Horror stories of man systematically destroying his environment are still snowballing, but by now, all too familiar, and dull, the boom is about to go bust. Give a bloke a bulldozer and what can you expect? It depends where you look and whose gang you belong to. Man’s resistance to change, desire for stability and permanence, and need for static identification are overemphasised. Survival is easy – let’s get stoned. What we really need is increased environmental stimulus. Because the environmental stimulus is weak, man is inventing novelties like wife-swapping and Unisex dressing. He is bored.

Work on the threshold of specialisation reveals a skilful but spiritless existence; people with enormous fatigue trying to cope with the banalities of not-too-well-serviced environments.

The future need is for environmental super-stimulus, interfacing, and soul-engineering. Current revolts against ‘reason’ are a strange, deliberate confusion mechanism – a kind of mental anarchism that could produce good vibes. The irrational, the new unreason, are distinct, ignorance-surmounting ploys towards a greater communications sensitivity. Super-stimuli, like sit-ins, drug-taking, or voyeurism, are not accidental. This is man the inventor; playing for all he is worth, in a quick turn-over field. Desperate attempts to communicate with something or someone or to discover himself- when ‘normal’ communications break – produce super-stimulus pressure devices. This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius, and ‘What sign are you?’ is a good opening gambit at any chance meeting of kindred souls. Watch how many people succumb to exposure they would not normally allow, through the mind-shift device of the horoscope. See those who hide behind the traditional disbelief guise shaken into response, recognising some vague character trait, good news, or astrological prospects of love and good fortune. Apart from the obvious horoscope page in the women’s fashion glossies, there is a sharply increasing interest in tarot cards, numerology, teacup reading, palmistry and even the psychic powers of candle wax drippings. Currently the occult is moving into the computer field with up-to-the-minute knock-out personality analysis. United Industries Electronics Division have Anavac, which gives a semi-computerised electrographic analysis of your handwriting, while Time Pattern Research Institute have a computerised in-depth personalised horoscope. Twenty-five million bits of astrological data are stored in an IBM/360 computer memory bank; you just feed in your date of birth, place of birth, time of birth, name, address and Bank Americard number for a 15,000-word personal horoscope printout.

 

Anyway, why should the human animal control inferior present satisfaction on the grounds of being too intelligent for all that kind of stuff? Could it be possible that individual man has dim recollections of belonging to a civilisation that once had mental powers with greater depths of understanding and sensibility?

 

Those cosmic religious ground patterns discovered in the area of Glastonbury Ring (see Gandolph’s Garden published by Gandalph’s Garden, World’s End, London SW10 and Glastonbury published by Research into Lost Knowledge Organisation, 6 College Court, London W6) indicated a mental source run dry. This kind of soul-engineering, dealing with alignments of sacred sites and routes across countries and continents, implies some lost system of prehistoric magic, difficult to comprehend. But don’t laugh – it’s not that easily dismissed. This is not something of mere archaeological interest: more important is the notion of, in Professor Mary Williams’ words, ‘the archaeology of ideas’.

 

Reaching even greater heights of speculative extravagance, we could ask if this is the equivalent to today’s UFOs? Or are there some Rip van Winkles in our midst? Science fiction based on science fact mirrors the power and the enigmas of scientific thought. The paradoxes and consequences drawn out to their extreme, with absurd hypotheses, scandalising common sense, are usually the result of harsh mind-searching and a more ambitious logic. Is magic more ambitious logic, and more ambitious logic synetics? We are accustomed to judge by images and the limited significance we attach to words. If we try to discover where it’s really at, irrespective of preconceived notions, the bewildered imagination may come up wit an idea. To make the familiar strange, stand thoughts on their head or put them out of focus, then you have that anxious insecure creative bit. Try-it-and-see, make the familiar unfamiliar, the invisible visible, cast new light on old problems to drag out fresh solutions. Now try it to music. Russian scientists are working with a team of physicists and electronics engineers to develop a system in which machines can be controlled by the simple act of thinking about them. A research team is investigating this fantastic use of the human mind. Before it moves the muscles of the body, the human will is no more than an electric signal conducted along a nerve path. These electric signals can be intercepted and transferred into electric circuitry, switched through a special control panel and straight into the works of a machine. Refinement and improvement of this system could enable man to operate machine controls without ever twitching a finger, simply by thinking about it – real soul- engineering. The Russians also claim to have two women who have already mastered this wish-control system. One of them, a female demonstrator at the Polytechnic Museum in Moscow, by clenching and unclenching their fists and with ESP, creates nerve signals that are picked up by a toy train radio control unit. From a distance of several feet the girl makes the train start, stop or go backwards. Another woman directs her thought impulses into controlling an electric clock, making it go faster, slower, or stop.

 

The permutations are endless and impressive: produce your own scene machine today. EAT (Experiments with Art and Technology Inc.) have been at it for some time now. Based at 236, Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003, and headed by pop artist Robert Rauschenberg, Billy Kluver of Bell Telephone Laboratories, Walter Allner, Art Director of Fortune magazine, Gyorgy Kepes, Professor of Visual Design, MIT, John Cage, the composer, and Buckminster Fuller, etc., EAT is evolving a network of artists, technicians, and other nuts in professions exploring the possibilities of the new technology. The collaboration between artists and electronics engineers has produced a range of varied audio-visual programmes, including computer-generated films, kinetic art, liquid sculpture, psychedelic environments, anti-gravity machines, computer-controlled audio-visual conversion, etc. EAT’s exhibition ‘Some More Beginnings’, at the Brooklyn Museum, demonstrated the importance of matching artists’ brain-storming with electronics engineers’ hard know-how. Some crazy-headed interfacing resulted. But it isn’t hard to go along with the Tom Wolfe outlook – See AD [Architectural Design] 7/69 – like Melvin Zeitvogel already did it – and there is a lot of catching up to do before we make with the environmental super-stimulus and get out of the uptight studio workshop scene.

 

Woodstock Music Festival shares common characteristics with whiz king Cedric Price’s Non-plan ideas (AD 5/69). Woodstock, a 600-acre farm, young people from all over the United States, Blood Sweat and Tears, Canned Heat, Creedence Clearwater, Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and The Who.

 

A field turned on, a three-day city, half a million young people, elbow-to-elbow, in the most uncomfortable kind of situation, the only hardware sleeping bags and mind-blowing amplification, but no violence, not so much as a fist-fight. Here is your electronic environment, instant city and (it reverted to farmland after the three days) a non-plan ecological cycle with power points.

 

This is a super-stimulation, interfacing, and soul-engineering in one, it’s like a fairy story, enchantment taken for granted and magic as the rule. Although the super-stimulation qualities of the fairy story are equitable with neo-pornography, and one is tempted to suggest that the brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen and Hugh Heffner are the same bloke. Nevertheless the children’s fairyland world is remarkably stable, because they tend to create their own environmental stimulus, regardless.

 

And this environment is never sufficiently established for stress to occur. Children seem to adapt themselves easily, and create their own never-never situation, with natural penetrating insight into evading the absurdities of the adult world. How about this for expediency? A geography test paper for nine-year –olds asked for observation on Canada. Two super replies: ‘I am not sure how many provinces there are in the altogether part of Canada but trying to find out is one of my constant doings.’

and

                  Lake Winnipeg is in Manitoba

                  Maybe it is in North Manitoba

                  Maybe it is in South Manitoba

                  I do not know

                  It takes me all my knowing

                  To know that Lake Winnipeg is in Manitoba.