Saturday, January 24, 2009

Eschaton Surfing with Neil Kramer

This week’s SW podcast is a two-hour, labyrinthine exploration of consciousness with Neil “the Cleaver” Kramer. Neil opted for the End Times Oracle and took questions at random, but wound up talking about a subject we were both quite at home with, psychedelics (or as Neil prefers, “ethneogens”). Although I was aware of Neil’s presence upon the Imaginal Landscape of the alternate perceptions community, our paths only crossed a week or two ago, when I emailed him an invite onto SW. And right glad I am that I did. NK has his own, highly idiosyncratic take on things but (on the basis of our first chat at least) it’s almost wholly in sync with my own, yet without being too similar to allow for that crucial element of creative friction. Unlike JK (with whom I also feel an affinity), NK has no qualms about allowing the darker undercurrents of consensus reality to inform the self-transformation process and give it the “bite” or “thrust” which (in my opinion) it so sorely needs. Despite his talent for marketing galactic consciousness (evidenced by his sister site), NK is the antithesis of “New Age,” and even though his perspectives are shaped by his no doubt many psychedelic excursions, they’re grounded in a firm awareness of psychology that, to my mind, is wholly indispensable in this field (that of alchemy and consciousness management). Yet, for all that, such psychological grounding is extremely rare. Listen in for yourself (the podcast is in two parts, next one up this coming Wednesday), and share your thoughts at this thread. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

The new counterculture is rapidly taking form within this imaginal landscape which the Net has made possible; there can be little doubt that something wonderful—as well as terrible—is happening, right here, right now. A provisional new reality is emerging before our eyes, a new consensus a-forming.

54 comments:

Collin said...

Hey Aeolus and Neil, I really enjoyed the first part of this conversation about entheogens. After a scare with LSD-25 that left me jarred I have decided to discontinue my use of LSD.

I came to a realization however about a proccess that all of us are going through along the lines of obtaining a CREATOR MIND or as Terrence Mckenna may have said that we are in the process of being birthed into our own imaginations.

The experience to me reminded me of the peak of a few LSD experiences I had where all of the eyes looking in on the eyes became apparent or the realization that we are all super-conciousness in the realms of the non-duality.

Do you think its possible to reach that profound inner space without the use of LSD where I may even encounter that very specific state of being as a creator mind? and on that same note what in your minds do you see as the natural evolution of this ALL MIND, what is cosmos leading us toward?

Easy on the embittered nihilism please.

Collin~

Black Light in the Attic Podcast said...

Alright! I'm downloading the interview now, but this is a pleasant surprise! I was talking with KMO, host of the C-Realm podcast, and he was saying that Kramer would be a perfect guest for this show after hearing your spot on BLITA, and here it is!

I admire Kramer's writing immensely, and every time he does an interview it's a grand slam. He does not seem to waste words!

Good stuff. . .

Collin said...

Intelligent Design

Collin said...

Just on the thought of psychedelics...

You know LSD has left such an imprint on my conciousness that even now I have moments of "stirring in my sleep" Like last night I had what I guess you could label a schizophrenic episode or a flashback where nothing meant something, it meant more then soemthing it meant I was having a dialogue with my radiator and that dialogue had to do with time stoppers, people who have reached a point in there conciousness where just by there presence we transform peoples chaotic active minds to a harmonious tone or "HIGHER OCTAVE" of conciousness are being seen as BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS and that we are seen as a threat to mass society, I dont know what all of it meant but it left me feeling very scared of my sanity and even having a little bit too much paranoia where I felt like I was going insane and I just have no idea what all of this non-sense means but I want it to STOP.

I wish I never took LSD.

but now I am stuck, I am stucking with FUCKING splinter in my mind and my daily experience is tarnished by this waking dream and I can live it but it just leaves me with a bitter taste in my mouth.

This is even more INSANE so fucking INSANE I dont even believe it myself but while I was having this completely illussory conversation I heard a high pitch noise go off in my left ear and I dont know what that means or maybe its just nothing at all but the words SCANNER IMPLANT comes to mind.

Now maybe somebody with a bit of information could calm me down because I'm basically a sanely insane person in an insane world feeling like I am the insane one and the last thing I want to do is to go stereotypically running through the streets pointing up to the god forsaken sky about flying saucesr and invisble intelligence agents attacking my dreams.

Fuck ACID.

Collin said...

On a side note:

I never wanted any of this shit you know? I am a regular dude who wanted to have a good time and now im PAYING THE PRICE for feeling NICE.

And you know what it? Fuck It.

Is this just a fucking Alien Conspiracy? what the fuck is this? I need an Identity my ego is REELING IN TERROR and I am just fucking happy I have a home to live in thats clean and I want a dog and a piece of cake on my birthday and a fucking HDTV set and a well paying job and to travel and fuck strippers and if scotty needs to beam me up, spell it out for me, what the fuck are we dealing with and why am I so fucking insane.

Dude, is this fucking STAR SHIP TROOPERS? fuuuuuuuuuuuuuck!!
I need a space shuttle if this shit hits the fan beacuse fuck it ALIENS SUCK.

aeolus kephas said...

thanks Collin, for sharing with us all a living example of the danger of PREMATURE UNPLUGGING through use of entheogens. Def. be curious to hear others' perceptions of this. Myself, tho I do not regret having used psychotropic substances to move my assemblage point to positions way beyond my power to fully assimilate, and altho I would probably even do it again given a chance to live my life over, i would now be very cautious about recommending it to others (or, as I did also, administering the red pill to others).

But i don't think we can blame the substances for causing the splinter, because it's the splinter that drives us to seek other perceptions of reality in the first place.

The danger is ever of ego-inflation and/or of using transcendental experiences as a means to escape mundane realities, such as flying dreams, which feel great, but often suggest a lack of grounding, an inability to be fully present in the body.

Flying for the sake of it is counter-productive. We need to figure out first of all where we need to get to before using this magikal potential. Same applies to entheogens. Otherwise what we do is access states of awareness that make it harder to live in this reality, because the contrast they create is too great.

kevin lewis said...

maybe your higher self is telling you that you want more than what you outlined in that last post, or that you don't actually want that at all, and possibly your ego is fighting it to the death(which you pretty much said), hence your obvious extreme anxiety.
find ways to actualize your SELF and enjoy your ego at the same time. this sounds like your "dark night of the soul". and mine was certainly of use in the end.
some ideas for harnessing a more healthy mindset might be:

1. change your diet. try to eat as much organic real whole foods as possible. having a diet comprised of just 50% raw vegetables can do wonders for one's psyche.

2. meditate, with practice you may be able to reach a bit outside of your ego, but with the control to end the "trip" thus making it much easier to understand what you're "downloading".

3. go outside.

4. follow your personal synchronicities and see that within you is at least as much joy as there is terror.


aeolus, thank you for your work. i have thoroughly enjoyed everything i have consumed from your blog since finding it. your lense is one much needed in this field. be well.

lancifer said...

Just last week I finished listening to each of Neil Kramer's appearances on Red Ice and the C-Realm show, and now he appears on Stormy Weather. I'm a big fan of NK so the more interviews he does then all the merrier.

I'm wondering what the significance of all the K's are in this social circle. AK, JK, NK, KMO from C-Realm, and even past guest Cary McCoy has the K-sound in his name. I'm sure you could weave this into JK's K2 material if you wanted.

Salvia is somewhat strange as no one is exactly sure how and where it originated. There are three popular theories as to it's origin, but they're only theories. Salvia is legal to obtain in the States, but I wouldn't recommend it at all to anyone unless they've already been previously introduced to other ethneogens and they have done some spiritual and mental preparation.

Collin said> people who have reached a point in there conciousness where just by there presence we transform peoples chaotic active minds to a harmonious tone or "HIGHER OCTAVE" of conciousness are being seen as BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS and that we are seen as a threat to mass society.

