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Why I Search For The Matterful

“Either it matters that I am in a marriage with my wife and that we have 3 year old son–either that love counts–or it doesn’t. And I have to live in the world where that counts. If that counts, then what I do with 70 or 80 percent of my time… my craft, my work, my thing that I do… I want that to count too.”

Yours Truly

Timothy Leary’s 8 Circuits of Consciousness

To any of you fellow psychonauts, cosmonauts, spiritual seekers and reality leapers, I recently read this text below in a fantastic (must-read!) book called Cosmic Trigger by Robert Anton Wilson (hint: regardless of subtitle it has very little to do with the Illuminati).

If your experience has been anything similar to mine, this may make what scientists refer to as a fuck ton of sense. Please note, however, this is just a model. You can learn more about this model and how to keep it as a model here.

Collecting here for future research.


“To understand neurological space, Dr. Leary assumes that the nervous system consists of eight potential circuits, or “gears,” or mini-brains. Four of these brains are in the usually active left lobe and are concerned with our terrestrial survival; four are extraterrestrial, reside in the “silent” or inactive right lobe, and are for use in our future evolution. This explains why the right lobe is usually inactive at this stage of our development, and why it becomes active when the person ingests psychedelics (or engages in other right lobe activating practices.)” – Robert Anton Wilson

We will explain each of the eight “brains” briefly: I II III IV V VI VII VIII

I. The Bio-Survival System

This invertebrate brain was the first to evolve (2 to 3 million years ago) and is the first activated when a human infant is born. It programs perception onto an either-or grid divided into nurturing-helpful Things (which it approaches) and noxious-dangerous Things (which it flees, or attacks). The imprinting of this circuit sets up the basic attitude of trust or suspicion which will ever after trigger approach or avoidance.

II. The Emotional-Territorial System

This second, more advanced bio-computer formed when vertebrates appeared and began to compete for territory (perhaps 500,000,000 B.C.). In the individual, this bigger tunnel-reality is activated when the DNA master-tape triggers the metamorphosis from crawling to walking. As every parent knows, the toddler is no longer a passive (bio-survival) infant but a mammalian politician, full of physical (and psychic) territorial demands, quick to meddle in family business and decision-making. Again the first imprint on this circuit remains constant for life (unless brainwashed) and identifies the stimuli which will automatically trigger dominant, aggressive behavior or submissive, cooperative behavior. When we say that a person is behaving emotionally, egotistically or ‘like a two-year-old,’ we mean that s/he is blindly following one of the tunnel-realities imprinted on this circuit.

III. The Time-Binding Semantic System

This third brain was formed when hominid types began to differentiate from other primate stock (circa 4-5 million B.C.) and is activated for the linear left-lobe functions of the brain, determines our normal modes of artifact-manufacture and conceptual thought, i.e., third circuit ‘mind.’

It is no accident, then, that our logic (and our computer-design) follows either-or, binary structure of these circuits. Nor is it an accident that our geometry, until the last century, has been Euclidean. Euclid’s geometry, Aristotle’s logic and Newton’s physics are meta-programs synthesizing and generalizing first brain forward-back, second brain up-down and third brain right-left programs.

IV. The Social-Sexual System

The fourth brain, dealing with the transmission of tribal or ethnic culture across generations, introduces the fourth dimension, time.

Since each of these tunnel-realities consists of biochemical imprints or matrices in the nervous system, each of them is specifically triggered by neuro-transmitters and other drugs.

Notice how drugs that stimulate the first four circuits, which are already activated, tend to be dangerously addictive, roughly ordered ascending from the first circuit.

To activate the first brain take an opiate. Mother Opium and Sister Morphine bring you down to cellular intelligence, bio-survival passivity, the floating consciousness of the newborn. (This is why Freudians identify opiate addiction with the desire to return to infancy.)

To activate the second tunnel-reality, take an abundant quantity of alcohol. Vertebrate territorial patterns and mammalian emotional politics immediately appear when the booze flows, as Thomas Nashe intuitively realized when he characterized the various alcohol states by animal labels: “ass drunk,” “goat drunk,” “swine drunk,” “bear drunk,” etc.

To activate the third circuit, try coffee or tea, a high-protein diet, speed or cocaine.

The specific neurotransmitter for circuit four has not been synthesized yet, but it is generated by the glands after pubescence and flows volcanically through the bloodstreams of adolescents.

None of these terrestrial drugs change basic biochemical imprints. The behaviors which they trigger are those which were wired into the nervous system during the first stages of imprint vulnerability. The circuit II drunk exhibits the emotional games or cons learned from parents in infancy. The circuit III “mind” never gets beyond the permutations and combinations of those tunnel-realities originally imprinted, or abstractions associated with the imprints through later conditioning. And so forth.

But all this Pavlovian-Skinnerian robotism changes drastically and dramatically when we turn to the right lobe, the future circuits and extraterrestrial chemicals. The four evolving future ‘brains’ are:

V. The Neurosomatic System

When this fifth “body-brain” is activated, flat Euclidean figure-ground configurations explode multi-dimensionally. Gestalts shift, in McLuhan’s terms, from linear visual space to all-encompassing sensory space. A hedonic turn-on occurs, a rapturous amusement, a detachment from the previously compulsive mechanism of the first four circuits. I turned this circuit on with pot and Tantra.

