Sunday, January 20, 2019

Philippa Meyering (1930 - 2019)


PHILIPPA MEYERING (1930 - 2019)

My life and Philippa's life intersected only briefly. We were married for two years (1967-1969). But those few years were exciting times and she was an exciting woman. So with a few stories of our brief times together I will try to sketch a necessarily partial picture of this remarkable lady.

Philippa (Phyl) was born and raised in southern California, became a member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority at UC Berkeley, where she met and married R. Meyering, a Theater Arts major, and birthed two daughters, Marcia and Cathy. Later, in Los Trancos Woods (LTW), CA, she married A. Mixon, a former Navy SEAL, and birthed her third daughter Diana.

During the late sixties, I was a physics graduate student at Stanford, living in a house in Los Trancos Woods with a Stanford medical student, Bill Ross. In those days, Los Trancos Woods was a haphazard rural area in the hills behind Stanford, populated with a mix of eccentric characters. Philippa was our close neighbor and Bill and I often socialized with her and her three daughters.

Phyl was associated with the Stanford Genetics Department and presided over a salon at her home which featured Stanford professors and others sharing their thoughts about human potential, parapsychology and psychedelics -- topics that still fascinate people today.

Phyl drank alcohol in moderation, smoked menthol cigarettes, attended Native American pow-wows, liked to read biographies and enjoyed a wide variety of friends. Her favorite charities were Amnesty International and ASPCA.

Her oldest daughter, Marcia, writing from Kimberley, British Columbia, reminds me that her mother drew comfort and inspiration from water: from creeks, rivers, lakes and especially the ocean. Phyl's house in LTW, was perched on the edge of Los Trancos Creek and during California's rainy winters, this watercourse echoed like a bowling alley as boulders bounced down stream just a few feet from her bedroom window. She loved camping outdoors, near the frog pond in upper LTW, or nights on the beach near Pescadero. Her favorite part of the San Francisco zoo was the otter pool. When we were living in Monmouth, Illinois, we often visited the Mississippi River, just a few miles west, observing the shipping barges, the fishermen at their work, and conversing with people at the bait shops.

On my thirtieth birthday I decided to spend the night meditating in the hills behind my house in Los Trancos Woods, but before I could reach my destination I encountered a large dead deer on the road that had been recently hit by a car.  I returned home, dropped my pack, drove back to the spot and loaded the still warm body into my station wagon. Bill Ross and I hung the deer from our basement ceiling and immediately phoned Philippa. Using kitchen cleavers and Bill's medical scalpels the three of us carefully dissected the animal, wrapped its parts in tin foil, and stored the meat in Phyl's freezer. So instead of solitary meditation, I spent that night slaughtering a large animal with my roommate and my wife-to-be.

One of the highlights of the West Coast hippie scene was the Trips Festival, January 22, 1966, at the Longshoreman's Hall on San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf. Organized by Ken Kesey and Stewart Brand, it was the largest gathering of "acid test graduates" to date. Thousands of colorfully-costumed freaks in colorful states of consciousness showed up to experience the light shows, the strobe lights and trampolines, and the chaotic music and performance art. Phyl and I decided to go as "squares". by dressing as if we were going to the opera: from the outside we looked like two flamboyantly ordinary beings mingling with a circus of freaks. After digging the scene, we wandered over to the corner where cups of Kool-Aid were being served out of big garbage cans, Our hosts seemed a bit reluctant to serve us but eventually relented. We both figured that in such a large public gathering, they would never dare to put LSD in the Kool-Aid. On this matter we were mistaken. But the dose seemed fairly light so this square couple stayed in the shallows and did not go back for seconds.

When I got my PhD, I married Phyl and took my first job, as a physics professor at Monmouth College in Illinois, just a few miles west of Peoria, legendarily the most typical of typical Midwest towns. (Will it play in Peoria?). In its unapologetic ordinariness, Peoria did not disappoint. We enrolled the kids in the local schools and assumed our roles as "that crazy couple from California", lionized by some, disliked by others, and tried to fit into an environment (it was only going to last one academic year) that in its own way was as bizarre for Phyl and me as the Trips Festival. I became one faculty member with whom students shared their drug stories, and Phyl collected her own circle of admirers, including (ha, ha!) becoming the confidant of the college president's wife.

