Thursday, November 1, 2018

Sunday, October 7, 2018

we are transcendent equations
transcendent numbers are irrational
embrace the baseless
radius of Tao

Sunday, September 2, 2018

owls at the window
The New Age is Already Here, Within You
"I always felt that in a way the New Age was a flight from the psychedelic experience, that the New Age was saying - its invisible agenda was - 'we'll try anything as long as we're sure it doesn't work' and that exempts psychedelics. All talk of spiritual advancement is always talk of pushing, trying, practice, concentration, attention. Once you find psychedelics, you're not looking for the accelerator anymore, you're looking for the brakes on your spiritual vehicle. You have suddenly found the means to achieve the stated goal, which is union with the divine, the oneness, or something like that. Now the game becomes a very grown-up game - how are you going to integrate this into your ordinary life? You're no longer a seeker, you're no longer an ingenue. Now you're an insider. Now you can come and go from these transcendental places at will. Now how do you use that to make yourself a better person, a better parent, a better citizen of your community?...Some people have the idea you take a psychedelic drug or substance and the world transforms itself and you watch this happen. That's true to some degree but the person, the watcher is themself transformed."       --Terence McKenna, NPR Interview March 1999 

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Tribal DP

More Spectacular and Immediately Satisfying

"The concerns raised by the use of psychedelic mushrooms were well stated by two Christian missionaries, Eunice Pike and Florence Cowan. They said, 'How can one effectively present the message of divine revelation to a people who already have, according to their beliefs, a means whereby anyone who desires may get messages directly from the supernatural world via a more spectacular and immediately satisfying way than Christianity has to offer?'
Quoted by Thomas Redlinger, 'Sacred Mushrooms Pentecost,' in Entheogens and the Future of Religion, ed. Robert Forte (San Francisco: Council on Spiritual Practices, 1997), 106."
                 -- The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Wheel of Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Self-Fulfilling Enchantments vs. The Genuine Journey
In one quite vivid and interactive plant medicine experience, the spirit of San Pedro kept impressing on me what a magical place creation is. One might not even call it a place, rather an ongoing process of surprise, a joyful celebration where anything is possible and our energies and intentions are vital in its ever-changing yet in some ways ever-the-same expressions. It is a state of eruptive Being where what exists or doesn't exist is a flow of creative intention magnified through the lens of consciousness. A state where it's even possible for something to exist and not exist at the same time, such is the limitless possibilities incumbent upon infinite creative probabilities. Any idea, any emotion, any action or combination thereof can be explored in unfathomable depth. 

With such capability comes enormous potential and responsibility. The magic of the creative impulse is not limited and so even the most twisted or counter-intuitive states can be explored, even made so deep as to get lost in. Love itself can be "dis-invented." By expressing love one in fact brings it out of potential and into existence. By loving, love is created in a real phenomenological sense, emerging from infinite latency. We may not know why we seem locked into certain rigid modes of expression on a planet spinning through a not-so-void void, but to a great extent we're limited more by perspective, assumptions, and ingrained patterns of behavior than any loosely-perceived law of existence.

The same seems especially true regarding all that's possible during a sacred plant medicine experience. These spaces, often celebrated as the wide-open doors of perception, may beckon with magical promise, unbounded potential, but not so much with self-definition. Magically enough, no one has to have a complete definition of where they're going in medicine space to benefit from it, even be transformed. Try to define the space too dogmatically, or at all, and we may in fact be seriously delimiting what's possible for us to experience while journeying. If self-fulfilling prophecies are possible as we go through our ordinary daily routines, imagine how much more susceptible one becomes in creating a presumptive or preloaded reality while in magic entheogenic transport. A great example of this was demonstrated during early research into psychedelics. Here's a quote from The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide by James Fadiman, PhD: 

