Confound him, he wearied me with arguments to show that in anything like a fair market he would have fetched twenty-five dollars, sure—a thing which was plainly nonsense, and full of the baldest conceit; I wasn’t worth it myself.
“Jeezums,” Sheatsley exclaimed, using the most ribald expression of astonishment in his repertoire. Haines was chuckling and snorting and the Ashramites were laughing and giggling and casting quick glances my way to check out my reactions.
We were all gathered around a tape recorder on the picnic table in front of the Ashram on a fine summer morning listening to Tim’s recorded “review” of the Neo-American Church Catechism and Handbook.
A freshly printed copy had been delivered to him the day before at his camp back in the hills, along with a request from Bill for a taped review which the Kriya Press would print for promotion.
Haines had rejected a cash offer from the owner of a chain of head shops in New York to buy the entire edition of 2,000 copies for about the cost of production. The pitch was that, having made the plates, the Kriya Press could use the money to print more books at a much lower unit cost, and make a profit. Assuming the Catechism sold well, this made sense, but Haines had decided that he didn’t need middle men, although neither he nor any of his followers knew anything about book distribution. Knowing virtually nothing about it myself, I didn’t object. For all I knew, it would be duck soup.
Over the tape recorder came the following outrage, delivered in Tim’s usual dry, light, precise and charming voice, which the Kriya Press transcribed as follows:
The psychedelic revolution has (with miraculous swiftness) won the hearts and capped the minds of the American people because (like any religious up-heave-all) it uses the ultimate weep-on, humor.
Psychedelic guerrillas, disorganized bands of wise goof-offs, creative fuck-ups, and comedian chaplains, have in six quip years effortlessly taken over the most powerful empire in world history.
With music, clowning, laughter, the psychedelic revolution has passed through the classic socio-political stages of every great human renaissance:
1. The philosophic preparation (Alan Watts writes the Zen introduction).
2. The underground swell of the masses hungry for freedom (Allen Ginsberg Howls).
3. Accidental flare-ups of trigger incidents (Laredo Texas: by this rude bridge that arched the flood, their flag to customs seize, unfurled here the embattled … ).
4. Widespread guerrilla tactics (Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters).
5. The turning-point victory (the publishers of Time-Life get turned on).
6. The mopping-up operations (in charge of Sgt. Pepper).
7. The writing of war memoirs, prayer books, manuals, catechisms, new testaments, grandiose biblical versions in which the accidental-inevitable is made to seem planned blueprint.
The evangelists and social historians of the psychedelic revolution have a delightful roster of hero-comedian-clowns available for legendary canonization.
Alan Watts is the smiling scholar of the Acid Age. For thirty years he has been converting the most complex theories of oriental philosophies into jewel-like up-levels, wry epigrams. Cool, gracious, never ruffled, chuckling to share with us his amused wonder at God’s plans for the planet and, with quizzical eye, glancing to see if we will catch on.
Alan Ginsberg. The celestial clown. Giggling, posturing with complete insight, histrionic, shamelessly direct. No one, not even J. Edgar Hoover, can be with this nearsighted, rumpled, worried, hysterical, lyrical, furry bear for ten minutes and not giggle back because he tickles and hugs you when no one else dares.
The Leary-Alpert-Metzner-Harvard-Mexico-Millbrook Circus backed and lurched into history making every mistake except taking itself too seriously for very long. (Someone was always high enough to laugh.) The name of our prisoner rehabilitation project was “Break-Out.” The Good Friday religious experiment became the Miracle of March Chapel, to the dismay of Boston University. And it worked. The initials of our research organization, the International Federation for Internal Freedom, spelled out the conditional paradox of the atomic age.
Institutional titles, creeds, were invented and outgrown monthly. Conversions, excommunications, schisms, could never keep up with the changes at Millbrook. You couldn’t resign from the Castalia Foundation and denounce its methods because it had already evolved into the League for Social Disorder which in turn couldn’t be sued for its theatrical proceeds because the money and the slide projectors had been given away and everyone was dropped out, camping in the woods, and how could the police get a search warrant to raid a sacred pine grove or a promontory known as Lunacy Hill?
The psychedelic yoga is the longest and toughest yoga of all and the only way to keep it going is with a sense of humor. This has been known to seers and visionaries for thousands of years.
For me, the model of the turned-on, tuned-in, dropped-out man is James Joyce, the great psychedelic writer of this century. Pouring out a river-run of pun, jest, put-on, up-level, comic word acrobatics. The impact of Joyce via McLuhan on the psychedelic age cannot be over-estimated.
Bill Burroughs is the Buster Keaton of the movement. He was Mr. Acid before LSD was invented. The soft-bodied answer to IBM. Unsmiling comedian genius.
Twenty years ago today Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play. The classic ontological vaudeville routine.
The Buddha smile.
The laughing fat Chinese sage.
The flute of Krishna tickling the cow girls.
The dance of Shiva.
Om, the cosmic chuckle. The sweaty belly guffaw of a Hasidic Jew.
Where are the laughing Christians? Something twisted grabbed the Christian mind around the third century. Is there any tender mirth left in the cult of the cross?
Mystics, prophets, holy men are all laughers because the religious revelation is a rib-tickling amazement-insight that all human purposes including your own are solemn self-deceptions. You see through the game and laugh with God at the cosmic joke.
The holy man is the one who can pass on a part of the secret, express the joke, act out a fragment of the riddle.
To be a holy man you have to be a funny man.
Take for example Art Kleps, founder and Chief Boo Hoo of the Neo-American Church. Authentic American anarchist, non-conformist, itinerant preacher. A pure-essence eccentric paranoid in the grand tradition of bull-headed, nutty men who stubbornly insist on being themselves and who are ready to fight at the drop of a cliché for the right of others to be themselves.
For five years this Art Kleps has been a wandering guerrilla monk in the psychedelic underground.
When he first showed up at Millbrook, in 1963, Kleps was a school psychologist, a big blond, loud-voiced, bar room intellectual. He roved around Castalia one weekend; grandiose, blustering, reverent, deeply intelligent and too drunk to take LSD.
Then the oldest son of a Lutheran minister wrote a 1,000-page Pilgrim’s Progress epic about his three-day non-trip to Millbrook, running off fifteen typed pages a day and coming back to Castalia weekends as Christian H. Christian crawling painfully up the kitchen floor, splashing in the toilet bowls, filled with whiskey, throwing out an endless monologue of corny psychological-psychedelic paranoia, and making feeble passes at Castalia’s soft-eyed marijuana goddesses whom he hallucinated to be thirteen year old virgins. Like Dylan Thomas, so high, so juiced on his own cerebro-spinal fluid, he accused us of slipping LSD into his food.
