(“Outsider In” show; broadcast Sunday 19th July 2011 17:00 GMT 104.4fm in London, and at www.resonancefm.com)
If you are interested in the counter culture of the sixties, publications such as International Times, philosophy, physics and mathematics you may well have heard of Mike Lesser. Mike died on 1st July 2015 suddenly and all too soon, which seemed to typify his unpredictable and uncompromising way.
Those who knew him will miss him dearly and I offer my deep condolences to all his family and friends. The funeral will be today at 12:45 Friday at Golders Green Cemetery.
I heard of Mike quite late on and when I heard his description I wasted no time, rang him and was well over an hour on the phone with him. He agreed to recording our conversation for Outsider In and the original broadcast went out in May 2011. I met him a couple of times afterwards, he was interested in making things as I am, as well as painting, mathematics and political activism.
I took him to London Hackspace where I laser cut some plastic templates to spray political messages he wanted for the demonstrations that went on in 2011. He was well known among groups like UK uncut and the like and was greatly loved and respected by them.
His house in North London was filled with his and others art on the top floor, one piece he created included a human glass eye embedded in the canvas with characters from Greek mythology. A well equipped workshop on the top floor, including milling machine and lathe, there was no limits to what Mike could do. He collaborated with Dr Dinah Murray on research into Autism producing many papers. He was critical of people’s tendency to attempt to model reality, however paradoxically you will find in his paper, he co-wrote with Dr Murray, “A Model of The Interest System” in which he used a differential equations to describe in three dimensions the mapping of a cognitive map space with the addition of perception and cognition, in which the brain is modelled as a dynamic, noisy far from equilibrium network.
Mike described himself as a philosopher, Mathematician and computer expert. He not only worked at Goddard Space centre for NASA but also co-founded International Times which was a forceful influence on the counter-culture of the sixties and early seventies; a peer with the late Hoppy Hopkinson and Heathcote Williams, truly a man with diverse interests.
We recorded our conversation during one Saturday afternoon in his fascinating and untidy study, Mike passing an old briar pipe filled with grass back and forth, we both demolished a few beers as well.
Mike was a Zen Buddhist, his chair in his bedroom faced the wall.
The Buddha said of death:
Life is a journey.
Death is a return to earth.
The universe is like an inn.
The passing years are like dust.
Regard this phantom world As a star at dawn, a bubble in a stream, a flash of lightning in a summer cloud,A flickering lamp.
And a dream.
Apologies for the sound quality, I only had one microphone and should have done a better job technically that day… but I hope you find our talk interesting.
Mike Lesser and Dr. Dinah Murray’s website
Memoriam at International Time Website
Excellent paper “A Model Of The Interest System”
In Conversation With A Dying Friend by Heathcote Williams
P.Allen & M.Lesser (1991) Evolutionary Theories of Economic Change, pp. 160-172. Harwood Academic Publishers. Ed. P. P. Saviotti & J. Metcalfe. ISBN 3-7186-5078-9
D. Murray et al. (May 200), “Attention, monotropism and the diagnostic criteria for Autism”, The International Journal Of Research and Practice: Autism Vol 9, No 2, pp. 139-157.
Dazed and Confused, December 2009, Karley Sciortino, “Anti-Authoritarian Mike Lesser on His Life of Anarchy”, London.