aapi, Art, asian american, comedy, Essay, ideology

a meditation on mushrooms

my favorite pizza topping is mushroom. i like mushrooms’ sponginess. i like the earthy-alien weirdness they have as a flavor, and i like that they are not meat but feel like meat.

i saw a headline while browsing the web yesterday that said something like how mushrooms are the new “threat” to the meat industry.

mushrooms to replace meat! it’s only a threat if you have something to lose.

mushrooms are a sensible meat substitute. right before or during my monthly menstrual cycle, i eat a lot of mushrooms. the reason for this is because when a person menstruates, their iron levels drop, and mushrooms are high in iron. if you suffer from iron deficiency and are anemic, i recommend mushrooms.

as a child, i once saw my pet hamster eating soil when i let her loose in the grass. i freaked out but my dad assured me: “she’s getting iron.”

fungi grow from the earth which is chock full of iron, and therefore mushrooms are full of iron.

i accidentally overdosed on my microdose of albino shrooms this afternoon, and while stretching on my yoga mat, i caught a whiff of my feet which smelled like my yoga mat and the usual feet smell.

the fungus that grows on our feet is called “tinea pedis.” “tinea” is “ringworm” but it is not an actual worm. it’s a fungus. “pedis” is latin for “on the feet.” so athlete’s foot is caused by fungal-worms lol. the smell, however, is from bacteria.

but the smell reminded me of blue cheese, and why so many people are attracted to smelly things like blue cheese which supposedly stink like feet: mold Penicillium roqueforti which is what gives blue cheese that hue, and supposedly aids in immune health. the attraction to savory stink is a very mammalian response and connected to primal behaviors linked to eating and fucking.

truffles are usually found through the aid of sows—female pigs—who sniff out truffles because they trigger a hormonal response. the pungent savory scent of truffles remind them of a male pig’s saliva. when a pig goes hunting with her snout, she is actually looking for love and she winds up finding truffles for humans to shave onto their pasta which’ll enhance the price of that plate by an extra $15. the reason why we humans love truffles is for the same reason: we like the musky savory scent that smells similarly to pheromones. it’s similar to the reason why they put deer musk in perfumes and cologne. when we eat truffles, we’re simulating a love-response.

while continuing to stretch on my yoga mat, i realized that yeast infections are also a fungus. that fungus is called “candidiasis.” it grows not only in the vagina but also our mouths, throat, and guts. if candida enters the bloodstream, heart, brain, kidneys, or other vital organs, it can cause an infection and become deadly. how interesting how our bodies understand boundaries through infections and diseases.

about 80 different types of (currently found at this point in time) fungi grow on our bodies’ surface. how many different varieties of fungi grow inside our bodies? do the numbers of fungi vary depending on our environment? do our inner fungi have a vital function in our aliveness and, more importantly, consciousness?

are mental “illnesses” or “visions” caused by inner fungi which some people have and some people don’t?

i saw that new wes anderson film the french dispatch last night and i’m not sure but it reminds me of the editor of the paris review who also died. but when he was living, he was, supposedly, a very good and loving boss, and an eclectic character of high pedigree.

i know this only because i read a book called my korean deli which was written by a white man married to a korean american woman, and he wrote very fondly of that editor in his book because he was a writer for the paris review. when this book was first published, i was in the middle of writing my first novel deli ideology, and i remember telling the author, “you stole my book idea,” at the korea society when i met him in person, and he looked at me with terror, and i said, “i’m kidding.” but i was bitter. when a white guy writes about “his” korean deli, it’s a novelty and it becomes of a publisher or agent’s interest because it’s weird and zany. when a korean american woman writes about a korean deli, it’s just a memoir and therefore not interesting, and therefore not worthy of mainstream/white attention.

i published my novel in 2014–3 years after i read that white man’s book.