Besides driving to the Mississippi River and going to estate auctions (which featured the classic tobacco-style auctioneer/showman) we sometimes amused ourselves and the girls by going to Monmouth's pizza parlor and reading to each other from the National Enquirer.

After our nine-month stint in the Midwest, Phyl and I returned to California, got divorced, connected only sporadically, then more often, and then kept in contact by phone when she moved to Happy Camp, CA, an isolated town on the Klamath River near the Oregon border.

I last talked to Phyl in late December; when only a few days later Marcia informed me that Philippa had perished on the morning of January 4, while her house in Happy Camp burned to the ground.

Philippa is survived by 3 daughters, 11 grandchildren, and 7 great-grandchildren.

Hail and farewell, loving mom, intimate companion, dear first mate.


Saturday, December 29, 2018

Baby Steps Towards a Brand New Physics

99 Nick Chakras

BABY STEPS TOWARDS A BRAND NEW PHYSICS

Quantum theory is mankind's most successful mathematical connection with Nature. But after more than one hundred years of immense conceptual and technological success, it seems to possess at least one fundamental flaw. Despite the fact that we know that the world works by purely quantum rules, our only access to this world (so far) is via completely classical measurements. The goal of quantum tantra is to open up new doorways into Nature, new connections that are intrinsically quantum not classical, that are deep, direct and intimate and that probably have more to do with consciousness than with unconscious measuring instruments.

FASTIDIOUS PHYSICISTS
Nature's hinting there's new ways to meet Her
More intense, more engaging -- and sweeter
But like shy maiden aunts
We say "O dear me, no!" to Her Dance
"We'd rather be reading our meters."

 One possible realization of quantum tantra is that I learn to experience the physical world in a manner analogous to the way that I experience my own body. A new kind of mind-merge with matter made possible by our radical understanding of how things really work. I envision this new learning to be augmented by some sort of quantum-inspired technology which I have called a Convivium. Or sometimes an Octoscope.

Since physics is a more fundamental science then chemistry for exploring deep reality, with all honor and respect, I consider psychedelic drugs as mere training wheels compared to quantum tantra. But as a pragmatic explorer I realize you gotta use what you got.

While waiting for my Physics Muse to deliver me a Convivium or Octoscope, my most immediate way to prepare for direct entry into the quantum world appears to be expanding my awareness of this physical body that daily carries me about in the world.

So for many years, I have been carrying out a Chakra Project to expand the number of body centers into which I could place my awareness -- the main hypothesis being that a body part to which I direct my attention is in some way essentially different (in a quantum way?) from a body part that I leave unattended. I began with the Seven Classical Hindu Chakras, extended this number to Twenty-Four, then Twenty-Seven, then Eighty-Four. Then finally to the Ninety-Nine Nick Chakras illustrated above. I have used this new chakra system in various ways, from systematically expanding my bodily awareness, to reciting a kind of bodily Rosary, to preparing my body for massage, to falling asleep at night by counting chakras instead of sheep.

For exploring a new territory, it's useful to have a good map. But once you're there you can toss the maps away. Follow your own interests and curiosity.

Besides the chakras, I've found many other good maps for exploring the body's wonders based on your particular training and interest.

Being mainly a bookish person, I'm not much interested in sports, but loved ocean swimming and had been a fairly good tennis player at the City Park level. For more than twenty years I have been working with weights under the direction of a world-class power lifter, ex-Marine and ex-police officer. So far, all without books.

But then I discovered Frederic Delavier's Strength Training Anatomy. 
 
Delavier's muscle maps for power lifters

Delavier is both a trained artist (five years at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris) and a champion power lifter (best in France 1988). His book spends a few pages on every classic lift, and illustrates with simple color-coded drawings exactly which muscles you are utilizing for that lift. (You can confirm Delavier's insights by what parts hurt the next day.) He also includes sections on stretches for relaxing parts of the body that have been tightened by serious exercise and illustrates which muscles are involved in each stretch. Here is a video review of Delavier's wonderful book by an admiring body builder.

