Google and the Myceliation of Consciousness
Let me introduce myself. I am RoseRose, doing business on Google Earth 2007 as an alien paleoanthropologist from another timeframe, studying the heirloom code of Homo Sapiens. I’m focusing on your critical position at the beginning of the psychedelic age, with the emergence of the first psychedelically informed superpower: Google. If you were to call yourselves Homo Sapiens v1.0, I lie somewhere around v4.5 – same basic architecture on the wetware, but with key bugs fixed, a re-wired brain and a new linguistic OS.
These technological advances occurred through learning how to use psychedelics, the fires of the mind. This here and now is the frontier. Round two for the monkeys playing with fire. Round one with wood-burning fire was fun. Scary. Awesome when it rips through the forest. Delicious when it leaves a roast pig in the ashes. But how to use and control fire—warmth, protection, metallurgy, better spears, pottery, roast pig on demand—took a lot of experimenting, accidental discoveries, and risk before it became an evolutionary catalyst. Ditto for the psychedelic fires. Seeing the tsunami of evolutionary change as it approaches—and you can see it from altered states, as you know, noetically, grokkingly—this changes everything.
I have the advantage of hindsight, but I’ve noticed even the best-traveled psychonauts, the navigators and pilots of the interdimensional transport systems, the manufacturers and distributors of the fuel, have trouble holding the knowledge that this changes everything—in baseline consciousness. The findings are orthogonal to baseline paradigms of history and evolution, or a baseline sense of scale, or baseline perceptual settings. It’s just too big. Few have grokked the cognitive, creative, and ethical advantages conferred by the psychedelics. Those that have are already implementing the findings, and, well, taking over the world.
Take Google snagging Larry Brilliant to run Google.org. What do you get when you hire a phormer phreak, a Neem Karoli Baba spiritual guy who worked to eradicate smallpox with the WHO, later a Seva Foundation founder and doctor bringing sight to the blind in Nepal with his wife and Ram Dass and Wavy Gravy? Brilliant was on “The Bus,” for gawd sakes, and he brings, quoting the San Francisco Chronicle article, “ his pursuit of humanitarian goals and his longtime obsession with the technology business, particularly the potential for technology to connect people with each other and with information” [emphasis mine].
Think of the psychedelics as Google’s biggest trade secret. From this perspective, the War on Drugs is a feature, not a bug. It keeps the straight CEOs woefully uninitiated and misinformed, making their moves based on old slow mind-software (natural language, logic, rational analysis) when the real world is moving far too fast and complexly to rely on these tools alone. Corporate and government drug-testing steers away the cognitively enhanced creatives from private and public service. Meanwhile the phreaks employ the cognitive catalysts, de-condition their thinking periodically and come up with “12 Waddington runnel jumpers” This heady concept is explicated in podcasts 65 and 66 of the Psychedelic Salon—from the McKenna, Abraham, Sheldrake trialogues. The runnel jumpers are the really big connectivity ideas arrived at wholly outside the linear steps of argument. These are the gestalt-perceiving, asterism-forming “aha’s!” that connect the dots and light up the sky with a new archetypal pattern. The psychedelics are ancient methods of knowledge acquisition, newly deployed. The original search engines, you might say. Taxonomies and to-do lists are way, way, way down the line.
Google is the first psychedelically informed superpower to shape the noosphere and NASDAQ. I don't mean that Googlers (necessarily) are all seasoned psychonauts, or (necessarily) take 4:20 breaks on-campus, or are well represented (necessarily) at Burning Man. Nor am I saying that psychedelics “caused” Google, any more than a Stanford education did. I do mean that the core mission comes right out of the psychedelic atlas: a vision of super-connectivity and super-conductivity that is a hallmark of the psychedelic landscape. An exceptional treatment of this theme is Rich Doyle’s book Ecodelic!, forthcoming from the University of Washington Press in 2008. Every search returns a new (always new because always shifting and adding and growing) set of filaments connecting the searcher's quest to their potential grail. Every quest or re-quest weaves the mycelial mat of connections more densely: among people, data, images, jokes, video, ads, text messages, music, maps, and cultural artifacts of every communicable variety. It is Ted Nelson's intertwingulation heaven. And, of course, those filaments meet, mate, form hyphal knots. Some are fruitful, and a clump of mushrooms springs above the ground, out of the hidden mat.
