Monday, July 9, 2018

Virtual Reality & Psychedelia

Excerpts from: Our Cyberdelic Concrescence: Exhuming Terrence McKenna - by Eliott Edge

Why talk about psychedelics substances and experiences in relation to VR? This question could really only arrive from a point that is virginal in regards to psychedelics. Anyone who has had a psychedelic episode needs no clarification, as it’s plain as the nose on your face. But for the uninitiated: psychedelics are chemical substances that induce altered states of consciousness, and thus altered realities. Thoughts, feelings, experiences, visions that wholly cannot be experienced otherwise, fall upon you that are titanic, very frequently religious or spiritual in scope, and yes sometimes even include what appear as alien entities of all sort. The word psychedelic itself means mind-manifesting. When you take a psychedelic, you enter another world. When you use VR you put on another head and see another world. So they are actually close relatives. One is media-technology induced altered states, the other is a chemically-induced altered state.

VR offers a parallel to psychedelics (some have argued that VR is the technological shadow of the psychedelic experience), but it is not at all the psychedelic experience proper, in all its quaking, annihilating, and mind-expanding glory. Beyond doing whatever you can to temporarily escape your local VR programming, an admission would be that consciousness itself is fundamental to all our virtual realities. Consciousness is the media through which all our cultures, religions, civilizations, thoughts, and reality tunnels play out. So although what we have created can be regarded as virtual realities, consciousness itself doesn’t necessarily fit the criteria. Consciousness is real, ‘Canada’ and ‘Canadian’ is imaginary, is virtual. Consciousness plays within the framework of ‘Canada’ and ‘Canadian’ but it isn’t those constructs on a fundamental level. Consciousness is not virtual reality, though it uses virtual realities to operate in.

Now onto the other weird word here: concrescence. Concrescence is an idea that Terrence McKenna brought up often, which was cribbed by Alfred North Whitehead’s Process Philosophy, but it was also an idea that Canada’s own stellar media prophet Marshall McLuhan, as well as Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, flirted with—And that’s the idea of some kind of spiritual or evolutionary omega point existing off the future, and that the toil of all beings leads towards. Media and technology folks jumped on this and realized the global electronic communication and its evolution would also lead up to some kind of crossing of the rubicon. Today, most of you are familiar with this notion through the work of Ray Kurzweil and The Age of Spiritual Machines: that we’ll be uploading our consciousness into silicon, the body will become a platform for total manipulation through gene editing, including reducing and eventually ending the process of aging, and that virtual reality will become the new language of tomorrow. That’s the media-tech concrescence. And that was a strong focus for Terence McKenna, what role would VR play in the evolution of language, and how it would not merely enhance but in fact expand the human psyche and the human soul. So that’s what I’m going to rap about with you today.

McKenna was an author, an ethnobotanist, researcher of world shamanism, and a philosophical gadfly with a consuming interest in VR, psychedelics, and the future. But he’s mostly known for the surviving audio and video recordings of his lectures that have made their way onto YouTube. He really exploded into global consciousness after YouTube, which sadly he didn’t live to see just how iconic he was going to become. Remember the 2012 hype? Outisde of the Mayan’s of course, it was largely due to McKenna. Whether or not you know McKenna, he’s been a massive invisible hand behind the technorati even though he very much started as kind of a password in the underground and counter culture labyrinth of psychedelic thought. But he’s the secret reason why Silicon Valley made its way to Burning Man. By the way: long live Larry Harvey. McKenna is also the reason why ayahuasca and microdosing has found a home in modern techno corporate American progress as well. Personally, these I read as crucial victories.

Technology has become prosthesis for the human species. It’s our machines and our technologies that are now the major evolutionary forces acting upon us. It’s not our political systems, it’s these extra-sexual children, these mind children that we have assembled out of the imagination.

We fear the dehumanizing effect of so many computers. We fear them; we say that we’re moving further and further from nature, deeper and deeper into our own psyche. But this is a dualism. Our psyche is nature, and we cannot move away from nature by exploring these places. 

The entirety of human history has been the story of the monkey becoming the flying saucer. It is taking just that long in geological time. But we, for some strange reason, we happen to be living through the final moments of that process right now.

[We need a] philosophy not made around the campfire. But philosophy based on the acquisition of extreme experience. That’s how you figure out what the world is. Not by bicycling around in the ’burbs but by forcing extreme experience.

If you don’t treat VR like a portal into an uncanny weird future, than you’re as done as the dinosaurs. Like Douglas Rushkoff asks: what are we going to do when Augmented Reality has turned the world into one giant mall? The real leaders in VR are going to create tools that make it easy for folks the world over to create their own virtual realities. VRs that they can develop and then share with others. And the leading VR makers will be the counter culture, the avant grade, the psychedelic visionaries, and youths. They will actually be driving the future of language and communication, just as rock n’ roll did decades before them.

