Timothy Leary begins his autohagiography, Flashbacks, with Chapter 1. Search for the Key. At the top of the page, above the chapter title, a short biographical note on Dante Alighieri, author of the The Divine Comedy appears. He concludes this note with:
His [ie Dante's] later works included The New Life, a treatise on love, the Convivia; a dissertation in support of humanistic science; and De Monarchia, an eloquent defense on secular as opposed to papal power.
The story begins in a very dark place with Leary entering his own personal Inferno.
Flashforward to the Hag's conclusion and he's obviously a completely different person, talking about the future:
Survival in the future will be based on intelligence increase: expanding the spectrum of information we receive, improving our models for analyzing these facts, and developing more powerful modes of transmitting up-dated signals to others.
I make this prediction with confidence and serenity: the Young Ones are ready to Turn On the higher circuits of their brains, Tune In to the awesome strength of their numbers, and Take Charge of evolution.
It's about time.
In his bio on Dr. Tim, John Higgs suggests that his closing words, It's about time, seems "a small coded message, not aimed at casual readers ..." Higgs also points out that at one time Leary named the book about his jailbreak escape, It's About Time, eventually published as Confessions of a Hope Fiend. Could time be the key that Leary searched for and found?
Time appears important to whatever Intelligence contacted Robert Anton Wilson in the early '70's.. As he writes in Cosmic Trigger I (p.91):
The entity or entities contacted by me during July 1973--October 1974 had most of the characteristics of the "beings of light" described by persons who have been resuscitated after what is called near-death experience....
...Christians generally describe the "being of light" as Jesus. Jews as "an angel," and non-believers agnostically say it is luminous, telepathic, and intensely loving. The author found it to possess all of these qualities, and also a damned peculiar sense of humor ... But the entity always intently urged that I should try to understand time better.
on p. 179 he mentions an experience of time dilation:
I had a classic experience of being taken into fairyland, undergoing the usual time-warps characteristic of fairy-lore -- I thought I was "over there" for several hours, but it all happened in a few minutes of the consensus-time of the witches with whom I was working.
... Later, I found the whole experience entered as a dream in my diary, two weeks before it occurred. And, of course, all the time I was over there in the Cosmic Fun House, they kept trying to tell me something unintelligible about time."
I had a similar experience with respect to a precognitive dream. In 1993, a friend of mine, Nancy Burns, told me of a dream she had about me in a vehicle that drove from the right side, English style. She gave a clear description of the vehicle and the scene and asked if it was familiar to me. I didn't recognize anything from her dream, it didn't sound like any of the recording trips I'd been on.
In January of 2001 I finished a session in Miami and immediately boarded a plane for Mumbai, India. Had an all night layover in Mumbai spent eating and taking in the art and ambience of a luxury hotel before catching a morning flight to Bangalore. A driver met me at the gate in Bangalore. I was exhausted, hadn't slept since Miami but when I got into the backseat of his van, I had a very strong deja vu. Then I realized that this scenario perfectly fit the description of Nancy's dream. She had apparently "seen" it 8 years before I experienced it.
The final mention of time in the Cosmic Trigger I occurs in the Egyptian fable which begins Part 3, Trigger (p. 221). It concerns the story of the resurrection of Osiris by Isis after he was murdered by our old friend, Set:
... Set dismembered the body of Osiris and scattered the pieces up and down the Nile River.
When Isis learned what had been done, she called upon Thoth, the god of Eternity, to stop the flow of Time, so that she could find all the parts of Osiris before the sun set. And Thoth stopped the wings of time, and the universe stood still, and Isis went forth weeping and griefstricken to hunt one by one for the pieces of the dead Lord Osiris. And when she had found all of them, she performed the Black Rite, and eternity gave birth to Time again, and Osiris was alive.
This story suggests that the passage of time stops at death but that the awareness of the deceased can survive this eternal moment and take rebirth. Relativity theory tells us that the passage of time will stop for anything traveling at the speed of light. The Tibetan Book of the Dead talks about the Clear Light as the first chamber the voyager goes through after death. It seems very difficult to hang out in that space without getting overwhelmed and blacking out. A common report from people who have had near-death experiences describes moving into an intense light. Could these describe consciousness accelerating to the speed of light at the moment of death thus causing time to stop?
Could the flashes or chambers of light that mystics experience in their deeper meditations arise from the acceleration of their conscious awareness until it reaches the speed of light? The flashes might be from only momentarily reaching that velocity. The sensation of awareness seeming to pick up speed and go much faster in deeper states appears familiar to shamanic explorers. The acceleration of consciousness would account for the effects of time dilation in accordance with Relativity.
This acceleration of consciousness explains why Crowley, Gurdjieff, and others emphasized concentration and attention exercises. High attention becomes a necessity for entering certain rarefied chambers seemingly invisible until a higher velocity of consciousness blooms forth. Lack of ability, or strength to focus and concentrate attention will simply keep one out of those chambers for the most part. I say for the most part because, from time to time, a practicing voyager will gain admission to rarefied chambers with insufficient attention. Perhaps by having the direct experience of how weak your attention works in the macrodimensions will enough motivation be gained to make it much stronger.
Crowley, in his textbook Magick Book 4 (p.31 Bluebrick first edition) talks about an experience called dhyana, a result of a particular yoga practice:
One of the simplest forms of dhyana may be called "the Sun." The sun is seen (as it were) by itself, not by an observer; and although the physical eye can not behold the sun, one is compelled to make the statement that this "Sun" is far more brilliant than the sun of nature. The whole thing takes place on a higher level.
Also the conditions of thought, time and space are abolished. It is impossible to explain what this really means: only experience can furnish you with apprehension.
The emphasis is Crowley's in the book .... well, I might have helped a little :)
He repeats the statement a few pages later (p. 38):
Dhyana resembles samadhi in many respects. There is a union of the ego and non-ego, and a loss of the sense of time, space and causality. Duality in any form is abolished.
As Crowley says, and I repeat, only experience will furnish you with apprehension.
I'm going to keep these posts on the shorter side because we have much to digest. I say we because some of this sounds new to me also, at least in the context of how it appears here.
Another friend, Jerry Berman, once advised me to pay attention to what I was saying. Not in the sense of carefully choosing words but listening to what you yourself say when communicating. Take it in as you give it out. He pointed out a phenomenon where lecturers can be giving incredible talks, the information just flows right through them, yet they themselves don't listen as they deliver it.
Jerry acquired expert status in the field of ancient Egyptian antiquities from assembling a museum in Los Angeles. Going with him to the Egyptian wing at New York's Metropolitan Museum increased my ancient Egyptian information exponentially. He can, and does, talk for hours on the subject. One time I was in London working with the band Blur with Bill Laswell on bonus songs for a Greatest Hits package. We had an unexpected day off, so I went to the British Museum. I was walking around the museum recording the ambient acoustics of the different rooms onto a portable DAT when I heard a familiar voice as I approached the Egyptian section. There stood Jerry lecturing away; I suddenly felt right at home. He didn't even seem that surprised to see me ... like if you're giving an impromptu talk on ancient Egypt, seeing Oz walking around recording the ambience seems a totally normal thing!
And now for something completely [not] different:
Some television producers in the '60's apparently time traveled to the '80's and developed a show based on Flashback's last words:
Stay tuned for more on Life Extension...