OF SKIN, GATEKEEPERS AND SUBSTANCES: TAKING A TRIP THROUGH THE LITTLE WE KNOW (2016)
Skin, the largest organ of the body and our personal gatekeeper, the boundary essential to this- is- me, solo me among others in their skins; and a container for our inner slush as if polythene wrapped around my unique luggage on the airport carousel, the condom round the personal penis or the cocaine in the stomach of the solo me who has become a drug mule.
A stunted view, a mean and stingy view of my
very good friend, my skin, happily in charge of tactile diplomacy with the all-around-me, the all-around us, a living, dynamic organ constantly on the move as cells of the outer layer are shed and replaced by inner cells to remake…
…to remake…the touch soft here under the arm; pitted on the cheek; tough on the feet; smooth on the cheek, the scarred cheek; spongey taut on the nipple, calloused in the hands from work, the solo-me fingerprints erased working in Peruvian saltpetre mines; peach-like on the bum, wrinkled on the knuckles, wrinkled hoop-lined on the penis, drawn on the cheekbone, lined on the palm, the velvet asshole, skin, diverse renewed, alive, and intelligent. Of course intelligent with its Kraus end bulb, Ruffin’s end organ, pacinian capsules, Meissner’s corpuscles and Merkel’s disks, information provider to the finger tips. A storyteller too, telling not just of cold, wanting not to shiver cringe; but open to the closeness of another, the feathery touch on the smooth cheek or the lined cheek; the intelligence of lips; the brush of silk; slithery with semen; hairs on alert, hairs at rest, scars at the tummy, the wild wind. Protective, oh yes, a membrane marking an inside and outside, but intimate with that outside of air, perfumed in the mall, salty from the sea, skin on skin, the whispering stroke on the upper arm, the scrape of sand on the tough and ticklish soles of the feet. Elastic too, the stretch that comes from salty sea, from pregnancy, the swellings of desire, arousal the plump stomach or is it the waistline out of control permeable, the sweat under the armpit, during the menopause that…
The sweat that what? Does what? Emerges, cleansing the body from inside…
Or, are we in a mood to see the worst. Or to join the gatekeepers, lurking with binoculars, and make the mood permanent, a fact, that it OOZES, the sweat oozes like the orifices of them, yes, them over there, oozing their filth.
Napoleon Chagnon, North American anthropologist. On a mission. Amazonia 1980s
“I looked up and gasped when I saw a dozen burly, naked, filthy , hideous men staring at us down the shafts of their drawn arrows. Immense wads of green tobacco were stuck between their lower teeth and lips making them look even more hideous and strands of dark green slime dripped or hung from their noses.”
And you know it’s suspect, those empty words: Filthy, Hideous, Filthy, Hideous, hideous that viscous snot, the slime and the swamp, the moist world where the solo-me slips into sleepy watery stuff, circling the wild irises without a project in mind. Where the gooey mud is a life soup, slippery, teeming life in rotting vegetation, ripeness and over ripeness.
V1. Joseph Conrad July 5th 1890
”Today fell into a muddy puddle-Beastly! The fault of the man that carried me. “
The Horror. The Horror!
DO NOT TOUCH. YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE ITS’BEEN
In fact just go to the spa and have a mud bath. You pay, nice clean transaction. Give your skin a treat, try it all
The crinkle of fresh autumn leaves, the mulchy damp of rotting autumn leaves, the crystals of the icy spring, the warm thick slobber of frogspawn at the spring, the velvet of its moss, the brush of unplaned wood…
Vulnerable too our intelligent skin. Holed by the wood’s splinter and out comes the blood; or bloodsucked by experts, the neat mosquito leaving behind the itch that drives you mad, the perverse desire of temptation resisted; but unlucky and the toxin infiltrates; or the skin ripped and the untreated wound gone septic when there might be some of that oozing for real, pus we call it. Permeable the skin, the microbe, the toxin expelled, the necessary pus, a signal like the colour of snot, like Schiller’s elegant woman dressed in goose-shit green, or is it yellow, virus or microbe; and either way dried in the nose and it’s into the mouth of the schoolboy. Very interesting. Not so in the stomach of the mule in the aeroplane when the condon skin leaks and the solitary she or the solitary he, contorts in spasms, head on fire, struggling to say that it’s not happening eih the little they know, death around the corner.
