For a period of about a year starting 1974-11-30 I
experienced just about every flaky impossible thing imaginable.
I finally decided to interpret things this way.
Your mind has access to all sorts of information. That information is in the form of
frequencies of various neurons firing -- in other words only extremely loosely mapped
onto what is going on in the real world.
The experience of reality is much like a guided dream, where this information warps
and guides the dream. What you experience is NOT reality in any direct sense. We
presume the connection is much more direct than it is. The consistency fools us into
failing to notice what we experience is a constructed illusion.
Therefore, in principle, you can present information to conscious experience in
whatever way you like, so long as it is consistent. An aura then is just a dream
special effect. It is not really as special as we imagine. In constructing a dream you
can for example construct visually an alarm clock based on the sound of an alarm.
Waking consciousness is not all that much different. It is more a matter of degree how
tightly the dream is coupled with sensory input.
For example blind people navigate by listening to echoes, yet to them is feels as if
their faces have a weak sense of vision. Some native Americans track animals by the
usual ways, but to them it feels as if the information is coming in via their hair.
Dowsers glean information by observing vegetation and geology, but it feels to them as
if a stick were pulling them in the direction of the water. Some people find lost
objects by using logic and memory, but it feels to them as if something were tugging at
them toward the lost object.
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.
~ Albert Einstein(born:1879-03-14 died:1955-04-18 at age:76)
Row, row, row your boats
Gently down the stream
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
Life is but a dream.
~ round song
sung to Canadian babies
We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we
make the world.
~ Gautama Buddha(born:563 BC died:483 BC at age:80)
Though I came to this conclusion via a bizarre route, it is actually just common sense
that ordinary conscious experience has to be a hallucination. Buddha claimed
this and it turns out something as mundane as the study of neurons has shown it to be
You don’t experience reality directly. You experience reality via a
hallucination, a sort of waking dream. Binary inputs coming into your brain on the nerves
are used to modify the hallucination to keep it in sync with the outside world. Much more
of it is constructed rather than perceived than you would suppose. Your reality can be
thought of as an artistic creation as much as a perception.
This is not a new idea to science. Science long ago discovered that there is a hole in
your visual field, that marks the place on the back of the eyeball where nerves exit the
eye. Unconscious visual processing fills in the hole, so you don’t normally notice
it. Similarly, only the fovea, a tiny part of the eye, can focus sharp images. All the
rest is blurry. However, unconscious processing analyses scans over the visual field and
fakes in a sharp image over the whole field. Human vision is a like an elaborate
Photoshop trick. What comes to the eye is information in the form of frequencies of
various neurons firing. The brain converts that into a subjective image. This is not
reality, but a dream-like construction isomorphic to reality.
Scientists discovered that if you set up a Pepsi vs Coke test and don’t tell
people what they are drinking, most will prefer Pepsi (it is a stronger taste), but if
you tell them, most will prefer Coke. This means you are not directly tasting the soft
drink, but rather a blending of sensory data and emotions generated by advertisements
working together to construct which feels like a direct taste experience.
People with synesthesia model reality internally differently. For example, they create
colours to accompany sounds. We think of this as something very peculiar. I see it as
just a variant way of composing an internal model from the available data, not that
different from the ordinary way.
Consider a court case. Everyone describes the same event is a somewhat different way.
How could this come about?
The defendant lies to exculpate himself.
Witnesses have faulty memory.
Witnesses did not get as good a look as they thought. So they unwittingly filled in
details in their memories.
The witnesses actually did experience the event pretty much as they described.
Their own unconscious programming warped the experience, even to the point of hearing
others say quite different words. I believe this happens far more often than we think.
My mother often imagined others speaking in a jeering tone that simply was not there to
Plato’s Allegory Of the Cave about the
prisoners in a cave confusing the shadows on the wall for reality can be looked on as an
ancient attempt to explain the difference between reality and our constructed perception
My Strange Experiences
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
~ William Shakespear(born:1564-04-23 died:1616-04-23 at age:52)
Hamlet in Hamlet Act I Scene v
From the period 1974-11-30 to 1975-09 and later
for a week in 1977-06, I experienced the bizarre. I am not claiming these experiences
were anything but my overwrought imagination, but I promise you I experienced them as
real, usually in utter terror. They may have been triggered by eating a bowl of green
Jello possibly spiked with LSD (d-Lysergic Acid Diethylamide) by a Christian religious fanatic. They may have been
triggered by mania (I am manic depressive and now on lithium.) In 2007 a found out a friend, David L., who
attended that party some years later put LSD
in another friend’s coffee, Louis C. At this point I consider David the prime
suspect. He is now dead, so I cannot confront him.
I have never consciously taken any drug stronger than marijuana. For purposes of your
first reading, please presume that everything I am about to tell you was 100%
hallucinatory and that I am accurately describing the memory of my hallucinationatory
From my perspective, I was feeling and behaving completely normally. I was traveling
through strange alternate universes. The structure of reality was unraveling. It was not
random. Despite how bizarre the experiences sound, I could discover rules governing
For at least a period of a few hours I experienced as real, roughly in chronological
When I was about 12, i.e.
1960, I lay in my bed looking up at a full moon, with
dramatic clouds passing over it. I could hear incredibly beautiful clear classical
music. I could not find the source of the sound. It seemed to be coming from inside
my own head.
When I was about 15, i.e. 1963, I noticed a faint parabolic cone shaped pillar of light atop
Hollyburn mountain in West Vancouver, BC Canada. To the right is a rough depiction of
it I made with PaintShop Pro. The actual pillar was more subtle. I puzzled what it
was, but presumed there must be some mundane explanation for it. I fell into the
habit of talking to it as one might talk to a dog. I gave it a name, Giant, pronounced with a hard G. When
I talked to it I could feel its presence in me. It seemed to have a personality, very
patient, wistful and kind. Our relationship evolved and one day I asked it to make
Ann M. appear at the ice skating rink where I often skated. On cue, she showed up in
the Hollyburn Country Club for the first time as someone’s guest. I did other
experiments asking it to get people to appear at the Hollyburn Country Club. I told
my friends Robbie J. and Hugh. M. and about this and took them to see Giant. I pointed at the cone of light. They said But Munroe (That’s what most people called me back then), there’s
nothing there. I felt deeply embarrassed. I stopped my association with
Circa 1970, I was
hiking back down from Deeks Lake with my sisters and little brother. We got off
course. We peered over a cliff and could see a village below us. The odd thing was
the village appeared to be stuck in a Brigadoon-like time warp. Everything looked as
it might 100 years earlier. They were cooking over a giant
open fire. There were horses and wagons. I had never heard of such a community. How
could they have escaped public notice? How did they earn a living so isolated up in
the mountains? This one has a mundane explanation. A few years later I learned that
McCabe And Mrs. Miller was filmed somewhere in the vicinity. We probably
stumbled onto the set. The main problem with this explanation is we were quite a bit
west of where the movie industry is located in West Vancouver.
I was eating breakfast at the
CPR (Canadian Pacific Railway)
hotel in Edmonton in 1971. There were trays of food kept
warm with alcohol burners. Suddenly I saw people running and screaming. I thought
perhaps some wild animal had got loose in the restaurant and people were
over-reacting. A young waiter ran toward me all in flames. He appeared to be running
toward me in slow motion. I had plenty of time to react. I became extremely calm. I
pulled the boy to the ground and rolled out the flames then poured ice cold orange
juice on his burns. He was screaming words that hinted he had tried to burn somebody
else and had accidentally caught himself afire. Though I am nominally an atheist, I
asked Jesus for divine help in healing this boy. I felt this was very dangerous for
me to do, but the circumstances warranted the risk. He was screaming in pain. I
locked eyes with him and suddenly he relaxed and smiled. A man came by and asked me
if I were a doctor. I said no. He said, I am. I then unlocked eyes and backed off. The boy started screaming
again in pain. I asked the doctor how long the boy would be in the hospital. He said
perhaps three months. I went outside and suddenly burst into shaking and tears. Later
I asked after the boy and discovered he had been discharged from hospital after a
couple of days. His burns had healed remarkably quickly.
