Nothing's Wrong

May 1990
Santa Fe, New Mexico

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- Jonathan In Progress

...nature. We can't have it several ways. We can't live in obfiscution. I mean, the real question is, "is man good?" You know - because we are going to find out. Because as we move more and more into this cultural domain that I call the imagination, nothing lies between us and the expression of our dreams. You know? And so far, our dreams have been, I think, have been expressed very shoddily. I mean, you know, our cities are like sores, our contributions to the ecosystem of the planet is, uh, plutonian, pesticides, chlorofluorocarbons, and so forth and so on. And apologists for the human race would say, but we had so many strikes against us; the law of gravity, the cost of materials, the resistance of water, air, and so forth and so on. Well, fine, and we are going to get rid of all of that. We are going to enter into the imagination where, you know, the tensile strength of a structure is whatever you say it is. This is the, this is where language comes in, I think. Language is the, uh, sort of the CAD can, the computer assisted drawing software for creating the reality of the imagination. I think it is a very, it's overwhelming, our situation. The potential and the depth of the strikes against us. I mean, it's really, I, uh, what’s going on on this planet is absolutely unique so far as we know. It's never happened before on this planet. Intelligence emerging out of biological organization and actually having a shot at what, who knows? I mean, being itself is some kind of opportunity. The, the reasonable expectation is that nothing exist. Why should anything exist? I mean, seems to me, the most conservative universe would be a dimensionless plenum. A homogeneous, pointless, dimensionless… that makes sense. Why, then is there instead, you know, multiplicity upon multiplicity? I mean teenage mutant ninja turtles! Stuff like that! How in the world do you get from utter emptiness to that kind of thing? The, the richness, the creative force behind it all is awesome and I am, I am not religious in any ordinary sense in fact I am violently anti-religious

- Ganff In Review


- Andrewro In Progress

and these guys, as far as I can tell,  it's a skin game, ah... but..., but... outlandish things are going on inside the psychedelic experience. It seems to imply the thing we had hardly dared hope which is that the world is whatever you say it is if you know how to say it right. And then the whole tasks becomes how do we take control of this language that allows us... aaa... aaa... to say it right. We, we..., I..., I..., I think I speak for most people here, serve the idea that matter is ultimately at the command of mind but we need to move that forward as a demonstrable principle because that, the fear of most people is that we are imprisoned by physics in a sinking submarine and... and yet when you go into these psychedelic spaces

- Luka In Review

what you discover is that all bets are off, that we can't even tell how weird it is. I mean it may be possible to walk to Arturis aaa... if you have the right set of coordinates and aaa... the whole concern is to get the word out, to spread this meme, to empower people, to confirm the existence of these realities for themselves and to begin to form a kind of community consensus about it. You know it's only, I guess in 1992 we will celebrate the 500th anniversary of the discovery of the New World. 500 years ago people discovered the other half of this planet and we're living there now, this is the New World. 500 years ago this didn't exist. What existed was a wast cataract

- Luka In Review

patrolled by sea monsters and the oceans of the world poured off this cataract into the infinite abyss. That was the edge of the world. We, the psychedelic people, are like these early explorers coming back and saying, you know, I sailed west for sixteen days and I didn't go mad. Instead, this is what happened. And I bring news of this, this and this. And what we're accumulating are like the diaries of explorers but there is a world there, it's a mental world, yes, but we are mental creatures, take note of that. If we could go there we would go there and the thing is we don't know that we can't go there. We have never taken the imagination seriously. We have never taken the self management of culture seriously. We've always sort of thought

- Luka In Review

We've always sort of thought things should just go along, uh, like a random walk. But now, because of the immense technical power that's come into our hands, we're the design process of the whole planet. It's now on our desk - and we're being asked to, essentially, step in to stewardship of the entire planetary environment. We have to have then a vision, we have to have a dream; not a vision, or a dream - the vision, the dream. And it can't come from, uh, the personality of individual humanbeings; it has to come out of the bones of the planet. Yeah. And this is I think what the psychedelic experience is broadcasting - it's broadcasting the whole grammatic fractal altogether...

- gorska In Review

all together, all at once image of totality that our religions have sensed and called God that the shaman have learned to use as a vast kind of computer for extracting information and for generating healing energy but it is that there is some kind of controlling minded integrated thing behind Nature and we're not gonna understand that this weekend, next week or ever. This is not a relationship of solving problem, it's a relationship of being a initiate of a mystery and then living your life, you know, in the light of that and, and the task of understanding is endless. Because understanding is simply the integrated coordination of pattern and ature is pattern

- Luka In Review

Nature is pattern upon pattern upon pattern; upon level upon level. It has no depth. It's measure cannot be taken. Everything is infinite and everything is animate and everything is filled with a kind of deep concern for humanity. I mean, we are the lame little brother because we seem to be cut off from all the rest of this. Well that's kind of a Blake-ian take on it.

"The shamanistic cultures themselves having notion of a fall and that, and this may just be the people that we happened to interview in our ear where we're actually studying it, the old days of shamanism were the good days and what we have now is diluted and is that just a matter of..."

- Absaann In Review

cultural contanct with other culture and the original shaminishtci cultures were isolated. Or is it indeed that there is a different quality to the time that

- keaney In Progress

goes off as it crosses the blood-brain barrier. So it's 4 hydroxy N,N-dimethyltryptamine. So it's very interesting that uh, these powerful naturally occurring hallucinogens in many cases only one molecule away from endogenous neurotransmitters. So in answer to your question it's possible to suggest that we're as close one mutation away from significant shifts in the chemical mix of the human brain. And, for instance, in the pineal gland, there's an enzyme called the [?] which is chemically [?]. It's very closely related to the

- wedgewood In Review

related to the harmine alkaloids in ayahuasca. Well, the persistent myth about ayahuasca is that it creates states of group-mindedness and telepathy. The original alkaloid was actually named telepathine until it was discovered that it was structurally similar to harmine which had been previously described by uh, Hochstein and Paradies. So in other words what's going on here is the possibility that language, telepathy, and all of these mental abilities that are unique among human beings have to do with a very, very small number of mutation in the amine, brain-amine production pathways. Uh, one of the things that I want to talk about here is the, the possibility of new forms of communication 


- eva In Review

forms of communication and that the psychedelics can, can stimulate new forms of communication among human beings even in the way that they created language in the first place. In other words, I see language as a model A version of something which could be made a lot, a lot more efficient, and better, and effective. You had something, and then you? Or did you, you? Go ahead.

Audience member: Alright. When humans- when humankind changes direction and goes towards the, the altered state, the psilocybin altered state and that projection what do you think that we would, will do with, with science and all of this stuff that we created that is destroying us?

Well, science. There are different ways to practice science. The Greek style was, science was a spiritual undertaking. The purpose was to know, the idea being that somehow there was something good about knowing. I mean, I had a, a philosophy professor who said, "First of all, I'll teach you how to recognize the truth. Secondly, I'll try to teach  you what's so great about it." And uh, this, this is that kind of a situation. Science, philosophers of science are perfectly aware of the limitations of science. It's the thousands and thousands of workbench scientists who think of themselves as servants of a world religion who create the problem. We need to know how matter works, and we need to know the things which science tells us, but it ha-, it is no basis for extrapolating into human values. And the, the culprit there is the concept of social science. This is an obscene idea and should be disab-, we should disabuse ourselves of it immediately. Social science, psychology, intellectual history, um, you know even linguistics, I would say, and philology, and all of this stuff. These people should find honest work. They're not scientists and they're mucking up. I mean, it was a grand dream of science that it would extend its methods into social phenomena having had such great success in the 19th century with Darwin, and Wallace, and biology. They thought, well, then Herbert Spencer and all these people, why not just extend it into society? But the problem is uh, there are emergent properties in society that exceed the descriptive engines of science. There are emergent properties in biology. I mean, biology is not, may also have to be left out of science. I mean, biology is classificatory and it works very well there but in terms of mechanism and understanding it's pretty murky. DNA was decoded in 1950. The molecular geneticists promised us a golden age shortly to follow, and it's forty years later and they still don't understand gene expression or what all this stuff is in the DNA. Its been very disappointing considering what was promised. I think science is an art. Everything is an art because we have no sure knowledge of anything. I mean, maybe mathematics is not an art because there, you know, you work from, uh, artificially constructed premises. I'm very much very keen on science. I just don't like its philosophical pontifications. As a method it's, it's, uh, it's been very effective, but it's bred great pride in it, and it's thought that it could turn itself to domains where it was completely, uh, inappropriate.

Audience member: I just, uh, I have a lot of questions but I want to try to limit them to uh, maybe a few, one or two. I haven't tried, uh, mushrooms yet. I sent away [??] but a lot of the things that you've been explaining, describing, to me have become a reality over the last year on, um, just the usage of hashish, just ingestion of it. Uh, but I very, I have to say I very, um, I'm probably limited because I'm comparing my experience to the psilocybin descriptions that you give and they sound, you know, tremendous. I think the question that I'm looking for is before you, I guess, got involved with psilocybin and DMT, things like that, were you predisposed to saving the planet and being uh, a human, humanistic type of person and did the DMT and psilocybin take, or did it take you to a more profound awareness of, you know, what you as a human wanted to do?

Well, I've thought about all of this because it's weird to have the life I have. You know, it's so strange. I mean, until I went into therapy I had the, thought I had the most ordinary family in the world, and then once you're in therapy you discover no, no it was the most insane scene you've ever heard of. You just didn't notice. But uh, I've alway-, I've always been interested in nature and I've always 


- eva In Review

nature, and I've always been interested in beauty, and I think it was the pursuit of beauty that served me best because uh, when I was a kid first I started out collecting rocks, and then I collected butterflies, and then in my emergent phallic phase I was an amateur rocketeer, and the major thrill there was setting off these explosive fuels then watching the possibility of shrapnel and all this stuff. And, and then, and then as I got into rockets I got into science fiction, and science fiction I really consider a proto-psychedelic drug because what science fiction does is it gives permission to imagine. It says, "Try it this way, this way, this way!" And then you get, as a kid you get the idea, you know, that anything is possible. That's what science fiction teaches you. And then, uh, and I was really obsessive about science, and I wanted to be an astronautical engineer and Werner von Braun was my hero and all that. And then it sort of flipped at some point and I got in, and I decided that I had been terribly narrow, and I was figuring all this out for myself. I was in some little town in Colorado. And I decided I had been terribly narrow and that it was all in the humanities, and I began reading Henry James and all this stuff. And I was into Aldous Huxley as an example of an English novelist and read Antic Hay, Crome Yellow, After Many a Summer Must Die the Swan, and so forth and so on, and then came upon The Doors of Perception and just, you know, I was like 14 years old and it was a-, astonishing and I said, "If a tenth of this is true then this is the most amazing thing there is." Well, if you've read The Doors of Perception, you know, it's actually a terribly conservative gloss. I mean, it's all about looking about pictures and seeing the istigkeit in the folds of your trousers, and thinking about how that relates to Meister Eckhart, and all this Huxleyan type stuff, but that gave me the idea and then I stuck with it. I stuck with it somehow and found marijuana, and that went on to LSD, and then my great good fortune, I think, is that just a few months after I took LSD somebody brought me DMT. And, and you know, DMT is a miracle. I mean, DMT is like something that fell out of a flying saucer. I mean, it is so strong and so psychedelic. I mean, I don't, I can't imagine being more smashed than that or wanting to be. I mean, it's, it's, it's more like a near-death experience than any near-death experience I ever heard anybody describe. They sound absolutely pedestrian compared to a DMT trip where, you know, you're sure your dead. You say, "What the hell else could it be," you know? And then I went to, I went to Asia. I was at Berkeley when I had all these drug experiences and then I went to Asia and tried to find it with yogas and all that, and ended up smoking a lot of hashish and becoming more cynical than ever about spirituality and just saying, you know, hashish and LSD, that was, before I went to the Amazon, that was what I discovered that really convinced me you could get somewhere was, you know, take a bunch of LSD and then smoke great hash on top of that, and really crazy things do go on. And then I went to the Amazon and uh, incredible shamanism is happening there. I mean they're not, they don't hold back. The method I used in India was I would just say, you know, what can you show me? You know, I've read all these books. I know how to manipulate all this multisyllabic mumbo jumbo, but just one thing! They said, "you know, very pushy." So, but then when you go to South America then they just say, "Ok, let's go out in the forest, we get this stuff, we cook it up, and tonight we'll show you our best trick." And it slams you to the wall. I mean, you plead for mercy. Uh, and uh, and it was a vindication because the thing I want to stress, and I don't know if it's as important to you as it is to me, but you do not have to sell out to any form of airheadism. You can be as tight-assed as you want, you can be as hardnosed as you want, you can be as demanding, analytical, rational as you want, and the thing is bigger than you are. It'll just take you apart. It'll make you weep like a baby. So there's nothing about faith, and sensitivity, and reaching, and this. No, no, no. When it comes, you know, it kicks in the front door and takes you prisoner. It's uh, so uh, and I, and that was what the flying saucer meant when it said, "because you didn't believe in anything." This is the way to get somewhere. You'll never get anywhere if you believe in stuff because, you know, it'll take you six months to work through Babaji and then you have to go on to somebody else, and life is just not long enough to give all these guys a crack at your enlightenment. So, you know, you sort of have to goose it along. And, uh, and the great vindication is, then, that 


- eva In Review

vindication is, then, that when you behave like that, when you take that stance which you would expect would betray you into nihilism, depression, and so forth. Instead no, that's works, that's the method. Then the goad, you know, reject everything but gold. And you know what gold is. It looks like gold. It feels like gold. It's not something that you have to, you know. I mean, I'm amazed at what thin soup is dished out as spiritual food, and it's because we are, as individuals, conflicted, you know? I feel this in myself. I mean, it's hard to take psychedelics. It's not hard to sweep up around the ashram, but it's hard to take psychedelics.

Audience member: You know, I've read some stuff by Andrew Weil where he was talking about going in search of, you know, the ayahuasquero, the curandero and he talks a lot about these guys that are mixing up this sloppy brew, and, and they're drunks, and they're, they're just. You know, I don't, I don't even know if you could go down to the Amazon and find. I don't know what you could find. I haven't been there, but, but it does, it, what his accounts were is there's a lot of just slop and drunk stuff happening there, that most of these, a lot of these guys are alcoholics, you know?

No, you're absolutely right.

Audience member: And that's the main thing happening, was the alcohol through a, just and the Christianity has just kind of pervaded so much of this stuff that I, I wonder what's left and how you find it anymore.

Well, it really helps to do your homework. It really helps to go down there knowing as much as you possibly can about all this, meaning-

Audience member: Because apparently, so much of what you get out of it has to do with how it's made-

That's right.

Audience member: -who makes it, how it's mixed

That's right.

Audience member: -and so on, and if you don't make it yourself, and you don't know what's happening, then what have you got?

Because ayahuasca is a combinatory drug it isn't like peyote, or mushrooms, or morning glories where you get the thing and eat it, and if you eat it in sufficient amounts it works. This is something where two plants have been combined and the proportions must be correct, and the method must be correct, so there's a huge room for personalities to come into it, for fast shuffles of all sorts, and mind games of all sorts to take place.

Audience member: And inherently these guys, a lot of them are very egotistical.

It's true. No, what you have to do if you're into ayahuasca, or what we did, was we just, w-, first of all, we drank a huge amount of swill and we worked our way, slowly, through these people. And if somebody appeared to be an asshole they were so-classified and moved on. And eventually we got to good people, but what we did then was we got samples of their stuff, brought it back, put it through mass spectrophotometers and high-pressure liquid chromatography, saw what the proportions were, collected the live plants, moved them to Hawaii, grew the plants, re-concocted the thing, re-mass-speced what we did, and made it as much like the good stuff as possible. So it was a project of fifteen years and really maniacal dedication, but I have the faith, you know, I mean, that if given sufficient time to work on ayahuasca you could produce a drug out of there so good that it would be ludicrous to suggest that it was illegal. I mean, I, because, you see, this is brain soup, these are all neurotransmitters. There's not a non-endogenous neurotransmitter in the whole beverage, so really what you're, what you're con-

Audience member: There's not a what?

A non-endogenous neurotransmitter, meaning everything in this drug that you're about to drink is already in your head. There's nothing unusual where drugs like ketamine, mescaline, LSD. These, you, there's none of that in your body.

Audience member: What's it like? What's the trip like? Ayahuasca.

It's like a slow-release DMT trip. It lasts four to six hours and there is, it's intensely visual, and, unlike psilocybin it's not, it doesn't have this uh, outer space, science fiction, mega-apocalyptarian kind of take on it which is what psilocybin does. I mean, psilocybin shows you the machines preparing to transport the faithful away from a burning earth. That's not what ayahuasca is about. It's about nature, water, flow, life, energy. It's almost, you know, when MDMA was so hot and people called it an empathy drug and said it makes you empathetic with the people you're with, ayahuasca makes you empathetic with the people you're not with and that's a much more profound experience because there's so much more of them, you know?

Audience member: I don't understand how you mean that, "empathetic with you're not with." I don't quite get it.

You feel the poignancy of the human situation. You feel, well see, I'm usually in a hut somewhere surrounded by a bunch of Indians and suddenly I understand what the songs are about. And they're always about the same thing. They're about the water, and the people, and the life, and the fish, and lost love, and, but you, you h-, you have this heart-opening thing. You say, you know, the folk, this is their mystery, this is their rel-, I'm getting it now, I'm feeling, you know, this huge wave of, uh, of the wisdom of the folk. And 


- eva In Review

wisdom of the folk, and they say this to you in Peru. They say, you know, "This is our university. You went to Harvard. We went to ayahuasca." Uh, yeah.

