>It can be proved that Religions in Central America used drugs as sacraments in their religions because the priests there were open about it.
>However, the case relating to the Middle East, Far East and Europe is completely different: the whole matter was SECRETIVE.
>HOW MUCH PROOF IS THERE THAT ANY MIDDLE EASTERN RELIGION USED DRUGS IN THEIR SACRAMENTS?
>ANSWER: NONE - IT CAN ONLY BE DETERMINED THROUGH INFERENCE...
>So, the conclusion is this: those who deny that Christianity had anything to so with psychoactive substances will have to say the very same thing about ALL other religions belonging to the Middle East, the Far East and Europe as well.
James Arthur criticizes such secrecy in Asian religion as well.
http://www.jamesarthur.yage.net/mushroom3.html -- "Buddhism has been transformed into several of the most mystical taditions that exist. There are mainly 3 forms of Buddhism. Hinayana; which is based upon some of the seed precepts, Mahayana; which is thought of as the big-slow-boat to enlightenment, and Vajrayana; which is considered the lightning fast method (small boat) to enlightenment.
The Vajrayana meditation implement of choice being the Vajra (Dorje) which is a metal object round at both ends with a connecting piece inbetween which is held and focused upon as a tool for quickly attaining Nirvava. Vajra means the Lightningbolt which moves quickly, hense the speedy enlightenment.
There is another element to this quick process which also relates to the Vajra. It regards higher levels in the secrets of esoteric Buddhism attainable through the recieving of special knowledge reserved for those who are supposedly ready for it.
Of course it is the Lama, Yogi, or particular teacher's perogative to determine the readiness of each student. And it is also the supposed idea that the teacher is able to impart this knowledge to one who is ready.
Once again we see that there is a heirarchical order involved in the dispersion of knowledge and witholding of knowledge which theoretically trickles down to even the lowly uninitiated if he is ready.
The reality of this type of system is that it is flawed by its very concept of witholding anything from anybody. The hope of any student to find a teacher for whom their devotion is worthy must be determined by the amount of knowledge a particular teacher has.
The limits of the knowledge of the teacher are the limits of the student. Teachers are never willing to admit they are not qualified to teach, so instead they claim to be all knowledgeable.
Absolute and total devotion to the guru is an integral part of Buddhism, even refuge is taken in the dharma and the guru's interpretation of it. I point this out as a preface to saying that the higher teachings of Buddhism involve the taking of the mushroom (the 'death of the ego' yoga or 'death yoga'), a teacher who does not know about this is somewhere on the path to finding it out (as we all are).
There is much to understand and study in esoteric Buddhism. Of all the several varieties the lightning path method (Vajrayana) is the one that claims enlightenment to be possible in a single lifetime.
The others Hinayana and Mahayana (The big slow boat) speak in terms of it taking hundreds, thousands, and even hundreds of thousands of lifetimes to attain enlightenment (whatever you think that means). Now to me, the Vajrayana, lightning fast method seems like the most promising. It is this Vajra (Lighning) that holds the key, and hence the very name Vajrayana."
>>Your comments about Heinrich`s book are helpful. The Egodeath site contains a lot of very highly interesting material and stimulates in-depth investigation into this relatively neglected issue. There aren't any good Web pages written in German websites about visionary plants in religion. Germany has become a kind of backwards, lagging, developing country, in various fields, including this field.
>>>Initiation is classically a series of some 8 visionary-plant sessions, interspersed with study of perennial philosophy. Most religion is a distortion, corruption, literalization,
and cooptation of this standard initiation system
>>What does "eight visionary-plant sessions" mean?
A good, useful, simple, clear model of classic traditional initiation is that twice a year, a young adult is given visionary plants to ingest. Each time this initiate ingests (eats, drinks, or otherwise absorbs) the visionary plants, a mystic altered-state session occurs, a session with a duration of some hours, with a peak window of some ten minutes to an hour.
Prior to the first visionary-plant initiation session, and interspersed with the series of sessions, is the teaching and study of esoteric perennial principles about the relationship between self, control, will, world, time, and freedom -- those are the core principles of high philosophy, religion, and myth.
The visionary plants, called 'wine' or 'mixed wine', have basically the same effect as if we were to add psychoactive mushroom powder, from psilocybin mushrooms (provided by cows), to wine that is greatly diluted with water by a 3:1 ratio. The visionary plants that have been so used throughout European religious history probably include most of these: opium, cannabis, datura, henbane, belladonna, psilocybin (cow-pie) mushrooms, Amanita Muscaria mushrooms, wormwood, and mandrake.
As the entheogen-diminishing professional spiritual leaders dogmatically insist, visionary plants aren't a spiritual path. Visionary plants are merely the best key, by light-years, to opening the doors on the path. Insofar as these plants are so excellent at opening the path, visionary plants *are* the path -- if we include the study of high philosophy as part of the definition of "using visionary plants".
The problem of actual messy diversity of religious ideas versus vs. the simple proposal that Hellenistic religion was really, ideally, and ultimately the entheogenic grappling with no-free-will as experience and insight
One of the top things I wish for is more evidence to support the entheogenic nature of ancient mythic mentions of mixed wine, meals, feasts, and banquets, such that Dionysus is not the god of alcoholic drunkenness, but rather, of entheogenic inebriation. As it stands now, I have excellent, highly plausible hypotheses to that effect, defined at a very high level and ready to start asking questions.
I know a great, perfect high-level set of questions to ask. But every time I look at actual Hellenistic religion, it is extremely diverse and chaotic, a marshland -- could that very diversity of views and concerns be some sort of sign of entheogen use? My attempted systematization of Hellenistic religious experiencing and mystic insight is like trying to construct a formal of folk superstition or shamanism.
Religion meant something different for each individual, so right away the whole idea of a single "main" or "master" or "ultimate" framework of mythic meaning seems inherently impossible or irrelevant. Hellenistic religion was a thousand different things, just as New Age religion is a thousand different things. So even formulating what my hypothesis is, is difficult.
When I put away the books and generally reflect, it's easy to solve the puzzle of the real meaning of Hellenistic religion (including Jewish and Christian religion). When I open the books, I see that the solution remains standing, but I also see vast, overflowing diversity, a jungle of different notions and understandings of what it's all about.
Visualize an insanely overgrown garden trellis with a thousand vines pointing in various directions, projecting different target patterns -- what they all abstractly converge upon is the view I put forward, so that we can abstract-out the underlying, completely hidden trellis that supports all the vines and is not perfectly reflected by any one vine. So we need an appropriate theoretical construct such as the true *convergent abstracted meaning* of Hellenistic mystery-religion.
That is a vital, key construction -- we've got to separate the abstract, solvable puzzle from the diversity of actual data, like extracting a mathematical formula from a messy set of data points, so that we're not dependent on the exigencies of what historians might dig up. A robust theory necessarily amounts to declaring: I don't care what the individual mystery-religionists thought or did, the fact remains that their religion was really, ideally, ultimately the entheogenic grappling with no-free-will.
We can confidently expect to find, out of this vast diversity, some practitioners who did understand mystery-religion this way. I'm not worried about whether we can find some practitioners who affirm this solution of the puzzle. I'm worried about the fact that we'll certainly find many practitioners who *didn't* understand mystery-religion this way, or wouldn't affirm this puzzle-solution -- what do we theorists do with *them*?
So a theory about the "real meaning" of religion must make a strong distinction between the mere "majority understanding" and the "ultimate, ideal understanding" of the religion.
It's actually harder than we thought to determine what the majority understanding of Christianity was. Can we really talk so confidently of "typical, mainstream" Christianity? For one thing, what if the officials define it differently than the populace or the mystics? Does everyone "in" the religion count equally? Who is "in" and who can be discounted as a "heretic"?
But in any case, we can state that the "ultimate, ideal understanding" is probably quite different than the "majority understanding", whatever the "majority understanding" might really be.
I don't assert that the majority understanding of Hellenistic mystery-religion was entheogenic grappling with no-free-will. Such an understanding was probably common, but minority; based on all the diversity reflected in the texts, I frankly expect only a minority of the initiates to affirm my explanation of the real meaning of their religion.
We can't so much "solve the puzzle" of any one mystery-religion or determine any one person's understanding, but we can easily determine the convergent abstracted meaning of mystery-religion. Picture each initiate and each mystery-religion session as a flashlight pointing to the sky -- even if none of them exactly hits the target, together they do converge on a single target, which can be abstracted out.
Am I saying that Hellenistic religionists had the same mental worldmodel about time, space, self, and control as I have; that they would agree and say I've cracked the meaning of their puzzle? Sort of. So I may be asserting that Hellenistic religion ultimately amounted to poetic expression of entheogenic religious mystic experiencing -- not systematic theoretical explanation such as an orderly theory of no-free-will.
To put it as simply as possible, I've figured out what Hellenistic mystery religion and myth was really about: entheogenic grappling with the experience and insight of no-free-will. (Entheogen scholars contribute the first part, and Luther Martin the second.) However, looking at actual Hellenistic mystery religion, chaos and diversity is more apparent, instead, and it appears arbitrary to focus on the tenth of a percent who saw things similarly to my ideal theoretical explanation of their system.