For the last couple of years I have been enjoying monthly massages from a lovely Buddhist masseuse who lives at Vajrapani Institute, our local Tibetan Buddhist retreat center. Her body work combines sensitive attention plus exercises in visualizing each moment as Empty, Impermanent, yet paradoxically infused with Compassion. These massage sessions got me interested in yet another book (another set of body maps).

Andrew Biel's body maps for extremely informed palpation
Andrew Biel's Trail Guide to the Body is the premier source for intelligent palpation. Both the author and the illustrator Robin Dorn are licensed massage practitioners. The trail guide metaphor is useful and witty: for example, the trip round the elbow is called "exploring Knob Hill". Dorn's skillful drawings have just enough detail to be useful yet uncluttered. You could spend a lifetime exploring your body or someone else's using this nearly 500-page book as a map. I'm currently involved in trying to confidently palpate the eight carpal bones at the base of my hand. Here's a video interview with the author who among other things describes his favorite muscle. Hint: it's a muscle you've never heard of.

Although I play jigs and reels in an Irish session band, I'm not really much of a dancer. The nearest I got to serious dancing was studying Aikido with Linda Holiday in Santa Cruz. Throwing and being thrown in many different ways by many different kinds of bodies brought me very much in touch with what being embodied actually felt like both in and out of Linda's dojo.

I was also married for more than thirty years to Betsy Rasumny, a talented improv dancer who taught and performed in New York, Montreal, San Francisco and Santa Cruz. For me, one of Betsy's finest teachings was that, for someone who is fully present, every movement can become a dance. My wife was an expert at being fully present. Among the many gifts Betsy left me after her death in 2002 was this book on body maps for dancers.

Andrea Olsen's Guide to Experiential Anatomy

Andrea Olsen's BodyStories: A Guide to Experiential Anatomy is exactly what it claims to be -- a guide to actually feeling what it's like to be present in your own particular body. There are pictures of bones and muscles but accompanied with children's drawings and other art work designed to invoke the strange unspeakable mood of this particular kind of embodiment. In her dedication, Andrea Olsen states that the function of this book is not to demystify the body -- but to help embody the mystery. Designed for dancers, this book contains movement and palpation exercises both alone and with a partner and is peppered with short anecdotes (body stories) from Olsen's long career as a teacher and performer. Here is a video of Andrea Olsen giving a TED talk/performance in Monterey, CA. Is this woman embodied or what?

One version of quantum tantra would be experiential anatomy on quantum steroids. The octoscope (or convivium) would open up our universe to non-classical modes of inquiry, to brand new experiences of the physical body not to mention new experiences of the physical world, providing strange new openings into reality entirely unavailable to our species before the discovery of quantum theory.

TANTRIC TECH
When we coat our nipples with europium oxide
When we touch our tongues to crystalline tin
When we hold in our hands these obsidian palm stones
Nature unlocks Her darkness and welcomes us in.


Nick discovers a convivium




Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Christmas in Mexico 1963

Three Kings: Mexico City Christmas

CHRISTMAS IN MEXICO 1963

1963 was a big year for me. I had passed all my exams at Stanford and was beginning my thesis work under Walter Meyerhof using a small particle accelerator in the basement of the Physics building. With some lady friends from the Psychology department, I had just experienced my first acid trip which opened up for me new worlds of possibility. In this excitable mood I decided to spend my Christmas in Mexico, packed my gear into a big duffel bag and hopped a bus down to Guadalajara.

Where I met a fellow American named Dave Whitaker, who was married to an anthropologist in Wisconsin, and was, like myself, looking for adventure. Both of us were bearded and scruffy and attracted a lot of attention. Since 1963 predated the hippies, we were called "existentialistas" or sometimes "Fidelistas". In Mexico City we met several young men from the University who were eager to practice their English and wanted to show us the hot spots. Dave & I lived in a hotel a few blocks from the Paseo Reforma park right in the center of the city, within walking distance of the Metropolitan Cathedral and several other famous landmarks. We had been warned not to drink the water so we subsisted on beer and food we bought from the ubiquitous street vendors. At one of these stands, I was served slices of goat cut right off the animal and stuffed into a big tortilla.