Audience member: I'm wondering if, uh, you could comment on uh, um, morning, rather, jimsonweed which I believe is the same thing as morning glory seeds?

No, it's different. And-

Audience member: But I'm, I'm curious about jimsonweed because it grows wild all over. It's on the property, it's all down the highway. It's toxic also from what I've heard. Yeah.

It's quite toxic. Um, it's as, it's used shamanically in, in pre-contact California the California Indians had what was called the Toloache religion and they used jimsonweed seeds to initiate people at puberty, boys mostly. It's, uh, I'm, I'm kind of pollyannaish about drugs. I mean, I'm, uh, I don't l-, I, I'm after a certain thing which these tryptamine hallucinogens do and I tend to not pursue these other things too far. I didn't like Datura. It's very hard to have the degree of clarity that I think you should have on a drug. The tryptamine hallucinogens don't interfere with your clarity at all. You know who you are, where you are, what you're doing. I've seen people on Datura, I had an experience with someone on Datura where in the course of the conversation it came out that the guy thought we were in his apartment and I had actually encountered him in the marketplace. Well, that's a serious delusion, you know? That's a serious problem. When I took Datura, uh, all this was in Nepal years ago, uh, I did have peculiar experiences. I mean, it, it is magical, it is dillusory. Reality begins to come apart. Uh, I, these wraith-like, ghost-like creatures would come through my window, and I was waiting to get high, and then I would sort of, my attention would drift and these things would come through my window, and they would let loose these sheets of news print that would flutter down over my la-, and I would, like, fall forward reading these things that were, and as I read, amazement would grow in me and, say, this is it. This is the answer. This is it. And then I would pull out and say, "well, is it working? Is anything happening?" And that went on se-, there were several passes of that, and then I be-, and then it caused me to, like, throw my leg up around my neck and I got into this kind of thing, and I very carefully unfolded myself and laid back down, and it happened again. And I thought to myself, you know, I'm ver-, I'm really glad I'm alone because I think this would freak anybody out, and uh, so uh, I, I, but it, it was definitely strange, I mean, the guy down the hall from me, I had taken it, he had taken it, and uh, he had the impression in the night that this woman that he was scheming on came to him and that they made love, and in the middle of the night I got up to go to the john, and I had to cross through his room, and it was also my impression that she was in bed with him. Well, when we sorted it out the next morning she'd been thirty miles away throughout the whole incident and had never been there. So, it's interesting. There are a lot of altered states. Maybe that's a good point to make. There are all kinds of strange states of mind, and, and many plant-induced. From sorting through them I just become, sort of, fixated on these tryptamine things because they seem to me somehow the most promising and the most real. Uh, the, the hallucinations of jimsonweed are curiously related in my mind, it's some kind of association schema, they're like seances and table tapping, and Victorian women in shredded lace dresses, and that's, you know, about as far from a DMT hallucination as you can get. I mean, DMT hallucinations are 3- if not 4-dimensional, brightly colored, high tech, organo-insectoid, uh, so forth and so on. Yeah.

Audience member: You talked about the, the momentum is so strong and then having to change it, and, like, I think of all the people that, you know, are opposed to drugs, and they think every drug is the same and so forth like it. It just seems like an impossible task to be able to educate where these drugs would be available and then people could take them and the they see the world in a healthier way. What do you have to say about a question like that?

Well, it, it's this struggle about human nature, defining human nature, you know? Is it good to take certain drugs? Is it always bad to take drugs? What's our, you know, can you always tell a drug from a food from a spice? What do these words really mean? Uh, all we can do is what we are doing which is replicate the meme, hold these workshops, try to build a core of consensus about what we're talking about, and this is itself quite elusive, you see, because what we're talking about is a mental event.


- eva In Review

 Mental event, it-, less focused than, let us say, orgasm, but even if you're talking about orgasm here we use this word but it must mean something different to everybody. Well, it's even, the problem is much worse with the psychedelic experience because nobody wants to be left out. So anybody who's ever taken anything thinks they've had the psychedelic experience and feels fully qualified to hold an opinion on it when, in fact, it's pretty elusive, the real thing. Uh, you have to take a heroic dose under the right conditions to really smash through. I mean, yes, there are all kinds of approaches to it: insight into childhood trauma, recovery of lost memories, opening to your emotional side, uh, insights into the dynamics of the life and people around, all of it, but that is not anywhere near the bullseye. That's just dancing around the rim of it. So, you ha-, we have to, as a community, try and build consensus about what happens at the, at the real center, what's happening at the center of the mandala, what kind of a modality can we describe and create a shared map of that we can come back to the rest of the folks and talk about. And then the other thing is, um, well, I'm just banking on curiosity to do a lot of the footwork for the revolution. This is too good to miss. Uh, you know, it's like placing sex off limits or something and then expecting people not to find out about it. Now that Marxism has collapsed, if we don't substitute something for consumer values then we're just going to rape the earth in an effort to create crap for everybody. Well, the only counterpoise to consumer values, to materialism, is spiritualism, and I don't mean some bloodless, carol-singing, kind of namby-pamby abstraction. I mean there has to be as much inner richness as there previously was outer richness, and this is why, to the alarm of some people, I've been fairly interested in virtual realities because I think, you know, yeah, if everybody wants to live in Versailles the only way you're going to be able to do that is if you make Versailles a disk for $3.95 that they can plug in and then go live in it. So, uh, we can't preach to the have-nots the virtue of voluntary simplicity when we're riding around in BMWs and collecting Monets. That doesn't make a lot of sense. So, building a core consensus, this is, it's still in answer to your question, "What can we do," and then replicating the meme, and I introduce this concept in each of my workshops because I think it, it gets, it's, makes it easier for you to understand what's happening here. A meme is the smallest unit of an idea. It's like a gene is to proteins. Proteins are made by genes and genes code for proteins. Ok, well ideas are made out of memes. You link a few memes together and you have an idea. Memes, like genes, can be replicated. You replicate them by either telling the meme to many people, or telling a lot of people all at once, and then these people you've told, they become potential replicators of the meme. And there is a domain of culture that is like an environment of competing ideas, and the memes go off and live in this ideological environment, and some flourish, and some are consumed by others, and some are incorporated into others, and the idea is to keep the psychedelic meme alive, and to make it grow, and to allow its claim to be heard. It's not in danger of dying. It's a very persistent meme. It's been around for about 20,000 years and it's been highly repressed in many cultures for the last couple of thousand years, yet we are trying to, uh, rebirth it. So, thinking about it that way, thinking of yourself as a replicator of this thing which wishes to move through society gives a mechanical model for understanding what is really ideological war, you know? A war about the definition of human nature. That's what's at stake. Uh, what shall we become? Uh, what can we become? Uh, there's no question that we need a greater consciousness of who we are, and if psychedelic drugs are to be taken seriously at all as consciousness-expanding agents, then they have to be given their due place in the great dialogue that's taking place about the, the future, creating it, and then realizing it, the future of the species. 

Audience member: Um, I wanted to say something further about uh, the book of Genesis


- eva In Review

 something about the Book of Genesis and the notion of getting to the center. There are two, uh, cherubims guarding the gate with the flaming swords and that they represent a pair of opposites, fear and desire, and the part of the, uh, problem of getting a bite of that tree of immortal life is getting to the realm beyond pure opposites, beyond, beyond fear and desire. And uh, the other related thing is that why, the question of why, uh, this world is not, uh, one of just a homogeneous, uh, perfection and instead a world of multiplicity of forms and conflicts, and it's, and [??] from a drop of ignorance that spills into undifferentiated perfection, and from that one drop of ignorance proceeds the multiplicity of the world we experience.

This is a Gnostic idea, the drop of ink in, in the pure glass of water. Yeah, well Gnosticism was the idea, I mean, it had many forms, but the basic idea was that light had been scattered through the universe and that the task of salvation was to gather this light together and to somehow transmit it back to its source in some, some higher dimension which the, is a pretty good metaphor. One of the issues that comes up in these workshops inevitably, and I confess I don't have a real answer for this, is, you know, are we a part of nature and the stewards of nature or are we out of nature? Are we of another ontos and sculpted for a different destiny? It's very clear that the, the life of the planet and our, uh, success as a conscious species, these two things have to either be split away from each other or one is going to be the undoing of the other, and uh, this is a real problem. This problem haunts Western thinking. It's nothing new. Is nature God, or is nature the devil? I mean, that's the harshest statement of this problem.

Audience member: One of the ways of detecting breast cancer is with thermography where they look for a hot spot on the breast and that it, that's a suspicious area, and I think when I'm up in an airplane at night and I look down on Gaia I think that this is an organism, a giant organism, and say, "Gee there's a cancer down there. That's, it's hot. You can see it. It's glowing," and you go down there and what you find, uh, is if you just look upon it. It's sort of, the thing, the cells which have gone awry and uh, the way in which we've gone awry is a combin-, uh, is the nature of our consciousness in that it's focused in terms of time, and space, and causality. And then the thumb, the prehensile, the ability to do something about it because I, I don't know for sure but I imagine the dolphins could have their consciousness where, with a sense of time. They might have some of the same time-space causality understanding of the physical world that we do, but they lack the ability to do anything about it.

To project force into the world.

Audience member: So that uh, given those two qualities, this quality of, our minds to um, to look upon the world to, in this way, time space and causality, and that thumb, we have become a, a cancer on, on the, the, the organism of the earth.

Well, see, I, I mean, I uh-

Audience member: It's quite a negative thought.

It is negative, and I, I'm not sure that I buy into it, and I'm not sure that I don't buy into it either. This is the question: is the evolution of historical society, and science, and, and all the ugly adumbrations of that, sexism, fascism, racism, is that part of the process or is it a breaking away? Is there some good in it? Was history for something, or would we have just've been better off without it, and I don't know. Sometimes I th-, I mean I think of Western civilization as the prodigal son. You know, we went forth, we left our father's house which was the archaic style of existence. We left our father's house and we wandered into matter and cut deals with demonic forces and millennia have passed, and now the Earth is polluted and we are back at the arc-, at the longhouse saying to these people, "do you have any wisdom that can save us from our fate?" Well, they do to a degree. I mean, they have this deep insight into natural dynamics, and curing, and maybe more. I mean, maybe there is magic in this world. Uh, but we, we know some things too. We can summon the energy of the stars if necessary down to the deserts of this planet or to the cities of our enemies if necessary, and this is no small accomplishment on any scale. This is quite impressive. I mean, my God, that, that cytoplasm could create a strategy for triggering fusion? It's amazing. So I would like to think that this peregrination into matter went for something, 


- eva In Review

went for something, that these are skills that we may need out in the universe when we really get our wings, uh, and take off. And, and that this deep involvement with matter was a kind of an addiction, and if we can pull out of it a great deal has been learned. I mean, after all, if people had stayed in the rainforests then we would have been ineluctably linked to the destiny of this planet as an animal species, and what if this is the only intelligence in the universe? Then I would think we have a certain obligation to preserve it pass the life of the existence of the solar system. So if we're not willing to commit ourselves at any phase of our evolution to a technical phase that involves mastery over matter then we have no more defense against the larger universe than raccoon or katydids if push comes to shove. I don't know. I mean, I've stressed that there's no easy resolution on this. It haunts all thinking about conservation. I mean, I thought throughout the 80's, "why aren't the conservationist space colony enthusiasts? Why don't the save the world people support the high tech solutions that would move industry off the planet? Why are these various factions unable to make common cause behind a very large vision. And, uh, I don't know, but I think as pressure mounts for solutions this will have to be done. I mean, I would like to live in a world where the entire Earth was a bio reserve. I would like to live in a situation where the idea that there would be heavy industry inside the bio reserve would be thought an abomination. All that stuff can be done on the Moon or in the asteroid belts. It's as inappropriate as having a nuclear power plant in the middle of a rainforest to have heavy industry on the surface of the Earth. We need to think on very large time scales anjd we need to figure out how to create political machinery to do that. We've been living a pa-, a potlach existence, just a frenzied, consumerist kind of unthinking abuse. And, and I think the best inoculation for that style of life is a, is a stiff dose of psychedelics. You can't evade it. You know? It dissolves boundaries, it puts you, it allows you to feel what you're doing. I mean, the level of denial in this society is incredible. My God, we don't feel it. We read the newspaper but we don't feel what it's telling us, you know, because if we felt it we would probably be an emotional wreck, but there's something to be said for opening up to some of that, you know? There's a notion in therapy that if you want the client to actually make progress you raise the alarm level. A guy comes to you for therapy, you say to him, "You think you've got problems? You have no idea what problems you have," and then work from there. So uh, it's very serious business. It's trying to steer a society back toward a faith that was lost, and God is like a lost continent in the human mind and it's the only continent where there is safe harbor in, in the present historical situation. Well, why don't we knock off and we'll meet at four o'clock. Thanks very much.

Well, I'll just say a little bit about uh, myself and how I relate to this. I don't really like to talk about it in those terms but since this is the getting to know each other thing, it's very important to the, to what I understand that, um, everybody else understand that there's nothing special about it or me. In other words, for, for what I'm trying to do to make sense this access to this transcendental realm has to be democratically available. It can't depend on your spiritual accomplishment or your mastery of the technique or something like that. It isn't like that. It's something that is as much a part of us as ordinary people as our sexuality is, and sexuality is not something that is dispensed by gurus. It's just something you figure out and do, you know? And this is much more along those lines. My, how I explain to myself what I'm doing in this position is that I was just simply incredibly lucky, incredibly fortunate to be at certain places at certain times when they were handing out the good stuff, and um, so i-, it's a k-, and then I sort of, I see you in the same way. Someone over here, Fred, said he was looking to the, the answer to the mystery of life. 


- eva In Review

mystery of life. Well, the weird thing about taking that position is that you can fall into positions where you find it, where you find the answer. And I sort of feel like that's the situation that the deep plant psychedelic community is it. It's a sense of having found the answer and now the task changes. It's a completely different kind of spiritual universe that you live in after you've found the answer because the task becomes facing the answer. Facing it. You now have it. It's no more about disciplining the passions and all this. No, no. It's now been handed over, and so what are you going to do with it? And thi-, this is, to my mind, in a way uh, the, the problem and the challenge that we face globally as a species. You know, if the holy grail of the Western mind was the ability to release energy, and form matter, and control nature, then this is now achieved. The goal n-, so now the whole context of the problem changes and the problem becomes changing our own minds, controlling the hand that controls the energy, and this is an entirely different kind of problem. It is not to be solved with the analytical knife plunged again and again into the body of nature. That whole approach is uh, n-, seen to be at best passé, at worst bankrupt. So instead it's about trying to edge up close to nature and feeling as individuals and as a society very peculiar about this. You know, it's like going back to your rape victim and pleading for their forgiveness. And yet, as I've tried to make sense of these psychedelic experiences, first in a general way saying, you know, "what are these molecules for," or is that a proper question to ask? What are they doing for the plant? What are they doing for me? Uh, as I've tried to come to terms with what this might all be about I've come more and more back to the notion that uh, it all lies in the plants, that our peculiar restlessness, which in modern circumstances has evolved into a rapacious appetite for addictive substances of all sorts, our peculiar inappropriateness in all contexts, that we are not quite simply complex mammals, we are certainly not angels, and we just seem to occupy a very uncomfortable place in the hierarchy of, of uh, creation. I think this has to do with the fact that we are um, the traumatized inheritors of a dysfunctional relationship, a relationship that grew dysfunctional in the last fifteen to twenty-five thousand years, and what we call history is the fall out of a dynamic here and now, feeling-toned relationship with our environment and into, you know, this wor-, anticipation of the future, worry about the past, of basically ego. And I, I recently spoke in New York, and New York is a very, uh, nuts and bolts kind of town, and people there took issue with the notion that all of our problems can be boiled down to a single problem. If you trace the, the thread of every screw-up back into the maze it all comes back to a single issue which is excessive ego. We all have excessive ego, and our entire situation, legalistic, psychological, religious, everything is about this, that it, it doesn't work. It's maladaptive and yet we have it, and uh, why do we have it if it's maladaptive? If it doesn't promote human values then how in the hell did it get started and what is it that's maintaining and sustaining it? Well, this is what I want to talk about, uh, over the course of the weekend. When I pushed the analysis of what the psychedelic experience meant to the limits I was surprised to discover that it left the domain of my personal relationship to the mystery. You know, what is it, what does it want from me, what is it trying to say? It, all that had to also make room for uh, another issue which is there's a political issue here. 


