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Subject: What I Did For My Vacation [LONG]
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This was originally an article written for an Australian student
union magazine, *Semper Floreat* ([email protected]
, I think), but
it was judged too long and too much like an essay on `What I Did During My
Holidays' (which in fact is what it is). So instead of cashing my cheque
from Semper, I am indulging in the unique form of vanity publishing which
Usenet News offers. I am also publicizing the fact that this document
forms part of the TRAVELLING SCRIPTURES OF THE CHURCH OF V\R, the rest of
which you really ought to find and read. (If your neighborhood ftp site
doesn't stock it, *demand* that they acquire it; they will be able to get
help from [email protected]
THIS DOCUMENT IS UN-, ANTI- AND OTHERWISE NOT-COPYRIGHTED 1992. As Robert
McElwaine says, "UN-altered REPRODUCTION and DISSEMINATION of this IMPORTANT
Information is ENCOURAGED", nay DEMANDED!
`Life at a university with its intellectual and inconclusive discussions is,
on the whole, a bad training for the real world and only men with a very
strong character surmount this handicap.' (Sir Paul Chambers, Chairman of
ICI, Chuter Ede Lecture, 1964)
The phrase `real life' is often used to mean `everything which can be
relied upon to distract and disillusion any young person who still has
hopes, ideals and ambitions'.
STUDENT RECEIVES WINDFALL, SEES WORLD
In 1991 I won a return trip to London and $2000 spending money. By the end
of the year I had spent my spending money on rent and on a portable computer
but still had no idea what I wanted to do on my first journey beyond
Australia. But eventually I conceived of an itinerary passing through
California, the American Midwest, the UK, and then home via the Earth
Summit in Rio de Janeiro; and with the help of a last-minute loan from my
mother, and the sale of my computer, I left Oz on Australia Day, April 25.
Sunday, April 26: "I am now seated at the entrance to the massive clock
tower at UC Berkeley (where I have also seen my first squirrel...)..
"When I arrived in SF proper, I spent a few hours just wandering around
the city centre. I was surprised by how clean & wide the pavements were - the
1st property maybe explained by Apr 25 being Earth Day - today it all looked
filthy." (I was also surprised by the nonchalance with which pedestrians
treated traffic, strolling out across main roads, and later read an editorial
in a local paper decrying this, but it has been suggested to me that perhaps
the drivers are cautious owing to the possibility of lawsuits.)
"There were quite a few people panhandling, but they looked OK, so I
thought, `Descriptions of the American apocalypse have been greatly
exaggerated.'" (Written *before* the Rodney King verdict, and subsequent
rioting...) "In the evening went to the FNB ?punk benefit" (a benefit for
Food Not Bombs, a San Franciscan organization to feed the homeless, that
featured local groups) "(featuring MDC, Naked Ape, & Gecko Velour) - met 3
"Leaving, met Rod who had been sleeping there." (in the college where FNB
had their show) "Said he was 27, ex-vet, ex-psych student in ?Wisconsin,
`only problem is alcoholism'; had been to Oz while on tour of duty. We & Tom,
spaced-out looking guy who was actually pretty alert and very knowledgeable
(at least about LSD), went to Carls Jr, Zim's... ended up coming to Berkeley,
where I saw paper on Whole Life Expo, went back to SF, decided not to enter
(but missed RAW, TMcK day before, and Kathy Acker at poetry reading elsewhere
*gnash, gnash*); it was 23rd anniversary of People's Park today, festival
I have yet to check out." (RAW and TMcK are Robert Anton Wilson and Terence
McKenna, two "underground" figures who will pop up again later in the story.)
"During night wander with Rod & Tom, passed through Tenderloins, passed
~15 m from woman being assaulted by group of men; many people tried to sell us
crack. Ran across guy in park looking for Brillo." I am told Brillo is a sort
of steel wool pad; Rod explained that the guy would have been looking for
some Brillo in order to break up his `rock' of crack, so he could smoke it.
I spent a few days in San Francisco and Berkeley, during which time I
visited the Haight-Ashbury district (home of the hippies in the 60's), logged
into "SF NET", a computer network with terminals in a dozen cafes, bought a
dozen books in Berkeley, and slept in public parks and shop alcoves like
everyone else I talked with. Then I caught my flight to the Mid-West. Just
as I disembarked at Chicago, I first heard of the L.A. riots.
COMPUTERS AND THE WORD OF "BOB"
In 1991 when I was doing some Computer Science subjects at UQ I had a chance
to use the "Internet", a global "network of networks" linking together
hundreds of universities around the world. I was able to log on to bulletin
boards in the United States and "talk" (through the keyboard) in real-time to
people who were seated at terminals in America, Europe, Israel, Japan...
Most of my net friends attended universities in the American Mid-West, and I
spent the next three weeks travelling through Minnesota, Indiana, and Iowa on
Greyhound buses, trying to meet them all.
(Most of my reading en route was supplied by the writings of Avital Ronell,
which I had discovered while in Berkeley; born in Czechoslovakia, she came by
way of the streets of Paris to California where she now resides, writing
about feminism, technology, the state, the war on drugs, Nietzsche, Heidegger,
Derrida... I haven't seen either of her books, "The Telephone Book" and
"Crack Wars", on sale in Australia yet, but keep your eyes open.)