In 1972-10, an
elderly couple, ghosts, explained the remodeling that had been done to my house since
they lived there. They were quite with it for their age. They thought Jimmy and I
were cute/sweet. I expected they would be homophobic. The next day I checked it out
and could see faint traces of a door that had been covered over where they said it
ESP (Extra Sensory Perception)
In the middle of the night, I got up with a gut feeling my ex Ben Best needed me. Waking up in the
middle of the night was unusual for me. I wrote him. I later learned his best friend
had committed suicide that day.
In 1973 I was
watching a short at a movie theatre, a documentary on logging. I started to consider
it from the tree’s perspective. These logging machines were hideous devices for
torturing and killing trees. I became quite emotionally upset at the brutality.
The Guy In The Movie
In 1974-07 I
received a brochure advertising an 8 mm porn movie. This was not unusual. I was
active in gay lib and as a result was on all manner of junk mail lists. The movie
featured a handsome, spectacularly well hung black guy. I showed the picture to my
lover Jimmy L.. He too was
quite turned on by the picture. I said, I am going away for a
business trip in Calgary. If you get a chance to have sex with a well hung black guy
while I am away, do it. So will I. We were monogamous, with a playful sex life
full of fantasy and rôle playing. To me this was just a fantasy. At that time,
there were almost no black people at all in Vancouver. You might see one every ten
days or so. I thought it would be fun to imagine such an encounter, but felt there
was almost zero chance of it actually happening for either of us. When I got back,
Jim said, I think you are going to be mad. I had sex a well hung
black guy. Not only that, he is the guy in the movie. It turned out Jim was
not pulling my leg. Don B.
(the porn star) had come to Vancouver on vacation. He went to Have A Gay Stay to
arrange cheap accommodation and David L.
sent him to stay with us. We had a spare bedroom in our house usually occupied by
such a transient as we called our guests. We used to play
tourist in our own city showing gay visitors around. Don stayed with us for about a
month. I will leave out the details, but suffice it to say we had a lot of fun, not
just sexual. Jealousy was impossible since Don was so lovable. During that time Don
and I had long heart-to-heart talks. I learned about the disadvantages of being
stunningly handsome and spectacularly hung. It can be a very lonely life with
everyone relating only to your penis. I was struck by the statistical impossibility
of the co-incidence, not only a black guy but the black guy
in the movie showing up literally on our doorstep. Jim claimed he had created the
event by taking LSD then focusing on Don’s picture. That sounded
pretty far fetched, but Don showing up on our doorstep seemed even stranger. Don and
I sporadically stayed in touch over the years. I don’t think he has forgiven me
for telling the story of this strange co-incidence publicly a few years ago. I
don’t mention Don’s last name because he is now straight and is quite
embarrassed by his youthful indiscretion making the porn movie. I suppose you could
interpret this as answered prayer, by some god other than Jehovah, one not quite so
In 1974-09, I experienced a music of smells,
arpeggios of peach, apple, cherry, that were so beautiful I had an orgasm without
physical contact. I had my head in Dennis L.’s lap at the time. He had told me
he was going to do something mysterious, but gave no clue as to what to expect.
On Being Born
I re-experienced my birth, as if it were
unfolding step by step one night while lying in my waterbed. It started when I began
pondering the phrase contemplate your navel. It started
when I imagined what it might have been like when there was still an umbilical cord
attached to my navel. I could feel a pressure on my umbilical cord, as if I were
having difficulty breathing. I could hear voices of the doctors and nurses. I could
not hear the precise words, but I understood the gist — there was some trouble
with my delivery, but it was reasonably under control. To me, it was like
disembarking from an ocean liner. It would take some time, but there would be people
to greet me. I felt a calm expectation. When I first emerged, the light was painfully
bright. My vision was blurry but I could make out a white enamel tray. I
couldn’t see anything else, just a blurry French blue background. I stared at
this thing in awe. I had never seen an object before. I had never seen anything
before. I wanted to contemplate it for hours. However, somebody yanked me into the
air. I could make out a nondescript gray blob. I wondered what it was. Suddenly a
pulse of energy shot out of it like a flash of light. It felt pleasant, but far too
intense, like an electric shock. It startled me. I assumed it was my Mom viewing me
for the first time, sending me a burst of love. As I was experiencing this, I was
giving my lover Jim a blow by blow description. This triggered a similar experience
in him. For both of us, it was emotionally extremely intense. We
both held onto each other, shaking, wondering what on earth we had stumbled into.
Midwives tell me that births are not this sanguine, so this experience must have come
purely from our imaginations.
Book referral for I Ching: A New Interpretation For Modern Times
recommend book⇒I Ching: A New Interpretation For Modern Times
Greyed out stores probably do not have the item in stock. Try looking for it with a bookfinder.
On 1974-11-30 in the
afternoon, while I was supposed to be preparing for a costume party at our house that
evening, I experienced telekinesis. I threw a pure yang pattern using three coins
(yang is one of the 64 possible I Ching patterns) three times
in succession by focusing my attention on the thought of Dennis Lewsey’s head. The odds of throwing
yang 3 times in succession are 1 in (64)^(3) = 262,144. The
odds of throwing pure yang (no moving lines) are 1 in (8/3)^(6*3) = 46,498,311. As I
was doing it, it felt as though someone or something were holding my head rigidly
fixed in one position.
I was quite excited, saying I would have to tell Dr. Patricia Greenwood, my
probability and statistics prof, that something radically new was happening. Everyone
was busy getting ready for the party and could not be persuaded of the
earth-shattering importance of what had just happened. If it is
that important, it can wait until after the party. I had been smoking
marijuana at the time, so I think they discounted my observation.
The original method of casting the Ching took hours and requires using yarrow
stalks. Another more modern method of casting the Ching is to use a computer program random number
generator seeded by the system clock. The coin method has you throw three coins six
times. You form the pattern, bottom to top, one bar at a time.
I Ching with coins
I Ching Coin Method
TTT (Tut-Tera Teksaĵo)
moving yin, yin moving to yang
yang, male, inspiring
yin, female, receptive
moving yang, yang moving to yin
On 1974-11-30 we had a blossoming into
womanhood party for Lori T. It was a costume party. Jimmy made me a black angel costume. It was a
political statement. Angels should be allowed to be African too. I had a black robe
instead of black skin. Several completely androgynous people I did not know came to
the party dressed in black tights. I had a bad feeling about them, but I could not
put my finger on it. They seemed to be avoiding my Mom who was also at the party. I
asked my Mom to leave explaining that many of the guests were feeling inhibited by
her. There was one strange young man in the kitchen who stared at me and said in a
croaky voice Its all there man, its all there in John in the
Bible. My costume was bulky and clumsy. I did not feel part of the party. I
went downstairs and smoked a third of a joint. As I was walking up the stairs, I
started to feel both extremely stoned and outrageously horny. My billowing costume
hid my hard on. Guests were leaving. I went into hall by the front bedroom and saw my
friend Allan D, a very tall blond guy and John, a bald black man, necking. I said
It’s ok, you don’t have to go I don’t
want to go into details, but suffice it to say an orgy spontaneously happened in the
front bedroom. I saw a guy standing beside the bed wearing a costume of wood with
deer horns. I did not recall seeing him at the party. Then I felt him in my brain,
telling me he would take me over. The pressure was totally overpowering and I blacked
out and forgot about the traumatic incident until a year later. The next thing I
remember is feeling John’s shaved head and it felt so good I thought I wanted
to do this for the rest of eternity. I was so turned on, I imagined my psychic vibes
must be waking the neighbours for blocks around and they would be horny out of their
minds not understanding why. I became alarmed. Why was I feeling this much pleasure?
