Wisdom writings about Truth and enlightenment are a dime a dozen, available by the truckload. Such postings are the bane of discussion group leaders, who want something outstanding, something more, something different than generic pedestrian "mundane profundity". If you don't have anything distinctive, you don't contribute anything new, and therefore don't contribute anything.
What's wrong with allowing run-of-the-mill wisdom postings? What makes a posting a run-of-the-mill wisdom posting? Is it bad or mean-spirited to disallow them? Are they off-topic? Would anything be lost if run-of-the-mill wisdom postings were all blocked? Is there any difference between well-written and badly written run-of-the-mill wisdom postings? Does fervent writing about the need for experiencing redeem a run-of-the-mill wisdom posting, or is that fervent injunction actually a key characteristic of such postings that makes them so noxious?
What is the essential formula for run-of-the-mill wisdom writing? It may be that such writing is narrowly limited to a tepid, floating, narrow range of thought, that is neither grounded in specific theory and action, nor does its spirit penetrate upward like its inflated language. It hovers neither grounded in actionable specifics, nor penetrating through to mystic-state climax; it feels like aggravating endless clumsy foreplay. Run-of-the-mill wisdom writing is the awkward adolescent phase of religious writing.
>>it would be impossible to recognize directly the mysteries of life and death without opening the Inner Mind within us.
Any fool can say that type of vague injunction and many do. What exactly does "opening the Inner Mind" mean, specifically and concretely? How exactly does one "open the Inner Mind", specifically and concretely -- what exactly does one do, specifically and explicitly to "open the Inner Mind"?
Techniques and injunctions such as "direct your attention to inner awareness" makes most sense as an injunction to one who is already in the mystic state through methods such as visionary plants.
The typical New Age mush-head version of being clear and explicit and specific about precisely what one must do to achieve mystic climax and become enlightened runs something like this:
"To experience Truth, do the following: eliminate the undesirable elements which together form the Me, Myself, the I."
Fine, but what exactly and concretely do we do, what activity specifically, to eliminate those elements?
"To experience the real, you must do the following specific activity and action: eliminate error; disintegrate the Myself, one's mistakes, prejudices, fears, passions, desires, beliefs, lusts, "intellectual stubbornness", and self-sufficiency.
Again, this is just repeating the same vague, non-actionable injunctions. How exactly does one *do* the above "elimination and disintegration"? What must one *do* to "eliminate" those things and "disintegrate" those things? We are all at your command ready and eager to follow the action instruction, but it never comes.
"To attain to Truth, don't focus on statements or writings. To attain to Truth, do the following action: have the Ego die."
Again, this is just vapid circling about, never touching ground as far as concrete specific actions to bring about the injunction of "die to Ego". Having the Ego die is the *result*, the *goal* -- the question is, what do we *do* to bring about that goal?
"To attain to Truth, do the following action: eliminate the elements which form the Me, Myself, the I."
Fine, but yet again, what exactly and specifically is the activity we must *do* to "eliminate" these elements? The circling floating injunctions are the intermediate method of attaining the goal of Truth, but we completely lack a method of bringing about the intermediate condition. What do we *do* to achieve the intermediate means (eliminating self) in order to know Truth?
Eliminating self and knowing the truth are practically the same thing -- the *goal* -- but the vague system of injunctions that never touches down upon the earth of specific activities is completely silent regarding such activities, only ceaselessly chanting the same intermediate goals and methods over and over, round and round.
The advocates of vague Tradition (the theorists of Tradition such as Schuon) when you finally occasionally force and pin them down, admit that their proposed method is to sit in meditation or some such. But they'd prefer no one focus much on that -- they claim that the modern mind can't effectively meditate anyway; they claim that the lack of enlightenment is not due to the predominant academic model of religious methods, that the system of injunctions is correct but there's something mysteriously wrong with the modern mind that renders the techniques ineffective.
First-hand intense mystic experiencing is, by definition, a justified, required component of classic high religion. Religion that lacks first-hand mystic experiencing can only attain to mid-level religion, which is low-level religion that is enhanced and developed as much as it can be. This view is an important step toward a key milestone for entheogen scholars: a systematic refutation of today's by-now standard set of anti-entheogen arguments put forward by Buddhist meditation proponents and official scholars of Christian mysticism.
Now we can define usefully a general 3-level system that still retains much of the simplicity of a 2-level system ("exoteric/esoteric" per Frithjof Schuon, or "orthodox/gnostic" per Freke & Gandy).
