Tuesday, March 31, 2009

the captain awakes well after lunchtime, he put his pants on and strode of down the hall looking for his ego and dope, mmm, he sits in his chair and lights up a big fat joint he made previously, he takes a big puff and leans back relaxing in his comfy chair and looks at his new pictures. mr. mojo rising, the first rock and roll shaman, a poet and philosopher a visionary with stars falling from his beard. with the dmt eye, with the cosmic rainbow .
i look at the vishnu in bondi suburban bliss, light blue skinned, jeweled and golden, enigmatic eyes and indian lips, her of the red rose, beyond space and time, her colors are strong and vibrant as she stands in the foreground staring at me, filling me with desire, i want a girl like that, my very own vishnu with blue skin and wisdom and some one who can help me stay true. i look at the angles of the lines in the buildings behind her and wonder how the painter captures those perspectives. it's beyond me.
all i can do is look in wonder. wow.
and in the middle sits the portrait of an artist as a young man, well slightly older, also a rock and roll shaman, a visionary a painter and poet, but wow, what a picture, what a perfect portrait.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

i'm awake before the sun, jump in the car and drive over to bondi, looking at the morning encroach on my fuzzy logic, i've done this journey so many times, sometimes i am tempted to close my eyes and dream myself there, this morning i am aware that after smoking to much with the green goddess i'm using the force more than is sensible, so i make some minor ajustments and try to focus on being alert and aware and locked into consenses reality. let me mention parking in bondi at this hour is a piece of cake, i manage to park outside my brothers flat and becuase it's 6am i walk to the nearest coffee shop and indulge myself with the morning newspapers. lots of waffle and opinions these days, no real news, no journalism, no skilled writing, just people and their strangely straight ideas. even the so called intellectuals and thinkers are actually pretty stupid when you read what they say, blah blah blah, it's all just speculation within speculation. one day they will just write objectivley but not for a while. people read the newspaper and think it's reality, it's not it's just a take on reality an interpretation unless it's written objectivley. anyways my head is buried in a story about a polition who had a chinese friend that he should not off and suddenly a person appears before me, it's poppy my old friend who i have not seen in years. she's looks so happy to see me, and is a bit stunned. she joins me for a coffee and we have a chat. it's so good to see her, she really radiates a good energy and just brightens the day more.
so later i go to my brothers and he asks for a lift to bondi junction, i drive there and park in a big concrete structure called west feilds, it's actually a mall, quite nice i have to say. despite not wanting to buy anything i ended up being seduced by the bookshop and made two purchases. then enthusiastically i went of to find my car, an hour later i'm still looking. fucking hell man, what's with these big car parks!
a brazilian man with a golf cart buggy is helping me look for my car, we systematically start from the top floor and whizz around at mind numbing speeds looking for the car. eventually i find it and thank my brazilian buddy, i drive back to north bondi, crash out on the sofa.
my friend picks the car up a dream or two later, he's looking very civilian but is in actual fact is one of the few souls from lumeria wandering the earth, he paints and makes beautiful music that the people can appreciate, he knows his art and his place within the universe. there's not many people with that kinda fix, not many who stay true to it anyways.
he's with a lumerian priestess, ohh a powerful one to, her star shines bright as well, and strong, very strong, you have to respect that power even when its manifest in a child, respect and honour.
well they very kindly drop me of at the secondhand book shop, i wish them well and wave as they drive off. i don't really find anything in there, except a nice girl with a soft smile and purple hat, however she's with her man and i'm not one for trancending those kinda boundries, besides i think she's more interested in her cheesecake than either of us.
down the street i pop into another bookshop and discover a beautiful book called 'river of trees' all about the amazon. it's stunning and filled with history and information, i start reading it, i'm hooked, so i indulge myself and buy it. way beyond my means, but i figure stimulate the economy do your bit and i do. so with a book on the amazon i walk back to my brothers and reading about cortez i fall asleep.

a series of 'dork' dreams

lou reed - okay i'm with a childhood friend stuart shaw, we are buying clothes and i come across lou reed. he is selling his new cd but i ask for van morrisons new cd. lou reed calls me a 'dork' and i walk away laughing, thinking, off all the things lou reed could have called me, he called me a 'dork.'

steve kilbey - we are in a hotel lobby or lounge, waiting. we have been travelling for a while, the enviroments change, we are both tired but i am acting like a 'dork' and he is obviously getting irritated. he passes me a strange looking object, it looks like a piece of string, but it's contained in a special brightly coloured box. steve says, 'it's for private communication.'
becuase i am acting like a dork and fidgeting like a hyperactive chimpanzie having an epileptic fit the apparatus falls apart in my hands. i've broken it. steve looks on, not amused.

Friday, March 27, 2009

gravy and i have been watching the dvd versions of the classic german expressionist movies known as Nosferatu. one was a werner herzog film made in the early 70's. the other earlier, gravy and i smoke a lot of the goddess, i loose the flow but i did notice the incredible tribute in the later version towards the original. hertzog is a man who loves film, he's paying homage to his teachers.
the soundtrack to the first one must have been dubbed over many years after it was made, it's very electronic and expressionistic, berlin 76, the stuff bowie made popular through low, lots of loops and ambient noise, in one scene there's a telephone ring used as a texture. the movie was weirder than the hertzog one but they were very similar in tone and energy, herzog threw in some clever shots, like the scene when harker is in the pub and he makes his announcement as everyone focuses on him. the same shot in herzog and the camera stays on that fixed group stare longer than is comfortable. its brilliant stuff.
anyway im looking forward to the next film gravy brings around, its about a doctors cabinet.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Jungian psychoanalyst and psychotherapist Robert Bosnak is a dream worker. To him dreams are an ecosystem of imaginings—powerful bodily experiences populated by characters with their own intelligences. When you encounter the images of your dreaming mind do you find one Self, or many? And, next week, a leading neuroscientist probing the possible link between memory and dreaming.

Robert Bosnak: While you're dreaming, you're in a real place. At the moment that you're in a dream you actually believe firmly that you're awake. And so as you are in that world everything around you is embodied. When I am in a dream where I'm sitting at a table and I knock on the table, the table will give me sound and it will give me the feeling of hardness. So in a dream the imagination presents itself as embodied.

Natasha Mitchell: We are channelling your dreaming mind and body on All in the Mind over the next two shows here on Radio National. A warm welcome to you, I'm Natasha Mitchell. Next week a leading neuroscientist probing the connection between memory and dreams and his work is conceptually staggering as you'll hear. But today, the therapeutic potential of dreams, my guest is well known Dutch psychoanalyst and psychotherapist Robert Bosnak. After 25 years in the USA he now lives and works here in Australia. He also runs an internet dream network called Cyberdreamwork. In his most recent book, called Embodiment:Creative Imagination in Medicine, Art and Travel, Robert explains a compelling idea that dreams are a sort of ecosystem of imaginings, powerful bodily experiences—and the body is key—that are populated by characters with their own intelligences, and that idea really forms the basis of his work.

