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John C. Lilly

simulation is nowhere near who you really are. Then I tell you what my simulation of you is and you correct it, and on and on. You cannot substitute words for the action of the brain, the action of thought or the action of mind. When I say mind I’m talking about the whole universe of stuff, see? It’s not that simple.

RMN: Why do you think we have this desire for meaning, this compulsion to explain things all the time?

JOHN: Childishness. The circle. The explanatory principle will save you from the fear of the unknown; I prefer the unknown, I’m a student of the unexpected. Margaret Howe taught me something. I went over to St. Thomas one time and she said, “Dr. Lilly, you’re always trying to make something happen. This time you’re not going to make something happen, you’re going to just sit and watch.” You know what I’m saying?

DJB: Yeah, I get caught in that one a lot.

JOHN: So, if I can’t make something happen I get bored sometimes. But if I don’t get bored and I just relax and let it happen, you show up. Now I can afford to do this, I don’t have to earn a living, but if you know how to do it you can earn a living and be passive as hell.

DJB: What’s the trick to doing that?

JOHN: You become an administrator who doesn’t know anything, so people are always explaining to you what’s happening. My father was the head of a big banking system; he taught me something about passivity. He said, “You must learn to be as if you’re angry, and then you’ll always be ahead of the guy who really gets angry.” And I said, “Well, what about love?” And he said the same thing. All those powerful emotions–you can act as if you’re experiencing them, but you’re not involved, you see, you haven’t lost your intellectual load.

DJB: You think that if people get overwhelmed by emotion they lose their ability to think clearly?

JOHN: Well, I had a lesson in that. I got really angry at my older brother, and I threw one of those cans that have calcium carbide in them and spark, because he was teasing me so much. He teased me an awful lot. So I threw this can at him and it missed his head by about two inches. And suddenly I stopped and thought, “My God, I could have killed him! I’ll never get angry again.”

RMN: What do you think about America’s involvement in the Gulf War and what are your thoughts about the causes of war in general?

JOHN: Well, the Gulf War happened because Russia and the United States made peace. So the United States Defense Department had to have something to do, because they have this huge budget. Luckily the Russians didn’t have that huge budget as their economy is falling apart. If our economy was falling apart then there wouldn’t be any war. As Eisenhower said, industrial establishment and the Defense Department are in control of this country.

RMN: Why do you think it is that politicians and national leaders so often reflect the darker side of human nature?

JOHN: It isn’t the darker side. It’s the busy side. They get bored so they have to do these things. I started a book called, Don’t Bore God or He Will Destroy Your Universe. Nobody knows they’re doing this to avoid boredom; they make other excuses for it. You’ve never been bored?

RMN: I’ve been bored but I don’t feel like going out and bombing somebody because of it.

JOHN: No, no. You’re not one of those people. If you

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