Sunday, October 12, 2008

the aquarian conspiracy

"in our need to cope with everyday concerns, we forfeit awareness of the miracle of awareness"
-Marylin Ferguson

[disclaimer: everything i think about this is based on gatherings from Huxley's biography and Ferguson's A.C. theory. please, please please, you guys... hook me up with the rest of it.]

the Aquarian Conspiracy, so dubbed by Marylin Ferguson, is generally misconstrued as yet another mysterious and frightening undertaking by the CIA to flood the U.S. with psychedelics, and control subliminal brainwashing. being called a "conspiracy" doesn't really do much to battle this assumption. in actuality, the word "conspiracy" is used in a much less menacing regard, namely, its literal sense; to conspire means to breathe together. this was a movement of social synthesis in the "consciousness revolution" of the 1960-70's. "aquarian" refers to the aquarian age - following the current (violent Piscean) into one of love, light and liberation of mind [sidenote: this is the most flower-childesque thing you will ever catch me saying - please note that these are not my words and i say them with a healthy ( or unhealthy) degree of cynicism toward blind love and spiritual enlightenment]. in other words, the aquarian conspiracy is not a governmental heist. rather, it's a social paradigm shift resulting from the slow exposure of individual awareness. it just so happens that conspirators, being everywhere, were also staked in the CIA and could bring in Aldous Huxley and Humphrey Osmond to spike the revolution with psychedelics. it's just too bad that the drug was given to the blind and dumb (yes, Hippies) who brought the revolution into the open carelessly and flippantly.

there was, of course, a CIA operation involved under Allen Dulles (a Rockafeller cousin, go figure). in the late 50's, an investigation began into the utility of LSD (developed by Swiss chemist, Albert Hoffman) as a military weapon. oddly enough, Aldous Huxley's personal physician was recruited by Dulles to lead these investigations. as a side project, Humphrey Osmond (the physician), Huxley and some other dude with funding connections began investigating LSD as a therapeutic tool for mental disorders under the guise that mescaline (a similar alkaloid to LSD) produced a Schizophrenic model. this West Coast project resulted in Huxley recruiting his own cult of experimenters; one of these spiked the Zen Buddhism cult, another, the Hippie cult.

having jump-started the West Coast movement, Huxley went back to Boston to teach at MIT and birthed a similar team on the East Coast. during this time, he started another project with Sandoz Pharmaceuticals (Albert Hoffman's company in Switzerland) to contract the mass production of LSD under the CIA's chemical warfare investigation. and by the 60's, Dulles had made the purchase orders.

the reason for the bad rep of the Aquarian Conspiracy is that it emerged at the same time as the anti-war movement, the "flower child" cult of San Francisco and the manifested inundation of LSD, which was introduced by Huxley in his MIT courses as the window to consciousness.

i think we're on the verge of its second wave.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

glycyrrhetinic acid

glycyrrhetinic acid (the potent sweetener of the licorice root) is an expectorant (a mucous thinner) that inhibits the activity of prostaglandin-metabolizing enzymes (causing lots of prostaglandin activity in the digestive system).

prostaglandins (the bitchinest of all hormones) work in concert with the immune system. their badass reputation comes from regulating classic core body fever. endogenous pyrogenic cytokines (interleukins, interferons, etc.), which are produced in excess in response to an invasive toxin or bacteria, stimulate the hypothalamus to synthesize prostaglandins that modulate the body's core temperature to enable activity of immune mechanisms which fight the pathogen (the reason you take Asprin to break a fever is because it inhibits the production of prostaglandins).

(and) the reason that prostaglandins are the bitchinest of all hormones is because they have such an extensive array of physiological activity through the body.

in the digestive system, the all-star fatty acid derivatives instigate mucous secretion from the stomach lining, both protecting and prolonging the lifespan of the columnar epithelium that so graciously allow for the digestion of food. ergo, tea from boiled licorice root, being concentrated in glycyrrhetinic acid which stimulates prostaglandin secretion in the stomach, is protectice against ulcers, inflammation and general rotting of the digestive tract. incomparably, my favorite medicine.