Robert Bosnak thanks for joining me on All in the Mind this week.

Robert Bosnak: Thank you very much for having me again.

Natasha Mitchell: Look, some scientists think of dreams as having no real biological purpose, they are just our forebrains trying to make sense of what some people dub cerebral white noise that's generated by our brain stem when we sleep. It's a live debate isn't it?

Robert Bosnak: At least for the last few years it was mainly fought out between people that adhere to the notion that we dream mainly during REM sleep and the other people who say yes, we dream 95% during REM sleep, so during REM sleep when you wake a person up during rapid eye movements they will report a dream 95% of the time. But 70% of the awakenings for instance with sleep onset when there is not REM sleep also give you dreams. And therefore the brain is doing different things than we thought initially, because REM sleep comes from the brain stem and there are now people who say (and I agree with them), that the whole brain is involved, also the cortex. So that there is meaningful information coming that is not just noise out of which the forebrain, the cortex, makes information, but information that is inherently meaningful. That's the debate at the moment.

Natasha Mitchell: Still though many scientists see dreams as essentially devoid of meaning, that they are simply the neuronal flotsam from our waking lives. The jury is still very much out when it comes to neuroscience, less so for psychoanalysts like yourself.

Robert Bosnak: One of the interesting things of course about dreaming is that it will present the face that you look at it with, so if you think that dreams are utterly meaningless, then you will get dreams that are like a jumble of information. If you believe however that dreams are meaningful, that they contain intelligent information, then you get dreams that are more intelligent. It's very strange about dreams because for instance people that are in Jungian analysis after a while will report dreams that fit with Jungian theory; people in Freudian analysis will get more dreams that fit with Freudian theory. So it seems that the creative imagination of dreaming very much presents the face that you face it with.

Natasha Mitchell: Well that's human nature in a sense isn't it, we find meaning where we look for it and how we look for it?

Robert Bosnak: Absolutely.

Natasha Mitchell: Let's climb inside this idea of embodied imagination that you've been working with for some 30 years now. Before we unpack how you use it with clients, where did the idea stem from?

Robert Bosnak: The idea has been around for a long, long time, I would say thousands of years. In my life it comes from a scholar of the visionary tradition in Islam and his name was Henry Corbin. And Corbin said that these entities that we encounter are intelligent, they carry their own intelligence, and that creative imagination is inherently intelligent. And this was a way of looking at the imagination that was particularly strong up until about 800 years ago, and then slowly imagination became the opposite of reality. And that's where I started.

Natasha Mitchell: In a sense from the point of view of the dreaming mind at least you suggest that dreams are real events in real environments.

Robert Bosnak: Exactly, that's the point of view where I start, because I think that the moment you wake up you wake up into your particular culture. Now my interest has been to go to many different places in the world and see how people dream. They dream very similarly, but when they wake up, they wake up into their culture so if you wake up as someone who believes that dreams stem from the ancestors, then you've heard ancestors. If you're a psychologist and you believe that dreams relay parts of yourself, then you see dreams as part of yourself. If you believe the dreams are meaningless you will see them as meaningless. So I am trying to go back before the culture makes its judgments, I'm trying to go back to the dream as it was being dreamed.

Natasha Mitchell: Let's just go back to your inspiration from the French philosopher and professor of Islamic studies, of all things, Henry Corbin. You met him and he had a sense that the west had come to misconstrue the imagination.

Robert Bosnak: Yes, he always was talking about the great cataclysm that happened about 700, 800 years ago when we moved from a philosophy that was based on the fact that there were three realms of reality: the physical reality and the spiritual reality which now we would call the mental reality or the mathematical reality. There was a third reality in between and that was the reality of imagination. Then in about 700, 800 years ago that realm of the imagination as reality dropped out and it became just mind and matter. It moved from imagination being one form of reality into imagination being the opposite of reality—and that he found very tragic.

Natasha Mitchell: You know, Sigmund Freud and Karl Jung certainly conceived of dreams as sort of sub-personalities. In Freud's case I guess a whole bunch of repressed sub-personalities. Instead you describe dreams as forms of intelligence, and even alien intelligences, and I wonder if you're taking us into the realms of gnomes and flying saucers here.

Robert Bosnak: Absolutely not. They are alien to what I call the habitual self, what we habitually think about ourselves, so when I have certain feelings, certain responses, then I say that is my response. Now in dreaming you see that there is not only an intelligent I, the one that walks around, for instance, down the street, but when you see in dreams there are other people walking also on the street that display intelligence. And what I'm going from is, as Corbin did, from a radical form of phenomenology, I'm just trying to look at the phenomena. As I look at the phenomena the person who comes towards me in the street appears to be a carrier of a certain kind of consciousness. It's not the consciousness that I'm identified with, it's another kind of consciousness. And what I'm trying to do in my work is to see if we can partake of that consciousness and learn something about non-ego, non-habitual forms of consciousness.

Natasha Mitchell: Now this really challenges are core sense that we are a singular self, a single identity contained within a singular skin.

Robert Bosnak: Yes it does completely. Actually it is becoming more or less recognised within many sides and fields and schools of psychoanalysis that we are a very dissociable collection of states. This used to be seen as abnormal psychology but we begin to see more and more that that is more or less the norm. If it becomes extreme then you get people with what used to be called multiple-personality. So then the states are completely disassociated, they have no contact with each other. In the normal way the states are relatively independent and autonomous and there is contact between them, but it is not that I am a single self that over/during my life fractures. No, I am as far as I can see it, a multiplicity of states that is in a constant state of interaction.

Natasha Mitchell: Your suggestion is that if we rehearse the images we encounter in dreams: the characters, the images, the landscapes, that may help grow our bodies into new ways of being in the world, as you put it. I mean can you unpack that for us with an example?

Robert Bosnak: Yes, a man from Japan he had a dream in which he was sitting at a table in a restaurant and there were several other characters who were very different from him also sitting around the table. And as he began to identify with each of these characters and began to participate in their state, all these different intelligences at the table, he began to feel his body very different. His body was entirely different, he felt. He said, 'This body I don't recognise, it's like a rental body.' He was a very slim, thin kind of man and I said, 'Well keep on rehearsing this.' And as he was rehearsing this body, that was much bigger than his body was at the moment, he realised that he needed to expand his body and that he had to get into a bigger kind of body, and he started swimming. And a year afterwards his body was considerably larger because he had been swimming every day, and from a rental body, as he called it, it had become a permanent body.

Natasha Mitchell: You often work in groups, and I'm interested in where you start, how does it work?

