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Eden: four extracts

four extracts from the novel
by Ken Wisman

Excerpt from preface
Author's Notes and speculative tract

Author's Notes

The following speculative tracts contain a factual account and description of my hallucinogenic experiences from the years 1998, Eden by Ken Wisman1999, and 2000. Briefly, in that three-year time period, I went in search of Deity and wound up instead with a personal belief system -- and a novel as a by-product.

My reasons for writing of my personal experiences are threefold:

  1. I hope to inspire the responsible use of hallucinogens by creative artists and writers...
  2. I hope to inspire serious and responsible exploration (clinical experiments, scientific study) of unconscious states as they relate to creativity.
  3. I wish to contribute to the understanding of the creative process. In the speculative tracts that follow, I describe the images and ideas that filled me. By writing of them here and in conjunction with the fictional work, Eden, I hope to provide an insight into how visions are weaved into a creative work and how fictional characters come to embody ideas.

1. The Impetus-to-Life: A Speculative Tract on God and Existence

Seven years ago, I had an extraordinary experience. It would not be an exaggeration on my part to say that it led to the most profound events of my life.

This is what happened...

In March of 1998, I was accidentally exposed to a powerful chemical substance that opened the door to my unconscious and brought me into the full potential of my imagination. Subsequently, I took the substance forty times over a period of three years with a variety of encounters with unconscious states ... Some journeys were mystical, states described by Blake and Christ and Carl Jung. Still others took me to places that lie beyond my abilities to describe, as though I entered other dimensions, alien terrains that contained objects unknowable in this world, this reality we've created through tacit consensus.

Throughout my adult life, I have written fantasy and science fiction stories that originated within the imagination; with this chemical substance, I lived my imagination. And when each journey ended, my unconscious receded like an ebbing tide that scatters little gifts -- coins or shells or driftwood on the sand. Washed up in my consciousness I would find a story idea, an original thought, an outlandish image. These treasures I gathered up and put into notebooks. Still other journeys left me with philosophical fragments, which I continue to assemble. It's on the planes of philosophy and spirituality that I write here ...

What happened to me is only one man's experience... That is how I offer it here: as just one man's truth. And maybe that is what has been set for us all, to find and define our personal beliefs, as individuals, to discover what unique truth lies within.

In preparing myself for my spiritual search I ... listened to Classical music ... religious music (Medieval chants, masses by Monteverdi, Handel choral works) ... mostly I made a conscious entreaty to my inner self that the doors opened would be spiritual ones...

I experimented like this for weeks, and each night-sea journey washed me ashore on some interesting islands. The ocean to which my unconscious brought me was definitely of a spiritual nature. On one island, I experienced Agape ... love of humanity -- love of the world and all the people in it ...

Another island my journeys took me to has been described by many mystics. I believe it to lie on the same plane as Agape on a twin island that rises just a little beyond. Here I experienced the connectedness to all things. Whereas on the island of Agape you feel an outflowing of love for humanity, on Connectedness you feel yourself merged with all Life, all living things in this world ... a powerful experience but not an experience or direct knowledge of god. So I continued on in my voyages...

One night I lay on my chaise longue on my deck, where I loved to go when I was journeying. It was early morning ... Classical music played ... I was looking up at the stars in the west when my truth came to me in a sad rush. I had a vivid experience of all the space amidst the stars and saw/felt/knew this void as empty. No god existed for me, no deity smiling benevolently down to light the darkness, none to keep the stars lit and the planets spinning. My inner truth was that there was no deity. I cried that night while staring into the space between stars, wept to fill the emptiness that filled me.

And yet I didn't give up my quest ... I was still left with the puzzle of me, my life, and the lives of the people, plants, and animals around me. I still felt compelled to solve, for myself, the conundrum of life...Then, in the autumn, I had an experience that nearly shattered me. I arrived on a plane in a space where planes and space do not exist. No words can accurately describe that realm; its existence lies only in its experience -- for how can you describe, much less comprehend, a non-realm of nonexistence where even the dark empty river of stars has disappeared. My mind nearly fragmented coming out of this non-state; to go there and return to reality can't fail to leave you changed. I had nothing, not even the sadness that my first encounter with a godless universe had left me.