For example, according to my model, the main or "real" meaning of the Cross is a metaphor for the rational entheogenic mind repudiating the animal-like illusion of egoic sovereignty, and when such sovereignty is repudiated as illusion, so must moral culpability logically be mentally re-attributed away from ego and onto the block universe or a transcendent controller of the block universe, so that in two contrasting senses our sin is removed -- 'sin' in the sense of moral guilt and 'sin' in the sense of the deluded assumption that we are metaphysically free moral agents.
But the Cross has meant a thousand different things, so what could it mean to talk about the "real" meaning and "decoding the main, actual meaning" of the symbol?
So I say that actual, messy, diverse Hellenistic mystery religion and myth was ultimately, more or less distorted expressions of this specific peak transcendent insight -- the messy diversity of understandings points, ultimately and altogether, at the view I'm formulating, even if no one person ever thought of Hellenistic myth in the systematic way my system describes.
I could even say that the Hellenistic religionists had a poor and very unsystematic understanding of their own system of insight and allegory -- perhaps poetically robust and highly informed by mystic state experiencing and some degree of conceptual insight, but not systematically developed.
We can again look to 20th Century acid-oriented Rock lyrics for comparison: I have managed to formally systematize that system of double-entendres and encoding, but the Rock religion poets themselves operated more artistically and intuitively; I give them credit, such as the Rush song No One at the Bridge, for reaching entheogenic enlightenment some 20 years ahead of the theoretical systematizers (1970s vs. 1990s).
Hellenistic religion was as messy and diverse as Protestant sects, and Hellenistic philosophy was as messy and diverse as modern-era Philosophy, making it somewhat problematic to say that the "real" meaning of Hellenistic transcendent thought and poetic myth was the entheogenic grappling with no-free-will.
Instead, having to make a highly selective judgement seems inescapable; I have to declare that in my opinion, the most superior and most insightful and transcendent type of Hellenistic religion is that tenth of a percent that was closest to the core theory of transcendent knowledge I've systematized. I have to declare illegitimate almost all aspects of Hellenistic religion, in order to propose that it all served to faintly and confusedly point to only one legitimate target of meaning.
This problem includes decoding "original, earliest Christianity". We now know the extreme diversity of Christian origins; a thousand bickering sources and tributaries that were only centuries later somewhat rounded up into an apparently single religion. So isn't it inherently nonsensical and impossible to talk of "cracking the meaning of the Christian allegorical myth puzzle"?
We have to bracket away *all* actual specific cases of Christianities, and solve the problem at a somewhat artificially high level of abstraction: taken as a generalized whole, as a Wittgensteinian "family resemblance" or fuzzy set, we can define an abstract single thing called "Christianity", and treat it as a meaning puzzle to be solved and a single, definite, bounded and finite code to be decoded.
In that defined sense, yes, Christianity can be and has now been cracked as a mystery-riddle -- but that doesn't mean that any actual particular Christian would say that they think of Christianity in the way described by this riddle solution. Not only do we have to crack the riddle, we also have to explain (to legitimize a riddle solution as a relevant solution) in what sense Christianity can and can't be treated as a single, specific riddle.
This meta-problem reminds me of the problem with arguing about whether there was a Historical Jesus -- ultimately it comes down to a foundation of defining what can and can't count as a Historical Jesus.
That task amounts to a meta-level theoretical definition, saying that a "HJ exists" only if there is a toweringly distinctive single Jesus-like figure jutting out from the otherwise low Bell curve of Jesus-like men, rather than the opposite view to define, "HJ doesn't exist", meaning there is a medium-wide, medium-height smooth Bell curve where the world's most Jesus-like man is surrounded by many other almost as Jesus-like men; the curve effectively swallows up the individuals.
As a theorist, I'm totally certain that the real meaning of Hellenistic mystery religion is entheogenic allegorization of grappling with the experience and insight of no-free-will. Considering all the diverse chaos, this is the extracted, abstracted pattern that makes the most sense and is most profound yet simple and reproducible.
To be able to say this, I have to go out of my way to address the fact that perhaps no actual individual Hellenist would agree with my systematic theoretical explanation. Whether or not the practitioners would agree with my summary of the meaning of their religion, I insist that this *is* the real meaning and concern of their religion.
Defining the real meaning of a type of religion is remarkably distinct from the issue of what the practitioners understood the meaning to be. This is the only way we theorists and scholars are going to be able to make a case that "religion is actually entheogenic"; we have to be immune from the possible finding that most actual Hellenistic religion wasn't entheogenic, and instead argue that it was *ideally* entheogenic in its "best, purest, and most authentic form".
Perhaps the vast majority of Seders and Agape meals were not entheogenic -- we must be prepared to say that the true paradigm nevertheless is the fraction of a percent of sacred meals that *were* entheogenic; those are the only ones that really count in defining the true meaning.
Gnosis 10th anniv. issue, p. 35
Interview with Huston Smith.
Huston Smith's view is that there's only spotty evidence for the theory that the religions originated from entheogens. Entheogens alone are not a viable authentic spiritual path, but entheogens in a sacred context are a viable path.
Smith doesn't define here "sacred context".
His view is comparable to my view that the only reasonably ergonomic path to enlightenment is entheogens together with study of perennial philosophy. His way of describing drugs is biased against them. When the subject of "drugs" comes up, he treats it as represented by the Merry Pranksters, as though he were asked "Is the Acid Test freakout happening an authentic spiritual path?"
Unless such is explicitly specified, he assumes the total lack of a sacred context or attitude. As soon as you lay down a context he recognizes, such as Amerindian or mystery religion or Vedic sacrifice rituals, then Smith takes a highly supportive stance to drugs. This highlights the simplistic character of Traditionalist thinking -- a completely formulaic, cliched notion of what a "sacred context" is -- as long as it's old ritual, it's a good context, in his view.
James Arthur promotes freeing ourselves from such rigid thinking about the context. I'm framing Heavy Rock -- specifically, acid-oriented Rock in whatever genre -- as a sometimes ergonomic path to ego transcendence and transcendent knowledge -- its effectiveness is reflected in the lyrical allusions to intense mystic experiential insights. Rave culture, however, lacks lyrics (poetry), so is less efficient.
I favor the Rush song The Body Electric, because of its android cybernetic myth-mysticism theme, keeping in mind the context of previous songs in the Rush lyrical allusion universe, such as No One at the Bridge, Chemistry, Free Will, Twilight Zone, The Necromancer, Natural Science, Limelight, and Cygnus X-1. I theorize for androids, not for people.
The early 20th Century psychologist William James was surprisingly contemporary in his thinking style, his experiential manner of approaching cognition.
Sent: Monday, February 03, 2003 12:16 PM
To: Alchemind Society
Subject: CCLE Seeks Scholars for William James Project
February 3, 2003
Call For Advisors: The Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics Seeks Scholars for the William James Project Advisory Board
William James (1842-1910) stands as one of America’s preeminent philosophical thinkers on the nature of consciousness. James advocated that the field of psychology should develop around an integrated cognitive psychology of experiential consciousness. The CCLE has developed the William James Project to focus public attention on the philosophy of consciousness in relation to individual rights of mind. With this project, the CCLE calls for serious consideration by policy advisors and scholars to situate their work in relation to emerging cognitive liberty issues, and seeks their informed input in formulating social policies and impact litigation to promote and protect intellectual freedom.
>> Read full project statement
The CCLE is currently seeking scholars with a strong interest in, and academic command of, the philosophy of William James for the William James Project Advisory Board. Of particular interest are those with an expertise or interest in William James’ use of nitrous oxide as a philosophical tool. Advisory board members will be added to a list-serve and will receive periodic updates on William James Project Activities and may chose to participate in online discussions of project development. If you are a scholar currently teaching or studying the philosophy of William James in a Philosophy, Psychology, Psychiatry, Religious Studies, or other university program and would like to volunteer your expertise on CCLE’s William James Project Advisory Board and List Serve, please e-mail us.
Please distribute this announcement or the project flyer to interested parties you may know.
Mind Expand 2001 wrote:
>>Have you ever had an entheogen induced "golden void" type experience? I would greatly like share and compare my experiences of ten years ago with someone else. I want to discuss this with someone else who has had the same experience.
The egodeath discussion group would be an almost ideal place. Most posts are mine, but there are some very well-informed people who read and occasionally post -- expertise is there.
>>Jesus is "heroin"?
>>Now , you should have told me that before...
Why state the obvious? Ancient mythic deities are adorned with and identified with opium poppy capsules along with core entheogens, 18th Century literature used visionary opium, opium prevents nausea from entheogens, therefore the usage context renders the poppy as part of the mystic garden pharmacopaeia, which logically covers opium and derivatives including tincture thereof, morphine, and heroin, and more potent synthetic opiates.
>How long will it take til true (entheogenic) religion gets mainstream (again)?
>>[The entheogen theory as you are developing is] nothing less than the radical transformation of a given in science ... that is as dynamic as the shift from the geocentric to the heliocentric in the renaissance or to evolution later. Like McKenna liked to point out as archaic revival or re-evolution, this shift in understanding AND experience will in fact be THE essential 'missing link.'
Prof. Thomas Roberts' talk at http://www.entheogenesis.ca conference is "The New Gutenberg Reformation - Entheogenic Experience as the Basis of Religion". Ott's book Age of Entheogens http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0961423471 has essentially the same idea.