This reminded me of the Deeksha and oneness movement. Supposedly just by being in the same room as Indian guru (I forget his name) one can experience an influx of divine energy and enter a state of oneness. There seems to be a whole new religion being built on this idea and there are thousands of "oneness facilitators" here in the States that will administer a transfer of divine energy for you.

My girlfriend and I went to investigate a oneness session in our area to see if there was anything to it. We came away with the feeling that the group we participated in was lead by nothing but a charlatan.

If there was something to this then I could see everyone in the movement declared as biological weapons as Collin suggested. The war on terror would shift into a war on consciousness.

Black Light in the Attic Podcast said...

Collin. . .first off, just chill bro. You're experiencing some wild perceptions and I've been there. The first thing you need to do is breathe deeply, remember that you are in consensus reality, and laugh.

Being in consensus reality means that you can use those "normal" perceptions to stabilize yourself.

Get up in the morning. Go to work. Come home, jerk off, and sleep well. The universe will keep on turning, as they say.

Now, since you've calmed yourself, explore you insanity a bit. Where is it taking you? What messages could be gleaned from it?

If it's not too cold where you are, I recommend a nice walk outside, especially in a forest or something. Trees seem to have a calming, almost healing effect on my psyche and maybe that will help you, too!

Hang in there man, this is a crazy dream we're in and it can be difficult to keep your balance when you get knocked around a bit.

auroragirl said...

Hi Collin. It sounds like you might need to be around some mundane reality. When I am feeling particularly anxious, I like to go to the grocery store for awhile to get out of my own head. And if you want cake, then you should make yourself a cake and invite someone over to have a cake party, or maybe just some milk and cookies. Or try an Epsom Salts bath (2 or 3 cups of Epsom Salts in a tub of nice, hot water...soak for at least 15 min) and then take a nap, or wrap up in a blanket and watch some Marx Brothers or Laurel and Hardy (or anything lighthearted, silly and non-frightening). Or put on some Mozart (not Don Giovanni, though). But do something ordinary to sooth and ground yourself. When a person becomes a psychonaut (spontaneously or with assisted with pshycedelics), they have to learn to take very good care of themselves or their health will suffer. Please take care of yourself.

aeolus kephas said...

"Do you think its possible to reach that profound inner space without the use of LSD where I may even encounter that very specific state of being as a creator mind?"

The safest and most natural avenue to inner space, as you rightly call it, is through dreaming. By allowing the mind to remain alert while the body enters a state of relaxation, thereby entering into dreamtime consciously, it's possible to observe the movements of the assemblage point and so begin to fine-tune one's awareness from local to non-local, mundane to cosmic. For consciousness to go deeper into the physical rather than exteriorizing and hurling itself into the cosmos is very much key here, which is why Kevin stresses diet. All the secrets of sorcery are found in the human body itself. Not only that, but the body itself is a natural sorcerer, as the animals are natural sorcerers, so all the mind has to do is allow that magik to unfold, and observe it as dispassionately as possible, without giving into the kind of ego-inflated euphoria or dismay which Collin has been giving us a demonstration of lately!

In the end, all we have to do as "sorcerers" is TAKE CARE OF THE PHYSICAL VEHICLE. The rest - the spirit, the sorcery - takes care of itself.

Collin said...

A CAKE Party is now in store for me !! and so is some raw foodism.

Alright so basically its simple, aliens exist, I probally have some kind of implant, we are all probally some kind of laser wielding jedis in higher dimensions and the new age movement is a biological weapon in the eyes of invisible secret agents that act through attractor fields of fear to lure in the tight rope walkers to there untimely and unjustly demise in our society under the guise of a schizophrenic episode and we are all basically just double thinking here and this bitch of reality is a dream that we are all just being awoken from and it stings like a bitch because who wants to see flying saucers when no one else can and who wants to be THAT GUY.

For Real.

And as for my ego its all relativley tamed except when I have a bad hair day like today and I just need to go get a hair cut because I look like that mushroom from SUPER MARIO and as for some assemblage point moving I think ill keep it to the realms of the linear and instead ill let you acid dropping, salvia divinorum smoke, peyote injesting intergalactic travelers take the hits and misses for me while I just sit back and soak in all the information you hommies are bringing in from outside the consensus beacuse I've basically recieved the STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN COSMIC SMACK DOWN.

And im just going to get seriously into meditation and dissolve my ego and "tend to my own garden so to speak" so when Im an entrepreneur ill just be fighting the cosmic battle from within the machine world and let my higher self just take care of the pussified alien conspiracy theory crack pot seemingly TRUTH of the matter and im just going to lock and load my fucking merkabah and hold down my apartment with nails and get laid because thats what this is all about some serious sorceress pussy and thats just the end of it and I can have my cake and eat it too thank you very much Aeolus Kephas and your inspirational ACID induced slow talking, its just a dream lucid interplantery global catastrophe reptilian booty shaking bad blood feuding grey alien conspiracy theory free loev hippes homosexual intercourse hyperbola because fuck REALITY IS A BITCH.

Later ladies and gentlemen!

Maybe ill get amazed down the line and be inspired to go upnorth driving my rolls royce up to the beautiful country side and shamanize it up with some mexican magic mushrooms.

HOLLA.

Collin said...

But you know I really like this blog and I am moving more and more on the way to lucidity and I really am just not feeling like having my awareness devoured by attractor fields of some very fear based magnitude. I just want to live a beautiful harmonic existence and roam the world everywhere knowing that I will never find home because thats just the way it is and if anybody wants to talk more about what the nature of what is after the veil drops please go into detail because I am very fascinated by the double think implications and perhaps making double thinking concious is what I need and what others need to do to bring a new found level of clarity to everything we are discussing here.

I appreciate your writings Aeolus and I agree with many of the things you have to say however we will see how the cookie crumbles as far as the apocalypse goes, I think thats just giving into another evil sorcerers meme to enslave humanity and turn them into exploding fools more then usual and again your a very well spoken person and I like your slow talking but get a little bit more peppy and add some funky samples of star trek or something to make people laugh as a suggestion.

Quit your job and get on welfare, I am sure your book will sell like the movie hard candy.

:D

Collin said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpuzbnV8mks

Thoth_Pavel said...

Collin, LSD-25 has not been made by Sandoz in over 40 years. The 'brand' you took, is only as good as the underground chemist or the supplier. That is the play concept of altering 'reality'. Stick to green tea, beer, wine and cigarettes, if the 'drugs' hurt so much. I'd mention absinthe, but it has the ability to actually enhance dreaming and altered states, beneficial to creative functioning people that tend to listen to Stormy Weather.
Right now Collin i'm seeing an authoritarian attitude coming from you, if not deception. Excuse me if your post reads like a -just say no to drugs because you will lose your mind, or your soul?, puff piece. So what is the Agenda? The link to the video you left is for a cartoon, titan a.e., are those the 'aliens' you are seeing or is it outright mockery of those that actually have an open mind to other living realities? Hard Candy our Juno resonator ends in suicide. Who is the warning for? "I think thats just giving into another evil sorcerers meme to enslave humanity"
So slavery, evil drugs, suicide? Is it just me? or is there not some kind of 'group' think involved here? What do you want us to do Collin? Say no to drugs? say not to satan? give up sex and rock n roll?
Peace.

Thoth_Pavel said...