Friday, October 10, 2008

empty thoughts IX

incidentally, all this time that i've been drooling over the products of the gods of neurophilosophy, i've never really condoned or disputed any of their arguments. rather, i more or less take them in stride and create something new out of them. sometimes, arguments are that badass, what can you do? at the moment, however, i say "incidentally" because i happen to have come upon a precarious internal consensus about individuality.

i like the way Lewis Thomas puts it: multiple personalities is not a pathology - it's when they all clamor for conscious attention at once that they become a problematic condition.

nice, right? here's where it gets tricky for me. it is conceivable to me to believe in the capacity of a body to merge multiple selves, but i also favor the holism in collective consciousness of the universe. so what is it? are we all of the same energy using not only various bodies differently, but various circuits of each body differently? or are we denying the strength of fragmentation in assuming holism is the healthier, safer and more sane alternative?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

the altruism consortia

" have no restraint from, no regard to others in our behaviour is the speculative absurdity of considering ourselves as single and independent, as having nothing in our nature which has respect to our fellow-creatures, reduced to action and practice. and this is the same absurdity, as to suppose a hand, or any part to have no natural respect to any other, or to the whole body."

-- i have a huge crush on Joseph Butler

*disclaimer: all chronology is flippant and estimated because i am slothful and have not thought about any of this since theory of knowledge class in high school.

the altruism debacle is ageless, with one of the more sinusoidal flux patterns of any of the philosophical redundancies. this seems a reflection of what generational mascot sits chair of the committee on altruistic behavior.

in the beginning - the 1850's - altruism was introduced as the diametric of egoism... by some dude whose name escapes me, probably because he's French. the conception of the word provided wind for the Hobbesian argument of self-interest as the evolutionary drive of all beings (which came at least a century before), at which time Hobbes was the committee chair, proclaiming from the grave that altruism itself was a demonstration of supreme egoism. sure, he had critics in Hume and Butler, but their projections of altruistic behavior as innate to both the individual and collective self did not rise to power until the Church adopted the altruism consortia in the late 19th/early 20th century.

under Popes Pius VIII-X (yes, i most definitley had to fact-check this one), altruism became the act of love for the sake of being one with God. from here, the Behavioralists took over not only the chair, but the committee majority. reverting to the era of Hobbes' reign, they effectively obliterated the remote connection between altruism and love (on which it was originally based, go ask Compte [huh, apparently i recall his name after all]) and redefined the act as "reckless curiosity." this was, in my harrowed opinion, in reference to the experimental foray into exactly how much tit one could get for tat. a Machiavellian endeavor, if you will.

giving credit where due, the Hippie movement did actually achieve something. tangential as it was (and I consider almost every lasting effect of their stint to be so), they monopolized the altruism consortia and brought back Christian altruism, replacing "God" with "self" and "love" with "collective consciousness" (or, psychadelics, if you prefer to be technical).

however, the reign was short-lived and power was redistributed to the Atheists (i may or may not be accurate in posting Dawkins at the stern, here, but i'm gonna anyway; its done out of reluctant respect). so here we are, withthe committee on altruism manned by those who have given up on surprised continuity of souls and, instead, mellowed Hobbes' altruism to a more gentle tool of survival; taking responsibility for all associated behaviors out of the hands of conscious creatures and placing it in their genes.

i don't necessarily disagree with the current consortia (see post on Microtubules and Intelligence), but my personal philosophy on altruism is a little more toward the end of irrational benevolence... which, i suppose, places me in the neo-Kantian vein. Nagel is our most prominent hope for the next phase shift in the altruism consortia, riding on the back of the forgotten and forlorn Empathetical movement (shudder).

we are not independent organisms; having a more developed intelligence than other species does not now make us exceptions to the evolutionary tactics that propagated that intelligence in the first place. we need our mothers, we learn by imitation, we thrive on continuity of selves. altruism is a mechanism to foster that continuity.