Do you know something? I never had an invisible friend as a child. Not so strange perhaps, except there\’s this thing about me. I\’m fairly certain that if you have read any of my stuff, you\’ll know what that thing is so I\’m not going to say exactly what it is yet. Hell, you may even work it out as you read on, on the off-chance you don\’t already know, or this is the first time you\’ve read my words.

But, as a child, I did as most children did, and played games. I imagined things, played out stories in areas that weren\’t necessarily conducive to being a cowboy, a super intelligent android, a barbarian hero, a starship pilot or a being of phenomenal cosmic power.

(Cardboard boxes, behind the sofa, in concrete playgrounds and under the dining room table for example).

The raw power of this always amazes me now, the fact that children can manufacture and incorporate disparate pieces of environment into a coherent whole. The creativity of it is stunning – the effortless conjuring up  of alternate existences for the purposes of exploration, understanding, and above all of these, sheer unadulterated fun.

Of course, adultery, adulteration; all these words have their roots in violation, alteration and corruption. Etymologically they emerge from alter:

alter (v.) \"Look
late 14c., \”to change (something),\” from O.Fr. alterer \”change, alter,\” from M.L. alterare \”to change,\” from L. alter \”the other (of the two),\” from PIE *al- \”beyond\” + comp. suffix -ter (cf. other). Intransitive sense \”to become otherwise\” first recorded 1580s. Related: Altered; altering.

An adult world is a complete world. Adulthood is the culmination of development, the completeness, the crystalisation of a full person. This is what is subtly taught in our culture. School trains us to think in terms of \’work\’ and \’play\’. Play is something children do, permitted because you are incomplete. It\’s seen as a trial stage, a way of learning before the actual business of life begins.

We even ascribe play to juvenile animals, as practice for hunting or social interactions. It\’s a dry run, the testing phase. To play as a child is acceptable, and as we grow older, the time for play becomes smaller, eventually morphing into a \’break\’ from work; a necessary sanctioned interrupt, rather than what it was before.

It\’s interesting how things change, isn\’t it?  It\’s okay to goof off on your break, but not too much because you\’re still at work, right? Certain things are Not Safe For Work, and I\’m not just talking about porn here, am I? For some people this blog is NSFW – being spotted reading a site like this might range from the totally fine to outing one as alternative and slightly odd, or.at worst, some kind of crazy person or sinister black magician.

Exposure of one\’s nature as an alternative sort of person isn\’t always the best thing – everybody knows that. From pogroms to social snubbing and mockery, the gauntlet can be a little annoying and frankly unpleasant. Not \’taking things seriously\’ can be levelled as an insult, a criticism or worse.

Have you ever been in a situation when the word \’immature\’ has been used? I\’m sure you have, haven\’t you?


You\’re not old enough, ready or willing enough to understand what I\’m talking about.


You have yet to reach the level of understanding and advancement that I have, have you? You\’ve not gained enough experience to level up.

This is a grownup thing, only discoverable by highly spiritually aware persons…

(Even writing that made me feel dirty, that and want to laugh, by the way).

You get the idea though, don\’t you? This is the kind of thing that\’s there all the time, the glass ceiling, the pay grade barrier, the security clearance. Sometimes, there is honestly a reason for it – certain information is necessary or maybe specific training. That\’s not what we\’re referring to though.

No, what we\’re talking about and thinking about here, you and I, is the way there\’s always another hoop to jump through, some illusionary threshold held up.  Once you cross it, you\’ll be OK. You\’ll be there, you\’ll be accepted.

And to do that, to form yourself correctly, you accept certain things as true. It\’s a social reciprocity. We learn it as kids, collaborating with others if we play with them. For the duration of the game, we accept that the cardboard box is the fortressspaceshiphousegaolbedroomspaceofinfinitepossibility.

But to echo the late, great, Bill Hicks:

\”It\’s just a ride.\”

Just a game, and when it\’s over we can do something else. Except people forget, don\’t they – and they forget because they\’ve been trained to look for the next stage in some kind of progression towards…something. Something complete, something ultimate. Something ripe and ready that will answer all your problems.

And you know, that\’s how power works.

\”Stick with me kid, and you\’ll go far.\”

Mimic the cool, the successful the wealthy; strive towards some halcyon thing that allows you to entertain the reptile-brain dream of a post-scarcity existence; essentials whenever and wherever you want. Glorious unaging immortality, avoiding the nasty business of flux and struggle and eventual death.

Ah, promises, promises.

Kids know the game ends eventually, because their world is one of eternal incompleteness. That\’s fine, because they fill in the gaps with will and imagination. You were a kid once, and you know what it was like. Remember that simple decision to treat something in a particular way, just because you could?

I\’m a trained philosopher – undergraduate and postgraduate too, and I\’ve studied Aristotle, Plato, and a host of other dead people from various places and times. I\’ve even done it with some living people too.

That was fun.

Really fun, playing with the fundamentals of the universe, chopping and changing premises like some manic six-year old who\’s found the joy of playing dress-up in their elders\’ clothes.

It\’s so much fun, I do it all the time. I\’m doing it now. That\’s what this is. That\’s what I\’m about, and you\’re here with me, playing along.

Are we having fun yet, or do you want to look away, to stop reading because somewhere, there\’s an itch in your mind? And that\’s part of it, that itch.

The very concept of \’Is\’? Blame Aristotle for most of the roots of thought on Being and Is. That\’s a game too, by the way. It\’s not even neurologically accurate. If we wanted to be accurate we\’d have to say \’It seems to me.\’ every time we use \’Is.\’

What a mouthful. It\’s a pity we don\’t have a \’Find and Replace\’ mechanism for our thoughts, a Copy \’N Paste Brain. Or is it?

Austin Spare would talk about the power of \’as if\’.

Suppose you treat everything as having a goal? Wouldn\’t that mean that rambling, labyrinthine posts have a point? And that reminds me of a story.

This is how it goes:

Once upon a time, there was a King and there were some gods. These gods, being much less ineffable than the one that lurks in the back corner of the modern Western mind, liked gifts. We can all get that, right? We\’re all aware that we might be more kindly disposed to those who just plain nice to us, yes?

And just as we like gifts to be unequivocally ours, so these gods liked that too. They had certain things they liked humans to do, so that the gifts were marked as theirs. So these marks were obvious to the universe, like a nametag, or a sticky label on the tupperware box which your lunch is in while your store it in the fridge at work.

One of the gods, Poseidon, was rather nice to the King, who happened to be called Minos. In return for being rather nice, there was a great white bull which the god liked very much and put his mark on. Now, this was an extraordinarily handsome specimen of taurean flesh. Snow white it was, and shining like the seafoam; its breath was as fierce as a roaring storm and the sound of its hooves was like the crash and boom of a thousand thunderous breakers

This bull was, in short, the shiznit; it was the zenith, the veritable peak of bovine brilliance, trust me on that. Its flanks gleamed brighter than the moon. It was tasty, tasty, very very tasty, if you catch my drift? Everyone knew it, even King Minos, in fact, especially King Minos. It was the gourmet leftovers in the fridge of life, the ones that somehow smell and look delicious despite being neatly sealed and tidily labelled. Makes your stomach growl so it does, sets the mouth to water like a stream. We\’ve all been there, and it\’s all the more delicious because you can\’t have it, because it\’s just beyond your reach, isn\’t it?

Sometimes people idly entertain nicking a little bit don\’t they – the owner won\’t really notice a spoonful gone, that sort of thing. It\’s a very human thing to do. King Minos was very human, which is always nice because that means you have someone to identify with in this story, and that always helps. Plus, humans do slightly silly things when we\’re enamoured of something – and we\’ve all done that.

Now, Minos was a King, and by ancient definition, being a King meant you were a bit larger than life; you turned things up a notch or six. In fact, you might say Minos turned it all the way to eleven in the silliness stakes, because despite that bull being marked, very clearly, in big black capitals as POSEIDON\’S BULL  – DO NOT TOUCH: MORTALS THIS MEANS YOU! Minos raided the divine fridge. Not just a spoonful either.

No, Minos pilfered the entire lot for his very own self.

(Many a courtier was plagued by the sound of nonchalant whistling from the royal chamber for days after, let me tell you!)

Having brazenly stolen from a god, well, as I\’m sure you\’d understand if some uppity git had nicked your gear, King Minos\’ name was mud as far as your average divinity was concerned. So much so that Aphrodite, stunning, beautiful, vindictive, vicious Aphrodite – the lovely lady who emerged from the sea-foam, decided to give King Minos a bit of a slap for his temerity on behalf of her oceanic colleague.

So it was that goddess of love did her thing, wove her way over King Minos lady wife – who since you ask, was named Pasiphae. For if Minos so desperately wanted god-stuff in his life, she\’d give it to him – and how! Gods you see, though they walked among men, were way beyond what most mortals could handle. They sort of made normal life impossible if you bumped into them. Your average mortal just went pop – mad, dead, cursed, or all of the above and worse, times ten.

Let me tell you, many\’s the folks been changed by contact with those things that lie beyond the human world. Divine attention was not necessarily what you wanted. Most kept their head down and made sure they did enough to keep the folks on Olympus pleasantly disinterested. Rare was the individual who stuck their head above the parapet, y\’know?

King Minos however? He\’d not just stuck his head above the parapet. No, he\’d dropped his trousers and hung his naked arse over it for everyone to see. Not, as I\’m sure you\’re aware, the best thing to do when there\’s an inhuman immortal who nurses a grudge looking your way, is it?

So Aphrodite, she caused Pasiphae to find the bull mighty fine, if you know what I mean? If there was anybody around then and there who could make you want a bit of bull in every way you could, and several you couldn\’t but were going to try anyway, it was Aphrodite.