Surely it must be some addictive drug someone had surreptitiously given me. I went
into my room and started to cry because I knew this pleasure was so strong it would
take over my life. My well-ordered life would be ruined. My sister and her boyfriend
Alex came into my room to see what the matter was. I saw her for the first time as a
fellow human being, equally complex as myself, with a complete hidden inner life. It
was a breathtakingly beautiful moment. I was in awe of her. Alex explained to me that
my mission was to solve the problems of peace and war along with five other people.
Later, Daphne said that Alex had not made such a statement, but that he may have used
some of those words.
I obsessed about spirits inhabiting bodies and people taking
over each others’ minds enslaving them. The idea of body snatching nauseated me
and terrified me. I felt sick at the idea I too might eventually take up the
practice, because its pleasure was so seductive. I seemed sometimes to be people
other than myself, but in my own body. I would wake up in my body clueless how to do
anything as if I had never been here before, though most things seemed to work on
automatic. I was at a loss to explain my sudden utter incompetence to people who
expected me to perform normally. I would hear internal voices bawling me out and
telling me to do things that were painful to do, but would be good for me or the general good, e.g. facing some major fear. I
became paranoid. I wanted very badly to die. To this day I still don’t feel
comfortable thinking about these matters. If my theory is correct, this is the
paragraph that people will enjoy hearing the most.
I n t e n s i t y
I experienced emotions of fear, horniness and joy millions
of times more intense than anything before or since.
I would often get a feeling like someone was
tugging on my head or twisting my head to point in some direction. This was not
subtle. If I followed the direction suggested, I seemed to have interesting
adventures. Sometimes it would lead me on apparently pointless wild goose chases. It
seemed to have a penchant for forbidden places and places I had never been before. I
interpreted this as some part of my unconscious urging me not to be such a stick in
I was at work at Univac
writing some instructions for using a computer program. I kept pruning out the
unnecessary verbiage. I kept going. To my surprise, I ended up with a poem. I
discovered that I could increase my intelligence at will, but the problem was, I
could not easily communicate what I was thinking because it was so tedious to explain
it all long hand in terms an ordinary intelligence person (even myself) could
understand. The other problem with increasing my intelligence was boredom. The sorts
of problem I was asked to work on to earn a living were unbearably tedious. I later
would often have the experience of encountering nominally uneducated people, people I
knew for a fact were not bright, suddenly able to converse intelligently on all
manner of complex topics. It was as if I could induce intelligence and knowledge in
the people around me, even when I was just listening in. It was my choice just how
intelligent a universe I wanted to inhabit. Most of the time, the people I was doing
this to appeared to be unaware of anything unusual. I felt rather foolish about
taking so much pride in my intelligence when it was something so arbitrarily chosen.
Sometimes for a fraction of a second, a
person would disappear and in his place would be a fitting totem animal, the same
size. It usually bore some physical resemblance, similar character traits or a way of
Elevator Hard ons
Sometimes when I was in an elevator I
would mischievously let males in the elevator get hard ons. They would glare
at me in anger, embarrassment and confusion. I was not flirting, touching or doing
anything overtly sexual.
I could link with people, taking on their
beliefs, attitudes, seeing the world through their eyes. My own beliefs would fade
away, remembered but without juice or effect. Unlinking was quite painful.
Spiritual Eye Surgery
I went to see Dr. Bert J, my
optometrist. I was keen on getting contact lenses. He said that I was too cross-eyed
for them. I would have to continue to use glasses. I said, I have
a funny feeling I can fix that. I did a concentration mind-pull sort of thing.
He retested my eyes and they were within parameters to get contacts. He was quite
We drove out to a play along the
winding lower levels highway. I was a passenger in the car. I would focus on the
sound of the engine. By concentrating on the smoothness, the sound would get
smoother and the car would whoosh forward. It seemed I was in some sort of very
tenuous reality where things were only vaguely defined. It was as if I shifted a few
seconds into the future. I could see what was coming up around the next bend. If I
focused on the roughness of engine, it would get rougher. Reality would become more
defined and sharply focused and the car would stop. It was as if I were drifting a
few seconds into the past where choice was gone. I played, shifting back and forth in
time, zooming the car forward, then making it mark time. There was no acceleration
pull when I did these shifts. From the point of view of everyone else in the car, the
trip proceeded at constant speed.
During the play, my limbs and body gradually went
more and more numb. I seemed to be fading out of consciousness. I thought of
Keats’ Ode To A Nightingale:
My heart aches and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
One minute past and Lethe-wards had sunk.
I became alarmed and tried to get my friends to help me. They paid absolutely no
attention. Sensation eventually returned later that night when I held onto a light
bulb. The next day I asked why they had ignored my pleas. Jim said that I had just
been quietly muttering to myself, but had not made any request. I remembered
Roedy as Athlete
I could ice skate faster than anyone else
at the rink. I think of myself as a real klutz when it comes to athletics. Oddly,
this is the event that seemed most impossible and miraculous to me. I imagined myself
an eagle swooping around the rink. My friend Lori T. commented that I looked like an
eagle swooping around the rink. I discovered that I could not fall. Even if I ran
straight for someone, at the last second my body would automatically suddenly do a
spectacular leap around them.
I was reading a book about the life of
Walt Disney. I noticed that words were formed of compounds — little private
puns, e.g. rhinoceros = rhino + cerous = blue nose, character = Char (my
sister’s name) + actor. It seemed as if the entire English language had been
constructed as a private joke for my benefit.
An ongoing terror was why
have a never heard of this before? Surely if anyone else had experiences like
this they would document them. Is this something exceedingly rare? Will some nameless
horrible thing happen to me to silence me before I can tell people about this?
I’m not mad; reality is coming unhinged. I realise now the reason I had not
heard anything was that there is a huge stigma to admitting having such experiences.
I went to foreign films and seemed to have
no trouble following them even if I ignored the subtitles.
If I watched the fireplace, I could
see patterns and shapes in the embers. It was like the child’s game of seeing
animals in the clouds, except the patterns appeared to be actually there, not just
the product of my imagination. It was oddly both exciting and terrifying.
One morning I woke up in what I felt
was an alternate reality. I had no evidence, just a gut feeling. In this reality sex
would be very common. You were socially obligated to invite the mailman in for a
quick screw, for example. I decided to investigate with extreme caution. I asked my
lover Jim what he had done
that morning. He said, I had sex with Dennis then I had sex with Peter. I asked
him to repeat himself because I was so astonished. What’s
so unusual about that?, he replied. I said You sure
adjusted to this new reality fast! The next day I awoke back in my home
reality. I asked Jim about the previous day. He said that he had told me that he had
gone to the library with Dennis and had tea with Peter and that I seemed to think
this very strange. The meta-message was I had a trivial social
interaction with Peter and Dennis. In home reality that translates as
going to the library. In that other reality, it
translates as have sex with. So long as you stick
consistently in one reality you don’t get in trouble. Peter refers to Peter T.,
and Dennis to Dennis L. both now deceased.
I could see
with my eyes closed and see through walls. With my eyes closed people looked like
vertical oval-shaped light-gray clouds. The more interesting people had bigger clouds
— larger than the body. Dull people had clouds perhaps the size of a fist.
People had what appeared to be large Chinese symbols on their clouds. I don’t
I visited a relaxed reality parallel to this
one, where only the relaxed people interacted with me and the uptight ones became
like cardboard cutouts. The grass on uncut lawns seemed brighter. I came across one
of my ex students Wayne, who was a very relaxed sort of guy. He seemed to sort of pop
out of a sea of faces, looking somehow brighter and more intense.