Then he got fired by his school board for some series of honest, rebellious, adolescent antics (he is one of the most creative psychologists in the country), and, naturally, started his own religion.
“We maintain the psychedelic substances are sacraments, that is, divine substances, no matter who uses them, in whatever spirit, with whatever intentions. We do not employ set rituals, make conditions for membership other than agreement with our principles, or regulate the frequency or intensity of the sacramental experience. Many of our members are damned fools and miserable sinners; membership in the Church is no guarantee of intellectuality or of spiritual wisdom; it may even be possible that one or two of our boo hoos are opportunistic charlatans, but we are not dismayed by these conditions; it has never been our objective to add one more swollen institutional substitute for individual virtue to the already crowded lists.”
Art Kleps, the Martin Luther of the Psychedelic Movement, even when drunk, spraying blindly from his ink pot, the most courageous theologian of our time.
While the academics play word games about God’s medical condition, Art Kleps, staggering insane in his study at three in the morning, tackles the real gut issues like: are marijuana and LSD really God’s sacraments? Then, if yes they are, and I say they are, then anyone who uses them, gives them, is involved in a divine transaction no matter how gamy, how nutty, how sordid his motives, so it doesn’t matter who or when or how or why you turn on, it’s still a holy cosmic process whether you are a silly thirteen-year-old popping a sugar cube on your boyfriend’s motorcycle or a theatrical agent giving pot to a girl to get her horny, or an alcoholic Catholic priest carrying the Viaticum to a hypocritical sinner or even a psychiatrist giving LSD to an unsuspecting patient to do a scientific study.
“It’s all God’s flesh,” shouted Art Kleps, “no matter what your motives may be.”
Oh yes, let Art Kleps be given the credit. While the rest of us were still involved in research foundations and poetry conferences, and trying to demonstrate that LSD was a nice healthy productive medicine for virtuous docile Americans, Art was roaring around in a turquoise convertible with a suspended driver’s license, drinking bad wine from a bottle and shouting,
“Don’t bother trying to curry favor with the establishment; it’s a losing game. We aren’t American Indians who can be patronized and isolated. Congratulated on our sobriety, and all that. We have the right to practice our religion, even if we are a bunch of filthy, drunken bums. Try not to degrade rights into mere claims based on evidence of virtue and lack of vice. We do not stand before the government as children before a parent, the government stands before us as the corrupter of our God-given human rights, and until the government gets its bloody, reeking paws off our sacred psychedelics and ceases to harass and persecute our members, until, indeed, every poor wretch now suffering in prison because he preferred the mystical uplift of pot to the slobbering alcoholism of the politicians is set free, our attitude must be one of uncompromising hostility.”
Pageant magazine reporter: “You call your local ministers boo hoos. Why do you use such a ridiculous title?”
Father William Kleps: “We realize this title does have its absurd connotations but we have intentionally chosen something with absurd qualities to remind ourselves not to take ourselves too seriously.”
Pageant magazine reporter: “You claim to be a church, but you don’t take your own religion seriously. What do you take seriously?”
Kleps: “A lot of things. But one of the things we take least seriously is institutional life, the thing most people take more seriously than anything else. We think this is one of the faults of modern man: elevating institutional forms and structures to the level of eternal verities.”
The wit and wisdom of this great psychedelic bull is collected in a soft-cover book, the Neo-American Church Catechism and Handbook. The table of contents reflects the flavor of this mad, disorganized masterpiece:
Pronouncements of the Chief Boo Hoo on: LSD, Marijuana, Sex, Revolutionary Politics.
Articles: Synchronicity and the Plot/Plot, With LSD I saw God, The Bombardment and Annihilation of the Planet Saturn; the Reformation of the New Jerusalem, Morning Glory Lodge and Millbrook, Neo-American Church Gives ‘Em Hell, the 95-Item Test of Neo-Psychopathic Character, Free Advertising at Government Expense, Up-to-Date List of Boo Hoos, Catalog, Cartoons.
Readers of the Neo-American Church Catechism and Handbook will learn that the Seal of the Church portrays a three-eyed, turned-on toad rampant over the motto: “Victory Over Horseshit.”
Tim Leary: “Art, I don’t like your motto. It’s a whiskey trip. It’s not a psychedelic love message. Victory? Over? Horseshit?”
Art Kleps: “It’s my trip. Take it or leave it.”
And then Art flipped out into typical political paranoia:
“Our victory is over horseshit rather than bullshit. Bullshit is a rare and valuable commodity. The great masters have all been bullshitters. Horseshit, on the other hand, in the common parlance, refers to downright crap. The free, playful, entertaining flight of ideas is bullshit; and more often than not will be found afterwards to accord perfectly with universal truth. Horseshit is contrived; derivative, superstitious, ignorant. We might take Gurdjieff as an example of a master bullshitter and Meher Baba as an example of a master horseshitter.”
You ask Art Kleps what his goals are and he tells you, “money and power.” To that silly end the last twenty pages of the Catechism are designed as a Monkey Ward catalog of items available from the Neo-American Church, cash in advance, including for $30, a destruct box (“If opened improperly, contents go up in flames”), and, for $100, a certificate stating that “The Chief Boo Hoo never even heard of you and regards you with indifference.”
Kleps’ Catechism and Handbook is that rare commodity, an original, personal, unashamed, naked unveiling of a man’s mind; the Art Kleps head trip. At times padded, at times so involutely paranoid that you lose the thread, at times sloppily falling down, but always manly, coarse, stubble-bearded, shouting, praying, and in touch with central broadcasting, the original, two-billion-year-old, Sunday-night comedy show.
Art Kleps came on the scene before the cool, gentle love-heads. He can’t stand flowers. He hates rock and roll. He has absolutely no sense of beauty. He is a clumsy manipulator, a blatant flatterer, a bully to the weak, the world’s most incompetent con-man. He is, in short, a sodden disgrace to the movement.
Oh pilgrim, if you come to visit the Chief Boo Hoo you will see a sign on his door, “Parsonage, Neo-American Church, Art Kleps, Chief Boo Hoo.” You ring the bell and await your spiritual teacher. The cover of the book flies open and there, reeking of the fumes of a smoky, sweaty, 21st Century Martian waterfront saloon is the Chief Boo Hoo himself: glaring, unshaven, wrinkled shirt, sloppy pants.
