Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Psychedelic Without Drugs... Not An Oxymoron

Living in Japan has its plusses: an interesting, refined culture, mountains, seas, kind and generous people, safety, low unemployment, generous social services, and a physically healthy lifestyle. It has its minuses too: a rigid, maladaptive culture, overworking citizens, ethnocentrism, and harsh drug laws.

In a nation that encourages overindulgence of alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine, it is unwittingly draconian in its punishments of illicit drugs which include marijuana and non-addictive psychedelics such as psilocybin, LSD, and MDMA. Hemp, like in many places around the world, was widely used until post-war Japan. Magic Mushrooms were legal until just after the year 2000. They could be bought in vending machines. Currently, in a reaction to the strict laws, there is a surge in the popularity of designer, synthetic drugs known as "legal herb" in Japanese, or Spice in the U.S. Unregulated and unpredictable in effect, I now stay away from these loophole drugs.

Tobacco's been out for years now.

And alcohol feels more and more like a death curse as Father Time does his worst to me.

All of that said, I'm not particularly mad about the conditions of my life in Japan, but with a family and a career, I don't take my chances with illegal substances in Japan.

I still identify with the ethos of psychedelia, however. Transcendence, the soup of consciousness, lifting the veil, brushing away the mist, these metaphors grip me strongly. I see them as stepping stones across the river of man's evolution, though we keep slipping and getting our feet wet, forced to dry off and try again (often without proper reflection, making the same mistakes over and over and over again).

This gets me to my main point: the English language needs a term for this. We need a word to describe those of us who are psychedelic/transcendent, but who do not want the pharmacological or religious labels and connotations that come along with those aforementioned monikers.

If you have any good ideas, please let me know in the comments section.

There are a few ways you can be a hero and support AJ. Free things are: try Audible or AmazonPrime for 30 days, link us to a social network like TwitterFacebook or Reddit, or download and rate the podcast in iTunesIf you have a little spare money you can send a Paypal donation to ajsnookauthor@gmail.com, buy one of AJ's Kindle eBooks, or buy anything on Amazon by going through the Amazon links on the site. Thanks so much for your support, AJ
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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Gabor Mate in Seeing the Truth

The truth is that we are all in this thing together. We suffer, rejoice, trip and fall, and stand in awe as one. Not only are we responsible for our species, but we're responsible for life itself. This does not put us on a pedestal at the top of a hierarch. On the contrary, it demands of us humility. We have the know-how and the wherewithall to describe the energy of life through all the beautiful mediums of art -- prose, poetry, film, painting, animation, athletics, dance -- and science, but we also have the responsibility to preserve and extend life, to transport it to faraway planets, to record it accurately as historians, to remember how to cherish it like our ancestors did and all the living indigenous peoples do so well still.

Save the nihilism and live instead. Turn down the dial of depression. Run down the clock of scarcity. Laugh in the face of fear. Be full now. Be rich knowing that we are alive. Gabor Mate gets this. Most of us get this. Spread the word and don't forget to act.


There are a few ways you can be a hero and support AJ. Free things are: try Audible or AmazonPrime for 30 days, link us to a social network like TwitterFacebook or Reddit, or download and rate the podcast in iTunesIf you have a little spare money you can send a Paypal donation to ajsnookauthor@gmail.com, buy one of AJ's Kindle eBooks, or buy anything on Amazon by going through the Amazon links on the site. Thanks so much for your support, AJ

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Collisions at the Beginning of the Universe

I can't quite put my finger on what I want to say in this post apart from the fact that I have felt a surge of gratitude over the past few weeks, and I'm pleasured by visions of collissions at the beginning of the universe. It's a metaphor surely, because, you see, +Linda Dean was nice enough to film a wonderful review of my novel, Sumire: Into the Deep and Into the Unknown, and it feels great to hear that kind of feedback.

Although I have been through her hometown of Corvallis, Oregon, I have never met the woman (nor paid her to review my book). I now live in Japan, literally an ocean away, embedded, sometimes reluctantly, in a steely culture of collectivism and efficiency -- a far cry from the libertarian tributary that flows from the estuary known as Oregon State University. Yet, we connected.

The world contains a petri dish of ideas bouncing off of each other like planetary bodies at the dawn of time. In that sense, the internet is a violent collision of creativity that is spawning new life.

Watching her on YouTube, I realized that I had finally hit a benchmark. I'd picked up a carrot left graciously for me along the winding road of writing, for I'd moved someone. Hold the phone! Old AJ is slinging rocks of thought that are crashing into masochistic minds.

I digress and feel irksome at the way I toot (hah) my own horn. The point is about freedom, about expression, about living in the mystery, about opening that yellow slicker and flashing one's soul for the gaping jaws of the world.