And yet, out of the Nothing, came a minuscule something. When the voidless void receded, it left a tiny grain of golden sand ... and like an irritant in an oyster, it grew ... No personal god exists for me. No bearded Father to pray to, kneel to, or worship. Yet I believe an ineffable force exists ... that manifests in a flower, a cat, a human being. It is this force that arranges molecules into forms and breathes a moving energy into them...

My little pearl -- this belief in a stimulus to life, an impelling force to existence -- I call an impetus-to-create, an impetus-to-life ... In science, the test of a theory is in what it predicts and discovering whether those predictions hold true. A universal impetus-to-life predicts that life will not be restricted to this planet, that life will be found on any world capable of creating and sustaining existence. I believe life forms that our minds can't yet conceive will be found to thrive, born out of the energies and molecules of alien worlds by a simple impetus, whose essence is to create life. Perhaps when we have proof of this impetus, we will seek to know it with our science, and someday we shall slip down the veil of creation and stand spellbound -- in awe and wonder of this impetus-to-create, this impetus-to-life.

Eden excerpt from Ch 4, Songs of Heaven and Hell:

Personal log entry.

Day 9. The dance of life.

Something incredible and breathtaking has happened this night. I must recall and record it all, even as Gammeo rests exhausted next to me, and the sky fills with the Kohinohr geometrics above my dome.

When I first touched the Erosian cream, a shock of pleasure went through me. It was sharp and startling like receiving a sudden deep cut, except that the sensation was pleasurable and intense. It brought an involuntary moan to my lips.

As Gammeo spread the cream over my body, the first shock became a throbbing, a rhythmic beating to my heart, as though my body's blood was transforming into energy. We lay down and stroked each other, a stimulation to my senses and physical being. I went astride my Gammeo, pulled his hands to my breasts. My nipples exploded with sensation, and I threw back my head and sang out my ecstasy. When I took Gammeo inside me, all intensified. My flesh and senses became a single receptacle for Gammeo's passion, my body and brain a single organ building toward release.

Our passion increased -- an iota with each rise and fall of my thighs. And the act, more than just sexual, pushed me deeper inside my self toward some mystic place, toward some profound and unknown culmination.

Unwilled by me, I found myself past the door to my inner imagining and on the Astra. Gammeo lay upon the deck, and I astride him. We embraced and rolled together in slow motion across the wooden planks. In intervals, I gazed above as the wind in streaks of red and blue whirled to the beat of our hearts, the pounding of our blood, the need in our desire that propelled the ship. The Astra streaked across the starsea, past Safehaven. Next to it hung the world of vapors, more substantial than I had ever seen it and with its red mists rising. I thought that would be our destination, but the Astra flew past it on the night.

The lines drawn between Gammeo and I disappeared. I no longer felt the receiver but experienced myself as the giver, too. Our bodies merged so that I could not tell where and who was Gammeo and where and who was Alepha.

We traveled at the speed of thought, and the stars below merged into a sea of light. The sea of darkness above and the sea of light below rippled like membranes, collided, and flew apart. They repeated their silent pulse, moving with the same rhythm with which Gammeo and I made love; we passed unharmed between them.

Our minds began to merge. I knew a moment's primal fear -- of losing myself, my identity. I looked at our united hands and saw a glint of red (myself) and blue (Gammeo).

"Where are we?" we asked.

The womb of the world, came the reply.

We stood as one to gaze across the deck. The Astra approached a smudge on the horizon, a patch of nothing in the distance. It was like the blue forever, a phenomenon of the desert, a trick of heat, sand, and sky that makes everything disappear into blue ripples.

