the captain's Journal|
[Most Recent Entries]
Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in
the captain's LiveJournal:
[ << Previous 20 ]
[ << Previous 20 ]
|Tuesday, August 24th, 2010|
|BBC documentary about the WOSD
Our Drug's War
Documentary series examining the global story of drugs, from Afghanistan's poppy fields to the streets of New York and the estates of Edinburgh
1) Everyones at It
One in six British citizens have used class-A drugs. Focusing on Scotland - named by the UN as Europe's drug capital - the first episode shows the stark contrast between Edinburgh's rich city centre and its underprivileged estates, where up to 60-70% of the residents can be drug users. Film-maker Angus Macqueen visits one such estate with two volunteers for drugs charity Crew. They show him how the drug trade operates on a day-to-day basis in front of - and often with the participation of - children, some as young as eight. While all social classes use drugs equally, 70% of addicts have left school by the age of 16 and 85% are unemployed. The police fail to control supply - in Scotland seizing just one per cent of the heroin consumed - criminals make money, and demand only increases. With the advent of synthetic drugs like GBL, which itself was until recently quite legal and easily available online, banning and policing are becoming ever more random and ineffectual. Angus meets parents whose children have died as a result of drug abuse. Suzanne Dyer's son Chris died from an addiction to GBL, a compound found in some industrial cleaners and widely used by clubbers. GBL became a popular 'dance' drug when GHB, another similar, and less potent, substance was banned.
2) The Life and Death of a Dealer
The Queensbridge Estate in New York lies within sight of the Manhattan skyscrapers, but is seemingly a world away. The largest housing complex in Queens, it is regularly raided by police to break up massive drug operations. Here, award-winning filmmaker Angus Macqueen looks at the social cost of America's war on drugs through the life of 28-year-old Thomas Winston: a small-time drug dealer struggling to stay out of prison and away from the lure of easy money that illegal drugs offer. As his probation officer says, here is a man who can earn $15,000 a week in the drugs world or $200 before taxes working in McDonald's. Thomas is first seen campaigning against the 'Rockefeller' drugs laws in New York State, where sale or possession of small amounts of drugs are given a mandatory sentence equivalent to second degree murder, and have long been seen to be both discriminatory and draconian. Human Rights Watch have published a series of reports making clear that Whites, Black and Hispanics sell and consume narcotics in equal numbers, yet over 80% of the prisoners in New York State are Black or Latino. Inside a prison, barely a white face can be seen. The film tracks Thomas's moving story over a number of months, as he interacts with the legal system and as his probation officer and lawyer attempt to help him; but gradually he is drawn back to his old life. By the end of the film, Thomas has been stabbed to death. Thomas's story illustrates the failure of America's zero tolerance drug laws, which don't stop supply or address addiction, but rather consign whole groups of society to a tragic cycle, undermining the very fabric of whole communities: be it here in Britain or in the US.
3) Birth of a Narco State
The third and final part of Angus Macqueen's exploration of the failure of present drugs polices takes the viewer to the frontline. Birth of a Narco-State shows how the war on drugs is actually fuelling the long-term civil war in Afghanistan, possibly creating what he calls a 'Narco-Theocracy': a toxic mixture of drugs money and religious extremism. Meanwhile, western demand for heroin generates huge profits that finance both sides in the civil war, corrupting the very government that British soldiers are fighting to protect. This film gets under the skin of the drug trade in Afghanistan, from the deserts of the Afghanistan-Iran border to the smuggling centre of Herat and the courts in Kabul, engaging with those working to establish some sort of order in the face of overwhelming odds; all the time questioning whether it is our drug laws or our drug demand that is causing the problems in the first place.
|Monday, June 28th, 2010|
|Friday, June 25th, 2010|
|Thursday, June 24th, 2010|
The kind of ontological question that can be easily spawned by an idle bong rip, but can only be solved on a serious acid trip.
|Wednesday, May 12th, 2010|
"Of the pleasures and pains of opium much has been written. The ecstasies and horrors of De Quincey and the paradis artificiels of Baudelaire are preserved and interpreted with an art which makes them immortal, and the world knows well the beauty, the terror and the mystery of those obscure realms into which the inspired dreamer is transported."
