Category Archives: musings by the wizard

On Fairytales, Romantic Fantasy and the Bourgeois

When in my twenties I belatedly came into real contact with the Punk movement and related underground anti bourgeois drug-taking communities and thought worlds, I immediately knew I wanted very little to do with this possible way of being, this psychic underbelly as I saw it… I aspired to the upper realms, in philosophy a Platonist, in imagination a Romantic, a High Fantasy lover (well, for good or ill almost exclusively Tolkien and C.S.Lewis).

So for 20 years or so I’ve been, with elder brother John, writing and now drawing the story of a quest in that higher level – volume one of which, The Girl and the Guardian, is a hero and heroine’s quest for the restoration of the Grail – which in this story is the Lost Heartstone of the Tree of Life. There is a lot in it about learning the traditions of the Old Ways of the Eutopian Order of the Makers, and a Restoration of the Balance in a new Age which is similar to the old Golden age. If that is bourgeois- then ironically I, the sociophobe, shy rebel, and Eutopian dreamer, AM  bourgeois – conservative, where compatible with reason.

It is to me the main, and sufficient, justification for Conservatism that we must at all costs avoid throwing the baby of nobility and truth and the social support structures thereof, out with the bourgeois bathwater.

We touch here on matters of faith… I am sorry if I hurt friends of old by the vehemence of my rejection of any tendencies to glorification of the antihero, of degenerate ways, of anti-platonism and relativism; or, in the last four years since Trump, my approval of much that he stands for, and disapproval of what he (mostly) stands against. I accept that early experiences can make a person feel a need to dwell on the ‘lower’ levels to sort out their victimhood and alienation, and that there they may also find consolations and fellowship. And to (vehemently) champion any and all ‘underdogs’, alligning with the so-called ‘Social Justice Warriors’ and ‘Social Marxists’.

But I would always wish to lead – indeed seduce – through stories if not arguments – these disadvantaged and victimised, and all who will listen, towards the higher ground from which they can see the stars. My parents had a poster on the wall (before they took us to live on a Papuan mission school settlement after they watched a movie The Sky above and the Mud Below) with this poem:

Two men looked through prison bars

One saw mud, the other, stars.

I always knew which man I wanted to be. This aesthetic and later ethical allegiance was a big ingredient of the fuel for this long and winding journey of my brother and I to create our own truly romantic epic fantasy – we believe it’s ‘true’ in the end – more true than the allegiance to the ‘mud’. We believe that the metaphysical stars are wo/man’s destiny, while loving the earth, and yes even the mud in its place as the nurturing place of the lotus roots… hence the major theme in our Apples of Aeden of the Restoration of the Balance – Earth and Sky, Feminine and Masculine, Yin and Yang, Anima and Animus. The lost soul is the separated half-human, alienated from its Other Half  (the male from the female especially – females can more easily compensate I think). That is partly why our epic is an advance (metaphysically, not necessarily in any other way!) on our acknowledged master of High Fantasy, J.R.R. Tolkien; and also, thinking about it, C. S. Lewis. Apples of Aeden strives for a portrayal of a time before the great Schism of the genders, and what its healing would look like. It is an attempt to rediscover the Goddess, and reunite Her with the God. It also avoids the hateful heresy against morality and logic of portraying any sentient thinking life form, be he orc or monster, as created to be evil, without moral or ethical conscience or ability to become better than their biological heritage would tend to make them. Our human biological heritage after all has many ghastly tendencies!

So, I labour on, this part of the journey being to illustrate a shortened version of volume one, with a projected 80 or so pen and ink drawings. I’m up to about 42 now… If anyone wants to see these or to read the epic in short or long form, follow this blog! There will be news here of any location for updates, new illustrations, and announcements of the new illustrated edition of volume one, a shortened The Girl and the Guardian.
For the long version, free or cheap, see Smashwords or Amazon or Apple – see the links in the menu of this blog. Also, for $3.99 each, volumes two, three and four. From some of their high points, I hope you can see the stars.

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The Sword of the Fifth Element and the Long Tail

There’s a ‘long tail’ – or long tale – to the things we create, if we live (and believe) long enough and don’t forget too much but let it all simmer on a long-term ‘back burner’ – or perhaps call it an athanor, or alchemist’s oven, which would slowly heat ingredients to fuse them together.