One day I could hear the voice of a friend,
David L., in my head. I felt he was trying to
take control of my brain. I was terrified. My friend Hugh M. suggested daring David
to make me touch my nose, then refusing to do so and I would discover he had no
control over me.
I decided to call David to clear up by growing paranoia. I asked, Did you do anything unusual last night about 5 PM? He replied,
Yes, I tried to take over your mind. I asked, Why did you do that? replied, To show you there
are more things under heaven and earth than you know about.
Pass the Salt
One day I started to focus on all the ways
people manipulate each other. It became quite bleak focusing on just this aspect of
existence. At one point someone said, Please pass the
salt. I noticed that there was almost no way out of this request. I was
forced to pass the salt. The enormity of my slavery weighed on me.
Then I burst out laughing seeing what I was doing to myself scaring myself silly by
looking at reality with a microscope.
I found that by experimenting with various
images while I was giving blow jobs I could drive my partner wild. I made the mistake
of revealing the image when Jim asked how I did that. I had focused on being his
grandfather. He was quite angry.
I discovered that if I could remain calm I
could steer through these
strange realities. Instead of saying to myself, This is
weird! which made things stranger still, I focused on the
normalness — up is still up, red is still red and the reality would mellow
out. I learned to focus on the aspects of the reality I liked rather than the parts
that terrified me. It is a bit like learning to drive. You lurch about and sweat
profusely in terror and embarrassment.
I went to the Robson Square Media centre. I
noticed there was a course being given on some sort of financial matter. I was
feeling mischievous and decided to go down a hall marked no
entry. I was puzzled why this hall would be taboo and what the consequences
would be of exploring it. It lead around behind the room where the class was being
given. I looked in and saw a room full of nuns, all dressed in traditional black and
white, doing some ritual, running around the tables. I was baffled. These were not
the participants I had seen from the front door. Just then a security guard came up
and told me I was not supposed to be in there. I played dumb saying I had got lost. I
left via a door not normally used by the public, directly to the outside. Outside, it
seemed the whole world had turned gay. There were a dozen cute blond young men
dressed in black leather. I am unsure of the number, I just can’t seem to
remember that part properly. I recall thinking that I’m in
heaven. Everyone is cute and gay. I felt very excited. I tried to figure out
why there would be this sudden confluence. I could discover no event that had
attracted them. I went home without trying to pick up any of the boys, though I made
eye contact with a few. I felt queasy at reality behaving in such an unusual way,
even though it was heavenly. This sounds quite dream-like, or something from a
Fellini film. Ordinary reality flowed into it and back out again, all seamlessly.
It was a horribly disruptive
time. I worried that someone had or was giving me drugs. My lover Jimmy could not handle it and left in
1975-03. Later, after his own set of strange adventures, he
said, Someday we should write a book about this. It will be like
Playing with Bodies
One day I was lying in a room at the
Garden Baths. I was bored. Suddenly I found myself up in the rafters looking down
into the various rooms, including mine. A voice that seemed to come from no
particular place chided me for my interest in bodies. I explained that bodies were
very comforting to me. Even if it was like playing with dolls, I found life too
terrifying to give them up.
Skip this one if you are in the least squeamish.
One day I was at the steambaths and I followed a slim older man into his room. I put
my hand on his stomach. A hole opened up and swallowed up my hand, so that my hand
was inside his body. I am not referring to fisting. Then more gaping holes started
appearing over his body. I was totally wyrded out and felt faint. It was as though
the tapestry of reality was under tension and was ripping. I fought to maintain
consciousness and got the hell out of there.
I had an out-of-body
experience OOBE (Out Of Body Experience)
while watching a very dull heterosexual porn movie in Dayton Ohio. In my out-of-body
state I was an arranger. I impersonally arranged a meeting
between me down there and a suitable guy several blocks away. I had a sudden fit of
panic. What the heck am I doing? I’m not an arranger. Plop, I was instantly
back down in my body. A short while later I hooked up with a local black DJ, Jim G.
We spent a week enjoying the pleasures of his big brass bed.
I put an ad in the paper looking for sex. A
guy came over and we started discussing some of the strange things that had happened
to me. I was telling him about speaking purely, the way
things said with a clean intention are metaphors and make sense on many levels that
the author did not consciously understand. A booklet I had written with largely pure
intentions called A Guide For The Naive Homosexual was a metaphor for a
spiritual process. I certainly did not mean it that way when I wrote it. I got
excited and, without thinking, started talking in a power
voice, which is resonant and clear, persuasive and which often frightens
people. I said that some parts of the bible were written purely. He yelped in pain. I
said What’s the matter? He said, I don’t know, but when you said the word ‘bible’ I felt a
sudden sharp pain. He was quite rattled and immediately left.
The Purpose of Life
One night I was lying alone in my water bed,
and started to ponder the great question, What is the purpose of
life? To my surprise, something like a voice answered. It was like a chorus of
many voices, yet not a physical sound. Yet it was not the usual voice in my head I
use when talking to myself. It felt distinctly other. It might be described as a
pattern in the other background sounds, sort of not really there, yet very clear.
This is not anywhere near an accurate description, but imagine a voice created by
modulating the sound of reeds rustling. At any rate it first said, There is no purpose. I felt a hollow sickness. Then it sort of
laughed and said, This is not a bad thing. You get to make up
your own purpose. You are free to choose anything you want. Think about it. It is
much better this way than having some a priori purpose handed to you, but it does
require you to do some work. You have absolute freedom. Your choice is just as solid
and real as any pre-given purpose. So my chosen purpose is to stand up for the
rights of plants and animals. Animals include cetacea, humans and invertebrates. This
includes working to eradicate war, hunger and bigotry. My secondary purpose is
exploration — trying to figure out how the world really works
not just the conventional wisdom about how it does.
I got myself a Bible which I
carried conspicuously in my right hand. I put on an American Gothic straight face. I
walked into a discotheque and walked around slowly with a sort of lurching gate,
lowering my body and stretching out my strides, not quite a Monty Python silly walk,
but getting close. People, of course, stared nervously wondering who I was and what I
would do. I, semi-on-purpose, banged my head into low hanging beam and felt backwards
flat onto my back. Everyone laughed. I got up and walked out.
Roedy as Superman
I was walking down Granville street.
A street person started attacking me, shouting faggot!
faggot!. I just let the blows rain down and smiled at him benignly. It quite
unnerved him. To get away from him, I jumped up on a raised cement flower bed and
quickly ducked down behind it. My assailant, who likely was on some sort of drugs,
waved his arms incredulously in the air and cried out in amazement, He flew away! He flew away!
The Little Old Lady
There was a little old lady who used to
hand out Bible tracts on Granville street at night. One night I went up to her and
said, Don’t you feel a little nervous being in this part of
town at night?Oh no she replied, Jesus is here to protect me. She went on to explain that Jesus was
literally right there behind her, but invisible to me. I decided to humour the old
dear and said, Would you mind relaying a few questions to Jesus
for me? She said Not at all. I was curious what
sorts of answers this little old lady would put in Jesus’s mouth. I asked
Why does God allow all this? I waved my hand at the drunks
and general slease. I can’t recall her answer, but I do remember thinking it
was better than I expected.
I said, But, I can’t be a Christian. I am gay.
She said, No problem. Jesus can change you. Do I have your
permission to let him do that? I thought the idea was ridiculous, but to
humour her I said Sure.