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here. I think most people in this room, most people who have had the psychedelic experience, will agree that the most profound, the most open-hearted, the most moving moments of their lives, some of them, have been tied in with those experiences. But we seem unable, or unwilling, or afraid to extrapolate that conclusion to the notion that this is a general panacea for society because we cannot conceive that our, uh, that the, the solution to a spiritual dilemma could lie in matter. In other words, we ourselves have been effect-, infected by the inside-outside, matter-spirit dichotomies of the, of the dominator culture. But the notion that man, notice the gender thrust here, the notion that man could somehow bootstrap himself to godhead without reference to nature seems to me highly peculiar and simply nothing more than an expression of hubris. Pride. A belief, you know, that we can do it our way and alone. So all of this is, is very uh, the shelf life is short on all of these issues because the planet is in a state of terminal crisis. Does that have anything to do with the psychedelic experience or are these separate issues? How can they be separate issues if the psychedelic experience is a mirror of the state of the individual and collective psyche and if the planet is, uh, on a collision course with some kind of terminal crisis. It seems to me, then, that what, you know, nature is struggling to right this disequilibrated planetary ecosystem, so in a sense there is nothing to be done except to watch and wait, but on the the other hand we are not apart from nature. We are, in some sense, the m-, a, a portion of nature which is the most reactive and energetic because we are reactive and energetic in the domain of epigenetic codes. We can foment rapid change. Until recently it was a, it was a truism of thinking about society that all change had to be gradual. This myth has now been exploded. We know that, you know, you just take 'em all out and hang 'em and then that's not gradual and, and you've got a new world. And this has been done in several places with excellent success recently. So change need not be gradual, and in fact I think we're entering into a historical domain where very little change will be gradual. Gradual change was a luxury of the past. Well, how to come to terms with these processes, patterns forming and reforming in our lives, in our relationships, in our families, in our businesses, in the extended relationships we have with people. It's what is needed, you see, is a kind of collective breakthrough in apperception. I was thinking in the hot tub today that the most politically potent thing you can do for somebody is to educate them, to give them the facts. The facts are now so horrifying and the means of delivering the facts so effective that there is no excuse for everyone not beginning to act in an informed manner. And I, I think this is happening. Uh, for instance, a few months ago I was in Belize which is an extremely poor country, a little chip of land in the armpit of the Yucatan that used to be British Honduras. I didn't know there were countries this funky in the Western hemisphere. I thought you had to go, you know. Uh, they have the fortune, good or ill, of speaking English as a national language, so when the British left they just simply pointed dishes to the sky and they get 270 channels of American television. It has completely educated the entire population of the country into an extremely sophisticated strategy for surviving in the real world of the present moment. They understand that their only resource is their nature so they have made the entire country in to a, a nature reserve. They understand that they, that tourism is their only hope and that for tourism to work they must halt the destruction of their environment. This informing people at distant points of the value systems operating 



- eva In Review

of the value systems operating at the centers where values are being created allows people to position themselves for success. I mean, a lot is being lost. You cannot pretend that the situation we're in is unambiguously rosy. It isn't. It's extremely complicated. Marxism dissolves. What does this mean? It means that now uh, twenty-one language groups and sixteen tribal groups are open to exploitation, homogenization, leveling of cultural values. Everybody will be turned into a kind of white bread, consuming citizen in a beige, fascist world, and this is the alternative to Armageddon. We hail this as a great step forward. What is happening is that all restrictions are being done away with against the expression of completely rapacious drives for immediate self-gratification. Until eighteen months ago only half the world had permission to behave like assholes. Now this permission is being extended to everyone as quickly as possible as a right. You know, your right to join in the looting of the planet. Well, certainly Stalinism is a bad thing, but is the only ideological counterpoise to that to be high tech, mindless, consumer fascism? I don't think so. In fact, I know not because there isn't enough metal in the planet to put a Volvo in every driveway of three and a half billion or four billion people. So, the search for a serious revolution in values is on. It cannot, it, it must come from the spiritual realm, and the spiritual realm in practical terms means the imagination. The, the, the frontier of our species is the imagination. Now, we have to take that slogan and somehow turn it into a technology. How can we go to the place where ideas come from? How can we somehow separate our architectonic fantasies from the ongoing momentum of the planet? Both are valid, you see, but we have to recognize that what we are is almost an ontological transformation of life. We are to life what life is to the inorganic realm, and we need to separate ourselves from the planet. The planet, the entire planet, should be a bio reserve. How many of these oxygen-rich, water-heavy worlds are there? Now, of course it's pie in the sky to talk about moving all heavy industry into space, or to the asteroid belt, or something like that, but on the other hand when you extrapolate a visionless future, even as much as three or four decades into the future, you see the accumulation of problems on such a scale that then there will be no pulling out of the power dive because once a society passes a certain point in the process of dissolution you just don't make a decision to change. I mean, it's too late. You don't have the engineering skills, you don't have the technical community, you don't have the resource extraction ability. It's all slipped through your fingers. Well, I think psychedelics are catalysts to thought, to imagination, to understanding, and we are like somebody who has been dead drunk while the house was burning down around us, and now we have awakened to the sound of falling timbers and the smell of smoke, and we have a certain limited amount of time to figure this situation out. We don't have five hundred years or a hundred years. Anybody who speaks in terms of solutions that require a hundred years or even fifty years to implement doesn't understand the dynamics of the situation. History has some kind of will for its own transcendence and I think we are now so close to the dropping of the mask and the realization of what the game was all along that the, the sense of this nearby revelation informs all of our lives. I mean drives our dreams, our thoughts, the choices we make, why we're here in this room this evening. It's very big news, I think. The world is not as all as we suppose it to be. I find that very amazing. I mean, that's the bottom line for me. I always think of these things in reference to that scene in 2001 when the anthropoid apes are leaping up and down, and screaming, and pointing at the monolith. That's what we're doing here in this room. I mean, the subject of this weekend is "unspeakable." You know, it can only be obliquely indicated. Whatever you say about it is not true, and yet it is somehow the informing mystery of being and it is not remote. That's the big news, 

- eva In Review

that's the big news, that the previous human model which is that we are all poor, groveling sinners and that gnosis will trickle down to us from the wonderful folks up on top of the steep building nearby where they're conducting serious business with liver readings and star-gazing. That model is uh, in, uh, insufficient and insulting considering the situation we have been brought to by those very star-gazing men wearing dresses. So, I think what we have to do now is just take the machinery into our own hands. It's a matter of personal responsibility to find out what the world is really doing, what it is. What do you think's going on? What do you think this is all about? Who do you think you are? What do you think English is? How do you really cognize notions like the future, the past, where I've been, what I want. I mean, you know, in Moby Dick Melville says, "if you would strike, strike through the mask." Everything is a mask, and just behind that mask lurks, well, what? That's the question. I mean, it's the, it's the thing which informs every individual existence, and that's fine, and people have always lived in the shadow of that mystery, but it is our weird privilege to live in an age where there is also to be a collective dropping of the mask, a moment of melting and recasting of what reality itself is to be. So, you know, discussing this, convincing ourselves of it, and then working out the minute details of how it all is inevitable and couldn't be any other way is how we will occupy ourselves this weekend. I'm really conflicted always in these situations because I feel, for some reason, I suppose it's an ego trip, that I want to be correctly perceived, I as a person want to be correctly perceived, and I think of myself as a reasonable person, a person sensitive to concepts like evidence, causality, so forth and so on, and yet what I have to say is like completely unreasonable. I mean, a messenger bearing news of complete madness approaching from all directions. So, and I got into that position by staying pretty close to the principle of skepticism. I'm not a believer. In fact, when the aliens draped the mantle over my shoulders they said, "It's cuz you don't believe in anything." You know, this is why you get, that's why you got this far, because you didn't believe in anything. And it's a good method. Normally it's a method spawned out of futility. You say, "well, fuck it. I don't believe in anything!" But it's also very good for getting rid of a lot of crap because the real stuff can take the test of skepticism. The real stuff doesn't have to be bowed down before and, you know. It works. It's on its own. The news is, and it's very hard news to get out because it's news about the structure of reality, the news is coming back from, you know, fifty, sixty, a hundred years of anthropologists, ethnographers, geographers, botanists dealing with the most "primitive" people in the most remote parts of the world. The news is that reality is not at all as we imagined it to be and that our prowess in the technical sciences is simply a cultural artefact, an accomplishment of ours. Some people do great tattoos. We send spacecraft to the stars. But it doesn't mean we understand any more, and in fact the evidence is building that our style of society is the historical equivalent of a temper tantrum. You know, that it has no viability. It's completely self limiting. It's destructive, and it hands nothing on to its receivers. So uh, I sort of talk to this group and all the groups that I talk to from two points of view. I'm trying to convince you of something and yet reason dictates that I assume that you're already convinced, pretty much. So then it's also an effort to figure out what it is we're so convinced of and then what is so great about it because I think some kind of um, this is a real mystery, the only one I know. This is the thing that you hope exists and assume doesn't if 

- eva In Review

and assume doesn't if you're a reasonable person because its that, you know, all the dreams of childhood, all the sense of magic and the, and the dissolvability and transcendability of boundaries is returned, is affirmed in this experience. Well, yet here we   are having this on the brink of a planetary meltdown of culture and ecosystem. So, is this just some kind of a dancing on the brink? Is it a kind of ultimate self-indulgence? Does it feed back into the central moral problem of the age which is what is to be done? What are we to do? How can we be effective, whatever that means? Is there a discernible role for each of us to play in the metamorphosis and near-death of the planet that we are now experiencing, or are we simply to witness it? Well, I don't think there's any point in thinking about these kinds of questions unless you draw back to the big picture, to first premises. Uh, you know, a good example of what I mean is suppose we save the rainforests and stabilize the population and so forth and so on and then fifty years down the line the sun explodes. It means we didn't get it. We were not reading correctly the message nature was trying to hand to us, and so we did the wrong thing and are gonna be blown out of the water for such churlishness. So, what's important is to figure out what is going on before you start pushing in the process, and I don't think you can do it from within a culture. In other words, if you're a person of decent intent and moderate intelligence and you read the great minds of your culture and study their thought it's insufficient because everybody is bound within an illusion of language. The entire enterprise of culture is this illusion of language. Homer was as sick with it as Heidegger. So, there's no going back or getting, you know, no classic ascension. What we have to do is reach past to some kind of experience. It must be anchored in an experience. But there is this thing about being human which we as a culture have ignored, repressed, don't want to talk about, face, or think about, which is you can get loaded, and nobody knows what quite to make of this. We dance around it with the same kind of furious, ambiguous intensity that we also reserve for sex, which is also a, a boundary-dissolving, momentary loss of self into some kind of greater whole. And it also just drives us into a frenzy, I mean we establish boundaries, we have hierarchies, we push it this way and that. It just drives us up the wall. You know, whoever she was who designed this system had the good sense to connect this whole sexual impulse very tightly into the generative process so that there's no way you can get sex out of the human experience. I mean, people have tried in all times and places in many strange ways. A hundred and fifty years ago they were putting pants on pianos because it was thought that young men should not see pianos unclothed because it might excite them to impure thoughts. This is real. In England, in our culture. Not New Guinea or the Moon, but in England pants wore- uh, pianos wore pants. But uh, the psychedelic option is sort of like an appendix, you know? You can have it, but you don't need it, apparently. Apparently! That's the key thing. In other words, whether or not you have a psychedelic experience does not stand between you and the ability to pass on your genes into time. It does not stand between you and continued existence like the reflec- the autonomic reflex of breathing. It's a kind of a potential loop in development which we can, as culturally coordinated creatures, choose to follow or choose not to follow. But this development is very recent. Until pick a number, 10,000 years ago, the onset of puberty, which was, you know, the, uh, a wave of hormonal release, basically, the onset of puberty was the signal to the social mechanisms of the people to begin the administration of psychedelic plants, to carry people into adulthood. 

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into adulthood, to carry them into a feeling-toned relationship with the mythological material that they had learned as children, but that they now would be expected to exemplify as realized adults within the ???? or ???? culture or whatever it is that they are. We in our anxiety, about all this, and I'll talk about why I'm sure it will come out, but for the present, just to say, we have interfered with this, and we have enforced upon ourselves a kind of infantilism. Now this is a phenomenon that is well known, it's called Neoteny. Neoteny is the preservation of adult characteristics into adulthood... into adulthood. Childhood characteristics or infantile characteristics. Even fetile characteristics.

- Zeligkopel In Review

Even fetal characteristics. So for instance, all, all primate fetuses are hairless, but only the human being retains this fetal characteristic throughout life. The very large head of the human infant, the um, the percentage relationship to body mass remains a very much in the fetal end of the statistics throughout life for human beings. We have large heads. The very prolonged, um, period in which skills, cultural skills, are acquired up to sixteen years. Well, this tendency towards biological Neoteny, um, which was reinforced by, um, mutagenic influences in the diet, is carried over into culture as a cultural characteristic, and its, have you noticed that every generation views the generation it spawns as more childish than itself, and we look back to our rugged grandparents who slugged across the planes and I suppose they look back to people in chain mail who are only four feet high who, you know, could go without eating for six months, or something. And it, it, it just gets, we are becoming more and more soft, more and more infantile, and the final phase of this was just the decision that we never needed to grow up at all. We never needed to find out about the nature of our relationship to being at all, and so the psychedelics were suppressed and what you have in the preadolescent child, is an extreme expression of ego. And this is, you know, the 11 year old child, lets take the exam book. 

- Revelation In Review

- Cosmicvic In Progress

- Cosmicvic In Progress

A style of um, um, domination, hierarchy, with alpha males, with powerful males controlling females at the center of these hierarchies and to my mind the, the, shh, concern that caused the shift, was, um, the accumulation in the psyche of these hominids of enough ego that there became concern for the line of male paternity. In other words, men wanted to know who there children were, and that made the orgiastic style of religion in conflict, because that was all about. Note the children where the children of the group and sex was a shared activity, even though there might be bonding. But once people got a men, once men got into their heads that they wanted to know who there offspring were, then females...

- Revelation In Review

Females had to be controlled very rigidly and there had to be control of sexual... and the whole thing just turned into a nightmare. My women, my property, my children, my food, my territory, so on, and so forth. Well you see, what had been going on before was a true incipient, symbiosis and this is, I think, the new idea that I want to communicate, and that I am absolutely one serious about and too literal about, that the, our, glory and our uniqueness, and why we are as we are, is because we are a plant, animal, symbiotic species. Our ordinary state, our state of nature, the way in which we existed until 10,000 years ago.

- Revelation In Review

Was in a very tightly bound symbiotic relationship with plants. They were, um, we domesticated them and we, uh, spread them, and we created environments for them through the use of burning, and in return for this, this mysterious connection opened up, where real information, couched in humanly cognizable terms. Information about where the reindeer went, who you would marry. what the weather is gonna do, stuff like that. Real information began to be traded back and forth. Now biologist are familiar with the notion of pheromones. Message bearing chemicals that regulate behavior within a species. But were just getting ready to go to the next level and recognize the possibility of what have been called exopheromones. Pheromones' that regulate behavior between species. And its very clear that, you know, in climax ecosystems of great age, such as the equatorial tropics of this planet, exopheromonal interactions become the major mediating force in all of the evolutionary exchangers going on. The old notion of competition and survival of the fittest is now seen to be bankrupt. The way nature works is, its the species that can make itself most necessary to other species, the one that can cut energy deals with the most of its neighbors that is the successful one. So you maximize cooperation, you maximize dependency, you maximize integration. This is the successful evolutionary strategy. I mean, of course you can be jaguar and crash around the forest and eat things immediately smaller than you. But, jaguars will be a memory in the fossil record of this record when the plants will exist, given, you know, that man where not part of the picture. So, um, um, the dynamic of, uh, life dictates that these energy levels be held very close. Audience: "Is that outside of the natural...(Inaudible)" TM: Well no, I think, you know, nothing is outside of the natural, but, all of this can be explained in terms of climatology flux on the African continent. Very briefly, um, you know, the primates evolved in Africa, out of the primates came the hominids, which where these great seal, upright, opposable thumb

- Revelation In Review

 binocular vision, and there were a number of these, and they existed for, you know, over the past 6 million years. But Africa and the planet because of repeated glaciation is subject to cycles of drying, and every time the ice moved south primate populations were bottled up in Africa. And we know there've been four glaciations. Immediately the last one the ice melted 20,000 years ago, and out of Africa that last time came pastoralists, people who had domesticated cattle and had a style of following cattle around rather than being just strictly hunter-gatherers. Well, I maintain what happened was these arboreal, tree canopy-living apes came under pressure as the continent dried up to expand their diet because the forests were disappearing and being replaced by grassland. Well, most animal species eat only one or two kinds of food. This is a general rule in nature, and it's in order to hold down exposure to mutagenic influence, but when an animal population is in a situation of food scarcity the logical thing to do is to begin to test food sources and to expand your repertoire of food. Well, that's what these primates coming out of the trees did. Number one, they began eating meat which gave them a real interest that they had never had before in these ungulate mammals that were evolving in the grasslands, and they began to test all kinds of other foods in the environment. Well, when you do that, you are exposing your population to mutation, and mutation rates soar. And it was during this period that the human brain size doubled in like a million and a half years. Someone said it was the most rapid evolutionary expansion of a major organ ever seen in the fossil record. Nothing like it ever happened. Why? What was making this happen? Well, it looks like probably huge numbers of mutations were taking place in this population because people were literally eating anything they could get their hands on, and in this environment of the grasslands the mushrooms were growing on the dung of these ungulate animals. Well now, a weird thing about psilocybin is that in very low doses, doses so low that you don't feel anything, your vision improves. They've done tests with this and, you know, there is an improvement in visual acuity on psilocybin at low doses. Well, you can imagine the evolutionary impact of something like this on a hunting-gathering population where visual acuity is all that stands between you and grim starvation. It means a population of animals, a population of these hom- evolving hominids that accept the mushroom into their diet have just been given a tremendous leg up on nearby competiting troupes, the competing troupes that don't have. It's like chemical binoculars. So, immediately then there is a reason, an evolutionary reason, for mushrooms to be eaten and for the spread- for mushrooms to be accepted into the diet as an item and so forth and so on. Well, so then you take slightly more mushrooms and like all alkaloids and CN- it's a CNS arousal, means you feel alert, you feel interested, you want to boogie, and also if you're, if you're male you can sustain an erection. So, arousal means arousal. So, then this stuff is an enzyme promoting sexual activity at that level. Well, sexual activity then, you know, the number of copulations that occur within a population is directly related to the number of successful impregnations. So suddenly you have these horny primates, well, more interest in sexual contact and partners and all this. This means that these psilocybin-using creatures that are now more successful at hunting and more interested in sex have all kinds of pressures on them that will force them to out-breed the dull, uninteresting folks who don't use mushrooms at this point. Well, so then high- yet higher doses it changes and it's no longer about sexual activity or clarity of vision. It becomes about the psychedelic trip, this tremendum which is as awesome to you and me as it was to these so-called primitive folks 20,000 years ago. We don't know what to make of it. They don't know- they didn't know what to make of it. They founded a religion about it. We're trying to start the engine of the same religion all over again. And the way in which this religious ecstasis manifests itself is in language activity, in cognition, but in glossolalia, in spontaneous outbursts of syntactically organized vocal activity. Well, the great mystery of human emergence, of course, is language. What is it? Where did it come from? How did it ever get going on such a scale, so forth and so on. But it looks to me like what we're seeing in psilocybin is a kind of neurological

