The Aztec word for the psilocybin mushroom was teonanacatl, which means literally ‘god’s flesh’.
We do not receive wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness which no one else can make for us, which no one can spare us, for our wisdom is the point of view from which we come at last to regard the world.
The anthropologist Clifford Geertz wrote that ‘man is an animal suspended in webs of significance that he himself has spun.’ That is, the world we live in is not really one made of rocks, trees, and physical objects; it is a world of insults, opportunities, status symbols, betrayals, saints, and sinners. All of these are human creations which, though real in their own way, are not real in the way that rocks and trees are real. These human creations are like fairies in J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan: They exist only if you believe in them. They are the Matrix (from the movie of that name); they are a consensual hallucination.
As a poet I hold the most archaic values on earth … the fertility of the soil, the magic of animals, the power-vision in solitude, the terrifying initiation and rebirth, the love and ecstasy of the dance, the common work of the tribe. I try to hold both history and the wilderness in mind, that my poems may approach the true measure of things and stand against the unbalance and ignorance of our times.
If you are in school today the technologies you will use as an adult tomorrow have not been invented yet. Therefore, the life skill you need most is not the mastery of specific technologies, but mastery of the technium as a whole - how technology in general works.
We must do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian-Darwinian theory, he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.
The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those that cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.
The State will of course try to slow or halt the spread of this technology, citing national security concerns, use of the technology by drug dealers and tax evaders, and fears of societal disintegration. Many of these concerns will be valid; crypto anarchy will allow national secrets to be trade freely and will allow illicit and stolen materials to be traded. An anonymous computerized market will even make possible abhorrent markets for assassinations and extortion. Various criminal and foreign elements will be active users of CryptoNet. But this will not halt the spread of crypto anarchy.
I was a loser, most concerned with making a living. It took me 30 years to understand… I had to reinvent a system, find a way out, and set some rules that could work for me and a few others. I guess in the end that’s what we all are trying to do.
RP: Presumably the company found your notorious working habits - the late starts, non-arrivals and all-nighters - pretty baffling.
PS: It baffled Pentagram when I was there, it baffles me actually, and of course in America, with the American work ethic, it’s just unheard of. I have a real problem with going to work for the sake of going to work. When I have to produce something, I do it. When I don’t have work to realise, I’m looking for what to do. In a way, I work all the time, but I’ve never disciplined myself or been in a situation that disciplined me into going to office at 9.30 in the morning and staying there until six o'clock and then going home.
Keeping free time scarce means people pay a lot more for convenience, gratification, and any other relief they can buy. It keeps them watching television, and its commercials. It keeps them unambitious outside of work.
We’ve been led into a culture that has been engineered to leave us tired, hungry for indulgence, willing to pay a lot for convenience and entertainment, and most importantly, vaguely dissatisfied with our lives so that we continue wanting things we don’t have. We buy so much because it always seems like something is still missing.
Western economies, particularly that of the United States, have been built in a very calculated manner on gratification, addiction, and unnecessary spending. We spend to cheer ourselves up, to reward ourselves, to celebrate, to fix problems, to elevate our status, and to alleviate boredom.
Godless mysticism cannot escape the finality of tragedy, or make beauty eternal. It does not dissolve inner conflict into the false quietude of any oceanic calm. All it offers is mere being. There is no redemption from being human. But no redemption is needed.
In his ‘Future of an Illusion,’ Sigmund Freud argued that the faithful clung to God’s existence in the absence of evidence because the alternative – an empty void – was so much worse. Modern beliefs about economic prospects are not so different. Policy makers simply pray for a strong recovery. They opt for the illusion because the reality is too bleak to bear. But as the current fiscal crisis demonstrates, facing the pain will not be easy. And the waking up from our collective illusions has barely begun.