First obstacle along the way: the B.S. of the post-60s reactionary spiritual Establishment that meditation is the standard of historical legitimacy and of efficacy, and that at best, entheogens are as effective and as legit historically. That meditation-glorifying position is utter hogwash and balderdash -- an excellent example of specious argument, like the phony WOD. Meditation is but a feeble murmur of our entheogenic brain circuits; the evidence clearly supports this position, especially when prohibition is factored out.
The phony WOD walks hand-in-hand with the meditation-glorifying, entheogen-diminishing dominant spirituality paradigm. I'm against not meditation, but that meditation paradigm that insists of preventing entheogens from getting due credit as vastly surpassing the ergonomics of entheogens for classic mystic experiential states and insight. The same debunking that covers the WOD also covers the meditation paradigm.
The WOD is the same thing as the meditation paradigm, in key ways. They are allies against the truth about the entheogenic wellspring and perennial origin of religion, and I particularly loathe and hate when the supposed entheogen defenders give credibility to the meditation paradigm which reigns today, and fail to even try to knock it down where it belongs as a distortion become lie, the opposite of truth.
It *could be* soon.
Image from the cover of
Visits to the Blessed Sacrament
To isolate the Amanita cap, it would be good to use a circular crop tool on this picture. I don't know the origin of the red color in this image.
In Alan Watts' book Myth and Ritual in Christianity, page 198, he portrays such figures -- "Monstrance for benediction and exposition of the sacrament" -- as representing the spine and world-tree, with the heart of the sun, or the sun door, at the top. I'm continuing to build the case, or interpretive framework, that entheogens were much more prominent and widely used in Christendom.
The conventional view now is that entheogens were deeply suppressed and used only in isolated pockets. Instead, I propose that entheogens were centrally taboo, so that it's an understatement that there is an entheogen-shaped hole at the center of religion. Through selective shaping and contention, religion is whatever results from basing religion on entheogens while officially denying that entheogenic basis.
Only this full-fledged self-contradiction does justice to the intensity of the entheogenic shape of religion and to the completeness of the official neglect and disparagement of the entheogens among all the published religionists. Basically religion is a giant game of covertly appropriating the entheogenic experience.
To pin down the role of entheogen allusions in world religions: did all genuine mystics use entheogens? Was it that the majority of intense religious experiences have always been entheogenic? The main point is finding a way of radically reconceiving the relationship between entheogens and official religion.
Not simply that the original religionists tripped, and thereafter the sacrament was suppressed, but is now rediscovered (as in Ott's essay titled "The Age of Entheogens, The Pharmacratic Inquisition & The Entheogenic Reformation"). We need an even more general model, more general than a simple linear storyline -- and one that applies to all religion including Buddhism, Islam, and New Age.
The same dynamics happen constantly. There may be a historical large-scale storyline of development too, but we need to be able to see the same dynamics in all ages. Religion constantly flows in exuberant abundance, a cornucopia, from entheogens, but for socio-political and psychological reasons, this perfectly reliable material source for highest experiencing is neglected, suppressed, disparaged, and condemned almost in the same move as it is honored.
Entheogens are taboo: respect and awe and fear mingle with rejection and suppression. We can't really simply separate out respect for entheogens and suppression of them. There is an axis with 3 points: official Literalist religion, semi-official mystic religion, and entheogenic extreme mysticism.
For the entheogen theory of the origin of religions, it is axiomatic that entheogens are the heart, soul, source, fountainhead, and lifeblood of religion -- but if that's the case, why is official religion, of all major brands, always bent on disparaging and condemning entheogens? What would be the universal reason for doing so? Entheogens are somehow a threat to the official religion, and a threat to semi-official mystic religion.
Mysticism and mantic (divine mania) prophecy and herbal knowledge is closely associated with women. Thus not only does a radical revision of understanding entheogens' role in religion stand to gain much from studying the relation of mysticism and Literalism, but also, much from studying feminist revision of religious historical understanding.
The quasi-official mystics have done much work to set the record straight on the legitimacy of mysticism against Literalism, and similarly, the feminist scholars of religious history have done much work to set the record straight on the role and repeated importance of women in religion. Entheogen mysticism has much to gain by re-using and making a certain alliance with both of those movements.
Entheogen mysticism has one kind of battle against Literalist religion, and a different kind of battle against quasi-official mysticism. Zig Zag Zen is all about the latter battle, within the Buddhist religion-space. Similarly, there is a more interesting battle now between entheogenic Christianity and quasi-official Christian mysticism, than between entheogenic Christian mysticism and Literalist Christianity.
It takes some struggle to move from Literalist Christianity to quasi-official Christian mysticism, but it takes an even greater struggle to move from quasi-official Christian mysticism to entheogenic Christian mysticism.
As we climb from Literalist versions of the religions to mystic versions of the religions and finally up to entheogenic versions of the religions, the importance of the name brand disappears to nothing, so that it's largely a contradiction in terms to say "entheogenic *Christian* mysticism" -- better would be "non-denominational entheogenic religion-Philosophy".
The unanimous story of the semi-official religious mystics is that entheogens are noteworthy but false and bad and ought to be disparaged publically; such mainstream mystics make a show of damning entheogens with faint praise and explaining why "legitimate" and "traditional" mysticism, as portrayed in the official worldview, is superior to entheogenic "pseudo-mysticism", dismissing the "principle of causal indifference" which says that experience M is mystic regardless of how the experience was brought about.
It's exasperating to the breaking point, reading always the same moves, in mystic books such as Zig Zag Zen, which are, just like official religion, hell-bent on spinning a take on entheogens which will -- this is the important thing to them -- defuse the threat posed by entheogens. If entheogens are fully legit, then the semi-official mystics are out of business, and the official Literalist religion is out of business, and the warring political system of the world is out of business.
If entheogens have authority, then the system of the world loses its authority. This is why so much effort is always poured into denying the entheogenic nature of religion while appropriating, co-opting, and taking over the fruits of the divine plants. Christianity is a religion based on and centered around entheogens, that is officially opposed to religion.
Christ is the rejected foundation stone of the Church, and Christ is the entheogenic divine flesh. Dionysus the Entheogen is the rejected foundation stone of religion. Religion is that which results by building on an entheogen-experience basis while officially denying that one is doing do. The king's system and the godman's system are set against each other.
Like Huxley in his conversion to entheogenic mysticism through mescaline, Saul the ego is set against the entheogenic Christ, but then sees the blinding light of meta-perception feedback, repents, and becomes Paul, an advocate and missionary spreading the good news. That's a True story, but it fails to explain how religion continually moves from its entheogenic source to devolve into Literalism and lukewarm quasi-official mysticism.
The religions betray their entheogenic source and inspiration, in both senses: they falsely deny that origin and disparage it, and yet, because they appropriated the inspiration brought by entheogens, that entheogenic source is still clearly and obviously present, to those who recognize it, such as in the language of the Eucharist and the Greco-Roman sacred meals such as symposium, seder, and agape feast, and prophetic visionary chariot mysticism.
From this perspective-framework, the semi-official non-entheogenic mystics (we can't know who these are) are engaged in a deviant degenerated innovation that operates within an essentially entheogen-derived framework even while they deny that it's an entheogen-derived framework. The true master of the house of mysticism is the Entheogen, even if a majority of non-entheogenic intruder mystics have falsely staked a claim to ownership of the house of God.
According to the principle of the universal constancy of the rate of entheogen use throughout cultures and religions and eras:
o Proto-Christianity was essentially entheogenic while officially denying this
o Early Christianity was essentially entheogenic while officially denying this
o Medieval Christianity was essentially entheogenic while officially denying this
o Modern-era Christianity was essentially entheogenic while officially denying this
o Postmodern-era Christianity is essentially entheogenic while officially denying this
o New Age religion is essentially entheogenic while officially denying this
o Islam is essentially entheogenic while officially denying this
o Buddhism is essentially entheogenic while officially denying this
o Judaism is essentially entheogenic while officially denying this
o Hinduism is essentially entheogenic while officially denying this
By outer/inner religion:
o Official Literalist religions are essentially entheogenic while officially denying this
o Semi-official mystic religions are essentially entheogenic while officially denying this
For this cross-religion paradigm asserting that the established religions are entheogen religion in denial, Dan Merkur has been the leading contributor in the area of Judaism. His native intepretive framework is Psychology.
There are two essential versions of religion -- exoteric and esoteric; outer and inner; lower and higher. There are two approaches to characterizing esoteric religion: look at its mediocre average, or look at its defining extreme. When considering "average mysticism" versus "ultimate mysticism", we analyze and divide "mysticism" into two important forms that can be contrasted.
So instead of just a dipole analysis with exoteric and esoteric on either end, it makes more sense for the entheogen scholar to consider the dynamics moving from Literalism to mainstream mysticism, and then from mainstream mysticism to entheogenic mysticism. In this view, mainstream mysticism thinks it's oh-so-enlightened, but actually, it's just the mediocre midpoint between the true endpoints: Literalism and entheogenic mysticism.
The midpoint always has the most complicated struggle, because it has to oppose the one extreme by pushing one direction, but oppose the other extreme by pushing in the opposite direction. The conventional, quasi-official, mainstream mystics must resist Literalist religion while also resisting entheogen religion.
