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Meditation & Pop Spirituality Diminishing of Entheogens


Meditationist Anti-entheogen Propaganda/Taboo. 1

Legitimacy of entheogens vs. meditation. 4

Meditation versus Entheogens. 6

Complicity of Western Buddhism in prohibition persecution. 9

Motivations of anti-entheogen meditation proponents. 11

60s lame fallout: evidence against entheogen potential?. 15

Sustained constructive debate, entheogens. 16

Why meditation was elevated over entheogens. 19

Evaluating systems of psychospiritual development 21

Fight to destroy and discriminate untruths. 22

Fairly assessing potential of entheogens vs. meditation. 23

Entheogens vs. meditation: firming up the debate. 25

The Wish for a Warm, Fuzzy, and True Model of Spirituality. 37


Meditationist Anti-entheogen Propaganda/Taboo

An entheogen magazine needs an article.Why not go all the way over the top, as always?Why hold anything back?That whole attitude of moderation and holding back is what lets the meditationists steamroll all over the entheogenists in all the annoying, tepid, and cautionary special issues on psychedelics in the spirituality magazines such as Gnosis and Tricycle.

Even the entheogenists strive so hard for moderation, they end up working against themselves, putting forward such tepid, cautious, self-effacing theories of entheogens -- because the editors like to publish such self-depreciating articles.Authors are also wary of a bad type of "other direction" -- unserious zaniness and kookiness as spaceships and flying saucers and ESP, avoiding the harmful-joke side of Leary and McKenna.

I believe in a different kind of caution -- caution in grandiose promises for how entheogens will save the world and teach everyone to be ethical.I make a promise for entheogens that is more extreme than other writers, yet also more bounded.

Entheogens *won't* save the world and won't teach people to be ethical, but they do have a far higher potential for leading to enlightenment and mystic experiencing than meditation, drumming, hyperventilation, contemplation, or chanting, and the latter methods should be considered "alternative" or "augmentation" of the "main" and "normal" method, which is entheogens.

Entheogens are more reliable, universally effective, and intense, to the extent that we can say that sitting meditation is practically a way of avoiding, not attaining, religious experiencing.

*If* entheogenists and meditationists both agree that the goal is deep mental transformation and intense mystic experiencing, then there is no contest: entheogens run circles around meditation and make a laughingstock of meditation, showing it up as what it really is: a travesty of, and an avoidance of, actual religious insight and actual religious experiencing.

Some people are bothered because today's laws make it impossible to have this easy, natural, classic entheogenic method of core religious experiencing and insight -- but that is a separate, distinct problem.

My main focus as a theorist is to set the record straight: keeping the average person and the practical world in mind, the only way meditation can be held as spiritually superior to entheogens is by defining spirituality in such a way as to remove all classic, intense religious experiencing and the clear insight that goes along with the experiencing.

Such a move is being made now by those meditationists who know that they don't have a chance of competing against entheogens for religious efficacy and delivering the promised goods.The last-ditch effort of the religionists who jealously envy and shun entheogens, proclaiming theirs as the better and purer way, leads to gutting the religious experiencing out from religion, leaving today's American Buddhism -- as hollow, empty, and superficial as their parents' literalist and liberal Christianity ever was.

These strong statements would benefit from grounding by some actual absurd quotes from e.g. Zig Zag Zen, Gnosis special issue on psychedelics.Charles Badiner, coeditor with Alex Gray of the book Zig Zag Zen, did a good job of exposing the inanity of these reigning Buddhist diminishers of entheogens.Such Buddhist diminishers of entheogens are essentially the same as low Christian "believers".

Many Boomers abandoned Christianity for Buddhism, but they are like converts from low Islam to low Christianity, not really converting, but just swapping the skin on the same old software, going from one non-religion to a competing non-religion, or from a degraded form of one religion to the degraded or degenerate form of another religion.It's all so fake, so false, so empty, that low Christianity and the low form of Buddhism that has largely replaced it.

Boomers were sickened of low, empty Christianity, but we ought to be so fed up with low, empty religion of all brands.

I'm not putting high, experiential, entheogenic religion on a pedestal -- life is as existentially meaning-free as ever -- but all I'm asking, and it is so little to ask, is that bona fide religious experiencing be recognized and credited, putting an end to the domination of the foolish and absurd claim that meditation is superior to entheogens, a claim that only appears to hold up by portraying entheogens in the worst possible light -- the conditions of prohibition, basically -- and portraying meditation in the best light, which requires discarding intense mystic experiencing and deep mental transformation as a goal and instead substituting perfectly vague pseudo-goals instead, mixed with superficial emotionalism.

Some example passages are needed; I'm generalizing about the spirit of what I've read so many times, the style of the tired old refrains of Buddhist defense and backpedalling.

Low Christians and low Buddhists were both forced to admit that entheogens are reported by people to cause mystic experiencing often, while meditation rarely causes it -- such low religion of all brands then had to go to work on putting a spin on that fact to diminish it with all their might; the writings of low religionists reek of what they are: false apologetics and PR, *propaganda*.

Enough of this anti-entheogen propaganda on the part of low religionists and tepid mid-level religionists -- it doesn't have a leg to stand on, and I can't respect any entheogen scholar who doesn't firmly treat that propaganda what it is.

Mid-level religionists such as quasi-official Christian mystics and American Buddhists damn entheogens with faint praise and diminish them to death as "providing a glimpse but nothing more" (if they repeat it enough times, they get entheogenists to concede its truth, for a little while).

At this point, most entheogen scholars, upon finding discovering this attitude, are taken aback, surprised -- they don't know what to make of it.They haven't yet seen the vulgar, self-serving, insincere, and cowardly motives for that attitude of wanting entheogens to disappear.

Badiner's book Zig Zag Zen did a good job of bringing out the nonsense of the anti-entheogen meditation position in its full absurdity -- it's a good enough book so that it was unreadable to someone who has had enough of the bunk status quo among what feels like "official, orthodox, establishment" Buddhism.

The Boomers vowed they "won't get fooled again", but their switch from bunk Christianity to bunk Buddhism shows that their new boss is really just the same as the old boss: from literalist, low-level Jesus to literalist, low-level Buddha; from a flattened and retarded Christianity to a flattened and retarded Buddhism -- it's no conversion at all, just the same old mundane, placebo religion.

Without entheogens, these "religions" are barely worthy of the title, and to make believe that they are more valuable and authentic than entheogens is a terrible falsehood of the highest order, a falsehood that any entheogen researcher with a love for truth and calling a spade a spade should call out immediately.There is still some work ahead to grasp in detail just how great a falsity it is to elevate meditation above entheogens.

It's the most absurd proposal that has been made, that one must spend time meditating and using entheogens to believably pronounce on this subject.We are already drowning in data on this point, that according to self reporting, entheogens very often produce experiences and insights described as strongly mystical, while most people report no very noteworthy experiences or insights through meditation.

And this is the population we should care about: the masses of typical people who are not about to spend 30 years of meditation with a hope of a fraction of a percent chance of gaining insight or worthwhile experience.The slow path has been given a chance and the results are in: it is a failure by any reasonable standard of measure.

How dare the proponents of that path of failure claim that their method is superior and more effective than entheogens, as though their method had any satisfactory degree of efficacy at all.The best keyword describing the typical result of trying the way of meditation is 'disappointment'.Whatever it is that such meditation produces in the typical real-world case, it isn't deep mental transformation, profound insight, and religious experiencing.

Fear of genuine religious experiencing and insight causes spiritual death of the conventional assumed self and the destruction of the foundation of its worldmodel, so it's understandable that mid-level spiritual religionists avoid and taboo entheogens.

But it is time for entheogen scholars to stop being surprised at that backpedalling attitude, to realize what's going on, and set the record straight: any anti-entheogen religion is mid-level religion at best, and cannot rightly claim to be more effective and legitimate than the entheogen path, which is venerable, proven, classic, and full of great potential.

If any mode of religion can claim to be best -- keeping in mind normal, typical people and practical life -- entheogens have a far stronger claim to be the older, more effective, and more legitimate method than meditation.What is the right relation of meditation and entheogens, measured by the standard of efficacy of deep mental transformation and profound insight and awe inspiring religious experiencing?Using meditation to augment entheogens.

Only by denying these clearly compelling standards, and by ignoring the typical person and the limitations of practical life, can one claim that meditation is "more effective and has greater potential" than entheogens.

It remains to be explained, what the various factors that motivate the meditationists to portray meditation as superior to entheogens.For one thing, only certain meditationist statements are published, and only certain entheogenist statements are published.There's a conspiracy of the magazine editors to assemble special issues that are supposedly to "cover" entheogens, but are more like motivated by "covering over" entheogens and keeping them properly suppressed in their place.

These magazines are founded on the lie, the pretense that meditation is true and pure and traditional and effective and legit and honorable, while entheogens are innovative, heretical, dirty, ineffective, illegitimate, ineffective, inferior.That claim is so extremely and perfectly false, so opposite from the truth, and so obviously hollow propaganda.Why do the publishers do this?

Why do the writers that are published go along with this deceitful game, in which the meditationists pretend to believe that entheogens are inferior, and the supposed defenders of entheogens pretend to put up a little bit of a feeble battle, asserting that entheogens "are too" a legitimate simulation of meditation.

It is as though the only articles permitted are those which, in the end, prop up the anti-entheogen status quo by admitting that entheogens are more potent than meditation but then denying that potency is relevant to religious practice and insight.

It is hard to imagine such a "special issue on the psychedelic path" including an article that speaks truth, that points out that, in practical reality, the meditation path -- which has been given all the breaks and has reached its potential -- is totally ineffective in comparison to the early reports of entheogens and is likely to be blown out of the water were entheogens ever decriminalized and given a reasonable chance, given even one percent of the opportunity the meditation path has been given.

Meditationists are likely motivated by the knowledge that if the story were ever told straight and started to be accepted, the status quo view of the quasi-official Christian mystics and the official Buddhist meditationists ("entheogens are comparatively illegitimate, only a distorted glimpse of what our truer method delivers") would collapse into discredit overnight.

This status quo, which tricks even the entheogen "defenders" into diminishing entheogens and appearing to concede the greater legitimacy and legacy of meditation and other "acceptable mysterious esoteric paths", has some marks of a taboo: because everyone knows so damn well that entheogens *are* undoubtedly enlightenment in a pill, and that religion most definitely *can* be "reduced" to chemistry, they put a taboo on entheogens.

"You can, indeed you must, try any path, any crazy esoteric religion, but whatever you do, don't admit that the real effective method is entheogens."It's time for entheogen researchers to quit playing along as pawns in this game of diminishing and taboo'ing entheogens; it's time to call the meditationists on this and maintain firmly that the evidence shows entheogens to be the main path, and meditation a weak derivative -- *not* the other way around as the status quo asserts.

Entheogenists must quit being wimps who are afraid to make any strong assertions, while avoiding the other mistake of going off the deep end by overpromising the potential of religious experiencing.We must accurately account for the degree of efficacy of meditation and entheogens, strive to account for the potentials and risks and hampering limitations on entheogens, as well as the risks of meditation, such as failing to gain insight or worthwhile experience after 30 years of meditation.

Legitimacy of entheogens vs. meditation

A common, possibly dominant position today is to grudgingly acknowledge entheogens as a religious path, though they maintain that drug-free religion is affirmed as superior, purer, authentic, and traditional; my position is the opposite: I grudgingly acknowledge drug-free religion as a religious path, though I maintain that pure entheogenic-based religion is superior, purer, authentic, and traditional.

Like Mircea Eliade initially said about the Amanita-using Siberian shamans, most scholars say entheogens are a degraded and recent degenerated religious technique; I say the opposite, that entheogen-free religion is the degraded and recent degenerated technique.Entheogenists such as Ralph Metzner are lukewarm fence-straddlers such as I must not be, who "defend" entheogens by saying they are *as* legitimate as drug-free meditation.

Entheogenic religious experience is *not* as legitimate as drug-free meditation, because the latter falls short in legitimacy.An extreme but plausible position is to simply assert that entheogenic religious experience is more legitimate than drug-free meditation.There are five positions:

0.The clueless rationalist or rabid humanist position -- Neither drug-free meditation nor entheogens are legitimate, because no religious experiencing has any legitimacy; any mystic state is just psychosis or hallucinatory.†† Religion is demonic mixture of psychotic mental breakdown and an oppressive power game of the witch doctor in collaboration with Attila the Hun to manipulate and enslave people.This is the Ayn Rand or rabid humanist position.This actually forms an interesting pair with position 3, that any approach is fully legitimate.Most such people have never experienced the mystic state of cognition; this position usually rests on complete inexperience.This is throwing the baby out with the bathwater: religion is a bunch of mad lies harmful to humanity, therefore the mystic state of cognition is a bunch of man lies harmful to humanity.

1. The absolutist orthodox position -- Entheogenic religious experience is not legitimate at all.Only drug-free meditation is legitimate.

1.1The extremist-orthodox position -- Drug-free meditation is fully religiously legitimate.Entheogenic religious experiencing is almost absolutely illegitimate.Nothing is impossible, so it is hypothetically possible to have a legitimate religious experiencing via entheogens, but such is so exceedingly rare, this is not how religious experiencing generally works.Entheogens could hypothetically work on rare occasion, but this rarity only proves the basic illegitimacy of entheogens.

2. The pseudo-progressive orthodox position -- Entheogenic religious experience is moderately legitimate, but less legitimate than drug-free meditation.The orthodox might consider this a progressive view, though they very grudgingly concede that entheogens have a little bit of legitimacy.

3. The pseudo-progressive spiritualist position -- Entheogenic religious experience is as legitimate as drug-free meditation; they are both fully legitimate, as is any combination of techniques.Many entheogen spiritualists believe this.They consider this the most open-minded and generous position.

4. The radical-progressive position -- Entheogenic religious experience is more legitimate than drug-free meditation; drug-free meditation is only moderately legitimate. I venture that it is held by very few scholars -- perhaps Ott, Arthur, and Heinrich.You have to be highly aware of the history of entheogenic religion to be able to even consider this position.

4.9The extremist-progressive position -- Entheogenic religious experience is fully religiously legitimate, and drug-free meditation is practically entirely illegitimate, with the theoretical possibility of exceptions that are so exceedingly rare as to only prove the point.To say that drug-free meditation is illegitimate is not to say that it's an impossible technique of reaching enlightenment, but only to say it's all but impossible.Drug-free religious experiencing is almost absolutely illegitimate.Nothing is impossible, so it is hypothetically possible to have a legitimate religious experiencing via drug-free meditation, but such is so exceedingly rare, this is not how religious experiencing generally works.Drug-free meditation could hypothetically work on rare occasion, but this rarity only proves the basic illegitimacy of drug-free meditation.

5. The absolutist entheogenist position -- All drug-free religious experience is illegitimate, and the only legitimate religious experience is entheogenic.Anyone holding position 4 must often consider whether this is true.The other groups are unable to even consider it or conceive of it as a possible position.It is not clear if anyone has ever held this position, yet this position remains an important one to theoretically consider; it helps to define this entire spectrum of positions.

6. The rationalist computer-tripper position -- Loose cognition is valuable, and can be triggered by entheogens or meditation, but religious or mystic experiencing is not legitimate, it's just an irrational reaction of confused fantasy.This position was expressed by an entheogen-using technologist to me online -- that loose cognition is valuable, but religious experiencing is not legitimate.I dismiss this as inexperience.I maintain that if you are an entheogen-using technologist, you will sooner or later have an experience that you qualify as "religious" (or a synonym).