"The first phase [of research into the use of psychedelic chemicals], prior to the 1960s, typically identified these substances as psychotomimetic [relating to or denoting drugs that are capable of producing an effect on the mind similar to a psychotic state], and was based on a priori models of mental illness. Underestimating the effects that such preconceptions might have on the content and aftereffects of a subject's experience and almost totally unaware of the effects of expectations or the setting, researchers variously reported that psychedelic-induced states mimicked mental illness when given in a setting that provoked it. For instance, it illuminated Freudian theory when administered by a committed Freudian, evoked Jungian archetypes when administered by a longtime Jungian, substantiated the tenets of behavior therapy to a behaviorist by increasing suggestibility and modifiability, and demonstrated the soundness of the existential approach when given by someone who identified with that theory. As I wrote in my dissertation, 'What is puzzling that all these investigators found that using psychedelics in their particular framework tended to validate that framework.'"

And another quote from the same book: 
"LSD was remarkable in two ways. One, it was effective in micrograms (one-millionth of a gram doses). This made it one of the most potent substances ever discovered. Two, it seemed to have the effect of radically changing perception, awareness, and cognition but not in any predictable way. These results seemed to be dependent not only on the drug effects, but equally so on the situation of the subjects—what they'd been told about what they were going to experience under the drug and, even more interesting to science, the mind-set of the researcher, whether or not he or she had communicated a point of view to the subjects in any given study. In short, here was a substance whose effects depended in part on the mental expectations of both subject and researcher. Often people in the studies had experiences that appeared to be deeply therapeutic, blissful, and life changing, religious in content or mystical, but they also might have experiences that were profoundly disturbing, confusing, or terrifying. The aftereffects of the experience looked more like learning than simply the passage of a chemical through the brain and body."

And one more:
"Why did our drug research frighten the establishment so profoundly? Why does it still frighten them? Perhaps because we were able to step off (or were tossed off) the treadmill of daily stuff and saw the whole system of life-death-life. We had discovered that love is the fundamental energy of the universe, and we wouldn't shut up about it. What we found out was that the love is there, the forgiveness is there, and the understanding and compassion are there. But like water to a fish or air to a bird, it is there, all around us, and exists without any effort on our part. There is no need for the Father, the Son, the Buddha, the Saints, the Torah, the books, the bells, the candles, the priests, the rituals, or even the wisdom. It is just there—so pervasive and so unending that it is impossible to see as long as you are in the smaller world of people separated from one another. No wonder enlightenment is always a crime."

Basic quotes defining self-fulfilling prophecy apply:
"The self-fulfilling prophecy is, in the beginning, a false definition of the situation evoking a new behavior which makes the originally false conception come true. The specious validity of the self-fulfilling prophecy perpetuates a reign of error. For the prophet will cite the actual course of events as proof that he was right from the very beginning." -- Robert K. Merton

"A self-fulfilling prophecy is an assumption or prediction that, purely as a result of having been made, cause the expected or predicted event to occur and thus confirms its own 'accuracy.'" - Paul Watzlawick

All of this reminds me of the Dunning-Kruger Effect regarding perceived ability. Novices will often over-estimate their abilities since they don't know how little they know, how much more there is to learn. Whereas, experts will often under-estimate their abilities, have less confidence or think everyone has more ability than they do. 

It appears the more you really learn about something, the more you begin to understand how entailed, rich, and deep it goes. This increasingly demonstrates there's so much more yet to learn. As one's circle of knowledge expands, so does the circumference of darkness surrounding it. As Einstein is credited as saying about our attempts to define and explain it all - ignorance grows faster than knowledge

For this reason, after that day with San Pedro, I've always attempted to do as the spirit prescribed and "Let GO" of all expectations before a plant medicine experience. This letting go includes releasing oneself from all ideograms, logical constructs, and dogmas - whether deep-seated by tradition and upbringing or newly acquired from the latest "teacher" or self-elevated devotee of being "enlightened." It's like what they say of dying - you can't take any of it with you. In respect to medicine space, you can't take it with you and truly enter the full experience rather than someone's thought-form. 

