'Turn on to acid, man,|
Get into the channels of your mind
Go see what there is to find
No one knows the human mind...
There are doors as yet unopened
I never saw life as I know it, man,
Before all this, life was such a drag;
But all that's gone now
(AnonymousFound in a book in cell-block beneath Bristol Central Prison)
Cambridge, Mass., is the home of both Harvard College and M.I.T.
and stands across from the city of Boston, separated by the River
Charles, about thirty minutes by taxi from Logan airport. It was
snowing when I reached Gunther's house in Mount Auburn Street;
the town was as if deserted by man. The gigantic apartment block
on the opposite side of the street towered up from a snowy wasteland,
surrounded by a few straggling trees. Every now and again one
saw the lights of a car slowly moving along the driveway flanking
the river; visibility was soon almost reduced to nil. The lady
taxi-driver swore as I paid the fare, wishing she'd stayed in
Boston. Then she propositioned me. 'We could get to know each
other in the parking lot,' she added, waving to the back seat.
'There's not much else to do on a night like this.' I said I was
bushed after the long flight from London but this only seemed
to add spice to her game. 'I've only made it with one English
guy before, and he was the best ball I've ever had, though a fucking
bastard otherwise,' she added. Why not? She was pretty, in her
late twenties. 'Okay. Let's get to the parking lot,' I said. 'Crazy!
But in case you're kinky or something, you know, want to cut
off my tits or anything, Jack-the-Ripper style, I'll blow your
brains out with this.' And reaching inside the glove compartment
she suddenly produced an enormous revolver. 'Protection, you understand.
If you want to live in Boston, baby, you've gotta have a piece.
Bam! Get it?' 'Are those things legal here?' I asked, seemingly
dumb. 'Legal, regal; the fuzz ain't gonna bust ya for a piece,
though they get pretty rough if you kill someone. No, it's protection.'
'But what if everyone carried a gun, then what...?' 'Then you'd
be stupid not to, right? Anyway, I was only kidding. It ain't
got no bullets in the chamber, maybe just two or three. I use
it to scare drunks who get fresh.'
I was in the right mood when, a couple of hours and several drinks later, I rang Gunther's doorbell. I had called Gunther from the airport but the baby-sitter said he was at the Gurdjieff centre and wouldn't be back much before midnight(a well-observed ritual vouches for the truly human and therefore natural sequence of human behaviours; if the meeting which a person needs is missed, then the psyche feels cheated, and a sense of loss and remorse or worse is bound to follow. Gunther believed in the ritual attendance of the Gurdjieff meetings; he didn't necessarily believe in Gurdjieff rituals, which, so far as one can understand them at all, seem to depend on the presence of the Master himself, but the weekly thing was important for the harmonious function of his creativity.)
But Gunther was back, and we greeted each other warmly with hugs and smiles and 'Wow-it's-great-to-see-you' stuff. Yes, it really did feel good to be back; (almost) as though I'd never been away. We spent the first few hours rapping, filling in the blanks, trying to find out what had happened to us both across the random and haphazard years since Harvard and Millbrook. For myself change, unceasing change, as though change was the only constant in my life. And Gunther? He was now teaching at Boston College. 'A bit ironic, really, a Jew teaching at a Jesuit establishment', working as a consultant with a New York media company, 'They sent me to India recently to tape some Indian music for a record', and running the Boston Gurdjieff Centre. 'Man, that cat knew more about human psychology than anyone I've come across before. I really dig his work.'
I then discovered that quite a number of the old Harvard psychedelic class of 1961-62 now worked for the Harvard CorporationGeorge Litwin was a professor at the Harvard Business School, Al Alschuler lectured at the Harvard School of Education, Dave Kolb was an instructor at M.I.T. and Huston Smith was still professor of religious philosophy (M.I.T.), Dave Katz was teaching at Boston's Brandeis University, Walter Clark was a professor of the psychology of religion at Tufts University and had helped start the Cambridge Neurobiological and Psychedelic Study Group (together with Clemens E. Benda M.D., and the late Max Rinkel M.D.).