You can combine meditation with entheogens.The only question is the legitimacy of drug-free meditation as opposed to entheogenic-assisted meditation, or perhaps we should say meditation-assisted entheogen use if we hold entheogens rather than meditation to be the crucial component of attaining the mystic cognitive state.

Holders of position 2 are pulled by a gravitational force toward the simpler extremism of position 1.Why not just ditch all the complex qualifiers and simply reject any religious legitimacy of entheogens?

Holders of position 4 are pulled by a gravitational force toward the simpler extremism of position 5.Why not just ditch all the complex qualifiers and simply reject any religious legitimacy of drug-free meditation?

But rationality and evidence keeps us in the more complex middle ground, debating positions 2, 3, and 4 -- which is to say, debating whether meditation or entheogens is more religiously legitimate.All the thinkers that matter hold position 2, 3, or 4.Meditation certainly has some religious legitimacy.

Entheogens certainly have some religious legitimacy.Really I am most interested in the play between these positions.The most interesting thing is that most thinkers so far have adopted either position 2 or 3: that meditation is more legitimate than entheogens, or that they are equally legitimate.

It is relatively radical to adopt position 4, that entheogens are actually *more legitmate* than meditation.There is little to be gained in advancing all the way to the extreme position 5, that meditation has no legitimacy whatsoever -- however, position 4 inherently flirts with position 5, and anyone holding 4 must be open to considering why 5 could or could not be true.

In a debate exercise, anyone capable of holding 4 must also be capable of representing position 5; I could make a reasoned argument that meditation has no legitimacy and only entheogens have legitimacy.

When we talk of religious legitimacy, there are two senses of the term.A technique may be "legitimate" in that it can produce the mystic cognitive state, or "legitimate" in that it can bring the mystic cognitive state so fully and repeatedly and efficiently that a mind can construct full enlightenment.

My position sometimes is 4, sometimes 4.9, depending on what goal I'm assuming; to merely attain the mystic cognitive state, meditation does work but only on fairly rare occasion -- to attain full enlightenment, meditation almost never works.Meditation has a hypothetical legitimacy; one *could* become enlightened by it, but in practice, I don't see that happening in any significant degree; meditation is the wrong and basically ineffective way; that it works on such rare occasions proves it has no significant legitimacy; (drug-free) meditation is "illegitimate" in the sense of barely working, or working despite its overall ineffective methods.

Meditation has only incidental, haphazard, crude, indirect legitimacy -- it can work but only despite itself.We can talk of degrees within position 4: if you hold that entheogens are more religiously legitimate than drug-free meditation, the question is *how much more*?

I say that entheogens are a thousand times more efficient than drug-free meditation, and are thoroughly historically proven as traditional beyond antiquity, while drug-free meditation has no pedigree and is a relatively recent degenerated mock version of religious technique, a kind of cargo-cult religous technique that tries to attain the mystic state by sitting because the successful entheogen-based meditators are sitting.

When I say that meditation is illegitimate, I am not asserting that it's impossible that drug-free meditation could bring enlightenment -- I'm just saying that such a technique is the wrong way and works through haphazard accident and acts to impede enlightenment in practically all cases.So my position is 4 infinitessimally approaching 5 but never quite hitting 5 -- or my position is 5 qualified.

As a method of attaining enlightenment as defined by the ideas I'm pulling together, drug-free meditation is practically entirely illegitimate.Drug-free meditation in practice serves to prevent rather than enable enlightenment, and in that sense it is literally the wrong way to try to gain such enlightenment, as it prevents progress toward the goal.

Drug-free meditation is actually a way of *avoiding* enlightenment.The fact that enlightenment may arrive anyway says more about the profound power of enlightenment, or the integrity of the ideas constituting enlightenment, rather than the effectiveness of the technique.Plants may grow where you have spread salt, but that does not establish salt as a fertilizer.

Drug-free meditation is basically an ineffective way of seeking enlightenment.Entheogen use is basically the effective way of seeking enlightenment --however, rational cultivation of world-models -- a certain kind of metaphysical philosophizing or theory-construction -- is also required for attaining enlightenment, according to the ideas and theory I'm pulling together.

Meditation versus Entheogens

My goal is not to make a difference and not to persuade anyone.My goal is to precisely define a system, not to show that it is plausible.I leave it to the future or to others to defend the system against others.My struggle is only against the ideas in my own head.

It is a full task just to pull these ideas together.And my mental constitution is that of a frontiersman, not a polished persuader and editor.A short comic book is the greatest and hardest task I can think of.In today's political climate, I can't be any more prominent than that anyway.I guess I'll just keep on like this, it is enough of a challenge.

Kurt wrote:

>Apart from clarifying things in your own head, I imagine you would like to have some catalysing role in non-trivial global behaviour-modification in the Entheogenic, Religious, Mystical & Spiritual Worlds, Academies & Ghettoes.

>I'm glad that you've clarified your position(s) on the Meditation V. Entheogens angle. Obviously you have a preferred rhetorical stance that you wish to Champion.

>But a Champion without any credibility, or more precisely, credibility armor, isn't going to make much headway in preaching other than to the converted.

I have no credibility, only ideas.I'll leave it to others to squabble and debate, like in the Jesus Mysteries group.Boring; that's not the frontier.I would rather be a controversial theorist than engage in controversy.

Kurt wrote:

>I am not saying you don't have credibility, but in the politics, do you have perceivable credibility?

I put together ideas and leave it to other people to do whatever they want with the ideas.That's none of my business.If they don't take to the ideas, fine.There is one area where I would like to change things, however: drug policy reform, more or less in conjunction with my historical analyses and theory of mystery-religions.Only when people are able to take entheogens will the world be able to read the theory of mystic mental-model transformation I put forth.

I despise credibility.I doubt it achieves much.Many people have been seen as credible, and have only contributed a lot of misguided ideas.I look out to all the people, but then reflect solipsistically that there is really no one to convince but me.I'm only writing for myself, and it happens that other people can eavesdrop on my private reflections and run with the ideas, writing books that I can then selfishly read.

>Consider you & Ken Wilbur on some podium at some New Age Conference, you are dialoguing from some Contrapuntal positions - "Drug-Free Meditation" Versus "Entheogenic Immediacy" for instance.

Wilber may know a thing or two about entheogens.His essay in the recent book Cognitive Models and Spiritual Maps is the second-most entheogen-oriented essay in the book.His main diagram out of all the diagrams in all his books is on page 43 of his most recent book, A Theory of Everything.

In that quadrant diagram, the item that stands out the most is the circle "also: altered states".Underestimate Wilber at your own peril.Do you think he could possibly be ignorant of entheogens given *his* breadth of reading?He has even recently praised DanceSafe as one of the most important drug reform organizations, online:

http://members.ams.chello.nl/f.visser3/wilber/mcdermott2.html -- "... Emanuel Sferios, founder of DanceSafe, had a meeting with CIIS officials to discuss a join venture between CIIS and DanceSafe. DanceSafe is the largest and most effective drug information organization in America, and Emanuel wanted to partner with CIIS in creating a nationally recognized center for responsible harm-reduction drug policies. This could be a model program with a profound and far-reaching impact. Emanuel reports that CIIS was very excited at the prospect and eagerly set up meetings..."

I build a bridge between Wilber and direct, no-bullshit coverage of entheogens.He has written interesting points about how peak experiences interact with a given level of psychospiritual development in his recent books and essays.

The more I look for points of disagreement with Wilber, the more I think he agrees with me but is too chicken to go far enough telling things like they are.I think Wilber agrees with me but I am better at portraying and pulling together a certain set of ideas that resides at the most important point in his diagram -- I consider myself to be bringing Watts' cybernetics ideas to fullness, to fill in the most important part of Wilber's framework.

Wilber is not wrong, so much as he is a super-broad theorist who has not focused on entheogens quite as much as they deserve but he is moving in that direction.But his innovation may be past, and a new theorist is needed to position entheogens in the center stage.Thus I consider positioning and emphasizing ideas crucial; styling is everything.

Wilber has the wrong styling.I have essentially found the right styling, the right way to spin the ideas together to short-circuit the egoic system of thinking.Wilber does not short-circuit the egoic system of thinking.

It would be hard to pin down a specific point of disagreement between me and Wilber -- just a different goal and style and combination of ideas, and way of positioning them.I have been reading him critically lately, and he is pretty hard to criticize.He is good at avoiding saying wrong things.He doesn't say the right things in the right way -- but neither does he say wrong things.

Kurt wrote:

>The audience is hostile or indifferent to your position, willing to dismiss you without really "hearing" you, on the slightest pretext...

I am indifferent to them, so all is fair.Wilber has never given a millimeter to the pop masses and neither will I.He has never done author appearances or given lectures.

Wilber meditates and I do not respect him for it.He elects himself as a great representative and spokesman for the importance of meditation, but then he falls short in his theorizing.If meditation is so great, how come such a great theorist does it and dogmatically asserts it is necessary, but has not come across the idea sets Watts did, about self-control cybernetics?

A thousand people make a thousand demands of me to meet their incorrect expectations.I may take the time to refute them, but I do not have time to waste.Waste *your* time, but don't expect me to waste mine to please the ignorant 3-year olds out there.I urge them to ignore me if they need their theorists to meditate.

I have no time for nonsense and pandering.I only write for the enlightened.I only preach to the choir.Let the choir proseletize, let someone or no one else I don't have time.It is too much to expect anything from me but my personal thinking, that other people may eavesdrop on.

Kurt wrote:

>Such are the frailties of the yeaners, journeyers & seekers & worse still for those that think that they have arrived somewhere!

>You, Saint Sisyphus, wish to make a difference.

One of my shocking blasphemies is that enlightenment makes no difference.It is profoundly worthless.I may criticize, reject, and condemn various notions, but I am not terribly intent upon changing how people think.I do not take it for granted, or automatically assume, that I'm out to change the world.

Will Truth change the world?Maybe, but maybe not.Do people even want to know the truth?Do they even want to take the red pill, offered in the movie The Matrix, and wake up to a different mental model with different pro's and con's?

"You talk about a revolution... you better free your mind instead."It is enough of a challenge for one philosopher, to put forth a systematic hypothesis about ego-death, much less persuade skeptics of its truth and also improve the world.

Kurt wrote:

>In the context, forcing Ken baby to concede some points would be a major victory! :-)

What points?He should concede or admit that drug-free meditation is *not* the key to direct realization.The problem is, we don't know what Wilber believes, and one of his hallmarks is to evolve his ideas and leave his static-minded audience in the dust.

We know what Wilber has written in his most recent postings and books and online essays, but he is very much a moving target, headed rapidly in the direction of writing about "altered states".What does the term "Ken Wilber's ideas" mean, or "his position on entheogens"?

Remember how absolutely and radically Huxley's view on entheogens changed.He wrote the most bone-headed, clueless, misguided, propaganda-riddled worthless rot about altered states, immediately before his Mescaline epiphany.

The old Huxley attitudes died completely, and new Huxley attitudes were born in a new life.So with Wilber; he will be just another one of those "as nothing" theorists: "All my previous theorizing was put to shame when I finally experienced fully the mystic altered state."But would he admit it?

I suppose he is independently wealthy now, but in today's ongoing war, it would be dangerous for him to admit that entheogens are the most effective enabler of the "direct experience of the divine" he keeps talking about -- and the meditation he kept endorsing is the wrong way, serving to actually block the direct experience that he said it was intended to produce.

Kurt wrote:

>Forcing him in front of an audience, in particular. At a very deep...

I hope to read and reply to the remainder of Kurt's posting.I am printing the thread.

Complicity of Western Buddhism in prohibition persecution

>The simple truth,is that historically, when a person who has had a deep religious experience triggered by either Entheogen use, or due to a practice of a severe austerities (trying to make endogenous psychedelics to be manufactured in large quantities in the brain), when they go to try to explain this to the people around them, people tend to doubt their word or dispute.

One of my main themes lately is beware, Western Buddhism is just the same old bunk Christianity -- medium-level, liberal, nothing-more-than moralist Christianity -- dressed up in Buddhist drag.Take off the Eastern costume, and you find a non-mystical liberal Christian there.Have Western religionists *really* made any progress since moving from liberal Christianity to popular Buddhism?

Everyone is on guard against Christianity -- they ought to be on guard against its supposed replacement, Western Buddhism.

"We won't get fooled again... Here comes the new boss, same as the old boss."-- The Who, with album cover showing the band of artists zipping subsequent to saluting the spiritual monolith.They have a question for us: Who's next?


Official mainstream religion is guilty of a massive cover-up of the entheogenic nature, origin, heart, and spirit of religion.The world of magazine Buddhism says that meditation is more effective, original, and legitimate than entheogens, but that is a lie and an untruth and the opposite of the truth -- a falsity propped up by decapitating religion and presenting the body as though it is the spirit.

If you haven't read materials such as the anti-entheogenists' arguments in Zig Zag Zen, then you need to, to judge my claims and know what has motivated this discussion.Here is a false self-serving teacher, Meher Baba, page 21, in the totally debatably titled "The Spiritual View of Psychedelics".I'd say the "debased, neutered spirituality view".

http://www.erowid.org/library/books/psychedelic_monographs_6.shtml -- "If God can be found through the medium of any drug, God is not worthy of being God! ... No drug... can help one to attain the spiritual Goal.There is no shortcut to the Goal except through the grace of the Perfect Master; and drugs ... give only a semblance of 'spiritual experience', a glimpse of false Reality."Spoken like a good Catholic authority.

This Catholic authoritarian in Eastern drag continues with page after page of intense and unrestrained disparagement of entheogens and fantastic elevation of the professional gurus such as himself; I regret I don't have electronic text.Substitute "bishop" for "Perfect Master", and you have a ready-made Catholic screed against the gnostics and their sacrament.

"All so called spiritual experiences generated by taking 'mind-changing' drugs ... are superficial and they add enormously to one's addiction to the deceptions of Illusion which is but the Shadow of Reality."That's the type of flat-out point-blank assertion, unfounded by any argument.

"But there is no drug that can promote the aspirant's progress --nor ever alleviate the sufferings of separation from his beloved God. ... how every impossible it is for an aspirant to realize God without the Grace of the Perfect Master, and therefore it is of paramount importance for a genuine spiritual aspirant to surrender himself to the Perfect Master who has Himself realized God."You see what an embarrassing ally this virtual Catholic authoritarian is for entheogen-diminishing meditation proponents?

This article has bucketfuls of such authoritarian false assertions -- falsely belittling the potential of entheogens, and falsely elevating the efficacy of surrender to the guru.Do you still doubt my portrayal?Here is the nail in the coffin of this demon in priestly dress: "...if the student world continues to indulge in the use of LSD, half of the USA would soon become mentally deranged!Hence, a check must be strictly enforced and the use of these drugs be prohibited, particularly among the rising generation..."

Meher Baba turns out to be a shill for the prohibition-for-profit scam.He's essentially on the payroll for the nefarious scheme of prohibition-for-profit, elbowing aside actual religious experiencing and inserting himself as a paid middleman instead -- like the worst of the classic priestly strategy, he sets up a scheme of artificial scarcity of primary mystic experiencing, with a placebo substitute doled out by the quarter teaspoonful on the installment plan.

