The New Science of Psychedelics by David Jay Brown.
Review by Steve ‘fly agaric 23’ Pratt.
“Cosmic Trigger is where I first encountered controversial psychologist Timothy Leary’s eight-circuit model of the brain and psychiatric researcher John Lilly’s radical ideas about programming the brain as though it were a computer. These models became two of the primary maps that I have used to navigate my psychedelic experiences, and Leary introduced me to many other important ideas, which we’ll be discussing in more detail later in the book. What’s most amazing for me is that later in my life, years after I read Wilson and Leary’s work, I was fortunate enough to become good friends with these two incredible gentlemen, and they both played an integral role in my work.–David Jay Brown.
In his latest book, David Jay Brown ignites the neural synapses and builds a web of psychedelic intel. Leaking some of the most scrumptous mind spray and zesty juices from the psychedelic ‘happy’ mutants, the book oozes with goo and liquids beyond description. I found buckets of crystallized optimism concerning the future of psychedelic research and shared livingry. DJB on the cuts and on beat. To paraphrase Bob. Hurray for the optimists!
Brown presents the reader slices from an array psychedelic scientist/gangsters/mavericks, who stick up the reader with surprise noises, snatching them hostage with strangely delicious ideas, tying them up with super-guts and silly-string while demanding their ransom be paid in full, the price of your mindscrape. A cooler-roaster of a ride, the greatest hits of Psychedelic Science future bound. An refreshingly honest series of life adventures, way out there and back here with the sentences to make his experience true enough.
I would like to simply reproduce a small section of the book, and let Brown entice you: “In the book I quote from my interviews with luminaries such as Terence McKenna, Robert Anton Wilson, Timothy Leary, John Lilly, Allen Ginsberg, Jerry Garcia, Ram Dass, Noam Chomsky, George Carlin, Deepak Chopra, Ray Kurzweil, Andrew Weil, Jack Kevorkian, Edgar Mitchell, Albert Hofmann, Stanislav Grof, Joan Halifax, Alex, Grey, H. R. Giger, Simon Posford, and Rupert Sheldrake. Some of the varied topics explored in the book include the interface between science and spirituality, lucid dreaming, time travel, morphic field theory, alternative science, optimal health, what happens to consciousness after death, encounters with nonhuman beings, the future evolution of our species, and how psychedelics affect creativity.”
A delight to read for anyone who follows Dr Robert Anton Wilson and Timothy Leary, Brown performs by example his reiteration of the founding principles of psychedelic science and consciousness studies, roughly ‘Think for yourself, and question everything, especially authority”.
Here are gathered great magicians of consciousness metaphor and living language, an embodiment of the scholarly compassionate ones IMHO, contextualized by somebody who knew them and their works well, and can hump the torch of a new synthesis in 2013. Cheers David.
The New Science of Psychedelics and Giambattista Vico.
‘The human mind is naturally inclined by the senses to see itself externally in the body, and only with great difficulty does it come to understand itself by means of reflection. This axiom gives us the universal principle of etymology in all languages: words are carried over from bodies and from the properties of bodies to signify the institutions of the mind and spirit.—Giambattista Vico, Science Nuova, The Elements.
David Jay Brown, produced a kind of ‘tale of the tribe’ in blending his own experiences with insights gained from those great thinkers around him, and placing them in recent historical context with a particular focus on the psychedelic sciences. David J. Brown, I am very pleased to tell you, seems a happy mutant of the Robert Anton Wilson tribe, and pays particular homage to RAW who permeates the entire text IMHO. So, I dedicate this review to some expanded RAW tentacles.
The Italian Hermetic philosopher Giambattista Vico, outlined a New Science for the changing landscape of humanity, thought, history and language taking place in Europe during the Renaissance. I get the impression that Brown is rubbing up on Vico by using the term ‘New Science’ in his book ‘The New Science of Psychedelics’ and indeed, the sudden explosion of psychedelics and the decentralized philosophy of ‘Psychedelic Science’ across the planet, heralds the possibility of a new beginning (bigending?) which brings and slings many challenges and hurdles and roundabouts, to leap over and swing with, together, with the promise of a cohesive tolerant and pluralistic humanity (tribe) utilizing the planets pharmacopeia for fun and for profit.Why not?
While reading the book, I started trying to reduce some of the recurring themes into general terms and simplified ideas, as stoners often do…searching for short slogans that encapsulate what I view as the most important messages.Take for example, the subheading of the book: At the NEXUS of Culture, Consciousness and Spirituality. This NEXUS: Origin: 1655–65; (Latin nexus, a binding, joining, fastening, equivalent to nect ( ere ) to bind, fasten…) yes, precisely.
This vortex of connectivity and links reflect my own study of a particular NEXUS of culture, consciousness and spirituality, as defined by Dr Robert Anton Wilson: The Tale of The Tribe. Interestingly to me, RAW and his ideas permeate this book in almost every paragraph, to my RAW biased perceptions but of course, Brown and RAW were good friends for over 17 years and fellow researchers in the field so in some sense this book ‘TNSOP’ tells us much about the tribe (all around the world humanity), and includes wisdom from Dr Timothy Leary and Allen Ginsburg, both of whom were specifically familiar with the tricky concept as it pertains to Ezra Pound, Marshall McLuhan, James Joyce: a modern verse epic including history and more. Plus, Brown met and studied the works of Buckminster Fuller closely, who is another node within RAWs wheel of historical hermetically charged genii.
