Free Transcript Project : #4

Source Audio

Title :  The Byte Show
Episode : “Alchemy and the Modern World” with Joseph P. Farrell
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The Byte Show
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Host : GeorgeAnn Hughes
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Joseph P. Farrell
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Announcer : “The Byte Show” is listener supported, at :

GeorgeAnn Hughes : This is our first recording concerning that book. For those who might be listening, but don’t understand what alchemy is. What is alchemy?

Joseph Farrell : Well, alchemy is one of the branches of what we can call the “esoteric arts” or, if you prefer, the “esoteric crafts”. It is a very, very old craft. It dates back to – depending on who you study and who you consult with – it dates back to ancient Egypt and/or ancient China. Oddly enough, both civilizations were deeply steeped in various alchemical traditions. It’s interesting that if you go back to Egypt, the ancient Egyptian name for Egypt is “Al Chem” – from which we get our word Alchemy. So, in other words, there is a clear, ancient provenance to this science. And I am going to call it a science rather than a pseudo-science, for reasons that will become clear as we proceed.

Alchemy has as its goal, as its principle motivation, to take the “materia prima” – the “prime matter” – out of, or down from, heaven – so to speak – and embody it in what’s called “The Philosopher’s Stone”, in a material, earthly form. The goal of that operation, then, is to be able in chemical parlance to transmute base metals, such as : tin, lead or nickel – or something like that – into gold. In other words, a literal transformation of one element into the other. Now that’s the meaning of the “Philosopher’s Stone” in its most basic, prosaic sense. That is the goal of alchemy in its most basic, prosaic sense.

When you study alchemical texts, the thing that you will immediately notice – and I’m sure you have, because I know that you’ve read a lot of them yourself – is that these texts are very, very carefully phrased so they can bear a multitude of meanings. We’ve discussed in the “Cosmic War” series my idea that many of these ancient texts are, in fact, deliberately constructed in this fashion so that several layers of meaning are all possible and plausible. And that these texts are deliberately meant to convey several meanings. So, if we go beyond the prosaic meaning of the Philosopher’s Stone let’s look at what they’re actually saying. I get into this in the “Philosopher’s Stone”, in the book by that name. The first two chapters are actually devoted to a discussion of the subject. If you look at the “Materia Prima” – the “prime matter” – the way that alchemy views it is, in fact, very contemporary. It is earily similar to certain models of the physical medium which you would find in modern physics, because the “Materia Prima” – the prime matter – in alchemy is a transmutating medium itself. This is why it’s able to effect the transmutation of base metals into gold, because in alchemical thinking all matter comes ultimately from this Materia Prima. In other words, it’s the Prime Matter itself which is the ultimate philosopher’s stone. It is the matter before matter – so to speak.

In the process of diversifying itself then all creation emerges. Of course, this is a very, ancient Egyptian way of looking at the whole process of creation itself. Now if we look at this Prime Matter from the point of view of a modern physicist, because it exists prior to any differentiation – that means it has absolutely no distinguishing features within it. It is a literal nothing. A literal, physical nothing. Because there cannot be any observation of anything in it, all right? It’s once distinction begins to emerge that you begin to have physical something. So, in other words, alchemy – in a certain sense – even is talking about a creation ex nihilo. But it’s not a nothing in terms of a void. It’s a nothing that is a something, but the something doesn’t have any distinguishing characteristics. [laughter]. That’s a tongue-twister.

Georganne : It’s kind of confusing.

Joseph : It’s kind of confusing, but if you stop and think about it it make sense. It’s a nothing that is a something, without any distinguishing characteristics. It’s not a zero. It’s not a mere void. It’s a different kind of nothingness. It’s the kind of nothingness that you would think of in connection to eastern religions – like Mahayana Buddhism and certain features of Hinduism – and so on and so forth. But anyway, it is a transmutating medium. In other words, the very idea of the Materia Prima in alchemy creates information in the field, and that is a very modern physics concept. In fact, the Russian physicists during the Soviet era were the first physicists to start thinking along these lines and writing openly about it. So it is a very modern idea. So alchemy in that sense is dealing with a science – as it were, a craft – to manipulate the fabric of space-time, which is what we’ve been talking about all along. [laughter] All of these different interviews that we’ve been having over the past three years. So in other words, this is another aspect of this whole story.

Now let’s look at a third layer of alchemy. There is a third meaning of the Philosopher’s Stone, and this idea of transmuting base metals into gold. Because in some alchemical texts, that idea of transmutation of base metals into gold is a metaphor for the transmutation – or the elevation – of the human being himself. The idea that the human consciousness is transmuted from a base condition – represented by the base metals – into an elevated, or illuminated, consciousness that is illuminated precisely by a deep connection to that material prime matter, all right?

GeorgeAnn : Mmmhmm.