Obviously, the medicine of hallucination and the wonders of indiscipline had lost their appealeverybody wanted to forget the 'Harvard Drug Scandal'.
'It all seems so ordinary now.' Gunther was almost apologetic when he spoke about former times. 'People turn on differently nowadays, you know, sans drugs, sans trips. Not Young-Man-Left-to Old-Man-Right but evolution of sensibility. Today people dig astrology, Meher Baba, the Tarot, the I Ching, Gurdjieff, macrobiotic food, yogas, even plain work.... '
Sure enough, when I did the telephone rounds the next morning, everyone was into their own 'non-drug' thing. It was as if Tim Leary and the Harvard Psychedelic Project had never existedAl Cohen hadn't taken acid for over four years and now busied himself as head of the American Meher Baba Group. 'I dropped acid for three years, and it took me three years to transcend acid. Now I don't even think about it. Of Acid, the Avatar had this to say: "It doesn't bring you closer to God, for I am God and I tell you it takes you further away from Me".' Rolf von Eckartsberg, who used to co-edit The Psychedelic Review was a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania and was running a 'global village' project in Pittsburg; Paul Lee, also a former co-editor of The Psychedelic Review was teaching humanities and religion at the University of California in Santa Cruz; Stanley Krippner was the director of The Dream Laboratory at the Maimonides Hospital in Brooklyn; Frank Barron was a professor at Berkeley and the author of 'Creativity and Psychological Health'; Joe Havens was also still lecturing and writing papers on the theme 'Religion Ponders Science'; and Richard Alpert was in India with his Hindu Guru, Neem Karolli Baba, or simply 'Maharaj-ji' as he is usually called, who told him, à propos LSD, 'In a quiet place where it is cool and you are feeling much peace, taken alone, it can bring you into the presence of Christ to do pranams. But you can only stay a few hours and then must leave. Better by far to become Christ. For that, Love is the best medicine, better than LSD. LSD is not the true Samadhi. These medicines were known about in the Kulu Valley, but now that knowledge is lost.'
It felt almost obscene to mention this three-letter word under the circumstances and I began to wonder whether I had got things cocked or somehow not quite right. I was frequently asked the same question: 'Do you still take acid?' which always contained a definite, if unspoken clauseafter what happened in Manhattan's Lower East Side and the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, after reports of people jumping out of windows or staring at the sun until they were blind, can the psychedelic experience still claim to a place in the New Age? Did Leary do for LSD as the liberal-humanist did for stereotaxic surgery (leucotomy), (which is the selective destruction of brain tissue'Law'n Order surgery') and its claim as a therapeutic adjunct to mental anguish?
Not a few thinkers have thought so. During the years following the Leary-Alpert firings many attacks against non-prescriptive drug usage have appeared in the mass media. The corruption of the original mystical insights reported in the early (1960-63) literature has led to the corruption of popular opinion, who now view the psychedelic experience as a subject too complex, too weird to be discussed in a rational way. The mystic with the gift of the third eye expected to proclaim the reign of the happily integrated modern soul but instead he had found himself considered something of an oddball, and a resented one at that. Now he sits in solitary exile or behind the bars of the lunatic asylum whilst the village idiot walks Times Square with a gun in each hand.
'Do you still take acid? Does Leary still proselytise for LSD, trip out for days?' our visitor asks, as one may also be supposed to know about heroin, cocaine, speed, glue-sniffing and nitrous oxide. 'Mass-mysticism is poetry, an open secretthe message is in the seed.' As ancient Zen might have had it'Take LSD for ten years, become LSD, and then forget about it'.
The power of Zenthere is nothing to hold on to; the power of the aphorism. In his Frederick William Atherton lecture (Harvard University, 1967), Norman O. Brown reminds us that
'Aphorism is instant dialectic
the instantaneous flip instead of the elaborate system...
