Interview with a dead Orson Welles

Interview with a dead Orson Welles

~revised and updated~

by Jon Rappoport

January 5, 2016

(To read about Jon’s mega-collection, Power Outside The Matrix, click here.)

Someone somewhere will surely think this is “channeling,” so allow me to set the record straight. It isn’t. It’s fiction. However, as well all know, fiction often makes more sense than fact. Enough said on that point.

In this interview with Orson Welles, we consider matters he’s been keeping bottled up for a long time, ever since Hollywood more or less cast him aside. For some reason, he seems to agree with my views on many points.

Q (Rappoport): You’re a comedian. Would you agree?

A (Welles): Of course. That’s not all I am, but yes. Comedy has effervescence. It spills over the sides of the container. The container is “things as they are.” When you keep pouring new material into it and let it flood over the sides, you’re going to run into laughter, eventually.

Q: The container itself is a joke.

A: It’s a joke that can kill you, but sure. When you’ve been around theater as long as I have, you understand that the whole construction called ordinary reality is just another piece of theater—except it’s posing as the only show in town. That’s the joke.

Q: How old were you when you figured this out?

A: I think I’ve always known it. People take on roles and they act them out.

Q: Why?

A: That’s a hell of a question. I guess it’s because they don’t see an alternative. There is a psychological fixation on One. One role, one idea, one answer, one ultimate objective, one cure, one ending. It represents a hunger for limits. I never liked that.

Q: You never like to come to the end of things.

A: No. My endings were usually tricks. You know, a way of arriving at the conclusion of a story. But actually, I could have gone on forever. I could have extended every movie I ever made out to infinity. Why not? It’s more interesting. You just keep inventing.

Q: So reality is infinite?

A: It could be. There’s no rule against it. This is another aspect of comedy. At some point, as you keep extending things, it’s funny. Your characters, in a movie, break out of their confines. The seams split. You can make that serious and horrible, but if you keep going long enough, it turns into comedy. Because the roles disintegrate. The limits crack. You’re in new spaces. Freedom takes over.

Q: Immortality.

A: Well, yes. I mean, I’m dead, but I’m not. Death is just one way of ending the story, but you don’t have to tell or live a story that way. You just go on. You move on.

Q: In your later years, you gained an enormous amount of weight.

A: That was the result of boredom. And the boredom came out of the fact that I wasn’t ingenious enough to assemble everything I needed to make the films I really wanted to make. You see, after Citizen Kane, which I made in my 20s, I saw where it could all go. I saw I could make movies that no one had ever thought of. This may sound odd, but Kane was really a movie about making movies. That’s what I discovered. On a higher level, let’s say, it was a movie about shadows and light and camera angles and the emotion coming out of characters on the screen, all rolled up into moving paintings. It was quite beautiful to me. I was struck by it. I loved it. I wanted to take off from there and fly into the wild blue yonder. The possibilities were endless.

Q: You had the energy—

A: You have no idea. It was titanic. It was radiating out of every cell in my body.

Q: So you make Citizen Kane and you’re 24 years old.

A: It was a gargantuan act of ego.

Q: That’s why it’s endured.

A: Yes, I would say so.

Q: So in your case, it’s beneficent ego.

A: Well, not all the time. I once threw a man off a bridge.

Q: That’s a new one.

A: He attacked me. He said The Magnificent Ambersons was a drawing-room drama.

Q: Did he die?

A: Oh no. The bridge was four feet above a narrow river. They fished him out and we all went and had a drink. People have the wrong idea about ego. Big is not a problem. Small is the problem. And if you stay in the middle ground, you experience the worst case. Then you’re torn to pieces. Attrition and gnawing from all quarters. Beyond a certain point, more ego is a balloon and you float up off the ground. If you can hold on and allow the ride, you develop spontaneous resources.

Q: Ego is a medium, like paint or film.

A: You can use it if you want to.

Q: But people then assume art means humility.

A: People assume God is waiting for them in a city built on clouds, where they’ll melt like butter into a piece of cosmic toast. Humility is a delusion. An ideal of sheer pretension. It’s an amateur’s role in a doomed play.

Q: Ego as a social behavior is buffoonery.

A: That’s why Citizen Kane is a comedy.

Q: And the reason why it’s not seen as that?

A: Large looming sets, and camera angles slanted upward from low positions. You can have a gloomy comedy. I may have invented the form.

Q: Touch of Evil—they say, every frame is a galvanizing photograph.

A: Why else make a movie? I was like the poet who realizes language is the flight from the ground into the air, or the descent below the surface. In film, you build the architecture to photograph it, and you choose the angles that make the photo. Frankly, if I can’t invent every frame so it has original architecture, then I’m lazy. I’m letting the extraordinary slip by. I may as well be home getting drunk. But you see, I forced the issue. I didn’t sit back and hope. I didn’t wait for every marvelous accident. I was up on the beat, and I stayed there. Well, I didn’t stall. I hit you with image after image. That was the point.

Q: You were the troll under the bridge.

A: The troll waits for years, for even centuries. But once he starts to move, he doesn’t stop.

Q: At what point did you realize the plot of Citizen Kane was a throwaway?

A: Oh, I knew that from the beginning. Stories are everywhere. Grab one. Think of one. Don’t give it much concern. One understands, of course, the audience is a sucker for stories, so that’s what they’ll focus on. You can’t help that. But the Rosebud business, the whole career of Kane, his whole life, drawn in episodes—who cares? It’s just the occasion for doing what I wanted to do. I never put stock in it. I may have said I did, but that was a lie or a momentary fascination. I wanted big space, so I chose a big man. Stories are a rank addiction. How will things turn out? Who will prove to be the winner? What’s the missing clue? Find the right story that touches all the bases, and you can sell it. But I was destroying stories. Understand? If my films had a theme, that was it. Story disintegrates. It has no foundation.

Q: You’re supposed to be obligated to telling a story.

A: Drivel. Wisdom is supposedly choosing the right story, but that’s sheer nonsense. Crap. Every story is a lie. You come to the end of it, and you feel unhappy. I knew that when I was 16. That’s why I had a hard time with studio executives. They’re sucking on the teat of their own religion. They see themselves as priests. They’re selling story to the public. A to B. You begin the fairy tale at A and wind up at B. No switchbacks. No irony. It’s sheer stupidity. I’m not trying to hide the weapon in the desk drawer until the last scene. I’m injecting invention in every frame, so it spills over the edges. The foam shooting over the rim of the glass. That’s what I want. It’s the same with any world. You want to bring sheer abundance to it. Even in the desert, you have an abundance, an over-abundance of space. That’s what I’m aiming for. Over-abundance. On Earth, you have it. Jungles. They just keep on twisting toward the horizon. They lean over the banks of the rivers, trying to swallow up the water, and the water won’t be stopped, either. You have black jaguars, some of the greatest hunting machines anyone could devise. They’re bursting at the seams. Look at their modeling. And lions. And cloudy leopards, pure and sufficient and heartbreaking beauty. You make many types. Let’s not diddle around. The people who made this place, Earth, do you think they held back? Do you think they were wearing lab coats and saluting genes? What immortal hand or eye could frame thy fearful symmetry?

Q: Joseph Calleia in Touch of Evil.

A: Poor old Joe. He could make that sadness sing. Abundantly. He was quite good at comedy, you know. But he pulled on the cloak of sadness, and his elevator would take you down three or four levels, and he would die at the bottom. You knew he had to. There was a collection of caricatures in that film. Not exactly caricatures, because I was inventing, how do I say it, a special kind of type. Not a cartoon. Not tripping falling farce. Not quite naturalism. Perhaps a mixture. They call it grim noir, but that was a comedy, too, that film. You had Ray Collins doing his special brand of flapdoodle. The DA. Coat and hat, barking like a dog. One second he’s three dimensions, the next second he’s flat. And Akim Tamiroff. Farce. But he’ll shoot you. Entrances and exits. The characters appear, flare, flatten out, and disappear. Cardboard town. Cardboard and oil. A collapsible universe.

Q: With different rules.

A: Yes, the rules of, say, GK Chesterton. Reality as facade. But in Touch of Evil, if you put your hand through a wall, you feel you might get bit by something on the other side. The characters aren’t trapped by their natures. Not really. I trap them. That’s part of letting the audience see I’m doing the inventing. They see it going on. Just enough. Same with Citizen Kane.

Q: Reminds me a little of Pablo in Steppenwolf.

A: Yes. He can fold up the bar and the people in it into a toy and put it all in his pocket. He doesn’t do it. Maybe once, to drive home a point. But he could. So could I. Obviously, I don’t. But the fact that I could is part of the overall atmosphere.

Q: Collapsible universe.

A: Magic Theater. It’s a decision you make, and the earlier the better. Will you pose yourself in reality and then mingle with it? Is that your main thrust? Or will you punch holes in it and find velocity and manufacture the worlds you want? You might discover one or two cultures in the history of the planet that, at their beginning, opted for the second alternative. Briefly.

Q: This society we live in provides us with snapshots of artists.

A: Caught, for an instant, on the run. So the life of the artist becomes the watchword. His tribulations. The fact that he’s a fool in his personal life or he’s desperate or he’s rich or he’s this or that. Maybe 20 years out of his endless trillions of immortal years are captured in a highly suspect snapshot. But he’s somewhere else now, still working. He’s exponentially increasing his power. As an incidental effect, his impact on reality, any already-existing reality, is growing. Somewhere out on the rim of a place we’ve never seen, he’s made vanish a few square parsecs of space and invented his own territory to replace it.

Q: Maybe he’s casting a film.

A: Casting comes last. He’s drawing up camera angles, building sets.

Q: Huge houses?

A: Maybe. Maybe pillars and towers and looming sky. Maybe a cardboard town sinking in leftover oil. If it’s Tuesday, it’s one, if it’s Wednesday, the other.

Q: Just out of curiosity—everything you’re saying here, did you know it at the time or only now?

A: Oh, I knew it all along. The individual is immortal. But people want to hear about other things. And I was willing to give them what they wanted, except in my work. In intelligence operations, why would you blow your cover stories? The world of humans is built on cover stories, one after another, in stratified layers.

Q: The Third Man. You and Joseph Cotten.

A: Well, that was all atmosphere. We didn’t have anything else. Atmosphere wrapping a mystery. And when it’s solved, it’s a throwaway, of course. Who cares? But with the crooked streets and lighting and pace, you make your own little temporary religion. An altar sitting somewhere ahead, in the fog.

Q: And who’s God?