Robert Bosnak: It begins with just regular conversation. And then somebody presents a dream or a memory—I now very frequently also work with memories—and we ask the person now tell us the dream as much from the moment that you were dreaming it as you can. So really get into the dream and when you're fully in the dream start talking, tell us what is happening to you. So for instance this Japanese man says, 'I am going into a restaurant and I see a table, and the table is round, and there are chairs.' And then we ask, 'What's the light like?' And he says, 'Well, it's very bright inside and there are other people sitting at the table.' I ask, 'Are there any smells?' He says, 'Yes, there are smells of fish.' And after a while he begins to feel emotionally what is going on with him in the restaurant, and then we go from the emotions to the physical sensations. He says, 'I feel very tense,' for instance, 'and I can feel the tension in my stomach.' So we focus on the stomach, really stay with that stomach until he can fully feel the whole mood of that place.

Then we move to the next moment, so on my left he says, 'There is sitting a man in a green suit and he's very strong and he can take initiative, he's very different from the way I am because the way I am is I cannot take any decision, I've graduated from my psychology masters four months ago and I have not been able to make any moves. This man has get up and go.' And so we begin to focus on how that looks.

And in the meantime everybody in the group is beginning to ask him questions that will focus him on this man in the green suit. Then he begins to feel into that man in the green suit and suddenly he feels. oh, this man has really strong in the legs, and so he begins to feel into the legs of the man and then that's how we move throughout the dream. Then in the end he will be able to hold a variety of states in the same time in his body and that creates a change.

Natasha Mitchell: Now the key here is that you're working with people in what you call a 'waking hypnagogic state'. They are not actually lucid dreaming, they are not in an actual dream, consciously narrating what's going on, they are not wide awake either, are they?

Robert Bosnak: They are in the state of consciousness that we pass through as we are falling asleep. What we are doing is we are artificially staying in that state between waking and sleeping which is called the hypnagogic state by the dream laboratory academics, and in this hypnagogic state there is waking consciousness present and also the image can once again be an environment. So the man can feel himself fully in the restaurant and at the same time he's fully aware that he's sitting in this room working on a dream. So that is what is called a dual consciousness, so we are in a dual consciousness in a hypnagogic state.

Natasha Mitchell: On Radio National Robert Bosnak is my guest. A Dutch Jungian psychotherapist now based in Australia, Robert helps people work with the emotional and physical content of their dreams in very physical ways as we're hearing.

In fact, Robert Bosnak, you've especially worked with a lot of people over the years who are very ill, or have a terminal illness, I mean this is a very different sort of bodily experience that you're negotiating here and you find some interesting universals in their dreams.

Robert Bosnak: An unusual amount of animals, I find. That just maybe my way of seeing it, and I don 't know if the people who study dream content have the same experience and when you then in the work begin to identify with those animals you get a very strongly different experience of body. I'll give you an example that also stems from my work in Japan: this is a man who has a tumour on his anus that is about as big as grapefruit and he cannot sit up anymore, he has to lie down, he's in constant pain, he has decided that he doesn't want to live anymore and doesn't want to communicate with anybody. He's very withdrawn and isolated. He has a dream about a cat and this I did with a colleague of mine, Dr Kishimoto in Shizuoka. We help him identify with that cat and begin to feel in his body the movement of the cat. And suddenly he's in a body that is much more supple than his body. After we work and we help him get into that supple body of the cat his relationships begin to change: his relationship with his family changes, his relationships with the nurses on the palliative care ward change, he now is no longer stiffly frightened of death only. I don't know if it made his life longer, he died about three months later, but he was much more elastic, much more supple.

Natasha Mitchell: I can imagine though you're dealing with people who could be quite resistant to suddenly trying to climb inside the bodies that populate their dreams when they are facing death.

Robert Bosnak: Yes, and I am not in any way suggesting that this should be done with everybody. I learned to do this work in the 1980s when my practice was flooded with people with AIDS, so I found that they were very receptive to feeling into all these different elements of the dream that was being presented. And they got a great deal of solace from it. It suddenly changed from being a totally meaningless attack, and a meaningless suffering and a sense of intense guilt and all those kind of things, into something that they could make contact with. Something that was not so foreign, not so alien, they are in their body differently.

Natasha Mitchell: In all this, this is still our imagination that you're working with and you're guiding your clients' imagination with your own biases, your own training, your own templates, your own symbolism and even your own baggage, your own history. I guess is there a fine line here between cultivating a sort of true, fluid, imaginative process for someone and simply a sort of guided storytelling, an interpretive session.

Robert Bosnak: Yes, so what we are trying to do is we are trying not to suggest anything. So we are asking questions that as much as possible don't lead the witness. So when the Japanese man walks in to a restaurant we don't say what is that restaurant for you, what does that restaurant mean for you, we ask what is the light like? When you sit on the chair what does your butt feel like? So we strive to stay as close to the phenomena as we can without as much as possible not making any interpretation. And as you do that the phenomena begin to reveal themselves, and I don't think that that is a story that then we are making up. I think there is a significant difference between creative imagination and fabrication.

Natasha Mitchell: What is that difference, because I guess the brain, we have a tendency to always be searching for meaning, to always be trying to attach meaning to an observation that we're making, whether it be a dream or a real life scene, and people are selecting the dreams that they decide to share with you in the very first place.

Robert Bosnak: Yes, I'll give you an example. This is a dream of a man who is a therapist and is working in a hospital, he's in the nurses room and suddenly he is stumbling down the stairs and there is a huge bear that runs down the stairs, runs through the hall and out the door. We worked this dream in a group and somebody in the group, the person asked, what is the bear feeling. And the man says, 'Oh the bear is really curious, the bear is really curious to what is happening.'

Now at this moment I feel absolutely nothing in my body, so I begin to assume that he's talking very mentally, and that he is fabricating a story about the bear. So we stopped the work at that point, have him look at the bear again, look at what the front paws are like, begin to sense those front legs, and he begins to sense this enormous amount of power in the bear, this enormous amount of energy. And as he slowly begins to through a process of interior miming become like the bear, suddenly he's identified with the bear and he feels this enormous thrust in the hindlegs and is pushed through the hall and out the door and out, out, out, this bear just wants to get out. This bear is totally claustrophobic and you can feel it throughout the body. Now that is embodied imagination, very different from fabrication.

Natasha Mitchell: So what happens?

Robert Bosnak: What happens is that this man is in contact with the claustrophobia of the bear, and in a body that is much more powerful than actually it's allowed to be. The intelligence in this bear is an intense sense of claustrophobia and a need to get out, that is the meaning that is fully present in a visceral sense and he has now participated in that.

What it then—from there on, what that physical sense is like in his life, where in his life he feels that kind of claustrophobia—it may be in his marriage, it may be in his work, it may be in his studies. That we can then explore, because we have a visceral sense of what it is like to be so claustrophobic. And then from that moment on a whole lot of questions begin to arise that are questions of psychotherapy.

