Terence McKenna, From the Grasslands to the Starship
Human history has been a fifteen-thousand-year dash from the equilibrium of the African cradle to the twentieth-century apotheosis of delusion, devaluation, and mass death. Now we stand on the brink of star flight, virtual reality technologies, and a revivified shamanism that heralds the abandonment of the monkey body and tribal group that has always been our context. The age of imagination is dawning. The shamanic plants and the worlds that they reveal are the worlds from which we imagine that we came long ago, worlds of light and power and beauty that in some form or another lie behind the eschatological visions of all of the world’s great religions. We can claim this prodigal legacy only as quickly as we can remake our language and ourselves.
Trumbull Stickney, opening lines of The Soul of Time
Time’s a circumference
Whereof the segment of our station seems
A long straight line from nothing into naught.
Therefore we say “progress,” “infinity” —
Dull words whose object
Hangs in the air of error and delights
Our boyish minds ahunt for butterflies.
For aspiration studies not the sky
But looks for stars
Algernon Blackwood, Sand
He had escaped that cheap cynicism with which disappointed men soothe their vanity when they realise that an intelligible explanation of the universe lies beyond their powers.
Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood. This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering it’s a feather bed.
Sit still. Stop thinking. Shut up. Get out!
— The first two of these instructions comprise the whole of the technique of Yoga. The last two are of a sublimity which it would be improper to expound in this present elementary stage.
What we have to discover is that there is no safety, that seeking it is painful, and that when we imagine we have found it, we don’t like it.
Algernon Blackwood, The Insanity of Jones
Adventures come to the adventurous, and mysterious things fall in the way of those who, with wonder and imagination, are on the watch for them; but the majority of people go past the doors that are half ajar, thinking them closed, and fail to notice the faint stirrings of the great curtain that hangs ever in the form of appearances between them and the world of causes behind.
For only to the few whose inner senses have been quickened, perchance by some strange suffering in the depths, or by a natural temperament bequeathed from a remote past, comes the knowledge, not too welcome, that this greater world lies ever at their elbow, and that any moment a chance combination of moods and forces may invite them to cross the shifting frontier.
We are beings on the way to dying
although we don’t know what dying is.
The absolutely vital thing is to become capable of enjoyment, of living in the present, and of the discipline which this involves.
You cannot show to anyone what he has not seen.
John Gall, Systemantics
A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over with a working simple system.”
It’s almost impossible for most people to see technology as the tool rather than the end. People get trapped in thinking that anything in the environment is to be taken as a given. It’s part of the way our nervous system works. But it’s dangerous to take it as a given because then it controls you, rather than the other way around. That’s McLuhan’s insight, one of the bigger ones in the twentieth century.
Marshall McLuhan, The Gutenberg Galaxy
Man the tool-making animal, whether in speech or in writing or in radio, has long been engaged in extending one or another of his sense organs in such a manner as to disturb all of his other senses and faculties.
Magic appeals to those with a great deal of hubris and a fertile imagination coupled with a strong suspicion that both reality and the human condition have a game-like quality.
Reject the obscenities of contrived uniformity, order and purpose. Turn and face the tidal wave of Chaos from which philosophers have been fleeing in terror for millennia. Leap in and come out surfing its crest, sporting amidst the limitless weirdness and mystery in all things, for those who reject false certainties.
Marshall McLuhan, The Playboy Interview, 1969
McLuhan’s observations — “probes,” he prefers to call them — are riddled with such flamboyantly undecipherable aphorisms as “The electric light is pure information” and “People don’t actually read newspapers — they get into them every morning like a hot bath.”
Peter J. Carroll
So many people seem to spend their lives trying to appear normal, predictable and consistent to themselves and those that surround them. They just end up bored with themselves, bereft of any depth of inner resources, suffocated by the inhibitions that defend their own monolithic identities.
Loren Eiseley, The Immense Journey
A billion years have gone into the making of that eye; the water and the salt and the vapors of the sun have built it; things that squirmed in the tide silts have devised it. Light-year beyond light-year, deep beyond deep, the mind may rove by means of it, hanging above the bottomless and surveying impartially the state of matter in the white-dwarf suns.
Yet whenever I see a frog’s eye low in the water warily ogling the shoreward landscape, I always think inconsequentially of those twiddling mechanical eyes that mankind manipulates nightly from a thousand observatories. Someday, with a telescopic lens an acre in extent, we are going to see something not to out liking, some looming shape outside there across the great pond of space.
Whenever I catch a frog’s eye I am aware of this, but I do not find it depressing. I stand quite still and try hard not to move or lift a hand since it would only frighten him. And standing thus it finally comes to me that this is the most enormous extension of vision of which life is capable: the projection of itself into other lives. This is the lonely magnificent power of humanity. It is, far more than any spatial adventure, the supreme epitome of the reaching out.
The content or message of any particular medium has about as much importance as the stenciling on the casing of an atomic bomb.
I am losing precious days. I am degenerating into a machine for making money. I am learning nothing in this trivial world of men. I must break away and get out into the mountains to learn the news.
When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.
The worst thing one can do is to confront human beings bluntly. A warrior proceeds strategically.
If an apple is magnified to the size of the earth, then the atoms in the apple are approximately the size of the original apple.
Talent is the desire to practice.
The Art Of Disappearing
—Naomi Shihab Nye
When they say Don’t I know you?
When they invite you to the party
remember what parties are like
Someone telling you in a loud voice
they once wrote a poem.
Greasy sausage balls on a paper plate.
If they say We should get together
It’s not that you don’t love them anymore.
You’re trying to remember something
too important to forget.