Reading this book is a revelatory laugh-cry trip for those who are ready for it.
Last night Rosemary was lying by the camp fire on a bed of pine needles, reading the Catechism. When she finished she looked up, her face beautiful in the red shadows and said, “Art Kleps is a funny man.” Rosemary is right. Art Kleps is a not-wholly holy, funny man.
Jeezums H. Christ, indeed. Of course, we all laughed like crazy while this bullshit was being played. Wendy managed to squeal “that’s not true! that’s not true!” several times, which I appreciated, but I was amused as much as anyone else if not more so. It was pure, undiluted Leary, that was for sure. The questions and comments which followed concerned my sadistic attitude towards the lilies of the field, all those hallucinatory virgins, my alcoholic and paranoid inclinations, my insensibility to beauty, my squalid quarters, my slovenly attire and so forth.
“Well, Kleps,” Haines asked, after we had recovered our composure, “should we print this?”
I surprised myself by not saying “No” right away. Hmmm. Tim probably figured I would demand deletions and amendments. He would play along with this, no doubt, and we would end up with … what?
On the other hand, if we let it stand as recorded, Tim’s ferocious animosity towards anything the public might think was admirable and original (“Sergeant Pepper” was a “vaudeville routine”?) would be exposed for all to see.
Well, that was a good thing wasn’t it? If the moronic hordes took it seriously, so what? If it kept the stupid bastards away from me, all the better.
“Yeah, print it,” I told Haines. “Let him have his fun. It may not say much about me, but it sure as hell says a lot about Timothy Leary.”
As a matter of fact, it’s the clearest example, in print, of the Freudian mechanism of projection I know about.
Haines liked this move. I think we both thought of it as a finesse, or “the old rope trick, self-administered,” or something of the sort, but our attitude mystified the troops, Wendy included.
There was another factor, namely, the History of the Psychedelic Movement Coloring Book, the project I had started working on after finishing the Catechism. It was not yet in print, but I had shown Tim a few pages. He had seemed genuinely amused by them. So was Sam Clapp, who put up $1,000 to have it printed. As one might expect, many of the pages in the coloring book were irrelevant, frivolous and immaterial insofar as the actual history of the “psychedelic movement” was concerned. I converted things that were pretty grim for the people who had gone through them, such as the expulsion of IFIF from Mexico, into slapstick. Almost everyone I met in the years to come who had both an ankle-biter and a copy of the coloring book, Gai Duncan included, told me that it was the kid’s favorite crayon target.
The way I pictured Tim was no more reverent than the way I pictured everyone else in the book, including a fictional boo hoo of the Neo-American Church. This was in sharp contrast to my comments about Tim before the Senate subcommittee, and a step away from the generally respectful treatment I gave him in the Catechism. It was likely that Tim had written his “review” in what he thought was the same spirit. It was all in fun, all good-natured raillery.
Yeah, well, sort of. But no matter how sortofish the comparison, I wasn’t going to open myself up to the accusation of being the kind of person who could dish it out but not take it. Why, that was almost as bad as being called a “sissy.” The horrors of it all. When I did get around to publishing the coloring book, I printed Tim’s review of the Catechism right up front, word for word. To some extent I’m sure, I did this in the spirit of “everything you say bounces off me and sticks on you twice, so there.”
I have reprinted it several times. It may be the least self-conscious thing Tim ever wrote. Like the drawings and stories of children, it has the charm of transparency.
But this was not to be the end of the matter. In a strange move which showed that Haines and I probably had the politics of the situation figured out right, Tim reprinted the review in The Politics of Ecstasy (College Notes) but removed all mention of my name and my book, although still quoting me at length, sometimes correctly.
In Tim’s new version, the drunken theologian being trashed is “Lisa Lieberman.” The essay is entitled “The Mad Virgin of Psychedelia.”
The Neo-American Church became the “Neo-Marxian Church,” the motto of which was represented as “Victory over Sexuality.” The card tacked to the door reads “Art for Art’s Sake.” (Little play on words there, I guess.)
This was bitter, calculated and nasty stuff, and ruined the off-the-wall goofiness of the original.
Sometime in the early ’70s, I ran across a piece in the Village Voice by Jill Johnston, their house lesbian feminist of the day, in which she accused the media of suppressing female spokespersons for various causes, and cited that tough broad “Lisa Lieberman” as someone Tim Leary, with the help of various hired scriveners and media thugs, managed to upstage right into total obscurity.
“Elbowing,” Otto called it.
I think Ms. Johnston got it right, basically. Tim’s intent throughout, unmodified by any concern for veracity or consistency, was to picture anyone whom he thought might shadow his brilliance as the leading light of Psychedelia, including Lennon with his shopworn vaudeville act and Watts with his decipherings of “God’s Plan for the Planet,” as imitative reruns and self-deluded diddlers and piddlers, while promoting himself as a magisterial, all-knowing figure serenely orbiting above and beyond it all, making the rules.
The next item published by the Ashram was a pamphlet Tim whomped up called Start Your Own Religion. In it, Tim advocated cooking up your own cute cult instead of joining anything of the “mail order” variety, meaning the Neo-American Church, of course. The membership of one’s cute cult should be limited to “essence friends.” Nothing was said about doctrine.
This pamphlet, and everything Tim said and did on stage or screen, gave the impression that the League for Spiritual Discovery and the vague place known as “Millbrook” among most Psychedelians, were identical. Every day or two he would escort visitors through the Ashram and refer to “our” potters, “our” presses, etc. We all knew what he was doing, and we all just laughed it off, but Tim was dead serious.
As a solipsistic nihilist, I can’t very well be a sincere “theologian,” but what kind of “theologian” was Timothy Leary?
The quotations coming up pretty soon, with my comments appended, are from Neurologic. Tim sent me a pre-publication copy when he was in Switzerland and I was working on the first version of this book. Then he was trapped and sent back to prison in California. I had not mentioned (what I knew of) Tim’s crazy ideas or subjected them to the deprecation they merited in the Boo Hoo Bible mostly because he had been either a prisoner or a fugitive while I was writing it.
“He may have changed,” I told myself, whenever it seemed appropriate to fire a few rounds in his direction. Not only was I reluctant to distress him further while he was enduring these trials and humiliations, but I did not want to give aid and comfort to our mutual enemies.
This also distorted and diluted the first version of this book.