A: No one. That’s the point. You say, “Look, suppose there’s no God? That might not be a bad thing.” It might not be a disappointment, after all. No-God can turn out to be an interesting story. If you play your cards right, it could be exciting. You worm your way through the mystery and you find it all folds up in your pocket and you walk away laughing. You leave that sadness behind, a hat blowing across the street. I used to stumble out of the theater after watching Ingmar Bergman, and I’d be choking on laughter. The Seventh Seal. One of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. Wild Strawberries. Hysterical. Gunnar Bjornstrand, a man at the end of his tether, staring nothing in the face. Do you remember the scene where he’s sitting in the car talking to Ingrid Thulin? Well, tragedy for me has always had a tinge of laughter about to break out. You move over one inch from where you are, and the tears magically dry up and you’re feeling wonderful, as if you’ve just had a good breakfast. You look around and wonder what happened.

Q: Improvisation helps.

A: You might be right. You can always throw a howling cat into a funeral. As people approach the open coffin, the cat runs in chasing a rat. Emotions are mercurial. Of course, in a film, you can saddle them with iron weights, if you want to. But I never thought that was necessary. Why bother with it? It’s a waste of time. Something else is going to happen next, anyway. You have the noble, beautiful, suffering widow standing at the coffin, where her husband is lying in his suit with a flower in his buttonhole, and she glances to her left and sees a man staring down her dress. And she starts to smile. Just a little. Of course, what is she doing with cleavage at the funeral?

Q: Is that a metaphysical question?

A: Well, it could be. Because that’s what you find out. You’re ready for the emotion to lay its card on the table, the emotion that will sum up your experience and confirm the absolute and final significance of it in the overall scheme of things…and then a leaf blows in the window and it doesn’t really matter. Now you have that emotion and the leaf, and as a director, what are you going to do with it? You begin to discover that improvisation is one of the great stable centers behind any universe.

Q: The planning department will hate that.

A: Sure. They pretend they’re working out all the details. They’re going to launch Universe X-B tomorrow, and they’re putting the final touches on the last few sub-sub-sub anomalies. Meanwhile, they’re just the front office. What’s going on behind the scenes is the real main event. Somebody like me is back there, and I’m talking to the tiger. The tiger with wings. I want to see whether he’s ready to burn bright in the forests of the night. Whether he doesn’t care about me, the man who made him. I want him to forget all about me and go on his way. He and I, the two of us, are back there. And yes, I can see, his ferocity is intact. He’s his own man. And just as he brushes by me, padding out the door, he gives me a little smile. Just for a second. That’s all I want. That’s all I need.

Q: Okay, let’s take a short break here. I want to present a quote from William Burroughs (Naked Lunch):

“A bureau takes root anywhere in the state…always reproducing more of its kind, until it chokes the host if not controlled or excised…A bureau operates on…principles of inventing needs to justify its existence. Bureaucracy is wrong as cancer, a turning away from the human evolutionary direction of infinite potentials and differentiation and independent spontaneous action.”

And I want to recall an old recording session you did. It was a voiceover for an ad—Findus Foods. You were the spokesman. You were doing takes on cod, peas, beef. The recording engineer kept the outtakes. Here are a few of your comments:

“That [what the producers want Welles to say] doesn’t make any sense. Sorry…” “You don’t know what I’m up against. ‘Because Findus freeze the cod at sea, and then add a crumb-crisp…coating’…I think, no…” “‘We know a little place in American Far West where Charlie Briggs chops up the finest prairie beef and tastes…’ This is a lot of shit, you know that!” “It isn’t worth it. No money is worth this…” [Welles walks out]

A: Yes, I remember that. I could have used the money, but the script was such a load. I couldn’t do it.


power outside the matrix


Q: One of the predictable effects of the Internet is the need for information over fiction. Beyond a certain point, it becomes a disease. It confirms the robot part of the mind. People shrug off fiction as unnecessary. It’s fluff. Why bother, when the truth is so much more riveting? Well, there is a reason people think that. They have no experience with their own imagination. Information structures have one job: deliver. And the people on the other end of that wire, the audience, are set up to eat what’s brought. It’s a giant Domino’s operation. Or look at it as a see-saw. On one end (information) is a 100000000-ton steel ball, and on the other end (fiction), a grainy pebble. Theoretically, it could have been the other way around. A million short stories for every factoid. But that won’t work, because again, people have very little conscious experience of their own imaginations. It’s a hell of a lot easier to sit back and take in the flow of info—good, bad, or indifferent. And then react. People think magic is a talent, like being able, at the age of six, to draw a cowboy with his six-gun in the holster. Actually, magic is all about imagination, and if a person has no experience with it and no inclination to gain the experience, then he can kiss magic goodbye. Of course, he can remember that, much earlier in his life, he did live through imagination, and he did run and play right in the center of it. Then he might change his mind about a lot of things. He might decide, for instance, that an unending torrent of information reaches a limit, beyond which it does no one any good…Let’s pick up again with any one of your films…

A: Take Touch of Evil. The story line is interesting, but it doesn’t knock you out of your chair. And the role I play, the corrupt sheriff, that’s old hat. Of course, the casting was delicious, because I was able to use Charlton Heston as the earnest lawman, and that fit perfectly. He knew I was doing that, letting his innate sincerity come through, and he saw the ironies that multiplied out of it. But everything was the staging, the atmosphere, the angles, the shots.

Q: What many people would dismiss as inessential.

A: That’s the way the modern world works. Strip things down. Reduce them to their lowest common denominator.

Q: Like machines. One goal, one plan, one strategy, one action to reach the end of line.

A: I was always moving in the opposite direction. Inventing multiple new ways of seeing things. You see, for many people, that is a waste of time. They want their messages simple. They want simple over and over again.

Q: I say it’s a disease.

A: Well, yes. If I’d had to stick to that code, I would have given up making films. I would have written novels. At least there, you’re alone. You can invent whatever you want to. Take the expression “the bottom line.” This has been extended from business and accounting, where it originated, to the idea that you should take the shortest path between two points. You should arrive as quickly as possible at the conclusion. And the conclusion should tell you how to sell something. Or buy it. Or believe it. Or reject it.

Q: When you talk to people about imagination and magic, they tend to look for that same approach.

A: Of course. They’ve been trained that way. They’ve succumbed to the spirit of the times. In Touch of Evil, although the plot itself was fairly tight, I was really using the opportunity to stage a series of scenes in which the characters alternated between being human and being caricature—that shuttling back and forth between realism and facade, between the natural and the bizarre, between the obvious and the esoteric. Esoteric in the sense that people tend to play out roles in life, and when they do, and when you see it, reality itself begins to look different, begins to take on odd qualities. What I’m doing is showing the audience a different kind of reality, one that at first glance looks like the world, but after a little while looks like someone looking at the world. That’s what I’m really revealing—how I can look at the world. Only instead of explaining it, I’m showing it as drama, I’m populating my point of view with characters, and I’m letting you know that’s what I’m doing. I’m not hiding it. I’m enjoying it. Celebrating it.

Q: It’s as if you’re saying to the audience, “I’m dreaming, and here is my dream, only I’m having it while I’m wide awake, and I’m INVENTING the dream as I go along and I’m happy to admit that’s the case.”

A: Yes, that’s right. It’s, you might say, another level of art. Laid out there at a time when we already know so much about art of the past, after we’ve digested so many conventions and traditions of art, after we’ve woken up to the fact that these habits of art are just that—we’ve seen through so much about how artists create reality in traditional ways and forms—and now it’s time to go further.

Q: When you look at how certain so-called classical novels were written, with the all-knowing and all-seeing eye of the third-person narrative looking down from a higher plateau…

A: That’s also, of course, the style of religion. It’s the style of religious discourse and narrative, and people in that venue still buy it. They want the calm and steady hand of the authority. They want that narrator to come across that way. It’s old and worn out and rather absurd, but people cling to it. It’s a cousin, I’d say, to the manual.

Q: The manual?

A: Yes, the instruction book that tells you how to do something, how something works. That calm voice, that assurance.

Q: I see. Yes. And people feel, in the absence of it, they’re lost. They don’t know where to turn.

A: Well, this goes back to your statement that people don’t have the conscious experience of their own imagination. Instead, they look for the steady guiding hand from somewhere else. They think there are only two possibilities. The calm authoritative voice, or chaos. It’s a joke. Imagination tells us there are an infinity of ways of presenting realities, not two. Not one. People watch Citizen Kane and they think it’s about the corruption of the human spirit. That’s the hook for them. It’s one of those “big themes” they’re familiar with and can plug into. Let me tell you something. If I were making a film about corruption of the spirit, it would have looked nothing like Citizen Kane. Nothing. Kane was a movie about the possibilities of film. It was a series of episodes in which the visual language itself was expanding and I was showing people what could be done with space. With dimension. With emotion shot through these larger dimensions. I was talking in a new language. I was introducing the idea that new language could have great impact.

Q: That was the magic.

A: What else could it have been? A return to older techniques? A re-hashing of hackneyed ways of describing reality? People are terribly confused. When you talk to them in a new language, they keep looking for the OBJECTS of what you’re talking about. They keep looking for the old objects embedded in the old language. If they don’t find them, they throw up their hands in dismay. Where are the old things? But you’re not presenting old things. And even worse, you’re not talking to them in the language that would convey those old things. You want them to hear and see and feel the new language, the process of that language unfolding, but they search after familiar themes and ideas and stories.

Q: As if some official minister of information will present them.

A: Yes. That reassuring floating sound from above that tells them everything will always be as it once was. You know, when you assume that voice and use it, it doesn’t really matter what you say. You could be talking about new discoveries or lies or breakthroughs or the most outrageous nonsense—it doesn’t matter. They’ll buy what you’re selling. But if you change the voice and the language, they don’t know what to do.

Q: So they thought you were an egoist.

A: And I was and am—but not in the obvious sense. I was creating a different language, with power, from my mind and imagination. And I had no desire to dampen the power, because it was an inherent part of what I was inventing. I was launching out radiance and I was in a state of radiance at the same time. Joyous…and celebrating this new language and celebrating the fact that I was doing it. Why not?

Q: In the bureaucratic world of our times, what you did could be looked at as some sort of condition that might be diagnosed.

A: These petty pernicious little grasping bureaucratic minds, who have no existence except an official one, need to be destroyed. And destroyed in only one way: through a mass exodus away from them. Leave them in their seat of influence. Let them stew there and write their papers and reports. Let them win in a complete vacuum. Treat them as morons who are deranged beyond rescue. Go away and create something entirely different. For heaven’s sake, CREATE SOMETHING.

Q: The voice of calm authority you speak of…it’s a form of hypnotism.

A: I know something about that subject. One thing I know is this. In the long run, it doesn’t matter what’s coming from that voice. The most important thing to know is that the CONTEXT, the space, is hypnotic. And that’s where the whole lie is. That’s what makes the entire performance a lie. WAKE UP to that. Walk away. Invent your own voice. One of the functions of art is the stimulation of imagination in the audience. Then, for those who have the desire, they become artists, too. They catch the glimpse in themselves. It’s always been that way. A real artist isn’t hanging around hoping for information. He’s inventing something much more powerful.