Mexico City taco stand.

One day Dave and I decided to see the ocean and took a bus to Mazatlan where for the first time I was able to swim in ocean water as warm as a bathtub. The Mazatlan beach is crowded with expensive hotels, but behind the hotels sits a typical Mexican village. We stopped in a cantina and immediately became the center of attention. At a table inside, four Mexicans invited us gringos to play a drinking game. They produced a "shock box" made of a lantern battery, an automotive spark coil and a rheostat for controlling the voltage. I had played with such devices in my physics class in high school and knew how they worked. In this cantina game, you would hold a tin can in each hand and see how much voltage you could endure. The loser buys beer for everyone. This game was a nice way to interact with good-hearted guys who didn't speak your language. And after buying three or four rounds of beer for the Mexicans, we gringos shook hands with the winners, happily took our leave and traveled back home to Mexico City.

Pulque is a peculiar Mexican beer brewed from the agave cactus and sold only in special bars called pulquerias. Pulque is the color of milk and is known as the drink of the working class. As luck would have it, there was a pulqueria right across the street from our hotel. Each of us dared the other to try this exotic brew and I would taunt Dave by calling him Señor Pulque in hopes that he would try it first. That never happened. And I am still ignorant of the taste of this working-class brew, a situation I very much regret.

Dave did introduce me to another exotic substance -- not pulque but "speed". As that time you could go to any pharmacia and buy Dexadrine in various forms without a prescription. (Even though every bottle was clearly labeled "Not for sale without a prescription".) I loved speed. It made me feel as super smart and as fearless as I knew I really was. And I could stay up and party all night. "This is a drug I could get addicted to," I said. But unlike acid, which seems to give you insights into the nature of consciousness, the speed high is completely empty, a mere revving of the engine of ordinary awareness. And when the drug wears off, the downside is horrible -- like somebody has been using your body for weeks. After this brief experience in the streets of Mexico City, I said goodbye to amphetamines as a future drug of abuse.

Tenochtitlan, the Temple of the Sun

While Dave was busy with something else, I decided to take a trip to one of Mexico's most famous archeological sites -- Tenochtitlan, the Temple of the Sun, which is located a few miles north-east of Mexico city. I rode a bus, complete with people carrying live chickens, to the site, ignored the little kids trying to sell me "authentic" clay figurines, wandered around the various buildings and then decided to climb to the top of the Sun Temple.

I was almost to the top and flanked by two women, when one of them turned to me and asked me one of the strangest questions I have ever heard. "Did you know," she asked, "that this temple was built by Jews?"

Actually I didn't know that. But I was informed by the two women, who happened to be Mormon archeologists, of their belief that one of the Lost Tribes of Israel had sailed to the New World and founded new civilizations of which the Temple of the Sun was one part. Since I was a mere physicist I could come up with no facts to refute their claim so I listened intently to their story. And eventually after reaching the top of the Temple, the women led me down, across the yellow tape, to meet their Mormon colleagues who were busy excavating some new walls covered with paintings of jaguars and other exotic ancient Jewish iconography.

Another taco stand

Later, after my trip to Tenochtitlan, Dave and I were walking in Mexico City with a bunch of locals who were testing out their English (which was much better than our Spanish) when we ran across a guy in a vacant lot who was selling marijuana. I was curious because I had never tried this substance but one of the Mexicans warned us: "Don't try that stuff. It make you crazy. Let's go get drunk instead." Ignoring his warning I bought a bag of it to take back to our hotel. Most of the Mexicans left but two followed us back.

Our room was on the third floor with a window facing the main street. And to make the scene complete, a neon sign outside our window was flashing lurid colors across the bed.

We rolled the stash up into a big cigar using a page from a Mexican newspaper and passed it around. The two Mexicans were lying on the bed and Dave and I were sitting on the floor. The neon light was flashing off and on. It looked like a typical sordid drug scene you might see in the movies. It was my very first time smoking marijuana.

