20 February 2008

The Doctor "Is" Out....

Sweetmorn, Chaos 51, Year of Our Lady of Discord 3174

I was visiting the Maybe Logic Academy forum today, as I hadn't been there in a few weeks. It was a bit of a "catch-up" session--but no-one was around while I was scoping out the threads.

In one of the forums, Borsky (a MLA regular), had posted about Dr. Christopher S. Hyatt passing away. Apparently, he left the planet on the 9th of February, after a protracted battle with cancer. He was 64 years old. The news came as a shock to me, so I checked his site and, indeed, it seems true. Hyatt, born Alan Miller, kept a lot of the detail of his life secret--or at least clouded enough to not reveal very much. He did reveal some of the facts in a few of his books, namely Undoing Yourself and Rebels and Devils. His teenage years seemed quite rough and he left school at 17, allegedly expelled for "drinking and dealing". He joined the U.S. Navy, finished his stint, got married and quickly divorced, after fathering a son.

He attended college--swapping an accounting major for psychology. Hyatt also began studying the occult techniques of Aleister Crowley and subsequently met Israel Regardie, Crowley's former secertary and member of the Golden Dawn, in the early 1970s. Regardie taught Hyatt the therapy of Wilhelm Reich and suggested that he use it before embarking on a serious magickal venture. After that...well, Hyatt joined up with a few occult organisations, including Crowley's O.T.O. (the Ordo Templis Orientis) and a revived Golden Dawn. He developed a system of "energized meditation", based on various disciplines of yoga and exercise, realised a philosophy of extreme individualism, married and divorced a few more times.

Hyatt was instrumental in the formation of New Falcon Publications, an indie imprint dedicated to occult and speculative titles. He himself contributed several books, as well as published some by Regardie, reprints by Crowley and providing a starting point for authors like Antero Alli, Camden Benares and Lon Milo DuQuette. More importantly, for my own education and edification, New Falcon became the near-exclusive publisher for Robert Anton Wilson, releasing almost all of his books in the 80s, 90s and 'Noughties'--including his final title, E-Mail To The Universe. In the past few years, Hyatt founded the "Extreme Individual Institute" and published 6 titles connected with it, while also holding seminars. I never attended any, as they were quite pricey and I would've had to fly out to Arizona, where he was based.

I did do the exercises in "Undoing Yourself..." for about a year and a half and found them very productive. I suspect they would have been more so, but I was only practising them once a week, instead of the three times suggested in the book. I only stopped because I decided to take up Hatha yoga and to do both three times a week would've been too much. I may start with Hyatt's energized meditation techniques again, when I've become more adept at yoga. I bought the Energized Hypnosis book, but I haven't read it yet. I enjoyed "Rebels And Devils", a collection of essays and artwork regarding the 'psychology of liberation' by Hyatt, Wilson and many others. I've also read The Psychopath's Bible, one of his more infamous titles. It makes for startling reading and does put one into an interesting head-space for a bit, but I'm not so sure about putting any of the techniques presented into action.

Hyatt did seem to have the ability to polarize opinions of him--some thought of him as a teacher and genius, others as a money-grubbing charlatan. As always with Aristotlean, "either/or" debates--the 'truth' may lie somewhere in between. For me, Hyatt was one of the lesser lights in the 'new era' counter-culture (with R.A.W. being my main influence)--but he has had an impact on myself and many others and for that I am grateful. R.I.P. Dr. Christopher S. Hyatt/Alan Miller--thank you for your words.

As a small post-script--there's a group who are dedicated to some of Hyatt's principles, though they are not actively affiliated with him. The group is called The Luciferian Society and their homepage is located here. I had a bit of a wander around and it seems like an interesting place. Be careful, though, they don't mess around with noobs--although they seem somewhat friendlier than the folks at the Principia Discordia forum. See you soon.

4 comments:

Singing Bear said...

I'm interested to know what 'undoing yourself' is about.
Any ideas why he changed his name? Was he 'undoing' himself? I've come across name changing in a big way when I was into Buddhism. All the, so called, heavily commited folk would end up with a Sanskrit name. I couldn't see the point myself as they were casting off one identity and putting on another. If 'I' doesn't really exist it doesn't really matter what you're called, does it? It always made me laugh to think that some bloke now calling himself Primudita or Surana may have started out as Reg Smith! It seems a common, middle class hippy disease that I think maybe many Eastern Buddhist would laugh at.

Where is this ramble going? I don't know...just spoutimg off as usual!

Cheers and peace.

The Purple Gooroo said...

I interpret "undoing yourself" as getting rid of programmed behaviour that you've learned over the years--I don't think it's so much taking on a new identity as finding your "true" self...or, as Crowley referred to it, your True Will. It takes a *lot* of work and dedication--which seems to be why most folks never do it. It seems to be much easier to stick with dogmas and learned behaviour--than to challenge yourself on nearly *every* aspect of your thought and actions.

I'm not sure why he changed his name--maybe that was another way of fundamentally challenging himself...or maybe he was keeping two identities--Alan Miller, the robotic, tunnel-visioned domestic primate--and C.S. Hyatt, the aspect of his True Will. I'm pretty sure Hyatt was the 'dominant' personality. I agree, about taking on an Eastern name while practising Buddhism--I think it's supposed to be more authentic, but it does seem a bit daft. Alan Watts never took on an Eastern name and he seemed brilliant to me.

Singing Bear said...

Alan Watts is a hero of mine.

Mobius Frame said...

Hello,

I enjoyed reading this post, and others at your blog.

Regarding the Luciferian Society: thanks to you for taking the time to look around before commenting.

We've had a rash of people lately who say we are trying to carry on Hyatt's work (not true). Others call us a cult (nothing to do with religion, read the FAQ).

So, hats off to you for examining things before forming conclusions.

Pleasure to read your blog.

Best wishes,

Mobius Frame