Four Electric Ladies ... Contents
Copyright Ben Goertzel 1996 -- All Rights Reserved
July 10, 1992
This record has now reached the present day. I guess it is turning into a sort of diary. I hadn't intended it to be this way. What I wanted -- what I thought I wanted, anyway -- was to get this stuff out of my head. Instead, my head is full of past and present confusion.
The conference ended four days ago. It was reasonably useful. I learned some new things about room-temperature superconductivity, which might be useful for my work; I can't say for sure without more thought. My talk was very successful; I got dozens of requests for preprints. My professional self, my professional life, keep on going of their own accord, as always.
Inside though, something peculiar has happened. Now, sitting alone in an hotel room in Ayers Rock Resort, where I went after the conference ended, I have come to the end of this patchy, eccentric memoir -- and I do not feel the way I thought I would feel at all. I had wanted to expunge the memories from my mind. But instead, now that I've finished writing, my mind is teeming. My unconscious is in turmoil. I am overcome by a melancholic sadness.
Neefa is wonderful. She is the perfect wife. But I am wondering about the value of this. I miss Diane so much. I even miss Sophia and Julie. I miss these difficult women; these women who tore me apart.
Here is what I am thinking: What do we want women for anyway? That was the real insight of my vision, wasn't it? Do we want women to make us happy, comfortable, narcoticized? Is love a drug? Or do we want women to challenge us, destroy and and rebuild us -- rip the skin off our bones and replace it with a newer, stronger, skin; skin brewed with an extra pinch of menstrual blood in the recipe?
I don't want to go back to Neefa. I don't know what I want to do. I love Neefa, it's true, but it wouldn't be fair to go back to her like this. I have never cheated on my women; that's one fault I have never had. But with this attitude there is no way I could be faithful. How could I not seek out affairs with troublesome women? I need to get that feeling again; that rhythm of tension and resolution. Without that sense of being destroyed to balance it, there can be no ecstasy.
Diane was half-crazy; that's for certain. I wasn't mature enough, at the time, to deal with her insanity; and so our relationship was poor. But there was a feeling I got with her, a feeling of being right at the core. She ripped me open and touched the raw nerves; sometimes painfully, sometimes ecstatically. We were present together, in a place where nothing else existed.
Sophia and Neefa, obviously, pushed each other to extremes. The bad girl and the good girl. The bad girl was too much for anyone, including herself, to handle. But what about the good girl? Could any man, any whole man, really be happy with the good girl?
July 12, 1992
Standing atop Ayer's Rock yesterday, looking out at the endless Australian desert with its rich reds, greys and browns, I had a vision of a goddess. Ayer's Rock, Uluru, rising out of the desert with unimaginable starkness, became a giant pubic mound. There was no visible vagina. The vagina was in the extra dimensions of spacetime.
The three dimensions are space. The fourth dimension is time. The other dimensions are rolled up in a cylinder so tiny you can't see them. These extra dimensions are used by some physicists -- string theorists -- to explain quantum gravity. I don't believe in string theory. My theory is better. But I believe in mind. Every point in spacetime hass mental dimensions as well.
The climb up the rock had nearly killed me. It wasn't that difficult -- maybe an hour's climb, at a reasonable pace. The first half was a forty-five degree incline, but there was chain- link handrail you could hang onto. All but the eldest and youngest tourists went up. But, driven on by a desperate inner energy, I was determined to make it up as fast as possible. I ran straight up without stopping, except for once to take a drink from the bottle of Evian in my knapsack. My legs were limp, dangling aches. I sat up on top, on a small boulder, just out of earshot of some giggling Japanese girls. I felt dizzy enough to collapse.
