jackshoegazer: (Jack/Tattoo)
Some of you expressed interest in reading this paper when it was finished, so I'm going to post it, locked of course.  It's not as good as I imagined, but then, I had to keep it around five pages, so I couldn't be as grand and all-encompassing as I had wanted.  Enjoy a peek into my brain.

Being Crazy Doesn’t Mean I’m Wrong )

jackshoegazer: (Shaman/Joe)
  • If your thoughts and feelings and actions arise unconsciously, you are going to create a reality that's a mirror image of your incompletions - the half-realized intentions, unfinished relationships, blocked desires, and unexpressed responses. If they just sit there, unlooked at, unread, they will shape the condition of your world.

  • Reality is like a train rushing down the track. If you want to change reality, it isn't enough to be on the train or even to be an engineer. The track itself runs straight ahead and there isn't any way you can swerve off the track to change what's going to happen. In order to change reality, you have to get out in front of the train and lay down a new set of tracks all together.

jackshoegazer: (Shaman/Joe)
After a successful encounter with the unconscious, confession - catharsis, the patient goes away apparently cured - but now, he is so fascinated by the hinterland of his own mind that he continues to practice catharsis by himself at the expense of his adaptation to life. He is bound by the unconscious - to himself. He has obviously shared the experience of Theseus and his comrade Pirithous, in their descent to Hades to bring back the Goddess of the Underworld.  Tiring on the way, they sat down to rest for a while, only to find that they had grown to the rocks and could not rise.  -CGJ
jackshoegazer: (Jack/Tattoo)
The last major assignment for my English class is a research journal. Today, with much coaxing (I gave out five of the twenty suggestions) the class compiled a list of possible topics and people started choosing. I was going to do Creationism/Intelligent Design because I am truly baffled by it. (Seriously, even if there is some great Creator/Designer, how does that fit into Science? It DOESN'T. It doesn't matter one little bit who or what created the processes that made everything, the fact is that the processes exist and those can be scientifically observed. The giant tinker in the sky cannot.)

However, I think I'm going to go off-the-wall a bit and do mine on Atlantis. Since the only real evidence for actual Atlantis is a little blurb in one of Plato's notebooks, I'm going to try and run in the metaphoric/metaphysical direction, concentrating on why people love to believe in some past Golden Age or Eden. What does it mean and what does it say about our psychological make-up.

The idea of a golden past, a missing center, is especially interesting to me as I wrap up The Crying of Lot 49. I was unenthusiastic earlier, but the last half or so has gelled in a very beautiful way. It shares a theme or at least a vein with Foucault's Pendulum and several other books I've read in that the central mystery is never actually spoken of, it is only mentioned in metaphor. The whole narrative dances around it, like a bird that flies past your head so close and so fast, you only catch a fragment, but somehow you know what it is.

The esoteric aspects of many religions and spiritual traditions are like this as well. The idea of God or one's Holy Guardian Angel, or the Tao, are concepts so huge, so all-encompassing that they cannot exactly be grasped by the mind. The Tao that can be spoken is not the true Tao. If you can think of God, that is not God, but a concept of God. The "reality" is always bigger, so their literature dances around the main mystery, it hints and jabs and feints toward it, leading you nearer and nearer, but it is like a bright light at the edge of your vision - you can feel the heat and your surroundings are illuminated but you never quite see the light itself. If you ever manage to look directly into the sun, it is blinding and the image fades and you spend the rest of your life trying to recapture that image burned in your retina.

On a more mundane note, while discussing the global-warming/carbon/petroleum/apocalypse issue in sociology today, I equated the battle between corporations and the green/renewable movements to the good guy and the bad guy battling it out in a speeding train that's headed off a cliff.  Eventually one of them has to win - either we switch to renewable energy or we burn the oil up until either we run out and civilization collapses/climate change kills us off.  If the good guy doesn't win, we're going off that cliff.  I thought that was a good metaphor.  I'm sure someone else has used it but I invented it independently.  I'm tired of inventing things independently.  I once wrote a story for a 6th grade Don't Drink/Alcohol is Bad program only to discover later it was the the plot for a Family Ties episode.

jackshoegazer: (Jack/Tattoo)
[info]untasted said: I want you to write about the moon/stars.