Transcendent Unity of Religions
The Jesus Mysteries: How the Pagan Mysteries of Osiris-Dionysus Were Rewritten as the Gospel of Jesus Christ
Timothy Freke, Peter Gandy
The middle level, mid-level religion, is in some ways an improvement over, or an improvement of, low-level religion, but there is great danger in mid-level religion, including mid-level Christianity just the same as mid-level Buddhism, in that what is higher than the lowest, as a rule, claims falsely to be therefore the highest, thus obscuring and trying to do away with or "kill off" the actual high-level version of the religion.
This may be the best definition of Ken Wilber's term Boomeritis -- the sophomore problem of overestimating and overinflating the extent of one's knowledge and development, sort of like those who raise themselves above low Christianity by removing the supernatural, and along with it the mythical allegory, and concluding that Mr. Historical Jesus was resuscitated from the cross and then went to India.
Mid-level American Buddhists now tend to consider supernatural Buddhism as an embarrassment not even to be acknowledged -- they would be taken aback by actual Buddhist practice -- and they dismiss the possibility of a Buddhism that is as high above their mid-level Buddhism and mid-level Buddhism is above supernaturalist Buddhism.
These Buddhists imagine that a distribution curve of Buddhist thinking compared to Christian thinking would show the typical Buddhist thinking to be quite a big more sophisticated and elevated than typical Christian thinking, but I am coming to doubt that. Buddhism is not so elevated in practice, and Christianity is not so consistently low in practice.
Rather than picturing most Christianity as the lowest form of religion and most Buddhism as mid-level religion or high-level religion, I would elevate Christianity somewhat and lower Buddhism somewhat -- perhaps typical Christianity is 20% elevated and typical Buddhism is 30% elevated - but insofar as they both officially disparage and dishonor entheogens, and even disparage the intense mystic altered state, they cannot be more than mid-level religion.
These two religions do need to be analyzed separately, though I've seen many of the same arguments used by mainstream apologists against entheogen-based mysticism. The two religions are threatened in slightly different ways by entheogens. Buddhism is now so threatened, and so much on the defense against entheogens, that it has taken to putting down the mystic state itself.
There is some parallel in Christianity: official Christianity has had mixed feelings about the quasi-official Christian mystics, who inherently challenge the effort of the official church to possess a financially profitable, narrowly controlled monopoly on religious insight and religious Good.
Something is dreadfully wrong about the current anti-entheogenic pop-Buddhist dogmatic assertion that "mystic-state fireworks are worth nothing; the only thing that matters is application of metaphysical enlightenment to day-to-day life". But I've found it surprisingly tricky to pin down precisely what is wrong with that way of thinking.
Sometimes I've despaired that it all comes down to arbitrary value-systems and there is no fact-of-the-matter; maybe today's dominant tepid mid-level Buddhism is legit and better than the worst form of low, literalist Christianity.
What's so bad, after all, of taking the fruits of the mystic state -- the principles of enlightenment -- and cherishing, above all, their applicability to uplifting day-to-day nonmystical life -- what's so bad or incorrect about that; on what basis and in what sense can I condemn that view or value-system? Hey, after all, the intense mystic altered state isn't for everyone.
We can identify what is deceitful, false, evil, and must be refuted and condemned in that popular position. That pop Buddhism in practice amounts to an attempt to eliminate and falsely disparage the mystic state that is the very *source* of those enlightenment insights, and falsely claim that (almost wholly-) ineffective placebo meditation is responsible for giving rise to the insights and training the mind to align with those insights.
There are two degrees or grades of religion: the low grade of religion, which *always* is inflated to claim it is the high; and the actual high grade of religion. If low religionists only claimed that low religion has a certain value, there can be no objection to that correct assertion, so far as it goes. The evil lie and falsity to be emphatically thrown out, disproven, and refuted, is the chronic tendency of the low to pretend and pose itself as the high, thereby obscuring and denying the existence of the actual high grade of religion.
The solution like that of the accommodationist Valentinian Gnostics is not to portray low religion as entirely bad, but to show correctly that low religion, which has a certain goodness, is low and not high religion: keep them separated and don't accept the attempt of low religion to pose as mid-level religion that kills off high-level religion. We could even glorify low-level religion by calling it medium-level religion, but still must insist that it is in fact relatively low, compared to high religion.
Low Buddhists like to favorably compare their version of Buddhism to Christianity by focusing on the lowest form of Christianity, but really, we could elevate low Christianity just as well as we could elevate low Buddhism.
