JG Writings:

Interview

CONVERSATION BETWEEN BRIGID (Barbara) MEIER AND JERRY GARCIA,
June 27, 1991, Denver, Colorado

An excerpt from this interview appeared in the Spring, 1992 issue of Tricycle Magazine

BRIGID: I just wanted to hang out and catch up a little bit.

JERRY: Yeah, you know, it’s funny. At some point or another after I got out of the hospital when I had my coma, I don’t know exactly what it was really, I don’t know whether it was a series of dreams or some kind of continuing psychic something, but I feel like I have this memory now, somehow it got in my head, I don’t know where it came from but it’s as though we, you and I, had continued with our lives together somehow and we had a whole alternate life, you know what I mean? And it’s full of details, full of little things and vignettes and all kinds of things. I have no idea where it came from but it’s like a thing that is now part of my psychic memory, you know what I mean?

BRIGID: laughing Well, what are the details?

JERRY: Things. You know, just images and stuff. I mean I don’t think I could ever really talk about it because it’s so ghostly. It’s just very slightly there, but it’s very real, in a way. And I don’t know exactly where it came from; it’s an interesting thing. I mean I’ve never changed the way I feel about you, you know?

BRIGID: You haven’t changed at all in any way.

JERRY: Hah! Oh, great.

BRIGID: No, I mean that; it was so surprising to me when I saw you last month in California…

JERRY: I’d hoped I had gotten to be, you know, something...

BRIGID: Someone said, “Well, how was it?” And I said, it was fantastic; he hasn’t changed a bit. Your fame hasn’t gone to your head, my dear.

JERRY: Well, there’s nothing to go, you know what I mean? When you play music you know how good you are. Or how bad you are, what you can’t do, and what you can do. And for me, it’s one of those things where what counts is what happens out there on stage. I’m still surprised that more people stay than leave. To me, that’s totally baffling. I have no idea.

BRIGID: People aren’t only staying, they’re continuously arriving.

JERRY: I don’t know why that happens, that’s a totally mysterious thing. I don’t know why that happens because I basically do what I’ve always done which is I try to play what I hear, what’s in my head.

BRIGID: I recently listened to the tape of you and Bob Hunter singing Weavers’ songs and other folk music at my 16th birthday party in 1961 and I’m going to have to get you a copy. It’s amazing

JERRY: Oh God.

BRIGID: “Michael Row the Boat Ashore.”

JERRY: Oh, my god, I can’t believe it.

BRIGID: It all came flooding back; it was absolutely amazing. I have a couple photographs here.

JERRY: Oh, god, do you? Good God! Oh, god. Hunter. Oh, my god, look at this stuff. Jeez. Unbelievable.

BRIGID: These photos have survived all these years. I don’t know if you remember me at the time?

JERRY: Yeah, I sure do. I remember this ad, yeah. I kept this for a long time, too. I had this for really a long time.

BRIGID: Laughing Pretty funny.

JERRY: Laughing Terrific.

BRIGID: And I don’t know if you remember these. Here are photos of two paintings I did of you back in 1962.

JERRY: Oh, god, amazing. Oh! Wow. Lovely. Too much. I can’t believe I was ever that guy.

BRIGID: That beatnik guy?

JERRY: I’m still that guy basically though. I haven’t really changed any…

BRIGID: So what is it all about? What is the Grateful Dead all about? Do you know?

JERRY: Well, it kind of varies. It shifts through time but we’re basically just trying to play music. I mean, it really isn’t any more complicated than that; it really isn’t.

BRIGID: But there’s this other thing that’s happening…

JERRY: Yeah, and that has a kind of consciousness of its own and we’re invented by it in a way. I mean you really sort of started me going. You bought me that twelve-string guitar. You gave me your acoustic guitar. In a way, this is partly your invention, you know? You’re partly responsible.

BRIGID: It’s a communal effort.

JERRY: Absolutely. It really is and what’s happening is basically sort of a continuation of those old days, the same idea.

BRIGID: Hanging out?

JERRY: Yeah, basically hanging out. I mean everybody’s gotten to be, of course, older and taken on lots of other things in their lives. But, really, we never decided to go somewhere or to become something, you know what I mean?

BRIGID: No agenda?

JERRY: No, no agenda. We’ve always operated without an agenda so that makes it difficult. Actually, the hardest part is preserving the illusion of spontaneity. As we go along and gain these larger and larger illusions of success, it requires more and more preplanning…

BRIGID: And maintenance?

JERRY: Yeah, and so we have to spend more time investing consciousness into the fiction of the corporation of the Grateful Dead. And we have to pay taxes and all that stuff.

BRIGID: But surely there are people who do that for you.

JERRY: No, we do it. There aren’t people who do it for us; we do it.

BRIGID: Really?

JERRY: Yeah. We don’t do the nuts and bolts, you know. I don’t sit in front of an adding machine; there are people who do that. But as far as making decisions about what we’re going to do and where we’re going to be and so forth and so on, we do that ourselves. And it gets to be more complex as it goes along and now it’s full of all kinds of complex ethical questions.

BRIGID: Oh, like what?

JERRY: Well, for example, is it fair to charge people $25 a ticket to go into an enormous stadium and see people on the stage that are this big? Is that fair even to begin with? Can you do that? Is that a fair thing to do? Well, I don’t think it is unless you’re able to create a good enough sound and a large enough image of some kind that pays off in the worst seat in the house. You know what I mean?

BRIGID: But you do that. I mean, you’re impeccable about that. Big screen projections...

JERRY: Well, we try to, we do. We do what we can to make it work. But that’s just the show biz side of it, the straight ahead entertainment part. Another question is what about the safety of the fans and their exposure? Because a lot of people still come to our shows thinking that it’s kind of a hole in reality where it’s okay to take drugs and it’s okay to do a lot of other things.

BRIGID: And they do.

JERRY: Yeah, and they do, of course. And we can’t protect them. Because we have no control over the world at large and the police of course do what they want. We’re targeted now, more or less; we’re an easy bust. If the police choose to be hard-assed about it, they can come to our shows and they…

BRIGID: But they usually don’t.

JERRY: Well, it comes and goes in waves, kind of like the newspapers with us. There are years of Dead-bashing and then there are years where we gain almost respectability. It’s kind of amusing the way this changes from year to year. But it’s making us up as we go along. Our records don’t sell really well so we don’t make huge amounts of money and basically we earn a living by going out and playing.

BRIGID: Concerts.

JERRY: Yeah, so it’s our livelihood. Anything that threatens being able to perform is always, um, you know, problematic.

BRIGID: Well, there’s an amazing tribal culture that’s formed around the Grateful Dead.

