Thursday May 9, 2019

Timothy Leary, ever the magician, pinches together his thumbs and forefingers to form a symbol of infinity, an eye out of which stream prismatic beams of light. Sarah and I sit on a blanket in a park reading beside a tree. Afterwards, on Erik Davis’s recommendation, I turn on and watch “Tones, Drones, and Arpeggios,” a BBC documentary on the birth of minimalism featuring LaMonte Young and Terry Riley in counterculture California.

[And here’s Episode 2.]

I learn about time-lag accumulation, weird spells, past dragged into the future. Interesting things start happening. A universe of cycles rather than arrows. The revolution of Terry Riley’s “In C.” Communism in action. Couple that with Steve Reich’s “Music as a Gradual Process,” and doors begin to open. (By the way, Erik Davis is the real deal. He’s been walking the freak beat for decades, his senses and inclinations honed by years of practice. I remain awed by his sharp analysis and critical takedown of the 1960s/1970s counterculture’s fetish for “consciousness tools” and “technologies of transformation” [152] in his book TechGnosis.)

Tuesday March 20, 2018

Is everything I write about in these trance-scripts curated by algorithms? Let us go right through it: you think after all this time, something asking to whisper in my ear would be heard: the “Soul,” floating in an ocean of sound. What would be its message? Egg’s “Fugue in D Minor.”

The dramatic idea dissipates into confusion. Vectors in 2- and 3-dimensional Euclidean spaces. I want utopianism to triumph over unthinkable disaster. The truth of the matter is that divination falsifies whenever it imagines its hand on the rudder, as with Norbert Wiener’s helmsman. Human control systems. Instrumental reason. Intuition is more like reality reloading with updates, extra levels, bonus rounds. A cartoon ghost escapes from a head, exploring by taking the will of others as its guide. Data rate rises and falls. Terry Riley’s “Cactus Rosary” announces, “Some of my work has been altered!” Peyote rattles, aluminum pepper shakers. “Dead artist!” chant voices in unison. My inclination is to reach for a book.