Sunday, August 30, 2009

LSD is the Hubble

Muzuzuzus reports:
(check out his beautiful site)

I was watching a good talk yesterday from one of the videos freely available at Fred Alan Wolf's page.

There was Robert Kuhn as main chair, and Fred Wolf, David Chalmers, couple of materialists, a parapsychologist--the only woman (Marilyn Schlitz of IONS), and they were talking about consciousness.

Yet not once did I hear psychedelics mentioned!!

But I heard lots of "In about 100 years we should really understand consciousness".

Nick responds:

Speaking about consciousness
Without mentioning psychedelics
Is like speaking about astronomy
Without mentioning telescopes.

(for Sasha and Ann Shulgin)

LSD is the Hubble.

Psilocybin mushrooms
are the big Earth-based Kecks
that grow on Mauna Kea's slopes.

And humble marijuana/Mary Jane?
She is a million curious amateurs
with home-made telescopes.

Empathogenic MDMA:
heart-wave steerable
radio-frequency array.

Crystal DMT: deep inner Voyager
Proceed with caution
Fasten your seat belt
Learn to speak Martian.

Want to see outside your bubble?
LSD is the Hubble.

Photo: Joy, Illinois 1967
by Philippa Meyering

Saturday, August 29, 2009


a gateway in the netherlands
to that place
from which we came

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Letter to Juliano

Dear Nick,

Hi. Can you I ask you: I greatly appreciate your musings on psychedelics etc. Recently I Googled "physicists and psychedelics", and really your presence is the most prominent. Are there no other physicists who had experimented with psychedelics ---when it was legal too--and also ....after? And who also want to talk about it and how it gives them insights into QM etc?

I greatly enjoyed your YT video where you talk about your psychedelic experience and VERY much felt you on my wavelength when you passionately say how fukin ludicrous it is to not even allow terminally ILL people freedom to take psychedelics. THAT for me is the key to the real reasons of their prohibition. Not Leary, their fave scapegoat, and the Counterculture. Their fear goes deeper than that, as shown by not allowing dying people even the access to psychedelics. Yes they are doing so now but VERY few and far between. It is still only 'experiments'--as though they ain't got massive data from the 50s 60s 70s, and Indigenous experiences.

What are supposed to do, kiss their feet in gratitude? It is like some maniac father who's locked us in a cellar for 40 years who finally lets us see a crack of light. What do we say, 'thanks'...?!


Hi Juliano--

Thanks for the encouragement. I think that there are very few physicists who took psychedelics--and that made a difference in their lives. A few of my classmates at Stanford in the 60s did so and dropped out of physics--as being too limited a way of viewing the world--one got married, one transferred to med school. I too felt that physics, as wonderful as it is, was missing the big picture--everything that had to do with consciousness had simply been edited out of our science.

However as a practical person I saw nothing concrete that I could do to remedy this sorry situation. I gained no insights from my drug experiences as to some new science of consciousness tho it did propel me to begin to hang out with people (such as E H Walker and James Culbertson) who were pursuing such theories and eventually led to writing a book called "Elemental Mind" about how little we know at present about the origin and nature of consciousness.

My physicist friend Heinz Pagels took acid in the same experimental program in Palo Alto that initiated Allen Ginsberg and Ken Kesey. I happened to be living for one quarter in the same big "Eagle's Nest" house as Heinz so I got an immediate first hand report of his trip.

Although profoundly moved by his experience, Heinz decided to simply shut that away in a separate compartment in his brain and continue to pursue conventional physics. However whenever he would run across some strange news in the field of consciousness Heinz would forward it to me. Also I learned after his death that Heinz had acted as a sitter for a few explorers into this realm.

I think it would be a great idea to give acid to physicists who are familiar with quantum mechanics to see what they can glean from the experience but as far as I know I'm the only one (who admits it). Would be nice to have a few more colleagues in this field but it looks as if I've been chosen to play a game of singles with Nature in this particular game.

Of course there were a few brave physical scientists who delved deeply into these substances--the names Sasha Shulgin, Bill Harman, Myron Stolaroff and of course Albert Hoffman come to mind--but only a few.

And I've not really discovered anything concrete that I could attribute to LSD.

One of my main complaints about the psychedelic scene is that for such a powerful experience, it really has produced nothing of any lasting importance.


Extrapolating from that marvelously unspeakable state of mind, we had hoped for telepathy, for radically new kinds of sexuality, for reliable contact with angels, devils and aliens, for a new kind of mind-based physics, for the magical siddhis reported by Indian gurus, for the miracles attributed to Christ and the saints and for new uniquely psychedelic miracles that would surpass those of our predecessors.

Liquid light shows, tie dye pants and of course the Beatles are all well and good but in the 60s we were expecting MIRACLES, god damn it.

I still expect miracles.

Of all the pioneers Terence McKenna probably got the furtherest that we know about. And was able to talk so eloquently about his experiences and their implications.