After reading Neurologic, I thought Tim had switched to Jimson weed, or something worse. Smelling water a mile away, he had lowered his nose into the dirt and was plowing a furrow towards it, as a cowboy once told me his horse had done after eating the stuff. I did not respond to the book at all, hoping Tim would come to his senses and canter along with his head up once again, even if he was going in the wrong direction. Later, on reading Aldous Huxley’s Collected Letters, I discovered that Tim had been harboring these notions since the beginning of his Psychedelian career. “The most awful rubbish about the genetic code,” Huxley, in a letter to Humphry Osmond, called Tim’s private maunderings to him on the subject.
Although imprisonment had not improved Tim’s capacity for ratiocination, the experience hadn’t given rise to the “awful rubbish” either, but may have helped to expose it to public view. Being locked up tends to encourage “jive,” and to blunt one’s sense of discrimination.
It seems clear that Tim developed his delusional system early in the game, but hid it, as Lisa Bieberman hid her Paulinian supernaturalism, whenever it seemed convenient to do so, which was most of the time. This peculiar combination of firm beliefs and an adamant refusal to state those beliefs except through hints and oblique allusions is typical of paranoid ideation, and runs a meandering, shifty course, often through caverns measureless to man, in much of Tim’s writings and “New Age” writings in general. In any asylum run by me, Tim and Lisa would be housed together in the well-defended ward of the paranoids wing, treated gently and encouraged to attempt to convert each other. I think this shit ought to be out in the open. My comments are within brackets:
The theories presented in this essay are Science Fiction.
[The opening line of Neurologic and classic Learian smoke and mirrors. Tim suggests throughout the essay that his theories are to be taken seriously, that they are valid and philosophical and he gives reasons for believing in them.]
They are scientific in that they are based on findings from physics, etc.
[Tim’s fantasies are “metaphysics,” that is, Fazzm speculations about things which cannot be defined or observed or inferred or validated or tested in any way in the terminology appropriate to that which can be. Science, as distinguished from “Science Fiction,” is not “based on” empirical findings. It is the empirical method of inquiry and analysis itself. It isn’t the findings that are empirical, it’s the reasoning and the methods that are empirical or not empirical. The McPozzm world isn’t scientific or not scientific. It is what we can say about the McPozzm world that is scientific or not scientific.]
They are fictional in the Wittgensteinian sense that all theories and speculations beyond the propositions of natural science are subjective.
[The application of the term “subjective” is very subjective, and that’s probably why Tim was so fond of it. Speculations about natural science are not subjective? Since when? Some speculations, about anything, are more subjective than others, that’s all. What Tim is really saying here is that all metaphysics, which he confuses with philosophy in general, is sheer fancy, and his fancies are therefore just as good as the next guy’s. Even this doesn’t follow, and let’s leave Wittgenstein out of this. Tim never quotes him; he just invokes him.]
Such theories … are equally fictional.
[Equally fictional? This can only mean they are all fictional. Even among theories propounded without any regard for experience or internal logicality, some will be supported by observation better than others. According to Tim’s formulation, the theory that a superhuman entity known as the Tooth Fairy leaves dimes under pillows for little boys and girls who have been to the dentist is no more or less “fictional” than the theory that Mommy and Daddy do it. Tim, bent on the obliteration of all meaningful distinctions in a miasma of rhetoric, never uses homely examples such as the above, or examples of any kind, because they tend to clear the air.]
It gives us pleasure … to believe that the species … evolves …
[This is radical and infantile pragmatism. Believing gonorrhea is no worse than a bad cold has made a lot of people feel good until they stopped feeling good. Believing in the “Seven Stage Life Cycle” serves a similar function: What, me worry?]
… a theory of what is subjectively true and consensually fact.
[“Fact?” “True?” Wasn’t all of this “fiction” a few pages ago? So, if 51 percent of the population vote in favor of the Tooth Fairy theory, it’s a fact. And if that isn’t startling enough, some of these fictions are, although subjective, “true,” and some aren’t. Some must be false, or what does “true” mean? Your guess is as good as mine.]
… a theory of the seven levels of reality and their interaction.
[This “reality” chopping, Tim asserts, is “ontology.” But “ontology” has a well-established meaning as a form of “metaphysics” concerned with “being” and presuming “essences.” Whether these terms are mere noises or actually refer to anything is debatable. I think they are all hot air. But, assuming they have meaning, if “ontology” is philosophy rather than mere maundering, it is not concerned with relations within or between particulars such as “child-rearing” or “the species” but is about the nature of “being” itself. Mental? Physical? Both? Neither? Mutable? Immutable? … and so on. This is the most naïve error amateur philosophers make: Large sizeoids, such as comets and “the species” are thought to be in the same class as universals. Propounders of Scientism, in its various guises, make this silly mistake all the time, and are hailed in the mass media as intellectual giants for doing so. Oh well. Throughout this essay, Tim consistently misuses philosophic terms. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and what’s worse, doesn’t want to know, and what’s worse, tries to convince everyone else that they shouldn’t want to know, either.]
The hazard of this philosophy is that it is tangible.
[Holy shit. Now we have a philosophy that is not only fictional, but tangible as well. Does this mean one can stumble over it in the dark, but only on television? A “tangible” philosophy is a round square, or noise. The word “hazard,” in this lunatic context, is a little alarming, I’m sorry to say.]
The Neurology of Dying. A few minutes of clock time … experienced as millions of years.
[How many million? Are there any other people around? If so, is it “millions of years” for them too? Or do they die like flies, strictly by the clock? Then what? No worse than a bad cold?]
The Mission of DNA.
[Aha. The metaphysical hog emerges from the ontological tunnel, and it’s on a “mission.” Tim goes on to declare that his genetic code God is “omnipotent” and a “super-brain.” Where is this “Brain?” Is It omniscient and omnipresent as well as omnipotent? Is prayer to It efficacious? Is there a Purgatory? Do indulgences cause the remission of sins? Is Tim Its Vicar, here below?]
Dying is merging with the life process. Consciousness returns to the genetic code. We become every form of life that has lived and will live. We become the DNA code and leave the planet with the DNA code.
[A code takes off from a planet with a load of ectoplasmic passengers? A code is an abstraction, a set of relations between particulars. Neither the Morse code nor the DNA code nor the code of silence nor the code duello can “leave the planet,” or even buy a ticket to Hoboken. A bunch of wires and keys, or an organism, or electrical charges or marks or sounds can travel, but not a code. All supernaturalist imagery is of this kind, namely, Globular Blobovenoidalism. Abstract concepts and large, impressive appearances like planets and species are “merged” and have “missions,” and send “messages” to their minions and favored prophets such as Tim here below.]
There is no death.
