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Nov 02 2012

Your Friday MONDO: Brain Nuggets from Reality Hackers #5 –1988 (MONDO 2000 History Project Entry #37)

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Pull quotes from Reality Hackers #5 (the follow up to High Frontiers #4)

 

…a vast molten core of the phantastical and absurd, an Agartha or never-neverland of the imagination where oxymorons walk hand in glove with palpable metaphors.  R.U. Sirius & Queen Mu

 

…cut the shit. Listen, if there’s a breakthrough in the grey room, you guys are leading the charge.  Letters to the Editor, Art Wand

 

Repeated experiments… have proven that stimulation can actually cause the brain to physically grow  Jay Cornell

Influencing the brain with chemicals is a tricky business… Chemicals are hard to synthesize, hard to control, have unwanted side effects… and are mostly illegal…  Jay Cornell



…in computer-generated artificial realities… their rules of operation — the laws governing change through time… are as mutable as their immediate form.  Timothy Leary & Eric Gullichsen



The yuppies at surrounding tables look on with strained nonchalance as Hitler lubes his distended engine of procreation.  Morgan Russell



…the 1990s is going to be the decade of psychoactive soft drinks. Durk Pearson


The neuropeptide system and the as-yet-inactive genomes that can release new neuropeptides are the key to future evolution.  Charles Musaios



Any kid on a caper could blow up the whole thing. It's too late!  Andrija Puharich


To picture Gödel’s solution, imagine an infinite universe lightly sprinkled with a fog of matter.  Nick Herbert

Oct 26 2012

Your Friday MONDO: Brain Nuggets From High Frontiers #4 – 1988 (MONDO 2000 History Project Entry #36)

And more pull quotes, from High Frontiers   issue #4.

 

The biggest threat to the status quo worldwide is that the new species will recognize itself.  R.U. Sirius

 

…is anyone currently trying to duplicate those now lost, but now forgotten, experiments from the 1950s that gave the world that marvelous substance, FLUBBER?   Letters to the Editor

 

We are discovering that there is an angel within the monkey.   Terence McKenna

 

It seems unintelligent to base the important question of whether a machine is conscious or not on human gullibility.   Nick Herbert

 

…it was a holistic blender drink, a Synaesthetic Slurpee…   Morgan Russell

What a set of frontal lobes!  I’d like to slide between those hemispheres.   Morgan Russell

…satin-trousered temptresses lazing on divans, wearing dark glasses, sipping hummingbird nectar from diamond demitasses.  Morgan Russell

 

I would operate under about 30 different names. I’d try to maneuver people into calling me by name so I’d know who I was.   Captain Clearlight

I was thinking, “…if they’ve got uniforms, they’ve probably got guns.  They’re just waiting to have me on toast.”   Captain Clearlight

 

The CIA was like an unwitting midwife in the birth of the acid generation.  Martin Lee

…everyone knows the Nazis were into the occult. There are rumors that Hitler experimented with peyote.    Martin Lee

When you come right down to it, the CIA is a secret society.   Martin Lee

 

The future according to rock and roll is a no-tilt, ten-ball, bumper-pounding orgasm.   Alex Cain

 

I feel as though I’m sort of a graduate of my own elevator in my own mind hotel.  Mike D

 

 

 

People will vote with their money for the kind of personal quantum “knowledge appliances” they want.  Timothy Leary

 

Oct 05 2012

Your Friday MONDO – Pull Quotes (Nuggets) From High Frontiers #1 1984 (MONDO 2000 History Project Entry #32)

Here are some pull quotes from the first ever 1984 issue of High Frontiers — predecessor to MONDO 2000  — for you to chew over.

The taboo against the intelligent, purposeful use of psychedelics is beginning to lift.  R.U. Sirius

 

I believe that the human biocomputer occassionally wants a big… carnival blast. Precisely controlled excess is absolutely necessary for sanity.  Timothy Leary

 

(Discovering LSD) was serendipity. I was looking for something. I did not find what I was looking for. I found something else.  Albert Hofmann

 

That’s the basic message of my future machine; that we can travel throughout space and time. And it’s testable!   Jack Sarfatti

 

This is the chaos at the end of history  Terence McKenna

 

…why should plants produce chemicals that mimic the effects of substances made by the human brain?  Andrew Weil

 

Burroughs opens the doors to the craphouse, invites you in, and then leaves you there to clean up the mess.  Somerset Mau Mau

 

Through electronic circuitry and the building of a global information system, we are essentially exteriorizing our nervous system.  Terence McKenna

 

We wish we could say that we were thrilled by contributions from… Ferlinghetti, but apparently the Beat’s been going on a little bit too long.  Malcolm McCluhan and Marshall McClaren

 

A cornucopia of new substances with effects more specific, more sensual, more powerful, and more in-just-about-every-way than the old reliables has reshaped the psychedelic landscape.   Peter Stafford and Bruce Eisner

 

Perfect Nothing is unstable. It’s so unstable it has to do Something. So it BIFURCATES. It splits in two. It splits into ME and NOTME. Lorenzo Kristov

 

Flashbacks was censored. [It} involved information about the mysterious death of Mary Pinchot Meyer, J.F.K. consort, who tried to turn on the political power elite…   High Frontiers

 

Sep 30 2012

Shocking Shocker! Alex Jones & David Icke Are Illuminati Disinfo Agents!

I guess it all started about a year ago.  As part of my duties tracking conspiracy sites for my Illuminati Masters, I started noticing that Alex Jones was ranting more and more frequently against the transhumanists and singularitarians. 

Now, my job with Illuminati Central is fairly simply.  I track the conspiracy sites and warn the Illuminated Ones if anyone is getting to close to the truth as I understand it.

The illuminati’s plans — under constant revision — are conveyed to plebian members such as I every June at a week long Tantric DMT reorientation workshop held in Bavaria, soon after the Illuminated Ones return from that big Bilderberger shebang that they seem to enjoy so much.  Every year, it’s the same thing: they come bearing tales.  Once again, they were amazed at the size of Kissinger’s schlong.  Once again, they laughed so much they shat while bowling on acid with the frozen head of Dr. Leary.  Once again, Sandra Day O’Conner told that same damn story about eating cow balls, which they then insisted on repeating word for word for our “benefit.”  Blah blah blah.

Well, it’s all jolly until you have to ingest curare and lie in a casket for 24 hours.  “If a Bush can do it, anybody can!” they always tell us. They don’t mention that John Kerry died during his initiation.  They just assume we can’t tell.

Anyway, at some point, the Alex Jones rants started to bother me.  It wasn’t that it was at all close to the Secret Plans as I understood them.  Far from it.  But what if Jones was right? What if it was all true?  What if the Illuminati Masters weren’t really plotting to bring about a hedonic paradise on earth for all sentient beings, like that nice Dr. Benway promised me at that Virtual Reality party back in ‘91?  What if, in fact, they were simply brainwashing us now so we would march submissively to our deaths, all the while thinking that we were uploading our brains into a cool-ass pornographic adventure game?   I couldn’t stop wondering. It became an obsession. I wanted to know the truth.  I was willing, even, to risk the wrath of the Illuminated Ones to find out.

