Thursday, 13 October 2011


"He alone sees Him"

"I take my leave of this day."

Sami-Ali, the wandering epigrapher, recently returned from the great desert city of Sabea,where he explored the streets of the abandonned lower town and recorded all the inscriptions he came across. He has kindly allowed us to reproduce two of these inscriptions here. The background color of each inscription attempts to reconstitute the original color of the wall on which it was found.

As can be seen above, the writing of the Sabean civilisation is very similar to Arabic, which makes it an ideal vehicle for handsome calligraphy.

The taggers of Sabea were widely admired as poets and their inscriptions are generally pithy ande enigmatic.

"He alone sees Him" probably refers to a reputed Finder of dreamstones. The stone itself is referred to as a person - which was customary in Sabea.

As for the lower inscription "I take my leave of this day," it may be seen as a lyrical acknowledgement of the power of time.

Readers will bind a detailed description of Sabea in the second volume of Chronicles of the Greater Dream - The Sleepers of Lethe.

Thursday, 5 March 2009


I just got a cable from the Director of the University of Levana Press who appeared rather miffed that I had, in my last post (this morning), failed to provide the Amazon links that allow readers of this blog to order the book. So, with my apologies to both the University Press and its readership, here they are! Padraic



The famous prehistoric figure of the Mother survives to this day within the barrow (or labyrinth) of that name. The exquisite little Temple of Manmatha was subsequently built above it. The space surrounding this strange figure is far too narrow to allow it to be properly photo-graphed. The picture consequently shows a replica of this extraordinary work, executed in the late sixties by the sculptor Jacques Zwobada. This evocative modern version is reproduced here by kind permission of the artist’s estate. Interestingly enough, Zwobada left a permanent trace of his visit to the site by inscribing his name on the Rostrum Viatorum or Visitors’ Wall of the Temple of Manmatha. For more information, see Chapter VIII of The Sleepers of Lethe.

The Government of Gondwana
and the University of Levana Press
are pleased to announce the publication of

The Sleepers of Lethe

the Second Episode of Miguel Errazu’s

Chronicles of the Greater Dream
A Full Account of Recent Events in Gondwana

What’s the story?

Escaping from a secret prison in the middle of a nameless desert, Theseus (Teddy) Managras is flown to Gondwana, the boundless land his grandfather once ruled. In The Riddle of the Seal – the first episode of this great trilogy – Teddy and his companions set out on a perilous journey, closely pursued by the Cyclops, the ruthless leader of the terrorist movement, Ultima Ratio.

In this Second Episode, they reach the Valley of Umbra where, on the eve of a great battle against the Cyclops’ armies, Sub-Commander Eisehu Kipper sends them on a mission to recover the bodies of the Sleepers of Lethe – seven legendary figures that have been resting for close to a hundred years beneath the colossal glacier of Oblivium. Some suppose they hold the memory of all the past.

As Teddy continues his journey, he discovers love, begins to remember his own past and understands at last why his grandfather was sent into exile, why his parents were assassinated, and why he himself had been secretly detained.

What the critics have said:

"A great history - original, and marvellous and strange and fascinating!" Brian O’Doherty

"An unusual work of high literary fantasy. The author’s astonishing powers of invention propel us beyond time and space, into a strangely familiar world that is a mirror-image of our own. A work of strong humanistic convictions." World Heritage, October 2007

Friday, 12 December 2008


Hello my Friends, this is Padraic, and I'm back at last from my world tour. I note that Michael, whom I left in charge of this blog, got bogged down in other matters and shamefully neglected his duty.

I'll forgive him nonethess, since his time has been well spent, and I find I've got back just in time to report that Polish film director Lech Majewski has finished shooting his latest movie, The Mill & the Cross, with Charlotte Rampling, Michael York, Rutger Hauer and Joanna Litwin. This interests us all the more that the film, scripted by Majewski and our friend Michael Gibson, is based on Michael's book of the same title, devoted to Breugel's incredible painting, The Way to Calvary, populated by about 500 characters.

The director of photography is Adam Sikora, who recently shot Jerzy Skolimowski's Four Days with Anna.

While portraying the passion of Christ, the painting also refers quite clearly to the cruel persecution of "heretics" which Bruegel witnessed in Flanders in the 1560's. It thus becomes a denunciation of persecutions in all ages. The laws of the day required male Protestants caught in Flanders to be beheaded and women to be burried alive. Other forms of cruel execution were also practiced. The photo above shows one of the "thieves" escorted to his place of execution by the hangman.

The film begins by relating a particular day in Bruegel's life, in the course of which the painter and his friend, the banker Nicholas Jonghelinck, go out of town to stand as helpless witnesses to the execution of a Protestant preacher whom they apparently knew and admired. Half-way through the film, thanks to a clever narrative device, the preacher becomes identified with Jesus and the film turns into a narrative of the passion.

Since shooting has been completed, a group of computer wizards has begun the arduous task of incrusting the actors into backgrounds realistically painted by Bruegel. The effect will be stunning.

The Mill & The Cross should be released in the fall of 2009.