[Tim’s DNA Code God is independent, in other words, of genes, chromosomes, protein, carbon and all other things subject to deterioration.]
When the body stops functioning, consciousness advances to the nervous system … goes out to work in the larval circuits and to play in the body of rapture. Neurological existence within a … system becomes “infinite” as chronologged by a third circuit verbal mind.
[This is an attempt to preserve personal identity, after the excesses of the previous generalization wiped it out. Tim is trying to say he has a soul (an infinite Neurological existence) of his own, after all. Neurology without nerves.]
It’s all pretty crazy and pathetic, and almost certainly originated in the standard Irish-Catholic ghost and corpse worship and mock cannibalism in which Tim was raised, compared to which almost anything is an advance.
And Tim isn’t the only well educated person to suffer from the general Blobovian conviction that abstract concepts can have a location in space, zoom around, bite each other on the ass and so forth. It is a commonplace in institutions of the Higher Learning to take questions such as “Where is the meaning?” seriously, as if a spatial location for “the meaning” could be found (the text, my head, your head, our heads). Strictly speaking, “the meaning” is nowhere or, along with everything else, “in” my mind. There would be no mind/matter problem for philosophers if this was not the case.
I think Blobovianism is given a big boost in the primary grades when kids are taught that “3 goes into 6 two times” or something else along these lines. The fact is that 3 isn’t anywhere and can’t go anywhere, nor does 6 have the ability to absorb other numbers, or send them packing, however much it may seem that way. All such expressions are merely conventional shorthand idioms for abstract arithmetic operations which would be tedious to spell out every time they are used. Treating them as if they were anything else is silly and profoundly irrational.
The thought of an innocent, barefoot lad or lassie with cheek of tan reading Neurologic as preparation for his or her first big trip down the mental Mississippi makes my blood curdle. In terms of encouraging a healthy mind set for the occasion, Neurologic may be even more disorienting than the TBD or Mind Games.
Tim and I were always able to talk to each other in a civil manner in private, no matter how uncivil things got in public. But Haines always said exactly what he felt like saying, no matter how civil or uncivil or just plain silly it was, both in public and in private. As a result, during the “Summer of Love,” Haines and I were often not on speaking terms.
It had nothing to do with Psychedelian doctrine and everything to do with Haines’ overly suspicious nature. The fact that King William and I were actually close friends who hung out together, got stoned and smashed together, pursued the world’s most dangerous bipeds together and so forth caused him to imagine all kinds of sinister things we might also be doing together, like arranging a “sweet little deal” for the Church which would force the League and the Ashram to submit to my imperious domination or go pick shit with the crows on Route 44.
This vision of my intentions had no foundation in my actions or inclinations. Nevertheless, if the reports I constantly heard from primary sources were to be believed, it was a vision that flitted in and out of Bill’s capacious cranium for most of the long summer months and sometimes nested there and laid large, crazed eggs. Eventually, Bill realized that I didn’t want what he suspected I wanted and that I genuinely liked his act and wanted it to succeed, but this light didn’t dawn until after the final raids began.
And what about King William himself, the reader may well ask. If I was really the court philosopher, why didn’t I manage to form a more productive alliance with this powerful person, who had the wherewithal to make things happen? Billy was a founding director of the Church, and my best friend. Because of the tax laws, he was virtually forced to give away hundreds of thousands of dollars every year. One would have expected a normal zillionaire, given these facts, to have blown some “real” money our way.
The Church, and its leader, were not merely poor at this time but frequently flat broke.
Rich people do not usually understand what “broke” means. They see it as a transitory and even whimsical misfortune, like a stubbed toe, locking oneself out of the house, a flat tire and a flat spare on a back road, and so forth. It can’t be serious. If it is, how come you’re alive?
In my case, and many other cases on the property, this view actually had some merit. We were not a good example of what it meant to be poor, because the bizarre circumstances in which we lived made it OK to be poor. Most of the time, I hardly noticed. Unless I ran out of cigarettes or something like that, I didn’t feel broke.
Did Alice have any money in Wonderland? Did she feel broke?
I have all kinds of good reasons (most of which are too boring and trivial to spell out here) to believe that the rich Psychedelians often became confused about those of us who, although poor, seemed generally content with our lot. It was an attitude which stood in sharp contrast to the conduct of most poor folks who had gotten close enough to them to insert a tap and drain off a dram or three. Why didn’t we do this, that and the other thing; that is, all the things they thought they would have done had some cruel and monstrous twist of fate placed them in similar circumstances? It wasn’t that I didn’t bring up the subject. I did, but then I just let it lie there, and I wasn’t the only economic basket case at Daheim (Dieterich’s original name for the place) who appeared to take this ho-hum attitude.
Consider Sam Clapp. I had ordained him, at his request, Boo Hoo of Nassau, Primate of the Bahamas, Patriarch of the Caribbean and Protector of the Lesser Antilles. I really liked this title. It had rhythm. And Sam, it seemed, genuinely wanted to “do something” for the Church but somehow couldn’t figure out “how to do it,” exactly. This was also what I heard from Billy. The great problem seemed to be the avoidance of taxation. Sam was a Harvard Law graduate and one of the original organizers of what is now the Resorts International company. I had been around while Sam and Billy and a couple other guys had pulled this off, using the Mary Carter paint company to do it. Was it my job to tell Sam or Billy how to avoid or evade taxation? It was clearly their area of expertise, not mine.
Sam was extremely wealthy, and seemed to enjoy spending his money, as he had made it, in imaginative ways. He told me that whenever his children from a previous marriage visited him at his private island in the Caribbean, he arranged to have them arrive by boat after the sun had set so he could greet them at the dock and then lead them up a long flight of marble stairs flanked with rows of uniformed footmen holding flaming torches. I thought that this, like the Neo-American title he had invented for himself, showed a nice flair for the dramatic, and I didn’t like it at all when Sam resigned because his liege lord in the neo-feudalistic scheme of things, Bernie Cornfeld, insisted on it. It was, Bernie said, bad PR for Investors Overseas Services, in which Sam and Martica were major players.
I couldn’t get mad at Sam. Money was his life, and defying Bernie would have cost him millions of dollars. Nor did I have anything against people living in the grand manner then, and I don’t now. My socialist principles were not offended. Not only are there all kinds of sound practical reasons for encouraging a private economic “sector” to flourish, but life in general would be much less interesting if there were no rich people around to amuse the rest of us with their follies and, every now and then, to adorn the world with genuinely original and beautiful things on the grand scale. On the other hand, these rich bastards should not be allowed to form gangs and run everything.
