Thursday, February 26, 2009

i've convinced the drug company clowns in white lab coats to dim their lights and play some music suitable to the experience, i plead with the head honcho saying it will help me relax and also prolong the experience. so with side two of meddle playing, echos, i descend into the strange fractal world of dmt, my dose is huge, enough for an elephant to stay out for at least a day,
the flood of fear as i loose my self, fade away as i find my new self immediately in mechanical elf body, looking into the strange reptilian eyes of the mate i have on this side of reality, she, it, is happy to see me and we exchange warm signals. she strokes my head, he three fingers seem to emit strong and pleasant electrical impulses. messages flood my head.
'we are happy'
'why are they playing meddle, i wanted dark side'
welcome home'
i engage with them, it's like a conference call. i am a mechanical elf being, not human, i was sent into the human realm as an undercover agent. my mission was to bring back information about the human exploration into the dmt universe, the elf beings are afraid premature human contact will pollute the elf universe. apparently there are hundreds of operatives undercover, they are in deep, thinking they are human but in reality they are machine elves who during ther human existence will be drawn to seek out dmt experiences and thus return to the dmt universe. apparently alex grey, steve kilbey and various other creative are all undercover mechanical elf beings delving into home when the opportunity arises.
i'm not surprised. i seem to know this, and loosing my human identity comes as a release.
the dmt world is composed of information, it operates on a completely different geometry to the human one. it truly is a different dimension and human language is not capable of describing or defining it, mathematics is needed or art. words can't wrap around the conceptual paradigm but i will attempt to do this.
we are in a war room, there are various screens, on which indicate the portals into the human dimension, plus various others. it is the human one the dmt beings fear most. at some point contact will be inevitable and the dimensions will merge, causing a great schematic shift in the cosmos, this will be a great time for existence, a golden age. this will occur when love is accepted by humanity as the supreme energy, unfortunately humanity is not ready yet and a premature entry would result in chaos for the elves. i look at the strassman team, i can see the subjects and know they have been given great insights and access to privileged information, some of which they have shared in a cryptic manner but just enough to reside on the fringe. they have all returned to the human realm to prepare for the day when the dimensions are reconciled. they send messages of love into the human realm knowing that there is much more than petty politics, religions and ideology, this is my mission, it's the great work, bodhisatta. i know that during my human incarnation i will only be able to access the dmt through my own short personal experiences, the drug companies cannot be allowed to know about this or continue to experiment in this area until they are doing this without an agenda and without expectation. the idea being when humanity learns humility we can evolve at a rapid rate to another level completely. until then we are in tis dimension, forced to confront ourselves as one another.
i spend a few hours with my wife, although it could be a life time, because time operates differently in this dimension, then i prepare for return.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

