Eighteen years ago a younger and more earnest incarnation of Hugo quit a dead-end job as a Mainframe Operator to ‘enlarge his mind’. It was 1998 and I’d spent the previous year undertaking an Open University course, which much to my surprise my local university agreed to accept in lieu of A levels, not to mention a noticeable lack of O levels. My sudden desire to go to university was also something of a surprise, because I’d always considered formal schooling a complete waste of time. Education in the form that was thrust upon me as a child seemed irrelevant and very far removed from everyday life and personal experience. I detested school and was far happier locked away in my room, where I could read science fiction novels and weighty tomes about the universe and space travel. After leaving school I started to educate myself and read every book on cosmology, philosophy and logic my local library had to offer. Then I found myself drawn to social and political issues, which led me to the Open University and on to university proper, where I read Sociology and Politics.
I have to say that if the much derided discipline that is Sociology taught me anything then it was the value of questioning taken-for-granted assumptions. Few and far between are those who question the unseen and unwritten rules that constitute the social order, which is odd when you consider the time and importance we afford to social interaction. Odder still is that most of us accept without question the ‘reality’ of the ‘material world’ that underpins it all. Scientists are equipped with the empirical tools and mindset of their trade and seek to discover the nature of ‘reality’ rather than question the reality of reality. At the other end of the spectrum are the devoutly religious, who accept ‘reality’ for what it appears to be even as they acknowledge it as a ‘creation’ and, by that very fact, an artificial construct. In between lie the ‘average joes’, most of whom are too wrapped up in a struggle for economic survival (or economic one-upmanship) to care less one way or the other.
Truth be told, my brain went into standby mode after I completed my degree: I found myself qualified for nothing in particular and returned to the world of ICT. The ‘noughties’ passed by in a blur and my synapses didn’t fire again until 2010. In the intervening years I’d continued my well established track record of quitting jobs and in 2015 I surpassed myself by quitting two in the space of two months. Within days of quitting the second I found myself sucked down a rabbit hole as part of what feels very much like a multi-stage initiation into the nature of this mysterious ‘thing’ we call ‘reality’. From where I am right now I can tell you that I have no doubt whatsoever that ‘reality’ ain’t real, the irony being that the ‘experiential’ nature of the journey defies conventional analysis and presentation in terms of logic, evidence, validity and repeatability. The ‘rational’ mind is firmly wedded to the safe and supposedly sane world of the five senses and rebels against challenges to their dominance.
A friend of mine recently embarked on a journey to the Peruvian jungle to meet with a shaman and get to the heart of this reality thing, a.k.a. ‘The Program’. As ever, his departure was heralded by The Daily Mail, which I think of more as a digital extension of my mind than an online news outlet. His departure followed my two previous posts, both of which referenced ‘echo’ (or in this case ‘eco’) in the context of the myth of Narcissus and Echo. Shortly prior to this, acclaimed novelist Umberto Eco died and a recruitment agency sounded me out for a tech job with a utility company called Echo.
My friend returned yesterday. Once again, I was given a ‘heads up’. It’s not for me to fully describe the nature of this persons experience with the shaman and a psychedelic substance, suffice to say that he literally went out of his mind, separated from his ego identity and escaped (albeit temporarily) from the ‘prison’ of the material world into raw, uninhabited and uncontrolled space.
The material world is one of time and space and the two are bound together. The unreality of the space we inhabit is demonstrated by equally unreal temporal effects. For example, the below article managed to predict the subject matter of this probe before I’d even started to write it.
Probe After Claim Footballers Got Banned Drugs. A British doctor is filmed telling reporters he gave performance-enhancing drugs to Premier League stars and other top sportsmen.
Ditto this article, which also refers to the Peru ‘drugs mule’ story.
Whereas this article describes my friend’s experience several days before he told me about it.
Similarly, this is the Daily Mail’s current lead article. The significance lies in the etymology of the term ‘dementia‘.
The female split or divided from the male. She thought he was suffering from a case of the navy blues. Here, have some in-formation.
So what exactly is going on? Put simply, I believe the answer is that we’re looking for an exit, a way out of the ‘prison’ of the material world…
…and that the Doors of Perception are opening.
Huxley’s experiments with mescaline and LSD led him to conclude that the individual human brain acts as a ‘bypass valve’. The purpose of the bypass valve is to limit individual consciousness, to filter out the ‘noise’ generated by the ‘universal mind’ of the cosmos itself and restrict individual perception to those sensory inputs necessary for survival in the material world.
Today, however, that bypass valve is collapsing.
A friend on Merovee alerted me to the above story last night, literally minutes after I listened to this song.
We no longer wish to be constrained by limited, individual, subjective perceptions and controlling influences. We want to be free to do what we want to do.
What we are experiencing now is psychedelia without substance.
Jack is puzzled…
…or perhaps he just finds it amazing?
And what is psychedelia?
psychedelic (adj.) from Greek psykhe- “mind” (see psyche) + deloun “make visible, reveal,” from delos “visible, clear,” from PIE root *dyeu- “to shine” (see diurnal). In popular use from 1965 with reference to anything producing effects similar to that of a psychedelic drug or enhancing the effects of such a drug.
The problem with a traditional drug-based solution is that the effects – no matter how profound – are temporary. The shaman’s blues only allow us to wake up and believe whatever we want to believe.
The question at the heart of all this: what is ‘The Program’? I posted this over on Merovee earlier today.
And this is one of the few academics daring enough to question the ‘reality’ of reality…
Are we living in a simulation, a vast neural network programmed to reflect our own subconscious thoughts and desires ‘out there’ in what we think of as the ‘real world’? A network that creates the illusion of The Many from The One?
The Indian Kolkata bypass collapse has been labelled an ‘act of God’. Why does so much of what happens ‘out there’ resemble this?
The ‘Joker’ or ‘Trickster’ figure is so evident in many of these stories, but is he/she/it just another manifestation of the unconscious? Or is he/she/it the System Administrator, a Benny Hill version of The Architect with a penchant for sex and disaster movies? Ultimately, it’s not real so no one really suffers and no one real dies…and if you think about it, how else could he/she/it capture the modern human’s goldfish-like attention?
We’re seeing the environment…
…but what is it…?
Can the nuclear family (billions of fragmented atoms) turn fission into fusion (the Many into The One) and return to Eden?
One thing’s for sure – it’s crazy baby. Far out man. Peace.
universe (n.) 1580s, “the whole world, cosmos, the totality of existing things,” from Old French univers (12c.), from Latin universum “all things, everybody, all people, the whole world,” noun use of neuter of adjective universus “all together, all in one, whole, entire, relating to all,” literally “turned into one,” from unus “one” (see one) + versus, past participle of vertere “to turn” (see versus).
At university, my very first essay was on Claude Levi-Strauss and structural linguistics. The question posed was “Does language structure or represent reality?”
Have we got our blue genes on?
The answer? Welcome to the Mass-age.