I always try to remember as a plant medicine ceremony begins what someone once said -- the unknown is the ultimate source of information. The more one thinks one knows paradoxically limits the range of what one experiences. It's like getting three wishes from the genie and pulling out fortune cookies instead of blank slips of paper one can write on. One's over-defined self-fulfilling enchantment might be filled with dazzle and layered explanations elaborate with concocted substance but the genuine journey, initiated as free of all of this as possible, never fails to extend much farther out, much deeper within, and so beyond anything one can imagine.

Monday, July 16, 2018

In the beginning, there was a nothing that came from nowhere.
This nothing exploded into everything for no reason at all - for no reason is ever needed.
To ask for a reason implies you don't understand how to formulate proper questions.

This primal explosion cooled into equal amounts matter and anti-matter.
Matter and anti-matter annihilate each other. 
Somehow, even though equal amounts of matter and anti-matter came out of nowhere,
an excess of leftover matter remains after all annihilation completed.

Two photons are created each time one particle 
of matter and one particle of anti-matter destroy each other.
Today, there are a billion photons for every one atom in the universe.
This means our universe consists of leftover stuff that's proportionally
only one-billionth of the stuff that existed after the primal Big Bang.

This one-billionth of leftover matter shouldn't exist.
The Standard Model of accepted Physics says so. But we do exist.
This anomaly doesn't prove the Standard Model wrong, only incomplete. 
Remember, the Standard Model is never wrong, only incomplete.

And there's more that's incomplete in the Standard Model.
It seems that everything we see, feel, and interact with,
all the matter and energy in all stars, planets, everything including us,
all of it is only 4% of what remains of this leftover stuff from the primal bang.
28% is something else we've named Dark Matter.
68% is something else we've named Dark Energy.
We don't seem to interact with Dark Matter and Dark Energy
but they make up 96% of everything leftover after the Big Bang,
and remember, all of that is only one-billionth 
of what was originally produced out of nothing for no reason.

There's another weirdness too, or call it incomplete.
All of this leftover stuff is somehow expanding
and its expansion is expanding at an increasing rate.
If the projections are correct, this expansion will continue 
until all leftover stuff diffuses away to nothingness.
The expansion will someday pull every atom apart,
then pull the quarks in the nucleus apart, 
then pull apart the sub-atomic particle soup 
until the dissipating zero-point energy disappears altogether.

Out of nothing.
Back to nothing. 
Once again for no reason.
For none is needed.
If you ask for a reason it only shows 
you don't know how to form valid questions.

And so - You are nothing
here for no reason.
You are leftover stuff
that shouldn't exist.

All the stuff you know is only 4% of the one-billionth 
of what was originally exploded into existence.
The rest was annihilated - just like you should have been.

Since you have no purpose here, no reason to exist,
it shouldn't bother you when all of this leftover stuff
races away from itself in a mad dash to pull itself apart,
to return to the nothingness from whence it came.

Welcome to the Church of Scientism.


"Scientism is the broad-based belief that the assumptions and methods of research of the physical and natural sciences are equally appropriate (or even essential) to all other disciplines, including philosophy, the humanities and the social sciences. It is based on the belief that natural science has authority over all other interpretations of life, and that the methods of natural science form the only proper elements in any philosophical (or other) inquiry."

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

It's not enough to think outside the box -
One must ACT outside of it too.


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

What You See Is What You Get 
As Long As What You See Is What Is There

Dualism - Yin-Yang - The Dance of Chaos and Order.
Creation and The Universe have been described 
with concepts such as these, expressed as existential border states,
the inviolate limiting factors inherent in how it all works.

But pesky weirdness thrives throughout all of this.
Or so it seems when what we see is what we get.
Behind it all, what is there? We can't help but wonder.

We detect hidden order in chaos 
and masked chaos in the appearance of any order.
The Dance of Shiva at once is balanced 
and precariously unpredictable 
in ways that can't be explained 
while remaining consistent enough to be a known constant. 