If we consider Literalist religion and entheogen mysticism as a dipole, this puts ordinary or quasi-official mysticism into the mediocre middle -- that kind of mysticism has many elements of Literalist thinking, and many elements of entheogen mysticism. Entheogen mysticism stands in relation to quasi-official mysticism the same way as quasi-official mysticism stands in relation to Literalist religion.
Entheogen mysticism is as far beyond or above quasi-official mysticism as quasi-official mysticism is beyond or above Literalist religion. This is a large, easy gain for the entheogen religion analysis, because the relation and tension between Literalist religion and quasi-official religion is relatively well-known, compared to finding the place of entheogens in relation to the others.
The main question at hand is, "What is the relationship between entheogen mysticism and official religion?" Right away we can plug in a vast, already-existing analysis by saying, "It's the same relative relation as the relationship between quasi-official mysticism and Literalist religion." Just as quasi-official mysticism is a purer form than Literalist religion, so is entheogen mysticism a purer form than quasi-official mysticism.
Each of the three camps should more openly account for the "paradigm" factor. Quasi-official mysticism is a standard paradigm with standard types of dismissals of both Literalism and of entheogen mysticism. There is variety of a sort within Literalist religion and within quasi-official mysticism, but also certain characteristic regions containing the diversity.
For insightful and useful analysis, it's best to delineate a distinct typical "Literalist religion", "quasi-official mysticism", and "entheogen mysticism", though there are varieties and there are points along this continuous axis. Each paradigm erects a boundary and defends it with a characteristic type of argumentation and creative interpretation, or apologetics.
There is one kind of apologetics for Literalist religion, one kind of apologetics for quasi-official mystic religion, and another kind of apologetics for entheogen mysticism, and I intend by "apologetics" to include ways of refuting the rightness of the other approaches.
There is a standard way Literalist religion refutes the rightness of quasi-official mystic religion.
There is a standard way quasi-official mystic religion refutes the rightness of Literalist religion.
There is a standard way quasi-official mystic religion refutes the rightness of entheogenic mysticism.
There is a standard way entheogen mysticism refutes the rightness of quasi-official mysticism.
This is why Zig Zag Zen exudes the same kind of going-nowhere, masturbatory, circular, pointless, dogmatic repetition as the pathetic Literalist apologetics book, Evidence That Demands a Verdict. Most voices in Zig Zag Zen don't convince, but rather, ritually repeat the same small set of standard dogmas, the same kinds of contrived arguments.
The more they repeat these dogmas and tired standard misportrayals of the potential of entheogens, the *less* convincing they are, rather than *more* convincing -- especially when the repetition establishes clearly the deep-worn ruts of avoiding certain arguments; after enough repetition, through a process of contrast, the arguments start to define their opposite: the things not said, the subjects and arguments that are avoided (this is opposed to sophisticated honest investigation, which *does* take into account the opposing arguments *without striving to distort them* but instead, striving to fairly portray the opposing views).
In the book Zig Zag Zen ( http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0811832864 ), the towering essay that overshadows the rest is The Paisley Gate, by Erik Davis, author of the excellent book TechGnosis. The other voices express attitudes, and only Davis explains their attitudes. This is the perspective to key into: *why* do religionists tell the stories they tell to grudgingly acknowledge yet always *minimize* entheogens, saying "Pay no attention to the entheogen behind the curtain."
When forced to, as the haughty and unconvincingly parochial Catholic apologist Zaehner was, official religion has to admit the undeniable reality that entheogens are a supremely effective method of producing experiences that people routinely report as largely mystical -- to deny that fact would be to cut loose from reality altogether and lose all ability to persuasively bend and distort entheogens so as to minimize their threat.
Outright denial may be tried, but it is outrightly unconvincing and just backfires for any reader with an ounce of knowledge and critical judgement. So the official line is not to deny that entheogens produce experiences people describe as mystical, but rather, much more feebly, to try to diminish and belittle and (vaguely and nebulously, as is the standard move in Zig Zag Zen) deny the "legitimacy" and "relevance" and "authenticity" of entheogens.
Only Davis comments on these defensive combat strategies and *why* such absurd hand-waving is resorted to. Most of Ram Dass' commentary is also agreeable, but Davis outshines the elder generation. Davis' weakness is that he keeps up the tired old official simplistic assumption that Christianity is inherently against entheogens, while Buddhism is relatively less incompatible with entheogens.
That position doesn't hold water, given that the true Eucharist has always been "mixed wine", that same "mixed wine" of the symposium "drinking/Philosophy party" and that same "mixed wine" of the ultimate authoritative Passover seder meal which reinstantiates the Exodus from slavery in Egypt.
Entheogenic mysticism, not non-entheogenic mysticism, is the source, heart, cornucopia, and fountainhead of religion. Official religion, which has struggled against even the quasi-official mystics within its camp, poses the question of whether artificial, entheogenic mysticism is as legitimate as natural, non-entheogenic mysticism. That framing of the measurement is already biased in the wrong direction.
The way the measurement is posed from within the entheogenic paradigm is, whether artificial, quasi-official, non-entheogenic mysticism can measure up to the authenticity, authority, and legitimacy of natural, entheogenic mysticism.
Here's a clear case of arbitrary built-in, self-reinforcing bias of interpretation. The delusional mind can always arrange any and all data to fit the preconceived scheme. Data can be interpreted to fit into distinct opposing frameworks of arrangement. A main argument the quasi-official Christian and Buddhist mystics levy against entheogen mysticism is that salvation and enlightenment through using entheogens is salvation through the works of the ego, because it is ego that wills to ingest the substance.
They say that in contrast, "natural", non-entheogenic mysticism happens from outside the ego's will. But that way of arranging interpretations is totally arbitrary.
Were they honest and serious debaters, they would address the natural counterargument of the entheogenic mystics: non-entheogenic mysticism is an effort of the ego, an attempt at works-salvation where the egoic mind strives to save the person through the efforts of the egoic will, whereas the path of non-ego would be the entheogenic path, where all credit for enlightenment and salvation goes to the entheogen -- the divine flesh -- rather than to the ego.
Both inversions of interpretation are ridiculously simplistic child's play and the analysis really must be elevated to a more sophisticated integration of all the perspectives and ways of framing the interpretations. The same kind of flimsy, silly "reasoning" fills the pages of the Literalist Christian apologetic "Evidence that Demands a Verdict" and the non-entheogenic mystic Buddhism apologetics that are so predominantly expressed in the book Zig Zag Zen.
There are many ways to arrange concepts of how the egoic will moves in conjunction with the Divine will when salvation or enlightenment happens. The only kind of analysis that can make any real progress is by asking *both*, "In what sense is salvation effected by the egoic will?" and "In what sense is salvation effected by the Divine will only?"
If ego wills to sit in meditation or ego wills to take an entheogen, is there really any difference? Both acts are acts done by the ego, and both lead to the same result, which can fairly by characterized by both of two seemingly opposing ways; Is the ego killed from outside itself, from beyond its own will? Yes. Does the ego will and cause its own death? Yes.
Conceptual language is largely flexible this way, and we can't make any real progress until we publically confess and admit that each statement can be taken in different ways.
It is, in the end, completely irrelevant whether the ego entered the labyrinth of mystic death-and-transcendence by the initial egoic act of sitting, or by the initial egoic act of ingesting the flesh of the divine -- the only practical difference is that sitting requires *more* work than ingesting, but if one accuses the one path of being "work", then so must one accuse the other alternative of being more or less "work", as well.
Such ludicrously unfair, arbitrary, heavily biased and lopsided interpretations, as "entheogen = egoic work, sitting = not- egoic work" totally dominates the works of quasi-official mysticism. Such mystics draw repetitiously from the same small hat of cheap magic tricks -- who can this set of moves persuade except themselves, and not even that?
Zig Zag Zen co-editor Badiner manages to bring this out well in his interviews of the typical Buddhist mystics, saying let me get this straight: you and your cohorts became religious due to your LSD experiences, but now, you say that LSD prevents awakening?
By bringing his opponents' arguments into the broad daylight, those arguments collapse on themselves in a heap of contradiction and strange bias, leaving the anti-entheogenist position without credibility, but leaving the towering question McKenna poses so well in the book: I understand *that* mystic experiences are possible without entheogens, but I can't understand *why* anyone would want to not use the tool that is proven so effective.
Why do the published works and the established mystic leaders so often, laboriously, strenuously, and unconvincingly belittle the entheogens? Davis ventures the most important answer to that most important question. There is evidently some kind of competitive threat posed by entheogens. Literalist religion is threatened in one way by entheogen mysticism, and quasi-official mysticism is threatened in a partly different way by entheogen mysticism.
The three positions are three paradigms or opposed interpretive frameworks, each battling against and resisting the other, with its own inherent apologetic of itself and refutation of the others. The best apologetic and refutation is one that is manifestly fair; the worst is the most blatantly unfair and ridiculously, obviously biased. Credibility and persuasiveness is a matter of eliminating such obvious bias and unfairness, and systematically taking into account *and responding to* the opposing arguments and interpretations.
The best argument is one that portrays one's opponent's position better even than the opponent himself, and yet still wins the debate hands-down (or at least remains standing as a highly plausible and reasonable framework).
