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Aharon and Amalia Barnea 
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Alex Grey – 2 
Alexander and Ann Shulgin 
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Antioxidants Extend Life 
Arlen Riley Wilson 
Art and Psychedelics 
Aubrey de Grey 
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David Jay Brown 
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Douglas Rushkoff 
Dr. Motoji Ikeya 
Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw 
Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw – 2 
Edgar Dean Mitchell 
Elizabeth Gips 
Etho-Geological Forecasting 
Etho-Geological Forecasting 
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Hydergine and Albert Hofmann 
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Simon Posford 
Stanislav Grof. M.D., Ph.D. 
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Terence K. McKenna 
Theories of Aging 
Timothy Leary 
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Understanding Sex on Viagra 
Valerie Corral 
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William Kautz 
William Regelson 

Noam Chomsky

David Jay Brown

Interviews
Noam Chomsky

Although Noam Chomsky revolutionized the study of linguistics, he is best known as one of the leading critics of U.S. foreign policy. The book Chomsky for Beginners begins with David Cogswell’s statement “Noam Chomsky is one of the ten most-quoted writers of all time,” and one encounters this assertion in many essays about Chomsky’s work. However, when Chomsky read the draft for this introduction, he told me that, “this is probably nonsense invented by some PR office. It can’t possibly be true…inconceivable.” 

Yet, according to The Chicago Tribune, “a  survey of standard reference work, the Arts and Humanities Citation Index, found that over the past dozen years Chomsky was the most-often-cited living author. Among intellectual luminaries of all eras, Chomsky placed eighth, just behind Plato and Sigmund Freud.” The New York Times called Chomsky “arguably the most important intellectual alive.”

The son of a Hebrew language scholar, Chomsky’s independent scholarship earned him entry into the Society of Fellows at Harvard University in 1951. He received his Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1955, although most of the research leading to this degree was done at Harvard between 1951 and 1955. After receiving his Ph.D., Chomsky taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for 19 years. In 1976, he was appointed Institute Professor, and he held the Ferrari P. Ward Chair of Modern Language and Linguistics. In addition to authoring more than eighty books on language and politics, Chomsky also lectures widely, and is one of America’s most popular speakers, drawing standing-room-only audiences all over the country.

In his book The End of Science, John Horgan states that, “in spite of his denials, Chomsky is the most important linguist who has ever lived.” The Encyclopedia Britannica declares that “it is hardly an exaggeration to say that there is no major theoretical issue in linguistics today that is debated in terms other than those in which he has chosen to define it.” Yet when Chomsky read over the draft for this introduction, and he read my phrase “Chomsky is generally regarded as the most important linguist who has ever lived,” he wrote me back saying, “that’s a huge exaggeration.” 

Among his many accomplishments as a linguist, Chomsky is most famous for his work on what is called generative grammar. He revolutionized the discipline of linguistics by arguing that the acquisition of language is part of the natural or innate structure of the human brain, and that there is a “universal grammar”, genetically hard-wired into us from birth, that defines the rules, range, and limits of all possible human languages. Some of his books on this subject include Knowledge of Language and Language and Mind.

Although the Arts and Humanities Citation Index declares Chomsky to be the most-often-cited living author, it’s rare that you’ll hear about him in the mainstream media. This is because since 1965 Chomsky has been very outspoken about his criticisms of U.S. foreign policy, and the corporate influence on the media. His book of essays American Power and the New Mandarins is considered to be one of the most substantial arguments ever against the American involvement in Vietnam. Some of his many other political books include Towards a New Cold War, The Manufacture of Consent, Rogue States, The Chomsky Reader, 9-11: Understanding Power and Middle East Illusions.

Many of Chomsky’s political books recount in disturbing detail how the U.S. government has supported violent dictators and totalitarian regimes throughout the world, and how it has repeatedly inflicted horrific atrocities on Third World countries that fail to support American corporate interests. He goes into painstaking detail describing how these atrocities have been covered up by the mainstream, corporate-owned media, and how they have created a strong negative sentiment toward America around the world. 

