Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Thu Aug 29, 2013 10:22 am

Terence McKenna Interview, Part 2

James Kent

We're getting into really deep territory here now. Hold onto your seats

James Kent: How did your success with the 'Magic Mushroom Growers Guide' steamroll into a career?

Terrence McKenna: As the new age got going, say '80,'81, '82, I just found it incredibly irritating, and I was busy consulting and staying home and I also had small children, but I just thought it was such a bunch of crap.

JK: Talking about crystals and such?

TM: Yeah, the crystal, aura, past life, channeling business and I said, you know, why don't these people check out drugs? What's the matter with them, my god? And finally someone persuaded me to say that in a public situation, and it's been constant ever since.

JK: Could you be more specific about 'saying that in a public situation'?

TM: Arthur Young invited me to give a talk at the Berkeley Institute for the Study of Consciousness and there were people there who were from Esalen. So from that came the invitation to Esalen, and there was a very far out guy at Esalen who has since died who really believed in psychedelics. And all through the '80s, which were kind of a Dark Age for this stuff, they held a conference every year and paid everybody to come. Anybody who was a researcher in psychedelics or who even had strong opinions... and we all got to know each other. That's what Esalen did; it actually created a community by bringing us together from all over the country once or twice a year. Stan Grof, Gordon Wasson, John Lilly, Dave Nichols, Myron Stolaroff, Rick Yensen... virtually anybody who now has any visibility in the movement got to know everybody else during those years. And we all proceed in different directions, you know. I mean, Sasha is the great synthetic chemist, I'm the plant advocate, Grof is the transformative Freudian... people have their own bailiwick.


JK: What sort of problems have you had with government authorities?

TM: None.

JK: None? In your entire life?

TM: Oh, no. Well, when I was a hashish smoker years and years ago in the '60s I had many problems with the American government, but we seem to have gotten that all ironed out. As far as this public career of drug advocacy this question is always asked, asked a great deal. Nobody has ever called me on the phone or even allowed me to be certain they were there, you know. No pressure, no matter how subtle, has ever been put on me.

JK: Well, you're also very subtle yourself. You're not as outspoken as say, Tim Leary was. You're not a rabble-rouser...

TM: If you follow me around enough I can be baited into rabble-rousing. People say, 'How come they don't come and get you?' and I've said it's because I use too many big words. They don't know what this is. They don't care. And anyway, my theory about drugs and the government is where money is not being made, they're not interested. What they're interested in are people making $100,000 a day dishing out blow in some rat's nest somewhere. Since I'm not making any money off illegal drugs it must be fairly dull to them I think.


JK: After the event at La Chorrera there was a period of time when you were not mentally stable, when you were very unbalanced in a lot of ways.

TM: Well, there was a lot of debate. There was never an actual incident where people... I managed to avoid [a medical pronouncement]. There was just a lot of anguished conversation among my friends. Basically, my problem was that I had a one-track mind. I was obsessive about this stuff coming out of the I Ching and the timewave and the end of history and hypercarbolation and I would take roomfuls of people prisoner and hold them for up to 14 hours at a crack. Which is, of course, a sign of mania. On the other hand, I doubt that Shakespeare's plays or Moby Dick or Mont St. Michel were built without somebody giving a damn about how it came out.

JK: Now there are other people who believe that the last page of the Wall Street Journal is where the CIA communicates, and they have theories and charts and crypotography all mapped out, and it's all very elaborate... What's different between what you're doing and what they do?

TM: Well, the timewave predicts the past, and the past has happened, so there isn't a whole helluva lot of fudging you can do. Predicting the future is no challenge to anybody because who can rule you out of bounds? I think that, based on its ability to predict the past, judged by the ordinary ways we judge predictive success, that the timewave should be taken seriously. It isn't a mystical doctrine, and I don't defend it with mystical arguments. I put it forward as an exotic scientific hypothesis to be tested and overthrown by the usual methods.


http://www.tripzine.com/listing.php?id=tm2
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:04 pm

In the 1970s, however, when Sarfatti was still developing the theories that would later make him famous in the world of physics, he was hanging out with Puharich, Uri Geller, and other notables in the hothouse atmosphere of radical thinking about science, communication, information, and psychic phenomena. Sarfatti claims to have introduced Geller to Jacques Vallee --the French UFO researcher of Passport to Magonia fame --and both to Steven Spielberg. Spielberg would later produce Close Encounters of the Third Kind, using Vallee as a technical adviser... This same nexus of Puharich and Sarfatti is said to have influenced Gene Roddenberry in his development of the Star Trek television series. And behind all of this is the hugely influential figure of Ira Einhorn, usually referred to as 'the Unicorn' after the translation of his surname into English.

"For a while, Einhorn served as Sarfatti's literary agent (as he did with Puharich to get Beyond Telepathy reprinted). Einhorn was active in New Age pursuits, a kind of P. T. Barnum of hippiedom, making connections and networking, bringing together people he felt should be brought together to create a kind of explosion of new thinking that cut across traditional disciplinary lines. So you had filmmakers talking this physicist, psychics talking to soldiers, and spies talking everybody. Seminars were held, books and papers published. People like science-fiction author Philip K. Dick (who was discovered by Hollywood in the 1990s, unfortunately after his death) and Robert Anton Wilson could be found in kaffeklatsch with Timothy Leary, John Lilly, Saul Paul Sirag, and assorted G-men. There was a sense among these people that an event of momentous importance to the planet was imminent, and that they were in the forefront of whatever it was going to be.

"Many of them had already had paranormal contacts of some sort (a list that includes Sarfatti, Wilson, Dick, Geller, Puharich, and many, many others) and were certain that these contacts signaled the beginning of a more overt presence by these beings. These were people with government grants and contracts at the highest levels of the US military... And not only the US military. The Soviets were also involved, if only the peripherally. And much of this was going on relatively un-noticed by the American people at large. Although they had seen Uri Geller bend spoons on national television, and had read the stories and novels by Dick and Robert Anton Wilson, for instance, they had no idea that all this activity was being produced by a loosely-organized group of intellectuals operating half-in, half-out of the mainstream... And half-in, half-out of the US government.


(Sinister Forces Book III, Peter Levenda, pgs. 245-246)

Image

Image
Puharich (top) with the Pope
and Sarfatti (bottom)


Lilly also claimed to have experienced some type of paranormal contact, apparently.

"In his book on the Israeli psychic Uri Geller, Dr. Andrija Puharich, a neurologist of some professional reputation which he is presumably not eager to destroy by going out on a limb, asserts that both he and Geller have frequently received communications from extraterrestrials...

"Dr. John Lilly, internationally known psychoanalyst, neuro-anatomist, cyberneticist, mathematician and delphinologist, gently hints that he has also received such communications. Academia, relieved that Dr. Lilly is only hinting and not saying it outright, happily ignores the potential breakthrough."


(Cosmic Trigger Volume I, Robert Anton Wilson, pg. 79)



http://visupview.blogspot.com/2013/08/p ... rs-of.html
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Thu Aug 29, 2013 11:14 pm

http://www.aeonmagazine.com/altered-sta ... delusions/

The reality show

Schizophrenics used to see demons and spirits. Now they talk about actors and hidden cameras – and make a lot of sense

by Mike Jay

Image


Clinical psychiatry papers rarely make much of a splash in the wider media, but it seems appropriate that a paper entitled ‘The Truman Show Delusion: Psychosis in the Global Village’, published in the May 2012 issue of Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, should have caused a global sensation. Its authors, the brothers Joel and Ian Gold, presented a striking series of cases in which individuals had become convinced that they were secretly being filmed for a reality TV show.

In one case, the subject travelled to New York, demanding to see the ‘director’ of the film of his life, and wishing to check whether the World Trade Centre had been destroyed in reality or merely in the movie that was being assembled for his benefit. In another, a journalist who had been hospitalised during a manic episode became convinced that the medical scenario was fake and that he would be awarded a prize for covering the story once the truth was revealed. Another subject was actually working on a reality TV series but came to believe that his fellow crew members were secretly filming him, and was constantly expecting the This-Is-Your-Life moment when the cameras would flip and reveal that he was the true star of the show.

