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Visiting Nick Herbert

I just read an interesting post by Charlie Stross about lifelogging. The ideas overlap a little bit with what I said in my Psipunk talk. Great minds think alike.

Wednesday evening I’ll be reading with Cory Doctorow for Terry Bisson’s SF in SF series at the Variety Theater near 2nd street on Market Street.

I went to see my far-out physicist friend Nick Herbert in Boulder Creek, as I so often do when I’m starting a novel. Nick knows a lot about quantum mechanics; he has this abiding hope/dream that people will some day learn how to communicate directly with matter. He calls this “quantum tantra.” As Nick puts it, our standard scientific experiments are ways of interrogating matter; and our brains are complex quantum-influenced systems; so why not find a way to get it on with matter.

This lies close to my dream of hylozoism and telepathy, so we see eye-to-eye; though for Nick this is more than SF fodder, it’s a serious quest.

Nick has a cactus on his porch looking at itself in a mirror. Collapsing its own wave function.

Nick showed me what he called a Heisentoy, which was a small hand-made fired-clay sculpture that Arne Olafson of Denham Island, British Columbia, had mailed Nick. Nick first opened the box at night, and touched the object without looking at it, and then he got the idea that it would be fun to leave the object’s appearance in a permanently uncertain state.

So he “showed” it to me by handing it to me swathed inside an “anti-viewer” made up of the spandex sleeve of on of his neighbor’s shirts (she liked to cut off her sleeves). It felt like a cube with the edges finger-pinched out like petals, in an irregular pattern.

As we discussed some of the ideas for Hylozoic, we sat in the La Joya cafe in Boulder Creek, formerly the Blue Sun. They were playing the Beatles White Album on the sound system, which I can’t recall having heard played in a public place since the summer of the Manson murders.

As a boy, taking in the info from movies and the comics, I was sure that: I would serve in the army in a war, spend time in a penitentiary, join a lodge. I always liked the sound of IOOF, the International Order of the Odd Fellows, seemingly still flourishing in Boulder Creek.

After lunch we synchronistically ran into a guy on the street who’d worked on the Doubleday Books sales force promoting Billie Craddock’s Be Not Content way back when. The guy said Billie’s editor was Luther Nichols, and that Billie had been under 21 when his early masterpiece was published.

Driving back to Nick’s house, Craddock passed us on the road, on his chopper with the high handelbars. His ghost. A sign. Be Not Content is going to rise again.

9 Responses to “Visiting Nick Herbert”

  1. Russ Says:

    Hi Rudy. Per panpsychism of which you have written about in the recent past, I am reading a book of math-physics papers (of which of I can only look at the equations but do not understand them) called: “The Geometric Universe: Science, Geometry, and the Work of Roger Penrose”. It has a paper by Stuart Hameroff, “Funda-mental Geometry: the Penrose-Hameroff ‘Orch OR’ Model of Consciousness”, that speaks about panpsychism as a precursor to consciousness. I was just a little wowed to see the word ‘panpsychism’ and said, hey Rudy Rucker has talked about this! Hameroff’s website is here:
    http://www.quantumconsciousness.org/
    Cheers,
    Russ

  2. nick Says:

    More on Craddock’s “Be Not Content”: Despite the millions of psychedelic voyages launched in the 60s, there were very few able chroniclers of those intrepid trips. Perhaps those experiences were truely ineffable and could not by definition be squeezed out upon the printed page.

    The best in my opinion were Huxley’s “Doors of Perception”, Alan Watts’s “The Joyous Cosmology”, Tom Wolf’s “Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test” (Why did Ken Kesey fail to write much about his own scene?), Tim Leary’s “High Priest” and Steve Gaskin’s “Amazing Dope Tales”.

    And William J Craddock’s “Be Not Content” about the trip scene in San Jose, in Big Sur and in darkest deepest Boulder Creek (where Craddock meets Mescalito behind an old roadhouse).

    “Be Not Content”–an underappreciated gem of a book.

  3. linus Says:

    Here is a “blast from the past:”

    http://www.bluoz.com/iabd/rott2.html

    simply press “play,” and do not forget….
    http://www.bluoz.com/iabd/albert.html

  4. linus Says:

    Consider the first link in the previous “linus” comment:
    “Wasted Union Blues: I’m so wasted I can hardly take it.”

    Perhaps one profound solution to this psychedelic problem is precisely through books and music: instead of taking synthetic and exotic drugs, the interested bohemian can safely “read or listen” to these visions or statements, as in Huxley’s “Doors of Perception,” for example.

  5. lissenn Says:

    hey, nick herbert! why You think the eyes of aliens were so sad?

  6. TRUE_WAY Says:

    to Prof. Nick Herbert,
    i like your stuff very much, i have found macroscopic entanglement, tho’
    no one will believe me, yet i will send it to Am.J.P. from the Way. i will appreciate at least an acknowledgement, then i will say more.

  7. Chris Leddon Says:

    Is that lodge in Boulder Creek, California? (In the hills above Santa Cruz?) or in Colorado?
    We lived in Santa Cruz for a time (in the 1980’s) and were wondering how we missed such a delightful little spot.

  8. Rudy Says:

    Chris — Nick inhabits Boulder Creek, California, which lies on the small road between Saratoga and Santa Cruz. I wrote about this area in my transreal SF novel SAUCER WISDOM.

  9. Arne Olafson Says:

    Hello, I don’t think Nick’s collapsed the state vector on that sculpture yet. Do you you want one?
    Cheers,
    Arne


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