I spoke with Professor Chomsky on May 30, 2003. Despite his staggering accomplishments, Chomsky comes across as unusually humble. He has a very gentle, yet highly persuasive manner about him, and he choses his words with great care when he speaks. Chomsky exudes conviction and calmness, and expresses himself with great clarity, serenity and eloquence, as well as the utmost patience; I was acutely aware that he had answered some of the questions that I was asking him at least a thousand times before, yet he replied with such thoughtfulness that it seemed as if he was answering these questions for the first time.

There is a great generosity to Chomsky’s spirit, and he has an incredibly vast, truly encyclopedic knowledge-base of scientific and political facts stored in his head. I spoke with Chomsky about propaganda and the media, the political potential of the internet, how to improve democracy, medical marijuana and the Drug War, the relationship between language and consciousness, and what he thinks are the greatest threats to the human species–a subject he spoke about with great urgency.

David: Why do you think it’s so important to question authority?

Noam: Just out of the commitment to freedom. I think people have every right to be free, independent creatures, and that means to question any kind of hierarchy or domination, or authority. It’s almost true by definition if you believe in freedom.

David: All previous forms of media–television, radio, newspapers, etc.–have been monopolized by corporations. It seems that they can’t monopolize the internet. Do you think that this will make a difference sociologically?

Noam: First of all, historically, that’s not really true. I don’t know about other countries, but the history of media in the modern period–the last two centuries–has been studied pretty closely in England and the United States, and the period when the press was most free was probably the Nineteenth Century. There was a very substantial press in the Nineteenth Century, and it was very diverse. There was a working class press, an ethnic press, and so on–with a lot of participation and involvement. It reached a great many people, and it presented a variety opinions and point of views. 

Over time this changed. Actually there was an effort, first in England, to try to censor the independent press by various government means, such as taxation and others. Now that didn’t work, there were too many ways around it. It was finally recognized that through the forces of capital concentration and advertiser reliance, the independent press would simply be eroded since it would not be able to gain business support, either capital investment or advertising. And over time the press has narrowed, very sharply in fact. It’s been going on for the last few years, and the mass-based independent press has largely disappeared. 

In the United States, for example, as recently as the 1950’s, there were about 800 labor-based newspapers which reached, maybe, thirty million people a week. Of course that’s completely disappeared. If you go back to the early part of the century, about a century ago, popular-based, what we would call left-oriented journals, were on the scale of commercial press, and the same has been true in England. So it’s not entirely true that it’s always been monopolized, that’s a process that takes place through capital accumulation and reliance on advertising. 

The internet is a very important case. Like most of the modern economy, it was developed in the state system, and for about thirty years it was either within the Pentagon, or later the National Science Foundation. It was only privatized in the mid-90’s, and since then it has changed. So far it’s been impossible to really control, so if people want to use it for their own purposes they can. 

But there are major efforts being made by the corporate owners and advertisers to shape the internet, so that it will be mostly used for advertising, commerce, diversion and so on. Then those who wish to use it for information, political organizing, and other such activities will have a harder time. Now that hasn’t happened yet, and it’s really a terrain of struggle. But what’s going on with the internet is, in some respects, similar to the early days of print press, later radio, to some extent television.

David: What sort of difference do you think the internet has made politically? Do you see it as a tool for improving human rights and democracy?

Noam: The appearance of the internet has had a big effect. So a good deal of the organizing and activism of the past say ten years has been internet based. Now that’s true inside particular countries. So, for example, the overthrow of the dictatorship in Indonesia was very much facilitated by internet contact among people, many of them students, who were able to organize, and overthrow the dictatorship. Now we’ve just seen it in South Korea very dramatically. 

Like just about every major element of

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Robert Anton Wilson – 2

Quantum Sociology and Neuropolitics
David Jay Brown Interviews Robert Anton Wilson

Robert Anton Wilson is a writer and philosopher with a huge cult following. He is the author of over 35 popular fiction and nonfiction books, dealing with such themes as quantum mechanics, the future evolution of the human species, weird unexplained phenomena, conspiracy theories, synchronicity, the occult, altered states of consciousness, and the nature of belief systems. His books explore the relationship between the brain and consciousness, and the link between science and mysticism, with wit, wisdom, and personal insights. Comedian George Carlin said, “I have learned more from Robert Anton Wilson than I have from any other source.”

