inkwell.vue.522 : State of the World 2023: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #51 of 338: The Year of the Rabid (jonl) Thu 5 Jan 23 07:02
A fair amount of apocalyptic thinking could creep into this year's
conversation. The anthropocene might be the latest geological age to
culminate in an extinction event, probably of our own making. Seeing
this, some billionaires offered Doug Rushkoff money to help them
devise a plan for surviving whatever might be coming. He didn't take
their money, but his meeting inspired him to write a book, "Survival
of the Richest." He talks about "the mindset" that is common among
tech bro billionaires, "a belief that with enough money and
technology, wealthy men can live as gods and transcend the
calamities that befall everyone else. It's a way of applying the
'exit strategy' of a Silicon Valley startup to civilization itself."
(Note that he said "wealthy men" - what are wealthy women thinking?)

"The Mindset is rooted in empirical science: the reduction of nature
and complexity, the domination of others, and the extraction of
substance and energy from the real world and its conversion into
symbol systems, like money. Digital technologies catalyzed and
amplified The Mindset, yielding tech billionaires who believe that
they can lord over us and then leave us behind as they migrate to
humanity's next phase of existence."

I think Doug realized that these billionaires are not geniuses,
though they and others may assume so. They had some skills, no
doubt, but luck was a factor in their ascendance. Also post-Reagan
policy changes that helped the rich get richer. 

"Whether they're considering climate change, economic collapse,
social unrest, energy policy, or food scarcity, I'm convinced they
have no real idea what's going on or what to do about it. They have
no more of a clue than the rest of us. Maybe less. And I'm not sure
whether that should make us feel scared or emboldened."

Doug Rushkoff, Survival of the Richest: Escape Fantasies of the Tech
Billionaires (p. 181). 
inkwell.vue.522 : State of the World 2023: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #52 of 338: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Thu 5 Jan 23 07:47
    <scribbled by jonl Thu 5 Jan 23 11:37>
inkwell.vue.522 : State of the World 2023: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #53 of 338: fruitbatpangolin (jonl) Thu 5 Jan 23 07:52
Via email from fruitbatpangolin:

Greetings and salutations to the SOTW Psychopomps, Jon and Bruce,
and wishing well to all Well Dwellers, Denziens and assorted
Entities, this fine January morning of Uh-Oh-Fa-Fo-Ho-Ho-Ho2023

That said, despite the wishing well, I'm not going to throw down any
coins for luck. Partly from the risk of injury to those who dwell
below, but mostly due to an egregious supply side issue regarding
both luck and coin.

Though, as chance would have it, I have afforded an ideal headstate
in which to peruse this year's SOTW. Namely, one of mild
hallucinations, nervous twitches and insomnia, after presenting a
slight case of delirium tremens as a seasonal gift to myself, in
celebration of Saturnalia. However given that it is not a serious
bout of DTs, possessing of itself only a fairly limited effects
budget, I also find myself rapidly approaching the blurred event
horizon of sobriety. You lucky, lucky people.

And hopefully, what or whoever it is that is doing an impression of
society these days can help me pragmatically apply this passing
satire of sober clarity into some useful tasks over the coming year.

For instance, I bet the people shovelling that raw marijuana off
those dump trucks into the gay bars worldwide could do with some
logistical software, or something. Thanks Bruce for the pointer.

And despite the potential for moral anarchy and satanic decay, both
professionally and ethically it would still seem a much better
sector to get involved with than whatever the fuck it is that the
established tech behemoths think that they are currently up to.
Besides, doing that globally is tricky, especially given the current
situation in Ukraine.

Is a whole world of opportunity out there, really. About time we
lived in an interesting maze.
inkwell.vue.522 : State of the World 2023: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #54 of 338: Stewart Dickson (jonl) Thu 5 Jan 23 07:56
Via email from Stewart Dickson, Consulting Engineer at the Long Now
Foundation <>:

Just an observation, because I'm observing the WELL for the first
time, via this rare (I suppose), world-readable conversation.

You're using the Long Now five-digit date format.  But, of course!
Because WELL stands for Stewart Brand's Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link,
I had no idea the whole WELL was using 5-digit years.


-Stewart Dickson

[Note to Stewart: that was Bruce using the five digits, not the case
for the whole WELL...]
inkwell.vue.522 : State of the World 2023: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #55 of 338: Bruno Boutot (jonl) Thu 5 Jan 23 07:58
Via email from Bruno Boutot:

These past few weeks, huge scandals involving McKinsey have erupted
in France, in Quebec, and now in Canada. 

The abusive reliance on McKinsey by governments doesn't look much
different from other kinds of mercenaries, like private armies or
guns for hire. 

What place do you think the McKinseys of this world are taking in
the world order to come? 

inkwell.vue.522 : State of the World 2023: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #56 of 338: Michael Bravo (jonl) Thu 5 Jan 23 08:04
Via email from Michael Bravo:

I'd like to forcefully if respectfully disagree with Bruce Sterling
on Cyber War as stated in #31. As offered, it is a very naive look
at whichever definition of "cyber war" you may like.