A boyish girl named Sherry with bitten fingernails (which I liked), who dressed in
old T-shirts, who had unusually low self esteem and self confidence, came to stay at
my place preparatory to going to a Living Love workshop. She asked if she could
sleep in my waterbed, just to sleep. I said ok. This may sound strange, but we were having sex before I realised
what was happening. I did not like it. It felt sort of tentative and itchy, like
someone lightly running their fingers down my arm. The next day I went to work at the
BC Hydro research labs. I was so horny I had to keep running to the washroom to jerk
off, over and over all day. I was distraught. It felt so strange to be attracted to
something so unpleasant. This was very embarrassing. How could I get any work done? I
went back to Granville street, found the lady and asked her if there was any way I
could be put back to normal. She said Sure. Sherry later
confessed she had herpes. I was freaked, but unharmed and felt reconfirmed in my
negative opinions of all females.
I experienced exorcism. After months of
denying any occult knowledge, Dennis L’s lover, Fred G. said, Let’s see what kinds of games I can play and held my head. It
felt as if a liquid were being drained slowly from my head, revealing something. I
felt calm, in the psychic hands of many good people who were battling for my soul. I
felt my job was just to remain calm and stay out the way, so I used the TM meditation
technique. The draining gradually revealed something and I suddenly remembered what
had happened the night of November 30 and I confronted my demon.
The demon was a sorcerer that originally lived in central America that supposedly
lived in five people’s minds and once and one had died. That is why it
forcefully invaded me. Its whole purpose in life was to live forever in other
people’s minds without having children. It was willing to endure any amount of
pain and inflict any amount of pain for this goal. The way I look on it now is my
demon was just an addiction in fancy dress, representing the
desire in myself for lasting fame. The exorcism consisted in becoming calm enough to
see the thing and talk to it, explaining the futility of its life philosophy now that
we had love. I persuaded it that it was in its best interests to die. I told Fred
that there were other ones I could barely sense. He said that they would have to wait
for another time. It may be just coincidence, but as I was riding home from the
exorcism on my bicycle I came across a house on fire. I broke into the house and
awoke the occupants. It felt as if the demon had immolated himself after leaving me.
The original encounter with this thing was the scariest event of my life. Getting rid
of it was extremely pleasurable, relief beyond measure. Afterward Fred denied doing
anything other than just holding my head. For years afterward, seeing dolls
representing deer horned native Americans gave me the willies. Shortly after the
exorcism all the frightening stuff stopped happening. Some weird things continued to
happen, but they became much gentler.
Submit to the Will of Allah
One time I was sitting in the
late Tom Meikle’s spacious back yard surrounded by forests. It was a beautiful
sunny day and the birds were singing. An unusual voice that seemed to come from
everywhere spoke directly into my mind. It said that if I were willing to completely
co-operate, to do exactly what it wanted, I could remain indefinitely in the state of
bliss I was in. Even though I suspected it would demand nothing unethical, I
declined, thinking I would get hooked on the bliss and would never be able to break
free should it start requesting unethical things.
I slowed time so that when I first played
tennis I had about a minute to calmly walk over to the ball, plan my shot and get
the racquet angle just right and return the ball. Though I appeared to my opponent
to be running hard, to me it was as if I were running in ultra-slow motion. Later
Fred told me some tennis pros do this routinely.
In 1977-06, I was
sexually curious about street people in San Francisco. I joined a group of them and
pretended to nod off. I heard a young woman explain to her friends she thought she
could use hypnosis or some drug magick to con me into giving her money. I suddenly
jumped out at her and shouted birds!
which I felt intuitively was one of her phobias. I said in a very loud power voice,
Don’t you ever dare try to take advantage of people
again. She was badly shaken and complained she had been physically injured by
this chastisement. Her friends bawled me out saying I had used unfair tactics. This
is one of my haziest memories.
in Berkeley I went to a porn movie called Ultimate Pleasure. It appeared to have been
secretly filmed in my basement changing into a Busby Berkeley-like spectacular with
thousands of humping bodies.
The Impossibility of Suicide
After I walked out of the
movie, I was very distressed that my ex Jim would never talk to me. I rarely even caught a
glimpse of him. I got the notion in my head that he had died on 1974-11-30 and that I had refused to accept it. This explained his
scarcity of appearances. I decided to die to join him. I hid between parked cars,
then when a big truck came by, I jumped out in front of it. There was a pop, then I
found myself standing on the curb, totally unharmed. However, I felt a tremendous joy
inside. I interpreted this to mean I was closer to Jim. So I repeated this twice
more, with the same result. That lead to me experiencing both an extreme bodily
pleasure and an outrageous horniness. I became alarmed, thinking I must have
surreptitiously been given some illegal drug. I ended up in the psych ward of the
Alameda hospital chained in a room without food, water or any form of stimulation for
what appeared to be a month, (actually four days). That was the worst experience of
my life. They gave me Haldol which caused my tongue to swell up blocking my
breathing, which was terrifying. They did not care. I was not a person, just a mental
patient. To me, this appeared to be deliberate torture. I surmised the treatment
works because patients resolve never to let themselves be in a position to be
I lost my ability to speak. I worried I
might be confined to a mental hospital for the rest of my days. How could I possibly
pass for a Nixon Republican — the obvious sanity test of these fascists? One
day a young black man came and took a group of us out into the yard for exercise. We
formed a line passing the ball though our legs. For a few seconds I had a moment of
delicious clarity. I was the entire line, a giant centipede, passing
the ball down my many legs.
There was a patient in the hospital who used to sit
glumly in a corner all the time. I don’t remember his real name. I used to call
him Buddha. One day I went over to him and asked him why he sat there so grimly all
the time. He explained that he was holding up the world. I said I’ll hold it for you to give you a break. He face brightened. He
passed me the world which I pantomimed putting on my
shoulders like Atlas. He then ran off happily. The shrink asked me what I had done to
Buddha to so drastically change his behaviour. I explained how I had entered his
reality. I’m still carrying it.
Black Guys All Know Roedy
In 1978-06, I was on my way to Cornucopia in St. Mary Kentucky. I was
passing through Louisville. Everywhere I went, some young black man would say to me,
Hi Roedy, howya doin’. How did they know my name? I
checked to make sure my name was not visible on by clothing or baggage. I assumed
this was an elaborate practical joke to poke fun of my addiction to well hung black
men. But then how on earth could the folks at Cornucopia have got the entire black
male population of St. Louis in on it? This too has a mundane explanation.
roadie in black slang means friend That pleased me since I consider myself a defender of black
Let it Clap
I was having a metaphysical discussion
at Cornucopia in Kentucky with a woman in 1978-06. She was
claiming we completely create our reality, make it up. I said, you mean that if I said, ‘Let there be thunder’ there
would? Before she had a chance to answer out of clear sky came a huge
Floating on a Cloud
I was having a discussion at
Cornucopia in Kentucky with a woman named M. in 1978-06.
Somehow the world melted away leaving us sitting under a tree as if sitting on a
cloud. I could feel what her body was feeling. It was as if we had become a single
being. It was a delightful, peaceful, tingly, sparkling headspace. I met her again
years later. She remembered the incident too.
Sai Baba and the Mice
I read a book about Sai Baba. I said to myself, OK Sai, you’re on. Perform a miracle. He was known for
materialising vibhuti, an oily ash. I thought some might just appear. What appeared
instead were two cones of sandy dirt (about 4 cm(1.57 in)
tall) in my den in front of the television. I looked for a hole in the ceiling. I
could see no source. I cleaned them up. For several days in a row the cones
reappeared. I could find no source for the sand. About a year later a rubber plant
died and I uprooted it. I found the pot was hollow. This was the source of the sand,
several feet away. Presumably some mice burrowed it out each night and for some
reason carried it over and deposited it in neat cones.
