Jerry Speaks: Pranksters, Philosophers, Portals
Rebecca: What about your personal experience of what you may have described as God?
Jerry: I’ve been spoken to by a higher order of intelligence—I thought it was God. It was a very personal God in that it had exactly the same sense of humor that I have. (Laughter) I interpret that as being the next level of consciousness, but maybe there’s a hierarchical set of consciousness. My experience is that there is one smarter than me, that can talk to me, and there’s also the biological one that I spoke about.
David: Do you feel that there’s a divine plan at work in nature?
Jerry: I don’t know about a plan. I don’t know whether it cares to express itself that way or even if matters such as developmental constructs along time have any relevance to this particular God point of view. It may be a steady-state God that exists out beyond space-time, beyond our experience, or around it, or contemporary with it, or it may function in the moment—I have no idea.
Rebecca: I understand that you became very ill a few years ago and came very close to death. I’m interested in how that experience affected your attitude to life.
Jerry: It’s still working on me. I made a decision somewhere along the line to survive, but I didn’t have a near-death experience in the classical sense. I came out of it feeling fragile, but I’m not afraid of death.
Rebecca: Were you afraid of death before?
Jerry: I can’t say that I was, actually. But it did make me want to focus more attention on the quality of life. So I feel like now I have to get serious about being healthful. If I’m going to be alive, I want to feel well. I never had to think about it too much before, but finally mortality started to catch up with me.
David: You say that you didn’t have a near death experience, but did anything happen that gave you any unusual insights?
Jerry: Well, I had some very weird experiences. My main experience was one of furious activity and tremendous struggle in a sort of futuristic, space-ship vehicle with insectoid presences. After I came out of my coma, I had this image of myself as these little hunks of protoplasm that were stuck together kind of like stamps with perforations between them that you could snap off. (Laughter)
They were run through with neoprene tubing, and there were these insects that looked like cockroaches which were like message-units that were kind of like my bloodstream. That was my image of my physical self and this particular feeling lasted a long time. It was really strange.
David: That sounds really similar to a DMT experience.
Jerry: It was DMT-like as far as the intensity was concerned, but it lasted a couple of days!
David: Did it affect what you think might happen after death?
Jerry: No. It just gave me a greater admiration for the incredible baroque possibilities of mentation. The mind is so incredibly weird. The whole process of going into coma was very interesting, too. It was a slow onset—it took about a week—and during this time I started feeling like the vegetable kingdom was speaking to me.
It was communicating in comic dialect in iambic pentameter. So there were these Italian accents and German accents and it got to be this vast gabbling. Potatoes and radishes and trees were all speaking to me. (Laughter) It was really strange. It finally just reached hysteria and that’s when I passed out and woke up in the hospital.
David: Do you feel that psychedelics might be a way for the vegetable kingdom to communicate with humans?
Jerry: I like that thought, but I don’t know if it’s true. The thing is that there’s no way to prove this stuff. I would love it if somebody would put the energy into studying the mind and psychedelics to the extent where we could start to talk about these things and somebody could even throw forth a few suggestions as to what might be happening. There’s no body of information—we need more research. These are questions that we should be asking, this is the important stuff.
Rebecca: And when you came out of your coma, did you come out of it in stages?
Jerry: I was pretty scrambled. It was as though in my whole library of information, all the books had fallen off the shelves and all the pages had fallen out of the books. I would speak to people and know what I meant to say, but different words would come out. So I had to learn everything over again. I had to learn how to walk, play the guitar, everything.
Rebecca: Did you always have faith that you would access it again? It didn’t scare you, the idea that you might have lost it forever?
Jerry: I didn’t care. When your memory’s gone, you don’t care because you don’t remember when you had one. (Laughter)
David: What do you think happens to consciousness after death?
Jerry: It probably dies with the body. Why would it exist apart from the body?
David: People have had experiences of feeling like they’re out of their body.
Jerry: That’s true. But unfortunately, the only ones who have gone past that are still dead. (Laughter) I don’t know what consciousness is apart from a physical being. I once slipped out of my body accidentally. I was at home watching television and I slid out through the soles of my feet. All of a sudden, I was hovering up by the ceiling looking down at myself. So I know that I can disembody myself somehow from my physical self, but more than that I have no way of knowing.
In honor of Umphrey’s McGee’s return to Summer Camp this weekend, we present the group’s Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger performing this version of “The Pequod” from UM’s Anchor Drops.
Dame shares a song from her new EP Preventions of Heartbreak.
Golden Bloom stopped by Relix to perform a tune from their latest EP No Day Like Today.
The Chapin Sisters share an tune from their new album A Date With the Everly Brothers.
Minneapolis-based Night Moves share a song from their record, Colored Emotions, live at Relix.
Cloud Cult share a song from their latest album live at Relix.
The Giving Tree Band enjoy a spring day on the Relix rooftop, while performing a classic Grateful Dead tune.
Canadian singer-songwriter Hayden performs a duet with his sister-in-law Lou Canon. The song appears on Us Alone his first record on Broken Social Scene’s Arts & Crafts Productions.
The Milk Carton Kids share the first song from their new album, The Ash & Clay.
Here is the new video from Serbian guitar ace Ana Popovic. “Object Of Obsession” appears on her latest album Can You Stand The Heat.
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