(Continued from part 1)
Call it Nirvana if you are a guru; call it OTVIII if you are a practitioner wise in the vocabulary of Scientology. The more sophisticated, and arguably gullible, among us favor costly Peal-pioneered pricey seminars, or secret bloody or obscene induction or purification ceremonies, or a Freudian couch.
Back in the 1960s -– my day and how well I remember it –- pharmaceutical modalities were popularized as tickets to spiritual and cerebral nullity. The substances of choice were pot, an easily grown plant that’s now growing like weeds, in fact is sometimes called that, and LSD.
Actually discovered by Albert Hofmann, PhD a researcher at Sandoz Labs and empowered by Timothy Leary PhD, a Harvard professor, LSD is a sophisticated laboratory derivative of psilocybin mushrooms crucial in religious rites of the Mazatec people of Mexico. In contrast to the drugs for Alzheimer's which don’t work, these do, rather too well, empowering hippies to stop the earth and tune in and drop out. Sacked out on curbs, homeless, or hanging out in coffee and paraphernalia shops, hippies had forfeited their humanity, the majority view, or had become creative and spiritual beings, the nostalgic view now.
But now in the 21st century, pharmaceutical empowerments are called “Neurophysiological communication enhancement.” I found many ads on the web for “neurocell,” or NeuroCell” or “synIQ” featuring celebrity scientist, Steven Hawking of Cambridge University, being interviewed by Anderson Cooper, with an endorsement by Bill Gates. Almost totally paralyzed from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (“Lou Gehrig’s disease”) and speaking via his defunct vocal muscles empowered by a speech garbling generator, Hawking testifies that “neurocell,” has enhanced his own already renowned “cognitive brain function and neural connectivity, while strengthening the prefrontal cortex and boosting memory and recall.” “It will change humanity.”
Being an old Doc, I checked the label and found it’s simply another pill containing the familiar potpourri of ingredients including multiple multisyllable molecules you never heard of even in med school, plus caffeine. Caffeine is cheap, but the stuff is expensive, and obtainable only by subscription, don’t miss out. Will you settle for a cup of coffeine?
I also found that the claims for both LSD and Neurocell are similar: Hawking hawks his pills as strengthening neural connectivity; Leary claimed that LSD is good for enhancement of brain, reality, and even length of life; discoverer Hoffmann called it the “medicine for the soul.” Carter’s Little Liver Pills, eat your hearts out.
Besides mental and spiritual powers, the less spiritual and more physical powers are being pharmaceutically enhanced. If LSD is now revered and pot legalized in more and more states, anabolic steroids and less identifiable chemicals that are widely employed to great award--and prosecution--winning effect by Lance Armstrong and baseball celebrities, are not yet in official favor. We have marijuana and yoga for spiritual power and Viagra for power in bed. Egads.
Drugs aren’t the only way to enhance metabolic and various body-parts. Gold’s Gym famously bulged bodybuilder’s and boxer’s biceps. Not just showy but life-saving are liver, kidney, heart transplants, even face implants for the terminal ill. But that’s nothing compared to gender changes at whim. And there’s something ingenious about cannibal warriors eating a formidable adversary’s heart or testicles to import the victim’s powers. Fortunately, that practice hasn’t come back in style yet, that I know of.
Just over the horizon are such cellular and subcellular enhancers as stem cell manipulations, cloning, and molecular genetic engineering being resisted for food in general. But if that’s what transformed the dreary berries of my childhood to monster blue berries, all I ever have for breakfast, more power to it. If not for food, genetic engineering for people is less objectionable than the old discredited eugenics. Remember Margaret . . ?
Duly lauded are Inner Empowerment conjurers like Buddha and Peal, implant surgeons and genetic engineers, substance scientists Leary and Hawking as well as medicine men plucking pot and mushrooms. But looming above them all is Darwin.
Darwin empowers every empowerment. For Darwin empowers Evolution. Darwin created Evolution of eons of survival of the fittest. Without Evolution there would be no Buddhas, Peals, Learys, Hawkings, only the swamp whence they crawled. Evolution empowers life!
After Evolution what’s left to empower? That’s the limit!
So it’s time to quit the trampoline, catapult, and pogostick, to call off hang-gliding with geese, and settle back down to earth. He who would fly with the eagles winds up waddling with ostriches. An f-35 pilot glorying in 8gs' or zero gravity may have to eject.
Bank on it -- Inner Pogo Power is either as false, fake, fictitious or feeble, transitory, or a downright scam, or worse. That’s because every last empowerment formula or template that Google can cough up relies on human power, or worse. Even Google itself does.