'so far we have several almost contacts, would you say that's correct mission?'
the chemist and his research team were repeating themselves, hoping for a variation on my answer.
'look, i think we should double the dose, given the data, that should considerably lengthen the time i'm there, whereever that is, and intensify the experience. i feel certain that these 'elves' want me there, their intentions seem benevolent so far and i have this incredible sense that they have something for you they want me to give you.'
'a message?'
'i don't know, it's speculation based on my feelings.'
they turned and went into a private huddle, i was left on the bench, eyes staring at the horrible neon lamps above me. they refused my objections to turning the lights down as well as to have some music playing along, they insisted that the lab maintain a research facility ambiance not a bed-sit.
i could see the cameras on the ceiling and feel the wires they had attached to my head and chest. i let out a long breathe and closed my eyes, contemplating the experience.
i had fallen through the vortex into their world of fractal information, then i had seen their faces appear from the swirling purple kaleidoscope, they seemed happy to receive me, beckoning me towards them, into a chamber where they seemed to be surrounded by some sort of machinery, it was as if i were in a lab again only there was nothing here that i could recognize. the faces appeared, half alien and half insectoid, they made high pitched sounds, not speech but clicking and i picked up some telepathic information. they were very happy that i had arrived, they implied i was expected and then they seemed to greet me in some strange way i cannot recognize. the elves pushed something into my brain, they opened me up without anesthetic and seemed to weld some kind of electronic pulsing device inside there. i felt no pain but a little concern about the intrusive operation. they seemed very interested in making me feel comfortable and they started to give me a sequence of instructions about returning.
that was the information i shared with the team, i stated that i then was pulled back to their lab and the dose must have been absorbed by my body but there was more to my experience. i had omitted the drugs they injected into my head.
after the electrical device had been inserted i was taken to another area and sat in a chair. a helmet device was placed over my head and a needle on a robotic telescopic arm seemed to extend itself towards me. i looked at my legs and could see they were different, same with my hands. it was like theirs, my body appeared to be the same as theirs. then the needle was attached to the helmet and slowly the syringe emptied its contents into my head, my brain. i could almost understand the strange clicking, i could make out some of the statements.
'next time bring us back some music, the church or pink floyd's early stuff.'
'sometime anywhere or meddle' another being seemed to request.
'don't stay so long this time.'
'i love you baby.' this last communication came from one of the smaller machine elves, she, or he, it was standing further away and looking sad and worried, i picked out the affection within the sequence of clicks. i could feel a strong connection to this particular creature, i wanted to reach out to it and hold it.
i didn't want to leave but very quickly i discovered myself back in this reality.
the only way back, to the machine elf that i seemed connected to was another massive dose of dmt, i needed to play these human research chumps, it would be a fine line, a delicate diplomacy, especially with these government jerks.
they kept their stash under tight lock and key, there would be no way i could access it without sanction. i had to play them, i had no choice. i needed to return.

Friday, February 13, 2009

in a lab 15 people undergo americas second academic and scientific study into the effects of the substance known as dmt. the doctor leading the research team is strassman, a middle aged hippy idealist who lost his radical roots as he passed through his rite of passage the wrong way into adulthood. he passed his degree with honours and went on to be funded by the current administration to administer varying dosages to his subjects and then record the results for the governments study group. the results were so shocking to the panel and were sealed in a vault. strassman being a middle class jewish (my people) academic had embraced buddhism but not quite lost the idea of contradicted illusion, therefore his understanding of the results were limited by his experience whereas the administration saw dangerous mind expanding drugs that must be locked away to save joe public lest they expand their minds and realise they don't need an administration.
at the same time a private drug multinational were conducting their own experiments. the results were the same but experimentation continued and the board of directors decided to up the dosage. the guinea pig they used was a guy named captain mission. the doses they were using was injected and 100 times the average tat strassman used.
mission was laying down in a dimly lit room, soft lighting, easy on the eyes although the environment was far from optimal mission had learnt to not allow the setting to effect his experience, he just used visualizations and his imagination to block out the antiseptic areas and replace them with something a bit more cozy. he had fasted for 8 hours and was preparing himself for the dose. he had smoked a bit of dmt in the past and been involved in a number of experiments with the drug company before, igobaine, ayahuscia, no pharmaceuticals though. that was the rule. mission hated them with a vengeance.
the evil drug company was probably going to synthesise the dmt anyway and find something to cure with it, or maybe invent some new condition to treat. mission was only there as it was the only way he could obtain large amounts of these substances and ingest them without getting busted while getting paid. he often lied to the scientists when giving feedback, saying that he could see pretty patterns and abstract information, he could just make out strange insectoid faces and hear chatter but then the drug wore off. they would always up the dose. the reality was far stranger than this fiction.
fire has ravaged the state of victoria.
apparently some one started these bush fires.
300 people dead so far
that makes it the biggest mass murder in australia