We could make Christianity look like high religion by comparing it to the lowest form of Buddhism; in fact this is the normal way that the low version of each religion elevates itself compared to the others: Christianity looks at the highest potential version of low Christianity, forming medium-level Christianity, and compares that favorably above low-level Buddhism.
Thus by my definition, medium-level religion is merely low-level religion in its best form, but low and medium -- misbehaved and well-behaved low religion -- are both still really in the lower half of the religion pyramid. But what about the Christian who rationally studies mysticism and theology really well, or who is allergic to the intense mystic state? Am I insisting that one *must* have intense mystic experiencing, to be called a "high religionist"?
Why isn't it enough to just rationally have correct transcendent thinking, which I do pose as something simple and rational and quickly communicable? Part of my solution is to slightly lower high religion: it is easily attainable, even if we require first-hand mystic experiencing and full comprehension of the mystic principles that are discovered.
Full religion requires the co-development of both halves: having a full rational comprehension of the principles of the transcendent worldmodel, *and*, first-hand experiencing of loose cognition in a series of mystic altered state sessions.
For ordinary healthy people in a decent society, there is no *good* reason to lack either leg: enlightened thinking (a particular worldmodel regarding self, time, space, control, and will) or the mystic altered state. Both legs enable the other to fully develop: fullest comprehension enables fullest mystic-state experiencing, and vice versa.
Is enlightenment necessarily limited if first-hand full-on intense mystic experiencing is lacking? That is the same as any skill: if one did everything possible to learn about driving cars, becoming the foremost expert, but never actually drove a car, could that person be considered an expert car driver? It is debatable and an artificial scenario; it is artificial to try to possess and apply the fruits of intense mystic experiencing to day-to-day life, without actually having first-hand mystic experiencing.
One of the clear violations in the notion that enlightenment ought to be valued only insofar as applying it to daily life is that it falsely puts down the mystic state itself, along with falsely disparaging and denying the efficacy of entheogens. Such anti-mystic meditationism as has taken over pop Buddhism attributes much too much to non-entheogen meditation, and attributes much too little to the mystic state and to entheogens.
It falsely elevates mid-level religion to claim the benefits that rightly belong to and come from high-level religion, and it falsely denies the great value that natively resides within the realm of high religion, and ends up -- in practice -- denying that there is such a thing as high religion, higher than the inflated low-to-medium level religion.
The inflation and glorification of mid-level religion (low religion in its best and most enlightened form) is *not* harmless and reasonable: it actually amounts to an assault upon high-level religion, because proud mid-level religion doesn't accept its inferior place; neither can it share its supposed glory with high level religion -- the low can never be satisfied with its limited position and must fully elevate itself to claim the highest claims, and must fully ostracize, banish, and exile true high-level religion.
Mid-level Buddhism in practice declares that there can be nothing higher than it; it cannot accept settling for its true, inferior position. Clearly, everyone really knows, though mid-level meditationists deny it, that real, classic, definitive religion naturally should be defined as having full comprehension of mystic principles together with full first-hand experiencing of the intense mystic altered state, and that clearly, these two halves multiply each other or fully build up and strengthen each other.
Sure, it's possible to largely develop one half while lacking the other, but of course this falls well short of the fullest, most classic and definitive religious experiencing and insight. There's no good reason to shy away from defining full religious enlightenment as requiring both halves: full rational comprehension (possession of the transcendent worldmodel), and full first-hand intense mystic experiencing.
Both halves are actually very easy to attain, *particularly* when developed and learned together, like chemistry lectures together with chemistry lab-work.
It is a difficult, fine line I have to walk. It is hard work to avoid errors on either side. I don't want to require first-hand experiencing, to qualify for the reasonably easy goal of attaining enlightenment, but I'm sorely against those who put down full-on first-hand mystic-state experiencing or belittle or diminish it in any way. It is so important to properly assign the rightful place to each component on the vertical axis, or, more generally, within the overall scheme of things.
Even when conventional religionists make some limited statements that are reasonably valid, I'm suspicious of overtones and implications, when such statements are part of some less than completely satisfying conception or scheme of what religion is all about and what it is for.