Hi, Aeolus, Neil.
Fascinating as always, i noticed a link to the megaliths, stone circles of the U.K. and the 6 cavities of Aeolus. The dmt salvia trip, 'kundalini' current or 'serpent' energy as linking to 'bad teeth' was covered in the Serpent and the Disk, by Fw Holiday. So your theory of 'traveling' to another dimension Aeolus, and 'aging' teeth, maybe it's the 'other world' entities like 'eating' bone marrow, or teeth. I have the paperback lying somewhere, and it's been over a decade since i read it. But i remember that Fuller looked at local mythology of scotland, ireland, england as referencing winged disks, and serpents. That -bad teeth were linked to the phenomena of 'lock serpents'. The occult saying of you eat, i eat, the 'astral' world eats too. The psychic shaman view of 'ufo's, and serpents linking to lochs, dolmens, megaliths, of these creatures tied to 'sky gods'. The ethnogens 'meeting' of dragons that tell the seeker 'that they created reality, and mankind', only for the shaman to snort they always say that. Dragons hiding out in the dream mind of the earth, hiding from 'something' in deep space was one of Terence Mckenna's concepts in archaic revival.
Oracles, if one takes the '6' of the tooth symbolism and looks at the 212 pages of lucid view, in gematria, taught by 'godlike' beings from 'elsewhere'. The sum after division is 35.33333333333. Decimal system did not exist for 'gematria' so the number is 353, linking to Hermes. Hermes is the god of boundaries and the psychonauts that cross them. The Caduceus would point towards your future work, Homo Serpiens. The dna serpent spiral, lifting up mankind towards the heavens we fell from.

Jim said...

"The dna serpent spiral, lifting up mankind towards the heavens we fell from."

Ayahuasca - Yacumama - Sumiruna

Thoth_Pavel said...

Jim,
Ayahuasca - Yacumama - Sumiruna
These are serious compounds, As Neil says, valid tools for knowledge.
That is the view i have as well, but what do you, we, psychonauts bring back? Terence Mckenna saw the UFO, star travel secret as being just short of waking up. The concept of travel to other stars, being revealed in dreams. The Ayahuasca shamans talk of knowledge even 'new plants' coming back from the visions of the plants, group mind, esp, singing, trees.
hmm, i'm thinking again to Aeolus the 6 cavities, and energy raised by psychedelics, perhaps the 'dentist' concept was to find the next trip, nitrous oxide. That is back as an anesthetic. Nitrous, laughing gas was, and is seen as the 'artistic liberator'. Lots written about the insights you get on it, but that disappear like the elf, fairy goblin gold, when the enchantment fades. I'm remembering a story years back, Canadian politician, ndp, -nice left-wing socialist atheists. Well this well respected politician went to a dentist, took a 'sleeping' pill. She had an out of body experience, saw the room and dentist at work. Evidently her body did not react well, emergency revival needed. But damn did the skeptics swing into full damage control. An intellectual atheist talking about 'survival' or astral travel, out of the body, cannot have that. This is the danger of this type of play. As long as the people involved are of the 'creative' type, then that is fine. When it spreads to recreational use, and the insights, start coming in linking towards the ancient occult knowledge. That is a threat.
Sorcery, witchcraft, new age black magick, are all criminal or signs of madness. James Roszko the Edmonton gun man that ambushed and killed 4 cops, over a grow operation of '20 plants'. Well the report lists as 'disturbing', "Books on magic and dream interpretation and tarot cards."
So who else follows these blogs? we are dealing with imaginal realms, abilities to see the future, manipulate it, to travel anywhere time or place. None of would be here if the esoteric, or the occult, or just the drugs did not work. Marilyn Mansons song, "i don't like the drugs but the drugs like me", may hold more truth than we realize. Certainly drugs can open doorways, quickly to the other 'worlds'. But even skeptics dream, hell i know atheists that ran into a few ghost episodes, chalking it up to 'marijuana' use, as if that made it any less real.

aeolus kephas said...

the "drugs" can accelerate a natural mutation process but this as likely causes physical breakdown (ala McKenna and Hicks) as it does actual transformation.

In the end i think they are needed to dislodge the assemblage point, i.e., shock the apprentice (and any entheogen user is that, even if s/he flies solo) out of his/her reality tunnel - "stop the world" - so that our fixed idea of reality - the hold of our identity - is softened/loosened. After that major, temporary shift from neuro-typical (NT), focused awareness to shaman/autist UNfocused awareness (out of mind, into body), it's up to us to DO THE WORK, without the entheogens - to make that AP move through natural techniques either outer-focused (STALKING) or inner directed (DREAMING).

Again, all we need (including DMT!) is in the body itself; externally administered jolts via entheogens - according to Castaneda and also my own experience - "do untold harm to the body."

It figures they would, because if we have these substances in ourselves, why take them externally save as a means to become accustomed to them, and thereby learn to harness our natural, inner supplies of "mind-altering soma"?

(Soma = body)

Accessing the energy body = waking the kundalini. In both cases, premature activation of the sleeping serpent of "junk" DNA = not enlightenment but death.

Sounder said...

I am the water boy shuffling buckets between the sideliners and the gas masters.

auroragirl said...

I noticed the "anti drug" rhetoric in Collin's rants, too. Is it possible that someone is trying to link an emerging counterculture to drug use and so criminalize a new way of being-in-the-world? Is someone again trying to link drug use with heightened awareness or imply that drugs are neccessary to do what shamans/autists do, or to link "counter culture" with antisocialism? It may be that what makes the emerging culture "counter" is its kind of conciousness (just like the former "counter culture" was originally about a different way of seeing and being in the world), but the general public does;t know this. It seems to me that the authorities actually destroyed the blossoming counterculture of the '60's by emphasizing its drug use aspects to turn the perceptions of the public in the direction that the controllers wanted it to go. First they cast suspicion on higher conciousness, then they commercialised the counterculture ideal, so that people could BUY it and didn't have to LIVE it. So it would be a shame if we let the controllers hijack this blossoming counterculture by accidentally identifying it (in the public mind) with drug use (by emphasising entheogens in our discussions). Look how the controllers managed to make the public fear free people and that they made it seem that if people were free i.e. not controlled by a system of tyrannical laws, they would automatically murder, rape, steal, etc. I think it is important to emphasize that what drugs do is simply give people a glimpse of what a free conciousness can be like and make sure that it is made very clear to the general public that heightened awareness makes people LESS likely to harm others. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think we must not let this emerging counterculture be identified, however wrongly, with drug use, but instead let it be known that we already have everything we need to attain higher states of conciousness. In other words, maybe we should be very circumspect about the discussion of entheogens so as not to induce a backlash from the dominant culture and emphasize the endogenous souces of higher conciousness instead.

p.s. This has nothing to do with the current discussion, but Feb 2 is the first day of Spring, not mid-winter day. Listen to the birds...on Feb 3, the spring/mating bird sounds will begin. If you are up at sunrise, the sound is unmistakeable. And if the sap is running, then its spring, no matter what anyone else would have us believe.

Collin said...

I hate to be the bringer of bad news but I definatly see the value in "entheogenic plants" or shit that grows and gets you high or moves your assemblage point and brings to a higher octave of conciousness.

I am definatly not a say no to drugs kind of person, I think that an exploration of your conciousness is called for at least a few times in your life but in my opinion anything other then a few times is an indulgence that comes from over identification with shamanism which is just a path you can take.

I think the real medecine people dont take synthetic chemicals they ingest plants often in rural settings and I personally hold the belief currently that taking them out of that context is just stupid because your living in an information explosion and jolting yourself out of the consensus on a technological cityscape grid is about as crazy as it gets because the chances for exploding your head into unrepairable realms are very possible and we all know how fancy you dingos area about chasing butterfly.

However, at this point in my own life, as my own personal choice and I am not saying your all a bunch of druggies, I have chosen to abstain from continuing my use of illegal narcotics for a few raesons. 1.) A "spiritual" person i know who used to sell acid is sitting in prison right now facing a long sentence and his asshole wont be very high in vibration after he spends sucking cock for cigarettes.

The second being.

I am just on a path of health and ill have you know I did a little shopping at the natural health food store today and went walking on the mountain not to far from my home and it cost me a few extra dollars to feel really good by eating half a box of raw food sprouts.

And thats how the cookie crumbles.