Saturday, 14 June 2008

Remote islands...

Going through de papers that Miguel Errazu left with me before his return to Gondwana, I came across a notebook in which he had set down the following. MG


I remember a big round rock that was, in color, size and shape, much like the wide back and domed skull of an elephant. It stood at the top of a slope, in the midst of luxuriant vegetation, and sitting there (for hours, it seemed) when I was a little child, I enjoyed the widest imaginable view onto the blue, vaporous distance of a great, uninhabited bay, crowded with countless mysterious islands, all knit together with labyrinthine waterways and, beyond these, out onto an endless ocean. And I would sit there, dreaming great shapeless dreams, wider than worlds, imagining what I would find if only I could wander freely there, exploring those islands and venturing past them onto the ocean that, beyond my sight, melted into the sky.
This is probably where my calling as a travel writer first arose.
Gondwana seems to have attracted me all the more that it surely remains the remotest and least familiar part of the known world. It is so remote, in fact, that it appears quite tiny in the mind’s eye, and this allows one to make out the broader patterns that constantly sweep through the world we live in, though we can’t make them out because we stand too close to them.
Observing all the things that I had stored in my memory on my return from Gondwana, I realized that I could practically give a tangible appearance to the two, tremendous global currents that move like guiding spirits through the human world, commanding its climate and the conditions of our lives: the warm current of the imagined and the cold current of the real. These two together, move endlessly through our minds like the two faces of a single, inconceivable, cosmic conveyor belt. They endless lift new, utterly unexpected and undreamed things out of the imagined and slowly propel them into the real.
This is something I was eager to evoke when I wrote my Chronicles.

Thursday, 27 March 2008


Sun Storm: A Coronal Mass Ejection
Michael Francis Gibson recently pointed out that I’d been neglecting this blog over the past few weeks and offered to fill in for me for a while. I’ve gratefully accepted. Here’s his first contribution. Padraic.


Of all the marvelous institutions that have arisen lately in Gondwana, the Center for Post-Apocalyptic Studies is my favorite.

The stunning implications of its title really enchant me.
Many of us tend to assume that once the world has been destroyed, there’s no more to be said or done:
Game over!
The very name of the Center suggests otherwise. It implies that once a world has been destroyed, it’s time to build another one.
A splendid prospect, but where do we start?
Some will say: what a great opportunity!
Let’s build a new world under the guidance of reason.
But, as experience has shown, reason on its own is not enough.
Why so? Quite simply, you might say, because reason sometimes turns out to be so drearily lacking in… imagination.
The inhabitants of the Third Hemisphere (see earlier entries below) are perfectly aware of this inadequacy. Reason without imagination is lifeless, they say, just as imagination without reason is mad. Or just plain silly.
But what is the imagination, in their sight?
It’s the unique human power to shape new images in the mind’s eye.
It’s also the faculty that endlessly scans experience for meaningful patterns that feed humanity’s insatiable need for enchantment. In earliest times, too, it helped our ice-age hunter forebears decipher animal tracks in the snow.
We, inhabitants of the more pedestrian hemispheres, are not unaware of this, although we may sometimes underestimate the power and import of what the imagination has to offer.
Who hasn’t grown ecstatic in childhood at the sight of frost on the windowpane or, later in life, of galaxies slowly spooling in their flocks of stars, of leaves, ferns and flowers unfolding, of the patterns of language, butterflies’ wings and music? Even our sober scientists tirelessly scan the heavens for meaningful patterns, searching for signals emitted by some purposeful awareness nesting out there in remotest space.
And we’re not just on the lookout for patterns of this kind.
We also scan the full sweep of human experience in search of some plausible, purposeful pattern that will light our own life with… “meaning.”
It’s with patterns such as these that every society builds the great nest of its homely world.
According to the principal traditions of the Third Hemisphere, all humans inevitably live inside a picture of the world. People often mistake this picture for the world itself until it shatters under the pressure of events.
The physical world, as we increasingly realize, is full of huge invisible events that mark our lives. Sun storms sometimes get violent enough to cause geomagnetic mayhem, send orbiting satellites crashing to earth, disrupt the electric power grids, start fires, black out radio communications and, as in 2003, cause the northern lights to shine as far south as Havana.
But human history is also full of spiritual, technical and economic storms that shake and shatter our picture of the world.
This is what’s happening everywhere today and this is where the Center for Post-Apocalyptic Studies steps in with its cheerful prospects.
As I explain in my Introduction to The Riddle of the Seal (see, the Center is one of the three component institutions of the Greater Dream Project, recently set up by the new government of Gondwana, ostensibly to handle preparatory work for an international Greater Dream Congress that is still in the offing.
The first of these institutions is the Circle of Uncertainties, appointed to collect whatever questions people may currently be asking themselves in every corner of the world. A daunting undertaking. The Circle is even now sifting through and synthesizing the abundant material it has received before passing on its conclusions to two other bodies: the Bureau of Erraticities and the Center for Post-Apocalyptic Studies.
The Bureau is expected to handle matters relating to origins and causes (and hence lying within the competence of reason and of the experimental and theoretical sciences). The Centre deals with all those touching upon purpose and intent (and hence within the purview of the imagination, poetic vision and wisdom).
The distinction is somewhat artificial to be sure and members of the Bureau sometimes complain that their colleagues at the Center have all the fun because they always seem to be playing games. Those of the Center merely suggest that some people may be more gifted for fun than others.
How can I best explain the purpose of their undertaking?
Just last year, I met the analytical philosopher John Searle and asked him how he would define the main thrust of his own reflection. He replied that it touched upon the question:
"How do we reconcile our view of ourselves as human beings and what we know about the world as a collection of atoms, hormones, organisms, etc…?"
I was delighted when I realized that the underlying purpose of the Greater Dream Congress could be expressed in precisely these same terms.
To put it differently: how do we reconcile old wisdom and new knowledge?
Here, in turn, and in the simplest language possible, is what some of the philosophers of Gondwana have to say on the subject:
Reason must be encouraged to admit that the patterns, pictures and stories collected by the imagination are not mere pointless fantasies but actually and practically contributes to shaping human individuals and societies. Animal societies, these philosophers point out (having in mind bees, ants, wolves and geese, for instance), are held together by genes and pheromones. We humans are no longer comprehensively commanded by these forces. We refer instead to the pictures and patterns of the imagination.
The stories that the image-making faculty weaves shouldn’t be expected to be scientifically true because they aren’t actually meant to describe the physical world – although they try to stick to the generally received opinions of the day.
They have always been, however, and to this day remain dedicated to the description of a collective imagined world, and thanks to this they endlessly weave the guiding patterns of purpose into human societies. These allow each individual to form an idea of what men and women actually are, why they are born, why they have children and why they die.
Such patterns, our philosophers add, have always been the constellations of our inner life that guide and comfort us. Without them, our world is starless and distress sets in. We no longer properly exist as individuals and our societies are stripped of their indispensable cohesion. This was quite recently the case in Gondwana, too.
All the societies that have survived to this day have successfully mended their founding patterns as they shifted through the ages, but the present, unprecedented, world-encompassing sun storm has made this task particularly difficult – almost impossible, it would seem.
In Gondwana, however, as the device of the country proclaims: “the possible holds the real on a leash – the opposite would be unacceptable.”
Readers are invited to send in relevant comments or questions for consideration by the Center for Post-Apocalyptic Studies. I shall pass them on and we’ll see what comes of it.
An association, Friends of the Greater Dream, has been set up to relay the Greater Dream Project in the northern and southern hemispheres. Those who are interested may write to:

