Visionaries, outsiders and madmen create pockets of chaotic cultural space. Later, more lucid minds investigate the space, regimenting, stratifying and contextualizing as they go. Afterwards cultural overlords move in to loot the more palatable material, filtering out any vexingly obscure logic patterns, before spooning it into the mouth of the mainstream. In this process we see the transition point between consensus reality and the realm of untamed imaginal landscapes. Some minds, previously quarantined are belatedly allowed reconnection with hive mind consciousness, while others fade away, their works to be forever forgotten. For the lucky ones, the ones still alive that is, this is a lovely day indeed, for the day the mad ones shake hands with prime-reality, is the day they can no longer be called mad.

“Keep in mind that this planet is no model for rational thought, and that which passes for sanity here is sending chills down the spine of the remainder of the universe…”

Zoev Jho

“The cost of sanity, in this society, is a certain level of alienation.”

– Terence McKenna

“Who knows if the hallucinations were sort of a good thing? But I came to regard them as not only a part of life but the most interesting part. Consensus reality seemed like a dull, dead-end street compared to the intense, mutable reality of those visions or whatever they were—neurological misfires. I expected life to be full of sudden, inexplicable surprises. When these things didn’t happen for a while, life seemed dull and painful. I loved the strangeness, the mystery they presented, and I searched for more of the same everywhere. If I was going up a staircase in the dark, I would dance with anticipatory excitement, like I did when we went to Disneyland. I called that pre-vision state a “sticky mood”—that sense that I was approaching knowledge. I loved it.”

Jim Woodring

Questions to consider

  • TWE is CUOCO a creative act itself? Who should be credited?
  •  Make a diagram that clearly elucidates the concept of The Art Cycle.
  • +/-: People with turbulent mindscapes connecting to art created by people with turbulent mindscapes.
  • What is sane madness?
  • When is confusion enjoyable? Give five hypothetical benefits of experiencing confusion.
  • If a person retreats into imaginary worlds as a method of escaping hostility, what is the relationship between the hostility and the imaginary worlds? Who created / co-created these imaginary worlds?
  • For what reasons do societies stultify potential besides creative balance?
  • What might the term “culture web” refer to
  • What happens to abandoned childhood imaginations? Do they ever return?
  • Are increased cases of certain types of mental illness related to the emergence of new culture-wide paradigms?


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