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The Pookah plays the same role as the Holy Guardian Angel in cabalistic magic, or the extraterrestrial in the Whitley Strieber type of experience, or the ghosts of dead relatives speaking through seance in 19th century spiritualism, or Ramtha speaking through J. Z. Knight.  These are all different metaphors for basically the same experience.

I spent a year and a half, at least, half believing that I was in telepathic communication with a higher intelligence from the Sirius double star system, and as a matter of fact, I still believe that every Thursday for two hours. No, not really. I'm really cured on that one. I'm still an optimist, though. In the age of George Bush, that's roughly equivalent of thinking you're talking to intelligent dogs from Sirius.

You might say it hasn't ended yet. I'm still trying to figure out what the hell is going on. I like the giant rabbit from County Kerry because there's no chance anybody will take that literally. Anything else I say they might take literally.

Q. How about yourself?

A. That's another reason why I like the giant white rabbit from County Kerry: I'm not going to take him literally. Well, not too literally. Sorry about that, Harvey.

My cosmic schmuck principle holds that if you occasionally notice that you've been thinking or acting like a cosmic schmuck, you will become less of a cosmic schmuck, and the more often you notice that you're thinking and acting like a cosmic schmuck, the less of a cosmic schmuck you become. On the other hand, if you never, never, never suspect you might be thinking or acting like a cosmic schmuck, you will remain a cosmic schmuck for the rest of your life.


E-prime is English without the use of any form of "is" or being.

We're trapped in linguistic constructs. All that is is metaphor. I believe somebody said that before me. I've decided we can't get beyond words.  What we gotta do is get more cynical about our words.

You'll find that by dispensing with "is", and trying to reformulate without "is", you just naturally fall into the kind of expression which is considered acceptable in modern science.  And also, it's the type of consciousness that Zen Buddhism tries to induce. Using E-Prime, you will understand modern science and Zen Buddhism both, a lot better than you've ever understood them before. Martin Gardner has written a long essay proving that to think like this will destroy your mind. I think it adds tremendously to clarity. I am removing the "is" from my writing more and more. Removing it from your speech is even harder.

Zen['s] ... emphasis on mystical union with the source of all being resonated deeply with that need for ultimate truth.
-- Rick Strassman, "Stepping on Holy Toes"

Instead of thinking, "The grass is green," think that "the grass appears green to me." And this saved me a lot of time. By the way, I don't get embroiled in arguments like Beethoven is better than Mozart, or rock is better than soul.  I define such things as meaningless. And so when people get into arguments like that I just say, "Well, Beethoven seems better to me than Mozart most of the time." I don't say, "Beethoven is better than Mozart."

I return to E-Prime in my thinking whenever I find myself getting angry with somebody, or feeling depressed or hopeless, or having negative emotional states in general. Once you take out all of the "ises" out of all of your negative statements, you find out they are all relative to how you feel at the moment.

People, by and large, would act a hell of a lot more sanely, especially when they got rid of "is" they put "maybe" in more sentences. I think if everybody used "maybe" more often, the increase in general sanity would seem absolutely astonishing and completely flabbergast everybody. What the hell, suddenly we have a planet full of sane people? When did that start to happen? I didn't even notice it. You just listen to the craziest people on the news and on television, or the craziest columnists in the newspaper. You notice they never say maybe, they are always quite sure. There is no "is." They never say "seems," they always say "is."

I am continually astonished at all of the people in the world who think they know the answer to everything. None of them ever suspect they might be cosmic schmucks and have the wrong answer. And I find that any explanation that makes sense to me is in Korzybski's Science and Sanity. These people don't know how to use language properly. They are using language in an overly-dogmatic way which sets their brain in totally dogmatic modes. So they think dogmatically, they perceive dogmatically, they even smell dogmatically, they hear dogmatically. They are locked in a trap of fixed neurosemantic circuits in their brains. Whereas, knowing I'm a cosmic schmuckm, I always think of at least five alternatives.

When people start arguing about words, they are mostly arguing about whether the words that they apply to objects they have created out of the infinity of possible objects that could be put together, they've picked up a few of them, then they put words on them, then they quarrel about the words. And if these people get to the stage where they are willing to kill one another over the words, they should be put in a nice, quiet home in the country with kindly doctors, and beautiful nurses, and a good sedative. But generally, they end up in government and start bombing one another.  Or they lead religious crusades for the true faith and kill one another with swords or some such thing.


"Our fake pope Bob MIGHT have a consistent message in his work. Does he have a consistent message? Maybe. Maybe that's the message. Nothing is truly consistent. There are no absolute yeses, or absolute nos. There are probabilities and strong maybes and weak maybes, but maybe if we all said maybe more often, the world might be a saner place. Pope Bob has certainly been able to weave a certain magical spell using nothing but logic. And what is logic, you ask? Why, nothing but magic!"

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