abuddhas memes - april 2000

abuddhas memes

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April's Analytical Angst

Tofu may have a shrinking effect on the brain. I'll stick to fillet de moose.
"This finding is consistent with the environmental causation suggested from the earlier analysis, and provides evidence that soy (tofu) phytoestrogens causes vascular dementia."
Cosma Shalizi thoroughly reviews The Extended Phenotype, The Long Reach of the Gene, by Richard Dawkins. His finding, that "Ultimately, Dawkins presents a vision of the organic world and its appurtenances as overlapping fields of power exerted by replicators over each other and over the vehicles which they construct to carry themselves into future generations.", conjures reductionist heaven, I'd say.
"This is a technical and controversial work addressed to Dawkins's fellow biologists; it is also enviably, relentlessly clear, both in its prose and its logic. This is writing like a spear: a hard, sharp point, everything needed to drive the point home, and nothing else."
Quantum Consciousness is an essay by Adam McLean that traces our understanding, from the hermetic tradition to a principal perceptual uncertainty.
"The brain can no longer be seen as a vast piece of organic clockwork, but as a subtle device amplifying quantum events. If we trace a nerve impulse down to its root, there lies a quantum uncertainty, a sea of probability."
Heretic's Heart: A Journey Through Spirit and Revolution, by Margo Adler, is a personal tale of how the dog wagged the tail, and the tale wagged, man; dig?
"True, my Berkeley was not the only one. It was a center of bohemianism, yet Ronald Reagan was the governor of the state when I graduated, in 1968, and his signature is on my diploma. Berkeley had the largest number of Nobel laureates and Peace Corps volunteers of any university, but also the largest number of federal contracts for nuclear weapons research."

While not agreeing with some of the conclusions in this interview with George Koob, M.D., conducted by Bill Moyers, his call for much more research is right on.
"To me, the best real definition of drug addiction is that your behavioral repertoire has narrowed such that drugs become the focus of your whole life."
Behavior and the Chemistry of the Brain is Chapter 1 of Drugs, Brains and Behavior.
"We will attempt to develop an understanding of the interpenetration of brain, behavior, and environment. We will discuss the chemistry of behavior in both the literal sense of neurochemistry and the figurative sense of an analysis of the reactions with the environment."
I can hear you asking: Who has better hearing, city or country folk?
"The regional differences were more pronounced in men than in women."
Philip H. Farber, author of Author of Futureritual : Magick for the 21st Century, explores the use of entheogens in ritual. My view is that psychedelics may open one's psyche to potential abuse by those in charge of the prescribed procedure. Psychedelics and the Art of Ritual even contains a survey to conduct among your congregation.
"While the small size of the sampling and the bias involved in obtaining the sample hamper statistical and scientific accuracy, the responses do, strongly, argue for the case that, for certain people, psychedelics do have a positive and legitimate place in a variety of contemporary ritual practices."

A *Very* Brief History of Time begins sluggishly but quickly brings us to the cosmogonic loop wherein what's gone around never really left.
"The idea that the universe created itself brings a whole new meaning to bidirectional time, and thus to the idea that cognition may play a role in the creation of reality."
Christopher Michael, author of the above essay, is a member of the Mega Society, with whom he has had some differences. By Way of Explanation explores factionalism within this high-IQ group, and defends the Cognition-Theoretic Model of the Universe.
What is it that I actually claim for the CTMU? Only that it provides a correct cosmological framework, and that it is unique in doing so."
On the Physics and Phenomenology of Time is Ben Goertzel's take on the (trans)temporal realm.

A graphical depiction of the forwards and backwards movement of time. Space is collapsed
onto a single vertical axis, for illustrative purposes
"The numerous paradoxes of quantum reality all disappear when one drops the assumption that events occur at particular points in time."
Hallucinogenic Drugs in Experimental Psychiatric Research was the title of a conference held in Vaals, Netherlands in 1997. This is an astoundingly good synopsis of the proceedings, put together by attendee Julie Holland, M.D..
"I am just happy anyone anywhere is allowed to do these studies at all. I think they are crucial, they must be done, any work involving human consumption of psychedelics is inherently good work and anywhere to start is a good place."

Theoretical elan is appreciated by physicists, but there seems to be an "interdisciplinary aesthetic dissonance". What's Wrong with This Elegance?
"Quantum computation raises the question of whether feasibility is or is not an essential ingredient in determining the elegance of a proposed technology."
As our rivers and creeks start to flow again, and the Yukon emerges from a rather easy sleep this time around, I am drawn to Alan Watts; The Mountain Stream.