As of the date of this writing (1994), I would say that the European Union has a pretty good balance. I would crank things another quarter turn to the left but do it slowly. The American system, on the other hand, is capitalism gone berserk and a demonstration of how right Karl Marx was about so many things, as well as a demonstration of how stupid and manipulable most people are, about which Marx had nothing to say, as far as I know.
Once, over dinner at the Bungalow when Billy was away (Sam had insisted that I sit at the head of the table), Sam asked Wendy and me how we “liked the idea” of living in a “small castle” on a private island off the coast of Scotland. I thought this was a very interesting concept, indeed, but Wendy didn’t, so the subject never came up again.
Sam casually offered me the use of his suite at the Regency and his car and driver whenever I happened to be in the city during his absence, but I never took him up on it because I had no cash to get back and forth with, to buy clothes with, to tip with, and so forth, and there was virtually nothing I wanted to do in New York anyway.
I loved Millbrook the way it was and, basically, was happy as a clam. Clams don’t worry about accumulating wealth. They live on whatever plankton happens to pass by and are happy as oysters to get it.
I think Billy, most of the time, and this was quite an achievement for an owner, understood, and to some extent, sometimes, shared this bivalvian frame of mind. He also loved the place the way it was as did Otto and many of the troops.
And Billy and I both knew, although we rarely talked about it while things were going well, that it could not last. It was an outrageous violation of every rule in the book that it had come into being in the first place, and had survived as long as it had.
The main reason I didn’t kick, scream, foam at the mouth and chew on the rug when company came over was that I didn’t want to spoil it all. Every now and then, I would have the equivalent of a petit mal seizure, but nobody seemed to take these minor fits of mine about the economic situation seriously and neither did I.
I know that all of this is hard to believe, but it’s true. Remember, I’m a preacher’s kid. And, to top that off, my parents usually spoke German when they discussed money, as they did when they discussed the latest peccadilloes of particular members of the congregation. They thought gossip and money both too indelicate for the tender ears of children and maybe they were right.
“Hennenwetter, noch einmal,” my beautiful mother would customarily say to conclude such conversations, which usually took place in the car on the way home from church.
Historically, mavericks born to the ruling class of plutocratic societies, like Billy (one does not automatically become a member of the “establishment” by being born to this class), and the intellectual iconoclasts they sometimes patronize, like me, do not get along well for very long. The fact is that Billy and I probably did better than most in this respect.
The fortunate few who can live and prosper on unearned income develop enthusiasms for a doctrine or a style or a personality or a combination thereof just as we unfortunates do, but the rich are much more wary of organized religious and philosophic novelties than those of us with not much to lose.
Wealthy people rarely become wealthy, or grow up wealthy, without learning how dangerous organizations can be and without learning how much hostility is generated by the exercise of economic power, which, in most circumstances, is indistinguishable from military and police power. I think it would clear the air if all money pictured bombers, tanks and cops in action instead of famous and distinguished alumni, since those are the things that actually make the paper worth something. Ownership is only a legal claim to a set of rights, and if those rights can’t be enforced they’re meaningless. The power invoked by the deeds and currency and whatnot is the power Mao Tse-tung referred to as coming out of the barrels of guns, not the power of reasonable argument or of truth and beauty to sway the human heart.
The more deeply one becomes involved in something, generally speaking, the fewer illusions one will have about it, and this is as true of capitalism as it is of anything else. When a capitalist, for whatever reason, rocks the boat (the “system”) occupied by himself and other capitalists, he risks social exclusion and expressions of extreme displeasure from his fellow travelers, at the very least. That can be expensive.
It was one thing for Paul and Mary Mellon to support the Jungians, the Eranos group and Joseph Campbell, and to set up the Bollingen Foundation and publish the Wilhelm translation of the I Ching, and so forth. It was another thing entirely for William and Thomas Mellon Hitchcock to support criminalized religious associations led by Tim, Bill and me.
The latter conduct resembled the Elector of Saxony’s harboring of Luther. It was dangerous as hell. The former are mere cultural deviations that the public expects of the rich every now and then—and the rich expect from the rich every now and then.
By failing to promptly throw us all overboard and close the place down as soon as the laws against our religious practices were in place, Billy and Tommy came close to engaging in an insurrection, or something on that order of magnitude, in the boat rocking department. To find close parallels to this kind of conduct among plutocrats in American history, one would have to go back to pre-Civil War days, or even back to the starting line. (Prohibition? I don’t think so, but I’m not a professional historian, and maybe I don’t take that era seriously enough.)
Billy and Tommy made it pretty clear that they thought my style and philosophic orientation suited them, and fit the Psychedelian case better than anything else on offer, but I think that the idea of a financially secure and independent Neo-American Church set off alarm buzzers and caused red lights to blink and rotate in their rich-kid heads. They knew, at least in an intuitive kind of way, that I would fight if the Church became the dominant organized Psychedelian power, that I would escalate rather than compromise, that the conflict would inevitably involve them and that they would lose control over the course of events. Furthermore, I drank too much and I liked teenage girls. Easy to blackmail.
So, OK. I no longer had any serious expectation of getting “real money” from our landlords, and had become adjusted to the idea of selection #2 on the fight or flight menu. But why was Billy so cheap about a few thousand here and few thousand there, enough to keep me writing instead of struggling to survive? And why did he have to be so perfidious about it all? Was he a Neo-American or wasn’t he? No man can be blamed for declining to create a monster that might destroy him, but what about some reasonable degree of loyalty to, and support for, one’s (freely chosen) cause?
Well, for starters, I wasn’t the only one.
“Billy is known as a welsher, Art,” Charlie Rumsey blandly informed me one time after I had expressed my disgust that a firm promise from Billy to donate “$40,000 in two weeks” had been broken with no explanation, under the worst possible circumstances, leaving me adrift in Washington, D.C., without a pot to piss in. (Pissing in the park is illegal in Washington, D.C.)
“Why, I saw him crawling out of a restaurant on his hands and knees one time when we were kids, so he wouldn’t have to pay the bill. He’s the only guy I know who could get away with the kind of stuff I’ve seen him pull. It’s all charm, you know. A hollow shell, what?” Charlie grinned. “But who knows? Maybe you’re the one to break the bank.”
Unfortunately, although he was always polite to strangers, it seemed that one of the ways Billy defined a close personal friend was that with such a person he could express, and manifest by an inability to write his name, his genuine attitude towards money, which held that it was a sacred substance circulating in his veins instead of blood, the letting of which, particularly in driblets, was a serious matter. Major losses didn’t seem to bother him all that much.