And so perishable
that it cannot be hoarded by any elite
or stored in any institution.'
'Aphorism: the word smells of literary self-consciousness the
reality is brokenness
words in absolute dismemberment
or even, absolute self-contradiction.'
'When the skull seals the tide of brainbloodvolume is
out on the beach the adult dangles from the gallows
around his neck a chain of word associations
suspended on his own sentence
the adult passes judgement on his children
his childrenif they've any sensepay no attention
but bounce about
on a cushion of intra-cranial pressure
until their skull seals.... '
'who reduced all that solemn nonsense to nonsense leading us in the path to which Wittgenstein directed us from disguised nonsense to patent nonsense a transition that is accomplished not by linguistic analysis but by poetry.'
I am constantly relapsing into didactics, though no teacher I;
on the contrary, I discourage any kind of followership, since
my capacity for head-work is limited. I am also without the necessary
information. So I drift; I am that aimless drifting man who, setting
out in the first light of dawn like a ship to sea, never knows
when or with what cargo he will return to port; and to invite
anyone to follow me on such a reckless enterprise would be akin
to negligence, if not actually actionable. One has a few friends,
and of course they help sustain one through periods of change
or difficulty, but in the final analysis, one must chart one's
own drift course through the peculiarities of our modern kind
of existence. It is a situation I once discussed with Tim Learywho
confided in me his own strategies as a mentor of modern youth,
which again confirmed my belief that he is one of the wisest,
most illuminatory beings that the world has ever known.... The
main theme of his philosophy, which he has dealt with in his book,
The Politics of Ecstasy is the 'seven levels of consciousnesssolar,
cellular, somatic, sensual, symbolic, stupor (emotions) and
sleep', what he calls 'the seven tongues of God'; 'seven
dialects of energy, each triggered by the appropriate chemicalLSD,
mescaline, hashish, grass, stimulants, booze, narcotics'.
Leary's message is that we die, creatively speaking, when we cling too fast to the definite, and that beyond the falsifications of egocentric consciousness lies the world of awareness which we must locate, pry out and finally weld to our being and in this way achieve affirmation of God, the world and the other people in it.
'The yoga of drugs is of course a key method. The sexual yoga is also keyaccess to and control of sexual energy. Nothing can be renounced. All is God. Every energy is divine. All must be understood and controlled for spiritual purposes, including the yoga of power. All energy is available to him who accepts the basic energy formula; all energy is available to him who knows that it must not be grabbed, held, possessed or used for any other purpose except spiritual.' (Private correspondence.)
Seeing how many of the original Harvard Psychedelic Project were
working for the Corporation, it was not too difficult to persuade
the university to have me back, this time, however, not as a four-hours-a-week
instructor to third-year graduate students in psychology but as
a trainee librarian at the Harvard University Library. The plan
was that I should work as an assistant curator of Scandinavian
Aquisitions, attend a two-year course in Library Science at Boston's
Sammer's college, and then stay on as a full librarian, with faculty
privileges; and perhaps teach one course after this probationary
period. The authorities were nervous, perhaps understandably,
but in their own way showed a remarkably liberal, open-minded
attitude about having me back.
The first few weeks were spent learning how books were indexed and catalogued and how to find my way around the 'stacks' underneath the main library building, which is an art in itself, for the Harvard Library (second only to the Library of Congress in Washington) had been assembled through the years with stolid incompetence, and I dare say that no one is entirely sure where all the books are. Certainly in my section, the Scandinavian language collections were catalogued in such a manner that it could sometimes take a whole day to locate a particular book, even for an experienced librarian. The reason given for this odd state of affairs was that until quite recently the Curators were usually eccentrics and not infrequently quite possessive about 'their' books, often devising an elaborate personal coding system to stop students borrowing them; that is, unless you asked the Curator himself to locate the particular book for you. But times and people change. A new breed was taking over, as it were; soon only professional librarians would be in charge. No more muddling through. Efficiency was now the touchstone by which a librarian was to be judged. The library did not offer a complete life, as enclosed and dedicated as a monastery, but a career, like any other. Certainly, it helped if you had a taste for books or reading, but the main thing was knowing how to catalogue the stuff. It was even envisaged that, in time, the entire library would be computerised, though plans for this innovation had met with little response from the higher 'invisible' echelons who contemplated such suggestions in the cloistered calm of their private rooms. I was told about one Curator, in charge of Burmese Acquisitions, I think, who had been dead in his private room for nearly two months, and was only discovered when a student, due to some error in his walk, had accidentally opened the door and saw this decomposing figure huddled in a huge leather armchair. The story goes that the student, far from being surprised at the condition of the old man, actually asked him for directions to the Poetry Room.
The work was interesting enough, however, and I suppose I could have stuck it out through the two-year training period, but something happened to change my direction. Gunther and some other friends had obtained space in a huge loft-like building in Nutting Road near Harvard Square. It was called the 'Cambridge Readeasy'a sort of free university-cum-workshop in 'Communication, Creativity and Awareness'. And they invited me to run a poetry workshop involving poets and students in the greater Boston area. This was fine as far as I was concerned for it gave a focus to my life and an excuse to meet and hear some of the younger poets, who I encouraged to drop around and take part in the experiment.
The Readeasy soon became quite popular with the local Underground, who kept us all well-supplied with grass and the occasional pipe of opium. But this was not the reason why I left Cambridge (in fact, it was probably the high quality of the grass that was keeping me there), but the arrival of Leary for a lecture series in Boston, when we met and he invited me to join him in Berkeley. I was a bit hesitant at first, perhaps because I felt more at home on the East Coast, but my curiosity got the better of me, and a few weeks later I resigned from the library and was jetting across America to San Francisco, where Tim picked me up at the airport; and the start of a new adventure.
Californialand of the Brave or land of the Freaks? Tim had no doubts in his mind: 'California is at least one year ahead of the East Coast in Aquarian life-styles, sophistication, and enterprise. Here is where it is all happening.' I said the weather was nice. 'Yeah; warm, sunny and soft, just like a beautiful woman.'
Soon we were in the city and Tim said he'd give me a tour, starting on Fisherman's Wharf and home of some of the best seafood restaurants in America. From there we drove along Chinatown's Pacific Avenue and Grant Avenue, where the sole business seemed to be food. Chinese variety shops ran like a strip of tinsel through the heart of the city. From there we drove up to Nob Hill, home of the rich and the elegant, where tradition is slow to change and the residents carefully preserve an air of bygone days while sparing no modern convenience. Then back to Market Street where we dropped by a couple of bars before going on to the Haight and a Japanese restaurant for lunch.
Then in the afternoon we visited Eldridge Cleaver of the Black Panthers, a very impressive personality who was in the middle of his campaign to become the first coloured president of the United States. Basically, the line he presented was something like this: 'When you vote for me you are voting for this finger'. He would then hold up the index finger of his right hand. 'This finger. Because this finger is the finger that presses the button. And, man this finger ain't never going to push any button. Do you trust Nixon's finger anywhere near that red button? I don't. So when you vote, remember, you're voting for the finger that won't push the button', etc., etc. He'd been out campaigning most of the morning and seemed a bit tired when we met him, but he welcomed Tim warmly, like an old friend, joking and fooling, and every now and again telling Tim that the Black Panther Party was really getting it together. A very remarkable man, I thought.