Joseph : So in that sense, alchemy is a science, or craft, of social engineering. Now let’s look carefully – this is a very important point. Let’s look carefully at what we have – at what alchemy is actually saying – and has been saying for almost two to three millenia. If you look at what it’s saying, it’s telling you two very important things. Number one, it is the science of the deep manipulation of the physical medium directly. Because of that it is also a manipulation of the actual physical, material creation in which we live and move and have our being – to use the words of Paul.

But it is also telling you a second thing, that it is a deep, deep science of the manipulation of human consciousness – of social engineering of human society. The connection is it’s telling you that both of these things are coming out of a particular physics – a particular view of the physical medium itself. In other words, it’s telling you that the science of creation – or tinkering with the civilization – is coming out of one and the same science that is manipulating the physical medium itself. So, in other words, we’re back to that idea that I’ve been outlining in all of my books and in some of these discussions that you and I have had.

We’re back to that idea that idea that in very, very ancient times there was a tremendously unified science. We’ve discussed in “Babylon’s Banksters” how there is a deep, deep unification between physics and finance, and the two types of physics and financial systems. Well, all I’m saying now is, “Let’s go deeper.” and the idea of a financial system being either an open or closed system reflects itself in the financial policies of a particular given state – and how it organizes those policies. Does it create money debt-free, – as a direct instrument of the state?  Or does it turn to a financial monoopoly – a private monopoly – to issue monetized debt, which is a closed system. What I now proposing is that we are going deeper – that the financial system is but one aspect of a much deeper science of social engineering. If you will, a magical working that influences the way that societies are organized and how they think. In that respect then, alchemy is the key, because it’s telling you that there is a deep connection between a consciousness – a cultural consciousness, an ethos – of a given culture or civilization, and the type of physics that it adopts. It’s telling you that you can have an “open system physics”, where you have a transmutative medium that can literally create information – that you have a physics that is capable of the direct manipulation of that medium, on the one hand. It’s telling you, on the other, that the same techniques – the same science – can be used to transmute humanity itself – to transmute the consciousness, to engineer the human being. Now this is a crucially, vitally important point, because I believe it was sometimes around the middle of our “Cosmic War” series that there is a deep, deep connection between this type of physics of the medium and consciousness itself. That is precisely what alchemy is telling you. Because in text after text after text it will tell you that you cannot undertake the work – the philosophical work – which means to make the Philosopher’s Stone into actual material embodiment. You cannot undertake that work without the alchemist himself – without the operator himself – undergoing his own transmutation. In other words, his own consciousness has a role in the preparation of the Philosopher’s Stone.

Is this all making sense?

GeorgeAnn : Yes.

Joseph : Okay. [laughter]. I’m glad. You sprang that on me out of nowhere.


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Day 11 : Online Transcription Is A Paid Joy Ride Down The Information Superhigway

rugged road sign

As the late, great Terrance McKenna opined : “The world is made of words.” Throughout history this theme has consistently reemerged in various forms including : the concept of the fundamental universal “Aum” vibration underlying reality in the ancient Indian philosophical system, or “the Word” which was spoken into existence as the primal act of creation being a main tenet of monotheism. The reality is that we are, have always been and will always be swimming in a sea of electromagnetic radiation – a significant portion of which vibrates within the frequency range of  “mouth noises” which have traditionally been categorized as “words” – which in themselves can be broken down into subcomponents (ex. phonemes, morphemes, etc.). And although that percentage of this electromagnetic spectrum which falls within the realm of words and their related counterparts seems to be on the decrease (competing more and more with visual information in the modern age) the bottom line is that the spoken word has always been and will always occupy a primary place in the human experience.

Here is an interesting lecture by mathematician and social scientist Dr. Courtney Browne, founder of the Farsight Institute and researcher into the phenomenon of remote viewing and the link between consciousness and multiple dimensions. In this lecture Dr. Brown explains the theory that thoughts are vibratory physical entities which have mass and energy, like all other entities in the material universe. I find this concept intriguing, as it reinforcement by intuitive sense that all of the information we receive through the senses – and in the case of transcription, through the process of listening to audio or watching video and then transcribing the information contained in it – has a tangible effect on our mind and physical body.

As I continuing evaluating and working through the various audio and video files which come to me through my transcription efforts I find myself taking some time to pause and reflect on the variety of “sound bites” which I subjected to in the process, and the effect that they may be having on me. Sometimes I will work through a file which is especially interesting and has an immediate (often positive) effect on my mental life. These include the many podcasts I have edited or transcribed which deal with interesting issues of technology (ex. internet privacy, social media marketing, the newest startup businesses, etc.), economics, education and other humanitarian issues – some of which I hadn’t even known about before listening to the file. Other times, I find myself deeply entrenched in a serious dialogue between two people sharing quite intimate feelings, thoughts, concepts, and beliefs which can require quite a bit of energy to process. In more demanding instances, I find myself in a bit too deep – working through feelings of discomfort and even turmoil as the speakers in the audio or video files battle their interpersonal and/or intrapersonal demons.