I don't think I want to get in the way of the Xenotransplantation Interim Regulatory Authority. Uncaged, against vivisection aims to save pigs, and perhaps a lot of humans too.
"Newly-emerging viruses pose one of the greatest threats to human wellbeing. Xenotransplantation provides a unique direct route of entry for animal viruses into the human population."
The Canadian Association of the Non-Employed has a fine article on Guaranteed Annual Income, or Non-Conditional Income, and gives me hope that Canada can take a world-leading approach on this critical issue.

The Sir Roger Penrose Society has as it's motto: "science and fun cannot be separated". Here we can find Sir Roger as A Mathematician at Play in the Fields of Space-Time.
"If the experiment comes out the way I hope, it will tell us we need a major revolution in quantum mechanics."

There's been considerable talk lately about the unlimited potential of zero-point energy. Philip Yam is not so certain, in his analysis Exploiting Zero-Point Energy. A haiku, I think:
"Energy fills empty space,
but is there a lot to be tapped, as some propound?
Probably not."
What role, and to what degree, did psychedelic substances play in the development of human consciousness? The Re-unification of the Sacred and the Natural, by Ralph Metzner, Ph.D., looks at how the entheogenically enhanced shamanic world-views closely approximate current leading (edge) theories. (yes, this is a warmed-over link, but it's a goodie)

Henry Munn gives us The Mushrooms of Language, in which he shares his intimate knowledge of the Mazatecs, of the mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico.
"Hallucinations predominated in the experiences of the investigators because they were passive experimenters of the transformative effect of the mushrooms. The Indian shamans are not contemplative, they are workers who actively express themselves by speaking, creators engaged in an endeavor of ontological, existential disclosure. For them, the shamanistic condition provoked by the mushrooms is intuitionary, not hallucinatory."
I would love to take a course like Cognition and Consciousness - Quantum Physics, taught by Jussi Karlgren for SICS.
"Quantum physics is strange. So is consciousness. Maybe there is something in common between the two."

Are you an engineer or a scientist by disposition? When I'm looking for information I tend to scan whole works where possible, though I do like being able to pinpoint things with author or title info. In this commentary from The Scientist, Eugene Garfield asks Why Is the Engineer So Different from the Scientist?
"Back in 1958, I proposed a "Unified Index to Science" that would encompass the total coverage of the world's leading abstracting and indexing services. We are quickly reaching its equivalent."
Perhaps this spring will mark a renewal of the human spirit, as we have the chance to shine the light of reason on the WTO in Washington. On the left coast, Planetwork is hosting a meeting of gaian consciousnesses that "will explore the ways that information technology can contribute to creating a sustainable future."
Global Ecology and Information Technology
A Conference at the Presidio in San Francisco
May 12 - 14, 2000
When I expire I would like to think that my progeny, and theirs', could access these pages. A visit to Things to Do on the Web When You're Dead sets my mind at ease. Now, actually viewing these what will then be dated pages, may disturb them greatly...to think I lived in an age when certain states of consciousness were illegal, when children were dispatched to centralized schools and daycares, when GlobalCorp ensured that cheap labor was available, when the echoed horrors of the Century of Growth erupted in interminable spotfires, when we were all just beginning to feel and see what could be...
"I was honored that my friend asked me to protect something so precious to him, and I willingly agreed. But I wonder how many people's sites are simply being "turned off" when they no longer have a voice (or a checkbook) to sustain them. I keep thinking: If my grandparents had built a Web site, wouldn't I want it archived and available on the net in the years to come for my grandchildren?"

While a student at Oxford, Peter B. Lloyd engaged in an e-mail dialogue with a disembodied entity, in which they pursued the question How Can You Tell Whether a Machine is Conscious?

It's hard to fully appreciate the extent of our commitment to "defense". A quick scan of this document from Futura Corporation, cryptically titled BMDO SBIR Topics 1999, provides the evidence. The arms race is by no means over, but has moved from country versus country to mega-corp versus titano-corp; all sucking the breast of our ideological determination.
"Dual-use systems under consideration include, but are not limited to, solid-state lasers (i.e. diode lasers), chemical lasers, excimer lasers, IR/Vis/UV lasers, x-ray lasers, gamma-ray lasers, free electron lasers, quantum lasers, particle beams, radio-frequency (RF) and millimeter wave (MMW), and other unique hybrid approaches including explosively or electrically driven devices."
Posted on my 39th birthday, but not by me of course, this discussion has as it's subject: Meme = music, quantum memes. I think these words may be highly prescient.
"If we ever want to make an intelligent machine, its operating system should be music."