I spent a week in Bloomington, Indiana, on the campus of Indiana U., but
most of my time was spent in libraries, buying books, and on the computer
network. Under the watchful eye of the librarian at the Lilly Library I was
allowed to peruse `The Game of Life' by Timothy Leary - the Harvard
psychologist whose experimentation with and later advocacy of psychedelics
landed him in jail for six years (he's now out and travels around speaking
on self-directed evolution and virtual reality); this book from the late 70s
outlines informally but encyclopedically his model of human and posthuman
psychology and evolution, mapping a path from amorphous protozoon to fusion
with quantum galactic intelligence, peppered with cartoons of Henry Kissinger,
Woody Allen, Richard Pryor, and other famous primates along the way, there
for didactic value. I would not be surprised if there were no copies of this
book in Australia. In my opinion Leary is one of the century's most original
and important thinkers... the way he has changed over the years might be
summed up by his changing slogans:
in the 60's: "Turn on, tune in, drop out";
in the 70's: "SMIILE: Space Migration, Intelligence Increase, Life Extension";
in the 80's: "Think for yourself, and question authority";
in the 90's...?
I was also offered the chance to try Bloomington acid, but that never
Iowa City is the home of ISCA BBS (Iowa Student Computer Association
Bulletin Board System), my favourite and most-frequented bbs. There I stayed
at the `House of Chaos', an anarchic establishment reminiscent of many student
households I have seen in Brisbane (with the exception of the Sunday night
"Star Trek: The Next Generation" parties, in which what appears to be the
whole of ISCA turns up to watch).
My week in Iowa City was probably the most enjoyable time I had anywhere in
the course of my travels. It is quite an experience to suddenly meet in the
flesh a dozen or more people with whom you have previously been acquainted
only through electronic text messages.
A major underground presence in Iowa City (or so it seemed to me) was the
notorious Church of the SubGenius. I could double the length of this article
trying to "explain" the Church, so I will just say that it is a long-running
satire on cults, religions, everyday hypocrisies, most belief systems and all
forms of politics, which also seems to serve as a common point of reference
for a large number of otherwise alienated individuals. The Church of the
SubGenius operates out of P.O. Box 140306, Dallas TX 75214, USA; send US$1 for
one of their pamphlets ("eternal salvation, or triple your money back!"), or
US$20 for ordainment as a SubGenius Minister. Their *magnum opus* is *The Book
of the SubGenius* (reviewed in the first issue of Semper for 1992), the
"Horror Bible" of the Church; it describes how J.R. "Bob" Dobbs, once a humble
salesman, was contacted by alien space god Jehovah-1 and so founded the Church
and set out on the battle for Slack, that mystical quality, even better than
Nirvana, that you have when you are in the balance point between Something and
Nothing, and so can get Something for Nothing... In his way stands the
Conspiracy of Pinks, the Normals who refuse to think for themselves and so who
are at the mercy of the gurus and governments of the world. "Bob" can be
recognised by his shining eyes, idiotic grin, and Pipe, in which he smokes his
'Frop. And what is 'Frop? Well, as one of his net-apostles puts it...
'frop is the substance through which we come closer to the light of the
world, the savior of our souls, and the guy who can getcha a really good
deal on some used stereo equipment, j.r."bob" dobbs. 'frop gives you
the slack you need to get through a day of dealing with the pinks.
give me slack! or give me death! or on second thought, make that a pizza!
"bob" leads us, like a shepherd. actually, bob leads us like alan shepard.
the church of the subgenius was founded by j.r. "bob" dobbs, to show us
the way to greater self-actualization and to help him buy a mercedes.
the key reverends who now interface with "bob" are the rt. rev. ivan
stang (husband of lydia lunch) and rt. rev. orgone generator and rt.
rev. candy streeter and rt. rev. mark mothersbaugh. i am not a rt. rev,
but am a sister because the face of "bob" was revealed to me some years
ago on one side of a flour tortilla.
the stark fist of removal approacheth...hist to the call. 'frop will
see us through.
remember: "bob" loves you, and your money. this gets me through the tough
times. i mean that.
i bid you farewell, with our traditional closing:
jesus is our hope
jesus is our bob
bob is our hope
jesus is bob hope
* * *sister liese, first apostle of
the holy mexican staple food
This may sound pretty weird to you, but the Church is increasingly popular and
has even had a positive review for one of its books in the journal of CSICOP,
the Committee for Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, the
skeptics' organization to which astronomer Carl Sagan and magician James Randi
belong... The Church is out to take over the world by 1998, in time for the
judgement of Jehovah-1, so who knows... perhaps "Bob" is in *your* future...
(And watch out for the Anti"Bob"!)
INTERLUDE IN HYPERSPACE
After Iowa City, I spent a day in Chicago before flying on to the UK. I went
to the public library there and found a book for which I had been searching
for years: *The Invisible Landscape* by Dennis and Terence McKenna, the story
of a 1971 Amazon expedition by the McKennas in which they set out to try the
"vision vine", *Banisteriopsis caapi*, variously known as yage or ayahuasca,
"used in shamanic rituals by Indian tribes of the region and by folk healers",
according to one of my net informants. According to Terence McKenna, "The
first half of the book describes the theoretical underpinnings of the
experiment. The second half describes the theory of the structure of time
that derived from the bizarre mental states that followed the experiment. I
do not claim that we succeeded, only that our theory of what happened is
better than any theory proposed by critics."
Briefly the theory is that as well as "forward-flowing...causal determinism"
there is an "interference pattern... formed against that" by some enormous
event or "hyperobject" that lies at the end of history. TMcK has helped to
design a computer program (which I have not seen) called "Timewave Zero" which
provides a map of this interference pattern. Somehow combining motifs from
fractal mathematics and the I Ching, it supposedly predicts those moments in
the course of history in which a major "ingression of novelty" occurs - such
moments being occasions when the hyperobject shows its influence. McKenna
predicts that the final manifestation or "concrescence" of the hyperobject
itself will occur near the end of 2012 (also the end, incidentally, of the
present "Great Cycle" of the Mayan calendar). But what *is* "it"? Here is what
I copied from *The Invisible Landscape*, while in the Chicago library:
Achievement of the zero state can be imagined to arrive in one of two forms.