-- H. P. Lovecraft
|Saturday, April 17th, 2010|
|Tuesday, April 13th, 2010|
|Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009|
|Wednesday, November 4th, 2009|
|from a videogame ripping off the fade ranger concept of the fade
The Fade is a metaphysical realm that is part of Thedas yet separated by the Veil. The Fade is split up into fiefs belonging to the spirits that live there, and they change the landscape of the Fade to emulate what they see in the minds of mortal dreamers. According to the Chantry, the Fade is the first realm created by the Maker, which he populated with the spirits, the first of his creations.
Every living being, with the exception of dwarves, enters the Fade mentally when they dream and mages tap into it when they cast spells. Most people do not remember their time in the Fade, mages however, are forced to recall. Killing a mortal dreaming in the Fade is a shock to their living bodies, but not lethal. The person merely wakes up. Mortals have entered the Fade physically only once, which caused the First Blight. Mages of the Circle frequently visit the Fade with the aid of lyrium and during their Harrowing, a mage is projected into the Fade to resist the attack of a demon.
There is one constant feature in the Fade, the Black City (which was once the Golden City until the Tevinter Magisters supposedly set foot within it). No one has yet found a way to reach it, though if one looks to the sky, they can see the Black City, forever in the distance.
The Chantry also holds that when a person dies, their spirit passes through the Fade to the afterlife. Those who have turned away from the Maker are doomed to wander the Fade forever as lost souls.
|Tuesday, October 27th, 2009|
order vs. disorder
strife vs. harmony
agreement vs. disagreement
straight vs. stoned
analog vs. digital
Discordianism’s patron goddess eris (roman name discordia) is associated linguistically with discord [in the dictionary: 1. A) Lack of agreement among persons, groups, or things. B) Tension or strife resulting from a lack of agreement; dissension. 2. A confused or harsh sound or mingling of sounds. 3. Music. An inharmonious combination of simultaneously sounded tones; a dissonance]. The opposite of discord would be, according to this definition, agreement and harmony. Discordianism rejects agreement in the name of freedom. One should be acutely wary of any so-called “discordian” who expects you to agree about some arcane “discordian point of view.” The discordian point of view does not exist, by definition. “It is my firm belief that it is a mistake to hold firm beliefs.
Some psychedelic thinkers have fun with the Analog/Digital dichotomy. The philosopher Brozark 1 once explained the difference between analog and digital in terms of continuous or discontinuous variation. An analog dial is continuously variable. You don’t turn the dial to exactly 93.5, you turn it to some nebulous location between 93 and 94. A ditigal dial is discontinuously variable, you always turn it to a pinned down location. 1.1 or 2.3 or 11.37. Numbers like pi are beloved by discordians because they cannot be represented digitally, unless by rounding off to a certain decimal place. Some heads say that mushrooms are more “analog” because they are natural and organic, while LSD is more “digital” because it is synthetic.
(philosophy homework: did Aristotle believe that the universe was analog or digital? What about Heraclitus?)
Andrew Weil’s book The Natural Mind makes a distinction between “stoned” and “straight” (sober) thinking. He makes it clear that stoned and straight thinking is not necessarily depended on the presence or absence of drug use. Plenty of people who never take drugs do plenty of “stoned” thinking and plenty of drug users approach the substances from “square thinking” points of view.
“The desire to alter consciousness is a normal drive analogous to hunger or the sexual drive. Note that I do not say ‘desire to alter consciousness by means of chemical agents.’ Drugs are merely one means of satisfying this drive.” The Principia Discordia seems to be generally in favor of altered states of consciousness, urging readers to consult their pineal glands and joking that "tis an ill wind that blows no minds."
Timothy Leary laid out “two commandments for the molecular age: 1: Thou shalt not alter the consciousness of thy fellow man 2. Thou shalt not prevent the fellow man from altering his consciousness.” (Politics of Ecstasy p. 95) This is a perfect model for a “discordant” society: nobody has to agree about states of consciousness, so long as nobody interferes with the consciousness of another. Some discordians (especially those attracted to the more esoteric ELF side of the spectrum) observe respect for the sanctity of other’s individuality and decisions regarding one’s state of consciousness. The Cult of Ecstasy has a saying, “some sleepers rest better that way” and don’t go running around shoving hard-to-swallow “truths of illumination” down peoples’ throats. Others (such as the activist Legion of Dynamic Discord) feel the responsibility to pull malkavian or masonic style pranks in order to shock folks into “waking up”. The idea is that the right kind of prank can serve an ecstatic function as in Henri Bergson’s theory of comedy: correcting the rigid habits that lead to an absurd/comic “something mechanical encrusted onto something living.” The reality-busting pranks of the LDD are supposed to break up constrictive “black iron prison” type habits and set the faeries free.
