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There is a very circumscribed place in organic nature that has i mportant implications for students of human nature.
by terrence mckenna

Tryptamine, Hallucinogens, and Consciousness

The pursuit of fusion energy, essentially, harnessing the force that powers the sun, provides a cautionary tale for those who would remake today’s energy economy.
by max schulz

The Fusion Illusion

The sensation described as “having a religious experience” is merely a side effect of our bicameral brain’s feverish activities.
by jack hitt

This is Your Brain on God


A word from the CEO regarding the nature of alternative knowledge and a mission statement for this publication.

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Science fiction and other fantasy media has helped create momentum around the discovery of paranormal phenomena. Although fiction-based media has helped create wide-spread interest in the unknown, it also cast a shadow on subjects not explained by popular science, labeling it as supernatural, and casting it off as matters of magic, wizards, make-belief, or outright falsehood. Rigid categories of reality and fiction have contributed to social ignorance regarding abnormal occurrences, controversial research, and contemplation of fundamental understanding of knowledge, thought, truth, and reality. With majority of the universe unknown, it is convenient to disregard unexplained phenomenon as makings of the imagination, supernatural, or nonsensical ramblings of fanatics. Alternative Thinking looks to reduce this stigma and admit unconventional thought into realm of possibility; we provide a source for any such knowledge. We are a resource center for unconventional knowledge, thoughts, views, and experiences. Our goal is to offer information about theories, research, experiments, and first-hand encounters. We make no claims or assumptions about truth and reality; instead we encourage our customers to consider something new, evaluate the plausibility of the new knowledge attained, and finally make their own conclusions. A centralized location for consumer products, offering a broad range of subject matter. We offer information on topics that are seldom in the spotlight, as they are both controversial and un-popularized. By providing a variety of products in a wide variety of disciplines, Alternative Thinking creates a window into a world that can be understood through an all-encompassing lens, void of social and cultural restriction, with endless possibilities.

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Morphic Fields
by Rupert Sheldrake

can now be measured scientifically!


n the laboratory of Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) at Princeton University/ USA, research on the topic “mindmachine-interaction” has been ongoing since the late 1970s. As far back as the late 1980s, extensive studies proved that diodes with white noise might be used as an interface between man and machine. Since 1998, worldwide about 50 such diodes with white noise have been measuring not only the consciousness of individuals but also the global consciousness of mankind within a study called “Global Consciousness Project”. The results have been published and indicate synchronized reaction of all diodes to incidents of worldwide interest such as the war in Iraq, Lady Diana’s funeral or the terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001 on the World Trade Centre in New York. Automatic mind reading Hardly noticed by the public, research at the US-American Princeton University has shown that machines and computers that have a diode with white noise interface react with the thoughts and consciousness of the people who are connected to them. The connection between mind and machine or computer is wireless and is based on the person mentally concentrating on the communication with the machine. The best-known experiment of this kind was carried out at Princeton University with 200

students (not known to have special PSIabilities) who were asked to think “+” or “-” during a test. The evaluation of all test data demonstrated that the computer could register through the diode with the white noise what the operands had been thinking during the test runs. The computer could also visualize it properly. The GCP Roger Nelson, who was working at PEAR Laboratory until 2002 had the following idea: Rather than scanning separate states of consciousness, he wanted to check whether there is a global consciousness and whether it is measurable. Since 1998, about 50 diodes with white noise have been distributed worldwide. One can envisage them as a radio, which is tuned between two stations to an irregular noise. The raw data of this noise is transmitted daily from each computer, which is connected to one of these 50 diodes, to a host system at Princeton University via the Internet. The data is evaluated and tested for statistically significant abnormalities especially in the case of emotionally moving incidents, which are broadcasted worldwide via media and press. Morphic fields Are we really experiencing a morphic phenomenon? Is the fact that the global consciousness reacts synchronically worldwide to an incident broadcasted

live in all media not only proof that all of us react to such an incidence in the same way? The morphic fields postulated by Sheldrake assume that each and every person is connected with the morphic field of mankind. This field should then also react synchronically worldwide without an incident being consciously noticed concurrently. The fact that the global consciousness had been alert at 4 am, that is five hours before the first airplane crashed (8:45) and six and a half hours before the second airplane crashed (10:30), proves that the global consciousness also works without worldwide media and TV broad castings. Since neither the authorities nor the media knew about this terrorist attack until 8:45 am, the global consciousness reacted from the moment the airplane highjacker had started to realize their plan! This is initial evidence for the existence of morphic fields, which obviously connect mankind even if the perception of an incident is via extrasensory perception. A lot of incidents around the globe were tested within the GCP on statistically significant abnormalities of the 50 diodes. Also positive incidents influence the global consciousness Contrary to what one might think when reading newspaper cover stories, the global consciousness reacts equally strong to positive and negative incidents. During the four years evaluated within


Rupert Sheldrake
One of the world’s most innovative biologists and writers is best known for his theory of morphic fields and morphic resonance, which leads to a vision of a living, developing universe with its own inherent memory.

the Global Consciousness Project, worldwide holidays cause very high deflections of the diode. Terrorist attacks and wars come second. The Individual Consciousness Project Based on research at the “Campus study centre for applied naturopathic treatment” in Munich, the individual field of consciousness and later also the morphic field were analysed at the same time as the global consciousness was researched in the USA. Just like at Princeton, the diode with white noise was installed. The difference between the two consciousness projects is that the American project has set 50 diodes worldwide which “keep hissing”. The Global Consciousness Project analyses the noise in itself and its statistically significant changes are then compared chronologically with incidents of worldwide significance. However, the Individual Consciousness Project (ICP) scans an individual field of consciousness through a diode with white noise and connects the noise of the diode with databases, which ideally contain all supposable states of being of the analyzed consciousness or morphic field. That way, the current state of the field of consciousness can be described through the right entry in the database and indexed properly by the computer. The experimental set-up at

Princeton University (PEAR-Laboratory), as described at the beginning of the article, included the diode with the white noise that was similarly connected to the evaluation database and also scanned individual consciousness. The “Campus study centre for applied naturopathic treatment” in Munich then took up this approach. However, databases with not only two entries (“+” and “-”) were linked but those with plenty of entries. Whilst the American students in the PEAR-Laboratory at Princeton were asked to think “+” or “-”, the Individual Consciousness Project scans without active instruction. Practical applications The Individual Consciousness Project used the exact same mechanism. Instead of fledglings, plants, lakes, fields, houses and other objects were used; instead of the robot and a database with only three entries (straight, right, left), a computer software with databaswes containing all possible solutions to malfunctions that the analyzed objects might have. Research at “Campus study centre for applied naturopathic treatment” in Munich demonstrates that diodes with white noise may be used in this way and that they display reliably on which level of information and frequency the field of consciousness oscillates. The fact that this research proves that consciousness and morphic fields surround not only

humans and animals but also plants and obviously dead matter, will not surprise the interested reader. Science Research at the PEAR-Laboratory at Princeton in the USA and Freiburg University in Germany as well as the earlier described “Global Consciousness Project” are serious, scientifically organised studies. Princeton may be considered one of the leading universities in the area of physics. Einstein taught here after leaving Germany. Wheeler one of the most influential physicians of our time, taught here, too. Results from Princeton must be taken seriously. The “Campus study centre for applied naturopathic treatment” in Munich is a private institution. Time will (and to a certain extent already has told) tell whether a lack of university status of the study centre will cause a disqualification of the precious research results of the “Individual Consciousness Project”.

“When a certain critical number achieves an

awareness, this new awareness may be picked up by almost everyone.


by Dr Bruce Lipton, PhD


isdom of Your Cells is a new biology that will profoundly change civilization and the world we live in. This new biology takes us from the belief that we are victims of our genes, that we are biochemical machines, that life is out of our control, into another reality, a reality where our thoughts, beliefs and mind control our genes, our behavior and the life we experience. This biology is based on current, modern science with some new perceptions added. The new science takes us from victim to creator; we are very powerful in creating and unfolding the lives that we lead. This is actually knowledge of self and if we understand the old axiom, “Knowledge is power,” then what we are really beginning to understand is the knowledge of self-power. This is what I think we will get from understanding the new biology.

Wisdom of Y our Cells
faulty assumption “It is awe are controlled that
Flying Into Inner Space
My first introduction to biology was in second grade. The teacher brought in a microscope to show us cells and I remember how exciting it was. At the university I graduated from conventional microscopes into electron microscopy and had a further opportunity to look into the lives of cells. The lessons I learned profoundly changed my life and gave me insights about the world we live in that I would like to share with you. Using electron microscopy, not only did I see the cells from the outside but I was able to go through the cell’s anatomy and understand the nature of its organization, its structures and its functions. As much as people talk about flying into outer space, I was flying into inner space and seeing new vistas, starting to have greater appreciation of the nature of life, the nature of cells and our involvement with our own cells. At this time I also started training in cell culturing. In about 1968 I started cloning stem cells, doing my first cloning experiments under the guidance of Dr. Irv Konigsberg, a brilliant scientist who created the first stem cell cultures. The stem cells I was working with were called myoblasts. Myo means muscle; blast

by our genes. There are no cancer genes. It is not possible for a gene to activate or change on its own; for example, producing cancer. It is the environmental signal and our perception (belief) that contributes to a change in our system.

means progenitor. When I put my cells in the culture dishes with the conditions that support muscle growth, the muscle cells evolved and I would end up with giant contractile muscles. However, if I changed the environmental situation, the fate of the cells would be altered. I would start off with my same muscle precursors but in an altered environment they would actually start to form bone cells. If I further altered the conditions, those cells became adipose or fat cells. The results of these experiments were very exciting because while every one of the cells was genetically identical, the fate of the cells was controlled by the environment in which I placed them. While I was doing these experiments I also started teaching students at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine the conventional understanding that genes controlled the fate of cells. Yet in my experiments it was clearly revealed that the fate of cells was more or less controlled by the environment. My colleagues, of course, were upset with my work. Everyone was then on the bandwagon for the human genome project and in support of the “genes-control-life” story.


You Are a Community of 50 Trillion Living Cells
Now I have a completely new understanding of life and that has led to a new way to teach people about cells. When you look at yourself you see an individual person. But if you understand the nature of who you are, you realize that you are actually a community of about 50 trillion living cells. Each cell is a living individual, a sentient being that has its own life and functions but interacts with other cells in the nature of a community. If I could reduce you to the size of a cell and drop you inside your own body, you would see a very busy metropolis of trillions of individuals living within one skin. This becomes relevant when we understand that health is when there is harmony in the community and dis-ease is when there is a disharmony that tends to fracture the community relationships. So, number one, we are a community.

New Understanding of Science
When I was outside the university I had a chance to read into physics. Again I found information that did not conform to the science I had been teaching. In the world of new physics, quantum physics, the mechanisms that are described completely collide with the mechanisms we were teaching, which were based on the old Newtonian physics. The new physics currently is still not introduced in medical schools. Before conventional science, science was the province of the church. It was called natural theology and was infused with the spiritual domain, teaching that God’s hand was directly involved in the unfoldment and maintenance of the world, that God’s image was expressed through the nature we live in. Natural theology had a mission statement: to understand the nature of the environment so we could learn

to live in harmony with it. Basically this meant learning how to live in harmony with God, considering that nature and God were so well connected. However, through the abuses of the church, their insistence on absolute knowledge and their efforts of suppressing new knowledge, there was what is called the Reformation. The Reformation, precipitated by Martin Luther, was a challenge to the church’s authority. After the Reformation, when there was an opportunity to question beliefs about the universe, science became what was called modern science. Isaac Newton, the physicist whose primary studies were on the nature of gravity and the movement of the planets, provided the foundation for modern science. He invented a new mathematics called differential calculus in order to create an equation to predict the movements of the solar system. Science identified truths as things that were predictable. Newtonian physics perceives the universe as a machine made out of matter; it says that if you can understand the nature of the matter that comprises the machine, then you will understand nature itself. Therefore the mission of science was to control and dominate nature, which was completely different than the former mission of science under natural theology, which was to live in harmony with nature. The issue of control in regard to biology becomes a very important point. What is it that controls the traits that we express? According to Newtonian physics life forms represent machines made out of matter and if you want to understand those machines you take them apart, a process called reductionism. You study the individual pieces and see how they work and when you put all the pieces together again, you have an understanding of the whole. Charles Darwin said that the traits an individual expresses are connected to

the parents. The sperm and egg that come together and result in the formation of a new individual must be carrying something that controls the traits in the offspring. Studies of dividing cells began in the early 1900s and they saw string-like structures that were present in cells that were beginning to divide. These string-like structures were called chromosomes. Interestingly enough, while chromosomes were identified around 1900, it was only in 1944 that we actually identified which of their components carried the genetic traits. The world got very excited. They said, oh, my goodness, after all these years we finally have gotten down to identifying the genetically controlling material; it appears to be the DNA. In 1953 the work of James Watson and Francis Crick revealed that each strand of DNA contained a sequence of genes. The genes are the blueprints for each of the over 100,000 different kinds of proteins that are the building blocks for making a human body. A headline announcing Watson and Crick’s discovery appeared in a New York paper: “Secret of Life Discovered” and from that point on biology has been wrapped up in the genes. Scientists saw that by understanding the genetic code we could change the characters of organisms and therefore there was a big, headlong rush into the human genome project to try to understand the nature of the genes. At first they thought these genes only controlled the physical form, but the more they started to manipulate genes, they saw that there were also influences on behavior and emotion. Suddenly, the genes took on more profound meaning because all the characters and traits of a human were apparently controlled by these genes.


fuel for life

With the bold passion of

Blackcurrant and Jasmine



december 31, 2012


why humans use only about supercharged brains? why access parts of the remaining a gene pool with over our closest genetic


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of our dna) total

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so physically weak compared to our closest genetic relatives? why earth’s moon is so extraordinarily outsized relative to other moons? why megalithic structures like the pyramids cannot be duplicated today? why stones in those structures would buckle today’s could know uranus, neptune, and pluto existed?

largest moveable cranes? how the ancient sumerians why we discovered uranus only in

1846, and

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how and why the sumerians

kept cosmic time in units of almost



Deformed Human, Alien, or Hybrid?
the Starchild skull
by Lloyd Pye
(receiving much help along the way from other villagers, who consider Starchildren a great blessing). At that point the Star Beings return to take the hybrids to wherever they are ultimately destined to live. With that in mind, it is easy to imagine a scenario in which the mother of a young hybrid finds out her child will soon be taken from her. Rather than give it up, she takes it into a mineshaft and kills it, then buries it in a shallow grave with one hand sticking out for her to hold onto. Then she takes a fatal dose of poison and lies down beside her child to permanently escape their mutual fate. Now, to many that might seem an overly drastic solution to what was surely an excruciating torment, but it is always difficult to second guess a mother’s motives in circumstances like that. Maybe she had acquired knowledge that led her to believe what awaited her child This discovery occurred in an area in space was a fate worse than death. (northern Mexico) rife with variations of Needless to say, the young American a legend that pervades all of South and girl knew nothing of those Amerindian Central America, as well as parts of the American southwest. These are known as legends, so she removed both skulls from “The Star Being Legends,” which state that the mineshaft and brought them back for many centuries Star Beings have come into the U.S., where she kept them until to Earth from the heavens to impregnate her death in old age. They were then women in isolated rural villages. Because passed to an American man who held them for five years, not knowing what Star Beings do not nurture their young to do with them. He passed the skulls to as humans do, and because the hybrids produced have so much human in them, a younger couple with UFO affiliations, and they contacted me because of my the chosen women are allowed to raise them until they are five to eight years old research into human origins (Everything Sixty to seventy years ago the parents of a young American girl of Mexican heritage took her to visit relatives in a small rural village in the mountains southwest of Chihuahua, Mexico. While there, the girl disobeyed a local taboo and went exploring in caves and mineshafts dotting the area. In one mineshaft she made a startling discovery: lying on the ground at the rear of the tunnel was a complete human skeleton. Coming up out of the dirt beside it was a misshapen hand, entwined in one of the human skeleton’s arm bones. Gathering her courage, the young girl began to dig away the dirt the hand was rising up out of. She uncovered a shallow grave containing a being smaller than the human, with a body and skull as misshapen as the hand.