That is terror. With the excretions, so the skin, it’s something else, its’s disgust is so easy, so creepily safe as it views the pimple, the boils, the rash, scabs, acne, growths, moles, the hairs that flower the wart, tumours, cysts, pustules, cellulite, the varicose veins. …Oh My God!
Seek and you will find the repulsive things you secretly hoped to find.
In 1581 when the Great Change in Europe was still in process and which had conjured up and condemned the Vagabond, tortured the witch, and bit by bit strangled the people’s carnival as one of ‘excesses’, the Pope lead a procession of beggars and the deformed. “Poverty became a mass theatre, a shuddering allurement to the senses and a perverse spell of the pitiful and repulsive.”
The visible skin can be holed from within, by such outbreaks: the boil explodes, the pox, the scurvy, and an entrance for greases, ointments, plasters and poultices all to care for the body, much needed by the poor of Europe when the Great Change came, the Early Modern they call it now, a time when “money reigned supreme, the growing and increasingly menacing presence of the poor pointing to the necessity of providing for their control and, if necessary, their confinement or expulsion from the community.”
“Vagabonds are voracious insects that infect the countryside and devastate it, and who daily devour the sustenance of farmers.” That was the line of the masters, your land is taken from you and hey ho, you’re a parasite. So very many of them, writes the early 17 th c Italian Baldassaei Bonifcio
“ of an ashen colour/faces wasted away, who have no refuge/There is no one who sprouts and germinates more than they/who grow fat even in their own filth/as if they were beetles or vermin./And even though terrible hunger exterminates them/these heads of the Hydra, in rebirth they pass through all boundaries and limits”
The United States of America Supreme Court 1837: “We think it as competent and a necessary to provide precautionary measures against the moral pestilence of paupers and vagabonds- as it is to guard against the physical pestilence, which may arise from unsound and infectious articles imported, or from a ship, the crew of which may be labouring under an infectious disease.”
DON’T TOUCH, YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE THEY’VE BEEN
Polish Politician 2015
They make my skin crawl. Fellow countrymen, Europeans, this cannot continue: We are being swamped, our beloved land, and who knows what they bring with them from their wild and murderous lands, the mutations, the wriggling, squirming organisms grown wild in the dead bodies and that the living now carry within them, “Parasites and protozoa.”
The newly landless vagabonds, peasants too, were hungry, never enough bread, and sharing that with the worms inside them and with whom it was essential they live in peace. Short of vitamins short of proteins, and the skin un-nourished bursting with biblical sores, ulcers and abscesses.
And as for the masters who did not go hungry but with their lice-infested hair doused their scabby, unwashed bodies in flour and perfumed oils rather than go near running water. But in later times spokesmen for the masters said of the women of revolutionary France, “these obscene harpies who flutter over our heads, and souse down upon our tables, and leave nothing unrent, unrifled, unravaged or unpolluted with the slime of their filthy offal.” How they hated those women…and loved the words, the sounds dripping out of their mouths.
“Pollution fear, is the fear that the privileged feel of those at whose expense their privilege is enjoyed.”
And the privileged of this time, by all accounts cold, suspicious people are the ones who will by accident fall upon the Americas, and find a New World whose land they will take, and make in their own image.