Jon Rappoport

The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free NoMoreFakeNews emails here or his free OutsideTheRealityMachine emails here.

Rappoport interviews a dead Albert Einstein

Rappoport interviews a dead Albert Einstein

The invention of robot humans

Free will vs. determinism

by Jon Rappoport

May 13, 2015

NoMoreFakeNews.com

OutsideTheRealityMachine

I love it when people tell me philosophy isn’t important. It makes me feel like a shark in a pool of farmed fish.

I’ll put this simply. If a person doesn’t think having his own philosophic stance is important, then he should consider that other people have philosophies, and they are bent on creating reality FOR him…and in doing so, they use that philosophy “thingo” he doesn’t think matters at all.

And one of the great philosophic issues—it flies under the radar—is free will versus determinism. Determinism means: events and lives and reality itself are a parade of happenings entirely devoid of choice. No freedom.

In labs all over the world, brain researchers are pushing this notion, believing that someday they will be able to control the brain to an absolute degree. For them, you see, it really doesn’t matter what they do to that organ in our skulls and how that will affect the global population…because they’re sure people were never free to begin with.

Get it? So nothing much is riding on the question of free will vs. determinism except the future of the human race.

In the next 50, 100 years, will we see billions of fully-programmed, “new-brain” human androids everywhere, or will freedom survive?

Armed with a philosophy of determinism, researchers will try to install whatever programming they want to, “for the good of all.” And they won’t feel even a twitch of guilt.

I was searching through a 1929 Saturday Evening Post interview with Albert Einstein. I found an interesting quote:

“I am a determinist. As such, I do not believe in free will…Practically, I am, nevertheless, compelled to act as if freedom of the will existed. If I wish to live in a civilized community, I must act as if man is a responsible being.”

I’m always shocked but not surprised when I come across statements like this from scientists.

I guess after Einstein escaped from the Nazis in 1933, he eventually came to America because our brand of no-free-will just happened to be better. Or something.

So I decided to pull Einstein back from the past and engage him in conversation.

Every time I do one of these interviews with dead people, somebody thinks it’s real. I don’t know why. So again, for clarification, this is fiction. However, sometimes fiction makes a point more clearly.


Does free will exist?

Q (Rappoport): Sir, would you say that the underlying nature of physical reality is atomic?

A (Einstein): If you’re asking me whether atoms and smaller particles exist everywhere in the universe, then of course, yes.

Q: And are you satisfied that, wherever they are found, they are the same? They exhibit a uniformity?

A: Certainly.

Q: Regardless of location.

A: Correct.

Q: So, for example, if we analyze the brain into its constituent elements, we find those same tiny particles, which are no different in kind from other sub-atomic particles anywhere in the universe.

A: That’s true. Actually, everything inside the human body is composed of these tiny particles. And the particles, everywhere in the universe, without exception, flow and interact and collide without any exertion of free will. It’s an unending stream of cause and effect.

Q: And when you think to yourself, “I’ll get breakfast now,” what is that?

A: The thought?

Q: Yes.

A: Ultimately, it is the outcome of particles in motion.

Q: You were compelled to have that thought.

A: As odd as that may seem, yes. Of course, we tell ourselves stories to avoid that conclusion.

Q: And those “stories” we tell ourselves—they aren’t freely chosen rationalizations, either. We have no choice about that.

A: Well, yes. That’s right.

Q: So there is nothing in the human brain or what some would call the mind that allows us the possibility of free will.

A: Nothing at all.

Q: And as we are sitting here right now, sir, looking at each other, sitting and talking, this whole conversation is spooling out in the way that it must. Every word. Neither you nor I is really choosing what we say.

A: I may not like it, but it’s deterministic destiny. The particles flow.

Q: When you pause to consider a question I ask you and what your answer will be…even that act of considering is mandated by the motion of sub-atomic particles in the brain. What appears to be you deciding how to give me an answer…that is a delusion.

A: The act of considering is not done freely with a range of possible choices. I know that sounds harsh. It may be hard to swallow. But there is no free will.

Q: The notion of considering is, you might say, a cultural or social delusion.

A: I guess that’s so, yes.

Q: And the outcome of this conversation, whatever points we may or may not agree upon, and the issues we may settle here, about this subject of free will versus determinism…they don’t matter at all, because, when you boil it down, the entire conversation was determined by our thoughts, which are nothing more than the products of atomic and sub-atomic particles in motion—and that motion flows according to laws, none of which have anything to do with human choice.

A: The entire flow of reality, so to speak, proceeds according to determined sets of laws.

Q: And we are in that flow.

A: Most certainly we are.

Q: But the earnestness with which we try to settle the issue of free will versus determinism, the application of feeling and thought and striving—all that is irrelevant. It’s window dressing. This conversation actually cannot go in different possible directions. It can only go in one direction.

A: That would ultimately have to be so. Yes.

Q: Now, are atoms and their components, and any other tiny particles in the universe…are any of them conscious?

A: Of course not.

Q: Some scientists speculate they are.

A: Some people speculate that the moon can be sliced and served on a plate with fruit.

Q: What do you think “conscious” means?

A: That’s hard to say.

Q: Is imagination made up of the same tiny particles that inhabit the whole universe?

A: That’s an odd idea.

Q: Let me broaden it. Any of the so-called faculties we possess—are they ultimately anything more than particles in motion?

A: I see. Well, no, they aren’t. Because everything is particles in motion. What else could be happening in this universe?

Q: All right. I’d like to consider the word “understanding.”

A: It’s a given. It’s real.

Q: How so?

A: The proof that it’s real, if you will, is that we are having this conversation.

Q: Yes, but how can there be understanding if everything is particles in motion? Do the particles possess understanding?

A: No they don’t. They just are.

Q: And does “they just are” include understanding?

A: No.

Q: Then, how can what you and I are saying have any meaning?

A: Words mean things.

Q: Again, I have to point out that, in a universe with no free will, we only have particles in motion. That’s all. That’s all we are. So where does “meaning” come from? Is it just an automatic reflex, a delusion, as “being conscious” is a delusion, as “understanding” is a delusion?

A: “We understand language” is a true proposition.

Q: You’re sure.

A: Of course.

Q: Then I suggest you’ve tangled yourself in a contradiction. In the universe you depict, there would be no room for understanding. There would nowhere for it to come from. Unless particles understand. Do they?

A: No.

Q: Then where do “understanding” and “meaning” come from?

A: They are facts.

Q: Based on what?

A: …I don’t know.

Q: If we accept your depiction of a universe of particles without free will, then there is no basis for this conversation at all. We don’t understand each other. How could we? We are not truly conscious, we are making sounds, we are “going back and forth,” the outcome is not within our choice, and we don’t understand what we are saying to each other. Again, there is no room for understanding in your universe.

A: But we do understand each other.

Q: And therefore, your philosophic materialism (no free will, only particles in motion) must have a flaw.

A: What flaw?

Q: Our existence contains more than particles in motion.

A: What would that be?

Q: Would you grant that whatever it is, it is non-material?

A: It would have to be.

Q: Then, driving further along this line, there is something non-material which is present, which allows us to understand each other, which allows us to comprehend meaning. We are conscious. Puppets are not conscious.

A: But that would open the door to all the religions that have fought with each for centuries.

Q: Why? Does “non-material” of necessity translate into “religion?”

A: Well, no, I suppose not. But non-material consciousness would certainly be a mystery.

Q: Is that acceptable?

A: The mystery?

Q: As we sit here talking, I understand you. Do you understand me?

A: Of course.

Q: Then that is coming from something other than particles in motion. And freedom would be another quality, a non-material quality that exceeds the “grasp” of particles in motion. In fact, without these non-material qualities, you and I would be gibbering and pretending to understand each other. And both the gibber and the pretense would be no more important than a rock developing a trace of fungus after a thousand years.

A: You’re saying that, if all the particles in the universe, including those that make up the human body and brain, possess no consciousness, no understanding, no comprehension of meaning, no freedom, then how can they give birth to these qualities of understanding and meaning? There must be another factor, and it would have to be non-material.

Q: Yes. That’s what I’m saying.

A: Well…

Q: There are many people who would say this conversation is terribly old-fashioned and outmoded—and much newer concepts on the frontier of exploration have relegated what we are talking about to the dustbin of a bygone era.

A: Yes. But I could also say the notion of solid objects is passe, because we know nothing is actually solid. However, as long as I can stub my toe on a rock and break the toe, the notion of solidity is still relevant.

Q: So you believe what we’ve been discussing here is significant.

A: I do.

Q: And you admit your view of determinism and particles in motion—this picture of the universe—leads to several absurdities.

A: I’m forced to. Otherwise, this very conversation is absurd to a degree I can’t fathom.

Q: You and I understand each other. What we are saying has meaning.

A: I had not thought it through all the way before, but if there is nothing inherent in particles and their processes that gives rise to understanding and meaning, then everything, and I mean everything, is gibberish. Except it isn’t gibberish. I see the contradiction. The absurdity.

Q: And if these non-material factors—understanding and meaning—exist, then other non-material factors can exist.

A: For example, freedom. Yes.

Q: And the drive to eliminate freedom in the world…is more than just the unimportant pre-determined attempt to substitute one delusion for another, one reflex for another.

A: That would be…yes, that’s so.

Q: In one way or another, there is a great impulse to deny the non-materiality of the qualities that are inherent to human life. There is a reason for this impulse. Scientists, for example, would be absolutely furious about the idea that, despite all their maneuvering and discovering in the physical and material realm, the most essential aspects of human life are beyond the scope of what they, the scientists, are “in charge of.”

A: It would be a naked challenge to their power. You know, I don’t like leaving this mystery hanging in the air.

Q: Which mystery is that?

A: We’ve come to agree that basic qualities of human life—meaning, understanding, consciousness, freedom—would have to be non-material. But where does that leave us? “Where” is the non-materiality?

Q: It’s certainly not going to be in the physical universe. By definition, that would be impossible.

A: I know. I can see that.

Q: Let me suggest that your capacity to understand, your ability to comprehend meaning, your freedom, your consciousness, are wherever YOU ARE.

A: I’ll have to think about that.

Q: I could say, “Well, you see, throughout the universe there are other levels of energy, and they aren’t based on atomic or sub-atomic particles. These other energies are ‘spiritual,’ they are most certainly conscious, and they impart to us our capacity to understand, to comprehend meaning, to have freedom, to imagine, and so on. This other energy is part of our very consciousness, or our consciousness is an aspect of this other energy.”

A: You could say that, yes. But that’s just a convoluted way of asserting that consciousness, meaning, understanding, freedom, ad imagination are beyond the realm of physical causation. It’s a hypothesis that doesn’t open the door to actual research, to science. To me, it’s just a kind of passive, permissive religion.