This fifth brain began to appear about 4,000 years ago in the first leisure-class civilizations and has been increasing statistically in recent centuries (even before the Drug Revolution), a fact demonstrated by the hedonic art of India, China, Rome and other affluent societies. More recently, Ornstein and his school have demonstrated with electroencephalograms that this circuit represents the first jump from the linear left lobe of the brain to the analogical right lobe.

The opening and imprinting of this circuit has been the preoccupation of “technicians of the occult”–Tantric shamans and hatha yogis. While the fifth tunnel-reality can be achieved by sensory deprivation, social isolation, physiological stress or severe shock (ceremonial terror tactics, as practiced by such rascal-gurus as Don Juan Matus or Aleister Crowley), it has traditionally been reserved to the educated aristocracy of leisure societies who have solved the four terrestrial survival problems.

About 20,000 years ago, the specific fifth brain neurotransmitter was discovered by shamans in the Caspian Sea area of Asia and quickly spread to other wizards throughout Eurasia and Africa. It is, of course, cannabis. Weed. Mother Mary Jane.

It is no accident that the pot-head generally refers to his neural state as “high” or “spaced-out.” The transcendence of gravitational, digital, linear, either-or, Aristotelian, Newtonian, Euclidean, planetary orientations (circuits I-IV) is, in evolutionary perspective, part of our neurological preparation for the inevitable migration off our home planet, now beginning. This is why so many pot-heads are Star Trek freaks and science fiction adepts. (Berkeley, California, certainly the Cannabis Capital of the U.S., has a Federation Trading Post on Telegraph Avenue, where the well-heeled can easily spend $500 or more in a single day, buying Star Trek novels, magazines, newsletters, bumper stickers, photographs, posters, tapes, etc., including even complete blueprints for the starship Enterprise.)

The extraterrestrial meaning of being “high” is confirmed by astronauts themselves; 85% of those who have entered the free-fall zero gravity describe “mystic experiences” or rapture states typical of the neurosomatic circuit. “No photo can show how beautiful Earth looked,” raves Captain Ed Mitchell, describing his Illumination in free-fall. He sounds like any successful yogi or pot-head. No camera can show this experience because it is inside the nervous system.

Free-fall, at the proper evolutionary time, triggers the neurosomatic mutation, Leary believes. Previously this mutation has been achieved “artificially” by yogic or shamanic training or by the fifth circuit stimulant, cannabis. Surfing, skiing, skin-diving and the new sexual culture (sensuous massage, vibrators, imported Tantric arts, etc.) have evolved at the same time as part of the hedonic conquest of gravity. The Turn-On state is always described as “floating,” or, in the Zen metaphor, “one foot above the ground.”

VI. The Neuroelectric System

The sixth brain consists of the nervous system becoming aware of itself apart from imprinted gravitational reality-maps (circuits I-IV) and even apart from body-rapture (circuit V). Count Korzybski, the semanticist, called this state “consciousness of abstracting.” Dr. John Lilly calls it “metaprogramming,” i.e., awareness of programming one’s programming. This Einsteinian, relativistic contelligence (consciousness-intelligence) recognizes, for instance, that the Euclidean, Newtonian and Aristotelian reality-maps are just three among billions of possible programs or models for experience. I turned this circuit on with Peyote, LSD and Crowley’s “magick” metaprograms.

This level of brain-functioning seems to have been reported first around 500 B.C. among various “occult” groups connected by the Silk Route (Rome-North India). It is so far beyond the terrestrial tunnel-realities that those who have achieved it can barely communicate about it to ordinary humanity (circuits I-IV) and can hardly be understood even by fifth circuit Rapture Engineers.

The characteristics of the neuroelectric circuit are high velocity, multiple choice, relativity, and the fission-fusion of all perceptions into parallel science-fiction universes of alternate possibilities.

The mammalian politics which monitor power struggles among terrestrial humanity are here transcended, i.e., seen as static, artificial, an elaborate charade. One is neither coercively manipulated into another’s territorial reality nor forced to struggle against it with reciprocal emotional game-playing (the usual soap-opera dramatics). One simply elects, consciously, whether or not to share the other’s reality-model.

Tactics for opening and imprinting the sixth circuit are described and rarely experienced in advanced rajah yoga, and in the hermetic (coded) manuals of the medieval-Renaissance alchemists and Illuminati.

No specific sixth circuit chemical is yet available, but strong psychedelics like mescaline (from my 1962-63 “sacred cactus,” peyotl) and psilocybin (from the Mexican “magic mushroom,” teonactl) open the nervous system to a mixed-media series of circuit V and circuit VI channels. This is appropriately called “tripping,” as distinguished from straight-forward fifth circuit “turning on” or “getting high.”

The suppression of scientific research in this area has had the unfortunate result of turning the outlaw drug culture back toward fifth circuit hedonics and pre-scientific tunnel-realities (the occult revival, solipsism, Pop Orientalism). Without scientific discipline and methodology, few can successfully decode the often-frightening (but philosophically crucial) sixth circuit metaprogramming signals. Such scientists as do continue to study this subject dare not publish their results (which are illegal) and record ever-wider tunnel-realities only in private conversations–like the scholars of the Inquisitorial era. (Voltaire announced the Age of Reason two centuries too soon. We are still in the Dark Ages.) Most underground alchemists have given up on such challenging and risky self-work and restrict their trips to fifth circuit erotic tunnels.

