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Listening to :
Nick Cave : Murder Ballads

Reading :
Defying Hitler

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Weirdest Dream lately :
I dreamed I was on the "other side" when my Dad was passing. I spoke to him and made sure he was okay. Then I woke, and knew he was gone. 30 minutes later, we got the call from the hospital saying that his blood pressure had crashed in the last 30 minutes.

Currently working on :
A BTVS related story called "Long Goodbye" which deals with a member of the Watchers Council being vamped as part of an experiment.
Also completing my nanowrimo effort.



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A blog for that outspoken and aggressive member of the Buffy Bulletin Board.
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   Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Something to think about

When the end hoves into view
You know how it is, when a deadline approaches and you're trying to get everything on your "To Do" list out of the way? I've been feeling like that a lot, lately.

One of the things I really wanted to do was take some severely powerful psilocybin mushrooms, in an attempt to touch the numinous in life. Since I am frequently in Amsterdam, I recently took the plunge and lived to tell the tale. It was a resounding success, and I wanted to describe it here.

First, I think it's worth pointing out that I don't do drugs as a rule. I gave up smoking almost 18 years ago. And although at least 3 of my friends do cocaine on a semi-regular basis, I have never indulged.

So when I made the decision to take the mushrooms, I researched the living hell out of the topic first, to make sure I understood the risks and dangers etc... It's frankly amazing how much bullshit information is out there concerning such a relatively safe pastime. I had envisioned myself booking a room on the ground floor of a hotel for my "trip" in case I tried to "fly" out the window or something. Utter nonsense, of course, as my research pointed out.

So feeling much less tense about the whole thing, and with a copy of some super chill-out mind-expanding CD's in my bag, I flew to the 'dam for a trip of a different sort.

I'm putting it here, because I felt it was important to do so. It's hard to describe. I know, looking at the words on the page that they seem drab and two-dimensional. Lifeless. But when I think about the concepts, and the images they represented... my memories... I can't explain the feeling that there is something TO them. That I was on the verge of some real insight. Some new understanding. I doubt this is it, because it has an air of familiarity to it, even though I don't remember ever seeing something like his before, with the possible exception of the StarMaker by Olaf Stapleton. Anyway, here goes nothing.

I can't honestly remember the order or sequence in how thoughts came to me. Instead, I want to try to describe what I "learned" and what it represented to me.

In thinking about Blogging, I realised that many blogs are simply people passing on stories or jokes which they have seen on other blogs or in the news media, or something like that. And that there might be a trend towards those sorts of blogs, which pass along stories/jokes and which are then picked up and passed along. Evolution applies... important stories are passed on, unimportant ones are dropped. Most bloggers contribute very little "new" to this flow of information. They simply pass along what they weigh as important, and trim what is not.

This is very similar (but on a vastly different scale) to how the neurons in your brain work. A signal arrives and is passed on to the next neuron, and on to the next. Sometimes dying off, sometimes changing, and sometimes firing across different branches. Most of the neurons act as transfer points, only rarely adding some new impetus. And from this, thoughts and memories arise.

Before consciousness forms, before memories can be stored, the links between the neurons are weak, but are strengthened through repeated or continuous use. Eventually consciousness "emerges" but the individual cells do not know this.

There is something instinctive in man, when it comes to communication. Before email and instant messengers, people faxed each other those stupid chain letters, or jokes of the day on a Friday. Go back further, and we had the tendency to gossip. Juicy gossip (or the things we thought were important) survived and was passed along.

There is a certain amount of unthinking action in all of this. Just as when new technology becomes available, man grabs at it, almost instinctively. We are self-organising around forms of communication, and we network. Socially network.

DNA is made of 4 nucleotides, in countless variations. The cells in your brain do not "know" you exist.

And I wonder if we are simply self-organising "cells" or even "nucleotide" analogies for some global life form. Some form of life beyond our capacity to imagine. The internet and the speed of the connections it gives us between people/nodes are like a brain. Information is passed on, stored, retrieved, and destroyed. And the links get stronger or weaker, according to our own needs which even we do not fully understand.

