AlteredStates


Page Created: 7/7/2014   Last Modified: 3/18/2016   Last Generated: 12/11/2017

"Memories do not only exist in the mind."

In the movie Altered States↗, the main character, played by William Hurt, is a scientist who seeks to find new states of existence through a combination of sensory deprivation and other means.

But his new state of mind didn't just stay in his mind, it also strangely physically manifested in the world.

Altered States was kind of like the 1980's version of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Near the end of the Millennium, it returned in the form of TheMatrix and Dark City. And fittingly, in the actual year 2001, it manifested as Waking Life, by Richard Linklater. In 2004, it came in the form of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. In 2010, we got Inception, and at the end of the Mayan long count calendar, the creators of the Matrix gave us Cloud Atlas.

What science fiction writers and filmmakers are showing us, is that there are various states of existence (space, time, dimension, alien minds, genetic, sensory, chemical, electronic, memories, emotions and even our spirit).

The field of science has known much of this for a long time, but so far it refuses to provide meaning to these things.

So this is my attempt, using philosophy instead of film, to give you meaning.


In 1992, I made a short film for college titled "Untitled #249". In that film, the main character chases after an electromagnetic anomaly, which, unbeknownst to him, is a disembodied "memory" depicted only in symbolic form.

In his quest, he sees a psychic who uses Zener cards, and she tells him that "Memories do not only exist in the mind."

At the end, he catches up to the anomaly and touches it.


My epic follow up to this which I began in 1998 is simply a very, very elaborate version of this concept. Our science, technologies, and our mind can get us closer to the Anomaly, but there is a barrier preventing us from seeing it, unless we are "transformed" into another state.

This summarizes the plight of humanity, life and death, and led me to eventually focus on TheGreatFractal. Many, many people and civilizations before me have tried to cross this barrier. I ultimately know that I will fail, for if what I am saying is true, then what I am trying to achieve is a contradiction.

But a wonderful thing about a Fool is that we keep trying, and others can learn from our mistakes.

I have loved reading about Albert Einstein for years, and own a copy of one of his biographies. When I first started reading about him in the 1980's, I always encountered his "most famous blunder" about the Cosmological Constant. Well, I have lived long enough now to see science catch up with him, and the later discovery of dark energy in the 1990's showed that his famous blunder was actual correct. Wow.

But even Einstein will make mistakes if we live long enough to see them, just like Isaac Newton. That is the nature of science. It is only our best approximation of reality at that time. Once we see farther into the fractal, we see new shapes that our old templates don't exactly match.

So, what exactly are altered states of reality? Are they only in our mind? Do they manifest in the world?

It appears that reality is shape-shifting, like looking at the landscape from a moving car. What most of us think is real, our waking state in which we reside when we go to work or school, is a stable plateau, like bringing a radio wave into resonance. When we look out that window, we focus on the hills and shapes we recognize. Our reality is actually moving, but because our minds are synchronized with it, is seems fairly static, fairly stable, and it is not all just a blur. It allows our reason, logic, and science to work as we expect.

But this wave can be disrupted.

  • If you are tired, the world moves more quickly. If you are rested, it moves very slowly.
  • If you are old, most of your mind, body, and the world has changed, but your identity and some of your memory remains.
  • If you are listening to good music or being in love, the world can be a beautiful place.
  • If you have a chemical imbalance, the world may seem against you, dangerous, or depressing.
  • If you use drugs, you could see many different worlds, but risk losing your mind and your old life in the waking world.
  • If you have just eaten a meal, the world may see like a comfortable, cozy place.
  • If you are poor, starving, sick, or imprisoned, or have lost someone, the world may not seem so cozy.
  • If you are playing a videogame or wearing a VR device, the world is a bendable place, but lacking in substance.
  • If you are dreaming, the world can be totally different.
  • If you are daydreaming, your imagination can create your world.
  • If you are wearing an electromagnetic helmet↗ or in an OBE, you may be able to sense the presence of other beings.
  • If you see a play, film, read a book, or enter a strange place, your suspension of disbelief can create substitute realities.
  • If you are underwater, all 5 senses report very different things about the world compared to above the surface.

And we have no idea what world we enter when we die.