“Scientists know these limitations of evolutionary
theory are true and will be enduring, but shamefully few have the nerve to address them openly.


You Know Is Wrong--Book One: Human Origins, Adamu Press, 1998, available now). My expertise is in comparing human bones with prehuman bones and showing they have very little in common, so I am not a UFO expert. However, I am aware of the basics of ufology, so at my first glimpse of the “deformed” skull my only thought was that it had to be from an alien because it looked so much like a “Gray.” The eyes are what did it for me, as they do for most people. Hauntingly different from the human norm, they are two stark windows into forbidden knowledge, strongly hinting that we are not at all what we think we are, and that in life the owner of those eyes knew secrets of the universe that we Earthlings can barely begin to imagine. Gazing into those eyes (eye sockets, actually), I felt the way people in the early 1600’s must have felt when first gazing into a telescope, seeing spread out before them the infinite depth of their ignorance about physical reality. Like them, I felt myself staring at a similar depth of personal ignorance

regarding biological reality. Soon after that first glimpse into my possible past and future, I was offered the job of caretaker for what has come to be called the Starchild skull. Soon after that I began consulting experts in various aspects of cranial anatomy, all of whom assured me that the astonishing degree of “deformity” evident in the skull was the result of cranial binding (practiced throughout South America) combined with a highly unlikely but not impossible combination of physical pathologies. This did considerable damage to my initial conviction that the skull might prove to be the greatest relic in the annals of human history. Then I went to my local library and spent many hours researching human deformities, which taught me

I had been misinformed by the experts I consulted. I do not choose to believe my misinforming was deliberate. I choose to believe it was what often results when personal ego and professional reputation are mixed with the hubris that can come from being considered an “expert.” Having achieved that lofty status, there can be an overpowering temptation to pound all square pegs into the round hole of conventional thinking, whatever that happens to be at any moment in time. So I choose to believe the experts I consulted were acting in good faith, victimized by their own extensive educations which, past a certain point, tends to become indoctrination, which leads to collective peer-reviewed agreements that ultimately ossify into dogma. In the library, using their own texts, I discovered the truth, which was that the Starchild possessed “deformities” like no others ever seen before. Individually, each was absolutely unique, which negated all the assurances I had heard


that “this isn’t so very different from any number of others I have seen in my career as a (fill in the blank).” Those were all lies, whether to themselves or to me. None of them had ever seen anything like it before because I was looking through their own texts and nothing like the Starchild was there. Nothing even close. Not even a whisper of it. So my lost conviction rapidly returned. What came out of my research is this: When it comes to deformity of the human cranium, a little is generally too much. Because newborns are so fragile, and because the head is the center of so many of life’s essential processes (eating and breathing, to name two), anything seriously wrong in that area is frequently a death sentence. Certainly in any remote village like the one where the skull was supposedly found, there was no social stigma attached to doing away with malformed newborns that would be a long-term drain on a mother’s meager physical resources. So there is no way the Starchild should have made it past Day One, yet it survived in apparent good health until the age of about five. We know this because a detached piece of maxilla (upper jaw and palate) was found with the skull, and in that piece of maxilla were two baby teeth that show clear signs of wear from chewing.

Also, its cranial bones, though highly aberrant, are well knit in all their sutures, indicating an age of more than three. Since the baby teeth would probably be missing in the sixth year, the age of five has been chosen as the likeliest time of death. [Note: this is no longer a solid assumption. The teeth still indicate an early death, but the skull suturing and durability of the bone indicate either an adult, or something other than a normal human child.] During life [however brief or long] this skull exhibited an astonishing array of traits that cannot be considered human either in isolation or collectively. The eyes are not human; the temples are not; the forehead is not; the parietal bones (upper rear of the head) are not; the occipital bone (rear of the head) is not; the foramen magnum (hole where the spine enters the cranium) is not; its weight is not; its cranial volume (brain capacity) is not; its sinuses (which it completely lacks) are not; and its neck is not. In short, it is not human. Experts insist it is human only because their knowledge base simply does not allow the possibility that it is not human. But, experts or not, these facts cannot be denied. Let’s examine a few closely. First, as highlighted earlier, the eyes. Human eye sockets are cone shaped to hold an

eyeball and the muscles surrounding it that allow it to move in all quadrants: up, down, left, right. That cone extends about 5 centimeters into the skull, and at its back are openings for the optic nerve and various blood vessels. The Starchild’s skull has no cone, but rather a shallow scoop in the bone of the face, 3 centimeters at its greatest depth. The optic nerve canals and the fissures are skewed down and away, at the bottom of the scoop and on the inside, thereby housing an eye so different in shape and probable function that to attempt any comparison is an exercise in straw grabbing. The temples. In humans, thick bands of muscle pass beneath the zygomatic arch (cheekbone) to spread out in a fan shape and connect with the entire side of the skull. Hold your fingers to the side of your head and grimace to see how they attach from forehead to upper hairline to behind the ear. In the Starchild the zygomatic arch has been greatly reduced and dropped from horizontal to a 45-degree angle. Instead of two fingers worth of muscle passing through, two spaghetti strands pass through. And, in a true miracle of deformity, those greatly reduced muscles have been neatly detached from the anchor points of humans, spread out in a reconfigured fan shape, and reattached across an area about 1/3 that of a human.


The parietals. In humans the parietal bones form the upper rear of the cranium. While there can be quite a range of difference in this part of the head, the parietals of the Starchild are far beyond any such variation. In fact, they are so large relative to human parietals, it is conceivable they might contain individual parts of a trilateral brain (all humans and primates have bilateral brains). If this should prove to be true (a planned endocranial cast should be definitive), there would be little doubt the child was a pure alien or an alienhuman hybrid. [Note: an endocranial cast has yet to be created. At first, the thinness of the bone intimidated us away from casting it for fear of damaging one or more of the cranial sutures. Now we know the bone is durable, so a cranial cast seems possible, but it remains something for us to do. Also, we no longer consider the trillateral brain as a possibility. All indications are that the brain was bilateral.] The occipital and neck. The occipital is a large curved bone covering the lower rear of a human head. Near its center is a noticeable bump (feel your own) called the “inion,” the starting point for the neck. Above the inion is skull, below it is neck. Neck attachments fan out in an arc that carries from the inion to behind and below the mastoid bones that protect the ear canals. It

is an extensive area, in its own way as extensive as the attachment area of the temple muscles. And in all cases of head binding, none can go below the inion without damaging muscle. Yet in the Starchild’s skull the entire occipital is flat, as if designed that way, with a gently convoluted surface that belies any chance of binding--ever. Furthermore, the inion has become subtly concave relative to the bone around it. And, as with the temple muscles, the neck muscles have somehow been detached from where they would normally be on a human skull, greatly reduced in size, then reattached in a semicircle roughly 1/3 the area of a human neck. The foramen magnum. In humans the foramen is positioned rear of center to balance a heavy rear cranium against an essentially empty face area. The front of a human face has numerous sinus cavities, two deep eye sockets, a mostly empty nasal passage, and a rather large mouth. This means the weight of the brain is dominantly rearward, under which is the human foramen. The Starchild’s foramen is centered under the head, balancing it like a misshapen golf ball on a vertical tee. This shift in its center of gravity is necessary because the child’s cranium is essentially wall-to-wall brain. It has no sinus cavities and greatly reduced eye sockets above an apparently small nasal passage and mouth.

Weight and brain volume. An adult human skull weighs about 2.2 pounds. A typical five-year-old might weigh a pound less, about 20 ounces. The Starchild’s skull weighs 13 ounces without its teeth or jaws, so with them it might have weighed 15 to 16 ounces. Its bone is definitely lighter than human bone and roughly half as thick. Perhaps its most startling difference is in brain volume. A normal adult’s brain capacity is around 1400 cubic centimeters (c.c.). Whatever the Starchild’s age, its brain capacity is an astonishing 1600 c.c.! In anthropological circles a jump of 200 c.c. in brain volume heralds a new species. Homo Erectus is 200 c.c. more than Homo Habilis. Homo Archaic is 200 c.c. more than Homo Erectus. Homo Neanderthalensis is 200 c.c. more than Homo Erectus. But with the Starchild skull, thus far it is officially considered a mere freak of nature, and so it will remain until DNA testing and other testing now underway definitively proves its lineage to be either a butt-ugly human, a pure alien, or an alien-human hybrid.


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Explore Discover Experience

Tryptamine, Hallucinogens

Art by Rick Palmore


& Consciousness
"We have wandered into a state of prolonged neurosis because of the
by Terrence McKenna
I refer to the tryptophan-derived hallucinogens dimethyltryptamine (DMT), psilocybin, and a hybrid drug that is in aboriginal use in the rain forests of South America, ayahuasca. This latter is a combination of dimethyltryptamine and a monoamine oxidase inhibitor that is taken orally. It seems appropriate to talk about these drugs when we discuss the nature of consciousness; it is also appropriate when we discuss quantum physics. It is my interpretation that the major quantum mechanical phenomena that we all experience, aside from waking consciousness itself, are dreams and hallucinations. These states, at least in the restricted sense that I am concerned with, occur when the large amounts of various sorts of radiation conveyed into the body by the senses are restricted. Then we see interior images and interior processes that are psychophysical. These processes definitely arise at the quantum mechanical level. It’s been shown by John Smythies, Alexander Shulgin, and others that there are quantum mechanical correlates to hallucinogenesis. In other words, if one atom on the molecular ring of an inactive compound is moved, the compound becomes highly active. To me this is a perfect proof of the dynamic linkage at the formative level between quantum mechanically described matter and mind. Hallucinatory states can be induced by a variety of hallucinogens

absence of a direct pipeline to the unconscious and we have then fallen victim to priestcraft of every conceivable sort.


and diassociative anesthetics, and by experiences like fasting and other ordeals. But what makes the tryptamine family of compounds especially interesting is the intensity of the hallucinations and the concentration of activity in the visual cortex. There is an immense vividness to these interior landscapes, as if information were being presented three-dimensionally and deployed fourth-dimensionally, coded as light and as evolving surfaces. When one confronts these dimensions one becomes part of a dynamic relationship relating to the experience while trying to decode what it is saying. This phenomenon is not new - people have been talking to gods and demons for far more of human history than they have not. It is only the conceit of the scientific and postindustrial societies that allows us to even propound some of the questions that we take to be so important. For instance, the question of contact with extraterrestrials is a kind of red herring premised upon a number of assumptions that a moment’s reflection will show are completely false. To search expectantly

for a radio signal from an extraterrestrial source is probably as culture bound a presumption as to search the galaxy for a good Italian restaurant. And yet, this has been chosen as the avenue by which it is assumed contact is likely to occur. Meanwhile, there are people all over the world - psychics, shamans, mystics, schizophrenics - whose heads are filled with information, but it has been ruled a priori irrelevant, incoherent, or mad. Only that which is validated through consensus via certain sanctioned instrumentalities will be accepted as a signal. The problem is that we are so inundated by these signals - these other dimensions - that there is a great deal of noise in the circuit. It is no great accomplishment to hear a voice in the head. The accomplishment is to make sure it is telling the truth, because the demons are of many kinds: “Some are made of ions, some of mind; the ones of ketamine, you’ll find, stutter often and are blind.” The reaction to these voices is not to kneel in genuflection before a god, because then one will be


like Dorothy in her first encounter with Oz. There is no dignity in the universe unless we meet these things on our feet, and that means having an I/Thou relationship. One say to the Other: “You say you are omniscient, omnipresent, or you say you are from Zeta Reticuli. You’re long on talk, but what can you show me?” Magicians, people who invoke these things, have always understood that one must go into such encounters with one’s wits about oneself. What does extraterrestrial communication have to do with this family of hallucinogenic compounds I wish to discuss? Simply this: that the unique presentational phenomenology of this family of compounds has been overlooked. Psilocybin, though rare, is the best known of these neglected substances. Psilocybin, in the minds of the uninformed public and in the eyes of the law, is lumped together with LSD and mescaline, when in fact each of these compounds is a phenomenologically defined universe unto itself. Psilocybin and DMT invoke the Logos, although DMT is more intense and more brief in its action. This means that they work directly on the language centers, so that an important aspect of the experience is the interior dialogue. As soon as one discovers this about psilocybin and about tryptamines in general, one must decide whether or not to enter into this dialogue and to try and make sense of the incoming signal. This is what I have attempted. I call myself an explorer rather than a scientist, because the area that I’m looking at contains insufficient data to support even the dream of being a science. We are in a position comparable to that of explorers who map one river and only indicate other rivers flowing into it; we must leave many rivers unascended and thus can say nothing about them. This Baconian collecting of data, with no assumptions about what it might eventually yield, has pushed me to a number of conclusions that I did not anticipate. Perhaps through reminiscence I can explain what I mean, for in this case describing past experiences raises all of

the issues. I first experimented with DMT in 1965; it was even then a compound rarely met with. It is surprising how few people are familiar with it, for we live in a society that is absolutely obsessed with every kind of sensation imaginable and that adores every therapy, every intoxication, every sexual configuration, and all forms of media overload. Yet, however much we may be hedonists or pursuers of the bizarre, we find DMT to be too much. It is, as they say in Spanish, bastante, it’s enough - so much enough that it’s too much. Once smoked, the onset of the experience begins in about fifteen seconds. One falls immediately into a trance. One’s eyes are closed and one hears a sound like ripping cellophane, like someone crumpling up plastic film and throwing it away. A friend of mine suggests this is our radio entelechy ripping out of the organic matrix. An ascending tone is heard. Also present is the normal hallucinogenic modality, a shifting geometric surface of migrating and changing colored forms. At the synaptic site of activity, all available bond sites are being occupied, and one experiences the mode shift occurring over a period of about thirty seconds. At that point one arrives in a place that defies description, a space that has a feeling of being underground, or somehow insulated and domed. In Finnegans Wake such a place is called the “merry go raum,” from the German word raum, for “space.” The room is actually going around, and in that space one feels like a child, though one has come out somewhere in eternity. The experience always reminds me of the twenty-fourth fragment of Heraclitus: “The Aeon is a child at play with colored balls.” One not only becomes the Aeon at play with colored balls but meets entities as well. In the book by my brother and myself, The Invisible Landscape, I describe them as self-transforming machine elves, for that is how they appear. These entities are dynamically contorting topological modules that are somehow distinct from the surrounding background, which is itself undergoing a continuous

transformation. These entities remind me of the scene in the film version of The Wizard of Oz after the Munchkins come with a death certificate for the Witch of the East. They all have very squeaky voices and they sing a little song about being “absolutely and completely dead.” The tryptamine Munchkins come, these hyperdimensional machine-elf entities, and they bathe one in love. It’s not erotic but it is open-hearted. It certainly feels good. These beings are like fractal reflections of some previously hidden and suddenly autonomous part of one’s own psyche. And they are speaking, saying, “Don’t be alarmed. Remember, and do what we are doing.” One of the interesting characteristics of DMT is that it sometimes inspires fear - this marks the experience as existentially authentic. One of the interesting approaches to evaluating such a compound is to see how eager people are to do it a second time. A touch of terror gives the stamp of validity to the experience because it means, “This is real.” We are in the balance. We read the literature, we know the maximum doses, the LD-50, and so on. But nevertheless, so great is one’s faith in the mind that when one is out in it one comes to feel that the rules of pharmacology do not really apply and that control of existence on that plane is really a matter of focus of will and good luck. I’m not saying that there’s something intrinsically good about terror. I’m saying that, granted the situation, if one is not terrified then one must be somewhat out of contact with the full dynamics of what is happening. To not be terrified means either that one is a fool or that one has taken a compound that paralyzes the ability to be terrified. I have nothing against hedonism, and I certainly bring something out of it. But the experience must move one’s heart, and it will not move the heart unless it deals with the issues of life and death. If it deals with life and death it will move one to fear, it will move one to tears, it will move one to laughter. These places are profoundly strange and alien.