And for them the skin, scabby or healthy, did not suffice as boundary, apart from its permeability, letting in diseases and devils, nakedness was weakness to patriarchal order. In the The Biblical story it is unforgivable that Ham, when catching his father Noah naked, laughs. He laughs and as a consequence Ham and his descendants are cursed as Canaanites still used by Israelis to describe Palestinians and a constant racist narrative until ‘scientific’racism took over in the 19th century. Besides nakedness was common. literally common. Common to all. Telling the crowd not to be intimidated by the politicians when they called on their ‘antiquity of blood’, Machiavelli writes a speech for them: “Strip is all naked, you will see we are alike.” What a useful fellow, the devil, to the antiquity of blood and the new money wealthy, to have created a situation whereby people were no longer entitled to be naked, not innocent enough. The fictional deposed King of the periodof Great Change, King Lear in a moment of self-dramatisation and self pity rips of his clothing shouting, “unaccomodated man is no more than such a poor, bare, forked animal.” At a practical level of gate keeping sumptuary laws determined who could wear what, nothing above one’s station, and also served to mark out people declared from on high up to be undesirable elements, Jews, witches, lepers and heretics.
And rhetorically there was disgust, easy and necessary to reassure yourself that you early enlightenment philosopher Erasmus are the absolute antithesis of, could not in your worst nightmare be taken for not an old woman How was it you described them, Erasmus?
“… it is even more fun to see the old women who can scarcely carry their weight of years and look like corpses that seem to have risen from the dead … still in heat, looking for a mate … they are forever smearing their faces with make-up and taking tweezers to their pubic hair, exposing their sagging withered breasts and trying to rouse failing desire
Smearing their faces, their skin. Oh what twins they are disgust and the sneer, shitty, but so compact, so adorably solid.”
But in that earlier time when he was around, our Erasmus, that time of vagrants and witches, folk basked in the flesh believing it had wonderful powers; even the intelligentsia we are told. Dead bodies if touched had healing properties, and ‘mummy’ the powder from embalmed corpses was a potent medicine. No gatekeeping in this sphere.
And telling this side of the story with a certain jollity of mind, pickled in the scorn of fortune, our friend to this day, Rabelais. He loved it all, the monstrosities, the body and all its ins-an-outs, excretions and all. His hero giant born when his mother’s bum-gut or fundament escaped after she ate a mountain of tripe.
Rabelais was no peasant and mostlikely was nevery hungry did not come out of an empty social space. Even the poor were part of the world of fairs in which there would be giants, dwarfs, monsters and trained animals and where clowns and fools mimicked serious rituals. People Bakhtin tells us did not exclude themselves from the wholeness of the world and the body and bodily life and the essence of the grotesque is to present the double-faced fullness of life. Which came naturally when life was so short, death an ever-presnt. They danced in churches, in cemeteries and found pleasure with a mix of herbs, poppyseed for tranquillity, and in the lowlands, hemp for sensuality, ugliness in the eye replaced by the beauty of skin on skin smeared with the begged or borrowed herb-concoted ointment. Berries, stick-apples. High and ready for a laugh. Other times hungry as folk were and when bread was the food of life, they could not always know what was in it and couldn’t afford to care. There was darnel, ‘false wheat’ , the tares of the Bible, a pernicious weed. In France, tenants thrown off their land by landlords and about to join the mass of vagrants, would deliberately sow it in the fields they had to leave. Sabotage. And then there was ergot that attached itself to some rye. A fungi, technically a parasite, technically meaning a biological substance which have probably been driving the evolution of their hosts since the Big Bang’s great soup.What we know now is that ergot is a rich source of a variety of alkaloids, has made a variety of medicines one of which is hallucinogenic, synthesized into my friend LSD 25, but back then in the time of hunger, it also caused two illnesses that could be fatal; convulsive and probably hallucinogenic, mostly in Germany and in France, gangrenous, of the Dry variety
Dry gangrene is a form of coagulative necrosis that develops in ischemic tissue, where the blood supply is inadequate to keep tissue viable. Dry gangrene is often due to peripheral artery disease, but can be due to acute limb ischemia.
