JULY 2013

* eight


Terence McKenna | The Octopus: This is a segue from yesterday's discussion about visible language. The notion being that, well let me review what yesterday was about. It was about the idea that if we could see language, if language were a project of understanding that used the eyes for the extraction of meaning rather than the ears, that it would be a kind of telepathy. There would be both a fusion of the observer with the object observed, and with the person communicated with. The place in nature where something like this has actually evolved and occurred is in the cephalopods; the squid and the circoliveral (sp) octopii. These are animals that divided from the line of development that leads to human beings over six hundred million years ago. They're mollusks, they're related to escargo, it's an organism very different from ourselves. Nevertheless, one of the things that evolutionary biologists always talk about is the convergent evolution between the eyes of cephalopods and the eyes of higher mammals. This is because the cephalopods live in an extremely complex visual environment and in fact, they have evolved a form of communication that approximates this visible language that I'm talking about because these octopii have chromataphores all over the exterior of their bodies. Chromataphores are cells that can change color. Now many people know that octopii can change color but they think its for camouflage, for blending in with the environment, this is not at all the case. The reason octopii change colors in a very large repatoire of stripes, dots, blushes, travelling shades and tonal shifts is because this is for them a channel of linguistic communication. In other words they don't transduce their linguistic intentionality into small mouth noises like we do. Small mouth noises which then move as sound across space in the form of vibrations of the air. Rather, they actually change their appearance in accordance with their linguistic intent. What this boils down to is they physically become their meaning, and one octopus observing another is watching the unfolding of internalized neurological states within the organism being reflected in color changes on the surface of the skin. Now these octopii not only can change their color because their soft-bodied creatures. They can also change the texture of their surface from smooth to rugose and folded. They can also, because they're soft-bodied, fold and unfold and reveal and conceal, very rapidly, different parts of their body. So they're capable of a visual dance of communication that is an extremely dense kind of visual signal and in the so-called benthic (sp) octopii, the species that have evolved in very deep water where very little light reaches, they have evolved light-emitting phosphorescent organs, some of them with membranes like eyelids over them, so that even in the darkness of the abyssal depth of the ocean they can carry out this dance of light, self-enfoldment, color change and surface texture which is their linguistic style. In fact the only way an octopus can experience a private thought is to release a cloud of ink into the water into which it can retreat briefly and hide its mental nakedness from its followers. This kind of biologically intrinsic wiring into the potential of language is something that we may be able to mimic and achieve using psychedelic drugs as the inspiration for the direction given to a virtual reality development program. In other words we might be able to create kinds of visibly beheld syntax that would be the human equivalent of the dance of light, texture and positioning that constitutes the grammer and syntax of squids and octopii.


criminal energy | by Patrick Watts


Virtue frees the mind, and the mind is not free as long as there is no virtue. But the so-called virtue on which most of us base our behaviour merely on social convenience; and society, being rooted in acquisitiveness, in competition, egotism, envy, cannot possibly understand the virtue of being and not becoming.

If we do not understand what it is to be virtuous, the mind will never be free to inquire, to find out what reality is. Virtue is essential as conduct, as behaviour; but behaviour which is based on compulsion, on conformity, fear, is no longer the action of a virtuous mind. So we must find out what it is to be virtuous, without the cultivation of virtue. I think the two things lead in entirely different directions. A man who cultivates virtue is all the time thinking about himself; he is everlastingly concerned about his own progress, his personal improvement, which is still the activity of me, the self, the ego; and this activity obviously has nothing whatever to do with virtue, which is a state of being and not becoming.

Now, how can a mind whose whole social and moral conditioning has been to cultivate virtue by using time as a means of becoming virtuous - how can such a mind free itself of that sense of becoming, and be in a state of virtue? I do not know if you have ever thought of the problem in this way. To understand it, I think we have to find out what it means to discipline the mind.

Most of us use discipline to achieve a result. Being angry, I say I must not be angry, so I discipline myself, control, suppress, dominate my anger, which means that I conform to an ideological pattern. That is what we are used to: a constant struggle to adjust what we are to what we think we should be. In order to become what we should be, we go through certain practices, we discipline ourselves day after day, month after month, year in and year out, hoping to arrive at a stage which we think is right. So in discipline there is involved, not only suppression, but also conformity, narrowing the mind down to a particular pattern. Please understand, sirs, that I am not condemning discipline. We are examining the whole process involved in conduct that is based on discipline.

(Jiddu Krishnamurti)


After a while you learn the subtle difference Between holding a hand and chaining a soul, And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning And company doesn't mean security. And you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts And presents aren't promises, And you begin to accept your defeats With your head up and your eyes open With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child, And you learn to build all your roads on today Because tomorrow's ground is too uncertain for plans And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight. After a while you learn... That even sunshine burns if you get too much. So you plant your garden and decorate your own soul, Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers. And you learn that you really can endure... That you really are strong And you really do have worth... And you learn and learn... With every good-bye you learn.

(Jorges Louis Borges)

Ego & Submission

Once in a while Nature proffers us a kiss. It might happen on a vast plain, or in a towering forest, or on a beach at sunset, with the stars turning on overhead and the waves crashing against the shore. As if for the first time, we see the splendour of Nature, its wonder, magnificence, and infinite complexity. Overawed by the sheer power and scale, we perceive our own insignificance. We collapse, thankfully, under its weight, following the age-old dictum: if you can't beat them, join them. This particular submission is empowering, as Nature is a powerful thing. We are temporarily relieved of our insufficiency through an emptying out and a subsequent refilling to the brim. The resultant joy is described as coming from "within", conveniently ignoring the fact that Nature fast becomes a drug, which one grows to depend on, and suffer for, as we would with any drug. Such peace comes from without, and is as fleeting and unstable as all such peace can be. Because of the relative rarity and power of this experience with Nature, it is often described as "God". In this way God can be reconciled with the drug-taking mentality in an attempt to make the ego impregnable. Conveniently, one does not require any wisdom to know this God: any fool can lose themselves in the beauty of a sunset!

In contrast, the sage, having penetrated to the truth of things, sees neither complexity nor simplicity. Nor does he see power or weakness, great or small, beauty or ugliness. He has seen to the heart of Nature, and is no longer in awe. Never again can he feel wonder in Her company. Now, rather than merely submitting to Her, he submits his ego to Her - his own self. This is called dying the Great Death. The fool is intelligent enough to see the immensity of Nature, but not enough to see that he is a part of it, and is it. Only the courageous can know the meaning of the profound teaching: "You are that". Only they can fathom the meaning of Jesus's words in the gospel of Thomas: "Cleave the wood and I am there, raise the stone, and you will find me."

(Kevin Solway)


But what do we, in our modern world, have to contain the powers and forces the psyche may encounter? We are like those chemists and physicists in the first decades of this century who played around with radio-active materials without using any protection. Or like someone who wanders into a high voltage laboratory and begins to touch the apparatus. Moreover, the danger is not just to individuals but to our whole society which is in danger of losing its collective soul.

Connected to this is the danger of inflation. Economic inflation is bad enough but psychic is even worse! But our psychic inflation is expressed in our desire to escape from the body, from the world of matter, from human society, from nature and into the world of the spirit.

(David Peat, on Creativity)