” All people are born potentially telepathic—but that if we’re ever going to get any message-traffic capacity, we must first shovel the shit out of the Communications Room.”
— Spider Robinson
An interesting thread came up today in a couple of FB groups I was in. Something a friend had posted reminded me of a story by Spider Robinson that I read.
“I know, son, I know. The Second Commandment of Leary: ‘Thou shalt not alter thy brother’s consciousness without his consent.’ So how about retroactive consent?”
“The aftereffects. I’ve administered the drug to blind volunteers. They knew only that they were sampling a new psychedelic of unknown effect. In each case I gave a preliminary ‘attitude survey’ questionnaire with a few buried questions. In fourteen cases I satisfied myself that the subject would probably not have taken the drug if he or she had known its effect. In about three-quarters of them I damn well knew it. The effects were the same for all but one. All fourteen of them experienced major life upheaval—usually irreversible and quite against their will—while under the effects of the drug. They all became violently angry at me after they came down. Then all fourteen stormed off to try and put their lives back together. Thirteen of them were back within a week, asking me to lay another hit on them.”
Zack’s eyes widened. “Addictive on a single hit. Jesus.”
“No, no!” George said exasperatedly. “It’s not the drug that’s addictive, dammit. It’s the truth that’s addictive. Every one of those people came back for, like, three-four hits, and then they stopped coming by. I checked up on the ones I was in a position to. They had just simply rearranged their lives on solid principles of truth and honesty and begun to live that way all the time. They didn’t need the drug anymore. Every damn one of them thanked me. One of them fucked me, sweetly and lovingly—at my age.”
– From “Satan’s Children” by Spider Robinson.
Something I heard a while back;
A few years ago, a friend of mine asked me the question “If you could have two wishes granted by an all-powerful, all good, all knowing genie, what would they be?”
I thought for a few seconds and then answered “I don’t need two wishes. I only need one.”
My friend argued with me briefly that, based on a complex logical analysis, I really did need two wishes, the first of which was to set up the conditions for the second one.
I repeated, “I don’t need two wishes. I only need one.”
He replied, “Okay, what is it?”
“I would wish for what is best.”
He continued to try to find reasons why his analysis was superior to mine. To each of these I replied “Would the results of your wish be better than the results of mine?”
“Yes. And here’s why…”
I patiently explained that the results of his wish could not possibly be better than mine, because I wished only for what was best. By definition, nothing could be better than what is best.
He countered that with “But what if what is best isn’t what is best for me?”
That was a little bit more difficult than the original question of what to wish for in the first place, but I shortly realized the answer wasn’t much more complicated: “Then you should change so that what is best is best for you.”
I believe this is within the reach of each of us, and if we accept the challenge, the world will be a different and better place.
–From Vajrah Krishna, Possibility Magazine: