce. I am quite literally a starving artist, so without the aid of sponsors that appreciate my work I wouldn’t be able to be where I am with it now. One of my greatest fears, which is a very real one, is that all my life’s work could be expelled from the internet and thousands upon thousands of hours of meticulous work could take the fate of a mandala, like whoosh. Many of my experiments have the volume of the film raised in between the vocals, which means that the process for each film can take days to produce, often times I’ll encode a film up to 20 times before I’m happy enough with it to share. Or I’ll share it, then I’ll watch it, see something I could have done better, make the changes and re-encode it, then re-upload it again. The uploading alone can take me a week sometimes because of a weak internet connection.
I’ve lost all my work before, and so for this reason I’m afraid of too much exposure, so even this interview, with whatever reach it has, can’t help but make me a bit nervous. Would I like my films to show up in Google searches? Of course! Does this potentially threaten their ability to remain available at all? Of course! Everything I’ve ever done in regards to these media experiments has been 100% non-profit and should classify as genuine research into a very real phenomenon. It only costs me money, and I have no hopes that it will ever bring me any financial gain. It would be nice if my digital collage art could do that though, but that’s another conversation, I’m a picture framer/printer by trade. It’s proved difficult to get my own platform, and I really don’t mind the limited exposure, I’m just grateful that it’s out there and available to those who have the interest and opportunity to explore it. I have certain friends to thank for this, who make personal sacrifices to make all of it possible, these people include Alan Abbadessa Green and Guillaume Samard for hosting my films on thesyncbook.com, as well as Joe Alexander for sharing space for my films on his Vimeo channel, Apophenia Productions.
This issue of copyright is a very recent difficulty in the history of culture. When people compare the Romans to the Greeks, or the Jews to the Sumerians, to name some examples, a common reaction goes something along the lines of, ‘look, they copied their homework’ or that they stole the other’s mythological framework. The demand for credit is an unusual demand, while distinctions between cultures are abundant, these don’t necessitate separations. If we’re to compare this tendency to anything, grafting would likely be the best analogy. Scientists, philosophers, etc. have always stood on each other’s shoulders, it’s how we’ve traditionally developed for aeons. It wasn’t very long ago at all that a 6 second loop called the Amen Brake became the basis for multiple genres of music. If we were as hung up about copyright the way we are currently back in the 70’s there’d be no Motown, seeing as how these artists gleaned inspiration from each other constantly, to the point where many songs were practically identical in structure and vocal expression. As it stands it’s gone beyond sampling, where musicians like Biz Markie were pretty much hung out to dry for using samples that went beyond a couple seconds. Now we have the relatives of musicians taking people to court over songs sounding too similar. Being aware of how Apollonian the laws are becoming, those of us with a more Dionysian bent can hardly keep our heads above water. Order is a good thing, but when it reaches a certain degree of dominance, it becomes destructive. There is simply no way to simulate the work I’m doing without the use of the material itself, I can only hope and pray that the hammer doesn’t come down on me by some automated mechanism with no human eyes and ears to judge it accurately.
What is the Kitchen Sync?
A lot of the online community I’ve acquainted myself with started out publishing blogs, very, very, lengthy blogs on esoterica in media, and these worked as sort of messages in bottles for us as it allowed us all to stumble on each other’s rabbit holes, which we would follow all the way through. Something interesting happens when you put loads upon loads of energy into a deep project and someone comes along who takes the time and the energy to explore its magnitude, while you do the same to their own connections, these 2 paths somehow meet in the most poetic way conceivable; this also takes a degree of faith, and if the depth gets authentically transmitted this creates a very real bond between you, a bond some can’t even get from those they would consider their closest friends in the ‘real world’. This bond is a biproduct of the experience, but that makes it all the stronger because you grok each other’s work. This is something admittedly ‘nerd core’ that I’m speaking to, but nevertheless, it’s similar to the experience one might get taking a psychedelic journey, but sober, for lack of a better word. The Kitchen Sync is a Facebook group focused on synchronicity that was started by Alan Abbadessa Green, mentioned above. He is often referred to as a ‘sync pimp’ for taking the reins with both the Kitchen Sync as well as Sync Book Press. This group has worked both as a sort of think tank for various researchers with various projects, some independent and some collaborative, as well as a place for various people to explore the phenomena of synchronicity as it plays out in global events and in people’s personal lives. It’s gone through various changes over the years but those of us at the heart of it have remained consistent in our motivations to uncover patterns and discover anomalies and share these findings in a dialogue encouraging format with like minded individuals.
What is The Sync Book, and what is Sync Book Press?
The Sync Book was a book published as kind of exposé on the phenomena of synchronicity with various authors contributing their respective chapters. There is also a Sync Book 2, which I have my own chapter in. It has been my feeling that books are important and this feeling is shared by our community of researchers, and though the internet has made physical books practically obsolete to some, I find the act of turning paper pages one of those joys that shouldn’t go by the wayside for the novelty of a glowing screen. Sync Book Press has published several books on the subject of synchronicity which are available on our website via Amazon. Our website also contains over 600 hours of podcasts. Several years ago, I was approached by William John to participate in a podcast called Always Record. William had contacted Alan Green with the same proposal. I agreed to take part under the condition that our mission statement include an intention to not play into something I had seen with so many other podcasts, this being the compulsion to start with a conclusion then an attempt to back up said conclusion. It was my hope that we could have dialogues that explored material without pulling out the ‘jump to conclusions mat’ to enforce any beliefs we might be attached to. I wanted to let our findings speak for themselves, and luckily, I wasn’t the only one who felt this way. I feel we did as good of a job doing this as was feasibly possible considering the nature of the subject-matter we found ourselves delving into. We produced many interviews with various researchers in high weirdness, and though our focus was always synchronicity, it veered into other avenues, which is understandable considering the line between acausal parallelism and causal correspondence can often be thin. While this might bring some to feel ‘crazy’, we were all right at home navigating the high seas of occultism together, in large part because we knew well enough that the lines in the sand were just that, acceptance is transcendence. Our sister podcast, 42 Minutes, is still producing regular content from fellow synchronauts Douglas Bolles and Will Morgan (A Few Shots to Shaman) and the authors and creators that they interview are always interesting. While Always Record was more of a free-flowing conversation that could go on for anywhere between 2 to 4 hours. 42 minutes went on for, you guessed it, 42 minutes.
How did the Kabbalah inspire Sorry Cassandra I Misunderstood: EVERYTHING PREDICTS 9–11. Why is it seven hours long?
This is actually a question that could take 7 hours to explain but I’ll give you the condensed version with a few tidbits of applicable Kabbalah to satisfy the question. My 7 and ½ hour film collage titled Sorry Cassandra I Misunderstood: Everything Predicts 9–11 was a response to a short film a friend of mine, Joe Alexander, produced called Back to the Future Predicts 9–11. Joe is a basketball player who used to play for the Chicago Bulls. We were long distance sync nerds working on similar lines when he was given a list of potential cities to play ball for. All these cities were abroad and professional except one, and this one city happened to be Santa Cruz California, my home town where I still reside. So, Joe contacted me and posed this proposition, this being if he chose to do a season in Santa Cruz playing for the Santa Cruz Warriors, could we produce a film together? I said yes, of course. While he was living so close to me, he would come over and watch my film experiments, I didn’t end up contributing to his film so much directly, as was the original proposal, but something else happened during that time that constitutes a sync of epic proportions, and it is safe to say this influenced the film he would go on to produce.
Here’s some backstory along with some more applicable tangents. There is an Italian whistle blower named Leo Zagami who made a statement about 9–11. While I don’t agree with much of his politics this statement raised more than a single eyebrow when he casually stated, “9–11, that’s in the Zohar”. I had been studying the Zohar at this point for many years with an elderly Rabbi and so I inquired to my teacher whether he had ever heard of a prophecy in the Zohar, to which he said no. Understand, the Zohar is 3 volumes and each volume is enormous, especially if you are including the commentary, so really one could go one’s whole life studying it and not stumble on a particular passage. I went looking for a reference, any reference to a prophecy in the Zohar, and after close to a year of seeking this out I found 2 sections that were apparently prophetic (Zohar 3, 212b, 8a-8b). I brought these to my teacher and we spent the next 3 ½ years transcribing these sections from Aramaic and their commentary from the Ramak (Moses ben Jacob Cordovero) from Hebrew (I transcribed the Zohar with this Rabbi for over a decade). Sure enough, this text gives the exact equivalent date of September 11th 2001 in the Hebrew calendar, along with a full description of the event itself as well as its purpose and meaning. This text, articulated further in Ramak’s commentary, even gives the exact day of the establishment of the TSA when it says 68 days after the destruction of these strongholds the nationthat has had this happen to them will show up at the boarders of other nations around the world to ‘impose unjust laws.’ It so happens that the establishment of the TSA was exactly 68 following 9–11–01. As it stands most of the text transcribed is in longhand, though I’ve typed out some of the more relevant parts and scanned all the pages so as to make them available to those interested upon request.
I’m writing a book that lays this all out and I’m a bit hesitant to say these things without including the essential contexts because I know some people can go off the deep end when they hear about it, but you posed a significant inquiry and although the information is sensitive, I have to say what it is to the best of my ability in this limited space. It’s important to clarify, just as the commentary does, that there is a distinction between prophecy and prediction. While the event we witnessed is predicted and involves the corruption and collusion of various rogue facets of governments, the prophecy itself has conversely to do with the development of consciousness, which is happening in the midst of this external shell that takes precedence in our perceptual lens. Though this consciousness is more primary, it is more obscured because of people’s general orientation of attention being topical.
Basically, the temple becomes more degraded each time it’s built and so the 2 towers were representative of the 2 pillars of Solomon’s temple, Jachin and Boaz (‘established in strength’, what is pronounced OZ in Boaz is Hebrew for strength, L Frank Baum was a Theosophist btw, this is without a doubt where the books get their title), in their most degraded form, entirely focused on the worship of money (another god); while this structure is an external replication of the dynamics expressed through the Kabbalistic Tree of Life with its respective pillars. The destruction of the pillars signifies the onset of the nullification of the qlipoth (i.e. the shells or husks that envelope holiness), in that it ultimately sets to reveal just how profoundly deep the corruption really extends, all the way into each and every person’s reptilian brain, whose next phase of evolutionary mutative advancement has yet to develop by mending the split in our fundamental processing faculty.
This was the most viewed event in the history of mankind. When we saw them collapse, our right hemisphere knew exactly what it saw, but the time it takes for the left to come to terms with the resulting cognitive dissonance corresponds to the time it takes to establish a one world government, which uses said event as its initial motivator. This one world government won’t last much longer than a day, because the template of assumptions on which it’s rationalized will be defunct in coincidence to the time when it actually establishes itself. Though because of our orientation to the left we need to see this in order to recognize it on the deepest of levels, a belief is not enough to allow for such a radical shift in consciousness. A sense does not develop without its necessity fully recognized on the most primary of levels. You develop eyes out of a primordial desire to see, ears out of a primordial desire to hear, etc. It’s not until this need is recognized in a nonconceptual way by the organism itself that a mutation becomes possible.
The day Jews attribute to the destruction of the temple is the 9th day of the 11th month in the Hebrew calendar, this is regarded as the day of greatest mourning for the Jewish people, who see the destruction of each temple as a further fall from grace. What are the chances that the apparently random date given in the Zohar for this world changing event would align to its numerical equivalent in the Gregorian calendar? What is more, that 11–9 would give us what Lars Von Trier has quite rightly deemed the rise of the Homo trumpus — the rat king (A rat king is when a group of rats become attached to each other by their respective tails; either because they are tangled, or caked in excrement etc. The rats cannot separate from each other and they become a big Rat King).
What is happening in the world today is our beliefs regarding what constitutes strength are being redefined in a culminating breakdown of right vs. left, which are themselves both being projected by the left hemisphere of our collective mind. More and more the unconscious compulsion to enter through the ‘backdoor’ is being exposed for what it is as people frantically attempt to bury its exposure through every conceivable fallacy at their disposal. Do you prefer fascism overt or covert becomes the real question; while the idea that one option could somehow be better than the alternative is part of what keeps this oppressive ball cyclically rolling, along with generational amnesia obscuring what lessons time has taught us as to the grim meat-hook realities of what atrocities we are actually capable of, these realizations remain veiled when our histories are presented with bias due to them having been written by the ‘winners.’
Freud took heavily from the Zohar, as has been well known among certain scholars such as David Bakan, who wrote a book on this subject titled Sigmund Freud and the Jewish Mystical Tradition. The core ideas of repression, sublimation and character armor are taken directly from the Zohar, essentially verbatim. The context is that to maintain a school of Jewish intellectuals (with the exception of Jung) in Vienna in the 1930’s and 40’s wouldn’t have gone over very well with the Nazis unless it was substantiated as something altogether distinct from Judaism. This point I’m trying to make here, which is a core aspect of what Ramak has iterated in his Zohar commentary when he describes the tears shed by the soldiers who come to realize the ways in which their physical armor is an externalization of internal armor, thus deeming their external armor useless, was poignantly expressed by Wilhelm Reich in his book, The Mass Psychology of Fascism, where he writes:
“At the time when this book was originally written, fascism was generally regarded a “political party” which, like any other “social group,” was an organized representation of a “political idea.” According to this concept, the fascist party “introduced” fascism by force or by “political manoeuvre.” Contrary to this concept, my medical experience with individuals from all kinds of social strata, races, nationalities and religions showed me that “fascism” is only the politically organized expression of the average human character structure, a character structure which has nothing to do with this or that race, nation or party but which is general and international. In this characterological sense, “fascism” is the basic emotional attitude of man in authoritarian society, with its machine civilization and its mechanistic-mystical view of life. It is the mechanistic-mystical character of man in our times which creates fascist parties, and not vice versa.”
A portion of the time in which this Rabbi and I were transcribing this Zohar text corresponded to the time Joe sat in on some of our study sessions. Understand, this is text that is referenced directly by just about every secret, not-so-secret society, whether it be the Golden Dawn, the O.T.O. or Freemasonry, though it’s commentary from the Ramak is the real kicker, and this has never been translated into English for the public. One reason this remains so veiled in my estimation is that it’s very rare for anyone who’s studied European occultism in any real depth to also study traditional Kabbalah in any real depth, let alone have access to the more esoteric material. By the time one tries to do this through the standard channels, particularly in a Yeshiva, whatever passion they had starting out exuding, would likely be squelched from them, and yet with no basis for comparison, they could all too easily attribute the resulting dullness to ‘spiritual development’.
You could say this is a ‘let not one school know well the other’ kind of thing. So, when you see references to 9–11–01 in films or elsewhere, there is, in truth, as good of a chance for it to be taking prior knowledge from the Zohar as it is to be happening ‘on its own’. Take for example Neo’s passport in the original Matrix reading 9–11–01 as he’s being interrogated, or the check The Dude signs towards the beginning of the Big Lebowski reading September 11th before glancing up to see George Bush Sr.
This being said, one should know there are 2 sections to the prophecy, the first of which reads practically like propaganda, in that “Israel will act mightily” etc. The second section reads much differently and does not speak so highly of Israel in the future. Having transcribed both, with the second section being far more in depth and much longer, I have to wonder if many people are just being given the 1st section, while the 2nd is being reserved for a more inner circle. This is admittedly speculative, but it’s worth mentioning if I’m going to try and relay any of this. So, after Joe’s video went viral, he suggested I do the sequel, though my laptop at the time was no longer working so he went ahead and bought me a computer to produce it, without which the 150+ films of mine that appear on our website wouldn’t have been possible.
The rationalization for my film collage being 7 and ½ hours is inspired by the original tagline for 2001: A Space Odyssey, where it’s called, ‘The Ultimate Trip’. I thought to myself, what if I produced a film that is literally the length of an acid trip, that laid out its own unique story using components of other stories to tell it? Cassandra from Greek legend was given the ability to prophesize the future, but it was more of a curse than a blessing because no matter what she did no one would ever believe her because no one would ever want to, the implications of which being too unsettling to accept. My film is centered around ABBA’s final album called The Visitor and a film titled The Visitors that came out shortly before it. It draws upon some profound correspondences between real life events and these pieces of media which demonstrate and document foresight in relation to them. My film is a series of lessons in Kabbalah which uses pieces of media to convey those lessons, fully loaded with examples of happenings that are both impossible but true, at the same time. I was heavily inspired by a single quote from Stanley Kubrick which read:
“If you really want to communicate something, even if it’s just an emotion or an attitude, let alone an idea, the least effective and least enjoyable way is directly. It only goes in about an inch. But if you can get people to the point where they have to think a moment what it is you’re getting at, and then discover it, the thrill of discovery goes right through the heart.”
