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as seen in FringeWare Review #10 - Chaos Spirituality, published 29feb96

Pick one loaded word, "spirituality," and apply personal experience (chaos) liberally. Although we may sometimes perceive ourselves moving through time by way of an almost narrative flow (the guiding hand of the divine), as often as not there is nothing and no one to illuminate the darkness ahead of us. When the chaos starts to simmer, spice with confusion, and if you're lucky, hope. Reality smiles when you least expect it will.

I wrote my first poem on a drug called LSD. It was New Year's Eve, and I was fleshmeeting with 30+ some friends (freaks) from around the country, nearly all of whom I had first met on the Internet. The only real way to describe that evening -- indeed, the entire week of the fleshmeet -- is to start with chaos (in this case, the collision of 30+ memespaces from around the country), heat slowly (spending days and nights feasting and smoking and carousing together), and watch as, miraculously, a sense of underlying Spirit emerged -- not necessarily "purpose," mind you, nor anything so formalized as ritual mystical experience (though the LSD that night was potent, and the history and traditions among us were deep and strong).

An Internet mailing list, we discovered, could function as a dissipative structure, with semi-permeable boundaries allowing information and energy transfers with the outside world (Consensus Reality). The initial ingredients in this memetic attractor were metaprogramming theory and philosophies of psychedelia, but over time the focus changed such that we were interested more in each other than the topics by which we had met. We watched community arise from a stew of random yet entirely meaningful connections.

I myself was on a dark and dangerous path not so long ago. The suicide of my best friend had devastated me such that the gravity of his situation threatened to pull me into the quicksand as well -- my core was beginning to self-destruct. And then I discovered in short order both LSD and the Internet. This is yet another event from which I have not yet recovered. If you had told me in advance that strangers from across the globe, some whose faces I will never see, whose breath I will never feel, could move me, could restore me, could offer me Hope... if you had told me in advance, perhaps I could have saved Gary. Perhaps...

I don't understand what's happened to me. "Synchronicity" isn't adequate, yet "purpose" is too dense and impenetrable. The Spirit, though, of our shared journey through time (til next New Year's Eve at least) is undeniable. Our strength is that we intended nothing so grandiose at the start, our community best modeled as a severely mystical self-organizing system, beginning with no more or less than chaos, and soon propelled into the mystic. The alchemical transformation of my essence happened despite my will and better judgment, and I am better for it. After all, would I trust this strangely holy business if there were actually some"one" in charge?

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