The title of tonight s talk is Linear Societies and Non-Linear Drugs, which is something that I just had

to pull out of the air when Ken finally slammed me to the wall for what I would be talking about this night many months ago. But, more and more for me, especially with this group these things have become sort of summations and, I guess I hope, convivial examinations of just where we are, we each and every one of us and then this enterprise, whatever we mean by that, in the context of everything else that s happening in the world, in other words the psychedelic experience, the entheogenic experience, contextualized. And as I try to think about what, if anything, I can bring to the party I guess it s that what I m interested in is psychedelics as a philosophical tool, and when I concretize that for myself I realized there s no claims on that part of discourse; no one wants to do this. Academic Philosophy is done in a very formal manner, and the most exciting is incredibly stuffy, and yet I like most of you I assume have taken on board in my life this thing called the psychedelic experience, which is then as large a portion of my being as my sexuality, my politics, my education, it shapes everything. And yet, nowhere in the world of philosophical discourse is there any genuflection at least overtly made to this, maybe not since Plato talked about shadows on the walls on the cave, and so forth and so on. What can psychedelics and the psychedelic experience bring to philosophy, and what do I mean by philosophy? By philosophy I mean, the enterprise of discursive thinking; trying to understand what the world is and who s asking the question. Where did the world come from? Where is it bound and who s along for the ride? It seems to me that we as a community have, this is sort of hard to wrap your mind around at least for me, but we have in a sense inculcated into ourselves the image of an underclass so that we struggle for legal coloration of our practices and our habits, but we don t struggle for intellectual legitimation of our vision. We accept that they are somehow contextually marginal, and as I thought about that I realized that that is a limitation on the community. That the information, which is coming from the psychedelic experience as interpreted by Western people, is primary evidence for the need for a major paradigm shift in the whole way the western mentality does business. Well what kind of evidence and what kind of shift? Well, there s a lot of talk in our community, and there had been for many many years about shamanism, and when we seek to legitimize ourselves through a historical argument we reach back to shamanism and we say we re part of something which is one hundred thousand years old and worldwide and touched the spirit long before the shadow of the cross fell over Jerusalem, and so forth and so on; all true. And in a way that has, I think, that tendency, which is part of the broader tendency in the Western mind to valorize and grow nostalgic over the primitive has put a certain political cast on our stance and our position. But what we are, again contextually, is a culture of Science, and I m speaking now of our community. It s the Albert Hoffman and the Dave Nickles and the Sasha Shulgins, who have kept our canoe afloat. These are men of science; it s methods, it s vocabulary, it s culture. We

have not, though we certainly honor those people and love them as there rhetoric is not the primary rhetoric of the larger community of psychedelic users, which tends toward this shamanistic aboriginal nostalgia. I feel more comfortable with the scientific end of things. I think the news coming out of science is the most psychedelic news there is. When I go to the Internet I go to things like science alert and the Hubble picture of the day and this sort of thing. And our community as a whole is not involved enough in incorporating the vistas. While we struggle to legalize psychedelics, psychedelic thinking is everywhere triumphant because the instruments built by linear science throw open doorways on the unimaginable and the most revered and whorey-hefays of the scientific establishment have to genuflect before this stuff. I mean, what am I talking about, well for example, science magazine wrote last week that the most important scientific breakthrough of 1998 was the apparent observation and agreement upon that observation by the astrophysical community of a cosmological constant. This sounds like very deep physics but if I give it to you as a headline what is means is the entire universe every atom and every empty space of it is ruled by a very weird force that has now been seriously known to science for precisely five months. A force which is apparently going to overcome gravity s tendency to collapse the universe and to cause it to expand in a very explosive and counterintuitive and psychedelic fashion that is the complete confoundment of the core science that western linear thinking has built, and of course there weren t riots in the streets and electricity didn t fail but at the very pinnacles of the antennae of the evolving civilization there was a shudder felt in the force you may be sure. So, there are two much larger forces than our community that are in play in terms of shaping the cultural modality and I would call them, well what would I call them. I would call one of them science it s the other one I am having trouble with. It s everything, which is not anchored in the rational. You know the twentieth century has the most spectacular celebratory affair with the irrational since the sixteenth century. I mean never before have so many prophets wizards, wise women, casters of runes, and seers of visions moved among the people plying there wares, and part of this is brought on by the tension between the failure of the education system at the very moment of an inflationary expansion of knowledge so that its very hard to be alclorant(?) in all fields and if your not current in a field then probably your version of that field is some kind of story a myth. If you cant keep up with quantum physics why not fall back on archangels, you know. It requires less intellectual engagement or something like that. Discourse is fragmenting, fields of discourse are evolving vocabulary so rapidly that the understanding of these vocabularies is not penetrating very far beyond the core group of workers, so then this is creating a kind of islanded systems of self reference where outside those systems of self reference information doesn t travel. The people who are the gene splicers know very little about remote sensing and both of those parties know very little about recent discoveries in astrophysics, for example. So, there is an intellectual fragmentation.