We seekers of hidden knowledge are fortunate to live in an age in which such experiences are easily accessible. And who knows who might be the chosen one who will first stumble across the threshold of that secret door into nature hinted at by the deep and complex experiences we call "psychedelic"?

Good luck in your quest.
Photo by Bruce Damer

Sunday, August 23, 2009

John Coltrane's Penny Whistle Tapes

My friend Max Hoff is a fan of both James Joyce and John Coltrane. During the legendary Bistro Poetry Era in Boulder Creek, Max would often entertain by reciting large sections of Finnegans Wake (pictured above) which he had memorized. Max played Joyce's words like an instrument which is not surprising since the saxophone is alleged to be the instrument most closely resembling the human voice and Max is a master of the sax. Some of Max's best sax performances can be heard at the Church of Saint John Coltrane in San Francisco where Max is a Deacon.

Imagine my glee when I discovered on the web a review of an album of John Coltrane playing the penny whistle. I could hardly wait to tell Max. In addition to critical examination of each of the tracks the reviewer explained the circumstances of this rare recording:

As is often the case with revelatory musical discoveries, the story behind the sounds is nearly as fascinating as the music itself. While convalescing at his home in the rut of the liminal period before his stint with Monk, Coltrane discovered an odd relic in a basement crate. The property of his deceased great-uncle Thaddeus, the crate contained an impressive collection of vintage 78s along with various personal effects- among them a tarnished brass penny whistle.

Coltrane, still weak from his recent struggle with smack, used the whistle as a means of strengthening his embouchure and breath capacity. In the bargain he realized its convincing musical potential as well. Anxious to invite friends over for jam sessions, but still too physically diminished to hoist his regular horn, Coltrane set up a primitive portable cassette recorder and single microphone (both on loan from his Jersey friend Rudy Van Gelder) and taped many of the living room whistle performances for personal study.

Shortly after reading this review I was bottling wine with Max at the Ahlgren Vineyards a few miles north of Boulder Creek and asked him if he had ever listened to Coltrane's penny whistle performances. "No way," exclaimed Max. "Coltrane never played the whistle." Ha. Ha. I had evidence Max was wrong and bet him $5.00 that a record of Coltrane's whistle sessions existed, put out by an obscure record label in Provo, Utah.

I lost that bet. In my excitement I failed to note the date of the review.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Big Dream

This morning I had a Really Big Dream. Just woke from it so while it's fresh inside my mind and my body I thought I'd tell it to you.

I'm in some kind of low-life America flea market in a big vacant lot surrounded by homes and am piling lots of stuff into the back of my Subaru, interacting with urchins and folk and in the chaos I somehow acquire an artificial woman. She is fully clothed, can't speak, but she's obviously very much alive, like some great big pet animal. She is tall, busty, has long dark hair, dressed like a civilized gypsy and has a very intense look in her soulful brown eyes. She makes soft, inarticulate sounds, and her body feels warm and responsive through her dress.

She didn't have a name but let's call her Lola.

One of the matriarchs at the flea market offers to train Lola by installing her in a Muslim whore house so she is taken from me and next thing I know am sitting in the corner of the anteroom of a Muslim whorehouse.

Neatly dressed Muslim men (and young boys too!) are milling around in the anteroom. None are in robes, all in old-fashioned Western dress. Lots of snappy suits and fedora hats, like the outfits worn by gangsters in "Guys and Dolls".

It's obvious that I am located near the EXIT to Lola's room because all of the men and boys (all clothed) are filled with awe, talking quietly to one another in a language I cannot understand. One big mute Muslim stands next to me with an unlit cigarette in his hand.

Some of the men and most of the boys when they come out of Lola's corridor make a gesture I have never seen before which I interpret as a religious gesture, a kind of Muslim Sign of the Cross.

The gesture looks like this. You raise your fingers to your lips as if to kiss them and then place that hand on your heart. The gesture was made casually as if practiced hundreds of times. Not all of the men made this gesture but most of the little boys did. I interpreted it as a sign of religious awe, as if one had just encountered God, or some high religious Master.

I suddenly become aware of the Muslim standing next to me with his unlit cigarette. Hatless, bald, in shirtsleeves, built like a bouncer. Sitting in my chair with a nylon sport jacket on my lap, I look up at him and go through my jacket's many pockets looking for a lighter. As I am searching for my lighter, the Muslim bends down and whispers to me in perfect English: "How is she able to know just what we want? Is she picking up electromagnetic signals from our brains?"

"I don't know," I answer. "My guess is the more men she's with the better she knows what men are looking for."

Then I wake from the crowded anteroom into my little bedroom in Boulder Creek--my black cat Onyx curled up asleep near my feet. Stunned. Half of me is still in that anteroom talking to Abdul.