Thoth_Pavel said...

auroragirl, i agree with the 'counterculture' but this 'drug' magick and art culture is as old as mankind, and probably older. The controllers are everywhere, and they are not only aware of drugs but of the other worlds. The drugs or madness or simply making someone poor by mocking their 'beliefs' is one way of control. Builders, stonecutters, masonic magicians, they go by many names, if you experiment enough, you sooner or later run into them. Elitists always have access, to the forbidden, Egyptian mummy's with red and blonde hair, that had traces of cocaine when tested, kind of makes Columbus discovering the new world quaint. Drug use goes back a long time as do the mixing of races and cultures. South American carvings of all the races on the planet exist. But we deal with parapolitical and 'paranoid conspiracy' in this subject. Aeolus has covered this very well in The Lucid View. But people want the simple easy way. The red pill in the matrix, led to the betrayal of Cypher crying over his nice safe little existence. I only mentioned Marilyn Manson, in the above post not for his counter culture stance, but for his occult and esoteric beliefs. The drugs work, magick works, writing, art are forms linking to both the drugs and the 'astral realms'. Aeolus is right, we do have these chemicals within us, and they are strictly controlled because the forbidden is that much more interesting than, getting it at the mall. But these days you can get most drug ware, including herbal concoctions at most malls in North America. I mean sure there are religious areas, and heavy political or police control in some areas, but the stuff is there. With the web, most ancient occult knowledge is freely available. Maybe why controllers are heading towards web 2.0. Where you will not be able to log on without thumbprint or eyescan linked to a credit card. WE KNOW YOU are at all times and costs. I'm very open minded about all this. Skeptics like to think of creative 'types' as suckers that believe anything and everything. I've found that at least in the magickal view, this stuff changes, with the observer. Don't want the drugs? google meditation music, hemi sync, brain sync, binaural beats. Some of it is expensive some of it isn't all -work. Dream work is the easiest, we all sleep so just get used to 'controling' the dream, interacting with it. Tibetan magick used to be based on controling 'dreams'. Once that was learned, well -reality is just as plastic, as easy to change. Power is in us all, the question is what to do with it.

auroragirl said...

Hi, ThothPavel and Collin. All I'm saying is that I'd hate to see the new counterculture give the controllers or the dominant culture any excuse to murder it in its cradle, thats all. I personally think people should be able to do whatever they want to do, as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else (and I mean real harm, not just metaphorical harm).

Collin said...

I think we all need to sit back behind our computer screens and laugh cosmically at the passion play of right and wrong and know that it matters about as much as fake tits on a giraffe wearing hot pants.

So... what kind of light side sorcery practices can we play with for fun and astral profit? completely on light side of the force of course.

I like to Om Namaha Shivaya It Up while I dance around my apartment with a hand made wooden hammer that I made thats just so harmonically bad ass that it just makes all the shadow elements pee their panties.

:P

zane said...

Have really enjoyed listening to the last few shows (hey...the previous ones weren't pebbles in my running shoes either).

Salvia...I'm just hoping there's not too much overt talk about her so that the mind-police and culture-croppers figure it's time to throw up the barbed-wire around another plant...these elders deserve our love and respect...

Sooo...while I hear similarities of experience, I also hear quite a great diversity with ska Maria Pastora... A "close friend of mine" has been walking in the inner gardens with her for, uh...about eight or nine years I guess...sporadically. "He" tells me that even he has quite different types of experiences...some which have allowed a certain amount of intentional control (although "control" is prob. not the best word)...and at other times, things just happen. Like other plants though, at lower levels of consumption, she can help out with quite a few different issues "shamanically" if you will...

As for the question as to whether or not you can go to the same place/places "without" the consumption of entheogenic plantentities...I'd say "yeah." But plants, as wild as they can get sometimes still might be more dealwithable than the "aliens" or the torture...possibly you can bypass some stuff via meditation or even "simply" intense philosophical meditations (e.g. Sankara or Nagarjuna)... On another note, try some self-administered NLP or other magical techniques to recreate particular states...

"Re-Creation" - sounds good to me. Entheogens and recreation...while my puritanical cells kinda scrunch up their microscopic noses at the topic...my more fun-loving and wholistic selflets suggest "why not?" as long as there are some safety parameters put in place to preserve us and other(u)s from the more idiotic and dangerous potentialities...

The "stuck in the conspiracy" issue...glad you talked about this a little...it's an issue I deal with at times...and tying yourself up in informational (or disinformational) knots can really make surfing samsara kind of a drag. Gnowing that in some way, "I"ve put up with complex control shit before and it may have even killed me a few times but like W. Coyote "I" manage to make "i"t back again for another round kinda lightens the load...and yes...good friends help...and a playful approach to life and a more-or-less awareness that even the scum-sucking-illuminati-control-freaks with low "Green-ray" emissions are applicable to "tatvam asi" or as Simon Magus put it (though not in English) "Thou and I are but One." When I get a little too "glass half fullish" I try to tell myself that the half that's there is some pretty good wine...

Ok...enough for now...looking forward to the next portion of this dialog... Peace.

zane said...

Oh yeah...and A.K., I bought your book a while ago and enjoyed it...and have been recommending it...maybe you should send a copy to Oprah and dust off your suit and tie for the big-time...(wink)

lancifer said...

I've found that I can reach the same "places" as I can with enthneogens if I use the techniques and methods that G. I. Gurdjieff, Peter D. Ouspensky, and Boris Mouravieff recommend. If anyone is interested in the slower down-to-earth pace instead of the rocket pack then their work might be worth looking into.

Collin said...

Thank you lancifer for the email.

I think I am coming to terms with my cosmic predicament and my ego is beginning to make way for the real me take the lead and I jsut cant wait to see who I become in the proccess of time and through no-mind meditation go deeper and deeper still into our endless mind.

Thoth_Pavel said...

Collin,
you are using symbolism in your posts linking to 'masonic' elements. I'm seeing a 'soldier' at work here, whether the words of 'masonic magicians', or the fact, that people frequenting this blog are on to the illusion of reality of the so-called real world. Looking at your last series of posts, either you are using terms meant to show your 'colors', an upcoming brother, or fallen brother, or else you are trying to implicate the brotherhood.
Terms like 'Creator mind' as in Great Architect,or providence. Paying the price, -paying your dues. A skeptical inquiry into esoteric believers, maybe you are just a researcher, july 2,3 has a Masonic conference in Nice, an open call for papers. diffusion and Circulation of Masonic Practices in Europe and in the Mediterranean. I mean anyone using terms like biological weapons, and terrorism in their posts is -trying to get A.I. Echelon computers watching this blog. Your narrative of 'Scanners', as it 'relates' to the Canadian connection, the Synchromystics, Scanners, by David Cronenberg, "There are 4 billion people on earth. 237 are Scanners. They have the most terrifying powers ever created... and they are winning. 237 resonates to 12, in gematria. Cronenberg, kind of like the Canadian Stanley Kubrick has openly discussed the -government crackdown on his early work. That tax shelter investments, were later used as an 'incentive' by government agencies to investigate, the 'films', and philosophy of the artist. It did not hurt arts in Canada, but it did show the 'control' mechanism at work. Cronenberg was basically given an open -book, to make a movie, you have this much cash, this much time, -do it. The man investigates the imaginal realms, giving way to 'shockwaves' through out the same system that got him into the 'collective consciousness'. That there was outright surveillance and hostility to a rather tame, intellectual, artist. Naked Lunch, the impossible 'to film' William S. Burroughs, trip, is flawed but interesting, how do you show drug revelations in 'hollywood'.
Collin reference star trek shifts back to the old masonic Gene Roddenberry link, the 'egyptian' nine, and magick mushrooms of parapsychologist Andrija Puharich.
So what is the agenda here? I asked this before. That you are seeing aliens and 'getting' attacked by men in black(masons). You have referenced 'homosexual' or gay lifestyle as if that would shock or bait anyone here. This is a paranoid worldview blog, after all, paranoid in the sense we are 'aware'. So back to the question Collin what 'group' are you with? A giraffe wearing hotpants if it's not pointing at a predilicatio towards bestiality, well Giraffe's eat acacia leaves. Acacia being a major symbol for our masonic black magicians. Your hand made wooden hammer which is actually a funny 'new age' image. I don't know what is more amusing, a new age pagan watching the sun rise, while doing a sacred ritual with home made magical tools or you dancing around you apartment with the hammer. Tell us Collin are you wearing your pure lambskin apron while you do the dance?
The synchromystics view of hammers would point to Pink Floyd the wall, marching hammers in the film, or Clive Barker the 'gay' current you seem infatuated with. Hellraiser's use of Hammers and 'rubick's' cube access to other dimensions and the cenobites. A wooden hammer is every masons 'symbol' of tools towards spiritual perfection. So i ask again Collin, you are very well spoken for a burnt out 'former' drug abuser, being molested by 'greys' or giraffes, or fear of getting raped in prison. As for the new age -white light magicians, if you read Lucid View you would know that we are here because we are not all 'white light' and new age.

aeolus kephas said...