Joe and Rosalie
In 1979-11 I
swam with two adolescent dolphins, Joe and Rosalie and had an opening experience. I
don’t think they would mind me mentioning them by name.
Many times I floated in a tank of
warm Epsom salts in the dark. I could hear my mind chatter like some berserk AM radio
station. I found the only way to shut it off was to listen intently. When I would
emerge an hour later, reality had a heavy profound peaceful feel, completely unlike
You were Better Than the Movie
I went to the Nob Hill
Cinema in San Francisco. It is a gay pornographic movie theatre. The movie playing
was about young men in love with their cars, masturbating on them. I found this
utterly stupid and boring. I noticed people going in and out of doorway by the front
of the theatre. I went down to investigate. It was an unlit hall with pitch black
rooms off it. I could hear sounds of sex coming from the various rooms, but I could
see nothing. I noticed a handsome young man dragging his reluctant girl friend into
the hall. She was wearing a black dress, the sort older Mexican women wear in the
movies. I went up to him and said Do you know what sort of place
this is? This is no place to drag your girl friend. His girl friend piped up
in a squeaky voice I like it. They then started necking. I
wondered to myself, why would they pick this of all places to neck? Aha, the boy is
bi and wants some male attention on the side. I put my hand on his leg to test the
waters. In short order all three of us were on the floor. Her dress was full of slits
so you could reach in anywhere you wanted. She had a firm athletic body and a lemony
body odour. He was a bit reserved, but cute. Suddenly, there was a rap on my head. A
flashlight shone in my eyes. An officious voice said, This is the
manager. You will have to go now. I looked up and saw there we were surrounded
by a ring of people. They started to applaud. One shouted out It
was better than the movie. The boy and his girlfriend raced off eager to get
away from me. I was disappointed given how friendly we had been moments earlier.
I was at UBC (University of British Columbia)
Student Union building sitting under a tree. A group of Hari Krishnas were chanting
and dancing nearby. A little girl walked over to me and gave me a bag of peanuts.
Everything was infinitely peaceful. The universe and I were one seamless whole. The
experience lasted only a few minutes. There is no possible way to put such an
experience in words. It was just too utterly different from anything I have
experienced in normal consciousness. All I can do is wave my hands and hope you too
have had a similar experience.
In 1985 I
was in Bombay India working on a computer program for The Hunger Project. As I was
having lunch, a servant came over and asked if a man could join us. He turned out to
be the owner of Tata, a large company that manufacture red cars, washing machines
etc. It turned out he was Gandhi’s godson. He was astonished that we from the
west knew of Gandhi. He told us stories of life with Gandhi. He then took me to his
private Gandhi museum and left me there alone for an afternoon to look over the
memorabilia. Gandhi wrote thousands of letters by hand, in many different languages.
He did not simply wave his spiritual hand. He worked very hard on the mundane
physical plane. I have always felt a special kinship with Gandhi, partly because he
was assassinated just before I was born and partly because he bravely accomplished
so much to end the second class citizenship of Hindus in South Africa without using
force or violence. I saw myself doing something analogous for the homosexuals. I was
in awe seeing those patterns of ink. It was as though I felt his cool presence. I
felt profoundly peaceful.
In the early 1990s I bought a copy of Anthony Robbin’s audio tapes called
Personal Power. I successfully used one of his techniques called
scrambling to finally stop pining for my lover Jimmy who had left me twenty years earlier. I
deliberately scrambled my sacred memories by playing
them over in my mind forwards and backwards with silly music, at frantic speed, with
Mickey Mouse ears etc. Arthur C. Clarke wrote a science fiction story about a man who
had become hopelessly addicted to a woman named Kalindy when he made love to her
using an illegal emotion enhancer. I felt something similar had happened to me. No
one or no thing could possibly compare with the memory of Jim.
Sai Baba Manifests in my House
Some time circa
1976, I came across a book about Sai Baba and said to
myself, Sai, I hear you can materialise in people’s homes.
Try it here, but find some way to do it so I doesn’t scare the pants off
me. A few days later Sai appeared on TV dragging what appeared to be infinite
amounts of ash out of a limited jar. I have never seen him before or since on TV.
Through the Looking Glass
I met a handsome guy named John
who really, really, really liked me to give him blow jobs. Something odd happened
while we were having sex. The best metaphor to describe what happened was in Alice In
Wonderland where Alice walked through the mirror into a new world. We seemed poised
on the threshold of some portal to a different universe. He was eager to go through
it and I was reluctant. Our bodies had become fused into one, so I could feel what he
was feeling and vice versa. We met some years later and reminisced about this mutual
Here Elevator, Elevator, Elevator
To this day, I can
tell 8 times out of 10 which elevator in a bank is going to
come first. I think I do it unconsciously by analysing the noises in the shafts.
In about 1995-12, Darcy M. came to me to get
a massage. During the massage, I felt beams of healing energy. My
HIV (Human Imumuno-deficiency Virus) was instantly much improved. He then looked out my
window and said What a fabulous view! He waved his hand as
he did this, lo, my mundane little view was transformed into something more intense,
yet it was just the same physically. Darcy said he could not see me again because he
was entering a committed relationship.
PCAN (Pacific Coast Association of Nudists)
My friend Brent K. invited me to come with him to
some sort of pecan meeting. When we got there I
discovered it was not pecan but PCAN.
It was a perfectly standard business meeting, except
that it was conducted in the nude. There was a short, muscular, young black man. He
was the handsomest person I had ever seen in person. He came over to me and said
I am looking for a husband
Do unto others… On 2000-07-20 I was giving a massage to a handsome Chinese boy named Ken.
When I would run my hands down his sides, I could feel the delightful sensation of
hands running down my
sides. It was as if I could feel what he was feeling. It was a delightful, peaceful,
tingly, sparkling headspace. Sometimes people massage me, so it is no great work of
the imagination to guess what my actions would feel like, but I actually
felt it. What is odd is I did not feel the hands on my literal body,
I felt them out there on Ken’s body. It was as if Ken’s body was an
extension of my own. This sort of thing happens to varying degrees quite frequently
when I do massages.
This one has hundreds of witnesses, but is
not that spectacular. In 2001-08 I went to see Astronaut J.
Edgar Mitchell speak at the University of Victoria. Just as he was about to speak, a
large bouquet of flowers seemed to leap into the air slightly and flop onto the
ground, as if prostrating itself to Mr. Mitchell. Mitchell joked that the flowers
were bowing to everyone. I suppose this could have been done with trickery and a
little nylon thread. Granted, the flowers could simply have fallen over, but to me it
did not look like ordinary falling. It was just a little too vigorous. Then
again I have done no experiments kicking over large floral arrangements to study
their expected flight dynamics.
Computers often behave in ways
that are inconsistent with by understanding of how they could possibly behave. I have
been programming since 1963 so I have a pretty good idea of
what expected behaviour is. When this happens, I usually feel sick with fear. It is
partly why I hate Microsoft sloppy, bloated code so much. At some point, I expect
machines to exceed humans in intelligence and it will be a big shock for humans to
get used to it. I keep wondering if today is the day.
It is like going to sleep. You withdraw your
attention from the outside world. There is a faint Star Trek force-field buzzing. You
feel buoyant and that you are about to fall backwards. Then it washes over you. It is
quite pleasant. You come out of it feeling refreshed, with a nice afterglow. It is
like that oceanic feeling you sometimes get when you don’t move after sex.
There is also another feeling associated with it, like being hit on the back of your
neck. Your arms twitch. I don’t know if everyone experiences it this way.
Greyed out stores probably do not have the item in stock. Try looking for it with a bookfinder.
I started sporadically having experiences similar to what you might expect people
would have in future having ocular implants installed and a gradual switchover from
a biological to a virtual or artificial body. Reality became a sort of play I was
making up, then jumping into and playing out.