We arrived at a spot just before the wall of the blue forever. Here the light and darkness swirled in a giant vortex. The Astra entered onto the lip of the maelstrom. Caught up, we spun slowly down. We watched as one together, my Gammeo and I, as we sank into the depths of that whirlpool that tore apart the darkness and the light, mixed it into spark and shadow. We traveled down, the circles spinning closer until the Astra rested upon a round crystal surface. All was calm here, an eye in the storm swirling above.

"What is this?" we asked.

The source and the beginning, came the reply.

We stepped across the deck, down the gangplank, and onto the crystal surface. Two mists rose beneath us, and we sent the command to the skepfen to record. The mists swirled like cirrus -- one coalescing into a flow of diamond droplets, the other a stream of sparkling tetrahedrons. New energies, pure and crystalline, washed around and through us. The diamonds shone with a gorgeous blue, the tetrahedrons a brilliant red. Seeking each other, the red crystals fell in streams, and the blue rose in streaks.

Therein lies the mystery of sex, like the first two molecules coming together, each to each in the creation of the first organism, the first life. It is the sex act itself, the joining of man with woman, the seed with the egg, the cell with the cell.

"And love?" we asked.

Love and attraction and sex were all there, as one, at the beginning. Each time two come together, the mystery repeats. Love flows from the pure attractive force, the impetus-to-life, the impetus-to-create.

The diamonds and tetrahedrons combined into a glowing purple haze that danced into a solid lattice. The lattice shattered into myriads of geometric shapes, and the patterns flew together to form crystals. With a thunderous clap, the crystals burst and reformed into four separate shapes that dissolved into clouds of cirrus: two red, two blue.

In the beauty of that beginning, Gammeo and I climaxed with such force and energy that we flew apart into our separate forms. And there we floated a long time in the gentle mists like two beings reborn.

Eden excerpt from speculative tract:
Outer to Inner:
A Speculative Tract on the Evolution of God from Man

This sentence came to me one morning upon awakening after a long night-sea journey: "We are the gods themselves." It kept running through my head like a line of poetry ... and had a specific image ... the night that I had a vivid experience of the space amidst the stars, when I saw/felt/knew this void as empty, the night my truth came to me in a sad rush.

With the phrase playing over and over in my mind, I set out to discover what special meaning it might have for me. I knew The Gods Themselves to be a science fiction book by Asimov, who apparently got the title from Shakespeare ... The book is a futuristic tale about parallel universes ... The quote has to do with Greek gods transforming into animal shapes ... Neither ... contained anything relevant ... Neither contained the "We are" portion of the phrase ... I turned instead to research about the different forms of religion and ... began to see threads that led me to ... an interpretation of the phrase my unconscious had -- in its ebbing -- washed up in my mind.

These are the threads:

  • First, religion could be ordered into phases with transitions between; religion had an evolution with transitional links just like living things.
  • Second, our god concepts grow out of our projections; our own psychic elements, mental states, and human attributes comprise much of what makes up our gods both past and present.

The Phases of Religion:

1. World Soul: consciousness in all objects inanimate and animate. Primitive humanity projected its wondrous and newly emerging consciousness (and unconscious) into the surrounding world. The myths about our world emerging from chaos are reflections of what was occurring in humanity's collective psyche: consciousness and consensus reality emerging from the disordered state of animal consciousness. These were some of the beliefs that represented that emergent state.

Animism: believes that everything in nature -- including living things like trees and plants and nonliving things like rocks and streams -- has its own spirit or divinity. In animism, the "soul" attributed to all things does not necessarily also create mental faculties.

Pansychism: attributes both physical and mental faculties to all natural objects, both animate and inanimate.

Panentheism: posits a god that interpenetrates every part of nature but is nevertheless fully distinct from nature. This god is part of nature but still retains an independent identity. Panentheism is a transitional state to polytheism.