For a counterexample it is quite simple to point at the ongoing war
in Ukraine. Nearly every success of Ukrainian military is
underpinned by some kind of cyberwar capability - disruptive, covert
or overt recon, stupid enemy slip-ups (like posting pics of active
units with geolocation intact to social), etc and so on. And the
extent to which Russian digital assets have been penetrated since
the start of the war even just by the volunteer collectives is
staggering, and the fallout from that hasn't even begun appearing on
the horizon. But it will.

There is just too much "cyber" (or compute, if you like) embedded
into today's society in more layers than any non-specialist person
usually imagines. It's not enough to "just bomb power plants" (and
that "just" is also a gross oversimplification if I ever saw one)
inkwell.vue.522 : State of the World 2023: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #57 of 338: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Thu 5 Jan 23 08:29
It's good to hear from Patrick Lichty after the two weirdest years
in the culture industry that I ever witnessed.   How people made do
in the art world in those circumstances -- no events, no galleries,
no museums, no concerts, no seminars or schoolrooms even -- there's
a picaresque survival yarn for each of a million people, and no two
stories alike.

I was in lockdowns in three different cities; it was edifying to see
all the busy-ness of daily life just stopping, again and again, in
place after place.  That Twilight Zone atmosphere of deserted
streets; I thought to myself that I would never forget it, but in
fact I *will* forget it.  It was so extraordinary that, in
retrospect, I have a hard time fitting it into my head.  

And yet, I'm confident that this decade will have more of that --
not Covid quarantines, but other massive reactions to other massive
emergencies, just as peculiar and probably just as semi-effective.
inkwell.vue.522 : State of the World 2023: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #58 of 338: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Thu 5 Jan 23 08:33

Personally, I didn't come to any particular harm by the quarantines.
I had good fortune, they weren't traumatic times for me.  What were
those times like?  They were "like nothing else," but also they were
remarkably like "nothing."  They felt somewhat like a general strike
or a hurricane evacuation, but they also had this novel sci-fi
vacuity to the textture of the days.  Huge, surreal absences. The
lack of transport nose and any sky-contrails was a big aspect.  The
people were in hiding from one another, but also the big machines
were absent and silent.  Italian cityscapes were like Di Chirico
paintings, solemn, silent and suggestively angular.

I've never seen another situation where quotidian daily life was so
comprehensively invalidated.  It makes you understand why the
indignant Chinese -- (there were a lot of young Chinese women in the
recent anti-lockdown protests, it was a kind of primal, last-ditch
"life-woman-freedom" upheaval, and they forced Xi to back down) -- 
they would actually prefer to have a million people die, than to
semi-live that way.  Human mortality is tragic, but not as
disconcerting as massive, endless and eventually fruitless efforts
to avert it.
inkwell.vue.522 : State of the World 2023: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #59 of 338: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Thu 5 Jan 23 08:34

I caught Covid and I survived the disease, but I found myself in
quite a different cultural sensibility after that.  I'm calmer about
catastrophes and emergencies, because I was in one, and it could
have easily carried me off.  Life has an odd sweetness now, like an
extra dessert-plate.  It won't surprise me all if I catch Covid
again and it kills me, because I'm somewhat older and weaker, while
it's considerably better-evolved. 

However, I don't fret much about it.  I'm pretty confident that I'll
see some other 2020s event more dramatic, presently; that the covid
pandemic was a kind of subdued, bucolic prelude to that.  Like a cat
chasing a huge, indifferent flock of city-pigeons before they all
burst into flight.

As a futurist, I wonder what eventuality I'm missing.  Not
pandemics,  Futurists tend to talk almost too much about pandemics,
it's one of the commonest grand, hand-wavey "black swan" lessons --
"You see, we could suffer a big pandemic, just like AIDS or the
Spanish Flu!"  I was even working on a novel with a pandemic in it
when the pandemic hit us.  I put that book aside, since, though. 
Don't feel quite ready to deal with that.  Have to re-think it some.
inkwell.vue.522 : State of the World 2023: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #60 of 338: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Thu 5 Jan 23 08:36

Recently I completed a fantastic story that involved being in
Belgrade during the pandemic.  Trying to capture that dark-fantasy
air of a bizarre yet becalmed situation with "no reality checks"
because there's no objective reality left for anyone to measure
anything against.  When I finished this yarn, I realized that I
didn't know who should read it, or what publisher or readership
would want to mess with it.   It's just not standard genre product. 
I  do have a feeling that it's very of this cultural moment, but
it's so sui generis that it feels like it just has to sit there,
waiting for something.
inkwell.vue.522 : State of the World 2023: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #61 of 338: The Year of the Rabid (jonl) Thu 5 Jan 23 08:49
I never would have predicted that a global pandemic would play out
thew way it actually did, especially the politicization of public
health. However well we think we can predict what's coming, we
usually get it wrong.
inkwell.vue.522 : State of the World 2023: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #62 of 338: (factoid) Thu 5 Jan 23 10:58
Greetings to Jon, Bruce, all WELLperns and the good souls joining
the good fight to Figure It All Out in SOTW'23. 

