I first conceived of the host model in March of 1981 during a time when I had very few possessions, so I was able to pack a suitcase and move on with little forward planning. I moved around quite a lot, sometimes with no more possessions than I could fit into a simple backpack. I was very fond of a few country towns in the Central West of NSW, and I drove a taxi in Sydney, so I was able to have a good close look at the urban-rural continuum. I found that it was especially spellbinding to walk between towns overnight, and to arrive at the outskirts of a town during dawn. It was like the galaxy was waiting there for me with a friendly smile, ready to welcome me back to the accumulated urban conglomeration.
While this experience of the urban-rural continuum provided me with an insight into the impact of human numbers on the environment, it wouldn't have been the first time that I was confronted with the problem. I was probably aware of it as a teenager since there was a bit of talk about zero population growth in the popular culture of the time, and certainly taxi driving provided me with some firsthand experience of the sheer magnitude of urban existence. But it wasn't until 1985 that I arrived at the conclusion that the family was at the very centre of the problem. It was a fairly painless conclusion for me to draw since my espousal of Don Juan's point of view allowed me to assume some independence from the social values I had grown up with. So I was ready to charge my own family with their collaboration in the problem. I wasn't going to confront them with my suspicions, however, because I was deeply affected by a very serious psychosis, and I knew that I would get nowhere by antagonising them. So I decided quite simply to miss the 1985 Christmas family reunion.
Not only did I miss Christmas that year, but I don't remember either speaking to members of my family or writing to them throughout 1985, and this was just the beginning of a pattern which was to last for the next 16 years. I must have told my parents where I was living at some stage though because about halfway through 1987 they wrote to me saying that they were going to visit me. This would have been an imposition for them since I was living several hundred kilometres away from them in a town called Armidale. And it turned out that my effort to distance myself from my family proved to be a mistake in any case because not long after their visit to me I had to wrestle with the suspicion that my mother had developed a mental obsession with me.
Now, you may be wondering how I knew that she was mentally obsessed with me. Well, notwithstanding my earlier discussion of the possibility of developing a telepathic relationship with her, I assumed that she was obsessed with me because from about this time through to the end of 2001, my mother became an infuriating, and irresistible presence in my mind. There was nothing I could do to evict her from that vital inner sanctum, and believe me, over the following 14 years I tried absolutely everything I could think of to achieve this goal. My effort to distance myself from my family had evidently infuriated her, and she wasn't about to let one of her precious children get away from the family which she valued so highly.
I never knew a more agonising pain in all my life which curiously came to an end soon after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre in September of 2001. I had only just moved into the hostel where I am presently employed. I had a house full of new faces with whom I could share this dramatic development, and my mother was also sufficiently distracted that she evidently relinquished her mental grip on me. The video images of the towers collapsing were replayed in the media so often that nearly no-one on this planet could either think, or speak of anything else. So by the time the emotional dust settled many months later I next observed my mother's presence in my mind in the form of a very pathetic plea to please restore contact with the family. I saw this vision of her as I was waking up one morning, and I felt so sorry for her that the very next day I wrote to her that unfortunately I was living in far away Western Australia, but that I would be delighted if she would invite me to the next Christmas reunion.
2002 turned out to be my mother's last Christmas, she passed away in November of the following year, and so I feel very lucky to have made peace with her before fate finally stole the possibility of such memorable opportunities forever. It was a very near thing, and in a sense I regret that so many years had not been spent more constructively, but in another sense I shared something very special with her, and I know that I will always have a close mental contact with her. And as it happens our conflict had another positive outcome. For many years I debated whether or not I would write this story, arguing that I didn't have the literary skills to make a start, much less to finish such a task, but it turned out to be a question of motivation when I finally got around to it. I eventually made a start on this story in order to represent my predicament to a solicitor who I hoped would make some kind of legal representations on my behalf. I was so disabled by my mother's endless mental harassment that I wrote about 60 pages which specified the details of our conflict, and which included some discussion of the host model. When I finally made peace with her I had to delete the first few pages because they were no longer of sufficient importance to me, which left me with a number of pages of useful material most of which you will by now be thoroughly familiar with.
Now, I have told you so many intimate details of my life because, much as you would like to deny the possibility, I believe that the family is implicated in the most fundamental questions concerned with the debate about the environment. My intention has been to make clear to you that the relationship between parents and children is not one which has much in the way of equality structured into the daily practicalities which it necessarily involves. And I also wanted to draw attention to the fact that parents will without conscience resort to some fairly devious means in order to dominate, and thus to successfully manipulate their children.
I have already told you that I don't have any children of my own, but not having children doesn't mean I don't know how you feel about the mystical experience of procreation. I know, for example, that you feel virtually godlike when you create a living breathing being out of no more than the love which you share with your partner. Of course, you come crashing back to Earth when you have to change diapers several times a day, and clean up after your baby in so many other ways, but this only makes you more determined to persuade your baby to cooperate with you. You exercise your considerable influence over your child, and society encourages you to do so, as long as your persuasion does not become abusive.
