Speech Party Guests & Ghosts

  • I relive the events that followed my graduation from Porter College at UC Santa Cruz earlier this month. The dream begins after I have delivered my graduation speech, "The Science of Oneness", and arrived at the reception party afterwards. Parents, friends, relatives mill around holding paper plates laden with fruit salad, pasta salad, potato salad, et cetera. Whenever I begin a conversation with someone they gush with compliments and congratulations for my speech. When I eavesdrop on others around the house I still hear my name and my speech on everyone's lips. A strange feeling of comfortable detachment envelopes me. All that admiration and kudos would normally be a real ego-booster, but instead I just take it all in respectfully and without vanity.

    As the party wears on the architecture of the house begins to transform. Where before we were in a small house in Santa Cruz, California, the dream mileau becomes sci-fi futurist. Walls begin to disappear until the house is now a large, open-air balcony perched in the upper-stories of a Blade Runner-esque apartment skyrise. The view is spectacular: overlooking a harbor and the surrounding metropolis that lights up the night. A speaker's podium now stands near the balcony's edge facing away from the view. I notice new faces among the guests. Friends and acquaintances I haven't seen for years. I see my father who passed away in March. He congratulates me on all my accomplishments and tells me how happy and proud he was to see me give that speech. Now I see Terence McKenna, the single greatest inspiration for writing my speech. Long hours did I spend in communion with his ghost, trying to find the right metaphors and the right way to communicate them. But now I see there are two Terence McKenna's here, one perhaps 20 years older than the other. I'm confused and decide that one must be Terence and the other must be his brother, Dennis McKenna. In retrospect, these may have been the dual influences of the young, psychedelic explorer from the 70s and the wise, technoshaman of the late 20th century.

    The young Terence steps to the podium and begins a speech of his own, describing the cultural transformations soon to be wrought by nanotechnology, genetic engineering, and quantum computers. As he speaks, my perspective slips out of my body and begins to float horizontally off the balcony. With Terence and the partying crowd centered in my vision, I zoom slowly out from the shining city. Below and to the sides I catch glimpses of other denizens of the future-city flying around town, their cybernetic bodies glinting steel and chrome. I zoom out and out until the whole city stands in my view like a single wall of light surrounded by night's blackness. Out and out until the city is a spark within the dark. Out and out until I see that I'm coming out of the pupil of an eye. It's lashes and white eyelids flicker with pixelated noise. Out and out until I see it's my own eye.

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