in the late 1993 my brother and i were in the sydney bush fires. we watched the column of smoke and flame move down the mona vale road from the newport arms pub, for about a week people attempted to put it out but it got closer and closer cutting of the peninsular where we live. once i drove up the road to see the devastating display of flame but obviously the road had been blocked, however my car went from white to black. it was an eerie time for the population on the peninsular, we knew tat if the fire reached the main road we would be cut off, the only escape would be by water and everyone knew some one with a boat.
one afternoon while i was driving towards avalon, down newport hill we passed what appeared to be a spot fire, it had just started setting a small bush area aflame. i puled over grabbed some blankets from the car and together with my brother started to beat the flames out, however the land being so dry these fires just grew faster than they should. soon a small team of people, drivers who had pulled over had formed a chain and passing buckets, the flames were wild, reaching high up to the over head electrical cables, in a matter of seconds the cables started sparking and snapped apart sending sparks everywhere. the flames now were at least two stories high and the fire was uncontrollable for our small group, fortunately the fire truck arrived and dealt with the situation.
to this day that small group of 'passerby's' stop one another in the street to shake hands and acknowledge our own efforts and comrade. total strangers share that dunkirk spirit.
well i guess what i'm trying to say here is in victoria people have lost a lot more than i can even imagine, it's a terrible loss, an awfully helpless situation, some of the bodies are unrecognizable, families torn apart, homes destroyed and trauma unfurled upon many innocents. yet there are small stories of humanity pulling together, over coming the odds and the kindness of strangers. perhaps in tragedy we can all learn something at this terrible price.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

from seed magazine, a science magazine i delve into occasionally.

The Prophetic Brain
It's a commonly held belief that information from the outside world impinges upon our brains through our senses to cause perception, then action. But this reasonable assumption now appears to be false.

Over the past decade, neuroscience has revealed that rather than acting as a filter that simply maps sensation onto action, the brain behaves like an "inference machine" that tries to discover patterns within data by refining a model of how those patterns are likely to be generated. For instance, depending on whether the context is a crowded concert hall or a deserted forest, a sound can be perceived as either a human voice or the wind whistling through trees. The pioneering German physicist Hermann von Helmholtz articulated this idea as early as 1860, when he wrote of visual perception that "objects are always imagined as being present in the field of vision as would have to be there in order to produce the same impression on the nervous mechanism." Now a unified understanding of how the brain makes and optimizes its inferences about the outside world is emerging from even earlier work — that of the 18th-century mathematician Thomas Bayes.

Bayes developed a statistical method to evaluate the probability of any given hypothesis being true under changing conditions. The concept is straightforward: The probability of two things happening together is the probability of the first given the second, times the probability of the second. This allows the certainty of a single inference to be weighed according to how much additional evidence exists at any particular time. The "Bayesian" approach has emerged in many guises over the past century and has proved very useful in computer science applications like machine learning.

Since at least the 1980s, neuroscientists have speculated that the brain may use Bayesian inference to make predictions about the outside world. In this view, the brain estimates the most likely cause of an observation (that is, sensory input) by computing the probability that a particular series of events generated what was observed — not unlike a scientist who constructs a model to fit his or her data. This probability is a mathematical quantity we call the "evidence." But evaluating the evidence for most realistic models requires calculations so intricate and lengthy they become impractical. This would be particularly problematic for the brain, which must constantly make split-second decisions. Fortunately, there is an easier way. In 1972 the American physicist Richard Feynman devised an elegant shortcut to calculate the evidence using something called a "free-energy bound." Freeenergy is a concept from statistical thermodynamics —  it is essentially the energy that can be used for work within a system once that system's entropy, or useless energy, has been subtracted.

Feynman's basic idea was simple: Instead of trying to compute the evidence explicitly, just start with a quantitative guess about the causes, which we will call a "representation," and then adjust the representation until it minimizes the free-energy of the data. Feynman exploited the fact that the freeenergy is, by construction, always greater than the negative logarithm of the evidence, a mathematical quantity we will call "surprise." In other words, the free-energy is an upper boundary upon surprise (remember this — we'll come back to it later). So by changing the representation to minimize freeenergy, the representation becomes the most likely cause of whatever sensory inputs make up an observation, and the free-energy becomes the evidence itself. The machine-learning community has used this approach with great success, leading many researchers to wonder: If minimizing free-energy is so effective in allowing statistical machines to perceive and "learn" about their surroundings, could the brain be taking similar shortcuts?