Natasha Mitchell: You work with clients who have all sorts of traumas in their lives, some very serious. And in effect dreams can sometimes rehearse those traumas. This is very delicate work, isn't it, encouraging people to relive, re-experience traumas as they manifest in their dreams? This is dangerous, in fact.

Robert Bosnak: You have to be really careful, because people are very easily re-traumatised. The way that I work with trauma is I don't go to the traumatic experience directly. Like, for instance, a woman who has been raped, I don't go to the memory of the rape directly, but maybe I might go to what the room was like in which it happened, or what the door was like that she entered through. So we don't get directly to the direct experience of it but we stay in the periphery of it and feel the images in the periphery of the event and that then can bring up a whole new series of awarenesses that are not re-traumatising. So the danger of working with trauma is re-traumatisation.

Natasha Mitchell: A big risk.

Robert Bosnak: There are always risks in working with trauma, but what I have seen is the outcomes of working with trauma and dreams is a very positive one, because we have found in the research that dreams themselves are constantly integrating trauma. That was research done by Ernest Hartmann about how dreams integrate for instance the great fire in San Francisco, that you first see dreams of the fire and then you see dreams of floods and then you see dreams maybe of car accidents, so it becomes increasingly personal and slowly gets integrated through the dreaming into the general system. So the idea is that dreaming already is part of an integrative process of trauma.

Natasha Mitchell: Well I must admit that over the last two weeks I've had a number of dreams involving fire and bushfires, given what's happening in Victoria.

Robert Bosnak: Absolutely, but I think that what you would find as you are aware of these dreams, that the content will become increasingly personal, because it moves out of this totally overwhelming collective event, it slowly becomes increasingly again a personal event.

Natasha Mitchell: They were undoubtedly personal, actually, but fire, bushfire was part of it.

Robert Bosnak: Yes, so Hartman would say that is a part already of the integration processes of this overwhelming experience that you've all gone through.

Natasha Mitchell: You talk about this idea of sense memories; it's interesting because other neuroscientists are investigating how dreams might in fact be a part of the brain's way of consolidating new memories formed during the day. And I wonder if we were to bridge science and your psychoanalytic thinking about dreams—is this getting closer to your thinking about how dreams work in the body?

Robert Bosnak: Much closer, they have done studies with rats in certain mazes that would run all day in the maze and then at night they find exactly the same thing happening in the brain ,so that the rat is integrating what they've learned from running through the maze at night. So there is some kind of a process of bringing something into the system of the embodied psychological system from the day, and I would say it also goes through a meaning process, especially for humans. And so you get a combination of learning the event that you've gone through and consolidating that, but there is a mixture of meaning because that event had a certain meaning to you. So yes, it becomes very similar to what we are talking about in psychoanalysis.

Natasha Mitchell: And in fact I've got that research on the program next week.

Robert Bosnak: Oh, interesting.

Natasha Mitchell: In a sense, even though you are a Jungian psychoanalyst, I do get the sense that you don't rely heavily on interpretive Jungian archetypes like the shadow, or the ego, in order to sort of interpret your client's dreams. You are much more fluid, in fact you've described the landscape that you are trying to get them to occupy as an ecology. Are you abandoning your Jungian heritage In some ways?

Robert Bosnak: Oh not at all, I'm trying to go back to the preconceptual Jung where Jung was a phenomenologist himself and he just looked at what he saw and what he experienced. Because, for instance, for me, it is crazy if a woman enters into my dream and in my dream she comes in the door and I say to her, 'You are my anima,' I hope she would slap me in the face, she's not an anima, she's a person that is entering the room. And so that is what I am trying to get back to, the visceral direct experience of the phenomenon. The difference in my work and Jung's work is that I slow down the process of being inside the image environment to the point that it goes so slow that it suddenly jumps into the body and becomes an embodied experience.
Natasha Mitchell: There are fracture lines, aren't there, between neuroscientific approaches to dreams and psychoanalytic approaches to dreams? I wonder if they're ever reconcilable.

Robert Bosnak: Oh yes, I think they are being reconciled as we speak. For instance we're finding in neuroscience that cognition and the neocortex is involved in dreaming and that therefore meaning can come from dreaming itself. I think that more of these connections are going to be found. You have to see that neuroscience is very, very young. MRIs started in 1993, so we've been doing MRIs for 16 years and the resolution on MRIs is about as good as photography in the 1820s, so it is just beginning. And I think neuroscience as it matures will find more and more connections between their field and ours.

Natasha Mitchell: Robert Bosnak, thank you for joining me on ABC Radio National.

Robert Bosnak: Thank you very much for having me.

Dreams feel meaningful—drawn from a mishmash of content from our waking lives. But it's a hot debate among scientists, who are yet to confirm why we sleep, let alone dream. Neuroscientist Matthew Wilson's extraordinary experiments involve eavesdropping on the sleeping minds of rats. He proposes dreaming is central to how we remember and learn.

Natasha Mitchell: Dutch psychoanalyst Robert Bosnak, now based in Sydney. Details of his book called Embodiment: Creative Imagination in Medicine, Art and Travel on All in the Mind's website and we'd love your comments on my blog there too, which I must say was a hotbed of philosophical chatter after last week's show on intentions. That really sparked some interesting exchange, and you'll find a response from my guests to your responses there too.

Matthew Wilson: Memory is really much more than simply a record of experience, it is what really defines who we are and who we are going to be. We really have to rethink the term itself—memory.

Edwin Robertson: There has been an intuitive connection for literally thousands of years between sleep and memory. I mean even such simple phrases as, 'Oh, I'll need to sleep on it,' suggests that we have an intuitive notion that sleep is important for memory processing.

Natasha Mitchell: And welcome to All in the Mind on Radio National. I'm Natasha Mitchell and in this show, memory—is it the stuff that dreams are made of, literally? So sit back, start counting those sheep. Believe it or not, we're dreaming one neuron at a time.

Last week you might have caught my interview with dream worker and Jungian analyst Robert Bosnak and you can catch the audio on our website. On the question of whether a psychoanalyst's take on dreams can ever be reconciled with a neuroscientist's—here's what he says.

Robert Bosnak: Oh yes, I think they are being reconciled as we speak. For instance we're finding in neuroscience that cognition and the neocortex is involved in dreaming and that therefore meaning can come from dreaming itself. I think that more of these connections are going to be found. You have to see that neuroscience is very young: MRIs started in 1993 so we've been doing MRIs for 16 years and the resolution on MRIs is about as good as photography in the 1820s. So it is just beginning, and I think that neuroscience as it matures will find more and more connections between their field and ours.

Natasha Mitchell: So today we're considering a vexed question in neuroscience—do we dream in order to remember? One of the reasons this is tricky for science is that, surprisingly, we don't really know why it is we sleep, let alone dream.