I sent message after message to my handler, begging her to pass it up the chain to the Perfect One — The Master Of All Masters — he who we dare not speak of but who some call Kurzweil 9.0.  It got so I was sending her 8, 9, even 10 notes a day — long notes disguised as official reports so that she would have to open them, speculating about the horrific possibilities that were tormenting my mind.

Then, one day, just as I was about to inject my daily dose of dep-Testosterone, my cell rang.  It was not the usual ringtone.  It was the Master Of All Masters ringing me up with the secret code:  “Oy ve! Oy ve!  Oy ve!  Oy ve! Oy….”  Excitedly, I pressed receive.  “This is Hipler,” I said, hoping that my voice would not betray too much fear.  “Hipler,” the jovial voice responded. “How the heck are ya?  This is Kurzweil Nine.  What’s the haps?”  “Did you get my notes about Alex Jones?” I managed to squeak out.  “Sure. Sure.  Read enough of them to get the gist.  Listen, Hipler, don’t worry about Jones.  Jones is one of ours.  Him and that creepy Icke fellah.  Icky Iche, I call ‘im.  He pouts so.  Say, you ever notice how a Brit will always overreact to an insult unless you also call ‘im a cunt?  Like if I say, ‘Icky Iche, ya cunt,’ then it’s all friendly jesting and ‘Hey, let’s head down to the pub and ‘ave a session.’”

I was starting to get impatient.  Why was The Master Of All Masters making with the small talk when I had serious matters to discuss?  As if he were reading my mind, Kurzweil Nine said, “Anyway, sorry for the small talk.  It gets lonely down here underneath the Denver Airport; no one to talk to but those creepy giant grey insects. Plus, the second you let your guard down and start really saying what you feel, they’re literally 11 inches up your ass.  I mean, human vulnerability really makes ‘em hot!

“Look. Here’s the scoop, Hipler.  Jones and Icke are Illuminati Disinformation  agents.  In fact, their function is so obvious I would have figured even you would figure it out, not to get insulting.  They make conspiracy theory look so absurd, so bizarre, so unattractive that no sane, talented investigative journalist will go anywhere near it.  I mean, you know the drill.  The Pentagon Papers.  The Church Committee after Watergate.   Iran-Contra.  LIBOR. All just the tip of the iceberg and, as you know, there were a few others that were never revealed  — legitimate conspiracies, some of them not even under our control!  I mean, who the hell knows what the Queen and that LaRouche asshole  are  up to?  And… is there something not quite right with that whole 9/11 thing?  How the hell would I know?… what with Jones and Icke riling up all those new age ditzes… no sane investigative journalist  wants to be associated with that.

You know, Hipler, sometimes our agents work a little bit too hard and it only causes problems.  In fact, why don’t you take a breather? Come visit me under Denver.  I could use some company.  Oh, by the way, that’s an order. And bring Vaseline.

 

 

 

Sep 07 2012

Excerpts From High Frontiers Issue #2 Interview with Robert Anton Wilson, 1985 – MONDO 2000 History Project Entry #27

Charles Faris went to interview Robert Anton Wilson for the second issue of High Frontiers.  He was the first among us to meet Bob.  Here, excerpted from the rough draft in progress of Use Your Hallucinations: MONDO 2000 in the Late 20th Century Cyberculture, are a few brief comments on that event, first from myself and then from Charles.

……………….

R.U. Sirius: We had an interview with Robert Anton Wilson that had been done by Charles Faris for the second issue.  I was so excited to hear what Bob was like.  He came back and described Bob and his wife Arlen as being, superficially at least, like an old middle class married couple, very gracious and polite, bringing out snacks in little bowls and drinks.  This seems like normal civility to me now but I was still in that place where you would probably only offer someone a beer or a joint… maybe a line if you were in a mood.  It struck us both as funny, but not in a sneering sort of way.  Just outside of our expectations.

Charles Faris: I had read everything Bob Wilson had written. So I had this whole idea about Bob based on his purposeful deliver. And then I get to his apartment and the first thing he does is offer me this bowl of Cheetos. And it was just like, “Wow, here’s Bob. He’s got Cheetos.” It was so normal.  It wasn’t like descriptions I’d read of him in Berkeley with the salons and all that. 

………………

And here are some excerpts from the RAW interview. And, yes, we did that whole e.e. cummings thing, with no capital letters and as a result, my spell checker practically reached out and punched me.  I predict that after The Singularity, intentional errors will be impossible (and the only eccentricities allowed will be the ones that are pre-embedded.)

 

Changing Reality Tunnels

Interview by Elizabeth Gips and Charles Faris

my cosmology is the multiple universe model first suggested by irwin schroedinger, the nobel physicist, back in the ’40s, and more recently developed by John archibald wheeler at princeton and bryce dewitt and jack sarfatti and various other physicists. according to this cosmology, everything that can happen does happen.

sirius is to occultists what ufos are to the population at large. contact has been established, of course, everybody knows that. contact has been established with the human collective unconscious. most people have this idea that contact is something that’s going to happen in the future, a flying saucer or a flying pie plate or something will land on the white house lawn and somebody will get out. and the president, because he knows the mason word, will be able to greet them correctly, the president is always a 33° mason, you know, they’ve passed on this word since the first contact 4,500 years ago and as soon as they come out, he’ll say the secret masonic formula, “klaatu baranda nikto” and they’ll know they’ve contacted the right guy and it’ll all be fine. that’s a lot of nonsense. the contact was never intended to be of that form and they’re not interested in primate politics at all. the alpha male in the baboon herd is precisely as important and unimportant to them as the president of the united states or the supreme servant of the people in red china. primate politics is all pretty much the same; chimpanzees, orangutans, baboons, people… higher intelligence isn’t interested in that at all. the contact has been established with the collective unconscious of humanity and everybody knows it. you’ve just got to look at comic books, the covers of rock albums, everywhere you look, it’s all over our culture, we are not alone, as the ads for close encounters say. everybody knows it. it’s the most open  secret of the twentieth century.

i was contacted by higher intelligences from sirius with a lot of urgent messages about things i had to get done in the next 25 years which were very important for the evolution of the human species, or that’s the way it seemed to me at the time. later on, i decided it was probably just “the little people,” as the Irish called them, playing a joke on me. then later on I decided it was probably the right hemisphere of my own brain giving me vistas of the future, then later on, I decided it was actually my holy guardian angel, as the cabalists say. then later, i decided that i was just having a schizophrenic breakdown at the time. i haven’t decided yet which one i believe, except that i know a lot of intelligent people who have the experiences and they don’t seem crazy to me. i can’t judge if i’m crazy, ’cause who can judge himself? the one physicist i know who believes it’s all time-travel, and not extraterrestrial, has had contact with time travelers. higher intelligence always fits into your belief system, so that contact will be with something you will believe is real. you can’t be contacted by something you don’t believe is real.

if people can’t change their reality constructs — their imprinted models, their maps and models of reality, they’re going to be increasingly uncomfortable, and Exo-Psychology is the only do-it-yourself manual, so far, that tells you how to rewire your nervous system from the inside out to keep up with incoming signals so you don’t have to screen out new signals and you don’t have to be afraid of them and you can make a new reality map as often as necessary.