Ian brings Cosmic Matters into focus by means of thought experiments, conjecture, and damn fine logic. His conclusion at once inspires every concievable emotion; and allows it.
"In terms of our own time and space all of these other universes could be everywhere, simultaneously, at all times and places, for all the sense we can make of them.
Many multi-dimensional mysteries mesmerize me. Today it feels like spring is just a theory! M-theory, the theory formerly known as Strings is a very witty expose(eh) of who is tying the knot; and whatnot.

Is this what the social engineers are up to? Read the The Principle of Freedom, by Vladimir Lefebvre, that begins as follows:
X1=f(x1,x2,x3), (1)
me, solved
I chose the following (above) equation as a formal basis for the model of man:
where variable x1 corresponds to the influence of the external world and variable x2 to the subject's image of this influence. Variable x3 reflects the subject's intention: the value of x3 is the probability of his intention to choose the positive pole. And variable X1 reflects the subject's behavior: it is the probability of his choosing the positive pole in reality."
Looking for something completely different, I ran headlong into this interview with Colin Angus of Shamen . An avid supporter of hempen and entheogenic space, Colin is also now the Lord Of Hempton Manor, and describes Shamen's music as "a synthesis of archaic mysticism and scientific futurism."
*Realise then Legalise*. Until such time as we have a Government that is prepared to assume their Responsibility to do so , let's recall the wisdom of the late Martin Luther King, who understood that "It is our moral and civic duty to oppose an unjust Law."

Nakedness entrances none more than a hormonally enhanced teen. Thus the question, ably and succinctly answered: What would a naked singularity look like?

I must admit to laughing when I saw the 'registered trade mark' attached to The Keys of Enoch but this group, in stark contrast to the sinister outfit mentioned yesterday, does offer some insights. Unfortunately they are a hodge-podge of meme-bits that really don't add a byte. The reason I link to it, other than to offer it as a good example of a wrong turn at the intersection of transhuman and fantasy avenues, is the grandiose self-description. The Academy for Future Science is yet another oxymoronic moniker; with a hint of militarism no less.

Trying to pick the certain from the possible contained within this Future History timeline, I would go with this counter-corollary to Moore's Law: " -- the cost of building the plant for the (n+1)th generation computer chip is double the cost of the plant for building the nth generation chip. With this sort of geometric progression in a stagnant economy, financial constraints will more likely stop the evolution of the computer than technological ones. "
"I think this is the right time to spread new visions, and confront all the old thinking with them. Ask your politicians what *long term* goals they have. How does (for example) the Swedish social democratic party or the US republicans think mankind should evolve? Do they even care? The same goes for economists (how will your models be affected by a shift to an information- or nanotech-based economy?), businessmen (how will your insurance company deal with life extension?) and common people (what world do you want your children to grow up in? How do you plan to make this come true?)."
Anders Sandberg
Economic security, economic intelligence, economic espionage and industrial espionage are all within the purview of this document from CSIS, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. The action in these areas will increase in direct relation to increases predicted by Moore's Law, is my prediction.