It surprises me to see no reply yet to #3, which IMHO has the
potential to reshape Society Itself even more profoundly than has
the entire internet: 

"3) AI is becoming more visible and usable, and just as
as ever. A good example is ChatGPT, a conversational AI that bends
over backwards to distinguish itself from human intelligence. Also
popular: image generation AIs like Dall-E and Midjourney. Questions
abound: will AI become dangerous, and if so, what is the nature of
the danger? Will AI replace humans in the workplace? Will and AI
driver your car? If so, when your car runs a pedestrian down, who's
responsible? It just goes on and on."

The Algorithm (thanks, Zuck, Sergey/Larry, Jeff) already glowers
like a meth-crazed grizzly over the smoking ruin of a society that
used to know better how to disagree with words rather than blows. 

Commercialized social media weaponized disagreement, sold it to bad
actors and - in the end - murdered TRVTH and fomented actual
insurrection because we began to *trust it* as our window on

Journalism is dead. Demagogues and influencers rule our
understanding of What's Real. 

We used to argue at dinner. Now we claw each other bloody without
seeking to understand the root of opposing viewpoints, and arm
ourselves against The Others. Because if you're not with us, you
need to die. 

Now: enter MidJourney, deepfakery, and every other flavor of
algorithmic image engine. 

In the hands of bad actors (the same ones who used social media to
yank on the levers of power as if it were a toddler's busybox)
images manufactured by AI can have just as much power to disrupt and
destroy perceptions of fact as did the mass-media from
news/commentary to The Loudest Shouter Wins.

Now consider what image AI means for the original work of visual

Did you know that BY DEFAULT, Adobe uses images create with its
programs to train an AI they're developing? I learned so this
morning, and raced to do this: 
- Log into your Adobe account (
- Go to "View Account" (top-right)
- Click "Account and Security/Privacy and Security"
- Uncheck everything unless you think you need it.

Will illustrators, photographers, and 3D modelers be earning a buck
five, 10 years from now? Consider what happened to journalism when
computers helped society decide that opinion trumps fact. 

To put a finer point on it, the Algorithm is only as trustworthy as
the engineers who built it and trained it. 

See Facebook, Twitter, and the generation of vapid hotties that the app began turning female users into last month when its
bot-generated avatars started cluttering up Insta:

Might it go otherwise? Synthesizers and the Roland 808 didn't
destroy the careers of studio musicians - in fact, they birthed new
musics, new genres, and new ideas that inspired practitioners of
every art. 

OTOH, Rick Beato opines, auto-tune DESTROYED popular music:

It's early days yet for image AI. Anything could happen. 

Just - as you decide how to trust its inevitable rise - remember how
cute, fuzzy, and wonderful it felt in 2007 to share images and
opinions with your distant kin on Facebook or your online chums on

And think about how you will let it change your life.

Now: If you haven't already done so, try ChatGPT:

Tell it to write a job application, a song, a short story, a news
article in any style you like. 

Within seconds, it will cough up a reasonable simulacrum, perfectly
spelled, punctuated, and with - quite often - more than a passing
flair for a nice turn of phrase.

As Beato points out in the above-linked video, Chat GPT does a shit
job of aping Ed Sheehan lyrics. But what happens when the output is
not so easily exposed? 

What happens when you disseminate AI-generated job-application
letters, executive memos, Supreme Court "leaks", declarations of

Doomsday scenarios are too easily imagined and - god, we can only
hope - quickly defused. 

While software companies furiously gin up solutions for detecting
bot-speak (, professors
are fretting they might have to start insisting all papers be
written by hand:

The real threat is deeper and more systemic and organic, as our
trust in the technology's ability to perform, dream, articulate, and
communicate for us grows. 

Original thinking won't die as quickly as, say, semi-civil public

But all too soon, it might start to resemble a vapid hottie.
inkwell.vue.522 : State of the World 2023: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #63 of 338: Nancy White (choco) Thu 5 Jan 23 11:04
What will be amplified? What will be dampened? Who will be doing
inkwell.vue.522 : State of the World 2023: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #64 of 338: Shanta Stevens (jonl) Thu 5 Jan 23 11:28
Via email from Shanta Stevens, broken into multiple posts because of
its length. I posted this earlier and marked it 'hidden,' but found
that the hidden post could not be read by anyone but members of the

I am not a resident of the Well, so I am not certain that I
understand the format, but I thought y'all might be amused by some
of this SCRYTCH that I have been cobbling together...

Specifically regarding this entry in the 2023 State of the World top
ten list...
9) A new era of psychedelic therapies and the potential for legal
recreational consciousness expansion. But is it really an expansion?
Or do we just want to get high?

Regarding any discussion I have with anyone about psychedelics
First of all, I would like to stress that I recognize that
psychedelics are definitely NOT for everyone... I would seriously
recommend consulting a healthcare professional before anyone
considered any kind of experimentation!

