Notes from underground: five years later (Space Tribe at’s Psyonesis)


As the sample Olli Wisdom started his set with phrased it, “To infinity – and beyond!”  [At the set’s climax] a song built around the guitar part from Dire Straits “Money for Nothing” (with a minor change in the only lyric: “I want my LSD”) had the whole crowd playing air guitar.

“You gotta be able to ask yourself … hey man, is this a dream?”

When Olli played a song with a sample “Let’s all travel at the speed of light!”, it seemed remarkably plausible.

— January 10, 2004; posted on e-luminatus

Wow, that was a long time ago.

Listening to that night’s (((thump))) on my iPod takes me back to the frame of mind I was in, just starting out on an amazing journey from a technologist at Microsoft Research to a writer/strategist/activist workingon Qworky, Computers Freedom and Privacy, diversity.

Rationality’s not looking too good these days has excerpts from my journal from March 2003 to August 2004.  The intuitions underlying the way I view the world today are clearly there.  Entries like “Ideas matter”, “End duality by worshipping diversity” and “It’s all about multiplicity” are the basis for ideas and strategies developed in Project Fabulous, Ad Astra, and now Qworky.  From August 1, the day after Astral Projection at Barnevald:

The analytical approaches I’ve taken in the past just aren’t sufficient for me to understand what’s going on. I’ve learned a lot, and now know how to temper analysis with empathy and combine it with experience; at what point does it become enough to understand?

you can be scientists in a somewhat irrational world. you just have to think about things at another level …

What’s striking is that I didn’t have a good language or intellectual framework for it, no understanding of asset-based thinking, positive psychology, social media, gender HCI, queer and trans theory, or complex systems.  Talk about ideas in their early raw form …

At least for me, Rationality’s not looking too good these days is also very raw is the emotional sense.  Over the last five years I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable with the limits of rationality and technology (as well as different approaches that avoid some of the traps) but it wasn’t easy at first.  I had never been comfortable writing about emotions, and so I’m not sure how well the words convey the intensity of the passion I felt about how much this mattered or the vulnerability I remember feeling as I moved outside my comfort zone.  Writing on e-luminatus and Liminal States has been remarkably liberating for me, and keeping a journal was a big first step towards that.

Since then, I’ve met dozens of people on my journey who have helped shape how I see the world … and get me a lot more comfortable with emotions, especially the positive ones!  And as predicted in A wonderful virtuous cycle, the vast majority of them are women.  In fact, in most dimensions I’m hanging with a much more diverse group of people now, online and off.  Gotta like that 🙂

It’s been quite a journey so far — and Qworky and the asset-based thinking project Change the Way You See Meetings are just getting off the ground.  The fluidity, connectedness, and transformation of psytrance has been a big part of it all along.  The tingles I’m feeling listening to Olli’s set remind me of the vibe that night at (((thump))).  Tonight should be great too.