Scientology recognizes that psychiatry is a primary enemy of their cult. The Citizens Commission on Human Rights is as much an oxymoron as the name Scientology itself. Neither truly dedicated to the rights of all people, nor a constituancy of citizens, the CCHR is however a commission; of memetic engineers. That they propogate material that is so patently false, such as the quote below, makes Scientology and it's assorted cult-let offspring seriously dangerous. (note: I really don't go out of my way to identify and expose Scientology. I just keep running into them while in pursuit of "real" stuff, and find them spouting more inanity.)
"In fact, a major cause of the drug problem worldwide is the psychiatrist, who for decades has used his influence as a medical doctor to push extremely dangerous and addictive mind-altering drugs on persons of all ages."
I just rediscovered Jonathan Ott's The Pharmacratic Inquisition; chapter two of The Age of Entheogens & The Angels' Dictionary. This work brings a well researched historical context to our present anhedonia-by-decree; definitely a valuable addition to my disk library.
"The Pharmacratic Inquisition was the answer of the Catholic Church to the embarrassing fact that it had taken all the religion out of religion, leaving an empty and hollow shell with no intrinsic value or attraction to humankind, which could only be maintained by hectoring, guilt-mongering and plain brute force."
Peter B. Lloyd writes a synopsis of his book Consciousness and Berkeley's Metaphysics, in which he brings mentalism and mystery back into the picture. I wonder where 'ontological myopia' would fit in the DSM?
"Academics working in neuroscience often suffer ontological myopia. They keep on coming up with ingenious schemes for explaining consciousness - so we get the view of consciousness as an emergent property of complex systems, or a feature of self-referential systems, or an epiphenomenon of quantum events, or a morphogenetic field, and so on. None of these ideas, however, even touches the problem of consciousness: they are the wrong kinds of intellectual tool to do the job."
If people you know, or heavens forbid you like to rave, then RaveSafe is a site that would be ecstatic to give you the low-down on the high life. Don't let the colors, or the information, give you the blues.
"... it (over-consumption of water) can dilute your blood, and diluted blood causes tissue cells to swell. The brain cannot swell inside the skull and the pressure can build up to a dangerous level. There should be no problem if you drink plenty of water and urinate pale urine. Danger signs to look out for, are compulsive drinking, not being able to urinate, or dark urine in spite of drinking lots of water."

To quote New Scientist's appraisal of the current state of eugenics: "The levels of ethical complexity rapidly become mind-boggling." How long would it take us to become two species were the rich to take full advantage of genetic screening, while those less lucky, or less inclined to take advantage of fellow humans, are relegated to a sub-standard health care system and slaving at McJobs? Should Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis be used to select for traits?

That a new theory of ideas would be underlain by a disingenuous philosophical premise is probably not surprising. Perhaps that was the genesis of critical thought. Richard Barbrook argues that we must not be mislead by specious reasoning in this Memesis Critique.
"After over two centuries of modernity, it is surprising to find this ancient idea at the beginning of a declaration supposedly describing the future. But, as we will see, the process of seeing the world upside down is one of the most important failings of the whole Memesis statement."
"The four "isms" of the apocalypse: chauvinism, sexism, racism and fundamentalism are riding roughshod over the gardens of civilization. When we take a long look around at the effects of the modern world, it's not a pretty sight." So begins the prelude to Mavericks of the Mind - Internet Edition, which interviews a diversity of 'thinkers of the millennium' including Terence McKenna, Robert Anton Wilson, Laura Huxley, Alan Ginsburg, Rupert Sheldrake and many others.

Sir John C. Eccles provides much to ponder with The Effect of Silent Thinking on the Cerebral Cortex. This is really an essay that delves the fertile ground of the mind/brain question, uncovers a crop of root theories, and germinates a synthesis for the next theogenation (generation of theories).
"With the exception of the hard-core radical materialists there is general agreement on the existence of mental events such as thinking. Thinking is of course subjectively experienced and is not objectively identifiable in the way that we perceive the world around us through our senses."

Search ICQ for "depraved one", and this is the lone result. Makes a person proud.
Put on your ideational hard hat, there is a danger of heavy concepts being knocked loose from The Origin and Evolution of Culture and Creativity, by storms of discussion and waves of insight.
"Cultural evolution presents a puzzle analogous to the origin of life: the origin of a self-sustained stream of potentially-creative thought in an infant's brain. The idea that life originated with the self-organization of a set of autocatalytic polymers suggests a possible mechanism for how this comes about."
Heiko Idensen puts the diversity of possibility that is the Web into an ideational catalogue. Poetry should be made by all - from hypertext utopias to cooperative net-projects. Use this when talking to your boss about things. Get a raise.
The poetics of a link lies in the bare insinuation in no way, nor in a metaphoric or implicit reference - but carries out itself in a real jump, an actual linking - a poetics of the transportation."
Dr. Albert Hoffman has walked the talk and applied ethical analysis to his "problem child". In this lecture delivered to the Worlds of Consciousness Conference he recounts some of his own experiences, and concludes LSD: Completely Personal.
"All of which could suggest that my decisions on arriving at the guiding "switch-points" which have led to LSD, were not really undertaken through exercise of free will, but rather steered by the subconscious, through which we are all connected with the universal, transpersonal consciousness."
The names of the authors alone recommend this book, though it also bears the weight of time. The Speed Culture: Amphetamine Use and Abuse in America was written twenty-five years ago, but now far more people use meth and it's analogues; many to deal with our current "need for speed".
"Amphetamine is not a psychedelic drug like marijuana and LSD. The drugs seem to occupy opposite poles in the underground, in almost a Blakeian perspective of heaven and hell ... An amphetamine comedown is not compatible with the love-joy-ecstasy trip."

