By Warren Ellis
She's in a medical institution. other than it can be a police station. She's been traumatized. Or she's been arrested. She's the single residing witness of a cattle-mutilation variety assault on people. Or she's a a number of killer who has a psychotic response to heroin use. Who would possibly not live to tell the tale gaining knowledge of who she rather is?
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Arguments that discount her relevance therefore fail on basic empirical grounds. Rather than reduce Heaven’s Gate to the result of Applewhite’s alleged psychological state, one must consider the cultural and social dimensions of their past histories and shared experiences, and the 24 << The Cultural and Religious Origins of Heaven’s Gate development of the group itself. For example, representations of space aliens and UFOs in popular culture and the ufology subculture, Nettles and Applewhite’s past studies of Asian religions, theosophy, and Christianity, and the social dynamics of the counterculture of the late 1960s and 1970s all provided equal muses as the two constructed their religious worldview.
70 A limited transcript of the meeting provides more details on the content of the Two’s teachings in Waldport. 71 This “kingdom,” which the Two generally referred to as the “Next Level” in this meeting, represented both the Heaven of the Bible and the heavens of science. “A kingdom nestles life that is real, that can 38 << The Cultural and Religious Origins of Heaven’s Gate be reached among those who attain to it. . ”72 The Two explicitly argued that the Next Level of which they spoke was a physical, corporeal place, and not an ethereal plane of existence.
In adopting the mantle of seekers, Nettles and Applewhite were not aberrations, and while their method of dropping all familial and social connections to wander may seem extreme, it in fact represented a far broader religious milieu. The 1950s had witnessed Jack Kerouac and the beatniks engaging in a similar phenomenon, and in the 1960s of course waves of countercultural youth had wandered the nation’s cities and byways and become known as the hippies. The late 1960s and early 1970s were a decade of seekers.
Atmospherics by Warren Ellis