One is the dissolution of the cosmos in an actual cessation and unraveling
of natural laws, a literal apocalypse. The other possibility takes less for
granted the mythologems associated with the collective transformation and
concrescence and hews more closely to the idea that concrescence, however
miraculous it is, is still the culmination of a human process, a process of
toolmaking, which comes to completion in the perfect artifact: the mondaic
self, exteriorized, condensed, and visible in matter. Presumably, were such
a hyperspatial tool/process discovered, in a very short time it would
entirely restructure life's experience of itself, of time, space, and of
otherness, and then it would be these effects which would follow rather than
precede the concrescence, and which, through their atemporal influence in
the context of visionary experience, would be seen to have given rise to the
`apocalyptic scenario' in the expectation of so many ontologies. The
appearance in normal time of a hyperdimensional body, obedient to a
simultaneously transformed and resurrected human will, and able to plum the
obligations and opportunities inherent in this unique juncture in energy's
long struggle for self-liberation, may be apocalypse enough.
There is much more to what Terence McKenna writes, and you can find a
skeptical but sympathetic account of some of his ideas in a recent issue of
*Esquire* (the one with the cover story on "How George Bush Went Mad in the
"THE MOST EXCITING THING POSSIBLE IS ACTUALLY TRUE"
Within minutes of disembarking at Gatwick International Airport in the UK I
had caught the attention of a customs officer, I think initially because of my
long hair and generally scruffy appearance. He went through both my bags,
finally settling on my wallet. He asked me to wait while he went away to
analyze something from inside it... and came back to tell me (I think I have
this right) that "cannabis remains" had been detected in it. My jaw literally
dropped at this, and I said I had no idea how they got there. He asked me
"Have you ever smoked dope?" and I said yes. He asked, "Are you carrying any
now?" and I said no. He said I could go through.
Once I was through I immediately caught a train for Oxford. My first
priority was to meet Celia Green, founder of the Institute for Psychophysical
Research, and author of several books which impressed me so much when I read
them in late 1989 that I almost quit my degree at UQ in early 1990 in order to
devote all my time to earning money, so I could get to Oxford and somehow help
her organization. In brief, her philosophy is one of rigorous skepticism and
transcendent aspiration, and in her books *The Human Evasion* and *Advice to
Clever Children* (available in the Queensland State Library) she argues that
ordinary psychology and society are dedicated to the suppression of these
attitudes, owing to a fear of uncertainty and failure. Or, as she puts it in
*Advice to Clever Children*:
The human psychosis is extremely simple. Hatred of reality (originally
caused, it is to be supposed, by a traumatic experience or experiences of
objective impotence) has become displaced onto other human beings. This
state of affairs is expressed by attitudes of indifference to reality and of
interest in human society. The latter interest is usually rationalized as
As an alternative to ordinary, `sane' psychology, she advocates `centralised
psychology', which is distinguished above all by the "perception of existence"
- that is, the perception that *reality is there* and unknown, and perhaps
The starting point is that one is interested in the universe. One observes
that one is finite and that this is intolerable. One has a limited time and
apparently limited capacities with which to find anything out...
Existential psychology, at least up to a point, consists of exploiting the
recoil from the despair of finiteness. The recoil is a drive with at least
the instinctive immediacy of the survival instinct. There is no point in
saying: "What is there to do? What could such a drive possibly tend
towards?" The survival instinct tends to prolong life; the fundamental drive
tends to inform itself about the universe. [from the same book]
The Institute is intended to function as an independent academic environment
for the investigation of philosophy, physics, psychology and so forth, and has
published a number of books on such topics as lucid dreams and out-of-body
experiences - the common factor generally being that the phenomena in question
cast some doubt on the status of everyday reality. (A review of the topics
investigated can be found in *The Decline and Fall of Science*, which the UQ
Central Library carries.)
What I saw of Oxford was narrow streets and people on bicycles. I paid an
unsolicited visit to the IPR, where it was suggested that I write a letter of
introduction; having done so, I waited a day and phoned, and was told that I
could meet Celia Green that afternoon.
We had tea in the IPR's backyard and talked for an hour. In person she was
very direct and alert; I mentioned that I had almost come in 1990, to which
she responded to the effect that "I wish people would stop saying they will
come and help, and just do it." I got the impression that the Institute has
not had the opportunity to conduct research on a reasonable scale for at least
a decade, owing to a lack of financial support, and that there are several
more books waiting to be published.
I described an episode that occurred during the first occasion on which I
tried magic mushrooms, a moment in which I lost all sense of space, time,
sensation, self (or so it seemed), which I subsequently came to think of as
`seeing the Void'; I asked if for her the "perception of existence" had such a
quality, but I gathered that it referred more to an *analytical perception* of
the inconceivability of existence and consequent total uncertainty. I also
asked if she had any "anomalous experiences" of her own, but she could recall
only an incident from a fever at the age of 21, in the course of which she
appeared to hear a clock that was not there.
We talked hardly at all about her scientific ideas, except briefly about the
idea of higher dimensionalities, which she argued for years before it became
fashionable in mainstream theoretical physics (there is an aphorism in one of
her books: "I postulated infinitely many dimensions on the grounds of economy
of hypotheses"). She considered that there had been progress on this front,
but was still dissatisfied with the relative complacency that exists regarding
the nature of physical concepts (the question of the "interpretation" of
quantum theory, for example).