The fractal elves seem to be reassuring, saying, “Don’t worry, don’t worry; do this, look at this.” Meanwhile, one is completely “over there.” One’s ego is intact. One’s fear reflexes are intact. One is not “fuzzed out” at all. Consequently, the natural reaction is amazement; profound astonishment that persists and persists. One breathes and it persists. The elves are saying, “Don’t get a loop of wonder going that quenches your ability to understand. Try not to be so amazed. Try to focus and look at what we’re doing.” What they’re doing is emitting sounds like music, like language. These sounds pass without any quantized moment of distinction - as Philo Judaeus said that the Logos would when it became perfect - from things heard to things beheld. One hears and beholds a language of alien meaning that is conveying alien information that cannot be Englished. Being monkeys, when we encounter a translinguistic object, a kind of cognitive dissonance is set up in our hindbrain. We try to pour language over it and it sheds it like water off a duck’s back. We try again and fail again, and this cognitive dissonance, this “wow” or “flutter” that is building off this object causes wonder, astonishment and awe at the brink of terror. One must control that. And the way to control it is to do what the entities are telling, to do what they are doing. I mention these “effects” to invite the attention of experimentalists, whether they be shamans or scientists. There is something going on with these compounds that is not part of the normal presentational spectrum of hallucinogenic drug experience. When one begins to experiment with one’s voice, unanticipated phenomena become possible. One experiences glossolalia, although unlike classical glossolalia, which has been studied. Students of classical glossolalia have measured pools of saliva eighteen inches across on the floors of South American churches where people have been kneeling. After classical glossolalia has occurred, the glossolaliasts often turn to ask the people nearby, “Did

I do it? Did I speak in tongues?” This hallucinogen induced phenomenon isn’t like that; it’s simply a brain state that allows the expression of the assembly language that lies behind language, or a primal language of the sort that Robert Graves discussed in The White Goddess, or a Kabbalistic language of the sort that is described in the Zohar, a primal “ur sprach” that comes out of oneself. One discovers one can make the extradimensional objects - the feeling-toned, meaning-toned, threedimensional rotating complexes of transforming light and color. To know this is to feel like a child. One is playing with colored balls; one has become the Aeon. This happened to me twenty seconds after I smoked DMT on a particular day in 1966. I was appalled. Until then I had thought that I had my ontological categories intact. I had taken LSD before, yet this thing came upon me like a bolt from the blue. I came down and said (and I said it many time), “I cannot believe this; this is impossible, this is completely impossible.” There was a declension of gnosis that proved to me in a moment that right here and now, one quanta away, there is raging a universe of active intelligence that is transhuman, hyperdimensional, and extremely alien. I call it the Logos, and I make no judgements about it. I constantly engage it in dialogue, saying, “Well, what are you? Are you some kind of diffuse consciousness that is in the ecosystem of the Earth? Are you a god or an extraterrestrial? Show me what you know.” The psilocybin mushrooms also convey one into the world of the tryptamine hypercontinuum. Indeed, psilocybin is a psychoactive tryptamine. The mushroom is full of answers to the questions raised by its own presence. The true history of the galaxy over the last four and a half billion years is trivial to it. One can access images of cosmological history. Such experiences naturally raise the question of independent validation - at least for a time this was my question. But as I became more familiar with the epistemological assumptions of

Photography by Rick Palmore

Terence McKenna
Advocated the exploration of altered states of mind via the ingestion of naturally occurring psychedelic substances. He was open to the idea of psychedelics as being “trans–dimensional travel”; literally, enabling an individual to encounter what could be aliens, ancestors, or spirits of earth.


modern science, I slowly realized that the structure of the Western intellectual enterprise is so flimsy at the center that apparently no one knows anything with certitude. It was then that I became less reluctant to talk about these experiences. They are experiences, and as such they are primary data for being. This dimension is not remote, and yet it is so unspeakably bizarre that it casts into doubt all of humanity’s historical assumptions. The psilocybin mushrooms do the same things that DMT does, although the experience builds up over an hour and is sustained for a couple of hours. There is the same confrontation with an alien intelligence and extremely bizarre translinguistic information complexes. These experiences strongly suggest that there is some latent ability of the human brain/body that has yet to be discovered; yet, once discovered, it will be so obvious that it will fall right into the mainstream of cultural evolution. It seems to me that either language is the shadow of this ability or that this ability will be a further extension of language. Perhaps a human language is possible in which the intent of meaning is actually beheld in three-dimensional space. If this can happen on DMT, it means it is at least, under some circumstances, accessible to human beings. Given ten thousand years and high cultural involvement in such a talent, does anyone doubt that it could become a cultural convenience in the

same way that mathematics or language has become a cultural convenience? Naturally, as a result of the confrontation of alien intelligence with organized intellect on the other side, many theories have been elaborated. The theory that I put forth in Psilocybin: The Magic Mushroom Grower’s Guide, held the Stropharia cubensis mushroom was a species that did not evolve on earth. Within the mushroom trance, I was informed that once a culture has complete understanding of its genetic information, it reengineers itself for survival. The Stropharia cubensis mushroom’s version of reengineering is a mycelial network strategy when in contact with planetary surfaces and a spore-dispersion strategy as a means of radiating throughout the galaxy. And, though I am troubled by how freely Bell’s nonlocality theorem is tossed around, nevertheless the alien intellecton the other side does seem to be in possession in a huge body of information drawn from the history of the galaxy. It/they say that there is nothing unusual about this, that humanity’s conceptions of organized intelligence and the dispersion of life in the galaxy are hopelessly culture-bound, that the galaxy has been an organized society for billions of years. Life evolves under so many different regimens of chemistry, temperature, and pressure, that searching for an extraterrestrial who will sit down and have a conversation

with you is doomed to failure. The main problem with searching for extraterrestrials is to recognize them. Time is so vast and evolutionary strategies and evironments so varied that the trick is to know that contact is being made at all. The Stropharia cubensis mushroom, if one can believe what it says in one of its moods, is a symbiote, and it desires ever deeper symbiosis with the human species. It achieved symbiosis with human society early by associating itself with domesticated cattle and through them human nomads. Like the plants men and women grew and the animals they husbanded, the mushroom was able to inculcate itself into the human family, so that where human genes went these other genes would be carried. But the classic mushroom cults of Mexico were destroyed by the coming of the Spanish conquest. The Franciscans assumed they had an absolute monopoly on theophagy, the eating of God; yet in the New World they came upon people calling a mushroom teonanacatl, the flesh of the gods. They set to work, and the Inquisition was able to push the old religion into the mountains of Oaxaca so that it only survived in a few villages when Valentina and Gordon Wasson found it there in the 1950s. There is another metaphor. One must balance these explainations. Now I shall sound as if I didn’t think the mushroom is an extraterrestrial. It may instead be what I’ve recently come to suspect - that the human soul is so alienated from us in our present culture that we treat it as an extraterrestrial. To us the most alien thing in the cosmos is the human soul. Aliens Hollywood-style could arrive on earth tomorrow and the DMT trance would remain more weird and continue to hold more promise for useful information for the human future. It is that intense. Ignorance forced the mushroom cult into hiding. Ignorance burned the libraries of the Hellenistic world at an earlier period and dispersed the ancient knowledge, shattering the stellar and astronomical machinery that had been the work of centuries. By ignorance I


mean the Hellenistic-Christian-Judaic tradition. The inheritors of this tradition built a triumph of mechanism. It was they who later realized the alchemical dreams of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries - and the twentieth century - with the transformation of elements and the discovery of gene transplants. But then, having conquered the New World and driven its people into cultural fragmentation and diaspora, they came unexpectedly upon the body of Osiris - the condensed body of Eros - in the mountains of Mexico where Eros has retreated at the coming of the Christos. And by finding the mushroom, they unleashed it. Phillip K. Dick, in one of his last novels, Valis, discusses the long hibernation of the Logos. A creature of pure information, it was buried in the ground at Nag Hammadi, along with the burying of the Chenoboskion Library circa 370 A.D. As static information, it existed there until 1947, when the texts were translated and read. As soon as people had the information in their minds, the symbiote came alive, for, like the mushroom consciousness, Dick imagined it to be a thing of pure information. The mushroom consciousness is the consciousness of the Other in hyperspace, which means in dream and in the psilocybin trance, at the quantum foundation of being, in the human future, and after death. All of these places that were thought the be discrete and separate are seen to be part of a single continuum. History is the dash over ten to fifteen thousand years from nomadism to flying saucer, hopefully without ripping the envelope of the planet so badly that the birth is aborted and fails, and we remain brutish prisoners of matter. History is the shockwave of eschatology. Something is at the end of time and is casting an enormous shadow over human history, drawing all human becoming toward it. All the wars, the philosophies, the rapes, the pillaging, the migrations, the cities, the civilizations, all of this is occupying a microsecond of geological, planetary, and galactic time

as the monkeys react to the symbiote, which is in the environment and which is feeding information to humanity about the larger picture. I do not belong to the school that wants to attribute all of our accomplishments to knowledge given to us as a gift from friendly aliens - I’m describing something I hope is more profound than that. As nervous systems evolve to higher and higher levels, they come more and more to understand the true situation in which they are embedded, and the true situation in which we are embedded is an organism, an organization of intelligence on a galactic scale. Science and mathematics may be culture-bound. We cannot know for sure, because we have never dealt with an alien mathematics or an alien culture except in the occult realm, and that evidence is inadmissible by the guardians of scientific truth. This means that the contents of shamanic experience and of plant-induced ecstasies are inadmissible even though they are the source of novelty and the cutting edge of the ingression of the novel into the plenum of being. Think about this for a moment: If the human mind does not loom large in the coming history of the human race, then what is to become of us? The future is bound to be psychedelic, because the future belongs to the mind. We are just beginning to push the buttons on the mind. Once we take a serious engineering approach to this, we are going to discover the plasticity, the mutability, the eternal nature of the mind and, I believe, release it from the monkey. My vision of the final human future is an effort to exteriorize the soul and internalize the body, so that the exterior soul will exist as a superconducting lens of translinguistic matter generated out of the body of each of us at a critical juncture at our psychedelic bar mitzvah. From that point on, we will be eternal somewhere in the solid-state matrix of the translinguistic lens we have become. One’s body image will exist as a holographic wave transform while one is at play in the fields of the Lord and living in Elysium.

Other intelligent monkeys have walked this planet. We exterminated them and so now we are unique, but what is loose on this planet is language, self-replicating information systems that reflect functions of DNA: learning, coding, templating, recording, testing, retesting, recodong against DNA functions. The again, language may be a quality of an entirely different order. Whatever language is, it is in us monkeys now and moving through us and moving out of our hands and into the noosphere with which we have surrounded ourselves. The tryptamine state seems to be in one sense transtemporal; it is an anticipation of the future, It is as though Plato’s metaphor were true - that time IS the moving image of eternity. The tryptamine ecstasy is a stepping out of the moving image and into eternity, the eternity of the standing now, the nunc stans of Thomas Aquinas. In that state, all of human history is seen to lead toward this culminating moment. Acceleration is visible in all the processes around us: the fact that fire was discovered several million years ago; language came perhaps thirty-five thousand years ago; measurement, five thousand; Galileo, four hundred; then Watson-Crick and DNA. What is obviously happening is that everything is being drawn together. On the other hand, the description our physicists are giving us of the universe - that it has lasted billions of years and will last billions of years into the future - is a dualistic conception, an inductive projection that is very unsophisticated when applied to the nature of consciousness and language. Consciousness is somehow able to collapse the state vector and thereby cause the stuff of being to undergo what Alfred North Whitehead called “the formality of actually occurring.” Here is the beginning of an understanding of the centrality of human beings. Western societies have been on a decentralizing bender for five hundred years, concluding that the Earth is not the center of the universe and man is not the beloved


of God. We have moved ourselves out toward the edge of the galaxy, when the fact is that the most richly organized material in the universe is the human cerebral cortex, and the densest and richest experience in the universe is the experience you are having right now. Everything should be castellated outward from the perceiving self. That is the primary datum. The perceiving self under the influence of these hallucinogenic plants gives information that is totally at variance with the models that we inherit from our past, yet these dimensions exist. One one level, this information is a matter of no great consequence, for many cultures have understood this for millennia. But we moderns are so grotesquely alienated and taken out of what life is about that to us it comes as a revelation. Without psychedelics the closest we can get to the Mystery is to try to feel in some abstract mode the power of myth or ritual. This grasping is a very over intellectualized and unsatisfying sort of process. As I said, I am an explorer, not a scientist. If I were unique, then none of my conclusions would have any meaning outside the context of myself. My experiences, like yours, have to be more or less part of the human condition. Some may have more facility for such exploration than others, and these states may be difficult to achieve, but they are part of the human condition. There are few clues that these extra dimensional places exist. If art carries images out of the Other from the Logos to the world - drawing ideas down into matter - why is human art history so devoid of what psychedelic voyagers have experienced so totally? Perhaps the flying saucer or UFO is the central motif to be understood in order to get a handle on reality here and now. We are alienated, so alienated that the self must disguise itself as an extraterrestrial in order not to alarm us with the truly bizarre dimensions that it encompasses. When we can love the alien, then we will have begun to heal the psychic discontinuity that has plagued us since at least the sixteenth century, possibly earlier. My testimony is that magic is alive in hyperspace. It is not necessary to believe me, only to form a relationship with these hallucinogenic plants. The fact is that the gnosis comes from plants. There is some certainty that one is dealing with a creature of integrity if one deals with a plant, but the creatures born in the demonic artifice of laboratories have to be dealt with very, very carefully. DMT is an endogenous hallucinogen. It is present in small amounts in the human brain. Also it is important that psilocybin is 4-phosphoraloxy-N, imethyltryptamine and that serotonin, the major neurotransmitter in the human brain, found in all life and most concentrated in humans, is 5-hydroxytryptamine. The very fact that the onset of DMT is so rapid, coming on in forty-five seconds and lasting five minutes, means that the brain is absolutely at home with this compound. On the other hand, a hallucinogen like LSD is retained in the body for some time. I will add a cautionary note. I always feel odd telling people to verify my observations since the sine qua non is the hallucinogenic plant. Experimenters should be very careful. One must build up to the experience. These are bizarre dimensions of extraordinary power and beauty. There is no set rule to avoid being overwhelmed, but move carefully, reflect a great deal, and always try to map experiences back onto the history of the race and the philosophical and religious accomplishments of the species. All the compounds are potentially dangerous, and all compounds, at sufficient doses or repeated over time, involve risks. The library is the first place to go when looking into taking a new compound. We need all the information available to navigate dimensions that are profoundly strange and alien. I have been to Konarak and visited Bubaneshwar. I’m familiar with Hindu iconography and have collected thanks. I saw similarities between my LSD experiences and the iconography of Mahayana Buddhism. In fact, it was LSD


Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is a naturally-occurring tryptamine and potent psychedelic drug, found not only in many plants, but also in trace amounts in the human body where its natural function is undetermined.

experiences that drove me to collect Mahayana art. But what amazed me was the total absence of the motifs of DMT. It is not there; it is not there in any tradition familiar to me. There is a very interesting story by Jorge Luis Borges called “The Sect of the Phoenix.” Allow me to recapitulate. Borges starts out by writing: “There is no human group in which members of the sect do not appear. It is also true that there is no persecution or rigor they have not suffered and perpetrated.” The rite is the only religious practice observed by the sectarians. The rite constitutes the Secret. This transmitted from generation to generation. The act in itself is trivial, momentary, and requires no description. The Secret is sacred, but is always somewhat ridiculous; its performance is furtive and the adept do not speak of it. There are no decent words to name it, but it is understood that all words name it or rather inevitably allude to it. Borges never explicitly says what the Secret is, but if one knows his other story, “The Aleph,” one can put

something, like a flower, like a chrysanthemum in orange and yellow that was sort of spinning, spinning, and then it was like I was pushed from behind and I fell through the chrysanthemum into another place that didn't seem like a state of mind, it seemed like another place. And what was going on in this place aside from the tastefully socketed indirect lighting, and the crawling geometric hallucinations along the domed walls, what was happening was that there were a lot of beings in there, what I call self-transforming machine elves. Sort of like jewelled basketballs all dribbling their way toward me. And if they'd had faces they would have been grinning, but they didn't have faces. And they assured me that they loved me and they told me not to be amazed; not to give way to astonishment.

“So I did itaand there was


these two together and realize that the Aleph is the experience of the Secret of wthe Cult of the Phoenix. In the Amazon, when the mushroom was revealing its information and deputizing us to do various things, we asked, “Why us? Why should we be the ambassadors of an alien species into human culture?” And it answered, “Because you did not believe in anything. Because you have never given over your belief to anyone.” The sect of the phoenix, the cult of this experience, is perhaps millennia old, but it has not yet been brought to light where the historical threads may run. The prehistoric use of ecstatic plants on this planet is not well understood. Until recently, psilocybin mushroom taking was confined to the central isthmus of Mexico. The psilocybin-containing species Stropharia cubensis is not known to be in archaic use in a shamanic rite anywhere in the world. DMT is used in the Amazon and has been for millennia, but by cultures quite primitive - usually nomadic hunter-gatherers. I am baffled by what I call “the black hole effect” that seems to surround DMT. A black hole causes a curvature of space such that no light can leave it, and, since no signal can leave it, no information can leave it. Let us leave aside the issue of whether this is true in practice of spinning black holes. Think of it as a metaphor. Metaphorically, DMT is like an intellectual black hole in that once one knows about it, it is very hard for others to understand what one is talking about. One cannot be heard. The more one is able to articulate what it is, the less others are able to understand. This is why I think people who attain enlightenment, if we may for a moment comap these two things, are silent. They are silent because we cannot understand them. Why the phenomenon of tryptamine ecstasy has not been looked at by scientists, thrill seekers, or anyone else, I am not sure, but I recommend it to your attention. The tragedy of our cultural situation is that we have no shamanic tradition. Shamanism is primarily techniques, not

ritual. It is a set of techniques that have been worked out over millennia that make it possible, though perhaps not for everyone, to explore these areas. People of predilection are noticed and encouraged. In archaic societies where shamanism is a thriving institution, the signs are fairly easy to recognize: oddness or uniqueness in an individual. Epilepsy is often a signature in preliterate societies, or survival of an unusual ordeal in an unexpected way. For instance, people who are struck by lightning and live are thought to make excellent shamans. People who nearly die of a disease and fight their way back to health after weeks and weeks of an indeterminate zone are thought to have strength of soul. Among aspiring shamans there must be some sign of inner strength or a hypersensitivity to trance states. In traveling around the world and dealing with shamans, I find the distinguishing characteristic is an extraordinary centeredness. Usually the shaman is an intellectual and is alienated from society. A good shaman sees exactly who you are and says, “Ah, here’s somebody to have a conversation with.” The anthropological literature always presents shamans as embedded in a tradition, but once one gets to know them they are always very sophisticated about what they are doing. They are the true phenomenologists of this world; they know plant chemistry, yet they call these energy fields “spirits.” We hear the word “spirits” through a series of narrowing declensions of meaning that are worse almost than not understanding. Shamans speak of “spirit” the way a quantum physicist might speak of “charm”; it is a technical gloss for a very complicated concept. It is possible that there are shamanic family lines, at least in the case of hallucinogen-using shamans, because shamanic ability is to some degree determined by how many active receptor sites occur in the brain, thus facilitating these experiences. Some claim to have these experiences naturally, but I am under whelmed by the evidence that this is so. What it comes down to for me

is “What can you show me?” I always ask that question; finally in the Amazon, informants said, “Let’s take our machetes and hike out here half a mile and get some vine and boil it up and we will show you what we can show you.” Let us be clear. People die in these societies that I’m talking about all the time and for all kinds of reasons. Death is really much more among them than it is in our society. Those who have epilepsy who don’t die are brought to the attention of the shaman and trained in breathing and plant usage and other things - the fact is that we don’t really know all of what goes on. These secret information systems have not been well studied. Shamanism is not, in these traditional societies, a terribly pleasant office. Shamans are not normally allowed to have any political power, because they are sacred. The shaman is to be found sitting at the headman’s side in the council meetings, but after the council meeting he returns to his hut at the edge of the village. Shamans are peripheral to society’s goings on in ordinary social life in every sense of the word. They are called on in crisis, and the crisis can be someone dying or ill, a psychological difficulty, a marital quarrel, a theft, or weather that must be predicted. We do not live in that kind of society, so when I explore these plants’ effects and try to call your attention to them, it is as a phenomenon. I don’t know what we can do with this phenomenon, but I have a feeling that the potential is great. The mind-set that I always bring to it is simply exploratory and Baconian - the mapping and gathering of facts. Herbert Guenther talks about human uniqueness and says one must come to terms with one’s uniqueness. We are naive about the role of language and being as the primary facts of experience. What good is a theory of how the universe works if it’s a series of tensor equations that, even when understood, come nowhere tangential to experience? The only intellectual or noetic or spiritual path worth following is one that builds on personal experience. What the mushroom says about itself is


this: that it is an extraterrestrial organism, that spores can survive the conditions of interstellar space. They are deep, deep purple - the color that they would have to be to absorb the deep ultraviolet end of the spectrum. The casing of a spore is one of the hardest organic substances known. The electron density approaches that of a metal. Is it possible that these mushrooms never evolved on earth? That is what the Stropharia cubensis itself suggests. Global currents may form on the outside of the spore. The spores are very light and by Brownian motion are capable of percolation to the edge if the planet’s atmosphere. Then, through interaction with energetic particles, some small number could actually escape into space. Understand that this is an evolutionary strategy where only one in many billions of spores actually makes the transition between the stars - a biological strategy for radiating throughout the galaxy without a technology. Of course this happens over very long periods of time. But if you think that the galaxy is roughly 100,000 light-years from edge to edge, if something were moving only one onehundredth the speed of light - now that’s not a tremendous speed that presents problems to any advanced technology - it could cross the galaxy in one hundred million years. There’s life on this planet 1.8 billion years old; that’s eighteen times longer than one hundred million years. So, looking at the galaxy on those time scales, one sees that the percolation of spores between the stars is a perfectly viable strategy for biology. It might take millions of years, but it’s the same principle by which plants migrate into a desert or across an ocean. There are no fungi in the fossil record older than forty million years. The orthodox explanation is that fungi are soft-bodied and do not fossilize well, but on the other hand we have fossilized soft-bodied worms and other benthic marine invertebrates from South African gunflint chert that is dated to over a billion years. I don’t necessarily believe what the mushroom tells me; rather we have a dialogue. It is a very strange person and has many bizarre

opinions. I entertain it the way I would any eccentric friend. I say, “Well, so that’s what you think.” When the mushroom began saying it was an extraterrestrial, I felt that I was placed in the dilemma of a child who wishes to destroy a radio to see if there are little people inside. I couldn’t figure out whether the mushroom is the alien or the mushroom is some kind of technological artifact allowing me to hear the alien when the alien is actually light-years aways, using some kind of Bell nonlocality principle to communicate.

Art by Rick Palmore


The noosphere “as the "sphere ofcan be seen human

Proposed the phenomena of noosphere; an emerging ecology that is all around us, becoming more evident in ways such as the Internet which is everywhere all at once, or at least soon to be.

thought" being derived from the Greek νους ("nous") meaning "mind" in the style of "atmosphere" and "biosphere". In the original theory of Vernadsky, the noosphere is the third in a succession of phases of development of the Earth, after the geosphere (inanimate matter) and the biosphere (biological life). Just as the emergence of life fundamentally transformed the geosphere, the emergence of human cognition fundamentally transforms the biosphere. In contrast to the conceptions of the Gaia theorists, or the promoters of cyberspace, Vernadsky's noosphere emerges at the point where humankind, through the mastery of nuclear processes, begins to create resources through the transmutation of elements.

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Art by Rick Palmore

by A.G. Nazarov
V.I.Vernadsky had no time to develop himself an integral doctrine about noosphere. In the 20s of the last century he still considered human activity as a force alien to biosphere, but 15 to 20 years later he put forward an idea of biosphere’s “transmutation”, “transition” into noosphere. V.I.Vernadsky had in view that human beings would undertake control and government of all global processes of substance and energy exchange, but he did not point out how specifically all this would happen. Vernadsky believed that one of important prerequisites for noosphere formation was “complete populating of biosphere by human beings”, and the main indications of imminent transition was extinction of multiple species of wild animals and plants, as well as amelioration of vast areas. Nowadays, these changes that made the scientist so glad have grown up to reach the scope of global ecological crisis. Noospheric reality – this is the destruction of our natural habitat. Nevertheless, hundreds of scientists, followers of Vernadsky, hope that his theory will permit to overcome the current ecological crisis. Relationship between noospheric doctrine and ecology are not simple in general. Vernadsky did not virtually refer to ecologists in his works, and ecologists do not practically discuss now the idea of biosphere turning into noosphere. In A.G. Nazarov’s opinion, “transmutation” of biosphere is not possible even theoretically. To manage all biospheric processes, mankind should control their information flows. But a single bacterium lets pass through itself as much information as a contemporary PC does. The total amount of such cells on the Earth makes 10 in the 28th power. That is 20 times higher that the number of people on the planet and 22 times more than the number of computers available. It is beyond mankind’s power to cope with the information gap of such extent. So, entire biosphere is beyond human control, but human beings will probably be able to govern some part of it. Now, human beings control only several dozens of domestic animal species and about 300 species of cultivated plants. However, artificial communities (agrocoenoses) created by human beings are very simplified and therefore are unable to perform autoregulation. Agrocoenoses ruin natural ecosustems surrounding them, significantly yielding in productivity (sometimes by several times). Reclaimed meadows demonstrate the highest productivity – 22.4 tons per hectare, and taiga’s productivity is 400. Agrocoenoses cannot exist without fertilizers and pesticides that contaminate both environment and the harvest itself. Mankind is unable to cope with vermin, weeds, pathogens, ecosystem degradation. It is unable to do away with wastes: even partial elimination of wastes requires enormous expenses and energy consumption. Complete wastelessness is impossible for the same reasons. The social evolution rate together with all its destroying impacts on biosphere is 3 to 5 times higher than the biological evolution rate, this excluding possibility for any adaptation of biosphere to man-caused changes. Therefore, adaptatin in the “nature-society” system is possible only in case if mankind accommodates itself to the laws of biosphere and strictly adheres to them. However, for the time being man and nature are in state of war, and we are now witnessing biosphere’s attempts to “discard” man through new diseases, genetic and mental disorders as the most hazardous organism. In A.G. Nazarov’s opinion, it is necessary to control not biosphere but “noospheroegenesis”, i.e. to implement only comprehensively justified actions, which lessen acuteness of contradictions between nature and society. Such co-adaptation strategy as regards to biosphere may and should include reduction of the Earth’s population, limitation of consumption, formation of new biospheric education, which fully contradicts to Vernadsky’s main ideas. However, these measures can (according to estimates of the Roman Club members) decrease antropogenic burden on biosphere by 1,000 times and more. Carrying out of such strategy would not at all infringe upon human rights and personal liberty, as it is aimed at ensuring the highest human right to live and at improving quality of life. Provided this strategy is adopted, the “age of noosphere” may only be welcomed at least as unrealizable, but alluring goal, inspiring hope for longer mankind’s survival.


Can we be swayed by Symbols?
by Eugene Pitout
Absolutely. I don't care what you believe, you will think twice before drinking from the bottle with the skull and bones symbol on it that appeared in your medicine cabinet. When you see a building with a cross on it you will definitely know its some Christian building of some kind and depending on your belief it could sway you to be quietly respectful or to get the hell away from there. Symbols are very powerful tools to be used in spiritual practices. We use Reiki symbols to heal and then we have pentagrams and flower of life and all kinds of symbols and sacred geometry that we use to enhance the energies of our intent. Why do they work and how? For the sake of this article I will explain it as simple as I understand them. A symbol is a representation of something. When a Christian sees a Jesus cross for example there is a whole anagrammatic memory that they have that combines all the times in their lives where they did something where there was a cross present. Sunday's, weddings funerals and mass all combine to create a unique emotional energy signature that they have around the symbol. In the same way when you want to manifest another personal reality for yourself you can use a symbol. You might want to manifest a European tour but it takes a long time to visualize it in one breath, so you might package the whole visualization of a European holiday into a symbol like a Euro dollar for example and then when the time comes to place your intent or manifestation to the universe in one breath you just offer the Euro Dollar symbol. That is another use. Then we have ancient symbols from ancient times that we use to do things with. We have lived thousands upon thousands of lives and in those lives we were many things. From kings to wizards to paupers, we were them all. Now we might not remember the life we lived but subconsciously we still remember

Through renaming actions “and relabeling decisions wewe take make, we turn what may be unacceptable into socially approved behaviors.

the power symbols we used to create our magic in those lives. When you show those symbols to your subconscious it opens energy portals for you that enables you to empower whatever you are busy with. Therefore Reiki symbols work and the old antakarana is one of the most powerful healing symbols from Tibet that we use to this day. A blue pentagram on your screen of consciousness when you meditate for example will still act as a key to open the portal between your God self and your human self and enable you to manifest many divine aspects for yourself. Ancient symbols carry with them the power of the collective. Many people in all time used them for the same purpose so even if you haven't dealt with them ever, they will still have power. Intuitive people and psychics sometimes immediately feel the power of a symbol even when you just think it up.