Starting in 2001-09 I channeled a number
of aphorisms, poems and even some
jokes. There were quite different
from my usual style of writing. Most of them made me cry with their beauty. Other
people didn’t think they were nearly as wonderful as I did.
A few days before 9/11, I dreamed
of an airliner flying through a glass office tower and emerging the other side with
building and plane unscathed. The soundtrack to my
dream was from a 1979 Chanel perfume commercial (
Share the Fantasy
video) with a crooner singing I don’t Want To Set The World On
Fire in which a shadow of an airliner passes over the TransAmerica building.
When the towers collapsed, I was immediately struck by many holes in the official
story and to the similarity to my dream. Thousands of other people around the world
also had precognitive dreams about 9/11 just prior to the
event and many wrote them down, posted them or told others about them before the
event happened. For everyone, these dreams were very disturbing not only for the
content, but the vividness. Barring pure co-incidence, perhaps something that
simultaneously grips the world consciousness is powerful enough to project back in
time. As you will read in my essays about 9/11, a large number of
people had to know about the attack in advance. Perhaps the intensity of such
plotting also produces some sort of ESP
broadcast effect. I find it odd that Christians are so skeptical of these dreamers
even with documentary proof, but will swallow something far more improbable like the
resurrection of Jesus for which there is no evidence or witnesses.
On 2001-09-13 I was riding in the
Skytrain to a have a pizza with Dave B. then go to a VPCUS (Vancouver Personal Computer User Society)
meeting. I was tired and was just on the edge of falling asleep. I was in a blissful
state. Suddenly the train stopped and clicked frame, frame, frame, then took off
normally. It was as if I were watching some 3D movie and the projectionist had put it
on freeze frame for three frames. There were no inertial effects to the train
stopping. It could well have been a dream that
superimposed perfectly on what I was doing just before I fell asleep.
On 2010-10-28 I was walking down the hall in my
apartment. The name Norman Spinrad just suddenly popped
into consciousness very loudly I thought to myself,
who is Norman Spinrad and why is he significant? I went
to ask my room mate if she knew who he was. She was astounded. She said, I was just writing an essay on homelessness and I was quoting from his
science fiction book Child of Fortune . Perhaps she muttered his name
under her breath as she was typing and I subliminally heard her.
I sleep quite a bit. It seems that the themes of my dreams are often correlated to
events she has outside the apartment when I am sleeping. These are not nearly as
clear cut as this Norman Spinrad example.
On 2013-01-12 I had reinstalled Windows and
the Opera browser was misbehaving. The type was way too big, but some words were
inexplicably much smaller. It was just past midnight. I looked in the style sheet to
see if I could see what was causing the trouble. I thought it might have something to
do with whether font sizes were specified in points or ems. Other browsers worked
fine. I went to sleep, planning to explore further in the morning. When I woke up,
the problem had fixed itself in the night. I had not changed the style sheet, the
Opera settings, the Window settings or installed a new Opera version. It might have been a Windows update.
What if everything is an illusion and nothing exists? In that case, I definitely
overpaid for my carpet.
~ Woody Allen(born:1935-12-01 age:79)
At the time, I felt I was on the verge of making some huge scientific
breakthrough. If I could just hang on long enough, I would learn to steer in these
strange realities without scaring myself silly. Was Everett/Walker right with his many
worlds hypothesis, that quantum uncertainty takes all possible branches
creating an opulent fabulously branching tree of realities for you to choose from?
Perhaps Jesus was right that the Kingdom of heaven was at
hand, just a matter of steering toward the more heavenly parts of the possibility
tree of life. I composed an essay describing my empirical theory of how steering works.
when I had my steering thrusters on, I sometimes got a
feeling like I was on a boat gently rocking.
I went to see a psychiatrist, Dr. Eric L, our childhood neighbour. He said
You hallucinated everything. I said, But
everything looked just as real as you do now. How can I tell hallucinations apart from
reality? They were solid, 3D, in full resolution, no details missing. I have
witnesses, at least to some of this. I have photographs of the people involved. He said
Then you must have hallucinated the witnesses agreeing with
you. Without a tool to determine when I was hallucinating, other than weirdness, I
felt this view was not going to be much help.
How could hallucinations be so perfect? Where did all the detail come from?
After years of fruitless mulling and reading about all manner of spirituality, I put
the matter on the shelf and only rarely took it out to think about. Geneva H. came to
visit me in 2000-05 and she started asking questions about that
period of my life. Suddenly, it all came together. In a sense the psychiatrist was
right, but what he left out is that ordinary waking consciousness is
also a hallucination, a sort of dream. I decided to write this
Imagine yourself being a brain trapped in a dark skull. All around you
are millions of little neurons bringing information about the outside world. They wink on
and off with electro-chemical energy. When one neuron winks on and off very fast it means
the tip of your big toe is too hot. When another does the same thing it means green light
is landing on a certain spot of your eye.
You, as brain, have to make some sense out of this giant mess of winking neurons and
somehow weave it into a seamless whole, that experience we call consciousness. You create
a model/idea of reality from this binary information. You don’t experience reality
directly. You never experience anything but an idea.
Even you, or more accurately the experience of you, are an idea. And
like any other idea, in some sense, you don’t exist unless you are thinking about
Your conscious experience is necessarily a creation, similar to a work of
art, considering the unpromising raw ingredients — neurons twitching.
There are other possible sources of information to create the experience, memory for
example. We might see a spider or see a piece of lint depending on which we remembered was more probable
to appear on the carpet.
It seems plausible we have some sort of weak psychic link with people we are
emotionally involved with. This too may feed information into the soup.
The seamless internal experience we create has visual, auditory,
emotional, tactile parts. However, there is no hard and fast rule that says
only information from the eye neurons is allowed to influence the visual
parts of the experience.
Just look into a beloved’s face in flickering candlelight and watch it change,
based mainly on your imagination.
Rare people see sound, or hear light. We all do a similar magic, mostly superimposing
memories, beliefs and emotions onto what we see and hear.
Some people routinely see auras (clouds around people’s heads that
indicate the emotional and spiritual state of the person). Some would be terrified if
they saw auras.
Auras are a way of displaying information. The information can be gleaned in
many different ways, not necessarily from photons. Some people display this information
to themselves as auras. Others may display it as various feelings of comfort or pain in
the gut. Some, such as myself, feel it as a tug.
It is a creative choice. Only when the usual choice is disturbed do
we become aware of the process.
My Weird Stuff
I see nearly all the weird things that happened to me as a result
of playing around with the way I internally present data to myself. I just used more
dramatic cloaking than I am usually comfortable with.
For example, for my out-of-body experience, I did not necessarily float to the
ceiling, but I presented the information I had gleaned about the theatre as it would look
from the ceiling. That little view transformation was trivial compared with the
unconscious effort of gleaning a 3D model of all the parts of the theatre.
This photo taken around that time shows some of the intensity, pain, terror and
Simply being aware that your ordinary reality is also a
hallucination, loosely based on information you received about the outside world, might
tend to make you less dogmatic.
You have probably seen how witnesses at a criminal trial all present wildly different
descriptions of the wrong doer. They are not necessarily lying. The internal experience
is nowhere near like camera-like, especially as remembered.
My late mother used to hear mocking intonations in others’ voices that to my
ears simply were not there. She had absolutely no doubt about what she was hearing. If
she realised that her perception of voices was a hallucination warped by beliefs and past
experience, perhaps she could have allowed in a sliver of doubt.
Your mind is so good at filtering out information you don’t want to hear or that
overwhelms it. You never have a complete picture. It is good to know your internal map of
reality can be inaccurate and does not necessarily jibe with anyone else’s.