Dave and I both saw spiders. Big spiders crawling all over the ceiling and across the walls. But they were comical spiders like something from a Disney cartoon. We burst into laughter at this shared hallucination. There were spiders running all over our room. And they were really very very funny.

Meanwhile the Mexicans on the bed seemed to be having a bad trip. They had stopped speaking English and were screaming in their own language about Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Perhaps they were having a religious experience but it seemed not to be a pleasant one. Perhaps they had "gone crazy" as their comrade had suggested might happen with this loco weed we bought in the street. We had no chance to assess their condition because as soon as they calmed down sufficiently, they ran out the door and we never saw them again.

These days, most people interested in experimenting with drugs start out with marijuana and graduate to the "harder stuff" but for me it was just the opposite, For Nick Herbert, on Christmas Eve 1963, in Mexico City, for better or for worse, LSD became a gateway drug to marijuana.

El gringo existentialista








Sunday, November 18, 2018

First Contact

Photo by Gabrielle Cianfrani

FIRST CONTACT

If I open to you
Will you hurt me?
Or will we two be discovering
Brand new kinds of play?

Are we destined
To be known as
That Astonishing Couple
Or will we act out Darwinian
Predator and Prey?

Will we be so overwhelmed
By the mechanics of being
That we miss each moment's role
As a step on the Way?

Or will our lucky lives be joined
By co-experienced wisdom?
By a pragmatic cosmology
Deeply felt but impossible to say?

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Innocent


INNOCENT

When my breasts began to swell
And I had my first bleeding
I went to my friend Janice's house
Who showed me how to use a tampon
And told me her first sexual experience.

With a "bad boy" in school named Nick.

"How far did you two go?"

After dark we snuck off into the woods 

behind Nick's house
Talked about nothing, held hands 

and listened to animal noises.

"Holding hands in the dark? 

Is that all you two did together?"

Well, we did smoke a little pot
And we each dropped a tab or two of CHUB:
(CHUB = hexa-methoxy-triathlon).

And let me tell you, sister.
On CHUB
Holding hands
Felt to both of us
Like the interpenetration of galaxies.


Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Collapse of the Wave Function

Nick Herbert (Photo by Rudy Rucker)

COLLAPSE OF THE WAVE FUNCTION
(For Kate Bowland and Raven Lang)

Each moment's a never-repeated creation
Hot, sticky, wet, and screaming to be
Feeling this squeeze itself out
Of a hole in the mystery
Each moment's birth is a new birth of me.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The Scientific American Interview

Scientific American 1905
When I was growing up in Columbus, Ohio, I read everything I could get my hands on. One of the most curious books in my home library was my father's pair of bound volumes of reprints from old Scientific American magazine issues from the beginning of the 20th Century. These pages featured giant construction projects, huge airships, early radio accomplishments and predictions of a brighter, more noble and much more electrified future.

Little could Nick imagine that one day he himself would appear in this renowned popular science magazine in a column called Cross-Check (named after an illegal ice hockey move) being interviewed by John Horgan, the author of Rational Mysticism and The End of Science. Besides Nick Herbert, Horgan's interviewees have included physicists David Bohm, Steven Weinberg, Edward Witten, Martin Rees, Sabine Hossenfelder, Lee Smolin and many others, a very distinguished company of thinkers.

Horgan's interview was motivated by my 10th anniversary blog post and by my big role in David Kaiser's recent book How the Hippies Saved Physics.

Among Horgan's questions to me were:
How did you end up as a physicist?
How did you end up as a hippy?
Is quantum mechanics the key to explaining consciousness?

Get the answers to these questions (and more) at John Horgan's Scientific American Cross-Check blog post: Chasing the Quantum Tantra.