But maybe even that global consciousness is not the end.

Like a cell, dividing, we are driven to go out to places like Mars and beyond, taking our networks with us, and establishing links and ties between them.

Maybe we are not the neurons or the cells in the final product. Maybe we are the nucleotides, and the planet-brains are the like the nucleus/brain in a cell. And the final life - form is some unimaginably larger entity.

The universe is clustered on so many levels; galaxies are just the next step beyond.

And if the galaxies could be linked, before the stars die out and entropy consumes everything in a freezing isotropic homogeneity, is our entire universe nothing but a cosmic egg, from which the ultimate life form will emerge?

You have trillions of cells in your body. Many die every day. Even the valuable brain cells, the ones that "matter" in your grey matter, die. And we treat their deaths lightly for the most part, sometimes even killing them in vast quantities with alcohol.

Why? Because the whole survives. The individual cell does not matter. Another will take its place and take up the job of passing on signals to the next node down the line, and occasionally, adding a new note of its own to the symphony.

And that is why it is okay for a man to die. If we have done the task that was ours to do well, why should we fear death? The brain cell may have some deeply primitive awareness, but it is nothing we would recognise as intelligence or life. And if it could, for a second, understand what it is a part of... it might realise that you could not call such an existance "living".

Man has so many things in the world to occupy his mind and interact with... he can spend no time in quiet contemplation of the trillions of individual cells that made up his being, or the nucleotides that make his existence possible, or all the cells (now long dead) that gave him a start in the womb. That first cell (Earth) that first divided, and sent him on his way.

In the cosmic scheme of things, we as individuals are meaningless. But we have a job to do. To bring forth something greater than ourselves. And when our time has come, to fade into oblivion with no complaints and no regrets.

Link. Listen. Speak.

It might be possible to learn something about the global end result of our community building. Let us take a look at the two most well known polar opposites, socialism and capitalism.

On the one hand, socialism/communism call it what you will, believes that everyone should be treated equally. The "we are all equals" philosophy. What does that lead to? A uniform grey mush. A man-sized stem cell. Not what one would call a viable life form.

And capitalism, look at this: There, we push man made ethics aside for a moment, and say "there will always be people at the bottom, and people at the top. There is a form and structure to society and everyone has his place. The few, rich and powerful on top, the many, poor and oppressed underneath."

There is something to this, the structure that is so necessary when we see what "total equality" would lead to. But unfortunately, rampant capitalism involves small segments of society taking resources/power/information and consolidating them into small groups, for personal gain at the expense of the whole. Like the saying goes, a capitalist is a man who would sell you the rope with which you will hang him. And like the environmental damage caused by oil companies and big-business, profits and power are prioritised by those who hold controlling interests in companies to grow into malignant transnationals.

I use the word malignant, so that you will make the association. Rampant capitalism is a literal cancer on the global whole. The so called "immortal" persons, (i.e. corporations) are cancer cells. And ultimately the global entity will die (be stillborn) even if the tumor survives and continues to divide.

To be fully adaptable, a fully realised life form, there must be structure, and hence inequality. But it cannot be based on capitalism. Some new paradigm is needed, and the cancer must be excised or we risk premature termination of this great experiment called "Life".

Find what your place is in the grand scheme of things, and fulfill your purpose. And then die peacefully. That is all that is required of you.

And if you are wondering what is your place, then look at the developing global body around you. What is it trying to tell you? Does a rising temperature mean it is sick? Going from chills to fevers... not a good sign. We need T-cells, the entities defence mechanism. We need more anti-bodies.

I completely understand your analogy between people and cells. I am sure it was much more vivid on a mind-altering substance, but the concept is not lost on all of us. I've always wondered about the analogy of our universe as a huge fish bowl, but Iv'e never quite thought of it the way you put it. It's enlightening and disturbing at the same time. Anyway, just thought I'd let you know.
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