This idea of letting the work speak for itself essentially became the basis for my entire film. Part of this entails assuming the best of my audience’s intelligence and attention spans. There’s nothing like making a connection for oneself, the accumulation of knowledge is much different than having a genuine insight. Though both have their place, the latter is far more liberating and far more rare. Similar to my Sorry Cassandra film, I often include a brief prologue to my films that encourages people to see the context on their own, though these connections will be explicate they do require watching the film that follows them to see how these introductions relate. This is an artistic choice I’ve decided to make and I feel it imbues the discoveries where this is included.
My film is a documentation of a metanarrative, but it’s not the usual type where it gives meaning to one person’s experience, as is often the case. Instead it speaks to the populace at large. It explores the level of what we call conscious with the recognition that it itself is the unconsciousness of a higher consciousness, and demonstrates the particulars around the dynamics through which the shell that stands between us and that, breaks down when its dream symbols are observed with enough objective scrutiny. One can consider the way a dog might look at 2 people playing chess, we are essentially that dog to another level of intelligence. The proof of this is in probability, which is similar to irony, in that you can’t prove irony, that’s part of the beauty of it.
I purposefully don’t narrate, as my goal was to allow what’s being communicated in the media itself to connect its own dots as blatantly as possible while using text which felt appropriately impersonal, drawing upon the roots of culture and applying these roots to contemporary media and real-life events. While viewing, something that may have seemed to make no sense will tie back around to make perfect sense later in the film. I wouldn’t pull a David Lynch on my audience, despite my love for Mr. Lynch. I always appreciate when things get out there, like really out there, but all the primary elements tie around to deliver a clear communication none the less. I’ve mixed records for a couple decades and am what you could call eclectic, as if these pros weren’t enough to indicate this aspect to my approach. The film is divided into 3 main sections, with an intermission, but as one could say for any film worth seeing, I don’t want to give away too much. If you’ve made it this far into the interview and are still following me, you have hopefully noticed that though I can go on tangents, those tangents remain applicable to what the questions invite. I had my own questions about the way that artful media was sharing its own metanarrative that related to specific ritual like events. I had started picking up on threads that had their epicenters at tragedies in very particular, peculiar, and direct ways. I believe what I’ve been looking at are the points at which the replicative order, being projected as a screen of sorts above nature and secondary to the emanated flow, is revealing its cracks, while the foundational order which transcends this is bleeding into this replicative projection.
Here is a little Kabbalah lesson that’s applied in the film for those interested; though note there is no way to get around the definitions of terms being lacking for those unfamiliar, as each term requires much study to begin to extrapolate what is being pointed to in its usage. In the 10 sefirot and 22 pathways that make up the Kabbalistic Tree of Life there are 2 orders, while the first to be mentioned amounts to natural laws like gravity, the latter amounts to man’s law, like say, a stop sign. These 2 orders are identified respectively as the emanative order, whose directive can be likened to that of lightening, a tree, a person, etc. and the sustaining order of the empire, which works through the influence of outside influences i.e. the qlipoth, via the 12 diagonal pathways extending from Gevorah (i.e. judgement), the upper most Sefira of the left pillar in the lower worlds that make up terrestrial existence, corresponding to the left hemisphere of the collective mind of humanity.
The gematria of Gevorah is 216, or 6x6x6. Gevorah is opposite Chesed (i.e. mercy) on the right of the Tree. There is good reason why Jews always light the right candle on Shabbat first and never the left, as it reflects the order of the emanations, which then encodes one of the greatest mysteries in manifest existence, this being the dynamics through which a relative duplicity operates within what is ultimately a singularity.
The Gematria of Chesed is 72, note that 72×3=216. On a relevant aside, you might remember it was a 216 digit number Max was looking for in Darren Aronofsky’s film Pi, what I am talking about is the reason why, it’s about the liberation of Shekinah i.e. the feminine aspect of God (the daughter) embodied as Malkuth at the base of the Tree. When Max says to the Rabbi “it’s not the number, it’s what’s between the numbers, it’s syntax, it’s the meaning” he nails it. The pathway that connects these 2 Sefirot corresponds to the Hebrew letter Teth, which in the Rider Waite tarot deck would be titled Strength (in Marseille tarot this would be La Force, while in Crowley’s deck this is Lust, which pictures the Scarlet Woman atop the Beast of the apocalypse).
