YACHT is a Band, Belief System, and Business conducted by Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans of Marfa, Texas and Los Angeles, CA, USA. All people are welcome to become members of YACHT. Accordingly, YACHT is and always will be what YACHT is when YACHT is standing before you.
We understand that creativity is vital to happiness. Creative output is powerless without contact with an audience, which completes the creative act, registering its existence and interpreting its value. We know that to confront the world without ideas is to see the formless void.
We believe that art and spirituality are inseparable; both are concerned with the creation of something from nothing, with form without antecedent. The moment of creation is a kind of spiritual high achievable by anyone willing to transmute an idea into form. Art is ontological birth. No religious culture is without an image-making culture. In more ancient religions, the making of images is the spiritual act itself.
We believe in reforming an adequate language by coining new words and examining the meaning of existing words. For example, Utopia means “No Place.” Thus we understand YACHT’s quest as movement, not a resting point. For example, “I” is a story we tell ourselves. Thus we aim for undifferentiated collective experience.
We seek to explore frontiers and to expand awareness of Extraterrestrial Intelligence (ETI). There is nothing marginal about acknowledging the greater possibility of life in the cosmos; it is chauvinistic, beyond the pale, to imagine otherwise. Also, we believe science is a kind of poetry.
We believe that in the province of the mind, there are no limits. Every person is the master of their own neurological experience. Our minds contain the universe, by the act of comprehending it. Your friends, YACHT, encourage you to test this idea in the laboratory of your own nervous system.
We subscribe to the free online dissemination of all things, including our own music.
We think “Free Wi Fi” is not an advertisement of services, but a political statement.
Our primary goal now is to grow physically, both in tangible objects for consumption and in communal places for people to gather. YACHT will continue to travel, speak, sing, give ontological birth, and seek to know the importance or insignificance of existence. YACHT and the YACHT Trust will strive to build a larger and larger community. The path will be long and strange, and you’re welcome to join us.
Q — How do you write, spell, or say YACHT?
A — YACHT phonetically spelled and spoken: yät, and printed in all capital letters in the following styles: YACHT, Y∆CHT, Y△CHT, Y▲CHT, & Y.A.C.H.T. Capitalization of YACHT is crucial. The name is an acronym which stands for “Young Americans Challenging High Technology;” without proper capitalization this important layer of meaning is entirely lost. It also looks silly — just as “FBI” and “CIA” are senseless without proper capitalization (Fbi, Cia), so Yacht is unacceptable. The significance of the Triangle is outlined below. The optional delta character (∆) represents change, which we believe is relevant since change is the only true constant in YACHT’s artistic output.
Q — Is YACHT compatible with my religion?
A — We see no conflict between the personal ideology of YACHT and any existing religion, as we understand religion to be one of many human approaches to understanding, aestheticizing, and honoring the majesty of a vast, beautiful, and yet impersonal Universe. It is not our interest to debate against organized religion as it exists. This is a tired battlefield soaked with anger, and our aim is only to bring light — and see the darkness disappear around us.
Q — If I believe in God, can I still be a part of YACHT?
A — YACHT is not a religion. YACHT aims to provide an alternative to religion, by creating a community which provides long-lasting meaning and value without dogma or submission. We share many things with spiritual groups: we respect ritual, ceremony, and magic. We desire to turn disassociated people into a group capable of summoning upon itself high, transcendent power. However, we believe that traditional religious dogma can, if we are not intellectually engaged with it, hold us in a kind of prison of the mind. We aim to break free, break molds, and impress upon our members the importance of self-empowerment.
Thus, YACHT itself does not partake in any existing organized religion, nor does YACHT believe in God as most define it. In our minds, God is the Universe and all it contains, including us, and you, which makes each individual a member of a vast pantheon of small gods. Each man and woman on this planet has the power to fulfill their role in this pantheon. Which is to say: each man and woman on this planet can control his or her own position on it.
Our God is something like the philosopher Baruch de Spinoza’s God, one that reveals itself in the orderly harmony, the totality, of what exists, who is the pure essence of everything and every idea in the Universe — not one that concerns itself with the fates and actions of human beings. That said, we are fascinated by all religions, rituals, and spiritual paths, and are students of the history of religion over the ages — which means, yes, we have studied Satanism in its various incarnations, as well as the great pagan animist religions of the Native Americans, Greek and Roman mythology, the shamanism of the Aztecs and Mayans, the mystic knowledge of the ancient Egyptians, the Church of the Latter-Day Saints, the Hollywood plague of Scientology, the Tibetan notions of death, UFO cults, the Hindu reincarnation, the Japanese Shinto, the mystery cults and secret societies of the early century, Buddhism, Zen, the Babylonian-Assyrian myths, fundamentalist offshoot groups, and the psychedelic spiritual anarchism of the mid 1960s. It is an inexhaustible subject which we will undoubtedly study for the rest of our lives, and continue to find interesting. We encourage you to read deeply and broadly about spirituality, and to open your mind to the various possibilities it implies.
Q — What is a mantra?
A — A mantra is word or phrase which has the power to bring about spiritual and physical transformation. Mantras originated in the Vedic tradition of India, and are an essential part of the Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, and Jainist traditions. They are now used by multitudes of faiths and practices around the world as tools for the diversion of the mind from unwanted instincts.