There are similarly different approaches to psychedelic evangelism. Some, like Timothy Leary, John Lennon, Hunter S, Thompson, and the discordian-influence(d) Robert Anton Wilson have publicly admitted taking absurd amounts of LSD. Drugs are associated with a high degree of enthusiasm, often heated to a fever pitch. William Burroughs, one of the early erudite/academic experts in drug self-experimentation, coined such astonishing aphorisms as “word/image is virus” and “exterminate all rational thought.” Terence Mckenna described what somebody calls the "monster ayahuasca trip" and admitted that his approach is "faustian" and "obsessed." Mckenna refused to be intimidated by the utterly "astonishing" states of consciousness he experienced under DMT and Mushrooms.
in terms of discordian values these figures have brought a great deal of eristic energy to bear on the apparently ordered structures of societal harmony. The fact that millions of people have taken the psychedelic drugs and reported more or less positive experiences with them has led to a great deal of discord in terms of difference of agreement between vast numbers of people as to the relevance, utility, and safety of psychedelic experimentation. The “psychedelic lifestyle” is another vast question entirely…
Not all psychedelic people are shocking, “balls to the wall” type legionnaires in some evangelical army. Many prefer a more calm, contemplative, peaceful trip. Alan Watts brought Taoist and Zen Buddhist ideas to the West and to the Psychedelic discourse. He certainly presented a more mellow figure in contrast to the shining eyed psychedelic priest-visionaries such as Leary. Aldous Huxley advocated a sort of psychedelic elitism. He understood the value of the drugs in terms of ecstatic breaking up of patterns and freeing the “doors of perception,” but felt that that kind of power should be kept in the hands of a sort of combination priestly/technical elite. His two utopian/distopian science fiction novels beg a discordian reading. “Brave New World” is a dystopian society because there are drugs (soma) but there are no discordians. All of society is shook up by an uneducated savage who represents discord because he has not made any of the agreements of the society. “Island” is a utopian society because they are all discordians and take the drug (moksha) to liberate themselves. Weil might say that Brave New World is a straight SF novel while Island is a stoned SF novel.
The term Psychedelic has no etymological connection to discord, but it certainly has caused a great deal of strife and disagreement in modern society. Timothy Leary admitted that the psychedelic drugs do indeed cause psychosis and irrational behavior—in people who have not taken them!
Ever-Expanding Mind: Convoluted Strangeloops in Psychedelic Learning Curves
The psychedelic experience forces a radical revolution in our thinking, especially in terms of our ideas about what we are, and what the vast mental structures we have developed to deal with our reality mean. As with any increase in awareness, any time a previously unknown structures come to light the revelation forces a re-evaluation of values in the context of the new perspective.
Of course any new sense of “what is going on” should be tentative, subject to the necessary dose of philosophical doubt especially over the course of several trips, not to mention mystically tinged “echoes” that recur later when one learns how to re-access the peculiar altered states while sober. Past a certain point just plain “epiphanies,” mystical experiences,” “states of ecstasy” happen spontaneously due to the wonderful things that happen during healthy intuitive introspection. Care must be taken to be gentle with any ego conceptions or identity structures that surface in the cold light of new understanding. In order for ideas to percolate and flower they must not be savagely snipped by misguided “skeptical” presuppositions.
The process of “having the rug pulled out from under us” that happens as [sense of] reality breakdown unravels the current version of one’s conception of oneself and one’s universe tends to lead trippers to disregard their current point of view regarding the universe, understanding that another revaluation is most likely around the corner, or even visible on the horizon to those who know what to look for. Extreme care must be taken not to rely on one’s sense of “what to look for” of course, which can lead into traps that distract attention and can lead to missed opportunities or dangers going unnoticed. Unforced errors. Sentences become long, convoluted and difficult. It can be tricky to keep up, unless one places some kind of metaphysical trust in the tendency of small accidents working up into surprising delights in unexpected ways. A butterfly flapping its wings in China may lead to an “ill wind that blows no minds” in Japan, but at the same time somehow lead domino style to subtle positive (and unnoticed) influences in somebody’s set and set across the pacific pond in some state of the union, and thus subtle and positive changes in that entities’ trips and eventually (or quite immediately) their lives.