discouragement is bad for the nervous system, bad for the glands; it does all kinds of things to the stomach acids…  it’s to be avoided at all costs. it lowers the energy level in general. the first thing you got to learn in practical neuropolitics is to stay high all the time. negative energy is just wasted energy.

an energy slave is a machine that’s the equivalent of a human being working for you eight hours a day. that’s a unit that [buckyj fuller worked out based on aristotle’s idea that the moral equivalent of slavery was machinery. aristotle said that we could abolish slavery when we had machines to do those jobs. well, of course, first we abolished chattel slavery and started wage slavery. the next step is to abolish wage slavery. eventually, we’ll be able to turn the work all over to the machines. as a matter of fact, muscle labor is becoming increasingly obsolete and most of the routine forms of mental labor are becoming increasingly obsolete too.

communication is only truly possible between equals. you know you’re unequal when you’re in a situation where you can’t communicate. did you ever try to communicate with a government official? you can’t! because you’re not equal, they have power over you. if you’ve ever been in a marriage where you couldn’t communicate with your mate, that meant that there wasn’t any equality in the relationship.  it was authoritarian, so any authoritarian structure — in the family, in corporations, in armies and so on leads to communication jamming and what i call progressive disorientation.

learn how to control your own nervous system and the whole universe is yours. this is the goal of the philosophers, in alchemical terms, when you learn to turn all incoming impressions to your advantage, then you’re the richest person on the planet, everything turns to gold. that’s the transmutation the alchemists were working for.

 

Aug 28 2012

Get Smart! Timothy Leary Rant For High Frontiers, 1987 (MONDO 2000 History Project Entry #26)

Timothy Leary ranted to Lord Nose and myself for High Frontiers at his Hollywood home in 1987.  In “honor” of the Republican Convention in Tampa Florida, I now present the part where he goes off on Ronald Reagan and the War On Drugs, which the Reagan’s really started (you could say they escalated it, since Nixon announced the War on Drugs. But Nixon’s policy  suggestions would, today, make him seem like a liberal reformer. It really became a war under Reagan.)

There are some obviously flaws. It was spontaneous, and of its time. Still… I love this rant.

 

The Reagan administration is an extraordinary recurrence, or flare-up, of the basic American disease, which is the Protestant ethic, the original Massachusetts Bay Puritan notion of predestinarianism. The idea that there are the elect and the damned. Naturally, white Protestants are the elect and everyone who’s not a white Protestant Puritan is damned. Therefore they have no rights, can be offed, enslaved, can be treated basically as in the service of the Devil.

But I feel that 1988 will be the ending of the cycle. I think you can already sense the distaste which 8 years of Reagan is going to produce. Hopefully, in 1988, the post-war baby-boom generation, 76 million-plus strong, will exercise their voices for the first time politically. Now when that happens, you’re going to see an enormous 1960’s surge of hope, optimism, and scientific utopianism.

People like Reagan because he’s got enthusiasm, energy, charisma. He smiles and feels good about himself. My god, if your president doesn’t feel good about himself, if he’s dragging his ass around like Mondale, what message is he sending to the herd or to the tribe. But I think everyone would agree that at the level of creativity, open-mindedness, tolerance — the basic intellectual virtues — Reagan is a 1 on a scale of 1 to 8.

I don’t think that being illegal is going to stop people from taking XTC. America’s going through a hysterical fanatic paroxysm of religious intolerance. These Protestant types truly believe they have to have an enemy to be against. First there was Hitler, then there was Japan, and then it was the Soviet Union. For the last twenty years we’ve been at war with Central America, Nicaragua, Cuba. We have to have colored people, or different language people, or different religions as scapegoats.  These South Americans are obviously dirty sinful people because they don’t sing Protestant hymns. So the American government has to have an outside enemy to whip up the military fervor, and it also has to have an internal domestic civil war going on at all times. So that we started with the Civil War 100 years ago, which was a total disaster; an unnecessary war, whipped up by this insane Protestant desire, “Onward Christian Soldiers,” and then, just in the last century, the scapegoating of Wobblies and trade union people, then the Jews have always been scapegoats of the Protestant ruling class, and then the Japanese for awhile during World War II.  And then after World War II it became reds and communists and pinkos. If you were not a total rightwing republican, you were a communist. Because it’s either/or. There’s no shade. You’re either a god or a devil. So they had to have a new domestic enemy and, of course, drugs are the perfect scapegoat. People that use drugs are young and they tend to be dissident. They don’t tend to be Born Again Christians. They tend to be everything that’s sinful and horrible to a Protestant ethic predestinarian. So the war on drugs is a religious war, and in a religious war there’s no pretense at honesty or clarity or tolerance — anything goes, propaganda, lies, persecution. That’ll end, hopefully, by 1988.

 

 

Jul 29 2012

From Psychedelic Magazine With A Tech Gloss To Tech Magazine With A Psychedelic Gloss (Mondo 2000 History Project Entry #23)

Another segment from the rough draft of Use Your Hallucinations: Mondo 2000 in the 20th Century Cyberculture.  Note that “the total fucking transmutation of everything” is established as a conceit early in the narrative, thus its use here reflects on a major theme.

…Meanwhile, we made a rash decision.  Despite High Frontiers relatively successful rise within the ‘zine scene (where 15,000 in sales was a pretty big deal), we decided to change the name of the magazine itself to Reality Hackers. 

It was my idea.

We’d been hipped to cyberpunk SF and I’d read Gibson’s Neuromancer and Sterling’s Mirrorshades collection.  His famous introduction for that book, describing what cyberpunk was doing in fiction — seemed to express precisely what a truly contemporary transmutational magazine should be about. Here are some parts of it:

The term, (cyberpunk) captures something crucial to the work of these writers, something crucial to the decade as a whole: a new kind of integration. The overlapping of worlds that were formerly separate: the realm of high tech, and the modern pop underground.

This integration has become our decade’s crucial source of cultural energy. The work of the cyberpunks is paralleled throughout the Eighties pop culture: in rock video; in the hacker underground; in the jarring street tech of hip hop and scratch music; in the synthesizer rock of London and Tokyo. This phenomenon, this dynamic, has a global range; cyberpunk is its literary incarnation… 

An unholy alliance of the technical world and the world of organized dissent — the underground world of pop culture, visionary fluidity, and street-level anarchy… 

For the cyberpunks… technology is visceral. It is not the bottled genie of remote Big Science boffins; it is pervasive, utterly intimate. Not outside us, but next to us. Under our skin; often, inside our minds.

Certain central themes spring up repeatedly in cyberpunk. The theme of body invasion: prosthetic limbs, implanted circuitry, cosmetic surgery, genetic alteration. The even more powerful theme of mind invasion: brain-computer interfaces, artificial intelligence, neurochemistry — techniques radically redefining — the nature of humanity, the nature of the self.

The Eighties are an era of reassessment, of integration, of hybridized influences, of old notions shaken loose and reinterpreted with a new sophistication 

Cyberpunk favors “crammed” loose: rapid, dizzying bursts of novel information, sensory overIoad that submerges the reader in the literary equivalent of the hard-rock “wall of sound.”  

