The future of The Teeming Brain

If you can believe it, I have now been writing this blog for six years. Today is The Teeming Brain’s birthday. I launched it on June 13, 2006, and was surprised and gratified to see a sizable audience come together rather rapidly.

In the launch post I said, among other things:

The expression “teeming brain” comes from a famous poem by the English Romantic poet John Keats in which he expressed his “fears that I may cease to be / Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain.” In other words, he was saying that he felt so fertile with unexpressed thoughts, emotions, and impressions that he was afraid he might die before he had the chance to write down everything that was demanding to be written. I sometimes share this sentiment; hence, my loose borrowing of Keats’ wonderfully evocative term. I’m one of those unfortunate types who is saddled with a volcanically active intellectual, emotional, and imaginative life that I frequently squander due to a lack of time, opportunity, and quite often the sheer will to bring all of it out into the open instead of letting it rot and die inside me. So I’ve created this blog as one modest effort among several others to help me glean my teeming brain before it kills me. (Incidentally, I also like the term “teeming brain” because it conjures up a vague image of a brain or psyche that’s bristling with bizarre, half-formed organisms like schools of mutant fish shimmering and struggling for dominance in psychic space. Or at least that’s one connotation it has for me personally. Chalk it up to my long-running love affair with the writings and persona of H.P. Lovecraft and a few other relevant horror writers.)

…[M]ost of my greatest satisfactions and even exhilarations in life have come from discovering that my own deepest, most personal insights and observations have been shared and expressed by someone else. Essentially, I take what Tom Ligotti identified as the sole authentic consolation of fictional horror in his indispensable essay “The Consolations of Horror” and expand it to apply to life as a whole: “This, then, is the ultimate, that is only, consolation: simply that someone shares some of your own feelings and has made of these a work of art which you have the insight, sensitivity, and — like it or not — peculiar set of experiences to appreciate.” If it should so happen that something I say in text or music, that some thought, emotion, or idea that I express in a journal entry, short story, song, or rant, ends up invoking that same sense of identification in somebody else — perhaps you?  — and that it perhaps helps to solidify and sharpen your own thoughts and feelings about the matter, then the question [of why I’m writing this blog] will have answered itself.

That all seems like a long time ago, and yet the thoughts and sentiments expressed in that post are still current, still relevant. I’m still gleaning my teeming brain, and am still finding it gratifying when, as often happens, the results resonate with other people, whose reactions then speak back to me in a synergistic symbiosis of minds and affects.

That said, in recent months and years it has become evident to me that this is all unfolding under a broad but definite supervening theme. This is distinct from, but deeply interwoven with, the fact that The Teeming Brain is bound up with my evolving outlook, worldview, sensibility, relationships, and circumstances.

The theme in question is the personal reality, impact, and implications of apocalypse. I mean the word in its root sense of “the lifting of a veil” or “a revelation” that results in the “disclosure of something hidden from the majority of mankind in an era dominated by falsehood and misconception” (as Wikipedia currently has it).

Anybody who’s hung out here any length of time will be well aware that I make frequent use of this space to track doomer trends, dystopian developments, and collapse-oriented news in economics, education, ecology, energy use, and more, right alongside the ongoing focus on books, films, psychology, spirituality, creativity, horror, and the paranormal. What I’ve come to realize is that this lies at the heart of what the blog is all about, for the simple reason that it lies at the heart of what I myself am all about: seeing deeply into things, sensing the ideas and principles that underlie conventional surface understandings, and observing how this overturns and transforms both reality at large and personal life up close, often in the most intimate and unnerving of ways. Some years ago the reviewer of my Divinations of the Deep for Cemetery Dance wrote that “In each of these stories, the author personalizes the apocalyptic question of ultimate power and order.” Lately, I’ve begun to realize that he was hitting upon something truly foundational. We are now beginning to see things come apart at the seams here on planet earth, and this raises the question of ultimate power and order: of how things really work on a planetary and cosmic scale, and of whether we have erected upon this foundation a creaking false facade — materially, technologically, culturally, psychologically, spiritually — that is destined to collapse, with results that will both flow from and lead to epic transformations in consciousness and culture. This is all staring us right in the face, and is all demanding a personal response to apocalyptic issues. I can’t see it any other way. And this, obviously, amounts to an issue far larger than just me and my desire to have a place to vent all of those teeming thoughts.

So, in short, I’ve realized that The Teeming Brain has outgrown itself. Or at least it has outgrown its current form. And that means some changes are in order.

In the near future I’ll be rolling out (unveiling?) a thoroughly re-visioned version of what you see here now. The Teeming Brain 2.0, you could call it.  It will be more expansive and inclusive in its underlying approach while remaining focused on the same multiverse of ideas and issues that have been in its sights all along. I hope you’ll stick around, because things are about to get a lot more interesting around here.

For now, just know that whether you’ve been here from the start or joined me somewhere along the way, I truly appreciate your presence and support. Six years represents a large chunk of a human lifetime, and it’s a fine thing to spend it in meaningful contact with kindred spirits.

About Matt Cardin

Teeming Brain founder and editor Matt Cardin is the author of DARK AWAKENINGS, DIVINATIONS OF THE DEEP, A COURSE IN DEMONIC CREATIVITY: A WRITER’S GUIDE TO THE INNER GENIUS, and the forthcoming TO ROUSE LEVIATHAN. He is also the editor of BORN TO FEAR: INTERVIEWS WITH THOMAS LIGOTTI and the academic encyclopedias MUMMIES AROUND THE WORLD, GHOSTS, SPIRITS, AND PSYCHICS: THE PARANORMAL FROM ALCHEMY TO ZOMBIES, and HORROR LITERATURE THROUGH HISTORY.

Posted on June 13, 2012, in Religion & Philosophy, Society & Culture, The Teeming Brain and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. Happy Anniversary, Matt. I’m so glad you’re still gleaning, and sharing it with the rest of the class.

  2. That headline had me worried. Happy anniversary Matt, very grateful to know TTB is moving forward. You have created something unique here and I look forward to what you have yet to share.

  3. Looking forward to whatever you have coming next. You are dead-on about the moment in time we are living in, and I always enjoy (is that the right word?) reading your thoughts on it (been lurking for a few years). The one thing, however, that really makes our era different from most religious and literary apocalypses is the lack of a discrete event. Revelation or unveiling by degrees rather than in one bright flash.

    • Great to meet you, nightwork. From one long-time lurker to another (I’ve hung out unannounced at many blogs over the years), I thank you for delurking to share your thoughts. I think you’re quite right about the contrast between the sudden, distinct apocalypses of religion and literature and the longform nature of our current real-world one, which is no less authentically apocalyptic for being so gradual. A good observation.

  4. Looking forward to whatever you unveil here

  5. Many happy returns. Great site.

  6. Happy 6 years of intellectual pursuits. May the following 6 years prove just as fruitful with intriguing insights and interesting topics to engage in.

    • You’re basically illustrating or adding weight to what I said in the post about finding it gratifying whenever people resonate with and respond to the things I’ve shared and written here. “Intriguing insights,” “interesting topics” — those are words I truly appreciate, just like I appreciate your taking the time to offer positive wishes.

  7. The Consolations of Horror resonated deeply with me, too. I suppose that’s why I have enjoyed your blog so much. Not everything you write resonates with me but more of what you write puts into words things I’ve thought than at most blogs I read. Congrats on your anniversary and I look forward to 2.0!

    • Tom’s essay is a philosophical-artistic touchstone for me. I’m glad it speaks to you as well. He told me awhile back that he has sort of moved on from the ideas he expressed in it, but for me it’s still entirely current.

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