Wednesday, 23 January 2008


I'm delighted to announce that Michael Francis Gibson,
recently appointed Ambassador of Gondwana in Paris and
author of the Scholarly Introduction to
The Riddle of the Seal
(the first volume of Miguel Errazu's trilogy Chronicles of the Greater Dream)
will be reading passages of Miguel's book at the Paris bookshop,
Shakespeare & Co, 37 rue de la Bucherie Paris 75005
Phone 01 43 25 40 93
on Monday 28 January, 2008 at 7 PM.

Sunday, 6 January 2008


Published with the kind permission of Guy Dotremont

Christian Dotremont moved to Gondwana because the climate there appeared to be good for his health.

He'd been detained in a clinic for some time after having been found unconscious in the streets of Brussels.

When he regained consciousness the following morning, the chief physician was standing at his bedside, respectfully attended by his interns.

"Do we speak French?" the physician inquired.

Christian thew him a penetrating glance through his still-heavy lids:

"Have we studied medicine?" he retorted.

He and a fellow patient later made good their escape, leaving a note for the hospital staff:

"You'll never get us alive."

Before departing for Gondwana, Dotremont sent the love of his life, Gloria, an "anti-suicide note":

"Sweetheart, by the time you read this, I shall be... alive."

In Gondwana, Christian found his calling as a wandering epigrapher. He recorded and published a number of highly significant inscriptions he had found in various parts of the country.

Among these was the inscription found above the Tower of Night in Eburnea:

“To Night, without whom all things would only be what they display.”

And above all the device engraved on the royal seal known as the Diard-en-Dnaid:

"The possible holds the real on a leash. The opposite would be intollerable."

Some commentators argue that the "possible" referred to here is in fact the human imagination. Others hold that it designates the as yet unfulfilled potentional of the world process. There may not be any actual contradiction here.

Christian is also the author of a series of aphoristic poems written on paper or inscribed in the snow:

"Fate is at the door.
There is no door.
There is no fate."

Above all, he is the author of courtly love poems to Gloria:

"Today, I'm writing to Gloria.
That's my job.
I'm a writer-to-Gloria.
I do this to seduce her.
I work eight hours a day
Writing to Gloria:
First, the rough draft,
Then the clean copy.
That's my strategy.
But sometimes I also take time out.
Sometimes even a year
So she misses my letters."

Tuesday, 25 December 2007


This is no doubt one of the most famous masks of Justice of Gondwana. In early times
it was thought to have dropped out of the heavens. Archeologists today believe that it
was actually made out of an old shovel. This, they say, in no way detracts from its significance.