Q: Not only that, it tends to allow the idea that freedom, free choice are not really our own, and therefore, we don’t have to pay any price for the choices we make. We can become passive and quietly pass the buck to “the universe.” I’ve seen that outcome in many people who take this “cosmic view” of energy.

A: I wouldn’t like that at all. If we’re going to let freedom in the door, then we need to act on it in a dynamic way, and also accept the results of the free choices we make.

—end of interview—


Exit From the Matrix


Einstein disappeared in a puff of wind, and I saw a note he left on my kitchen table. I went over to it and read it:

“If everything in the universe is composed of sub-atomic particles, including us, then this conversation and its outcome are HG^&&%DSE^. Gibberish. If there truly is freedom, consciousness, meaning, and understanding, then each one of us is, at the root, a non-material being.”

I put the note down.

Finally, consider that, for a non-material being operating with a physical form called the body, perhaps his most valuable adjunct, aid, and “assistant” in that partnership is the brain.

Scientists and elite planners believe the brain can be programmed and reprogrammed and surgically altered at will, because freedom has never existed.

They believe they’re simply changing the specifications of a robot, an android.

Actually, they’re interrupting and changing a vital link between the non-material and free and conscious YOU and your brain, in order to make your potential actions simpler and less capable.

The result would be a civilization of androids.

Which says a great deal about the importance of that rejected item called philosophy.

Jon Rappoport

The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at NoMoreFakeNews.com or OutsideTheRealityMachine.

Interviewing the dead Albert Einstein about free will

Interviewing the dead Albert Einstein about free will

by Jon Rappoport

September 21, 2014

NoMoreFakeNews.com

It was a strange journey into the astral realm to find Albert Einstein.

I slipped through gated communities heavily guarded by troops protecting dead Presidents. I skirted alleys where wannabe demons claiming they were Satan’s reps were selling potions made from powdered skulls of English kings. I ran through mannequin mansions where trainings for future shoppers were in progress. Apparently, some souls come to Earth to be born as aggressive entitled consumers. Who knew?

Finally, in a little valley, I spotted a cabin, and there on the porch, sitting in a rocker, smoking a pipe and reading The Bourne Ultimatum, was Dr. Einstein.

He was wearing an old sports jacket with leather patches on the elbows, jeans, and furry slippers.

I wanted to talk with the great man because I’d read a 1929 Saturday Evening Post interview with him. He’d said:

“I am a determinist. As such, I do not believe in free will…Practically, I am, nevertheless, compelled to act as if freedom of the will existed. If I wish to live in a civilized community, I must act as if man is a responsible being.”

Dr, Einstein went inside and brought out two bottles of cold beer and we began our conversation:

Q: Sir, would you say that the underlying nature of physical reality is atomic?

A: If you’re asking me whether atoms and smaller particles exist everywhere in the universe, then of course, yes.

Q: And are you satisfied that, wherever they are found, they are the same? They exhibit a uniformity?

A: Surely, yes.

Q: Regardless of location.

A: Correct.

Q: So, for example, if we consider the make-up of the brain, those atoms are no different in kind from atoms of the same elements, wherever in the universe they are found.

A: That’s true. The brain is composed entirely of these tiny particles. And the particles, everywhere in the universe, without exception, flow and interact and collide without any exertion of free will. It’s an unending stream of cause and effect.

Q: And when you think to yourself, “I’ll get breakfast now,” what is that?

A: The thought?

Q: Yes.

A: Ultimately, it is the outcome of particles in motion.

Q: You were compelled to have that thought.

A: As odd as that may seem, yes. Of course, we tell ourselves stories to present ourselves with a different version of reality, but those are social or cultural constructs.

Q: And those “stories” we tell ourselves—they aren’t freely chosen rationalizations, either. We have no choice about that.

A: Well, yes. That’s right.

Q: So there is nothing in the human brain that allows us the possibility of free will.

A: Nothing at all.

Q: And as we are sitting here right now, sir, looking at each other, sitting and talking, this whole conversation is spooling out in the way that it must. Every word. Neither you nor I is really choosing what we say.

A: I may not like it, but it’s deterministic destiny. The particles flow.

Q: When you pause to consider a question I ask you…even that act of considering is mandated by the motion of atomic and sub-atomic particles. What appears to be you deciding how to give me an answer…that is a delusion.

A: The act of considering? Why, yes, that, too, would have to be determined. It’s not free. There really is no choice involved.

Q: And the outcome of this conversation, whatever points we may or may not agree upon, and the issues we may settle here, about this subject of free will versus determinism…they don’t matter at all, because, when you boil it down, the entire conversation was determined by our thoughts, which are nothing more than atomic and sub-atomic particles in motion—and that motion flows according to laws, none of which have anything to do with human choice.

A: The entire flow of reality, so to speak, proceeds according to determined sets of laws. Yes.

Q: And we are in that flow.

A: Most certainly we are.

Q: The earnestness with which we might try to settle this issue, our feelings, our thoughts, our striving—that is irrelevant. It’s window dressing. This conversation actually cannot go in different possible directions. It can only go in one direction.

A: That would ultimately have to be so.

Q: Now, are atoms and their components, and any other tiny particles in the universe…are any of them conscious?

A: Of course not. The particles themselves are not conscious.

Q: Some scientists speculate they are.

A: Some people speculate that the moon can be sliced and served on a plate with fruit.

Q: What do you think “conscious” means?

A: It means we participate in life. We take action. We converse. We gain knowledge.

Q: Any of the so-called faculties we possess—are they ultimately anything more than particles in motion?

A: Well, no, they aren’t. Because everything is particles in motion. What else could be happening in this universe?

Q: All right. I’d like to consider the word “understanding.”

A: It’s a given. It’s real.

Q: How so?

A: The proof that it’s real, if you will, is that we are having this conversation. It makes sense to us.

Q: Yes, but how can there be understanding if everything is particles in motion? Do the particles possess understanding?

A: No they don’t.

Q: To change the focus a bit, how can what you and I are saying have any meaning?

A: Words mean things.

Q: Again, I have to point out that, in a universe with no free will, we only have particles in motion. That’s all. That’s all we are. So where does “meaning” come from?

A: “We understand language” is a true proposition.

Q: You’re sure.

A: Of course.

Q: Then I suggest you’ve tangled yourself in a contradiction. In the universe you depict, there would be no room for understanding. Or meaning. There would be nowhere for it to come from. Unless particles understand. Do they?

A: No.

Q: Then where do “understanding” and “meaning” come from?

A: [Silence.]

Q: Furthermore, sir, if we accept your depiction of a universe of particles without free will, then there is no basis for this conversation at all. We don’t understand each other. How could we?

A: But we do understand each other.

Q: And therefore, your philosophic materialism (no free will, only particles in motion) must have a flaw.

A: What flaw?

Q: Our existence contains more than particles in motion.

A: More? What would that be?

Q: Would you grant that whatever it is, it is non-material?

A: It would have to be, but…

Q: Then, driving further along this line, there is something non-material which is present, which allows us to understand each other, which allows us to comprehend meaning. We are conscious. Puppets are not conscious. As we sit here talking, I understand you. Do you understand me?

A: Of course.

Q: Then that understanding is coming from something other than particles in motion. Without this non-material quality, you and I would be gibbering in the dark.

A: You’re saying that, if all the particles in the universe, including those that make up the brain, possess no consciousness, no understanding, no comprehension of meaning, no freedom, then how can they give birth to understanding and freedom. There must be another factor, and it would have to be non-material.

Q: Yes. That’s what I’m saying. And I think you have to admit your view of determinism and particles in motion—that picture of the universe—leads to several absurdities.

A: Well…perhaps I’m forced to consider it. Otherwise, we can’t sit here and understand each other.

Q: You and I do understand each other.

A: I hadn’t thought it through this way before, but if there is nothing inherent in particles that gives rise to understanding and meaning, then everything is gibberish. Except it isn’t gibberish. Yes, I seem to see a contradiction. Interesting.

Q: And if these non-material factors—understanding and meaning—exist, then other non-material factors can exist.

A: For example, freedom. I suppose so.

Q: And the drive to eliminate freedom in the world…is more than just the attempt to substitute one automatic reflex for another.

A: That would be…yes, that would be so.

Q: In one way or another, there is a great impulse to deny the non-materiality of the qualities that are inherent to human life. Scientists, for example, would be absolutely furious about the idea that, despite all their maneuvering, the most essential aspects of human life are beyond the scope of what they, the scientists, are “in charge of.”

A: It would be a naked challenge to the power of science.


Exit From the Matrix


Einstein puffed on his pipe and looked out over the valley. He took a sip of his beer. After a minute, he said, “Let me see if I can summarize this, because it’s really rather startling. The universe is nothing but particles. All those particles follow laws of motion. They aren’t free. The brain is made up entirely of those same particles. Therefore, there is nothing in the brain that would give us freedom. These particles also don’t understand anything, they don’t make sense of anything, they don’t grasp the meaning of anything. Since the brain, again, is made up of those particles, it has no power to allow us to grasp meaning or understand anything. But we do understand. We do grasp meaning. Therefore, we are talking about qualities we possess which are not made out of energy. These qualities are entirely non-material.”

He nodded.

“In that case,” he said, “there is…oddly enough, a completely different sphere or territory. It’s non-material. Therefore, it can’t be measured. Therefore, it has no beginning or end. If it did, it would be a material continuum and we could measure it.”

He pointed to the valley.

“That has energy. But what does it give me? Does it allow me to be conscious? Does it allow me to be free, to understand meaning? No.”

Then he laughed. He looked at me.

“I’m dead,” he said, “aren’t I? I didn’t realize it until this very moment.”

I shook my head. “No. I would say you WERE dead.”

He grinned. “Yes!” he said. “That’s a good one. I WAS dead.”

He stood up.

“Enough of this beer,” he said. “I have some schnapps inside. Let me get it. Let’s drink the good stuff! After all, I’m apparently Forever. And so are you. And so are we all.”

Jon Rappoport

The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at NoMoreFakeNews.com.

Rappoport interviews dead Tesla

Rappoport interviews dead Tesla

by Jon Rappoport

June 29, 2014

www.nomorefakenews.com

Just in case a few over-eager readers think I’m actually interviewing Tesla, or “channeling” him, this is fiction.

Bringing back Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), the famous inventor, for an encore involved a few emails to Limbo, where he is continuing his experiments.

I expected the conversation would be like pulling teeth. Taciturn, dour, bitter. All that. But happily, it wasn’t the case. As with Orson Welles, another one of my interviewees, I was surprised to find that Tesla shares many of my views.

Q: How’s it going?

A: Fairly well, Jon. Working hard as always.

