of a lot. If you lose interest then you go downhill and wind up in Harlem or something.
RMN: What about people who have developed a powerful physical and mental addiction, for example, to crack and cocaine, in some cases: even killing or stealing in order to fulfill their craving for the drugs.
JOHN: They’ll kill and steal without the drugs, they live that way. The drug just gives them an excuse to do it. Read Freud on cocaine. He really knew what cocaine did but he was never able to say it in the presence of the psychoanalytic people. Psychoanalysis is all based on his cocaine experiences, every bit of it.
DJB: What do you think about this whole “War on Drugs” thing?
JOHN: We’ve been subject to the delusion that we should suppress drugs ever since Anslinger put marijuana on the narcotics list ill 1937. He was enforcing the laws on alcohol and that was repealed, so he looked around for something new and found marijuana. In an interview with Anslinger the interviewer asked him, “What if you were to smoke a joint?” And he said, “I would kill three people that I know.” What a belief system! And he put all that in the law, you see. It’s that insanity of certain people who don’t understand what’s going on.
RMN: What do you think about atomic energy? Do you have any ideas about how we could solve the nuclear waste problem?
JOHN: All the atomic materials should be shot into the sun. We’re playing around with something we don’t know anything about. This is the stuff of stars, it’s not the stuff of a planet. But it’s there so we do it and then we get the illusion that we can control it. Well, that’s bull. ECCO did something in 1942 that I’11 never forget; it threw LSD and atomic energy at us in one go. I once asked ECCO what they did that for and they said, “Well, we’re trying to test out the survivability of the human species.”
DJB: So you think that there are areas then that humanity shouldn’t mess around with?
JOHN: Right. Well, we’ve proven it with atomic energy and biological warfare, too. AIDS.
DJB: You think that AIDS is the result of genetic engineering experiments gone astray ?
JOHN: Yeah, you can see it. It’s fooling around with biological warfare and something’s escaped. Somebody left a sink open and it went down the sewer. Les Chambers, who is head of biological warfare at Camp Detrid is an old friend of mine so I went down and talked to him about it. We went over all this and he said, “You know, someday, somebody’s going to make a mistake, and one of those things is just going to go wild all over the world.” He knew. AIDS is an artificial virus; it’s related to the Bovine virus, but it wouldn’t affect humans before. Somebody spliced it so it would.
DJB: You don’t think AIDS could be a natural mutation?
JOHN: No. Natural mutations we can handle because we’ve lived here for three million years and the mutation rate is very slow. Our immune systems are incredible.
DJB: What role do you think science fiction plays in the development of actual scientific research?
JOHN: Well, big brains operate with science fiction and create it. What it does is free up the creative process for a look at a simulated future which may or may not exist, but it’s fun making those simulations and some of them are very good. One of my favorites is Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke.
DJB: Are you familiar with Virtual Reality?
JOHN: I’ve just heard about it. I want to experience it. It shows us what we’re doing all the time–constructing realities. You change the chemistry of the brain, you change the realities. Sometimes that can get very scary. Once on ketamine I had an experience