I live in Hawaii in a forest in fairly remote conditions, and so I entertain all this in my mind all the time, and try to, my faith and I assume it s the psychedelic faith although we have had some fairly existential characters in our ranks over the years, but the psychedelic faith it that the universe is beautiful in the Platonic sense and therefore good and true. In other words we are optimal. We are not flailing existentialists. We are not relativists because we have a real standard to measure our spiritual coinage against so we are not relativists because we re embedded in relativism. Its all around us, it s the air we breathe but it is not inimical to the psychedelic community. I mean, I think the psychedelic experience is the only authentic source of reliable contact with the numinous. I mean meditation, so forth and so on, is all very fine but it requires a leisure class involved in philanthropic support of this kind of foolishness, where the psychedelic experience is immediate and real. So, now I ve lost my way hear, ah yes optimism. So I sit in Hawaii and I look at all this and I try to contextualize it and come out with a good story because I think the best story will win. So if you can get together the better the best version of how it shall all come out so shall it be, and I work at this because in the past I ve been very happy with the results between my interior fantasy and the unfolding of historical development. I wished for lsd then it happened, and then I dreamed of the interenet and then it happened so I should keep at this. I recently read a very interesting book called A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History by Manuel De Landa, and if you get a chance you should take a look at this. He made a point which caused me to expand his point into this little thing I m gonna tell you now, but his point was that human beings are very involved in the movement of geological material. That as a species we move rocks around on a very large scale and of course its interesting that some of the earliest human structures are the most physically massive and weighty, like the great pyramids. So De Landa made this point about our relationship with the geological stratigraphy of the earth that cities were a kind of geological extension of the process of crystallization carried on through the intermediation of a biological unit i.e. intelligent primates who are building these structures. I thought that was very interesting I had never considered it before. I ve talked about virtual reality and I ve said that its nothing new that Ur was virtual reality and (???) was a virtual reality but done in stucco and fired surroundings and stone and that when the medium is so intractable as stone the epistemic assumptions that get formed about what reality is are very different then if you can build Versailles at the click of a mouse button But nevertheless it s the same, but embedded in my reading of De Landa, I ve been thinking a lot and I talked to you a lot last year about artificial intelligences and minds which are not human; minds which are very different from u, intelligence which is very different from us, and while the naïve are scanning the stars our appliance have become telepathic. There is a very strange kind of intelligence being called into existence by ourselves strangely enough, and, and this is the connection to De Landa, this artificial intelligence which is being called into being by human activity is made of the same