Q: Anything new to report?

A: Sure. Turns out the universe is an illusion, when you drill down far enough. And I have.

Q: Illusion in what sense?

A: It’s too real.

Q: Excuse me?

A: You have to be suspicious when things get too real. Look for a con. See?

Q: Actually, I think I might.

A: For a long time, I was working to tap into inherent energies in the Earth, in space, and I solved all that. I have the inventions built now, fully functioning. It’s in the bag. You reached me at an opportune time, because I’ve got a guy who’s handling the promotion on it. All open source. He’ll be distributing complete blueprints to several planets, actually. But then I needed something new to do, so I started applying high power resolution to sub-atomic phenomena, and I came up with a few exciting wrinkles.

Q: Let’s hear about that.

A: Travel far enough into micro-micro landscapes, and you come across a man holding up a sign that says: THIS IS REAL. See what I mean? It’s a form of hypnosis. THIS IS REAL. THIS IS THE MOST REAL IT GETS. So you have to think somebody is pulling the wool over your eyes.

Q: It’s a scam.

A: Full scam.

Q: And who is this man with the sign?

A: Just a prop. Depending on what angle you’re looking at him from, he appears in different guises. That’s where cultural programming comes in. Whoever a particular culture would consider the most elevated authority figure, that’s who this man with the sign looks like.

Q: Who does he look like to you?

A: Donald Duck. But that’s because I’ve developed a bit of a sense of humor. It was a long time coming. You remember a guy named Lenny Bruce?

Q: Sure.

A: Well, Lenny and I have been hanging out. He’s kicked his habit, and he’s clean. But he’s still the same basic Lenny.

Q: I would never have expected…

A: I know. Weird, isn’t it? He’s something. Anyway, what I’m saying is, physical reality, this whole universe, is a…

Q: Virtual reality.

A: Not exactly. No. It’s constructed as a kingdom might be, except there is no king. There are corporate managers.

Q: Rather confusing.

A: Sure. The whole hierarchy of species, for example. From simple to complex. The progression from very tiny particles to whole galaxies. It looks organized. And it is. But that’s a feint. It’s a diversion in a shell game. A lot of effort was put into making the universe seem real in an imposing way. But as I said, this is a clue. When someone goes around pounding his chest all the time and telling you who he is, you begin to wonder what’s going on behind the facade. On Earth, people live in a very provincial monopoly in which, for instance, energy is controlled by a small number of people-so it’s natural that pioneers would look for other sources of energy. As I did. And I found them in abundance. There never was and never will be a scarcity, unless it’s imposed. But that’s just the beginning of a much larger story. From my perspective now, when I look at physical reality, I see facades.

Q: Stage flats.

A: A man running around with a sign that says THIS IS REAL.

Q: Can you do something with that? I mean, can you invent something that makes use of that?

A: An interesting question. You can always do something with something. Do you know? You can guide it, expand it, constrict it, you can work it like salt-water taffy. But when you’re basically dealing with nothing, it’s different.

Q: Nothing?

A: If you have facades, what’s in back of them? Nothing. The show’s not going on back there.

Q: I see.

A: Nevertheless, I wanted to explore that.

Q: Explore nothing.

A: Sure. Wouldn’t you?

Q: I guess so.

A: It’s a challenge. What do you do with nothing? I wish more philosophers and scientists had asked that question.

Q: You don’t mean a vacuum.

A: A vacuum sucks in matter and energy. Nothing doesn’t do that.

Q: What’s it like being in nothing?

A: Restful.

Q: Is nothing a space?

A: No.

Q: Then how do you describe it?

A: Lenny said it was like a long moment when his mother stopped talking at him.

Q: If it isn’t space, how do you move around in it?

A: Turns out you can move around in no-space. You’re in a void. What was the other thing Lenny said about the void? It’s like Alzheimer’s, except your mind is very clear and you remember everything.

Q: Can you use it?

A: Well, as an inventor, naturally I was interested in the possibility. It took me a while, but I did come up with what I call the physics of potential. Nothing happens, but anything and everything could happen. If you took the moment before a thought occurs, and expanded it to infinity, what would you have? You’d have consciousness of possibility. You’d have a moment with no end to consider whatever you wanted to consider. A plan, an idea, a design, an invention, a work of art, an action. I was already acquainted with this, in a much more limited sense, because as you probably know, I was able to visualize a new invention as a completely finished entity before I ever laid a finger on materials and built it.

Q: The physics of potential.

A: The universe is, from this perspective, the creation of overall amnesia.

Q: People might have trouble understanding that.

A: I’ve never waited for people to catch up to me. They have to grapple with what I’ve done. Most of the time, they don’t want to. So why should I be concerned? When you leave the infinite moment of potential, and let’s say you make a universe, you might develop amnesia about what you left behind, which is that Nothing where it all started.

Q: You’re not just talking semantics.

A: No, this is very real. The void is the absence of creating. It’s not a thing. It’s just a word you apply to not creating. You don’t create ANYTHING. You stop because you want to. And when you do that, you have an energy potential that is infinite. Here’s another metaphor. The universe you’re living in is a cartoon. You’re in a consensus reconstituted can of orange juice.

Q: And what does Lenny call that?

A: The Big Bong.


Exit From the Matrix


Q: Why do we buy the idea that the physical universe is so real? Why don’t we see the little man with the sign?

A: Because you want real. Real is a very interesting experience. For a while. If you ran around pulling out a chunk of sky here and a chunk of sky there, the illusion would become obvious. So you institute laws that connect everything together-or seem to. If you pull out a chunk of sky you get a huge explosion and things go haywire. At least, that’s what you firmly believe. Actually, you can remove things and nothing happens. You just have a steady hole. But everyone denies that.

Q: You mean there is a conspiracy to maintain the basic laws of physics?

A: A consensus.

Q: You destroyed a consensus when you found a way to tap into energy and send it to people all over the world.

A: No. I destroyed the monopoly of a few men.

Q: Which is why they cut you off.

A: They told themselves a little story. That I was crazy. Of course, they really knew why they shut off my funding.

Q: So there are an infinity of universes.

A: Of course. That’s obvious. Just as there is no scarcity of energy, there is no scarcity of universes. It’s a walk in the park. But One Universe is a kind of religion. I had inklings of that while I was doing my energy experiments on Earth. But now I see the fuller picture. People think they’re free from the demented ideas of religions. But they have their own. Universe. One Universe. And it’s a humdinger. One reason it works so well is there is no visible church. Universe appears to be neutral. Dogma isn’t labeled dogma.

Q: What’s it like seeing all sorts of other universes and being able to travel to them?

A: It’s quite enjoyable. I would say relaxed. You give up this whole ridiculous idea of entropy, according to which usable energy is diminishing. But people want entropy. They want that idea that existence is limited. Like I say, it’s a religion. If a person thinks he’s limited, then he wants to posit an energy supply that’s limited.

Q: You always did opt for abundance.

A: Why shouldn’t I? It’s a better concept than scarcity.

Q: But you’re not really talking about science.

A: Of course not. I’m talking about desire. What a person wants to create. You really start learning about desire when you use your imagination with great intensity and scope, because most of your desires ARE discovered/invented through imagination. This is life. Full life. It’s not dry. It’s passion taken to higher and deeper levels. When I was standing in the middle of one of my electric-lightning- spouting machines, the essence of that was BEING ALIVE.

Jon Rappoport

The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at www.nomorefakenews.com

Interview with a dead Orson Welles

Interview with a dead Orson Welles

by Jon Rappoport

January 29, 2014

www.nomorefakenews.com

I made up this interview to correct widespread misconceptions about art, imagination, creation, universes, ego, addiction, power, freedom, improvisation, joy, cosmic jokes, and several other matters I can’t recall at the moment.

Oh yes. I also wanted to illustrate how timid, in many respects, art has become, how careful, precise, how wedded to “reality,” how it has forgotten about wildness and exploding adventure.

Someone somewhere will surely think this is “channeling,” so allow me to set the record straight. This is reverse-channeling. If anything comes through to me from the other side, I carefully place it on my work table and then—suddenly—pound it with a hammer until it breaks. Like a coconut. Then I put the chips in a pot, add water, and make soup for the cat.

In this interview with the dead Orson Welles, we consider matters he’s been keeping bottled up for a long time, ever since Hollywood more or less cast him aside. For some reason, he seems to agree with my views on many points.

Q (Rappoport): I’m not interested in talking about your work as a stage magician or your appearances on Johnny Carson or the documentaries or your wives, or why you put on so much weight or the possibility that Randolph Hearst had you exiled from Hollywood because you made Citizen Kane and portrayed Marion Davies in an unflattering light. I’m not interested in your views on history, either.

A (Welles): Thank God.

Q: So you make Citizen Kane and you’re 26 years old.

A: It was a gargantuan act of ego.

Q: That’s why it’s endured.

A: Yes, I would say so.

Q: So in your case, it’s beneficent ego.

A: Well, not all the time. I once threw a man off a bridge.

Q: That’s a new one.

A: It was at a ribbon-cutting ceremony. He attacked me. He said The Magnificent Ambersons was a drawing-room drama. In retrospect, he probably had been briefed by an idiot. He didn’t speak English, and he was reading from a sheet phonetically. But still.

Q: Did he die?

A: Oh no. The bridge was four feet above a narrow river. They fished him out and we all went and had a drink. People have the wrong idea about ego. Big is not a problem. Small is the problem. And if you stay in the middle ground, you experience the worst case. Then you’re torn to pieces. Attrition and gnawing from all quarters. Beyond a certain point, big ego is a balloon and you float up off the ground. If you can hold on and allow the ride, you develop spontaneous resources. It’s happiness. It isn’t “I want to take something from someone else.” It isn’t the kind of ego a monopolist has. It’s big, but it’s really just knowing what you want.

Q: Ego is a medium, like paint or film?

A: But there is no such thing as ego in art. It’s impossible. When you’re creating, you’re just creating.

Q: But people then assume art means humility.

A: People assume God is waiting for them in a city built on clouds, where they’ll melt like butter into a piece of cosmic toast. Humility is a delusion. An ideal of sheer pretension. Amateur’s role in a doomed play.

Q: Ego as a social behavior is buffoonery?

A: That’s why Citizen Kane is a comedy.

Q: And the reason why it’s not seen as that?

A: Large looming sets, and camera angles slanted upward from low positions. You can have a gloomy comedy. I may have invented the form.

Q: Your film, A Touch of Evil—they say, every frame a galvanizing photograph.

