All the stars and galaxies are both composed of assemblage points, and are assemblage points themselves, so it is a fairly general term whose particular utility is to make clear to interested parties the existence of countless different points of view. Among these we may expect to find a great deal of diversity, yet in spite of our differences it is the representation of a nominal energy field, and its subsequent radiation, that unites all material existence in the sharing of a common identity. Not only are we made in the image of our progenitors, but we are inextricably implicated in the unfolding of their cosmic dialogue. While it may not be your preferred interpretation, I suggest that we may mentally relate not only to our fellow human beings, but to all the different creatures here on Earth, and even to the very stars and galaxies.
This dramatic conclusion brings me to the end of my telepathy story. You will no doubt remember that I introduced this discussion in the context of our problem with human numbers, so you may be wondering how fostering telepathic relations is going to help in this regard. Maybe you think I'm trying to persuade you to adopt some kind of deviant sexuality, rather than run the risk of overpopulating the planet by entering into physical relations. Or, maybe you think that developing a telepathic rapport with others could complement your sexual behaviour rather nicely. In any case this sort of thinking is a diversion, one which may be worth considering, but I doubt that developing this sort of relationship will make any difference to the birth rate. People unavoidably entertain a mental picture of those for whom they feel affection, and this has likely been the case throughout the entire course of time, so the development of this sort of relationship will probably not be a significant factor.
Far from advocating a change in your sexual behaviour, my intention has in fact been to alter your perception of death. If you're like most people, then your beliefs about death have been put together in such a way as to make reproduction both a convenient organising principle in society, and a matter of doubtless biological necessity. But this is not the only way of looking at it. People who spend most of their time bringing up children content themselves with being able to look across maybe 70 or 80 years worth of life experiences. But, you could be looking across much larger temporal vistas if you chose to relate to some of the older beings who exist out there. And you could dissolve your beliefs about death entirely if you were able to conceive of just how much time these beings encompass. Now, you may find this prospect perplexing, but it's not as if I'm asking you to perform a feat of particular difficulty, all you have to do is to look at yourself and your experience of life from a suitable point of view. All the information you need is already a part of your memory, and all you need is to gain access to it.
For example, apart from the rich fabric of knowledge I learned from reading about Castaneda's experience, I learned more about the development of my psychedelic perception from a careful study of my very earliest childhood memories. I remember one incident which happened during a visit to my uncle's place when I was about four years old. On this occasion I was climbing onto everything I could find, as four year olds are inclined to in the absence of something more interesting to do, when I found myself at eye level with an electricity meter for the first time in my life. This would have been about 1960, so the meter was an old mechanical one consisting of a metal disk which rotated very slowly through a magnetic field. You've probably seen one of these so you will know that there is a small black mark on the edge of the disk which announces the completion of each rotation. While the rotation of this disk may seem quite innocent to you, I assure you that at the time I didn't think so. It was as if I had been arrested by the ghost of forgotten cosmic memories because I remember looking at this mark on the disk come and go in abject horror. I was possessed by a fear so palpable I was trembling, and I will never forget this silent confrontation with my very deepest reflection.
While you may be inclined to doubt the significance of this episode from my childhood, I'm sure you'll appreciate how it has since intrigued me. This is just one example of a variety of memories I have of a consciousness which transcends the human scale of existence. It could have been a reflection of an atomic memory as much as one of the many stars and galaxies, and I'm sure you will also appreciate how it represents a perception which I believe is not that uncommon in all of human experience. People may be secretive about memories which seem to defy a reasonable explanation for fear of exposing themselves to ridicule, but I suspect that memories such as these exist in abundance just below the surface of our consciousness. Since people tend to refrain from discussing themselves in such intimate detail, the vocabulary which may be used to describe this fascinating aspect of our lives is meagre to say the least. It is fairly likely that a lot of people's religious passion is charged with the memory of their earliest waking moments, so that any reference to their perception of this time is usually cast in the decorous language of religion. It is no wonder that a lot of this entails the representation of their Heavenly Mother and Father, but it is the implication of a potential to perceive the infinite progress of time that is of particular interest to me here.
Now, don't try to tell me that you don't know what I'm talking about, because I won't believe you. While the overwhelming emptiness which fills the infinite expanse is well beyond our capacity to relate to, the infinity of time is conversely a perception which we may relate to quite naturally. You can put your clock away because Eternity is not an interval you can measure with any degree of formality, on the contrary it is a feeling which you will have to cultivate as an individual. It is not something you can easily share with others in spite of your intentions, because Eternity is a knowledge which is obtained by a very personal observation of your sentimental attachment to existence. It is a perception which is different for everybody, its particular shape depends on the unique experiences of each individual, and yet it is possible to show you where in the spectrum of your feelings you may discover this fascinating insight.
