“Nothing of any importance can be taught. It can only be learned, and with blood and sweat.”
Robert Anton Wilson
Ah… heading off to work so not much to say. New artist gracing our pages Caspar David Frierich, a romantic landscape artist this time around. Two articles, some links and some quotes, and two of my favourite Fever Ray videos. I hope she keeps going, she has an interesting musical style.
We finally have a bit of sun, gotta go and bask in it. Here is to beauty!
Have a good day, more coming soon.
On The Menu:
Fever Ray – Keep The Streets Empty For Me
Programmed Communication During Experiences With DMT – Tim Leary
Cheerful Reflections on Death and Dying – Robert Anton Wilson
Ryokan For A Rainy Day
Fever Ray – Im not done
Art: Caspar David Friedrich
The Ancients Within
The Life Nearby…
The Ten Most Disturbing Scientific Discoveries
The Perniciously Persistent Myths of Hypatia and the Great Library
Dave Barry – “You can only be young once. But you can always be immature.”
Abraham Lincoln – “Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.”
Nicholas Butler – “The one serious conviction that a man should have is that nothing is to be taken too seriously.”
Unknown – “People are more violently opposed to fur than leather because it’s safer to harass rich women than motorcycle gangs.”
Elizabeth Aston – “Love has no place in a lawyer’s office.”
Will Rogers | “Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.”
M.C. Escher – “He who wonders discovers that this in itself is wonder.”
Fever Ray – Keep The Streets Empty For Me
Programmed Communication During Experiences With DMT (dimethyltryptamine)
Originally appeared in the eighth issue of Psychedelic Review, 1966
by Dr. Timothy Leary
During the first two years of the Harvard Psychedelic Research Project rumors circulated about a powerful psychedelic agent called dimethyltryptamine: DMT. The effect of this substance was supposed to last for less than an hour and to produce shattering, terrorizing effects. It was alleged to be the nuclear bomb of the psychedelic family.
The Hungarian pharmacologist, Stephen Szara, first reported in 1957 that N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and N,N-Diethyltryptamine (DET) produced effects in man similar to LSD and mescaline. The only difference was in duration: whereas LSD and mescaline typically last 8 to 10 hours, DMT lasted from 40 minutes to 1 hour and DET from 2 to 3 hours. The higher homologues, dipropyltryptamine and dibutyltryptamine, were also said to be active but less potent. The parent substance, tryptamine, by itself has no effect. Chemically, DMT is closely related to psilocybin and psilocin (4-hydroxy-N-dimethyltryptamine), as well as to bufotenine (5-hydroxy-N-dimethyltryptamine). The mechanism of action of DMT and related compounds is still a scientific mystery. Like LSD and psilocybin, DMT has the property of increasing the metabolic turnover of serotonin in the body. An enzyme capable of converting naturally-occurring tryptamine to DMT has recently been found in some mammalian tissue; this suggests that mechanisms may exist whereby the body converts normally-occurring substances to psychedelic compounds. (1-5)
DMT has been identified as one of the ingredients in the seeds of Mimosa hostilis, from which the Pancaru Indians of Pernambuco, Brazil, prepare an hallucinogenic beverage they call vinho de Jurumena. It is also, along with bufotenine, one of the ingredients in the seeds of Piptadenia peregrina, from which the Indians of the Orinoco Basin and of Trinidad prepare an hallucinogenic snuff they call yopo. (6)
William Burroughs had tried it in London and reported it in the most negative terms. Burroughs was working at that time on a theory of neurological geography–certain cortical areas were heavenly, other areas were diabolical. Like explorers moving into a new continent, it was important to map out the friendly areas and the hostile. In Burroughs’ pharmacological cartography, DMT propelled the voyager into strange and decidedly unfriendly territory.
Burroughs told a gripping tale about a psychiatrist in London who had taken DMT with a friend. After a few minutes the frightened friend began requesting help. The psychiatrist, himself being spun through a universe of shuttling, vibratory pigments, reached for his hypodermic needle (which had been fragmented into a shimmering assemblage of wave mosaics) and bent over to administer an antidote. Much to his dismay his friend, twisting in panic, was suddenly transformed into a writhing, wiggling reptile, jewel-encrusted and sparkling. The doctor’s dilemma: where to make an intravenous injection in a squirming, oriental-martian snake?