JERRY: Yeah, it certainly has.

BRIGID: A lot of my friend’s children are on the road, following the Dead.

JERRY: My own kids view the whole thing with detachment; they’ve grown up with it, so to them, it’s…

BRIGID: No big deal?

JERRY: Yeah, it’s no big deal. And they view Deadheads with a kind of bemusement. The interesting thing though is that the Deadheads are not that easy to pin down; there are all kinds of them.

BRIGID: There are a lot in Silicon Valley...

JERRY: Yeah, there are a lot of professionals ranging from hard scholarship to, you know, total street weirdos,. And there’s a huge spread in there. That keeps it interesting from our point of view.

BRIGID: There are academics writing PhD theses about you.

JERRY: Yeah! All that. So it can be amusing. But at the same time, I feel guilty. Like, isn’t there something real to think about out there? Aren’t there questions that people could be applying valuable human energy to?

BRIGID: Oh, like metaphysical questions? What do you mean?

JERRY: Any kind of questions, anything. In a way, getting involved in the Grateful Dead is like, I mean it isn’t going anywhere except onward.

BRIGID: And you don’t impose any kind of political message...

JERRY: Oh god, I couldn’t do it. No, are you kidding? The power is frightening.

BRIGID: Are you ever tempted?

JERRY: No, I can’t do it. For me it dates back to the days when I used to take acid and go to other peoples’ shows and I’d stand out there and the minute somebody started talking, it was like, hmmm, what’s happening? And if they were angry sounding like back in the days when there were anti-war rallies and I’d hear these angry voices, it was really frightening to me. I thought god, I don’t want this; as long as I’m going to be on stage, I’m not going to say anything to anybody. I’m not going to address the crowd, because it, it doesn’t matter what you say sometimes. Sometimes it’s just the sound of your voice. If it’s possible that I might inadvertently send somebody, you know…

BRIGID: Tweak somebody?

JERRY: Right! Tweak somebody. I’ve done it a million times, I’m sure. I don’t mind doing it in the interest of music, because music is the place where I divest myself.

BRIGID: Well, it’s egoless.

JERRY: Yeah, it’s egoless. For me, that’s something I trust. I trust it. And the other guys in the band have dealt with this also so I’m not alone.

BRIGID: There’s solidarity there.

JERRY: Yeah, there’s a solidarity there. If we have something we have to protect, it’s the integrity of the experience which is shapeless and formless. As long as it stays that way it’s all okay, then everything else is okay, everything else sort of falls along.

BRIGID: I had a sense at the concert in California that what you call the space jam, just free improv--that you did all of this so you could get to that point. That that’s where your real pleasure is.

JERRY: Well, that’s true in a way. But I also, I have a streak of--I ‘m a real rearguard musician. I mean, I really like a simple song and a simple accompaniment. I love that, too. That works for me, too. The whole evening for us is a process of gaining levels. You start out, go on stage, pick up your instrument and then it’s you and it. Sometimes it doesn’t work, sometimes something is wrong, some little electronic thing is wrong, and it’s buzzing or doing something awful, or you play it and you get a thyerrr you know? And so there’s that and you can’t see anything else until you work out that relationship. So your relationship with your instrument is your first basic relationship. Then, there’s the next thing: what’s everybody else doing? Have they a level, a fundamental level of…

BRIGID: Fluency?

JERRY: Yeah. Are they together with their instrument? Okay, now that we’re all together, and that has to happen to each individual, then you start addressing each other. Okay, so now I can hear this, I can hear that. Well, I’m having trouble hearing Phil over there, you know. I have to fix something to make it so that I can. So that’s the whole first part of the show: getting everything to work, just making it so that everything is technically working and you can hear everything and everybody’s intention is at about the same place. That’s kind of what the whole thing is about.

It’s like going through warm-ups or something, if you’re an exercise freak… [laughs] Me neither. Clearly.

BRIGID: I like to go for walks.

JERRY: Yeah, I like scuba diving. Scuba diving is my one physical thing. It’s the one physical thing I do and I really love it. Anyway. So that’s the next level. By then it’s the middle of the show and it’s time to sort of get away from that. You can address the show knowing that everything is working now. Boom. Now we go back and then it’s time to actually do the thing. And sometimes we talk it down, figure it out. Well, let’s do this and this and this. See what happens. And it all gets us up to that place where it’s absolutely free, but…

BRIGID: Is that an epiphany of some kind?

JERRY: Well, sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes it goes completely to pieces. But the nice thing about it is, luckily, the audience is forgiving. It’s okay with them if we fail. I think the thing that they care about is that we take a chance. As long as we take a chance, they don’t mind if we fail. So…

BRIGID: Who else does that? What other group does it?

JERRY: Well, I think most jazz musicians try to do it.

BRIGID: You did a gig with Ornette Coleman, right?

JERRY: Yeah, I sure did. That was…

BRIGID: That must have been amazing.

JERRY: Oh, god, it was wonderful. It was…

BRIGID: Was it great to work with him?

JERRY: A beautiful man. Just wonderful, sweet, so sweet, you know, just the sweetest. A really giving, really sweet person. I had a wonderful time, and for me it was like, an intense learning experience. And the music is so…

BRIGID: Harmolodics?

JERRY: Yeah, harmolodics. And the music is so dense. His music had two bass players, two guitar players already playing and the album was already done. So when I got into the studio, I had to play into the final mix. It was already all mixed and everything was done and it was all finished so I couldn’t interact with anybody. I had to play into the holes and there weren’t any holes. There were no holes.

BRIGID: Seamless.

JERRY: It was. And so I just tried to hear anything in there. And I would try and I’d say to Ornette, “Hey man, am I even close? What do you think?” And he would sometimes direct me a little, but most of the time he was really happy with what I did, and so it was wonderful. It was just great. He’s a good, good person. What a thrill, you know? I mean, Ornette Coleman!

BRIGID: I was just at the Taos Poetry Circus and Jane Cortez was performing. Wow, what a dynamite woman, really incredible. She’s putting poetry and music together.

JERRY: Oh, too much. Too much. Yeah, I think that’s a wonderful thing. I just did something that was interesting along those lines, kind of a poetry and music thing. There was this guy, back in the fifties, a guy named Ken Nordine.

BRIGID: Oh, Ken Nordine! Yes!

JERRY: Remember him? Word Jazz? Ken Nordine? I just did a record with Ken Nordine.

BRIGID: No.

JERRY: Yeah! Me and David Grisman and some other players, another new generation of Word Jazz. And I got to play the music for it.

BRIGID: What a hoot. When is that going to be out?