The bible for this lifeform is Paul Stamet's Mycelium Running. The book begins with a discussion of what Stamets calls the mycelial archetype. He compares the mushroom mycelium with the overlapping information-sharing systems that comprise the Internet, with the networked neurons in the brain, and with a computer model of dark matter in the universe. All share this densely intertwingled filamental structure. Stamets says, “I believe that the mycelium operates at a level of complexity that exceeds the computational powers of our most advanced supercomputers. I see the mycelium as the Earth’s natural Internet, a consciousness with which we might be able to communicate.” Stamets has also authored the identification guide, Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World.
By adjusting the settings of consciousness with psychedelics, I submit a myceliation of consciousness itself occurs. Coming up on psilocybin mushrooms, when I’m quiet, and paying attention, I see-hear-feel the neuronal network lighting up, and millions of new connections branching out, and they look-sound-feel like filaments, impossibly fine filaments in a wavy glow. And sometimes when consciousness soars outside of what it ordinarily considers itself to be (private ego identity bounded by a skull bowl and embedded in baseline reality/perception settings) it witnesses itself connecting at warp speed to a shared vast sentient datafield.
This super-connectivity and conductivity is often accompanied by blissful mindbody states and the cognitive ecstasy of multiple "aha's!" when the patterns in the mycelium are revealed. The Googling that has become a prime noetic technology (How can we recognize a pattern and connect more and more, faster and faster?: superconnectivity and superconductivity) mirrors the increased speed of connection of thought-forms from cannabis highs on up. The whole process is driven by desire not only for these blissful states in and of themselves, but also as the cognitive resource they represent (the trade secret). The devices of desire are those that connect. The Crackberry is just the latest super-connectivity and conductivity device-of-desire.
The psilocybin mushroom embeds the form of its own life-cycle into consciousness when consciousness is altered by the mushroom, and this template, brought home to Google Earth, made into tools of connectivity, potentiates the mycelium of knowledge, connecting all cultural production. The traditional repositories—the books and print and CD and DVD materials—swarm online, along with intimate glimpses of Everyblogger's Life in multimediated detail. Here on Google watch, I’m tracking the form of this whole wildly interconnecting activity that this desire to connect inscribes, the millions of simultaneous individual expressions of desire: searches, adclicks, where am I?, what's near me?, who's connected to whom? The desire extends the filaments, and energizes the constant linking and unlinking of the vast signaling system that lights up the mycelium. Periodic visits to the psychedelic sphere reveal the progress of this mycelial growth, as well as its back-history, future, origins, inhabitants, and purpose. Google is growing the cultural mycelial mat, advancing this process exponentially. Google is the first psychedelically informed super-power. Google is part of virtually everybody’s online day. The implications are staggering.
Google is growing the mycelium in at least three interconnected domains. First, and most obvious, the increasingly differentiated and feature-rich extrapolations of search. The mycelial mat of meaning. The hardware and software that maintains and advances the infrastructure of quest and question. Second, the biological, biochemical web of interconnection we experience from Gaia to our own tuned in, turned on mind/brains. Third, the mycelial web of consciousness.
First things first. At the heart of Google’s web of meaning lives their guiding archetype: the quest. Not only search, but the search for the perfect search, the meta-search. Super-connectivity and super-conductivity running mazes of meaning. Shaving milliseconds off the appearance of results. Approaching the limit of relevance.
Second: the biological domain. A web of caring for life on Google Earth. Google.org. The Brilliant connection. Led by a man informed by psychedelics, spirituality, and service who instituted the Well – the early prototype of online community, conversation, connection, and activism among the west coast tribe, deep in the Altered State of California. An über-shaman with healing cred and technological chops. The ecodelic insight—we’re all connected here on Google Earth—prevails.
Third: the domain of consciousness. Habitual aware participation in domains one and two changes consciousness in and of itself. But what does it mean to institute a search for knowledge in the psychedelic sphere? What are the best practices, the algorithms with which to navigate multiple worlds and bring home the relevant bacon? The research on the use of psychedelics in creative problem solving was cut short with scheduling. Research continued, of course, in the underground, but was hampered by the chilling effect of the Drug War, primarily in the lines of communication by which findings are shared. Google makes it soooo much easier to find what’s there and start to piece it together, if only because so much of the vital publishing is not in print, nor peer-reviewed, nor orderly, but has found its way online.