But fortunately, scientists have been discovering that there are
therapeutic & neuroprotective benefits (for
trauma/anxiety/depression), even from ***sub-psychedlic
micro-dosages*** of psilocybin mushrooms (which have been
decriminalized in a growing number of nations, states, counties &

And this improved neuroplasticity has been observed (even with
microdosing) with other psychedelics (which certainly still require
more research & further decriminalization efforts)


If there is one thing that I can impress upon people with whom I
discuss these issues, I would like to highlight that we cannot
stress enough how crucial *set & setting* are, as well as dosage...
this is it:
*Integration practices <before, during & after> are crucially
inkwell.vue.522 : State of the World 2023: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #65 of 338: Shanta Stevens (jonl) Thu 5 Jan 23 11:29
I personally believe that this is, in essence, the answer to the
million dollar question before me: how do we follow up on our first
Documentary, _DMT: The Spirit Molecule_ (which has been seen by no
less than 40 million people, as a conservative estimate)

Currently, we have already filmed approximately 25% of our
interviews for the sequel (with Reggie Watts signed on as
narrator... he was also our first interview out in LA, a year ago).
While we are gearing up for our Kickstarter campaign (planned for
this February), we have been putting the finishing touches on our

The working title has been _The Conscious Molecule_ ...because our
director wants to cover the ideas of panpsychism that are coming
into vogue in traditional philosophy, as well as information theory
& physics

We livestreamed the ESPD55 academic conference (many of whom have
spent most or all of the last 55 years in the Amazon)... There were
presentations on everythjing from
social justice issues of reciprocity with the indigenous cultures
have safeguarded the medicine plants for thousands of years...
particularly as we are shifting from a Psychedelic Renaissance into
Psychedelic Industrial Age?

At the same time as we were in Britain livestreaming ESPD55 for the
academics, many of the psychedelic celebrities & influencer types
were at the Davos World Economic Forum Medical Psychedelic panel,
lobbying for funding for their nascent industries.

As far as the pharmaceutical corporations go, they seem to be most
interested in patenting permutations of psychedlics that have the
desired effects of treating ptsd, depression, anxiety, etc. but
without the "excess cogitation" (& requisite cost in hours of
therapy time with a counselor). So, they are essentially still
trying to sing the same tune that they have been since they colluded
with the insurance corporations to make psychedelics illegal
everywhere in 1971... which is that they just want everyone to buy
their panacea pills, stop misbehaving and get back to work asap!
inkwell.vue.522 : State of the World 2023: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #66 of 338: Shanta Stevens (jonl) Thu 5 Jan 23 11:30
Meanwhile, neuroimaging studies, like those conducted by Dr. David
Nutt at Imperial College are showing profound results with
traditional psychedelics:
There is now extensive evidence that serotonin 5-HT2A receptor
acting psychedelic drugs such as psilocybin LSD and DMT work by
producing a profound disruption of ongoing oscillatory activity in
the brain. This disrupts the segregation of key brain networks and
leads to increased crosstalk between them. in this state of
increased disorder [entropy] abnormal thinking processes such as
rumination that underpin disorders such as depression and addiction
become temporally disrupted allowing the patient to "escape" from
them. also the increased connectivity allows the person to discover
new insights in their past and develop new thoughts about the future
which can endure well after the trip is over. this prolonged benefit
can be accentuated by psychotherapy and also by the serotonin
receptor stimulation that in rodent models can be shown to increase
dendrite growth and synaptogenesis. Our recent neuroimaging studies
of depressed patients recovering after psilocybin treatment reveals
that the increased connectivity seen during the trip persists for
weeks afterwards and is associated with increased flexibility of
brain function, an outcome not seen with traditional antidepressant
treatments. We think this increased flexibility may explain the
experiences of increased connectedness with the world that patients
often report and the improved wellbeing scores they register.

Another crucial recent discovery regarding endogenous DMT was
covered in this 2019 documentary, _DMT Quest_
Which referenced this paper
This is the idea that really stuck out to me:
During cardiac arrest, people seem to experience a flood of
hyperactivity in the brain... including high amounts of dmt:
The main function of this process may actually be primarily
neuroprotective, rather than psychedelic... although the
visual/auditory/kinesthetic & emotional factors are particularly
noticeable side effects... 

So, I am leaning back towards more of a focus on endogenous DMT
Although I also recognize that since prehistoric times, humans all
over the world
have been augmenting these experiences with external sources, as
*People need to understand that we can endogenously produce profound
psychological states without consuming external sources of these
inkwell.vue.522 : State of the World 2023: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #67 of 338: Shanta Stevens (jonl) Thu 5 Jan 23 11:31
Meanwhile, another of our colleagues, Dr. Bruce Damer has finally
publically revealed his techniques for hypnagogic
visualization that have provided him *eureka* moments of genius
throughout his life... which have only been magnified through his
careful combination with Ayahuasca ritual (which in turn produced
research that became the August 2017 cover story in Scientific
American). We are looking forward tointerviewing him more about his
methods of endogenous
DMT production to experience states of genius.
"Long a tool for artists and musicians, could psychedelics refined
with endogenous practices yield a high-octane fuel to advance
and engineering?"
<that's one of our livestreams from ESPD55>

It still blows my mind that The Veteran's Administration was able to
successfully fund one of the largest psychedlic research & therapy
clinics in the world here in Austin, last year! And I certainly look
forward to calling upon Charles B. Nemeroff, M.D., Ph.D. & Greg
Fonzo, Ph.D. very soon!
They have already started their first trials! (and it sounds...
pretty freakin' hardcore!)
inkwell.vue.522 : State of the World 2023: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #68 of 338: The Year of the Rabid (jonl) Thu 5 Jan 23 11:32
Oops, broken links:

