In a recent article about Graham Hancock he made the point that a distinct type of psilocybin mushroom thought to only be in the Americas actually existed in Europe as well, and he posits that its effect either contributed to or caused this enormous leap in the creative abilities of humans, and the birth of shamanic wisdom.
Graham cited the cave art of Lascaux as evidence of this abrupt quantum increase in humans’ intellect.
So what about more recent developments? Clearly, as we have mentioned, the development of software and its confluence with DNA is a pointer to the reality of consciousness.
But perhaps the connection between technology and our collective awakening goes even deeper, in that within the discovery of information we can glean that information implies the “presence” of a mind. This relationship was last raised in an article about software as an example of biomimicry.
Of course the main proponents of psychedelics, Aldous Huxley in his famous book The Doors of Perception and later Tim Leary and Ram Dass, described their experiences in terms of the drug being able to reduce the “filtering mechanism” of our brain to allow a deeper connection to reality beyond our perceptive filters — to consciousness itself.
More recently I was intrigued to learn of the direct effect on another giant in the area of technology in an article about Steve Jobs: “LSD Was One of The Best Things I’ve Done in My Life”
While I have never been a huge fan of Jobs, seeing him as mainly a marketing guru with a nasty personal side (as gleaned from the biography by Walter Isaacson), I knew that he had travelled to India before founding Apple and had claimed to be “enlightened.”
But his credit to psychedelics was not part of that biography, if I recall correctly, so this article made me think about his contribution more specifically in terms of the connection between an “open mind” and the creative aspects of technology.
While it is well known that Apple’s main innovations, the mouse and graphic user interface, were initially developed by Xerox and adapted by Jobs and his team, it was clearly Jobs’ genius that recognized how these amazing tools would enhance the productivity of computer software.
The Mac is, after all, clearly the machine that opened up computer graphics and video and enabled the user to manipulate and see space as information on a two dimensional flat screen. (Yes other machines like the Amiga did make contributions but the Mac brought graphics and video mainstream and preceded their introduction on the Windows PC.)
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So it is interesting to speculate whether it was, as it may have been with the Lascaux cave art, an organic substance or psychedelic that allowed Jobs to see the potential for graphics and eventually video and film to expand the capacity of software to simulate reality, and how that may have come about.
Up until the Mac graphics revolution, computers were mainly used to manipulate text (word processing) and calculate math (spreadsheets).
In some ways what Jobs and his team actually accomplished was opening the ability of software to go beyond number and text (labeling) to explore color, texture, light, and space itself.
This also coincided with the ability of the computer to begin to simulate not two dimensions but three, with a “Z” axis emerging from deep within the screen to behind the end user to supplement the main two axes of information — X — horizontal and Y — vertical.
Of course the use of the mouse to manipulate objects on the screen as opposed to the keyboard’s limitation of, again, only words, number, or labels, was a huge aspect of this mental and conceptual revolution in technology.
This brings me back to Graham Hancock’s big point: when critics claim that the use of drugs is unnatural, he says, “what can be more natural” than an organic compound, be it a mushroom or a root (Ayahuasca)?
It is interesting then to ponder the irony that the very technology that seems to be a cause of our separation from nature, with its focus on material expansion, may actually be based upon the very fact that everything is information, and what that deeply means.
When the “self” dissolves in a psychedelic experience it is presumed (not that I would know) that all that remains is stark reality or facts — information (zeroes and ones) — to the extent that all and everything appears without labels as it truly IS.
This can be frightening because one’s identity is no longer an intermediary and interpreter of nature.
But in that same moment all of the organic chemical reality of nature is revealed as a product of mind, Consciousness with a vast intelligence, in profound harmony and oneness.
It may well be that it was this insight that Jobs brought back from his travels to India, and into his own mind with LSD, when he credits these experiences with opening him to the potential of technology to actually reveal our true nature — as consciousness.
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