    Though tempting to approach this poetically or scientifically or even astrologically, I think today, I'll run at this from some other angle.  Metaphoric maybe?  I don't know. 
    Anyhow, I was just thinking of light from stars which are of course suns that are some insane brazillions of miles away.  I was also thinking of how when a fast-moving vehicle passes us, it is but a wonky blur we can't see clearly.  However, if you're traveling the same speed as that vehicle it is perfectly clear.  Thus, if one were to travel at the speed of light, light would then become clear to us.
    Perhaps the world we see, the ephemeral world, is light blurring past us.  What then, would the world and even ourselves look like if we could see it clearly for just a moment.  As we know from physics and the wonderful Einstein, as we approach the speed of light, time slows and at the speed of light, time would stop.  So, if seeing the world clearly coincides with time stopping, time vanishing, wouldn't that then mean that true reality, the universe and ourselves seen clearly, is the universe and ourselves without the effects of time.  Time is the world blurring past us.
    As Mircea Eliade, Philip K. Dick, and many many mystery schools and initiation traditions tell us, "Time can be overcome."  Certain rituals and experiences result in a transcendence of time, showing the initiate their true selves, their selves outside of the constraints of time.  Is this consciousness at the speed of light?  A human soul moving like a star through space?  Indeed, indeed.
jackshoegazer: (Shaman/Joe)
In my English class the other day, we had to break up into groups of four or five and take turns reading our latest paper, two or three pages on either The Election or The Meaning of Life.  I sat down and wrote this at breakneck speed in the hour before class; I didn't even take the time to edit.  As I read it, people from other groups stopped their own readings and turned to listen to mine.  Afterward several people came up to me to tell me how awesome/amazing/et cetera my piece was.  I tried not to blush but it was hard since I was already a little flushed and red from reading to an audience.  Anyway, the piece is under the cut.

jackshoegazer: (Pope/Robert Anton Wilson)
"The higher 'soul,' or higher faculty as I would prefer to say, has absolutely no value in itself.  Many who have attained it have remained imbeciles or worse; some have 'graduated' to higher imbecility, or fanaticism.  The 'vegetative soul,' or oldest part of the brain, merely perceives simple sensations: hot or cold, damp or dry, seemingly safe or seemingly noxious.  The 'animal' soul, or middle brain, perceives the body language of similar organisms and can, somewhat, predict their behavior from this.  The 'human' soul, or later brain, perceives the structures of a simple, mechanical kind.  The 'fourth soul,' or emerging brain, perceives the invisible web of connections between all things; but it is no more infallible than the rest of the brain, or the gut, or the liver, or the gonads.  It merely works without effort, unlike the more primitive parts of the brain, which is why meanings seem to flow into us, when this is activated, and we forget that we are still creating the meanings.  We imagine we are 'receiving revelations,' and hence we do not take responsibility or exercise any prudence or common sense.  This is why there are so many 'holy fools' and so few holy wise men."

-Robert Anton Wilson, The Widow's Son: The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles, Volume Two
jackshoegazer: (Alone/Trees)
In many ways, it is my view that the entirety of existence, the universe and all its baggage, properties, rules and mysteries, are made of consciousness, awareness, of varying degrees and vibrations.  We have nailed down most of the physics of creation, and this has told us that everything is energy, even matter is but slow-vibrating energy.  The one thing that goes undiscovered and unaccounted for is consciousness.  Strip everything else away and what is left?  Take away my body and my mind and all that is left is my consciousness, and some would argue my soul, which I would argue is one and the same.

I see the physical universe as the external manifestation of God.  And by God, I mean, an organism, like ourselves, that was once nothing and then came into existence and is spending its life growing sensory organs with which to explore its environment and to discover what it is and why it is.  We are those sensory organs.  In reply to the question, "What is the purpose of life?" Kilgore Trout once said, "To be the ears, eyes, and conscience of the creator of the universe, you fool."  As our eyes and ears tell us about our world, we in turn send messages back.