Edwin Robertson: Yes, it is surprising that we spend so much of our time asleep but yet we still don't really have a clear understanding of why it is that we do sleep.

Natasha Mitchell: Edwin Robertson is assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School.

Edwin Robertson: I think that part of the problem very often is that we imagine that all animals use sleep for the same purpose. The function of sleep in humans might be quite different from the function that a koala uses sleep for. So the koala most likely uses sleep for the regulation and conservation of energy and that's why it ends up sleeping for 20 hours a day, whereas our human need for sleep may be driven by other alternative factors.

Natasha Mitchell: Is sleep there to help our body recover metabolically, or is it actually fundamentally about allowing us to consolidate the stuff that goes through our brain during the day? What do you think?

Matthew Wilson: Well I think it's a combination of all of these things. Clearly there is a metabolic component to it. So this is something cells should do, that bodies should do. The question is whether that's all it does.

Natasha Mitchell: Matthew Wilson is professor of neuroscience at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory in Boston.

Matthew Wilson: The resting brain is not really resting at all, it's extremely active and that activity in many respects is indistinguishable from the activity that's engaged in during wakefulness. Can all of that be going on to no useful end? And I think that the answer to that is probably no. But to be fair to those critics that argue that nothing goes on during sleep, there is no processing of memory, there is no learning, it is something that has not yet been proven unequivocally but this is simply a matter of time.

Natasha Mitchell: As you'll hear, Matthew Wilson is leading the charge with some extraordinary experiments testing a theory that sleep is key to remembering and learning. And without the capacity to learn we wouldn't really be human would we? We'll come to where dreams fit in in a moment but let's start with why the machinations of our memory might need sleep. Each time we remember something a vast network of brain cells fire together corresponding to that memory, they chemically communicate with each other across the synapses or junctions between them. The more a memory is recalled, the stronger those synaptic connections are. Edwin Robertson.

Edwin Robertson: Sleep is often viewed as a special environment for memory processing. Some people might argue that this special environment is merely that it performs protective function, it's a protective cocoon, because when you're asleep you can't get any further experiences during that time and it prevents memories from being interfered with. Other theories would say no, that's incorrect, that there's actually profoundly important electrophysiological events that occur in the sleeping brain that are important for memory processing per se.

Natasha Mitchell: What's the other prevailing theory for why sleep is so crucial for memory?

Edwin Robertson: There's an idea that essentially sleep allows a homeostatic readjustment of synapses during awake you're bombarded by experiences and that leads to multiple synapses being engaged and their weights being changed. And then what sleep allows—and specifically actually slow wave sleep—is a pruning back of those unimportant synapses. So it's kind of like I imagine in some senses the judicial pruning of your roses to get a nicer flower. So the idea is that the slow wave sleep is able to prune back synapses that are energetically wasteful but are also wasteful in an information processing account because they are adding noise. And that clearer crisper signal then translates into improved performance the next day.

Natasha Mitchell: So from the possible role of sleep to that of dreams. Is it simply a coincidence that we often dream about things we happen to remember, things that have happened to us or that we've learned from our waking lives? Some scientists think of dreams as epi-phenomena that is meaningless, random by-products of the real business of the thinking brain. Neuroscientist Matthew Wilson—controversially for some—disagrees.

Matthew Wilson: I think they are not meaningless. It's easier to see what the meaning, that potential meaning, might be when we study animals like rats, whose life experience is much simpler than ours. So when we study the dreams of rats we're studying animals that have only had months of experience and we've controlled all of that experience, and what we see reflects very closely their actual experience. Now a human, when we think about our own human dreams, we're thinking about dreams that now have access to decades of experience. They may seem complex and obscure because they are bringing together, combining and evaluating decades of memories and experience. But if we think about dreams not as a process of simply retrieving, of replaying memories, but of re-evaluating, reorganising something—akin to taking piles of paper that have accumulated and now one needs to organise it. As you go through this process picking up one piece of paper and another they may not seem related but as you organise them the end product is something that is actually more useful. So if we think about dreams and the seemingly chaotic structure and nature of dreams as reflecting this process of reorganisation, I think we get a better idea of what might be going on during sleep. Again, not simply taking memories, replaying them and transferring them to other parts of the brain, but really re-evaluating, reorganising.

Natasha Mitchell: So in a sense it's a filing process and some people think that sleep and dreams allow for memories to be organised into a sort of more efficient storage system.

Matthew Wilson: Correct. The most efficient again being the discovery of rules and relationships and condensing it into something that now captures all of the relationships that were present—the rule—and so discovering the rule may be precisely the kind of complex, difficult to understand processing that goes on during sleep and dreams.

Natasha Mitchell; It's so interesting, because our dreaming brain seems to want to try and make sense of all the elements that it's you know messing about with. I mean my dreams I've got to say are grand epic narratives every night on a scale of Gone with the Wind, I've got to tell you, it's exhausting. It certainly seems much more anarchic than the way we normally remember in our waking lives.

Matthew Wilson: I think if we think about this kind of process not simply about retrieving memories and storing them, but taking them and trying to imagine a future that could have come from them, synthesising rather than simply storing. Perhaps your epic narratives are in a way projecting where you would like to go, where your memories and your experience feel that you could go. You know you may never get there but the brain is trying to understand in a sense, pushed to its limits, where experience tells it it might go.

Natasha Mitchell: Memory is imagining the future not just storing the past—nice idea. Matthew Wilson comes to dreams from his first research love which is memory. And if you thought sleep was scientifically elusive, try memory. It's that complexity that AS Byatt reflects on in her recent collection, Memory and Anthology a compilation of literary and scientific musings on the many faces of memory.

[Reading]: I have a memory I think of as 'The Memory'. It is seen from the point of view of a small person seeing over the wall of a playground in East Hardwick Elementary School. The stone is hot, and is that kind that flakes into gold slivers. The sun is very bright. There's a tree overhead and leaves catch the light and are golden and in the shade they are blue/green.
Over the wall and across the road is a field full of daisies and buttercups and speedwell and shepherd's purse. On the horizon are trees with thick trunks and solid branches. The child thinks I am always going to remember this, then she thinks, what is remembering? This is the point where myself then and myself now confuse themselves into one.
I know I've added to this memory every time I have thought about it, or brought it out to look at it. It has acquired notes of Paradise Lost which I don't think it had when I was 5 or 6. It has got further away and brighter, more or less real.
I always associate it with one of my very few good memories of my maternal grandmother, a perpetually cross person who never smiled. The year she died she began to forget, and forgot to be irritated. She said to me sitting by the fire at Christmas, do you remember all the beautiful young men in the fields? And she smiled at me like a sensuous young girl. She may have been talking about the airmen who were billeted on her in the war, or she may have been remembering something from long before my mother was born. I shall never know. But I can see the young men in the fields.
Matthew Wilson: Memory is really more about learning, learning from the past rather than simply storing it. The challenge that the brain has is trying to form a model of the world; we are constantly trying to understand how the world works so that we can make predictions. Of course our biggest challenge is making good decisions in novel contexts or circumstances. Not simply repeating the past, often repeating the mistakes of the past, but rather trying to learn from that so that we can make decisions in unpredictable circumstances. And that's what really separates us, sensient organisms that are able to move forward in an unpredictable world, separates us from simple computing devices. And so my deeper interest is in this re-evaluation, revisitation—how memory is retrieved, restored and re-examined because this is memory put to use.