materials as Ur and (?????)). It s made of ceramics, glasses, and metals. So then I took this on board and thought about it and I sort of come to some kind of cyberpantheisticemersonianism. I ll give it to you as a headline and then work backwards so that in case I forget what I m saying it won t be lost to suffering mankind. The earth s strategy for its own salvation is through machines is what it is. And, human beings are some kind of, we are the deputized spouse; we are the bride in this alchemical rarefaction of glasses, ceramics, metals and volatile materials. Apparently the earth is some kind of an embryonic or fetal thing and at the end of its gestation, what is happening is that its ramifying its nervous system is appearing in the unfolding of its morphogenesis, and as we contemplate nanotechnologies and see ourselves working through bacteria and this sort of thing at the engineering level, you have to be blind to not then reflect back upon the fact that in some sense we are already working at that kind of level, at the behest of it is not clear who because nobody ever asked the question in quite this way before. The answer to who, I think, is the earth, and that what lies ahead at the end of the linear tunnel of western subjectivist positivist structuralist assumptions that we have been operating, when we hit the end of the tunnel and burst out into the larger mental space of cosmic evolution what we are going to find is that we are partners actors in a cosmic drama that involves the earth at one polarity and machine at the other polarity as the expression of the will of the earth toward a kind of self reflective transcendence that is achieved through machine human biotic symbiosis and this is, you know, there will never be a headline which says this. Some people wont even notice that its happening because these large scale processes can be described by many metaphors at many depths, but I m telling you I think this is what s going on. The reason I like this story is because it s not a story about processes out of control. It s not a story about human guilt. It s not a story filed with we musts and we should. It s a story, which gives honor to every part of the unfolding experience field, in other words biology, technology, human culture, human traditional values, transcendent human disextopian value. It s a story of things on course on time and underbudget and I assume that s how nature really operates and that we live inside some kind of anxiety producing culture that is a necessary, I don t want to say evil, but a necessary response to conditions of stress. There are processes which let nuclear waste build up, urbanization, land disturbance, there are processes which if allowed to run on indefinitely would wreck the whole system and pitch into chaos but Confucius said no tree grows to heaven, and what he meant by that is that its fruitless to project any process to infinity because any process projected to infinity creates some kind oh catastrophic scenario. If no fruit flies die in six months the earth would spin out of its orbit from the weight of fruit flies. No, I don t think that s true but what an image. Somebody once told me that if the earth completely disappeared except for its nematodes that you could still see the outlines of the continents if you were standing on the moon. I thought, now just who gathered this?

So then to bring this back around a little. Where is the psychedelic experience in all of this? Well it used to be called or at one phase it was called consciousness expansion and consciousness expansion in human beings is going to become an absolute necessity because we are summoning out of the woodwork of cybernetic technology machines that are going to require super intelligent humans to direct and have discourse with them. This is happening. It is already happening. I mean the Internet is this. I mean it doesn t tap you on the shoulder and remind you to brush your teeth, but it is a partner in the understanding of the world that is Gene like, that s the image I have when I sit down to it. It is all John Dee would have asked of his archangelic messengers. He wanted instantaneous information on the political situation on the course of Europe. He wanted information on the course of the Drakes expedition, then on the other side of the planet. The internet is this kind of magical intelligent prosthesis, and like I said there wont come a dramatic moment, I think, a la lawnmower man or something like that, these things are much more seeping. The only people who in fact can see the game move on the background of the forest pattern are psychedelic heads. You have to think about this stuff and you have to develop vocabularies for catching it in action. This is what the game of being an intellectual is, I think; trying to see the processes of morphological unfoldmentin action and guess the direction in which it s headed because it s inevitably headed toward greater density of information at greater speeds, higher level integrative metaphors, visually rather then textually displayed, transformation of such graphic and glyphic elements over time it becomes more and more like the interface of a computer more and more like some kind of machine environment. I mean, we have thought, for I assume, at least a hundred thousand years maybe much longer, but the quality of thought, you know, when it was early intermittent, it was thin, it was an undigested intuition, a perception slipping away from the minds eye because media reinforcement and education and the culturation and the passage of a hundred thousand years the voice of the mind, the logos, has grown stronger, but now it takes an exponential leap forward into visualization, into manifestation through this information processing prostheisis that integrates us all and you know I can imagine a future not very far away where the expression of the individual is lowered is muted. This is the most individualistic, individual worshipping century the century just ending that we have ever known, and its great accomplishments, its great works of art were all accomplished by individuals and of political such as the third reich, so forth and so on. Also highly motivated individuals rose above the massive. I m not sure we can afford the luxury of that kind of expeditionistic individualism in the future, and I think that its not that we are talking about a restriction of human rights, we are taking about a transformation of human drive. The states of integration and collectivity that will be sold as public utilities in the next century are anticipated now by group psychedelic experiences, ayahuasca sessions, this sort of thing, and the dichotomy, I think I made this clear when I talked about the earth and