They have already started their first trials! (and it sounds...
pretty freakin' hardcore!)
inkwell.vue.522 : State of the World 2023: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #69 of 338: Shanta Stevens (jonl) Thu 5 Jan 23 11:32
This article makes a curious point:
"(In the Upper Amazon, Ayahuasca) is viewed as a tool for diagnosis
and prescription. Shamans in the Upper Amazon do not drink ayahuasca
to heal; they drink ayahuasca to get information --- as Cocama
shaman don Juan Curico puts it, "to screen the disease and to search
the treatment." Mestizo shaman don Manuel Cordova says the same
thing: "Ayahuasca, it tells you how, but by itself it cures
nothing." If a patient comes to an Upper Amazonian shaman to be
healed of, say, cancer, the traditional purpose of drinking
ayahuasca is not to heal the cancer, but rather to determine both
the etiology and the treatment of the disease."

However, those shamans may not have been aware of certain other
activities produced by Ayahuasca
"In summary, it is hypothesized that the combined actions of
[-]-carbolines and DMT present in ayahuasca may diminish tumor blood
supply, activate apoptotic pathways, diminish cell proliferation,
and change the energetic metabolic imbalance of cancer cells, which
is known as the Warburg effect," Schenberg  wrote. "Therefore,
ayahuasca may act on cancer hallmarks such as angiogenesis,
apoptosis, and cell metabolism."

DMT is also neuroprotective & contributes to neurogenesis. Although
humans generally have the capacity to generate new neuronal cells,
it is not always possible, leading to an interest in drugs and
substances that can aid this process.
"The challenge is to activate our dormant capacity to form neurons
and thus replace the neurons that die as a result of the disease.
This study shows that DMT is capable of activating neural stem cells
and forming new neurons", says Morales.

"It has also been observed that sigma-1 receptor agonists are
potentially neuroprotective (Frecska et al., 2013). DMT has been
shown to reduce neuronal inflammation via the sigma-1 receptor
(Szabo et al., 2014) and can also induce neuronal plasticity, a
long-term recuperative process that goes beyond neuroprotection
(Tsai et al., 2009; Ruscher et al., 2011; Kourrich et al., 2012).
Sigma-1 receptors can also influence cell survival and proliferation
(Collina et al., 2013) and Frecska et al. (2013) have suggested that
DMT is protective during cardiac arrest and perinatal development."
inkwell.vue.522 : State of the World 2023: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #70 of 338: Shanta Stevens (jonl) Thu 5 Jan 23 11:33
Here's an off-the-cuff summary that a sometimes local medical
colleague, Dr. Jens
relayed to me in June, 2022 concerning his opinion about the
of DMT and its role in natural selection
"a survival advantage emergency organ (or function produced by a
system of
organs) that allows for temporary dissolution of self in priority of
instinct and clarity of perception "

Regarding that quote, I suggested that the idea that DMT allows us
transcend the self & visualize our instincts (often
anthropomorphically) during survival emergencies is a perspective
that seems reminiscent of
the Hermetic Mystery: "in times of danger or distress, in (W)hom do
you place your trust?"

Not only Freemasonry, but also Christianity, Judaism, & Islam all
reference the
sacred nature of Acacia &/or Mimosa (and curiously, combining their
root bark with Syrian Rue/Peganum Harmala plant produces the
Mediterranean equivalent of Ayahuasca). They are also evergreens, so
it makes sense that they would symbolize immortality. However, there
has been an increasing degree of agreement that the ancients had
extensive psychopharmacological knowledge. Acacia was sacred to
Osiris, as well as Jehovah's burning bush, the ark of the covenant &
the temple at Jerusalem (and also was used in medicine & as a ritual
inkwell.vue.522 : State of the World 2023: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #71 of 338: Shanta Stevens (jonl) Thu 5 Jan 23 11:33
Also, there is considerable evidence that Syrian Rue/Peganum Harmala
was the plant used to produce an entheogen known as Haoma in the
of the Zoroastrian tradition (the same plant is still used in that
tradition symbolically)... & the same plant may be also have been
of the principal ingredients used in the creation of the elixir
as Soma, mentioned in the Rig Veda (as mentioned above, it can also
used a potentiator of synergetic effects with Acacia/Mimosa, as well
as with psychedelic mushrooms &/or cannabis)

Will someone please tell Brian Muraresku that he should cover this
a sequel to _The Immortality Key_ ???!!!!!

If you are unfamiliar with Muraresku's work, he has discovered the
smoking gun (archaeological evidence analyzed by mass spectrometer
to prove that the Eleusinian tradition used Ergot-infused beverages)
that explains the ancient mystery traditions & their connections to
the formation of the original Xtian gatherings in ancient Greece
inkwell.vue.522 : State of the World 2023: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #72 of 338: Shanta Stevens (jonl) Thu 5 Jan 23 11:34
So, going back to the generally beneficial aspects of integration
techniques, as mentioned previously...

