Tuesday, March 25, 2008

New Coke

"Simplify, simplify." - Henry David Thoreau

If Thoreau had taken his own advice he would have just said, "Simplify."

So in the spirit of Thoreau I've created another blog for no apparent reason and given it the same name as the old one to ensure my fan base is thoroughly confused. Whether I'll miss Livejournal lots and return like the prodigal son is quite possible. Already there are things about Blogger I don't like. But the main thing is having my own page that won't be sliced onto a collaged "friends" page.

There will be no LJ cuts here! (because I don't know how to do them)

It's 100% Mr. the Cutup all 100% the time! 100%! (except for the adsense ads)

We begin with an episode from the Ninja-tek archive (laziness): My first experience with "psychedelics". And tomorrow I will review a book I haven't read. Tally ho.

July 17, 1999

Let's try to recall it (don't expect a chronological account):

At about 9:15 last night I consumed all mushroom specimens (P. cubensis) that I had picked off my closet stock at that point. Most of the mushrooms were very tiny. I didn't weigh the exact amount that I consumed, but estimating based upon the weights of certain foods in the cupboard, my guess is that I consumed somewhere between 35 and 65 grams (undried). I had been storing this in my fridge until ready for consumption.

I had napped for a few hours in the day so I wouldn't fall asleep at night. I woke from my nap @ 7:00 P.M., watched an average movie called
Sliding Doors with Gwyneth Paltrow, taken a shower, and then ate the shrooms.

Here's a chart of how I'd rate the strength of the hallucinations. Time is hard to estimate, but it's okay I think.

Period 0 --> lasted from @ 9:15 to 9:30 - 9:45. No activity really.

Period 1 --> After about 20 minutes I would see the occasional light flash of white (like lightning generalized). I also began to begin making out patterns of shapes and colors. These patterns varied from colors to black and whites to Escheresque, Gigeresque, arabesque, 60's swirlies; infinite walls of checkerboards mirroring the flush inside of a See's candy story. Some moved. They all moved actually, constantly changing. Any attempt on my part to get a strong bead on a pattern proved fruitless, as it shifted and bubbled away into a new one. Fractals were present. Chaos was there, for nothing would allow itself to be pinpointed. None of the patterns seemed identical to one simple art style, as if the artists who had brought similar designs into our world had not been able to retrieve that complexity (or the vision was combining various art styles in my head, and this was all my subjective experience). As time passed the dimensions seemed to increase, and I moved into...

Period 2 --> This is where the experience became the most intense. This is where the scenes became actual landscapes. I don't think I'll ever be able to describe them all. Scenes from Japan, 60's mod, outer space, scenes similar to Escher's
Other World in which I could see my arm as I moved it on somebody else; my brain seemed to grow a few extra minds and I was able to move my arms on my body and feel as if my sensations were a few seconds ahead of or behind the actual movements. I would have thoughts and instantaneously step out of the brain that produced that thought into another brain which could observe the first brain. Like Hofstadter discusses in Gödel, Escher, Bach: mind observing mind observing mind... infinite fractal regressions that speed your thoughts up very very fast.

I didn't see any elves as [Terence] Mckenna described them, but at one point I was in a room of white in which I felt like I was being observed by aliens just outside of the room. I wasn't strapped to a table or any X-Files stuff like that, just standing.

When Mckenna says that the mushroom teaches you stuff, I thought he was bullshitting; but now I'm not so sure. I came out of my body at several points, and I seem to recall converting into the body of some woman named Cheryl. That might not be her name, but I distinctly remember entering down into her form/body. Whether this was a version of me in another universe or a person in this universe I do not know. (San Francisco seemed relevant to her.)

I left that body eventually and seemed to have no strong connection to any consciousness, and I was really kind of afraid I might never get back to this body; I could feel my bed underneath me if I paid attention, and Kim [my stepfather] typing in the next room, but I was still disconnected from it all. It just seemed like another form I had entered in to. I kept thinking of many authors who wrote about stuff like this, and Moorcock's idea of the Eternal Champion suddenly seemed to really make sense. The universe felt empty, like I was the only consciousness in it and it was all just a struggle and I would never die, not my consciousness. I seemed to understand why Hemingway killed himself, an attempt to achieve oblivion and escape the endless conflict of existence (he was probably just a drunk sod, but that's what I felt in the vision).

It seemed to go on for the longest time. I heard a symphony that sounded a little like Wagner, and I hummed it. I laughed and couldn't stop smiling for the longest time.

At some point in all of the landscapes, my stomach began to feel like a black hole. I wasn't nauseous or diarrhetic, but it just felt like this big weight was in there. I didn't like that at all. Also, the only other sucky thing was the gross taste of the mushrooms. Bitter. Next time I'll use mouthwash right after eating them.