The evolutionary function of the sixth circuit is to enable us to communicate at Einsteinian relativities and neuro-electric accelerations, not using third circuit laryngeal-manual symbols but directly via feedback, telepathy and computer link-up. Neuro-electric signals will increasingly replace “speech” (hominid grunts) after space migration.

When humans have climbed out of the atmosphere-gravity well of planetary life, accelerated sixth circuit contelligence will make possible high-energy communication with “Higher Intelligences,” i.e., ourselves-in-the-future and other post-terrestrial races.

It is charmingly simple and obvious, once we realize that the spaced-out neural experiences really are extraterrestrial, that getting high and spacing out are accurate metaphors. Circuit V neurosomatic rapture is preparation for the next step in our evolution, migration off the planet. Circuit VI is preparation for the step after that, interspecies communication with advanced entities possessing electronic (post-verbal) tunnel-realities.

Circuit VI is the “universal translator” often imagined by science-fiction writers, already built into our brains by the DNA tape. Just as the circuits of the future butterfly are already built into the caterpillar.

VII. The Neurogenetic System

The seventh brain kicks into action when the nervous system begins to receive signals from within the individual neuron, from the DNA-RNA dialogue. The first to achieve this mutation spoke of “memories of past lives,” “reincarnation,” “immortality,” etc. That these adepts were recording something real is indicated by the fact that many of them (especially Hindu and Sufis) gave marvelously accurately poetic vistas of evolution 1,000 or 2,000 years before Darwin, and foresaw Superhumanity before Nietzsche.

The “akashic records” of Theosophy, the “collective unconscious” of Jung, the “phylogenetic unconscious” of Grof and Ring, are three modern metaphors for this circuit. The visions of past and future evolution described by those who have had “out-of-body” experiences during close-to-death episodes also describes the trans-time circuit VII tunnel-reality.

Specific exercises to trigger circuit VII are not to be found in yogic teaching; it usually happens, if at all, after several years of the kind of advanced rajah yoga that develops circuit VI facility.

The specific circuit VII neurotransmitter is, of course LSD. (Peyote and psilocybin produce some circuit VII experiences also.)

Circuit VII is best considered, in terms of 1977 science, as the genetic archives, activated by anti-histone proteins. The DNA memory coiling back to the dawn of life. A sense of the inevitability of immortality and interspecies symbiosis comes to all circuit VII mutants; we now see that this, also, is an evolutionary forecast, since we stand right now on the doorstep of extended longevity leading to immortality.

The exact role of the right-lobe circuits and the reason for their activation in the 1960s cultural revolution now becomes clear. As sociologist F.M. Esfandiary writes in Upwingers, “Today when we speak of immortality and of going to another world we no longer mean these in a theological or metaphysical sense. People are now traveling to other worlds. People are now striving for immortality. Transcendence is no longer a metaphysical concept. It has become reality.”

The evolutionary function of the seventh circuit and its evolutionary, aeon-spanning tunnel-reality is to prepare us for conscious immortality and interspecies symbiosis.

VIII. The Neuro-Atomic System

Hold on to your hats and breathe deeply–this is the farthest-out that human intelligence has yet ventured.

Consciousness probably precedes the biological unit or DNA tape-loop. “Out-of-body experiences,” “astral projection,” contact with alien (extraterrestrial?) “entities” or with a galactic Overmind, etc., such as I’ve experienced, have all been reported for thousands of years, not merely by the ignorant, the superstitious, the gullible, but often by the finest minds among us (Socrates, Giordano Bruno, Edison, Buckminster Fuller, etc.). Such experiences are reported daily to parapsychologists and have been experienced by such scientists as Dr. John Lilly and Carlos Castaneda. Dr. Kenneth Ring has attributed these phenomena to what he calls, very appropriately, “the extraterrestrial unconscious.”

Dr. Leary suggests that circuit VIII is literally neuro-atomic–infra, supra and meta-physiological–a quantum model of consciousness and/or a conscious model of quantum mechanics by the turned-on physicists discussed previously (Prof. John Archibald Wheeler, Saul-Paul Sirag, Dr. Fritjof Capra, Dr. Jack Sarfatti, etc.) indicates strongly that the “atomic consciousness” first suggested by Leary in “The Seven Tongues of God” (1962) is the explanatory link which will unite parapsychology and paraphysics into the first scientific empirical experimental theology in history.

When the nervous system is turned on to this quantum-level circuit, space-time is obliterated. Einstein’s speed-of-light barrier is transcended; in Dr. Sarfatti’s metaphor, we escape “electromagnetic chauvinism.” The contelligence within the quantum projection booth IS the entire cosmic “brain,” just as the micro-miniaturized DNA helix IS the local brain guiding planetary evolution. As Lao-tse said from his own Circuit VIII perspective, “The greatest is within the smallest.”

Circuit VIII is triggered by Ketamine, a neuro-chemical researched by Dr. John Lilly, which is also (according to a wide-spread but unconfirmed rumor) given to astronauts to prepare them for space. High doses of LSD also produce some circuit VIII quantum awareness.

This neuro-atomic contelligence is four mutations beyond terrestrial domesticity. (The current ideological struggle is between circuit IV tribal moralists-or-collectivists and circuit V hedonic individualists.) When our need for higher intelligence, richer involvement in the cosmic script, further transcendence, will no longer be satisfied by physical bodies, not even by immortal bodies hopping across space-time at Warp 9, circuit VIII will open a further frontier. New universes and realities. “Beyond theology: the science and art of Godmanship,” as Alan Watts once wrote.