Can you see it? Just wait. Seek and ye shall find. Thank you +Linda Dean and good luck with your endeavors


There are a few ways you can be a hero and support AJ. Free things are: try Audible or AmazonPrime for 30 days, link us to a social network like TwitterFacebook or Reddit, or download and rate the podcast in iTunesIf you have a little spare money you can send a Paypal donation to ajsnookauthor@gmail.com, buy one of AJ's Kindle eBooks, or buy anything on Amazon by going through the Amazon links on the site. Thanks so much for your support, AJ

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Bandwidth That Powers Mandkind

I heard an interesting quote on the radio recently. I'd love to know who the author of the quote is, so if you know, get in touch. The man said, "As we expand bandwidth between each other, we dissolve our differences."

What he meant by "bandwidth" is up for interpretation, but I think he meant a combination of a few things. If he simply meant "communication" or "empathy" he would have said as much. He chose the bandwidth analogy because bandwidth is dependent on a few factors in order for it to be dispersed at a high rate. A few of the key factors are as follows:

1. High-technology, which is a product of generations of teaching, learning, and application of knowledge.

2. A peaceful environment. In order for education and its application to go on unfettered, there need be a scarcity of conflict and danger.

3. Freedom to experiment. Culture needs to be elastic enough to allow innovative thinkers and risk-takers.

Therefore, the right environment, education, and infrastructure need to be in place in order for humans to expand the bandwidth between each other, dissolve our differences, and march forward in our social evolution. Technologies like the Occulus Rift or the Kinect (the internet 2.0 as people have been calling them) are
a good start. Empathy-building tools in the form of Big Education platforms like Khan Academy or TED are also steps in the right direction.

But something is missing. The next step remains to be seen.

What do you see in our future? The "re-wilding" of our species, an "archaic revival" of sorts, is a piece that I see fitting into the puzzle somewhere. A human is changed when she walks in the woods. She recalls bits of her essence, her true self, when she connects with nature. If, on some esoteric level, artificiality is embodied with an intelligence, then it would serve that entity well to reduce us organic entities down to mere slaves of the inorganic, to men and women locked into screens all day, to children in the same room as their parents, but also light years away, lost in a game or a video or the next best App.

This has all been said before, but we need to be more self-critical with our use of technology. We need to use our gadgets as human enhancers: for learning, for storytelling, for empathy, for self-realization.

Reflection is lost in the developed world, for it is moving too fast to stop and look back, and it is too judgmental to allow us to pause and be here, now.

There are a few ways you can be a hero and support AJ. Free things are: try Audible or AmazonPrime for 30 days, link us to a social network like TwitterFacebook or Reddit, or download and rate the podcast in iTunesIf you have a little spare money you can send a Paypal donation to ajsnookauthor@gmail.com, buy one of AJ's Kindle eBooks, or buy anything on Amazon by going through the Amazon links on the site. Thanks so much for your support, AJ

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Amor Fati - Love Your Fate

While watching some True Detective clips the other day, I then revisited Nietzsche and the whole "the universe is a flat circle" idea. It's all mind-blowing stuff that can really get the dome scintillating. Time is cyclical, not linear. Micro-time, or the accumulation of moments, is reactionary and independent of free will. Macro-time, or the mapping out of one's future, is malleable within the constraints of imagination and the laws of physics. How can the two co-exist?

Sam Harris is convinced there is no free will, but Nietzsche and Sam agree says this doesn't stand in the way of beauty and love. Amor fati prescribes us to love existence because it is all we have. It is unchangeable.

Nietzsche said:

I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things; then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful. Amor fati: let that be my love henceforth! I do not want to wage war against what is ugly. I do not want to accuse; I do not even want to accuse those who accuse. Looking away shall be my only negation. And all in all and on the whole: some day I wish to be only a Yes-sayer.

It is a very Christ-consciousness approach if you ask me. Love all things. Even the mundane. Even the "evil". Love annihilates the wicked. "Love without power is sentimental and anemic."

If time is cyclical, and if consciousness drives reality, then it's not total lunacy to wonder if our own subjective state will change the course of reality. To love everything, to love what is "necessary," or to love the mechanism, might just change the mechanism in the course of all that lovin'.

Like Nietzsche, I'm a nihilist in the sense that there is no objective meaning to this universe. The universe, in a sense, is cold and follows rules of science and order. But (and this is a big but) this objective universe is filled with a great number of subjective minds, minds that have the capability of wielding the ultimate weapons of subjectivity: Love and Beauty.

There are a few ways you can be a hero and support AJ. Free things are: try Audible or AmazonPrime for 30 days, link us to a social network like TwitterFacebook or Reddit, or download and rate the podcast in iTunesIf you have a little spare money you can send a Paypal donation to ajsnookauthor@gmail.com, buy one of AJ's Kindle eBooks, or buy anything on Amazon by going through the Amazon links on the site. Thanks so much for your support, AJ
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