In an age endlessly harrassed by incitements to hatred and frantic calls for revenge, my government is determined to reaffirm the intimately held convictions of the inhabitants of this nation as to the very nature of justice. Only recently, one of the wiser men of this land stated the matter in these terms:

Justice is not claimed for the victim: justice is not revenge.

Nor is it claimed for the culprit: it is not punishment.

Justice is claimed for the Law.

The Law itself steps forward as a plaintiff and calls for the protection of the court.

The court is the stage on which transgressions are displayed and the bounds and force of the law solemnly reaffirmed.

Justice thus understood – being neither revenge nor punishment – serves to heal the frame of the community, consolidate the norm and give comfort to all hearts – and even to those that it condemns.

These are the principles that my government reaffirms today as it wishes all peoples and all nations a future freed from the raging fires of hatred and fanaticism and lit by the sun and moon of understanding, forgiveness, serenity, reconciliation and peace.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007


The picture above shows a detail of the Greater Cornea Housing Development Project. It was conceived in conjunction with the huge Gondwanaland Theme Park Project which, in turn, was funded by an International Syndicate with the full support of the former Grand Duke. Both projects were cancelled once the Grand Duke was deposed - but a lot of damage had been done to the landscape and to the economy of this once prosperous province.

As the reader discovers at the end of the (as yet unpublished) third volume of Chronicles of the Greater Dream, Miguel himself reached Lavena some time after the events he relates. He later joined us on a state visit to the Province of Cornea, whose tyrannical Grand Duke had just then been deposed. During this visit, he and the new Prime Minister of the province had an interesting conversation :

“We dined that evening with the young Grand Duke. The Prime Minister, as we learned, is an outstanding historian, and while his scholarly work had never been appreciated by the Grand Duke, his real troubles only began after he published a short story entitled The Service Station.
As summarized for our benefit by the author, the story relates the misadventures of a young man called Omee, who sets out to visit his girl friend in a neighboring town. He stops off at a service station on the freeway, but when he wants to leave again, he is told that the road has momentarily been closed, and that he will have to wait.
The wait goes on and on. Night comes, day returns, a week passes, then a month; more and more people keep turning into the service station and are unable to leave, and the service station itself, in which all these stranded people bed down like campers, keeps growing until it reaches the monstrous proportions of the Grand Duke’s palace.
Since these people can’t go anywhere, they must find ways of paying their keep. They are hired by the service station manager to clean up, serve food, watch and spy on one another, and even arrest, judge and incarcerate one another. They must also be fed, of course, and since the service station bar serves only junk food, that’s all they get. The men soon begin to crave company, and the accommodating manager brings in a busload of prostitutes, and even shows X-rated films once a week in his office.
The same bus occasionally drives the people to a neighboring fun fair, where they all have a virtual good time, and as days pass, they find their lives turning increasingly upon the contents of the sandwiches they will be served for lunch, the girls with whom they will be able to spend a few minutes in the evening or the roller-coaster ride they plan to take on Friday afternoon.”
“And how does it end?” I asked.
The Prime Minister made a rueful face.
“The end is simple, Mr. Errazu,” he said. “One day, the road is opened again, but none of them know where to go.”

This short narrative, recorded towards the end of Miguel's history, appears suggestive of the spirit in which he wrote the book: as though the whole thing were a metaphor and was meant to remind its readers of the place they had meant to reach when they first set out on their journey.

