Monthly Archives: April 2003

Looked at this story (thanks to Doc), and the concept is giving me a touch of the heebie-jeebies.

Getting rid of Spam, making the ‘Net more secure for all…noble goals, right? But didn’t somebody once say something about an inverse relationship between security and freedom?

Sure, the current system of sovereign fiefdoms on the ‘Net leaves us more open to the dangers of Mongols at the city gates, but infrastructure to increase security gives too easy an opportunity for oligarchic rule.

In these unsettling days of the Patriot Act, the last thing I want to see is a move toward decreased freedom on the web. I’ll gladly take the alternative of 50 offers a day for enlarged genitalia, home loans, and dirty college girls.

Half-finished, Half-assed ideas about ‘Consciousness Expansion’

Now here’s a topic with which I have little practical experience. Perhaps I should get the opinion of RageBoy, who has…some familiarity with the subject.

The concept of ‘consciousness expansion’ via hallucination has been practiced across cultures and across times. Catalysts have included chemicals, hunger, sleep deprivation, and more, I’m sure. Two concrete examples I can think of are the Native American practice of ‘Vision Quest’ and the LSD counterculture in America in the 1960s. I thought I remembered hallucinitory elements to the Australian Aboriginal ‘Walkabout’ practice, but quick Googling did not turn up such. I am certain that similar practices abound in other cultures throughout history.

What is of import to me is the nature of these experiences. All of my information is secondhand, so, please, correct me if I have it all wrong. It would appear that within cultural groups there are many similarities of experience, but these similarities do not frequently cross cultural boundaries. From users of LSD I hear much talk about ‘seeing sound’ and ‘understanding color’ and paranoic images of creatures on the prowl. Vision quest imagery, on the other hand, seems to be imbued with sprit creatures who guide you through your life.

And so I am wondering…to what can we attribute these differences? The possibilities I see include: culture in which the subject exists, expectations of the experience based on tales from others who have been there, peculiar effects of the cause of the hallucination, Jungian archetypes that are represented in differing ways…I’m sure there are more.

What got me thinking about this is the implication that some new aspect is brought into your everyday life after one of these experiences. And I don’t doubt this to be the case…just makes me wonder: from where does it come?

The obvious answer, to me, is out of the subconscious or unconscious, out of a part of the mind that exists and has been fermenting and growing over the course of a life or a civilization. Atheism and the mind of an engineer keep me from believing any supernatural alternative; there is certainly enough buried in the mind without that.

So how different would the experience be for two people of the same time and place but of vastly different backgrounds? Sheltered versus experienced? Conservative versus liberal? Intelligent versus stupid? It seems like anything that comes up from below must have been seeded down there at some point. There might be something to hardwired archetypal images, but specific knowledge would seem to be overwhelmingly imporatant.

How much does background play into it? Are expectations or current situation the real key?

My life has fallen into a routine. Get to work, get some coffee, start in on the tasks of the day. Timeshare this with a bit of commentary on the current state of the world. Regularly Mark Morford, or Sandhill Trek, or occasionally the mass-market spin from CNN. Then I get really pissed off. Start thinking fight-or-flight. Do I devote my life to exposing and changing the world? Do I run off to Hawai`i or Australia and bury my head in the sand? So far, neither…just stick around to go through the same dilemma tomorrow.

I remember sitting at home, election evening 2000, watching the news. I remember seeing Bush’s picture plastered on the screen with the title “President” under it. I remember the several weeks of aftermath as the debacle settled out. And I remember being angry about the outcome: Who was this man who would blatantly ignore the…albeit vague…will of the people and force his way into an unearned office? What sort of man could live with the knowledge that he aquired his position on the flimsiest of technicalities, trying to pass it off as Democracy? Then I braced for a bad 4 years.

But, christ, my nightmare never approximated the reality. Bush has clearly demonstrated the sort of man he is, time and time again–I just hope the effects are not irreparable. And I feel the passion rising within, a great Rebel Yell searching for an outlet. I yearn to rise up, to say “NO!” to this transparent usurper of the American way. I feel as if I have taken a breath, put my life on hold waiting to exhale. I long for the day when I can once again be proud to be American.

United We Stand…against Bush

open throttle

screaming streak on empty desert

mind body rending sky

repression stupor torn asunder

ribbon road pierce sand rock sage

path becomes salvation