Monday, December 29, 2008

Song of the Irish Whistle

(with apologies to Joanie Madden)

Sure, it's a holy instrument
Like everything that comes from God
You must learn to touch her reverently
Like Father Kelly's Holy Wafer
Or a patch of Irish sod.

Close your lips around her fipple
And thru her narrow airway
Blow a prayer across that tilted floor
Called "labium" when there's one of them
And "labia" when there's more.

Now the noise she makes is frightful
Like a pack o' banshees climaxin'
The men are rising from their seats
And now your life depends
On the music you can coax from her
With your fancy fingerin'

Sure, breathin' (and tonguin') have to be mastered
But they're just a part o' the thing
For it's movin' your flesh
Across the openings, laddie,
That makes the Irish whistle sing.

You may play in a grove
You may play in a pub
You may play with a maid in the spring
But playing the Irish whistle
You must mind your fingering
For it's movin' flesh across the openings
That makes the Irish whistle sing.

Sure, it's movin' flesh across the openings
That makes the Irish whistle sing.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Just Like At Nuremberg

The bardic spirit 
is still alive.

Rico Youngblood's
Christmas card to the Universe.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Value of Friendship

The philosophers ponder: can anyone put a value on friendship? Well maybe yes, maybe no.

You didn't know Levine was buddy-buddy with Bernie Madoff? Yeah, I know, what a schmuck. Well, Bernie had doubled my money for me, and doubled it again, but a few weeks ago he calls me up and says: "Listen, Levine, this whole Wall Street schtick is alla housa cards. Do yourself a favor and put your shekels somewhere safe." "You advising me, Bernie, that I should also cash in what you got cooking for me." "Yeah, me especially, Levine. It's alla housa cards." So I took Bernie's advice and was I ever not sorry.

So I runs into da schmiel a few days ago and I says to him: "Bernie, why'd ya do it?" "You mean the Ponzi scheme?" "No, that I understand. Why'd you tip me off ahead of time?" "Hey, Levine," says Bernie, grabbing me by the shoulders and getting in my face, "What are friends for?"

Plato, Aristotle: the value of friendship? In Levine's case, about 3.6 million bucks.
M.E. Levine

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Quantum Tantra: Conceptual Underpinnings

"Although goods and services based on quantum tantra now account for more than 60% of America's GNP, the primary import of The Brand New Science is the extraordinary revolution it has wrought in ordinary peoples' ways of conceptualizing, feeling and experiencing the natural world. Inner space is BIG, as most of you know, and full of surprises that its pioneers could never have imagined."--Wall Street Journal, December 2033

Until he finds a way to directly experience the inner life of other beings, EACH MAN IS AN ISLAND.

Hence the goal of quantum tantra--to use our knowledge of quantum physics to build bridges between islands by directly connecting your mind to the minds of numerous other beings.

Quantum physics describes the world in two different ways depending on whether the world's being measured or not. 1. An isolated quantum state is described as a superposition of WAVE-LIKE POSSIBILITIES. 2. When this state is measured, some of its possibilities turn into PARTICLE-LIKE ACTUALITIES. The uncomfortable fact that physicists have not been able to agree on what causes quantum possibilities to change into actualities is called "the quantum measurement problem" and this aspect of our ignorance is the biggest unsolved mystery of quantum physics.

Quantum tantra's first big assumption is that every mind in the world is associated with some macroscopic quantum state. Human minds are associated with quantum states localized in the brain but since everything in the world is ultimately made of quantum states, it follows that THE WORLD IS FULL OF MINDS (see The Wordsworth Conjecture). The world is full of minds, many physically very close to us, minds of whose existence we, in our islandic isolation, remain totally ignorant.

One clue suggestive of the quantum nature of our minds is the existence of two qualitatively different subjective modes of experience which may correspond to the two kinds of existence that quantum states seem to enjoy. First, there exists the wordless, unitary experience of 1. WHAT IT FEEL LIKE TO BE NICK. I associate this mode of experience with the quantum state's unbroken superposition of wave-like possibilities. Secondly, there exists the explicit messages from the senses that constitute 2. WHAT NICK FEELS. I associate this second mode of experience with the quantum state's particle-like actualities.

