Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Korzybski and Psychedelia - The 13th Floor Elevators*

They came out of the heart of Texas inspired by Korzybski and L.S.D—one of the first of the psychedelic rock bands of the 1960s. They had a singer Roky Erickson, who had the vocal range of a Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Mick Jagger rolled-into-one. Tommy Hall, who—inspired by his study of Nietzsche, Gurdjieff, Korzybski, and others—wrote many of the lyrics, played an amplified jug (that strange rhythmical 'tooka-tooka-tooka' sound you can hear in the background).

Here's a quote from the liner notes—that Tommy Hall wrote—from their first album "The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators":
"Since Aristotle, man has organized his knowledge vertically in separate and unrelated groups -- Science, Religion, Sex, Relaxation, Work etc. The main emphasis in his language, his system of storing knowledge, has been on the identification of objects rather than on the relationships between objects. He is now forced to use his tools of reasoning separately and for one situation at a time. Had man been able to see past this hypnotic way of thinking, to distrust it (as did Einstein), and to resystematize his knowledge so that it would all be related horizontally, he would now enjoy the perfect sanity which comes from being able to deal with his life in its entirety.
Recently, it has become possible for man to chemically alter his mental state and thus alter his point of view (that is, his own basic relation with the outside world which determines how he stores his information). He can restructure his thinking and change his language so that his thoughts bear more relation to his life and his problems, therefore approaching them more sanely. It is this quest for pure sanity that forms the basis of the songs on this album."
Now take a roller coaster trip here with the Elevators. Come on let it happen to you:


3 comments:

Prem said...

How have I managed to miss The 13th Floor Elevators? I'm checking some of their stuff out on YouTube right now, where I read that Johnny Depp likes 'em. Where did you learn about them? Those liner notes you quote are pretty cool, as well, particularly "Recently, it has become possible for man to chemically alter his mental state and thus alter his point of view..." Between my own, errr..."experiments" and the corollaries contained within some of Robert Anton Wilson's writing: I concur. You definitely have me on the trail of a quest to learn more about The 13th Floor Elevators. Much obliged, sir. Much obliged, indeed!

Bruce I. Kodish said...

You are most welcome, sir.

I learned about the 13th Floor Elevators as a by-product of researching the Korzybski biography, in the course of my comprehensive and ongoing efforts to explore 'all things' korzybskian'.

Bruce I. Kodish said...

The Lyrics:

Once, somewhere, sometime ago
His eyes were clear to see,
He put his thoughts into my mind,
And gave my self to be
He stopped me from living so unsane,
I could be just what I want to be,
Things appear as they really are,
I can see just what I wanted to see

Come on, and let it happen to you
I say, I say come on, and let it happen to you
You gotta open up your mind
And let everything come through...
Come on yeah!

Well it starts like a roller coaster ride,
So real it takes your breath away
It slides you through your point of view,
You look back to where you thought you'd stayed
Your ride changes outside view,
While it glides you like a neon ray,
And you find you don't have to search for words,
For there's nothing to be said

Come on, you gotta let it happen to you
Hey, come on, and let it happen to you
You gotta open up your mind
And let everything come through...

After you trip life opens up,
You start doing what you want to do
And you find out that the world that you once feared,
Gets what it has from you
No one can ever hurt you
But you know more than you thought you knew
And you're looking at the world
With brand new eyes,
And no one can ever spoil the view

Come on, and let it happen to you
Hey, hey, hey come on, and let it happen to you
You gotta open up your mind
And let everything come through...

Open up your mind,
Let everything come through...

More lyrics: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/0-9/13th_floor_elevators/