A: Why else make a movie? I was like the poet who realizes languageis the flight from the ground into the air, or the descent below the surface. In film, you build the architecture to photograph it, and you choose the angles that make the photo. Frankly, If I can’t invent every frame so it has original architecture, then I’m lazy. I’m letting the extraordinary slip by. I may as well be home getting drunk. But you see, I forced the issue. I didn’t sit back and hope. I didn’t wait for every marvelous accident. I was up on the beat, up on one, and I stayed there. Before Keats, you had poets who would ride on their ideas for a few lines or stanzas, and then they would rivet you in place with the words themselves, the sound and the metaphor—the real stuff. Well, I didn’t stall. I hit you with image after image. That was the point.

Q: You were the troll under the bridge.

A: The troll waits for years, for even centuries. But once he starts to move, he doesn’t stop.

Q: At what point did you realize the plot of Citizen Kane was a throwaway?

A: Oh, I knew that from the beginning. Stories are everywhere. Grab one. Think of one. Don’t give it much concern. One understands, of course, the audience is a sucker for stories, so that’s what they’ll focus on. You can’t help that. But the Rosebud business, the whole career of Kane, his whole life, drawn in episodes…who cares? It’s just the occasion for doing what I wanted to do. I never put stock in it. I may have said I did, but that was a lie or a momentary fascination. I wanted big space, so I chose a big man. Stories are a rank addiction. How will things turn out? Who will prove to be the winner? What’s the missing clue? It’s religion. The whole business is religion. Find the right story that touches all the bases, and you can sell it. But I was destroying stories. Understand? If my films had a theme, that was it. Story disintegrates. It has no foundation.

Q: Take the caste system.

A: You mean in Hollywood, or India?

Q: Either one.

A: India. Drivel. People see through it, of course, and they think they’re smarter than the Hindus, but meanwhile, every country has its own caste system. It’s based on obligation. You must be a messenger for theprevailing story. That’s the beginning and end of it. Wisdom is supposedly choosing the right story, but that’s sheer nonsense. Crap. Every story is a lie. You come to the end of it, and you feel unhappy. I knew that when I was 16. That’s why I had a hard time with studio executives. They’re sucking on the teat of their own religion. They see themselves as priests. They’re selling story to the public. A to B. You begin the fairy tale at A and wind up at B. No switchbacks. No irony.

Concealing and toying with story and plot never made sense to me. I’m not trying to hide the weapon in the desk drawer until the last scene. I’m injecting invention in every frame, so it spills over the edges. The foam shooting over the rim of the glass. That’s what I want. It’s the same with any world. You want to bring sheer abundance to it. Even in the desert, you have an abundance, an over-abundance of space. That’s what I’m aiming for. Over-abundance. On Earth, you have ridiculous, ludicrous jungles. They just keep on twisting toward the horizon.. They lean over the banks of the rivers, trying to swallow up the water, and the water won’t be stopped, either. You have black jaguars, some of the greatest hunting machines anyone could devise. They’re bursting at the seams. Look at their modeling. And lions. And if that gets to be a bit much, you scale back and invent cloudy leopards, pure and sufficient and heartbreaking beauty. You make many types. Let’s not diddle around. The people who made this place, Earth, do you think they held back? Art should be relentless and proliferating.

Q: Joseph Calleia in Touch of Evil. A wonderful actor.

A: Poor old Joe. He could make that sadness sing. He was quite good at comedy, you know. But he pulled on the cloak of sadness, and his elevator would take you down three or four levels, and there would be a bottom. He would die at the bottom. You knew he had to. There was a collection of caricatures in that film. Not exactly caricatures, because I was inventing, how do I say it, a special kind of type. Not a cartoon. Not tripping falling farce. Not quite naturalism. Perhaps a mixture. They call it grim noir, but that was a comedy, too, that film. You had Ray Collins doing his special brand of flapdoodle. The DA. Coat and hat, barking like a dog. One second he’s three dimensions, the next second he’s flat. And Akim Tamiroff. Farce. But he’ll shoot you. Entrances and exits. The characters appear, flare, flatten out, and disappear. Cardboard town. Cardboard and oil. A collapsible universe.

Q: It has different rules and regs.

A: Yes, the rules of, say, GK Chesterton. Reality as facade. But in Touch of Evil, if you put your hand through a wall, you feel you might get bit by something on the other side. The characters aren’t trapped by their natures. Not really. I trap them. That’s part of letting the audience see I’m doing the inventing. They see it going on. Just enough. Same with Citizen Kane.

Q: Reminds me a little of Pablo in Steppenwolf.

A: Yes. He can fold up the bar and the people in it into a toy and put it all in his pocket. He doesn’t do it. Maybe once, to drive home a point. But he could. So could I. Obviously, I don’t. But the fact that I could is part of the overall atmosphere.

Q: Collapsible universe.

A: Magic Theater. It’s a decision you make, and the earlier the better. Will you labor to copy reality? Is that your main thrust? Or will you punch holes in it, fingers into balls of clay and find velocity and manufacture the worlds you want?

Q: People think they know artists, but they’re only seeing snapshots of artists.

A: Caught, for an instant, on the run. So the story of the artist becomes the watchword. His tribulations. The fact that he’s a fool in his personal life or he’s desperate or he’s rich or he’s this or that. Maybe 20 years out of millions of his incarnations are captured in a highly suspect snapshot. He’s somewhere else now, still working. He’s exponentially increasing his power. As an incidental effect, his impact on reality, any already-existing reality, is growing. Somewhere out on the rim of a place we’ve never seen, he’s made vanish a few square parsecs of space and invented his own territory to replace it.

Q: Maybe casting a film.

A: Casting comes last. He’s drawing up camera angles, building sets.

Q: Huge houses?

A: Maybe. Maybe pillars and towers and looming sky. Maybe a cardboard town sinking in leftover oil.

Q: Just out of curiosity—everything you’re saying here, did you know it at the time or only now?

A: Oh, I knew it all along. But people want to hear about other things. And I was willing to give them what they wanted, except in my work. In intelligence operations, why would you blow your cover stories? The world of humans is built on cover stories, one after another, in stratified layers.

Q: The Third Man. You and Joseph Cotten.

A: Well, that was all atmosphere. We didn’t have anything else. Atmosphere wrapping a mystery. And when the plot is solved, it’s a throwaway, of course. Who cares? But with the crooked streets and lighting and pace, you make your own continuum.

If you play your cards right, it could be exciting. You worm your way through the mystery and you find it all folds up in your pocket and you walk away laughing. You leave that sadness behind, a hat blowing across the street. I used to stumble out of the theater after watching Ingmar Bergman, and I’d be choking on laughter. The Seventh Seal. One of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. Wild Strawberries. Hysterical. Gunnar Bjornstrand, a man at the end of his tether, staring nothing in the face. Do you remember the scene where he’s sitting in the car talking to Ingrid Thulin? Well, tragedy for me has always had a tinge of laughter about to break out. You move over one inch from where you are, and the tears magically dry up and you’re feeling wonderful, as if you’ve just had a good breakfast. You look around and wonder what happened.

Q: Improvisation helps.

A: You can always throw a howling cat into a funeral. As people approach the open coffin, the cat runs in chasing a rat. Emotions are mercurial. Of course, in a film, you can saddle them with iron weights, if you want to. But I never thought that was necessary. Why bother with it? It’s a waste of time. Something else is going to happen next, anyway. You have the noble, beautiful, suffering widow standing at the coffin, where her husband is lying in his suit with a flower in his buttonhole, and she glances to her left and sees a man staring down her dress. And she starts to smile. Just a little. Of course, what is she doing with cleavage at the funeral?

Q: Is that a metaphysical question?

A: Well, it could be. You’re waiting for some particular emotion to lay its card on the table, the emotion that will sum up your experience and existence and confirm the absolute and final significance of it in the overall scheme of things…and then a leaf blows in the window and it doesn’t really matter. Now you have that emotion and the leaf, and as a director, what are you going to do with it? You begin to discover that improvisation is one of the great stable centers behind any universe.

Q: The planning department will hate that.

A: Sure. They pretend they’re working out all the details. They’re going to launch Universe X-B tomorrow, and they’re putting the final touches on the last few sub-sub-sub anomalies. Meanwhile, they’re just the front office. What’s going on behind the scenes is the real main event. Somebody like me is back there, and I’m talking to the tiger. The tiger with wings. I want to see whether he’s ready to burn bright in the forests of the night. Whether he cares about me, the man who made him. I want him to forget all about me and go on his way. He and I, the two of us, are back there. And yes, I can see, his ferocity is intact. He’s his own man. And just as he brushes by me, padding out the door, he gives me a little smile. Just for a second. That’s all I want. That’s all I need.

Q: The thing is, when you make a film [universe], the audience can see you’re doing it. You’re not hiding somewhere behind the scenes.

A: Right. And as I said, that’s on purpose. I want people to notice I’m cooking the bread. It’s interesting that way. I want them to experience many things, and one of them is: “there he is, he’s building one frame after another, he’s the cook, he’s the magician, he’s having a glorious time, he may be telling a gloomy story, but it’s really a comedy, because, if he wanted to, he could disassemble the whole thing and let it fall to pieces.”

Q: Why do you like that so much?

A: Because I believe life can be that way. There is that potential, let’s call it. If enough people existed in a certain state of mind, life could go on, and yet it could also fall apart, the misery and the inevitable plot, the suffering, the pain, that could all shake and rattle and disintegrate.

Q: There are people who don’t want that consciousness to spread. They want to control everything.

A: Sure. Well, you see what I did to Charles Kane. He was one of those people. I burned him up like cardboard.

Q: And at the end of Citizen Kane, you were also saying, “You see, this wasn’t really one of those addictive stories with a beginning, middle, and end, one of those stories that traps people. It was a magic show.”

A: Magic blows apart beginning, middle, and end. It plays with time and cause and effect. It revolutionizes them. This space-time container we live in. It’s a illusion. And my kind of magic, along the way, reveals and discloses the illusion. I’m a magician who breaks the code of secrecy of magicians.

Jon Rappoport

The author of two explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED and EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at www.nomorefakenews.com

MY SECOND INTERVIEW WITH ORSON WELLES

 

MY SECOND INTERVIEW WITH ORSON WELLES

 

TRUTH ISN’T STRANGER THAN FICTION

 

A bureau takes root anywhere in the state…always reproducing more of its kind, until it chokes the host if not controlled or excised…A bureau operates on…principles of inventing needs to justify its existence. Bureaucracy is wrong as cancer, a turning away from the human evolutionary direction of infinite potentials and differentiation and independent spontaneous action.”

William Burroughs, Naked Lunch

 

The Findus Foods Recording Session—Orson Welles is the spokesman for their products. They’re doing takes on commercials for cod, peas, beef. The outtakes feature the following Welles comments:

 

That [what the producers want Welles to say] doesn’t make any sense. Sorry…”

 

You don’t know what I’m up against. ‘Because Findus freeze the cod at sea, and then add a crumb-crisp…coating’…I think, no…”

 

‘We know a little place in American Far West where Charlie Briggs chops up the finest prairie beef and tastes…’ This is a lot of shit, you know that!”