Few commentators were able to resist the idea that these cases — all diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, and treated with antipsychotic medication — were in some sense the tip of the iceberg, exposing a pathology in our culture as a whole. They were taken as extreme examples of a wider modern malaise: an obsession with celebrity turning us all into narcissistic stars of our own lives, or a media-saturated culture warping our sense of reality and blurring the line between fact and fiction. They seemed to capture the zeitgeist perfectly: cautionary tales for an age in which our experience of reality is manicured and customised in subtle and insidious ways, and everything from our junk mail to our online searches discreetly encourages us in the assumption that we are the centre of the universe.

But part of the reason that the Truman Show delusion seems so uncannily in tune with the times is that Hollywood blockbusters now regularly present narratives that, until recently, were confined to psychiatrists’ case notes and the clinical literature on paranoid psychosis. Popular culture hums with stories about technology that secretly observes and controls our thoughts, or in which reality is simulated with virtual constructs or implanted memories, and where the truth can be glimpsed only in distorted dream sequences or chance moments when the mask slips. A couple of decades ago, such beliefs would mark out fictional characters as crazy, more often than not homicidal maniacs. Today, they are more likely to identify a protagonist who, like Jim Carrey’s Truman Burbank, genuinely has stumbled onto a carefully orchestrated secret of which those around him are blandly unaware. These stories obviously resonate with our technology-saturated modernity. What’s less clear is why they so readily adopt a perspective that was, until recently, a hallmark of radical estrangement from reality. Does this suggest that media technologies are making us all paranoid? Or that paranoid delusions suddenly make more sense than they used to?

The first person to examine the curiously symbiotic relationship between new technologies and the symptoms of psychosis was Victor Tausk, an early disciple of Sigmund Freud. In 1919, he published a paper on a phenomenon he called ‘the influencing machine’. Tausk had noticed that it was common for patients with the recently coined diagnosis of schizophrenia to be convinced that their minds and bodies were being controlled by advanced technologies invisible to everyone but them. These ‘influencing machines’ were often elaborately conceived and predicated on the new devices that were transforming modern life. Patients reported that they were receiving messages transmitted by hidden batteries, coils and electrical apparatus; voices in their heads were relayed by advanced forms of telephone or phonograph, and visual hallucinations by the covert operation of ‘a magic lantern or cinematograph’. Tausk’s most detailed case study was of a patient named ‘Natalija A’, who believed that her thoughts were being controlled and her body manipulated by an electrical apparatus secretly operated by doctors in Berlin. The device was shaped like her own body, its stomach a velvet-lined lid that could be opened to reveal batteries corresponding to her internal organs.

Although these beliefs were wildly delusional, Tausk detected a method in their madness: a reflection of the dreams and nightmares of a rapidly evolving world. Electric dynamos were flooding Europe’s cities with power and light, their branching networks echoing the filigree structures seen in laboratory slides of the human nervous system. New discoveries such as X-rays and radio were exposing hitherto invisible worlds and mysterious powers that were daily discussed in popular science journals, extrapolated in pulp fiction magazines and claimed by spiritualists as evidence for the ‘other side’. But all this novelty was not, in Tausk’s view, creating new forms of mental illness. Rather, modern developments were providing his patients with a new language to describe their condition.

At the core of schizophrenia, he argued, was a ‘loss of ego-boundaries’ that made it impossible for subjects to impose their will on reality, or to form a coherent idea of the self. Without a will of their own, it seemed to them that the thoughts and words of others were being forced into their heads and issued from their mouths, and their bodies were manipulated like puppets, subjected to tortures or arranged in mysterious postures. These experiences made no rational sense, but those who suffered them were nevertheless subject to what Tausk called ‘the need for causality that is inherent in man’. They felt themselves at the mercy of malign external forces, and their unconscious minds fashioned an explanation from the material to hand, often with striking ingenuity. Unable to impose meaning on the world, they became empty vessels for the cultural artefacts and assumptions that swirled around them. By the early 20th century, many found themselves gripped by the conviction that some hidden operator was tormenting them with advanced technology.

A desert nomad is more likely to believe that he is being buried alive in sand by a djinn, and an urban American that he has been implanted with a microchip and is being monitored by the CIA

Tausk’s theory was radical in its implication that the utterances of psychosis were not random gibberish but a bricolage, often artfully constructed, of collective beliefs and preoccupations. Throughout history up to this point, the explanatory frame for such experiences had been essentially religious: they were seen as possession by evil spirits, divine visitations, witchcraft, or snares of the devil. In the modern age, these beliefs remained common, but alternative explanations were now available. The hallucinations experienced by psychotic patients, Tausk observed, are not typically three-dimensional objects but projections ‘seen on a single plane, on walls or windowpanes’. The new technology of cinema replicated this sensation precisely and was in many respects a rational explanation of it: one that ‘does not reveal any error of judgment beyond the fact of its non-existence’.

In their instinctive grasp of technology’s implicit powers and threats, influencing machines can be convincingly futuristic and even astonishingly prescient. The very first recorded case, from 1810, was a Bedlam inmate named James Tilly Matthews who drew exquisite technical drawings of the machine that was controlling his mind. The ‘Air Loom’, as he called it, used the advanced science of his day — artificial gases and mesmeric rays — to direct invisible currents into his brain, where a magnet had been implanted to receive them. Matthews’s world of electrically charged beams and currents, sheer lunacy to his contemporaries, is now part of our cultural furniture. A quick internet search reveals dozens of online communities devoted to discussing magnetic brain implants, both real and imagined.

The Gold brothers’ interpretation of the Truman Show delusion runs along similar lines. It might appear to be a new phenomenon that has emerged in response to our hypermodern media culture, but is in fact a familiar condition given a modern makeover. They make a primary distinction between the content of delusions, which is spectacularly varied and imaginative, and the basic forms of delusion, which they characterise as ‘both universal and rather small in number’.

Persecutory delusions, for example, can be found throughout history and across cultures; but within this category a desert nomad is more likely to believe that he is being buried alive in sand by a djinn, and an urban American that he has been implanted with a microchip and is being monitored by the CIA. ‘For an illness that is often characterised as a break with reality,’ they observe, ‘psychosis keeps remarkably up to date.’ Rather than being estranged from the culture around them, psychotic subjects can be seen as consumed by it: unable to establish the boundaries of the self, they are at the mercy of their often heightened sensitivity to social threats.

In this interpretation, the Truman Show delusion is a contemporary expression of a common form of delusion: the grandiose. Those experiencing the onset of psychosis often become convinced that the world has undergone a subtle shift, placing them at centre-stage in a drama of universal proportions. Everything is suddenly pregnant with meaning, every tiny detail charged with personal significance. The people around you are often complicit: playing pre-assigned roles, testing you or preparing you for an imminent moment of revelation. Such experiences have typically been interpreted as a divine visitation, a magical transformation or an initiation into a higher level of reality. It is easy to imagine how, if they descended on us without warning today, we might jump to the conclusion that the explanation was some contrivance of TV or social media: that, for some deliberately concealed reason, the attention of the world had suddenly focused on us, and an invisible public was watching with fascination to see how we would respond. The Truman Show delusion, then, needn’t imply that reality TV is either a cause or a symptom of mental illness; it might simply be that the pervasive presence of reality TV in our culture offers a plausible explanation for otherwise inexplicable sensations and events.

Here was what Hollywood executives always assumed audiences hated: filmmakers playing smart with their audiences, pulling the rug from under their feet

Although the formation of delusions is unconscious and often a response to profound trauma, the need to construct plausible scenarios gives it many commonalities with the process of writing fiction. On rare occasions the two overlap. In 1954, the English novelist Evelyn Waugh suffered a psychotic episode during which he thought he was persecuted by a cast of disembodied voices who were discussing his personality defects and spreading malicious rumours about him. He became convinced that the voices were being orchestrated by the producers of a recent BBC radio interview, whose questions he had found impertinent; he explained their ability to follow him wherever he went by invoking some hidden technology along the lines of a radionics ‘black box’, an enthusiasm of one of his neighbours. His delusions became increasingly florid but, as Waugh described it later, ‘it was not in the least like losing one’s reason… I was rationalising all the time, it was simply one’s reason working hard on the wrong premises.’