Like the isolated quantum state, "what it feels like to be Nick" could in principle be enjoyed with no sensory input whatsoever. It resembles what some mystics have called "consciousness without content". I call this mode-1 type of experience the wave aspect of my mind or wave-mind, for short.

On the other hand, the particle-like actualities of the quantum state and "what Nick feels" both depend on the presence of measuring instruments--some lab machine in the case of the quantum state, and a sensory nervous system in the case of Nick's mode-2 type of experience or what he calls his particle-mind.

All our commerce with the world, with both what we call the inanimate world and with the world of minds, is presently carried out solely through the medium of the senses, that is, particle-mind. Quantum tantra seeks to change this. We want to achieve "Vulcan mind-meld" not only with other human beings, but with the minds of animals and plants, with the minds of our internal organs, with the minds of cells, and eventually perhaps with the minds of atoms and molecules. What does photosynthesis actually feel like from the inside?

Niels Bohr, one of the founding fathers of quantum mechanics, declared that, no matter how bizarre and different from classical thinking our QUANTUM EXPLANATIONS of the world might be, the results of our QUANTUM EXPERIMENTS must necessarily be expressed in classical language. Bohr believed that human beings are bound to see the world only through classical goggles and can only infer the existence and nature of the quantum world by indirect argument from these classical-style observations.

Eighty years of increasingly sophisticated quantum experiments have not proven Bohr wrong. Although quantum theory seems to require that an UNBROKEN WHOLENESS underlies the phenomenal world, no physicist has ever yet experienced that wholeness by merging with his apparatus. Although the results of quantum experiments differ radically from 19th-century expectations, the instruments of our era (the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, for example) do not differ in principle from the quaint polished brass instruments of the Victorian Age. They all produce classical-physics-style results.

Quantum tantra aims to change all that. More than just a new particle, more than just a new equation, quantum tantra aspires to be a brand new way of doing science. Quantum tantra seeks to connect human minds directly to the living insides of things, to open up for human exploration an immense inner space frontier, wherein we exchange experiences with billions of bizarre new intelligences, touching and being touched by alien minds that, during our entire human history, have unknowingly been dwelling right next door.

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."

Quantum Illustration by Rian Fike
More Quantum Tantra at Rudy Rucker's FLURB


Monday, December 8, 2008

The Raw Meat of Tantra

(Occasioned by the recent death of Bubba Free John in Fiji.)

One of the dilemmas that troubled the leaders of the early Catholic Church was whether immoral priests and bishops could validly wield the powers conferred on them at their ordination--the power to turn bread into the Body of Christ, for example, or the power to forgive (other people's) sins. This problem was resolved at the Council of Trent in the Sixteenth Century by declaring that God could act (ex opere operato") thru stained vessels. So even tho the priest might be in a state of mortal sin, he (or rather God acting thru him) could accomplish the miracle of transubstantiation and validly absolve sinners of their guilt.

Were I a bishop at this council I would have endorsed this decision. Furthermore it seems obvious that "bad people" can perform "good" acts and can also act as conduits of spiritual wisdom which they in their weakness may not be able to embody. Don't do as I do, do as I say.

For instance the infamous "sex guru" Bhagavan Rajneesh (pictured above) preached that sex is holy and encouraged his followers to wallow in the pleasures of the flesh as a form of divine worship. Plenty of scandals arose around this guru and his followers, scandals aptly satirized by John Updike in his amusing novel S.

Like the large particle accelerators which explore the nature of matter by exposing it to extreme conditions, one can learn a lot about human nature by exploring its excesses.

In harmony with the Church's decision that God can often speak thru tarnished vessels, I believe that the writings of Bhagavan Rajneesh, controversial director of a kind of experimental human accelerator center, contain much good advice about how to lead an intensely satisfying and moral life. I have read dozens of books on tantra--the idea that one can best find God, not thru ascetically withdrawing from life but by enthusiastically embracing life with all its pains and pleasures. Tantra works by consciously sacralizing the experiences of everyday life paying special attention to the sexual act and its broad flirtatious borders.