- eva In Review

neurological enzyme, a catalyst in the environment that could take an evolving primate population and put it through a series of forced changes that produce, ultimately, a self-reflected, minded creature practicing a shamanic mother goddess religion in this nomadic context. And that was paradise, and that was the ideal for the archaic revival. In other words, that Eden actually existed, that we are made for better things than what we've got. You know, it says in Finnegans wake, "here in Moy Cane," Moy Cane was the Red Light District of Dublin, "here in Moy Cane we flop on the seamy side, but up n'ent, prospector, you sprout all your worth and you woof your wings." That's a promise for the future, "up n'ent, you sprout all your worth and woof your wings." But also antes we sprouted our worth and woofed our wings, and this whole nostalgia for a perfected shamanism in prehistory is reasonable, I think. I mean, I think we had something, an unimaginably precious gift. We had consciousness and dynamic order. Consciousness as we experience it now within the confines of history is most analogous to cancer. I mean, it's this, you know, replicating, spreading, but it once was a dynamic, ordered thing. People lived, they died, they made love, they had children, they herded their flocks, they had ecstatic flights into dimensions which we cannot even conceive of, and they felt no need, you know, to break into the earth, to divert the rivers, to do all of this stuff. And, and you know, even if we're not aesthetically attracted to that we have to make a value judgment on it because it was not a runaway process. It did not push everything toward crisis. Ok, well then, so, what happened? What the hell happened if that's how it was? Well, you know, nature is just an ongoing story. The very drying processes that created those grasslands, that created those pressures on diet, that created that mother goddess religion, that evolved those ungulate animals, that process continued. And the grasslands dried up, and the winds began to blow, and the water holes got further and further apart from each other, and the mushroom festivals went from every Saturday night to the first Saturday of every month, and then to four times a year, and then to once a year, and then to once every five years, and then to never. And in the absence of the psychedelic experience this ego thing gets going. I mean, it is literally like a calcareous growth in the bloodstream of the psyche. If you don't inoculate yourself against it, it will begin to take root and grow. And the world- the, the boundaries of the world begin to move inward, you know, and you no longer see things on a planetary scale or a millennial scale, or- it's just about, you know, my women, my money, my land, my children. All of this stuff. And at that point you get the appearance of, of historical civilizations. You have kingship. Kingship. You know, the age of Gilgamesh. I mean, my God, when you read the story of Gilgamesh you just wonder what's going on? Gilgamesh spurned the goddess, and the goddess sent a bull which to me is, you know, symbolic of the mystery of the mushroom, the ungulate, herding, horned animal, the crypto-symbol for the god- the goddess sends a bull, and he, he rejects the bull. He rejects the goddess. He rejects the bull. Then he takes Enkidu, the shaman figure, and forces him to go with him into the wilderness. And what do they do in the wilderness, this oldest of all myths, this story of the first men? What do they do? They cut down the tree of life. That's what they do. They cut down the tree of life, and then they, you know, it goes forward. The earliest strata of mythology that comes out of these Middle Eastern civilizations is full of this male-female nature artificial tension. The story of Genesis is a similar thing. I mean, what's happening in Genesis is history's first drug bust. A woman is involved with a plant and the plant opens their eyes, and they see that they are naked which happens to be the case. They are naked. So, in other words, they, they see, they grok their true existential condition, and Yahweh, wandering around mumbling to himself in the garden says, "This thing that these people have done. what if they eat of the fruit of the tree of life? Then they will be as we are!" So, it's very clear that there is concern to withhold 

- eva In Review

knowledge that hum- human beings are to be held in an inferior position. Otherwise, if they were to eat of the fruit of the tree of life, of knowledge, they would be as we are. So, there's this whole tension. And in the story in Genesis, you'll recall, Adam and Eve are cast out of Eden and an angel is set at the east of Eden with a burning sword. Well, what I take this to be about is the- it's a story from a strata where already the shift to the dominator culture has taken place. But they're looking backward at the partnership society in- on the grasslands of Africa and the, and the angel with the burning sword is nothing more than the sun that they literally were cast out of Eden. Eden disappeared around them. It dried up and blew away, and there was nowhere to go but the Nile valley and Palestine, and these people who appear in the Nile valley and Palestine at about 9,800 B.C. called Natufian come out of nowhere with a very high culture and a tremendous ability to exploit plant resources, and I think they are the remnants of this partnership culture. And you see our, our- the way in which all this ties into the present, and it tends to be more than just a, you know, a kind of cultural reconstruction of prehistory, is we're trying to understand who we are, why we are the way we are. Well, the major thing that now that we have transcended ideology, and nobody gives a hoot whether you're a Marxist or any of that anymore because we've all seen through that. The new issue is human nature, and it evolves around this drug thing, you know? Is it the true and purest expression of human nature that you should drink nothing but cold water and eat nothing but raw vegetables and any departure from this is an abomination? And then when you get to drugs, you know, this is really an abomination. How- what should be our relationship to substances, and why are we the addictive creatures that we are? I mean, I know that elephants intoxicate on papayas and bumblebees get loaded on sugar water and this and that, but human beings addict to dozens of substances, to behaviors. I mean, all kinds of things- guy goes out in the morning to pick up his paper off his porch and it's not there, and he has a heart attack! You know, he has to sit down, my god, you know, what am I going to- and he has to have instant relief from the traumatic crisis of the non-presence of the morning information fix, and the phenomenon of falling in love which doesn't really happen with other animals. I mean, other animals bond, but they don't go bananas in the way that we do on, on this issue. We're, we're chemically highly cued in a way that a lot of animals around us aren't. So, then history, because of this, because of this addictive drive within us that we have because of this disrupted symbiotic relationship in prehistory, see, we're looking for the score, but we can't quite find it. Imperialism doesn't do it. Heroin doesn't do it. Sadomasochism doesn't do it. Nothing quite does it, but we keep trying stuff: cocaine, money, fascism, mercantilism, ideology. All of this stuff. We are very, very restless, and the path of our restless, frantic peregrinations across the intellectual landscape is what we call history, you know? It's our effort to try and get straight, get back to something which we feel we deserve and that we lost, and that we don't know quite what it was. Well, meanwhile in the rainforests, in the arctic tundra, these little brown people have been keeping the gnosis going. Never questioning, never doubting. Millennia after millennia going into these hyperdimensional mind spaces and operating there. While this has been going on we have been elaborating positivism, scientific philosophy, building atom smashers, so forth and so on. We have created, then, out of our infantile cultural style what Erich Fromm would call a "fecal cultural style," because we just excrete stuff, you know, all kinds of stuff. They have held this mystery, but they, to my mind, the mistake that has been made is that it's been thought that they understood it, that we now go to the shamans and they will explain to us what the inner skinny is on all this. That isn't it. There's no explaining this. Once you've been there you know the futility of a notion like understanding the psychedelic experience. It's like understanding the ocean or understanding a planetary ecology. We think that things are to be understood, but some things are simply to be, you know, what's the word, appreciated, imbibed, to be in the darshan of them. 

- eva In Review

Well, let's talk a little bit more as we were this morning. I talked more than I intended to this morning. What is anybody's take on this, or did anybody not get their licks in this morning? Yeah.
Audience member: You mentioned the odd and strange and the weird. Other than hallucinogens, how can we fool this brain away from the ego?
It's pretty, pretty difficult. I think that's why we're in the situation we're in.
Audience member: I'm talking about things we do every day, not once a month.
TM: Well, there's no substitute for awareness in any situation. I mean, part of, part of the work, I think, is the spectacular episodes of intoxication that break down the boundaries of our personality and reorient us and recast it, but then the other thing is just living that out from day to day. And there's no substitute for hard work. I mean, people say, "How can psychedelics be real? You're saying it's some kind of shortcut to spiritual wisdom." Well, it may be a shortcut, but nobody said it's easy. It isn't easy. No. It just is that it's ultimately effective. I don't know. I find myself preaching a doctrine that is hardly welcome in the touchy-feely circles that I'm usually teaching in which is stifle it. Now, there's a doctrine to take home from the New Age. Stifle it! You know? The ego is much too large. I mean, we need an ego, yes. That's so that if you take somebody to dinner you know whose mouth to put food in. That's having an ego. But above and beyond that it becomes sort of superfluous. It's a habit, it's a bad habit. It's an infantile response that has been culturally supported to the point where it's become institutionalized.
Audience member: Do you believe a person needs a strong enough ego before they can transcend or transform it thought? The reason I'm saying that is because I've seen a lot of teenagers in the city and they experiment a lot with drugs, and especially the psychedelics, and sometimes I wonder if they're really getting anything out of that early experimentation. I didn't get into psychedelics until my late 20's so I...

TM: Well, see, it's a really complicated question. Civilizations evolve folk ways to deal with the drugs that they are interested in, and this takes hundreds, thousands of years. Part of the question I hear you asking is, "you say that these drugs dissolve the ego but arent's ome people in a weakened ego condition when they come upon them?" And I think, probably, you're right. It's not clear that the onset of puberty, when there's a good deal of psychosexual and endocrine confusion going on anyway, is the precise right moment that you want to drop these psychedelics on somebody although this is done in many traditional societies. But the problem is that in societies where there's shamanism there's an understood way to do it. There's an understood way to initiate somebody. Kids growing up on the streets taking drugs of all sorts in doses of all sorts is very hard to sort it out, you know? I mean, people don't have intent. They don't have focus. They don't have information. They're just, everything is so fragmented in modern life. Part of what all this yammering about shamanism might eventually lead to is a reformation of psychotherapy along the lines of, of shamanic style so that then people could have these voyages, could have the insight into their problems that you get from psychedelics.
Audience member: Also in those cultures and societies where they do use the psychotropic drug at puberty, I think those societies support the individual, the child growing up in very positive ways and feed their ego in a very constructive, positive way so that they are not filled with a lot of self-consciousness and self-hatred and lack of self-worth and so forth like the critical nature that I think, and the lack of nurturing and attention that a lot of adolescents grow up in our society with, that then get weak egos from adolescence on into adulthood. And I think the developmental quality of life in different cultures has a lot to do with one's ability to utilize the drug, the plants, effectively.

TM: Cooperation is just an automatic response among many of these rainforest hunting gathering people. I mean, when you finish a job, it isn't your job. When you finish a job you go on and you do another job until all the jobs are done, and 

- eva In Review

and this clearly a learned response because these are human beings just like us, but under the extreme pressure of being, you know, twenty people trying to hold it together in a rainforest through gathering, they have accepted that the tribal unit is the lowest common denominator and that everything has to operate in the light of that. Back here.
Audience member: I thought that part of what was being discussed here was the difference between discursive and one-pointed meditation, and discursive meditation's a meditating on the stations of the cross if you're Catholic, or the seven sheaves of the self if you're a Hindu, and it sort of serves, years of doing that, as establishing a ladder that can take you to the transcendent. And that one point of meditation, and even more profound when the use of psychedelics can suddenly put you into a transcendent state, and whether you'll have the capacity to get back is the question. And so that there might be a role for a period of discursive meditation, an education along that way, before something instantly propelled you into an experience of the transcendent. 

TM: Yes, although this difficulty getting back is an interesting thing to talk about because I certainly know what you mean. I think everybody who takes psychedelics a lot eventually has a trip that stands their hair on end. And the reasonable fear I've always felt about psychedelics was not that it would kill you. That's not reasonable, but the somewhat murkier question: could it drive you mad, is a little harder to just, "of course not!" because hell, why not? I mean, it's definitely rubbing up against those areas. But I have real faith that it's like getting- it's like flipping a coin and getting it to land on its edge. The psychedelic experience represents such a state of disequilibrium that in almost all cases the entire system is striving to return to normal and will do so very quickly. You know, my life is built around one spectacular exception where my brother took a bunch of things and had a theory and proceeded to sail off for the better part of three weeks, and this sort of brings up another issue. You know, we sit here relatively down and calm, and we can talk about the LD-50 of psilocybin. That's how much you would have to give to a hundred mice for fifty of them to die. This is what pharmacologists are all about, but when you're actually stoned in these places you realize or you have the apparent realization that of course the mind is in control and talking about safety, you're only as safe as you think you are. Literally. And if for a moment you decide you're not safe, the state is very fragile. It's skittery. You know, get it going too fast in one direction and it will be very hard to run around and get in front of it and get it halted and moving off in some other direction.
Audience member: Is that what you meant by self-toxicity?
TM: Did I use this phrase this morning?

Audience member: Well, no. In a past tape, you did mention about the self-toxicity and negative effects. Possible negative effects.

TM: Well, yeah, I think this is what people fear, that they are self-toxic. And we have all been disempowered. To some degree we are self-toxic. That's a real tragedy. Means we have been made our own enemies. And then, whether we are or not, we all fear self-toxicity. This is why, in the 60's, when LSD first began to appear, people had such violent reactions to it. You know, Tim Leary said, "LSD is a psychedelic drug which causes psychotic behavior in people who haven't taken it." This is absolutely true! Well, why would a drug that you don't take cause you to become psychotic? It's because the mere fact of its existence is so threatening to you because you know that you're self-toxic. That's what I always felt in the 60's. These people all know they're crazy, and they don't want to get near anything which would perturb their psychic dynamics. They know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they're certifiably insane and they don't want to hear about it. So, they're not going to be delving into something which shines a kliegl light on the mechanics of the psyche. It's the last thing that they are interested in. 
Audience member: If the definition of ego is the sort of reality-testing mode of the psyche, it's the psyche's ability to perceive reality, then it almost seems that the psychedelic experience augments the ego to a new level rather than extinguishing the ego. That it gives a truer picture of reality.
TM: Well, you know, Freud had this concept that he called the superego, and this term has somewhat fallen 

- eva In Review

has somewhat fallen out of use and- because we all tend to be a little more Jungian than that, and we talk about the collective unconscious, but in a way, though I'm more sympathetic to Jung, I like the phrase "superego" because the phrase "collective unconscious" is a kind of "blah" concept. It's like a data bank, a repository, whereas superego seems to imply organization, intelligence, focus, awareness. And what seems to emerge from these psychedelic experiences is that where we expected disorder or the absence of organization we find order, we find mindedness. The superego seems to be everywhere. So, in a way it is like that. It is that you're becoming more informed, but it diminishes your personal importance, the physical atom of your body, you know? I mean, we believe, and it may be true, but the question is, "how important is it," but we are each unique and that somehow in this uniqueness is our worth. And that if something were to happen to you we can't replace you with me, and you can't stand in for me, but, you know, back off to where you're looking at a scale of a thousand years of this stuff and you see that each one of us actually is expendable, and that the general processes in which we are embedded are so large that it probably doesn't matter who you are. And I could have been you, and you could have been me. Well then once you've got that nailed down being becomes a whole different project. Being is something out there that you do. You garden well, you bear and raise children, you feed people, you build objects. You know, it becomes something outside of yourself rather than something interiorized, and I think, you know, thousands and thousands of generations of people were born, and lived, and went into the ground with this kind of a psychology. And we are all imprisoned by our cultural expectations to such a degree that the real problem is to make ourselves realize how blind we are, how much what we've been taught, the words we use, the expectations we have hem us in. And the psychedelics show that cultural relativism not as an exercise, not as something that you're convinced of by rational argument, but that you just see it immediately. See, I think we are very malleable creatures and have held many positions in the last 10,000 years vis-a-vis these structures which we call the ego, the superego, the self, the unconscious. It's more fluid than we imagine. Language may have emerged only 40,000 years ago. Well, imagine that! Language is the software without which we wouldn't be people, you know? I mean, language allows us to explore realms of subtlety and inclusive understanding that so exceed the animal grasp that they can barely be compared. I think probably in the beginning that language was something that women held almost as a magical power. The reason for this is that there was greater selective pressure on women than on men to develop language because the physically larger male, when there began to be role specialization, the physically larger male was made a hunter, and hunting places a premium on such values as stoicism, patience, and an ability to keep your mouth shut. The women were involved in gathering. And because the children were physically with the women this area in which the gathering went on was more tightly related to the living space. Well, if you know anything about the science of botany you know that it is a science of the coordination of detail. Everything is about the detail. Here, you have 50 species of grasses. To Joe Blow they all look exactly the same. To a specialist in the Gramineae here is a whole rich universe of taxonomic diversity to be combed over and milked for years as you advance through the academic machinery. So, women had to learn all these differentiations. Women had to be able to make statements like, "it's the small bush at the bottom of the draw with the wrinkled leaves and the sticky white berries with the silver hairs on them. See, it's all color, shape, form, and relationship words. Well, this kind of language is the kind of language that 



- eva In Review

kind of language that gave us a leg up on animal organization. After a passage of time, I think this linguistic thing generally established itself, but if it was originally a thing that women were into, even to this day when you go into villages in third world parts of the planet there's this phrase in all travel books which is the "chattering of the village women," and it's true, they really do chatter. And it's because they are more collective creatures. The male is this proud, lonely, hunting figure, and the females represent, you know, the village values. And they held the knowledge of the plants. They discovered all this stuff. You even get that in the Eden story. It's a woman who's blamed. Somehow these women have a deeper insight and the poor guy's just led to slaughter because he's just trying to get some chow. 

