(1983, 14 May) Hallucinogens: Monkeys Discover Hyperspace
aka Return to the Logos. Psychedelic Conference II, 1983
Presented: University of California, Santa Barbara.
More and more the imagination is where we spend our time. Theres a lot of talk these days about virtual reality. An immersive state of the art technology in which you put on goggles and special clothing and enter special environments and then you are in artifical worlds created by computers and this is thought to be very “woo woo” and far out but in fact, if you’re paying attention, we’ve been living inside virtual realities for about ten thousand years. I mean what is a city but a complete denial of nature. We say no-no. Not trees, mudholes, waterfalls, and all that. Straight lines, laid out roads, class heirarchies reflected in local geography meaning the rich people live here surrounded by the not so rich people all served by the poor people who are so glad they’re not the outcast people. So you know urbanization is essentially the first of these impulses where society leaves nature and enters into its own private idaho. And the growth of cities and the growth of the immediacy, i guess you would say, of the urban experience has been a constant of human evolution since urbanization began. Now the only difference that the new technologies offer is that we’re gonna do this with light, not mortar, brick, steel, aluminum, and titanium, which are incredibly intractable materials. I mean it’s amazing to me. We started with the toughest stuff and of course it costs enormous amounts of blood and treasure to work with such intractable materials. It’s always been amazing to me that the largest buildings that human beings ever build are in a sense the first buildings humans ever built because the pyramids of egypt are enormous even by modern scale, and yet they were among the earliest buildings ever built. In virtual reality the difference between a hundred story building and a ten story building is one zero. What this should tell us is that in the domain of light, the intractability of matter is overcome. And so we are on the brink of a time. We have arrived, we are at the time where the human imagination now need meet no barriers to it’s intent. And so we are going to find out who we are. We are going to discover what it means to be human when there is no resistance to human will