the deli i worked at definitely had a lot of fungi. the apartment i lived in during the time i worked at the deli also had fungi commonly known as “black mold” or “aspergillus niger,” which release mycotoxins that cause respiratory illness. sometimes the same black mold grows on food—fruit and bread–and when eaten, they can be harmful. aspergillus niger, however, is also the fungus that can cure infections in the throat, lung, mouth, ear, and skin in the form of penicillin v potassium. it is also used to treat sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis.

the fungus that grows on rye, barley, oats, and wheat is called “ergot.” it is a psychoactive fungus that apparently plagued the middle ages, and for some reason, it is only associated with terror. i guess the middle ages were rough. set and setting mean everything before a trip, and if hyper-religious christian zealots are telling everyone that their souls will burn in hell, then i think i would freak out, too.

ergot, however, can literally kill people. it causes infections and illnesses. in some cases it causes convulsions. they call this “ergotism.” but ergot has medical uses for people like me who suffer from migraines. it can also be used to regulate our serotonin which contributes to our mood, digestion, sleep, sweat, and muscles. ergot is also used to treat complications after pregnancy.

ergot causes hallucinations. the most documented forms of hallucination in the middle ages (AKA “dark ages”) are of hell. the “witches” that were hanged during the salem witch trials were able to induce hallucinations because of ergot from rye.

this is all before “set and setting” became more mainstream, i suppose. if i only knew what i knew from my childhood christian life which was that god was to be feared because of the firey pits of hell i would fall into if i did not believe in his son jesus christ as my lord and savior, i think i would assume that i was dying in hell during my ego dissolution.

psychedelic hallucinations cause “ego dissolution” sometimes referred to as “ego death.”

while i’m sure ergotism was immensely uncomfortable for folks in the dark ages, i also wonder if ergot hallucinations are what re-awakened some folks to be able to see the light and envision the future ahead of them. shortly after the dark ages came the industrial revolution.

when i was meditating today, i saw countless numbers of fan/scale/feather shaped objects streamlined and coming down in a zigzag towards me, and i thought, all it takes is for someone to monetize this, and they’ll become millionaires.

i’m sure that hallucinations from those times led to mass-production, which, unfortunately, led to a slew of other problems primarily related to labor and health, and eventually the environment. these problems still plague us. we are still in the dark ages. we are still in hell.

back to ego dissolution: the “confusion” that occurs during this process stems from your “self” being gone. all the things you/i cared so deeply about are gone.

what is your name? don’t know.

where are you from? who cares.

what is this thing i’m holding in front of you? i don’t know.

what is anything? i don’t know.

what were you saying? it doesn’t matter.

what are words? what is breath? what is number? what is sky? what is memory? what is dream? who is that? is that a person, animal, memory, object, circumstance, color, line, shape, smell, thought, accident, purpose, intention, rock, sand, pebble, waterfall? why anything? how anything? so what?

in ego dissolution, you experience hell when you try to cling onto your ego/identity/desires/worries/values. but the moment you let go (surrender) you become one with the evolution of earth and experience the Oneness that dr. bronner keeps shouting about on the sticker of that soap bottle in your bathroom and kitchen.

Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann was experimenting with ergot in the 1930s to find cures for Parkinson’s disease (the cause of convulsions may have the answer to stopping the convulsions). on april 19th, 1943, Hofmann came up with LSD-25 which he accidentally consumed and fully tripped on while biking. 4/19 is Bicycle Day–the day before 4/20.

ergot’s existence goes back to wherever and whenever ancient grains existed, including the times when christ was tripping people out with fish and bread, walking on water, turning water into wine, raising the dead, and rising from the dead. including the times when buddhists and yogis were seeing visions in their egoless meditations. including the times of surreal art which goes back to the beginning of art.

ego dissolution is a lesson from fungi to let us know that we all die and become consumed by fungi, and return to the earth. ego dissolution is about absolving fear of death. it therefore makes sense to go to the place where birth/death starts/ends in order to remind ourselves of where we come from and where we go, and that this body is a temporary vessel we borrow, and none of it matters.

Standard