Others will cite their own favorites among tantric epigrams (I'd love to hear them), but for me, no one has expressed the raw meat of tantra more concisely than Bhagavan Shri Rajneesh.

"Start at the beginning," Rajneesh said. "And stay there."

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Rosie's First Time


It was Rosie's first time
And it hurt

It hurt big
Balled up hard inside her ass
Like a constipated Christmas dinner

It hurt
Rosie screamed
So loud it rattled the neighbor's china
She didn't even wake them
They had heard it before
It was her own business
What Rosie did next door

Rosie was a red head
And no dumb chick
She'd heard about anal
Considered it sick
But all of her sisters
Were into it big
Was she just uptight?
An old-fashioned prig?

Rosie screamed again
It was more like a shriek
She knew her rear passage
Would ache for a week

Males have it easy
Males just walk away
Males leave the pain to women
It was always this way

Right on top of Rosie's fear
Came the dread intuition:
Would the police find her dead
In some awkward position?

Then Rosie went crazy
It was stuck up her chute
Her shrieks turned to cackles
Her brain followed suit

For a moment poor Rosie literally lost her mind
Then suddenly it was over

O what a relief!
At last it was done
It wasn't so bad
In fact it was fun

Ya know, Rosie sighed
I really kinda liked it

I'm proud to be female
And I'd do it again
What a beautiful egg
Cackled Rosie the hen.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Chlorophyll Consecration

"Arguably the most important molecule of the biosphere, chlorophyll would be the perfect icon for a science-based, earth-centered religion. In the form of a molecular model, its head and tail might easily replace, for example, the Catholic chalice [or, as illustrated here, the Catholic monstrance]. A nature priestess could hold the iconic molecule by its tail and lift its illuminated golden head, truly the bringer of light to life, glittering high in the air before a reverent congregation, That might even lure me back to the church."
Tyler Volk in "Gaia's Body" Copernicus Press (1998)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Lotza Universes?

An infinite number of worlds was defended by Dominican monk Giordano Bruno (1548-1600), as the only way for God to exert his omnipotence (Giordano Bruno 1584). For this heretical view Bruno was burnt at the stake at the Market of Flowers in Rome in 1600.

An infinite number of worlds was defended by Princeton physicist Hugh Everett III (1930-1982), as the only logical consequence of interpreting the quantum wavefunction realistically (Hugh Everett 1957). For this heretical view Everett was burnt at the stake at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen. (Although not in this universe.)

Currently in this universe the omnipotence of God and the reality of the wavefunction both remain matters of dispute. And via the magic of cyberspace, Giordano Bruno hath a blog.

["Giordano Bruno Burning" by Andre' Durand (2000)]

Sunday, November 23, 2008

How Could This Work?


Imagine a world
made of intelligent creatures
exceeding six billion and three
each fully convinced
by a kink beyond logic
that this universe centers
on me, me, me.

photo by Tad Konar
analytic chemist, Auschwitz alumnus (1940-45)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Reading Readiness


Can you read Hebrew? she asked
As she opened herself
Like the Torah.

Do you understand Arabic? she asked
As she opened herself
Like the Koran.

Do you speak English? she asked
As she opened herself
Like the King James Bible.

Do you happen to know Latin?
As she opened herself
Like the Summa Theologica.

Photo by Reno DeCaro

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Help Is On the Way


As your nearest neighbors in the Milky Way
we constantly monitor signals from Earth
on all wavelengths--
including some quantum tantric wavelengths
you've never heard of.
For millions of years
the message from Gaia was the same.

"Leave us alone.
No problem here that we can't solve ourselves."

Recently the Earth signal changed
to one of distress.
And we are hurrying there to help.
As we live some distance away
It will be some time before we reach Earth.

So that you may prepare for our arrival
we are resending your message
(at great expense)
back to you
at faster-than-light speed.