Waugh turned the experience into a brilliant comic novel, The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold (1957). Its protagonist is a pompous but brittle writer in late middle age, whose paranoia about the modern world is fed by an escalating regime of liqueurs and sedatives until it erupts in full-blown persecution mania (a familiar companion for Waugh, who abbreviated it discreetly to ‘pm’ in letters to his wife). Although the novel smoothes the edges of Waugh’s bizarre associations and winks knowingly at Pinfold’s surreal predicament, the fictionalisation blurs into the narrative that emerged during Waugh’s psychosis: even for his close friends, it was impossible to tell exactly where the first ended and the second began.

By the time that Gilbert Pinfold was published, narratives of paranoia and psychosis were starting to migrate from psychiatry into popular culture, and first-person memoirs of mental illness were appearing as mass-market paperbacks. The memoir Operators and Things: The Inner Life of a Schizophrenic (1958), written under the pseudonym of Barbara O’Brien, told the remarkable story of a young woman pursued across America on Greyhound buses by a shadowy gang of ‘operators’ with a mind-controlling ‘stroboscope’, but was presented and packaged like a sci-fi thriller. Conversely, thrillers were incorporating plot lines that assumed the reality of mind-controlling technologies. Richard Condon’s best-selling novel The Manchurian Candidate (1959) turned on the premise that a hypnotised subject might be programmed to respond unconsciously to pre-arranged cues. In the book’s memorable and, with hindsight, eerily prescient climax, an unwitting agent is triggered to assassinate the US president. Condon’s deadpan satire was informed by Cold War anxieties about brainwashing and communist infiltration, but it also drew upon recent popular exposés of the ‘subliminal’ techniques of advertising, such as The Hidden Persuaders (1958) by Vance Packard. It was expertly pitched into the disputed territory of psychology’s black arts: a paranoid tale for paranoid times, which still informs a thriving netherworld of internet-driven conspiracy theories.

Perhaps the emergence of the influencing machine into modern fiction can be most clearly traced through the career and afterlife of Philip K Dick, who combined the profession of prolific pulp novelist with an intense hypochondriacal fascination with psychotic disorders. He diagnosed himself as both paranoid and schizophrenic at various times, and included schizophrenic characters in his fiction; many of his novels and short stories have a closer kinship with memoirs of mental illness than with the robots-and-spaceships tales of his sci-fi contemporaries. They play out restless iterations of the idea that consensus reality is in fact the construct of some form of influencing machine: a simulation designed to test our behaviour, a set of memories generated artificially to maintain us in our daily routines, a consumer fantasy sold to us by power-hungry corporations or obligingly furnished by mind-reading extraterrestrials. Dick’s novel Time Out of Joint came out the same year as The Manchurian Candidate and was a clear ancestor of The Truman Show. Its protagonist, Ragle Gumm, inhabits a bland suburban world that is gradually revealed to be a military simulation; the sole purpose of the set-up is to keep Gumm happily playing what he believes to be a battleship puzzle in the daily paper, while in reality his solutions are directing missile strikes in a war of which he is kept unaware.

Throughout his lifetime, Dick remained a cult author. His devoted but limited fan base prized his work for its uncompromising weirdness, never imagining that it might be assimilated into the popular mainstream. Indeed, after a series of visionary episodes in 1974, which he elaborated into a complex personal theology, Dick’s work became still more hermetic, remote even to his core sci-fi readership. He died in 1982, just as his novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968) was being adapted into Ridley Scott’s Bladerunner, its storyline soft-pedalled by a studio that believed audiences would reject the climactic revelation that its protagonist was himself an android. Subsequent film adaptations of Dick’s work, such as Paul Verhoeven’s Total Recall (1990), also toned down the radical reality switches of the source, limiting them to an opening set-up before settling into a final reel of uncomplicated action.

In 1999, however, The Matrix struck boxoffice gold with a script that presented a classic Dickian influencing machine in stark and undiluted form. An inquisitive hacker stumbles onto the ultimate secret: the so-called ‘real world’ is a simulation, concealing a reality in which all humanity has been enslaved and harvested by machines for centuries. Buttressed by reams of dialogue exploring the scenario’s existential implications, here was precisely what Hollywood executives previously assumed audiences hated: filmmakers playing smart with their audiences, pulling the narrative rug from under their feet, even toying with the fourth wall of the drama. And yet it was a sensational success, resonating far beyond the multiplex and inserting its memes deep into a wider culture that was now hosted by the internet.

As the American screenwriter William Goldman observed in his memoir Adventures in the Screen Trade (1983), in the movie business, nobody knows anything. It might be that a similarly bold metafiction could have been successful years earlier, but it feels more likely that the cultural impact of The Matrix reflected the ubiquity that interactive and digital media had achieved by the end of the 20th century. This was the moment at which the networked society reached critical mass: the futuristic ideas that, a decade before, were the preserve of a vanguard who read William Gibson’s cyberspace novels or followed the bleeding-edge speculations of the cyberculture magazine Mondo 2000 now became part of the texture of daily life for a global and digital generation. The headspinning pretzel logic that had confined Philip K Dick’s appeal to the cult fringes a generation earlier was now accessible to a mass audience. Suddenly, there was a public appetite for convoluted allegories that dissolved the boundaries between the virtual and the real.

When James Tilly Matthews drew the invisible beams and rays of the Air Loom in his Bedlam cell, he was describing a world that existed only in his head. But his world is now ours: we can no longer count all the invisible rays, beams and signals that are passing through our bodies at any moment. Victor Tausk argued that the influencing machine emerged from a confusion between the outside world and private mental events, a confusion resolved when the patient invented an external cause to make sense of his thoughts, dreams and hallucinations. But the modern word of television and computers, the virtual and the interactive, blurs traditional distinctions between perception and reality.

When we watch live sporting events on giant public screens or follow breaking news stories in our living rooms, we are only receiving flickering images, yet our hearts beat in synchrony with millions of unseen others. We Skype with two-dimensional facsimiles of our friends, and model idealised versions of ourselves for our social profiles. Avatars and aliases allow us to commune at once intimately and anonymously. Multiplayer games and online worlds allow us to create customised realities as all-embracing as The Truman Show. Leaks and exposés continually undermine our assumptions about what we are revealing and to whom, how far our actions are being monitored and our thoughts being transmitted. We manipulate our identities and are manipulated by unknown others. We cannot reliably distinguish the real from the fake, or the private from the public.

In the 21st century, the influencing machine has escaped from the shuttered wards of the mental hospital to become a distinctive myth for our times. It is compelling not because we all have schizophrenia, but because reality has become a grey scale between the external world and our imaginations. The world is now mediated in part by technologies that fabricate it and partly by our own minds, whose pattern-recognition routines work ceaselessly to stitch digital illusions into the private cinema of our consciousness. The classical myths of metamorphosis explored the boundaries between humanity and nature and our relationship to the animals and the gods. Likewise, the fantastical technologies that were once the hallmarks of insanity enable us to articulate the possibilities, threats and limits of the tools that are extending our minds into unfamiliar dimensions, both seductive and terrifying.

Published on 23 August 2013
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Fri Aug 30, 2013 5:20 pm

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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Sat Aug 31, 2013 9:52 am

http://www.neurosoup.com/best-worst-tripping-locations/



Best & Worst Tripping Locations

For the purposes of harm reduction, Krystle Cole discuss the best and worst locations where she has tripped. She is not suggesting or supporting the use of any substance (either legal or illegal). She is simply sharing her experiences so that through education we can reduce the prevalence of HPPD.

More Info on HPPD (Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder):

http://www.neurosoup.com/hallucinogen-p ... rder-hppd/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_O89VxFYjo
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Sat Aug 31, 2013 11:32 pm

Lisa Bieberman

Extended Biography

by Jon Hanna

"We were messianically dedicated, full of the happy excitement of sharing a soon-to-be-public secret that was going to save the world."
-- Lisa Bieberman, Psychedelic Information Center Bulletin #12, 1967

Alice "Lisa" Bieberman obtained degrees in Mathematics and Philosophy from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. While studying there she founded the Philosophy Club, which led discussions with high school students. She became interested in psychedelics, and volunteered in Timothy Leary's office, thereby involving herself with what has been called "the Harvard Project". She eventually worked as circulation manager for The Psychedelic Review (initially published by Leary and Richard Alpert's International Federation for Internal Freedom). Bieberman graduated in 1963, the same year that Harvard fired Alpert and dismissed Leary. She later worked on obtaining her PhD in Psychology from Brandeis University.

