Letter to Chris Knowles of Secret Sun

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27.5

There’s a back story to this, but it will have to wait.

Dear Chris Knowles,

Although you’ve indicated you’ve no desire for a dialogue, I will give it one last shot. I’m posting this publicly because your last email was in the form of a dismissal and it seems safer, somehow, to bare my soul in public, so to speak.

I’ve always respected you and your work, and more than that, had a lot of affection for you. Maybe it’s projection but there it is. Because of my own issues with my (late) brother, it’s hard for me not to feel competitive and/or defensive with other men, especially men I admire. One unfortunate result of this is that I tend to unconsciously provoke conflict with them, as if to test, or prove, my own existence.

That might seem like too much information, but the point is, to some degree I probably provoked your unreasonable behavior without intending to. I regret even the possibility that’s true and so naturally I want to make it right. Since I’ve no idea how to do that, all I can do is try to be frank and lay out the facts as I see them.

Fact 1: I envy the amount of attention your work gets and how you have over a thousand followers who seem to hang onto your every word, while I feel like I’m doing well, and I mean really well, if I get half a dozen comments in a week and at least know that a few people are even aware of what I’m doing. (Yes, I am insecure.)

Fact 2: I consider my latest project at crucialfictions.com to be vital and ground-breaking work that deserves to be taken seriously.

Fact 3: I wanted to get not only your own attention and approval with it, but that of your many followers also.

Fact 4: Your only response so far has been to tell me, implicitly, to take down the image at the site before you will even consider linking to it (even though I never asked you to link to it).

Fact 5: That hurt.

Fact 6: I responded, or reacted, to your attempt to control and direct (i.e., bully) me with a challenging email.

Fact 7: You took that as the end of our relationship, so far as there was one, and deleted my comments at your latest blog post, despite the fact that there was nothing overtly hostile or disruptive about them.

Fact 8: Rightly or wrongly, I’ve noticed a change in your communication style over the past few months and a move towards a more aggressive, macho, and bullying kind of persona.

Fact 9: Quite a few other people have, rightly or wrongly, come to the same conclusion, and have expressed concern, as well as experiencing discontent and I suspect hurt feelings, because of this.

Fact 10: You’ve started to defriend people who express points of view which you don’t agree with under the guise of trying to keep the group “reality-based.”

Fact 11: From what I have heard, from people closer to you than I am, you’ve managed to create an atmosphere in which people are afraid not only to challenge or confront you but to disagree with you at all.

So much for the facts. My own opinion is that you’re wrestling with some powerful inner demons and you have my every sympathy. I MEAN THIS SINCERELY. If I could help, I would. But instead I’ve managed to wind up (exactly as happened with my brother before he died) on the side of the demons in your eyes (or at best, as one of those nonsense-frothing fascist weasels who you disdain in your last post).

Fact 12: That sucks for me. I mean it really sucks.

Fact 13: We are both so much bigger than our differences.

If there’s any way to see past them, even for a few minutes, then I suggest we talk about what’s really going on. What you’ve communicated to me is that it doesn’t matter to you if I live or die, much less whether we have a relationship or not. Maybe I’m deluded, but I don’t believe that.
My brother used to say (in one of his many carefully scripted and impeccably delivered bon mots), “Nothing matters much, and very little matters at all.”

What does matter, and what I’ll stake my reputation on to defend, is kindness, compassion, sensitivity, and a willingness to be vulnerable and to show weakness with those we care about. This goes especially for guys, and especially, I think for guys like us.

That’s it. That’s all I’ve got. The ball’s in your court. You are on your own – unless you don’t want to be.

brotherly love,
Jasun

15 thoughts on “Letter to Chris Knowles of Secret Sun”

  1. Ever join this guy’s Facebook group for the Secret Sun. Not only does he censor FB posts that he doesn’t agree with, he also boots certain members with no warning whatsoever. Very prissy, in my opinion.

    • Funny you “bumped” this old post by commenting coz I almost did the same yesterday after I was pointed to a CK comment in which he tells someone who brings up MKULTRA to “grow up and focus on real threats”: http://secretsun.blogspot.ca/2009/05/mulholland-dr-and-17-enigma.html?showComment=1346862308188#c2730009134077185694
      Also because Jeffrey Kripal name-drops CK in The Super Natural in a fairly gratuitous way, more of a plug for his Esalen compadre than a useful citation (the context being Christianity as the first flying saucer cult). CK has also publicly derided any suggestion of Esalen’s being an intelligence think tank/front.
      What I’d like this Easter is to hear a conversation between Chris Knowles & Jan Irvin.

