The Sociology of the Now
By Ira Einhorn, 1970
"The times they are a-changin'"
The rate of present cultural change, though fast becoming visible, far exceeds the ability and tools of the experts who are attempting to measure it; it is not a measurable quantity. What is happening cannot be easily delimited by the man with perspective who stands without. Only those who are involved have a faint chance of being able to describe the ongoing as it goes on. We can't depend on the past, for that which is now has never been before.
I have been involved with psychedelic substances for ten years, having experimented extensively with LSD since 1959. I have watched the few become many, the casualties mount, the mistakes multiply; yet I feel that those on the moving edge of culture will eventually use the new tools in a way that will utterly transform the nature of human consciousness.
The cultural revolution that swept Europe at the beginning of the nineteenth century was created by a small number of people; the present revolution, in terms of actual change, has alma been led by a swill number that minuscule percentage of people whom Huxley felt had any influence on the human scene. Yet the stage has changed: what was accomplished in fifty years during the course of the nineteenth century can occur today in six months; this refers to constructive as well as destructive change. To understand the world of the present, we must discard a past that has became increasingly difficult to manage but awake we must, for the nightmare must not be allowed to go on any longer.
"There are no more political solutions, only technological ones. The rest is propaganda."
Ellul, The Technological Society
The social matrix within which any emergent
tool inheres will determine the nature of its use. Much more impartani, however, in terms of long-range prediction, is the means by which the information about the tool is transferred. The mechanical process that breaks down a total situation into discrete-units allows for a slow dissemination of partial products along a linear chain unlike an electrical network, which provides for instantaneous transmission of information within a mosaic structure whose extent is limitless.
In Western society during the past five hundred years, the nature of the transfer of information could be understood by statistical models, based on a linear mode that deals with discrete units; this is no longer an adequate mode of structuring in the age of electricity. The emergence of patterns and the consequent ability to perform the task of pattern recognition must now take precedence over the slow collection of data.
We live in the age of color TV a cortstantly shifting mosaic-pattern of iconic forms, wherein the emphasis is on surface texture and the interrelation of the forms. The inside of an upper-middle-class department store will give you an idea of what I'm referring to nothing touches anything in a stylized atmosphere of form and color that slowly lulls the mind to sleep.
Within this matrix, we have recently witnessed the arrival of the chemical age. This age was ushered in by the widespread acceptance of the use of a synthetic substance such as LSD, the taking of which should be looked upon as being of an entirely different order from the use of peyote, marijuana, or any of the other naturally occurring psychedelics.
The ingestion of LSD is symbolic of a gestalt switch requiring a process of understanding that goes far beyond the simple matter of figuring the percentage of the population involved in the activity. A bask paradigm involving behavioral decisions has been altered; the nature of this alteration is the important thing to underhand, since the rate of transfer of this pattern, in an electronic age, is instantaneous.
"We have no art: we do everthing as well as we can"
These substances have become popular at an unusual point in human history: they occur during a period of transition from the mechanical to the electronic age. In fact, for many people they provide the first real introduction to the distinct difference between the 'straight' world of mechanica-technology and the fragmented world of the mosaic-pattern a world in which constant crossing of the interface between any two sectors becomes a common occurrence.
The shock of this encounter between the two cultures &%151 the major interface that must be crossed created by the emergence of electronic technology, is quickly fashioning a new stage upon which the human drama is being enacted. The content of this new electronic environment is the entire old mechanical environment; this has been made increasingly obvious by pop art, happenings. and the new environmentalist sculpture.
"It is not time for reflection, but for evocation. Thr responsibility of the intellectual is the same as that of the street organiser, the draft resister, the digger: To talk to people, not about them"
Andrew Kcipkind New York Review of Books
The age of Aristotelian cathartic art is over that art that allowed for the release of dammed-up emotions, returning the individual to his old environment and his old self, free of that which had been disturbing him. (Going to church to get happy.) We are no longer contained within the realm of the proscenium stage, with its single point of view. We have proceeded from point of view, which allows one to exercise his sight or hearing without the need to art: In happening. which creates a situation of total sensory involvement for a limited time within a limited space; ( to total environment something that 'happens' all the time without any limitations as to time or space (the continuous theater of the street).