Most of the arguments of the anti-entheogenists in Zig Zag Zen, like in Evidence that Demands a Verdict, are completely unconvincing because they are so obviously and relentlessly one-sided, ignoring the obvious meritorious arguments and interpretations of the opposing view, rather than admitting and addressing and actually refuting those arguments.
It's like playing a game of chess against an imaginary opponent and then always making the worse possible move when playing the other side -- clearly a farce, a waste of time, and a pointless exercise in avoiding rather than practicing the engagement.
We have to ask "Who would gain by general acceptance of a given paradigm?" Who, or what socio-political configuration, would gain if Literalist religion won dominance? Who would gain if quasi-official mysticism predominated? Who would gain if entheogen mysticism predominated?
There weren't three openly, publically battling opponents in Christendom or in the Buddhist world. Publically and officially, the battle was between the official Literalist religionists and "the mystics", without the latter being divided into mild, non-entheogenic mystics, and extreme, entheogenic mystics.
The latter was beyond the pale; so taboo, one couldn't openly consider that area, but could only subtly allude to it for those who already know -- this more or less deeply encoded allusion to entheogens even cut across the laity/clergy divide, so that those in the know were found in both, or all three social camps: the regular clergy, the monastic mystics, and the lay populace.
Much discussion of theology and mystic theology was cryptic tiptoeing around entheogen mysticism, which was held by all parties to be the taboo heart of religion. This is the main problem at hand: religion is clearly entheogen allegory throughout, and clearly entheogens are the heart, source, soul, cornucopia, and fountainhead of the religions -- yet how come the official and popular story is so far from this?
How can there be *so much* symbolic evidence and indication of the rich presence of entheogens, and yet, at the same time, *so little* direct, open, straightforward, and non-encoded evidence for entheogens in religion? Evidence? There is a ton, overwhelming evidence -- *if* you read symbolically. If you refuse to read symbolically, then there is very little evidence.
Entheogens are the missing link -- without them, nothing can be explained; with them, everything can be explained. But why is this link so missing, even as it is so intensely and obviously in evidence -- but always, it seems, *coded* symbolically?
Theoretically, entheogens are the perfect solution and the missing link answering every question about early religious experience, such as the "mystery" of how the Greco-Roman-Judaism culture managed to have religious experiencing on tap, as near as a cup of "mixed wine" decorated with "amusing" mythical or "serious" religious symbols.
We need a solution to this mystery, and entheogens are the absolutely perfect explanation -- but why then do we seem to have no straightforward evidence, and why do all the official Literalists and quasi-official mystics of all the established religions hasten to bury, dismiss, and belittle entheogens? Some answers come quickly by asking: And why, for that matter, were the women Christian leaders suppressed, and why were the Gnostics suppressed, and why were the mystics suppressed in Christianity and Judaism?
How were these things a threat to the socio-political-religious establishment? We can answer that, and be thus prepared to answer: why are entheogens, precisely *because* they are the source and origin of religions, universally seen as the most extreme and fundamental threat to the socio-political-religious establishment?
Davis addresses just that question, but lapses into accepting still too much the official story and worldview, failing to see that Christianity is built of entheogenic bricks from basement to spire, all the while making sure to that same degree to officially deny its entheogenic basis and nature. Religion is the result of entheogen religio-Philosophy disguised as, and pretending to be, Literalist religion.
The religions are entheogenic to the core, and are broken and degraded insofar as they deny this and attempt to appropriate the fruits of the true vine while cutting it down. Quasi-official mystics are proud to have taken a step closer to the truth -- would that they would move the other foot from Literalism to entheogens.
Why must a decent theory of ego death and ego transcendence include an essentially comprehensive theory of religion, covering the major religions? Because religion is really, essentially about ego death and suchlike phenomena. Why must a decent theory of ego death include an essentially complete theory of entheogens? Because ego death, entheogens, and religion together form the high Philosophy.
Ego death *could* be portrayed as a subject that is quite separate from entheogens and from the religions, and the religions could be portrayed as separate from each other and from psychology and philosophy. That would be the modernist mistake of differentiating without integrating the domains (or perspectives) of knowledge.
Given that a decent theory must integrate what is most relevant, why are entheogens extremely relevant to ego death? Why is religion extremely relevant to ego death? Why, for completeness, are entheogens and religion extremely relevant to each other?
Those who emphasize a Psychology conceptual framework want to know whether Psychology is extremely relevant to ego death -- some areas of Psychology are extremely relevant, such as James, Hofstadter, Wilber, Jung, and Watts, which area I'm naturally inclined to elevate as "High Psychology" as opposed to the low psychology of sex and rats and sundry malfunctioning patients.
It's not that the whole of religion, psychology, entheogens, and philosophy are extremely relevant to each other, but rather, the most important *part* of these domains are relevant to each other. So to speak, *high* religion, psychology, Buddhism, entheogen studies, and cognitive science are extremely relevant to each other, while the "low" aspects of these fields are not significantly relevant to each other.
Just as the most important part of the religions is that which unites them in the mystic peak, and the most vulgar aspect of religions is those superficial differences which are used to justify war, so are the most important parts of psychology, entheogens, philosophy and so on the parts that unite at the top, while the most vulgar, everyday, and mundane parts are those which render these as widely separated fields.
A theory of entheogen experiencing and insight that covers Psychology but not Religion can only be half-baked and ill-formed. My philosophy of knowledge here has an all-or-nothing character or strategy: essentially, a decent grasp of transcendent knowledge, especially in this Web era, ought to know "all things", saying that "all has been revealed". Otherwise the theory of ego death would be oddly incomplete, leaving out wide areas that are actually centrally relevant.
Also, religions warrant more analysis than, say, Philosophy or Psychology, because of their complex situation of being based on entheogens while denying that basis. This is also why Christianity warrants more analysis than the others: it's a sort of worst case, most important but deeply distorted field. American post-Christian Buddhism, as described in Zig Zag Zen, is less of a puzzle and warrants less analysis, because it is already less Literalist, more mystic, and more entheogenic than official Christianity.
On the other hand, such lukewarm entheogen-inspired Buddhism that is still shot through with simplistic thinking, Literalist thinking, and wafflingly contradictory entheogen-disparaging attitudes, presents another kind of opposition that's a problem for entheogen-religion apologetics.
Not only must official Christianity be set straight about its entheogenic origin, not only must official Buddhism be set straight, but the quasi-official mystics of all religious brands must also be set straight about the entheogenic roots of the religions and the schools of mystic initiation. Zig-Zaggingly inconsistent and self-contradictory Trungpa ought to drink (his alcohol) to that.
He says that to the ego, enlightenment is the ultimate disappointment. The height of irony is that to the quasi-official mystics, the good news of entheogens -- the Holy Spirit on tap -- is not only a disappointment, but an insult and a threat to their entire worldview of what religion -- even mysticism itself -- is about.
In the end, after the thousandth repetition of chanting disparagement against entheogens, Zig Zag Zen ends up synthesizing a definition of the purpose of mysticism that manages to eliminate mystic experiencing and redefine transcendent insight as merely being nice to other people in mundane life -- the same misguided "demythification" as in mainstream liberal Christianity, which eliminates all the Literalist supernaturalism from Christianity, leaving us with only the diffference, which is mere ethics.
Anti-entheogenic Buddhism appears to have inadvertantly proven that the only viable alternative to entheogen mysticism is a Buddhism that is reduced to non-entheogenic and truly non-religious ethics; such advocates labor consistently to eliminate entheogens, eliminate mystic experiencing, and eliminate myth, and eliminate religion, leaving nothing but mundane ethics -- *this* is the sense in which American Buddhism is *truly* "Protestant-style Buddhism": they took mainstream liberal Protestantism, stripped of anything genuinely mystical and reduced to mere mundane ethics, and then dressed it in Buddhist dressing, equally devoid of anything truly religious.
So why not dispose of all the religious trappings and stylizations altogether, and just become a school of New Age ethics, which is what such American Buddhism in fact has been reduced to? They talk and talk of "transformation" and being nice to one another, but all that gets delivered is the effort to transform one's workaday self into a maximally nice person.
I have no objection to that goal in itself, the goal of that totally tamed and neutered religion, but that goal isn't religion, it isn't mystic experiencing, and it doesn't powerfully transform thinking. It's just mundane ethics, labelled as enlightenment and awakening.
>>Image from the cover of
Visits to the Blessed Sacrament
>>To isolate the Amanita cap, it would be good to use a circular crop tool on
this picture. I don't know the origin of the red color in this image.
>>In Alan Watts' book Myth and Ritual in Christianity, page 198, he portrays
such figures -- "Monstrance for benediction and exposition of the
sacrament" -- as representing the spine and world-tree, with the heart of the
sun, or the sun door, at the top. I'm continuing to build the case, or
interpretive framework, that entheogens were much more prominent and widely
used in Christendom.
Clark Heinrich wrote (summary):
>Monstrances are another form of the Grail cup. In both, the sacred substance is held aloft by a stem.
>'Monstrance' means "to show", from the Latin 'monstrum', which means "portent" or "monster".
>'Monster' is from 'monere', which means "to warn".
>Let us warn you about the monster portent so beautifully held in the air by this container of God.
