Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Kathleen Flowers (1964-2009)

Kathleen Flowers was a bilingual teacher and acclaimed Santa Cruz poet. I was attracted to her verse by its warmth, beauty and bite. She died of a rare form of cancer on Easter Sunday. Adios, muchacha.

Before Surgery

I hurry up Laurent, steep hill
behind my house, before night
has fully fallen. Above me
the sky is a royal blue
belly slit by a sickle moon.
From this vista, the street lamps
string together the neighborhoods
of this coastal town.

Beyond winding avenues,
the Monterey Bay sleeps,
a black field lying silent.
In the cold deep, sea creatures
are eaten. Their bones,
picked clean, tumble and drift
across the ocean floor.

I like to think the spirit is freed
once the body dies, but it is this body
that allows such beauty, such exquisite
pain. I unzip my jacket, offer this malignancy
to the dark gulls, to the night.

From "Call it Gladness"
by Kathleen Flowers
Photo from poetry reading
at Bookshop Santa Cruz

Monday, April 20, 2009

Quantum Errata

In a previous post entitled New Law of Nature I described a quantum operation (Quantum Wedding) which could be used to send signals faster-than-light. The new law of nature is this: the laws of quantum mechanics forbid Quantum Wedding--a pair of unknown quanta cannot be reliably tricked into the same state. A similar situation exists for Quantum Cloning. If you could reliably clone an unknown single quantum you could send signals FTL. But the laws of quantum mechanics (as shown by Wooters & Zurek in a well-known 1982 article in Nature) forbid Quantum Cloning.

Since quantum mechanics is reversible, one might reasonably conclude that the operations inverse to Quantum Cloning and Quantum Wedding would also be forbidden. Does nature therefore forbid Quantum Deletion (anti-cloning) and Quantum Divorce (anti-wedding)? I used to think so and said as much in the previous post.

In this I was mistaken.

Unbeknownst to me a group of Indians (Bhagwat, Khandekar, Menon, Puri and Sahni) from the Bhabha Atomic Research Center in Mumbai had shown in 2000 that nature does not forbid Quantum Deletion.

The reason? Cloning and Deletion are not precisely opposite operations. This loophole, the Indians then show, permits the deletion (uncloning) of a generic quantum state. Looking at this article from Bhabha I realized that Quantum Divorce is likewise not the precise opposite of Quantum Wedding. A short calculation shows that this same loophole also permits the unwedding of a generic quantum twosome.

Therefore this: Cloning and Wedding are forbidden but Anticloning and Divorce are not. Ain't quantum mechanics wonderful?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Lifting the Veil of a New Sensual Science


Why waste so much of our money on weapons?
Why are we counting our kills?
Where is our liquid yohimbe?
Where are our new hard-on pills?

Where are our sentient dildos?
Where are our pussies that talk?
Our college of tantric mathematics?
Our computerized orgasm parks?

Where are the sexual executives
Lining up to please MY private parts?
Where are the sensual professionals?
The kingdom and queendom of hearts?

Could physicists be our priests and rabbis?
And mathematicians be our seraphim?
Can we find hot new ways to praise Her Mystery
As we lift the veils from Nature's Quim?

If physics is our new religion
Our mosques the science institutes
Then where's our wild-eyed wanton groupies?
Where's our sacred prostitutes?

What are our physicists doing
With their Geiger counters and Lead?
What has our science discovered
That I can use in my bed?

Where are the new radiations
That can thrill us like X-Rays can't do?
And new forms of material entanglement
That could stick us together like glue?

If we can spend billions on bombers
Why can't we spend millions on drugs
That make us ALL better lovers?
Our arms, were they not made for hugs?

And our cocks for blissful coitus?
And our cunts for mysterious ends?
Our minds for devising new pleasures?
For our spirits unspeakable blends

With goddesses, gods, elementals
With creatures that barely exist
With ravenous extraterrestrials
With virgins that no one has kissed?

We want to wallow like piglets in tantra
Remold our broad swords into plows
Don't promise us cum in the future
I want my full-body naturegasm NOW.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Sex in Space

"What will become of these galaxies? Spiral Galaxies NGC 5426 and NGC 5427 are passing dangerously close to each other, but each is likely to survive this collision. Most frequently when galaxies collide, a large galaxy eats a much smaller galaxy. In this case, however, the two galaxies are quite similar, each being a sprawling spiral with expansive arms and a compact core. As the galaxies advance over the next tens of millions of years, their component stars are unlikely to collide, although new stars will form in the bunching of gas caused by gravitational tides. Close inspection of the above image taken by the 8-meter Gemini-South Telescope in Chile shows a bridge of material momentarily connecting the two giants. Known collectively as Arp 271, the interacting pair spans about 130,000 light years and lies about 90 million light-years away toward the constellation of Virgo. Quite possibly, our Milky Way Galaxy will undergo a similar collision with the neighboring Andromeda Galaxy in about five billion years."
[From NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) July 21, 2008]

Two galaxies caught "doin' it"
by a telescope in the Andes
Two galaxies inexorably drawn together
by "dat ol' black magic"
by Newton's "gravitational force"
by Einstein's "curved spacetime"
by Dante Alighieri's
"Love which moves the sun and the other stars".

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Dawn of Faith-based Pharmaceuticals

"Faith is believing what you know ain't so."--Mark Twain

In his landmark book on the meaning of the psychedelic experience "Doors of Perception", Aldous Huxley wonders whether it might be possible for a person through hypnotic induction to re-experience a previous psychedelic state and thereby gain access to a drug-like experience without ingesting a drug. Hypnosis is able to achieve anesthesia, positive hallucination (seeing something that isn't there), negative hallucination (blindness to something that is obvious to others), anomalous bodily changes including rigidity, compulsive actions, burning sensations with accompanying blisters. With a track record for creating so many unusual sensory/motor phenomena, the production of drug states though hypnosis would not seem out of the question.