Dream reminded me a bit of my poem: The New Sex Robot. Also motivates me now to spend more time at flea markets and garage sales.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

99 Names of Goddess

(Click to Expand)

99 Names of Goddess

She is the Beginning and the End
She is Galaxy and Garden
She is the Sun and the Moon
She is Atom and the Void
She is Wisdom personified
She is Sophia

She is Annie, Allegra, Allison, Athena and Alex
She is Beverly, Betsy, Bobbie, Bella and Beth.

She is the Earth and the Sea
She is Fire and Ice
She is Energy and Time
She is Root and Bloom
She is Beauty embodied
She is Aphrodite

She is Carla, Carol, Cindy, Christine and Kate
She is Donna, Diana, Denby, Dorcas and Dannie

She is Pain and Pleasure
She is Bear, Butterfly, Octopus and Eel
She is Prairie Grass and Marijuana
She is Sound and Sight
She is Smell, Taste and Touch
She is Life on the Loose
She is Daphne

She is Marilyn, Margie, Marsha, Mary,
Marie, Magdalena
She is Laura, Louise, Liane, Lena, Lise and Lorraine

She is Darkness and Light
She is Consciousness and Slumber
She is Silver and Gold
She is Magnesium, Tungsten, Lithium, Lead
She is Carbon, Argon, Niobium and Starlight
She is the Space Between the Stars
She is the Angel of Death
She is Kali

She is Sheila. Sherry, Sharma, Stephanie,
Stella & Sarah
She is Salima, Shelly, Suzie, Lila, Ceci & Mollie
She is Andra, Patty, Elaine, Elizabeth, Karen, Philippa
She is Debbie, Isabel, Ida, Nancy. Janice, JoAnn

She in Unnameable, Unspeakable
She is Terror and Bliss
She is Nourishment and Intoxication
She is the Ocean and the Source
She is the Mother of Animals
She is the Juice in Things
She is Shakti

She is Illusion and Reality
White and Black
Male and Female
Birth and Death
She is the Wild Muse that inspires us
She is the Mystery that surrounds us
She is Everything and Nothingness
She is the Beginning and the End.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Nick Moves to BC--Moon Day 1969

In July of 1969--the same day Man landed on the Moon--Betsy Rasumny and I moved to our house north of Boulder Creek where I've lived for more then forty years.

At that time I was living in Palo Alto--the solar plexus of Silicon Valley and Betsy had been living for a year in New Mexico--the legendary Land of Enchantment.

I was working then as senior physicist at Memorex in Santa Clara investigating magnetic and optical media with a research group that included Tad Konar, a Pole who'd spent 63 months in Auschwitz. Betsy was living in a high meadow near El Rito, NM, with a rock band called Daddy Longlegs and hanging out with artists, Native Americans, hippies and peyote church people. When I drove to New Mexico to bring her back to Boulder Creek, she introduced me to her artist friends and I took her, dressed in her best hippy finery, to visit a controlled fusion lab at Los Alamos.

Now (2009) Boulder Creek is mostly a bedroom community for Silicon Valley but in 1969 the one hour drive over winding mountain roads placed it outside the range of convenient commuting to Xerox PARC. Instead Boulder Creek was outlaw territory--a place to fire your guns, ride your Harley and score controlled substances. Below our little house an ex-chief of police of Santa Cruz had a firing range and above our house a self-styled outlaw and his friends tested out semi-automatic weapons. (Ironically this well-armed dude subscribed to a magazine called Western Outlaw.) Two doors down, at the end of our dead-end road, lived a drug dealer with a coopful of chickens (which I inherited when he moved away), a wild pig in a pen and a girlfriend with a pair of Afghan hounds. Now the only trace of these wild days in my neighborhood is an upscale couple who ride a pair of Harleys. Hardly outlaws: she works for the Harley newsletter and he programs Apple computers for a Catholic school over the hill.

When we moved here on Moon Day, the town was full of bars, Simoni's, the Shalimar, a family bar called Joe's and an outlaw biker bar called the Boulder Club. Now most of those colorful lowlife hangouts have disappeared. In downtown BC today, only Joe's Bar remains. (Joe's was used as a set for the movie Welcome to Buzzsaw.)

Joe's Bar, which is located on BC's Main Street, is usually crowded inside but outside a few regulars set up chairs on the sidewalk to smoke, drink and converse in the open air. This impromptu cafe' is still a tradition at Joe's. The clientele has changed a lot since the "old days". Then it was mainly "stumpers" (loggers and related woodsmen) and conservative retirees. Now Joe's consists of a pretty mixed bunch.

Even tho I was a PhD physicist I suspect the locals at Joe's perceived me (see above) as one of the encroaching hippy hordes who were then beginning to take advantage of the low rents and rural nature of BC. In any case, as I was walking past Joe's a few weeks after Betsy and I had moved in, a man got up from his chair on the sidewalk and handed me a piece of paper. I just put it in my pocket and walked on. And read it later at home. The paper (see below) was an altered cartoon from the New Yorker which depicted Boulder Creek as the Xenophobic Capital of the USA. I considered it terribly funny and felt honored to be welcomed to Boulder Creek by the natives in this back-handed way.