This is Your Brain
by Jack Hitt
Over a scratchy speaker, a researcher announces, "Jack, one of your electrodes is loose, we're coming in." The 500– pound steel door of the experimental chamber opens with a heavy whoosh; two technicians wearing white lab coats march in. They remove the Ping– Pong–ball halves taped over my eyes and carefully lift a yellow motorcycle helmet that's been retrofitted with electromagnetic field-emitting solenoids on the sides, aimed directly at my temples. Above the left hemisphere of my 42–year–old male brain, they locate the dangling electrode, needed to measure and track my brain waves. The researchers slather more conducting cream into the graying wisps of my red hair and press the securing tape hard into my scalp. After restoring everything to its proper working position, the techies exit, and I'm left sitting inside the utterly silent, utterly black vault. A few commands are typed into a computer outside the chamber, and selected electromagnetic fields begin gently thrumming my brain's temporal lobes. The fields are no more intense than what you'd get as by–product from an ordinary blow– dryer, but what's coming is anything but ordinary. My lobes are about to be bathed with precise wavelength patterns that are supposed to affect my mind in a stunning way, artificially inducing the sensation that I am seeing God. I'm taking part in a vanguard experiment on the physical sources of spiritual consciousness, the current work– in–progress of Michael Persinger, a neuropsychologist at Canada's Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario. His theory is that the sensation described as "having a religious experience" is merely a side effect of our bicameral brain's feverish activities. Simplified considerably, the idea goes like so: When the right hemisphere of the brain, the seat of emotion, is stimulated in the cerebral region presumed to control notions of self, and then the left hemisphere, the seat of language, is called upon to make sense of this nonexistent entity, the mind generates a "sensed presence." Persinger has tickled the temporal lobes of more than 900 people before me and has concluded, among other things, that different subjects label this ghostly perception with the names that their cultures have trained them to use; Elijah, Jesus, the Virgin Mary, Mohammed, the Sky Spirit. Some subjects have emerged with Freudian interpretations, describing the presence as one's grandfather, for instance – while others, agnostics with more than a passing faith in UFOs, tell something that sounds more like a standard alien-abduction story. It may seem sacrilegious and presumptuous to reduce God to a few ornery synapses, but modern neuroscience isn't shy about defining our most sacred notions; love, joy, altruism, pity, as nothing more than static from our impressively large cerebrums. Persinger goes one step further. His work practically constitutes a Grand Unified Theory of the Otherworldly: He believes cerebral fritzing is responsible for almost anything one might describe as paranormal, aliens, heavenly apparitions, past-life sensations, near-death experiences, awareness of the soul, you name it. To those of us who prefer a little mystery in our lives, it all sounds like a letdown. And as I settle in for my mind trip, I'm starting to get apprehensive. I'm a lapsed Episcopalian clinging to only a hazy sense of the divine, but I don't especially like the idea that whatever vestigial faith I have in the Almighty's existence might get clinically lobotomized by Persinger's demo. Do I really want God to be rendered as explicable and predictable as an endorphin rush after a 3–mile run? The journey from my home in Connecticut to the mining district north of Lake Huron is, by modern standards, arduous. Given what's in store, it's also strangely fitting. When you think of people seeking divine visions, you imagine them trekking to some mountainous cloister. The pilgrimage to Persinger's lab is the clinical counterpart.


Art by Rick Palmore

on God
The trip involves flying in increasingly smaller puddle–jumpers with increasingly fewer propellers until you land in the ore–rich Ontario town of Sudbury, a place that's been battered by commerce, geography, and climate. Jags of red rock and black iron erupt from the landscape, often bolting right out of the pavement. The weather-beaten concrete exteriors of the city's buildings speak of long, harsh winters. A short car ride through stony suburbs ends at a forlorn cluster of a dozen buildings: Laurentian University. Near Parking Lot 4, I am met by Charles Cook, a grad student of Persinger's. He leads me into the science building's basement, then to the windowless confines of Room C002B, Persinger's lair. Waiting there is Linda St–Pierre, another graduate student, who prompts me to sit down, then launches into a series of psychological questions. I answer a range of true–or–false statements from an old version of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, a test designed to ferret out any nuttiness that might disqualify me from serving as a study subject. When read individually, the questions seem harmless, but as a group they sound hopelessly antiquated, as if the folks who devised the exam hadn't checked the warehouse for anachronisms in five decades: • • • • • I like to read mechanics magazines. Someone is trying to poison me. I have successful bowel movements. I know who is trying to get me. As a child, I enjoyed playing drop–the–handkerchief. I'm escorted into the chamber, an old sound–experiment booth. The tiny room doesn't appear to have been redecorated since it was built in the early '70s. The frayed spaghettis of a brown-and-white shag carpet, along with huge, wall–mounted speakers covered in glittery black nylon, surround a spent brown recliner upholstered in the prickly polymers of that time. The chair, frankly, is repellent. Hundreds of subjects have settled into its itchy embrace, and its brown contours are spotted with dollops of electrode–conducting cream, dried like toothpaste, giving the seat the look of a favored seagulls' haunt. Persinger’s research forays are at the very frontier of the roiling field of neuroscience, the biochemical approach to the study of the brain. Much of what we hear about the discipline is anatomical stuff, involving the mapping of the brain’s many folds and networks, performed by reading PET scans, observing blood flows, or deducing connections from stroke and accident victims who’ve suffered serious brain damage. But cognitive neuroscience is also a grab bag of more theoretical pursuits that can range from general consciousness studies to finding the neural basis for all kinds of sensations. As the work piles up, many things that we hold to be unique aspects of the “self” are reduced to mere tics of cranial function. Take laughter. According to Vilayanur Ramachandran, professor of neuroscience at UC San Diego, laughter is just the brain’s way of signaling that a fearful circumstance is not really so worrisome. At a conference earlier this year, he posited that the classic banana– peel pratfall is funny only when the victim gets up, and that we laugh to alert “other members of [our] kin that, ‘Look, there has been a false alarm here; don’t waste your resources rushing to help.’” He calls laughter “nature’s OK signal.” Of course, this type of deromanticizing has been going on for a while; Persinger’s brain manipulations have crude antecedents in the 1950s, the roaring decade for behaviorism. Back then, Yale physiologist Jose Delgado earned national renown by implanting electrodes into the brains of live animals and attaching them to a “stimoceiver” under the skull. In a technique called ESB – electronic stimulation of the brain; Delgado sent radio signals through the electrodes to control the animal. In one demonstration in the early 1960s, he used his electronic gizmo to halt a charging bull.


Michael Persinger
Has a vision that the Almighty isn’t dead, he is an energy field. And your mind is an electromagnetic map around your soul.

William Calvin, a professor of behavioral sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle, says that Persinger’s line of inquiry is no more mysterious than another pursuit that intrigues neuroscientists: trying to understand the sensations of déjà vu or its opposite, jamais vu – the feeling, during a familiar routine, that we’re doing it for the first time. Maybe these feelings, like God, are just more fritzing in the electricity arcing about our brains. Persinger arrives soon after St–Pierre has judged me sane enough to enter Room C002B. “I see that Mr. Cook has been as punctual as usual,” he says, extending a hand in greeting. Persinger, 54, blends a crisp, scientific demeanor with a mischievous smile, but overall he’s a very serious man. His erect posture is enhanced by a dark, pin–striped, three–piece suit with a gold chain swag at the bottom of the vest. His sentences are clipped and stripped of any vernacular, so painstakingly scientific that they can be coy. For example, he tells me that he is actually an American Among practicing neuroscientists, there who “moved to Canada in July of 1969, is no overarching consensus on whether because I had a rather major ethical such notions are correct. Persinger is disagreement with my government.” certainly out on a frontier where theory meets the boldest sort of speculation, but It takes me a follow-up or two before I realize he had dodged the draft. As there’s nothing inherently bizarre about his methods or the questions he’s asking. the researchers fit my helmet, I ask: Has Delgado’s relatively coarse stunts were a long way from Persinger’s quest for the God spot, but Persinger is not the first to theorize that the Creator exists only in the complex landscape of the human noggin. In his controversial 1976 book, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, Julian Jaynes, a Princeton psychologist, argued that the brain activity of ancient people; those living roughly 3,500 years ago, prior to early evidence of consciousness such as logic, reason, and ethics, would have resembled that of modern schizophrenics. Jaynes maintained that, like schizophrenics, the ancients heard voices, summoned up visions, and lacked the sense of metaphor and individual identity that characterizes a more advanced mind. He said that some of these ancestral synaptic leftovers are buried deep in the modern brain, which would explain many of our present–day sensations of God or spirituality.

By stringing together a number “of different electromagnetic fields, it is possible to prompt a complicated chemical reaction on the genetic level; for example, directing the body’s natural self– healing instincts.


anyone ever freaked out in the chair? Persinger smiles slightly and describes when a subject suffered an “adverse experience” and succumbed to an “interpretation that the room was hexed.” When I ask if, say, the subject ripped all this equipment from his flesh and ran screaming from the dungeon, Persinger curtly replies: “Yes, his heart rate did go up and he did want to leave and of course he could because that is part of the protocol.” One more time: Has anyone freaked out in the chair? “His EKG was showing that he moved very, very quickly and dramatically,” Persinger offers, “and that he was struggling to take off the electrodes.” Technically speaking, what’s about to happen is simple. Using his fixed wavelength patterns of electromagnetic fields, Persinger aims to inspire a feeling of a sensed presence; he claims he can also zap you with euphoria, anxiety, fear, even sexual stirring. Each of these electromagnetic patterns is represented by columns of numbers - thousands of them, ranging from 0 to 255; that denote the increments of output for the computer generating the EM bursts. Some of the bursts; which Persinger more precisely calls “a series of complex repetitive patterns whose frequency is modified variably over time”, have

generated their intended effects with great regularity, the way aspirin causes pain relief. Persinger has started naming them and is creating a sort of EM pharmacological dictionary. The pattern that stimulates a sensed presence is called the Thomas Pulse, named for Persinger’s colleague Alex Thomas, who developed it. There’s another one called Burst X, which reproduces what Persinger describes as a sensation of “relaxation and pleasantness.” A new one, the Linda Genetic Pulse, is named for my psychometrist, Linda St–Pierre. Persinger says St-Pierre is conducting a massive study on rats to determine the ways in which lengthy exposures to particular electromagnetic pulses can “affect gene expression.” After spending a little time with Persinger, you get accustomed to the fact that his most polite phrases demand pursuit. Affect gene expression? It sounds so simple, but what he’s really talking about is stringing together a number of different electromagnetic fields to prompt a complicated chemical reaction on the genetic level; for example, directing the body’s natural self–healing instincts. “We want to enhance what

the brain does to help heal the body,” Persinger explains. “Among more sensitive individuals, tests show that their skin will turn red if they believe a hot nickel has been placed on their hand. That’s a powerful psychosomatic effect of the brain on the body. Suppose we could make it more precise?” Persinger envisions a series of EM patterns that work the way drugs do. Just as you take an antibiotic and it has a predictable result, you might be exposed to precise EM patterns that would signal the brain to carry out comparable effects. Another possible application: Hollywood. Persinger has talked to Douglas Trumbull, the special–effects wizard responsible for the look of everything from 2001: A Space Odyssey to Brainstorm. They discussed the technological possibility of marrying Persinger’s helmet with virtual reality. “If you’ve done virtual reality,” Persinger says, “then you know that once you put on the helmet, you always know you are inside the helmet. The idea is to create a form of entertainment that is more real.” But he adds, sounding like so many people who’ve gotten a call from the coast, “we haven’t cut a deal yet.” I am being withdrawn from my body and set adrift in an infinite existential


emptiness. Soon enough, it’s time for the good professor to wish me well and lob this last caveat: “If, for whatever reason, you become frightened or want to end the experiment, just speak into your lapel microphone.” When the door closes and I feel nothing but the weight of the helmet on my head and the Ping-Pong balls on my eyes, I start giving serious thought to what it might be like to “see” God, artificially produced or not. Nietzsche’s last sane moment occurred when he saw a carter beating a horse. He beat the carter, hugged the horse while sobbing uncontrollably, and was then carried away. I can imagine that. I see myself having a powerful vision of Jesus, and coming out of the booth wet with tears of humility, wailing for mercy from my personal savior. Instead, after I adjust to the darkness and the cosmic susurrus of absolute silence, I drift almost at once into a warm bath of oblivion. Something is definitely happening. During the 35– minute experiment, I feel a distinct sense of being withdrawn from the envelope of my body and set adrift in an infinite existential emptiness, a deep sensation of waking slumber. The machines outside the chamber report an uninterrupted alertness on my part. (If the researchers see the easily recognized EEG pattern of sleep, they wake you over the speakers.) Occasionally, I surface to an alpha state where I sort of know where I am, but not quite. This feeling is cool; like being

reinserted into my body. Then there’s a separation again, of body and soul, and, almost by my will, I happily allow myself to drift back to the surprisingly bearable lightness of oblivion. In this floating state, several ancient childhood memories are jarred loose. Suddenly, I am sitting with Scott Allen on the rug in his Colonial Street house in Charleston, South Carolina, circa 1965, singing along to “Moon River” and clearly hearing, for the first time since then, Scott’s infectiously frenzied laughter. I reexperience the time I spent the night with Doug Appleby and the discomfort I felt at being in a house that was so punctiliously clean. (Doug’s dad was a doctor.) I also remember seeing Joanna Jacobs’ small and perfect breasts, unholstered beneath the linen gauze of her hippie blouse, circa 1971. Joanna was my girlfriend when I was 14. When I was sent off to boarding school, she and I recorded cassette tapes to one another. As a teenager, Joanna was a spiritual woman and talked a lot about transcendental meditation. Off at boarding school, I signed up and got my mantra from the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, right around the time Joanna dropped me to move on to a tougher crowd. If I had to pin down when I felt this dreamy state before, of being in the

presence of something divine, it would be back then, in the euphoric, romantic hope that animated my adolescent efforts at meditation. That soothing feeling of near–sleep has always been associated with what I imagined should have happened between Joanna Jacobs and me. Like the boy in James Joyce’s The Dead, Joanna was a perfect memory, all the potential of womanly love distilled into the calming mantra–guided drone of fecund rest. I’m not sure what it says about me that the neural sensation designed to prompt visions of God set loose my ancient feelings about girls. But then, I’m not the first person to conflate God with late–night thoughts of getting laid, read more about it in Saint Augustine, Saint John of the Cross, or Deepak Chopra. So: Something took place. Still, when the helmet comes off and they shove a questionnaire in my hand, I feel like a failure. One question: Did the red bulb on the wall grow larger or smaller? There was a red bulb on the wall? I hadn’t noticed. Many other questions suggest that there were other experiences I should have had, but to be honest, I didn’t. In fact, as transcendental experiences go, on a scale of 1 to 10, Persinger’s helmet falls somewhere around, oh, 4. Even though I did have a fairly convincing out–of–body experience, I’m disappointed relative to the great expectations and anxieties I had going in. It may be that all the


preliminary talk about visions just set my rational left hemisphere into highly skeptical overdrive. Setting me up like that, you will experience the presence of God - might have been a mistake. When I bring this up later with Persinger, he tells me that the machine’s effects differ among people, depending on their “lability”, Persinger jargon meaning sensitivity or vulnerability. “Also, you were in a comfortable laboratory,” he points out. “You knew nothing could happen to you. What if the same intense experience occurred at 3 in the morning in a bedroom all by yourself? Or you suddenly stalled on an abandoned road at night when you saw a peculiar light and then had that experience? What label would you have placed on it then?” Point taken. I’d probably be calling Art Bell once a week, alerting the world to the alien invasion. But then, Persinger continued, being labile is itself a fluctuating condition. There are interior factors that can exacerbate it; stress, fear, injury, and exterior sources that might provoke odd but brief disturbances in the usually stable electromagnetic fields around us. Persinger theorizes, for example, that just prior to earthquakes there are deformations in the natural EM field caused by the intense pressure change in the tectonic plates below. He has published a paper called “The Tectonic Strain Theory as an