Message from Earth (44*116*775)

"We are helpless to control their numbers.
Please send something
that will eat people."

(Channelled from Extraterrestrials.
Or so they represented themselves.)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Plea Bargain


OK, I admit I dipped
her pink Vasserette panties
into the juice spilling
from the Cabernet crush.

And, yes, I did afterwards expose
their grape-sticky nylon fabric
to plane-polarized light
from the rising moon.

Yes, and I kissed the seams.

But I didn't know what I was doing.

I didn't know my actions would bring world peace.

I didn't know my actions would open up
these overwhelming influxes 
of full-body alien knowledge
now flooding the hearts and minds 
of Earth's inhabitants.

I know nobody's getting any work done--
too busy wallowing in 1000 new kinds of sensuality
too busy looking every creature in the eye
too busy touching, smelling, tasting
too busy exploring these new wet sticky doors
opening up everywhere into Nature's deep insides.

I know everybody's blissful now.
I know the New York Times
is calling it
The Goddess's Second Coming.

Sure I'm a responsible scientist
But Our Science was too immature 
to anticipate this.
I really didn't know what I was doing.

I plead ignorance.

[Image of Nick taken from JAILBAIT in ZeroCity, Thanks, JJ Webb.]

Friday, November 7, 2008

Interface: the Final Frontier


Interface, the final frontier
These are the voyages through infinite lifetimes
of the interpenetrating crew
of the Selfship Enterprise X.

Inter pry sex instrumentation
boasts the latest devices for detecting
defining, splicing, separating and redefining
strange new life forms and sensations.

The Selfship is spaceworthy in All
Bard Oceans, dream and material space
with Logosdrive and crew of Integral One
or Polar Two, a Trinity or Prismatic Many.

Passing through the membrane of dream
the crew of selves and genes merges
in an orgy of alchemical plasma
where one is zero without a seam.

The atomic starscape unzips in mind
Elsewhere phenomenal arrays unfold
In one episode the Imagineering Team
must whip out a medium to fuck the wind.

To ride a solar flare like a golddigger
on her sugar daddy. To penetrate another
Universe by fluidizing her thought scape
with the Pneumenoplastic Spoogifier.

To wage war on a demonic black hole
that sucks up all feeling and trickily
makes a feedback quasar of orgiastic
pacifying knowledge in any attacker.

To learn of a world through inhabiting
and living in full every life of every species
that has ever inhabited that world only
as a training exercise in diplomacy.

To go where gnome and dragon and more
where life as light, then algae, flower and fish
where God and Devil as friend and lover
in simulation and blueprint have gone before.

Words by Abu Abulafia.
Picture by Reno DeCaro: Nick and Abu 
at Allan Lundell's birthday party 2008.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Greatest Pleasure

The ancient Greeks saw Nature sexualized
saw goat-foot satyr in the laurel grove
saw naked nereids in the streams
saw playful dryads hiding in the trees.

Here's a phallic woodland treasure
erect and scalloped for her pleasure
And sequoia flaunts her inner core
for humans boldly to explore.

Spinoza thought our greatest pleasure
to be the union of the mind with nature.
Can quantum theory cease to bore us
and give back mankind's enchanted forest?

Mushroom from Eros Blog; Sequoia from Rudy Rucker Blog. Thanks.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Cuddly Menace

"You cannot imagine my horror when my eyes met pages filled with saccharine, pastel artwork depicting cold-eyed androids that were clearly not of our realm. In a Beautiful Mind moment of schizophrenic clarity I saw the book for what it was: not a gentle introduction to life's most profound curiosity, but a primer for the parasitic offspring of an invisible invasion!"

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Meat of Torah

A student approached Rabbi Hillel and asked:
"O Rabbi, can you explain to me 
the essence of Judaism
while I stand on one foot?"

"Certainly," answered Hillel: 
"Whatever you would not have done unto you, 
do not do unto others."

"Of Torah, this is the meat. 
All else is commentary."

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Let The Rich Bail Them Out

Senator Bernie Sanders voted NO on the proposed $700 billion US government bailout of failing Wall Street financial firms.

