“It went on for years, I must have had a thousand trips. Literally a thousand, or a couple of hundred? A thousand - I used to just eat it (acid) all the time.”
“Wherever and whenever the ego function began to form, it was akin to a cancerous tumor or a blockage in the energy of the psyche. The use of psychedelic plants in a context of shamanic initiation dissolved-as it dissolves today-the knotted structure of the ego”
- Terrence McKenna: Food of the Gods
I'd lost faith completely in the counter-culture 'revolution' of the 60s as we approached the 1970s. Everything seemed to be going to shit faster than a diet of stewed prunes and roadside chilli-dogs. For a decade that had started off so well we'd seen it end with Kent State, the break up of The Beatles and Manson and The Family doing their nasty little business. What was left of the counterculture movement was holed up in Fortress 'Frisco, wrapped up in their own bullshit and a fluffy haze of drug-induced euphoria as if they were trying to will Nixon into non-existence simply by ignoring him.
It was a big, huge, enormous, giant, shitter of a comedown and like oh-so-many I'd become just another disillusioned hippies and revolutionaries. Spitting out what venom I could in Rolling Stone, criticising, blaming and throwing tantrums while drowning my sorrows in fifty kinds of pill and any kind of booze that came across my path.
Those of us old enough to remember know where we were for important events. Events used to be important, miracles used to be rare. I remember where I was when Kennedy was shot, when Nixon wasn't and when we landed on The Moon – which back then was a big fucking deal, like something out of a trip. I also remember where I was when the miracle happened and the first of the new gods came to walk amongst us.
I was in a diner in San Fran, chewing the inside of my face to a bloody pulp, trying not to dig the ants out from under my skin with a fork and trying desperately not to gouge the eyes out of the self-righteous hippy who was trying to lecture me about my breakfast of bourbon, codeine and a three-patty murder burger, rare as pandas.
That's when it happened.
Somewhere in Los Angeles, and we'll never know the full alchemy of it, some mix of creative genius, a normally lethal dose of LSD, the screechy pretension of Yoko Ono and Dr Janov's bullshit primal therapy led to a genuine transcendence and it rolled across the world like a tidal wave. Colours became brighter, light more profound, we heard music in the wind and everyone poured out onto the street to watch. It rained diamonds, the clouds sang to us, in Vietnam the fighting stopped as every soldier found himself naked, home and carrying a single daisy. In Northern Ireland there were suddenly two versions of the same place, mirrors of one another, one for the Catholics, one for the Protestants. In South Africa blacks and whites were all the same colour and it was neither black nor white.
John had become something else, something more, something that so many of us have become since. The first real superhero. A god-man, something that we've all become – those of us who were able. He switched us on the way he'd been switched on, turned us on to the wellspring of the godhead. Anything we could think, anything we could want, we could make, limited only by our own imaginations. For so many of us, that was so very small a thing.
Even me. I'm 'writing' this into what looks like a typewriter in the library of the Mind of Mankind, something that only exists in our collective imagination. How do I spend my time? Writing about the way thing were before we got our godhood, before we remade the world, before we did away with the swine and the jerks and the republicans, the violence and the pain and the agony, the death the disease and the hate.
Life's nothing without a little pain, without a challenge to overcome. The children of the new gods don't understand this and they're never going to change. They're spoiled, to the ultimate degree, nothing to be denied to them, nothing they cannot do, nobody to tell them 'no' or 'stop', no challenges to overcome. Just peace and love forever and for a man who runs on bile and vitriol, that's no life at all.
I'm going to make one last, stupid gesture, I'm going to see if I can die. That might put a thought or two into the heads of this universal pantheon of indulgence. I am so very, very bored.
- R.D. Library of the Mind of Mankind, Seventh Heaven, Jupiter, 2005.