The 2 pillars themselves being Jachin and Boaz (established in Strength) is a profound paradox, because if the one to the right means ‘established’ while the one on the left means ‘in strength’, then it stands to reason the left is actually pointing back at the right when it reads ‘strength’, and not itself, which is reinforced by the directive of the emanated flow moving from Binah through the mystery of the vertical pathway of Gimel, the true source and meaning of the Masonic G. The square and compass being a representation of the intersection of heaven and earth, with Kether, Chockmah and Binah composing the compass, and Chesed, Gevorah, and Tiphareth relating the square. There being no diagonal pathway to connect the lightening flash from Binah to Chesed makes this a deep mystery if the nature of the dimensions is to be considered in this respect. What connects the above to the below doesn’t belong to the sustaining order of the empire, but rather another dimension completely.
Gimel, the Hebrew equivalent of G, is the key to the mysteries surrounding the Kabbalistic Tree. If one adds up the gematria of the 12 diagonal pathways + Gimel (3), this gives you 868, which only amounts to but 1 word in the whole of the Hebrew language, this being the value of the specific name given for the Kabbalistic mystical pathways themselves, as stated in the very first line of the Sefer Yetzirah. It’s important to note that the Sefirot emanate from subtle to gross while Chokmah (mercy) exists closer to the source distributing the emanation from the supernal triad above. The Zohar relays that if a change is made in the horizontal dimension it effects the vertical dimension simultaneously; this then reveals how the Tree itself is essentially a hexagram divided/multiplied into 2, and from the same token, It infers the dynamics through which a sphere, which by itself is absolutely compensated at every point of tension through its equilibrium of corresponding vectors, requires the introduction and playing out of a distortion to develop anything beyond a static state. We divide as we multiply, while the substance that unites us remains 1 in the midst of subsequent appearances, we have apparently unlimited combinations connecting our nodes in an underlying framework, and this framework is articulated through various systems adopted by the mystery schools.
“The I Ching is mathematical and philosophical in form. Its structure is cognate with the Qabalah; the identity is so intimate that the existence of 2 such superficially different systems is transcendent testimony to the truth of both.” -Crowley, Book 4, Ch. 18.
The I Ching is made up of 6 straight lines and 6 broken lines pushed together into single 6-sided figures, denoting hexagrams, which reveal every possible combination derived from these groupings, of which there are 64. Note it takes exactly 6 straight lines and 6 broken lines to produce the vectors that make up a star tetrahedron in space. This is one of the more elegant ways of depicting the paradox behind relativity, or rather, the principle dynamics through which a continuum becomes distinguishable from a duality in its display of the wiring under the board, so to speak.
I believe when Crowley came up with ‘Love is the Law, Love under Will’ in Liber AL he was making a similar point to that described above relating to that of the pillars, Jachin and Boaz, or at least Aiwass was dispensing a resonantly applicable dichotomy. What is under is actually where the real control lies, and this belongs to the unconscious. The closest we get at the unconscious is in dream symbols, while the ultimate nature of the unconscious is to be forever elusive. The screen of rationalization we put between us and the underlying order inherent in nature wears thin when it’s tested, and it bends when it’s pressed with enough focus on a given pressure point, which is what I believe the rationale was for Dionysian theater. What we’ve been relating to as a 2-sided dynamic is ultimately a 1 sided dynamic.
People are not yet conscious of this, otherwise it would be reflected in their reality and so our systems would not be geared as they are and have been, the ‘drum major instinct’ lying at the forefront of most people’s worldly aspirations. Because this underlying singularity is the reality, it’s only a matter of time before we perceive it as such. This doesn’t mean the adoption of any belief, I am speaking to something far deeper than anything so trivial as belief systems, which themselves belong to the skin of the snake, but rather the body of the thing itself. This transmutation could come at the end of 1,000 years, or who knows when? But the point is it will happen. That’s the prophecy, the prediction which replicates it through a scanner darkly is something else entirely.
As much as I’ve remarked on my magnum opus, Sorry Cassandra, along with its underlying rationale, I really don’t want to draw attention from my other film work, which my 7 ½ hour film collage actually attempts to advertise for at times, while the film itself centers around a particular album film pairing. Anyway, you should save that one for a trip.
kill each other
and their teachers
they are angry
at not being taught
that Pink and Floyd
were blues singers
from the source of power
that would project their image
as well as their sound
who do not know
their history are bound to repeat it
unbound, she made her residence
on the dark side of the moon”
-Saul Williams, Said the Shotgun to the Head
Tamra Lucid is the author of Making the Ordinary Extraordinary