It is up to you -- which story rings true?You have only your ears.I play a tune, he plays a tune: which one is a horrible cacophony, in your own opinion, and which one rings true harmoniously -- or is it yet some other tune?

There are two positions I must refute: that extreme position ("real spirituality is against entheogens; they should be illegal") and a compromised position ("entheogens are only a tenth as effective as meditation and should be put aside for the more effective method") or the mild compromised position ("entheogens are equally effective as meditation").

Entheogens are a hundred times as effective and relevant for truly religious goals, of primary religious experiencing.You might not think this argument is important -- but every entheogen respecter ought to care about this debate.The non-entheogen users tell me not to worry about it -- while people are being oppressed in the name of prohibition.Should we not consider the popular Western Buddhism magazines to be complicit in jailing people, poisoning crops, and shooting down supposed suspects?

Does not this type of meditation school contribute to prohibition to some degree by adding its own scorn of entheogens, by smothering entheogens with faint praise?Substitute religion -- mid-level religion posing as the main form of religion -- shuts out entheogens, shuts out the potential ergonomic access to actual religious experiencing.Instead of classic intense religious experiencing, we are given a watered-down, alcohol-free wine, placebo "religious experiencing" in heavy quote-marks.

It feels spiritually lofty, like a Mass, all pomp and grandeur, in its finery.We learn to talk about enjoying nondual awareness while doing the laundry.Doing laundry during non-dual awareness is not all that it's cracked up to be, although the squeaking, creaking, echoing hinge of the drier can be interesting.

Congratulations, the Western world has converted from placebo, mid-level Christianity to placebo, mid-level Buddhism.It's no surprise that this only amounted, in the end, to a change of decoration in the same old church.You can't do a deep change of Western culture so quickly.We "changed" from liberal Protestant belittling of psychoactives, to mid-level Western Buddhist belittling of psychoactives -- but it's really just the same old software underneath this change of user-interface skins.

http://www.serendipity.li/baba/gb_art.html -- "In the 1960s Ganesh Baba spent much of his time in Varanasi (also known as Benares), the holiest city of North India. He was there when the first hippies arrived, and he and they discovered that they had something in common: they liked to smoke charas. The hippies would come down to the holy Ganges River, sit by the burning ghats where the dead are cremated, smoke hashish and meditate on the impermanence of worldly life. Ganesh Baba was there and liked to talk. He discovered that they had brought with them something they called "acid". He tried it and was very favorably impressed with its effects. Thereafter he would often expound on the virtues of psychedelics as an aid on the spiritual path. Many hippies first met Ganesh Baba in Varanasi, or later in Kathmandu, and carried away with them fond memories of their talks (usually while stoned) with this psychedelic swami."

There is some crazy wisdom at that page -- I don't think treating initiates harshly is ergonomic, and I advocate kindness of all kinds.I reject "crazy wisdom" as inefficient and unnecessarily against conventional morality.I advocate reasonable conventional morality and decent treatment of others.

Motivations of anti-entheogen meditation proponents

From what I've read, Salvia is so perfect, so efffective, like taking the peak window from a twelve hour altered state session, that it gives insights that take years to play out.Melding into frozen spacetime, uniting with the divine figure of your choice, returning to the hub: primary religious experiencing on tap.

I haven't read much on Salvia and my thinking lately tends to be universalist and unconcerned about particular species; what is most important is entheogens in general and the mystic altered state of loose cognitive binding.Mixed wine contained a diverse assortment of active plants, used together as an entheogen.The sadly missed young researcher who drowned on Ketamine wrote a book about combinations of psychoactives.

Cannabis seems to be a good general multiplier of other plant effects, and opium is a great stabilizer for nausea often caused by magical plants.Exhaling salvia, you can see the breath of God, the holy ghost, turning the zodiac.

I've set the record straight on the status-relation between meditation and entheogens, clearing the way to put entheogens on the pedestal of religion where they belong, as surely as the lifting of the Eucharist during the Mass.There remains a frustrating seeming lack of explicit literary evidence to support my principle of the constant rate of entheogen usage across eras and locales.

Studying the suppression of drug references in 1960s-70s Rock may provide a good model to explain why there is so little explicit and undeniable evidence for the central role of entheogens in religions.If everyone who matters knows of a psychoactive lotus plant, then every icon with a lotus counts as an explicit declaration that Hinduism is supported by, and rests on, an entheogenic foundation.

Similarly, if the religionists who matter recognize some Amanita halos, then to them, who have eyes to see, it is plain as day that what makes saints holy is entheogens -- the message is obscured to those outside, and plain as day to those within.I should write in more detail the many parallels between entheogen encoding in Rock and in religion -- the same dynamics and strategies are used in both, resulting in the same permanent controversy between the entheogen-literate and the entheogen-illiterate.

People are almost cleanly divided regarding recognizing entheogen references, in either field.This clean division indicates the presence of a classic paradigm shift or pattern-locking two-state system.Either religion is against entheogens and has nothing to do with that, or it's caused by, and rests on a foundation of, entheogens and has everything to do with that.Either entheogen references are rare and isolated in Rock, or they are just about everywhere, constituting the house religion.

Bob Daisley of the Ozzy Osbourne Band wrote a song about this, rejecting conventional prohibitionist religion in favor of acid rock, "'cause rock and roll is my religion and my love - may think it's strange - you can't kill rock and rock, I'm here to stay".Ego death through LSD with THC was literally the house religion of Rock, from 1965 to 1990, and much of the best rock is spiritual.But popular entheogen religion would be better if it were more well-informed about religion, philosophy, and psychology.

Suppression has caused the best thinkers to avoid publishing, so that only the uneducated entheogenists are available as popular representatives of the mind of the entheogenic community.Political suppression distorts and hides the fact that entheogens are associated with the more intelligent people, and it suppresses the potential of the entheogenic Rock religion to be integrated intelligently with world religions.

Scholarship about the entheogenic nature and origin of religion is stifled and suppressed by the phony, profit-driven enterprise of prohibition.The result is inferior and deeply hidden entheogenic encoding, like the bulk of bad, ridiculous alchemy.Profit-driven suppression of genuine entheogenic religion ends up producing what we have ended up with: junk Rock, and junk religion, worthless and uninspired, with the distinct presence of inspiration buried under layers of dissimulation.

In the slightly more open drug climate of the mid-1970s, symbolically encoded acid allusions were communicated to a certain degree.But those same lyrics and allusions, heard in the deeply oppressive climate of the turn of the millennium, almost completely fail to communicate the mystic-state allusions.Only in such a foolish dark-ages climate could anyone like me have discovered, or rather rediscovered, what was barely hidden in its own day.

Wilber lately holds that there are 2000 variables constituting one's psychospiritual development.His early works tended to paint a simple picture of collective progress in psychospiritual development; lately he is almost qualifying that.

I'm certain that the Hellenists were far superior to his low assessment of their "mere mythic level of development", and I don't care what everyone says in these anti-Christian times, I know what I see when I look at the iconography and writings of the Middle Ages: they speak from within the mystic's garden of sacred plants, as surely as the sophisticated iconographic language of the Central American Catholic artists.And I'd like to know what percentage of Revivalist Christians have used sacred plants.

Again, we can understand how the entheogenic nature of Christianity was suppressed in the past by matching it to recent history, looking at how entheogenic Christianity was suppressed in the aftermath of the 1960s.

By a sheer miraculously improbable coincidence, at the same time as Boomers dropped acid and smoked pot and turned on to Buddhism, giving the middle finger to their parents' version of Christianity, so too did many of the Boomers become Jesus Freaks, now euphemized as Jesus People, providing the old story, "I used to do drugs all the time, but now I get high on Jesus", which is the same as the post-acid, American Buddhist story.

It must be certain that a fair number of Christian Rock musicians have had Christian experiences of the Holy Spirit through LSD -- but we don't hear about that.Why not?The socio-political suppression of psychoactive drug use doesn't stop people from using entheogens, but it does stop them from communicating their use of entheogens.Similarly, earlier Christians had compelling reasons to use entheogens, but they have at the same time had compelling reasons not to communicate that unambiguously.

As we have been forced to do with acid allusions in Rock, we may have to learn to accept that mainstream religion inherently prevents explicit, certain, and unambiguous references to sacred psychoactive plants.

We may have to accept in religion, as in acid allusions in Rock and in alchemy, that the study is inherently encoded, and never explicit, so that the only way we can receive communication from those who went before is by learning their latin, their specialize encoded language, because they were always prevented from speaking in the vernacular of plain English.

It is a shame that explicit mentions of entheogenic species probably aren't forthcoming in religion, but this doesn't stop scholars from moving forward with learning this latin, learning the symbolic encoding system of allusions to magical, divine plants.One Jewish legend holds that the grape vine used to produce something like 113 psychoactive products, but now it only produces one.

Today's meditation religion is bullshit substitution for real, intense, direct, simple, no-nonsense intense religious experiencing and magazines like New Age know it; they are not transformative and do not shed insight on religious myth.The most impoverished form of religion, by some measure, is middle-level religion -- they have removed the supernatural, while replacing it with oversold psychologism that cannot possibly deliver on its promise.

An outdated theory of religious myth is that it is primitive explanation of natural mundane phenomena.Actually, that description fits conventional archetypal psychology well (Jung/Campbell & pre-psychedelic Watts): Jungian psychology is a primitive, uninformed attempt to explain religious myth, without recognizing that the myth originates from intense entheogenic mystic experiencing.Middle-level, Jungian mythic-psychology is unsatisfying except when compared to Freud's low psychology.

Jungian psychology is only halfway toward the Integral pinnacle.Just as the ordinary baptized Christian has only experienced John the Baptist's water-baptism and has yet to experience fire baptism by the Holy Spirit -- the baptism in Jesus' name -- so is Jungian psychology only halfway toward the full realization of psychology.Here my thinking clashes with Ken Wilber's way of thinking, residing in a different framework.

It is hard work defining what's wrong or distorted in Wilber's framework.*Because* Wilber is such a good theorist, it becomes all the more profitable to leverage him by looking for systemic flaws, distortions, or limitations.How must his theory be adjusted?Does it err in making high human development overcomplicated and irrelevant, etherial and disconnected from practical reality?Wilber's theory is wandering lost, without a clear enough sense of what matters more and less.

My style of theorizing has always put different principles first.Perhaps his theory is simple and focused in its own way, and mine is in a different way.It is most puzzling: how can his theory be so damn good, yet totally miss the boat on my dirt-simple, rational entheogenic model of ego death?I want to change my .sig to contain the whole of my theory in two sentences, such a simple core that it breaks Wilber's system.What would Wilber not agree with?

Nutshell Summary of the Simple Theory of Ego Death & Religion

Religion is originally and essentially an expression of the entheogenically triggered intense mystic altered state, in which the ultimate insight is rationally, simply, and coherently realized, causing a network-shift of meanings and flipping the mental worldmodel from the egoic version to the transcendent version.The ultimate insight is no-free-will, realized in conjunction with no-separate-self.

The ego is largely illusory, and the ego is the imagined controller agent, so self-control is largely illusory and must be deeply reconceived to fit with the worldmodel of a frozen timeless block universe in which the near future, like all spacetime, already timelessly exists.This model is no more certain than anything, but is elegantly coherent and its coherence is comprehended and experienced during the mystic state of loose cognitive-association binding.

This conception of religion is the essence of religion and enlightenment, and is that which all religion-myth and archetypal psychology ultimately points to.

Wilber has written only a few words about free will and entheogens.His worldview of what's most important is quite different than the view expressed above.An increasingly common move of the meditation promoters is to admit that entheogens thoroughly surpass meditation in effectiveness, no contest, but then to play a game of switching and redefining what meditation is for.Now they say that meditation isn't importantly associated with tangible altered states -- this is a defensive move into fog.

Now they say that meditation is for mindfulness and lovingkindness that causes an enduring state of ethical good behavior.That's an invented false system of priorities, saving the patient's body by chopping off his head.Nothing is more New Age, in the worst sense, than inventing a religion of worshipping nebulous haze and fog, escaping into empty, meaningless dangling pointers.

This is the same choice as Quantum theory offers: either physics can't be comprehended and visualized, and it's all essentially abstract; or, it can be explained rationally and visualized, through hidden variables and nonlocality.

There are two choices we have now: either religious practice of contemplation/meditation is about feelgood haze and fog and dangling pointers such as 'mindfulness' and 'lovingkindness' leading to a "spiritual transformation of character" that amounts to ongoing ethical good behavior; or it is about intense mystic altered-state experiences, such as entheogens definitively trigger, that causes a specific change from one specific mental worldmodel to another specific worldmodel of self, space, time, and control.

The American Buddhist magazines are fully committed now to promoting the conception of Buddhist meditation as being not a method of triggering the intense mystic altered-state experience, but rather, about lasting mindfulness and lovingkindness.If those terms mean anything, they should be seen as incidental to religious insight and religious experiencing proper.Such Buddhism commits the offense of proferring incidental and hypothetical side-effects of meditation as though they were the main purpose.

As entheogens are understood and respected increasingly, such an escapist New Age Buddhism will be forced to retreat even more and concede additional territory to entheogens, just as it has already conceded the intense mystic altered state to entheogens.Everything significant that non-entheogenic, mainstream Buddhist meditation can achieve, entheogens can trigger much more effectively and reliably, no contest.

Is realizing no-separate-self the goal?Entheogens work extremely well for realizing no-separate-self, while non-augmented meditation barely works at all.More data will only confirm this more.So then entheogen-disparaging Buddhism may say, "Well, then, the main goal of Buddhism was never really to realize no-separate-self; the truly important thing is attaining the ongoing state of mindfulness and lovingkindness and ongoing good ethical conduct."

That is already happening; there is less and less emphasis on rational realization of metaphysical principles, and ever louder emphasis on the hazy fog of New Age lovingkindness, emptied of rational content as well as emptied of intense religious experiencing.

Then Buddhism may redefine the terms, taking the position that entheogenic ego death is nothing at all like meditation-derived ego death, and that the stopping or speeding of thoughts in entheogenic experiencing is unrelated to the much more desirable quietness and mindfulness of pure and natural meditation.

The defenses against the manifest superiority of entheogens over non-augmented meditation have become this absurd, twisting and turning and redefining the goals and the terms, doing anything at all to erect a paradigm that shuts out the obvious uncontested superiority of entheogens by all measures.

If entheogens win the religion game by all measures, which they incontrovertibly do, then such New Age Buddhists make the ultimate lame defensive move that is every bit as bad as literalist Christianity, of redefining the goal of religion and redefining the measures of effective religion.What will they do when entheogens prove vastly superior at producing 'lovingkindness' and 'mindfulness' and ongoing good ethical conduct?

It will become embarrassingly clear, as clear as the movie Traffic which exposed the groteque futility and misguidedness of prohibition, that such New Age Buddhism is simply defending an a-priori, jealous bias against entheogens and is, like official Christianity, even willing to abandon religious experiencing and religious insight if those must be sacrificed to save face in their commitment to denying the perfect efficacy of entheogens and the historical predominance of influence and inspiration of entheogens in religion.

It's like it would kill such anti-entheogenic Buddhists to admit that there is a lightning path to religion and it is, by any reasonable measure, the best path we have ever and always had.At that point, we leave the explicit points of debate and begin, like Richard Double's study of the motivations behind the free will defenders, or like Dan Russell's book Drug War, inquiring what the real, underlying commitments are that lie behind the intellectual arguments being put forth.