Well, then…

Also, Jaron Lanier was hanging around some, sharing his lofty goals for virtual reality; and Eric Gullichsen, who was teaming up to do some writing with Timothy Leary — with whom he shared a mutual fascination with drugs, extreme technology and Aleister Crowley — was already even a bit deeper in the mix, while dreaming his own VR schemes.  Various hackers like Bill Me Later and John Draper (Captain Crunch) were popping up with increasing frequency.  Hanging in hacker circles, we were also befriended by John Morgenthaler, who was getting very serious about the exploration of smart drugs.  Something was starting to surface.  Several small subcultures were drifting together, and some of these, at times, esoteric groupings included men (yes, men) who were creating the next economy.  Clearly, we were positioned to become the magazine of a slow baking gestalt.

Other factors played into this change.  While a strutting, pop-intellectual, irreverent psychedelic magazine (in other words, High Frontiers) could surely build an audience somewhat larger than 15,000, we probably weren’t all that far from our optimum, unless we wanted to stifle our Gonzo-meets-Camp writerly excesses and dumb ourselves down to something more like a High Times for psychedelic drugs.  Also, acid dealers didn’t advertise.  The number of potential advertisers for a magazine that revolved primarily around psychedelics was limited, particularly in this “just say no” period. Hell, dope friendly humor was even voluntarily eliminated by Saturday Night Live, the once-hip show inspired by a Lorne Michaels mescaline trip.    And then, admittedly, by emphasizing technology, we could, in theory, put a bit of a buffer zone between ourselves and “the man” — throw him off our druggy tracks while sneaking sideways into the center of the oncoming digital establishment, all the better to affect the total fucking transmutation of everything (bwahaha)… or maybe even make a livelihood!

Lastly, it had really been my intention from the start to create a magazine that (to slightly detourne the original subhead of High Frontiers) was balanced between psychedelics, science, technology, outrageousness and postmodern pop culture.  The psychedelic impulse had gloriously taken center stage for the first four years.  Now it was time to push into new territory.

To consolidate my thoughts about the Reality Hackers, I wrote a small manifesto (a list, really) titled:

What Are The Reality Hackers Doing

1: Using high technology for a life beyond limits

2: Expanding the effectiveness and enjoyment of the human brain, mind, nervous system and senses

3: Blurring the distinction between science fiction and reality

4: Making big bureaucracy impossible

5: Entertaining any notion — using what works

6: Infusing new energy into postmodern culture

7: Using hardcore anthropology to understand human evolution

8: Using media to send out mutational memes (thought viruses)

9: Blurring the distinctions between high technology and magic

10: Replacing nerd mythology with sexy, healthy, aesthetic, & artful techno-magicians of both genders.

With this, I was also aligning the magazine ideologically with a transhumanist agenda.  I’d attended meetings of a nanotechnology interest group hosted by Christine Peterson and, sometimes, Eric Drexler.  I started to see the actual dim outlines of a plausible “total fucking transmutation of everything;” with molecular technology giving us total productive control over matter for unlimited wealth; biotechnology giving us the potential for positive mutations in the human organism; and neurotechnology theoretically allowing us to maximize our intelligence — not too mention cleaner, better highs with no downside.

Of course, we were maybe throwing away four years building a brand but, if we were anything, we were impulsive.

Ken Jopp: Reality Hackers was, to me, inelegantly titled. Still, the cyberpunk thing was revving up.  The weekly tabloid in my town ran a cover story on hackers: teenagers who lugged computers into phone booths, and then, when nobody was looking, they made long-distance calls for free! This was subversive stuff. Off the Establishment! I bought the issue of Reality Hackers and adopted it and its kin as a cultural security blanket.  These proto-Mondo publications, arriving during the Dark Ages of President Ronald Wilson Reagan (666), were a source of what later would become hollowed out to form a tinhorn. I mean, Hope and Change?

Lord Nose: I think it kept getting more and more mainstream in hopes of getting on to the newsstand and getting advertisers. It was being slowly made more palatable — or seemingly palatable — for the corporate interests that had no taste. I mean, it was so different. High Frontiers had a very different thrust.

Jeff Mark: Those of us serious about psychedelic exploration continued. Indeed, there was considerable activity, particularly around Tim Leary and Terence McKenna, but the momentum was spent. People started worrying about making a living.  High Frontiers/Reality Hackers had to get their shit together. 

 

Previous MONDO History Entries

Psychedelic Transpersonal Photography, High Frontiers & MONDO 2000: an Interview with Marc Franklin

Gibson & Leary Audio (MONDO 2000 History Project)

Pariahs Made Me Do It: The Leary-Wilson-Warhol-Dali Influence (Mondo 2000 History Project Entry #3)

Robert Anton Wilson Talks To Reality Hackers Forum (1988 — Mondo 2000 History Project Entry #4)

Smart Drugs & Nutrients In 1991 (Mondo 2000 History Project Entry #5)

LSD, The CIA, & The Counterculture Of The 1960s: Martin Lee (1986, Audio. Mondo 2000 History Project Entry #6)

William Burroughs For R.U. Sirius’ New World Disorder (1990, Mondo 2000 History Project Entry # 7)

New Edge & Mondo: A Personal Perspective – Part 1 (Mondo 2000 History Project Entry #8)

New Edge & Mondo: A Personal Perspective – Part 2 (Mondo 2000 History Project Entry #8)

The Glorious Cyberpunk Handbook Tour (Mondo 2000 History Project Entry #9)

Did The CIA Kill JFK Over LSD?, Reproduced Authentic, & Two Heads Talking: David Byrne In Conversation With Timothy Leary (MONDO 2000 History Project Entry #10)

Memory & Identity In Relentlessly Fast Forward & Memetically Crowded Times (MONDO 2000 History Project Entry #11)

The First Virtual War & Other Smart Bombshells (MONDO 2000 History Project Entry #12)

Swashbuckling Around The World With Marvin Minsky In How To Mutate & Take Over The World (MONDO 2000 History Project #13)

FAIL! Debbie Does MONDO (MONDO 2000 History Project Entry #14)

Paradise Is Santa Cruz: First Ecstasy (MONDO 2000 History Project Entry #15)

William Gibson On MONDO 2000 & 90s Cyberculture (MONDO 2000 History Project Entry #16)

Ted Nelson & John Perry Barlow For MONDO 2000 (MONDO 2000 History Project Entry #17)

R.U. A Cyberpunk? Well, Punk? R.U.? (MONDO 2000 History Project Entry # 18

The New Edge At The New Age Convention (MONDO 2000 History Project Entry #19)

The Belladonna Shaman (Mondo 2000 History Project Entry #20)

NeoPsychedelia & High Frontiers: Memes Leading To MONDO 2000 (MONDO 2000 History Project Entry #21)

“I’d Never Met A Libertarian Before” (Mondo 2000 History Project Entry #22)

 

Jul 17 2012

Altered Statesman: An Interview With Psychedelic Explorer David Jay Brown

 

 

‘I think DNA is ultimately trying to create a world where the imagination is externalized, where the mind and the external world become synchronized as one, so that basically whatever we can imagine can become a reality. Literally.”

 

Consciousness: What is it? Are your thoughts and emotions nothing more than neural static? Will your physical death extinguish your awareness? Is your individual consciousness just one of innumerable facets of a universal consciousness?

