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Comment on Changing our minds

rene Mon, Nov 23, 2009
Using the drinking water as a conduit to change the species goes back to the ‘60s, starting with the fluoridation of our drinking water to stave off dental cavities. But more in keeping with Wildcat’s comment were the attempts at mass illumination suggested by proponents of LSD who believed that the mind altering drug’s introduction in the water supply had the potential to emancipate humanity. Aldous Huxley’s widow Laura told me a few years before her death that when she was arrested for swimming naked in the Hollywood reservoir adjoining her house, she told the cops that she had just laced the water with LSD, creating a frenzy among the police she could hardly talk her way out of.

Remember that one dose of Lysergic acid diethylamide can be as tiny as one-tenth the mass of a grain of sand, so she could have very easily effected all the good people of Hollywood and by extension changed the world.

Around that same time in Amsterdam, a counterculture movement, the Provos, spread rumors that they were preparing to dump LSD in the city water supply to coincide with the Dutch queen’s wedding. These rumours led the authorities to request 25,000 troops to help guard the parade route. Meanwhile Timothy Leary and beat poet Alan Ginsberg were inspired by Aldous Huxley to turn on a select group of luminaries in the hopes that their successful mind expansion project would eventually trickle down to the masses. As Huxley put it to Leary: “These are evolutionary matters. They cannot be rushed. Initiate artists, writers, poets, jazz musicians, elegant courtesans, painters, rich bohemians. And they’ll initiate the intelligent rich. That’s how everything of culture and beauty and philosophic freedom has been passed on.”

Indeed, among the individuals Leary and Ginsberg turned on were musicians Thelonious Monk and Dizzy Gillespie, painter Willem de Kooning, writer Jack Kerouac, photographer Robert Frank and many others. In a last ditch attempt to save the planet during the Cuban missile crisis, they almost succeeded in getting to John F Kennedy and Fidel Castro as well. But before long Leary judged that society at large was in need of the psychedelic experience and he became a cheerleader for change as he took his cause to the masses, which eventually put him in jail and turned him into a fugitive being hunted across the globe by the FBI.

Still, by and large, both the elitist and the popular approach to change people’s minds were quite successful and have had a significant impact on the world’s culture. Today, the internet encourages us to take our cause to the masses, and yet what we’re doing here on this site much closer resembles Huxley’s elitist approach. The only real question then is, how will this information trickle down to others and become widespread. To me the true significance of SC is that so many who congregate here are thinkers as well as artists and designers, which should ultimately prove helpful to spread the radical notions we explore.

Therefore, when I look at the contributions of recent member Olena, whose writing is as impressive as her art, I can’t help but think that renaissance people like her will be the ones who may well set the stage for certain parts of Spaceweaver’s agenda. Also note how Wildcat’s Sci-Fi Ultrashorts , which have gone missing lately, are a welcome complement to his serious speculative essays by allowing his ideas to come to life in a fictional context, while Xaos’ visionary contributions
are remarkable attempts to transcend the limitations of the written word by marrying forward thinking philosophy and poetry in unprecedented ways.

Today, we don’t have the advantage of the social protests of the ‘60s, or a succinct agenda like sex, drugs and rock & roll; there isn’t even a righteous generation clash. All we have is the evidence that we are riding a curve of exponential change through science and technology that has the potential to change human nature, but social acceptance of this realization is still marginal and a long way from reaching a tipping point. We’re still in the phase of Huxley’s initiation of artists, writers and poets.

But then again, just one Thelonious Monk, de Kooning or Ginsberg, can bring on a lasting paradigm shift.