Natasha Mitchell: But take us inside your lab, you've developed some quite extraordinary experimental techniques to effectively eavesdrop on memories as they're formed in the brain cells of rats. What approach have you taken and what have you been able to measure?

Matthew Wilson: Well what we are measuring are the discharges of individual brain cells. Brain cells communicate through electrical signals, changes in voltages much like the pops and clicks that you might hear on the radio if you tune it to some place between stations on the dial. These little electrical discharges are driven by input from the outside world so there's a code that is created.

Now what we would like to be able to do is to listen in on these signals, and what that requires us to do is take very fine electrodes—electrodes are little wires about the size of a human hair, smaller than a human hair actually—we take these wires and we send them down into the brain where they can listen in to these signals. They are placed next to brain cells. We leave them there permanently so that we have little microphones distributed across the brain and as animals engage in normal behaviour: sitting, resting, sleeping, running, we can follow the activity of these brain cells. Not just individual brain cells but many of them because we implant many of these very fine electrodes.

So what we have are rodents, rats and mice, that have little badminton shaped hats, now it's these hats when we plug our electronics into them we're able to take the signals, the brain signals out, amplify them and record them on our computers, then follow the patterns as animals engage in normal daily experience.

Natasha Mitchell: Well as normal as the life of the rat in a lab can be, I guess.

The making of memory, ours and rats', involves a couple of key brain structures, our brain's ancient core which we share with reptiles called the limbic system and especially a structure in it called the hippocampus, and this communicates with the outer layer of our brains, the neocortex; newer in evolutionary terms, and busy with the processing of sensations, perceptions, thinking, planning, evaluating social behaviours etc. So back to that extraordinary rat rig-up we just heard about.

Matthew Wilson: One of the reasons we were interested in sleep is that during sleep the brain in a sense is cut off from the outside world. So that if we see patterns, or we see traces of past experience popping up once again, we know that it is in fact memory, because it's not being driven by anything the animal is currently experiencing. So we are using sleep as a way of looking for and examining the content and structure of memory. And what we found was that when animals would engage in very simple behaviours, running around in little mazes, and as the animals would run along these tracks in this part of the brain, the hippocampus, very unique patterns that allowed us to tell from moment to moment precisely where the animal was and what it was doing.

So very much like a video record of the animal's actual behaviour. Now we would look for these patterns as they changed over time, much like we would be watching a movie and then going back to see whether or not that movie was being replayed. And what we discovered was that during sleep, in fact small segments of these animals' experience running through the maze was replayed. But it was replayed in a form that was compressed: seconds or even minutes of experience would be re-expressed in just a fraction of a second. So little flashes of activity in the brain which would replay small segments of the animal's past experience. And this would go on over and over as the animal slept.

Natasha Mitchell: I wonder if that's a conscious process or an unconscious process?

Matthew Wilson: Well that's a great question, of course now we can't ask the rats whether or what it is that they're thinking about. We can only measure what it is that they are thinking about. So it is a bit of a stretch, I'm always a bit reluctant to refer to what we are looking at as a process of thought, but I have to say that if it looks like a duck, if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck it probably is a duck. And in this case I believe that these rats are thinking but we don't know how much of it is actually making its way to the level of consciousness that we might introspectively think we engage in.

Natasha Mitchell: How do you know that the patterns of neurons that you're measuring, firing in a sleeping rat who happens to be remembering an activity when they were awake, actually corresponds to those precise patterns that they also played out in their brain when they were doing the activity. I mean is the correlation that precise?

Matthew Wilson: It is that precise. Literally individual brain cells in this part of the brain, the hippocampus, they fire in a unique pattern, a unique sequence when individual animals engage in unique behaviour in a unique context. If we take an animal and we put it in one room and have it run back and forth for chocolate, we will see one pattern. If we have the animal do exactly the same thing but simply move it to another room, we see another unique pattern. If we bring the animal back to the original room, that original pattern returns. So it is as though an animal's experience in a given place at a given time is captured. So it's the fact that we can see the unique fingerprints during awake experience that then allows us to go back and interpret these unique fingerprints of brain activity during sleep. So it is the remarkable property of this part of the brain, the hippocampus.

Natasha Mitchell: Eavesdropping on the neuronal fireworks going on in the hippocampus of a sleeping rat—it's incredible, but at what point does dreaming come into this story?

Matthew Wilson: We follow that up by looking elsewhere in the brain and discovered that when this part of the brain, the old part of the brain, the hippocampus, was replaying these memories that the new part, the neocortex, the part that deals with perception and action, was also replaying the same information. So as the hippocampus replayed memory of what the animal was doing, the visual cortex would replay what the animal was seeing. Now you might think of that as being perhaps a description of what we would call a dream, events that seem to occur over time that carry with them the imagery of experience. And these rats seemed to be engaging in precisely that kind of behaviour during sleep—just as we introspectively feel that we do.

So it suggested that this part of sleep, slow wave sleep, is the kind of sleep that you enter into, it's a very primitive form of sleep, not what you typically associate with dream sleep but the slow wave sleep where you can see this memory replay going on. Now we realised that this kind of sleep like activity didn't simply go on during slow wave sleep, it also went on whenever animals were simply sitting quietly, resting. There was even more than simple replay going on. We found these events being replayed but in reverse time order, it was as though the animals were playing their memories backward, backward in time. Now that seemed curious, why would you want to play memories backward in time?

Natasha Mitchell: Why indeed?

Matthew Wilson: Well it turns out there had been a whole field of study in the area known as machine learning, trying to get computers to learn the way animals and humans do. And this strategy of playing things backward turned out to be important in learning for machines. It simply wasn't known, or perhaps even believed, that it could be done in biological systems, in animals or humans. And so here in a sense these rats were demonstrating that memory was being processed precisely in the way that it should if it were being used to drive learning. So it wasn't simply replaying it for the purpose of creating imagery, creating dreams, it was doing it in order to learn from it. So that when animals were sitting quietly they were pondering what they had done, perhaps planning what they were going to do for the purpose of learning, trying to figure things out, building models in order to try to anticipate future choices and decisions.