JERRY: Yeah, it was. I think it may be out already. Or it’s just coming out. It’s on Rhino Records. Yeah, we re-discovered Ken Nordine. He’s alive and, what a wonderful guy he is! He is too much.

BRIGID: That voice.

JERRY: That voice! His voice is like, ultra-basso; it’s the perfect radio voice. And he writes all those weird things. And his mind is just ever so strange. Tom Waits did a couple of things with him, too. They’re old friends apparently and Tom Waits knows how to do that thing of, you know, doing language, you know, kind of acting…

BRIGID: Scat?

JERRY: It’s kind of scat. Yeah, it’s kind of, and it’s just weirdness, like, thinking weird, really.

BRIGID: A little glossolalia…

JERRY: I was almost dying. Some of it was so funny, some of it was just so strange and funny. And so I’m playing along and it’s all live, I’ve got Ken Nordine’s voice coming in the earphones, and I’m trying to play and his ideas are so outlandish, you know, some of them are just, what? God, it was fun. That was one of those things that was really fun. That kind of stuff happens to me a lot nowadays. I’m thankful. I took my oldest daughter Heather who’s a classically trained violinist, to hear Stephane Grappelli who’s one of my early heroes – Django Reinhardt’s partner, you know. And he’s 83-years-old and my friend David Grisman was playing with him and so I got to take Heather backstage and introduce her and she was just thrilled. And that was a really nice experience, too. I’m really just getting to know Heather. And so the thing of us both being musicians is fun, it gives us something to talk about…

BRIGID: Music is a great bridge.

JERRY: Yeah, it is. And she’s formidable. She’s quite good.

BRIGID: She’s going to be on your new album, right?

JERRY: I haven’t gotten anything worked out with her yet. She reads. She’s not an improviser yet. I may be able to help her with that and then again, maybe not. It’s a different world so I don’t relate to it that well. The world of …

BRIGID: Classical music?

JERRY: Yeah. I understand it to some extent

BRIGID: It must take a lot of discipline.

JERRY: Yeah. It’s a different kind of discipline. Sometimes the people have a kind of idiot savant quality about it because it’s possible to learn how to read and play an instrument and read music and still have no musicality to speak of. It’s a problem with a lot of symphony players; they don’t know how music works. They know how to read and they know how to play and they know how to take instructions from a conductor but they don’t understand where music comes from. It’s an interesting thing. I wasn’t aware of this. I didn’t find it out until I found myself in situations where I was working with symphony players. Yeah. I found they couldn’t, like, whistle a tune.

BRIGID: They can’t hear.

JERRY: Yeah. Right. They couldn’t hear. Well, they could hear but they also couldn’t imagine. Improvisation is really composition. That’s one way of thinking about it. Improvisation is not – there’s no such thing as improvisation, there’s only composition and it’s whether you do it quickly enough. It amounts to composing on the spot but you have a framework of some sort sometimes. It might be possible for a symphony musician to take a chunk of Mozart and play entirely different music in it but still have it all fit the basic structure.

BRIGID: A cut up…

JERRY: Yeah. Kind of a cut up.

BRIGID: Brion Gysin takes on Mozart.

JERRY: Right, right. Brion Gysin, I met him once, too.

BRIGID: Did you really?

JERRY: Yeah, I sure did. And of course Burroughs and all those guys …

BRIGID: You know, Burroughs is painting now.

JERRY: Oh, really?

BRIGID: I hear that’s what he’s doing, that’s all he’s doing.

JERRY: Oh, terrific! I’d love to see Burroughs’ paintings.

BRIGID: Oh, they’re amazing.

JERRY: Are they?

BRIGID: They’re huge, done with spray can paint. A lot of energy and you’ll maybe see figures and things in the forms. I understand he’s having shows in Europe.

JERRY: Oh, terrific! That’s great!

BRIGID: I’m not sure he’s really writing at all. I think he’s just painting away. In Lawrence, Kansas. He comes to Naropa in Boulder pretty much every other year, something like that.

JERRY: Strange, he’s a strange person. Yeah. (laughs) Real strange.

BRIGID: Speaking of Naropa, Jerry, I think you were the first person to ever turn me on to Buddhism.

JERRY: Oh, god, I don’t believe it. Really?

BRIGID: Yes, I remember us being at Kepler’s bookstore. I must’ve been about fifteen and I was bummed out about my parents or something and you went and got a little book of Buddhist aphorisms and read them aloud to me.

JERRY: I think that was a nice thing to do. I’m glad I did it. You’ve been actually involved in Buddhism right along, right?

BRIGID: I connected with Suzuki Roshi at The San Francisco Art Institute in 1965.

Later I had a studio right across the street from his temple on Bush Street. I started practicing zazen and I went to Tassajara. I met the Tibetan teacher, Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche in 1970 and that’s why I’ve been in Boulder for the past many years.

JERRY: It goes by fast, I know. The last fifteen years have been furious.

BRIGID: Did you ever connect with spirituality on a practice level?

JERRY: Not really, not as far as practice. No.

BRIGID: Your music is your practice.

JERRY: Well, yeah, it is. If I think of myself in that context at all, I think of myself as a Buddhist. I’m certainly not formal. I’d been exposed to lots and lots of different, kinds of spiritual consciousness right there in the Haight-Ashbury where it was like the beginning of an explosion of, I don’t know what, of religiousness, you know, like energy. And so I’ve had a chance to speak to and meet lots and lots of gurus and masters and wise people and -

BRIGID: I remember reading once that Ram Dass described you as a bodhisattva, a very high being…

JERRY: He’s a very kind person but I don’t think I deserve that kind of, you know…

BRIGID: You’re too self-effacing. And you have another definition of “high…” right? But I got the hit once, hearing you in concert, that you have an incredible sense of generosity. You were just pushing it further, further, taking the crowd with you. You weren’t going to keep it for yourself.

JERRY: I don’t do it consciously.

BRIGID: You must be aware of it.

JERRY: Yeah, I’m aware of it. I’m aware of it because of feedback., because of endless reportage, you know. And so it’s like, for me it’s like UFOs, you know. If enough people say, “Hey, I saw it the other night. It was out there spinning around.” and I haven’t seen it myself but if this many people believe it, there’s probably something there. So I get reports of people connecting with me on kind of a one-to-one level and feeling that they’re involved intimately and specifically with some part of the music. Although I’m not conscious of it, it’s not something--I don’t think it’s something that a human does…

BRIGID: You’re saying there’s no intentionality or volition there...

