This work has a curious history. It was written as a final summary report to a government agency (National Institute of Mental Health) concerning five years of my life work. (The agency paid my salary for the five years.)
It was conceived from a space rarer these days than it was then: the laws suspending scientific interest, research, involvement and decisions about d-lysergic acid all-ethyl amide tartate were passed just as this particular work was completed; the researchers were inadequately consulted (put down, in fact). The legislators composed laws in an atmosphere of desperation. The national negative program on LSD was launched; LSD was the big scare, on a par with War, Pestilence, and Famine as the destroyer of young brains, minds and fetuses.
In this atmosphere (1966-1967) Programming and Metaprogramming in The Human Biocomputer was written. The work and its notes are dated from 1964 to 1966. The conception was formed in 1949, when I was first exposed to computer design ideas by Britton Chance. I coupled these ideas back to my own software through the atmosphere of my neurophysiological research on cerebral cortex. It was more fully elaborated in the tank isolation solitude and confinement work at NIMH from 1953 to 1958, run in parallel with the neurophysiological research on the rewarding and punishing systems in the brain. The dolphin research was similarly born in the tank, with brain electrode results as parents in the further conceptions.
While I was writing this work, I was a bit too fearful to express candidly in writin the direct experience. uninterpreted. I felt that a group of thirty persons' salaries, a large research budget, a wlbole Institute's Ife depended on me and what I wrote. If I wrote the data up straight, I would have rocked the boats of several lives (collegues and family) beyond my own stabilizer effectiveness threslold, I hypothesized.
Despite my preautionary attitude, the circulation in 1967 of this work contributed to the withdrawal of research funds in 1968 from the resorch program on dolphins by one government agency. I heard several negative stories regarding my brain and mind, altered by ISD. At this point I closed the Institute and went to the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center to resume LSD research under government auspices. I introduced the ideas in work to the MPRC researchers and I left for the Esalen Institute in 1969.
At Esalen my involvement in direct human gut-to-gut communication and lak of involvement in administrative responsibility brought m- courage to the sticking place. Meanwhile, Stewart Brand of the Whole Earth Truck Catalog (Menlo Park, Calif.) reviewed th work in the Whole Earth Catalog from a mimeographed copy I had given W. W. Harmon of Stanford for his Sufic purposes. Stewart wrote me asking for copies to sell. I had 300 printed photo-offset from the typed copy. He sold them in a few weeks and asked permission to reprint on newsprint an enlarged version at a lower price. Sceptical about salability, I agreed. Book People, Berkeley, arranged the reprinting. Several thousand copies were sold.
I had written the report in such a way that its basic messages were hidden behind. a heavy long introduction designed to stop the usual reader. apparently once word got out, this device no longer stalled the interested readers. Somehow the basic messages were important enough to enough readers so that the work acquired an unexpected viability. Thus it seems appropriate to reprint it in full.
On several different occasions, I have been asked to rewrite this work. One such start at rewrite ended up as another book. (The Center of the Cyclone, The Julian Press, Inc., New York, 1972.) Another start is evolving into my book number five (Simulations of God: A Science of Belief). It seems as if this older work is a seminating source for other works and solidly resists revision. To me it is a thing separate from me, a record from a past space, a doorway into new spaces through which I passed and cannot return.J.C.L.
Los Angeles, California