I hadn't expected much of Ayer's Rock -- just a big rock in the desert. So what? Its power had surprised me. Something about this huge red rock sitting thousands of miles away from anything was deeply touching, challenging, inspiring. It was, I decided, a perfect symbol of being floating in the void. Being rising there, solid and tall, in the middle of pure, unimaginable nothingness. And full of caves, color variations, rivulets -- detail within detail within detail. Parts of the rock were aboriginal sacred sites, forbidden to tourists. Which seemed perfectly appropriate. Not all aspects of being should be knowable. I sat there on top of the rock, my head spinning, or the world spinning; the sky spinning above me, the desert outside moving and shifting at odd angles; but the rock below me solid and invincible. I was twisted in innumerable dimensions. But my body sat motionless.
I could just as well have been at Red Rock, near Las Vegas, with those three Deadhead women who'd given me that acid. That ride on the A-train. The rocks were the same. I half-expected to see Maria, the cute one, pop out from behind a boulder stark naked, sticking her pubic mound out salaciously, running her finger through her cunt. The rocks glared out at me with the same swift, inanimate consciousness that I'd felt that day at Red Rock. They invaded the back of my brain, made fluid parts of my mind that were normally untouchable and solid.
I was in love with the rocks. The rocks became a pubic mound. And this is when I started thinking about that goddess. A goddess I had read about many years before, I can't remember where. Dancing on the corpse of a dead man, a man she had killed. Reaching out her arm to her current man, her lover; offering him her infinite charms. When I had read about this image before, I had not understood it. But now I perceived the truth. The two men are aspects of the same man. The goddess has killed what is petty, trivial, selfish in him. She has taken what is noble, strong and creative in him, and offered it nourishing ecstasy. This is what man needs in woman.
William Blake wrote:
What is it that Man in Woman Requires?
The Lineaments of Gratified Desire
What is it that Woman in Man Requires?
The Lineaments of Gratified Desire
But for me it was not enough. Loosely connected phrases flowed through my mind. The lineaments of gratified desire? To be burned alive in her sacred fire! What is it that man in woman requires? To be burned with her love in her ecstasy fire. To be burned and transformed in her ecstasy fire. To be thrust down below, and then lifted up higher? What is it that woman in man requires? To be ecstasy burned and transformed in his fire.... I kept going on and on: there was more variety to it, but I've already forgotten. I soon enough realized that, for all my love of words, I would never be an adequate poet. I climbed down from the rock slowly, confused more than unhappy. My head was filled with visions as it had not been in years. Tremendous uncertainties moved through me. I waited for some kind of power to contact me, to explain what was going on. But it didn't come. I went back to the resort and lay in my hotel room, head propped against the pillow, staring at the picture of Ayer's Rock on the wall. I couldn't relax at all.
I kept thinking that I wanted to go back to the waterfall, the one where Julie had died. I was already in Australia; New Zealand wouldn't be an unreasonable detour. I kept thinking, why did she have to follow me up on those rocks? I kept telling her not to, for Christ's sake. A thought I'd had about a million times. On the other hand, why had I had to go up in the first place? Hadn't I known she would want to come too? Somehow I always had to push it. Reckless, that's what it was. Though not as reckless as Sophia.
I wanted to go back to the waterfall -- look at it, swim in it, climb on it; ask it questions. Ask it why my three lovers had been destroyed. The waterfall, creating and destroying images of everything in its vicinity -- destroying Julie and nearly destroying me -- seemed to have the answers to everything. Furthermore, it owed me one. It owed me a woman. Perhaps if I went back to the waterfall a new woman would appear there; a kind of cosmic compensation for the disappearance of Julie. A radiant woman, eyes like jewels, skin glowing with enchanted sweat.
But really, would I have rather married Julie? Clearly Neefa is a superior woman. She has a much better character. More intelligent, creative, understanding. Better-looking, even. Well, not worse looking, at any rate. I'm so lucky to have found her.
And what kind of woman would I have the waterfall create for me? How would she be different from Neefa? Would I will the waterfall to create me an insane, drug-addicted, manipulative woman -- just for the sake of the challenges this woman would bring me?