Wilson is a very entertaining writer, and both his fiction and nonfiction books can be as reality-shifting as a hearty swig of shamanic jungle juice. Wilson has an uncanny ability to lead his readers, unsuspectingly, into a state of mind where they are playfully tricked into “aha” experiences that cause them to question their most basic assumptions. The writers of many popular science fiction films and television shows have been influenced by Wilson’s writings, and they will sometimes make subtle cryptic references to his philosophy in their stories–often by making the number 23 significant in some way, which refers to Wilson’s strange synchronicities around that number.

Since 1962 Wilson has worked as an editor, futurist, novelist, playwright, poet, lecturer and stand-up comic. He earned his doctorate in psychology from Paideia University, and from 1966-1971 he was the Associate Editor of Playboy magazine. He is perhaps best known for the science fiction trilogy Illuminatus!, which he co-authored with Robert Shea in 1975. The Village Voice called the trilogy “the biggest sci-fi cult novel to come along since Dune.” His Schroedinger’s Cat trilogy was called “the most scientific of all science-fiction novels” by New Scientist magazine.

Some of Wilson’s popular nonfiction books, which blend social philosophy with satire, as well as with personal experiments and experience, include Cosmic Trigger, Prometheus Rising, Quantum Psychology, The New Inquisition, The Illuminati Papers, Right Where You Are Sitting Now, and Everything is Under Control. His most current book is TSOG: The Thing That Ate The Constitution, a satirical commentary about the loss of constitutional rights in America. (TSOG is an acronym for “Tsarist Occupation Government”.)

Wilson has also appeared as a stand-up comic at night clubs throughout the world, and he made a comedy record called Secrets of Power. His more academic lectures are best described as “stand-up philosophy”, and they are as funny and thought-provoking as his comedy routines. He also teaches seminars at New Age retreats, like the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, and his Web site–www.rawilson.com–is in the top two percent of the most visited sites on the internet. Rev. Ivan Stang, cofounder of The Church Of The Subgenius, described Wilson as “the Carl Sagan of religion, the Jerry Falwell of quantum physics, the Arnold Schwarzenegger of feminism and the James Joyce of swing-set assembly manuals.”

Wilson starred on a Punk Rock record called The Chocolate Biscuit Conspiracy, and his play Wilhelm Reich in Hell was performed at the Edmund Burke Theater in Dublin, Ireland. His novel Illuninatus! was adapted as a ten-hour science fiction rock epic and performed under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Great Britain’s National Theater (where he appeared briefly on stage in a special cameo role).

A documentary about Wilson’s life and work entitled “Maybe Logic” (by Lance Bauscher) was released on July 23, 2003. At the premiere of the film (at the Rio Theater in Santa Cruz, California), the mayor of Santa Cruz (Emily Reilly) officially declared that, from that day forth, July 23rd would be “Robert Anton Wilson Day” in Santa Cruz.

It was Bob’s book Cosmic Trigger that not only inspired me to become a writer when I was a teenager, but it was also where I first discovered many of the fascinating individuals who would later become the subjects of my interview books. So it was a great thrill for me when Bob wrote the introduction to my first book, Brainchild. I interviewed Bob for my second book, Mavericks of the Mind, in 1989, and wanted to check in with him again to see what he thought about some of the things that we spoke about fourteen years ago, as well as the present state of the world. Bob and I have been good friends for many years, and he continues to inspire me. He is particularly fond of the writings of James Joyce and Ezra Pound, and I’ve learned a lot about Finnegan’s Wake and The Cantos by going to his weekly discussion groups.

I interviewed Bob on September 23, 2003. At 72 he remains as sharp and witty as ever. Bob has an uncanny ability to perceive things that few people notice, and he has an incredible memory. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of many different fields–ranging from literature and psychology, to quantum physics and neuroscience. He is unusually creative in his use of language, and he has his own unique style of humor. Despite many personal challenges over the years, Bob has always maintained a strongly upbeat perspective on life, and–regardless of the circumstances–he never fails to make me smile every time I see him. Everyone who meets him agrees; there’s something truly magical about Robert Anton Wilson.