And on to Menlo Park just south of the city to meet Ken Kesey, who I remembered from the early Harvard days, when he was then known as the author of One Flew the Cuckoo's Nest, a brilliant novel about the goings-on inside a mental hospital. Now he was into his political bag, and had hopes of uniting the various hippie factions in the Bay Area into a coordinated party, something similar to the Panther organisation, but looser, without too many rules. Tim said that he was considering running against Reagan as Governor of California: 'I'd strip the cops of their guns, double their salaries and encourage them to smoke dope. I'd also introduce a "marijuana tax"like the annual automobile tax, only much higher, say, one thousand bucks a year. And then I'd distribute the revenue amongst the Californian middle-class. In that way, everyone would be happy.' There were immediate and voluble objections from Ken and the others in the apartment, 'Man, one thousand bucks to smoke weed? You'd never get any of the heads to vote for that. Fifty bucks, maybe. But one thousand... man, do you know how much weed you could buy for that? Enough to keep you stoned for months. Better think again "Uncle Tim" if you want to get my vote.'
An hour or so chewing the breeze, and back to San Francisco again, to a small building across from the Panhandle Park where 'The Messiah' lived with his commune of followers, and the headquarters of 'The Messiah's World Dope Crusade'. There was no reply when we knocked on the door, but it wasn't locked so we walked in. The house was silent. Tim then opened one of the doors leading into a huge living-room where a group of perhaps six beautiful girls were seated in a circle on the floor holding hands. They all seemed to be crying. No one looked up as we entered, and Tim immediately put on a serious expression and quietly joined this tearful circle.
After a few minutes had passed, Tim asked after The Messiah.
'He was busted this morning. The fuzz came round and busted him for ten keys (kilograms) of grass. Man, like we needed to raise bread on that for our new macro bakery.'
'Where is The Messiah now?' Tim gently asked.
'Down at the Precinct, I guess. They said they'd been watching him for weeks and that this time he'd go down for a long time.'
'Why didn't he pay them off?'
' 'Cos we'd spent all our bread on this new consignment and only had a couple of hundred bucks or so in the house.'
'Is there anything I can do?'
'Just pray. That's what we're doing.'
On the way to Berkeley mention of the raid was made on the FM
news. It seemed that The Messiah had told the desk sergeant that
unless he was released that afternoon he'd have to take 'drastic
action'. He was reported as saying that he'd use his telepathic
powers to cause a two-hour traffic jam on the Bay Bridge during
the evening traffic rush. He was released on a nominal bail, a
few hours later.
Soon we were in Berkeley and Tim's house in Queen's Road, high in the hills overlooking the campus and the Bay. We made it just before the curfewthe Free Speech Movement was rioting against the Vietnam war. There had been campus revolts every day for a week, and the police had introduced a curfew after nightfall.
Tim used to refer to his house as 'The Embassy'. There was a constant stream of visitors of all shapes, shades and sizes, each one involved at some level with the revolutionary Underground. And they would make their reports to Tim who'd then comment or make suggestions or give them some LSD. I was thus able to get a picture very quickly of what was happening in California, mainly talk actually, though sometimes you'd meet a veteran of some campus riot or other. I think the only really sensible and coherent person in the area was Jerry Garcia of 'The Grateful Dead'. 'Acid,' he used to say, 'has changed consciousness entirely. The US has changed in the last few years and it's because that whole first psychedelic thing meant "here's this new consciousness, this new freedom, and it's here in yourself".' He was later to develop his thesis in a Melody Maker interview...
'I think we're beginning to develop new capacities just in order to be able to save the world from our tripsyou know, pollution, etc.if for nothing else. Just for survival. The biological news is that in 100 years from now life on earth is finished, so what has to happen is this organism has to adapt real quick and develop new capacities to stem this flow, to maybe head it off somehow. In this scheme of things, politics and all those things belong to the past. They're meaningless, going down the drain.'
However, by the Fall, I was again restless, this time for a more
solitary refuge, somewhere where I could simply be, and preferably
alone. I had met too many people in California, heard too many
things, maybe even taken too much acid. Now I wanted out. And
it was thus to Tonga in the South Pacific that I went...
Nine hours after leaving San Francisco, I caught my first glimpse of the tropical islands of the South Pacific as we flew low over Fiji. The richness of the landscape below was overwhelming everywhere. Perfect beauty abounded, in which meaning and expression are one. This peaceful island of lush jungle which blossoms like flowers was surrounded by dark green hills and encircled by a rich blue sea, as still and as peaceful as a lake.