In 1926 the first liposuction procedure was carried out by Doctor Charles Dujavier in France. His patient, a model, developed gangrene, the dry variety, in France
Ah that was then. Yesterday was yesterday. Now see what can be done. Take Brazilian butt lift, Who after all wants sagging buttocks, assymentrical buttocks, small buttocks. Now there is a process, the fat from liposuction, the purest most viable fat possible, is processed by decantation and centrifugation, and then micro reinjected which involves hundreds of injections. For the best results the smallest cannula holes are used because small fat particles make for the best fat grafts. You come in sagging and exit perky, the healthy, elastic skin.
Your own of course. You want other people’s fat in your buttocks. Disgusting.
Under apartheid laws the rules for white private residences were explicit: servants’ quarters had to be across the yard, ‘mean little rooms with a sink and a toilet, No shared walls between white master and black servant, above all no shared ablution facilities across racial lines, racial. On the surface as skin colour as determined by promiscuous melanin that pops up in a whole list of body parts, not just the skin in which its role is relatively minor. As far as skin goes melanin is not so importman but for apartheid, a selectively rigid permeable and violent border, it is body fluids and matter of people with different proportions of melanin that must not mix.
The fear of being killed for the fat in the body inside the skin starts in Peru with the Spanish invasion. Fat was used by Spanish invaders for healing wounds and as a cure for arthritis. A priest in 1571 described Indigenous people near Cuzco as being afraid to deliver firewood to a Spanish house for fear of being killed for their fat to be than used as a cure for a foreign sickness. In the 1950s the story was that Christian monks themselves stole it for fuel for altar lamps or to grease church bells. Then more sophisticated fat-thieves were believed to kill for its use in lubricating industrial machinery “or to provide food for special restaurants frequented by members of the armed forces”. <k>Pishtacos<k> disguised themselves as “white doctors sometimes with black assistants, carrying given to them by the then President.
In other liposuction procedures when the extracted fat is not reused, specialist waste disposal facilities are available. We have progressed a long way since your hungry people and their sores.
Oh really, and what about butt lifts or breast enhancement for the poor. Injected with who knows what oils. The flesh collapsing in sinking lumps never mind the infection. Clots and death if silicon Oozes into her bloodstream. Yes real oozing here.
And besides, not so long after the UN declared the coming truce between humans and infectious diseases. The World Health Organization in 2000 declared microbes had been preparing an underground counter-resistance just when we thought we were safe. The gatekeepers had been opening gates in the interests of biotech industry and free trade, and new pathogens were crossing borders that had been supposed to be impenetratable, like other species to human, and contagions were hitching a ride on the vectors of free trade.
Back then, the gangrenous symptoms from ergotamine in poor man’s bread were reversible so long as some philanthropist fed you good bread, and you had an inkling of how to use the other dodgy ingredient,the darnel, the false wheat, the bible’s tares, of which Gerard the botanist of the time Gerard tells us, ‘the new bread wherein Darnel is eaten hot causeth drunkenness.” Made you tipsy. But Culpepper’s encyclopaedia of herbs tells us also of Darnel “as it is not without some vices, hath it also many virtues…the meal of darnel is very good to stay gangrenes; it also cleanseth the skin of all scurvy, morphews, ringworms, if it be used with salt and raddish roots.” There was help for the skin at hand, help against gangrene but you had to know how to use it. Like with mushrooms. Like with ergot, Knowledge. Pragmatic but localized. And here is my very good friend LSD, notorious and rightly celebrated for bypassing the brain’s gatekeepers with a cure-all mix of he time.