Trees. The monastery bell at twilight.
Tell them you have a new project.
It will never be finished.
When someone recognizes you in a grocery store
nod briefly and become a cabbage.
When someone you haven’t seen in ten years
appears at the door,
don’t start singing him all your new songs.
You will never catch up.
Walk around feeling like a leaf.
Know you could tumble any second.
Then decide what to do with your time.
You never know who you really are, so any definition I might give you might be wrong. I’m an architect and a designer but I’m not any guru. I’ve had a very full life in which I have done things right and things wrong. I have worked a lot, I have broken hearts and had mine broken. I have done many things wrong, but I have been always faithful to my point of view. That’s all I can say.
Bossuet, Sermon sur la mort
Everything summons us to death; nature, as if envious of the good she has done us, announces to us often and reminds us that she cannot leave us for long that bit of matter she lends us, which must not remain in the same hands, and which must eternally be in circulation: she needs it for other forms, she asks it back for other works.
Alfred Hitchock (from an interview)
A clear horizon — nothing to worry about on your plate, only things that are creative and not destructive… I can’t bear quarreling, I can’t bear feelings between people — I think hatred is wasted energy, and it’s all non-productive. I’m very sensitive — a sharp word, said by a person, say, who has a temper, if they’re close to me, hurts me for days. I know we’re only human, we do go in for these various emotions, call them negative emotions, but when all these are removed and you can look forward and the road is clear ahead, and now you’re going to create something — I think that’s as happy as I’ll ever want to be.
to be enraged with a dumb thing, Captain Ahab, seems blasphemous
Philip Ball, The quantum origin of time
... we can regard retrocausality as a kind of fuzziness in the “crystallisation of the present” — Ellis has argued that the past is not always fully defined at any instant. It is like a block of ice that contains little blobs of water that have not yet crystallized.
Even though the broad outline of events at a particular instant has been decided, some of the fine details remain fluid until a later time. Then, when this “fixing” of the details happens, it looks like they have retrospective consequences.
Van Morrison, In The Garden
no guru, no method, no teacher
just you and I and nature
in the garden
in the garden
wet with rain
Brian Christian, Algorithms to Live By
Don’t consider all your options
Don’t necessarily go for the thing that’s best every time
Make a mess on occasion
Let things wait
Trust your instincts and don’t think too long
and toss a coin.
From Hegel’s The Phenomenology of Spirit, 1807
The bud disappears when the blossom breaks through, and we might say that the former is refuted by the latter; in the same way when the fruit comes, the blossom may be explained to be a false form of the plant's existence, for the fruit appears as its true nature in place of the blossom. The ceaseless activity of their own inherent nature makes these stages moments of an organic unity, where they do not merely contradict one another, but where one is as necessary as the other; and constitutes thereby the life of the whole.
Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49
A revelation trembled just beyond the threshold of her understanding.
The Confessions of Aleister Crowley
A high degree of spiritual development, a romantic temperament and a profound knowledge based on experience of mountain conditions are the best safeguards against the insane impulses and hysterical errors which overwhelm the average man.
Aleister Crowley, The Book of the Law
Wisdom says: be strong! Then canst thou bear more joy. Be not animal; refine thy rapture! If thou drink, drink by the eight and ninety rules of art: if thou love, exceed by delicacy; and if thou do aught joyous, let there be subtlety therein!
Aleister Crowley, The Book of the Law
But exceed! exceed!
Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.
Aleister Crowley, Moonchild
She played the game with no thought of the victory; and this is half the secret of playing most games of importance.
Aleister Crowley, The Leopard and the Deer
The spots of the leopard are the sunlight in the glade; pursue thou the deer stealthily at thy pleasure.
The dappling of the deer is the sunlight in the glade; concealed from the leopard do thou feed at thy pleasure.
Resemble all that surroundeth thee; yet be Thyself — and take thy pleasure among the living.
Aleister Crowley, Moonchild
And in his broad brow she read the knowledge of the Unity of Things, and in his eyes the joy unspeakable which that knowledge gives.
Aleister Crowley, Moonchild
I’m understanding you with a part of me that I didn’t know was there.
Austin Osman Spare
Birth and death begin, like everything else, before the event.
Ursula K. Le Guin
He strove long to learn what can be learned, in silence, from the eyes of animals, the flight of birds, the great slow gestures of trees.
Austin Osman Spare, The Zoëtic Grimoire of Zos
The Witch so engaged is old, grotesque, worldly and libidinously learned and is sexually attractive as a corpse; yet she becomes the entire vehicle of consummation. This is necessary to transmute the personal aesthetic culture. Perversion is used only to overcome moral prejudices or conformity; the mind and desire must become amoral, focused and made entirely acceptive so that the life-force is free of inhibitions prior to the control.
Aleister Crowley, Moonchild
The clever man, so-called, the man of talent, shuts out his genius by setting up his conscious will as a positive entity. The true man of genius deliberately subordinates himself, reduces himself to a negative, and allows his genius to play through him as It will. We all know how stupid we are when we try to do things. Seek to make any other muscle work as consistently as your heart does without your silly interference — you cannot keep it up for forty-eight hours. Yield yourself utterly to the Will of Heaven, and you become the omnipotent instrument of that Will. Nothing that any man can do will improve that genius; but the genius needs his mind, and he can broaden that mind, fertilize it with knowledge of all kinds, improve its powers of expression; supply the genius, in short, with an orchestra instead of a tin whistle.
W.H. Auden, As I Walked Out One Evening
The glacier knocks in the cupboard,
The desert sighs in the bed,
And the crack in the tea-cup opens
A lane to the land of the dead.
Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.
Exuberance is beauty.