It is therefore possible that the mysterious “entities” (angels and extraterrestrials) monotonously reported by circuit VIII visionaries are members or races already evolved to this level. But it is also possible, as Leary and Sarfatti more recently suggest, that They are ourselves-in-the-future.

The left-lobe terrestrial circuits contain the learned lessons of our evolutionary past (and present). The right-lobe extraterrestrial circuits are the evolutionary script for out future.

Thus far, there have been two alternative explanations of why the Drug Revolution happened. The first is presented in a sophisticated way by anthropologist Weston LaBarre, and in an ignorant, moralistic way by most anti-drug propaganda in the schools and mass media. This explanation says, in essence, that millions have turned away from the legal down drugs to illegal high drugs because we are living in troubled times and many are seeking escape into fantasy.

This theory, at its best, only partially explains the ugliest and most publicized aspect of the revolution–the reckless drug abuse characteristic of the immature. It says nothing about the millions of respectable doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc., who have turned away from second circuit intoxication with booze to fifth circuit rapture with weed.

Nor does it account at all for the thoughtful, philosophical sixth circuit investigations of persons of high intelligence and deep sensibility, such as Aldous Huxley, Dr. Stanley Grof, Masters-Houston, Alan W. Watts, Carlos Castaneda, Dr. John Lilly and thousands of scientific and lay researchers on consciousness.

A more plausible theory, devised by psychiatrist Norman Zinberg out of the work of Marshall McLuhan, holds that modern electronic media have so shifted the nervous system’s parameters that young people no longer enjoy “linear” drugs like alcohol and find meaning only in “non-linear” weed and psychedelics.

This is certainly part of the truth, but it is too narrow and overstresses TV and computers without sufficiently stressing the general technological picture–the ongoing Science-Fiction Revolution of which the most significant aspects are Space Migration, Increased Intelligence and Life Extension, which Leary has condensed into his SMI²LE formula.

Space Migration plus Increased Intelligence plus Life Extension means expansion of humanity into all space-time. SM + I² + LE = infinity.

Without totally endorsing Charles Fort’s technological mysticism (“It steam-engines when it comes steam-engine time”), it is obvious that the DNA metaprogram for planetary evolution is far wiser than any of our individual nervous systems–which are, in a sense, giant robots or sensors for DNA. Early science-fiction of brilliant writers like Stapledon, Clarke, Heinlein; Kubrick’s 2001–all were increasingly clear DNA signals transmitted through the intuitive right lobe of sensitive artists, preparing us for the extraterrestrial mutation.

It is scarcely coincidental that mainstream “literary” intellectuals–the heir of the Platonic-aristocratic tradition that a gentleman never uses his hands, monkeys with tools or learns a manual craft–despise both science-fiction and the dope culture. Nor is it coincidental that the Whole Earth Catalogs – created by Stewart Brand, a graduate of Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters–are the New Testament of the rural drop-out culture, each issue bulging with tons of eco-technological information about all the manual, dextrous, gadgety know-how that Plato and his heirs consider fit only for slaves. Not surprisingly, Brand’s latest publication, Co-Evolution Quarterly, has been devoted to publicizing Prof. Gerard O’Neill’s space-habitat, L5.

Nor is it an accident that dopers seem to prefer science-fiction to any other reading, even including the extraterrestrial-flavored Hindu scriptures and occult-shamanic circuit VI-VIII trip-poets like Crowley and Hesse.

The circuit VI drugs may have contributed much to the metaprogramming consciousness that has led to sudden awareness of “male chauvinism” (women’s liberationists), “species chauvinism” (ecology, Lilly’s dolphin studies), “type-G star chauvinism” (Carl Sagan), even “oxygen chauvinism” (the CETI conference), etc. The imprinted tunnel-realities which identify one as “white-male-American-earthian” etc. or “black-female-Cuban” etc. are no longer big enough to enclose our exploding contelligence.

As Time magazine said on November 26, 1973, “Within ten years, according to pharmacologists, they will have perfected pills and cranial electrodes of providing life-long bliss for everyone on Earth.” The 1960s hysteria about weed and acid was just the overture to this fifth circuit break-through. Nathan S. Kline, M.D., predicts real aphrodisiacs, drugs to speed up learning, drugs to foster or terminate any behavior. … Those who were jailed or beaten by cops in the 1960s were forerunners of the Revolution of Inner Technology.

Star Trek is a better guide to the emerging reality than anything in the New York Review of Books. The life-support and defense-system engineer, Scotty (circuit I), the emotional-sentimental Dr. McCoy (circuit II), the logical science officer Mr. Spock (circuit III) and the alternately paternalistic and romantic Captain Kirk (circuit IV) are perpetually voyaging through our future neurological history and encountering circuit V, VI, VII, and VIII intelligences, however crudely presented.

In short, the various levels of consciousness and circuits we have been discussing, and illustrating, are all biochemical imprints in the evolution of the nervous system. Each imprint creates a bigger tunnel-reality. In the Sufi metaphor, the donkey on the which we ride becomes a different donkey after each imprint. The metaprogrammer continually learns more and is increasingly able to be aware of itself operating. We are thus evolving to intelligence-studying-intelligence (the nervous system studying the nervous system) and are more and more capable of accelerating our own evolution.