An example from many in my life here at Dreamspace recently: the short epic love/sacred quest story set in ancient Cornwall and Aeden. I wrote this spinoff/sidetrack from the epic Apples of Aeden about a decade ago, printed and hand-bound it with embossed covers, uploaded it as an ebook, free here https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/153457 and gradually forgot about it as uptake was slow and feedback online almost non-existent. But brother John (of Greenstone Pictures and now flying solo at www.boyfellinpond.com sees a beauty to it and the possibility of a short film, and has commissioned me to make a new edition of even greater ornateness as the centrepiece of the film development… complete with silver medallion of the Forging of the Sword of the Fifth Element. …which is handy because I have been getting a passable silversmithing setup going here at dreamspace gallery and workshops. www.dreamspace.nz

Here’s a draft of the design for the medallion. Watch this space… the book and the medallion – and the film, should we be spared – will hold much sacred magic, long incubated in the Harris brothers’ Athanor…

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The Hedonomatrix

hedonomatrix copy

Who said the road to hell, or at least dehumanisation, wasn’t fun? Late last night it coalesced in my mind as a coherent pattern, a syndrome. I christened it the Hedonomatrix. There may be other, better, names – I haven’t checked. By any name, it is now (to my mind) officially a Thing, as the millennial younglings say. A coming grand unification of unbridled consumerism, narcissism, online video entertainment, virtual reality, gaming….  Almost instant gratification of our hedonistic desires in the 3D world (triggering of floods of dopamine, the pleasure/addiction hormone)  through import megastores which provide cheap knockoffs of everything; and in the digital, increasingly virtual world, personalised low-cost, zero responsibility versions of everything – even, horribly (and yet seductively), of people – robotic sex partners, friends, slaves… It is all one movement, having one ultimate goal: everything now, everything virtually free, pay a digital rent and you get it all, and it never answers back, never demands responsibility or asks for help doing the chores. It is the Hedonomatrix. Plugged into this, who would bother to go out and vote, let alone argue politics in a badly heated hall? Who would bother going out to amateur theatre or craft shows or art exhibitions, when the very best ever produced is available when and if (only if) I want it, and otherwise it minds its own business, does not intrude into my hedonistic bubble?

And even this is only a temporary compromise. The Hedonomatrix client is really just filling in time until the digital Heaven is available, when we can upload our entire consciousness into the virtual AI-generated world where we will all have perfect ‘bodies’, never get sick or grow old, and are essentially Gods and Goddesses, living in endless gratification of our every imagining.

Could this actually be a good thing? Only if the powers that create it are benign, AND only if the powers that created our 3D existence in the first place are not – or were merely blind forces of swirling atoms and energy fields. I can’t believe this, mainly because if we are products of blind forces, our very minds are too and have no reason to trust logical intuition, or ethical intuition, or any thoughts our brains may have. And where in the blind swirl of atoms, does consciousness arise? No, the Consciousness, the understanding of reason and good and evil, is prior to these atoms, and therefore has its reasons for creating matter, this whole complex we call the Universe.

So, let’s keep true to the meaning of the Earth, this amazing mixed 3D existence, with all its trials and learnings, and resist the sickly sweet allure of the amoral digital heaven we are being offered. Let us be real men and real women, and explore the deep, divine meaning of our lives, and seek true happiness, not in the dopamine of hedonism but in ordered responsible (serotonin producing) learning, loving and creating. I realized last night that the main obstacle to my Lifegym idea (see www.lifegym.nz) is this growing addiction to the hedonomatrix. Why go work out creatively in 3D with others of like mind and all their flaws too, when we can just plug in to the hedonomatrix? Sigh… is it doomed?

(See ‘The Hacking of the American Mind’ for much more on the seductive consumerist addiction spiral of dopamine chasing versus the disciplined happiness path which produces serotonin, the ‘happiness hormone’)

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My dog ate my ‘shorts’ – the Big Short revisited.

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Checking in here to warn of probable impending bursting of the ‘Everything Bubble’ which has been inflating relentlessly for about ten years – I believe now that makes a record length of time between recessions in the US. So, I have ‘shorted’ the market and you should too – or at least get out BEFORE the air starts hissing out. That means if you are lucky or clever or hardworking enough to have capital, seeking a wealth preservation haven – NOT primarily for gain but simply preservation of true value in the face of interest rate hikes, inflation and even hyperinflation. So, not many choices…. Precious metals, freehold land… and? Not much else I know of. Do I sound like chicken Little? Well, you might be experiencing the ‘normalcy bias’ – the tendency to be illogically incredulous of any prediction that the current ongoing status quo is about to end in spite of mounting hard evidence that it IS… (Watch the Big Short, about the guys who saw the 2008-9 collapse coming and bet against the market, when everyone and his dog was saying it was bound to keep going up – and made billions)

