Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Who is The Doktor?

Compiled and Edited by Steven Solomon © 1992

To the best of our knowledge, a single transcription of the Doktor's rambling reply to the preceding plea currently exists. A bequest of the Katherine Anderson Foundation, named for the widow of legendary psychenaut and co-founder of the now infamous Adelphion Club, Karl Anderson, this document may be found at the renown Fitz Hugh Ludlow Library. Although independently substantiated, Doktor D. has consistently refused to confirm the transcript's authenticity. Similarly, he will not discuss in any way his current or past opinions regarding experimental neurochemistry, theology, nor Professor Anton Saurian. Nor does he acknowledge that the two had ever made even a passing acquaintance. Still, according to those close to both men during the mid-fifties, the Doktor is said to have relayed the following message to Saurian.

August 23rd, 1954

My Dear Saurian,

As you probably know, events have conspired to hasten my removal to a more congenial, less high-profile venue. In so doing, I've found temporary emotional oasis, while paying some price in physical comfort. Well, so long as my picture stays out of the papers I won't have to worry about the New York State Medical Board for a while.

Heat and humidity? Here I am in Florida, a hot, moist and swamp-ridden place. It's teeming with organic anomalies that infect the air itself. That air, by the way, was best characterized by the great writer, Fitz Hugh Ludlow, as being "Oxygen 21%, Nitrogen 79%, Mosquitoes 65%". It's hard to believe that Paraguay could be any less conducive to our Great Work, compared to late August in southern-most Florida.

The Great Work? Alas, I've been temporarily forced to take up more directly remunerative endeavors. Astonishingly, the Florida real-estate market is currently booming. In this economic environment, my role has been "Transaction Specialist". Yes, in my proprietary blend of sub-tropical vegetation and grain alcohol, I've found a reliable tool enabling the keen negotiator to lower the client's decision-making threshold to a properly business-like level. The happy result has been my participation in a number of limited partnerships, each seeing my small equity stake rapidly accrue significant value.

With a few more months of applied pharmacology and shrewd investment, I'll be able to return to more pure and sublime ratiocinations contributing to our deeper understanding of the Human Mind.

Which brings me to those eschatological matters raised in your last missive. I'm humble and pleased that you seek my counsel! I'd first offer that our life upon this mudball is, as Hobbs said, "short and brutish". Still, upon reflection, I'd add that such is not the end of the matter. To wit, many of the Major Experiments in which we've shared the role of both experimenter and subject, have illumined realms of the human unconscious, heretofore largely unexplored.

The terrain revealed in our mutual yet solitary quest is a place of stark beauty and limitless boundary. In the antipodes of the mind, we find a coherence and majesty which seems to bear no correlation to the biological brain from which they derive- according, at least, to the mechanistic view of mind as epiphenomenon of a warm, wet glop sloshing between our ears.

I conjecture that the mortality of your corporeal being isn't the closing of accounts that you fear. I hesitate to speculate beyond the data, but you understand my metaphysical bent- now overarching as my purely empirical inquiries are curtailed for a nonce. So, I'll cautiously propose that our mutual groping toward Higher Knowledge feeds on itself and so extends the reach of our earth-bound speculations. It may also serve to build momentum (in the space-time field sense) enabling such mapping of the Ineffable well beyond the normal limits of the human interval upon this soggy, spinning ball of dirt.
Oh, I know that you're thinking the old Doktor's melon has gone soft. Just the same, perhaps you'll find some comfort in the optimism of my theory. I don't expect you to accept such speculation without experimental confirmation. At present, I can only begin in this regard.

Now, as to your inquiry re; the Philippines. You may know that I've yet to voyage to the great Pacific archipelago. It ranks, however, very, very high on my list of neuropharmacological destinations. In fact, Honey and I had hoped to vacation there, back in 49, after the war. That was before she encountered her unfortunate cerebral difficulties, of course, and even today she is precluded from traveling beyond the walls of the Ganzfeld Sanatorium.

Nonetheless, in preparing for our journey that was not to be, I had been led to understand that the remote Philippines harbored natives who, upon consuming particular roots and barks, allegedly transformed into animals, insects, birds and reptiles capable of feats quite impossible for humans. I learned that in the northern forests, there were Shaman capable of eating poisons with no ill effects, walking through fire and copulating for days on end. There are reports of one great Shaman able to sustain horrible and even terminal injuries such as hanging, burning and dismemberment, and yet still survive. I cannot presently verify these reports, nor provide you with any greater specifics.

No, I'll have to delay the delivery of concrete ethnopharmacological data until, among other things, I've constructed a satisfactorily rigorous transmission path for the pharmacopia of the Philippine animist cults. I will, however, venture that the psychoactive mushroom, Stropharia Cubensis, was first introduced to Mexico by colonial Spaniards bringing cattle from the Philippines. I hope to confirm that the New World and Pacific varieties are identical, and presently seek specimens for our scientific delectation and experimental consideration. Thus, True Science moves a step at a time along the Great Path of Knowledge.

Saurian, despite my innate optimism, I long for a day when our work might proceed without interference from small minds, large egos and a restrictive legal environment. The very nature of our investigation breeds those forces that impede our progress. Case in point; I believe that the denouement of our first collaboration was the result of unreasonable expectations on the part of our volunteer, Honey. Surely, an approximate restoration of her mental faculties would suffice to make amends. Alas, we may never have such a chance.

So it goes. I doubt that the world of opera suffers from the loss of but one Wagnerian voice, though I do regret the loss of those happy moments of connubial bliss. Oh baby, when that fat lady sang...

Enough- enough nostalgia! Forget the past- look to the future- Yes! Look confidently to a future where we may crown that edifice whose foundation we now lay. My friend, I wish you the best of luck in your queries.

Yours in the Bonds of a Shared Quest,


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