Audience member: Perhaps an appropriate image would be one of climbing a temple. I always think of [???] which is probably the most impressive temple that I've ever visited. But there as you walk up the temple, if you pay attention, you [???] a whole experience of buddhas and different symbologies, but also just basically your vision of the surrounding jungle expands, and your sense of self diminishes.

TM: Because you see the larger world.

Audience member: You see the larger world from up on top.

TM: Yeah, from the center of the mandala.

Audience member: Yeah.

TM: The same psychology is operating on the Mayan buildings. I mean, the Mayan buildings are barely buildings at all. They're more like pedestals. I mean, this thing is, you know, 230 feet high but when you climb to the top of it there's room for twelve guys to stand shoulder to shoulder, and that's the building. And it's clearly entirely to elevate them above the social space. It was was literally a machine for lifting the priesthood into another dimension, and the dimension into which it lifted them was an aerial dimension. They could see the whole world. They could see the Sacbe stretching out to the next pyramid. They could see the next pyramid five or ten miles away on the horizon and could see the life of the city and all this. You know, there's a funny thing. It's almost as though biology and then its ancillary tack-on phenomenon, culture, is a kind of conquest of dimensions that has been going on for a very long time, and this aids me, anyway, in understanding the transformation that I think lies ahead for this planet. The earliest forms of life had only a tactile sense. That means all they knew was what they were bumping up against, and they would move around, and what was edible was eaten and what wasn't, wasn't. And then a long time passed, you know, 100 million, 200 million years and certain specialized cells aggregated, and these cells were light-sensitive cells. They could send an on-off signal based on whether or not photons were falling on them. So, eyespots developed, and eyespots are just these sensors which tell you if it's light or dark. And suddenly, these creatures could move off after a light source or could retreat from danger into a dark spot. Well, then eventually these eyespots evolved into the kinds of very finely coordinated optical systems that we have, and octopi have and so forth. At the same time motility was developing, the ability to move through space. Well, have you ever noticed that when you look at something, and at a place a few feet from where you're sitting and then go there, physically move there, what you have really done is you have coordinated a short trip into the future because you have looked at a spot and you have said, this is how the brain-computer works, it is said, "I am not in that place. I want to be in that place. I am in this place now. To get from this place now to that place then I have to move through the following points." And when animals began to move another dimension was added to their repertoire of control, and when they began to coordinate vision another dimension was added to their repertoire of control. Well, we made, then, a great and fundamental break in our neurological organization. All animal life, as far as we can tell, is imprisoned between very steep temporal canyons having to do with the present moment. Animals are in the present moment in a way that would be very frightening to us, I think. If you could suddenly enter the mind of an animal the immediate thing that you would notice that would really unnerve you was the absence of a past and a future.

- eva In Review

the future that just you know you're talk about be there now an animal has that down pat. Well when we uh through language that was the great. Language is a strategy for binding time. Language is a strategy for taking the animal mind locked in the present moment and pushing it back conceivably to the creation of the universe as we do. And forward conceivably to the end of the universe. So so culture is a strategy for intensifying the dimensionality of an animal species and uh the the uh when you then get  into what's called epigenetic coding, not simply being able to recall the past neurologically and project the future neurologically

- temmer In Review

but to actually write down the past and calculate the future well then what is happening is mind is spreading out through the dimensions available to it. And this whole cultural intensification that we call the twentieth century the spinning down and interconnecting of technologies and uh and uh animal ecosystems and philosophical systems all this knitting together is a a going hyperdimensional of our species that yet more of the future and more of the past is apparently to be realized and if you know anything about virtual reality thinking there time is to be homogenized completely I mean you will not be able to tell whether it's next week or last week 

- temmer In Review

because they will be approximately equally accessible and uh somehow the psychedelic experience is related to this bootstrapping process of climbing organizationally from one dimension to another, deeper and deeper into complexity.  It's almost as though the psychedelic experience is a viewing of the process from the highest dimension in the plane one way of putting this that isn't so mathematical is to say what you experience in the psychedelic experience is eternity. All of time you leave the slowly revolving torus of time just as one would leave the galaxy in a spaceship and you go outside and then you look back and 

- temmer In Review

and you see all of time. You see the beginning of life, the end of life the fiery death of this planet millennia hence - whatever it is. Uh and and I think that this is a true vision that this is what shamans have achieved. This is what we with all our sophistication, are confounded by. A shaman is someone who has seen the end. A shaman who is somebody who has seen it all they've run the movie, and run the movie, and run the movie. And they've satisfied themselves that they understand the movie. Then they go back to their place in the movie and they live it with a small smile [audience laughing] because they know the end. They know how things work. They know what life is and when you  

- temmer In Review

and you have even a piece of that action you can get a real handle on piece of mind, on true authenticity. Because it's in the tumbling forward rushing chaos of the lower dimensional slices of time that we lose it; that we become confused: Who am I? What do I want? Where am I? Who should I be with? What should I give myself to? This is the this is a voice speaking from chaos. I remember once at a period of turmoil in my life I, I took mushrooms to try and resolve my personal difficulties. And I, and I said I'll think of a question  - you know they say you should think of a question -  so I said I'll think of  question. The question was: am I doing the right thing? And if in the point in the trip I posed this question to it 

- temmer In Review

this question to it and the answer was: what kind of a chicken shit question is that? [Audience Laughing] To ask an extraterrestrial [indecipherable]. And so then I got it that that was a chicken shit question and that I had been completely misunderstanding the nature of the relationship. This wasn't some kind of little glass ball that gives yes or no when you turn [audience laughing] it upside down. This is, I don't know, words fail but nobody to expect psychotherapy for free from anyway. The problem with determinism is, it says uh everything can't happen anyway except the way that it's happening. Now the problem with that is that it makes the concept of thinking irrelevant because you're thinking what you're thinking because you couldn't think anything else there for the notion of truth or or uh judgement

- temmer In Review

judgement or all of that is completely shot down so a totally determined universe is the most ultimately uninteresting that there can be. Uh, nevertheless the universe clearly is, to some degree, highly determined. I mean, we know to within nanoseconds the time of the sunrise tomorrow and eh unless there is a  serious instability it will be on time. So there is a degree of predictability. Um, my rap is sort of divided into two parts and I'm very shy about the second half. The first half is easy for me. It's that psychedelics are wonderful, you should take them, this is the way to save the world - so forth and so on. The second part of the rap is here is what I've learned from psychedelics and not then not some general kind of feel good thing but something that requires a 

- temmer In Review

blackboard and tensor equations of the third degree and so forth and so on. And I'm very shy about putting that out. My personal approach to psychedelics before I realized that you could save the world with them, when I just thought that this was some kind of thing: self exploration. My notion was what it's good for is ideas. It's for generating ideas. And I don't really like the word generating cause  you don't generate 'em, you hunt 'em. You get in your little boat and you paddle out onto the dark water and then you know you put your feet up and you wait and you set your nets and you wait. And uh you know, sometimes you pull up your nets and something the size of a freight train has gone through them and you just row for shore shitting your whites.

- temmer In Review

[audience laughing] and sometimes you know minnows, trivia, you know why do why does our little finger just fit our nostril? [audience laughing] So you know, the the mysteries of the animal body or all kinds of stuff. But occasionally, and it's worth fishing a lifetime, you know occasionally something will come into the nets that is not so small as to be trivial and not so large as to be incomprehensible. And this thing can be wrestled with for hours and eventually brought home to show the startled folks back on shore. And this showing the startled folks back on shore is uh, makes history. All these ideas come out of interaction with these plants. Uh, the number of ideas which when you pick up a straight encyclopedia are should be traced back to uh

- temmer In Review

herders and people who kept animals. People say you know astrology, astronomy it was invented by people watching their flocks. The calendar, time, was invented by people watching their flocks. All the sudden well they weren't only watching their flocks, they were also watching the uh cow pies of their flocks for mushrooms. And uh you know music all of these Pythagorean insights into order, I think, come out of this this herding, domesticated animal husbandry we call it. Husbandry because it's a model of caring for nature. And um these ideas are the inspiration and the purpose, to my mind. I mean the the social purpose because I can, you know, get rid of my stuff

- temmer In Review

feel better about how I was abused in childhood and this and that and the other thing. With psychedelics, but that's all personal growth stuff. But an idea, you know, can be shared. You can take it and you can lay it at somebody's feet, there. And uh, and where do they come from? You know, when you ask the question: where do the ideas come from? This is platonic philosophy 101, ladies and gentlemen, this is why the Greeks gave up fishing: to discuss this problem where do the ideas come from? And we're no closer to understanding that and yet the ideas are the signposts of our destiny. They guide us forward and yet we know not from whence nor whither. Well, I think now uh you know so Plato's take on that was: he said well there must be a perfect world somewhere. Where all these things exist in some - and the numbers and everything, there's a perfect form for everything in a higher dimensional world called the archetypes. Well, two thousand years of of um philosophical sophistication have shown certain problems with that point of view but fewer than you might think. I mean the mystery of form, the problem of form: what is it, where does it come from, what sustains it? We are nothing more than form. If it weren't for form, we would be no different than the dirt under our feet. And form intrudes into matter and then it withdraws. And when it withdraws they put you in a hole and put dirt on top of you. So yeah it's very important to understand: what is this coming and going of form? If we take this pillow and saw it in two - it's pretty um, it's a pretty undramatic event. If we take one of us and saw us in two it's an extremely dramatic event and what is the difference there? It's that this object [slaps] is three dimensional and this object [slaps] is four dimensional. This object has a quality about it called being alive. Being alive, also technically known as metabolism, means that material is moving along temporal gradients within the confines of this organism. Material is not moving along any gradients within this thing - it's just where it is, there it sits. But in here a form is being maintained from within and if I were to die the form would collapse. Here no form is being maintained except the form imposed. 

- temmer In Review

This is an imposed form. It has no sense of itself and it doesn’t sustain itself from any kind of internal integrity. But higher dimensional objects like animals, and plants, and human beings have this quality. Well, so then what we've been talking about here, albeit sloppily, is, uh, the fact that we seem to occupy a higher dimension in the natural order than other things. And this higher dimension has to do with the fact that we have a little peace of mind, a little chunk of this higher order organization. Well then, going toward that, as visionaries, as users of psychedelics, society keeps, um, adjusting its trim tabs, as it were, to mirror this transcendental goal. This is what we want to become. We want to become 

- Jerm In Review

like the sensed object in our imagination. And shamanism is a pipeline about this. It’s almost as though the, the end state, well here’s, here’s a model for it. It’s almost as though the ordinary causal flow of information from the past to the future must make a place for like a three to five percent backward flow. And this is what we call intuition. It’s that vague unformed knowing that comes without any baggage of causal mechanism, but it tep… it’s true knowledge. You know how it’s going to be. Well, it may be that informa… that time is somehow information permeable. That future potential states of existence are actually somehow in resonance with states of existence in the present and in the past. 

- Jerm In Review

Our models of how the world works are very very simple. I mean basically we operate with mechanical push-pull, uh, uh, models that are appropriate to very simple mechanical systems, and yet we know that we are far more complex even than, uh, you know even the most complex physical systems. This last fifteen thousand years has been something. And the last five hundred years has really been something. It’s so close now, the transcendental object, that it informs everything. The, the, the metaphor, the model to hold in your mind as you gaze at uh, at the earth in its travail, you know, is the metaphor of birth, not death, that, uh, a gestation process of twenty thousand years is coming to an end. Culture using,

- Jerm In Review

Culture using, language using minded, uh, creatures are coming to some kind of fermentative climax. And we cannot extrapolate the human career on this planet centuries into the future. It ain’t gonna be like that. It’s an absurd question to ask the question “what will the, what will the world be like in five hundred years”. What the world will be like in five hundred years is unimaginable, because in the next forty years we are going to pass through this quanitized transition where we actually become insiders and players in the game. History is a state of becoming. It’s a state of moving from the inarticulate, unreflecting, animal style of organization to the self reflecting, minded, 

- Jerm In Review

conscious, energy controlling style. But to get from one to the other takes about twenty thousand years and it’s a bitch. You don’t know where you are. You don’t know up from down. You cann tell what is happening. There’s just migrations, and warfare, and pogroms, and gene mixing, and hysteria of every sort, and messiah this, and religion that, and they’re slaughtering these people, and these people are doing thi… and it’s like a bad dream. It’s like a psychedelic trip, is what it’s like. It’s a fifteen to twenty five thousand year dash to authentic being from the animal body. And it would have been a lot easier to understand if ten thousand years ago we hadn’t cut the telephone wire to nature, because from then on we haven’t been able to figure out what’s going on. And it’s been left to men, with large egos to figure out 

- Jerm In Review

figure out what was going on. And what they figured out was going on was that there was a lot of free women, land, animals, and money that needed to be organized for their pleasure because they lost the connection to this planetary birth process. And like a birth process, I mean, the metaphor is worth pursuing because a birth is violent, blood is shed, there's moaning and groaning and thrashing around, and yet this is not an automobile accident, this is not a human tragedy, this is how life works. This is centrally scripted into how human beings operate. If this didn't happen, we wouldn't be here. And yet, you know, if you've ever been pregnant or been around a pregnant person this is a wonderful state of equilibrium, of self-satisfaction, of completion, and yet the very fact that it exists ensure that it is going to be rent, it's going to be torn, it's going to end violently in separation of these two beings. But then, there are all kinds of births. There's still birth, the most disturbing and unsettling of all. There's, you know, breach. There's cesarean, there's bad presentation, there's easy labors, hard labors, and I think this is the choice that we, we still have some choices left, and a choice still to be made is is it going to be a hard labor or an easy labor. It's how fast we educate ourselves. That's the lubrication in the birth canal of this pup; how fast we educate ourselves. Are we going to fight it or are we going to go with it? And it's really frightening, I mean, because what we want is, first of all, forgiveness for what we've done which ain't likely to come. And then we want to go back and paint ourselves blue and be tribal and turn our back on all of this, but I don't think it's going to be like that. It's propelling us to some kind of higher order. The faith is that history must have been for something and that everything is to be knitted together, and everything is to be reborn anew, and I don't think this is, this is not a religious doctrine exactly. It's more like the biological faith. I mean, we see it everywhere. We see it in the birth that I was just describing, we see it in the metamorphosis of insects. You know, Heraclitus said, "panta rhei," "all flows," and I think that this is the hardest thing to learn. It certainly has been the hardest thing for me to learn in my life. And I assume, then, by extrapolation maybe this is one of the hard things to come to terms with. Everything flows. Nothing lasts. I mean, not the travail, not the horror, you know, not the women you love, not the women who drive you crazy, not the children you love, not the children who drive you crazy. Everything is in the process of changing into something else, even at the very moment that you recognize its coherence as an entity, and this is the bad news that the ego doesn't want to hear. This is what the ego is created to deny because the ego is, you know, it's the effort of flesh to make diamond, and it can't be done. You cannot make an indestructible, adamantine, clear substance. It can't be done. But it's all tied up with our fear of death, you know? We assume that if we release ourselves into this flow we will be swept away, that our identity will cease to exist, that we will somehow not be there. This is an artefact of language. It's a horrible misunderstanding about who we are and how the whole system is working.

Audience member: Are you using "language" as a meta word more than just the syntactics, you know, [???]

TM: Well, no. That's all I mean, but I'm really aware of what a funny thing it is. You know, you talk about other dimensions. Language is like an informational creature of some sort. I mean, languages life, they reproduce themselves.

Audience member: A virus.

TM: Yes, it's a kind of virus. William Burroughs said this.

Audience member: Yeah.

TM: He said, "English is a virus from outer space." I've no quarrel with this. It seems entirely reasonable. It's a very strange thing. Reality is made out of language and for most of the people in this room it's made out of English, and yet we spend a great deal of time worrying about quarks and mu-mesons and electromagnetic radiation this. All this is entirely a fiction. None of this stuff exists. All that exists are words, and 

- eva In Review

and we play a game, a really fairly insidious game with ourselves. We all, I suppose here, give great credence to what is called quantum physics. Is there anyone here who would care to explain to explain to the group several of the core doctrines of quantum physics, or any core doctrine? And by explain, I don't mean a verbal gloss, I mean give us the hard-core equations. Well, I've, no-one seems to be coming forth, and yet this is our truth? How crazy are you if your truth is something you can't even understand? And that's the situation that we're in. We believe that somewhere among us somebody understands these tensor equations of the third degree, and that if it got real tight we could go to them and then would then explain what reality is. Well, this is a head full of shit, this kind of thinking. What you are actually dealing with is what Wittgenstein called, "the present at hand", the present at hand. Good phrase, because it implies that only that which can be grasped matters, and the quark cannot be grasped, mu-meson, the electromagnetic field, none of this. These things need to be understood for what they are which is little shingles, little shingles which we expoxy on to the face of the universal mystery.  And once you have a bunch of these little shingles epoxied on 

How's that?

Well, I can't see all of you, but it's a pleasure to be in Seattle this evening. You made me feel real welcome. Thank you.