To compare my own experience of this feeling I remember when I was a child it was strongest for me during the morning, probably because I was most receptive to it at this time having just woken up, but also because the dawn is such a poignant visual drama for an infant. For an older person the late afternoon presents a similarly poetic challenge, and an older person can mentally toy with the horizon which is not something a child would immediately think of doing. But by no means do you need to practice this mental exercise in order to catch a glimpse of Eternity. I remember as a child I would see it in the shadows, or to be precise I would see it in the luminosity within the shadows which reminded me of a radiance whose warmth and colour I seemed to have known forever. Looking back on this experience it occurs to me that Eternity and Maternity are terms which point out a fairly arbitrary distinction from a child's point of view. Indeed, it would not surprise me to learn that mothers actually exploit this association when impressing on their children the uncompromising sovereignty of their role.
In any case, many years later at the height of my psychosis, I was able to conjure up the mood at any time. I could see Eternity in the midday sun and throughout the afternoon, but it was during the hours before dawn that capturing this feeling provided me with most satisfaction. It's not easy for someone to begin with this time because at night there are so few spatial cues for you to refer to, but it's not difficult when eventually you find out where in your feelings this interesting mood is located. If I had to look for my memory of Eternity from scratch I think I'd begin with a good look at the sunlight which enters the atmosphere at an angle during the late afternoon. You'll want to stand in a shadow of some sort, such as a tree, or even a nice puffy white cloud, so that you're not blinded by the light. And you'll want to look at the sun indirectly, not because of the brightness of the light, but because you want to look at the Sun not with your eyes but with your mind. Your eyes will, in fact, be a distraction from the task at hand, and the mind is just as capable of seeing things, so don't be afraid to use your imagination because, after all, it is a memory of this feeling that you are looking for.
The edge of the shadow is worth having a look at because of its similarity to the twilight which may help to jog your memory, but there is something even more interesting for you to look at which will require a little imagination on your part. Try to trace in your mind a line which extends from the horizon back into the picture plane to the Sun, a distance of some 500 light seconds. This will give you a sense of the gulf between the Earth and the Sun which is a perception you will be somewhat unfamiliar with because your sense of depth is so limited. It will also give you a sense of the path which a ray of light will trace as it passes you at a truly phenomenal rate. And you may also want to imagine the huge transparent bubble of energy coming from the Sun which flows past you like the wind as it slowly begins to fill the most distant reaches of the Solar System.
The surface of this bubble will be almost completely flat when it passes you, extending in a direction perpendicular to your line of sight as you look at the Sun, and you will hardly notice the electromagnetic waves gently breaking over the substance of your being. You may like to think of your favourite piece of music while practicing this exercise because music is an analogy which ideally portrays the tonality involved in the radiance which warms us. I like to think of some of the more ambient styles when looking out into space this way, but I'm sure that you will appreciate the effect no less if country music happens to be your preference. And when you've finished looking at the Sun in this way turn around and take in the dusty Earth beside you. You will probably be receptive to a glimpse of the staggering age of this ancient planet, and I'm sure that its weariness will rest you.
These observations may seem trivial to you. But if you can overcome your Earthly point of view, and begin to relate to the celestial domain which is right before your eyes, then I think that before long the perception of Eternity will become second nature to you.
I will discuss how this perception differs when you investigate the darkness of an endless night in a moment, but first let me point out that if you can locate your memory of this feeling then your beliefs about death will undergo a transformation. If you're like most people then these beliefs are based on the apparent inertia of a lifeless cadaver, of which you have some experience since you are probably a meat eater, but this is a fairly restrictive way of looking at the experience. Your experience of death is therefore vicarious, and it is a condition of your beliefs that you are unable to have any sort of firsthand experience of it without actually crossing the threshold, so to speak, never to return to speak of it. But my experience with schizophrenia has shown me that this is not the case, you can have a knowledge of death without dying, quite a comprehensive one in fact, just by making the decision to associate with its presence. I don't know how you will picture the presence of Death in your life, since I believe that it is different for everyone. Maybe Death will be a fearsome warrior for you, or maybe it will be Almighty God, or some intermediary of this being, but for me Death is a very old mother for whom the symmetry of birth and death is like that which you see when you look into a mirror.