The Pendulum of Opposites, 
The Pendulum of Time appearing to advance,
Even The Pendulum of Persistent On-Off Tension, 
the very pull between Certainty and Doubt within us - 

Perhaps these are subject to yet another, deeper principle,
an expanding interplay of connections and probabilities, 
a more involved form of Dualism/Yin-Yang/Chaos and Order,
a second/third/fourth/most likely unlimited progression 
of coupled cause and effect states always at play within the nature 
and expression of what appears to us to be existential border states.

Perhaps the interactive cascade among all of these 
only appears to be difficult to grasp because these are systems 
less like Plain Dualism and more like the motions of 
Multivarious Dual Pendulums, and as we go into it, we find
a Multitude of Multivarious Pendulums,
each dual in aspect, yet all aspects in turn logarithmically dual.

If we don't see deeper, progressing secondary principles at work,
then all we witness is the surface Dance of Shiva that results.
Attempting to grasp it all would entail extending all principles 
to the infinite vanishing points of creative potential,
then fathoming The Logos of the Wholly Unknowable,
the still point of the turning wheel where All is contained.

But what if the real magic is far simpler and entirely up to us.

Regardless how big or infinite or complex 
the systems and principles of existence may appear to be,
it seems each moment presents us with an opportunity
to set the energy of the initial state, 
and that initial state determines the prime input 
to the system of all systems. 

Depending on the slightest impulse from us,
the dominoes of existential principles are set in motion.
And from moment to moment those motions become our lives,
a road created in front of us by us as we traverse it.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

more stuff better stuff always

The Progress-for-its-Own-Sake Addiction

"The sensitive person's hostility to the machine is in one sense unrealistic, because of the obvious fact that the machine has come to stay. But as an attitude of mind there is a great deal to be said for it. The machine has got to be accepted, but it is probably better to accept it rather as one accepts a drug--that is, grudgingly and suspiciously. Like a drug, the machine is useful, dangerous, and habit-forming. The oftener one surrenders to it the tighter its grip becomes. You have only to look about you at this moment to realize with what sinister speed the machine is getting us into its power. To begin with, there is the frightful debauchery of taste that has already been effected by a century of mechanization. This is almost too obvious and too generally admitted to need pointing out. But as a single instance, take taste in its narrowest sense--the taste for decent food. In the highly mechanized countries, thanks to tinned food, cold storage, synthetic flavouring matters, etc., the palate is almost a dead organ. Wherever you look you will see some slick machine-made article triumphing over the old-fashioned article that still tastes of something other than sawdust. 

And what applies to food applies also to furniture, houses, clothes, books, amusements, and everything else that makes up our environment. There are now millions of people, and they are increasing every year, to whom the blaring of a radio is not only a more acceptable but a more normal background to their thoughts than the lowing of cattle or the song of birds. The mechanization of the world could never proceed very far while taste, even the taste-buds of the tongue, remained uncorrupted, because in that case most of the products of the machine would be simply unwanted. In a healthy world there would be no demand for tinned foods, aspirins, gramophones, gaspipe chairs, machine guns, daily newspapers, telephones, motor-cars, etc., etc.; and on the other hand there would be a constant demand for the things the machine cannot produce. But meanwhile the machine is here, and its corrupting effects are almost irresistible. One inveighs against it, but one goes on using it. Even a bare-arse savage, given the chance, will learn the vices of civilization within a few months. Mechanization leads to the decay of taste, the decay of taste leads to the demand for machine-made articles and hence to more mechanization, and so a vicious circle is established. 

But in addition to this there is a tendency for the mechanization of the world to proceed as it were automatically, whether we want it or not. This is due to the fact that in modem Western man the faculty of mechanical invention has been fed and stimulated till it has reached almost the status of an instinct. People invent new machines and improve existing ones almost unconsciously, rather as a somnambulist will go on working in his sleep. 