On the way out I noticed a PC, but no Internet connection...
So: if there are any millionaires reading this who have an interest in
furthering truly fundamental and independent research, *this* is the person to
go to. The Institute has no shortage of ideas; what it needs is the means to
conduct its experiments. Celia Green's writings I think show her to be already
one of the great philosophers; she may yet get the opportunity to fulfil her
potential as a scientist as well.
EARTH SUMMIT ABORTED
In London I was unable to contact any of the people I thought I had some
chance of visiting, but I *did* find a place called the Brain Club I'd been
told about in Australia. It's a bar and nightclub which seems to be a regular
venue for "New Age" style demonstrations: meditation techniques, "Hopi ear
candles" (?), mind machines and so forth. I didn't see any of these, but got
to try a "psychoactive cocktail" - an ordinary alcoholic cocktail mixed with
small quantities of a "nootropic" or "smart drug", any of a class of compounds
which are neither illegal nor "officially" sanctioned as cognitive enhancers.
I tried "Rise 'n' Shine" and went for a walk to Leicester Square, which people
told me was a place where a lot of `alternative' people might congregate.
"2.30 am, Leicester Square, London
"after I left the Brain Club, went for a wander, ended up at the fenced-off
park here, wandered thru mall - there was a group of born-again C.'s preaching
in the square - early on I felt like getting the mike and preaching for "Bob"
or V/R, but actually ended up just listening & watching both speakers &
crowds, and was feeling more peaceful than my usual `anguished
philosophizing'. At first I thought, is the `Word of God' reaching me? But
then I thought, no, it's probably that psychoactive cocktail."
After the preachers finished, I went to see "Wayne's World", then returned
to the Square and spoke with various people until dawn. London was "shallow"
and obsessed with fashion according to one. Another said, "In London, no-one
wants to know you... they're only after money, sex and drugs... You can get
money if you're a show-off." To make a broad generalization I felt that while
the youth of San Francisco put anger, energy and creativity primarily into
politics, in London the emphasis seemed to be on music; of course there was
music in SF and politics in London, but it was as if Londoners had largely
given up on political concerns and so were more relaxed and more despairing
than their Californian counterparts.
On the other hand, I was repeatedly told while in California, "Everyone
here is crazy", and this was *not* said in an affectionate or tolerant sense.
*No-one* said that to me in London.
As in San Francisco, I slept in parks and on benches. Looking ahead to Rio
de Janeiro, I thought: "I have about US$200 left, which is meant to see me
through another week in London and two weeks in Brazil. I still haven't learnt
a word of Portuguese, and I would definitely be pressing my luck to try living
in the streets in Rio." So after unhappy contemplation of my options, I
decided to leave London early, skip Rio and instead return to Australia via
In my last few hours in London I stumbled across Hyde Park, which is famous
as a place where people go to harangue the public from their soapboxes. Amidst
the Muslim, Christian, and humanist preachers I ran into a guy called
"Maxwell" who was speaking on the alleged involvement of George Bush, the Pope
and various others in drug trafficking, and how they laundered their funds
through the now-defunct BCCI of Pakistan ("Bank of Conmen & Cocaine,
International", according to Maxwell). After he had finished speaking I asked
him what his sources of information were; he said it was there to be found in
the back issues of various newspapers and current affairs journals.
Departing the UK (from my `travel diary'):
"?9 am at gate 23 having made it through Customs etc. While still in the
general Airport area, I went to the toilet to empty out the `cannabis wallet'
(to throw it away) & as soon as I came out of the cubicle I was apprehended by
2 `Sussex Police' who there took my passport & ticket, had me empty my bag,
asked questions, and finally let me go. I presume they were looking for
"This is something I will NOT miss about the UK: the `security' paranoia..."
(Even when shopping, I never put my bags down anywhere without shop assistants
hurrying across to tell me that I should keep my bags close by me at all
times; otherwise they'd have to call in the bomb squad...)
Back in San Francisco I was determined to do things differently this time. I
slept most nights in a backpackers' hostel, rather than on the street; and I
booked my flight out for a week after I arrived, so that I would have a better
chance of catching an event like the Whole Life Expo, which I missed the first
time around. And it paid off! On my first day there I found flyers advertising
`An Evening with Robert Anton Wilson'.
For the uninitiated: Robert Anton Wilson may well be considered one of the
late 20th century's great writers and philosophers, in about a century's time.
In the form of dozens of novels, essays and nonfiction books, he has
intelligently explored and "popularized" all sorts of shunned, ignored or
esoteric topics, such as the occult, conspiracy theories, psychedelics,
Fortean phenomena, Leary's ideas, and the interpretation of quantum theory.
He's best known as coauthor of the "Illuminatus!" trilogy, but you might
currently find in UQ bookshops or libraries nonfiction books like "The New
Inquisition" and "Prometheus Rising". The first time I arrived in the US I
found he had released a new book, "Reality Is What You Can Get Away With", a
mock movie script dramatizing many of his concerns and ideas, populated with
guest appearances (and stills from famous movies!) featuring Humphrey Bogart,
Orson Welles, Jane Wyman, Wilson himself, and J.R. "Bob" Dobbs.
Now I was offered the chance to experience `An Evening with Robert Anton
Wilson', `based' on this new book, to be held in one week's time. The event
was advertised somewhat surreptitiously, on glossy flyers tacked to telephone
poles in Berkeley and San Francisco. The flyers gave a phone number, which
gave another phone number, which gave a series of addresses where tickets
Walking one morning in San Francisco I met a guy panhandling, gave him some
money and talked with him a bit. He made a few jokes with occult connotations
and I indicated that I understood, and soon we were talking more intently...