>>American Buddhist meditationists are diminishing the importance of entheogens and are making excuses for the failure of meditation to produce loose cognition, based on the now-standard dogmatic assertion that the intense mystic altered state in and of itself is definitely unimportant and irrelevant and worthless, and that metaphysical enlightenment in and of itself is unimportant and irrelevant and worthless, and that the only possible value of the mystic altered state and of metaphysical enlightenment is strictly measured by the standard of enhancing ongoing day-to-day life.
>Are meditation proponents actually saying this wrong and false assertion?
The anti-entheogen arguments in Zig Zag Zen and in Gnosis journal definitely point in this direction, and someone in this group recently posted -- in somewhat garbled and less than accountable form -- that if mysticism doesn't enhance daily life, mysticism is completely worthless.
Even more important than individual quotes, is the general attitude that can be read all across today's Buddhist writings, in the newsgroups, magazines, and books -- because a certain set of arguments naturally comes together, in the minds of those anti-entheogenist meditationists; it's evident what direction such thinking is inclined toward.
>...the messages concerning meditation vs entheogenic sessions. True, entheogens create an altered state of consciosness much easier than meditation. Meditation itself requires blocking out the conscious thought stream and patiently waiting for awareness...discipline etc. The point of either is lost if the enlightening experience or revelation(assuming real meditation and communition above or beyond the self was achieved or that the entheogenic state was induced for the purpose of seeking truth and enlightenment... rare in both instances, unfortunately) is not carried out into daily life. The experience has to be incorporated into one's being not just reveled in as a time of relaxation or intensity of understanding. True the legalistic aspects of entheogens hinder their functional value. But if they are not used in proper settings, with proper guidance, and at reasonable frequencies, I believe they can create an even stronger ego barrier. When a person is able to feel so powerful and well anytime they pop a pill, they become self-righteous because that power is at their disposal.
From the above, perfectly representative position statement or typical viewpoint, can be extracted:
>The point of [entheogens or meditation] ... is lost if the enlightening experience or revelation ... is not carried out into daily life.
Which can be paraphrased:
>The point of the mystic state is lost if the resulting metaphysical enlightenment is not applied to daily life.
Which definitely implies:
>The mystic state is entirely worthless on its own terms as a distinct realm of human concern, and only has value insofar as it serves to enhance the only realm that matters, which is that of not-explicitly-mystical, day-to-day life. Mystic revelation is only useful and valuable as a utilitarian tool to improve day-to-day life.
It is of utmost importance to critique that position, which is a major foundation for the entheogen-disparaging, entheogen-diminishing, and mystic-state "fireworks"-diminishing standard popular American Buddhist position that is rapidly forming; this is rapidly becoming the standard, often-published mainstream Buddhist view against entheogens, including those whose religious awareness was awakened through pot and acid (cannabis and LSD).
All the writings of the mainstream religionists who set themselves up in essential opposition to entheogens, hastening to diminish entheogens as much as possible, take this style of view, and rest their case on this kind of attitudinal foundation. There is no more relevant subject now for entheogen scholars than to systematically define both the position of such anti-entheogen meditationists and the position of entheogen-positive theorists.
Right now the debate is unstructured, so the false disparagement of entheogens relative to meditation will continue. Entheogen researchers have here a perfect opportunity to move the debate toward a genuine structured debate and show the falsity of the now-dominant view which asserts that meditation is superior to entheogens and is more legitimate, effective, relevant, historically venerable, and so on.
A key part of the status-quo false view is the standard new "old saw" cliche that "meditation isn't really about mystic-state fireworks, but about enhancement of ordinary day-to-day life". Along with denying the classic use of entheogens in all religions, all eras of Buddhism, such a position must also redefine the goal of Buddhism, so that the ineffectiveness of meditation at producing the intense mystic altered state can be excused.
The logically consistent response of the entheogen-diminishing meditationists is: "Meditation doesn't work nearly as well as entheogens? Well, meditation *does* work better than entheogens, because real Buddhist meditation isn't *supposed* to effect any distinct, intense, sudden change. Only some unmeasurable, indefinite sort of change, beyond rational accountability. Real religion isn't about anything definite and tangible and accountable."
The result is to fabricate a model of religion and mystic practice that is as nebulous and indeterminate as possible, as we have in abundance today, to the point of deliberately obscuring the presence of simple, effective, ergonomic, intense, rational, and determinate religious experiencing and specific revelation.
That conception of religion may or may not be harmful in itself, but it is in fact far from the truest and best, most classic and elevated form of religion: in many ways, it is a travesty -- a pathetic, distorted and limited imitation -- of the best and highest and most original form of religion.