 "If a bailout is needed. if taxpayer money must be placed at risk, if we are going to bail out Wall Street, it should be those people who have caused the problem, those people who have benefited from President Bush's tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, those people who have taken advantage of deregulation who should pick up the tab, not ordinary working people"

Sanders proposed a five-year. 10 percent surtax on families with incomes of more than $1 million a year and individuals earning over $500,000 to raise $300 billion to help bankroll the bailout.

His fellow Senators, however, set aside the amendment on a voice vote.

Read Sander's full Senate floor speech here in which he elaborates on the bailout bill's flaws.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Psychedelic Mind Tools Revisited

"The waves of mass psychedelic utopianism have come and gone, but the hippie movement of the late 60s echoes in the rave scene of the 90s. And there's a small but devoted community of scientists, spiritual seekers, artists and grown-up hedonists exploring the value of these drugs.

The "Horizons: Perspectives on Psychedelics" conference. held in New York Sept 19-21, sought to present an older and wiser psychedelic movement. focusing on medicine, art. spirituality and culture. It drew around 300 people, a mix of academic and hippie types, with the white button-down shirts slightly outnumbering the dreadlocks and the NASA T-shirts.

Psychedelics are "the most powerful psychiatric medicine ever devised" said psychotherapist Neal Goldsmith. who curated the speakers. But because the way they work as medicine--when used in the proper setting--is by generating mystical experiences, "science has to expand". Solid research, he added, could change government policy, which classifies psychedelics as dangerous drugs with no accepted medical use."

Read more of Steven Wishnia's report on the Horizons conference at AlterNetLink.

Thanks to Gaby for sending me this article.
Thanks to Ron Cobb for the cartoon.

Friday, September 19, 2008

SunTzu's Art of War: Know Thy Enemy

"Ana raicha Al Qaeda" is colloquial for "I'm going to the toilet". A very common and widespread use of the word "Al- Qaeda" in different Arab countries in the public language is for the toilet bowl. This name comes from the Arabic verb "Qa'ada" which means "to sit" pertinently on the "Toilet Bowl". In most Arabic homes there are two kinds of toilets: "Al-Qaeda", also called the "Hamam Franji" or foreign toilet, and "Hamam Arabi" or "Arab toilet" which is a hole in the ground. Lest we forget it, the potty used by small children is called "Ma Qa'adia" or "Little Qaeda".

So, if you were forming a terrorist group, would you call yourself "The Toilet"?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fresh New FLURB!

Bizarre and prolific sci-fi author Rudy Rucker has once again released selections from his private collection of weird, barely legal and transgressive assaults on the status quo by himself and his Aegean stable of literary companions. Yes, Friends of the Real, even in today's New Dark Ages of Bush, Cheney and McCain, some fresh new Flurbish Flowers can push their way thru the mind-numbing concrete of Mass Media Hypnosis. FLURB. FLURB. FLURB. It's good for you. Especially noteworthy is Bruce Sterling's " Computer Entertainment Thirty Five Years From Today." Read FLURB or be tossed to the curb. It's that simple.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Tantric Jihad! the video

From Bruce Damer's God Farm Doctor Jabir issues a fatwa that exhorts us to improve on heaven and create a better world.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Quantum Tantra Romp


Found it on Nick Herbert's blog
Exercise my underdog.
Got the message, did the math
Venerate your pussycat.

Here's an easy path to God
Exercise my underdog.
Quantum physics in one's lap
Venerate your pussycat.

Cuppa coffee, pint o' grog
Exercise my underdog.
Some tabs of E, a steaming bath
Venerate your pussycat.

Petting in the Heisenfog
Exercise my underdog.
Then Reality pet us back!
Venerate your pussycat.

Once we'd got a taste of THAT
Venerate your pussycat.
Who wouldn't want to do it better?
Exercise my Irish Setter.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

First Beam at LHC

Sept 10, 2008 
1:23 AM PDT
It's a proton, Lots of them.
450 GeV
"And then did all the Muses sing
Of sending protons round the ring."