Natasha Mitchell: As convincing as the data from Matthew Wilson's lab rats sounds, linking learning and memory, there is a robust debate going on here and not everyone's convinced that memory and dreams are linked. Edwin Robertson.

Edwin Robertson: They've shown very nice work, showing that in the hippocampus during slow wave sleep or in the parietal cortex, in the motor cortex, in the prefrontal cortex, that during periods of sleep the patterns of neural activity that you see as an animal is moving around and navigating around a maze are re-instantiated, are replayed during periods of sleep.

The challenges that face the community in fully fleshing that idea out I think are several-fold. Firstly the replay that people see neurophysiologically is at a completely different time base than when the rat is finding its way around the maze neurons go a lot more slowly than when you see that replay occurring during sleep. So why is it time-compressed and can we really think that time compression as being really truly replayed?

I think the second point, which is a far stronger and more problematic element, is that no one has yet demonstrated that that replay is then linked to the benefits or the behavioural manifestation of memory consolidation. So it's never been shown for example if you disrupt that replay that you prevent memory consolidation. Nor that the amount of replay is related to memory consolidation. So certainly does replay occur during sleep? Yes. Does it have anything to do with memory processing? Unfortunately we still don't know, it certainly as a neuro-physiological phenomenon it occurs, how that relates to my behaviour the next morning we still don't know unfortunately.

Natasha Mitchell: That said there is an effort to probe what happens to our capacity to learn and remember when we miss sleep—and don't we all—and it seems to be bad news for humans, and for cockroaches, as you might have heard on The Science Show last week. Matthew Wilson.

Matthew Wilson: Now one can also see that there are effects of sleep when you train an animal to perform a difficult task. One sees that the structure of their sleep changes, that the amount of this kind of processing that we see changes, that they use sleep to try to go back and study, replay, re-evaluate things that were important in solving tasks.

Natasha Mitchell: Well that's interesting, isn't it, because science is certainly starting to tangibly prove that if we miss sleep our ability to learn and remember is fundamentally affected.

Matthew Wilson: That's correct, there's a lot of evidence that points to that. Now again to be fair to the critics of the sleep, memory and learning hypothesis, that does not indicate that the memory processing during sleep is important; only that the sleep state itself is important—that when deprived of sleep it affects general things like attention, it affects stress; it's generally disruptive. Not specifically disruptive to memory; the sleep, memory and learning hypothesis really says that it is the information that the brain is actually processing, the things that you dream about, that lead to specific enhancements, specific learning when you wake up. And that's again something that requires more study. It is something that I firmly believe that we will answer.

Natasha Mitchell: We've heard about the rats replaying and reorganising memories, at least during slow wave sleep. We do dream in this phase but the dreams aren't as lively or as frequent as is the case for REM sleep. But some folk don't experience REM at all, and if memory and dreaming are linked according to Matthew Wilson's theory, does that mean they can't remember anything either? Matthew Wilson thinks REM sleep might in fact pay more of a value-adding role after slow wave sleep has done its work, a sort of mental testing ground for creativity and imagination, new ideas and possibilities. Higher order thinking—but is that something rats can do though?

Traditionally I guess we've possibly thought that animals can't possibly have as rich a dream life as us.

Matthew Wilson: Or a dream life at all.

Natasha Mitchell: Or a dream life at all.

Matthew Wilson: Absolutely, I think that the idea that animals live in the present, this is a very common, persistent and overwhelmingly dominant view: memory allows them to modify the brain, to change the way they act in the present, but they simply don't live in the past, they don't think into the future. I think that that is changing; what we're seeing is that they do both, and that the way in which they do it may not be entirely dissimilar from the way in which humans do that. So that all of cognition, not just human cognition, may possess this kind of rich tapestry of experience. And I think that that is something that, to me, is very reassuring, that we are not alone, we are not unique in the domain of animals and organisms, that the world is a much richer place for all of us.

Natasha Mitchell: Matthew Wilson you are a neuroscientist and an engineer, you're a long way away from the realm of Dr Sigmund Freud, but he embraced dreams and memory with equal passion to yourself, and I wonder if there's an interesting potential for a convergence between the thinking of psychoanalysists like Jung and Freud and your own investigations of dreams and memory.

Matthew Wilson: Well I think to the extent that we start on common ground and that is the belief that there is meaning to dreams, that these are windows into a level of brain function that's not normally accessible during our awake life. Now trying to interpret the imagery, you know the content, that's where things become difficult, that that's probably where basic neuroscience diverges from the Freudian psychoanalytical perspective: we're not simply trying to interpret the patterns that we see, we're trying to understand how the patterns contribute to the process, the construction of models of the world that we use to guide decisions.

Natasha Mitchell: Matthew Wilson from MIT, thanks for joining us on ABC Radio National, and sweet dreams.

Matthew Wilson: You're welcome, you too, Natasha.

Monday, March 23, 2009

good grief life is strange. imagine this. you are naked laying on a comfortable massage table having some sort of jelly like lubrication rubbed into your testicles by a series of very attractive young girls and getting paid $40 an hour for the privilege. such was captain missions luck this week. i was helping the medical school train people in ultra scanning technique. i've had my lungs scanned, my kidneys and my bladder but this time was somewhat different.
of course the hardest part of all this was trying not to have an erection, i mean i was laying down thinking about the most non sexy things possible while some beautiful australian asian girl started to chat to me about books and films and rub me with the probe, good grief this required so much discipline it was almost a martial art. i think she knew i was squirming. i made her laugh a bit but i never crossed the boundary, it crossed my mind but i was somewhat shy and embarrassed. i'm getting more and more nervous around girls as i get older, they mystify me with their complexity and curves and their seductive scent and the way they move but they make me nervous with their irrational demands and unpredictable ways.
oh well at least this way i'm assisting mankind by offering my body to their nice warm hands and scanning techniques.

other weird shit that occurred was some kinda violence at the airport where a biker gang killed some one, apparently biker violence is getting more frequent. some one should talk to them, tell them to calm down and chill out.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

now here's something you won't see on the news. why? because the population of jews is vastly less than the population of muslims. the muslims have the oil and the western democracies in their grip, subverted from within. the UN knows this and knows it's only option rather than confront the situation is to appease the muslim world.
moderate islam is a non existent concept, ultimately islam is the worlds most powerful and unrelenting meme.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

dan simmons book 'the terror' starts with two ships frozen in the ice after two years, the 1845 franklin expedition ended with all crew missing, no one knows what happened, simmons fills in the missing pieces and the result is staggering. this book is a litany of failure and not so subtly the failure of western civilization itself; however, there is a surprisingly redemptive streak running throughout. simmons is a tremendous author, capable of producing masterworks in any genre of his choosing and he is at the top of his powers in this work, which though ostensibly historical fiction owes a debt to mystery, biography, horror, and science-fiction with liberal doses of shakespeare, sociology and philosophy.

