Carnac the Magnificent
Gold's first response was to say that was a good question. Then he looked directly at me and said that answering that question was like trying to explain nuclear physics to a bushman from Borneo. The rest of the reply seemed addressed to the group as much as it was to me, sometimes even moreso. Most of the following discourse didn't sound like a direct answer to the question, sometimes it seemed only tangentially related. The talk wasn't recorded and I wasn't taking notes. I wrote down what I could remember on the plane the next day but don't have access to that notebook at this time. However, some things I'll never forget, such as:
Another direct moment came when he asked, "Who are you? ... who are you?" The same question the hookah smoking caterpillar asked Alice in the Wonderland adventures. I didn't have an answer in that moment. I'd done the Buddhist "neti neti" ( not this, not that) exercise enough times to know what he was asking. I knew that I was not "Oz Fritz," not a sound engineer, not a magician, yogi or spiritual seeker, etc. etc. - these are all masks, activities, or relations, they are not who I am at the deepest level.
Gold started taking about Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land book following that question. He knew Robert and Virginia Heinlein through his connection with Galaxy Magazine. E.J.s father, Horace L. Gold was the founding editor. Apparently, they were very conservative. Gold held that Heinlein intended SIASL as a satirical comment on the hippie lifestyle. I still find this hard to believe though having read it again recently, I do find the free love section over the top and can see how that might be a parody.
At one point Fortrean type phenomena was mentioned particularly architectural structures that couldn't have been built by any known technology at the time they were constructed.
Toward the end of the talk he brought up the Sirius Cybernetic Corporation, found in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy story. I don't recall the context but remember him finally saying, "they're real ... they're out there ( points up to the right), well, no actually they're over there ( pointing down to the left) ... or maybe they're over there"( pointing horizontally to the right) amongst laughter, and that's how it ended. Claude Needham said, " to be continued..."
I felt in a very altered state when the talk was over and had no idea how long had been. It seemed like a really long time but in consensual clock time probably lasted for 60 - 90 minutes. I still felt altered 2 days later at Laswell's Greenpoint studio when I helped Jason Corsaro record the best drummer alive at the time, Tony Williams, for an album called The Word by Jonas Helborg. After Tony left, I told Bill everything that had happened in California. Bill said that he felt a strong contact high just hearing about it.