But Pasiphae, she wasn\’t some empty-headed bimbo. No, she was one smart lady, albeit maddened by divinely inspired lust. She knew there were going to be some anatomical…issues. So she commissioned Daedalus – yes, that Daedalus – to make here a hollow cow she could be inside so that the whole business would be…more interesting.

And Daedalus, more of a mechanical genius than Leonardo Da Vinci plus Archimedes, multiplied by the incomparable Montgomery Scott, does so. It\’s a mighty fine cow, for a mighty fine bull, and the inevitable soft focus and seventies soundtrack occurs. In due time, there\’s a child, a sprog, some bullspawn.

These days he\’s mostly known as the Minotaur, but his name is Asterion and his mother loved him very much, despite the head and the tail of the bull poking from his little bastard rump. Now you may think a bit of adultery is a mild punishment for thieving Minos, but there\’s more.

The divine violence wrought on Minos continues, for ickle baby Asterion not only provides a reminder of his wife\’s infidelity and rampant zoophilia, the  little star – for Asterion means \’starry\’- possesses some distinctly inhuman appetites. Asterion you see, grew not by normal human methods of nourishment. Mother\’s milk did not sustain him, no. He grew and grew and grew, becoming huge and terrible and hungry for human flesh.

Such a thing was really rather unpleasant for Minos, as the hungry beast seemed never to be sated, and if there\’s something worse than a bull in a china shop, it\’s a monstrous hybrid spawned by divine ire and lust. So Minos, thoroughly sick of his impossible stepson and his violation of human order, called on the supergenius Daedalus, who built a prison for Asterion in the form of a maze – the Labyrinth.

(You are in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike. They have nothing to do with David Bowie or his sock. Or maybe they do…)

Asterion is killed by Theseus after Minos\’ daughter helps him through the Labyrinth, but that is another tale, to be sure, one which precedes the flight of Icarus. The events continue on, there is never really and end to storytime. It is endless and shifting, nested, layer upon layer, spooled like a ball of twine given to Theseus by Ariadne.

So lets play in storytime.

Imagine yourself in the Labyrinth; at the centre sits the Minotaur Asterion. In the night of the looping tunnels, the enclosed, claustrophobic spaces, air stirs. The echo of his father\’s breath roars past your cheek, warm and stifling.

> N
It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.
> what is a grue?
The grue is a sinister, lurking presence in the dark places of the earth. Its favorite diet is adventurers, but its insatiable appetite is tempered by its fear of light. No grue has ever been seen by the light of day, and few have survived its fearsome jaws to tell the tale.

Is the  Minotaur a grue? A monstrous star in the dark? Why put such a bright thing in the mazelike place? Are you fearful or are you an adventurer? What secrets might Asterion hold, his feasting never finished, his hunger never sated, where might the endless tunnels lead?

The Labyrinth holds endless potential in its darkness, just as the blank page or badge conceal possibilities. If the senses are deprived of things to grasp, what then? A half-seen, twilight world, phantasmal and yet absolutely real and totally immersive when experienced. Such is the stuff of dreams, of hopes, of aspirations and of nightmares.

Incomplete and in total flux, Heraclitan in the extreme.

For those of you who have read The Invisibles, there is a reason I go by VI. The elegant turncoat.

\”I just met the Secret Chiefs of the Invisible Order. They’re as alien as the space between your bloody fingers and I mean that.\”

The space between, the potential multiplicity. What happens if we introduce many gods instead of one, just as an idea, just as play, just as a method of exploration. Play with serious things, like Love and Justice and Honour and Integrity. Especially morality. What if we could imagine that all the gods that were, in a vast company, at a party?

Allah and YHVH discussing literary criticism with Vishnu. Dionysus and Tammuz chewing cornstalks and getting drunk on homebrewed beer? What if, after thousands of years, the Devil picks himself up from his prat-Fall and twirls his Chaplin umbrella? Or Jesus and Astarte nip off into a corner for a spot of tantric sex?

If you don\’t exist, then what\’s wrong with dying? If nothing is what it seems then a thing can be anything and everything. The flesh and blood of man can embody the entire universe, after all – the incomparable vastness of the All present within the space of a hands-span.

Aristotle gets drunk, and IS shifts into SEEMS TO BE. It\’s all bleary and smeared and I LOVE YOU MAN.

Let us experiment rigorously, ruthlessly, for SCIENCE! Let us experience completely and furiously, caught up in the awe and terror of Aphrodite, the rage of the roaring sea  – the hieros gamos – carnal and full of lust.

Experi! Experi! To Try, to Play!

The same word root, the root of being human. And that\’s not human is, it\’s human-seems-to-me! Come dance in the Harlequinade – turn your coat inside out and stand on your head.

\”The Invisibles is an immune program: triggered by the Barbelith buoy when the game crashed and embedded the player.\”

Do you know something? I never had an invisible friend as a child.

Would you like to come and play with us? We\’ll back in time for tea.

Be seeing you.