Ice Friday: John C. Lilly’s “The Scientist”

John C. Lilly’s fantasy-autobiography The Scientist chronicles his life as a scientist, psychedelic explorer and Third Being from the outer reaches of the universe. His scientific work begins with messing around with monkeys brains:

It was found that in male monkeys there were separate systems for erection, for ejaculation and for orgasm. With an electrode in the separate orgasm system, the monkey would stimulate this region and go through a total orgasm without erection and without ejaculation.IMG_4592Given the apparatus by which he could stimulate himself once every three minutes for twenty-four hours a day, the monkey stimulated the site and had orgasms every three minutes for sixteen hours and then slept eight hours and started again the next day. (90)IMG_4629Lilly goes on to mess with his own brain:

John felt that he had not sufficiently explored all the parameters of K. (Ketamine is reputed to facilitate out-of-body experiences.) He decided to do additional experiments on its long-term effects. For a period of three weeks, he gave himself injections every hour of the twenty-four hours. He immersed himself in the inner realities created by K, projecting them onto his outer reality. He became convinced of the intervention in human affairs of the solid-state life forms (computer-based machines) elsewhere in the galaxy. He became convinced that it was necessary for him to the warn the government. (162) IMG_4568Mr. Lilly eventually loses all awareness of who, what and where he is:

I swing from contained to uncontained mind and back to contained mind. I swing from belief in the three Beings to the simulation of the three Beings as a convenient method of thought to free up my thinking. Is belief any truer than experience? (110)

2 thoughts on “Ice Friday: John C. Lilly’s “The Scientist”

  1. Your topic matter often confounds me as to being a surprise. I enjoy your variety of voices, with particular interest in historical voices and how we’re always saying the same things repeatedly. If anything, I’d ask for more female voices.

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