Alan Watts had a DMT story to tell. He took the drug as part of a California research and had planned to demonstrate that he could maintain rational control and verbal fluency during the experience. The closest equivalent might be to attempt a moment-to-moment description of one’s reactions while being fired out the muzzle of an atomic cannon with neon-byzantine barreling. Dr. Watts gave an awe-full description of perceptual fusion.
In the fall of 1962, while giving a three-day series of lectures to the Southern California Society of Clinical Psychologists, I fell into discussion with a psychiatrist who was collecting data on DMT. He had given the drug to over a hundred subjects and only four had reported pleasant experiences. This was a challenge to the set-setting hypothesis. According to our evidence, and in line with our theory, we had found little differentiation among psychedelic drugs. We were skeptically convinced that the elaborate clinical differences allegedly found in reactions to different drugs were psychedelic folk tales. We were sticking to our null hypothesis that the drugs had no specific effect on consciousness but that expectation, preparation, emotional climate, and the contract with the drug-giver accounted for all differences in reaction.
We were eager to see if the fabled “terror-drug,” DMT, would fit the set-setting theory.
A session was arranged. I came to the home of the researcher, accompanied by a psychologist, a Vedanta monk and two female friends. After a lengthy and friendly discussion with the physician, the psychologist lay down on a couch. His friend’s head rested on his chest. I sat on the edge of the couch, smiling in reassuring expectation. Sixty mg of DMT were administered intramuscularly.
Within two minutes the psychologist’s face was glowing with serene joy. For the next twenty-five minutes he gasped and murmured in pleasure, keeping up an amused and ecstatic account of his visions.
“The faces in the room had become billion-faceted mosaics of rich and vibrant hues. The facial characteristics of each of the observers, surrounding the bed, were the keys to their genetic heritage. Dr. X (the psychiatrist) was a bronzed American Indian with full ceremonial paint; the Hindu monk was a deep soulful middle-easterner with eyes which were at once reflecting animal cunning and the sadness of centuries; Leary was a roguish Irishman, a sea captain with weathered skin and creases at the corners of eyes which had looked long and hard into the unseeable, an adventurous skipper of a three-masted schooner eager to chart new waters, to explore the continent just beyond, exuding a confidence that comes from a humorous cosmic awareness of his predicament–genetic and immediate. And next to me, or rather on me, or rather in me, or rather more of me–Billy. Her body was vibrating in such harmony with mine that each ripple of muscle, the very coursing of blood through her veins was a matter of absolute intimacy…body messages of a subtlety and tenderness both exotically strange and deliciously familiar. Deep within, a point of heat in my groin slowly but powerfully and inevitably radiated throughout my body until every cell became a sun emanating its own life-giving fire. My body was an energy field, a set of vibrations with each cell pulsing in phase with every other. And Billy, whose cells now danced the same tune, was no longer a discrete entity but a resonating part of the single set of vibrations. The energy was love.”
Exactly twenty-five minutes after administration, the psychologist smiled, sighed, sat up swinging his legs over the side of the couch and said, “It lasted for a million years and for a split-second. But it’s over and now it’s your turn.”
With this reassuring precedent, I took up position on the couch. Margaret sat on the floor holding my hand. The psychologist sat at the foot of the couch, radiating benevolence. The drug was administered.
Cheerful Reflections on Death and Dying
Robert Anton Wilson
I don’t understand why people fear death — although of course I see good reasons to fear the process of dying. Dying often involves a great deal of prolonged pain, and in this country at least may drain your life savings into the bank accounts of the A.M.A.. Both prospects seem equally terrifying especially if you hoped to leave a decent estate to your children.
One can avoid these deplorable conditions, however, by moving to a civilized country with a national health plan and legal help to assist you in suicide if you have reached a condition where you can’t do it yourself. I personally intend to move to Nederland in the event that a painful, expensive and prolonged death seems inescapable. The medical banditos have made enough money out of me already; I refuse to enrich them further on my way out.
But as for death, and what — if anything –comes after death, I see no cause for apprehension whatsoever.
To consider the alternatives in order:
Most people through most of history have believed that after death comes rebirth (reincarnation). I think most people, planetwide, still believe that. It fails to terrify me. If I get reborn as a cockroach, I intend to hide in the vicinity of somebody’s computer and write poems on the keyboard at night, like archy, the famous roach who left his verse in the typewriter of Don Marquis. If I get reborn as a human, I might meet my wife Arlen again and love her again and marry her again. That sounds great to me.
