DR. SHAFICA KARAGULLA
Shafica Karagulla was one of those very great souls, a very great visionary, a very great mystery to most ordinary mortals.
She was also one of those rara avis (rare bird) types who saw the world as-it-is -- instead of seeing it as everyone pretends-it-is.
What all of this added up to was that "Shafia" was inconvenient to the let's-pretend-world. So, she couldn't really have or find a PLACE to BE in it.
She is dead, now.
And because of all of the above, she will be among the vast multitudes forgotten in the oblivion that comes to encompass all but the glamorous.
So it is my intent at this point to honor her --
not only because of WHAT she was, but because of the incredibly important,
behind-the-scenes role she was to play in the story ahead.
Alongside her other extremely creative work with the higher senses, she had a deep and biding political nature. She hated totalitarian rule and political manipulation of peoples. She detested mind-control efforts whether political, religious, philosophical, or academic. She was awesomely opposed to "occult conspiracies" about whose dark underbellies she knew a great deal.
Her attitudes along these lines resembled mine -- but her KNOWLEDGE was like Mount Everest compared to my low foothills.
She also knew about how almost all of the world's
intelligence agencies operated -- those agencies known to exist, AND those
which exist but are not known or even admitted to by anyone and don't even
When I first met her, I somewhat grasped all of
the above. But this made me appreciate her as an extraordinary person. I
had no clue then that I would DESPERATELY NEED Karagulla as a tutor and
advisor, and that I would sit at her feet six hours at a pop listening to
Shafia asked me never to reveal this role, but years later said I could after she was gone if I felt there was any reason to do so.
You see, Shafia was to become one of my three major
advisors regarding international affairs of the type that never get mentioned
in the media, science, academe, or mentioned even by conspiracy enthusiasts.
Here is the world of the Really Secret -- the world of stuff so ugly and/or so silly, or so slime-bucket-like, that most people simply pretend by silent consent that it doesn't exist.
In order to get into this, I have to return back
to the year of 1967 and take up a personal issue that might seem irrelevant
to the book.
But this issue was central to two developments. First, my knowledge of this issue served to create a unique link between my little self and the tremendous figure that was Shafica Karagulla.
Second, the time was nearing when, of all, things I would have to decide whether to become attached to CIA sponsorship of the project at SRI -- the CIA being, in most people's minds, somewhat of a scumbaggy affair liberally laced with stupid mistakes. And it was the following event in 1967 that tipped the scales.
Readers of this memoir will remember that I came
to New York in 1958 with visions of becoming an "artist." I managed
to obtain work at the United Nations to support myself until I "arrived"
in the New York Art Establishment.
Thus, I painted away and worked in the great International Organization then seen as truly vital to world order.
By 1967, it had become apparent to me that I could
not gain ANY real access to the Art Establishment, not even by volunteering
to fund my own exhibitions. My paintings were shown at a small gallery.
But this was not THE art establishment.
For this failure I first blamed my technique, my vision. But many said that my work had definite merit, including the then leading art editor at The New York Times, who sent back my photos with the comment that my works were conceptually stunning.
In March of 1967, I chanced to meet a somewhat
noted art historian at a very large cocktail party. I told him my tale of
woe in this regard, and he proved amenable to coming to my studio to view
He came, he saw, he considered -- on 9 April, to
be exact -- a day I'll never forget.
He was in process of doing an anthology of contemporary art at the time. He said: "I really wish I could include your work in it -- but I can't. My reputation would be wrecked if I did."
Here was one of those beating around some kind
of bush things. So I gave him more wine and asked him to "Please just
tell me what you really mean."
So he did.
And I quote!
"The problem has nothing to do with your paintings. It's that you are not a Marxist."
He, himself, was a Marxist, and he offered to introduce
me to the inner clique of New York ones which had powerful lines into the
I explained to him that even if I wanted to be a Marxist, which I didn't, I couldn't be one. I would never have passed the character and morals security checks the US government imposed on American citizens hoping to gain employment at the United Nations.
Additionally, all international civil servants (as UN employees were called), were required NOT to have political feelings, ideas, relationships or standards -- and if they did were required never to voice them. The United Nations was an international forum. Those of diplomatic rank were expected to have political orientations, but workers within the Secretariat were expected not to have them.
I don't know if this is true today, but it was the case in 1958 when I first entered the UN as a worker there.
Many who read this will think I'm jesting about
the Marxist infiltration and domination of the art world. Many believe artists
are above politics -- and many are. But there is a distinction between
mere artists and those who manage the big business of culturalism.
Many have told me to my face that politics and art do not mix and are NEVER mixed. Well, politics are everywhere, and mixed into all things -- and all can be as sure of this as they are of their daily bowel movements.
In any event, during the 1970s a number of books
finally began came out revealing the dimensions of Marxist power and influence
in the New York art, literary and architecture establishments from the 1920s
through the 1960s.
For example, the witty author, Tom Wolfe, in his book From Bauhaus To Our House (1981) refers to the "Marxist mist" that vaporously occupied the mental equipment of culturati.
A well-documented overview is found in David Caute's The Fellow Travelers: A Postscript To The Enlightenment (1973). Caute illustrates the lines of Marxist cultural influence from France to England and the United States.
William Barrett also dissects many aspects of the culture-making Marxist/Communist aesthetics in his book Time of Need: Forms Of Imagination In The Twentieth Century (1972).
But as of 1967, although I understood political
stuff did go on in the art world, it never dawned on me that it could be
THE reason MY work was completely unacceptable.
Once it was pointed out, however, it became clear enough -- and it also became clear that I had spent nearly ten years dead in the artistic bilge water without even a clue that I was in the water.