„Nimm das Bries von Pfirsichkernen, Bittermandeln, Schalotten, 1/4 kg Regenwürmer, 5 Enzianbuschen, Aschwurz, Asche, Quecke, Dolden und Wurzeln von Pfingstrosen, Schwarzbeerblätter, Weißes Curcuma, Safran, Kalmus, Nelken, Aloe, Steckenkraut, Teufelsapfel, Ingwer, Muskat, Zimt, Pfeffer, Weihrauch, Carpus Balsam, etwa 60g rote Koralle, 2kg ausgewähltes Theriak, Minze, Absinth, Wermut, die beste Qualität vom Tausendgüldenkraut, Pfirsichblätter. Lauch, Dill, Habichtskraut, Oregano, Wegerich, Raute, Schwarznessel, Sellerie, Lorbeer, Thymian. Salbei und Echten Gamander, Rosmarie; Bohnenkraut, Majoran. Ziest, ungefähr ein Büschel Paradiesäpfel und Orangenschale, Portulak,Gänsefuß, Quitte, Fenchel, Karfiol, Petersilie und Lupinensamen, Roggen (vorzugsweise deutschen), Feuerbohnen, etwa 1 1/2kg Lorbeerbeeren, 900g verbrannte Hörner vom Rotwild, etwas 2l Ochsengalle, 1/2 l sehr kräftigen Essig, Mastix Öl, Parafin Öl, 1 ½ kg Lorbeerblätter und Weizenähren, 9l altes Öl. Es ist erlaubt alles verfaulen zu lassen und wird gemäß der Technik hergestellt.“
Dieses manische Rezept für eine Supermedizin, zubereitet getreu des Prinzips der Akkumulation, sollte gegen „innere Würmer“ helfen. 1728
A little bit of a show-off that one but telling us what was to hand for the pragmatic knowledge which from the point of view of witchunters was to be viewed with suspicion and hostility. Single women whose land someone wanted or they danced too much or were wise women, herbalists and midwives who were the ones who knew about ergot and how to use it medicinally. It’s mentioned in Adam Lonicer’s book Kreuterbuch that appeared back in 1582 how they used as a means of hastening birth labour when this was needed. Using a thimbleful of the ergot ground into powder. Its use was taken up by a New York doctor Dr John Stearns, over 200 years later who in 1808 had a generosity of mind to acknowledge how it had come about.
“It is much to be regretted that scientific physicians have generally held in contempt every medicine that quacks have been in the habit of administering. When we reflect that accident has given origin to the use of our most active medicines and that we are indebted to empiricism for a knowledge of their most useful quality, we should certainly neglect no opportunity of deriving aid to science from this source.” Both sources of knowledge, empiricism and accident, present in the making of my very good friend LSD.
There were such voices at the time. Leonardo Fioravanti in 1577 ripping into the professional doctors of the time, that they should be sent to a whore-house and never let out again, and of how the peasants and the people ‘have so much experience in natural things and know the virtues of so many herbs that ghey know how to treat many kinds of illness” and the women especially have so much practice with medications that they know a world of health giving remedies.” And it can be sure, of hallucinogenics. They knew the hemp, the poppy, berries, stick apples maybe. And these ‘quacks’ knew of henbane causing one to ‘sleep and rave’ and of its hallucinatory properties and black nightshade ‘whose root drunk in wine in the measure of one dram ‘deceptive;y presents images of relly joyous things to the intellect, while a doubling of the weight causes others to stay in ecstasy for three days.’ Mushrooms, psilocybin you don’t hear about in these times, not even the New Age paperback writers. Like anthropologists ‘find’ them in the Americas in the 1940s, and suddenly they appear in Europe as if they’d never been there before.
And as for their visions, I don’t think the poor worried too much about heaven and hell, that was for those with time on their hands to think of such things Maybe there were visions that made them laugh. Made them naughty, sexy. If thre were bad trips they would be of the worms inside them, which is why the gatekeepers made insects prominent in their visualisation of the devil, The Prince of Flies’ who, the devil, was bigged up at this time when the Seven Deadly Sins became the Ten Commandments.But there were remedies for a bad trip, herbs that could alter even frightful and horrible spirits and present them to nature in a welcome and pleasing form: balm-mint, comfrey, lemon balm, birage, ainiseeds soaked in distilled water or comforting and supreme preserves like thoseod orange flowers, betony, rosemary flowers in addition to powders of deer-horn, emerald and coral powders. Course if they were having a real pleasurable and wild trip the gatekeepers would say they were possessed by the devil or devils. Crept in, the skin a useless gatekeeper when the devil could infiltrate its permeability.