more than a retelling of the franklin expedition to find the northwest passage, "terror" is the story of captain francis crozier who commands hms terror. crozier has to overcome bad food, poor leadership, even poorer subordinates, mutinous sailors, cold, scurvy and a monster, in order to reconcile himself with the future that he has seen but fails to understand. strangely the journey through this dark and 750 plus page novel is ultimately reaffirming and as voiced by a character late in the novel, salvation was always waiting for crozier who just had to make his choice.

though ostensibly about failure, this book summarizes the triumph of man over adversity. though ostensibly about discovery, the book details the tragedy of men dying needlessly within reach of the very survival skills they refused to seek much less adopt. this duality of themes gives great weight to the story; indeed, simmons quotes liberally from hobbes, shakespeare, homer, poe and probably several others that i missed. and for fear of spoiling the read, suffice it to say that the author's erudition serves his purpose of rendering the tale disturbingly modern. it is a cautionary tale and in his wisdom, simmons leaves us to determine what we take from it.

Monday, March 16, 2009

the church are back with guitars, they ripped and rocked the stratospheres, the heavens asunder with soaring guitar, pummeling drums and bass lines your mother wouldn't like, a very satisfying set list, steve playing with heaps of energy and enthusiasm, you would have never thought he'd just come out of the hospital. for some one that had lost all their electric lights (electrolytes) from their body you would have thought he could power the city with the energy he gave out, amazing.
it was quite literally beyond words, one of the best gigs ever. no special light show, in fact there was an element of chaos and randomness about the gig which i just thought added to the overall quality. the church are the only band that matters.
time passes, it ebbs and flows, it freezes and shimmers, it twists and turns, it' s hard to pin down, hard to hold, it's a mystery as events are effected by intricate causality. i had a few restless nights, strange abrupt endings where i found myself alive in a captain mission body, trapped and confused, there were moments of clarity as i came back to familiar haunts and faces. i recalled some events...a birthday!
lets get this straight, i don't like going out to bars, clubs or anywhere where they have dress codes, bouncers, to many rules or regulations, fashion police or loud music blasting out. but my brother loves this kind of thing and he took me to 'the arthouse' a very nice four or five story bar in the city for birthday drinks, mine being a lemon lime and bitters. as we stood at the bar a young girl started buying paintings, she asked my advice.
'should i get the male nudes or the females?'
i don't know anything about art but i said, 'get the girls, they would be nicer to look at.'
later we were joined by this lady who intruded on our quite conversation, martin and i discussing relationships. it turns out this girl was on a date with a man who also joined us, she was not enjoying the date and wanted us around for safety i guess. being english gentlemen we did the honorable thing. our new friend bought a bottle of very expensive moet and we all seemed to be getting on very well. some girls on the next table started flirting with me, they were all being made redundant and out getting drunk. they seemed in good spirits. the guy on the date left and then suddenly the girl started to attack martin for not owning a car, then she attacked me for wanting to go home and keep pan (my dog) company. when i say attack, i mean attack, that is get very personal about stuff she had no right to. i had to put her in her place. i ended up going home with her. a lot of these girls need to be put in their place it appears, then suddenly they start thinking your the most attractive man in their life and throw themselves at you. i don't mind occasional mindless sex. happy birthday capt!

next event
smoking some very nice organic weed, mmm, i'm on holiday, broke and somewhat depressed about it but i have some high grade spliffs to get me through the next two months.

event 3
steve is in hospital, i'm very anxious and feel helpless. i dunno, after listening to his music for 30 years you can't help but feel attached to the guy and now i kinda know him a bit, jesus i want him healthy and able to create his 'thing' so i can appreciate something good in the world of men. it's selfish but i'd be lost without his art. there's so much shit out there, including my own that when some kind of authentic beauty and genius comes along you have to appreciate it and revere it as direct from god or some intelligence within the universe. steve has that, it comes down his line into the world. i'd probably dry up like an old vampyre exposed to the sun if that stopped. so my thoughts and healing energies were directed at steve and his family for most of the weekend.

event 4
i got an iphone. i recommend them. i have downloaded four applications so far:
1. the complete works of william shakespeare, yes i plan to read this on the bus.
2. a spacial synth, beautiful design and concept.
3. a wikipedia widget so i can check my facts.
4. shazzam, a tool that you can hold up to any tune heard on the radio or in a bar or wherever and it will identify the song for you.
so there you go, all free, hours of fun, stimulating and very addictive.

event 5
the church sunday night at the factory sydney. great venue despite the freaky line up wait outside. well it was packed, great crowd, saw all my friends, andrew was there with his cameras, latiticia, sue cee, kate with her cameras, rehan whom i lost in the crowd and need to catch up with, greg, we all managed to get down the front, it was a bit tight but when the band came onstage and just launched into tantalized, wow!

Monday, March 09, 2009

back from the strange experience of not having a computer, oh how i missed it, i'm addicted to various blogs and sites, i love googling various obscurities and conducting various researches, it's nice to be back on line.
i've been reading vast amounts of stuff, various books which i shall comment upon here:

'america alone' by mark styen is the book everyone needs to read if they are worried about the rise of islamic fascism in the world, it paints a very clear picture as to what's going on but alas it will be ignored due to the fact its politically incorrect and not very conducive to the left wing agenda. mark writes with humor as he rips through the reality everyone is in denial about.

'the devil we know' by robert baer is the polemic opposite of marks book, he recommends that america admit they have lost the war on terror and accept iran as the winners. he plays down the iran nuclear threat and says its all attention seeking and posturing. there's lots of pro iranian stuff in here painting a picture of a country that is willing to embrace some aspects of modernism as long as america treats it fairly.

'the cairo diary' is a novel set in two time periods, the older scenes set in cairo are great reading but the modern ones were awful. not highly recommended.

currently im halfway through dan simmons 'the terror' which i have to say is fantastic, dan always writes brilliant stories, i recently read his first novel, 'song of kali' which is fantastic and a really classic horror story.

okay lets talk global crisis now, it's great that such an event has occurred, the whole system revealed to be an sham, what i find absolutely incredible is the way govts. are throwing more money into a black hole. i'm amazed and shocked at the political impotence, after all now would be a great time to unite the globe and start again. let industry fail, let banks collapse, use the money to invest in renewable and sustainable energies and resources. let the old industry die and the new be born, new jobs, new skills, a generation given a new start. but no we have to steal their future as well. james lovelocks new book, 'the vanishing face of gaia' spells out disaster as we approach tipping point. i don't agree with all of lovelocks ideas but it is obvious that the earth is a living system off which we are part off, the aboriginally know this, the native americans and the south american indians know this and through my intuition and my experiences with ayahuscia i know this.