Here are a few of the standard tactics of Operatives and/or Agents of Disruption:

They never actually discuss issues head on or provide constructive input.

They tend to pick and choose their opponents carefully... Should a commentator become argumentative with any success, the focus will shift to include the commentator as well.

They tend to surface suddenly and somewhat coincidentally with a controversial topic with no clear prior record of participation in general discussion in the particular public arena. They likewise tend to vanish once the topic is no longer of general concern.

They tend to operate in self-congratulatory and complementary packs or teams.

An odd kind of "artificial" emotionalism and an unusually thick skin -- an ability to persevere and persist even in the face of overwhelming criticism and unacceptance. ...

The net result for a disinfo artist is that emotions can seem artificial. ... no amount of criticism will deter them from doing their job, and they will generally continue their old disinfo patterns without any adjustments to criticisms of how obvious it is that they play that game --

There is also a tendency to make mistakes which betray their true self/motives.

(for full article:
http://www.benfrank.net/disinfo/)

Collin has been taking up a disproportionate amount of the board space considering how much of it has really been useful food for discussion. Is Collin seeking attention and performing handstands and cartwheels to get it, thereby being disruptive without actually meaning to be so? Or is there a conscious intent behind it? Either way, as the MC of the blog, I have to ask that he cease and desist. Hey Collin, back off a bit and let the rest of us discuss some stuff besides your own personal meltdowns (and suspiciously rapid recoveries); if you want to take part, try and match the tone and pace of the discussions already going on here. When in Rome... Otherwise you are sabotaging whether you actually mean to or not, and if you keep on doing it after having this pointed out to you, we can only assume it's deliberate...

Bottom line, it's my task to keep this blog in line with the intent set for it; this means keeping the discussions on track, and preventing too much noise from interfering with the signal. When this happens, as with this present thread, people will start to lose interest and become discouraged from posting, or even reading. So what I am really saying is: ease off on the noise some, dude! Sit tight, quieten down, and pay attention. You might even learn something.

auroragirl said...

Hi aeolus. I thought this second part of the interview with Neil was just wonderful. It is refreshing that, like you, he makes no bones about there being a black, Satanic element that controls our world.

And thankyou for addressing the subject of disinfo.

Thoth_Pavel said...

Hi,
Aeolus, Neil, any chance these transcripts will be available in print form sometime? A lot of info to keep track of in a podcast, i end up listening to this stuff a couple of times. Castenada work rings true, i had an anthropologist tell me once, to not 'let' the skeptics turn my mind from the ideas in his work. This same rational 'academic' also told me, not to ignore Von Daniken's 'chariots of fire', in hindsight, Daniken's gold of the gods, was discredited over failing to 'find' ancient peru library. Now the story is coming out that he got the story right, George Lucas fictionalized the 'location' in Indiana Jones and the crystal skull. Part of the 'hidden truth' is ancient lost civilizations as Neil, discussed. Off the coast of cuba a canadian treasure hunting ship picked up miles of 'stone' city, and pyramids. That story vanished off the radar pretty fast. Another sonar vessel picked up a lost american fighter plane, and the 'disc' in the mud next to it. The famous story of the jet, and the disc becoming one on radar and vanishing. So we deal with a very complex universe. Archetypes and ghosts, myths that 'evidence' appears, but is then ignored, until it vanishes from people's overloaded minds.

http://championspath.wordpress.com said...

I have to say Aeolus thats a very interesting post you just made and I dont feel like I have been very disruptive of all. Actually I feel like I have been doing exactly what I should be doing and thats playing Devils Advocate and challenging peoples ideas head on by contradicting them with some of my own experience as well as being unreactive in the face of over reactions that are just designed to create drama.

I think that we are losing the focus of this thread and that was to discuss entheogens in relationship to conciousness and how we percieve entheogens and the subjective experiences we have had with them I hope this is not to much of a mouthful and to the layreader

What I am saying is that:
We are all trying to filter as much useless information out as possible as explorers of conciousness we need to develop clear thinking and vision and really just becareful how and where we are stepping to if my dramatic queries and antics offend some readers I would urge them to think practically because I myself am somebody who is sharing knowledge like I do on my own blog...

I think we really need to keep it calm collected and to add value here to perhaps really open up a message board where we can start topics and really get into the topics we are interested in here like planetery mind shifts and cosmic conciousness as well as the unchartered aspects of our conciousness and to map the unseeable for people to follow I mean my intention on your blog here Aeolus is really a contributory one if you look at it from a higher perspective I am trying to propogate serious thinking so people dont go out and get Acid Burned and wind up in a looney hospital, lets just becareful here okay?

and you can get a free forum from invisionfree.com or google free message boards and you can check my down to earth and practical blog out at http://championspath.wordpress.com maybe It will explain a bit more about myself.

Cease & Desist? Aeolus you are the farthest thing from a LAWYER.

LMAO

Leon Basin said...

Beautiful website you have here:)

Sounder said...

Abraham Heschel says that one has free will only when ones will matches the will of God. This makes sense because if ‘what you want to do’ is correct then the Universe does not have to do its re-regulating routine.

Folk that have interest may improve their ‘creative field uplink’, yet the ‘artists’ that try (in our culture) spend most effort ‘filling the gap’, created by our acceptance that dualistic appearances represent reality itself. This results in an uplink that is tainted by a reactive relation to existing forms, rather than a constructive relationship that has a better chance of finding greater substance within the forms.

The depth of our discovery of (the nature of) Universe is moderated by the reactive or unclean connection between consciousness and external appearances. My personal solution is to attempt to balance order and liberty within consciousness. This then provides confidence and a shield from being taken in by unbalanced expressions of consciousness.

My old sig. line at RI reflects my attitude towards the PTMB. (And WE are the powers that make believe.)

“Here are occultic secrets hidden in plain view. Negative relations between order and liberty create problems (profits), while positive relation’s only produces happiness and contentment.”

Jim said...

I like what you say Sounder, especially about free will and divine will being aligned. Makes sense. Thanks.

Know Nothing said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Know Nothing said...

Hi AK,

What a great interview. I liked that you chose kind of an unconventional format.

I think the word association gave the listeners an interesting and fresh perspective on Neil and his work.

Great work, I look forward to hearing and reading more.

Steve Savage "King of the Beasts" said...

Collin,

You may want to check this out?

Steve Savage "King of the Beasts"
http://sskotb.blogspot.com/

SELF AWARENESS: THE LAST FRONTIER
By V.S. Ramachandran
An Edge Original Essay

V.S. RAMACHANDRAN is a Neuroscientist, Director, Center for Brain and Cognition, University of California, San Diego; Author, Phantoms in the Brain.


SELF AWARENESS: THE LAST FRONTIER

One of the last remaining problems in science is the riddle of consciousness. The human brain—a mere lump of jelly inside your cranial vault—can contemplate the vastness of interstellar space and grapple with concepts such as zero and infinity. Even more remarkably it can ask disquieting questions about the meaning of its own existence. "Who am I" is arguably the most fundamental of all questions.