>>For this cross-religion paradigm asserting that the established religions are entheogen religion in denial, Dan Merkur has been the leading contributor in the area of Judaism.
Clark Heinrich wrote (summary):
>Various entheogen scholars have covered Judaism, and it is debatable who is the leading contributor in this area.
It is highly desirable to give credit and respect correctly. It's not easy to sort it out, however. Before asserting who contributed what, it would be best to gather the books and double-check. For example, after reading Heinrich's Strange Fruit and then Merkur's Mystery of Manna, it seems like the smart idea of the ergot-infested baking yeast theory of the Exodus came from Merkur's book, which focuses on Jewish religion -- but no, it comes from Heinrich's book.
In particular, entheogen scholars who have insulted John Allegro by relegating him to a disparaging footnote and refusing to properly credit and cite him owe him an apology and ought to credit him for his contributions, made so far ahead of his time.
Allegro has a foolishly misguided attitude of disparaging entheogens himself, like the pre-mescaline Aldous Huxley, but Allegro's theory of the central presence of Amanita in early Christianity, together with the absense of the historical Jesus, is essentially coherent and a valuable contribution to the field of entheogen scholarship.
I still feel that Merkur "owns" the space of researching entheogens in Jewish religion, though Chris Bennett has studied the Old Testament and Heinrich has made some valuable contributions -- I'd love to see a list of what various entheogen scholars have contributed.
It's a great time now to survey and map out all research about all entheogen use in all religions, eras, and locales; there has been so much research, it is hard to keep track of who contributed what - but doing so, respectfully crediting each researcher, is important. Also important is how effective each researcher has been at communicating the entheogen theory of religion to various audiences or research communities.
>>There is evidently some kind of competitive threat posed by entheogens.
Clark Heinrich wrote (summary):
>Most people in religion have never used entheogens and can't and won't accept the fact that entheogens have the potential to afford truly spiritual experience. These religious people couldn't accept that fact and remain in their brand of religion.
>Those few who have experienced some amount of enlightenment but are afraid of venturing forward along this path on their own, without the support of mainstream religion, are then forced to diminish the importance of the very drugs and experiences that produced their awakening in the first place.
>"Entheogens are not necessary" is one mamby-pamby (and false) statement one often hears or reads from the newly holy (read: too spiritual now to need those grubby, low-level entheogens, which really just slowed me down anyway...).
I'm surprised to find other entheogen scholars reject that common, standard move, "entheogens are not necessary", as resoundingly as I do, firmly rejecting it as a frankly false statement. The above is an accurate characterization of the kind of common, standard expressions that fill the "special issue on entheogens" issues of mainstream spirituality periodicals.
It's time to make a list of the cliched, standard quotes and arguments of the anti-entheogen meditationists, and refute them systematically, in a way that can be reused, so if some entheogen-diminishing religionist tries to make the usual arguments, you can ask them "But how do you reply to the arguments of the entheogenists, written up in such-and-so document?"
In other words, it's time to formalize the debate in response-and-rebuttal articles or books, with *good* and *strong* contributions from entheogenists -- better than in the book Zig Zag Zen, which may have been compromised due to the editors' conflict of interest between getting cooperation from entheogen-diminishing spiritualists and also advocating the pro-entheogen argument (which ideally involves emphatically, forcefully, and mercilessly refuting the arguments of the diminishers).
>These entheogen-diminishing religionists are really saying "I got here that way but you shouldn't, because you might get even higher than I got and not need my religion, and then my facade of faith is liable to collapse like a house of cards."
>These entheogen-diminishing religionists are also hungry for acceptance, and it's a lot easier to be accepted as being a religious person than a "drug-user", even when the goals are identical [spiritual insight and primary religious experiencing]. After a certain age, fear of death sets in and starts warping memory and desire, so people get anxious and join one of the clubs that appears to have the best unfounded promises about death at its core.
>I am more convinced than ever about the "tremen-dous" and vital importance entheogens have to the spiritual life, and their pivotal role in the religious history of the world. That assertion isn't so hard to say; it's not such a big deal to assert -- why do the entheogen-disparaging religionists have such great resistance to being honest about this? A major factor may be that most people who use entheogens don't get the Huge God experience.
>There is a large range of entheogenic experiences; a person's highest experience tends to be their faulty benchmark for measuring how high another person can go. So some people disparage entheogens because, though they experienced many entheogen altered-state sessions, they didn't get especially high in a way that involved an impressive religious experience.
>Also, as far as to what the future can hold...we cannot just discard the reality that the most ancient cultures have this cultural memory of the "Elixer of Immortality;" in the future the potential may be greater then anyone imagines---the enthoegenic properties are only the tip of the iceberg.
The current special issue of the (best of a lousy breed) magazine What Is Enlightenment includes an interview with a think tank guy, ending with a sidebar in which he proposes the future invention of an enlightenment pill. The illustration shows a jar of tablets. Either he is insane, not recognizing that this is exactly how psilocybin and LSD were described, or, more likely, it is a veiled/censored condemnation of the stance of the anti-entheogen meditation proponents.
There is probably a correlation between think tank members and use of cognitive loosening agents.
The last time I saw such a writing presenting this choice of assessments was in the book The Jesus Mysteries, in which the authors proposed that people in the Hellenistic era must have had a different physiology than today, because they had religious experiencing from a few cups of wine. I officially don't remember my conversation about censorship with the authors, but suffice it to say that Timothy Freke's recent encyclopedia of spirituality has a section positively covering entheogens.
(There is also a section stating that it's a classic mystic position to deny individual free will).
There is very heavy explicit and implicit censorship of writing about entheogens; it would be dense to fail to be on the alert and ready to read between the lines. These are professional think-tank members who are paid to be visionaries, and the government has often been intricately involved in psychoactives. It is therefore fully plausible that the think tank member is entheogen-positive and considers it relevant to provide clues to this effect that can evade the magazine's censorship.
It may also be possible that several of the magazine staff are entheogen-positive, insofar as they, too, are serious about their profession and opportunistic users of those tools which prove themselves effective, regardless of the magazine's official position, which certainly isn't explicitly entheogen-positive. These spirituality magazines have a huge barely suppressed interest in entheogens.
Much of their obsession on the meditation path may indicate a frustrated envy of the entheogen path. The term "meditation" quite often is a code-word for entheogens, especially if phrased "meditation, drumming... and other methods." There, it's an open secret that "other methods" specifically means and signals "entheogens".
Similarly, when reading the mystics, always be on the alert for fellow travellers under the iron hand of censorship: watch for the density and frequency of covert double-entendres like "garden", "taste", "drunk", "oral teaching", and "vine".
Integral Theory has failed, so far, to truly integrate entheogens.
Ken Wilber's whole system of Integral Theory, and psychospiritual development of the mind, is flawed most of all by his poor integration of entheogens. Wilber's Integral Theory changes alot when you fully and properly add entheogens. His writings on "states versus stages" of mind are only a start.
His system now touches on entheogens but he fails to *integrate* them, so he ends up with "epicycles"; his theory has not yet collapsed into the proper, finished, elegant system, due to the lack of always taking into consideration "what if entheogens are available on tap, or in a suppressed fashion, or not at all?" -- the latter is the real sociologically distorted world we happen to have lived in.
Wilber presents a theory that only seems legitimate with respect to a world that has long suppressed entheogens. The most embarrassing failure of Wilber's theory is his inability to explain how it is that the mystery religions existed as transcendent development above the egoic level, so long ago. Our actual history is a history of how the mind develops psychospiritually *given that entheogens were long suppressed since the rise of Christianity*.
Yes, *if* entheogens are suppressed from the start of Christianity to our late modern era, *then* the mind unfolds as Wilber describes; but is this model of psychospiritual or mental development *worth anything* as a description of the mind's built-in sequence of stages -- or is such a model only merely useful to describe how the mind develops in an environment that, between the ancient and late modern eras, heavily suppresses entheogens?
I am characterizing my entheogen-integrated theory against Wilber's entheogen-unintegrated theory. The Greeks spoke of the uninitiated and the initiated; Watts speaks of the unenlightened and the enlightened; but Wilber's theory when reduced to the minimum speaks of pre-rational, rational, and trans-rational (or pre-egoic, egoic, and trans-egoic). So here we're attempting to compare a two-level theory against a three-level theory.
The Greeks would not be able to understand Wilber: they talk of sacrificing your mortal child thinking in order to become an immortal adult. They talk of a person as a man-god (godman), or a beast-man, but Wilber effectively talks of a person as a beast-man-god. The Greeks characterize the person as starting life as a beast, and after initiation becoming a man, so that we are an animal below and a human above -- we are a beast-man.
Equivalently, they talk of the person starting life as a mortal, and after initiation becoming an immortal -- we are a man-god. But Wilber's thinking mainly divides us into a beast-man-god (magic-egoic-mythic). Wilber has difficulty assigning rationality to the egoic stage or the mythic stage. His system even tends to force the mythic to the pre-egoic, historically, because the mythic Greeks came *before* the egoic moderns.
And Wilber has difficulty because the egoic stage is shot through with so much magical thinking -- in fact, this suggests a profound insight into a deep failure of Wilber's system: note how anxious Wilber is about the Boomers' magic thinking: it actually bothers him because it contradicts his model. He says there's something wrong with Boomers -- they are not being good egoic rational moderns.