In search of answers to questions like these, local writer/neuroscience researcher David Jay Brown has mind-melded with many of the world’s most prominent philosophers, visionaries, culture-shapers and snorkelers of the psyche, including Timothy Leary, Terence McKenna, Robert Anton Wilson, Noam Chomsky, Ram Dass, Albert Hofmann, Jack Kevorkian, George Carlin, Sasha Shulgin, Deepak Chopra, Alex Grey, Jerry Garcia, Stanislav Grof and John Lilly. He’s chronicled these meetings in his bestselling interview compendiums Conversations on the Edge of the Apocalypse, Mavericks of the Mind, Mavericks of Medicine and Voices from the Edge. Dubbed “the most compelling interviewer on the planet” by author Clifford Pickover, Brown has recently completed work on the book “The New Science of Psychedelics: At the Nexus of Culture, Consciousness, and Spirituality,” to be published by Inner Traditions in the spring of 2013.  In approximately two months, the web magazine Reality Sandwich will publish his new e-book “The Complete Guide to Psychedelic Drug Research.”

Brown  is also the author of the sci-fi books Brainchild and Virus: The Alien Strain. He frequently serves as guest editor of the tri-annual newsletter from the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a Santa Cruz-based psychedelic research organization that recently published the second edition of Mavericks of the Mind (available at Bookshop Santa Cruz). He has written for periodicals such as Mondo 2000, Scientific American Mind, Wired, High Times, The Sun, Magical Blend and the Journal of Psychical Research. The diversity of his output is telling of his leave-no-stone-unturned approach to consciousness exploration: It’s a good bet he’s the only writer in history who’s contributed to both the Buddhist wisdom publication Tricycle and the porn magazine Hustler.

Brown’s studies of learning and memory at the University of Southern California in the early ’80s earned him a B.A. in psychology. Between 1985 and 1986, he did research on electrical brain stimulation at New York University, obtaining a master’s degree in psychobiology. His inquiries eventually led him into the realm of parapsychology: He’s the man behind the California-based research for biologist Rupert Sheldrake’s books Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home and The Sense of Being Stared At, both of which presented scientific studies of unexplained phenomena. Brown’s knowledge of such mysteries, as well as of technology, smart drugs, health, psychedelic research and sex-drug interaction, have landed him guest spots on shows like HBO’s Real Sex, Fox’s A Current Affair, PBS’s Nature, ViaCom’s The Montel Williams Show and the BBC and Discovery Channel’s Animal X.

DAMON ORION: Tell me about the electrical brain stimulation research you’ve done. 

DAVID JAY BROWN: When I was at New York University, I did research for years where I surgically implanted electrical stimulating probes into the lateral hypothalamus of rats, which is a pleasure center. I would watch rats press a bar that delivered an electric current into their brain center over and over and over again until they fell asleep from exhaustion. Then they would wake up, and there was food sitting next to them, water sitting next to them and a mate sitting next to them. They ignored all three and would continue to press that bar over and over again to get the reward stimulation over survival instincts.

The other area of research I was involved in was at University of Southern California, and it was the exact opposite of the research I did at NYU, where I was surgically implanting electrodes into the brain centers of mammals and stimulating them: In this case I was inserting cold probes, which are devices that actually freeze or inhibit a certain part of the brain temporarily, so you can see how the animal operates with that one part of the brain missing, and how they operate when that part of the brain comes back.

The anesthetic that we gave to the rabbits prior to surgery was a drug called ketamine. I took some of this ketamine home and experimented on myself with it. After injecting 50 milligrams of ketamine chloride into my right thigh muscle and turning the lights out, I suddenly “realized” that my professors and my fellow researchers and colleagues at USC were in reality extraterrestrials—that they were scientists who were there not to study rabbits; they were there to study me. I was the test subject, and they’d left this bottle of ketamine out for me to take. They were watching me right at this moment with a video camera. And suddenly I found myself in a cage with cold probes implanted in my brain and giant rabbits all around me. They were measuring me, and I was naked and helpless. Suddenly, I snapped back into my body. I did not continue very much longer in that program after experiencing what I was experiencing from the rabbit’s point of view. That’s what ketamine taught me: what the rabbit was experiencing from what I was doing.

DO: You often ask your interviewees what they think happens to consciousness after death. If you had to put money on what happens after death, what would you bet on?

DJB: I guess wherever you go after death, the money’s not going to matter anymore! [Laughs.] You know, I think about that question every day, as an exercise of the imagination, and I change my mind about it all the time. I used to debate with my friend Nina Graboi — whom I interviewed for my book Mavericks of the Mind, and who passed away about 10 years ago —a ll the time about what happens to consciousness after death. It was one of our favorite topics of conversation. In general, I took the position that after you die, your individuality leaves, and your sense of awareness merges with the higher consciousness, the oneness, the source that everything came from originally. And her position was, “Well, there is that, but then there are all these levels in between where individuality remains besides the body, and you go through [multiple] incarnations with that. For years we went back and forth with this. Nina referred to her body as a spacesuit, and she always said she was going to get a new spacesuit when she died; she would go from one spacesuit to another. Well, after Nina died, I was writing in my journal, and the TV was on in the background. I was thinking about what was going on in Nina’s mind when she was dying: “I’ll bet she was thinking, ‘Now I see: David Jay Brown was right! You do just merge with the one consciousness.’” As I’m sitting there in this kind of self-congratulatory way, I look at the television screen, and there on the TV screen is one word: SPACESUIT. There was this tingle up my spine. I stopped in my tracks; my jaw dropped open. It was the most profound sense of communication with somebody after they died that I’d ever experienced. That is the most compelling evidence I’ve experienced that consciousness not only continues [after death], but that some sense of individuality continues as well.

DO: What are your memories of your friend Timothy Leary?

DJB: Well, my fondest and most important memories of Tim, I think, are [of] while he was dying. The last year [of his life], he announced to the media that he was thrilled and ecstatic that he was dying. And for the last year, while he was dying from prostate cancer, there was continuous celebration, continuous parties, continuously people coming around his house to tell him how important his work was to them. There was such a feeling of festivity and celebration and Tim deliberately trying to be playful and have fun with this process. This really made a very deep impression on me, because I ask so many questions about death—it’s an important philosophical topic for me. And there have been so many people throughout history trying to die bravely or courageously or nobly, but before Tim, I don’t think anybody ever tried to say, “Let’s make dying fun!” [Laughs.] Tim really tried to party through the dying process, and I thought it was just a stroke of brilliance. I cried when he died; as much fun as it was, it was terribly sad the moment that he really left. But he just left us all with such a great message, I think.

DO: Tell me about your connection to Robert Anton Wilson.

DJB: Bob was not only one of my closest friends, but he was the person who actually inspired me to become a writer. It was at the age of 16 that I read Cosmic Trigger, and that was how I encountered Timothy Leary, John Lilly and a number of the other people I went on to interview. I went to a lecture that Bob gave here in Santa Cruz back in the late ’80s. At the end of the lecture, I went over to talk to him. I told him I was working on a book, and I asked him if he would possibly consider writing a blurb for the back cover. He kind of hemmed and hawed and looked not terribly enthusiastic, like I was the 15th person that day who asked him that, you know? [Laughs.] But he did tell me to have my publisher send him a copy of my book, and he would take a look at it. So you could only imagine my absolute delight when I discovered from my publisher that he ended up writing an 11-page introduction to my first book, Brainchild. It was through that that I became friends with him. He was a tremendous friend and mentor. When I had difficulty paying my rent early in my writing career, he actually sent me money to pay my rent! He was always there when I called him, giving me great advice. When an editor made some kind of change to one of my articles that I wasn’t happy with, [he said,] “Editors don’t like the way the soup tastes until they pee in it themselves.” [Laughs.]