1972 Rolling Stone Interview
Charles Reich: Why is it important to get high?
Jerry Garcia: To get really high is to forget yourself. To forget yourself is to see everything else. And to see everything else is to become an understanding molecule in evolution, a conscious tool of the universe. That's why I think it's important to get high.
You never conquer the mountain, you only conquer yourself.
Though the reflective pose (and repose) of a “holy man” or whatever, may appear to be one of safety (like from fray to harbor), isn’t it really a posture of the most aggressive engagement? Isn’t the stillness just economy of task — like why move or talk or think when you are confronting all that is, which is you?
that the dust isn’t a haze of jewels
The great cultural accomplishment of Western civilization is this thing called the free individual. But now that we're on the brink of the electronic dispensation, exactly what we're going to do with the free individual, and how that's going to look in an era where consciousness flows through a thousand portals, it's not at all clear.
Deep experience is never peaceful.
Animals are something plants invented to move their seeds around.
Give up the feeling of responsibility, let go your hold, resign the care of your destiny to higher powers, be genuinely indifferent to what becomes of it all, and you will find not only that you gain a perfect inward relief, but often also, in addition, the particular goods you sincerely thought you were renouncing.
Jeff VanderMeer, Authority
A circle looks at a square and sees a badly made circle.
Olaf Stapledon, Star Maker
I perceived that I was on a little round grain of rock and metal, filmed with water and with air, whirling in sunlight and darkness. And on the skin of that little grain all the swarms of men, generation by generation, had lived in labour and blindness, with intermittent joy and intermittent lucidity of spirit. And all their history, with its folk-wanderings, its empires, its philosophies, its proud sciences, its social revolutions, its increasing hunger for community, was but a flicker in one day of the lives of the stars.
A compass for a world without maps.
Give a man a mask, and he will show you his true face.
Ahab, Herman Melville, Moby Dick
All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks. But in each event—in the living act, the undoubted deed—there, some unknown but still reasoning thing puts forth the mouldings of its features from behind the unreasoning mask. If man will strike, strike through the mask! How can the prisoner reach outside except by thrusting through the wall?
Think in the morning.
Act in the noon.
Eat in the evening.
Sleep in the night.
Great things are done when men and mountains meet.
To generalize is to be an idiot.
Always be ready to speak your mind, and a base man will avoid you.
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Author of the Acacia Seeds
And with them, or after them, may there not come that even bolder adventurer—the first geolinguist, who, ignoring the delicate, transient lyrics of the lichen, will read beneath it the still less communicative, still more passive, wholly atemporal, cold, volcanic poetry of the rocks: each one a word spoken, how long ago, by the earth itself, in the immense solitude, the immenser community, of space.
We have convictions only if we have studied nothing thoroughly.
Refinement is a sign of a deficient vitality, in art, in love, and in everything.
No one can enjoy freedom without trembling.
We define only out of despair, we must have a formula... to give a facade to the void.
Joi Ito's 9 Principles of the Media Lab
1. Disobedience over compliance
2. Pull over push
3. Compasses over maps
4. Emergence over authority
5. Learning over education
6. Resilience over strength
7. Systems over objects
8. Risk over safety
9. Practice over theory
Official education was telling people almost nothing of the nature of all those things on the seashores, and in the redwood forests, in the deserts and in the plains.
Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs
... his diet obsessions reflected a life philosophy, one in which asceticism and minimalism could heighten subsequent sensations. He believed that great harvests came from arid sources, pleasure from restraint. He knew the equations that most people didn’t know: Things led to their opposites.
lord crunkington III
All struggle is against impermanence.
Pearl S. Buck
The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive. To him… a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god, and failure is death. Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create—so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, his very breath is cut off from him. He must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency he is not really alive unless he is creating…”
If you try and take a cat apart to see how it works, the first thing you have on your hands is a non-working cat.
Olaf Stapledon, Last and First Men
But in fact the glorious beings which they had produced were tortured by subtle imperfections beyond their makers’ comprehension.
Philip K. Dick
Everything is true, he said. Everything anybody has ever thought.
Philip K. Dick
Our methods may seem strange and indirect. Even incomprehensible. But I assure you we know what we’re doing.
Organic life, we are told, has developed gradually from the protozoon to the philosopher, and this development, we are assured, is indubitably an advance. Unfortunately it is the philosopher, not the protozoon, who gives us this assurance.
Don’t let starting stop you.
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the overcompensations for misery. And, of course, stability isn’t nearly so spectacular as instability. And being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against misfortune, none of the picturesqueness of a struggle with temptation, or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt. Happiness is never grand.
G. K. Chesterton
He knows that there are in the soul tints more bewildering, more numberless, and more nameless than the colours of an autumn forest... Yet he seriously believes that these things can every one of them, in all their tones and semitones, in all their blends and unions, be accurately represented by an arbitrary system of grunts and squeals. He believes that an ordinary civilized stockbroker can really produce out of this own inside noises which denote all the mysteries of memory and all the agonies of desire.
If you need to visualize the soul, think of it as a cross between a wolf howl, a photon, and a dribble of dark molasses. But what it really is, as near as I can tell, is a packet of information. It's a program, a piece of hyperspatial software designed explicitly to interface with the mystery.
Here there is a sort of question, call it historical, of which we are only glimpsing today, the conception, the formation, the gestation, the labor. I employ these words, I admit, with a glance toward the business of childbearing — but also with a glance toward those who, in a company from which I do not exclude myself, turn their eyes away in the face of the as yet unnamable, which is proclaiming itself and which can do so, as is necessary whenever a birth is in the offing, only under the species of the non-species in the formless, mute, infant, and terrifying form of monstrosity.
Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.
The price of transformation is eternal vigilance.
Gospel of Thomas
If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.
The only way to clear muddy water is to leave it alone.
Suffering! We owe to it all that is good in us, all that gives value to life; we owe to it pity, we owe to it courage, we owe to it all the virtues.
The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.
All life is conflict. Every breath that you draw represents a victory in the struggle of the whole Universe
In a steamboat the engine must first overcome its own inertia before it can attack the resistance of the water.
Au revoir, jewelled alligators and white hotels, hallucinatory forests, farewell.
What weakens us is feeling offended by the deeds and misdeeds of our fellow men. Our self-importance requires that we spend most of our lives offended by someone.
A man goes to knowledge as he goes to war: wide-awake, with fear, with respect, and with absolute assurance. Going to knowledge or going to war in any other manner is a mistake, and whoever makes it might never live to regret it.
In a world where death is the hunter there is no time for regrets or doubts. There is only time for decisions.
The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge while an ordinary man takes everything as a blessing or a curse.
The aim is to balance the terror of being alive with the wonder of being alive.
If it is true that t he self is not a thing, but a process, then it is also true that that the tragedy of the ego dissolves, because strictly speaking, nobody is ever born, and nobody ever dies.
You can't take credit for your talents, but it matters that you use them. You can't really be blamed for your weaknesses, but it matters that you correct them. So pride and shame don't make a lot of sense in the final analysis. But they weren't much fun anyway; these are isolating emotions.
Before I studied the art, a punch to me was just like a punch, a kick just like a kick. After I learned the art, a punch was no longer a punch, a kick no longer a kick. Now that I’ve understood the art, a punch is just like a punch, a kick just like a kick.
There are things that cannot ever occur with any precision. They are too big and too magnificent to be contained in mere facts. They are merely trying to occur, they are checking whether the ground of reality can carry them. And they quickly withdraw, fearing to lose their integrity in the frailty of realization.
In anthropology, liminality (from the Latin word līmen, meaning "a threshold") is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of rituals, when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the ritual is complete. During a ritual's liminal stage, participants "stand at the threshold" between their previous way of structuring their identity, time, or community, and a new way, which the ritual establishes.
The biological object is made of time as much as it is made of space and matter.
The obstacle on your path is a route indicator, not a stop sign.
Learning is a form of remembering.
The only problem with seeing too much is that it makes you insane.
Immortality is but ubiquity in time.
Culture replaces authentic feeling with words. As an example of this, imagine an infant lying in its cradle, and the window is open, and into the room comes something, marvelous, mysterious, glittering, shedding light of many colors, movement, sound, a transformative hierophany of integrated perception and the child is enthralled and then the mother comes into the room and she says to the child, "that's a bird, baby, that's a bird," instantly the complex wave of the angel peacock irridescent transformative mystery is collapsed, into the word. All mystery is gone, the child learns this is a bird, this is a bird, and by the time we're five or six years old all the mystery of reality has been carefully tiled over with words. This is a bird, this is a house, this is the sky, and we seal ourselves in within a linguistic shell of disempowered perception. What the psychedelics do is they burst apart this cultural envelope of confinement and return us to the legacy and birthright of the organism.
You have enemies? Why, it is the story of every man who has done a great deed or created a new idea. It is the cloud which thunders around everything that shines. Fame must have enemies, as light must have gnats. Do not bother yourself about it; disdain. Keep your mind serene as you keep your life clear.
She has neither language nor discourse; but she creates tongues and hearts, by which she feels and speaks.
There is now a window where once there was only a wall.
The terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency; a reverence for our past act or word, because the eyes of others have no other data for computing our orbit than our past acts, and we are loath to disappoint them.
At birth you receive a loan, consciousness and light borrowed from the void, leaving a hole in the emptiness.
Without great solitude, no serious work is possible.
The meaning of your communication is the response you get.
Olaf Stapledon, Last and First Men
Increasingly, the individual felt himself to be a single flicker between the teeming gulf of the never-more and the boundless void of the not-yet.
Olaf Stapledon, Last and First Men
It was much as though a blind race, after studying physics, should invent organs of sight.
I don’t think about technique. The ideas dictate everything.
The further within myself I go, the farther out to the world I can reach.
Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.
Who meets the dawn owns the day.
Thou shalt not distort, delay, or sequester information.
You should never be comfortable, man. Being comfortable fouled up a lot of musicians.
Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.
We are so much the victims of abstraction that with the Earth in flames we can barely rouse ourselves to wander across the room and look at the thermostat.
Specialization is for insects.
The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago; the next best time is now.
Deleuze & Parnet
An image of thought called philosophy has been formed historically and it effectively stops people from thinking.
He had achieved harmony simply by accepting it.
The demand that I make of my reader is that he should devote his whole life to reading my works.
Not all those who wander are lost.
Oliver Wendell Holmes
A mind that is stretched to a new idea never returns to its original dimension.
Now I see that I will never find the light unless, like the candle, I am my own fuel, consuming myself.
You get the conception of an infinitely sensitive and intelligent man laying his ear to the earth and writing verbatim every delicate response and flux that twitches his being
The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.
After nature had drawn a few breaths the star grew cold, and the clever animals had to die.
I have no special message. I wish I did. It would be great if I had one.
The human body is a knot in time. It is a non-thermal dynamic state of equilibrium maintained by the miracle of metabolism. Metabolism is a slow controlled chemical burning of organic material. A so subtle form of burning that the energy is trapped in various membranes and cytochrome cascades and put to the work of organism.
Only the ideas that we actually live are of any value.