It is obvious even now that the process of mechanization is out of control. It is happening merely because humanity has got the habit. A chemist perfects a new method of synthesizing rubber, or a mechanic devises a new pattern of gudgeon-pin. Why? Not for any clearly understood purpose, but simply from the impulse to invent and improve, which has now become instinctive. Put a pacifist to work in a bomb-factory and in two months he will be devising a new type of bomb. Hence the appearance of such diabolical things as poison gases, which are not expected even by their inventors to be beneficial to humanity. Our attitude towards such things as poison gases ought to be the attitude of the king of Brobdingnag towards gunpowder; but because we live in a mechanical and scientific age we are infected with the notion that, whatever else happens, 'progress' must continue and knowledge must never be suppressed. 

Verbally, no doubt, we would agree that machinery is made for man and not man for machinery; in practice any attempt to check the development of the machine appears to us an attack on knowledge and therefore a kind of blasphemy. And even if the whole of humanity suddenly revolted against the machine and decided to escape to a simpler way of life, the escape would still be immensely difficult. It would not do, as in Butler's Erewhon, to smash every machine invented after a certain date; we should also have to smash the habit of mind that would, almost involuntarily, devise fresh machines as soon as the old ones were smashed. And in all of us there is at least a tinge of that habit of mind. In every country in the world the large army of scientists and technicians, with the rest of us panting at their heels, are marching along the road of 'progress' with the blind persistence of a column of ants. Comparatively few people want it to happen, plenty of people actively want it not to happen, and yet it is happening. The process of mechanization has itself become a machine, a huge glittering vehicle whirling us we are not certain where, but probably towards the padded Wells-world and the brain in the bottle." 

George Orwell, The Road To Wigan Pier (1937) excerpt

Monday, July 2, 2018


there's a lot of talk about raising our vibration,
as if achieving a higher frequency somehow is enlightening.

but if we're going to limit ourselves to this kind of discussion,
shouldn't we consider harmonics and resonance too?
if we're going to succumb to following a metaphor,
let's follow it where it goes --

perhaps achieving harmonics is the thing most desirable, 
not just higher vibration.
the popular conceit would have us believe that lower vibrations are bad;
it's claimed, if a higher vibration leads to nirvana, it's simple to conclude
that lowering your vibration does the opposite.

but why accept the notion that nirvana
is the result of high vibration?
did Source create any bad vibrations, any bad chakras?

what if all vibrations possess possibilities of being good for us
depending on how we're harmonic and resonant with them.
it's reasonable to assume that all of creation is what Source intended, all vibrations,
since it's all part of Source and Source is good.
it's too simplistic to equate high vibrations with the highly evolved.

like a musical instrument, all notes, low and high, 
can be part of a beautiful song if they harmonize 
with the positive intent of the musician.

play your tune, high or low vibrations, create your song,
don't be limited by limiting metaphors or beliefs.
be harmonic
be resonant
be all

Saturday, June 30, 2018

belle deesse rabbit
follow the white rabbit
missing link

The HAR1F RNA gene is expressed by Cajal-Retzius brain cells which regulate how the six layers of the cortex develop in the human embryo. The cortex is reponsible for many complex brain functions including language and information processing. The HAR1F gene switches on in the human fetus seven weeks after conception then shuts down at 19 weeks. This gene experienced an atypical 18 mutations in humans during the last few million years. Meanwhile, over the last 200 million years, other mammal genomes such as the chimpanzee, gorilla, orangutan, and macaque had no such mutations. Could this HAR1F gene be somehow connected to the Stoned Ape Theory?

The receptor that psychedelic drugs target (the Serotonin 2A receptor) helps regulate the production of a molecule called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF, for short). BDNF helps regulate neurogenesis and neuroplasticity. Using genetic techniques to increase BDNF expression can enhance neurogenesis in certain brain regions as well. Activate the receptor, and the brain secretes more BDNF. Psychedelic drugs can enhance learning and memory capabilities by, at least partially, increasing the amount of BDNF (and related growth-factors) in the brain through activation of the Serotonin 2A receptor. 

Neurogenesis in the hippocampus may be a key part of the acquisition of new behaviors and pattern recognition. The balance of evidence suggests that exposure to psychedelics can, in fact, enhance neurogenesis in this region.  