That handy character, the devil used a lot when they did fall upon the Americas. Once there the invaders were quickly into the business in sucking out the fat of the land, the silver and gold beaneath. This involved using up people both indigenous and slaves kidnapped from African in unforgving labour living ‘short and brutish lives’. Ancestors of the drug mule with the weeping condom. Then the unforgiving labour was top priority, so that having first banned coca as a devilish weed, they quickly realized that the ban drastically slowed production of the silver they took like gluttons and the ban. They were there for the money. But looting invaders like to think they are both entitled and that they are doing good, Civilizing. The British became world champions it. With the constantly needed slaves from Africa, melanin was a godsend, black was bad, whole conceptiual edifices built on skin colour, and both they and the indigenous Americans perceived as naked. The Indians are so uncivilized that they do not want to get dressed was a typical viewpoint even if Indians in the Andres would die without cloths. Not just uncivilized. They were not entitled to be naked because they were NOT INNOCENT, not with all their devlish rituals. But it did not stop Europeans playing with the nakedness portrayed in engravings of supposed life in the Americas. Let my friend LSD tell you about the Duke of Wuttemberg’s 1599 carnival.
Yes the Duke, from just up the road here, 1599 when King Lear was ripping his clothes of, the Duke has his courtiers dress in skin costumes representing the nakedness of those Americans just like he’d seen in the engravings Theodurus de Bry was turning out to order. Kind of sexy, you know, exotic and the Duke himself cross-dressed for the occasion. Now I quite like some cross-dressing myself but the way he played the game it was all about power, his power which isn’t going to make it a lot of fun. The courtiers had to honour him like he was the unreachable fantasy women, all those courtly dramas, repetitive. All right for him but I still do wonder what those skin costumes were like.
In the Americas themselves people were naked becaue they were depraved and it was confirmed by devilish practices using hallucinogenics, becuse there, they did know their mushrooms, and their cacti, and it must have freaked the priests out seeing how it required care and knowledge, an elaborate set of rituals throughout the whole process from gathering the roots and herbs to preparing and administering the brew. The empowering plants would often poisonous and could have been fatal if not prepared properly. They were up against people, shamans, with very special knowledge and their rituals, like visions this was stepping on their territory and visions which partook of the natural world and its essences, made the limits of heaven and hell, devils and angels look very crude..
In Mexico and they find Tlazolteotl the goddess who is the rock, soil and slime on which they lived but also where they were lowered into in death. A Goddess/!Of slime?! What?!! It’s too much. And showed them just how much they were needed. Exorcism, get it out burst the skin and get such things put, they were the work of the devil. Brilliant, the more of the devil’s influence they percieced, the more urgent the need for them the Europeans.
Their hostility was like that to the knowledge of the herbalist and wise women of their own continent. Talking of hallucinigenics, Paolo Zacchia a 17th century physician to the pope does not hesitate to make the connection.Talking of European herbs he goes on to say “It is certain that there are others not without their effects and especially among those Indians, and other barbarians which are ised by the false priests, convincing the simple people that they see gods and paradise in their dreams, and like those that are also used by witches, who, due kargely tothe property of these ointments , having fallen into a deep sleep, see a few dreams similar to their imaginings and falsely think that they have attended feats and weddings either demons and thei favourites, and have banqueted there and enjoyed the most infamous pleasures.” Similarly a late 16th century priests talking of indigenous Americans taking mushrooms being made to “ believe a thousand absurdities.”
If disgust is a basic in the gatekeeper toolbox, then there’s also the sneer, that’s been the narrative ever since.
