Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Girl Who Talked to Dolphins (BBC)

The Girl Who Talked To Dolphins by limukohou

"If there is a cartographer of altered states of consciousness—of the highways and byways of the inner trip—it is John Lilly, a rare combination of scientist and mystic." —Psychology Today

This documentary examines the work of Dr. John Lilly and his team in the 1960s when he was working on interspecies communication between humans and dolphins. The film contains extensive audio and film recordings from John Lilly's early work. The documentary tells the story of the most extraordinary experiment in the history of animal science. In the 1960s John Lilly flooded a house. He then invited a young woman to live there full-time with a dolphin. Their intention was to teach the dolphin to speak English. What happened next would change all their lives. For the first time those involved in the experiment reveal the secrets of the Dolphin House.

Between 1959 and 1968 Lilly wagered and lost his mainstream scientific career largely over this audacious, ultimately inconclusive bid to establish and document for scientific validation “communication with a nonhuman mind.” In that effort, however, he mobilized the best available tools, a cutting-edge array of cybernetic concepts. He leaned heavily on the information theory bound up with first-order cybernetics and operated with heuristic computational metaphors alongside the actual computers of his era. As I will elicit through some close readings of his texts, in that process Lilly also homed in on crucial epistemological renovations with a constructivist redescription of cognition that may have influenced and motivated his colleague Heinz von Foerster’s more renowned formulations, arriving in the early 1970s, of a second-order cybernetics- (Clarke).

John Lilly went on to write numerous books about inter and intra personal communication and awareness. His work with floatation tanks, LSD and telepathy are well known in both the scientific and in the counter culture communities. His essay, Programming and Metaprogramming in the Human Biocomputer is a classic for anyone studying the nature of consciousness. 

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