Following her graduation from Radcliffe, Bieberman opened the Psychedelic Information Center in Cambridge. Operated from her apartment about half a block from Harvard Square, she dreamed that one day there might be such centers in every major city of the world. In early November of 1964, she decided to start publishing the Psychedelic Information Center Bulletin.

With its first issue released in June of 1965, the PIC Bulletin was Bieberman's attempt to establish a nationwide communiqué "through which anybody can get practical information regarding how to obtain and use psychedelics, and possibly make contact with an experienced person who can help him through his first session." Thirty-five issues were produced in total.

The PIC Bulletin included information sent in by her readers, as well as news and data that Bieberman had collected, along with her opinions about the subculture that was developing. Running 2-4 pages, a new issue was released every two months; the only cost to "subscribe" was a self-addressed 5¢-stamped envelope. The PIC Bulletin went out to around 300-400 people.

The Bulletin debunked urban legends, announced conferences and reported on social events, provided contact information for religious organizations focused on psychoactive sacraments (such as the Neo-American Church and The Church of the Awakening), offered plant growing techniques and extraction processes, and kept readers updated on legal issues. The PIC Bulletin even provided direct contact information for psychedelic enthusiasts eager to meet like-minded folks. [For example, one such notice listed the name, phone number, address, and directions to the home of an older woman in Sacramento, CA, who offered "to house other heads passing through."]

One of the PIC's projects was to create the Psychedelic Telephone Directory. Bieberman felt that during "sessions" if the urge to call someone arose, "There should be someone more appropriate to phone than your mother, your ex-girl, your psychiatrist, or the President." Her directory sold for 50¢. The PIC also offered buttons supporting cannabis legalization, reprints of legal documents (such as the federal Drug Abuse Control Amendments of 1965), reprints of synthesis procedures, and a couple of topical booklets that Bieberman wrote, all provided at prices running between 15¢ and one dollar.

Bieberman's ideas about psychedelics were excellent: they evidenced her clear thinking on the topic, and they remain relevant to new and continuing users of psychedelics nearly a half-century after she wrote them. Presented in easy-to-understand English, they marry straightforward, practical data with astute observations. Her gift for polemic is such that she doesn't pull any punches, yet her strong opinions sound reasonable and persuasive.

She felt that those who took psychedelics had a responsibility to be as open about their use as possible. Even after these drugs started to become criminalized, she hoped that one day she would be able to set up legally sanctioned centers where people could go to have psychedelic experiences in a positive environment with supportive, experienced staff members available.

Bieberman encouraged folks to visit her at the PIC, where she would try to answer their questions about psychedelics. She was a vocal proponent of the beneficial potential that psychedelics have, but she made it clear that it takes a concerted effort to apply the insights learned toward bettering one's life and the world at large. Indeed, for her these were the main reasons to take psychedelics in the first place.

The tone of the early issues of the PIC Bulletin conveyed Bieberman's initial enthusiastic idealism. However, as the years passed, the laws changed, and the burgeoning psychedelic culture grew and morphed, Bieberman became disenchanted. She had some issues with the group at Millbrook, where she and office manager Peter H. John orchestrated day-to-day operations. (She eventually started referring to Millbrook as millionaire William Hitchcock's "human zoo".) Through her work at the PIC, as well, Bieberman came into contact with recreational users who she felt were overly dependant on drugs for the highs in their lives. Irresponsible use and flakey attitudes seemed to be becoming the norm. The new crop of "heads" did not put in much (or any) effort to make positive changes based on any psychedelic insights they may have had...

Although as a child Bieberman attended an evangelical Protestant church, for most of her youth she considered herself an atheistic rationalist. Later, her psychedelic experiences inspired a belief in God. Yet unlike some Western LSD initiates, who framed their acid experiences within Eastern religious philosophies, Bieberman felt most called and comfortable to interpret her experiences within the Judeo-Christian heritage. Bieberman commented that, "The simplest and most beautiful structure for a religious meeting I know of is that which the Quakers use, in their silent worship." Those who took psychedelics as sacraments probably couldn't do any better than to emulate this practice, she felt...

Searching for a more compatible community, Bieberman was drawn to the Quakers, even though she knew little of their history or doctrines. In 1968 she went to an Acton Friends Meeting. A week after she was accepted into the group, she has stated that: "Christ visited [her] very powerfully--converting [her] to faith in Himself."

Contrary to many Christian sects, the early Quakers believed that God still spoke directly to humankind, for those who listened. One can imagine that this philosophical approach would make sense to many who have experienced spiritual insights engendered by psychedelics. Yet among Christians today--even among many Quakers--there is an attitude that God's word is primarily and best received from the Bible, rather than from first-hand revelations based on a personal relationship with Christ.

In 1971, as Bieberman searched for others who believed that direct communication with God was possible, she met Lawrence S. Kuenning at the New Swarthmoor community in Sumneytown, Pennsylvania. In 1972 they co-founded Publishers of Truth (later renamed the Friends of Truth), with the hope that they might inspire others to practice the approach that had been embraced by the early Quakers. In 1973 they were married, and Lisa Bieberman became Licia Kuenning.

In the summer of 1996, Licia says that she received a direct transmission from Christ so powerfully that, against her attempt to suppress the action, she found herself repeating it out loud: "Farmington is the new Jerusalem." She later came to believe that the date on which this prophecy would take effect was June 6, 2006. She went to some lengths to promote her eschatological revelation, taking out advertisements, sending e-mails, even renting billboard space to announce the good news.

The gist of what Licia says Christ told her was that, within a few years, God would establish a new order in the small town of Farmington, Maine. Once the change had occurred, within the municipal limits of Farmington there would be no more death or illness (the sick would get well), nor any crime or bad behavior, and this new state of affairs would last forever. The rest of the world would continue in the same manner that it had always operated. The new Jerusalem described in Revelation 21:2-4 would be in Farmington. Licia moved to Farmington, but shortly after--in what she describes as "a weak moment"--she agreed to return to Glenside, Pennsylvania, where she had been living with her husband Larry. Then in early 2005, Licia was again forcefully struck by what she felt was a direct communication from God, which repeated the message of the Farmington prophecy, entreating her to spread the word. As a means toward that end, Licia decided to produce a novel that she had been considering writting, based on the prophecy. She and Larry moved back to Farmington and, inspired as she worked, she felt as though Christ himself began to dictate the text. The result is her 480-page book Farmington! Farmington!

When the prophecy did not come to pass in 2006, Licia readily admitted that she had gotten the date wrong. However she has since expressed that this was merely human error on her part, and it does not invalidate the ultimate truth of the prophecy. She still professes her belief that Farmington will be the new Jerusalem.

Image

The Thoughtbridge Billboard in Farmington, advertising Licia's prophecy.



http://www.erowid.org/culture/character ... phy1.shtml
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Sun Sep 01, 2013 4:01 pm

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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Sun Sep 01, 2013 6:49 pm

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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Mon Sep 02, 2013 12:31 pm

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2 ... tdown.html

Is Tripping on Acid to Blame for Angus T. Jones’s Meltdown?
Nov 30, 2012

The Two and Half Men star recently trashed his show on YouTube sitting beside a bizarre preacher. In the same video, he admitted to tripping on acid. Two psychedelics experts weigh in.

One of the more interesting tidbits to emerge from the curious case of Angus T. Jones, the young star of the CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men who appeared in a recent YouTube video flanked by a preacher denouncing his TV program as godless “filth,” is that the actor began experimenting with LSD prior to stumbling across the radical organization’s videos online.


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Actor Angus T. Jones.

“The summer of senior year, I started doing acid,” Jones says on the now-viral video. “This drug could change the world ... if this was legal, everyone would be different.”

It appears Jones, 19, has become an acolyte of Christopher Hudson, the creator of the website ForeRunner Chronicles, a Seventh-Day Adventist ministry, who delivers bizarre sermons online. Some of Hudson’s greatest hits: accusing rapper Jay-Z of being a devil-worshipping Freemason; denouncing Oprah Winfrey as a disciple of Satan; declaring masturbation a sin; and calling superstorm Sandy a harbinger of a food-shortage crisis and cannibalism.