Every Morning I am Pulled Apart

Every Morning I am Pulled Apart Every morning I need an hour or so to remind myself that the significance and notoriety I seek won’t make me feel what I think they will, won’t give me what I feel I need.

I am already as significant as I can be. There’s other columns in the spreadsheet — notoriety, influence — they have no real weight to me if I survive past my 60s.

I am already as significant, as important, as meaningful as I can be. Every morning that feels lame. Every morning I have to breathe through it, sink into it. Every morning I remind myself, ask myself to live in the way of my already-there-ness, creating from rest instead thrusting outward at more, always more.

I am ripped apart by this every morning. The call for significance, the impulse to matter more, to be more than the average person erupts every morning like survival’s older brother, an animal instinct evolved. Even as I write this: will they see it? Will they see me? All flows from the source. Every morning I search it out, reminding, re-membering.

And every day I forget: I clutch and reach. Leaning, top heavy, I end the day off balance. I bring myself to my son, my wife, this way. I bring myself to movies and shows and books this way and I thrill: here is the thing I want, to make THIS. I lean into them. Do they support me or just my lean? Is this codependence?

Everyday I remind myself: I am enough. And everyday I forget. I am everyday pulled apart and reformed from the scraps. I hear Allan Watts tell me I am not a put together thing, I am the pulling, I am togetherness, I am all of this. I see it for true, yet there’s some dark magnet inside that won’t let me transform, a black hole in the deep, pull-push of… of what? Creativity? Life-death? Insecurity? Life-death seems best but too on the nose. What’s really here is: WILL THIS MAKE ME FEEL IT!? I am an inconsolable child, my parents love me and whisper over me but I rage on incapable.

There is deep debt within me; there is also enormous wealth. This year, my 33rd, is the first I’m able to say: everything is OK.


“There’s a wonderful moment that comes when you realize, ‘I’m not striving for anything. What I’m doing now is not a means to achieving something later.’ Youth has always to think that way. Every decision a young person makes is a commitment to a life course, and if you make a bad decision, that angle, by the time you get [older] you’re far off course. But after a certain age there’s no future, and suddenly the present becomes rich, it becomes that thing in itself which you are now experiencing.” ~ Joseph Campbell

Get on the list if you want great quotes about creative work and matterful living in an email every Saturday.

This post was originally published at Medium.

My Best Writing in 2015

This year I found a bunch of amazing moments and quotes about the creative process. I’ve collected the best of the year here in the Editor’s Picks page. Some of my favorites:

If you’re interested in how amazing people think about creative work get on the list and I’ll send you one email every saturday morning with a few to chew on: get on the list »


Essay-ish Posts

I’m experimenting with using medium for more thinky-writey stuff, using IcetotheBrim.com for quotes, links, and smaller stuff this year. We’ll see how that works in 2016.


Podcast Episodes

If you only listen to one, do the first. These episodes are some of the most popular this year from The Fizzle Show. I hate how these headlines sound but if you give us an hour of your time you’ll see how much further these conversations go than you’d expect.


Large Small Business Pieces


Big Ass Projects


Heading into 2016

My wife and I have been in therapy together for almost a year now. It’s been excellent. I’m seeing a little under the surface of the desires and impulses that push me around my life. I’m very engaged in this process and it’s just getting started.

Here’s a piece that shares a bit more about what I’m seeing and what I expect to shape what the first part of 2016 looks like: Every Morning I am Pulled Apart.

Happy new year, you guys.


Personal Moments of 2015

“The oldest of the Upanishads – another part of Hindu scriptures – date from around 500 BC. These texts encouraged an exploratory learning process where teachers and students were co-travellers in a search for truth. The teaching methods used reasoning and questioning. Nothing was labeled as the final answer.”

Wiki’s History of Education

A Copywriting Legend on Real Thrills


“Always shoot for the moon—it’s one of the few real thrills left today!”

Eugene Schwartz


Not that great of a quote. Mostly just a celebration of finishing this book.

Read it as research for a course I’m writing in Fizzle. It’s this out of print classic in copywriting. Much of it old and outdated, but tons of great morsels.

The examples and the tactics feel hard-sell-ish today. But there’s a few bits in here (some passages on creativity, his reverence for VW ads and the quote above) that point to a richer creative life for good ol’ Eugene.

Read it if you’re a student of ads and copywriting. Else, just do what everyone else who’s smart does and just pay attention to how Basecamp does it.

List of Mac apps to transfer to new computer

I recently got into a new laptop. It’s not like the old days – now I need to be able to spin up the new ‘puter into a big boy professional workhorse as quickly as possible.

So I’ve created this list of apps and data to help me remember what I need to consider so’s I don’t miss anything important. These are roughly in order.

I’m posting it here in case you find it helpful. Also, so I’ll be able to find it next time I get a new ‘puter.