Today's pop Buddhism does retain some fragments of enlightenment, but only in a weak, degraded, secondary form, and *inevitably* that version of Buddhism is intent of denying the existence of higher, more classic Buddhism and more breathtaking transformation, falsely insisting that meditation without intense mysticism is the top floor or is the best way of reaching the top floor.
>Certainly the mystic altered state is the major component for enlightenment.
Some writers in Zig Zag Zen diminish the relevance, importance, and role of the experiences encountered in the mystic altered state. They teach some other view of how meditation works and what its benefits are, and what the goal of meditation or Buddhism is.
>Unless no-free-will/no-separate-self [or intense mystic insights in general] is experienced first-hand, there is not full and maturely developed enlightenment. It is *there* where reverence is experienced and where honor for life is born.
Many people wish for religion to involve something else, some other methods, some other experiences, some other insights, and some other goals. What do I do with them? I belittle that as wishful-thinking driven, make-it-up-as-you-go, human-created, uninspired, mid-level religion, a version of low-level religion that is tweaked and improved in a few ways, nothing more, and certainly *not* the highest and fullest and most complete form of religion.
Such a system of "religion" and limited, incomplete version of "enlightenment" can improve daily life -- as self-help indeed can, but it is *not* the essential character that is contributed by definitive, classic, complete, and fully developed high religion.
>There are many areas in daily living that can be more easily understood when the increase in understanding from the mystic altered state is carried into it.
It's all too common to make highly inflated, absolute, grandiose and unqualified promises for the potential of what's really quite limited mystic experiencing to wholly change all the character of day-to-day life.
We must keep our head on straight and not mistake a moderate, partial form of mystic experiencing for the full-on experience, and not to mistake a somewhat enhanced daily life, informed by a limited and modest degree of mystic experiencing, as the ultimate form of religion, as is the ruling norm in today's popular American Buddhism.
>Mystic experiencing tends to produce greater understanding and compassion for life, a keener sense of hearing individuals, greater patience with individuals, and great respect for the various forms or modes of life.
Day-to-day life and the full-intensity mystic realm are two distinct, partially overlapping domains of human concern and value. They each have some value considered apart from the other, and they have some potential to add value to each other.
It is crucial to understand this conception of distinctness. Neither daily life nor the mystic realm is the be-all and end-all, by itself; a full life includes both realms. Daily life is valuable but should not completely subsume the intense mystic realm, which is valuable on its own as well as valuable toward daily life.
Today's Buddhism ends up disparaging the intense mystic realm, and puts forward a value system that forms less than a complete life. Today's Buddhism is incomplete Buddhism claiming to be complete Buddhism: the fullest Buddhism honors intense mystic experiencing on its own terms and not just to the extent that intense mystic experiencing contributes to daily life. The result is the loss of the mystic realm, and incomplete life, missing some of the highest value.
One of the more interesting articles published in the magazine What Is Enlightenment.
http://www.wie.org/j22/Debold.asp -- "The seeker infected with boomeritis feels good about him- or herself, and superior to others, because of having a spiritual identity and being such a spiritual person. As Wilber writes, "The essential feature...is the process of relabeling. That is, you take your present egoic state and learn to constantly relabel it as spiritual, divine, and sacred, relabel your ego as the Goddess, relabel it as the sacred Self, relabel it as the divine Web of Life....One ends up relabeling the subtlest reaches of the ego as Divine, and that is the new spiritual paradigm." In other words, the Web of Life becomes a web of lies. This process of relabeling, and the emphasis on feeling, within boomeritis spirituality tries to turn the sacred into something that we can have and claim for our own narcissistic desires. And Wilber's point holds for far more than what we call the New Age. This relabeling of the ego and its motives as spiritual can corrupt all forms of spiritual pursuit."
That's exactly what official baptism is in Christianity: relabelling a non-transformative rite as "transformative", which is why the real, gnostic, experiential, and quasi-Pentacostal Christian "heretics" kept to a "higher baptism". The official church wanted uniformity, even if that required officially doing away with religious experiencing by superficially co-opting it and denying there's anything more. The ersatz priest declares, "By this water-sprinkling, we officially declare you to be transformed, and declare that there is no other transformation."
Popular spirituality is the labelling of nontransformative practices as "transformative" and denying the existence of any more transformative practices. So what is the difference between placebo Christian baptism or Eucharist, and placebo meditation? The Christian system has one superficial mood (mere guilt), and meditation has a different superficial mood (mere tranquillity) -- neither of which is more than peripherally related to primary religious experiencing and insight.