&TOTSE makes a black and white case for ending the war on ourselves in this fact filled essay. America and Drugs: History and Analysis has a rather pompous name for what is really a retelling of information better gleaned from the sources; links to many of which are listed in the entheogen section of abuddhas memes. What disturbs me is that information that is vital for our social survival is lumped in with conspiracy, ufo and new age material, thus denigrating the imperative to the realm of fantasy. The really fantastic, and far scarier than than could be imagined, truth is that our cuture thrives on abuse; and those that employ the means to see through it are most abused.

Every time a person comes along with a deep insight into the transpersonal, someone else will turn it into a religion. Unless they are totally self-centered like L. Ron, in which case you have an extrusion; the human psyche enjoying a spiritual defecation. The Secular Sphinx: The Riddle of Ethics Without Religion shows us that the magic is there, for each of us, personally; if we care to see.
"Whether we like it or not, whether we know it or not, every encounter, every thought, every action, can and does make some degree of difference, ranging from virtually negligent to powerfully diverting. A seemingly innocuous decision, carefully placed in time and circumstance, may affect uncounted others in multitudinous ways."
Just as the wisest course would be to give our kids the straight dope on dope, it is essential to be statistically literate so we can seperate the wheat from the chaff of inaccuracy. Statistical or Quantitative Thinking - A Fundamental Intelligence points out that we all think statistically as part of daily life, and we can use this natural talent to inform the higher forms of this discipline.


This persuasive essay not only makes it's case but also provides a scenario that leads us from mushroom to mead. Classical Deities Derived from Personified Prehistoric Mushrooms
"In fact, it is very possible that the development of beer and other alcoholic beverages from grains was related to the extant practice of brewing the grain on which psilocybes had been grown into teas with entheogenic properties resulting from the presence of entheogens in the psilocybe mycellia."
If we really thought about it we'd probably wear helmets all the time, yes even, or especially depending on your nuptual proclivities, during sex. Our brain, perhaps the most complex metaform in the universe is delicate, and comes with a non-transferable ticket. Neuroguide to the Internet provides valuable traveler's resources.

George Monbiot's Amnesty Lecture is a powerful statement for putting the ethics of science in it's proper place, leading the cart.
"It's time that we started to concentrate on asking and trying to answer the big questions, however painful it might be. The world is best apprehended with the naked eye, not the gene sequencing machine."
More than forty years ago Richard Feynman gave a lecture titled There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom in which he described nanotechnology; and offered prizes!
"In the year 2000, when they look back at this age, they will wonder why it was not until the year 1960 that anybody began seriously to move in this direction."

An April fool's day prank needs an aspect of danger to be worthy. Here The Evil Genius provides assemblages that if not executed properly may make the joke out of you; at the morgue.
"Build a battery-powered Tesla Coil, clip it to your belt, and run a wire out to an argon-filled mylar sphere. When turned on, the tip of the wire will grow a large blazing white ball of lightning filaments. Run screaming through the night, chased by a ball-lightning in a hardly-noticable clear bag. Charred, smoking clothes would be good too."
Where do we draw the line, if we ever do, between our need to understand and the ability to actually do so? Understanding is not just the science, the description, but must, now, come to grips with the implications. Body maps that can be affected by the manipulation of a single gene imply the potential to genetically potentiate a Mozart.
"The current work does not negate the importance of neural activity by incoming neurons to determining brain maps. It says for the first time, however, that the cortex also has a hand in divvying up brain space, and that this influence is genetic."
While making an effort to avoid conspiratorial waves, I am happy to surf into a debunkatorium. Debunking the Federal Reserve Conspiracy Theories (and other financial myths) gives us the facts, man.
"By letting erroneous beliefs stand unchallenged, we run the risk that those who are undecided may interpret silence from skeptics as agreement with the conspiracy theorists."
If you are within reasonable proximity of Stanford and are pondering the question Will Spiritual Robots Replace Humanity by 2100?, then head over to TCSEQ room 200.
A Stanford Symposium organized by Douglas Hofstadter
FREE and open to the public
April 1, 2000, 1pm - 5:30

© Abuddha Ahdduba, 2000