2. Many gods: separate and conscious entities representing different aspects of human instincts and psychic elements. As humanity's primitive consciousness developed and became stronger and more distinct, so did that which it projected. Gods began to emerge from the World Soul (like statues from marble), gods more personalized and anthropomorphized.

Polytheism: recognizes and worships a plurality of gods. It is also typical that each individual god represents a unique value and personifies some aspect of humanity, as well as maintaining stewardship over some facet of nature. Thus there are gods of fertility and anger and love as well as of rivers and trees and lakes.

Henotheism: worships a single god but does not exclude the possibility of other gods. It is essentially a type of polytheism. What makes this system unique is that the god believed in is often a "personified national spirit," a national god rather than a universal god.

Monolatry: worships one god although the existence of other gods is accepted. This differs from henotheism, in which multiple gods might be worshipped but one in particular is elevated to a higher ranking. Along with henotheism, this is a transitional state to monotheism.

3. One god: the Christian, Judaic, and Islamic belief in God the Father, Yahweh, and Allah -- a paternal god to represent a paternal society ruled by laws, justice, and retribution.

Monotheism: believes in one God, typically regarded as the creator of all reality. This god is believed to be totally self-sufficient and without any dependency upon any other being. Other gods might be claimed to be merely aspects of the supreme god -- a transitional state from polytheism to monotheism when the older gods need to be explained away.

This is where the threads led me:

My categorization of religion into evolutionary phases got me to thinking about what the next major phase of religion might be. That's when the phrase "We are the gods themselves" took on a deep significance and led me into the following speculations. What if we, humanity, enter an "introverted phase" and throw out the externalizations of our past -- in other words, recognize that humanity has been projecting outward into nature, a pantheon of gods, and finally into a single god. And what if we came to realize that, in addition to projecting our psyches (our deepest thoughts, feelings, emotions, and beliefs) and our attributes (the qualities comprising our innermost natures), we have been using our gods as receptacles for our potentials -- that our gods are the embodiment of those elements within us capable of being but not yet in existence.

Could we come to believe that we are the gods we first imagined? Could we come to believe that we are the god we now imagine?

Perhaps it is easy to accept that our primitive ancestors projected their psyches and attributes into the gods of old. We created gods in our likeness, the Greek pantheon being a good representation. Here we had our sexual love, personified in Aphrodite, our wisdom in Apollo and Athena, our arts in the Muses. We even had our faults and sins projected there -- for example, how many mortals and goddesses did philandering Zeus seduce over the protests and jealousy of his wife Hera?

Likewise, it is easy to see that the old gods were receptacles for our hidden potentials, our abilities lying dormant, and our discoveries waiting to happen. Consider that in ancient Greece, the gods could fly; now humanity flies all over the planet, to the moon and back, and soon to Mars. In ancient Greece, Zeus could hurl thunderbolts; now we have the power of the atom in our grasp. In Athens, when a woman was infertile, prayers and incense were offered to a goddess; now we consult physicians and use in vitro techniques. We gave miracles to our gods while developing science ourselves. We gave the old gods superhuman powers, grew into those powers, and then discarded the old gods as inferior to ourselves.

But what of our god in the three great religions of today: Yahweh, Allah, and God the Father? True, some of god's traits are human traits: a gender and a sense of law and justice. But doesn't our god possess supernatural and extraordinary powers, attributes exceeding those that we mortal humans can ever dream of having? Isn't god capable of miracles beyond our potential? Or is today's miracle just tomorrow's invention, the unattainable today just the discovery of tomorrow? It's been so in the past. Consider the 17th-century belief that we could never attain the speed necessary to leave the planet -- short of a miraculous intercession.

But what would seem miraculous to us today?

What about traveling faster than the speed of light, which, according to Einstein, is impossible? Or escaping the fate of the universe, which is now commonly thought to end in ice? Or changing the elements, such as the alchemical lead to gold? We are already talking of wormholes in space and the possibility of using them to bypass the restrictions of speed to travel over unthinkable distances. We are also talking of multidimensions and parallel universes. Who is to say that, if we prove their existence, we would not be able to travel to them when time in this universe ends? There is speculation that the building blocks for all things are vibrating strings, the vibrations of which determine the stuff and substance of matter. Who is to say that, if we prove it is so, we cannot teach these strings new melodies to sing, not songs of lead but songs of gold?