 

You are such pests!”

 

It isn’t worth it. No money is worth this…”[Welles walks out]

 

 

JUNE 20, 2011. One of the predictable effects of the internet is the need for information over fiction. Beyond a certain point, it becomes a disease. It confirms the robot part of the mind.

 

People shrug off fiction as unnecessary. It’s fluff. Why bother, when the truth is so much more riveting?

 

Well, there is a reason people think that. They have no experience with their own imagination.

 

Information structures have one job: deliver. And the people on the other end of that wire, the audience, are set up to eat what’s brought. It’s a giant Domino’s operation.

 

Or look at it as a see-saw. On one end (information) is a 100000000-ton steel ball, and on the other end (fiction), a grainy pebble.

 

Theoretically, it could have been the other way around. A million short stories for every factoid. But that won’t work, because again, people have very little conscious experience of their own imaginations. It’s a hell of a lot easier to sit back and take in the flow of info—good, bad, or indifferent. And then react.

 

People ask, “What use is fiction? It isn’t about anything real.”

 

I ask, “How long is real good for?”

 

At what point does the whole show sink in a bog?

 

People think magic is a talent, like being able, at the age of six, to draw a cowboy with his six-gun in the holster. Actually, magic is all about imagination, and if a person has no experience with it and no inclination to gain the experience, then he can kiss magic goodbye.

 

Of course, he can remember that, much earlier in his life, he did live through imagination, and he did run and play right in the center of it. Then he might change his mind about a lot of things. He might decide, for instance, that an unending torrent of information reaches a limit, beyond which it does no one any good.

 

I’ve heard a lot of people say, “Information is power.” It’s an old slogan. What they don’t say is that information is also an addiction.

 

How many dawns, chill from his rippling rest

The seagull’s wings shall dip and pivot him,

Shedding white rings of tumult, building high

Over the chained bay waters Liberty–

 

Then, with inviolate curve, forsake our eyes

As apparitional as sails that cross

Some page of figures to be filed away;

–Till elevators drop us from our day…

 

What are those lines? Why should anyone bother to figure them out, or listen to their music? What would be the point? What usable information are they conveying?

 

Yes, that’s the whole point. They’re entirely useless. And magic is useless. Until it becomes magic. Then the ruse called ordinary reality is exposed.

 

Then a person learns about power for the first time.

 

So, with that…this is my second fictional interview with Orson Welles.

 

Q: Let’s start off with any one of your films…

 

A: Take Touch of Evil. The story line is interesting, but it doesn’t knock you out of your chair. And the role I play, the corrupt sheriff, that’s old hat. Of course, the casting was delicious, because I was able to use Charlton Heston as the earnest lawman, and that fit perfectly. He knew I was doing that, letting his innate sincerity come through, and he saw the ironies that multiplied out of it. But everything was the staging, the atmosphere, the angles, the shots.

 

Q: What many people would dismiss as inessential.

 

A: That’s the way the modern world works. Strip things down.

 

Q: Like machines. One goal, one plan, one strategy, one action to reach the end of line.

 

A: I was always moving in the opposite direction. Inventing multiple new ways of seeing things. You see, for many people, that is a waste of time. They want their messages simple. They want simple over and over again.

 

Q: I say it’s a disease.

 

A: Well, yes. If I’d had to stick to that code, I would have given up making films. I would have written novels. At least there, you’re alone. You can invent whatever you want to. Take the expression “the bottom line.” This has been extended from business and accounting, where it originated, to the idea that you should take the shortest path between two points. You should arrive as quickly as possible at the conclusion. And the conclusion should tell you how to sell something. Or buy it. Or believe it. Or reject it.

 

Q: When you talk to people about imagination and magic, they tend to look for that same approach.

 

A: Of course. They’ve been trained to be that way. They’ve succumbed to the spirit of the times. In Touch of Evil, although the plot itself was fairly tight, I was really using the opportunity to stage a series of scenes in which the characters alternated between being human and being caricature—that shuttling back and forth between realism and facade, between the natural and the bizarre, between the obvious and the esoteric. Esoteric in the sense that people tend to play out roles in life, and when they do, and when you see it, reality itself begins to look different, begins to take on odd qualities. What I’m doing is showing the audience a different kind of reality, one that at first glance looks like the world, but after a little while looks like someone looking at world. That’s what I’m really revealing—how I can look at the world. Only instead of explaining it, I’m showing it as drama, I’m populating my point of view with characters, and I’mletting you know that’s what I’m doing. I’m not hiding it. I’m enjoying it. Celebrating it.

 

Q: It’s as if you’re saying to the audience, “I’m dreaming, and here is my dream, only I’m having it while I’m wide awake, and I’m INVENTING the dream as I go along and I’m happy to admit that’s the case.”

 

A: Yes, that’s right. It’s, you might say, another level of art. Laid out there at a time when we already know so much about art of the past, after we’ve digested so many conventions and traditions of art, after we’ve woken up to the fact that these habits of art are just that—we’ve seen through so much about how artists create reality in traditional ways and forms—and now it’s time to go further.

 

Q: When you look at how certain so-called classical novels were written, with the all-knowing and all-seeing eye of the third-person narrative looking down from a higher plateau…

 

A: That’s also, of course, the style of religion. It’s the style of religious discourse and narrative, and people in that venue still buy it. They want the calm and steady hand of the authority. They want that narrator to come across that way. It’s old and worn out and rather absurd, but people cling to it. It’s a cousin, I’d say, to the manual.

 

Q: The manual?

 

A: Yes, the instruction book that tells you how to do something, how something works. That calm voice, that assurance.

 

Q: I see. Yes. And people feel, in the absence of it, they’re lost. They don’t know where to turn.

 

A: Well, this goes back to your statement that people don’t have the conscious experience of their own imagination. Instead, they look for the steady guiding hand from somewhere else. They think there are only two possibilities. The calm authoritative voice, or chaos. It’s a joke. Imagination tells us there are an infinity of ways of presenting realities, not two. Not one. People watch Citizen Kane and they think it’s about the corruption of the human spirit. That’s the hook for them. It’s one of those “big themes” they’re familiar with and can plug into. Let me tell you something. If I were making a film about corruption of the spirit, it would have looked nothing like Citizen Kane. Nothing. Kane was a movie about the possibilities of film. It was a series of episodes in which the visual language itself was expanding and I was showing people what could be done with space. With dimension. With emotion shot through these larger dimensions. I was talking in a new language. I was introducing the idea that new language could have great impact.

 

Q: That was the magic.

 

A: What else could it have been? A return to older techniques? A re-hashing of hackneyed ways of describing reality? People are terribly confused. When you talk to them in a new language, they keep looking for the OBJECTS of what you’re talking about. They keep looking for the old objects embedded in the old language. If they don’t find them, they throw up their hands in dismay. Where are the old things? But you’re not presenting old things. And even worse, you’re not talking to them in the language that would convey those old things. You want them to hear and see and feel the new language, the process of that language unfolding, but they search after familiar themes and ideas and stories.

 

Q: As if some official minister of information will present them.

 

A: Yes. That reassuring floating sound from above that tells them everything will always be as it once was. You know, when you assume that voice and use it, it doesn’t really matter what you say. You could be talking about new discoveries or lies or breakthroughs or the most outrageous nonsense—it doesn’t matter. They’ll buy what you’re selling. But if you change the voice and the language, they don’t know what to do.

 

Q: So they thought you were an egoist.

 

A: And I was and am—but not in the obvious sense. I was creating a different language, with power, from my mind and imagination. And I had no desire to dampen the power, because it was an inherent part of what I was inventing. I was launching out radiance and I was in a state of radiance at the same time. Joyous…and celebrating this new language and celebrating the fact that I was doing it. Why not?

 

Q: In the bureaucratic world of our times, this is looked at as if it could be some sort of condition that might be diagnosed.

 

A: These petty pernicious little grasping bureaucratic minds, who have no existence except an official one, need to be destroyed. And destroyed in only one way: through a mass exodus away from them. Leave them in their seat of influence. Let them stew there and write their papers and reports. Let them win in a complete vacuum. Treat them as morons who are deranged beyond rescue. Go away and create something entirely different. For heaven’s sake, CREATE SOMETHING.

 

Q: The voice of calm authority you speak of…it’s a form of hypnotism.

 

A: I know something about that subject. One thing I know is this. In the long run, it doesn’t matter what’s coming from that voice. The most important thing to know is that the CONTEXT, the space, is hypnotic. And that’s where the whole lie is. That’s what makes the entire performance a lie. WAKE UP to that. Walk away. Invent your own voice and speak from it. Or decay. One of the functions of art is the stimulation of imagination in the audience. Then, for those who have the desire, they become artists, too. They catch the glimpse in themselves. They begin to create. It’s always been that way. A real artist isn’t hanging around hoping for information. He’s inventing something much more powerful.

 

JON RAPPOPORT

www.nomorefakenews.com

qjrconsulting@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RAPPOPORT INTERVIEWS DEAD PEOPLE

 

RAPPOPORT INTERVIEWS DEAD PEOPLE

ORSON WELLES

MAY 21, 2011. This may or not develop into a series. I already had a head-to-head with Einstein the other day. We resolved the question of free will, so that was nice. I thought we would. AE was a little confused on the point, and I managed to straighten him out.

Someone somewhere will surely think this is “channeling,” so allow me to set the record straight. This is reverse-channeling. If anything comes through to me from the other side, I carefully place it on my work table and then—suddenly—pound it with a hammer until it breaks. Like a coconut. Then I put the chips in a pot, add water, and make soup for the cat. I drive around the block while he’s slurping, and I have hazmat people come in to dispose of the leftovers.

In this interview with Orson Welles, we consider matters he’s been keeping bottled up for a long time, ever since Hollywood more or less cast him aside. For some reason, he seems to agree with my views on many points.

Q (Rappoport): I’m not interested in talking about your work as a stage magician or your appearances on Johnny Carson or the documentaries or your wives, or why you put on so much weight or the possibility that Randolph Hearst had you exiled from Hollywood because you made Citizen Kane and portrayed Marion Davies in an unflattering light. I’m not interested in your views on history, either.

A (Welles): Thank God.

Q: So you make Citizen Kane and you’re 24 years old.

A: It was a gargantuan act of ego.

Q: That’s why it’s endured.

A: Yes, I would say so.

Q: So in your case, it’s beneficent ego.

A: Well, not all the time. I once threw a man off a bridge.

Q: That’s a new one.

A: It was at a ribbon-cutting ceremony. He attacked me. He said The Magnificent Ambersons was a drawing-room drama. In retrospect, he probably had been briefed by an idiot. He didn’t speak English, and he was reading from a sheet phonetically. But still.