Friday, September 5, 2008

Arse Elektronika

Digital vulvas, orgasmatrons, sexual congress with aliens plus a keynote speech "What is Sex?" by Rudy Rucker at this four day convention (Sept 25-28, 2008) in San Francisco on the intersection of technology, human imagination and that squishy, emotional egg and seed stuff. What comes out of this conference may be more important for the future of mankind than the Democratic and Republican Conventions combined.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Der Tantrische Selbstjihad

This cartoon which has been circulating on the Internet suggests that a woman possesses many erogenous zones while a man has essentially only one. This is certainly a popular stereotype and if true puts the male at a decided disadvantage in the quest by both sexes to experience the widest possible range of sensual pleasure. But what does Science say about male and female erogenous zones?. Recently, an organization called Fleshmap attempted to create a cartography of tactile yearnings by asking 281 men and women where they desired to be touched and mapping the results.
The outcome of this Fleshmap survey seems to show that the bodies of both men and women possess a very restricted distribution of erogenous zones. And, at first glance, there seems to be not much difference between the distribution of sensual hot spots in the male and in the female--breasts and genitals and little more.

But there are several reasons to mistrust the results of this research. Why don't the lips--a primary erogenous zone by anyone's standard--light up on this map? And what about the fingers and toes? Surely most people that I know like to hold hands with those they love. And the feet are certainly a very sensitive area for sensual stimulation: but not on this map.

I suspect that the fault lies in the method itself which involved just asking people where they'd like to be touched. A more direct "hands on" survey (How does it feel when I touch you here?) might reveal a more realistic distribution of erogenous zones than would a questionnaire. One must also consider the blurring effect that results from averaging over many subjects. One woman who likes having her feet rubbed would be cancelled out by another women who dislikes having her feet touched. Similarly, any man or woman who possesses a larger than average number of erogenous zones would most likely not show up on this chart--their superior patterns of response being swamped by the greater number of mediocre sensualists.

Whatever the faults of the Fleshmap survey, one conclusion is inescapable: we humans are, on the whole, not very sensual animals. Large areas of our bodies are virtual "dead zones" as far as being sources of intense erotic excitement. But where some would see defect, Doctor Jabir sees opportunity. If the goal of tantric jihad is to eroticize the world, then what better place to start than to complete the eroticization of your own body?  Some Sufis say that the primary jihad is the conquest of self. Hence the goal of "der tantrische Selbstjihad" (the tantric self-jihad) is simply this--to make every square centimeter of the human body as erotic as the genitals. 

Good friends, good lovers and good body workers can help us a lot in undeadening our body parts and placing more tactile territory under the banner of sensual delight. Drugs can also play an essential part in this campaign. But the primary ally in developing new erogenous zones is your own imagination. Pick a body part that's usually neglected and simply make love to it in any way that pleases you and the part you've focussed on. (This morning, for instance, I made love to the pulse points of both wrists.) In a few weeks a determined tantric warrior should be able to turn his or her personal Fleshmap into a light source bright enough to read by. And the few remaining dead spots (that you might not be able to reach) could easily be eroticized by a sympathetic friend. Be sure to return the favor.

The goal of tantrische Selbstjihad is to make the entire surface of the human body into one gigantic erogenous zone. But that's only the beginning: the ultimate goal of tantric jihad is to eroticize the entire Universe. May the Universe become fully eroticized. And let it begin with me. 

The grand mosques at Jerusalem, Istanbul, Fallujah,
The precincts of Medina and Mecca, the Kaaba: the sacred Black Stone.
My sacred sites are Her eyes
Her nipples, the whorls on Her fingertips--
Are the origins and insertions of Her muscles
Are the places where her bones meet
Are the follicles of Her hair
Are the pads of Her feet, Her buttocks, the slots
Between Her toes.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Meeting Ms Sprinkle

This Sunday some old friends I had met in the Stanford psychology department in the '60s were checking out Asilomar conference center in Pacific Grove in preparation for a conference on "sexual ontogony" to be held May 2009 under the auspices of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. Before returning to Seattle my friends Rae Larson and Ann Manly planned to stop in Boulder Creek for the afternoon, presumably to visit their old friend Nick. But no, their main purpose was to reconnect with Annie Sprinkle, ex-porn star, sex video producer, now erotic performance artist who has a house in Boulder Creek. "Come with us to Annie's," they pleaded.