I spoke with Bob about the nature of optimism, why politics on this planet is such a big mess, his decision to run for governor of California, our vanishing constitutional rights in America, the philosophy of “maybe logic”, extraterrestrial intelligence, and why he thinks Hannibal Lector would make a better president than George W. Bush.

David: What were you like as a child?

Bob: Stubborn, it seems; maybe pig-headed. My mother often told me how, when I had polio at age 4, I kept trying to get up and walk. She said that no matter how hard I fell, I’d stand and stagger again until I fell again. I attribute that to Irish genetics–after 800 years of British occupation, the quitters did not survive to reproduce, you know. But I still loathe pessimism, masochism and every kind of self-pity. I regard loser scripts as actively nefarious and, in high doses, toxic. Due to that Nietzschean attitude, and the Sister Kenny treatment, I did walk again and then became highly verbal.

A neighbor said, even before I started school, that I should become a lawyer because no judge could shut me up. I attribute that, not to genetics, but to the polio and polio-related early reading skills. Due to a year of total-to-partial paralysis,I missed a vital part of normal male socialization and never became any good at sports, but I devoured books like a glutton. The nuns at the Catholic school where my parents sent me did shut me up for a while. Catholic education employs both psychologocal and physical terrorism: threats of “Hell” and physical abuse. But they never stopped me from thinking–just from saying what I thought.

David: What inspired you to become a writer?

Bob: The magic of words. One of the biggest thrills of my childhood came at the end of King Kong when Carl Denham says. “No, it wasn’t the airplanes–it was Beauty that killed the Beast.” I didn’t know what the hell that meant, but it stirred something in me. In fact, it felt like what the nuns told me I would feel after eating Holy Eucharist–what we call a mystic experience–except that I didn’t get it from the eucharist but from a gigantic gorilla falling off a gigantic skyscraper and having that line as his epitaph. I wanted to learn to use words in a way that would open people’s minds to wonder and poetry the way those words had opened mine.

David: What is “maybe logic”?

Bob: A label that got stuck on my ideas by film-maker Lance Bauscher. I guess it fits. I certainly recognize the central importance in my thinking–or in my stumbling and fumbling efforts to think–of non-aristotelian systems. That includes von Neumann’s three-valued logic [true, false, maybe], Rapoport’s four-valued logic [true, false, indeterminate, meaningless], Korzybski’s multi-valued logic [degrees of probability], and also Mahayana Buddhist paradoxical logic [it

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Douglas Rushkoff

David Jay Brown 

Interviews Douglas Rushkoff

Douglas Rushkhoff

Douglas Rushkoff is a media theorist and social commentator. His books, articles, newspaper columns, talks, and NPR commentaries thoughtfully explore the psychological and sociological consequences of technology, mass media, advertising and youth culture. He is one of the most widely-read media critics in America, and although he is considered one of the world’s experts on youth culture and advertising, his ideas are not without controversy. 

When Ruskkoff’s first book on media theory, Media Virus, was published in 1994, critics initially viewed his upbeat assessments of how teenagers were playfully deconstructing mass media as too idealistic. His ideas–which quickly became popular with younger generations–went against the conventional assumption that computer games and MTV videos were necessarily bad for kids. Rushkoff contended that the new interactive information technologies had the power to accelerate thought and increase intelligence. 

Rushkoff’s enthusiasm for youth culture and new technology seemed reminiscent of Timothy Leary’s optimism, and, in fact, Rushkoff’s theories about media built upon Leary’s idea that each generation is a new breed of human–almost a new species–and that kids nowadays have nervous systems that process information in ways that are faster and less linear than previous generations. Rushkoff also expanded upon British biologist Richard Dawkins’s concept of “memes”–units of culture, which replicate like genes–to create the idea of a “media virus”, an idea that spreads through populations due to the media shell that surrounds it.

