This is an excerpt from weird science
by Alex Burns (email@example.com) - January 28, 2001
Black holes, Alcubierre warp drives, traversable worm holes, and the quest for the Holy Grail of dark matter are outpacing the wildest SF fantasies in the public's imagination. In the science fraternity, this 'quantum weirdness' is creating new paradigms with which to view reality. The most controversial physicist in this field is Dr Jack Sarfatti, whose investigation of such phenomena as superluminal (faster than light) information and anomalous experiences challenges the very underpinnings of modern quantum physics.
Sarfatti's exotic theories are rarely discussed within the mainstream physics community. Like Harvard Medical School department of psychiatry's John Mack, who controversially researched UFO abductions, Timothy Leary's early 1960s metaprogramming experiments, or Lyall Watson's unorthodox explorations of Supernature (New York: Anchor Press, 1973), Sarfatti's exploration of the questions polite academics avoid has tainted his reputation. A typical off-hand response came from N. David Mermin of the Cornell physics department who studied Sarfatti's papers and corresponded with him during the 1980s: "Jack Sarfatti? What a weird, strange subject to be writing about!"
Master of the Vortex
Yet Sarfatti's theories of future causality - the future impacting on the present - are influencing the contemporary cultural meme pool. From Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) to Twelve Monkeys (1995), Sarfatti's ideas have been the subject of major sci-fi scenarios. Sarfatti himself was parodied as the memorable time-travelling Dr Emmett Brown in the Back to the Future trilogy.
According to Creon Levit of the NASA Ames Research Center, who studied and worked with Sarfatti, "Jack is a maverick, because he is examining what is perhaps the most cherished asumption of modern science - that all causes must precede their effects. People, including scientists, do not, unless they are very brave, like to question their cherished assumptions. This is unfortunate, because in quantum theory the mainstream theorists have gone so far as to give up objectivity - both in their physics, and I am afraid, in their approach to physics - in order to save causality."
"Physics is the Conceptual Art of the late 20th Century," Sarfatti claims. "But as a science it will lead to new practical super-technology." Recognising the role of theoretical physics as a cultural 'early warning system,' Sarfatti like his predecessors Carl Jung and Wolfgang Pauli, has investigated its archetypal foundations. Consequently he has evolved into a true 'Trickster' figure in the Gurdjieff/Leary mould, reconciling the roles of conceptual artist, physicist, poet and Magus.
"After Timothy Leary, I'm the only Magus left!" Sarfatti jokes. His synthesis attempts to capture the subjective reality of unconscious archetypes 'revealed' by quantum physics, a reality that, he says, can only be accessed by metaphor, evocation, poetry, and music.
Sarfatti's 'court' is the chic Caffe Trieste (dubbed 'Sarfatti's Cave' in deference to Plato). Situated in the bohemian suburb of North Beach, San Francisco, an area Sarfatti equates with the Left Bank of Paris: "very chic and the place to be seen; it's my neighbourhood for over 20 years."
Francis Ford Coppola (founder of the American Zoetrope motion picture production company); Lawrence Ferhlingetti; Guerilla Marketing expert Jay Conrad Levinson; and Jefferson Airplane's visionary musician Paul Kantner ("who visits the Caffe Trieste almost daily") are amongst the local community, supplanted in recent years by the Silicon Valley Nouvelle Riche and Hollywood creative artists who reside in or near North Beach. Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich can be frequently found in local restaurants like Rose Pistolas or Toscas, capturing the Italian old charm that embodied the San Francisco of the Beat Era. Increasingly, North Beach is home to thriving publishing, advertising, investment, and multimedia production houses; and to activist think tanks including the Milarepa Fund and the Earth Island Institute. For many cultural iconoclasts, North Beach is a reminder that San Francisco had atmospheric character and artistic integrity decades before the Haight-Ashbury legacy descended.
The Caffe Trieste has been the site of Sarfatti's 'self imposed' exile from the conservative academic community, and his preferred location for lecturing to a rapt audience of 'espresso scholars'. A noted personality in the North Beach scene, Sarfatti is mentioned in Herbert Gold's works Bohemia: Where Art, Angst, Love & Strong Coffee Meet (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993) and Travels In San Francisco. His colleagues include the famous Beat poet Gregory Corso, who reinvigorates poetry long demonised by the Machine Age.
'Sarfatti's Cave' has now gone online, as he utilises the World Wide Web as an interactive education tool.
This site was kindly forwarded by my friend String
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