Who benefits, in what ways, and how much, by defending the entheogen-disparaging view of religious meditation?McKenna proposes that conventional religion serves as an ego defense against the threat posed by real religious experiencing.In that case, the conventional religion of anti-entheogenic meditation defenders is the religion of demons of darkness; that kind of Buddhism has become regressiveness disguided as progressiveness, wolves in sheep's clothing.

Substitute, ersatz religion, a false gospel, milk religion falsely marketed as meat religion.I have no reason to loathe literalist Christianity -- it's dead as a serious contender.Not even believing Christians really believe in such Christianity any more -- that was only a temporary, modern-era distorted conception of Christianity, anyway.All eras except the modern probably took Christianity to be almost entirely symbolic, reflecting entheogenic psychological archetypal experiences.

More and more, it appears that the darkest of the dark ages, in the field of religion, was the modern -- the only era to wholly lose any grasp of the essence of religious-myth, in conjunction with losing the connection between entheogens and religion.Modern Christianity, which is to say literalist Christianity, had its short time but the reigning religion of the parents to be thrown off now is anti-entheogenic American Buddhism, which is debated in the good but too-frustrating-to-read book Zig Zag Zen.

I haven't seen such a perversely and determinedly warped and biased distortion of entheogens since the Catholic theologian Zaehner.One reason I dislike electing a small handful of scholars as representing the scholarly investigation of entheogens is that they become targets for such distorted rebuttals and dismissals.

Huxley and Grof and the Good Friday Experiment are treated by anti-entheogen religionists (fearful propagandist apologists who know well how baseless their position is) as though they are the perfect and final word on what entheogens are all about, as though we've given the scholars a chance to investigate and write about entheogens when we in fact have not.

This brings us back to the distortions caused by the politics of suppression of entheogens.If entheogens were given a fair chance to compete against non-entheogenic religion, everyone knows as a public secret that entheogens would totally blow away substitute religion, on all counts, by far.Everyone knows this, and knows like the drug war, that any tiny loss of the battle against entheogens would be total, cataclysmic defeat.

Ego, the defender of anti-entheogenic religion, knows full well what a futile and unwinnable battle he faces.The religion of the lie knows it rests on a foundation of sand and has no hope against the entheogenic rock in any fair contest.Anti-entheogen religion, like prohibition, can only be defended through unfair methods of lies, distortion, inconsistency, and incoherence.

In a fair debate, which is impossible in this political climate, with competent defenders, entheogenic religionists would certainly win the debate against the anti-entheogen meditation promoters, and everyone knows it, as surely as the prohibitionists refuse to engage in refereed intellectual debate with reformers.

That's why the rebuttals of Huxley and the Good Friday Experiment all reek of propaganda, deliberate and ill-willed distortion, and prior commitments and investments rather than following Reason and evidence where it leads.

The anti-entheogen meditation proponents have no real case and are playing a purely defensive game to save their public prestige and avoid admitting that their religious practice is nothing of substance, not transformative but just a lifestyle accessory and mundane coping mechanism, certainly not a worldview-inverting, ego-threatening Religion that deserves its capital R.

Substitute religion, called spirituality, is the Church of Ego, and I would not call it "narcissism" as in Wilber's definition of Boomeritis, but simply and plainly, the egoic, unenlightened worldview falsely labelling itself as the transcendent, enlightened worldview.I follow the simple description of Boomeritis as Elizabeth Debold wrote in her article "Boomeritis and Me", in the magazine What Is Enlightenment (wie.com).

Today I received a special issue responding to her article.The professionals, of all kinds, always profit from telling how difficult progress to enlightenment is, not from telling how easy it is.They are inherently in the business of selling enlightenment on the installment plan, not the short, lightning path that makes their own expertise look mundane.

Real gurus show genuine humility by highlighting how simple and rational the important core of enlightenment is, and how easy it is to trigger the intense mystic altered state.There's really little to it, and the best gurus are the guides who deliver the most goods with the least inflationary nonsense that would seek to blow up enlightenment into something bigger and more alien than it is.

Professionals define religion as something incomprehensibly difficult and laborious and rare, something you certainly need years of professional guidance to make any progress in.Psychedelic psychotherapist Grof, being a true teacher in the lightning-path tradition, is the better kind of professional, like the better part of the shaman tradition.

You can count on magazines like What Is Enlightenment to commit to a model in which psychospiritual transformation is rare, laborious, never-ending, complicated, etherial, endlessly subtle, and challenging, rather than simple and finite and straightforwardly attainable in a short time.

60s lame fallout: evidence against entheogen potential?

>I thought--even assumed that this awakening of society would have to happen now thay such a powerful agent for understandinghad been unleashed in the world.

>In my case growing up in the So Cal area and seeing many of my contemporaries, friends etc., as well as famous rock poets, using entheogens,and exploring consciousness, during a three year explosion of brilliance and then to see it all come crumbling down so easily, was clearly a lesson.The 2-4% of people gaining lasting benefit, later seemed to be a pretty accurate appraisal.Even the rock lyrics reverted back to mundane boredom as most of the former heroes turned into drunken stooges for commercial enterprise and former friends became PCP, alcohol and cocaine statistics or retreated into cultish anti-entheogen thinking.

>I saw a pretty widespread cross-section in my realm of things.

Data can be interpreted into different interpretive frameworks.Entheogens appear to have expanded consciousness for a few years, and then appear to have petered out.Supposing that this pattern or apparent or effective pattern happened, it remains to debate why it happened and what it means regarding the potential of entheogens.I'm far more interested in the potential of entheogens than the accidents of history of the late 1960s.

No matter how much anecdotal evidence there is from the 1960s, that is just one source of data, one scenario, and one that is completely complicated and dirtied as trustworthy evidence by the deceit-driven drug prohibition enterprise.We really must reject *equating* the accidents of the late 1960s with the whole of entheogen history and entheogen potential.

In the U.S., LSD was legally prohibited October 6, 1966.Before it was prohibited, it was apparently good and expansive of consciousness; after it was prohibited, it was apparently bad and not expansive of consciousness.Did LSD change?Can we let the systemic foolishness of the people during a period of five years in the late 1960s put a permanent negative stamp on entheogens, which have been the source of religion and higher philosophy for a thousand thousand years?

It is impossible to make a fair scientific conclusion about LSD and entheogens based on the mass of anecdotal and research data collected since the mid 20th Century.It is way to early to say that we know the limits and potentials of the entheogens.What little we think we know since the late 60s is corrupted as data by the darkening force of prohibition.

Most of what is written about entheogens now, by kids online, is an embarrassment to any claim of entheogens being enlightening and consciousness expanding -- but why?That's the question.Entheogens were shot down before they were given half a chance in the 1960s, and if the result was unenlightenment and disparagement of the entheogens, what is to blame -- the lack of potential of entheogens?Heaven forbid.

People's actions and responses through the late 1960s and beyond may have been lame, but it's completely a matter of debate over whether this is the fault of psychoactives or of the culture that prohibited them.We've taken one pathetic shot at entheogens.We should not let one foolish, short era drive us permanently to a false conclusion about the potential of entheogens.

Sustained constructive debate, entheogens

I'm glad [person], in the past couple postings, detailed what lies behind his original assertion that Leary and McKenna abused or mis-used mind-altering chemicals.I do think the accusation of Leary and McKenna's "mis-use of entheogens" can be reasonable *if* one defines, to [person]'s recent level of detail, what specifically is meant.The accusation may possibly still be wrong, but when detail is provided, an enlightening, detailed, nuanced debate can follow.

The fact itself of [person]'s disparagment of Leary and McKenna is not at all the problem.Leary and McKenna can jump off a cliff, and everyone else too.It's not my goal to protect and praise the 20th Century entheogen fathers.The goal is an *accurate assessment* of the concepts that have been proposed regarding mind, entheogens, and religious experiencing.

The great crime [person] is guilty of is not negativity or being judgmental of some entheogen use; his significant violation is initially *being vague* in his assertion of Leary's "abuse", and tending to think in oversimplistic prefabricated cliched categories that don't necessarily accurately fit the other person's debate position.Sometimes it's hard to initially be so clear as one ought.

We must be flexible about metaphorical use of language, and communication in general.Expressions have a degree of truth.The main problem is, people use terms as a *brittle* shorthand.There is some truth in "Leary abused mind-altering chemicals", but that assertion isn't viable until more details are provided to clarify and more or less justify what is being asserted.

[person]'s redemption as a debater is that he works to *eventually* clarify his own position and to have a more accurate grasp of the other person's position.Most debate is a method of clarifying the respective positions, to find the great degree of worldview agreement, even if the two positions remain distinct paradigms that highlight different aspects and interpretations of the world.

Eventually, he posts defensibly "well-written scholarship and appropriate commentary on fallacies within the spiritual community's less than honorable notice of the entheogenic relevance of the psychedelics".

My general position is that entheogens are the origin of religion.It is important, not petty and missing the point, to debate details such as whether psychedelic figureheads "respected the indigenous roots" or "had a materialistic vacuum as well as a spiritual portal".We just have to be clear that the main point is "entheogens are the basis of religion" and that the minor point is "arguably, some psychedelic figureheads might not properly and reasonably respect indigenous entheogen traditions".

Even if we respect each other's map of consciousness, to gain insight we must criticize, accuse, defend, argue, debate, analyze, investigate.

It is possible to interpret the term "ego death" as aggression, such as the aggression of Zeus in possessing mortal womenly souls.Spirituality is false and distorted if it downplays the Hard Rock intensity of peak religious experiencing, death, rebirth, Groffian spiritual emergency, Keseyian freak-out, and Hoffmanian or Stephan __ "ego death".Leary and Alpert wrote an entire book centered around the ego death metaphor.

The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead

Ralph Metzner, Richard Alpert, Karma-Glin-Pa Bar do, Timothy Leary


rank 39K (very popular)

I like Drum's comments: "Take everywhere it says LSD and replace it with Amanita muscaria (which was the real entheogen this manual is experientially based upon). Then you have it! Keep in mind that NONE of the world's religions tell the whole truth, and this includes Tibetan Buddhism [and shamanism, I'd add - mh]. All patriarchal religions have severe problems and you should know what those problems (false dogmas) are before experimenting. The discovery that this book is not necessarily a book for the dead but a book to map the consciousness of those experiencing the shamanistic 'death experience' is crucial to humanity's understanding of Tibetan Buddhism and other world religion."

[person] has potential as a debater if he starts a debate with a more nuanced and balanced and detailed position.But online postings are voluntary and have no guarantee of compensation; where is the incentive to post the best quality material you're capable of?There's no guarantee other post'ers will work with you to develop the debate toward enlightening insight.

Leary has always been controversial among entheogenists.Did he give us the gift of psilocybin and LSD, or did he take them away from us?Prohibition can't be blamed on any one person, but Leary is the one person most associated with LSD, so all debates about LSD and entheogen prohibitions have Leary as the center of contention.I'm trying to think of books or articles that critically evaluate whether Leary is responsible for giving us psilocybin and LSD or for having them taken away.

It is not a goal of this discussion group to have a positive mood.It's not a social group at all.It's not a positive spirituality group at all.It's not a good vibes group at all.It is strictly an information group: what is ego death, how does it work, how does it connect to religious and philosophical traditions and fields.

Spirituality has various insights and moods.I am intent on cracking the puzzles of the mystic-state phenomena that are most jarring, panicking, mind-shattering, devastating, mind-blowing, and spiritual-emergency causing.Anything else already has enough researchers and spiritual socializers and loving communities working on it.

Negativity is relevant, on-topic, welcome and needed to the extent it constructively sheds light on the egodeath experience.

Negativity is irrelevant, off-topic, unwelcome and not needed, to the extent it destructively fails to shed light on the egodeath experience.

There are many discussion groups that are driven by the main goal of spiritual peace and light and community; positive-feeling spirituality, emphasizing heart and soul and emotion.This discussion group is a tool specializing in mind, logic, rationality, reason, debate, specific argument, expose, paradigm definition, and being specific.

[person] is sometimes a slow starter in focusing and elaborating his criticisms, starting off a debate by punching at shadows in the wrong direction.But he has shown his commitment in the long run to clarifying and elaborating his position and more accurately grasping my position.I highly respect sustained improvement over time.[person] has continued his work of sustained constructive debate after I have changed to other subjects.

People motivated by positive spiritual vibes are uncomfortable with sustained rational constructive debate involving the development of complaints, accusations, defenses, sustained constructive argument.

Some psychedelic figureheads (possibly Kesey, Leary, McKenna, Ott) held the libertarian position that drug "mis-use" is an empty notion.Other psychedelic figureheads (Wasson, possibly Huxley and Huston Smith) held the traditionalist or restrictive position that entheogens have a proper use and an improper use.[person] argues for the latter position, which often blames the libertarian psychedelic figureheads for prohibition and accuses them of failing to have the proper respect they ought to have for indigenous entheogen traditions.

[person]'s position is nothing new; it's one of the two main positions held by entheogen scholars.Many entheogen scholars make essentially the same accusations [person] makes.Regardless of his particular words, [person] expresses one of the standard main positions.If you criticize [person]'s assertions, you must realize and admit that you are criticizing an entire *group* of entheogenists.

There is no escape from judging, praising, and rejecting entheogen scholars.Either you do as I do and praise the libertarian entheogenists, and reject the restrictive entheogenists' position; or, you do as [person] does and praise the restrictive entheogenists, and reject the libertarian entheogenists' position.We all should admit that we hold some beliefs and reject the beliefs that are different.

Let us not forget that Wasson's position, while cautious and elitist and restrictive, contradicts the bare fact that he did wildly break and flaunt the restrictions that Sabina's culture held.Sabina's culture was secretive about entheogenic mushrooms because the Catholic authoritarians persecuted entheogen sacrament users and commanded that only users of the official church placebo sacrament be allowed to live.

Sabina and Wasson both publically endorsed restricted use of entheogenic mushrooms, but their actions contradict their official position.Her culture said "restrict", and Wasson's elite background said "restrict", yet look at what they did together: they set the bird free -- essentially a move pointed relatively in the libertarian direction, moving away from their restrictive cultural traditions.

Wasson and Sabina were effectively in cahoots, in league, to tear entheogens away from the Catholic-enforced secrecy and hold them up in the light for all the world to gaze upon and worship openly -- even if Wasson and Sabina made loud noises about the need to restrict and respect and not mis-use the mushrooms.

The 20th-Century entheogen movement is not solely based on Sabina's act of handing the mushrooms to Wasson, but that act was the most influential channel through which official Western civilization received entheogens from the shamanic culture, after the Catholic officials previously rejected such indigenous entheogen active sacraments and enforced with the sword exclusively using the official Church's placebo sacrament.

With a fair investigation, it turns out that Wasson, Sabina, and Leary are all harder to categorize as restrictive or libertarian than it might initially appear.Sabina, while yammering about mis-use, was in fact guilty of violating her culture's restriction against giving Wasson the mushrooms.Wasson, despite his wish to restrict mushroom use to the elite, did in fact popularize it.

Leary, while seeking to make entheogens universally available for all kinds of use, did in fact adhere to a relatively serious, East-coast approach, as opposed to Kesey's truly libertarian anything-goes conception of unqualifiedly legitimate, or outside-legitimacy, entheogen use.