“Your videos have no doubt been a blessing to me,” Jones tells Hudson in the video, and later adds, “I don’t want to be contributing to the enemy’s plan … You cannot be a true God-fearing person and be on a television show like [Two and a Half Men]. I know I can’t. I’m not OK with what I’m learning, what the Bible says, and being on that television show.” (Jones is paid a reported $350,000 per episode, and has since apologized for his comments.)

But back to the acid.

Jones’s comments about the transformative powers of the drug echo those famously made by Apple founder Steve Jobs in the 2005 book What the Doormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer.

“Doing LSD was one of the two or three most important things I have done in my life,” said Jobs, further alleging that Microsoft’s Bill Gates would “be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once.”

Unlike Jobs, however, it seems Jones wasn’t in it for mere experimentation. His parents had recently split and Jones describes in the video being haunted by feelings of inauthenticity; that he had, in essence, become a materialistic windbag who purchased fancy cars and dated girls, but felt empty inside.

Lester Grinspoon, professor emeritus of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, has been studying psychedelics since the mid-’70s, and authored the books Psychedelic Drugs Reconsidered and Psychedelic Reflections. He also testified on behalf of Leslie Van Houten, a former member of Charles Manson’s LSD-taking cult convicted of the murders of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, in determining if she was of sound mind while the crimes were committed. While Hudson is no killer, Grinspoon says he sees parallels between the two cases as both young, unassuming people became drawn to a Svengali-like leader after experimenting with mind-altering LSD.

“Van Houten felt her life was inauthentic and took it to try and steer a different course; as a measure of dissatisfaction and wanting to discover something new,” Grinspoon tells The Daily Beast. “LSD can be used to create an absolute commitment to a leader and his philosophy. I looked at Angus Jones and I thought, I’ve seen that before with LSD. A very important change occurs in their lives. Now, will this epiphany last very long? I have no idea.”

David Nichols, professor emeritus in pharmacology at Purdue University and an expert in psychedelic studies, explains how LSD works: it targets a serotonin 2A receptor (5-HT2A), which is expressed in the areas of the brain responsible for perception, emotion, and cognition. It disturbs all of these processes, so it affects the sounds and colors that come in, as well as the area in your brain that decides what gets sent to your cortex for processing. The cortex functions like a supercomputer—it’s where you ingest information that’s coming in from all your senses and form opinions and ideas, thus motivating you to behave a certain way. LSD affects the gating process—so much more information is sent to the cortex to be processed. The drug changes the extent to which things seem novel, the way you perceive things by altering the input from your senses, and the way your cortex functions. It “reshapes the architecture of your consciousness,” Nichols says.

But the effects of the drug vary on a case-by-case basis.

“How LSD works depends on the set and the setting: the set being your mind-set, or your expectation of what’s going to happen, and the setting being the environment in which you take it in,” Nichols says. “If you take LSD in search of a religious experience and go to a cathedral, the probability is very high that you will have a religious experience. If you take the same drug and go to a Freddy Krueger movie, you’re going to have a very different experience.”

After reading up on the drama surrounding Angus T. Jones, as well as watching his “confession video,” along with some ForeRunner Chronicles clips containing very trippy graphics, Nichols says he believes LSD could have “served as a catalyst” for Jones’s turn to fringe Christianity.

“He was raised in a Christian school and his parents read him Bible verses, and suddenly he’s this child actor who’s making a ton of money; he was programmed that way from an early age,” says Nichols. “So for him to go off the deep end and follow this preacher doesn’t seem that surprising to me. He may have had a crisis of identity and LSD, for a lot of people, can cause them to reexamine where they are and what they’re doing and in general, most people who take LSD develop an increased interest in spiritual things.”

He adds, “Back in the ’60s, there was this group of people called “Jesus Freaks” who took LSD and then suddenly became convinced that they needed to be devoted to Christianity and Jesus.”

Nichols cautions, however, that LSD isn’t addictive, and “doesn’t melt your brain or destroy who you are when given in the proper context.” It’s also proven quite effective for some. In addition to Jobs, Francis Crick is rumored to have conceived of the DNA double helix after taking LSD, and was known to have LSD parties at his home. And, according to Nichols, the drug brought people of different racial backgrounds together during the counterculture movement of the 1960s by breaking down societal barriers. “If you’ve been inculcated to think a certain way, LSD can change that,” he says.

While LSD does leave your body within a day, Nichols says it can cause certain psychological changes. “Your brain has feedback circuits and if you disrupt those, you set up new circuits—it’s called neuroplasticity, or the ability for the brain to remold itself after certain events—like post-traumatic stress disorder, for example.”

Whether or not LSD is to blame for Jones’s mysterious transformation is anyone’s guess. But the Warlock himself, Charlie Sheen, who used to star alongside Jones on Two and a Half Men before his epic meltdown, referred to Jones’s YouTube confessional as a “Hale-Bopp-like meltdown,” referencing the Heaven’s Gate cult.

The next day, after he had processed everything, Sheen released a statement to TMZ that read: “Obviously, not having been there for some time, the Angus T. Jones that I knew and still love is not the same guy I saw on YouTube yesterday.”
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Mon Sep 02, 2013 7:19 pm

Psychosis, sex cults, suicide and the curse of Fleetwood Mac guitarists

By TOM LEONARD

PUBLISHED: 10 June 2012 |

An autumn night in 1972, and minutes before Fleetwood Mac are due on stage for the latest gig of their U.S. tour, a drama is unfolding in their dressing room.

Danny Kirwan, talented guitarist and the glamour boy of the band, is drunk. At just 22, he is an alcoholic who goes for days without food, existing only on beer.

Increasingly mentally fragile, he suddenly loses his temper over the simple process of tuning a guitar. Banging the wall with his fists, he hurls his expensive Gibson Les Paul instrument at a mirror, showering broken glass over his bandmates.

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Tragic end: Bob Welch, the former Fleetwood Mac guitarist, who was found dead last week after finding out he would ever recover the use of his legs

He then stomps off into the auditorium, pausing only to smash his head against a wall until blood pours from his face. Refusing to come on stage, he spends the show heckling the band from the audience as they struggle to play without him.

Perhaps it’s not surprising to learn that after he was swiftly sacked, Kirwan developed mental health problems as the effect of drink and drug abuse caught up with him. He even ended up living homeless on the streets of London.

But if Danny Kirwan’s story is a salutary warning of the excesses of rock and roll, he was certainly not the only member of Fleetwood Mac to suffer bizarre breakdowns or personal tragedy.

Now, yet another former guitarist with the group has succumbed to what many people regard as something of a hoodoo.

Last week, Bob Welch, 66, was found dead by his wife after writing a suicide note and shooting himself in the chest.

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Bob Weston, another former guitarist with the band, was found dead following a brain haemorrhage at his flat in North London in January. He was 64

According to one source, Welch — who lived in Nashville, Tennessee — had spinal surgery three months ago.

Informed by his doctors that he would never recover the use of his legs, he told his wife Wendy he did not want her to have to care for an invalid.

It was a heartbreaking end for the soft-spoken Californian who years ago fell out with his old bandmates after he sued them over the rights to royalties — and was then excluded from Fleetwood Mac’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.

The band’s singer Stevie Nicks said his death was ‘devastating’, hailing ‘an amazing guitar player, he was funny, sweet and he was smart’. She was, she added: ‘So very sorry for his family and for the family of Fleetwood Mac — so, so sad.’

Sad for sure, but Welch’s tragic end could not be called entirely unexpected given that — even by the standards of rock bands — the Fleetwood Mac ‘family’ is as turbulent and dysfunctional as they come.

The long-lasting British-American group may be remembered for such hits as Don’t Stop, Little Lies and Go Your Own Way, but in terms of drug-bingeing, partner-swapping, back-stabbing drama, it made the Rolling Stones look like a village fete brass band.

And perhaps no job in rock has proved so ill-starred as being a Fleetwood Mac guitarist. Welch was the second of them to die this year.

Bob Weston died in London in January from a haemorrhage aged just 64. He was found in bed with the TV on at his flat in Brent Cross, North London. Friends had called police after not being able to contact him for several days.

What current frontman Lindsey Buckingham recently dubbed ‘The Curse of the Fleetwood Mac Guitarist’ started back in the late Sixties.

