By Colin Bennett
First sit in your room and claim to be the maker of a known
corn-circle, although you have done nothing of the kind. The ideal
concealment is non-involvement. Now stand well back and prepare to duck.
Rationalists and scientists will comment, but don't worry. As usual, they
will all sound like a bad patch in an Emma Bunton interview. So don't be
concerned. All such "factual" products can be mentally excreted as easily
as the Tellytubbies, Michael Barrymore, or the News at Ten (or whenever).
Allow the situation to simmer for one month. Now make one good
circle, no more being necessary. You are allowed to practice to ensure
being observed, and you may enlist help, if only to ensure leaks, betrayals
and vast further confusions. Leave this mess on the back-burner for a week.
In classical alchemy, it is called nigredo, or basic substance. Now lay
claim to this circle and wait for the counter-hoaxes to appear. Don't be
frightened by the fierce faces of the entities you have raised. They are
only explanations. Have some pity. Everyone knows in their heart of hearts
that the clapboard structure of "factual objectivity" is as phoney as a
Tony Blair smile, a Pentagon denial, or silicon tits. Appreciate that
people want to get some sleep at night. And they can only do that when
20,000 mph right-angled turns recorded on radar are transformed into
migrating crows. This done, your life starts to get interesting. The first
set of screaming counter-denials arrive. Highly intelligent serial killers
write to you from Death Row and Parkhurst. Better stand even further back
and wear body armour.
The Circlemakers filming with the BBC
Now go back in the kitchen and carefully withdraw the first claim.
Say it was a hoax. Say you are ashamed, feel guilty about having gulled
people into claiming that your circle was made by diving supersonic
pelicans, or were the result of emanations from car-headlamps, lighthouses,
or foaming pessaries. Have a little patience now. You are on your way. Your
first set of writs arrive. You acquire a stalker, always a sign of coming
fame. A humourless and suicidal manic-depressive from the Sceptical
Enquirer threatens you with murder. Don't worry. Go to stay with a distant
aunt and wear a disguise.
Now quickly withdraw your second claim. But this time you do the
explaining. Say you are an "artist"; have been all along. Sighs of relief
all round and red faces from the Pelican crowd. This time you are proud,
and show those bourgeois instincts which the Guardian will love, if no-one
else. All is revealed: you are an avant-guarde landscape action-painter and
just wanted to see the wonder of the theories your complex deceptions might
give rise to. You are rendered harmless again. Everybody is happy, except
the scientists, who due to all lack of a proper education, have absolutely
no idea of what you are talking about. But Dad swells with pride and Mum
puts you back into her Will on accepting that it was all about a most
superior kind of very clever entertainment.
But the sceptics (who do have an idea of what you are talking
about) remain suspicious. But nevertheless, your pseudo-explanation of
"artist" has worked. This explanation of explanations is one of the finest
illusions you have made.
Meantime more scientists, sceptics and rationalists arrive on site.
This time they all sound like the live piano music which used to accompany
the silent Charlie Chaplin films. This time their flickering jumpy frames
produce rutting hedgehogs, "earthlights", and farting herrings. Change your
name, avoid Wiltshire pubs, and all women who look like Joan Bakewell's
The Circlemakers filming with the BBC
As a rising star, your agent writes to tell Magonia magazine they
are going to be sued for an article in which you were accused of being a
complete impostor. You tell your solicitor to write back saying that there
is no such thing as a complete impostor. Meantime, your agent gets you a
Melvin Bragg interview in which such things as complete impostors do not
matter. On Melvin's programme, you reveal great knowledge of chaos
mathematics and deconstruction. You tell him that you are now beginning to
experience the double benefit of seeing almost false theories arise from
possible falsehoods sponsored in turn by almost certain falsehoods.
Melvin's jaw drops as you state that all this could lead to a calculus of
falsehoods whose general solutions were first derived by Fort, Borges, and
Hunt Emerson. The jaw drops further as you mention the Benveniste
experiments and Cold Fusion. Poor pre-electric Melvin doesn't know what
you're talking about, but as he shuffles back to novels about Jack and Jill
in Hampstead, at least your agent gets your photo on the cover of Face
Now wait for the Joker to arrive. This is the circle that was not
made by any human beings. Though this circle is as crude as a parrot's good
morning, this time there are no explanations from anywhere. Its millions of
stalks are tied in double bows; it has appeared in a frequented area within
minutes; there are no less than three classic mutilations nearby: a
laser-skinned puma, and a pelican which looks as if it has been put through
a wind-tunnel. Also much good UFO footage has been obtained. Now the wait
for abduction reports to come in.
Congratulations! You have succeeded in the great God-Game. Life has
emerged from the alchemical furnace of the varied spectrum of mass
expectancy you have created. Don't be depressed when the sceptics call it
psycho-social. This means that the things we imagine come about. That makes
sceptics into fellow-magicians, which of course you always knew they were.
Now watch your system clone itself. Watch the many shades of the
suggestion-bacillus you have created grow plausible web-like worlds. Now
you know that if a belief system is established, it will produce a cloned
life which mimics those self-deceptions, mock-explanations, and
double-bluffs within the self which we call thinking. And all this when you
were preparing to switch on a continuous video loop of East Enders just
before you shot yourself. Through fraud and deception you have rediscovered
both theatre and media both. And it was all done by advertising in that
prime time called consciousness. You have learned also that truth and
reality are scandalous and disreputable beyond all conception.
But perhaps you have now reached the Star stage, where you are not
concerned with such things. The Times has called you a modern shaman,
Madonna has asked you for dinner, and Melvin has been on the phone asking
what the phrase post-modern means.
(1) your psychiatrist says you should have been born in another age. This
present one doesn't understand the fantasy life. Thinks it is something for
Christmas, soaps. and www.youngteens.com.
A version of this article was first published in The Forten Times in October 2000