Sunday, 11 November 2007


This is what Eburnea looked like when we first passed through the town three years ago. Town and port together appeared to embody the state of the land as a whole.
The city (like the land itself) was derelict, and the port, as you can see from the picture, had dried up entirely in the half-century during which it had been cut off from the sea. Ocean-going cargos and liners that had not been able to leave on time had settled down gradually and turned into rotting hulks. We were all deeply distressed by the sight.
Meanwhile, further up the bay, the port city of Cornea, hub of commerce and historic purveyor of counterfeit goods world-wide, had developed like a thriving cancer. Or so we were told. We only later verified this ourselves.
This and much else, was the consequence of a number of deliberate and ill-informed decisions taken by the colonial authorities, firmly determined to destroy the fundamental qualities and strange individuality of the land, while filling their own pockets beyond all sense or reason.
As we traveled through the land on our way to Levana, we gradually realized the full extent of the damage that had been wrought - it was quite beyond anything we could have imagined.
Whatever government there had been had collapsed a few years before we came and various so-called "warlords" (meaning “psychopathic gangsters”) had, by force, taken over the lucrative mineral resources of the land. This was achieved with the help of a massive inflow of weapons provided by powerful occult interests and miserable children had been conscripted to fight their lucrative battles – losing life, limbs and innocence in the process.
The legendary valley of Umbra had, in the course of fifty years, been turned into a colossal pile of garbage and, since the four main rivers of the land no longer flowed (the consequence of a rash decision taken by the colonial corps of engineers in 1904-05), the entire land was suffering from a great drought. At the same time, the Mahashunya desert had begun to expand and was even threatening the capital, Levana, while the age-old culture of the desert, which had thrived thanks to its millennial trade in Dreamstones, had been utterly ruined, as a result of which its capital city, Sabea, abandoned by its population, had become a lost city.
What had caused this disaster? If we are to believe the views expressed by Ramanag in his memorable speech (reported in full by Miguel in the second episode of his Chronicles), those who then ruled the great colonial powers had, in recent years, made an intimate pact with “mere wealth and mere power.” They had taken to their hearts the indispensable tools of science and rationality and had made themselves their submissive slaves while neglecting the purpose that these admirable tools were expected to serve.
This submission, Ramanag suggests, is like a drug, which leads its victims to assume that wealth alone is proof of their existence, ans to they think themselves immeasurably superior to those who are free of that self-destructive vice. They themselves became the contented slaves of the sole law of profit, and this form of slavery, I am told, is still quite successfully imposed everywhere in the world today, wherever the monopoly of power and the accumulation of wealth by the great machines of commerce has become an inherent purpose to the detriment of the well-being of the communities they were formerly expected to serve.
Ramanag was convinced that the Third Hemisphere alone can provide the antidote to this poison – and this antidote, he declared, was the Greater Dream – in other words, the state of minde favored by an uninterrupted dialogue between the human community and the community of the Emblemata - the Living Statues found only in our country.
Miguel’s presentation of the Emblemata in "The Riddle of the Seal" remains the best approach to this singular feature of the land and the fullest information is provided in the third episode of the Chronicles, "The Garden of all the Dreams – which is still awaiting publication.
I myself can confirme that the restoration of the Greater Dream in Gondwana has been followed by a well-night miraculous recovery of the land: Today, three years after we discovered this scene of desolation, Eburnea is once more open to the sea and a thriving port, the four rivers are flowing, the Valley of Umbra is on its way to recovery and Sabea itself is revived. The most important part of my mission, as I travel around the world today, is to present this news in an acceptable form to all those I meet. This must be done with utmost tact because resistance can be considerable at times. For this reason, too, my hope is that Miguel’s book will be widely read and understood, since his presentation strikes most people asremarkably convincing.
[My thanks to Erik de Villoutreys for the splendid illustration that goes with this entry. Don't fail to click on the picture to get a full screen enlargement of it. You can then enlarge it further (to 150%, for instance), and move through it from side to side and also up and down].

Thursday, 1 November 2007


I've been away in Gondwana for some time now, chiefly because we have been worried about Miguel Errazu who has given no news since he set out to explore the Hortus a few months ago. Readers will find out all about the Hortus (or Garden) in the Third Episode of the Chronicles, but I should explain that it's a vast territory that has never been systematically explored.

At the time I left the country, two days ago, there was still no news, but we all hope to have some in the coming weeks.

I did however see our dear professors (Herbert and Wilhelmina) in Levana, and they kindly gave me an excerpt from the article they will be devoting to the Geography of Gondwana in the Encyhclopaedia Gonduanensis. It contains the sort of information they had already promised to post a few weeks ago... Here it is.

The Geography of Gondwana

As we said earlier on this Blog, cosmographic speculation about Gondwana has been particularly difficult in the past. But all this has recently changed. Spectacular progress in the field of satellite photography now allows pictures to be taken from unprecedented altitudes by using MRI (Mental Resonance Imagery - see below). This innovative technique has produced the startling view of the entire continent of Gondwana shown above. Although its landmass is equal to that of Asia, very little is presently known about the country. Certainly the most striking images that have been sent back from space are those shown in animation of the home page of the Greater Dream Project Website (

The above picture, based on the first thorough sattelite survey of the land has been modified to bring out the coastline and simplify the task of geographers working on navigational maps. The Venture Islands appear in the Northwest corner of the map. The Far Furlew Islands lie at some distance to the North. Some have pointed out that the outline of the continent somewhat resembles a cross-cut of the human brain. We have no significant comment to make about that!

Based on the preceding document, this hypothetical view shows the continent as it presumably was about 1.5 million years ago, prior to the fusion of its two halves, which finally met after having drifted aimlessly across the earth’s mantle for several millions of years. This tremendous tectonic collision gradually raised the great Mahakalpa mountain range (on the eastern landmass) and turned the former Midland Sea into the fearful central desert known today as the Mahashunya, often called the Anvil of the Sun. Both topographical features have come to play a fundamental role in the philosophy of the land. And here's one last picture for today... It shows the area surrounding the bay of winds.

lThis sattelite photo shows part of North central Gondwana in the springtime. The Bay of Winds, with its many islands, appears top centre. Eburnea is at the southernmost end of the bay. Cornea and its great port, a little further up its eastern coast. It is reproduced here with kind permission of Jean-Paul Agosti, Chairman of the National Geographic Society, University of Levana, Gondwana.