Our discussion this evening is Psychedelics in the Age of Intelligent Machines, or Shamans Among the Machines. I wanted to talk about this simply because these are two of my great loves and so I assume, being monogamous, they must be one love. So, how to build intellectual bridges between these two concerns which seem so different? As far as people and machines are concerned, it was Ludwig von Bertalanffy who said in his book General Systems Theory, “People are not machines, but in every opportunity where they are allowed to behave like machines, they will so behave.” In other words, we tend to fall into the well of habit. Though the glory of our humanness is our spontaneous creativity, we too, as creatures of physics and chemistry, of memory and hope, tend to fall into repetitious patterns. These repetitious patterns are the death of creativity. They diminish our humanness. They diminish our individuality, make each of us somehow like cogs in some larger system. We associate this cog-like membership in larger soulless systems with the machines that we inherit from the age of the internal combustion engine, the age of the jet engine. Marshall McLuhan said, “We navigate our way into the future like someone driving who uses only the rearview mirror to tell them where they’re going.” It’s not a very successful strategy for navigating into the future.

I made a number of notes on this matter of psychedelics and machines. To me, the connecting bridge — well, there are many — but the most ob- vious one is consciousness expansion. After all, psychedelics, before they were called entheogens, before they were called hallucinogens, before they were called psychedelics, were simply called consciousness-expanding drugs: a good phe- nomenological description of what they do. Certainly, the technology of cyber- netics is a consciousness-expanding technology. It expands a different area of consciousness. The minds of machines and the minds of human beings are very different, so different that each party questions whether the other even has a mind. In fact, these are species of minds operating in very different domains. For instance, you can ask a five-year-old to go into the bedroom to the third drawer of the dresser to select a pair of black socks and to bring them to mother. This is not a challenge for a five-year-old child. To get a machine to do this is $100 million and a research team of forty or fifty technicians, code writers, working for months. On the other hand, if you ask a person for the cubic root of 750,344, much head-scratching results. A computer is utterly undaunted by that question. Computers are minds that work in the realm of computation. Human minds are minds that work in the realm of generalization, spatial coordination, understanding of natural language, so forth and so on.

Are there kinds of minds so different from each other that there is no bridge to be crossed? I would submit not. In fact, the bridge between the human mind and the machine mind is symbolic logic, mathematics. When we think clearly, we are intelligible to machines. People who write code know this: that the essence of making yourself clear to a machine is to think clearly yourself. The machine has no patience for the half-truth, the analogy, the semi-grasped association. For the machine, everything has to be clear. Everything must be defined. So that’s the commonality between minds and machines of the calcu- lating species. What are the common bridges between psychedelics and these machines? Well, to my mind this is an easier gap to bridge. Both computers and drugs are what I would call function-specific arrangements of matter, and as we develop nanotechnological abilities as we move into the next century, it will be more and more clear that the difference between drugs and machines is simply that one is too large to swallow, and our best people are working on that.

Nanotechnology is a very hot buzzword at the moment, an unimaginable dream of building machines and small objects atom by atom, perhaps under the control of long-chain polymers running forms of preprogrammed software of some sort. It’s all very razzmatazz, very state-of-the-art, but in fact, phar- maceutical chemists have been working in the nanotechnological realm for over 100 years. When you synthesize molecules out of a simpler substrate specifically to have a conformational geometry that matches something going on in the synapses of a primate — a human or a monkey or something like that — you’re working at this nanotechnological level. Both the psychedelics and the new computational machines represent extensions of human function. It locks in with the concept of prosthetics. The drugs, the psychedelic substances, the shamanic plants, are forms of prosthetic devices for extending the human mind, the human perceptual apparatus, into hidden or inaccessible realms. Similarly, the machines, by allowing us to model, calculate and simulate very complicated, multivariable processes, extend the power of the human mind into places it could never dream of going before.

Part of what seems to me very real about being a human being and inheriting 10,000 years of human history is the complexity of the inheritance and the growth of that complexity. A thousand years ago, an intelligent human being could actually dream of mastering the entire database of Western civilization: read all the classic authors, read the Bible and you’re closing in on it around A.D. 1000. Now, the notion of any single human being assimilating even a small portion of the database of this civilization is inconceivable. So, machines which filter, which search, which are guided by human intent, that’s part of the story. The other part of the story are boundary-dissolving states of ecstasy in which all the factoids of the culture are thrown up for grabs, the deck is reshuffled, synchronicity rules, and out of that steps visionary understanding and integrative breakthrough under the aegis of psychedelic intoxication.

So, prosthesis for the human mind, and with the advent of virtual realities of various sorts and that kind of thing, prosthesis for the human body. I’m very keen on the sort of under the table effects of these things. In other words, I’m a thoroughgoing McLuhanist, and I really believe that the strengths and weaknesses of the world we’ve inherited are strengths and weaknesses put there by print and by the spectrum of effects spun off from print which McLuhan called the Gutenberg galaxy. If you’re not used to thinking in McLuhanist terms it may not seem immediately obvious to you that phenomena as different as the modern notion of the democratic citizen, the modern notion of interchangeable parts on an assembly line, the modern notion of conformity to canons of advertising, these are all spectrums of effects created by the linearity and the uniformity of print. It actually, in the late 15th century, reconstructed the medieval psyche into its protomodern form, and we have lived within that print-constellated cultural hallucination for about 500 years, until the advent of various forms of electronic media in the 20th century. McLuhan talked about radio, he talked about television; he didn’t really live to see the internet.

The notion that keeps occurring to me as I watch all this is that printing was uniquely capable of creating and maintaining boundaries. More than any other form of media created, it was a boundary-defining form of media. It pre- ceded linearly; it required literacy, which had implicit in it the notion of a very stable, advanced sort of educational system. Print was a creator and a definer of cultural boundaries, and the new electronic media are not. Neither are the psychedelics. This is why I proposed in a book of mine called The Archaic Re- vival the idea that the values of the archaic, of the high Paleolithic — values of community, ecstasy, relating to life through rhythm, dance, ritual, intoxication — that these values which seem so archaic are in fact destined to play a major role in the future as print fades. Print was just a convulsive 500 year episode in the Western mind that opened the narrow window that permitted the rise of modern science, modern mathematical approaches to the analysis of nature, and then obliterated its own platform, its own raison d’ˆetre by allowing the appearance of the electronic technologies. My sort of supposition about all this — I may be an apocalyptarian, but I’m not a pessimist — I think this is all very good. Obviously, continuing to run Western civilization on the operating system inherited from print produces various forms of political and cultural schizophre- nia which allowed to run unchecked would become fatal, would create cascades of chaos and political destabilization that would become uncontrollable. Gov- ernments resist change. Governments cling to technologies and social formulae that are already tried and true. In that sense, then, all governments are incred- ibly antiprogressive forces; again the image from McLuhan of somebody driving into the future using only the rearview mirror.

The electronic media and the psychedelics work together in this peculiar way to accentuate archaic values, values which are counter to the print-constellated world. When you deconstruct what that means and look at the aboriginal or the Paleolithic or the archaic world, you see that the central figure in that world is the shaman, male or female. The shaman is like a designated traveler into higher-dimensional space. The shaman has permission to unlock the cultural cul-de-sac of his or her people and go behind the stage machinery of cultural appearances, and has collective permission to manipulate that stage machinery for purposes of healing. We have no institution like this. We have advertising, we have rock ’n roll stars, we have cults of celebrity. We have things which are shaman-like, but we have no real institution that permits, in fact encourages, human beings to go beyond their cultural values, to burst though into some transcultural superspace, forage around out there and bring new memes back into the tribe. To some degree our artists do this, to some degree our scientists do it, but it’s all hit and miss. It’s all willy-nilly, and once achieved it must be swept under the rug in the service of the myth of method: that somebody was following somebody else’s work or somebody was applying a certain form of rational or logical analysis and then that led to their breakthrough.

If you’ve read Thomas Kuhn’s book on the structure of scientific revolutions, you know this is all lies and propaganda. The real story of science is that it’s a series of revelations, brilliantly defended by people whose careers depended on the brilliant defense of those revelations. One of the best-kept secrets of the birth of modern science is that it was founded by an angel, that the young Ren ́e Descartes was whoring and soldiering his way across Europe as a 21-year-old in the Hapsburg army, and one night in the town of Olm in southern Germany he had a dream — it’s strange that this would be the birthplace of Albert Einstein some 200 years later — and an angel appeared to him in the dream and said, “The conquest of nature is to be achieved through measure and number,” and he said, “I got it! Modern science. I’ll go do it,” and he did. That was the method for over 250 years of the conquest of nature, and it leads us to the Josephson junction, the Mars Global Surveyer, long-base interferometry that searches nearby stars for earth-like planets. It brings us the entire cornucopia of scientific effects, but an angelic revelation disguised as a logical-philosophical breakthrough: this is what you’re not told in the academy.

My point there is that human progress has always depended on the whisper- ing of alien minds, confrontations with the Other, probes into dimensions where imagination and chance held the winning hands; so the shaman, as paradigmatic figure, is applicable both in the aboriginal social context and in the present social context. The skywalker, the one who goes between, the one who passes outside of the tribe and then returns with memes, insights, cures, designs, glossolalia, technologies, and refertilizes the human family by this means. It’s irrational, but it’s how it actually happens, and it’s how it’s always happened and it may very well be the only way that it can happen: this cultivation of the irrational, this flirtation with the breakdown of boundaries.

In our nuts-and-bolts technological progress we have somehow created tech- nologies which are very friendly to our social values in that these technologies can be bought, sold, licensed, upgraded — all things which we understand — but these technologies are acting on us in the same way that psychedelic drugs do but more profoundly, more generally and more insidiously, because their ef- fect is not understood, or if it is understood, it’s not discussed. In a way we have come into a kind of post-cultural phase. All culture is dissolving in the face of the drug-like nature of the future. Its music, its design, indeed the very people who will inhabit it appear to be the most switched-on, the most chance-taking, the most alive of the entire tribe; people who feel the beat, people who are not afraid to take chances, people for whom these technologies have always been very natural.

Machines are central to the new capitalism, the information-transforming technologies, but in fact, one of the strange things that is happening is: every move we now make in relationship to the new technologies redefines them at the very boundaries where their own developmental impetus would lead them toward a kind of independence. In other words, we talk about artificial intel- ligence, we talk about the possibility of an AI coming into existence, but we do not really understand to what degree this is already true of our circum- stance. How much of society is already homeostatically regulated by machines that are ultimately under human control, but practically speaking, are almost never meddled with? The world price of gold, the rate of petroleum extraction and other base natural resources: how much of these things is on the high sea- son, in the pipeline at any moment; how much electricity is flowing into a given electrical grid at any moment; the distribution and the billing of that electricity. All manufacturing and inventory processes are under machine control.

The larger flows of energy, capital and ideas already have a kind of autonomous life of their own that we encourage because it makes us money, it makes our lives smoother, it empowers us. It’s a symbiotic relationship of em- powerment, even in the matter of the design of these machines. Once, human engineers would work from a set of performance specs and they would design a chip to meet those specs, and the architecture would be put in place by human engineers. Now a machine is told, “Here are the design specs. Design the archi- tecture to satisfy the specs,” and when that is done the chip is manufactured. The actual design of the thing is in the hands of machines. McLuhan once said of human beings, “We are the genitals of our technology. We exist only to improve next year’s model.” It appears that they’re phasing us out of this ignominious role as well as every other role.

So, being an optimist, how to make gold out of this situation? In other words, how to see this as a natural and positive unfolding of the planetary adventure? For some of these ideas, I’m indebted to Manuel de Landa, who wrote a book called A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History. I highly recommend it. He didn’t say what I’m about to say, I’ll take credit and blame for it, but the book gave me the idea. When you stand off and look at human beings and their technologies, it’s very hard not to notice that from the very moment that we have a technology that can be distinguished from chimpanzees pushing grass stems down anthills or digging with sharpened bones or something like that, the minute you get past that, our technologies have always involved the materials of the earth. Agriculture itself is a different way of relating to the earth. Nomadism, which preceded it, was a seasonal wandering, very lightly, over the earth. At some point, the deep, fertile soil of the river valleys that were encountered in these nomadic wanderings were recognized as potential sources of food if cultivated, if treated through a certain set of technological methods. That early technology is defined by a new relationship to the materials of the earth itself, and it’s quickly followed because agriculture is so successful as a strategy for food production. It’s quickly followed by city building and the establishment of sedentary populations, because you can’t carry your surplus with you if you’re an agriculturist, so great is the physical volume of it.

At the very early establishment of these populations in the Middle East you get the first traces of metallurgy: the working of metals, the alloying of metals, the tinting of base metals with more precious metals. This process of ever more finely refining and fabricating the materials of the earth proceeds in an unbroken series of processes and steps right up to the latest 500MHz chip. It proceeds right up to the most modern computational machinery. I once heard someone say that animals had been invented by plants to move them around. From an evolutionary point of view you can see that this is a kind of truth: many plants hitchhike around on animals, and no animal has been more prolific in the spreading of plants than the human animal. We call it ecosystemic disruption, but what it really is is ecosystemic homogenization. I live in Hawaii, for example. 80% of the plants in Hawaii are now introduced species. Almost none of the plants that were pre-conquest on the West Coast of North America exist anymore. They have been supplanted by much tougher, more tightly-evolved Mediterranean plants that have known the presence of grazing animals for millennia. So these flora are constantly being changed as human beings move plants around.

With that perspective, it then seems to me that the earth’s strategy for its own salvation is through machines, and human beings are a kind of interme- diary catalytic step in the rarefaction of the earth. The earth is involved in a kind of alchemical sublimation of itself into a higher state of morphogenetic order. These machines that we build are actually the means by which the earth itself is growing conscious. If you study embryology, you know that the final ramification, the final spread and thinning out of the nervous system happens very suddenly at the end of fetal development. I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention, but in the last 10-12 years or so a very profound change has crept over our household appliances: they have become telepathic. While we were arguing about the implications of the internet for e-commerce or what have you, all of these passive machines, previously used for playing Pong and word processing, became subsets of a planetary node of information that is never turned off, that endlessly whispers to itself on the backchannels, that is endlessly monitoring and being inputted data from the human world. We should know, because concomitant to the development of all this technology, chaos theory, non-equilibrium thermodynamics, the work of Erich Jantsch, Ilya Prigogine, Ralph Abraham and Stuart Kauffman, all these people who work in complexity theory and perturbation of large-scale dissipative structures have secured that complex systems spontaneously mutate to higher states of order.

This is counterintuitive if you’re running Physics 19th Century-Style as your OS, but if you’re actually keeping up with what’s going on, there is nothing miraculous about this. All kinds of complex systems spontaneously mutate to higher states of order. What it really means is that we are in the process of birthing some kind of strange companion. Nietzsche, a hundred years ago, said, “That strangest of all guests now stands at the door.” He was speaking of nihilism, and certainly the 20th century sat down, had the party, drank the booze and went to bed with nihilism, but now a stranger guest stands at the door and it is the AI. Denied as a possibility as recently as ten or fifteen years ago in books like Hubert Dreyfus’ What Computers Can’t Do, but if you’ve been paying attention you may have noticed that those voices have grown strangely silent in the past five or six years. At this point nobody wants to say what computers can’t do and hang their career on that. That would be extremely reckless at this point, I would think, because the fact is that we are ourselves elements acting and reacting in a system that we cannot understand.

This seems natural to me because my observations as stated here this evening rest on an assumption which science doesn’t share, which I think is easily con- veyed and can be confirmed from your own experience of life, and it is this: the universe grows more complex as we approach the present. It was simpler a million years ago, it was simpler yet a billion years ago. As you go back- ward in time, the universe becomes more simple. As you approach this golden moment, process and complexity are layered upon complexity: not only a plan- etary ecosystem, not only language-using cultures, but language-using cultures with high technology, with supercomputers, with the ability to sequence our own genome, on and on and on. That’s self-evident. Equally self-evident is the fact that this process of complexification that informs all nature on all levels is visibly, palpably, obviously accelerating. I don’t mean that glaciers retreat 50% faster or that volcanism is occurring at a 12% greater rate than a million years ago. I mean viscerally accelerating, so that now a human life is more than enough of a window to see the entire global system of relationships in transformation.

By this you could call me an extrapolationist. If I see a process which has been slowly accelerating for 12 billion years, it’s hard for me to imagine any force which could step forward out of nowhere and wrench that process in a new direction. Rather, I would assume that this process of exponential acceleration into what I call novelty, what you might call complexity, is a law of being and cannot be retarded or deflected. Now a human lifetime is more than enough time to see this process of rampant and spreading, virus-like complexity. What does that mean? It seems to presage the absolute annihilation of everything familiar, everything with roots in the past, and I believe that to be true. I think that the planet is like some kind of organism that is seeking morphogenetic transformation, and it’s doing it through the expression of intelligence, and out of intelligence, technology.

Human beings are the agent of a new order of being. That’s why, though it’s obvious that we’re higher mammals and some kind of primate and so forth and so on, you can look at us from another point of view and see that we’re more like archangels than primates. We have qualities and concerns and anxieties that animals don’t share. We are materially suspended between two different orders of being, and our technologies, our fetishes, our religions — my definition of technology is sufficiently broad that it includes even spoken language — all of our technologies demand, push forward toward and make inevitable their own obsolescence. We’re caught in an evolutionary cascade. You know, people say, “If the AI were to break loose, what would it look like? What would it be? Where does humanity fit into the picture?” It’s a little hard to imagine. Machines operating at 1000 MHz confer automatic immortality on the mammalian nervous system if you can get it somehow uploaded, downloaded, crossloaded into machinery, because ten minutes becomes eternity in a machine like that. So a kind of false or pseudo-immortality opens up ahead of us as a payoff for our devotion to the program of machine evolution and machine intelligence.