The Europeans of that time did not have shamans, but as with the thimbleful of ergot and the dram of nightshade, there was a pragmatic knowledge of dosage and there’’s no reason to think this cannot also have been true of ergot, that prepared right and to the right amount, assuming enough proteins and vitamins in the diet it might be used specifically for communal hallucinatory ‘trips’. Dosage, the good guy gatekeeper.
And this we have with my good friend LSD.
Indeed dosage, 100 microgrammes would be a good start, I want you to have a good time with me, to let go and be safe on your trip.
My origins, yes well they were with ergot, ergot tartamine but I have to tell you there was a bit of luck involved or I wouldn’t be here today, which I’m not so much as I should be. Oh yes, the gatekeepers can see what’s dangerous to their power, they don’t like me at all. But where was I, oh yes, lucky me to exist at all. For start Sandoz AG had a working monopoly on the refined ergot and they’re very straight, Swiss, making money and so they say, doing good in the world. I won’t go into all the details but one derivative was lysergic acid only there were many, many boring versions of it. And my papa, so to speak, Albert Hoffman he went though one, two, three, 23, 24,25 versions and nothing doing, so it seemed you know from a business point of view, of no further interest But Albert, this would have been 1938, he did feel something with Lysergic Acid 25, which is me, accidentally inhaled or something. Anyway, five years later, big war going on all around little Switzerland, Albert has a particular presentiment about me, that’s what he calls it. Goes in to work and tests all his LSDs and mine of course, 25 milligrams, Wow! Mega dosage. He’s feeling a bit funny but then with an assistant bicycles home. Bicycles? Flew more like it by all accounts and then lay down for a beautiful burst of non-stop visual energy, coming up through your feet when you know that you really are part of the universe, throw off the Me-wrapping, and enter a world of sub-atomic particles in motion; the skin buzzing just like the leaf it touches is buzzing, the rock. You’re part of it all which is not ILLUSION, we are part of it all, made out of the same stuff and with our own species, the same, made out of the same stuff, with just the odd quirk.
You know why the gatekeepers hate me so much because of thisknowing and that it’s because I allow parts of the brain that normally keep themselves separate to communicate, work together, the cognitive and the visual, networks that have different functions. Functional functions to keep you on the straight and narrow. Instead, boundaries are crossed. Recently scientists have showed it, neuro-scanning. Who wants their brains scanned, I wouldn’t recommend it, but I’m only telling you what it’s shown. For a time, while you’re with me it undoes all that tight focus on survival in the world-as it-is.The wiring for that, all the separations in your nrain grow rigid, with the heavy, heavy repetition of things as they are. With me for a while, things are not the same, the permanence of things dissolve, they’re on the move, and all that self-importance coming out of the mouths of self-important people, like they’re the only serious people in the world, you can laugh at it big belly laughs, like our friend Rabelais , seeing the fart coming out of the mouth of the President of the Corporation. Laughing loud when you see that deep down the Emperor has no clothes, that he shits like you do, will die like you do. Which I’m a big help with, dying, letting of the solo me
Course I’m only me, just a drug, I’m not Jesus on his cross to save the world, and bad people could use me. Like the CIA, those bastards, they like poking around in your neurons. Tried me as a truth drug, who’s truth is that then? And then, Oh yes, couldn’t resist using it for interrogations could they. Want a bad trip, in a room with crocodiles in suits and button-down shirts when you’ve just parked your ego, and telling you they’re going to keep you like this as long as they like.
Which you would not want. Like I said, in this beautiful and grim world a lot of the time those parts of the brain need to stay separated enough for the things that do need to get done to get done and sorting out what needs to get done first. I’m not taking you to never-never land buy I’ll give you a break from all that me-boundary work, and a break that with a good heart will have a lasting effect for the good, like compassion and tolerance. And an appreciation of what thwre is, sex, eating, the trees in the street. Yes, they’ve got scientists telling us that too, Those Czechoslovak psychotherapists who worked nicely with me, they were saying fifty years ago and more. How a feeling of joy and oneness with others lasts. Yes, Czechoslovaks, Milan Hausner, Stanislav Grof Boris Merhaut and the others working with it from 1956 to 1978, that’s before the Russian tanks rolled in ’68 and AFTER which is also after they’ve stamped down hard on it in the good old USA to make way for all that heroin they were flooding into the cities.