As I write this, however, a funny thought occurs to me. Right now, at this very moment, Neefa is causing me difficulties by being too good, too right, too perfect. Her very easiness has become a difficulty. She is opening me up, forcing me to see a new side of myself -- precisely by not being difficult. It is precisely her difficult goodness that had led me to the insight I am having now, about the ultimate use of woman for man. The divine purpose of love relationships.
Every woman is a difficult woman. This has now been logically demonstrated. The concept of a good woman is a conceptual paradox. There are only difficult women. And in the end, that is an excellent thing for all of us. (Of course, by similar reasoning, one concludes that every man is a difficult man, as well. But this side of things doesn't concern me here. I have always been aware of my personal difficult-ness, to be sure.)
The more I write this stuff, the more I understand. Which was the idea in the first place, I suppose. And the more I write, the more I miss Neefa. Tomorrow I'm going to Cairns, and the Great Barrier Reef -- my last stop in Australia. I'll snorkel amongst the colored formations, see all the beautiful little fishies. But I'll be thinking of Neefa: the curve of her tiny breasts, the sound of her excited voice, the pound of her buttocks. Sitting down to lunch with her. Her incredible saxophone at two in the morning. I can't wait to hear her new album.
The fuck with New Zealand. Maybe I'll go back there with Neefa someday. We can fly round-the-world: I keep wanting to take her to Upper Volta, to see the place I was born. And we can find the same waterfall, and swim in the pool at the base, and neither of us try to climb up behind it. We can stare at the reflection for hours and hours. Or maybe we'll never get back there at all. It doesn't really matter much. Three more days here, and I'm going back home.
July 15, 1992
Three more days have passed. I'm on a plane heading back to the States, back to Neefa. This is my last entry in here. Goodbye past, hello present.
Something has happened to me -- in me; I don't know how to describe it. It seems so simple compared to my previous insight experiences; it's almost absurd to write down. Maybe I should just hold it in my head and give up on this record altogether. But no, I can't seem to do that. The urge to verbalize is almost a compulsion.
Let me just tell how it happened.
I took a boat tour from Cairns, out to the Great Barrier Reef. On the way out we saw a bunch of dolphins, leaping and splashing by the boat; it was beautiful and amazing. There were a bunch of Australia high school girls on the boat singing songs together -- Surfin' USA and the like. The sun was bright, hot, burning; the ocean was this brilliant, luminous blue-green, a color I've never seen outside of the South Seas.
I found myself talking to these two young French women, who were in Australia for a six month working vacation. I told them all about my experiences in New Zealand, omitting only Julie's death. They hadn't been to New Zealand yet but promised me they'd check it out. They told me all about the south of France, where they came from. The beautiful rural country, and the overcrowded, polluted beaches on the Riviera. They were incredibly impressed with the Australian beaches. "But the food here --- eeecccchhh!"
While we were talking amongst ourselves, keeping our eyes out for more dolphins, the loudspeaker announced that anyone who wanted to go scuba diving, should report to the lower deck immediately. No experience was necessary, they said; you could do a guided dive. I had never been scuba diving before, and hadn't really considered it a possibility. But it seemed like an interesting idea. After all, here I was at the Great Barrier Reef; it would be a shame to miss the opportunity. I asked the girls, Giselle and Marie-France, if they wanted to do it. They giggled and talked to each other in French, and decided it would be fun. So we all went down to the lower deck.
Giselle, the younger-looking and prettier one, asked me to help her put her wetsuit on. She didn't need help at all; she was just trying to turn me on. Marie-France looked at her knowingly. I wondered how old they really were. They had said twenty one and twenty three, but I really doubted it. Maybe eighteen and twenty?