It really breaks down into two problems—the problem of qualia and the problem of the self. My colleagues, the late Francis Crick and Christof Koch have done a valuable service in pointing out that consciousness might be an empirical rather than philosophical problem, and have offered some ingenious suggestions. But I would disagree with their position that the qualia problem is simpler and should be addressed first before we tackle the "Self." I think the very opposite is true. I have every confidence that the problem of self will be solved within the lifetimes of most readers of this essay. But not qualia.

The qualia problem is well known. Assume I am an intellectually highly advanced, color-blind martian. I study your brain and completely figure out down to every last detail what happens in your brain—all the physico-chemical events—when you see red light of wavelength 600 and say "red". You know that my scientific description, although complete from my point of view, leaves out something ineffable and essentially non-communicable, namely your actual experience of redness. There is no way you can communicate the ineffable quality of redness to me short of hooking up your brain directly to mine without air waves intervening (Bill Hirstein and I call this the qualia-cable; it will work only if my color blindness is caused by missing receptor pigments in my eye, with brain circuitry for color being intact.) We can define qualia as that aspect of your experience that is left out by me—the color-blind Martian. I believe this problem will never be solved or will turn out (from an empirical standpoint) to be a pseudo-problem. Qualia and so-called "purely physical" events may be like two sides of a Moebius strip that look utterly different from our ant-like perspective but are in reality a single surface.

So to understand qualia, we may need to transcend our ant-like view, as Einstein did in a different context. But how to go about it is anybody's guess.

The problem of self, on the other hand, is an empirical one that can be solved—or at least explored to its very limit—by science. If and when we do it will be a turning point in the history of science. Neurological conditions have shown that the self is not the monolithic entity it believes itself to be. It seems to consist of many components each of which can be studied individually, and the notion of one unitary self may well be an illusion. (But if so we need to ask how the illusion arises; was it an adaptation acquired through natural selection?)

Consider the following disorders which illustrate different aspects of self.

• Out of body experiences: patients with right fronto-parietal strokes report floating out into space watching their body down below—undoubtedly contributing to the myth of disembodied souls. Left hemisphere strokes result in the feeling of a mysterious presence—a phantom twin—hovering behind the patient's left shoulder.

• Apotemnophilia: An otherwise completely normal person develops an intense desire to have his arm or leg amputated. The right parietal (a part of it known a SPL) normally contains a complete internal image of the body. We showed recently that in these patients the part of the map corresponding to the affected limb is congenitally missing, leading to alienation of the limb.

The patients are sometimes sexually attracted to amputees, We postulate that in " normal" individuals there is a genetically specified homunculus in S2 that serves as a template acting on limbic and visual areas to determine aesthetic preference for ones own body type. Hence pigs are attracted to pigs not people. (Which is not to deny an additional role for olfactory and visual imprinting) But if the image in S2 is missing a limb this may translate into an aesthetic preference toward an amputee - mediated by reverse projections that are known to connect the ("emotional") amygdala to every stage in the visual hierarchy.

• Transsexuality; A woman claims that for as far back as she can remember she felt she was a man trapped in a woman's body—even experiencing phantom penises and erections. Our ordinary notion of every person having a single sexual identity (or self) is called into question. It turns out there are at least four distinct aspects of sexuality; your external anatomy, your internal brain-based body image, your sexual orientation and your sexual identity—who you think others think of you as. Normally these are harmonized in fetal development but if they get uncoupled you become a transsexual person. (It is important to note there is nothing "abnormal" about them, any more than you would regard being gay as abnormal.)

• A patient with a phantom arm simply watches a student volunteer's arm being touched. Astonishingly the patient feels the touch in his phantom. The barrier between him and others has been dissolved.

• Cotards syndrome; the patient claims he is dead and rejects all evidence to the contrary.

• Capgras delusion; the patient claims that his mother looks like his mother but is in fact an imposter. Other patients claim that they inhabit a house that's a duplicate of their real house. Bill Hirstein and I (and Haydn Ellis and Andrew Young) have shown that this highly specific delusion arises because the visual area in the brain is disconnected from emotional areas. So when our patient David sees his mother he recognizes her—along with the penumbra of memories linked to her. But no emotions and no jolt of familiarity is evoked so he rationalizes away his curious predicament saying she is an imposter. It is important to note that these patients are usually intelligent and mentally stable in most other respects. It is the selective nature of the delusion that makes it surprising and worth studying.

David also had difficulty abstracting across successive encounters of a new person seen in different contexts to create an enduring identity for that person. Without the flash of recognition he ought to have experienced in the second, third or n'th exposure, he couldn't bind the experiences together into a single person. Even more remarkably David sometimes duplicated his own self! He would often refer to "The other David who is on vacation." It was as if even successive episodes of his own self were not bound together the way they are in you and me.

This is not to be confused with MPD ("multiple personality disorder") seen in psychiatric contexts. MPD is often a dubious diagnosis made for medico-legal and insurance purposes and tends to fluctuate from moment to moment. (I have often been tempted to send two bills to an MPD patient to see if he pays both.) Patients like David, on the other hand, may give us genuine insight into the neural basis of selfhood.

• In another disorder the patient, with damage to the anterior cumulate, develops "kinetic muftis". He lies in bed fully awake and alert but cannot talk or walk—indeed doesn't interact in any way with people or things around him. Sometimes such patients wake up (when given certain drugs ) and will say "I knew what was going on around me but I simply had no desire to do anything ". It was if he had selective loss of one major attribute of the self— free will".

• Even odder is a phenomenon called "The telephone syndrome". The patient (I'll call him John) will display akinetic mutism—no visual consciousness—when seeing his (say) father in person. But if he receives a phone call from his father he suddenly becomes conscious and starts conversing with him normally. (S. Sriram and Orrin Devinsky, personal communication.) It's as if there are two Johns—the visual John who is only partially conscious and the auditory John (with his own self) who talks over the phone. This implies a degree of segregation of selves—all the way from sensory areas to motor output—that no one would have suspected.

We will now consider two aspects of self that are considered almost axiomatic. First its essentially private nature. You can empathise with someone but never to the point of experiencing her sensations or dissolving into her (except in pathological states like folie a duex and romantic love). Second, it is aware of its own existence. A self that negates itself is an oxymoron. Yet both these axioms can fall apart in disease; without affecting other aspects of self. An amputee can literally feel his phantom limb being touched when he merely watches a normal person being touched. A person with Cotard's syndrome will deny that he exists; claiming that his body is a mere empty shell. Explaining these disorders in neural terms can help illuminate how the normal self is constructed.

To account for some of these syndromes we need to invoke mirror neurons discovered by Giacomo Rizzolatti, Victorio Gallase and Marco Iacoboni. Neurons in the prefrontal cortex send out sophisticated signals down the spinal cord that orchestrate skilled and semi-skilled movements such as putting food in your mouth, pulling a lever, pushing a button, etc. These are "ordinary" motor command neurons but some of them, known as mirror neurons, also fire when you merely watch another person perform a similar act. It's as if the neuron (more strictly the network of which the neuron is part) was using the visual input to do a sort of "virtual reality simulation" of the other persons actions—allowing you to empathize with her and view the world from her point of view.

In a previous Edge essay I also speculated that these neurons can not only help simulate other people's behavior but can be turned "inward"—as it were—to create second-order representations or metarepresentations of your own earlier brain processes. This could be the neural basis of introspection, and of the reciprocity of self awareness and other awareness. There is obviously a chicken-or-egg question here as to which evolved first, but that is tangential to my main argument. (See also Nicholas Humphrey's contributions to Edge.) The main point is that the two co-evolved, mutually enriching each other to create the mature representation of self that characterizes modern humans. Our ordinary language illustrates this, as when we say "I feel a bit self conscious", when I really mean that I am conscious of others being conscious of me. Or when I speak of being self critical or experiencing "self-pity". (A chimp could—arguably—feel pity for a begging chimp, but I doubt whether it would ever experience self-pity.)

