18.3.17

Diogenes


This is a single-page comic I did in 1997 that has never seen the light of day. (Just) before this kind of data could be collated at a press of a button I rounded up the information from reading Robert Anton Wilson's "Eye of the Pyramid", Rabelias's "Pantagruel", and Lempriere's "Classical Dictionary".

From Lempriere and on the cutting room floor (this from an old notebook):
- Retires to Athens to become a disciple for Anisthenes who first refused to admit him to his house and even beat him with a stick. "Strike me Anisthenes, but never shall you find a stick sufficiently hard to remove me from your presence whilst there is any information to be gained from your conversation and acquaintance." - lol
- Was once sold as a slave but the magnanimity of his character so pleased his master that he gave him control over his estates. 
- Ordered his dead body to be carelessly thrown into a ditch.
- The people of Sinope built a tomb for him with a column of marble with a marble figure of a dog erected upon it.

This is possibly my favorite comic I've done of all time. Back then I was drawing every day and, as is the way when one practices anything, I got quite "flexed". It was drawn straight out, frame by frame, without any planning at all and no corrections.

In 1997 I was passing out of the influence of Ken Downie which had meant reading a lot of Alchemaic texts - books like [glances across his shelves] Donnelly's "Atlantis", Remy De Gourmont's "The Natural Philosophy of Love", J.W. Dunne's "Experiment With Time", Jung's "Psychology and Alchemy", Burroughs "Cities Of The Red Night", Jean Overton Fuller's biography of The Comte De Saint Germain, Joscelyn Godwin's "Robert Fludd", William's "Voodoos and Obeah", P.D. Ouspensky's "The Fourth Way", Israel Regardie's "The Tree of Life", the Atlas Anthology on Raymond Roussel and Griaule and Dieterlen's "The Pale Fox". I even remember visiting the Swedenborg bookshop (I wonder if it is still there?) and picking up a copy of his "Heaven and Hell".

Hanging out with Ken and coming to understand his ethos, essentially as a fervent disciple, had been a shock to the system. I had had only a cursory understanding of occult ideas beforehand and it was a veritable baptism by fire. Digging myself out of that fascinating tomb required really understanding and synthesizing that school of thought. When Erik Davis' epochal "Techgnosis" came out in 1998 I was fully up to speed on the crosscurrents between electronic music and the gnostic and indeed emailed Erik at the time about La Monte Young (historical note: email was a kind of virtual electronic postcard that people would send to each-other in the days before social media).

At the end of the nineties many people were flung out of raving on drugs to electronic music into exactly this quasi-space. Many decided to stay there and build invisible kingdoms. I chortled to myself recently when I read John Higgs' initially intriguing but eventually over-cooked book on The KLF "The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band Who Burned a Million Pounds" because these were the ideas which had inflamed and excited us "back in the day" - and they did seem, if not necessarily entirely silly, then certainly anachronistic and endearingly daft.

I remember reducing the sum total of my new knowledge on madness and the occult to one maxim: "Fiction is real." If you ever find yourself caught up in the starry dynamo or realise you are seeing too many of the number 23, then use that as your tiller back to the safety of consensual reality.