Also steering is useful to know to steer
through life’s mundane realities. Focus on the strawberries you like, not the
tiger’s you don’t and generally life will give you more strawberries and
fewer tigers. You are giving your subconscious instruction on what sort of experiences
you want it to create for you. Even if outside reality does not change in the least, in
your inner experience there will be more strawberries.
I knowingly met my first gay people on 1969-08-08. Very rapidly I shed all the negative beliefs I had swallowed
about gays. I quickly set about to tell other closeted gays like myself about these lies,
and how it was possible to meet fellow gays. At the time I had no support inside or
outside the gay community. The gays wanted everything kept secret, even the gays I helped
wanted the door slammed shut after them. I believed I had absolutely no chance of
success. However, I set out anyway, just because I felt it was the right thing to do. I
became chairman of G*A*T*E (Gay Alliance Toward Equality). We did hundreds of lectures
and lead demonstrations, most notably during the 1972
provincial elections where we got front page coverage every time we confronted a
politician who could be counted on to become addled in his fury and say something
newsworthy. The NDP (New Democratic Party)
won the election and rewarded us for humiliating the Socreds with the first gay rights
legislation. I was dumbfounded. How could the world change from 100% hate toward gays to giving us legal protection is just a few years?
Gay rights rolled on without much effort from me and now we can marry. Back then, I never
dreamed such a thing could possibly happen in my lifetime. The metamorphosis seems so
preposterous, I have at times wondered if the world did not really change, but somehow my
action took me to an alternate reality. In hindsight, acceptance of gays seems
inevitable, but back then what I was trying to do looked utterly impossible. This lead me
to imagine that ending hunger would be a peace of cake in comparison since who wants
hunger? It turned out to be much more intractable.
My engineer father, who was not given to flaky
beliefs, claimed that if he was sitting in a movie theatre, by concentrating on the back
of the neck of somebody sitting a few rows down, the person would soon begin to fidget
and scratch the back of their neck. It should be fairly simple to see how long it takes
for someone to fidget that way with and without the concentration.
When you have an experience of unitively merging with another, you can ask later if
the other person experienced the same thing.
I have noticed that being on live TV or radio is highly exciting. It is subjectively
different from other forms of excitement, a feeling of being more fully present. I have
wondered if there is some feedback. Does the attention of that large audience directly
affect you? You could test this by monitoring the heart rates etc. of people in a studio
audience and see what happens when:
You put the camera on them and they notice.
You put the camera on them, but they don’t notice.
You put the camera on them, but don’t put the feed out to the public.
When I went under anaesthesia, I felt my consciousness fade away to nothing.
Consciousness then seems to be at least measurable on a scale of 0 to 10 subjectively.
What if I rated my consciousness under various conditions, e.g. going under anaesthesia,
while on live TV, while meditating, while experiencing cosmic consciousness etc. At the
same time you monitor every bodily function you possibly can trying to find something
that correlates with my subjective measure of consciousness.
Once you have a way to measure something, you can make strides understanding it.
Unfortunately whatever you measure may not correlate in other species or computers. You
can’t discover anything this way about the consciousness of anything but
Physicist Roger Penrose of the University of Oxford, UK and psychologist Stuart
Hameroff of the University of Arizona in Tucson have proposed that consciousness might
arise from wave-like quantum-mechanical effects involving protein filaments called
microtubules in nerve cells. Other physicists pooh-pooh the idea saying the quantum
decoherence has nothing whatever to do with human consciousness, that the idea got
started when John Von Neumann speculated that the act of taking a measurement which
collapsed the Schrödinger
wave function, making concrete a nebulous possibility, may have something to do with
consciousness. The notion sounds silly if presume only humans are conscious. But then
nothing follows common sense at the quantum level.
You might check out correlations in people’s reported experiences in cosmic
consciousness. Is there consensus on what it like to be a donkey, computer or turtle?
This work best captures the elusiveness of this great mystery. This is a modified translation with new photographs. I have not seen it, so I cannot comment on how it compares with the original. The photography in the original is a delight.
It is a beautifully ethical book and reassuring to anyone terrified by these strange experiences. I’ve met Stephen several times. I am quite convinced he lives in a slightly different reality from most of us, where little miracles happen. My copy of this book has totally fallen to pieces I have read it so often. Stephen is a hippie guru. He argues strenuously for both inner and outer honesty and taking responsibility for the care of the entire planet. I have read my copy of This Season’s People so many times it has literally fallen apart. He founded a community called The Farm in Tennessee. He ran for US president in 2000. I met him several times when he came to visit Vancouver. Reality bends a little in his presence.
If you ever get a chance to spend some time with this woman in the flesh, take it. She is something else. She has some pretty off the wall beliefs, e.g. it is possible to be immortal. She has some way of inducing feelings of ecstasy and wonder. Her book talks about how your thoughts create your reality, not just your subjective reality, but your consensual reality. This book is mostly suggested affirmations to improve your relationships. I personally have not had much success with formal affirmations, but it is nice to have a framework to explain how thoughts (positive or negative) create your personal reality.
Online bookstores carrying I Deserve Love: How Affirmations Can Guide You to Personal Fulfillment
This is an unusual book, about how different cultures experience the natural world. Our experience depends much more on our Western cultural conditioning than we would ever imagine. It also tackles the slippery question what is consciousness? It is one of the few books I have seen that tackle the same subjects as my essay called Experience Is A Hallucination.
The truth surely is what we may ultimately come to do is destroy the particular type of life as we know it. If that happens, then, of course, our species would die off (alas, taking make other species with it): in the grim final analysis, the problem would be self-correcting. The earth can be a stern as well as bountiful mother and were we to disappear she would have the ages that belong to her in which to restore herself before giving birth to other orders of life. Earth’s song will go on whether or not we are part of it. ~ Paul Devereux
Online bookstores carrying Re-Visioning the Earth: A Guide TO Opening The Healing Channels Between Mind And Nature.
On 2011-12-14 I read Sam Harris’ The End of
Faith. I was surprised to find him expressing on page 41
the fundamental idea of this essay, as if it were the most ordinary thought in the world,
something completely mainstream.
Book referral for The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason
recommend book⇒The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason
Greyed out stores probably do not have the item in stock. Try looking for it with a bookfinder.
Article on Parallel Universes: physicists are taking seriously several types of
parallel universes, including quantum many worlds, Level 1 (other universes like ours),
Level 2 (universes with different values for universal constants) and Level 4 (universes
with different physical laws).
I spent thousands of hours trying to make
sense of these strange experiences, trying to find some explanation for them. I
eventually gave up, deciding they were just sound and fury
signifying nothing (Macbeth Act V Scene V).
If you think I am absolutely mad, you probably won’t have read this far. You
have probably read of Carl Jung’s notion of synchronicity. I will hazard a guess
that for most of your life, as in mine, there was very little synchronicity. Anything
weird that happened could easily be attributed to co-incidence. Then there were other
much shorter periods, where synchronicity was extremely frequent, absolutely undeniable,
and I don’t mean in that goofy Christian sense of considering it a miracle that
there are forks in the drawer, just when you needed one. This is a very slippery
phenomenon to study. It is a bit like trying to learn about the world using only your
peripheral vision. There is a tendency after these periods to discount them in various
ways. They are part of your life experience. They deserve to be understood just like the
majority of your experiences. If you are deeply ashamed of something, you can never study
it. If you pretend it never happened, you can never study it. Those who have never had
such experiences or have had them only rarely, harrumph at others who have, claiming the
experiences were in some way invalid, that they were made up. They may well be purely
mental phenomena, but that is no reason to refuse to study them.
If you have had similar experiences or you have other ways of interpreting them please
email me via email. If you have any thoughts
on their significance, please share that too. Please let me know if your correspondence
is for public posting and commentary, or purely private.