Nick Herbert resting from the chase.
 Simultaneous with this blog post, John Horgan had just completed a magnum opus on the nature of consciousness, a book called Mind-Body Problems: Science, Subjectivity & Who We Really Are which he made available for free on the Internet at mindbodyproblems.com. In this book, Horgan interviews nine specialists representing nine different perspectives on human subjectivity. This book is unusual in that Horgan does not just interview these nine people about their ideas but about their personal lives as well. John's curiosity and desire to really know what's going on entangles himself and the reader in a sometimes embarrassingly intimate connection with some of these scientist's personal lives. For that reason, this book is a lot more lively than your typical psychology textbook.

John Horgan, author of Mind-Body Problems.

For my evaluation of this engaging book, I can do no better than echo the opinion of Deepak Chopra in the Discussion section:

"Giving an abstract problem a human voice -- in this case ten voices, counting the author and the nine people he interviewed -- has many rewards. We get something close to the real texture of how ideas are woven into biography. These ten people -- like all people -- lead lives in which mental activity cannot be tweaked out and examined objectively. I envy Horgan his ability to convey the lived-in quality of thinking."

Horgan's logo for Mind-Body Problems

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

TEN YEARS OLD: QUANTUM TANTRA BLOG

Ten Years Old
Quantum Tantra Blog is now 10 years old. Happy Birthday, old friend!

During its life QTB has published 495 posts which have received more than 500,000 views. The blog is mainly a kind of diary of the major concerns and accomplishments of Nick Herbert and his alter ego Doctor Jabir 'abd al-Khaliq.

Nick's primary goal is to father a brand new physics (Quantum Tantra) which will connect us all with Nature in a more direct and intimate way. This quest has generated dozens of pages of quirky quantum tantric poetry but no concrete physical results as yet. But I continue to pursue this "impossible dream".

The quest begins with quantum mechanics, the most successful theory of the physical world ever devised, which comes at the price of physicists not knowing what this theory actually means: the "quantum reality problem" -- about which I wrote my first book Quantum Reality: Beyond the New Physics.

One of the important milestones in quantum reality research is Bell's Theorem in which Irish physicist John Stewart Bell proved that although the quantum facts are everywhere "local", the quantum reality underlying these fact must be "non-local". The term "non-local" essentially means "faster-than-light", which Albert Einstein declared verboten in physics.

John Stewart Bell: Reality is Non-local

But, in a truly peculiar twist of logic, Bell's faster-than-light proof applies only to REALITY not to the FACTS. Einstein's prohibition still holds for the world we can see; only the invisible reality behind these facts must be faster-than-light.

Bell's Theorem has led to many clever attempts to move FTL REALITY into FTL FACT. One of my hobbies is superluminal signaling schemes, many of which are described in my book Faster-Than-Light: Superluminal Loophole in Physics and in quite a few of my QTB blog posts.

In fact, exactly ten years ago, as I was just beginning this blog, I had just published, in the physics arXiv, a FTL communication scheme called ETCALLHOME which was refuted within 24 hours by Israeli physicist Lev Vaidman.

Demetrios Kalamidas: inventor of KISS

The most exciting FTL scheme reported in QTB was the KISS proposal of Demetrios Kalamidas which uses a kind of "fake news" effect to exploit quantum path entanglement to send superluminal signals. Six prominent physicists, including one of Kalamidas's former optics professors, were involved in KISS's eventual refutation.

KISS: A New Superluminal Commication Scheme
Demetrios: the Opera
The Kalamidas Experiment
FTL Signaling Made Easy
Kalamidas Refuted
The Kalamidas Experiment: Easy Pickings

The refutation by Wooters and Zurek of one of my own FTL schemes, called FLASH, led directly to the quantum no-cloning rule, a result important in the field of quantum computing since it proves that, unlike classical information, such as a jpg of your cat, which can be exactly copied, perfect cloning of quantum information violates the laws of Nature. The story of the discovery of the no-cloning rule is the centerpiece of David Kaiser's recent book How the Hippies Saved Physics which also recounts the adventures of some of my disreputable physics friends.