Ironically, after mainstream businesses and respected academics did start to take Rushkoff’s ideas and observations about media and youth culture seriously (simply because his theories had true predictive value), some people in the digital counterculture saw Rushkoff as something of a “sellout”, largely because he began consulting for Fortune 500 companies. But Rushkoff defends his actions by saying that he has always stayed true to his ideals. Whether he’s addressing a “corporate-culture” or a “counterculture” audience, Rushkoff has always aimed to be a cheerleader for change, growth, cooperation and creativity–what Timothy Leary would have called an “evolutionary agent”. He is trying to help the human race evolve, and one of the ways to do that, he believes, is to break down the artificial distinction between “us” and “them”.

Although Rushkoff is media theorist by trade, this hasn’t stopped him from writing books about everything from altered states of consciousness to Judaism. In addition to Media Virus, Rushkoff’s other popular nonfiction books–which include CyberiaPlaying the Future, and Coercion–explore such themes as the hidden agendas in popular culture, the relationship between computer culture and psychedelic drugs, social values and corporate coercion. He is also the author of two novels, Ecstasy Club and Exit Strategy, as well as the graphic novelClub Zero-G, which explore such diverse topics as rave culture, computer hacking, and the nature of consciousness. In addition, he co-authored the book Stoned Free (with Patrick Wells) about methods for getting high without drugs, and he edited The Gen X Reader, a collection of essays about new trends in thought and culture. His latest book, Nothing Sacred: The Truth About Judaism, moves away from these cyberculture themes and explores Rushkoff’s quest to find meaning in Judaism.

Rushkoff was the correspondent for PBS’s award-winning Frontline documentary on teenage culture, The Merchants of Cool. His weekly commentaries air on CBS Sunday Morning, National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, and they appear on the back page of Timemagazine. Rushkoff also writes for many popular magazines, and his monthly column on cyberculture is distributed through the New York Times Syndicate. He lectures regularly at conferences and universities around the world, and has served as an adjunct professor of communication at New York University. He also served as an Advisor to the United Nations Commission on World Culture, and on the advisory boards of the Media Ecology Association and the Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics. 

Rushkoff lives in New York City’s East Village. I interviewed him on October 17, 2003. I’ve corresponded with Doug for several years, and was glad to finally have this opportunity to talk at length with him. Doug strikes me as being unusually sincere; he seems genuinely and deeply devoted to the process of discovery and education. There’s a childlike playfulness in the way that he explores sophisticated ideas. I spoke with Doug about the interplay between youth culture, corporate culture, and the counterculture. We discussed theories of media and media viruses, and the sociological implications of having a generation of reality hackers with their hands on the dashboard of creation.

David: What were you like as a child?

Douglas: I guess it would depend on who you talk to. Or, more importantly, on when you think the childhood ends. I mean, I’m still a child, right? 

I think I was a recontextualizer as a kid. I think I looked at situations, and then tried to keep reframing them. In other words, I would look at, say, the classroom I was sitting in and think, well, what’s really going on here? Is this one older person talking to lots of younger people? Or is this some sort of imitation of a factory floor? And then the teacher’s like the foreman, and we’re the workers. Or is it a family? And the teacher’s like the mommy, and we’re the children. So I just spent a lot of time as a kid, not really imagining things or imagining new scenarios, as much as seeing whatever situation I was in in different ways–and spending a lot of effort to keep my sense of things fluid rather than really fixed. 

David: Are you saying that you didn’t really have any firm belief systems as a child?

Douglas: I don’t know if I thought of it that way. But, I think, for various reasons, probably out of fear, or getting picked on, or being isolated, or being in situations that didn’t really work well for me, I developed a tactic of being able to reimagine the situations I was in as something else. 

Gosh, if you were a slave in ancient Rome, or a victim in some truly catastrophic situation, it would behoove you to be able to re-imagine all this as a scenario in which this is all actually okay–the way a starving Hindu might imagine what he’s doing is paying penitence, so that he can come back in a better life. Most simply, you come up with a story that suits the circumstances around you, but is more pleasing than the story that you seem to be in. Like anyone I developed this technique