In 2016, the Beckley Foundation, working with scientists at the Sant Pau Institute for Biomedical Research in Spain announced findings that two of the key components in Ayahuasca, harmine and tetrahydroharmine stimulate the differentiation of stem cells into healthy neurons.

In 2013, a group of scientists published the results of their experimental brain research using psilocybin (PSOP). Their report was titled, "Effects of psilocybin on hippocampal neurogenesis and extinction of trace fear conditioning." In the abstract, they concluded -- "PSOP facilitates extinction of the classically conditioned fear response, and this, and similar agents, should be explored as potential treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder and related conditions.
Full Report Available from: Researchgate 

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Inca Knots

Now You See It Now You Don't
How many times do we see something, hear a suggestion, encounter something new, and quickly process it as if we understand? We make these snap judgments all the time. We believe we know what's entailed, being offered, implied, and we move on, confident in our assessment.

Perhaps our attention spans have been entrained to believe the 30-second TV-commercial summary of reality, as if all we need to know and all that's possible to care about can be contained in quick cuts, a catchy jingle, and a few catch-phrases sung by a shapely model with a glint in her eye.

While in Peru, I enjoyed exploring museums, especially ones that featured Inca artifacts. Lima has great museums for this. While marveling over everything on display, I appreciated but in hindsight gave minor notice to a series of colorful, knotted-string wall hangings arranged in what appeared to be loosely-gathered curtains. Nice, intricate artwork I thought. They reminded me of the old beaded, room-divider curtains once favored by hippies and New Age artsy-fartsy types. Occupied more with my internal reference to hippie curtains than what I was actually looking at, I glanced up and down the display then strolled on.

Now I find how woefully cursory my consideration of these artifacts had been. How wrong I was to assume I knew what I was looking at. It demonstrates how easily we see but don't see. We think we know and don't look any deeper, thereby missing the richest and depth available to us. As it turns out, the colorful string-objects adorned with knots weren't art pieces at all, at least that wasn't their primary function to the Incas. I was surprised to discover what I had casually enjoyed and strolled by was complex 3D code, one that scientists still haven't figured out.

I have to admit I didn't discover this by questioning my first assumptions on my own. Oh no, why would I ever do that! Ha Ha! Instead, by chance, I found an article online that set me straight. The article leads with a photo of one of the beaded wall hangings, which caught my eye. I then read the following:

"The Inca Left Behind a Strange, 3D Code That Scientists Still Can't Figure Out / They communicated in multiple dimensions.

The Inca Empire (1400-1532 CE) is one of few ancient civilisations that speaks to us in multiple dimensions. Instead of words or pictograms, the Incas used khipus – knotted string devices – to communicate extraordinarily complex mathematical and narrative information.

But, after more than a century of study, we remain unable to fully crack the code of the khipus. The challenge rests not in a lack of artifacts – over 1,000 khipus are known to us today – but in their variety and complexity.

We confront tens of thousands of knots tied by different people, for different purposes and in different regions of the empire. Cracking the code amounts to finding a pattern in history's knotted haystack.

Using locally available materials such as camelid fleece and cotton, the khipukamayuqs (Quechua for 'knot-makers/animators') encoded administrative data such as census figures and tax allocation in the twisted strings of these ancient spreadsheets.

The Inca bureaucrats used these data to keep tabs on the largest empire in the pre-Columbian Americas. We have known for about a century that the accounting khipus follow a base-10 knot scheme (imagine an abacus made out of string).

However, these quantitative khipus account for only about two-thirds of the samples remaining today.

The remaining third of these devices – the so-called narrative khipus – appear to contain encoded non-numerical, narrative information, including names, stories and even ancient philosophies. For those who love puzzles, the narrative khipus are a godsend..."