Not convinced by my cheeps? Good – I have just waved my arm at the sketch of the big picture. But I have read and watched a lot of very experienced and proven farsighted guys with a lot of statistics and relevant scary facts. Especially by Peter Schiff,  Jim Rickards and also others like David Stockman, Gerald Celente, and Mike Maloney who put out the (I think) excellent free series on Youtube, ‘Hidden Secrets of Money.’ For a start look at this link to a youtube recording of a speech by Peter Schiff: we’re getting to the end of it

So, don’t let the dogs eat YOUR shorts! (Poppy growled a lot when I tried to take her ‘gift’ from her but at least she’s MY dog, not a banker, socialist government currency debaser or Wall Street junk bond salesman.)

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Joy of rhythm and entrainment

Under all our endeavours lie rhythms we normally take for granted: breathing, brainwaves, sleep and waking, digestion… and most vital of all, the heartbeat. On Sunday morning the cat woke me and I noticed I had an irregular heartbeat.  A really irregular heartbeat. Suddenly it was hard to think of anything else but the rhythm. Raewyn took me to the hospital, where the good people whose whole job is to help people when the rhythms get our of order, tested and helped me so nicely I felt a joy and gratitude for them and empathy for all embodied beings.

But after a few hours in the ward time dragged and the spectre of a life so handicapped by fibrillation kept me from even being able to read (!). All the busyness and goals from before the loss of rhythm seemed impossible to return to. I gave up coffee, got out on Sunday night with a withdrawal headache, a beta blocker prescription – and an irregular heartbeat.

Last night the caffeine withdrawal was almost over and I had caught up on sleep, but the heartbeat thing was distracting and depressing. I had read about ‘entrainment’, how rhythms in proximity tend to synchronise, for example two pendulum clocks mounted side by side, and I thought maybe lying heart to heart with Raewyn with her steady beat might help my erratic one get in line again. It was hard to even settle to trying that – the tendency seems to be to nurse the affected parts and protect them. Then I meditated and listened to music. I prayed to get that rhythm back, and vowed to be calmer and meditative. I found I could imagine opening  Dreamspace after all if I was like that, in harmony with myself (what was left of me) and any others who visit the gallery. I went to sleep more calm about the future.

This morning I noticed I wasn’t noticing my heart – the rhythm was back! I am learning, not the way I would prefer, but it is good! I intend to continue with these lessons. I’m back in the most vital rhythm of life – and appreciating all the other ones!

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A t shirt full of ancient stone

I had an interlude on the old Kaipara today, an impromptu quest for the smooth heavy brown stones that I’ve carved from time to time – including lately as I live alone in the Hall of the Ark while I finish relining the hall for the hopeful new owners (who want to teach yoga in it). I put a crystal on the brow of the Bird and made holes in the pupils so you can sit inside and look through its eyes…:)

It was just an interlude between taking sofas and gas tanks from the land before handover day and going back to the Ark to cook dinner and prepare to get back into the renovations, but a bit of magic opened up by doing it.

I have written a whole ebook on the subject of these stones, kind of – it was discovering them that set me to thinking about loving stuff, all stuff, beginning right here with what is to hand that we relate to. A dollar on Amazon How to Love Everyone and Everything….Starting with a Stone  and free on Smashwords  Here. And I did relate to these strange, ancient smooth stones, all sitting on a section of the muddy shore in a kind of ancient convocation unearthed by time. So, now we have sold the land which is close to the Kaipara, having loaded the trailer I thought why not walk the dogs and seek a few more of these sacred little stones, so unassuming but like gold for a carver…

 

It’s a bit hard to do a good selfie while holding 63 heavy pebbles in your t shirt!  Funny, when I counted them later – that’s how ooold I’ll be this year… So, maybe I went a bit greedy prospector, but I know eventually I or someone at Dreamspace – Tiana are you reading this? -will probably carve them all. Some could just be polished a bit and left as found objects of great antiquity, too…

The lone mangrove tree marks the spot. In the sunset it was like a tree of life standing in the tidal mud and oyster-covered stones…

Magic. Oh yes the carving is my evolving take on ancient fertility goddess figurines. And the adzey thing is a chisel I angleground today from a piece of hard old steel I found inside the wall of the hall.