I also suggest that although these neurons initially emerged in our ancestors to adopt another's allocentric visual point of view, they evolved further in humans to enable the adoption of another's metaphorical point of view. ("I see it from his point of view" etc.) This, too, might have been a turning point in evolution although how it might have occurred is deeply puzzling.

There are also: "touch mirror neurons" that fire not only when your skin is touched but when you watch someone else touched. This raises an interesting question; how does the neuron know what the stimulus is? Why doesn't the activity of these neurons lead you to literally experience the touch delivered to another person? There are two answers. First the tactile receptors in your skin tell the other touch neurons in the cortex (the non-mirror neurons) that they are not being touched and this null signal selectively vetos some of the outputs of mirror neurons. This would explain why our amputee experienced touch sensations when he watched our student being touched; the amputation had removed the vetoing. It is a sobering thought that the only barrier between you and others is your skin receptors!

A second reason why your mirror neurons don't lead you to mime everyone you watch or to literally experience their tactile sensations might be that your frontal lobes send feedback signals to partially inhibit the mirror neurons' output. (It cant completely inhibit them; otherwise there would be no point having mirror neurons in the first place.) As expected, if the frontal lobes are damaged you do start miming people ("echopraxia").

Recent evidence suggests that there may also be mirror neurons for pain, disgust, facial expression—perhaps for all outwardly visible expression of emotions. (We call these "empathy" neurons or Gandhi neurons.) Some of these are in the anterior cingulate—others in the insula.

I mention these to emphasize that despite all the pride that your self takes in its individuality and privacy, the only thing that separates you from me is a small subset of neural circuits in your frontal lobes interacting with mirror neurons. Damage these and you "lose your identity"—your sensory system starts blending with those of others. Like the proverbial Mary of philosopher's thought experiments, you experience their qualia.

We suggest that many otherwise inexplicable neuro-psychiatric symptoms may arise from flaws in these circuits leading to "you-me" confusion and impoverished ego-differentiation. Lindsay Oberman, Eric Altschuler and I have seen strong preliminary hints that autistic children have a paucity of mirror neurons which would not only explain their poor imitation, empathy and 'pretend play" (which requires role-playing) but also why they sometimes confuse the pronouns I and You, and have difficulty with introspection. Even Freudian phenomena like "projection", seen in all of us, may have similar origins; "I love you" turns to "You love me" to make me feel safer.

Let us return to Cotards syndrome—the ultimate paradox of the self negating its own existence (sometimes claiming "I am dead", "I can smell my body rotting", etc.). We postulate that this arises from a combination of two lesions. First, a lesion that is analogous to Capgras but far more pervasive. Instead of emotions being disconnected from just visual centers, it is disconnected from all sensations and even memories of sensations. So the entire world becomes an imposter—unreal (not just the mother). Second, there may be dysfunctional interaction between the mirror neurons and frontal inhibitory structures leading to a dissolution of the sense of self as being distinct from others (or indeed from the world ). Lose the world and lose yourself—and it's as close to death as you can get. This is not a fully developed explanation by any means; I mention it only to indicate the style of thinking that we may need to explain these enigmatic syndromes.

Now imagine these same circuits become hyperactive as sometimes happens when you have seizures originating in the temporal lobes (TLE or temporal lobe epilepsy). The result would be an intense heightening of the patient's sensory appreciation of the world and intense empathy for all beings to the extent of seeing no barriers between himself and the cosmos—the basis of religious and mystical experiences. (You lose all selfishness and become one with God.) Indeed many of history's great religious leaders have had TLE. My colleague, the late Francis Crick, has suggested that TLE patients as well as priests may have certain abnormal transmitters in their brains that he calls "theotoxins". (He once told philosopher Pat Churchland that he had nothing against religion per se, so long as it was a private arrangement between consenting adults.)

I hasten to add that the involvement of the temporal lobes in mystical experiences does not in itself negate the existence of an abstract God, who, in Hindu philosophy, represents the supreme dissolution of all barriers. Perhaps the TLE patient has seen the truth and most of us haven't. I don't have TLE myself but have had personally had epiphanies when listening to a haunting strain of music, watching the aurora borealis, or looking at Jupiter's moons through a telescope. During such epiphanies I have seen eternity in a moment and divinity in all things. And, indeed, felt one with the Cosmos. There is nothing "true "or "false" about such experiences—they are what they are; simply another way of looking at reality.

Let us turn now to out-of-body experiences. Even a normal person—such as the reader—can at times adopt a "detached" allocentric stance toward yourself (employing something like mirror neurons) but this doesn't become a full blown delusion because other neural systems (e.g. inhibition from fontal structures and skin receptors ) keep you anchored. But damage to the right fronto-parietal regions or ketamine anesthesia (which may influence the same circuits) removes the inhibition and you start leaving your body even to the extent of not feeling your own pain. You see your pain "objectively" as if someone else was experiencing it. Some such opossum-like detachment also occurs in dire emergencies when you momentarily leave yourself and watch your body being raped or mauled by a lion. This reflex is normally protective (lying still to fool predators) but a vestige of it in humans may manifest as "dissociative" states under conditions of extreme stress.

The purported "unity" or internal consistency of self is also a myth. Most patients with left arm paralysis caused by right hemisphere stroke complain about it as, indeed, they should. But a subset of patients who have additional damage to the "body image" representation in the right SPL (and possibly insula) claim that their paralyzed left arm doesn't belong to them. The patient may assert that it belongs to his father or spouse. (As if he had a selective "Capgras" for his arm). Such syndromes challenge even basic assumptions such as "I am anchored in this body" or "This is my arm". They suggest that "belongingness" is a primal brain function hardwired through natural selection because of its obvious selective advantage to our hominoid ancestors. It makes one wonder if someone with this disorder would deny ownership of (or damage to) the left fender of his car and ascribe it to his mother's car.

There appears to be almost no limit to this. An intelligent and lucid patient I saw recently claimed that her own left arm was not paralyzed and that the lifeless left arm on her lap belonged to her father who was "hiding under the table". Yet when I asked her to touch her nose with her left hand she used her intact right hand to grab and raise the paralyzed hand—using the latter as a "tool" to touch her nose! Clearly somebody in there knew that her left arm was paralyzed and that the arm on her lap was her own, but "she"—the person I was talking to—didn't know. I then lifted her "father's hand" up toward her, drawing attention to the fact that it was attached to her shoulder. She agreed and yet continued to assert it belonged to her father. The contradiction didn't bother her.

Her ability to hold mutually inconsistent beliefs seems bizarre to us but in fact we all do this from time to time. I have known many an eminent theoretical physicist who prays to a personal God; an old guy watching him from somewhere up there in the sky. I might mention that I have long known that prayer was a placebo ; but upon learning recently of a study that showed that a drug works even when you know it is a placebo, I immediately started praying. There are two Ramachandrans—one an arch skeptic and the other a devout believer. Fortunately I enjoy this ambiguous state of mind, unlike Darwin who was tormented by it. It is not unlike my enjoyment of an Escher engraving.

In the last decade there has been a tremendous resurgence of interest among neuroscientists in the nature of consciousness and self. The problem has been approached from many angles—ranging from single neuron electrophysiology to macroscopic brain anatomy (including hundreds of brain imaging studies ) What has been missing, though, is what might be called "psycho-anatomy"; whose goal is to explain specific details of certain complex mental capacities in terms of equally specific activity of specialized neural structures. As an analogy, consider the discovery of the genetic code. Crick and Watson unraveled the double helix, and saw in a flash that the complementarity of the two strands of the helix is a metaphor of the complementarity of parent and offspring in heredity. (Pigs give birth to pigs—not to donkeys.) In other words the structural logic of DNA dictates the functional logic of heredity. No such radical insight has emerged in neuroscience that would allow us to precisely map function on to structure.