Explanation for UFO Phenomena,” in which he maintains that around the time of an earthquake, changes in the EM field could spark mysterious lights in the sky. A labile observer, in Persinger’s view, could easily mistake the luminous display for an alien visit. As we sit in his office, Persinger argues that other environmental disturbances, ranging from solar flares and meteor showers to oil drilling, probably correlate with visionary claims, including mass religious conversions, ghost lights, and haunted houses. He says that if a region routinely experiences mild earthquakes or other causes of change in the electromagnetic fields, this may explain why the spot becomes known as sacred ground. That would include the Hopi tribe’s hallowed lands, Delphi, Mount Fuji, the Black Hills, Lourdes, and the peaks of the Andes, not to mention most of California. From time to time, a sensed presence can also occur among crowds, Persinger says, thereby giving the divine vision the true legitimacy of a common experience, and making it practically undeniable. “One classic example was the apparition of Mary over the Coptic Church in Zeitoun, Egypt, in the 1960s,” he continues. “This phenomenon lasted off and on for several years. It was seen by thousands of people, and the appearance seemed to precede the disturbances that occurred during the building of the Aswan High Dam. I have multiple examples of

reservoirs being built or lakes being filled, and reports of luminous displays and UFO flaps. But Zeitoun was impressive.” Persinger says there were balls of light that moved around the cross atop the church. “They were influenced by the cross, of course. It looked like a circle with a triangle on the bottom. If you had an imagination, it looked like a person. Upside down, by the way, it was the classical UFO pattern. It’s curious that this happened during a marked increase in hostilities between Egyptians and Israelis, and both interpreted the phenomenon as proof that they would be successful. It’s just so classical of human beings. Take an anomalous event, and one group will interpret it one way, and another group another.” Might it surprise anyone to learn, in view of Persinger’s theories, that when Joseph Smith was visited by the angel Moroni before founding Mormonism, and when Charles Taze Russell started the Jehovah’s Witnesses, powerful Leonid meteor showers were occurring? Taken together, Persinger’s ideas and published studies go awfully far - he’s claiming to identify the premium mobile underlying all the supernatural stories we’ve developed over the last few thousand years. You might think Christians would be upset that this professor in Sudbury is trying to do with physics what Nietzsche did with metaphysics, kill off God. Or you might think that devout ufologists would


denounce him for putting neuroscience on the side of the skeptics. “Actually, it’s more a mind-set that gets disturbed than a particular belief,” offers Persinger. “Some Christians say, ‘Well, God invented the brain, so of course this is how it would happen.’ UFO types say, ‘This is good. Now we can tell the fake UFO sightings from the real ones.’” Oh, I have no doubt. I mean, who among all the churchgoers and alien fiends will let some distant egghead with a soupedup motorcycle helmet spoil their fun? It goes without saying that the human capacity to rationalize around Persinger’s theory is far greater than all the replicated studies science could produce. The real tradition Persinger falls into is that of trying to explain away mystical experience. Jaynes thought visitations from God were mere aural detritus from the Stone Age. And just recently, another study suggested that sleep paralysis might account for visions of God and alien abduction. Who knows? Perhaps mystical visions are in fact nothing more than a bit of squelchy feedback in the temporal lobes. But that’s such a preposterously small part of what most people think of when they think of God, it seems insanely grandiose to suggest that anyone has explained away “God.” It’s almost ironic. Every so often during one of America’s little creation-science tempests, some humorless rationalist

like Stephen Jay Gould steps forward to say that theology is an inadequate foundation for the study of science. Noted. And vice versa. But Persinger’s ideas are harder to shake off than that. When I return to America, I am greeted by the news that massive intersections of power lines do not, in fact, cause cancer. For years scientists had advanced the power line-cancer connection, based on the results of Robert Liburdy’s benchmark 1992 study. But a tip to the federal Office of Research Integrity initiated an investigation of Liburdy’s work; it found that his data had been falsified. Persinger’s experiments and resulting theories suggest some new ideas about our waning 20th century, which began with Thomas Edison convincing the world to cocoon itself inside electrically wired shelters, throbbing with pulses of electromagnetic fields. Granted, those fields are quite weak, arguably too tiny to affect our physical bodies in ways Liburdy had suggested. But what about Persinger’s notion that such fields may be tinkering with our consciousness? Is it a coincidence that this century, known as the age of anxiety, a time rife with various hysterias, the era that gave birth to existentialism, is also when we stepped inside an electromagnetic bubble and decided to live there? We have never quite comprehended that we walk about in a sea of mild electromagnetism just as we do air. It is part of our atmosphere,

part of the containing bath our consciousness swims in. Now we are altering it, heightening it, condensing it. The bubble is being increasingly shored up with newer, more complicated fields: computers, pagers, cell phones. Every day, entrepreneurs invent more novel ways to seduce us into staying inside this web. The Internet is well named. Naturally, many people would presume that such a change must be a malignant force when directed at the delicate gossamer of consciousness. Yet evolution is a tricky business. Accidental changes often turn out to be lifesaving preparations for some other condition that could never have been predicted. A few might see a world of possibility in Persinger’s theories. His booth has helped us discover and confirm our true predicament. “Seeing God” is really just a soothing euphemism for the fleeting awareness of ourselves alone in the universe: a look in that existential mirror. The “sensed presence”, now easily generated by a machine pumping our brains with electromagnetic spirituality, is nothing but our exquisite and singular self, at one with the true solitude of our condition, deeply anxious. We’re itching to get out of here, to escape this tired old environment with its frayed carpets, blasted furniture, and shabby old God. Time to move on and discover true divinity all over again.


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Transpersonal Psychology
Transpersonal psychology is a fundamental area of research, scholarship and application based on people's experiences of temporarily transcending our usual identification with our limited biological, historical, cultural and personal self and, at the deepest and most profound levels of experience possible, recognizing/being "something" of vast intelligence and compassion that encompasses/is the entire universe. From this perspective our ordinary, "normal" biological, historical, cultural and personal self is seen as an important, but quite partial (and often pathologically distorted) manifestation or expression of this much greater "something" that is our deeper origin and destination.
We are forced to use imprecise terms like "something" because ordinary language, as a partial manifestation of our ordinary self, which is itself a partial manifestation of our deeper transpersonal "self," is of only partial use in our research and practice in transpersonal psychology, and needs to be supplemented with other expressive and communicative modalities. Transpersonal experiences generally have a profoundly transforming effect on the lives of those who experience them, both inspiring those experiencers with an understanding

Charles Tart, PhD
American psychologist and parapsychologist known for his psychological work on the nature of consciousness (particularly altered states of consciousness), as one of the founders of the field of transpersonal psychology, and for his research in scientific parapsychology.

Hypnosis is probably “closest metaphor as a the state

but I don't know if I could equate it [with television watching]. Hypnosis is a state where you destabilize the ordinary state and then eventually get people into an altered state where they will follow a particular stimulus input much more strongly and with much less critical reflection than they would normally; there is certainly a lot of comparability there.

of great love, compassion and nonordinary kinds of intelligence, and also making them more aware of the distorting and pathological limitations of their ordinary selves that must be worked with and transformed for full psychological and spiritual maturity. Because people ordinarily identify primarily with the personal, which tends to separate us, rather than with the transpersonal, which experientially impresses us with our fundamental unity and oneness with each other and all life, intelligent knowledge of and/or contact with the transpersonal can thus be of great potential value in solving the problems of a world divided against itself. Conventional scholarly disciplines and activities are thus subsets of the general transpersonal perspective, important and useful in themselves, but limited. Transpersonal psychology, as both an area of scholarly and scientific study and as an area of therapeutically applied discipline, is one of these subsets, focused on the psychological factors that either facilitate or inhibit contact with and understanding of the transpersonal and the effects of transpersonal experiences on the rest of life. Transpersonal psychology draws knowledge and practices from mainstream psychology, anthropology, history, sociology and other disciplines when helpful and needed, and tries to understand them from the more inclusive transpersonal perspective.


Alien Gardens Mysterious origins Origins
of Crop Plants
by Will Hart
Today modern plant geneticists are performing what would have been deemed impossible, a century ago, by creating new, hybrid plants that have never existed before in nature. As incredible as it may seem, a new type of corn (Btcorn), actually the combination of a bacteria and normal corn is already in the fields. Why was a bacteria injected into the genes of corn? Because Bacillus thuringiensis helps the new hybrid ‘planteria’ fight off worms. How is a designer plant like Btcorn created? Technicians carefully take genetic material from the bacteria, isolate specific parts of its DNA, and insert it into the DNA of corn. Then the desired transformation is achieved in a tissue culture. Technically referred to as transgenetic plants, designer vegetables involve the transfer of DNA from one organism to another. The hybridization seeks to improve the plant, at least from a human perspective. We are already creating plantanimals. Why is it then so farfetched to envision an advanced race — hundreds of millions of years more sophisticated than we are — genetically engineering life on Earth? In fact, it is a plausible scenario as Sir Francis Crick showed in his book Life Itself and this author will attempt to prove in The Genesis Race series. Most soybean plants grown in the U.S. now have been genetically altered to survive the application of powerful herbicides. Btcorn is widely grown and as shown above was engineered to produce its own organic pesticide thereby rendering the plants poisonous to earworms. Growth hormone has been isolated in bovine DNA and inserted into pigs to increase their weight rapidly and to reduce fat. Dolly, the first genetically cloned sheep, has already paved the way for other biogenetic experiments with animal cloning. This combination ‘alien garden’ and Twilight Zone barnyard is not all that lurks on our hi-tech farms of today. Just beyond the perfect rows of uniformly green, identical corn plants is a patch of ground in the Mid– West enclosed by an electric fence. The small, 10–acre plot has been planted with a test crop, or rather a genetically engineered “pharmacrop”, of corn that has been created to make a human enzyme. It is hoped that the new hybrid corn will produce lipase, an enzyme used in treating cystic fibrosis. “Pharming,” the practice of altering corn, tobacco, and other plans to make drugs for humans and animals, has been getting

Agriculture should, “doubt actually does,and no extend

back tens of thousands of years and not the 9,000 that modern science contends.


a lot attention in the biotech industryand attracting plenty of controversy,” reporter Lucinda Fleeson wrote earlier this year. The article was titled ‘A Cure for the common farm?’ It was published in Mother Jones in April 2003. However, bizarre and potentially risky these bio– gen farming experiments are, Genitcally Modified Foods (GMOs) and pharming are sources of controversy and bitter debate in Europe. However, they have not received the press coverage in America where their presence is much greater. It may seem that I am writing this article to either raise awareness of GMOs, to alert you to their potential dangers, or to sing the “gee whiz” praises of our newest industry. However, none of the above is my actual intent. My concern is altogether different. I want to know exactly how we got here so quickly? I recall the days when horses were harnessed to pull ploughs and manure fertilized fields. In fact, that form of agriculture was developed in Sumer and lasted some 4500 years. What happened since the 1950s? How did we get here in the broadest sense from the wild grasses, the ancestors of modern cereal crops -- to these Frankenplants? If you think that our modern geneticists and plant scientists know the answers and can point to the evidence showing how our primitive Stone Age ancestors domesticated wild plants, you are a victim of a scientific shell game. That is what you are supposed to

assume. However, the history of plant domestication is fuzzy, full of ‘missing links’ and logical inconsistencies though the public is given the impression that the history of agriculture holds no real mysteries. We are told in our history and anthropological textbooks that our fist civilizations were spawned on the heels of the ‘agricultural revolution, which occurred in major river valleys. What the textbooks fail to tell us is that our Stone Age predecessors did not harvest and eat the seeds of wild grasses during their long sojourn through the Paleolithic era. They were hunter–gathers who subsisted on leafy greens and lean muscle meats. How come they suddenly figured out how to domesticate and turn into major food sources circa 5,000 BC? This raises some obvious and very sticky questions concerning the period of trial and error experimentation and development that must have gone into domesticating wild wheat into bread wheat and wild corn into the domesticated variety. Let us begin with the enigma of the modern corn plant. The humble origin of corn remains mysterious because the ancestral wild plant has never been located. It is an established, scientific fact that corn is a cultigen, a plant engineered by humans. This means that it has become so altered by humans that it cannot reproduce naturally and is entirely dependent upon man’s

continued cultivation. In short, it is now a man–made plant and has been for some time. Scientists have not been able to trace the lineage of corn to the ancestral wild plant. How can this be if the ‘agricultural revolution’ only occurred 7–8,000 years ago? Corn is a form of wild grass, as are the majority of the other major crop plants, there is no good reason for the ancestral variety to have vanished and/or become extinct. 10,000 years may seem like a long time in human terms yet it is a very short time in terms of the evolution and life span of a plant species. There are ancient plants that have existed continuously for hundreds of millions of years. If you believe that our ancestors domesticated crop plants, you have to start by assuming that people without any agricultural experience were brilliant enough to select and breed the best wild seed candidates to turn into major cereal crops. It is a historical fact that in spite of 5,000 years of continuous agricultural development we have not genetically bred a new major crop from a wild species. Just how ingenious were our Stone Age predecessors who performed this agronomic feat without any agricultural or genetic knowledge? Basing the agricultural revolution on the notion that people who lacked any understanding of the scientific basis of plant breeding created seems a very shaky premise. Skepticism is warranted