We can sec the same progression in the psychoanalytic world as it moved from individual therapy, to group therapy to marathon (twenty-forty-thirty-six hour sessions) to a situation similar to that of Synanon, wherein the encounter goes on continuously, twenty-four hours a day, until the individual is converted Wagner's idea of the Gesamtkunst
functioning within a totally controlled environment (Bayreuth) that allows for the experience of conversion. We live in the age of the true believer.
The stage of catharsis (classical tragedy) developed into the Wagnerian idea of conversion, wherein the energy is released, then redirected within the structure of the situation.
Brecht's concept of the epic theater a further stage of this development a concept that has influenced Arland, Warhol, and any number of psychedelic entertainers. They, however, differ from Wagner in operating on principles of information overload and alienation (Brecht's ). The principles disturb the individual without allowing for release to occur within the situation, thus forcing him to discharge his energy outsde the artistic experience.
Art then becomes a type of conversion that forces action, upon those who are involved in it, after the artistic experience has ended. These situations become ever more necessary as we move closer to the total, technological control That Huxley (Brave New World) and Orwell (1984) wrote about. Art becomes the microcosmic means by which we are able to understand and perhaps exercise remedial control over the constantly changing macrocosm.
LSD and the other psychedelics are symbolic of the need for means with which to adapt to this change. They are tools that wilt become standard means for effecting the transition to the new environment, dispensed with as soon as the user has adapted to the all-at-once quality of the new situation; then, later, returned to as soon as the ability to live this new, turned-on world fades. LSD is a way by which the possibility of constantly living in the now could be reactivated.
The psychedelics are new forms of energy whose use will depend upon the situation in which they occur. Hence the careful planning of the research worker interested in investigating a few linear parameters; a deep contrast to the teenager who downs 500 ug of LSD and goes out to rock concert.
One has expectations of particular results; the other wishes to experience new structures. One activity is based on a linear model the expansion and improvement of an old form, the energy being directed to maintaining the old game; the other activity opens up the individual in manifold experiences which will allow him to create a new game. In this brief illustration liew the crux of the battles between the generations.
"Violent eniption, vulcanism; the patient becomes violent as he wakes up. The madness of the milennia breaks out: Dionysius is violence."
The extremes of both the old and the new environments can't visualize a future or live in the present, and their being-in-the-world is characterized by modes of response that move in response to similar vibrations; they are respectively the apocalyptic and the totalitarian mentalities. Neither can envision a future or live in the present; they both want out.
Norman O. Brown - Love's Body
The apocalyptic mentality lives with unbelievable intensity in the continuous present, burning himself out in order to produce a break-through into eternity; he wants his revolution and he wants it now. His desire is for a communion with the entire world, an undifferentiated sense of merging that allows for no distinctions; out of this mode arises the psychopath. His ideal is an anarchic chaos that would be hell on earth. Norman O. Brown's Love's Body describes this mode, and figures like Dylan Thomas, Charlie Parker, and Richard Farina embody it.
The totalitarian mentality refuses to let go at all like Wagner's dragon Fafner, he sits and possesses. He is continually engaged in protecting what he considers to be his building walls to close off that threatening outside world, grasping, grabbing, tightening his hold on things. His response exists in terms of one dimension: threat drives fear, and fear drives his desire for control. He is the paranoid building the perfect wall. His ideal is a collectivity of individual monads that never touch: Jacques Ellul describes the technology that is producing this extreme in The Technological Society, and Herbert Mareuse offer us a look at his psychology in One Dimensional Man.
These antipodes reflect the extremes of a battle between linear and mosaic structures, both of which will be totally destructive of all that we hold to be human. In the center. attempting to hold these incongruities ogether, is the schizophrenic, an adequate reflection of the fragmented world in which he is forced to live: linear parents and teachers, mosaic media.
He exists in the midst of a constant tug of war between two forms that have not been able to reach an equilibrium. As the tension mounts, in terms of contradictory information, the individual is led in two directions: psychopathic acting out in order to release some of the meet energy (police violence; Vietnam), and catatonic withdrawal in order to reduce the amount of stimuli coming into the system (the dropout, hippies doing their thing in Haight-Ashbury).