In this formulation, a "representation" is simply a quantitative guess about the likely cause of a sensory observation. To understand representation in the brain, imagine you are in a bar having a conversation. The sounds you hear have no meaning beyond being the product of someone speaking. Your brain must first represent the deeper cause of the sounds (in this case, the concepts and words that make up the speech) via its internal variables like the activity of neurons and the strengths of connections between them. Only then can you infer any meaning. What would this process look like?

The emerging picture is that the brain makes its inferences by minimizing the free-energy of messages passing between hierarchical brain regions. Imagine the brain as an onion, where meaningful exchanges with the outside world take place on its surface (the outer sensory layer). Information from these exchanges passes on to "higher" levels (those responsible for cognitive functions) through "bottom up" connections. The higher levels respond with "top down" messages to the lower levels. This reciprocal exchange repeats itself hierarchically, back and forth, layer by layer, until the highest level (at the center of the onion, or front of the brain) becomes engaged. Only then will you consciously register a perception. In this scheme, the free-energy is essentially the collective prediction error over all levels of the hierarchy: Top-down cognitive messages provide predictions based on representations from above, and lower sensory levels reciprocate with bottom-up prediction errors. These "error messages" drive encoded representations (such as neuronal activity) to improve the predictions for lower levels (that is, to reduce free-energy).

For example, in your hypothetical bar conversation, no matter how ambiguous the acoustics, you are more likely to hear "credit crunch" as opposed to "credit brunch." Here the high-level conceptual representation "credit crunch" provides contextual constraints on the words, which restrict the sounds predicted or heard, namely "c," not "b." If the bar is very noisy, you may find yourself watching your friend's mouth closely. This is because the cause (speaking) allows you to make both acoustic and visual predictions. Hierarchical optimization allows sounds to help you see and sights to guide hearing — binding different sensations into a coherent perceptual framework. This recurrent messagepassing leads to the self-organized brain dynamics that support perception and recognition.

The perspective afforded by this hierarchical Bayesian formulation is especially important for neuroscience, because hierarchy is a key architectural principle of brain anatomy — our brains are organized in successive layers, and we can measure the neural activity encoding prediction errors and representations. But this is not the end of the story. What follows is a new theory that considers what would happen if the free-energy principle applied not just to perception but to action as well.

Let's begin with the notion of an ensemble density — a probability distribution of the states you or I can occupy. Imagine I had 100 million copies of you, at different times in your daily life. If I could measure all your sensory states, I could construct a sample density or histogram that reflected the probability of your being in any particular state. Critically, for you to exist, the number of states you occupy must be small in relation to all possible states. For example, your temperature will always be in a certain range. Mathematically, this means your ensemble density has low entropy. Here, we meet a characteristic of adaptive biological agents (like you and I) in that they seem to resist the second law of thermodynamics (a universal tendency to disorder) by minimizing the entropy of their ensemble densities. What does minimizing entropy mean? It simply means that you will, on average, avoid surprising or improbable states (i.e., you will not find yourself at the bottom of the ocean or suddenly engulfed in flames). Though arcane, this implies something quite fundamental: To exist, you must avoid surprising states.

Adaptive agents like us are open systems that exchange with their environment. The environment acts on us, which produces sensory impressions, and we act on the environment to change its states: If you see an apple on a table, you can reach out to pick the apple up. If we can change the environment that causes sensory input, then, in principle, we can act to suppress surprising input. But there is a problem: How do we compute surprise? In fact, we do not need to compute surprise at all. Returning to Feynman's elegant methodology, all we need to do is to minimize free-energy, because free-energy is an upper boundary on surprise. This means that free-energy can be used not only to optimize perception, but also to prescribe action. This is the basis of the freeenergy principle, which states that all quantities associated with an agent will change to minimize free-energy. This line of reasoning prescribes an intimate relationship between perception and action, where both work in concert to suppress free-energy (that is, to minimize prediction errors or surprise) in our sensory experiences. In other words, we will actively sample sensory data so that it conforms to our expectations; we will constantly alter our relationship with our environment so that our expectations become self-fulfilling prophecies. A simple example of this is turning one's head to get a better view of what seems to be a familiar face in peripheral vision, but this principle may encompass our entire navigation of the world to avoid the unexpected.