He was a rock lyricist (I'll call him "Al"), and sang me a few of his songs -
he'd been involved with music all his life; he was at Woodstock ('68) at 15 -
but the most interesting part of his life seemed to me to be his occult and
psychedelic experimentation. He had used psychedelics in conjunction with
Magick (ie ritual magic - see the works of Aleister Crowley) and the set of
ideas popularized by Timothy Leary ("Neuro-logic"). He described his current
orientation as "Taoist psychedelic Christian" and was in addition a member of
various magickal orders, such as Crowley's A.:A.:. He told me that one in five
police in the States is a Freemason (in a sense this would not be surprising,
as Masons have been very influential in American history - many of the
original revolutionaries - Washington, Jefferson - were Masons) and seemed to
know about the neurochemistry and psychological effects of every drug I had
ever heard of. In short, he was a very interesting person to talk with, and I
soon suggested that we see Robert Anton Wilson's presentation together. So we
went and bought tickets and planned to meet again Friday night at a donut
I went to Berkeley hoping to hear the SubGenius radio hour (it turned out to
play at 4.30 am on Saturdays). I still had a Brazilian visa, albeit no ticket,
and had a vague hope of proposing to be "Bob's" representative in Rio if the
Church was willing to get me there. But this never happened; in fact I never
even heard the radio program. Instead I got talking with another panhandler,
and... I'll let him speak for himself. The next section is transcribed from a
tape he recorded, in the course of the 36 hours I spent with him; he took good
care of me, in what seems to have been a very dangerous environment, in
between managing his affairs at street level and fiddling with an accounting
program he had written (in the programming language C; he had a degree in
computer science from UC Berkeley). I have blanked out his name and a few
other names in the transcript, in case this article somehow gets back to
LIVE FROM BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA, U.S.A.
On 29th of the 5th, '92, I, Mr J[...], met a strange individual, at which
point I was panhandling on University Avenue, which leads to the University of
California at Berkeley... The gentleman proceeded to be quite genteel, and
gave me $2, and.. I was about to go through DT's and did not want to approach
the Family... which I will discuss later. He bought an orange soda - orange
juice - I bought *one* forty-pounder, common word for a forty-ounce beer in
Next point, we acquired the forty-pounder, which I have previously described,
and proceeded to Fred's - that's F-R-E-D-S - liquor store, on University, a
main street, or common name `main drag', in Berkeley. It proceeds to the
Camp... it'll take you *dead* to the Campanelli. Ah, that's street talk. If
you were on University, off the freeway, off of 101, you would have no choice
but to run into the Campanelli. The Campanelli is described like the Mecca...
of the campus. ...it's the centre place, all the riots take place there,
and Lawrence Livermore Lab is approximately 1.6 miles up the hill. Nobody
knows what goes on up there. It's a strange situation. At this point, since
the riots started in L.A., the... shall I not make this non-racial... most of
the southerners - i.e. Los Angeles, San Bernardino, San Diego - are moving
here. The financial situation is atrocious. Persons are panicky. As of next
month, in reference to previous date, male gentlemen will be cut 40% of their
welfare, and at that rate ... they can't have a room, unless they share one.
...The tax situation is getting impossible.
During this break, my recently-met... "co'en"... has gone to find a match. At
present I am trying to smoke a cigarette which I should have had long since
ago, but we're sitting in a very prestigious neighborhood at Berkeley which
I cannot describe. It's a hilly section, almost mountainous. Um, not long
since ago, in the east hills of Oakland, there was a terrible fire.. The
whites were underinsured, and the store prices went up tremendously, in the
ghetto. The insurance rates skyrocketed. One might say that this is one of the
most genteel places in the world...
I'm trying to do as much as I can on sixty minutes of tape, that's almost
impossible but I'll do it anyway. We acquired this recorder at a Radio Shack,
at an incredible price, which was outrageous, and we probably could have
bought it in the streets from some bum who would have stolen it for us, but
that's okay. For a moderate home here, with two bedrooms, it is approximately
$350,000. Old, not new. My co'en and I were... it was really funny - we were
travelling down the street... and I - he thought it was a joke - and I said
"How much do you think this house is worth?" and he says, some outrageous
figure, terribly low, and it was just a piece of shit. And it was
approximately $300,000, and they were still repairing it, so it was still
going up. Berkeley is becoming a very expensive place, the rent control here
is outrageous, the landlords are crazy.
Key number one: Remember this: If you're a student and you're coming to
Berkeley, the first and last security deposits are almost impossible.
Number two: Write letters and acquire. Number three: Housing's almost
impossible. Number four: Don't carry cash. Number five: Look like a bum, and
stay away from Telegraph, which is right away from campus, from the
Campanelli. There's a huge clock, it's in the centre of campus.
Dangerous situations... stay away from anything south of Martin Luther King...
especially at nights. The gang affiliation here is increasing, and I don't
know what's going to happen. Whites are being antagonized. Panhandlers,
beggars, are aggressive, passive, whatever. I myself, I needed a drink, I
asked my co'en for some money, as I said previously, and he gave me $2. Had
he not been so genteel, he would have been in trouble. One of my... a person
that I know, attempted to snatch his bag, in which was his money, containing
about a hundred dollars, passport, ID, and he was quite trustworthy.
While I don't like to dwell on this negativity, but we're sitting in a park
and I'm the only black here, and it's just like algebra, what you do on one
side you do on the other. My co'en was sitting in an almost all-black
neighborhood, and I think he was a mite flighty and perplexed. At this point
I think he's learned a couple of lessons. I might describe this place as
park for yuppies. Yuppies are upper-class whites. Or, they can be blacks. A
very expensive neighborhood of Berkeley, and where the kids play, and it's
very, shall I say, relaxing.