You never credit your infant with having a perception of any particular value, much less one which is really quite profound, probably because your own memory of this time is fairly dim. And yet, as I'm sure this discussion has made clear to you, an infant will have a perception which many adults would envy if only they could remember the possibility of its existence. Parents will do their best to ensure that their children acquire the skills which will give them an economic advantage later on in life, but they fail to appreciate that an infant already has a point of view which will enable it to conquer the very prospect of death itself.
I am by no means suggesting that you should refrain from teaching your children to count, and to recite the alphabet as soon as they are scholastically receptive. Both the individual and the group will benefit from the provision of an education early in a child's life; children will learn vital social skills at school, and learning is also a lot of fun. But I think you should also help your infant children to remember the knowledge which they already have in their possession. They are recent arrivals from a journey across all time, and I think you should help them to consolidate their memory of this. You could start by investigating your own memory of this time, and by attempting to capture the mood of Eternity, and then you could entertain a conversation with your infant regarding your perceptual discoveries. You may feel free to introduce a little creative thinking when broaching this subject with him or her. You may, for example, position your child close to the edge of a shadow, and point out into the emptiness of space. I'm sure your infant will already have an idea of what you are referring to, so all you really need to do is to think of ways in which you could symbolically represent these things to her.
It may have occurred to you that the possibility of developing an even deeper relationship with an infant child will make people more determined to have children, and thus it could potentially make our problem with the environment even worse. This may be the case in the short term; people may rush to enjoy the experience of a new dimension in their relationship with their children. But I'm hoping that as these children grow up they will have a clearer memory of this time, and will therefore feel less inclined to have children of their own because they are better able to reconcile their experience of dying.
In spite of the potential for even more influence over your children which sharing this knowledge with them may make possible, I ask you to be careful not to use it to force them to conform with your particular view of the world. We live in a time which is in urgent need of adaptation, and the family is an institution which is in a position to contribute most in this regard. Your children will inevitably discover motives different from those which have inspired so many in the past, and I ask you to please allow them to experiment with such things. And let me also warn any younger readers that your parents will probably treat you harshly if you attempt to usurp their authority. There's not much which can be done about this unfortunately, but ultimately it's not necessary anyway because all you really need to do is to alter the goals which motivate you. You can maintain friendly relations with the family while you simply find something different to do with your life.
Let me also add a brief discussion of the role of the family in the aetiology of schizophrenia. I believe that relations within the family are involved to some extent, and I'd also like to compare these factors with the role of cannabis which I believe is even more influential in this regard. Let me begin by saying that in my case I was motivated to pursue the path which led to my diagnosis by a fundamental disagreement with certain features of my experience of adult life, and so my personal volition really was the germinal factor. I could clearly remember that as an infant my existence was ideal; in particular I could remember that my dreaming was as vivid as my waking. I felt certain that I could prove this to be the case because I remember visiting places in my dreaming which I could not associate with the activities of my family. So, when I became an adult I found that I could not avoid comparing my experience with such memories. Following the failure of a relationship which promised to reward me for behaving normally my mental deviation was thus a deliberate attempt to restore the transcendental consciousness which I could so clearly remember possessing.
To the extent that my mother was able to reinforce my memory of such things, it follows that her behaviour was a factor in my development of the disease. It is also worth noting that the relationship between mother and child is a particularly intimate one, not only physically, but it is also a very intimate mental relationship. It is likely that mothers mentally communicate with their infants, and that infant children respond to their mother's thinking, so that initiating a pattern of mental communication with others is also a likely factor. It would seem that reinforcing the memory of early childhood experiences in conjunction with the initiation of mental relations between mother and child, is likely to increase the risk of a child developing the condition at a later stage in life.
While my early childhood experiences may have prepared me for my role as a lifelong schizophrenic, I believe that smoking cannabis ultimately brought this role to its fruition. I have mentioned how as a young adult I compared my experiences with memories of my early childhood, well smoking marijuana also allowed me to make some interesting comparisons. Under the influence of cannabis I was able to compare the existence which we all regard as normal with a consciousness which I'm inclined to call the 'totality of the self.' While I have borrowed this term from Castaneda I believe that it characterises the influence of cannabis on the perception, and it also characterises an intriguing aspect of the regression of abstractions. While there can be no doubt that both schizophrenics and cannabis smokers delight in a deviant perception of time and space, this perception is otherwise not available to others. I believe, however, that an understanding of both the totality of the self and the regression of abstractions will make this perception accessible to others who are un-inclined to subject themselves to the influence of such psychoactive substances.
The totality of the self is, of course, that sense in which the body consists of a representation of the entire universe, and that as a consequence of this the individual may explore the record of time which is encoded in the body's memories. I hope that your experience with this perception will help you to understand what motivates a schizophrenic to depart from conventional thinking. With any luck schizophrenia will be reclassified, not as a mental illness, but rather as an alternative view of the experience of life, contrary to that which the group will tend to espouse, and consistent with the ability of individuals to realise their naturally creative intentions.