OK, I'll admit it; I was down about the apathy and indifference that greeted my Pot Stories. It was my magnum opus after a life of inescapable unconventionality. Viet Nam, NYU, the ‘60s, New York City and a smorgasbord of pot and hash, pretty much blocked the straight and narrow path. Studying social psych with Phil Zimbardo made it improbable I would allow myself to be drafted in 1966 when I graduated, just before the Tet Offensive. In my opinion, every new Army recruit should be required to watch a brief video on brain washing and mind control before signing. There’s not much of a legacy left after a life of free thought and defiance of the corporate state. Not to mention disavowal and resentment of the church of Christ as I learned more and more about science and history.
There's a line in Mirror Reversal, "you can't get depressed unless you let yourself get depressed." It might not be true, but it helps to believe it's true. Sometimes we have to lie to ourselves for a greater good. When I gave up cigarettes I lied and exaggerated the negative effects.
Then, by strange coincidence, I came across a wonderful video that sums up much of my philosophy and attitude toward nature. Many ideas in the speech are right out of my book. It’s the speech presented before Congress by Chief Seattle in 1854. I think if more people not only studied but taught biology, the world would feel much closer to nature and the pollution and degradation of our world wouldn’t be happening. (Whadya know, I’m writing again. It’s better to listen to the five-minute speech now because of the rest of the post is based on it.)
There’s a line in the chief’s speech, “if all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of spirit.”
Hey, wait a minute, in 1970 I wrote in “My Religious Experience” the conversation of my character Mehippie with a cybernetic mannequin in Lord & Taylor’s Christmas showcase on Fifth Avenue.
"Mankind will cause every chimpanzee destined to walk on Earth to never be. No human child will ever be delighted by a baby chimp again. Extinction is the death of birth.
"In annihilating chimpanzeeness, humanity will feel such self disgust and sorrow that you will look at each other in utter contempt. When the last chimp dies, the human conscience will die with it. The genetic link that has connected humanity to nature for millions of years will be cut, and mankind will become spiritually bankrupt, descending to the level of John B. Calhoun's overpopulating rats you learned about in Introduction to Psychology. You will live in a loveless world and have as much compassion for one another as insects; you'll watch news programs for the entertainment of hearing about calamity and go to sporting events so you can scream…
Artificial Intelligence (AI) was a new concept back then except for Arthur C. Clarke’s mind-blowing movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. Yet the predictions of my cybernetic boy are becoming slowly and persistently true and I can’t do a thing about it. (See “The Lament of Tiresias.”) There’re presently 264 species of monkey left on the planet, with 25 seriously endangered. When I wrote the story in 1970 there were well over a thousand.
Pot Stories finally received a review on Amazon. I was afraid some zealous believer would be there first.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Pot Stories, a Treat for the Tired Mind December 21, 2013
What a gorgeous treat to read short essays that face so fearlessly all the kinds of conversational taboos in our time. Undaunted by the crazies who appoint themselves taboo-defenders, Goscicki tackles them not because they are taboos, but because they cannot be justified and because they do real social and individual harm. He, and his co-writer, Barbara Walker, take you on an investigative tour of real and imagined scenes, make their quietly spoken points fearless of controversy nor of the many carts of apples they may upset. I will not guarantee your sympathy with his viewpoint; I do bet you’ll understand it. I shall relish it again, along with his MIRROR REVERSAL eBook.
What a terrible abuse (let’s use a better term, it’s a “grievous sin”) for religious fanatics to threaten violence as in the Salmon Rushdie case or their so-called blasphemy laws. They might be able to suppress freedom of speech in their own countries to some extent, but not the entire Internet. It’s the job of writers and reformers to speak out against injustice and the perceived craziness that’s making the world so sick. As described in Mirror Reversal, the Internet is the Noosphere, the sum of all knowledge and information—maybe someday wisdom.
We need only to look back to the early 1930s Japan. The military Kōdōha regime clamped down on Japanese culture with an iron fist. As with the Nazis, the flow of information was tightly controlled. Any reformer that came along was assassinated. Any pro-West progressive that criticized reactionary policies was beaten up and thrown in jail. Until this day we still see old newsreels of primary school kids beating each other over the head with sticks in appeasement of their samurai mentality. We all know what happened to Japan, near total annihilation. What misery and suffering might have been averted by speaking out and not letting the hardliners get away with it? When the regime grew so arrogant they felt they could do anything they wanted, the Nanking Massacre of 1937 resulted—over 300,000 innocent Chinese perished in gruesome genocide.
The next thing you know in the new millennium Iranian theocrats want to build nuclear weapons in a precariously vulnerable world on the brink of self annihilation. Power and intimidation must make clerics feel they can do anything they want in the name of God.
Friends, thanks for the read. I guess you’ll have to click on my pot plant on the front page to find out where we go from here. The first essay about Cardinal Ratzinger is a splendid example of how true the above paragraph is to the point of installing a criminally simpleminded and shortsighted fundamentalist as president of the United States.
As always thanks for any comments.
And thanks to Hedonwriter for such a satisfying and gracious review.