We put on the wetsuits, flippers, weighted vests and scuba tanks and listened to the simple instructions. Then we were led to the back of the boat, and we jumped off. Immediately the girls didn't matter. There were ten of us floating out there, behind the boat, trying to acclimate our bodies to these large, awkward tanks on our backs. The guide was calling us into the water. Everyone else was already down; for some reason I was vacillating. I shoved the mouthpiece in my mouth and plunged down, following the guide. We had been shown how to flick a switch on our vests to make ourselves go higher or lower, but supposedly we'd never have to do this: whenever it was necessary, the guide would swim by each of us and do it for us. The guide swam by and touched me and I sank on down lower. But I was struggling and gasping for air. The equipment was working all right, but somehow the air it was providing didn't seem right to me. It was stale air, empty air; the kind you get when you're at the top of a mountain and you're out of breath. There wasn't any oxygen in it, it seemed. I was breathing a vacuum. I started to panic. The guide came back to question me. I wasn't following the group. I motioned upwards and he brought me to the top of the water. I took a gasp of real air. It was such a huge relief. I felt like I'd just emerged from death to life. But I didn't want to chicken out from scuba diving. It would be too embarrassing. So I just plunged right back in. I still felt like I was dying, but I decided to go with it. "All right," I said to myself. "Death, take me! I've killed three women, now it's my turn. I don't need to live anymore. Take me away!" This particular thought had been shut out of my head for years - - since I got out of the hospital, following the death of Julie. But now it was back and it was strong. I was plunging into the arms of death. I was ready to die. But of course, after a minute or so, the air started to seem all right. I was kicking along, following the group. Giselle was right ahead of my, pointing her arm, trying to indicate a fish. I relaxed enough to notice my surroundings. Indeed, it was beautiful. Here was coral in ten different colors, and so many weird-looking fish! I followed this school of purple fish around for what seemed like forever. They would pass through schools of orange, yellow, black-and-green fish, creating moving kaleidoscopic patterns of a kind I'd never seen before. The coral itself was sharp as a knife to touch; we weren't supposed to touch it, but of course I couldn't resist.
I had trouble following the group; the guide kept having to come back and fetch me. I was exploring little caves, hypnotized by the tiny fish and the sea anemones; the shifting patterns of color. It was an alternate universe, a different mode of existence, as different from ordinary reality as the world you see on LSD. I thought fleetingly of my worries back on Earth and they all seemed totally laughable. "Why do you cause yourself such unhappiness?" I asked myself. And then my head slightly shook; the mouthpiece fell from my mouth. The voice had seemed to be coming from outside me. Quickly I shoved the mouthpiece back, sucking the extra water out as I had been instructed to do, back in the boat. I looked around for the source of the voice. It had been a woman's voice, a soft, loving, woman's voice. Who are you? Why are you talking to me? I only heard one more syllable: "Lo...." The voice was talking, I was just zoning in on it, and then the guide was grabbing me again, adjusting my vest to send me down lower yet, into a kind of crevasse. A gigantic sting-ray was moving along beneath me. Lo.... Lo.... Lo... -- Lolita? Lo.... Logos! This was the Logos speaking! Of course, it was an auditory hallucination; you can't hear clear voices in the water. The Logos, as a woman, had something to tell me. My unhappiness was coming to me. My stupid ideas about difficult women were totally beside the point. It was I who made the decision whether to be happy or not. Yes, it was a decision to be made! My women had nothing to do with it, or relatively little anyway. One part of my mind wanted the other to be unhappy, and that was why I was suffering. One part of my mind wanted to do physics, and was afraid I'd be distracted too much by loving women. So it made me ignore the women, made me act cold and callous, made me cause myself torment. Torment which always drove me right back to physics. But I didn't need to be unhappy to do lots of physics. It was a cognitive error. It wasn't that the Logos was jealous of my women, or my women were jealous of the Logos-goddess. It was all in me. The part of me that loved the Logos was jealous of the part of me that wanted to worship earthly women instead.