As we're sitting in the park, a small child, that knows nothing of hatred,
war and poverty, gets out of the play area which is enclosed by a fence, and
smiles at us, and its parents hail him. Probably background noise can be
heard, and they're probably very rich Indians. Indians here are very affluent,
they're very rich, they're very everything. Chinese are buying almost entire
towns. The blacks have racism, war, and poverty, in their hearts. They think
that everything must come their way for nothing. I'm black, but... I worked
hard for my living. I've been given breaks for things that I shouldn't have.
I've been to jail a million times, I'm drinking in public, my attitude is
belligerent, but I'm quite well respected. Now, certain things I can't say at
this point. I belong to an organization, there are several here, and my
organization is nonviolent. There are things I can do, and certain things I
can't do. The details can be filled in by my co'en, which he's witnessed,
either verbally or visually.
Most elderly persons, in my age group - excuse me for not previously saying
it, approximately 40 to 50 - have their own social circle, which cannot be
broken. They're almost always protected, there's always one behind another,
but at this point I don't have to be protected, I can page them. There's
no drug affiliation, there's no anything. Should I say that, we're peaceful.
I'd like to say that we pray for no hatred, no war, no poverty, but none of
us are perfect. I can't turn the other cheek... I was adopted by a very
affluent Jewish family, and at present I'm a bum on the streets, and my son's
in med school, not because I elect to be, but because I'm an alcoholic. I'm
far from an oaf, but things just don't work right. I have my state of mind
that, if you pay for something, then it's yours, and then property taxes
upsets me. If I work all my life and pay for a home I think I should be free
not to have to pay the government anything. If I park my car and I don't
have coins in my pocket to pay for it, i.e. parking meters, they have a law
here, and they have machine devices that ... a quarter, and you have to put
'em in there, and if not it's fifty dollars almost. And if you don't move in
approximately one hour, it's towed away, and that's forty-five dollars to get
it out, forty dollars for the fee, and if you don't get it out in a couple
of days it just goes up and up and up.
At this point I'm sitting in a children's playground, and a mother is playing
squeaky train, whatever that is. [MOTHER: Squeaky train, it's leavin'...
Ready? Chugga-chugga, chugga-chugga, chugga-chugga... choo-choo! Chugga-
chugga - ah! Stopping, we've got one more passenger to get on, noise>, hurry up... Squeaky train is departing... LITTLE GIRL: Could I have a
ticket? Thank you. MOTHER: Squeaky train is going..] The coachman asked for
the ticket, and one plays the engineer, and I'm sure you can hear the
background noises. [LITTLE GIRL: Faster, faster, faster! MOTHER: The train is
speeding along! You can hardly hear its name because it's squeaking so loud..
squeak, squeak, squeak- ] What's the name of this train? [silence] This train,
the name? [MOTHER: The name of the train is.. the... LITTLE GIRL: Squeaky
train.] And your name my dear? [silence] Just a little name. [MOTHER: nervous
laughter] I'll play it back for you in a couple of seconds. [MOTHER: The train
is going... chugga-chugga, chugga-chugga...You can say your name... you can
tell him...] Just your first name. Don't be shy... Oh well. I guess she's in
first-class section and she won't be bothered.
At present we're sitting in a famous bar on University Avenue, called "Spats".
Pretty prestigious... I've been frequenting here for approximately 15 years...
I couldn't study. This was the only place I could come to study.
You know what happened to me the other day? I was sitting down drinking my
bottle of wine, in the middle of the streets, this idiot approaches me and
asks how many cannons did Pachelbel shoot. I said, "You know what a canon
is? In music?" He goes, "Yeah, it's a big gun, a big one they used to have."
He said he'd loan me a quarter. I said "I'll give you fifty cents to get the
fuck out of my face, you idiot!" A canon is a short work of music, and
Pachelbel only wrote... what, six or seven?
At present we're approaching the freeway area, an off-ramp, out of Berkeley,
just the opposite of University. ??Child&White was a very affluent family in
the hills, ??Child&White is the most prestigious company in the hills. I
suggest that they may be worth trillions. My friend and I are now proceeding
under the bridge, to one of my old campsites, and I'll attempt to take a photo
of him, of the city and... anything. At present I'm totally perplexed, and I'm
*not* in the best of modes. I want to go to sleep... I'm gonna do it. My
backup doesn't ever come down here, because it's not their part of town, but I
just wanted to show him sections. Um... I'm not worried about myself, I just
wanted to show him how to survive, and a couple of other things. At present we
are aprroaching 101 Overpass, to San Francisco... I mean 540 to San Francisco,
then we'll go to 101, and I'll show him where I used to sleep a long time ago,
when I first became a tramp. To my right is some ?4by4s I need, so I'll put
some notation and I'll have N[...] and the rest of the guys come by, and
clip the rest of the wires down, and take them, and put them in a safe place.
My friend is quite quiet now, because I think he thinks I'm crazy...
He's giggling, and I'm still online. I hope this thing will be published,
which if it's published it'll probably be the world's best-seller, I have to
go to the b-room, very short from here, and I'll try and see if any of the
old tramps are around.
I'm sure you can here the traffic.. we're at the freeway, under the bridge.
It's a common practice that orientals do not issue money. Although I am not
prejudiced, but they are trying to buy up everything in the city of Berkeley,
but it won't work. They're pretty good. They have can collectors and they have
echelons such as in China... Chinese restaurants, Thai restaurants, everything
is always Chinese. They collect food out of dumpsters, mix it with eggs and
rice, and serve it to the persons that are very prestigious.