Anyone who holds the libertarian position that all entheogen use is legit as long as no one is harmed (see Leary's libertarian commandments about this), should accept that they are taking a stance against those who are more restrictive about which use is legit and which is mis-use.Both camps can be called "judgmental" of the other: they both actively endorse once stance and refute the other.

It's a huge mistake, poor-quality thinking, to sweepingly reject everything about Leary or McKenna, or to unqualifiedly praise Leary and McKenna.Critical thinking always assesses the good and the bad of each character.No psychedelic figurehead is entirely good or entirely bad.

Early Rush is the single most profitable group to study for an investigation of lyrical double-entendres in acid-oriented rock alluding to the phenomena of the mystic altered state.This doesn't mean their music is the best or most enjoyable.

I have also thoroughly analyzed such encoding in other artists' lyrics, including Beatles, Ozzy, Metallica, Slayer, Iron Maiden, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Cheap Trick, and Hendrix, and other post'ers have made valuable contributions to confirm that such lyrical techniques are not rare, but rather are *standard* for High Classic Rock, the authentic mystery-religion of our time and the authentic Western contemporary shamanism of the late 20th Century.

No metaphor or expression is entirely accurate or entirely incorrect.[person] tends to take a surprisingly rigid view that a metaphorical expression (McKenna's "shamanism") is *entirely* incorrect.Sophisticated and nuanced analysis instead sees the truth and limitation of each such expression.In grilling [person], I seek to clarify what he's asserting, to find in what way it might be true.Now I can consider whether we can possibly say, in [person]'s sense, that Leary "abused mind-altering chemicals". If I disagree, I might say that such as assertion is unfair or misguided, or lacks a foundation, or is moralistic or restrictive, but I would *not* so much defend Leary's "character".

Why meditation was elevated over entheogens

What are the main reasons meditation was elevated over entheogens after the 1960s?What are the actual motivations behind the totally false anti-entheogen attitude promoted by many meditation proponents?

oIt's insulting to human pride that a plant is more effective than one's willed meditation technique.

oIntense mystic experiencing is inherently frightening because destabilizing of self-control and worldmodel

oGenuine mystic experiencing is inherently frightening, so there's a desire to redefine and invent a different kind of mystic technique that isn't frightening, even if it isn't effective either.

oTheoretically, the mind has the potential to produce intense mystic experiencing (loose cognition) without external ingestion of entheogens, so the idealists run ahead to seriously attempt this, and use the tenth of a percent success rate (after investing 30 years) to bolster their idealist point, ignoring that what really matters to be relevant is the needs of typical people with typical lifestyles.

oEntheogens are illegal, so are a closed path; out of wishful thinking, people try to maintain that the alternatives are satisfactory and even better.

oIf the plant teacher works better than meditation leaders, to protect their livelihood, the meditation leaders demonize and delegitimize plant teachers as unwelcome professional competition.

dc postulated these factors causing late 1960s entheogenists to repudiate entheogens as inferior to meditation:

oPolypharmacy, excess, fame, and psychological insecurities placed them in a very hypersuggestible and confounded states, making them susceptible to gurus' desire for control over followers.Pop stars projected a wished-for omniscience onto the gurus.

Why did these Baby Boomers wish for gurus to be omniscient and spiritual authorities? - mh

oThe social turmoil surrounding popcult stardom made entheogens hard to handle.

oFear because of illegal status.

oInability to deal with popcult stress made entheogens hard to handle.

oPop stars were culturally influential in pop culture-cliques in the hippie community.

oFears and half-baked understandings as people struggled to regain their ego.

oThis generation of entheogen users got married and had dependent babies and work considerations.

oSome usage switched to other available psychoactives that supported or didn't threaten the ego.

oPeople suddenly converted to mainstream, anti-entheogen versions of religions, and assumed religion is set against entheogens.

oClassic Rock and popcult stars such as George Harrision, Donovan and Richard Alpert asserted that Indian gurus are superior to entheogen use.This occurred due to their own personal psychological issues and their state of mind when they went about to find their gurus.They were in hypersuggestible states and upon meeting the gurus, they projected upon them omniscience.

I'm unclear on the nature of these "hypersuggestible states".That expression isn't sufficient for clearly defining a top 10 reason for the rise of the fallacy that meditation is superior to entheogens. -mh

oThe death or incarceration of a number of pop superstars made entheogens look unattractive and risky, both psychologically and legally.

oThere were fear issues that had developed, possibly related to sexual issues, "devil," scares and other things that made them afraid of entheogens.

That's vague, "possibly related to sexual issues".I don't know what's being postulated here as a specific reason for falsely elevating meditation above entheogens in the late 1960s.Same with the devil/scares part -- if these are each significant reasons, they should each have a sentence defining the proposed hypothesis.We need a sublist of aspects of entheogens that are frightening.

Whatever method is effective is inherently also frightening; real mysticism is frightening, however triggered, so people hasten to try to invent the impossible: a kind of real mysticism that isn't frightening -- the result is what fills today's American Buddhism magazines: a neutered, defanged, docile, impotent, domesticated mysticism which lacks danger and necessarily lacks transformation potential at the same time.A form of mysticism that serves only to reassure and comfort the person is incapable of transforming the person, giving them plastic tokens of spirituality instead of anything genuine and threatening to the mental status quo.

>The books on Soma written by Hindus were rationalizations of myth and used archetype-type theory, rather then understanding that Soma wasn't a myth or psychological symbolism.Generally followers of hese kinds of teachers, fell into literalism while turning the deep experiences at their root, into symbolism rather then actual experience.

Archetype theory without entheogens is blind and a dead-end, trying to apply high mythic metaphors to the mere mundane state of consciousness grappling with ordinary stresses of life and ordinary-state ritual and emotionalism.Soma was about the use of entheogens, and the resulting mental phenomena, including experiences and insights.





Which brings me to yet another theory about the psychedelic sixties. Iím sure everyone has one. What happened was that people got disillusioned with psychedelics for a couple of reasons.

First, they just burnt a person out, and spaced them out. The frequent use of psychedelics (2-3 times a week, or even once a week) doesnít do much for you when youíve got bills to pay, and children to feed, and the hippies were growing up and getting involved in the responsibilities of family life.

Second, the push of eastern spiritual technique and religion and eventually neo-christianity, which took the place of drugs [why? -mh], and essentially banned them, were considered by many the next step after psychedelics. [but why exactly were these considered the next step? This is a report of a progression of affinities, but not an explanation for that progression. -mh] So to use a drug like LSD when you had a zealous commitment to kung fu, for example, was a serious cop out.

Third, the Vietnam war had ended. What was one fighting about, or rebelling against, or dropping acid to change the consciousness of? The job in many peoples minds, was done. The war had ended. Friends werenít coming home dead or crippled anymore.

Fourthly, government propaganda, such as the lie about LSD and chromosome damage, and the severe penalties for possession and distribution, gave many a good excuse, who otherwise might have continued experimentation, to stop altogether.

Itís annoying to hear people speak of the psychedelic movement in the same breath as the disco fad of the late seventies, as if dropping acid was analogous to doing Ďthe bumpí. These are probably people who tried a major psychedelic once, became petrified by what it revealed about themselves or existence, and decided they would pass themselves off as an experienced user who now thinks its bad or out of style, laughing condescendingly at those times.

It doesnít take a genius to realize the major impact psychedelics have had on our culture. Just leaf through a current magazine and look at the art, or watch MTV for more than a few minutes if you can stand it. Itís bursting with psychedelic influence.

Just look at computer software, video games, and the leftist media. Just look at the leaps and bounds in technology, such as Apple Computer and the Mac, the brain child of an acid head. Just look at the world wide web. Isnít this an acid vision of someone about thirty years ago that wormed its way into our everyday culture?

The whole world is psychedelicized, only itís happened so slow weíve hardly noticed it. We think itís just modern stuff. Look at all the emphasis on deepening sensitivity and intimacy in relationships, womenís rights, relinquishing power to your partner and really trying to understand them; to share yourself with them. Isnít this something we turned on to in the psychedelic sixties? Could any of this have happened without a psychedelic renaissance?

Look at our cultures obsession with space and aliens. In the psychedelic sixties, humans saw the earth from outer space for the first time. The astronauts and cosmonauts were stunned by its beauty. With its deep blue oceans, swirling white clouds, and multi-colored coronaís, it was like seeing the rainbow of our own innate beauty for the first time. It was like seeing the earth for what is really was for the first time Ė a psychedelic planet.

Itís my opinion that psychedelics, far from being passe, are only in their infancy, barely out of the womb. In a sense it appears that the cart was put before the horse as part of an awakening for modern culture. The psychedelic movement came when we least expected it, like a swift kick in the butt of consciousness. This is a psychedelic nation. We are a psychedelic America, like it or not. Now itís time to put the horse where it belongs, in front of a cart thatís hauling all kinds of psychedelic transmutations.

Now the horse of spiritual discipline comes first. The meditation, the eucharist, the love of God and our neighbor. Do your five years of zazen and then eat some sacred mushrooms, and then do five more years of zazen trying to figure out what the bleep happened. Make your psychedelic of choice a quality occasion. Make it cautious, respectful, think it through, and the chances are youíll come out with something sacred, a jewel of great value. Price paid.

[Why bother delaying mushrooms by 5 years of zazen first, followed by 5 more years of zazen as a method of "trying to figure out" the mushroom experiences?What's up with this supposedly required labor of "discipline"; is it even relevant?Note how the worldview promoted here seems to backfire and contradict, in typical fashion, the author's supposed promotion of entheogens: "Entheogens are more effective than meditation, therefore you must do a little entheogens and 10 years of meditation."Wouldn't it be more logical to more intertwine the two methods, or ditch the "discipline of meditation" entirely and invest those ten years in mushroom use instead of meditation? -mh].


end of excerpt from shroomery.org

Evaluating systems of psychospiritual development

>...enlightenment is involved with the realization that the ego is not in control.I have been a student of Wilber, Watts and other explorers for years.I work from with a combination of transpersonal and Christian metaphysics, in developing what I call a spiritual psychotherapy based upon Infinity Theory.Take a look at my new website: http://www.spiritualpsychotherapy.net for an attempt to integrate theory and practice. It has been an exciting and interesting project.Any feedback would be appreciated.

>Carroll J. Wright, Ph.D.

If I spend time evaluating such approaches, here is the critical evaluative perspective I'd use.

It's commonplace and standard for any system of psychospiritual development to say what have now become platitudes such as ego is unreal or we're all one.In evaluating systems of psychospiritual development, it's not such a simplistic matter as to say that a system is right or wrong, good or bad, enlightened or unenlightened.Sometimes a system makes assertions which are frankly incorrect, but even that isn't the main problem and challenge.

The challenge is to create a clear, compressed, cogent, ergonomic, rationally graspable systematization that can be conveyed as a determinate, bounded system of concepts.This theory and system should successfully map to other, less structured systems, and should explain intense mystic experiencing, particularly via entheogens with and without ritual context.

My general criticism of typical contemporary systems of psychospiritual development is that they disparage language while using it ineptly, they disparage entheogens instead of recognizing their historical essential importance and effectiveness as applicable tools, they don't accurately connect with religions, they are unstructured and have vague boundaries rather than striving to have boundaries.

What's needed is something more in the direction of Spinoza's geometry-style reasoning applied relevantly to religious experiencing and mystic insight regarding time, control, self, world, and mental worldmodels.What's needed is a new vocabulary, a new kind of theory, a new style of thinking and explanation.Critiquing systems of psychospiritual development is like critiquing books or Rock albums.

Could there be such a thing as the ideal book or the ideal Rock album, or the ideal systematization of transcendent knowledge?Consider critiquing books on how to play Rock guitar: they can be judged in terms of completeness, relevance, and balance.Rock guitar playing is essentially a finite, bounded area, more or less, and so are the basics of transcendent knowledge.

It's not clear whether most writers think of psychospiritual development as an area that is basically finite and bounded, but it is worth noting the new Dummies books about Spirituality; the existence of such books implies that you can summarize the basics of Spirituality as a definite, defined, bounded, finite, determinate field.If such is the case, then we do have a measuring stick by which to gauge and judge systems of psychospiritual development.

One such contender is Freke's encyclopedia of spirituality, which aims to comprehend the basics, all you really need to know.It gets high marks from me because it is organized and includes no-free-will in addition to no-separate-self, and at least gives entheogens their due (like some books on comparative religion in the early 70s) without the usual "but you're still our favorite whipping boy" disparagement of them that reigns among books and articles that pose as being informed and progressive.

It takes a lot to qualify as an ideal system of transcendent knowledge.Some books are strong contenders for covering a field.The book from DK publishing, The Family Bible, does a good job of presenting standard Bible knowledge.The DK book The Complete Guitarist does a good job of efficiently presenting all you need to know to play Rock guitar, short of playing in the loose cognitive state -- it even covers the basics of gear (electric guitars, effects, and tube amps) short of teaching what's considered the "secret principles of the pros" regarding alternating equalization and distortion stages.So there is no insurmountable problem stopping people from writing an effective, structured, comprehensible primer on a particular area, such as transcendent knowledge.

Fight to destroy and discriminate untruths

>When I, you and/or me, become made into something and/or someone that must fight something else in an attempt to destroy it, then I, you and/or me, become nothing more than the continuation of the structure of religion, which taught discrimination, fear, and destruction.

That absolutist-styled statement is partly true, in some sense.It doesn't express the whole truth of the situation (which is left as an imaginative exercise for the reader).It is a mistake to not resist the ediface of lies erected by the status quo.The use of the words "fight" and "destroy" above may say more about the thinking of the one who wrote it, than about the goal of the debunking activities themselves.

The "discrimination, fear, and destruction" advocated by organized religion is significantly different than the kind of those things advocated by gnostics or determinist mystics.The caution above distorts the matter, if the caution is read too broadly or simplistically.It has some truth, but misses much important truth.

Fairly assessing potential of entheogens vs. meditation

dc wrote:

>Being beaten "underground" by laws and injunctions, entheogenicists throughout the ages, acquiesce to "meditation," as acceptable, because it is still the main adjunct component of proper entheogenic use.They settle for "secret," teachings about entheogens.

>Just as "feeble," as acquiescing to hyperventilation ala Grof, or other rituals, markedly lacking in strength, is allowing entheogens to remain illegal in countries that have "religious freedom," on the law books.This is truly feeble, because allowing this perpetuates the acquiescence to feebleness.

>The fact that these things are illegal, color all discussion about them in the social reality.

That must be constantly stated.Everything we think we know about entheogens is heavily colored by the fact that they are illegal.It is all but worthless and meaningless to make statements characterizing the potential and limitations of entheogens based on what happened between October 1966 and now."Most people who use entheogens are immature morons.This fact is evident from what the entheogen newsgroup postings."

All that we know now is one outcome that can happen under very hostile conditions: when there are very hostile, anti-entheogen conditions, most writings about entheogens are limited in quality and portray entheogens in a negative light, at best damning them with faint praise as something that gives a glimpse and awakens one to the True Path, thirty years of meditation at the feet of a guru, with a success rate so vanishingly low, it's now denied that meditation is supposed to have any tangible result at all.

What we know from this era is merely what entheogens produce under basically worst-case conditions.Just as the potential of entheogens couldn't manifest in the psych ward atmosphere of the "psychotomimetic" era, neither can is manifest under the atmosphere of the "drug war".Just as the king hears about the infant that is destined to be ruler and so seeks to kill all the infants to get rid of the upstart, many people hear about an effective enlightenment pill and do their best to diminish and suppress it.