If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us.
Eternity is a mere moment, just long enough for a joke.
You see, I have made a great discovery. I no longer believe in anything. Objects don’t exist for me except in so far as a rapport exists between them or between them and myself.
Truth suffers from too much analysis.
Even sleepers are workers and collaborators in what goes on in the Universe.
Frank Herbert, Dune
A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct.
Once a new technology rolls over you, if you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road.
If you’re going through hell, keep going.
Philip K. Dick
To fight the Empire is to be infected by its derangement. Whoever defeats the Empire becomes the Empire; it proliferates like a virus ... thereby it becomes its enemies.
Well done is better than well said.
Hermann Hesse, Journey to the East
It was only possible for me to do it, he said, because it was necessary.
The words of truth are always paradoxical. To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.
The approval of the public is to be avoided like the plague. It is absolutely essential to keep the public from entering if one wishes to avoid confusion. I must add that the public must be kept panting in expectation at the gate by a system of challenges and provocations.
Give up defining yourself — to yourself or to others. You won’t die. You will come to life.
... as though in a miraculous hour it has become aware of the law that shapes it and begins to strive toward the fulfillment of its being.
The man who says it can’t be done shouldn’t interrupt the man who is trying to do it.
Art exists because reality is neither real nor significant.
The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.
To forgive is to give up all hope for a better past.
For we are only the rind and the leaf. The great death, that each of us carries inside, is the fruit. Everything enfolds it.
I was walking along a path with two friends — the sun was setting — suddenly the sky turned blood red — I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence — there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city — my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety — and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.
From my rotting body, flowers shall grow and I am in them and that is eternity.
Work is more fun than fun.
Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
Success has a thousand parents.
The most interesting trend in the development of the Internet is not how it is changing people’s ways of thinking but how it is adapting to the way that people think.
I want to stay as close on the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center. Big, undreamed-of things — the people on the edge see them first.
If it works, it’s obsolete.
Poets and artists live on frontiers. They have no feedback, only feedforward. They have no identities. They are probes.
In network theory, a node’s relationship to other networks is more important than its own uniqueness. Similarly, today we situate ourselves less as individuals and more as the product of multiple networks composed of both humans and things.
Like the artist, the networked self is an aggregator of information flows, a collection of links to others, a switching machine.
The source of the new is the random.
The kind of conversation I like is one in which you are prepared to emerge a slightly different person.
Mathematical reasoning may be regarded rather schematically as the exercise of a combination of two facilities, which we may call intuition and ingenuity. The activity of the intuition consists in making spontaneous judgements which are not the result of conscious trains of reasoning. The exercise of ingenuity in mathematics consists in aiding the intuition through suitable arrangements of propositions, and perhaps geometrical figures or drawings.
Giving something a name can be just the same as inventing it.
There is no path, paths are made by walking.
Death is not extinguishing the light; it is putting out the lamp because dawn has come.
Separated from the familiar, confronted with the unfamiliar, and reflexed only by the brain's mechanical feedback, unthinking humans — not realizing that there are no straight lines, only wavy ones, and not realizing that waves can only be propagated by positive-negative oscillating — find their straight linear strivings forever frustrated by the wave system realities of Universe.
An important aspect of design is the degree to which the object involves you in its own completion.
If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.
What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.
I could not say I believe. I know! I have had the experience of being gripped by something that is stronger than myself, something that people call God.
Henry David Thoreau
We must walk consciously only part way toward our goal, and then leap in the dark to our success.
Everything is vague to a degree you do not realize until you have tried to make it precise.
It’s not denial. I’m just very particular about the reality I choose to accept.
Imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, 'This is an interesting world I find myself in, an interesting hole I find myself in, fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!' This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, it's still frantically hanging on to the notion that everything's going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for.
There are no facts, only interpretations.
Boat Man, Waking Life
The idea is to remain in a state of constant departure while always arriving. Saves on introductions and goodbyes. The ride does not require an explanation, just occupants.
We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers.
There’s nothing I like less than bad arguments for a view that I hold dear.
When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.
A society whose whole idea is to eliminate suffering and bring its members the greatest amount of comfort and pleasure is doomed to be destroyed.
If people do not believe that mathematics is simple, it is only because they do not realize how complicated life is.
Also, common everyday things may seem to be abnormally beautiful or interesting. Alexander Shulgin reported that mountains that he had observed many times before appeared to be so beautiful that he could barely stand looking at them.
Hofstadter’s Law: It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take Hofstadter's Law into account.
Robert Anton Wilson
Of course I'm crazy, but that doesn't mean I'm wrong.
Talent hits a target no one else can hit, while genius hits a target that no one else can see.
We're driving faster and faster into the future, trying to steer by using only the rear-view mirror.
Seek freedom and become captive of your desires, seek discipline and find your liberty.
The world is a wonderfully weird place, consensual reality is significantly flawed, no institution can be trusted, certainty is a mirage, security a delusion, and the tyranny of the dull mind forever threatens — but our lives are not as limited as we think they are, all things are possible, laughter is holier than piety, freedom is sweeter than fame, and in the end it's love and love alone that really matters.
Uniquely in us, nature opens her eyes and sees that she exists.
We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are.
Never ascribe to malice, that which can be explained by incompetence.
The past does not repeat itself, but sometimes it rhymes.
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
The greater a man’s talents, the greater his power to lead astray.
Too much consistency is as bad for the mind as it is for the body. Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life. The only completely consistent people are the dead.
I'm afraid of losing my obscurity. Genuineness only thrives in the dark. Like celery.
A process cannot be understood by stopping it. Understanding must move with the flow of the process, must join it and flow with it.