Wilber's psychobabble term "narcissism" clarifies nothing; what's going on here is simply egoic fake-o low-level religion being pawned off as genuine high-level religious experiencing and insight.
>>>It doesn't express the whole truth of the situation (which is left as an imaginative exercise for the reader).
>It's diminishment of life to speak of communication by 'one' as consisting of 'whole truth's,' and 'partial truths,' which becomes nothing more and nothing less than the continuation of religion meshed in with the justice system, which consists of a judge, a presecutor and a defendant, the defendant, with one hand over the bible, and another hand held up, being asked, "Do you swear to tell the truth, 'the whole truth' and nothing but the truth, so help you god."
I can't take that "criticism" seriously. My statement is being criticized because the word choice superficially resembles some supposedly dastardly convention of telling the entire truth in court -- but so what? I don't see the substantial potential in that manner of critique. Is seeking to determine the fullness of truth dastardly and harmful because of a courtroom expression "the whole truth"? That is a superficial critique.
It is difficult to take it seriously and empathize with the feeling behind the cautionary criticisms you've put forward. People have abused the search for the truth -- so what? Are you proposing that we should not seek well-rounded grasp of the truth? This is too much work for me to figure out what intent lies behind these cautionary criticisms. Obviously you can't be recommending that we stop looking for truth. Then what are you saying? You've lost me. I can't rise to figure out what your point must be.
People have done harm through lies: are we to roll over? Can your attitude serve for leadership in dealing with the evil harmful liars in the world? Are you preaching radical pacifism? I don't get your point. You've lost me. I'm not getting anything out of your cautions for the sake of cautions -- I'm starting to wonder what is really behind it. Are you saying people should not call a spade a spade, an evil an evil? Should be stop debating what the truth is?
Are you out to silence dissent, acting as though self-silencing would make dissent go away? My time is too valuable to guess and surmise and get to the bottom of what people really mean. Please spell out in greater, clearer detail what you are recommending me to do, if not to shut up? What exactly would you have me positively do regarding all the lies and distortions about the nature of religion and mystic allegory and the strong role of visionary plants in religious history?
Are your cautions just advice of the obvious, that people should be nice and get along? I need some advice that is practical and useful and specific, not just negative advice of "don't talk in such and such way". There are specific problems to solve: how, positively and speficically, are we to solve these? Should we act as though there are no problems to be solved, no evil and lies in the world?
What exactly is your proposed viable strategy and game plan against evil, lies, and distortion? Your construction "diminishment of life" is utterly meaningless to me; it is completely failing to convey any concept. You say my judgementalism is against life -- that claim or accusation is completely devoid of meaning, just as if you said my judgementalism is against ooblort. As it stands, it's impossible for me to do anything with your caution.
How are we to resist and correct evil, if we don't judge evil as evil, and don't call a spade a spade, and don't assert what the actual situation is and what the actual proportions are, such as degree of efficacy of mystic methods? How is your advice any different than if you were to tell me "You shouldn't judge and criticize anyone, because people have harmfully judged and criticized in the past"?
It is true that people have harmfully judged others in the past. It doesn't follow that all judgement is always harmful, or that it makes sense to always avoid all forms of harm. Your cautions seem uselessly idealistic to the point of nebulous idealism and unreality. Bad stuff and distortions is going on: what are we to do about it -- nothing? Not judge it, because some people have harmfully judged others?
That would not be a reasonable attitude -- it would be simplistic extremism of superficial conduct, accomplishing nothing but actually condoning the real, tangible, actual, concrete harm that's being done. My writing strategy harms no one, and yet you effectively accuse me of harming people. Show me this theoretical, conjectured, speculative harm?
I'm demanding that people know about the whole truth of the matter about hallucinogenic drugs and religion. Show me how my demand for full truth is harming anyone. What do all your reactionary cautions amount to in practical terms for specific communication acts? What would you have me write, in the face of the real and concrete harms of the past: say nothing, silence my demand for the fullness of truth?
Your cautions read like principled dogmas that have run away beyond practical reason, based on superficial word-similarities and superficial mental associations, having lost their connection with concrete and specific reality.
>When I, you and/or me, become made into something and/or someone that must fight something else in an attempt to destroy it, then I, you and/or me, become nothing more than the continuation of the structure of religion, which taught discrimination, fear, and destruction.