The entheogen is an enlightenment pill.The Hellenistic era routinized religious salvation and revelation through sacred meals of visionary plants.Entheogens don't instantly bring enlightenment today (1966-2003) because there is no structure, no relevant systematic theory, no effective mythic symbolic rituals, and no legal or social permitting of these to develop.Entheogens are lame and ineffective today because their potential has been deliberately suppressed.

This doesn't mean that the potential of entheogens is so limited; it means that entheogens as a tool cannot function effectively and reach their potential under such hostile, oppressive conditions.Part of entheogens' effectiveness includes their potential to reveal mental dynamics that produce tribulation, fear, trembling, and judgment.People need a clear understanding of both the tremendous potential and mental destabilizing potential of entheogens -- dangerous as driving a car.

Entheogens are a tool and can be used well or poorly, with great, terrible, lame, or mediocre results.Sure, mediocre results "can" happen, but for that matter, great results "can" happen as well.Next we have to pull out distribution curves for entheogens and for meditation and drumming, and ask how often, for how many practitioners, do these techniques produce "results", and what kind of "results"?

I can almost list out the ten worst cliches used by those who are hell-bent on doing everything they can to diminish the potential of entheogens.Let's give entheogens a fair chance, give people a couple hundred years to develop theory and technique, and then draw up a distribution curve showing how many times this leads to terrible, lame, mediocre, good, or great results, and what those "results" amount to.

Today, the diminishers take for granted the worst-case kind of "chance" entheogens have been given 1966-2003, and are eager to point out the terrible or mediocre results that "can" occur, and then presume to judge the potential of entheogens negatively against, say, meditation, while freely defining meditation as producing some vague or mundane ethical results that have nothing to do with mysticism, religion, high philosophy, or transcendence.

Meditationists lecture continuously about "what matters is not fireworks, but lasting results".For one thing, who is to say what matters?It's debatable. For another, maybe what matters *is* fireworks: the intense altered state of loose cognition may be exactly the key important thing, so that if a technique lacks that intense altered state, the technique *can* be called a failure and a fraud.For another thing, who is to say that "lasting results" are what really matters, and how should we define "results"?

The meditationists repeat like a saving mantra, "What matters is not fireworks, but lasting results -- therefore meditation is better than entheogens".Every aspect of the cliche is very much open to interpretation and debate in that tiresome club the meditationists use to beat down entheogens.When measured in terms of proven efficacy for mental transformation, the greatest potential for meditation is as a method to augment the main, classic, proven method, which is the entheogen "path".

I wrote:

>>Make no mistake: the real thing is entheogens, and the feeble, generally ineffective simulation is meditation, drumming, hyperventilation, and other "acceptable mysterious" routes.

>>I'm tired of entheogenists caving into that lie -- I wish they'd start asserting that entheogens are *by far* the main method, most classic method, and most effective method for triggering the intense mystic altered state -- and they should insist that triggering the intense mystic altered state *is* essential, *not* an irrelevancy as the Buddhist guru camp is increasingly maintaining.

Mark Hoffman wrote:

>Traditionally, for the great majority of human history, these ancillary means were made much more interesting, and were probably discovered, by means of entheogens.Entheogen use in Buddhism is about to get more coverage.

Ryuei writes:

>>Psychedelics have *not* been used in Buddhism. From the very beginning, intoxicants were forbidden in the monastic vinaya and the fifth major precept for laypeople. Just because a bunch of counter culture armchair Buddhists in the US and Europe thought it was groovy to mix LSD with a bunch of palaver about psuedo Zen, that does not mean that the genuine stream of Buddha Dharma encourages drug use let alone condones it as some kind of shortcut to satori.

dc wrote:

>You are very mistaken.The injunctions against "intoxicants" did not apply to Soma and the Soma surrogates.These were used ceremonial by the earliest Buddhists and were also used by the authors of the Lotus Sutra.In Japan Amanita Panteria Mushroom was (and still is ritually used)--same in Tibet Amanita Muscaria and other things.

>The favored entheogenic substance was the Lotus Flower itself, mixed with other herbs.This type of Lotus was called the "Sun Lotus".Shakyamuni died of an overdose of what was called "Sukkara Mandava" which was erroneously translated as "pork" It was in fact the "Pig Mushroom." And Rice Gruel, such as that which Gautama used to break his fast, mixed with certain plants and dates was also a common way of ingesting entheogenic combinations.

>The entire religion at the time of Gautama centered around the search for the lost knowledge of the "elixir of immortality." The most difficult thing in trying to make people understand this is that most people have not had sufficient or proper experience and practice -- therefore this "shocks and surprises," and suddenly experts are there to naysay what is in fact, the real truth about the Buddhist leaders and founders.

>All the comments about this topic in this thread are very incorrect -- but it is a complex issue and it is easy for me to understand why people do not understand it.To say "They did not use it right" is accurate.Someone said you can "have fun" with it, but this is incorrect also.It must be taken very seriously to be understood from the Buddhist perspective.

>Also, Marijuana -- which many of you smoke -- although a good relaxant for many -- does not provide the kind of experiences that I am referring to and low dose LSD without proper training and meditation will only produce minor awakenings.Likewise high doses without proper training and meditation can cause problems...especially in depressed, anxious or unstable people.

>In reality the origin of all religions comes from the use of 1. entheogenic plants coupled with 2. correct yogic practice and 3. looking at the sky.The authors of the Lotus Sutra knew this better then anyone, considering who they really were.That subject is very interesting, especially once it is realized who those authors really were.

>Try as anyone might...you cannot refute what I am saying, although I am sure some will try, dismissing it mindlessly, or with dogma, and I am sure the same flack will be sent my way, from these incorrigible dogmatists.The main reason it is important to study this, is because "a buddha is always thinking about how all beings can become enlightened." "Receptivity," is the most central point to study if one expects to spread enlightenment.

>A prerequisite of this receptivity is what Prof.Charles Tart called disruptive forces and patterning forces.Without receptivity, very few will even begin to practice.The "disruptive force" can be a number of things and chief amonst them in the history of religion is the use of entheogenic plants.

A shortcut to satori is more like the true short path; the shortcut path is the path that works best, so should be considered the normal path, with the alternative being called "the drawn-out path that never arrives", or "the never-arriving path", or "the path of avoidance".

THC might be entheogenic in high doses, such as eating a substantial amount of hashish after fasting.

dc wrote:

>Even large-dose LSD experience after long term fasting can leave one in lower to middle Mahayana or still in the GOD-DEVIL duality.Smoking pot during those experiences is an obstacle to Buddhist entheogenic breakthrough.

>In my case, in the late 60's, it was long time fasting and bi- monthly LSD that took me beyond the kundalini style duality of GOD-- DEVIL and it was double dose STP that made me see what Buddhism was really is all about.Buddhism is a continuum until the Middle Path opens up.Then the Saddharma Pundarika makes sense.

I doubt that LSD and THC are to blame in the early non-breakthrough phase and that STP is to be credited for breakthrough in the later phase.Were STP used in the early phase and LSD and THC later, it would appear that THC and LSD would deserve credit.Initiation should be thought of as a series: it is a semester course of learning, requiring repeated study, lab experience, and tests.

If I experienced union of psychosomatic mental body with Christ on the Cross from Salvia after less profound and clear experiences with other visionary plants, I would not automatically credit Salvia as superior -- instead, merely as later.I advocate the ecumenical philosophy; the angels as a collective lift up the soul.It's a mistake to think of THC as a simple single thing: when combined with the flesh of the gods or with the cask of '43, THC puts the peak on the peak, acting quite differently than THC alone.

The mind develops over the course of experiencing, and a more experienced mind engages with these angels more effectively later.

Entheogens vs. meditation: firming up the debate

Meditation has its own kind of legitimacy and was and can be combined with entheogens.Meditation can cause the altered state -- about 1% as reliably and easily as entheogens.Meditation is derived from entheogen techniques.The issue is the practical efficacy and statistical reliability of entheogens vs. meditation, and the "goal" toward which this "efficacy" is directed.

Also requiring debate is, what claims are made for meditation?What claims are made for entheogens?Do these methods make good on their promises?What potential promises can meditation make and deliver on?What potential promises can entheogens make and deliver on?I propose that these promises must be different.Meditation can make certain restricted promises or claims, that it can deliver on.

Entheogens can make certain restricted promises or claims, that it can deliver on.One of my main assertions, against so many who write about religion and entheogens, is that entheogens can make *huge* promises, and *can reliably deliver* on these, with strong reliability and great ease of use, while meditation can only make much lesser promises, with quite restricted reliability, reproducibility, tangibility, and ease of use.

Meditation is difficult, slow, inefficient, and has little potential; entheogens have great potential to be reliable, fast, efficient, and easy.Meditation has potential to bring various goods to life.But entheogens have much greater potential to bring various goods to life.

A new elementary point to be always included is that entheogens can be used in slight amounts, spread out, just as one can meditate for a minute or for days.Another basic rebuttal is that although it isn't easy to retain entheogenic insights, the old dichotomy between "traditional religion" and entheogens is utterly false, because traditional ancient religion was entheogenic above all.

If entheogens are so worthless, then the religion they generated is worthless; early Christianity for example was entheogenic Christianity, so if we diminish entheogens, we at the same time -- despite our effort to glorify religion over entheogens -- end up diminishing what many people assume was the best, purest, most authentic and legitimate form of Christianity.

The whole move of diminishing entheogens by contrasting them against traditional religion has a backlash effect against the would-be traditionalists when it turns out that traditional Christianity *is* entheogenic. This logic is fundamental to justifying intense scholarly research on entheogens in religion in the Hellenistic era.

Why study entheogens in Christianity?To demolish the anti-entheogenists strategy of contrasting "inferior entheogens versus superior traditional religion".This is why it is important to find every possible trace of entheogen use throughout Christianity and surrounding religions -- to show that the dominant notions about "traditional religion" are a false construction.

>>It seems to me that the kinds of experiences facilitated by entheogens tend last more or less as long as the "high" does.

An elementary distinction is that between the loosecog state and the permanently changed mental world that is characteristically produced by the sustained and skillful use of the loosecog state.Certainly there are two states (tight and loose cognitive binding of mental construct associations) and two mental worldmodels (egoic and transcendent).

The meditationists claim that there is a lasting state of mystic cognition -- I reject this claim as complicated, overly conjectural, wishful, and lacking in evidence and relevance for typical people.

>>When the afterglow wears off, we return to our "normal" (which, for most people, in my judgment, seems to mean somewhat neurotic, robotic, unhappy and narcoticized) way of being.

The experienced entheogenist, in the tradition of the mystery religions, has passed through a series of loose cognition initiations, gradually securing a changed mental worldmodel that lasts whether the mind is in the default state of tight cognition or in a loose cognition entheogenic session.

>>Non-drug-influenced contemplation seems more likely to bring about a genuine shift in understanding or perception that might permanently alter one's way of being.

That's an assertion, a conjecture, wishful thinking.I reject it as unfounded.It is invented religion rather than observed and discovered religion.It's based on conflation between altered states and the two mental worldmodels. Neither entheogens nor meditation brings a permanent change in cognitive state -- only a change in mental worldmodel.

Anti-entheogen meditationists all claim that meditation ought to cause a permanent altered state of cognition in addition to a different mental worldmodel, but I know of no evidence or reason to believe this claim about the supposed potential of meditation, and I see motives for making grandiose claims that are never met.

Meditationists have various reasons or motives for wishing and claiming that unlike entheogens, meditation leads to a permanent altered state in addition to a changed mental worldmodel.These claims are entirely hazy and vague, as vague as they are unsupported and merely rumored.

I'm dedicated to carving out a concrete, definite, summarizable, repeatable, testable model of enlightenment, against all the religionists and theorists who put forth vague, unclear, and wishful models -- or rather, portrayals.The meditation advocates overinflate meditation, making grandiose claims about what we should expect from meditation, while making all sorts of firm and definite assertions about how feeble and limited entheogens are.

They always pump up meditation and deflate entheogens -- even the supposed advocates of entheogens like Huston Smith do this, seemingly instinctively, probably to sell out and steal credibility points.I won't sell out and buy respect from the meditation establishment by pretending along with them that the claims for meditation have a leg to stand on.

What are our actual grounds for thinking that meditation has such lofty potential and can -- practically can, for real people -- lead to a permanent altered state in addition to a changed mental worldmodel?

There is no evidence, there are no grounds, and there aren't even claims to have personally achieved a permanent altered state in the sense of tangibly changed cognitive dynamics.The only claims people make is the vague claims that one's mood and conduct of life has been elevated, and that one's worldmodel has changed.

There is much less evidence than claimed, that meditation is reliable and that it is a practical way to alter one's cognitive state as well as altering one's worldmodel.

And there is much more reason to believe that entheogens have a vastly higher potential and more reliable potential than admitted, to produce fully definite results: a tangible altered state, with whatever intensity one would like, straightforwardly, and a permanent changed mental worldmodel -- but *not* a claim to achieve some lasting altered state other than simply a changed mental worldmodel.

>>Not having met any enlightened people as far as I know, it's difficult to evaluate. However, all the enlightened people I've read about seem to have taken this latter path [of non-drug-influenced contemplation toward the goal of bringing about "a shift in understanding or perception" that "permanently alters one's way of being"].

The claim immediately above is that non-drug-influenced meditation is a practical and useful method of attaining a particular interim and ultimate goal.The interim goal is to permanently or transiently (not specified) shift one's understanding or perception, and the ultimate goal is to "permanently alter one's way of being".

We read many such rumors, conjectures, assertions, and vague imaginings about what we assume enlightenment ought to entail.We assume that enlightenment ought to produce a permanent altered state in addition to a new worldmodel.

Have you read about people who use drug-influenced contemplation to bring about a shift in understanding and perception, to permanently alter their way of being?Exhibit A: the entheogen-based Hellenistic mystery religions, including Jewish and early Christian religions of that era.Those creators of our main religions constitute many people who used a series of drug-induced altered states to bring about a transient (~6-hour) shift in understanding and perception, and thereby permanently altered their way of being.

We can pretend to have no evidence for the successful use of entheogens to achieve permanent religious goals, but that pretense is based on strategic blindness.*Lots* of people used drugs to bring about a lasting regeneration of consciousness.The meditationists delude themselves if they try to claim all those people as success stories for non-entheogenic contemplative methods.

Given all the people who changed their consciousness permanently, how many in fact did it primarily through psychoactives?It is bias, purely bias, that causes meditation proponents to claim such heavy evidence for the efficacy of meditation, and to claim such total absence of evidence for the efficacy of entheogens to cause permanent transformation of consciousness.

However, we must not be so vague as the vagueness that has allowed such errors and bias to continue unabated.It is too vague to talk of "transformation of consciousness", because that conflates what Wilber calls altered states and altered traits, or what I call cognitive binding intensity versus mental worldmodels.Meditation proponents must be clearer about what they are claiming about what exactly the method of meditation is capable of reliably and practically delivering.

Meditationists claim that meditation is a "good way" of bringing about a "shift in understanding and perception" to lead to a "permanent alteration in one's way of being".They as a rule claim that entheogens are a "poor way" of bringing about a "shift in understanding and perception" to lead to a "permanent alteration in one's way of being".