Other rebirths, as a tree, say, or a blue whale, also seem more entertaining (and educational) than frightening.
Unfortunately, I have no good reasons to believe in reincaration, although I’d sort of like to. I include it only for the sake of completeness.
A sinister rumor, widely believed in the Occident, holds that after death we go to a place called Heaven. From all the descriptions I’ve read, it sounds dreadful to me. It seems to have a population made up entirely of some gang of Christians; the experts on Heaven disagree about which conglomeration of Christians will qualify, but they always seem to think that they personally belong to that elite group. An eternity with people that conceited seems intolerable to me,but fortunately I am not a Christian so I won’t be consigned to such a boring place.
An even more nefarious report appears in the United States Marine Corps hymn:
If the Army and the Navy
ever looked on Heaven’s scenes
they would find the streets were guarded
by the United States Marines
A place where every street is guarded by Marines sounds like a particularly vicious police state, especially if Christians run it, and I definitely don’t want to go there, even for a visit. I wouldn’t even wish it on my worst enemy, if I had any enemies. (Some people hate me for the books I write, but I refuse to hate them back, so they don’t count as enemies.)
Fortunately, as noted, I don’t qualify for Heaven, with all its harps and fanatic Christians and martial law by Marines. A worse idea, which has terrified millions, claims that some of us will go to a place called Hell, where we will suffer eternal torture. This does not scare me because, when I try to imagine a Mind behind this universe, I cannot conceive that Mind, usually called “God,” as totally mad.
I mean, guys, compare that “God” with the worst monsters you can think of – – Adolph Hitler, Joe Stalin, that sort of guy. None of them ever inflicted more than finite pain on their victims. Even de Sade, in his sado-maso fantasy novels, never devised an unlimited torture. The idea that the Mind of Creation (if such exists) wants to torture some of its critters for endless infinities of infinities seems too absurd to take seriously.
Such a derranged Mind could not create a mud hut, much less the exquisitely mathematical universe around us.
If such a monster-God did exist, the sane attitude would consist of practising the Buddhist virtue of compassion. He seems very sick in His head, so don’t give way to hatred: try to understand and forgive him. Maybe He will recover his wits some day. (I wrote “He” instead of the fashionable “He or She” because only male Gods appear to have invented Hells. I can’t think of a single Goddess who ever created a Hell for people who displeased Her .)
A fourth alternative after-death scenario involves merger with “God” or with “the Godhead” (the latter term seems more popular.) This idea, which seems Hindic in origin, currently enjoys vast popularity with New Agers. I see nothing terrifying here; in fact, I suspect I would enjoy it, based on my previous experiences in which this merging/melting seemed to take place on LSD. An infinite Acid Trip in which the whole universe seems like your body: who could fear that (except Republicans)?
The fifth and, as far as I know, the last thinkable alternative holds that after death comes total oblivion. This has either terrorized or angered many intelligent writers (e.g. Bertrand Russell and Jean Paul Sartre, who seem to have hated “life after death” for not existing, just as they remained permanently pissed off at “God” for not existing. ) Sorry: it doesn’t seem terrible to me at all. If I become totally oblivious, I won’t know about it (by definition of oblivion.) How can you feel terrified of something you can’t experience?
Besides oblivion means freedom from “all the ills the flesh is heir to,” from bleeding piles to cancer, including even bad reviews of my books.
Living in New York or Los Angeles seem much worse than not living in Oblivion.
Although I have a few opinions, or hunches, I have no dogma about what happens after death. But none of the above alternatives seem really unpleasant, except the ones that seem too absurd to take seriously.
As some Roman wrote:
My poems are not poems.
When you know that my poems are not poems,
Then we can speak of poetry.
* * *
The winds gives me
Enough fallen leaves
To make a fire
* * *
A light snow
Three Thousand Realms
Within those realms
Light snow falls
As the snow
Engulfs my hut
My heart, too
Is completely consumed
Now at their peak
In glorious full bloom:
Too precious to pick
To precious not to pick
O lonely pine!
I’d gladly give you
My straw hat and
To ward off the rain
* * *
In my little begging bowl
violets and dandelions
As an offering to the
Buddhas of the Three Worlds
By the roadside
Left my little bowl behind –
O poor little bowl!
I’ve forgotten my
Little begging bowl again –
No one will take you,
Surely no one will take you:
My sad little bowl!
Fever Ray – Im not done