By the time I’m recovered from the night before the next night is upon me like a tiger — claws first — and I reach for the spirit that turns a starry night into a disco ball flashing and spinning all around. The heavens heave themselves down on us for a momentary respite from trekking through the mud before the sun returns to claim its place in the sky.
My phone is only three years old but people look at it like the Shroud of Turin when I pull it out of my pocket, like some foreign coin they don’t recognize. “Is that a flip phone?” People have asked with an accusatory tone to their voice. “You need to get a new phone,” they say, as if I’m using some rotary relic and connecting to an operator to place my call to Cincinnati.
Everybody is traceable by satellite; in many ways this is both horrifying and romantic.
There’s a spot in your brain where music is recorded and later in life you might hear these songs played back during minor epileptic seizures. It’s true! These musical reminiscences can be triggered by electrical shocks even. You touch a tiny nerve in the cerebral cortex and instantly you hear Tainted Love by Soft Cell or In Da Club by 50-Cent, just like it was happening in real life, or how it once happened in real life. You might be walking down the street and hear your mother belting out Christmas Carols when you were five.
Dostoevsky had epileptic seizures and said they were preceded by an intense surge of joy and that he couldn’t imagine life without them. Can you imagine that?
When I dance people think I’m having either a seizure or a religious experience. I’ve been accused of being a bit dervish on the dance floor. I think any time you lose yourself in the moment, escape from the constant voice in your head — the one that is yours but sounds nothing like you — it’s a religious experience, at least what I call religion.
I’m the most spiritual atheist you will ever find. Not at all a contradiction in my holy book. I can’t look at a roaring river and not feel a connection to divinity, and I can’t read a passage from the bible and not feel that it was written by man, for the purpose of consoling (or controlling) man.
They’ve done studies and the same part of the brain that is affected by psilocybin is also shown to be most active when people undergo “religious experiences” . Could it be that God is just a chemical reaction in our brain? If so, does that mean evolution actually created God?
It’s approaching nightfall in the city of fallen stars and I am about to hike up Runyon Canyon so I can get a bird’s eye view on all the minute happenings of this city as the sun dunks itself in the Pacific. It’s amazing, startling even, how easy it is to escape the world sometimes, how close that escape is. All it takes is some hiking shoes and a bottle of water and the determination to move the ground underneath your feet. Sure, there’s always a thousand other people swarming up the mountain with me, and people on their cell phones, and power lines buzzing overhead, and you’re not really escaping much, but still…