Fact and Fiction

Thoughts about a funny old world, and what is real, and what is not. Comments are welcome, but please keep them on topic.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

How to be invisible

Continuing with the "Aerial" album by Kate Bush, there is an absolutely fascinating song called "How to be invisible", in which she explains how it is that she manages to seemingly vanish when she is not wearing her public KB persona.

The chorus of "How to be invisible" is

Eye of Braille
Hem of anorak
Stem of wallflower
Hair of doormat

I assume that this is a description of KB when she is wearing her alter ego. But this is clearly a description of a gypsy/traveller person. Such people often wear anoraks (i.e. hem of anorak) and have thickly matted hair (i.e. hair of doormat). If such a person kept a low profile (i.e. stem of wallflower) then they would effectively be invisible (i.e. eye of Braille).

What a revelation! Now I understand. Thank you to KB for sharing this with us.


At 15 November 2005 at 09:06, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like data, the outpourings of KB can be interpreted in many ways, and accomodated within the favoured theoretical framework of the interpreter. KB - a hermeneutics of transgression, perhaps. Here is an alternative exegesis. The chorus is a spell to render whoever invisible - the eye of newt parallel makes this clear. The anorak ( a spoddy nerd who collects train numbers, KB memorabilia etc.), wallflower (the luckless and unlovely young lady ignored at the hop) and doormat (the generally shat upon)typify those that society sees fit not to see. As a celebrity KB may covet their anonymity, but not their sorry lot in life. Everything is a two edged sword. So the spell takes that part she wants, and leaves the rest behind.

On the other hand, perhaps one (and Kate) should get out more.

At 15 November 2005 at 17:56, Blogger Steve said...

Your alternative interpretation fits the data, but it is less economical in its assumptions than my own interpretation. You do not have a common explanation for the hem of anorak and the hair of doormat.

I guess this analysis is getting a bit formal and "information theoretic". But the combination of anorak and matted hair being mentioned together in the chorus leapt out at me as meaning gypsy/traveller. I can't think of another unified interpretation of these two features.

At 4 May 2008 at 13:36, Blogger Warlock said...

This is what she has learnt from G. I. Gurdjieff. It is an old trick:). But not everyone can do it. It takes a tremendous amount of self-knowledge. And disciplin. She is indeed a remarkable person!

At 6 May 2008 at 08:31, Blogger Stephen Luttrell said...

I had to read the Wikipedia article on Gurdjieff to find out who he was.

Are you sure that Gurdjieff's "Fourth Way" is really necessary to "be invisible"? I would have thought that you could simply act the part, and thus be effectively invisible. If you worked on this for a while it would become second nature.

At 6 May 2008 at 11:05, Blogger Warlock said...

Steve, of course you are right. Every spy, like CIA, must know how to do this.

Gurdjieff used to pretend that he was a carpetseller in order to study others, this was his most common disquise. Once there was a man that had heard that he was a wise man, and he kept on repeating that the man was mistaken and kept trying to sell him a carpet, thus playing the role perfectly. Finally the man gave up and went on his way thinking someone had made a fool out of him. Gurdjieff'
s student was with him also at the time and he said to his student that it was obvious that the man didn't have a farthing on him or else he would have sold him a carpet.

I use this trick many times regularly because some people you don't want to waste energy on.

But my point of stress, so to speak, was that it sounds simple but requires a great deal of knowledge and self disciplin to do it right, to the extreem of controlling ones emanations as much as possible.

I suppose actors learn this in acting school also, for that is what it is, acting. If one act perfectly like one in the crown people won't see you. Except for those who are on the same spiritual level or higher as one self.

And anyone with even the smallest amount of esoteric knowledge will realize that Kate Bush is now on her way to becoming a good Teacher. Listen to the text of her song "Strange Phenomenon" :)

The Warlock

At 6 May 2008 at 11:21, Blogger Warlock said...

And, by the way,Stephen, you sound to me like the perfect candidate to read a book of Ouspensky, who was a russian mathematician, called "In search of the miraculous". And also a book by Maurice Nicoll called "The theory of celestial influence".

I think you will find the mathematical and scientifical point of view very interesting.

You see, once there was no separate branches of science. I call it like Gurdjieff did - "Science or not science is all the same to me". Because all is science, that is the objective definition. :)

At 6 May 2008 at 16:25, Blogger Stephen Luttrell said...