As my own wealth manager, I have a fool for a client. Eight-footers may go for jump shots and find themselves face down on the floor under a pile of tomatoes and boos.
Human cannonballs take a token arc and then crash, hopefully into nets. All those schemes for self-exaltation succeed mainly in exalting pride which goeth before a pratfall. The curve goes up, then down. Gravity wins.
That spiritual, creative Inner Eye of the artist is good only for generating blotches and abstracts and silly awards, not reality. The Inner Eye brings inner yearning. The apple did not bring Eve the cosmic diadem.
Many "spiritual journeys" are self-hypnosis or dead ends; journeys into nullity leading only to a hangover or even cirrhosis, or rehab or jail.
And even if, by accepted criteria, those empowerments are arguably successful, they are subject to the Statute of Limitations. For those few who actually are anointed and crowned, there is inevitably a comeuppance, thanks to age or rebels or rivals. Julius Caesar was done in; Queen Victoria petered out. Art Linkletter (from my day; do you remember him?) promised ladies queenhood for a day. That turns out to be a reign 24 hours longer than Eve got. Andy Warhol promised everybody only 15 minutes of fame. This week even the iconic self-believer, Bill O’Reilly, is off the scene, snuffed out like the subjects of his series of once best-selling “The Killing of Whomever” books.
Even those web ads under Forbes, CNN, and Randpaul.forum mastheads for “neuroenhancers” Neurocell or NeuroCell or synIQ or cognIQ, surely to change humanity, are fake. Or so claim such odd web sites as Quartz Media, which, to be fittingly paranoid, might themselves be fake.
Self-proclaimed trusted judges of urban legends and scams, e.g. Snopes, have not spoken out. Meanwhile other sites expose such fakery just to make more credible their own listings of memory enhancers, complete with images of the bottles, -- which, of all things, turn out to be the exact same stuff as Hawking hawked. Fakes of fakes of fakes, hacked and spliced from out-of-context video bits. Were the hackers spirits? Scary. Or silly.
As for gluten-free, alpha-gamma-fat-carbo-acid-radical-ion-free, meta-modroitin-free, calomel-caramel-free-karma-lized veganism, they’ve probably been accurately or falsely exposed too. But without bothering to check every exposé I’m a doubter of the class of those clergy and psychiatrists who winced at the negative side of Peal Positive Thought. As to my breakfast blueberries, I’ll let them speak for themselves. The empty container says it all. I was great.
Departing from my humorous examples, let me, with tears threatening my cheeks, tell you of a beautiful little blind girl who had no eyes. As a 3-month-old baby, exquisite baby, both eyes had been extirpated to save her life from retinoblastoma. Her normally sighted siblings would be gamboling and cavorting all over the park, but the little blind girl just could not, and oh, how she tried. All she could do was run in place, her little feet just going up and down but not moving forward, crying, “wait for me!” Her remarkably life-like plastic prosthetic eyes saw nothing.
Human empowerments fail. But there is indeed a Higher Power, an infinite, cosmic and eternal empowerment. It is God. Despite what Satan told Eve, or Darwin tells the courts or you, it is God.
God's empowerment isn't an upsy-downsy curve. It's a one-way ascent without a downside. I'll always remember what our 6th grade teacher (in an old-time SDA school) chalked on the top of the big blackboard: "Higher than the highest human thought is God's ideal for His children)." Every morning we stood up and recited it together, and then the Pledge of Allegiance.
God created you and your powers -- will power, reproductive power, muscle power, digestive power, and brain power whereby to comprehend that it is God who is all powerful.
So here at last is the bottom-line cosmic secret of empowerment. This says it all. “Without Me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5).
Having been thus empowered, you can believe in yourself in a way that none of mankind’s formulas can deliver. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4: 13). That’s self-belief I can believe in.
But wait, there's more -- there's always more with God. Now He's offering not upsy daisy but rest from frantic self-empowerment, which, if pursued at full Peal pace always leaves a person panting, burned out, and craving relief, rest. "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt 11:28).
Where else can you find both eternal empowerment and rest, not just a day at L.A. Fitness and a Happy Hour at Cheers?
Dr. Kime was born 1929 in Los Angeles, California. But, he's nice.
Kime pursued dual careers in art (since childhood) and medicine (physician; specialties in internal medicine and pathology; clinical and academic). He studied the principles of art, chemistry of paint, and the works of master artists as assiduously as medicine. After retiring from pathology at Kettering Medical Center in 1994, Dr. Kime has concentrated on his art, producing portraits, seascapes and figural work mainly in oils, and urbanscapes predominantly in watercolor. Dr. Kime currently lives in Redlands, CA.