In terms of neuroscience, the key issue is not so much the information theoretic principles above, but how the brain realizes them. Multiple predictions follow from these ideas. For example, brain systems should be deployed hierarchically and connected reciprocally. Forward connections should be largely linear in their influences, whereas backward connections should embody the nonlinearities inherent in the causal structure of the world. We would expect that predictable stimuli evoke smaller responses, and unexpected stimuli larger ones. Scientists are now starting to confirm these conjectures with brain mapping, by comparing brain responses with stimuli that are coherent or incoherent, predictable or unpredictable. This principle also has implications beyond neuroscience, in the sense that it applies to all biological agents. Could single-cell organisms use the concentration of metabolites and kinetic rate-constants (as opposed to neuronal activity and connection strengths) to encode their implicit representations? In this speculative case as well as with the brain, the great challenge is to find the mapping between the internal states of a phenotype and representations that this theory mandates.

Returning to statistical machines, from which much of this work emerged, the theory suggests a profound revision of current approaches to reinforcement learning and optimal control in engineering artificial neural networks. It should be possible to teach automata (such as robots) complex adaptive behaviors by simply exposing them to a controlled environment (like a classroom), then returning them to their normal surroundings to seek out the new states they have learned to expect. The limitations of this approach are difficult to predict, but further synergy between theoretical neurobiology and machine learning, between a deeper understanding of our own minds and those we wish to create, appears inevitable.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

sunday down in bondi, the beach packed with bronzed bodies the water empty save for my brother and i as we surf in almost freezing temperatures. strange contrast. my lips are turning blue, out there as i wait for waves, i'm in shock. where s the iceberg, has it melted around the corner at bronte, why is it so freaking cold. later at the markets i meet the beautiful israeli girl ruth selling her trinkets and jewels, i buy my brother a necklace with some cabalistic jargon, i wander through dazed from the chill factor despite the soaring temperatures. we pass through the beautiful people, two non descript wanderers, i smile at the girls wave at the boys and fall into bookshops and cafes thinking about ruth and how beautiful she is.

monday tuesday i'm home organizing a pa, driving jake here and there, having lunch, drinking coffee, talking with gravy about the gig, i'm filthy and smell awful, it's time for me to get organized and start training and rehearsing and clean myself up. i sit down and write the music for my song, i think about sending ruth a valentines card, stupid commercial bullshit but what am i going to do? i can't let them all slip away. i have to try at least. i'll try in my own passive kinda way, what the hell. i'm lost before i even run but at least im going to run. it's been so long since i put any effort into having a date, i'm certain i'll be rejected in the nicest way, for all i know she's married. i didn't see a ring but then these days that doesn't mean anything. ah ruth i could easily love you but that's all i really know how to do, i'm pretty crap at the rest of it.
the first notes arrive on the back of the previous track, the haunting song 'fly home' which i will talk about later, those final notes fade into the sonic cyclic drone of tone, the harmony that steve and marty attain is perfection, the wonderful picture, no make that a landscape painted with words, and dreamy choral echo of those guitars in loop. there's a beautiful little bit where the instruments just fade out and we are left with that lovely acoustic ring, then slowly as your mind accepts that it's the end, the song slips back in full regalia, it shimmers and shines like a precious jewel. and then the most unexpected 'whoosh' it soars above the clouds, i'd love to know how they came up with that bit, and before the surprise can register this wonderful hawkwind like harvey bainbridge synth takes the song into the stratosphere. it's just bliss.
towards the end a female voice starts to talk deep in the mix, my ears struggle to make out her message, what does she talk about, who is she and what is her message to the dead man? i struggle to decipher its meaning but i never have despite repeated listening and internet searching.
there's something narcotic about this track, it's the dead mans dream, slipping from consciousness to something else, the book of the dead charts the souls journey, the dead man's dream sees him in memory clinging to earthly things, between things of myth and magick, between a time of wizards and witches and machines and technology. it's a journey to another realm that once your sucked into its vortex, that moment of surrender you begin to think dying dreams are just like the living ones, for in life don't we all dream of magic and unicorns and the wonder of innocence.
i love this song and think the album it comes from is an underrated master piece.
i'd like you dear reader to give it a listen again, light up that jazz cigarette and dim the lights low, kick back with your girl and enter the realm of sometime anywhere.