Mantras are tools of power. They are formidable, ancient, and they work. They are symbols of their users’ intent to change their own minds though the transcendence of their ego. A thoughtful practice of mantra recitation can create a profound change in the energy and essence of a person.
There is no ideological conflict between mantra practice and any other belief system. It is simply a tool for personal growth, one which will eventually free you from the vagaries of your mind.
Q — What is the YACHT tattoo policy?
A — YACHT heartily supports the wearing of all tattoos, if their value is significant to the wearer. However, for those who desire a tattoo which directly references YACHT, there are some guidelines regarding “acceptable use” of YACHT iconography.
The standard “YACHT Triangle” tattoo is recommended for those who wish to remain oblique about the reference, those who understand the potent symbolic power of the triangle, those who are concerned with geometry, and first-time tattoo-ees. If in doubt about which tattoo is right for you, consider the Triangle.
In a single figure this symbol may both reveal and conceal, for to the wise the subject of the symbol is obvious, while to the ignorant the figure remains inscrutable. The Triangle is such a rich symbolic figure that any dimension of value can be placed upon it, depending on the wearer’s needs, spiritual evolution, and aesthetic concerns.
The equilateral triangle is not the only option for those seeking a YACHT tattoo, however. A popular choice in the past has been the “classic” YACHT anchor insignia, which holds significance for people attached to the notion of “anchoring” themselves to a concept or place. This tattoo, by virtue of its simple style and iconic look, has the additional value of seeming, on the outset, to be something else.
Anchor tattoos also have a long history.
In maritime lore, the tattooed anchor showed that a seaman had sailed across the Atlantic Ocean. In ancient times among Mediterranean seafarers, the anchor symbolized the sea gods. This religious theme is echoed once again in early Christianity, in which the anchor was used as a covert symbol by virtue of its resemblance to a cross. Indeed, the crux dissimulata is just an anchor. In the current era, the anchor tattoo design has become a symbol for stability, guaranteeing security in the physical world and, in consequence, projecting steadfastness, hope, and trust into the spiritual world.
For more detailed information about YACHT tattoos, size, and placement, please refer to the Official Tattoo Policy.
Q — Will YACHT come and play in my town?
A — YACHT says yes. There is no limit to the places that YACHT has played and is willing to play; the only restraint is the duration of our lifespans, which is something we can all work on together.
Q — Can I use YACHT songs in my videos, podcast, screencast, etc.?
A — You are free to use any and all YACHT music in your non-commercial projects. Begin by visiting the Free Music Archive to download instrumentals, and finish by sending us a link to your project. If you would like to use YACHT music commercially, please contact Jeff Pachman at Domino Publishing Company.
Q — Why Triangles?
A — The Triangle is the symbol chosen to represent the core tenets of the YACHT system. Quite simply, it’s a blank slate. The Triangle has had much significance throughout human history, as a religious and cultural symbol: from the Pythagorean philosophy of ancient greece, the ancient Hindu “seed of manifestation,” the mystery schools and secret societies of early Europe, to the Christian idea of the “holy Trinity.” It has meant so many different things that it can offer something for everybody — you can pick and choose the meaning which works best for you. Some may identify with the triangle as a gay rights symbol, and we endorse that. Some may be attracted to its value as a mathematical, design, or architectural element. Others may delve deeply into the esoteric spiritual meanings of its long history. It is a symbol for everyone — and no one. This is important to us because the most important lesson of YACHT is simply this: self-empowerment.
For those curious about Triangles and their significance, we urge you to download our simple pamphlet.
The YACHT Trust is like a cross between a fan club and a secret society. You might think of it as the Knights Templar of YACHT, valiant, but separate from the band itself. Or you could think of it as a loose organization of people who are “turned on” to any and all components of the YACHT experience, and have committed to engaging with it creatively. No one needs official permission to call themselves a member of the Trust. It’s a self-assigned designation that carries with it only one real responsibility: to fight the ever-present digital stupor of our age by participating in conversation.
To begin, ask questions, fact-check, bounce ideas, or otherwise tune in, you can always begin by writing the YACHT Trust at firstname.lastname@example.org
THE SECRET TEACHINGS
In 2009, right after the release of See Mystery Lights, we wrote a book.
That book, The Secret Teachings of the Mystery Lights: A Handbook on Overcoming Humanity and Becoming Your Own God, was as clear an explanation of the YACHT philosophy as we’ve ever set forth. In no uncertain terms, it delineated our beliefs, the specific form of radical self-empowerment that we attempt to convey to the world in everything that we do.
For several years, the book—a slim but handsome volume bound in faux-calfskin—was only available at YACHT shows. It felt important to hand over each copy personally: so we could answer questions and look at people in the whites of their eyes, so they’d know we meant it. This made copies of The Secret Teachings testaments to their owners’ experiences and care for tactile objects.
Now, however, we’ve decided to evolve The Secret Teachings from an elusive chapbook into a futuristic educational tool. You can still get a paper copy, but we’ve revised and expanded the book into a multitouch iBook, tacking on texts from the archives of YACHT print material distribution: the official YACHT Tattoo Policy, our handout “On Mantra” (which includes rare audio files of all the YACHT mantras) and every single image from the YACHT Catalogue of Influences, in full-color, with extended footnotes.