We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.
Inability to accept the mystic experience is more than an intellectual handicap. Lack of awareness of the basic unity of organism and environment is a serious and dangerous hallucination. For in a civilization equipped with immense technological power, the sense of alienation between man and nature leads to the use of technology in a hostile spirit - to the "conquest" of nature instead of intelligent co-operation with nature.
Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.
We hardly ever realize that we can cut anything out of our lives, anytime, in the blink of an eye.
A man of knowledge lives by acting, not by thinking about acting.
H. G. Wells
Life, for ever dying to be born afresh, for ever young and eager, will presently stand upon this earth as upon a footstool, and stretch out its realm amidst the stars.
We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about.
If you haven't taken enough that you think that you may have done too much, you did too little
Since it is not easy for you to recognize other varieties of intelligence around you, your most advanced theories of politics and society have advanced only as far as the notion of collectivism. But beyond the cohesion of the members of a species into a single social organism there lie richer and even more baroque evolutionary possibilities.
All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.
Pay attention. And keep breathing.
Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.
Time is the moving image of eternity
Sir Thomas Browne
I am the happiest man alive. I have that in me that can convert poverty into riches, adversity into prosperity, and I am more invulnerable than Achilles; fortune hath not one place to hit me.
Today, a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration... that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There's no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we're the imagination of ourselves. Here's Tom with the weather.
We talk far too much. We should talk less and draw more. I personally should like to renounce speech altogether and, like organic Nature, communicate everything I have to say in sketches. That fig tree, this little snake, the cocoon on my window sill quietly awaiting its future - all these are momentous signatures.
A person able to decipher their meaning properly would soon be able to dispense with the written or the spoken word altogether. The more I think of it, there is something futile, mediocre, even (I am tempted to say) foppish about speech. By contrast, how the gravity of Nature and he silence startle you, when you stand face to face with her, undistracted, before a barren ridge or in the desolation of ancient hills.
Each of your cells contains your entire genetic code.
The greater part of what my neighbors call good I believe in my soul to be bad, and if I repent of anything, it is very likely to be my good behavior. What demon possessed me that I behaved so well?
The Total Perspective Vortex derives its picture of the whole Universe on the principle of extrapolated matter analyses. Since every piece of matter in the Universe is in some way affected by every other piece of matter in the Universe, it is in theory possible to extrapolate the whole of creation — every sun, every planet, their orbits, their composition and their economic and social history from, say, one small piece of fairy cake.
Janine M. Benyus’ 9 basic principles of biomimicry:
1. Nature runs on sunlight
2. Nature uses only the energy it needs
3. Nature fits form to function
4. Nature recycles everything
5. Nature rewards cooperation
6. Nature banks on diversity
7. Nature demands local expertise
8. Nature curbs excesses from within
9. Nature taps the power of limits
Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
The future is here. It's just not widely distributed yet.
A physicist is the atom’s way of knowing about atoms.
Every time you click on an icon, he explained, the computer's operating system decides how to allocate memory space, based on some deterministic instructions. But, Dr. Lloyd said, "If I ask how long will it take to boot up five minutes from now, the operating system will say 'I don't know, wait and see, and I'll make decisions and let you know.'
...as when an artist envisions a teapot and then sculpts it — a concept sometimes known as “downward causation.”
The most intense moments the universe has ever known are the next 15 seconds.
To be clever enough to get a great deal of money, one must be stupid enough to want it.
It seems that truth is progressive approximation in which the relative fraction of our spontaneously tolerated residual error constantly diminishes.
Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.
Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life.
When I was 16, I thought my father was the most ignorant ass that there ever was. But by the time I was 21, I was surprised to discover just how much he had learned in only 5 years.
Every now and then when your life gets complicated and the weasels start closing in, the only cure is to load up on heinous chemicals and then drive like a bastard from Hollywood to Las Vegas ... with the music at top volume and at least a pint of ether.
Life is like arriving late for a movie, having to figure out what was going on without bothering everybody with a lot of questions, and then being unexpectedly called away before you find out how it ends.
OZ, post trip
There was nothing there...just me and...everything.
R Buckminster Fuller
Everything you've learned in school as "obvious" becomes less and less obvious as you begin to study the universe. For example, there are no solids in the universe. There's not even a suggestion of a solid. There are no absolute continuums. There are no surfaces. There are no straight lines.
Malaclypse the Younger
Common sense is what tells you that the world is flat.
The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair.
Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds.
Don’t oppose forces, use them.
How do I know the past is not a fiction, conceived to reconcile the difference between my state of mind and the present?
Let us declare nature to be legitimate. All plants should be declared legal. The notion of illegal plants is obnoxious and ridiculous.
And so what I would call a basic problem we've got to go through first, is to understand that there are no such things as things. That is to say separate things, or separate events. That that is only a way of talking. If you can understand this, you're going to have no further problems. I once asked a group of high school children ‘What do you mean by a thing?’ First of all, they gave me all sorts of synonyms. They said `It's an object,' which is simply another word for a thing; it doesn't tell you anything about what you mean by a thing. Finally, a very smart girl from Italy, who was in the group, said a thing is a noun. And she was quite right. A noun isn't a part of nature, it's a part of speech. There are no nouns in the physical world. There are no separate things in the physical world, either.
You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.
A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight and understanding.
None are more hopelessly enslaved thanthose who falsely believe they are free.
People are so alienated from their own soul that when they meet their soul they think it comes from another star system.
Some kind of dialog is now going on between individual human beings and the sum total of human knowledge and nothing can stop it.
There is only one time in the history of each planet when its inhabitants first wire up its innumerable parts to make one large Machine...You and I are alive at this moment.