JERRY: No. Not really. Because from my point of view, it’s a bead game. They’re beautiful when they go together right and they can go together an infinite number of possible ways and all of them are beautiful. I feel my finest moments have been either as an audience in a musical situation or as a performer when things are just happening and they’re unfolding in a graceful way. I think it’s like one of those moments of grace that humans get to experience that may belong just to us, you know. Maybe nothing else experiences that. I don’t know, I mean I’m not the right person to ask that kind of question to –

BRIGID: Oh, on the contrary.

JERRY: Well…

BRIGID: (laughing You are the perfect person to ask.

JERRY: In a way, but like I say, I enjoy it as much as anybody else does. I don’t think there’s anyone in the audience who enjoys it more than I do when I enjoy it. And when I don’t enjoy it, when it’s just hard work, that works for me too.

BRIGID: What do you mean?

JERRY: Well, there are times when we don’t get off. There are times when I don’t feel like I really got off. I haven’t played for, say, two weeks, and we’re about to play and I feel, well, I’m really inside of my own capacity right now. I’m playing way below what I’m capable of when I’m really warmed up. This whole evening is kind of a giveaway because I was never at the edge of my own ability. For me it’s a purely technical thing, it’s muscles, what my muscles can do, what they’re capable of doing. I remember I used to hear guys like Pablo Casals, say, “When, if I don’t play for a day, I can tell. If I don’t play for a week, my wife can tell. And if I don’t play for two weeks, everybody in the world can tell.” And I used to think, oh, come on, but now I recognize what he was talking about.

BRIGID: I can’t imagine you not playing for two weeks.

JERRY: Nah, I can’t do it, it’d take me too long to recover...

BRIGID: Isn’t there a guitar strapped to your body at all times? Like an appendage?

JERRY: Oh, I keep ‘em around. I keep ‘em around. I have to. I don’t feel like I’m particularly gifted, I‘ve never been real lucky that way. I’ve seen people who just have that thing of like, “Oh yeah, this is a guitar. Oh, I see. Errrrr.” God, you know, I’ve run into people like that and I…

BRIGID: I can remember you practicing twelve hours a day.

JERRY: Yeah, that’s how you, that’s – as far as I know, that’s the only way you get good.

BRIGID: But you did that.

JERRY: Yeah! For years. I don’t do it now. I can’t, I don’t have that many hours. But I don’t see any other way to do it unless you’re really, really gifted. The people who I’ve met who are really, really gifted, it’s no challenge for them so they don’t feel like it’s anything particularly important. I think you have to love music in there somewhere in an uncritical way. My own path seems to be really narrow compared to lots of other people who I’ve run into, some who are truly humbling…

BRIGID: Virtuosos.

JERRY: Yeah.

BRIGID: I remember when we spoke last month we touched a little bit on Terrence McKenna’s book, The Invisible Landscape

JERRY: Oh, yeah. One of my very favorites. Love it.

BRIGID: And he talks about a theory of how sound triggers…

JERRY: Yeah, that experiment they were trying to do where they were trying to exteriorize…

BRIGID: Exteriorize the mind…

JERRY: as a hologram. They felt that there was that chemical that created mutations in your vocal chords so that it created

BRIGID: Hypercarbolation

JERRY: Right. You remember it: hypercarbolation-- so that you created visible sound waves, standing waves, and then if the two of them got there and started creating a resonance, a spin resonance, they would be able to imitate, they would be able to exteriorize either some DNA molecule possibly or the hologram of an idea, a holographic idea in 3D out there, you know. Which I thought was a wonderfully imaginative – I mean, whoa. What a good idea. What an excellent thing to try!

BRIGID: Have you ever experienced anything like that?

JERRY: Well, yes, I’ve experienced lots but nothing so specific, nothing with such elegance, I mean in terms of the theoretical model…

BRIGID: I have a feeling that experience was a lot funkier than McKenna described…

JERRY: Oh, I’m sure their experience was way funkier. In fact, if I understand correctly, they started out and just went boing!

BRIGID: There’s a series of tapes called “True Hallucinations.”

JERRY: I’ve got it! I’ve got ‘em! For a while I gave them out to friends of mine. I bought about seven or eight copies of the boxed set with the little flying saucers on the cover. I love it, you know. That guy’s voice, McKenna’s voice just kills me.

BRIGID: He sounds a little like George Bush. Unfortunately… (laughs)

JERRY: Right! I know. It is unfortunate and there’re those funky little sound effects and stuff. I find them really charming. But it definitely works. I listen to it and just think, “Yeah, okay. This is good.” In my own extensive chemical research I’ve been to some pretty incredible places but nothing quite with the cosmic unfolding they describe. I would like to talk to those guys and find out what led them from the jungle to the I-Ching. What was the chain of sequences or reasonings or leaps of faith or whatever that got them over to the I-Ching then to that whole business about the calendrical system, which I thought was truly incredible

BRIGID: Yes. Amazing. “Time Wave Zero.” It’s a computer program.

JERRY: Yeah, I understand it is. I wonder if there are people who are running it now?

BRIGID: Oh, yeah. You can get it through McKenna, through Lux Natura and if you plug it into your Mac or your PC or…

JERRY: And you can watch that wave unfold?

BRIGID: And you can also plot the next five minutes.

JERRY: Oh, too much! Plot the next five minutes! Fabulous!

BRIGID: Or the past fifty thousand years. Or the past fifty million years and you can see the graph; it plots novelty.

JERRY: Oh, I love it. It plots novelty. Unbelievable!

BRIGID: It is. So if you make the assumption of 2012 as the end, you can move back from that and you can see where you were on your birthday and what that resonated with throughout history. You can scan to see where else in history that particular configuration occurred.

JERRY: Right, harmonic overtones. Incredible. Wow.

BRIGID: It’s a great toy.

JERRY: Right! I’ve got a Mac. I’m into the computer. I don’t do much music on the computer, mostly graphics. Yeah, I have the best graphics stuff. I have all different ones, all the newest, most updated pixel, fancy Mac. FX, you know, with the million-color graphic card. It’s just unbelievable. It’s just…

BRIGID: Oh, what fun.

JERRY: Yeah, it really is fun. I get everything. I get every new program that I can boot up, you know. There’s one that does things like wrap around three-dimensional stuff and you know, where you can do cubes and there’s also some great 3D programs too, where you can build little sets.

BRIGID: Better than television…

JERRY: Yeah, it’s more fun interacting with it, you know. My daughter Annabelle is very big into it. She does animations, monsters and things like that, she’s…

BRIGID: There are a whole bunch of programs for kids…

JERRY: Well, she’s twenty, she’s not a kid anymore.

BRIGID: But you have a three-year-old?