I often must remind myself that my actions, my decisions, what I do, how I do it, everything I experience, is telling God what kind of being S/He is.  With so many people lying, cheating, stealing, and killing, it is no wonder we have the kind of world we do.  Is this what we want to tell God S/He is?  Once I felt the pain and anguish of the world, of every war, of every murder throughout history as a massive rolling wave of ground up blood and bone and wondered what it meant.  I think now I understand.
jackshoegazer: (Shaman/Joe)
"Either he had seen God too soon or he had seen him too late.  In any case, it had done him no good at all in terms of survival.  Encountering the living God had not helped to equip him for tasks of ordinary endurance, which ordinary men, not so favored, handle."

~Philip K. Dick, VALIS
jackshoegazer: (Shaman Joe)

A human being is a part of a whole, called by us "universe", a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.

Albert Einstein

jackshoegazer: (Infinite)

Watching The Brain Switch Off 'Self'

Everybody has experienced a sense of "losing oneself" in an activity--whether a movie, sport, sex, or meditation. Now, researchers have caught the brain in the act of losing "self" as it shuts down introspection during a demanding sensory task.

The researchers--led by Rafael Malach and Ilan Goldberg of the Weizmann Institute of Science reporting in the April 20, 2006, issue of Neuron--say their findings show that self-related function actually shuts down during such intense sensory tasks. Thus, an "observer" function in the brain does not appear to play an active part of in the production of our vivid sensory experiences. These findings go against common models of sensory experience that assume that there is some kind of "homunculus", or observer function in the brain that "looks at" sensory brain areas. Thus the finding, they said, has significance for understanding the basic nature of consciousness and perception.

So, who are you when you're not you, when you're not on?

(x-post  [profile] thelunarsociety)

jackshoegazer: (Beardcore)

My hair is the longest it's been since the winter of 1996.  I've been too lazy to get it cut and I'm kinda digging the shag.  It matches the beard quite nicely.  It almost makes me wish I never got LASIK surgery; I could get cool hipster frames and look like this guy.  You know, if the illustration had a beard, and I had an iPod.

I baked my first batch of cookies ever.  Technically they were Ethan's cookies, his gift to his mom for Mother's Day.  They were Ghirardelli chocolate chip, both semi-sweet and white chips.  Some of them were too small and malformed, but the majority were normal-looking and they all tasted excellent nonetheless.  Let this be a lesson to you: Don't judge a cookie by it's shape.

I'm starting to get anxious about the housewarming party next week.  Many of our attendees are fellow LJers and almost all of them I have not met in person.  There have been times in my life where I have been a social butterfly, however, the last few years, I've been much more selective and somehow this has translated into a bit of social anxiety.  I'm sure it will be fine and I will be my normal, charming, charismatic self.  But in the meantime, I think I'll worry I'm an idiot and have nothing to say and it will be a slow, awkward death.

In other news and other realms entirely, I wrote this as a comment in someone else's journal and liked it enough to replicate it here:

I think that's a common misconception. People, especially Buddhists reference "killing the ego" but the ego is the focus of consciousness, like the lens on a camera, the what the ego focuses on is our reality. Most people's egos are totally and rigidly focused on their selves, the little 'I' if you will. When we perform various consciousness-expanding exercises, be it meditation, psychedelics, ceremonial magick, yoga, tantra, etc... we learn to refocus our ego on larger and larger parts of ourselves. Thus it is not our ego that dies, but it's rigidity and narrow focus, leaving us not fractured or damaged, but fuller, more whole individuals.

So I guess that's about it for tonight.  Another week begins soon.  Another Monday.  Another alarm clock.  Morning traffic.  Breakfast cereal.  Phone calls. Lunch breaks.  Evening traffic.  Dinner.  You know the routine.

Thanks.

jackshoegazer: (Shaman Joe)
It has been a long day and I am going to bed soon. I have a few thoughts I wanted to purge before I do so, and that's what LJ is here for.

Tonight, I watched The Patriot for the first time. Ethan is studying the Revolutionary War right now and he's mentioned liking the movie, so we sat down to relax and put it in. (Ethan told me that no one else in his class had heard of the Stamp Act before and that most of his class thought the war was fought, not against the British, but against Europe.) All in all it was a decent movie. Mel Gibson at his rebellious best; Jason Isaacs of Lucius Malfoy fame at his most evil.