In my experience, humans generally benefit from some kind of
ritual to align themselves with their chosen ideals... Although many
traditions of mindfulness recommend non-attachment, and I think that
there is certainly a time for that... I think that there are
profound lessons
to be learned from psychedelic states that take us back to the womb
perinatal imprinting (q.v. the work of Dr. Stanislav Grof), and just
babies that receive compassionate care generally grow up to be more
well-adjusted adults... so, too will someone experiencing a
state benefit from exercises of kindness... but i suppose that could
be me projecting my preconceived notions & values onto other
sigh... i will work on gathering more evidence... but in all my
life-experience, my research points to this as fact... although i
guess i
might temper my words here with a reference to my initiation in a
temple with Ibogaine... there is an aspect of toughlove... "breaking
the head" allow our spirit to enter the graveyard & commune
the ancestors... their message is still for us to see ourselves
through the
eyes of those who love us unconditionally.
inkwell.vue.522 : State of the World 2023: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #73 of 338: Shanta Stevens (jonl) Thu 5 Jan 23 11:34
...Moreover, what tied Bwiti specifically to Gnosticism (even
ancient Gnosticism seen through the post-quantum eyes of Philip
Dick) was that, as Fernandez points out: "For these Bwitists...
religion was not a matter of faith... It was a very pragmatic
technique for understanding, predicting and controlling--in short a
science or pre-science of hidden to things. To believe in something
despite lack of evidence or evidence to contrary, which is the
Western religious condition, was foreign to their attitudes. Fang
had alway had good evidence for their beliefs"--via ready access to
plant sacrament, like the Gnostics. In VALIS, in a passaga on
Gnostic sacraments, Beal found an Ibogaine parallel which was just

"48. ON OUR NATURE. It is proper to say: we appear to be memory
coils (DNA carriers capable of experience) in a computer-like
thinking system which, al-though we have correctly recorded
thousands of years of experiential information, and each of us po
ssesses somewhat different deposits from all the other life forms,
there is a malfunction--a failure--of memory retrieval. There lies
the trouble in our particular subcircuit. "Salvation" through
gnosis--more properly anamnesis (the loss of amnesia )--although it
has individual significance for each of us--a quantum leap in
perception, identity, cognition, understanding, world- and
self-experience, including immortality--it has greater and further
importance for the system as whole, inasmuch as thes e memories are
data needed by it and valuable to it, to its overall functioning.
Therefore it is in the process of self-repair, which includes:
rebuilding our subcircuit via linear and orthogonal time changes, as
well as continual signalling to us to stimulate blocked memory banks
within us to fire and hence retrieve what is there.
The external information or gnosis, then, consists of disinhibiting
instructions, with the core content actually intrinsic to us--that
is, already there (first observed by Plato; viz: that learning is a
form of remembering).
The ancients possessed techniques (sacraments* and rituals) used
largely in the Greco-Roman mystery religions, including early
Christianity, to induce firing and retrieval, mainly with a sense of
its restorative value to the individuals;the Gnostics, however,
correctly saw the ontological value to what they called the Godhead
itself, the total entity." <an excerpt from Tractates Cryptica
Scriptura, pub. 1978 in VALIS, by PKD>