JERRY: Yeah, three and a half-year-old. Yeah, I know. I didn’t expect to be a parent for such a long time. It just happened, you know. My oldest is 27. Twenty seven to three and a half. Yeah, and one twenty, and one’s sixteen, and one three and a half.

BRIGID: Wow. I’m just coming out from my daughter turning eighteen…

JERRY: Well, that must be nice, really. You’ll be on your own. It just didn’t work that way for me. My emotional life has been really strange. It just happened to me. I didn’t really think about it much. I guess fundamentally I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. I’m just bumbling around.

BRIGID: If we were all to be honest, Jerry, we’d have to admit that none of us is doing it any differently…

JERRY: Nobody really has any control, I guess. I guess that’s the basic thing about life: you don’t have any control over it, to speak of.

BRIGID: Well, you certainly learn that doing Buddhist practice. Things happen and all you can “control” is your response.

JERRY: Well, what’s that like? Tell me about it. Tell me about something about what your life is like.

BRIGID: Well, I did the whole Tibetan Buddhist preliminary practices, one hundred thousand prostrations and all of that…

JERRY: Unbelievable.

BRIGID: No, it’s not. Anyone could do it with the right guidance and with the right motivation…

JERRY: But it represents a lot of discipline which is something I can appreciate. I understand what discipline is about.

BRIGID: It took me a number of years but now I’m at an interesting point. I’ve been empowered to do some advanced practices but it’s like, okay, if I’ve got four hours to spend, what am I going to do? At this stage in my life I want to paint. I want to write. I don’t see myself being a professional Buddhist.

JERRY: Right. Of course. Well, it’s time for you to do that. And you gained what you could from it.

BRIGID: Invaluable. It was invaluable.

JERRY: Your writing is wonderful. I mean, it really is. I think it’s amazing, it’s absolutely transforming. I think you’re on to something.

BRIGID: I have some new work from trips I took to Nicaragua and Guatemala. This chap book, Maya Drala, is about a trip I took by myself through Mexico to Palenque.

JERRY: Wow. By yourself? Terrific. I wish I had the nerve to do something like that.

BRIGID: You’re too public and visible.

JERRY: Yeah, it’s the tradeoff.

BRIGID: It would be like the guy you told me about stalking you with an underwater camera while you were diving. Fortunately I’m very anonymous.

JERRY: That’s a nice thing to be.

BRIGID: So all this business about shamanism that people lay on you…

JERRY: I’ll tell you when it started happening. It started happening back in the early psychedelic days in the early sixties when we started playing and it started to look like power, you know what I mean? And then out of the woodwork came all the power vampires of every description. It was amazing, because what did I know? I was just 24-years-old, just an idiot and all I had to go on was psychedelics and a sense of caution, a sense of something valuable and important I needed to protect. And also the way my first acid trips went, they were like lessons, you know…

BRIGID: Were you part of the experiments back then at Stanford?

JERRY: No, but Hunter was. I was living with him at the time and he’d run down everything to me that was happening. I was so jealous.

BRIGID: I remember he was into Scientology and…

JERRY: And psychedelics! What a lovely combination.

BRIGID: At the Veterans Hospital…

JERRY: Right, at the Veterans Hospital. And that was when Kesey was first doing acid too, so…

BRIGID: That’s when it all started getting strange.

JERRY: Yeah, and it hasn’t stopped getting strange. It’s too bad that, it’s too bad that the country is in such a – I don’t know what, the doldrums or something - that there isn’t more of a sense of adventure about consciousness and…

BRIGID: Well, it’s happening. It’s all happening but it’s underground. But back to the early days. What happened? You were 24-years-old and the power vampires…

JERRY: That was something I had no experience with. I didn’t know that there would be people who’d be willing to do anything to gain some control over any of it, you know. And, it was just something I hadn’t been aware of. But fortunately, they’re easy to recognize so you can say, no thanks. Nothing for me, thanks. It’s like that Charlie Manson sort of thing. Of course as time went by they changed shape and form…

BRIGID: But you must’ve learned ways to deal with it, how to protect yourself….

JERRY: Oh, yeah! Yeah, you DON’T deal with it. That’s how you deal with it.

BRIGID: One of the primary things Vajrayana Buddhism teaches is how to create a protection system. When you sit down to practice, the first thing you do is set the boundaries so your mind can connect with various kinds of energies because the practice is very much about working with energy. Which can possibly be dangerous without protection…

JERRY: Right, right. I felt that. That was instinctive.

BRIGID: So you winged it?

JERRY: Yeah, I sure did. And I got bumped and…

BRIGID: A little bruised?

JERRY: Oh, sure. Nasty bites, you know. Oh! They bite. Look out for them, they bite. And it’s hard to explain this stuff because unless people have had some contact with other levels of consciousness, they don’t believe that any of this is real, you know.

BRIGID: That there’s this cotangent universe of spirits and energies.

JERRY: Right! Absolutely.

BRIGID: Demons and goddesses.

JERRY: Absolutely. That’s exactly right. And everything else. Yeah, you name it. It’s all in there. And just as dangerous as your worst nightmares. I mean, the rewards are immense but the scare, the scare factor is…

BRIGID: What are the rewards? What have been the rewards for you?

JERRY: Well, for me it’s the rewards of service. It’s a simple thing, you know, it’s the kind of simple pleasures that are the reward, the rewards of feeling of like, okay it’s a job well done. I have a kind of a workman-like approach…

BRIGID: Back to the music…

JERRY: Yeah. It’s work – to me, the whole thing to me is, has a workman-like quality to it. I’m sure it has something to do with the kind of things that makes the tea ceremony work-- that kind of simple ritual, doing some simple task over and over again, everyday at a certain time or something like that… It’s not a big thing. It’s a little thing but it’s very strong and important.

BRIGID: Do you still trip?

JERRY: Every once in a while, yeah. I’m still curious. I want to know what is all this stuff? I don’t feel like I’ve gained answers: I’ve only gained questions. To me, it’s kind of my hobby…

BRIGID: To be a Magellan…

JERRY: Yeah, well, sort of. I will say, in taking a completely reductionist point of view, if the only thing out there is my own consciousness, that in itself is interesting.

BRIGID: But what’s the definition of “your consciousness”?

JERRY: Yeah. Well. All that goes completely to pieces once you take a step into other realities: it all falls apart. The idea of a personal self is…

BRIGID: Annihilated!

JERRY: Kind of a joke, right.

BRIGID: That’s another thing I loved about “The Invisible Landscape”. McKenna talks about the flying saucer phenomena as arising from some kind of over-mind of the planet, a projection, the current form the culture has adopted to explain something transcendent or ineffable. You know, two thousand years ago it was projected onto a carpenter as a messiah. It’s as if language is actually producing phenomena.

