Sense Datum Blues, " Cartesian Rhapsody For A Whammy-Blasted Brain"
“How could I deny that these hands and this body are mine, were it not perhaps that I compare myself to certain persons, devoid of sense, whose cerebella are so troubled and clouded by the violent vapors of black bile that they constantly assure us that they are kings when they are really quite poor, or that they have an earthenware head or are nothing but pumpkins or are made of glass.”
- Rene Descartes, Meditations on the First Philosophy
I drank too much cough syrup in 2005. When I recited the chorus of The Thirteenth Floor Elevator’s song “Rollercoaster”- “You gotta open up your mind and let everything come through” -with bonafide zeal to a close friend, he said; “That’s probably not a very good idea.” The DXM revealed to me that the astral plane was gummed up with corporate mascots and that terra firma was overpopulated with transmoral apparitions with monikers like The Bonefiddler or The Black Walrus.
That spring, I was reading Descartes’s Meditations and sharing a bed with a Madonna impersonator. I believed that the dissociating effects of the Robitussin were leading me towards a sophisticated skepticism instead of the soft-skulled solipsism of a fledgling burnout.
On occasion, Madonna would don a granny-smith green leotard and bounce her breasts in the faces of the Shriners at the Farmer's Market as she performed hits like "True Blue" and "Like a Prayer,” accompanied by her imposing Yamaha boombox. The man who chewed cigars and had fought in the Pacific always asked her when she was going to do a hula dance. After a lascivious performance of“Like A Virgin,” during which an industrious airhumping was bestowed on a muskmelon, the task of consoling the irate old Polish baker lady fell upon me. As I assured her that I had been equally unsettled by the lurid display, I couldn’t help noticing her nervous assistant hunkered over by the wall, tinkering with an electrical outlet. As it turned out, this was the baker’s daughter. Her name was Angela.
Angela would be considered an attractive woman by corn-fed Midwestern male standards; tall, blue-eyed, blonde, a nice full set of teeth. Yet each time I saw her, she looked more and more worn down, her face resigned further into a translucent pallor. The first time I spoke to her, she tried to make me sign a document that read “PETITION TO REGULATE AND/OR STOP MICROWAVE EMISSIONS FROM CELL(MICROWAVE) TOWERS AND CELL PHONES!!” The petition had hardly any signatures and she seemed desperate, so I obliged.
Today we live in the land of the teeth-grinders. Everyone’s crackup in unique. One person believes Google and Kabbalists are conspiring to shrink their testicles, another thinks Bobby Knight stole their debit card to buy $3,000 worth of pool floaties. Angela’s concern was whammy rays, and from the moment I signed her petition, she treated me as her diehard wave warrior. She described how the microwaves vibrated her bones, how they sapped her energy, recounted many nights of anguished pillow weeping. Aluminum foil helmets were not a an option because “They want you wrap that stuff around yer head so they can really start cooking yer brain like a baked potato.”.
Eventually Angela decided the petitions and one-on-one pleas weren’t doing the trick, and elicited me to help her with a screenplay.
The main character was named Angela just like her, had a Polish mother just like her, and like her prayed to the Christian God every night that the menacing buzz of the bedside wall socket would forever be silenced. I told her I did not think I could help her, so she started attending a writing workshop. Still, she insisted that I read her work. Angela’s peers at the workshop had gotten her to Hollywood her script up significantly: the main character developed a love interest who wooed her with dates at Olive Garden, the grand omniscient evil of the cell phone phantoms was reduced to a single company named Hexrola, and Angela’s name was changed to Amanda. But even in this fictive world, health and happiness were not in the cards, and she did not seem capable of imagining what a victory would look like.
The last time I saw her, she tried to recruit me for a special night time cell-tower climbing mission. “If someone would just climb up to the top and sprinkle some sand,” she said, “ then everyone would see how the waves are blasting every skull in town.”
The next time Madonna and I went to the Farmer’s Market, no Angela. The space that housed the Polish bakery was empty. Had Angela taken a fatal plunge off that evil antenna? Had her efforts gotten her disappeared by the sinister whammy cabal? Or maybe enough was finally enough and she had gone by her own hand? Angela’s disappearance did not settle well me with and the cough syrup was making me break out in unsightly rashes.