As for the carpetseller metaphor, there is the possibility that the man knew with certainty that the carpetseller was merely a disguise, but gave up because he finally realised that the pretence of the disguise would not be dropped no matter how hard he tried. Thus the man might have been much more astute than you assume, and the carpetseller’s failure to sell him a carpet was not because the man was unreceptive to carpets, but because he was tired of the pretence involved in the whole transaction. He might not have liked being mucked about.

At 6 May 2008 at 16:44, Blogger Stephen Luttrell said...

As for Ouspensky, there is a limit to how far you can stretch the meaning of the words “mathematics” and “science”, beyond which you are talking vacuous nonsense. I see from the article about Ouspensky that he was a philosopher, and that he sprinkled his work with a bit of mathematics and science, which I presume was to give it an air of respectability. This sort of seemingly rigorous approach is a waste of time and effort, and it impresses only like-minded people. Remember the lesson learnt from the Sokal affair?

That said, I do think it is fun to be playful with mathematics and science, and to cross-fertilise it with the arts in the way that KB has done. The problem comes when people don't recognise that you are having fun, and then take you too seriously.

At 6 May 2008 at 17:40, Blogger Warlock said...

Thank you for your two post. I see you have a critical mind and that warms this old heart here :).

I will say this. Truth, that is (I'm swedish so forgive me if I abuse your language), objective truth has a certain 'taste'. When you once has tasted the truth no one will ever be able to fool you. Never again. You will see through all the talk that people delivers as more or less meaningless nonsense because this always happens with people.

Another thing is... that it is time for you to.. "stepping out off the page into the Sensual World" :)

I can't give you my home email here though I wish.


At 6 May 2008 at 19:05, Blogger Stephen Luttrell said...

You said:

Objective truth has a certain taste.

Yes, I like that remark. It accurately describes the feeling that I get when, during the course of my research, I discover/deduce something that is self-evidently true, and not tainted by layers of interpretation. These objective truths rarely come along, but they are what makes research worthwhile.

At 6 May 2008 at 19:39, Blogger Warlock said...

Rarely? Not anymore. This has changed now.

You now must realize that you are among a very few people that can discern objective truth from subjective - just by tasting it!

And your appetite will grow. Now when you listen to her music it will be like that book, because she is filled to the brim with objective knowledge.

You just have to stretch out your hands and take it.


At 6 May 2008 at 21:23, Blogger Warlock said...

By the way, you can reach me at www.flork.com under the nick: lone_ranger . :)

Or at: www.vilda.se under warlock


At 7 May 2008 at 11:25, Blogger Stephen Luttrell said...

On objective truth, when I say that I can distinguish (e.g. using "taste") between things that are self-evidently true and the rest of the junk, it does not mean these things are objective truths even though we might be tempted to assume that they are. The same remark applies to what you claim to be the objective truths in KB's music.

I think that the phrase "objective truths" needs to be used with the caveat that we really mean truths that are deeper than the shallow everyday truths that we normally encounter, but whose actual objectivity can never strictly be proved.

I'm still unsure why you think that there are objective truths in KB's music that I am particularly well-placed to access. Do I simply have to take this from you on trust? Or can you elaborate on why you believe this to be the case?

At 7 May 2008 at 16:02, Blogger Warlock said...

No. You should never take anything I say on mere faith. If you did you would be a fool. And you are not.

But still, you know what I mean. Truth is truth and there can only be one truth. This is locical. Either something is true or it is not, whatever name it might bear and in whatever language it is spoken.

And when you realize it is true it becomes selfevident and you perhaps exclaim - Of course it is like this, funny I didn't see that before! It's obvious!

But before you were perhaps not ready. And there is another sign that reckognizes real truth and that is it's clarity. The clarity you see when you have understood but also the simpleness in its structure.

If you start a thread about art I will visit and talk about objective art. :)


At 7 May 2008 at 16:28, Blogger Warlock said...

Ok then, though I don't think it is necessary:

"You don't need a crystal ball
Don't fall for a magic wand
We humans got it all
We perform the Miracles!"

Happy? :)


At 7 May 2008 at 19:02, Blogger Stephen Luttrell said...

I totally agree with the sentiment in that little ditty of yours, which states the fact that we are actors who invent our own script.