machines, the dichotomy of the natural and the artificial is an obsession the twentieth century, hence cancelled now. In fact a whole bunch of things are cancelled. We were talking at home about how Roger Schadic(?) in his History of DaDa(??) said , The twentieth century couldn t wait to be born. It was born in 1888 at the death of Victor Hugo, and then I said, well so if it was born in 1888 when did the twentieth century end, and I think it ended in 1992; it expired early with the birth of the World Wide Web. What defined all that modernity was mass media. Mass media shaped that whole psychology and it is now archaic; it s not archaic it s obsolete. It s wonderful that the phrase twentieth century is beginning to have that wonderful brown gravy Edwardian tone that used to be reserved for the term 19th century meaning those terribly stuffy and confused and rather silly people who just didn t quite get it right but were doing he best they could, muddling through and thank god they gave way to us the people of the 21rst century. Well some notes about this planetary intelligence and how all that works. I ve been reading different people this year, maybe you can tell, and one of the people I ve been reading is Greg Eagan who I ve talked about last year, but now I ve read more. Now I ve read Diaspherus?, and the ones where he makes no effort whatsoever to explain it to you unless you ve already done your homework. And then Jonathan today in his lecture talked about DNA a little bit and frame slippage and all of that and it reminded me of it. The thing that I m coming to from my psychedelic experience and my life experience and the whole ball of wax, is, I said for many many years that the world is made of language. That was just sort of one of my bumper stickers, but I think that that carries some of the flavor of what I wanna say there, but that there s more to it than that. It s that everything is code. Everything is code in the sense that hackers mean when they say that they write code. When Sasha stands up and waves his arms and draws what he calls the dirty pictures. He initiates you into a code, a vocabulary with very defined rules and quick to learn, and then they are like tinker toys, once you know the rules of the connectivity then you can sit down like a child and begin to stick these things together, well what would this be like, and what would this be like, and does god allow this or does this break the rules and so forth. The DNA is like that. Human language is like that. Human body language is like that. Machines communicate like this; in fact, this is a bridge which connects us. This is the great overarching bridge which will connect us to the machines, that they like us are commanded by language And so this realization that everything is code and code is moving on many levels is I think, more primary than the perception for example that things are made of space time matter and energy that s one level below code. The code codes for space, time, matter and energy. It s much more like we re in a simulacrum, some kind of machine environment and in fact I like that idea because I ve always sensed, and psychedelics have always intensified this intuition in me, that the universe is a puzzle, life is a problem to be solved, it s a conundrum, it s not what it appears to be

there are doors, there are locks and keys, there are levels, and if you get it right somehow it will give way to something extremely unexpected. DMT is a perfect example of that and of course at the molecular level it literalizes that metaphor. The DMT is the molecular key, the extraneous object introduced into the front door of the synaptic receptor, and then you can plunder the palace for five minutes. If the world is code then it can be hacked in other words it needn t stand still in quite the same way that it stands still in your mind if you believe in something called the laws of physics. It permits magic because it says behind the laws of physics is a deeper level, and if you can reach that deeper level you can make changes there. This leads onto something that I wanted to say abut an earlier theme when I was talking about the legitimation of the community s intuition. Something that we always kick around at these things or I always bring it up in some form is where do the hallucinations come from? We arrived late last night from a 24 hour trip from Hawaii that was just hell or as much hell as modern airlines can legally inflict upon you, and you know, we got stoned, so we were laying there, and it always happens when you re cut off from cannabis for long periods like that you turn to it it s ten times as strong and the hallucinations were exquisite. I ve been looking at hallucinations now for thirty some years, and I looked at these last night and thought, if some would ask me what were they like what would I have to say? And I thought, indescribable, indescribable. I looked and looked, I could look to my heart s content, and they were indescribable. So we always come around to this question, where do the hallucinations come from? I suppose the unconscious reductionist among us, and I don t mean that they re unconscious I mean that they unconsciously use reductionism probably assume that it s some kind of like iteration thing that bits and pieces of everything you ve ever seen are rolling in some kind of neurological kaleidoscope that has been rolling for ever and produce some kind of download of drifting imagery, but there s a problem with that. This stuff is too coherent, it means too much, it s too emotionally charged. We have never really rallied as a group to try and locate in our combined opinions the one or several sources of these images. I think that this is legitimate perception of thoughts, places, things, times, and objects that either have existed somewhere in the universe or do exist or have existed in the minds of beings somewhere, sometime, in the universe. In other words, we have to begin to take seriously the consequences of generalizations like quantum connectivity. It s one thing to bask in the overarching metaphor, which says that everything is connected to everything else. It s quite another thing to say, and so then what are the consequences, for me, of this? The answer seems to me to be that the inside of our imagination, the inside of our heads really is the most vast frontier imaginable, and we must leave it for future generations, or maybe not generations, but future evolutionary biologists to figure out why an animal nervous system would evolve a propensity for accessing bell non-local data, in other words, quantum mechanically accessible data at a different level of the physics of things. There must be a reason, and in the same way that the problem of speciation posed a