JERRY: That’s true, you’re right. You’re exactly right about that. I just had the guys from the UFO Center in Chicago come and visit me when I was there. They laid a whole bunch of their pamphlets on me and it’s fascinating stuff. The whole texture of the UFO situation has been changing as time goes by. In the ‘50s it used to be sort of a technological, paranoid model then it went into the ‘60s into a kind of a more sociological, phenomenal kind of deal where they said there may not be flying saucers but there’s a huge body of reports from humans who are experiencing something. In the ‘70s it went off into that close encounters space and then in the ‘80s it went into this thing of the abductees, the contactees, people who have been taken up and taken away or experimented on against their will.

BRIGID: And then there’s another whole level of governments interacting and…

JERRY: Yeah! Well, that’s the new one, the cover-up. Yeah, what’s circulating around now is called MJ12 , a set of papers presumably from the government, the CIA or something like that, from this guy who’s a disinformation officer. He says that back in 1947 or ’48, flying saucers crashed in the desert and we recovered them. We then started looking in earnest for flying saucers and have since collected lots of them and have even had live guys and we worked out a secret agreement with the aliens and the government’s known about it and they’ve had this thing going on and it’s been going on for all this time. It’s pretty wild shit. They’re talking about these guys who have been manipulating and fooling with human consciousness all along.

BRIGID: Walk-ins. George Bush is a walk-in…

JERRY: Right! Yeah. Anyway, it’s more of the same stuff really. If you take the McKenna point of view, it’s really basically the same idea. The whole UFO thing is still, nobody knows what they are, or what they’re doing, or why they’re there, but there are more and more and more people who are experiencing something really strange and its texture keeps changing. But I like McKenna’s thing that there are other people who believe in the UFO world. It’s not a pseudo-science; a lot of hard scientists who were kids in the ‘50s and ‘60s who have since become professionals are curious about it, wondering what the hell is all this stuff? People on lonely roads in the middle of the night…

BRIGID: On two-lane highways… Well, what is going to happen in 2012?

JERRY: I have no idea.

BRIGID: I really want to stay alive for it!

JERRY: Me, too. Well, I expect to last at least until then. I mean, I think even if I pull out all the stops and do everything bad, I can still make it to at least to 2012. That’s not that far; it’s barely 21 years, yeah. I think that’s not that hard.

BRIGID: Drink your wheatgrass.

JERRY: Yeah, I do real good on vitamins and stuff, too. I’m a blue green algae guy. Also, Sun Chlorella which I think is real good.

BRIGID: Yes, it is.

JERRY: Ever since I’ve been taking it, I feel really good. Yeah, I’m big on that stuff.

Green stuff is good stuff. I want to be able to keep going. I intend to survive for a while anyway.

BRIGID: You seem like you stand every chance. What about the rest of—

JERRY: Everybody else is great, yeah.

BRIGID: What ever happened to J?

JERRY: I don’t know. I think he descended really badly. I think the bottle got him.

BRIGID: I’m sorry to hear that.

JERRY: I don’t know whether he’s even still alive or not.

BRIGID: That’s an ugly way to go.

JERRY: Yeah, it is. With Pigpen--we went through all that, you know. He didn’t want to die, but it turns out he had this other disease that was really rare. Now his brother has it, some kind of genetic deal that causes a gradual enlarging of your internal organs, which gradually kills you, and it’s really really rare. And Pigpen had that disease. And that’s what killed him, not the drinking, you know? He drank, he drank a lot, but god, there are people who last fifty, sixty years drinking the way he drank. He wasn’t a real hard drinker, but he was just fragile. He was only twenty-seven when he died.

BRIGID: That’s criminal.

JERRY: Oh, jeez. It’s so painful. It’s so filled with pain. And the thing is, alcohol does a nasty thing to people’s personalities, too. You know, that other person steps in there and it’s like…what is it?

BRIGID: The door is open for possession.

JERRY: Yeah, definitely.

BRIGID: Yeah, it can get real ugly. So when McKenna talks about psilocybin mushrooms, he says there’s actually an entitiy in there.

JERRY: Yeah, well, I’ve had mushrooms and I certainly felt that; they’re jolly. But I don’t know. I don’t see things quite so anthropomorphically as those guys do. And also, I haven’t had the kind of experiences where I’m able to go out into the woods and take mushrooms and sort of meditate on the whole business.

BRIGID: He advocates being in a dark room, lying on your back, eyes closed.

JERRY: Right, just get way the hell out there? Yeah, right, right. My experiences don’t have a personality attached to any chemicals particularly, but there’s definitely something that goes on. I used to notice a real difference in the kinds of LSD depending upon who made it, who manufactured it. It’s subtle. I think with things that are so highly charged and so subtle in terms of their biochemistry, you don’t know what the hell is affecting them. It could be someone’s psychic emanations from down the street. You don’t know what the hell is leaking in. I’ve felt all sorts of weird things, god knows where they come from. Apart from the usual infinity of lifetimes, all the things of countless lives and deaths, and all that stuff it has all an incredible richness. It’s all material, you know.

BRIGID: Material? To go into the music?

JERRY: It goes into the music. Yeah, I’m playing the serenade from Lifetime 12A,

And this one comes from when we were all in heaven in music school on Mars or something. I’m so delighted you’re involved in this stuff; it’s been a real source of joy for me. There aren’t many people to talk about it with….Do you get Marilyn Ferguson’s paper, the…

BRIGID: Megabrain?

JERRY: She’s puts out a brain newsletter about anything new having to do with either consciousness, the mind, the brain as a mechanical thing and all that kind of stuff.

BRIGID: Well, I think those light and sound machines are interesting. Have you tried the Brain Tuner, the one that attaches to acupuncture points behind the ears? It’s like a TENS unit.

JERRY: No, I haven’t tried the acupuncture one, but I’ve tried the goggle ones that are supposed to align your two hemispheres. I don’t know. Maybe I have a gross consciousness, but it doesn’t seem to work…

BRIGID: The Brain Tuner or a TENS unit is what I guess got Keith Richards and Peter Townshend and some other people off heroin; it helps to release endorphins…

JERRY: That I’ll have to try. I’ve done a certain amount of- -I also had a problem with heroin. I got straight after a long time and I got off with the real pins, acupuncture pins attached to electrodes so you could dial in various frequencies. It was also one of those things that was distracting and I didn’t enjoy it, and it didn’t seem to me to be efficacious. It was like a whisper in a storm compared to the chemical reality.

BRIGID: It didn’t really…help.

JERRY: There was no comparison, right.