And here, finally is something about MRI
The technique of Mental Resonance Imagery (MRI) has existed much longer than the universally familiar Magnetic Resonance Imagery now used to such excellent effect in medicine and other disciplines. Mental Resonance Imagery is comparable to the sonar used by bats and submarines, which maps out the environment by gauging the sound that bounces off an obstacle or a prey.
Mental Resonance Imagery (hereafter MRI) emits messages of every kind which bounce off the thoughts and emotions of others and allows the person emitting them to map the other person’s mind and personality with a fair degree of accuracy. In former times, this was known as conversation.
Appreciations based on MRI are inevitably as subjective as is the appreciation of the bat when it pursues a gnat. But the fact that the bat more often than not manages to swallow the gnat should encourage us to assume that the creature’s subjective perceptions somehow produce valid and reliable data. This appears to provide an interesting argument in favour of MRI in general, although its uses in mapping apply a somewhat different technique, which cannot be fully discussed here.

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Tuesday, 16 October 2007

France is with us, too!

I've neglected this blog over these last two weeks, my duties having taken me to distant parts.

In the interval, I'm delighted to say, France has just joined us - in the sense at least that Miguel's book is now available in that country, too (see the link below).

The Government of Gondwana welcomes the fact, and proclaims its enduring friendship for France.

Sunday, 30 September 2007

The University of Levana Press

Beach Forest

Though it may not be widely known at this stage, Miguel Errazu wrote Chronicles of the Greater Dream after the Government of Gondwana got in touch with him and asked him to do so.
The book is published by the UK branch of the University of Levana Press, which has once more become operational after a deplorable break of several decades.
The book itself is part of a broader gonvernmental project, The Greater Dream Project designed to protect the international interests of the country by providing the international community with reliable information - at last. The project includes the book, a website, the present blog, a projected international Greater Dream Congress (still very much in the planning stage) and a worldwide campaign of general information. Miguel goes into this in detail in the third volume of the Chronicles.

This being said, our friends at the University Press are very excited to learn that the Chronicles are now available in Japan and they have have asked me to inform the public on this blog.

And while you're at it, they suggested, you might as well also give the links for Amazon US and UK.

I tend to forget these practical points, and they do well to remind me.

With this go our greetings to our many friends in Japan. The illustration above was sent in by one of them. This brings him out warmest thanks.

To order from Amazon JP:

To order from Amazon US:

To order from Amazon UK:

Friday, 28 September 2007

The country's name

A couple of days ago I mentioned a meeting to discuss changing the country's name. The reasons for this are worth telling. The whole thing hinges on a paragraph in Michael Gibson's introduction to The Riddle of the Seal:

"In ages past", he writes, "the inhabitants of its countless provinces, towns, villages and hamlets, had no single name for the land. The present name only entered common usage after the first of the great Navigators reached its shores five hundred years ago and asked the first man they chanced upon what land this might be. He promptly replied: “Go’ndwa-ná,” and so it was set down on their maps. Only later, when scholars reached the land and began to study some of its many languages, did it appear that “Go’ndwa-ná!” actually meant: 'I’m sorry! I don’t understand'!”

The first suggestion for a change of name came a few years ago, shortly after I addressed the UN. I happened upon delegates of various countries (including Beluchistan, Pakistan, Afghanistan - and several other "stans"),and one of them, a notorious wit, suggested, with a perfectly straight face, that the country's be changed to Yaydon-Unnastan."

We all laughed and dropped the subject. I very much doubt that such an initiative can actually achieve anything more than add to the confusion, but since some delegates began discussing the proposal seriously when they came across me in the hallway, pointing out that their own countries had changed names after the departure of the colonial powers, I thought we'd better have a meeting that would lay the matter to rest. And, as we all know, the best way to do this without hurting anyone's feelings is to appoint a committee to examine the question.
And so, since Herbert and Wilhelmina both had business in Europe at that time, they agreed to attend this meeting as experts, play along with the idea as long as necessary to help me shelve the project.

I'd talked all this over at a cabinet meeting at home, and shortly thereafter, dear Angelo who, as you know, is a poet, urged me to stand fast and, handing me a translation he'd recently made of a short poem by Francis Jammes, added these enigmatic words: "Once we realize that we don't understand, we've made a decisive step in the right direction, don't you think?"
Here's what he gave me:

When I am dead, you, with blue eyes
The color of tiny fireblue water-beetles,
Young girl whom I dearly loved,
And who are like an iris in
The Animated Flowers,
You'll come and take me gently by the hand.
You'll lead me down this little hidden path.
You won't be naked, no, but, O my dear, sweet rose!
Your mild breast will blossom within your blouse of mauve.
We won't even kiss one another on the forehead
But, hand in hand, skirting the new-green brambles
Where the grey spiders sit and weave their rainbows,
We'll shape a silence soft as honey.
And now and then, when you sense my sadness rising,
You'll press your slender fingers harder on my hand
And together, stirred like lilacs in a thunderstorm,
We won't understand... we won't understand.

The Animated Flowers, by the way; was a French publication of the nineteenth century, which had apparently caught the poet's fancy. I looked it up and couldn't find the iris, but I did find another flower (posted above), which gives an idea of the sort of beauty that enchanted the French poet.
Not really my style, but tastes do change!

Thursday, 27 September 2007

I'd like to comment on the music you hear on the Greater Dream website (

The fine elfine features above are those of Birgit Yew, an outstanding 'cellist and all-round musician who has received a good classical training and has developed an original approach to Celtic folk music.