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Rock heroes: Welch, centre and Weston, far left, are pictured with band mates Christine McVie and the founding members John Mcvie, in hat, and Mick Fleetwood

Guitar hero Peter Green founded Fleetwood Mac as a blues band in London in 1967. Colleagues noticed that by the time they released their fourth album in 1969, he was going off the rails mentally.

After taking large amounts of the hallucinogenic drug LSD, he grew a beard, began to wear robes and a crucifix and told the band’s manager he was Jesus.

He became obsessed by the supposed immorality of them becoming rich and wanted to give the band’s earnings away. The others could not believe he was serious.

Touring Europe in March 1970, Green binged on dangerously impure LSD at a party thrown by a bunch of rich Communists in a Munich commune. Friends said he was never the same again, transforming from mildly eccentric to fully-fledged basket case.

Green, who said he’d had a vision at the party in which he saw an angel holding a starving child, left the band two months later, complaining drummer Mick Fleetwood had refused his request that they donate all their royalties to charity.

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Guitar hero: Peter Green, pictured playing with The Splinter Group, founded the band in 1967 but after taking large amounts of LSD began to think he was Jesus and was later diagnosed with schizophrenia

He was later diagnosed with schizophrenia. Green spent time in various psychiatric hospitals in the 1970s undergoing electroconvulsive therapy, and his friends were shocked to find him in an almost continual trance.

The man who had been hailed as one of the finest blues guitarists of his generation fell into destitution, having to find work as a hospital porter and even a gravedigger.

Much of his financial troubles were self-inflicted. In 1977, police surrounded his house and he was arrested for threatening the band’s accountant, David Simmons, with a shotgun. Bizarrely, Green said he was furious because Simmons was still sending him royalty cheques.

Mick Fleetwood used to visit Green regularly, but eventually gave up. ‘I was just so sad I couldn’t wave a magic wand and have him be the person I wanted him to be . . . he was very sick,’ he said.

Green managed some sort of recovery after he moved in with his mother in Great Yarmouth and even managed to resurrect his musical career in 1995 with a band called The Splinter Group. But he will always be remembered as one of the great Sixties musical talents cut off in his prime by drugs.

Slide guitarist Jeremy Spencer, one of the Fleetwood Mac’s original members, was notoriously wild on stage, imitating Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly. Offstage, he couldn’t have been more different, a closet religious fanatic who sneaked away from the rest of the band on tour to read from one of the small Bibles he hid in the linings of his jackets.

Former band members say Spencer, too, had a bad trip — in his case on the mind-altering drug mescaline — during a 1971 tour of the U.S. After an earthquake hit Los Angeles, he had a premonition that something bad would happen there. It did — for Fleetwood Mac.

Spencer told Mick Fleetwood he was popping out to Hollywood Boulevard to buy a magazine. He never came back.

Days later, his frantic fellow band members discovered he had joined the Children of God, a sinister cult which used sex to ‘show God’s love’ and win converts. Spencer refused to rejoin the band.

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Still going strong: Lindsay Buckingham, far right, has not been hit yet by what he dubbed 'the curse of Fleetwood Mac', with the band still reuniting for occasional projects

He later explained he had been approached in the street by a Children of God member named Apollos, got chatting about religion and was invited to visit a nearby ‘church mission’. He still works for the organisation, now called The Family International, writing and illustrating stories.

Then there was Kirwan, a talented if humourless musician who was so emotional he would cry as he played. Landed with much of the songwriting duties after Spencer vanished, he was soon out of control, struggling to handle fame and gradually unravelling — as the story of the smashed guitar illustrates all too well.

And what of the tragic Bob Welch, who took his life last week? A young hippy whose father was a successful Hollywood producer, he joined the band after Jeremy Spencer joined the Children of God.

Mick Fleetwood credited Welch with saving the group — a sane and good-humoured presence who kept spirits up in those dark years.

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Wild: Jeremy Spencer, front, was a closet religious fanatic, who left the band when he joined the Children of God cult. Danny Kirwan, with added responsibility once Spencer left, unravelled as he tried to handle fame

Sadly for him, he left the band in 1974 just before Fleetwood Mac recruited Nicks and Buckingham, and made Rumours — which until Michael Jackson’s Thriller was the best-selling album of all time.

Before his departure, though, yet another guitarist sparked a drama that threatened to tear the band apart. Plymouth-born Bob Weston was revealed to be having an affair with Mick’s wife, Jenny Boyd — sister of Pattie Boyd, the former wife of both George Harrison and Eric Clapton.
Devastated, Fleetwood sacked Weston and the band cancelled a planned tour of America.

Determined to recoup some of his financial losses, manager Clifford Davis launched one of the most bizarre stunts in the history of rock. Without telling the band, he formed a ‘new’ Fleetwood Mac — none of whom had ever played in the group — and packed them off to play the U.S. dates.

In the ensuing legal battle over ownership of the band’s name, neither the real nor the fake Fleetwood Mac were able to play. Bob Welch put up with the madness for another year before he left and launched a moderately successful solo career.

Today, after going through a staggering 15 different personnel line-ups, Fleetwood Mac still reunites for occasional project.

As for the curse on their guitarists, Buckingham is still going strong, somehow avoiding ever becoming a deranged alcoholic, drug-addled schizophrenic or Bible‑carrying cult member.

In his last interview, Welch mused that he, at least, had found happiness in Fleetwood Mac. ‘I just wanted to play guitar in a good band,’ he said.

For several of his old bandmates, it wasn’t quite such a great career move.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... rists.html
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Tue Sep 03, 2013 3:57 pm

"The eruption of lived pleasure is such that in losing myself I find myself; forgetting that I exist, I realise myself".

--Raoul Vaneigem

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http://mysearchforthemiraculous.tumblr. ... ch-that-in
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Wed Sep 04, 2013 9:12 pm

Portlandia: "Change the World One Party at a Time"

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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Thu Sep 05, 2013 9:12 am

Concentration Moon

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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Fri Sep 06, 2013 9:16 am

Meanwhile, in the heart of the crumbling American Empire:


http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/09/06/ ... m-trenton/

Postcard from Trenton

by LINH DINH


I had been in Trenton, I dunno, maybe two hundred times before I decided to know it a little. For years, I would stop there on the way to NYC from Philly, or vice versa, but I was never compelled to wander from the Trenton Transit Center. This lack of curiosity is inexcusable, for “there is no place that isn’t worth visiting at least once,” as Evelyn Waugh wrote somewhere, and which I’d amend to “a bunch of times,” for each subsequent encounter can only deepen one’s understanding, for people are always infinitely fascinating, no matter where they may dwell, and how they cope with their environment cannot be but instructive. Shoot, man, even Northern Virginia is worth visiting more than once, I’d concede, though that would severely test any sensate being’s taste, hope, faith in humanity, tolerance, self-respect and sense of humor.

Having owned a car for less than two years in my life, and I’m two month-shy of 50, I’ve always been a walker, but I never really developed a passion for aimless walking until I lived in Italy in 2003-2004. Europe is a compact continent with an extensive rail system, so any of its city, town or village can be reached by train, and from the station, you’re free to wander as much as you want, without fear of missing your last train back, for there’s always one coming, it seems. The towns there are also much more accommodating towards walkers, and even the countryside is walkable, with public paths through fields and orchards.

Then in 2005, I had the luck to be in East Anglia for nearly a year, thanks to a T.K. Wong Fellowship, so I was able to meander through many of the villages mentioned in W.G. Sebald’s dirge like masterpiece, The Rings of Saturn, which begins, “In August 1992, when the dog days were drawing to an end, I set off to walk the county of Suffolk, in the hope of dispelling the emptiness that takes hold of me whenever I have completed a long stint of work.” All the places described by Sebald had seen much better days, with some, Great Yarmouth, for example, considered laughable, when noticed at all. Sebald’s home city, Norwich, had also become the butt of jokes although it had been England’s second greatest city, but such is life, for everything will become (bad) jokes in due time, if not obliterated completely from this unfunny earth. Everything will become New Jersey, in short, if not, horror of horrors, Trenton, friggin’ New Jersey.