If a hypnotist can fool Homer's body/mind into believing that his hand has been burned by a toothpick, it should not be difficult, using similar procedures, to convince Homer that his coffee has been dosed with LSD.

And indeed, some experts on mental suggestion have been doing just that. Practitioners of NeuroLinguistic Programming (NLP) call this procedure "Drug of Choice" and claim to be able to induce in a few minutes an experience indistinguishable from, say, a marijuana high, without the use of marijuana. Here Jonathan Altfeld, a prominent NLP spokesman, outlines a basic induction procedure for accomplishing "Drug of Choice". Here, Richard Bandler, one of the founders of NLP, offers for sale an English/German audio CD called "All the Way Down", which showcases one of his own "Drug of Choice" induction procedures.

The Internet was developed by scientists for the purpose of speeding up their research by efficiently sharing large quantities of scientific data in graphical form. The Internet (plus inexpensive video cameras) has been a real boon for hypnosis research because for the first time hypnotists from all over the world can video their induction techniques and share their procedures with other hypnotists without having to meet in person.

One of the prime movers among web-savvy hypnotists is Brian David Phillips who runs the blog "Life of Brian". Brian is the founder of the Society of Experiential Trance, an organization which, among other things, helps share information among fellow hypnotists, largely though the exchange of video clips. Each month or so, a new hypno-theme is announced and hypnotists are encouraged to contribute videos related to that theme. Past themes of Brian's "Hypnotic Video Challenge" have included "handshake induction", "sticky hypnosis", "voodoo hypnosis" and "hypnotic triggers". The theme for July 2007 was "Psychedelic Trance" and Brian has posted a few videos related to this psychedelic challenge on his blogsite.

Whether under the NLP guise of "Drug of Choice" or SET's "Psychedelic Trance", it seems that we are witnessing here the first humble beginnings of an imminent "dawn of faith-based pharmaceuticals", ushering in a new era in which real drugs will be used only once (for familiarization with the target state) and as a last resort for those who lack the sort of vivid imagination necessary to achieve psychedelic states without the aid of molecular crutches. Further advantages of this drug-free mental tech include the elimination of unpleasant chemical side effects and the possible production of entirely new psychedelic experiences unattainable via purely chemical pathways.

One of the advantages of a brand new science is that an amateur can hope to make important discoveries before the big guys move in and hog all the action. Particle accelerators and large telescopes are essentially closed to the man in the street, but everyone does possess the necessary machinery--one sensitive conscious mind--to do pioneer research in psychedelic suggestibility.

Luckily I was able to purchase at the Boulder Creek Drugstore what I needed for my research without a lab license or filling out a Federal form. The girl at the register was completely unaware that she was selling Nick the physical ingredients for home-brewing a WOMPP.

What is a WOMPP? you might ask. "WOrld's Most Powerful Placebo" I would reply.

WOrld's Most Powerful Placebo

With the proper props and patter
demonstrates what "psychedelic" means
Melts in your mind, not in your hand
In der Seele schmeltzen, nicht in der Hand
Now how's that said in Japanese?

Back at the quantum tantra ashram, I sorted the potentially mind-altering tablets into three categories, distinguishing them by color: the RED ONES will produce an empathy-expansive experience like MDMA (or "ecstasy"); the ORANGE ONES produce an ego-dissolving experience like LSD ("orange sunshine"); the GREEN ONES produce a overwhelming sexual arousal comparable to the potent fictional aphrodisiac that so captivated Uncle Oswald (see previous post). The potency of these pills is specified by the lower-case "m" which stands for "megadose". Meaning that the stuff I get from the Boulder Creek Drugstore is exceptionally strong. Beginners beware.

Timothy Leary, PhD, experimenting with "real drugs" at Harvard and elsewhere, emphasized the importance of "set and setting" for orchestrating a beneficial psychedelic trip. S&S are probably even more important in this new faith-based context for successfully attaining a powerful yet safe drug-free psychedelic state.

A good psychological set, I imagine, would be curious, non-judgemental, exploratory and flexible. Watching how my cat moves is good training in this regard. Taking a long relaxing bath would be good preparation as well as examining my purposes in initiating this excursion into an altered state using a colored m-pill as springboard. These tablets work best on an empty stomach so fasting for 8 hours or so would not be a bad idea.

Darkness rather than light, I prefer. And some kind of water present, either a bathtub, a hot tub, swimming pool or ocean. Sensuous, safe and surrounded by living things. A place free from interruptions: turn off the phone and the computer. Comfortable loose clothing, or naked, as the circumstances dictate. The presence of good friends is particularly welcome (especially with the red and green pills), or alone with the orange pill. Lotion for massage. Media for taking notes. Coffee and fruit drinks in case of thirst. And perhaps a bit of marijuana to amplify my native gullibility.

For a WOMPP to work effectively the ability to willfully entertain a state of colossal gullibility (also called vivid imagination) is absolutely essential. Physicist and Nobel laureate Richard P. Feynman once said that the key to doing science well is not to fool yourself. For conventional science that's certainly good advice. But faith-based science, Professor Feynman, works by different rules. The more you can fool yourself the better these pills work. In the right hands (and inside the right minds) powerful placebos will take you places that drugs cannot even dream of. The yellow m-pills, for instance, initiate telepathic contact with animals and tree spirits. Experienced placebo trippers are calling these yellow megadose tablets "Disneys".