The problem actually lies in Wilber's system: the egoic level is *inherently irrational*, *not rational* as he posits. Wilber also fails to acknowledge Spinoza's Radical Enlightenment in 1650, in which Spinoza essentially transcended the ego, denying freewill, heaven, hell, spirits, magic, and witches, all as an interrelated way of thinking. (Jonathan Israel: Radical Enlightenment http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0198206089 )
The power-establishment balked and reacted by putting forth the mere Moderate Enlightenment. (I feel that this Radical Enlightenment/Moderate Enlightenment distinction goes back to the Radical Reformation vs. Magisterial Reformation; Luther and Calvin, for all their denial of freewill and condemnation of Rome's mandated system of beliefs, chickened out and retained magical thinking so that the power-establishment elite could continue trying to frighten and manipulate the oppressed masses.)
Wilber's theory of separate lines of development helps to explain and analyze the "boomeritis" flaws that haunt and corrupt Wilber's own thinking. The boomeritis syndrome, as defined by Wilber, is that in seeking to move past the egoic stage of development, today's spiritual seekers inadvertantly and chronically regress to pre-egoic magic. The boomeritis syndrome may tell us more about the flaws in Wilber's system than the flaws in today's typical level of psychospiritual development.
Wilber thinks the egoic mental worldmodel has a rational view of time, self, and control -- he says the egoic level of thinking is the rational level of thinking. I only agree with him if he says that, with respect to the spiritual thread of mental development, the egoic level of mental development has *early* or *beginner* rationality, and the transcendent level of mental development has *late* or *advanced* rationality.
It is only if you are talking about the *scientific* developmental line (rather than the spiritual developmental line) that we can say the egoic level of mental development has mature rationality. Historically, given our particular world history as it has actually played out in our particular case, the scientific line of development generally reached completion in the early 20th century, but the spiritual line of development generally remains in a prerational stage.
It's totally arbitrary that during the 20th century, in the scientific developmental line we reached the advanced rationality but in the spiritual developmental line we remained completely undeveloped or regressive-magical.
My biggest point is that Wilber's theory attempts to describe the preprogrammed stages of mental development *in the world we've known*, but that world would have been entirely different if only entheogens had not been suppressed during the 20th century and during the long Catholic "anti-sorcery" era.
It's interesting that scientific rationality led to the discovery of entheogens and in 1985-2002 led to my TechGnosis-oriented full-fledged scientific rational theory of enlightenment, myth, entheogens, self-control seizure, and ego death.
Wilber fails to take into account the prohibition of psychoactives throughout history, and his Integral Theory is struggling to accomodate entheogens in an artificial, "epicycle" way as a mere add-on -- though the true description of how the mind is pre-programmed to develop to and beyond the egoic stage, must take into account the mind's entheogen triggerability potential that is always present.
Wilber could provide an excellent Integral study of the history of prohibition -- he should redeem his theory by doing so.
The Integral Theory diagram is shown on page 43 of A Theory of Everything (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/157062724X). It evades some of my complaints. On the scientific (lower left) developmental line, his sequence is animistic/magical, power gods, mythic order, scientific-rational, integral, holistic -- notice that he here places "mythic order" *prior to* "scientific-rational". I like how he doesn't say "rational" alone, but qualifies it that it's rational *as far as materialist science is concerned*.
On the mental or consciousness developmental line, his sequence is magic, "egocentric", "mythic self", ... integral self, holistic self. Notice his sequence "magic, egocentric, mythic". I agree that as far as mental/consciousness development, mythic is advanced beyond ego.
I still suspect something is wrong with that development line as he portrays it -- he includes "mythic self" at merely level 4 of 8, and includes it in the mere "1st tier" of development -- distinct from the much later 2nd tier, which includes levels 7 (integral self) and 8 (holistic self). This is problematic.
Yes, looking at our actual history in this particular world, mythic self is, like the contemporary "sensitive self", included in the mere 1st tier of development. However, if entheogens had not been artificially suppressed (for merely political-power reasons), the mythic way of thinking would be properly assigned to the higher-tier 2 phase of highly enlightened and highly developed thinking.
The Greeks didn't consider altered states to be an epicyclic add-on to mental development -- quite the opposite; Dionysus is the god of psychoactives and all their myth revolves around entheogen metaphor, describing the plants and the altered-state experiences. The Greeks would laugh Wilber's diagram right out of court; he's got Dionysus stuck onto his diagram after the fact, with bubblegum and rubber bands.
Wilber does have some correct thinking about entheogens, and he does have a bit of thinking about freewill and his statements are correct, but then, so do Freke and Gandy in The Jesus Mysteries have a bit about entheogens that is correct if you read between the lines, and in Lost Goddess, some limited but correct coverage of freewill. These theorists, however, have not truly integrated entheogens and no-free-will into their models of spirituality.
The fact that Wilber ruined the symmetry of his entire diagram by plopping the circled words "also: altered states" blatantly suggests that altered states and entheogens are not correctly integrated into his model. I suspect that if Wilber focused more on entheogens, and the history of prohibition, he would draw the diagram differently and would assign a higher emphasis on the mythic realm instead of putting it only 1 step beyond ego within an 8-step sequence.
The "stages vs. states" distinction is necessary and Wilber has done a fine job of explaining that distinction, but it is poorly represented on his diagram as a poorly attached "epicycles": the "altered state" bubble tacked onto the diagram. His diagram *is* accurate -- but not as a description of how the mind is pre-programmed to develop; instead, it shows how the mind develops under the jackboot of prohibition, which has made higher states of consciousness illegal.
This also raises the question of how political oppression by an elite power establishment fits in -- what does Wilber have to say along the lines of these books? Has not the developmental history of man been a history of distortion and constraint?
Looking to the future, I also think that corporate ways are largely responsible for the phony Drug War. This corporate support for prohibition is one factor in the political wing of the Integral Studies project that I know some people are already starting to study, as they should. Wilber should look more at the general history of how the power establishment has always actively strived to suppress and restrict the mental development, including through prohibition of psychoactives.
The Divine Right of Capital: Dethroning the Corporate Aristocracy
by Marjorie Kelly
When Corporations Rule the World
by David C. Korten
Shamanism and the Drug Propaganda
by Dan Russell
by Dan Russell
The Politics of Consciousness: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom
by Steve Kubby, Terence McKenna (intro)
The Age of Entheogens, The Pharmacratic Inquisition, and the Entheogenic Reformation
by Jonathan Ott
>It seems like this discussion group consists of ramblings about trying to justify getting high on dope.
That's a different complaint than Max expressed. Your characterization truly expresses your perception, but that perception may show more about *you* than about what is being discussed and developed here, and what the motives are. If you perceive this discussion group to be concerned with "getting high on dope" as such, that is in fact your colored lenses or interpretive framework and worldview you bring to the group from outside the group.
I challenge anyone to find postings here that are motivated by recreational fun. We ought to defend those people and occasions that are motivated by recreational use of psychoactives, but there are in fact very few postings here that have anything to do with that motivation and mode of using psychoactives. My motivation is to justify resuming the central use of entheogens especially for religious and philosophical insight and edification.
Recreational fun is hardly represented in this discussion group at all, as a theme and motive for discussion of psychoactives.
Based on your ignorance of the term 'entheogen' and your use of the disparaging term 'dope', your view on this matter carries no particular weight regarding judgement about the character of discussions of psychoactives. There are many different characters of discussions about psychoactives. It carries no weight as a significant critique when you report that you see this group as justifying getting high on dope.
The notion of "justifying getting high on dope" tells more about your worldview (clearly a limited and ignorant, uninformed worldview on this subject) than about this discussion group. This group is largely focused on certain aspects of psychoactives. This is partly due to self-selection of group members and the clear, strong preference for this subject over, say, Ken Wilber, in the ongoing vote about what topics people are interested in.
Entheogens were clearly at the top of the list of topics that group participants have wanted to cover.
You mistake the fact of heavy discussion of psychoactives in religious history and cognitive science with a purely imagined (created and projected by you) heavy discussion of psychoactives with a focus on recreational use. Anyone who knew anything and took an actual look at this discussion to critically evaluate it would be instantly forced to agree that it is extremely focused on psychoactives from a religious and cognitive science perspective, and unusually little from a recreational perspective.
I've seen the discussion groups that take more of a recreational perspective, and although I support recreational use, and want it legally and socially defended, such discussion groups have little appeal to me. My focus is on creating a practical model of entheogenic ego death and related phenomena -- that is only incidentally recreational, and is a stark contrast against a truly recreational approach.
My interest in entheogens has always been as a tool to study self-control and the mind, and later religion - and only very incidentally had any recreational motivating interest. I'm one of the least recreational people around, and that is reflected in the strictly bounded discussion in this group. I won't permit any purely recreational-oriented discussion of psychoactives in this group; it's out of scope and against the rules.
Those who seek recreational discussion of psychoactives have to go elsewhere, to the many other fine or perhaps not so fine discussion groups that take that interest as central. You know and recognize the first thing about this group -- a heavy focus on psychoactives -- but you don't know or recognize the second thing about it, which is that it dwells on psychoactives from a religious and cognitive science perspective.
