[Psychedelics] A Very Mechanical, Literary Trip in the Woods


I’ve heard that when you get the message, you should hang up. I guess I like hearing the message over and over in different ways. Like remixes of your favorite song.

In the past, on a number of occasions I have been accosted by a very bossy and demanding, but nurturing nature entity I consider to be some part of my brain disassociated and projected onto my surroundings.

She manifests as a feminization of nature. Rich glossy green leaves are like the texture of freshly applied lipstick. Soft wavy grass is like silky hair. Little pink and blue flowers seem to scream to me that nature is a woman and don’t you forget it.

Her concerns are always short term and biological. Wants to know when I will reproduce. Why I haven’t done that yet. What preparations I have made for it. Why I don’t bring a nice girl out there to get busy with while she and various traumatized woodland creatures look on. There is nothing to life in her perspective outside of successful reproduction and child rearing.

In the past she’s been welcoming, if motherly to the point of patronization. I’ve told her about everything from the ISS to human contributions to climate change. She either didn’t understand, told me it was an invisible blip given how she perceives time, or wondered why we bothered with something not directly relating to reproduction.

Today, for the first time she was overtly hostile. I was immediately unwelcome. I felt guilty and didn’t know why, the feeling of belonging in that setting as one of the forest creatures was absent. “What is that thing in your head? Did you put that in there?”

I had a surgery recently to embed a titantium post in my skull that something similar to a hearing aid mounts to but rather than amplify sound it sends it via vibrations through my skull to the inner ear on the right that still works. Very crude solution. Ear doesn’t work? Bolt on a machine that does the same job.

I tried to settle in and find some good spots for observation. There are a couple of things I like to do when tripping outside. The first is to sit, pick a point at a reasonable distance and focus on it. Something with high potential for visual confusion like branches, trees, etc.

Eventually distortions accumulate until they envelop your entire field of view. It is an entertaining challenge to hold this focus as long as possible to see how severe the kaleidoscopic effect becomes, but it takes quite a bit of exertion. Not sure why it should be so exhausting but it is.

This was disrupted constantly by the nature entity harping on at me about how I thought I knew better than time honored evolution, bolting “some cheap Casio bullshit” into my skull that wouldn’t even carry over to the next generation.

I told her I’m not dead yet and to stop talking to me like I’m a species rather than an individual. She momentarily softened and apologized. When you exist on a geological timescale and life looks like a fluid to you that changes to conform to whatever conditions it’s in you can easily lose track of the individuals which comprise it.

This respite didn’t last long. “Who do you think you are cheating like this, If it’s not in the DNA it’s worth nothing, it happens this way on every planet until I don’t recognize them anymore and they leave me, blah blah etc.”

The gist being that while otherwise all inclusive, this was something she absolutely could not tolerate because it cheats evolution. Doing this broke whatever pact we had, where however estranged we are from nature she still sees us as creatures of the wilderness.

“If you continue down that path, I won’t know you anymore. I can’t follow you there because it hurts me. I just want you to come back to me and live as you once did, swinging happily through my branches.”

I asked her if we could survive in space that way. She didn’t answer. I had a feeling that’s why this is what happens wherever intelligent life develops. She responded with bargaining. Stuff like “Well then make machines to go, but stay here as you are. Don’t try to have both, it’s sick.”

I felt like she was a mother asking us to stay children forever because it breaks her heart to see us leave home and when we come back we’re like strangers.

I then remembered not to neglect CEVs. It’s easy to forget this. Laid back and covered my eyes with both palms. Found that if I thought of nothing, I saw very basic repeating outlines of a structure. More kept being added as the rest receded into the distance but so long as I thought of nothing it was always featureless.

When I thought of pillars, suddenly it began to add pillars to either side. Now it was an endless hall framed by pillars. On a whim I tried to picture a fully apportioned dining table with a vase full of flowers on it. I got one, immaculately detailed, over and over repeating into the distance as copies upon copies of it were made, awaiting some different thought.

I had to leave the forest eventually because I felt relentlessly driven out by the nature entity. It was really painful. Before now she’d been somebody I always felt completely at home with. But I’d done something I didn’t realize at the time was an unforgiveable trespass to her and was now stuck with it.