My point is that if you can develop a personal relationship with Death, and in doing so become familiar with your memory of Eternity, then sooner or later you will have to conclude that death is by no means the end of it. While your afterlife may be unseen by any witnesses to your demise, your consciousness endures for as long as you have the will to resist your weariness, and then you revert to dreaming which could transport you anywhere. As in life you stand before the infinities of time and space which are populated by beings whose sole purpose is to store information, so you could encounter any number of memories as the remaining electric and magnetic energy in your body slowly becomes entropic. In the past you may have scoffed at talk of past lives and reincarnation, but I wouldn't be too quick with the ridicule because in the infinite complexity of your private universe I'm sure you will agree that anything is possible. It has been my experience, and is quite likely the experience of others like me, that looking at life and death in this way is somewhat consuming, and I'm sure you can imagine how it is incongruous with the bringing up of children. Children need to be encouraged to live, rather than to confront the possibility of their death at every turn.
I won't deny that arguing in this way involves the assumption of a point of view which puts a premium on the experience of individuals, and I believe that it goes a long way toward explaining why schizophrenics are so inward looking. They assume this position because cultivating the sort of vision I am referring to requires a fairly subtle exercise of mind, and considerable concentration. Now, by no means am I suggesting that you all become schizophrenic, but let me point out one rather obvious basis on which you could refrain from having so many children. While you may be able to justify reproduction in a variety of ways, such as in order to satisfy certain emotional needs, you will probably feel most confident justifying this behaviour because quite simply you believe that one day you are going to die.
This is of course true in a sense, but I'm sure this discussion has shown that it is a fairly restrictive sense, and that there is a more general sense in which this is not the case. When you die you will undergo a profound transformation, but you will remain an integral link in the regression of abstractions even though your heart has stopped beating, and you have begun to decay. Your dead body may seem lifeless from the point of view of those loved ones who you leave behind you, but only because they are unable to conceive of your perceptual transformation. Dead people will give up their prior form, but there is no way for them to remove themselves from the representations which every particle of their being embodies. In fact an understanding of our place in this system will be even more vivid to dead people because they lie alone in the grave, and so they can no longer avoid looking at their experience of life in this way. Having had a taste of such knowledge, however, a dead person may be driven into slumber and to forget about such things because Eternity is a perception which can be overwhelming.
In any case, if you are not really going to die, or to put it in more formal terms if you are able to solve your apprehension of death in terms of a fundamental alternative, then you can't really justify reproduction on these grounds. If human numbers were considerably smaller than they are today, then the anticipated death of an individual would undoubtedly justify his or her reproductive behaviour. But my point is that this assessment of our ecological behaviour is not the case, according to the latest environmental indicators human numbers are very clearly excessive. I therefore suggest that if you were able to develop a spiritual rapport with the planetary host then not only would you be guided through the ecological choices which you will have to make on this planet. But you would also be able to envision a much larger vista of time which would help to revise your somewhat one sided beliefs about what death will ultimately hold for you. For many thousands of years human cultures have struggled to come to terms with their beliefs about the nature and purpose of death on this planet, but I believe that it is only in the context of the host model that our understanding of this experience will truly console our grieving. It is only in this context that Death will be able to comfort you with the memory of a being who is billions of years old, and who has shared an intimate physical embrace with you throughout your entire Earthly existence.
It is coterminous with your belief that you are going to die that you look at your experience of life from the point of view of the group rather than from that of a solitary individual. I can tell you from experience that a solitary individual has considerable latitude in this regard. Any difference between the two points of view would, however, be a matter of taste, except that the group is evidently environmentally irresponsible, and so it is up to individuals to take remedial action. If you happen to have several children then in spite of all your environmentally friendly pretensions I'm inclined to question how much you would care about the environment if its protection meant that you had to sacrifice your interest in reproduction. And so it seems to me that all you really care about is conforming with the roles which structure the human family. Either that or you simply can't think of what else you could do with your life, which is why I believe that the present discussion is so important. Schizophrenia may be demonised in modern society, but at least it provides a satisfying world view which has a minimal impact on the now fragile global environment.
And in case you think that the somewhat solitary existence of a schizophrenic is necessarily lonely, then let me say that at the very least Death is a faithful companion, and one who is not incapable of compassion. I remember on the eve of my first admission to psychiatric hospital I was on the verge of dying from exposure and exhaustion. I had been walking between towns in the Central West of New South Wales for several days prior to this memorable afternoon, as I had done quite frequently during the previous two years when my psychosis became a problem. I could no longer distinguish between reality and hallucination so that fear had become a persistent feature of my emotions, and walking was the only way in which I could exhaust it. I had little interest in eating, and when I went out walking I didn't even carry any water.