David Kaiser and some hippies who "saved physics"

Kaiser describes the Esalen Seminars on the Nature of Reality, hosted by myself and eccentric mathematician Saul-Paul Sirag, where for eight years prominent physicists were invited to discuss Bell's Theorem along the Big Sur cliffs and in the Esalen sulfur baths. Through the good graces of Fed Ex philanthropist Charles Brandon we were able to award, in Esalen's Big House, the Reality Prize to John Bell (theory) and John Clauser (experiment) for their decisive demonstration of quantum reality's necessary non-locality, possibly the first time these guys's important achievements were publicly recognized.

Esalen Reality Prize Day. Left to Right: Charles Brandon, Nick Herbert, Adriana Chernovska, John Clauser, Saul-Paul Sirag, Bernard D'Espagnat (John Bell's proxy), Henry Stapp. Nick's son Khola in front holding wine glass

Also in QTB, I describe my collaboration with Saul-Paul Sirag in elucidating the nature of the Sirag Numbers, a sequence of integers indirectly related to the quantum theory of angular momentum. Later, I give a brief biography of Saul-Paul (who was born in a concentration camp) as preface to a review of his new math book ADEX Theory: How the ADE Coxeter Graphs Unify Mathematics and Physics.

Saul-Paul Sirag, eccentric mathematician

In 2014, the city of Belfast celebrated the 50th anniversary of Bell's Theorem by naming a street in its Titanic district after his theorem and by hosting a museum exhibit of works of art inspired by Belfast-born John Bell. My song Bell's Theorem Blues was chosen as one of the exhibits and was performed by local (Boulder Creek) vocalist Joy Rush, pianist Jack Bowers with George Galt on harmonica. The festival could not afford to pay our fares to Ireland but you can listen to the recording we sent and read the lyrics here.

BC Blues Trio: George Galt, Jack Bowers, Joy Rush

In this blog I also recall my two meetings with John Stewart Bell at the home of Stanford physics professor Pierre Noyes.

In the spirit of our old quantum physics seminars, Esalen has been hosting invitational meetings on the more general topic of human Superpowers, initiated by one of its founders Michael Murphy and expanded by extraordinary religious scholar Jeffrey Kripal. Most of these superpowers are considered IMPOSSIBLE so they thought it might be fun to have a few physicists on board. I was invited to two of these seminars including one devoted to the extraordinary levitations of St Joseph of Copertino, chronicled in the recent book by Michael Grosso The Man Who Could Fly. This seminar inspired my own levitation project, a subset of my quantum tantra urge to learn to relate to Nature in radical new ways.

Jeff Kripal & Nick Herbert: Old Esalen Lodge

As part of my project to relate to Nature in brand new ways, I invented the Metaphase Typewriter, a quantum-random putative mechanical spirit medium. In common with all of Nick's efforts so far, this project seemed to utterly fail. But recently the Metaphase Typewriter was revived as an art project by Lynden Stone in Queensland, Australia and by Dmitry Morosov in Moscow.

Lynden Stone's Erwin's Puss
While Nick was waiting for the Messiah to come (a play on the name of the wonderful picture book about Esalen by Bernie Gunther : What to Do Till the Messiah Comes), he fell in with a bunch of rowdy Irish musicians in Santa Cruz, learned to play the Irish whistle, and became part of a band called Blarney which plays at private parties and (a few times) on stage. My biggest achievement as member of the wonderful Blarney band was the composition of a patter song, 32 Irish County Jig, that recites each of Ireland's 32 counties. I am really surprised that no one else had ever done this before.
Blarney Band: Matt Johnson, August O'Connor, Kim Fulton-Bennett, Nick Herbert

Then there is my poetry ("the kiss of death" according to my literary agent John Brockman). In Boulder Creek, for a dozen or so years, there arose a remarkably fertile poetry movement, which I call the Bistroscene after Conrad Santos's Boulder Creek Bistro where a majority of the action took place and where I premiered my quantum tantric poems and many others. Many of these performances were videoed by Alan and Sun Lundell (aka Dr and Mrs Future) and are still being rediscovered as Al and Sun transfer their ancient video formats to archival hard drive.