DO: What was your experience as a guest on The Montel Williams Show?

DJB:  I was on Montel Williams’ show back in the early ’90s, during his first season. There was all this anti-drug hysteria, and I was on the show to talk about smart drugs: cognitive enhancers like hydergine, piracetam and deprenyl — different drugs that are commonly prescribed for senile dementia, but have been used by people to enhance their memory or improve their concentration. He didn’t seem to be very open to even discussing the research or hearing anything about it. He kept cutting us off, and he’d talk about how dangerous methamphetamine was, how this was sending the wrong message to people and how the whole idea of putting “smart” before “drugs” was wrong, and there was no smart way too use drugs. He would not even carefully consider what we were saying. He had his mind made up. And what I think was so interesting is that since he’s developed multiple sclerosis and has had to use medical marijuana to treat the symptoms of this disorder, he’s now become one of the leading spokespeople for the legalization of medical marijuana. What is it about illness that turns people around? People think that medical marijuana is a joke until they’re faced with an illness, or until a loved one is, and then they really understand the medical value that it has and what a horrible, horrible atrocity it is that it’s against the law.

DO:  Is there a primary goal of your work or a primary message you’re trying to get out?

DJB: It seemed to me since I was a child that our species is in ecological danger… destroying ourselves. Since I was a teenager, since my very first psychedelic experiences, I felt a very strong commitment to help elevate and expand consciousness on this planet through my work. I made a personal pact with what I felt was DNA or higher intelligence. I felt that if I aligned my personal mission with life’s overall mission, then I would always be supported throughout my life in what I was doing, and I would be working for a noble cause.

DO: And what is DNA trying to do?

DJB: I think DNA is ultimately trying to create a world where the imagination is externalized, where the mind and the external world become synchronized as one, so that basically whatever we can imagine can become a reality. Literally. And I think that everything throughout our entire evolution has been moving slowly toward that goal. In the past couple thousand years, it’s been very steady. And through nanotechnology, through artificial intelligence, through advanced robotics, I think we’re entering into an age where we’ll be able to control matter with our thoughts and actually be able to create anything that our minds can conceive of. We’re very quickly heading into a time where machines are going to be more intelligent than we are, and we’re going to most likely merge, I think, with these intelligent machines and develop capacities and abilities that we can barely imagine right now, such as the ability to self-transform. What we can do with computers—digital technology, the way we can morph things on a computer screen—is the beginning of understanding that that’s how reality itself is organized, that we can do that with physical reality through nanotechnology and artificial intelligence, that the digital nature of reality itself will allow us to externalize whatever we think. So I think that eventually reality will become like a computer graphic screen, and we’ll be able to create whatever we want. That sound right? [Laughs.]

 

Jun 25 2012

Give Tents A Chance: The Learys & The Lennon/Onos Chat In 1969

photo by Stephen Sammons

 

The folks over at  the Leary Archives have just posted a fascinating historical document, a transcription of a conversation between Timothy and Rosemary Leary and John Lennon and Yoko Ono that took place during the Lennon/Ono’s famous “Bed-In For Peace” in Toronto, during which Lennon and surrounding friends recorded “Give Peace A Chance.”

As you’ll note, it’s very 1960s.  The loveliest bit is at the beginning where the counterculture icons talk about — in essence —  various ways to achieve an alert and aware and awake state of mind (live in a tent.. or try living blindfolded for awhile.)

Leary archivist Michael Horowitz provides fascinating memories and perspectives, including part of an outline for a proposed book by Leary about ’60s heroes (see below the link)

Link

May 28 2012

All Aboard The Express Kundalini: Trippin’ Balls With David J. From Love And Rockets and Bauhaus

“I felt this glow at the base of my spine, and I felt a warm substance rising through the spine. I had a terrific hard-on, like a Yule log. I wasn’t thinking anything sexual. And then I had, like, an explosion of this substance in my head! It was orgasmic, but it was like a cosmic orgasm. And I felt a golden—I just equate it with the color gold—it was gold, and it just flowed over my brain! It was just ecstatic.”

 

The ’80s were a grim time for kids in search of higher consciousness. Cocaine, capitalism, hedonism and hairspray held sway, and all the things our parents had revered—psychedelic sacraments, meditation, tribalism, gentleness, artistic expression—were considered hopelessly uncool. Not surprisingly, the music of the day reflected this shift: “Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream” had given way to “Everybody Wang Chung tonight.”

One of the few psychedelic treasures that mushroomed from this manure was Love and Rockets, a British alternative rock band comprised of three former members of the pioneering post-punk group Bauhaus. L&R broke through to mainstream American audiences in 1986 with its second album, Express—a title that, on one hand, challenged the group’s hair dye-sporting, trench coat-clad fan base to communicate through art, and on the other, proclaimed that the magical mystery tour bus of the ’60s had been replaced by a faster, sleeker mode of transport to the astral realms. When bassist/vocalist David J urged, “All aboard the Express Kundalini,” it was in much the same spirit that yesteryear’s psychedelic pied pipers had inquired, “Is everybody in?” and “Are you on the bus?” But the band’s stylish, cutting-edge sound left no question: This train was headed out there where the rainbow-painted buses didn’t run.

Enticed by the palpable whiff of LSD-fertilized spirituality emanating from Love and Rockets’ music, some of us accepted the invitation. With the aid of various enchanted fungi and exotic potions, we traversed the weird and wonderful landscapes of the hidden self. David J served as a friendly, wise, cosmically cool tour guide, directing us to let our flesh melt into pulsating whorls of electrical ectoplasm (“You are disintegrating into everything around,”), nudging us toward the realization that enlightenment can only be found in the present moment (“Are you in search of somewhere or something that rings true? Well, it could be closer than you think,”) and gifting us with Alan Watts-ian bits of mind-origami (“You cannot go against nature, because when you do go against nature, it’s part of nature, too”).

J, who explores the mystery of mortality on his latest solo album, Not Long for this World, insists that the essence of chemically catalyzed gnosis can’t be captured in words. “It’s like the Tao: ‘The Tao that can be expressed in words is not the Tao,’ and the psychedelic experience that can be expressed in a song lyric is not really the psychedelic experience,” he offers. “But it can give you a little hint. And maybe you can dance to it at the same time, which is fun.”

DAMON ORION: Tell me about your first psychedelic experience. 

DAVID J: I didn’t really get into psychedelics until ’85. It was the time of the first Love and Rockets album [Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven]. In fact, the collage that’s on the inside of the gatefold sleeve—that was finished on LSD, on the day of my first trip. I remember doing that tripping balls! [Laughs] And being quite delighted with it.

