Dancing With Death’s Apple

It is alleged that when Adam and Eve took a bite out of that forbidden apple, they lost their immortality, and would now grow old and die. What a shame! Growing old is the most unfair thing that happens in life. Death is easy. This is what most Christians are looking for, a form of denial that they are no longer young, and thus – life sucks! For the most part, Jesus is a fairytale – and that really sucks!

When we Trailblazers took LSD, some of us did so with guides that read from the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Steve Jobs went to India and came back a Zen Buddhist who applauds Death because makes room for others to be born on the planet, allows them to take their best shot.

Jobs experimented with LSD, and praised this chemical miracle, because it allowed one to die, just a little, and see what lie on the other side. I went all the way on the most powerful dose of LSD that Owlsely made to date. We were the first to partake of a special brew. I fell on beautiful rocks by the sea.

“Though we dance on death’s icy brink, does that make the dance less full of fun?” The Kasidah.

Jon Presco

Steve Jobs on death
I’m sad that Steve Jobs has died. No one has had as much effect on the computer industry as he has. His company, Apple, has transformed the way we relate to computers.

I only recently learned that Jobs was a Buddhist. According to his Wikipedia biography, he went to India in the 1970s and came back a Buddhist. In 1991 his wedding ceremony was performed by a Zen priest. He was a very private man, and I don’t think he talked much about his religion.

I thought a fitting tribute would be Jobs own words, from his 2005 commencement address at Stanford University, in which he eloquently discusses how an awareness of death and impermanence inspired him to live life to the fullest.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I’m fine now.

This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope it’s the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

In the unauthorized biography, The Second Coming of Steve Jobs, author Alan Deutschman reports that Jobs once dated Joan Baez. Deutschman quotes Elizabeth Holmes, a friend of Jobs from his time at Reed College, as saying she “believed that Steve became the lover of Joan Baez in large measure because Baez had been the lover of Bob Dylan.” In another unauthorized biography, iCon: Steve Jobs by Jeffrey S. Young & William L. Simon, the authors suggest that Jobs might have married Baez, but her age at the time (41) meant it was unlikely the couple could have children.
Jobs was also a fan of The Beatles. He referred to them on multiple occasions at Keynotes and also was interviewed on a showing of a Paul McCartney concert. When asked about his business model on 60 Minutes, he replied:
My model for business is The Beatles: They were four guys that kept each other’s negative tendencies in check; they balanced each other. And the total was greater than the sum of the parts. Great things in business are not done by one person, they are done by a team of people.[89]

The following post is adapted from the new book “This Is Your Country On Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in America.” The letter is published with the permission of the estate of LSD-inventor Albert Hofmann. For more on events related to the book, see the Facebook page or follow Ryan Grim on Twitter.

* * * * *

Steve Jobshas never been shy about his use of psychedelics, famously calling his LSD experience “one of the two or three most important things I have done in my life.” So, toward the end of his life, LSD inventor Albert Hofmann decided to write to the iPhone creator to see if he’d be interested in putting some money where the tip of his tongue had been.
Hofmann penned a never-before-disclosed letter in 2007 to Jobs at the behest of his friend Rick Doblin, who runs an organizationdedicated to studying the medical and psychiatric benefits of psychedelic drugs. Hofmann, a Swiss chemist, died in April 2008 at the age of 102.
See the letter here.
Written just after his 101st birthday, the letter’s penmanship is impressive for a man of his years. I showed it to my grandmother, Ruth Grim, who was 8 years Hofmann’s junior and did amateur handwriting analysis as long as Hofmann had been tripping. Without knowing who he was, she said in an e-mail that “something happened early in his life that made him twisted about things. Maybe he felt threatened. Also–creative with his hands, hard on himself, thinks a lot, stubborn, careful with the way he expresses himself, not influenced by other’s thinking.”
Doblin says Hofmann often said he had a happy childhood and wouldn’t characterize him as twisted. Hofmann, for his own part, often referred to LSD as his own “problem child” and in his letter he asks Jobs to “help in the transformation of my problem child into a wonderchild.”
He specifically asks Jobs to fund research being proposed by Swiss psychiatrist Peter Gasser and directs Jobs to Doblin’s Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies.
Doblin and Hofmann were close; Doblin gave the doctor his first tab of ecstasy in the ’80s when it was still legal, he says, and Hofmann loved it, saying that finally he’d found a drug he could enjoy with his wife, no fan of LSD.
Doblin provided a copy of the letter to me; Hofmann’s son, Andreas Hofmann, executor of his father’s estate, authorized its publication.
The letter led to a roughly 30-minute conversation between Doblin and Jobs, says Doblin, but no contribution to the cause. “He was still thinking, ‘Let’s put it in the water supply and turn everybody on,'” recalls a disappointed Doblin, who says he still hasn’t given up hope that Jobs will come around and contribute.
That Jobs usedLSD and values the contribution it made to his thinking is far from unusual in the world of computer technology. Psychedelic drugs have influenced some of America’s foremost computer scientists. The history of this connection is well documented in a number of books, the best probably being What the Dormouse Said: How the 60s Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer, by New York Times technology reporter John Markoff.
Psychedelic drugs, Markoff argues, pushed the computer and Internet revolutions forward by showing folks that reality can be profoundly altered through unconventional, highly intuitive thinking. Douglas Engelbart is one example of a psychonaut who did just that: he helped invent the mouse. Apple’s Jobs has said that Microsoft’s Bill Gates, would “be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once.” In a 1994 interview with Playboy, however, Gates coyly didn’t deny having dosed as a young man.
Thinking differently–or learning to Think Different, as a Jobs slogan has it–is a hallmark of the acid experience. “When I’m on LSD and hearing something that’s pure rhythm, it takes me to another world and into anther brain state where I’ve stopped thinking and started knowing,” Kevin Herbert told Wired magazine at a symposium commemorating Hofmann’s one hundredth birthday. Herbert, an early employee of Cisco Systems who successfully banned drug testing of technologists at the company, reportedly “solved his toughest technical problems while tripping to drum solos by the Grateful Dead.”
“It must be changing something about the internal communication in my brain,” said Herbert. “Whatever my inner process is that lets me solve problems, it works differently, or maybe different parts of my brain are used