I sat down beside the road to rest that afternoon, and marvelled at how my bones were visible beneath my skin, when a passing motorist evidently informed the Police at the next town of my unusual behaviour. When the cop arrived on the scene I was so detached that he could not get a spoken word out of me. I was focused on the feeling of my skin slowly peeling off my bones, but I felt so peaceful and so satisfied with my existence that the prospect of dying seemed to be most welcome. I was immersed in a serenity which I had not known since very early in my childhood, and I felt that my body could just dissolve into that magnificent landscape. Of course, Death can be cruel to some unfortunate souls, and especially to their loved ones, but Death may also be your most reliable companion. Not only can it inspire an exemplary life, but its presence may chasten you at a time when you most need it.
Most favoured among the benefits of developing a personal relationship with Death is the sense of time which its reflection will allow during the quiet hours before dawn. I had a delightful experience of this during the early stages of my psychosis as I drove a taxi throughout Sydney overnight. The night shift began at about three in the afternoon and lasted twelve hours, so it wasn't long before I became a frequent visitor of the night. I would sleep through most of the day and only got out of bed so that I could go to work, or walk a lot. I drove the taxi only three or four nights a week so I had plenty of time to investigate this fascinating world, and with my ability to hallucinate I saw some things which revolutionised my naive point of view. In particular I was able to glimpse the staggering pool of time which was otherwise hidden from view right before my eyes. It wasn't long before I realised that when you are a solitary type there is no-one left to impose their view of the world upon you, and so you are free to conceive of the universe in all of its true majesty. While most people were sleeping I was able to see that the Galaxy is not a being who exists somewhere way out there, but it is one who is right here among us, and I must confess that the knowledge of its presence here on Earth really shook my pants off. When I was out walking around on my nights off I frequently had to shy away from crossing bridges because the symbolism was so severe. In the quiet of those dark urban nights these menacing structures seemed like they were a bridge across all time.
Now that I have established the potential for receptive individuals to perceive a truly vast cosmic vista, I want to point out an intriguing solution to the contradiction which life and death seem to hold from the group's point of view, and which our understanding of the regression of abstractions allows us to propose. It depends not so much on the realisation that time may be of a thoroughly personal nature, as may be the case with respect to individuals who are prepared to undertake such a perilous cosmic journey. On the contrary it depends on being able to recognise the sense in which our own death will already have been negotiated by those minuscule cells and atoms which provide us with the substance of our being. They represent a microcosm within us, and in this sense we share in an experience of death which is ultimately identical.
While it won't surprise you to observe that death is unavoidable, it may not have occurred to you that death is portrayed in terms which have only representational significance. You experience death vicariously every day, of course, because nearly everything you eat is produced by harvesting either animals or vegetables. And while you may feel free to satisfy your hunger as if it were the means by which you achieve your goals, you fail to realise that eating can be located in a context which is purely symbolic. If the body represents a map of time, and in the course of its unfolding you are eating dead bodies, then the oesophagus and the intestines represent their ultimate destiny. You could say that the intestines represent the death of such creatures, and since we have been eaten by animals the intestines represent the death of us as humans also. The portrayal of death as a river in some cultures may be more than metaphorical because of the similarity between a meandering river, and the twists and turns of the small intestine. Among the multitude of representational forms which occur in nature, rivers can be seen in a symbolic context where they represent, among other things, the cyclic nature of both dying and being born again.
When a river empties into the ocean some of the water is evaporated. Some of this is blown back over the land where it will fall again as rain, and then it re-enters the river where the cycle will begin all over again. Rivers are therefore quite a unifying theme in the unfolding cosmic drama, as are the intestines of animals whose microbial flora enters the food chain when they are evacuated during defecation. The comparison is thus poetic, as is the comparison between the intestines and the representation of a spiral in nature such as in the case of stars and spiral galaxies. The comparison is notable not so much because of the similarity between the shapes of these organs, although this is also notable, but because at the end of the large intestine the rectum seems so much like the black hole which is supposed to exist at the centre of galaxies. It raises the question of whether the rectum represents the true gravitational centre of our lives, but I believe this to be a case in which representations share a common symbolic identity. The rectum may share some features in common with gravitational centres such as the Sun, or the countless stars and galaxies, but the heart will also share some of these features, as will the centre of the brain in some respects. So it is more a matter of consistency to associate the Sun, not with the poles of an animal's electromagnetic field, but with the heart at the centre of its torso.