due to the fact that, if it actually occurred, this was the riskiest of gambles, since it represented a complete departure from the only way of life and only food sources that Stone Age people knew. But first let’s step back to an earlier point and ask how we know that 100,000 generations of Stone Age humans did not eat wild grass seeds. Our guts are still not adapted to digest uncooked grains. After all we are not birds. In addition, our Paleolithic ancestors lacked the technology to harvest, thresh, process and cook wild grass seeds. The seeds of wild species are miniscule and they are attached to the seed heads making them difficult to harvest and hardly worth the effort. These are little known facts that raise deeper issues. Our hunter–gatherer ancestors mainly subsisted on leafy greens and lean muscle meats. If they lacked an extended experience with wild grasses how did they know which ones to select to turn into wheat, rye, corn, barely and rice? In other words these are still the principal food crops that our civilizations are based upon. After at least 5,000 years of continuous agriculture we do not seem to have improved upon the first selections of our ‘scientifically ignorant’ ancestors. That hardly seems logical. This amazingly prescient selection of wild seeds seems not only more than a little surprising it looks to border on being a minor miracle. There are an estimated 195,000 flowering plants that they could have turned into food

sources and primitive man chose less than .01 to base agriculture upon. This happened at a point in time when people had no concept of domesticating plants or animals, which means no experience with artificial selection. To further appreciate the paradox that this situation imposes upon us we have to understand, domesticated crop plants are nothing like their wild ancestors. Farmers have long known this fact. The differences are so great that most of the specific ancestral locations of our cereal crops remain a mystery. We must ponder what this really means. What are the implications of our scientists not being able to trace the specific wild ancestors of modern corn, wheat, rye, barely and rice? When we look at the problem of how our ancestors, lacking in both tools and knowledge, domesticated wild plants it is really tantamount to pondering how the Great Pyramid was conceived, designed, engineered and constructed with stone tools and primitive methods. There is something out of focus in the picture we have of the history of civilization on this planet, how and when agriculture and precision–engineered architecture were developed and by whom. It is as if our ancestors were gathered around the campfire inside a cave and one was using his hands and fingers to tell stories by throwing shadows against the wall one minute; the next minute they are

watching satellite TV and giddily channel surfing. That is how great the gaps are between the late Stone Age and the birth of agriculture and civilization. How were these quantum leaps made and where is the evidence to support the orthodox theory that humans engineered them? The real problem with the orthodox scenario is the lack of a long incubation period during which early humans experimented with selective breeding and with constructing megalithic stone monuments. Agriculture should — and no doubt actually does — extend back tens of thousands of years and not the 9,000 that modern science contends. The creation of dogs from wild wolves, a true genetic engineering feat, is proof of this. A more thorough examination of these issues, including evidence that human beings could not have domesticated wild wolves 15,000 years ago and turned them into man’s best friend appears in The Genesis Race.



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Photography by Rick Palmore

The Fusion Illusion

a discourse on energy
by Max Schulz


o hear President Barack Obama tell it, we need to fundamentally overhaul the way we produce, deliver, and consume energy. After the House of Representatives passed the Waxman– Markey cap–and–trade bill in June, the president said it would “spark a clean energy transformation in our economy. It will spur the development of low carbon sources of energy—everything from wind, solar, and geothermal power to safer nuclear energy and cleaner coal. It will spur new energy savings, like the efficient windows and other materials that reduce heating costs in the winter and cooling costs in the summer. And most importantly, it will make possible the creation of millions of new jobs.” He repeated those sentiments before the G-8 in Italy several weeks later when he stated, “One of my highest priorities as president is to drive a clean energy transformation of our economy.” That’s pretty ambitious, if not audacious. Transforming our energy economy would require replacing the massive infrastructure and production and supply mechanisms that power our lives. Moreover, the renewable energy technologies that the president prefers, like wind, solar, and biomass—now make up only three percent of our electricity use, and an even smaller share of our overall energy consumption. This negligible portion of America’s energy economy comes despite the fact that many tens of billions of dollars in state and federal subsidies have been pumped into renewable for roughly three decades. It is these sources that the president proposes should overtake and replace


the fossil fuels that dominate our current energy economy. He is engaged in a staggering exercise in wishful thinking. The limitations of these technologies and fuels are well known by now: they are prohibitively expensive, they are intermittent power providers, and they have a low energy density compared to fossil fuels. Renewables will one day play a somewhat larger part in our energy economy—a majority of states have passed laws in recent years mandating that utilities supply power from them, costly as they are—but because of their severe limitations, the contribution from renewable sources will be marginal. Curiously, the Obama administration has been lukewarm in its supposed support for nuclear energy, which is the one proven technology capable of generating large supplies of reliable power while emitting no greenhouse gases. For instance, the president appears to be pulling the plug on the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, without providing an alternative method for dealing with spent nuclear fuel. For all President Obama’s talk about a post– carbon society, there appears to be little place in his thinking for nuclear power. Is it really possible that we can transform our energy economy, phasing out the system that has grown more or less organically over the course of a century and replacing it with one powered by the clean, green sources the president endorses? We would be wise to consider a similar exercise in wishful thinking about energy that has frustrated scientists and dreamers for more than half a century. The pursuit of fusion energy—essentially, harnessing the force that powers the sun—provides a cautionary tale for those who would remake today’s energy economy. It should be heeded by those who so casually put their faith in government’s ability to foster scientific breakthroughs that will render the current global energy infrastructure obsolete.


usion has been the Holy Grail of energy since long before anyone ever worried about global warming or strategic dependency on OPEC. Since the dawn of the atomic age, armies of scientists and researchers and government officials have invested billions of dollars and countless hours of toil and labor to replicate, in a controlled environment, what the sun is constantly doing: converting matter into energy through a fusion reaction. To figure this out would be to solve humanity’s energy needs once and for all. The development of successful fusion power plants would put an end to all the economic, environmental, and foreign policy troubles that plague the current global energy regime. Unlike windmills and solar panels, the potential of fusion energy is virtually limitless. This vision has spurred a movement of would-be discoverers lighting out for the fame and glory that would accompany the breakthrough of controlled fusion. A recent book chronicles this wild, oft– contentious scientific pursuit. Charles Seife, a former Science magazine writer and the author of the heralded 2000 bestseller, Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea, has written a lively account of the history of fusion research—“a tragic and comic pursuit that has left scores of scientists battered and disgraced.” Sun in a Bottle is an engrossing, accessible work that tells a fascinating story about the quest for fusion. It is a story that covers the heights of man’s knowledge of physics as well as the depths of his vainglory—a tale of great scientific achievement as well as the maneuverings of charlatans, frauds, cranks, and modernday alchemists. And it is a story of false hopes; the promise of fusion has forever been just a decade or two away. Yet today the faith in fusion is, in some quarters, as strong as ever. Fusion is, essentially, the opposite of nuclear fission, which is the process used by our commercial nuclear power

plants to generate electricity. With fission, atoms are split and energy is released. With fusion, atoms are made to stick together, and the process converts a tiny portion of the mass of these atoms to produce gargantuan amounts of energy. That’s what happens on the sun, where hydrogen nuclei in the very hot plasmas that make up its center constantly slam into each other to produce helium as well as energy. This is the nuclear furnace at the heart of any star. It’s what makes the sun shine, and also threatens to blow it up, but the sun does not explode because the intense force of its own gravity holds it together. While science and industry have been successful at producing power from fission, fusion appeals to us because it is quite a bit more powerful than fission. More than that, fission requires rare plutonium or uranium for its fuel, while fusion requires common atoms like hydrogen. Fusion’s supplies would be as inexhaustible as the oceans. Enrico Fermi conducted the first self– sustained nuclear fission reaction in December 1942 under a squash court at the University of Chicago. Both the bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were fission devices, and a fission bomb turned out to be relatively simple to build; the key is just having enough fuel. A fusion reaction would be far trickier, both to start and to keep going for more than an instant. But if a fusion reaction could be sustained for just a few fractions of a second, it was soon realized, the energy it could produce would be immense. In just seven years, researchers had figured out how to build fusion bombs dwarfing those that ended the war with Japan. The Ivy Mike blast on the South Pacific island of Elugelab in November 1952 was ten megatons, or roughly the equivalent of exploding seven hundred Hiroshima bombs. In 1961, the Soviets detonated a weapon (the “Tsar Bomba”) that was five times more powerful than Ivy Mike. “With Ivy Mike and its successors,” writes Seife, “the fusion bomb scientists had succeeded at creating a tiny star on Earth.”


pace of science forces “The pace of technique. the

Theoretical physics forces atomic energy on us; the successful production of the fission bomb forces upon us the manufacture of the hydrogen bomb. We do not choose our problems, we do not choose our products; we are pushed, we are forcedöby what? By a system which has no purpose and goal transcending it, and which makes man its appendix.


n early 1951, Argentine President Juan Perón made a startling announcement: he claimed to have solved the world’s energy problems. A group of scientists under his sponsorship, headed by the Austrian Ronald Richter, had supposedly created controlled nuclear fusion in their lab on the island Huemul. Perón’s announcement touched off an international frenzy, but the physics community was rightly skeptical. It was clear that Perón had no idea what he was talking about when he said the Huemul discovery might lead to energy being sold in liter-sized bottles similar to milk bottles used by Argentines. Attempts to validate the experiment independently were met with stonewalling, and what details did emerge convinced the international scientific community that the claim was fraudulent. (One Manhattan Project physicist said the material they were using was “baloney”; the New York Times dubbed it the “Baloney Bomb.”) It soon became apparent even to Perón that Richter had not produced a controlled fusion reaction. He was a crank who had conned Perón into believing they had saved the world—a huge international black eye for Perón and Argentina.

Despite the Argentine farce, legitimate scientists believed that the fusion breakthrough was just around the corner. In 1955, the president of the United Nations Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy said, “I venture to predict that a method will be found for liberating fusion energy in a controlled manner within the next two decades. When that happens, the energy problems of the world will truly have been solved for ever, for the fuel will be as plentiful as the heavy hydrogen in the oceans.” It looked to have happened not in two decades, but two years. In 1957, British scientists appeared to have won the race with a machine called the Zero Energy Thermonuclear Assembly, or ZETA. Several weeks later Japanese researchers made the same claim. The media was wild with claims about “unlimited energy from seawater” and an end to worries about energy supplies. The Brits announced plans to build on the success of ZETA by constructing a reactor that would heat plasmas to a hundred million degrees and, most importantly, would produce more power than it consumed. That, after all, was the ultimate goal for civilian nuclear fusion.

Uncontrolled nuclear fusion had been achieved. The challenge was to figure out how to produce a controlled and sustained fusion reaction. The energy potential from fusion for civilian purposes promised to dwarf civilian fission power just as the H-bomb had dwarfed Fat Man and Little Boy. This material is well-plowed ground, though Seife does an excellent job distilling complicated questions of physics into something the lay reader can easily understand. The real value of Sun in a Bottle begins at this point, when Seife takes readers on a journey over the numerous attempts to create that sustained, controlled fusion reaction. It is a story that goes to the heart of how science is done, and it drips with drama, double-dealing, and politics.

But these researchers had miscalculated. They had not achieved Meanwhile, real physicists were pursuing fusion. Within a year of their announcement, they were forced fusion with great zeal. Lyman Spitzer to retract their claim, suffering a worked on a figure-eight shaped reactor at Princeton he called the Stellarator that humiliation similar to that of Richter and Perón. After several false starts, would exploit the properties of plasma public cynicism began to grow, (a hot phase of matter that makes up including among the government the sun’s core) rather than trying to officials who held the purse strings exactly replicate the hydrogen fusion of atomic weapons. The trick was to confine that had supported so much fusion research. In 1958, not long after the the plasma yet still get it hot enough. British fiasco, American scientists finally Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore were able to produce a tiny controlled National Laboratory began work on a thermonuclear fusion reaction with a “magnetic mirror” fusion reactor that pinch machine called the Scylla. But used a straight tube for its magnetic nobody noticed. It was not announced bottle to contain plasma. British scientists, meanwhile, toyed with a similar to great fanfare, or even officially announced at all until 1960, when it device that would “pinch” the plasma—a was buried in a government report to so-called “pinch machine.” A visiting Los Congress. Still, the research continued. Alamos physicist took this idea back Soviet scientist Andrei Sakharov made to the United States and built a device breakthroughs with a donut-shaped cheekily dubbed the “Perhapsatron.”


machine called a tokamak, which combined features of the Stellarator and pinch machines to contain plasma. Collaborating with British and American researchers, Sakharov began to apply light from lasers, which could concentrate an incredible amount of energy into a tiny space. The tokamak represented a great advance over the earlier Stellarator, and reinvigorated the fusion community. By the early 1970s, government scientists from a number of countries were routinely achieving small-scale fusion with lasers. These efforts, however, all consumed vastly greater amounts of energy than they were yet capable of producing. Fusion would be a pointlessly expensive proposition if it ran an energy deficit. But in 1974, a private company called KMS Industries, headed by a man named Keeve M. Siegel, claimed to have demonstrated “laser fusion.” He promised to deliver efficient fusion power “within the next few years.” He didn’t, of course; in fact, he died of a stroke in 1975. Still, news of his announcement helped persuade Congress to ramp

Then came a stunning announcement from the University of Utah in 1989. Two chemists, Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons, announced that they had figured out how to generate a fusion reaction at room temperature: “cold fusion.” They were claiming to have made an end run around everything the scientific community knew about fusion. Their announcement sparked a huge media storm, fueled in part by boosterism from the president of the university, who said their discovery “ranks right up there with fire, with the cultivation of plants, and with electricity.” Curiously, Fleischmann had made his mark in the 1970s with a scientific discovery regarding the detection of trace amounts of a chemical on silver that the conventional wisdom held was impossible. He had defied the scientific consensus before, and had been proved correct. But like the Brits in 1957, and Richter before them, Fleischmann and Pons hadn’t achieved what they said they had. Within two months, they were a laughingstock, their reputations in tatters. The ensuing years would reprise this familiar storyline: Researchers would make a grand announcement heralding a new advance in fusion, potentially solving many of the world’s energy– related problems, only to have their claim wither under the harsh light of rigorous scientific scrutiny. Japanese researchers in the mid-1990s insisted they had achieved “break-even plasma conditions” and that their tokamak was producing five watts

“Our energy problems are solved by markets and the ”

cutting–edge technologies those markets provide, not by government mandates that will raise already extremely high prices.

for every four that it consumed. Turns out it was not. About the same time, researchers manning JET, a large tokamak operated by a European consortium of researchers, gained attention for their bid to achieve break-even conditions. In reality, they were only producing six watts for every ten put into it. Writes Seife: “It was a record, and a remarkable achievement, but a net loss of 40 percent of energy is not the hallmark of a great power plant.” In 2002, scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee claimed to have created fusion in beakers of acetone at a temperature of tens of millions of degrees. This “bubble fusion” approach was scheduled to be announced in Science, the prestigious journal that was then Seife’s employer. In the run-up to publication, it became clear there were real problems with bubble fusion: several other Oak Ridge scientists were convinced that their colleagues had failed to produce a fusion reaction. Oak


Photography by Rick Palmore

up federal spending on fusion. In the late 1970s, Livermore scientists were talking about having a workable fusion power plant in operation by the early 1990s. In the decade and a half after Siegel’s celebrated announcement, government scientists would spend hundreds of millions of dollars on laser fusion research, none of which really seemed capable of solving the most pressing dilemma of fusion: how to ignite and sustain a fusion reaction that would produce more energy than it consumed.