And then Tonga! This Other Eden of palm trees shooting upwards to the sky, rich, luxuriant, yellow beaches and an exquisitely blue sea lapping against the shores. When I stepped off the plane I was so thrilled that I immediately set off on a long walk, and when I returned, feeling weary, I thought, as I reclined in a comfortable wicker chair on the shaded balcony of my tiny hotel: thou art in paradise. Here should I be; and be free from myself.... And as I looked out across the garden over the tree tops, I saw hordes of monkeys who pursued, in a silent tight-rope dance, their fodder for the evening meal. How delightful it is to be in a world which was finally created on the fifth day! Here nothing has changed, here everything is simple and true. I was beginning to understand why most truly great minds prefer 'nature to human society'. The latter limits, the former liberates.
How harmonious the landscape in the light of the sunset. The sea reflects the last light of the sky. The screeching of the gulls high above the water and the shrill chirping of the cicadas fills my mind as no music ever could. In the narrow road opposite an old fisherman carries his nets; I can hear him singing to himself, softly, to the rhythm of the breaking waves. He is faithful to himself and to the spirit of nature; I could believe that this solitary wayfarer understands the doctrine of nirvana in the way in which an enlightened saint wishes to have it understood. Here there is no striving, for everything happens of its own accord. One's volition wanes irresistibly. I feel in this hothouse air it is futile to work, to wish, to strive; it is not I who think, but nature thinks in me, it is not I who wish, but something wishes in me. For this native fisherman, Buddha's doctrine of cognition is a matter of course, the result not of self-determination but of his own psychic process developing at one with nature; its truth is something which the most cultured Westerner only very exceptionally perceives. Here thought seems somehow superfluous; here nothingness is the background of semblance; the intellect turns away, as it were, from its possible content; it becomes more and more empty, till at last no thought remains. The mind is as bland and as blank as a bank of snow. Such simplicity of mind signifies a form of existence which proceeds without effort. And everything happens naturally, without conscious effort and without the direction of the will; indeed, in the tropics the will is so small that the wish fails to become father to the thought. Life is thus essentially a mindless involvement with nature, with mediocrity as the purest form of normality. Here it is possible to achieve everything by doing nothing.
Tonga itself is a collection of perhaps 150 small islands, mostly uninhabited. It is Blessed, for it was dedicated to Heaven at Pouono by King George Tupoul, and there is a strong sense of the religious amongst its peoples, their faith is firmly rooted in the worship of Christ.
I spent the first week in Nukalofa, the capital, resembling in appearance a sort of shanty town you normally associate with the ghetto districts of Georgia or Alabamalots of corrugated iron and shed-like dwellings, semi-derelict store fronts and flaked woodwork, but still charming for all that. But I longed for isolation, for I was impatient of humankind and wanted to live in the jungle where the only sounds would be natural ones.
After consulting a map I decided upon Vava'u, a tiny speck of an island some 150 miles distant from the main island, and a two-day sail by steamer. I telephoned the Governor to ask his permission to stay on the island, explaining that I was a writer and needed the peace and quiet in order to write a book. He was most gracious and hospitable, and even offered to send his Land Rover to pick me up at the pier. Perfect. Now I could unwind; find there my final dwelling place, and forget all the despairs of consequence which had plagued my life in the West. Somehow, incredibly, I had escaped from the concrete jungles of London and New York and San Francisco, and in a tolerably good state. Now I could begin the slow work of salvage, become whole again, maybe even find that peace of head or heart I had sought through all these years of largely accidental activity. I had found an excuse for living. And I intended to plan my own death very, very, carefully, which alone can give the meaning to one's life.
