587. The army (VI)
If you read accounts about Charlie Manson—about whom more presently—you will find a little story about how while the Manson “Family” was camped out in Death Valley a gold prospector named Paul Crockett managed to deprogram two Mansonites; the pair eventually stayed in the area and became musicians. You might pause to think that it is slightly strange that a gold prospector should be able to deprogram cultheads, yet Crockett was no ordinary gold prospector—a fact most accounts miss.
Born to a minister, Crockett long had a mystical side—when he was a teenager he survived a tumble from a car and later, as a navigator in the USAF, he remained untouched when shrapnel shredded the cabin in which he sat. On both occasions, Crockett reported a sensation that was somewhat akin to a “protection bubble” around him. He was in the desert as much to undertake mystical reflection as to search for gold. Nietzsche: “Truthful I call him who goes into godless deserts, having broken his revering heart. In the yellow sands, burned by the sun, he squints thirstily at the islands abounding in wells, where living things rest under dark trees. Yet his thirst does not persuade him to become like these, dwelling in comfort; for where there are oases there are also idols.” While Crockett walked alone as a prospector, Manson located his Family on ranches—on oases in the desert, where they worshipped the idol Manson.
As with Manson, Crockett had studied Scientology; indeed, he had studied with the first five members of Scientology—he left because the group was too much into “control” for his liking. Crockett’s view was that the godhead resides within as light and that the light becomes bound with matter, it “falls” into data—into thoughts and emotions. To identify with the godhead is to identify with the light. Secondarily to this idea, Crockett held that people are imprisoned by implicit agreements—often made deep in childhood (e.g. mother pinches the boy’s cheek and says, “He’s my good boy.”). To break the implicit agreements is necessary to reunify with the godhead, since the agreements “bind the light”—confine a person to a reality tunnel and deny total reality.
Crockett immediately noticed that the Mansonites he encountered had been bound by implicit agreements to Manson. Crockett’s first step to break the conditioning was to have the acolytes undertake heavy physical labour connected to gold prospecting—the hard labour forced them back to the present, in a move not unlike Gurdjieff’s “work”. Crockett eventually had them go back to Manson and ask to be released from his bonds before his Family; since Manson’s game included the notion that Manson was servant, not master, to his followers, Manson had to comply or else be revealed as a hypocrite—when he did so the acolytes foregrounded their implicit bonds with Manson and were freed from his influence. They then went on to compose music about angels and the desert in association with Crockett—perhaps only a few are truly deprogrammed, Crockett reprogrammed them to a milky path.
Every time Manson tried to approach the site where Crockett had temporarily stopped to prospect something went wrong with his dune buggy or the weather. Manson came to think that Crockett’s psychic waves frustrated him. Crockett was a “god on the mountain” who defied Manson and queered his plans. Accuracy: Crockett extracted gold from ore—he was an alchemist.
When Crockett was later interviewed by the police with the two ex-Mansonites he was, noted prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi, surprisingly quiet—the ex-acolytes did the talking. The police enquired why, Crockett replied that Manson would be able to feel the vibrations from what he said; and he wanted to avoid psychic contact with the killer. To return to old Nietzsche: “It was ever in the desert that the truthful have dwelt, the free spirits, as masters of the desert: but in the cities dwell the well-fed, famous wise men—the beasts of burden.”