First I will discuss the interim claim, that meditation is better than entheogens for a desired shift in understanding and perception, and then the second claim, that meditation is better for a desired permanent alteration in one's way of being, or "consciousness".

In the face of the competitive threat of entheogens, meditation/contemplation advocates take the only strategy open to them: they admit that for sheer intensity of shifting one's understanding and perception, entheogens undeniably blow meditation totally out of the water; everyone is forced to admit that entheogens are a thousand times easier and more reliable at causing any desired intensity, ranging from slight to great as desired, of shifting one's understanding and perception.

How do they strategically spin this awkward fact?Of course, by claiming (in a manner that is the same convoluted manner as the nonsense asserted by official religious authorities) that meditation's "shift in understanding and perception" is, in some hazy and ineffable way, "better" than the shift that is effortlessly and reliably brought by the true flesh of the redeeming divinity -- I mean, by entheogens.

They are forced to claim that meditation is better *because* it is less effective, less reliable, less ergonomic, less practical.The meditation proponents argue, in convoluted and unconvincing manner, that meditation is better than entheogens because it is more difficult and less reliable and leads to more fleeting and mild glimpses of altered perception.

Who are they pretending to convince?Do they convince themselves, against this seeming threat of the awesome and fearsome efficacy of entheogens?What are their motives for making such an implausible, convoluted claim, that meditation is more effective than entheogens because it is less effective?

Meditation/contemplation advocates always claim, as their by-now standard argument, that meditation is better than entheogens for a desired permanent alteration in one's way of being, or "consciousness".What sort of alteration of being and consciousness do they claim for meditation, and what potential do they claim for entheogens?

The standard position is: "Meditation is good for permanently altering one's way of being and consciousness.Entheogens are poor at permanently altering one's way of being and consciousness.Entheogens cause only an intense but transient change in perception and understanding, not a permanent change in being and consciousness.Meditation/contemplation causes admittedly only a much milder change in perception and understanding, at first, but leads to a far more permanent and deep change in being and consciousness."

First of all, realize and admit that *all* the quoted standard assertions are potentially debatable.Analyze (break apart) their system of claims and refute or evaluate them separately, and evaluate and critique each term of the argument, particularly "permanent change of consciousness", used as an unnecessarily vague and shifting construct.

"Meditation is good for permanently altering one's way of being and consciousness."The reports don't sound like meditation is "good" in the sense of straightforwardly and reliably and practically delivering a significant change.And what is the nature of the "change of consciousness" -- is it a changed mental worldmodel, or a permanent tangibly altered state of cognitive dynamics, or both?

"Entheogens are poor at permanently altering one's way of being and consciousness."The Hellenistic-era religions suggest otherwise; the foundation of Christianity, with roots in mystery religion, is the use of entheogens to temporarily change cognitive binding, to permanently change one's mental worldmodel.

Also, it is too early, in contemporary research, to assume we know how well entheogens can "permanently change consciousness", and which aspects they can change, though there is evidence that entheogens can permanently change one's mental worldmodel, though they cannot permanently change the "state of consciousness" in the sense of bringing about permanent loose cognitive binding (like a sort of healthy schizophrenic loosening of mental integration, on tap).

In Wilber's terms, there *is* some evidence and reason to believe that entheogens have serious potential to bring about useful "altered states" that can lead to permanent "altered traits" -- in my terms, transient loose cognition, leading to permanent change of mental worldmodel (that is, *not* a permanent altered state, but a permanent altered understanding).

"Entheogens cause only an intense but transient change in perception and understanding."We ought to mention more often the potential to use entheogens mildly and far more often, like the mixed wine of the Hellenistic era -- just as alcohol and caffeine are integrated into life today.The model of using entheogens intensely and rarely doesn't express the full potential of integrating entheogens into life; rare and extreme use is just one approach to entheogens.

Using my terminology and conceptual categories, I agree that entheogens are great for causing a transient change (from 10 minutes to 18 hours) in perception and understanding as intense and as long as desired, up to a couple days.An entire series of altered state sessions is necessary to secure understanding that lasts when the default state of cognition (tight cognitive binding) inevitably resumes.

Meditation, to the degree that it effects any cognitive change at all, has this exact same property.When you meditate, ideally, there is a temporary cognitive change, and when you stop meditating, the default state of cognition resumes -- despite wishful claims and rumors and rare exceptions to the contrary.Does meditation have potential to cause a lasting altered state?

There are no great, compelling reasons to think so, but lots of inauthentic motives for making such claims (motives including wishful thinking and proud jealousy toward entheogens; regret at not being able to will oneself into the altered state as if commanding one's internal chemical system to produce DMT).

"Entheogens are poor for causing a permanent change in being and consciousness."To judge this assertion we much first debate the meaning of "permanent change in being and consciousness."Does it mean a permanent altered state, or a permanent mental worldmodel?

The best evidence with the best interpretation indicates that entheogens are excellent and extremely efficient, after a series of sessions and studies, for causing a permanent change of mental worldmodel, but do not cause a permanent altered state.

"Meditation/contemplation causes admittedly a much milder change in perception and understanding, at first."Everyone agrees that in terms of sheer potency for a shift into an altered state, entheogens run circles around meditation in terms of reliability, intensity, and ease of use, and are controllable in several aspects (when, how often, how intense).

"Meditation/contemplation eventually leads to a far more permanent and deep change in being and consciousness than entheogens."It is reasonable to assume that potentially, meditation can lead to a permanent change of mental worldmodel.It is mere conjecture, wishful thinking, and rumor, and conflation of "altered states" with "altered traits", to assert that meditation leads to a permanent altered state.

Granted those points, that entheogens and meditation can both lead to a permanently changed mental worldmodel but not (in any significant, relevant degree) to a permanent altered state, now we can debate about the "quality" and "depth" of the permanent change of mental worldmodel (or maybe "consciousness") potentially produced by meditation versus by entheogens.

Are there any grounds or reasons to believe that the permanent change of worldmodel or consciousness caused by meditation is of greater quality or depth than the permanent change of worldmodel or consciousness caused by entheogens?Break up that question.

What are the grounds or reasons to believe that the permanent change of worldmodel or consciousness caused by meditation is of a certain quality or depth?Meditationists hasten to inflate the grounds or reasons to believe, in favor of meditation."Everyone I know about, well, every rumored person I've read about, reports a great quality and depth of permanent change of consciousness, through meditation, but I know of no evidence for any permanent change of consciousness due to entheogens."

That typical claim is vague, blindly biased, and uninformed.We mistake the endless *talk* about permanent change, of great quality and depth, for the actuality of such change -- we end up grasping at fog.

What are the grounds or reasons to believe that the permanent change of worldmodel or consciousness caused by entheogens is of a certain quality or depth?I urge people to constrain their claims for how great of quality and depth are possible through any means.Transformation cannot be infinitely high-quality or infinitely deep.

The change of worldmodel or consciousness from entheogens attains to a certain definite and specifiable quality and depth; beyond that, it's all conjecture and claims and subjectivity that exceed the bounds of the testable and reproducible.

People talk of going far beyond basic enlightenment, but when you sail past the point of basic enlightenment, you enter truly speculative, conjectural, unfalsifiable waters, where there is no way to test different systems of claims against each other, and no way to form sure and sound agreements -- it is a realm of sea monsters and wishful thinking, and transcendent speculations as opposed to observations.

Based on the grounds or reasons we have, which method has greater potential to cause permanent change of worldmodel or consciousness, with greater quality and depth -- entheogens, or meditation?

I maintain that the most reasonable and justifiable position is that neither meditation nor entheogens cause a permanent altered state (typically and practically, relevant to a real-world population), both methods can cause a permanent change of mental worldmodel that is ultimately of the same quality and depth, and that entheogens are far more reliable, practical, ergonomic, controllable in frequency and intensity, and are supported as a popular method of permanent major mental transformation in the Hellenistic-era religions including the Jewish and early Christian religions.

>>I think my best bet for permanently attaining enlightenment is contemplation. Drug trips seem like transient diversions, and the DMT and mushroom enthusiasts I know seem, if anything, "farther away" from enlightenment than I am.

If you say so.That's one small dataset, and one that is artificially reduced and wholly contaminated by drug prohibition.We ought to see what data would be available on the potential of entheogens if serious philosophers and religionists were not oppressed from using and writing about entheogens.

The current situation is biased as hell in favor of giving all possible breaks to the meditation method, and putting all possible obstacles in the way of entheogens, to diminish and deflate the potentials of entheogens at each and every possible opportunity.

This current blindness on the part of the new meditation establishment, led by Ken Wilber as much as anyone, is part of a system that is characterized by an integrated set of four key incorrect assumptions:

oFree will assumption (assumed despite the no-separate-self doctrine which implies no-free-will)

oMeditation/contemplation is better and more traditional than entheogens

oReligious founding figures literally existed (a strong liberal literalist tendency)

oMystic insight and enlightenment and spiritual regeneration/redemption is difficult and impossible to comprehend

Against Ken Wilber and the current meditation establishment, I emphatically take the opposite position on these four key issues; I maintain:

oNo-free-will, as strongly as no-separate-self.Mentally constructing a model of the frozen timeless block universe with a single timelessly existing future is essential for arriving quickly at the climax of the ego death experience.

oEntheogens are better and more truly traditional than meditation/contemplation -- more reliable, more practical, more useful, easier, more ergonomic, more controllable, more falsifiable/confirmable.

oAs a general rule, religious founding figures are purely mythical, merely incorporating aspects of actual individuals; the world's most Jesus-like or Buddha-like man has many very close contenders and does not tower uniquely over them.Against euhemerism; mythic figures are only incidentally, not importantly, "based on" a single historical individual.There was no literal Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, John, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother, Lazarus, Moses, Balaam, Saul, David, and all the rest.Not one word of the Bible is importantly literally true; all of its essential truth is as allegory for the experiential phenomena and insights of the entheogenic intense altered state.

oMystic insight and enlightenment and spiritual regeneration/redemption are actually easy to comprehend and systematically explain; they are at core, concerned with specific, definable, summarizable insights and systematic principles.Religions and philosophies and mythologies are more or less distorted expressions of this universal core set of insights.Religious enlightenment, revelation, transformation, and regeneration are the intellectual and entheogenic comprehension of this small and simple set of core relationships about space, time, self, will, control, and passing through the experience of ego death control seizure, a passage which is allegorized as being reborn outside of the deterministic spacetime block, or passing out of slavery, or being divinely rescued and lifted up into unity with the divine transcendent realm.


>from the Newsletter of the Multidisciplinary Association for

>Psychedelic Studies

>MAPS - Volume 4 Number 4 Spring 1994


>is there a proper place for psychedelics in spiritual practice?

>Igor Kungurtsev, M.D.


>It may seem that nothing new can be said on this topic after Ram Dass

>and Ralph Metzner. Yet the theme is vast and has many pros and

>contras as reflected in one of the recent issues of "Gnosis"

>magazine. (Winter 93, No 26.)

The supposed pros and cons are discussed in that out of print issue, and in a similar issue of Tricycle buddhist magazine, which is now expanded as the book:

Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Allan Hunt Badiner (Editor), Alex Grey (Editor), Stephen Batchelor, Huston Smith (Preface)


That book is practically required reading for the debate about entheogens vs. meditation.It's a compendium of the "arguments", such as they are -- a first stab at best; the argumentation against entheogens is totally flimsy.The same flimsy arguments diminishing entheogens are found in many books about mysticism.It's a cottage industry writing about entheogens in a belittling way.

Catholic writer Zaehner puts forth the standard diminishing views of entheogens, but goes beyond that and takes the cake for vigorous and completely unconvincing attempt at waving away entheogens: real mysticism is Catholic mysticism as he defines it, and all other mysticism, meditation, entheogen mystic states, and so on is something like lower, pantheistic, inferior mysticism.He focuses on Huxley's mescaline sessions.

It's common to diminish entheogens by restricting oneself to two or three conservatively approved representatives: Huxley, Good Friday experiment, Charles Tart, and Stan Grof.I think that narrow choice of personalities is an avoidance mechanism: instead of refuting the potential of entheogens, all one has to do is critique these three people and then declare victory.

I don't think these people and Huston Smith are the best defenders or last word and final representative of the entheogen position.So far, entheogenists have taken a neutral, restrained, agnostic stand, giving meditation the full benefit of the doubt and taking it on faith that meditation is efficient, while meditationists have vigorously diminished entheogens, striving to portray meditation in as favorable light as possible, and striving to portray entheogens as unfavorably as possible.

That vigorous stance has not yet been met with a vigorous counter stance from entheogen proponents.A lot of ridiculous, cheap, flimsy assertions have been made by the meditationists, and the supposed entheogen defenders have just stood around scratching their head, agnostically, allowing the continuance of the unfair bias in favor of meditation.

The real debate hasn't yet begun, only the first salvos, lobbed by the meditationists.I consider the meditationists to be the aggressors in the debate; that is, the ones who have made the first moves -- they are the accusers, and the entheogenists ought to be the defenders, but so far, there hasn't been a serious attempt to refute the flimsy assertions and portrayals put forth by the meditationists.

We need to study the potential of meditation and entheogens, and I'm sure that meditation will have to be taken down several notches, while elevating entheogens several notches, above meditation.Entheogens are far better (ergonomic and statistically effective and reliable) than meditation at delivering on certain goals -- part of the debate is to define which goals those are.Focusing on one set of goals may make meditation seem superior; another set, entheogens.Meditation has been way oversold, while entheogens have been way undersold.

dc wrote:

>>Religion, losing its origins becomes like the discarded Coke bottle, found by the aborigines in the old film, "The Gods must be Crazy." They worship it as a divine object, ignorantly thinking it was made by their God. Everyone to his/her own opinion.

Polite responses like that technically could be considered off-topic; it's not a scholarly or theory-building response.This discussion group is intended exactly for debating points like dc's, not for everyone generally affirming and allowing everyone else's opinions.The attitude of "don't judge anyone's views" is worthless or off-topic in a scholarly or theoretical discussion group like this one.

This discussion group is for venturing and critiquing assertions.Avoiding disagreement is not the goal of this group; constructive debate and discussion is.I would value detailed commentary on such postings as dc's.I seek truth about the practical potentials of meditation and entheogens.People glorify and idealize meditation, when much of those honors in fact belong to entheogens instead.

I am only about halfway toward being able to express my assertion about the true relation between meditation and entheogens.Overall, I maintain that entheogens are better than meditation, but this requires a great deal of qualification: better for what goals? Better in what ways?Meditation is not better than entheogens, as the meditation establishment asserts.Meditation and entheogens are not equal in potential and efficacy, as many assert.

We should not concede or conclude their equality if such equality is false and is done out of politeness.My goal is not politeness, but the truth of the matter.

>Many millions in many cultures used meditation techniques, resulting in direct experience of cosmic mind and lasting union, without entheogens.

How many people used entheogens (without meditation as such) to bring about direct experience of cosmic mind and lasting union?I'm sure this is a large number.For example, the Hellenistic religions routinized this experience and lasting transformation of "consciousness" (a too vague term).

How many people used meditation (without entheogens) to bring about direct experience of cosmic mind and lasting union?Based on what I've read about poor success rates and high frustration, I have always concluded that this is a small number.Meditation only works well enough to keep rumors of its efficacy afloat.In practice, meditation serves as a decoy, a placebo substitute and way of avoiding mystic experiencing, satori, or whatever you want to label it.

