Monday, August 21, 2017


Farmacia San Pedro

"The issue is surrender. This is something real. You don't find people going into the ashram in the morning to meditate with their knees knocking in fear because how terrifying and profound they know that meditation is going to be. But if they were going in there to smoke DMT, you know, they'd be fully riveted in the modalities of what was about to happen. We can tell shit from shinola, it's just that we don't always prefer shinola. I don't advocate it, I mean, there are people who are disappointed, because they say how often do you do it? Well, the answer is, not very often. If I can get it in a couple or three times a year I feel I'm hitting it pretty hard. And the more successful it is, the less often you have to do it. I mean, I know people who say DMT is their favorite drug. And when you say, well when was the last time you did it, they say 1967. It only lasted four minutes - they're still processing it. And they still ARE processing it. They're not just whistling Dixie. 

I mean, it is to my mind just the most -- well, I mentioned this earlier, how do they keep the lid on this stuff? And I guess here I'm preaching to the converted because last night everyone said they had an interest in this kind of thing. But they don't keep the lid on sexuality. No society has had it so under control that people didn't have sex. I mean, they might have had sex under weird conditions and under ritual strictures but we are like this salamander who has this option of never developing into its mature form. And to my mind that's a tragedy because this is our birthright. And somehow our inability to get a grip on our global problems has to do with this immaturity about our mental state. The two are, I feel very strongly, linked. And of course we can't get control of the world because we are children in some profound way. And we don't like being children but the culture has reinforced a kind of infantilism. And the way I explain it to myself is - it is a kind of unwillingness to going it alone on a certain level. 

I don't know how many of you remember in Brave New World, Huxley's brilliant dystopia, but there's a scene in there where Bernard, who is the guy who's out of it in the novel because in his fetal fluid they got an alcohol contaminant, and so he's different from everybody else in the society and he occasionally can have an original thought, and he and his assigned girlfriend for the evening, or whatever she is, are in a helicopter, and they sweep out past the crematorium where they are recollecting elements for re-use, and he suspends the helicopter over the black bay and she immediately becomes very agitated, restless, anxious, and pleads with him to return to the city. And what it is, it's her anxiety over being alone with the presence of nature - she literally can't take it. And I think there are a lot of people in society, and each of us in our own way at different times, who have in us this neurotic and infantile creature that can't face it alone. 

And this going it alone thing is very important. You know Plotinus, the great neo-Platonic philosopher, he spoke of the mystical experience as the flight of going it alone, to be alone. And in the psychedelic experience there is this issue of surrender because a lot of people want to diddle with it. They want to say they did it but they don't want to have to face an actual moment where they put it all on the line. And yet the whole issue with this stuff is to let it lead, to let it show what it wants to show. So, somehow individually, we have to reclaim our experience. The real message, more important than even the psychedelic experience, the real message I try to leave with people in these weekends, is the primacy of direct experience. That as people, the real universe is within your reach. Always. Everything not within your reach is basically unconfirmed rumor. And we insert ourselves like ants or honeybees into hierarchies of knowledge. So we say, what's going on in the world. Well, turn on CNN, you know, and then somehow we're ordered -- we say ah-ha, OK, it's 85 degrees in Baghdad and the wind is out of the northeast at 15 miles an hour, and we feel somehow better now because we are getting the information. 

But what we have done is sold out direct experience. And all institutions require this of us - that we somehow redefine ourselves for the convenience of the institution. And this redefinition always involves a narrowing, a denial, so that then if you want to be in Marxist society, if you want to function in Marxist society, you have to define yourself as a Marxist human being. Well, it turns out in a Marxist society there are no homosexuals because that just happens in decadent societies. And if you happen to notice any tendency of this in yourself, you have to deny its existence because this just doesn't happen in a Marxist society. And similarly, every society has this. In our society, if you hear voices we have mental hospitals for you. If you have vast visions of the future, we have drugs that can help you and make this go away. So then somehow, in modern society, the discovery of psychedelics is the discovery that all of this cultural machinery is just Wizard of Oz stuff. 

Remember the scene in the Wizard of Oz where the curtain is swept back and they see the little guy there and he says, booming out over the loudspeaker, "Ignore the little man pulling the levers! Ignore the little man pulling the levers!" Well, the little man pulling the levers is what sweeps into view with psychedelics and you discovery ah-ha, culture is provisional. You know, whether we have nine wives or three, whether we tattoo ourselves blue, whether we eat insects or not, all of these things are just decisions that we make and then we congratulate ourselves on our wisdom and we live within that and we hunt down and kill all the people who disagree with us. And that's called having a culture, having a way of life - being somebody. 

But I don't see history as a wrong turning. I see it - the metaphor that I like is that of the prodigal son. That there was a reason for this long descent into matter, this peregrination. It was a shamanic journey of some sort. You know, the shaman goes into the world pool, or ascends the world tree to go to the center of the axis of the cosmos, to recover the pearl, the pearl or the gift or the lost soul, and then return with it. This is what history was. It was a descent into the hell-worlds of matter, energy, space, and time - for the purpose of recovering something that was lost. It wasn't lost by us. It was lost by the breathing, the disystile of the planet. Just climax of climate moved us into paradise and then moved us out of paradise. 

The story of Eden is the story of history's first drug bust. I mean, it's the story of a whole lot of tension over who's going to take or not take a certain plant which conveys knowledge. And Yahweh wandering in the garden says to himself, "If the man and the woman eat of the fruit, they will become as we are." The issue was co-equality, co-knowledge with the Creator. Well, where do we stand in man's existential march? How does that work? Can we always accept the subservient, infantile position? Is knowledge to be dispensed by gods, and if not gods, then the institutions that appoint themselves as gods over us? Or is it actually that maturity begins with somehow claiming this birthright?

And it is a birthright. And I don't know if a society can survive the claiming of this birthright by a large number of people. Certainly in the 1960's when this was attempted, everyone got very agitated, then it was frozen out. In so-called primitive or preliterate societies, there is the office of the shaman. And the shaman is deputized to act for all of us. In the same way we have airplane mechanics to fix jet engines, we have shamans to explore these hidden and fairly terrifying other dimensions. The people who self-select themselves into a group like this, in a society like that, would be the candidates for this kind of shamanic voyaging."
 - Terence Mckenna

Sunday, August 20, 2017

how to describe visiting with Grandfather San Pedro in a forest?
no words, there must be some other way,
nothing substitutes for experience 
but perhaps a photo can nudge an impression --

forest view
 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

park man
Wandering man in Vilcabamba

how people appear
all depends on how we look at them --

-- the slightest movement in our filters
changes everything--

oranges for sale
Oranges for Sale
 
-- focused just right,
the who we photograph
 is included in what we are --

adjust the lens
and see oneself,
then act accordingly