problem for ninteenth century biology this can pose a problem to our thinking without it sinking our intellectual enterprise. It is for some more sophisticated future group of thinkers to understand why this is so. What we have to grapple with is that it is so, that you have the Hubble telescope inside of you. You have inside of you an informational gathering instrument that can give you good intelligence about things so immeasurably distant from this point that to state it in numbers and units is meaningless. It s just elsewhere; the elsewhere of the absolute infinite of the plenum of the imagination in which apparently beings rise and fall like plankton in the sea, and of course the psychedelics are the naturally evolved nanomachinery of the Gaianmatrix that knits together this cosmic ecology, this system of living relationships. I am not impatient with the idea of extraterrestrial life or intelligence just it s pop regurgitation, but I think probably planets like the earth are alive and conscious, and they use the technologies that the species native to them evolve to cast images out into the larger universe, that the dialogue among cosmic minds is a dialogue among entire planetary ecosystems. It can t be trivialized into some take me to your leader scenario, still less can it validate the unscheduled visit of pro bono proctologists from nearby star systems. One other thought in assessing this year in science, I talked about Omega the cosmological constant, and that is really incredible; in fact let me do a personal breast-beating thing and point out to you that this thing that they have come upon, Omega the cosmological constant, you know fifty years or so ago Einstein called it the biggest blunder I ever made because he played with the necessity of this thing to keep the universe from falling in on itself and then he decided that it was an unnecessary construct and that It lead to such weird conclusions that it had to be gotten rid of, and so that was all very well and good, until, these recent measurements of the distances of certain supernova carried out independently by several teams of astrophysicists brought the news that the universe is expanding faster than the laws of physics allow, and when they looked at how much faster they realized that it called the cosmological constant back into existence. There are a couple of things about this cosmological constant that are very counterintuitive. The first is that it acts on empty space. It does not require matter to manifest. It is a property of space itself. The second thing is, it s a repulsive force that s growing stronger and stronger. Forces don t grow stronger and stronger. They grow weaker and weaker, gravity grows weaker, light grows weaker, everything grows weaker. This force as time progresses gets stronger and stronger. That means when you project it out toward billions of years into the future, it becomes the dominant force. It overcomes gravity, the strong force, the weak force, it overcomes all the forces, it becomes the dominant force. The other thing about it is. Is that it becomes stronger, not on an even slope, but asymptotically. Now, this produces something very much like what I ve been yacking about since 1971, the novelty wave, the so-called timewave. It to grows stronger and stronger through time, and it to has this kind of built in asymptotic acceleration where it experiences

a kind of inflationary expansion in power. The two map over each other very well. But when the astrophysical community realized the consequences of taking this on board, they realized that it was dissolving the entire model of what cosmology has been throughout the 20th century because what it s really saying is that space itself is in the act of exploding, that the universe is on the cusp of an inflationary phase of expansion similar to the inflationary expansion that occurred at the time of the big bang. What would this look like? What would this be like? Nobody can even imagine. It is not upon us. I don t mean that, but I mean that I the near future of the universe in the next billion or two billion years things will change very very dramatically. Everything will begin to rearrange itself according to the expression of it s asymptotic power. That was the biggest news in astrophysics. The other news, which has psychedelic implications, I think, also comes from astrophysics. As you may recall, last August I can t remember exactly, every man child and woman on earth got the equivalent of a dental x-ray when there was a thing called a star quake on a magnatar; a magnetic neutron star twenty thousand light years away experienced a catastrophic collapse, and there was a wave of gamma rays that turned on every light in the system when it hit the planet. An event like that had never been observed before, and I got to thinking about this and I realized, well we ve only been looking for this kind of thing for thirty years, there s probably quite a bit of this kind of anomalous high energy short duration fluctuation of radiation going on in the galaxy. Then I had a kind of an image, I wouldn t say a vision but a kind of an image, of how things are really arranged on the larger level in terms of the galaxy. The image was of a donut, and you know we re accustomed to being told that we re out at the edge of the Milky Way where stars are few and far between. This is the boonies, in other words, but I ll bet you that the boonies are where biology thrives because the low star density and the distance from the galactic core and these extremely energetic events at the core would create a kind of donut situation where it s the torrodial(?) area out near the rim where stars are slow burning and they don t collide with each other and planets can form and you get the five billion run you need to get to a civilization. A rule of biology and strategy and everything and religious practice as far as that s concerned, is seek the light. Well the light is at the core, so then I saw maybe the true seeking of the light requires biology to go into partnership with something beyond biology because the environment at the core is so energetic, and I m not suggesting the actual core that s beyond contemplation, that s a black hole, no technology imaginable can get even near the event horizon of an object like that, but I mean in the vicinity of the galactic core where the star density is 2 to 300 times greater than it is in our vicinity. Those kinds of environments are so fraught with paroles for biology that probably downloading into machine symbiots is the only way to go to those places. In one of Greg Eagen s novels he pictures a human future where this is one option. You can fuse yourself with a starship and set out to check out the