“I know what you’re going to say, ‘penny wise and pound foolish,’ right?” Billy said to me one time, at the conclusion of the strangest of all his adventures in the field of redistributing the wealth I ever witnessed.
We were having breakfast in Billy’s second house in Sausalito. It was a nice morning, both out on the bay that I surveyed from a table in front of a large window and back on Wall Street, which Billy, still in bed, checked out by phone between bites of pancakes and eggs and swigs of orange juice. Priscilla was up (things are a little topsy-turvy in Sausalito’s hillside houses) in the kitchen. There wasn’t another soul in the place, although there certainly had been the night before.
Suddenly, a thunderous sound of descending footsteps came from the stairwell. “Jesus, cops?” I thought to myself, and I think Billy asked himself the same question. All the people we knew, including “Terry the Tramp,” managed to get around without causing unseemly commotions, even when they were seriously agitated.
Two obese “Hollywood Heebs” burst into the room, babbling crazily and gesturing wildly. Since both of them seemed to be screeching, moaning and blubbering at the same time, I couldn’t understand much, except maybe “the trucks are waiting,” or something like that. Something about a pig? I couldn’t be sure. Billy sat bolt upright and asked, “How did you guys get in here?”
“The door was open,” Hollywood Hopeful #1 answered, as he flung himself on Billy’s bed, and waggled a paper and a pen under Billy’s nose. He begged Billy to sign. No rational arguments were put forward, only an incoherent tale of things gone wrong, interspersed with cries of anguish and despair. It was a note for $50,000, I found out later. With every indication of extreme displeasure, Billy co-signed this instrument. As soon as he did, the motion picture producers fled. The entire drama had been played out in a matter of seconds. Billy had met these guys in a bar only the week before, on a trip to Los Angeles. They were making a movie about a guy who fucks a pig, or wants to but is scorned by the animal, I don’t remember the exact scenario. The movie was called “Futz,” or something like that. I don’t know if Billy got stuck for the 50 thou, but even if he didn’t, this deal did not accord with textbook descriptions of what investment bankers do for a living. When good old whatshisname and Jane Fonda’s brother asked him to invest in Easy Rider he turned them down flat.
So, who is to say? The economic aspects of it all may have been so loaded with neurotic warps that trying to figure out what Billy was trying to accomplish in any particular situation, mine included, was a waste of effort. Tommy, talking casually to Haines and me one time, said that his brother was “crazy.” He wasn’t using the term loosely, and I don’t think he meant Billy’s drug use or his philosophic concepts. Neither Haines nor I asked for details. I don’t know about Bill, but it seemed to me that discussing Billy, an intimate friend, with his brother, a not so intimate friend, as if Billy were any crazier than the rest of us, wasn’t right, even if he was. I have no idea what Miss Manners would say about it.
“Why don’t you buy that place?” I asked Billy one day, gesturing backwards, as we left Millbrook’s charmingly old-fashioned bank and walked up the street on our way to Eddy’s Liquors.
(Eddy, believe it or not, would sometimes leave the door open on early summer mornings so his regulars in desperate need could come in and help ourselves, while Eddy was around the corner having coffee with his cronies.)
“It would improve our public relations around here enormously,” I continued. “A friend in need is a friend indeed.”
“We looked into that,” Billy replied.
“Well, what was the story?”
“They didn’t want to sell,” Billy said.
Such terseness was typical of Billy’s style when the specificities of financial matters came up, unless he happened to be smashed, when, on one or two occasions, he gave us an earful.
We frequently went out for dinner, to the Old Drover’s Inn or to another joint closer by on Route 44. After one such jaunt to the latter rendezvous, with Peggy and Ron Rakow and a female visitor whom Billy had freshly picked off the Big House front porch, it happened that we drove home with Billy and his girl in the back seat and Wendy and I up front, with Peggy and Ron following in another car.
We were all smashed, but Billy, Peggy and the female visitor had really distinguished themselves. The freshly plucked visitor, who had a wild look about her from the start, had ordered bottle after bottle of Lancers wine, for which she admitted a long-term fondness bordering on reverence, and Peggy and Billy had seemed determined to match her rate of consumption or pass out trying.
Conversation at our table had become so loud and reckless of offending the staid decorum which pertained at other tables in the room that I thought the manager was going to come over and admonish us at one point, but he never made it. “These are my neighbors,” he probably thought to himself, “Christian forbearance is called for.”
Peggy had emphatically pronounced the word “fuck,” or one of its variants, about fifty times between the first bottle of Lancers and the last cup of Irish coffee. Perhaps she was trying to demonstrate something to Ron. Billy told funny acid stories, but Miss Lancers’ monologue made no sense at all. She seemed to be simply babbling like a victim of acute malarial fever.
As soon as I drove out of the parking lot, Billy, in the back seat, started telling Miss Lancers how fond he was of her. Was it true love, or just moonlight madness? He would be really pleased if she would stay overnight at the Bungalow as his guest, and so forth. Wendy started giggling uncontrollably at the utterance of the words “moonlight madness,” and I could not understand a word Miss Lancers was saying.
“To the Bungalow?” I asked. “Or should we go over to the Ashram and drive Haines crazy?”
“Oh, let’s go to the Bungalow, Art,” Billy replied. “I’m pretty sure Jack has some Lancers stashed away somewhere.”
A few minutes of muttered conversation and the thrashing around of bodies followed in the back seat and then the girl finally said something that made sense. She didn’t believe Billy was really a millionaire. All men were after only one thing, and they would tell any lie to get it, and so forth. This was all expressed in very maudlin terms.
“Listen, baby,” Billy said, “if you knew how rich I was you’d piss in your pants.” More struggling in the back seat, but this time, Wendy told me later, it was mostly a struggle on Billy’s part to prevent the girl from scratching his eyes out. When things settled down, Billy suddenly started talking to me.
“Speaking of money, Art,” he said, “we really have to sit down some time and figure out exactly how to get you some.”
Before I could reply to this startling announcement, Billy was off on a monologue about exactly how It All Worked, how much he had, where It came from, what form It was in, exactly how much of the income from It he could give away without it costing him much of anything and so forth.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t exactly sober at the time myself and I can’t recall all the details, but the main theme was the extreme difference between the value of his shares when they were put in trust by the original thieves, who plundered the public weal through the Mining Act of 1872 and similar rip-offs, and their present value, which meant he could give the Church $100,000 at a cost of 40 cents or $40 or $400 or something like that. Something with a four in it.
