A Songdream Fractal

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…the path as it wanders, and crazy we become…

…to those who only wander in a straight line…

              It was an early fall morning in the Pacific Northwest when a tiny rainforest frog presented me with a profound lesson. I had been out on one of my regular walks, this time surveying the land around a local horse stable in search of active tryptamine-containing plants and fungi.  We had just received rainfall, and everything was wet, vibrant, and glowing. This is when the rainforest really comes to life.  The raindrops pooling together on waxy leaves, shimmering like jewels cascading down waterfalls to the forest floor, bringing with them life. Once satisfied with my foray into the world of entheogenic wildcrafting, I wandered off aimlessly into the trees. Here in the deep old-growth rainforest of the Pacific Northwest, it is very easy to lose oneself in the ambiance of sounds and colors. The biological density and diversity of such a system is astounding for those who are privileged enough to be graced with its presence. There is a deep coherence present within intact ecosystems: a union between the dynamic processes taking place and the homeostatic balance that weaves each individual process into a coherent symphony. Like cells in a body, animals, plants, fungi, microorganisms and non-biological mineral beings all play a pivotal role in holding together the living matrix that weaves into being the dreaming of the great planetary mother we call Earth. We too, have arisen within this system.

After walking a short distance through the forest, I stopped to listen. Each sound a harmonic echo of every other, a song…each note braided effortlessly with another, tones embedded within tones. A crow above…raindrops falling through the canopy to the ground cover below…the wind through the cedars…a stream not far behind…a frog chirping somewhere off to my left. There is perfect fractal compression in living coherent systems, and each being exists in perfect harmony with the structure of the system. They are tuned into the song of the land.

I could not see any of these beings. Each individual drop of rain…limbs swaying in the breeze… birds singing above…amphibian croaking in aquatic crevices, hidden in the underbrush. I could hear them, I could hear their symphony. Every moment perfectly embedded within every movement. Every movement following the subtle threads of every other moment, a luminous silken web of being weaving together the storytime of the forest. These beautiful beings, these gracious beings of the trees, of the waters, of the earth that we too are a part of, singing to us…calling us home, away from the cacophony of distortion, misery and confusion we have collectively sung into being. We do not see them, yet they see us. I stepped forward… Silence. Where is the frog? What happened to the crow? They were all aware of me, yet I still could not perceive them. I could not follow the threads. For a moment in my previous stillness, I could hear their song, I could feel their song…I could feel the forest move through my heart. I was home, yet unequipped for passage in that realm. What if I had been able to follow the threads of the Gaian dreamtime…and sing within that space? Would the forest still then have stopped singing to me?

Is it hard to imagine that we are beings which have emerged within a complex system comprised of layers upon layers, intricately interwoven, and that essentially this system exhibits what might be called “fractal coherence”?…What if this level of coherence is our natural state of being and these are the pretenses under which we have evolved?

When the last of the bird songs are replaced by automobile engines, the cicadas vibrational symphony by that of televisions and airplanes, and the rustling of the winds through mythical canopies die off in the wake of great rivers of ash fault, will we only then begin to wonder…what of the songs of the people? There was a time in our collective ancestral past when our songs echoed through the forests of old, across the plains and deserts, feeding the resonance of the people back into the land upon which they were sustained.  Plant researcher Dan Carlson claims to have discovered that when played back to plants, bird songs actually stimulated the flowering cycle. Bioacoustics is a relatively young field of research that I think will transform our entire paradigm concerning the role of sonic vibration within an ecosystem. If this is true then we must also ask: what of the songs of the people? We, the people, who have arisen within fully intact biodynamic ecosystems. What of the songs we once sung? What of the drums, woodland flutes, and tribal chants that once called forth and gave praise to the living beings present in the Gaian web of life in which we were embedded? In a time when the people no longer call upon and thank the great tree spirits, the animal guides, and the Gaian mother…When so few drums resonate across the land in reverence of this cosmic plight through the dreaming, what story is it that the land will have to tell future generation of the peoples of today?  Is it when the people stop nourishing the land with the sharing of our storytime and the songs of our dreaming that the land itself withdraws from the story of man? What are the people if not part of the great living story of the Gaian dream? I would like to propose that there was a time when all of the peoples inhabited a sacred space within the historical sphere, beyond that of the simple confines of linear consequence, where we walked vast mythical paths of creative dreaming in syncretic rhythm with the planetary and galactic body.