The more Dana got into it, the more he realized having VALIS** in
1980 was like being handed a roadmap to understanding gnostic
substances, Ibogaine and Bwiti, back in the very beginning. But the
Ibogaine story is replete with these coincidences.
inkwell.vue.522 : State of the World 2023: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #74 of 338: Shanta Stevens (jonl) Thu 5 Jan 23 11:35
"The long waking dream period that follows the absorption of iboga
or ibogaine at a subtoxic dose (or oneirophrenic dose according to
Naranjo) appears to be responsible for a temporary destructuring of
the ego, followed by its restructuring.
"This hypothesis is consistent with the observations made by the
ethnologists in their studies of the Mitsogho Bwiti, and may be
compared to the hypotheses of Michel Jouvet and Sir Francis Crick
(C. Debru, 1990) on the role of dreams in the programing and
deprograming of basic behavior patterns, resulting in a new
individuation of the human brain.
"Normally, the stages of wakefulness of the human brain are: waking,
NREM (slow wave or deep) sleep, PGO (pontogeniculo-occipital) waves,
and REM (rapid eye movement or paradoxical) sleep. REM sleep is the
period of dreams.
"Michel Jouvet and Sir Francis Crick consider PGO waves to be the
principal coding tool that acts at the cortical level in recording
the genetic and epigenetic acquisitions necessary for the
individuation of the human brain.
"In addition, through random activation mechanisms, the PGO waves
eliminate from certain types of neuronal networks an informational
overload linked to pathological behavior. This is what C. Debru
calls "cleaning out the neuronal circuitry."
"REM sleep apparently undertakes a sorting out process among the
"residues" stirred up by the PGO wave sleep pattern and disposes of
these residues during dreaming.
"Michel Jouvet (letter of November 7, 1990) wrote: "The oneiric
effects observed in humans and which are produced by hallucinogens
do not enable us to approach the dream mechanism directly, because
it does appear that these two phenomena cannot be link ed together
as one.
"We know, however, that the principal difference between dreams and
hallucinations resides in the way in which the stages of wakefulness
are organized, with the suppression of REM sleep and the intrusion
of PGO waves in the arousal (waking) stage and i n NREM (or slow)
sleep. "The new organization becomes: waking (arousal) stage, stage
of PGO waves, hallucination stage, sleep stage, and it appears
possible that hallucinatory manifestations, the waking dream,
eliminate "residues" stirred up by the PGO wa ve pattern in the
absence of REM sleep."--(Pharmacodynamics and Therapeutic
Applications of Iboga and IbogaineRobert Goutarel, with Otto
Gollnhofer and Roger Sillans, French National Scientific Research
"You were right," exulted Carlo. "Ibogaine is fundamentally
different from the 'clear' psychedelics. And Howard is right in that
there's no way to duplicate the Ibogaine effect without the
visualizations! It is a waking dream--but REM-like, not tr ue REM."
What it is exactly is explained in Goutarel's next lines:
"Near Death Experiences
"According to the Mitsogho, the initiate will see the Bwiti only
twice in his life: on the day of his initiation and on the day of
his death.
"This means that the visions at the approach of death, what are
called near death experiences (NDE), are the same as those termed
normative visions.
"We know that at the time of dying, some individuals see their whole
life pass before them. In those who are "rescued from death," a
spectacular transformation is observed. They no longer fear death,
they feel stronger, more optimistic, calmer, and con template their
life more positively."
The brain is capable of generating another state, which the
conscious mind recognizes as "dreamlike." Normally the waking mind
has only indirect access to the activities of the acetylcholine
pathways. Normally the activity of the sleeping brain only se eps
into consciousness slowly--during the few minutes of REM we get
every night.
But a real emergency can trigger a survival reflex, the NDE, which
gets both halves of the brain up and functioning stereoscopically,
at the same time. The serotoninergic pathways, organized as the ego,
get direct access to all the disorganized acti vity of the
cholinergic pathways, which are perceived as "five or six television
programs going at once."
Ibogaine triggers the NDE reflex. The "splitting of the skull,"
which releases the visions, is the same as the jerk you sometimes
feel just as you're falling asleep, greatly amplified because your
serotonin and acetylcholine are pumping at the same ti me, and your
DA is way down, which normally doesn't happen. But in the NDE, the
conscious mind gets access to PGO wave material: direct genetic
instructions from the non-nucleated genetic material in all of your
These are the genes that are passed on directly from your mother;
they don't lose anything from generation to generation, unless a
cosmic ray hits them. You get nothing from your father but nucleated
genes passed on through the sperm, which is the ge netic equivalent
of an earth satellite. The egg by comparison is a minature planet.
Primitive cells that replicate by division, like amoebas, pass all
their memory along through these non-nucleated genes. But about a
billion years ago some cells invented sex, swapping of genetic
instuctions contained in the nucleus via mitosis. Much more complex
organisms became possible, but to maintain access to cellular
memory, through the acetylcholine pathways, they had to sleep . All
the activity of the sleeping mind is summarized several times a
night in the REM phase, which when you remember your dreams, makes a
"report" from the unconscious to the conscious mind.
Sleep doesn't just raise cellular memories to consciousness, though;
every night your mind makes a "back-up" of the day's memories all
the way down in the non-nucleated genetic material of the cells.
Since these little packets of information don't de grade much from
generation to generation, you have ancestral memories going back a
quarter of a million years. But always through the mother, which is
why Fred, on Ibogaine, experienced the concentration camps through
the eyes of his mother and not his fa ther.
The thing is that these cellular memories might have in them the
informa-tion you need to survive in a real emegency, when you have
no chance to sleep until the answer just comes to you, in a dream.
There's a lot of situations, a lot of scenarios in a quarter million
So before there was language, before there was writing, we developed
the NDE, this trick reflex that allows the conscious mind to access
PGO wave activity directly. Ibogaine triggers the NDE reflex
chemically, without having to be near death. Ibogaine turns the
serotoninergic and cholinergic pathways into a super-augmented,
"sterescopic" entity, capable of scanning ancestral memory in the
nonnucleated genetic material of your cells: the ancestors...


Akashic Record: HP Lovecraft, Psychedelia, Ancient Astronauts, and
Occult Theories of Creativity
<this excerpt seems particularly pertinent, regarding the
lovecraftian aspectd of the 23 enigma in this context>