At one point consciousness-altering devices like the microscope and telescope were criminalized for exactly the same reasons that psychedelic plants were banned in later years. They allow us to peer into bits and zones of Chaos.
You must be the change you want to see in the world.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.
O A Oeser
The child is expected to sit on a hard seat, not to move, scrape his feet, or gaze out the window, to listen, to answer questions by raising his hand, to draw neat lines in a book and write or script-print on a single blue line in exactly the same way as all his peers. He may be permitted to ask questions but, for the most part he is expected to conform. The teacher teaches, the child listens. He soon appreciates the advantages of conformity.
Physical concepts are free creations of the human mind, and are not, however it may seem, uniquely determined by the external world. In our endeavour to understand reality we are somewhat like a man trying to understand the mechanism of a closed watch. He sees the face and the moving hands, even hears it ticking, but he has no way of opening the case. If he is ingenious he may form some picture of the mechanism which could be responsible for all the things he observes, but he may never be quite sure his picture is the only one which could explain his observations. He will never be able to compare his picture with the real mechanism and he cannot even imagine the possibility of the meaning of such a comparison.
A single ray of light from a distant star falling upon the eye of a tyrant in bygone times, may have altered the course of his life, may have changed the destiny of nations, may have transformed the surface of the globe, so intricate, so inconceivably complex are the processes of nature.
Emergence of advanced technologies has been overwhelmingly bad for many of the less intelligent species on Earth. We are massacring millions of wild animals and destroying their habitat. We keep billions more domestic farm animals under inhumane, painful, plague-breeding conditions in increasingly vast numbers.
In the 21st century, despite tremendous progress, we still do amazingly stupid things.
John Gray, Straw Dogs
Cities are no more artificial than Bee-hives. The internet is as natural as a spider’s web. We ourselves are technological devices, invented by ancient bacterial communities as means of genetic survival — we are part of an intricate network that comes from the original takeover of the Earth. Our power and intelligence do not belong specifically to us, but to all life.
The brain is a three-pound mass you can hold in your hand that can conceive of a universe a hundred-billion light-years across.
Imagination is one of the forces of nature.
Matter is mostly empty space, interrupted by a few islands of substance; and those points of substance are, in turn, themselves made mostly of empty space. Wherever one looks for a final, tiny monad of solidity, one will find instead the same recurring proportion of absence and presence.
Nature is trying very hard to make us succeed, but nature does not depend on us. We are not the only experiment.
Dare to be naïve.
I live on Earth at present, and I don't know what I am. I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing-a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process-an integral function of the universe.
We know we are more than just neurons firing. Or, we think we are, while the neurons are firing.
Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.
Nothing is harder, yet nothing is more necessary, than to speak of certain things whose existence is neither demonstrable nor probable. The very fact that serious and conscientious men and women treat them as existing things brings them a step closer to existence and to the possibility of being born.
Eventually, everything connects.
The relentless quest for meaning distracts us from experience. We get caught up in the abstractions, lost in the maps. Strip away meaning and language and the heavenly kingdom begins to reveal itself to the phenomenal perceptual machine called the human brain.
In those subtle moments we sometimes drift into, when time slips away and life stands silent and majestic, words cease to spill from our mouths or even bubble up from that source within. The warming wholeness ensues at the sheer experience of it all: we marvel at the vast beautiful complexity of creation rolling around and within us. It's likely that every human has experienced this feeling at least once in some form. It almost seems hardwired, like a key back into the garden.
The path of least resistance for most unwary souls is to be caught up in the obligations pertaining to cycles of birth, family, children, and the roles we are taught or forced to assume. In this mode the freedom of disconnection alludes us. But it is through the gradual disconnection to our worldly attachments that allows us to realize how trivial jealousy, deceit, anger and acquisition are in relation to the big picture of existence which extends well beyond our occluded perceptions. True freedom comes when one is free of these distracting imperfections and can find forgiveness towards those who have wittingly or not caused us harm or pain.
Embrace the alien within.
Philip K. Dick
If two people dream the same dream it ceases to be an illusion; the basic test that distinguishes reality from hallucination is the consensus gentium, that one other or several others see it too.
There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.
In the beginning the Universe was created. This made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.
Dr. Christian Jarrett
Imagine awaking from a torpor having forgotten how your friends and family see you. Perhaps, unchained from everyone’s expectations for how you ought to behave, you could be whoever you liked.
Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point
When it comes to interpreting other people's behaviour, human beings invariably make the mistake of overestimating the importance of fundamental character traits and underestimating the importance of the situation and context... The reason that most of us seem to have a consistent character is that most of us are really good at controlling our environment.
When a man starts to learn, it happens very slowly-bit by bit at first, then in big chunks. And his thoughts soon clash. What he learns is never what he pictured, or imagined, and so he begins to be afraid. Learning is never what one expects. Every step of learning is a new task, and the fear the man is experiencing begins to mount mercilessly, unyieldingly. His purpose becomes a battlefield -And what can he do to overcome fear? The answer is very simple. He must not run away. He must defy his fear, and in spite of it he must take the next step in learning, and the next, and the next. He must be fully afraid, and yet he must not stop. That is the rule! And a moment will come when his first enemy retreats. The man begins to feel sure of himself. His intent becomes stronger. Learning is no longer a terrifying task.
Without deviation from the norm, ‘progress’ is not possible.