BRIGID: Well, what’s important is direct experience. That’s what got me into Buddhism in the first place.

JERRY: For me, if you subtract the psychedelics from my life, there would be nothing.

BRIGID: It’d be a job?

JERRY: No, no, never that. But the thing that started me taking drugs in the first place was that suspicion that there was more than everyday life. There’s something more. I don’t know whether it’s something hiding but available to you only in times of near death experiences or other extreme moments that would pop you out of everyday consciousness into some other state. I don’t know that it’s available to you in any other way- that and chemicals, of course and ritual, I suppose and other things.

BRIGID: Sex, maybe.

JERRY: Sex, yeah, tantra and all. These things are ways that lead you to where you say, “OK, I’ve seen these colors-- where do they come from?”, you know, “I see people’s auras. What’s that about?” The quality of light or the quality of gravity or the quality of the natural forces around me is all changed suddenly and what is it and why is that happening? Is it inside? Is it outside? Where is it?

BRIGID: Right, the whole nature of time shifts.

JERRY: I think that the business of humans is to be finding out about this stuff.

BRIGID: Well, why do you think all these people think of you as a guide?

JERRY: Jeez, I hope not. I don’t think of myself as a guide…

BRIGID: But they do.

JERRY: Well, I think that I may have a handle on one of the possible sets of signposts, one that says, “Hey possibly, if you look in look in this direction, then maybe something that you’re looking for will turn up”. Maybe there is something to look for, but I think of myself as being very early on in that quest. But yeah, I’m in the tradition of seekers. I think people think of the Grateful Dead in that way, too.

BRIGID: Well, just the fact that they would come to the concerts, take drugs, and then there’s this music, this sound. I mean it’s what we’ve been talking about with McKenna’s experiment.

JERRY: Yeah, it’s another version of it, kind of.

BRIGID: And then they go into that.

JERRY: Yeah, and they join with it on some level or another. It transports them. Even if the only thing it does is to make people happy for a little while, that would be good enough. That would be good enough just because there’s so much grimness.

BRIGID: But there’s more. What I’m trying to say is I think that whole idea of you being a bodhisattva is actually something you do manifest. You do present that in the level of generosity of your playing. No, I think it’s there. I think it’s there.

JERRY: Well, it’s not a question of generosity, it’s the thing of, there’s nothing else to do with it. The only thing there is to do with it is to give it away and to share it. That’s the only thing you can do with it.

BRIGID: Yeah, but some performers don’t think that way. They think the only thing to do with it is to show off.

JERRY: Oh, well, to me, that’s silly. To me, that’s like the least rewarding thing to do with it on every level, you know. For you and for everybody else. In that sense, I don’t think I’ve acted in any way other than—well, my own self-interest. I mean, my actions are like most people’s, just basic self-interest insofar as I enjoy doing it and since I enjoy doing it, it’s great with me if anybody wants to share it, you know. That’s fine.

BRIGID: And what about your painting? My daughter brought home the Denver Post yesterday with an article about a show of your artwork…

JERRY: Yeah, that’s something else entirely. I don’t know why I do that. I do it in fits and starts and it’s just something I do. I don’t think about it hardly at all. I’m not trying to show anything. It’s just something…

BRIGID: That happens…

JERRY: Sometimes it’s funny. Sometimes they’re just cartoons. They’re just like, this is funny, you know. This is just a funny idea. And sometimes there’s no idea at all, nothing to it. From my point of view, if other people look at it and say, “Hey, I really like this.” or “I really enjoy this, there is something about this I really love.” great. I don’t do it for any reason other than I enjoy doing it and it’s at that level of simplicity. I love it. I don’t think I could make myself do it. I don’t think I could say, “Okay, today, I’m going to go and paint.” I don’t think I could do that. Although, when I get into it, I work fast and I work a lot. I just love it.

BRIGID: That’s so great. I’ve brought some photos of my paintings. Do you have a minute?

JERRY: Oh, let’s see! Yeah, I sure do. Let’s see. Terrific. Ooo!

BRIGID: They start with a stroke, just body energy, and then I move with that and follow whatever develops.

JERRY: Right. Well, that’s kind of the way I work, too. I don’t start with an idea.

Yeah, that’s lovely. Wow. They’re very active. Ooo! What is this stuff? Acrylic? I’ve just started to fool around with acrylics. I got into the airbrush a lot. That’s a lot of fun for me. Terrific. That’s great. Oh, I like this. I love this stuff. Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah. Oh, I like this stuff, Barbara.

BRIGID: Thank you, thank you. Well, it’s the same kind of thing: you just sit there and do it and have no idea of the outcome. It all starts with some kind of a stroke in emptiness and then from there a whole world evolves. It becomes a meditation of its own.

JERRY: Oh, these things really work for me. I like them.

BRIGID: Some are getting really garish, the gold…

JERRY: I like that. I like that. I like that striking visual, it’s striking. It’s visually striking. The gold is wonderful over there. I love that stuff.

BRIGID: So I can look at them afterwards, after the fact and say, “Well, that’s really synaptic” or “That’s really cellular”. But you know, that’s a trip you lay on it later.

JERRY: Yeah, that’s right, you can add that on later on. I know. I understand.

Yeah, right. It gives you something to do.

BRIGID: Keeps you from being a nuisance.

JERRY: Absolutely. Like from interfering in people’s problems.

BRIGID: So, this is what I’m up to.

JERRY: Yeah. This is neat stuff. Neat stuff. Well, I want to be able to keep communicating with you.

BRIGID: Absolutely, it’s terrific. Lot of fun.

JERRY: It’s real good for me.

BRIGID: It’s great. As you recall, we spent a long time being friends. And hanging around with Bob and Alan, driving around…

JERRY: I know, I know, we had wonderful times. This is kind of scary in a way. A little scary. Well, I mean, it’s just some part of me is very, very, still is very much in love with you. Still, always.

BRIGID: Always. Likewise.

JERRY: Kind of like, there’s always the possibility that will just take over. AHHHHH! You know?

BRIGID: But, we have lives and…

JERRY: Yeah, right, I’m not gonna get hung up about it now. I’m too old for that stuff for one thing. It’s great not to be young anymore with endless energy to make yourself crazy. And more than enough willingness to get as crazy as you possibly can, too.

BRIGID: Yes. There is also an urgency in the world now. And then again there isn’t. As a Buddhist, I would have to say, “No need to survive.“ which is a quote from the poet, Nanao Sakaki.

JERRY: Right. Right, absolutely. No need, right. Yeah.

BRIGID: On the other hand, there’s this other thing, the biology that says…

JERRY: Right, survive at all costs.