"Gaston Bouthool, a leading sociologist of the phenomenon of war, concludes that war breaks out in a social group when there is a 'plethora of young men surpassing the indispensable tasks of the economy.' When, for one reason or another, these men are not employed, they become ready for war. It is the multiplication of men who are excluded from working that provokes war. We ought to at least bear this in mind when we boast of the continual decrease in human participation in technological operation."
Ellul The Technological Society
Dropping out, into criminality, insanity, or deviant social action, from the point of view of the linear world, is increasingly becoming the province of the middle class. It is indicative of one major fact; the characterological model that has controlled Western thought since the Renaissance is rapidly losing its efficacy.
The struggle for individual distinction through differentiation and separation is no longer able to structure individual energies in a socially useful manner. The nineteenth and early twentieth centuries explored individuality and all its ramifications, ending in a morass of alienation that we are just beginning to understand.
My generation is tired of defining man in terms of his differences; it wishes that we look at one another in terms of common factors; that which we can share, that which will bring is together, rather than that which isolates. The mind divides, the body unites; hence the neo-cortex and its environmental correlates are being tempered by the wisdom of similar bodies.
We're learning to touch again in order to escape the hypnotism of over-cerebalization. The danger in overemphasizing this can be seen in crowds: touch without responsibility, and the ability of a psychopath such as Hitler to utilize their energy.
Social bonds must be sundered through deviation before a new community can arise. The energy of many individuals must be directed against the old before there is the realization of a common enemy (the enemy of my enemy is my friend). The step toward a new communion is not far away from this awareness.
It is difficult to communicate how rapidly this is happening to those who are not included within the network of the change. Electricity is here, and those of who are plugged into it are vibrating with an intensity that our elders can't see or hear.
The development of The Beatles, and the entire popular music field in the past few years, is reminiscent of the 1909-14 era, when an entire artistic generation rose to heights that have not since been equaled; yet there is a great difference. for Stein. Joyce, Picasso, Matisse, and Schonberg were speaking to an extremely small audience; the pop people are directing their statements to the entire world.
The increasingly critical attitude of this new elite, with respect to the older generation and their ability to dramatize their feelings, are rapidly changing the consciousness of an entire generation.
"We want our revolution, and we want it now." Popular Song
America has managed to avoid an actual revolution even though there has been much talk about it since the power shifted from a European elite to an American elite back in '76. The image of that shift galvanized popular movement after popular movement, in other places, as the American revolutionary spirit slowly calcified and then died.
After 1918, the spiritual center of the revolution shifted toward Russia: she has gone through the same changes as the United States. The battle between Stalin and Trotsky was essentially over the point of a nationalistic or an internationalistic revolution; as the recent split with China demonstrates, the nationalistic Stalin won. China is now the center of those downtrodden internationalist hopes, and Mao's recent appeals to his own people lead one to believe that they are still alive.
"I ain't gonna work on Maggies farm no more." Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan was the symbolic center of the first phase of this alienation. He was able to externalize the disgust of an entire generation for values that have become extremely hypocritical. We no longer wish to eat the menu. His changes have almost singlehandedly created the entire context of contemporary popular music, although the recent shift to the more-positive vibrations of The Beatles and the San Francisco sound indicates an audience that is no longer satisfied with expressions of constant sadness and disgust.
These positive vibrations have been greatly enhanced by the use of the various psychedelics.
The utter destruction of the Haight-Ashbury, which has now become that terminal sewer that seems to lurk at the end of every American social experiment, as a result of its enormous media coverage and consequent commercialization, somewhat dampens this optimism, although there is every indication that the original spirit has been rapidly transplanted throughout this country and Europe.
California is quickly becoming overpopulated and over-extended financially the paradise has a serpent lurking in the garden.
This shift to the more positive aspects of experience is a significant one; for we are slowly learning to be peaceful, a necessity in this tense, overcrowded world. The undercurrent of these feelings is a strong revival of the religious instinct, with the great emphasis being placed upon the Eastern religions and their sure sense of the necessity of maintaining an adequate ecological balance with the natural world. This factor is in strong contradistinction to our Western urge to destroy the natural world.