Near the end of period two, all this language began to assault me from out of nowhere. The visions were leveling off, and I kept seeming to recall that I was thirsty, and yet too far away from my body to need a drink. Part of me was kind of afraid I was going to die of a ruptured intestine or something. I slowly arose to the contorted dimensions of my room and stumbled to turn on the light.

Phase 3 --> I turned the light on and looked at the clock. It was exactly midnight. I laughed out loud to ease the spookiness of it all. My head was swimming. Words kept coming, as if I was directly tapping into the language well. This is the point when I wrote down all that jibbery writing a few pages back [hardly legible scribbling, nonsense]. That was as clear as I could write. I wrote down those author names and things because they seemed to understand this stuff, especially Mckenna, Morrison, Moorcock, and Crowley. As I wrote the words my hand seemed to move over the page at fast Super 8 film speed, like at the beginning of the Wonder Years.

I then bent over to my bed and got down on my knees with my head on the mattress. Underneath my sheet I have a bumpy foam pad, and my right hand was resting on this. I looked at my hand and was mildly surprised to see the foam pad warping up, the bumps becoming elongated - as if the mattress was a living creature inhaling a deep breath. I pulled the sheet back, half expecting to find demons under there.

No such luck.

Indeed, all of my hallucinations that occurred with my eyes opened consisted of warping and stretching of dimensions. Perhaps if I had opened them in the more intense period two I'd have seen things not visible at all under "normal" circumstances.

I moved to the right a few inches on my knees and was surprised to find I had moved a few feet down the length of my bed.

Then I went to the living room. I unlocked my bedroom door and slowly stumbled down the hall, Kim's snoring intensely stentorian in the dark hall. I tried to keep quiet; the last thing I needed would be to confront mom or kim while I was zonked out.

In the living room I left the light off at first. I could see my cat JC sitting on the couch in the moonlight, a ghoulish Cheshire of the midnight. Turning the light on and approaching him, JC's eyes were large black discs that indicated his excited state. he knew
my state of mind. I let him sniff my fingers to relax him, but he had that feral look on his mug that he gets when he can smell another animal on you. He looked more like a wolf than a cat. I thought he might attack me or start talking so I went back to my room.

I lied down until my head settled down.

Phase 4 --> No more hallucinations. Language still strongly flowing. I was exhausted but it took me quite a while to get to sleep. When I finally did, I only slept 4 1/2 hours. Before I went to sleep I let out this atomic fart that had been building since Creation, and that seemed to get rid of most of the "primitive charcoals of the
eschaton, rumbling in my belly". What a night.


Since I've woke up I've still felt kinda wobbly. Not dizzy, just not completely straight in it all. Should clear up completely by tomorrow.

Based on this initial experience with the
psilocybin mushroom, I'm not convinced any of the hallucination material had to be anything outside of my own mind. Especially considering the amount of personal mythology of individual experience that gets packed into the visions. It seems to face down your own personal demons and gods, scouring the brain at an accelerated speed.

However, I'm also aware that my own interests into these things has led me to authors who have already been there. I mean, if someone knew nothing about magic mushrooms and read my account of my experience, would any similarities in their first voyage to mine be caused by their knowledge of what I'd told them to expect?

I don't know; it just seemed like the mushroom worked in details on things I had experienced in the day before consumption. Both [William Burroughs']
Junky and the parallel realities of Sliding Doors worked their way in. Is this because there is a "real" connection between those stories and the mushroom, or is exploration/"science" going where imaginative writers want it to?

I don't know. Perhaps I'll never know; not in the sense that we "know" there's an asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. I just know, (and perhaps this is the only knowledge that can be known) that the mushroom is the most profound self-examination I've ever encountered. The only thing I've seen come halfway near it are dreams, and dreams have never been as clear as this was, not even the lucid ones.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention this (and I'm sure I'll remember more details in the next few days): In Phase 3 I went into the bathroom and looked in the mirror. Very scary. I got my face to slightly morph into gorilla and then wolf characteristics. I also seemed to see the devil hiding behind my eyes, laughing with me. My face was plastic. I passed my hand in front of my eyes rapidly, and each time I got a new look at myself I looked
just a little different than I had a second previously. I was obviously jumping through dimensions and I'm now in a different universe than the one I was in yesterday (am I joking?).

Then I took a piss and the water level seemed to jump up and down like a choking well.

I had the
Invisibles #21 out and was attracted to the Barbelith material in that issue.

When I first began seeing patterns and shit I felt like I was falling backward through the bed.

24 hours later I feel dandy.

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