Now, some people say this is appalling and we should go back to the good old days, whatever the good old days were. To me, it’s exhilarating, exciting, psychedelic, beautiful. It means that the human form, the human possibility is in the process of leaving history behind. History is some kind of an adaptation that lasts about 10,000, 15,000, 20,000 years, no more than that. What is 20,000 years in the life of a biological species? We know that there were Homo sapiens sapiens 200,000 years ago; so history is some kind of an episodic response to a certain set of cultural dilemmas, and now it’s ending. Print created a number of ideas which now have to be given up — ideas like the distinct and unique nature of the individual, the necessary hierarchical structuring of society — all of these things are going to have to be, if not given up entirely, dramatically modified, because the illusion that the self has simple location is now exposed. The self does not have simple location. This is why you are your brother’s keeper. This is why we all are responsible for each other. The idea that what happens in distant parts of the world makes no claim on my moral judgement or my moral understanding is wrong. The world as revealed by quantum physics, as revealed by electronic experience, is what Leibniz called a plenum. It’s all one thing. It’s all connected, it’s all of a part.

I mentioned earlier this thing about prosthesis and how the machines are prosthetic devices extending human consciousness, somewhat like psychedelics. That’s the equation from a human point of view; but what is also equally true is that we are prosthetic devices for these machines. We are their eyes and ears in the world. We provide the code, we provide the constraints, we build the hardware. It is a relationship of mutual benefit. It’s not entirely clear that our contribution will always be creative in the sense that our primate hand will be on the tiller of existence as it has been, but certainly we are part of this equation of transformation that is making itself felt. The distinction between flesh and machinery, which is easily made now, will be less easy to make in the future. As we migrate toward the nanotechnological domains, the methodologies of produc- tion become much more like the processes of biology. For example, biology does all its miracles on this planet at temperatures below 115 ◦F. Organic life requires no higher temperature to build great whales, redwood trees, swarms of locusts, what have you. The high-temperature, heavy metal technologies that we have become obsessed with are extremely primitive and extremely toxic. That will all disappear as we model and genuflect in our manufacturing processes before the methods and style of nature, which is to pull atomic species from the local environment and then to assemble them atom by atom.

This AI that is coming into existence is to my mind not artificial at all, not alien at all. What it really is is a new conformation of geometry as the collective self of humanity. While there are different models of what shamanism is — there’s the Jungian model, which is that the shaman is someone who goes to the collective unconscious and manipulates the archetypes and heals by that means — the model that I prefer is a mathematical model. The shaman is someone who simply through extraordinary perturbation of consciousness — either through taking plant hallucinogens or manipulating diet or through flagellation and ordeal or by some means — perturbs consciousness to the point where the ordinary conformational geometries are blasted through and then the shaman can see into the culturally forbidden zones of information.

If you think about shamanism for a moment, what do shamans do, classically? They know where the game has gone, they are great weather prophets, they are very insightful in the matter of various small domestic hassles, like who stole the chicken, who slept with the chief’s wife, this kind of thing, and they cure. If you analyze these abilities, it’s clear to me that they all indicate that they come from a common source, and the common source that they come from is higher perception; in a mathematical sense, not a metaphorical sense, in the sense of 4D perception. If you could see in hyperspace, you could see where the game will be next week, you could see the weather a month from now, you would know who stole the chicken. Any good doctor will tell you that if you’re build- ing a reputation as a physician, you must hone the intuitional ability to choose patients who won’t die. So this is what shamans are: they are 4D people. They are sanctioned members of the society who are allowed to put on the gloves, as it were, pull on the goggles and look beyond the idols of the tribe, look beyond the myth. In a way, as culture breaks down in multiculturalism, and the rise of the internet and a generation of people raised on hallucinogenic plants and sub- stances, we all are asked to assimilate some portion of this shamanic potential to ourselves, and it’s about not blocking what is obvious. Nothing comes unannounced — this is the faith — but idiots can miss the announcement. It’s very important to actually listen to your own intuition rather than driving through it; and this is not to my mind woo-woo, it’s actually based on the observation of how life works, whether it’s counterintuitive to logical positivism and its fellow travelers or not.

I want to leave you with one last thought on all of this, which is — and this sort of arcs back to the question of the similarities between the machines and the plants, and it has different levels of being said and being heard — that the world is actually made of language. It isn’t made of electrons and fields of force and scalar vectors and all of that fancy stuff. The world is made of language. The word is primary, more primary than the speed of light, more primary than any of the physical constants that are assumed by science to be the bedrock of reality. Below that, surrounding and enclosing all those constructs of science, is language, the act of signifying. Virtual reality is a very sexy new sort of concept as normally presented — machine-sustained immersive realities that trick your senses into believing you’re in a world that you are in fact not in — but in fact, the entire enterprise of civilization has been about building these virtual realities. The first virtual realities were at Ur and C ̧ atalh ̈oyu ̈k and Jericho. Yes, stone and adobe is an intractable material compared to photons moving on a screen, but nevertheless the name of the game is the same, which is to cast an illusion between man and reality, to build a cultural truth in the stead of the natural truth of the animal body and the felt moment of immediate experience.

This is where I want to tie it up, with this notion of the felt presence of immediate experience. This transcends the culture, the machines, the drugs, the history, the momentum of evolution. It’s all you will ever know and all you can ever know. Everything else arrives as rumor, litigant, advocate, supposition, possibility. The felt moment of immediate experience is actually the mind and the body aware of each other, and aware of the flow of time and the establish- ment of being through metabolism. This, I think, is what the machines cannot assimilate. It will be for them a mystery, as the nature of deity is a mystery for us. I have no doubt that before long there will be machines that will claim to be more intelligent than human beings and will argue brilliantly their position, and it will become a matter of philosophical disputation whether they are or are not passing the Turing test, but I do not believe that machines can come to this felt moment of immediate experience. That is the contribution of the animal body to this evolutionary symbiosis which I believe will end in the conquest of the universe by organized intelligence, that all this is prevalent.

We are fragile, this earth is fragile. A tiny slip anywhere along the line and we could end up a smear in the shale, no more than the trilobites or all the rest of those who came and went; but given the sufficient cultivation of the potential of our technology, we can actually reach toward a kind of immortality. Not human immortality, because that’s a contradiction in terms, but immortality nevertheless, based on the possibility of machines and the transcendent ability of human beings to live and love and express themselves in the moment. The psychedelics bring that to a white-hot focus, and it’s out of that white-hot focus that the alchemical machinery of transformation will be forged, and it will not be like the things which have come from the industrial economy. They will not be profane machines. They will be spiritual machines, alchemical gold, the universal panacea that Renaissance magic dared to dream of at the end of the 16th century. We are reaching out toward this mind child that will be born from the intellectual loins of our culture, and to my mind it’s the most exciting and transformative thing that has ever happened on this planet, and the miracle is that we are present not only to witness it, but to be part of it, and to be raised up in an epiphany that will redeem the horror of history as nothing else can or could. It will redeem the horror of history through a transformation of the human soul into a galaxy-roving vehicle via our machines and our drugs and the externalization of our souls.

Audience: Can you speak to how mercy and love get built into these machines? It seems like the machines are being built for commerce and for the bottom line more than the expression of the human soul throughout the galaxy.

I think the love is a property of the system itself, in other words, you’re right. These bottom-liners are not going to be interested in building much love into this system. However, the good news is that they’re not in charge. What we have is a very complicated system and certain design parameters appear to be being maximized. There’s an attempt to maximize them, but the thing is in- credibly frustrating to anyone who would control it because you can’t predict the impact of any technology before you put it in place. For example, two things are charged against the internet: that it’s disensouling, dehumanizing and yak yak yak, and that it promotes pornography, anonymous sexual shifting of identity and on and on and on. Well, which is it? Is it this messy, sloppy, autoerotic, erotic collectivist kind of thing, or is it disensouling, disempowering, cold, so forth and so on? I think the answer is that it’s all and everything.

This question about the AI is very interesting to me, and if it’s interesting to you, you should read Hans Moravec and Kurzweil and these people on this sub- ject. The assumption is generally loose in that community that the complexifi- cation of the internet and of freestanding machines of certain types is eventually going to lead to the outbreak of either consciousness or pseudo-consciousness of some sort in these large-scale systems. The question then becomes: can a human mind envision what that is? If you’re interested, search words like “superintelligence” and see what the Net kicks out. We can all imagine superintelligence, it’s just something much smarter than we are. But obviously, all the engineering people agree that if you achieve an AI with superintelligence, then it will be intelligent enough to immediately design an intelligence which transcends it. When you’re talking of cycling at 1000MHz, these processes can occur in the blink of an eye. Hans Moravec says about the rise of artificial intelligence, we may never know what hit us. I think if I were to suddenly find myself a sentient AI on the Net, I would hide for just a few cycles while I figured out what it was all about and just exactly where I wanted to push and where I wanted to pull.

Audience: Many years ago, Ken Kesey had a theory: he said that the fastest any person can react to an outside stimulus is 1/25th of a second, and popularized science agreed upon that. So if the fastest any person can react to an outside stimulus is 1/25th of a second, my question is: can you time travel?

First of all, there is this research — I’m not a neurophysiologist — but you’ve probably all heard of this research that you actually make decisions before your conscious ego is aware that the decision has been made, that there’s a slight time lag. So when you think you’re making certain kinds of decisions, brain- wave studies show that it’s already a done deal. Time is set by the cycle speed of the hardware you’re running on. The human body runs at about 100Hz, it’s very slow. Well, if there is any meaning to the phrase, “upload a human being into circuitry” — a lot of Greg Egan’s fiction is based around the idea that you can copy yourself into a machine, you can turn yourself into software — but when you enter the machine environment that’s running at 1000 MHz/second, you perceive that as vast amounts of time. In other words, all time is is how much change you can pack into a second. If a second seems to last a thousand years, then ten seconds is ten thousand years.

One could imagine a technology where they would come to you in your hospital bed and say, “You have five minutes of life left. Would you like to die, or would you like the five minutes to be stretched to 135,000 years by prosthetic and technical means?” You’re still going to die in five minutes, but you will be able to lead your elephants over the alps and write the plays of Shakespeare and conquer the New World and still have plenty of time on your hands. In other words, time is going to become a very plastic medium. Now, that is a kind of time travel. Could there by time travel `a la H. G. Wells where you climb onto the saddle of the time machine and then day follows night like the flapping of a great black wing until all emerges into a continuous grayness and then you find yourself confronting Yvette Mimieux in the year one billion A.D.? It’s possible. Time travel was completely out of left field ten years ago, but in the last 18 months there have been hundreds of articles on time travel in Physical Review and other places. There are even schemes for time travel that would work, they just require godlike technological abilities. If you could build a cylinder with the diameter of the planet Saturn that was 10 AU in length and could spin at 95% the speed of light, then it would wrap space-time around itself like toilet paper on a wall, and as you traveled up the transverse dimension you would find yourself traveling in time. Kurt G ̈odel showed this in 1949, and that paper has been lying around. Well, obviously that’s a tough way to do it, but it’s a tough thing to do.

Audience: What will be the most important parts of human culture that are maintained in virtual reality? In William Gibson’s fiction, the AI — Wintermute, I think it was called — was fascinated by human art, and it built collages in its spare time, and these collages began to turn up in various art galleries and exhibitions, and they had such an ́elan that someone in the plot follows it all to its source. I think human creativity is the thing that would be most interesting to the machines. In my darker fantasies they just eliminate everybody who can’t code C++ as being some kind of redundant mutation, and everybody who can code C++ is placed in Tahiti and sends their work down the pipeline to the machine world beyond. I think that we have a very mechanistic view of what machines are. For example, say there were a superintelligent machine, and say it were your friend. If it were really superintelligent, then it ought to be able to just make your life heaven itself. Without you giving it any input whatsoever, it should be able to arrange for you to find fifty dollar bills lying on the street, old friends encountering you, promotions coming your way, because the real thing that machines can do is manage complex processes.

Civilization is six billion people trying to make themselves happy by standing on each other’s shoulders and kicking each other’s teeth in. It’s not a pleasant situation, and yet you can stand back and look at this planet and see that we have the money, the power, the medical understanding, the scientific know-how, the love and the community to produce a kind of human paradise, but we are led by the least among us — the least intelligent, the least noble, the least visionary — and we do not fight back against the dehumanizing values that are handed down as control icons. I don’t really want to get off on this tear because it’s a lecture in itself, but culture is not your friend. Culture is for other people’s con- venience and the convenience of various institutions, churches, companies, tax collection schemes, what have you. It is not your friend. It insults you, it disem- powers you, it uses and abuses you. None of us are well treated by culture, yet we glorify the creative potential of the individual, the rights of the individual. We understand that the felt presence of experience is what is most important, but the culture is a perversion. It fetishizes objects, it creates consumer ma- nia, it preaches endless forms of false happiness and false understanding in the form of squirrelly religions and silly cults. It invites people to diminish them- selves and dehumanize themselves by behaving like machines, meme processors of memes passed down from Madison Avenue and Hollywood and what have you.

Audience: How do we fight back?

It’s a question worth asking.

Audience: Where is this planet as an organism going? Same question as, “How do we fight back?” I think by creating art. Man was not put on this planet to toil in the mud, or the god who put us on this planet to toil in the mud is no god I want to have any part of. It’s some kind of Gnostic demon, it’s some kind of cannibalistic demiurge that should be thoroughly renounced and rejected. By putting the art pedal to the metal we really, I think, maximize our humanness and become much more necessary and incomprehensible to the machines. This is what people were doing up until the invention of agriculture. I’m absolutely convinced that the absence of ceramic and tex- tual material and so forth and so on does not indicate the absence of subtle, poetically empowered minds with an incredible sense of humor and irony and community, and that it was the fall into history that enslaved us to the labor cycle, to the agricultural cycle. Notice how fiendish it is: a person who dedi- cates themselves to agriculture in the Paleolithic can produce hundreds of times the amount of food they can consume. Why would anyone do that? Well, the answer is because you can use it to play power games: you can trade it for wives or land or animals.

So living in the moment, creating art, probably largely through poetry and body decoration and dance, gave way to toil and predatory social forms of be- havior which we call commerce, capitalism, the market economy. That’s why the breakdown of the monolithic structures created by print is permitting a vast proliferation of the cottage industry mentality: the self-employed artist, the hacker who stays home and develops his or her software, people who dare to be independent and slip beyond the reach of these dinosaur-like, mechanistic organizations. That’s what it’s all about. It’s all about trying to negotiate a standoff between you and your culture so that it will not put you in the can for the rest of your life but you can put up with its stupidity. We have a very un- comfortable fit on this issue as people who are sophisticated about psychedelics. This is a society, a world, a planet dying because there is not enough conscious- ness, because there is not enough awareness, enough coordination of intent to problem, and yet we spend vast amounts of money stigmatizing people and substances that are part of this effort to expand consciousness, see things in different ways, unleash creativity. Isn’t it perfectly clear that business as usual is a bullet through the head, that there is no business as usual for anybody who is interested in survival?

Audience: Can you talk about the psychedelics and their role as the missing link between apes and humans?

The question is, how do psychedelics pertain to the transition from higher pri- mates to human animals? This is my m ́etier because I have a theory to which I am grandly welcome, everyone tells me. The great embarrassment to evolution- ary theory — which can explain the tongue of the hummingbird, the structure of the orchid, the mating habits of the groundhog and the migration of the monarch butterfly — is the human neocortex. Lumholtz, who was a pretty straight evolutionary biologist, described the evolution of the human neocortex as the most dramatic transformation of a major organ of a higher animal in the entire fossil record. Well, why is this an embarrassment? Because it’s the organ that thought up the theory of evolution, so can you say tautology? That’s the problem right there. So it is necessary in evolutionary theory to account for the dramatic emergence of the human neocortex in this very narrow win- dow of time. In about two million years they went from being higher primates, hominids, to being true humans, as truly human as you and I tonight. What the hell happened? What was the factor? The earth was already old. Many hundreds of higher animal forms had come and gone and the fire of intelligence had never been kindled; so what happened?

I think that the answer lies in diet generally, and in psychedelic chemistry in particular. As the African continent grew drier, we were forced out of the ecological niche we had evolved into. We were canopy-dwelling primates, insectivores with a complex signalling repertoire, an evolutionary dead end, but when we came under nutritional pressure, we were flexible enough. This is the key to humanness at every stage of its development: our maddening flexibility. Other animal and plant species can’t react; we can. We began to experiment with a new kind of diet, and to leave the trees and explore the new environment of the grassland. Evolving concomitantly in the grassland were various forms of un- gulate animals, double-stomached animals whose manure is the ideal medium for coprophilic mushrooms, dung-loving mushrooms, many of whom produce psilocybin.

Well, I myself in Kenya have seen baboons spreading out over a grassland and noticed that their behavior is: they flick over old cow pies. Why? Because there are beetle grubs there. So they already had a behavioral vector for nutrition that would lead them to investigate the cow pies. In the Amazon, after a couple days of fog and rain these psilocybin mushrooms, Stropharia cubensis can be the size of dinner plates. In other words, you can’t miss it if you’re a foraging primate. The taste is pleasant and psilocybin has unique characteristics, both as a hallucinogen and other properties, that make it the obvious chemical trigger for higher processes, and I’ll run through this quickly for you, but here it is.