OK, OK, so listen up, y’all, I was on State Street, just minding my own business, you know, slow sipping a Colt-45 on the steps of the Trenton Saving Funds Society, founded in 1901 and deader than your sex life, when this dude hollered, “You’re from Southeast Asia?”

“Yeah. What?”

“Ever heard of Angkor Wat?”

“Yeah, that’s in Southeast Asia.”

“Ever heard of Nagasaki?”

“Yeah,” I grinned, “but that’s not in Southeast Asia. That’s in Japan, man. That’s where they dropped the second atomic bomb!”

Ignoring my irrelevant information, this man, about 30, continued to quiz and educate me, “Do you know where the word nigger comes from?”

“Negro? As in a mispronunciation of negro?”

“No, man. Negro comes from naga, and naga is a sacred snake. If you’re a Southeast Asian, you must know how sacred the snake is, for you guys have turned the snake into a dragon, like Bruce Lee, enter the dragon! So the black race is sacred. We are the original and most powerful race, but the white man can’t stand this, so they have corrupted our name from na-ga to nig-ger. Are you following me?”

“Yeah.”

“The white man would have you believe black people are only from Africa, but that’s nonsense! We were everywhere. We built Angkor Wat and the Egyptian pyramids. To keep us down, the white man has rewritten our history. He wants the world to think we’re just savages but we’re the original man, the true man and the greatest man. The Buddha was a black man. You ever noticed his full lips and kinky hair? King Solomon was black, and Jesus, of course, was black. From us, everything has come. We’re not just black, we’re all colors! See those people right there? What do you see?”

“I don’t know. Three people?”

“What kind of people?”

“Black people?”

“No, no, no! One is blue black, one is reddish, and one is kind of yellow, like you. You see, black people can be all colors, because all colors come from black, but black itself is not a color. You got that?”

By this time, I had taken out pen and paper to jot down this copious lecture. Across the street was the handsome First Presbyterian Church. Built in the Greek Revival style, it hides what’s left of Colonel Johann Rall, commander of German mercenaries during the pivotal Battle of Trenton in 1776. George Washington, his conqueror, now stands atop a fluted column lording over this city. When the monument was unveiled in 1893, the New York Times deemed it “the greatest day in the history of New Jersey.”

Satisfied at having an eager student, the dude presented me with his profile, to appear more melodramatic against the slanting sunlight, then continued, “The pyramids are also a lot older than what the white man says. They’re more than 150,000 years old, and so is Angkor Wat! Do you know that light bulbs were found inside the pyramids? And batteries too, but all these facts have to be suppressed by the white man, because the white man can never admit that the Naga race, the so-called nigger race, reached a higher level of civilization thousands of years ago, when the white man was still living in caves!”

As he was talking, a passerby saluted him, “Peace! God!” So he asked me, “Did you hear that?”

“What?”

“What he said.”

“Peace? God?”

“Yes. Peace! God! He called me a God, because I am a God. Every black man is a God, and you, as a colored person is also a God, but the white man is a corruption. He is in fact the devil, you heard me, and his days are numbered. A black scientist created the white man 6,600 years ago, but it’s time for the black race to reassert his superiority. Look, look,” and he pointed to his arm, leg, leg, arm and head in turns, “what do you have?”

“What do you mean?”

“What does that spell? The first word of each!”

“Allah?”

“Yes, Allah!”

“But what does it mean? It’s just a linguistic accident, man! If we were talking another language, you wouldn’t have Allah at all!”

“But we are speaking English, and English is the universal language. This is no accident. The time for Allah has come, and it will happen here, in America.”

Many will have recognized by now that this man was spouting from the Nation of Islam’s teachings, and much has already been written about the Black Muslims’ problematic views on race, so I will only add that any man who thinks of an entire race as evil in origin and purpose is undoubtedly a racist, so this black man lecturing me was clearly a racist, and I cringe whenever anyone insists that black people cannot be racist since blacks are not structurally in power. To condemn, despise or demonize anyone for the color of their skin alone is the very definition of racism, and this is a moral, individual failing that can befall anyone, of any color, and at any time too, I should add, from moment to moment. To deny blacks of this moral agency, to posit that they cannot lapse or sink into racism, or rise above it, is to deny their very humanity, so what would that make you but the ultimate racist?

Done with my education, for now, my lecturer left me his name, Melchezidek, meaning “My Righteous King,” and his phone number, then he hopped on this beat up bike and rode away. One can’t help but wonder how can a man with such a world view function in the larger society, populated as it is with so many devils? In Trenton, though, as in most of our cities and towns, he may not have too, since blacks and whites are still mostly segregated in a society billed as post-racial when it elected a president who’s only half demonic in genetics, though entirely evil in actions, it has turned out, with yet another bloodbath coming with the incipient assault on Syria.

The government that harassed then murdered Martin Luther King now commemorates him, in the most superficial manner, each year. Flatulent speeches are given, but no sanctioned maven ever asks why he was gunned down, or points out that the syndicate that squashed King continues to kill, torture or lock up anyone who can seriously shine a light on its sinister working. Witness the recent murder of Michael Hastings, for example, or the humiliation and breaking down of Bradley Manning. In any case, Trenton never recovered from the rioting that followed King’s assassination, though it was already in decline, with the erosion of its industrial base, and white flight, occurring well before 1968. Note that nearby Levittown, a prototypical suburb built from scratch, was completed by 1958.

With its compact layout, Trenton is very walkable, though one must watch out for bullets, knives and cars careening out of control after their drivers had been shot dead. With four more months to go, Trenton has already tied its all-time record of 31 murders for an entire year, and the homicide figure only indicates a portion of the bloodshed, of course. On August 15th, for example, a 24-year-old ex convict kicked and punched his girlfriend, stabbed her dog to death, then shot two cops, sending both to the hospital, with one still in critical condition as of this writing, 14 days later. The shooter was himself killed by police bullets, and that is not counted as a homicide. So practice extra caution when wandering through North or East Trenton, and don’t you even think that the South or West Ward is entirely free of lacerating or puncturing surprises. Oh shoot, am I shot?! In short, it’s wisest not to trek through Trenton, but what the hell, let’s just go, and so I was putzing around Clinton Avenue when it started to rain hard, so soaking wet, I decided to duck into La Guira. Opening the door, I entered a tiny vestibule to espy an apparition behind bullet-proof plexiglass, so I asked, “Bar?” After my grim ghost nodded towards a second door, I entered a darkened purgatory, hitched myself onto a stool, then inquired, “What kind of beer do you have?”

“Every kind.”

“Tecate?”

“No, sorry.”

“Rolling Rock.”

“No, sorry.”

“Uh, Yuengling?”

“Yes!”

I was the only customer. On TV, a swooning hostess asked some toothsome chica, “¿Como le gustan los hombres?” Grinning, she chirped, “Muy románticos! Buenos trabajadores! Altos!” She was about to choose between two well-inked beefcakes, half naked, with “Leo” and “Tauro” signs dangling on their toned chests, but suddenly, there was kicking, punching and hair pulling, for we had switched to the Steve Wilkos Show, as the bartender didn’t want me to be flummoxed by Spanish. I found out he was Dominican and had been in the US all of five months. Though his English comprehension was bare bones, we did try to converse, and all was friendly and pleasant until some middle-aged guy arrived and got all weirded out at my camera. He was the bar owner. To calm down this excitable crank, I explained that I was visiting Trenton from Philly, and only took photos to share the countless virtues of his lovely establishment with the rest of the world, and I was having a great time until I encountered his hectoring, irritated mug, but since he was being so rude now, I would never return, so he barked, “Don’t come back!” I didn’t appreciate this pissy mofo ruining my hopped up sense of well being and equilibrium, a glancing nirvana that had cost me a dear $8, including tips, so I called him an asshole before I left.

It turns out, though, that Mr. Martin Rodriguez has ample reasons to be touchy, for his dismal bar has become a ground zero for mayhem and police misconduct. A look at the recent history of La Guira, then, becomes a window into Trenton itself. In February of 2012, cops were called to deal with an unruly customer, Darrel Griffin, whom they roughly arrested, along with a second suspect, Michele Roberts, for reasons unclear, though a surveillance camera does show a police woman grabbing Roberts’ hair, screaming at her and slamming her head against the wall, all after Roberts has already been handcuffed and not resisting. Roberts claims she has only gone there to drop off a dish of lasagna for a private party, but the cops thought she was filming them with her cell phone, so they went berserk. In any case, no charges were ever filed against Roberts or Griffin, though both are suing the Trenton police for excessive force used in their (illegal) arrests.