At this point my co'en - repeat, my co'en - is leaning against a grey post...,
and very... depleted of his energies. I'm waiting for my co'ens to come back
with positive cashflow. Repeat, positive cashflow. I can't say where they
acquired it or how they acquire it.
The traffic on the street at this point in a yuppie neighborhod - yuppie,
yuppie is younger, white, upper-class. Repeat, younger white upper-class. I'm
not racial, I was adopted by a very affluent Jewish family. Might I repeat:
this is not any racial statement. The name of the restaurant again, might I
repeat, is A[...], which means, `This is your coffee'. It is the
largest, but the largest, cocaine dealership in the city of ... I don't know
where we are. That, I can't repeat. I don't know where we are now, I don't
know where we are, I don't know where we are, I don't know where we are. But,
persons frequent there, and there's always traffic. From 5 o'clock in the
morning until approximately 2 o'clock in the...evening, from 5 am to 2 am.
At present, the connection for the Chinese, A[...], is French, but
they're Chinese cooks, they're Chinese chefs. At present he's doing his drop
connection; in approximately 45 minutes the garbageman will come by and pick
up the proceeds.
I myself have acquired funds through illegal means. And in the United States
if you're known as a snitch, then your ass is grass. In essence, you are dead
meat. One person could tell another person on the grapevine... grapevine means
such as, the story of gossip when you were in grade school. You tell the story
around the corner and it goes back around, but it's different. One person
tells another person, and it's gonna be verified, and they're dead meat.
On this evening we have experienced racial... also, drugs, and other type
negativity. We've avoided it all, thank God. We have taken pictures, which
will be enclosed supposedly, after this recording, and I'll probably come to
He's trusted me for everything he's had. Two undercover cops approach us about
to go on-duty, saying, `Alright, alright, alright.' I have tons of outstanding
warrants... for only consuming alcohol in public. They dare not touch me, for
there's no room in the facilities here. Other purposes... I have echelons of
command, and they dare not touch me. Commands meaning... affiliation with a
clan, non-racial, nonviolent, unless need be.
There's always peace before the storm, and it's quite quiet in the street
now. The shelters, which are for homeless, are closed. So that means most of
the thieves are in house, or should I say home. One might also say that
there's a voluntary curfew - *voluntary* curfew - in the city of Berkeley. In
Los Angeles the National Guard has been called out and we're praying for
peace. My friend is totally perplexed and he's learning and maybe somebody can
get something off this. Right now my English is about to get... hello,
kangaroo-ish, I'm gonna jump around.
Approximately 12:20 pm, we're sitting here waiting on persons that are to meet
me at our camping spot, commonly known as a crash spot in street linguistics,
or should I say street tramping. I and my co'en are to crash together. Of
course he's to crash separately, but we'll be less than three feet apart and
we'll be well-guarded by my company.
Approximately 2.75 hours preceding this existing conversation, we witnessed
things that were happening between Chicanos, which are Mexicans that were
American-born, in the ghetto section. Firearm connection, guns cocked,
pistols pulled, we moved, down to an area that's called the Flatlands. And we
proceeded down to the marina...
We're watching two Hell's Angels... In the background you can probably hear
motorcycles departing previously mentioned restaurant. I myself had to fly my
colors, which are black...
After my friend paged... I paged my friend, my friend paged me, it took him
approximately three minutes. Now my co'en, or my friend from Australia, I
welcome to the camp. From here I can see two soldiers on the left, and, I
don't know what N[...]'s up to, he went to get a drink before the store
closes, and we'll be safe... I want to send a message for the world, we need
no more hatred, war or poverty. Fourth time repeated: no more hatred, no more
war, no poverty. Au 'voir.
At this point I'm explaining to my co'en that, I'm
too scared to fight and too proud to run. At this point *you* might be
perplexed. He's just touched my piece, which nobody else does. Piece is a
common name in America, for a gun. It's a .44. Not a Magnum, but a .44. It's
the most powerful handgun in the world. I'll have to aim at your feet to hit
your head. No violence, and that's my thing, but, we have to protect one
another. As I say this, in the background, if it's loud enough, you're gonna
hear the [deleted] sound. I'm quite well protected, on the streets, and I'm
happy, that I could do a favor for a person, an educated person, and maybe he
can spread the education that things in the world will get better. The world
can get better if we let it be. We gotta change it... all persons. Race,
color, or creed, we've got to change this world. Money, financial situations,
or everything else, I don't care. I'm out on the streets and I've got more
than enough money in my pocket... and I have a credit card in my pocket that
can do anything. Though for right now, I'm gonna teach my co'en what tramping,
and Americans, are about. Off.
OCCULT SECRET OF POWER REVEALED
The human race wished me to accept the limitations with which it had
thoughtfully provided me.
Act like a dumbshit and they'll treat you like an equal.
J.R. "Bob" Dobbs
The venue for my evening with Wilson seemed to be an abandoned warehouse on
the edge of San Francisco. Al wasn't in the donut shop, nor did he seem to be
in the long queue outside the warehouse/studio/whatever. Searching my pockets,
then my bags, I found I had somehow lost the ticket in the course of sleeping
rough in Berkeley and then rushing to SF, but I managed to convince the guy at
the door that I had had a ticket by remembering the number (it was `00005').