Ridge officials ordered other scientists to attempt to replicate the experiment; that effort, using more finely tuned equipment, evinced no sign of fusion. An internal tug–of–war broke out at Science over whether or not it should publish the paper. Ultimately the journal did, giving its imprimatur to the Oak Ridge claims even as those claims were being disproved. Seife was in the curious and uncomfortable position of being a reporter covering the bubble fusion story that intimately involved his employer; his detailing of the awkward controversy is among the real treats of Sun in a Bottle. Despite the cold fusion and bubble fusion debacles, not to mention Richter’s fraud, there actually have been a number of successful tabletop fusion reactions. When teenager Thiago Olson made a homemade tabletop fusion device in his Michigan basement in 2006, he became the eighteenth amateur to pull off the stunt. (The first to accomplish it, strangely enough, was Philo T. Farnsworth in the 1960s; Farnsworth is much better known

as one of the inventors of television.) Seife notes that the idea of tabletop fusion would seem “impossible—a pipe dream sought after only by cranks....But in fact, tabletop fusion—fusion reactions carried out cheaply in a small piece of laboratory equipment—is real. It just isn’t yielding any more energy than it consumes, so it is useless as a source of power.”


about ITER, Seife is still skeptical that it will ever achieve ignition and sustained burn. But that sort of skepticism is the exception among fusion enthusiasts, despite the numerous setbacks over the years. “The fusion community clings to the hope that fusion energy is just thirty years away—and that it will solve all our energy problems,” Seife notes. “The promise of a fusion reactor a few decades away has been a cliché for a half century.” And it will continue to be so. After all, says Seife, “there’s something uniquely powerful about the promise of fusion energy. It harks back to the ancient quest to build a perpetual motion machine, but this time the source of unlimited energy doesn’t violate the laws of physics.” Which brings us back to today’s energy debates, and how and whether we can reduce or eliminate the carbon emissions produced by our primary energy sources. President Obama would have us do so with renewables; for him, to believe we should is to believe we can. But as the

he future of fusion now seems to lie with the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), an enormous long-term multilateral effort to build a tokamak reactor in Cadarache, France. The ITER idea has been around since Mikhail Gorbachev proposed it at a summit in 1985. These efforts went nowhere until the United States took an active lead during the administration of George W. Bush, and construction on the massive reactor is slated to begin soon. Will it work? It will still take decades to find out. Though generally optimistic


story of fusion shows, wishing a project’s success is not enough to make it so. The laws of physics make it very unlikely that renewable sources will ever provide the reliable power needed to replace our current carbon-based sources, no matter how much money we throw at them. We would be wiser instead to turn to the technology we know can provide such reliability and capacity, and that we already have: nuclear fission. But if we insist on looking to the horizon, let us focus our hopes and our investments not on the windmills and solar panels that we know will always remain a small part of our energy supply, but on the fusion reactors that at least hold the potential for unlimited power.


The first fusion reactors that will be used to generate electricity will use Deuterium and Tritium as fuel, as they will fuse at a lower temperature. Deuterium can be extracted from sea water, which contains 1 in 6500 Hydrogen Atoms which is Deuterium, and Tritium can be harvested from lithium, which is plentiful in the earths crust. The two atoms of Deuterium and Tritium will the be forced to fuse, and then will produce a atom of Helium, and an energetic neutron, which will then produce heat energy, and heat the water. Another set of fuels that can be used are Hydrogen and Boron. When these two fuels are used, there is even less material released with the free neutrons, which results in an even cleaner method of producing energy.

Photography by Rick Palmore

Tourism Authority


new book
“Humans have been in contact with “alien” life-forms and intelligences for millennia.”
It appears that humans have been in contact with “alien” life-forms and intelligences for millennia. Anyone who is open-minded enough to investigate honestly the available cultural, physical and historical evidence will quickly come to the conclusion that it is unlikely we are the only intelligent beings in the Universe. Ancient rock paintings in North America, North Africa and Australia; olden tales of elves, fairies, and pixies; and stories of thousands of people who claim that they have been contacted or abducted by alien beings, all attest to our longstanding and ongoing relationship to non-human intelligences. Even our religious texts are full of compelling descriptions of non-human, “spiritual” beings with which we have had contact and relationships. Check out the Genesis story in the Bible– it talks about “sons of the gods” who walked on Earth, whose giant offspring resulted from their union with human women. In addition, angels of all sorts continually appear in the Hebrew Bible. And Ezekiel, the Old Testament prophet, describes in great detail a chariot flying in mid-air, upon which non-human beings appear. In his book “Genesis Revisited,” Zecharia Sitchin interprets the Hebrew texts in light of their similarity to Sumerian counterparts, and proposes that humans were created by a technologically advanced alien race, called Annunaki.

new book

Conscious Dreaming: A Spiritual Path for Everyday Life
Robert Moss is a lifelong dream
explorer, a shamanic counselor, novelist and historian. His fascination with the dreamworlds springs from his early childhood in Australia, where he survived a series of near-death experiences and first encountered the ways of a Dreaming people through his friendship with Aborigines. For many years he has taught and practiced Active Dreaming, an original synthesis of dreamwork and shamanic techniques.
Written by a popular leader of dream workshops and seminars, Conscious Dreaming details a unique ninestep approach to dreams, especially precognitive and clairvoyant ones, that uses contemporary dreamwork methods and techniques developed from shamanic cultures around the world.


new book
The Biology of Belief:
Groundbreaking Work in the Field of New Biology

A groundbreaking work in the field of New Biology. Author Dr. Bruce Lipton is a former medical school professor and research scientist. His experiments, and that of other leading edge scientists, have examined in great detail the processes by which cells receive information. The implications of this research radically change our understanding of life. It shows that genes and DNA do not control our biology; that instead DNA is controlled by signals from outside the cell, including the energetic messages emanating from our positive and negative thoughts. Dr. Lipton’s profoundly hopeful synthesis of the latest and best research in cell biology and quantum physics is being hailed as a major breakthrough showing that our bodies can be changed as we retrain our thinking.


new book
Snow crystals are so perfectly symmetrical! Are there not some special forces at work that ensure this perfection?

If you haven’t heard of Mr. Emoto, he has published several books claiming that ice crystals grow differently when water is first exposed to different thoughts and feelings. For example, he may start by playing assorted varieties of music — jazz, classical, rock-and-roll, etc. — to different containers of water. The music is then turned off and the “treated” water is used to grow snow crystals. He claims that the different musical treatments yield different types of snow crystals, and shows us pictures of the results to prove his case.


“Remote viewers “see” objects and scenes hundreds or thousands of miles away by closing their eyes and focusing on the object or place.”
Is it possible to see across space and time? Even those who accept that humans can reach

new book

beyond the conventional five senses typically think of psychics as “special” or “gifted” with unusual abilities. But David Morehouse teaches otherwise — all human beings, including you, have the innate capacity for remote viewing.



new book
In the past two decades, the ‘War Against Drugs’ has effectively thrown a heavy curtain across the subject of psychedelic drugs and their effect on human consciousness. (The Spirit Molecule) But now, as a new generation seeks to smash out of the spiritual vacuum created by our materialistic society, there is renewed interest in these substances which have been used since ancient times by shamans and mystics to plug in to alternate realities. Perhaps one of the most interesting of these psychedelics is DMT – dimethyltryptamine – the main component of the South American shamans’ brew ayahuasca.

SpIrITuAl vAcuum creATed By Our mATerIAlISTIc SOcIeTy

new book

There are different paths to future memory.
Author P.M.H. Atwater “Says the future memory allows people to “live” life in advance and remember the experience in detail when something triggers that memory.” The author, one of the foremost investigators of the near-death experience, experienced the future memory process firsthand following her own three NDEs. She shows how these “rehearsals” for future events differ from other modes of futuristic awareness such as clairvoyance, precognition, and deja vu. • Series of steps to assist in developing future memory • New models of time, existence, and consciousness • An in-depth study of the brain shift and how it can be experienced


new book

...from the view of the child

New Children and Near-Death Experiences is an expansion of the first book ever written that provides, from the view of the child, an in-depth study of children who have experienced the near-death phenomenon and the pattern of physiological and psychological aftereffects which follow. Atwater notes that the child who returns from a near-death experience is not the same

child as before, but is a “remodeled, rewired, reconfigured, refined version of the original.” Presenting data to support her contention that these children have experienced structural, chemical, and functional changes in the brain, she also shows how their greater empathic abilities as well as dramatically higher intelligence are qualities that are also present in children born since

1982 enhanced abilities that cannot be tied to simple genetics. Atwater shows that understanding the neardeath experiences of children can help us prepare for a quantum leap in the evolution of humanity. Extensive resource suggestions and ideas are included, along with an explanation of the protocol used in arriving at the research in this book.


spiritual & psychedelic art
by Alex Grey



lex Grey was born in Columbus, Ohio on November 29, 1953 (Sagittarius), the middle child of a gentle middle-class couple. His father was a graphic designer and encouraged his son’s drawing ability. Young Alex would collect insects and dead animals from the suburban neighborhood and bury them in the back yard. The themes of death and transcendence weave throughout his artworks, from the earliest drawings to later performances, paintings and sculpture. He went to the Columbus College of Art and Design for two years (1971-73), then dropped out and painted billboards in Ohio for a year (73-74). Grey then attended the Boston Museum School for one year, to study with the conceptual artist, Jay Jaroslav. At the Boston Museum School he met his wife, the artist, Allyson Rymland Grey. During this period he had a series of entheogenically induced mystical experiences that transformed his agnostic existentialism to a radical transcendentalism. The Grey couple would trip together on LSD. Alex then spent five years at Harvard Medical School working in the Anato my department studying the body and preparing cadavers for dissection. He also worked at Harvard’s department of Mind/

Body Medicine with Dr. Herbert Benson and Dr. Joan Borysenko conducting scientific experiments to investigate subtle healing energies. Alex’s anatomical training prepared him for painting the Sacred Mirrors (explained below) and for doing medical illustration. When doctors saw his Sacred Mirrors, they asked him to do illustration work.Grey was an instructor in Artistic Anatomy and Figure Sculpture for ten years at New York University, and now teaches courses in Visionary Art with Allyson at The Open Center in New York City, Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado, the California Institute of Integral Studies and Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York. In 1972 Grey began a series of art actions that bear resemblance to rites of passage, in that they present stages of a developing psyche. The approximately fifty performance rites, conducted over the last thirty years move through transformations from an egocentric to more sociocentric and increasingly worldcentric and theocentric identity. The most recent performance was WorldSpirit, a spoken word and musical collaboration with Kenji Williams which was released in 2004 as a DVD. Grey’s unique series of 21 life-sized paintings, the Sacred Mirrors, take the viewer on a journey toward their own divine nature


by examining, in detail, the body, mind, and spirit. The Sacred Mirrors, present the physical and subtle anatomy of an individual in the context of cosmic, biological and technological evolution. Begun in 1979, the series took a period of ten years to complete. It was during this period that he developed his depictions of the human body that “x-ray” the multiple layers of reality, and reveal the interplay of anatomical and spiritual forces. After painting the Sacred Mirrors, he applied this multidimensional perspective to such archetypal human experiences as praying, meditation, kissing, copulating, pregnancy, birth, nursing and dying. Grey’s recent work has explored the subject of consciousness from the perspective of “universal beings” whose bodies are grids of fire, eyes and infinite galactic swirls. Renowned healers Olga Worral and Rosalyn Bruyere have expressed appreciation for the skillful portrayal

of clairvoyant vision his paintings of translucent glowing bodies. Grey’s paintings have been featured in venues as diverse as the album art of TOOL, SCI, the Beastie Boys and Nirvana, Newsweek magazine, the Discovery Channel, Rave flyers and sheets of blotter acid. His work has been exhibited worldwide, including Feature Inc., Tibet House, Stux Gallery, P.S. 1, The Outsider Art Fair and the New Museum in NYC, the Grand Palais in Paris, the Sao Paulo Biennial in Brazil. Alex has been a keynote speaker at conferences all over the world including Tokyo, Amsterdam, Basel, Barcelona and Manaus. The international psychedelic community has embraced Grey as an important mapmaker and spokesman for the visionary realm. A large installation called Heart Net by Alex and his wife, Allyson, was displayed at Baltimore’s American Visionary Art Museum in 199899. A mid-career retrospective of Grey’s works was exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego in 1999.


The large format art book, Sacred Mirrors: The Visionary Art of Alex Grey has been translated into five languages and has sold over one hundred thousand copies, unusual for an art book. His inspirational book, The Mission of Art, traces the evolution of human consciousness through art history, exploring the role of an artist’s intention and conscience, and reflecting on the creative process as a spiritual path. Transfigurations is Alex’s second large format monograph containing over 300 color and black & white images of Grey’s work. Sounds True has released The Visionary Artist, a CD of Grey’s reflections on art as a spiritual practice. ARTmind is the artist’s recent video exploring the healing potential of Sacred Art. Grey coedited the book, Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics (Chronicle Books, 2002). In 2004 Grey’s VISIONS boxed set containing a portfolio of new works and a Sacred Mirrors and Transfigurations, his collected works. The Chapel of Sacred Mirrors, CoSM, a long-term exhibition of fifty works of transformative art by Grey has opened (Fall 2004) in New York City. He lives in New York City with his wife, the painter, Allyson Grey and their daughter, the actress, Zena Grey.  

Alex Grey
American artist specializing in spiritual and psychedelic art or visionary art. Grey is a Vajrayana practitioner. His body of work spans a variety of forms including performance art, process art, installation art, sculpture, visionary art, and painting.


Eduard Gurevich
Impression in colors

Ongoing Group Exhibition in Alcoves
Open December-April, Friday-Monday 613-394-2216 316 Old Orchard Road, Carring Place Prince Edward County, Ontario


Oleg Korolev


“I was born in 1968 in Siberia, Russia. From 1979 studied in the Art Studio and in the Art School and later from 1984 to 1990 studied and graduated from the Art College. In 2000 I have become a member of the Society of Art of Imagination. From 1990 up to this time I have been participating in various art exhibitions. My works are represented in private and corporative art collections of Russia, Europe, North America and Australia.”

Oleg Korolev is one of 50 Artists featured in our first publication entitled Metamorphosis.
Divine Gloom

the art of glassblowing



atrick Fisher is a Glassblower from Toronto, Canada. He is a recent graduate of Sheridan College's Crafts and Design, Glass.program, Class of 2008. Since graduation, he has continued to strive towards the perfection of his craft. This pursuit has led him to Black Diamond, Alberta, where he worked as a glassblower's assistant to renowned Artists Julia Reimer and Tyler Rock at their Firebrand Glass Studio, and to Mississauga, Ontario where he is currently creating his unique work. He has been the recipient of the Betty Kantor Scholarship Award forexceptional creativity, innovation, craftsmanship, and substantial contribution to the student community in 2006, the Harbourfront Centre Summer Residency Scholarship in 2007, and of the Colour Fusion Award for excellence in 2008.


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