One thing it may be good to share at this point is that I actually have extensive experience exploring the realms of metaphysics and meditation techniques in various world traditions. I’ve spent week-long periods living in Buddhist temples in remote mountainous regions of Asia (ex. Thailand), spending hours each day in walking and sitting meditation. I’ve extensively read some excellent books on mindfulness meditation, such as “The Teachings of Achan Chah” (<- free ebook), the transcendental sciences of Yoga and Pranayama (the Yogic method of attaining higher awareness through advanced breathing exercises) and the energy-centered science of Chi Kung (and various other disciplines) from the Chinese system. In addition, I have some knowledge and competence in the languages on which these systems are based, in addition to a serious interest in the sciences of linguistics and information technology.

Each of the philosophical traditions mentioned above is based on the fundamental concept of observing the flow of the nature as is moves around us according to its own logic. And so it is of no surprise that I find transcription to be a spiritually stimulating and often enlightening process. In fact, in my extensive experience with various endeavors in the digital and physics realms it seems to me that the emerging digital world is essentially becoming MORE quantum-like, and in line with the less linear,  higher-dimensional nature of reality. Each day we are bombarded from all directions by an increasing barrage of sound bites, visual flashes, and information which is connected in increasingly intricate ways. The term “surfing” is becoming only more accurate in terms of the mode by which we move through a cyberspace whose boundaries are also becoming progressively thinner as the information that we process and the method by which we process it becomes more integrated. For example, the Smartphone is processing more information about us in ways which effect our experience and productivity in deeper ways than ever before. There are now apps which can measure and track our behavior (ex. exercise apps which track distance/time of running and then produce a customer exercise program from that data) and even help organize ourselves better (ex. apps which provide detailed scheduling and reminders for people who struggle with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)).

Ultimately, this advancing technology holds great potential to improve our lives in many ways. However, it also holds potential for us to get caught up in all of the gadgets and applications, which can lead us to become LESS in touch with reality and the needs and pleasures of everyday living. While I am enjoying the process of learning about and utilizing the various technologies which are being developed and applied specifically to the transcription process, I am also being careful to keep my personal goals in mind and to focus on the more practical elements of the process and the technology. My main goals at this time include : developing my transcription skills and knowledge, applying my transcription skills in order to earn income to survive, making more connections in the industry to further the first two goals, developing my blog through writing about the experience for the benefit of future beginners, and discovering some new and interesting topics (through the transcription effort) to integrate into my other research/writing efforts. I believe these goals are grounded enough in the real world to prevent me from getting too sucked in by the technology while producing benefits to my physical, mental and spiritual existence at the same time.

The best thing about transcription work is that you are exposed to new ideas (some of which haven’t yet even been revealed to the general public) related to often interesting topics (ex. latest technologies, scientific theories, academic lectures, etc.) and in the process you are actually PAID for your efforts. It is similar, in many ways, to being a movie or restaurant reviewer, but also goes a bit deeper in that you are often working with audio and video files which tackle more serious and important subject matter (ex. confidential interviews, undercover audio/video footage, etc.). In addition, as transcriber you are required to implement a number of techniques and skills which are learned through experience (and some formal and informal education). It is NOT an easy job when you consider all of the factors involved (ex. audio/video quality, deadlines, demands on physical and mental stamina). In the end, however, your horizons will be widened as you listen to all of the different people from various walks of life doing various interesting (and not-so-interesting) things, and to be paid for your effort in the process. Plus, the better you get at transcribing, the more money you can make and the more interesting audio/video files you can choose from as you connect with more and more professional organizations (ex. film/television production companies, law firms, podcast producers, educational institutions, etc.)

As part of the process of familiarizing myself with the TranscribeMe system I spent around two hours today browsing through the posts and groups of the Yammer forum, reading through several more pages of the style guide, and working on two of the approximately one-minute transcription files on the “jobs” page. Transcribing the short audio files is quite different from the long files I have been working on the other company, which are often over 30 minutes long, have deadlines of several hours and require roughly one hour of listening and typing for 10-15 minutes of audio in the file. Although these short files are generally easier and quicker to complete, they do introduce some problems. One thing is that you have little context by which to help decipher some of the less decipherable words in these short files compared to the longer ones, where formal nouns and words specific to the audio in the file are repeated multiple times and in multiple ways. This makes the research skill more necessary, but also more difficult as you have less context to even apply the research task to.

Overall, however, these short files are good for practice. There is less pressure and stress to complete a long file. You don’t need to worry about scheduling breaks to rest your mind, fingers, etc. You also don’t have to worry about something unexpected coming up (ex. sudden obligation such as having to pick up a sick kid from school) before the deadline and thus having to forfeit hours of work and income. Especially during this period where I am new to the whole transcription process I think these shorter files provided by TranscribeMe are a good complement to the longer files provided by the other company. In addition, the training and communication elements provided by the company are valuable to improving my skills and making connections. These will benefit me in the long term and so it is worth the time utilizing what TranscribeMe has to offer, while getting paid in the process.

In the next post we’ll examine the importance of pacing in the process of developing and implementing the skills of transcription.

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