Wonderful time. Annie and her partner Beth Stephens, chair of the Art department at UCSD were making plans for a participatory marriage celebration in Croatia, but invited us all to join their preplanning luncheon and gave us a tour of their quaint redwood enclave. In addition to the delicious food and extraordinary company, Annie gifted me with her legendary Amazing World of Orgasm DVD, which surely qualifies as potent ammo for anyone planning to wage serious tantric jihad.

After sharing a meal with this remarkable being, I proceeded to google her and discovered that she is the author of a most informative essay on the relationship between sex and psychedelics, published in the MAPS newsletter. An excerpt from Annie's article:

"When I was fourteen (a full three years before I was to lose my virginity), I had my first psychedelic drug experience. I went to high school in Panama City, Panama in the '60s. My father, and most of my friends' fathers, worked with the American Embassy. We were good responsible teenagers, so on the weekends our parents let us go up the coast to Panama's beautiful tropical beaches and stay overnight in beach huts. Those spectacular beaches became the laboratories for our innocent drug experiments. All kinds of inebriants were available; opium, speed, Panama Red Cannabis, mescaline, cocaine, magic mushrooms, LSD, etc. One evening a friend, also fourteen years old, offered me a hit of blotter acid, to "expand my mind." There were no instructions, no warnings, and no rituals. I tripped my brains out all night long. Totally unprepared for lysergic acid diethylamide, my teenage fears became magnified a thousandfold; the beach crawled with snakes, people morphed into previously unknown life forms, my heart beat out of its chest, my eyes bulged out of my head, I did not surrender, but endured, and could not wait until it was over.

Rough as the night was, the next day I was a wiser person. I had experienced alternate realities, new dimensions, other ways of seeing and feeling. I discovered that life was not necessarily as it appeared. I learned that I had the power to radically change my consciousness, and hence the world around me. This was excellent information to have on my way to becoming an adult--a sexual adult. During subsequent beach weekends I took more LSD trips, usually with a sense of dread and imagined peer pressure, mixed with curiosity."

Read more here. Thank you, Annie Sprinkle, for making this world more sane and delicious.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Steven Hawking joke

My car broke down the other day.
So I took it to a garage
And the guy says that he's a quantum mechanic.
I asked him if he could fix my car or not.
And he shrugged and said:
"I don't know. I have to look at it."

This esoteric slice of YouTube humor refers of course to the notorious Quantum Measurement Problem. In quantum theory (which has never made a wrong prediction) before you look, the world exists as a wave of possibilities. After you look, it's actual particles (called "quanta").

Also physicists are not really sure what they mean by "looking".

What does it really mean "to make a quantum measurement"? We certainly know how to make such measurements but don't know what aspects of the measurement process are necessary to bring the world into existence. "What does it take to turn quantum possibility into actual fact?" is still an open question in physics.

Quantum theory does not tell you what exists but only what you will measure. Furthermore the theory says that you cannot measure everything so you must make a choice (the so-called "Heisenberg choice") what observable you will look at. Only after you have made this choice does the theory give definite predictions for the probability of observing particular values for your chosen observable.

Next you deploy an instrument to measure your chosen observable and a particular outcome occurs--a choice that Nature makes (called the "Dirac choice") of one actual result out of the many possible results allowed by the theory.

In order to physically exercise your Heisenberg choice, you must somehow acquire a real instrument that is able to measure your chosen observable. This instrument may be as simple as a cell in your retina or as complex as the ATLAS particle detector (pictured below) at CERN's Large Hadron Collider. But if the quantum world is made solely of possibilities, where do such real (not merely possible) measurement devices come from? When and where in a purely quantum world, did the first measurement occur that was able to turn lots of mere possibility into some real actuality?