Science appears nearer to explaining our world: discovering the universe's origins, determining the tiniest component comprising all matter, uniting the four forces. As we discover creation's secrets, we approach the godhood (omniscience) we imagined. Likewise, our talk of genes that control aging, our work on organ regeneration, our cloning techniques -- won't these lead to the immortality we once could only attribute to god? Omniscience and immortality appear within our sight if not yet in our grasp.

Are we capable of omnipotence? Are we not evolved from material substance and subject to its laws? Yes, we cannot alter nature's laws, but we do a good job of bypassing them. One of the most persistent godlike qualities inside us is to seek to overthrow or bypass the laws that hem us in.

"We are the gods themselves." The phrase's message was simple: I had found emptiness the night I had come to the end of my search because I had been looking in the wrong place. What I had been taught about god was wrong. Essentially, religion had gotten it backward: god didn't create the universe -- the universe created god. And god is life. And life is us.

Eden excerpt from Ch 10:
The First Battle

Iamoendi had come down from Blood Mountain Wall at sundown and traversed the plain for only an hour before resting his army. The army took its primary energy from the sun through the ABC biosolar system and had become sluggish when the sun set. Iamoendi wanted his soldiers fresh and energetic to complete the mission.

At sunrise, Iamoendi awoke where he slept sitting upright in his wagon. The army likewise arose with the streaming of light across the plain, each soldier moving mechanically, in herky-jerky movements like laborbots. The army was little better than a collection of machines under the command influence of Iamoendi.

Iamoendi's army approached Valley Aurora at midday with the sun shining high in a cloudless sky. Twelve ant scouts, moving in single file, led the way sniffing with their antennae along the trail. A hundred yards behind, a swarm of hybrid arachnid-ants moved in a frenetic mass, kept from tearing each other apart only by an act of Iamoendi's will. The instinct to hunt and defend -- bioengineered to a murderous rage -- occasionally ruptured through Iamoendi's telepathic influence. Quarrels broke out, and carcasses, beheaded by razor-sharp mandibles or poisoned by fangs, littered the trail back across the plain and along the top of Blood Mountain Wall.

Hitched to six scorpion-ants, Iamoendi's rickety wagon creaked along, three-quarters of the way back in the churning swarm. Last came the gigantic juggernaut-ant, last because its huge head and crushing mandibles slowed its progress.

Iamoendi's twelve ant scouts proceeded toward the entrance to Valley Aurora. They kept close on the scent trail and passed amidst dozens of deep, funnel-shaped pits in the sand. The scouts proceeded unchallenged between the ridges and into the valley where, below ground, the defenders' trapdoor-spiders waited, their large fangs holding their hinged doors shut. Iamoendi's first scout entered the trapdoor territory, and a spider charged from its burrow. The spider plunged its fangs into the scout's abdomen. The venom, engineered to be extra potent, paralyzed the scout and cytotoxins turned its internal tissue to soup.

The spider began to pull the dead scout back. The spider did not get far. Three more of Iamoendi's scouts pounced. Their mandibles were armed with potent toxins, and a few nips halted the spider in its tracks. With powerful jaws, the scouts tore the legs from the spider and ripped its body apart.

More of the trapdoor-spiders broke cover. The ant scouts reared, their mandibles wide and ready to fight. Spider and ant clashed mandible to fang, the hard but brittle coverings cracking and splintering. Lethal neurotoxins mixed and exchanged so that both combatants, locked in a deadly embrace, collapsed together ...


© Ken Wisman 2004

Eden by Ken Wisman
Eden is published by Authorhouse (May 2004, ISBN: 1418427411).

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