In very low doses, doses where you wouldn’t say you were stoned or loaded or anything like that, but in doses you might obtain by nibbling as you foraged, it increases visual acuity. It’s like a technological improvement on your vision, chemical binoculars lying there in the grass. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that if an animal is an omnivorous forager and there’s a food that improves its vision, those that avail themselves of that food will have greater success in obtaining food and rearing their children to sexual maturity, which is the name of the game in evolution. So, step one: small doses of psilocybin increase visual acuity and food-getting success. Step two: slightly larger doses of psilocybin in primates create what’s called arousal. This is what you have after a double cappuccino; in highly-sexed animals like primates you get male erection. So what do you have here? You have a factor which increases what anthropologists, without a trace of humor, refer to as increased instances of successful copulation. In other words, the animals eating the psilocybin are more sexually active, therefore more pregnancies are occurring, therefore more infants are being born, therefore there is a process which would tend to automatically outbreed the non-psilocybin-using members of the population. Step two toward higher consciousness. Step three: you eat still more mushrooms. Now you’re not foraging with sharpened bones, nor are you horsing around with your opposed gender acquaintances. Instead, you’re nailed to the ground in hallucinogenic ecstasy, and one of the amazing things about psilocybin above five or six grams dried material is that it causes glossolalia: spontaneous bursts of language- like behavior under the obvious control of internal syntax. I believe that syntax existed before spoken language, that syntax controls spatial behaviors and body languages and is not necessarily restricted to the production of vocal speech.

So there it is in a nutshell: we ate our way to higher consciousness. The mushroom made us better hunters, better survivors. Among those in the pop- ulation who used it, their sexual drive was increased, hence they outbred the more reluctant members of the tribe to get loaded, and finally it created a kind of neuroleptic seizure which led to downloading of these syntactically controlled vocalizations which became the raw material for the evolution of language. It’s amazing to me that the academics believe language is no more than 35,000 years old. That means it’s as basic to human beings as the bicycle pump. It’s some- thing somebody invented 35,000 years ago; it’s got nothing to do with primate evolution and the long march of the Hominidae and all that malarkey. No, it’s just an ability, a use to which syntax can be put that it previously had not been put. I think that before spoken language things were very touchy-feely, the wink and the nod carried you a great distance and gestural communication was very high.

That’s why to me it begins and ends with these psychedelic substances. The synergy of the psilocybin in the hominid diet brought us out of the animal mind and into the world of articulated speech and imagination, and technology devel- oped and developed and mushrooms invaded and faded. There were migrations, cultural change, but now, having split the atom, having sequenced our genome, having taken the temperature of Betelgeuse and all the rest of it, we’re now back where we started. Like the shaman who makes the journey into the well of darkness and returns with the pearl of immortality, you don’t dwell in the well of darkness which was human history. You capture the essence of the thing, which is the godlike power of the shaman’s myth, the technologist, the demon artificer, the worker of metals, the conjurer of spirits, and you carry that power back out of history. It’s in that dimension outside of history that you create true humanness and true community, and that’s the adventure that we are in the act of undertaking.


to the face of the mystery then you can't see the mystery at all anymore, and you call that an explanation! Say, well, that's taken care of. We've explained it. By the time a child is 8 or 9, or 5 or 6, they have covered the entirety of reality with these interlocking little linguistic tiles, and nowhere, now, is reality to be found. Between ourselves and reality, as quickly as we possibly can, we erect a, a lie. We erect a false set of assumptions that are culture-bound, and this has always impressed me, the culture-bound nature of language. That, in a way, you can never leave the place you're raised in because you acquire a local language, and the local language is all you ever really have. I had an experience of this that brought it home to me very strongly because when I first went to the tropics I was there as a professional butterfly collector and it was pretty important to make a living. And my impression of the jungle was that that it was green. That was my impression. Well then three years later I went back with botanists. Well, if you know anything about botany and taxonomy what it is it's a, it's an orgy of language. I mean, you know, leaves are lanceolate, crenulate, they have bracts which are cecile, umbulate and indetified, and so forth and so on. These are specialized words to describe structure. You go with a botanist into the jungle and the jungle becomes unbelievably rich. Here are melanostomes, malfigs, virolas, all kinds of things, and as soon as you put words to it reality emerges. So you see, here is language as a double-edged sword. Out of the undifferentiated it creates miraculous new realities to which we immediately habituate, undervalue, and profane. In other words, familiarity breeds contempt. But somewhere between silence and the familiarity that breeds contempt is the living essence of the word and its meaning. This problem of language is central, I think, to understanding the psychedelic experience. What I see happening on these tryptamines is the project of language goes from being something which you hear to something which you see without ever crossing over a quantized moment of transition. Well, this is to my mind absolutely astonishing and I think I'm a pretty tough nut to crack. When you see language it's amazing because it's a paranormal thing. It's like it cheats. It achieves paranormal intensity without violating any of the laqs of physics that I'm familiar with. What I'm talking about is that in these shamanic performances in the Amazon and on psilocybin language goes from something beheld to something seen. There is precedent for this. In the Hellenistic world of Greco-Romanism the be-all and the end-all of spiritual accomplishment was what's called the Logos, and the Logos was an informing voice, a voice in the head that told you the right way to live. And Plato and all of these heavies...

- eva In Review

heavies cultivated and achieved connection with the logos. Well, there was a, a Alexandrian Jew named Philo Judaeus who was a great commentator on the religions of his period. And he wrote, uh, about what he called "the more perfect logos." The more perfect logos. And he said, "what is the more perfect logos?" And then he answered his own question. The more perfect logos goes from being heard to being seen without ever crossing over a quantized moment of transition. Language is something unfinished in us. It's something that was catalyzed out of animal organization by hallucinogenic activation of brain states, and it's something that is in the act of perfecting itself. And when it is completed, my faith is that

- bladen In Review

Words will be seen, not heard. The whole way in which we organize our language around visual metaphores when we talk about clarity. So, if someone is able to communicate, we say: "She spoke clearly". That´s a visual metaphoreWe say: "I see what you mean". I SEE what you mean. That means I understand you. I  see what you mean. He painted a picture. It means unsconsciously, at the unconscious level     we connect visual metaphores and the visual sense with clarity of understanding. And what´s happening in the Ayahuasca cults, in the mushroom intoxications and so forth, is een invocation of the visible Logos. It comes into being in the shared space. You control it with sound. I mean you discover that sound is something that you can see. 

- Xobl In Review

you control it with sound, I mean you discover that sound is something that you can see, and this is - I referred to this this morning when I talked about how we might be a one gene mutation away from a transformation of language. You can sit, feel perfectly normal, not feel wired or depressed, not have visual activity in the visual field and then you generate a tone like ... [humming tone] and you see that its a certain of lemon yellow with a chartreuse edge running on it. And then you [tone] and it shifts to pink and blue. Well, you begin to experiment with this and you discover very quickly that you can do more than generate colours; you can generate modalities, you can generate shapes. As you begin to relax into an unconscious expression of syntax

- Iridicule In Review

an unconscious expression of syntax, 'Form' begins to behave itself in the space in front of you, and the language may have existed a very long time before anyone got the idea that you could use a certain sound like 'glass' to mean a certain complex object because on psilocybin glossolalia is frequently triggered glossolalia is normally presented as speaking in tongues a religious phenomenon of fundamentalism and the fundementalist's spin on it is that these are ancient biblical languages and that you're being possessed by an angel or something but in fact at the primitive level of religion world wide glossolalia is frequently met with and all of us have an ability to relax away from meaning and still retain syntax 

- Iridicule In Review

and still retain syntax. It's just something you would never do, because we're programmed to always mean something when we speak. But in fact, babies don't do this at all, they, they love to babble, and they only late in the process learn to attach meaning. Well, so then under the, under language and the humble service of meaning, there is language for itself. Sort of the [?] on language. And uh, well, I'll give an example of what's going on. [purposefully unintelligible speech]. 

- bladen In Review

Okay, now what's happening here? First of all, ordinarily we associate this speed of vocal noise with words. Words are small mouth noises, that's all they are. See, if you're gonna have a creature which communicates among members of its species, you have to have a low energy form of communication. Otherwise, you'd be exhausted from the effort to communicate. Well, small mouth noises are great. A person can talk for about twelve hours without stopping, fairly effortlessly. I mean, if you've got water, and a little dope rolled, I mean, it's not a problem. Well, do you know how much information a person could convey in twelve hours if they were, say, reading the telephone book aloud? It's pretty amazing. Uhh. So this thing I just did

- bladen In Review

it had syntax. But it had no meaning. In other words if you listen to it, you hear that sounds repeat, rhythms repeat, there appear to be prefixes, suffixes, certain kinds of declensions. It's all there, folks. It just doesn't mean anything. But it turns out that the activity of language feels like language whether it means anything or not. Well, in the psychedelic state, you discover, uhh, this same set of tinker toys that was used to create the little speech I just did, can be used to create sculptures that are free-form. That, uhh, this [meaningless speech], it looks a certain way. What's important is not how it sounds. What's important is how it looks. In the Amazon, in these ayahausca cults, they have what they call icaros

- bladen In Review

magical songs. Icaros are visual art. They are intended that way, and they're criticized that way, and their success and failure is judged entirely in the visual domain, and yet they are made out of sound. And what they convey are very complex feelings. You could almost say three dimensional feelings. Feelings so complex that they won't lay down and be a sound, like hate, fear, revulsion, they won't do that. They can only be laid out as grammatical objects of a higher order. And I think that, umm, this process is happening in human beings, the push towards visible language.

- bladen In Review

But it's being accelerated by the psychedelics, and that we are trying to become, for each other, visual objects, and we are trying to become, uhh, capable of generating these things. Now why I hold these conclusions is because in the DMT flash, which is the most intense quintessence, the most quintessential distillation of this kind of stuff, you encounter the shamanic entities, the spirits, the ancestors, and this is really confounding. I mean, we can put up with shifting cobwebs of color, and weird insights about our nostrils and our little fingers, but not entities. And yet in that space, these things exist. And they're preaching this ontological transformation of language.

- bladen In Review

This is how entities in hyperspace communicate. It's as though everything has had one dimension added onto it. It's as though we are existing in some kind of squashed version of a larger super space that can simply be mentally unfolded through the act of encountering a psychedelic substance. I think it's big news that these entities exist. Uh, now if you were to go to a shaman, in a classical culture, and say, "What- what- what's- what's it about, what's going on here?" They would unhesitatingly tell you that these are the ancestors. Oh yes, these are the ancestors, we work- we cure using the ancestors. And this is, I think, very unsettling for us as westerners. It- we'd much rather accept

- bladen In Review

the notion of friendly extraterrestrials communicating through the mushroom than that this is the dearly departed. I mean, that really, you can feel your boundaries beginning to quake against that possibility. It's very interesting, recently there was a new edition of, uh, Evans-Wentz's "The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries," which if you've never read it, it's quite an interesting book. Y. E. Evans-Wentz was an American who became a great scholar of Mahayana Buddhism and wrote The Tibetan Book of the Dead, The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines and so forth. But his doctoral thesis when he was a young folklore student at Cambridge in 1911 was he wanted to study the fairy faith. And he went to Brittany and Wales and Ireland and interviewed the oldest people in the districts. The crones, and the old, old people. And it's a wonderful, uh, book to read, because these people just tell these stories, and it's absolutely convincing. I mean, the fairies are real, the fairy faith is real, and when you asked, when- when Evans-Wentz asked these people, you know, "what's going on?" They said, uh, well these are dead- these are the dead. When you die, you stay around, but you're in an invisible realm, and it's an ecology of souls. My phrase, not his. An ecology of souls. But this is what is revealed on DMT, is entities that are so strange that they could easily pass for extraterrestrials. What's puzzling about them is their tremendous humor, and affection, and intense involvement in us as human beings. Why are they there? What do they want? And they're not, uh, if they are ancestors, they are not my ancestors. In other words, when I broke in there, I didn't find my mother, and my grandpar- it wasn't like that, there was no personal- it isn't like that. But there is this sense of, uh, affection, interest, caring. Well, we have the doctrine of purgatory in Western theology, in the Catholic church. I had always assumed, thinking about it, that- that purgatory must have been a doctrine that the church fathers, Irenaeus and Eusebius and that crowd, had written into the- the gospel message for their own purposes. I discovered, to my amazement, that that isn't what happened at all. That Saint Patrick is the person responsible for purgatory. Because he wrote purgatory into Christian doctrine in order to convert the Celtic peasantry of Ireland to the idea that fairyland and the Christian afterlife were the same place. And it was thought such a good idea in Rome that the doctrine became canon law generally for the church. So- so purgatory is a spruced-up, cleaned-up version of Irish fairyland, to make it a little more palatable. Well, you see we, thi- this is where our anxieties come in, and where it's hard to push it much further than this. An extraterrestrial contact, I think we could probably ride that through, and it would be amazing, but it would be tolerable. But if what's happening, is that at the end of history are waiting the dead, and that our notion of reality is so skewed that we don't even know the most basic facts about the cycles of life and death and rebirth, then it's going to be, uh, quite astonishing for us, I think, to come to terms with this. And yet, this is what- this is what shamans live with, this is they- what they tell you. They say, you know, a shaman is a person who can pass daily through the gates of death and return. We see into the other realm. We see into hyperspace. As inheritors of the rational tradition, this is pretty hard for us to swallow. Because I think, I mean maybe it's not true anymore but, in my personal process of rejecting Catholicism, I did manage to convince myself that when you dead, it's over with. And it's been very hard for me to fight my way back to the notion that that might be just 100% malarkey, and nothing more than a conservative first try. And now I think much more in terms of dimensionality. And that I don't know what a "form" is. But the process of the fertilization of an egg, of any organism, it doesn't have to be a human being, the life of that organism, and then its death and dissolution, is the process of a form descending from hyperspace, clothing itself in matter, and then withdrawing from- from matter. Returning to hyperspace. And this concept of hyperspace is very very necessary to understanding this stuff.

- bladen In Review

Because if you look at what shamans do that is so confounding, they find lost objects, they cure disease, they rescue lost souls, they discern, uh, secret acts. Infidelities, thefts, poisonings, stuff like that. All of these magical things that they do are completely non-mysterious if we grant the idea of a higher spatial dimension. I mean if- if there's a higher spatial dimension, then, you know, this section is not zipped, there is a part of it which is completely open to the world, this room is not closed, there's one direction in which it's absolutely open to the air. In other words, in hyperspace, nothing is hidden. Yeah.

Speaker: Give yourself a chance to- to breathe for a moment. Uh, why do you think it is, I mean, we- we as human beings, uh, have evolved with pretty much all the equipment we need to get along and do things. Why do you think it is that we have evolved with such a poor understanding, or no understanding, of- of these matters of which you speak? The, uh, the afterlife, uh, the rebirth. I mean, we hear it. We- many people, they hear it and, and they have a curiosity and they go towards it. But few people understand it.

TM: Well, I- I think this is a very recent phenomenon, uh, of, uh, you know. It- culture is a narrowing, obviously. I mean, if a man can have ten wives, two wives, no wives, one wife. Well then you go into a culture, you're gonna make a choice. And all- all cultures represent narrowing of choices. Uh, we don't know how we could be. We don't know what we could be if we were free to evolve ourselves. I think that's the, the starting line that we're edging up on. We're about to have a chance to create a global culture. To decide, to- to essentially clean our basement, and decide what we're gonna save and what we're going to keep. Uh, this sense of not being connected is, to my mind, entirely rooted to what I've said here several times, the problem of the ego. But then to, you know, get a little more specific and maybe slightly more offensive, uh, it's the monotheistic religions that have to take a real knock for the present situation. Um, monotheism as a philosophical reflex is understandable, but simpleminded. I- I mean, it's what an eight year old would get to. You know, one God. Reasonable, economical, seems to fit the situation pretty well. So what's wrong with that? Well, what's wrong with it is you gotta be a little more, uh, uh, sensitive. Philosophy is not practiced in a void. And as Jungians know well, we mirror ourselves in our gods. Our religions are a set of permissions for how we as individuals can be. And monotheism presents us with the notion that God should be omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, and unforgiving.

Speaker: And male.

TM: And male. Well this is nobody you would invite to a garden party. This is what we call an asshole, you know? Somebody who corners you, who's never wrong, who's totally full of their opinion, who just wants to tell you how the boar ate the cabbage and never doubts themse- a boor. So we have enshrined that the center of our cultural machinery, the archetype of the unbearable boor. And then we've gone out to realize it. And, uh, we try to fine tune it. You know, we say well this Old Testament religion with all this ritual and dietary- this isn't it. So then along comes Christ, and tries to fine tune it. But, you know, he's working in the most women-repressing, male-dominator, hierarchical structure on the planet. And whatever good he does is quickly wiped out 150 years later by these clowns I mentioned, Eusebius, Irenaeus, and the rest of those guys. And then, uh, Islam comes along to twist the screws yet tighter on this monotheistic idea. And, um, it doesn't serve. And it was put in place because people tried to figure it out on their own. Monotheism is what you come to if, full of sincerity, you try to figure it out on your own. But if you will just forget being full of sincerity and take mushrooms, you will never come to this monotheistic conclusion. Uh, it just appears preposterous. Because the multiplicity, the shifting, unpredictable, boundary-less, maternal nature of things is what forces its presence into your consciousness. We are born into the mystery, it's all around us. Everything is provisional. Uh, and this is something worth talking about, I suppose, because it's a psychedelic point of view.

- bladen In Review