However, it got me thinking about revolution. In general, I find revolution a bit silly. It implies going around once, and stopping where you started. In the movie Mel addresses this in reference to being ruled by Mad King George, concerning whether he's better off being ruled by one tyrant three-thousand miles away or by three-thousand tyrants one mile away. Somewhere I heard someone say that the only people who want revolution are the ones who want to be on top when the wheel comes back around. The oppressed must revert to just-as-evil tactics in order to win against that which they fight.

The U.S. had to be more ruthless than the Nazis to win WWII. Then we absorbed their intelligence and science communities into our own. Everyone has seen the similarities drawn between early Nazi Germany and the current status of the U.S. Could it be true that we become what we hate? However, what do we do when it is obvious that change is needed?

Real change is evolution, not revolution. Evolution implies a transcendence and inclusion of a previous status. We have to somehow completely bypass the current system, go above and beyond it. Somehow make their system of My Country, My People completely obsolete. We need to stop cowering before the newest enemy they throw at us. Show them that their culture of fear is nothing but a child's plaything. A scary movie which they forget is only a movie.

But practically, pragmatically, what can be done? Who will do it? How bad does it have to get before we stand up and say enough is enough? Everyone is so splintered in their various pet causes that it seems impossible that we could ever get behind a unifying principle. Is that even the answer?

Ken Kesey went to a massive anti-war rally during Vietnam. He walked up to the microphone and told everyone to just walk away. Turn their backs on it. They have wars, you protest them. That's their game, and we're playing right into it. Go home.

Go home and wake up. Open the windows. Let some light in.

Maybe that's the answer.
jackshoegazer: (Squares Face Time)
I talked with [livejournal.com profile] hoodedvoodoo for an hour and a half before his cellphone battery died. It was good to reconnect and share our mutual experiences of high weirdness. Writing, zombies, astrology, fru-fru new agers, orgone accumulators, cults, aliens, existentialism, and our wacky dreams were some of our varied topics.

He's an amalgamist. I suppose I am as well. A cosmologicaly amalgamistic mystagogue.

It's been said before, but seriously, this time, I am on the last edit, which is mostly just a quick proofread, of Complex Psyche. After this, we just have to prep a few sample chapters for submission to our first five publishers.

Jacquelyn's been getting quite a bit of work done at school. I feel bad for distracting her when I'm around. I have to learn to be more invisible. I think it will be better once we live together; then we won't have that I-need-to-spend-every-free-moment-together feeling we get.

Aleister Crowley was born Edward Alexander Crowley. He once read that the most famous names, the ones that stick in one's memory, are constructed of a dactyl, a three-syllable verse foot in which only the first syllable is stressed, followed by a spondee, a two-syllable verse foot in which both syllables are stressed. Aleister is Gaelic for Alexander, so he changed his name to Al·eis·ter Crow·ley.

My name is Jer·em·y Par·ker.
jackshoegazer: (Shaman Joe)
A while ago, I developed this philosophy which I call "Zen Cynicism" in which you become enlightened, realize your connection and relation to every person, creature, plant, and mineral in the world, your place in the vastly infinite web of the universe and you hate every minute of it because it does you no good in a practical, day-to-day sense of the world.

It won't keep you from getting a parking ticket, or do your laundry, or make you loud neighbors shut the fuck up.

It doesn't stop wars.

It doesn't make your lost love come back.

But it's there. And you're aware. And it's beautiful.

So you're ecstatic and miserable at the same time.

Just like God.
jackshoegazer: (Tribal Looking Pointing Yeah!)
My work schedule is an odd, bi-weekly alternating fiasco wherein I work four shifts a week, but never work more than three nights consecutive.  I stay at Jacquelyn's place while I'm working, rather than commute back and forth to Watertown.

However, this week there was a mighty bad snowstorm on my day off, so I've been in Madison for almost a solid week.  Reflecting upon this and my LJ posting, I pondered the following while walking in the cold pre-dawn air this morning.