Though not one of Jacob’s cursed creation, and hence not inherently and irreversibly evil, Griffin is hardly a placid Buddha, however, or a turn-the-other-cheek Jesus. Hell, he might not be any kind of God at all. In 2005, a 20-year-old Griffin was charged with shooting Omar Hightower in the head. With such a slug stuck in his brain, Hightower suffered seizures for years until he finally died in 2013. Charges against Griffin were dismissed, however, because the state could not gather enough evidence against him. Peace! God!

In April of 2013, La Guira again made the news when a surveillance camera caught officers of the New Jersey State Police strip searching a man down to his brief, as other patrons looked on. Caught twice now by La Guira’s annoying cameras, the cops have decided the remedy is to go after Martinez himself, by visiting his business often and citing him for petty or imaginary violations. They’re trying to shut La Guira down in retaliation, Martinez has protested to the press, for it is certainly no nuisance spot in this half-boarded up neighborhood. Well, it is a crappy bar, but within its concrete, asphalt, garbage and broken glass context, it is a heavenly oasis where Gods and Goddesses can drain Coor’s Lite, Bud, Ciroc and Grey Goose as they bump, grind, shake and twerk. (See, see, Mr. Martinez, I am talking up your blasé shit hole, so you should give me a shot of Jameson the next time I walk in!)

Guira is a Dominican percussive instrument, by the way, and a nice chunk of Clinton Avenue, where La Guira is located, could have gone kaboom! this last April, when scavengers removed a stove from an abandoned home, thus releasing gas from broken pipes. It’s not clear why gas was still kept on there, but not much works the way it’s supposed to in Trenton. Indicted for corruption, its mayor, Tony Mack, has refused to step down, though his continued presence has blocked state funds to this strapped city. “Napoleon” or “The Little Guy,” as Mack is known, claims he has been entrapped by the FBI.

As its mayor tries to avoid prison, Trenton goes on falling apart. Leaving La Guira, I walked for miles through desolation and neglect, but it wasn’t just that, for people still had to live here. Each day they had to walk past these empty, boarded up or overgrown homes. Some were trying to ward off the degradation and violence with positive messages. On Martin Luther King Boulevard, a home owner had hung up a pink banner with a white cross over a purple heart, “Love One Another. John 3:34.” Not far away, I saw another banner on the wire fence of a garage. With two painted daisies, and lettering in four colors, it pleaded, “Can’t we do something different for OUR FUTURE?”

Presently I came upon Olden Avenue, with its many Polish businesses, still thriving after many decades. Employing my standard salutation, I asked a man, “Hey, where can you get a drink around here?”

“Let me see. You can go to Stevie Teetz. It’s just down the street. It’s a strip bar!”

“Oh, man, I don’t need no extra! I just want a beer!” In fact, I didn’t even care for a beer, but one often talks just to talk, and in a strange neighborhood, sometimes one talks just to see how one is received. In any case, onward I marched, past Stevie Teetz, and finally out of Trenton altogether, into Ewing, where I saw an “ARMED FORCES CAREER CENTER” at a strip mall. A uniformed soldier was getting into his SUV, so I waited for him to drive away before taking out my camera. Post 9-11, soldiers are often found in public, so it’s no longer a surprise to find yourself in the International House of Pancakes, for example, next to a crowded table of soldiers, and they won’t be in dress uniforms but battle fatigues. On TV, soldiers are also often inserted into commercials, newscasts, political events or sporting contests. This is done to remind us that we’re in an endless war and, more importantly, to condition citizens into accepting the presence of soldiers in civilian settings. The relentless erosion of the Posse Comitatus Act is mostly done on a visual and psychological level, for now, but already one sees soldiers with live weapons where they have no rights to be, but then the Constitution is but a quaint myth in contemporary America. Hardly anyone cares about it, not the Obama apologists, and certainly not our mesmerized youths with their eyes glued to Miley Cyrus’ ass. Children reared on Hannah Montana can now follow their sexually deranged, hair-horned and tongue wagging idol into a psychotic adulthood. Peace! God!

I took my photos in full view of the recruiting office’s plate glass windows, with who knows how many eyes behind them, so within seconds, a uniformed soldier appeared to say that that was not allowed, so I smiled, apologized then walked away. He also smiled. After I had gone about twenty yards, however, and was already past the back of this building, two more soldiers came running out, with one asking me to stop, which I did. When he asked me my name, I readily gave it to him, though I really didn’t have to, as he had no jurisdiction over anyone in this civilian setting. I knew I had done nothing illegal, as taking photos in public is never against the law, though it may sometimes be rude. A second soldier then demanded I deleted my photos of the recruiting office, which I did, as he watched. (I knew I could still retrieve these images later, as long as I didn’t shoot over them.) By this time, a third, older soldier had appeared, so four well-trained, gung-ho combatants had so far been dispatched to handle one dumbass, middle-aged retard with his beat up, often repaired camera with a dusty lens and missing eye piece. If they could get so excited over a harmless American at some stupid Jersey strip mall, imagine their possibly lethal overreaction to anything remotely suspicious in, say, Afghanistan or Iraq? There, even a munchkin raising a lollipop to his mouth might make one of our brave heroes jump, holler and discharge.

Faced with this farcical situation, I laughed, shook my head and told the soldiers, “This is ridiculous. You will go to bed tonight thinking how absurd this is.” That’s when they gave me the predictable line about the heightened alert needed against the threat of terrorism, but I said a terrorist would not need to take a photo of their office, especially with a huge camera and standing in full view of their plate glass windows. As I’ve pointed out before, you can bomb a place just fine without snapping photos of it beforehand, but if you must scope out a public target, you can just stroll by and look at it, or you can go on Google Maps and get all the information you need about its exterior.

Back and forth we went, with a soldier telling me that “it is illegal to take photos of a federal building,” which is not correct, or all those thousands of tourists snapping photos daily of the Capitol, White House and countless other buildings should be arrested immediately. One of the grunts wanted to walk back in, but the other was becoming quite heated, maybe because I had said, “You guys are being brainwashed into becoming so paranoid. Don’t you see how ridiculous this is?” When the pissed one snapped, “I’m defending our country,” I responded, “You’re not defending anything! You’ve been standing out here harassing me!”

“Call the cops,” he said to his more composed partner.

“Call the cops for what?!” I smirked. “What am I doing that’s illegal?”

To intimidate me, the other guy did pretend to use his cell phone, but he ended up not calling anyone, and they finally walked back inside.

If this was Iraq, Afghanistan or, hell, Southeast Asia a generation ago, a smart mouth like me might be laid to rest in several chunks, then pissed on, but since this was only New Jersey in 2013, I have lived to relate this tiresome tale. Soon enough, though, these jumpy fellows will be well armed and blazing within your earshot, right here, in the Homeland.

The War on Terror has been incoherent and nonsensical from the beginning. On the pretext of going after Bin Laden, a known CIA asset, the US invaded Afghanistan, then it attacked Saddam Hussein, whom it had propped up for decades, and now Washington is openly supporting terrorists in its war against Syria. On the home front, every terror plot going back to 9-11 has either been abetted by Washington, at the very least, if not entirely schemed by it. In Portland and Cherry Hill, such plots were used to entrap innocents, while in Boston, it was to frame its own assets while terrorizing the entire country, all for propaganda purposes. In short, the US can’t be fighting terror when it is the world’s most prolific and relentless generator of terror. Without terror, America would be out of business, literally. As the US is about to rachet up considerably the terror it has been unleashing on Syria, all Americans should feel sick to their stomachs, but most of us will simply sit back and watch, in boredom or great excitement, and when tired of this extra bloody entertainment, we’ll yawn and switch back to our regular programming.


Linh Dinh is the author of two books of stories, five of poems, and a novel, Love Like Hate. He’s tracking our deteriorating socialscape through his frequently updated photo blog, State of the Union.
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Fri Sep 06, 2013 10:06 pm

http://boingboing.net/2013/09/06/real-s ... -date.html

Real Stuff: New Age Date

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