The music performed on the website is her own composition (Twilight).

In this unusual rendering of a Celtic melody, she makes use of the eerie harmonics of her instrument - these are the unusual, crystalline notes you hear at the beginning.

Several of her compositions and arrangements can also be heard on her sites.

Thank you, Birgit!

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Professors Herbert Hughes and Wilhelmina Roberts
I’m back in Paris for a a number of meetings at UNESCO, also attended by Professors Herbert Hughes and Wilhelmina Roberts, senior editors of the new edition of the Encyclopaedia Gonduanensis (presently in the works) and collators of the learned Notes and Comments section published at the end of Miguel’s Chronicles.
We are here there to examine a proposal to change the name of our country. The idea was brought up recently at the UN by a number of countries that had gone through much the same sort of post-colonial experience as our own, but I doubt that anything will actually come of it. I’m not even sure that it’s really desirable to do so (more about this some other day)
The professors’ presence on this occasion was a fortunate coincidence, since it allowed pass on an interesting question I received today from Lady Singleton (click below).
In brief, the lady would like to know just where she she can find Gondwana on the map.

I’m so glad you asked that question, dear Lady Singleton, and here’s what our encyclopaedic professors have to say about the subject (after consultation with a few of their collaborators).

There’s been a tremendous amount of speculation and controversy about this very question through the millenia and references to the country are found in a number of works of great antiquity - which shows that the ancient world was entirely aware of its existence.
As Mr. Lonternough points out on the Greater Dream website ( two of the country’s major seaports, Eburnea and Cornea are mentioned by Homer (Odyssey, XIX, 562-569) where they are called the Gate of Ivory and the Gate of Horn (see also Michael Gibson’s “Scholarly Introduction” to volume I of the Chronicles).

An intriguing diagram is found in a ninth-century manuscript of Ptolemy’s “Handy Tables” now in the Royal Library in Levana (and also, in a variant form, in the Vatican Library). In the Levana MS, a sphere is shown resting upon a hemisphere rather like a sculpture on its pedestal. One may be reminded of certain myths in which the earth is said to rest on the back of a giant turtle. A turtle shell is also a hemisphere, of course, and the point may be relevant, though it doesn’t appear to have been noted so far by any of the respected authorities.
Further and more oblique references are encountered in Aristotle’s treatise on Memory, in the Dialogues of Plato (passim), in several of the manuscripts of the Revelations of Hermes Trismegistus (see Festugières’ definitive work on this subject), as well as in the works of Giordano Bruno and others (including, most recently, Hölderlin).
What we call Gondwana today was referred to in Antiquity as the Third Hemisphere (Tertium Hemisphaerium). This has been taken quite literally at times, as can be seen in the above diagram, but a recent archeological discovery opens some new and intriguing perspectives.


This brooch or fibula (actual size) was discovered in a 1st millennium BC tomb site outside Levana. Thanks to Michel Mauraisin, director of excavation at the site for allowing us to use this picture.

Many experts today believe that the silver brooch in the shape of a Moebius Loop (above), dating from the first millennium BC and only recently discovered in one of the royal Barrows outside Levana, illustrates the surprising direction taken by the topological speculation of the country’s earliest cosmographers.
Our colleagues at the department of Psychology at our university point out that this loop or strip offers a helpful topological representation of the way the imagination interacts with practical experience.
They point out that in such a strip, a single continuous surface may connect two distinct points initially inscribed on opposite sides of the sheet of paper – before it was twisted into professor Moebius’ paradoxical shape. The full implications of this remain to be explored.
(Any one interested in the Moebius Strip can look it up by using this link
This leads to a further important comment: the region referred to as the Third Hemisphere in the Western world, was known to 12th century Arab geographers as the Eighth Climate. According to a number of earlier thinkers the Third Hemisphere or Eighth Climate stand in direct continuity with the two other hemispheres and climates, but on the other side of the page, so to speak – hence the need for the idiosyncratic loop as a topological model. Persian geographers, too, as early as the 12th century, were calling Gondwana Na-Koja-Abad – the Nowhere Place, from which, they held, all knowledge flows.
New developments in satellite photography have allowed geographers and cosmographers to make great progress in the elaboration of a coherent scientific model. We propose to go into this tomorrow or the next day, providing the FM is willing.

Of course I'm willing, dear Herbert and Wilhelmina, you know the subject far better than I do!

Saturday, 22 September 2007

When I was in New York recently, I called on Irene Thimble, Vice-President of the Women’s Butterfly Watcher’s Auxiliary.

Gondwana owes a lot to this remarkable organization, whose highly confidential history goes back nearly a century.

As Miguel's readers know, it was a force behind the liberation of Theseus Managras, who had been detained for several years in a secret prison in a state of artificially induced amnesia. The WBWA is mentioned in passing in the first chapter of Miguel’s book, and readers are only informed of its true and most surprising history in an article belatedly compiled for the Notes and Comments section of the end of the third episode (which we hope to see in print next year).