One way of achieving this goal, as we have seen in this essay, might be to explore syndromes that lie at the interface between neurology and psychiatry Given the inherent complexity of the human brain, it is unlikely that there will be a single climactic solution like DNA (although I don't rule it out). But there may well be many instances where such a synthesis is possible on a smaller scale and these may lead to testable predictions and novel therapies. They may even pave the way for a grand unified theory of mind of the kind physicists have been seeking in trying to unify gravitation, relativity and quantum mechanics.

When such a theory finally emerges we can either accept it with equanimity or ask "Now that we have solved the problem of self, what else is there?"

auroragirl said...

Hi Steve. Does't the "problem" of "qualia" come down to the way "science" tries to describe everything in the world into its own lanquage and fails? After all, it is impossible to translate some turns-of-phrase from one language (from French into English, for instance) without completely losing the nuances of the expression. Maybe its the same with qualia...maybe the language of science is simply inadequate or inappropriate to use when describing qualia. Maybe the language of qualia is the language of feeling...metaphor and poetry.

Steve Savage "King of the Beasts" said...

V.S. Ramachandran's essay seems to suggest that those who have experienced the Unitive Vision, Cosmic Consciousness, or whatever name one wishes to apply to the "Peek behind the Curtain," may, in fact, be brain damaged in some way.

Steve Savage "King of the Beasts"
http://sskotb.blogspot.com/

auroragirl said...

Then I am happy to be damaged.

Sounder said...

Steve, I checked out your blog a bit. Your viewpoint seems both dualistic and orthodox. That is, you see sun/light/good, moon/dark/bad. So of course you see flights of imagination as nothing more than an expression of a damaged brain. I say, stick with the Edge mag. They will tell everything you need to know.

auroragirl said...

With the finer and finer parsing of "syndromes" one is left to wonder how anyone can tell who is "normal" or find anyone left who is "normal" at all! Who are the people who form the baseline for the comparisons between "normal" and "abnormal"? How were the "normals" chosen? How do we know that the ones deemed "normal" today won;t be deemed "abnormal" tomorrow? Isn't it funny how scientists mistake the read-outs of their instruments for reality? And don't they realize that what they are doing is just as much a flight of the imagination as what poets do? And if people are as fragmented as Mr. Savage says (which seems to be true), why in the world would he go on to pathologize the experience of unity as temporal lobe epilepsy (as if renaming something is the same as explaining it!!)???

Steve Savage "King of the Beasts" said...

Sounder,

You said: ["Steve, I checked out your blog a bit. Your viewpoint seems both dualistic and orthodox."]

Sounder, which of the Five Blind Men describing the elephant are you?

Steve Savage "King of the Beasts"
http://sskotb.blogspot.com/
----------------
Auroragirl,

You said: [I] "pathologize[d] the experience of unity as temporal lobe epilepsy."

The last time I looked, the author of the article in question is V.S. Ramachandran.

Steve Savage "King of the Beasts"
http://sskotb.blogspot.com/

auroragirl said...

But you use his article as support for your own arguments, and I notice that you did not reply to the points I brought up but are merely quibbling about who said what. Face it, Mr. Savage...the way of the scientist is on the wane and the way of the poet is on the rise. Yours is an inadequate and soon-to-be outmoded view of mankind and the world. Indeed, it is laughable.

p.s. It seems to me that you are one of the blind men describing the elephant, not Sounder.

Sounder said...

Steve, I tried to show respect by reading your blog and commenting on, what I take to be a substantive component of your worldview.

You then choose a pithy aphorism for your response. You found that in a book; typical behavior of an en-form addict. You seem estranged from your Imaginal side so you see it as evil. I on the other hand feel, like NK, that the universe is a system for discovery, and it has ways to use it’s expressions to achieve things that are still beyond our dreams.

If you like Steve, we can continue over at your blog.

Steve Savage "King of the Beasts" said...

Auroragirl and Sounder,

The comments which I posted were nothing more than these:

1. "Collin,You may want to check this out?" and,

2. "V.S. Ramachandran's essay seems to suggest that those who have experienced the Unitive Vision, Cosmic Consciousness, or whatever name one wishes to apply to the "Peek behind the Curtain," may, in fact, be brain damaged in some way."

You are not the ones for whom these posts were intended, so please spare yourselves the unnecessary futility of attempting to direct ad hominem attacks my way since it is of no concern to me how others see me. It only matters to me how I see them.

Steve Savage "King of the Beasts"
http://sskotb.blogspot.com/

auroragirl said...

Mr. Savage, no one "attacked" you in any way, ad hominemly or otherwise. I simply gave you my thoughts on your work. And it seems the height of folly to tell someone to mind their own business when you post in a public format such as this one. You wrote that the way to understand qualia would be to transend our ant-like view, but then confessed that you didn't know how to go about doing that. Well, I gave you one way to go about it; by the use of feeling and the language of metaphor and poetry. Don't you think Shakespeare was better at describing "qualia" than you are? It seems to me that you are in the absurd position of trying to find out what makes something live by killing it and dissecting it, that you can understand life by studying death. You would flatten and deaden the world by "treating" everyone who didn't meet your subjective definition of "normal", and yet you can't even tell us how you went about deciding who met the criteria of "normal", but you must have used qualia, something you can't even describe properly, to do it! You purge what makes us human and alive from your world view and then lament that you can't understand qualia! If you want to understand the soul, then talk to the soul. Get out of your head and into your heart and come down off your scientific high horse.

Steve Savage "King of the Beasts" said...

Auroragirl,

Please read this carefully. I DID NOT WRITE THE ESSAY! The essay

SELF AWARENESS: THE LAST FRONTIER
By V.S. Ramachandran
An Edge Original Essay

was written by

V.S. RAMACHANDRAN who is a Neuroscientist, Director, Center for Brain and Cognition, University of California, San Diego; Author, Phantoms in the Brain.

I AM NOT V.S. RAMACHANDRAN! I am

Steve Savage "King of the Beasts"
http://sskotb.blogspot.com/

auroragirl said...

I know you didn't write it, but I am not refering to that essay. I am refering to your own words when you wrote your post about temporal lobe epilepsy: "Now imagine these same circuits become hyperactive...". And then you go on to assert that many of the great religeous leaders had temporal lobe epilepsy...and just how do you know that? Have you hooked them up to an electroencephalograph? And if so, which great religeous leaders did you test? And don't you think its just a bit absurd for Mr. Ramachandra to write a book called "Phantoms in the Brain"? Who is he to declare that someone's inner world contains "phantoms"? And you never answered my question: who qualifies as normal in your book? Just how dull and boring would someone have to be to earn that "honor"? How narrow would their range of conciousness have to be? Are they allowed any quirks at all, or would they automatically be "treated" if they exhibit any mental or emotional traits you or your colleagues find objectionable? Does't it really come down to your subjectivity sitting in judgement on someone else's subjectivity and finding them wanting, but because you presume to possess authority, you can impose your view of reality (i.e. "treatment") upon them, especially if they are in the hospital and therefor helpless, dehumanized and captive? Isn't it really just an elaborate, socially accepted form of bullying? It seems to me you didn't understand the implications of your own post.

Sancho Blacklight said...

AK + NK do a Castaneda episode? I think this is a great idea! I know AK and I kicked the idea around when I interviewed him, but I think Neil is a much more intelligent and eloquent person than myself and would love to hear this one!!!

Perhaps I could throw some questions for the two of you to dig into, AK? Although, I think that would limit me to about two questions because it seems you guys average somewhere around 1.5 questions per hour! ;-D

another great episode(s), keep 'em coming!

Indras Net said...

Hey Aeolous, ive been listening to your podcasts alot lately, and have greatly enjoyed all of it, Im looking forward to more explorations of your work, it is greatly appreciated my friend. Keep up the great work man and be well. I have a blog at Http://www.liveinchapelperilous.blogspot.com i think you might find some of it interesting. Namaste and keep on rockin in the free world!- kev