Last update: 2016-12-14

Uber-Firsts

  • Grant Mac username admin privileges (so i can move things into the root directory without needing a password… like a boss).
  • show Allow Apps from Anywhere in Security Pane: sudo spctl --master-disable
  • remove dock delay defaults write com.apple.Dock autohide-delay -float 0 && killall Dock
  • Macintosh HD > Cmd+I > permissions set to “read and write”
  • System Preferences > Keyboard > “Key Repeat” all the way to fast. “Delay” all the way to short.
  • System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts > select “All controls” at the bottom
  • System Preferences > Keyboard > shortcuts > Accessibility > click invert colors
  • System Preferences > Sharing > turn on Screen Sharing and File Sharing
  • Sys Prefs > Internet Accounts > login to Google acct.
  • Finder > Cmd+, > set some preferences here (new finder window: Downloads, Search: current folder
  • Calendar > Enable gCal Acct. Then: View > Show Calendar List > right-click birthdays > Get Info > Disable Alerts
  • Apple’s Messages… open and setup google account

First Apps

App Store Apps

  • Ulysses — install this theme
  • Cloud — start at login
  • Fantastical — start at login, change keyboard shortcut (cmd+opt+control+F), Make gCal default calendar, default alerts (message 15m, email 1hr)
  • Evernote
  • DayOne — sync with DayOne service
  • Byword
  • Marked — get custom CSS from ~/Library/Application Support/Marked
  • Transmit — sync dropbox in preferences
  • Tweetbot
  • Sip
  • iBooks Author
  • Skitch
  • App Cleaner
  • The Unarchiver
  • Logic Pro X
  • Final Cut Pro X
  • Compressor
  • Motion

Design Stuff

  • Photoshop (CS Cloud) — cmd+shift+k > monitor color > uncheck “ask”. View > Proof Colors to Monitor.
    • (Save actions from old PS if necessary)
    • Load actions, brushes, patterns from Dropbox/Apps/Photoshop
  • FontExplorer X Pro — License in 1PW.
    • preferences > import > “keep finder folder structure.” Then drag in Dropbox/Apps/Font-Foundries folders.
    • If you want: remove some system fonts using this method. (Disable SIP, remove/copy fonts elsewhere, empty trash, re-enable SIP).
    • Deactivate a bunch of the crap in User Fonts

Webdev Stuff

  • MAMP
    • set Apache folder to Dropbox/htdocs.
    • copy end of httpd.conf from old computer (make sure file structure is same!)
    • choose if you want to copy old database or just rebuild from production (db symlink)
    • Hosts File… copy from /etc/
  • Tower
  • CodeKit
  • ImageOptim
  • Firefox
  • Follow instructions for Vagrant + Ansible in htdocs/fizzle/deploy.
    • Copy over /fizzle/local-config.php
    • Copy over /fizzle/forums/conf-local.php

Audio/Podcasting Stuff

  • Logic Pro X from App Store
    • Export Key Commands from old puter.
    • Copy files from ~/Music/Audio Music Apps
  • Motu Audio Driver (for 4pre)
  • Audio Hijack Pro — 1PW
  • ID3 Tag Editor – Serial in 1PW
  • Izotope and other plugins
  • /FS/_Common Assets to Macintosh HD

Video Stuff

  • Final Cut Pro (App Store)
    • Preferences: 3.79 still images, .24 transitions, background render off
    • bring over Motion Templates from ~/Movies
  • Motion (App Store)
    • Motion Menu > Download Content (or here)
    • Manually copy Motion Templates from ~/Movies
  • Compressor (App Store)
    • Manually copy Settings from /library/application support/compressor
  • Screenflow – Serial in 1PW
  • Manually copy over projects from /

Photo Stuff

  • Lightroom (CS Cloud)
    • Lightroom > Preferences > Presets > store presets with this catalog
    • Lightroom library and catalogue in ~/pictures/Lightroom
    • Lightroom develop settings (in ~/pictures/lightroom/lightroom settings
  • Google Photos — watch folder at /

Folders To Sync Manually

  • Documents
  • Movies
  • Music (iTunes too)
  • Movies
  • Services Menus – ~/library/services
  • keyboard shortcuts for MD services (screenshot)
  • Sync iPhone

Joseph Campbell & All the Answers

Geez Louise. Took me about 3 days to watch this video. This is one I will come back to again and again. Below I’ve copied some lines that stood out to me. There were more things that stood out to me than I anticipated.


  • Where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god.
  • And where we had thought to slay another we shall find ourselves.
  • And where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence.
  • And where we thought to be alone, we will be with the whole world.

…because that’s what’s worth writing about: someone who’s given his life to something bigger than himself.


That is the basic motif of the hero journey: leaving one condition, finding the source of life to bring you forth in a richer condition.


On ego

The real problem is of primarily thinking about yourself, thinking about your self protection, losing yourself, giving yourself to another that’s what a trial is in itself.

What all of us have to deal with is a transformation of consciousness — that you’re thinking in THIS way and you have now to think in THAT way.

How is the transformation performed? By trials and illuminating revelations. Trials and revelations are what it’s all about.


On the whale & consciousness

The belly of the whale is the descent into the dark. The whale represents, is the personification of you might say, all the things in the subconscious. Water is the unconscious. The creature in the water is the dynamism of the unconscious, which is dangerous and powerful and has to be controlled by consciousness.

The first stage in a hero’s adventure is leaving the realm of light, which he controls and knows about, and moving towards the threshold. And it’s at the threshold that the monster of the abyss comes to meet him.

And then there are 2 or 3 results: 1. the hero is cut to pieces and descends into the abyss in fragments to be resurrected. 2. He may kill the dragon power, as Sigfried does when he kills the dragon. But then he tastes the dragon blood and assimilates its power. Now he hears the song of nature, he has transcended his humanity, re-associated himself with the powers of nature, which are the powers of our life, from which our mind removes us.