Joyce is widely noted as being the most famous interpreter of Vico, and for me RAW is in direct line after Joyce as expanding some of Vico’s ideas into formulations and sentences that cut right into the 20/21st century, and, in this instance, illustrate how ahead of his time Vico and The New Science were in their formulations, not forgetting how liberty, humanity, tolerance and equality tend to ooze out, helping us to solve many problems today.
“What Vico is here drawing attention to is the sheer unhistorical character of many accouts of the past. They are lacking what Sir Isaiah Berlin has called ‘historical perspective’, i.e. any recognition that at different times in the past men’s mental and intellectual abilities have varied widely and that the sorts of knowledge that could be formulated and used I one age could not be formulated and used in another.” Leon Pompa, Vico: A study of the new science.
Vico is just one character among a dozen that RAW pinpoints as a major node in his Tale of the tribe Nexus. I hope that the psychedelic science researchers and those engaged in the new emergent approaches to the big questions will reconsider RAW and ‘The Tale of The Tribe’ for guidance and some rare hermetically charged historical perspective, lovingly balanced and deployed like a gang of sexy loving Ninjas.
One example of TTOTT condensed wisdom is taken from Allen Ginsberg and also quoted in a recent review of Davis Jay Brown’s book. This quote presents insight into the decentralized philosophy of Giordano Bruno (and Vico), with overtones of Nietzsche, Joyce, Pound and McLuhan, with whom which Robert Anton Wilson also liked to equate global decentralized internet, by bend and swerve of TTOTT. We may also reconsider the lofty aims of Bruno and Vico in unifying and making peace between religions, OMG, by way of better communication and translation of ideas and with balanced humanitarian value systems.
“No, no, no, absolutely not. None of that bullshit! No Gaia hypothesis. No theism need sneak in here. No monotheistic hallucinations needed in this. Not another fascist central authority . . . You’ve got this one big thing. Who says it’s got to be one? Why does everything have to be one? I think there’s no such thing as one—only many eyes looking out in all directions. The center is everywhere, not in any one spot. Does it have to be one organism, in the sense of one brain, or one consciousness? The tendency is to sentimentalize this idea into another godhead and to reinaugurate the whole Judeo-Christian-Islamic mind trap.–Allen Ginsburg, in conversation with David Jay Brown.
The decentralized philosophy that runs, with an emerald hue through the current of ‘Hermetic philosophy’ from Ficino to Bruno and Vico (maybe the last great Hermetic Philosopher) up to the present cypher-punks incarnations, seem to me, to have related principles in physics, cosmology, psychology and social philosophy. Sure. And, I might add that i think that the psychedelic sciences which may include, neuro-physics, psycho-pharmacology, botany, Anthropology, linguistics, magick, painting, MUSIC…which are also in resonance with the Hermetic principles make sense, cohere with a snuggy fit, when viewed with a decentralized pluralistic set of models, flushing the centrist reductionist atomic singular conclusion, or the empirical tyrannical certainty of authority, down the tube. What is the relationship between the individual and the state?
“The decisive sort of proof in our science is therefore this: that, once these institutions have been established by divine providence, the course of the institutions of the nations had to be, must now be, and will have to be, such as our Science demonstrates, even if infinite worlds were born from time to time through eternity, which is certainly not the case.
Our science therefore comes to demonstrate at the time an ideal eternal history traversed in time by the history of every nation in its rise, development, maturity, decline and fall. Indeed we make bold to affirm that he who meditates this Science makes it for himself by that proof it had, has and will have to be. For the first indubitable principle posited above is that this world of nations has certainly been made by man and its guise must therefore be found within the modifications of our own human mind.”—Giambattista Vico, Scienza Nuova. P 344.
James Joyce dazzles with his customized ‘Hermetic principles’ at work in his great work of cypher-punk science fiction: Finnegans Wake, and it is here. with some help from Dr Wilson that we can see the holographic principle emerging as a connecting principle between Hermetically inclined innovators, and I would add psychedelic scientists of the 21st century. Nurosiphpuqz. Mutants, the others.
Today, with the advanced state of alchemical tools both organic and software based, anything and everything our psychedelic forefathers and mothers imagined is at our fingertips, at least temporarily, in alternate virtual spaces. However, the goal of preserving the biosphere and providing all humans with an equal footing in life seems in dire need of help, and some new ideas and new directions and maps. Maybe The New Science of Psychedelics, as a broader movement can ignite the sort of brave imagination required to build our psychedelic peace-planet, here, right Facebooking now. I hold out the same species of hope with regards to the ideas and works of Robert Anton Wilson, and specifically his ‘the tale of the tribe’, and by osmosis of David Jay Brown, who reconnected some of these ideas into a new 2013 Nexus. Nice one.
Words simply cannot describe what a thrilling experience this was for me! In 1989, I moved to Los Angeles, where Bob and his wife, Arlen, were living at the time, and I became good friends with them. I dedicated my book Virus: The Alien Strain to Arlen. I began going to regular weekly gatherings at Bob and Arlen’s home, where a small group would read and discuss mind-expanding ideas. We read virtually everything that James Joyce had written, Ezra Pound’s The Cantos, each other’s writings, and Bob’s books. We watched Orson Welles’ films and talked about quantum physics and primate politics.–David Jay Brown.
Steven ‘fly agaric 23’ Pratt.
http://ettt.wikispaces.com/ (My ‘tale of the tribe’ wikispace)