Whispered Words
Chapter 7

The shape of Italy may warn us of a danger which we will have to confront with valour, and a great deal of honesty, but it allows us to grasp a sweeping new vision of our bodies and the environment with which they interact. The impending doom now clearly visible on the horizon may provide a motive for us to search our feelings for a way through the difficulties we encounter. So much of our behaviour has been reinforced by a habitual belief about the nature of the world, which has now been so dramatically upended by the string of implications I've been discussing, but the consequences of which could be worryingly unpredictable.

In terms of my own modest observations it looks like we're getting very close to our inevitable demise on this planet, but I'm suggesting that it's just an appearance of such. It will look like this because there will always be a crucial piece of information missing from the world, a part of someone's dreaming who hasn't been born yet or who hasn't fulfilled their destiny, and that everyone has been more or less unwittingly waiting for. But time can be as stationary as it can be in motion. And time can be stationary at any point in time so that the world can assemble and prototype intricate bits of clockwork one after another, which others can use to model their behaviour on the basis of a successful prototype.

While it is only natural for us to wish for a happy ending to our historical endeavours, a branch of dreaming which results in our failure to achieve a solution to our troubles could be both likely and required. Such a plan may be necessary in order to yield a benefit elsewhere in the multi-verse, and the cost of which may be proportional to the benefit it provides. But if history is just a recording and time can be perfectly stationary, then the end of days doesn't have to begin until a solution to its finality has been appended to the particular branch of dreaming at risk of failure.

In terms of arriving at an understanding of how the multi-verse could produce an outcome such as this, and the terms of which provide a reliable proof of its existence, it is helpful to point out that the infinite regression requires that every last spec of matter has a fundamentally symbolic content. In fact, not only do bodies possess such things, but a necessary corollary of this is that every little thing is in possession of a consciousness proportional to its dimensions. A body's symbolic contents and its consciousness of such exist simultaneously.

A reference to every little thing may evoke an image in your mind of the uncountably minuscule constituents of our world, and even larger bodies which are just as tiny compared with others still larger, but it will probably be a more sensitive thing for you to consider the constituents of your own body. Existence is portrayed by a variety of symbols within the body on countless levels of organisation, but of particular interest to me here is the chemical level on which THC, the little cannabis molecule, captivates the attention of a smoker's body in a unique and unforgettable way.

The THC molecule doesn't have a particularly unusual structure in and of itself, resembling a simple steroid in some respects, so it is a very old molecule, and one which has always had a unique role to play in molecular biology. So, not only does it have a unique symbolic identity in the consciousness of individual organisms, but it has always had a unique role to play in the history of life on this planet.

In terms of the consciousness of individuals there is nothing like the effect of cannabis on a smoker's perception. It is a special feeling which guides the smoker to an observation of some very deep truths about the nature of life and death as we know them, and of the way we represent these symbolic identities. It guides the smoker along a thread of perception which climaxes in a proposition which can be disturbing, but it is a vision which motivates the smoker to develop an acquaintance with this substance. There is something in the perception of each and every one of us which takes no effort at all for non smokers to avoid altogether, but which lead cannabis smokers to the thought which their bodies never thought they'd think.

This thought could adopt the guise of any number of things. It could be the atomic scale of our existence, or the astronomic scale of it which is just as likely. It could be the mental continuity our thoughts share with everything around us, such as the animals and insects we meet on a daily basis, or with the electronic devices we've been playing with which now beckon the presence of the galaxy. But in its simplest form it is the unity of the symbols we use to negotiate the difference between birth and dying in our lives. And it is the unthinkable observation that the world is already dreaming the dream we've always dreamed of.

You may well have already gathered that speaking of thoughts and hallucinations such as these can be very tricky. They are of such a personal nature and so sensitive to dignity that any sensible person would think carefully before mentioning anything about them. But by the same token they are so personally empowering that I feel emboldened to mention some of them in the context of this story.

In spite of how personal most of this imagery will be there is one hallucination I know of which has a distinct objectivity about it, and which we can safely assume every cannabis smoker has some experience with. It can be a delightful sensation at times, especially if you happen to be a car or bike lover, but it can also be an excruciating train wreck at others. It concerns a commonplace feature of urban existence namely the Doppler shift of a vehicle passing on the street where an observer happens to be intoxicated. What is most vivid to me about this experience is the beautifully melodious resonance of the exhaust note. It is quite distinctly not the sound of a vehicle you hear during your sobriety; it's too subtly musical for you to confuse the two, with deep and subtle embellishments of tone and tincture.