As Billy gushed on about this fascinating subject, Wendy and I made sincere and appropriate comments of encouragement and interest in the right places, but Miss Lancers was uncharacteristically silent. When we pulled into the circle drive in front of the Bungalow she said, “You live in that place? How come you ride around in this crummy car?” It was my car.
“My Cadillac is in the garage for repairs,” Billy replied, with austere dignity. The girl started babbling again. We all went inside. Peggy remembered that she had a present for me. She disappeared down the curving hallway. “You’re going to love this!” she shouted.I did like it, but the trouble was I didn’t own a shirt with a collar to hang it on.
Suddenly, I realized what a bunch of bums we looked like. Miss Lancers was wearing stockings and high heels and all that, but Billy, Peggy, Ron, Wendy and I all looked like we shopped at the Salvation Army. Ron’s car happened to be an oldie also. No wonder Miss Lancers was suspicious. She had every reason to believe she was being kidnapped by a gang of psychopathic liars, led by a deranged lecher, who had broken into a house owned by real rich people. Loud voices could be heard coming from the pantry where Billy and Miss Lancers were having another altercation. She refused to believe the house was his.
“Er, I think Wendy and I will go home, Peggy,” I said. “I don’t want to cramp Billy’s act.”
The next day I asked Billy how it had all turned out.
“You know what that fucking broad did? She started throwing plates at me! She thought I was hiding my Lancers stash on her or something. That was the craziest broad I have ever gone out with in my life, and I’ve gone out with some pretty crazy broads.”
True enough, but I would call Aurora (and, later, Priscilla also) fine examples of female human nature and neither primarily a gold digger, either. Billy could and did attract the sincere affection of many nice people, myself included.
And the Mellon millions?
“Oh, yeah. I did get off on that subject for a while, didn’t I? Listen. I’m definitely going to work it out. It will take a little time but we will definitely do it. Listen, did I mention any figures?”
I nodded solemnly. He had, although I couldn’t remember a single one of them and neither, I had determined, could Wendy.
“Well, keep that kind of stuff under your hat, OK? I mean, it’s in your interest as much as mine that we should keep the other people around here in ignorance, right?”
Right. Oh, well. Poverty motivates. Poverty strengthens your character, sometimes. Poverty teaches many lessons unobtainable at any other price.
In moderation, poverty may even be good for your health, in that it can force you to simplify your diet, walk instead of ride, cut wood, do all kinds of jobs around the shack, dig slit trenches, drag frozen moose carcasses over the tundra, etc. Even so, when all is said and done, I would trade my poverty for gold at a moment’s notice. It may be foolish of me, but there it is.
The score is, let me see here: around $14,000 I guess, plus rental value, free meals, free drinks, free acid, free pot, free nitrous oxide and whatnot. And minus a $10,000 welsh on money owed for business services rendered and another $2,000 or so I blew in the expectation of the maturation of various sterile seeds of hope. For anyone who understands the tax laws of this crazy country, the above accounting will provide a laugh and a half.
Legally, it seems to me, the responsibility of the Hitchcock Cattle Co., and Billy and Tommy as individuals, to compensate everyone rendered economically useless on the property over which they had undisputed governance, is unlimited and virtually eternal as well, because this responsibility should also apply to the progeny of the victims of their machinations.
People who had already rendered themselves unemployable before they got there, such as Leary, Alpert, Metzner, Hollingshead, and so forth, have no grounds for compensation, but my case could well serve as a benchmark for hundreds of other claims. (My not having sued yet shows how crazy I am.) Despite my mescaline trip in ’60, when I first set foot on the sacred soil in ’63 I was being paid $1,000 a month as a school and clinical psychologist, and when I left I was unemployable, not to mention indictable and committable.
By all of the normal standards which the law recognizes (for which I have an indifferent respect, if any, but what difference does that make?), my life since has been that of a wretched fugitive and helpless derelict, unable to sustain any kind of stable existence or provide security for my dependents, except through activities contrary to the best interests of the military-industrial complex of the American imperium, that is to say, through the cultivation and dispensation of anti-hypnotic, emancipating substances.
I estimate the total amount which Billy and Tommy should be ordered to put in trust for us lunatics and our descendants, not to mention the conversion of the estate into a luxurious asylum for our perpetual maintenance, at, which should be just about enough of a hit to put both of them on welfare or into honest jobs as gas station attendants, filling up the tanks of ordinary folks with the best refined that Gulf, or whatever it is calling itself these days, produces, as Billy once claimed to me he would do if ever cleaned out.
All ex-Millbrookians who can show they were functioning economic units before being derobotized for life at the hands of the demonic duo should be compensated with an income of a million a year at the very least, and all of our dependents and descendants likewise, since they ought to be presumed humanized by contagion, and thus rendered incapable of integration into an inhumane society, unto the umpteenth generation.
In those days, we all believed we were part of something new which was of colossal importance and which had developed such a powerful dynamic it could not be suppressed by its natural enemies forever. I still think so. If anyone seemed to forget the enormously important social and historical implications of what we were doing, Tim was always there to remind us of them in the most hyperbolic terminology imaginable.
Many of the conflicts and rivalries between leaders and factions within the Psychedelian community were generated by stupidity, ignorance, infantile jealousy and sometimes downright dementia, but they did have content, usually, and the content isn’t trivial at all if one looks forward a few generations and thinks in terms of the eventual outcomes of these conflicts.
Small distinctions at the beginnings of new and important things can lead to vast differences in the institutions and customs which millions of people may have to live with for a long time, whether they like it or not. These institutions and customs may be called “vulgarizations” but what kinds of vulgarizations?
A child born to some kinds must struggle to escape; in others, he is virtually invited to escape.
I put Judaism and Judaical Christianity and Brahmanism in the first category. I put genuine Christianity and genuine Buddhism (not Lamaism) in the second. The different forms of Psychedelianism that we represented at Millbrook may be seen, Fazzm, as variants of these and other classic divisions.
I enjoyed the intramural contests. I did not want to eradicate the differences, but to make them glare forth as a lesson to all.
I could have screwed Tim up in all kinds of ways, particularly in the media. I could have competed directly with Bill in community building and probably emptied the Ashram in a matter of days.
My vanity stopped me. Being a cheat and a spoilsport was not consistent with my image of myself. I didn’t want to win by getting rid of the competition. That was Tim’s way of doing things. I wanted to win because I was right, and by demonstrating that I was right by making my case and beating the competition to a pulp in print, which seems to me to be a sane and healthy way of looking at things.