Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Weavers for the New Dream

Today the rain fell
and I called
the photographer to cast
a light on the future.
He stared at the wet-slate
sky through a hole
in the wall
of his hole
in the wall
and talked about how a thing
needed to stay open
to let the light in.

There is a lot of chatter on the wire about the sell-out Dems. Does anyone despise Lieberman more than I do? Such a total loser. I would rather hunt with Dick Cheney than drink with that fool. Oh my Jehova, but every floppy wiggle of his hound dog face fills me with revulsion.

Am I the only person who finds it ironic that a Zionist Jew has been put in charge of "Homeland Security?"

You should know better sir.

Ok, so,

I don't intend these questions to be purely rhetorical. I need some comments dear reader. The worst part of feeling like a lone voice in the wilderness is the "lone" part. Send me a signal and let me know that y'all are on board.

Ok a few words about the state of the psychedelic nation.

I would love to hear from some Daniel Pinchbeck fans. I don't get it. Mr. Pinchbeck is becoming the heir-apparent of Terrence McKenna - the heir of Tim Leary. However, where Mr. Mckenna was a scientist whose inspired writing voice was full of humor and warmth and mind-bending insight, Mr. Pinchbeck - to me - has nothing unique to say and is saying it in an unremarkable way.

I hesitate to write this as I understand that he is a kind of darling of the alt-set and I want to believe that there is a good reason for it. On the other hand, I have read a bunch of his articles/book excerpts and listened to/read several interviews and I am still waiting for the light. What I find - mainly - is a lot of intellectual rhetoric - suprisingly lacking in reason - married to a bunch of drug-age double talk.

The whole thing ends up reminding me of talking to my friends who love jam bands: much ado about nothing.

Here is a link to a discussion between P'beck and Douglas Rushkoff

Check out the video links and also read the comments on R'koff's page. They are far more lucid than the "discussion" at the bookstore.

I am not a big fan of Rushkoff either. He tends toward the kind of self-indulgence that you find generously sprinkled over the public radio airwaves. Every now and then he shows up at an event or publishes a comic book to create a bit of street-cred. Although in this discussion, he provides some much needed clarity - playing foil to Pinchbeck's self-styled Fool.

Again, I really don't mean to attack either of these men who have been able to create an audience and build bodies of work at the edge of mainstream culture. No easy task and kudos to both.

My intention is to bring a bit of objectivity to the work of a couple of dudes who are not really bringing the fire to the tribe as far as I can see, not so much to defame them and their work, but to point out a dirth of ideas and thinkers on the fringes and the need for new dreams and heads to weave them.

In the meantime check out the new Nashville Arts for some more writing. I interviewed a talented N'ville photographer Hollis Bennett and reviewed Greg Pond's video show at Cheekwood. That show is great by the way. Also, the new issue of our zine Radically Shifted is hot off the presses and I think it's the best one yet! Check it out at Davis Kidd or Rhino books.

Be humble in your sleepy hands on this world.
Be a killer in Heaven.

Love, Joe Nolan


Blogger danielpinchbeck said...

Hi Joe,

Before you criticize me, wouldn't it make sense to actually read (at least some of) my books? I did spend the last five years trying to put together a huge spectrum of ideas into a coherent and logical thesis, presented in "2012". I think if you sat down and read my book, many of your concerns and questions would be answered. If you don't want to buy it, get it from a library or at least read the intro and first chapters in Barnes and Nobles or something.

Daniel Pinchbeck

11:43 AM  
Blogger Joe Nolan said...

I'd like to take a sec to respond to Daniel.

DP -Before you criticize me, wouldn't it make sense to actually read (at least some of) my books? I did spend the last five years trying to put together a huge spectrum of ideas into a coherent and logical thesis, presented in "2012".

Although I feel I have done quite a bit of reading and research of DP's work over the last few years since "Breaking" came out - as mentioned above - I have not read his books.

I would first like to restate that my intention isn't to criticize at all. I think it is clear that the intention fo the post is to reach out to the community that is more familiar with his work and get some more input.

JN - "I hesitate to write this as I understand that he is a kind of darling of the alt-set and I want to believe that there is a good reason for it."

It may be more expeditious to just grab the books and read 'em, but I can sometimes be rather obtuse in my researching and reading and many times I would rather dive into interviews etc. before actually looking at the work.