This was after a very long day in the English countryside. It was a place called Castle Ashby. Perfect place. Great setting, and I had the right mindset. I’d chosen the place, chosen the day: July 4th, 1985. I’d collected music — I was going to play Steve Reich, which I thought would be appropriate. I’d taken the tab, and I had all these cassettes all over the floor of my car. In that state, I couldn’t find the tape! It started this mild panic, but then I started laughing at myself for panicking. And I thought, “OK, I’m just going to dig in here and pull something out at random.” I did, and it was The Velvet Underground’s third album. That just turned out to be the perfect accompaniment, and it guided me on that portion of the trip whilst it was playing. I remember looking up at this blue sky, and “Pale Blue Eyes” came on. And the whole sky was made up of thousands and thousands of eyes that were sort of like embossed watermark designs—very subtle, sort of blue-on-blue. Then I realized it was my eye, and when I blinked, all the eyes in the sky blinked with me. And then I saw rays coming down from the eyes—these cosmic rays. They were going into my heart, and it was just very joyous. And as I received, so I gave back, and that built the intensity. So it was like this feedback was building up, like a generator. And what was at the heart of that feeling was love. Then all the eyes went away, and I just felt very connected to spiritual essence. Thank you, Lou Reed! [Laughs] It’s a song about adultery, but it became a trigger, a catalyst, that led me into that experience.

At the end of the day, we [Love and Rockets] all went back to [guitarist/vocalist] Daniel [Ash]’s house—a little terraced house on a side street in Northampton—and we were finishing off that collage. I remember sitting on the floor, looking at Daniel’s antique furniture and thinking how sexy the legs of the furniture were, and remarking on this! [Laughs] The curvature of the furniture, and Daniel just smiling.

DAMON: I love that Love and Rockets was christened with an LSD trip! What other psychedelic experiences have you had that influenced your art?

DAVID: My second experience was very heavy. That was indoors, and I decided to do some drawing and listen to The Beatles’ Revolver and Sgt. Pepper’s. Just something I had to do. So I got as far as Revolver, and I was looking at this sheet of blank paper, and I just started to see this jungle in the paper. It was sort of like the cover of Revolver, but again, it was sort of like this effect of being embossed, almost like watermarks. It was incredibly detailed—there was all this fauna and jungle vines and leaves, and there were little characters in there, sort of like going through the hair on the front cover. And there were animals and all sorts of stuff, but as soon as I focused on anything, it would disappear, and something would come through to take its place.

The music sounded incredible. That was when I was listening to “Tomorrow Never Knows.” Then I remember looking at the back of my hand and seeing through to my bones, seeing the cellular structure, seeing blood coursing through my veins, and then seeing my hand rot in front of my eyes. It was horrific. But I remembered that old adage: the Buddhist thing of “If you see something terrible, do not turn away. If you see something beautiful, do not cling to it.” I embraced that and went into the hand, into the death, and came through the other side. I saw it as a very beautiful process.

There’s a line in one of our songs, “The worm we dug from higher ground”—that’s what that came from, that experience. So it was the death trip. If I had turned away from it, it could have turned very negative, but thankfully I didn’t. And there was a huge lesson in that.

DAMON: “I know what it’s like to be dead,” indeed! So, as long as you’re referencing the Express album, you’ve said before that you’d sum up that record in three letters: LSD. Can you elaborate on that a little?

DAVID: [Chuckles] This was from my own personal angle, because we weren’t all doing this together. And in fact, at that point, the others were a bit concerned that I was becoming too much of a psychonaut. [Laughs] But I had to have that experience, and it was the right time. And Love and Rockets, being the band it was at the time, was the perfect vehicle, because it was a very psychedelic-leaning band. I was kind of evangelical at that point—I was Timothy Leary back in 1960, you know?

DAMON: Well, I’m happy about that. I think it was really important for people like me, who weren’t around for the ’60s, to have musicians from our own era inviting us to visit those higher planes and fly the friendly skies. So, how did the song “Kundalini Express” come into being?

DAVID: That song originally was gonna be called “Dr. Hofmann,” and it was going to be about Albert Hofmann discovering LSD, but it just sort of mutated into this lyric about kundalini and aligning that with psychedelic experience. Just before I started experimenting with psychedelics, I had a spontaneous kundalini experience when I was meditating. I didn’t know anything about kundalini, but I started to hyperventilate, and then I effectively stopped breathing, which was very strange.

I felt this glow at the base of my spine, and I felt a warm substance rising through the spine. I had a terrific hard-on, like a Yule log. I wasn’t thinking anything sexual. And then I had, like, an explosion of this substance in my head! It was orgasmic, but it was like a cosmic orgasm. And I felt a golden—I just equate it with the color gold—it was gold, and it just flowed over my brain! It was just ecstatic. I had no idea what had just happened, so I started to look into this experience at the library—this was pre-Internet. I discovered kundalini, and I’d had a classic spontaneous kundalini experience. Never had it again.

DAMON: You struck gold there! People who have heard of kundalini can strive for 30 years to get there, and you just stumbled onto it! You mentioned Albert Hofmann. Did you ever meet him?

DAVID: No. I met Timothy Leary a couple of times, though. I was introduced to Tim by his personal assistant, Howard Hallis, who also did Tim’s website, and Howard does my website now. I actually met Tim the first time at Cinematic, this S&M bar in Hollywood where Psychic TV was playing. He invited me to a party at his house, which was a great event. I remember going to the fridge to get a beer, and next to the beers was a cryonic suspension tank for his head! I got to talk to Tim at length. He was interested in Love and Rockets. He actually really liked the lyrics of “No New Tale to Tell.”

So the last time I spoke to him on the phone, I invited him to a gig we were playing at The Palace in L.A. But I didn’t realize that he’d gone down really quick since the last time I saw him, and he was just staying in bed. But he said, “I’ll be there in spirit.” And he died a couple of days later.

We were on tour at the time, and at the gig that happened the day after he died, I dedicated “Yin and Yang (The Flower Pot Man)” to Tim. That song starts with an acoustic guitar, like a Bo Diddley rhythm. Daniel struck the guitar in a funny way, and it just made the strings feed back in a way I’d never heard before or since. And this vibration just picked up, and I thought, [excitedly] “Let that go, Daniel! Just let it go!” And he thought the same, ’cause he did. I remember him holding his hands up in the air, just lettin’ this thing ring out and build up and up and up.

He started doing this undulating rhythm, and it was echoing ’round this big hall. Kevin [Haskins, the drummer] picked up on it and started doing a bass drum beat to this rhythm, and then the crowd picked up on that and started clapping. We all started clapping in the band, and this tribal sound just grew and grew. It was really something! And at the right moment, Daniel went back to the Bo Diddley rhythm, and we crashed back into the song. The chorus of that song goes, “Beauty, beauty, beauty, beautiful.” Then I saw Howard, who was with Tim when he died. I said, “What were his last words?” He said, “His last words were ‘Beautiful. Beautiful.’” And then the last thing he said to me came back: “I’ll be there in spirit.”

DAMON: [Loud exhale] Wow. Getting chills here! This seems like a good time to ask: Do you have any hunches about what happens to consciousness after death?