The above is free-floating abstractions, nebulous cautions about what? If I strain hard enough I can just glimpse some wisdom and reality in the above paragraph -- but then that cautionary paragraph collapses into meaningless noise, empty speculative abstractions and hypothetical unnamed potential harms. It's just too mysterious and abstract to amount to meaningful advice, massive generalities that are impossible to act on. It's a purely negative paragraph, devoid of any actionable strategic game plan for victory against the status quo of distortions and lies.
What exactly would you have a reformer do, specifically? Is there any substance to these cautions, or just a dream of purely positive reform in the face of evil harmful lies -- a correction to collectively arrive at truth without stating that the lies are lies? Such nebulous, free-floating, impracticable and unactionable advice does nothing but trip me up; it's impossible to do anything with it; it's useless idealistic generalities that can never amount to anything of substance to correct today's situation.
Doesn't the above cautionary advice amount to ineffective passive acceptance of the status quo? If we don't even dare ask for the whole truth, if we don't even point to evil and say 'evil', or lies and say 'lies', how can the status quo ever be changed by our actions? I need practical, actionable advice, not useless, abstract, idealistic generalities that are impossible to act on and put into effective practice to change the situation.
That is the problem with the popular New Age mode of thinking and expression: it becomes degraded into vapid idealistic generalities, of no earthly and practical use -- full of feeling but not intellectually useful building blocks that can add up to anything of substance, just vague and perfectly general recommendations that people be nice to each other and avoid harming each other -- useless ghostly platitudes, misty phantasmic ideals on an entirely different plane than that of actual action toward reform.
It's a certain type of empty moralism, insubstantial and unreal, putting all weight on abstraction and generalities: "avoid harming other people." So completely and totally general and ideal, it's wholly irrelevant toward any actual action in the dirty, messy, noisy real world. It's an impractical escape into the Platonic real of ideal generality.
"It's bad to seek the whole truth, because the phrase 'whole truth' has been used to harm some people." What is that advice, if not perfectly absurd? Is it even possible for it to have a grain of truth or validity lurking behind it, obscured? The advice is certainly absurd on the surface.
"Don't consider anything to be something to fight and destroy, because religion has sometimes harmed people through fighting and destroying." Such advice is simplistic, extremist, and, it seems, superficial. Is it possible for there to be anything of substance behind such strangely reasoned cautionary advice? Uttering such cautionary advice makes a person appear to be upstanding and righteous and wise, but such generalistic cautions come cheap -- I don't see the practical value of them.
Without further clarification of these seeming superficial empty cautionary noises, the only thing I can do is ignore them and continue my reform activity, disproving lies, looking for the real and whole truth, setting the record straight, pronouncing judgement and discernment upon evil and untruth and distortions.
The most common characteristic of non-entheogenic writing about esotericism and mystic states is a heavy use of free-floating, circular, vague, ungrounded injunctions:
"To attain mystic-state consciousness, one must open the higher-mind's heart of vision. To do this, one must ascend to a vision of the One, through spiritual contemplation involving seeing through a changed conceptual and experiential system. This change comes about through the opening of higher awareness via the contemplative divine mind, which those with greater spiritual attunement can access." And so on, and so on.
If you interrogate these vague writers long enough, they either say that the specific method of breaking through into this realm is a God-given mystery which the modern mind cannot know, or they feebly claim that a few rare people can attain this realm of consciousness through meditation, or through Jungian "active imagination", or through guided visualization, or through hyperventilation.
Such writers usually put all emphasis on the free-floating ungrounded circular description of the mystic altered state, but almost seem to direct our attention away from the near-total lack of any real proposed bridge to get from here to there, any *specific* method of initiating the change from the ordinary state to the mystic state. Most of their "how to" instructions are actually just synonyms for the *result* -- the change -- rather than the *trigger* for the change.
They put forward the result under a hundred synonymous phrasings, all posing the result as the method or trigger. It's like saying "To get to Oz, leave Kansas and travel to Oz, by journeying to Oz, by attaining locatedness in Oz, by finding the way to become in Oz, by contemplatively entering within experience into the realm of Oz." Such writers fill a chapter with a hundred exhortations to attain the desired result, worded as though these were instructions on what to do to start moving toward that result.
These are results falsely worded as though they are the method of bringing about the result. When you finally pin down such writers, they can't come up with anything more earth-shattering than "sit and try"; "meditate" -- and they seem uncomfortable discussing these obviously inadequate methods; it is an embarrassment to these writers that their method is so paltry and feeble next to the grandiosity of their free-floating, circling end-result exhortations.