On the other hand if you happen to be at odds with your composure while under the influence of cannabis then it can be a screeching whistle of a noise as if the little smoke was not happy to meet you in your mutual dreaming. In any case the Doppler shift can be loud and prolonged, lasting as many as several time suspended minutes, and giving you the impression that you have just arrived at the very singularity of your perception. It is such a dramatic presentation that I can't help feeling that my death would be really struggling to rival it in terms of sheer house shaking drama.

After many years of experience with cannabis I have slipped into a habitual association between the drug and the ghost of death. They are as dramatic as each other in different ways, but they seemed so entwined whenever I saw them together in my visions. I wouldn't go so far as to suggest that they share one and the same identity since there is another substance I have always associated with this presence in my life, and there are likely to be others too, with which I'm not so familiar.

From very early in my childhood I began to associate a pleasant smell with the remnant of a timeless presence I met in my infant dreaming, the scent of which later seemed to be a hallucination. It was a sweet and familiar scent always eliciting a vision of eternity which was how I came to associate it with the ghost of death. I haven't caught a whiff of ether for a long time because it's not so useful in the practice of medicine anymore, but while ether wasn't as sweet or as saturated as this scent, they were very similar.

In any case I now suspect that an occupation of the little THC receptors within the brain provides the body with a transitional state between wakefulness and dreaming, the occupation of which bridges the gulf between them. But more importantly I suspect that death may be just a symbolic depiction of transition, a hallucination like so many others, induced by a constellation of chemicals within the body. The infinite regression requires that chemistry is not only the embodiment of information, but that it also manages the machinery of consciousness. Both the portrayal of death within society and chemicals like THC are departure points from which the body may pursue its quest for a more perfect understanding of nature.

If I may now mention incidentally that I know how some of you will want to give some thought to the things I've been telling you here because this is exactly how I felt about Castaneda's writing when I first read it many years ago at the tender age of twenty. As it happened, don Juan's thinking was the first thing to make sense to me after so many years of listening to what seemed to me to be a lot of nonsense. I clearly remember being a prolific dreamer as an infant, but it was a subject about which no one wanted to talk until I read the work of Castaneda.

So, let me now stitch a few of these things together into a unified bundle. In Castaneda's second book, Journey to Ixtlan, the old Mexican sorcerer, don Juan outlines a number of techniques a warrior can practice in order to arrive at the goal of stopping the world. Among these are such as adopting a little detachment from society, or making concessions to other inhabitants of the world, such as animals and insects. With a suitable attitude and composure stopping the world is not so difficult, but can be a bit scary and will make you wonder if it's even worth practicing.

Stopping the world will mean different things to you at different times of your life, but a little puff of a hallucinogen will show you what it could be for you, if you happen to find yourself lacking direction. In my experience stopping the world involves observing that every physical thing is engorged in a continuous flood of energy, and subject to the tuning of frequencies. Most of the time these frequencies are so high and continuous that you don't even notice them so that what the little smoke is doing for you is giving your senses the speed they need to slow them down to a point where you can actually see and feel them.

After all the things I've been telling you here this particular observation really places a capstone on what I've been saying to you. To say this in terms of the rudimentary physics of bodies is a relatively benign thing, but to put it into a context where conscious entities use this medium to trade in symbolic identities demands our attention, and places on our behaviour a responsibility for all the grievous things that happen to us here.

I suggest that the cannabis plant, and plants and trees of any sort, depict an aspect of the universe just as other bodies do. In the case of plants and trees these beings depict the flowering of the multi-verse; the leaves and flowers are suggestive of the many worlds which branch out from a universal trunk. But the most intriguing thing to note here is the endless trading of oxygen and carbon dioxide between plants and animals which depicts a symmetry whose poetry must be deeply moving to us. This is even more poignant in the case of cannabis because the oxygen is mixed with the smoke of the plant itself. To get to the point I was making about proving the existence of a multi-verse, the breathing of both plants and animals reflects the timelessness which our respective dream bodies must share.

If history is just a recording then each new dreamer's arrival on the scene borrows a constellation of symbols from the future, and starts a new branch within the multi-verse. As each of us fulfils his or her destiny and makes a mark on the history of us all, so the worlds within the multi-verse are joined into one. And when our destinies are complete each of us will return to the world from which we came.

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