Sunday, May 18, 2014

We have Run Out of Vision

- Excerpts from Dr. Timothy Leary’s “Neurologic”

The theories presented in this essay are Science Fiction. Philosophy of science… PSY PHI. They are scientific in that they are based on empirical findings from physics, physiology, pharmacology, genetics, behavioral psychology and… most important… neurology. They are fictional in the [1]Wittgensteinian sense that all theories and speculations beyond the propositions of natural science are subjective.

The cosmology and metaphysics presented in this essay are probably the first of many new philosophies to emerge as mankind enters a new level of maturity. The obvious fact is that we have run out of philosophy.

Science has destroyed the credibility of earlier theologies. But science has, during this interlude, provided no substitute philosophy. The materializations of Marx and capitalist-calvinists have produced a crude religion of security, comfort, duty, work, responsibility… which threatens to destroy free life on the planet and which fails to satisfy the basic aching questions: Why? What Next? Is comfort and full employment the reason for life? Has the genetic code labored for three billion years to settle for freeways to the suburbs? The alienation of our affluent youth, the irrational social disaffection of our era, the exquisite synchronicity of our technological and neurological discoveries suggest that we are ready for a new philosophic vision of the future.

The Anthropocentric Horror of Science
At the time of their beginnings, perhaps religion and science were the same… humble men and women believing that life had a meaning known to higher intelligence and dedicated to deciphering the mysteries of origin, life, evolution and death. The subsequent history of religion and science reveals a depressingly regular cycle of dogmatic chauvinism/priesthoods centering salvation and solution of the mysteries upon obedience to their own rituals and dogmas.

The religious orthodoxy of the Middle Ages offered immortality in the next world, while ignoring the exigencies of survival on this planet.

Since the Renaissance, science and the rational dogma of protestant Christianity (of which Marxism is a reactive offspring) have centered attention on protecting and extending the life span. The State sponsors research in physics, biology, chemistry, meteorology, geriatrics, to enhance the security and health of the citizenry. A fortunate by-product of this larval-circuit research is the synchronous spin-off of philosophic implications. An organic chemist in a Basel laboratory experimenting with ergot for a headache cure discovers LSD. Military scientists developing electronic and cybernetic systems of surveillance and weapon control produce the circuitry which helps us understand what happens in our nervous systems when we take LSD.

The Senility of Gerontology
Exactly at the same time when neurogenetics is speculated as an answer to questions about the meaning and message of the DNA code, a menopausal government, responding to the despair of a geriatric population twenty-one million strong, sponsors and publicizes research on gerontology (the study of the social, psychological and biological aspects of aging).

Government funds are appropriated by elderly legislators to research such “hot” gerontolgical issues as: “The genetic information inside the cell, that’s where the action is,” “cellular mechanisms involved in aging,” “decline in ability of cells to decode instructions from DNA,” “specific genes containing programs for aging which instruct cells to function with decreased capacity, genetic programs which run out of information like a tape that runs off its playing reel, accumulation of errors in transmitting DNA instructions, and so forth.

The anthropomorphic horror is this: scientists attribute almost omnipotent wisdom to an ancient living entity (DNA) without realizing the humbling implications of the human mind treating its creator as a factory-managing-computer. They compound the “blasphemy” by proposing to interfere with this process to perpetuate human life without attempting to decode the overall plan of the genetic super-brain.

The Poverty of Philosophy
After seven thousand years of civilization, human philosophy and human science have not yet produced an intelligent speculation as to the meaning of life. Is our double-brain a genetic error? Is our knowledge to be used only to drive us more comfortably to the consecrated grave? Or do we not have a role and a goal?

The currently accepted scientific cosmology is the “big bang” theory which holds that our planet will be engulfed in a solar explosion within a few billion years. However accurate the astronomy, the big bang is a “big bust” as far as human destiny is concerned. If we attribute any prescient wisdom to DNA we must assume that the genetic intelligence has plans for getting Herself and Her myriad handicrafts off the planet before the fireworks.

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The preseeding (pun intended!) was a series of excerpts from “Neurologic” written in 1973 by Timothy Leary, as transcribed to his second wife Joanna, while Tim was incarcerated at Folsom Prison. This document is of historical value as it demonstrates an early version of Leary’s “Eight Circuit Model of Consciousness.” Interestingly, this early version contained seven circuits, as opposed to his later eight circuit model. This little book is worth checking out, as it serves as a foundation for his later work as a futurist/optimist for cybernetics, human evolution, intelligence increase & space migration (SMI2LE).            





[1] Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein (26 April 1889 – 29 April 1951) was an Austrian-British philosopher who worked primarily in logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language.