I don't write as much when I'm here.  I only write now because Jacquelyn is still sleeping and I have the apartment to myself, quiet, except for scurrying cats and the hiss and pings of the old radiator heating system.  Throughout the normal time I'm here, I can barely summon the concentration to reply to my comments, let alone write posts or anything else.

I've discovered why writer's run off in solitude to work.  Even writing something as simple as a letter of inquiry for a job, composing my University of Wisconsin application essay, I needed solitude.  When John and I wrote the Book, we were basically sequestered in our apartment for two months with minimal interruptions.  We wrote from after breakfast until after dinner with minimal breaks.

Don't assume I don't enjoy my time with Jacquelyn, far from, I love it, however, I find that it's not just here, but in general.  At my home in Watertown, I can't work when my roommate is around.  It's like I can't be myself when others are around, even if they are quiet, it's as if their mere consciousness affects my concentration, like electromagnetic energy altering my brainwaves.

Perhaps this links together with the idea of hunting, the lone trek into the woods, the den, the garage, the workshop; many initiation rituals place the neophyte alone for three days.  It is true that like chemistry, we are all affected my different people, so that we are different people depending on who we are with.  So this begs the question, are we only truly ourselves when we are isolated?  And therefore our only true work is birthed from that time that we are alone.

Are we hermits first and friends, siblings, parents and lovers second?  Or is it just me?

.













jackshoegazer: (Tribal Looking Pointing Yeah!)
The days have been long and strange in the wilderness. It's been said before, but this time I mean it. And I know that's been said before as well. What is there to say that hasn't already been said before? Nothing, because even that's been said.

I read once that there are only seven jokes in the existence and all jokes are variations on those seven jokes. Apparently the most common is the three-step misdirection. Set-up, set-up, punchline. Two Jews walked into a bar. The third one ducked. You get it.

Puns are some of my favorites. I like the one about the pastor who hires an armless and legless man in a wheelchair to ring the church bells by biting the rope and yanking on it. When the bells don't go off on time, he and others go to investigate, and they find the limbless fellow lying on the floor, unconscious. When someone asks who he is, the pastor says, "I can't remember his name but his face rings a bell."

My other favorite has a punch line about Gandhi. He was a super-calloused, fragile mystic plagued with halitosis. Say it out loud if you don't get it.

I will report that I have invented one joke in my life, though I have heard others tell it and swear that there's no way I could have made it up. I did though. In a George Webb's 24-hour diner. It goes like this:

Me: Hey, ask me if I'm a truck.
You: Uh, are you a truck?
Me: No.

Trust me, it's all in the delivery.

I suppose, if everything's been said, there's no reason someone else couldn't have invented that joke also. Two people invented vaccines and postulated the spiral-structure of DNA at the same time, hundreds of miles apart. Life seems to have sprung up all over the world at the same time, not just one plant in Africa that spread slowly across the globe.

It seems that when the world needs something, wants something, is ready for something, it just appears wherever the environment is ripe. I think it's every person's secret wish to be a catalyst, to be the right kind of fertilizer, the right kind of vehicle for something the Universe wants.

We have all this potential just begging to be used. How many lives are wasted waiting? The chaff and the wheat? A lot of fertilizer for one bright flower - a lotus with just it's bloom above the surface, most of it's life underwater and invisible.

I want to write something that's never been said, do something that's never been done. I want to bloom across the Universe, I want to fly around the world. I want my very own supernova. I want to blow up. I want to expend and expand. I want to say something so true, you don't know whether to laugh or cry. I want the Universe to look upon me with eyes proud and affirming and say, "Yes, Jeremy, you are a bright light shining in the darkness. You have brought the dawn to a new idea, awakened a slumbering truth. Thank you."

To which I will reply, "What do I need a refrigerator for? I don't smoke."
jackshoegazer: (Tribal Looking Pointing Yeah!)
"It's a no-win argument - that business of what we're born with and what our environment does to us. And it's a boring argument, because it simplifies the mysteries that attend both our birth and our growth."
~John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany
jackshoegazer: (Default)
Waking up is much less like a light suddenly turning on than it is a gradual focusing.  One of my first insights was into the folly of emotions.  They are irrational and troublesome, like a small child, prone to overreaction and misbehavior.  For this reason, I shut them off, locked them up and swallowed the key.  I could still enjoy things, be happy, sad, angry, but never, ever again would I let myself indulge in the deeper emotions, down in the darkest crevices of the ocean, where the real danger is hidden.  I may laugh, but never again would I cry.