In 1990, the U.S. began developing its Active Denial System which sought to utilize microwaves to kill, control crowds, and produce nasty voices in the heads of targeted individuals. This is the truth. Noted nuclear scientist and microwave researcher Elizabeth Rauscher has went on record stating that, if given an adequate amount of money, in just three months she could effectively use microwaves to manipulate the behavior of80 percent of the population of any given town by making them sad, or happy, or aggressive. These potentialities are as much a part of the reality of the American landscape as Denny’s or sinkhole catastrophes. You can probably guess that the conspiracy gets pretty dark pretty fast. “Most agree that the technology can remotely target and control every nerve of the body,” wrote one anonymous microwave message board theorist in July of 2003:
“Heart rate can speed up and slow down, bowel movements can be regulated, illnesses can turn on and off in an instant. Victims report microwave hearing or voices in the head and sleep deprivation. Thoughts can be read, and played back to the victim, instantaneously. People around the victim can repeat verbatim the victim's immediate thoughts. Dreams are manipulated, behaviors controlled, emotions literally played with and all types of pain can be started and stopped in all parts of the body. Remote sexual manipulation and abuse with pedophilia, homosexuality, and degrading themes are reported regularly. Microwave burns are frequently reported, along with all types of bizarre and abrasive manipulation of electrical equipment, phone, car, TV and computers. Black bag intelligence tactics of tire slashing, break-ins and mail tampering are reported. Holograms are projected. According to victims, it is vicious, amoral, sadistic and cruel. Most victims describe the experience as very debilitating and liken it to mental rape, prison, or total destruction of the quality of one's life. Most are labeled mentally ill and live with financial ruin, loss of health, social life and career. All say the technology is very sophisticated and effective as a weapon. Some victims say they would use it on their torturers and feel vindication. It is like a slow death.”
Other paranoids focus on the placement of microwave generators in major urban areas to induce a constant depression in the citizens. The depressed citizens either seek out medicine from pharmaceutical companies who are in cahoots with the generator goons— thus rendered the dupes of a brilliant vertical integration scheme— or they commit suicide satisfying the shadow class’s ongoing objective of getting rid of 90 percent of us.
Frequent exposure to the low frequency waves emitting from power cables and transformers have been shown to cause dysfunction in the pineal gland. To endocrinologists living in a world of logical atomism the pineal gland is the organ that regulates our sleep cycles by releasing melatonin. But to Madame Blavatsky, the pineal gland was the location of the third eye. To Rene Descartes, it was the seat of the soul.
There is a marked difference between the idea being surrounded by endless configurations of wireless devices and powerlines may be bad for human bodies and minds and that malevolent entities are using microwaves to target populations for psychotronic destruction. That Angela was more preoccupied with the former of these notions is perhaps a minor credit to her sanity.
When I think about Angela, I wonder if she was not only experiencing the shitty physical effects of a whammied pineal gland but also to what degree she was suffering spiritually. Maybe her personal relationship with God faded at a dreadfully slow rate until one day she checked in with her Christian third eye and found she no longer felt that presence at all. (For what it’s worth, I think it considerably less disheartening to credit a loss of faith to Satan or secular ideology than to an atrophied soul center produced by the wayward technologies of a deregulated marketplace.)
I’m still dealing with the epistemic upheavals of that Robotussin year. Descartes’ search for a solid foundation for knowledge was no doubt a paranoid one. He arrived at the conclusion “I think, therefore I am” only another pondering the possibility that all of his perceptions were being falsified by an evil demon. Descartes believed the one thing that such an entity could not falsify was an individual’s belief in their own existence.
This question “What if there’s an evil demon falsifying all my perceptions?” resonates very oddly with the question “What if I’m unhappy because there are depression-inducing microwaves permeating my environment?” Perhaps a standard emotional baseline is even harder to pin down than a reliable method for acquiring knowledge. In a world where brain scramblers are a viable part of reality, is it not incredibly cruel to tell someone that their happiness is their responsibility alone? We may have disposed of the theory that melancholy is caused by black vile in our skull chambers, but to what avail? Behaviorist psychologists now tell us that forcing a smile is a way to trick ourselves into being happy. I will continue my strategy of non-participation in regards to such squadrons of the grimace not only to truly own my own depression— regardless of what its origin may be— but to stand with and honor the multitude of beautiful crack-ups. Like Descartes’s man with the earthenware head. Like Angela.