This is concomitant with a psychological shift from Freudian (masculine, father) to Jungian (feminine, mother) psychology among psychedelic people. The mother is returning to prominence, and the father is rapidly disappearing from the American home:
"Throughout their responses, the conclusion was inescapable that the wives cared far more about what their husbands did than about what they were, as persons. About one third of the women not only put their own role as mothers first, but indicated that the husband was essentially outside the basic family unit of herself and her children."
The psychedelics are quickly becoming standard tools in the process of self-education that more and more of our youth are undergoing. They are similar to the autotelic toys that Dr. Sheridan Speeth has developed, in that they can be used with a minimum amount of instruction, thereby freeing the student from the restricting bonds of an educational system that is becoming increasingly obsolete.
The age of constraint has come to an end, making it mandatory to shift from negative to positive reinforcement in the education of any individual. This should not frighten us, for it does not mean that the id has taken over; it refers to the loosening of the bonds of the superego and a consequent dependence on the self for values and decisions. God is dead, and so is the father.
The obsolescence of the educational system has been greatly exacerbated by the generational war, which is making it more difficult for the young to identify with anyone who is markedly older than they. This has almost entirely destroyed the vertical transmission of value (Dad and Mom are enemies, so I deny them and everything about them), placing an overwhelming load on the peer group, which is now the major educating force in the country, and ruining the sense of trust that is an absolute necessity for the adequate functioning of any society.
This shift is indicative of a major social crisis, for it indicates an unconscious desire to escape from history (our present nightmare) sensible in an age that bombards an individual with a wide range of choice just as he is supposedly beginning to solidify his sense of identity.
This is leading a great number of the psychedelic generation to adopt modes of existence that reduce the range of choice. They are forming tribes and re-establishing rites of passage that enable them to create a stable identity within a context that is manageable. The mythic mode of addressing the world is upon us again.
The parent is enemy, and the progressive change in attitude toward these individuals during the past forty years is quite instructive in gauging where individual energy is directed. When the Freudian ethos was just emerging in this country, the analyst had to work many hours in order to convince the individual that he possessed a deeply repressed hatred for his parents. Ten years later, this tension had become a part of the conscious process, being experienced as a neurotic symptom.
Now it has become a structural part of the personality, expressing itself as a character defect. There are two further stages of this process: one, violence directed against the parents, the father in particular, which is slowly freeing an entire generation from the past, has emerged in rock song, short story, and action; the other, envisioned in Philip Rieff's The Triumph of the Therapeutic in terms of the entire society, is one of total detachment.
As soon as he is able, the child will go on his own way with hardly a glance backward. This trend indicates a flow of energy from the family to structures (groups, extended families, communities) that will utilize the energy in a fashion that is more satisfactory to the individuals involved.
"Violence has no place in America! Anybody who preaches violence should be shot like a dog."
Ira Blue on KGO Radio, San Francisco
Psychoanalysts tell us that his newly generated violence is a problem faced by the society in its entirety. People are increasingly troubled with problems of aggression, rather than the standard problem of sexuality a question of release rather than one of symbolic transformation.
The dangers of this situation were dramatically presented to us in the July 1967 Esquire. There, the very presentation of the problem indirectly serves as an advertisement for the thing it supposedly is condemning. This is a result of the extreme amount of free-floating anxiety that is presently afflicting our culture. This anxiety is able to localize itself around a vast range of behavioral paradigms; anything that is advertised proclaims, "Be like me," and will be copied. This is another way of saying that there is no negative advertising.
The attempt to handle the drug problem in the schools is an excellent example of the failure to understand this fact. The constant publicity that marijuana and LSD have received, although a vast amount of it has been extremely pejorative, is the single most important reason for its widespread use. In an atmosphere of generational disaffiliation, the quickest pathway to an adolescent action is an adult "No."
The previous generation (a generation is now from three to ten years) was plagued with sexuality and its attendant problems. This generation has accepted the sexual revolution and is confronted with a much more difficult problem: Violence, and its counterpart, religion.
"My own belief is that... these new mind changers (the psychedelic drugs) will tend in the long run to deepen the spiritual life... and this revival of religion will he at the same time a revolution... religion will be transformed into an activity concerned mainly with experience and intuition an everyday mysticism underlying and giving significance to everyday nationality, everyday tasks and duties, everyday human relationships."