Next post here I may already be back in Gisborne to stay, creating more things I ‘know to be useful and believe to be beautiful’. Here’s to Dreamspace Gallery and workshops!

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Another one-year-old

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This is my grandson Eddie Firenze Devcich on his First Birthday. I looked into those eyes and saw myself. I hope one day the mind behind them will see the mind behind mine and say, ‘I see you’. Perhaps it already does…:)

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‘Go Big or Go Home’ for sensitive artists

Happy Earth Day! Excuse the animal metaphors which follow. ‘Go big or go home’ – this saying, from a Trump documentary, got to me in a good way! I thought ‘Yes we can!‘ – to quote the Obama side of the elephant. Both ends of the human spectrum in  their saner moments know there’s only one elephant in the room, and it’s called Homo Sapiens, and it’s uber-smart, uber-adaptable, a veritable rhinoceros of the intellect in the animal kingdom, unstoppable in its problem-solving power, in any situation or environment on or off the planet, dammit!

So why do we artists and thinkers feel so stopped and powerless sometimes/most of the time/when not high on caffeine? ‘If we’re so smart/creative, how come we ain’t rich?’

It’s called Learned Helplessness. Some humans (ughh!) actually benefit from spreading it. They even started public schools to inculcate it, and make the baby human rhinos of the spirit attend 6 hours a day for a decade or so, and progressively cut off their little horns and geld them too. Then tell them to ‘express themselves’ in art class or English essay assignments. Horrible but true history… it’s changing now – isn’t it? (Not if the Muslim faith triumphs in the West.  Or any other religious fanaticism with a Book to back up the apes of the mind and spirit with a Thus Saith the Lord).

So, to continue my own slow emancipation saga: I have rung up about the space for a gallery workshops and general Mad Art pursuit, and the agent told me it was under contract and would go unconditional next Tuesday… This Tuesday he rang to say it fell through and do I want it. I had a feeling he would! Gulp… ‘Put up or shut up, I said. So now it’s the ‘putting up’ stage. Funny thing about Home – it can be a haven – or a cocoon, or a prison. I was going to do all my thing here at appletree haven – Home. Now I am looking at Coming Out, doing it Out There, in town, at 61 Carnarvon St, Gisborne. The energy is there, and the ability to pay the rent for a 6 month trial (just) ; then I’ll need to have used my homo sapiens unleashed creativity to make a financial go of it.

Sound good?  Go thou and do likewise, human rhinos, and grow back that horn of the spirit, and the other bits, and Go Big or Go Home! 🙂  Not sure what the name will be – ideas are Eutopia Gallery, Renaissance Workshops, Heartstone Gallery… Dreamspace Gallery?  Photos follow…

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Being me now – everyone else was taken!

Three fifteen is a dangerous time to wake up. If you start thinking it usually goes downhill fast. So you try to go back to sleep.

What if you don’t, but instead look at why your thoughts are gloomy, why your energy is so low?

I did that this morning at around 4 AM, Gisborne time – we’re ahead of the world so maybe I was the first soul to wake this day?? Well apart from the worthy farmers and shift workers. OK the first artist? OK at least the first philosopher! So, I got to thinking… I’m so… blocked. I have a monstrous block. Maybe I need a phsychologist to sort me out. No, I really know what he’d say, and if he didn’t I’d now what he should have said. So why not just do that!? What would a good psychologist say to Peter Harris aka the Wizard of Eutopia? ‘Put up or shut up’. Or what Paulo Coelho’s  Alchemist told the Englishman who wanted to become a real alchemist and not just a book one: ‘TRY!’ Try and transmute that lead into gold. Even if you think you tried before, now, this time, in THIS moment, TRY it.

What did my inner Alchemist tell me to try? What all inner Alchemists tell us all the time if we’d only listen: BE YOURSELF ALREADY! But what is me? Well, what’s my name? wizard of eutopia… hm… wizards do what? Well they change situations, make eutopias happen, catalyse. They’re alchemists of culture, turning the leaden societies about them into gold. They create portals through which people may go into a golden era. They hold a space, they plant a flag, they declare the ancient divine platitudes to a new generation of unbelievers who want the courage to believe them. Hm… haven’t I been there, tried that?

So I need to come out and TRY it AGAIN. Better. Eutopia is a phoenix bird, needs the wizard to revive it. But first he must revive himself.  ‘The kingdom of heaven is within us’. Amen!

SO, my plan is to

1 Get a space (I have one in mind – it’s big and spacious and cheap, here in Gisborne), start communicating with people who come there, have a round table with a phase timer so we remember to do all the dynamic things, in good order, in the divine Balance: 1 Love and listen; 2 Imagine and envision; 3 Reason and plan; 4 Act and communicate. For the logic of this see my www.4phase.org

2 Do my art in that space, and make the ferrocement hobbit havens and other sculptural icons.

3 Maybe open the space to other ‘harvesters, creators and rejoicers’. On the front it will say something like  ‘Eutopia. All welcome’ Or Altars of Art. Names and naming does tie me in knots often, but not this time!

email me wizardofeutopia@gmail.com if you like the  sound of this. If in Gisborne you could join me

So, what has been my biggest, monstrous, block? I think those who know me would agree (?) it’s shyness, this huge reluctance to engage with normal people out there in the normal world. The more I become ME, the weirder and more alien and threatening that ‘normal’ world and those ‘normal’ people seem to become. This morning I got that I am NOT shy per se – just shy of the idea of these implacably normal people, the System they represent that’s the real Monster out to get me, kill my soul, deny my dreams and visions. So it’s simple, really: I get with people who aren’t like that, who do want to be truly alive and think for themselves, and create new things and a better life and a better place. Eutopians… and ‘show them the rainbow and the stairway to the overman’. (thus spake Zarathustra)

Zarathustra’s monster he called the Spirit of Gravity, that mole-dwarf of leaden spirit that denies and drags down. His weapon against it was to fling it off his back and say ‘Stop dwarf!  I! Or you!’ And to show it the endless circle of life and to say Yes to it. I think what really defeated the dwarf was that Zarathustra danced. And that he laughed… like the shepherd in his vision who was choking from a black snake crawling into his throat. He bites off the head and jumps up, no longer a mere mortal but an overcomer, and he laughs. And Nietzsche writes, ‘My longing for this laughter consumes me…’

What is your monster?  When (and how) will you bite its head off and leap up, laughing?

 

 

 

 

 

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Why do Christmas?

Ask this boy! 🙂

bruno with plane at airport

 

 

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Grandson Bruno (here wearing my sparkly hat and glasses) is waiting patiently for his third Christmas  and the pine smell of the tree is already bringing magic into his house.  This is a year I decided to once again try hard to DO Christmas. Why? Because for once I wasn’t trying to cram an impossible eleventh-hour achievement of this year’s goals into the last two weeks of the year – I’d given that up early, for once 🙂 Grandchildren help you to do that…something has to give!  So, I was free to look at what we HAD done – and had – this year, and celebrate it, however wistfully and frugally.

Yes, there were hopes and goals that didn’t materialise; but by Jove! (as my father was wont to exclaim), though ‘much is taken, much abides’, as Ulysses says in Tennyson’s inspiring “Idylls of the King.” I remember the best Christmas and holiday we ever had as a family was one year when we decided to have a ‘poor man’s Christmas’. We bought a leaky clinker dinghy and went North to stay with my parents and go boating on the Whangaroa harbour and swimming in the local creek, and other things that cost nothing but a little planning. After the holiday we sold the boat again and so it was virtually free. And we still have the photographs…

As I said in my last post here, the making of a photographic record of 2015 for a christmas card was a great thing for the igniting of gratitude in the midst of the ever-present struggles of life. Since then I have redone it to put in a few more images for something like balance, though still very far from completeness. Here are jpegs of the card, and if you didn’t receive a printed one, accept this as our offering to you this Christmas. Oh, and let’s all reread the wonderful “A Christmas Carol”, by Dickens! (another exclamation of my late father’s, God rest his soul).  (Did you know that Dickens was in dire financial straits when he had the Scrooge inspiration and this one little book, self-published, brought him back from the brink!)

The first page of the card now includes a little stone from the beach below our land in Kaiwaka that I carved. Picking it up made me realize what a gift the natural physical things around us are. One little brown stone accretion, probably deposited millions of years ago… mine for the picking up and taking home. A precious epiphany.

Christmas card A4 07 12 2015-1

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Page two – now with Crocodile and Caesar’s penny from our Siblings Great Australian trip after our mother’s departure. And a Hyde Park squirrel, jumping for my potato chip 🙂

HAPPY CHRISTMAS, rich or poor!

Love from Peter Harris

AKA the ‘Wizard’ of Eutopia

AKA grandpa.

 

 

 

 

 

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