Friday, February 06, 2009

it's early and i'm wandering along the beach at avalon, my feet burning on hot sand, the scorched earth, i look at the waves breaking below me, crystal clear, i'm wandering down into the ocean. my feet recoil at the freezing temperature. and then i'm in.
days like this are slow, the burnt land knows no sanctuary except the sea and today the sea is a staggered cathedral to reality, waves soar up above and then in the flash point of time freeze momentarily before the tremendous crash as they burst over me like liquid war. my body does what it needs, it dives under and through and finds the surface when it needs, my lungs grasp at air when it comes, and let it go when necessary. im thinking about sharks, my fin is a weapon, i can see the sharks eye, that eye scares me more than the sharks teeth, and reason takes hold, as i understand there is no shark but the one eating my mind.
i surf, catch waves and feel the hot sun incinerate my back.
later i meet Jake for lunch, he's looking like a wasted model from the 60's, trashed after a huge night clubbing and now recharging his batteries at the beach. we grab a 50 50 lunch. people stop us in the streets to talk, but we are hot, anti social and somewhat tired. words don't come easy, the chit chat, the small talk, the empty sentences, the hollow vowels and lazy consonants, it's an undead conversation. i go home. listen to shriek, loud, sleep in my hammock, it's mercurial and menacing in parts. whatever landscapes it takes me to i would dwell there momentarily before moving on, this cityscape is a strange cross dickens cross china melville place. steam punk engines and strings, mad people wander the streets but they are not different from the sane, there's a haunting hallucination like quality here, dead people in the land of the living. i'm gonna read the book.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

fucking hell man it's so hot i'm sliding through my dreams, tossing and turning like a greasy chip in a deep frying machine, flipping and turning as i travel through dreamscapes and illusions, playing strange games with myself and myself. i awake already disorientated and stumble up to the bathroom where i piss for what seems like ages, standing there watching a yellow stream listening to that reassuring noise and wondering if this is the longest one ever, it seems to go on and on and i have to prop myself up against the sink. then when it's finally over i wander into the lounge room where the first thing i see is a huge giant mutant wasp. now i kid you not, this beasty is the size of my fist, it resembles an alien bug crossed with wasp dna, i can see it's intelligent but somewhat dazed as it hovers around the window looking for an exit.
i pick up some of it's transmissions
'this is killer wasp one (KW1) to base, i'm trapped in the subjects home, he's standing before me like a oaf, i'm attempting to exit before he exhibits human like fight responses'
'this is wasp command, try attacking first, preemptive strike, stingers on full power.'
we engage in some strange maneuvers, i'm still half asleep and know my reactions are slow, i attempt to help the wasp by opening the window wide.
the wasp flies out immediately.
it's now to hot to breath. sydney is melting, my vision is blurred, i'm covered in slime, sweat and my eyes water. i head for the shower and thus begins my day.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

attempting to create a my space page for the deep fix is driving me nuts, i hate all the layouts and have no idea how to change them, i don't like all the adverts and it took forever to load two songs on there, anyway i'm flicking through a whole bunch of images and found a nice series of lips, which i think i will use as a theme.