Kiss My Bare Art
The New Sex Robot
He Did Not Die
Harlot Nature
ZAM
2000-year-old Pickup Line
The Aphrodite Award
Los Gatos Apple Store
Maya

Celebrating the Irises
Mayday Play

Regarding weird literary output, it would be impossible to ignore my friend Rudy Rucker, the Lawrence Ferlinghetti of cyberspace. Rudy conceived and published Flurb, an online magazine of radically trippy inventions, including some of my own stuff and the most imaginative alien psychedelic I have even encountered -- James Worrad's Eye-High.

Since quantum tantra (the search for new doorways into Nature) is still in its embryonic stage, there is very little concrete accomplishments to which I can point. Here however are a few teasers:

Abu Asks About Quantum Tantra
No More Safe Science
Opening Night
Happy Doomsday
Greatest Pleasure
Elements of Tantra

Urge: A Short Opera about Reality
Tantric Jihad: the Video
Quantum Tantra Stripped Bare

In this short post, I cannot cover completely all ten years of my blog: I have decided to exclude the numerous book reviews and friends' obituaries (except for my two younger brothers Tom and Duke and my cat Onyx). Please click the tags for topics and people that interest you. My apologies to everyone I have left out. Although concrete quantum tantric research seems at an absolute standstill, I can at least briefly brag about six minor accomplishments:

Nick Herbert aka Dr. Jabir
I self-published two books of verse: Physics on All Fours and Harlot Nature;
I invented 99 new chakras: 99 Nick Chakras;
I invented a new (Ukrainian) holiday: YIDD;
I invented a new (imaginary) element: Khaliqium;
I invented a new (psychic) currency: Khlit Coin;
I devised a new proof that classical and quantum ESP powers must be precisely equal: Nick's Proof.

The quantum tantra posts with the most views ares:
1. Schrödinger's Proof for the Existence of God
2: Does Consciousness Create Reality?
3. Jailbait

Many thanks to all my viewers.

Happy 10th Birthday, dear Quantum Tantra Blog!


Sunday, August 12, 2018

First Contact

Meteor crosiing Andromeda galaxy: APOD Aug 12, 2018
FIRST CONTACT

To open ourselves to pleasure:
It's what the aliens want to teach us
For who would wish telepathic contact
with a world of whiners?

Aliens call Earth
"Planet of the Hates"
We are so bitter
so pain-obsessed
so cruel and full of malice.

All acts of love and pleasure
are invitations to alien contact
Are you ready to merge
with the Neighboring Other?

Have you freed yourself from hatred?
Have you made your mind a pleasure dome?
Have you adorned yourself as ready bridegroom?
Have you adorned yourself as temple prostitute
offering your golden body/mind at bargain rate?

Are you ready to merge 
with the Neighboring Other?
Have you prepared your body/mind 
as worthy playground
for beings with superior notions of play?
What substances have you ingested
to make your mind receptive
to unearthly forms of enjoyment?

Are you prepared to open your body
to alien pleasure transmissions?
Are you prepared to open your mind
to an otherworldly physics of orgasm?

Yes, they all want to marry our sisters.
And they want us to marry their sisters too.

All acts of love and pleasure
are invitations to alien contact.
Are you ready to join the Galactic Club?
They are opening their warm arms
their sticky tentacles
their moist fur-lined cavities
to Earth's uniquely beautiful males and females.

They know what they want.
They've made the first move.
They've touched us gently so as not to frighten.
For those with eyes to see
they are opening themselves 
and yearning for contact.

What then holds you back
from joining the Galactic Dance? 
What then holds you back
from wholeheartedly embracing
the beckoning Cosmos?


Nick at the God Farm, Boulder Creek, CA

 

Sunday, July 15, 2018

The KleurNet Interview


In the flower-filled back garden of Conrad Santos's Boulder Creek Bistro, Dutch entrepreneur and TV producer Luc Sala interviews visionary physicist Nick Herbert concerning mind, matter and quantum tantra for Luc's KleurNet Channel in Amsterdam.

Videoed by local media wizard Allan Lundell (now operating as Dr Future), Luc's interview succinctly captures the gist of Nick's dream of a new sensual science in a mere thirty minutes.

The best TV interview of Nick ever, on his home turf. All killer. No filler.

M57: the Ring Nebula