Nevertheless the rectum portrays the acceleration of bodies in the vicinity of a gravitational field more graphically than the heart or the brain ever could. And I am drawing your attention to these awkward anatomical features because I believe that the rectum and the brain differ in terms of their relative sophistication. While the rectum consists of a fairly primitive representation of the origin of time and space, the centre of the brain is one which is much more sophisticated. I therefore suggest that relative sophistication is a theme which is persistent in nature, and an interesting example of which is the process of evolution itself. But, if I'm not asking too much of your capacity for understanding, I believe that another is the apparent difference between males and females. Now you may be wondering how this relates to my discussion of death so let me point out that both sex and death can be understood in terms of the relationship between these polar identities.
While it may be somewhat controversial to suggest that men and women can be differentiated in terms of their relative sophistication, I believe that the trajectory of our discussion supports what is nevertheless an enlightening inference. If the body represents a map of time, and bodies differ in terms of their sexuality, then it is not unreasonable to suggest that sexuality represents a specifically temporal dimension. In spite of whatever objections you may have about characterising men and women in this way my personal experience has been that men tend to be a fairly brutal lot, while women are comparatively civilized. It is also curious, and not particularly contentious, to note that the universe began with considerable violence, and that some thirteen billion years down the track it is now more peaceful than it has ever been before. It is likely that the universe will be even more civilised in several billion years from now, and so it is consistent with the apparent refinement of nature to suggest that men represent the beginning of time, and that women represent the end of it. They meet each other and give birth to children in the duration, and let me just add incidentally that at the end of time you will not meet your demise, but you will be ploughed back into the project of your ongoing domestication.
That men give themselves to women entirely in the act of sexual congress is not a claim which you can seriously object to, and so it is not surprising to observe that in the course of time they become more like them. But it may surprise you to observe the sense in which gametes originate from opposite ends of time, and that in the act of sex it is the particular function of sperm to reach from the very beginning of time to the very end of it. Indeed in this sense the developing embryo represents the genesis of the entire universe, and so there really is no wonder why the new born are steeped in the mood of Eternity. The beginning of time, and the end of it, are therefore symbolic identities which evidently exist simultaneously, and which preclude the existence of absolute identities because their simultaneous existence would result in a contradiction of cataclysmic proportions.
Now, I hope you won't mind if I add that there are two ends to the sex organs for both men and women. I'm not going to expose you to a graphic discussion of this subject, so I hope you'll feel free to engage in a little private study if you find that you are unable to fully appreciate what I am referring to. Suffice it to say for my purposes that during intercourse the electric and magnetic materials contained in the sex organs produce a polar field. Indeed you will find that a more satisfying sexual experience may be obtained by making sure that this field is fully polarised. While you may not be thinking of your offspring during intercourse, I'm sure that you will not fail to appreciate the significance of this field to the subsequent cleavage of cells following conception, as they divide and become more numerous. You cannot overlook the sense in which the polarity of this field permeates every feature of embryonic development, indeed a residual trace of the field's polarity will remain with the conceptus throughout its entire existence. Polarity is thus a particularly fundamental feature of our existence, and this has evidently been the case for every manifestation of nature throughout the very unfolding of time itself.
Not only does the magnetic field produced by the sex organs polarise during intercourse, but I believe that the field actually splits into two, and that its division results in the creation of a template according to which embryonic cell division will take place. I believe that the passion involved in a couple's sexual climax is virtually identical to that which a developing embryo will experience during cell division, and that sex is in fact emblematic of the experience of living organisms in general. My point is that the implication of a somewhat desperate polar antagonism in both sexual experience and organic development, represents not only the vitality of organisms, but it also represents their dying. As cells divide they experience the passion of love, but they also suffer the loss of loved ones when they divide and become more numerous. Since the life and death struggle of individual cells will be multiplied by others who populate our bodies in truly phenomenal numbers, this aspect of our lives allows us to infer that we experience life and death virtually simultaneously. I therefore suggest that you should not only look for your death at some point in the distant and unforeseeable future, but you should also look for it in the past. Death may be a passionate experience, both for the individual in question and for those loved ones from whom he or she has been parted. But it is one which has already been experienced in so many different ways that it should now be a permanent feature of your memory. Just as you may retrieve your memory of Eternity, I believe that you may also discover your memory of dying, because in my experience both Death and Eternity resonate with such mutual sympathy that they are virtually synonymous.
To say that you will grow old and die is, in my view, an inaccurate representation of the facts when it is closer to the truth to say that you will grow weary and sleep, and that in your sleeping you will dream. And, when you are fully rested, from your dreams you will then awaken. Have no fear if you choose to turn from your reproductive habits because Death is already your most faithful and sympathetic companion.