  2. I came across a rebuttal of Knowles’s Lovecraft rip – wherein Knowles carefully insinuated that Lovecraft was a cheap pulp novelist, and wherein the rebuttal carefully, and I must say, quite concientiously, with dignity and politeness (was it yours? If so, good work!) went through, point by point, and demonstrated where his ‘scholarship’ (I say that satirically) was misguided…and in some cases wrong. His reply was nuts – delete comments, saying he won’t reply, and replying anyways, and simply tossing high school level insults, without addressing any particular thing. He’s turned into a fool, regardless of how he started.

  3. CK’s critique of Lovecraft is what drew me to his blog relatively recently and I’ve been listening to YouTube interviews lately. I haven’t figured him out yet and so often we are a product of our environment so it’s hard to say that his, what may seem heavy handed, approach might be a survival mechanism learned in the school of life. I try and be open minded with my own interpretation of reality and I think a lot of people miss that reality seems to be different for each individual, at least at some level.

    The greatest points, imo, about the CK critique of Lovecraft are the context of Theosophy and it’s influence on culture, pop or otherwise. What I think CK misses is how profound Lovecraft’s intuition, or direct knowledge, of a deeper and darker truth that was and is hidden within Theosophy and the New Age movement.

    • I tend to agree; but I leave it open; the mystery of millennia long psyops, did the Old Ones create the mythos or did the mythos create the Old Ones?

  4. Oh, Chris knowles, how disappointing a man. I use these words carefully, and they are exactly what I mean: Knowles has been swinging his sack front and center for almost a decade. I was an early Secret Sun (SS, anyone? Sun/masculine, hmmm?) reader from the earlyish 2000s and ALWAYS felt like the commentariat were allowed there on condition of his great forbearance. Knowles has the pretensions and insecurities of many autodidacts, without the humility necessary to actually learn anything. Sadly, his (so far) two year long obsession with, of all things, the lead singer of the Cocteau Twins finally made me tune the fuck out. It was all noise, very little signal. (Really, dude? Elizabeth Fraser of the Cocteau Twins? I don’t even know wtf to say about that. Lots of commenters over there are apparently on board, though one cannot make heads nor tails of their quasi-synchro-pseudo-thelemic crazy dive into the deepest cuts of ancient pop culture…)

    I love how you engage life and other people with all sincerity, Jasun, I started reading you back in the days of your reckoning with Strieber. Sometimes, I admit, it breaks my heart, because people like Knowles are…I wanted to write “not worthy of your attention” but that isn’t right, because better or worse the guy has been sort of right on in many ways… at least he was in the past. So I get it, but… to say he’s a deeply flawed person would be sugarcoating things. I’ve come to the conclusion after years of reading his writing that he is at the very least, the poster child for toxic masculinity, and at worst (I fear) an actual sociopath.

    I come and say all this years too late, and read your posts on him years too late somehow (how did I miss these? Maybe I needed to?) In any event I imagine you’ve come to some conclusion about Knowles. I wish I could say I felt bad for the dude but that nagging feeling about his personality disorder keeps getting in the way of my (sincerely trying to be) Christian heart.

  5. Thanks for drawing my attention back to that as it’s timely to revisit in a couple of ways; one because something similar seems to have played out in my relationship with Doug Lain (watch this space); and secondly because of this, which I quote in the back story to the above post, from CK’s blog:

    “In between all of this I was invited by Jeff Kripal to lecture about Jack Kirby at the Esalen CTR, where I discovered that despite all the frothing nonsense you hear from little fascist weasels, Esalen itself is about as sinister as (and in fact was eerily similar to) an episode of Portlandia.”

    From my own post:

    “I knew that Knowles had recently proposed the creation of a “Level Above Facebook” space, to be called the “Reality-Based High Weirdness Community.” Apparently, being OK-ed for this space required renouncing all non-Reality-based Weirdnesses such as satanic ritual abuse or psy-ops.”

    Esalen is an area of current interest for me, & I know, beyond all reasonable doubt at this point, that CK is either lying or utterly fooled in his defense of it. Kripal is another matter, as Esalen’s official biographer can only be fully complicit with whatever has gone on there. CK also defended Kripal to me in a PM exchange on FB a couple of years back, during the time I “outed” Peter Levenda and he, PL, attacked me on CK’s blog.

    CK agreed with me about Strieber, was on the fence about Levenda, and assured me Kripal was absolutely “clean,” which he knew for sure coz he had hung out with him. CK also agreed to do a podcast together, then ignored all my emails about it.

    By chance, we recently did a thing together that I agreed to before I even knew CK was part of it, on AeonByte. I never linked to it coz I didn’t think it went well enough to bother sharing.

  6. I was in those Secret sun and lunar barbecue groups for years, CK did seem to change in the last few and I lost interest. I think he was trying to develop an audience and roll that into a deal with a publisher for his fiction writing and now that he is about to be published he is like “protecting his brand” The thing is he posted some excerpts from his new novel and it is terrible, he is a tedious fiction writer, a lot of clunky jokes.

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