the research sessions
There is an idea that wants to be born,
it has wanted to be born for a very long time. –Terence McKenna
And sometimes that longing to be born settles on a person. For no damn good reason. Then you’re “it,” you become the cheese, and the cheese stands alone. You are illuminated and maddened and lifted up by something great beyond all telling. It wants to be told. It’s just that this idea is so damn big that it can’t be told, or rather the whole of history is the telling of this idea, the stuttering rambling effort of the sons and daughters of poor old Noah to tell this blinding, reality-shattering, bowel-loosening truth. And Phil had a piece of the action, a major piece of the action. Terence McKenna 1
In 1998, The Glide language downloaded from an altered state in the form of 27 alien glyphs—their geometry, logic, how they move and morph into each other to make meaning, and their relationship to the I Ching. Download is my term for a particular psychedelic experience of intense, sudden, concentrated gnosis, a delivery of high-speed compacted information all-at-once that can take years, or a lifetime to unpack. Terence McKenna describes this experience in his afterword, “I Understand Philip K. Dick,” to Sutin’s selection from Dick’s Exegesis. Dick called this downloading agency ZEBRA or VALIS (Vast Active Living Intelligent System). McKenna often calls it the voice of the Logos. Each of these downloads of the unspeakable resulted in a highly prolix exegesis and the building of a system of thought. Dick tagged his download experience as “the pink light” and his attempt to decipher, the Exegesis. From the experience and the Exegesis came three of his last novels: VALIS, The Divine Invasion, and The Transmigration of Timothy Archer, each of which wrap Dick himself as character into his own story in a unique way. Terence and Dennis McKenna’s download goes under “The Experiment at La Chorrera,” and resulted in Timewave Zero, a system, including software, embodying a theory of fractal time and the ingression of novelty which grew out of a high-correlative system, the I Ching.
The trigger? In the first stages of writing a science fiction novel, The Maze Game, I had asked the characters in the story world the question, How is the game played? My own download came in the form of the Glide symbolic system, its fictional story of psychedelic origin, and software writing systems in two and three dimensions for exploring both the psychedelic realm and the linguistic system itself. The answer, On a maze made of the visual language, Glide, began the avalanche of information. The Maze Gamewas published in 2003 by Deep Listening Press. The Glide download initiated a ten-year period of psychedelic self-exploration which I call, tongue-in-cheek, the ADs or Alien Downloads. The ADs were recorded in handwritten notebooks from July, 1999, until 2006, when a combination of handwritten and computer-entered documents were created.
The hand-written documents have been largely transcribed into digital format, with the incorporated drawings scanned and inserted into the documents. The intention of the ten-year psychonautical exploration has been to unpack the Glide download of July, 1998. The core ideas of my research, leading to a Ph.D. in 2010 in xenolinguistics, were developed in these sessions; they are the source of the “new knowledge” explored. The ADs are titled with their dates using the format AD_YY.MM.DD.
- Sutin, L. (1991). In Pursuit of Valis: Selections from the Exegesis-Philip K. Dick. Novato, Underwood-Miller. [↩]