The religious revival, which Timothy Leary is attempting to symbolize in rather outmoded ways, is a distinct product, along with violence, of information overload something I mentioned a little earlier. Sex has become so available, along with other physical stimulants, that a point of satiation has been reached in a number of people (boredom is a phenomenological way of describing this psychological mode of being).
This can produce two characteristic patterns: acting-out, with the tendency toward crowds and mass behavior, as a result of the modern context; and withdrawal into a low-stimulus environment, leading the individual in the direction of religious experience.
This return to religion in the face of our highly technological society will eventually produce the greatest shock, for the tepid beliefs of our conforming parents are about to be replaced by fanatic adherence to ways of being that closely resemble the messages of Christ in the Gospel of St. John, the Buddha, Lao Tzu, and other great men whose words are mouthed and then quickly neglected as soon as the words are asked to become action in a situational context. What will the country do with a hundred thousand teen-age Buddhas?
These impulses have certainly been accelerated by the advent of psychedelics, but those who are familiar with the course of cultural history in the past hundred years will not be surprised at either the attitudes or their offshoots in art and other forms of behavior. What was happening to a small group of Europeans from 1860 to 1920 is now occurring in America on a vast scale.
A percentage of our mental institutions must be changed into ashrams allowing the individual who has been disturbed by his psychedelic experience to complete his trip in a supportive atmospheres thus creating positive instead of negative identities on a model proposed by Erik Erikson for the handling of juvenile delinquents.
This would allow the society to use its available sources of energy instead of subverting them, thus protecting itself against this segment of the population through the use of non-violent means an obvious necessity, for direct physical contact within the confines of this country must result in damage far beyond our ability to sustain or afford: Newark and Detroit are adequate demonstrations of this fact.
A new kind of honesty is slowly appearing, a tribal kind that will eventually do away with the unconscious Eskimos talking about last night's dream, hippies discussing their last acid trip everything up front. This is also a product of our electronic technology, which is providing us all with external examples of what we thought to be buried deep within: the unconscious is now out there instead of in here.
An example on a highly public level was the dissenting opinion written by Justice Douglas in a homosexual case, wherein he refused to vote for the deportation of a man on the basis of an action that was regularly engaged in by men who were high up in both the legislative and executive branches of the government.
These factors, somewhat influenced by psychedelics, in combination with the general turmoil loose in the country, have created a situation that is explosive.
People who are classically trained or possess any sense of history are willing to accept a large amount of treachery and dishonesty unlike those without historical models; to the latter, it looks and feels bad; they will be compelled to hurl their bodies into the breach. They know only the moment, and wish to feel good. If they don't, they will act to bring about this sense of well-being. Now is their cry. The free speech movement at Berkeley and the statements of Mario Savio are an obvious example.
The analogical method of thought is alien to those who do not possess historical training, for they have no basis for comparison; instead they use a situational logic that might seem crude to their more-educated betters, though their responses certainly speak of a more honest confrontation with things as they are. They do not wish to have their wounds dipped in the healing pages of time, for they do not wish to make history; they want to live now!
This situational thinking is deeply mirrored in the recent development of hip slang, which is reminiscent of Old Norse in both its extreme brevity and its situational nature (words take on meaning in respect to the total context in which they inhere). 'Freak" is an example of a word being used by the hippies in a way that is absolutely opposite to the way it is used by the normal culture.
"We know everything except how to make democracy
work and what to do with ourselves. We know everything except what is most important for us to know." - Robert Hutchins
The erosion of middle-class values is quite obvious to anyone who has been involved in the psychedelic scene, for the desire for psychedelics is running high among many whose entire life is 'straight.' They have little to sustain them, for they live on within the skeleton of a structure that has become much too confining, projecting the outward manner of a life that no longer lives within empty as the latest TV show, valueless as last night's plastic dinner.
They hope to use LSD and other psychedelics to refashion a world that is quickly collapsing. The downfall of the work-oriented Protestant ethic adds to an already difficult situation for the predominantly middle-class people who are involved in this shift from postponed to immediate gratification not the future, now.
Both the upper and the lower classes escape this problem, for they are used to obtaining immediate gratification, the upper class using it as a means of demonstrating their continual mastery of the environment, having been trained since childhood in means of doing this (the constant round of dancing, boating, golfing lessons); the lower class taking its pleasure when it is available (our crowded Friday night bars), for who knows what tomorrow will bring?