This put me in a field with a great big view of the sky. Suited me just fine as I love to look at clouds. They do the most interesting things. First, it was a sort of war game where little bits of cloud became ships, and the larger ones were the outlines of land masses they were sailing around.

Then they took on a 3D textured quality, pulsing and morphing, something resembling the thin film of gas which briefly forms on a boiling pot if you submerge it in cool water, as the hot metal causes the water it’s touching to become vapor.

Then, bizarrely, I saw a second Earth like planet. About as distant as the moon, visibly rotating. Obscured by the haze of our atmosphere but so vivid I had to blink and keep checking. It didn’t look like a hallucination, it really appeared to be there.

Then I began to see letters and gears. Gears as impressions/silhouettes through gaps in the clouds. Letters embedded partly in them like razor blades stuck into marshmallows. Some of the mechanisms were strange clockwork radially symmetrical chairs which rolled backwards as I watched, climbing up the steep sides of the big fluffy cloud they were on.

I got to thinking about how if there’s something I’m good at, it’s taking something people feel strongly about and doing justice to it in writing. Making every little detail come alive how it ought to so their heart can be fulfilled and rest.

Wherever I’ve encountered problems with people it was by doing the opposite in order to hurt them because they did something to hurt me. That is not a proportional response. You don’t go and attack somebody’s happy place because that’s where they retreat to get away from people who would do something like that. I did, anyway. And odds are good somebody hurt them first to make them behave that way, believing cruelty is inevitable so they may as well strike first.

There exist people who have wounded me severely in the past, in an organized way. Like, I pissed them off to the point where they saw to it I was sleeping outside for a while, couldn’t find work and couldn’t have lasting relationships, something like what Scientology does to people who leave and then criticize it. But I feel sure if they knew how it still affects me they’d feel sorry they did it, and I wish they knew I never set out to hurt anybody, just pursue my understanding of the truth. Seems like a lot of hostility can be defused by the recognition of mutual good intentions.

I finished up the trip in front of this spidery ass tree. If you could see it that’s what you’d say too. Fuckin’ spidery as all hell! It has these gnarly sinister looking dark branches coming out like spider legs. It repeatedly formed something like a raven made out of thin brittle bones and dead twigs. SCRAWWW! Fucking skelecrow, vexing me with your otherworldly cries.

This was while listening to the Epiphany of Mrs. Kugla. Violins going nuts, skeletal spectres flowing en mass up and down the trunk looking like a vapor but moving like a liquid, strong sense of spells, witches, that kind of thing as it figured heavily into a story I wrote recently.

I thought about how if any significant number ever read it, statistically it’s likely I’ll be dead by then as is the case with most writers ever to live because of how slowly word of mouth operates and what an unattractive time investment it is to read a book in the digital age. Most of it’s horror, so that’s kind of neat. Echoes of my thoughts preserved in writing will go on scaring people from beyond the grave, as close as it gets to an actual ghost.

Lessons from this trip:

1. Growth requires willingness to cross thresholds of no return. It is not necessarily happy but it is necessary.

2. We will soon have to finalize our decision whether to be animals or machines, and if the latter, forfeit any prospect of a return to the idyllic meadows of our youth in exchange for the harsh but limitless frontier of space.

3. When I am attacked my first instinct should not be an animalistic reflexive aggression but a process of investigation to find out why that person has a problem with me and what I can do to set it right.

4. There is no “good war” between tribes or nations for the same reason there is no good war between one group of your cells and another.

5. When someone’s angrily arguing at you they are communicating emotionally. You cannot satisfy them that you’ve understood their greivance or be understood yourself if you respond with rationalism, facts and figures. That’s good too if it’s relevant to the discussion but if you leave out the emotional dimension they will feel you’re incompletely answering them and their resentment will increase.

6. Intelligence is not a redeeming quality. There will soon be and to some arguable extent already are intelligent machines. Nobody loves them. They just perform calculations. If we transcend biological machinery in some way, it’s by our ability to veto reason where it would lead us to monstrously cruel actions (believing them to be necessary) or for the purpose of committing an act of compassion which carries some risk/cost/detriment to us that reason would advise against. That’s an extra layer of awareness that machines don’t (yet) have, which can reach down and correct the one below it as needed.

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