BRIGID: And let’s clean it up. So you’re doing that as well?

JERRY: Well, we’re trying to. I feel like our efforts are so tiny, so gratuitous. But apparently what we’ve been doing has been making a difference. The hands-on guys are saying, “Hey, yeah, keep doing it,”, you know? They say it does make a difference. All the money we’re able to raise and all the interest we create, it all makes a difference. Any, even the smallest amount of effort really helps, so I’ve been convinced now that it’s a valuable thing to do.

BRIGID: It’s like tithing. It’s spiritual.

JERRY: And everybody needs to do it. Everybody needs to put in some amount of their attention, their consciousness and their energy into the whole world. I’m starting to think about the Bay because I think the Bay is our local…

BRIGID: Goddess…

JERRY: Yeah, right, important. And I remember, just even back when we were young that it used to come all the way up to the Bay Shore Freeway and it used to be real blue but it’s become real sludgy. And now that I dive a lot, I’m able to see this. I dread the loss of any of it. Some of it’s so fragile. There’s coral that when you touch it, it goes, tink! And it breaks off. And there’s these guys dropping anchors on it. Crunch! Obliterated. Every little area is a little community. It’s just so delicate and lovely and I kind of can’t bear the idea of it being destroyed. I feel like I have to do something.

I’ve become involved in a big hullabaloo over in Hawaii where they’ve started putting in mooring pins on the rocks and stuff in the lava so they don’t have to drop their anchors anymore. And that has actually worked, it actually works to protect the coral.

BRIGID: These are tiny victories.

JERRY: Oh yeah, every one counts.

BRIGID: And they really add up!

JERRY: They count. Every little one. But you gotta do something. I mean, they were talking about this stuff twenty years ago.

BRIGID: Well, we could see it twenty years ago…

JERRY: What happened? Why didn’t everybody jump on it? So anything that can be done to call attention to this stuff is good stuff. We’re still on the case. But everything dies. Everybody dies. It’s just, I don’t know, we’re so bad at death, you know. So bad…

BRIGID: Death is what the Buddhists do best. I definitely want a Buddhist funeral.

JERRY: Yeah, there’s a right way to go. I mean, death should be kind of joyous, I think. After all…

BRIGID: And so you obviously believe in reincarnation? You’ve seen all these past lifetimes.

JERRY: I don’t know, they come from somewhere. I don’t know where they come from but I don’t know that I believe in reincarnation in the specific survival of the individual consciousness sense. I don’t think that’s important. I think that there’s some huge kind of shared experience somehow and that…

BRIGID: A pool?

JERRY: Yeah, and I don’t know whether that translates into the incredibleness of the DNA construct and that information about every specific life is in there, you know. That everything that brought you on the evolutionary chain up to now is all there. I can almost believe that because there seems like there’s an infinitely large amount of information somewhere and it’s all coherent. So there’s a huge amount of processing going on somewhere. Where is it? If it’s not in the brain, stored as some kind of hard matter, it’s somewhere in the organism and the only logical place is, I mean, to me, I think that it’s logical that it’s encoded in every little DNA molecule cause they’re pretty incredible. The amount of information in variables and so forth, must be just huge.

BRIGID: Like we said before, there’s a lot of really interesting research on the interface between mind and brain. I mean, I find that fascinating.

JERRY: Me too. I like to stay on top of that. I like to keep up in the world, what’s new on the frontiers of science, even though I sometimes have to just slog through it.

What was that concept again? I mean, I’ve had to learn electronics to protect myself as a musician. And in the recording studio because I don’t want to…

BRIGID: Spontaneously combust…

JERRY: That’s right, absolutely! It’s just that that’s the world I’m in. It’s only partly traditional music, you know-- strings and so forth. The other part of it is electronics. It’s been a matter of self-preservation, really.

BRIGID: Well, and mastery. More mastery.

JERRY: Yeah, yeah, and there are more tools. More instruments, really.

BRIGID: More toys.

JERRY: Yeah, wheeeee! God knows, I got enough of ‘em.

BRIGID: The recording studio.

JERRY: Yeah, I mean, I’ve already burned out on most of them to tell you the truth. I spent so much time in them, they no longer hold the novelty they once had for me. But technology keeps kicking things ahead every couple of years and so all of a sudden you feel like, “Ah, I’ve finally got a grasp on it!” BAM! “Okay, here’s digital stuff; now figure this stuff out”. How does that work again? Let’s see, now you have a whole bunch of zeros and a whole bunch of ones, what happens then?”

BRIGID: And you were into virtual reality for a while?

JERRY: Yeah, well, that’s another one of those ongoing things. Anytime somebody wants to call me up and tell me…

BRIGID: And plug you in!

JERRY: Well, what I think it’s going to be real good once they get out of the seven frames per second. It’s real clunky right now. It’s like a bad cartoon. Seven frames per second is pretty slow. It’s not very smooth, but when they get it so that it’s much smoother, it’ll be pretty incredible. In the sessions I’ve experienced, all you have to do is point your hand in the direction you want to go in and this hand appears in your vision. It’s disembodied. It’s not connected to anything. And you point where you want to go and you just go there. And then there are also the ones that have gloves so you could pick things up inside the environment. You are in a completely fictitious environment and you can pick up things like books, and…

BRIGID: Is this in a padded room or something so you don’t…

JERRY: So you don’t bump into stuff? Well, everything is foreshortened. I mean, you do have to turn around, and you do have to turn your head and your eyes and stuff like that. And there’s the thing that shows what level is. So all your attitudes are real, but you don’t have to actually go anywhere. If you stand in one place, you can still experience everything. I don’t know how but they’re going to work it out eventually.

Hopefully somebody will come up with a neural interface. It’ll be like, you know-- Neuromancer and then that kind of stuff.

BRIGID: An implant?

JERRY: Right, a direct implant that goes directly to your consciousness that plugs right into…

BRIGID: How far off can that be?

JERRY: Well, they’d have to learn a whole lot more about nerves and how the brain transmits information. I think that’s been the problem because so far…

BRIGID: Right, because it’s a hologram. The brain functions like a hologram…

JERRY: Hey, I just noticed the time. I’m really sorry but I have to go. Maybe I’ll be able to see you again in the next day or so or something?

BRIGID: I’d love to.

JERRY: Yeah, that’d be great. Maybe we can get together about four or five or something like that. I get to the show early.

BRIGID: This is great.

JERRY: Yeah, it really is.

BRIGID: Now, you take care. Okay, see you tomorrow. Thank you so much. What a pleasure.

JERRY: Hey, for me, too. Big, big pleasure for me. Yeah. Thank you.

 

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