Three women had died. So three women had died? Was it my responsibility? Was there some cosmic, unconscious connection, by which my faults had led to the death of my lovers? Of course, this was possible. But there was no reason to believe it. Remember, any particular coincidence is unlikely; but the class of all coincidences is very large. You're virtually guaranteed that something highly unlikely will happen. The problem is predicting what.
The world is not only more complex than we understand; it is more complex than we can understand. Where did I read that? It's just the nature of Logos. The famous inscrutability of woman. If we understood women, how could they be so seductive? Some mystery in the universe is a good thing. No need to torment yourself over it.
A huge fish, yellow with black stripes and a small patch of red on the tail, swam up and looked me in the eye. I saw my reflection in its eyeballs. I was bleary, strange, twisted. My hair was blonde, instead of brown, and fluttered and swirled around like sea anemone. This was not my world. My world was just one among many. Always to remember that.
With this stream of clear undersea thoughts, a weight somehow lifted from the back part of my mind. Of course, there were no new insights here. Nothing intellectually original. Just a new feeling of clarity. It was what I had always known, from my earliest youth. It was all just a fantasy. I could choose how to experience it. But somehow I had forgotten. In the process of becoming an adult, I had developed a divided mind: a mind composed of segments which thought themselves mutually incompatible, and so wanted to cause each other pain. Was this perhaps the secret of all human unhappiness? Or most of it, anyway? We make ourselves unhappy because we feel we should be unhappy: because one part of us feels the other part should be unhappy. But there is no need for it at all! No need for any of us to be unhappy at all! We can just choose joy, instead!
Elated by this insight, which I felt could never have been obtained on Earth, only in this alternate universe, I followed the rest of the group back up. I spent the rest of the day with Giselle and Marie-France, and that night I let Giselle fuck the crap out of me, as she had so obviously wanted to throughout the day. She was a vivacious lover, with a great sense of humor. The things she did with her tongue had me flabbergasted. We were up half the night. We both knew we'd never see each other again. This was the only time I ever cheated on Neefa (and I never cheated on Diane). But this was a special occasion. Finally everything was good and fine. My mind was in order. My mind is in order. I haven't felt so good all my life, not since we left California when I was a child. I am living in paradise.
July 18, 1992
I'm home now. About to wipe this from my hard drive, to make room for serious work.
I can't seem to stop writing.
Ah, Neefa, Neefa! Women are so full of surprises.
I returned home, elated with thoughts of the undersea. She greeted me at the airport in her tight leather miniskirt and a slinky black blouse. One of her stage outfits. Just like something from a dream. She was in the middle of a recording session that day. She'd cut out from the studio just to pick me up.
When she got back from the studio that night, she said she had a surprise for me. I sat down on the couch and waited. She dimmed the lights, and put on some music. I recognized it as Santana, but couldn't name the tune. Bootleg Santana. Puesta del Sol, perhaps.
She came out from the hallway covered in Indian scarves. Her whole body was draped; the only part of her body you could see was her eyes. She danced around like a genie, a magical apparition, moving her feet, hands and head in arcane patterns. She arched her back and crept toward me like a cat. I reached out to touch her, and she pulled away, swaying her torso in circles, moving slowly up and down. She was a living, wild spiral. Up to that point, I hadn't been feeling terribly erotic. I'd been feeling worn out sexually, due to my antics with Giselle, But now I had an erection like the Washington Monument. I understood what was happening. I was finally getting my eyeball dance. She had promised me one years ago, on the night we first met. Joking, to be sure. But here she was standing in front of me as I sat on the couch -- her legs spread wide, her buttocks in the air, her back arched down and up, her hands tracing figures around my body. And her eyes staring straight at me, rolling back and forth, in and out, up and down. Such incredible eye movements! My reflection in her pupils was weaving, dusky, distorted. Just like my reflection in the eyeballs of that black and yellow fish! I was here. I was home. Everything was perfect. The other world was right here. The other world, the undersea world which had given me clarity, was the universe of woman.