The following post is adapted from the new book “This Is Your Country On Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in America.” The letter is published with the permission of the estate of LSD-inventor Albert Hofmann. For more on events related to the book, see the Facebook page or follow Ryan Grim on Twitter.

* * * * *

Steve Jobshas never been shy about his use of psychedelics, famously calling his LSD experience “one of the two or three most important things I have done in my life.” So, toward the end of his life, LSD inventor Albert Hofmann decided to write to the iPhone creator to see if he’d be interested in putting some money where the tip of his tongue had been.
Hofmann penned a never-before-disclosed letter in 2007 to Jobs at the behest of his friend Rick Doblin, who runs an organizationdedicated to studying the medical and psychiatric benefits of psychedelic drugs. Hofmann, a Swiss chemist, died in April 2008 at the age of 102.
See the letter here.
Written just after his 101st birthday, the letter’s penmanship is impressive for a man of his years. I showed it to my grandmother, Ruth Grim, who was 8 years Hofmann’s junior and did amateur handwriting analysis as long as Hofmann had been tripping. Without knowing who he was, she said in an e-mail that “something happened early in his life that made him twisted about things. Maybe he felt threatened. Also–creative with his hands, hard on himself, thinks a lot, stubborn, careful with the way he expresses himself, not influenced by other’s thinking.”
Doblin says Hofmann often said he had a happy childhood and wouldn’t characterize him as twisted. Hofmann, for his own part, often referred to LSD as his own “problem child” and in his letter he asks Jobs to “help in the transformation of my problem child into a wonderchild.”
He specifically asks Jobs to fund research being proposed by Swiss psychiatrist Peter Gasser and directs Jobs to Doblin’s Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies.
Doblin and Hofmann were close; Doblin gave the doctor his first tab of ecstasy in the ’80s when it was still legal, he says, and Hofmann loved it, saying that finally he’d found a drug he could enjoy with his wife, no fan of LSD.
Doblin provided a copy of the letter to me; Hofmann’s son, Andreas Hofmann, executor of his father’s estate, authorized its publication.
The letter led to a roughly 30-minute conversation between Doblin and Jobs, says Doblin, but no contribution to the cause. “He was still thinking, ‘Let’s put it in the water supply and turn everybody on,'” recalls a disappointed Doblin, who says he still hasn’t given up hope that Jobs will come around and contribute.
That Jobs usedLSD and values the contribution it made to his thinking is far from unusual in the world of computer technology. Psychedelic drugs have influenced some of America’s foremost computer scientists. The history of this connection is well documented in a number of books, the best probably being What the Dormouse Said: How the 60s Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer, by New York Times technology reporter John Markoff.
Psychedelic drugs, Markoff argues, pushed the computer and Internet revolutions forward by showing folks that reality can be profoundly altered through unconventional, highly intuitive thinking. Douglas Engelbart is one example of a psychonaut who did just that: he helped invent the mouse. Apple’s Jobs has said that Microsoft’s Bill Gates, would “be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once.” In a 1994 interview with Playboy, however, Gates coyly didn’t deny having dosed as a young man.
Thinking differently–or learning to Think Different, as a Jobs slogan has it–is a hallmark of the acid experience. “When I’m on LSD and hearing something that’s pure rhythm, it takes me to another world and into anther brain state where I’ve stopped thinking and started knowing,” Kevin Herbert told Wired magazine at a symposium commemorating Hofmann’s one hundredth birthday. Herbert, an early employee of Cisco Systems who successfully banned drug testing of technologists at the company, reportedly “solved his toughest technical problems while tripping to drum solos by the Grateful Dead.”
“It must be changing something about the internal communication in my brain,” said Herbert. “Whatever my inner process is that lets me solve problems, it works differently, or maybe different parts of my brain are used

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.