We'd need to define "lasting union" -- that's the main point at issue, whether entheogen influence is statistically able to last as long as meditation supposedly does.Is this union merely a changed mental worldmodel?Entheogens are more efficient at bringing that about.Is this union an altered state, a frank mystic state of consciousness?

I don't believe that meditation or entheogens bring about that sort of permanent mystic altered state in any statistically significant way; such a "union" is an irrelevant freak state randomly attained by some, and is of no great import.

That shows my goals.I am not interested in ultra-rare freak states requiring 30 years of meditation.I'm against portraying such a goal as the main goal and the core definition of enlightenment.There is a far more attainable and relevant kind of enlightenment, which results in a changed mental worldmodel but not a permanent altered state as defined by Ken Wilber or me or Charles Tart.

Sophisticates such as Erik Davis tell me they've gone beyond elementary enlightenment like my core theory -- but should we really care so much about that sort of ultraelite pursuit that has proven so rarely attainable, and at such great cost?A major part of my strategy and worldview is to bring our focus much lower, and greatly rein in the scope and definition of basic enlightenment.

Basic enlightenment is for everyone; it's democratic, it's actually not elite (against the Church leaders who accused gnostics who used the esoteric sacrament of apolytrosis of being elitist).Basic enlightenment is a little bit elite but is practically open to everyone: it works (when done skilfully).

Gaining some lasting altered state from meditation is truly elite in an exclusive sense: only a freak meditationist, one out of thousands, perhaps, brings about a lasting altered state.For most people, meditation is destined to only achieve a couple transient fleeting satoris that pale next to entheogen sessions.The debate is about the statistically better method of attaining basic enlightenment, defined as something that everyone can attain.Meditation is statistically an inefficient and poor method for gaining basic enlightenment, while entheogens are statistically an efficient, ergonomic method for gaining basic enlightenment.

My restricted and deflated definition of "basic enlightenment": Basic enlightenment is a matter of experiencing and conceptually grasping no-separate-self/no-free-will, resulting in a specific permanent change from the specific egoic mental worldmodel to the specific transcendent mental worldmodel.See my introductory article about my theory of ego transcendence for more details about this change and transcendent worldmodel.

Because meditation statistically works so poorly and rarely, a defensive move is to claim that enlightenment is exceedingly difficult and lofty and never-ending.Why did a person meditate fifteen years without attaining satoris -- without fulfilling their natural drive toward climactic transformation?Excuses are made: "satori is not really the goal; the goal is endlessly beyond reach or plays out ineffably.

In effect, my role is to teach people how to mystically climax, through a series of satoris or altered states, producing a systemic transformation of mental worldmodel, and I see charlatan teachers claiming that their method is better, though I see that their students are all frustrated and have learned to accept some mild feelings and mistakenly label them 'climactic transformation'.

I'm against perpetuating these minor climaxes and piecemeal transformations of mental worldmodel.I'm showing that there is an easier way that is more fulfilling for our natural drive to self-transcendence, that produces a short series of definite climaxes and leads certainly to a specific, definable, permanent transformation of worldmodel.Meditation is an inferior technology, in terms of defining and delivering on its promises.

Given that what people really want is a series of tangible climaxes and permanent significant transformation, the better technology for producing that result and fulfilling that need is entheogens, not meditation.I reject the notion of permanent altered state as a natural universal human goal.The mind has a drive to experience a series of altered states leading to a permanent transformation of worldmodel.That's my model of the standard transcendent drives of the mind.

On that view of transcendent drives and innate goals, entheogens are a vastly superior technology compared to meditation, in terms of ergonomics and statistical reliability.Given that view of our highest hungers, meditation generally leaves the mind hungry, frustrated, and unfulfilled, appeasing it only temporarily through weak substitute achievements.Entheogens are a food that satisfies and fulfills these drives.

The notion that one can go beyond that basic enlightenment falls outside my model of ego transcendence; it enters inherently elite, rare, speculative realms, while I am intent on securing the basic model for easy and relevant use by the general populace.

I'm against leading people astray by failing to address their certain hunger for basic enlightenment by promising them some hazy, vastly loftier "advanced enlightenment" such as a permanent altered state would be, as in Ken Wilber's model.He goes chasing after some infinitely profound spirituality, while leaving real people all hungry for the simple, basic, and sure form of transcendence.

Which method is more fulfilling for our "drive to self-transcendence"?Entheogens are far more effective at fulfilling our drive to self-transcendence than meditation is.This is likely a testable assertion.Have a thousand people meditate for 3 years, without entheogens.Have another thousand use entheogens skillfully for 3 years, without meditation as such.Perhaps give them meditation books and my theory.

Then survey them, asking about transient effects and lasting results.Use the Good Friday experiment as a model.The result will be that meditation statistically didn't produce many effects whether transient or lasting, while entheogens commonly and typically led through a series of altered states, with piecemeal and then systematic transformation of mental worldmodel.

This would prove that, on this model of self-transcendence and enlightenment, entheogens are far superior to meditation as a method of bringing about self-transcendence and enlightenment.Meditation might be better at some "other" model of self-transcendence and enlightenment, but from what I've seen, supporting this requires postulating an extremely vague type of self-transcendence and enlightenment that is *held* to be very fulfilling, but with no great evidence for that.

This is why the debate about entheogens vs. meditation inevitably is saved for the meditationists by committing to an abstruse, nebulous definition of the goal of enlightenment and of the human drive to transcendence.

Meditationists have to define the goal and drive to transcendence in a highly nebuous way, in order to continue claiming that meditation is efficient for that goal and for fulfilling that drive.Entheogenists can and should define the goal and drive to transcendence in a highly specific and definite and limited way, and are fully warranted in claiming that entheogens are efficient for that goal and for fulfilling that drive.

Which paradigm -- combination of goal and method -- is more sound and warranted by the evidence?The evidence clearly suggests that the real, normal goal and drive is for the limited, specific enlightenment, fulfilled straightforwardly by entheogens.There is no compelling evidence suggesting that the real, normal goal and drive is for some lofty and nebulous ineffable type of transcendence, or that meditation is statistically efficient at bringing about that supposed goal and fulling that supposed drive.

The inferior conception of our drive and the method of fulfilling it has taken over, through the meditation establishment.The more sober, sound, grounded conception of our drive has been obscured, though entheogens are the direct key to fulfilling that common drive straightforwardly.People think they want the hazy goals promised by meditation, but what they really want, first of all, is basic enlightenment, which is addressed well by entheogens and poorly by meditation.

Meditation has been proven to not work very well, statistically, at any of the goals:

oSeries of transient altered state episodes

oPermanently changed mental worldmodel

oSupposed permanent altered state

But meditation has been marketed as though it is statistically efficient at bringing about these goals.

Entheogens only claim to be good for two things:

oSeries of transient altered state episodes

oPermanently changed mental worldmodel

The latter claim deserves to be made more strongly, because entheogens are potentially highly efficient at bringing about that result.

Assess these claims and whether they can deliver.(This might amount to a second version of a previous posting.)

Meditation claims to be efficient for providing a series of transient altered state episodes.But evidence shows this to be an inflated promise; such altered states are much rarer and hard to achieve than claimed.

Meditation claims to be efficient for providing a permanently changed mental worldmodel.From what I've read, I conclude that this is an ideal, but that the actual result is more hazy and ill-formed, resulting in slight modifications to pieces of the worldmodel, rather than a deep systematic transformation.

Meditation claims to be efficient for providing a permanent altered state.This would amount to a lasting healthy schizophrenic-like state, sort of a controlled schizophrenia.Or it's just a state of relaxation.This claim is so vague and poorly defined, it is implausible that any such result is typical, common, or relevant.

Entheogens claim to be efficient for providing a series of transient altered state episodes.There is unanimous agreement that they deliver on this promise.

Entheogens claim to be efficient for providing a permanently changed mental worldmodel.This claim is only made infrequently and weakly, inchoately.This claim deserves to be made more strongly, because entheogens are potentially highly efficient at bringing about this result.

>Many millions have testified that meditation produced in them a permanent altered state.

I disagree that many people reported that result through that method.Have all those people actually reported *that* result?Would they agree that they attained a "permanent altered state"?If so, how do they define that "altered state" -- it's an ambiguous term in terms of character and degree.

Many people *assume* that meditation *should* produce a permanent altered state, but that assumption has no compelling evidence.Many people have bad motives for assuming that meditation should lead to a permanent altered state.No doubt, gurus pandering to that misconception would claim that they themselves have attained a permanent altered state.

Ken Wilber claims some sort of permanent altered state, but I doubt that it amounts to anything signficant or relevant and don't see that as our main, typical hunger for transcendence.Pursuing a false notion of what our hunger is about prevents fulfilling the true felt hunger.I don't believe the mind has a significant innate hunger or drive to pursue a permanent altered state.

There is reason to believe that the normal pattern and drive is through a series of altered state sessions to a permanent changed mental worldmodel -- but not a permanent altered state.It's common to talk of a series of satoris leading to final full enlightenment -- which is a changed mental worldmodel, not a permanent altered state.The current conception of satori is probably derived from a significant but partial transformation of mental worldmodel during the entheogenic altered state.

The best model may be a series of altered state sessions, each one leading to a more secure grasp of the transcendent mental worldmodel.It was standard in Hellenistic religion to undergo multiple initiations.At some point, the mind has a secure grasp of the transcendent mental worldmodel.Enlightenment doesn't happen all at once; it's more like learning a language up to some standard level of competence, just as we learn the egoic mode of thinking up to some common level of competence.

How many people have testified that meditation without entheogens produces a permanent altered state?How is this altered state to be conceived -- is it actually a changed mental worldmodel, held in the default state of consciousness, thus by definition not an altered state?This is where light needs to be shed.


>When one judges various paths to transformation and ego transcendence, this proves that the person doesn't have any understanding of ego transcendence, and it proves that they don't understanding anything about reality.If a person thinks of themselves as a doer, and if they maintain the position that entheogen use is the only possible or only practically effective method of bringing about ego transcendence, that proves that the person is in a state of infantile delusion and will always remain in a state of infantile delusion.

>It is impossible for an enlightened person to maintain that the method of transcendence they use is the only possible and only practically effective method.

>It is utterly unbearable when a person maintains their position in judging their method as far better or the only practically effective method.Maintaining that position demonstrates egotism and is a sign of infantile delusion.

There is nothing inherently or necessarily egotistic about maintaining that one's position is more correct than one's opponent in a debate.Egotism is wholly a matter of motives, where one is motivated by the goal of elevating one's feeling of esteem over others, socially.We should also acknowledge that the quest for truth and the quest for discovering and making available a better solution can be the main driving motivation for maintaining one's position in a debate.

Most people in spirituality discussion groups are entirely averse to debate.They are motivated by desire for experiencing social harmony.They experience debate as something entirely on the social plane, when the debate is actually centered on the intellectual plane of researching the truth about the world.

Everyone who is here for social reasons might as well leave, hungry and unfulfilled socially, because the center of this group has always been defined as intellectual discussion and debate, not the type of socializing that constitutes 90% of typical discussion groups.

The above characterization of my position is extremist.On the whole, I have acknowledged that meditation has some degree of efficiency, though I maintain that it amounts to little in comparison with entheogens.My position is the reverse of the current dominant paradigm which belittles entheogens relative to meditation.

I maintain, not motivated by self-glory but by the quest for an effective method on behalf of the collective utility, that instead of meditation being 10 times as good as entheogens, entheogens are 100 times as good as meditation.It is ungenerous to characterize my motives as self-glory.The act of judging one method -- one's own that one is developing -- as better than others, doesn't necessarily indicate anything about one's motives for maintaining and developing and fleshing out that position.

Maintaining such a judgement and position also says nothing about whether one is in a state of infantile delusion.It is fully possible for an enlightened person to maintain a position regarding the efficacy of one method of enlightenment over another.Religions including Buddhism are filled with debates, not just with people saying that everyone is welcome to their own opinion.

My position is likely part of some tradition such as Vajrayana.I'm not alone in maintaining that this position is true, that entheogens are in fact more superior to meditation than the meditationists' claim that meditation is somewhat superior.Do I cry and condemn the meditationists as "egotistical" and "in a state of infantile delusion" because they won't cave into conceding my views?Of course not.

I credit meditationists with having reasons other than egotism and infantile delusion, for continuing "obstinately" and "proudly" and "egotistically" maintaining their position that entheogens are inferior to meditation.

The above posting persuades of nothing; it simply asserts that maintaining one position against a competing position can only be driven by egotism.It falsely reduces all principled debate to the level of social feelings and motivations.That false equation of principled sustained debate with egotism and social hostility severely restricts the value and content of typical spirituality discussion groups, which end up self-selecting their members to optimize for social feeling at the expense of content on the intellectual plane.

It is a given that a group devoted to intellectual-plane discussion and research must drive away those who are motivated by socializing and the superficial feeling of interpersonal concordance -- those who are always so quick to accuse everyone else of the nebulous sin and crime of being "egotistical".Accusing others of being egotistical is often just a lazy cop-out from engaging in the labor of debate and intellectual discussion and development of ideas and understanding.

>>If you ever want to learn more about Zen, I would highly recommend the book "The Three Pillars of Zen".I found this book invaluable for understanding Zen and ego transcendence.

The Three Pillars of Zen: Teaching, Practice, and Enlightenment

Roshi Philip Kapleau


4.5 stars, 28 reviews

Rank: 9700 (fairly high)

>I am already quite up on the subject.

I actually found fulfilment in zen, as portrayed by Alan Watts' book Way of Zen (with other Zen and eastern religion studies) before working on cracking the puzzle of the Christian mystery religion.

From Oct. 1985 to Jan. 1988, I studied Zen and found fulfilment in it thanks to Watts, despite his overly poetic explanation which should have been more straightforward.Then it took me from Jan. 1988 to March 2003 to find fulfillment in the Christian mystery religion, including various Christian-shaped intense mystical experiences along the way.

I found Christianity much harder to grasp but also more challenging and intellectually rewarding.Buddhism really is more explicit, direct, and straightforward -- and thus less mysterious and challenging; it has little "mystery-puzzle" quality.Christianity ended up being the ultimate, extreme "mystery-puzzle".In a way, Zen is extremely a mystery-puzzle, but in a way, it's the most extremely straightforward -- at least, it aims to be both of these together.

The Wish for a Warm, Fuzzy, and True Model of Spirituality

Ideally I would like to know contributors' ideas and study everyone's postings.I do read and consider people's ideas.Time is limited.I only regret that sometimes I can't understand what the points are in some of the postings.Other of the posts are clear and easy to understand.I like to consider other people's ideas and grapple with them, test them, see if they hold up or if they fall apart.

The proposal "for warm, fuzzy and truth" seems to have some merit.In some ways, I think they are at odds; warm/fuzzy often means untruth: either suppressing or distorting truth.Even if warmfuzzy is a good goal fully compatible with truth, I don't think it is of central, primary relevance for constructing a model of transcendent knowledge.I don't think warmfuzzy is the essence or heart of truth; it's more like a tangential topic.

Perhaps I want to exclude warmfuzzy from the core of transcendent knowledge, and place it mainly in the periphery.I've experienced transcendent mystical love for other individuals, but am apprehensive about identifying that love with warmfuzzy; that overidentification could risk losing transcendent love and having only warmfuzzy as a false substitute.Thus I want to invite warmfuzzy but keep it in perspective with respect to transcendent love.


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