The shift of a middle-class individual to the ethic of immediate gratification produces an immense burst of energy (the release of all that energy stored away for future use), but after a while a monumental boredom sets in, since the techniques of constantly generating experiences that produce immediate gratification are just not available to this class of people.
The middle-class pot scene is a perfect example of this kind of behavior. As pot filters into a middle-class scenes parties shift from being occasions at which pot is smoked to the reason for which parties are held. Pot is no longer used as a means for improving communication, but as a means by which communication is impeded. The group is together, and nothing happens. Here we face one of the major problems of our time, that of leisure.
A partial solution has been provided by the emergence of new craft and artistic movements (the desire to do something, no matter what, well). This is the situation that originally activated the entire Haight-Ashbury area. It is one way in which the hippie movement is very much in the vanguard of contemporary culture, for as automation increases, we are all going to be faced with the problem of occupying ourselves.
Those, like the hippies, who are learning today to be the artists of their own beings, have a decided head start on the rest of the culture.
"Today we can be relevant only if we are Utopian." Shane Mage
The United States is the most powerful nation the world has ever known; what it does today, the world will do tomorrow. Our culture (used in the anthropological sense) is being imported by every other nation in the world at an ever-increasing rate; the models we provide will determine the fate of tomorrow's world.
In this respect the psychedelic vanguard is attempting to provide both a model for others and an answer to an important question: how are we to treat those who will not be able or allowed to work in our rapidly automating society? The obvious answer is a guaranteed annual income9 that would pay a living wage to everyone for doing what he chooses. This would allow many people to spend a great deal of time reconstructing their environment, so that our cities can eventually become places that are desirable for human habitation. Gunnar Myrdal, in his Challenge to Affluence, implies just this.
"Small communities vibrating in the woods, they arc the important thing."
Some aspects of the psychedelic community are struggling to provide an alternative in art, economics, and community organization that will allow for a more positive presence to enter the arena of American life.
Such groups as USCG, the Diggers, and Drop City were the beginning of a trend that might provide positive alternatives to those who have learned the importance of small groups, ecology, and ritual. They are still too recent to provide anything else but hope, yet their spirit is a rare brightness in the midst of a rather bleak picture.
What follows is a partial description of the present, with a few suggestions, no salvation; for the days of our sentimental lusting after finality must come to an end. There is no end; it all goes on, within you, without you, with you, without you.
As cultures die they are stricken with the mute implacable rage of that humanity strangled within them. So long as it grows, a civilization depends on the elaboration of meaning, its health is maintained by an awareness of its state; as it dies, a civilization opens itself to the fury of those betrayed by its meaning, precisely because that
meaning was not sufficiently true to offer a life adequately large. The aesthetic shifts from creation of meaning to the destruction of it. —Norman Mailer.
"As for me, I answer that we are all in a state of frightful hypertension." —Antonin Artaud
"A ritual approach is a historical approach. Ritual is, simply, a re-enactment of the past. The great revolutions in human society are changes in the form of symbolic representation; reorganizations of the theatre, of the stage for human action." —Norman O. Brown.
"History is a nightmare from which we have awakened. The methods now being used to merchandise the political candidate, as though he were a deodorant, positively guarantee the electorate against ever hearing the truth about anything." —Aldous Huxley, 1958.
- Morse Peckham's Beyond the Tragic Vision is a detailed historical study of this problem, concentrating on the nineteenth century,
- Kenneth Keniston's The Uncommitted is a brilliant study of this problem as it applies to my generation—those born since 1940.
See Elias Canetti, Crowds and Power, for a deeper understanding of this most complex of modern problems.
- The following news story, illustrating this point, appeared during the end of July in the San Francisco Chronicle: "Beatle George Harrison yesterday hit back at a member of Britain's ruling Labour Government for criticizing fellow Beatle Paul McCartney far taking drugs. In Parliament Friday, Minister of the State at the Home Office Alice Bacon said she was horrified to read that McCartney said he discovered God through the hallucinatory drug LSD.
Yesterday, Harrison flew to London with his wife, actress Pattie Boyd, from Athens, where they have been vacationing with McCartney and a third member of the Beatles, John Lennon.