Instead of solving this problem by fortifying the details of the proposed method (meditation, hyperventilation, or what-have-you), they put all their creative energy into painting the resulting heaven -- because they are good at that; any fool in the ordinary state of consciousness can regurgitate these phrasings describing the mystic state of consciousness: just read twenty articles and chapters premised on religious experiencing as a state of consciousness and you too can churn out books disparaging the supposed modern flawed consciousness and praising the few or the ancient who broke through to the glorious rarified state of mystic consciousness.
Just read the other books and articles and collect their phrasings, and you too can sound like you know what you're talking about, sound like you are a wise sage who is grounded in the mystic state of consciousness.
I need to show clearly the alternative. The above specific methods work, at a low level of ergonomic efficiency. The most classic and ergonomically effective method is the use of visionary plants. There are many concrete, detailed, and specific instructions, online and in books, about the many ways to ingest the many psychoactive species of visionary plants, in combinations, and visionary chemicals too which may or may not be found in some plants or in some animals.
What I need to contribute is directions for what specifically to think about in between visionary-state sessions and during visionary-state sessions and peak windows, in order to fully comprehend specific experiential insights, such as encountering no-free-will as an ego death climax and using divine prayer for transcendent compassion and power-over-determinism, to restore self-control stability and the sense of power-wielding personal agency.
So far I have generally contributed as two required halves, the need to use visionary plants, the need to study systematized perennial philosophy particularly as I have summarized on my Intro article, and the need to integrate these two halves.
However, have I adequately shown how to not make the mistake of the typical writers today, who spew an endless circle of vague exhortations to transcendent consciousness, presenting synonyms for the result in the guise of presenting methods of attaining the result -- both the method of travel and the destination; the mode of entering the mystic state and the mode of reaching the end of realizing its highest insights? Part of the confusion is that two senses of 'result' are conflated in the dominant mode of writing about "attaining mystic consciousness".
The intermediate and initial goal is to enter the general mystic state of consciousness; that is, to leave the ordinary state of consciousness. The final and ultimate goal is to attain the highest insights of the mystic state of consciousness. To some extent, the mystic consciousness is the method and is the result; there is a path with some duration, and the early-to-mid part of the path is the method to attain the mid-to-final part of the path.
We could generously see typical writers as really saying, "To attain final level 8 consciousness, the method is to attain and apply level 7 consciousness, and the method for achieving that is level 6 consciousness; same with levels 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1. Each is the method for attaining the next as result."
What we need is more like an explanation that as you move through a series of entheogen sessions, think more and more about the problems and relations of self-control, self, control, agency, time, will, and cognition, as interrelated in my Intro article that systematically models the perennial philosophy.
Today's dominant popular type of spirituality tends to speak in the following mode:
"Truth is found at the center of the pendulum, not at the extreme." When the utter meaninglessness of such an isolated statement is pointed out, the best response such modern spirituality can come up with is "it just *seems* meaningless, because you haven't meditated on it enough."
The problem isn't that such statements in such a mode are incorrect; the problem is, they are inadequate as statements: a system built up from such a mode of statements has poor ergonomic effectiveness, and such non-ergonomic, ineffective statements are, as a rule, paired with equally non-ergonomic, ineffective techniques: Jungian "active imagination", or meditation, or ritual conducted in the ordinary state of consciousness.
We need much more effective verbal constructions, combined with much more effective techniques, but the post-1960s popular paradigm of spirituality is unable to produce any more effective verbal constructions or more effective techniques, resulting in various excuses about what is supposedly wrong with the recipient of such pop-spirituality injunctions, combined with exaggerations of how difficult and rare full-on mystic enlightenment is.
It is potentially easy and simple and ergonomic to both use more effective and potent verbal constructions and use more effective means of inducing the mystic state of consciousness, to easily and ergonomically attain to enlightenment, Truth, salvation, perfection, and purification. The choice is up to you: follow the paradigm that claims that enlightenment is difficult and rare and complicated, or follow the lightning-path paradigm that claims that enlightenment is potentially easy, common, and straightforward.
>>>No, religion good!
>>No, religion bad!
Much of this argument is pseudo-argument due to the ambiguity of the term "religion" as being either organized religion or mystical religion. Many people are in favor of mystical religion, which they label as 'spirituality', and are against so-called "organized religion", which they abbreviate to 'religion'.