Some Recent Interesting Reading and Viewing

“And the doorman says: feed your head, feeeed your head!!!”.
– The Jefferson Airplane

And if you want to do just that over the holidays, these are a few pieces I have recently stumbled upon which I can highly recommend. Take your Viking battle axe, and smash your TV to eliminate its constant stream of advertizing and incredibly dumbing distractions for the masses, ignore the newspaper’s intense coverage of pregnant princesses and American amokists, and take a look at this stuff:

This is the story of a language inventor from California, a brilliant amateur linguist, who over decades designed an idiom which takes the best from all of the world’s languages, and puts it into a synthetic language called Ithkuil. It’s supposed to be the most direct expression of human thought possible – maybe not actually practical, but an intellectual feat nevertheless. He even developed a writing system for Ithkuil. On the way, he involuntarily picked up the admiration of Ukranian ultra-nationalists. A strange tale indeed. Read it here.

A book which I just have been re-reading is Sasha Shuglin’s Pihkal: A Chemical Love Story. Pihkal stands for “Phenethylamines i Have Known and Loved “. This psycho-chemical genius writes very introspectively about his experiences with mind-altering substances. The first part of the book is a general auto-biography of himself and of his wife (by her, much less well written, in my opinion). In an unique appendix, Shuglin combines organo-chemical synthesis instructions for a number of compounds with descriptions of these chemicals’ effects. These trip reports are so well written – clearly the work of a man who is both extremely bright and an immensely experienced psychonaut. Due to the synthesis instructions, this book was actually illegal in Australia for a while. A mistake, of course. Shuglin, also the first man to synthesize MDMA (Extacy), certainly learned more about the brain on his journey than a whole conference center full of sober career-oriented neuroscientists.

And if you haven’t watched it, check out “Renegade” (originally titled “Blueberry”), a unique film at the intersection of Western and drug-movie. You’ll see very nice computer graphics at work during the hero’s (?) hallucinations.