Harrison said: "As far as I am concerned these people are ignorant. I have worked out my life, and it is up to them to work out their own."
This same tone can be seen in the full-page ad that the Beatles and a number of other prominent British citizens took out in the London Times concerning the laws on marijuana.
- Marya Mannes, New York Times, November 15, 1965.
- "If the stereotyping of responses and the suppression of novelty in the use of material are to be avoided, information should be taught with only so large a level of motivation as needed to maintain relevant activity. Both monkeys and men are motivated by curiosity, and show continued activity as long as they have an effect on the surroundings. This is called playing or research in different contexts. It has been shown that by making an irrelevant reward contingent on performing some action which had previously been performed for fun' one destroys its intrinsic ability to motivate. This suggests that the 'educational' toy is preferable to the irrelevant social rewards of the schoolroom as a support for the early learning process. There are deleterious effects produced by doing the right thing for the wrong reason." Quoted in the East Village Other, July 1-15, 1967, from Toys That Teach, Dr. Sheridan Speeth.
- Meditation rooms should be set up in all our big-city hospitals, using, where possible, the techniques that Joe Kamiya has developed in the conditioning of EEG patterns at Langley Porter Neuropsychiatric Institute in San Francisco.
- R. D. Laing extends this concept to all so-called mental illness in his The Politics of Experience.
- See Free Men and Free Market, by Robert Theo-bald, and The Guaranteed Income, edited by Theobald, bath Doubleday Anchor books, for an extended discussion of this most important concept.
- This idea will shortly go into effect in riot-torn areas of Jacksonville, Fla., where Negroes will be paid to reconstruct their own destroyed and dilapidated areas.
"The modern theatre has lost the significance of being an emotional purge for the masses. Some creative minds have been aware of this loss and tried to reestablish a theatre for the people. Max Reinhardt transformed a circus into a theatre and established 'a theatre for the thousands'. To be effective artistically and to function in the service of mental hygiene, the theatre of today must be a 'theatre for the millions' even more, it must be 'a theatre for all.'"
The electronic media provide us with the stage that will project to the millions—slowly the content is emerging that will allow for the creation of the ritual whose enactment will symbolize the
transformation of man into a being of wholeness.
Imagine the effect of Christ on television.
So the question here is revolution.
And everyone is crying out for a necessary revolution, But I don't know if enough people have understood that the revolution would not be real as long as it was not physically and materially complete. And as long as it would not turn and face man, Face the body of man himself, and decide once and for all to demand that he change. -- Antonin Arlaud
Most revolutionaries intuitively recognize the validity of these words, but a careful perusal of the statements of Eldridge Cleaver makes it obvious that a cleavage exists between the present awareness of the ridiculousness of violence and a paranoia-laden rear-view mirror approach to the problem.
They remember the experience of the Jews and forget the burning example of Gandhi. They stand at the crossroads, facing the Sphinx, crucified.
Those who hope to survive the unbearable stresses of this ever more desiccated world must learn to abdicate all values and strivings that do not flow directly from the deepest needs of the self. A good part of our adult life must be spent in the process of deconditioning behavioral impulses that those 'far wiser' have stuffed into our trusting minds.
We have the Pisgah view, but must spend '40 years' in the wilderness realizing it. The saving remnant exists in the hearts of those utterly unswayed by the forms that hypnotize the great majority of our fellows.
The difficulty is increased by the co-occurrence of two simultaneous revolutions: the third world revolution which involves equal distribution of material wealth; the revolution in life style, carried on in post-capitalist countries by affluent youth whose actions symbolize the lack of any sustaining value system to handle the problems that are occurring. Their interaction can be either frictional or generative depending upon how conscious those involved are in differentiating their separate focuses.
Our present method of 'pay for work' through which we now distribute the work represents a timid fraction of such re-investment capacity. Unemployment is actually time secured, and should be re-invested in education. If only one person in one million made one new discovery or prime invention this would pay for all.
Epilepsy, which Reich called psychic orgasm, is one means the body uses to clear the circui temporarily restoring autonomic/endocrine imbalance. This is not much different from the updated form of primitive ecstasy-bearing shamanism that is currently being pushed as a solution to the problem of systemic imbalanc it is an obvious regression under the duress of information overload.
