Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, and He who formed you from the womb:
“I am the Lord, who makes all things, who stretches out the heavens all alone,
Who spreads abroad the earth by Myself; who frustrates the signs of the babblers, and drives diviners mad;
Isaiah 44:24-25 (NKJV)
I must tell about something I saw on the walls of Manhattan’s Lower East Side back in the early 80’s. You should know that I was a student and an anarcho-mystic-artistic mess at that time (some might say I still am) but this is a true story. Bear with me.
I had been brooding upon Hesse’s “Magic Theater” [from Steppenwolf], wondering about the Akashic records, reading the Tao Te Ching, Artaud’s writings, and Allen Ginsberg’s Planet News a lot, chanting Om Mani Padme Hum while walking around NYC waiting for the world to end or satori to flash on me or both. One day, down where the SoHo street artists and junkies ply their trade, I glanced up and saw these words on the wall:
The letters were huge, stenciled in a bright and ghostly hue.
I walked a little further. Again I looked up at the grimy Manhattan concrete, among the tattered posters, graffiti, advertisements, etc. and read TRANSCEND. Beginning to think I was making psychotic associations where there where none, I ignored the writing on the wall – until I had proceeded a bit further, where I read:
WARNING / DANGER / TRANSCEND. Hmmmmm…
I walked on. Then I saw it—higher up on the wall: TRANSCEND DENTAL !
It was like the mystic messages that only Harry Haller was able to see in Steppenwolf.
But this was real. I continued my stroll, a bit perturbed, then looked up and read: TRANSCENDENTAL DANGER. Finally I saw, in the same letters, now a block away from where the stencils had first appeared: BEWARE MINDREADING PSYCHIC RADIO.
And further on: MINDREADING PSYCHIC RADIO:
TRANSCEND DENTAL .
The whole thing freaked me out. The words were engraved into my memory that day. Years later, I remembered that episode [#46] of Gilligan’s Island where he began receiving radio transmissions through his dental fillings. Did you ever see that one as a kid? I began to understand the madness of that unknown NYC street artist from 1983. You gotta love someone who would take the time to stencil their paranoid ideations on the walls of lower Manhattan…
That’s sort of what I am doing here, albeit on a different level.