Yes, a bad story what happened to me in the good old USA. It started out all right. Meanwhile it got taken up by who you’d expect, writers, artists in the USA in the 50s. Aldous Huxley gave it good name, Cary Grant, lovely man, was a missionary for it and doctors started using to successfully in therapy for depression.
Mind you, a real snob that Aldous Huxley, the way he saw me was – that offering me to the elite was the way to change society. I don’t hold with that, not at all OK then, Silicon Valley. No ordinary types there, safe with the elite and no doubt functional to their work. I was not made for churning out psycadelic images. I was not brought into this world to be functional to work!
And back then around Aldous’s time there were members of the elite to prove him wrong. There’s no guarantee on my tab, no guarantee that it’s going to be a life-changer. The wife of Time magzine’s owner Clare Boothe Luce a grand dame of the American power elite and having a role in the Reagan government took it, “we all took it, it was a creative group my husnab and I and Huxley and Christopher Isherwood. It was fine by her as long as I stayed with the elite and its doctors, but she did not like the idea of others experiencing it. She was clear about it, “We wouldn’t any everyone doing too much of a good thing.” None of those ORDINARY PEOPLE. Besides, trippers would cease to take her seriously. So that when I went mass scale which is what I wanted and what I still want, Time, Life end the rest of them ran concerted scare stories on the lines of the Mind Drug that Got Out of Control, followed by deaths of those who thought they could fly when they took me the drug, and then with that whiff of terrifying ‘science’ that taking me would DAMAGE YOUR CHROMOSOMES carrying a picture. The gatekeepers were out in force. OK for the politico-cultural elite but not the mass of young people. Nobody died from LSD. But what a recipe for a bad trip, you’re worried aabout your chromosomes, images of deranged babies and it will be YOUR FAULT. Nobody died, it was cheap, thousands for 100 microgarmes could be made from one gram and except for one short period in one place I was never part of the criminal economy. There were no big bucks. Regardless of this and its success in using me with the dying and the depressed, they stamped on it.
There were other gatekeepers too. The doctors of the FDA who went along with the scare stuff and ceded control over me to Drug Enforcement and Drug Enforcement loved more business for themselves and bashing in some heads; Sandoz with drew all of me it had distributed to scientists for research; the police and its politicians made speeches, farts of outrage in compettiton for loudness. They didn’t like me and a politics of mass ecstasy made by Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, them and the Diggers in San Francisco, and money makers and government agents started fucking with my make-up, and finally there was Dr Timothy Leary.
I really could have done without him. Keeper of the flame. Ended up as a snitch. The guru as gatekeeper. Short term he was much influenced by a trip with Huxley me as an experience for the elite only. And at the same time becomes the hype salesman of me as the wonder drug, the solve-all, the only way to spiritual enlightenment. The guru talk mixed in with direct sex appeal marketing via Playboy. Now I do, I can be very sexy, but Playboy, a bit fucking vulgar. And talking of ‘robot behaviour’ when it came to the radical radical politics that was trying to put what I gave into daily practice, yes even while the state was attacking the diggers and pushing bad drugs into San Francisco. Guru talk was the usual snake-oil of personal salvation. Guru talk pressure, like if you had a trip and you had to move up a notch of spiritual enlightenment. Me and pressure don’t go together. Allen Ginsberg the poet discovered tay only started to enjoy me when he ditched the obligation to raise his consciousness to new levels. You know, like he was taking an exam.
Well that’s me, that’s my story. Enjoy me if you get the chance, and unless there’s something bad going on I don’t know about you come out of a trip with me, feeling so clean inside, yes, clean, like you’ve had a good time while all the while shedding some of the old skin, so at peace. Try it some time.