There is a greater agenda lurking behind the surface of all this flashy immersive tech. And those who intuit that are going to be the real leaders that I am talking about. Tomorrow’s leaders aren’t going to be the Fortune 500, or the top 40 over Forty. The real leaders are going to heal themselves and this world culture, in part with using VR tools. As one netizen Mystic_realmz said it, “With other senses we would have other realities.” VR makes this actually possible.

My advice, if I were to offer any advice is, create tools so young people and vanguard artist can more easily create virtual worlds. Provide the platform. And get psychedelic.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

AlienCon 2018 Debriefing

DATELINE June 15, 16 & 17, 2018
The ancient alien convention, aka: AlienCon 2018, was a huge success... at least for the intrepid Tek-Gnostics Media team. Our booth was busy from the opening moments Friday morning, until well after the event was closed to the public on Sunday evening. Sales of our entire product line, such as the Tek-Gnostics Alumni T-shirt, were strong... but our measure of success was determined by the increase in networking.

There appeared to be a distinct threshold or tipping point... a critical mass of interest if you will… that was achieved at this event. People were very interested in a booth labeled by the event organizers as: "The Tek-Gnostics Heresies." Many convention-goers were familiar with Tek-Gnostics and had recently visited our website. Many more dug our “extra-dimensional/psychedelic take” on extra-terrestrial contact and our general irreverence for the proceedings. Our new monograph, The Return of the Archons, which we debuted at AlienCon, sold well.

The event was equal parts Ancient Alien presentation and Sci Fi convention, with interesting panels and meet & greet/photo-ops for fans. All the stars one would expect at such a gathering were there. David “Fox Mulder” Duchovny was there, the granddaddy of AAT, Erich von Däniken was there… and of course the pop phenomenon, Giorgio A. Tsoukalos (Giorgio! … Giorgio!) was there. The crowd went wild when Giorgio showed up for his autograph session, I will tell you.

The marketplace, where our outpost was located, was well organized. Tons of interesting vendors including our friends at the “Mystic Maverick” …voted best UFO T-shirts of the convention, by the Tek-Gnostics staff. Cosplay was also present, if not overly domineering. 

The event was not free of conspiratorial controversy…

For instance, why was “ReptiCon” …a Reptile Convention being held and taking place directly adjacent to AlienCon? Did the reptilian overlords need their own presence in close proximity to the Ancient Alien convention? Was it a coincidence that "the Orange One" announced the (supposed) inception of a "Space Force" during the AlienCon weekend? And why was a FEMA communications vehicle stationed directly below our hotel room for the entire weekend?

The enigmatic Agent 87, w/ two of his disciples

Coming in November 2018

AlienCon 2018 was an event that featured topics and information streams of the Fringe... presented to the general public. The event had its share of those looking to be entertained, as well as those looking for answers. More and more people are beginning to question the official, party-line version of "Contact" and what it may mean for humanity. And as Fox Mulder knows... the truth is out thereAll in all a great weekend, filled with strange encounters and odd synchronicities...

Stay tuned dear readers, as there may be future posts inspired by the events of AlienCon 2018...

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Dualistic Universe Part 2 - Gnosis (yin) Edition.

The above from Robert Anton Wilson's "The Illuminati Papers"

Yin  -  Negative/passive/female principle in nature, symbolized by the moon…  overcast, shaded orientation ie:  north side of a hill or south bank of a river. Covert… feminine, concealed, hidden sinister, treacherous.

In part one of this series, we suggested that traditionally and throughout history, humans have maintained a notion that Manifest Universe demonstrates dynamic ebb and flow that is dichotomous in nature. Yin/yang, light/darkness, observer/observed, etc. The very act of being born into Universe requires the accommodation of dualism. In the second half of our examination of an apparent dualistic Universe, we will explore the covert properties of such.

In theology, dualism can refer to the relationship between God and creation. The Christian dualism of God and creation exists in some traditions of Christianity, like Paulicianism, Catharism, and Gnosticism. The Paulicians, a Byzantine Christian sect, believed that the universe, created through evil, exists separately from a moral God. The Dvaita Vedanta school of Indian philosophy also espouses a dualism between God and the universe. The first and the more important reality is that of Vishnu or Brahman. Vishnu is the supreme Self, God, the absolute truth of the universe, the independent reality. The second reality is that of a dependent, but equally real universe that exists with its own separate essence.

In Wicca, dualism is represented in the common Wiccan belief in a god and a goddess... a dual partnership in ruling the universe.

In ontological dualism, the world is divided into two overarching categories. The opposition and combination of the universe's two basic principles of yin and yang is a large part of Chinese philosophy, and is an important feature of Taoism, both as a philosophy and as a religion (it is also discussed in Confucianism).

In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang (dark-bright, negative-positive) describe how seemingly opposite or contrary forces, may actually be interconnected and interdependent in the natural world. Moreover, they give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another, in an eternal dance or balance. Many tangible dualities (such as light and dark, fire and water, expanding and contracting) are thought of as physical manifestations of the duality symbolized by yin and yang.