Irene was a professional pianist all her life and still plays very well. She is also a widely read woman endowed with considerable humor and wit, as I gathered as soon as she opened her door, since I could hardly fail to notice the earrings she was wearing.

With her permission, I took a photograph of them. I also took one of her own kind face, but she modestly declines to have it posted on this blog. I did manage to reach a compromise however, and while I may not show her face, she has granted me permission to show the face of the clock that hangs on her kitchen wall, together with the delightful flowery wall paper that I admired all through a sumptuous lunch she served as we sat there, all together, in the company of her husband and a few friends.

Friday, 21 September 2007

The Great Seal called the Diard-en-Dnaid

The facade of the Granary (conference center) in New Harmony, Indiana

I had dinner this evening with Michael Francis Gibson, Gondwana's newly appointed Ambassador at Large, who returned only a few days ago from the United States where he had gone to lecture about Gondwana in New Harmony, Indiana.

This interesting little town treasures the memory of the great 19th century industrial reformer Robert Owen (who attempted to set up an innovative industrial center there) and it occasionally convenes symposia devoted to the sort of issues of society that would surely have interested him.

This symposium was devoted to World Heritage cultural cities and cultural landscapes, and Michael was invited to lecture about Gondwana which, in the view of the organizers, constitutes one great cultural landscape. Let's hope the country makes the World Heritage List in the near future!

Michael was very much struck to observe the nine windows of the street facade of the old Granary, in which he spoke - which very much resembles the pattern of the great seal of Gondwana, the Diard-en-Dnaid. He showed me a picture he took of it on that occasion. He said this sort of coincidence might be viewed as an omen - assuming that one actually believes in omens.
We were both deeply gratified to note the interest with which our sorely-tried country was recieved by the distinguished company assembled there. As Foreign Minister of the Federation of Gondwana (FOG) I most sincerely thank them for the stirring warmth of their reception and the singular honor they do us.
For detailed information about the seal and its inscription, go to the website and click on About the Seal. This site was recently put on line by Friends of the Greater Dream, a non-profit association established this year to win international support for the cultural policies of the newly established government of Gondwana.
I really can't resist quoting the association's thrilling declaration of purpose:
"We believe in the democracy of the daydream.
We don’t want to change the world.
We only want to change the way people imagine the world.
And if this should somehow also cause the world to change,
would there really be cause to complain?"

A snag in the tyrannical grid of the daily routine: the sky appears and the snag becomes a bird. (Double-click on the picture to get a good view of it). Photo by Gilles Derome.

First day

I’m inaugurating this blog today with the idea of offering occasional comments arising out of my own reading of Miguel Errazu'’s Chronicles of the Greater Dream (see links below).
I’ve only just read the first chapter and I’m amazed at how little Teddy, Angelo and Dexter we discover then, resemble the men I know today.
Teddy, at the time, was still wandering aimlessly through the woods of amnesia. Angelo’s mangled body was vivid testimony to his unexpected encounter with a freight train (he had been trying to escape from Wisiwygh’s agents). As for Dexter, the way he paraded through life with his umbrella suggests that he’d actually swallowed it.
Gondwana somehow managed to heal us all. Padraic


The Greater Dream Project Website

The Riddle of the Seal, the first episode of Miguel's Chronicles of the Greater Dream, was published this month by The University of Levana Press (UK), with six illustrations and a map by Izhar Cohen, a "Scholarly Introduction" by Michael Francis Gibson and a thoroughly documented Notes and Comments section compiled by Professors Herbert Hughes and Wilhelmina Roberts, co-editors of the new edition of the 24-volume Encyclopaedia Gonduanensis. Both professors teach at the University of Levana, the capital of Gondwana. The book is available on Amazon in the UK and the US.

Amazon UK

And US

Who am I?
I’m Padraic Lonternough and I turn up in the second chapter of Miguel Errazu’s Chronicles of the Greater Dream, a full account of recent events in Gondwana.
My first name, by the way is the Gaelic equivalent of Patrick. Padraic (pronounced Fawdrig) is the proper Gaelic spelling. A truly brilliant stratagem devised long ago to confuse a persistent enemy.
I readily tolerate being called Patrick.
There's no need to go into my personal history here but, as I inaugurate this blog, I should explain how I fit into the story.
I moved or, more accurately, fled to Gondwana a few years ago to escape from the total vacuity of the consumer society. I was drawn there by my growing interest in apes. I’m a primatologist, and I went to Gondwana to study the great apes of the tropical rainforest, Gorilla Gorilla Gonduanensis – a really huge creature that stands, in relation to our own Gorillas as does the Great Dane to the Dachshund.
How Teddy and I met is recorded in the second chapter of Miguel’s book and I’ll leave it to Miguel to tell that story. In any event, that meeting had momentous consequences for both of us and it quite changed my life.
I no longer study apes today. I’m Foreign Minister of Gondwana and I run tirelessly around the world, settling old quarrels and doing my very best to establish constructive relations with all countries. A calling, someone recently pointed out to me, not so far removed from my former line of work in which I successfully established friendly relations with a two-ton gorilla… You might say that I now study people.