Some of my observations are sorta harsh and it may be that the go-for-broke-style of this entire blog - with it's break-neck embrace of a reckless, diaristic lack of self-censorship - goes a little far and confuses my point. This may be a great spot for someone to criticize MY writing...

It is also true that in my effort to stimulate a discussion about an author - that I clearly haven't made my mind up about - I may have played the role of Devil's advocate with a bit too much zeal.

I had hoped that statements like -

"I really don't mean to attack either of these men who have been able to create an audience and build bodies of work at the edge of mainstream culture. No easy task and kudos to both."

would have balanced out my ranting and clarified my desire to create a dialogue that could provide myself and others with a greater degree of understanding - not only about DP and his work - but also about the issues facing the psychedelic nation and everyone interested in new solutions to age-old dilemmas.

In the meantime, having taken the time to begin this dialogue himself, DP has shown himself to be a humble man and if this post is less-than-humble I certainly stand corrected.

In the double meantime, perhaps the question at hand is really whether or not the psychedelic community has anything to offer at all, or has that construct been swallowed, assimilated and already become the cultural equivalent of a slide-rule. Sure you can use one - and it'll work - but why bother?

The last time I broke on through to the other side, the gods seemed to shake their heads in disappointment as if to say "What do you want now? We don't have anything more to give. Don't come back."

Love, Joe

5:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good stuff on Pinchbeck. I too have wondered how this fellow has ascended to the highest ranks of the psychedelic fringe.

I think your question of "whether the psychedelic community has anything to offer at all?" is spot on. The psychedics lose their relevance when you only find clarity in their musings while tripping yourself. Living a life where your thoughts only make sense when you (and your audience)are inebriated on amazon tea and cough syrup isn't living, it's escapism.

In the meantime, I'll be looking for the shaman on January 1st, 2013!

10:58 PM  
Blogger Joe Nolan said...


Thanks for your comment.

Again, I dooo feel like I have been misunderstood a bit and want to make it clear that the ramblings on this blog lean toward the provacative and perhaps - to a fault - extreme.

I have not read his books and am really looking for input from folks who have so I can understand more clearly what is up there.

I have done quite a bit of reading and listening to excerpts and interviews and am interested enough to pose these questions.

Again, if you read my post, I state that I really would love to find out that I am missing something and would love to be filled in by someone in the know.

In the meantime, I had a good talk with a friend about this the other night and agree with her that one area of psychelic exploration that is truly undiscovered is the clinical study of psychedelics for psycho-therapeutic healing.

In the US our laws have - for the most part - made that impossible. That is one area that could be fascinating.

I am mainly questoning - once again for the purpose of creating a discussion - what the psychedelic community can offer beyond a new dogma...

I have had my own experiences and have gleaned much from them, no doubt about it.

In the meantime, I am a bit worn out on 2012 in general and am feeling like the idea that the psychedelic folks are somehow more prepared for the paradigm shift is just different language from the Christians saying they are more prepared for the coming rapture.

I am not intending to dismiss one in favor of the other, but I do think that if something like an interdimesional pole shift or the return of Christ is imminent it is really fun and interesting to consider what preparation is necessary, but it is ultimately a crap shoot and all the rest could well be nothing but vanity.

Love, Joe

11:56 PM  
Blogger danielpinchbeck said...

what you wrote above is not my point at all.

what is happening now is about the evolution of human consciousness - whether we can get our act together as a species in the short time we have left before we hit the "chaos point" that will level human societies and return us to the dark ages, perhaps even ending in our extinction, if enough of the biosphere collapses. These are real possibilities being entertained by environmental scientists.

The first thing that psychedelics do is decondition you from your own habits of mind - a crucial first step. After that, they can be a tool for transformation. They can also introduce you to psychic and spiritual dimensions of being that Western culture exiled as it created a limited rational-empirical model of existence.

I do not think they are "the answer" or that a "psychedelic elite" will be "Saved" or even better prepared in the event of a global economic and ecological collapse.

However I do feel there are crucial insights available through proper psychedelic use - they are powerful tools for thinking. Check out the book "What the Doormouse Said" - the internet and PC revolution was based, to a certain extent, on psychedelic revelations. Also, check out Paul Stamets who does bioremediation of toxic sites and spills using mushrooms - he was taught how to do it by the mushrooms.

11:57 PM  

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