No one has expressed this paradoxical situation so well as Harvard professor Wendell Furry who said, "The existence and general nature of macroscopic bodies and systems is assumed at the outset. These facts are logically prior to the interpretation and are not expected to find an explanation in it." In order to work, quantum mechanics needs to assume the real existence of measurement instruments but is powerless to explain how their existence comes about.

In the absence of real instruments, the Heisenberg choice cannot be carried out. But assuming the existence of such instruments (which have somehow mysteriously achieved "self-actualization") what properties of such instruments allows them to actualize another quantum system--the system being looked at? How exactly do such instruments provoke Nature to make the Dirac choice?

Physicists don't have good answers to questions like these which lie at the very foundation of our quantum science. CCNY physicist Daniel Greenberger has compared quantum physicists to high-steel workers who are feverishly completing floor after floor of an enormous tower while the bottom of the building is supported by precarious scaffolding that no one wants to examine too closely for fear that the whole structure will collapse.

We house broke quantum reality
Taught Schrödinger's Cat to purr
Now ordinary life's as uncanny
As atoms ever were.

The quantum measurement problem: it's no joke.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

William B O'Shaughnessy vs George W Bush

In the 1840s, Irish physician William Brooke O'Shaughnessy had the distinction of introducing products of the cannabis plant into the British pharmacopeia on the basis of medical experiments he had conducted in India. 

According to Wikipedia, after graduating from University of Edinburgh Medical School in 1829, O'Shaughnessy joined the British East India Company and moved to Calcutta where he studied botanical pharmacology, galvanic electricity and underwater conduction. He validated folk use of cannabis in India, discovered new applications and ultimately recommended cannabis for a great variety of therapeutic purposes. A man of many talents, during the years 1853-5, he installed 3500 miles of telegraph across India and wrote numerous manuals and reports on his telegraph inventions. In 1856 O'Shaughnessy was knighted by Queen Victoria for his work on the telegraph.

Modern experience has amply verified and expanded on O'Shaughnessy's pioneer work demonstrating the medical efficacy of cannabis and its relative safety compared to synthetic drugs. However, in blatant contradiction to scientific fact, the US government insists on classifying marijuana as a Schedule 1 substance "having no currently acceptable medical use".

The American War in Iraq is based on a lie: that Saddam Hussein possessed WMDs.

The American War on Drugs is also based on a lie: that marijuana is useless as a medicine.

If an order to fight or a law of the land is based on a lie, is a citizen still bound to obey it? And what sort of country would compel its citizens to obey laws based on lies?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Doctor Jabir Declares Tantric Jihad


The pious Muslim bathes himself
Prostrates five times from dusk to dawn
Submits himself to Hidden Mystery
That can be neither named nor drawn.

At home Omar recites the verse 
                                               of Rumi and Hafeez
And after Fate cuts short the little life he leads
He'll rule a harem full of virgins: 
                                     at least ten times seven
Or so the editors of Time 
                                   would have us all believe.

To me a few score virgins seems so paltry
We're talking about heaven after all
Where absolutely nothing is impossible
And anything you wish--it will befall.

So here's the tantric Challenge of Two Cultures
Here's one place where West and East come home.
Can you invent a sexier Heaven than the Muslim?
Can you design a more voluptuous pleasure dome?

O Western he-man, show me your hottest fantasy
What turns you on so much you've got to scream
And sophisticated Western woman also
Step forth, show off your deepest sexual dream.

And Eli Lilly, Sandoz, Merck and Pfizer
Please motivate your captive PhDs
To invent new sex drugs so hot and pleasurable
They'll even bring Dick Cheney to his knees.

Challenge our Western artists, 
                                         cooks and courtesans,
Physicists, tailors, engineers and dharma bums:
Dream us a heaven, we can build it.
If we can build it, they will come.

Rise up!
Cast off your chains, creative friends, 
Unleash your deepest dreams of heart's delight
We'll show those benighted 
                                     Grandsons of the Prophet
What a truly joyous Western paradise is like.