Wikipedia on Huxley
If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite. Based on this quotation, Huxley assumes that the human brain filters reality in order not to let pass all impressions and images, which would be unbearable to process. According to his view, drugs can reduce this filter, or “open these doors of perception,” as he puts it metaphorically. In order to verify his theory, Huxley takes mescaline and writes down his thoughts and feelings. What he notices is that everyday objects lose their functionality and suddenly exist “as such.” Space and dimension become irrelevant and the perception seems to be enlarged, overwhelming and at times even offending because the person is unable to cope with the enormous amount of impressions.
Outside is pure energy and colorless substance, all of the rest happens through the mechanism of our senses. Our eyes see just a small fraction of the light in the world. It is a trick to make a colored world, which does not exist outside of human beings.
The dream is the small hidden door in the deepest and most intimate sanctum of the soul, which opens to that primeval cosmic night that was soul long before there was conscious ego and will be soul far beyond what a conscious ego could ever reach.
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery.
A psychedelic experience is a journey to new realms of consciousness. The scope and content of the experience is limitless, but its characteristic features are the transcendence of verbal concepts, of space-time dimensions, and of the ego or identity. Such experiences of enlarged consciousness can occur in a variety of ways: sensory deprivation, yoga exercises, disciplined meditation, religious or aesthetic ecstasies, or spontaneously. Most recently they have become available to anyone through the ingestion of psychedelic drugs such as LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, DMT, etc. Of course, the drug does not produce the transcendent experience. It merely acts as a chemical key - it opens the mind, frees the nervous system of its ordinary patterns and structures.
Arthur Conan Doyle
Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius.
A warrior lives by acting, not by thinking about acting, nor by thinking about what he will think when he has finished acting.
The self-confidence of the warrior is not the self-confidence of the average man. The average man seeks certainty in the eyes of the onlooker and calls that self-confidence. The warrior seeks impeccability in his own eyes and calls that humbleness. The average man is hooked to his fellow men, while the warrior is hooked only to infinity.
Do you know at this very moment you are surrounded by eternity? And do you know that you can use that eternity if you so desire?
No person is important enough to make me angry.
Nothing is intrinsically valuable; the value of everything is attributed to it, assigned to it from outside the thing itself, by people.
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.
Carl Jung, The Undiscovered Self
On attaining religious experience: “This task is so exacting and its fulfillment so advantageous, that he forgets himself in the process, losing sight of his instinctual nature and putting his own conception of himself in place of his real being. In this way he slips imperceptibly into a purely conceptual world where the products of his conscious activity progressively replace reality.”
Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception
To be shaken out of the ruts of ordinary perception, to be shown for a few timeless hours the outer and inner world, not as they appear to an animal obsessed with survival or to a human being obsessed with words and notions, but as they are apprehended, directly and unconditionally, by Mind at Large- this is an experience of inestimable value to everyone and especially to the intellectual.
There are moments, and it is only a matter of five or six seconds, when you feel the presence of the eternal harmony...a terrible thing is the frightful clearness with which it manifests itself and the rapture with which it fills you. If this state were to last more than five seconds, the soul could not endure it and would have to disappear. During these five seconds I live a whole human existence, and for that I would give my whole life and not think that I was paying too dearly....
Reflecting on my experience, I find myself agreeing with the eminent Cambridge philosopher, Dr. C. D. Broad... "The suggestion is that the function of the brain and nervous system and sense organs is in the main eliminative and not productive. Each person is at each moment capable of remembering all that has ever happened to him and of perceiving everything that is happening everywhere in the universe. The function of the brain and nervous system is to protect us from being overwhelmed and confused by this mass of largely useless and irrelevant knowledge, by shutting out most of what we should otherwise perceive or remember at any moment, and leaving only that very small and special selection which is likely to be practically useful.
The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious, it is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science.
William Gibson, Neuromancer
Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts...A graphical representation of data abstracted from the banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding...
We are a way for the Cosmos to know itself.
For most people it's a life-changing shock to learn that their everyday reality circuit is one among dozens of circuits which, when turned on, are equally real, pulsing with strange forms and mysterious biological systems. Accelerated, amplified some of these alternate realities can be microscopic in exquisite detail, others telescopic. Since psychedelic drugs expose us to different levels of perception and experience, use of them is ultimately a philosophic enterprise, compelling us to confront the nature of reality and the nature of our fragile, subjective belief systems. The contrast is what triggers the laughter, the terror. We discover abruptly that we have been programmed all these years, that everything we accept as reality is just social fabrication.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
We have nothing to fear but fear itself.
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.
There are some things one can only achieve by a deliberate leap in the opposite direction. Oftentimes one has to go abroad to find the home one has lost.
If you know exactly what you are going to do, what is the point of doing it?
A human being is a part of the whole called by us 'universe'... a part limited in time and space. He experiences his thoughts and feelings as separated from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
To begin is the most important part of any quest and by far the most courageous.
Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence move, too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no one could have dreamed would have come their way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
Shamanism is philosophy with a hands-on attitude. Philosophy not made around the campfire, but based on the acquisition of extreme experience.
Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.
I sank to the floor, recalls McKenna, in a recording of the 1987 lecture. I experienced this hallucination of tumbling forward into these fractal geometric spaces made of light and then I found myself in the equivalent of the Pope's private chapel and there were insect elf machines proffering strange little tablets with strange writing on them, and I was aghast, completely appalled, because in a matter of seconds... my entire expectation of the nature of the world was just being shredded in front of me. I’ve never actually gotten over it. These self-transforming machine elf creatures were speaking in a colored language which condensed into rotating machines that were like Fabergé eggs but crafted out of luminescent superconducting ceramics and liquid crystal gels. All this stuff was just so weird and so alien and so un-English-able that it was a complete shock — I mean, the literal turning inside out of my intellectual universe!