You see our mind, this consciousness, thinks it’s running the shop. It’s a secondary organ, a secondary organ of a total human being and it must NOT put itself in control. It must submit and serve the humanity of the body. When it does assert it’s control you get this man who has gone over to the intellectual side. (Darth Vader reaching to Luke: “Come with me and I will complete your training.”)


It’s the edge, the interface between what can be known and what is never to be discovered because it is a mystery transcendent of all human research… the source of life. What is it? Nobody knows.


On character

Our life evokes our character, you find out more about yourself as you go on. And it is very nice to put yourself in situations that evoke your higher character rather than your lower.


It’s important to live life with a knowledge of its mystery, and of your own mystery. It gives life a new zest, balance, harmony to do this.

… erase anxieties, get into accord with the inevitabilities of your life, see the positive values in the negative and the negative aspects of the positive…

… She thought she was alone, you see? But she had friends. This is killing the dragon…


On Dragons

The european dragon represents greed. He guards things in his cave, heaps of gold and virgins. He can’t make use of either of them, he just guards. […] Psychologically, the dragon is one’s own binding of oneself to one’s ego, and you’re captured in your own dragon cage.

The real dragon is in you, it’s your ego holding you in. Your ego is: what I want, what I believe, what I can do, what I think i love, what I regard as the aim of my life and so forth. It might be too small, it might be that which pins you down. And if it’s simply that of doing what the environment tells you to do (your system) it certainly IS too small. And so the environment is your dragon and it reflects within yourself.

How do you slay your dragon? Follow your bliss, find where it is… do not be afraid to follow it. If the work that you’re doing is the work you chose because you enjoy it, then you’ve found it. But if you think, “oh I couldn’t do that…” That’s your dragon locking you in. “Oh no, I couldn’t be a writer, I couldn’t do what so and so is doing.”


Do we save ourselves or the world? You save the world by saving yourself. A vital person revitalizes the world. The world is a wasteland.

Do I have to do it alone? If you have someone who can help you, that’s fine too. But, ultimately, the last trick has to be done by you.


On the place to find

What is the place to find? Buddha’s nirvana, etc… what is that place? It’s a place in yourself of rest. Nirvana is a psychological state of mind. It’s not a place like heaven, not something that’s not here. It IS here in the middle of the turmoil, the whirlpool of life’s condition. Nirvana is the condition that comes when you are not compelled by desire or by fear or by social commitments. When you hold your center and act out of there.


On levels of consciousness

The way a flower turns it’s head to face the sun, heliotropism, is a kind of consciousness. There is a plant consciousness. There’s an animal consciousness. And we share all of these things. You eat foods and the bile of your stomach knows if there’s something there to work on… this whole thing is consciousness. I begin to feel more and more that the whole world is conscious. If we see ourselves as coming out of the earth rather than plopped here from somewhere else, we are the earth, we are the consciousness of the earth, these are the eyes of the earth, this is the voice of the earth, what else!?

How do we elevate our consciousness? Meditation. All of life is a meditation, most of it unintentional. A lot of people spend most of their meditating on where their money’s coming from and where it’s going to go, but that’s a level of meditation. Or if you have a family to bring up, you’re concerned for the family. These are all certainly very important concerns, but they have to do with physical conditions mostly. How are you going to communicate spiritual consciousness to the children if you don’t have it yourself, so how do you get that? The myths. What the myths are for is to bring us into a level of consciousness which is spiritual.

… this is simply a lower level of that…


… when he’s talking about the old cathedral man… “want to see my room?” I got nervous for him.

My own note: myths, maybe, are not the stories themselves, certainly not the historical facts of the events. Rather they a myth is the way it changes our civilization over time. A myth is never finished in this sense. A myth is not the events, not the story nor the moral, but it’s the way all the things of the myth interact with our consciousness over years and years… not as individuals but as a human organism, a civilization. A myth is the way that myth causes us to change the way we live over hundreds of years.


On what informs society

You can tell what’s informing society by which buildings are the tallest. When you approach a medieval town, the cathedral is the tallest in the place. 17th century, it’s the political palace that’s the tallest in the place. And when you approach a modern city, it’s the office buildings and dwellings that are the tallest in the place. That’s the history of western civilization, from the gothic through the princely periods of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, to this economic world that we’re in now.


3 requirements of myths

All myths have talked about (1) the maturation of the individual: the pedagogical way to follow from dependency, through adulthood, through maturity and then to the exit and how to do it. And then (2) how to relate to this society and (3) how to relate this society to the world of nature and the cosmos.

Frank Chimero on the Bounty of Success

I now know that the work doesn’t last—and if it somehow does, it lasting doesn’t have much to do with me. The work went far because other people carried it. Disabusing myself of the idea that I did anything important or special has been really good for me. If the bounty of success is attention, and you feel like you don’t deserve that attention, then you have no responsibility to it. It has no power over you. That frees you up to take risks. If those risks pay off, then great. If they don’t: c’est la vie. At least you’re alive, tried something, and lived a little.”

Frank Chimero


Wow, what a great read. I have liked Chimero’s words for a while. Hearing some of his story, how he’s processing grief as a creative worker, only makes me a bigger fan. Here’s some other Frank posts I’ve written about.