The phrase "political correctness" had
not yet emerged, of course. But my work had fallen victim to such an hypothetical
I'll not bore you with the cataclysmic effects
this produced within my psyche -- save to say that I stayed drunk for a
week, slashed one of my best paintings in rage -- and submitted my two-years
advance notice of resignation to the United Nations, itself somewhat overloaded
with Marxist going's on.
These cataclysmic effects arose mostly from having to admit to and deal with MY OWN abysmal naiveté and stupidity.
As a result of this defacement to my artistic ego,
I realized that I didn't know very much about Marxism -- or about Communism,
since the two were completely intertwined. I set about correcting that deplorable
gap with an angry passion that left no stone unturned. I was eventually
able to write MY OWN essay tracking the Marxist influence in art (the essay
was eventually published in the Spring Special Issue of The American
Theosophist (1982) under the title of "Unbinding Prometheus").
Once one got into the dimensions of international
Marxist-Communism, well, here is a big and very important part of human
history -- and other than watching STAR TREK, this pursuit I undertook with
in-depth gusto. Many of my friends thought I had become somewhat overbaked
in this regard.
As it amusingly turned out, five years down the
road Washington intelligence community visitors to the project at SRI were
somewhat mystified and surprised that I could discuss the Soviet Union in
a detailed way.
Meanwhile, back in 1967, I determined to remain
friends with the Marxist art historian in order to learn more about this
aspect of the Secret World so secret that no one ever discussed it.
Among the issues we discussed was the Demise of Creativity -- once so valued but which since the mid-1950s was noticeably being phased out of sociological and artistic importance by 1967.
Thus, and to encapsulate much of our discussions,
I learned that the concept of creativity necessitated various determinations
as to what WAS creative or not.
In some kind of ambiguous eqalitarian sense, this small problem was an impediment to "individual expressions" -- and which should be judged by merits other than those involving creativity issues.
The uninitiated will not realize any of this went on -- and is still going on. But if one looks deep enough, one will find that research and study into creativity has not been very vital for about four decades.
In this way, I learned that not only were my paintings
Out, but my deep interests in Creativity were also.
So, I was somewhat amused when in October of 1967, I came across a NEW book entitled Breakthrough To Creativity. I smiled and thought that the very title doomed this poor, naive author to obscurity -- since "creativity" had become a politically incorrect non-word.
The author of the book was one Shafica Karagulla,
M.D., whom I'd never heard of. In the book's introduction she wrote:
"Man is moving in consciousness out of a world of static solid forms into a world of dynamic energy patterns. This is his problem and his opportunity. As a prisoner of the five senses, he has experienced his world as `solid', `concrete', `rigid.' Today, he has entered a fluid intangible world of vibrating, radiating energy.
"Life adapts to environment. Man plunged into this new environment, a universe that is nothing but frequency, and must necessarily make new adaptations. He must achieve an ability to more directly experience a world of frequency. In order to do this, he must develop new senses or expand those senses which he already has. There is abundant evidence that many human beings are already expanding the usual five senses which he already has.
"There is abundant evidence that many human beings are already expanding the usual five senses into super sensory levels. It is possible that there is already a `mutation in consciousness' taking place. . . .
"We are moving from a study of anatomy, physiology and pathology, the denser aspects of the physical form, to a study of the electrical impulses which the body generates."
YES! YES! YES! Upon reading thus much, I broke
SHAFICA KARAGULLA was born in 1914 in Turkey, educated
at the American University in Beirut, Lebanon, and took her residency at
the Royal Edinburgh Hospital for Mental and Nervous Disorders in Scotland.
In 1952, her research into hallucinations in abnormal mental states brought her to Dr. Wilder Penfield at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.
She became an American citizen in 1957, and was on the faculty of the State University of New York's Department of Psychiatry. At that time she read about the famous sleeping clairvoyant, Edgar Cayce, and concluded that he "did not fit into any of the categories of the insane or the neurotic or even the sane. Edgar Cayce shattered my theories about the nature of man's mind."
She thence determined to investigate what she later
called "higher sense perception" (HSP) which is not extrasensory
but physical." After years of research she found that people with HSP
could make medical diagnoses, could "tune in" on things and people,
and often exhibited telepathy, clairvoyance and clairsentience.
All of this, Karagulla stipulated, was not extrasensory, but resulted from factors of the biological body.
Needless to say, as I later found out, not only
was Karagulla anathema to the social forces busy with devaluing the meaning
of creativity, she was also anathema to PARAPSYCHOLOGY. And, as well, she
was anathema to Science which wanted nothing to do with higher sense
It was the sum of her research and evidence along
these lines that she published in Breakthrough To Creativity.
Boy, I thought, this woman surely has balls.
The year of her birth in 1914 saw Turkey and the
Middle East in terrible upheavals, and which lasted for twenty years, and
which until today have left many hatreds open and active.
Religious and political sects tried to exterminate each other, and as a young girl, Shafia saw her parents and most of her relatives herded into a church which was then burnt to the ground with the alive inside screaming in agony. Only she, and I believe a brother, escaped this abysmal genocide.
She was born with a foot deformity that made her undesirable for marriage. She had been captured, tortured, beaten and tossed in a tub of water in an effort to try to drown her -- an activity that left her with occasional lung problems.
She had become a brilliant neuropsychiatrist.
Open evidence of her brilliance consisted of the invitation to join the famous brain researcher, Dr. Wilder Penfield.
And it was this woman, with all her impressive credentials, that had decided to focus on higher sense perception -- and to hell with what the rest of the world thought of it one way or another.
And it was this woman I was finally going to meet at the Tiller's place in Menlo Park, California.