Q: Did he die?

A: Oh no. The bridge was four feet above a narrow river. They fished him out and we all went and had a drink. People have the wrong idea about ego. Big is not a problem. Small is the problem. And if you stay in the middle ground, you experience the worst case. Then you’re torn to pieces. Attrition and gnawing from all quarters. Beyond a certain point, more ego is a balloon and you float up off the ground. If you can hold on and allow the ride, you develop spontaneous resources.

Q: Ego is a medium, like paint or film.

A: You can use it if you want to. But there is no such thing as ego in art. It’s impossible.

Q: But people then assume art means humility.

A: People assume God is waiting for them in a city built on clouds, where they’ll melt like butter into a piece of cosmic toast. Humility is a delusion. An ideal of sheer pretension. Amateur’s role in a doomed play.

Q: Ego as a social behavior is buffoonery.

A: That’s why Citizen Kane is a comedy.

Q: And the reason why it’s not seen as that?

A: Large looming sets, and camera angles slanted upward from low positions. You can have a gloomy comedy. I may have invented the form.

Q: A Touch of Evil—they say, every frame a galvanizing photograph.

A: Why else make a movie? I was like the poet who realizes languageis the flight from the ground into the air, or the descent below the surface. In film, you build the architecture to photograph it, and you choose the angles that make the photo. Frankly, If I can’t invent every frame so it has original architecture, then I’m lazy. I’m letting the extraordinary slip by. I may as well be home getting drunk. But you see, I forced the issue. I didn’t sit back and hope. I didn’t wait for every marvelous accident. I was up on the beat, up on one, and I stayed there. Before Keats, you had poets who would ride on their ideas for a few lines or stanzas, and then they would rivet you in place with the words themselves, the sound and the metaphor—the real stuff. Well, I didn’t stall. I hit you with image after image. That was the point.

Q: You were the troll under the bridge.

A: The troll waits for years, for even centuries. But once he starts to move, he doesn’t stop.

Q: At what point did you realize the plot of Citizen Kane was a throwaway?

A: Oh, I knew that from the beginning. Stories are everywhere. Grab one. Think of one. Don’t give it much concern. One understands, of course, the audience is a sucker for stories, so that’s what they’ll focus on. You can’t help that. But the Rosebud business, the whole career of Kane, his whole life, drawn in episodes. Who cares? It’s just the occasion for doing what I wanted to do. I never put stock in it. I may have said I did, but that was a lie or a momentary fascination. I wanted big space, so I chose a big man. Stories are a rank addiction. How will things turn out? Who will prove to be the winner? What’s the missing clue? It’s religion. The whole business is religion. Find the right story that touches all the bases, and you can sell it. But I was destroying stories. Understand? If my films had a theme, that was it. Story disintegrates. It has no foundation.

Q: Take the caste system.

A: You mean in Hollywood, or India?

Q: Either one.

A: India. Drivel. People see through it, of course, and they think they’re smarter than the Hindus, but meanwhile, every country has its own. It’s based on obligation. You must be a messenger for theprevailing story. That’s the beginning and end of it. Wisdom is supposedly choosing the right story, but that’s sheer nonsense. Crap. Every story is a lie. You come to the end of it, and you feel unhappy. I knew that when I was 16. That’s why I had a hard time with studio executives. They’re sucking on the teat of their own religion. They see themselves as priests. They’re selling story to the public. A to B. You begin the fairy tale at A and wind up at B. No switchbacks. No irony.

Q: What about, for example, traveling into outer space? That story.

A: Yes, well, it would seem to be an exception, but when you break it down, the tale of each mission fades in the glow of unending exploration, which is the context that gives each episode power. “We’re going into space.” Bang! Without that exhilarating blood and air, you’ve got nothing. An artist creates in such a way that people know that’s what he’s doing. Concealing it never made sense to me. I’m not trying to hide the weapon in the desk drawer until the last scene. I’m injecting invention in every frame, so it spills over the edges. The foam shooting over the rim of the glass. That’s what I want. It’s the same with any world. You want to bring sheer abundance to it. Even in the desert, you have an abundance, an over-abundance of space. That’s what I’m aiming for. Over-abundance. On Earth, you have ridiculous, ludicrous jungles. They just keep on twisting toward the horizon.. They lean over the banks of the rivers, trying to swallow up the water, and the water won’t be stopped, either. You have black jaguars, some of the greatest hunting machines anyone could devise. They’re bursting at the seams. Look at their modeling. And lions. And if that gets to be a bit much, you scale back and invent cloudy leopards, pure and sufficient and heartbreaking beauty. You make many types. Let’s not diddle around with this. Not just a piece of decoration. Universe. The people who made this place, Earth, do you think they held back? Do you think they were wearing lab coats and saluting genes? What immortal hand or eye couldframe thy fearful symmetry?

Q: Joseph Calleia in Touch of Evil.

A: Poor old Joe. He could make that sadness sing. He was quite good at comedy, you know. But he pulled on the cloak of sadness, and his elevator would take you down three or four levels, and there would be a bottom. He would die at the bottom. You knew he had to. There was a collection of caricatures in that film. Not exactly caricatures, because I was inventing, how do I say it, a special kind of type. Not a cartoon. Not tripping falling farce. Not quite naturalism. Perhaps a mixture. They call it grim noir, but that was a comedy, too, that film. You had Ray Collins doing his special brand of flapdoodle. The DA. Coat and hat, barking like a dog. One second he’s three dimensions, the next second he’s flat. And Akim Tamiroff. Farce. But he’ll shoot you. Entrances and exits. The characters appear, flare, flatten out, and disappear. Cardboard town. Cardboard and oil. A collapsible universe.

Q: It has different rules and regs.

A: Yes, the rules of, say, GK Chesterton. Reality as facade. But in Touch of Evil, if you put your hand through a wall, you feel you might get bit by something on the other side. The characters aren’t trapped by their natures. Not really. I trap them. That’s part of letting the audience see I’m doing the inventing. They see it going on. Just enough. Same with Citizen Kane.

Q: Reminds me a little of Pablo in Steppenwolf.

A: Yes. He can fold up the bar and the people in it into a toy and put it all in his pocket. He doesn’t do it. Maybe once, to drive home a point. But he could. So could I. Obviously, I don’t. But the fact that I could is part of the overall atmosphere.

Q: Collapsible universe.

A: Magic Theater. It’s a decision you make, and the earlier the better. Will you pose yourself in reality and then mingle with it? Is that your main thrust? Or will you punch holes with your fingers in balls of clay and find velocity and manufacture the worlds you want? You might discover one or two cultures in the history of the planet that, at their beginning, opted for the second alternative. Briefly.

Q: Snapshots of artists.

A: Caught, for an instant, on the run. So the story of the artist becomes the watchword. His tribulations. The fact that he’s a fool in his personal life or he’s desperate or he’s rich or he’s this or that. Maybe 20 years out of trillions of his years are captured in a highly suspect snapshot. He’s somewhere else now, still working. He’s exponentially increasing his power. As an incidental effect, his impact on reality, any already-existing reality, is growing. Somewhere out on the rim of a place we’ve never seen, he’s made vanish a few square parsecs of space and invented his own territory to replace it.

Q: Maybe casting a film.

A: Casting comes last. He’s drawing up camera angles, building sets.

Q: Huge houses?

A: Maybe. Maybe pillars and towers and looming sky. Maybe a cardboard town sinking in leftover oil. If it’s Tuesday, one, if it’s Wednesday, the other.

Q: Just out of curiosity—everything you’re saying here, did you know it at the time or only now?

A: Oh, I knew it all along. But people want to hear about other things. And I was willing to give them what they wanted, except in my work. In intelligence operations, why would you blow your cover stories? The world of humans is built on cover stories, one after another, in stratified layers.

Q: The Third Man. You and Joseph Cotten.

A: Well, that was all atmosphere. We didn’t have anything else. Atmosphere wrapping a mystery. And when it’s solved, it’s a throwaway, of course. Who cares? But with the crooked streets and lighting and pace, you make your own little religion. An altar sitting somewhere ahead, in the fog.

Q: And who’s God?

A: No one. That’s the point. You say, “Look, suppose there’s no God? That might not be a bad thing.” It might not be a disappointment, after all. No-God can turn out to be an interesting story. If you play your cards right, it could be exciting. You worm your way through the mystery and you find it all folds up in your pocket and you walk away laughing. You leave that sadness behind, a hat blowing across the street. I used to stumble out of the theater after watching Ingmar Bergman, and I’d be choking on laughter. The Seventh Seal. One of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. Wild Strawberries. Hysterical. Gunnar Bjornstrand, a man at the end of his tether, staring nothing in the face. Do you remember the scene where he’s sitting in the car talking to Ingrid Thulin? Well, tragedy for me has always had a tinge of laughter about to break out. You move over one inch from where you are, and the tears magically dry up and you’re feeling wonderful, as if you’ve just had a good breakfast. You look around and wonder what happened.

Q: Improvisation helps.

A: You might be right. You can always throw a howling cat into a funeral. As people approach the open coffin, the cat runs in chasing a rat. Emotions are mercurial. Of course, in a film, you can saddle them with iron weights, if you want to. But I never thought that was necessary. Why bother with it? It’s a waste of time. Something else is going to happen next, anyway. You have the noble, beautiful, suffering widow standing at the coffin, where her husband is lying in his suit with a flower in his buttonhole, and she glances to her left and sees a man staring down her dress. And she starts to smile. Just a little. Of course, what is she doing with cleavage at the funeral?

Q: Is that a metaphysical question?

A: Well, it could be. Because that’s what you find out. You’re ready for the emotion to lay its card on the table, the emotion that will sum up your experience and confirm the absolute and final significance of it in the overall scheme of things…and then a leaf blows in the window and it doesn’t really matter. Now you have that emotion and the leaf, and as a director, what are you going to do with it? You begin to discover that improvisation is one of the great stable centers behind any universe.

Q: The planning department will hate that.

A: Sure. They pretend they’re working out all the details. They’re going to launch Universe X-B tomorrow, and they’re putting the final touches on the last few sub-sub-sub anomalies. Meanwhile, they’re just the front office. What’s going on behind the scenes is the real main event. Somebody like me is back there, and I’m talking to the tiger. The tiger with wings. I want to see whether he’s ready to burn bright in the forests of the night. Whether he doesn’t care about me, the man who made him. I want him to forget all about me and go on his way. He and I, the two of us, are back there. And yes, I can see, his ferocity is intact. He’s his own man. And just as he brushes by me, padding out the door, he gives me a little smile. Just for a second. That’s all I want. That’s all I need.

JON RAPPOPORT

www.nomorefakenews.com

qjrconsulting@gmail.com

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