The space inside was about the size of Mayne Hall; seating for several
hundred people had been put in place, and behind and above us were a group of
technicians coordinating projectors and lasers used to create interesting
pictures on the wall behind RAW as he spoke. The bar was selling smart drinks
(but I got the impression harder drugs were being sold in the crowd; someone
later asked me if I knew where she could get some Ecstasy) but having only
Australian currency left I didn't get anything. Al was inside already, talking
to some people he seemed to know from somewhere, so I sat down to wait for the
talk. The audience seemed to be largely decadent cyberpunk sophisticates, if
you know what I mean; probably lots of independent artists and designers, and
young people into the techno/rave scene (a rave was held after RAW finished).
But there were a few scruffier individuals such as myself, and even a guy in a
black cape and hood carrying a placard emblazoned with four Dobbsheads.
In a sense I found the talk a disappointment, but this was mostly because I
found much of it familiar from his books. But he started out by telling jokes,
first sending up certain fashionable causes (he said he was starting a "Save
Our Rats" movement, to rescue lab rats, and suggested reeducation camps for
smokers - this part I didn't actually find very funny), and then the state of
American electoral politics: saying something along the lines of, "Who do we
have to choose from? Well, there's Bush, who wants to prove that the USA is
still Number One in at least one area of technology, we can kill more people
than anyone else. Then there's Clinton, who says he tried a joint but didn't
inhale (and there are people who believe that!). And then there's Ross Perot,
who says he wouldn't have gays or adulterers in his cabinet. Who does that
leave? If you take away the gay women, and the gay men, and the adulterers,
who's left? A bunch of twelve-year-olds who can't vote!" He mentioned two
`alternative' campaigns running (neither of which he invented): `Cthulhu for
President - Why Always Vote for the *Lesser* Evil?' and `Hannibal Lecter for
President: He's Killed Fewer People'.
Eventually he got on to the topic he is best known for, the relative or
uncertain nature of reality. He mentioned how he had once written an
introduction for a book by a "UFOlogist" called George Hunt Williamson (I
think) who had been with a magnifying glass of survey photos of the Moon and
Mars he obtained from NASA, and had `discovered' hundreds of `industrial
structures' proving that there is life on the Moon and it has been hidden from
us by the Conspiracy. He wrote Wilson saying would you write an introduction
for my book, I'm a great admirer of your work, I'll pay you $500. "I needed
the money", said RAW; so he wrote the introduction, saying how it was
important to be open to new ideas. Now Williamson has written another book,
alleging that giant Masonic symbols are also visible in these same
photographs. "At first, I couldn't see what he was talking about", said RAW;
"then I smoked some pot, and had another look; and there they were, Masonic
symbols on the moon... And the universe is like that, the more you look for
evidence to support a particular viewpoint, the more you find..." At this
point the lasers drew an eye in a triangle behind him: the All-Seeing Eye
which appears on Masonic emblems and the US $1 note, the Eye of Horus
resurrected by Aleister Crowley for his Law of Thelema... After a while, the
laser-drawn eye began to blink.
He spent some time on the anthropomorphism and pettiness of the deities of
most religions ("Can you imagine Jehovah inventing something as complex as a
carbon atom?") before coming to what I think may be his favorite topic, what
writer Hakim Bey calls the "Free Religions" - half-serious half-fun, like the
Church of the SubGenius, or Brisbane's own Church of Virtuality/Reality. First
he mentioned the John Dillinger Died For You Society, whose members (profess
to) believe that the American Depression-era bank robber John Dillinger (St
John the Martyr) was in fact the savior. (One of John's immortal aphorisms,
"Lie down on the floor and stay calm", a marvellous procedure for dealing
with stress, he told to thousands of bank tellers, vice presidents...) Then
came Discordianism, which worships Eris, the Greek Goddess of "Chaos, Discord,
Confusion, Bureaucracy, and International Relations", the Five Stages of
Chaos. Discordianism seems to have been a widespread meta-underground within
the 1960s anarchist and psychedelic undergrounds in the US, and has its own
holy book, the *Principia Discordia*, wherein one may find such gems as "The
Law of Fives": "Everything in the universe can be shown to be related to the
number five, *given sufficient ingenuity on the part of the seeker*." (When
Wilson demonstrated the Law of Fives with reference to the Great Pyramid of
Cheops - "it has five sides - if you count the bottom" - the Eye and Triangle
behind him tilted to become a pyramid). Both Discordianism and Dillingerism
show up in Wilson's trilogy "Illuminatus!".
And finally he came to "Bob". Amid cries of "Praise `Bob'!" from all corners
of the audience he gave his version of how "Bob" got started in the Messiah
business; Dobbs was just a humble aluminum-siding salesman until one day in
1957 he got stuck in an elevator with L. Ron Hubbard, from whom he learned the
Secret of Power, which is this: "You know how dumb the average guy is? Well,
mathematically, by definition, half of them are even dumber than that!"
Here the lecture ended. There was a brief question period, during which Al
asked RAW if he'd heard of ayahuasca. Wilson said no, and at the end Al leapt
from the audience and gave him a piece of paper on which he had written about
the compound. "He's in the A.:A.: too, it's the sort of thing he'd want to
know about", he later explained. Then Wilson left and the crowd filed outside,
most of us just to wait for readmission to the rave. Al had booked a room for
me at a nearby motel in case I needed somewhere to sleep, but I wanted to stay
for the rave, so we bid farewell to each other.
I also chatted briefly with the guy carrying the Dobbsheads; he was a
member of the Bart Simpson Cabal of Berkeley, and gave me a card certifying
that I am a Discordian Pope (giving me license to pontificate on any subject).
The rave afterwards was spectacular, but I grew tired and bored after a few
hours, so I walked back to the hostel and slept. The next day I flew out of
America, heading for home.
I've been back for months now. But somehow, things just aren't the same...