Vava'u was all that I had anticipated; indeed more, since it manifested itself in the form of the most delicately sensuous natural beauty, especially in the morning, when the sea flows in golden waves towards the rising sun; the whole island seemed to be divinely transfused: one feels inclined, like the pilgrims on the Ganges, to sink down every morning before the beauty of the place in fervent gratitude.
You can imagine my surprise, therefore, when, on my second morningI had rented a bamboo and thatched hut a couple of miles from the tiny port on the edge of the bushI was awakened by the sound of pop music. Nothing could have been more incongruous or unexpected, and I feared at first it was an auditory hallucination. But the noise persisted, and, quickly dressing, I followed the sound into the bush until I came to a small hut. I knocked on the door. No answer. So I knocked again. This time a voice, an American, answered'Who is it?' 'Friend,' I said. 'Enter, friend.'
I pushed open the door and inside were three young men dressed in jeans and sweat shirts. The air was redolent of marijuana, and everyone appeared to be pretty stoned. I said I'd heard the music and, curious, had followed the sound. Did they mind if I sat down and joined them? 'Nope.'
It turned out that they were members of the Peace Corps, of which there were about 120 scattered about the islands, seven of whom were on Vava'u. The Tongalese called them 'voluntary workers'. Some taught English in the schools, some worked as medical assistants for the Medical Department, and some were working as farmers. These three seemed a nice bunch of guys. And the ice was quickly broken when I told them I was writing a book about psychedelics. 'Did you bring any acid with you?' one of them asked. 'I did as a matter of factabout 100 trips of "sunshine", which is about as pure as you can get. Have any of you taken acid?' None of them had, but each said he'd like to try some. 'How about some grass? Do you have any?' I asked. 'Sure,' one of them said passing me the plastic bag filled with marijuana. 'Roll yourself a joint. It's great weed. We grow it locally. It's dynamite. '
The effect was excellent, and soon I was as stoned as they were. Jefferson Airplane were playing on the Sony cassette, loud and energetic, playing tight and clean, blowing our minds. You didn't have to listen to it with great concentration. You can just sorta drift with it. Then followed some Grateful DeadAnthem Of the Sun and Aoxomoxoa; very soulful and communicative, a liturgy of the hip. The music was creating good vibes all around, with everything becoming one music; or rather, everything inside becoming all music, which is what true pop music is all about, the obliteration of thought for sensation.
One of the Peace Corps guys was really uptight about a recent debate in the Parliament. Apparently, a member of the Tongan Parliament had complained that they were starting their own private businesses by growing small gardens, selling the produce, and feeding chickens so as to sell the eggs. He said they were trying to change Tongan customs.
'Here, let me read you some of what this cat said"Our women who used to wear a dress, the traditional tupenu and ta'ovala are now clothing themselves in one yard of cloth. Even the huge women use up only one yard, making it so tight that their sharp-shinned legs show and it makes them look thick on the right side and thin on the left." Crazy! Now dig this, "When they are walking in the streets, you can't tell if they are coming or going! This has come from the examples set by the voluntary workers. All the spiritual feelings I experience when I am in the church vanish when these voluntary workers enter the church building with the clothes they wear. Very often I feel like getting up and throwing them out. Therefore I ask the Premier that if a copra boat should come, let us pack them all in it and send them back to America. Soon they will be wearing only underwear to church." But he got no steam from the Premier, who also happens to be the king's brother, Prince Tu'ipelehake. He really took the wind out of the sails, telling this uptight cat, Tu'akoi' that instead of being critical he should be grateful.... "God made their visit possible. It is often a mystery that, without knowing or being acquainted with anyone, they are willing to sacrifice t o give such help. The sacrifice and usefulness have been proved today not only to the Government, but also to the people, the country and the church. Love is repaid with love, and the understanding and the willingness to help is the most important of all. We should consider such gratitude and sacrifice. I believe that if they have sacrificed for Tonga, not one of us here in this house could do more for Tonga. We should be grateful and we have given an oath to be rightful and loving in our work for His Majesty King Tupou IV and the country".'
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