Aldous Huxley had an amazingly ignorant, parochial, cavalier, smugly confident and dismissive attitude about psychoactives, until he gave mescaline a sincere try.
>Some researchers of religion and entheogen are mainly motivated by the desire to be perceived as superior in their attainment of knowledge, and the desire to elevate their apparent prestige and esteem while (and through) portraying other people in a negative light as ignorant, prosaic, and backwards.
>Some of these researchers use psychoactives claiming that they are mainly using psychoactives to attain and develop knowledge, when much of the time they are actually using psychoactives in order to simply indulge in pleasure and adventure.
>People should be honest about their motives and values for delving into psychoactives.
>Some of the discussion groups about psychoactives are more true and honest and healthy because they are forthright about the nature, purpose, and motives of their interest in psychoactives.
Given today's serious and grave conditions of violent and oppressive prohibition -- a noxious and destructive type of literal war -- we cannot assume anything about whether anyone online personally ingests any psychoactives.
Millions of contemporary children, adults, and researchers have used psychoactives for a variety of reasons. There are many newsgroups catering to simple use of psychoactives for laughter and enjoyment. The use of psychoactives for enjoyment and casual recreation is, in principle, fine and potentially healthy.
When Odysseus returned home after his mythic adventures, his house was filled with idle revellers, who expected to have fun at a psychoactive drinking party -- they never expected that they would die at the banquet! "I only wanted to have fun!" -- Led Zeppelin
If you merely want to discuss the use of psychoactives for enjoyment, that's an easy request to fulfill and I invite you to sample the revelry at any of the hundreds of discussion groups which are optimized for that purpose. The explicit and non-negotiable charter of this discussion group is to discuss the nature and origin of religious experience and mystic-state insight, which is triggered by various methods including but not limited to the use of psychoactives.
While encouraging people to freely use their mind as they desire, with the libertarian guidelines defined by Leary, I also, in addition, encourage more people to investigate the entheogenic roots and basis of religion. The field needs more researchers, focused and dedicated researchers.
Those who feel that there is no worthwhile research to be done in this field are invited to critique, dismiss, and refute the research project, but understand that this discussion group and the mission of these researchers is already committed to making progress along these lines. This frontier of theorizing and investigation has its role to perform and its contributions to make, distinct from the purely recreational realm of psychoactives.
These various realms and discussion forums each have their own role, and they will probably together have the most success by mutually supporting each other. Therefore, if anyone wants to promote the recreational conception of psychoactives, it behooves them to also spill a little wine in respectful support of their brothers and sisters in the closely related fields such as Drug Policy Reform and the Entheogen Theory of the Origin of Religion.
o Those in the field of Recreational Psychoactives would benefit by being more supportive of those in the fields of Drug Policy Reform and the Entheogen Theory of the Origin of Religion.
o Those in the field of Drug Policy Reform would benefit by being more supportive of those in the fields of Recreational Psychoactives and the Entheogen Theory of the Origin of Religion.
o Those in the field of the Entheogen Theory of the Origin of Religion would benefit by being more supportive of those in the fields of Drug Policy Reform and Recreational Psychoactives.
The main point of Ken Wilber's Integral Theory is that one cannot correctly and beneficially do the "subtle reductionism" of collapsing one field into another field that is actually distinct. Due to the wish for a simplistic worldmodel, people attempt to dissolve away one field into another, but the only thing they achieve in that effort is the distortion of reality.
It's simple -- but incorrect and distorted -- to say, for example, "philosophy is really just psychology", or "religion is really just ethics and moralism", or "religion is really just socio-politics", or "the Entheogen Theory of the Origin of Religion is really just Recreational Psychoactives". Each of these fields is, in fact, distinct although interrelated.
There is a relationship and overlap between the Entheogen Theory of the Origin of Religion, Drug Policy Reform, and Recreational Psychoactives. For example, one good reason for a person to promote Drug Policy Reform is to enjoy free use of Recreational Psychoactives, and another good reason for that same person to promote Drug Reform Policy is to do research in the roots of religious experience and religion -- and there are various other reasons and aspects of Drug Policy Reform as well.
Similarly, Recreational Psychoactives has very often lead quickly to a deep interest in the real nature of religious experience and religion. One may attempt to simplistically dismiss one realm for the other, and mentally separate the two realms completely -- but in reality, categories or areas of involvement overlap and interpenetrate. So it is impossible to completely separate Recreational Psychoactives from the Entheogen Theory of the Origin of Religion.
Both realms in fact exist -- to dissolve one into the other is to contradict reality and the rich experience of many people. It is understandable that some people assume that all psychoactives investigation can be effectively contained in the perspectival category (paradigm, conceptual framework) of Recreational Psychoactives.
The diverse world of many people with many different experiences, however, demonstrates that such a "subtle reductionism" attempt to collapse one category into a distinctly separate category can only lead to a failed attempt to artificially narrow the world into one's inadequate framework. You can construct a simplified model of the world, but the world itself remains more variegated and diverse, with many distinct though interpenetrating realms.
To use another example, it is fine, beneficial, enlightening, and productive that Psychology studies Religious Experience, but if one attempts to explain Religious Experience *solely* from the paradigm or perspective of Psychology, one will end up with a distorted model that fails to match the rich complexity of the actual world.
Ken Wilber's Integral Theory is specifically designed to promote this collaborative, healthy, mutually supportive relationship between domains, each one reigning in its proper place and remaining distinct, while interrelating with the rest.
If your commitment is to specializing in research in the field of Recreational Psychoactives, you will benefit the most by supporting the other, distinct, interrelated fields such as the Entheogen Theory of the Origin of Religion, and Drug Policy Reform -- and you will benefit by encouraging those in these other fields to support your field, Recreational Psychoactives.
Of these three fields, my main commitment is not Drug Policy Reform, or Recreational Psychoactives, but the Entheogen Theory of the Origin of Religion. I emphatically support the fields of Recreational Psychoactives and Drug Policy Reform, and strongly encourage people in these three fields to support each other.
However, my support does not amount to using the Egodeath discussion group to promote research in the Recreational Psychoactives paradigm or the Drug Policy Reform paradigm; the discussion group is more specifically and exclusively committed to a full investigation, making progress, in the field of the Entheogen Theory of the Origin of Religion.
That limitation expresses the *distinction* and separateness of these three fields. To properly apply Integral Theory, we must also consider the *interrelation* of the three fields, as reflected in the use of this discussion group.
This means that this group will focus on all of the Entheogen Theory of the Origin of Religion, but will only focus on that part of Drug Policy Reform which is highly relevant to the Entheogen Theory of the Origin of Religion in particular, and will only focus on that part of Recreational Psychoactives which is highly relevant to the Entheogen Theory of the Origin of Religion.
So yes, this group *is* for the discussion of Recreational Psychoactives, but *only insofar* as that subject is highly relevant to the Entheogen Theory of the Origin of Religion.
For example, the idea of the Led Zeppelin song "In My Dying Day" -- I intended recreational psychoactive use, but ended up with ego death and religious experiencing -- is of top relevance to this discussion group.
This High Classic Rock idea is also the theme in the idea from the Greek Symposium (psychoactive wine-drinking philosophical/religious banquet/party), the idea that the revellers that very night at the banquet expected casual fun but were greeted instead by death (mystic, mythic-state ego death) when the true ruler of the house, Odysseus, unexpectedly showed up in disguise and strung his bow.
So there is much in the field of Recreational Psychoactives that is highly and profoundly relevant to the Entheogen Theory of the Origin of Religion, and therefore *those* aspects of Recreational Psychoactives are on-topic in this discussion group. By the same token, in a discussion group dedicated to Recreational Psychoactives, it is off-topic and in principle unwelcome to discuss aspects of religion that don't involve psychoactives, though such aspects are welcome and on-topic here.
Similarly, in a dedicated Drug Policy Reform group, only the Reform aspects of the Entheogen Theory of the Origin of Religion are on-topic, and only the Reform aspects of Recreational Psychoactives are on-topic. It's inaccurate to simply declare any topic "off-topic" for a dedicated discussion group. More accurately, unrelated *aspects* of all other topics are off-topic.
This is a matter of degree and of explicitly stating the relevance of a distant topic from the core topic of the group's charter. For this discussion group, the subject of Recreational Psychoactives is "conditionally on-topic": it's on-topic insofar as it is explicitly related to the core topics of this group's charter, such as the Entheogen Theory of the Origin of Religion.
Things are actually complicated by the fact that this group's charter focuses on a loosely defined *intersection* of many diverse subjects. And it's also deceiving the way I happen to be focusing on only a few topics and topic-combinations since this group started, though I in fact welcome discussion of the other subjects listed in the group's charter or statement of scope and goals.
I also must constantly and repeatedly remind people that there are many brilliant people in the fields of entheogens and religion who are participating in research in the stealth mode. It is deeply mistaken to assume that just because the Recreational Psychoactives community is highly prominent, it is also the most important, thriving, and influential.
Serious researchers in the entheogen theory of religion must keep vividly in mind the hidden, stealth community of committed researchers -- an important, leading Hidden College. Those in the Drug Policy Reform and Recreational Psychoactives fields would also benefit from remembering vividly, respecting, and mutually cooperating with, those in the Entheogen Religion research field.