Duality is found in many belief systems, but yin and yang are complementary parts of  Oneness which is also equated with the Tao or the intuitive knowledge of the way of life. The term 'dualistic-monism' or dialectical monism has been coined in the West, in an attempt to express this fruitful paradox of simultaneous unity/duality. Yin and yang can be thought of as complementary (rather than opposing) forces that interact to form a dynamic system in which the whole is greater than the assembled parts.

Dualism between God and Creation has existed as a central belief in multiple historical sects and traditions of Christianity, including Marcionism, Catharism, and Gnostic Christianity. Christian dualism refers to the belief that God and creation are distinct, but interrelated through an indivisible, divine bond. In specific sects like the Cathars, this manifests as a dualism between the material world, created by an “evil” and a “moral” god. Religious scholars have divided Christian dualism into absolute dualism, which held that the good and evil were equally powerful… and mitigated dualism, which held that material evil was subordinate to the spiritual good. 

Various Gnostic teachings indicate that humans possess a dualistic nature… that there are two separate yet integral aspects to humanity. One element is immortal being made of light ie: spirit or soul… and the other mortal darkness ie: flesh or materiality. Our spirit is of divine origin, emanating from the true God above Gods. It is an immortal light that descended from the heavens. In opposition to this light, the human body is inherently material, earthly and susceptible to darkness. It was made of mortal flesh ruled by a false, deranged creator God who holds dominion over those materialistic souls who have not reached spiritual knowledge or Gnosis.

In these examples, the dualism of Christianity can be somewhat compared with the dualism that exists in Zoroastrianism and the Samkhya tradition of Hinduism.

In closing, we leave you with a passage from a certain blasphemous, forbidden text. This succinct passage serves to illustrate a dualistic mythology that appears to be the predominant, pervasive nature of manifest Universe. It also illustrates the Tek-Gnostics Network's default, binary operating system. Based upon our dichotomist experience here on the planet of the apes, our understanding of dualism takes on a certain Discordian flavor…

"Magicians, especially since the Gnostic and the Quabala influences, have sought higher consciousness through the assimilation and control of universal opposites... good/evil, positive/negative, male/female etc. But due to the steadfast pomposity of ritualism inherited from the ancient methods of the shaman, occultists have been blinded to what is perhaps the two most important pairs of apparent or earth-plane opposites: Order/Disorder and Serious/Humorous.

Magicians, and their progeny the scientists, have always taken themselves and their subject in an orderly and sober manner, thereby disregarding an essential metaphysical balance. When magicians learn to approach philosophy as a malleable art instead of an immutable Truth, and learn to appreciate the absurdity of man's endeavours, then they will be able to pursue their art with a lighter heart, and perhaps gain a clearer understanding of it, and therefore gain a more effective magick."

- the Principia Discordia

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Dualistic Universe Part 1 - Tek (yang) Edition.

The above from Robert Anton Wilson's "The Illuminati Papers"

Yang - Positive/active/male principle in nature, symbolized by the sun… sunlit orientation ie: south side of a hill or north bank of a river. Overt… masculine, exposed, obvious, open, belonging to this world. 

Traditionally and throughout history, humans have maintained a notion that Manifest Universe demonstrates dynamic ebb and flow that is dichotomous in nature. Yin/yang, light/darkness, observer/observed, etc. The very act of being born into Universe requires the accommodation of dualism. Appropriately, in the first half of our examination of an apparent dualistic Universe, we will explore the overt properties of such. 

The Western term dualism was originally coined to denote co-eternal binary opposition, a meaning that is contextualized within metaphysical and philosophical duality. Within the last millennium or two, the concept of dualism has expanded into other usages to simply indicate a system which contains two essential parts. This cosmology is essentially a doctrine of universally opposing principles… of two irreducible elements, expressed as:  light v darkness, creation v destruction, attraction v repulsion, benevolence v malevolence, good v evil… hope v despair.

 In philosophy of mind, dualism is a view about the relationship between mind and matter which claims that mind and matter are two ontologically separate categories. Mind-body dualism claims that neither the mind nor matter can be reduced to each other in any way. Western dualist philosophical traditions (as exemplified by Descartes) equate mind with the conscious self and theorize on consciousness on the basis of mind/body dualism. By contrast, some Eastern philosophies draw a metaphysical line between consciousness and matter — where matter includes both body and mind.

In philosophy of science, dualism often refers to the dichotomy between the "subject" (the observer) and the "object" (the observed). Another dualism, in Popperian philosophy of science refers to "hypothesis" and "refutation" (for example, experimental refutation). This notion also carried to Popper's political philosophy.

In physics, dualism also refers to media with properties that can be associated with the mechanics of two different phenomena. Because these two phenomena's mechanics are mutually exclusive, both are needed in order to describe the possible behaviors. An example of using two different physical models to describe one phenomenon is wave–particle duality.

The above may be considered a short primer on how Western or Scientific Thought views the concept of dualism. It would embody an overt, materialistic, mechanistic view of Universe. In our next installment, we will pursue the covert, obscure, esoteric understanding of dualism, typified by Eastern Thought...