neighborhood, or you can join the Amish and till rye in Pennsylvania. Actually I think you can t do that because something s happened to the earth, but some Hamish(?)possibility is still available. Well, this is not like the sort of thing the other faculty members will be talking to you about which is an intense and primarily important download of the homework, the chemistry, the botany, the behavioral impact, the archeology, the ethnography of these substances. I asked myself all the time, How are we different from other people? Are we morally superior? Are we smarter? Are we richer? Are we kinder to the people we meet? And actually the longer I look the less I can tell. There are extraordinary examples of all of these things in and outside of our community and extraordinary nudniks and jerks inside and outside our community. But we have in our hands tools that I think if people were correctly presented with them and understood, without hype and hysteria and hyperbole, what this psychedelic enterprise is about that we would win them to our cause because our cause is the human cause-the cause of thinking and communicating and building and bringing into existence new forms of beauty, new possibilities for being. This can be done without psychedelics certainly, but with psychedelics it is accelerated, and it has a feeling, not only of immediacy, but of, the only way I can put it is, correctness. It isn t the lonely neurotic artist thrashing towards some kind of selfreflection. It s the firm guiding hand of a great mind, the logos, the earth; I am not sure, but a greater mind. True art truly is truly inspired. The muse I don t think was more real for Homer than it is or each and every one of us when we re in the presence of the mushroom or Ayahuasca or DMT or LSD or something like that. I suppose I will go to the grave with life as mysterious to me as I found it when I came consciousness around six or seven, but I think life is whatever it is, it s an opportunity of some sort and the things I have been most grateful for were the things that I met at the frontiers of knowledge, of sexual experience, of psychedelic experience, knowing, feeling, and being one with being are how I would categorize that break down. So, I think the future is bound to be very confusing and demanding for most people and there are many claims on each of us and our intellectual loyalties and where we put our energy- should we tolerate relativism, should we be Mahana Buddhists, what s are position on the (???), how do you relate to Monica, all these things. I feel, actually, like the thing that I always dreamed of in my early youth was a miracle. I didn t particularly like (???) book In Search of the Miraculous but I love the title, and I used to just chant it as a mantra. In search of the miraculous, just one, I knew the rules, just one is enough because one secures the possibility of an infinitude of miracles whether you ve observed them or not. Well, now I m 52 and I ve seen four or five, which is four more than necessary to make me a lifetime optimist, but the recurrent, the enduring miracle, however it s achieved, is the psychedelic rush, that giddying moment when all bets are off, all boundaries dissolve, the machinery of language fails, the adjectival wheel wells burst into flame, and then you achieve orbital velocity and are in the presence of the thing.

I cannot believe that that is not solitary experience. You ve heard me say many times how itchy it makes me feel to think that somebody could go from birth to the grave without having that experience. They can make of it what they want, they can denounce it, they can deify it, but one should have it because it s one of the primary compasses of being, and it s larger than the historical context. The point of this talk tonight was to talk about linearity and idea systems and the nonlinear impact of these drugs, and the way they break down media bias, but all these intellectual ideas exist in the light of the sun of this unspeakable primary experience and we can draw it, paint it, sculpt it, act it, dance it, drum it, and never take anything away from it, never define it, never occlude it. It is a miracle. It s like having a presence of a deity. It s very hard for me to open myself up at any given moment to the full implications of how fortunate I am, and how good life is in the shadow of this particular tree.

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