I had a dream last night, in which I met an old friend of mine whom I haven’t seen in years. The main thing I remember is picking up a large book (about five or six hundred pages, in a large, coffee-table type format about 12×10 inches) which proved to be primarily published versions of my friend’s blog (which I hadn’t known existed). The pages were even laid out like a blog (like, in fact, a commonly used Blogger template – though I can’t recall if it was an actual one or just looked like one). The earlier parts of the book were a collection of his other writings: letters, photos, etc., more or less like a scrapbook. I thought it peculiar that an actual publisher had thought his blog worth printing – but I also thought it was kinda cool, and I was a bit envious.
The peculiar thing was the name of his blog. It was “Seal of Seals.” That was striking enough that it was one of the main things I remembered about the dream when I woke up. So, naturally, I googled the phrase. Other than more or less incidental references, most referred to metaphorical seals, as in verification – but one result referred to the translated title of a work by Giordano Bruno (Sigillus Sigillorum) which itself turned out to be about “noetic ascent.” I’ve read nothing of Bruno’s.
Curious enough…but what’s weirder is some months ago, a phrase popped into my head for no apparent reason. The phrase was “it begins with itself” – and a search on that phrase brought up only one result: something on the “Grammar of Ascent” by John Henry Cardinal Newman. Odd enough that phrases rarely found outside religious/philosophical works (neither of which I’ve read) should find themselves lodged in my head, but reading a bit into both of them, they’re not entirely dissimilar in subject either. Both bear some relation to what we’d now call the psychology of faith. I haven’t read either text closely (and probably won’t), but I do find that accidents and coincidences are often most useful (similar to the Oblique Strategy “honor thy error as a hidden intention”), and that even apparently random or nonsensical bursts of language often reveal if not hidden intentions at least hidden patterns, or latent patterns, which can then be teased out and elaborated upon.
Another example would be the fact that from my more-or-less nonsense lyric a week or so back (“Lance Crocker, Almanac Cracker”), the character of Lance has sort of forced himself into my mind: he wears peculiar goggles, kind of a cross between Russell Mills’ illustration for Brian Eno’s “Blank Frank” and Maniwa from Paranoia Agent in his “Radar Man” guise…with a bit of Thomas Dolby mixed in. (It’s the fetishy eyegear.) The most unusual aspect of his appearance is that he’s wound bands of leather, about six inches wide, several times around the knees of both of his trousers (he has some sort of issue with his knees), creating a loose band of leather midway up each of his trouser legs. He is, essentially, someone who believes that secret information is being kept from us, information that will harm us if it’s kept hidden, and his mission is to find and reveal that information. Or, as a now-famous quote from the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas has it: “If you bring forth what is within you, what you have will save you. If you do not bring it forth, what you do not have within you will kill you.” Whether there’s anything to his ideas, or whether he’s merely a delusional if colorful character, well, I don’t know.