But when you turn your eyes then inward you discover the birth right. The existential facts out of which this particular existence emerged.”  Terence McKenna.

All cultures in all times and places erect great myths that stand at the center of their paradigm of understanding. From the bards of the Celts, to our Hollywood pictures and scientific paradigms, our mythologies are what guide us. Humans are creatures of habit and coming up with any and every way to creatively dream the world around us seems to be a habit of our species. In fact, I would propose that on some level this is a behavior of all species situated within the dreaming mind of the Gaian sphere. We are reflections of the planetary dreamer and, as such, we ourselves are dreamers.  We experience in the moment what is beheld and engage in the great metaphorical practice of linguistic phenomenon in an attempt to translate felt experience from one individual to another. The great metaphors of our species concretized within a finely woven fabric of meaning. Where are we going? Where have we been? And where do we stand currently? These are questions every man and woman must ponder at some point. It is out of this space of question that the myths and stories of our people, weaving a coherent thread of meaning throughout our lives, are birthed into being. If one were to view the phenomenon of language not as a simple process or technique, but as an ever evolving organism unto itself, one must then ask…what is its purpose?

Everything around us is code. Everything is language. Indeed, our own DNA is a coded library of information based on 4 essential base pairs. It is essentially a binary language. Genetic expression is based on the mRNA translation of the DNA code. How we interact with our environment opens up an ongoing dialogue with our genes, which impacts how they are expressed. Different environmental and dietary situations can cause the mRNA translation to shift, which changes our own genetic expression. This essential understanding has birthed the field of epigenetics. What this seems to point at is a sophisticated level of communication that underlies all other processes observed within the world around us. If we can assume that this is an accepted “truth”—at least, in the context of our current understanding—then we must assume that all things not only have language but *are* language.

It is no far stretch to claim that a plant or animal represents a complex coding of information that maintains an ongoing dialogue with the environment. The base coding never really changes (except in the case of cancer), but how it is read or translated does. It is accepted that a plant or animal qualifies as an organism. The analogy I wish to draw here exists between this organismic level of complex, layered information and those more recent, less tangible (or abstract) levels of information observed especially in higher animals we call language and culture. Language—be it social cues, primitive hand gestures or higher linguistic vocalization—represents a level of order where information is shared between 2 or more organisms (in this case). Without some form of communication social cohesion is unlikely. When communication exists between organisms in a group, we find group cohesion and culture emerges. Culture is a paradigm. It represents a sort of story, accepted within the conceptual mind of the group, which seeks to construct a framework that explains the world around them and their place within it. Culture is an abstraction…but what is an abstraction? What force is it that calls us forward out of the billows of history into worlds of abstract ideas and narrative mythologies? These things we cannot touch, cannot smell or taste yet we know exist because we name them…What is their place? If we as mammals, as organisms, have arisen as natural phenomenon within the matrix of organic life, then how can we assume that the very things birthed of the higher complexity of our nervous systems have no substance within that matrix? Our ideas are what make us who and what we are—we have consciousness and it would seem to be our greatest asset. When one considers the high culture of the 20th and 21st century, it becomes increasingly difficult to deny its presence. In no other time in the recorded history of mammalian culture has such an “abstraction” shaped the face of planet earth. One could suggest that the changes observed in the wake of culture are akin to a fingerprint of some sort of higher organizing species wide planetary force that emerges within the collective of a group. For better or worse, culture, then, would seem to be a sort of collective language through which each individual derives a meaning and understanding, and upon this a collective paradigm is structured that is then fed back into the Gaian dreamtime.