Are any of these realities any less real than our waking reality? It is easy for our waking reality to dismiss them as being non-real, because every reality wants to be your new reality. Your mind wants to latch on to that resonant plateau--it doesn't like to be in flux, a river of random information. It it a great pattern matching machine↗. But if the Universe is just information, then they must all be equally real.

If we do persist outside of the physical world (the mind-body debate), then our non-physical part is likely also a pattern-matching machine. When you think about the core of existence, I AM, or the binary bit in the vastness of zeros, if there is anything else besides our existence, then it must be represented by mathematics. If the universe is really a giant fractal then our physical manifestation is mathematically related to our non-physical one.

I am not an experience-seeker. I am not a drug user or psychonaut. If I was an astronaut, I would rather stay in a ship than perform EVA's.

When I get close to that boundary and have to make the decision to transform myself to pass it, I usually choose not to cross that boundary. If understanding requires transformation, like what happened to Dave Bowman in 2001: A Space Odyssey, then it is not a true understanding as I would define it. Because once transformed, you cannot bring your transformed self or information back home, as it only makes sense in the far, faraway world, in the faraway language that you had since forgotten.

I know this, since this is what happens in dreams. This is also why a joke in a pub is not as funny the next day. This is why Graham Hancock in his DMT journeys and why people that have had near-death experiences say that they don't have words to truly describe the experience. This happened over and over in my mind while writing my film as I had to try to bridge Art and Science.

I guess it is kind of like when you travel to another city, but if you come back home after a few days, you don't really understand that city. But if you live in that city for a while, you understand it, it has a personality and you can sense a different mindset in the people that live there.

But when you come home, like Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey, you can only bring a few things back with you from the journey. Most of the experience remains back at the previous reality.

However, there are people that do bring back trinkets of other realities, and those things, over time, can gradually change our waking reality, and they can, like the movie Altered States, actually alter the physical world. Those trinkets, those tiny bits of information, might be the very food, the food consumed by our higher selves, the food that forms the perturbations that allow the fractal organism to grow and not remain stunted.

While I do not go out and fetch those trinkets often, I do greatly study the ones other people bring back. Have you ever seen that TV show The Vikings↗? I guess I would be the Floki of the bunch or one of Tolken's hobbits that rarely leaves the Shire.

My father used to travel across the world and, at one time, started an import-export business. He told me that gaining "experience" was the most important thing in life and traded his studiousness for adventure. He learned through experience, while I learned through self-generation. It is really just two aspects of the same thing, from a computational perspective↗. But my world would have been a lot smaller and less interesting without his adventures.

That is because most of what I do, instead, is try to get closer and closer to the Anomaly, like Aronofsky's Pi, or like a mathematical limit↗. And I can't ask the Wachowski's Morpheus if I am stuck in that rabbit hole or actually making progress. In calculus, we would skip and jump over limits as if they didn't exist, and we used numbers from an imaginary plane of existence↗. We were wranglers of twisting snakes that never touched the earth. Perhaps I've forgotten how to be a wrangler and became a farmer in the Shire. Not all Vikings sailed the longships, most were farmers.

But physics has shown us that at the extreme ends of our perception, something frequently comes about to provide us with new knowledge. Much of Einstein's special relativity isn't noticeable until we get close to the speed of light. Gravity is too weak to be felt by us until masses get very large. We would never have known about the wave-particle duality unless we looked at small things.

So at the extreme ends of our perception, if we look closely enough↗, for long enough, we will see the edges of other worlds.

If the universe is fractal, then our waking reality is connected to these other realities. The multiple realities we experience are part of the same thing. So perhaps our world isn't changing at all. Perhaps the journey itself is the actual illusion, and everything else is real.

Can it not all be understood by simply meditating silently under a Bodhi tree?

Or is such knowledge a type of virus that infects living beings to the point of apathy, that slows our technological advancement to keep us behind some sort of boundary?

Every once in a while, while sitting under that tree, one of Odin's ravens pecks at me and breaks my meditation, reminding me that it is now time to go on another journey. My LandmarkFilm was going to be an epic adventure, it was going to be transformative, but it unexpectedly began to transform me before it even began. This web site is another attempt to break free of the apathy, to cause that small perturbation, to allow growth to begin once more. It's time to bring back some trinkets.

Am I making too much of a fuss about the nature of things?

I really don't know. But thank you, Bilbo.

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