Is it supposed to be a response to the comment

I'm still unsure why you think that there are objective truths in KB's music ... can you elaborate on why you believe this to be the case?

that I made earlier? If so, then you are being cryptic, and I could read almost anything I wanted into your ditty!

At 7 May 2008 at 20:30, Blogger Warlock said...

I do not know what ditty means, but I suppose you are referring to the Kate Bush quote I posted, from the song "Them heavy people".

And yes, it was because you insisted on some example from her works.

And when you have thought about this quote of hers you will find that it is actually her teaching you and me that we do not need all the superfluous and silly things like magic wands, tarot cards or even a crystal ball. These are merely tools for other kinds of students to help them focus. When you know how to focus you don't need things like that because it will be you and noone else who 'does' these things.

I know I sound cryptic and even sometimes contradictory but with time these seemingly cryptic and contradictory things merge and form a whole. A true understanding.

"All the world's a stage and we are merely actors on it" I think Shakespear wrote. He is worth while studying also.

But here the point is - how can you act your role to the best you can if you are not even aware of the fact that you are 'acting'? Then 'acting' becomes mechanical acting and therefore useless for those who wish to develop themselves.

If you listen to the song "waking the witch" you will see that she makes a reference to the necessity of awakening, and realising your role to play. We must act our part and do it as good as possible. "To be or not to be, that is the question"

I know that I am drowning you now. But you seem swift in understanding. You have yourself to blame, grin!


At 7 May 2008 at 21:05, Blogger Warlock said...

I have now created a blog of my own here on google where it is possible to 'discuss' such matters as we have been discussing. I invite you to join me there.



At 8 May 2008 at 17:17, Blogger Stephen Luttrell said...

Re "ditty", I didn't recognise that you were quoting actual KB lyrics. I thought it was something that you had made up yourself!

The problem of acting the part as well as possible is a difficult one, and it is usually constrained by external circumstances beyond our control.

I think that (with hindsight) it is fairly trivial to merely observe that this is the problem that we all need to solve. However, it is non-trivial to find a solution to this problem, and it seems to me that "muddling though" is the best most of us can ever hope to do.

At 8 May 2008 at 18:11, Blogger Warlock said...

If I had made it up myself it would have been of no value at all. Objective knowledge is not something one makes up - it comes from way way back through an unbroken chain of people. Kate did not make it up either, nor did Gurdjieff and nor did Jesus. They all went to school to learn.

You are quite right, the task is indeed a very difficult one. Stimuli from all around us including what 'science' calles cosmic radiation etc governs us in our daily lives. And people are usually helpless against these forces. Especially when they are not aware of this! This is the key - to wake up. You can find this advice in any religion or teaching. For what can you accomplish in a state of 'dreams'...? Nothing.

'Sleep' is trivial, 'waking up' is far from trivial.

And do not ever let anyone tell you that you can do nothing! One can always resist the mechanical course of events. This causes a friction inside you, friction between 'yes' and 'no' and just like when you rub your hands together to produce heat, so this friction produces energy that can be used to take control. If you know what you are doing..

There is an exercise that produces very interesting results. Take an object, anything, I started with a lit candle, but it can be anything. Focus all your attention on this object. Now we make it harder. Divide your attention in equal, I mean absolutely equal amounts between you and this object at the same time. Observe what happens. And do it for some time.

Then let me know what your observations were/are.


At 8 May 2008 at 18:36, Blogger Stephen Luttrell said...

I said "... it is usually constrained by external circumstances beyond our control ...", where I used the weasel word "usually" to allow for exceptions. Perhaps I shouldn't write my thoughts so tersely.

As for your suggested experiment on dividing one's focus of attention, you are preaching to the choir. I have been doing this sort of thing for a long time, earlier on as part of my research into fundamental physics, and more recently as part of my research into artificial intelligence.

It is very interesting to dissolve the boundaries between things in your thoughts! But you have to be very careful to remember that your brain cannot "jump outside itself", so your thoughts are whatever you want them to be, rather than being a faithful representation of reality (i.e. objective truths), whatever that is.

There is a lot of philosophical rubbish written by people who imagine that they can jump outside themselves into an objective reality. However, there are some very gifted individuals (e.g. KB) who are adept at helping people to see the world more clearly than before.


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