In the domain of consciousness, super-connectivity and super-conductivity also reign. Superconductivity: speed is of the essence. Speed of conductivity of meaning. How fast can consciousness make meaning out of the flux of perceptions? How many meanings interconnect? Racing in sync, branching relentlessly, gathering in, aha!—does this sound like your mind after a heavy hit? Superconductivity is usually achieved at very low temperatures, near absolute zero, near the boundary where the “physical” dissolves into quantum weirdness, and paradoxicality, non-locality, and timelessness mirror the mindstate of a high-dose psychedelic voyage. According to Fröhlich coherence theory, “The Frohlich effect is a paradigm of how quantum coherence can exist and play a physical role at biological scales.” Apparently, quantum coherence can happen at body temperatures. Speculations on the implications of this are discussed at length in Oroc’s Tryptamine Palace, (a copy of which Lorenzo of the Psychedelic Salon passed to me on the Playa) and also in one of Oroc’s sources, Lynne McTaggert’s Consciousness 101 must-read: The Field. How does search function out along the web of consciousness, when the “everything is connected to everything” grandmamma of all matrices provides the home page for the noetic venture?
However we represent this field of fields in which we are all embedded, no matter how many dimensions or levels of reality we invoke, from physics (zero point energy), to Buddhism’s empty plenum, to the Akashic field of perennial philosophy, there exist a full spectrum of noetic experiences. To ask “How does a question function in an experientially multidimensional domain?” is to question the nature of questioning. One wonders at the form and feel of a system that could respond intelligibly to such a quest about the question it/self. The search for the perfect search in the baseline domain becomes, in the awareness of myceliation and universal connectivity of the psychedelic sphere, the quest for the perfect question.
I sense Google straining at the limits of natural language’s ability to make meaning as they wrestle with multilingual translations and semantic search. Those Googlers who are bending their minds around the meaning of meaning may want to reach under the entire apparatus of natural language (yes, even mathematics) down closer to the machine language of thought, not in binary, but in full spectrum arpeggios of rainbow light. Perhaps this is the realm of organic biophotonic communication: languages of light and color in waves. (See the work of Mae-Wan Ho and Fritz Albert Popp.)
When Google breaks through the natural language barrier and catches a glimpse, at least, of what it’s like to operate cognition entirely outside the veil of natural language, they will truly be Masters of Meaning. Needless to say, this is a psychedelically mediated experiment. From that vantage point, it is all too clear the software we call natural language is painfully slow. Meaning manifests independently of language, though often finds itself entombed therein. But from this bootstrap move outside language, new insights arise regarding the structures and functions of natural language from a perspective that handles cognition with different tools, perceptions, sensory modalities—and produces new forms of language with new feature sets.
This is a view of Google from a baseline rewired by psychedelics, a little closer to the archetypal patterns and energies often encountered. The main difference between thee and me, v1.0 Homo Sapiens and v4.5 is the OS: dynamic visual language—multi-dimensional language that moves and morphs. This is the download Terence McKenna kept cycling through, and represents the key noetic technology for the stabilization of the transformation of consciousness in a sharable conceptual architecture. In Terence’s words, “It's almost as though the project of communication becomes high-speed sculpture in a conceptual dimension made of light and intentionality. This would remain a kind of esoteric performance on the part of shamans at the height of intoxication if it were not for the fact that electronics and electronic cultural media, computers, make it possible for us to actually create records of these higher linguistic modalities.” A psychedelically informed language that can express it/self in transforming webs of meaning can absorb the glacial pace of natural language and its binary logic, reprogramming consciousness and cognition through a vastly increased bandwidth of meaning per unit of time—through an integration of thinking and feeling modalities, and by blue-shifting the energetic state of the bodymind higher to create a new baseline of perception and concomitant reality.
Google is mainlining the archetypal energies of the mycelium and the quest. To the degree that Google groks its own archetypal organizing principles, it can operate more successfully in multiple domains of influence on multiple levels of reality. It can build a new model, a transdimensional model, a correlative system that can sustain the connections and translate technologies and noesis among levels or domains. It is important also to note that the archetype, as an intellectual concept alone, lacks juice. A numinous encounter with the archetype is desirable for an integrated understanding. Again, this experience can be psychedelically mediated.
So there you have it. Your visiting alien paleoanthropologist, on sabbatical in the killing fields of the War on Drugs, has been trying to sketch the functioning of archetypes—the mycelial web and the Quest—as an organizing principle for a psychedelically informed superpower becoming aware of itself as such. The word “informed” was carefully chosen. If there is a case to be made for use of a stronger word, such as “catalyzed,” it will have to be made by the Googlers themselves.