Of course, before long any mind is overwhelmed of their efforts to keep track of the ever branching off fractal trees that branch off of the node-objects bouncing around in conceptual space. Plenty of spaces to put things in and a ready supply of hooks to hang jokes off of. It is rarely far along the path of unsuspected network connections before some interesting association or analogy pops up to occupy and fascinate the ever-learning mind. Complex meta-discourse can’t help but develop and confound any post-conceptionist. Keeping up with the literature alone can occupy vast computer time resources. Pie charts might have to be brainstormed in order to manage one’s attention span.
Towers and palaces grown in an outreach of enthusiastic contemplation and creation will invert themselves and become dungeons or underground negative spaces causing distractions later on. Artistic agendas will assert themselves, geniuses creating masterpieces just as it steam engines come steam engine time. Genre revolutionaries will seed the intellectual playing field and corrupt the youth of Athens with incendiary manifestos and new (perhaps improved) schools of thought. Media coverage will be more or less prolific and misleading depending on the level of technology and prying eyes available.
Identity can be difficult to realize, and healthy conceptions of foundational philosophical “ground” slippery to hold on to. Guiding principles are of course helpful, but these will only develop over the course of time, and well-meaning but insufficient schemes fade under the tremendous pressures of the forces of entropy. It is important to have useful tools like for example Occam’s razor to cut off foolish reliance on abstractions or metaphysical entities and phantasms.
One’s perspective regarding the imagination is a particularly sensitive region. Even delicate changes in one’s sense of what the imagination should and should not be allowed to do can lead to seemingly endless complexies. Becoming embarrassed about automatic functions of the text and image generating faculties is especially dangerous, and can lead to upsets in the management of limited amounts of time. Overflow valves must be kept in muscle memory as the philosophical teeth cut into the fruit of mystical introspection. Water level and pneumatic flow behavior metaphors can take precedent and lead the inner conversation elsewhere. Aqueduct admiration on the other hand creates the next generation of engineers to build the bridges of holy roman empires.
motion of the seasons across the compass clock, either dizzying or a comfort depending on stability of orientation. ability to swivel key. if it doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t relief later. sent away.
this terminal is within earwax reach of the mother station. she doesn’t hear you and it’s better that way. just kinda hovering. flutter, metal balls miles behind you lifting up and sliding over.
like a clockwork machine marking time, clicking off away. turning of gears aesthetically pleasing to refined senses of humour that stickle and virus into comfort patches, chances. anger can break the bonds of inertia. if there is no need to be embarrased, it works just fine. beware the excesses of frenzy. control. momentary lapses of panic and adrenaline clarity.
once gravity well bridge tax is overcome, brast membrane will have difficulty holding tension again, eruption into span space vacuum motion according to vector inertia direction.
all the nodes that ever framed a reference, each at angles. flickering points, non-hummering. loud noises and soft. figures and erasegap sizzle. sucking back and slurpytongue serpents.
eye of the storm between creation of worlds, youngsters enthusiastic until curbed by gentle stressed nastyjokes of jaded elders along treelike memory muscles of creation restraint.
the alter ego or paradox opposite: eschaton troubadors, termites, apocalypse smugglers, culture jamming when the door is blocked to build pressure and forceful ejection methods.
this is blowing out bubbles. reloosening. shells drift out lax and sparse grips. black fluids winding and wraparound but no glittering cohesion. clottering. hidentity merchant slaveship. 1
|Sunday, August 9th, 2009|
When I came to New York in 1937, I didn't drink nor smoke marijuana.'You gotta be a square muthafucka!' Charlie Shavers said and turned me on to smoking pot. Now, certainly, we were not the only ones. Some of the older musicians had been smoking reefers for 40 and 50 years. Jazz musicians, the old ones and the young ones, almost all of them that I knew smoked pot, but I wouldn't call that drug abuse.
-- Dizzy Gillespie, in his 1979 autobiography, "To Be or not to Bop"http://www.yahooka.com/forum/cannabis-activism/143844-celebrity-stoners-american-high-society.html