You can read the whole article by clicking here

Much of our rationale in judging and dispensing with things with passing regard comes from all the stuff we already think we know and believe, our existing worldview. But by definition, what we already know doesn't contain what we don't. Unless we are deluded enough with certainty that we've obtained a full grasp of the universe and everything in it, there may be more to consider. We may be missing a lot by approaching reality in this quick-to-judge, assuming from surface detail way. Perhaps the world is much more involved and interesting, multi-various and dimensioned in surprising ways, with many more shades of grey and sprays of colors than we give it credit for. Of course, somewhere inside we all know this and yet it's odd how often we fall into the lazy trap of thinking we know after only a passing and superficial consideration.

And so...besides discovering something new and interesting, quite accidentally, this has also been a great reminder to me. Next time an idea passes my way, I see something that appears all too apparent, or I hear of something going on, I'm challenged to stop and take some time to look below the surface before walking on past. There's always more to it than what we think we know.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Two Ways To Go          
Two street-art murals side-by-side.
Pretty much sum up our options for the 21st century.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

a bridge to somewhere


Some memes, even if accurate in some respects, may over time become self-referencing caricatures. As such they de-evolve and lodge as raspberry seed thought-forms in the painfully wobbly partial plate of the zeitgeist. Take Terence McKenna's notorious DMT machine elves, for instance, those self-transforming jewelled basketballs that dribble their way toward anyone who gets blasted into their realm. In lieu of verifiable documentary footage returned by paranormal videographers, McKenna's description suffices as a brilliant metaphor. For many it still comes closest to capturing, if not the experience, then at least the ineffable high-weirdness and absurd other-worldly humor of an encounter that, if we were honest, can't be put into words. Kudos to the entheogenic bard, Mister McKenna, for striking a nerve to catalyze something approaching the edges of understanding.

In the years since his image of happily-chanting "Do it! Do it! Do it!" machine elves brought an audience to the presumption of knowing through laughter, many have debated its accuracy. No doubt the image was accurate for Mr. McKenna, as best as he was able to bring it back from the great beyond. And yet, not everyone sees or interacts with the same little guys during their DMT encounter. Some have criticized the way such a fanciful, metaphorical image has taken hold. They claim value in being a purist when approaching these realms, avoiding any front-loading of expectations of what the DMT experience will be like. And yet, how likely is this? Unless one is a hermit, sealed off from the world, maintaining purity from such thought-forms is quite difficult to manage. Memes such as McKenna's are fully ingrained in what's popular with those in-tuned to the preoccupations of psychedelic sub-culture. 

Even so, there might be valid concern that agrees with the purists. Instead of concentrating fully on what each individual comes away with, the temptation might be to ask oneself what went wrong if the same self-transforming jewelled basketballs didn't dribble for you as the meme dictates. This problem is not limited to DMT; it's true with any altered-state inducing substance. One can easily find classic tales of what a typical Ayahuasca, mescaline, or psilocybin journey should be. After a while, determining how much of what the experience becomes is due to front-loading as opposed to what it could have been without such suggestions is a toss-up. Front-loading could be an unconscious intention we don't even know we're triggered to make true. 

Maybe the fact that not everyone has the same encounter as the one McKenna described is a hopeful sign. It's an indication there still is a "pure" experience possible without any elements scripted by assumptions and meme-driven expectations. Then again, this could be way off-base. If the realm of the machine elves really is a genuine place inhabited by real entities, then anyone not arriving there and meeting them is doing something incomplete or wrong. Possibly they're not taking the hero's dose necessary to rev up to required escape velocity. So which is it? No one knows. Maybe that's one of the reasons why Roland Griffiths, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins University, has begun his DMT-related research project.

Dr. Griffiths is widely known for previous work studying psilocybin. As the John Hopkins website summarizes, "In 1999 he initiated a research program at Johns Hopkins investigating the effects of the classic hallucinogen psilocybin that includes studies of psilocybin-occasioned mystical-type experiences in healthy volunteers, psilocybin-facilitated treatment of psychological distress in cancer patients, psilocybin-facilitated treatment of cigarette smoking cessation, psilocybin effects in beginning and long-term meditators, and psilocybin effects in religious leaders."