Around this time, I also had the insight that it is our flaws that define who we are, that somehow, the secrets we keep, the parts of our psyche we are ashamed of, the poor and dirty illegitimate children of our personalities, are the gravitational center of ourselves.  I rejected such an idea.  It went counterintuitive to everything.  How could these ugly things be who we are?  The answer had always been with me.  And like the folly of emotions, these were true things, but I lacked the focus to see them clearly.

The things we hide and neglect still live and grow.  They are the seed and root of our personality.  The more we ignore them, the more they become petulant children, like the boy who screamed in the grocery store one too many times, whose parents now leave him in the car while they shop.  Like vampires they live and drain energy from us, trying to balance out their lack of expression, leaving us less and less, without fuel, adrift in the world.

These draining demons build and expand like coral, each generation building atop the other, a great barrier reef, a wall of pent up aggression and fear crystallized, imprisoning our souls like Merlin in the wood.  The soul, like the sun, gives them the life we do not.  We live on in the world, if you can call it a life, a half-life, but our true path is obscured, our celestial inner pilot blinded by the build-up.  Our inner world becomes a junkyard, a garbage dump, a midden heap of the unexpressed and the unspoken, the unloved, the children under the stairs, the boy raised by wolves, our psychic ghetto.  It is this gravity well, this black hole of an anchor that becomes the root of our being.

It became clear that this does not have to be.  As the focus sharpened, the light increased and what I once saw was no longer.  Ghettos can be rebuilt.  The wolf boy could be taught to speak.  The midden heap could be transformed into compost, fuel for the burning, shedding light deeper and deeper into the gloom, giving life to the pale white sickness that once bred in this place.  The angel can be freed.

In this dank, dark basement I found a heart-shaped box sealed with pain and loss, reeking of neglect.  Before I knew what I'd done, I threw it into the flames, smashed the crab-like carapace and I was free.  The loves I had lost were free, washed anew in tears that were never shed, words that were never said.  My mother leaving when I was three, my kittens dying when I was seven, my inability to protect my sisters, the repeated separations from my father, my first love's infidelities.  Every loss, every abandonment, every time my heart had shattered I'd locked it away, sealing the fragments in the frozen salt of my eyes.

Now tears come unbidden when appropriate, empathy flows like Amazonian rivers.  Laughter is hearty and deep like echoes in the trees.  Love is free in the fields in ways the hippies could never dream.  My heart beats despite the cracks and damage, and I will never again let the unspoken rule from a throne of my fear and ignorance.  The Universe is always balancing the equations of the heart, ensuring the angel that is our soul is never so outnumbered by our demons that redemption is impossible.  We need but to wake up and see the potential and raise our eyes to the sun.











jackshoegazer: (Tribal Looking Pointing Yeah!)

BASEL, Switzerland -- When Kevin Herbert has a particularly intractable programming problem, or finds himself pondering a big career decision, he deploys a powerful mind expanding tool -- LSD-25.

"It must be changing something about the internal communication in my brain. Whatever my inner process is that lets me solve problems, it works differently, or maybe different parts of my brain are used, " said Herbert, 42, an early employee of Cisco Systems who says he solved his toughest technical problems while tripping to drum solos by the Grateful Dead -- who were among the many artists inspired by LSD.

"When I'm on LSD and hearing something that's pure rhythm, it takes me to another world and into anther brain state where I've stopped thinking and started knowing," said Herbert who intervened to ban drug testing of technologists at Cisco Systems.

Herbert, who lives in Santa Cruz, California, joined 2,000 researchers, scientists, artists and historians gathered here over the weekend to celebrate the 100th birthday of Albert Hofmann, the Swiss chemist who discovered LSD here in 1938. The centenarian received a congratulatory birthday letter from the Swiss president, roses and a spontaneous kiss from a young woman in the crowd.

(MORE)

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