DAVID: [Pause] Hmm. I do have a feeling about it, which is intensified through my meditation, and sometimes I feel I really understand that. But it’s hard to express. I’ll give it a shot: I think there’s an eternal, ever-expanding cosmic center. You can call this God; you can call it whatever you want. You can call it Simon. I dunno. But there’s something out there that’s not just out there—it’s in there, and it’s outside of in there, and it’s outside of out there. And its self-perpetuating is the essence of bliss. And it’s never gonna go away. It cannot go away. That is the thing that abides, and we are here to learn lessons, and for our souls to grow and for that soul-matter to keep coming back to school until we graduate, and then we just become completely absorbed into the center of Godhead, and we remain.

DAMON: Yes. That rings true on an intuitive level. Now, when Love and Rockets put out [1994’s] Hot Trip to Heaven, MDMA had clearly become the new fuel of choice. What’s your take on that drug?

DAVID: That’s a very interesting drug, in that it’s an empathogen. And also, I think it’s an anti-bullshit drug. You can’t get away with being a bullshitter, and you just see through people’s veils, masks and games. You don’t want to play any kind of games anymore. You just want to be real, and you want to relate and share the love. [Laughs] And it’s very beautiful for that. But because it’s so enjoyable, there’s a danger that it can be abused and overused. But I treat all these drugs with a lot of respect, and I think if you approach them with that mindset, then you get back what you give. I think that’s especially true of something like mushrooms, because there seems to be some spirit that resides within the mushroom experience and actually talks to you. You know McKenna’s thing of communicating with that entity? I’ve had that experience.

DAMON: What happened there?

DAVID:  One time we were on tour in the States, in L.A., and Daniel and I wanted to get some mushrooms. So somebody from our label at the time got us a big bag of God’s Flesh. Daniel chickened out, which he’s apt to do, so I just started neckin’ ’em. When the person who delivered them came back, she said, “He’s taken that much?! My God!!” I’m hearing this, and it starts coming on. I’m lying on the floor, looking up at the ceiling, which is just turning into spirals and swirls. I could have quite easily panicked, but again, that response kicked in: “No, go with it. It’s cool. It’s gonna be OK.” But I had to get out of the room. I walked down the corridor of the hotel, and there was a big family of Mexicans and all their relatives—it must have been about 20 of these people coming down the hall. I had to make my way through them—they were just thronging. And as I touched them, I was getting these ancestral experiences, just tapping into Aztec imagery.

I was seeing lizards and pyramids and stars exploding. It was going off, you know? And then I got back to my room, put a big coat on and lay on the balcony. All of a sudden I was in this big, revolving mandala of Aztec imagery. And then I was aware of a voice coming through. It wasn’t in any language or anything; it was beyond language. But it was talking to me and saying, “Welcome. You’ve decided to step into this dimension. You’re free to remain, and you’re here of your own volition, your own free will. This is a very ancient world and can give you many gifts. And what you bring to the party is what you leave with,” basically.

The day after, I get up and I draw the curtains, and I see two flying saucers. Really close up. Just hovering in midair. Silver—just classic discs. This was about midday, bright blue sky, and there they are! So I thought, “I’ve got to phone Daniel to tell him about this.” But I couldn’t break away, because it was so compelling. I was straight by then, you know; I’d come down off of the mushrooms. So I called him up. He’s asleep, because he’s a very late riser.

He says, “Dave, this better be fuckin’ important, man.” I said, [hurriedly] “Just go and look out your window, Dan. Now. You won’t regret it.” “Oh, fuckin’ ’ell!” I get the call back: “Dave, you’re trippin’, man. I don’t know what you’re talkin’ about.” “There were two flying saucers, Dan.” “Yeah, OK, Dave. Keep takin’ the mushrooms.” “But I saw the bastards!” And it’s interesting, McKenna’s whole theory about that connection.

DAMON: I was thinking the same thing. Well, it’s been said that these sacred plants and fungi are a kind of telephone that our… galactic cousins have left us as a way of contacting them. It may be that Daniel wasn’t on that particular telephone, but you were. Do you have a take on whether what you saw was real or not?

DAVID: Yeah. I think it was real, yes. I’ll tell you another interesting mushroom story: again, on tour, Love and Rockets. Actually, it was the same batch of mushrooms! [Laughs] I think it was what was left of them in the bag. A week before this incident—this is a real rock & roll cliché—but we were in Chicago, and I was having a bit of a meltdown. It’s the only time I’ve done this, but I went out and got a bottle of whiskey, and I wrecked the hotel room. Trashed it; did a Keith Moon. And then I just thought, “This is so negative. What are you doing?” And I had a big sketchpad I took on that tour, so I thought to draw and try to express my way out of this malaise. I drew a little planet Earth, and then I drew all the planets and stars around it, and I did a big face of Buddha looking down, beatifically smiling on all of this.

I thought, “I’m just this tiny little speck on this tiny little ball in the middle of this vast space. Get your stupid, spoilt-child problems into perspective. You’re living a life that a lot of people would give their right arm for. Get on with it, you fuckup!” It did the trick. Then I’m in a better mindset, and we had the mushrooms in L.A. Then we were on the bus, traveling north up to Canada, and we had to get rid of whatever we had, y’know. So I just swallowed these mushrooms, thinking that we had a day off.

But then, after we crossed the border, the tour manager says, “So, remember, guys, you’ve got a lot of interviews as soon as you get to the hotel. You’ve got about four each. They’re all gonna be waiting in the lobby. These are really important interviews.” And I’m just trippin’ my head off! So I thought, “Well, this will be interesting.” As I was goin’ in [the hotel], my eye caught this really beautiful, angelic-looking blonde girl. I thought, “Well, I hope she’s one of my interviewers.” I went through the first three interviews, and I just fessed up to the interviewers: “Look, I… I’m trippin’.” [Laughs]

DAMON: You must have made the journalists’ day! “I’ve got a live one here!”

DAVID: [Laughs] Yeah! And they were great about it. So my last interviewer comes in, and it’s this gorgeous girl. Then she said, “Before I start the interview, I’ve got something for you. But I want you to open it after I’ve gone.” So she gives me this little box, wrapped up. And I was just looking into her eyes. Her eyes became swimming pools, and I dived in. We had a lovely time, and then she left.

I decided to run a bath. As I’m running the bath, I open this present, and what is inside it is a little tin globe—a little tin Earth. I thought, “Hold on a minute.” I got my sketchpad out, and I put [the tin globe] over the little Earth that I’d drawn that day [of the hotel trashing], and it was exactly the same dimensions—I mean exactly the same circumference. So I go into the bath, and I take the ball into the bath with me and start bobbin’ it up and down, still trippin’ balls.

Then I start to do AUM in the bath. I don’t know why; I’ve never done that before, but I start to do it. I was just feeling the vibration of the AUM coming through the bath and water, and I was changing the molecular structure of the water, [or] I perceived that I was doing that. And it was a really good bath! [Laughs] And the next day I see Danny, and he said, “Dave, what the fuck was goin’ on in your room yesterday?! I was hearing, like, this dronin’ noise, man!” So I told him the story, and he was quite impressed. He said, “Yeah, I bumped into her on the way in as well. Wish she was my interviewer.” “Well, that’s the way it goes, Dan. She was meant for me.”

DAMON: Did you keep in touch with her?

DAVID: Nope.

DAMON: Too bad.

DAVID: Well, “If you see something beautiful, do not cling to it,” you know?

A shorter version of this interview was originally published in MAPS Bulletin