Part of Dr. Griffiths' current study into DMT focuses on encounters with these seemingly autonomous entities. Anyone who has had such an encounter is encouraged to take an anonymous internet survey. It involves answering questions about their experience, including after-effects both short and long-term. The survey takes 20-40 minutes and is quite interesting. There are many thoughtful and probing questions. Some are answered by multiple choice, others by a 1-10 rating scale, with the opportunity for direct written input as supplement at the end. For those interested in contributing to the study, here's the link:

John Hopkins Entity Study

And so, the question remains. Has Terence McKenna's meme, over time, become a self-referencing caricature that's dribbling away from his intended purpose? I imagine yes and no. It's like scoffing at someone who's foolhardy enough to jump at the supposedly impossible. Do we fault him for the jump or praise him for the attempt? Well, at different times, in different moods, we do both. We certainly know it seems impossible but since he did what he could, something inside us whispers - how will we ever know for sure unless someone tries?

For me, McKenna captured the feeling of the DMT realm even if the little entities I encountered there were somewhat different from what he classically described. For me, in no way could they be compared to machines. Yes, they were numerous, frenetic, joyful, mischievous, highly intelligent, bizarrely playful, and intensely interested in encountering me and getting me to engage with them. Ever-flowing with magically-creative action, they maintained a telepathic link exuding profound messages wrapped in fractal fun and the astonishingly bizarre. Sometimes their smiles would contort in menacing ways, but it was always a playful test to see if I could keep directing my energies to the positive and loving uses for the moment. Visual absurdity and startling humor got oddly coupled with overarching telepathic messages; messages such as -- expand the possible, forgo static thought-forms for creative experience, flow always with a perspective of joy and play as the fundamental basis of infinitely-emergent being.

Often the interchanges were verbally direct. When I asked them what creation was they didn't hesitate to answer, "A surprise party!" At that moment, insights about creation unpacked through the telepathic link, insights too rich and fully-dimensioned to ever express in words. At another moment of intensity I suggested it would be great if I could stay with them. They laughed incredulously like that was the most bizarre thing ever then answered with glee, "You never left!" When I asked them how long I will live, they responded right away with a date -- a precise month, day, and year. 

During one playful flow, I was consumed by a passage into infinite landscapes and tableaus. Fully-detailed places and times appeared in richly emotive bursts lasting seconds then quickly morphing to the next. All the while, the little ones chanted away and implored me to do the same. They made it clear it was important that I chant with them. Each setting, each time and place lasted only a few seconds but felt like another life, as rich and detailed as if I had lived each one completely. These times and places were so familiar even though I had never seen any of them before. They flashed into consciousness like intense virtual reality remote-viewing episodes, then were replaced by more of the same. I could feel myself chanting along with the little guys, as if chanting made each setting a more-real-than-real expression of life. 

What we chanted doesn't make much sense now, after returning from the experience, but while I was there with them the repetition was nothing less than a powerful incantation. It was clear - where they exist is somewhere beyond "the localized grids of fate." Beyond memes, they embody a timeless infusion of play and exploration that endlessly expands the spontaneous magic of creation. Theirs is a place where rigid thought-forms and static caricatures don't matter, where self-referencing attempts to understand via staid ontologies all get bent and folded into the next surprising manifestation. If we get stuck in the here and now with memes that drive our imaginations even if they were never fully accurate and their intent has staled since their inception, no matter. In the realm of experience, in the logos of our true selves, none of that matters.  

Over and over, with laughter and joy and passion we repeated the incantation, the war cry of joyful creative abandon. As we did, the endless places and times of the deepening passion play appeared in exquisite detail and I in them with all of my senses aware. One moment I was there, then the solid apparition dissolved into the next setting. As it flowed, all of us chanted the same thing over and over. In singsong glee we shouted as if to fill the whole realm with possibilities  -- 

"Where is Where When When is What Who Dreams is Why!"

beyond the firmament

"What we need to do is transcend these localized grids of fate, 
which make us what we are but don't want to be."
- Terence McKenna, 1984