Shawn Coyle on The Known & Unknown Motivators

So stories of depth and meaning are those that progress to this ultimate mystery, this ultimate need. The lead character may consciously desire a want, but it is his unconscious need for self-actualization that pushes him to the limits of human experience. […]

But remember, like their human counterparts, your fictional protagonists will distract themselves in innumerable ways from contending directly with them. They chase wants not needs. And in most instances, they will not consciously understand or reconcile the need to know themselves (who they really are) until the very end of the story.”

Shawn Coyle


I love studying story so much because it a) helps me understand my own motivations, needs, and wants, b) helps me understand people in general better, and c) helps me make things and communicate about those things in better ways, ways that resonate harder.

The Dot & The Line: Some Gorgeous Screenshots

The Dot & The Line is a classic cartoon. It’s touching, smart and gorgeous. I was searching for good screenshots of scenes from the cartoon so I could ruthlessly steal from color choices because I’m a designer and that’s what I do, and couldn’t find any good ones. So below are screenshots of some of my favorite scenes from the cartoon.


A note on orange: Fizzle was the first identity I’ve built with orange as the main color. Turns out orange is an insane color… the hardest I’ve worked with to date. Put it with black and it’s halloween. The line between neon and mustard is wildly thin. It’s a hard color to work with. Most of the shots below have some sort of orange in it because I’m always curious about how others use orange.

Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon

Geometries: Now begins a series of wonderful geometric shapes. This is the line discovering what he can do.

Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon

Closeness: I love this little sequence showing the cuddling of the dot and the line. She moves close, slides up and around him, and as she does the yellow square changes color… super sexy.

Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon

The best for last: And finally, my absolute favorite shot is this one.

Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon

A Third Post-College Option

There is a secular trend going on, in which launching a start-up is a more common thing to do. It used to be there were two things you could do after college: go to grad school or get a job. Soon, I think there will be three things: go to grad school, get a job, or start your own company. I suspect this will be one of these economic transformations on the scale of the industrial revolution.”

Paul Graham


It was very hard to choose which quote I wanted to highlight from this article. It is a very good article.

Here’s a couple more I couldn’t resist:


Why Some Startups Fail

The way [startups] die is they run out of money. So what could cause them to run out of money? They can either not make something people want or they can be bad at selling it. Sometimes, they’re just bad at selling. But most of the time, start-ups fail for the same reasons restaurants do: Their food is bad.

How Small Big Ideas Were

I think people underestimate how small big ideas were when they first got started. Microsoft’s first product was an implementation of the BASIC programming language for a machine called Altair. There were probably a few thousand users, total. If those guys had presented that idea on Demo Day, investors would have laughed at them. But it turns out, everything has some adjacent territory, if you’re energetic enough. It’s OK to start out with a small idea. People are bad at looking at seeds and guessing what size tree will grow out of them.

The Best Were Bad Ideas

The very best ideas usually seem like bad ideas at first. Google seemed like a bad idea. There were already several other search engines, some of which were operated by public companies. Who needed another? And Facebook? When I first heard about Facebook, it was for college students, who don’t have any money. And what do they do there? Waste time looking at one another’s profiles. That seemed like the stupidest company ever. I’m glad no one gave me an opportunity to turn it down.

David Ogilvy’s Copywriting Process

In April 19, 1955 David Ogilvy wrote this to a Mr. Ray Calt. It outlines his process for copywriting an ad. It’s refreshing and human and I’m grateful for this honest look into his thoughts about work. (source)


Dear Mr. Calt:

On March 22nd you wrote to me asking for some notes on my work habits as a copywriter. They are appalling, as you are about to see:

  1. I have never written an advertisement in the office. Too many interruptions. I do all my writing at home.

  2. I spend a long time studying the precedents. I look at every advertisement which has appeared for competing products during the past 20 years.

  3. I am helpless without research material—and the more “motivational” the better.

  4. I write out a definition of the problem and a statement of the purpose which I wish the campaign to achieve. Then I go no further until the statement and its principles have been accepted by the client.

  5. Before actually writing the copy, I write down every concievable fact and selling idea. Then I get them organized and relate them to research and the copy platform.

  6. Then I write the headline. As a matter of fact I try to write 20 alternative headlines for every advertisement. And I never select the final headline without asking the opinion of other people in the agency. In some cases I seek the help of the research department and get them to do a split-run on a battery of headlines.

  7. At this point I can no longer postpone the actual copy. So I go home and sit down at my desk. I find myself entirely without ideas. I get bad-tempered. If my wife comes into the room I growl at her. (This has gotten worse since I gave up smoking.)

  8. I am terrified of producing a lousy advertisement. This causes me to throw away the first 20 attempts.

  9. If all else fails, I drink half a bottle of rum and play a Handel oratorio on the gramophone. This generally produces an uncontrollable gush of copy.

  10. The next morning I get up early and edit the gush.

  11. Then I take the train to New York and my secretary types a draft. (I cannot type, which is very inconvenient.)

  12. I am a lousy copywriter, but I am a good editor. So I go to work editing my own draft. After four or five editings, it looks good enough to show to the client. If the client changes the copy, I get angry—because I took a lot of trouble writing it, and what I wrote I wrote on purpose.

Altogether it is a slow and laborious business. I understand that some copywriters have much greater facility.

Yours sincerely,

D.O.

Here’s some more writing tips on this site, and for all you freelancers out there (or wannabe freelancers), here’s a big ol’ guide about how to become a freelance writer.