Yoga, a form of self-hypnosis, is a higher stage of this process producing a control which allows for selective regulation of all incoming stimuli—standard equipment in an environment that bombards the individual on all fronts 24-hours-a-day providing one with the ability to produce all the states which are now considered to be paranormal (telepahy, precognition, astral travel, etc.).
Since evolution, in America, is now under social control, the use of the neo-cortex (a tool which is shaping the meeting of cybernetics and evolution) in an ecologically aware manner becomes the prime task of every conscious being.
We must understand that a totally new society is coming into being, one that rejects all our old values, conditions, responses, attitudes and institutions.
The game is about to change—man is on the verge of becoming something else: the choice is in our hands and depends upon the aware application of the energy which our technology has recently loosed upon the planet.
Listen: The enemy is invisible; He is everywhere. The friend is invisible; He is everywhere. Which one will you be?
Life and education are now synonymous. The environment itself is the great teacher. Those who create the spaces through which we move are programming us for our future. Buildings that look like IBM cards can only produce neo-cortical automatons. We must generate spaces that provide opportunities for the exploration of the new realms of being that man is presently encountering.
The youth, in particular, are stymied by spaces that induce catatonia and force the rising energy levels to be directed back into the individual's own psyche. Channels must be forged in order to allow this new found energy to express itself in modes of being that will be beneficial for all. Education is not a process of stamping out a product. People are not automobiles. We now have an electronic technology which will allow us to create an individual program for everyone, with the individual writing his own program as soon as he is ready. Conformal mapping instead of processing.
America has a history that speaks of assimilation without integration it is a constantly bubbling stew that is not fit to eat. The church on every street corner speaks of the evil in the land that keeps one apart from oneself. It is approaching omega point—about to crystallize—only conscious direction of this process can avoid the holocaust that threatens on all sides.
We need an inner transformation that would generate the energy necessary to repair the destruction that our completely outered life has visited upon the entire eco-system—only the opening up of new inner channels will enable the system-as-a-whole to drain off some of the energy that is now building up, explosively, at certain localized points. The old symbols are not able to contain the new energy the goose step once shook off the goose flesh, but the flag no longer brings a tear to the eyes. Authority is shifting to the within, and we must remember that 'God' is the ultimate fascist.
Today's mysticism is tomorrow's science.
The enormous shift of psychic energy in the direction of yoga, macrobiotics, astrology, palmistry, meditation and other attendant disciplines is indicative of the failure of the predominant western system of values to provide a structure of meaning for those who are now involved in the process of defining themselves.
Hiroshima is viewed as the direct outcome of the scientist's attempt to completely control the world—a world that the young want no part of. Their quest for self-knowledge has produced much overreaction in terms of attempting to import alien disciplines into a cultural situation that is utterly different from the one in which the discipline prospered—so we have blacks dressed in dashikes, muttering a few words of Swahili or Arabic, licking ice cream cones as they stand on urban street corners. Hybrids: A few will survive; nature's price is heavy.
Thus those who settle for a simple shift from their failed western heritage, to recently imported eastern doctrines are little different from those true believers who made possible the ascendancy of Hitler or Stalin. The path through the present wilderness is a razor's edge that leads from the darkness of nihilism to the clear light of the noosphere.
Only the marriage of Faust and Shiva will provide the relief we need.
On the physiological level I suppose the problem is linked with the fact that we carry around with us a glandular system which was admirably adapted to life in the paleolithic times but is not very well adapted to life now. Thus we tend to produce more adrenalin than is good for us, and we either suppress ourselves and turn destructive energies inward or else we do not suppress ourselves and we start hitting people.
Stress and the flow of adrenalin which accompanies it is one constant factor in an environment which grows ever more chaotic. It produces an effect on the autonomic and endocrine systems that is easily seen in the enormous rise in drug addiction, alcoholism, schizophrenia and cancer diseases whose progressive deterioration indicate a serious imbalance between man and the ecosystem-as-a-whole.
This imbalance that will soon be purged by a plague: the system's means of reasserting balance through crystallization in a particular direction. Other indications of stress upon the gene-pool-as-a-whole include the amount of chromosome breakage and the vertical rise in population. Purification is coming.
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