Would it not be fair to conclude that, in some sense, culture is a language which we speak (and ultimately dream)? Without communication there is no culture; and what we collectively communicate sets up the parameters that culture is birthed into. Everything is communication, from raising children to addressing coworkers and greeting strangers. The cultures of the east differ greatly from those of the west, yet you can have a man from America and a woman from China both speaking English, but they don’t convey the same cultural paradigms. Culture then may be viewed as a higher dimension of language and communication itself, or a sort of group wide organizational dialect. It is my opinion that our abstractions *are* our culture, and that culture represents the most recent frontier of an organizational force: the very same organizational force which has been the driving force furthering complexity within the cosmos since the moment of its conception. If such an idea is correct, then would it be that far off to propose that culture actually plays an epigenetic role within the planetary ecosystem?

In the absence of the rhythmic dances and synchronized vocalizations of the cultures of old, what information is it now that is being fed into the dreaming of the planetary mind? When the tonal chantings of an Amazonian ayahuasquero are replaced with the mechanical vibrations of bulldozers and tour busses, what repercussions will reverberate through the system in the wake of such a shift? Is it so far off to assume that the forest might need us as much as we need the forest?

This is largely an unexplored area of research, however, one study by scientists at Cornell has already indicated the importance of sound within an ecosystem. They found that boats have created “acoustic smog”, and that this has made it more difficult for whales to communicate. This interference makes finding food, detecting predators, socializing, mating, and protecting their young more difficult.

A fully intact ecosystem is both coherent and dynamic. Nothing exists out of place. I would propose that every movement, every color and every sound occupies a specific role within the larger sphere of such a system. These systems are not linear…they have no beginning nor end point. They are self-referencing fractal spheres, more like a mandalic stories sung into existence than simple materialistic processes at the mercy of entropic time. It is a planetary storytime, a Gaian dreaming, and it is layered in such a way that, through its own fractality, it maintains a state of perfect compression.

This is not an idea easily grasped outside of the tryptaminergic state of consciousness induced when specific entheogenic compounds, produced within the Gaian sphere, are ingested or produced endogenously within the human body. Such plant, animal and fungal compounds have been suggested by others to act as planetary inter-species pheromones. It is my belief that such compounds exist within the ecosystem to vibrationally tune our nervous systems into the resonance of the local and cosmic ecosystem, thereby setting up a feedback loop of information exchange. This information exchange is like an autonomous bubble birthed within the sphere of the Gaian dreaming, of a lineage descending from all other times and places within the dreaming. It is a phenomenon endemic to the individual, yet beyond the temporal perception of the individual. It is my opinion that entheogenic plants and fungi play an important role within the evolution of such biological systems in that they raise the vibrational capacity of certain organisms within the system. This results in a complexification of the mythological dreamtime capacity of the species—an increase in higher level abstract association and temporal space-time orientation…Essentially birthing a higher state of timeless consciousness that continually feeds into and out of the individual simultaneously, resonating throughout the system – an energetic construct that is represented by a broadening of the feedback loop signal. These organisms then become like antennas entrained to the subtle information exchange around them. This is how a 3 dimensional subjective consciousness becomes the living embodiment of the consciousness of a multi-layered system within a higher 4d or 5d space…This is true alchemical union with the planetary and, inevitably, cosmic mind, a dissolution of the barriers that essentially section us off as individuals and filter out the broader patterns of organization occurring all around us. The idea that the cosmos is an infinite fractal, embedded within limitless layers of itself is not a new one by any means. It is however, one that continues to simultaneously blow my mind, confound me and speak to the greatest truth of my being.

This is how I envision the operation of living dynamic systems. When interwoven within the layering of the forest, nothing is autonomous or temporal in the sense that every moment and every being extends out into every other moment and being. It is a state of fractal energetics, existing in the moment, bleeding like a river through all other moments, feeding ever forwards and backwards…all forests an echo of the primordial dreaming of the first forest. This will be, no doubt, hard for many with a bent towards the rational and linear to grasp. It is however, my experience…not to be over analyzed, nor to be trivialized. For those seekers who find in the forest a deeper sense of being and a much wider participatory stance within the collective morphic field of the planetary dreaming, the forest is a magical place. For those with the sense to see and stillness to hear, her mythos calls to us, beckoning us back through the past towards a future where the stories of the planetary dreaming still hold an air of adoration for that of its people.