    Narby's thesis in The Cosmic Serpent is worth dwelling upon for
a moment.  He concluded that when in trance, shamans "take their
consciousness down to the molecular level and gain information
related to DNA."  The idea in essence, however, was not entirely
new.  Timothy Leary had come to more or less the same conclusion
after experimenting with mushrooms and (copiously) with LSD.  In a
television interview from the Millbrook days, Leary spoke of gaining
access to "the long telephone wire of history, which goes back two
billion years, and which is buried somewhere inside your brain and
mine....we are neurologically and biochemically in touch with
thousands of generations that came before us, and the record of
these previous evolutionary attempts are there, it's just that our
mental/symbolic minds can't decode these messages."  In the idea of
an accessible database of genetic memory contained in our DNA, we
find a new quasi-scientific metaphor for the major idea which has
recurred throughout this essay, be it the Platonic Mind At Large of
Huxley, the occult Akashic Record of the Theosophists, or the
Indiana Jones-like lost temple of Cayce's Hall of Records.  In his
treatment of Leary's eight circuit model of consciousness in
Prometheus Rising, Robert Anton Wilson calls this the Collective
Neurogenic Circuit, which "processes DNA-RNA-brain feedback systems
and is "collective" in the sense that contains and has access to the
whole evolutionary "script", past and future."  All of this speaks
to a fascinating notion which is perhaps preeminent among the
religious ideas of the modern west: that our minds contain something
far older and smarter than ourselves, and with which we attain a
fleeting communication in the shared register of myths, dreams, and
the fantastic or weird.  To attain communion with these deeper
strata of consciousness is perhaps the shared heretical goal of
Jungians, surrealists, psychedelic voyagers, and a certain type of
fantastic or popular artist who embodies elements of all of the
above, sometimes unconsciously.  Philip K. Dick observed that the
symbols of the Divine appear first in the trash stratum.  William
James conceded that many religious manifestations and visions could
be accounted for by appealing to the individual's psyche and
unconscious, but he left it open that the unconscious might itself
be precisely designed to receive the influx of higher transmissions:
"The notion of the subconscious self certainly ought not at this
point of our inquiry be held to exclude of notion of a higher
penetration.  If there be higher powers able to impress us, they may
get access to us only through the subliminal door".
Whether such vast storehouses of ancestral and possibly futuristic
knowledge actually exist or not, and whether it happened that a
Providence misanthrope of dubious literary reputation was tapping
into one due to nightly soakings of DMT from his overactive pineal
gland, I leave as usual to the reader to decide.  Interestingly,
though, the idea of the Hall of Records within seems to have
occurred to Lovecraft, as we find in the conclusion to the earlier
quoted fragment The Descendent:
"There rose within him the tantalizing faith that somewhere an easy
gate existed, which if one found would admit him freely to those
outer deeps whose echoes rattled so dimly at the back of his memory.
It might be in the visible world, yet it might be only in his mind
and soul.  Perhaps he held within his own half-explored brain that
cryptic link which would awaken him to elder and future lives in
forgotten dimensions; which would bind him to the stars, and to the
infinities and eternities beyond them."
inkwell.vue.522 : State of the World 2023: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #75 of 338: Shanta Stevens (jonl) Thu 5 Jan 23 11:35
Speaking of extraterrestrial exploration, it seems crucial to talk
about the looming competition over Lunar mining operations...

Especially in the wake of the recent net positive fusion
experiement, there is definitely a conflict brewing


But let's be honest... human biological systems are not designed to
function outside of our homeostatic gravity well... and even the
most hardened cynics who have gone to space often still experience
massive brain change through salutogenesis ("the overview effect")


Along that theme... In 2021, Bruce Damer suggested a "new key theme
for our times: boundary disillusion!"
"The late Terence McKenna...called for boundary dissolution as an
elixir for humanity on its rickety road to shooting the wormhole
through to long-term survival and thrival. Terence's elixirs were
psychedelics and i proposed that there are other potions that can
dissolve these boundaries which divide us terence and i collaborated
on avatar cyberspace explorations in the late 1990s. I picked his
brain and picked up and ran with one of his other key questions: how
does novelty arise i.e how do more complex things compress out of
simpler ones? Cracking some of this code over the past two decades
has led to our current proposal for how life itself emerged and a
new perhaps more complete view of the dual nature of nature. We
propose that nature rests on a base substrate of collaboration
supporting a theater of competition above it is not strictly
survival of the fittest driving evolution forward."

For those of you who are not already familiar with Bruce Damer's
work in
Astrobiology & the Hot Springs Evolutionary Hypothesis, I am willing
to bet that you will be fascinated!

Meanwhile, back on Earth... we have many options of methods to
produce transformative states of consciousness... Jamie Wheal,
Steven Kotler & the Flow Genome Project published a great book that
identified a trillion dollar underground economy... forcing us to
rethink how we can all lead richer, more productive, more satisfying
lives... Driven by four accelerating forces--- psychology,
neurobiology, technology and pharmacology

Robin Arnott & Andromeda refer to their VR experiences as

And I have been rather impressed by the research being done by Dr.
Jeffrey Martin & colleagues at the Transformative Technology
Lab.... particularly their studies around producing states of
Fundamental Wellbeing and Persistent Non-Symbolic Experience 
(aka non-duality, persistent mystical states, unitive states,
transcendental consciousness, enlightenment,
illumination & emergent wisdom, etc.)

However, as easily as I have seen that it can be for some people to
glimpse Fundamental Wellbeing (in 14 weeks or less, in most cases),
this kind of profound
life-changing experience has still been somewhat elusive to others.
the post-modern world that we inhabit with all of its demands
materialism & accelerationism, many dismiss such pursuits as
incompatible with their current worldviews. I have also been
for some time that even though modern rational humans refuse to
believe in the spirit world, that they may in fact still be
extensively subject to others' beliefs (and the Leviathan structures
which have been set in motion by others' beliefs), in profound ways
that they do not consciously realize. At some times, I may have been
inclined to ask, whether or not "individuals" even exist in the way
that we are led to believe that we do? That last question may need
wait, so let us assume that individuals do exist, but perhaps it is
just that we are still subject to external forces which we may or
may not be aware of... 


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