Women were united with water. Her eyes were made of water. The universe of the ocean was visible in her dancing, swaying corneas. And Julie's purple tit, too. Right there: each pupil was an erect, bobbing nipple; the light green circles of her large eyes were two undulating breasts. I wished, absurdly, for a moment, that Diane was there to see this. But it didn't matter. Diane was hovering somewhere in the background. No one was anywhere at all.
I saw straight through her eyes into her brain patterns. They were distributions of coral, multicolored and shifting, accumulating over millions of years. Her mind was itself a Great Barrier Reef, strung through multiple dimensions.
The song ended, finally, and another one began. My mind was barely conscious of the music. It went straight to my body. Very slowly, one by one, the eyeball dancer removed her scarves, revealing her lovely, slender body underneath. It was a geisha dance, an artistic triumph, a masterpiece of seduction. The polar opposite of Sophia playing guitar with her nipples. Sophia was wild and lustful; brazen. Neefa's flesh understood the seductive art.
Finally she came to me, as the second song ended. Her breasts shone out at me like dusky pink beacons. She unbuttoned my fly and sat down on my lap, encompassing my cock in her cunt. I let out a loud, low primal moan. This was the meaning of life. My head filled up with knowledge. The vision was back again, fully. The vision by the waterfall. The state of mind I had experienced there with Julie, absolute understanding of everything in the universe -- was there, right, intact again! It had never gone away at all. I was there, alive inside it, just as I had always been. The illusory order of time had made it seem as though the insight had gone away and returned: but in its own order, it had always been present. I understood why it had been necessary for me to push the insight away. It had all happened too quickly, due to peculiar external events. The events of that summer had impelled me on to a spiritual insight I hadn't been ready for. So my mind had blocked it out, all the while working steadily, to bring me to the point I was at now.
And I understood, as Neefa pulsed there on top of me, that the insight would fade again. It always went away, and came back. And this movement, this pulsing of insight, was just like my cock going in and out of Neefa, in and out of the Empire of Woman. It was just like my mind in and out of the Logos, drawing forth mathematics and physics with such inspiration and vigor. It was this oscillatory movement that defied the linear order of time. Going back again and again into timeless reality. Neefa looked at my face and I saw she understood. I saw she understood everything. She didn't know how well she understood. She had known all along.
Neefa gave me exactly what I needed, without even thinking about it. Everything was in harmony. My mind was plain and clear. I had a vision of her pregnant, ebulliently pregnant, full of new feminine life. I grabbed her buttocks in my hands and I swirled her around violently. She wailed with a sound I'd never heard before. Our bodies were an ocean current. I had a huge feeling of beginning. I was ready to begin my true life.
It's been seventeen months since I wrote this stuff down. I am pleased to report that Neefa is alive and well; and that, nine months ago, she gave birth to triplets. Three healthy, beautiful little girls.
It had to be three, of course. Talk about Logos. You know what the names are. Sophia, Diane and Julie. Sophia Coral, Diane Uluru and Julie Coromandel.
My miraculous insight has faded, as in fact I foresaw it would. And it has come back again, and again. I am still very happy indeed. Albeit a bit worn out. Triplets aren't easy.
I suppose the process of producing this document served its original purpose. To rid my mind of its demons. To free me from the stranger and more mysterious aspects of my past. In the end it's much like Diane's diary, I suppose. The point was more in the process than the product.
The journey which is recorded here is ironic, more than anything. It brought me through all sorts of strange ideas and experiences, and returned me to the everyday.
Actually, this stuff is somewhat embarrassing for me to read; I have an urge to destroy it. As I did with Diane's diaries. But I guess I won't: I'll save it for the new Diane, the new Sophia, the new Julie. In case, fifteen or eighteen years from now, young women themselves, they get curious about where their names came from.
Imagine that. Me, the source of three lovely young women. With acute, twisting minds, no doubt. The Goddess moves in strange, baffling ways. But she can be wonderfully kind.